We looked about, somewhat startled, and Boisrueil, with presence of mind, ran into the darkness to see if he could detect the person addressed; but though he thought that he saw the skirt of a flying cloak disappear in the gloom, he was not sure; and I, having no mind to be mixed up with the ambassador, called him back. I asked Vilain to whom he had called, but the young man, turning sullen, would answer nothing except that he knew naught of the paper. I thought it best, therefore, to conduct him at once to my lodgings, whither it will be believed that I returned with a lighter heart than I had gone out. It was, indeed, a providential escape.
How to punish the traitor was another matter, for I could scarcely do so adequately without betraying my negligence. I determined to sleep on this, however, and, for the night, directed him to be locked into a chamber in the south-west turret, with a Swiss to guard the door; my intention being to interrogate him farther on the morrow. However, Henry sent for me so early that I was forced to postpone my examination; and, being detained by him until evening, I thought it best to tell him, before I left, what had happened.
He heard the story with a look of incredulity, which, little by little, gave way to a broad smile. "Well," he said, "Grand Master, never chide me again! I have heard that Homer sometimes nods; but if I were to tell this to Sillery or Villeroy, they would not believe me."
"They would believe anything that your Majesty told them," I said. "But you will not tell them this?"
"No," he said kindly, "I will not; and there is my hand on it. For the matter of that, if it had happened to them, they would not have told me."
"And perhaps been the wiser for that," I said.
"Don't believe it," he answered. "But now, what of this young Vilain? You have him safe?"
"The girl is one degree worse; she betrays both sides to save her skin."
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