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Title: The Book of Princes and Princesses
Author: Lang, Mrs.
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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[Transcriber's Note: Bold text is surrounded by =equal signs= and italic
text is surrounded by _underscores_.]

                              THE BOOK OF
                         PRINCES AND PRINCESSES


                         THE FAIRY BOOK SERIES

                         EDITED BY ANDREW LANG

                        _Crown 8vo, gilt edges._

      THE BLUE FAIRY BOOK. With 138 Illustrations. $2.00.
      THE RED FAIRY BOOK. With 100 Illustrations. $2.00.
      THE GREEN FAIRY BOOK. With 99 Illustrations. $2.00.
      THE GREY FAIRY BOOK. With 65 Illustrations. $2.00.
      THE YELLOW FAIRY BOOK. With 104 Illustrations. $2.00.
      THE PINK FAIRY BOOK. With 67 Illustrations. $2.00.
      THE VIOLET FAIRY BOOK. With 8 Coloured Plates and 54 other
            Illustrations. Net, $1.60. By mail, $1.75.
      THE CRIMSON FAIRY BOOK. With 8 Coloured Plates and 45 other
            Illustrations. Net, $1.60. By mail, $1.75.
      THE ORANGE FAIRY BOOK. With 8 Coloured Plates and 50 other
            Illustrations. Net, $1.60. By mail, $1.75.
      THE BROWN FAIRY BOOK. With 8 Coloured Plates and 42 other
            Illustrations. Net, $1.60. By mail, $1.75.
      THE OLIVE FAIRY BOOK. With 8 Coloured Plates and 43 other
            Illustrations. Net, $1.60. By mail, $1.75.
      THE BOOK OF PRINCES AND PRINCESSES. With 8 Coloured Plates
            and 45 other Illustrations. Net, $1.60. By mail, $1.75.
      THE BLUE POETRY BOOK. With 100 Illustrations. $2.00.
      THE TRUE STORY BOOK. With 66 Illustrations. $2.00.
      THE RED TRUE STORY BOOK. With 100 Illustrations. $2.00.
      THE ANIMAL STORY BOOK. With 67 Illustrations. $2.00.
      THE RED BOOK OF ANIMAL STORIES. With 65 Illustrations. $2.00.
      THE ARABIAN NIGHTS ENTERTAINMENTS. With 66 Illustrations. $2.00.
      THE BOOK OF ROMANCE. With 8 Coloured Plates and 44 other
            Illustrations. Net, $1.60. By mail, $1.75.
      THE RED ROMANCE BOOK. With 8 Coloured Plates and many other
            Illustrations by H. J. Ford. Net, $1.60. By mail, $1.75.

                  Longmans, Green, and Co., New York.




                              THE BOOK OF
                         PRINCES AND PRINCESSES


                               MRS. LANG

                         EDITED BY ANDREW LANG



                        LONGMANS, GREEN, AND CO.
                    91 AND 93 FIFTH AVENUE, NEW YORK
                      LONDON, BOMBAY, AND CALCUTTA



                            COPYRIGHT, 1908
                        LONGMANS, GREEN, AND CO.

                         _All rights reserved_

               _The Plimpton Press Norwood Mass. U.S.A._


                              DEDICATED TO


                             THE AUTHORESS



ALL the stories about Princes and Princesses in this book are true
stories, and were written by Mrs. Lang, out of old books of history.
There are some children who make life difficult by saying, first that
stories about fairies are true, and that they like fairies; and next
that they do not like true stories about real people, who lived long
ago. I am quite ready to grant that there really are such things as
fairies, because, though I never saw a fairy, any more than I have seen
the little animals which lecturers call _molecules_ and _ions_, still I
have seen people who have seen fairies—truthful people. Now I never
knew a lecturer who ventured to say that he had seen an ion or a
molecule. It is well known, and written in a true book, that the
godmother of Joan of Arc had seen fairies, and nobody can suppose that
such a good woman would tell her godchild what was not true—for
example, that the squire of the parish was in love with a fairy and used
to meet her in the moonlight beneath a beautiful tree. In fact, if we
did not believe in fairy stories, who would care to read them? Yet only
too many children dislike to read true stories, because the people in
them were real, and the things actually happened. Is not this very
strange? And grown-ups are not much wiser. They would rather read a
novel than Professor Mommsen's 'History of Rome'!

How are we to explain this reluctance to read true stories? Is it
because children are _obliged_, whether they like it or not, to learn
lessons which, to be sure, are often dry and disagreeable, and history
books are among their lessons. Now Nature, for some wise purpose
probably, made most children very greatly dislike lesson books. When I
was about eight years old I was always reading a book of true stories
called 'The Tales of a Grandfather': no book could be more pleasant. It
was in little dumpy volumes that one could carry in his pocket. But when
I was sent to school they used this book as a school book, in one large
ugly volume, and at school I never read it at all, and could not answer
questions in it, but made guesses, which were not often right. The truth
seems to be that we hate doing what we _must_ do; and Sir Walter Scott
himself, who wrote the book, particularly detested reading or writing
what he was obliged to read or write, and always wanted to be doing
something else.

This book about Princes and Princesses is not one which a child is
_obliged_ to read. Indeed the stories are not put in order, beginning
with the princes who lived longest ago and coming down gradually to
people who lived nearest our own time. The book opens with the great
Napoleon Bonaparte, who died when some very old people still living were
alive. Napoleon was not born a prince, far from it; his father was only
a poor gentleman on a wild rough little island. But he made himself not
merely a king, but the greatest of all emperors and generals in war. He
is not held up as a person whom every boy should try to imitate, but it
is a truth that Napoleon always remained a boy in his heart. He liked to
make up stories of himself, doing wonderful things which even he was
unable to do. When he was a boy he played at being a general, making
snow fortresses and besieging them, just as many boys do. And when he
was a man he dreamed of conquering all the East, Asia, and India, and
Australia; and he tried to do all that, but it was too much even for

He used to think that he would write a new religious book, like Mahomet,
and ride on a dromedary to conquer India, with his own book in his hand.
Can anything be more like a boy's fancy? He even set out in the
direction of India, but he stopped to besiege a little weak ruinous town
called Acre, in the Holy Land, and the Turks and English, under Sir
Sidney Smith, defeated him, and made him turn back, so that, later, he
never came nearer India than Moscow, whence he was driven back to France
by the snow and frost and the Russian army. After that he never had much
luck, though he had won so many battles, and made himself an Emperor,
and married an Emperor's daughter, like a poor young man in a fairy
tale. I am sure that no fairy prince ever did such extraordinary things
of all sorts as Napoleon; but another story shows how his only son was
very unfortunate, and had a very short and unhappy life, always longing
to be like his famous father. No doubt he might have been happy and
fortunate if Napoleon—like the great boy he was—had not tried to do
more than was possible even for himself. It was like a great boy to take
no trouble to learn difficult languages, and to write such a bad hand
that his marshals and generals could not read his notes written on the
battlefield, and could not be certain what he wanted them to do. Now the
Duke of Wellington, though not so wonderful a general as Napoleon, wrote
a very good hand, when shot and shell were falling all round him, and
there could be no mistake as to what he meant.

In fairy stories the princes and princesses are not always fortunate and
happy, though they are always brave, good, beautiful, and deserving. If
they were always happy and fortunate, nobody would care to read about
them; the stories would be very dull. For example, Prince Meritorio was
the eldest son of Meritorio III., King of Pacifica. He was born healthy,
brave, and clever. At the age of twenty-one years, all of them spent
serenely in learning his lessons, including fencing and fortification,
Prince Meritorio married the eldest daughter of King Benevolo, of the
happy island of Crete. The two kingdoms were always at peace; on the
death of Meritorio III. and Benevolo II. Prince Meritorio came to the
throne of both countries. He had eleven sons, who used to play the
Eleven of the island of Crete and beat them; and when Prince Meritorio
died, at a great age, beloved by all his subjects, he was succeeded by
his eldest son, Prince Sereno.

No doubt Prince Meritorio was happy and fortunate, but as he never had
any troubles or sorrows, as he married his first and only love with the
full consent of the dear and royal parents of both, never was changed
into a rabbit by a wicked magician, never had to fight a dragon or
giant, never was a starving, banished man, but continually had his
regular meals, why, the Life of Prince Meritorio is not worth reading.
Nobody cares a penny about him, any more than they care about George
II., who was a brave man, and as fortunate as a king can be, and yet we
prefer to read about Prince Charlie, who was nearly as unfortunate as
King George was lucky.

Even Napoleon himself, with all his wonderful victories, is more
interesting because he was defeated at last, and died like an imprisoned
eagle, a captive on a little island, than he would be if he had been
constantly fortunate and enormously fat.

It cannot be said that the princes and princesses in this book were too
happy. The Princess Jeanne was perhaps the luckiest, and she had
troubles enough while still a little girl, with being nearly forced to
marry a prince whom she did not want. Indeed all young princesses and
princes were much to be pitied, when they were being vexed with marrying
before they were out of the nursery or the school room. They were
obliged to marry first, and fall in love afterwards if they could, which
is quite the wrong arrangement. Think of King Hacon's mother, too, who
was obliged to prove that she was good by carrying a red-hot iron in her
hands without being burned. The best little girl now alive will be wise
not to try this experiment, if she is accused of breaking anything which
she did not break. Then poor Marie Louise was obliged to marry a king
who was little better than an idiot; and no amount of diamonds, nor all
the gold of Peru, could console her for living such a strange life as
hers was in a foreign country with such a very foolish king. However, he
was fond of her, at least, whereas Henry VIII. was not fond of his many
wives for more than a very short time, and then he cut their heads off,
or sent them away. It was a wise princess who said, when he asked her to
marry him, that if she had two heads he would be welcome to one of them,
but as she had only one she would prefer some other monarch. The
Princess Henriette, too, after all her wanderings, when she was as poor
as a goose girl in a fairy tale, found a very unsatisfactory prince to
marry her at last, and perhaps was not sorry to die young. Truly they
all had strange adventures enough; even Henry VII., though, when once he
was king, he took good care to have no more adventures.

The story of Mary, Queen of Scots, who had so much unhappiness, is not
told here, because very little is known of her childhood. But there are
two tales of her childhood worth remembering. When she was a very little
girl in Scotland, the Governor of the country was Cardinal Beaton. He
was a Catholic, and Henry VIII., being a Protestant, was always at war
with Scotland, and often tried to seize Mary when she was a little
child. Now she had been told a fairy tale about the Red Etin of Ireland,
a kind of red ogre, who stole a king's daughter, 'the flower of fair
Scotland,' and beat her every day. So when Mary, being about three years
old, first saw Cardinal Beaton in all his scarlet clothes, she thought
that _he_ was the Red Etin of Ireland, and was terribly frightened,
crying, 'Kill Red Etin! Kill Red Etin!' They _did_ kill him, presently,
but not because of her command.

The other story is merely that when she was about ten years old, or not
so much, she was taken across the sea with her four little friends, the
four Maries, to France, to marry the king's son. They had a very stormy
voyage, and she was the only one of the company who was not sea-sick. So
she was very merry at the expense of all the others. No doubt a saintly
little princess would have been sorry for their sufferings; still,
perhaps many little girls would have laughed. Many princes have had
disagreeable uncles, like Crookedback Richard; indeed one might think,
like a little girl who had read history books, that 'all uncles are
_villains_.' But perhaps no prince ever had such a terrible ogre of a
father as Prince Frederick of Prussia, who became the great king and
general. Though his father was very particular about making Frederick
clean and neat, we do not find that he ever had a bath, or did more than
wash his hands and face. Indeed Frederick's father was a horrible ogre
in every way, though perhaps it was not unnatural that he did not like
the prince to be perpetually playing the flute, even when out hunting!

After all, when a child thinks of his own father and mother, and his
excellent uncles and aunts, he may be glad that he was not born to be a
prince, and be hidden from his enemies in a bundle of hay, like Duke
Richard, or dressed as a little boy, when she is a little girl; or
locked up for a year in a cold sanctuary; or be smothered in the Tower;
or run all the many uncomfortable risks of all these poor royal
children. The greater a man or woman is, the more terrible are the falls
from greatness, as in the case of the most unhappy of all queens, Marie
Antoinette. To be a good king a man must be far better and wiser than
other men, far more clever too; if he is not, he does more mischief, and
probably has to bear more misfortunes, like Richard II., than any
ordinary person. When we read about kings like Charles II., who only
lived to amuse himself; or Charles VII. of France, who was little
better—and not nearly so amusing—and think how many people far fitter
to be kings died for these unworthy princes, we begin to wonder at
kingship, at making a man king merely because he is his father's son.
However, to consider thus is to consider too curiously, and certainly
the lives of princes and princesses have been full of great adventures,
and are rather more interesting to read about than the lives of the sons
and daughters of the Presidents of Republics. Nobody tries to run away
with them; they have not to be dressed up as beggar boys, or hidden in
bundles of hay, and their fathers never burn their books, break their
flutes, shut them up in prison, and threaten to cut their heads off.

Thus we learn that there is a good side to everything, if we know where
to look for it, which is a very comforting reflection. But only a truly
sagacious person knows where to look for it, if the misfortune happens
to himself.

Meanwhile let British children remember that their forefathers were
loyal even to kings not of the best—"at least, as far as they were
able"—and that we have in our time been blessed with the best Queen who
ever lived. So, as the old song says:

                 _Here's a health unto his Majesty!
                 And he who will not drink his health,
                 We wish him neither wit nor wealth,
                 But only a rope to hang himself!_



          _Napoleon_                                         1
          _His Majesty the King of Rome_                    28
          _The Princess Jeanne_                             56
          _Hacon the King_                                  79
          _Mi Reina! Mi Reina!_                             99
          _Henriette the Siege Baby_                       129
          _The Red Rose_                                   157
          _The White Rose_                                 172
          _Richard the Fearless_                           198
          _Frederick and Wilhelmine_                       214
          _Une Reine Malheureuse_                          249
          _The 'Little Queen'_                             275
          _Two Little Girls and their Mother_              311
          _The Troubles of the Princess Elizabeth_         328


                        _LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS_

                           _COLOURED PLATES_

          (_Engraved by Messrs. André & Sleigh, Ltd., Bushey_)

  _Camilla tells her Tale_ (_p._ 4.)                    _Frontispiece_
  _The Oubliettes_                                   _to face p._  58
  _Inga trusts the Baby to Erlend_                       "         80
  _Marie Louise makes her Petition to the King_          "        104
  _The Red Rose for Lancaster, the White Rose for York_  "        158
  _'You are the first King who has entered Sanctuary'_   "        176
  _William Longsword is proud of his Son Richard_        "        200
  _Isabel 'in the dark evenings'_                        "        276

                           _FULL-PAGE PLATES_

  _'Why did they ever let these beasts enter?'_      _to face p._  20
  _'Open, I want Papa.' 'Sire, I must not let in your
        Majesty'_                                        "         34
  _Inga endures the Ordeal of the Hot Iron_              "         92
  _Richard's last Charge on Bosworth Field_              "        168
  _Frederick practises his Flute even when out Hunting_  "        224
  _Frederick bids farewell to Katte_                     "        240
  _Marie Antoinette and Mozart_                          "        250
  _'Led by the King and the Dauphin'_                    "        262
  _Marie Antoinette goes Hunting with the Dauphin_       "        270

                        _ILLUSTRATIONS IN TEXT_

  _Bonaparte commands his first Army_                               9
  _Bonaparte hears the 'Marseillaise' for the first time_          18
  _Bonaparte in the Battery of the Fearless_                       26
  _Feeding the Gazelles with Tobacco_                              31
  _Napoleon shows the Portrait to the Generals_                    39
  _Jeanne and the King_                                            63
  _Jeanne's rudeness to the Duke of Clèves_                        70
  _The Cardinal reads the King's Letter to Jeanne_                 74
  _'To make him grow taller'_                                      84
  _Marie Louise receives the Visits of Condolence_                102
  _Two Spanish Gentlemen rescue the Queen_                        116
  _The Camarera Mayor gets her Ears boxed!_                       120
  _The Queen envies the Flemish Skaters_                          127
  _'If capture is sure blow up the vessel,' she said_             131
  _Lady Dalkeith's Journey to Dover_                              135
  _'She only waved him out of her path'_                          143
  _'Here, Madame,' said Mazarin, 'are the prizes for a lottery'_  149
  _Herbert brings little Henry to his Wife's Tent_                161
  _The King shows Elizabeth her Map of Destiny_                   178
  _'Desolate and dismayed'_                                       187
  _The Queen entrusts little Richard to the Cardinal_             191
  _'Elizabeth goes to the inn to meet the conspirators'_          195
  _The Truss of Hay_                                              209
  _The Wig-inspector at Work_                                     215
  _'Good gracious, what a figure! Why, she looks like a little
        dwarf'_                                                   220
  _'He stamped it down with his heavy boot'_                      229
  _Brother and Sister meet again_                                 248
  _She delighted in her Dancing Lessons_                          257
  _The Swiss Guard present Arms to Marie Antoinette_              267
  _'Look, look!' she cried to her brothers and sisters_           278
  _Richard and Isabel come to London_                             284
  _The King stops the Duel_                                       290
  _Richard's last Farewell to Isabel_                             295
  _King Richard, Duke Henry and Math the Greyhound_               298


IF you look out of your window in a clear dawn on the French Riviera you
may, if you are fortunate, see, far away to the south, a faint mountain
range hanging on the sea, and if you _do_ see it, it is a sight so
beautiful that you will never forget it. The mountain range belongs to
Corsica, and under its shadow was born the most wonderful man the world
has ever seen—Napoleon.

In the year 1769 two babies were born in widely distant places, both
destined to spend the best years of their lives in a life and death
struggle with each other. The birthday of Arthur Wellesley, afterwards
Duke of Wellington, was on May 1, and his home was an Irish castle;
while Napoleon Buonaparte saw the light in a small house in the little
town of Ajaccio, in Corsica. Napoleon's ancestors came over from Tuscany
early in the sixteenth century, and found in the island a large number
of colonists like themselves, some Italian and some Greek, but all of
them seeking refuge from the foreign armies which for fifty years had
been trying to parcel out Italy among themselves. Though distant only a
few hours' sail from its coasts, the inhabitants of the island were as
different from those of the mainland as if the whole world lay between
them. In Italy men were lazy, yet impulsive, lovers of beauty, of art,
of literature, and of luxury; in Corsica they were gloomy, silent,
watchful, living hardly, careless of everything which had not to do with
their daily lives.

Their hatreds were not only deep and strong, but lasting. As in old
Rome, it was the rule that he 'who slew the slayer' should himself be
slain, and these blood feuds never died out. No wonder that a traveller
was struck with the sight of nearly the whole population wearing
mourning. Almost everyone was related to the rest, and in almost every
family one of its members had recently fallen a victim to a
_vendetta_—what we call a 'blood feud.' Periods of mourning were long,
too, often lasting for ten years, sometimes for life. So the country was
dismal to look at, with the high bare mountains shadowing all. While in
Italy things moved fast, and new customs seemed best, in Corsica they
seldom altered. The father was in some ways as absolute over his wife
and children as in ancient Rome. He gave his orders and they were
obeyed, no matter how hard they might be or how much disliked. His wife
was not expected or wished to be a companion to her husband or a teacher
to her children. Even if a lady by birth, like the mother of Napoleon,
she worked as hard as any servant, for there was little money in
Corsica, and people cultivated their ground so that they might have
produce to exchange with their neighbours—olive oil for wine, chestnuts
for corn, fish for garments woven by the women, from the hair of the
mountain sheep or goats.

The life led by both boys and girls in Corsica made them grow old early,
and Charles Buonaparte, Napoleon's father, married at eighteen the
beautiful Laetitia Ramolino, four years younger than himself. Charles
had studied law in the University of Pisa, and, unlike his
fellow-countrymen, was able to talk French, so that his friends looked
up to him with awe, and often consulted him about their affairs, which
greatly pleased him, as he loved to think himself a person of
importance. He was both restless and ambitious, and in the disturbed
state of the island he saw his chance for advancement. The Corsicans had
lately risen against the rule of Genoa, under the leadership of Paoli,
who wished to form a Republic. But his party was not powerful enough of
itself to drive out the Genoese, so Paoli sent over to Paris to beg the
help of France. It is curious that his common-sense did not tell him
what would be the consequence of this step. The French arrived, and by
their aid the islanders got the upper hand, but when the Genoese had
sailed away the newcomers refused to follow their example. Charles
Buonaparte had at first been one of the strongest partisans of Paoli,
but he was not proof against the offer of the title of 'Conseiller du
Roi,' and of some small legal appointments that were given him by the
French governor. He forsook his former leader and took service with the
French. Henceforward he was no longer 'Buonaparte,' after the Italian
manner, but 'Bonaparte.'

So Napoleon, who was born a few months after this event, was a
Frenchman. He was the fourth child of his parents, but only Joseph, a
year older than himself, was living; and though by-and-by Napoleon
completely ruled his elder brother, for a long while the two stood apart
from the younger children, Joseph sharing Napoleon's affections with
Marianna, his next sister, who died at the age of five. The others who
lived were all much younger, Lucien, the next, being born in 1775.
Madame Bonaparte was so much occupied after Napoleon's birth with trying
to put things straight which had been upset by the war that she was
forced to get a nurse for him. This woman, Camilla Ilari, was the wife
of a man who picked up a living on the seashore, and all her life was
devoted to her nursling, whom she always addressed as 'my son.'

Napoleon, on his part, fully returned her affection, and was never too
great or too busy to give her proofs of it. Thirty-five years later,
when the world was at his feet, she sent to say that she wished to be
present at his coronation in Nôtre Dame. 'There is no one who will be
more welcome,' was his reply, and when she had made the journey and
braved the perils of the sea, and weary days of travel that seem so
strange and so long when you do not understand a word of what is being
said around you—when all this was over, and the Tuileries was reached,
she found Méneval, the Emperor's own secretary, awaiting her, saying
that he was to place himself at her orders and to show her everything
she wished to see. Oh, how happy that old woman was, and what stories
she had to tell when she got back to Corsica! She had long talks with
'Madame Mère,' as the Emperor's mother was now called, and with all her
children, one by one. Even Marianna—or Elise, to give her the new name
she thought more elegant—and Caroline, the youngest, forgot for a few
minutes how grand they had become, and laughed as Camilla reminded them
of the old days and the scoldings she had given them, while Paulette,
who gave herself no airs, but only wanted admiration and petting, asked
fifty questions all at once, and never waited for the answers!

Of course, Camilla had no intention of going home without seeing the
wife of 'mon fils,' and Napoleon's wife, Josephine, sent for her into
her rooms, and, though she could not make out a word that Camilla said,
smiled and nodded in reply, and presented her with two beautiful
diamonds. Most wonderful of all, His Holiness Pope Pius VII. announced
that he wished to give her an audience! Camilla was the proudest woman
in the world when she received that message, but at the same time she
was rather frightened. Why, she had never spoken to a bishop, and how
was she to behave to a Pope? However, M. Méneval, who was the messenger,
suggested that obedience was her first duty, so Camilla rose up and
followed him meekly into the apartments of His Holiness.

'Be seated, my daughter,' said a gentle voice; and Camilla, who had
knelt down at the threshold, got up slowly, and sat very upright in the
chair which Méneval placed for her. For an hour and a half the audience
lasted, the Pope putting to her all sorts of questions as to Napoleon's
infancy and childhood. To begin with she only answered in as few words
as possible, but gradually she ceased to remember where she was and to
whom she was speaking, and poured forth a torrent of recollections about
the nursling whom she loved better than her own son.

'Ah, the Signora Laetitia was a grand lady, and beautiful as an angel!
Yes, there were many children to be sure, and much work needing to be
done for them, but the Signora Laetitia saw to their manners and never
suffered them to lie, or be greedy or rude to each other. Punished? Oh
yes, they were punished; in Corsica punishments were many, but the
children loved their mother none the less for that; and had not her
Napoleone told her only last night how much he had all his life owed to
the advice of his mother? How the poor darling had suffered when he had
gone, at five, for a few months to a girls' school, and how the horrid
little creatures had laughed at him because his stockings would not keep
up! Did they make him cry? Napoleone? She could count on one hand the
tears he had shed since he was born! Well, it was true she _had_ heard
he had wept a little when Joseph, whom he loved better than anyone in
the world, was separated from him at that French school where they were
together; but then, as everyone knew, one tear of Napoleone's was worth
bucketsful of Joseph's! What friends they were, those two, though they
_did_ quarrel sometimes! And how, big and little, they _did_ love water!
If ever you missed them, you might be certain they were bathing in one
of the streams that came down from the mountains, and even when they
were being driven in state to see their noble relations the boys would
be sure to wriggle out of the carriage and jump into the river with
their clothes on!'

Not since he was a boy himself had the Pope been so well amused, but all
kinds of important people were waiting to see him, and very unwillingly
he must put a stop to Camilla's interesting talk. So, reaching some
chaplets and rosaries from a table beside him, he held them out to her,
and signing her to kneel before him, he gave her his blessing. A few
days after the great ceremony Camilla returned to Corsica laden with
gifts, and richer by a pension and many vineyards from 'Napoleone.'


Like other Corsican ladies Laetitia Bonaparte knew nothing of books,
probably not even as much as her friend, the mother of Madame Junot, who
had only read one in her whole life, and that was the 'Adventures of
Telemaque,' which perhaps accounts for her never wishing to read
another! She wrote very badly, and could not speak even her own
language, which was Italian, without making many mistakes, and in this
Napoleon resembled her. In spite of all his wars, of his reading, of the
people he came in contact with, he never succeeded in learning either
German or English, and was forced to speak Spanish through an

It was this inability to 'pick up' languages which made him feel so
dreadfully lonely when, in 1778, he and Joseph were taken by their
father to France, and placed at school at Autun. Neither of them knew a
word of French, but Joseph soon managed to learn enough to make himself
understood, while Napoleon was tongue-tied. For five months they were
left together, and then the younger boy, who was nine, was removed to
the great military school of Brienne, in Champagne, for which the King
had given his father a nomination. It was on this occasion that he shed
the 'few tears' of which Camilla had told the Pope. Poor little boy! he
had no one he could speak to, and hated games unless they had to do with
soldiers. His schoolfellows did not like him, and thought him sulky
because he spent most of his time by himself. Occasionally he wrote
home, but letters to Corsica cost nineteen sous apiece, and he knew that
there was not much money to spare for postage.

Now and then he sent a letter to Joseph, in which he begs him to do his
work and not be lazy; and once he writes to his uncle pointing out that
it would be a pity to make Joseph into a soldier, for he would be no
good in a fight. And as to this Napoleon could speak with certainty, for
in all their boyish quarrels Joseph was never known to return a blow.
One friend he did have, Bourrienne, in after-years his military
secretary, who entered Brienne only a month after he did, and has
written memoirs of his own life. But the rest of the boys stood aloof,
though Napoleon seems to have got on better with the masters. When he
had been at Brienne four years, his father again returned to France to
place Marianna, who was six, at school at St. Cyr, near Paris, and
Lucien, who was eight, at Brienne. Napoleon was glad to see his father,
who died about fifteen months later; but he and Lucien were, of course,
far apart in the school, and, what was more important, they never got on
together, so that Napoleon was not much less lonely than before.
Besides, he was fourteen now, and would soon be going to the military
school in Paris.

That winter it was very cold, and snow fell heavily in Champagne. In
England it would have been welcomed heartily by the boys, who would have
spent hours in snowballing each other; but the masters at Brienne never
thought of this, and gave orders that exercise was to be taken in the
big hall of the college. Now the hall, which only had a fire at one end,
looked very dreary, and nobody felt inclined to play. The older boys
stood round the chimney and the younger ones peered disconsolately out
of the windows, hoping in vain to catch a glimpse of blue sky. Suddenly
young Bonaparte left the fireplace where he had been leaning, and
touched Bourrienne on the shoulder.

'I am not going to stay here,' he said. 'Let us go and make a snow
castle, and besiege it. Who will come?'

'I,' and 'I,' and 'I,' they all shouted, and in a moment they were all
gathered round Napoleon in the courtyard, begging him to tell them what
to do.

'Get as many shovels as you can find in the tool house, and we will make
a castle,' he answered. 'A proper castle with a keep, and a donjon and
battlements. Then we must dig some trenches for cover. When we have
finished we must garrison the castle, and I will lead the attacking
party.' Unfortunately, the spades and shovels left by the gardeners only
numbered about one to every fifteen or twenty boys, so they had to take
them in turns, the others using any tools they could find, or even their
own hands. All the afternoon they worked without a moment's pause, and
at sunset, just before the bell for lessons sounded, the castle was
finished. That night, when the lights were put out in their cold
dormitory, they asked each other anxiously, before they went to sleep,
if they were _quite_ sure that it did not feel any warmer. It would be
dreadful to wake up and to find that their beautiful castle had crumbled
away! Never before had there been so little difficulty in getting out of
bed as when the boys woke up the next morning. No, it was certainly not
warmer; in fact, it was a good deal colder, and their fingers were so
frozen that they could hardly fasten the buttons of their uniforms, but
their faces were rosy and smiling as they trooped down the stairs. At
the classes they were more attentive than usual, and no pranks were
played; nothing must be done which could earn them a punishment, or risk
their being deprived of that glorious sport. So when the hour of
recreation came the whole school filled the courtyard.


It was wonderful, if anyone had cared to notice, what a change had taken
place in the feelings of the boys towards the gloomy, masterful youth
who stood apart, and was disliked and shunned by the rest. Now it was to
_him_ that they looked for orders, and a word from _him_ made them glow
with pleasure. For fourteen happy days the siege went on, sometimes one
party getting the better and sometimes the other, the faults on both
sides being pointed out clearly by Bonaparte himself. At the end of that
time the snow had wasted, and the snowballs had a way of getting mixed
with the small stones of the courtyard, so that the wounds were no
longer imaginary. Then the principal of the college stepped in, and
commanded the fort to be dismantled.

After this the young cadets looked on Napoleon with different eyes. As
to the professors, they had long ago made up their minds about him, and
their opinion agreed in most points with that of M. de Kéralio, who came
to inspect the school in 1784. The inspector found that he was backward
in Latin, in all foreign languages, and wanting in grace of manner, but
that he was distinguished in mathematics, and fond of geography and
history, especially of Plutarch. In conduct he was obedient and
well-behaved, except when his temper got the better of him. In fact,
that he would make an excellent sailor! But Napoleon did _not_ make a
sailor; indeed, except on his voyages to Corsica, Egypt, and St. Helena,
he never went to sea. Instead, one day he climbed to the top of a heavy
lumbering old coach, and travelled slowly to the great military school
in Paris, to which he had a nomination as 'King's Cadet.' The school was
a beautiful building in the Champs Elysées, and had been founded by
Louis XV. for the sons of the nobles. Everything was on the grandest
scale, and the cost was enormous. An immense number of servants were
attached to the institution, besides a quantity of grooms to attend to
the horses in the large stables. There was a private hospital on the
premises, with doctors, surgeons, and four nursing sisters, and a staff
of seven servants. The food was abundant, and consisted, even on fast
days, of soup, two kinds of vegetables, eggs, fish, and three sorts of
fruit for dessert. Two suits of uniform were allowed the cadets in the
year, and these were put on punctually on the first of May and on the
first of November, while their linen was changed three times a week. Of
course, officials of all sorts were necessary to superintend these
departments, and they were legion. The overseer of the kitchen, with its
seven cooks and numerous scullions, was called 'the controller of the
mouth,' and seven porters kept the seven doors. In all, counting the
priests, who said mass daily at half-past six in the morning and prayers
at a quarter to nine at night, a hundred and eleven people were employed
about the school, and this without reckoning any of the professors. For
there were, of course, professors for everything—riding, fencing,
dancing, gunnery, mathematics, artillery, languages, history, geography,
fortification, drawing, and many other things, besides a professor for
special training in all that was then considered essential to good
manners, which included being able to write a well-expressed letter and
to move in society without awkwardness.

At the time that Napoleon Bonaparte entered the Ecole Militaire by far
the greater number of the cadets were young nobles belonging to rich
families, whose reckless waste of money was one of the causes of the
coming Revolution. The luxury of the school was to them a necessary part
of life, but it bore hardly on the King's Cadets—Elèves du Roi—who,
like Napoleon, were all poor. Soon after his arrival he wrote to M.
Berton, the head of the school at Brienne, describing the state of
things he had found in Paris, and the indignation he felt on the
subject. 'It is specially harmful,' he says, 'to the King's Cadets, who
have no money, and, in order to foster their vanity and be on the same
footing as their rich comrades, run into debt, besides rendering them
discontented with their homes. It would be far better only to give them
all a dinner of two courses, and to teach them to wait on themselves, to
brush their clothes, to clean their boots, and to groom their horses.'
And when, years after, he founded his military school at Fontainebleau,
the ideas he had held at sixteen were carried out to the letter. As for
his companions, the effect of the life of luxury was less harmful than
he thought. After the Revolution, now so soon to break out, almost all
of them became _emigrés_, to avoid the vengeance of the Republican
leaders on the whole class of the nobility. Numbers fled to England,
having lost everything they possessed, and we all know with what
splendid courage and gaiety they bore the worst hardships and supported
themselves by teaching their own language and the dances they had
learned in the Ecole Militaire. It is strange that out of the hundreds
of youths who were Napoleon's comrades in Paris only one was destined to
fight by his side, and this was a boy whom he hardly knew by sight, so
recently had he come—Davoust, the future Duke of Auerstädt.

Stern and solitary, yet outspoken when he was strongly moved, Napoleon
was no more a favourite in Paris than he had been at Brienne, yet the
cadets, as well as the greater part of the professors, felt that in some
way or other he stood apart. The director of studies, Valfort, was
struck by the weighty words and keen insight of this boy of sixteen when
he thought it worth his while to speak, which was not often. 'His style
is granite melted in a volcano,' says the professor of grammar about his
exercises, and the phrase may be applied to his life-long character. M.
de l'Esguille, on reading his historical essays on Plutarch, Cæsar,
Rousseau, Tacitus, Voltaire, and a score of other famous writers,
declared that he had a great future before him if he was helped by
circumstances—perhaps not seeing that men like Napoleon fashion their
circumstances for themselves. 'He is the best mathematician in the
school,' replies a student to a question of the German professor, driven
to despair by the dense stupidity of Napoleon over the language; for, as
we have said, neither then nor later could he ever make himself
understood in any foreign tongue; neither could he learn to dance,
although he took lessons. But when he was not at his classes, or engaged
in working for them, the boy might have been found in the great library,
forgetful of cold or hunger, poring over the histories of the past. It
may have been there that he first dreamed the dream of his life—that
some day he too, like Alexander, would march across the desert at the
head of an army, and, entering India on the back of an elephant, would
restore the broken French Empire in the East.

It was the custom of the cadets to remain for three or even four years
in the Ecole Militaire, but Napoleon had only been there ten months
before he passed for the artillery, and was given a commission in the
regiment of La Fère, then quartered in the town of Valence, with pay
amounting to 45_l._ a year. He left Paris at the end of October, the
only Corsican who had ever been admitted to the great military school,
and, accompanied by his friend Des Mazis, arrived at Valence on one of
the early days of November. Here lodgings had been found for him in the
house of a certain Madame Bou, who looked after him and made him
comfortable. The pale sad-looking youth was grateful for her kindness,
and fifteen years later, when he passed through the town on his way from
Egypt, he sent a message that he wished to see her, and gave her a
beautiful Indian shawl that a queen might have envied, and a silver
compass that still may be seen in the Museum at Valence.

Madame Bou's house was the only home he had known for nine years, and
while there he grew for a time younger and happier in the society of
some of her friends. Not that his work gave him much leisure. For three
months he studied hard, for he had to learn drill and to study gunnery
and fortifications. His ardour and quick mastery of all that was most
difficult drew attention and praise from his commanding officers, but
from his equals, as usual, he held aloof. For one thing, he had no money
to enable him to share their pleasures, though he was too proud to
confess it; and for another, his interests and ambitions were widely
different from theirs. To the end he remained the 'Spartan' that the
boys at Brienne had called him. The pomp and glory of his later life was
only put on for purposes of state—an ill-fitting garment, in which he
never felt at ease.

Having once satisfied his colonel as to his knowledge of drill, Napoleon
applied for leave in order to see after the affairs of his family in
Corsica. Charles Bonaparte had died in France of a most painful illness
about six months earlier, and had left behind him many debts, not large
in themselves, but more than Laetitia could pay, and Joseph, who had
been with his father, does not seem to have been able to help her. So in
September, shortly after his seventeenth birthday, Napoleon crossed the
sea once more, and remained in Corsica, with only a short interval, till
1788. He found many changes in the home that he had left eight years
before: Louis, who had then been a tiny baby, was now a big boy, and
there were besides Paoletta, Nunziata (afterwards known as Caroline) and
Jerome, the youngest of them all. Joseph was still his friend and
companion, with whom everything was discussed, for their mother had
become poorer than ever, and was obliged to look closely after
everything, and it was no easy matter to provide such a family with
food. She was heartily glad to see her son again, though like a true
Corsican she said little about it; but was a little disappointed that he
had almost forgotten his Italian, and had become, in everyone's opinion,
'so _very_ Frenchified.' How the cadets of the Ecole Militaire would
have laughed if they had heard it! Bonaparte, who could never learn to
dance, or to bow, or to turn a graceful compliment! But though Joseph
was perhaps pleasanter, and more popular, and made more friends, there
was something about Napoleon which gave his mother rest. She felt that
whatever he undertook would be done, and done thoroughly.

Meanwhile Napoleon began for the first time to enjoy games, even though
his playfellows were only his little brothers and sisters. Paoletta, or,
as he called her, Paulette, was very pretty, with little coaxing ways,
strange indeed to find in Corsica, and when he was not talking seriously
with Joseph of the disturbed state of the island, he was generally to be
seen with Paulette on one side and Louis on the other. For from the
first he was very fond of Louis, and all the time he was at home he
taught him regularly part of every day. He had some books with him that
he bought by denying himself things that most young men would have
thought necessaries. Among them were mathematical treatises, Corneille's
and Racine's plays, which told stories of old Rome and her heroes, the
Gallic wars of Cæsar, translated, of course, or Napoleon could not have
read it, and Rousseau's 'Social Contract'; but Louis was as yet too
young for that, being only eight. In his spare moments Napoleon studied
politics and made notes about the history of Corsica, hoping some day to
make them into a book, and chattered French to the little ones, who
picked it up much more easily than their teacher had done. It seems
strange that he should have been allowed to remain at home for nearly
two years, but in France events were rapidly marching towards the
Revolution, and rules were in many cases relaxed. Anyhow, it was not
till June 1788 that he returned to his regiment, then quartered at
Auxonne. His superior officers, especially Baron du Teil, all interested
themselves in the young man for whom no work was too hard as long as it
bore on military subjects, and encouraged him in every possible way. His
men liked him, and felt the same confidence in him that his mother had
done; but from his own comrades he still held aloof, and the walks that
he took round the city, pondering how best it could be attacked or
defended, were always solitary ones. In general he was left pretty much
alone—there was a feeling among them that he was not a safe person to
meddle with; but sometimes their high spirits got the better of them,
and when he was trying to puzzle out a problem in mathematics that had
baffled him for days, his thoughts would be put to flight by a sudden
blast of trumpets and roar of drums directly under his window. Then
Napoleon would spring up with a fierce burst of anger, but before he
could get outside the culprits were nowhere to be seen.

As time went on, and the Revolution drew nearer, Napoleon's thoughts
turned more and more towards Corsica, and when, in July 1789, the taking
of the great prison of the Bastille seemed to let loose the fury of the
mob all over France, he felt that he must play his part in the
liberation of his native island. So in September he applied for leave
and sailed for Ajaccio. On his arrival he at once began to take measures
for enabling the people to gain the independence which he hoped would be
formally granted them by the National Assembly in Paris. The White
Cockade, the Bourbon ensign, was to disappear from men's hats; a guard
must be enrolled; a club, composed of all who wished for a new order of
things, must be founded. Even when the French governor puts a stop to
these proceedings, Napoleon is not to be beaten, but turns his attention
to something else, taking care always to keep his men well in hand and
to enforce discipline.

In this way passed the winter and spring, and in 1790 the exiled Paoli
was, by virtue of decree of the National Assembly, allowed, after
twenty-two years, to return to the island. From Napoleon's childhood
Paoli had been his hero of modern days, as Hannibal was of ancient
times; but when they actually came face to face Napoleon's boyish
impatience chafed bitterly against the caution of the older man. It was
their first difference, which time only widened.

When Napoleon went back to Auxonne in February 1791 he was accompanied
by Louis, then thirteen years old. They travelled through a very
different France from that which Napoleon had beheld in 1778. Then all
was quiet on the surface, and it seemed as if nothing would ever change;
now, women as well as men met together in large numbers and talked
excitedly, ready at a moment's notice to break out into some deed of
violence. Everywhere the tricolour was to be seen, the 'Marseillaise' to
be heard. Napoleon's eyes brightened as he listened to the song, and
Louis watched and wondered. But not yet had the poor profited by the
wealth of the rich. Napoleon's lodging, which he shared with Louis, was
as bare as before; his food was even plainer, for now two had to eat it.
Masters were costly and not to be thought of, so Napoleon set lessons to
be learned during the day, and to be repeated at night when military
duties are over. And Louis was as eager for knowledge as Napoleon
himself had been. 'He learns to write and read French,' writes the young
lieutenant to his brother Joseph. 'I teach him mathematics and geography
and history. The ladies are all devoted to him' (probably the wives and
daughters of the officers), 'and he has become quite French in his
manners, as if he were thirty. As for his judgment, he might be forty.
He will do better than any of us, but then none of us had so good an
education.' So wrote Napoleon; and Louis on his side was deeply grateful
for the pains and care bestowed on him. 'After Napoleone, you are the
one I love most,' he says in a letter to Joseph, whose tact and good
nature made him everybody's favourite, though his stronger brother
always looked down on him a little. Louis was a good boy, with generous
feelings and a strong sense of duty, which in after-years, when he was
King of Holland, brought him into strife with Napoleon. But in 1791 that
was a long time off, and soon after this letter he writes another to
Joseph, in which he says, 'I make you a present of my two cravats that
Napoleone gave me.' Did he keep any for himself, one wonders?

[Illustration: Bonaparte hears the Marseillaise for the first time.]

Deeply though he loved his military duties, Napoleon could not rest away
from Corsica, and in the autumn he again asked for leave from his
long-suffering colonel. He found the island in even a worse condition
than when he had last left it, for parties were more numerous and hatred
fiercer. More than once Napoleon narrowly escaped with his life, which,
by all the laws of war, he had really forfeited as a deserter by long
outstaying his leave. But this did not trouble Napoleon. With France
upset, with 'Paris in convulsions,' and with the war with the allied
Powers on the point of breaking out, no one was likely to inquire
closely into the conduct of an unimportant young soldier. Besides,
rumours had reached the island that the school of St. Cyr would shortly
be closed, and his mother was anxious about Marianna, who was still a
pupil there. Clearly his best plan was to go to Paris, and to Paris he
went in May 1792, hoping to be allowed quietly to take his old place in
the regiment. Scarcely had he arrived when, walking in the street,
watching all that passed and saying nothing, he came upon his old friend
Bourrienne, from whom he had parted eight years before. The young men
were delighted to meet, and spent their time making plans for the
future. 'He had even less money than I,' writes Bourrienne, 'and that
was little enough! We formed a scheme for taking some houses that were
being built, and subletting them at a higher rate. But the owners asked
too much, and we were forced to give it up. Every day he went to seek
employment from the Minister of War, and I from the Foreign Office.'

Towards the end of June they both visited Marianna at St. Cyr, and from
her Napoleon learned that the school was almost certain to be closed or
totally changed in its institutions, and the girls returned to their
relations without the present of 3,000 francs (120_l._) usually given to
them when they left. It is curious to think that at that time, when
girls grew up so early and married so young, they were expected to
remain at St. Cyr till they were twenty. Marianna was at this time
sixteen, 'but,' says Napoleon in a letter to Joseph at Ajaccio, 'not at
all advanced for her age, less so, indeed, than Paoletta. It would be
impossible to marry her without having her at home for six or eight
months first, but if you see any distant prospect of finding her a
suitable husband, tell me, and I will bring her over. If not, she had
better stay where she is till we see how things turn out. Still, I
cannot help feeling that if she remains at St. Cyr for another four
years she will be too old to adapt herself to life in Corsica, while now
she will glide into its ways almost without noticing them.' In the end
St. Cyr was closed, and Marianna threw off the white cap which the girls
so hated because its fashion dated back to the time of the foundress,
Madame de Maintenon, and set out with her brother for Corsica. She was a
dull and rather disagreeable young lady, with a great notion of her own
importance, and a bad temper. Some of the new ideas, especially those of
the superiority of women over men, had reached her ears in a confused
way, and had readily been adopted by her. She spent hours in talking
over these with Lucien, her next brother, a youth of rather peculiar
disposition, who did not get on with the rest.

[Illustration: 'Why did they ever let these beasts enter?']

But all this happened in the autumn, and meanwhile Napoleon stayed in
Paris, observing the course of events and roaming the streets with
Bourrienne. One day they saw collected near the Palais Royal a crowd of
five or six thousand men, dirty, ragged, evil-faced, and with tongues as
evil. In their hands were guns, swords, knives, axes, or whatever they
could seize upon, and, shouting, screaming, and gesticulating, they made
their way towards the Tuileries. 'Let us follow those brutes,' said
Bonaparte, and, taking a short cut, they reached the garden terrace
which overlooks the Seine, and from there they watched terrible scenes.
'I could hardly describe the surprise and horror they excited in him,'
writes Bourrienne, 'and when at length the King appeared at a window,
wearing the Red Cap of Liberty which had been thrust on his head by one
of the mob, a cry broke from Napoleon:

'Why did they ever let these beasts enter?' he exclaimed, heedless of
who might hear him. 'They should have mown down five hundred of them
with the guns, and the rest would have run away.' 'They don't know what
they are doing,' he said to Bourrienne a few hours after when they were
sitting at dinner in a cheap restaurant. 'It is fatal to allow such
things to pass unpunished, and they will rue it bitterly.' And so they
did; for the 10th of August was soon to come, and after that the
September massacres of nobles and great ladies.

With feelings like these—feelings often quite different from the
doctrines which he held—Napoleon must have had hard work to keep his
sword in its sheath on that very 10th of August when the Tuileries was
attacked and the Swiss Guards so nobly died at their post. He was
standing at a shop window in a side street, and his soul sickened at the
sight of the struggle. At last he could bear it no longer, and, dashing
into the midst of the fray, he dragged out a wounded man from the swords
of the rabble, who by this time were drunk with blood. 'If Louis XVI.
had only shown himself on horseback,' he writes to Joseph that same
evening, 'the victory would have been his.' But, alas! Louis never did
the thing that was wisest to do. Eager as he was to get away, Napoleon
had to linger on amidst the horrors of the September massacres till he
gained permission to take his sister back to Corsica. Here the state of
affairs seemed almost as desperate as in France, and no man could trust
his neighbour. Napoleon now fought openly against Paoli, whom the
execution of Louis XVI. threw into the arms of England, and fierce
battles and sieges were the consequence. Once he was imprisoned in a
house, and sentinels were placed before the door, but he contrived to
escape through a side window, and hurried back to Ajaccio. Here his
arrest was ordered, but warned by his friends Napoleon hid himself all
day in a grotto, in the garden of one of his Ramolino cousins. Still, as
it was clear that Ajaccio was no longer safe for him, he got on board a
boat and rejoined Joseph at Bastia.

Furious at his having slipped through their hands, the partisans of
Paoli turned their wrath upon Laetitia and her children. With the high
courage she had shown all her life 'Madame Mère' wished to stay and
defend her house, but was at last persuaded to fly, taking with her
Louis, Marianna, and Paoletta, with her brother Fesch to guard them,
leaving the two youngest children with her mother. Hardly had she gone
when her house was pillaged and almost destroyed. It would have been
burned to the ground but for fear of setting fire to the houses of the
Paolistes. It was only on June 11, after perils by land and perils by
sea, that the fugitives, now joined by Napoleon, set sail for Toulon.
The voyage lasted two days, and as soon as they touched land Napoleon's
first care was to find a lodging for his mother and the children, where
they might rest in peace till he could decide what was best to be done.
He then made his way to Nice, where a battery of artillery was
quartered, and found that by great good luck the brother of his old
general Baron du Teil was in command. In happier times he would most
likely have been put under arrest at once, before being shot as a
deserter; but, as in earlier days, the Republic was in need of every man
it could get, and he was at once employed to inspect the defences along
the coast and to collect guns and ammunition. In all this the warfare he
had carried on in Corsica stood him in good stead. It had taught him how
to deal with men, and his eye had learned to discover the strong and
weak points of a position, while his mind had grown rich in resource. As
in the case of many of the greatest men, he had been trained for victory
by defeat. It was at the siege of Toulon he gained the name at which for
eleven years 'the world grew pale.' Revolted by the cruelties of the
Convention in Paris, the town, like others in different parts of France,
had declared for Louis XVIII. A friendly fleet of English and Spanish
ships had cast anchor in the bay, and the French army which besieged the
city was undisciplined and ill commanded. All that it had in the way of
artillery was in so bad a condition as to be useless, the powder and
shot were exhausted, Dommartin, the artillery officer, was wounded, and
there was no man to take his place.

'Send for young Bonaparte,' said Salicetti, one of the commissioners of
the Convention, who had known him elsewhere; and from that moment the
tide began to turn. Messengers were despatched at once to bring in
horses from miles round, while an arsenal was built on one of the
surrounding hills. Day and night the men kept at work, and before a week
had passed fourteen big guns and four mortars were ready, and a large
quantity of provisions stored up. Day and night the men laboured, and
day and night Bonaparte was to be found beside them, directing,
encouraging, praising. When he could no longer stand, he wrapped himself
in his cloak and lay down beside them, present to guide them in any
difficulty, to repair any blunder. And the representatives of the
Convention noted it all, and one morning handed him his brevet of
general of battalion. Armed with this authority Napoleon's task became
easier. He had aides-de-camp to send where he would, and forthwith one
rode along the coast to bring up cannon from the army of Italy, and
another set out for Lyons to gather horses and food. But whatever he
did, his eyes were fixed on the key of the city—the Fort Mulgrave
which, it was plain to all, must be the first object of attack. Close
underneath the fort a French battery was erected and manned—only to be
swept clear by the guns from the English ships. Another set of
volunteers slipped out from the ranks, and fell dead beside their
comrades. For the third time Bonaparte gave the word of command, but
there was silence. 'Call it the Battery of the Fearless,' he said, and
in an instant every man had sprung forward. The battery was never
without its gunner till the fort was taken.


With the fall of Toulon we must bid farewell to Napoleon, whose youth
was over and whose manhood was now begun. You all know the story which
ended at last in Waterloo, and there is no need to repeat it. 'He was
not a gentleman,' is said by many. Well, perhaps he was not _always_ a
gentleman, but the hold he obtained on France, and particularly on the
men who followed him, was true and deep and lasting, for it endures even
to this day. Listen to a soldier standing in the Invalides, where his
body was laid when it was brought from St. Helena, with his hat and his
sword placed beside him.

'Ah! c'est Lui! c'est son chapeau! c'est son épée!' he cries, the
glorious memories of the past rushing over him, till he too feels that
he has fought at Austerlitz and at Marengo.

             And when they asked for rights, he made reply
             'Ye have my glory.' And so, drawing round them
             His ample purple, glorified and bound them
             In an embrace that seemed identity.
             'He ruled them like a tyrant.' True. But none
             Were ruled like slaves. Each felt Napoleon.

                     _HIS MAJESTY THE KING OF ROME_

AT nine o'clock on the morning of March 20, 1811, the boom of a cannon
sounded through Paris. Peace reigned throughout France, yet the roar of
the gun had a magical effect on the hurrying passers-by. Every man,
woman, and child, whatever might be their business, stopped where they
stood, as if a fairy had waved her wand over them. No one moved; no one
spoke; not only did their feet seem enchanted, but their tongues too.
Silently they all remained in their places while the thunder of the
cannon still went on, but their faces wore a strained, intense look as
if they were counting something. Nineteen! twenty! twenty-one! one and
all they held their breath. Twenty-two! and a cry as of one man rung
out. The spell was broken, handkerchiefs were waved, hats flew into the
air, old soldiers embraced each other with tears in their eyes. The King
of Rome was born.

And who was this King of Rome, the only bearer of a noble name, and why
was his birth so dear to the citizens of Paris? He was the son of
Napoleon and the Archduchess Marie Louise, destined, so it was hoped, to
carry on the work of his father and to bear the eagles triumphant
through many a field of battle. And yet, if they could have looked
forward twenty-one years, they would have seen a youth dying of
consumption far from the country which he loved, after one of the
saddest lives that perhaps any child ever knew.

But now, on the day of his birth, nobody dreamed of the doom that lay on
him! Instead, he seemed the most fortunate baby in the whole world! He
had a lady-in-waiting in charge of him and his numerous nurses, and
chief attendant, the Comtesse de Montesquiou, 'Maman Quiou' as he called
her in after-days; his room was hung with soft green silk curtains, with
palm trees and golden lizards embroidered on them. He slept all night
long, and part of the day too, in a cot shaped like a boat, with a
gilded prow, and the green, myrtle broidered curtains that shaded him
from the light were caught together by a wreath of golden laurels. In
the room there was another cradle, more beautiful, given him by the City
of Paris, which was to go with him by-and-by into exile, and can still
be seen at the Palace of Schönbrunn. This cot had been the work of
famous artists; Prud'hon had drawn the designs, and the most skilful
sculptors and goldsmiths had carried them out. The curtains at his head
were of lace, sprinkled with golden stars, and an eaglet, with
outstretched wings, hovered over his feet.

When His Majesty the King of Rome was a month old, he was driven out to
the palace of St. Cloud, where he lived with Madame de Montesquiou in
rooms opening straight on to the gardens. Here, in the green and quiet,
he grew strong, and able to bear the fatigues of his christening, which
was celebrated in the Cathedral of Nôtre Dame, on June 9, with all the
pomp suitable to the occasion. Once again the bells rang out, and all
along the way troops took up their places. At five o'clock the Tuileries
gardens were filled with carriages, and the procession began to form.
The escort of troops rode first, and were followed by the gay-coated
heralds and the officers of State, these last in carriages drawn by four
horses. The Emperor's brothers and sisters came next, and after them was
a pause, till the Imperial carriage, drawn by eight horses, hove in
sight, containing Madame de Montesquiou, holding on her knees the King
of Rome. His long robe was of white satin covered with lace; a little
lace cap was on his head, and across his breast lay the red ribbon of
the Legion of Honour. 'Long live Napoleon Francis Charles Joseph, King
of Rome!' cried the heralds when the baptismal ceremony was over, and
the Emperor, snatching the child from the arms of its mother, held him
out to the crowd who thronged the church. 'Long live the King of Rome!'
it cried in answer: then the procession re-formed, and returned to the
Tuileries in the same order.

Marie Louise does not seem to have had the boy much with her, though
Isabey, the famous artist, was constantly ordered to paint his picture,
and it was his father whom he first learned to know. Napoleon had always
been fond of playing with children; and before the birth of his own son,
his nephews and nieces were constantly about him. Best of all, he had
loved the little Napoleon Charles, son of his brother Louis, King of
Holland, and Hortense Beauharnais, and Charles was never happier than
when trotting about at 'Nanon's' side. Nanon was the pet name of
Napoleon. Together they would go and feed the gazelles with
tobacco—which (if strong) was very bad for the gazelles, and made them
ill for a whole day after—or the Emperor would take him to parade, and
Charles would cry, 'Long live Nanon the soldier!' And how proud Nanon
was one day when Charles, who had been lost at a review held at
Boulogne, was found wandering between the line of fire of the two
armies, not a bit afraid of the guns.

[Illustration: Feeding the gazelles with tobacco]

Charles was a very nice little boy, and had been taught good manners by
Queen Hortense. When he went into Nanon's dressing-room he did not pull
about the things that were lying on the dressing-table, but sat still
while he chattered to his uncle, or repeated some fable of La Fontaine's
which he had learned the day before. He was a generous little fellow,
and would readily give away his toys or sweets, and only laughed when
Napoleon pulled his ears, instead of getting angry like his cousins, the
little Murats. Every day he did his lessons, and was allowed sometimes,
as a great treat, to copy out the 'Wolf and the Lamb,' or the 'Lion and
the Mouse,' or the 'Goose with the Golden Eggs,' to show to Nanon. But
by-and-by he had to say good-bye to Nanon and go back to his father and
mother in Holland, where he fell ill and died, at the age of four and a
half, in May 1807.

After Charles's death Napoleon made a pet of the dead child's younger
brother, Napoleon Louis, though he never took the elder child's place in
his uncle's heart. Still, the Emperor liked to have Louis about him, and
swung him on to his knee at breakfast, and gave him bits of omelette or
cutlet on his fork. Louis, of course, wanted to do everything his uncle
did, and one day insisted on sipping his coffee, but he did not like it,
and made a face. 'Oh, Louis!' cried the Emperor, 'your education is
certainly not finished, as you have not learned how to hide your
feelings.' The boy stared and grew rather cross, for he felt he was
being laughed at, though he did not understand why. His temper was never
as good as his brother's, and he often flew into a rage when Napoleon
teased him, as he was very fond of doing. One morning, when Louis was
three years old, he was breakfasting with the Emperor, and was just
going to eat an egg, when Napoleon caught it up, and held it out of his
reach. 'Give me my egg, or I will kill you,' said Louis, picking up a
knife. 'Would you really kill your uncle?' asked Napoleon.

'Give me my egg, or I will _kill_ you,' repeated Louis, louder than
before; and Napoleon laughed and gave it back to him, and patted his
head, saying, 'Ah, some day you will be a fine fellow!'

But now that he had a son of his own, who would by-and-by inherit the
Empire he had created and tread in his footsteps, Napoleon could not
make enough of him. He, too, came to breakfast, and, much to Madame de
Montesquiou's disgust, the Emperor would dip his fingers in the red wine
he was drinking, and give it to the baby to suck. The King of Rome would
shrink away in terror from the bunch of nodding plumes on his mother's
bonnet, but he smiled and crowed when his father lifted him in the air.
Sometimes, however, the play got too rough, and the child would screw up
the corners of his mouth and begin to cry. Then the Emperor would stop
and look at him gravely, and say to him:

'What, Sire! are you crying? A king, and yet you cry! Oh, that is very
bad! Kings don't cry!' and he would begin to make faces, which the baby
loved, and it would break into smiles directly. The boy grew quickly,
and at eight months old he was already trying to walk, but, on the other
hand, he was very backward in talking. As he got older, he would often
manage to escape from the nursery, and, running along the passage, knock
with his fists on the door of the Emperor's study.

'Open! I want papa,' he would say to the sentry, who always answered:

'Sire, I must not let in your Majesty.'

'Why not? I am the little king.'

'But your Majesty is alone!' replied the sentry, who had been ordered
not to admit the boy unless Madame de Montesquiou was with him. The
child's eyes filled with tears, but hearing 'Maman Quiou's' voice behind
him, he took hold of her hand and looked at the man, saying:

'Now open it. The little king desires it.'

'His Majesty the King of Rome,' announced the usher, and the little
fellow ran straight up to his father, sure of his welcome. No matter how
occupied the Emperor might be, the child was never sent away. His father
would hold him on his knee while he signed State papers, or walk up and
down the room with the boy on his back as he dictated despatches to his
secretaries, or, greatest joy of all, he would allow his son to play
with the little wooden soldiers that he kept on the table when planning
his campaigns. In face the little king grew daily more like an Austrian,
though his father tried in vain to see some resemblance to himself. But
in many ways he showed his Corsican blood, and chiefly in the sudden
bursts of temper to which he was liable. These were always stopped at
once by his governess, who never spoilt him herself or suffered anyone
else to do so. One day, when something had displeased him, he stormed
and raged till Madame de Montesquiou feared he would fall into
convulsions, as his cousin, Achille Murat, had done only the week
before. Finding that the child would listen to nothing, she ordered an
attendant to close all the shutters. The boy, astonished at the sudden
darkness, ceased crying at once, and asked why the sun was shut out.

[Illustration: "Open I want Papa"

"Sire, I must not let in your Majesty"]

'So that nobody might hear you, Sire. The people would never want you
for their king if they knew how naughty you could be!'

'Did I scream very loud?' he inquired in rather a small voice.

'Very,' replied the governess.

'Do you think they heard?'

'I am afraid so.'

At this answer his tears began to fall again, but quite silently. He
made a violent effort to check them, and when he could speak, he
stretched up his arms to his governess, and whispered, 'I'll never do it
again, Maman Quiou. I am very sorry.'

By the time he was two years old the little king had a whole roomful of
toys of every sort: there was a drum, mounted in silver, that Napoleon
had given him on his first birthday, before the ill-fated army started
for Russia; there was a top in an ivory frame, and a Polish lancer who
could move his legs; there was a wonderful pearl and enamel box, with a
locket inside, and out of the locket a bird jumped and sang. The King of
Rome cherished them all; but best he loved a woolly sheep with a velvet
collar and golden bells. He would play with this sheep for hours
together, pretending it was the lamb that the wicked wolf was trying to
catch, as told in his favourite story. When he went out, he had two real
white sheep to draw him, in a beautiful little carriage given him on his
birthday by his aunt, Caroline Murat, and in this he drove along the
riverside terrace of the Tuileries, dressed in white muslin and lace,
with the red ribbon of the Legion of Honour peeping out of the folds.
And the Parisians were always delighted to see him, and at the bidding
of his governess he smiled and waved his hand, for the Emperor was most
particular about his manners. He was also anxious that the child should
grow up as strong and hardy as he himself had done, so every day,
whatever the weather, the little prince drove out in his carriage, with
a merino pelisse over his muslin frock, and a pink or blue loose coat on
top. The Empress thought it a pity, and feared her son might catch cold,
but in this matter Napoleon had his way.

Long before this the château at Meudon had been prepared as a sort of
school for the Imperial children; if indeed the King of Rome should have
any brothers or sisters. It was a rest for Napoleon to turn from the
thoughts of war, and to plan every detail of the education that was to
be given to his son. He collected a library of 6,000 volumes, which it
would be years before the boy could read or understand. After the
fashion of the day he ordered a dinner-service to be made at the
manufactory at Sèvres, and each of the seventy plates contained a
lesson. Eleven of them were painted with scenes from Roman history,
thirty-two with famous victories of the French; while the rest were
covered with pictures of sun, moon, and stars, or birds, beasts, and
fishes. His rooms were hung with blue velvet, and the backs of the
chairs and sofas, as well as the walls, were covered with drawings of
the most celebrated Roman buildings. It was in the same spirit that
Madame de Genlis desired to teach Roman history to her two pupils, Louis
Philippe and his sister, only she wished to have the events woven into
tapestries, which would have taken even longer to make than the
dinner-set and have been still more costly.

So the little prince was sent, with his governesses and his nurses and
his own staff of servants, to Meudon, and Madame de Montesquiou wrote
constant reports of him to his parents at the Tuileries. At fourteen
months he had for dinner soup, beef, chicken, and pudding; at least
these things appeared on his table, though most likely he was not
allowed to eat them all. Directly the dinner was ready, the dishes were
placed in a large box, which was carefully locked by the head cook, who
gave it to a footman, and by him it was carried to the prince's
apartments, where the box was unlocked by Madame de Montesquiou with a
second key. These precautions dated back from many centuries, when
poison, or rather the fear of it, played so large a part in the life of
Courts. Certainly nobody wanted to poison the poor little King of Rome,
and if they had, they would hardly have liked to face the consequences!
Instead, he was adored by all his attendants, as a good-tempered,
healthy baby generally is. They loved to stand and peep through the
door, when 'Maman Quiou' was not looking, and watch him staggering and
tumbling about on the mattresses, three feet thick, that were spread in
his rooms, so that he might learn to walk without hurting himself; and
they would wait behind the curtains to see him start for his drive, with
his two white sheep beautifully combed and curled, the golden bells of
their collars tinkling as they went.

[Illustration: Napoleon shows the portrait to the Generals]

For some months the baby and his household remained at Meudon with his
governess, while the Emperor had begun the fatal war with Russia, and
the Empress was enjoying herself at Dresden with her father, Francis II.
Madame de Montesquiou writes her reports to the Emperor as usual, and no
matter how busy he is, he never fails to answer. Sometimes these letters
are accompanied by a bust or a miniature, and by-and-by Marie Louise
herself sends a full-length portrait of him by Gérard, which arrives on
September 6, 1812, the day of the battle of the Moskowa. For an instant
Russia ceases to exist for Napoleon: the world holds nothing but a
little boy in a white frock. 'Summon my generals,' he says, and they
come crowding into his tent, where the portrait of the King of Rome
stands upon a rough table. As they look the Emperor turns to them with a
wave of his hand. 'Gentlemen, if my son were fifteen years old instead
of eighteen months, it is not only in his portrait that he would be
present to-day.' Then, steadying his voice, which had trembled as he
spoke, he added, 'Take it away; it is too soon for him to look upon a
field of battle.'

It was on December 18 that the Emperor, ill and dejected, returned to
France, leaving the remnant of his army behind him, to struggle with the
horrors of the retreat. He knew too well that at the first sign of
weakness and defeat the hatreds that his despotism had sown all over
Europe would spring in scores from the earth, armed to the teeth, and
for the first time in his career the thought entered like iron into his
soul that the star in which he so firmly believed might be setting.
Could anything be done, he wondered, in case, in case—it was as well to
be prepared for everything. Yes, that was it! His son must be crowned
Emperor by Pope Pius the Seventh, who was still a prisoner at
Fontainebleau, and then, if abdication was forced upon himself, his
dynasty would still sit on the throne of France. But though the Pope did
not refuse when Napoleon arrived unexpectedly at Fontainebleau, and even
allowed the day for the ceremony to be fixed, he made various
difficulties, and in the end retracted altogether the consent which had
been unwillingly wrung from him.

While his father was thus mapping out his future career, the little
prince was living happily at St. Cloud with Madame de Montesquiou. In
April, just after he had passed his second birthday, a great event
happened—he put on his first pair of trousers, and though they were
only made of muslin, his nurses were as proud as if they had been a pair
of jack boots! Nobody, they said, and it was quite true, would have
taken him for less than three, or even four, but still it was strange
that so quick and lively a child should be so slow in talking.

'Maman Quiou' agreed with them. It was very strange, but perhaps he
needed a friend of his own age, to play and even quarrel with. So she
made inquiries among the prince's attendants and chose the son of a
Madame Froment, about a year older than the prince, a good-tempered and
well-behaved boy who knew nothing about rank, only that they were two
little boys together. What fun they had on their ponies, those two! and
though of course they never went out without grooms to lead them, they
both felt as great as ever Napoleon had done after Marengo or
Austerlitz! Did they not wear the uniforms of Mamelouks or Turkish
guards; and did not the people smile and bow as they passed, and the
children look after them with envy? In the company of little Froment the
King of Rome soon found his tongue, and when on Sundays ministers and
marshals flocked to pay their court, he was able to stammer a few polite
words taught him by his governess. On these occasions he was always
dressed in a smart uniform, which soon became his daily costume. He was
either a Lancer, or a Grenadier, or a National Guard, and every Sunday
he drove round the park and looked at the waterfalls which were always a
joy to him. Once, as a special favour, a girls' school was allowed to
stand in the hall of the palace and watch him go by! They gazed silent
and awe-stricken at the fortunate baby, but when they got out into the
air once more, they chattered like magpies about his golden hair and his
lovely clothes, and his pretty manners. 'Oh! how nice to be a king,'
they said.

Of course he was much too little to read any of the books his father
provided for him, but he soon learned to know his letters, and to point
out which was Cæsar and which Henri IV. Fairy tales were strictly
forbidden to him; they were 'useless,' his father said, and the boy who
had begun his life like a fairy prince ended it early in the grimmest of

At the moment that the King of Rome was born Napoleon's power was at its
height. One by one he had forced the nations of Europe to bow to his
yoke, or to accept his alliance, except England, which still defied him,
and Spain and Portugal that with her help were shaking themselves free
of the chains that bound them. But soon there were signs that the vast
Empire was about to crumble. Russia was the first to rebel, and the
campaign against her in 1812 was full of disasters. The people did not
hesitate to set fire to their beloved city of Moscow, rather than allow
it to fall into the hands of the invaders, and its stores were destroyed
and its fire engines broken. In November began the retreat amidst the
winter snows. Thousands of French soldiers died from cold and exposure,
while, to add to the horrors, the Russian army hung on the rear, and
harassed them at every step. At the news of each check to the French
arms the hearts of Napoleon's many enemies beat faster, and soon it grew
plain that he would have to fight not only Prussia and Russia, but his
present ally Austria, and England, Portugal, and Spain: and that on the
victory depended, not his supremacy in Europe, but his hold over France.
Still, he had faith in his star, and in his soldiers, and shut out all
doubts from his mind as he made his preparations.

It was on January 23, 1813, that, wearing the uniform of the National
Guard, the King of Rome was carried by Madame de Montesquiou into the
Salle des Maréchaux in the Tuileries, which was filled with the officers
of the regiment. The Emperor signed to the governess to put the child on
the ground, and, placing him by his side, advanced with the Empress into
the middle of the room. 'I am on the eve of starting to lead my army to
fresh victories,' he said, 'and I leave my wife and son to your care.
Will you defend them? Say! will you defend them? Can I trust you; will
you defend them?' A great shout answered him; then, snatching up the
boy, he carried him down to the Place du Carrousel where the privates
were assembled, crying, 'Long live the Emperor! Long live the King of
Rome!' The boy waved his hand and smiled, and Napoleon smiled also. 'He
knows you are my friends,' he said, and the shouts grew louder than

All that year, while Napoleon was desperately fighting the allied army
in order to retain the Empire that was slipping from him, his son was
living quietly with 'Maman Quiou,' who did her best to train him for the
position she was beginning to doubt that he would ever occupy. In spite
of the care which she had exercised to treat him as an ordinary child,
and the blows that had been given and taken by little Froment, it had
naturally proved impossible to prevent foolish people from flattering
and indulging him. 'As papa is away I am master,' he once said, not
knowing that the 'master' was no longer himself or his father, but the
Allies, for Napoleon's star had set at last. He was beaten.

Marie Louise and her son were sent to Blois, where they remained for a
short time, the Empress, who was wholly Austrian at heart, nourishing
hopes of a kingdom to be created for her by her father, Francis II. In
vain did Méneval, the Secretary, and Madame de Montesquiou urge her to
join her husband at Fontainebleau, and stand by him when he signed, on
April 13, the act of abdication. To take her share in any trouble was
never the way of Marie Louise; but she seems to have been satisfied when
she learned that she was still to be called 'Empress,' and to have the
duchies of Parma, Piacenza, and Guastalla as her dowry. As for
accompanying Napoleon to the island of Elba, which had been chosen for
his prison, it never so much as occurred to her. The 'General,' as she
henceforth called him, had passed out of her life. Scraps of
conversation and anxious looks caused the little boy, 'King of Rome' no
more, but 'Prince of Parma,' to feel that something terrible was in the
air, something that had to do with himself and his father and mother,
and he soon found out what it was. 'Blücher is my enemy,' he said one
day to his governess, and on his way to Vienna he remarked to one of his
attendants, 'Louis XVIII. has taken papa's place, and has kept all my
toys, but he must be made to give them up,' while another time he added
sadly, 'I see that I am not a king any more, as I have no pages.'

It was at the château of Rambouillet, not far from Pau, that Marie
Louise met her father, whom she welcomed with pure delight, as if the
visit had been only one of pleasure. The arrangements for the journey to
Vienna were soon made, and her son's attendants chosen. They were to be
Madame de Montesquiou, who left her family behind so that the little
prince might not feel himself forsaken; Madame Soufflot, and her
daughter Fanny, a girl of fifteen, who, the boy thought, made a better
playfellow than his friend Froment, from whom he was now parted; Madame
Marchand, his nurse; and Gobereau, the valet, with his wife and little
son. Most of his possessions were, as he said, left behind for Louis
XVIII., but he was allowed to take with him to the country palace of
Schönbrunn the wonderful cradle given him by the City of Paris, and some
of his favourite toys, selected by himself. How hard it was to know what
to choose out of those multitudes of beautiful things. 'Oh! I can't
leave _that_! I must take _that_!' he would cry, as his nurses and
governesses pulled out one toy after another, and it was very difficult
to make him understand that he could not take them all. At length, after
many tears, a few were put aside: two wooden horses, a stable, a
grenadier, a hussar, a cow and a milkmaid, a Turk playing on a
mandoline, a grocer's shop—these and a few others were what he took
with him, but dearer than all were his little carriage drawn by the
sheep, and a hundred and fifty pebbles which he had collected himself.

He travelled in a carriage with Madame de Montesquiou, as his mother
soon grew tired of him, and much preferred the company of her
lady-in-waiting, Madame de Montebello. It was a long journey, and they
did not travel fast, so that it was the end of May before they reached
Schönbrunn. There the child began to feel as if he was a king again, so
warm was the welcome of the people, who were charmed with his fair hair
and merry smile. Indeed, though he did not forget his father, and often
asked about him, he was quite happy for a few months, surrounded by his
French friends who so dearly loved him. By this time he could read, and
every morning after he got up and had had some coffee and rolls, he
learned a little history and geography, with Gobereau, the valet's son,
as a companion in his studies. When these were finished, an Italian
master came and taught him the Italian names of the things in the room
and short sentences, and _he_ was followed by a German, whom the child
did not like as well. After the German took leave of him, his playtime
began, and he had great games at soldiers with himself and Fanny
Soufflot on one side, and his little uncle the Archduke Francis and
Gobereau on the other. From his earliest years war had been a passion
with him; guns never frightened him, and military music made him dance
with excitement. Little though he knew of his father—for his Austrian
tutors did not encourage conversation about Napoleon—he was at any rate
aware that he had been a great general, and the older the prince grew,
the more ardently he longed to tread in his footsteps. But the
Revolution, which had given Napoleon his chance, was past and gone,
though perhaps if the Eaglet (as the prince was called) had inherited
his father's genius, he would have made an opportunity for himself. But
he had not genius, only ambition; and the circumstances of his life were
against him.

One March morning the news flashed through Europe that Napoleon had
landed in France from Elba, and that with every fresh day many thousands
joined his standard. Not for one moment did Marie Louise think of
joining him, or of watching with any feeling but that of dismay the
struggle which was yet to come. Her child was hurriedly removed from
Schönbrunn into Vienna itself, so that he should run no risk of being
carried off by his father's friends. To make all safer, his grandfather,
Francis II., ordered Madame de Montesquiou to deliver the boy to him,
and to return at once to her own country, though as a matter of fact she
was kept in a sort of confinement till the battle of Waterloo had
decided the fate of Napoleon and his son.

Madame de Montesquiou heard the command with a feeling of despair. For
four years her life had been absorbed in that of the prince as it had
never been absorbed in that of her own children. From seven in the
morning, when he got up, to the time that he went to bed, he was
scarcely out of her presence for half an hour. During these four years
he had been of more importance to her than anything in the world, not
only from duty, but from love, and he knew it, and came to her for
everything. It would have been hard enough to have parted from him had
they still been in France—had Napoleon been there to watch over and
protect him—but it was a thousand times more bitter to leave him alone,
for he _was_ alone, though his mother and his grandfather were both in

Sorely though the boy wept at parting with 'Maman Quiou' there still
remained the Soufflots and Marchand, the nurse, to console him, and they
did their best. New games were invented for him and wonderful stories
were told him, and when he grew tired of them he would go to Méneval,
who knew all about soldiers, and could show him how they advanced to
cross a river or besiege a fort. But by-and-by there came about him a
strange lady whom he did not like, and who did not seem to like him
either. She gave orders to Madame Soufflot and to Fanny, who curtsied
and turned red, and said as little as possible; but though after she had
gone they went back to their games, they did not enjoy them as heartily
as before.

At last, one dreadful day, Méneval entered the room when the lady was
present, and, with a low bow, he informed 'his Imperial Highness the
Prince of Parma' that he was about to quit Vienna for France, and wished
to know whether he had any messages for his father. The prince, grown
dull and silent during the last few days, did not answer, but walked
slowly down to the furthest window and looked out. Méneval followed him
to take leave, when the child whispered quickly, 'Tell him that I always
love him, Monsieur Méva.'

He not only loved him, but thought about him, and listened eagerly to
what his elders might let fall, though, as long as he had his French
attendants with him, he rarely put any questions to his German tutors.
But soon he noticed that both Madame Soufflot and Fanny had red circles
round their eyes, and could hardly look at him without crying. The
prince did not need to be told the reason; by this time he understood
many things. As usual he said nothing, but went straight to his room and
brought out all his treasures, the treasures that had come with him from
France a year and a half before. There was his little gun, his Order of
the Legion of Honour, his soldiers, the veil that he had worn at his
christening, the medals that had been struck at his birth. 'Take them,'
he said to Fanny Soufflot; 'take them back to France.'

Now there was only Marchand left, in whose presence he had slept every
night since he was born. She was only a peasant woman, and surely could
not be suspected of plotting against the Austrian Court! No, but she
might talk to him of his father, and keep alive memories which were
better let die. She put him to bed one night as usual, in the spring of
1816, but in the morning there stood at his bedside, not Marchand, but
an Austrian officer. Once more the boy understood. He turned a shade
paler, but asked no questions, merely saying, 'Monsieur Foresti, I
should like to get up.'

It had not been without a struggle that the friends of Napoleon had
allowed his son to be set aside. An effort was made to proclaim him
Napoleon II. when his father, for the second time, abdicated the French
throne. But the attempt met with no response, and was, indeed, quite
ignored by the Chamber of Deputies. The only result to the prince was to
surround him more strictly than before with German tutors and
attendants, and to discourage him to speak in French. Henceforth he was
to be an Austrian, and an Austrian only, and as he was not yet five
years old the task did not seem difficult. They were soon undeceived;
the child did not talk much about his former life to these strangers,
but every now and then he would put inconvenient questions.

'Why was I called "King of Rome?"' he asked his tutor one day.

'Because at the time you were born your father ruled over many
countries,' was the reply.

'Did Rome belong to my father?'

'No; Rome belongs to the Pope.'

'Is not my father in India now?'

'Oh dear no, certainly not.'

'Then he is in America?'

'Why should he be in America?'

'Where _is_ he, then?'

'That I cannot tell you.'

'I heard someone say that he was in great misery.'

'Well, you must have known that that was not likely to be true.'

'No, I thought it couldn't be,' answered the boy, with a smile of

All his teachers found that he was quick at his lessons, when he chose
to take the trouble to learn them, which was not always, and, like many
other little boys, he would listen for hours to what was read to him,
though at first he was not fond of reading to himself. However, when he
was about six he suddenly changed in this respect, and was often found
poring over the Old Testament, delighting in the descriptions of the
wars with the Amalekites or the exploits of Samson. As for his
amusements, sometimes he acted in theatricals at the Court, and in spite
of his age was present at the State balls, where everyone was struck
with his grace, for, unlike his father, he always loved to dance. His
tutors were quite kind to him, and did their best to bring him up in a
way that was suitable to the grandson of the Emperor of Austria, but by
trying to make him forget the country of his birth they went the wrong
way to work. His recollections and feelings refused to be stifled; he
was alone, and knew he had no place in the world; he had not a title,
for the Congress of Vienna had deprived him of the succession to his
mother's three duchies, and now even his name was taken from him. He was
no longer 'Napoleon,' but 'Prince Francis Charles.' As his custom was,
he kept silence about it, but this hurt him more than all the rest.
After a time, however, Francis II., who was really fond of him, saw that
it was not for his own dignity to leave his grandson in this position,
and created him Duke of Reichstadt, with coat-of-arms, and lands, and a
palace at Vienna.

Early in the year 1821, when he was ten years old, the Duke of
Reichstadt began his studies in a public school, which were to end in a
commission in the Austrian army. In spite of all his teaching he does
not seem to have had a much greater talent for languages than his
father, whose dislike of Latin he shared cordially. Great pains had been
taken at first to force him to forget French, and to make him speak only
the tongues used in the Austrian Empire, which were German and Italian,
but as he grew older his lessons in French were begun again. After
eleven years of study he was unable to write an Italian letter without
mistakes, while his French compositions show that he thought in German,
and then translated his ideas, so that it did not seem like real French
at all. Like Napoleon, again, he was fond of mathematics and loved
history, but best of all his drill. However idle he might be in other
things, he worked hard at this, and how proud he was when he earned his
promotion as a sergeant, and was allowed to mount guard before the room
of his grandfather.

The prince was at Schönbrunn with his tutors, when on a hot summer
morning a messenger arrived from Vienna, and desired to speak with
Monsieur Foresti. Their talk was long, and when they parted Foresti's
face was unusually grave, but he said nothing till the evening, when he
told the boy in a few words that the father of whom he thought so much
had died at St. Helena on May 5. Notwithstanding his occasional bursts
of temper, the duke's silence and reserve about his feelings had won him
the reputation of coldness of heart, and Foresti was amazed at the
torrent of tears which broke from him. Now indeed he was alone, with
only his shadowy recollections for company, and the stories of the
Emperor's greatness which he had heard from his French governesses five
years before. And during these five years his thoughts had never ceased
to hover round his father, all the more persistently, perhaps, from the
ignorance in which he had been kept concerning him. But well he
remembered how the portraits and miniatures of himself had from time to
time been sent to his father to Elba, to Fontainebleau, and some to St.
Helena—though exactly where St. Helena was he did not know. _That_ he
was to learn later, when his tutor bade him look it out on the map, and
gave him a lesson on its size and produce. Meanwhile he was put into
mourning, which Foresti and Collin wore also; but they had strict orders
not to go near any public places, where their black clothes might be
seen and noticed, as neither the Emperor nor his Court had made the
slightest change in their dress. The young duke's heart must have burned
within him at the double affront to himself and his father, but what
must his feelings have been if he ever heard of the conduct of his
mother! The letter which she wrote to her son must have sounded cold and
trifling even to a child; but perhaps the news may have been kept from
him that she declined to allow Napoleon's name to be inserted in the
prayers for the dead, and had refused his dying wish to have his heart
buried in Parma. 'It would be a fresh shock to me,' she wrote to Francis

So the years passed on, and outwardly 'Napoleon, King of Rome,'
disappeared more and more completely, and in his place stood 'Francis,
Duke of Reichstadt.' At twelve he became a cadet; at seventeen he was
nominated captain in the regiment of Chasseurs. 'The spur of honour, and
the wish to merit such a distinction, have completely changed me,' he
writes to Foresti on this event, which he calls 'the happiest in his
life,' and adds, 'I wish to shake off everything that is childish in me,
and become a man in the best sense of the word.' But he was not allowed
to join his regiment, though the Austrian army was full of young
officers of fewer years than his, and for the present he was forced to
remain idle, and employ himself in riding fiery horses, an exercise for
which he had a passion. Yet his loyalty was no whit behind that of his
friends, and for the time being his military ardour made him more
Austrian than the precepts of his tutors could ever have done.

For the first time since he had crossed the French frontier the Duke of
Reichstadt had become a person of importance. In France Louis XVIII. had
been succeeded by his brother, Charles X., and a large party of
discontented people were sowing afresh the seeds of revolution. The eyes
of the Bourbons turned uneasily to Vienna, where the young Napoleon
stood by his grandfather's side. If the Emperor chose to send him with
an army across the Rhine, who could tell what fires might not be lighted
in Paris? In Vienna rumours began to be heard of plots to kidnap or
assassinate the young duke, and measures were taken to guard him
carefully. There was some talk of making him king of the newly formed
kingdom of Greece, but neither Francis II. nor his minister Metternich
would listen for a moment to the proposal that a Catholic prince should
forsake his religion and become a member of the Greek Church. Then came
the news that the Bourbon dynasty had been expelled from France. Who was
to be king? Was it to be Louis Philippe, Duke of Orléans, or Napoleon

As if by magic fifteen years were blotted out by the Parisians, and the
remembrance of the great Emperor sprang into life. Pictures of Napoleon
leading his army to victory, portraits of his son at every age,
beginning with his childhood, when he was a fair-haired, white-skinned
boy with eyes whose keen, far-seeing glances were never a heritage from
his Austrian mother, were sold in the streets, while the backs of gloves
were adorned by his image. In the young man himself all his early
instincts and his worship of his father's memory stirred strongly. But
the moment passed, and for eighteen years Louis Philippe sat on the
throne of France.

As early as the year 1828 the Duke of Reichstadt began to show signs of
delicacy. Always tall for his age, of late his growth had been very
rapid, and he was now over six feet—seven inches taller than his father
had been—but he became always thinner and thinner. The doctors
carefully examined him and found great weakness in his chest and lungs,
and reported the fact to Neipperg, Marie Louise's second husband, and to
Dietrichstein, the prince's governor, a strict and stern though just
man, who was not likely to encourage fancies. But with the coming winter
the state of the prince's health gave rise to great anxiety. 'I am
forbidden to dance this carnival,' he writes to a friend in January; yet
though dancing was prohibited he was ordered a course of swimming and
cold baths. One can only suppose that this was intended to strengthen
him, but the intense cold of an Austrian winter seems an odd moment to
begin such treatment. It is hardly surprising that it failed, and that
his weakness increased as the spring advanced, and a summer spent in
camp did not improve matters. At last, in 1830, a fresh doctor was
tried, one who had attended several of the Bonapartes, and he was
horrified at the condition in which he found his patient. The duke
scarcely ate anything at all, and coughed continually, and when at
length his dearest wish was about to be fulfilled, and he was to
accompany his regiment into camp, his hopes were dashed to the ground by
the statement of the doctor that only the greatest care could save his

The disappointment was bitter. As long as he could remember he had
dreamed dreams, and they were all of military glory. He was to prove
himself his father's son, was to carry on worthily the name and
traditions that had been left him, and now— But once again he practised
the concealment of his feelings which he had so early learnt, and bore
his pain in silence. It was during this time that the Revolution in
France took place which caused the downfall of Charles X., and caused
the dying prince to become of such sudden importance. By the Emperor's
orders an establishment was formed for him, and in the spring, when he
reached his twentieth birthday, his tutors were dismissed. His health
was no better, perhaps even worse, but it did not suit Metternich, the
Emperor's chief Minister, to notice this; in spite of the remonstrances
of the doctor, the prince was again allowed to join his regiment and
take part in the manœuvres.

Ill though the duke felt, at last he was happy. His military duties were
well done, and, like his father, he had the genius to make himself loved
by his soldiers. For a time his strong will carried him along, but one
day in giving orders to his troops his voice failed him. He made light
of it, and said he had strained it unnecessarily, and that he would soon
learn to manage it better; but a bad attack of fever which followed
shortly after obliged him unwillingly to quit the camp, and to go for a
change to Schönbrunn. Here, in the country, his health improved, but in
a short time the fever returned, and left him too weak to care about
anything. So passed the summer and autumn; but in the early spring his
health began to mend, and with renewed strength came a sudden longing
for the old pleasures. The doctor, thinking it would do the prince more
harm to thwart him than to let him have his way, gave him permission to
take a quiet ride; but the moment he once more felt a horse under him,
he threw prudence to the winds and galloped madly round the park, till
both horse and rider were quite exhausted. And as if this was not
enough, he insisted, wet though it was, in going for a drive in the
evening. Unfortunately the carriage broke down, and no other was at
hand. He had only one attendant with him, and the officer did not dare
to leave him alone in the cold, shelterless place. There was therefore
nothing for it but to walk back to Vienna, but it was quite plain that
the prince scarcely had power to drag himself there. It was really a
very short distance, but to the invalid the way seemed endless, and he
had hardly reached the first houses when he staggered and fell.

From this period his state was practically hopeless, though he would
sometimes surprise his doctors by sudden if short-lived improvements.
When the warm weather came he was taken to Schönbrunn and fed at first
on asses' milk. But his cough prevented his sleeping; he ate almost
nothing, and it was evident to all who saw him that the end could not be
far off. Then, and only then, did his mother consent to come to him, and
the Viennese, who had always loved the ill-fated boy, said bitter things
about her indifference. But the young Napoleon said no bitter things; he
only smiled and welcomed her. Even at this time, though every symptom
showed that death was close at hand, his mother could not bring herself
to remain with him. Short visits in the day and one before she went to
bed were all she thought needful. Another woman would have known that
for her own sake it would have been well to have pretended, if she did
not feel, a little more motherly love, but from first to last Marie
Louise had been too stupid to guess how people would judge her.

In the night of July 22, 1832, he awoke from a feverish sleep crying
out, 'I am dying,' and directly after he added, 'Call my mother.' He was
past speaking when she came, followed by her brother, but he looked at
her and feebly moved his head. Then the prayers for the dying were said,
and at five o'clock his sufferings were over.

In the chapel of the Capuchins at Vienna his body lies amongst the tombs
of the Hapsburgs, parted from his father in death as he had been in
life. Yet, faithless and cold-hearted as she was, his mother did not
dare refuse him at the last the name she had so hated and disgraced, and
he stands forth to the world, not as the 'son of Marie Louise' alone, as
he had been called hitherto, but as the 'Son of Napoleon.'

                         _THE PRINCESS JEANNE_

IT was a cold day in January 1528 when Jeanne de Navarre was born in the
royal castle of Fontainebleau. Most of her relations were remarkable
people, famous even then for their cleverness and strong wills, and her
mother, Marguérite d'Angoulême, sister of Francis I., was distinguished
above them all for her learning. But Marguérite was better than learned,
she was wise, and she thought that her little daughter would be much
happier away from Court, with other children to play with, than in
travelling about the rough roads and small mountain towns that formed a
large part of the kingdom of Navarre, or in crossing the wide rivers
that lay between the Pyrenees and the city of Paris. For Paris was the
home of Francis I., whom Marguérite loved better than her husband, her
mother, or her little girl. So in a few days the baby was quietly
christened in the private chapel of the château, and when she was a
month old was very warmly wrapped up, and taken in a big heavy carriage
drawn by eight horses to a place near Alençon where lived her mother's
great friend, Madame de Silly, wife of the Bailiff of Caen. Here, in
company with Madame de Silly's own children, Jeanne left her babyhood
behind her. She was very strong, and very lively and mischievous
besides; it was she who led the others into mischief, who would tuck up
the long silk frock worn by little girls in those days, and climb trees
after rosy apples, or persuade one of the boys to get up very early and
go with her for hours into the woods on the hills, till Madame de Silly
and everybody else were frightened out of their wits. Nothing ever
frightened Jeanne, and she only laughed at the punishments dealt out to

'Oh, yes, I promise not to do it again—not till next time,' she would
say; and her eyes looked up so merrily into the eyes of Madame de Silly
that the scolding suddenly stopped.

The only thing that ever made Jeanne really sorry for her naughty tricks
was when Madame de Silly talked to her about her mother, whom the child
loved deeply, though she saw her so seldom. To grow up like her was
Jeanne's great wish, even when she was quite a baby; and as her mother
loved the king, her uncle, so much, why, of course, she must love him
too. Every now and then Francis I. sent for her to the palace of St.
Germain, to play with her cousins, Princess Madeleine, who was
afterwards to be queen of Scotland, and Marguérite, the future duchess
of Savoy. The two little princesses were both delicate, and could not
ride and jump and run like Jeanne, who was besides the prettiest of the
three, so she was petted and spoilt and flattered by all, and when she
went back to Lonray, she gave herself all sorts of airs, till you would
have thought she was not made of flesh and blood at all, or just a child
like the rest.

By-and-by Jeanne's father, King Henry of Navarre, grew tired of dangling
about the French Court, where nobody took much notice of him, and
proposed going for a time to live in his own kingdom in the south of
France. Marguérite was herself weary of tournaments and pageants and
constant banquets, and pined for leisure to read books, and to write
poetry. So she gladly gave her consent, and wished to take Jeanne with
her, that they might get to know one another. But to this Francis would
not agree. He knew—or guessed—that the Emperor Charles V., King of
Spain, desired to bring about a marriage between his son Philip, prince
of the Asturias, and the heiress of Navarre, and such a marriage would
mean that the King of Spain would also be lord of a great part of
France. If Jeanne even approached the frontier who could say what might
happen? Therefore, to the grief of her mother and the great wrath of her
father, she was to remain in France as the ward of the king. However, to
make things as pleasant as he could, Francis announced his desire to
betrothe the princess to his second son, Henry, Duke of Orleans, a boy
of twelve, even then showing signs of the silent and melancholy
character which distinguished him in later years.

[Illustration: THE OUBLIETTES]

The prospect of this alliance delighted both the king and queen of
Navarre, but in spite of it Marguérite refused to allow Jeanne to live
at the Court and be brought up with her cousins. After much talk, it was
arranged that the gloomy castle of Plessis-les-Tours should be her
residence, and here she was to dwell in state under the care of Madame
de Silly, with a bishop, two chaplains, and a poet, to look after her
education, and some other children, probably the daughters of great
nobles, for her to play with.

Considering how many large and beautiful castles were owned by Francis,
it seems strange that he should have chosen such a dismal place as
Plessis for a child to be brought up in. The thick forests by which it
was surrounded kept out the sun, and even Jeanne's high spirits were
awed by the dark memories of Louis XI. which filled every corner—by the
deep holes, or _oubliettes_, through which a man might be thrust—and
forgotten; by Cardinal La Balue's iron cage. She was still, in spite of
her strength and cleverness, a very little girl, and she often lay awake
at night half afraid and half fascinated, wondering what _she_ would
have thought about all day long in that iron cage, and making plans how
to get out of it.

As has been said, Jeanne desired in all things to resemble her mother,
and worked hard at her lessons; she learned several languages, besides
the history of France, and Navarre, and Spain, and a little about that
strange country England, whose king, Henry VIII., had stirred up the
Church and disobeyed his Holy Father the Pope, in his refusal to allow
Henry to put away his wife Katharine of Aragon, and marry somebody else.
In after years Jeanne disobeyed the Pope in other ways, and taught her
son to do so also; but at Plessis her sharp little ears picked up all
that was said about Henry VIII. and his three wives, and her sharp
little mind was horrified at the bare idea of revolting against the Holy
Father. She came to know many of the poems of Monsieur Pierre Ronsard
and Joachim du Bellay by heart; but best of all she liked the songs of
Louis, Duke of Orleans. She even struggled to write poems herself; but
she had sense enough to see that they were not good enough to waste her
time on. On wet or cold days, when the wind whistled through the forest
and the old towers, she and her friends would dance in the hall, or sing
songs together in the firelight.

Sometimes the castle was turned upside down by the news that the king
was coming to pay his niece a visit. Poor Madame de Silly rather dreaded
these grand occasions, for Jeanne was apt to have her head turned by her
uncle, who encouraged her to say what she liked, and only laughed when
she answered him pertly. He was amused, too, by the way in which she
stuck to any plan she had formed, and, if he refused his consent one
day, would begin all over again the next. Very often she got her own way
through sheer obstinacy, and Madame de Silly would sigh as she looked
on, for she knew that it would take some time after the king's departure
to get Jeanne into order again.

And when Jeanne was tiresome she could be very tiresome indeed. She not
only had a quick tongue, but a quick temper, and would despise and even
ill-treat anyone who was not so determined as herself. When she was ten
years old her aunt, the Vicomtesse de Rohan, came to live at Plessis
with some of her children, for her husband had lost so much money that
they had almost nothing to live on. The eldest girl, Françoise, had
already gone to live at Pau with Queen Marguérite, which made Jeanne
bitterly jealous, so that when she heard from Madame de Silly that her
cousin was to be left at Plessis while the Queen of Navarre went to
Court, she was thoroughly prepared to dislike her and everything she
did. If only Mademoiselle de Rohan had behaved to Jeanne as Jeanne
behaved to _her_ they would soon have made friends; but, unluckily, she
was easily frightened, and would give up anything sooner than quarrel
about it. She was lazy, too, and preferred sitting over her embroidery
to joining in the rough games in which Jeanne delighted. Of course she
was not allowed to have her way, and was forced, little as she liked it,
to go with the rest; but Jeanne, who played as earnestly as she did
everything else, was speedily provoked by the listless Françoise, and
even went so far as to give her a hard slap as a punishment for her
indolence. Mademoiselle de Rohan did not slap her back, but she had
weapons of her own which stung as well. When Marguérite returned to
fetch her on her road to Pau, a poem of 'Farewell to Plessis' was left
behind, each lady in the queen's suite writing one verse. The stanza
composed by Françoise, whose poetical gifts were greater than her
cousin's, ran as follows:

                 Farewell, dear hand, farewell, I say,
                 That used to slap me every day;
                 And yet I love the slapper so,
                 It breaks my heart that I must go!

No doubt Queen Marguérite heard all the story from Madame de Silly, and
scolded her daughter, and no doubt also that when Jeanne recovered her
temper she felt very much ashamed of her rudeness. All her life she was
absolutely truthful, whatever it might cost her, and when she had done
wrong, and knew it, she never made excuses for herself, but accepted
manfully the punishment that was given her. But though Jeanne was
pleased enough to say good-bye to Françoise, she was extremely sorry to
part from Mademoiselle de Grammont, who was three years older than
herself, and a very clever and decided young lady, who at thirteen
thought herself a woman, and wrote some pretty lines to Jeanne on her
departure from Plessis, assuring the princess that she would never cease
to love her all her life, and that when they were both married, which
would probably be soon, they would crave their husbands' permission to
meet often.

After all the excitement was over, and everyday habits were resumed,
Jeanne began to feel very dull indeed. Her lessons ceased to interest
her, and she no longer cared for games, but would listen eagerly to the
dark tales of cruel deeds done by Louis XI. more than fifty years
before, which you may read about in 'Quentin Durward,' by Sir Walter
Scott. Her mind seemed to brood over them, and Madame de Silly would
gladly have welcomed some of the mischievous pranks, which had formerly
been Jeanne's delight, rather than watch her growing pale and thin,
gazing out of the narrow windows into the dripping forest, yet seeing
nothing that was before her. When this had gone on for many weeks Madame
de Silly became really frightened, and told Jeanne that if she was
unhappy where she was she had better write to the king and her mother
and tell them so, and perhaps they would allow her to leave. Jeanne
brightened a little at the thought of getting away, and Madame de Silly,
who noticed this, added letters of her own both to Francis and to
Marguérite, pointing out that if the princess was kept there much longer
her health would probably break down altogether.

Jeanne was, as usual, standing at the window when the two men-at-arms
rode out through the great gate of the castle. Many days would pass, she
knew, before they could come back again; but still—surely her mother
would listen to her prayers, and not leave her in that horrible place,
where she would soon die, and _then_, perhaps, they would be sorry they
had treated her so unkindly! And Jeanne burst into tears at the sad
picture she had made for herself. About three days later the messenger
who had ridden to Francis at Amboise returned to Plessis, and handed
Jeanne a letter. Her heart beat with excitement as she cut the strings
wrapped round it, and so eager was she to know her fate that the words
seemed to dance under her eyes. Then she looked up with the face of the
old Jeanne once more. 'I'm going! I'm going!' she cried, tossing the
king's letter in the air. 'I'm going to Pau at last. To _live_ there—do
you understand, Madame? But first the king is coming to see me, for he
has not been here for a long time, and he fears I may have forgotten
him. I wonder if I have any dresses fit to welcome him, for I have grown
so tall—nearly as tall as _you_, Madame la baillive de Caen.'

[Illustration: JEANNE AND THE KING]

Madame de Silly smiled at her pleasure; yet she was a little uneasy
also, for she too had heard from the king, and he had told her
something which he had hidden from Jeanne. He spoke of a marriage he
wished to arrange between his niece and the young Duke of Clèves, a
Lutheran prince, part of whose duchy had been seized by the emperor.
If, said the king, Jeanne were once wedded to the Duke of Clèves there
would be an end to the project of her marriage with the Prince of the
Asturias—and there would be an end, he might likewise have added, of
the long-talked of match with his own son, the Duke of Orléans! But
this had conveniently slipped from his mind, and he only remembered
that by this alliance he would get the better of his life-long enemy,
the King of Spain. If Francis had forgotten the early betrothal of
Jeanne and her cousin, the King of Navarre most certainly had not, and
great was his rage on receiving his brother-in-law's letter, which
had arrived some time before Jeanne's. He was naturally angry at the
hardly veiled contempt with which the King of France always treated
him, and felt very sore with his wife for suffering it, and for always
taking her brother's part against himself. Then, for reasons of state,
he thought the marriage a very undesirable one, and when he laid the
matter before his council they entirely agreed with him. Unluckily,
however, Jeanne was in the power of the King of France, who made hardly
any secret of his intention to invade Navarre should her father,
Henri d'Albret, refuse his consent. In case of war, the country would
inevitably fall to the lot of either France or Spain, and with a sullen
face and heavy heart Henri desired his wife to inform her brother that
he might do as he willed in the matter. Of course, when once he got his
way, Francis was all smiles and gracious words again, and he instantly
replied that as soon as the betrothal ceremony had been performed
Jeanne should join her mother and remain with her till she was fifteen.
For, said he, he considered that she was at present of too tender
years to take on herself the cares of the married state. And with that
prospect, Henri who passionately loved his daughter, had to be content.

It was on a brilliant spring morning that Francis set out from the
castle of Amboise to hunt in the forests on the banks of the river. For
a while he seemed, as usual, eager for the chase, then suddenly he let
it sweep past him, and, signing to two or three of his most constant
attendants, galloped down the road to Plessis-les-Tours, and was pealing
at the great bell before Jeanne had any time to think of her clothes.

'Oh, Sire, what happiness to see you!' she cried, throwing her arms
round his neck. 'And look, am I not tall? and a woman grown, though my
twelfth birthday is not long past!'

'A woman indeed, and beautiful withal! A woman ready for a husband! Is
it not so, Jeanne?' And as he spoke Francis gazed at her steadily, and
Jeanne dropped her eyes and blushed, though _why_ she did not know. The
story was soon told; the Duke of Clèves, rich, young, handsome,
accomplished, brother of the lately wedded Queen of England, was to be
the bridegroom of the heiress of Navarre, just half his age. There was
no time to be lost, and she must make ready to join her mother at
Alençon, where the contract was to be signed. The king expected some
astonishment, perhaps a little hesitation; but he certainly did not
expect the burst of tears which greeted his news, still less her 'humble
petition' to the king's grace that she might not be forced into the

'Why, what do you mean? he is a cavalier in a thousand,' Francis
exclaimed angrily, and Jeanne could give no answer. The duke _sounded_
all that a maiden could dream of, but—she did not want him for a
husband. So her tears flowed afresh, and the king, finding her still
silent, bade her remember that he should expect to see her in Paris on
her way to Alençon in a week, and returned to Amboise in a very bad

Left to herself, Jeanne continued to cry for some time; then she dried
her eyes, and wondered why she so hated the thought of marrying the
duke. It was not any love she had for her cousin, though like her father
she felt a rush of indignation when she thought of the way she had been
used and thrown aside—no, it was something quite different. What could
it be? In a moment the answer came to her: Oh, no! no! she could never
leave France; 'France,' which was more to her than anything in the world
except her mother! And after all, she reflected, holding up her head,
they could not marry her against her will—her, the heiress of Navarre,
and a person of great importance. With that smiles came back to her
face, and she went quite cheerfully to give orders to her maids, not
knowing, poor little girl, that it was exactly _because_ she was 'a
person of great importance' that it was so difficult for her to be

Quite firm in her resolve, Jeanne rode out from Plessis two days after,
accompanied by Madame de Silly, and followed by the chief officers of
the household and a guard of soldiers. Her spirits rose as they left the
gloomy woods and gloomier towers behind them, and passed into the spring
sunshine, and the lovely gardens of the valley of the Loire. Much too
soon for Jeanne's wishes they reached Paris, and went straight to the
palace of the Louvre. After she had changed her riding dress for a
beautiful garment of blue velvet, with a chemisette and high collar of
fine lace, she was summoned to the king's apartments, where he stood
with the Duke of Clèves. If Jeanne had not been so determined to hate
him, she would have been forced to admit that he was very handsome and
manly, and that he moved and spoke with the ease and grace so highly
prized in the Court of France. As it was, she stared at him rudely, and
would scarcely answer any of his pretty speeches, and altogether (if she
could only have known it) behaved more like the naughty little girl she
_was_ than like the grown-up woman she thought herself to be. As was
natural, nothing came of this conduct, except that the king became
extremely angry with her, and Madame de Silly was obliged to give her a
scolding, and show her that she would not advance her cause with her
uncle, whose mind was set on the marriage, and only make her future
husband to despise and dislike her.

'I certainly fail to see what I am to gain by leaving France and my own
kingdom in order to marry a duke of Clèves,' Jeanne answered
contemptuously; and her governess, knowing that in this mood nothing was
to be done with her, left her to herself. Later in the day, Madame de
Silly was sent for by Francis, whom she found much enraged by Jeanne's

'You will both set out for Alençon to-morrow morning,' he said sternly,
'and you will inform the Queen of Navarre of what has happened. I will
see the princess no more till she has learned to obey me.' The news of
her daughter's behaviour and her brother's displeasure sorely grieved
Queen Marguérite. Giving Jeanne no time to rest after her long ride, she
went at once to her chamber, and begged the girl to tell her all that
had happened from the very beginning. The queen listened with anger and
surprise to her daughter's account of her first interview with the king,
whose lightest word had always been law to _her_; but Jeanne no more
feared her mother than she did her uncle, and could not be induced
either to express any regret for what she had done or to promise
obedience for the future. So, with a troubled countenance, the queen
left the room, and sat down to write to Francis.

To our eyes her letter seems rather slavish, and as if she possessed no
rights in her own child. She assures the king that Jeanne's parents 'had
no will but his,' and that her father was 'more indignant at his
daughter's conduct than he had ever been about anything.' This was
hardly the truth, as Marguérite could scarcely have forgotten her
husband's wrath when the marriage was first proposed, and even if he now
thought it wiser to change his tone so as not to irritate his
brother-in-law further, she was too clever a woman to be deceived in
this, and must have guessed that, strong-willed though Jeanne was, she
would not have dared to withstand them all if she had not been sure of
the approval of her father. The visit to Alençon must have been rather
unpleasant for everyone, for when the queen was not employed in trying
to persuade her daughter to comply with her uncle's desire, she was
engaged in teaching her some of the principles of the Reformed religion,
professed, as has been said, by the Duke of Clèves. As Jeanne was at
this time a devout Catholic, these lessons only served to exasperate her
further, and it was probably a relief to all three when the Bishop of
Séez, to whom the queen had entrusted the letter, returned with the

It was very short, merely stating that the Queen of Navarre was to
arrange without delay the ceremony of betrothal between her daughter and
the Duke of Clèves, and this being over they were to go at once to
Châtelherault, where the actual marriage would publicly take place. As
to Marguérite's assurances of grief and abasement, scant notice was
vouchsafed to _them_. Though Jeanne was her own daughter, and only
twelve years old, the queen felt very uncomfortable as she walked up the
narrow winding turret staircase which led to the girl's rooms. Jeanne
turned first red and then white as she glanced at the letter in her
mother's hand, but she listened without interruption while it was being
read out to her. The queen was a little surprised at this, and felt she
was getting on better than she expected; but when she had ended, and
raised her eyes to Jeanne's face, what she saw there froze her into
silence. In a moment more the storm broke, and such a torrent of
reproaches flowed from the princess—reproaches as to the sacrifice that
was to be made of her, of the misery to which they wished to condemn
her, and of her firm resolve never to utter the vows which would make
her the duke's wife—that for a while the queen felt quite stunned. It
was seldom indeed that a mother of those days listened to such words
from her daughter. At length she recovered her presence of mind.

'Cease, Jeanne,' she said, laying her hand on the child's shoulder, 'is
it thus you have learned your duty to me? Be quiet instantly, or I shall
have to whip you as if you were a little girl again.'

The outburst of fury had somewhat exhausted Jeanne, and she felt rather
ashamed of her anger. Not because, as she told herself eagerly, she
retracted anything—it was all quite true; but perhaps she had behaved
in an undignified way, and in a manner unbecoming a princess. So she
made no reply, but began to think out another plan, and the result was a
paper protesting at being forced against her will into this marriage. If
she really composed it—it is certainly written in her own hand—it is
surprisingly clever for a child of twelve; but it is possible that she
may have been helped by one of the three officials who were witnesses of
her signature. In any case, however, it was of no use, for the betrothal
took place as arranged, and the public marriage at Châtelherault
followed it. Outwardly, Jeanne had resolved to accept the fate which she
could not escape, but before leaving Alençon she wrote a second protest,
declaring that as her vows were only made under force and not freely,
they were null and void, and the marriage no marriage.

Francis I. was much relieved when he saw his niece ride up to the gate
of the castle. Powerful though he was, Jeanne's opposition had caused
him to feel uneasy as well as irritated; he could not have told _what_
he feared, but he was aware that a burden rolled off him as she
dismounted from her horse and walked towards the great door. He left the
windows at once, in order to welcome her, so he did not notice the
bridegroom hold out his hand to lead her up the steps, nor the air with
which the bride repulsed him. Poor bridegroom! he was having a very
unpleasant time, and it was well for him that he had a charming
mother-in-law to talk to, who more than made up for the loss of her
sulky daughter.

By the king's orders the marriage festivities were to be on the grandest
possible scale, and Marguérite had given special care to Jeanne's dress.
The jewels on her long robe of cloth of gold dazzled the eyes of the
spectators, and her velvet mantle was broidered with ermine. No wonder
that on a hot July day the weight of these clothes felt enormous, and
Jeanne had some show of reason on her side when she told her uncle, who
came forward to lead her to the altar, that she really could not move
from her chair. Francis was naturally very much provoked, but not
deigning to notice such childish behaviour, he turned to the constable,
M. de Montmorency, and bade him carry the bride into the chapel. The
constable fulfilled his orders, and set down Jeanne in her place by the
side of the duke, the royal family feeling truly thankful that she had
not kicked or struggled, as they fully expected her to do.

[Illustration: Jeanne's rudeness to the Duke of Clèves]

After the quiet life she had led at Plessis the splendid ceremonies of
her marriage, and particularly the banquet and ball that followed it,
interested Jeanne very much, though she would have died rather than
show it. She even contrived to keep all her eagerness out of her eyes,
and sat there, like a little wooden image, till the Queen of Navarre
would gladly have given her the whipping she deserved. When the ball
was over, and she was alone with her mother (in whose care she was
to spend the next two or three years) she was scolded severely for
her childishness, but all in vain. Not one smile could be detected on
her face as she occupied the place of honour at the tournaments that
were held during eight days and nights in the great meadow adjoining
the castle, or walked among the tents of twisted branches where dwelt
hermits clad in velvet, green as the trees, who undertook the charge
of any strange knights till they could fight in the tourney. All this
she enjoyed secretly, and better still did she like the fairies and
water sprites who peopled the woods and hovered on the banks of the
stream, though she resolutely kept silence, instead of speaking to
them graciously, as she knew quite well it was her duty to do. In fact
Jeanne was as tiresome and perverse as a little girl could be, but in
her own heart she thought herself very grand and dignified, and the
more she saw everyone put out by her conduct the better she was pleased.

At length it was all over; the bridegroom took his leave and returned to
fight against the emperor, and the king and queen of Navarre took theirs
also, and started for Béarn. For the first time in her life Marguérite
was thankful to part from her beloved brother. She had passed a
miserable fortnight, never feeling sure what her daughter might do next,
and generally being much ashamed of what she _did_. But when they had
left the Loire behind them, and were entering the country which 'Madame
la Duchesse de Clèves' had never visited since she was a tiny child,
Jeanne threw off her injured airs and became the eager, observant girl
she naturally was. Oh, how happy she felt to see Nérac again, and to
spend the autumn in the free wild country where the sun shone, and the
wind blew fresh from the mountains! She forgot at times (in spite of her
title) that such a being as the Duke of Clèves existed, and she behaved
so well, both at Nérac and at Pau, during the following winter, that
Marguérite used to wonder if those terrible festivities had _really_
only taken place a few months ago. During part of the day Jeanne was
taught many things by her mother, and learned all the quicker for having
the queen's maids of honour to share her lessons. In the evening she
talked with some of the members of the Reformed religion, to whom the
Court of Navarre was always open. Gradually she began to feel drawn to
their doctrines, and probably would have adopted them altogether but for
the fact that the Duke of Clèves had long ceased to be a Catholic.

So two years slipped happily by. Jeanne, without becoming less truthful,
had grown more gentle, and more humble also. She no longer dwelt with
pride on the thought of her behaviour on her wedding-day, but if she was
alone her cheeks even flushed red at the recollection of it. She was
kind and pleasant to everyone she met with, and would chatter to the
people in the curious _patois_ which they spoke. She felt as if she had
lived in Béarn for ever, and that Plessis and Alençon were a dream.
Then, one morning, the Cardinal du Bellay rode into Pau, and craved an
audience of Madame la Duchesse de Clèves. When admitted to her presence
he delivered a letter from the King of France bidding Jeanne set out at
once under the Cardinal's escort, and join him at Luxembourg, from which
he would take her to Aix, where the Duke of Clèves then was. A frantic
burst of tears was the only answer the cardinal received; but at last
Jeanne found words, and declared that she would die if she was dragged
away from her beloved Pau. Her mother, whom she hastily summoned, as
usual took the side of the king; but her father wept with her, and
assured her that if she was forced to go on this journey he would go
with her. Henri was powerless to deliver her, as Jeanne well knew; still
his presence was a comfort, and in two days the sad little procession
took the northern road.

Meanwhile events across the Rhine had marched rapidly, and, unknown to
Francis, the Duke of Clèves had done homage to the emperor, who had
invaded his duchy. It was not until the treaty was actually signed by
the duke that notice was sent to Francis of the matter, and with it went
a letter requesting that the princess Jeanne might be sent immediately
to Aix to take up her position as Duchesse of Clèves. The terms of the
letter were of course dictated by the emperor, and were not intended to
soothe Francis. The king's first act was to despatch a messenger to
Soissons, to meet Jeanne, who was to rest there for a day or two, after
her long journey. At midnight she was awakened from a sound sleep by a
clatter in the courtyard beneath her windows, and a few minutes later
one of her maids brought a message that the cardinal would feel greatly
honoured if the princess would see him for a few minutes. Wearily Jeanne
suffered her ladies to dress her, and dropping into a chair, waited to
hear what the cardinal had to say. Nothing pleasant it _could_ be, for
did not every hour bring closer her farewell to France, and her life
among people that she hated. Bowing low, the cardinal entered, bearing
the despatch, which he presented to Jeanne.

'Read it,' she said, in a tired voice, waving her hand; and the cardinal
read it. As he went on her fatigue suddenly disappeared; she leaned
eagerly forward, her eyes bright and her cheeks glowing. 'What is it you
say? That the king will see that my marriage—my _hateful_
marriage—shall be set aside, and that I am to go at once to Queen
Eleanor at Fontainebleau? Oh, what joy! what a deliverance!' Jeanne's
rapture was shared by her father, and next day they travelled, with very
different feelings, over the road they had just come.

[Illustration: The Cardinal reads the King's letter to Jeanne]

To judge by her letters, Queen Marguérite seems to have been more angry
at the way in which her daughter—and her brother—had been treated than
relieved at the princess's escape from a husband whom she detested.
Steps were at once taken, not only by the King of France, but by the
Duke of Clèves, to implore from the Pope a dispensation setting aside
the marriage contracted on July 15, 1540. And as the reason given for
the appeal was the fact that the marriage had been forced on the bride
against her will, the 'protests' were produced as evidence, and Jeanne
felt with pride they had not been drawn up for nothing. Indeed, she was
bidden by Francis to write a third one, which was sent straight to Pope
Paul III. But royal marriages are neither made nor marred in a day, and
a year and a half dragged by before Jeanne was a free woman again. After
some months spent with her mother at Alençon, she returned to Plessis,
with Madame de Silly, to await alone the decision of the Pope. Here in
the chapel, on Easter Day, Jeanne addressed the bishops and nobles
assembled to hear High Mass, and read to them a short statement of the
events relating to her marriage five years before, begging that the
Cardinal de Tournon might be sent to Rome without delay. This time Pope
Paul III. paid more attention to the matter than he had done before, and
by Whitsuntide the contract was annulled, and Jeanne and her bridegroom
henceforth were strangers.

Strange to say, even after she was set free, Jeanne appears to have
spent a considerable time at Plessis—which, as we know, she hated
nearly as much as she did the Duke of Clèves—for she was still there
when she heard of the death of Francis I. in the spring of 1547. She at
once joined her father, but does not seem to have tried to console her
mother, who was broken-hearted, and henceforth gave up the life and
studies, in which she had so much delighted, for the service of the
poor. Many years previously Francis had married his son Henri to the
young Catherine de Medici, who now sat on the throne of France, where
the King of Navarre had thought to have placed his daughter. Henri was a
very different man from Francis: he was shy and gloomy, and he had not
the gay and pleasant manners of his father, and his affections were
given to a wholly different set of friends. But on hearing of the fresh
advances made by the Emperor Charles to the King of Navarre for a union
between Jeanne and the young widower, Philip of Spain, Henri bethought
him of the danger from Spain which was so prominently before the eyes of
his father, and summoned Jeanne, then nearly twenty, to Fontainebleau.
So seldom had the princess been at Court that she was almost a stranger,
but her high spirits and quick tongue made her a favourite with most
people. Queen Catherine, however, did not like her; she could not
understand Jeanne, or the bold way in which she set forth her views.
Speech, according to Catherine, was given you to hide your thoughts, and
not to display them; while Jeanne thought the queen's elaborate
compliments and constant reserve very tiresome, and avoided her as much
as possible. 'How cold Catherine was, and how stingy,' said Jeanne to
herself. 'She did not seem to care for anybody, even her own children,
while as for gratitude'—and, with her head held high, Jeanne sat down
to write a letter respecting the care of her old nurse.

Of course, no sooner did the handsome young heiress appear at Court than
suitors for her hand appeared also. The king favoured the claims of
François, duke of Guise, afterwards the captor of Calais; but Jeanne
declared that her husband must be of royal blood, and asked Henri how
she could suffer the Duchesse d'Aumale, who now thought it an honour to
bear her train, to walk beside her as her sister-in-law? Perhaps, being
a man, the case might not have seemed as impossible to Henri as it did
to Jeanne; but one thing was quite clear to him, and that was that he
could never obtain the consent of the lady, so he wisely let the matter
drop. The other suitor was Antoine de Bourbon, eldest son of the Duc de
Vendôme, and nephew, by her first husband, of Marguérite. Antoine was
now about thirty, a tall, handsome man, and a leader of fashion; but,
had she known it, Jeanne would have been much happier as the wife of
Francois de Guise. For the Duc de Vendôme, though brave and fascinating,
was absolutely untrustworthy. His word was lightly given, and lightly
broken; his friends were always changing, and only his love of pleasure
and love of ease remained the same. As to the king and queen of Navarre,
_their_ opinions were, as usual, divided. Henri d'Albret did not like
his proposed son-in-law—he was too thoughtless, and too extravagant;
while Marguérite, on the contrary, was prepared to overlook everything,
seeing he was the first prince of the blood, and, like his brother
Condé, an advocate of the Reformed religion. She did not pause to ask
herself how far his life gave evidence of any religion at all! However,
also as usual, the wishes of the King of Navarre were once more
thwarted, and Jeanne, her mother, and Henri II. proved too much for him.
The marriage took place at the town of Moulins, at the end of October
1548, when the bride was nearly twenty-one, the King and Queen of France
being present at the ceremony. The King of Navarre did all he could to
prevent his daughter's dowry from being wasted by declaring that it
should only be paid in instalments, while the queen stipulated in the
contract that Jeanne should have absolute control over the bringing up
of her children till they were eighteen years of age.

The future life of Jeanne, married to a man like the Duc de Vendôme, was
certain to be unhappy, and the state of France, with its perpetual
religious wars, could only increase that unhappiness. As far as possible
she stayed in her own kingdom, and kept her son, afterwards Henri IV.,
living a free, hardy life among the mountains. But there were times when
policy forced her to visit the Court of Catherine, whom she hated and
mistrusted, and, what was infinitely worse, to leave her son there. His
tutors were men of the Reformed religion, but Henri had too much of his
father in him for any faith to take root, and when he had to decide
between Calvinism and a crown, it was easy to tell what his choice would
be. But Jeanne was spared the knowledge of that, and of much else that
would have grieved her sorely, for she died in Paris, whither she had
gone to attend the marriage of Henri and the Princess Margot, a few days
before the Massacre of St. Bartholomew.

                            _HACON THE KING_

WHEN little Hacon, son of the dead king Hacon, and grandson of Sverrir,
was born at Smaalen, in Norway, in the summer of 1204, the country was
divided into two great parties. In the south were gathered the
Croziermen, or churchmen, supported by the King of Denmark, while
further north lay the followers of old Sverrir, who had been nicknamed
'Birchlegs' from the gaiters of birch-bark which they always wore. In
those days men needed a king to keep order, and after the death of
Hacon, son of Sverrir, the great council, called the Thing, met to
consult about the matter. The first king they chose died in a few
months, and then Ingi, his kinsman, was put in his place. But when the
child of Hacon and Inga proved to be a boy the Birchlegs declared that
he and none other should rule over them. Now the Croziermen were spread
all over the south and east of Norway, and, as Smaalen was right in the
middle of them, a few Birchlegs went secretly to Inga, the child's
mother, and told her that for a time the baby must be hidden away so
that no man should know where he was; for they feared King Ingi.

So Thrond the priest took the boy and gave him the name of his father,
and his wife cared for him as her own, and no one knew he was a king's
son, save only herself and her two boys. And Inga his mother abode close

In this manner a year passed over, and when Christmas was coming for the
second time whispers reached the ear of Thrond the priest, and he made a
plan with Erlend, kinsman of Sverrir, that Hacon should leave the
country of the Croziermen and go north. Then they two took the child and
Inga his mother and journeyed by night through strange places till on
Christmas Eve they reached a place called Hammar, where they met some
Birchlegs, who told them that news of their flight had spread abroad,
and that Croziermen were spread over the mountains. Worse than all, Ivar
the bishop was at Hammar, and he, as everyone knew, was a sworn enemy to
the race of Sverrir. Thrond and Erlend looked at each other as the
Birchlegs spoke. It was what they had dreaded, and little surprised they
felt when next day arrived a messenger from Ivar the bishop claiming
kinship with the boy—which was true—and inviting Inga and her son to
spend the feast of Yule, for so Christmas was called, with him. But, by
counsel of the Birchlegs, an answer was sent saying that the child and
his mother needed rest after journeying, and would stay where they were
till Yule was past, and after that they would come to the bishop's
house. When Ivar's messenger had ridden out of sight, the Birchlegs rose
up swiftly and hid Hacon and his mother in a farm among the hills, while
they bade all the Birchlegs that were scattered for many miles round to
hold themselves ready. On Christmas night Inga wrapped the baby warmly
up in furs, and, giving him to Erlend to carry, they set out from the
farm, and took a path that led eastwards through mountains and forests,
and on each side of Hacon walked Thorstein the fighter and Skerwald the
Shrimp, swiftest of all men on snow shoes, so that, should the
Croziermen try to capture him, he might be borne away out of their


For many nights and days they tramped forwards, lying in caves or
scooping themselves huts in the snow. Not a house was to be seen
anywhere; and, though Inga had a brave heart, she sometimes wondered if
the guides knew the way any better than she did. At length they came to
a barn, and here they kindled some wood by means of a fire-stick, but
that only melted the snow on the broken roof till it was more
uncomfortable inside than out. Their food had all been eaten that
morning, and they had nothing to give little Hacon except the water of
the snow. But he did not seem to mind, and only laughed when the drops
fell on his nose. He was ever the merriest baby. A day after leaving the
barn they struggled through snow so hard that it had to be broken with
the spears of the Birchlegs, and before them lay a farm, where they
received a hearty welcome, and were given good food to eat and soft beds
to lie on. Then the farmer set them on horses and gave them guides, and
they turned northwards towards Drontheim. On the journey many Birchlegs
joined them, and some of them brought news that the Croziermen had
started in pursuit, but the snowdrifts through which Inga and Hacon had
won their way proved too deep for _them_, and they went back to Erling
Stone-wall, whom they had chosen king.


Now Ingi, kinsman of little Hacon, lay at Drontheim with a large army,
when one day a man entered his hall and told him that his brother, who
had been hunting bears in the mountains, had seen from afar a body of
men marching towards the city, and the people of the hill country
whispered that a king's son was with them. 'What king's son?' the young
man had asked, but that no one could tell him. There were also tales of
another force from further east; but all was uncertain, so Ingi the king
waited for the return of his messengers, and spread tents for himself
and his bodyguard, till the men came back.

'Well, what tidings?' said Ingi, as they entered his tent.

'Here are two guides who have travelled far,' answered the messengers
pointing to the Birchlegs, 'they will tell you their story'; and so they
did from the beginning, and that the child in their company was Hacon,
grandson of Sverrir the king. Then Ingi gave thanks that the boy had
come safe through such perils of winter and wild beasts, and bade the
men sit down to eat and drink, and said that he himself would tarry
where he was till Hacon his kinsman was brought to him. And when the boy
hove in sight Ingi strode out to meet him, and took him in his arms and
kissed him, bidding him and his mother welcome, and he was good to them
both all the days of his life. Perhaps, when he grew older, Hacon may
have heard the tale of another little boy across the seas named Arthur,
like himself the heir to a kingdom, who, only a year before the birth of
Hacon, had been done to death by John, his uncle, who coveted his crown.
But no such thought ever entered the mind of Ingi.

It was strange for Hacon to wake up to find himself lying on soft
cushions, and broad beams over his head instead of the stars, or the
brilliant, rushing, Northern Lights. Sometimes he would raise himself on
his elbow and listen with bent head, dreaming that he heard the soft pad
of a wolf's foot, or that if he looked he would see a pair of bright
eyes staring at him from behind a bush, as he had often done in the
mountain forests. Then he remembered that wolves did not come into
palaces, and, curling himself up comfortably, went to sleep again. All
that winter and the next he stayed in Drontheim, and every day the
Birchlegs visited him and told him stories of his father and
grandfather, which the boy liked to hear, but sometimes found beyond his
understanding. But in the second spring after his coming, earl Hacon,
brother of Ingi, took him to his castle at Bergen, and he loved him
greatly, and would say to his men that little Hacon was in truth king of
Norway. That summer, while earl Hacon was away, the Croziermen under
their new king Philip besieged Bergen, and the boy fell into their
hands, and some thought of making him king instead of Philip. Most
likely Philip knew of this, and it would have been quite easy for him to
kill Hacon, as King John across the seas would have done. Yet the
Norsemen, though fierce in battle, were not apt to slay children, so he
treated Hacon kindly, and in three days yielded him up to Thorir the
archbishop. With him Hacon lived till his kinsman the earl came back
from fighting; then he went again to his house, and remained with him
always either on land or sea.

Of the two, Hacon loved best being on the sea, and when he was four the
earl built a splendid ship, larger than any which had sailed in those
waters. Its prow was high out of the water and carved with a raven's
head, and inside there were thirty-one benches for the rowers to sit on,
who wielded the great long oars. Of course it was very important to find
a good name for such a splendid vessel, and Hacon and the earl consulted
daily about it, but at length they agreed that none was so fitting as
Olaf's Clinker. So 'Olaf's Clinker' it was called, and in the autumn the
two Hacons sailed in it to the Seljar Isles, and lay there all through
the great frost. Food they had in plenty, but it was very hard to use
it; their drink was a solid lump of ice, and their butter was frozen so
tight that many a knife broke its blade in two before it could cut off a
morsel for little Hacon to eat, for the men gave him of the best always.
One day the earl bade the cook bake the child a soft, thick cake of
flour, and it was brought to him where he stood listening to the tales
of the king's guard. They also were eating their food, and he watched
them biting morsels of the hard bread and after of the frozen butter.

'Give me some butter,' he said with a laugh, and the soldier chopped off
a piece and handed it to him. 'Now let us fettle the butter, Birchlegs,'
laughed he, and took the butter and folded it up in the hot cake so that
the butter melted.

'So little and so wise,' they murmured to each other, and Hacon's saying
was told throughout the army, and became a proverb in the land. All men
loved him, for he always had merry words on his tongue and took nothing
amiss. But for his years he was small, and often the Birchlegs would
take him by his head and heels and pull him out, 'to make him grow
taller,' they said, but he never grew above middle stature.

[Illustration: "To make him grow taller"]

When Hacon was seven years old the earl told him it was time he learned
something out of books, as his father had done. Hacon was willing, and
spent some time every day with the priest who was to teach him. For many
months the boy worked at his lessons, or at least so the earl thought,
as he no longer trotted at his heels like the big blue boarhound. One
evening, when the earl had come in weary from a day's hunting, and had
stretched himself in front of the huge hall fire, waiting for the skald
or poet to come and sing to him the mighty deeds of his fathers the
Vikings, Hacon ran in.

'Come hither, boy,' said the earl, 'and tell me what you are learning.'

'Chanting, lord earl,' answered Hacon.

'That was not the sort of learning I wished you to know,' replied the
earl, 'and you shall not learn it any more, but how to read and write,
for it is not a priest, nor even a bishop, that I mean you to be.'

It seems strange that though both Ingi the king and Hacon the earl loved
the boy truly, and that, as has been told, the earl often said in the
hearing of all men that if everyone had his rights the grandson of
Sverrir, and not Ingi, would rule over them, yet in this very year Hacon
the earl and Ingi the king agreed together that whichever of them lived
longest should reign over the whole of Norway, and that Hacon the child
should be set aside. A Thing was called, where the archbishops, and
bishops, and other men were present, and they declared that compact to
be good. For, said they, did not Solomon speak truly when he wrote, 'Woe
to the land whose king is a child,' and how should Hacon, Sverrir's
grandson deliver us from the hands of the Croziermen and the Danes and
keep order in the land?'

Now it happened that on the very day on which this matter was determined
by the Thing, little Hacon had been sent by request of his mother to
visit Astrida, his kinswoman, and an old Birchleg went with him. Though
it was evening when he returned, the sun was quite high in the heavens,
it being summer, and Hacon sought at once his old friend Helgi the keen,
saying that there was yet time to play one of the games they both loved.
But at the sight of him Helgi's face grew dark, and he roughly bade him

'What have I done to anger thee, my Helgi?' asked Hacon wonderingly; but
Helgi would have none of him. 'I know of nought that can have vexed
thee,' repeated Hacon; and Helgi answered:

'Why do I bid thee begone? Because to-day thy kingdom was taken from
thee and given to another man.'

'Who did this deed, and where?' said Hacon.

'It was done at the Thing,' returned Helgi, 'and those who did it were
thy kinsmen, Ingi and Hacon.'

'Ingi and Hacon,' repeated the boy and was silent for a moment. Then his
face brightened and he added, 'Well, be not wroth with _me_, Helgi. None
can tell if the deed will stand, for no spokesmen were there to plead my

'And who are your spokesmen?' inquired Helgi.

'God and Saint Olaf,' answered Hacon, 'and to them I leave it.'

'Good luck be with thee, king's son,' said Helgi, taking him up and
kissing him.

So Hacon the child lived on in the house of the earl his kinsman, who
loved him greatly, and spurned in anger the evil counsel of one Hidi,
who offered secretly to do him to death.

'God forbid,' cried the earl, 'that I should in this manner buy the
kingdom for my son,' and he bade Hidi begone from his presence and keep
his treachery to himself. And the better to preserve the boy from harm
he had him always in his company, even when he fell sick of the illness
that was to end in his death. Hacon, who by now was ten years old,
mourned him sorely; but in the spring Ingi the king came south to
Bergen, and carried the boy northwards to Drontheim, where he sent him
to school with his son Guttorm, two years younger than himself. The boys
were good friends, and treated alike in all things. Guttorm, being most
easily moved to wrath, and often finding himself in trouble, came to
Hacon to make him a way-out, which Hacon did, many times with a jest or
a laugh, for he was gentle and slow to anger, and all men loved him.

In this year Ingi the king fell sick also, and Skuli, his brother, urged
upon him to place the crown on the head of his son Guttorm. Some men
agreed with Skuli, and the Birchlegs feared for Hacon, and desired to
bear him away with them and gather an army and fight and see who should
be king; but Hacon would not listen to the old Birchlegs, and said it
was 'unwise to set those at one another who ought to fight under the
same shield, and that he would wait, and for the present let things be.'
After all Ingi the king got well, and for two more winters he ruled as
before. But when Hacon was thirteen and Guttorm eleven a sore weakness
fell upon Ingi, and he knew that he would go out no more to battle.
Grievous was it for a man who had spent his life in faring to and fro to
be tied down to his bed; but he uttered no words of wailing, and lay
listening to the merry jests of Hacon and his steward Nicholas till he
laughed himself, and his illness felt lighter. Skuli, the king's
brother, likewise watched by him, and his friends were gathered there
also, and they pressed Ingi sore to give the kingdom into Skuli the
earl's hands. And Ingi had no strength to say them nay, and he let them
have their will, and soon he died, leaving the rule to Skuli. But the
men of Norway did not all agree as to this matter. Some wished that
Guttorm, Ingi's son, should be king, others declared that Hacon had the
best right; while the rest said that the throne of Norway was no place
for a boy, and they would have a man such as Skuli to reign over them.
For Skuli, though filled with ambition and a man whose word and promises
were swiftly broken, was tall and handsome, generous with his gold, and
pleasant of speech. Therefore he had a large following and a powerful
one; but to Hacon he was ever a bad friend, seeking his throne, and met
his death hereafter in strife against him.

It happened that Guttorm the archbishop was away in the far north, and
Skuli would fain have waited till his return, for many canons and
learned clerks desired him for their lord, and the earl hoped that the
archbishop might gain over others also. So he went to work secretly,
seeking by sundry devices to put off the choice of a king, and so
cunning he was that he seemed to have succeeded. But one day when he was
asking counsel of a friend the blast of trumpets was heard.

'What means that?' cried the earl, starting up from his seat, and,
striding out of his chamber, he went quickly down the narrow stairs and
entered the great hall, which was crowded with men.

'Lord earl,' said one of the bodyguard, an old man with scars about his
face, 'Lord earl, we have waited long enough for the archbishop, and we
are minded to wait no longer. A meeting shall be held this morning in
this very place, and Hacon, Sverrir's grandson, shall sit by your side
on the high seat, and king shall he be called till the great Thing be
got together. If you say nay to this, then will the rowers make ready
the ships, and Hacon shall sail with us southwards to the land of
Bergen, and there another Thing shall be summoned, and we and the
bodyguard that dwells there will declare him king. Now choose.'

Then Skuli saw that there were many against him, and he let a high seat
be built close to the church of St. Nicholas, and Onund, standard-bearer
of the Birchlegs, stood up and said that the Croziermen were gathered in
the bay which lies south of Christiania and were ruled by a king. But
when tidings reached them that the men of Norway were but a headless
host the Croziermen would agree with the bishops and strife would be in
the land. A great shout arose when Onund had finished speaking, and
twelve men of the king's guard were sent to fetch Hacon, who was at the
school over against Christ Church. The boy was sitting on a bench, his
eyes bent on a priest who was reading out from a Latin roll the tale of
the burning of Dido, and when he had done it was his custom to make each
boy in turn tell him what he had heard. Suddenly, with a clatter, the
door flew open and the twelve messengers entered.

'God greet you, king's son,' spake the oldest of them. 'The Birchlegs
and the yeomen who meet in the courtyard of the palace have sent us to
fetch you.'

Hacon looked first at the priest and then at the Birchleg, and held out
his hand, and went with them down to the church of St. Nicholas. Then
Skuli the earl said that many were present who did not hold that the boy
was Sverrir's grandson, and that until he had proved his right to sit on
the high seat he must be content with a low one.

'Ingi and Hacon the earl knew well he was the king's son,' cried a voice
from out the crowd; but Skuli pretended not to hear, and declared that
by the counsel of his friends, Inga, Hacon's mother, must be tried by
the ordeal of hot iron.

In those days it was a common thing that anyone accused of a great crime
should prove his innocence in three ways, and he might choose which of
them pleased him best. Either he might walk over red-hot ploughshares,
or hold in his hand a piece of red-hot iron, and if his hands or feet
were marked with no scar he was held to be accused falsely. Or he could,
if so he willed, be tried by the ordeal of water and, having his hands
and feet bound, be cast into a river. If, after being in the water a
certain time or floating a certain distance, he remained alive and
unhurt, he also was let go free. In Norway the ordeal of iron alone was
used, and gladly did the king's mother offer to submit to it. Straight
from the meeting she went to the church of St. Peter, and fasted three
days and three nights and spoke to no one. On the third day she came
forth, her face shining, but the iron bar, which should have been lying
in a chest in the church, was nowhere to be found. For in truth the
canons and priests, who were Skuli's men, had misdoubted their cause,
and had hidden it away, lest the ordeal should prove their own undoing.
But the captain of the Birchlegs understood well what had befallen, and
sent messengers over the land to summon a Thing, to be held in a month's
time. And daily they set Hacon in the high seat beside the earl, and
Skuli dared not gainsay them.


So the Thing was held in the meadow, and trumpets were blown, but the
canons forbade the holy shrine to be brought out from the church of St.
Olaf, as was the custom at the choosing of a king. In this they acted
unwisely, for the hearts of many of their own men grew hot at this base
device, and turned against them, and Hacon was proclaimed king, and
oaths were sworn to him. After that Hacon the king and Skuli the earl
sailed together to Bergen, in a ship of twenty benches. At the mouth of
the fiord a messenger brought him word that the canons and priests of
Bergen, moved by their fellows at Drontheim, did not mean to pay him
kingly honours. To this Hacon made answer that, as their king, he
expected the homage they had paid his fathers, or they would have to
bear the penalty, and his words bore fruit, for he rowed up the fiord
with all the church bells ringing and the people shouting. Then a Thing
was held, and he was chosen king by the people of Bergen also. But,
better than ruling over assemblies, Hacon loved to watch the strange
games of boys and men. King though he was, many troubled years were in
store for Hacon. Skuli was not minded to sit down quietly as Hacon's
liegeman, and at once began to lay plots with the Croziermen and with
John Earl of Orkney. He had taken for himself all the money which
Sverrir, Hacon his son, and Ingi had stored up, and all the gold that
Hacon possessed was a brooch and a ring. Thus it became plain even to
the Birchlegs that Hacon could not fight both the earl and the
Croziermen, and so it was agreed that Skuli should be lord over a third
part of Norway and that peace should be made.

Hardly was this done when there arose in the east a band of poor men,
under the lead of Benedict the priest, whom folk called Benny. From
their torn garments they were known as the Ragged Regiment, and at first
they did nothing but steal from farmyards and rob houses. But
afterwards, when rich and strong men who would not obey the laws joined
them, they grew bolder and attacked Tunsberg, the chief city near the
Bay, and though they were driven back and many were killed, yet for long
they harried the lands of Hacon, and with another band of rebels, called
the Ribbalds, laid waste the country. Till they were conquered, which
took Hacon ten years, little rest had he, and always Skuli was there to
trouble him.

It was when Hacon was fourteen years old that the archbishop and earl
Skuli sent messengers to Bergen to ask that Inga, his mother, might once
more go through the ordeal of iron to satisfy all men of his right to
the throne. In answer Hacon summoned the bishops and archbishops and
Skuli, together with some of his liegemen, to assemble in the vestry of
the church, and spoke to them in this wise:

'It would seem hard to many a king to undergo the ordeal when his rule
was established. Before, when my mother offered herself to suffer it, I
had not been chosen king, and you all know how it happened that when she
came forth the iron was hidden. You know, too, that when we first
entered Norway she declared herself ready to undergo the ordeal, but
Ingi the king and Hacon the earl answered that none misdoubted, neither
was there any need for it. Yet now I will do as you will for three
causes. First, that no man may say I have claimed what is not mine by
right; second, that I would that my subjects should learn that in all
things I strive to content them; and third, that the Judge into whose
hands I put myself will fail none whose cause is true. And therefore I
go gladly to this judgment.


Then Inga went into the church to fast for three days and three nights,
and some men fasted with her, and, twelve watched on the outside as
before. But on the Wednesday before the trial was to take place Sigar,
one of Skuli's men, skilled in learning, came secretly to good man
Dagfinn, Hacon's liegeman, and said thus: 'I know your heart is vexed
and sore because of this ordeal, but I can promise to make all things
right so that the king's mother shall not suffer.'

'How mean you?' asked Dagfinn who was not minded to talk with the man,
not liking his face.

'It is in this wise,' answered Sigar with a cunning look; 'I have only
to rub this herb over the hand of Inga and the iron will not harm her,
however hot it be.'

'I thank you,' said Dagfinn; 'but tell me what name has this herb, and
where I may find it.'

'It grows on every house in Bergen,' replied Sigar, who knew well full
that there was no virtue in the herb at all, but thought that Dagfinn
was with him in the matter, and that together they might proclaim that
Inga had sought the aid of leechcraft, and so discredit her in the eyes
of all men. But Dagfinn made as though he would spring on him, and bade
him begone while he kept his hands off him. After that Dagfinn told the
tale to Inga, and warned her lest she should fall into any snares.

Next morning Hacon the king, and Skuli, and the archbishop, and John
Earl of Orkney, and many other notable men, went into the church where
the priest said the office. Then the piece of holy iron was taken from
the great chest and heated in a brazier under the eyes of all, and when
it glowed white, so that none could look on it, the priest drew it forth
with long pincers and placed it in Inga's hand. As she took it, Hacon
shivered, as if the pain had been his. He alone turned his head away;
but the rest never lifted their gaze from the face of Inga, which was
calm and peaceful as ever.

'It is enough,' said the priest at last, and Hacon sprang forward as if
to go to his mother, when the priest stopped him. 'All is not yet
finished; back to your place,' and, standing in front of Inga so that no
man could behold her hand, he wound a white cloth many times round it.
'Now you may come,' said the priest, and Hacon went with his mother to
her house.

For many days they waited, and then the priest sent word to Hacon the
king, and Skuli the earl, and the archbishop and the bishops and the
nobles, that the following evening they should meet in Christ Church,
and he would unbind the hand of Inga. Not one of them was missing, and
in the presence and sight of all the priest unwound the linen and
stretched out the hand of Inga, and behold! the skin of that hand was
whiter and fairer to see than the skin of the other. And the archbishop
proclaimed a Thing to be held the next Sunday in the space in front of
the church, and there he gave out how that the king's mother had won
through the ordeal, and that any who from that day misdoubted Hacon's
right to the crown should be laid under the ban of the Church. Also, he
said that Hacon the king and Skuli the earl had made a new compact of

But compacts did not count for much with Skuli, not even when, a year
later, Hacon, then fifteen, was betrothed to his daughter Margaret. In
this matter the king followed the counsel of his friends, though he
himself knew Skuli too well to expect that the earl would suffer a
marriage or anything else to bind him. 'It will all come to the same
thing, I fear,' he said to his mother, as he set out at Michaelmas for
the ceremony at Drontheim. For some reason we do not know the marriage
was delayed for six years, and it was not until 1225, when Hacon was
twenty-one, that it actually took place. Then, after Easter, Hacon took
ship at Tunsberg on the Bay, and sailed for five days till he reached
Bergen. As soon as he arrived the preparations for the wedding began,
and on Trinity Sunday, when the sun remains in the sky all night long in
the far north, Hacon and Margaret were married in Christ Church.
Afterwards great feasts were held for nearly a week in the palace. Hacon
sat at the high table at the head of the men in the Yule Hall, and
Margaret gathered round her the women in the Summer Hall, and the monks
and abbots held a banquet in another place.

All the days that Hacon lived Margaret was a good wife to him, and wept
sore for the trouble that Skuli, her father, brought on the land. For
Hacon the king had been right in his prophecy, and for fifteen years
Skuli never ceased from scheming against him, and murdering those that
stood in his way, till even his own men grew ashamed and tired of him.
Nothing was there which he held sacred, and this brought him more
dishonour than all his other crimes. Once Hacon sent Ivar and Gunnar to
him with letters. Warm was their welcome from Skuli, and splendid were
the presents which he gave them when they left. But secretly he bade men
ride after them and slay them where they could find them. Fast rode
Skuli's men, but Ivar and Gunnar rode faster, for Hacon had need of
them. At length they rested for the night in a farm belonging to the
king, and Skuli's men, with Gaut Wolfskin and Sigurd Saltseed at their
head, came unawares to the house also. As they entered they beheld
Gunnar leaning against the lattice of the window, and they threw open
the door and slew him where he stood, but not before many of their band
lay dead upon the ground. When Ivar saw that his help could be of no
avail he sprung into the loft close by, and, squeezing himself through a
narrow opening, leaped to the ground and sought to take refuge in the
church, but it was locked. Then he seized a ladder which was standing by
and ran up it to the roof, throwing the ladder down when he reached the
top. In the dark no man troubled him; but it was November, and the wind
was keen, and no clothes had he upon him save a shirt and his breeches.
When the sun rose he found that Skuli's men were gathered below,
watching that he should not escape; but, indeed, his hands were so
frozen with cold that he could have taken hold of nothing. He prayed
them to grant him his life; but they laughed him to scorn, and Sigurd
Saltseed seized the ladder and set it up against the church, and climbed
upon it, and thrust Ivar through with a spear so that he fell dead to
the ground.


Now these things displeased the people of Norway, and one by one his
liegemen departed from Skuli and took service with Hacon, till at length
so few followers had the earl that he was forced to fly. The Birchlegs
sought him everywhere, and one day news was brought to them that he was
lying hidden in a monastery, and some of his men also. So the Birchlegs
came up to the monastery to attack it, but the archbishop went forth to
meet them and begged that Skuli might be let pass in peace to see the
king. Some listened to the archbishop, but others, whose hearts were
harder, crept away and set fire to the monastery, and the fire spread.
Then Skuli saw that the time for fighting was past, and, lifting up his
shield, he stood in the doorway crying, 'Strike me not in the face, for
not so is it done to princes'; therefore they thrust him through in the
body, and he died.

But all this happened fifteen years after the marriage of Hacon, and it
is no longer the concern of this tale, which treats only of his youth.
At sixty years old he died, having worn the crown of Norway forty-seven
years. In spite of his enemies at home, he did many things for his
people, and ruled them well. The poor were mercifully dealt with, and
his soldiers were forbidden to steal from either friends or foes.
Churches and hospitals and great halls he built in plenty, rivers he
widened and numbers of ships he had, swift sailing and water-tight, for
he was overlord of lands far away over the sea. Iceland and Greenland
paid their dues to him. The Isle of Man, which owned a king, did him
homage, and so did the south isles of Scotland—the 'Sudar' Isles as
they were called, Jura, and Islay, and Bute, and the rest—and their
bishop was known as the Bishop of Sodor and Man, as he is to this day.
Besides this, the friendship of Hacon was sought by many foreign
princes: by the Emperor Frederick the Second, 'the Wonder of the World';
by the Grand Prince of Russia; by the Pope Innocent IV., who sent a
legate to crown him king. Hacon also sent his daughter to Spain with a
great dowry, to marry whichever of the king's four sons pleased her
best. Still, in spite of his fame, his voyages were few, and it seems
strange that he should have been seized with mortal illness at the
bishop's house in Kirk wall. At first they read him Latin books, but his
head grew tired, and he bade them take the scrolls away and tell him
instead the tales of the Norse kings his forefathers. And so he died,
and when the ice was melted and the sea set free, his body was carried
to Bergen and buried in Christ Church, where he had been married and
where he had been crowned.


This is the tale of Hacon the King.

                         _MI REINA! MI REINA!_

WHEN Marie Louise d'Orléans, daughter of Madame, and niece of Louis
XIV., was born, on March 27, 1662, both her grandmothers as well as her
mother were terribly disappointed that she was not a boy. 'Throw her
into the river,' exclaimed Madame, in fun, of course; but the
queen-mother of England, the widow of Charles I., whose sorrows had
crushed all jokes out of her, answered gravely that after all, perhaps,
things were not quite so bad as they seemed, for by-and-by she might
marry her cousin the dauphin who was only a few months older.

Quite unconscious of her cold welcome, the baby grew and thrived, and
was so pretty and had such charming little ways, that they soon forgave
her for being only a girl, especially as when she was two years old she
had a little brother. The Duc de Valois, as he was called, was a
beautiful child, strong and healthy, whereas the dauphin was always ill,
and Louis XIV. had no other sons to inherit his crown. So great
rejoicings were held at the Duc de Valois' birth in the château of
Fontainebleau; bonfires were lighted and banquets were given, and, more
than that, an allowance of money was settled on him by the king. His
other uncle, Charles II., was his godfather, and the baby was given his
name, with that of his father Philippe. The children lived mostly at St.
Cloud, where there were splendid gardens to run about in and merry
little streams to play with. When their mother drove to Paris or St.
Germain to attend great balls or fêtes at Court, Madame de St. Chaumont
took care of them, and saw that they did not fall into any mischief. For
some time they never had an ache or a pain, but when the Duc de Valois
was about two years old he was very ill, from the difficulty of cutting
his teeth. Madame de St. Chaumont stayed with him and nursed him night
and day till his mother could reach him; however, he soon improved, and
Madame was able to go back to St. Germain, knowing that his governess
would take as much care of him as she could herself. After he grew
better, the great coach and six horses were got ready, and he was driven
to the Palais Royal in Paris, and placed in the charge of the
fashionable doctor of the day, Maître Gui Patin. But unhappily, in spite
of all their precautions, the boy managed to catch cold; convulsions
followed, and Monsieur insisted on preparations being made for the
christening, instead of only having, as was usual, a hasty ceremony,
while the public rite was commonly put off till the royal child had
passed its twelfth birthday. It was on December 7, 1667, that little
Philippe Charles was baptized, and the following day he had a fresh
attack, and died of exhaustion, to the despair of his mother, who adored
him. All the honours customary to be paid to one so near the throne were
bestowed on the dead child. For three days he lay in state, and the
princes of the blood, headed by the king himself, passed before him and
sprinkled water on his bier. Then the people were let in, and many a
woman's eyes grew wet at the sight of that beautiful baby. Three days
later he was put to rest in the royal burying-place at St. Denis, near

The next few years passed peacefully away. Marie Louise was a clever
little girl, and not only was fond of books, like her mother, but had
sharp eyes, and noticed everything that went on round her. On wet days
she danced in the rooms of St. Cloud or the Palais Royal, as Madame had
danced twenty years ago at the Louvre; and when she was seven there was
a small sister, Anne Marie, for her to play with and to nurse. 'She can
move her fingers and toes, and squeaks without being squeezed. She is
more amusing than any doll,' said Marie Louise.

But the quiet of the child's life was soon to be disturbed, and
Mademoiselle was to learn her first sorrow. One morning, at the end of
1669, a messenger in the royal livery arrived from the king, bearing a
letter for Madame, who burst into sobs while reading it. Dismissing the
messenger with a wave of her hand—for she was unable to speak—she sank
back on the sofa, and for some minutes wept bitterly. Then, gathering up
her strength, she passed into the adjoining room, where Madame de St.
Chaumont was sitting over her embroidery.

'Read this, my friend,' said Madame, and walked to the window. The
letter, which Madame de St. Chaumont read silently to the end, was from
the king. It was very short, and merely informed Madame that his Majesty
had reason to think that her children's governess had been concerned in
an intrigue whereby the bishop of Valence had incurred his displeasure,
and he begged, therefore, that she might be at once dismissed from her
post. Grieved though she was at parting from a woman who for nearly
eight years had shared both her cares and her troubles, Madame had no
choice but to obey, and Madame de St. Chaumont knew it. So they parted,
and during the winter and spring that followed Madame missed her friend
daily more and more. Then, with the bright June weather, came Madame's
sudden seizure and death, and Monsieur, poor foolish, womanish man, was
left with two little girls to look after.

[Illustration: Marie Louise receives the visits of condolence]

How could he do it? Well, he began very characteristically by dressing
up Mademoiselle, now eight years old, in a violet velvet mantle which
trailed on the ground, and announcing that she would receive visits of
condolence. Of course members of the Court and the great officials
flocked in crowds, and when they had paid their respects to
Mademoiselle, they were, much to their surprise, shown into the nursery
where little Anne Marie, Mademoiselle de Valois, at this time hardly
past her first birthday, was awaiting them. The baby was too young to be
hurt by her father's follies, and as long as she had good nurses to look
after her could safely be left to their care; but with Marie Louise it
was different, and, luckily for her, the kind queen, Marie Thérèse, had
pity on her, and took her to Court to be brought up with the dauphin.
Together they danced and played, and no doubt quarrelled, but in all
their games, the lively, sharp-witted little girl took the lead of the
slow and rather dull boy. In a year's time Monsieur married again, and
his choice fell on his dead wife's cousin, Charlotte Elizabeth, daughter
of the Elector Palatine, only ten years older than Marie Louise herself.
The new Madame, ugly, awkward, ill-dressed, plain-spoken, but
kind-hearted and full of sense, was a great contrast to her predecessor,
Henriette, but she was very good to the two little girls, and never made
any difference between them and her own children. We may be sure that
Marie Louise, who was gentle and sweet-tempered, as well as pretty and
clever, was quick to notice all her good qualities and to be grateful
for her stepmother's care and affection, though at first it was a trial
to leave the court and her friend the dauphin and go and live in the
Palais Royal. But then, how amusing Madame was, and what stories she
could tell of 'when I was a little girl,' which was not so long ago,

'I longed to be a boy, and was always playing boys' games; but as I grew
bigger I was not allowed so much liberty, and had to make up my mind to
be a girl, and do stupid things at home, and dress up, which I hated. I
was also obliged to drink tea or chocolate, which I thought very nasty.
My only pleasure was hunting, and I was never so happy—I never _am_ so
happy now—as when I got up at dawn and rode away to hunt with my dogs
yapping round me. How all your French ladies are so lazy I can't
imagine; I can't bear to stay in bed when I am awake.' No doubt Madame
made a very strange figure in the splendid Court of Louis XIV.; and she
on her part looked down with scorn from the superiority of a stout
riding habit and a man's wig on the beautiful, ladies with their elegant
dresses and plumed hats! But the king himself was not more particular
about forms and ceremonies than she was, and though her manners and free
remarks often made him shudder, yet he had a real respect for her good
sense, and was grateful to her for making the best of his silly brother.


So the years slipped by, and one day Marie Louise was seventeen,
graceful and charming like her mother, with 'feet that danced of
themselves,' as Madame de Sévigné said to her daughter. The dauphin was
seventeen too, and in those days young men, especially princes, married
early. Would the prophecy uttered over her cradle by her grandmother,
Henrietta Maria, come true, and the beautiful, quick-witted girl be
queen of France? The Parisians would have liked nothing better, and even
the princes of the blood would have been content; she had been like a
daughter to the queen, and was sure of a welcome from her; but the
king—why did the king stand aloof and say nothing? Marie Louise guessed
what was being whispered, and waited and wondered too, till she grew
pale and thin, and Madame watched her and said angrily to Monsieur: 'Did
I not warn you not to let her go to Court so much, if you did not want
to make her miserable? Now she will never be happy anywhere else.'

At length the king's silence was explained. Marie Louise would never be
queen of France—a German princess must be the wife of the dauphin; but
she should be queen of Spain, and her husband was to be Charles II., the
brother of Marie Thérèse. True, the King of Spain was ill-educated and
ugly, and so stupid that some doubted if he had all his wits. He was
very delicate too, and at four years old could scarcely walk or talk,
and never stood without leaning on somebody. But he was lord over vast
possessions, though, perhaps, he had not much real power out of Spain,
and there the country was in such poverty that there was but little
money passing from hand to hand. His mother, Marie Anne of Austria, had
held the reins of government, but at length, aided by his half-brother,
Don John, Charles suddenly banished her to Toledo, and announced that he
meant to be king in fact as well as in name. His first step was to break
off negotiations with the emperor, whose daughter the queen-mother had
chosen for his wife. This was done under the influence of Don John, and
it was he who first suggested that King Charles might look for a bride
in France. The king was slow to take in new ideas, and as backward in
parting with them. Don John let him alone, and did not hurry him, but he
threw in his way a portrait of the princess, and contrived that he
should overhear the conversation of some Spanish gentlemen who had
lately returned from Paris, and were loud in praises of the lovely and
fascinating Mademoiselle. Charles looked at the miniature oftener and
oftener; soon he refused to part with it at all, and by-and-by began
even to talk to it. Then he told Don John he would never marry any woman
but this.

Soon an envoy was sent to the King of France to ask the hand of his
niece, which, after the usual official delays, lasting fully nine
months, was joyfully granted to him. Tales of Charles II., who was,
after all, Marie Thérèse's brother, had not failed to cross the
Pyrenees, and Mademoiselle's heart sank as she thought of what awaited
her. Once she summoned up all her courage and threw herself at the
king's feet, imploring him to let her stay in France, even though she
were to remain unmarried.

'I am making you queen of Spain,' he answered; 'what more could I have
done for my daughter?'

'Ah, Sire! you could have done more for your niece,' she said, turning
away, for she saw it was hopeless.


Although the formal consent of Louis XIV. was not given till July 1679,
King Charles had nominated the persons who were to form the household of
the young queen ever since January. He had Don John continually with
him, asking his advice about this and that, though he never even took
the trouble to tell his mother of his marriage, and left her to learn it
from common rumour. At length all was ready; the king was informed of
the day that the princess would reach the frontier, and Don John was
about to start for the Pyrenees, when he was seized by a severe attack
of fever, and in ten days was dead. According to etiquette he lay in
state for the people to visit, in the splendid dress which had been made
for him to wear when he met the new queen.

It was on a little island in the middle of the river Bidassoa that Marie
Louise said good-bye to France. She had thought she could not feel more
pain when she had bidden farewell to the friends of her childhood—to
the king and queen, to her father and stepmother, to her young sister,
now ten years old, whose daughter would one day be queen of Spain too;
worse than all, to the dauphin himself. Yet as long as she remained on
French soil she was not wholly parted from them, and now and then a wild
hope rushed through her heart that something, she did not know what,
would happen, and that she might see one or other of them again. But as
she entered the pavilion on the island where her Spanish attendants
awaited her she knew that the links that bound her to the old life were
broken, and she must make the best of that which lay before. It was a
very strange Spain over which she was to reign, and she may often have
dreamed that she was living in a fairy tale, and that some day her ugly
king would throw off his enchanted mask and become the handsomest and
most charming of princes. Spain itself really began in the old French
town of Bayonne, where ladies paid visits with fat little sucking pigs
under their arms, instead of being followed by long-eared spaniels, as
in France. The pigs had ribbons round their necks to match their
mistresses' dresses, and at balls were placed, after their entrance, in
a room by themselves, while their owners danced with a grace no other
nation could equal the _branle_, the _canaris_, or the _sarabande_. At
certain times the gentlemen threw their canes into the air, and caught
them cleverly as they came down, and they leapt high, and cut capers,
all to the sound of a fife and a tambourine—a wooden instrument like a
ship's trumpet, which was struck by a stick. As to the clothes in which
the young queen was dressed by her _Camarera Mayor_, or chief lady of
the bedchamber, on her arrival at Vittoria, Marie Louise did not know
whether to laugh or to cry when she caught sight of herself in a mirror.
Her hair was parted on one side, and hung down in five plaits, each tied
with a bow of ribbon and a string of jewels. In winter, twelve
petticoats were always worn, and though the upper one was of lace or
fine embroidered muslin, one at any rate of the other eleven was of
thick velvet or satin, worked in gold, while, to support the weight,
which was tremendous, a huge stiff hoop was fastened on underneath them
all. The dress itself was made very long, so as to conceal the feet,
shod in flat, black morocco slippers. The bodice, high in front and low
behind, which gave a very odd effect, was made of rich cloth of gold,
and glittered with diamonds. 'But I can never move in these clothes,'
said the queen, turning to the Duchess of Terranova, who knew no French
and waited till the Princess d'Harcourt interpreted for her.

'In summer her Majesty the Queen of Spain will wear only seven
petticoats,' replied the duchess, dropping a low curtesy; and Marie
Louise gave a little laugh.

Odd as her own dress seemed, that of the old Camarera Mayor and the
mistress of the maids of honour was odder still. They were both widows,
and wore loose, shapeless black garments, with every scrap of hair
hidden away. When they went out of doors large hats concealed their
faces, and in this guise they rode on mules after their mistress, who
was mounted on a beautiful Andalusian mare; As she travelled to Burgos,
near which the king was to meet her, Marie Louise noticed with surprise
that all the carriages were drawn by six mules, but they were so big and
strong that they could gallop as fast as any horse. The reins were
usually of silk or rope, and each pair was harnessed at a great distance
from the next, the coachman riding on one of the first two. When she
inquired why he did not sit on the box, as in France, and have
postillions in front, she was told that since a coachman had overheard
some state secrets discussed between Olivares and his master, Philip
IV., no one had ever been allowed to come within earshot of his Majesty.

On November 20, at a small village called Quintanapalla, near Burgos,
she was met by the king. Her journey had not been a pleasant one, for
the Duchess of Terranova appeared to think that her position as Camarera
Mayor enabled her to treat the queen as she chose, and she behaved not
only with great severity, but with positive rudeness. Besides this, a
dispute arose between the Duke of Osuna and the Marquis of Astorga as to
who should ride nearest the queen, and, to put an end to it, Marie
Louise was obliged to quit her horse and enter a carriage, surrounded,
as the custom was, by curtains of shiny green cloth, which were kept
drawn. Right glad was she to think that she would soon be free of this
tyranny, and be with someone who wanted her—and Charles did want her to
the end of her life.

It was at ten o'clock in the morning that the news was brought to her
that the king had arrived. Dressed in her Spanish costume, in which she
still felt awkward, she hurried to greet him, but before she reached the
antechamber he was in the room. The queen tried to kneel in order to
kiss his hand; but he saluted her in the Spanish manner by taking hold
of her arms, looking admiringly at her, and murmuring 'My Queen! my
Queen! mi reina! mi reina!' She answered in French, assuring him of her
love and obedience; and he replied in Spanish, for neither knew a word
of the other's language, which seems the more strange when we remember
how long the marriage negotiations had lasted, and that the Queen of
France, with whom Marie Louise had passed so much of her life, was
herself a Spaniard. Under these circumstances, conversation is apt to
come to a standstill; but, luckily, the French ambassador, the Marquis
de Villars, was present as well as a number of Spanish grandees, and he
was able to interpret—or perhaps to invent—everything that was
suitable to the occasion. It was decided that the marriage should take
place at once in the queen's antechamber, and as the archbishop of
Burgos was ill, the benediction should be given by the Patriarch of the
Indies, who was also grand almoner. As the king and queen knelt side by
side a white ribbon was knotted round them, and a piece of white gauze
fringed with silver was laid on the head of the queen and on the
shoulders of the king.

After seeing a bull fight and some races at Burgos, the king and queen
entered their carriage, and, with the shiny green cloth curtains drawn
back, they began their drive to Madrid. It must have felt terribly long
to both of them, as neither could speak to the other; but then Charles
was accustomed to be silent, and Marie Louise was _not_. How thankful
she must have been when the evening came, and she could exchange a few
words with her nurse or her French maids! But she could not chatter as
she would have _liked_ to do, or the Camarera Mayor would drop the low
curtesy which Marie Louise was fast growing to hate, and say, 'Her
Majesty the Queen of Spain is not aware that it is past nine o'clock,
and time she was in bed.' Marie Louise was not clever at languages, and
had as yet picked up no Spanish; but she knew quite well that whenever
her lady-in-waiting began 'Her majesty the Queen of Spain,' she must
stop whatever she was doing at the moment and make ready to do something
else. Her maids of honour happily soon became fond of their new
mistress, and did all they could to make her like her adopted country,
and some of them who knew a little French would try and explain any
custom that puzzled her. The rest looked their sympathy when the old
duchess had done something specially rude or disagreeable, as when, for
instance, she would put her finger into her mouth and attempt to dab
down the queen's curly hair into the smooth locks admired by the

It was from the maids of honour that Marie Louise learned to know many
things about Spanish life, for she was naturally curious about what went
on around her, and had little to distract her thoughts. From them she
heard that no great noblemen would ever think of dismissing his
servants, but, on the contrary, when any members of his family died he
added all their retainers to his own. As to actual wages, the servants
were paid very little; why, even the gentlemen who formed part of the
household only received fifteen crowns a month, and out of that they
were expected to feed themselves, and to dress in black velvet in winter
and in silk in summer. But, as her Majesty would soon notice, they lived
mostly on vegetables and fruit, which were cheap, and they took their
meals at the public eating-houses at the corners of the streets. Her
Majesty was surprised to see all the carriages drawn by mules? But in
Madrid horses were coming into fashion, which were much better. The late
king had been frequently painted on his horse by one Velasquez, and it
had a beautiful tail, which nearly swept the ground, and a long mane
decorated with ribbons. Then, if the dreaded Camarera Mayor did not
happen to be present, they would begin to talk about the fashions.

Yes, Spanish ladies had quantities of splendid jewels, but they were not
cut and set like those the queen wore. Many of the devout ones had belts
made entirely of relics, and if their husbands were away it was
customary for every wife to dress herself during his absence in grey or
white. Indeed, as a rule it was only young girls or brides who were
permitted by etiquette to put on coloured skirts; the elder ladies were
generally in black silk. 'Rouge their shoulders? Why, of course! Did
they not do so in France?' But at this the queen burst into such fits of
laughter that the old duchess came hurrying in and sternly ordered them
all to be silent.


The palace of Madrid was not yet ready, so the king and queen had to go
to Buen-Retiro, a charming house, with a beautiful park, on the
outskirts of the city, just above the river Manzanares. The garden was
laid out in terraces, and ornamented with female statues, all of them
with rouge on their cheeks and shoulders like the ladies. Marie Louise
was surprised to see only two or three guards standing in front of the
palace, and exclaimed that in Paris they would have half a regiment.

'Ah! Madame,' replied the French ambassador, the Marquis de Villars,
'that was a remark made lately by Madame la Comtesse d'Aulnoy to a
Spanish gentleman, and she received for answer, "Are we not all the
king's guards?"'

The first days at Buen-Retiro passed pleasantly enough. The young king
gave himself a holiday from his state duties, and was pleased with the
interest the queen showed in his country. He took all his meals in her
company, and they would even help—or hinder—the maids of honour in
laying the table for dinner. In the evenings they sometimes went to the
theatre, but this was not much amusement for the queen, as the plays
were very long and she could not understand them. When the king was not
with her—and before long he was forced to spend several hours a day
with his ministers—the Duchess of Terranova never left her alone. If
she unfastened the lattice in order to see what was happening in the
park or gardens, the Camarera Mayor would rise from her seat and drop a
low curtesy, and say: 'Her Majesty the Queen of Spain never looks out of
the window'; or if she tried to teach the tiny little pages or maids of
honour, six or seven years old, the games she had played with her own
little sister, she was stopped at once by hearing that 'Her Majesty the
Queen of Spain never condescends to notice children!' If she was eating
her supper beyond the hour which custom had fixed for her to go to bed,
at the command of the lady in waiting her ladies would begin to undress
her at table, and she would find herself lying on her fourteen
mattresses before she realised that she had moved from her seat. In
fact, the only human beings with whom she had perfect freedom were the
dwarfs, who were allowed to do and say what they liked. There were
quantities of them at Court, and one of them, called Luisillo, or
'little Luis,' was a special favourite of the king's. He was a tiny
creature, who had been brought from Flanders, and he might have been
Oberon, king of the Fairies, he was so handsome and well made and so
full of wisdom. He rode a pony which was an exact copy of his master's
horse, and was generally to be seen with him in public and in

It seems strange that, considering how greatly Marie Louise feared and
disliked her Camarera Mayor, she should have listened to her abuse of
the king's mother, and allowed it to influence her conduct. The
queen-dowager had quite forgotten her disappointment at her son's choice
of a wife, and had given Marie Louise a hearty welcome, even trying to
prevail on the king to alter some of the strictest rules, and allow
Marie Louise a little more amusement and freedom. She did her best, too,
to win her daughter-in-law's confidence, and in spite of the distrust
implanted in her by the old duchess, the queen could not help enjoying
her company, and the story of her experiences when she herself, a bride
younger than Marie Louise, arrived in Spain from Vienna. One of the
places at which she stopped was a town famous for its undergarments, and
a quantity of beautiful petticoats, stockings, and other things were
sent up to the house where she lodged as a wedding present. When they
were unpacked, the major-domo indignantly caught up the parcel of
stockings and flung them back at the astonished citizens. 'Know, then,
that the Queen of Spain has no legs!' he cried, meaning that so sacred a
personage would never need to touch the ground with her feet; but the
archduchess understood the words literally, and shed many secret tears
in her room over a letter to her brother the emperor, saying that if she
had known they were going to cut off her feet she would never, never
have come to this country!

December was now nearly at an end, and the young queen's state entry
into Madrid was fixed for January 13. Notwithstanding the poverty that
was so severely felt, the city was splendidly decorated, and along the
street of the goldsmiths great silver angels were placed, and golden
shields, blazing with jewels. After the trumpeters, the city officers,
the knights of the military orders, the grandees of Spain, and many
more, came the royal procession, headed by the young queen on a grey
Andalusian horse, dressed in a habit that glittered with gold, wearing
round her neck a huge pearl called La Peregrina, or the pilgrim, and
followed by her attendants. Marie Louise loved riding, and was
thoroughly happy on her prancing steed, and felt secretly amused when
she thought of the discomfort of the two noble old widows who rode
behind her in their hideous black clothes, trying, on the one hand, to
keep near the queen, and on the other to prevent their mules from going
faster than they liked—which was very slowly indeed. The naughty young
maids of honour, all splendidly mounted, looked at each other and smiled
at the evident terror of the old ladies, for whom they had no love, and
as they passed along they talked rapidly to each other on the fingers of
one hand, an accomplishment which all Spanish ladies possessed. They
belonged to the noblest families in Spain, and were very pretty and
covered with magnificent jewels; but the prettiest and most gorgeous of
all, the Duke of Alba's daughter, wore an ornament which does not
generally form part of the dress of a young lady. This was a pistol,
slung by a ribbon from her side, and plainly intended for use. Under the
balcony of the Countess of Ognate, where the king and his mother were
stationed, the queen drew rein and looked up. The gilded lattice of the
balcony opened about a hand's breadth, and the face of the king could be
partly seen. He touched with his handkerchief his mouth, his eyes, and
his heart, which was the warmest sign of devotion a Spaniard could give,
and after he had repeated this several times the queen bowed low over
her saddle and continued her way.

Thanks to the queen-mother, and very much to the wrath of the Camarera
Mayor, Marie Louise was sometimes permitted to see the Marquise de
Villars, the French ambassadress, and together they would practise the
language of the fan, which no one but a native-born Spanish woman can
speak properly. Marie Louise would gaze with admiration, too, at the
walk of her maids of honour, so different from that of even the great
ladies of France. Yes, in spite of the hideous clothes they wore, and
the stupid customs which made her life a burden, there was plenty worthy
of praise in her new home, and if only she could get rid of that
terrible old lady-in-waiting, and have a few of her friends about her,
she would soon be perfectly happy. And it was a great thing that she
could go out with the king on the hunting expeditions which he loved! No
queen of Spain had ever done _that_ before, and she owed it to the
queen-mother. To be sure it was rather tiresome to have to drive to the
meet in one of the coaches with shiny green curtains, and, standing on
the step, spring by yourself into the saddle, because it was death to
any man to touch the queen; but by-and-by that might be altered, and
meantime she must have patience. By-and-by it was altered, and she was
allowed to mount at the door. One day a hunt had been arranged, and the
queen grew tired of waiting for the king, who was talking to his
minister on the balcony, and ordered her horse to be brought for her to
mount. The courtyard was full of people, and something must have
frightened the animal, for before the queen had seated herself firmly in
the saddle it reared and threw her on the ground, her foot still in the
stirrup. The horse plunged wildly, and it seemed as if she must be
kicked to death or dashed to pieces. What was to be done? Everyone
looked on in horror, but no one dared stir. Each movement of the horse
might mean death to her, but a finger laid on her body would certainly
mean it to them. Yet it was not a sight that a Spanish gentleman could
bear calmly, and with one impulse Don Luis de Las Torres and Don Jaime
de Soto Major sprang out from the crowd and rushed towards the horse.
One seized it by its bridle and checked its rearing, though it nearly
knocked him down; the other caught the queen's foot and freed it from
the stirrup. Then, the danger to her being over, they turned and fled to
the stables, prepared to ride to the frontier before the penalty could
be enforced. The queen, strange to say, was unhurt, except for bruises,
and had not lost her senses. Unaided she scrambled to her feet, when the
young conde de Peñaranda knelt before her, and implored her to obtain
the pardon of his friends from the king. His Majesty, who by this time
had run down from the balcony, and in great agitation had reached the
queen's side, overheard the count's words, and ordered the two gentlemen
to be summoned before him that he might give them his own thanks and
that of the queen for rescuing a life so dear to him at the peril of
their own. But all this was later, and in 1680 the Queen of Spain had to
mount as best she could from her coach.

[Illustration: Two Spanish gentlemen rescue the Queen]

On the evenings on which they did not go to the theatre she and the king
played at ombre together; but the Spanish cards were almost as thin as
paper, and were painted quite differently from the French, and she had
to learn them all over again. On the days that they did not hunt the
king used often to take her to visit some of the convents, which were
numerous in Spain; but this she disliked more than anything. The nuns
were so stiff and so silent, and she grew so weary of putting questions
to them, to which they only answered 'Yes' or 'No.' Luckily the king
always took two of his dwarfs with him, and _they_ chattered without
fear of anybody; but, even so, the queen was thankful when she was told
that lunch was ready. A roast chicken was always provided for her, and
the king felt rather vexed with her for eating so much and not being
content with the light cakes and fruit that satisfied him. Poor Marie
Louise! as time went on, and the king's health grew weaker and her
pleasures fewer, she became fonder and fonder of sweet things—'dulces'
as they were called—and was always sucking lozenges of some sort while
she played with her dogs, till at length she ended by losing her figure,
though she never lost her beauty. However, now she was only just
married, and did not know the ten weary years that stretched in front of
her before she died, for although the king adored her, he very seldom
allowed her to influence his will or to change any of the iron rules of
custom. She was, indeed, permitted to have an occasional interview with
Madame d'Aulnoy, who was at that time living in Madrid, and has left a
most interesting account of all she saw there. On the first visit she
paid she found Marie Louise in a room covered with mirrors, seated, in a
beautiful dress of pink velvet and silver, close to the window, which
was covered by a gilded lattice and blue silk curtains, so that for
anything she could see outside there might just as well have been no
window at all. The queen jumped up with delight at the sight of her
visitor, to whom she could talk freely about all the gossip from Paris,
of which she only heard in letters from the kind Madame her stepmother.
Of course she knew quite well that the Camarera Mayor hated her to speak
French, which _she_ could not understand, and would be crosser than ever
that evening; but the queen did not care, and when she said good-bye to
her visitor implored her to come again very soon and to bring all her
letters with her. As it happened, the very next day Madame d'Aulnoy
received some particularly interesting ones about the marriage of the
queen's cousin, the Prince de Conti, and wrote to ask if the queen would
like to see it; but the Duchess of Terranova answered that 'Her Majesty
the Queen of Spain never received the same visitor at such short
intervals,' so Madame d'Aulnoy was forced to copy out the description of
the wedding ceremonies, and beg humbly that the lady-in-waiting would
give it to her mistress.

As time wore on the duchess became more and more tyrannical, and the
queen more and more impatient. From her childhood she had always loved
pets of all kinds, and had brought two talking parrots and several
silky-eared spaniels with her to Spain. Her favourite dog always slept
in her room, on a cushion of blue silk, close to the queen's bed; but
one night, instead of sleeping soundly, as it generally did, it got up
and moved restlessly about. The queen heard it, and fearing it might
wake the king, she crept out of bed to bring it back to its place. Now,
in those times, when there were no matches, it was very difficult to get
a light, and unfortunately it was the custom that the Queen of Spain
should sleep in total darkness, except for the fire, which had gone out.
In groping about the huge room after her spaniel the queen upset a
chair, which woke the king, who likewise got up to see if anything was
the matter. At the first step he took he fell over his wife, and struck
his foot against a table, which made him very cross, as she perceived by
the tone of his voice when he asked her what she was doing.

'I was looking for my dog,' she said; 'it was so restless I was afraid
it would wake you.'

'What!' he cried angrily, 'are the king and queen of Spain to leave
their beds because of a miserable little dog!' And as at this moment the
wandering spaniel lurched up against his leg, he gave it a kick which
made it howl violently. Marie Louise stooped down and patted it, and
consoled it, and laid it on its cushion again, while she returned to
bed. Meantime the king, afraid to move lest he should hurt himself more
than he had done already, stood still where he was, and shouted for the
queen's ladies to bring a torch and light the candles, which they did as
fast as possible, and all grew quiet again. But when the queen awoke in
the morning the dog was not on its cushion, neither was anything more
known of it, in spite of the bitter tears the queen shed over its fate.
Soon after this her Majesty was out driving in the afternoon, when the
Camarera Mayor, who had been in a very bad temper for many days,
suddenly ordered the two parrots to be brought to her. The French maids
who had charge of them felt very uncomfortable, but dared not disobey,
and when the birds arrived she wrung their necks with her own hands.
Shortly after the queen came in, and bade her dogs and parrots to be
fetched to amuse her, as she often did when the king was not in the
room, for he did not like animals. The two maids looked at each other,
but did not move.

'Don't you hear me? What is the matter?' asked the queen.

'Oh! Madame!' faltered the maid; and then, bursting into tears,
stammered out the story. The queen's face grew white, but she said
nothing, and sat where she was, thinking. By-and-by the Camarera Mayor
entered, and, as required by etiquette, stooped down to kiss the queen's
hand; but, when she bent over, a stinging pain ran through her, as her
Majesty dealt her a violent slap on each cheek. The duchess staggered
back from surprise as much as from the blow, but her furious words were
checked on her tongue at the sight of the still, pale girl whose face
was so new to her. Leaving the room, she summoned all her relations,
and, choking with anger, she informed them of the insult she had
received; then, accompanied by no less than four hundred kinsfolk, all
belonging to noble families, she went to complain to the king.

[Illustration: The Camarera Mayor gets her ears boxed!]

Now Charles had passed all his life with people who did everything
according to rule, and it took some time for his slow mind to grasp that
a queen of Spain could have so far lost command of herself as to have
administered punishment with her own hands, whatever might have been the
provocation. He rose from his seat with an expression of sternness,
which filled the heart of the cruel and revengeful old woman with
triumph, and made his way to the queen's apartments. But his wrath,
great through it was, melted like snow before the caressing ways of his
wife, and when the duchess entered, certain of victory, she found only
defeat. However, furious though she might be, the Camarera Mayor saw
that she had gone too far, and that unless she wished to drive the queen
to confide in her mother-in-law, she must give her more liberty, and
treat her with greater respect. She really tried to be gentler and more
agreeable, and gave permission to the French ambassadress to visit the
queen oftener; but her prejudices were so strong, and her temper so bad,
that she usually broke her good resolutions. Foreigners she particularly
hated, the French more than any others—and this the queen resented
bitterly; so matters grew worse and worse.


After Easter, Charles went, as regulated by custom, to pass a few days
at the palace of the Escorial, which had been built by Philip II. to
commemorate the battle of St. Quentin. Marie Louise found it very dull
when he was away. She could not hunt, or drive, except with the curtains
of the coach closely drawn, the duchess was crosser than ever, and time
hung heavy on her hands. She wrote to her husband daily, and told him
how much she missed him, and asked when he was coming back to Madrid.
The king was always delighted to get her letters, though the effort to
answer them was beyond him. Once, however, when the queen had expressed
herself even more kindly and affectionately than usual, he seized a pen,
and slowly and painfully wrote these words:

'Señora, it is very windy, and I have killed six wolves.'

This he enclosed in a beautiful box of gold and enamel, and sent off by
a messenger.

It was not only the queen who suffered from the tyranny of the Camarera
Mayor; her French maids fared even worse, and at length they could bear
it no longer, and begged the queen to let them go back to France. This
was a great blow to her, but she did not blame them, though how to get
the necessary money she did not know, for the country grew daily poorer,
and the queen herself never had a penny to spend. Still, she felt she
must raise it somehow, and at length, to her bitter humiliation, had to
borrow it, probably from the French ambassador, though this we are not
told. When her French maids had departed for the 'charmant pays de
France,' which she herself was never again to see, she had no society
but that of the king and the Camarera Mayor, for the maids of honour
were forbidden to speak to her. Her naturally good temper became
irritable, and her high spirits began to settle down into melancholy.
The king, unobservant though he was, noticed this, and it troubled him,
though he was too much used to royal etiquette to guess the cause. It
was a trivial thing which, as generally happens, caused the smouldering
quarrel to break forth into a flame. The queen found the duchess spying
on some of her letters, in the hope that she might steal one or two from
France which it would be worth while to get interpreted. The queen was
quite aware of these practices—she had found her more than once
listening at the door when the king was talking over state affairs; but
the duchess had been more than usually rude that day, and Marie Louise
could bear it no longer. Standing perfectly still at the door till the
lady-in-waiting should turn round and see her, she waited in silence.
The duchess _did_ turn round, and, starting violently, began to stammer
out excuses. The queen took no notice; she did not even look at her, but
slowly left the room and walked straight to the king's apartments. Once
there her self-control gave way, and, her eyes blazing with anger, she
told the king that she would submit to the Camarera Mayor's insolence no
longer, and that she insisted on her dismissal at once.

'I don't understand,' answered Charles, in a puzzled way; 'what is it
you say? Dismiss the Camarera Mayor? But it is impossible! Such a thing
was never heard of!'

'It will have to be heard of now,' said the queen sternly. Then,
throwing her arms round his neck, she cried: 'Oh! Señor, don't you see
how unhappy she makes me? Surely you do not wish me to be sorry I came
to Spain? I thought you loved me, and yet you suffer me—me, the
queen—to be insulted and made miserable all the day long.'

Charles did not reply; but his face changed and softened, and he pressed
his hands upon her arms. 'My queen, my queen,' he murmured gently, 'I do
love you; and if the duchess makes you miserable, as you say, I will
dismiss her, and you shall choose a Camarera Mayor to take her place.
Only be careful, because next time it must be for ever.'

'Oh, thank you! thank you! how good you are,' exclaimed the queen. And
she returned to her own apartments, with her head held high, and an
expression which boded little good to the duchess, who was watching
behind a curtain. But weeks went on, and as no new lady-in-waiting was
appointed, the duchess began to hope that she would remain after all,
and as her spirits rose, one by one she tried to resume all her little
tyrannies. But, to her surprise, the queen no longer obeyed as she had
done before. She did not argue or scold—she simply took no notice, and
behaved as if the duchess was not there. And this angered the old lady
far more deeply than any other treatment could have done. The truth was
Marie Louise had laid to heart the king's warning, and was very careful
in making her choice. It was not easy, for she had her husband and his
mother to please as well as herself, and two or three ladies, to whom
she offered the post, returned humble thanks for the honour, but either
were too old or could not leave their children. The position of gaoler
to the queen was not one envied by everyone. At length, to the joy of
them all, the place was accepted by the Marquesa de Aytona, a lady of
great good sense and a charming companion. The Duchess of Terranova
shook with rage, and gave orders that her trunks should be packed. But
before she could leave the palace, or the marquesa enter it, the new
Camarera Mayor was seized with illness, and in a few days was dead. The
duchess was triumphant. 'The luck is all on my side,' she said to
herself, and desired her maids to put her clothes back in the great

So the whole weary business had to be gone through again. But after much
talk the queen agreed to accept the Duchess of Albuquerque, a clever,
well-read woman, who could enjoy conversation with learned people and
knew what was being thought and done outside the bounds of Spain. The
king, who was greatly pleased at her appointment, sent for the duchess
to his own apartments, and told her that he was well satisfied at the
queen's, choice, but that he desired the new Camarera Mayor to
understand that her Majesty was to have more liberty and more amusement
than before; she was to drive out when she wished, and was to ride, and
go late to bed, as had been her strange custom when in France. For
himself, _he_ could never sit up after eight; but under the Duchess of
Albuquerque's rule he found so much to amuse him, that, by-and-by, he
did not say good-night till it was fully ten.

The nomination of the Duchess of Albuquerque had taken place so secretly
that the old lady-in-waiting was in ignorance of it, and had by this
time persuaded herself that the king could not do without her. Her
numerous relations also took this view, and by their advice she
determined on a master-stroke of policy to render her position securer
than ever. One day, while the king and queen, surrounded by the court
officials, were waiting for dinner to be announced, the duchess came
forward as the king rose to pass into the dining-room, and, dropping a
low curtesy, asked leave to retire from her post about the queen's
person. She imagined—and so did the courtiers who watched breathlessly
for the result—that his Majesty would bid her continue in her charge;
while the queen's heart stood still, fearing that the king's courage
might fail before the woman who held the chains of custom in her hands;
that his promise to her would be broken, and her last chance of
happiness and freedom thrown to the winds. But 'it is always the
unexpected that happens,' so says the proverb.

'Go as soon as you like, Señora,' answered the king; 'you have my
permission to retire immediately, as you wish it.' The duchess was
struck dumb for an instant with surprise, then, recovering herself,
began to stammer out some excuses; but the king did not wait to hear
what they were, and walked on to his dinner.

Whatever the duchess's wrath might be, she went all through that evening
(which must have seemed endless) without showing her feelings. She knew
she was hated by every creature in the palace, and would not give them
the satisfaction of noting her humiliation. The night was passed in
feverishly walking up and down, and in giving directions to her maids to
pack her boxes afresh. Quite early she entered the queen's room to take
farewell of her mistress, and when Marie Louise, who felt some pity for
her mortification, tried to say a few good-natured words, the duchess
only answered haughtily that she hoped her successor might please her
Majesty better, and left. When she returned to her own apartments she
found them filled with ladies, who condoled with her on the ingratitude
of the queen and the weakness of the king.

'I have no need at all of your compassion,' replied the duchess, who
probably did not believe in their lamentations. 'I am thankful to quit
this place, where I shall never more set foot, and to be going to
Sicily, where I can enjoy the rest and peace which Madrid could never
give me.' But as she spoke she picked up a beautiful fan that was lying
on a table, and breaking it in two, threw the pieces on the floor and
stamped on them.

[Illustration: The Queen envies the Flemish skaters]

The winter of 1680 was very cold, and the poor people suffered
dreadfully. The queen did all she could to help them, but it was not
much, for money was scarce, and though great galleons still sailed into
Cadiz laden with nuggets of gold and silver, as in the palmy days of the
Emperor Charles V. (Charles I. of Spain), most of them belonged to the
merchants, and only a small part reached the king. The days passed
heavily for the queen, who had in great measure lost the love of books
which had marked her childhood, and had been an inheritance from her
Stuart mother. She did read sometimes, but she loved far better to be in
the open air, riding or hunting, and now this was impossible. So she
welcomed joyfully the news that some Flemish ladies and gentlemen were
skating on a lake near Buen-Retiro, and instantly ordered her coach, to
go and watch them from the windows of the palace. _They_ did not look
cold, as they swept round in curves, with shining eyes and glowing
cheeks; and how Marie Louise longed to be skimming about with them! But
this would not have been permitted even in France, and after a while she
remembered that it was growing late, and returned to Madrid. That
evening a message was brought to her, through the Duchess of
Albuquerque, that some Spanish ladies had come to request her Majesty's
leave to skate in masks the following day. They did not wish their names
to be known, they said, but they were quite sure they could prove
themselves as much at home on the ice as any of the Flemings. The queen
not only granted permission to wear the masks, but sent word that she
would come and watch them and judge of their skill. It was certainly
very surprising, and the fact that Spanish ladies could at that time
skate at all was still more so. They all wore short skirts, which showed
their beautiful feet, and had black velvet masks under their plumed
hats. They danced the _branle_, and the _sarabande_, their castanets
sounding merrily through the air, till Marie Louise gulped down a sob of
envy as she recollected sadly that 'a queen of Spain has no legs.'
Suddenly, in the dance, the most graceful skater of them all backed on
to a piece of thin ice; it gave way under her, and she fell in,
screaming. The gentlemen at once came to her aid, but the ice broke
beneath their weight, and soon several of them were struggling in the
water together. At last the poor lady was brought dripping to the bank,
and as she had lost her mask the queen could see that she was about
sixty, and very ugly. 'Ah, she did well to wear a mask,' said Marie
Louise, with a laugh, to her Camarera Mayor.

If the queen could not skate she could by this time dance the Spanish
dances as well as anybody, and especially she delighted in the _canaris_
and the _sarabande_. One evening Don Pedro of Aragon gave a ball for
her, and she proved herself so graceful and so spirited in all the steps
and figures, that the king came up when it was over and, taking her by
the arms, he repeated more than once: 'My queen! my queen! you are the
most perfect creature in the whole world.'

And so he thought, not only till her death, but after it. As long as she
lived her brightness and enjoyment of everything that she was allowed to
enjoy seemed to kindle some answering sparks in him; but when she died,
at the age of twenty-seven, he ceased to make any efforts, and sunk more
and more into a state of semi-idiocy. They had no children, and the dogs
which the queen petted and spoilt did not make up for them. It was not
the custom in those days for royal people to travel about from one
country to the other, and in spite of her real affection for her husband
and his mother, Marie Louise was very much alone. She had no one to
laugh with, no one to whom she could talk freely, no one who cared for
the things she cared for. She was young, yet life was one long effort,
and perhaps she was not sorry when the end came.

                       _HENRIETTE THE SIEGE BABY_

ON a hot June day in the year 1644 a baby lay by her mother's side in
Bedford House in Exeter. The house itself is gone now, but its name
still remains behind in 'Bedford Circus,' which lies between quiet,
old-fashioned Southernhay and the busy High Street. It seems a strange
far-off birthplace for a daughter of a king of England, but the Civil
War was then at its height, and Charles I. had bidden the queen leave
Oxford, where she had taken refuge, and seek for safety in the loyal
West. So on a bright spring morning, just before the battle of Newbury,
Henrietta Maria set out on her journey, saying farewell to her husband
for the last time, though this she did not know. The baby, a tiny
delicate creature, had for its lady-in-waiting a niece of the famous
duke of Buckingham, who had been stabbed sixteen years before. She had
been married as soon as she grew up to lord Dalkeith, the son of the
earl of Morton, but had left her own children at the prayer of the
queen, who felt that the baby would be safer anywhere than with its
mother. Indeed, not a fortnight after the birth of the little girl a
messenger rode in hot haste into Exeter, saying that an army under Essex
was marching upon the town. To remain in the city was only to attract
danger to her child, so, weak and ill as she was, the queen laid her
plans for a speedy flight. There is a letter from her to Charles, dated
June 28, telling him that it is for his sake she is seeking shelter in
France, as well she knows he would come to her help, which would only
place him in the more peril. Then she kissed her baby, and, with three
faithful attendants, started for Falmouth.

[Illustration: "If capture is sure blow up the vessel" she said]

It was mid-summer, yet when we read of all that the queen suffered it
seems wonderful that she ever lived to reach the town. Hardly had the
party got out of sight of the Cathedral towers of Exeter when they saw a
troop of men in glittering armour riding towards them. Luckily in a
wooded hollow near by was a small hut, half in ruins, and here they hid
themselves, scarcely able to breathe from fear, as the loud voices of
the soldiers broke the stillness, jesting over the queen's fate. But
they passed in a cloud of dust, never guessing that only a few feet of
grass had lain between them and their prey, and when darkness fell the
fugitives crept out and were soon making their way over Dartmoor. Here
they were joined by lord Jermyn, who till her death loyally followed the
queen's fortunes, and by the little dwarf Sir Geoffrey Hudson, who in
happier days had been made a knight by Charles I. This terrible journey
had lasted for a fortnight before the queen found herself on board a
small Dutch ship bound for France. Half-way across the Channel the ship
was spied by an English vessel on the lookout for French cruisers, which
immediately gave chase. At one time escape appeared impossible, and all
the fighting blood of Henri IV. beat high in the veins of his daughter.
'If capture is sure, blow up the vessel,' she said to the captain, who
stood at the prow, keeping an anxious watch. 'As for death, I fear it
not at all, but alive they shall never have me.' Fortunately a crowd of
French boats now appeared in the offing, and the English ship altered
her course and steered for the coast of Devon. Then a gale sprang up and
again they were all in peril. When morning broke the friendly fleet had
been scattered far and wide, and the Dutch captain placed the fugitives
in a small boat, which was rowed to shore. Oh how thankful Henrietta
Maria was to hear her native language once again and to feel herself in
France! She had only a peasant's hut to sleep in and peasant's food to
eat, but for the first time during many months she was able both to
sleep and eat without a dread, of being roused up to fly. By and bye all
her terrors would awake on behalf of those whom she had left behind her,
but at present she was too exhausted to be able to think at all. And so
she rested till the news of her arrival reached Paris, and the king of
France's mother, Anne of Austria, sent carriages and an escort to bring
her unfortunate sister-in-law home to the Louvre.

Now the queen had been quite right when she said that when the king
heard of her plight he would march with all speed to her deliverance;
but the messenger to whom she had entrusted her letter was forced to go
warily for fear of being captured, and the royal army was already far on
the road to Exeter before Charles learned that Henrietta Maria was safe
in France. It was then too late to turn back, and, besides, was there
not the child to think of? So onward he marched, Charles, prince of
Wales, then fourteen, riding beside him. Right glad was lady Dalkeith to
see the royal standard floating from the walls of Exeter Castle, for the
Parliamentary forces had long since gone elsewhere. The king was
delighted with his baby daughter, who had been christened a few days
before his arrival by her mother's name; for the child was so delicate
that it was doubted whether each fresh attack of convulsions would not
be her last. He made what arrangements he could for her comfort and
safety, and then bade good-bye to her for the last time. 'You are safer
here than you would be with me,' he said as he bent over her cradle;
then he mounted his horse and galloped away, for the tide of battle had
rolled east.


A year later Exeter had to suffer a real siege, which lasted all through
the winter. It was in vain that lady Dalkeith formed plans for escaping
with the baby into Cornwall; Essex and Waller laid their schemes better
than that, and she soon found that it was quite impossible to get
through the lines. By April all the supplies were exhausted, and Sir
John Berkeley, governor of the city, as well as guardian of the
princess, was obliged to surrender. Faithful to the end, he had obtained
leave from the Parliamentary generals to carry away all the goods that
belonged to his charge, and then accompanied her and lady Dalkeith to
Salisbury. The Parliament, however, had other uses for their money than
the payment of Henriette's pension, which had likewise been agreed on,
and if lady Dalkeith had not taken her and her attendants to her own
house on the Thames the poor child might have fared badly. When,
however, the rulers of the nation had time to think about the matter,
they desired that the princess should be taken away from her governess
and placed with her brother and sister, Henry and Elizabeth, in St.
James's Palace. But this was more than lady Dalkeith could bear. Finding
that all her letters were unnoticed and unanswered, she made up her mind
what to do, and one July morning she rose early and put on a suit of
ragged old clothes that lay ready for her and fastened a hump on her
shoulder. Then, waking the little princess, she quickly dressed her in a
set of boy's garments as dirty and ragged as her own.

'Now you are my little boy Pierre,' said she; but Henriette cried and
declared she wouldn't wear such ugly things, and that she was not Pierre
but a princess. Happily she was only between two and three and could not
speak plain, for she never failed to repeat this to every kind soul who
stopped to give them a groat or a piece of bread. With the child on her
back lady Dalkeith walked the whole way to Dover, stopping every now and
then to rest under the green hedges, and seeking at night the shelter of
a barn. The farmers' wives were very good-natured, and praised the
baby's beauty and curling hair, and gave her warm milk to drink and soft
sweet-smelling hay to lie on.

'Dear heart! What bright eyes he has,' they would say, 'and what might
his name be?'

'Pierre! he is a French boy,' answered lady Dalkeith in broken English;
and then the child would frown and say something about 'Pierre' and
'ugly clothes,' which nobody could make out.

'Hearken to him, then,' they would murmur with admiration, 'don't he
speak pretty?' But the governess, fearful lest someone quicker witted
than the rest might understand his prattle, hastened to thank them
heartily and to go on her way. Weary and worn was she when the walls of
Dover hove in view, but the sight gave her fresh courage, and she went
straight to the harbour, where a French ship lay at anchor. Here she was
joined by Sir John Berkeley, who had never lost sight of her all through
her journey, and now came forward and placed her under the charge of the
captain, whose vessel was ready for sea. The wind was fair, and in a few
hours lady Dalkeith and the child were standing on the French shore,
safe at last.

'Now you are not "Pierre" any more but princess Henriette,' said lady
Dalkeith as the vessel cast anchor, and she drew out a beautiful blue
satin dress and lace cap from a small bundle which Sir John Berkeley had
handed to her. Henriette's face brightened into smiles as she looked,
and she stood quite still while they were put upon her. A messenger was
hastily sent off to Paris to inform the queen-regent, Anne of Austria,
of the escape of her niece, and as soon as possible carriages were again
to be seen taking the road to the sea-coast. Great, heavy, lumbering
vehicles they were, needing six or even eight horses to drag them
through mud or out of ditches, but they seemed like the softest of beds
to poor lady Dalkeith, after all she had undergone. When they reached
the palace of St. Germain, where Henrietta Maria was awaiting them, she
fell seriously ill.

[Illustration: Lady Dalkeith's journey to Dover]

The gratitude of both Charles and Henrietta knew no bounds, and poets
made songs about the wonderful escape. At the urgent wish of the poor
queen, lady Dalkeith, or lady Morton as she had now become, went with
them to Paris, and found there that she was almost as much a heroine as
Henrietta Maria. But, indeed, misfortune only appeared to have doubled
their friends, and everyone at court tried to see how much kindness they
could show them. Queen Anne, her two sons, Louis XIV., then about eight
years old, and his brother Philippe, duke of Anjou, drove to the gate of
Paris to meet them, and, assisting the royal exiles to mount the state
coach which was in readiness, they escorted them through the crowded,
shouting streets to the Louvre. This was to be their home, when they
were not at St. Germain, and a large sum of money was given them for a
pension. For a little while Henrietta felt that she was a queen again.
English poets and nobles, and English royalists waiting for brighter
days, flocked around her, and played with the little princess. At home
she had as many servants and attendants as of old, and when she took an
airing soldiers and running footmen escorted her carriage. But later
things began to change. Affairs in England grew worse and worse. The
king needed more money than ever, and who should send it—as long as she
had it—but his wife? Besides this, the civil war, called the Fronde,
soon broke out in France. The pension allowed the English queen was paid
more and more irregularly, and by and bye ceased altogether. Her own
plate had been melted down, her jewels sold for her husband's cause; at
last a little golden cup, which she used daily, was the only piece of
gold she had left. The queen-mother and the king were no better off than
she. 'I have not a farthing with which to procure a dinner or buy a
dress,' says Anne of Austria, while at St. Germain the beds were bare
and without hangings.

The winter that followed was bitter for all—for Henrietta and the
little princess no less than for the poor of Paris. Three weeks before
the execution of Charles I. the cardinal de Retz went to pay a call on
the exiled queen at the Louvre. It was snowing fast, and his carriage
wheels frequently stuck in the drifts, yet when he entered the room
there was no fire, and the air struck chill in his bones. The child was
lying in bed and her mother was sitting by, telling her stories. The
queen received the cardinal cheerfully, but he was almost too shocked
and distressed to speak at first, then bit by bit he found out that they
were not only frozen but almost starved. They could not pay for food,
and the tradespeople would not trust them. Instantly taking leave, the
cardinal hastened home, and loaded a cart with all that they could
possibly want, while as soon as possible he induced the Parliament of
Paris to vote the exiles a sum of money large enough to keep them till
better times came. Meanwhile it was well indeed for little Henriette
that lady Morton was with them. Her mother's heart grew heavier and
heavier as the days passed on without news from England. She would sit
by the fire for hours together, staring straight before her, seeming
neither to hear nor to see. Even the child's voice failed to rouse her.
At length, towards the end of February, the blow fell. Charles was
dead—had been dead three weeks—and not a whisper had ever reached her.
Silent as before, she rose up, and leaving the princess in the hands of
lady Morton and her confessor, father Cyprian, she fled for solitude and
prayer to a Carmelite convent. When the queen returned, dressed in the
deep mourning of those times—even the walls were hung with black—her
little daughter felt that a change had come over her, though she could
not have told exactly what it was. But lady Morton knew. It was that all
hope had died out of her face, and to the end she would be, as she often
signed herself, 'the unhappy queen, La Reine Malheureuse.'

Between Paris and St. Germain little Henriette passed the first seven
years of her life, and if the clash of arms and the roar of cannon were
as familiar to her as nursery songs are to more fortunate children, the
echo of the same sounds came to her across the water from England, where
her brother Charles was fighting for his crown. One day when she entered
the room, she found the queen sitting with her head on her hands,
weeping bitterly. The child stood for a moment at the door wondering
what to do, and then went up softly and laid her cheek silently against
her mother's. 'One by one they are going,' cried the poor woman; 'your
sister Elizabeth'—and Henriette wept too for the death of the sister
whom she had never seen. A few weeks later arrived the news that the
queen's son-in-law, William of Orange, had died of small-pox at The
Hague, and in him the family had lost another friend, and a sure refuge
in all their troubles. Henrietta Maria's heart ached for her eldest
daughter, gay, charming, yet melancholy like all the Stuarts, left a
widow at nineteen, with only a baby son to comfort her. Henriette was
very much grieved for her mother's distress, but as her sisters were
merely names to her, she was soon ready to attend to her lessons again,
given to her daily by lady Morton and the good father Cyprian. She would
leave the side of her sad mother and seek her governess, and, sitting at
one of the windows of the Louvre that overlooked the Seine, would sing
some of the songs composed by the loyal Cavaliers who had fought for her
father. And the passers-by beneath would look up at the sound of the
guitar, as the little singer would pour out with all her heart 'My own
and only love I pray,' by the great Marquis of Montrose; or 'When love
with unconfined wings hovers within the gate,' or 'Bid me to live, and I
will live, Thy Protestant to be.' Only she never sang this in the
queen's presence, for Her Majesty did not love Protestants, as Henriette
well knew! But the guitar was not the only instrument the princess was
taught to play. She played too on the harpsichord, which she did not
love as well as the guitar, for one reason because it was a lumbering
thing and she could not carry it about with her. She also learnt to
dance, and when the mob besieged the gates of Paris, or poured shouting
through the streets, in one small room on the top of the old palace a
little girl might have been seen practising the steps of the coranto,
the pavane, the branle, and other dances in fashion at court. And when
she was tired of dancing, lady Morton would read to her tales out of the
old chronicles of Froissart or de Comines, or stories from Malory of
Lancelot and Arthur, or repeat to her some of the poems of days gone by.

So the months slipped by, when one evening a messenger arrived at the
Louvre and asked to see lady Morton, who was at that moment telling
Henriette about the Crusades, in which her ancestors, both French and
English, had borne so great a part. The man was admitted, and bowing low
first to the princess and then to her governess, he held out a letter
bound with a black ribbon and sealed with black wax. Lady Morton turned
pale as she took it, and as she read grew paler still. Her husband was
dead; and there was no one to look after her children; she was therefore
prayed to return at once. That was all. Signing to the messenger to
retire, she hastened to the queen and laid the letter before her. 'Your
Majesty will see that I have no choice,' she said in a quiet voice which
spoke of the pain of the present and that which was to come. Henrietta
stooped and kissed her faithful servant, and answered, 'No, none; but we
shall miss you sorely. Every day and every hour.' And so they did; and
when, three years later, the news of her death was brought to them, it
was the greatest grief that Henriette was to feel until she lost her
little son.

Look which way she would the poor queen could see nothing but disaster.
Charles II.'s expedition proved an absolute failure, and once more he
took refuge in France. But no misfortunes could damp his spirits, and,
as always, his visit was a joy to Henriette. How he made her laugh by
describing his ride on the pillion in woman's clothes, after the battle
of Worcester, and the hours he spent seated in the oak, while his
enemies passed and re-passed beneath him. And about the time he hid in a
cottage, with his hair cropped close like a serving-man, till he could
make his way to London and get on board a vessel bound for France; and
fifty other hairbreadth escapes, which interested even his cousin, the
'Great Mademoiselle,' who usually cared about nothing that did not
concern herself. Soon after this the Fronde ended, and things began to
look a little brighter for France, and also for Henrietta. When Anne of
Austria came into power again, she thought of her unhappy sister-in-law
and her niece, and resolved to do what she could to make them more
comfortable. She begged Henrietta Maria to leave the Louvre, where she
had suffered so much, and come and live with her in the Palais Royal;
and the English queen felt it would be ungracious to refuse such
kindness, though she would have preferred staying where she was. After
that a larger pension was given her, and with this Henrietta was able to
buy a house outside Paris built nearly a hundred years before by
Catherine de Medici, and, after putting aside a few rooms for herself,
she invited some nuns from the convent of Sainte Marie to take up their
abode in the other part, with mademoiselle de la Fayette as their

Here the queen passed many months of every year, bringing with her the
little princess. How pleased the nuns were to have the child, and how
they petted and spoilt her! Many of them were women of high birth, and
had lived at court before they determined to leave it for good, and the
elder ones could tell Henriette thrilling tales of the War of the Three
Henries, in which _their_ fathers and _her_ grandfather had fought. By
and bye the road which led from Paris would be covered with coaches and
noisy with the tramp of horses, and Henriette would strain her neck out
of the top windows to see which of the great ladies was coming to pay
them a visit and to pray in the chapel. Ah! those were the royal
uniforms surrounding the big carriage drawn by six white horses. It was
her aunt, queen Anne, who was always so good to her! and Henriette ran
joyfully down to tell her mother. These excitements took place very
often, and, in spite of the many services she had to attend, and the
lack of other children to play with, the princess had hardly time to be
dull. Besides, at the end of this same year, 1652, her two brothers,
Charles and James, came to Paris, and of course the English queen and
her daughter had to hurry back to the Palais Royal to receive them.
Charles had been all his life very fond of his little sister, fourteen
years younger than himself, with eyes that flashed with fun at his when
La Grande Mademoiselle gave herself more airs than usual, or allowed
herself to be impertinent to her poor relations, who never seemed to be
aware of their position. Of course outwardly they behaved beautifully
and paid her the compliments that she loved, and as it never entered
into her head that any one could make fun of _her_, Mademoiselle, the
Centre of the Universe, no harm was done. But this time a quarrel broke
out between the good-natured, easy-going young king Charles and his
mother. She had fallen under the influence of Walter Montagu, abbot of
Pontoise, and he had persuaded her to put a stop to the services of the
English Church, which had been held, for the benefit of the many
fugitives from their native country, in a hall of the Louvre, and anyone
wishing to use the form to which he was accustomed had to go to the
house of the ambassador appointed by Charles himself. Very unwillingly
the king was forced to attend this chapel, and his brother James also.
Now the queen's three elder children were very much troubled at little
Henriette being brought up a Roman Catholic, and had several times
entreated vainly that she might be allowed to follow the faith of her
father. This made Henrietta Maria very angry, and although her
confessor, father Phillips, who was a sensible man, contrived for some
years to keep the peace, when he was dead she suffered herself to be led
entirely by the evil counsels of Montagu. Matters were made still worse
a few months later, when her youngest son, Henry, duke of Gloucester,
then about thirteen, arrived to join his family, and in his daily walks
to and from his dancing and riding lessons always stopped at the
ambassador's house to hear morning prayers. Henry's open affection for
the English Church was more than his mother could bear. With the help of
the abbé Montagu she began to persecute the poor boy to change his
religion, which he steadily refused to do. Charles had gone to Cologne,
and only James, duke of York, was left to guard his young brother, whom
Montagu was doing his best to force into a Jesuits' college.

'They cannot send you there without your own consent, and that you must
never give,' said James. 'You are an English subject, and bound to obey
the king'; and then he sat down and wrote letters to the princess of
Orange, to their aunt, the queen of Bohemia, and to Charles, who replied
by upbraiding his mother with more anger than he had ever shown about
anything in his life. But the fact that her children thought her in the
wrong only increased Henrietta's obstinacy. She refused even to admit
Henry to her apartments, and sent a message to him by Montagu that she
would never see him again unless he would do as she wished. The duke of
York tried to soften her heart and bring her to reason, but fared no
better, and when Henry fell on his knees before her as she was getting
into her coach to go to Chaillot, she only waved him out of her path and
bade the coachman drive on. The boy rose up, and turned, his eyes
blazing with anger, to Montagu, who stood watching.

'I owe this to you,' he said, 'and I will repeat to you the queen's
message to me. Take heed that I see your face no more,' and, sorely
distressed, he went straight to the chapel at the Embassy for comfort.
When he returned to the Palais Royal he found that his bed had been
stripped of its sheets, and that by the queen's orders no dinner had
been cooked for him. Not knowing what to do, he went to the house of
lord Hatton, where he was warmly welcomed, and bidden to stay as long as
he liked. But by the advice of the duke of York it was settled that he
should quit Paris at once and put himself under Charles's protection at
Cologne. This counsel seemed good, but where was the money to be got for
the journey? No one had any, for the queen held the purse. Then the
marquis of Ormonde stepped forward and pointed to the George, which hung
from the blue ribbon of the Garter on his breast. 'I will get the
money,' he said. It was the last thing he had to sell, and he sold it.

[Illustration: "She only waved him out of her path"]

That evening, in the early dusk, Henry crept into the Palais Royal to
say good-bye to his sister.

'But where are you going?' asked she, clinging to him, 'and when will
you come back?'

'Never, I think,' he answered bitterly. 'My mother has bidden me see her
face no more, and I must begone before she returns from vespers.'

'Oh me! my mother! my brother!' cried Henriette, clasping him more
tightly to her, and sobbing wildly as she spoke, 'What shall I do? what
shall I do? I am undone for ever.'

Thus Henry disappeared from her life, and though she did not forget him,
many other things happened to occupy her thoughts. First there were her
lessons, which she loved, and then the regent Anne, who pitied her
loneliness, often gave parties at the Louvre, at which Henriette was
present. Her mother thought her too young for these gaieties, as indeed
she was according to our notions; but queen Anne would listen to
nothing, and of course the princess herself enjoyed it all heartily. At
the Louvre there were masques and balls and fancy dances, at which
Henriette's future husband, the duke of Anjou, appeared dressed like a
girl; but the most brilliant festivity of all was given in 1653 by
Cardinal Mazarin, when his niece Anne-Marie Martinozzi married the
king's cousin, Armand, prince de Conti. Henriette, who was only nine,
and small for her age, was escorted by her brothers James and Henry, and
her beautiful dancing won her the praise of all. Three months later a
court ballet, or what we should call now a musical comedy, was performed
in a theatre, the music being written by the famous Lulli himself. The
young king, who was then about fifteen, played several different
characters, but appeared at the end as Apollo, with the Nine Muses
grouped around him. While the little theatre rang with applause there
stepped from their ranks, the princess Henriette as Erato, the muse of
poetry, crowned with myrtle and roses. Holding a lyre to her breast, she
recited some verses written expressly for her by the court poet
Benserade and the pathos of the words and the beauty of the child drew
tears from the eyes of the spectators.

During the next two years queen Anne's beautiful rooms in the Louvre
were the scene of many small dances, and none was thought complete
without Henriette. With practice her dancing became more and more
graceful, and fortunate indeed was the young man who was allowed to be
her partner in the coranto or the branle. All but king Louis; for it was
noticed that he alone never asked his cousin to dance. This was, of
course, observed by his mother, who was much grieved at his rudeness,
though for a long while she said nothing, fearing lest he should take a
dislike to the child, whom in her secret heart she might have been glad
to welcome as a daughter-in-law. But one evening in the year 1655 the
slight was so marked that the queen-regent could contain herself no
longer. One of the usual small dances was to take place in the Louvre,
and queen Anne begged her widowed sister-in-law for once to come out of
her solitude and to see the king perform some new steps. Henrietta,
touched both by the queen's kindness and the entreaties of her daughter,
consented, especially as the ball was to be very private, and queen
Anne, who had been ill, announced that she herself did not intend to
wear full dress, and that no one else need do so. When the little
company had assembled the signal was given, and the branle was struck up
by the violins. At the first note Louis XIV., who by this time was about
seventeen years old and very handsome, advanced to the side of madame de
Mercoeur, one of the cardinal's nieces. 'The queen,' says an eye witness
of the scene, 'astonished at his want of manners, rose quickly from her
seat, drew away madame de Mercoeur, and told her son he must take the
English princess for his partner. Queen Henrietta, who saw that queen
Anne was really angry, went up to her hastily, and in a whisper begged
her to say nothing to the king, for her daughter had hurt her foot, and
was unable to dance.

'Very well,' replied queen Anne, 'if the princess cannot dance, the king
shall not dance either.' Upon this the queen of England gave way, and
allowed her daughter to dance, in order not to make a fuss, though she
felt very much annoyed with the king for his behaviour. After the ball
was over, queen Anne spoke to him very seriously about his behaviour,
but he only answered sulkily.

'I do not like little girls.' Henriette did not, however, trouble
herself about the king's lack of attention and respect to her position
as his cousin and a princess, but 'took her pleasures wherever she found
them,' according to the counsel of the wise French proverb. The court
was never dull in Louis XIV.'s early years, and he was always planning
something new, in which he could play the important part, for nobody in
the world could ever be so great as Le Grand Monarque thought himself to
be! When he got tired of balls, he arranged a band of nobles for the old
sport of Tilting at the Ring. He divided them into parties of eight, and
himself headed the troop, dressed in white and scarlet liveries
embroidered in silver. The duke of Guise was the chief of the second set
in blue and white and silver, and the duke of Candale of the third,
whose colours were green and white. They wore small helmets with plumes
to match, and their horses were decorated with fluttering ribbons. The
three bands assembled in the gardens of the Palais Royal, and every
window was filled with ladies, each waving to her special knight. We are
not told where the tilting actually took place, nor who won the prize,
though we may feel pretty sure that it was arranged that the king should
be the victor. Unluckily madame de Motteville who describes it all,
cared more for the fine sight than for the game itself.

Now that there was once more a court in Paris, it was visited by all
kinds of distinguished people, and on these occasions Henriette was
always present. But of all the guests that came to the Louvre, none was
so strange as Christina, queen of Sweden, daughter of the great Gustavus
Adolphus. Christina was very clever, and could read Greek, Latin and
Hebrew, as well as several other languages, but she dressed as much like
a man as she was able, and hated ceremonies and rules of courts. She was
received by the duke of Guise when she entered France, and very much
surprised was he at the curious sight she presented. 'The queen wore,'
he writes, 'a man's wig, very high in the front and full at the sides,
but the back of her head was dressed with some resemblance to a woman.'
Her bodice was always laced crooked, and her skirt hung to one side, and
was half open, showing her underclothes. 'She uses a great deal of
pomade and powder; never puts on gloves, and her shoes exactly resemble
those of a man.' Yet the queen, who had recently abdicated her throne in
favour of her cousin and her liberty, was only now a little past thirty
and not bad looking. But her untidiness seems to have struck everybody,
for a little later madame de Motteville speaks of a visit she paid the
king and his mother at Compiègne, when she arrived with her wig uncurled
and blown about by the wind, looking for all the world like a crazy
gipsy. In spite of her odd appearance and ways, however, she was very
popular with the French people; but we are not told what King Louis
thought about her, and no doubt Henriette's sharp eyes saw many a funny
scene, when the royal politeness of both Louis and Christina was
severely taxed. Happily for her during that year the widowed princess of
Orange was paying her mother a long visit, so that the girl had someone
to laugh with. Everybody was charmed with the princess royal, and she on
her part was enchanted to get away from her stiff Dutch court, and enjoy
herself with the young sister whom she had never seen. Balls were given
in her honour, to all of which she took Henriette; and very unwillingly
she herself was obliged to play the part of a spectator, as her aunt,
queen Anne, had forbidden all widows to dance in public. However, there
were plenty of private fêtes, and here she could dance as much as she
liked—and that was a great deal! Then plays were given at the Louvre
for her amusement, and the young king wrote and acted a ballet on Cupid
and Psyche, which everyone said was 'wonderful,' though perhaps nobody
thought it quite so 'wonderful' as the king himself. 'I have scarcely
time to snatch a piece of bread,' the princess of Orange exclaims
happily, and even Mademoiselle has a good word for her cousin and for
the jewels which she wore. It was a great holiday for princess Mary, but
she did not suffer all the pleasure and admiration to spoil her or turn
her head. We find her still thinking of how she can help her brothers,
and making time to mourn her husband and to keep the day of his death
sacred, though it was several years since his death. On Sundays she
never missed going to the service at the English ambassador's, though
her mother would fain have had her company in her visits to the convent
of the Carmelites. Thus the year passed away till the illness of the
little prince of Orange, afterwards William III., obliged her to return
to the Hague.

[Illustration: 'Here, Madame' said Mazarin 'are prizes for a lottery']

Henriette spent a dull time during the next two years, and her life
seemed more dismal after the gay time of her sister's visit. Her mother
grew more and more ill, and lived chiefly at Colombes or Chaillot. Every
now and then, however, queen Anne begged leave for Henriette to come to
a ball at the Louvre, or to a specially brilliant fête such as that
given by Séguier, where Mademoiselle, with her accustomed rudeness,
tried to take precedence of Henriette, which the queen of France would
by no means allow. During the spring of 1658 cardinal Mazarin invited
the royal families of France and England, Monsieur, the king's uncle,
and his daughter Mademoiselle to be present at a supper and small dance
held in his private apartments. As it was Lent, of course nothing but
fish was eaten, but never had so many sorts of fish been seen before,
cooked in so many different ways. After supper, and while the remainder
of the guests were dancing, the two queens, Henriette and Mademoiselle,
were conducted into a long gallery, filled with all kinds of beautiful
things—jewels, china, furniture, rich stuffs of gold and silver, plate,
gloves, fans, scent-bottles and a thousand other objects—for the
cardinal's collection was famous throughout Europe.

'Here, Madame,' said Mazarin, bowing low before the queen, 'are the
prizes for a lottery in which no one will draw blanks.' Mademoiselle
drew a big diamond, but the first prize of all was a diamond bigger
still, worth four thousand crowns, and this was won by a lieutenant in
the King's Guards, called La Salle.


It was towards the close of 1659 that the marriage of the king with his
cousin Marie Thérèse, daughter of the king of Spain, was decided upon.
In the country house of Colombes on the Seine tales of the preparations
floated to the ears of Henriette, who would have enjoyed nothing so much
as being in Paris in the midst of all the talk. In her secret heart she
longed to go south with the royal cavalcade; and gladly would her aunt
have taken her, but queen Henrietta was ill and out of spirits, and
greatly agitated by the news from England, where, Cromwell being dead,
parties were divided as to the prospects of the accession of Charles II.
She needed her daughter, and Henriette, though she loved amusement, was
very tender-hearted and did not let her mother guess how great was her
disappointment. The princess was now passed fifteen, and was looked on
by the French people as their adopted child. She was taller than anyone
had expected her to become, and had the long face of the Stuarts. Her
hair was a bright brown, her skin was fair, and her eyes, unlike her
mother's, were blue, while her hands and arms were famous for their
beauty. Many women were more beautiful than she, but none had her charm,
or could, like her, point a jest which left no sting behind it. Her aunt
saw with pleasure that the eyes of her younger son frequently rested on
her niece, whom a short time before he had been tempted to despise,
following in this the example of the king. If this marriage could be, as
well as the other—ah, how happy it would make her! To Anne of Austria
it mattered little that the princess was an exile and entirely dependent
on France for the bread she ate and the clothes she wore. Such trifles
might be of consequence to the duke of Savoy and the grand duke of
Tuscany, both of whom had hastily rejected the timid proposals put forth
by the English queen, but the duke of Anjou (soon, by the death of his
uncle, to become 'Monsieur' and duke of Orléans) was rich enough and
distinguished enough to take a bride without a dowry. So the
queen-mother set forth on the journey southwards which was to end in
that other wedding, and before that was celebrated Charles II. had been
called to his father's throne and his sister was a match for any king.


'My head is stunned with the acclamations of the people,' writes Charles
from Canterbury on May 26 to his 'deare, deare sister,' and amidst all
the 'vast amount of business' attending the Restoration he found time to
remember her love of riding, and to send her a saddle of green velvet,
with trimmings of gold and silver lace. Even queen Henrietta forgot his
illness and her troubles for a moment. She was no longer La Reine
Malheureuse, but the mother of a reigning king, and when Monsieur came
galloping up to Colombes immediately after the royal couple had returned
to Fontainebleau, Henrietta received him with open arms as her future
son. Queen Anne was no less delighted than her sister-in-law, and
herself came to Colombes in state to carry both mother and daughter to
Fontainebleau in one of those old painted and gilded glass coaches that
contained nine or ten people. Here they paid their respects to the
bridal pair, who received them with great kindness. The young queen was
a good-natured girl, with pretty fair hair and pink and white face, but
stupid and ignorant, and never likely to be a rival to Henriette. Still
they soon made friends, and then the princess drove home with her
mother, both of them much pleased with their visit. After a ball given
by Monsieur at his palace of St. Cloud, and other fêtes at which
Henriette was almost as much stared at as Marie Thérèse, came the state
entry of the king and queen into Paris, and the queen-mother (as Anne of
Austria was now called) invited Henrietta Maria and her daughter to her
balcony near a wonderful triumphal arch in the Rue Saint Antoine. It was
August 26 and a beautiful day, and the narrow streets, as well as the
windows and even roofs of the houses, were thronged to overflowing. The
young queen sat alone in her glass coach, wearing a black dress heavily
embroidered in gold and silver and covered with precious stones, which
suited her fair complexion and pale golden hair. The king, also in gold
and silver and mounted on a magnificent black horse, rode on the right
of the coach, followed by his cousins, the Princess of the Blood, and
the highest nobles in France, while on the left was Monsieur, gay and
gallant on a white charger, diamonds blazing on his coat and on his
plumed hat.

Monsieur and the queen-mother wished that his marriage should take place
at once, but Henrietta Maria would not hear of this, and insisted that
it should be put off till she and her daughter had paid a visit to
England, where, after sixteen years of exile, the family were at last to
meet. But no sooner had they started than the news arrived that the
young duke of Gloucester had died of smallpox after a few days' illness,
and all their joy was damped. Henriette, indeed, amidst all the
excitements around her, was more quickly consoled than either her mother
or the princess royal, and the feelings of the queen were tinged with
remorse, as she remembered her last parting with the boy. The short
period of mourning over, the court festivities began, and Charles was
besieged by envoys asking for the hand of his sister, for her engagement
to Monsieur had not yet been publicly announced. Among the petitioners
was the emperor Leopold I., whom Mademoiselle intended for herself, and
great was her wrath when the fact came to her ears. Charles, however,
was quite satisfied with the marriage that had been arranged, and
contented himself with prevailing on Parliament to settle a handsome sum
on Henriette; which it was quite willing to do, as she had managed to
charm both the Lords and the Commons, as well as everybody else. Great
preparations were made for keeping Christmas in the good old fashion,
which had been set aside for so many years. Everything was to be done
according to the old rules, and a branch of the flowering thorn at
Glastonbury was brought up by relays of horsemen for presentation to the
king on Christmas Eve. But once again death stepped in, and turned their
joy into grief, for the princess royal fell ill of small-pox, and died
in a few days, at the age of twenty-nine. The queen, in an agony of
terror for her one remaining daughter, removed Henriette from Whitehall
to St. James's, where she received a letter from Monsieur, imploring
them to set out at once for France. This they did, but Henriette was
seized on board ship with an attack of measles, and the vessel was
forced to put back into Portsmouth. Much anxiety was felt throughout
both kingdoms as to the recovery of the princess, but at the end of a
fortnight the doctors declared her well enough to travel. The risk was
great, for it was January, and the slightest cold might have gone to her
lungs; however, mercifully she took no harm, and her mother gave a sigh
of relief when they landed on French soil at Havre. Once in France it
seemed as if no one could show them enough kindness. The king and queen,
accompanied by Monsieur, came out from Paris to greet them, and on their
entry next day the air was filled with the shouts of welcome given by
the people. Everybody wished that the marriage should take place at
once, but as Lent was close at hand the Pope's consent had to be
obtained. This was always a long affair, and in the meantime cardinal
Mazarin died, and, by order of the king, court mourning was worn for a
fortnight, so that it was March 30 before the ceremony of betrothal was
performed in the Palais Royal, by the grand almoner, monseigneur Daniel
de Cosnac, bishop of Valence. Though the guests were few, consisting
only of the nearest relations of the king of France, with the English
ambassadors, they were beautifully dressed, and wore all their jewels.
Next morning, at twelve o'clock the bishop read the marriage service in
the queen of England's private chapel, in the presence of Louis XIV.,
Anne of Austria, and Henrietta Maria.


Perhaps it may seem that childhood ends with marriage, and that on her
wedding-day we should say good-bye to Madame, as Henriette was now
called. But, after all, she was not yet seventeen, and had a great deal
of the child about her, and it may be interesting to hear how she spent
the earliest months of her married life. Just at first she was as happy
as even her mother could have wished. She and Monsieur lived at the
Tuileries, and as Marie Thérèse was ill her part in the Easter
ceremonies fell to Madame. It was she who washed the feet of the poor on
Maundy Thursday, a duty always performed by the queen, and she did it
with all the grace and kindliness natural to her. When Easter was over
balls and masques began. Poets made songs for her, everybody praised
her, and when the king and queen left for Fontainebleau, Monsieur and
Madame remained behind at the Tuileries for some weeks longer. Yet, much
as she loved amusement and flattery, Madame was far too clever to be
content with the diversions which satisfied most of the people about
her. The friends whom she gathered round her in the gardens of the
Tuileries or in the shady avenues of the Cours de la Reine were women
who were remarkable for their talents or their learning, and among them
was Madame's lifelong companion, madame de la Fayette, the friend of
madame de Sévigné, and the duke de la Rochefoucauld, who understood
Greek and Latin, and wrote novels which are still read. There was also
mademoiselle de Tonnay-Charente, afterwards famous as madame de
Montespan, who kept them all laughing with her merry jests; and for a
listener there was madame's favourite maid-of-honour, the lovely, gentle
Louise de la Vallière, always a little apart from the rest. As the
spring evenings drew in they would all go and sup with Monsieur, and
afterwards there would be music, or cards, or _bouts rimes_, which is
sometimes played now, or better, much better than all, they would pay a
visit to the Théâtre du Palais Royal and see Molière and his company act
_Les Precieuses-Ridicules_ and _Les Femmes Savantes_. Then the courtiers
found out that Molière was like nobody in the world, and would pay any
sum that was asked to sit in one of the chairs, which, after the strange
fashion of the time, were placed upon the stage itself. We are not told
how Monsieur enjoyed this kind of life. His good looks were perhaps the
best part of him; he had been taught nothing from books, and was not,
like his brother, quick enough to pick things up from other people. He
was very jealous too, and could not bear his wife to speak to any other
man, so most probably he was delighted to leave Paris in the end of May
for his palace of St. Cloud, with its yew hedges clipped in all sorts of
odd shapes, its grassy terraces, clear brooks, and its wide view over
the Seine valley. But soon there came a letter from the king, and then
the great coach and its eight horses drove up to the door, and Monsieur
and Madame were on the road to Fontainebleau.

Well whatever Monsieur might do, there was no doubt which Madame loved
best! What a fascination there was in the beautiful old palace, with its
histories, some gay, some grim; and Henriette remembered as she walked
down the gallery that it was only four years since the queen of Sweden's
secretary had been done to death—righteously, as some said, in that
very place. Still, one need not be always going down that gallery, and
how graceful was the carving of the great front, and how attractive were
the old trees of the forest, with tales of the Gros Veneur and his
yapping dogs, which at nightfall haunted its glades. However, these
things were forgotten in the morning when the sun shone bright and the
coaches were ready to carry Madame and her ladies down to the river,
where they played like children in the water, riding home on horseback
as the sun grew lower, only to go out upon the lake after supper and
listen to the music that came softly to them from a distant boat. It was
a summer always to be remembered in Madame's life—indeed, it was the
only one worth remembering. She had many troubles, partly, no doubt, of
her own making. Her quarrels with her husband became more and more
frequent, and the queen-mother, Anne of Austria, who had always loved
her, was deeply grieved at her passion for pleasure and her refusal to
take heed to the counsels given her. Perhaps they were all rather hard
upon her, for she was still very young, only twenty-six, when one hot
day at the end of June, she caught a sudden chill and in a few hours she
lay dead. Unlike her brother Charles II. she was not 'an unconscionable
time dying.'

                             _THE RED ROSE_

'FROM the time I was five years old I was either a fugitive or held a
captive in prison.'

Most likely we should guess for a long while before we hit upon the
person who said those words. Was it Richard, duke of Normandy, we might
ask, carried out of Laon in a bundle of hay? Was it prince Arthur,
escaping from the clutches of his uncle John? Was it Charles I.'s little
daughter Henriette, who owed her life, as a baby, to the courage of one
of her mother's ladies? No; it was none of these children whose
adventures have thrilled us with sorrow and excitement; it was a man who
has seemed to us all about as dull as a king could be. It was Henry VII.
His birthday was on June 26, 1456, exactly 453 years ago, and as soon as
he was old enough to be christened he was named Henry, after the king,
his uncle. The Wars of the Roses were raging fiercely over England, but
it was easy to forget them in any place so far out of the world as
Pembroke castle, and the baby Henry must have felt like a doll to his
mother, Margaret Beaufort, countess of Richmond, who was only thirteen
years older than himself. However, in a little while, the doll ceased to
be merely a plaything, and became a person of real importance, for the
death of his father, when he was five months old, made him the head of
the great Lancastrian house of Somerset. Perhaps, before we go any
further in the story of Henry's childhood, it might be as well to say
that at that time England was split up into two parties, each of which
claimed the throne. Both were descended from Edward III., and in these
days probably no one would hesitate as to which of the two had the
better right. But then men's minds were divided, and some supported
Richard, duke of York, father of the future Edward IV., and others,
Henry VI., the reigning king. The old story tells how a band of young
men were one morning disputing in the Temple gardens, on the banks of
the Thames, as to which side could best claim their allegiance. Words
ran high, and threatened to turn to blows, when a young knight
passionately plucked a white rose from a bush and stuck it in his hat,
commanding all who swore fealty to the duke of York to do likewise,
while the youth who had heretofore been his friend and comrade sprang
forward and tore a red rose from its stalk and, waving it above his
head, called on those who did homage to Henry of Lancaster to take as
their badge the red rose. And thus the strife which laid waste England
for so many years became known as the Wars of the Roses.


Now the countess of Richmond knew very well that, in spite of the danger
of bringing the boy forward, and, indeed, in spite of the perils which
beset travellers when bands of armed and lawless men were roaming over
the country, it would be very unwise to keep him hidden in Wales till
his existence was forgotten by everyone. So, when he was about three
years old, and strong enough to bear the bad food and the jolting over
rough roads and rougher hills, she set out with a few ladies, and a
troop of trusty guards, to the place where Henry VI. was holding his
court. The king was pleased to welcome his sister-in-law and his nephew.
Friendly faces were not always plentiful, and the fierce energy of his
wife, queen Margaret, had often hindered rather than helped his cause.
With the countess of Richmond he had many tastes in common; both loved
books, and would spend many hours poring over the pictured scrolls of
the monks, and although she had been married so young, and was even now
but seventeen, Margaret had the name of being the most learned as well
as the best lady in the whole of England. So the travellers were given
hearty welcome, and wine and a great pasty were set before the little
boy and his mother, instead of the milk, and bread and jam that he would
have had in these days. That night he was so sleepy that he quite forgot
he was hungry, and he was soon carried off by his nurses to be laid in a
carved wooden cradle by the side of the wide hearth; but the next
morning he was dressed in a crimson velvet robe, his hair combed till it
shone like silk, and with his little cap in his hand he was led by his
mother into the presence of the king. Henry sank on his knees on
entering the room, as he had been bidden, but the king smiled and held
out his hand, and the child got up at once and trotted across the floor,
and leaned against his uncle's knee.

'A pretty boy, a pretty boy,' said the king, softly stroking his hair;
'may his life be a wise and good one, and happy withal!' And then he
added, with a sigh, 'In peace will he wear the garland for which we so
sinfully contend.'

Margaret Beaufort started in surprise as she heard the words. Edward,
prince of Wales, was only three years older than the little earl of
Richmond, and surely the 'garland' could belong to him and to no other?
But before she had time to speak, even if she had the courage to do so,
an audience was solicited by one of the king's officers, and, bowing
low, she led away her son. This moment of pleasure soon came to an end.
Attempts were made by the Yorkists to get the young earl into their
power, and with many tears his mother was forced to part from him, and
to send him back to the castle of Pembroke, under the care of his uncle,
Jasper Tudor, who shortly after was summoned to his post in the royal
army, and fled to hide himself after the disastrous defeat of Mortimer's
Cross. Instantly a body of troops, under command of the Yorkist, William
Herbert, marched to Pembroke, and after much hard fighting took the
castle by assault. When Herbert entered to take possession he found the
little boy, not yet five, in a room of the keep guarded by his
attendant, Philip ap Hoel, who stood before him with his sword drawn.

'Fear naught,' said Herbert, 'I am no slayer of children! the boy is
safe with me.'

Henry did not understand the words, for during these long months he had
spoken nothing save Welsh to the men who attended on him; but he could
even then read faces, and he came boldly out from behind his defender.
'I will take you to my lady,' said Herbert; 'she is well-skilled in
babes.' And swinging the child on his shoulder, he carried him to the
tent where his wife awaited the news of the combat. 'A new nursling for
thee,' he said, with a smile, setting the boy on her knee; and Henry
stayed there, well content to have a mother again.


For nine years Henry, though still a prisoner, if he had had time to
remember it, was as happy as a child could be. He had many of his own
playfellows amongst lady Herbert's children, and on fine days they might
all have been seen on the green of Pembroke castle throwing small
quoits, or _martiaux_, as they were then called, or trying who could win
at closheys, or ivory ninepins. If it was wet, as very often happened,
then any courtier or man-at-arms whose business took him up the narrow
winding staircase ascended at his peril, for out of some dark corner
there was certain to spring upon him one of the boys and girls moving
stealthily about in a game of hide and seek. When they were quite tired
with running about, they would seek lady Herbert's own room, and beg her
to help them at some new game with picture cards, or to show them how to
move one spillikin without shaking the rest. Those were pleasant times,
and Henry never forgot them; nor did he forget the best loved of all the
children there, lady Maud, who afterwards became the wife of the earl of
Northumberland, and lady Katherine, to whom, many years later, he
proposed marriage himself.

[Illustration: Herbert brings little Henry to his wife's tent]

But when the earl of Richmond had reached the age of fourteen this happy
state of things came to an end. One day the children, rushing hastily
into lady Herbert's bower, found her in tears, with a letter, tied by a
piece of silken cord, lying beside her. They all crowded round her,
stroking her hands, patting her cheeks, asking twenty questions, and all
talking at once, till at length she found voice to tell them that their
father, now earl of Pembroke, had been taken prisoner with his brother,
after the battle of Banbury, and had been treacherously beheaded. 'You
are all I have left,' she cried; and the boys and girls looked at each
other, grief-stricken, but not knowing how to speak words of comfort.
During a short time Henry remained at Pembroke with the Herberts, but
soon after the king obtained an important victory, and Jasper Tudor,
uncle of the boy, returned to Pembroke. Then lady Herbert refused to
stay longer within the walls of the castle, and departed with her
children to rejoin her own friends. Blinded with tears, which he was too
proud to show, Henry watched their departure from the battlements of the
castle, and when they were out of sight turned sadly to take counsel
with his uncle Jasper as to what had best be done to repair the
defences, and how to put the castle in a condition to bear a state of

'We cannot tell who may gain the upper hand from one moment to another,'
said Jasper; and Henry, nephew though he was to the king, hardly knew on
which side his sympathies lay. The siege, which had been foreseen by
Jasper Tudor, began; but, thanks to the preparations that had been made,
every assault was repelled successfully. At last, one night information
was brought secretly to Jasper that a plot had been contrived by one
Roger Vaughan to seize or to kill both uncle and nephew. Luckily it was
not too late to act. With the help of some of his own soldiers Jasper
contrived to capture Roger Vaughan, instantly beheaded him, and then, by
help of the besieging general, who refused to see or hear what was going
on, he and his nephew stole out at midnight through a postern door and
hastened to Tenby. From this place they found a ship which undertook to
convey them and their few followers to France, where they were kindly
received by Francis II., duke of Brittany.


Just at first Edward, duke of York, now known as Edward IV., was too
busy with affairs at home to interfere much with them. But when he
considered that his throne was secure, he sent messengers to Brittany
laden with promises of rewards of all sorts, provided that Henry and his
uncle were delivered up to him. However, by this the duke perceived,
what he had hardly realised before, that his captives were too valuable
to be lightly parted with, and declined to accept Edward's proposals,
though he promised that, instead of the freedom they had hitherto
enjoyed, his prisoners should now be confined apart, and a strict watch
set on them. With this answer Edward at first seemed satisfied. The
claws of the young lion were for the moment cut, and the king had more
pressing business to attend to. So five years slipped by, and Henry
spent many of the hours that hung heavily on his hands in studying
Latin, and most likely in reading some of the old romances of Arthur and
his knights, which have their root in Brittany. English he never heard
spoken, and not often real French; but he loved the Breton tongue, which
bore so strong a resemblance to his native Welsh, and could talk it
easily to the end of his life.

In this way Henry reached his twentieth year before any further attempt
was made by Edward to get him into his power. Then the bishop of Bath,
Stillington, who shrunk from no employment where money was to be made,
arrived at St. Malo, and sent a message to the duke, saying that the
king desired all strife between the Houses of York and Lancaster to
cease, and to this end he was prepared to give his daughter Elizabeth in
marriage to the young earl of Richmond, and to restore to Jasper Tudor
the earldom of Pembroke. Fair words; but the ambassadors had secret
orders to buy the consent of Francis II. at his own price, the money
only to be paid on the delivery of the captives. The duke agreed to
everything; he had, so he told the envoys, 'no scruple or doubt in the
matter'; but, all the same, after the gold was safe in his hands he
contrived to convey a warning to Henry not to trust himself on board the
ship. Unluckily for the Yorkists, the wind blew from a contrary quarter,
and delayed their departure, and a severe attack of low fever and ague
confined Henry to his bed. His uncle, however, guessed the danger he
ran, as indeed did Henry himself, though he felt almost too ill to care
what happened to him. Things were in this state when, by some means or
other, the story of the bargain made by the duke reached the ears of
Jean Chevlet, a great Breton noble. Knowing that any moment a change of
wind might cost the lives of Henry and his uncle, he bade his swiftest
horses to be saddled, and rode at full speed to the court. Without
stopping to ask for an audience he strode into the presence of Francis,
and pausing before him looked silently and steadily into his eyes. The
duke reddened, and moved uneasily in his great carved chair, and at last
inquired if anything had happened that the lord Chevlet should come to
him in this wise.

'If anything has happened yet, I know not,' answered Chevlet sternly;
'but happen it will, and that speedily, unless it is hindered by those
with more truth and honour in their souls than the lord duke. Rather
would I have died in battle than see my sovereign a traitor.'

Again there was silence. Francis would gladly have sprung to his feet
and struck him dead for his insolence, but something held him back;
Chevlet's words were true, and his conscience bore witness to it. At
length he plucked up a little courage, and stammered out that all would
be well, as Henry was to wed the king's daughter and heiress of England.

'Else would I not have parted from him,' added he. But Chevlet did not
deign to even notice his excuses.

'Let him leave Brittany by a foot, and no mortal creature can save him
from death,' was all he said. 'You have thrown him into the jaws of the
lion, and you must deliver him from them.'

'But how?' asked the duke, who, now that his treachery was so plainly
set before him, felt both shame and repentance. 'Counsel me what to do,
and I will do it.'

Then Chevlet's voice softened a little, though the light of contempt
still remained in his eyes, and he bade the duke send Pierre Landois,
his treasurer, in all haste to St. Malo, to bring back the Englishmen at
all hazards: by fair means if he could, by force if need be. Right
gladly did Landois undertake the task.

'He did not slug nor dream his business,' says the chronicler, but on
his arrival at St. Malo sought at once an interview with the bishop, and
by some pretext which he had invented managed again to hinder the
sailing of the vessel, as the wind showed signs of veering to a
favourable quarter. That night, while the treasurer was deeply engaged
in conferring with the envoys, a little procession stole through the
narrow streets of the towns. It consisted of a litter with a sick youth
in it, carried on the shoulders of four stout men, with a tall
grey-haired man walking at their head. Noiselessly they passed along,
creeping ever in the shadow, stopping every now and then in some doorway
darker than the rest to make certain that no one was following them. At
last they reached their goal, the Sanctuary of St. Malo; and here not
even the emperor himself had power to touch Henry. He was safe under the
protection of the Church. Early next morning the captain of the vessel
sent a sailor to inform the bishop that the ship could put to sea in an
hour's time, and at the same moment arrived a messenger wearing the
livery of the duke of Brittany.

'My master, Pierre Landois, the grand treasurer, bade me tell you that
your bird has flown,' said he; 'and he wishes you a safe voyage,' he
added, tinning to the door, where his horse awaited him.

The bishop did not ask questions; perhaps he thought the less time
wasted the better. 'We will come on board at once, so that the wind may
not shift again,' he answered the sailor somewhat hastily; and by noon
even the white sails had vanished from sight.


Henry remained in the sanctuary till the fever left him, when he
returned to the castle of Elvin, which he very seldom left. In a few
months events happened which greatly changed his position. Edward IV.
died, his sons were murdered in the Tower, and the murderer sat on the
throne as Richard III. But fierce indignation and horror seized on the
people of the southern part of England, and numerous plots were hatched
to dispossess the usurper and to crown Henry king, with Elizabeth of
York for his wife. For Edward, prince of Wales, the son of Henry VI.,
had been long dead, having been stabbed on the field of Tewkesbury by
the duke of Clarence. One of these plots, concocted by Henry's mother
and the duke of Buckingham, seemed so promising that the duke of
Brittany agreed to furnish the earl of Richmond with money and ships;
but when they put to sea a gale came on, which dispersed the whole
fleet. Next morning Henry found himself, with only two vessels, before
Poole in Dorset, and noticed with dismay that the shore was strongly
guarded by men-of-war.

'Can the conspiracy have been discovered?' thought he. And, alas! the
conspiracy _had_ been discovered, or, rather, betrayed to Richard, and
the duke of Buckingham was lying dead. But though Henry had no means of
knowing the truth, experience had taught him caution, and he despatched
a small boat, with orders to find out whether the ships were friends or
foes. 'Friends,' was the answer; but Henry still misdoubted, and as soon
as it was dark he put about his helm and returned to Brittany.

Feeling quite sure that Richard would never cease from striving to get
him into his power, Henry took leave of duke Francis, and sought refuge
with Charles VIII., then king of France. In Paris he found many
Englishmen, who had either fled from England during the troubles, or 'to
learn and study good literature and virtuous doctrine,' as the
chronicler tells us. So, for the first time in his life, Henry was
surrounded by his own countrymen, and they did homage to him and swore
to sail with him to England in the ships that the regent, Charles's
sister, had promised him; while the earl on his side took an oath to do
all that in him lay for the peace of the kingdom by marrying Elizabeth
of York.

It was on August 1 that Henry and his uncle sailed from Harfleur, and
some days later they reached Milford Haven. But somehow or other the
news of their coming had flown before them, and a large crowd had
assembled to greet them, and the air rang with shouts of joy.

'Thou hast taken good care of _thy_ nephew,' they said grimly to Jasper,
in the familiar Welsh tongue; for it was only the people of the North
who still clave to Richard the murderer. But Henry did not linger
amongst them, and gathering more men as he went, marched, by way of
Shrewsbury and Tamworth, to Leicester. The weather was fine, and they
made swift progress, and on the 20th of August, Henry left his camp
secretly, and went to meet lord Stanley, his mother's husband, on
Atherstone Moor. Their talk lasted long, and, much to Henry's
disappointment, Stanley declared that until the battle which was pending
was actually in progress, he would be unable to throw in his lot with
the Lancastrians, as his son remained as a hostage in the hands of
Richard. Henry spent a long while in trying to convince him how
necessary was his support; but it was quite useless, and at last he gave
it up, and, taking leave of each other, they set out for their own
camps. By this time it was quite dark, and as the country was unknown to
Henry he soon found himself at a standstill. Richard's scouts lay all
about him, and he dared not even ask his way, lest his French accent
should betray him. For hours he wandered, looking anxiously for some
sign that he was on the right road. At length, driven desperate by
fatigue and hunger, he knocked at the door of a small hut, against which
he had stumbled by accident. It was opened by an old shepherd, who,
without waiting to ask questions, drew him to a bench and set food
before him. When he was able to speak, Henry briefly said that he was a
stranger who had lost himself on the moor, and begged to be guided back
to the Lancastrian camp.


'If I live, I will reward you for it some day,' he said; and the old man
answered, 'I need no reward for such a small service.'


When at last the camp was reached the earl was received with joy by his
men, who had given up hope, and felt certain that he must have been
taken prisoner; but little rest did he get, as preparations for the
coming battle had to be made. It was on August 21 that the armies met on
the field of Bosworth, and though Henry's force numbered far fewer men
than Richard's, the desertion of the Stanleys and their followers won
him the day. Among all the Yorkists none fought harder than Richard
himself; but in a desperate charge to reach the standard by which Henry
stood he was borne down and slain. When the fight was over, and his body
sought for, it was found stripped of all its armour, while the crown,
which he had worn all day, had been hastily hidden in a hawthorn tree
hard by.

'Wear nobly what you have earned fairly,' said Stanley, placing the
golden circlet on Henry's head, and then bent his knees to do him
homage. And on the battlefield itself the army drew up in line and sang
a Te Deum.

                            _THE WHITE ROSE_

IN a corner of Westminster, adjoining both the Abbey and the house and
garden belonging to the Abbot, there stood in the fifteenth century a
fortress founded four hundred years before by Edward the Confessor. It
was immensely strong, and could, if needed, withstand the assaults of an
army, for it was intended as a harbour of refuge for runaways, and was
known by the name of the sanctuary. Once there, a man was safe whatever
his crime, for the Church protected him: the sanctuary was a Holy Place.
But for a long while the townspeople of London had suffered much from
the right of sanctuary thus given to all without distinction. The
fortress had become the home of thieves and murderers, who would break
into their neighbour's house and steal his goods, or knock a man on the
head for the sake of an old grudge or a well-filled purse, sure that, if
he were only nimble enough, no one could touch him. 'Men's wives run
thither with their husbands' plate,' writes the duke of Buckingham, 'and
say they dare not abide with their husbands for beating. These bring
thither their stolen goods, and there live thereon. There they devise
new robberies; nightly they steal out, they rob and kill, and come in
again as though those places gave them not only a safeguard for the harm
they have done, but a license also to do more.' Most true; yet the
sanctuary was sometimes put to other uses, and to those intended by the
Church when the great fortress was built. It was a refuge for innocent
people who were suspected wrongfully of crimes which they had never
committed, and kept them safe from hasty vengeance, till the matter
could be tried in a court of law.


Late one evening, however, in the autumn of 1470 the gates of the
sanctuary opened to admit a party of fugitives of a very different kind
from those who generally sought its shelter. It consisted of a lady
nearly forty years of age, her mother, her three little girls, and a
gentlewoman, and their faces bore the look of hurry and fear common to
all who entered there. When asked their names by the officer whose duty
it was to keep a list of those who claimed the sanctuary, the younger
lady hesitated for a moment, and then threw back her hood and looked
straight at him.

'The queen!' cried he; and the lady answered hurriedly:

'Yes, the queen, and her mother and her children. The Tower was no
longer safe, so we have come here.'

The officer gazed at her in dismay. Owing to the late disturbances in
the city, and the flight of Edward IV. to France, things had come to
such a pass that no man dared trust his fellow, and when the king's
brother was seeking to obtain possession of the king's wife, who could
tell if the sanctuary itself would be held sacred? And even if the
enemies of the king—and they were many and powerful—dared not bring
down on their heads the wrath of the Church by openly forcing their way
into the refuge she had granted—well, there were other means of getting
the fugitives into their hands, and none could prevent them posting
soldiers outside and hindering any food from passing in. Such were the
thoughts that flashed through the man's mind as the queen spoke; but he
only bowed low, and begged that they would follow him. Taking down a
torch from the wall he lit it at the fire, and went before them down a
gloomy passage, at the end of which he unlocked the door of a good-sized
room, almost bare of furniture, and lighted only by one or two narrow
windows, through which a ray of moonlight fell on the floor.

'This is all I can do for to-night, madam,' he said; 'but to-morrow——'
And the queen broke in hastily: 'Oh, yes, yes, we are safe at last.
Never mind to-morrow.'

When the officer had left them, lady Scrope came forward.

'Madam, rest you here, I pray you, and get some sleep, or you will be
ill,' she whispered softly. 'See, I will put these cloaks in this
corner, and wrap you in them, and the children shall lie beside you and
keep you warm.' And with tender hands she forced her mistress to lay
herself down, while the old duchess of Bedford held little princess
Cicely in her arms. The two elder children stood by her side watching
gravely, as well as their sleepy eyes would allow.


The princess Elizabeth was at this time about four and a half, and her
sister Mary a year younger. Elizabeth had long yellow hair like her
mother, and the beautiful white skin for which the queen was famous,
while she had her father's quick wit and high courage. Of all his
children she was the one he loved the best, and already she had made her
appearance on many public occasions, bearing herself seriously, as a
little girl should whose velvet frock has a long train, and who wears on
her head a high sloping head-dress shaped like an extinguisher, with a
transparent white veil floating from it. Still, children will play,
however long their frocks may be, and in the lovely gardens of the
palace of Shene, where Elizabeth and her sisters had lived till only a
few weeks before, they ran and tumbled about and rolled in the grass as
freely and happily as if their dresses had stopped at the knee. But
there was little play for them during that dreary winter that they
passed in the sanctuary. As the officer had feared, the duke of
Clarence, their uncle, and the great earl of Warwick, his father-in-law,
surrounded the place, hoping to starve the prisoners into surrender.
Once in their power, the two conspirators believed that the king would
be forced to accept whatever terms they might choose to dictate. But,
luckily for the queen, a friendly butcher took pity on her sad plight,
and every week contrived by a secret way to carry 'half a beef and two
muttons,' into the sanctuary, and on this food, and the water from a
spring in the vaults, the royal captives lived, sharing their scanty
supply with the men who were always in charge of the place.

It was in this dismal fortress that Edward V. was born on November 1,
1470. He was small and thin, but his little sisters were delighted to
have him, and would kneel by Lady Scrope's side, and play with his
hands, and watch his tiny toes closing and unclosing. Sometimes, when he
was asleep in his mother's arms, lady Scrope would tell them stories of
babies with fairy godmothers, and of the gifts they brought; and then
Elizabeth would guess what the fairies might have in store for little
Edward. And what excitement there was at his christening in the Abbey,
which, as it formed part of the sanctuary, was sacred ground, even
though his only godfather was the lord abbot, and his godmothers the
duchess of Bedford and lady Scrope. The ceremony was hurried over
because, in sanctuary though they were, there was no knowing what might
happen; but Elizabeth looked with awe at the high arches and the tombs
of the kings, never thinking that she herself would be married before
the altar, or be buried in a chapel there that was still unbuilt.

One fine morning, early in March 1471, the children came in from a short
walk in the abbot's garden, under the care of lady Scrope. They found
their mother pacing impatiently down the dark corridor, smiling at them
as she used to do in the happy days before they were hurried away from

'Your father is back again,' she cried; 'the men of the North have
flocked round him, and now all will be well.'

[Illustration: You are the first King who has entered sanctuary]

'Then we shall soon be able to leave the sanctuary and go on the river
once more!' said little Elizabeth, who had kept her fifth birthday on
February 11.

'Yes, yes; and how proud he will be of his son!' exclaimed the queen.
And the day was spent in joyful plans for the future.

Some weeks, however, passed by before they either saw king Edward or
were able to quit their gloomy dwelling. At last the city of London,
which had hitherto hung back, openly declared itself on his side, and
yielded up the Tower in which king Henry VI. was a prisoner. Then Edward
hastened to Westminster Abbey, and after giving thanks for his victory
before the altar dedicated to Edward the Confessor, he crossed over to
the sanctuary, where, 'to his heart's singular comfort and gladness,' he
at last beheld his wife and children.

'You are the first king who has ever entered sanctuary,' said Elizabeth,
as she sat on her father's knee. And Edward laughed, and answered that
he hoped it was the last time he might ever see it, though it had proved
a good friend to them during all the past winter.


After a few hard-fought battles, England accepted Edward as its king,
and until his death, thirteen years after, the royal children had no
more hardships to suffer. They lived in rooms of their own in the palace
of Westminster, and had carpets on the floors, and tapestry on the walls
and beds of down to lie on. For Edward loved everything rich and
beautiful, and thought nothing too good for his children. He did not
forget John Gould, the butcher, who had saved them from starvation, but
rewarded him handsomely for the many 'half beeves and muttons' they had
eaten in those dreary six months.

Elizabeth's wish had come to pass, and a splendid barge, with eight men
to row it, all gaily dressed in fine scarlet cloth, was moored at the
foot of the steps at Westminster. Here, when the tide was high, the
princesses and lady Scrope used to go on board, and be rowed down to
Richmond, which they loved. Or on wet days, when the mist hung thickly
about the river, they would gather round lady Scrope, in the queen's
withdrawing-room, while she showed them how to play 'closheys,' a kind
of ninepins, or scatter spillikins on a table for the elder children
with serious, intent faces, to remove one by one without shaking the

'Elizabeth, Elizabeth! where are you?' cried princess Mary one
afternoon, when the rain was pouring down so heavily that you could not
see that there was a river at all. 'My lady Scrope has some new toys,
and will teach us a fresh game. It is called _maritaux_, and the boys
play it, and I want to learn it. Be quick, be quick! where _are_ you?'

But no Elizabeth came running eagerly to throw the little quoits.
Unperceived by her nurse, she had stolen away to that part of the palace
where she knew she would find her father, and, creeping softly to the
table in front of which he was sitting, she knelt down beside him to ask
for his blessing, as the queen had always bidden her. He lifted her on
to his knee, and she saw that the open book before him contained strange
figures and circles, and that the paper beside it which the king had
written was covered with more of these odd marks.

'What does it mean? and why do you look like that?' she asked, half
frightened. King Edward did not answer, but, catching up the paper,
carried her to a high window, where he set her down in the seat formed
by the thickness of the wall. Glancing round, to make sure that none of
the men-at-arms who guarded the door could hear him, he bade her hide
the paper carefully and keep it always, for it was a map of her destiny
which he had cast from the stars, and that they had told him that it was
she who would one day wear the English crown. 'But my brother—but the
prince of Wales?'—asked Elizabeth, who had heard much talk of the baby
being heir to the throne.


'I know not,' he answered sadly; 'but so it is written. Now go back to
the queen, and mind, say nought of this, or it will grieve her sorely.'

So Elizabeth returned slowly to her own rooms, feeling half afraid and
half important with the burden of the secret entrusted to her. She put
the paper away in a little box, whose bottom would lift out, given her
by her father on her fourth birthday—quite a long time ago! Here she
kept all her treasures: a saint's figure, which was a most holy relic,
though she could not have told you much about the saint; a lock of hair
of her spaniel, which had died at Shene more than a year ago, and the
first cap worn by her little brother in the sanctuary, which she had
begged from lady Scrope as a remembrance. Then she climbed on to the
settle by the fire to place the box on the high mantelshelf, and went to
see what her sister was doing. In five minutes she had quite forgotten
all that had happened in the absorbing adventures of Beauty and the


Not long after this the court removed, in litters and on horseback and
in strange, long vehicles that looked rather like railway carriages,
down to Windsor, in order to give a splendid welcome to the lord of
Grauthuse, Louis of Bruges, governor of Holland, in place of his master
the duke of Burgundy. And a great reception was no more than his due, in
return for his kindness to Edward when he had entered Holland as a
fugitive two years before, having sold his long fur-lined coat to pay
his passage. Grauthuse has himself left a record of his visit and the
gorgeous decorations that everywhere charmed his eye at Windsor, and the
beauty of the cloth-of-gold hangings, and the counterpane, edged with
ermine, on his bed, while his sheets had come from Rennes, in Brittany,
and his curtains were of white silk. He seems to have been given supper
as soon as he arrived, in his own apartments, and when he had finished
he was escorted by Edward to the queen's withdrawing-room, where she and
her ladies were playing games of one kind and another—some at closheys
of ivory, some at _martiaux_, some again at cards. They all stopped at
the entrance of the king and his guest, and made deep curtseys; but very
soon Edward proposed they should go into the ball-room, where a ball was
to be held. It was opened by Edward and princess Elizabeth, who danced
as solemnly as it was possible for a maiden of six to do. She was
allowed one more partner, her uncle the duke of Buckingham, who had
married her mother's sister. Then, making her obeisance to her father
and mother, to the guest and to the ladies, she went off to bed.

The following morning the prince of Wales, who was a year and a half
old, was lifted up by the lord chamberlain, Sir Richard Vaughan, to play
his part of welcome to his father's friend; then followed a great
dinner, and later a banquet, at which the whole court was present. At
nine o'clock the lord of Grauthuse went, attended by lord Hastings, to
one of the rooms prepared for him by the queen, in which were two baths,
with a tent of white cloth erected over each. When they came out they
ate a light supper of green ginger, and sweet dishes, washed down by a
sort of ale called hippocras, and after that they went to bed. Grauthuse
seems to have stayed some time in England, for he returned with the king
and queen to Westminster, and was created earl of Winchester at a
splendid ceremony held in the presence of both Lords and Commons. Here
the Speaker, William Alington by name, publicly thanked him for 'the
great kindness and humanity shown to the king in Holland,' and praised
'the womanly behaviour and constancy of the queen,' while her husband
was beyond the sea.

Then, highly pleased with his visit, Grauthuse took his leave, bearing
with him as a gift from the king a beautiful golden cup inlaid with
pearls, having a huge sapphire set in the lid.


For the next three years we hear nothing special about the life of the
little princesses. Another brother was born to them, and given the name
and title of his grandfather Richard duke of York, and there was also a
fourth daughter, princess Anne, eight years younger than Elizabeth. The
following year, peace being restored at home, Edward IV. grew restless
at having no fighting to do, and crossed over to France to try to see if
there was any chance of regaining some of the former possessions held by
the English. But before quitting the country he made a will leaving his
two eldest girls 10,000 marks each, which, however, they were to lose if
they married without the consent of their mother. Edward IV. was a
clever man, especially in anything that concerned the trade of the
nation; but in Louis XI., then king of France, he met more than his
match. It did not suit Louis to have a war with England just then, for
he was already fighting his powerful neighbour, Charles the Bold, duke
of Burgundy, so he amused Edward by offering to do homage to him for the
immense provinces to which the English king laid claim, and to pay
tribute for them. Besides, he agreed to betrothe his son Charles to the
princess Elizabeth, and likewise consented that part of the tribute
money should be set aside for her.

Although she was only now nine years old, this was the fourth time at
least that Elizabeth had been offered in marriage. She was scarcely
three when Edward, then a prisoner in the hands of the earl of Warwick,
proposed an alliance between her and George Neville, Warwick's nephew.
The scheme was eagerly accepted by the earl and his two rich and
powerful brothers; but Edward contrived to make his escape, and, to the
great wrath of all the Nevilles, nothing further was said on the
subject. Indeed, a few months after, a still greater insult was offered
to the family by the reckless Edward, for he tried to break off the
marriage between Edward prince of Wales, son of Henry VI., and Warwick's
young daughter, Lady Anne, by proposing that Elizabeth should take the
bride's place. But Margaret of Anjou, the bridegroom's mother, though
hating Warwick almost as much as she did her husband's enemy Edward, at
length gave her consent to the betrothal, and the wedding was celebrated
in the castle of Amboise in the presence of the king of France. And in
1472 we find that, for the first of many times, Elizabeth's hand was
offered to Henry of Richmond.

All these things had happened some years before, and now this same king
of France was begging for this same Elizabeth as a wife for his son!
From the moment that the treaty was signed the young princess was always
addressed as 'Madame la dauphine.' In addition to the lessons in reading
and writing given to her and her sisters during these years by 'the very
best scrivener in the city,' Elizabeth was taught to speak and write
both French and Spanish. By and bye the dower began to be talked of, and
then came the important question of the trousseau. French dresses were
ordered for her, all of the latest fashion, and many yards of lace were
worked for her stomachers and hanging veils, while the goldsmiths of
London vied with each other in drawing designs for jewelled girdles.
Suddenly there came from over the sea a rumour that Louis XI. had broken
his word and the articles of betrothal, and that the bride of the little
dauphin was not to be the princess Elizabeth, but the heiress of
Burgundy and Flanders, Mary, daughter of Charles the Bold. This news
struck Edward dumb with wrath; as for Elizabeth, she only felt happy at
being left in England with her brothers and sisters, and did not in the
least mind when everyone ceased calling her 'Madame la dauphine,' and
began to treat her as a little girl instead of as a grown-up woman. She
continued to be the companion of her father and mother, and went on with
her lessons as before, though it was now certain that she would never be
queen of France. After a while there was talk of another wedding in the
family, and this time the bridegroom was the duke of York, little
Richard, who was not yet five years old, while the bride, Anne Mowbray,
heiress of Norfolk, was but three. Of course such marriages were common
enough, as Elizabeth could have told you; but, even then, such a very
young bridegroom was seldom seen, and his sisters made merry over it.

'Fancy Richard a married man!' they would say, dancing in front of him.
'Oh, how wise he will be; we shall all have to ask counsel of him.' And
Richard, half pleased with his importance and half ashamed, though why
he did not know, bade them 'Begone,' or burst into tears of anger. His
brother Edward, who was more than six, felt a little bewildered. He was
a quiet, gentle child, but from his birth he had been brought forward,
yet now no one thought of anything but Richard, and Edward was not quite
sure how he ought to behave. However, by the time the wedding-day came,
a bright frosty morning in January 1477, he had grown used to this
strange state of things, and was as excited as the rest.

A large crowd was assembled before the palace door, for then, as now,
the people loved to see a royal wedding, and the citizens of London
liked well Edward and his family. Loud cheers greeted the king and his
children as they rode across the open space on beautiful long-tailed
horses with splendid velvet saddles. Louder still were the cheers that
greeted the queen as she came forth, with the bridegroom on a pony of
bright bay with light blue velvet trappings, ambling by her side.
Loudest of all was the greeting given to the bride as she appeared,
seated on the smallest white creature that ever was seen, led by Lord
Rivers, the queen's brother.

'It is a fair sight indeed,' murmured the women, and these words came
back to them six years later.


The marriage was celebrated in St. Stephen's chapel, and as no one ever
thought in those days of heating churches, the stone walls were covered
with hangings of cloth of gold, which made it a little warmer. The king
arrived first, with the prince of Wales, clad in a blue velvet tunic
bordered with ermine, on his right hand, and princess Elizabeth, in a
long dress of silver tissue, on his left. Mary and Cicely walked behind,
and they were followed by the great officers of state and the ladies of
the court. After they had taken their places the heralds sounded their
trumpets, and in came the queen, wearing a tight-fitting gown of white
velvet, with an ermine mantle, her golden hair hanging to her feet, from
under the high head-dress with its floating veil. She led by the hand
the noble bridegroom, who looked shy and frightened, and stared straight
before him, as he walked up the aisle, his face nearly as white as his
heavy mantle which glittered with diamonds. The bride, on the contrary,
who was conducted by lord Rivers, seemed quite composed and looked about
her, taking care not to trip over the skirt of her trailing white satin
dress, whose hem shone with diamonds and pearls. The princesses in their
seats watched her with approval.

'She could not have borne herself better had her father been a king,'
they whispered one to another. 'I would that Richard had carried himself
as well,' added Elizabeth, who, being six years older, felt something of
a mother to him. Then the bishops and priests took their places, and the
service began.

Shouts of 'Long live the bride and bridegroom!' 'Health and happiness to
the duke and duchess of York!' rent the air as the procession left the
chapel to attend the banquet laid out in the Painted Chamber. Great
pasties were there for those that liked them, cranes, curlews, and
bitterns—which would have seemed very odd food to us, and all very
difficult to eat without forks, of which they had none. At the top and
bottom were peacocks with their tails spread, beautiful to behold. But
what pleased the children best were the 'subleties,' as they were then
called—sweet things built up into towers, and ships, and other strange
shapes. And the largest and finest of all, a castle with a moat and
drawbridge, and surrounded by battlements defended by tiny men-at-arms,
was placed in front of the bride and bridegroom.


For the next five years the lives of the princesses went on quietly
enough. Two more daughters were born, Katherine, in 1479, and Bridget,
who afterwards became a nun, in 1480. But troubles of many sorts were
hard at hand. In 1482 Elizabeth lost her sister Mary, who had been her
companion and playfellow all through their eventful childhood, and
before she had recovered from this bitter grief the state of the king's
health caused much alarm. Though a brave soldier and a good general, and
capable in time of war of enduring hardships as well as the poorest
churl who fought for him, Edward loved soft lying and good eating, which
ended in his ruin. He grew indolent and fat, and his temper, which had
never recovered the slight put upon him by Louis XI. in the breaking off
of the dauphin's marriage, became more and more moody. At length a low
fever came upon him, and he had no strength to rally. Knowing that death
was at hand he sent for his old friends Stanley and Hastings, and
implored them to make peace with the queen and to protect his children
from their enemies. The vows he asked were taken, but ill were they
kept. Then the king died, acknowledging the many sins and crimes of
which he had been guilty, and praying for pardon.

During nine hours on that same day (April 9, 1483) the king's body, clad
in purple velvet and ermine, was exposed to view, and the citizens of
London, headed by the lord mayor, came sadly to look upon it, so as to
bear witness, if need be, that it was Edward and none other that lay
there dead. When the procession of people was finished bishops and
priests took their places, and repeated the Psalms from beginning to
end, while all through the hours of darkness knights clad in black
watched and prayed. As soon as the preparations were completed, the dead
king was put on board a barge draped in black, and rowed down to
Windsor, as, for reasons that we do not know, he was buried in St.
George's chapel, instead of at Westminster. It is curious that his son
Edward, now thirteen, was not allowed to come up from Ludlow Castle,
where he had been living for some time with lord Rivers, neither is
there any mention of Richard attending his father's funeral. His
stepsons were there, but not his sons, and the chief mourner was his
nephew the earl of Lincoln. Never were people more helpless than the
queen and her children. The poor queen knew not whom to trust, and
indeed a few weeks taught her that she could trust nobody. Gloucester,
her brother-in-law, who at first gained her faith with a few kind words,
soon tore off the mask, seized the young king, and arrested his uncle
lord Rivers.

'Edward is a prisoner, and I cannot deliver him! And what will become of
us?' cried the queen, turning to her eldest daughter; and Elizabeth,
whom these last few months had made a woman older than her seventeen
years, answered briefly: 'There is still the sanctuary where we are

[Illustration: "Desolate and dismayed"]

That evening, after dark, the queen, her five daughters, and Richard,
duke of York, stole out of the palace of Westminster into the shelter of
the abbot's house, which fortunately lay within the sanctuary precincts.
All night long the dwelling, usually so quiet, was a scene of bustle and
confusion, for every moment servants were arriving from the palace at
Westminster bearing with them great chests full of jewels, clothes,
hangings, and carpets. The princesses, who were for the most part young
children, were running about, excitedly ordering the arrangement of
their own possessions, while Richard the 'married man,' had quietly
fallen asleep in a corner on a heap of wall-hangings that happened to
have been set down there. So it was that the archbishop and lord
chancellor, who arrived long after midnight to deliver up the Great Seal
to the queen, in trust for Edward V., found her alone, seated on a heap
of rushes in the old stone hall, 'desolate and dismayed,' as the
chronicler tells us. The archbishop tried to cheer her with kind words
and promises of a fair future, but the queen had suffered too much in
the past to pay much heed to him. 'Desolate' she was indeed, and
'dismayed' she well might be, and in his heart the archbishop knew it,
and he sighed as he looked at her hopeless face set in the tight widow's
bands, while her hair, still long and golden in spite of her fifty
years, made patches of brightness over her sombre black clothes. Yet he
could not leave her without making one more effort to rouse her from her
sad state, so again he spoke, though the poor woman scarcely seemed to
know that he was in the room at all.

'Madam, be of good comfort. If they crown any other king than your
eldest son whom they have with them, we will, on the morrow, crown his
brother whom you have with you here. And here is the Great Seal, which
in like wise as your noble husband gave it to me, so I deliver it to you
for the use of your son.' Having done his mission, the archbishop
departed to his own house close to the Abbey. The May dawn was already
breaking, and as he looked on the river he saw the shore thronged with
boats full of Gloucester's men, ready to pounce on the queen did she but
leave the sanctuary by a foot. 'Poor thing! poor thing!' murmured the
archbishop, as he gazed, 'it is an ill life she has before her. I doubt
what will come of it.'

Still, unhappy though they were, the royal family were at first far
better off in the abbot's house than they had been thirteen years before
in the fortress itself. The rooms were more numerous and better
furnished, and it was summer, and the flowers in the garden were
springing up, and the air began to be sweet with early roses. Up and
down the green paths paced Elizabeth and her sister Cicely, talking over
the events of the last month, and of all that had happened since the
death of their father.

'If only Edward were here,' said princess Cicely, 'I for one should
dread nothing. But to think of him in my uncle Gloucester's power—ah!
the world may well ask which is king and which is prince!'

'Yes, since Gloucester broke his promise to the council to have him
crowned on the fourth of May my heart is ever fearful,' answered
Elizabeth; 'of little avail was it to bring him clothed in purple and
ermine through the city when he was surrounded by none but followers of
the Boar'—for such was the duke's device. 'I misdoubt me that he will
not long be left in the palace of the good bishop of Ely.' Then both
sisters fell silent for a long time.

Elizabeth had reason for what she said, for the next day came the
tidings that Gloucester had carried his nephew to the Tower, there to
await his coronation. The queen turned white and cold when the message
was brought to her, but worse was yet to come. At a council held in the
Star Chamber, presided over by Gloucester, it was decided that as
children could commit no crime they could need no sanctuary, and that
therefore the duke of Gloucester, as acting regent, might withdraw his
nephew Richard from his mother's care whenever he chose. A deputation of
peers, headed by the cardinal archbishop of Canterbury waited on the
queen to try to prevail on her to give up her boy, saying the king was
wishful of a playfellow, but it was long before she would give her
consent. She had no reason to love the lord protector, she said, who had
ever shown himself ungrateful for all the late king had done for him;
but at length she began to yield to the solemn assurances of the
cardinal that the boy's life was safe.

'Pray His Highness the duke of York to come to the Jerusalem
Chamber'—the words, though spoken by the queen, seemed to be uttered in
a different voice from hers, and there was silence for some minutes till
the white-faced, sickly boy, clothed in black velvet, walked up to his
mother. 'Here is this gentleman,' said she, presenting him to the
cardinal. 'I doubt not he would be kept safely by me if I were
permitted. The desire of a kingdom knoweth no kindred; brothers have
been brothers' bane, and may the nephews be sure of the uncle?
Notwithstanding, I here deliver him, and his brother with him, into your
hands, and of you I shall ask them before God and the world. Faithful ye
be, I wot well, and power ye have if ye list, to keep them safe, but if
ye think I fear too much, beware ye fear not too little.' So Richard
bade her farewell—a farewell that was to be eternal. He was taken
straight away to the Star Chamber, where Gloucester awaited him, and
embraced him before them all. That night they lay at the bishop's palace
close to St. Paul's, and the next day he rode by his uncle's side
through the city to the Tower.

Sore were the hearts of the poor prisoners in the sanctuary, and little
heed did they take of the preparations in the Abbey for Edward's
coronation. In vain the kindly persons about them sought to reassure the
queen and her daughters by dwelling on the orders given for the food at
the royal banquet, and on the number of oxen to be roasted whole in the
space before the palace.

'Banquet there may be, and coronation there may be,' was all the queen
would answer; 'but Richard will never eat of that food, and Edward will
never wear that crown.'

Blow after blow fell thick and fast. Everything that Gloucester could
invent to throw discredit on the queen and her family was heaped upon
her, and as Clarence had not feared to blot his mother's fair fame, so
Gloucester did not hesitate to cast mud on that of his brother Edward's
wife. Then, one day, the abbot sought an audience of the princess

'Madame, I dare not tell the queen,' said he, staring at the ground as
he spoke. 'But—but—the king has been deposed, and the lord protector
declared king in his stead!'

[Illustration: The Queen entrusts little Richard to the Cardinal]

Elizabeth bowed her head in silence—it was no more than she had
expected, and she awaited in the strength of despair what was to follow.
It was not long in coming. Ten days later Richard III. was crowned in
the Abbey with great splendour, and her brothers removed to the
Portcullis Tower and deprived of their attendants. Edward at least knew
full well what all this meant. 'I would mine uncle would let me have my
life though I lose my kingdom,' he said to the gentleman who came to
inform him of the duke of Gloucester's coronation; but from that moment
he gave up all hope, and 'with that young babe his brother lingered in
thought and heaviness.'

Who can describe the grief and horror of the fugitives in the sanctuary
when all that they had feared had actually come to pass? The queen was
like one mad, and though her elder daughters did all they could to tend
and soothe her, their own sorrow was deep, and the dread was ever
present with them that, as children had been declared unfit persons to
inhabit the sanctuary, there was nothing to hinder the usurper from
seizing on them if he thought fit. And to whom could they turn for
counsel or comfort? Only three months had passed since the death of king
Edward, yet his sons, his step-son, and his brother-in-law, had all been
slain by the same hand. The queen's other son by her first husband, the
marquis of Dorset, was in Yorkshire, trying to induce the people to
rebel against the tyrant, but few joined his standard; the insurrection
planned by her brother-in-law, the duke of Buckingham, in the West came
to nothing, while the leader was betrayed and executed. They had no
money, and it is quite possible that Richard contrived that the abbot
should have none to give them. The trials and privations of the winter
of 1469 were light in comparison to those they suffered in that of 1483,
for now they were increased by agony of mind and every device that could
be invented by cruelty. What wonder, then, that, not knowing where to
look for help, the queen should at last have consented to make terms
with her enemy?

So, in March, 1484, she lent an unwilling ear to Richard's messenger,
but refused absolutely to quit the sanctuary till the king had sworn, in
the presence of his council, of the lord mayor and of the aldermen of
the city of London, that the lives of herself and her children should be
spared. Even Richard dared not break that oath, for there were signs
that the people were growing weary of so much blood, and, in London
especially, the memory of Edward was still dear to the citizens.
Therefore he had to content himself with depriving the queen of the
title which she had borne for twenty years, and of hinting at a previous
marriage of Edward IV. She was, besides, put under charge of one of
Richard's officers, who spent as he thought fit the allowance of 700_l._
a year voted for her by Parliament. It is not very certain where she
lived, but most likely in some small upper rooms of the palace of
Westminster, where she had once dwelt in splendour and reigned as queen.
During the first few months she seems to have had her four elder
daughters with her—Bridget was probably in the convent of Dartford,
where she later became a nun; but after the death of his son, Edward,
Richard sent for them to court. Their cousin, Anne of Warwick, the
queen, received them with great kindness, and together they all wept
over the sorrows that had befallen them. Richard himself took but little
notice of them, except to invent projects of marriage between Elizabeth
and more than one private gentleman—rather for the sake of wounding her
pride than because he meant seriously to carry them through. At
Christmas, however, it was necessary to hold some state festivals, and
both Anne and the princesses put off their mourning and attended the
state banquets and balls which the king had ordered to be held in
Westminster Hall. It was Anne's last appearance before her death, three
months later, and it was remarked by all present that the queen had
caused Elizabeth to be dressed like herself, in gold brocade, which
marvellously became the princess, and with her bright hair and lovely
complexion she must have made a strong contrast to the dying queen.

While at court Elizabeth met and made friends with the lord high
steward, Stanley, the second husband of the countess of Richmond. This
lady, who had desired for years to see her son Henry married to princess
Elizabeth, had been exiled from court owing to her numerous plots to
this end; but Richard thought that the best means of keeping Stanley
loyal was to retain him about his person, as he was too useful to be put
to death. One night, however, a fresh thought darted into the king's
brain. Henry of Richmond was his enemy; the Lancastrian party in England
was growing daily, owing as Richard told himself quite frankly, to the
number of people he had felt obliged to execute. If Henry married
Elizabeth he would gain over to his side a large number of Yorkists, and
together they might prove too strong for him. But suppose _he_, the
king, was to marry the 'heiress of England,' as her father loved to call
her, would not _that_ upset all the fine plans that were for ever being
hatched? True, he was her uncle; but a dispensation from the Church was
easily bought, and in Spain these things were done every day. So Richard
went to bed delighted with his own cleverness.

Great was Elizabeth's horror when the rumour reached her ears, told her
by one of queen Anne's ladies. 'Never, never will I consent to such
wickedness,' cried she, and sent off a trusty messenger to Stanley to
tell him of this fresh plot by her brothers' murderer, and to entreat
his help. This Stanley agreed to give, though insisting that the utmost
caution and secrecy were necessary, for any imprudence would cost them
all their lives. He next induced Elizabeth to write herself to his
powerful brothers, and to others of his kinsmen, and despatched these
letters by the hand of one of his servants. The Stanleys all agreed to
join the conspiracy against Richard, provided that the princess should
marry Henry, earl of Richmond, thus uniting the two Roses, and to
discuss this a meeting was arranged in London. That night, when all was
still, Elizabeth noiselessly left her room in Westminster Palace, and
stole down a narrow stone staircase to a door which was opened for her
by the sentry, who had served under her father. At a little distance off
one of Stanley's men was awaiting her with a horse, and together they
rode through byways till they reached an old inn on the outskirts of the
city, towards the north. They stopped at a door with an eagle's claw
chalked on it, and on entering she found herself in a room with about a
dozen gentlemen, who bowed low at the sight of her.

[Illustration: "Elizabeth goes to the inn to meet the conspirators"]

'Let us do our business in all haste,' said Stanley, 'as time presses.'
And he began shortly to state his scheme for sending Humphrey Brereton
over to France bearing a ring of Elizabeth's as a token of his truth,
and likewise a letter, which she was to write, telling of the proposal
that the Houses of York and Lancaster should be united in marriage, and
that Henry should be king. But here Elizabeth held up her hand, and,
looking at the men standing round her, she said steadily:

'Will you swear, my lords, by Holy Church that you mean no ill to the
noble earl, but that you bid him come hither in all truth and honour?'

'Ah, verily, Madam, we swear it,' answered they, 'for our own sakes as
well as for his.'

'Then the letter and the ring shall be ready to-morrow night,' replied
Elizabeth, 'and shall be delivered to you by lord Stanley. And now, my
lords, I will bid you farewell.' And, attended as before by a solitary
horseman, with a beating heart she made her way back to the palace. Only
when safe in her own room did she breathe freely; and well might she
fear, for had Richard guessed her absence, short would have been her


As it was the conspirators were just in time. Somehow or other the news
of the king's intended marriage with his niece leaked out, and so deep
was the disgust of the people that Richard saw that his crown would not
be safe for a single day if he were to persist. So, in order to appease
his subjects, as well as to avenge himself on Elizabeth for her
ill-concealed hatred of him, he dismissed her from court, and despatched
her under a strong guard to the castle of Sheriff Hutton in Yorkshire,
where the owner, her cousin, the young earl of Warwick, was then living.
Oh! how thankful Elizabeth was to escape from London, and to know that
hundreds of miles lay between her and her persecutor. To be sure, her
mother and sisters were still there; but it was she, and not they, whose
life was in danger, for had it not been foretold that the crown of
England should rest on her head? What peace it was to roam in the castle
gardens, or to sit by the window of her little room embroidering strange
devices, or looking out on the broad moorland where the larks and
thrushes sang all day long! Only one thing spoiled her content, and that
was anxiety as to how the messenger had sped who had gone over the seas
to the earl of Richmond.

That tale has been told in another place, and how king Henry sent an
escort, after the battle of Bosworth, to bring his future queen to
London. As she rode along, under summer skies, the nobles and people
thronged to meet her and do homage, and at length the happy day came
when openly and fearlessly she could join her mother in Westminster
Palace. It was no light task to settle things in England after a strife
which had lasted for thirty years; and besides, a terrible plague, known
as the Sweating Sickness, was raging in London, so it was not till
January 18, 1486, a month before Elizabeth's twentieth birthday, that
the much-talked-of marriage took place. The papal legate, a cousin of
Elizabeth's, performed the ceremony in the Abbey, and London, which had
so long looked forward to the event, celebrated it with banquets and
bonfires—rather dangerous in a city whose houses were mostly of wood.
'By which marriage,' says the chronicler, 'peace was thought to descend
out of heaven into England.'

And there we leave Elizabeth, her childhood being over.

                          RICHARD THE FEARLESS

NEARLY a thousand years ago a little boy was living in a castle which
stood on the edge of a lake in the midst of a very large forest. We
should have to go a long way nowadays before we could find any so big;
but then there were fewer people in Europe than at present, and so for
the most part the wild animals were left undisturbed. In the forest that
surrounded the lake, which from the stillness of its waters was called
Morte-mer, or the Dead Sea, there were plenty of bears, besides boars
and deer. Of course, from time to time the lord of the castle, William
Longsword, whose father Rollo had come from over the seas to settle in
Normandy, called his friends and his men round him, and had a great
hunt, which lasted two or three days. Then everyone in the castle would
be busy, some in taking off the skins of the animals and hanging them
out to dry, before turning them into coverings for the beds or floors,
or coats to wear in the long cold winter; while others cut up the meat
and salted it, so that they might never lack food. In summer the skins
were rolled up and put away, and instead rushes were cut from the
neighbouring swamps—for around the Morte-mer not even rushes would
grow—and silk hangings were hung from the walls or the ceilings,
instead of deer skins, and occasionally a rough box planted with wild
roses or honeysuckle might be seen standing in a corner of the great

But when little Richard was not much more than a year old a dreadful
thing happened to him. As often occurred in those days, duke William
sent away his wife, Richard's mother, who was poor and low-born, in
order to marry a noble lady called Liutgarda, whose father, the rich and
powerful count of Vermandois, might be of use in the wars which William
was always carrying on with somebody. Although Liutgarda had no children
of her own, she hated Richard, and never rested till she had prevailed
on her husband to send him away to the palace of Fécamp, where he was
born. William, though fickle and even treacherous to his friends, was
fond of his little boy, and for a long while he refused to listen to
anything Liutgarda said; but when he was leaving home he suddenly
bethought him that the child might be safer if he were removed from the
hands of the duchess, so he pretended to agree to her proposal.
Summoning before him the three men in whom he had most faith, Botho,
count of Bayeux, Oslac, and Bernard the Dane, he placed Richard in their
care, and bade them to take heed to the child and teach him what it was
fitting he should learn.

We know little of Richard's early childhood, but it was probably passed
in just the same manner as that of other young princes of his day. We
may be sure that his guardians, all mighty men of valour, saw that he
could sit a kicking horse and shoot straight at a mark. Besides these
sports, Botho, who loved books himself, had him taught to read, and even
to write—rare accomplishments in those times—and on the whole Richard
was very happy, and never troubled himself about the future.

After eight years of this peaceful life a change came. Long before his
guardians had been obliged to leave him, and others, chosen by William
with equal care, had taken their place. One morning the boy came in from
spending an hour at shooting at a mark, and ran up proudly to tell his
old tutor, who was sitting in the hall, that he had eight times hit the
very centre of the target, and that his hand shook so from pulling his
bow that he was sure he could not guide his reed pen that day.


'Say you so?' answered the old man, smiling, for he knew the heart of a
boy, 'well, there is something else for you to do. Your father,
Richard,' he continued, his face growing grave, 'is very ill, and has
sent to fetch you to him.'

'My father!' said Richard, his face flushing with excitement at the
prospect of a journey, 'where is he? Where am I to go? And who will take
me? Is he at Rouen?'

'No, at Chévilly, and we start in an hour, after we have dined, and I
will take you myself,' was the answer; and Richard hastened away, full
of importance, to make his preparations. He was not at all a
hard-hearted little boy, but he had not seen his father for four years,
and remembered little about him.

William Longsword was lying in his bed when Richard entered the small
dark room, only lighted by two blazing torches, and by a patch of
moonlight which fell on the rush-strewn stone floor. In the shadow stood
three men, and as the boy glanced at them he made a spring towards one
and held out his hands.

'Ah, he loves you better than me, Botho,' gasped William in a hoarse
voice, between the stabs of pain that darted through his lungs. 'Take
off his clothes, and let us see if his body is straight and strong as
that of a duke of Normandy should be.' Yes, he was tall and
straight-limbed enough, there was no doubt of that! His skin was fair,
as became one of the Viking race, and his eyes were blue and his hair
shone like gold. His father looked at him with pride, but all he said

'Listen to me, boy! My life is nearly done, but I am so weary that I
cannot even wait till it is over before giving up my ducal crown to you.
I have done many ill deeds, but my people have loved me, for I have
defended the poor and given justice to all. I can say no more now; take
his hands in yours and swear!' Then the three men clad in armour knelt
before the boy, and one by one, taking his hands in theirs, they swore
the oath of obedience. The duke watched eagerly, and when the ceremony
was over he motioned them all to leave him, murmuring in a low voice,

The following day William was a little better. He had taken the first
step towards Richard's inauguration as duke of Normandy, and his mind
was more at ease. The ceremony itself was to take place on Whit-Sunday,
May 29, 942, and was to be held at Bayeux, where the boy was to live.
For the duke wished his son to be brought up in the full knowledge of
the Danish language and customs, and Bayeux was the one city in the
whole of Normandy where the old tongue was spoken and the pagan religion
prevailed. At the same time he was to learn the best French of the day,
that of the court of the king Louis d'Outre Mer—Louis from Beyond the
Seas—and to be properly educated in the Christian faith. To this end no
man was so suitable as Richard's former tutor, Botho, count of Bayeux, a
man of renown both as a scholar and a warrior, and who, though a Dane by
birth, had become a Christian and had adopted French ways.

By slow stages William made the journey to Bayeux, his son riding by the
side of his tutor, chattering merrily all the way. In obedience to his
summons, all the nobles and chieftains from Normandy and Brittany were
assembled there, and met him on the day appointed in the great hall of
the castle. In spite of his illness, from which he had by no means
recovered, William was a splendid figure as he sat on a carved chair
placed on the dais, with the ducal crown upon his head, and looked down
on the stalwart men gathered before him. By his side stood Richard in a
green tunic, a small copy of his father, and he faced them with a smile
in his eyes, till their hearts went out to him. Amidst a dead silence,
William rose to his feet.

'I cannot speak much,' he said, 'for I have been sick unto death, but I
have brought here my young son, to bid you accept him as your duke in my
stead, and to tell you the plans I have made for his guidance, while he
is still a boy. He will live here at Bayeux, and will learn the lore of
his forefathers, and three good men and true, Botho, Oslac, and Bernard
the Dane, have the care of him, as before in his early years. Besides
them, seven other nobles will give counsel. This is my wish. Will you
swear to abide by it, and to take the oath of fealty to your new duke?'

'We swear,' they cried with one voice, and then each man in turn took
Richard's hand in his, and did homage. Then father and son bid each
other farewell, for William must needs go on other business.

After this wonderful scene, in which he had played so important a part,
life felt for a while somewhat tame to Richard, and at first he was
rather inclined to give himself airs of authority and to refuse
obedience to Botho. The count of Bayeux was not, however, a person to
put up with behaviour of this sort, and in a short time Richard was
learning his lessons and shooting and fishing as diligently as before.
But this state of things did not last long. One evening a man-at-arms
rode up on a tired horse and demanded speech of Bernard the Dane. It was
a sad story he had to tell; duke William had been bidden, as all men
already knew, on a certain day to meet king Louis at Attigny, in order
to answer some charges of murder which had been made against him. It was
the custom to allow three days of grace on account of the accidents that
were apt to befall travellers in those rough times, but the appointed
hour was past when William rode up to the castle, and found the door
closed against him. Furious at being shut out, he ordered his men to
force an entrance, and, striding up to the dais, dragged his enemy Otho
of Germany from the throne by the side of the king, and beat him
soundly. Of course, such an insult to the ally of the king of France
could not be passed over, but instead of punishing it openly, William
was entrapped into going to an island in the middle of the river, and
there murdered.

At this news all Normandy was in an uproar, for, as has been said,
William's subjects loved him well and grieved for him deeply; and by
none was he more sorely mourned than by his cast-off wife Espriota, who
had for these few past months been living near her son, and had seen him
occasionally. But this was now at an end, for Richard was at once
removed by his guardians to the palace of Rouen, there to attend his
father's burial and his own coronation, which was in its way as
important an event as that of the king of France, who had but little
territory or power in comparison with some of his great nobles.

When the young duke reached Rouen he found that his father's body had
been removed from the palace whither it had been taken after his murder,
and was lying in state in the cathedral of Notre Dame, with the famous
long sword, from which he had gained his nickname, on his breast. The
grave had been dug close by, opposite to his father Rollo's, the first
duke and conqueror of Normandy, and beside it was an empty place, where
Richard guessed that he would some day rest. The cathedral was crowded
that morning, and many thoughts of love and pity were given, not only to
the dead man, but to the fair-haired boy of nine who stood by the bier,
not overcome with grief for the father whom he had scarcely seen, but
awed and a little bewildered at what would be expected of him. All
through the long service Richard stood still, now and then gazing
wonderingly at the multitude which filled the body of the cathedral.
Then, after the coffin had been lowered into the grave, the great doors
were thrown open, and he was led forward by Bernard and presented to his
subjects, Normans, Bretons, and Danes, who welcomed him with a shout.
The priest next came slowly down the chancel, and Richard, kneeling
before him, received his blessing, and swore as far as in him lay to
preserve peace to the Church and to the people, to put down tyranny, and
to rule justly. Rising to his feet, the ring of sovereignty was put on
his finger and the sword of government buckled to his side; then, taking
his stand before the sacred shrine, the book of the Gospels being held
by a priest on his left hand, and the Holy Rood or Cross by another on
his right, he waited for the chiefs and nobles to take the oath of
loyalty to him.


Now it was plain to all men that troubles were nigh at hand for the
duchy. 'Woe to the land whose king is a child' it is written in
Scripture, and Richard's wise councillors knew full well what they might
expect from king Louis. They met together the night after the funeral,
when the little duke, worn out by all he had gone through, was fast
asleep, and consulted together how they could get the better of king
Louis, and at last they decided that they would escort Richard without
delay to Compiègne, where the king then was, and induce Louis to invest
him at once with the duchy. No time was lost in putting this plan into
execution; but even Norman cleverness was no match for the wiliness of
the king. Blinded by their kind reception and by flattering words, they
awoke one day to find that they had taken the oath of fealty to Louis as
their immediate overlord, and thus it was he, and not Richard, whom they
were bound to obey. Deeply ashamed of themselves, they returned with
their charge to Rouen; but during their short absence the Danish party,
headed by Thermod, had obtained the upper hand, and soon got possession
of Richard himself, even persuading the boy to renounce Christianity and
declare himself a pagan. This of course gave the chance for which Louis
had been hoping. It was, he said, a duty he owed both to the Church and
to Richard to put a stop to such backsliding, and forthwith he marched
straight to the capital. After several skirmishes, in one of which
Thermod the Dane was killed, Louis entered Rouen as a conqueror, and
under pretext of protection took Richard into his own custody, and
proceeded to administer the laws.

Perhaps if Louis from Beyond the Seas had been brought up in France he
would have known better the sort of people he had to deal with; but when
he was a little child his mother had been forced to fly with him to the
court of his grandfather Athelstan, where he had grown up, learning many
things, but not much of his subjects, several of whom were far more
powerful than he. To these Normans, or Northmen of Danish blood, and to
the Bretons, who were akin to the Welsh, the king of France, though
nominally their sovereign, was really as much a foreigner as Otho of
Germany. _He_ was not going to rule them, and that he would soon find
out! So one day they appeared before the palace and demanded their duke,
and as he was not given up to them they broke into open revolt, and not
only gained possession of Richard, but made Louis himself prisoner. In
this manner the tables were turned: Richard was once more duke in his
own duchy, and Louis was kept in strict confinement till he swore to
Bernard the Dane to restore to Normandy the rights which had been
forfeited at Compiègne. But even so the boy's guardians had not learned
wisdom, for in spite of what had happened before they were persuaded by
Louis on some slight pretext to allow him to carry Richard back to the
royal town of Laon, and once there he was instantly placed, with Osmond
a Norman noble, under arrest in the tower.

By this time, 944, Richard was eleven years old, and the strange life he
had led since his father died had ripened him early. On many occasions
when his life had been in peril he had shown not only great courage but
self-control beyond his age. Danger he delighted in, it only excited
him; but in the tower of Laon time hung heavy on his hands, for he was
forbidden to go outside the walls, and he was growing weak and languid
from want of exercise. Great, therefore, was his delight when one
morning at the hour that Louis sat in judgment on the cases brought by
his people, his guardian Osmond came to tell him that he had two horses
standing at a small gate at the back of the courtyard, and would take
him out for a day's hawking.

'How delicious!' cried Richard, springing up out of the deep seat of the
window, from which he had been looking longingly over the country. 'Has
the king given leave, then, or shall we go without it?'

'Without it,' answered Osmond with rather an odd smile. 'It may not
reach his ears, or if it does he can hardly slay us for it.'

'Oh, never mind!' said Richard again, 'what matters it? I would give
twenty lives for a good gallop once more,' and following Osmond down the
winding staircase, they reached the postern door unseen. The autumn
evening was fast closing in when they returned, Richard full of
excitement and pleasure over his day's sport. Osmond, however, was not
quite so light-hearted. He knew that he had done wrong in tempting the
boy out, and he feared the consequences. Well he might! The wrath of
Louis was fearful at finding that his birds had flown, and messengers
had been sent in all directions to capture them. In his anger he
threatened to kill them both, and his rash words were carried far and
wide; but, as Osmond knew, he dared not for his own sake carry out his
threat, though he could and did make their captivity even more irksome
than before, and much they needed the constant prayers offered up for
them in Rouen. Things would have been still worse than they were had not
Osmond, fortunately, been a man of some learning, and for some hours
every day he taught the young duke all he knew. By and bye the severity
of the rule was slightly relaxed, and Richard was bidden to perform the
duties of a page, and wait at dinner on Louis and his queen Gerberga.
This on the whole pleased Richard, though he felt that he ought to
consider it an outrage to his dignity; but at any rate it was a change,
and it showed him something of the life of courts, though, as matters
were, it did not seem very likely that he would ever govern one!

The weather was very wet, and the rain stood in great pools about the
courtyard and in the country outside the castle. The damp told upon
Richard's health, which had already been weakened by his long captivity,
and at last he was too ill to rise from his bed. Osmond nursed him
carefully, and by the king's order better food was given him, so that he
soon began to show signs of mending; but his guardian was careful that
he should not get well too soon, for he had made a plan of escape, and
the more the boy was believed incapable of moving the less he would be
watched, and the easier it would be to carry out. So when the seneschal
of the castle or the king's steward came to make inquiries for the noble
prisoner, Richard would turn his head slowly and languidly, and answer
the questions put to him in a soft, tired voice.

'The young duke looks in ill case,' the man would report, 'and I
misdoubt me'—and then he would stop and shake his head, while the king
nodded in answer. Such was the state of affairs when one day it was
announced that a huge banquet would be held in the castle of Laon, at
which the queen would be present. Great preparations were made in the
courtyard, and cooks and scullions and serving-men kept running to and
fro. Richard spent all his time at the window, watching the excitement,
but on the morning of the feast, when the seneschal paid his daily
visit, he was lying on the bed, hardly able to answer, as it seemed, the
questions put to him.

'To-night is our time,' said Osmond when they were once more alone.

'Time for what?' asked Richard, who had obeyed, without knowing why, the
orders of his guardian to appear more ill than ever.

'Our time to escape from this den of thieves,' replied Osmond. 'I would
not tell you before, for the eyes of Raoul the seneschal are sharp, and
I feared lest yours should be brighter than need be. But eat well of
what is set before you, for you will want all your strength.'

'But how shall we pass the sentries?' asked Richard again.

'Ah, how?' said Osmond, laughing. 'Never puzzle your brain, but what has
been done once can be done twice'; and that was all he would tell him.

Hours were earlier then than now, and by seven o'clock there was not a
creature to be seen in the passages or before the gates, for all who had
not been bidden to the banquet were amusing themselves in the
guard-room, quite safe from any detection by their masters. Then Osmond,
wrapped in a thick cloak, beckoned to Richard, and they crept across the
courtyard, most of which lay in shadow, till they reached the barn where
the hay was kept. There Osmond took down a large truss, and tying it
securely round Richard hoisted the bundle on to his back.

[Illustration: THE TRUSS OF HAY]

'Whatever happens, make no noise,' he whispered hurriedly, and stepped
out into the moonlight that lay between the barn and the stables. Here
was the only danger, for he might be spied by one of the men in the
guardroom, and even be stopped if he or his bundle looked suspicious. A
voice from behind gave him such a start that he almost dropped his hay;
but the man was too drunk to see clearly, and a timely jest satisfied
him that Osmond was an old comrade, and was only doing the work of a
friend who was too busy feeding himself to have leisure to think of his
horses. His heart still beating high, Osmond reached the stable, and,
choosing a lean black horse, he put on it both saddle and bridle, and
led it out by a side door, which opened out on a dark muddy street.
Rapidly he cut with his hunting knife the rope which had bound the hay,
and flung it into a corner.

'You must sit in front of me,' he said, lifting Richard on to the
saddle. Then, jumping up behind him, he wrapt his big cloak round the
boy, till nothing could be seen of him. Carefully they went till the
town was passed, when Osmond shook the reins, and the horse bounded away
in the night.

'Where are we going?' asked Richard at last, after they had ridden for
several miles.

'To Couci,' answered Osmond, 'and there I will leave you in safety with
a friend of your father's, while I will get a fresh horse and ride on to
your great uncle count Bernard at Senlis.'

Fierce was the wrath of the king when the seneschal awoke him early next
morning with the news that Richard's room in the tower was empty, and
that both Osmond and the horse Fierbras were gone.

'But how—how did he do it?' asked the king, when he had somewhat
recovered the power of speech. 'For none could reach the stable without
passing first under the windows of the guardroom, and besides the moon
was at the full, and a man and a boy would be noted by all the

'Yes, my lord, doubtless,' replied the trembling seneschal; 'and truly a
man was seen and challenged by one of the soldiers, but no boy was with
him. He was going to feed the horses, and he had on his back a truss of

'_Ah!_' exclaimed the king, starting to his feet, and fell to silence,
for through the years there came to him the remembrance of how his
mother Ogiva had borne him out of reach of his enemies in a truss of
hay. Truly, what had been done once could be done twice, as Osmond the
Norman had said!

Now, as has been told, there were several nobles in France much more
powerful than the king, and of these the greatest was Hugh le Grand,
father of the celebrated Hugh Capet from whom all the French kings
traced their descent. Him Bernard count of Senlis sought, and implored
his aid on behalf of Richard, which Hugh readily promised; but the
compact did not last long, for when Louis offered him half of Normandy
as a bribe, Hugh abandoned Richard's cause, and made ready for the
invasion of the duchy. Bernard turned white with rage when he learnt
what had happened, but he did not waste words, and after going to Rouen
in order to consult with Bernard the Dane, a swift little ship sailed
down the Seine and steered for the coast of Denmark. At the same time a
messenger was secretly sent to Paris, where Richard was in hiding, and
by night he was brought down the Seine and into Rouen. Three weeks later
a fleet with Viking prows, commanded by the famous warrior Harold
Blue-tooth, appeared off the Norman coasts and lay at anchor in a quiet
bay, till the men they carried were needed. Not many hours later a
watchman on one of the towers perceived a large army approaching from
the north-east. When within a mile of the city, it halted, and a herald
was sent out, summoning the duke to surrender, in the name of the king
his sovereign lord. Instead of the duke, Bernard the Dane came forth to
speak with him, and bade him return to his master and tell him the only
conditions on which the gates would be opened. They were not hard, but
chief amongst them was the stipulation that Louis should enter attended
only by his pages, and that his army should remain outside. So well did
Bernard act, that he not only contrived to set at rest Louis' suspicions
of himself by paying him all the honour possible, but when he was safe
in the palace contrived to instil into his mind doubts of Hugh, till the
king agreed to break the alliance between them. After he had
accomplished this, Bernard threw off the mask, and bade Harold
Blue-tooth march from Cherbourg and join the Normans in an attack on the
French, who were easily defeated. Harold's next step was to take
possession of the duchy on behalf of Richard, but, instead of remaining
in it himself as the real governor, merely assisted the Normans to
obtain the freedom of their country from the captive king. At a meeting
between Louis, Hugh and Richard on the banks of the Epte, the king was
forced to surrender the rights he had illegally assumed, and Normandy
was declared independent. Then they all went their ways, Louis to Laon,
which had undergone a siege from Hugh, and Harold to Denmark, while
grand preparations were made for the state entry of Richard into Rouen.

Crowds lined the streets through which Richard was to pass, and from the
city gate to the cathedral the whole multitude was chattering and
trembling with excitement. After many false alarms the banner of
Normandy was seen in the distance framed in the doorway, while brightly
polished armour glittered in the sun. A little in advance of his
guardians rode Richard on a white horse, prouder of wearing for the
first time a coat of mail and a helmet than even of taking possession of
his duchy and receiving the homage of his subjects. He was barely
thirteen, tall for his age, handsome, with a kind heart and pleasant
manners. He had more book-learning, too, than was common with princes of
his time, and on wet days could amuse himself with chess, or in reading
some of the scrolls laid up in his palace of Rouen. Young though he was,
his life had been passed in a hard school, and already he was skilled in
judging men, and cautious how he trusted them.

Through the streets he rode smiling, winning as he went the love which
was to stand by him to the end of his long life. At the west door of the
cathedral he dismounted, and, unfastening his helmet, walked, amid cries
of 'Long live Richard our Duke,' 'Hail to the Duke of Normandy',
straight up to the High Altar. There he knelt and prayed, while the
shouting multitudes held their peace reverently. Then at length he rose
from his knees and turned and faced them.

'Four years ago,' he said, 'you swore oaths of loyalty to me, and now I
swear them to you. In war and in peace we will stand together, and with
my people by my side I am afraid of nobody. From over the seas the
fathers of many of you came with my fathers, but whether you be Bretons,
Normans, or Danes, I love you all, and will deal out justice to all of

              'Bretons, Normans, and Danes are we,
              'But of us all Danes in our welcome to thee'

was their answer.

                       _FREDERICK AND WILHELMINE_

IT is often very hard to believe that grown-up people were ever little
children who played with dolls or spun tops, and felt that they could
never be happy again when the rain came pouring down and prevented them
from going to a picnic, or having the row on the lake which had been
promised them as a birthday treat.

Frederick the Great, the famous king of Prussia, would have played if he
could in his childhood, and if his father would have let him. But,
unfortunately for Frederick and his elder sister Wilhelmine, and indeed
for all the other little princes and princesses, the king of Prussia
thought that time spent in games was time wasted, and when, in 1713, he
succeeded his old father, everything in the kingdom was turned upside
down. Some of his reforms were very wise, some only very meddlesome, as
when he forbade the applewomen to sit at their stalls in the market
unless they had knitting in their hands, or created an order of Wig
Inspectors, who had leave to snatch the wigs off the heads of the
passers-by, so as to make sure they bore the government stamp showing
that the wigs had paid duty. Another of the king's fancies was to allow
only the plainest food to be cooked in the palace, while he refused to
permit even the queen to have any hangings that attracted dust. For this
second king of Prussia was very clean, in days when washing was thought
dangerous, and all through his life he frequently accuses the crown
prince Frederick of being dirty.

[Illustration: The Wig-inspector at Work]

But king Frederick William's real passion was soldiering. He had served
in the Netherlands under Marlborough and prince Eugene when he was a
mere boy, and the roar of the guns sounded always in his ears, as his
poor little son found to his cost. Unlike other kings, who were always
dressed in the finest silks and brocades, Frederick William wore a
uniform of blue, with red collar and cuffs, while his breeches and
waistcoat were of buff. By his side hung his sword, and in his hand he
carried a cane, which he did not scruple to use on the head of any man
whom he caught idling in the streets. Most of his spare moments were
spent in drilling his soldiers, and he took particular delight in a
regiment of Potsdam Guards, formed of the tallest men that could be
found, either in Prussia or elsewhere. To his great delight, the Tsar
Peter the Great sent him, in the year 1717, a hundred and fifty giants,
from seven to eight feet high, in return for the hospitality he had
received from the court of Berlin; and every autumn a certain number
were regularly expected. The foolish king never guessed that these poor
creatures had not half the strength of men of ordinary size, and would
never be able to stand the hardships of war. The regiment was his pride,
and if he could not enlist soldiers for it by fair means, he would do so
by foul. There is a story of a very tall young carpenter, whom the king
heard of as living in the town, and was of course very anxious to
recruit. So two of his ministers went to the shop, and ordered a coffin
of a special length. The carpenter inquired the name of the house to
which it was to be sent, but the gentlemen answered that they would call
that evening and see it for themselves. About dusk they appeared with
some men in attendance, and were shown into the workshop, where the long
black thing lay on the ground, with its lid leaning against the wall
close by.

'You have made it much too short,' exclaimed one of the gentlemen.

'Six feet six inches was the length you said, sir?' replied the

'Yes; but that does not measure more than six feet four! You will have
to make another.'

'Pardon me, sir,' answered the young man. 'You will find that the full
length. I know, for it is just my height'; and so saying he laid himself
in the coffin. In an instant the lid was placed upon it and fastened
down, and the coffin carried off by the attendants to a safe place.
There the screws were undone and the lid lifted, but the man within did
not stir.

'Here, get up, my good fellow,' cried one of the gentlemen; but there
was no answer.

'He has fainted,' said someone uneasily, 'he wants a taste of brandy';
but when the brandy was brought he could not swallow it. What had
happened was plain: the carpenter had died from want of air.


It would have been much happier both for little Fritz and Wilhelmine his
sister if the drilling of the army had entirely occupied king Frederick
William's time and thoughts; but, unluckily, he felt it to be his duty
to lay down rules for the daily life of the crown prince. When he was
six, and still in the hands of governesses, a regiment consisting of a
hundred little boys was formed, of which Fritz was the captain, and a
real colonel commander-in-chief. They were all dressed in a uniform of
blue with red facings, and wore cocked hats, and for two years were
drilled by a youth of seventeen, till Fritz had learnt his drill
properly, and could really command them himself. When this event took
place he had already been about a year under three tutors—Duhan (who
always remained his friend); von Finkenstein, and Kalkstein; while an
old soldier named Von Senning, who had served in Marlborough's wars,
taught him fortifications and mathematics.

For of course the king's one idea was to make the crown prince follow in
his own footsteps, and to that end he must be strong and hardy. When
Frederick William went out to hunt, or to review his troops, the boy was
either galloping behind him or seated with a dozen men astride a long
pole on wheels, on which it was very difficult to keep your seat when
jolting over a rough country. Beer soup was his chief food, whether he
liked it or not; and if the king had had his way the child would have
been cut off with very little sleep; but this, happily, the doctors
would not suffer. As to his lessons, Fritz was to learn all history,
especially the history of Brandenburg, and of England and
Brunswick—countries which were connected with his illustrious house;
French and German, but no Latin; arithmetic, geography, economy 'to the
roots,' a little ancient history, and something of the laws of every
kingdom. To these strategy and fortification were shortly added; 'For,'
writes the king, 'there is nothing which can bring a prince so much
honour as the sword, and he would be despised of all men if he did not
love it and seek his sole glory in it.' Fritz's religious duties were
also strictly attended to, and he was to be brought up a Protestant.
'Every morning (except Sunday) he is to get up at 6 o'clock,' writes his
father, 'and after saying his prayers he is to wash his face and hands,
but not with soap.' This sounds rather odd, as the king was so
particular as to cleanliness, and we are told that he washed himself
five times a day. But most likely he was afraid of the expense, for at
eleven, when his son appears in his presence, the boy is expressly
ordered to 'wash his face with water, and his hands with soap and water,
and to put on a clean shirt.' The third washing of hands took place at
five, but on this occasion soap is not mentioned.

It must have been very difficult to have been as 'clean and neat' as
Frederick William required in the few minutes he allowed to his son for
dressing himself—for as soon as possible Fritz was taught to do without
help. To begin with, however, a valet combed out his hair, and tied it
into a pig-tail or 'queue' with a piece of tape, but no powder was put
on till his morning lessons were over. This must have been a comfort,
considering he was to eat his breakfast and drink his tea while the
hair-dressing was going on, and that by half-past six everything was to
be finished. From eleven to two he remained with the king, amusing
himself—if he could—and dining with his Majesty at twelve o'clock. At
two his afternoon lessons began, and lasted till five, when he was
permitted to go out and ride. He also had half holidays, on Wednesdays
and Saturdays, when his morning's work was over, provided that his
'repetition' had been satisfactory; and these free hours we may be sure
that Fritz spent with his sister Wilhelmine, who, though three years
older, was always his loyal companion and friend. Poor little princess,
she was small for her age and very delicate, and in years to come she
suffered almost as much as Fritz from the harsh treatment both of her
father and mother; but do what they might, nothing could break her
spirit, or force her to betray her brother's confidence. Wilhelmine was
a pretty child, and could use her eyes as well as her tongue. She was
also a very good mimic, and could even pretend to faint so cleverly that
she frightened those about her so much that the doctor would be sent for
to see if she was really dead. This, of course, was exactly what the
naughty girl wanted, and the more she took them all in the better she
was pleased. No one could be more agreeable than Wilhelmine when she
chose, but she was very vain, and it was therefore easy to wound her
feelings. When she was nine years old she had a sharp illness, from
which she was not expected to recover. At length, however, she took a
turn for the better; and the first thing she did was to beg the king to
allow her to wear grown-up dresses, and to put on the mantle which in
those days meant that a young lady had 'come out.' Her interest in her
new clothes did as much to cure her as the medical treatment of the
time, which was so severe that it was a miracle that anyone ever lived
through it; and as soon as she could stand she ordered her maids to
dress her hair high over a cushion, and to put on her gown of white silk
heavy with embroidery, and the much coveted purple velvet mantle.

[Illustration: Good Gracious what a figure

Why she looks like a little dwarf]

'I looked at myself in the mirror,' she writes in her memoirs, 'and
decided that they really became me wonderfully well. I next practised
moving and walking, so that I might play the part of a great lady. Then
I entered the queen's apartments, but unluckily, directly her Majesty
saw me she burst out laughing, and exclaimed: "Good gracious, what a
figure! Why she looks like a little dwarf."' Perhaps the queen's remarks
were true; but, none the less, the little girl's feelings were deeply
wounded. The two children were very much afraid of the king, and never
scrupled to deceive him whenever it was possible. As they grew older,
Wilhelmine encouraged her brother in all kinds of disobedience,
especially in playing the flute, which his father hated, and in reading
and studying French books, which were likewise forbidden. The king
wanted him to be a German and a soldier, and nothing more; but to the
end of his life Fritz could neither spell nor write his own language
properly. The breach thus early made grew always wider by reason of the
vexed question of the marriage of both Fritz and Wilhelmine.


The princess Wilhelmine was still in the long clothes of a tiny baby
when her mother, like many mothers, began to dream of her future. She
was to be beautiful and clever and charming, and she must marry a prince
as beautiful and clever and charming as herself, and who could he be but
the queen's own nephew, son of her brother, George, prince of Hanover, a
boy just two years older than Wilhelmine, and known to us later as the
duke of Gloucester, then as the duke of Edinburgh, and lastly as
Frederick prince of Wales? And when, on a snowy January day of 1712, the
little crown prince entered the world, there was another child to plan
for, and was there not a small princess called Emily or Amelia, a
newcomer like himself, who would make a suitable bride, say eighteen
years hence, for the king of Prussia one day to be? The princess of
Hanover, Caroline of Anspach, was written to, and declared that she was
delighted to think that some day the bonds already uniting the two
countries should be drawn closer still; so the children sent each other
presents and pretty notes, and sometimes messages in their mothers'
letters when they were too lazy to write for themselves.

Now, in spite of all this, Fritz did not trouble his head much as to the
future; the present, he soon found, was quite difficult enough, and
besides, he thought much more about his flute—which he was forbidden to
play—than about Amelia. But Wilhelmine, who passed most of her time in
the palace of Wustershausen, a big castle twenty miles from Berlin, had
plenty of time to brood over her coming greatness. Often she was alone
there with her governess; but in the summer Fritz and his tutors spent
some months at the castle also, and the boy would remain for hours in
the day watching for strangers to cross the bridge that spanned the

'You never can tell,' he said to Wilhelmine, 'whether they will be most
frightened at the four eagles' (there were two black and two white)
'swirling about their heads, or at the black bears which come tumbling
towards them! It is always one or the other, and sometimes it is both;
and, anyhow, it is great fun.'

But in the year 1727, when Fritz was fifteen, these pleasant things came
to an end. No more Wustershausen or Berlin; no more talks with his
sister in the childish language they had invented for themselves, no
more fishing expeditions to the ponds in the sandy moor that surrounded
the palace. The crown prince was major now of the Potsdam Grenadiers,
and we may be quite sure that the king never suffered him to neglect his
work. Dressed in a smart uniform covered with gold lace, he was to be
seen at every muster and every review, leading his men; but, even now,
the boy who, thirty years later, was to prove one of the three greatest
generals of his century, had no love for war, and would hurry back to
Potsdam to exchange his uniform for a loose dressing-gown, and the
duties of drilling for a practice on the flute. In this year, too, an
event happened which had a great influence on the home life of both
Fritz and his sister. This was the sudden death of George I. on his way
to Hanover, without his having obtained the consent of Parliament to the
Double-Marriage Treaty, which the queen of Prussia, Sophia Dorothea, had
hoped to have obtained four years earlier. The new king of England,
George II., had no particular love for his brother-in-law of Prussia,
and for his part Frederick William, though at that time he desired the
marriages quite as much as his wife, amply returned his feelings. At
length the repeated delays drove him nearly out of his mind with fury,
and he vented his anger on the queen (who would have suffered any
humiliation rather than give up her project) and on the prince and
princess. Henceforth the life of the royal family was made up of
violence on the one part and deceit on the other. People began to take
'sides,' and the quarrel between father and son grew worse daily.

It was to keep him under his own eye, and not in the least to give him
pleasure, that, in 1728, Frederick William bade Fritz accompany him to
Dresden on a visit to August the Strong, elector of Saxony and king of
Poland, and even gave him leave to order a blue coat trimmed with gold
lace for himself, and six new liveries for his attendants. The crown
prince, who was only now sixteen, must have felt that he had indeed
entered into another world, when he contrasted the Saxon court, with its
splendid surroundings and incessant amusements, with the bare rooms and
coarse food of the palace of Berlin. Other comparisons might be made,
and Fritz did not fail to make them. Here he was treated as a welcome
guest, and as a person of importance, while at home he was scolded and
worried from morning till night. So, instead of the silent, sulky boy
Frederick William was accustomed to see about him, there appeared a
gracious, smiling young prince, with a pleasant word for everyone,
enjoying all the pleasures provided for him, the opera most of all.


On his return to Berlin, Fritz fell suddenly ill, and for a while there
seemed to be a chance of reconciliation between him and his father. But
this reconciliation did not last, and the prince had, or pretended to
have, a relapse, in order to avoid going with his father on a tour
through Prussia. But, ill or well, he could not escape from the rules
the king laid down for him, and they were as strict now as they had been
nine years before. A lesson on tactics was to occupy two hours every
morning, after which, at noon, he was to dine in company with his tutors
major Senning and Colonel von Kalkstein, and the master of the kitchen
as well, which sounds rather strange to us. He might, however, invite
six friends of his own, and dine or have supper with them in return; but
he was always to sleep in the palace, and 'to go to bed the instant the
retreat sounded.' Then the king went away, sure that everything would go
on to his liking.


But no sooner had he turned his back on Berlin than a sort of holiday
spirit took possession of the palace. 'We were perfectly happy,' writes
Wilhelmine, in her memoirs, and there was no reason that they should
ever have been anything else, as the 'happiness' mainly consisted in
hearing as much music as they wished for, and for Fritz in also playing
the flute. From this instrument, which was fated to bring him into so
much trouble, the crown prince never parted, and even when hunting with
his father he would contrive to lose himself, and hiding behind a large
tree or crouching in a thicket, he would play some of the tunes which so
delighted his soul. During this memorable month, when the 'days passed
quietly,' the queen gave concerts, aided by famous musicians, Bufardin,
the flutist, and Quantz, who was not only a performer but a composer,
and others who were celebrated at the Saxon court (whence they came at
the queen's request) for their skill on spinet or violin. All this,
however, ceased on the reappearance of the king at Wustershausen, and
matters fell back into their old grooves: on one side there was
suspicion and tyranny, on the other lies and intrigues. Fritz tried to
break away from it all by persuading Kalkstein to ask his father's
permission to travel in foreign countries. But Frederick William
absolutely refused to let his son quit Prussia, and things were worse
than they need have been, owing to the smallness of the house where they
were all shut up together. Certainly never had a father and son more
different tastes.

'To-morrow I am obliged to hunt, and on Monday I am obliged to hunt
again,' writes Fritz. He is bored by the court jests and jesters, as
well as by the king's guests. As for the days, they seemed perfectly
endless, and well they might, seeing that it was no uncommon thing for
him to get up at five and go to bed at midnight! No wonder he exclaimed
'I had rather beg my bread than live any longer on this footing.' Once
again Fritz made an effort after a better state of things, and wrote to
his father to apologise for any offence he might unwittingly have
committed, and to assure him of his respectful duty. He had perhaps been
wiser to have let ill alone, for the king only replied by taunts of his
'girlishness,' and hatred of everything manly—which is all rather
funny, when we remember that the object of these reproaches was
Frederick the Great—and in general was so unkind and unjust, that both
Kalkstein and the other tutor Finkenstein resigned in disgust.

During this same autumn the discussion about the two English marriages
was re-opened. As regards the king, he was as anxious as the queen for
that of Wilhelmine with the prince of Wales, but, unlike her, he
considered Fritz too young and unsteady to take to himself a wife. This
did not please king George at all, and in answer to a letter from Sophia
Dorothea, queen Caroline wrote that _both_ marriages must take place—or
neither. This reply put Frederick William in a towering passion.
Wilhelmine should marry _somebody_, he said, and that at once. She was
nearly twenty now, and had five younger sisters for whom husbands would
have to be found. Indeed, he was not at all sure he should not prefer
the margrave of Schwedt for a son-in-law, than the stuck-up English
prince! So he stormed; and meanwhile the queen, Wilhelmine, and Fritz
kept up a secret correspondence with the court of St. James.

About this same year (1729) the crown prince made friends with one of
the king's pages, Keith by name, and also with a certain lieutenant
Katte. These two young men had the same tastes as himself, and were with
him during all his leisure hours. When Fritz could escape from the hated
reviews or hunts, in which he was forced to bear his father company, he
would hurry back to his own apartments, throw off his tight uniform,
slip on a dressing-gown of scarlet and gold brocade, and begin to play
on his beloved flute. In his rooms he often found his teacher Quantz
awaiting him, and then for a time his troubles were forgotten in the
soothing tones of the great flutist. One day both master and pupil were
practising together a difficult passage, when Katte rushed in

'The king is on the stairs,' he panted, snatching up flutes and music,
and hiding them in the wood closet. In an instant Fritz had flung his
dressing-gown behind a screen, and put on his coat; but he could not
manage to tie his hair, which he had loosened, and which hung about his
face, in a way that the king disliked. The confused bearing of all three
naturally attracted Frederick William's attention, and, bursting into a
fit of rage that rendered him almost speechless, he kicked down the
screen in front of him. 'I knew it,' he shouted, catching up the
dressing-gown, and thrusting it into the fire where he stamped it down
with his heavy boot. Then, sweeping a pile of French novels from a
little table, he thrust them into the arms of the gentleman-in-waiting,
bidding him send them back at once to the bookseller; for even in his
wrath the king did not forget to be economical.

[Illustration: He stamped it down with his heavy boot]

After this affair father and son were on worse terms than ever. It was
not at all an uncommon thing for Frederick William to throw plates at
the heads of his children when they vexed him, and one evening, after
dinner, as he was being pushed about in a wheel-chair during an attack
of gout, he aimed a blow with his crutch at Wilhelmine. The girl sprang
aside, and it fell harmless, but this only increased the king's fury,
and he called to the attendants to push his chair quickly so that he
might prevent her reaching the door. They dared not disobey, but
contrived to find so many obstacles in the way that the princess was
able to escape. As to Fritz, he was struck by his father almost daily,
and on one occasion, about a month before the prince's eighteenth
birthday, when the young man entered the room, his father leaped at his
throat, dragged him by the hair, beat him violently with his stick, and
forced him to kneel down and beg his pardon—for what offence the crown
prince did not know! Not content with this, the king exulted in his
son's misery, and even told him that worse was in store.

It is hardly wonderful that under these circumstances the prince felt
that his life was in danger, and began to form plans of escape; but they
were so badly laid and so transparent, that everybody could guess what
was happening, and three or four times he was forced to give them up.
His favourite project was to reach France and go next to London, where
he was sure of protection, and in all this his principal confidant was
his friend Katte. Early in July the king started for Potsdam, taking the
crown prince with him. After remaining there a few days, he announced
his intention of making a progress by way of Wesel, and this gave Fritz
the idea that from Wesel he could gain Holland and cross to England. He
managed to obtain a secret interview with Katte, and it was arranged
that they should write to each other through a cousin of Katte's, of the
same name, who was recruiting near Anspach, as they knew the king
intended to stop at this city and visit his daughter who had married the
margrave the year before.

The king spent a week at Anspach, during which time he was busy with the
affairs of the young couple, whom it would have been much wiser to have
left to themselves. Fritz meanwhile was fuming at the delay, but tried
to turn it to account by gaining over the page Keith to his service. It
was settled between them that young Keith should take advantage of his
position to secure some horses, and the crown prince wrote to Katte that
he was to go in a few days to the Hague and there inquire for a certain
count d'Alberville—for under this name Fritz proposed to travel. Keith
was ordered to join him there also, and from the Hague they would slip
across almost before their absence was discovered. Unluckily all the
hardships he had suffered had not yet turned Fritz into a man.
Passionately though he longed to escape from his father's tyranny, he
still expected life to be like the French novels he was so fond of, and
from one of which the name of count d'Alberville was taken. So, instead
of putting on an old suit of clothes, in which he might have passed
unnoticed, he ordered a fine new red cloak for himself, and a blue one
for young Keith, to wear on the great occasion.

From Anspach they went to visit the duke of Württemberg, and thence set
out for Mannheim, where the elector palatine was awaiting them. Fritz
had arranged to make his flight from a place called Sinsheim, but, to
his dismay, the king announced that he meant to push on to Steinfurth,
which was nearer Mannheim. The whole royal party slept in two barns, and
more than once Fritz almost gave up his plan in despair, so impossible
it seemed for him to steal away without waking somebody. However, they
were very tired after their long day's journey, and slept soundly, all
except Fritz's valet, Gummersbach, who, hearing a sound soon after two,
awoke with a start to see the crown prince dressing himself.

'But your Royal Highness'——stammered Gummersbach, in surprise, rising
to his feet.

'If I choose to get up it is no business of yours,' replied Fritz, in an
angry whisper. 'Give me my red cloak, I am going to the king.' And he
crept softly from the barn, never hearing Gummersbach's answer that the
king intended to start at five instead of three. The valet said nothing,
but hastened to wake Rochow, the prince's tutor, who was lying on some
straw with all his clothes on.

'What is the matter?' cried he.

'Quick! quick! sir, the prince!' was all Gummersbach could answer, and
without wasting time in questions Rochow rushed away in the direction of
an open green space in front of the farm. Seeing in the dim light the
outline of two heavy carriages, he altered his pace, and strolled
carelessly up to young Keith, who was holding two horses.

'Whom are these for?' asked Rochow politely.

'They are for myself and the other page to accompany his Majesty,'
answered the boy.

'Ah, yes, of course; but you should have been informed that his Majesty
does not intend to start till five to-day, so you had better take them
back to the stables.' And, unwilling though he was, Keith was forced to
obey, especially as some of the generals in the king's suite had come on
the scene, and advanced to one of the carriages against which Fritz was

'Can we be of any use to your Royal Highness?' asked Rochow
respectfully; but, with an oath, the prince brushed him aside, and
throwing off the red cloak that covered him, went straight to the place
where his father was sleeping. He may have thought that the officers
would say nothing in his presence, and indeed they were mostly on his
side, and far from anxious to make things worse for him.

'Is it so late?' asked the king, who was still lying on the rough bed,
wrapped in a large coat. 'Well, your carriage is heavier than mine, so
you had better start early.'

The prince bowed and went out, but contrived to delay on one pretext or
another, so that the king's own carriage was brought up first to the
gate of the farm, and soon his Majesty was on the road to Mannheim. All
the way the king expected to catch up his son, but even when Fritz was
not found at Heidelberg he suspected nothing, and his only uneasiness
was in the fear that the prince had entered Mannheim without him. When,
however, he reached the city himself, at eight in the evening, and there
was still no Fritz, he grew seriously disturbed, and to quiet him, the
elector sent some of his servants to look for the crown prince. At
half-past ten the whole party appeared, Fritz tired and very sulky, but
as determined as ever not to remain a moment more than could be helped
in his father's power. He had hoped for a chance of flight along the
road, but none presented itself, and now he was resolved to begin all
over again. Once more a message was sent to young Keith to be ready with
the horses as soon as he received a signal, but the page was not cast in
the same mould as his master. In mortal terror of his life, he threw
himself at the king's feet, confessed the whole plot, and implored
forgiveness. For once in his career Frederick William managed to control
his temper; he would have his son closely watched, but he should not be
arrested till he was on Prussian soil; yet all through the rest of the
tour Fritz was well aware that someone had betrayed him. Immediately on
their arrival at Wesel, the prince was put under arrest, and sent,
without once being allowed to leave the travelling carriage, to the
castle of Spandau, whence he was afterwards removed to Cüstrin. General
Buddenbrock was appointed his gaoler, and ordered to shoot him dead in
case of a rescue.


And where was Wilhelmine all this time, and what was she doing? Well,
she was at Berlin, still very weak and sickly from a bad attack of
smallpox the year before, and the severity of the treatment which
followed it. The king remained always fixed in his determination to find
a husband for her; if not the prince of Wales, then the margrave of
Schwedt, the margrave of Baireuth, who was young and agreeable, or, best
of all, the duke of Weissenfeld, not so young, and perhaps not so
agreeable, but the man most favoured by Frederick William. 'After all,
marriage is not of such great importance,' said one of her ladies to the
princess, in well-meant consolation. 'Nobody makes such a fuss about it
elsewhere. A husband that you can turn and twist as you like is an
excellent thing to have, and however angry the queen may be now, when
once the thing is over she will make up her mind to it. So take my
advice, and accept the hand of the duke of Weissenfeld, and you will
please everybody.' But Wilhelmine did not agree with madame la Ramen.
She knew too much about marriage to think that the choice of a husband
mattered nothing, and she had not the slightest intention of sacrificing
her whole life to the whims of her very changeable father. So she gave a
vague answer to the earnest entreaties of madame la Ramen, and let the
subject drop.

On the evening of August 11, the princess entered the palace from the
garden, where she had passed several hours, feeling excited and
melancholy by turns; _why_, she could not imagine, as everything was
going on as usual. Therefore, she did not, as usual, go straight to her
rooms, but instead, ordered a carriage and drove to Montbijou where a
concert was taking place. In this way she missed the strange events that
were happening in her mother's apartments. Let Wilhelmine tell her own
story; it is a very surprising one:—-

'That night the queen was seated before her dressing-table having her
hair brushed, with madame von Bülow beside her, when they heard a
fearful noise in the next room. This room was used as a kind of museum,
and was filled with precious stones and gems, and some very rare and
tall Chinese and Japanese vases. Her Majesty thought at first that one
of these vases must have been knocked over, and have been broken in
pieces on the polished floor, and she bade madame la Ramen go and see
who had done it, but, to her amazement, on entering the museum, the
lady-in-waiting found everything undisturbed. Scarcely had she rejoined
the queen when the noise began afresh, louder than before, and madame la
Ramen ran back, accompanied by another of the queen's attendants, only
to discover all in perfect order, and the room dark and still. Three
times this occurred, and then the noise ceased in the museum altogether,
to start again far more loudly in the corridor which led from the
queen's apartments to those of the king. At each end of this corridor
stood a sentinel, to prevent anyone passing but the servants on duty, so
the disturbance was all the more strange.

"Bring lights, and we will pass down the corridor," said the queen to
her ladies, and left her room, followed by all but madame la Ramen, who
hid herself, in a great fright. But hardly had they stepped across the
threshold when fearful groans and cries broke out around them. The
ladies trembled at the sound, and the guards at each end were half-dead
with fright; but the queen's calmness made them all ashamed, and when
she ordered them to try the doors along the corridor, they obeyed in
silence. Each door was locked, and when the key was turned and the room
entered, it was empty. Her majesty then questioned the guards, who
confessed that the groans had sounded close to them, but they had seen
nothing, and with that she was forced to be content, and to return to
her own apartments, rather angry at having been disturbed in vain. Next
morning she told me the story, and though not in the least
superstitious, ordered me to write down the date of the occurrence. I am
quite sure that there must be some simple explanation, but it is curious
that the affair happened during the very night that my brother was
arrested, and a most painful scene between the king and queen afterwards
took place in this very corridor.'

It was at a ball given by the queen at Montbijou, five days later, that
she learned the terrible news. 'It was six years since I had danced,'
says Wilhelmine, 'and I flung myself into it without paying attention to
anything else, or to the repeated wishes of madame von Bülow, who told
me it was time for me to go to bed.

'"Why are you so cross to-night?" I asked, at length; "I don't know what
to make of you!"'

'"Look at the queen," she replied, "and you will be answered." I turned
and looked, and grew cold and white at the sight of her, standing rigid
in a corner of the ball-room between two of her ladies. In a moment more
she bent her head and said good-night to her guests, then walked to her
carriage, making a sign to me to follow her. Not a word did we utter all
the way to the palace; I thought my brother must be dead, and in this
terrible silence and uncertainty my heart began to palpitate so
furiously that I felt as if I should be suffocated.'

For some time her ladies, under the queen's orders, refused to tell
Wilhelmine what had happened, but seeing the poor girl was firmly
convinced of the prince's death, madame von Sonsfeld informed her that
letters had arrived from the king, stating that the crown prince had
been arrested, as he was attempting to escape. Next day they learned
that Katte also had been taken prisoner, but Keith cleverly managed to
place himself under the protection of the English ambassador to the
Hague, lord Chesterfield, and to pass over to England in his suite. When
the shock of the news was passed, the first thought of both the queen
and Wilhelmine was for the numerous letters they had written to the
prince, in which they had said many bitter and imprudent things about
the king's behaviour. Wilhelmine hoped they had been burned, as she had
always bidden Fritz to do the moment he received them; but the queen
feared that they might have been entrusted to Katte (as he was known to
have in his care many of the prince's possessions), and in this case
they must be got from him at all cost, or the crown prince's head would
certainly pay forfeit. The queen was right: the letters were among
Katte's papers, with the official seal placed upon them.

In this desperate plight, Sophia Dorothea threw herself upon the
generosity of marshal Natzmar, Katte's superior. No direct answer was
received, and the queen and Wilhelmine were almost ill with anxiety,
when, one day, when the princess was alone with madame von Sonsfeld, the
countess von Fink entered bearing a heavy portfolio.

'It is most mysterious,' said she, sinking into a chair with her burden;
'when I went into my room last night I found this great portfolio, with
a chain and seals round it, addressed to the queen, and this note for
you, madame. As I did not like to disturb her Majesty I have brought
them to you.'

Wilhelmine's heart beat with excitement, but she dared not betray
herself. She took the note quietly, and read its contents, which were
very short. 'Have the goodness, madame, to deliver this portfolio to the
queen. It contains the letters which she and the princess have written
to the crown prince.'

Carrying the portfolio, and grumbling all the while as to the unknown
risks she might be running, countess von Fink followed Wilhelmine and
madame von Sonsfeld into the presence of the queen, whose joy was
boundless on receiving the precious letters. But in a few minutes her
face clouded over again, as she perceived that many difficulties still
lay before her. First, there were the spies by whom the king had
surrounded them; they would at once detect the absence of so large an
object. Then there was the danger that Katte would mention the letters
in the cross-examination he would have to undergo, and once their
existence was known, and madame von Fink questioned, the prince's cause
was lost, and his mother and sister might have to undergo imprisonment
for life. What _could_ be done? All day long plan after plan was thought
of and rejected, but at length it was Wilhelmine who hit upon one that
might do. The portfolio was openly to lie in the queen's apartments as
if it had been brought to her for safe custody, and then, with great
precautions, the seal could be raised without breaking it, and the chain
filed through where it could easily be joined again. Then the letters
could be taken out, and others, quite harmless, written and put back in
their place. Clever though it all sounded, it would have been impossible
to carry out the scheme had it not been for a most lucky accident which
had befallen the queen's confidential valet Bock, who was called in to
raise the seal. On examining the coat-of-arms on the wax he recognised
it as the same engraved on a seal he had picked up four weeks earlier in
the garden at Montbijou, and which, he now discovered, belonged to
Katte. By this means the wax could be broken and re-sealed without the
slightest risk.

The letters were now in the hands of the queen and princess, and were to
the full as dangerous as they had expected to find them; but there was
no time to spare for lamenting their folly if they were to have others
ready to await the king on his return. Of course, there was no need to
replace the whole fifteen hundred; but a great deal had to be done, and
without delay Wilhelmine and her mother sat down to write a large
number, taking care to obtain paper with the proper water-mark of every
year. In three days they had seven hundred ready, and in order to give
the impression that they wished to conceal the letters, the queen filled
up the portfolio with handkerchiefs and various articles of fine linen.

All was now ready for the arrival of the king, and when the day and hour
was fixed the queen awaited him in her apartments. As soon as he reached
the threshold, he shouted out: 'Well, Madame, your wretched son is

'Dead!' repeated the queen, clutching at a chair as she spoke. 'Dead!
you have had the heart to kill him?'

'Yes, I tell you,' was his answer; 'and I want the portfolio containing
his letters.'

Hardly able to walk, the queen went to fetch the portfolio, which the
king slashed in pieces and took out the letters. Then, without another
word, he walked away.

'Have you heard? Fritz is dead!' said the queen to Wilhelmine, in a
terrible voice that seemed dead also. The princess fainted at the
horrible news, but when she recovered her senses, madame von Sonsfeld
whispered not to be afraid, as she had reason to know that the prince,
though strictly guarded, was alive and well. These words put fresh life
into the hearts of his mother and sister, and enabled Wilhelmine to bear
the blows and kicks which her father showered upon her, till he was
dragged off by his other children. Then he confessed that Fritz was
still living, and accused Wilhelmine of having been his accomplice in an
act of high treason against the king's person. This was more than the
poor girl could bear.

'I will marry anyone you like,' she cried, 'if you will only spare my
brother's life—the duke of Weissenfeld, or anybody else; it is all the
same to me.' But the king was deaf to everything but the sound of his
own voice, and did not hear her, and a moment after Katte, pale and
calm, passed the window, under the guard of four soldiers, for his
examination by the king.

Frederick William behaved with his usual brutality, even kicking the
unhappy prisoner, who threw himself at his feet, confessing his own part
in the plot, but denying that Wilhelmine had any part in it. He
acknowledged, however, that by the prince's orders he had sent the
letters to her, and these were closely examined by the minister Grumkow,
'in the hope,' says Wilhelmine, 'of finding something that would condemn
us.' But the closest scrutiny revealed nothing of the least importance,
though the king was still suspicious, and commanded the princess to keep
her room till he had time to question her further.


Meanwhile the crown prince was locked up in the fortress of Cüstrin, and
obliged to obey a set of those minute rules which Frederick William
loved to draw up. 'Every morning at eight a basin and a little water, to
wash himself with, is to be taken to his cell by a scullion'; and this
seems to have been the only washing allowed him by the king, who is
always reproaching him for his dirty habits. Two meals, one at twelve
and the other at six, were all he was allowed, and 'his food is to be
cut up before he has it.' Several times a day he was visited by the
officers in charge, but they were strictly forbidden to speak to him.
By-and-bye the king declared that the prisoner had forfeited his right
to the Prussian crown, and ordered him to be spoken of as 'colonel

At last a council was appointed to try both the prince and Katte, and
Keith—if they could get him! The trial was long, and at the end of it
Katte was condemned to death for intended desertion, but strongly
recommended to mercy. With regard to the prince they considered that, as
he had been deprived of his military rank and suffered many months of
close imprisonment, he was sufficiently punished, especially as he had
expressed his willingness 'to do all that His Majesty requires or
commands.' Touching the charge of disobedience, the council declined to
pass judgment.

The recommendation to mercy was not heeded. Katte's grandfather, field
marshal von Alvensleben, wrote a touching letter begging for his life,
and recalling the many occasions on which he himself had risked his own
in the service of Prussia. He received a reply stating that Katte
deserved 'to be torn with red-hot pincers,' as was the law in Prussia,
'but that, "out of consideration" for his father and grandfather, his
head should be cut off.' This document is signed 'Your very affectionate
king.' Probably nothing that Frederick the Great ever endured in his
whole life was as bitter as the scene which his father had prepared for
him. Katte was to be beheaded under the windows of the crown prince's
prison. If the span was too narrow, another place was to be chosen, 'but
so that the prince can see well.' For this purpose the condemned man was
to take a two days' journey to Cüstrin, but, perhaps by the mercy of his
gaolers, Frederick was told nothing till he was awakened at five o'clock
on the morning of November 6, and informed that Katte had been in
Cüstrin since the previous day, and was to be executed at seven. The
unexpected news upset the prince completely. He wept and wrung his
hands, and begged that the execution might be delayed till he could send
a courier to the king at Wustershausen. He offered to resign the crown,
to suffer perpetual imprisonment, even to sacrifice his own life, if
only he might save that of Katte. The officers were full of pity, but
they were powerless.

Gently but firmly he was at length forced to the window beneath which
the block stood, between the prison and the river Oder. Then Katte
appeared, a minister on each side of him, holding his hat under his arm.
As he passed the window he looked up, and Frederick flung himself across
the bars, crying 'Katte! Katte! forgive me.'

'There is nothing to forgive, my prince,' answered Katte, bowing; and he
walked steadily on to his place in the centre of the little group of
soldiers, where his sentence was read. He took off his wig, replacing it
with a white cap, and opened his shirt collar. A soldier came forward to
bind his eyes, but he motioned him away, and knelt quietly on the sand
before him, waiting for the sword to fall. But Frederick did not 'see
well,' for he had fainted.

In a few days whispers were heard in the court of Berlin that the crown
prince had been 'pardoned' by his father for his wickedness in trying to
run away—which he never would have thought of doing had he not suffered
such abominable treatment. He remained for a little time yet at Cüstrin,
but was allowed to have books—and better light to read them by. No
doubt the king took for granted that, after the severe lesson his son
had received, the 'books' would be works on fortifications or strategy,
or something useful of that kind. Had he known that philosophical
treatises, Aristotle's 'Poetica' and Molière's plays, were among them,
another explosion would probably have occurred. And what would he have
said if it had reached his ears that the prince had written a long poem
in French called 'Advice to Myself,' dedicated to Grumkow, whom he
hated? The poem is really not bad, considering, and one cannot help
wondering if Grumkow guessed that the royal prisoner was making fun of
him. In a little while he was set free, and even nominated to a seat on
the council of war, but he was not yet admitted to Berlin. Poor boy! he
was only nineteen even now, but he had learned that if he was ever to
live at peace with his father he must give up all his own tastes and
pleasures, and submit body and soul to the king's will.

During these dreadful months Wilhelmine had been kept entirely in her
room, and if we may believe her own account, which perhaps it is better
not to do altogether, she was half starved, and thankful to eat a crust
which a crow had left on the window-sill. 'In general,' she says, 'the
dinner of myself and my lady-in-waiting consisted of bones without any
meat on them, and plain water.' Besides her anxiety about the fate of
her brother, the princess had been tormented with fears as to her own
marriage, for the king had made up his mind that she should no longer be
on his hands. The queen still obstinately clung to the old project of
having the prince of Wales as her son-in-law; but the king contrived to
break off the negotiations, greatly to the wrath of Sophia Dorothea, as
well as of Wilhelmine herself, who shared her mother's opinion that to
accept any husband who was not of royal birth would be impossible to one
of her rank.

But who the bridegroom was really to be was a question that remained
undecided. Sometimes it seemed as if the choice would fall upon a member
of the House of Brandenburg, the margrave of Schwedt; but at the very
moment when this appeared most likely the king sent a message to
Wilhelmine, by his porter, announcing that she was to become the wife of
the fat and elderly duke of Weissenfeld, a prince of the Empire. The
princess was terribly upset—partly by the news itself and partly by the
messenger whom the king had chosen to break it to her; but the next
morning her anger was redoubled, on receiving a second visit from the
porter, while she was still in bed, informing her that he had been
ordered by His Majesty to prepare her trousseau! Wilhelmine was
speechless with rage, and refused to send any answer. Then, shutting
herself into her boudoir, or _cabinet_, as it was called, she began to
play on her spinet, in order to calm herself a little.

'Four gentlemen are below, madame, and beg that you will do them the
honour of seeing them alone,' cried madame von Sonsfeld, suddenly
opening the door. The princess rose, feeling that something of serious
importance was about to happen, and there entered Grumkow, followed by
three other ministers. He declared solemnly (what she knew already) that
the English marriage was abandoned, and that the king was forced to
choose a husband for her from another house; that the fate of the crown
prince, now undergoing a strict imprisonment at Cüstrin, depended on the
willingness of the princess to obey His Majesty's desire, which Grumkow
earnestly hoped she would do, as otherwise it would be his painful duty
to carry her off at once to the fortress of Memel. Finally, he announced
that the king's choice had fallen on the hereditary prince of
Baireuth—rich, young, and a cousin of her own. After begging for a
short time for consideration, Wilhelmine agreed to do as her father
wished, and on his return to Berlin, a few days later, he behaved to her
with much affection—for the first time for many years. The queen, on
the contrary, vowed she would no longer look on Wilhelmine as a
daughter, and on the sudden appearance at Berlin of the prince of
Baireuth, on the eve of a great review, was so rude to him that he told
her politely, but with spirit, that if she objected so much to receiving
him into her family he would withdraw his request for the hand of her
daughter. The queen saw that she had met her match, and accordingly
changed her behaviour.

When she had once seen the prince, Wilhelmine's sadness began to
disappear, and she began to think that her future life might be
tolerably happy. The bridegroom had a pleasant, frank face, and good
manners; he was besides tall and well-made, and had a good education.
The betrothal took place at seven o'clock on June 3, 1731, in the
palace, and the king, who had got his own way, was quite charming and
affectionate, and gave his daughter a magnificent toilette service of
gold, besides other presents. The marriage itself was not to be till
November—for what reason we are not told, but most probably the delay
was owing to some underhand schemes of the queen, who hoped that it
might still be broken off. However, the prince of Baireuth was appointed
colonel of a Prussian regiment, which gave him an excuse for staying in
the neighbourhood, and the morning after the betrothal he asked
Wilhelmine if he might see her alone. The few words that he spoke did
him honour, and must have sounded strange indeed in the ears of the
princess. He only wished, he said, for her happiness, and would do all
in his power to secure it, and to deserve the trust which she and her
father had given him. Affection had hitherto played such a small part in
Wilhelmine's life, that she did not know what to answer; but it must
have thawed her poor frozen heart a little, for that evening at supper
she 'pulled a cracker' with the prince. But this sign of good spirits
was more than the queen could bear, and she bade her daughter follow her
out of the room, scolding her roundly, as they went, for her want of

The long months passed somehow, and to the relief of everybody (except
the queen) the wedding-day (fixed for November 20) arrived. 'When dinner
was over,' says Wilhelmine, 'the king ordered the queen to begin to
dress me, for it was already four o'clock, and the ceremony was fixed
for seven. The queen declared that she meant to do my hair herself, but
she was not clever with her fingers, and could not manage it. Then her
ladies tried their hands, but as soon as they had dressed it properly
the queen would pull it about, so that it had to be done all over again.
At last, however, between them they contrived to make twenty-four large
curls, each as thick as your arm, with a royal crown poised on top. The
weight was dreadful, and I could hardly hold my head up. Then they put
on my dress, which was of cloth of silver, trimmed with Spanish point
picked out with gold, my train, twelve yards long, being held up by four
ladies.' Hardly able to stir under all this grandeur, the bride moved as
best she could through six magnificent galleries, in the last of which
the ceremony was performed. A ball then followed, but as Wilhelmine
could not possibly have danced to save her life owing to the weight of
her clothes, the bridegroom opened it with her sister the margravine of

The festivities were kept up for several days, and on the 23rd another
ball took place, at which seven hundred people were present. This time
Wilhelmine who, as we know, loved dancing, did not allow her dress to
interfere, and she was in the middle of a minuet when Grumkow approached

'Your feet seem to dance of themselves, madame,' he said roughly; 'don't
you see that strangers are present?'

Wilhelmine stopped and stared at a young man whose face was unknown to

'Go and embrace the crown prince,' said Grumkow.

And she went.


                        _UNE REINE MALHEUREUSE_

ON the day that the whole of Lisbon was convulsed by the most terrible
earthquake that Europe has ever seen—and by the tidal wave that
followed after it—a little daughter was born, far away in Vienna, to
the empress Maria Theresa. The baby, who bore the names of Marie
Antoinette Josepha Jeanne, was the youngest of several children; and
three of her brothers, as well as her father Francis, wore the Imperial
crown. From the first she was her father's favourite, and, as far as he
was able to find leisure for her, his companion. Of course, being
emperor, there were a great many duties which he had to perform, but he
was not so clever at business as his wife, who was the heiress of
Austria and Hungary.

'We will die for our _king_ Maria Theresa,' shouted the Hungarian
parliament, when she first appeared before them; and a 'king' she was
till the day of her death.

The empress was a good mother, and was very fond of her children; but
she could not have them much with her when they were little. Sometimes a
whole week would slip by without her seeing them, but they had an
excellent doctor of their own, who visited them daily, and made careful
reports about their health. Maria Theresa was also most anxious about
their being properly taught, but unluckily she was deceived in their
governesses, who were good-natured, lazy people. 'The children were so
clever,' these ladies would say one to the other, 'they really could do
without learning lessons like other girls. And besides, were they not
princesses, and what need had they to be always poring over books?' So
Marie Antoinette and her sisters bade fair to grow up in perfect
ignorance of everything except Italian, in which Metastasio the poet was
their master.


This state of things might have gone on much longer had not Marie
Antoinette remarked one day, in her mother's hearing, that her copies
were always pencilled for her before she wrote them. This startled the
empress, and, in her usual energetic manner, she began making inquiries
as to the methods of teaching pursued by her daughter's governesses. The
end of it was that these ladies were dismissed, and the Comtesse de
Brandès, a clever and trustworthy woman, took charge of the education of
the young archduchess. The change was very much for the better, but it
came rather late for Marie Antoinette. She had never been forced to fix
her attention steadily upon anything, or to do anything that she did not
like. The slightest sound would distract her thoughts, and she would
break off in the midst of the 'History of the Thirty Years' War,' or the
account of the appearance of John Sobieski before the walls of Vienna,
to wonder if she would be allowed to appear at the approaching fête, or
what operas would be given in the coming week. For Marie Antoinette,
like all her family, was extremely fond of music, and though she could
never play well herself on any instrument, she had a sweet voice, which
was carefully cultivated. When she was nearly seven years old there was
great excitement in the palace of Schönbrünn, near Vienna, at the news
that a little boy called Mozart, younger even than Marie Antoinette, was
coming from Salzburg to play to them. 'What instrument did he play on?
Oh! both the harpsichord (a sort of piano), and the violin. And he could
_compose_ too! Think of that, at six years old! Would Wednesday never
come, that they might hear him!'

Wednesday _did_ come, after long waiting, and there entered a little
figure in court dress, with a wig and sword all complete. He was
followed by his father and mother, and sister Marianne, who, though five
years older than himself, was far more shy than he was. Wolfgang,
indeed, was not shy at all: it was his music he was thinking of, not
himself; he came forward towards the harpsichord, stopping, when he
remembered his manners, to make a funny little bow right and left. The
archdukes and their sisters gazed at him as if he was a being from
another world, and could hardly contain their delight when the emperor
mentioned a short composition which the boy was to play with one finger.
It could not have been very interesting, but it was a very difficult
thing to do, and Wolfgang did it to perfection. When it was over, he
wriggled down off his high stool, and bowed three times, waiting for the
emperor to tell him what he wished for next. Francis praised his
cleverness, then, taking up a piece of silk from a chair, he said: 'See,
I will arrange this over the keys, and you must play me a minuet without
looking at the notes.' This was just the sort of thing that pleased
Wolfgang; he gave a little laugh of satisfaction, and wriggled on to his
stool again. In a moment the notes rang out clear, and the children
looked at each other and longed to dance to them.

'Well done, my boy,' cried the emperor; 'now you shall choose.' Then
Wolfgang turned to a composer attached to the court who had been eagerly
watching his fingers.

'I will play a concerto of yours, and you must turn over for me.' And
when the concerto was over, and the Emperor inquired how he had liked
the performance, the musician answered in the heartiest tones, that
never had it sounded so well.

'I think so, too,' said the empress, and signed to the child to go over
to her. In his haste to obey he slipped on the shining floor, and fell
down, his sword clattering as if it had been a man's. Marie Antoinette,
who was nearest to him, ran to pick him up, and he thanked her with a
smile, saying: 'You are very kind; I should like to marry you.' Then,
without waiting for a reply, walked with careful steps up to the
empress, and jumped on her lap.

Wolfgang was a great man when he returned to Salzburg, and everybody he
saw asked the same questions about the imperial family.

'And when you had finished, what did her majesty say to you?'

'She said, "Are you tired?"'

'And what did you answer?'

'I said "No, your majesty."'

'Did she say nothing more?'

'She said "You play very well."'

'And what did you reply to _that_?'

'I said, "Thank you, your majesty."'


For some time after little Mozart went away the beautifully painted
stool in front of the harpsichord was never empty; but by-and-by the
children's zeal wore off, and their mother was too busy to see that they
practised daily. They passed most of their time at Schönbrünn, which
both the emperor and empress preferred to Vienna, and it was so near the
capital that ministers and ambassadors could easily drive out to consult
them when needful. In their leisure moments, which were few, it rested
them to watch the growth of their flowers, or to plan alterations in
their garden, while the empress would sometimes go to see the poor in
their cottages, and take Marie Antoinette with her.

But, in the summer of 1765, when the little archduchess was nine years
old, a break suddenly occurred in their peaceful, happy life. The
emperor was obliged to go to Innsprück, and had already bidden farewell
to his family and entered his carriage, when he suddenly ordered the
coachman to stop.

'Be kind enough to bring me, the Archduchess Marie Antoinette,' he said
to the equerry; and soon the little girl was flying down the road.
'Good-bye, my darling, good-bye,' he whispered, taking her in his arms;
'now run home again.' And as she disappeared round a corner he remarked
to his equerry: 'I just wanted to see her once more.'

It was as if he had guessed what would befall him, for, shortly after,
news was received that he had died on his journey. The empress had loved
her husband dearly, but she was not the sort of person to shut herself
up with her grief, and before the year was out an event happened which
occupied all her thoughts. This was a hint let fall by Louis XV., king
of France, of a marriage, by-and-bye, between his grandson the dauphin
and Marie Antoinette. The plan was to be kept entirely secret for the
present, but the empress was greatly pleased, unlike the bridegroom's
mother, or his aunt the strong-willed madame Adelaide. The dauphine,
mother of the young Louis, was a Saxon princess, and wished her son to
marry his Saxon cousin. The dauphin, a good-natured, heavy, ill-mannered
youth, did not wish to marry anybody, or indeed do anything except
hunt—but he was not consulted. Still, out of respect to his
daughter-in-law (and perhaps because he was a little afraid of her), the
French king kept a profound silence on the matter to all but the
empress, till things were suddenly altered by the death of the dauphine
in 1767. Then, no one knew how, the marriage began to be spoken of in
Paris, and much more openly at Vienna, to the great embarrassment of the
French ambassador. Louis XV. had already an Austrian great-granddaughter,
for the emperor Joseph II. had some years before married the Infanta
Isabel, and they had one little girl, named Maria Theresa, after
her grandmother. Unfortunately the young empress was seized with
smallpox, which was the scourge of those times, and died, while her
sister-in-law, the Archduchess Josepha, likewise fell a victim to the
same disease a few days later, just as she was starting off to be
married. Joseph, in terror lest his little girl should be the next
victim, had her inoculated, as people were before vaccination was
introduced, and wrote to tell Louis XV., who was very anxious about
her, that she was getting on very well. With his letter went one from
the little archduchess herself.

'I know, dear grandpapa, that you love me, so I write to tell you that I
am quite well, and that I had only fifty spots, which I am very glad of.
How I wish I could show them to you, and hug you, for I am very fond of

Now, although not a word had been said to Marie Antoinette as to the
fate that was in store for her, she was quite clever enough to guess a
great deal that was happening. In the first place two French actors
arrived in Vienna to teach her how to speak clearly and prettily. They
were followed by the abbé de Vermond, who instructed her in the history
of France and its literature, while the celebrated Noverre gave her
lessons in dancing and the French mode of curtseying, which was far more
difficult to learn than the curtsey practised in Vienna. Marie
Antoinette delighted in the hours she spent over her dancing, and those
passed in playing on the clavecin, under Glück, whose opera of 'Orfeo'
had just been finished; but her new teachers found the same fault that
the old ones had done, that she must have everything told her like a
child if it was to dwell in her memory. She never got impatient or
cross, in fact she tried to turn everything into a joke; but the abbé
discovered her to be ignorant and inattentive, and though she had plenty
of good sense, she disliked being made to think. And in all this she was
not different from a hundred thousand other little girls!

[Illustration: She delighted in her dancing lessons]

At length, in September 1768, the King of France made a formal proposal
for the hand of the archduchess, who was not yet thirteen years old, and
the empress wrote to count Mercy d'Argenteau, her ambassador in Paris,
to give orders for the trousseau, on which she was prepared to lay out
16,000_l._ As the wedding was not to take place for a year and a half at
any rate, this seems a little early to begin, but there was so much
beautiful lace to be made, and wonderful embroidery to be done, that the
workers did not think the time any too long. Then her brother Joseph II.
often came into her private sitting-room in the evening and talked to
her about European politics, of which, he truly said, she ought to know
something, or the abbé de Vermond was bidden to join the family in the
evening and relate the lives of the French queens, and the genealogy of
the Bourbons and Valois, besides the names of the chief officers of
state and of the great nobles. All these things Marie Antoinette picked
up quickly; and as for the army, the abbé used to say she would soon
know every colonel of every regiment. Besides this sort of education,
the empress felt that her daughter must learn how to take her place in
the world, so once or twice a week she was allowed to have parties of
ten or twelve in her own rooms, at which she presided, and here they
would play _cavagnol_ or other fashionable card games, for in those days
cards were played every night, and large sums were staked.

The wedding-day drew nearer and nearer, and the empress's heart
sometimes failed her at the thought of the child she was sending forth
alone. As she was very busy all day, she made her daughter sleep during
the last weeks in her room at night, and here she warned her against all
the temptations she might find in the court, and read to her out of a
little book which her husband had once written for his children. Very
useful was the counsel he gave, the dangers he foresaw being mostly
those which beset Marie Antoinette during her married life, and led to
her downfall. 'Beware,' he said 'of making friends quickly, or of
allowing pleasure to become a business when it should only be an
amusement. Beware of flattering tongues, and of persuading yourself that
things may be innocent when really they are harmful. Do not let the
world absorb you, till you forget that you are mortal, but put aside two
days in every year to think of death.'

As the young archduchess read these words her soul grew serious within
her, and she promised her mother that she would keep the book always,
and strive to act as her father would have wished. And so she did; but
she was young and alone, and if court life is difficult everywhere, in
France it was harder than anywhere else.

For three days in Holy Week Marie Antoinette went into retreat, and when
she returned to the palace for Easter she had to give audience to the
principal Austrian and Hungarian nobles, and to reply in Latin (probably
carefully learnt for the occasion) to an address of the University.
Next, the empress held a crowded court, and in the midst of it the
French ambassador presented the archduchess with a letter from the
dauphin, together with his portrait set in diamonds, which was hung at
once round her neck by the countess of Trautmannsdorf, who was in
attendance. Then, much to the relief of the bride, they went to the
theatre, to see a French play. There only remained one more ceremony to
be performed, and this, considering that the archduchess was the
youngest of a very large family, was merely formal, and in the presence
of a number of witnesses she signed a paper renouncing her claim to any
Austrian, Hungarian, or Bohemian territory. This done, a few balls and
banquets were given in her honour, and, on April 19, her marriage by
proxy took place in the church of the Augustinians, her brother, the
archduke Ferdinand, taking the oaths instead of the bridegroom. The
papal nuncio, or special envoy, gave the blessing, and little Marie
Antoinette was dauphine of France.


Her progress from Vienna, under the care of the prince of Stahremberg,
was a series of _fêtes_. On an island of the Rhine the ladies and
gentlemen of her suite awaited her in a magnificent pavilion, and here
she took off her Viennese clothes, even her stockings, and put on one of
her beautiful trousseau dresses, sent straight from Paris. The prince of
Stahremberg delivered her into the charge of the comte de Noailles, and
bade her farewell. Then the dauphine entered one of the carriages which
had been built for her in Paris. In those days the carriages were worth
seeing, for each was a work of art. Those intended for the use of Marie
Antoinette were things of wonder and beauty, and had astonished even
Paris, where splendid coaches were to be seen all day in the streets.
One was covered entirely with crimson velvet on which the emblems of
spring, summer, autumn, and winter, had been worked in gold thread,
while a wreath of flowers, in gold and enamel, ran along the top; the
other was also decorated with flowers in their natural colours, and the
body of the carriage was in blue, with pictures representing earth, air,
fire, and water, embroidered in silver. At that period carriages cost
great sums of money, for the paintings of them were done by good
artists, and they were handed on from father to son. Strange to say,
many of them escaped the fury of the mob in the French Revolution, and
brightened the Paris of the Restoration. But a curious fate was in store
for them after all. One night, in the year 1848, a young lady living in
Paris with her family, was beckoned out of the room by the old

'If you will come out with me, I will show you something you will never
forget,' said he, 'only you must say nothing.' The girl promised, and
wrapping herself in a cloak and hood, went with the old man to the place
du Carrousel, behind the Tuileries. Here a huge fire was burning, and
all along the walls the lovely coaches were ranged, to be dragged one by
one into the midst of the fire. For a while the girl looked on, as if
fascinated by the work of destruction, then suddenly she turned away.
'Oh, what a dreadful, dreadful pity!' she cried; 'I wish I had never
come. Oh, take me home at once.'

But we have wandered far down the years from Marie Antoinette, whom we
left driving across the bridge to the French town of Strasburg. The
carriage could only go very slowly, for, besides the regiments of
cavalry which lined the streets, crowds of people stood on every bit of
available ground. Guns fired, bells pealed, voices shouted, and Marie
Antoinette enjoyed the deafening noise, and smiled and bowed and waved
her hand, and looked so pleased and happy that the cries of welcome grew
louder and more heartfelt than before. At last she reached the
archbishop's palace, where all the great Church officials were drawn up
to receive her, headed by her host, the cardinal de Rohan himself; by
his side stood his nephew and helper, prince Louis de Rohan, who
afterwards did Marie Antoinette a cruel wrong. Gaily the dauphine
entered the palace, where she at once held a reception, to which only
ladies were admitted, and to each of these she said a few pleasant words
and begged to know their names. Next she dined in public, and glad she
must have felt of a little rest and food; but she was not allowed to sit
long over her dinner, for she had to visit the theatre, drive about the
illuminated streets, and attend a ball, before she went to bed. It was a
day that would have tired most girls, but Marie Antoinette loved
pleasure, and seemed to thrive on it, and it was with regret that next
day she took leave of the hospitable city, which never forgot her or her
pretty manners. 'Ah!' the people would say to each other, when the dark
days came by-and-bye, 'she was better than beautiful, and had a heart of
gold. Did you not hear when monsieur le maire addressed her in German,
how she would have none of it, and answered, "You must not speak to me
in German, Monsieur, for now I understand nothing but French"? Ah, poor
thing, poor thing!'

The May trees were in blossom and the lilacs and laburnums bloomed in
the gardens when Marie Antoinette arrived at the little town of
Compiègne which the king, the royal family, and his cousins, the princes
of the blood, had reached the day before. The first person whom she met
was the duc de Choiseul, the king's minister, sent to welcome her by the

[Illustration: "Led by the King and the Dauphin"]

'I shall never forget,' said the dauphine, holding out her hand for
Choiseul to kiss, 'I shall never forget that it is you who have made my

'And that of France,' answered the minister. And then the royal carriage
drove out and the king dismounted, followed by his daughters, and Marie
Antoinette fell on her knees before him, as her mother had bidden her.
But Louis raised her and kissed her, and presented the dauphin, who took
far less interest in the bride than his grandfather. For some reason or
other, the court of France had not expected the future queen to be more
than tolerably good-looking, and when she entered the royal apartments
where the princes of the blood were awaiting her, led by the king and
the dauphin, they were all startled by her beauty. It was not only the
brilliant complexion, the fair hair with hardly a touch of powder, or
the bright blue eyes which they admired, it was the sort of radiance of
expression, the life and power of enjoyment, shown in the pictures
painted at that time. And she had charms besides, which in the French
court were more dearly prized than mere loveliness; she had an air of
distinction and dignity not always possessed by people of high birth.
She was tall for her age, and held herself well, and could answer the
fine compliments that were then in fashion, with equal grace and

The ceremony of presentation that now took place would have been rather
alarming to most young princesses. One by one the king introduced his
cousins. First the duc d'Orléans and his son the duc de Chartres
(hereafter to become Philippe Egalité, and lose his head on the
guillotine), then the whole Condé family, and the duc de Penthièvre and
his son, and the lovely princesse de Lamballe; then those who were more
remote. After each one had bowed or curtseyed, he or she sat on an
armchair and when all the armchairs were full, as in a game, the duc
d'Orléans, the senior prince of the blood, rose, bowed again, and backed
to the door, followed by the rest in order of precedence.

The following morning a number of splendid carriages drawn by six or
eight long-tailed horses, might have been seen on the road from
Compiègne to Paris. The king's coach, containing the bride and
bridegroom, drew up at the doors of the Carmelite convent at St. Denis,
where the princess Louise was a professed nun. Here they entered,
accompanied by madame Adelaide, madame Victoire, and madame Sophie, who
were anxious to take this opportunity of seeing their sister, for the
Carmelite rule was very strict, and visitors, even royal ones, were
rare. The gentle _sœur_ Louise was delighted with her new niece, and
still more pleased when she learnt that it was she and not the king, who
had wished to pay the visit, while on her side Marie Antoinette had a
sense of rest in the presence of the nun, which she never felt when with
the other princesses. But the king soon rose, good-byes were said, and
the carriages rolled along outside Paris to La Muette in the Bois de
Boulogne, where the dauphin's younger brothers, the comte de Provence
and the comte d'Artois were ready to receive them. The elder boy was
serious and heavy, like the dauphin, but the younger was bright and gay,
and at once made friends with his sister-in-law. But best of all were
the two little princesses, madame Clotilde, the king's favourite, and
madame Elizabeth, the girl who in after years stood by Marie Antoinette
in all her trials, and followed her to the guillotine. However, no
shadows lay over that warm May day when the dauphine set out from La
Muette for Versailles, for the celebration of her marriage in the
chapel. The Swiss Guards were drawn up before the palace, the same corps
which, twenty-two years after, were cut down before the Tuileries in
defending Marie Antoinette and her husband, and they presented arms as
she got down from her carriage, and went to change her dress in the
rooms which she was temporarily to occupy.

At one o'clock she appeared again, dressed in a white brocade dress,
looped back over panniers. Holding her hand high in the air walked the
dauphin, wearing the robes of the Order of the St. Esprit, glittering
with diamonds and gold. Although more than a year older than the
archduchess, he looked like a clumsy boy by her side, and instead of his
gorgeous garments lending him dignity they seemed to smother him. After
the princes of the blood and their attendants came the bridegroom's two
brothers, then followed the king leading princess Clotilde, mesdames his
daughters, and a train of seventy of the noblest ladies of France. The
blessing was given by the archbishop of Paris, grand almoner to the
king, and then the royal family signed the register, but their writing
was so very bad that it could hardly be read.


The rest of the day was passed in the manner usual at royal weddings:
fêtes were held during the afternoon; at six, card tables were set, and
the public were admitted to stare at them while they were playing at
_cavagnol_ or _lansquenet_; at half-past nine they had supper in the new
hall of the opera house. Marie Antoinette went through it all with the
life and spirit she put into everything, though she could hardly have
helped feeling irritated with the bored face of her bridegroom. Next day
seemed very long indeed to her—and to him also. Etiquette did not allow
him to hunt, and he cared for nothing else; and though she tried to
forget that she had a husband, and only to think of the gaiety about
her, yet the gloomy youth at her side weighed down her spirits, and no
doubt all the excitement of the last few days had tired her. When, the
next morning, the dauphin set out with a beaming countenance to hunt
with the king, she felt quite relieved, and glad to spend a few quiet
hours with her dog and her lady-in-waiting. Still, just now she was not
allowed much time to feel lonely, for she seemed always dressing and
undressing to go to some brilliant festivity. One evening a great ball
was given, at which even madame Clotilde was allowed to appear, and a
young princess of Lorraine, Marie Antoinette's cousin, was present. For
two hundred years the French nobles had always been jealous of the dukes
of Lorraine, and never lost any chance of being rude to them; so when
they heard that the king had allotted the princess a place in the first
state quadrille, they ordered their wives and daughters to stay at home.
Of course the ladies were all bitterly angry, and wept tears of
disappointment; but they sobbed in vain, and it was only when a special
order from the king arrived, that the injured nobles were forced to give
way—to the great delight of their families.

The marriage rejoicings were to end by a display of fireworks given by
the City of Paris, intended to be the most wonderful ever seen. They
were to be sent up from the Place Louis XV. which later changed its name
to the Place de la Revolution, and then to the Place de la Concorde, and
the wide space was filled with wooden platforms for the spectators,
grouped round a Temple of Hymen. After streams of flame from the mouths
of the dolphins, and rockets and fire-balls had fascinated the people,
the scene was to be crowned by the ascent of the temple into the air,
where it was to burst into a thousand fiery fragments. Holding their
breath, the dense crowds watched the temple rising into the sky, and a
gasp of admiration followed its explosion. So intent were they in gazing
at the spectacle that they never noticed that one of the burning rockets
had fallen on a platform standing at the back till the wood was flaming
up behind them. Had they kept their presence of mind they might all have
got safely away, but the panic spread as quickly as the fire, and there
was a general rush to the side where the carriages stood, as that was
the only part of the Place not blocked by the wooden buildings. In their
mad flight they dashed up against the horses, which, already excited by
the noise of the fireworks, plunged and tried to bolt; many of the
fugitives were trampled under their feet, or fell, for others to fall
over them. Some struggled through, but, blinded with terror, could not
see where they were going, and stumbled over the bank into the river,
which ran close by. Now, owing to an accidental delay, the dauphine, who
was to drive to the Place Louis XV. with mesdames, had been delayed in
starting, and only arrived when the panic was at its height. She was
horror-stricken at the sights and sounds around her, and when she found
there was nothing to be done at the moment, directed the coachman to
return to the palace. All night long the cries and groans rang in her
ears, and as soon as it was daylight both she and the dauphin sent all
the money they had to the chief of the police, begging him to lay it out
for the good of the sufferers from the fire.

From these, and many other acts of kindness, the bride became very
popular with the Parisians, over whom she was some day to rule; and her
mother was forced to write and warn her not to put too much faith in
their loyalty, or to think herself the piece of perfection they called
her, for they were very fickle, and easily threw down their old idols,
to worship new ones in their stead. Marie Antoinette replied dutifully
to her mother's letters, but, being young, put little faith in her
counsels. What the empress said might be true of _most people_, she
thought, but it could never be true of _her_. So she smiled and danced,
and beamed with happiness—till the crash came, and she laid her head
down on the Place Louis XV., where the guillotine was erected.

Like the king's own mother, the little duchesse de Bourgogne, and Louis
XIV., she became the pet and plaything of the dauphin's grandfather.
Louis XV. enjoyed being treated by her in a friendly, unceremonious
fashion, and her spirits and gaiety roused him from the boredom which
had been the bane of his life. 'Mon papa,' she called him when they were
alone, and she would fling herself into his arms, and tell all that she
had heard and seen, and the amusements she had invented. How that when
they were next at Fontainebleau she meant to have donkey rides with her
friends every day in the forest, and then she would take long walks, as
she used to do at Schönbrünn—nobody at Versailles seemed to have any
legs at all; and by-and-bye, when the bad weather came, she would have
singing lessons again, and study the harp. Perhaps she might even read
some history, if the snow was not hard enough for sledging! Yet, in
spite of Marie Antoinette's power of being happy, she had many
difficulties, to fight against, though she was often unconscious of the
fact. Mesdames, with whom she passed much of her time, were fond of her
and kind to her, but unluckily the eldest of the three, madame Adelaide,
had the strongest will and the worst temper, and the other two were
afraid of opposing her, lest they should make her angry. Besides being
strong-willed and bad-tempered, madame Adelaide had very little
common-sense and a great deal of pride, and often gave the dauphine
advice which got her into trouble. Then, at first, the dauphin, who was
very shy, and not at all clever, held aloof from her, and left her to
pass her time as best she could while he was away hunting. But after a
while his timidity wore off, they became good friends, and he consulted
her and asked her opinion on all sorts of subjects. When a couple of
years had passed, he had grown so far like other people that he would be
present at the little dances of intimate friends which Marie Antoinette
gave once a week in her own apartments, and allowed proverbs and
comedies to be played in his own rooms, which amused them much and cost
but little. Sometimes Marie Antoinette herself would act, with her
brother-in-law the comte de Provence, or they would have music, when fat
and friendly princess Clotilde would accompany herself on the guitar,
and Marie Antoinette would sing also. At length, to the dauphin's great
delight, she declared her intention of hunting on horseback, which no
dauphine had done for hundreds of years. When every other amusement
failed there were cards—always cards—which the king's aunts preferred
to everything else.


The years sped gaily on to the young dauphine, who never heard, or did
not heed, the rumblings of the discontent of the starving and
down-trodden people. She herself was always kind to them, not merely in
words but in taking trouble, which is much harder work. Yet the flattery
she received from the friends who were constantly with her had worked
her evil. She fancied herself all-powerful, and became vexed and
impatient if her wishes were not immediately carried out. She began to
meddle in politics, too, of which she knew absolutely nothing, and in
this, though she would have been shocked to think it, she worked
positive harm.

In May, 1774, a change came into her life. The king had been taken ill
of small-pox about a fortnight earlier in the cottage of the Little
Trianon, where he was having supper, and was hastily removed in a
carriage to the palace of Versailles. It was curious to note the total
indifference with which his subjects, especially the Parisians, received
the news of his danger. Louis the Well-Beloved, as the child of five had
been named, was passing away, and Louis the Wished-for was to take his
place. Nobody cared—nobody pretended to care—except his daughters.
Only Marie Antoinette, to whom he had always been kind, was really
sorry, and offered to stay with him and mesdames; but, being forbidden,
she shut herself up in her own room, where her sisters and
brothers-in-law, bewildered with the strangeness of it all, gathered
around her. The dauphine felt bewildered too, in the midst of her grief.

'I feel as if the skies were falling on me,' she said. As for the
dauphin, he had given orders that the moment the king died the carriage
should be ready to go to Choisy.

So they waited, watching the lighted candle in the window of the sick
room, which was to be extinguished the moment the king had ceased to
breathe. He could not see the sunset—that they knew; but there was
something awful in that solemn silence. Suddenly a noise was heard
outside, and madame de Noailles entered.

'The courtiers are in the Œil-de-Boeuf, Madame,' she exclaimed; 'will
your Majesties deign to go there to receive them?'

Arm-in-arm, the queen of eighteen and the king of nineteen advanced into
the room, where the duc de Bouillon, grand chamberlain, came forward to
meet them. As they paused in the doorway he threw himself on one knee:
'The king is dead,' he said. 'Long live the king!'


Many years ago, an old lady who had passed her hundredth birthday, told
the writer of this story that on a cold day in January, 1793, she went
to a children's party in London. The house was large, and was filled
with little boys and girls all eager to begin to dance on the
beautifully polished floor. The musicians had already tuned up, and the
eager faces of the little guests were turned towards the door, waiting
for their hostess to enter. At length she came, dressed in black, her
eyes red with weeping. 'Children,' she said, 'you must all go home. I
have just heard the king of France is dead.'

The king was Louis le Désiré, the husband of Marie Antoinette, who had
died on the guillotine.

                          _THE 'LITTLE QUEEN'_

A QUEEN at seven and a widow at twelve. Who can guess that riddle? Yet
there have been very few little girls in Europe who could be described
in such a way, and, out of those, fewer still who were not mere dolls,
but left a mark on the history of the time, and therefore of the time to


At the close of the year of grace 1395 a group of children were living
in the Hôtel de St. Pol, on the banks of the Seine in Paris. They were
all pretty—their mother Isabeau de Bavière, queen of France, was as
famous for her beauty as for her wickedness—but the prettiest of all
was Isabel, the eldest daughter, with her large brown eyes and pink and
white skin. Charles VI., the father of these little princes and
princesses, was subject to terrible fits of gloom, which in later years
deepened into madness. Still, he always had a special love for Isabel,
who was everybody's favourite, even her mother's, though it was not to
be expected that the queen would give up any of her own pleasures in
order to look after her children. By-and-by two little sisters, years
younger than any of these, princess Michelle, hereafter to be duchess of
Burgundy, and little princess Katherine, who became the wife of Henry V.
and queen of England, were so neglected by their servants (who thought
they might safely follow the queen's example) that the poor little
things were half-starved and clad in dirty rags. But at the time we are
speaking of matters were not so bad. Queen Isabeau was proud of princess
Isabel, and gave her masters to teach her music and the old romances.
The child was quick and fond of books, and would often leave the games
which she had been playing with her brothers and sit in the small dark
rooms with carved ceilings and tapestry hangings, embroidered in
_fleurs-de-lis_, listening to the old stories of Sir Galahad and the
Holy Grail, or the adventures of Huon of Bordeaux. In the dark evenings
she would lie on a silken cushion on the floor of the great hall, her
fingers absently thrust in the hair of the small greyhound that was
curled up against her, her mind wrapped up in the lays sung by the
minstrels to charm away the gloom of the king.

[Illustration: ISABEL "in the dark evenings"]

In the midst of this quiet life there one day entered the gates of Paris
a goodly array of ambassadors from England to demand from Charles VI.
the hand of the princess Isabel on behalf of Richard II., king of
England. The envoys had not set forth without fierce protest from the
English people, who still remembered Crécy and Poitiers, won by
Richard's own father when still a boy, and hated the thought of an
alliance with their foes. Besides this, they had all loved Richard's
first wife, Anne of Bohemia, who had only died the year before; and
though it was necessary for him to marry again, and have a son to wear
the crown after him, they did not wish him to forget so soon, still less
for his choice to fall on a French princess, and a mere baby! Richard
summoned parliament to meet and talk over the matter, and the famous
chronicler Sir John Froissart, who had newly entered England, was
present at the debates. But whether his subjects approved or not, the
king was determined to have his way. He was half French himself, he
always declared; for was he not born at Bordeaux, and did he not love
the songs and the poetry that came from France? And then, though perhaps
he may have kept this reason in the background, where else could he find
a bride endowed with such great riches? And Richard was always
extravagant and always in debt.


Of course Richard had not called his parliament together without first
finding out the mind of the French king on the subject. The first
messenger who was sent to Charles received for answer that the princess
was already betrothed to the son of the duke of Brittany, that it would
be five or six years at least before she was of marriageable age, and
that Richard was twenty-two years older than she. But Richard, who now
and then behaved like a spoilt baby, only gave a scornful laugh when he
read Charles's letter. Had not the king another daughter who would make
as good a duchess of Brittany as Isabel? And as for the rest—and with a
shrug of his shoulders he turned away and began to talk with Sir John
Froissart about the next yearly meeting of the _jongleurs_, or
minstrels, to be held at his court.

Now these matters had been carefully concealed from the princess Isabel,
who had no idea that the splendidly arrayed and armed body of five
hundred men riding along the banks of the Seine towards the Hôtel de St.
Pol had come to decide her fate.

'Look, look!' she cried to her brothers and sisters as they all crowded
at the small window. 'Who can they be? One has a mitre; is he a bishop,
think you? or an archbishop? And the others? I know not the devices on
their shields, but they are richly dressed, and they hold themselves
proudly. And, see, they are entering the gateway. Oh, Louis, you are the
dauphin! I wonder if they will send for you!'

After all, it was not Louis but Isabel, who was summoned, and in a few
words learned from her great-uncle the duke of Burgundy the object of
this magnificent embassy. Isabel listened in surprise, but it was not
the first time that she had heard talk of her marriage; so she showed no
signs of shyness, and bade her maids put on with all haste her light
blue velvet dress, the colour of France, and clasp the loose folds with
her jewelled belt. Then, escorted by her uncle, she entered the great
hall, and, standing by her mother's side, awaited the appearance of the


'Who can know how such a child will behave?' the council of regency, who
governed France during Charles's fits of madness, had asked of the
English nobles when they had begged for an interview with the princess
herself. But the earl marshal, looking at the tall and dignified young
lady before him, felt that they need not have been afraid. This was no
child, beautiful indeed, but caring for nothing except sweet confections
and puppets, but a girl whose face and manner showed marks of thought
and of careful training in the ways of courts.

'Madam, if it please God, you shall be our lady and queen,' said the
earl marshal, falling on one knee, and Isabel answered, 'Sir, if it
please God and my lord and father that I be queen of England, I shall be
content, for I know that I shall be a great lady.' So saying she signed
to him to rise from his knee, and, taking his hand, led him to the queen
her mother, who was well pleased with her reply.

So Isabel's fate was settled, and as the poor French king was not in a
state to talk about business, it was the duke of Burgundy with whom the
ambassadors held daily discussions. It was decided that, though the earl
marshal should represent Richard in the marriage ceremony, which, at the
urgent request of the English king, was to take place at once, the young
bride should remain in Paris another year, to get her trousseau and be
taught the duties of the 'great lady' she was to be. Among these
'duties' we may be sure the learning of English was included, and also
the practice of music, which Richard loved. No doubt she managed to find
out something of her future husband from the count of St. Pol, who was
his brother-in-law, and she would only hear the many good things that
could truly be said of him: of his grace, his beauty, his cleverness,
and his gallantry when as a boy of fifteen he faced the rebel archers of
Wat Tyler and Jack Straw, and won them over to his side. Of his
wilfulness, his extravagance, and his heedlessness there was no need to
tell her; and indeed, whatever were his faults, Richard was always true
and loving to her.


The year that was to pass between the marriage by proxy and the real
marriage most likely seemed as long to the 'queen of England,' as she
was now called, as it would have done to any little girl of her age. But
at length it was announced that at the end of October Richard would
cross over to Calais, which was to be English ground for nearly two
hundred years longer. The king, who, unlike his people, much desired a
peace with France, sailed with a noble company across the Channel, for
at his express wish his famous uncle, John of Gaunt, duke of Lancaster,
with his third duchess, the duke and duchess of York, and the duke and
duchess of Gloucester, with their two daughters, sailed with him. It was
with great unwillingness that Gloucester obeyed the summons of the king
to attend his marriage. He hated his nephew for many reasons, and
Richard was not slow to perceive and return his feelings. Well he knew
that his uncle was an ambitious man, who would fain have seen his
daughter queen of England; and, besides, the duke longed to go to war
with France, and lost no chance of exciting the passions of the English
people and making the French alliance more unpopular than it was
already. Perhaps Gloucester had cherished secret hopes of being left
behind to rule the kingdom while Richard was away; but if so he was
disappointed, for the king's cousin, Henry earl of Derby (afterwards
Henry IV.), was declared regent.

It was on October 27, 1396, that the kings of France and England met in
a plain outside Calais. Everything had been carefully planned
beforehand, and the two sovereigns quitted their lodgings at precisely
the same moment and walked slowly to the appointed place, which must be
reached at exactly the same time, as it would be unfitting for one king
to look more eager than the other! Tents splendidly furnished had been
prepared for them, and all around stood eight hundred French and English
knights, their drawn swords shining bright in the autumn sunshine. From
one direction came Charles, with Richard's two uncles, Lancaster and
Gloucester, on each side of him, while from the other Richard was
escorted by the dukes of Burgundy and Berri, brothers of the late king.
'At the moment of the meeting,' says the chronicler, 'the eight hundred
knights fell on their knees; the two kings swept off their hats and
bowed, then took each other by the hand, and so entered the French
king's tent, while the four dukes followed them.' Here another welcome
awaited Richard, for he was received by the duke of Orleans, brother of
Charles, and the duke of Bourbon, his cousin. But as soon as they had
greeted the bridegroom these two left the tent to join the dukes
outside, and at length Charles and Richard were alone and could talk
over business.

Next day—the feast of St. Simon and St. Jude—a grand banquet was given
by Charles, and when it was over presents were exchanged between the
kings, a ceremony which kept them employed until the little bride
arrived, attended by the duke of Orleans (who had gone to fetch her) and
a great suite. Some of the ladies were drawn in the long carriages, like
furniture vans, that were fashionable in the days of Charles VI., while
Isabel herself and her young maids of honour were mounted on beautiful
horses, with gorgeous velvet trappings, embroidered in gold. The 'queen
of England' wore a golden crown, which must have felt very uncomfortable
on horseback, and her dress was blazing with precious stones. She had
ridden a long way and was very tired, but she greeted her uncles gaily
as they lifted her from her horse, and went forward to speak to the
duchess of Lancaster and Gloucester. Then she entered the tent, where
Richard sat awaiting her.

It was not until Isabel had knelt twice before him, as she had been told
to do, that Richard got up, took her in his arms, and kissed her. When
he set her down, she looked at him, anxious to see what her future
husband was like. She found his eyes fixed upon _her_, and they both
smiled, well pleased with their first sight of each other. He was not at
all like what Isabel had expected: a man of thirty—almost an _old_ man,
too old to care for anything but serious matters, such as making laws
and governing his kingdom. Why, the king was quite _young_ and very,
very handsome, with his dark blue eyes and golden hair, and a complexion
as white and fair as her own. He could laugh, too, and be merry, she was
sure. Oh no, she could never be afraid of _him_, and some day she might
even be able to chatter to him as she did to Louis. And Richard read her
thoughts in her face and was content with what fate had brought him.

The marriage did not take place till four days later, on All Saints'
Day, and, curiously enough, neither the king nor queen of France was
present at it. Since they had bidden farewell to their daughter, after
her meeting with Richard, they had stayed quietly at the little town of
St. Omer, though they had news of Isabel from the duke of Orleans and
the duke of Burgundy, who went over to see her at Calais, before she
sailed for England. It was the first time that Isabel had ever been upon
the sea, and she did not like crossing, for though the wind was in their
favour, it must have been very high, as the ship reached Dover in three
hours. Two days later she dismounted at the palace of Eltham in Kent,
and at last had time to rest from her journey.


In those days houses were few and there were no coal fires to make
smoke, so Isabel was able to see in the distance the towers of
Westminster Abbey, where by-and-by she would be crowned. Between the
Abbey and Eltham stretched the gorse-covered common of Blackheath, the
scene of some of Richard's youthful deeds, and the tall trees of
Greenwich Park. And when she was tired of looking at the view, and
wandering through the gardens with her maids of honour and madame de
Coucy, her lady-in-waiting, she would summon them to her own rooms to
watch the unpacking of her trousseau. This of itself was a wonderful
sight. It not only included dresses of velvet covered with fur and
jewels and embroideries for grand occasions, but gowns of the finest
scarlet or green or white cloth for every day. The sleeves were very
long, and so was the train; but this could be drawn through the belt and
tucked up when the wearer wanted to play or run races, as we may be
certain Isabel often did. When they had finished admiring her clothes
and jewels, there were the rich stuffs and tapestries to be arranged on
the different walls or hung on the different beds; and, better than all,
had not Isabel brought with her a store of figs and sweet things of her
own choosing, which she bade her waiting women set out on little silver
plates before her friends?

But after a few days these joys were interrupted, for it was necessary
that Isabel should make a progress through the City of London and show
herself to her new subjects, who hated her so much, though she did not
guess the fact. So she left Eltham under a strong escort and rode to
Greenwich, where she stepped on board the royal barge, and was rowed
down to Kennington, near Lambeth. Richard was delighted to welcome her
here in the old palace which had belonged to his father, the Black
Prince, and where he himself had lived for a while with his mother when
she became a widow. The next morning Isabel rose early, for she knew she
must be carefully dressed so as to look her best to her husband's
people. Her long bright hair was brushed till it shone, and over it a
fine white veil hung from a golden circlet. Luckily the day was fine and
warm, for of course the hood which she usually wore out of doors had to
be laid aside. Then her richest robe of velvet edged with ermine and
covered with gold embroidery was put on, with a jacket of the same
colour over it, and her golden shoes with the long pointed turned-up
toes were fastened, and very fair she seemed to her ladies and her
husband as she was placed on her white palfrey, covered like herself
with gold.


Her face was so full of happiness as she rode along by the side of the
king, mounted also on a white horse, whose housings or trappings tinkled
with silver bells, that the hearts of many who most bitterly disliked
the French marriage melted towards her. Behind followed the king's
uncles and great nobles, all wearing their special badges or coats of
arms, and accompanied by their retainers. The procession passed through
Southwark and came at last to London Bridge, which, though made of stone
and not yet cumbered with houses, was filled with such a dense crowd
that there was hardly room for the king and the queen to move, even at a
foot's pace. Then an accident happened, as it was sure to do. Something
touched a horse; he grew frightened and kicked; the throng pressed back
on each other; someone stumbled and fell. There were no policemen or
soldiers lining the way to keep order or to give help, and by the time
the procession had crossed the bridge nine persons had been trampled to


In Isabel's day, and for long, long after, the street which we call the
Strand was filled with the palaces of great noblemen with their large
gardens sloping down to the river and barges moored to the bank; for the
streets were so narrow and so dirty that no one willingly went through
them even on horseback or in a carriage. However, on the day that Isabel
first saw them the fronts of the houses were draped with rich hangings
and crowded with shouting people, while every now and then a platform
might be seen on which a show of some kind would be given or a company
of minstrels would sing a song. Altogether, pleased and touched though
she was with her welcome, Isabel must have been glad when the houses
were left behind and Westminster was reached—Westminster, not as we
know it now, with houses everywhere, but as it was when Guinevere went
a-maying, with broad fields and pleasant streams, and in the distance
northwards the russet leaves of a forest. But queens are not so
fortunate as their subjects, and have little time to rest themselves,
and Isabel's days for some time to come were spent in receiving
graciously and smilingly as she well knew how, the homage of all who
came to pay their respects. Soon after there followed a tournament which
lasted fourteen days, held in the open space of Smithfield, where the
victor claimed his prize from the hands of the queen. The tournament
over, the preparations were begun in good earnest for Isabel's

At length the festivities were finished and life went on quietly as
before, Isabel remained in the palace at Westminster, and daily rode out
past the marshy ground which is now Conduit Street, where flag flowers
and forget-me-nots and marsh marigolds might be plucked in spring, and
wildfowl were shot when the weather grew colder. Or sometimes she would
accompany the king and his friends to a grand hunt after boar or deer in
the woods that lay about the stream called the West Bourne, whence the
chase would often lead them eastwards to the heathery spaces beyond what
was afterwards the Moorgate. When it grew too dark or too wet for these
sports, Richard would bid the queen play to him, and he could correct
her faults as well as any master; or she would try and speak English to
him, and they would both laugh heartily over the blunders she made.

Thus the days went by, and Richard was so good and kind to her that
Isabel was perfectly happy, and thought him the most wonderful person in
all the world. She did her utmost to please him and to take an interest
in all he told her, and she noticed with pride that he never treated her
as a little girl, but talked to her as he might have done to a grown-up
woman. Inside the palace all was peace; but outside the people had begun
to murmur again, and faces grew dark at the sound of Richard's name, and
men spoke of the debts that were daily increasing and the taxes that
were ever growing. But if Richard took no heed of these signs, there was
one person who never failed to watch and listen, and every now and then
to put in a careless word, which somehow always made matters worse. This
was the duke of Gloucester, uncle to the king, and a great favourite of
the Londoners. He, like them, wished for war with France, and lost no
opportunity of letting his views be known on the subject. When things
seemed ripe the duke sent for the earl of March, next heir to the
kingdom, to his castle of Pleshy in Essex, and there unfolded to him a
plot which he and the earl of Arundel had woven between them.

It was not without some hesitation that the duke of Gloucester told his
tale to the earl of March, for he knew that his great-nephew was a true
and loyal man, and that he dearly loved the king his cousin. But he had
prepared a bait which he thought could not fail to land the most
obstinate fish, only he resolved not to speak of that till the end of
his story. Therefore he began by relating all Richard's acts of
misgovernment—and they were many—and the burdens laid on his subjects,
which were many also.

The two earls nodded their heads. What Gloucester said was nothing but
truth, and well they knew it. But how to find a remedy? _That_, as they
say, needed sharper wits than theirs. Then Gloucester proceeded,
choosing his words carefully, but in spite of all his prudence he saw
March beginning to move uneasily.

'I do not think I understand,' he said, and Gloucester repeated that the
patience of English people had come to an end, that they would bear no
more, and demanded (for so his tale went) that Richard and his queen
should be taken possession of, and kept for life as honoured prisoners
in separate palaces. This news struck the earl dumb with amazement, but
before he could speak Gloucester added that, after asking counsel of
many wise and powerful men, they had determined that, as soon as Richard
was deposed, March should be declared king.

A dead silence followed. The earl burned to tell his tempter what he
thought of such treachery; but in those times speech was not always
safe, so he held his peace. Gloucester, however, read in his face
something of what was passing in his mind, and entreated him to ponder
the matter, and above all things to keep it secret, or the lives of many
of his friends would be endangered. This March joyfully promised, and
instantly returning to London obtained leave from Richard to go and
govern Ireland, of which he had just been made viceroy. Every man among
the conspirators was not, however, as loyal as March. The plot was
betrayed to the king, who instantly summoned his two uncles, Lancaster
and York, and his brother-in-law the count de St. Pol lately sent by
Charles VI. to see the queen. The king laid the matter before all three
and asked their advice how to prevent the success of the conspiracy. The
two dukes could not deny the truth of what the king told them—for the
scheme that was being planned had come to their ears also; but they
spoke soothing words, saying that Gloucester ever threatened more than
he meant or could do, and assuring Richard that, even if he really
cherished such an evil purpose, they would see that it was not carried
out. Then, to avoid taking sides against either brother or nephew, they
retired hastily to their castles, leaving Richard to fight his own
battles as best he could.


The way which he chose has left a dark stain on his memory. He felt
helpless and alone, and there were not wanting people about him to
whisper that he would never be secure on his throne as long as
Gloucester lived. Still Richard knew too well that if he dared to arrest
him publicly his own doom would be sealed, for all London would at once
fly to arms. Therefore, taking some men with him on whom he could rely,
Richard rode down into Essex to the duke's house of Pleshy, and with
fair words requested his company to the Tower of London. Gloucester went
without misgiving—would he not be in the City which adored him?—and
was lodged in splendid apartments close to the king, on pretence,
perhaps, of caring the better, for his uncle who was at that time
suffering from illness. This may also have sufficed for a pretext to
keep the duke in his room, thus hiding his presence. But a night or two
later he was hurried over to Calais, doubtless by the river, which
flowed conveniently past the fortress, and handed over to the governor
by the earl marshal, now duke of Norfolk.

'What have I done to be so treated?' the duke inquired indignantly of
Norfolk, and the earl marshal answered soothingly that 'the king his
master was a little angry with him, and had given orders that the duke
was to be locked up for the present in his good town of Calais, and,
sorry as he himself was to displease his grace, he was forced to carry
out his orders.' Gloucester understood, and without further parley
begged that a priest might be sent for, to hear his confession and give
him absolution. The rite over, he was preparing to dine when four men
entered the apartment. The duke had not expected them so soon, but he
made no resistance. What would have been the use? He was speedily
strangled, and a messenger sent over to tell Richard that his uncle was
dead. 'As to the manner of his death, in France no man cared,' says the
chronicler; but the Londoners were furious, and the dukes of Lancaster
and York trembled for their lives, though they afterwards found that it
was to their interest to make peace with the king. More troubles
followed this act of treachery; several nobles were condemned to
banishment or execution, and a fierce quarrel broke out between Henry of
Bolingbroke, duke of Hereford (son to John of Gaunt), and Mowbray duke
of Norfolk. A court of chivalry to decide the matter was summoned to
meet at Windsor, and we can imagine Isabel's excitement as she watched
the assembling of the barons, knights, and bannerets of England in the
courtyard of the castle. The scene is described by Shakespeare in the
opening of the play of 'Richard II.' (though he places it in London),
and you can all read it for yourselves. After much talk judgment was
passed that the quarrel should be fought out at Coventry on September
16, in presence of the king, a body of representatives of the house of
commons, and the people.

[Illustration: The King Stops The Duel]

On the day appointed the dukes rode to their places clad in the heavy
armour of the time. 'God speed the right!' cried Norfolk, and Henry of
Bolingbroke solemnly made the sign of the cross. Each had his lance
in rest, and leaned forward, listening for the expected signal; the
trumpets were already raised for sounding the charge, when the king's
warder was suddenly thrown down between the combatants.

      'Hold,' he cried; 'our kingdom's earth should not be soiled
      With the dear blood that it has fostered;
      Therefore we banish you our territories:
      You, cousin Hereford, upon pain of life,
      Till twice five summers have enriched our fields.
      Norfolk, for thee remains a heavier doom:
      The hopeless word of "Never to return"
      Breathe I against thee upon pain of life.'

'Those whom the gods will to destroy they first infatuate.' Surely the
old Latin proverb was never more true than in this act of Richard II. He
thought to rid himself of two powerful nobles, and instead he turned
them into two undying enemies, and he soon learned with dismay that
Hereford had been welcomed at the French Court. Then came news which
caused the king bitter grief; the earl of March, whom he so dearly
loved, had died in Ireland. Matters there needed a master's eye, and
Richard knew not whom to trust. At last, troubled as were the affairs of
England, the king felt that he must go himself and try to settle things.
And Henry duke of Hereford, on the other side of the Channel, watched it
all, and knew that his chance would soon come.

After the sentence had been passed on the banished lords, Richard had
sent prince Henry of Monmouth (son of Hereford) and his sisters to
Windsor, where the widowed duchess of Gloucester and her two daughters
had been living ever since the death of the duke. It was, we may
believe, with great unwillingness that the duchess consented to dwell
under the roof of her husband's murderer; but she dared not disobey the
king, and reminded herself that Isabel not only was innocent of the
crime, but ignorant of it, as she was of all Richard's evil deeds. The
'little queen,' who daily grew more beautiful and womanly, only knew
that her aunt had lost her husband, and judged her grief by what she
herself would feel at the death of Richard. So she busied herself in
doing all the kindnesses she could to the duchess and her daughters,
though these young ladies were some years older than herself, and did
not care to play the games in which prince Henry, her devoted friend,
and his sisters Blanche and Philippa delighted. Henry was about her own
age, but the little girls were younger, and Isabel, who had in the days
that now seemed so long ago taken care of her own brothers and sisters,
no doubt mothered these children also, and saw that they learned their
lessons, especially French, and that their manners were good. The duke
of Hereford had three other sons, but they were not sent to Windsor.

But games and lessons and everything else was forgotten when one day
Richard came into the queen's 'bower,' as a lady's boudoir was then
called, and told her that he must leave her and proceed at once to
Ireland, where he was much needed. Isabel wept and clung to him, and
besought him to take her with him; but he shook his head gently, and
said that Ireland was no place for ladies, still less for queens, and
that she must stay at home and look to her household. He went on to say
that he had been greatly wroth at discovering the state that the lady de
Coucy had taken on herself, and had dismissed her from her charge about
the queen, and bade her to go back to France. In her stead he had given
her place to his niece, the young and widowed countess of March, who
would shortly arrive with her two small children, and join the sad
company in the castle.


Left alone, the queen remained sitting in her carved high-backed chair,
gazing straight before her, but seeing nothing. Her thoughts wandered
away through the past year, and to the Christmas which she and Richard
had kept in the bishop's palace at Lichfield, and to the journey they
had made during the summer, riding under shady trees and hedges gay with
honeysuckle and wild roses, and over downs sweet with gorse and bright
with heather, amongst the towns of the west country, where they had seen
splendid cathedrals and stately abbeys, and listened to the people
talking a strange speech, which even Richard, clever as he was, could
not understand! How happy they had both been, laughing over all their
adventures, and what merry evenings they had passed in the tents that
Richard had ordered to be spread for the night, wherever Isabel fancied.
And how wonderful it was to visit the places where Guinevere had lived,
and Arthur had fought his last battle! And now, now he was going to
leave her, and travel over the seas, where he might suffer shipwreck,
and run into dangers that she might never know. Oh no! It was
impossible! She could never bear it.

But it had to be.

On April 25, St. Mark's Day, Richard and Isabel went hand in hand to St.
George's chapel at Windsor, kneeling side by side while a solemn Mass
was sung and one of the collects chanted by the king himself. When the
service was over they left the church as they came, Isabel with her face
white and drawn, with her eyes bright and tearless, and walking
steadily. Outside the great door was set a table with wine and food, and
together they ate, for the king did not mean to return again into the
castle, but to ride straight into the west. When they had eaten, or
pretended to eat, the king lifted up the queen in his arms, and holding
her to his heart he kissed her many times, saying, 'Farewell, madame,
until we meet again,' not knowing that it was farewell for ever. Then he
rode away without looking back, his young cousins, Henry of Monmouth and
Humphrey duke of Gloucester, riding behind him.

The queen stood watching till the cavalcade was out of sight, then
slowly turned and walked towards the castle, none daring to speak to
her. She mounted the narrow stone staircase like one in a dream, and
shutting her door flung herself on her bed, with a burst of weeping.
Kind lady March heard her sobs and longed to comfort her; but she too
knew what sorrow was, and for some hours left Isabel alone with her
grief. For a fortnight the queen was too ill to move from her room, and
suffered no one except lady March and her old French maid to attend on
her. But one morning the sun shone for her once more, for in came lady
March carrying a letter tied with silk and bearing the royal arms, which
Richard had sent by a special messenger from Milford Haven.

'He had been thinking of her, as he knew she had been thinking of him,'
he wrote, 'while he rode along the same roads on which they had
travelled last year together. But she must keep up a good heart, and not
grieve if she heard nought of him, for the seas were rough, and not easy
for boats to cross, but to remember that he loved her always.'

Perhaps, if the earl of March had lived to rule Ireland, things might
have turned out differently, or at any rate Richard's ruin might have
been staved off a little longer. As it was, the expedition to Ireland
only hurried on the calamity. The murmurs of the Londoners, which had
hitherto been low, now became loud, and men shook their heads and
reminded each other of the fate of Edward II. 'Trade grows daily worse,'
said they, 'and no honest dealer can carry his wares along the roads
without fear of robbers and outlaws, while should the thief be caught
justice is never done on him.' At length a meeting was held, and it was
decided that Henry, now duke of Lancaster by the death of his father,
should be invited to come from France and seize the crown. Most likely
Henry had expected such a message, but he was too cautious to accept the
invitation at once, and he merely replied that he must take a day to
consult with his friends. The envoy, however, had noticed a sudden
sparkle in his eye, and had little doubt of the answer, and a few days
later Henry, with an escort of ships, was seen sailing up the English


The news spread like lightning, and as soon as it was known that he had
landed at Ravenspur, in Yorkshire, men flocked to join him. Richard
alone remained ignorant of the enemy at his gates, and when, three weeks
after, a boat managed to cross bearing the evil tidings and the king
took ship for Holyhead, it was only to learn that Henry was advancing to
meet him with an army of 60,000 men. The king had entrenched himself in
Flint Castle when Henry knocked at the entrance.

'Who goes there?' cried a voice from within, and the newcomer answered:

'I am Henry of Lancaster, and I have come to claim my heritage, which
the king has taken for himself. And so you can tell him.'

The man within the gate hastened across the courtyard and up the stairs,
and entering the hall where Richard and his knights were holding counsel
he said to him:

'Sire, it is your cousin the earl of Derby who knocks, and he demands
that you shall restore to him all that belongs to the duchy of

Now as to this matter Henry spoke truly, for Richard had indeed taken
the money and lands that belonged of right to his cousin, and had spent
them upon his ill-fated expedition to Ireland. Therefore he looked
uncomfortably at his councillors and inquired of them what he should do.

'Sire, he speaks well,' replied the knights, 'and it is our advice that
you listen to him, for he is much loved throughout the kingdom, and
especially by the Londoners, who sent for him beyond the sea to make
cause with him against you.'

'Then open the gate,' said Richard, 'and I will speak with him.'

So two knights arose and went across the courtyard of the castle and
through the small door which was in the great gate, and bowed themselves
before Henry and his friends, taking care to bear themselves politely
and graciously, for they knew that the strength did not lie on their

'My lord the king will gladly see you and speak with you,' said the
oldest of the two, 'and he prays you to enter.'

'Thus will I do,' answered Henry, and entered forthwith, thinking
nothing of the danger he ran, for the king might have straightway put
him to death. He walked across the hall, up to the chair where Richard
was seated, and the king changed colour at the sight of him. Not that he
was in bodily fear, for no Plantagenet was ever a coward, but because he
knew in his heart that he had done his cousin grievous wrong. 'Have you
breakfasted?' asked Henry without further greeting.

'Not yet,' replied the king, who had expected bitter reproaches, and
half thought this must be a jest; 'it is still early. But why do you ask

'You had better eat something at once,' answered his cousin, 'for you
have a long journey before you.'

'A journey?' said Richard; 'and where to, I pray?'

'To London,' replied Henry; 'therefore I counsel you to eat and drink,
that the ride may seem more merry.'

Richard understood; resistance was useless; so he commanded food to be
brought, and ate and drank without haste and composedly.


The castle gates were thrown open wide, and a multitude of soldiers and
archers pressed in and advanced to the doors, but Henry ordered them to
stand back, and bade them do damage to none, for the castle with all in
it was under his protection. After that he fetched the king into the
courtyard, and while the horses were saddled they talked together in a

Now Richard had a greyhound of great size and beauty called Math, which
he loved much, and the dog would suffer none but the king to touch him.
When he rode out Math was always by his side, and often the two would
play together in the hall, and Math would put his two huge paws on the
king's shoulders. And when Math beheld the horses ready saddled, and
being led to the spot where Richard and his cousin were standing, he
sprang up, and came with quick bounds towards them. Richard held out his
hand to his favourite, but the dog passed him by, and, going to the side
of Henry, reared himself on his hind legs and rubbed his head against
the duke's cheek.


'What is he doing?' asked Henry, who had never seen Math before.

'Cousin,' answered the king, 'that caress holds a great meaning for you
and a little one for me.'

'What is your interpretation of it?' inquired Henry, looking puzzled.

'My greyhound hails you to-day king of England, as you will be when I am
deposed, and my crown taken from me. Keep him with you; he will serve
you well.'

Henry answered nothing; perhaps in his heart he may have felt a little
ashamed; but the dog stayed with him, and did not leave him till the day
of his death.


Meanwhile, at the first whisper of invasion, the duke of York, who had
been left regent, had removed the queen from Windsor to the stronger
castle of Wallingford. The poor girl thought nothing of her own danger,
but was wild with despair at the idea that the crown of England might be
placed on the usurper's head and the rightful king be ignorant of the
fact. Soon arrived the news that Richard had fallen into the hands of
the duke of Lancaster, and was to be taken to London. Luckily she never
heard that at Lichfield, where he was probably lodged in the same house
where they had passed their happy Christmas so short a time ago, he had
tried to escape, but was recaptured in the garden. After this his guards
were doubled during the long ride to the Tower.

If Henry was in London, Isabel was clearly not safe at Wallingford, and
the regent took her by lonely roads and obscure villages to the castle
of Leeds in Kent. Here she was within reach of the coast, and could, if
needful, be sent over to France. It was at Leeds that Isabel received a
messenger from the Londoners to the effect that the lady de Coucy (who
had lingered about her mistress in spite of Richard's order) and all
French attendants of the queen should be despatched to Dover and
conveyed to Boulogne. By the envoy's desire the lady de Coucy was
summoned to the queen's presence, and found to her surprise a plain man
in the dress of a citizen standing by the window.

'Madame,' he said, without taking the trouble to bow, 'bid your maids
get ready your packages, for you must quit this place without delay. But
beware of telling anyone that you do not go of your own free will;
instead, say that your husband and daughter need you. Your life hangs on
your silence and obedience, and the less you hear and see the better for
you. You will have an escort as far as Dover, where you will find a ship
to put you ashore at Boulogne.'

'I will obey your orders, good sir,' answered the lady de Coucy, who had
listened trembling; and she lost no time in making her preparations and
in bidding the queen farewell. Indeed, she was in such a haste to be
gone that she would hardly wait to hear the loving messages which Isabel
sent to her father and mother, or allow her to take leave of the
faithful servants who had come with the queen from France, but hurried
them down into the courtyard, where horses of all sorts were saddled and
bridled. A troop of soldiers was in readiness to accompany them to
Dover, but on their arrival there the fugitives—for they were nothing
less—found to their dismay that they were expected to pay heavily for
the honour, 'each according to his condition,' as Froissart says. Right
thankful were they to get on board the vessel which was to land them on
French soil. Once in France the lady de Coucy hastened to Paris, and it
was from her that Charles learned, for the first time, the peril of his

At their departure poor Isabel felt more lonely than she had done since
she had bidden her parents farewell before her marriage. Far more
lonely, for _then_ she had Richard, and _now_ the new English attendants
which 'the Londoners' placed about her were forbidden even to mention
his name. So her days were spent in torturing thoughts and her nights in
evil dreams; she could hardly have been more wretched had she known he
was in the Tower. The suspense would have been terrible for a grown-up
woman, and for a girl under twelve it was almost unbearable; but her
grief would have been deeper still if she had known that Richard had
prayed to have his wife with him in his captivity, and had been refused.

Shut up in the Tower, Richard had plenty of time to look back on the
events of the twenty-two years that his reign had lasted and to note the
folly and extravagance which had led to his ruin. Some friends he still
had, and of these the earl of Salisbury was the chief; but a little
while after this an effort made by the earl to assassinate Henry only
ended in his own death and in the death of the king he was so anxious to
save. The advice of Richard's attendants was to resign at once, lest
worse should befall them, and, bitter though it was to him, the king
felt that the counsel was good. Therefore he sent a message to Henry,
now living in his own house on the banks of the Thames, to say he would
like to speak with him. The duke, with a company of knights in
attendance, arrived in a barge, and was conducted to the king. Humbly
Richard confessed all the wrongs he had done him, and declared himself
ready to abdicate the throne in his favour. Henry replied that this must
be done in the presence of parliament and with the consent of its
representatives; but in three days a sufficient number of these could be
assembled for the purpose. Not being a generous man, he did not stop
there, but went on to point out that if Richard had followed in the
steps of his grandfather, Edward III., and of his father, the Black
Prince, all would have been well; instead, he had chosen to go his own
way without considering his people. 'Still,' cried Henry—and perhaps at
the moment he meant what he said—'out of pity I will defend you and
preserve your life from the hatred of the Londoners, who would have you

'I thank you, cousin,' replied Richard; 'I have more faith in you than
in the whole of England.'


After remaining for two hours with Richard the duke of Lancaster
returned home, and sent out letters to all his relations of Plantagenet
blood and to the nobles, Churchmen, and citizens of London, summoning
them to meet at Westminster. When they arrived he rode to the Tower with
a great company, who, leaving their horses outside, entered the
fortress. Here Richard awaited them in the great hall, wearing on his
head the crown of his coronation and holding the sceptre in his hand,
while the royal mantle flowed from his shoulders. 'For twenty-two
years,' he said, standing on the steps of the dais and looking
steadfastly into the faces of the men around him—'for twenty-two years
I have been king of England, duke of Aquitaine, and lord of Ireland. I
now resign crown, sceptre, and heritage into the hands of my cousin
Henry duke of Lancaster, and in the presence of you all I pray him to
accept them.' Then he held out the sceptre to Henry, who stood near him,
and taking off the crown placed it before him, saying as he did so,
'Henry, dear cousin and duke of Lancaster, I give you this crown, with
all its duties and privileges,' and the duke of Lancaster received that
also and handed it to the archbishop. This done, Richard—king no
longer—returned to his apartments, and the company who had witnessed
the act of abdication rode silently back to their own houses, while the
sceptre and the crown were deposited for safety in the treasury of
Westminster Abbey. The bitterest moment of Richard's life had come. He
had, through his own fault he knew, been forced to yield up the
inheritance that had descended without a break from father to son for
200 years. He had worn out the patience of his subjects, till he stood
alone, and they refused him even the comfort of his wife's presence. Ah!
_she_ was faithful, and would suffer with his pain! And in thinking of
Isabel for a while he forgot himself.

He had done what was required, and the last acts of the drama were gone
through without him. Perhaps Henry was merciful; perhaps he did not care
to risk his throne by showing the people their rightful king, of whose
beauty and boyish gallantry they had once been so proud. In any case it
was Henry who presided at the parliament held at Westminster, 'outside
London,' in September 1399, and demanded that he should be declared king
on the ground of three claims which he set forth: First, by right of
conquest; second, by heirship; and third, by the resignation of Richard
in his favour, in presence of nobles, bishops, and citizens gathered in
the Tower. 'You shall be our king; we will have none other!' they cried,
and twice more Henry repeated the same question and received the same
answer. Then Henry sat himself on the throne covered with cloth of gold,
and the people stretched out their hands and swore fealty to him. Before
parliament separated, October 8 was fixed for the coronation.

At nine o'clock on the appointed day the royal procession left the
palace. The sword of justice was borne by Henry Percy earl of
Northumberland; the sword of the Church by the young prince of Wales;
while the earl of Westmoreland, marshal of England, carried the sceptre.
Seats had been erected in the Abbey for the nobles and clergy, and in
their midst was a raised platform, on which was a vacant chair draped
with cloth of gold. Henry walked up the steps and took possession of the
throne, while the archbishop turned to the four sides of the platform
and demanded if it was the wish of that assembly that Henry duke of
Lancaster should be crowned king. 'It is, it is!' they cried as before;
so Henry came down from the throne and walked to the High Altar, and the
crown of Edward the Confessor was put on his head, and he was anointed
in six places. Then deacon's robes were placed on him, signifying that
he would defend the Church, and the sword of justice was blessed, and
Henry IV. was proclaimed king.

In spite of the dark whispers that had been heard during the past year
as to the fate of Edward II., it is doubtful if Richard's life would not
have been spared but for the plot made by the earl of Salisbury for
assassinating Henry. The plot failed because Henry did not appear at the
tournament; but, nothing daunted, Salisbury persuaded a man named
Maudlin, who had a strong likeness to Richard, to personate the deposed
king, and sent word to Isabel that her husband was marching to rescue
her at the head of a large army. The queen, who knew by this time that
Henry had been proclaimed king of England, believed all that was told
her, and instantly left Sunning Hill, near Reading, where she had been
staying for some time, and joined the body of troops commanded by the
earl of Kent, nephew of Richard. Happy and excited, and full of hope,
she knew no fatigue; but her spirits fell a little as they drew near
Cirencester without either letter or message from her beloved husband.
Once inside the gates the mayor betrayed them to Henry, and, while Kent
and Salisbury were beheaded at once, Isabel was sent, strictly guarded,
to Havering-atte-Bower, not far from London. Here three French
attendants were all the company allowed her—a maid, a physician and
confessor, and her chamberlain; but these like the rest of her household
were forbidden to mention the late king; even the two gentlemen sent
over by Charles VI. to inquire into the condition of his daughter
received orders from Henry himself to keep silence on this subject,
though they were assured that Isabel would be kept in all the state
befitting a queen dowager. They found her at Havering surrounded by
Richard's relations, 'who honourably kept her company,' as Froissart
tells us. There were the duchess of Ireland, sister of lady de Coucy and
wife of Robert de Vere; the duchess of Gloucester, whose little son had
lately died on his voyage from Ireland, her daughters, and several other
ladies. Isabel looked up eagerly when the Sieur Charles de Labreth and
the Sieur de Hangiers were ushered in, and was about to question them
eagerly on the matter next her heart when M. de Labreth slightly shook
his head. Isabel had grown apt in reading signs. She understood, and the
brightness left her face; but she begged them to tell her all they knew
about her father and mother, her brothers and sisters, and what had
become of her old servants and friends who had returned to Paris. The
envoys, very ill at ease, feeling themselves surrounded by spies, did
not stay long, but rode back through London to Eltham, where they took
leave of Henry, who gave them fine jewels and fair words.

In the end that which was bound to happen did happen. At the first news
of the conspiracy of the earl of Salisbury, Richard had been hastily
removed from the Tower of London to Pontefract Castle, in Yorkshire, and
there, early in February 1400, he met his death. _How_ is not exactly
known: stories of all kinds went abroad, and, to make sure—a vain
precaution—that no pretenders should hereafter spring up, his body was
brought to London and carried in procession through the City. Four black
horses led by two grooms drew the open car, and, four knights in
mourning rode behind it. Slowly they travelled along Cheapside, while
twenty thousand people pressed around to gaze their last upon the
beautiful face of their dead king, who looked scarcely older than on the
day on which he had faced Wat Tyler. 'Some were moved to pity,' says
Froissart, 'but others declared that he had brought his fate on himself,
and felt no sorrow for him.' And the body passed on, unconscious alike
of friend or foe, till it lay for a while in the church of St. Paul's,
and then found rest at Langley.

In these days it is difficult to understand how no whisper of her
husband's death reached Isabel, but it was several weeks before Henry
allowed the fact to be broken to her. She had thought that she was
prepared for every misfortune and every grief that could befall her, but
at twelve one does not easily give up hope, and by the despair that took
possession of her the 'little queen' at last knew that she had expected
'something' might happen to bring them together again.

Considering all that had passed, it seems scarcely possible that Henry
IV. should have been so stupid as to think that he could bring about his
dearest wish and unite in marriage Henry prince of Wales with the young
queen dowager. His accession to the throne had been attended with so
little difficulty that he had ceased to reckon with opposition—he
remembered that prince Harry and Isabel had played together while he was
in exile, and forgot that he had usurped her husband's crown and
countenanced his murder. The horror with which Isabel rejected his first
proposals did not open his eyes to his folly, and during the two years
and a half that she remained in England he spared no effort to bend her
to his will. But Isabel was as determined as he, and in her refusal was
supported by the French council of regency—for at this time her father
was insane.

After much consideration and many messages passing between London and
Paris it was finally settled that Isabel should be restored to France
and allowed to live with her family. But in all these transactions the
meanness of Henry's nature came out. When we remember that Richard had
appropriated the revenues of the lands of Lancaster to defray the
expenses of the Irish expedition we may perhaps find some excuse for his
division of Isabel's jewels amongst his children (though a large number
of them had been given her in France); but he pretended that he had
ordered their return, which was plainly untrue, and declined to give her
and her attendants proper clothes for their journey. The French court
was far more indignant with his conduct than Isabel, who, still stricken
with grief and wearied with imprisonment, was longing to be back in her
own country. At the end of May Isabel set out from Havering with a great
train of ladies, the noblest in the land. They rode slowly, for the
roads were bad, and in the towns people crowded to see them and to
wonder at the beauty and sad face of the 'little queen,' whose six years
of sovereignty had held more of sorrow than the lifetime of many of
those who watched her. Through the green fields and past the country
houses at Tottenham and Hackney she went, till at length she reached the
Tower, and her cheeks grew white as she glanced at the great hall which
was the scene of Richard's abdication. Happy memories there were, too,
of her early married life, and of her progress through the City; but
these did not bear thinking about, and she hastily turned and spoke some
kindly words to the old countess of Hereford, who was behind her.

During the six weeks that Isabel remained in the Tower Henry renewed his
son's suit, and urged truly that nowhere would Isabel find a more
gallant husband. The prince of Wales, boy though he was, had always
admired and loved Isabel; 'there was no princess like her,' he thought,
'and now that she was free why should she not be queen of England
again?' And so she might have been had not the shadow of Richard lain
between them; once more she refused, though she liked the youth well,
and would have been content to know that years after she was dead he
would marry her sister Katherine. It was only on French soil that Isabel
parted with tears from her English ladies, to whom she gave as
remembrances the few jewels she had left. Then she was delivered by Sir
Thomas Percy to the count de St. Pol, who was waiting with a company of
high-born damsels sent to attend on her, and by him she was conducted to
the dukes of Burgundy and Bourbon, with an armed force at their back.

So the merry little girl of seven years old came home again, sad,
widowed, and penniless, for Henry had refused to restore her dowry or to
make her the customary allowance. This behaviour so enraged her uncle,
Louis duke of Orleans, that he is said to have challenged Henry to fight
a duel, but Henry had replied that no king ever fought with a subject,
even one of royal blood. Isabel herself cared little about the matter.
She found, on arriving in Paris, that things were changed very much for
the worse. Her father's fits of madness were more frequent and more
severe, her mother was more bent on pleasure, and her children were more
neglected than before. Isabel did what she could, we may be sure; but
the queen of France, though she omitted to perform her own duty, would
not suffer it to be done by other people; and Isabel, finding she could
be of little use, passed most of her time with her uncle, the duke of
Orleans, and his wife, Violante Visconti.


Now the duke of Orleans had a son, Charles, three years younger than the
'queen of England,' and it was his cherished plan to marry him to his
niece. The two cousins had much in common; they both loved music, and
old romances, and songs, and Charles had already begun to write some of
those poems that sound sweet in our ears to-day. Of course the boy was
too young for a marriage to be spoken of at present, but after a while
it became understood that the ceremony of betrothal would shortly take
place. Isabel had not given her consent (in those times that counted for
little) without a long struggle. The memory of Richard was still green
in her heart, but she was alone in the world. Nobody wanted her except
her uncle and aunt, and her friend Charles. Oh yes! and one other, but
she would not think of him. Charles was her friend, and in a way she
loved him; so, to his great joy, she promised to be his wife, and when
she burst into tears during the magnificent ceremony of betrothal he
imagined that she was tired with all the feasting, and he led her away
to rest and read her the little song he had written all about

A year after the betrothal the duke of Orleans was stabbed by the duke
of Burgundy in the streets of Paris. No notice was taken of the murder,
so Isabel and her mother-in-law dressed themselves in deep mourning and,
mounting in front of the carriage, which was drawn by white horses with
black housings, they drove weeping to the Hôtel de St. Pol, where the
king was, followed by a long train of servants and attendants. But
Charles was in no state to settle these questions, for any excitement
only brought on a paroxysm. The duke's murder remained unavenged, and a
year afterwards his widow died, deeply mourned by her son and by Isabel,
to whom in the last years she had been a true mother.

It was only in 1408 that Isabel was really married to her cousin, and
the one year that was left to her to live was a very happy one. If she
had not forgotten Richard, Charles had grown to be part of herself, and
once more she was heard to laugh and jest as of old. But in September
1409 a little daughter was born, and in a few hours after the mother lay
dead with her baby beside her. At first it was thought her husband would
die too, so frantic was his grief, as the poems in which he poured out
his heart bear witness. But after a while he roused himself to care for
the child, and later to fight for his country, and was taken prisoner at
Agincourt by Isabel's old suitor, Henry V. Orleans was brought to
England, and in the Tower, where he was imprisoned for twenty-three
years, he had ample time to think about his lost wife—of her life in
that very Tower, of her body resting quietly in the abbey of St. Lammer
at Blois. It lay in the abbey for over two hundred years, and was found,
in the reign of Louis XIII., perfect as in life, the linen clothes
having been wrapped in quicksilver. By this time the Valois had passed
away from the throne of France, and their cousins the Bourbons reigned
in their stead, and by them Isabel's body was reverently brought from
Blois and laid in the sepulchre of the dukes of Orleans.


AND what became of the Ladies Blanche and Philippa, the playmates of the
'Little Queen'? Well, Blanche's life was, unlike that of her friend, a
very happy one; but she and the 'Little Queen' died, strange to say, in
the same year, leaving behind a son and a daughter. Philippa lived many
years longer, but she had no children, and her husband was restless and
quarrelsome, and always at war with his neighbours; and Philippa had
often to govern the kingdom in his absence, and ruled a great deal
better than he did himself. But this all happened 'by-and-by,' and we
must begin at the beginning.


Towards the end of Edward III.'s reign there died Humphrey de Bohun, the
great earl of Hereford, leaving a widow and two daughters. These little
girls, whose names were Eleanor and Mary, were the richest heiresses in
England, and many greedy eyes were cast upon them and the vast estates
which they were to share. Mary was a mere baby at her father's death,
and Eleanor only a few years older, so for a while they lived quietly at
home with their mother; but as soon as Eleanor was old enough to marry,
the king's youngest son, Thomas of Woodstock, then earl of Buckingham,
and later duke of Gloucester, came forward as a wooer. His offer was
accepted by the countess of Hereford, and after the ceremony was
completed he took his young bride to Pleshy in Essex, one of her own
estates. Mary remained with her mother, under the care of John of Gaunt,
duke of Lancaster, who was her guardian.

Now, rich though he had become through his marriage, the earl of
Buckingham was not content, and longed to become richer still and more
powerful than either of his elder brothers, Lancaster and York. So,
under pretext that he was frequently obliged to be away at the wars, and
that his wife was very lonely during his absence, he prevailed on the
duke of Lancaster to allow Mary de Bohun (at this time about eleven
years old) to come to Pleshy and keep her sister company. Once at
Pleshy, Buckingham believed that his persuasive tongue would easily turn
the girl's thoughts to a religious life,—for she was quiet and gentle,
and liked music and books better than tournaments and dances,—and when
she had become a nun, her money and lands would go to him and his
children. Thus he plotted in his secret heart, for he was too wary to
take any man into his confidence; but he constantly sent for the nuns
from the convent of St. Clare 'to attend her and tutor her in matters of
religion, continually blaming the married state.' Great, we may feel
sure, was his delight when he saw that 'the young lady seemed to incline
to their doctrine, and thought not of marriage.'

Careful as was the earl to hide his plans, whispers got abroad as to the
frequent visits of the nuns to Pleshy, and reached the ears of the duke
of Lancaster. It happened that Lancaster also had a son, a handsome and
promising youth, called Henry of Bolingbroke, earl of Derby, and, says
Froissart, 'the duke had for some time considered that he could not
choose a more desirable wife for him than the lady who was intended for
a nun, as her estates were very large and her birth suitable to any
rank; but he did not take any steps in the matter till his brother of
Buckingham had set out on his expedition to France. When Buckingham had
crossed the sea, the duke of Lancaster had the young lady conducted to
Arundel castle, for the aunt of the two heiresses was the sister of
Richard, earl of Arundel. At the desire of the duke of Lancaster, and
for the advancement of her niece, this lady went to Pleshy, where she
remained with the countess of Buckingham and her sister fifteen days. On
her departure, she managed so well that she carried the lady Mary with
her to Arundel, where the betrothal between her and Henry took place.'
'The earl of Buckingham,' ends the chronicler, 'felt no desire to laugh
when he heard these tidings; and when he learned that his brothers had
all been concerned in this affair he became melancholy, and never after
loved the duke of Lancaster, as he had hitherto done.'

We do not know exactly what Eleanor thought about it all. Most likely
she was delighted that her beautiful young sister should get a husband
whom she could love, though she was too much afraid of the earl of
Buckingham to approve openly. The bride went back at once to her mother,
and a large sum was allowed by her guardian for her expenses, though
Mary cared but little for the fine clothes and extra servants that were
given her, and busied herself with her books and music as before. If she
wanted amusement, were there not the minstrels and _jongleurs_, singers
and dancers, whom young king Richard had brought over from France; and
could she wish anything better than to sit and listen to their songs,
while she sat close to the window to get light for her embroidery?

As Mary's fourteenth birthday approached, an ever-increasing stir might
be noticed in the castle. Travelling merchants drew up in the courtyard,
accompanied by pack-horses laden with rare silks and velvets and laces.
These were carried into lady Derby's bower, and she and her mother spent
hours in fingering the stuffs and determining which to take and which to
leave. Jewellers too rode down from London, with an escort of armed
servants, for highwaymen were much to be dreaded on the lonely heaths;
and then at last came the journey to Arundel, where Henry was waiting
for Mary; and her wedding day drew near.

Unlike some of the marriages common in those times, as well as these,
this wedding was not merely a matter of riches on one side and high rank
on the other. Henry and Mary loved each other dearly, and nothing ever
came between them. Mary was always ready to be pleased with everything
and everybody, and made friends at once with her sisters-in-law:
Philippa, two years older than herself, and by-and-by to be queen of
Portugal; and Elizabeth, about her own age, who soon after married the
earl of Huntingdon, half-brother of the king. The chapel of Arundel must
have been a fair sight during the ceremony, with all the gallant young
nobles and their youthful wives, and no handsomer pair was present than
king Richard with his queen, Anne of Bohemia, now a bride of two years'
standing. Knowing Mary de Bohun's passionate love of music, Richard had
brought his court minstrels with him, and sweetly they sang through the
banquet which followed the marriage. And never once did the bride's
thoughts stray back to the nuns of St. Clare, or her heart 'blame the
marriage state.'

When the rejoicings were over, the earl and countess of Derby bade their
friends farewell, and journeyed down to the hilly west country, to their
home in Monmouth castle, where the little river Monmow flows into the
Wye. Mary would gladly have stayed there for ever, but soon Henry was
called away to fight, and her mother came to keep her company. In a
little while she had another companion also, who took up all her time
and attention, her baby, Henry of Monmouth, afterwards Henry V. Thus the
years came and went, and the earl of Derby was sometimes at home, but
more often travelling. At one moment he joined the band of Teutonic
knights who were fighting some pagan tribes on the south-east coasts of
the Baltic, with the hope of converting them. Then he sailed for
Morocco, and later visited Austria, and altogether he must have had many
interesting adventures to tell his wife whenever he returned to England.
Meanwhile four little boys were growing up under their mother's care,
and in 1392 his eldest daughter was born in Peterborough, where lady
Derby was then living, and was christened Blanche after her grandmother.
More than a year later Blanche had a little sister to play with, and to
her was given the name of Philippa, after the Queen of Edward III.

Henry of Monmouth, the eldest of the six children, was only seven years
old when, in 1395, his mother died after a short illness, and the
countess of Hereford took her place. Lady Hereford was a very different
woman from Mary, and thought that children should be kept at a distance,
so, though she meant to be kind to them, they missed their mother
deeply. Mary had never been too busy to listen to them, or to play with
them, or to sing them old songs, but now everyone was in too much of a
hurry to pay them any attention. Soon they were removed into
Lincolnshire, and shortly afterwards Henry, whom the rest considered a
man and full of wisdom, was sent to Leicester, and little John to his
kinswoman the lady Margaret Plantagenet.

In this manner things continued for a year, and when the day of their
mother's death came round again, the countess of Hereford ordered fresh
suits of deep mourning to be prepared for herself and her little
granddaughters, and set forth with a train of servants to the Abbey at
Leicester, where Mary de Bohun was buried. Blanche and Philippa, who
were now only three and four, had forgotten what their mother was like,
and the long hours passed kneeling in the black-hung chapel must have
seemed endless to them, and very trying to their poor little backs; but
they were delighted to see Henry again and to watch the twenty-four poor
women, who each received a warm black cloak, in memory of the dead lady
who was twenty-four when she died. And they hung about Henry and admired
him, while he on his part told them how much he had learned since he
last saw them, and bade them take heed to their lessons, and learn
courtly ways and manners. Then they returned to Bytham, and the next
morning, when they looked round for their dark dresses, they had
vanished, and instead gay scarlet frocks edged with green lay in their
place. If they went out to walk in the stately garden, or accompanied
their grandmother on a visit to some neighbour in the big stuffy coach,
they were wrapped up in hoods and cloaks to match if the weather was
cold, while on the occasions that a great lord or noble lady spent a few
days at Bytham cloth of gold and ermine capes were put on their small
figures, and golden coronets upon their heads, in case they should be
summoned into the hall to pay their respects. A few months after their
journey to Leicester their grandmother considered it was time that they
should each be given special attendants, and sometimes even a house of
their own. One would have thought that with the number of servants
already in the castle two or three nurses and governesses would have
been enough for little girls of three or four, but children in those
times were treated very differently. The ladies Blanche and Philippa had
cooks and scullions, pages and waiting-maids, and a steward called John
Green, who kept all the servants in order. They also had a
head-governess, and a knight of the chamber, named Sir Hugh Waterton, in
whom their father placed absolute trust. Indeed they were sent to pass a
whole year in his house at Eton, which must have been very large if it
was able to hold all his servants as well as theirs, and when they left
they paid some visits to their relations, before joining their father in
his beautiful home at Bishopsgate, on the outskirts of London. Rich
people changed their houses very often then, for though they were rich
they were not clean, and the houses became unhealthy.

In spite of his long absences, the earl of Derby had always been very
fond of his children, and Blanche and Philippa were enchanted to go and
live with him again, and to watch their two eldest brothers, Henry and
Thomas, taking their daily riding lessons, while their father, who next
to king Richard was the best horseman of the day, corrected their
faults. How Philippa longed to have a pony too, and to jump the
barricades with them. She was sure _she_ would not fall off any more
than Thomas did—why should she? Of course Henry was different, she
could never sit as _he_ did; why, he did not _move_ when Black Roland
gave that plunge! but her father said she was too little and must wait
awhile, and wait she did. But when Blanche was married, and Philippa,
though only nine, was, 'the first Lady of England,' what a store of
horses and saddles and housings her stables could show!

Whatever attention was paid to their manners, neither Blanche nor
Philippa seems to have learnt anything, though it is very certain that
had their mother lived she would have taught them as she had taught
Henry. But when the 'Little Queen' came to Court, and people talked of
the songs she knew, and the tales she had by heart, and the poetry she
could repeat, the earl of Derby felt ashamed of the ignorance of his own
little girls. So he ordered some alphabets for them, and very costly
they were, for there was no printing then, and books were all written
and copied mostly by the monks, who often put beautiful pictures in
them. The children were both clever, and anxious to imitate the queen,
to whom they paid frequent visits, and as _she_ could dance and play the
lute, of course _they_ must do so too. But it was more difficult for
Blanche to do her lessons than her sister, as she was constantly sent
for by her father to be present at some banquet to his friends, and
though she was no more than six, the child knew how to behave like a
grown-up woman, and never showed when she was tired or bored.

But all this came to an end a few months later, when the King suddenly
banished the earl of Derby for ten years, just after he had created his
cousin duke of Hereford. At Richard's wish, the little girls and their
brother Henry, now an undergraduate of Queen's College, Oxford, were
sent to Windsor Castle, to be brought up with queen Isabel. The king was
always fond of children, and treated them all kindly, Henry in
particular. And Henry never forgot this, and one of his first acts after
succeeding to the throne was to bring Richard's body up from its
resting-place at Langley, and bury it with honours in Westminster Abbey.


After Richard II. had abdicated and died, and Henry, now duke of
Lancaster, was crowned as king Henry IV., the princess Blanche was
forced by her father to take her mother's place entirely. It was she of
whom the knights had to ask leave before fighting in a tournament, and
it was she who gave the prize to the victor. How glad Blanche felt for
the months she had passed by the side of the 'Little Queen', when she
had learned from her how such things ought to be done! And Blanche's
thoughts would go back to her former playfellow, and all the troubles
she was passing through, and tears of sorrow would fill her eyes, for
the princess was always faithful and loving to her friends.


It was early in 1401 that the emperor sent over messengers from Germany
to ask for the hand of the princess Blanche for his son Lewis. Henry IV.
had just returned from fighting some Welsh rebels, and he would much
have liked to have kept his little girl with him for a few years longer;
but the marriage pleased him, and he readily gave his consent. In
general, as we know, the bride was suffered to remain at home for some
time after the ceremony of betrothal, but the emperor desired that
Blanche should come over at once to her new country, so she was bidden
to begin her preparations as soon as possible.

The two little sisters were very sad when they heard their father's
decision. They had never been separated in their lives, and how strange
and dreadful it would feel not to be able to talk together about all
that interested them! Of course they knew they would be married 'some
day,' but 'some day' is always a long way off, and meantime there were
journeys and tournaments and music, and all manner of delightful things
in the world, especially horses.

'Oh, you _must_ give a prize to that grey horse!' Philippa would whisper
in Blanche's ear, as she sat by her side at the lists at a tourney.

'But how can I,' asked Blanche, 'if the knight that rides him is not the

'Oh, he _must_ be when he has a horse like that,' Philippa would answer.
Then the trumpet would sound, and the eyes of both children would be
fixed on the field. _Now_ it was Philippa whose lot it would be to give
the prize, and Blanche would be far away amongst strangers.

The young leaves were out, and the 'ways and the woods smelt sweet,'
when the day of parting actually came. 'They say the lord Lewis is good
and kind, and has many books and a number of minstrels about him,'
observed Philippa, who always tried to make the best of things. 'You
will write and tell me what he is like, and about your palace, and your
wedding. Oh, and you will promise to be married in the dress of cloth of
gold that you bought from master Richard Whittington, who had the black
cat which made his fortune? It is so much, much more beautiful than any
of the rest!' Then good-bye was said, and Blanche began her journey with
the household that her father had formed for her. The countess of
Salisbury was her lady-in-waiting, and Henry could not have made a
better choice. Blanche's old friend John Green was to go too, and the
child's heavy heart grew a little lighter as she remembered that here
was someone who knew all about her, and who could talk of Philippa and
her brothers as well as she could herself. And besides the servants and
attendants of every degree, her uncle the duke of Somerset was in charge
of the party, together with the bishop of Worcester, who was to perform
the marriage.

It was high summer before Blanche reached Cologne, for travelling was
slow in those days, and many times she stopped to rest and to receive
guests who came to give their homage to the daughter-in-law of the
emperor. But at length the town was in sight, and a halt was called, so
that Blanche might be gaily dressed in one of her grand new dresses,
while her golden coronet was placed upon her flowing hair and her collar
of pearls was hung round her neck. Then she mounted the white horse with
silver trappings which had been sent expressly for her, and wondered as
she did so what Philippa would have thought of him. The emperor was not
present at Cologne, for business had kept him elsewhere, but his son
Lewis, the bridegroom, was awaiting her at the gate, with an escort of
nobles behind him. He looked, as Philippa had said, good and kind and
very pleased to see her, and that was all that Blanche cared for, as,
unlike queen Isabel, she had no wish to be 'a great lady.' But her
attendants felt that a slight had been put on their king and their
country, and murmured among themselves at the emperor's absence. However
they were wise enough to hold their peace in the presence of the
Germans, and not to mar the wedding festivities with cross faces. And
Blanche was married three days later in Dick Whittington's famous gold
brocade, and once more she gave away the prizes at a tourney.

Perhaps the feelings of the English might have been soothed if they had
seen the welcome given their princess by the emperor in his palace of
Heidelberg, and his admiration of her beauty. She touched his heart by
her modesty and unselfishness, and he felt he had done well in choosing
his son's wife. Blanche was grateful for his kindness, and soon loved
him and her husband dearly, while she was never tired of standing at the
windows of the castle, whose ruins you may see to-day, looking over the
broad Rhine and the vine-clad mountains. Here she had more time for
reading, too, as there were no great Court ceremonies that needed her
presence, and her husband would tell her tales of bygone emperors, and
teach her how to speak his native tongue, which she found much more
difficult than French.

'How _can_ I remember all those different endings?' she cried, 'and by
the time I come to the verb, I have quite forgotten what I was going to
say! and Lewis—who bade her call him 'Ludwig'—would laugh, and relate
to her the brave deeds of Henry the Fowler, or recite some verses of the
'Lay of the Nibelungs,' till Blanche would stop her ears at the
cruelties of Brunhilda and Chriemhild. Or if the days were fine the
husband and wife would go out together, and visit some church or
citizen's house that was being built, and Lewis, who had much skill in
these things, would show Blanche the wonderful carving or bid her mark
the fine proportions of the architecture. Blanche—the 'electoral
princess'—would have liked to stay in Heidelberg, but after awhile she
was obliged to leave Cologne to go to Alsace, and preside over a Court
again. She always did what came in her way pleasantly and graciously,
but she was very sorry to give up her happy life, with its books and
music and church-building, and pass her time in public ceremonies, even
though the little Court of Alsace was much quieter and more homely than
that of either Richard II. or her own father. But the climate did not
agree with her, and as she grew older she also grew more delicate. This
she managed to conceal from her husband who was busy with many things,
fearing to distress him, and she kept gay words and a smile for everyone
as long as she possibly could. But at length she grew too weak to ride
or walk, and by-and-by lay amongst pillows at her window gazing at the
mountains, and now and then saying a word to her husband, who never left
her when he could help it.

One day, early in May, when the birds were singing and the streams
gurgling, he returned from a long journey to find Blanche lying with a
little son beside her and a look of rapture on her face.

'Ah, you will get better now!' he cried joyfully, noting the happiness
in her eyes; but she said nothing, only kissed his hand, and drew it
towards the baby. And she was right: from that moment she grew worse,
and a few days later she was dead, leaving this one child behind her.
Hardly sixteen! yet how well and nobly she had filled the place and done
the duties that had been given her!


The news of Blanche's death was a terrible grief to her father in
England, and to her sister Philippa, who had been for nearly three years
queen of Denmark. It was not that they ever saw her—perhaps they never
would—but they felt she was _there_, thinking about them and caring for
them; and what joyful days those were when a special courier or
travelling knight brought them letters from her! Yet as she read with
streaming eyes what her brother-in-law, 'the lord Lewis,' had written,
Philippa's heart ached for herself, as well as for the dead girl.
Blanche's life at least had been happy from first to last, but to
Philippa some bad days had already come, and others were casting shadows
before them.

Except for parting from Blanche, Philippa had also had a happy
childhood, and she being very lively and full of plans, nobody ever felt
dull in her presence. No sooner had Blanche set out on her journey to
Cologne than Henry was obliged to go into Wales, and he left Philippa
and her second brother, John, duke of Bedford, together with the
children of the late earl of March, under the care of Sir Hugh Waterton
at Berkhamstead Castle. It was summer, and the pretty Hertfordshire
commons were golden with gorse and sweet with bushes of wild roses and
honeysuckle, and, strictly guarded though they were, Philippa and the
rest had many a merry gallop over the grass, for her love of horses had
become a passion with her. Sometimes, when they were tired of playing,
she and John used to walk soberly up and down the alleys in the castle
garden, talking of their new stepmother—for even before the departure
of Blanche Henry had been married 'by proxy' to the widowed duchess of
Bretagne, Jane of Navarre.

'She _sounded_ kind in the letter she wrote,' said Philippa in a
doubtful tone, 'and if Blanche had been here I should not have been
afraid. But suppose she should be like the stepmothers in the nursery
tales, and send me down into the kitchen to do scullion's work!'

'And do you think the king would not miss you and bring you back?' asked
John mockingly. 'Oh, Philippa, what nonsense you talk, and what a bad
scullion you would make!' and they both laughed, and Philippa's tears,
which had been very near her eyes, went back to their proper place.
'Besides,' continued John, 'remember that she will not be here for many
months yet, and during all that time _you_ will have to take Blanche's
place, and preside at the pageants and tourneys. And then, when she
_does_ come, she will bring her daughters, the ladies Blanche and
Marguérite, with her.'

'Just like the nursery tales,' thought Philippa to herself; but before
she could say more the little Mortimers ran up to say that the sun was
now sinking, and they could have a game of hoodman blind without getting
too hot. And in chasing her cousins all over the garden Philippa forgot
the terrors of a stepmother.

She need not, however, have been afraid. When queen Jane and her
daughters arrived at Winchester, wearied with their long, cold, and
muddy ride all the way from Falmouth, their hearts warmed to the
handsome, bright-faced child standing a little behind her father in the
hall of the castle. Philippa's own fears melted away like snow as she
saw how pale and tired they all looked, and with genuine kindness (mixed
perhaps with a feeling of importance) she ordered hot possets to be
brought instantly to warm them, and begged them to be seated in the
great chimney-place till supper was ready.

Though her new subjects never forgave queen Jane for having a large
train of French people ever about her, which was foolish and ill-judged
on her part, she always showed great wisdom in her dealings with her
husband's daughter. She knew that, owing to her mother's early death and
her sister's marriage, Philippa had had a great deal more liberty than
most princesses of her age, and that it would be very hard for her to be
banished from court festivities, or to remain in the background like her
own little girls. Perhaps she, too, had read some of the nursery tales,
which are the same all over the world, and remembered about cruel
stepmothers and ill-treated stepdaughters; but at any rate, as far as
possible, she left Philippa alone, and the child saw this and was
grateful. She was quite content with her life and her playfellows, and
tried to forget the marriage which had been arranged for her at
Berkhamstead, and which threatened to put an end to it all!

While they had been living in Hertfordshire an embassy had arrived from
Margaret, queen of Norway, Sweden, and Denmark, seeking a wife for Eric,
her great-nephew and successor. Considering that it was only six years
since the three kingdoms had been united in one, and that Eric,
changeable, weak and hasty, showed small signs of following in his
aunt's footsteps, and being able to hold the kingdom together, we cannot
help wondering why Henry did not refuse Margaret's offer and wait for a
better match. But, curiously enough, he seemed quite satisfied, and only
stipulated that three years should pass before the contract was
fulfilled. Philippa breathed a sigh of thankfulness. There was so little
traffic with the North in those days that it seemed strange and far
away; and besides, she was very happy as she was, and did not want to be
married at all. But three years! Oh, that was an eternity! and as at
present the marriage only meant, as far as she was concerned, the title
of 'Queen of Denmark' and an establishment of her own, with as many
horses as she could wish for, she enjoyed the pleasures she had, and
shut her eyes to the price that must be paid for them. By-and-by there
came the moment when her trousseau had to be got ready, but Philippa
took far more heed of the housings and trappings of her horses, and of
the cushions for her coaches, than of her own gowns, which queen Jane,
whose taste was not bound down by strict fashion, ordered after her own
fancy. In those days court dresses were embroidered with precious
stones, and cost immense sums, and Philippa's wedding dress of cloth of
gold, with the stomacher of pearls, cost the enormous sum of 250_l._ She
was surprised and delighted when she saw it, and only wished Blanche
could see it too, for she _thought_, though she was not quite sure, that
it was even finer than the gold brocade of Master Whittington.

All these things and a great many more having been prepared for her
benefit, Philippa set out to pay some farewell visits to the friends and
relations she was never likely to see again. Between each visit she went
back to her father at Eltham, for she wished to spend as much time as
possible with him and the queen, who was now very lonely, as her own two
daughters had returned to Brittany. Philippa's very last visit was to
the bishop of Durham, and after that was ended the king and his four
sons, together with the Swedish ambassadors who had been sent to escort
the bride, took her to Lynn in Norfolk. From here, says the chronicler
Stow, 'in the month of May, 1406, dame Philip, the youngest daughter of
king Henry, accompanied by divers lords spiritual and temporal, was
shipped to the North and so conveyed to Denmark, where she was married
to the king of that country in a city called London.' The vessel in
which Philippa sailed was, of course, very different from anything _we_
can imagine, and even when fitted up for a princess must have been very
uncomfortable. It was the largest in the English navy, but would have
looked very small in our eyes, and must have rolled terribly. The
admiral of the North Sea was in command, and he placed on board some of
the unwieldy cannon then used, in case pirates or foreign ships should
be met with; but no mishap of any sort occurred, and Philippa landed
safe in Sweden, where queen Margaret and the young king Eric gave her a
hearty welcome. After a short rest they journeyed to Lund (or 'London'
as Stow calls it), the old Swedish Capital in the very south of the
country, where Philippa's marriage and her coronation took place.

From the day that Philippa set foot on board the vessel she left her
childhood behind her. She felt that she was going, alone and for ever,
to a land of which she knew nothing, with a language and customs
entirely strange to her. It was enough to make a brave man sad, and
Philippa was barely thirteen, yet she dared not show her grief or her
fears for the sake of her father and brothers who were watching her
anxiously. So she smiled and chattered up to the very last moment, and
then came a storm of tears, as she clung silently to one after the
other. However, she had contrived to banish all traces of sorrow by the
time she reached Sweden, and queen Margaret saw with pleasure the good
sense and dignity which marked her behaviour. A girl who cared only for
amusement would have been a bad wife for the young king, and have
encouraged him to be more idle than he was already. But Philippa, she
was sure, was made of different stuff, and would some day walk in her
own footsteps—if only she was sensible and would listen to her counsel!
Philippa _did_ listen, and it speaks highly for her that, though for the
last five years she had been suffered to do very much as she liked, and
had lived more with horses than with books, she now, by the queen's
wish, went meekly back to her lessons, and spent several hours a day in
learning the history and Sagas (old stories) and languages of the three
countries over which she was now queen. Margaret herself, queen of all
three kingdoms, taught her the special laws and customs of each, and
Philippa, to her surprise and delight, took an interest in everything,
and tried with all her might to do the things that Eric her husband left
undone—which were many. Very soon the people came to know this, and
they thanked her in their hearts and loved her dearly.

So matters went on for six years, and though Philippa was not very happy
with her husband, and had no children to comfort her, there was always
queen Margaret to go to for help, and consolation. But in 1412 Margaret
died, and then Philippa felt lonely indeed. However, she still strove to
help her subjects, and had more power than most queens, because the king
was always fighting with his neighbours, and left her to rule as she
thought best. When her cares pressed heavily she used to go for a
holiday to a Swedish convent, and there got strength to carry on her
work. And thus, in harness, she died in 1430 at the age of thirty-seven;
and nine years later king Eric, who had at last wearied out the patience
of his people, was driven from the throne.


'WHAT reign in English history do you like best to read about?'

I think that if you were to put this question to twenty children you
would get the same answer from at least fifteen.

'Oh, Queen Elizabeth's, _of course_!' And in many ways they would be
quite right. After the long struggle of the Wars of the Roses, which
had, a hundred years before, exhausted the country, the people were
losing the feeling of uncertainty and anxiety that had possessed them
for so many years, and were eager to see the world and to make new paths
in many directions. The young men were so daring and gallant, so sure of
their right to capture any ship laden with treasure they might meet on
the high seas, so convinced that all other nations—and Spaniards in
particular—which attacked _them_, were nothing but pirates and
freebooters, whose fit end was 'walking the plank' into the sea, or
being 'strung up on the yard arm,' that, as we read their stories, we
begin to believe it too! And when we leave Drake and Frobisher and the
rest behind, and turn to sir Walter Raleigh throwing down his cloak in
the mud for the queen to tread on, and the dying sir Philip Sidney, on
the field of Zutphen, refusing the water he so much needed because the
wounded soldier beside him needed it still more, we think that, after
all, those days were really better than these, and life more exciting.
If, too, we should chance to love books better than tales of war, we
shall meet with our old friends again in the beautiful songs that almost
every gentleman of those times seemed able to make—Sidney, and Raleigh,
and many another knight, as well as Shakespeare, and Marlowe, and Ben
Jonson. The short velvet tunics and the small feathered hats, which was
the ordinary dress of the young men of the period, set off, as we see in
their portraits, the tall spare figures and faces with carefully trimmed
pointed beards of the courtiers who thronged about the queen. While the
head and crown of them all, restless, energetic, courageous as any man
among them, was Elizabeth herself.

Yes, there is a great deal to be said for the children's choice.


But perhaps you would like to hear something of the life the queen led
before she ascended the throne, which was not until she was twenty-five.
As, no doubt, you all know, Henry VIII. had put away his wife Katharine
of Aragon, aunt of the emperor Charles V., in order to marry the
beautiful maid of honour Anne Boleyn; and his daughter Mary had shared
her mother's fate. It was all very cruel and unjust—and in their hearts
every one felt it to be so; but Henry managed to get his own way, and in
January, 1533, made Anne Boleyn his wife.

It was on September 7, in that same year, that Elizabeth was born in the
palace of Greenwich, in a room that was known as the 'Chamber of the
Virgins,' from the stories told on the tapestries that covered the
walls. The king was greatly disappointed that the baby did not prove to
be a boy, but as that could not be helped he determined to make the
christening as splendid as possible. So, as it was customary that the
ceremony should take place a very few days after the child's birth, all
the royal secretaries and officers of state were busy from morning till
night, writing letters and sending out messengers to bid the king's
guests assemble at the palace on the afternoon of September 10, to
attend 'the high and mighty princess' to the convent of the Grey Friars,
where she was to be given the name of her grandmother, Elizabeth of


At one o'clock the lord mayor and aldermen and city council dined
together, in their robes of state; but the dinner did not last as long
as usual, as the barges which were to row them to Greenwich were moored
by the river bank, and they knew Henry too well to keep him waiting. The
palace and courtyard were crowded with people when they arrived, and a
few minutes later the procession was formed. Bishops wore their mitres
and grasped their pastoral staffs, nobles were clad in long robes of
velvet and fur, while coronets circled their heads. Each took his place
according to his rank, and when the baby appeared in the arms of the old
duchess of Norfolk, with a canopy over her head and her train carried
behind her, the procession set forth, the earl of Essex going first,
holding the gilt basin, followed by the marquis of Exeter and the
marquis of Dorset bearing the taper and the salt, while to lady Mary
Howard was entrusted the chrisom containing the holy oil. In this order
the splendid company passed down the road which led from the palace and
the convent, between walls hung with tapestry and over a carpet of
thickly-strewn rushes.


But in spite of the grandeur of Henry's preparations, the godparents of
the baby were neither kings nor queens, but only Cranmer, the newly-made
archbishop of Canterbury, the old duchess of Norfolk, and lady Dorset.
Henry knew full well that it would have been vain to invite any of the
sovereigns of Europe to stand as sponsors to his second daughter: they
were all too deeply offended at his divorce from Katharine of Aragon and
at the quarrel with the Pope. He did not, however, vex himself in the
matter, and took pleasure in seeing that the ceremony was as magnificent
as if the child had had a royal princess for a mother, instead of the
daughter of a mere country gentleman. At the close of the service the
Garter King-at-Arms advanced to the steps of the altar, and facing the
assembled congregation cried with a loud voice: 'God of His infinite
goodness send a prosperous life and long to the high and mighty Princess
Elizabeth of England.' Then a blast of trumpets sounded through the air,
and the first act of little Elizabeth's public existence began among the
noise and glitter that she loved to the end.

By this time it was growing dark, and everybody was hungry. As the
church was not very far from the palace, it might have been expected
that the company would return there and sit down to a great banquet; but
this was not Henry's plan. Instead, he had ordered that wafers, comfits
and various kinds of light cakes should be handed round in church, with
goblets full of hypocras to wash them down. When this was over, and the
christening presents given, the procession re-formed in the same order,
and lighted by five hundred torches set out for the palace by the river
side, where their barges were awaiting them.


For three months the baby was left with her mother at Greenwich, under
the care of her godmother, the duchess of Norfolk, and lady Bryan,
kinswoman to Anne Boleyn, who had brought up princess Mary. After that
she was taken to Hatfield, in Hertfordshire, and then moved to the
country palace of the bishop of Winchester, in the little village of
Chelsea. The bishop's consent does not seem to have been asked, for the
king never troubled himself to inquire whether the owners of these
houses cared to be invaded by a vast number of strangers. If _he_ wished
it, that was enough, and the poor bishop had to give up his own
business, and spend all his time in making arrangements for the heiress
of England—for so she was now declared to be—the rights of Mary being
set aside. Right glad must he have been when the king's restless temper
removed the baby again into Hertfordshire, to a house at Langley, and
sought to provide her with a husband. The prince chosen, first of a long
line of suitors, was Charles duke of Orleans, the third son of Francis
I. of France. The match was in some ways a good one; but Henry wanted so
many things which the French king could not grant that the plan had to
be given up. In any case it could hardly have come to pass, as the boy
died before his bride had reached her twelfth birthday.


Having contrived to get rid of one wife when he was tired of her, Henry
saw no reason why he should not dispose of his second for the same
cause. Therefore, when he took a fancy to wed Jane Seymour, maid of
honour to Anne, he thought no shame to accuse the queen of all sorts of
crimes. One day the booming of the Tower guns told that the Traitors'
gate leading down to the Thames had been opened, and Anne, whose life
had been passed in pleasure and gaiety, stepped out of the barge; the
laughter had died out of her eyes and the colour from her face. Well she
knew the fate that awaited her, and in her heart she felt it was just.
Had she not in like manner supplanted queen Katharine, and thrust her
and her daughter from their rightful place? Thus she may have thought as
her guards led her to her cell, from which she walked on May 19 to the
scaffold on Tower Hill.


'The young lady,' says Thomas Heywood, 'lost a mother before she could
do any more but smile upon her.' But ten days later her vacant throne
was filled by Jane Seymour, whose brothers, Edward earl of Hertford and
sir Thomas Seymour, were constantly seen at Court. Elizabeth, no longer
heiress of the crown, had been sent down to Hunsdon, in Hertfordshire,
under the care of lady Bryan and her kinsman Shelton, and here she was
left, forgotten by everyone, and without any money being allowed for her
support. As for clothes, she had really none, 'neither gown, nor
petticoat, nor no manner of linen, nor kerchiefs, nor rails (or
nightgowns), nor sleeves, nor many other things needed for a child of
nearly three years old.' Neither, according to the rest of lady Bryan's
letter to the king's minister, Thomas Cromwell, does she seem to have
been provided with proper food. Lady Bryan evidently did not get on well
with master Shelton, who shared her charge, and complains that he knows
nothing about children, and wished Elizabeth to dine and sup every day
with the rest of the household, and that 'it would be hard to restrain
her grace from divers meats and fruits and wines that she would see on
the table.' No doubt it was hard, for Elizabeth was always rather
greedy, and set much store by what she ate and drank. Just at this time,
too, simple food was specially necessary for her, as she had 'great pain
with her great teeth which come very slowly forth'; and most likely she
was rather cross and fretful, as children are apt to be when they have
toothache; so lady Bryan is sorry for her, and 'suffers her grace to
have her will,' more than she would give her at other times. But when
her teeth are 'well graft,' or cut, her governess trusts to God 'to have
her grace after another fashion than she is yet, for she is as toward
(or clever) a child and as gentle of conditions as ever I saw in my

It was not only lady Bryan whose soul was filled with pity at the
forlorn situation of the little girl, whose birth had been made the
occasion of such rejoicings. Her sister, princess Mary, now restored to
favour, also entreated the king on her behalf, but we are not told if
their letters produced the changes prayed for.


One day in October, 1537, when Elizabeth was just four and Mary about
twenty-one, a messenger rode up to the house at Hunsdon, clad in the
king's livery, and craved permission to deliver a letter to the
princess. He was shown into the hall, and there, in a few moments, the
two sisters appeared. Bowing low before them, the man held out the
folded paper, bound with a silken thread and sealed with the royal arms
of England. Mary took it, guessing full well at its contents, which
were, indeed, what she had supposed. A boy had been born to the queen,
Jane Seymour, and the king summoned the prince's sisters to repair
without delay to Westminster in order to be present at the christening
of the 'Noble Impe.'

Elizabeth, full of excitement, listened open-mouthed as princess Mary
told her that they had a little brother, and were to ride next morning
to London to see him in the palace. Like her father Henry VIII., whom
she resembled in many ways, the little princess loved movement of any
kind, and all her life was never so happy as in journeying from place to
place, as the number of beds she is supposed to have slept in testify.
Like the king also, she loved fine clothes; and the old chroniclers
never fail to describe what the king wore in the splendid pageants in
which he delighted. His taste seems to have been very showy and rather
bad. At one time he is dressed in crimson turned up with green, at
another he is gorgeous in a mixture of red and purple. Elizabeth, we may
be sure, was arrayed in something very fine, as she proudly carried the
chrisom containing the holy oil, with which the baby was to be anointed.
Princess Mary, his godmother, held him at the font, and when the
ceremony was over, and they left the chapel, the king's two daughters
went into the room where lay the dying queen.


From that day Elizabeth had a new interest in life. She felt as if the
little prince belonged to her, and when he gave signs of talking, she
was sent for to London by the king 'to teach and direct him.' She made
him a little shirt as a birthday present, and as he grew older she
taught him easy games, and told him stories out of books. By-and-by she
begun to repeat to him simple sentences in French, or Latin, or Italian,
and when his tutors took him away, or she grew tired of being governess,
she would practise her music on the viols, or try some new stitch in

In this way time slipped by, and Elizabeth had passed her sixth
birthday, when it became known at Court that the king was about to wed a
fourth wife, and that his choice had fallen on princess Anne of Cleves.
This new event was of the deepest interest to Elizabeth, and she at
once, with her father's permission, wrote the bride a funny stiff note,
'to shew the zeal with which she devoted her respect to her as her
queen, and her entire obedience to her as her mother.'

This letter gave great pleasure to the German bride, and laid the
foundation of a lasting friendship between the two. For though rather
big and clumsy, and not at all to Henry's taste, Anne was very
kind-hearted, and grateful to the little girl for her welcome. All the
more did she value Elizabeth's affection because it was plain, from
nearly the first moment, that the king had taken a violent dislike to
her, and though she knew he would not dare to cut off _her_ head, as he
had done Anne Boleyn's, because she had powerful relations, yet she felt
sure he would find some excuse to put her away. And so he did after a
very few months; but during all that time Anne busied herself with the
interests and lessons of the young princess, and when the decree of
divorce was at last pronounced, begged earnestly that Elizabeth might
still be allowed to visit her, as 'to have had the princess for a
daughter would be a greater happiness than to be queen.'


In reading about Elizabeth in later years we feel as if she much
preferred the company of men to women; but in her childhood it was
different, and the three stepmothers with whom she was brought in
contact were all very fond of her. Jane Seymour, of course, she hardly
knew, and besides, Elizabeth was only four when she died. But when the
pretty and lively Katharine Howard stepped speedily into the place of
the 'Flanders Mare' (for so, it is said, Henry called the stout Anne of
Cleves), she insisted that the child should take part in all her wedding
fêtes, and being herself a cousin of Anne Boleyn, Elizabeth's mother,
gave the princess the place of honour at the banquets. Elizabeth, no
doubt, was flattered and pleased at the honours heaped on her, but in
her secret heart she would rather have been with Anne of Cleves.

Henry's marriage with Katharine Howard came to an end even more swiftly
than his marriages were wont to do. This one only lasted six months, and
after the queen's execution, which took place in February 1542,
Elizabeth was sent to rejoin her sister Mary in the old palace of
Havering-atte-Bower. Here she remained in peace for a whole year, as the
king was too busy with affairs of state, with rebellions in Ireland and
a war with Scotland, to think about her, or even about a new wife.
Still, marriage, either for himself or somebody else, was never far from
Henry's mind, and soon after he not only offered Elizabeth's hand to the
young earl of Arran, who did not trouble himself even to return an
answer, but tried to obtain that of the baby queen of Scotland, Mary
Stuart, for prince Edward. We all know how ill this plan succeeded, and
that in the end, when Henry was dead and the English had again invaded
Scotland, queen Mary was hurried by guardians over to France, and Edward
VI. left to seek another bride. 'We like the match well enough, but not
the manner of the wooing,' said the Scots, so Mary became queen of
France as well as queen of Scotland.

But all these things were still four years ahead, and Henry had yet to
marry his sixth and last wife, Katharine Parr, the rich widow of lord

This event took place during the year 1543, when Katharine had been only
a few months a widow. Unlike three out of her five predecessors her
ancestry was as noble as that of the king himself, to whom, indeed, she
was fourth cousin. Her mother had brought her up carefully and taught
her to write her own language well, besides having her instructed in
those of other countries. She insisted, too, on the child spending much
of her time at needlework, which Katharine particularly hated, and
escaped whenever she could. However, in spite of her dislike, she grew
very clever with her fingers, and some beautiful pieces of embroidery
still remain to show her skill. Katharine was fair and gentle, and full
of sense and kindness, and as she was known to be a great heiress, her
suitors were many. Before she was twenty she had been twice married, and
had several stepchildren, and as she was often at Court, where many of
her relations filled important offices, she was no stranger to Henry,
who had great respect for her judgment. At Lord Latimer's death she was
only thirty, and hardly was he buried when sir Thomas Seymour, the
king's handsome and unscrupulous brother-in-law, began to woo her for
his wife. Perhaps it was because he was so different from either of her
previous husbands that lady Latimer fell in love with him, but before
the marriage could be accomplished Henry stepped in, and Seymour retired
in haste. He knew better than to cross his sovereign's path! So six
months after Latimer's death, his widow became queen of England, and
Elizabeth went to live with her fourth stepmother.


All her life Elizabeth was able, when she thought it worth her while, to
make herself pleasant in whatever company she might be in; tyrannical
and self-willed as she often proved in after-years, she invariably
managed to control her temper and thrust her own wishes aside if she
found that it was her interest to do so. She had learned this in a hard
school; but luckily she had the gift of attracting friends and keeping
them, and as a child there was not one of her mother's successors on the
throne—little though they had in common—who did not delight in
Elizabeth's presence. Queen Katharine at once obtained the king's
consent to fetch her to Whitehall, and to give her rooms next to the
queen's own. Here the princess, now ten years old, could work under
Katharine's eye, with her brother Edward, and, as Heywood says, 'Most of
the frequent tongues of Christendom they now made theirs: Greek, Latin,
Italian, Spanish, Dutch, were no strangers,' and by the time she was
twelve Elizabeth knew a little about mathematics, astronomy and
geometry; but history was her favourite study, and many were the hours
she passed with old chronicles in her lap. Love of music she inherited
from her father, who composed anthems, which you may still hear sung;
and needlework had always been a pleasure to her, so that she had plenty
to do all day. Now, every one would declare that so much time spent over
books was very bad for her, but Elizabeth never seemed any the worse,
and could ride over heavy roads from dawn to dark without the least
fatigue. If you wish to see a specimen of her labours you can find one
in the British Museum, where lies a little book she made for her
stepmother when she was staying at Hertford, which bears the date
December 20, 1545! It is a translation in French, Latin and Italian,
done by Elizabeth herself, of some meditations and prayers written by
the queen, and copied by the princess in a beautiful clear hand. The
cover appears to be made of closely worked stitches of crimson silk on
canvas, with the initials K. P. raised in blue and silver, which time
has sadly tarnished. Perhaps it was meant for a Christmas present and a
surprise for the queen, who must have been very pleased with her gift.

Prince Edward was a delicate child, and most likely for that reason he
was sent down by his father to live at Hatfield House, with Elizabeth to
keep him company. Hatfield had formerly belonged to the bishops of Ely;
but a mere question of possession mattered no more to Henry than it had
done to Ahab before him, and, like Ahab, he took for his own the land he
coveted, and gave the unwilling bishops other property in exchange. Here
in the park, through which the river Lea ran on its way to join the
Thames, Edward and Elizabeth could wander as they pleased, while inside
the beautiful house, part of which had been built in the reign of Edward
IV., they did their lessons with the excellent tutors the king had
chosen for them. One of these, Sir Anthony Cooke, was allowed to have
his daughters with him, and these young ladies, afterwards as famous for
their learning as their father, were destined to be closely bound up in
Elizabeth's life, as the wives of Bacon and of Burleigh. So, 'these
tender young plants, being past the sappy age,' as Heywood poetically
calls them, spent some happy months, till an event happened which
changed everything for everybody.

On January 30, 1547, Elizabeth was at Enfield, where she had been
passing the last few weeks, when to her surprise she beheld, as dusk was
falling, her brother, whom she imagined to be at Hertford, riding up to
the house with his uncle, Edward Seymour earl of Hertford on one side,
and sir Anthony Brown on the other. The prince glanced up at the window
and waved his hand as she leant out, but Elizabeth, who was quick to
notice, thought that, even in the dim light, the faces of his escort
looked excited and disturbed. In a few minutes they were all in the
room, where a bright fire was blazing on the huge hearth, and then, hat
in hand, the earl told them both that their father was dead, and that
his son was now king of England.


The brother and sister gazed at each other in silence. Then Elizabeth
buried her head on Edward's shoulder, and they wept bitterly and truly.
As yet neither of them had suffered much from Henry's faults, and though
Edward had been his favourite just because he was a boy and his
successor, he had been proud of Elizabeth's talents and her likeness to
himself. Thus, while many in England who had trembled for their heads
felt his death to be a deliverance, to two out of his three children it
was a real sorrow. Poor Mary had suffered too much, both on her own
account and on her mother's, to have any feeling but a dull wonder as to
her future.

The reading of the king's will did something, however, to soothe her
bitter recollections, for it placed her in the position which was hers
by right, heiress of the kingdom should her brother die childless, and
in like manner Elizabeth was to succeed her. Meanwhile, they both had
three thousand a year to live on—quite a large sum in those days—and
ten thousand pounds as dowry, if they married with the consent of the
young king and his council.


The moment that Henry was dead Katharine Parr left the palace and went
to her country house at Chelsea—close to where Cheyne pier now stands;
and here she was immediately joined by Elizabeth, at the request of the
council of regency. Katharine had been in every way a good wife to
Henry, and had nursed him with a care and skill shown by nobody else
during the last long months of his illness. He depended on her entirely
for the soothing of his many pains, yet it was at this very time that he
listened to the schemes of her enemies, who were anxious to remove her
from the king's presence, and consented to a bill of attainder being
brought against her, by which she would have lost her head. Accident
revealed the plot to Katharine, and by her cleverness she managed to
avert the danger—though she never breathed freely again as long as the
king was alive.

The old friendship between Katharine and her stepchildren was destined
to receive a severe shock, and in this matter the two princesses were in
the right, and the queen wholly wrong. It came about in this way.

As far as we can gather from the rather confused accounts, sir Thomas
Seymour, Katharine Parr's old lover, a man as greedy and ambitious as he
was handsome, had taken advantage of Henry's affection for him to try to
win the heart of the princess Elizabeth, not long before the king's
death. As she was at that time living at Hertford, under the care of a
vulgar and untrustworthy governess, Mrs. Ashley, it would have been easy
for Seymour to ride to and fro without anyone in London being the wiser.
Certain it is that, from whatever motive, he was most anxious to marry
her, and a month after her father's death wrote, it is said, a proposal
to the princess in person—a very strange thing to do in those days, and
one which would assuredly bring down on him the wrath of the council.
But Elizabeth was quite able to manage her own affairs, and answered
that she had no intention of marrying anybody for the present, and was
surprised at the subject being mentioned so soon after the death of her
father, for whom she should wear mourning two years at least.


Although Seymour thought highly of his own charms, he had a certain sort
of prudence and sense, and he saw that for the time nothing further
could be gained from Elizabeth. He therefore at once turned his
attention to the rich widow whom the king had formerly torn from him,
and with whom he felt pretty sure of success. He was not mistaken; and
deep indeed must have been Katharine's love for him, as she consented to
throw aside all the modesty and good manners for which she was famed and
to accept him as a husband a fortnight after the king's burial, and only
four days after he had been refused by Elizabeth, with her knowledge and
by her advice.

The marriage seems to have followed soon after, but was kept secret for
a time.


It is difficult to say whether Mary or Elizabeth was more angry when
these things came to light. Elizabeth had, as we know, been almost a
daughter to Katharine, but she and queen Mary had always been good
friends, and many little presents had passed between them. At her
coronation Katharine had given the princess, only three years younger
than herself, a splendid bracelet of rubies set in gold, and when Mary
was living at Hunsdon a royal messenger was often to be seen trotting
down the London road, bearing fur to trim a court train, a new French
coif for the hair, or even a cheese of a sort which Katharine herself
had found good eating. Mary accepted them all gratefully and gladly, and
passed some of her spare hours, which were many, in embroidering a
cushion for the closet of her stepmother.

And now, in a moment, everything was changed, and both princesses saw,
not only the insult to their father's memory in this hasty re-marriage,
but also the fact that royalty itself was humbled in the conduct of the
queen, who should have been an example to all. Mary wrote at once to her
sister, praying her to mark her disapproval of the queen's conduct by
leaving her house and taking up her abode at Hunsdon. Elizabeth,
however, though not yet fourteen, showed signs of the prudence which
marked her in after-life, and answered that having been placed at
Chelsea by order of the king's council, it would not become her to set
herself up against them. Besides, she feared to seem ungrateful for the
previous kindness of the queen.

But though living under the protection of the queen-dowager, either at
Chelsea or in the country village of Hanworth, Elizabeth had her own
servants and officers of the household, amounting in all to a hundred
and twenty people. It was very unlucky in every way that the governess
chosen to be her companion should have been her kinswoman, Mrs. Ashley,
a good-natured, vulgar-minded woman, who was never so happy as when she
was weaving a mystery. Of course Katharine took care that the princess
passed many hours in the day in lessons from the best tutors that could
be found, but still there was plenty of time left when the governess,
whose duty kept her always by the girl's side, could tell her all manner
of silly stories and encourage her foolish fancies. At length, about
Whitsuntide 1548, the queen's ill-health put an end to this state of
things, and Elizabeth was sent down, with all her servants, to the
castle of Cheshunt, then under the command of sir Anthony Denny; and
from there she wrote a letter to her stepmother, thanking her for the
great kindness she had ever received from her, and signing it 'your
humble daughter Elizabeth.' After this, they wrote frequently to each
other during the following three months, which proved to be the last of
Katharine's life. By the end of the summer she was dead, leaving a
little daughter behind her, and bequeathing to Elizabeth half of the
beautiful jewels she possessed.

Elizabeth's sorrow was great; but when Mrs. Ashley asked if she would
not write a letter to the widower, now baron Sudeley and lord high
admiral of England, the princess at once refused, saying 'he did not
need it.' He did not, indeed! for a very short time after the queen's
death he came down to see Elizabeth, and to try and obtain from her a
promise of marriage, which the girl, now fifteen, refused to give. But
he still continued to plot to obtain possession of the princess, and,
what he valued much more, of her lands. At length his brother the
protector thought it was time to interfere. The admiral was arrested on
a charge of high treason, committed to the Tower, and executed by order
of the council in March 1549. Seymour's downfall brought about that of
many others. Mrs. Ashley, her husband, and the princess's treasurer
Parry, were all thrown into prison, on suspicion of having helped the
admiral in his schemes to marry Elizabeth, and she herself was in deep
disgrace at Court. For a whole year she was kept as a sort of prisoner
at Hatfield, under the watchful eye of sir Robert and Lady Tyrwhit, and
she would have been very dull indeed had it not been for her books.
However, as we know, Henry had been careful to give his children the
best teaching, and the celebrated sir John Cheke and William Grindall,
who had formerly been tutors to Edward and Elizabeth, were now replaced
by the still more famous Roger Ascham.

Perhaps Elizabeth was not _quite_ so learned as Roger Ascham describes
her in a letter to an old friend in Germany. Tutors sometimes think
their favourite pupils cleverer than is really the case, and do not
always know how much they themselves help them in their compositions or
translations. But there is no reason to doubt that, like sir Thomas
More's daughters, her cousin lady Jane Grey, and her early playfellows,
the daughters of sir Anthony Cooke, Elizabeth understood a number of
languages and had read an amount of history which would astonish the
young ladies of the present day. At that time Greek was a comparatively
new study, though Latin was as necessary as French is now, for it was
the tongue which all educated people could write and speak. The
princess, according to Ascham, could talk it 'with ease, propriety and
judgment,' but her Greek, when she tried to express herself in it, was
only 'pretty good.' It does not strike Ascham that during this part of
her life she cared much for music, though she had been fond of it as a
child, and, by her father's wish, she had then given so much time to it
that she played very well upon various instruments. Cicero and Livy she
read with her tutor, and began the day with some chapters of the Greek
Testament. Afterwards they would read two or three scenes of a tragedy
of Sophocles, specially chosen by Ascham not only for the beauty of
their style, but for the lessons of patience and unselfishness that they
taught—lessons which it is feared Elizabeth did not lay greatly to

Scholar though he was, and writing to another scholar, it was not only
about Elizabeth's _mind_ that Ascham concerned himself. The princess, he
says, much prefers 'simple dress to show and splendour; treating with
contempt the fashion of elaborate hair dressing and the wearing of

We smile as we read his words when we think of the queen whom we know.
It is very likely that the king's council, who heard everything that
passed at Hatfield or Ashridge, did not allow Elizabeth enough money for
fine clothes or gold chains; but at that time, and for some period
after, her garments were made in the plainest style, and she wore no
ornaments. No sooner, however, did she ascend the throne than all this
was completely changed, and she was henceforth seen only in the
magnificent garments in which she was frequently painted; and there is
even an old story, that has found its way into our history books,
telling us how, after her death, three thousand dresses were discovered
in her wardrobes, 'as well as a vast number of wigs.'


All this time Somerset the protector had strictly forbidden the king to
see his sister or to hear from her. But receiving, we may suppose, good
reports of her conduct, both from Ascham and the Tyrwhits, he though it
might be well to allow both her and her brother a little more liberty,
and gave Edward leave to ask Elizabeth to send him her portrait, and
even to make her a present of Hatfield. Elizabeth was delighted to be
able once more to exchange letters with the young king, and writes him a
letter of thanks in her best style, to accompany her picture.

'For the face, I grant I might well blush to offer, but the mind I shall
never be ashamed to present. For though from the face of the picture the
colours may fade by time, may fade by weather, may be spotted by chance;
yet the other (her mind) nor Time with her swift wings shall overtake,
nor the misty clouds with their lowerings may darken, nor Chance with
her slippery foot may overthrow.

'Of this, although the proof could not be great, because the occasions
have been but small, notwithstanding as a dog hath a day, so may I
perchance, have time to declare it in deeds, where now I do write them
but in words.'


Elizabeth must have been very pleased with herself when she read over
her letter before sealing it and binding it round with silk. Not one of
her tutors could have expressed his feelings with greater elegance, and
Edward no doubt agreed with her, though most likely a brother of these
days, even if he happened to be a king or prince, would have burst out
laughing before he was half through, and have thrown the letter in the


All that summer, part of which was spent among the woods and commons of
Ashridge near Berkhamstead, Elizabeth hoped in vain to be sent for to
Court, but for some reason the summons was delayed till March 1551. A
messenger in the king's livery arrived one day at the house, and the
princess was almost beside herself with joy as she read the contents of
the letter he brought. Then she sprang up and gave orders that a new
riding dress should be got ready, and her favourite horse groomed and
rubbed down till you could see your face in his skin, and her steward
himself was bidden to look to the trappings lest the gold and silver
should have got tarnished since last the housings were used. And when
March 17 came, she set forth early along the country roads, and at the
entrance to London was met by a gallant company of knights and ladies,
waiting to receive her. Oh! what pleasure it was to ride through those
narrow streets again and to look at the gabled houses, every window and
gallery of which was thronged with people! Many times in after years did
Elizabeth make royal progresses through the city, but never once was her
heart as glad as now. She had escaped from the solitude which she hated
so much, and come back to a life of colour and movement.

And so she reached St. James's Palace, and was led to her room.

Here she rested all the next day, while Mary in her turn made an entry,
surrounded by an escort very different to look upon from Elizabeth's.
The princess and her ladies were all alike dressed in black, while
rosaries hung from their girdles and crosses from their necks. There was
no mistaking the meaning of these signs, and though they did honour to
Mary's courage, it was hardly a civil way of answering her brother's
invitation, and it irritated the council against her, which there was no
need to do.


It was on the day after Mary's entrance that Elizabeth again mounted her
horse, and in the midst of the company of nobles and ladies rode across
St. James's Park to the palace of Westminster, where the king received
her with open arms.

'My sweet sister Temperance,' he called her, with a laugh, when he noted
the extreme plainness of her dress and the total absence of jewels; in
these respects a great contrast to the ladies in her company. But it is
probable that in choosing such simple clothes the princess had acted
from an instinct which told her that by so doing she would gain for
herself the goodwill of the all-powerful council, with whom she had
been, as we know, for two years in disgrace. And if this was her motive,
she had reasoned rightly, for according to her cousin, lady Jane Grey's
tutor, 'her maidenly apparel made the noblemen's wives and daughters
ashamed to be dressed like peacocks, being more moved with her most
virtuous example than with all that ever Paul or Peter wrote touching
that matter.'

Perhaps the good Dr. Aylmer did not know much about the hearts of women,
or the influence of a fashion that is set by a princess. In any case,
the change in the dresses—and feelings—of the noble ladies did not
last long, for in a few months we find them all, Elizabeth excepted,
'with their hair frounsed, curled and double curled,' to greet Mary of
Guise, the queen-dowager of Scotland, who passed through England on her
way from France. Edward, now fourteen, gave her a royal reception, and
we may be sure that he would not allow his 'dearest sister' to remain in
the background. When the fêtes were over, the princess returned to
Hatfield, triumphant in knowing that she had gained her end, and
established her place in the affections of the people.


The household formed for Elizabeth was suitable to her rank, and she had
a large income on which to support it. From an account book that she has
left behind her it is easy to see that even at this time of her life she
was beginning to suffer from the stinginess which, curiously enough, was
always at war with her love of splendour. She hardly spent anything on
herself, and only gave away a few pounds a year—not a great deal for a
princess with no one but herself to think of!

Meanwhile grave events were taking place in Edward's Court. The earl of
Warwick, soon to be duke of Northumberland, had long hated Somerset, and
now contrived to get him committed for the second time to the Tower.
Somerset is said to have implored Elizabeth, whom a short time before he
had treated so harshly, to beseech Edward to grant him pardon; but the
princess replied that owing to her youth her words would be held of
little value, and that, besides, those about the king 'took good care to
prevent her from approaching the Court.' This was quite true, and
whether she wished to save Somerset or not, certain it is that she had
no power to do so.

So, in January 1552, the protector's head fell on Tower Hill, and
Northumberland, who succeeded to his place, began secretly to prepare a
marriage between his youngest son, lord Guildford Dudley, with the
king's beautiful and learned young cousin, lady Jane Grey, whose
grandmother, the duchess of Suffolk, was Henry VIII.'s youngest sister.
Edward's own health was failing rapidly, and often after being present
at the council, or at some state banquet, he was too tired to care about
anything, so that it was easy, as Elizabeth had said, to keep his two
sisters from him. Northumberland even managed to persuade the boy that
it was his duty to pass over Mary, the natural heir to the crown, on
account of her religion, and in this design he was greatly helped by the
princess's foolish behaviour. As for Elizabeth, the case was more
difficult. At first he thought of arranging a marriage for her with a
Danish prince, and when this failed he fell back on some Acts of
Parliament excluding her from the throne which had never been revoked,
although, of course, if Elizabeth had no right to succeed to the crown
on account of her father's previous marriage (as some now said), the
same thing applied to Edward.

The object of all these plots and plans concocted by Northumberland was
plain to be seen: it was to have his daughter-in-law, lady Jane Grey,
declared heir to the throne; and he so worked on the king, who was too
weak to oppose him, that Edward was induced, shortly before he died (on
July 6, 1553), to appoint his cousin his successor.


As frequently happened in those times, the fact of the king's death was
kept a secret for some days, and during this period Northumberland tried
to get both the princesses into his power by sending letters to say that
Edward greatly wished to see them once more. If they had come—and Mary
nearly fell a victim to his treachery—the Tower would have speedily
been their lodging, and probably the scaffold their portion, but they
happily escaped the snare. Next, he tried to buy the consent of
Elizabeth, promising both money and lands if she would give up her
rights. In this, however, he was foiled by the princess, who answered,
with tact, that while Mary was alive she had no rights to resign.


While this was going on the sixteen-year-old Jane was forced by her
father-in-law into a position she was quite unfitted for, and which she
very much disliked. She loved her young husband dearly, and was
perfectly happy with him and her books, taking no part or interest in
politics. Suddenly, she was visited at Sion House near Brentford, to
which she had gone at her father-in-law's request, by a number of
powerful nobles of Northumberland's party, who informed her that the
king was dead, and had left his kingdom to her, so that the Protestant
religion might be well guarded. Then all the gentlemen present fell on
their knees before the bewildered girl and swore to die in her defence.

Jane was overwhelmed. She grasped hastily at a chair that was near her,
and then sank fainting to the ground. The duchess of Northumberland, who
was present with some other ladies, dashed water in her face and
loosened her stiff, tight dress, and soon she grew better, and was able
to sit up. Rising slowly to her feet she looked at the little group
before her, and said: 'My lords, sure never was queen so little fit as
I. Yet, if so it must be, and the right to reign is indeed mine, God
will give me the grace and power to govern to His glory and the good of
the realm!'

Little heed did those who heard her so submissively take of her words.
She had done what they wished, and that was all that mattered: the rest
was their affair. So, leaving Jane to her own thoughts, they departed
and went their own ways. A day or two later, on a blazing July
afternoon, their victim was taken in a barge from Chelsea to the Tower,
and there, mounting the stairs, her train carried by her grandmother the
duchess of Suffolk, once queen of France, the crown was held out to her
by the royal treasurer. Then, and then only, the death of Edward was
publicly announced, and a letter, which, it was pretended, had been
written by Jane, was distributed among the citizens of London, stating
the grounds for setting aside the princesses and putting the
granddaughter of Henry's younger sister in their place.


It did not take long for Northumberland to find out that he had laid his
plans without reckoning with the will of the people or the courage of
the princesses. The country had seen through him, and even gave him
credit for more evil than he had actually done, for a rumour went abroad
that he had poisoned Edward to serve his own ends. This adventurer, high
as he had risen, should never dictate to Englishmen. Why, most likely
even lady Jane herself, or 'queen' as he would have the world call her,
would come to a bad end when it suited him! No! No! No Northumberland
for _them_! and Mary's religion and cold, shy manners were forgotten,
and gentlemen called together their friends and followers and marched
towards London.

Northumberland was no match for them, and knew it; and what was more, he
knew that he had no ally in Jane herself. His energy was not of the kind
that increases with difficulties, and when he heard that Jane's
grandfather, the duke of Suffolk, had signed with his own hand the order
for the proclamation of queen Mary, he rightly judged that all was lost,
and tried to escape. But it was too late, and next day he was charged
with high treason and lodged in the Tower.

Nobody cares what became of Northumberland, as he only got what he
deserved; but every one must mourn for the Nine Days Queen, who never
could have been a danger either to Mary or Elizabeth.


July was not yet over when Elizabeth, now nearly twenty, was bidden to
leave Hatfield and ride by her sister's side in her state entry into the
city. So far the two sisters had always got on fairly well together;
still, Elizabeth misdoubted the temper of the Catholic party, and rode
through the lanes and over the commons with an escort of two thousand
armed men. That night she lay at Somerset House (now her own property),
on the banks of the Thames, and the next morning went out to Wanstead,
on the North Road down which Mary would come. It had not taken the
princess long to discover that at present she herself ran no risks, so
she dismissed half her guard, and with five hundred gentlemen dressed in
white and green, and a large number of ladies, she passed smiling
through the crowded streets, which rang with shouts of welcome. No one
seemed to remember the king, who still lay unburied; but so much had
happened since he died, that everybody, even including his 'sweet sister
Temperance,' had forgotten him for the moment.


The first breach between Mary and her subjects, and also her sister, was
not long in coming. The ways and services of the old religion were
speedily restored, and Elizabeth was given to understand that she was
expected to attend mass. This she refused to do, and thereby increased
her popularity tenfold; but she seems to have allowed Mary secretly to
think that it was possible she might some day change her mind, and, in
order to keep her sister in a good humour, requested to be given
Catholic books to read and priests to teach her.

In this way matters went on till September, when Mary's coronation took
place. Elizabeth drove the day before, in the state procession to
Westminster, in a coach drawn by six white horses decorated with white
and silver to match her dress, Anne of Cleves being seated by her side.
All through the ceremonies she was given her proper place as the heiress
to the throne, and even publicly prayed for.

Unluckily, this happy state of things did not last long, and the
different views of religion held by the two sisters were embittered by
many whose interest it was that there should be constant quarrels
between them. A plot was set on foot to marry Elizabeth to her cousin,
Courtenay earl of Devon—who had already been refused as a husband by
Mary herself. This was encouraged by Noailles, the French ambassador,
for his own purposes; but Elizabeth, who feared her friends more than
her foes, sought to escape from it all, and to retire at once to
Ashridge in Hertfordshire.

Here she received a letter from Mary begging her to come at once to St.
James's Palace; but, knowing as she did that sir Thomas Wyatt was doing
his best to stir up a revolt against the queen, Elizabeth thought it
more prudent to make the most of an illness under which she was
suffering, and remain where she was. She likewise put Ashridge in a
state to stand a siege, should it be necessary, filling the castle with
provisions and armed men.


It was Wyatt's rebellion that sealed the fate of lady Jane Grey and her
husband, and made Elizabeth tremble for her own head. The Nine Days
Queen had hitherto been warmly defended by Mary herself, in spite of the
assurances, which had been so frequently whispered in her ears, that her
throne would never be safe during the life of such a claimant. Now, with
the successes of Wyatt among the men of Kent, these whispers became
louder, and this time Mary listened to them. Not that she believed her
young cousin to have any share in Wyatt's treasonable schemes; she knew
her too well for that. But as long as she lived she would be used as a
handle for all plotters, so, with deep and real regret, Mary signed the
warrant that was placed before her, and within a few days Jane was
beheaded in the square of the Tower, the only woman who was not executed
on Tower Hill. She and her husband had never met since they had been
arrested; but now Mary sent a messenger to lady Jane, granting
permission for a farewell interview. But lady Jane refused. 'What,' she
asked, 'would be gained by their bidding each other farewell on earth,
when they would so shortly meet in heaven?' It may be that she feared
for _his_ courage more than her own, for she stood unseen at her window
while he was led forth to the scaffold on Tower Hill, and remained there
till his body was brought back. Then her own turn came, and cheerfully
she left her cell and walked the few steps that lay between her prison
and the green. Here she paused in front of the block, and turning, spoke
to those who were gathered round:

'The plot of the duke of Northumberland was none of my seeking,' she
said, 'but by the counsel of those who appeared to have better
understanding of the matter than I. As to the desire of such dignity by
me, I wash my hands thereof before God and all you Christian people this

After that, she begged those present to help her with their prayers, and
repeated a psalm, and then, kneeling, laid her head on the block.


If lady Jane was the most important victim of all these conspiracies,
she was by no means the only one, for Wyatt and other leaders were
shortly to pay the same penalty, not, however, without declaring that
all they had done was with the knowledge and consent of the princess
Elizabeth, and of Courtenay earl of Devon. Mary had no difficulty in
believing this; Elizabeth's own conduct had for the last few months
given rise to suspicions, so a company of gentlemen, headed by the
princess's kinsman lord William Howard, and including a certain Dr.
Wendy, who had formerly attended Henry VIII., were sent down to Ashridge
to see how far the princess's illness was real, and to bring her to
London if possible. It was ten o'clock at night when they arrived, and
Elizabeth refused to admit them; but they politely insisted, and she was
obliged to open her door.

No trace of guilt or fear, or indeed of anything but impatience, could
be read in her face, as the queen's messengers entered her apartment.

'Is the haste such,' she said, 'that it might not have pleased you to
come in the morning?'

The ambassadors held it wiser not to state how great 'the haste' was,
but they only answered that they were sorry to see her grace in such a
case, referring, of course, to her supposed illness.

'_I_ am not glad at all to see _you_ at this time of night,' she
replied; and went on to say that 'she feared her weakness to be so great
that she should not be able to travel and to endure the journey without
peril of life, and therefore desired some longer respite until she had
recovered her strength.

In this matter neither Howard her great-uncle, nor her old friend Wendy
the doctor, agreed with her. It is true that anxiety for herself, if not
sorrow for the fate of lady Jane Grey, about whom she seems to have
cared nothing, had thrown her into some sort of fever, but it was quite
plain that there was nothing to prevent her undertaking the short
journey. In order, however, that no risks might be run the thirty-three
miles that lay between Ashridge and Westminster were divided into five
stages, and every night she was to sleep in some gentleman's house. A
week later she started in a litter, and when, several days after, she
entered Aldgate, the curtains were thrown back at her bidding, so that
the people, who had always loved her, might be touched by the sight of
her thin pale face. But well or ill, when the moment came in which
courage was needed, Elizabeth was always herself, and her bows and
smiles betrayed no fear as, dressed in white, she was carried through
the city, with an escort of scarlet-coated gentlemen riding in front.

Rooms were given her in Whitehall, and here she hoped to see the queen,
and be able to convince her of the innocence she so loudly proclaimed to
everyone. But to her great disappointment and secret terror, Mary
refused her an interview, and ordered her to be taken at once to the
palace of Westminster and placed in an apartment which had no entrance
except through the guard-room. A certain number of personal attendants
were allowed her, and through them she heard with dismay that Courtenay
had been lodged in the Tower, and every day was examined for some time
as to his share in Wyatt's conspiracy.

For three weeks Elizabeth waited, not knowing exactly how much the
council knew, but remembering, with dread, two notes which she had
written with her own hand to Wyatt. She guessed truly that all the
weight of Spain would be thrown in the balance against her, for the
emperor Charles V. had neither forgotten nor forgiven the divorce of his
aunt, and, besides, his son Philip was already betrothed to the queen.

At last, one Saturday, ten members of the council visited her, and told
her that a barge was in waiting at the stairs, which would take her to
the Tower. Elizabeth received the news without flinching, though she
felt as if the nails were being knocked into her coffin, but begged
permission to finish a letter to the queen which she had just begun.
This the council could not well refuse; but the princess made her letter
so _very_ long that the tide ran out too far for her to embark, and as
Sunday was a day when no work was done, her gaolers were obliged to wait
until Monday.

On Monday, however, even Elizabeth could invent no more pretexts for
delay, and entered her barge with as good a grace as might be. But when
the rowers shipped their oars at the Traitors' Gate, she objected that
it was no entrance for _her_, who was innocent.

'You have no choice,' said one of the lords who was with her, and
stooped to lay his cloak as a carpet on the muddy steps. With an angry
gesture Elizabeth dashed it aside, and sat down on a wet stone, as if
she intended to sit there for ever. The lieutenant of the Tower, who was
awaiting his prisoner at the top, prayed her to come in out of the rain
and cold, which at last she consented to do, and was conducted by him to
her prison, a room that led only into the lieutenant's own house on one
side, and a narrow outside gallery on the other, used by the prisoners
for air and exercise. Here Elizabeth's suitor, sir Thomas Seymour, had
been lodged before his execution, and here Arabella Stuart would be
confined, in years that were yet to come.

For two months Elizabeth's imprisonment lasted, though the extreme
strictness with which she was kept was afterwards relaxed, and she was
suffered to walk in a little garden under a strong escort, and to
receive flowers from the children belonging to the servants about the
Tower, with whom she had made friends. At first she had, like Courtenay,
constantly to undergo examinations as to her guilt, but she somehow
managed to gain over the earl of Arundel, hitherto one of her most
bitter enemies, and henceforth she had no warmer partisan. She seems to
have answered the questions put to her with her usual cleverness, as the
Spanish ambassador writes that though 'they had enough matter against
Courtenay to make his punishment certain, they had not yet been able to
obtain matter sufficient for Elizabeth's conviction,' partly owing to
the fact that several witnesses were in hiding.

It was in May that the queen sent an unexpected summons to Elizabeth
that she was to join her at Richmond, where she was passing the Whitsun
holidays; and how beautiful the flowers and trees must have looked in
the eyes of the prisoner, accustomed for so many weeks to nothing but
the walls of the Tower, with the bitter memories they contained! She did
not stay there long, however, for the queen, irritated at Elizabeth's
firm refusal to marry the prince of Savoy, sent her in a few days to the
castle of Woodstock, with sir Henry Bedingfield as her gaoler.

On the road, according to the old chroniclers, she more than once tried
her favourite trick of gaining time by delaying her arrival. At one
place where she was to spend the night she was anxious to have a match
at chess with her host, and another day she declared that her clothes
and hair had suffered so much from a storm that she must positively
enter a house they were passing in order to set them straight. But
Bedingfield was not easy to dupe, and politely insisted on continuing
their way.

'Whenever I have a prisoner who requires to be safely and straitly kept,
I shall send him to you,' she said, laughing, when four years after he
attended her first Court as queen.


At Woodstock Elizabeth remained till 1555, writing sad poems about her
captivity and doing large pieces of needlework; but towards Christmas a
welcome change was in store for her, as Mary, who had been married in
July to Philip of Spain, now sent for her to Hampton Court.

Even here her life as a prisoner was not yet over, for she was shut up
in her rooms for a week, and never once saw the queen. At length, late
one night, she was bidden to Mary's room, and there they had a long
talk. Elizabeth was most careful to do and say nothing to vex her
sister, and seems to have succeeded, for she stayed as a welcome guest
in the palace for some months, taking part in all the amusements, and
receiving, not at all unwillingly, the attentions of prince Philibert of
Savoy, though she never meant to marry him. With Philip she appears to
have been on the most friendly terms, and at a great tournament held
just after Christmas she occupied a place next him and the queen.
Altogether, as the fears for her own safety gradually melted away, she
greatly enjoyed herself, and pleased Mary by sometimes attending the
services in her own private chapel, decked out, we are told on one
occasion, in white satin and pearls. Early in the spring Elizabeth
returned to Woodstock, bearing with her a splendid diamond, worth four
thousand ducats, the gift of her brother-in-law.

But no sooner had she gone back to Woodstock than rumours of another
plot spread abroad, and as usual Elizabeth was supposed to be concerned
in it. It does not seem at all likely that the accusation was true, but
Mary thought it safer to have her under her own eye, and sent for her a
second time to the palace. Elizabeth must have satisfied her to some
extent that she was guiltless in the matter, for Mary gave her a
beautiful ring, worth seven hundred crowns, and allowed her to go to
Hatfield, though she placed with her, as some check on her actions, one
sir Thomas Pope, with whom Elizabeth lived very pleasantly.


The story of the next three years is much the same: repeatedly plots
were discovered, and in all of them Elizabeth was accused of taking
part—probably quite falsely. Still, it was natural that the queen
should be rather suspicious of her, though she often invited her to
court, and Elizabeth did her best to set her mind at ease by frequently
attending Mass in her company. Indeed, she was the less likely to be
engaged in any schemes against her sister as it was quite plain that
Mary's life was fast drawing to an end. When free to follow her own way
the princess buried herself in books, reading Demosthenes at Hatfield
with Roger Ascham, besides studying Italian under Castiglione. They all
write enthusiastically of her cleverness, but when Castiglione remarks
that she had not only 'a singular wit,' but a 'marvellous meek stomach,'
we feel either how great was Elizabeth's power of deceiving—or how bad
was her judgment.

During these three years also suitors were frequent, and among them her
old lover, Philibert of Savoy, was the most pressing. Courtenay, to whom
she had for political reasons once betrothed herself, had died in exile
at Pavia, so, as far as she herself went, Elizabeth was free to marry
whom she chose; but though all her life she liked the excitement and
attentions which went hand in hand with a marriage, when it came to the
point she could not make up her mind to forfeit her liberty. It was also
clear to her that if, during Mary's lifetime, she took a foreign
husband, and went to live abroad, her chance of sitting on the throne of
England was gone for ever.

At this period Elizabeth made up for the 'Seven Lean Years' of her
Puritanical garments by clothing herself and her suite in the most
splendid of raiment, for which she constantly ran into debt. During the
last year of Mary's reign she was constantly in and about London, and
once we have notice of a visit of the queen herself to Hatfield, when
the choir boys of St. Paul's sang and Elizabeth played on the virginals.
Soon, however, the queen was too weak for any such journeys. Philip was
away, engaged in the war between France and Spain, and Mary remained at
home, to struggle with her difficulties as best she might. She knew
quite well she had not long to live, and declared Elizabeth her
successor, entrusting to her maid of honour, Jane Dormer, the crown
jewels, which were to be delivered to the princess. To these she added
three petitions: that Elizabeth would be kind to her servants; that she
would pay her sister's private debts, and that she would support the old
faith, now established by law; which, of course, Elizabeth could not do,
or her throne would have been instantly forfeit. Then Mary died, knowing
that she had failed in all she had attempted; and, amidst the welcoming
shouts of the English people, the Elizabeth whom you all know was
proclaimed queen.



                          Transcriber's Notes:

Punctuation errors repaired. Varied accents were retained except as
noted. For example, Schönbrunn castle is spelled this way in "His
Majesty the King of Rome" and as Schönbrünn in "Une Reine Malheureuse."

Page x, "Naploeon" changed to "Napoleon" (Even Napoleon himself)

Page 55, "directy" changed to "directly" (and directly after he added)

Page 99, "chateâu" changed to "château" (the château of Fontainebleau)

Page 112, "perect" changed to "perfect" (she had perfect freedom)

Page 137, "familar" changed to "familiar" (as familiar to her)

Page 146, "enbroidered" changed to "embroidered" (scarlet liveries

Page 188, "deliever" changed to "deliver" (I deliver it to you)

Page 194, "Stanelys" changed to "Stanleys" (The Stanleys all agreed)

Page 204, "litttle" changed to "little" (when the little duke)

Page 211, "Normany" changed to "Normandy" (of Normandy as a bribe)

Page 250, "Antionette" changed to "Antoinette" (Marie Antoinette
remarked one)

Page 259, "fetes" changed to "fêtes" (series of _fêtes_)

Page 307, repeated word "was was" changed to "who was" (who was waiting

Page 345, "wadrobes" changed to "wardrobes" (discovered in her

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