Summary (Masterplots, Fourth Edition)
In Paris, Bussy d’Ambois is a soldier and gentleman too poor to gain favor at the court. He meets Monsieur, brother of King Henry III, by appointment in a side street. Monsieur, chiding Bussy for his downcast countenance, reminds him that some of the greatest men in history have endured obscurity and exile before becoming renowned. Anxious to have ambitious and ruthless young men about him, Monsieur invites Bussy to be his man and to become a courtier. Later, Maffe, Monsieur’s steward, comes to Bussy and, seeing the wretched state he is in, gives him only one hundred crowns of the thousand that Monsieur sent Bussy. Bussy, perceiving that Maffe is a proud scoundrel and knowing Monsieur’s reputation for generosity, is able to talk Maffe out of the remaining nine hundred crowns. With the money in his possession, Bussy strikes Maffe in payment for his insubordination. Maffe hints that he will be avenged.
Monsieur introduces Bussy, dressed in fine new clothes, at court. As he is presented to various noble people of the court, he impresses them with his directness. The duke of Guise jealously notes that Bussy is being quite free with the duke’s wife, Elenor, and suggests that Bussy not be so forward. Bussy, in conduct unlike that expected of a courtier, answers Guise sharply. Although warned by Monsieur, Bussy persists in dallying pleasantly with Elenor. Having offended Guise, Bussy also bluntly incurs the enmity of three courtiers, Barrisor, l’Anou,...
(The entire section is 1382 words.)
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