Chicot the Jester HTML version

Chapter 1
On the evening of a Sunday, in the year 1578, a splendid fête was given in the
magnificent hotel just built opposite the Louvre, on the other side of the water, by the
family of Montmorency, who, allied to the royalty of France, held themselves equal to
princes. This fête was to celebrate the wedding of François d'Epinay de St. Luc, a great
friend and favorite of the king, Henri III., with Jeanne de Crossé-Brissac, daughter of the
marshal of that name.
The banquet had taken place at the Louvre, and the king, who had been with much
difficulty induced to consent to the marriage, had appeared at it with a severe and grave
countenance. His costume was in harmony with his face; he wore that suit of deep
chestnut, in which Clouet described him at the wedding of Joyeuse; and this kind of
royal specter, solemn and majestic, had chilled all the spectators, but above all the
young bride, at whom he cast many angry glances. The reason of all this was known to
everyone, but was one of those court secrets of which no one likes to speak.
Scarcely was the repast finished, when the king had risen abruptly, thereby forcing
everyone to do the same. Then St. Luc approached him, and said: "Sire, will your
majesty do me the honor to accept the fête, which I wish to give to you this evening at
the Hôtel Montmorency?" This was said in an imploring tone, but Henri, with a voice
betraying both vexation and anger, had replied:
"Yes, monsieur, we will go, although you certainly do not merit this proof of friendship on
our part."
Then Madame de St. Luc had humbly thanked the king, but he turned his back without
"Is the king angry with you?" asked the young wife of her husband.
"I will explain it to you after, mon amie, when this anger shall have passed away."
"And will it pass away?"
"It must."