The rescue


Material Information

The rescue a story of the Huguenots
Physical Description:
80 p. : ill. (some col.) ; 17 cm.
Knight ( Printer )
Religious Tract Society (Great Britain) ( Publisher )
Religious Tract Society
Place of Publication:
Publication Date:


Subjects / Keywords:
Christian life -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Civil war -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Soldiers -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Persecution -- History -- Juvenile fiction -- France   ( lcsh )
Rescues -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Bldn -- 1883
novel   ( marcgt )
Spatial Coverage:
England -- London


General Note:
Date of publication from inscription.
General Note:
Frontispiece printed in colors.
Preservation and Access for American and British Children's Literature, 1870-1889 (NEH PA-50860-00).

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of Florida
Holding Location:
Baldwin Library of Historical Children's Literature in the Department of Special Collections and Area Studies, George A. Smathers Libraries, University of Florida
Rights Management:
All rights reserved, Board of Trustees of the University of Florida.
Resource Identifier:
aleph - 002236534
notis - ALH7009
oclc - 62881335
System ID:

Full Text
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vi. TRIUMPH 66



Bad llws.
NE afternoon of late autumn Queen
Jeanne sat in deep and troubled
thought in one of the lofty tapestry-hung
rooms of the royal chateau at Pau. Her
little son was crawling and tumbling upon
the rich carpet at her feet with many a
winsome, gracious baby gambol. Like a

6 The Rescue.
vast, beautiful picture painted in living
colours, the glorious view lay stretched out
before the windows of the wide park, and
of the wavy line of the Pyrenees. But
Jeanne heeded neither the sunshine kindling
on the distant snowy peaks, nor yet the
lisping laughter of her boy, though that was
a sound which was in general sweetest
melody to the mother's ear; her whole
mind seemed to be fastened on a paper
which she held in her hand.
This paper told how a fortress up among
the mountains, which was very valuable to
the Huguenot cause, for it was the key to
one of the passes into Spain, and the
garrison of which was commanded by a
brave and distinguished Huguenot officer,
Gaston Count de Blancheville, was sur-
rounded by the enemy, and, unless it could
be very speedily relieved, was almost
"certain to fall at once into their hands.
The letter had been left by some one at
the palace gate, who had hurried away the

Bad News. 7
moment he had given it to the porter who
sat there, so there was no means of gaining
any further light upon these gloomy tidings.
The Queen had no doubt that the writer
had been some inhabitant of the mountains
who was favourable to the Huguenots, but
who feared, on account of the French
government, to show openly his partizan-
It was the days when the cause of the
Reformed religion was struggling to get
a footing in the south of France; God's
people saw themselves surrounded at once
with brightness and with shadow: bright-
ness that shone from the young Queen
Jeanne of Navarre as she sat enthroned,
alike as sovereign and mother, with her
infant son Prince Henry in her arms;
shadow that came from the hostile atti-
tude of the French monarchy. The land
rang at the same moment with Marot's
translation of the Psalms into verse, trans-
lations that, set to hymn tunes, some of

8 The Rescue.
which are popular among ourselves at this
very day, were household music in every
family that had taken hold of the truth as
it is in the pure Gospel; and with the
anathema of the Roman Catholic priest-
hood hurled vindictively at those who had
dared to put that Gospel into the people's
hand. There was a great stir in men's
hearts and lives; it was a time for fair
heroic acts, a time when noble self-sacrifice
found its way into the daily story of human
existence, a time for brave doing and sted-
fast leaning upon God.
Jeanne's quick eye for military matters,
that eye which was her warrior son's heri-
tage, saw that some days must elapse before
a sufficient body of troops could be brought
up to cut their way through the enemy,
and reach the besieged place. Could the
Count de Blancheville know that such help
was coming, he would certainly do his
utmost to hold out till it arrived, and there
would be some chance of the fortress being

Bad News. 9
kept for the Huguenots. But how was
a message to be conveyed to him ? She
had, just then, no one near her in whom
she could confide to perform such a difficult
and dangerous errand; all her most trusty
and bold servants and friends were at this
moment employed far away from their
Queen in work for the good cause, and she
did not know where to look for one who
would serve her promptly and faithfully in
her extreme need. No wonder, then, that
the serene depths of Queen Jeanne's eyes
were to-day like troubled waters.
Just then there was a little rustle at the
door, over which hung the heavy silk
curtain; and a lady, with a baby boy in
her arms of about the same age as the
young prince, stepped lightly, and with a
little silver ripple of prattle to the child,
into the room. Her face, which was
charming without being beautiful, was like
an April day in its mixture of playful smiles
and thoughtful shadow; but chiefly did

o1 The Rescue.
her soul seem to sit in earnest sweetness
in her dark eyes.
"So please your Majesty," she began, in
a tone which showed that she was well
used to the royal presence, and quite
accustomed to know herself a privileged
favourite there, "my little saucy rogue has
been whimpering for his princeling play-
fellow ever since he awoke from his after-
noon's slumber. I tinkled for him my
guitar, and sang him one of my old nurse's
fairy ballads; and I even made his grand-
father's sword, which always hangs by my
bed's head, glint for him in the sunshine, a
game which will generally amuse him when
nothing else will, for the boy has already
a rare martial turn; but to-day it would
not do, and so as I thought, my Queen,"
but here she broke off suddenly, as she
looked into Jeanne's face and noticed the
letter in her hand, exclaiming, 0, madame,
my sweet mistress, what is the matter ?
What bad news have you received ?"

Bad News. I
"Oh, Constance, my poor Constance!"
cried Jeanne, the words pressed out of her
in the sudden burst of feeling caused by
the unexpected appearance of the woman,
loving pity for whom had been ringing
like a funeral wail through her tender, yet
queenly heart, in the midst of her weight
of royal care, ever since she had read that
fatal letter. Then, seeing how her words
and tone had startled the lady, she added
quickly, "But forgive me, my child; my
foolish exclamation has made you think
things yet worse than they are, I fear."
"Gaston," gasped the young wife, her
thoughts flying at once straight to her
husband, as a bird flies to her nest at the
first sound of danger.
"Gaston is, I trust in God, safe and well
at this moment," said the Queen, who -by
this time had recovered her usual self-
control. Constance, you are a soldier's
child, and better still than that, woman
though you are, you are one of God's

12 The Rescue.
soldiers. I will not treat you as I might
treat one of our softer ladies, who has no
more strength in her than her own tapestry
needles. Gather up your courage, and
lean firmly on your Lord, and read this,"
and she put the paper into her hand.
Constance de Blancheville took it in a
way that proved the truth of the words the
Queen had just spoken concerning her.
She had already in some degree recovered
herself; and though the sweet mouth
quivered a little, her eyes looked as if she
saw an angel hovering somewhere near
her to strengthen her. The only sign of
emotion she gave was, that as she read
she pressed yet closer her child, who, un-
conscious of the sword that was entering
his mother's soul, was stretching out his
chubby arms towards the little prince on
the carpet, and sending out to him a babble
of baby chatter.
But, madame," she cried, when she had
done reading, there are brave men who

Bad News. 13
have been Gaston's comrades in war, and
who will make their way through the
enemy to his relief, as he would do to theirs
were he free and they in his place."
It will take some days to get together
a sufficient body of troops such as we can
send with any reasonable hope of their
bringing him help," said Jeanne, sadly. "If
only I had some bold, trusty messenger
who would dare the attempt of making his
way to him to bid him hold out, since his
Queen is straining every nerve to aid him."
Then she went over aloud to Constance,
as she had lately done in her own mind,
the list of all her most faithful servants and
friends, and showed her how there were
none of them available just at this critical
moment for the performance of this difficult
The young wife stood with her head
drooping dejectedly for some moments
after the Queen had done speaking, and
there was silence in the room, broken only

14 The Rescue.
by a cooing murmur from one of the chil.
dren. All at once Constance drew herself
up with a quick, sudden movement which,
in its proud grace, brought to Jeanne's
mind the martial bearing of her father, the
old baron, who fell fighting for the faith,
and a sudden brightness came into her face.
She opened her lips as if to speak out
what was in her heart; then, seeming to
change her purpose, she stooped, and
arranged the folds of the Queen's black
velvet dress, whispering softly as she did
so, Just one more service for my princess."
She had been a maid of honour before her
marriage, and had, even since her retire-
tirement from office, often loved to help
to robe her mistress. After that she bent
yet lower, until her lips pressed the Queen's
hand; and, as they touched it, Jeanne heard
her murmur something of which she could
only distinguish the words, "My God, my
husband." But before she could ask what
was meant Constance had left the room.

Bad News. 15
The Queen came to the conclusion that
grief had overpowered her, and that she
had withdrawn hastily to weep; yet what
was the meaning of that light in Constance's
eyes ? But Jeanne had no time to dwell
on this question; she resolved that she
would visit Constance early next morning,
when the first force of her sorrow would be
spent, and then she turned her whole mind
to her queenly business of writing letters
to draw together troops for the Count de
Blancheville's relief.

'-'"^ ^ "" *N.'

The tigkt Ride.
SBROAD, bright flood of moonlight was
pouring down upon Pau, making
strange light and shadow play in the alleys
of the old town, decking the castle with
glittering battlements, washing the whole
fair country round in a tide of glory, turn-

The Night Ride. 17
ing the distant snowy mountains into
mighty walls of silver, clothing everything
in a new and wondrous robe of beauty of
which the garish daylight knew nothing.
Along the road which led from Pau to-
wards the mountains there went a solitary
mounted figure, the figure of a female.
She was dressed in a plain gray hood and
mantle such as in those days was worn by
a simple citizen's wife when she went on a
journey. She rode a soberly-paced little bay
horse. There was nothing in her appearance
to denote a woman of rank; yet she was a
lady of high birth, and gentle nurture, for she
was Constance, Countess de Blancheville.
As she had stood by the Queen with the
sad tidings of her husband's dangerous
position filling her with a great anguish
that was unspeakable-for her life was
bound up in his, though her cheerful faith
in God, and her inborn energy of character,
had kept her bright and serene on his de-
parture for the war, when many women

18 The Rescue.
would have been in a chronic state of
gloom and despondency-as she stood by
the Queen, there had suddenly flashed into
her mind the thought, "What if I could
save him, and do the great work for God's
people of keeping this valuable fortress in
the hands of the Huguenots ?"
The idea, in her firm, active nature,
which was endowed with a strength beyond
the common strength of womankind, had
quickly grown into a resolve that she
would do it. What could be more grand
and beautiful for a woman, than to put her
life in peril for her husband and for her
God? What could be sweeter than to
die for them ? But if God should intend
her to be the instrument of her husband's
deliverance, should intend her to work this
great work for His cause, then what would
be the joy, what the triumph ? And surely
He must mean her to be such an instrument,
or He would not have put this bold thought
into the heart of her, a woman; surely He

The Night Ride. 19
with whom she had walked ever since her
earliest days, would lead her in safety
through this peril. All this passed as
quick as lightning through Constance's
mind while the Queen was speaking to
her; and with the native openness and
straightforwardness of her temper, she was
just about to reveal to Jeanne the whole
idea, when she checked herself. With all
her courage and force of character, Queen
Jeanne was of a cool, cautious disposition :
she would be almost sure to think the
enterprise too hazardous, and too much
savouring of daring romance; and notwith-
standing her extreme anxiety to convey a
message to the Count De Blancheville, she
would most likely forbid Constance to
think for a moment of such a scheme. The
young wife therefore held her peace; and
taking, as we have seen, a hurried leave of
the Queen, went away to ripen her plan
with thought and prayer, before she put it
into execution.

20 The Rescue.
The Countess De Blancheville's house
stood at some little distance from the royal
castle. Thither she returned, and giving
her child into the care of his nurse, retired
into her own room, and sat down to think.
Her design, after all, was not so wild and
impossible as it might have seemed to one
who knew nothing of her character and
antecedents; she had inherited from her
soldier-father a courage and a strength of
will, and a decision of purpose, such as are
very unusual among women; she had spent
her childhood among the mountains, near
the very fortress which was now held by
her husband, and knew each rugged path,
each lonely ravine as well as most ladies
know the walks in their gardens; and her
life of freedom in her youth among the
hills had increased the natural fearlessness
of her nature.
Her old nurse Marie lived in a cottage
which stood in the lower part of the moun-
tains, at but a few hours' ride from Pau.


- ----C=-P A U.

The Nzight Ride. 23
Thither she would go, and would get her,
and her foster-brother Pierre, the old
woman's son, to help her in her under-
taking. They were both devoted to herself
and the good cause; Marie had breathed
into her a good deal of her deep religious
faith, and they would certainly go with her
in everything heart and hand. She had
besides, the greatest trust in old Marie's
keenness of wit, and clearness of judgment,
she was sure to be a most useful ally. Yes,
such was the conclusion of her thoughts
and of the prayer that she sent up for
guidance; yes, she would dare it, dare it
for her husband and her God. Yet there
was one sharp pang in her woman's heart,
a pang that came from the image of her
child, What if he should lose his mother ?
Yet if he lost her, God would still be near
to love and guard him, the Father of the
Constance De Blancheville was not a
woman to let herself be vexed by weak,

24 The Rescue.
lingering doubts. When her resolution was
once taken she set her mind immediately
to prepare for what she was about to
do. She would start to-night on her secret
expedition, partly because her riding abroad
alone, a singular proceeding for a lady of
rank in those days, would be less noticed
than in the daytime, when more people
would be in the streets and roads to see
and recognize her, and partly because
there would then be no possibility of the
Queen finding out her intentions and
stopping her.
Her husband's estates lay in a distant
part of Gascony; and the servants might
think that her presence was needed there
on some urgent business matter to which
she must attend as the count was absent in
the war. When the whole house was sunk
in sleep, the lady left her chamber in the
dress of a simple citizen's dame, with a little
copy of the Holy Scriptures lying on her
heart-such a book was no small treasure

The Night Ride. 25
in those days in France. With a short,
keen dagger of her father's in her girdle,
she glided like a grey shadow down the
silent passages. When she reached the
door of the room where her boy lay, a
great sob rose up, and tried to burst from
her; but she put it back with a prayer, and
turning softly the handle, stole in. There
was, of course, some danger of her awaking
the nurse, who slept in a bed close beside
the crib of her charge. But Constance
could not have borne to go away without
one more look at her son; and so she ran
this risk, meaning, if the woman awoke, to
make some trifling excuse for her visit.
Fortunately, however, she was breathing
heavily, and was still in a deep slumber.
There lay the child as pure and sweet
as a dew-drop resting among the petals of
a flower. She bent over him, and, like a
bird's soft wing, the mother's lips touched
his cheek. Light though the kiss was, it
broke the fairy spell of babyhood's sleep;

26 The Rescue.
the little fellow half woke, and opened his
eyes, and smiled at her, and caught in a
drowsy grasp a lock of her hair that fell
from beneath her riding-hood. The smile
was like a cheering omen; and as he closed
his eyes again, the mother left the room
with peace at her heart.
Swiftly and noiselessly she went down-
stairs, and out into the stable yard. How
white and cold the great broad paving-
stones looked in the moonlight, and how
her footsteps sounded upon them, and how
dark and shadowy the big well was in the
centre! There was no serving-man there
to do the countess's bidding; but in the
old days of her free girlhood in her father's
mountain chAteau she had often amused
herself with saddling and bridling her pony,
and she believed she had not forgotten the
way to do the same now. When she
entered the stable, the horses looked round
inquiringly, and pricked their ears, evidently
surprised at the late visit; but Bayard, her

The Night Ride. 27
own gentle, well-trained palfrey, whinnied
softly when she drew near and spoke his
name. She led him out, and soon found
that though at first she was awkward at
the work, she had not forgotten her old
skill. When the horse was ready, she
mounted ahd rode away. The few night-
wanderers in the streets glanced rather
curiously after her as she passed along, but
no one molested her. When she reached
the city gate, it was opened to her at once
by the drowsy sentinel, for her familiarity
with military matters made her know the
pass-word. The soldier, it is true, peeped
up a little inquisitively under her hood;
but a severe look from her dark eyes stayed
the jesting words that were evidently rising
to his lips, and he let her pass out without
Now that she was out on the lonely
moonlit road, with no sign of life near her
except the barking of a dog in some distant
farm-yard, or the sleepy tinkle of a sheep-

28 The Rescue.
bell, Constance, with all her courage, was
not without many womanly fears; they had
been kept off by incessant action, but now
they came hovering round her. What were
those shadowy forms by the roadside?
were they only trees ?
Suppose when she got up among the
hills she should lose her way to Marie's
cottage? It was quite possible in the
uncertain moonlight. Suppose she should
go stumbling about on the steep rough
paths, until at length she and her horse fell
over a precipice ? There were many spots
among those mountains where never even
the wandering shepherd came. Oh, let her
put away such pictures of horror with
prayer; and as she prayed, it seemed that
a soothing whisper came gliding down upon
the moonbeams, "I will never leave thee,
nor forsake thee."
Hark what was that ? How like it was
to a scream, the scream of some one in
wild terror; yet quickly she, the old dweller

The Night Ride. 29
among the mountains, laughed at her own
foolish fancy; it was only the cry of one of
the night-birds whose voices had formerly
been quite familiar to her. Hark! what
was that ? It was like the sound of many
hurrying feet; it was only some mountain
torrent rushing over its stony bed. Thus
she rode on, in fear now and then, yet with
brave hope and calm faith for companions ;
thus she rode on till the mountains wrapped
her round in their grand shadow.

Marit's SchEme.
" $UTRELY that was the sound of a horse's
"tread coming up the path from the
valley," cried old Marie, as in the bright-
ness of the early dawn of a ruddy
autumn morning she hurried hither and
thither in her cottage, the stone floor

Marie's Sheme. 31
clattering beneath her wooden shoes while,
according to her own favourite, quaint
saying, she made everything in the little
house shine until it was fit to be a looking
glass of Queen Jeanne herself. "Surely
that is a horse's tread God grant it may
not be one of the troopers from the band
besieging the poor count, who has heard of
my having sent that warning to the Queen;
well, if it is His will that I should suffer
for the faith, He will give me strength to
do it."
Marie was, apparently, speaking to a
young man, very huge of body and of limb,
and with' _es so intelligent that they seemed
always silently talking of the heart
and min thin, who was chopping up
wood in those, the door between
which and t1 eat kitchen was wide open;
but the giant went on with his mighty
strokes without heeding the old woman's
words. The fact was, Marie's fifth and
only remaining son was deaf and dumb;

32 The Rescue.
the other four, as she loved to say, with
bright tears shining in her serene old eyes,
had gone from various battle-fields for the
faith straight up to stand before the throne
above, there to lay down their swords and
hear the blessed words, "Well done, good
and faithful servant!"
But as it was quite impossible for Marie
to do for long together without the use of
her tongue, she was accustomed to talk
just as if he heard her.
Pierre, with his infirmity, did more good
than most people without it. He was the
best of sons to his mother; his stalwart
arm was always ready to work in the field
or garden of a poor neighbour, and many
a widow and orphan owed to him prosperity.
He found great joy in the good, sweet
Bible words that his eyes could read, though
his lips could not form them; and his heart
was most firmly anchored on the Rock of
Ages. Like his mother, he was a most stead-
fast partisan of the Huguenots; and had it

Marie's Scheme. 33
not been for old Marie's sake he would
willingly have died the same death, for the
faith, as his soldier-brothers. He was en-
dowed with very quick wit, which showed
itself chiefly in the many ingenious ways
he invented for communicating with his
fellow-men. Old Marie would often say,
"Though it has been the Lord's will to
shut up two doors to my Pierre, he has
opened for himself a gate through which to
go out and serve Him."
But to return to Marie's cottage on that
bright autumn morning. The old woman
soon became certain that a horse's feet
were, in truth, approaching the little house;
and in some uneasiness, not knowing what
to expect, she hastened to the door to look
down the steep, rough path, along which
none but a bold rider, and one that had full
confidence in his horse, would have ven-
tured. Marie's surprise increased, though
her fears were quieted, when she saw that
the coming visitor was a female. Who

34 The Rescue.
can she be ?" she thought. I suppose
she must be some one who is travelling
across the mountains, and has got separated
from her party, and has lost herself. But
it is a strange, early hour for people to be
up here; besides, our cottage lies so much
off the common passes."
When,' however, the horsewoman came
close, so that she could see her face, Marie
cried out, with wonder and recognition in
her voice, "My countess, my daughter!
You here, alone, at this hour; what does
it mean ?"
I will tell you everything, dear Marie,
very soon," answered Constance, springing
lightly from her horse, and giving the old
woman a warm kiss; but first call Pierre
to take poor Bayard; the good little horse
needs care and refreshment."
With her face all sparkling at the joy of
this unexpected visit, and with her shrewd
old brain all at work to guess the cause of
it, Marie hastened to her son, and made a

Marze's Scheme. 35
sign to him that he was wanted. He
obeyed at once, without knowing whom he
was going to receive; but when he saw
the countess, his face first expressed the
most extreme astonishment, and then it
literally overflowed with radiant delight in
every feature. Pierre was perfectly de-
voted to his foster-sister: his feeling for her
was a mixture of strong affection and rever-
ence. He would have fought for her like a
lion had she needed it, without heeding his
own life any more than a puff of wind; he
held her to be as high as the distant snow-
peaks, and yet as much to be loved as the
blessed sunshine.
When his greetings with Constance
were over, Pierre, being quickly made to
understand by his mother's signs what he
was wanted to do, led Bayard to the shed
which was the winter home of Marie's
cow, and gave him the best care and food
the place could provide for him. Mean-
while Constance, having followed Marie

36 The Rescue.
into the house, and refreshed herself with
such modest fare as the cottage could
afford, sat down on a low seat at her old
nurse's feet, and looking lovingly and
trustfully up into the dear old face, told
her whole trouble and the cause of her
coming. She heard with some surprise
that Marie had been the sender of the
secret warning to the Queen, and Pierre
the bearer of it.
There was an anxious trouble in Marie's
look as Constance unfolded to her her
daring scheme; but, gradually, as she
listened to the young wife's words, the
shadow passed away out of her eyes, to
give place to the dawn of a deep serenity
of brightness.
When Constance had finished speaking,
she said, My child, you are right. When
God put such a thought as this into the
mind of a weak woman, He meant it for
no idle fancy." Then, after stroking
Constance's hair softly back from her

1Marie's Scheme. 37
brow, she added, "Yes, I remember as if
it were yesterday, the first day you lay in
my arms. The corn was just growing
green in the fields as I came up to the
Castle, and I wore my dress of new camlet
to appear before my lady baroness. What
a little puny babe you were! But I
recollect that when you were baptized, and
the water touched you, you opened your
tiny arms and stretched them out, as if
to catch hold of something, and that you
smiled as you did it. Short-sighted woman
that I was, I deemed it a sign of your
early death. But the good Pastor Bran-
card, who baptized you, a most saintly
man, said No; far from that. God grant
the child may live to take firm hold of
the faith that is in Jesus, and do some fair
and great thing for God's cause. Rejoice
in your daughter, baroness!' And your
lady mother kept those cheerful words
always in her heart; and when we held
you up to her lips for a last kiss just before

38 The Rescue.
she died, we heard her murmuring her hope
softly as if it comforted her. My child, it
seems that God is going to make the good
pastor's words true in you to-day."
Constance smiled a little at her old
nurse's story of the past, and found comfort
in her words; but the anxious restlessness
of sorrow was upon her, and she said, im-
ploringly, But, Mother Marie, can you
suggest any way in which I may reach my
Gaston? I feel that I must be doing
something; I did not come here to sit
Marie sat in thought for a few minutes
without answering her. The two form a
pretty picture, thought Pierre, there in the
cottage doorway, both bathed in morning
sunlight: the old woman, with the earnest
depth of tenderness in her eyes, with the
shrewd sense working and twinkling in the
lines about her mouth, bending over the
younger, whose head with its full mass of
dark curls rested against Marie's scarlet

Mfarie's Scheme. 39
petticoat. Constance was very weary with
her night's ride, but grief and anxiety kept
her awake. At length the nurse spoke.
"Some twelve years ago or so my
husband, now dead, was serving as a soldier
in that same fortress where the count is
now besieged. It was the order of the
commander of the garrison that none of
his men should ever see any of their
womankind. But he must be a clever
man who can keep a woman from what she
loves. We wives, and daughters, and
sweethearts found out that there was an
underground passage to the fortress, and
there we used to meet our dear ones, and
hear of their well-being."
"And am I to go by that way to my
Gaston?" cried the young wife, springing
up, her face all alight.
Gently, my jewel, gently," said Marie,
putting her back softly into her seat,
"there are some things to be thought of
first. Last year the fortress was in the

40 The Rescue.
hands, for a while, of the great robber
chief, Nanton, who kept all the country
round in such continuous terror, that the
subterranean way got then to be unused
and avoided."
But now that the robbers are gone, it
must be quite safe," urged Constance, in
trembling eagerness.
The people of the neighbourhood say,"
answered the old woman, dropping her
voice to a hushed tone, "that it is haunted
by the spirit of a wicked priest, whom the
brigands put to death there. I doubt if
such things can be."
Marie, with all her strong faith, was not
entirely free from the superstitions of her
time and of her class. It was not likely
that she would bewhen we remember how,
at that period, belief in the supernatural
was sown broadcast through society. Even
Madame de Blancheville, though one of
the most enlightened women of her day
and country, listened to her words with

Marie's Scheme. 41
a certain vague feeling of awe. Love,
however, is stronger than fear, and the
young wife said firmly, laying her hand
on the little Bible at her heart, For my
husband's sake, and the faith's sake, I
would venture the path, even if I should
have to go alone."
"Those are brave, good words, my
child. But there is yet another thing
against your making your way through
that underground passage. The entrance
to it is close to a spot where one of the
sentinels of the besiegers is nearly always
"That is a grave difficulty," cried
Constance. "Oh, nurse, how shall I
reach my Gaston ?" and she grasped the
old woman's arm with both her trembling
"Pierre, who will go with you," said
Marie, musingly, "is bold and strong. I
think there would be a good chance that
he might fell the sentinel to the ground

42 The Rescue.
before he could even cry out. But he
would not be able to follow you into the
dark passage, because he must stay outside
to replace the sods of earth that hide the
trap-door, lest the next sentinel who comes
to relieve guard should accidentally dis-
cover it."
"That would make no difference; I
would go alone."
Her cheeks were very pale, but her eyes
were very bright, and her voice was calm.
They talked over this vague idea of Marie's
until it was shaped into a definite plan, and
until the old woman said solemnly, "My
child, since you have courage to dare so
much for God and your husband, I will
not keep you back; His hand must be in
After that, her mind being quieted a
little by something being resolved on, Con-
stance lay down on Marie's bed to take a
short rest; but, in her first slumber, she
started, and began to cry; and when the

Marie's Scheme. 43
old woman asked her what was the matter,
she answered, "I was dreaming my child
was kissing me."
But Marie said, Lay him in prayer in
the arms of Him who took up the little
children," and the thought soothed her to

. ,,

Strong in Faith.
N what long, wild gusts the wind came
"sweeping down from the higher moun-
tains; how like monstrous phantom shapes
the white snow-peaks were when the
moon, now and then struggling out from
behind a mass of black clouds, looked
down on them with a haggard face; what
strange forms the woods and rocks took in
the dim light; how full the whole shadowy

"Strong in Faith. 45
air around was with the sound of .many
waters, of streams and torrents that leapt
over precipices, or hurried along at her
side, or chafed and murmured in gloomy
ravines far below; how incessantly her
horse's feet whether they trod on some
stony path, or crossed some bit of grass or
heather with a damp spongy noise, seemed
to her to be repeating over and over the
words, "Turn to the left, and not to the
Constance was now on her way towards
the entrance into the subterranean passage,
which she had so boldly resolved to follow
that she might reach her husband. She
and Marie had settled that she had better
ride to the spot, which was at some distance
from the old woman's cottage, as it would
save her much fatigue, and she needed all
her strength for the anxious enterprise that
lay before her. They had also settled that
she and Pierre, who walked at her side,
should not start till nightfall, for then they

46 The Rescue.
would be less likely to meet with any
stragglers from the besieging camp, except
the single sentinel, with whom, of course,
they could not avoid an encounter.
Towards evening the weather had
changed, with the suddenness peculiar to
all mountain regions. The night had come
with a great sighing of wind and a loud
splashing of hasty raindrops, and the sky
was dark and cloudy, for the moon was
generally hidden. It was not a pleasant
night for a mountain ride; but still
Constance, and Marie, and Pierre had
rather rejoiced in the stormy weather, for
it favoured their scheme-it would make
the Papist soldiery less likely to wander
from their camp, and, moreover, it would
help their designs against the sentinel.
The parting between Constance and
Marie had been short, but solemn and
affecting. The two had kissed and blessed
each other, and the old woman had
whispered, "God go with you, my daughter."

Strong in Faith. 47
And Constance's last words had been,
"If any evil thing befalls me, Marie, and I
never come back, go very often to see my
child, and teach him to love his mother's
Then Constance had mounted her horse,
and the darkness had soon shrouded her
and Pierre from Marie's sight. The old
woman had stood there alone at her cottage
door, hoping and praying, as it was the
wont of her brave old heart and spirit to
do, and as she had done on many a past
day, when she had watched near the battle-
field where husband or son were fighting
for God. She had made no small personal
sacrifice in cheerfully letting her Pierre go
on this errand of danger, for Pierre was
the poor old woman's only support.
Constance need not have been in any
trouble as far as her child was concerned,
for at that very moment, when she left
with Marie those last words about him,
the boy was sleeping in no less a place

48 The Rescue.
than the royal nursery of the chAteau at
Pau. When Queen Jeanne had first found
out what Madame de Blancheville had done
-for directly she heard of her solitary and
mysterious departure she guessed whither
she was gone, and what was her purpose-
she had, for a short time, been very angry
with her for her rashness. Then this
feeling had gradually died away, to give
place to admiration for the young countess's
wifely devotion and high Christian courage
for the faith-for everything grand and
beautiful was always quite sure to find an
echo in the breast of Jeanne of Navarre.
Her first impulse when her mind thus
changed towards Constance, an impulse
which she followed in a most truly womanly
way, was to hasten to Madame de Blanche-
ville's house, and take her child in her
arms, and kiss him, and cry over him, and
then to have him brought to the palace,
and give orders that he should remain in
the royal nursery with little Prince Henry,

Strong zn Faith. 49
under her own eye, until some certain
news arrived of his parents' fates. After
that, the good .Queen could do no more for
her friend than pray for her. It would
have been quite useless to have sent in
search of Madame de Blancheville, for it
was impossible to tell by what way she
was striving to reach her husband.
But to return to Constance as she rode
along through the stormy night among the
mountains, with her silent yet watchful
companion at her side. Pierre had been
fully made to understand by his mother
what he had to do. Marie had established
a most complete and comprehensive lan-
guage of signs with him, and he had taken
in her meaning, on this occasion, with the
most rapid and wonderful intelligence.
His delight and pride when he found that
he was to be the Countess's guide and
protector knew no bounds, his face lit up
as if a star had risen within him. He was
very familiar with the whole country round

50 The Rescue.
about his mother's cottage, and he also
knew exactly the situation of the trap-door
leading into the subterranean passage; for
Marie, when she used to be able to walk
so far-her strength had failed somewhat
lately-had shown it to him, and amused
herself with making him understand what
it was. She had little thought then of
what great service this knowledge was one
day to prove to Pierre and Constance.
Just before she left the cottage, Madame
de Blancheville had received from Marie
a full and minute description of the under-
ground passage: she had told her how
the hinges of the trap-door would most
likely be grown rusty with age and disuse,
and would need Pierre's strong arm to
force them; how, at the other end, the
way came out at a door behind the tapestry
into a large room at the fortress-it had
been the common dining-hall of the
garrison in former days, she said, so that
the soldiers had had easy access to it.

Strong in Faikh. 51
What purpose this apartment served now,
Marie, of course, did not know. Neither
could she tell whether the present garrison
knew of the existence of the subterranean
way; it seemed most likely that they did
not, or they would have made use of it to
communicate with those without. Above
all, Marie had charged Madame de
Blancheville to be sure, when she came
to a place where the passage branched
into two, to take the left-hand way and
not the right, since instead of bringing her
into the fortress, it would lead her into
a network of narrow watercourses, among
which she would very likely lose herself.
Constance was haunted with a nervous
dread that, in her excitement, she should
forget or mistake this direction of the old
woman, and she went on incessantly say-
ing it over and over to herself, as though
she wanted to print it upon her memory,
until, as we have said, the very sound of
her horse's hoofs took up the words.

52 The Rescue.
Higher still, ever higher, up among the
mountains, until they seemed to shut them
in between mighty walls that they should
never-pass again; higher still, ever higher,
up among the mists, until they rolled round
them like a sea; higher still, ever higher,
up among the dashing, rushing waterfalls,
until their sound seemed as a ceaseless,
thundering- music. Onward still, ever
onward, with pictures of horror trying to
grow up in her heart, but forced back and
covered over by prayer, with her child's
baby-laughter mingling, somehow, strangely
in her fancy with the last words of her
old soldier-father, with fragments of her
happy girlhood mixing in a visionary way
with the grave dangers of her present
position, with her living husband's face as
she knew it in long hours of love, and her
dead mother's face as she knew it in her
portrait, both looking at her out of the
gloom around. Often holy texts rose up
like ready friends to comfort her; and now

Strong in Faith. 53
and then, almost without knowing that she
was doing it, she found herself singing
some hymn or psalm, in which she had
joined in sweet melody in the house of
Constance was riding along with her
eyes fixed on her horse's mane, and her
mind active in thought, and hope, and fear,
when, suddenly, she felt Pierre press signi-
ficantly the hand that held her bridle rein;
she started and looked up. There on a
broad plateau a little way above them, she
saw a fortified building, which she knew to
be the fortress; around it she could dis-
tinguish in the moonlight, which just now
was tolerably bright, the hostile camp, the
tents of which gleamed whitely, while here
and there a banner waved in the wind. A
slight shiver passed through Constance as
she gazed. There was the place in which
her Gaston was shut up as in a living tomb,
and she was so near him and yet so far
from him. The hour, too, of her own

54 The Rescue.
hardest trial was now at hand, yet still her
heart beat true to her husband and her
When they had advanced a little farther,
Pierre made a sign to Madame de Blanche-
ville that she should dismount. She knew
at once what he meant, for they had settled
that she should do so when they drew near
the sentinel, whose steel cap they could now
see glittering in the moonlight, in order that
the horse's tread might not warn him of their
approach. She therefore got off, and Pierre
fastened Bayard to a tree. Constance's
hand lingered for a moment sadly on her
horse's neck-when should she mount him
again ? They then began to move cautiously
upward, keeping in the shadow of the trees
that covered thickly the way to the fortress:
Pierre went first, and Constance followed,
her whole heart now one strong prayer.
And now the top of the hill was reached,
and they paused for a few moments; there
was no sound to be heard except the

Strong in Faith. 55
measured tread of the sentinel, which they
could distinguish perfectly. They were so
near him, though they were still hidden
from him by the trees, and could hear the
-hoarse murmur of a stream that flowed
below, At length, when the sentinel's
back was turned to them in his march up
and down, Pierre laid his hand with im-
pressive touch, for an instant, on Con-
stance's shoulder. She remained behind
in shadow, while he darted out into the
moonlight, and struck down the sentinel.
There was a quiver in the woman's heart
at the deed of violence; but she came
timidly forward into the moonlight, which,
fortunately for them, was shining clearly
for a time, the clouds having partly rolled
away. They soon found out the place of
entrance into the underground passage,
which Marie had described to Constance.
It was at the foot of a dwarf oak on which
the soldiers' wives, to know it better, had
formerly cut three crosses.

56 The Rescue.
Pierre set to work with a will to dig with
a spade he had brought with him; while
Constance listened anxiously for any sound
from the neighboring camp, but there was
none. Very soon the trap-door appeared
to view, and opened with a creaking sound
beneath Pierrc's touch. A flight of steps
appeared below. There was no time to
pause, for delay was danger. Until his
dying day Pierre never forgot that parting
look of triumphant faith and love in her

-; -^ -~ ^ ;\ .I


The Figure in the passage.
. ow gloomy it was, and how the torch
Sshe had brought with her, with means
to kindle and rekindle it if it were necessary,
flickered and waved! It was like walking
into a great sea of blackness. How damp
and clammy the air felt, as it met her in
a chill stream, that wrapped her round.

58 The Rescue.
Every now and then her light would fall
with sudden distinctness on some pro-
jecting angle in the passage, making it
look like a human figure, standing a little
way on in front waiting for her; then how
her heart would beat, so violently that
nothing but prayer could help her forward.
Suppose old Marie's memory should
have failed her in some important point in
her description of the underground way;
suppose she should go on and on till she
came into some hideous vault where, long
ago, the dead used to be buried; suppose
a sudden fit of madness should come upon
her-had not weak women's minds given
way under a less trial than this ?-suppose
her light should go out, and she should
not be able, in her terror, to rekindle it;
such were some of the black, fearful fancies
that came crowding round Constance when
she first trod the subterranean passage;
filling her with a nameless terror that was
the harder to bear and to contend with

The Fzigre in the Passage. 59
from its very vagueness, and at some
moments her brain almost reeled from
mere indistinct alarm. Her only way of
steadying her mind was to grasp fast some
good Bible text. The very act of re-
membering it, and repeating it over and
over seemed to give her strength. The
words, "The angel of the Lord tarrieth
round about them that fear Him," had a
wonderfully calming effect upon her; they
were like a staff to lean on.
How long the dark, dreadful way was-
would it never come to an end ? But now
every thought and every fancy within her
was frightened away by a sudden, great,
real terror: surely there, at a little distance
from her, she saw the outline of a form
standing leaning against the wall! She tried
for a few moments to persuade herself
that it was a trick, such as her imagination
had played her before. But no, it did not
turn into a bit of projecting stone-work,
or dissolve into shadow, as all the other

60 The Rescue.
appearances had done; far from that, it
grew more like a tall figure the closer she
got to it. And what an ugly, fearful shape
it was! She was near enough to it now
to see it with tolerable distinctness; it was
so gaunt, and its garments hung loosely
about it; a long, white beard covered its
breast; grey, matted locks were scattered
over its shoulders; its face was deadly
pale, and its fiery eyes seemed to glare
angrily at her. She could bear no more.
Her overwrought powers gave way; she
shrieked and fainted.
How long she lay insensible Constance
never knew. When consciousness at length
began to return to her, it was, at first, but
a dim sense of lying on cold, damp ground;
then it was an indistinct idea that some-
thing terrible had happened to her; next
it was a suddenly vivid picture of the last
moment before she fainted; finally she
understood that she was lying there in the
dark (for her light had, of course, been

The Figure in the Passage. 61
extinguished by her fall), in that lonely
underground way, with that strange, fearful
figure very likely lurking somewhere in the
gloom near her. At this last idea she was
almost ready to faint again, but that the
precious habit, which had become a part of
her very nature, of always, in every moment
of her life, realising God's presence with
-her, came to her help; yes, He was with
her here, even as He was when she sat in
the bright sunshine among troops of friends,
and whatever that mysterious being she
had seen might be, He was its lord.
In those days when the Reformed re-
ligion was still a great gift of new light
given by God to the nations, there was an
immense, exultant pride and joy, a pride
and joy that were as a mighty cordial to
the martyr at the stake, to the soldier dying
in lingering pain on the field of battle, in
the thought of doing and suffering some-
thing for Christ. Faith was then a burning,
living power in the hearts and souls of the

62 The Rescue.
people who held the written Word of God
in all its purity in their hands.
That cordial had made many a timid
woman brave, and it was so with Constance
de Blancheville now. Had she not come
into this position of terror and danger of
her own free will, for the sake of God's
holy cause? That consciousness lifted her
up with a wondrous strength. Then came
another sweet supporting thought; she was
there for her husband's sake too, and then,
growing up out of prayer and her own
native firmness of character, came the re-
solution that she would go on with the
enterprise she had begun.
The torch she had carried was, no doubt,
lying somewhere near her. She felt about
on the ground and soon found it; then she
re-lit it, having, as has before been said,
brought with her the means for doing so,
and rising to her feet, glanced round very
uneasily at first; but nowhere could she
see anything of the dreaded figure. The

The Figure in the Passage. 63
.whole place appeared to be full of nothing
but darkness; she held up her light in
trembling, hurried search, but its wavering
rays only glistened on a damp place here
and there on the wall. Then she grew
bolder, and went on with a steady step,
saying to herself, My God, the God who
kept my good old father safe on many a
day of battle, who has led me on through
every step of my life, shall still protect
She went on for some little distance
without further disturbance, except that,
now and then, a fancy that she saw a dark
shadow lurking in the gloom gave her a
momentary start; but it always proved to
be only an illusion. At length she reached
the place where the passage branched into
two. There, her brain being confused,
partly by her late unconsciousness, and
partly by haste and fear, she mistook
Marie's injunctions, and took the wrong
turning. When she had gone a little way,

64 The Rescue.
however, it struck her all at once that she
had done so, and she was just going to
turn back when she perceived a faint
glimmer of light in front of her. Could
she, after all, have reached some part of
the fortress ? she wondered, with a sudden
throb of joy at her heart; and filled with
this happy idea she again advanced. She
went on for several yards, then the passage
widened out all at once, and she stood in
a small vaulted chamber.
Madame de Blancheville glanced around,
and saw to her extreme astonishment that
the place seemed to be a sort of provision
store; there were casks of wine, and sacks
of flour, and other durable articles of food.
But before she had time to dwell upon
these objects, which were so strange in
such a place, her attention was attracted
by a slight noise near her, and starting
round she saw close to her, with a light in
its hand-the gleam of which she had seen
before-the tall white-bearded figure !

The Figure zn the Passage. 65
Constance's first impulse was to fly;
but quickly a nobler and a bolder instinct
came over her. Grasping the little Bible
lying on her heart as a soldier grasps his
weapon, she appealed to the figure for
protection. It only stared at her with
wild eyes; but the brave lady stood firm
and repeated her question, her clear voice
ringing through the vaulted room like an
angel's harp.
Then an answer came in a deep hollow
tone: Woman, what are you come hither
for ? If your object is to betray me, your
life is worth no more than the waning
light you hold in your hand."


HE grey eyes of a stormy dawn were
peeping into the fortress held by the
Count de Blancheville and his little devoted
band of followers. The common soldiers
of the garrison, with the exception of those
who were acting as sentinels, were taking

Triumph. 67
a short sleep, worn out with weariness and
want of sufficient food. But Gaston de
Blancheville, with his few inferior officers,
most of whom were grey-headed veterans
who were old enough to be their young
captain's father, and who had fought many
a good fight for the faith in their day, were
all assembled to hold a brief council of war
in one of the larger rooms of the com-
mander's private apartments.
The position of the little garrison was a
very desperate one : they were surrounded
by a besieging force who far outnumbered
them; their provision of food was very
nearly exhausted; they believed that the
Queen and their friends at Pau knew
nothing of their danger, and, therefore,
were not at all likely to send them any
help. With his situation standing out
clearly before him, and looking at it with
the calm, firm gaze of a Christian soldier,
Gaston de Blancheville was speaking to
his officers.

68 The Rescue.
At sunset this evening," he was saying,
"we will sally out, and either cut our way
through the enemy, or die like God's true
champions with the sword of His cause in
our hands, and with His battle-cry upon
.pur lips."
"The fortress will be a precious morsel
for the papists to thank their saints for,"
said one of the old men, gloomily. "They
will have the bridle-pass near here into
Spain as free to them to run across and
hatch mischief with the Spanish king and
his Jesuits as if it were a doorway from
one room to another. Would that some
means were found to hold it."
Had we but been victualled for a siege,"
grumbled a second well-worn hero, "we
would have held the place till Christmas,
as easily as Queen Jeanne's maids of honour
keep her jewels."
"We shall meet the foe one to five of
them," said a third veteran, sadly. He
was sitting near the count, and fixed on

Triumph. 69
him, as he spoke, eyes that had almost a
father's love in them.
"What, are you counting up your
enemies, Bourgon, my old friend ?" cried
Gaston, turning towards the old man his
handsome, steadfast face. I don't think
that was your wont in days gone by when
I sat on your knee, and you used to tell
me that a soldier always went into battle
as blithely as a girl goes to a ball."
"Nay, count, it was not of this aged
battered body of mine that I was thinking,"
said the old warrior in a low tone, "but of
your fair young manhood, that might do
so much more for both God and man, and
of your sweet bird of a lady-wife and baby-
"Whatever betides, Constance will bear
it like a brave saint and a soldier's lady,"
answered Gaston, his lips quivering a little
with controlled feeling as he spoke his
wife's name, while a softened light came
into his grave eyes. If I fall, she will

70 The Rescue.
teach our son his father's story, and bid
him go and do likewise."
"Aye, she is made of no flimsy stuff,"
cried Bourgon; "she's none of your dainty
dames that are half lace, half sugar. How
well I remember the day when news was
brought to the baron that a daughter was
born to him. I was sitting with him in
his tent the night before we expected a
brisk engagement to come with the dawn;
he said then that she should be brought up
fit to be a soldier's bride and a Christian's
"How the wind is stirring yonder
tapestry!" said De Blancheville, glancing
at a part of the wall of the room.
It is a stormy morning," said one of
the officers. "The mountain spirits have
been making a night of it."
"And now, gentlemen, let us each man
to his post," said the count, rising; "'we
will to-day--"
But here he broke off, the words cut

Triumph. 71I
short on his lips by sheer astonishment, for
the tapestry, just where it had lately been
so violently agitated, was gently raised, and
a female figure came forth from beneath it.
He gazed, he cried out, bold man though
he was. Was it a dear vision ? Was it
her spirit come to seek him ? But soon he
knew that, wonderful, incomprehensible
though it was, it was no illusion-his wife
was sobbing on his breast.
In mute amazement the old veterans
stood around. In a great joy and wonder
that knew no words, her husband held her
to him; and she, she could only murmur
now and then between her tears a few
words of devout thankfulness.
Sooner, however, than Gaston or any of
the men around could collect themselves
sufficiently to speak, Constance began in
some measure to regain her composure.
She raised her head and cried, "Gaston,
God has sent me here to save you, and to
keep the fortress in the hands of His

72 The Rescue.
servants." Then she glanced around, and
seeing all the officers, exclaimed, "And so
many old friends here to be saved." Next
her eyes fell on Bourgon, and turning
round, still in her husband's arms, which
did not seem to be able to let her go, she
stretched out both her little hands towards
the white-haired warrior, exclaiming, Dear
old Bourgon, still as ever at my Gaston's
side in the hour of danger!"
After that she hid her face once more
on her husband's breast, and wept a little
again, softly.
"But how did you come hither, my
darling ?" asked the count, who had now
recovered himself enough to speak.
A smile, all sunshine was on her face
as, this time, she raised it to his. "Oh,
Gaston, I have such a deal to tell you,"
she said; "God has been so gracious
to me."
Then, still clinging to her husband, and
with the little band of old soldiers listening

Triumph. 73
with wondering, sympathetic eyes, she told
" her story. Part of what she had to say we
know already, the rest we will glance at
The figure which had so alarmed Con-
stance in the subterranean passage, was
none other than Nanton, the robber chief,
who had once been the dread of the whole
country for miles round. When the rest
of his band had been apprehended, he had
in spite of the rigorous watch that had
been kept for him, escaped the arm of
justice in some way which had always been
a mystery : the truth was that he had been
concealed in that underground hiding-
place. The robbers, in the days when
they had held the fortress, had used the
vaulted room which Constance had found
opening out of the subterranean way, but
of the existence of which Marie had not
been aware, as a storehouse for their booty
and provisions, most of which were stolen
goods. When the robber band had been

74 The Rescue.
dispersed, they had left large stores in this
secret receptacle; on these Nanton had
lived, and, as the Countess had seen, a
considerable portion was still remaining.
Nanton's concealment in this underground
dwelling had been rendered yet more
secure by the fact that the robbers, in order
to prevent the country people from coming
near the hiding-place of their booty, had
diligently spread abroad the report that it
was haunted.
Nanton had; at first, looked upon
Madame de Blancheville's intrusion into
his underground domains with wonder,
fear, and anger, but her brave yet gentle
bearing, and her explanation that she had
come there with no evil designs against
him had, after a while, disarmed his sus-
picions. Nanton had been born a gentle-
man, though he had fallen into and followed
a course of crime; he had in his early
years lived a gentleman's life, and enjoyed
a good education. He saw at once that

Triumpk. 75
Constance was a well-bred lady; and in
former and better days he had loved a
bright, pure girl to whom he fancied he
found in her some likeness. He was
getting very weary of the death in life
which his existence in this gloomy hiding-
place was, and was beginning to feel that
almost any change would be preferable to
it. All these things combined made him
yield to the spell of Constance de Blanche-
ville's gracious, Christian womanhood, that
spell which is often so potent with the
rudest and wildest men. He drew from her
a sacred promise that she would not use
for his harm the revelation he was going
to make, and then disclosed to her his
Though she was, at first, naturally
startled by the discovery, Constance's
quick, comprehensive mind soon thought
she saw in Nanton's disclosure a means
of deliverance for the Count and his
garrison, and of help for herself. She

76 The Rescue.
asked Nanton whether, if she promised
him a full pardon from the Queen, he
would give up to the Count de Blancheville
and his soldiers all the provisions left in
the vaulted chamber, and would conduct
her in safety to the entrance from the
subterranean passage into the fortress.
The old robber's eyes flashed with joy
at the proposal, and he answered eagerly,
Then with writing materials, with which
Nanton was able to supply her, Madame
de Blancheville wrote a hasty letter to the
Queen, telling her the strange story, and
begging her, for the sake of the services
he had done the Count and herself, to
grant Nanton a full pardon. This she
gave to the old robber, bidding him, as
soon as he should leave her, carry it to
Pau, and deliver it to Queen Jeanne. He
must take the precaution of disguising
himself for the errand; and then, as the
hue and cry against him had now very

Triumjh. 77
much ceased, he would most likely escape
without being recognized.
Thus it came to pass that Constance
trod the rest of that dark underground way
guided and protected by the very same
person who had caused her before so much
terror; and as they went along, moved by
her active Christian spirit that bade her do
good unto all men, she spoke to the old
robber chief of the power of the blood of
Jesus to cleanse from sin, and of that
Almighty love that can raise and save even
the most fallen that cry for mercy. By
God's grace the words sank deep down
into Nanton's heart-he was getting an
old man, and he had once koown godly
teaching. When they reached the place
where the passage ended, Nanton's strong
hand quickly undid the rusty fastening of
the door behind the tapestry that led into
the fortress. Then the two strange com-
panions parted with words on the former
robber's lips that had not been there for

78 The Rescue.
years, "God bless thee, lady!" he said as
he turned away.
Such was the end of the story Constance
de Blancheville told her husband, and the
old veterans stood around with intent,
earnest eyes, and before she had ceased,
every weather-beaten, wrinkled cheek was
wet. Then old Bourgon bowed his grey
head reverently and said, "We praise
Thee, Father, for this Thy mercy and Thy
love shown forth in this Thy child."





1f ITTLE more remains to be told. The
garrison of the fortress, victualled by
the food found in the subterranean chamber,
held out easily until the body of troops sent
by the Queen dispersed the besieging force,
and released them; and the Count, with his
young wife at his side, and his brave
soldiers behind him, marched out in tri-
umph. As for Nanton, the Queen, though
at first a good deal astonished at his errand,
granted him a free pardon in her joy at
the good tidings he brought of Madame de
Blancheville and her husband, and in con-
sideration of the service he had done them.
He entered the Huguenot army, and died
a brave death in battle fighting for the
faith, and with the Saviour's name on his

80 The Rescue.
lips; from the day of his pardon till then
he had lived a changed life.
My child," said old Marie, when next
Constance visited her and Pierre, who was
a proud and happy man for the share he
had had in the Count's deliverance, My
child, His promise has been faithful to you
as to all who love Him; He has never
forsaken thee in the hour of trial, and the
deep water-floods have not overwhelmed




.......... lill ~ i