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Bardelys the Magnificent

3. Rene De Lesperon
That very day I set out. For since the King was opposed to the affair, and
knowing the drastic measures by which he was wont to enforce what he desired,
I realized that did I linger he might find a way definitely to prevent my going.
I travelled in a coach, attended by two lacqueys and a score of men-at-arms in
my own livery, all commanded by Ganymede. My intendant himself came in
another coach with my wardrobe and travelling necessaries. We were a fine and
almost regal cortege as we passed down the rue de l'Enfer and quitted Paris by
the Orleans gate, taking the road south. So fine a cortege, indeed, that it entered
my mind. His Majesty would come to hear of it, and, knowing my destination,
send after me to bring me back. To evade such a possibility, I ordered a
divergence to be made, and we struck east and into Touraine. At Pont-le-Duc,
near Tours, I had a cousin in the Vicomte d'Amaral, and at his chateau I arrived
on the third day after quitting Paris.
Since that was the last place where they would seek me, if to seek me they were
inclined, I elected to remain my cousin's guest for fifteen days. And whilst I was
there we had news of trouble in the South and of a rising in Languedoc under the
Duc de Montmorency. Thus was it that when I came to take my leave of Amaral,
he, knowing that Languedoc was my destination, sought ardently to keep me with
him until we should learn that peace and order were restored in the province. But
I held the trouble lightly, and insisted upon going.
Resolutely, then, if by slow stages, we pursued our journey, and came at last to
Montauban. There we lay a night at the Auberge de Navarre, intending to push
on to Lavedan upon the morrow. My father had been on more than friendly terms
with the Vicomte de Lavedan, and upon this I built my hopes of a cordial
welcome and an invitation to delay for a few days the journey to Toulouse, upon
which I should represent myself as bound.
Thus, then, stood my plans. And they remained unaltered for all that upon the
morrow there were wild rumours in the air of Montauban. There were tellings of a
battle fought the day before at Castelnaudary, of the defeat of Monsieur's
partisans, of the utter rout of Gonzalo de Cordova's Spanish tatterdemalions, and
of the capture of Montmorency, who was sorely wounded - some said with twenty
and some with thirty wounds - and little like to live. Sorrow and discontent stalked
abroad in Languedoc that day, for they believed that it was against the Cardinal,
who sought to strip them of so many privileges, that Gaston d'Orleans had set up
his standard.
That those rumours of battle and defeat were true we had ample proof some few
hours later, when a company of dragoons in buff and steel rode into the