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said the corporal, “and what will become of his boy?"- He shall not drop," said my uncle Toby, firmly.“ Ah, well-a-day,—do what we can for him,” said Trim, maintaining his point, “ the poor soul will die :" He shall not die, by G-d,” cried my
uncle Toby. The accusing spirit, which flew up to heaven's chancery with the oath, blushed as he gave it in—and the recording angel, as he wrote it down, dropped a tear upon the word, and blotted it out for ever.
My uncle Toby went to his bureau, put his purse into his breeches pocket, and having ordered the corporal to go early in the morning for a physician,-he went to bed and fell asleep.
The sun looked bright the morning after to every eye in the village but Le Fevre's and his afflicted son's; the hand of death pressed heavy upon his eye-lids,--and hardly could the wheel at the cistern turn round its circle,—when my uncle Toby, who had rose up an hour before his wonted time, entered the lieutenant's room, and, without preface or apology, sat himself down upon the chair, by the bed-side, and independently of all modes and customs, opened the curtain in the manner an old friend and brother officer would have done it, and asked him how he did,—how he had rested in the night,—what was his complaint,- where was his pain, - and what he could do to help him?, and without giving him time to answer any one of the inquiries, went on and told him of the little plan which he had been concerting with the corporal, the night before, for him.
"You shall go home directly, Le Fevre," said my uncle Toby, “ to my house, and we 'll send for a doctor to see what 's the matter, and we 'll have an apothecary,--and the corporal shall be your nurse; and I 'll be your servant, Le Fevre.”
There was a frankness in my uncle Toby, not the effect of familiarity, but the cause of it, - which let you at once into his soul, and showed you the goodness of his nature; to this, there was something in his looks, and voice, and manner, superadded, which eternally beckoned to the unfortunate to come and take shelter under him; so that before my uncle Toby had half finished the kind offers he was making to the father, had the son insensibly pressed up close to his knees, and had taken hold of the breast of his coat, and was pulling it towards him. The blood and spirits of Le Fevre, which were waxing cold and slow within him, and were retreating to their last citadel, the heart, -rallied back, the film forsook his eyes for a moment,- he looked up wishfully in my uncle Toby's face,-then cast a look upon his boy, and that ligament, fine as it was, was never broken.
Nature instantly ebbed again,—the film returned to its place,—the pulse fluttered-stopped-went on—throbbed-stopped again-moved --stopped-Shall I go on? - No.
152:- THE CHARACTER OF LOUIS XI.
COMINES. [The character of Louis XI.—one of the strangest in history-has been made familiar to the general reader by the fascinating pen of Sir Walter Scott. For the materials of this character the author of
Quentin Durward' was indebted almost entirely to Philip de Comines, who was most intimate with the French monarch, and an eye-witness of nearly all the scenes and events he describes in his chronicle or historical memoir. Although as a statesman, or political agent, Comines had much of the cunning and indirectness of the king, his master, he is, as a memoir-writer, exceedingly frank and straightforward, His
accuracy and impartiality have been admitted by all historians. His genius for narration is of a first-rate order; his style is deliciously quaint, and characteristic of the times in which he lived. Philip de Comines was by birth a Fleming, and a subject of the Duke of Burgundy, who, at that time, by holding nearly all Flanders and a great part of France, was at least equal in power to the French king, his suzerain. In the year 1464, when he was only nineteen years old, he entered the service of Charles the Bold, or the Rash, whose father was then living, and who, consequently, was only Count of Charolais. The character and tastes of the Burgundian prince—a man of frank violence, who was passionately fond of war, and preferred the sword to the pen, the battle-field to the council-chamber-could scarcely suit one of Messire Philip's disposition. He left the service of Charles for that of his rival and mortal enemy, Louis XI., who promoted him, kept him much about his person, and employed him in some of the most confidential and important of his state matters. In the succeeding reign Comines was at first suspected, and imprisoned in one of the dreary cages which he describes. He was afterwards employed as a negotiator. He died in 1509, at his own estate of Argenton, in Poitou.)
Of all the Princes that I ever had the honour to know, the wisest and most dexterous to extricate himself out of any danger or difficulty in time of adversity, was our master, King Louis XI. He was the humblest in his conversation and habit, and the most painful and indefatigable to win over any man to his side, that he thought capable of doing him either much mischief or good : though he was often refused, he would never give over man that he once undertook, but still pressed and continued his insinuations, promising him largely, and presenting him with such sums and pensions as he knew would satisfy his ambition; and for such as he had discarded in the time of peace and prosperity, he paid dear (when he had occasion for 'em) to recover them again; but when he had once reconciled them, he retained no pique to them for what had passed, but employed them freely for the future. He was naturally kind and indulgent to persons of indifferent condition, and morose to such as he thought had no need of him. Never Prince was so conversable nor so inquisitive as he, for his desire was to know everybody he could ; and, indeed, he knew all persons of any authority or worth in England, Spain, Portugal, and Italy, the territories of the Dukes of Burgundy and Bretagne, and in his own country; and by those qualities he preserved the crown upon his head, which was in much danger by the enemies he had created to himself by his inadvertency upon his accession to the crown. But above all. his great bounty and liberality did him the greatest service. And yet, as he behaved himself wisely in time of distress, so when he thought: himself a little out of danger, though it were but by a truce, he would disoblige the servants and officers of his court by mean trifling ways, which were little to his advantage; and as for peace, he could hardly endure the thoughts of it. He spoke slightly of some people, and rather before their faces than behind their backs, unless he was afraid of them, and of that sort there were a great many, for he was naturally timorous. When he had done himself any prejudice by his talk, or was apprehensive he should do, to make them amends whom he had injured, he would say to the person whom he had disobliged, “ I am sensible my tongue has done me a great deal of mischief, but, on the other hand, it has sometimes done me good; however, it is but reasoni I should make some reparation for the injury.” And he never used those kind of apologies to any person, but he did something for the person to whom he made it, and it was always considerable. It is
certainly a great blessing for any prince to have experienced adversity as well as prosperity, good as well as evil, and especially if the good outweighs the evil, as it did in our master. I am of opinion that the troubles he was involved in in his youth, when he fled from his father, and resided six years together in the Duke of Burgundy's court, was of great service to him; for there he learned to be complacent to such as he had occasion to use, which was no little improvement. * **
Some five or six months before his death he began to grow jealous of everybody, especially of those who were most capable and deserving of the administration of affairs. He was afraid of his son, and caused him to be kept close, so that no man saw or discoursed with him but by his special command. At last he grew suspicious of his daughter, and his son-in-law, the Duke of Bourbon, and required an account of what persons came to speak with them at Plessis, and broke up a . council which the Duke of Bourbon held there by his order. At the time the Count de Dumois and his son-in-law returned from conducting the ambassadors, who had been at' Amboise to congratulate the marriage betwixt the Dauphin and the young Queen, the King being in the gallery, and seeing them enter with a great train into the castle, called for a captain of the guards, and commanded him to go and search some of the lords' retinue, to see whether they had any arms under their robes, and that he should do it in discourse, and so as no notice might be taken. Behold, then, if he had caused many to live under him in continual fear and apprehension, whether it was not returned to bim again; for of whom could he be secure, when he was afraid of his son-in-law, his daughter, and his own son? I speak this not only of him, but of all other princes who desire to be feared, that revenge never befalls them till they grow old, and then, as a just penance, they are afraid of everybody themselves; and what grief do you think it must be this poor king to be tormented with such terrors and passions ?
1 He was still attended by his physician, Doctor James Coctier, to whom in five months time he had given 54,000 crowns in ready money, besides the bishopric of Amiens for his nephew, and other great offices and-estates to him and his friends; yet this doctor used him so scurvily, one would not have given such unbecoming language to one's servants as he gave the king, who stood in such awe of him he durst not forbid him his presence. • 'Tis true he complained of his impudence after
wards, but he durst not change him as he had done all the rest of his servants, because he had told him after a most audacious manner
“I know some time or other you will remove me from court, as you have done the rest; but be sure (and he confirmed it with an oath) you shall not live eight days after it." With which expression he was so terrified, that ever after he did nothing but flatter and present him, which must needs be a great mortification to a prince who had been obeyed all along by so many brave men much above the doctor's quality.
The king had ordered several cruel prisons to be made, some of iron, some of wood, but covered with iron plates both within and with out, with terrible cages about eight foot wide and seven high; the first contriver of them was the Bishop of Verdun, who was the first that • hanselled them, being immediately put in one of them, where he continued fourteen years. Many bitter curses he has had since for his invention, and some from me, having lain in one of them eight months together, in the minority of our present king. He also ordered heavy and terrible fetters to be made in Germany, and particularly a close ring for the feet, which was extreme hard to be opened, and like an iron collar with a thick weighty chain, and a great globe of iron at the end of it, most unreasonably heavy, which engines were called the king's nets. However, I have seen many eminent and deserving persons in these prisons, with these nets about their legs, who have after. wards been advanced to places of trust and honour, and received great rewards from the king: among the rest a son of the Lord de la Grutase (who was taken in battle), whom the king married very honourably afterwards, made him his chamberlain, and Seneschal of Anjou, and gave him the command of a hundred lances. The Lords de Viennes and Verger, both prisoners of war, had commands given them in his army, were made his or his son's chamberlains, and had great estates given them.
Monsieur de Rochefort, the constable's brother, had the same, as also one Roquebertin, a Catalonian and prisoner of war, besides others of several countries too numerous to be mentioned in this place. This by way of digression. But to return to my principal design. As in his time this barbarous variety of prisons was invented, so before he died he himself was in greater torment, and more terrible apprehension than those whom he had imprisoned, which I look upon as a great mercy towards him and part of his purgatory; and I have mentioned