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The white plumes of Navarre, a romance of the wars of religion;
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The White Plumes of Navarre: A Romance of the Wars of Religion by S. R. Crockett
Write a review Rate this item: Preview this item Preview this item. The white plumes of Navarre: And so it came to pass that this young man from Geneva saw the killing of the great Admiral, and heard the words in which he forgave his assassins, telling them how that he was ready to die, and that at the most they had but shortened his life by some short count of days or hours! And ever through the brief turmoil of the killing, the voice of the Duke of Guise mounted impatiently up the stairway asking if the Admiral were not yet dead, and hounding on his dogs to make an end of that noble quarry.
And even when they assured him he would not believe, but desired to look on the face of his own and his father's enemy.
So they cast him out. But the aged prince, with the life still in his body, clutched by instinct at the sill of the window as he fell. The young Duke, first ordering up a couple of flambeaux, deliberately wiped the blood from the face of his enemy with his kerchief, and cried out, "It is even he — I know him well.
Catalog Record: The white plumes of Navarre, a romance of the | Hathi Trust Digital Library
So perish all the enemies of the King and of the Catholic League! Then, as his men still called from the window, the Duke looked up, angry to be disturbed in his gloating over his arch-foe. What shall we do with him? And that is the reason why a certain John Stirling, a Scot of Geneva, went through life lame, wearing a countenance twisted like a mask at a fair, and — loved not the Duke Henry of Guise. Moreover, though he saw the Duke spurn his dead enemy with his foot, the boy felt not at the time the kicks with which the scullions imitated their master, but lay in a swoon on the body of Coligny.
He came to himself, however, being cast aside as of no account, when they came to drag the Admiral's body to the gallows. After a while the spray of a fountain that played in the courtyard roused him. The lad washed his hands and crawled forth. He had lain all the terrible Sunday in the bloody court of Coligny's lodgings, under the shadow of the trembling acacias, which cast flecks of light and dark on the broad irregular stains of the pavement. But when the evening had come again, and the angry voices shouting "Kill! Somehow or other he passed through an unguarded gate, to find himself sustained by a fellow-countryman carrying a child, a little maid of four years.
He must have been a strong man, that chance-met Scot, for he had an arm to spare for John Stirling. He spoke, also, words of hope and comfort to the boy.
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But these fell on deaf ears. For through the dull ache of his bones and the sharp nip of his wounds, undressed save for the blood that had dried upon them, the heart of the cripple remained with Henry of Guise. Through the open window the shouts, near and far, invaded the quiet class-room of the Sorbonne.
It was empty, save for the Professor of Eloquence, one Dr. Anatole Long, and a certain vagrant bluebottle which, with the native perversity of its tribe, sought out the only shut square of glass bottle-green, by way of distinction and buzzed loudly all over it. He had used it as exposition, homily, exhortation; and had even on one occasion ventured to deliver it before the Venerable the Conclave of the Sorbonne itself.
Professor Anatole sighed as he listened to the ringing shouts outside, the clatter of steel on peaceful educational stairways, and when through the open windows, by which the early roses ought to have been sending up their good smell, there came a whiff of the reek of gunpowder, the excellent Anatole felt that the devil was loose indeed.
It was the great Day of Barricades, and all Paris was in arms against the King, royal, long-descended, legitimate — and worthless. And then — then — there will be a great killing! The King is too ignorant to forgive! A noise of guns crashed, spat, and roared beneath the window which gave on to the narrow street.
Professor Anatole rose hastily and went to the casement, worried a moment with the bar-fastening for the window on that side was never unhasped , opened it, and looked forth. Little darting, shifting groups of lads in their dingy student cloaks, were defending themselves as best they might against a detachment of the King's Royal Swiss, who, on the march from one part of the city to another, had been surprised at the head of the narrow Street of the University.
An old man had somehow been knocked down. His companion, a slim youth in a long, black cape, knelt and tried to hold up the failing head. The white beard, streaked with dark stains, lay across his knees. Now the Professor of Eloquence, though he lectured by preference concerning the virtues of peace, thought that there were limits even to these; so, grasping his staff, which had a sword concealed in the handle, of cunning Venice work, ran downstairs, and so found himself out on the street. In that short period all was changed.
The Royal Swiss had moved on. The battling clerks had also vanished. The narrow Street of the University was blank save for the old man who lay there wounded on the little, knobbed cobble-stones, and the slim, cloaked youth bending over him. Professor Anatole does not remember clearly what followed.
Certain it is that he and the lad must have carried the wounded man up the narrow stair. For when Anatole came a little to himself they were, all the three of them, in his wide, bare attiring-chamber, from which it was his custom to issue forth, gowned and solemn, in the midst of an admiring hush, with the roll of his daily lecture clasped in his right hand, while he upheld the long and troublesome academic skirts with the other. But now, all suddenly, among these familiar cupboards and books of reference, he found himself with a dying man — or rather, as it seemed, a man already dead.
And, what troubled him far more, with a lad whose long hair, becoming loosened, floated down upon his shoulders, while he wept long and continuously, "Oh — oh — oh — my father! Now Professor Anatole was a wise man, a philosopher even. It was the day of mignons.