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Full Online Book HomeLong StoriesQuentin Durward - Chapter X - THE SENTINEL
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Quentin Durward - Chapter X - THE SENTINEL Post by :normr1 Category :Long Stories Author :Sir Walter Scott Date :April 2012 Read :2459

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Quentin Durward - Chapter X - THE SENTINEL


Where should this music be? i' the air or the earth?


I was all ear,
And took in strains that might create a soul
Under the ribs of death.


Quentin had hardly reached his little cabin, in order to make some necessary changes in his dress, when his worthy relation required to know the full particulars of all that had befallen him at the hunt.

The youth, who could not help thinking that his uncle's hand was probably more powerful than his understanding, took care, in his reply, to leave the King in full possession of the victory which he had seemed desirous to appropriate. Le Balafre's reply was a boast of how much better he himself would have behaved in the like circumstances, and it was mixed with a gentle censure of his nephew's slackness in not making in to the King's assistance, when he might be in imminent peril. The youth had prudence, in answer, to abstain from all farther indication of his own conduct, except that, according to the rules of woodcraft, he held it ungentle to interfere with the game attacked by another hunter, unless he was specially called upon for his assistance. The discussion was scarcely ended, when occasion was afforded Quentin to congratulate himself for observing some reserve towards his kinsman. A low tap at the door announced a visitor -- it was presently opened, and Oliver Dain, or Mauvais, or Diable, for by all these names he was known, entered the apartment.

This able but most unprincipled man has been already described in so far as his exterior is concerned. The aptest resemblance of his motions and manners might perhaps be to those of a domestic cat, which, while couching in seeming slumber, or gliding through the apartment with slow, stealthy, and timid steps, is now engaged in watching the hole of some unfortunate mouse, now in rubbing herself with apparent confidence and fondness against those by whom she desires to be caressed, and, presently after, is flying upon her prey, or scratching, perhaps, the very object of her former cajolements.

He entered with stooping shoulders, a humble and modest look, and threw such a degree of civility into his address to the Seignior Balafre, that no one who saw the interview could have avoided concluding that he came to ask a boon of the Scottish Archer. He congratulated Lesly on the excellent conduct of his young kinsman in the chase that day, which, he observed, had attracted the King's particular attention. He here paused for a reply; and, with his eyes fixed on the ground, save just when once or twice they stole upwards to take a side glance at Quentin, he heard Balafre observe that his Majesty had been unlucky in not having himself by his side instead of his nephew, as he would questionless have made in, and speared the brute, a matter which he understood Quentin had left upon his Majesty's royal hands, so far as he could learn the story.

"But it will be a lesson to his Majesty," he said, "while he lives, to mount a man of my inches on a better horse; for how could my great hill of a Flemish dray horse keep up with his Majesty's Norman runner? I am sure I spurred till his sides were furrowed. It is ill considered, Master Oliver, and you must represent it to his Majesty."

Master Oliver only replied to this observation by turning towards the bold, bluff speaker one of those slow, dubious glances which, accompanied by a slight motion of the hand, and a gentle depression of the head to one side, may be either interpreted as a mute assent to what is said, or as a cautious deprecation of farther prosecution of the subject. It was a keener, more scrutinizing glance, which he bent on the youth, as he said, with an ambiguous smile, "So, young man, is it the wont of Scotland to suffer your Princes to be endangered for the lack of aid in such emergencies as this of today?"

"It is our custom," answered Quentin, determined to throw no farther light on the subject, "not to encumber them with assistance in honourable pastimes, when they can aid themselves without it. We hold that a Prince in a hunting field must take his chance with others, and that he comes there for the very purpose. What were woodcraft without fatigue and without danger?"

"You hear the silly boy," said his uncle; "that is always the way with him; he hath an answer or a reason ready to be rendered to every one. I wonder whence he hath caught the gift; I never could give a reason for anything I have ever done in my life, except for eating when I was a-hungry, calling the muster roll, and such points of duty as the like."

"And pray, worthy Seignior," said the royal tonsor, looking at him from under his eyelids, "what might your reason be for calling the muster roll on such occasions?"

"Because the Captain commanded me," said Le Balafre. "By Saint Giles (patron saint of lepers, beggars, and cripples. He has been especially venerated in England and Scotland), I know no other reason! If he had commanded Tyrie or Cunningham, they must have done the same."

"A most military final cause!" said Oliver. "But, Seignior Le Balafre, you will be glad, doubtless, to learn that his Majesty is so far from being displeased with your nephew's conduct, that he hath selected him to execute a piece of duty this afternoon."

"Selected him?" said Balafre in great surprise -- "selected me, I suppose you mean?"

"I mean precisely as I speak," replied the barber, in a mild but decided tone; "the King hath a commission with which to intrust your nephew."

"Why, wherefore, and for what reason?" said Balafre. "Why doth he choose the boy, and not me?"

"I can go no farther back than your own ultimate cause, Seignior Le Balafre, such are his Majesty's commands. But," said he, "if I might use the presumption to form a conjecture, it may be his Majesty hath work to do, fitter for a youth like your nephew, than for an experienced warrior like yourself, Seignior Balafre. -- Wherefore, young gentleman, get your weapons and follow me. Bring with you a harquebuss, for you are to mount sentinel."

"Sentinel!" said the uncle. "Are you sure you are right, Master Oliver? The inner guards of the Castle have ever been mounted by those only who have (like me) served twelve years in our honourable body."

"I am quite certain of his Majesty's pleasure," said Oliver, "and must no longer delay executing it."

"But," said Le Balafre, "my nephew is not even a free Archer, being only an Esquire, serving under my lance."

"Pardon me," answered Oliver; "the King sent for the register not half an hour since, and enrolled him among the Guard. Have the goodness to assist to put your nephew in order for the service."

Balafre, who had no ill nature, or even much jealousy in his disposition, hastily set about adjusting his nephew's dress, and giving him directions for his conduct under arms, but was unable to refrain from larding them with interjections of surprise at such luck's chancing to fall upon the young man so early.

It had never taken place before in the Scottish Guard, he said, not even in his own instance. But doubtless his service must be to mount guard over the popinjays and Indian peacocks, which the Venetian ambassador had lately presented to the King -- it could be nothing else; and such duty being only fit for a beardless boy (here he twirled his own grim mustaches), he was glad the lot had fallen on his fair nephew.

Quick and sharp of wit, as well as ardent in fancy, Quentin saw visions of higher importance in this early summons to the royal presence, and his heart beat high at the anticipation of rising into speedy distinction. He determined carefully to watch the manners and language of his conductor, which he suspected must, in some cases at least, be interpreted by contraries, as soothsayers are said to discover the interpretation of dreams. He could not but hug himself on having observed strict secrecy on the events of the chase, and then formed a resolution, which, for so young a person, had much prudence in it, that while he breathed the air of this secluded and mysterious Court, he would keep his thoughts locked in his bosom, and his tongue under the most careful regulation.

His equipment was soon complete, and, with his harquebuss on his shoulder (for though they retained the name of Archers, the Scottish Guard very early substituted firearms for the long bow, in the use of which their nation never excelled), he followed Master Oliver out of the barrack.

His uncle looked long after him, with a countenance in which wonder was blended with curiosity; and though neither envy nor the malignant feelings which it engenders entered into his honest meditations, there was yet a sense of wounded or diminished self importance, which mingled with the pleasure excited by his nephew's favourable commencement of service.

He shook his head gravely, opened a privy cupboard, took out a large bottrine of stout old wine, shook it to examine how low the contents had ebbed, filled and drank a hearty cup; then took his seat, half reclining, on the great oaken settle; and having once again slowly shaken his head, received so much apparent benefit from the oscillation, that, like the toy called a mandarin, he continued the motion until he dropped into a slumber, from which he was first roused by the signal to dinner.

When Quentin Durward left his uncle to these sublime meditations, he followed his conductor, Master Oliver, who, without crossing any of the principal courts, led him, partly through private passages exposed to the open air, but chiefly through a maze of stairs, vaults, and galleries, communicating with each other by secret doors and at unexpected points, into a large and spacious latticed gallery, which, from its breadth, might have been almost termed a hall, hung with tapestry more ancient than beautiful, and with a very few of the hard, cold, ghastly looking pictures, belonging to the first dawn of the arts which preceded their splendid sunrise. These were designed to represent the Paladins of Charlemagne, who made such a distinguished figure in the romantic history of France; and as this gigantic form of the celebrated Orlando constituted the most prominent figure, the apartment acquired from him the title of Rolando's Hall, or Roland's Gallery.

(Charlemagne . . . was accounted a saint during the dark ages: and Louis XI, as one of his successors, honoured his shrine with peculiar observance. S.)

(Orlando: also called Roland. His history may be read in the Chanson de Roland.)

"You will keep watch here," said Oliver, in a low whisper, as if the hard delineations of monarchs and warriors around could have been offended at the elevation of his voice, or as if he had feared to awaken the echoes that lurked among the groined vaults and Gothic drop work on the ceiling of this huge and dreary apartment.

"What are the orders and signs of my watch?" answered Quentin, in the same suppressed tone.

"Is your harquebuss loaded?" replied Oliver, without answering his query.

"That," answered Quentin, "is soon done;" and proceeded to charge his weapon, and to light the slow match (by which when necessary it was discharged) at the embers of a wood fire, which was expiring in the huge hall chimney -- a chimney itself so large that it might have been called a Gothic closet or chapel appertaining to the hall.

When this was performed, Oliver told him that he was ignorant of one of the high privileges of his own corps, which only received orders from the King in person, or the High Constable of France, in lieu of their own officers. "You are placed here by his Majesty's command, young man," added Oliver, "and you will not be long here without knowing wherefore you are summoned. Meantime your walk extends along this gallery. You are permitted to stand still while you list, but on no account to sit down, or quit your weapon. You are not to sing aloud, or whistle, upon any account; but you may, if you list, mutter some of the church's prayers, or what else you list that has no offence in it, in a low voice. Farewell, and keep good watch."

"Good watch!" thought the youthful soldier as his guide stole away from him with that noiseless gliding step which was peculiar to him, and vanished through a side door behind the arras.

"Good watch! but upon whom and against whom? -- for what, save bats or rats, are there here to contend with, unless these grim old representatives of humanity should start into life for the disturbance of my guard? Well, it is my duty, I suppose, and I must perform it."

With the vigorous purpose of discharging his duty, even to the very rigour, he tried to while away the time with some of the pious hymns which he had learned in the convent in which he had found shelter after the death of his father -- allowing in his own mind, that, but for the change of a novice's frock for the rich military dress which he now wore, his soldierly walk in the royal gallery of France resembled greatly those of which he had tired excessively in the cloistered seclusion of Aberbrothick.

Presently, as if to convince himself he now belonged not to the cell but to the world, he chanted to himself, but in such tone as not to exceed the license given to him, some of the ancient rude ballads which the old family harper had taught him, of the defeat of the Danes at Aberlemno and Forres, the murder of King Duffus at Forfar, and other pithy sonnets and lays which appertained to the history of his distant native country, and particularly of the district to which he belonged. This wore away a considerable space of time, and it was now more than two hours past noon when Quentin was reminded by his appetite that the good fathers of Aberbrothick, however strict in demanding his attendance upon the hours of devotion, were no less punctual in summoning him to those of refection; whereas here, in the interior of a royal palace, after a morning spent in exercise, and a noon exhausted in duty, no man seemed to consider it as a natural consequence that he must be impatient for his dinner.

There are, however, charms in sweet sounds which can lull to rest even the natural feelings of impatience by which Quentin was now visited. At the opposite extremities of the long hall or gallery were two large doors, ornamented with heavy architraves, probably opening into different suites of apartments, to which the gallery served as a medium of mutual communication. As the sentinel directed his solitary walk betwixt these two entrances, which formed the boundary of his duty, he was startled by a strain of music which was suddenly waked near one of those doors, and which, at least in his imagination, was a combination of the same lute and voice by which he had been enchanted on the preceding day. All the dreams of yesterday morning, so much weakened by the agitating circumstances which he had since undergone, again arose more vivid from their slumber, and, planted on the spot where his ear could most conveniently, drink in the sounds, Quentin remained, with his harquebuss shouldered, his mouth half open, ear, eye, and soul directed to the spot, rather the picture of a sentinel than a living form, -- without any other idea than that of catching, if possible, each passing sound of the dulcet melody.

These delightful sounds were but partially heard -- they languished, lingered, ceased entirely, and were from time to time renewed after uncertain intervals. But, besides that music, like beauty, is often most delightful, or at least most interesting, to the imagination when its charms are but partially displayed and the imagination is left to fill up what is from distance but imperfectly detailed, Quentin had matter enough to fill up his reverie during the intervals of fascination. He could not doubt, from the report of his uncle's comrades and the scene which had passed in the presence chamber that morning, that the siren who thus delighted his ears, was not, as he had profanely supposed, the daughter or kinswoman of a base Cabaretier (inn keeper), but the same disguised and distressed Countess for whose cause kings and princes were now about to buckle on armour, and put lance in rest. A hundred wild dreams, such as romantic and adventurous youth readily nourished in a romantic and adventurous age, chased from his eyes the bodily presentiment of the actual scene, and substituted their own bewildering delusions, when at once, and rudely, they were banished by a rough grasp laid upon his weapon, and a harsh voice which exclaimed, close to his ear, "Ha! Pasques dieu, Sir Squire, methinks you keep sleepy ward."

The voice was the tuneless, yet impressive and ironical tone of Maitre Pierre, and Quentin, suddenly recalled to himself, saw, with shame and fear, that he had, in his reverie, permitted Louis himself -- entering probably by some secret door, and gliding along by the wall, or behind the tapestry -- to approach him so nearly as almost to master his weapon.

The first impulse of his surprise was to free his harquebuss by a violent exertion, which made the King stagger backward into the hall. His next apprehension was that, in obeying the animal instinct, as it may be termed, which prompts a brave man to resist an attempt to disarm him, he had aggravated, by a personal struggle with the King, the displeasure produced by the negligence with which he had performed his duty upon guard; and, under this impression, he recovered his harquebuss without almost knowing what he did, and, having again shouldered it, stood motionless before the Monarch, whom he had reason to conclude he had mortally offended.

Louis, whose tyrannical disposition was less founded on natural ferocity or cruelty of temper, than on cold blooded policy and jealous suspicion, had, nevertheless, a share of that caustic severity which would have made him a despot in private conversation, and he always seemed to enjoy the pain which he inflicted on occasions like the present. But he did not push his triumph far, and contented himself with saying, "Thy service of the morning hath already overpaid some negligence in so young a soldier. -- Hast thou dined?"

Quentin, who rather looked to be sent to the Provost Marshal than greeted with such a compliment, answered humbly in the negative.

"Poor lad," said Louis, in a softer tone than he usually spoke in, "hunger hath made him drowsy. -- I know thine appetite is a wolf," he continued; "and I will save thee from one wild beast as thou didst me from another; thou hast been prudent too in that matter, and I thank thee for it. -- Canst thou yet hold out an hour without food?"

"Four-and-twenty, Sire," replied Durward, "or I were no true Scot."

"I would not for another kingdom be the pasty which should encounter thee after such a vigil," said the King; "but the question now is, not of thy dinner, but of my own. I admit to my table this day, and in strict privacy, the Cardinal Balue and this Burgundian -- this Count de Crevecoeur -- and something may chance; the devil is most busy when foes meet on terms of truce."

He stopped, and remained silent, with a deep and gloomy look. As the King was in no haste to proceed, Quentin at length ventured to ask what his duty was to be in these circumstances.

"To keep watch at the beauffet, with thy loaded weapon," said Louis; "and if there is treason, to shoot the traitor."

"Treason, Sire! and in this guarded castle!" exclaimed Durward.

"You think it impossible," said the King, not offended, it would seem, by his frankness; "but our history has shown that treason can creep into an auger hole. -- Treason excluded by guards! Oh, thou silly boy! -- quis custodiat ipsos custodes -- who shall exclude the treason of those very warders?"

"Their Scottish honour," answered Durward, boldly.

"True: most right: -- thou pleasest me," said the King, cheerfully; "the Scottish honour was ever true, and I trust it accordingly. But treason!" -- here he relapsed into his former gloomy mood, and traversed the apartment with unequal steps -- "she sits at our feasts, she sparkles in our bowls, she wears the beard of our counsellors, the smiles of our courtiers, the crazy laugh of our jesters -- above all, she lies hid under the friendly air of a reconciled enemy. Louis of Orleans trusted John of Burgundy -- he was murdered in the Rue Barbette. John of Burgundy trusted the faction of Orleans -- he was murdered on the bridge of Montereau. -- I will trust no one -- no one. Hark ye; I will keep my eye on that insolent Count; ay, and on the churchman too, whom I hold not too faithful. When I say, Ecosse, en avant (Forward, Scotland), shoot Crevecoeur dead on the spot."

"It is my duty," said Quentin, "your Majesty's life being endangered."

"Certainly -- I mean it no otherwise," said the King. "What should I get by slaying this insolent soldier? -- Were it the Constable Saint Paul indeed" -- here he paused, as if he thought he had said a word too much, but resumed, laughing, "our brother-in-law, James of Scotland -- your own James, Quentin -- poniarded the Douglas when on a hospitable visit, within his own royal castle of Skirling."

(Douglas: the allusion in the text is to the fate of James, Earl of Douglas, who, upon the faith of a safe conduct, after several acts of rebellion, visited James the Second in the Castle of Stirling. The king stabbed Douglas, who received his mortal wound from Sir Patrick Grey, one of the king's attendants.)

"Of Stirling," said Quentin, "and so please your Highness. -- It was a deed of which came little good."

"Stirling call you the castle?" said the King, overlooking the latter part of Quentin's speech. "Well, let it be Stirling -- the name is nothing to the purpose. But I meditate no injury to these men -- none. -- It would serve me nothing. They may not purpose equally fair by me -- I rely on thy harquebuss."

"I shall be prompt at the signal," said Quentin; "but yet"

"You hesitate," said the King. "Speak out -- I give thee full leave. From such as thou art, hints may be caught that are right valuable."

"I would only presume to say," replied Quentin, "that your Majesty having occasion to distrust this Burgundian, I marvel that you suffer him to approach so near your person, and that in privacy."

"Oh, content you, Sir Squire," said the King. "There are some dangers which when they are braved, disappear, and which yet, when there is an obvious and apparent dread of them displayed, become certain and inevitable. When I walk boldly up to a surly mastiff, and caress him, it is ten to one I soothe him to good temper; if I show fear of him, he flies on me and rends me. I will be thus far frank with thee. -- It concerns me nearly that this man returns not to his headlong master in a resentful humour. I run my risk, therefore. I have never shunned to expose my life for the weal of my kingdom. Follow me."

Louis led his young Life Guardsman, for whom he seemed to have taken a special favour, through the side door by which he had himself entered, saying, as he showed it him, "He who would thrive at Court must know the private wickets and concealed staircases -- ay, and the traps and pitfalls of the palace, as well as the principal entrances, folding doors, and portals."

After several turns and passages, the King entered a small vaulted room, where a table was prepared for dinner with three covers. The whole furniture and arrangements of the room were plain almost to meanness. A beauffet, or folding and movable cupboard, held a few pieces of gold and silver plate, and was the only article in the chamber which had in the slightest degree the appearance of royalty. Behind this cupboard, and completely hidden by it, was the post which Louis assigned to Quentin Durward; and after having ascertained, by going to different parts of the room, that he was invisible from all quarters, he gave him his last charge: "Remember the word, Posse, en avant; and so soon as ever I utter these sounds, throw down the screen -- spare not for cup or goblet, and be sure thou take good aim at Crevecoeur -- if thy piece fail, cling to him, and use thy knife -- Oliver and I can deal with the Cardinal."

Having thus spoken, he whistled aloud, and summoned into the apartment Oliver, who was premier valet of the chamber as well as barber, and who, in fact, performed all offices immediately connected with the King's person, and who now appeared, attended by two old men, who were the only assistants or waiters at the royal table. So soon as the King had taken his place, the visitors were admitted; and Quentin, though himself unseen, was so situated as to remark all the particulars of the interview.

The King welcomed his visitors with a degree of cordiality which Quentin had the utmost difficulty to reconcile with the directions which he had previously received, and the purpose for which he stood behind the beauffet with his deadly weapon in readiness. Not only did Louis appear totally free from apprehension of any kind, but one would have supposed that those visitors whom he had done the high honour to admit to his table were the very persons in whom he could most unreservedly confide, and whom he was, most willing to honour. Nothing could be more dignified, and, at the same time, more courteous than his demeanour. While all around him, including even his own dress, was far beneath the splendour which the petty princes of the kingdom displayed in their festivities, his own language and manners were those of a mighty Sovereign in his most condescending mood. Quentin was tempted to suppose, either that the whole of his previous conversation with Louis had been a dream, or that the dutiful demeanour of the Cardinal, and the frank, open, and gallant bearing of the Burgundian noble had entirely erased the King's suspicion.

But whilst the guests, in obedience to the King, were in the act of placing themselves at the table, his Majesty darted one keen glance on them, and then instantly directed his look to Quentin's post. This was done in an instant; but the glance conveyed so much doubt and hatred towards his guests, such a peremptory injunction on Quentin to be watchful in attendance, and prompt in execution, that no room was left for doubting that the sentiments of Louis continued unaltered, and his apprehensions unabated. He was, therefore, more than ever astonished at the deep veil under which that Monarch was able to conceal the movements of his jealous disposition.

Appearing to have entirely forgotten the language which Crevecoeur had held towards him in the face of his Court, the King conversed with him of old times, of events which had occurred during his own exile in the territories of Burgundy, and inquired respecting all the nobles with whom he had been then familiar, as if that period had indeed been the happiest of his life, and as if he retained towards all who had contributed to soften the term of his exile, the kindest and most grateful sentiments.

"To an ambassador of another nation," he said, "I would have thrown something of state into our reception; but to an old friend, who often shared my board at the Castle of Genappes (during his residence in Burgundy, in his father's lifetime, Genappes was the usual abode of Louis. . . . S.), I wished to show myself, as I love best to live, old Louis of Valois, as simple and plain as any of his Parisian badauds (idlers). But I directed them to make some better cheer than ordinary for you, Sir Count, for I know your Burgundian proverb, 'Mieux vault bon repas que bel habit' (a good meal is better than a beautiful coat. (Present spelling is vaut.)); and therefore I bid them have some care of our table. For our wine, you know well it is the subject of an old emulation betwixt France and Burgundy, which we will presently reconcile; for I will drink to you in Burgundy, and you, Sir Count, shall pledge me in Champagne. -- Here, Oliver, let me have a cup of Vin d'Auxerre;" and he hummed gaily a song then well known,

"Auxerre est le boisson des Rois."

(Auxerre wine is the beverage of kings)

"Here, Sir Count, I drink to the health of the noble Duke of Burgundy, our kind and loving cousin. -- Oliver, replenish yon golden cup with Vin de Rheims, and give it to the Count on your knee -- he represents our loving brother. -- My Lord Cardinal, we will ourself fill your cup."

"You have already, Sire, even to overflowing," said the Cardinal, with the lowly mien of a favourite towards an indulgent master.

"Because we know that your Eminence can carry it with a steady hand," said Louis. "But which side do you espouse in the great controversy, Sillery or Auxerre -- France or Burgundy?"

"I will stand neutral, Sire," said the Cardinal, "and replenish my cup with Auvernat."

"A neutral has a perilous part to sustain," said the King; but as he observed the Cardinal colour somewhat, he glided from the subject and added, "But you prefer the Auvernat, because it is so noble a wine it endures not water. -- You, Sir Count, hesitate to empty your cup. I trust you have found no national bitterness at the bottom."

"I would, Sire," said the Count de Crevecoeur, "that all national quarrels could be as pleasantly ended as the rivalry betwixt our vineyards."

"With time, Sir Count," answered the King, "with time -- such time as you have taken to your draught of Champagne. -- And now that it is finished, favour me by putting the goblet in your bosom, and keeping it as a pledge of our regard. It is not to every one that we would part with it. It belonged of yore to that terror of France, Henry V of England, and was taken when Rouen was reduced, and those islanders expelled from Normandy by the joint arms of France and Burgundy. It cannot be better bestowed than on a noble and valiant Burgundian, who well knows that on the union of these two nations depends the continuance of the freedom of the continent from the English yoke."

The Count made a suitable answer, and Louis gave unrestrained way to the satirical gaiety of disposition which sometimes enlivened the darker shades of his character. Leading, of course, the conversation, his remarks, always shrewd and caustic, and often actually witty, were seldom good natured, and the anecdotes with which he illustrated them were often more humorous than delicate; but in no one word, syllable, or letter did he betray the state of mind of one who, apprehensive of assassination, hath in his apartment an armed soldier with his piece loaded, in order to prevent or anticipate an attack on his person.

The Count de Crevecoeur gave frankly in to the King's humour (the nature of Louis XI's coarse humour may be guessed at by those who have perused the Cent Nouvelles Nouvelles, which are grosser than most similar collections of the age. S.); while the smooth churchman laughed at every jest and enhanced every ludicrous idea, without exhibiting any shame at expressions which made the rustic young Scot blush even in his place of concealment. In about an hour and a half the tables were drawn; and the King, taking courteous leave of his guests, gave the signal that it was his desire to be alone.

So soon as all, even Oliver, had retired, he called Quentin from his place of concealment; but with a voice so faint, that the youth could scarcely believe it to be the same which had so lately given animation to the jest, and zest to the tale. As he approached, he saw an equal change in his countenance. The light of assumed vivacity had left the King's eyes, the smile had deserted his face, and he exhibited all the fatigue of a celebrated actor, when he has finished the exhausting representation of some favourite character, in which, while upon the stage, he had displayed the utmost vivacity.

"Thy watch is not yet over," said he to Quentin; "refresh thyself for an instant -- yonder table affords the means; I will then instruct thee in thy farther duty. Meanwhile it is ill talking between a full man and a fasting."

He threw himself back on his seat, covered his brow with his hand, and was silent.

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