When the war ended in August of 1630, Richelieu hearing that the King was gravely ill, rushed to Lyon. Louis suffered from fever and dysentery so commonly caught in the hot, swampy areas of France. By the time Richelieu arrived, Louis had been bled seven times and given the Last Rites of the Catholic church. His brother Gaston, next in line for the throne was quickly summoned and the court waited with bated breath to see the final over-throw of the hated Cardinal. Once again, Richelieu was on the precipice.
The Queen mother waited to give the signal for his arrest as an enemy of the State, the person who had blocked her ambitions. Louis summoned the Duc de Montmorency and commended the Cardinal to his protection in Languedoc. No sooner had he done this than an internal abscess burst. It was his mother and Queen Anne who nursed him and tried to bring him under their influence. Louis was swayed in so far as he made an agreement that he would consider ending the Cardinal’s career once the Italian campaign was over.
The war did end and Marie threw a great celebration not for the end of the war but to celebrate the imminent downfall of her enemy. To her surprise, the King, now recovered was reconsidering his position with the man whose brilliance had turned the tide. He assured Marie of the Cardinal’s loyalty. She was asked to reconcile with Richelieu and attend the royal Council as usual. Marie agreed and as a show of confidence invited the Cardinal’s niece back into her employment from which she had been cast, all this just a ruse. She seethed with rage at the news of Richelieu’s alliance with the King of Sweden, a Protestant. Madame de Combalet, the Cardinal’s neice, a reserved and sensitive girl returned for her re-appointment and was met with such a berating that she fled the chamber in tears. Still, Marie promised Louis that she would honour her committment to reconciling with the Cardinal but it took only a few minutes after his appearance for her to explode into a torrent of epithets. He was a knave and a traitor to his King and country. She would never sit at council with him again. Richelieu left.
Marie brought every pressure to bear on her son, a son who was easily confused by scenes such as these. At the hunt, he was strong and bold but in these situations he teetered on the brink of childishness. Reminded by his aide de chambre, Saint-Simon that he was after all master of the kingdom, Louis started to regain his composure and determined to put matters right. He returned to the Luxembourg, Marie’s splendid palace, where she again attempted to persuade him to release Richelieu’s ministers and replace them with hers. In the meantime the Cardinal himself arrived at the Palace. Finding all the doors locked to the chamber,he routed himself through a secret passage and entered . The King was surprised but Marie upon seeing him lost no time in attacking him once more. At this, he reverted to his prime tactic of propitiation and tears, asking to be sent to retirement. The King seemed to accept this and Richelieu returned to the Petite Luxembourg distraught, his dismissal could mean exile at the least and death at the worst. Louis appointed the two Marillac brothers as his mother had said and then left for the hunting lodge, his place of refuge.
At word of the Cardinal’s downfall, Paris breathed a sigh of relief. What ever good he had done had been counteracted by acts of tyranny. To build the Palais Cardinal, he had displaced people and their livelihoods. The Luxembourg was soon surrounded by a crowd grateful to the Queen Mother. Couriers were sent all over Europe and her return to power was celebrated with Queen Anne and Monsieur, the King’s brother.
While the Cardinal sat in despair, some of the more conscientious men of the court, decided that Richelieu should follow the King to Versailles on the pretext of saying good-bye. When he arrived there was a long conversation with Louis during which their devotion to each other was re-established, again each man realizing the critical role played in the other’s life. The announcement was made with great joy to the attending courtiers, then letters began to fly once more. A letter of appreciation and devotion to Louis and one to his family telling them that although their services would no longer be needed, not to blame Louis. Another letter to the garrulous old soldier, Amador de la Porte, his uncle, not to attack the queen verbally as he still owed her his entry into court. Several arrests followed as Marie’s followers were displaced by Richelieu’s men. Louis had stated that he would find a way to deal with his mother and overcome the influence of her followers. It would not take long for the Cardinal to deal with them in his own way.