Chicot the Jester
HOW, WITHOUT ANY ONE KNOWING WHY, THE KING WAS CONVERTED
BEFORE THE NEXT DAY.
Three hours passed thus.
Suddenly, a terrible cry was heard, which came from the king's room.
All the lights in his room were out, and no sound was to be heard except this strange
call of the king's. For it was he who had cried.
Soon was heard the noise of furniture falling, porcelain breaking, steps running about
the room, and the barking of dogs-mingled with new cries. Almost instantly lights
burned, swords shone in the galleries, and the heavy steps of the Guards were heard.
"To arms!" cried all, "the king calls."
And the captain of the guard, the colonel of the Swiss, and some attendants, rushed
into the king's room with flambeaux.
Near an overturned chair, broken cups, and disordered bed, stood Henri, looking
terrified and grotesque in his night-dress. His right hand was extended, trembling like a
leaf in the wind, and his left held his sword, which he had seized mechanically.
He appeared dumb through terror, and all the spectators, not daring to break the
silence, waited with the utmost anxiety.
Then appeared, half dressed and wrapped in a large cloak, the young queen, Louise de
Lorraine, blonde and gentle, who led the life of a saint upon earth, and who had been
awakened by her husband's cries.
"Sire," cried she, also trembling, "what is the matter? Mon Dieu! I heard your cries, and I
"It--it is nothing," said the king, without moving his eyes, which seemed to be looking up
the air for some form invisible to all but him.
"But your majesty cried out; is your majesty suffering?" asked the queen.
Terror was so visibly painted on the king's countenance, that it began to gain on the