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shelves, some of walnut-tree, curiously carved, and brought to calculated, as Bayes says, "to elevate and surprise" the Biblia dark colour by time, nearly resembling that of a ripe chestnut, omaniac.
There were, and partly of common deal, employed to repair and supply the
** The small rare volume, dark with tarnish'd gold." deficiencies occasioned by violence and devastation. On these shelves were deposited the wrecks, or rather the precious re- as Dr. Ferrier feelingly sings-curious and richly painted mislics, of a most splendid library.
sals, manuscripts of 1380, 1320, and even earlier, and works in The Marquis's father had been a man of information, and his Gothic
type, printed in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. grandfather was famous, even in the Court of Louis XIV., where But of these I intend to give a more detailed account, should literature was in some degree considered as the fashion, for the the Marquis grant his permission. extent of his acquirements. Those two proprietors, opulent in In the meantime, it is sufficient to say, that, delighted with the their fortunes, and liberal in the indulgence of their taste, had day I had spent at Hautlieu, I frequently repeated my visit, and inade such additions to a curious old Gothic library, which had that the key of the octangular tower was always at my comdescended from their ancestors, that there were few collections inand. In those hours I became deeply enamoured of a part of in France which could be compared to that of Hautlieu. It had French history, which, although most important to that of Eubeen completely dispersert, in consequence of an ill judged at- rope at large, and illustrated by an inimitable old historian, I tempt of the present Marquis, in 1790, to defend his Chateau had never sufficiently studied. At the same time, to gratify against a revolutionary mob. Luckily, the Cure, who, by his the feelings of my excellent host, I occupied myself occasionally charitable and moderate conduct, and his evangelical virtues, with some family memorials, which had fortunately been prepossessed much interest among the neighbouring peasantry, served, and which contained some curious particulars respectprevailed on many of them to buy, for the petty sum of a few ing tho connexion with Scotland, which first found me favour sous, and sometimes at the vulgar rate of a glass of brandy, vo- in the eyes of the Marquis de Hautlieu. lumnes which had cost large sums, but which were carried off in mere spite by the ruffians who pillaged the Castle. He him. self also had purchased as many of the books as his funds could possibly reach, and to his care it was owing that they were re- I pondered on these things, more meo, until my return to Bri. stored to the turret in which I found them. It was no wonder,tain, to beef and sea-coal fires, a change of residence which therefore, that the good Curé had some pride and pleasure in took place since I drew up these Gallic reminiscences. At showing the collection to strangers.
length, the result of my meditations took the form of which In spite of odd volumes, imperfections, and all the other mor- my readers, if not startled by this preface, will presently be entifications which an amateur encounters in looking through an abled to judge. Should the Public receive it with favour, I ill-kept library, there were many articles in that of Hautlieu, I shall not regret having been for a short time an Absentee.
and headlong spirit of enterprise, in actions for which his happier native country afforded no free stage.
At this period, and as if to save this fair realm from
the various woes with which it was menaced, the Look here upon this picture, and on this,
tottering throne was ascended by Louis XI., whose The counterfeit presentment of two brothers.-Hamlet.
character, evil as it was in itself, met, combated, and The latter part of the fifteenth century, prepared a in a great degree neutralized, the mischiefs of the train of future events, that ended by raising France time-as poisons of opposing qualities are said, in anto that state of formidable power, which has ever cient books of medicine, to have the power of counsince been, from time to time, the principal object of teracting each other. jealousy to the other European nations. Before that Brave enough for every useful and political purpose, period, she had to struggle for her very existence with Louis had not a spark of that romantic valour, or of the English, already possessed of her fairest provinces; the pride generally associated with it, which fought while the utmost exertions of her King, and the gal-on for the point of honour, when the point of utility lanıry, of her people, could scarcely protect the re- had been long gained. Calm, crafty, and profoundly mainder from a foreign yoke. Nor was this her sole attentive to his own interest, he made every sacrifice, danger. The princes who
possessed the grand fiefs both of pride and passion, which could interfere with of the crown, and, in particular, the Dukes of Bur- it. He was careful in disguising his real sentimente gundy and Bretagne, had come to wear their feudal and purposes from all who approached him, and frebonds so lightly, that they had no scruple in lifting quently used the expressions, “ that the king knew the standard against their liege and sovereign lord, not how to reign, who knew not how to dissemble; the King of France, on the slightest pretence. When and that, for himself, if he thought his very cap knew at peace, they reigned as absolute princes in their own his secrets, he would throw it into the fire." No man provinces; and the House of Burgundy, possessed of of his own, or of any other time, better understood the district so called, together with the fairest and how to avail himself of the frailties of others, and richest part of Flanders, was itself so wealthy, and when to avoid giving any advantage by the untimely so powerful, as to yield nothing to the crown, either indulgence of his own. in splendour or in strength.
He was by nature vindictive and cruel, even to the In imitation of the grand feudatories, each inferior extent of finding pleasure in the frequent executions vassal of the crown assumed as much independence which he commanded. But, as no touch of mercy as his distance from the sovereign power, the extent ever induced him to spare, when he could with safety of his fief, or the strength of his chateau, enabled him condemn, so no sentiment of vengeance ever stimuto maintain; and these petty tyrants, no longer ame-lated him to a premature violence. He seldom sprung nable to the exercise of the law, perpetrated with im- on his prey till it was fairly within his grasp, and till punity the wildest excesses of fantastic oppression all hope of rescue was vain ; and his movements were and cruelty. In Auvergne alone, a report was made so studiously disguised, that his success was generally of more than three hundred of these independent what first announced to the world the object he had nobles, to whom incest, murder, and rapine, were been manœuvring to attain. the most ordinary and familiar actions.
In like manner, the avarice of Louis gave way to Besides these evils, another, springing out of the apparent profusion, when it was necessary to bribe long-continued wars betwixt the French and English, the favourite or minister of a rival prince for averting added no small misery to this distracted kingdom any impending attack, or to break up any alliance Numerous bodies of soldiers, collected into bands, confederated against him. He was fond of license and under officers chosen by themselves, from among pleasure; but neither beauty nor the chase, though the bravest and most successful adventurers, had both were ruling passions, ever withdrew
him from been formed in various parts of France out of the re- the most regular attendance to public business and fuse of all other countries. These hireling combat- the affairs of his kingdom. His knowledge of manants sold their swords for a time to the best bidder; kind was profound, and he had sought it in the priand, when such service was not to be had, they made vate walks of life, in which he often personally minwar on their own account, seizing castles and towers, gled; and, though naturally
proud and haughty, he which they used as the places of their retreat,-ma- hesitated not, with an inattention to the arbitrary diking prisoners, and ransoming them, -exacting tri- visions of society which was then thought something bute from the open villages, and the country around portentously unnatural, to raise from the lowest rank them, -and acquiring, by every species of rapine, the men whom he employed on the most important duappropriate epithets of Tondeurs and Ecorcheurs, ties, and knew so well how to choose them, that
he that is, Clippers and Flayers.
was rarely disappointed in their qualities. In the midst of the horrors and miseries arising Yet there were contradictions in the character of from so distracted a state of public affairs, reckless this artful and able monarch; for human nature is and profuse expense distinguished the courts of the rarely uniform. Himself the most false and insincere lesser nobles, as well as of the superior princes; and of mankind, some of the greatest errors of his life their dependants, in imitation, expended in rude, but arose from too rash a confidence in honour and magnificent display, the wealth which they extorted integrity of others. When these errors took place, from the people. A tone of romantic and chivalrous they seem to have arisen from an over-refined system gallantry (which, however, was often disgraced by of policy, which induced Louis to assume the appearunbounded license) characterised the intercourse be- ance of undoubting confidence in those whom it was tween the sexes; and the language of knight-errantry his object to overreach; for, in his general conduct, was yet used, and its observances followed, though he was as jealous and suspicious as any tyrant who the pure spirit of honourable love, and benevolent ever breathed. enterprise, which it inculcates, had ceased to qualify Two other points may be noticed to complete the and atone for its extravagances. The jousts and sketch of this formidable character, by which he rose tournaments, the entertainments and revels, which among the rude chivalrous sovereigns of the period each petty court displayed, invited to France every to the rank of a keeper
among wild beasts, who, by wandering adventurer; and it was seldom that
, when superior wisdom and policy, by distribution of food, arrived there, he failed to employ his rash courage. I and some discipline by blows, comes finally to predominate over those, who, if unsubjected by his arts, punished oppressions of the nobility, he laboured to would by main strength have torn him to pieces. lessen, since he could not actually stop them; and
The first of these attributes was Louis's excessive by dint of unrelaxed attention, he gradually gained superstition, a plague with which Heaven often af- some addition to his own regal authority, or effected flicts those who refuse to listen to the dictates of re- some diminution of those by whom it was counterligion. The remorse arising from his evil actions, balanced. Louis never endeavoured to appease by any relaxa- Still the King of France was surrounded by doubt tion in his Machiavellian stratagems, but laboured, in and danger. The members of the league "for the vain, to soothe and silence that painful feeling by su- public weal,” thougḥ not in unison, were in existence, perstitious observances, severe penance, and profuse and, like a scotched snake, mighi re-unite and begifts to the ecclesiastics. The second property, with come dangerous again. But a worse danger was which the first is sometimes found strangely united, the increasing power of the Duke of Burgundy, then was a disposition to low pleasures and obscure de- one of the greatest Princes of Europe, and liitle dibauchery. The wisest, or at least the most crafty minished in rank by the very slight dependence of his sovereign of his time, he was fond of low life, and, duchy upon the crown of France. being himself a man of wit, enjoyed the jests and re- Charles, surnamed the Bold, or rather the Audapartees of social conversation more than could have cious, for his courage was allied to rashness and frenbeen expected from other points of his character. He zy, then wore the ducal coronet of Burgundy, which even mingled in the comic adventures of obscure in- he burned to convert into a royal and independent trigue, with a freedom little consistent with the ha- regal crown. The character of this Duke was in bitual and guarded jealousy of his character; and he every respect the direct contrast to that of Louis XI. was so fond of this species of humble gallantry, that The latter was calm, deliberate, and crafty, never he caused a number of its gay and licentious anec- prosecuting a desperate enterprise, and never abandotes to be enrolled in a collection well known to doning one likely to be successful, however distant book-collectors, in whose eyes (and the work is unfit the prospect. The genius of the Duke was entirely for any other) the right edition is very precious.* different. He rushed on danger because he loved it,
By means of this monarch's powerful and prudent, and on difficulties because he despised them. As though most unamiable character, it pleased Heaven, Louis never sacrificed his interest to bis passion, so who works by the tempest as well as by the soft Charles, on the other hand, never sacrificed his passmall rain, to restore to the great French nation the sion, or even his humour, to any other consideration. benefits of civil government, which, at the time of his Notwithstanding the near relationship that existed accession, they had nearly lost.
between them, and the support which the Duke and Ere he succeeded to the crown, Louis had given evi- his father had afforded to Louis in his exile when dence of his vices rather than of his talents. His first Dauphin, there was mutual contempt and hatred bewife, Margaret of Scotland, was done to death by twixt them. The Duke of Burgundy despised the slanderous tongues' in her husband's Court, where, cautious policy of the King, and imputed to the faintbut for the encouragement of Louis himself, not a ness of his courage, that he sought by leagues, purword would have been breathed agaist that amiable chases, and other indirect means, those advantages, and injured princess. He had been an ungrateful which, in his place, the Duke would have snatched and a rebellious son, at one time conspiring to seize with an armed hand. He likewise hated the King, his father's person, and at another, levying open war not only for the ingratitude he had manifested for against him. For the first offence, he was banished former kindnesses, and for personal injuries and imto his appanage of Dauphine, which he governed with putations which the ambassadors of Louis had cast much sagacity-for the second, he was driven into upon him, when his father was yet alive, but also, absolute exile, and forced to throw himself on the and especially, because of the support which he afmercy, and almost on the charity, of the Duke of forded in secret to the discontented citizens of Ghent, Burgundy and his son, where he enjoyed hospitality, Liege, and other great towns in Flanders. These afterwards indifferently requited, until the death of turbulent cities, jealous of their privileges, and proud his father in 1461.
of their wealth, were frequently in a state of insurrecIn the very outset of his reign, Louis was almost tion against their liege lords, the Dukes of Burgundy, overpowered by a league formed against him by the and never failed to find underhand countenance at great vassals of France, with the Duke of Burgundy, the Court of Louis, who embraced every opportunity or rather his son, the Count de Charalois, at its of fomenting disturbance within the dominions of his head. They levied a powerful army, blockaded Pa- overgrown vassal. ris, fought a battle of doubtful issue under its very The contempt and hatred of the Duke were retaliwalls, and placed the French monarchy on the brink ated by Louis with equal energy, though he used a of actual destruction. It usually happens in such thicker veil to conceal his sentiments. It was imcases, that the more sagacious general of the two possible for a man of his profound sagacity not to gains the real fruit, though perhaps not the martial despise the stubborn obstinacy which never resigned fame of the disputed field. Louis, who had shown its purpose, however fatal perseverance might prore great personal bravery during the battle of Mont- and the headlong impetuosity, which commenced its l'hery, was able, by his prudence, to avail himself career without allowing a moment's consideration of its undecided character, as if it had been a victory for the obstacles to be encountered. Yet the King on his side. He temporized until the enemy had hated Charles even more than he contemned him, broken up their leaguer, and showed so much dex- and his scorn and hatred were the more intense, that terity
in sowing jealousies among those great pow- they were mingled with fear; for he knew that the ers, that their alliance " for the public weal," as onset of the mad bull, to whom he likened the Duke they termed it, but, in reality, for the overthrow of of Burgundy, must ever be formidable, though the all but the external appearance of the French mo- animal makes it with shut eyes. It was not alone narchy, dissolved itself, and was never again renewed the wealth of the Burgundian provinces, the discipline in a manner so formidable. From this period, Louis, of the warlike inhabitants, and the mass of their relieved of all danger from England, by the Civil crowded population, which the King dreaded, for the Wars of York and Lancaster, was engaged for personal qualities of their leader had also much in several years, like an unfeeling but able physician, them that was dangerous. The very soul of bravery, in curing the wounds of the body politic, or rather which he pushed to the verge of rashness, and beyond in stopping, now by gentle remedies, now by the it-profuse in expenditure-splendid in his court, his use of fire and steel, the progress of those mortal person, and his retinue, in all which he displayed the gangrenes with which it was then infected. The hereditary magnificence of the house of Burgundy, brigandage of the Free Companies, and the un- Charles the Bold drew into his service almost all the
* This editio princeps, which, when in good preservation, is fiery spirits of the age whose tempers were congenial; much sought after by connoisseurs, is entitled, Les Cenl Nou and Louis saw too clearly what might be attempted velles Nouvelles, contenant Cent Histoires Nouveaut, qui sont moult and executed by such a train of resolute adventurers, plaisans a raconter
en toutes bonnes compagnies para mantere deres following a leader of a character as ungovernable as stor in-folio gotique. Soe DE BURE.
yeudete. Paris, Antoine Verard.
There was yet another circumstance which increas- | His features, without being quite regular, were ed the animosity of Louis towards his overgrown frank, open, and pleasing. A half smile, which seemvassal; he owed him favours which he never meant ed to arise from a happy exuberance of animal to repay, and was under the frequent necessity of spirits, showed, now and then, that his teeth were temporizing with him, and even of enduring bursts well set
, and as pure as ivory; whilst his bright blue of petulant insolence, injurious to the rezal dignity, eye, with a corresponding gayety, had an appropriate without being able to treat him otherwise than as his glance for every object which it encountered, ex"fair cousin of Burgundy."
pressing, good-humour, lightness of heart, and deIt was about the year 1468, when their feuds were termined resolution. at the highest, though a dubious and hollow truce, as He received and returned the salutation of the few frequently happened, existed for the time betwixt travellers who frequented the road in those dangerthem, that the present narrative opens. The person ous times, with the action which suited each. The first introduced on the stage will be found indeed 10 strolling spearman, half soldier, half brigand, meabe of a rank and condition, the illustration of whose sured the youth with his eye, as if balancing the proscharacter scarcely called for a dissertation on the re- pect of booty with the chance of desperate resistance; lative position of two great princes; but the passions and read such indications of the latter in the fearless of the great, their quarrels, and their reconciliations, glance of the passenger, that he changed his ruffian involve the fortunes of all who approach them; and purpose for a surly Good morrow, comrade," it will be found, on proceeding farther in our story, which the young Scot answered with as martial, that this preliminary Chapter is necessary for com- though a less sullen tone. The wandering pilgriin, prehending the history of the individual whose ad- or the begging friar, answered his reverend greeting ventures we are about to relate.
with a paternal benedicite; and the dark-eyed peasant girl looked after him for many a step after they
had passed each other, and interchanged a laughing CHAPTER II.
good-morrow In short, there was an attraction about his whole appearance not easily escaping atten
tion, and which was derived from the combination of Why then the world is my oyster, which I with sword will fearless frankness and good-humour, with sprightly open.- Ancient Pistol.
looks, and a handsome face and person. It seemed, It was upon a delicious summer morning, before too, as if his whole demeanour bespoke one who was the sun had assumed its scorching power, and while entering on life with no apprehension of the evils the dews yet cooled and perfumed the air, that a with which it is beset, and small means for strugyouth, coming from the north-eastward, approached gling with its hardships, except a lively spirit and a the ford of a small river, or rather a large brook, tri-courageous disposition; and it is with such tempers butary to the Cher, near to the royal Castle of Plessis- that youth most readily sympathizes, and for whom les-Tours, whose dark and multiplied battlements chiefly age and experience feel affectionate and pitsrose in the background over the extensive forest with ing interest. which they were surrounded. These woodlands The youth whom we have described, had been comprised a noble chase, or royal park, fenced by an long visible to the two persons who loitered on the enclosure, termed, in the Latin of the middle ages, opposite side of the small river which divided him Plexitium, which gives the name of Plessis to so from the park and the castle; but
as he descended many villages in France. The castle and village of the rugged bank to the water's edge, with the light which we particularly speak, was called Plessis-les- step of a roe which visits the fountain, the younger Tours, to distinguish it from others, and was built of the two said to the other, “It is our man-it is about two miles to the southward of the fair town of the Bohemian! If he attempts to cross the ford, he that name, the capital of ancient Touraine, whose is a lost man--the water is up, and the ford impassrich plain has been termed the garden of France. able."
On the bank of the above-mentioned brook, oppo- "Let him make that discovery himself, gossip,” site to that which the traveller was approaching, said the elder personage; "it may, perchance, save a two men, who appeared in deep conversation, seemed, rope, and break a proverb.". from time to time, to watch his motions; for as their "I judge him by the blue cap," said the other, station was much more elevated, they could remark "for I cannot see his face.-Hark, sir-he hallooes him at considerable distance.
to know whether the water be deep.” The age of the young traveller might be about
“Nothing like experience in this world," answered nineteen, or bet wixt that and twenty, and his face the other-" let bim try.” and person, which were very prepossessing, did not, The young man, in the meanwhile, receiving no however, belong to the country in which he was now hint to the contrary, and taking the silence of those a sojourner. His short gray cloak and hose were to whom he applied as an encouragement to prorather of Flemish than of French fashion, while tne ceed, entered the stream without farther hesitation smart blue bonnet, with a single sprig of holly and than the delay necessary to take off his buskins. The an eagle's feather, was already recognised as the elder person, at the same moment, hallooed to him Scottish head-gear. His dress was very neat, and to beware, adding, in a lower tone, to his comarranged with the precision of a youth conscious of panion, “Mortdicu--gossip-you have made another possessing a fine person. He had at his back a satchel, mistake-this is not the Bohemian chatterer." which seemed to contain a few necessaries, a hawk- But the intimation to the youth came too late. He ing, gauntlet on his left hand, though he carried no either did not hear or could not profit by it, being bird, and in his right a stout hunter's pole. Over his already in the deep stream. To one less alert, and 'eft shoulder hung an embroidered scarf which sus- practised in the exercise of swimming, death had Lained a small pouch of scarlet velvet, such as was been certain, for the brook was both deep and strong; then used by fowlers of distinction to carry their “By Saint Anne! but he is a proper youth," said hawks food, and other matters belonging to that the elder man--"Run, gossip, and help your blunder, much admired sport. This was crossed by another by giving him aid, if thou canst. He belongs to shoulder-belt, to which was hung a hunting knife, thine own troop---if old saws speak truth, water will or couteau de chasse. Instead of the boots of the pe- not drown him." riod, he wore buskins of half-dressed deer's skin. Indeed the young traveller swam so strongly, and
Although his form had not yet attained its full buffeted the waves so well, that notwithstanding the strength, he was tall and active, and the lightness of strength of the current, he was carried but a little the step with which he advanced, showed that his way down from the ordinary landing-place. pedestrian mode of travelling was pleasure rather than By this time the younger of the two strangers was pain to him. His complexion was fair, in spite of a hurrying down to the shore to render assistance, general shade of darker hue, with which the foreign while the other followed him at a graver pace, saysun, or perhaps constant exposure to the atmosphere ing to himself as he approached, "I knew water in his own country, had, in some degree, embrown- would never drown that young fellow. --By my halied it.
dome, he is ashore, and grasps his pole !- If I make Vol. IV. 2 Q