Chicot the Jester
HOW IT IS SOMETIMES DIFFICULT TO DISTINGUISH A DREAM FROM THE
Bussy had had time, before falling, to pass his handkerchief under his shirt, and to
buckle the belt of his sword over it, so as to make a kind of bandage to the open wound
whence the blood flowed, but he had already lost blood enough to make him faint.
However, during his fainting fit, this is what Bussy saw, or thought he saw. He found
himself in a room with furniture of carved wood, with a tapestry of figures, and a painted
ceiling. These figures, in all possible attitudes, holding flowers, carrying arms, seemed
to him to be stepping from the walls. Between the two windows a portrait of a lady was
hung. He, fixed to his bed, lay regarding all this. All at once the lady of the portrait
seemed to move, and an adorable creature, clothed in a long white robe, with fair hair
falling over her shoulders, and with eyes black as jet, with long lashes, and with a skin
under which he seemed to see the blood circulate, advanced toward the bed. This
woman was so beautiful, that Bussy made a violent effort to rise and throw himself at
her feet. But he seemed to be confined in there by bonds like those which keep the
dead body in the tomb, while the soul mounts to the skies. This forced him to look at the
bed on which he was lying, and it seemed to him one of those magnificent beds
sculptured in the reign of Francis I., to which were suspended hangings of white
damask, embroidered in gold.
At the sight of this woman, the people of the wall and ceiling ceased to occupy his
attention; she was all to him, and he looked to see if she had left a vacancy in the
frame. But suddenly she disappeared; and an opaque body interposed itself between
her and Bussy, moving slowly, and stretching its arms out as though it were playing
blindman's buff. Bussy felt in such a passion at this, that, had he been able, he would
certainly have attacked this importunate vision; but as he made a vain effort, the
"Well," said he, "have I arrived at last?"
"Yes, monsieur," said a voice so sweet that it thrilled through Bussy, "and now you may
take off your bandage." Bussy made an effort to see if the sweet voice belonged to the
lady of the portrait, but it was useless. He only saw the pleasant face of a young man,
who had just, as he was told, taken off his bandage, and was looking curiously about
"To the devil with this man," thought Bussy, and he tried to speak, but fruitlessly.
"Ah, I understand now," said the young man, approaching the bed; "you are wounded,
are you not, my dear sir? Well, we will try to cure you."