Chicot the Jester HTML version

Chapter 16
"The two men approached the window. We gently opened it a little way, and heard one
say, 'Are you sure it is here?' 'Yes, monseigneur, quite sure,' said the other. 'It is the fifth
house from the corner of the Rue St. Paul.' 'And you are sure of the key?' 'I took the
pattern of the lock.' I seized Gertrude's arm in terror. 'And once inside' he went on, 'the
servant will admit us; your highness has in your pocket a golden key as good as this
one.' 'Open, then.' We heard the key turn in the lock but all at once the ambushed men
rushed forward, crying, 'a mort! a mort!' I could not understand this, only I saw that
unexpected help had come to us, and I fell on my knees, thanking Heaven. But the
prince had only to name himself, when every sword went back into the scabbard, and
every foot drew back."
"Yes, yes," said Bussy, "it was for me they came, not for the prince."
"However, this attack caused the prince to retire, and the five gentlemen went back to
their hiding-place. It was evident that the danger was over for that night, but we were
too unquiet to go to bed. Soon we saw a man on horseback appear, and then the five
gentlemen immediately rushed on him. You know the rest, as the gentleman was
"On the contrary, madame, I know only that I fought and then fainted."
"It is useless to say," continued Diana, with a blush, "the interest that we took in the
combat so unequal, but so valiantly sustained. Each blow drew from us a shudder, a
cry, and a prayer. We saw your horse fall, and we thought you lost, but it was not so;
the brave Bussy merited his reputation. At last, surrounded, menaced on all sides, you
retreated like a lion, facing your foes, and came to lean against our door; the same idea
came to both of us, to go down and open to you, and we ran towards the staircase; but
we had barricaded the door, and it took us some minutes to move the furniture, and as
we arrived on the stairs, we heard the door shut. We stopped, and looked at each other,
wondering who had entered. Soon we heard steps, and a man appeared, who tottered,
threw up his arms, and fell on the first step. It was evident that he was not pursued, but
had put the door, so luckily left open by the duke, between hint and his adversaries. In
any case we had nothing to fear; it was he who needed our help. Gertrude ran and
fetched a lamp, and we found you had fainted, and carried you to the bed. Gertrude had
heard of a wonderful cure made by a young doctor in the Rue Beautrellis, and she
offered to go and fetch him. 'But,' said I, 'he might betray us.' 'I will take precautions'
said she. She took money and the key, and I remained alone near you, and--praying for
"Alas!" said Bussy, "I did not know all my happiness, madame."