Beauvouloir was the Coyctier of this Louis XI. Nevertheless, and no matter how valuable his knowledge might be, he never obtained over the government of Normandy, in whom was the ferocity of religious warfare, as much influence as feudality exercised over that rugged nature.
"Ha!" cried Coyctier, bursting into a diabolical, coarse laugh, "somnambulists never remember on their waking what they have done when asleep." "Leave us," said the king. When Louis XI. was alone with his silversmith, he looked at him and chuckled coldly. "Messire Hoogworst," he said, with a nod, "all treasures buried in France belong to the king."
"I am your physician," replied the other, insolently. At this answer, Louis XI. made the gesture which was customary with him when a good idea was presented to his mind; he shoved up his cap with a hasty motion. "At such times," continued Coyctier, "persons attend to their business while asleep. As this man is fond of hoarding, he has simply pursued his dearest habit.
"Let us hear about that," said Louis XI., going out into the courtyard of Plessis, followed by his silversmith, Coyctier his physician, Olivier de Daim, and the captain of his Scottish guard. "Tell me about it. Another man to hang for you! Hola, Tristan!" The grand provost, who was walking up and down the courtyard, came with slow steps, like a dog who exhibits his fidelity.
Olivier," he said, addressing the barber, "go and tell Monsieur de Montbazon to serve some good Bourgeuil wine at dinner, and see that the cook doesn't forget the lampreys; Madame le comtesse likes both those things. Can I eat lampreys?" he added, after a pause, looking anxiously at Coyctier. For all answer the physician began to examine his master's face. The two men were a picture in themselves.
If you would give yourself the amusement of watching him at such times, you would see that old man stepping without danger at the very edge of the roof. I noticed in the two other cases I have already observed, a curious connection between the actions of that nocturnal existence and the interests and occupations of their daily life." "Ah! Maitre Coyctier, you are a wise man."
"Who is that?" said the king. The two courtiers questioned each other with a look of surprise. "He is dreaming," said Coyctier, in a low voice. "Pasques-Dieu!" cried Louis XI., "do you think me mad? People are crossing the bridge. It is true I am near the chimney, and I may hear sounds more easily than you. That effect of nature might be utilized," he added thoughtfully.
"To-day!" cried the king in terror. "Compose yourself, sire," replied Coyctier. "I am here. Try not to fret your mind; find some way to amuse yourself." "Ah!" said the king, "my daughter Marie used to succeed in that difficult business." As he spoke, Imbert de Bastarnay, sire of Montresor and Bridore, rapped softly on the royal door.
Louis XI. or Coyctier could post men to watch him during his sleep and discover the unknown gulf into which he had cast his riches, those riches he had watered with the blood of so many innocent men. And then, beside his fear, arose Remorse.
Amazing assemblages of contrasts! a great power in a feeble body; a spirit unbelieving as to all things here below, devoutly believing in the practices of religion; a man struggling with two powers greater than his own the present and the future; the future in which he feared eternal punishment, a fear which led him to make so many sacrifices to the Church; the present, namely his life itself, for the saving of which he blindly obeyed Coyctier.