Won by the Sword by G. A. Henty
Chapter IX: Honours
In half an hour Paolo returned leading two horses. By their trappings and appearance both had evidently belonged to officers.
"Take off the trappings," Hector said, "then put a saddle on one for me; shift your own saddle on to the other, and picket your own with the spare horses of the staff, then we will ride over and get my saddle, bridle, holsters, and trappings. The horse has carried me well ever since I left Paris, and I am grieved indeed to lose it."
"So am I, master; it was a good beast, but I think that either of these is as good, though it will be long before I get to like them as I did Scotty. We shall want housings for this second horse, master."
"Yes; there will be no difficulty about that. There are scores of dead horses on the field; choose one without any embroidery or insignia. You may as well take another pair of holsters with pistols."
Riding across to the spot where Enghien and his officers were forming up the prisoners, talking courteously to the Spanish officers and seeing to the wounded, Hector, leaving Paolo to find his fallen horse and shift his trappings to the one that he rode, cantered up to the spot where Enghien's white plume could be seen in the midst of a group of officers, among whom was General Gassion. He saluted as he came up.
"I am glad indeed to see you, Captain Campbell," Enghien said warmly, holding out his hand; "I feared that you were killed. Some of my friends told me that you were struck down in the third charge, and that they had not seen you since and feared that you were slain."
"My horse was killed, prince, and in falling pinned me to the ground, and being within thirty yards of the Spanish square, I lay without movement until you came back again and broke them. Then some soldiers so far lifted my horse that I could get my foot from under it, my servant found and caught a riderless German horse, and here I am unharmed."
"Well, sir, at the time that you came up General Gassion was just telling these gentlemen that had it not been for you things might have gone very differently. Had you not discovered that ambush their fire would have been fatal to us, for we fell back, as you know, farther than the copse, and a volley from a thousand muskets would have played havoc among us, and after so terrible a repulse might well have decided the day against us. For this great service, rendered by you voluntarily and without orders, I as commander-in-chief of this army, with the full and warm approval of General Gassion, appoint you to the rank of colonel, a rank which I am sure will be confirmed by the queen's minister when I report to him my reasons for the promotion. General Gassion reports that the man who accompanied you on this reconnaissance was the same who followed you in the expedition to Turin. As he is not a soldier I cannot promote him, but I will order my chamberlain to hand him a purse of a hundred pistoles. When you return to Turenne, tell him that I owe him my best thanks for having sent you to me, and that, thanks to the aid of his teaching, you have been the means of preventing a great disaster to our forces."
"I thank you, indeed, monsieur, for your kindness, and for promoting me so far beyond my merits, but I hope in the future I shall be able to still further prove my gratitude."
"That is proved already," Gassion said, "for although every man today has fought like a hero, you were the only one in camp that suspected that the Spanish might be lying in an ambush, and who not only thought it, but took means to find out whether it was so."
The next morning Enghien informed Hector that he was elected as one of the three officers who were to have the honour of carrying his despatches to Paris, and that he was to start in half an hour. Paolo, who was in the highest state of delight at the purse that had been presented to him the evening before, was greatly pleased with the prospect.
"Heaven be praised, master, that you are not going into another battle! It was well nigh a miracle that you escaped last time, and such good luck does not befall a man twice. I have never seen Paris, and greatly do I long to do so. How they will shout when they hear the news we bring!"
"It will not be altogether news to them, Paolo. La Moussaie, Enghien's intimate friend, who acted as his aide-de-camp during the battle, was sent off ten minutes after the fight ended with a paper, on which the prince had pencilled that he had utterly defeated the enemy. He will change horses at every post, and will be in Paris by this evening. We bear the official despatches, giving a full account of the battle, and of the total destruction of the Spanish infantry, with no doubt a list of the nobles and gentlemen who have fallen. Well, I should think now, Paolo, that when we have seen enough of Paris and we have journeyed down to Perpignan again, you will leave my service and buy a farm; you can afford a substantial one now."
"What, master! I leave your service, where gold comes in in showers, and where one serves a master whom one loves? No, sir, I am not such a fool as that. I do not say that when the war is over I may not settle down in a snug home among the mountains of Savoy, but not until then; besides, I am but eighteen, and a nice hand I should make at managing a farm."
"Well, get the horses ready at once and the valises packed. You can put them on my spare horse. The mule will scarce keep up with us, for we shall certainly travel fast, so you had best hand it over to someone who you think will treat it kindly."
Twenty minutes later Hector, and two officers who had distinguished themselves especially in the battle, sat mounted before the tent that had now been raised for d'Enghien. The young prince himself came out. "Gentlemen," he said, handing the three sealed packets, "you will present these to the queen, who is now Regent of France, for Louis XIII died a week ago. They contain the despatches and reports of myself and General Gassion. Your packet, colonel," he added to Hector, "is General Gassion's report; it goes more fully into military details than mine. You, Monsieur de Penthiere, carry my despatches in reference to the battle of yesterday. You, Monsieur de Caussac, are the bearer of my plans for our future operations. I think that you will all agree with me that, after the battle we have won, we shall be able to make ourselves masters of Flanders with but slight resistance."
The three officers bowed their agreement with the words.
"I know not who is in power or on whom the queen chiefly relies for counsel, but should any questions be put to you, you will, I hope, be able to express the urgency of prompt action in this matter before the Spaniards have time to rally from the terrible blow that this defeat has inflicted upon them. And now, gentlemen, a rapid and pleasant journey. Orders were sent on last night that four sets of fresh horses should be in readiness along the road. They are my own horses, and good ones. Twelve troopers will accompany you; three of these will remain behind at each stage where you change, and the horses that you have used will be brought on at a more leisurely pace after you. They will readily find out in Paris where you are lodged, and I beg that you will retain the horses as a slight proof of my goodwill."
Then he waved his hand and went into his tent again. The three lackeys, each holding a spare horse, were sitting in readiness for a start some fifty yards away. After a moment's conversation the officers rode up to them.
"You must follow us quietly," one of them said. "For today you can keep up with us to the end of the first stage. Three fresh horses have been provided for us, for we ride without a stop to Paris. Three soldiers will there take charge of the horses we ride. When we go on you will follow quietly with the horses that you are now leading. It will be impossible for you to keep up with us."
Then they placed themselves at the head of their escort of dragoons, the lackeys fell in behind them, and they started at a fast pace.
"Do you know where the first relays are?" one of the officers asked the sergeant in charge of the escort, after they had ridden three or four miles.
"The first is at Rethel, monsieur, the second at Rheims, the third at Chateau-Thierry, the fourth at Meaux."
"Then we will ride on at once. You have your orders?"
Whereupon the three officers quickened their pace. The distance to be traversed was about a hundred and thirty miles, and as they had five horses, including those they rode, each stage would average about twenty-six miles.
"Now, gentlemen," de Penthiere said, "it seems to me that it would be a pity to founder fifteen good horses in order to gain an hour on this journey. The queen has already received news of the victory, or at least she will receive it some time today, therefore the details we bring are not of particular importance. It is now eight o'clock. If we were to gallop all the way we might do it in twelve hours. The roads in many places will be bad, and we must stop for meals at least three times; with the utmost speed we could hardly be in Paris in less than fifteen hours. Her majesty will scarce want to read long despatches at that time, and may take it that we ourselves will need a bath and a change of garments, and the services of a barber, before we could show ourselves in court. Had we been bearers of the original despatch, we might have gone in splashed from head to foot. As it is, it seems to me that if we present ourselves with our papers at seven in the morning we shall have done that which is necessary. What do you both say?"
"I agree with you, de Penthiere. It would be a sore pity to injure good horses by galloping them at the top of their speed, to say nothing of knocking ourselves up. Had we been sent off from the field of battle I should have said, spare neither the horses nor ourselves. But indeed it seems to me that tomorrow morning will be quite early enough for us to present ourselves and our despatches. To tell you the truth, I have never ridden a hundred and thirty miles or so at the pace of a courier. I should say let us go at a reasonable pace, and get into Paris soon after midnight, which will give us time for some little sleep, and afterwards to make ourselves presentable. What say you, Colonel Campbell?"
"I have no opinion, messieurs. I know nothing of the manners of the court, and if you think that tomorrow morning will be quite soon enough for us to deliver the despatches I am quite willing to fall in with your view. It is certainly a long ride, and as we marched hither we found that the roads were very bad, and certainly where the army has passed they are so cut up by the artillery and wagons that they are sure to be quite unfit for going at racing speed. Therefore I think that if we present ourselves at the palace early in the morning, we shall have done all that can be expected of us."
It was indeed two o'clock in the morning when they arrived at the gates of Paris. Accustomed though they all were to horse exercise, the journey had been a very fatiguing one. Until night fell they had ridden briskly, talking as they went on the probable state of affairs in France and of the military operations that were likely to be undertaken as the result of the victory, but progress became slow after darkness set in. The roads were in many places detestably bad. In passing through forests it was not possible to travel much beyond a walk, as it was necessary not only to avoid overhanging arms of trees, but to keep the track, for the road in many places was nothing more.
Once or twice they lost it altogether, and it was only when they hit upon the house of a peasant or a little village, and obtained a guide, that they were able to recover their road. Consequently all were thoroughly exhausted when they reached Paris. The gates were opened to them when it was understood that they bore despatches from the army. They made their way to the Hotel Conde. It was illuminated, for the prince had given a great banquet in honour of the victory won by his son; and although most of the guests had left long before, a party of the closest friends and connections of the prince were holding an informal council, when the word came to them that three officers had arrived with despatches from the Duc d'Enghien. The prince came down. Hector had dismounted without assistance, but the other two officers had to be lifted from their saddles.
"Are you bearers of any special news, de Penthiere?" the prince asked; for the two young nobles were well known to him.
"No, monseigneur, save that our despatches give full details of the battle."
"What is our loss?"
"It is very heavy," de Penthiere said. "Fully a hundred men of good blood have fallen. The loss principally fell upon the cavalry commanded by the duke, who three times charged the Spanish infantry, and only succeeded at the fourth attempt in breaking their square."
"And the Spanish infantry?"
"Every man was either killed or taken."
"Glorious!" the prince said. "Well, I will not detain you now, for I see that you can scarce stand, and it would be cruel to keep you up, much as we desire to hear the particulars."
"I think, monseigneur, that this gentleman, Colonel Campbell, is more in a condition to talk to you than de Caussac or myself."
"I shall be happy to answer any questions," Hector said, bowing to the prince. "I have been campaigning for the last four years under Monsieur de Turenne, and am accustomed to long journeys and sleepless nights."
"Thank you, colonel. We will not keep you up long."
Some lackeys were ordered to assist the two young nobles to couches, and then Conde and his companions left the courtyard and entered a small saloon where they had supped two hours before. Some fresh bottles of wine and cold viands were at once placed upon the table. Hector drank off a goblet of wine.
"Now, Monsieur le Prince, I will tell you all I know about the fight." And he gave Conde and his companions a brief sketch of the various movements and changes of the battle.
"It was a hard fought field indeed," Conde said, "and the result is a glorious one for France. Now we will keep you no longer from your couch."
"May I ask, sir, at what time we ought to present ourselves with the despatches at the palace?"
"It will not be necessary for you to present yourselves before ten o'clock, for it was late last night before her majesty retired. Paris was wild at the news of the victory, and the reception at the palace was crowded. Still, I should say that at ten it would be well that you and your companions should attend there, though you may have to wait for an hour or more for an audience."
At ten o'clock Hector and his companions presented themselves at the palace. Seven hours' sleep, a warm bath, and the services of the barber, who curled the hair of the two young nobles and sprinkled them all with perfume, did much to restore them, though they were all somewhat stiff, and every bone seemed to ache. They were kept waiting for half an hour, at the end of which time the door of the antechamber was opened and their names were called. The queen, who was still a beautiful woman, was standing talking to a gentleman, in whose attire there were but few symbols that would betray to a stranger that he was an ecclesiastic of high rank.
"You are the bearers of despatches from the army, messieurs?"
"We have that honour, your majesty," de Penthiere, who was the senior of the party, said. "We arrived from Paris at two o'clock this morning, but did not venture to disturb your majesty at that hour."
"You did rightly," the queen said graciously. "We already knew that a great victory had been gained, and could afford to wait for the particulars. Do you each bear a despatch?"
"We do, your majesty," de Penthiere said, producing that which he bore. "This, your majesty, is the general report of the Duc d'Enghien of the events of the battle. Colonel Campbell is intrusted with the more detailed description of General Gassion. Monsieur de Caussac's despatch contains the duke's views as to the carrying on of the campaign; these he submits to the judgment of your majesty and the council."
Cardinal Mazarin stepped forward and took the three documents.
"These we will peruse and consider at our leisure," the queen said, "and I shall, I hope, see you at my levee this evening. In the meantime I thank you for your service in having brought the despatches so speedily here, and am well aware that the fact that you have been chosen as the messengers of the commander-in-chief is in itself a proof that your share in the battle was in the highest degree honourable."
She graciously held out her hand, which de Penthiere and his companions, dropping upon one knee, raised to their lips, one after the other.
"You are aware of the contents of the despatches, cardinal," the queen said when they were alone.
"Of their general scope, madam. The Prince of Conde did me the honour to call upon me at eight this morning. He had gathered a general account of the battle from the lips of that young Scottish colonel, who was the only one of the party who was capable of relating it, the others being almost speechless with fatigue, for the road from Rocroi hither is long and rough."
"You may well say the young Scottish colonel, cardinal. He is but a youth, and it is strange indeed that he should already have attained that rank."
"He has served for four years under the Viscount Turenne," Mazarin said, "and must therefore have had good opportunities of distinguishing himself. Still, it is seldom indeed that any save one of royal blood or of the very highest families obtains such a rank so quickly. Turenne, however, was himself a colonel after less than four years service."
"Yes, cardinal, but he had the advantage of belonging to the family of an almost independent sovereign."
"Conde said that he had himself asked the young man how it was that he had won it, and he replied that it was solely due to the kindness of the Duc d'Enghien, who had been pleased to consider a small service he had rendered as worthy of recognition. It is like enough, your majesty, that we shall see his name mentioned in one of these documents. It is certain that he would not have been chosen to carry the despatches -- a duty which is regarded as a reward of the most distinguished service -- unless he had done something of marked importance."
The two French officers on leaving the palace at once went off to pay their respects in the first place to the heads of their families, and afterwards to visit the various circles and coteries with which they were connected, and where they would be sure of a flattering welcome and attentive listeners. Hector, for his part, rode direct to the quarters of the colonel of the Scottish regiment. A soldier came out and took the bridle of his horse as he saluted, while a sergeant asked what name he should announce.
"Then you do not remember me, Sergeant Macfarlane?"
The soldier looked at him earnestly. "Why," he exclaimed suddenly, "it's Hector Campbell!"
"Right enough, sergeant."
"You have changed mightily, sir; you were but a laddie when you went away nigh four years ago. The news came to the regiment that you had been made a captain, and proud we all were. The colonel will be right glad to see you," and he led the way into the house.
"Then the regiment has not been on service just lately?"
"We had two years on the Rhine; but we came back here last autumn. The Red Cardinal was not fond of us, but he knew that he could trust us -- which is more than he could have done some of the regiments -- so he had us back again; and we were not sorry, for it was but dull work there -- sieges and nought else."
He was just going to open the door of the inner room when Hector said, "You can announce me, Macfarlane, as Colonel Campbell."
"Gude Lord," the sergeant ejaculated, "ye dinna say that ye are a colonel?" Then reassuming with a great effort his military stiffness, he opened the door and announced in a loud tone, "Colonel Hector Campbell."
There was an exclamation of astonishment from the colonel and two or three officers who were sitting with him.
"Why, Campbell," the former said, coming forward and warmly shaking his hand, "you are changed indeed, and you have come back to us almost the living image of your father when he first joined."
The officers all shook hands with him warmly, and the colonel went on, "Macfarlane announced you as colonel, Hector, but surely you cannot have gained that rank?"
"I only obtained it two days ago. You see it is a good thing to be a prince's aide-de-camp. Turenne, wishing to give me every opportunity of seeing service, sent me to Enghien with a message asking him to employ me on his staff."
"And you were at Rocroi?" the colonel exclaimed. "What is the real news of the battle? It was given out officially last night that we had won a victory, and there are all sorts of rumours this morning in the town -- they say that three officers arrived last night with full details."
"I was one of the three, colonel; and I have just now come from the palace after handing my despatches to the queen."
"Then it was Enghien who made you colonel?"
"Well, then, you must have done something marked, or you could never have got the rank. Why, he has half the young nobles of France in his train -- he has not made them all colonels, I suppose?"
"No, I suppose not; but we started early the next morning, and therefore cannot say what promotions were made."
"Still they made yours, Campbell. When did they do that?"
"Just after the fight was over."
"Umph! and what for?"
"Well, I luckily discovered that the Spaniards had set an ambush."
"Come, come, let us hear all about it. Tell us the whole story of the fight."
Hector gave all the details.
"Well, it certainly seems to have been an extraordinary battle. Everyone appears to have been beaten in turn."
"Not Enghien's command, sir."
"Well, no; but when cavalry are repulsed three times with a loss, as you say, of nearly half their numbers, it is pretty well equivalent to a beating; and if Enghien had not been able to bring up the artillery and reserves, I take it that the third charge would have been the last. The ambush that you discovered was, I suppose, that of the thousand musketeers Enghien charged at the beginning of the fight."
Hector nodded his assent.
"Well, it is as well they were found out and surprised before the other part of the business began, or there is no saying how the battle would have ended. We heard you had got your company. Turenne himself was good enough, when he came here to confer with Richelieu that summer, to call at the barracks and to give me an account of the service you had rendered. We all agreed that the rank was well earned, and I have no doubt that this new step has been just as honourably gained. And how do you think matters are going?"
"I know nothing about it, sir, beyond the fact that it was not a secret that Enghien and Gassion were both in favour of advancing at once into Flanders, and capturing the Spanish strong places before they could gather another army together."
"No doubt that would be the best way, but I should doubt very much if Enghien will be allowed to carry out his plans. You see, the king's will, appointing a council to act in concert with Conde, Orleans, and the queen, has been set at nought. The queen is absolute regent, and Mazarin is her minister -- just as Richelieu was minister of Louis. Of course this victory will put everyone in the best of temper, and make the way easy for Mazarin just at first, but a defeat would set all the cliques at work against him.
"It is quite true that the defeat would not be his fault, but for some mysterious reason or other the French always hold the ministers, for the time being, responsible for military disasters. So long as Mazarin checks Enghien, and prevents his running any risks of disaster, things are likely to go on smoothly here, and you may be sure that he will give the prince no chance of either suffering a defeat or achieving a victory. You see, the prince and his father together might be a great deal too powerful for the cardinal. Everyone knows that Conde himself has never cared much for anything but his own interests. Enghien has the character of being the most impetuous and violent young noble of the day, and the fact that he forced this fight when, as is generally known, l'Hopital had the strictest orders not to risk a battle, makes it clear that Enghien has but little regard for authority.
"You will see that Mazarin will not give him further opportunities of becoming the idol of France until he has assured himself that he can count upon his friendship. Mazarin is not Richelieu. The red cardinal won his way to the leadership of France by proving himself able to defeat all intrigues against him, and crush every enemy, even those of the most exalted position. Mazarin has no such antecedents. He is not even a Frenchman; he does not even look like a noble. That he is clever we may be sure, or Richelieu would not have recommended him as his successor. But I fancy that it is the cleverness of an adventurer, and however adroit, an adventurer, and especially a foreign adventurer, will not hold power in France very long without exciting the hatred of the community and the hostility of the nobles. However, I suppose you are remaining here for a time."
"That I do not know. I would rather return at once to the camp. But I suppose I must wait for some intimation that I may do so. You see, I am altogether out of my element in Paris, and I should feel particularly uncomfortable at the court."
"Who would you rather go to, Enghien or Turenne?"
"Just at present there is more doing with Enghien than Turenne, and more to learn, otherwise I would far rather be with Turenne. Enghien's camp is too full of young nobles; and I should say that he would take but little trouble in keeping order and repressing license. Turenne is by no means unduly strict, but he enforces order, and sets us such an example of earnestness and attention to work, himself, that he has a right to expect the same, to some degree, of everyone under him."
"Where are you staying?"
"At the Hotel Conde. The prince was good enough this morning to ask me to establish myself there while I remained in Paris, and I could not very well decline his invitation."
"I should think not," one of the other officers laughed. "In these days a powerful friend is of the greatest use. Without that one has not much chance of advancement. Not that I want advancement; I would rather remain as I am, a captain in the Scottish regiment, surrounded by good and loyal friends and comrades, than be made a general. Still, one likes to have a grumble sometimes at any rate."
"Well, Home," the colonel said, "Hector Campbell is a proof that even in France merit will make its way. That Turenne should have taken a fancy to him in the first place was fortunate. But Turenne would surely not have promoted him to be a captain within three or four months of his joining except for the marked bravery and diligence that he told us he displayed at Turin; and I have no doubt that when we hear the particulars we shall find that this promotion now has been equally well deserved, for certainly Enghien is not likely to have gone out of his way to promote one altogether a stranger to him when he had so many young nobles round him, personal friends of his own, belonging to families whom he would wish to oblige. Of course you will, as one of the bearers of despatches, attend at the court this evening, Campbell?"
"Yes, the queen said that she would expect to see us."
"Of course; and you will be envied by every young courtier there. At the present moment Paris is half wild over the victory of Rocroi, and as you three will be the representatives of the army, specially selected for the share you had in the battle, you may be sure that you will be regarded with eyes of favour by every lady of the court."
"Well, I should think it would be a great nuisance," Hector said gruffly. "Hitherto I have had nothing to do with ladies. There were very few with the Duchess of Savoy, and whenever there were receptions or state ceremonies of any kind, I was always ready to exchange with de Lisle or Chavigny, my fellow aides-de-camp. So that during the whole time I was there, I never but once or twice accompanied the general on such occasions."
"Ah, you were younger then," Home laughed. "You have passed eighteen now, and, as you must know yourself, are by no means bad looking, with a certain air of freshness and simplicity that is so rare here in Paris that it will be regarded as refreshing and delightful after the flippancies of the court gallants."
Hector laughed uncomfortably. "I could not take up flippancies, I am afraid. But what you say is true, Home; and if I had to remain at court, I suppose I should have to set to work at once to cultivate some affectation or other to counteract this simplicity of which you speak. However, thank goodness, I do not suppose that I shall stay here long. At any rate, it is lucky that I purchased a new court suit before I started to join the Duke of Enghien. Coming from Viscount Turenne I thought that I was bound to make a good figure among the crowd of young nobles round Enghien, but it made a large hole in my savings."
"Do you mean to say that you had savings?" one of the other officers exclaimed. "Who ever heard of such a thing? I never have a pistole left in my pocket a week after I get my month's pay."
"It is a very different thing living in Susa to living in Paris," Hector laughed. "I can assure you that I never spent more than half my pay; but living was dearer down in Roussillon. Things have been in such a disturbed state there for years that the country was well nigh a desert; and though my two comrades and I messed together, the living cost twice as much as it did at Susa. Shall I see any of you this evening at the palace?"
"I shall be there," the colonel said, "and so will Home and Lesley. It is always expected that three officers from each of the regiments stationed in Paris, and five from the one that happens to be on guard for the evening, should attend the royal receptions. It will be a specially brilliant affair tonight, for the queen has held but few receptions of late. It was only announced yesterday afternoon, after the news of the battle arrived. Had it not been for that, the salons would not have been opened for another month."
"I am very glad that there will be somebody there I shall know."
"Don't flatter yourself that you are going to consort with us," the colonel laughed. "You will have to be presented to at least a score of court dames. However, fortunately, they will not expect the usual amount of compliments. They will be really wanting to hear of the battle, and most of them will be interested in some special friend with the army, and will want to inquire about him."
"It will not be so bad, then," Hector said. "If I only have to talk of military matters I shall not mind, but it will be painful indeed if I have to give news of the death of anyone dear to the lady I am speaking to."
"I don't think that you need fear very much about that. Enghien is pretty sure to have sent a list containing the names of any court gallants that have fallen, and their relatives will at once have been notified of it, and will not be present at the court. As to the others, who have merely lost lovers, they will not break their hearts over it. It is the fashion to change them so rapidly that probably not a few of the ladies will have consoled themselves for their absence already. However, to begin with, I daresay I shall be able to act as your mentor and guide, and point out to you who is who, so that you can avoid falling into serious errors. You see, there are half a dozen parties at court already. There are Mazarin's friends, who, by the way, are not numerous; there are the Duke of Beaufort's clique; there is Conde's party.
"Madame Chevreuse's party consists largely of herself. She is a power, but at present no one can say with whom she will ally herself. Hitherto she has been simply anti-Richelieu, and was his most troublesome and bitter enemy; and I should say that not improbably she will at once begin to conspire against Mazarin as she did against him. She has been the queen's greatest ally; but then the queen was always a bitter enemy of Richelieu, whereas at present it is supposed that she is strongly in favour of Mazarin. In a few months the situation will clear itself, parties will become defined. No doubt Enghien's victory will add to the power and importance of Conde, who is already dangerously strong; then matters will become interesting. At present the situation is somewhat chaotic, and politics will not be openly and generally discussed, simply because no one knows what anyone else's opinion may be."
"Well, then, till the evening I will say goodbye, colonel. I am going to have a chat with Sergeant MacIntosh, and shall then return to Conde's hotel. I suppose I shall be expected to take my midday meal there."
"It would be as well to do so certainly, even though it is like enough that he himself will not be there. He is the prince of schemers, and doubtless at present his thoughts are concentrated on the manner in which he and Enghien can best gain advantages from the victory."