With this I made a half movement to go, but she stayed me with a little gesture of command. "Monsieur Broussel, I have a favour to ask of you; will you grant it?" "Mademoiselle, all that is in my power I will do. What is it?" For answer she stood up and placed a hand on my shoulder, her eyes looking straight into mine. "Monsieur, a brave man like you should not be a gaoler of women. Let me free!"
He protested that he would do nothing for the future without my advice, showed me the foreign despatches, and, in short, was so affable, that honest Broussel, who was likewise present upon his invitation, for all his harmless simplicity, laughed heartily as we were going out, and said that it was all mere buffoonery.
They appeased those at the first two barricades by telling them that the Queen had promised them satisfaction; but those at the third barricade would not be paid in that coin, for a journeyman cook, advancing with two hundred men, pressed his halberd against the First President, saying, "Go back, traitor, and if thou hast a mind to save thy life, bring us Broussel, or else Mazarin and the Chancellor as hostages."
"The first who advances is a dead man!" cried Raoul, for it was in fact he, who, feeling himself pressed and almost crushed by a gigantic citizen, pricked him with the point of his sword and sent him howling back. Comminges, so to speak, threw Broussel into the carriage and sprang in after him.
"I will do it with all my heart," said Comminges; "for I know who you are and what service you once performed for her majesty; I know, too, how dear to you is the young man who came so valiantly to my aid when that old rogue of a Broussel was arrested. I am entirely at your service, except only for my orders." "Thank you, sir; what I am about to ask will not compromise you in any degree."
The Parliament, returning and saying nothing about the liberation of Broussel, were received by the people with angry murmurs instead of with loud acclamations.
"I obey, I obey, sir!" cried Broussel, trying to disengage himself from the grasp of his two daughters and by a look restrain his son, who seemed determined to dispute authority. "In that case," commanded Comminges, "silence that old woman." "Ah! old woman!" screamed Nanette.
Fire was applied to the doors defended by the archers; all the outlets were guarded by men beside themselves; more than thirty burgesses of note were massacred; many died of their wounds, the Hotel de Ville was pillaged, Marshal de l'Hopital escaped with great difficulty, and the provost of tradesmen yielded up his office to Councillor Broussel.
The queen had restored Broussel and Blancmesnil to the people and had therefore nothing to fear, since the people had nothing more just then to ask for. The princes and princesses were invited and their carriages had crowded the court since noon; then after dinner the queen was to have a play in her apartment.
There were, it was computed, no less than 1260 barricades all over Paris, and the Parliament was perfectly amazed at the excitement produced by the capture of Broussel. Finding that they had such supporters, the Parliament was more than ever determined to make a stand for its rights whatever they might be.