All For One- Chapter Fourteen
14. The Kidnapping
Once Athos disposed of those robes, he made his way back to his post. He thought the situation odd, but not out of character for Marie, in whom he sensed an adventurous spirit. He put the incident out of his mind and went to meet his friends. He was friendly acquainted with all of the members of the Guard du Corps, and found true comrades within the group, but he especially enjoyed duty with his friends André, Tréville and Bertrand. He gained the respect of the three guards through his dedication and work ethic. Guard duty with them never seemed like work, and he appreciated their company especially during long overnight shifts.
As he navigated the Grand Gallery, He noticed there were a lot of new guards on duty, or at least several guards he didn’t know were present that night. When he found his friends, he was surprised to discover his captain, Vitry, with them as well.
“Athos,” he said, “there you are.”
“Sorry,” he apologized. “I was assisting Mlle de Montbazon.”
“Well now that you’re here,” Vitry continued. “I have orders for the four of you.” He held up a letter, which Tréville accepted, opened and read.
“We are to go the Point Neuf tonight,” he explained. “There is a spy planning to meet his informer, and we are to arrest them and bring them to the Bastille.”
“Is that it?” Bertrand wondered. “Is there a description of the spy?”
“Not of the spy,” Tréville said. “But the informant, who apparently is an agent of des Essarts, will be wearing a blue sash.”
“Are we then to arrest anyone with a blue slash?” André asked.
“Of course not, André. We’d be arresting the informant,” Bertrand said. “We’d alert the spy to our presence and miss out opportunity.”
“So we must follow the people in blue sashes and observe who they talk to,” Athos surmised.
“Might I suggest we change out of our uniforms for this mission?” Tréville said.
“Good idea,” André agreed. “We’ll blend with the general populace if we’re dressed in street clothes.
“Don’t dress too ostentatious,” Bertrand warned. “We wish to blend, not stand out.”
“Agreed,” Tréville said. He turned to Vitry. “Permission to depart.”
“Granted,” the captain said and walked away.
As they walked out of the Louvre, Tréville turned to his companions, “Let us agree to meet at the Point Neuf in one half-hour.”
The four friends parted company. Athos made his way to his quarters on Rue Ferou. He dressed in just a simple shirt and vest with breeches. He wore his simple brown cloak over his clothes and he concealed his expensive wheellock pistol tucked in his belt behind his back. He headed to Point Neuf to meet his friends.
Back in the Palais des Tuileries, after the girls returned to their rooms, and dressed for dinner, Marie put more thought into future adventures. She watched as the maids entered and exited the rooms without being noticed. Many of them were as young as she was. She was struck with inspiration, and after dinner she took advantage of the passages once again to visit the laundry. While the servants were busy attending to the many clothes that Louis and his entourage consume, Marie found the maid’s uniforms and stole two pairs: one for her one and one for Anne. Her plan was simple: dressed as maids, the two young women could come and go as they please. They would even be able to move about the city in relative obscurity. She hid the dresses in the passage near her room and joined the Queen and her companions for the rest of the evening. She did not notice that the guards were different that evening, for she had fallen victim to the same phenomenon that she was counting on to be invisible, in that she took no notice of the usually omnipresent guards.
That night, she dressed as a maid. Her disguise was perfect. When she looked in the mirror, she barely recognized herself. She hoped that no one would ask the Infanta to clean something. By now she was on intimate terms with the passageways, although she didn’t forgo the candelabra. She found the maid’s dress comfortable and effortless to maneuver in. She easily made her way to Anne’s room. When she reached the secret door that led to her friend’s room she stopped short. She heard voices. She didn’t want to burst into the room and betray their secret to whomever she was talking to, so she cracked the door open and peered inside. What she saw made her gasp.
Still dressed from dinner, Anne stood in the middle of the room surrounded by three guards. Each one of them had their sword drawn and pointed at her. The one with his back turned to her had the point of his sword dangerously close to Anne’s neck. At once she could tell they were imposters. They were rough-looking and unkempt, unlike the close shaven elite Guard du Corps.
“I swear,” the man threatening Anne growled. “If you scream, I will pierce your throat.”
“Quién crees que eres?” the Infanta spat in her native tongue. Her words were brave, but Marie could see her hands trembling.
Marie’s first thought was to run and get the guards, but who were the guards? Who could she trust? She knew she could trust Athos, or could she? Even so, could she find him fast enough? She knew she had to act.
She burst through the door. “Let her go!” she shouted, running into the room. She felt something metal crack against the back of her skull for her troubles. The world went red for a moment, pursued immediately by black.
The world was still black when she opened her eyes. She was on her back in darkness. She sat up and immediately her head throbbed. She was in the passageway, but where? She tumbled to her feet and felt along the dirty wall until she found a door. She opened it and found herself back in Anne’s room. The room looked spotless. If she hadn’t witnessed it herself, she wouldn’t think the abduction had even occurred.
Why was she still alive? Did they know who she was? If they thought she was just a maid, why would they care if she lived or died? She had to tell someone.
Making sure the passage was secure, she ran out of Anne’s room and her eyes were instantly assaulted by light. It was daytime. What time was it? How long was she unconscious? She ran down the hall, hair askew and attracting looks from everyone wondering what was wrong with the maid.
She found the Queen Regent, along with the Concinis. When she ran in, they looked surprised. It took them a moment to realize exactly who she was.
“Mlle de Montbazon?” Leodora asked. “Is that you?”
She looked down at her clothes. She forgotten she was still dressed as a maid.
“Yes, of course,” she said breathlessly. “Where is the Infanta?”
The Concinis’ and the Queen were momentarily speechless. They looked at each other.
“You don’t know?” the Queen asked.
Marie was confused. “Should I?”
“Where is that letter?” the Queen inquired.
Concini held up a small letter. “I have it here,” he said and handed it to the Queen.
The Queen held the letter up and read. “Your majesty, my new friend, Marie de Rohan, has generously invited me to spend some time at her father’s house. I am leaving immediately. Forgive me for not saying farewell in person, but I am eager to see more of this country. Yours always, Anne of Austria.”
Marie was stunned. Who sent that letter? Couldn’t they tell that Anne couldn’t have written anything so casually in French? How is it that they accepted her absence so completely? Could it be there were even stupider than she thought? She was struck with a horrifying thought.
Maybe they knew she was kidnapped.
“Why are you not with her?” asked Concini. “And why are you dressed as a maid?”
She had to think fast. If she played along, then maybe she could figure about if anyone in this room was involved.
“I’m leaving later today,” she explained. “I’m not ready for travel. As for the maid’s costume, well, I was thinking of a costume party. Wouldn’t it be just hysterically funny to dress as servants for an evening?” she asked, affecting an airy tone.
Her suggestion was bet with stony silence. “No,” the Queen said dryly.
“Well it was just a thought,” she said. The other people in the room were stone-faced. She couldn’t tell what anyone was thinking.
“If it pleases you,” she said, “I think I would like to change and prepare for my trip.”
The Queen seemed bored. “Fine,” she said, dismissively.
Marie dashed back to her room. There had to be a traitor in their midst, but who? Who could she trust? She knew only one person who she could go to.
- All For One- Chapter Thirteen
The next Chapter in the Three Musketeers prequel
- All For One- Chapter Fifteen
The Next Chapter in the Three Musketeers prequel