Summary (Masterplots, Fourth Edition)
One June day in 1639, at the château of Chaumont in Touraine, young Henri d’Effiat, the marquis of Cinq-Mars, takes leave of his family and sets out, at the request of Cardinal Richelieu, Louis XIII’s chief minister, to join King Louis XIII’s forces at the Siege of Perpignan. Shortly after he leaves, his mother’s guest, Marshal Bassompierre, is placed under arrest at Richelieu’s order and sent in chains toward Paris and the Bastille. Young Cinq-Mars tries to release the marshal, but the haughty old soldier refuses to be rescued. As if his flouting of the king’s officers were not enough for one day, Cinq-Mars returns under cover of night to the château to bid good-bye to Marie de Gonzaga, the beautiful duchess of Mantua, who has been staying with Cinq-Mars’s mother at the château. He returns to bid her farewell because the two, despite the differences of their stations, are very much in love.
Finally leaving Chaumont, Cinq-Mars, accompanied by a few servants, sets out for Loudun. Upon his arrival, he finds the town in turmoil because a local clergyman, a monk named Urbain Grandier, is on trial, accused of being a magician. Charges against the monk have been made by order of Richelieu, who wishes to do away with the independent cleric. The Abbé Quillet, Cinq-Mars’s former tutor, has taken the clergyman’s part and is about to leave Loudun in secret, fearful for his own life. At the execution of Grandier, Cinq-Mars discovers that...
(The entire section is 1217 words.)
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