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837
IRON MASK


prisoner of so much concern to Louis XIV. at this time. He points out that Colbert, on the 3rd, 10th and 24th of June, writes from London to Louis XIV. about his efforts to get Martin, Roux de lIarsilly's valet, to go to France, and on the 1st of July expresses a hope that Charles II. will surrender “the valet.” Then, on the 19th of July, Dauger is arrested at Dunkirk, the regular port from England. Mr Lang regards his conclusion as to the identity between these valets as irresistible. It is true that what is certainly known about Martin hardly seems to provide sufficient reason for Eustache Dauger being regarded for so long a time as a specially dangerous person. But Mr Lang's answer on that point is that this humble supernumerary in Roux cle Marsilly's conspiracy simply became one more wretched victim of the “red tape” of the old French absolute monarchy.

Unfortunately for this identification, it encounters at once a formidable, if not fatal, objection. Martin, the Huguenot conspirator lIarsilly's valet, must surely have been himself a Huguenot. Dauger, on the other hand, was certainly a Catholic; indeed Louvois's second letter to Saint-Mars about him (Sept. 10, 1669) gives precise directions as to his being allowed to attend mass at the same time as F ouquet. It may perhaps be argued that Dauger (if Martin) simply did not make bad worse by proclaiming his creed; but against this, Louvois must have known that Martin was a Huguenot. Apart from that, it will be observed that the substantial reason for connecting the two men is simply that both were “ valets.” The identification is inspired by the apparent necessity of an explanation why Dauger, being a valet, should be a political prisoner of importance. The assumption, however, that Dauger was a valet when he was arrested is itself as unnecessary as the fact is intrinsically improbable. Neither Louvois's letter of July 19, 1669, nor Dauger's employment as valet to Fouquet in 167 5 (six years later)-and these are the only grounds on which the assumption rests-prove anything of the sort.

Was Dauger a valet? If Dauger was the “ mask, ” it is just as well to remove a misunderstanding which has misled too many commentators.

1. If Louvois's letter of July IQ be read in connexion with the preceding correspondence it will be seen that ever since Fouquct's incarceration in 1665 Saint-Mars had had trouble over his valets. They fall ill, and there is difficulty in replacing them, or they play the traitor. At last, on the 12th of March 1669, Louvois writes to Saint-Mars to say (evidently in answer to some suggestion from Saint-Mars in a letter which is not preserved): “ It is annoying that both F ouquet's valets should have fallen ill at the same time, but you have so far taken such good measures for avoiding inconvenience that I leave it to you to adopt whatever course is necessary.” There are then no letters in existence from Saint-Mars to Louvois up to Louvois's letter of July 19, in which he first refers to Dauger; and for three months (from April 22 to July 19) there is a gap in the correspondence, so that the sequence is obscure. The portion, however, of the letter of the 10th of July, cited above, in which Louvois uses the words “ ce n'est qu'un valet, ” does not, in the present writer's judgment, refer to Dauger at all, but to something which had been mooted in the meanwhile with a view to obtaining a valet for Fouquet. This is indeed the natural reading of the letter as a whole. If Louvois had meant to write that Dauger was “ only a valet ” he would have started by saying so. On the contrary, he gives precise and apparently comprehensive directions in the first part of the letter about how he is to be treated: “Je vous en donne advis par advance, afm que vous puissiez faire accomoder un cachot on vous le mettrez surement, observant de faire en sorte que les jours qu'aura le lieu on il sera ne donnent point sur les lieux qui puissent estre abordez de personne, et qu'il y ayt assez de portes fermées, les unes sur les autres, pour que vos sentinelles ne puissent bien entendre, " &c. Having finished his instructions about Dauger, he then proceeds in a fresh paragraph to tell Saint-Mars that orders have been given to “ Sieur Poupart ” to do “ whatever you shall desire.” He is here dealing with a different question; and it is unreasonable to suppose. iM1=s1§ t c any

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and indeed contrary to the style in which Louvois corresponds with Saint-Mars, that he devotes the whole letter to the one subject with which he started. The words “ et vous ferez préparer les meubles qui sont nécessaires pour la vie de celui que l'on vous aménera ” are not'at all those which Louvois would use with regard to Dauger, after what he has just said about him. Why “ celui que l'on vous aménera, ” instead of simply “»Dauger, ” who was being brought, as he has said, by Vauroy? The clue to the interpretation of this phrase may be found in another letter from Louvois not six months later (Jan. 1, 1670), when he writes: “ Le roy se remet a vous d'en uzer comme vous l e jugerez a propos a l'esgard des valets de Monsieur Foucquet; il faut seulement observer que si vous luy donnez des valets que l' on vous aménera d'icy, il pourra bien arriver qu'ils seront gaignez par avance, et qu'ainsy ils feroient pis que ceux que vous en osteriez présentement.” Here we have the identical phrase used of valets whom it is contemplated to bring in from outside for Fouquet; though it does not follow that any such valet was in fact brought in. The whole previous correspondence (as well as a good deal afterwards) is full of the valet difficulty; and it is surely more reasonable to suppose that when Louvois writes to Saint-Mars on the 19th of July that he is sending Dauger, a new prisoner of importance, as to whom “il est de la derniére importance qu'il soit gardé avec une grande seureté, ” his second paragraph as regards the instructions to “ Sieur Poupart " refers to something which Saint-Mars had suggested about getting a valet from outside, and simply points out that in preparing furniture for “ celui que l'on vous aménera ” he need not do much, “ comme ce n'est qu'un valet.”

2. But this is not all. If Dauger had been originally a valet, he might as well have been used as such at once, when one was particularly wanted. On the contrary, Louvois flatly refused Saint-Mars's request in 1672 to be allowed to do so, and was exceedingly chary of allowing it in 167 5 (only “ en cas de nécessite, ” and “ vous pouvez donner le dit prisonnier a M. Foucquet, si son valet venoit a luy manquer et non autrement ). The words used by Saint-Mars in asking Louvois in 1672 if he might use Dauger as Lauzun's valet are themselves significant to the point of conclusiveness: “Il ferait, ce me semble, un bon Valet.” Saint-Mars could not have said this if Dauger had all along been known to be a valet. The terms of his letter to Louvois (Feb 20, 1672) show that Saint-Mars wanted to use Dauger as a valet simply because he was not a valet. That a person might be used as a valet who was not really a valet is shown by Louvois having told Saint-Mars in 1666 (June 4) that Fouquet's old doctor, Pecquet, was not to be allowed to serve him “ soit dans sa profession, soit dans le mestier d'un simple valet.” The fact was that Saint-Mars was hard put to it in the prison for anybody who could be trusted, and that he had convinced himself by this time that Dauger (who had proved a quiet harmless fellow) would give no trouble. Probably he wanted to give him some easy employment, and save him from going mad in connnernent. It is worth noting that up to 1672 (when Saint-Mars suggested utilizing Dauger as valet to Lauzun) none of the references to Dauger in letters after that of July 19, 1669, suggests his being a valet; and their contrary character makes it all the more clear that the second part of the letter of July IQ does not refer to Dauger.

In this connexion it may be remarked (and this is a point on which Funck-Brentano entirely misinterprets the allusion) that, even in his capacity as valet to Fouquet, Dauger was still regarded an as exceptional sort of prisoner; for in 1679 when Fouquet and Lauzun were afterwards allowed to, walk freely all over the citadel, Louvois impresses on Saint-Marsthat “ le nommé Eustache ” is never to be allowed to 'be in Fouq1et's room when Lauzun or any other stranger, or anybody but Fouquet and the “ancien valet, ” La Riviére, is there, and that he is to stay in Fouquet's room when the latter goes out to walk in the citadel, and is only to go out walking with Fouquet and La Riviére when they promenade in the special part of the fortress previously set apart for them (Louvois's letter to Saint-Mars,

Jan. 30, 1676)).