Chicot the Jester - Alexandre Dumas - ebook

Chicot the Jester ebook

Alexandre Dumas

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Opis

Amidst the conspiracy of the Holy League to make the Duke of Anjou king, Bussy d’Amboise falls in love with a lady of the court of Henry III – a lady with a very jealous husband! This sequel to Dumas’ „Marguerite de Valois” begins four years after the sudden death of King Charles IX and succession of his brother Henry III. Bristling with political plots, secret assignations, mysteries, daring escapes, duels, surprising alliances and betrayals, Dumas orchestrates two plotlines: one of the love ignited between le Comte de Bussy and la Dame de Monsoreau, and another of the friendship between King Henry III and his truly unique jester, Chicot (Jean-Antoine d’Anglerais). All these come together in a very scene-driven, absolutely over-the-top novel. Concerning one of Dumas’s most well-known and marvelously crafted characters, „Chicot the Jester” is a must-read for fans of Dumas’s seminal work, and is not to be missed by the discerning collector.

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Liczba stron: 687

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Contents

CHAPTER I

CHAPTER II

CHAPTER III

CHAPTER IV

CHAPTER V

CHAPTER VI

CHAPTER VII

CHAPTER VIII

CHAPTER IX

CHAPTER X

CHAPTER XI

CHAPTER XII

CHAPTER XIII

CHAPTER XIV

CHAPTER XV

CHAPTER XVI

CHAPTER XVII

CHAPTER XVIII

CHAPTER XIX

CHAPTER XX

CHAPTER XXI

CHAPTER XXII

CHAPTER XXIII

CHAPTER XXIV

CHAPTER XXV

CHAPTER XXVI

CHAPTER XXVII

CHAPTER XXVIII

CHAPTER XXIX

CHAPTER XXX

CHAPTER XXXI

CHAPTER XXXII

CHAPTER XXXIII

CHAPTER XXXIV

CHAPTER XXXV

CHAPTER XXXVI

CHAPTER XXXVII

CHAPTER XXXVIII

CHAPTER XXXIX

CHAPTER XI

CHAPTER XLI

CHAPTER XLII

CHAPTER XLIII

CHAPTER XLIV

CHAPTER XLV

CHAPTER XLVI

CHAPTER XLVII

CHAPTER XLVIII

CHAPTER XLIX

CHAPTER L

CHAPTER LI

CHAPTER LII

CHAPTER LIII

CHAPTER LIV

CHAPTER LV

CHAPTER LVI

CHAPTER LVII

CHAPTER LVIII

CHAPTER LIX

CHAPTER LX

CHAPTER LXI

CHAPTER LXII

CHAPTER LXIII

CHAPTER LXIV

CHAPTER LXV

CHAPTER LXVI

CHAPTER LXVII

CHAPTER LXVIII

CHAPTER LXIX

CHAPTER LXX

CHAPTER LXXI

CHAPTER LXXII

CHAPTER LXXIII

CHAPTER LXXIV

CHAPTER LXXV

CHAPTER LXXVI

CHAPTER LXXVII

CHAPTER LXXVIII

CHAPTER LXXIX

CHAPTER LXXX

CHAPTER LXXXI

CHAPTER LXXXII

CHAPTER LXXXIII

CHAPTER LXXXIV

CHAPTER LXXXV

CHAPTER LXXXVI

CHAPTER LXXXVII

CHAPTER LXXXVIII

CHAPTER LXXXIX

CHAPTER XC

CHAPTER XCI

CHAPTER XCII

CHAPTER XCIII

CHAPTER XCIV

CHAPTER XCV

CHAPTER XCVI

CHAPTER XCVII

CHAPTER I

THE WEDDING OF ST. LUC

On the evening of a Sunday, in the year 1578, a splendid fête was given in the magnificent hotel just built opposite the Louvre, on the other side of the water, by the family of Montmorency, who, allied to the royalty of France, held themselves equal to princes. This fête was to celebrate the wedding of François d’Epinay de St. Luc, a great friend and favorite of the king, Henri III., with Jeanne de Crossé-Brissac, daughter of the marshal of that name.

The banquet had taken place at the Louvre, and the king, who had been with much difficulty induced to consent to the marriage, had appeared at it with a severe and grave countenance. His costume was in harmony with his face; he wore that suit of deep chestnut, in which Clouet described him at the wedding of Joyeuse; and this kind of royal specter, solemn and majestic, had chilled all the spectators, but above all the young bride, at whom he cast many angry glances. The reason of all this was known to everyone, but was one of those court secrets of which no one likes to speak.

Scarcely was the repast finished, when the king had risen abruptly, thereby forcing everyone to do the same. Then St. Luc approached him, and said: “Sire, will your majesty do me the honor to accept the fête, which I wish to give to you this evening at the Hôtel Montmorency?” This was said in an imploring tone, but Henri, with a voice betraying both vexation and anger, had replied:

“Yes, monsieur, we will go, although you certainly do not merit this proof of friendship on our part.”

Then Madame de St. Luc had humbly thanked the king, but he turned his back without replying.

“Is the king angry with you?” asked the young wife of her husband.

“I will explain it to you after, mon amie, when this anger shall have passed away.”

“And will it pass away?”

“It must.”

Mademoiselle de Brissac was not yet sufficiently Madame de St. Luc to insist further; therefore she repressed her curiosity, promising herself to satisfy it at a more favorable time.

They were, therefore, expecting St. Luc at the Hôtel Montmorency, at the moment in which our story commences. St. Luc had invited all the king’s friends and all his own; the princes and their favorites, particularly those of the Duc d’Anjou. He was always in opposition to the king, but in a hidden manner, pushing forward those of his friends whom the example of La Mole and Coconnas had not cured. Of course, his favorites and those of the king lived in a state of antagonism, which brought on rencontres two or three times a month, in which it was rare that some one was not killed or badly wounded.

As for Catherine, she was at the height of her wishes; her favorite son was on the throne, and she reigned through him, while she pretended to care no more for the things of this world. St. Luc, very uneasy at the absence of all the royal family, tried to reassure his father-in-law, who was much distressed at this menacing absence. Convinced, like all the world, of the friendship of Henri for St. Luc, he had believed he was assuring the royal favor, and now this looked like a disgrace. St. Luc tried hard to inspire in them a security which he did not feel himself; and his friends, Maugiron, Schomberg, and Quelus, clothed in their most magnificent dresses, stiff in their splendid doublets, with enormous frills, added to his annoyance by their ironical lamentations.

“Eh! mon Dieu! my poor friend,” said Jacques de Levis, Comte de Quelus, “I believe now that you are done for. The king is angry that you would not take his advice, and M. d’Anjou because you laughed at his nose.”

“No, Quelus, the king does not come, because he has made a pilgrimage to the monks of the Bois de Vincennes; and the Duc d’Anjou is absent, because he is in love with some woman whom I have forgotten to invite.”

“But,” said Maugiron, “did you see the king’s face at dinner? And as for the duke, if he could not come, his gentlemen might. There is not one here, not even Bussy.”

“Oh! gentlemen,” said the Duc de Brissac, in a despairing tone, “it looks like a complete disgrace. Mon Dieu! how can our house, always so devoted to his majesty, have displeased him?”

The young men received this speech with bursts of laughter, which did not tend to soothe the marquis. The young bride was also wondering how St. Luc could have displeased the king. All at once one of the doors opened and the king was announced.

“Ah!” cried the marshal, “now I fear nothing; if the Duc d’Anjou would but come, my satisfaction would be complete.”

“And I,” murmured St. Luc; “I have more fear of the king present than absent, for I fear he comes to play me some spiteful tricks.”

But, nevertheless, he ran to meet the king, who had quitted at last his somber costume, and advanced resplendent in satin, feathers, and jewels. But at the instant he entered another door opened just opposite, and a second Henri III., clothed exactly like the first, appeared, so that the courtiers, who had run to meet the first, turned round at once to look at the second.

Henri III. saw the movement, and exclaimed:

“What is the matter, gentlemen?”

A burst of laughter was the reply. The king, not naturally patient, and less so that day than usual, frowned; but St. Luc approached, and said:

“Sire, it is Chicot, your jester, who is dressed exactly like your majesty, and is giving his hand to the ladies to kiss.”

Henri laughed. Chicot enjoyed at his court a liberty similar to that enjoyed thirty years before by Triboulet at the court of François I., and forty years after by Longely at the court of Louis XIII. Chicot was not an ordinary jester. Before being Chicot he had been “De Chicot.” He was a Gascon gentleman, who, ill-treated by M. de Mayenne on account of a rivalry in a love affair, in which Chicot had been victorious, had taken refuge at court, and prayed the king for his protection by telling him the truth.

“Eh, M. Chicot,” said Henri, “two kings at a time are too much.”

“Then,” replied he, “let me continue to be one, and you play Duc d’Anjou; perhaps you will be taken for him, and learn something of his doings.”

“So,” said Henri, looking round him, “Anjou is not here.”

“The more reason for you to replace him. It is settled, I am Henri, and you are François. I will play the king, while you dance and amuse yourself a little, poor king.”

“You are right, Chicot, I will dance.”

“Decidedly,” thought De Brissac, “I was wrong to think the king angry; he is in an excellent humor.”

Meanwhile St. Luc had approached his wife. She was not a beauty, but she had fine black eyes, white teeth, and a dazzling complexion.

“Monsieur,” said she to her husband, “why did they say that the king was angry with me; he has done nothing but smile on me ever since he came?”

“You did not say so after dinner, dear Jeanne, for his look then frightened you.”

“His majesty was, doubtless, out of humor then, but now–”

“Now, it is far worse; he smiles with closed lips. I would rather he showed me his teeth. Jeanne, my poor child, he is preparing for us some disagreeable surprise. Oh! do not look at me so tenderly, I beg; turn your back to me. Here is Maugiron coming; converse with him, and be amiable to him.”

“That is a strange recommendation, monsieur.”

But St. Luc left his wife full of astonishment, and went to pay his court to Chicot, who was playing his part with a most laughable majesty.

The king danced, but seemed never to lose sight of St. Luc. Sometimes he called him to repeat to him some pleasantry, which, whether droll or not, made St. Luc laugh heartily. Sometimes he offered him out of his comfit box sweetmeats and candied fruits, which St. Luc found excellent. If he disappeared for an instant, the king sent for him, and seemed not happy if he was out of his sight. All at once a voice rose above all the tumult.

“Oh!” said Henri, “I think I hear the voice of Chicot; do you hear, St. Luc?–the king is angry.”

“Yes, sire, it sounds as though he were quarreling with some one.”

“Go and see what it is, and come back and tell me.”

As St. Luc approached he heard Chicot crying:

“I have made sumptuary laws, but if they are not enough I will make more; at least they shall be numerous, if they are not good. By the horn of Beelzebub, six pages, M. de Bussy, are too much.”

And Chicot, swelling out his cheeks, and putting his hand to his side, imitated the king to the life.

“What does he say about Bussy?” asked the king, when St. Luc returned. St. Luc was about to reply, when the crowd opening, showed to him six pages, dressed in cloth of gold, covered with chains, and bearing on their breasts the arms of their masters, sparkling in jewels. Behind them came a young man, handsome and proud; who walked with his head raised and a haughty look, and whose simple dress of black velvet contrasted with the splendor of his pages. This was Bussy d’Amboise. Maugiron, Schomberg, and Quelus had drawn near to the king.

“See,” said Maugiron, “here is the servant, but where is the master? Are you also in disgrace with him, St. Luc?”

“Why should he follow Bussy?” said Quelus.

“Do you not remember that when his majesty did M. de Bussy the honor to ask him if he wished to belong to him, he replied that, being of the House of Clermont, he followed no one, and belonged to himself.”

The king frowned.

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