The Te Deum For the Victory at Lens

All that commotion which Queen Henrietta had observed, and the cause of which she vainly sought, was occasioned by the tidings of the victory of Lens, of which M. le Prince had made the Duc de Chatillon the bearer. The Duke had distinguished himself greatly in the affair; and he was, besides, ordered to suspend from the ceiling of Notre Dame twenty-two standards taken from the Lorrainers and the Spaniards.

This news was decisive, and at once determined the quarrel begun with the Parliament in favour of the Court. All the imposts so summarily registered, and which the Parliament had opposed, had always been demanded for the ostensible purpose of upholding the honour of France, and with the fortuitous hope of beating the enemy. But since Nordlingen, the army had only met with reverses; and the Parliament had therefore openly questioned Mazarin respecting the victories so often promised, yet always deferred. Now, however, the troops had at last been engaged; they had triumphed and their triumph was complete. So everyone understood that this was a double victory for the Court - a victory in the interior as well as on the frontiers; so much so that even the young King, on hearing the news, exclaimed: "Ah! gentlemen of the Parliament, we shall see what you will say now!"

Whereupon the Queen pressed to her bosom the royal child, whose haughty and indomitable sentiments accorded so well with her own. A council was held the same evening, to which Marshal de la Meilleraie and M.de Villeroy had been summoned as adherants of Mazarin; Chavigny and Serguier, because they hated the Parliament; and Guitaut and Comminges, because of their devotion to the Queen.

The decision of the council had not transpired. It was only known that on the following Sunday a Te Deum would be chanted at Notre Dame to celebrate the victory of Lens.

On the following Sunday, therefore, the Parisians awoke in high spirits. A Te Deum was, at that time, a grand affair; this kind of ceremony had not then been abused, and it was effective. The sun seemed to share in the festival; it rose brilliantly and gilded the dark towers of the metropolis, already filled with an immense multitude of people; the most obscure streets of the city had assumed a holiday air, and all along the quays, endless throngs of citizens and artisans, of women and children, were seen going towards Notre Dame, like a river rushing back to its source.

The shops were deserted, the houses were shut; every one wished to see the young King and his mother, and the famous Cardinal Mazarin, whom they hated so much that no one liked to miss seeing him.

Moreover, the greatest liberty reigned amid this vast assemblage. Every tone of opinion was openly expressed, and, so to speak, rang insurrection even as the thousand bells of the Parisian churches rang for the Te Deum. The police being under the control of the city itself, nothing disturbed the concert of universal hatred, or froze bitter words in slanderous mouths.