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Title: Memoirs of Marguerite de Valois, Queen of Navarre — Complete
Author: Marguerite, Queen, consort of Henry IV, King of France
Language: English
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MARGUERITE DE NAVARRE

MEMOIRS OF MARGUERITE DE VALOIS



MEMOIRS OF MARGUERITE DE VALOIS QUEEN OF NAVARRE

Written by Herself

Being Historic Memoirs of the Courts of France and Navarre



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS


Marguerite de Valois--Etching by Mercier

Bussi d’ Amboise--Painting in the Versailles Gallery

Duc de Guise--Painting in the Versailles Gallery

Catherine de’ Medici--Original Etching by Mercier

Henri VI. and La Fosseuse--Painting by A. P. E. Morton

A Scene at Henri’s Court--Original Photogravure



PUBLISHER’S NOTE.


The first volume of the Court Memoir Series will, it is confidently
anticipated, prove to be of great interest.  These Letters first appeared
in French, in 1628, just thirteen years after the death of their witty
and beautiful authoress, who, whether as the wife for many years of the
great Henri of France, or on account of her own charms and
accomplishments, has always been the subject of romantic interest.

The letters contain many particulars of her life, together with many
anecdotes hitherto unknown or forgotten, told with a saucy vivacity which
is charming, and an air vividly recalling the sprightly, arch demeanour,
and black, sparkling eyes of the fair Queen of Navarre.  She died in
1615, aged sixty-three.

These letters contain the secret history of the Court of France during
the seventeen eventful years 1565-82.

The events of the seventeen years referred to are of surpassing interest,
including, as they do, the Massacre of St. Bartholomew, the formation of
the League, the Peace of Sens, and an account of the religious struggles
which agitated that period.  They, besides, afford an instructive insight
into royal life at the close of the sixteenth century, the modes of
travelling then in vogue, the manners and customs of the time, and a
picturesque account of the city of Liege and its sovereign bishop.

As has been already stated, these Memoirs first appeared in French in
1628.  They were, thirty years later, printed in London in English, and
were again there translated and published in 1813.



TRANSLATOR’S PREFACE.


The Memoirs, of which a new translation is now presented to the public,
are the undoubted composition of the celebrated princess whose name they
bear, the contemporary of our Queen Elizabeth; of equal abilities with
her, but of far unequal fortunes.  Both Elizabeth and Marguerite had been
bred in the school of adversity; both profited by it, but Elizabeth had
the fullest opportunity of displaying her acquirements in it.  Queen
Elizabeth met with trials and difficulties in the early part of her life,
and closed a long and successful reign in the happy possession of the
good-will and love of her subjects.  Queen Marguerite, during her whole
life, experienced little else besides mortification and disappointment;
she was suspected and hated by both Protestants and Catholics, with the
latter of whom, though, she invariably joined in communion, yet was she
not in the least inclined to persecute or injure the former.  Elizabeth
amused herself with a number of suitors, but never submitted to the yoke
of matrimony.  Marguerite, in compliance with the injunctions of the
Queen her mother, and King Charles her brother, married Henri, King of
Navarre, afterwards Henri IV. of France, for whom she had no inclination;
and this union being followed by a mutual indifference and dislike, she
readily consented to dissolve it; soon after which event she saw a
princess, more fruitful but less prudent, share the throne of her
ancestors, of whom she was the only representative.  Elizabeth was
polluted with the blood of her cousin, the Queen of Scots, widow of
Marguerite’s eldest brother.  Marguerite saved many Huguenots from the
massacre of St. Bartholomew’s Day, and, according to Brantome, the life
of the King, her husband, whose name was on the list of the proscribed.
To close this parallel, Elizabeth began early to govern a kingdom, which
she ruled through the course of her long life with severity, yet
gloriously, and with success.  Marguerite, after the death of the Queen
her mother and her brothers, though sole heiress of the House of Valois,
was, by the Salic law, excluded from all pretensions to the Crown of
France; and though for the greater part of her life shut up in a castle,
surrounded by rocks and mountains, she has not escaped the shafts of
obloquy.

The Translator has added some notes, which give an account of such places
as are mentioned in the Memoirs, taken from the itineraries of the time,
but principally from the “Geographie Universelle” of Vosgien; in which
regard is had to the new division of France into departments, as well as
to the ancient one of principalities, archbishoprics, bishoprics,
generalities, chatellenies, balliages, duchies, seigniories, etc.

In the composition of her Memoirs, Marguerite has evidently adopted the
epistolary form, though the work came out of the French editor’s hand
divided into three (as they are styled) books; these three books, or
letters, the Translator has taken the liberty of subdividing into
twenty-one, and, at the head of each of them, he has placed a short table
of the contents.  This is the only liberty he has taken with the original
Memoirs, the translation itself being as near as the present improved
state of our language could be brought to approach the unpolished
strength and masculine vigour of the French of the age of Henri IV.

This translation is styled a new one, because, after the Translator had
made some progress in it, he found these Memoirs had already been made
English, and printed, in London, in the year 1656, thirty years after the
first edition of the French original.  This translation has the following
title: “The grand Cabinet Counsels unlocked; or, the most faithful
Transaction of Court Affairs, and Growth and Continuance of the Civil
Wars in France, during the Reigns of Charles the last, Henry III., and
Henry IV., commonly called the Great.  Most excellently written, in the
French Tongue, by Margaret de Valois, Sister to the two first Kings, and
Wife of the last.  Faithfully translated by Robert Codrington, Master of
Arts;” and again as “Memorials of Court Affairs,” etc., London, 1658.

The Memoirs of Queen Marguerite contained the secret history of the Court
of France during the space of seventeen years, from 1565 to 1582, and
they end seven years before Henri III., her brother, fell by the hands of
Clement, the monk; consequently, they take in no part of the reign of
Henri IV.  (as Mr. Codrington has asserted in his title-page), though
they relate many particulars of the early part of his life.

Marguerite’s Memoirs include likewise the history nearly of the first
half of her own life, or until she had reached the twenty-ninth year of
her age; and as she died in 1616, at the age of sixty-three years, there
remain thirty-four years of her life, of which little is known.  In 1598,
when she was forty-five years old, her marriage with Henri was dissolved
by mutual consent,--she declaring that she had no other wish than to give
him content, and preserve the peace of the kingdom; making it her
request, according to Brantome, that the King would favour her with his
protection, which, as her letter expresses, she hoped to enjoy during the
rest of her life.  Sully says she stipulated only for an establishment
and the payment of her debts, which were granted.  After Henri, in 1610,
had fallen a victim to the furious fanaticism of the monk Ravaillac, she
lived to see the kingdom brought into the greatest confusion by the bad
government of the Queen Regent, Marie de Medici, who suffered herself to
be directed by an Italian woman she had brought over with her, named
Leonora Galligai.  This woman marrying a Florentine, called Concini,
afterwards made a marshal of France, they jointly ruled the kingdom, and
became so unpopular that the marshal was assassinated, and the wife, who
had been qualified with the title of Marquise d’Ancre, burnt for a witch.
This happened about the time of Marguerite’s decease.

It has just before been mentioned how little has been handed down to
these times respecting Queen Marguerite’s history.  The latter part of
her life, there is reason to believe, was wholly passed at a considerable
distance from Court, in her retirement (so it is called, though it
appears to have been rather her prison) at the castle of Usson.  This
castle, rendered famous by her long residence in it, has been demolished
since the year 1634.  It was built on a mountain, near a little town of
the same name, in that part of France called Auvergne, which now
constitutes part of the present Departments of the Upper Loire and
Puy-de-Dome, from a river and mountain so named.  These Memoirs appear to
have been composed in this retreat.  Marguerite amused herself likewise,
in this solitude, in composing verses, and there are specimens still
remaining of her poetry.  These compositions she often set to music, and
sang them herself, accompanying her voice with the lute, on which she
played to perfection.  Great part of her time was spent in the perusal of
the Bible and books of piety, together with the works of the best authors
she could procure.  Brantome assures us that Marguerite spoke the Latin
tongue with purity and elegance; and it appears, from her Memoirs, that
she had read Plutarch with attention.

Marguerite has been said to have given in to the gallantries to which the
Court of France was, during her time, but too much addicted; but, though
the Translator is obliged to notice it, he is far from being inclined to
give any credit to a romance entitled, “Le Divorce Satyrique; ou, les
Amours de la Reyne Marguerite de Valois,” which is written in the person
of her husband, and bears on the title-page these initials: D. R. H. Q.
M.; that is to say, “du Roi Henri Quatre, Mari.”  This work professes to
give a relation of Marguerite’s conduct during her residence at the
castle of Usson; but it contains so many gross absurdities and
indecencies that it is undeserving of attention, and appears to have been
written by some bitter enemy, who has assumed the character of her
husband to traduce her memory.

[“Le Divorce Satyrique” is said to have been written by Louise Marguerite
de Lorraine, Princesse de Conti, who is likewise the reputed author of
“The Amours of Henri IV.,” disguised under the name of Alcander.  She was
the daughter of the Due de Guise, assassinated at Blois in 1588, and was
born the year her father died.  She married Francois, Prince de Conti,
and was considered one of the most ingenious and accomplished persons
belonging to the French Court in the age of Louis XIII.  She was left a
widow in 1614, and died in 1631.]

M. Pierre de Bourdeille, Seigneur de Brantome, better known by the name
of Brantome, wrote the Memoirs of his own times.  He was brought up in
the Court of France, and lived in it during the reigns of Marguerite’s
father and brothers, dying at the advanced age of eighty or eighty-four
years, but in what year is not certainly known.

[The author of the “Tablettes de France,” and “Anecdotes des Rois de
France,” thinks that Marguerite alludes to Brantome’s “Anecdotes” in the
beginning of her first letter, where she says: “I should commend your
work much more were I myself not so much praised in it.”  (According to
the original: “Je louerois davantage votre oeuvre, si elle ne me louoit
tant.”)  If so, these letters were addressed to Brantome, and not to the
Baron de la Chataigneraie, as mentioned in the Preface to the French
edition.  In Letter I. mention is made of Madame de Dampierre, whom
Marguerite styles the aunt of the person the letter is addressed to.  She
was dame d’honneur, or lady of the bedchamber, to the Queen of Henri
III., and Brantome, speaking of her, calls her his aunt.  Indeed, it is
not a matter of any consequence to whom these Memoirs were addressed; it
is, however, remarkable that Louis XIV. used the same words to Boileau,
after hearing him read his celebrated epistle upon the famous Passage of
the Rhine; and yet Louis was no reader, and is not supposed to have
adopted them from these Memoirs.  The thought is, in reality, fine, but
might easily suggest itself to any other. “Cela est beau,” said the
monarch, “et je vous louerois davantage, si vous m’aviez moins loue.”
 (The poetry is excellent, and I should praise you more had you praised me
less.)]

He has given anecdotes of the life of Marguerite, written during her
before-mentioned retreat, when she was, as he says (“fille unique
maintenant restee, de la noble maison de France”), the only survivor of
her illustrious house.  Brantome praises her excellent beauty in a long
string of laboured hyperboles. Ronsard, the Court poet, has done the
same in a poem of considerable length, wherein he has exhausted all his
wit and fancy.  From what they have said, we may collect that Marguerite
was graceful in her person and figure, and remarkably happy in her
choice of dress and ornaments to set herself off to the most advantage;
that her height was above the middle size, her shape easy, with that due
proportion of plumpness which gives an appearance of majesty and
comeliness.  Her eyes were full, black, and sparkling; she had bright,
chestnut-coloured hair, and a complexion fresh and blooming.  Her skin
was delicately white, and her neck admirably well formed; and this so
generally admired beauty, the fashion of dress, in her time, admitted of
being fully displayed.

Such was Queen Marguerite as she is portrayed, with the greatest
luxuriance of colouring, by these authors.  To her personal charms were
added readiness of wit, ease and gracefulness of speech, and great
affability and courtesy of manners.  This description of Queen Marguerite
cannot be dismissed without observing, if only for the sake of keeping
the fashion of the present times with her sex in countenance, that,
though she had hair, as has been already described, becoming her, and
sufficiently ornamental in itself, yet she occasionally called in the aid
of wigs.  Brantome’s words are: “l’artifice de perruques bien gentiment
faconnees.”

[Ladies in the days of Ovid wore periwigs.  That poet says to Corinna:

“Nunc tibi captivos mittet Germania crines;
Culta triumphatae munere gentis eris.”

(Wigs shall from captive Germany be sent;
‘Tis with such spoils your head you ornament.)

These, we may conclude, were flaxen, that being the prevailing coloured
hair of the Germans at this day.  The Translator has met with a further
account of Marguerite’s head-dress, which describes her as wearing a
velvet bonnet ornamented with pearls and diamonds, and surmounted with a
plume of feathers.]

I shall conclude this Preface with a letter from Marguerite to Brantome;
the first, he says, he received from her during her adversity [‘son
adversite’ are his words),--being, as he expresses it, so ambitious
[‘presomptueux’) as to have sent to inquire concerning her health, as she
was the daughter and sister of the Kings, his masters.  (“D’avoir envoye
scavoir de ses nouvelles, mais quoy elle estoit fille et soeur de mes
roys.”)

The letter here follows: “From the attention and regard you have shown me
(which to me appears less strange than it is agreeable), I find you still
preserve that attachment you have ever had to my family, in a
recollection of these poor remains which have escaped its wreck.  Such as
I am, you will find me always ready to do you service, since I am so
happy as to discover that my fortune has not been able to blot out my
name from the memory of my oldest friends, of which number you are one. I
have heard that, like me, you have chosen a life of retirement, which I
esteem those happy who can enjoy, as God, out of His great mercy, has
enabled me to do for these last five years; having placed me, during
these times of trouble, in an ark of safety, out of the reach, God be
thanked, of storms.  If, in my present situation, I am able to serve my
friends, and you more especially, I shall be found entirely disposed to
it, and with the greatest good-will.”

There is such an air of dignified majesty in the foregoing letter, and,
at the same time, such a spirit of genuine piety and resignation, that it
cannot but give an exalted idea of Marguerite’s character, who appears
superior to ill-fortune and great even in her distress.  If, as I doubt
not, the reader thinks the same, I shall not need to make an apology for
concluding this Preface with it.

The following Latin verses, or call them, if you please, epigram, are of
the composition of Barclay, or Barclaius, author of “Argenis,” etc.

ON MARGUERITE DE VALOIS,
QUEEN OF NAVARRE.


          Dear native land! and you, proud castles! say
          (Where grandsire,[1] father,[2] and three brothers[3] lay,
          Who each, in turn, the crown imperial wore),
          Me will you own, your daughter whom you bore?
          Me, once your greatest boast and chiefest pride,
          By Bourbon and Lorraine,[4] when sought a bride;
          Now widowed wife,[5] a queen without a throne,
          Midst rocks and mountains [6] wander I alone.
          Nor yet hath Fortune vented all her spite,
          But sets one up,[7] who now enjoys my right,
          Points to the boy,[8] who henceforth claims the throne
          And crown, a son of mine should call his own.
          But ah, alas! for me ‘tis now too late [9]
          To strive ‘gainst Fortune and contend with Fate;
          Of those I slighted, can I beg relief [10]
          No; let me die the victim of my grief.
          And can I then be justly said to live?
          Dead in estate, do I then yet survive?
          Last of the name, I carry to the grave
          All the remains the House of Valois have.



1.  Francois I.
2.  Henri II.
3.  Francois II., Charles IX., and Henri III.
4.  Henri, King of Navarre, and Henri, Duc de Guise.
5.  Alluding to her divorce from Henri IV..
6.  The castle of Usson
7.  Marie de’ Medici, whom Henri married after his divorce from
    Marguerite.
8.  Louis XIII., the son of Henri and his queen, Marie de’ Medici.
9.  Alluding to the differences betwixt Marguerite and Henri, her
    husband.
10. This is said with allusion to the supposition that she was rather
    inclined to favour the suit of the Due de Guise and reject Henri
    for a husband.



CONTENTS


LETTER I.

Introduction.--Anecdotes of Marguerite’s Infancy.--Endeavours Used to
Convert Her to the New Religion.--She Is Confirmed in Catholicism.--The
Court on a Progress.--A Grand Festivity Suddenly Interrupted.--The
Confusion in Consequence.


LETTER II.

Message from the Duc d’Anjou, Afterwards Henri III., to King Charles His
Brother and the Queen-mother.--Her Fondness for Her Children.--Their
Interview.--Anjou’s Eloquent Harangue.--The Queen-mother’s Character.
Discourse of the Duc d’Anjou with Marguerite.--She Discovers Her Own
Importance.--Engages to Serve Her Brother Anjou.--Is in High Favour with
the Queenmother.


LETTER III.

Le Guast.--His Character.--Anjou Affects to Be Jealous of the
Guises.--Dissuades the Queen-mother from Reposing Confidence in
Marguerite.--She Loses the Favour of the Queen-mother and Falls
Sick.--Anjou’s Hypocrisy.--He Introduces De Guise into Marguerite’s Sick
Chamber.--Marguerite Demanded in Marriage by the King of Portugal.--Made
Uneasy on That Account.--Contrives to Relieve Herself.--The Match with
Portugal Broken off.


LETTER IV.

Death of the Queen of Navarre--Marguerite’s Marriage with Her Son, the
King of Navarre, Afterwards Henri IV. of France.--The Preparations for
That Solemnisation Described.--The Circumstances Which Led to the
Massacre of the Huguenots on St. Bartholomew’s Day.


LETTER V.

The Massacre of St. Bartholomew’s Day.


LETTER VI.

Henri, Duc d’Anjou, Elected King of Poland, Leaves France.--Huguenot
Plots to Withdraw the Duc d’Alencon and the King of Navarre from
Court.--Discovered and Defeated by Marguerite’s Vigilance.--She Draws Up
an Eloquent Defence, Which Her Husband Delivers before a Committee from
the Court of Parliament.--Alencon and Her Husband, under a Close Arrest,
Regain Their Liberty by the Death of Charles IX.


LETTER VII.

Accession of Henri III.--A Journey to Lyons.--Marguerite’s Faith in
Supernatural Intelligence.


LETTER VIII.

What Happened at Lyons.


LETTER IX.

Fresh Intrigues.--Marriage of Henri III.--Bussi Arrives at Court and
Narrowly Escapes Assassination.


LETTER X.

Bussi Is Sent from Court.--Marguerite’s Husband Attacked with a Fit of
Epilepsy.--Her Great Care of Him.--Torigni Dismissed from Marguerite’s
Service.--The King of Navarre and the Duc d’Alencon Secretly Leave the
Court.


LETTER XI.

Queen Marguerite under Arrest.--Attempt on Torigni’s Life.--Her Fortunate
Deliverance.


LETTER XII.

The Peace of Sens betwixt Henri III. and the Huguenots.


LETTER XIII.

The League.--War Declared against the Huguenots.--Queen Marguerite Sets
out for Spa.


LETTER XIV.

Description of Queen Marguerite’s Equipage.--Her Journey to Liege
Described.--She Enters with Success upon Her Mission.--Striking Instance
of Maternal Duty and Affection in a Great Lady.--Disasters near the Close
of the Journey.


LETTER XV.

The City of Liege Described.--Affecting Story of Mademoiselle de
Tournon.--Fatal Effects of Suppressed Anguish of Mind.


LETTER XVI.

Queen Marguerite, on Her Return from Liege, Is in Danger of Being Made a
Prisoner.--She Arrives, after Some Narrow Escapes, at La Fere.


LETTER XVII.

Good Effects of Queen Marguerite’s Negotiations in Flanders.--She Obtains
Leave to Go to the King of Navarre Her Husband, but Her Journey Is
Delayed.--Court Intrigues and Plots.--The Duc d’Alencon Again Put under
Arrest.


LETTER XVIII.

The Brothers Reconciled.--Alencon Restored to His Liberty.


LETTER XIX.

The Duc d’Alencon Makes His Escape from Court.--Queen Marguerite’s
Fidelity Put to a Severe Trial.


LETTER XX.

Queen Marguerite Permitted to Go to the King Her Husband.--Is Accompanied
by the Queenmother.--Marguerite Insulted by Her Husband’s Secretary.--She
Harbours Jealousy.--Her Attention to the King Her Husband during an
Indisposition.--Their Reconciliation.--The War Breaks Out
Afresh.--Affront Received from Marechal de Biron.


LETTER XXI.

Situation of Affairs in Flanders.--Peace Brought About by Duc d’Alencon’s
Negotiation.--Marechal de Biron Apologises for Firing on Nerac.--Henri
Desperately in Love with Fosseuse.--Queen Marguerite Discovers Fosseuse
to Be Pregnant, Which She Denies.--Fosseuse in Labour.  Marguerite’s
Generous Behaviour to Her.--Marguerite’s Return to Paris.


HISTORY OF THE HOUSE OF VALOIS. [Author unknown]



MARGUERITE DE VALOIS.



BOOK 1.


LETTER I.

Introduction.--Anecdotes of Marguerite’s Infancy.--Endeavours Used to
Convert Her to the New Religion.--She Is Confirmed in Catholicism.--The
Court on a Progress.--A Grand Festivity Suddenly Interrupted.--The
Confusion in Consequence.


I should commend your work much more were I myself less praised in it;
but I am unwilling to do so, lest my praises should seem rather the
effect of self-love than to be founded on reason and justice.  I am
fearful that, like Themistocles, I should appear to admire their
eloquence the most who are most forward to praise me.  It is the usual
frailty of our sex to be fond of flattery.  I blame this in other women,
and should wish not to be chargeable with it myself.  Yet I confess that
I take a pride in being painted by the hand of so able a master, however
flattering the likeness may be.  If I ever were possessed of the graces
you have assigned to me, trouble and vexation render them no longer
visible, and have even effaced them from my own recollection.  So that I
view myself in your Memoirs, and say, with old Madame de Rendan, who, not
having consulted her glass since her husband’s death, on seeing her own
face in the mirror of another lady, exclaimed, “Who is this?”  Whatever
my friends tell me when they see me now, I am inclined to think proceeds
from the partiality of their affection.  I am sure that you yourself,
when you consider more impartially what you have said, will be induced to
believe, according to these lines of Du Bellay:

“C’est chercher Rome en Rome, Et rien de Rome en Rome ne trouver.”

[‘Tis to seek Rome, in Rome to go, And Rome herself at Rome not know.)

But as we read with pleasure the history of the Siege of Troy, the
magnificence of Athens, and other splendid cities, which once flourished,
but are now so entirely destroyed that scarcely the spot whereon they
stood can be traced, so you please yourself with describing these
excellences of beauty which are no more, and which will be discoverable
only in your writings.

If you had taken upon you to contrast Nature and Fortune, you could not
have chosen a happier theme upon which to descant, for both have made a
trial of their strength on the subject of your Memoirs.  What Nature did,
you had the evidence of your own eyes to vouch for, but what was done by
Fortune, you know only from hearsay; and hearsay, I need not tell you, is
liable to be influenced by ignorance or malice, and, therefore, is not to
be depended on.  You will for that reason, I make no doubt, be pleased to
receive these Memoirs from the hand which is most interested in the truth
of them.

I have been induced to undertake writing my Memoirs the more from five or
six observations which I have had occasion to make upon your work, as you
appear to have been misinformed respecting certain particulars.  For
example, in that part where mention is made of Pau, and of my journey in
France; likewise where you speak of the late Marechal de Biron, of Agen,
and of the sally of the Marquis de Camillac from that place.

These Memoirs might merit the honourable name of history from the truths
contained in them, as I shall prefer truth to embellishment.  In fact, to
embellish my story I have neither leisure nor ability; I shall,
therefore, do no more than give a simple narration of events.  They are
the labours of my evenings, and will come to you an unformed mass, to
receive its shape from your hands, or as a chaos on which you have
already thrown light.  Mine is a history most assuredly worthy to come
from a man of honour, one who is a true Frenchman, born of illustrious
parents, brought up in the Court of the Kings my father and brothers,
allied in blood and friendship to the most virtuous and accomplished
women of our times, of which society I have had the good fortune to be
the bond of union.

I shall begin these Memoirs in the reign of Charles IX., and set out with
the first remarkable event of my life which fell within my remembrance.
Herein I follow the example of geographical writers, who, having
described the places within their knowledge, tell you that all beyond
them are sandy deserts, countries without inhabitants, or seas never
navigated.  Thus I might say that all prior to the commencement of these
Memoirs was the barrenness of my infancy, when we can only be said to
vegetate like plants, or live, like brutes, according to instinct, and
not as human creatures, guided by reason.  To those who had the direction
of my earliest years I leave the task of relating the transactions of my
infancy, if they find them as worthy of being recorded as the infantine
exploits of Themistocles and Alexander,--the one exposing himself to be
trampled on by the horses of a charioteer, who would not stop them when
requested to do so, and the other refusing to run a race unless kings
were to enter the contest against him.  Amongst such memorable things
might be related the answer I made the King my father, a short time
before the fatal accident which deprived France of peace, and our family
of its chief glory.  I was then about four or five years of age, when the
King, placing me on his knee, entered familiarly into chat with me. There
were, in the same room, playing and diverting themselves, the Prince de
Joinville, since the great and unfortunate Duc de Guise, and the Marquis
de Beaupreau, son of the Prince de la Roche-sur-Yon, who died in his
fourteenth year, and by whose death his country lost a youth of most
promising talents.  Amongst other discourse, the King asked which of the
two Princes that were before me I liked best.  I replied, “The Marquis.”
 The King said, “Why so?  He is not the handsomest.”  The Prince de
Joinville was fair, with light-coloured hair, and the Marquis de
Beaupreau brown, with dark hair.  I answered, “Because he is the best
behaved; whilst the Prince is always making mischief, and will be master
over everybody.”

This was a presage of what we have seen happen since, when the whole
Court was infected with heresy, about the time of the Conference of
Poissy.  It was with great difficulty that I resisted and preserved
myself from a change of religion at that time.  Many ladies and lords
belonging to Court strove to convert me to Huguenotism.  The Duc d’Anjou,
since King Henri III. of France, then in his infancy, had been prevailed
on to change his religion, and he often snatched my “Hours” out of my
hand, and flung them into the fire, giving me Psalm Books and books of
Huguenot prayers, insisting on my using them.  I took the first
opportunity to give them up to my governess, Madame de Curton, whom God,
out of his mercy to me, caused to continue steadfast in the Catholic
religion.  She frequently took me to that pious, good man, the Cardinal
de Tournon, who gave me good advice, and strengthened me in a
perseverance in my religion, furnishing me with books and chaplets of
beads in the room of those my brother Anjou took from me and burnt.

Many of my brother’s most intimate friends had resolved on my ruin, and
rated me severely upon my refusal to change, saying it proceeded from a
childish obstinacy; that if I had the least understanding, and would
listen, like other discreet persons, to the sermons that were preached, I
should abjure my uncharitable bigotry; but I was, said they, as foolish
as my governess.  My brother Anjou added threats, and said the Queen my
mother would give orders that I should be whipped.  But this he said of
his own head, for the Queen my mother did not, at that time, know of the
errors he had embraced.  As soon as it came to her knowledge, she took
him to task, and severely reprimanded his governors, insisting upon their
correcting him, and instructing him in the holy and ancient religion of
his forefathers, from which she herself never swerved.  When he used
those menaces, as I have before related, I was a child seven or eight
years old, and at that tender age would reply to him, “Well, get me
whipped if you can; I will suffer whipping, and even death, rather than
be damned.”

I could furnish you with many other replies of the like kind, which gave
proof of the early ripeness of my judgment and my courage; but I shall
not trouble myself with such researches, choosing rather to begin these
Memoirs at the time when I resided constantly with the Queen my mother.

Immediately after the Conference of Poissy, the civil wars commenced, and
my brother Alencon and myself, on account of our youth, were sent to
Amboise, whither all the ladies of the country repaired to us.

With them came your aunt, Madame de Dampierre, who entered into a firm
friendship with me, which was never interrupted until her death broke it
off.  There was likewise your cousin, the Duchesse de Rais, who had the
good fortune to hear there of the death of her brute of a husband, killed
at the battle of Dreux.  The husband I mean was the first she had, named
M. d’Annebaut, who was unworthy to have for a wife so accomplished and
charming a woman as your cousin.  She and I were not then so intimate
friends as we have become since, and shall ever remain.  The reason was
that, though older than I, she was yet young, and young girls seldom take
much notice of children, whereas your aunt was of an age when women
admire their innocence and engaging simplicity.

I remained at Amboise until the Queen my mother was ready to set out on
her grand progress, at which time she sent for me to come to her Court,
which I did not quit afterwards.

Of this progress I will not undertake to give you a description, being
still so young that, though the whole is within my recollection, yet the
particular passages of it appear to me but as a dream, and are now lost.
I leave this task to others, of riper years, as you were yourself. You
can well remember the magnificence that was displayed everywhere,
particularly at the baptism of my nephew, the Duc de Lorraine, at
Bar-le-Duc; at the meeting of M. and Madame de Savoy, in the city of
Lyons; the interview at Bayonne betwixt my sister, the Queen of Spain,
the Queen my mother, and King Charles my brother.  In your account of
this interview you would not forget to make mention of the noble
entertainment given by the Queen my mother, on an island, with the grand
dances, and the form of the salon, which seemed appropriated by nature
for such a purpose, it being a large meadow in the middle of the island,
in the shape of an oval, surrounded on every aide by tall spreading
trees.  In this meadow the Queen my mother had disposed a circle of
niches, each of them large enough to contain a table of twelve covers.
At one end a platform was raised, ascended by four steps formed of turf.
Here their Majesties were seated at a table under a lofty canopy.  The
tables were all served by troops of shepherdesses dressed in cloth of
gold and satin, after the fashion of the different provinces of France.
These shepherdesses, during the passage of the superb boats from Bayonne
to the island, were placed in separate bands, in a meadow on each side of
the causeway, raised with turf; and whilst their Majesties and the
company were passing through the great salon, they danced.  On their
passage by water, the barges were followed by other boats, having on
board vocal and instrumental musicians, habited like Nereids, singing and
playing the whole time.  After landing, the shepherdesses I have
mentioned before received the company in separate troops, with songs and
dances, after the fashion and accompanied by the music of the provinces
they represented,--the Poitevins playing on bagpipes; the Provencales on
the viol and cymbal; the Burgundians and Champagners on the hautboy, bass
viol, and tambourine; in like manner the Bretons and other
provincialists.  After the collation was served and the feast at an end,
a large troop of musicians, habited like satyrs, was seen to come out of
the opening of a rock, well lighted up, whilst nymphs were descending
from the top in rich habits, who, as they came down, formed into a grand
dance, when, lo! fortune no longer favouring this brilliant festival, a
sudden storm of rain came on, and all were glad to get off in the boats
and make for town as fast as they could.  The confusion in consequence of
this precipitate retreat afforded as much matter to laugh at the next day
as the splendour of the entertainment had excited admiration.  In short,
the festivity of this day was not, forgotten, on one account or the
other, amidst the variety of the like nature which succeeded it in the
course of this progress.



LETTER II.

Message from the Duc d’Anjou, Afterwards Henri III., to King Charles His
Brother and the Queen-mother.--Her Fondness for Her Children.--Their
Interview.--Anjou’s Eloquent Harangue.--The Queen-mother’s Character.
Discourse of the Duc d’Anjou with Marguerite.--She Discovers Her Own
Importance.--Engages to Serve Her Brother Anjou.--Is in High Favour with
the Queenmother.


At the time my magnanimous brother Charles reigned over France, and some
few years after our return from the grand progress mentioned in my last
letter, the Huguenots having renewed the war, a gentleman, despatched
from my brother Anjou (afterwards Henri III. of France), came to Paris to
inform the King and the Queen my mother that the Huguenot army was
reduced to such an extremity that he hoped in a few days to force them to
give him battle.  He added his earnest wish for the honour of seeing them
at Tours before that happened, so that, in case Fortune, envying him the
glory he had already achieved at so early an age, should, on the so much
looked-for day, after the good service he had done his religion and his
King, crown the victory with his death, he might not have cause to regret
leaving this world without the satisfaction of receiving their
approbation of his conduct from their own mouths, a satisfaction which
would be more valuable, in his opinion, than the trophies he had gained
by his two former victories.

I leave to your own imagination to suggest to you the impression which
such a message from a dearly beloved son made on the mind of a mother who
doted on all her children, and was always ready to sacrifice her own
repose, nay, even her life, for their happiness.

She resolved immediately to set off and take the King with her.  She had,
besides myself, her usual small company of female attendants, together
with Mesdames de Rais and de Sauves.  She flew on the wings of maternal
affection, and reached Tours in three days and a half.  A journey from
Paris, made with such precipitation, was not unattended with accidents
and some inconveniences, of a nature to occasion much mirth and laughter.
The poor Cardinal de Bourbon, who never quitted her, and whose temper of
mind, strength of body, and habits of life were ill suited to encounter
privations and hardships, suffered greatly from this rapid journey.

We found my brother Anjou at Plessis-les-Tours, with the principal
officers of his army, who were the flower of the princes and nobles of
France.  In their presence he delivered a harangue to the King, giving a
detail of his conduct in the execution of his charge, beginning from the
time he left the Court.  His discourse was framed with so much eloquence,
and spoken so gracefully, that it was admired by all present.  It
appeared matter of astonishment that a youth of sixteen should reason
with all the gravity and powers of an orator of ripe years.  The
comeliness of his person, which at all times pleads powerfully in favour
of a speaker, was in him set off by the laurels obtained in two
victories.  In short, it was difficult to say which most contributed to
make him the admiration of all his hearers.

It is equally as impossible for me to describe in words the feelings of
my mother on this occasion, who loved him above all her children, as it
was for the painter to represent on canvas the grief of Iphigenia’s
father.  Such an overflow of joy would have been discoverable in the
looks and actions of any other woman, but she had her passions so much
under the control of prudence and discretion that there was nothing to be
perceived in her countenance, or gathered from her words, of what she
felt inwardly in her mind.  She was, indeed, a perfect mistress of
herself, and regulated her discourse and her actions by the rules of
wisdom and sound policy, showing that a person of discretion does upon
all occasions only what is proper to be done.  She did not amuse herself
on this occasion with listening to the praises which issued from every
mouth, and sanction them with her own approbation; but, selecting the
chief points in the speech relative to the future conduct of the war, she
laid them before the Princes and great lords, to be deliberated upon, in
order to settle a plan of operations.

To arrange such a plan a delay of some days was requisite.  During this
interval, the Queen my mother walking in the park with some of the
Princes, my brother Anjou begged me to take a turn or two with him in a
retired walk.  He then addressed me in the following words: “Dear sister,
the nearness of blood, as well as our having been brought up together,
naturally, as they ought, attach us to each other.  You must already have
discovered the partiality I have had for you above my brothers, and I
think that I have perceived the same in you for me.  We have been
hitherto led to this by nature, without deriving any other advantage from
it than the sole pleasure of conversing together.  So far might be well
enough for our childhood, but now we are no longer children.  You know
the high situation in which, by the favour of God and our good mother the
Queen, I am here placed.  You may be assured that, as you are the person
in the world whom I love and esteem the most, you will always be a
partaker of my advancement.  I know you are not wanting in wit and
discretion, and I am sensible you have it in your power to do me service
with the Queen our mother, and preserve me in my present employments. It
is a great point obtained for me, always to stand well in her favour. I
am fearful that my absence may be prejudicial to that purpose, and I must
necessarily be at a distance from Court.  Whilst I am away, the King my
brother is with her, and has it in his power to insinuate himself into
her good graces.  This I fear, in the end, may be of disservice to me.
The King my brother is growing older every day.  He does not want for
courage, and, though he now diverts himself with hunting, he may grow
ambitious, and choose rather to chase men than beasts; in such a case I
must resign to him my commission as his lieutenant.  This would prove the
greatest mortification that could happen to me, and I would even prefer
death to it.  Under such an apprehension I have considered of the means
of prevention, and see none so feasible as having a confidential person
about the Queen my mother, who shall always be ready to espouse and
support my cause.  I know no one so proper for that purpose as yourself,
who will be, I doubt not, as attentive to my interest as I should be
myself.  You have wit, discretion, and fidelity, which are all that are
wanting, provided you will be so kind as to undertake such a good office.
In that case I shall have only to beg of you not to neglect attending her
morning and evening, to be the first with her and the last to leave her.
This will induce her to repose a confidence and open her mind to you.

“To make her the more ready to do this, I shall take every opportunity,
to commend your good sense and understanding, and to tell her that I
shall take it kind in her to leave off treating you as a child, which, I
shall say, will contribute to her own comfort and satisfaction.  I am
well convinced that she will listen to my advice.  Do you speak to her
with the same confidence as you do to me, and be assured that she will
approve of it.  It will conduce to your own happiness to obtain her
favour.  You may do yourself service whilst you are labouring for my
interest; and you may rest satisfied that, after God, I shall think I owe
all the good fortune which may befall me to yourself.”

This was entirely a new kind of language to me.  I had hitherto thought
of nothing but amusements, of dancing, hunting, and the like diversions;
nay, I had never yet discovered any inclination of setting myself off to
advantage by dress, and exciting an admiration of my person and figure. I
had no ambition of any kind, and had been so strictly brought up under
the Queen my mother that I scarcely durst speak before her; and if she
chanced to turn her eyes towards me I trembled, for fear that I had done
something to displease her.  At the conclusion of my brother’s harangue,
I was half inclined to reply to him in the words of Moses, when he was
spoken to from the burning bush: “Who am I, that I should go unto
Pharaoh?  Send, I pray thee, by the hand of him whom thou wilt send.”

However, his words inspired me with resolution and powers I did not think
myself possessed of before.  I had naturally a degree of courage, and, as
soon as I recovered from my astonishment, I found I was quite an altered
person.  His address pleased me, and wrought in me a confidence in
myself; and I found I was become of more consequence than I had ever
conceived I had been.  Accordingly, I replied to him thus: “Brother, if
God grant me the power of speaking to the Queen our mother as I have the
will to do, nothing can be wanting for your service, and you may expect
to derive all the good you hope from it, and from my solicitude and
attention for your interest.  With respect to my undertaking such a
matter for you, you will soon perceive that I shall sacrifice all the
pleasures in this world to my watchfulness for your service.  You may
perfectly rely on me, as there is no one that honours or regards you more
than I do.  Be well assured that I shall act for you with the Queen my
mother as zealously as you would for yourself.”

These sentiments were more strongly impressed upon my mind than the words
I made use of were capable of conveying an idea of.  This will appear
more fully in my following letters.

As soon as we were returned from walking, the Queen my mother retired
with me into her closet, and addressed the following words to me: “Your
brother has been relating the conversation you have had together; he
considers you no longer as a child, neither shall I.  It will be a great
comfort to me to converse with you as I would with your brother.  For the
future you will freely speak your mind, and have no apprehensions of
taking too great a liberty, for it is what I wish.”  These words gave me
a pleasure then which I am now unable to express.  I felt a satisfaction
and a joy which nothing before had ever caused me to feel.  I now
considered the pastimes of my childhood as vain amusements.  I shunned
the society of my former companions of the same age.  I disliked dancing
and hunting, which I thought beneath my attention.  I strictly complied
with her agreeable injunction, and never missed being with her at her
rising in the morning and going to rest at night.  She did me the honour,
sometimes, to hold me in conversation for two and three hours at a time.
God was so gracious with me that I gave her great satisfaction; and she
thought she could not sufficiently praise me to those ladies who were
about her.  I spoke of my brother’s affairs to her, and he was constantly
apprised by me of her sentiments and opinion; so that he had every reason
to suppose I was firmly attached to his interest.



LETTER III.

Le Guast.--His Character.--Anjou Affects to Be Jealous of the
Guises.--Dissuades the Queen-mother from Reposing Confidence in
Marguerite.--She Loses the Favour of the Queen-mother and Falls
Sick.--Anjou’s Hypocrisy.--He Introduces De Guise into Marguerite’s Sick
Chamber.--Marguerite Demanded in Marriage by the King of Portugal.--Made
Uneasy on That Account.--Contrives to Relieve Herself.--The Match with
Portugal Broken off.


I continued to pass my time with the Queen my mother, greatly to my
satisfaction, until after the battle of Moncontour.  By the same despatch
that brought the news of this victory to the Court, my brother, who was
ever desirous to be near the Queen my mother, wrote her word that he was
about to lay siege to St. Jean d’Angely, and that it would be necessary
that the King should be present whilst it was going on.

She, more anxious to see him than he could be to have her near him,
hastened to set out on the journey, taking me with her, and her customary
train of attendants.  I likewise experienced great joy upon the occasion,
having no suspicion that any mischief awaited me.  I was still young and
without experience, and I thought the happiness I enjoyed was always to
continue; but the malice of Fortune prepared for me at this interview a
reverse that I little expected, after the fidelity with which I had
discharged the trust my brother had reposed in me.

Soon after our last meeting, it seems, my brother Anjou had taken Le
Guast to be near his person, who had ingratiated himself so far into his
favour and confidence that he saw only with his eyes, and spoke but as he
dictated.  This evil-disposed man, whose whole life was one continued
scene of wickedness, had perverted his mind and filled it with maxims of
the most atrocious nature.  He advised him to have no regard but for his
own interest; neither to love nor put trust in any one; and not to
promote the views or advantage of either brother or sister.  These and
other maxims of the like nature, drawn from the school of Machiavelli, he
was continually suggesting to him.  He had so frequently inculcated them
that they were strongly impressed on his mind, insomuch that, upon our
arrival, when, after the first compliments, my mother began to open in my
praise and express the attachment I had discovered for him, this was his
reply, which he delivered with the utmost coldness:

“He was well pleased,” he said, “to have succeeded in the request he had
made to me; but that prudence directed us not to continue to make use of
the same expedients, for what was profitable at one time might not be so
at another.”  She asked him why he made that observation.  This question
afforded the opportunity he wished for, of relating a story he had
fabricated, purposely to ruin me with her.

He began with observing to her that I was grown very handsome, and that
M. de Guise wished to marry me; that his uncles, too, were very desirous
of such a match; and, if I should entertain a like passion for him, there
would be danger of my discovering to him all she said to me; that she
well knew the ambition of that house, and how ready they were, on all
occasions, to circumvent ours.  It would, therefore, be proper that she
should not, for the future, communicate any matter of State to me, but,
by degrees, withdraw her confidence.

I discovered the evil effects proceeding from this pernicious advice on
the very same evening.  I remarked an unwillingness on her part to speak
to me before my brother; and, as soon as she entered into discourse with
him, she commanded me to go to bed.  This command she repeated two or
three times.  I quitted her closet, and left them together in
conversation; but, as soon as he was gone, I returned and entreated her
to let me know if I had been so unhappy as to have done anything, through
ignorance, which had given her offence.  She was at first inclined to
dissemble with me; but at length she said to me thus: “Daughter, your
brother is prudent and cautious; you ought not to be displeased with him
for what he does, and you must believe what I shall tell you is right and
proper.”  She then related the conversation she had with my brother, as I
have just written it; and she then ordered me never to speak to her in my
brother’s presence.

These words were like so many daggers plunged into my breast.  In my
disgrace, I experienced as much grief as I had before joy on being
received into her favour and confidence.  I did not omit to say
everything to convince her of my entire ignorance of what my brother had
told her.  I said it was a matter I had never heard mentioned before; and
that, had I known it, I should certainly have made her immediately
acquainted with it.  All I said was to no purpose; my brother’s words had
made the first impression; they were constantly present in her mind, and
outweighed probability and truth.  When I discovered this, I told her
that I felt less uneasiness at being deprived of my happiness than I did
joy when I had acquired it; for my brother had taken it from me, as he
had given it.  He had given it without reason; he had taken it away
without cause.  He had praised me for discretion and prudence when I did
not merit it, and he suspected my fidelity on grounds wholly imaginary
and fictitious.  I concluded with assuring her that I should never forget
my brother’s behaviour on this occasion.

Hereupon she flew into a passion and commanded me not to make the least
show of resentment at his behaviour.  From that hour she gradually
withdrew her favour from me.  Her son became the god of her idolatry, at
the shrine of whose will she sacrificed everything.

The grief which I inwardly felt was very great and overpowered all my
faculties, until it wrought so far on my constitution as to contribute to
my receiving the infection which then prevailed in the army.  A few days
after I fell sick of a raging fever, attended with purple spots, a malady
which carried off numbers, and, amongst the rest, the two principal
physicians belonging to the King and Queen, Chappelain and Castelan.
Indeed, few got over the disorder after being attacked with it.

In this extremity the Queen my mother, who partly guessed the cause of my
illness, omitted nothing that might serve to remove it; and, without fear
of consequences, visited me frequently.  Her goodness contributed much to
my recovery; but my brother’s hypocrisy was sufficient to destroy all the
benefit I received from her attention, after having been guilty of so
treacherous a proceeding.  After he had proved so ungrateful to me, he
came and sat at the foot of my bed from morning to night, and appeared as
anxiously attentive as if we had been the most perfect friends.  My mouth
was shut up by the command I had received from the Queen our mother, so
that I only answered his dissembled concern with sighs, like Burrus in
the presence of Nero, when he was dying by the poison administered by the
hands of that tyrant.  The sighs, however, which I vented in my brother’s
presence, might convince him that I attributed my sickness rather to his
ill offices than to the prevailing contagion.

God had mercy on me, and supported me through this dangerous illness.
After I had kept my bed a fortnight, the army changed its quarters, and I
was conveyed away with it in a litter.  At the end of each day’s march, I
found King Charles at the door of my quarters, ready, with the rest of
the good gentlemen belonging to the Court, to carry my litter up to my
bedside.  In this manner I came to Angers from St. Jean d’Angely, sick in
body, but more sick in mind.  Here, to my misfortune, M. de Guise and his
uncles had arrived before me.  This was a circumstance which gave my good
brother great pleasure, as it afforded a colourable appearance to his
story.  I soon discovered the advantage my brother would make of it to
increase my already too great mortification; for he came daily to see me,
and as constantly brought M. de Guise into my chamber with him.  He
pretended the sincerest regard for De Guise, and, to make him believe it,
would take frequent opportunities of embracing him, crying out at the
same time, “would to God you were my brother!”  This he often put in
practice before me, which M. de Guise seemed not to comprehend; but I,
who knew his malicious designs, lost all patience, yet did not dare to
reproach him with his hypocrisy.

As soon as I was recovered, a treaty was set on foot for a marriage
betwixt the King of Portugal and me, an ambassador having been sent for
that purpose.  The Queen my mother commanded me to prepare to give the
ambassador an audience; which I did accordingly.  My brother had made her
believe that I was averse to this marriage; accordingly, she took me to
task upon it, and questioned me on the subject, expecting she should find
some cause to be angry with me.  I told her my will had always been
guided by her own, and that whatever she thought right for me to do, I
should do it.  She answered me, angrily, according as she had been
wrought upon, that I did not speak the sentiments of my heart, for she
well knew that the Cardinal de Lorraine had persuaded me into a promise
of having his nephew.  I begged her to forward this match with the King
of Portugal, and I would convince her of my obedience to her commands.
Every day some new matter was reported to incense her against me.  All
these were machinations worked up by the mind of Le Guast.  In short, I
was constantly receiving some fresh mortification, so that I hardly
passed a day in quiet.  On one side, the King of Spain was using his
utmost endeavours to break off the match with Portugal, and M. de Guise,
continuing at Court, furnished grounds for persecuting me on the other.
Still, not a single person of the Guises ever mentioned a word to me on
the subject; and it was well known that, for more than a twelvemonth, M.
de Guise had been paying his addresses to the Princesse de Porcian; but
the slow progress made in bringing this match to a conclusion was said to
be owing to his designs upon me.

As soon as I made this discovery I resolved to write to my sister, Madame
de Lorraine, who had a great influence in the House of Porcian, begging
her to use her endeavours to withdraw M. de Guise from Court, and make
him conclude his match with the Princess, laying open to her the plot
which had been concerted to ruin the Guises and me.  She readily saw
through it, came immediately to Court, and concluded the match, which
delivered me from the aspersions cast on my character, and convinced the
Queen my mother that what I had told her was the real truth.  This at the
same time stopped the mouths of my enemies and gave me some repose.

At length the King of Spain, unwilling that the King of Portugal should
marry out of his family, broke off the treaty which had been entered upon
for my marriage with him.



LETTER IV.

Death of the Queen of Navarre--Marguerite’s Marriage with Her Son, the
King of Navarre, Afterwards Henri IV. of France.--The Preparations for
That Solemnisation Described.--The Circumstances Which Led to the
Massacre of the Huguenots on St. Bartholomew’s Day.


Some short time after this a marriage was projected betwixt the Prince of
Navarre, now our renowned King Henri IV., and me.

The Queen my mother, as she sat at table, discoursed for a long time upon
the subject with M. de Meru, the House of Montmorency having first
proposed the match.  After the Queen had risen from table, he told me she
had commanded him to mention it to me.  I replied that it was quite
unnecessary, as I had no will but her own; however, I should wish she
would be pleased to remember that I was a Catholic, and that I should
dislike to marry any one of a contrary persuasion.

Soon after this the Queen sent for me to attend her in her closet.  She
there informed me that the Montmorencys had proposed this match to her,
and that she was desirous to learn my sentiments upon it.

I answered that my choice was governed by her pleasure, and that I only
begged her not to forget that I was a good Catholic.

This treaty was in negotiation for some time after this conversation, and
was not finally settled until the arrival of the Queen of Navarre, his
mother, at Court, where she died soon after.

Whilst the Queen of Navarre lay on her death-bed, a circumstance happened
of so whimsical a nature that, though not of consequence to merit a place
in the history, it may very well deserve to be related by me to you.
Madame de Nevers, whose oddities you well know, attended the Cardinal de
Bourbon, Madame de Guise, the Princesse de Conde, her sisters, and myself
to the late Queen of Navarre’s apartments, whither we all went to pay
those last duties which her rank and our nearness of blood demanded of
us.  We found the Queen in bed with her curtains undrawn, the chamber not
disposed with the pomp and ceremonies of our religion, but after the
simple manner of the Huguenots; that is to say, there were no priests, no
cross, nor any holy water.  We kept ourselves at some distance from the
bed, but Madame de Nevers, whom you know the Queen hated more than any
woman besides, and which she had shown both in speech and by
actions,--Madame de Nevers, I say, approached the bedside, and, to the
great astonishment of all present, who well knew the enmity subsisting
betwixt them, took the Queen’s hand, with many low curtseys, and kissed
it; after which, making another curtsey to the very ground, she retired
and rejoined us.

A few months after the Queen’s death, the Prince of Navarre, or rather,
as he was then styled, the King, came to Paris in deep mourning, attended
by eight hundred gentlemen, all in mourning habits.  He was received with
every honour by King Charles and the whole Court, and, in a few days
after his arrival, our marriage was solemnised with all possible
magnificence; the King of Navarre and his retinue putting off their
mourning and dressing themselves in the most costly manner.  The whole
Court, too, was richly attired; all which you can better conceive than I
am able to express.  For my own part, I was set out in a most royal
manner; I wore a crown on my head with the ‘coet’, or regal close gown of
ermine, and I blazed in diamonds.  My blue-coloured robe had a train to
it of four ells in length, which was supported by three princesses. A
platform had been raised, some height from the ground, which led from the
Bishop’s palace to the Church of Notre-Dame.  It was hung with cloth of
gold; and below it stood the people in throngs to view the procession,
stifling with heat.  We were received at the church door by the Cardinal
de Bourbon, who officiated for that day, and pronounced the nuptial
benediction.  After this we proceeded on the same platform to the tribune
which separates the nave from the choir, where was a double staircase,
one leading into the choir, the other through the nave to the church
door.  The King of Navarre passed by the latter and went out of church.

But fortune, which is ever changing, did not fail soon to disturb the
felicity of this union.  This was occasioned by the wound received by the
Admiral, which had wrought the Huguenots up to a degree of desperation.
The Queen my mother was reproached on that account in such terms by the
elder Pardaillan and some other principal Huguenots, that she began to
apprehend some evil design.  M. de Guise and my brother the King of
Poland, since Henri III. of France, gave it as their advice to be
beforehand with the Huguenots.  King Charles was of a contrary opinion.
He had a great esteem for M. de La Rochefoucauld, Teligny, La Noue, and
some other leading men of the same religion; and, as I have since heard
him say, it was with the greatest difficulty he could be prevailed upon
to give his consent, and not before he had been made to understand that
his own life aid the safety of his kingdom depended upon it.

The King having learned that Maurevel had made an attempt upon the
Admiral’s life, by firing a pistol at him through a window,--in which
attempt he failed, having wounded the Admiral only in the shoulder,--and
supposing that Maurevel had done this at the instance of M. de Guise, to
revenge the death of his father, whom the Admiral had caused to be killed
in the same manner by Poltrot, he was so much incensed against M. de
Guise that he declared with an oath that he would make an example of him;
and, indeed, the King would have put M. de Guise under an arrest, if he
had not kept out of his sight the whole day.  The Queen my mother used
every argument to convince King Charles that what had been done was for
the good of the State; and this because, as I observed before, the King
had so great a regard for the Admiral, La Noue, and Teligny, on account
of their bravery, being himself a prince of a gallant and noble spirit,
and esteeming others in whom he found a similar disposition.  Moreover,
these designing men had insinuated themselves into the King’s favour by
proposing an expedition to Flanders, with a view of extending his
dominions and aggrandising his power, knew would secure to themselves an
influence over his royal and generous mind.

Upon this occasion, the Queen my mother represented to the King that the
attempt of M. de Guise upon the Admiral’s life was excusable in a son
who, being denied justice, had no other means of avenging his father’s
death.  Moreover, the Admiral, she said, had deprived her by
assassination, during his minority and her regency, of a faithful servant
in the person of Charri, commander of the King’s body-guard, which
rendered him deserving of the like treatment.

Notwithstanding that the Queen my mother spoke thus to the King,
discovering by her expressions and in her looks all the grief which she
inwardly felt on the recollection of the loss of persons who had been
useful to her; yet, so much was King Charles inclined to save those who,
as he thought, would one day be serviceable to him, that he still
persisted in his determination to punish M. de Guise, for whom he ordered
strict search to be made.

At length Pardaillan, disclosing by his menaces, during the supper of the
Queen my mother, the evil intentions of the Huguenots, she plainly
perceived that things were brought to so near a crisis, that, unless
steps were taken that very night to prevent it, the King and herself were
in danger of being assassinated.  She, therefore, came to the resolution
of declaring to King Charles his real situation.  For this purpose she
thought of the Marechal de Rais as the most proper person to break the
matter to the King, the Marshal being greatly in his favour and
confidence.

Accordingly, the Marshal went to the King in his closet, between the
hours of nine and ten, and told him he was come as a faithful servant to
discharge his duty, and lay before him the danger in which he stood, if
he persisted in his resolution of punishing M. de Guise, as he ought now
to be informed that the attempt made upon the Admiral’s life was not set
on foot by him alone, but that his (the King’s) brother the King of
Poland, and the Queen his mother, had their shares in it; that he must be
sensible how much the Queen lamented Charri’s assassination, for which
she had great reason, having very few servants about her upon whom she
could rely, and as it happened during the King’s minority,--at the time,
moreover, when France was divided between the Catholics and the
Huguenots, M. de Guise being at the head of the former, and the Prince de
Conde of the latter, both alike striving to deprive him of his crown;
that through Providence, both his crown and kingdom had been preserved by
the prudence and good conduct of the Queen Regent, who in this extremity
found herself powerfully aided by the said Charri, for which reason she
had vowed to avenge his death; that, as to the Admiral, he must be ever
considered as dangerous to the State, and whatever show he might make of
affection for his Majesty’s person, and zeal for his service in Flanders,
they must be considered as mere pretences, which he used to cover his
real design of reducing the kingdom to a state of confusion.

The Marshal concluded with observing that the original intention had been
to make away with the Admiral only, as the most obnoxious man in the
kingdom; but Maurevel having been so unfortunate as to fail in his
attempt, and the Huguenots becoming desperate enough to resolve to take
up arms, with design to attack, not only M. de Guise, but the Queen his
mother, and his brother the King of Poland, supposing them, as well as
his Majesty, to have commanded Maurevel to make his attempt, he saw
nothing but cause of alarm for his Majesty’s safety,--as well on the part
of the Catholics, if he persisted in his resolution to punish M. de
Guise, as of the Huguenots, for the reasons which he had just laid before
him.



LETTER V.

The Massacre of St. Bartholomew’s Day.


King Charles, a prince of great prudence, always paying a particular
deference to his mother, and being much attached to the Catholic
religion, now convinced of the intentions of the Huguenots, adopted a
sudden resolution of following his mother’s counsel, and putting himself
under the safeguard of the Catholics.  It was not, however, without
extreme regret that he found he had it not in his power to save Teligny,
La Noue, and M. de La Rochefoucauld.

He went to the apartments of the Queen his mother, and sending for M. de
Guise and all the Princes and Catholic officers, the “Massacre of St.
Bartholomew” was that night resolved upon.

Immediately every hand was at work; chains were drawn across the streets,
the alarm-bells were sounded, and every man repaired to his post,
according to the orders he had received, whether it was to attack the
Admiral’s quarters, or those of the other Huguenots.  M. de Guise
hastened to the Admiral’s, and Besme, a gentleman in the service of the
former, a German by birth, forced into his chamber, and having slain him
with a dagger, threw his body out of a window to his master.

I was perfectly ignorant of what was going forward.  I observed every one
to be in motion: the Huguenots, driven to despair by the attack upon the
Admiral’s life, and the Guises, fearing they should not have justice done
them, whispering all they met in the ear.

The Huguenots were suspicious of me because I was a Catholic, and the
Catholics because I was married to the King of Navarre, who was a
Huguenot.  This being the case, no one spoke a syllable of the matter to
me.

At night, when I went into the bedchamber of the Queen my mother, I
placed myself on a coffer, next my sister Lorraine, who, I could not but
remark, appeared greatly cast down.  The Queen my mother was in
conversation with some one, but, as soon as she espied me, she bade me go
to bed.  As I was taking leave, my sister seized me by the hand and
stopped me, at the same time shedding a flood of tears: “For the love of
God,” cried she, “do not stir out of this chamber!”  I was greatly
alarmed at this exclamation; perceiving which, the Queen my mother called
my sister to her, and chid her very severely.  My sister replied it was
sending me away to be sacrificed; for, if any discovery should be made, I
should be the first victim of their revenge.  The Queen my mother made
answer that, if it pleased God, I should receive no hurt, but it was
necessary I should go, to prevent the suspicion that might arise from my
staying.

I perceived there was something on foot which I was not to know, but what
it was I could not make out from anything they said.

The Queen again bade me go to bed in a peremptory tone.  My sister wished
me a good night, her tears flowing apace, but she did not dare to say a
word more; and I left the bedchamber more dead than alive.

As soon as I reached my own closet, I threw myself upon my knees and
prayed to God to take me into his protection and save me; but from whom
or what, I was ignorant.  Hereupon the King my husband, who was already
in bed, sent for me.  I went to him, and found the bed surrounded by
thirty or forty Huguenots, who were entirely unknown to me; for I had
been then but a very short time married.  Their whole discourse, during
the night, was upon what had happened to the Admiral, and they all came
to a resolution of the next day demanding justice of the King against M.
de Guise; and, if it was refused, to take it themselves.

For my part, I was unable to sleep a wink the whole night, for thinking
of my sister’s tears and distress, which had greatly alarmed me, although
I had not the least knowledge of the real cause.  As soon as day broke,
the King my husband said he would rise and play at tennis until King
Charles was risen, when he would go to him immediately and demand
justice.  He left the bedchamber, and all his gentlemen followed.

As soon as I beheld it was broad day, I apprehended all the danger my
sister had spoken of was over; and being inclined to sleep, I bade my
nurse make the door fast, and I applied myself to take some repose.  In
about an hour I was awakened by a violent noise at the door, made with
both hands and feet, and a voice calling out, “Navarre!  Navarre!”  My
nurse, supposing the King my husband to be at the door, hastened to open
it, when a gentleman, named M. de Teian, ran in, and threw himself
immediately upon my bed.  He had received a wound in his arm from a
sword, and another by a pike, and was then pursued by four archers, who
followed him into the bedchamber.  Perceiving these last, I jumped out of
bed, and the poor gentleman after me, holding me fast by the waist.  I
did not then know him; neither was I sure that he came to do me no harm,
or whether the archers were in pursuit of him or me.  In this situation I
screamed aloud, and he cried out likewise, for our fright was mutual.  At
length, by God’s providence, M. de Nangay, captain of the guard, came
into the bed-chamber, and, seeing me thus surrounded, though he could not
help pitying me, he was scarcely able to refrain from laughter.  However,
he reprimanded the archers very severely for their indiscretion, and
drove them out of the chamber.  At my request he granted the poor
gentleman his life, and I had him put to bed in my closet, caused his
wounds to be dressed, and did not suffer him to quit my apartment until
he was perfectly cured.  I changed my shift, because it was stained with
the blood of this man, and, whilst I was doing so, De Nangay gave me an
account of the transactions of the foregoing night, assuring me that the
King my husband was safe, and actually at that moment in the King’s
bedchamber.  He made me muffle myself up in a cloak, and conducted me to
the apartment of my sister, Madame de Lorraine, whither I arrived more
than half dead.  As we passed through the antechamber, all the doors of
which were wide open, a gentleman of the name of Bourse, pursued by
archers, was run through the body with a pike, and fell dead at my feet.
As if I had been killed by the same stroke, I fell, and was caught by M.
de Nangay before I reached the ground. As soon as I recovered from this
fainting-fit, I went into my sister’s bedchamber, and was immediately
followed by M. de Mioflano, first gentleman to the King my husband, and
Armagnac, his first valet de chambre, who both came to beg me to save
their lives.  I went and threw myself on my knees before the King and the
Queen my mother, and obtained the lives of both of them.

Five or six days afterwards, those who were engaged in this plot,
considering that it was incomplete whilst the King my husband and the
Prince de Conde remained alive, as their design was not only to dispose
of the Huguenots, but of the Princes of the blood likewise; and knowing
that no attempt could be made on my husband whilst I continued to be his
wife, devised a scheme which they suggested to the Queen my mother for
divorcing me from him.  Accordingly, one holiday, when I waited upon her
to chapel, she charged me to declare to her, upon my oath, whether I
believed my husband to be like other men.  “Because,” said she, “if he is
not, I can easily procure you a divorce from him.”  I begged her to
believe that I was not sufficiently competent to answer such a question,
and could only reply, as the Roman lady did to her husband, when he chid
her for not informing him of his stinking breath, that, never having
approached any other man near enough to know a difference, she thought
all men had been alike in that respect.  “But,” said I, “Madame, since
you have put the question to me, I can only declare I am content to
remain as I am;” and this I said because I suspected the design of
separating me from my husband was in order to work some mischief against
him.



LETTER VI.

Henri, Duc d’Anjou, Elected King of Poland, Leaves France.--Huguenot
Plots to Withdraw the Duc d’Alencon and the King of Navarre from
Court.--Discovered and Defeated by Marguerite’s Vigilance.--She Draws Up
an Eloquent Defence, Which Her Husband Delivers before a Committee from
the Court of Parliament.--Alencon and Her Husband, under a Close Arrest,
Regain Their Liberty by the Death of Charles IX.


We accompanied the King of Poland as far as Beaumont.  For some months
before he quitted France, he had used every endeavour to efface from my
mind the ill offices he had so ungratefully done me.  He solicited to
obtain the same place in my esteem which he held during our infancy; and,
on taking leave of me, made me confirm it by oaths and promises.  His
departure from France, and King Charles’s sickness, which happened just
about the same time, excited the spirit of the two factions into which
the kingdom was divided, to form a variety of plots.  The Huguenots, on
the death of the Admiral, had obtained from the King my husband, and my
brother Alencon, a written obligation to avenge it.  Before St.
Bartholomew’s Day, they had gained my brother over to their party, by the
hope of securing Flanders for him.  They now persuaded my husband and him
to leave the King and Queen on their return, and pass into Champagne,
there to join some troops which were in waiting to receive them.

M. de Miossans, a Catholic gentleman, having received an intimation of
this design, considered it so prejudicial to the interests of the King
his master, that he communicated it to me with the intention of
frustrating a plot of so much danger to themselves, and to the State. I
went immediately to the King and the Queen my mother, and informed them
that.  I had a matter of the utmost importance to lay before them; but
that I could not declare it unless they would be pleased to promise me
that no harm should ensue from it to such as I should name to them, and
that they would put a stop to what was going forward without publishing
their knowledge of it.  Having obtained my request, I told them that my
brother Alencon and the King my husband had an intention, on the very
next day, of joining some Huguenot troops, which expected them, in order
to fulfil the engagement they had made upon the Admiral’s death; and for
this their intention, I begged they might be excused, and that they might
be prevented from going away without any discovery being made that their
designs had been found out.  All this was granted me, and measures were
so prudently taken to stay them, that they had not the least suspicion
that their intended evasion was known.  Soon after, we arrived at St.
Germain, where we stayed some time, on account of the King’s
indisposition.  All this while my brother Alencon used every means he
could devise to ingratiate himself with me, until at last I promised him
my friendship, as I had before done to my brother the King of Poland. As
he had been brought up at a distance from Court, we had hitherto known
very little of each other, and kept ourselves at a distance.  Now that he
had made the first advances, in so respectful and affectionate a manner,
I resolved to receive him into a firm friendship, and to interest myself
in whatever concerned him, without prejudice, however, to the interests
of my good brother King Charles, whom I loved more than any one besides,
and who continued to entertain a great regard for me, of which he gave me
proofs as long as he lived.

Meanwhile King Charles was daily growing worse, and the Huguenots
constantly forming new plots.  They were very desirous to get my brother
the Duc d’Alencon and the King my husband away from Court.  I got
intelligence, from time to time, of their designs; and, providentially,
the Queen my mother defeated their intentions when a day had been fixed
on for the arrival of the Huguenot troops at St. Germain.

To avoid this visit, we set off the night before for Paris, two hours
after midnight, putting King Charles in a litter, and the Queen my mother
taking my brother and the King my husband with her in her own carriage.

They did not experience on this occasion such mild treatment as they had
hitherto done, for the King going to the Wood of Vincennes, they were not
permitted to set foot out of the palace.  This misunderstanding was so
far from being mitigated by time, that the mistrust and discontent were
continually increasing, owing to the insinuations and bad advice offered
to the King by those who wished the ruin and downfall of our house. To
such a height had these jealousies risen that the Marechaux de
Montmorency and de Cosse were put under a close arrest, and La Mole and
the Comte de Donas executed.  Matters were now arrived at such a pitch
that commissioners were appointed from the Court of Parliament to hear
and determine upon the case of my brother and the King my husband.

My husband, having no counsellor to assist him, desired me to draw up his
defence in such a manner that he might not implicate any person, and, at
the same time, clear my brother and himself from any criminality of
conduct.  With God’s help I accomplished this task to his great
satisfaction, and to the surprise of the commissioners, who did not
expect to find them so well prepared to justify themselves.

As it was apprehended, after the death of La Mole and the Comte de Donas,
that their lives were likewise in danger, I had resolved to save them at
the hazard of my own ruin with the King, whose favour I entirely enjoyed
at that time.  I was suffered to pass to and from them in my coach, with
my women, who were not even required by the guard to unmask, nor was my
coach ever searched.  This being the case, I had intended to convey away
one of them disguised in a female habit.  But the difficulty lay in
settling betwixt themselves which should remain behind in prison, they
being closely watched by their guards, and the escape of one bringing the
other’s life into hazard.  Thus they could never agree upon the point,
each of them wishing to be the person I should deliver from confinement.

But Providence put a period to their imprisonment by a means which proved
very unfortunate for me.  This was no other than the death of King
Charles, who was the only stay and support of my life,--a brother from
whose hands I never received anything but good; who, during the
persecution I underwent at Angers, through my brother Anjou, assisted me
with all his advice and credit.  In a word, when I lost King Charles, I
lost everything.



LETTER VII.

Accession of Henri III.--A Journey to Lyons.--Marguerite’s Faith in
Supernatural Intelligence.


After this fatal event, which was as unfortunate for France as for me, we
went to Lyons to give the meeting to the King of Poland, now Henri III.
of France.  The new King was as much governed by Le Guast as ever, and
had left this intriguing, mischievous man behind in France to keep his
party together.  Through this man’s insinuations he had conceived the
most confirmed jealousy of my brother Alencon.  He suspected that I was
the bond that connected the King my husband and my brother, and that, to
dissolve their union, it would be necessary to create a coolness between
me and my husband, and to work up a quarrel of rivalship betwixt them
both by means of Madame de Sauves, whom they both visited.  This
abominable plot, which proved the source of so much disquietude and
unhappiness, as well to my brother as myself, was as artfully conducted
as it was wickedly designed.

Many have held that God has great personages more immediately under his
protection, and that minds of superior excellence have bestowed on them a
good genius, or secret intelligencer, to apprise them of good, or warn
them against evil.  Of this number I might reckon the Queen my mother,
who has had frequent intimations of the kind; particularly the very night
before the tournament which proved so fatal to the King my father, she
dreamed that she saw him wounded in the eye, as it really happened; upon
which she awoke, and begged him not to run a course that day, but content
himself with looking on.  Fate prevented the nation from enjoying so much
happiness as it would have done had he followed her advice.  Whenever she
lost a child, she beheld a bright flame shining before her, and would
immediately cry out, “God save my children!” well knowing it was the
harbinger of the death of some one of them, which melancholy news was
sure to be confirmed very shortly after.  During her very dangerous
illness at Metz, where she caught a pestilential fever, either from the
coal fires, or by visiting some of the nunneries which had been infected,
and from which she was restored to health and to the kingdom through the
great skill and experience of that modern Asculapius, M. de Castilian,
her physician--I say, during that illness, her bed being surrounded by my
brother King Charles, my brother and sister Lorraine, several members of
the Council, besides many ladies and princesses, not choosing to quit
her, though without hopes of her life, she was heard to cry out, as if
she saw the battle of Jarnac: “There! see how they flee!  My son, follow
them to victory!  Ah, my son falls!  O my God, save him!  See there! the
Prince de Conde is dead!”  All who were present looked upon these words
as proceeding from her delirium, as she knew that my brother Anjou was on
the point of giving battle, and thought no more of it.  On the night
following, M. de Losses brought the news of the battle; and, it being
supposed that she would be pleased to hear of it, she was awakened, at
which she appeared to be angry, saying: “Did I not know it yesterday?” It
was then that those about her recollected what I have now related, and
concluded that it was no delirium, but one of those revelations made by
God to great and illustrious persons.  Ancient history furnishes many
examples of the like kind amongst the pagans, as the apparition of Brutus
and many others, which I shall not mention, it not being my intention to
illustrate these Memoirs with such narratives, but only to relate the
truth, and that with as much expedition as I am able, that you may be the
sooner in possession of my story.

I am far from supposing that I am worthy of these divine admonitions;
nevertheless, I should accuse myself of ingratitude towards my God for
the benefits I have received, which I esteem myself obliged to
acknowledge whilst I live; and I further believe myself bound to bear
testimony of his goodness and power, and the mercies he hath shown me, so
that I can declare no extraordinary accident ever befell me, whether
fortunate or otherwise, but I received some warning of it, either by
dream or in some other way, so that I may say with the poet

“De mon bien, on mon mal, Mon esprit m’est oracle.”

(Whate’er of good or ill befell, My mind was oracle to tell.)

And of this I had a convincing proof on the arrival of the King of
Poland, when the Queen my mother went to meet him.  Amidst the embraces
and compliments of welcome in that warm season, crowded as we were
together and stifling with heat, I found a universal shivering come over
me, which was plainly perceived by those near me.  It was with difficulty
I could conceal what I felt when the King, having saluted the Queen my
mother, came forward to salute me.  This secret intimation of what was to
happen thereafter made a strong impression on my mind at the moment, and
I thought of it shortly after, when I discovered that the King had
conceived a hatred of me through the malicious suggestions of Le Guast,
who had made him believe, since the King’s death, that I espoused my
brother Alencon’s party during his absence, and cemented a friendship
betwixt the King my husband and him.



LETTER VIII.

What Happened at Lyons.


An opportunity was diligently sought by my enemies to effect their design
of bringing about a misunderstanding betwixt my brother Alencon, the King
my husband, and me, by creating a jealousy of me in my husband, and in my
brother and husband, on account of their mutual love for Madame de
Sauves.

One afternoon, the Queen my mother having retired to her closet to finish
some despatches which were likely to detain her there for some time,
Madame de Nevers, your kinswoman, Madame de Rais, another of your
relations, Bourdeille, and Surgeres asked me whether I would not wish to
see a little of the city.  Whereupon Mademoiselle de Montigny, the niece
of Madame Usez, observing to us that the Abbey of St. Pierre was a
beautiful convent, we all resolved to visit it.  She then begged to go
with us, as she said she had an aunt in that convent, and as it was not
easy to gain admission into it, except in the company of persons of
distinction.  Accordingly, she went with us; and there being six of us,
the carriage was crowded.  Over and above those I have mentioned, there
was Madame de Curton, the lady of my bedchamber, who always attended me.
Liancourt, first esquire to the King, and Camille placed themselves on
the steps of Torigni’s carriage, supporting themselves as well as they
were able, making themselves merry on the occasion, and saying they would
go and see the handsome nuns, too.  I look upon it as ordered by Divine
Providence that I should have Mademoiselle de Montigny with me, who was
not well acquainted with any lady of the company, and that the two
gentlemen just mentioned, who were in the confidence of King Henri,
should likewise be of the party, as they were able to clear me of the
calumny intended to be fixed upon me.

Whilst we were viewing the convent, my carriage waited for us in the
square.  In the square many gentlemen belonging to the Court had their
lodgings.  My carriage was easily to be distinguished, as it was gilt and
lined with yellow velvet trimmed with silver.  We had not come out of the
convent when the King passed through the square on his way to see Quelus,
who was then sick.  He had with him the King my husband, D’O------, and
the fat fellow Ruff.

The King, observing no one in my carriage, turned to my husband and said:
“There is your wife’s coach, and that is the house where Bide lodges.
Bide is sick, and I will engage my word she is gone upon a visit to him.
Go,” said he to Ruff, “and see whether she is not there.”  In saying
this, the King addressed himself to a proper tool for his malicious
purpose, for this fellow Ruffs was entirely devoted to Le Guast. I need
not tell you he did not find me there; however, knowing the King’s
intention, he, to favour it, said loud enough for the King my husband to
hear him: “The birds have been there, but they are now flown.”  This
furnished sufficient matter for conversation until they reached home.

Upon this occasion, the King my husband displayed all the good sense and
generosity of temper for which he is remarkable.  He saw through the
design, and he despised the maliciousness of it.  The King my brother was
anxious to see the Queen my mother before me, to whom he imparted the
pretended discovery, and she, whether to please a son on whom she doted,
or whether she really gave credit to the story, had related it to some
ladies with much seeming anger.

Soon afterwards I returned with the ladies who had accompanied me to St.
Pierre’s, entirely ignorant of what had happened.  I found the King my
husband in our apartments, who began to laugh on seeing me, and said: “Go
immediately to the Queen your mother, but I promise you you will not
return very well pleased.”  I asked him the reason, and what had
happened.  He answered: “I shall tell you nothing; but be assured of
this, that I do not give the least credit to the story, which I plainly
perceive to be fabricated in order to stir up a difference betwixt us
two, and break off the friendly intercourse between your brother and me.”

Finding I could get no further information on the subject from him, I
went to the apartment of the Queen my mother.  I met M. de Guise in the
antechamber, who was not displeased at the prospect of a dissension in
our family, hoping that he might make some advantage of it.  He addressed
me in these words: “I waited here expecting to see you, in order to
inform you that some ill office has been done you with the Queen.”  He
then told me the story he had learned of D’O------, who, being intimate
with your kinswoman, had informed M. de Guise of it, that he might
apprise us.

I went into the Queen’s bedchamber, but did not find my mother there.
However, I saw Madame de Nemours, the rest of the princesses, and other
ladies, who all exclaimed on seeing me: “Good God! the Queen your mother
is in such a rage; we would advise you, for the present, to keep out of
her sight.”

“Yes,” said I, “so I would, had I been guilty of what the King has
reported; but I assure you all I am entirely innocent, and must therefore
speak with her and clear myself.”

I then went into her closet, which was separated from the bedchamber by a
slight partition only, so that our whole conversation could be distinctly
heard.  She no sooner set eyes upon me than she flew into a great
passion, and said everything that the fury of her resentment suggested. I
related to her the whole truth, and begged to refer her to the company
which attended me, to the number of ten or twelve persons, desiring her
not to rely on the testimony of those more immediately about me, but
examine Mademoiselle Montigny, who did not belong to me, and Liancourt
and Camille, who were the King’s servants.

She would not hear a word I had to offer, but continued to rate me in a
furious manner; whether it was through fear, or affection for her son, or
whether she believed the story in earnest, I know not.  When I observed
to her that I understood the King had done me this ill office in her
opinion, her anger was redoubled, and she endeavoured to make me believe
that she had been informed of the circumstance by one of her own valets
de chambre, who had himself seen me at the place.  Perceiving that I gave
no credit to this account of the matter, she became more and more
incensed against me.

All that was said was perfectly heard by those in the next room.  At
length I left her closet, much chagrined; and returning to my own
apartments, I found the King my husband there, who said to me:

“Well, was it not as I told you?”

He, seeing me under great concern, desired me not to grieve about it,
adding that “Liancourt and Camille would attend the King that night in
his bedchamber, and relate the affair as it really was; and to-morrow,”
 continued he, “the Queen your mother will receive you in a very different
manner.”

“But, monsieur,” I replied, “I have received too gross an affront in
public to forgive those who were the occasion of it; but that is nothing
when compared with the malicious intention of causing so heavy a
misfortune to befall me as to create a variance betwixt you and me.”

“But,” said he, “God be thanked, they have failed in it.”

“For that,” answered I, “I am the more beholden to God and your amiable
disposition.  However,” continued I, “we may derive this good from it,
that it ought to be a warning to us to put ourselves upon our guard
against the King’s stratagems to bring about a disunion betwixt you and
my brother, by causing a rupture betwixt you and me.”

Whilst I was saying this, my brother entered the apartment, and I made
them renew their protestations of friendship.  But what oaths or promises
can prevail against love!  This will appear more fully in the sequel of
my story.

An Italian banker, who had concerns with my brother, came to him the next
morning, and invited him, the King my husband, myself, the princesses,
and other ladies, to partake of an entertainment in a garden belonging to
him.  Having made it a constant rule, before and after I married, as long
as I remained in the Court of the Queen my mother, to go to no place
without her permission, I waited on her, at her return from mass, and
asked leave to be present at this banquet.  She refused to give any
leave, and said she did not care where I went.  I leave you to judge, who
know my temper, whether I was not greatly mortified at this rebuff.

Whilst we were enjoying this entertainment, the King, having spoken with
Liancourt, Camille, and Mademoiselle Montigny, was apprised of the
mistake which the malice or misapprehension of Ruff had led him into.
Accordingly, he went to the Queen my mother and related the whole truth,
entreating her to remove any ill impressions that might remain with me,
as he perceived that I was not deficient in point of understanding, and
feared that I might be induced to engage in some plan of revenge.

When I returned from the banquet before mentioned, I found that what the
King my husband had foretold was come to pass; for the Queen my mother
sent for me into her back closet, which was adjoining the King’s, and
told me that she was now acquainted with the truth, and found I had not
deceived her with a false story.  She had discovered, she said, that
there was not the least foundation for the report her valet de chambre
had made, and should dismiss him from her service as a bad man.  As she
perceived by my looks that I saw through this disguise, she said
everything she could think of to persuade me to a belief that the King
had not mentioned it to her.  She continued her arguments, and I still
appeared incredulous.  At length the King entered the closet, and made
many apologies, declaring he had been imposed on, and assuring me of his
most cordial friendship and esteem; and thus matters were set to rights
again.



LETTER IX.

Fresh Intrigues.--Marriage of Henri III.--Bussi Arrives at Court and
Narrowly Escapes Assassination.


After staying some time at Lyons, we went to Avignon.  Le Guast, not
daring to hazard any fresh imposture, and finding that my conduct
afforded no ground for jealousy on the part of my husband, plainly
perceived that he could not, by that means, bring about a
misunderstanding betwixt my brother and the King my husband.  He
therefore resolved to try what he could effect through Madame de Sauves.
In order to do this, he obtained such an influence over her that she
acted entirely as he directed; insomuch that, by his artful instructions,
the passion which these young men had conceived, hitherto wavering and
cold, as is generally the case at their time of life, became of a sudden
so violent that ambition and every obligation of duty were at once
absorbed by their attentions to this woman.

This occasioned such a jealousy betwixt them that, though her favours
were divided with M. de Guise, Le Guast, De Souvray, and others, any one
of whom she preferred to the brothers-in-law, such was the infatuation of
these last, that each considered the other as his only rival.

To carry on De Guast’s sinister designs, this woman persuaded the King my
husband that I was jealous of her, and on that account it was that I
joined with my brother.  As we are ready to give ear and credit to those
we love, he believed all she said.  From this time he became distant and
reserved towards me, shunning my presence as much as possible; whereas,
before, he was open and communicative to me as to a sister, well knowing
that I yielded to his pleasure in all things, and was far from harbouring
jealousy of any kind.

What I had dreaded, I now perceived had come to pass.  This was the loss
of his favour and good opinion; to preserve which I had studied to gain
his confidence by a ready compliance with his wishes, well knowing that
mistrust is the sure forerunner of hatred.

I now turned my mind to an endeavour to wean my brother’s affection from
Madame de Sauves, in order to counterplot Le Guast in his design to bring
about a division, and thereby to effect our ruin.  I used every means
with my brother to divert his passion; but the fascination was too
strong, and my pains proved ineffectual.  In anything else, my brother
would have suffered himself to be ruled by me; but the charms of this
Circe, aided by that sorcerer, Le Guast, were too powerful to be
dissolved by my advice.  So far was he from profiting by my counsel that
he was weak enough to communicate it to her.  So blind are lovers!

Her vengeance was excited by this communication, and she now entered more
fully into the designs of Le Guast.  In consequence, she used all her art
to, make the King my husband conceive an aversion for me; insomuch that
he scarcely ever spoke with me.  He left her late at night, and, to
prevent our meeting in the morning, she directed him to come to her at
the Queen’s levee, which she duly attended; after which he passed the
rest of the day with her.  My brother likewise followed her with the
greatest assiduity, and she had the artifice to make each of them think
that he alone had any place in her esteem.  Thus was a jealousy kept up
betwixt them, and, in consequence, disunion and mutual ruin.

We made a considerable stay at Avignon, whence we proceeded through
Burgundy and Champagne to Rheims, where the King’s marriage was
celebrated.  From Rheims we came to Paris, things going on in their usual
train, and Le Guast prosecuting his designs, with all the success he
could wish.  At Paris my brother was joined by Bussi, whom he received
with all the favour which his bravery merited.  He was inseparable from
my brother, in consequence of which I frequently saw him, for my brother
and I were always together, his household being equally at my devotion as
if it were my own.  Your aunt, remarking this harmony betwixt us, has
often told me that it called to her recollection the times of my uncle,
M. d’Orleans, and my aunt, Madame de Savoie.

Le Guast thought this a favourable circumstance to complete his design.
Accordingly, he suggested to Madame de Sauves to make my husband believe
that it was on account of Bussi that I frequented my brother’s apartments
so constantly.

The King my husband, being fully informed of all my proceedings from
persons in his service who attended me everywhere, could not be induced
to lend an ear to this story.  Le Guast, finding himself foiled in this
quarter, applied to the King, who was well inclined to listen to the
tale, on account of his dislike to my brother and me, whose friendship
for each other was unpleasing to him.

Besides this, he was incensed against Bussi, who, being formerly attached
to him, had now devoted himself wholly to my brother,--an acquisition
which, on account of the celebrity of Bussi’s fame for parts and valour,
redounded greatly to my brother’s honour, whilst it increased the malice
and envy of his enemies.

The King, thus worked upon by Le Guast, mentioned it to the Queen my
mother, thinking it would have the same effect on her as the tale which
was trumped up at Lyons.  But she, seeing through the whole design,
showed him the improbability of the story, adding that he must have some
wicked people about him, who could put such notions in his head,
observing that I was very unfortunate to have fallen upon such evil
times.  “In my younger days,” said she, “we were allowed to converse
freely with all the gentlemen who belonged to the King our father, the
Dauphin, and M. d’Orleans, your uncles.  It was common for them to
assemble in the bedchamber of Madame Marguerite, your aunt, as well as in
mine, and nothing was thought of it.  Neither ought it to appear strange
that Bussi sees my daughter in the presence of her husband’s servants.
They are not shut up together.  Bussi is a person of quality, and holds
the first place in your brother’s family.  What grounds are there for
such a calumny?  At Lyons you caused me to offer her an affront, which I
fear she will never forget.”

The King was astonished to hear his mother talk in this manner, and
interrupted her with saying:

“Madame, I only relate what I have heard.”

“But who is it,” answered she, “that tells you all this?  I fear no one
that intends you any good, but rather one that wishes to create divisions
amongst you all.”

As soon as the King had left her she told me all that had passed, and
said: “You are unfortunate to live in these times.”  Then calling your
aunt, Madame de Dampierre, they entered into a discourse concerning the
pleasures and innocent freedoms of the times they had seen, when scandal
and malevolence were unknown at Court.

Le Guast, finding this plot miscarry, was not long in contriving another.
He addressed himself for this purpose to certain gentlemen who attended
the King my husband.  These had been formerly the friends of Bussi, but,
envying the glory he had obtained, were now become his enemies.  Under
the mask of zeal for their master, they disguised the envy, which they
harboured in their breasts.  They entered into a design of assassinating
Bussi as he left my brother to go to his own lodgings, which was
generally at a late hour.  They knew that he was always accompanied home
by fifteen or sixteen gentlemen, belonging to my brother, and that,
notwithstanding he wore no sword, having been lately wounded in the right
arm, his presence was sufficient to inspire the rest with courage.

In order, therefore, to make sure work, they resolved on attacking him
with two or three hundred men, thinking that night would throw a veil
over the disgrace of such an assassination.

Le Guast, who commanded a regiment of guards, furnished the requisite
number of men, whom he disposed in five or six divisions, in the street
through which he was to pass.  Their orders were to put out the torches
and flambeaux, and then to fire their pieces, after which they were to
charge his company, observing particularly to attack one who had his
right arm slung in a scarf.

Fortunately they escaped the intended massacre, and, fighting their way
through, reached Bussi’s lodgings, one gentleman only being killed, who
was particularly attached to M. de Bussi, and who was probably mistaken
for him, as he had his arm likewise slung in a scarf.

An Italian gentleman, who belonged to my brother, left them at the
beginning of the attack, and came running back to the Louvre.  As soon as
he reached my brother’s chamber door, he cried out aloud:

“Busai is assassinated!”  My brother was going out, but I, hearing the
cry of assassination, left my chamber, by good fortune not being
undressed, and stopped my brother.  I then sent for the Queen my mother
to come with all haste in order to prevent him from going out, as he was
resolved to do, regardless of what might happen.  It was with difficulty
we could stay him, though the Queen my mother represented the hazard he
ran from the darkness of the night, and his ignorance of the nature of
the attack, which might have been purposely designed by Le Guast to take
away his life.  Her entreaties and persuasions would have been of little
avail if she had not used her authority to order all the doors to be
barred, and taken the resolution of remaining where she was until she had
learned what had really happened.

Bussi, whom God had thus miraculously preserved, with that presence of
mind which he was so remarkable for in time of battle and the most
imminent danger, considering within himself when he reached home the
anxiety of his master’s mind should he have received any false report,
and fearing he might expose himself to hazard upon the first alarm being
given (which certainly would have been the case, if my mother had not
interfered and prevented it), immediately despatched one of his people to
let him know every circumstance.

The next day Busai showed himself at the Louvre without the least dread
of enemies, as if what had happened had been merely the attack of a
tournament.  My brother exhibited much pleasure at the sight of Busai,
but expressed great resentment at such a daring attempt to deprive him of
so brave and valuable a servant, a man whom Le Guast durst not attack in
any other way than by a base assassination.



LETTER X.

Bussi Is Sent from Court.--Marguerite’s Husband Attacked with a Fit of
Epilepsy.--Her Great Care of Him.--Torigni Dismissed from Marguerite’s
Service.--The King of Navarre and the Duc d’Alencon Secretly Leave the
Court.


The Queen my mother, a woman endowed with the greatest prudence and
foresight of any one I ever knew, apprehensive of evil consequences from
this affair, and fearing a dissension betwixt her two sons, advised my
brother to fall upon some pretence for sending Bussi away from Court. In
this advice I joined her, and, through our united counsel and request, my
brother was prevailed upon to give his consent.  I had every reason to
suppose that Le Guast would take advantage of the reencounter to foment
the coolness which already existed betwixt my brother and the King my
husband into an open rupture.  Bussi, who implicitly followed my
brother’s directions in everything, departed with a company of the
bravest noblemen that were about the latter’s person.

Bussi was now removed from the machinations of Le Guast, who likewise
failed in accomplishing a design he had long projected,--to disunite the
King my husband and me.

One night my husband was attacked with a fit, and continued insensible
for the space of an hour,--occasioned, I supposed, by his excesses with
women, for I never knew anything of the kind to happen to him before.
However, as it was my duty so to do, I attended him with so much care and
assiduity that, when he recovered, he spoke of it to every one, declaring
that, if I had not perceived his indisposition and called for the help of
my women, he should not have survived the fit.

From this time he treated me with more kindness, and the cordiality
betwixt my brother and him was again revived, as if I had been the point
of union at which they were to meet, or the cement that joined them
together.

Le Guast was now at his wit’s end for some fresh contrivance to breed
disunion in the Court.

He had lately persuaded the King to remove from about the person of the
Queen-consort a princess of the greatest virtue and most amiable
qualities, a female attendant of the name of Changi, for whom the Queen
entertained a particular esteem, as having been brought up with her.
Being successful in this measure, he now thought of making the King my
husband send away Torigni, whom I greatly regarded.

The argument he used with the King was, that young princesses ought to
have no favourites about them.

The King, yielding to this man’s persuasions, spoke of it to my husband,
who observed that it would be a matter that would greatly distress me;
that if I had an esteem for Torigni it was not without cause, as she had
been brought up with the Queen of Spain and me from our infancy; that,
moreover, Torigni was a young lady of good understanding, and had been of
great use to him during his confinement at Vincennes; that it would be
the greatest ingratitude in him to overlook services of such a nature,
and that he remembered well when his Majesty had expressed the same
sentiments.

Thus did he defend himself against the performance of so ungrateful an
action.  However, the King listened only to the arguments of Le Guast,
and told my husband that he should have no more love for him if he did
not remove Torigni from about me the very next morning.

He was forced to comply, greatly contrary to his will, and, as he has
since declared to me, with much regret.  Joining entreaties to commands,
he laid his injunctions on me accordingly.

How displeasing this separation was I plainly discovered by the many
tears I shed on receiving his orders.  It was in vain to represent to him
the injury done to my character by the sudden removal of one who had been
with me from my earliest years, and was so greatly, in my esteem and
confidence; he could not give an ear to my reasons, being firmly bound by
the promise he had made to the King.

Accordingly, Torigni left me that very day, and went to the house of a
relation, M. Chastelas.  I was so greatly offended with this fresh
indignity, after so many of the kind formerly received, that I could not
help yielding to resentment; and my grief and concern getting the upper
hand of my prudence, I exhibited a great coolness and indifference
towards my husband.  Le Guast and Madame de Sauves were successful in
creating a like indifference on his part, which, coinciding with mine,
separated us altogether, and we neither spoke to each other nor slept in
the same bed.

A few days after this, some faithful servants about the person of the
King my husband remarked to him the plot which had been concerted with so
much artifice to lead him to his ruin, by creating a division, first
betwixt him and my brother, and next betwixt him and me, thereby
separating him from those in whom only he could hope for his principal
support.  They observed to him that already matters were brought to such
a pass that the King showed little regard for him, and even appeared to
despise him.

They afterwards addressed themselves to my brother, whose situation was
not in the least mended since the departure of Bussi, Le Guast causing
fresh indignities to be offered him daily.  They represented to him that
the King my husband and he were both circumstanced alike, and equally in
disgrace, as Le Guast had everything under his direction; so that both of
them were under the necessity of soliciting, through him, any favours
which they might want of the King, and which, when demanded, were
constantly refused them with great contempt.  Moreover, it was become
dangerous to offer them service, as it was inevitable ruin for any one to
do so.

“Since, then,” said they, “your dissensions appear to be so likely to
prove fatal to both, it would be advisable in you both to unite and come
to a determination of leaving the Court; and, after collecting together
your friends and servants, to require from the King an establishment
suitable to your ranks.”  They observed to my brother that he had never
yet been put in possession of his appanage, and received for his
subsistence only some certain allowances, which were not regularly paid
him, as they passed through the hands of Le Guast, and were at his
disposal, to be discharged or kept back, as he judged proper.  They
concluded with observing that, with regard to the King my husband, the
government of Guyenne was taken out of his hands; neither was he
permitted to visit that or any other of his dominions.

It was hereupon resolved to pursue the counsel now given, and that the
King my husband and my brother should immediately withdraw themselves
from Court.  My brother made me acquainted with this resolution,
observing to me, as my husband and he were now friends again, that I
ought to forget all that had passed; that my husband had declared to him
that he was sorry things had so happened, that we had been outwitted by
our enemies, but that he was resolved, from henceforward, to show me
every attention and give me every proof of his love and esteem, and he
concluded with begging me to make my husband every show of affection, and
to be watchful for their interest during their absence.

It was concerted betwixt them that my brother should depart first, making
off in a carriage in the best manner he could; that, in a few days
afterwards, the King my husband should follow, under pretence of going on
a hunting party.  They both expressed their concern that they could not
take me with them, assuring me that I had no occasion to have any
apprehensions, as it would soon appear that they had no design to disturb
the peace of the kingdom, but merely to ensure the safety of their own
persons, and to settle their establishments.  In short, it might well be
supposed that, in their present situation, they had danger to themselves
from such  reason to apprehend as had evil designs against their family.

Accordingly, as soon as it was dusk, and before the King’s supper-time,
my brother changed his cloak, and concealing the lower part of his face
to his nose in it, left the palace, attended by a servant who was little
known, and went on foot to the gate of St. Honore, where he found Simier
waiting for him in a coach, borrowed of a lady for the purpose.

My brother threw himself into it, and went to a house about a quarter of
a league out of Paris, where horses were stationed ready; and at the
distance of about a league farther, he joined a party of two or three
hundred horsemen of his servants, who were awaiting his coming.  My
brother was not missed till nine o’clock, when the King and the Queen my
mother asked me the reason he did not come to sup with them as usual, and
if I knew of his being indisposed.  I told them I had not seen him since
noon.  Thereupon they sent to his apartments.  Word was brought back that
he was not there.  Orders were then given to inquire at the apartments of
the ladies whom he was accustomed to visit.  He was nowhere to be found.
There was now a general alarm.  The King flew into a great passion, and
began to threaten me.  He then sent for all the Princes and the great
officers of the Court; and giving orders for a pursuit to be made, and to
bring him back, dead or alive, cried out:

“He is gone to make war against me; but I will show him what it is to
contend with a king of my power.”

Many of the Princes and officers of State remonstrated against these
orders, which they observed ought to be well weighed.  They said that, as
their duty directed, they were willing to venture their lives in the
King’s service; but to act against his brother they were certain would
not be pleasing to the King himself; that they were well convinced his
brother would undertake nothing that should give his Majesty displeasure,
or be productive of danger to the realm; that perhaps his leaving the
Court was owing to some disgust, which it would be more advisable to send
and inquire into.  Others, on the contrary, were for putting the King’s
orders into execution; but, whatever expedition they could use, it was
day before they set off; and as it was then too late to overtake my
brother, they returned, being only equipped for the pursuit.

I was in tears the whole night of my brother’s departure, and the next
day was seized with a violent cold, which was succeeded by a fever that
confined me to my bed.

Meanwhile my husband was preparing for his departure, which took up all
the time he could spare from his visits to Madame de Sauves; so that he
did not think of me.  He returned as usual at two or three in the
morning, and, as we had separate beds, I seldom heard him; and in the
morning, before I was awake, he went to my mother’s levee, where he met
Madame de Sauves, as usual.

This being the case, he quite forgot his promise to my brother of
speaking to me; and when he went, away, it was without taking leave of
me.

The King did not show my husband more favour after my brother’s evasion,
but continued to behave with his former coolness.  This the more
confirmed him in the resolution of leaving the Court, so that in a few
days, under the pretence of hunting, he went away.



LETTER XI.

Queen Marguerite under Arrest.--Attempt on Torigni’s Life.--Her Fortunate
Deliverance.


The King, supposing that I was a principal instrument in aiding the
Princes in their desertion, was greatly incensed against me, and his rage
became at length so violent that, had not the Queen my mother moderated
it, I am inclined to think my life had been in danger.  Giving way to her
counsel, he became more calm, but insisted upon a guard being placed over
me, that I might not follow the King my husband, neither have
communication with any one, so as to give the Princes intelligence of
what was going on at Court.  The Queen my mother gave her consent to this
measure, as being the least violent, and was well pleased to find his
anger cooled in so great a degree.  She, however, requested that she
might be permitted to discourse with me, in order to reconcile me to a
submission to treatment of so different a kind from what I had hitherto
known.  At the same time she advised the King to consider that these
troubles might not be lasting; that everything in the world bore a double
aspect; that what now appeared to him horrible and alarming, might, upon
a second view, assume a more pleasing and tranquil look; that, as things
changed, so should measures change with them; that there might come a
time when he might have occasion for my services; that, as prudence
counselled us not to repose too much confidence in our friends, lest they
should one day become our enemies, so was it advisable to conduct
ourselves in such a manner to our enemies as if we had hopes they should
hereafter become our friends.  By such prudent remonstrances did the
Queen my mother restrain the King from proceeding to extremities with me,
as he would otherwise possibly have done.

Le Guast now endeavoured to divert his fury to another object, in order
to wound me in a most sensitive part.  He prevailed on the King to adopt
a design for seizing Torigni, at the house of her cousin Chastelas, and,
under pretence of bringing her before the King, to drown her in a river
which they were to cross.  The party sent upon this errand was admitted
by Chastelas, not suspecting any evil design, without the least
difficulty, into his house.  As soon as they had gained admission they
proceeded to execute the cruel business they were sent upon, by fastening
Torigni with cords and locking her up in a chamber, whilst their horses
were baiting.  Meantime, according to the French custom, they crammed
themselves, like gluttons, with the best eatables the house afforded.

Chastelas, who was a man of discretion, was not displeased to gain time
at the expense of some part of his substance, considering that the
suspension of a sentence is a prolongation of life, and that during this
respite the King’s heart might relent, and he might countermand his
former orders.  With these considerations he was induced to submit,
though it was in his power to have called for assistance to repel this
violence.  But God, who hath constantly regarded my afflictions and
afforded me protection against the malicious designs of my enemies, was
pleased to order poor Torigni to be delivered by means which I could
never have devised had I been acquainted with the plot, of which I was
totally ignorant.  Several of the domestics, male as well as female, had
left the house in a fright, fearing the insolence and rude treatment of
this troop of soldiers, who behaved as riotously as if they were in a
house given up to pillage.  Some of these, at the distance of a quarter
of a league from the house, by God’s providence, fell in with Ferte and
Avantigni, at the head of their troops, in number about two hundred
horse, on their march to join my brother.  Ferte, remarking a labourer,
whom he knew to belong to Chastelas, apparently in great distress,
inquired of him what was the matter, and whether he had been ill-used by
any of the soldiery.  The man related to him all he knew, and in what
state he had left his master’s house.  Hereupon Ferte and Avantigni
resolved, out of regard to me, to effect Torigni’s deliverance, returning
thanks to God for having afforded them so favourable an opportunity of
testifying the respect they had always entertained towards me.

Accordingly, they proceeded to the house with all expedition, and arrived
just at the moment these soldiers were setting Torigni on horseback, for
the purpose of conveying her to the river wherein they had orders to
plunge her.  Galloping into the courtyard, sword in hand, they cried out:
“Assassins, if you dare to offer that lady the least injury, you are dead
men!”  So saying, they attacked them and drove them to flight, leaving
their prisoner behind, nearly as dead with joy as she was before with
fear and apprehension.  After returning thanks to God and her deliverers
for so opportune and unexpected a rescue, she and her cousin Chastelas
set off in a carriage, under the escort of their rescuers, and joined my
brother, who, since he could not have me with him, was happy to have one
so dear to me about him.  She remained under my brother’s protection as
long as any danger was apprehended, and was treated with as much respect
as if she had been with me.

Whilst the King was giving directions for this notable expedition, for
the purpose of sacrificing Torigni to his vengeance, the Queen my mother,
who had not received the least intimation of it, came to my apartment as
I was dressing to go abroad, in order to observe how I should be received
after what had passed at Court, having still some alarms on account of my
husband and brother.  I had hitherto confined myself to my chamber, not
having perfectly recovered my health, and, in reality, being all the time
as much indisposed in mind as in body.

My mother, perceiving my intention, addressed me in these words: “My
child, you are giving yourself unnecessary trouble in dressing to go
abroad.  Do not be alarmed at what I am going to tell you.  Your own good
sense will dictate to you that you ought not to be surprised if the King
resents the conduct of your brother and husband, and as he knows the love
and friendship that exist between you three, should suppose that you were
privy to their design of leaving the Court.  He has, for this reason,
resolved to detain you in it, as a hostage for them.  He is sensible how
much you are beloved by your husband, and thinks he can hold no pledge
that is more dear to him.  On this account it is that the King has
ordered his guards to be placed, with directions not to suffer you to
leave your apartments.  He has done this with the advice of his
counsellors, by whom it was suggested that, if you had your free liberty,
you might be induced to advise your brother and husband of their
deliberations.  I beg you will not be offended with these measures,
which, if it so please God, may not be of long continuance.  I beg,
moreover, you will not be displeased with me if I do not pay you frequent
visits, as I should be unwilling to create any suspicions in the King’s
mind.  However, you may rest assured that I shall prevent any further
steps from being taken that may prove disagreeable to you, and that I
shall use my utmost endeavours to bring about a reconciliation betwixt
your brothers.”

I represented to her, in reply, the great indignity that was offered to
me by putting me under arrest; that it was true my brother had all along
communicated to me the just cause he had to be dissatisfied, but that,
with respect to the King my husband, from the time Torigni was taken from
me we had not spoken to each other; neither had he visited me during my
indisposition, nor did he even take leave of me when he left Court.
“This,” says she, “is nothing at all; it is merely a trifling difference
betwixt man and wife, which a few sweet words, conveyed in a letter, will
set to rights.  When, by such means, he has regained your affections, he
has only to write to you to come to him, and you will set off at the very
first opportunity.  Now, this is what the King my son wishes to prevent.”



LETTER XII.

The Peace of Sens betwixt Henri III. and the Huguenots.


The Queen my mother left me, saying these words.  For my part, I remained
a close prisoner, without a visit from a single person, none of my most
intimate friends daring to come near me, through the apprehension that
such a step might prove injurious to their interests.  Thus it is ever in
Courts.  Adversity is solitary, while prosperity dwells in a crowd; the
object of persecution being sure to be shunned by his nearest friends and
dearest connections.  The brave Grillon was the only one who ventured to
visit me, at the hazard of incurring disgrace.  He came five or six times
to see me, and my guards were so much astonished at his resolution, and
awed by his presence, that not a single Cerberus of them all would
venture to refuse him entrance to my apartments.

Meanwhile, the King my husband reached the States under his government.
Being joined there by his friends and dependents, they all represented to
him the indignity offered to me by his quitting the Court without taking
leave of me.  They observed to him that I was a princess of good
understanding, and that it would be for his interest to regain my esteem;
that, when matters were put on their former footing, he might derive to
himself great advantage from my presence at Court.  Now that he was at a
distance from his Circe, Madame de Sauves, he could listen to good
advice.  Absence having abated the force of her charms, his eyes were
opened; he discovered the plots and machinations of our enemies, and
clearly perceived that a rupture could not but tend to the ruin of us
both.

Accordingly, he wrote me a very affectionate letter, wherein he entreated
me to forget all that had passed betwixt us, assuring me that from
thenceforth he would ever love me, and would give me every demonstration
that he did so, desiring me to inform him of what was going on at Court,
and how it fared with me and my brother.  My brother was in Champagne and
the King my husband in Gascony, and there had been no communication
betwixt them, though they were on terms of friendship.

I received this letter during my imprisonment, and it gave me great
comfort under that situation.  Although my guards had strict orders not
to permit me to set pen to paper, yet, as necessity is said to be the
mother of invention, I found means to write many letters to him. Some few
days after I had been put under arrest, my brother had intelligence of
it, which chagrined him so much that, had not the love of his country
prevailed with him, the effects of his resentment would have been shown
in a cruel civil war, to which purpose he had a sufficient force entirely
at his devotion.  He was, however, withheld by his patriotism, and
contented himself with writing to the Queen my mother, informing her
that, if I was thus treated, he should be driven upon some desperate
measure.  She, fearing the consequence of an open rupture, and dreading
lest, if blows were once struck, she should be deprived of the power of
bringing about a reconciliation betwixt the brothers, represented the
consequences to the King, and found him well disposed to lend an ear to
her reasons, as his anger was now cooled by the apprehensions of being
attacked in Gascony, Dauphiny, Languedoc, and Poitou, with all the
strength of the Huguenots under the King my husband. Besides the many
strong places held by the Huguenots, my brother had an army with him in
Champagne, composed chiefly of nobility, the bravest and best in France.
The King found, since my brother’s departure, that he could not, either
by threats or rewards, induce a single person among the princes and great
lords to act against him, so much did every one fear to intermeddle in
this quarrel, which they considered as of a family nature; and after
having maturely reflected on his situation, he acquiesced in my mother’s
opinion, and begged her to fall upon some means of reconciliation.  She
thereupon proposed going to my brother and taking me with her.  To the
measure of taking me, the King had an objection, as he considered me as
the hostage for my husband and brother.  She then agreed to leave me
behind, and set off without my knowledge of the matter. At their
interview, my brother represented to the Queen my mother that he could
not but be greatly dissatisfied with the King after the many
mortifications he had received at Court; that the cruelty and injustice
of confining me hurt him equally as if done to himself; observing,
moreover, that, as if my arrest were not a sufficient mortification, poor
Torigni must be made to suffer; and concluding with the declaration of
his firm resolution not to listen to any terms of peace until I was
restored to my liberty, and reparation made me for the indignity I had
sustained.  The Queen my mother being unable to obtain any other answer,
returned to Court and acquainted the King with my brother’s
determination.  Her advice was to go back again with me, for going
without me, she said, would answer very little purpose; and if I went
with her in disgust, it would do more harm than good.  Besides, there was
reason to fear, in that case, I should insist upon going to my husband.
“In short,” says she, “my daughter’s guard must be removed, and she must
be satisfied in the best way we can.”

The King agreed to follow her advice, and was now, on a sudden, as eager
to reconcile matters betwixt us as she was herself.  Hereupon I was sent
for, and when I came to her, she informed me that she had paved the way
for peace; that it was for the good of the State, which she was sensible
I must be as desirous to promote as my brother; that she had it now in
her power to make a peace which would be as satisfactory as my brother
could desire, and would put us entirely out of the reach of Le Guast’s
machinations, or those of any one else who might have an influence over
the King’s mind.  She observed that, by assisting her to procure a good
understanding betwixt the King and my brother, I should relieve her from
that cruel disquietude under which she at present laboured, as, should
things come to an open rupture, she could not but be grieved, whichever
party prevailed, as they were both her sons.  She therefore expressed her
hopes that I would forget the injuries I had received, and dispose myself
to concur in a peace, rather than join in any plan of revenge.  She
assured me that the King was sorry for what had happened; that he had
even expressed his regret to her with tears in his eyes, and had declared
that he was ready to give me every satisfaction.  I replied that I was
willing to sacrifice everything for the good of my brothers and of the
State; that I wished for nothing so much as peace, and that I would exert
myself to the utmost to bring it about.

As I uttered these words, the King came into the closet, and, with a
number of fine speeches, endeavoured to soften my resentment and to
recover my friendship, to which I made such returns as might show him I
harboured no ill-will for the injuries I had received.  I was induced to
such behaviour rather out of contempt, and because it was good policy to
let the King go away satisfied with me.

Besides, I had found a secret pleasure, during my confinement, from the
perusal of good books, to which I had given myself up with a delight I
never before experienced.  I consider this as an obligation I owe to
fortune, or, rather, to Divine Providence, in order to prepare me, by
such efficacious means, to bear up against the misfortunes and calamities
that awaited me.  By tracing nature in the universal book which is opened
to all mankind, I was led to the knowledge of the Divine Author.  Science
conducts us, step by step, through the whole range of creation, until we
arrive, at length, at God.  Misfortune prompts us to summon our utmost
strength to oppose grief and recover tranquillity, until at length we
find a powerful aid in the knowledge and love of God, whilst prosperity
hurries us away until we are overwhelmed by our passions.  My captivity
and its consequent solitude afforded me the double advantage of exciting
a passion for study, and an inclination for devotion, advantages I had
never experienced during the vanities and splendour of my prosperity.

As I have already observed, the King, discovering in me no signs of
discontent, informed me that the Queen my mother was going into Champagne
to have an interview with my brother, in order to bring about a peace,
and begged me to accompany her thither and to use my best endeavours to
forward his views, as he knew my brother was always well disposed to
follow my counsel; and he concluded with saying that the peace, when
accomplished, he should ever consider as being due to my good offices,
and should esteem himself obliged to me for it.  I promised to exert
myself in so good a work, which I plainly perceived was both for my
brother’s advantage and the benefit of the State.

The Queen my mother and I set off for Sens the next day.  The conference
was agreed to be held in a gentleman’s chateau, at a distance of about a
league from that place.  My brother was waiting for us, accompanied by a
small body of troops and the principal Catholic noblemen and princes of
his army.  Amongst these were the Duc Casimir and Colonel Poux, who had
brought him six thousand German horse, raised by the Huguenots, they
having joined my brother, as the King my husband and he acted in
conjunction.

The treaty was continued for several days, the conditions of peace
requiring much discussion, especially such articles of it as related to
religion.  With respect to these, when at length agreed upon, they were
too much to the advantage of the Huguenots, as it appeared afterwards, to
be kept; but the Queen my mother gave in to them, in order to have a
peace, and that the German cavalry before mentioned might be disbanded.
She was, moreover, desirous to get my brother out of the hands of the
Huguenots; and he was himself as willing to leave them, being always a
very good Catholic, and joining the Huguenots only through necessity. One
condition of the peace was, that my brother should have a suitable
establishment.  My brother likewise stipulated for me, that my marriage
portion should be assigned in lands, and M. de Beauvais, a commissioner
on his part, insisted much upon it.  My mother, however, opposed it, and
persuaded me to join her in it, assuring me that I should obtain from the
King all I could require.  Thereupon I begged I might not be included in
the articles of peace, observing that I would rather owe whatever I was
to receive to the particular favour of the King and the Queen my mother,
and should, besides, consider it as more secure when obtained by such
means.

The peace being thus concluded and ratified on both sides, the Queen my
mother prepared to return.  At this instant I received letters from the
King my husband, in which he expressed a great desire to see me, begging
me, as soon as peace was agreed on, to ask leave to go to him. I
communicated my husband’s wish to the Queen my mother, and added my own
entreaties.  She expressed herself greatly averse to such a measure, and
used every argument to set me against it.  She observed that, when I
refused her proposal of a divorce after St. Bartholomew’s Day, she gave
way to my refusal, and commended me for it, because my husband was then
converted to the Catholic religion; but now that he had abjured
Catholicism, and was turned Huguenot again, she could not give her
consent that I should go to him.  When I still insisted upon going, she
burst into a flood of tears, and said, if I did not return with her, it
would prove her ruin; that the King would believe it was her doing; that
she had promised to bring me back with her; and that, when my brother
returned to Court, which would be soon, she would give her consent.

We now returned to Paris, and found the King well satisfied that we had
made a peace; though not, however, pleased with the articles concluded in
favour of the Huguenots.  He therefore resolved within himself, as soon
as my brother should return to Court, to find some pretext for renewing
the war.  These advantageous conditions were, indeed, only granted the
Huguenots to get my brother out of their hands, who was detained near two
months, being employed in disbanding his German horse and the rest of his
army.



LETTER XIII.

The League.--War Declared against the Huguenots.--Queen Marguerite Sets
out for Spa.


At length my brother returned to Court, accompanied by all the Catholic
nobility who had followed his fortunes.  The King received him very
graciously, and showed, by his reception of him, how much he was pleased
at his return.  Bussi, who returned with my brother, met likewise with a
gracious reception.  Le Guast was now no more, having died under the
operation of a particular regimen ordered for him by his physician.  He
had given himself up to every kind of debauchery; and his death seemed
the judgment of the Almighty on one whose body had long been perishing,
and whose soul had been made over to the prince of demons as the price of
assistance through the means of diabolical magic, which he constantly
practised.  The King, though now without this instrument of his malicious
contrivances, turned his thoughts entirely upon the destruction of the
Huguenots.  To effect this, he strove to engage my brother against them,
and thereby make them his enemies and that I might be considered as
another enemy, he used every means to prevent me from going to the King
my husband.  Accordingly he showed every mark of attention to both of us,
and manifested an inclination to gratify all our wishes.

After some time, M. de Duras arrived at Court, sent by the King my
husband to hasten my departure.  Hereupon, I pressed the King greatly to
think well of it, and give me his leave.  He, to colour his refusal, told
me he could not part with me at present, as I was the chief ornament of
his Court; that he must, keep me a little longer, after which he would
accompany me himself on my way as far as Poitiers.  With this answer and
assurance, he sent M. de Duras back.  These excuses were purposely framed
in order to gain time until everything was prepared for declaring war
against the Huguenots, and, in consequence, against the King my husband,
as he fully designed to do.

As a pretence to break with the Huguenots, a report was spread abroad
that the Catholics were dissatisfied with the Peace of Sens, and thought
the terms of it too advantageous for the Huguenots.  This rumour
succeeded, and produced all that discontent amongst the Catholics
intended by it.  A league was formed: in the provinces and great cities,
which was joined by numbers of the Catholics.  M. de Guise was named as
the head of all.  This was well known to the King, who pretended to be
ignorant of what was going forward, though nothing else was talked of at
Court.

The States were convened to meet at Blois.  Previous to the opening of
this assembly, the King called my brother to his closet, where were
present the Queen my mother and some of the King’s counsellors.  He
represented the great consequence the Catholic league was to his State
and authority, even though they should appoint De Guise as the head of
it; that such a measure was of the highest importance to them both,
meaning my brother and himself; that the Catholics had very just reason
to be dissatisfied with the peace, and that it behoved him, addressing
himself to my brother, rather to join the Catholics than the Huguenots,
and this from conscience as well as interest.  He concluded his address
to my brother with conjuring him, as a son of France and a good Catholic,
to assist him with his aid and counsel in this critical juncture, when
his crown and the Catholic religion were both at stake.  He further said
that, in order to get the start of so formidable a league, he ought to
form one himself, and become the head of it, as well to show his zeal for
religion as to prevent the Catholics from uniting under any other leader.
He then proposed to declare himself the head of a league, which should be
joined by my brother, the princes, nobles, governors, and others holding
offices under the Government.  Thus was my brother reduced to the
necessity of making his Majesty a tender of his services for the support
and maintenance of the Catholic religion.

The King, having now obtained assurances of my brother’s assistance in
the event of a war, which was his sole view in the league which he had
formed with so much art, assembled together the princes and chief
noblemen of his Court, and, calling for the roll of the league, signed it
first himself, next calling upon my brother to sign it, and, lastly, upon
all present.

The next day the States opened their meeting, when the King, calling upon
the Bishops of Lyons, Ambrune, Vienne, and other prelates there present,
for their advice, was told that, after the oath taken at his coronation,
no oath made to heretics could bind him, and therefore he was absolved
from his engagements with the Huguenots.

This declaration being made at the opening of the assembly, and war
declared against the Huguenots, the King abruptly dismissed from Court
the Huguenot, Genisac, who had arrived a few days before, charged by the
King my husband with a commission to hasten my departure.  The King very
sharply told him that his sister had been given to a Catholic, and not to
a Huguenot; and that if the King my husband expected to have me, he must
declare himself a Catholic.

Every preparation for war was made, and nothing else talked of at Court;
and, to make my brother still more obnoxious to the Huguenots, he had the
command of an army given him.  Genisac came and informed me of the rough
message he had been dismissed with.  Hereupon I went directly to the
closet of the Queen my mother, where I found the King.  I expressed my
resentment at being deceived by him, and at being cajoled by his promise
to accompany me from Paris to Poitiers, which, as it now appeared, was a
mere pretence.  I represented that I did not marry by my own choice, but
entirely agreeable to the advice of King Charles, the Queen my mother,
and himself; that, since they had given him to me for a husband, they
ought not to hinder me from partaking of his fortunes; that I was
resolved to go to him, and that if I had not their leave, I would get
away how I could, even at the hazard of my life.  The King answered:
“Sister, it is not now a time to importune me for leave.  I acknowledge
that I have, as you say, hitherto prevented you from going, in order to
forbid it altogether.  From the time the King of Navarre changed his
religion, and again became a Huguenot, I have been against your going to
him.  What the Queen my mother and I are doing is for your good.  I am
determined to carry on a war of extermination until this wretched
religion of the Huguenots, which is of so mischievous a nature, is no
more.  Consider, my sister, if you, who are a Catholic, were once in
their hands, you would become a hostage for me, and prevent my design.
And who knows but they might seek their revenge upon me by taking away
your life?  No, you shall not go amongst them; and if you leave us in the
manner you have now mentioned, rely upon it that you will make the Queen
your mother and me your bitterest enemies, and that we shall use every
means to make you feel the effects of our resentment; and, moreover, you
will make your husband’s situation worse instead of better.”

I went from this audience with much dissatisfaction, and, taking advice
of the principal persons of both sexes belonging to Court whom I esteemed
my friends, I found them all of opinion that it would be exceedingly
improper for me to remain in a Court now at open variance with the King
my husband.  They recommended me not to stay at Court whilst the war
lasted, saying it would be more honourable for me to leave the kingdom
under the pretence of a pilgrimage, or a visit to some of my kindred. The
Princesse de Roche-sur-Yon was amongst those I consulted upon the
occasion, who was on the point of setting off for Spa to take the waters
there.

My brother was likewise present at the consultation, and brought with him
Mondoucet, who had been to Flanders in quality of the King’s agent,
whence he was just returned to represent to the King the discontent that
had arisen amongst the Flemings on account of infringements made by the
Spanish Government on the French laws.  He stated that he was
commissioned by several nobles, and the municipalities of several towns,
to declare how much they were inclined in their hearts towards France,
and how ready they were to come under a French government.  Mondoucet,
perceiving the King not inclined to listen to his representation, as
having his mind wholly occupied by the war he had entered into with the
Huguenots, whom he was resolved to punish for having joined my brother,
had ceased to move in it further to the King, and addressed himself on
the subject to my brother.  My brother, with that princely spirit which
led him to undertake great achievements, readily lent an ear to
Mondoucet’s proposition, and promised to engage in it, for he was born
rather to conquer than to keep what he conquered.  Mondoucet’s
proposition was the more pleasing to him as it was not unjust, it being,
in fact, to recover to France what had been usurped by Spain.

Mondoucet had now engaged himself in my brother’s service, and was to
return to Flanders’ under a pretence of accompanying the Princesse de
Roche-sur-Yon in her journey to Spa; and as this agent perceived my
counsellers to be at a loss for some pretence for my leaving Court and
quitting France during the war, and that at first Savoy was proposed for
my retreat, then Lorraine, and then Our Lady of Loretto, he suggested to
my brother that I might be of great use to him in Flanders, if, under the
colour of any complaint, I should be recommended to drink the Spa waters,
and go with the Princesse de Roche-sur-Yon.  My brother acquiesced in
this opinion, and came up to me, saying: “Oh, Queen!  you need be no
longer at a loss for a place to go to.  I have observed that you have
frequently an erysipelas on your arm, and you must accompany the Princess
to Spa.  You must say, your physicians had ordered those waters for the
complaint; but when they, did so, it was not the season to take them.
That season is now approaching, and you hope to have the King’s leave to
go there.”

My brother did not deliver all he wished to say at that time, because the
Cardinal de Bourbon was present, whom he knew to be a friend to the
Guises and to Spain.  However, I saw through his real design, and that he
wished me to promote his views in Flanders.

The company approved of my brother’s advice, and the Princesse de
Roche-sur-Yon heard the proposal with great joy, having a great regard
for me. She promised to attend me to the Queen my mother when I should
ask her consent.

The next day I found the Queen alone, and represented to her the extreme
regret I experienced in finding that a war was inevitable betwixt the
King my husband and his Majesty, and that I must continue in a state of
separation from my husband; that, as long as the war lasted, it was
neither decent nor honourable for me to stay at Court, where I must be in
one or other, or both, of these cruel situations either that the King my
husband should believe that I continued in it out of inclination, and
think me deficient in the duty I owed him; or that his Majesty should
entertain suspicions of my giving intelligence to the King my husband.
Either of these cases, I observed, could not but prove injurious to me. I
therefore prayed her not to take it amiss if I desired to remove myself
from Court, and from becoming so unpleasantly situated; adding that my
physicians had for some time recommended me to take the Spa waters for an
erysipelas--to which I had been long subject--on my arm; the season for
taking these waters was now approaching, and that if she approved of it,
I would use the present opportunity, by which means I should be at a
distance from Court, and show my husband that, as I could not be with
him, I was unwilling to remain amongst his enemies.  I further expressed
my hopes that, through her prudence, a peace might be effected in a short
time betwixt the King my husband and his Majesty, and that my husband
might be restored to the favour he formerly enjoyed; that whenever I
learned the news of so joyful an event, I would renew my solicitations to
be permitted to go to my husband.  In the meantime, I should hope for her
permission to have the honour of accompanying the Princesse de
Roche-sur-Yon, there present, in her journey to Spa.

She approved of what I proposed, and expressed her satisfaction that I
had taken so prudent a resolution.  She observed how much she was
chagrined when she found that the King, through the evil persuasions of
the bishops, had resolved to break through the conditions of the last
peace, which she had concluded in his name.  She saw already the ill
effects of this hasty proceeding, as it had removed from the King’s
Council many of his ablest and best servants.  This gave her, she said,
much concern, as it did likewise to think I could not remain at Court
without offending my husband, or creating jealousy and suspicion in the
King’s mind.  This being certainly what was likely to be the consequence
of my staying, she would advise the King to give me leave to set out on
this journey.

She was as good as her word, and the King discoursed with me on the
subject without exhibiting the smallest resentment.  Indeed, he was well
pleased now that he had prevented me from going to the King my husband,
for whom he had conceived the greatest animosity.

He ordered a courier to be immediately despatched to Don John of
Austria,--who commanded for the King of Spain in Flanders,--to obtain
from him the necessary passports for a free passage in the countries
under his command, as I should be obliged to cross a part of Flanders to
reach Spa, which is in the bishopric of Liege.

All matters being thus arranged, we separated in a few days after this
interview.  The short time my brother and I remained together was
employed by him in giving me instructions for the commission I had
undertaken to execute for him in Flanders.  The King and the Queen my
mother set out for Poitiers, to be near the army of M. de Mayenne, then
besieging Brouage, which place being reduced, it was intended to march
into Gascony and attack the King my husband.

My brother had the command of another army, ordered to besiege Issoire
and some other towns, which he soon after took.

For my part, I set out on my journey to Flanders accompanied by the
Princesse de Roche-sur-Yon, Madame de Tournon, the lady of my bedchamber,
Madame de Mouy of Picardy, Madame de Chastelaine, De Millon, Mademoiselle
d’Atric, Mademoiselle de Tournon, and seven or eight other young ladies.
My male attendants were the Cardinal de Lenoncourt, the Bishop of
Langres, and M. de Mouy, Seigneur de Picardy, at present father-in-law to
the brother of Queen Louise, called the Comte de Chalingy, with my
principal steward of the household, my chief esquires, and the other
gentlemen of my establishment.



LETTER XIV.

Description of Queen Marguerite’s Equipage.--Her Journey to Liege
Described.--She Enters with Success upon Her Mission.--Striking Instance
of Maternal Duty and Affection in a Great Lady.--Disasters near the Close
of the Journey.


The cavalcade that attended me excited great curiosity as it passed
through the several towns in the course of my journey, and reflected no
small degree of credit on France, as it was splendidly set out, and made
a handsome appearance.  I travelled in a litter raised with pillars.  The
lining of it was Spanish velvet, of a crimson colour, embroidered in
various devices with gold and different coloured silk thread.

The windows were of glass, painted in devices.  The lining and windows
had, in the whole, forty devices, all different and alluding to the sun
and its effects.  Each device had its motto, either in the Spanish or
Italian language.  My litter was followed by two others; in the one was
the Princesse de Roche-sur-Yon, and in the other Madame de Tournon, my
lady of the bedchamber.  After them followed ten maids of honour, on
horseback, with their governess; and, last of all, six coaches and
chariots, with the rest of the ladies and all our female attendants.

I took the road of Picardy, the towns in which province had received the
King’s orders to pay me all due honours.  Being arrived at Le Catelet, a
strong place, about three leagues distant from the frontier of the
Cambresis, the Bishop of Cambray (an ecclesiastical State acknowledging
the King of Spain only as a guarantee) sent a gentleman to inquire of me
at what hour I should leave the place, as he intended to meet me on the
borders of his territory.

Accordingly I found him there, attended by a number of his people, who
appeared to be true Flemings, and to have all the rusticity and
unpolished manners of their country.  The Bishop was of the House of
Barlemont, one of the principal families in Flanders.  All of this house
have shown themselves Spaniards at heart, and at that time were firmly
attached to Don John.  The Bishop received me with great politeness and
not a little of the Spanish ceremony.

Although the city of Cambray is not so well built as some of our towns in
France, I thought it, notwithstanding, far more pleasant than many of
these, as the streets and squares are larger and better disposed.  The
churches are grand and highly ornamented, which is, indeed, common to
France; but what I admired, above all, was the citadel, which is the
finest and best constructed in Christendom.

The Spaniards experienced it to be strong whilst my brother had it in his
possession.  The governor of the citadel at this time was a worthy
gentleman named M. d’Ainsi, who was, in every respect, a polite and
well-accomplished man, having the carriage and behaviour of one of our
most perfect courtiers, very different from the rude incivility which
appears to be the characteristic of a Fleming.

The Bishop gave us a grand supper, and after supper a ball, to which he
had invited all the ladies of the city.  As soon as the ball was opened
he withdrew, in accordance with the Spanish ceremony; but M. d’Ainsi did
the honours for him, and kept me company during the ball, conducting me
afterwards to a collation, which, considering his command at the citadel,
was, I thought, imprudent.  I speak from experience, having been taught,
to my cost, and contrary to my desire, the caution and vigilance
necessary to be observed in keeping such places.  As my regard for my
brother was always predominant in me, I continually had his instructions
in mind, and now thought I had a fair opportunity to open my commission
and forward his views in Flanders, this town of Cambray, and especially
the citadel, being, as it were, a key to that country.  Accordingly I
employed all the talents God had given me to make M. d’Ainsi a friend to
France, and attach him to my brother’s interest.  Through God’s
assistance I succeeded with him, and so much was M. d’Ainsi pleased with
my conversation that he came to the resolution of soliciting the Bishop,
his master, to grant him leave to accompany me as, far as Namur, where
Don John of Austria was in waiting to receive me, observing that he had a
great desire to witness so splendid an interview.  This Spanish Fleming,
the Bishop, had the weakness to grant M. d’Ainsi’s request, who continued
following in my train for ten or twelve days.  During this time he took
every opportunity of discoursing with me, and showed that, in his heart,
he was well disposed to embrace the service of France, wishing no better
master than the Prince my brother, and declaring that he heartily
despised being under the command of his Bishop, who, though his
sovereign, was not his superior by birth, being born a private gentleman
like himself, and, in every other respect, greatly his inferior.

Leaving Cambray, I set out to sleep at Valenciennes, the chief city of a
part of Flanders called by the same name.  Where this country is divided
from Cambresis (as far as which I was conducted by the Bishop of
Cambray), the Comte de Lalain, M. de Montigny his brother, and a number
of gentlemen, to the amount of two or three hundred, came to meet me.

Valenciennes is a town inferior to Cambray in point of strength, but
equal to it for the beauty of its squares, and churches,--the former
ornamented with fountains, as the latter are with curious clocks.  The
ingenuity of the Germans in the construction of their clocks was a matter
of great surprise to all my attendants, few amongst whom had ever before
seen clocks exhibiting a number of moving figures, and playing a variety
of tunes in the most agreeable manner.

The Comte de Lalain, the governor of the city, invited the lords and
gentlemen of my train to a banquet, reserving himself to give an
entertainment to the ladies on our arrival at Mons, where we should find
the Countess his wife, his sister-in-law Madame d’Aurec, and other ladies
of distinction.  Accordingly the Count, with his attendants, conducted us
thither the next day.  He claimed a relationship with the King my
husband, and was, in reality, a person who carried great weight and
authority.  He was much dissatisfied with the Spanish Government, and had
conceived a great dislike for it since the execution of Count Egmont, who
was his near kinsman.

Although he had hitherto abstained from entering into the league with the
Prince of Orange and the Huguenots, being himself a steady Catholic, yet
he had not admitted of an interview with Don John, neither would he
suffer him, nor any one in the interest of Spain, to enter upon his
territories.  Don John was unwilling to give the Count any umbrage, lest
he should force him to unite the Catholic League of Flanders, called the
League of the States, to that of the Prince of Orange and the Huguenots,
well foreseeing that such a union would prove fatal to the Spanish
interest, as other governors have since experienced.  With this
disposition of mind, the Comte de Lalain thought he could not give me
sufficient demonstrations of the joy he felt by my presence; and he could
not have shown more honour to his natural prince, nor displayed greater
marks of zeal and affection.

On our arrival at Mons, I was lodged in his house, and found there the
Countess his wife, and a Court consisting of eighty or a hundred ladies
of the city and country.  My reception was rather that of their sovereign
lady than of a foreign princess.  The Flemish ladies are naturally
lively, affable, and engaging.  The Comtesse de Lalain is remarkably so,
and is, moreover, a woman of great sense and elevation of mind, in which
particular, as well as in air and countenance, she carries a striking
resemblance to the lady your cousin.  We became immediately intimate, and
commenced a firm friendship at our first meeting.  When the supper hour
came, we sat down to a banquet, which was succeeded by a ball; and this
rule the Count observed as long as I stayed at Mons, which was, indeed,
longer than I intended.  It had been my intention to stay at Mons one
night only, but the Count’s obliging lady prevailed on me to pass a whole
week there.  I strove to excuse myself from so long a stay, imagining it
might be inconvenient to them; but whatever I could say availed nothing
with the Count and his lady, and I was under the necessity of remaining
with them eight days.  The Countess and I were on so familiar a footing
that she stayed in my bedchamber till a late hour, and would not have
left me then had she not imposed upon herself a task very rarely
performed by persons of her rank, which, however, placed the goodness of
her disposition in the most amiable light.  In fact, she gave suck to her
infant son; and one day at table, sitting next me, whose whole attention
was absorbed in the promotion of my brother’s interest,--the table being
the place where, according to the custom of the country, all are familiar
and ceremony is laid aside,--she, dressed out in the richest manner and
blazing with diamonds, gave the breast to her child without rising from
her seat, the infant being brought to the table as superbly habited as
its nurse, the mother.  She performed this maternal duty with so much
good humour, and with a gracefulness peculiar to herself, that this
charitable office--which would have appeared disgusting and been
considered as an affront if done by some others of equal rank--gave
pleasure to all who sat at table, and, accordingly, they signified their
approbation by their applause.

The tables being removed, the dances commenced in the same room wherein
we had supped, which was magnificent and large.  The Countess and I
sitting side by side, I expressed the pleasure I received from her
conversation, and that I should place this meeting amongst the happiest
events of my life.  “Indeed,” said I, “I shall have cause to regret that
it ever did take place, as I shall depart hence so unwillingly, there
being so little probability, of our meeting again soon.  Why did Heaven
deny, our being born in the same country!”

This was said in order to introduce my brother’s business.  She replied:
“This country did, indeed, formerly belong to France, and our lawyers now
plead their causes in the French language.  The greater part of the
people here still retain an affection for the French nation.  For my
part,” added the Countess, “I have had a strong attachment to your
country ever since I have had the honour of seeing you.  This country has
been long in the possession of the House of Austria, but the regard of
the people for that house has been greatly, weakened by the death of
Count Egmont, M. de Horne, M. de Montigny, and others of the same party,
some of them our near relations, and all of the best families of the
country.  We entertain the utmost dislike for the Spanish Government, and
wish for nothing so much as to throw off the yoke of their tyranny; but,
as the country is divided betwixt different religions, we are at a loss
how to effect it if we could unite, we should soon drive out the
Spaniards; but this division amongst ourselves renders us weak.  Would to
God the King your brother would come to a resolution of reconquering this
country, to which he has an ancient claim!  We should all receive him
with open arms.”

This was a frank declaration, made by the Countess without premeditation,
but it had been long agitated in the minds of the people, who considered
that it was from France they were to hope for redress from the evils with
which they were afflicted.  I now found I had as favourable an opening as
I could wish for to declare my errand.  I told her that the King of
France my brother was averse to engaging in foreign war, and the more so
as the Huguenots in his kingdom were too strong to admit of his sending
any large force out of it.  “My brother Alencon,” said I, “has sufficient
means, and might be induced to undertake it.  He has equal valour,
prudence, and benevolence with the King my brother or any of his
ancestors.  He has been bred to arms, and is esteemed one of the bravest
generals of these times.  He has the command of the King’s army against
the Huguenots, and has lately taken a well-fortified town, called
Issoire, and some other places that were in their possession.  You could
not invite to your assistance a prince who has it so much in his power to
give it; being not only a neighbour, but having a kingdom like France at
his devotion, whence he may expect to derive the necessary aid and
succour.  The Count your husband may be assured that if he do my brother
this good office he will not find him ungrateful, but may set what price
he pleases upon his meritorious service.  My brother is of a noble and
generous disposition, and ready to requite those who do him favours.  He
is, moreover, an admirer of men of honour and gallantry, and accordingly
is followed by the bravest and best men France has to boast of.  I am in
hopes that a peace will soon be reestablished with the Huguenots, and
expect to find it so on my return to France.  If the Count your husband
think as you do, and will permit me to speak to him on the subject, I
will engage to bring my brother over to the proposal, and, in that case,
your country in general, and your house in particular, will be well
satisfied with him.  If, through your means, my brother should establish
himself here, you may depend on seeing me often, there being no brother
or sister who has a stronger affection for each other.”

The Countess appeared to listen to what I said with great pleasure, and
acknowledged that she had not entered upon this discourse without design.
She observed that, having perceived I did her the honour to have some
regard for her, she had resolved within herself not to let me depart out
of the country without explaining to me the situation of it, and begging
me to procure the aid of France to relieve them from the apprehensions of
living in a state of perpetual war or of submitting to Spanish tyranny.
She thereupon entreated me to allow her to relate our present
conversation to her husband, and permit them both to confer with me on
the subject the next day.  To this I readily gave my consent.

Thus we passed the evening in discourse upon the object of my mission,
and I observed that she took a singular pleasure in talking upon it in
all our succeeding conferences when I thought proper to introduce it. The
ball being ended, we went to hear vespers at the church of the
Canonesses, an order of nuns of which we have none in France.  These are
young ladies who are entered in these communities at a tender age, in
order to improve their fortunes till they are of an age to be married.
They do not all sleep under the same roof, but in detached houses within
an enclosure.  In each of these houses are three, four, or perhaps six
young girls, under the care of an old woman.  These governesses, together
with the abbess, are of the number of such as have never been married.
These girls never wear the habit of the order but in church; and the
service there ended, they dress like others, pay visits, frequent balls,
and go where they please.  They were constant visitors at the Count’s
entertainments, and danced at his balls.

The Countess thought the time long until the night, when she had an
opportunity of relating to the Count the conversation she had with me,
and the opening of the business.  The next morning she came to me, and
brought her husband with her.  He entered into a detail of the grievances
the country laboured under, and the just reasons he had for ridding it of
the tyranny of Spain.  In doing this, he said, he should not consider
himself as acting against his natural sovereign, because he well knew he
ought to look for him in the person of the King of France.  He explained
to me the means whereby my brother might establish himself in Flanders,
having possession of Hainault, which extended as far as Brussels.  He
said the difficulty lay in securing the Cambresis, which is situated
betwixt Hainault and Flanders.  It would, therefore, be necessary to
engage M. d’Ainsi in the business.  To this I replied that, as he was his
neighbour and friend, it might be better that he should open the matter
to him; and I begged he would do so.  I next assured him that he might
have the most perfect reliance on the gratitude and friendship of my
brother, and be certain of receiving as large a share of power and
authority as such a service done by a person of his rank merited. Lastly,
we agreed upon an interview betwixt my brother and M. de Montigny, the
brother of the Count, which was to take place at La Fere, upon my return,
when this business should be arranged.  During the time I stayed at Mons,
I said all I could to confirm the Count in this resolution, in which I
found myself seconded by the Countess.

The day of my departure was now arrived, to the great regret of the
ladies of Mons, as well as myself.  The Countess expressed herself in
terms which showed she had conceived the warmest friendship for me, and
made me promise to return by way of that city.  I presented the Countess
with a diamond bracelet, and to the Count I gave a riband and diamond
star of considerable value.  But these presents, valuable as they were,
became more so, in their estimation, as I was the donor.

Of the ladies, none accompanied me from this place, except Madame
d’Aurec.  She went with me to Namur, where I slept that night, and where
she expected to find her husband and the Duc d’Arscot, her
brother-in-law, who had been there since the peace betwixt the King of
Spain and the States of Flanders.  For though they were both of the party
of the States, yet the Duc d’Arscot, being an old courtier and having
attended King Philip in Flanders and England, could not withdraw himself
from Court and the society of the great.  The Comte de Lalain, with all
his nobles, conducted me two leagues beyond his government, and until he
saw Don John’s company in the distance advancing to meet me.  He then
took his leave of me, being unwilling to meet Don John; but M. d’Ainsi
stayed with me, as his master, the Bishop of Cambray, was in the Spanish
interest.

This gallant company having left me, I was soon after met by Don John of
Austria, preceded by a great number of running footmen, and escorted by
only twenty or thirty horsemen.  He was attended by a number of noblemen,
and amongst the rest the Duc d’Arscot, M. d’Aurec, the Marquis de
Varenbon, and the younger Balencon, governor, for the King of Spain, of
the county of Burgundy.  These last two, who are brothers, had ridden
post to meet me.  Of Don John’s household there was only Louis de Gonzago
of any rank.  He called himself a relation of the Duke of Mantua; the
others were mean-looking people, and of no consideration.  Don John
alighted from his horse to salute me in my litter, which was opened for
the purpose.  I returned the salute after the French fashion to him, the
Duc d’Arscot, and M. d’Aurec.  After an exchange of compliments, he
mounted his horse, but continued in discourse with me until we reached
the city, which was not before it grew dark, as I set off late, the
ladies of Mons keeping me as long as they could, amusing themselves with
viewing my litter, and requiring an explanation of the different mottoes
and devices.  However, as the Spaniards excel in preserving good order,
Namur appeared with particular advantage, for the streets were well
lighted, every house being illuminated, so that the blaze exceeded that
of daylight.

Our supper was served to us in our respective apartments, Don John being
unwilling, after the fatigue of so long a journey, to incommode us with a
banquet.  The house in which I was lodged had been newly furnished for
the purpose of receiving me.  It consisted of a magnificent large salon,
with a private apartment, consisting of lodging rooms and closets,
furnished in the most costly manner, with furniture of every kind, and
hung with the richest tapestry of velvet and satin, divided into
compartments by columns of silver embroidery, with knobs of gold, all
wrought in the most superb manner.  Within these compartments were
figures in antique habits, embroidered in gold and silver.

The Cardinal de Lenoncourt, a man of taste and curiosity, being one day
in these apartments with the Duc d’Arscot, who, as I have before
observed, was an ornament to Don John’s Court, remarked to him that this
furniture seemed more proper for a great king than a young unmarried
prince like Don John.  To which the Duc d’Arscot replied that it came to
him as a present, having been sent to him by a bashaw belonging to the
Grand Seignior, whose son she had made prisoners in a signal victory
obtained over the Turks.  Don John having sent the bashaw’s sons back
without ransom, the father, in return, made him a present of a large
quantity of gold, silver, and silk stuffs, which he caused to be wrought
into tapestry at Milan, where there are curious workmen in this way; and
he had the Queen’s bedchamber hung with tapestry representing the battle
in which he had so gloriously defeated the Turks.

The next morning Don John conducted us to chapel, where we heard mass
celebrated after the Spanish manner, with all kinds of music, after which
we partook of a banquet prepared by Don John.  He and I were seated at a
separate table, at a distance of three yards from which stood the great
one, of which the honours were done by Madame d’Aurec.  At this table the
ladies and principal lords took their seats.  Don John was served with
drink by Louis de Gonzago, kneeling.  The tables being removed, the ball
was opened, and the dancing continued the whole afternoon.  The evening
was spent in conversation betwixt Don John and me, who told me I greatly
resembled the Queen his mistress, by whom he meant the late Queen my
sister, and for whom he professed to have entertained a very high esteem.
In short, Don John manifested, by every mark of attention and politeness,
as well to me as to my attendants, the very great pleasure he had in
receiving me.

The boats which were to convey me upon the Meuse to Liege not all being
ready, I was under the necessity of staying another day.  The morning was
passed as that of the day before.  After dinner, we embarked on the river
in a very beautiful boat, surrounded by others having on board musicians
playing on hautboys, horns, and violins, and landed at an island where
Don John had caused a collation to be prepared in a large bower formed
with branches of ivy, in which the musicians were placed in small
recesses, playing on their instruments during the time of supper.  The
tables being removed, the dances began, and lasted till it was time to
return, which I did in the same boat that conveyed me thither, and which
was that provided for my voyage.

The next morning Don John conducted me to the boat, and there took a most
polite and courteous leave, charging M. and Madame d’Aurec to see me safe
to Huy, the first town belonging to the Bishop of Liege, where I was to
sleep.  As soon as Don John had gone on shore, M. d’Ainsi, who remained
in the boat, and who had the Bishop of Cambray’s permission to go to
Namur only, took leave of me with many protestations of fidelity and
attachment to my brother and myself.

But Fortune, envious of my hitherto prosperous journey, gave me two omens
of the sinister events of my return.

The first was the sudden illness which attacked Mademoiselle de Tournon,
the daughter of the lady of my bedchamber, a young person, accomplished,
with every grace and virtue, and for whom I had the most perfect regard.
No sooner had the boat left the shore than this young lady was seized
with an alarming disorder, which, from the great pain attending it,
caused her to scream in the most doleful manner.  The physicians
attributed the cause to spasms of the heart, which, notwithstanding the
utmost exertions of their skill, carried her off a few days after my
arrival at Liege.  As the history of this young lady is remarkable, I
shall relate it in my next letter.

The other omen was what happened to us at Huy, immediately upon our
arrival there.  This town is built on the declivity of a mountain, at the
foot of which runs the river Meuse.  As we were about to land, there fell
a torrent of rain, which, coming down the steep sides of the mountain,
swelled the river instantly to such a degree that we had only time to
leap out of the boat and run to the top, the flood reaching the very
highest street, next to where I was to lodge.  There we were forced to
put up with such accommodation as could be procured in the house, as it
was impossible to remove the smallest article of our baggage from the
boats, or even to stir out of the house we were in, the whole city being
under water.  However, the town was as suddenly relieved from this
calamity as it had been afflicted with it, for, on the next morning, the
whole inundation had ceased, the waters having run off, and the river
being confined within its usual channel.

Leaving Huy, M. and Madame d’Aurec returned to Don John at Namur, and I
proceeded, in the boat, to sleep that night at Liege.



LETTER XV.

The City of Liege Described.--Affecting Story of Mademoiselle de
Tournon.--Fatal Effects of Suppressed Anguish of Mind.


The Bishop of Liege, who is the sovereign of the city and province,
received me with all the cordiality and respect that could be expected
from a personage of his dignity and great accomplishments.  He was,
indeed, a nobleman endowed with singular prudence and virtue, agreeable
in his person and conversation, gracious and magnificent in his carriage
and behaviour, to which I may add that he spoke the French language
perfectly.

He was constantly attended by his chapter, with several of his canons,
who are all sons of dukes, counts, or great German lords.  The bishopric
is itself a sovereign State, which brings in a considerable revenue, and
includes a number of fine cities.  The bishop is chosen from amongst the
canons, who must be of noble descent, and resident one year.  The city is
larger than Lyons, and much resembles it, having the Meuse running
through it.  The houses in which the canons reside have the appearance of
noble palaces.

The streets of the city are regular and spacious, the houses of the
citizens well built, the squares large, and ornamented with curious
fountains.  The churches appear as if raised entirely of marble, of which
there are considerable quarries in the neighbourhood; they are all of
them ornamented with beautiful clocks, and exhibit a variety of moving
figures.

The Bishop received me as I landed from the boat, and conducted me to his
magnificent residence, ornamented with delicious fountains and gardens,
set off with galleries, all painted, superbly gilt, and enriched with
marble, beyond description.

The spring which affords the waters of Spa being distant no more than
three or four leagues from the city of Liege, and there being only a
village, consisting of three or four small houses, on the spot, the
Princesse de Roche-sur-Yon was advised by her physicians to stay at Liege
and have the waters brought to her, which they assured her would have
equal efficacy, if taken after sunset and before sunrise, as if drunk at
the spring.  I was well pleased that she resolved to follow the advice of
the doctors, as we were more comfortably lodged and had an agreeable
society; for, besides his Grace (so the bishop is styled, as a king is
addressed his Majesty, and a prince his Highness), the news of my arrival
being spread about, many lords and ladies came from Germany to visit me.
Amongst these was the Countess d’Aremberg, who had the honour to
accompany Queen Elizabeth to Mezieres, to which place she came to marry
King Charles my brother, a lady very high in the estimation of the
Empress, the Emperor, and all the princes in Christendom.  With her came
her sister the Landgravine, Madame d’Aremberg her daughter, M. d’Aremberg
her son, a gallant and accomplished nobleman, the perfect image of his
father, who brought the Spanish succours to King Charles my brother, and
returned with great honour and additional reputation.  This meeting, so
honourable to me, and so much to my satisfaction, was damped by the grief
and concern occasioned by the loss of Mademoiselle de Tournon, whose
story, being of a singular nature, I shall now relate to you, agreeably
to the promise I made in my last letter.

I must begin with observing to you that Madame de Tournon, at this time
lady of my bedchamber, had several daughters, the eldest of whom married
M. de Balencon, governor, for the King of Spain, in the county of
Burgundy.  This daughter, upon her marriage, had solicited her mother to
admit of her taking her sister, the young lady whose story I am now about
to relate, to live with her, as she was going to a country strange to
her, and wherein she had no relations.  To this her mother consented; and
the young lady, being universally admired for her modesty and graceful
accomplishments, for which she certainly deserved admiration, attracted
the notice of the Marquis de Varenbon.  The Marquis, as I before
mentioned, is the brother of M. de Balencon, and was intended for the
Church; but, being violently enamoured of Mademoiselle de Tournon (whom,
as he lived in the same house, he had frequent opportunities of seeing),
he now begged his brother’s permission to marry her, not having yet taken
orders.  The young lady’s family, to whom he had likewise communicated
his wish, readily gave their consent, but his brother refused his,
strongly advising him to change his resolution and put on the gown.

Thus were matters situated when her mother, Madame de Tournon, a virtuous
and pious lady, thinking she had cause to be offended, ordered her
daughter to leave the house of her sister, Madame de Balencon, and come
to her.  The mother, a woman of a violent spirit, not considering that
her daughter was grown up and merited a mild treatment, was continually
scolding the poor young lady, so that she was for ever with tears in her
eyes.  Still, there was nothing to blame in the young girl’s conduct, but
such was the severity of the mother’s disposition.  The daughter, as you
may well suppose, wished to be from under the mother’s tyrannical
government, and was accordingly delighted with the thoughts of attending
me in this journey to Flanders, hoping, as it happened, that she should
meet the Marquis de Varenbon somewhere on the road, and that, as he had
now abandoned all thoughts of the Church, he would renew his proposal of
marriage, and take her from her mother.

I have before mentioned that the Marquis de Varenbon and the younger
Balencon joined us at Namur.  Young Balencon, who was far from being so
agreeable as his brother, addressed himself to the young lady, but the
Marquis, during the whole time we stayed at Namur, paid not the least
attention to her, and seemed as if he had never been acquainted with her.

The resentment, grief, and disappointment occasioned by a behaviour so
slighting and unnatural was necessarily stifled in her breast, as decorum
and her sex’s pride obliged her to appear as if she disregarded it; but
when, after taking leave, all of them left the boat, the anguish of her
mind, which she had hitherto suppressed, could no longer be restrained,
and, labouring for vent, it stopped her respiration, and forced from her
those lamentable outcries which I have already spoken of.  Her youth
combated for eight days with this uncommon disorder, but at the
expiration of that time she died, to the great grief of her mother, as
well as myself.  I say of her mother, for, though she was so rigidly
severe over this daughter, she tenderly loved her.

The funeral of this unfortunate young lady was solemnised with all proper
ceremonies, and conducted in the most honourable manner, as she was
descended from a great family, allied to the Queen my mother.  When the
day of interment arrived, four of my gentlemen were appointed bearers,
one of whom was named La Boessiere.  This man had entertained a secret
passion for her, which he never durst declare on account of the
inferiority of his family and station.  He was now destined to bear the
remains of her, dead, for whom he had long been dying, and was now as
near dying for her loss as he had before been for her love.  The
melancholy procession was marching slowly, along, when it was met by the
Marquis de Varenbon, who had been the sole occasion of it.  We had not
left Namur long when the Marquis reflected upon his cruel behaviour
towards this unhappy young lady; and his passion (wonderful to relate)
being revived by the absence of her who inspired it, though scarcely
alive while she was present, he had resolved to come and ask her of her
mother in marriage.  He made no doubt, perhaps, of success, as he seldom
failed in enterprises of love; witness the great lady he has since
obtained for a wife, in opposition to the will of her family.  He might,
besides, have flattered himself that he should easily have gained a
pardon from her by whom he was beloved, according to the Italian proverb,
“Che la forza d’amore non riguarda al delitto” (Lovers are not criminal
in the estimation of one another).  Accordingly, the Marquis solicited
Don John to be despatched to me on some errand, and arrived, as I said
before, at the very instant the corpse of this ill-fated young lady was
being borne to the grave.  He was stopped by the crowd occasioned by this
solemn procession.  He contemplates it for some time.  He observes a long
train of persons in mourning, and remarks the coffin to be covered with a
white pall, and that there are chaplets of flowers laid upon the coffin.
He inquires whose funeral it is.  The answer he receives is, that it is
the funeral of a young lady.  Unfortunately for him, this reply fails to
satisfy his curiosity.  He makes up to one who led the procession, and
eagerly asks the name of the young lady they are proceeding to bury.
When, oh, fatal answer!  Love, willing to avenge the victim of his
ingratitude and neglect, suggests a reply which had nearly deprived him
of life.  He no sooner hears the name of Mademoiselle de Tournon
pronounced than he falls from his horse in a swoon.  He is taken up for
dead, and conveyed to the nearest house, where he lies for a time
insensible; his soul, no doubt, leaving his body to obtain pardon from
her whom he had hastened to a premature grave, to return to taste the
bitterness of death a second time.

Having performed the last offices to the remains of this poor young lady,
I was unwilling to discompose the gaiety of the society assembled here on
my account by any show of grief.  Accordingly, I joined the Bishop, or,
as he is called, his Grace, and his canons, in their entertainments at
different houses, and in gardens, of which the city and its neighbourhood
afforded a variety.  I was every morning attended by a numerous company
to the garden, in which I drank the waters, the exercise of walking being
recommended to be used with them.  As the physician who advised me to
take them was my own brother, they did not fail of their effect with me;
and for these six or seven years which are gone over my head since I
drank them, I have been free from any complaint of erysipelas on my arm.
From this garden we usually proceeded to the place where we were invited
to dinner.  After dinner we were amused with a ball; from the ball we
went to some convent, where we heard vespers; from vespers to supper, and
that over, we had another ball, or music on the river.



LETTER XVI.

Queen Marguerite, on Her Return from Liege, Is in Danger of Being Made a
Prisoner.--She Arrives, after Some Narrow Escapes, at La Fere.


In this manner we passed the six weeks, which is the usual time for
taking these waters, at the expiration of which the Princesse de
Roche-sur-Yon was desirous to return to France; but Madame d’Aurec, who
just then returned to us from Namur, on her way to rejoin her husband in
Lorraine, brought us news of an extraordinary change of affairs in that
town and province since we had passed through it.

It appeared from this lady’s account that, on the very day we left Namur,
Don John, after quitting the boat, mounted his horse under pretence of
taking the diversion of hunting, and, as he passed the gate of the castle
of Namur, expressed a desire of seeing it; that, having entered, he took
possession of it, notwithstanding he held it for the States, agreeably to
a convention.  Don John, moreover, arrested the persons of the Duc
d’Arscot and M. d’Aurec, and also made Madame d’Aurec a prisoner.  After
some remonstrances and entreaties, he had set her husband and
brother-in-law at liberty, but detained her as a hostage for them.  In
consequence of these measures, the whole country was in arms.  The
province of Namur was divided into three parties: the first whereof was
that of the States, or the Catholic party of Flanders; the second that of
the Prince of Orange and the Huguenots; the third, the Spanish party, of
which Don John was the head.

By letters which I received just at this time from my brother, through
the hands of a gentleman named Lescar, I found I was in great danger of
falling into the hands of one or other of these parties.

These letters informed me that, since my departure from Court, God had
dealt favourably with my brother, and enabled him to acquit himself of
the command of the army confided to him, greatly to the benefit of the
King’s service; so that he had taken all the towns and driven the
Huguenots out of the provinces, agreeably to the design for which the
army was raised; that he had returned to the Court at Poitiers, where the
King stayed during the siege of Brouage, to be near to M. de Mayenne, in
order to afford him whatever succours he stood in need of; that, as the
Court is a Proteus, forever putting on a new face, he had found it
entirely changed, so that he had been no more considered than if he had
done the King no service whatever; and that Bussi, who had been so
graciously looked upon before and during this last war, had done great
personal service, and had lost a brother at the storming of Issoire, was
very coolly received, and even as maliciously persecuted as in the time
of Le Guast; in consequence of which either he or Bussi experienced some
indignity or other.  He further mentioned that the King’s favourites had
been practising with his most faithful servants, Maugiron, La Valette,
Mauldon, and Hivarrot, and several other good and trusty men, to desert
him, and enter into the King’s service; and, lastly, that the King had
repented of giving me leave to go to Flanders, and that, to counteract my
brother, a plan was laid to intercept me on my return, either by the
Spaniards, for which purpose they had been told that I had treated for
delivering up the country to him, or by the Huguenots, in revenge of the
war my brother had carried on against them, after having formerly
assisted them.

This intelligence required to be well considered, as there seemed to be
an utter impossibility of avoiding both parties.  I had, however, the
pleasure to think that two of the principal persons of my company stood
well with either one or another party.  The Cardinal de Lenoncourt had
been thought to favour the Huguenot party, and M. Descarts, brother to
the Bishop of Lisieux, was supposed to have the Spanish interest at
heart.  I communicated our difficult situation to the Princesse de
Roche-sur-Yon and Madame de Tournon, who, considering that we could not
reach La Fere in less than five or six days, answered me, with tears in
their eyes, that God only had it in his power to preserve us, that I
should recommend myself to his protection, and then follow such measures
as should seem advisable.  They observed that, as one of them was in a
weak state of health, and the other advanced in years, I might affect to
make short journeys on their account, and they would put up with every
inconvenience to extricate me from the danger I was in.

I next consulted with the Bishop of Liege, who most certainly acted
towards me like a father, and gave directions to the grand master of his
household to attend me with his horses as far as I should think proper.
As it was necessary that we should have a passport from the Prince of
Orange, I sent Mondoucet to him to obtain one, as he was acquainted with
the Prince and was known to favour his religion.  Mondoucet did not
return, and I believe I might have waited for him until this time to no
purpose.  I was advised by the Cardinal de Lenoncourt and my first
esquire, the Chevalier Salviati, who were of the same party, not to stir
without a passport; but, as I suspected a plan was laid to entrap me, I
resolved to set out the next morning.

They now saw that this pretence was insufficient to detain me;
accordingly, the Chevalier Salviati prevailed with my treasurer, who was
secretly a Huguenot, to declare he had not money enough in his hands to
discharge the expenses we had incurred at Liege, and that, in
consequence, my horses were detained.  I afterwards discovered that this
was false, for, on my arrival at La Fere, I called for his accounts, and
found he had then a balance in his hands which would have enabled him to
pay, the expenses of my family for six or seven weeks.  The Princesse de
Roche-sur-Yon, incensed at the affront put upon me, and seeing the danger
I incurred by staying, advanced the money that was required, to their
great confusion; and I took my leave of his Grace the Bishop, presenting
him with a diamond worth three thousand crowns, and giving his domestics
gold chains and rings.  Having thus taken our leave, we proceeded to Huy,
without any other passport than God’s good providence.

This town, as I observed before, belongs to the Bishop of Liege, but was
now in a state of tumult and confusion, on account of the general revolt
of the Low Countries, the townsmen taking part with the Netherlanders,
notwithstanding the bishopric was a neutral State.  On this account they
paid no respect to the grand master of the Bishop’s household, who
accompanied us, but, knowing Don John had taken the castle of Namur in
order, as they supposed, to intercept me on my return, these brutal
people, as soon as I had got into my quarters, rang the alarm-bell, drew
up their artillery, placed chains across the streets, and kept us thus
confined and separated the whole night, giving us no opportunity to
expostulate with them on such conduct.  In the morning we were suffered
to leave the town without further molestation, and the streets we passed
through were lined with armed men.

From there we proceeded to Dinant, where we intended to sleep; but,
unfortunately for us, the townspeople had on that day chosen their
burghermasters, a kind of officers like the consuls in Gascony and
France.  In consequence of this election, it was a day of tumult, riot,
and debauchery; every one in the town was drunk, no magistrate was
acknowledged.  In a word, all was in confusion.  To render our situation
still worse, the grand master of the Bishop’s household had formerly done
the town some ill office, and was considered as its enemy.  The people of
the town, when in their sober senses, were inclined to favour the party
of the States, but under the influence of Bacchus they paid no regard to
any party, not even to themselves.

As soon as I had reached the suburbs, they were alarmed at the number of
my company, quitted the bottle and glass to take up their arms, and
immediately shut the gates against me.  I had sent a gentleman before me,
with my harbinger and quartermasters, to beg the magistrates to admit me
to stay one night in the town, but I found my officers had been put under
an arrest.  They bawled out to us from within, to tell us their
situation, but could not make themselves heard.  At length I raised
myself up in my litter, and, taking off my mask, made a sign to a
townsman nearest me, of the best appearance, that I was desirous to speak
with him.  As soon as he drew near me, I begged him to call out for
silence, which being with some difficulty obtained, I represented to him
who I was, and the occasion of my journey; that it was far from my
intention to do them harm; but, to prevent any suspicions of the kind, I
only begged to be admitted to go into their city with my women, and as
few others of my attendants as they thought proper, and that we might be
permitted to stay there for one night, whilst the rest of my company
remained within the suburbs.

They agreed to this proposal, and opened their gates for my admission. I
then entered the city with the principal persons of my company, and the
grand master of the Bishop’s household.  This reverend personage, who was
eighty years of age, and wore a beard as white as snow, which reached
down to his girdle, this venerable old man, I say, was no sooner
recognised by the drunken and armed rabble than he was accosted with the
grossest abuse, and it was with difficulty they were restrained from
laying violent hands upon him.  At length I got him into my lodgings, but
the mob fired at the house, the walls of which were only of plaster. Upon
being thus attacked, I inquired for the master of the house, who,
fortunately, was within.  I entreated him to speak from the window, to
some one without, to obtain permission for my being heard.  I had some
difficulty to get him to venture doing so.  At length, after much bawling
from the window, the burghermasters came to speak to me, but were so
drunk that they scarcely knew what they said.  I explained to them that I
was entirely ignorant that the grand master of the Bishop’s household was
a person to whom they had a dislike, and I begged them to consider the
consequences of giving offence to a person like me, who was a friend of
the principal lords of the States, and I assured them that the Comte de
Lalain, in particular, would be greatly displeased when he should hear
how I had been received there.

The name of the Comte de Lalain produced an instant effect, much more
than if I had mentioned all the sovereign princes I was related to. The
principal person amongst them asked me, with some hesitation and
stammering, if I was really a particular friend of the Count’s.
Perceiving that to claim kindred with the Count would do me more service
than being related to all the Powers in Christendom, I answered that I
was both a friend and a relation.  They then made me many apologies and
conges, stretching forth their hands in token of friendship; in short,
they now behaved with as much civility as before with rudeness.

They begged my pardon for what had happened, and promised that the good
old man, the grand master of the Bishop’s household, should be no more
insulted, but be suffered to leave the city quietly, the next morning,
with me.

As soon as morning came, and while I was preparing to go to hear mass,
there arrived the King’s agent to Don John, named Du Bois, a man much
attached to the Spanish interest.  He informed me that he had received
orders from the King my brother to conduct me in safety on my return. He
said that he had prevailed on Don John to permit Barlemont to escort me
to Namur with a troop of cavalry, and begged me to obtain leave of the
citizens to admit Barlemont and his troop to enter the town that; they
might receive my orders.

Thus had they concerted a double plot; the one to get possession of the
town, the other of my person.  I saw through the whole design, and
consulted with the Cardinal de Lenoncourt, communicating to him my
suspicions.  The Cardinal was as unwilling to fall into the hands of the
Spaniards as I could be; he therefore thought it advisable to acquaint
the townspeople with the plot, and make our escape from the city by
another road, in order to avoid meeting Barlemont’s troop.  It was agreed
betwixt us that the Cardinal should keep Du Bois in discourse, whilst I
consulted the principal citizens in another apartment.

Accordingly, I assembled as many as I could, to whom I represented that
if they admitted Barlemont and his troop within the town, he would most
certainly take possession of it for Don John.  I gave it as my advice to
make a show of defence, to declare they would not be taken by surprise,
and to offer to admit Barlemont, and no one else, within their gates.
They resolved to act according to my counsel, and offered to serve me at
the hazard of their lives.  They promised to procure me a guide, who
should conduct me by a road by following which I should put the river
betwixt me and Don John’s forces, whereby I should be out of his reach,
and could be lodged in houses and towns which were in the interest of the
States only.

This point being settled, I despatched them to give admission to M. de
Barlemont, who, as soon as he entered within the gates, begged hard that
his troop might come in likewise.  Hereupon, the citizens flew into a
violent rage, and were near putting him to death.  They told him that if
he did not order his men out of sight of the town, they would fire upon
them with their great guns.  This was done with design to give me time to
leave the town before they could follow in pursuit of me.  M. de
Barlemont and the agent, Du Bois, used every argument they could devise
to persuade me to go to Namur, where they said Don John waited to receive
me.

I appeared to give way to their persuasions, and, after hearing mass and
taking a hasty dinner, I left my lodgings, escorted by two or three
hundred armed citizens, some of them engaging Barlemont and Du Bois in
conversation.  We all took the way to the gate which opens to the river,
and directly opposite to that leading to Namur.  Du Bois and his
colleague told me I was not going the right way, but I continued talking,
and as if I did not hear them.  But when we reached the gate I hastened
into the boat, and my people after me.  M. de Barlemont and the agent Du
Bois, calling out to me from the bank, told me I was doing very wrong and
acting directly contrary to the King’s intention, who had directed that I
should return by way of Namur.

In spite of all their remonstrances we crossed the river with all
possible expedition, and, during the two or three crossings which were
necessary to convey over the litters and horses, the citizens, to give me
the more time to escape, were debating with Barlemont and Du Bois
concerning a number of grievances and complaints, telling them, in their
coarse language, that Don John had broken the peace and falsified his
engagements with the States; and they even rehearsed the old quarrel of
the death of Egmont, and, lastly, declared that if the troop made its
appearance before their walls again, they would fire upon it with their
artillery.

I had by this means sufficient time to reach a secure distance, and was,
by the help of God and the assistance of my guide, out of all
apprehensions of danger from Barlemont and his troop.

I intended to lodge that night in a strong castle, called Fleurines,
which belonged to a gentleman of the party of the States, whom I had seen
with the Comte de Lalain.  Unfortunately for me, the gentleman was
absent, and his lady only was in the castle.  The courtyard being open,
we entered it, which put the lady into such a fright that she ordered the
bridge to be drawn up, and fled to the strong tower.--[In the old French
original, ‘dongeon’, whence we have ‘duugeon’.]--Nothing we could say
would induce her to give us entrance.  In the meantime, three hundred
gentlemen, whom Don John had sent off to intercept our passage, and take
possession of the castle of Fleurines; judging that I should take up my
quarters there, made their appearance upon an eminence, at the distance
of about a thousand yards.  They, seeing our carriages in the courtyard,
and supposing that we ourselves had taken to the strong tower, resolved
to stay where they were that night, hoping to intercept me the next
morning.

In this cruel situation were we placed, in a courtyard surrounded by a
wall by no means strong, and shut up by a gate equally as weak and as
capable of being forced, remonstrating from time to time with the lady,
who was deaf to all our prayers and entreaties.

Through God’s mercy, her husband, M. de Fleurines, himself appeared just
as night approached.  We then gained instant admission, and the lady was
greatly reprimanded by her husband for her incivility and indiscreet
behaviour.  This gentleman had been sent by the Comte de Lalain, with
directions to conduct me through the several towns belonging to the
States, the Count himself not being able to leave the army of the States,
of which he had the chief command, to accompany me.

This was as favourable a circumstance for me as I could wish; for, M. de
Fleurines offering to accompany me into France, the towns we had to pass
through being of the party of the States, we were everywhere quietly and
honourably received.  I had only the mortification of not being able to
visit Mons, agreeably to my promise made to the Comtesse de Lalain, not
passing nearer to it than Nivelle, seven long leagues distant from it.
The Count being at Antwerp, and the war being hottest in the
neighbourhood of Mons, I thus was prevented seeing either of them on my
return.  I could only write to the Countess by a servant of the gentleman
who was now my conductor.  As soon as she learned I was at Nivelle, she
sent some gentlemen, natives of the part of Flanders I was in, with a
strong injunction to see me safe on the frontier of France.

I had to pass through the Cambresis, partly in favour of Spain and partly
of the States.  Accordingly, I set out with these gentlemen, to lodge at
Cateau Cambresis.  There they took leave of me, in order to return to
Mons, and by them I sent the Countess a gown of mine, which had been
greatly admired by her when I wore it at Mons; it was of black satin,
curiously embroidered, and cost nine hundred crowns.

When I arrived at Cateau-Cambresis, I had intelligence sent me that a
party of the Huguenot troops had a design to attack me on the frontiers
of Flanders and France.  This intelligence I communicated to a few only
of my company, and prepared to set off an hour before daybreak.  When I
sent for my litters and horses, I found much such a kind of delay from
the Chevalier Salviati as I had before experienced at Liege, and
suspecting it was done designedly, I left my litter behind, and mounted
on horseback, with such of my attendants as were ready to follow me.  By
this means, with God’s assistance, I escaped being waylaid by my enemies,
and reached Catelet at ten in the morning.  From there I went to my house
at La Fere, where I intended to reside until I learned that peace was
concluded upon.

At La Fere I found a messenger in waiting from my brother, who had orders
to return with all expedition, as soon as I arrived, and inform him of
it.  My brother wrote me word, by that messenger, that peace was
concluded, and the King returned to Paris; that, as to himself, his
situation was rather worse than better; that he and his people were daily
receiving some affront or other, and continual quarrels were excited
betwixt the King’s favourites and Bussi and my brother’s principal
attendants.  This, he added, had made him impatient for my return, that
he might come and visit me.

I sent his messenger back, and, immediately after, my brother sent Bussi
and all his household to Angers, and, taking with him fifteen or twenty
attendants, he rode post to me at La Fere.  It was a great satisfaction
to me to see one whom I so tenderly loved and greatly honoured, once
more.  I consider it amongst the greatest felicities I ever enjoyed, and,
accordingly, it became my chief study to make his residence here
agreeable to him.  He himself seemed delighted with this change of
situation, and would willingly have continued in it longer had not the
noble generosity of his mind called him forth to great achievements.  The
quiet of our Court, when compared with that he had just left, affected
him so powerfully that he could not but express the satisfaction he felt
by frequently exclaiming, “Oh, Queen!  how happy I am with you.  My God!
your society is a paradise wherein I enjoy every delight, and I seem to
have lately escaped from hell, with all its furies and tortures!”



LETTER XVII.

Good Effects of Queen Marguerite’s Negotiations in Flanders.--She Obtains
Leave to Go to the King of Navarre Her Husband, but Her Journey Is
Delayed.--Court Intrigues and Plots.--The Duc d’Alencon Again Put under
Arrest.

We passed nearly two months together, which appeared to us only as so
many days.  I gave him an account of what I had done for him in Flanders,
and the state in which I had left the business.  He approved of the
interview with the Comte de Lalain’s brother in order to settle the plan
of operations and exchange assurances.  Accordingly, the Comte de
Montigny arrived, with four or five other leading men of the county of
Hainault.  One of these was charged with a letter from M. d’Ainsi,
offering his services to my brother, and assuring him of the citadel of
Cambray.  M. de Montigny delivered his brother’s declaration and
engagement to give up the counties of Hainault and Artois, which included
a number of fine cities.  These offers made and accepted, my brother
dismissed them with presents of gold medals, bearing his and my effigies,
and every assurance of his future favour; and they returned to prepare
everything for his coming.  In the meanwhile my brother considered on the
necessary measures to be used for raising a sufficient force, for which
purpose he returned to the King, to prevail with him to assist him in
this enterprise.

As I was anxious to go to Gascony, I made ready for the journey, and set
off for Paris, my brother meeting me at the distance of one day’s
journey.

At St. Denis I was met by the King, the Queen my mother, Queen Louise,
and the whole Court.  It was at St. Denis that I was to stop and dine,
and there it was that I had the honour of the meeting I have just
mentioned.

I was received very graciously, and most sumptuously entertained.  I was
made to recount the particulars of my triumphant journey to Liege, and
perilous return.  The magnificent entertainments I had received excited
their admiration, and they rejoiced at my narrow escapes.  With such
conversation I amused the Queen my mother and the rest of the company in
her coach, on our way to Paris, where, supper and the ball being ended, I
took an opportunity, when I saw the King and the Queen my mother
together, to address them.

I expressed my hopes that they would not now oppose my going to the King
my husband; that now, by the peace, the chief objection to it was
removed, and if I delayed going, in the present situation of affairs, it
might be prejudicial and discreditable to me.  Both of them approved of
my request, and commended my resolution.  The Queen my mother added that
she would accompany me on my journey, as it would be for the King’s
service that she did so.  She said the King must furnish me with the
necessary means for the journey, to which he readily assented.  I thought
this a proper time to settle everything, and prevent another journey to
Court, which would be no longer pleasing after my brother left it, who
was now pressing his expedition to Flanders with all haste.  I therefore
begged the Queen my mother to recollect the promise she had made my
brother and me as soon as peace was agreed upon, which was that, before
my departure for Gascony, I should have my marriage portion assigned to
me in lands.  She said that she recollected it well, and the King thought
it very reasonable, and promised that it should be done.  I entreated
that it might be concluded speedily, as I wished to set off, with their
permission, at the beginning of the next month.  This, too, was granted
me, but granted after the mode of the Court; that is to say,
notwithstanding my constant solicitations, instead of despatch, I
experienced only delay; and thus it continued for five or six months in
negotiation.

My brother met with the like treatment, though he was continually urging
the necessity for his setting out for Flanders, and representing that his
expedition was for the glory and advantage of France,--for its glory, as
such an enterprise would, like Piedmont, prove a school of war for the
young nobility, wherein future Montlucs, Brissacs, Termes, and
Bellegardes would be bred, all of them instructed in these wars, and
afterwards, as field-marshals, of the greatest service to their country;
and it would be for the advantage of France, as it would prevent civil
wars; for Flanders would then be no longer a country wherein such
discontented spirits as aimed at novelty could assemble to brood over
their malice and hatch plots for the disturbance of their native land.

These representations, which were both reasonable and consonant with
truth, had no weight when put into the scale against the envy excited by
this advancement of my brother’s fortune.  Accordingly, every delay was
used to hinder him from collecting his forces together, and stop his
expedition to Flanders.  Bussi and his other dependents were offered a
thousand indignities.  Every stratagem was tried, by day as well as by
night, to pick quarrels with Bussi,--now by Quelus, at another time by
Grammont, with the hope that my brother would engage in them.  This was
unknown to the King; but Maugiron, who had engrossed the King’s favour,
and who had quitted my brother’s service, sought every means to ruin him,
as it is usual for those who have given offence to hate the offended
party.

Thus did this man take every occasion to brave and insult my brother; and
relying upon the countenance and blind affection shown him by the King,
had leagued himself with Quelus, Saint-Luc, Saint-Maigrin, Grammont,
Mauleon, Hivarrot, and other young men who enjoyed the King’s favour.  As
those who are favourites find a number of followers at Court, these
licentious young courtiers thought they might do whatever they pleased.
Some new dispute betwixt them and Bussi was constantly starting.  Bussi
had a degree of courage which knew not how to give way to any one; and my
brother, unwilling to give umbrage to the King, and foreseeing that such
proceedings would not forward his expedition, to avoid quarrels and, at
the same time, to promote his plans, resolved to despatch Bussi to his
duchy of Alencon, in order to discipline such troops as he should find
there.  My brother’s amiable qualities excited the jealousy of Maugiron
and the rest of his cabal about the King’s person, and their dislike for
Bussi was not so much on his own account as because he was strongly
attached to my brother.  The slights and disrespect shown to my brother
were remarked by every one at Court; but his prudence, and the patience
natural to his disposition, enabled him to put up with their insults, in
hopes of finishing the business of his Flemish expedition, which would
remove him to a distance from them and their machinations.  This
persecution was the more mortifying and discreditable as it even extended
to his servants, whom they strove to injure by every means they could
employ.  M. de la Chastre at this time had a lawsuit of considerable
consequence decided against him, because he had lately attached himself
to my brother.  At the instance of Maugiron and Saint-Luc, the King was
induced to solicit the cause in favour of Madame de Senetaire, their
friend.  M. de la Chastre, being greatly injured by it, complained to my
brother of the injustice done him, with all the concern such a proceeding
may be supposed to have occasioned.

About this time Saint-Luc’s marriage was celebrated.  My brother resolved
not to be present at it, and begged of me to join him in the same
resolution.  The Queen my mother was greatly uneasy on account of the
behaviour of these young men, fearing that, if my brother did not join
them in this festivity, it might be attended with some bad consequence,
especially as the day was likely to produce scenes of revelry and
debauch; she, therefore, prevailed on the King to permit her to dine on
the wedding-day at St. Maur, and take my brother and me with her.  This
was the day before Shrove Tuesday; and we returned in the evening, the
Queen my mother having well lectured my brother, and made him consent to
appear at the ball, in order not to displease the King.

But this rather served to make matters worse than better, for Maugiron
and his party began to attack him with such violent speeches as would
have offended any one of far less consequence.  They said he needed not
to have given himself the trouble of dressing, for he was not missed in
the afternoon; but now, they supposed, he came at night as the most
suitable time; with other allusions to the meanness of his figure and
smallness of stature.  All this was addressed to the bride, who sat near
him, but spoken out on purpose that he might hear it.  My brother,
perceiving this was purposely said to provoke an answer and occasion his
giving offence to the King, removed from his seat full of resentment;
and, consulting with M. de la Chastre, he came to the resolution of
leaving the Court in a few days on a hunting party.  He still thought his
absence might stay their malice, and afford him an opportunity the more
easily of settling his preparations for the Flemish expedition with the
King.  He went immediately to the Queen my mother, who was present at the
ball, and was extremely sorry to learn what had happened, and imparted
her resolution, in his absence, to solicit the King to hasten his
expedition to Flanders.  M. de Villequier being present, she bade him
acquaint the King with my brother’s intention of taking the diversion of
hunting a few days; which she thought very proper herself, as it would
put a stop to the disputes which had arisen betwixt him and the young
men, Maugiron, Saint-Luc, Quelus, and the rest.

My brother retired to his apartment, and, considering his leave as
granted, gave orders to his domestics to prepare to set off the next
morning for St. Germain, where he should hunt the stag for a few days. He
directed the grand huntsman to be ready with the hounds, and retired to
rest, thinking to withdraw awhile from the intrigues of the Court, and
amuse himself with the sports of the field.  M. de Villequier, agreeably
to the command he had received from the Queen my mother, asked for leave,
and obtained it.  The King, however, staying in his closet, like
Rehoboam, with his council of five or six young men, they suggested
suspicions in his mind respecting my brother’s departure from Court. In
short, they worked upon his fears and apprehensions so greatly, that he
took one of the most rash and inconsiderate steps that was ever decided
upon in our time; which was to put my brother and all his principal
servants under an arrest.  This measure was executed with as much
indiscretion as it had been resolved upon.  The King, under this
agitation of mind, late as it was, hastened to the Queen my mother, and
seemed as if there was a general alarm and the enemy at the gates, for he
exclaimed on seeing her: “How could you, Madame, think of asking me to
let my brother go hence?  Do you not perceive how dangerous his going
will prove to my kingdom?  Depend upon it that this hunting is merely a
pretence to cover some treacherous design.  I am going to put him and his
people under an arrest, and have his papers examined.  I am sure we shall
make some great discoveries.”

At the time he said this he had with him the Sieur de Cosse, captain of
the guard, and a number of Scottish archers.  The Queen my mother,
fearing, from the King’s haste and trepidation, that some mischief might
happen to my brother, begged to go with him.  Accordingly, undressed as
she was, wrapping herself up in a night-gown, she followed the King to my
brother’s bedchamber.  The King knocked at the door with great violence,
ordering it to be immediately opened, for that he was there himself.  My
brother started up in his bed, awakened by the noise, and, knowing that
he had done nothing that he need fear, ordered Cange, his valet de
chambre, to open the door.  The King entered in a great rage, and asked
him when he would have done plotting against him.  “But I will show you,”
 said he, “what it is to plot against your sovereign.”  Hereupon he
ordered the archers to take away all the trunks, and turn the valets de
chambre out of the room.  He searched my brother’s bed himself, to see if
he could find any papers concealed in it.  My brother had that evening
received a letter from Madame de Sauves, which he kept in his hand,
unwilling that it should be seen.  The King endeavoured to force it from
him.  He refused to part with it, and earnestly entreated the King would
not insist upon seeing it.  This only excited the King’s anxiety the more
to have it in his possession, as he now supposed it to be the key to the
whole plot, and the very document which would at once bring conviction
home to him.  At length, the King having got it into his hands, he opened
it in the presence of the Queen my mother, and they were both as much
confounded, when they read the contents, as Cato was when he obtained a
letter from Caesar, in the Senate, which the latter was unwilling to give
up; and which Cato, supposing it to contain a conspiracy against the
Republic, found to be no other than a love-letter from his own sister.

But the shame of this disappointment served only to increase the King’s
anger, who, without condescending to make a reply to my brother, when
repeatedly asked what he had been accused of, gave him in charge of M. de
Cosse and his Scots, commanding them not to admit a single person to
speak with him.

It was one o’clock in the morning when my brother was made a prisoner in
the manner I have now related.  He feared some fatal event might succeed
these violent proceedings, and he was under the greatest concern on my
account, supposing me to be under a like arrest.  He observed M. de Cosse
to be much affected by the scene he had been witness to, even to shedding
tears.  As the archers were in the room he would not venture to enter
into discourse with him, but only asked what was become of me.  M. de
Cosse answered that I remained at full liberty.  My brother then said it
was a great comfort to him to hear that news; “but,” added he, “as I know
she loves me so entirely that she would rather be confined with me than
have her liberty whilst I was in confinement, I beg you will go to the
Queen my mother, and desire her to obtain leave for my sister to be with
me.”  He did so, and it was granted.

The reliance which my brother displayed upon this occasion in the
sincerity of my friendship and regard for him conferred so great an
obligation in my mind that, though I have received many particular
favours since from him, this has always held the foremost place in my
grateful remembrance.

By the time he had received permission for my being with him, daylight
made its appearance.  Seeing this, my brother begged M. de Cosse to send
one of his archers to acquaint me with his situation, and beg me to come
to him.



LETTER XVIII.

The Brothers Reconciled.--Alencon Restored to His Liberty.


I was ignorant of what had happened to my brother, and when the Scottish
archer came into my bedchamber, I was still asleep.  He drew the curtains
of the bed, and told me, in his broken French, that my brother wished to
see me.  I stared at the man, half awake as I was, and thought it a
dream.  After a short pause, and being thoroughly awakened, I asked him
if he was not a Scottish archer.  He answered me in the affirmative.
“What!” cried I, “has my brother no one else to send a message by?”  He
replied he had not, for all his domestics had been put under an arrest.
He then proceeded to relate, as well as he could explain himself, the
events of the preceding night, and the leave granted my brother for my
being with him during his imprisonment.

The poor fellow, observing me to be much affected by this intelligence,
drew near, and whispered me to this purport: “Do not grieve yourself
about this matter; I know a way of setting your brother at liberty, and
you may depend upon it, that I will do it; but, in that case, I must go
off with him.”  I assured him that he might rely upon being as amply
rewarded as he could wish for such assistance, and, huddling on my
clothes, I followed him alone to my brother’s apartments.  In going
thither, I had occasion to traverse the whole gallery, which was filled
with people, who, at another time, would have pressed forward to pay
their respects to me; but, now that Fortune seemed to frown upon me, they
all avoided me, or appeared as if they did not see me.

Coming into my brother’s apartments, I found him not at all affected by
what had happened; for such was the constancy of his mind, that his
arrest had wrought no change, and he received me with his usual
cheerfulness.  He ran to meet me, and taking me in his arms, he said,
“Queen!  I beg you to dry up your tears; in my present situation, nothing
can grieve me so much as to find you under any concern; for my own part,
I am so conscious of my innocence and the integrity of my conduct, that I
can defy the utmost malice of my enemies.  If I should chance to fall the
victim of their injustice, my death would prove a more cruel punishment
to them than to me, who have courage sufficient to meet it in a just
cause.  It is not death I fear, because I have tasted sufficiently of the
calamities and evils of life, and am ready to leave this world, which I
have found only the abode of sorrow; but the circumstance I dread most
is, that, not finding me sufficiently guilty to doom me to death, I shall
be condemned to a long, solitary imprisonment; though I should even
despise their tyranny in that respect, could I but have the assurance of
being comforted by your presence.”

These words, instead of stopping my tears, only served to make them
stream afresh.  I answered, sobbing, that my life and fortune were at his
devotion; that the power of God alone could prevent me from affording him
my assistance under every extremity; that, if he should be transported
from that place, and I should be withheld from following him, I would
kill myself on the spot.

Changing our discourse, we framed a number of conjectures on what might
be the probable cause of the King’s angry proceedings against him, but
found ourselves at a loss what to assign them to.

Whilst we were discussing this matter the hour came for opening the
palace gates, when a simple young man belonging to Bussi presented
himself for entrance.  Being stopped by the guard and questioned as to
whither he was going, he, panic-struck, replied he was going to M. de
Bussi, his master.  This answer was carried to the King, and gave fresh
grounds for suspicion.  It seems my brother, supposing he should not be
able to go to Flanders for some time, and resolving to send Bussi to his
duchy of Alencon as I have already mentioned, had lodged him in the
Louvre, that he might be near him to take instructions at every
opportunity.

L’Archant, the general of the guard, had received the King’s commands to
make a search in the Louvre for him and Simier, and put them both under
arrest.  He entered upon this business with great unwillingness, as he
was intimate with Bussi, who was accustomed to call him “father.”
 L’Archant, going to Simier’s apartment, arrested him; and though he
judged Bussi was there too, yet, being unwilling to find him, he was
going away.  Bussi, however, who had concealed himself under the bed, as
not knowing to whom the orders for his arrest might be given, finding he
was to be left there, and sensible that he should be well treated by
L’Archant, called out to him, as he was leaving the room, in his droll
manner: “What, papa, are you going without me?  Don’t you think I am as
great a rogue as that Simier?”

“Ah, son,” replied L’Archant, “I would much rather have lost my arm than
have met with you!”

Bussi, being a man devoid of all fear, observed that it was a sign that
things went well with him; then, turning to Simier, who stood trembling
with fear, he jeered him upon his pusillanimity.  L’Archant removed them
both, and set a guard over them; and, in the next place, proceeded to
arrest M. de la Chastre, whom he took to the Bastille.

Meanwhile M. de l’Oste was appointed to the command of the guard which
was set over my brother.  This was a good sort of old man, who had been
appointed governor to the King my husband, and loved me as if I had been
his own child.  Sensible of the injustice done to my brother and me, and
lamenting the bad counsel by which the King was guided, and being,
moreover, willing to serve us, he resolved to deliver my brother from
arrest.  In order to make his intention known to us he ordered the
Scottish archers to wait on the stairs without, keeping only, two whom he
could trust in the room.  Then taking me aside, he said:

“There is not a good Frenchman living who does not bleed at his heart to
see what we see.  I have served the King your father, and I am ready to
lay down my life to serve his children.  I expect to have the guard of
the Prince your brother, wherever he shall chance to be confined; and,
depend upon it, at the hazard of my life, I will restore him to his
liberty.  But,” added he, “that no suspicions may arise that such is my
design, it will be proper that we be not seen together in conversation;
however, you may, rely upon my word.”

This afforded me great consolation; and, assuming a degree of courage
hereupon, I observed to my brother that we ought not to remain there
without knowing for what reason we were detained, as if we were in the
Inquisition; and that to treat us in such a manner was to consider us as
persons of no account.  I then begged M. de l’Oste to entreat the King,
in our name, if the Queen our mother was not permitted to come to us, to
send some one to acquaint us with the crime for which we were kept in
confinement.

M. de Combaut, who was at the head of the young counsellors, was
accordingly sent to us; and he, with a great deal of gravity, informed us
that he came from the King to inquire what it was we wished to
communicate to his Majesty.  We answered that we wished to speak to some
one near the King’s person, in order to our being informed what we were
kept in confinement for, as we were unable to assign any reason for it
ourselves.  He answered, with great solemnity, that we ought not to ask
of God or the King reasons for what they did; as all their actions
emanated from wisdom and justice.  We replied that we were not persons to
be treated like those shut up in the Inquisition, who are left to guess
at the cause of their being there.

We could obtain from him, after all we said, no other satisfaction than
his promise to interest himself in our behalf, and to do us all the
service in his power.  At this my brother broke out into a fit of
laughter; but I confess I was too much alarmed to treat his message with
such indifference, and could scarcely, refrain from talking to this
messenger as he deserved.

Whilst he was making his report to the King, the Queen my mother kept her
chamber, being under great concern, as may well be supposed, to witness
such proceedings.  She plainly foresaw, in her prudence, that these
excesses would end fatally, should the mildness of my brother’s
disposition, and his regard for the welfare of the State, be once wearied
out with submitting to such repeated acts of injustice.  She therefore
sent for the senior members of the Council, the chancellor, princes,
nobles, and marshals of France, who all were greatly scandalised at the
bad counsel which had been given to the King, and told the Queen my
mother that she ought to remonstrate with the King upon the injustice of
his proceedings.  They observed that what had been done could not now be
recalled, but matters might yet be set upon a right footing.  The Queen
my mother hereupon went to the King, followed by these counsellors, and
represented to him the ill consequences which might proceed from the
steps he had taken.

The King’s eyes were by this time opened, and he saw that he had been ill
advised.  He therefore begged the Queen my mother to set things to
rights, and to prevail on my brother to forget all that had happened, and
to bear no resentment against these young men, but to make up the breach
betwixt Bussi and Quelus.

Things being thus set to rights again, the guard which had been placed
over my brother was dismissed, and the Queen my mother, coming to his
apartment, told him he ought to return thanks to God for his deliverance,
for that there had been a moment when even she herself despaired of
saving his life; that since he must now have discovered that the King’s
temper of mind was such that he took the alarm at the very imagination of
danger, and that, when once he was resolved upon a measure, no advice
that she or any other could give would prevent him from putting it into
execution, she would recommend it to him to submit himself to the King’s
pleasure in everything, in order to prevent the like in future; and, for
the present, to take the earliest opportunity of seeing the King, and to
appear as if he thought no more about the past.

We replied that we were both of us sensible of God’s great mercy in
delivering us from the injustice of our enemies, and that, next to God,
our greatest obligation was to her; but that my brother’s rank did not
admit of his being put in confinement without cause, and released from it
again without the formality of an acknowledgment.  Upon this, the Queen
observed that it was not in the power even of God himself to undo what
had been done; that what could be effected to save his honour, and give
him satisfaction for the irregularity of the arrest, should have place.
My brother, therefore, she observed, ought to strive to mollify the King
by addressing him with expressions of regard to his person and attachment
to his service; and, in the meantime, use his influence over Bussi to
reconcile him to Quelus, and to end all disputes betwixt them.  She then
declared that the principal motive for putting my brother and his
servants under arrest was to prevent the combat for which old Bussi, the
brave father of a brave son, had solicited the King’s leave, wherein he
proposed to be his son’s second, whilst the father of Quelus was to be
his.  These four had agreed in this way to determine the matter in
dispute, and give the Court no further disturbance.

My brother now engaged himself to the Queen that, as Bussi would see he
could not be permitted to decide his quarrel by combat, he should, in
order to deliver himself from his arrest, do as she had commanded.

The Queen my mother, going down to the King, prevailed with him to
restore my brother to liberty with every honour.  In order to which the
King came to her apartment, followed by the princes, noblemen, and other
members of the Council, and sent for us by M. de Villequier.  As we went
along we found all the rooms crowded with people, who, with tears in
their eyes, blessed God for our deliverance.  Coming into the apartments
of the Queen my mother, we found the King attended as I before related.
The King desired my brother not to take anything ill that had been done,
as the motive for it was his concern for the good of his kingdom, and not
any bad intention towards himself.  My brother replied that he had, as he
ought, devoted his life to his service, and, therefore, was governed by
his pleasure; but that he most humbly begged him to consider that his
fidelity and attachment did not merit the return he had met with; that,
notwithstanding, he should impute it entirely to his own ill-fortune, and
should be perfectly satisfied if the King acknowledged his innocence.
Hereupon the King said that he entertained not the least doubt of his
innocence, and only desired him to believe he held the same place in his
esteem he ever had.  The Queen my mother then, taking both of them by the
hand, made them embrace each other.

Afterwards the King commanded Bussi to be brought forth, to make a
reconciliation betwixt him and Quelus, giving orders, at the same time,
for the release of Simier and M. de la Chastre.  Bussi coming into the
room with his usual grace, the King told him he must be reconciled with
Quelus, and forbade him to say a word more concerning their quarrel. He
then commanded them to embrace.  “Sire,” said Bussi, “if it is your
pleasure that we kiss and are friends again, I am ready to obey your
command;” then, putting himself in the attitude of Pantaloon, he went up
to Queus and gave him a hug, which set all present in a titter,
notwithstanding they had been seriously affected by the scene which had
passed just before.

Many persons of discretion thought what had been done was too slight a
reparation for the injuries my brother had received.  When all was over,
the King and the Queen my mother, coming up to me, said it would be
incumbent on me to use my utmost endeavours to prevent my brother from
calling to mind anything past which should make him swerve from the duty
and affection he owed the King.  I replied that my brother was so
prudent, and so strongly attached to the King’s service, that he needed
no admonition on that head from me or any one else; and that, with
respect to myself, I had never given him any other advice than to conform
himself to the King’s pleasure and the duty he owed him.



LETTER XIX.

The Duc d’Alencon Makes His Escape from Court.--Queen Marguerite’s
Fidelity Put to a Severe Trial.


It was now three o’clock in the afternoon, and no one present had yet
dined.  The Queen my mother was desirous that we should eat together,
and, after dinner, she ordered my brother and me to change our dress (as
the clothes we had on were suitable only to our late melancholy
situation) and come to the King’s supper and ball.  We complied with her
orders as far as a change of dress, but our countenances still retained
the impressions of grief and resentment which we inwardly felt.

I must inform you that when the tragi-comedy I have given you an account
of was over, the Queen my mother turned round to the Chevalier de Seurre,
whom she recommended to my brother to sleep in his bedchamber, and in
whose conversation she sometimes took delight because he was a man of
some humour, but rather inclined to be cynical.

“Well,” said she, “M. de Seurre, what do you think of all this?”

“Madame, I think there is too much of it for earnest, and not enough for
jest.”

Then addressing himself to me, he said, but not loud enough for the Queen
to hear him: “I do not believe all is over yet; I am very much mistaken
if this young man” (meaning my brother) “rests satisfied with this.” This
day having passed in the manner before related, the wound being only
skinned over and far from healed, the young men about the King’s person
set themselves to operate in order to break it out afresh.

These persons, judging of my brother by themselves, and not having
sufficient experience to know the power of duty over the minds of
personages of exalted rank and high birth, persuaded the King, still
connecting his case with their own, that it was impossible my brother
should ever forgive the affront he had received, and not seek to avenge
himself with the first opportunity.  The King, forgetting the ill-judged
steps these young men had so lately induced him to take, hereupon
receives this new impression, and gives orders to the officers of the
guard to keep strict watch at the gates that his brother go not out, and
that his people be made to leave the Louvre every evening, except such of
them as usually slept in his bedchamber or wardrobe.

My brother, seeing himself thus exposed to the caprices of these
headstrong young fellows, who led the King according to their own
fancies, and fearing something worse might happen than what he had yet
experienced, at the end of three days, during which time he laboured
under apprehensions of this kind, came to a determination to leave the
Court, and never more return to it, but retire to his principality and
make preparations with all haste for his expedition to Flanders. He
communicated his design to me, and I approved of it, as I considered he
had no other view in it than providing for his own safety, and that
neither the King nor his government were likely to sustain any injury by
it.

When we consulted upon the means of its accomplishment, we could find no
other than his descending from my window, which was on the second story
and opened to the ditch, for the gates were so closely watched that it
was impossible to pass them, the face of every one going out of the
Louvre being curiously examined.  He begged of me, therefore, to procure
for him a rope of sufficient strength and long enough for the purpose.
This I set about immediately, for, having the sacking of a bed that
wanted mending, I sent it out of the palace by a lad whom I could trust,
with orders to bring it back repaired, and to wrap up the proper length
of rope inside.

When all was prepared, one evening, at supper-time, I went to the Queen
my mother, who supped alone in her own apartment, it being fast-day and
the King eating no supper.  My brother, who on most occasions was patient
and discreet, spurred on by the indignities he had received, and anxious
to extricate himself from danger and regain his liberty, came to me as I
was rising from table, and whispered to me to make haste and come to him
in my own apartment.  M. de Matignon, at that time a marshal, a sly,
cunning Norman, and one who had no love for my brother, whether he had
some knowledge of his design from some one who could not keep a secret,
or only guessed at it, observed to the Queen my mother as she left the
room (which I overheard, being near her, and circumspectly watching every
word and motion, as may well be imagined, situated as I was betwixt fear
and hope, and involved in perplexity) that my brother had undoubtedly an
intention of withdrawing himself, and would not be there the next day;
adding that he was assured of it, and she might take her measures
accordingly.

I observed that she was much disconcerted by this observation, and I had
my fears lest we should be discovered.  When we came into her closet, she
drew me aside and asked if I heard what Matignon had said.

I replied: “I did not hear it, Madame, but I observe that it has given
you uneasiness.”

“Yes,” said she, “a great deal of uneasiness, for you know I have pledged
myself to the King that your brother shall not depart hence, and Matignon
has declared that he knows very well he will not be here to-morrow.”

I now found myself under a great embarrassment; I was in danger either of
proving unfaithful to my brother, and thereby bringing his life into
jeopardy, or of being obliged to declare that to be truth which I knew to
be false, and this I would have died rather than be guilty of.

In this extremity, if I had not been aided by God, my countenance,
without speaking, would plainly have discovered what I wished to conceal.
But God, who assists those who mean well, and whose divine goodness was
discoverable in my brother’s escape, enabled me to compose my looks and
suggested to me such a reply as gave her to understand no more than I
wished her to know, and cleared my conscience from making any declaration
contrary to the truth.  I answered her in these words:

“You cannot, Madame, but be sensible that M. de Matignon is not one of my
brother’s friends, and that he is, besides, a busy, meddling kind of man,
who is sorry to find a reconciliation has taken place with us; and, as to
my brother, I will answer for him with my life in case he goes hence, of
which, if he had any design, I should, as I am well assured, not be
ignorant, he never having yet concealed anything he meant to do from me.”

All this was said by me with the assurance that, after my brother’s
escape, they would not dare to do me any injury; and in case of the
worst, and when we should be discovered, I had much rather pledge my life
than hazard my soul by a false declaration, and endanger my brother’s
life.  Without scrutinising the import of my speech, she replied:
“Remember what you now say,--you will be bound for him on the penalty of
your life.”

I smiled and answered that such was my intention.  Then, wishing her a
good night, I retired to my own bedchamber, where, undressing myself in
haste and getting into bed, in order to dismiss the ladies and maids of
honour, and there then remaining only my chamber-women, my brother came
in, accompanied by Simier and Cange.  Rising from my bed, we made the
cord fast, and having looked out, at the window to discover if any one
was in the ditch, with the assistance of three of my women, who slept in
my room, and the lad who had brought in the rope, we let down my brother,
who laughed and joked upon the occasion without the least apprehension,
notwithstanding the height was considerable.  We next lowered Simier into
the ditch, who was in such a fright that he had scarcely strength to hold
the rope fast; and lastly descended my brother’s valet de chambre, Cange.

Through God’s providence my brother got off undiscovered, and going to
Ste. Genevieve, he found Bussi waiting there for him.  By consent of the
abbot, a hole had been made in the city wall, through which they passed,
and horses being provided and in waiting, they mounted, and reached
Angers without the least accident.

Whilst we were lowering down Cange, who, as I mentioned before, was the
last, we observed a man rising out of the ditch, who ran towards the
lodge adjoining to the tennis-court, in the direct way leading to the
guard-house.  I had no apprehensions on my own account, all my fears
being absorbed by those I entertained for my brother; and now I was
almost dead with alarm, supposing this might be a spy placed there by M.
de Matignon, and that my brother would be taken.  Whilst I was in this
cruel state of anxiety, which can be judged of only by those who have
experienced a similar situation, my women took a precaution for my safety
and their own, which did not suggest itself to me.  This was to burn the
rope, that it might not appear to our conviction in case the man in
question had been placed there to watch us.  This rope occasioned so
great a flame in burning, that it set fire to the chimney, which, being
seen from without, alarmed the guard, who ran to us, knocking violently
at the door, calling for it to be opened.

I now concluded that my brother was stopped, and that we were both
undone.  However, as, by the blessing of God and through his divine mercy
alone, I have, amidst every danger with which I have been repeatedly
surrounded, constantly preserved a presence of mind which directed what
was best to be done, and observing that the rope was not more than half
consumed, I told my women to go to the door, and speaking softly, as if I
was asleep, to ask the men what they wanted.  They did so, and the
archers replied that the chimney was on fire, and they came to extinguish
it.  My women answered it was of no consequence, and they could put it
out themselves, begging them not to awake me.  This alarm thus passed off
quietly, and they went away; but, in two hours afterward, M. de Cosse
came for me to go to the King and the Queen, my mother, to give an
account of my brother’s escape, of which they had received intelligence
by the Abbot of Ste. Genevieve.

It seems it had been concerted betwixt my brother and the abbot, in order
to prevent the latter from falling under disgrace, that, when my brother
might be supposed to have reached a sufficient distance, the abbot should
go to Court, and say that he had been put into confinement whilst the
hole was being made, and that he came to inform the King as soon as he
had released himself.

I was in bed, for it was yet night; and rising hastily, I put on my
night-clothes.  One of my women was indiscreet enough to hold me round
the waist, and exclaim aloud, shedding a flood of tears, that she should
never see me more.  M. de Cosse, pushing her away, said to me: “If I were
not a person thoroughly devoted to your service, this woman has said
enough to bring you into trouble.  But,” continued he, “fear nothing. God
be praised, by this time the Prince your brother is out of danger.”

These words were very necessary, in the present state of my mind, to
fortify it against the reproaches and threats I had reason to expect from
the King.  I found him sitting at the foot of the Queen my mother’s bed,
in such a violent rage that I am inclined to believe I should have felt
the effects of it, had he not been restrained by the absence of my
brother and my mother’s presence.  They both told me that I had assured
them my brother would not leave the Court, and that I pledged myself for
his stay.  I replied that it was true that he had deceived me, as he had
them; however, I was ready still to pledge my life that his departure
would not operate to the prejudice of the King’s service, and that it
would appear he was only gone to his own principality to give orders and
forward his expedition to Flanders.

The King appeared to be somewhat mollified by this declaration, and now
gave me permission to return to my own apartments.  Soon afterwards he
received letters from my brother, containing assurances of his
attachment, in the terms I had before expressed.  This caused a cessation
of complaints, but by no means removed the King’s dissatisfaction, who
made a show of affording assistance to his expedition, but was secretly
using every means to frustrate and defeat it.



LETTER XX.

Queen Marguerite Permitted to Go to the King Her Husband.--Is Accompanied
by the Queenmother.--Marguerite Insulted by Her Husband’s Secretary.--She
Harbours Jealousy.--Her Attention to the King Her Husband during an
Indisposition.--Their Reconciliation.--The War Breaks Out
Afresh.--Affront Received from Marechal de Biron.


I now renewed my application for leave to go to the King my husband,
which I continued to press on every opportunity.  The King, perceiving
that he could not refuse my leave any longer, was willing I should depart
satisfied.  He had this further view in complying with my wishes, that by
this means he should withdraw me from my attachment to my brother. He
therefore strove to oblige me in every way he could think of, and, to
fulfil the promise made by the Queen my mother at the Peace of Sens, he
gave me an assignment of my portion in territory, with the power of
nomination to all vacant benefices and all offices; and, over and above
the customary pension to the daughters of France, he gave another out of
his privy purse.

He daily paid me a visit in my apartment, in which he took occasion to
represent to me how useful his friendship would be to me; whereas that of
my brother could be only injurious,--with arguments of the like kind.

However, all he could say was insufficient to prevail on me to swerve
from the fidelity I had vowed to observe to my brother.  The King was
able to draw from me no other declaration than this: that it ever was,
and should be, my earnest wish to see my brother firmly established in
his gracious favour, which he had never appeared to me to have forfeited;
that I was well assured he would exert himself to the utmost to regain it
by every act of duty and meritorious service; that, with respect to
myself, I thought I was so much obliged to him for the great honour he
did me by repeated acts of generosity, that he might be assured, when I
was with the King my husband I should consider myself bound in duty to
obey all such commands as he should be pleased to give me; and that it
would be my whole study to maintain the King my husband in a submission
to his pleasure.

My brother was now on the point of leaving Alencon to go to Flanders; the
Queen my mother was desirous to see him before his departure.  I begged
the King to permit me to take the opportunity of accompanying her to take
leave of my brother, which he granted; but, as it seemed, with great
unwillingness.  When we returned from Alencon, I solicited the King to
permit me to take leave of himself, as I had everything prepared for my
journey.  The Queen my mother being desirous to go to Gascony, where her
presence was necessary for the King’s service, was unwilling that I
should depart without her.  When we left Paris, the King accompanied us
on the way as far as his palace of Dolinville.  There we stayed with him
a few days, and there we took our leave, and in a little time reached
Guienne, which belonging to, and being under the government of the King
my husband, I was everywhere received as Queen.  My husband gave the
Queen my mother a meeting at Wolle, which was held by the Huguenots as a
cautionary town; and the country not being sufficiently quieted, she was
permitted to go no further.

It was the intention of the Queen my mother to make but a short stay; but
so many accidents arose from disputes betwixt the Huguenots and
Catholics, that she was under the necessity of stopping there eighteen
months.  As this was very much against her inclination, she was sometimes
inclined to think there was a design to keep her, in order to have the
company of her maids of honour.  For my husband had been greatly smitten
with Dayelle, and M. de Thurene was in love with La Vergne.  However, I
received every mark of honour and attention from the King that I could
expect or desire.  He related to me, as soon as we met, the artifices
which had been put in practice whilst he remained at Court to create a
misunderstanding betwixt him and me; all this, he said, he knew was with
a design to cause a rupture betwixt my brother and him, and thereby ruin
us all three, as there was an exceeding great jealousy entertained of the
friendship which existed betwixt us.

We remained in the disagreeable situation I have before described all the
time the Queen my mother stayed in Gascony; but, as soon as she could
reestablish peace, she, by desire of the King my husband, removed the
King’s lieutenant, the Marquis de Villars, putting in his place the
Marechal de Biron.  She then departed for Languedoc, and we conducted her
to Castelnaudary; where, taking our leave, we returned to Pau, in Bearn;
in which place, the Catholic religion not being tolerated, I was only
allowed to have mass celebrated in a chapel of about three or four feet
in length, and so narrow that it could scarcely hold seven or eight
persons.  During the celebration of mass, the bridge of the castle was
drawn up to prevent the Catholics of the town and country from coming to
assist at it; who having been, for some years, deprived of the benefit of
following their own mode of worship, would have gladly been present.
Actuated by so holy and laudable a desire, some of the inhabitants of
Pau, on Whitsunday, found means to get into the castle before the bridge
was drawn up, and were present at the celebration of mass, not being
discovered until it was nearly over.  At length the Huguenots espied
them, and ran to acquaint Le Pin, secretary to the King my husband, who
was greatly in his favour, and who conducted the whole business relating
to the new religion.  Upon receiving this intelligence, Le Pin ordered
the guard to arrest these poor people, who were severely beaten in my
presence, and afterwards locked up in prison, whence they were not
released without paying a considerable fine.

This indignity gave me great offence, as I never expected anything of the
kind.  Accordingly, I complained of it to the King my husband, begging
him to give orders for the release of these poor Catholics, who did not
deserve to be punished for coming to my chapel to hear mass, a
celebration of which they had been so long deprived of the benefit. Le
Pin, with the greatest disrespect to his master, took upon him to reply,
without waiting to hear what the King had to say.  He told me that I
ought not to trouble the King my husband about such matters; that what
had been done was very right and proper; that those people had justly
merited the treatment they met with, and all I could say would go for
nothing, for it must be so; and that I ought to rest satisfied with being
permitted to have mass said to me and my servants.  This insolent speech
from a person of his inferior condition incensed me greatly, and I
entreated the King my husband, if I had the least share in his good
graces, to do me justice, and avenge the insult offered me by this low
man.

The King my husband, perceiving that I was offended, as I had reason to
be, with this gross indignity, ordered Le Pin to quit our presence
immediately; and, expressing his concern at his secretary’s behaviour,
who, he said, was overzealous in the cause of religion, he promised that
he would make an example of him.  As to the Catholic prisoners, he said
he would advise with his parliament what ought to be done for my
satisfaction.

Having said this, he went to his closet, where he found Le Pin, who, by
dint of persuasion, made him change his resolution; insomuch that,
fearing I should insist upon his dismissing his secretary, he avoided
meeting me.  At last, finding that I was firmly resolved to leave him,
unless he dismissed Le Pin, he took advice of some persons, who, having
themselves a dislike to the secretary, represented that he ought not to
give me cause of displeasure for the sake of a man of his small
importance,--especially one who, like him, had given me just reason to be
offended; that, when it became known to the King my brother and the Queen
my mother, they would certainly take it ill that he had not only not
resented it, but, on the contrary, still kept him near his person.

This counsel prevailed with him, and he at length discarded his
secretary.  The King, however, continued to behave to me with great
coolness, being influenced, as he afterwards confessed, by the counsel of
M. de Pibrac, who acted the part of a double dealer, telling me that I
ought not to pardon an affront offered by such a mean fellow, but insist
upon his being dismissed; whilst he persuaded the King my husband that
there was no reason for parting with a man so useful to him, for such a
trivial cause.  This was done by M. de Pibrac, thinking I might be
induced, from such mortifications, to return to France, where he enjoyed
the offices of president and King’s counsellor.

I now met with a fresh cause for disquietude in my present situation,
for, Dayelle being gone, the King my husband placed his affections on
Rebours.  She was an artful young person, and had no regard for me;
accordingly, she did me all the ill offices in her power with him. In the
midst of these trials, I put my trust in God, and he, moved with pity by
my tears, gave permission for our leaving Pau, that “little Geneva;” and,
fortunately for me, Rebours was taken ill and stayed behind.  The King my
husband no sooner lost sight of her than he forgot her; he now turned his
eyes and attention towards Fosseuse.  She was much handsomer than the
other, and was at that time young, and really a very amiable person.

Pursuing the road to Montauban, we stopped at a little town called Eause,
where, in the night, the King my husband was attacked with a high fever,
accompanied with most violent pains in his head.  This fever lasted for
seventeen days, during which time he had no rest night or day, but was
continually removed from one bed to another.  I nursed him the whole
time, never stirring from his bedside, and never putting off my clothes.
He took notice of my extraordinary tenderness, and spoke of it to several
persons, and particularly to my cousin M-----, who, acting the part of an
affectionate relation, restored me to his favour, insomuch that I never
stood so highly in it before.  This happiness I had the good fortune to
enjoy during the four or five years that I remained with him in Gascony.

Our residence, for the most part of the time I have mentioned, was at
Nerac, where our Court was so brilliant that we had no cause to regret
our absence from the Court of France.  We had with us the Princesse de
Navarre, my husband’s sister, since married to the Duc de Bar; there were
besides a number of ladies belonging to myself.  The King my husband was
attended by a numerous body of lords and gentlemen, all as gallant
persons as I have seen in any Court; and we had only to lament that they
were Huguenots.  This difference of religion, however, caused no dispute
among us; the King my husband and the Princess his sister heard a sermon,
whilst I and my servants heard mass.  I had a chapel in the park for the
purpose, and, as soon as the service of both religions was over, we
joined company in a beautiful garden, ornamented with long walks shaded
with laurel and cypress trees.  Sometimes we took a walk in the park on
the banks of the river, bordered by an avenue of trees three thousand
yards in length.  The rest of the day was passed in innocent amusements;
and in the afternoon, or at night, we commonly had a ball.

The King was very assiduous with Fosseuse, who, being dependent on me,
kept herself within the strict bounds of honour and virtue.  Had she
always done so, she had not brought upon herself a misfortune which has
proved of such fatal consequence to myself as well as to her.

But our happiness was too great to be of long continuance, and fresh
troubles broke out betwixt the King my husband and the Catholics, and
gave rise to a new war.  The King my husband and the Marechal de Biron,
who was the King’s lieutenant in Guienne, had a difference, which was
aggravated by the Huguenots.  This breach became in a short time so wide
that all my efforts to close it were useless.  They made their separate
complaints to the King.  The King my husband insisted on the removal of
the Marechal de Biron, and the Marshal charged the King my husband, and
the rest of those who were of the pretended reformed religion, with
designs contrary to peace.  I saw, with great concern, that affairs were
likely soon to come to an open rupture; and I had no power to prevent it.

The Marshal advised the King to come to Guienne himself, saying that in
his presence matters might be settled.  The Huguenots, hearing of this
proposal, supposed the King would take possession of their towns, and,
thereupon, came to a resolution to take up arms.  This was what I feared;
I was become a sharer in the King my husband’s fortune, and was now to be
in opposition to the King my brother and the religion I had been bred up
in.  I gave my opinion upon this war to the King my husband and his
Council, and strove to dissuade them from engaging in it.  I represented
to them the hazards of carrying on a war when they were to be opposed
against so able a general as the Marechal de Biron, who would not spare
them, as other generals had done, he being their private enemy.  I begged
them to consider that, if the King brought his whole force against them,
with intention to exterminate their religion, it would not be in their
power to oppose or prevent it.  But they were so headstrong, and so
blinded with the hope of succeeding in the surprise of certain towns in
Languedoc and Gascony, that, though the King did me the honour, upon all
occasions, to listen to my advice, as did most of the Huguenots, yet I
could not prevail on them to follow it in the present situation of
affairs, until it was too late, and after they had found, to their cost,
that my counsel was good.  The torrent was now burst forth, and there was
no possibility of stopping its course until it had spent its utmost
strength.

Before that period arrived, foreseeing the consequences, I had often
written to the King and the Queen my mother, to offer something to the
King my husband by way of accommodating matters.  But they were bent
against it, and seemed to be pleased that matters had taken such a turn,
being assured by Marechal de Biron that he had it in his power to crush
the Huguenots whenever he pleased.  In this crisis my advice was not
attended to, the dissensions increased, and recourse was had to arms.

The Huguenots had reckoned upon a force more considerable than they were
able to collect together, and the King my husband found himself
outnumbered by Marechal de Biron.  In consequence, those of the pretended
reformed religion failed in all their plans, except their attack upon
Cahors, which they took with petards, after having lost a great number of
men, M. de Vezins, who commanded in the town, disputing their entrance
for two or three days, from street to street, and even from house to
house.  The King my husband displayed great valour and conduct upon the
occasion, and showed himself to be a gallant and brave general.  Though
the Huguenots succeeded in this attempt, their loss was so great that
they gained nothing from it.  Marechal de Biron kept the field, and took
every place that declared for the Huguenots, putting all that opposed him
to the sword.

From the commencement of this war, the King my husband doing me the
honour to love me, and commanding me not to leave him, I had resolved to
share his fortune, not without extreme regret, in observing that this war
was of such a nature that I could not, in conscience, wish success to
either side; for if the Huguenots got the upper hand, the religion which
I cherished as much as my life was lost, and if the Catholics prevailed,
the King my husband was undone.  But, being thus attached to my husband,
by the duty I owed him, and obliged by the attentions he was pleased to
show me, I could only acquaint the King and the Queen my mother with the
situation to which I was reduced, occasioned by my advice to them not
having been attended to.  I, therefore, prayed them, if they could not
extinguish the flames of war in the midst of which I was placed, at least
to give orders to Marechal de Biron to consider the town I resided in,
and three leagues round it, as neutral ground, and that I would get the
King my husband to do the same.  This the King granted me for Nerac,
provided my husband was not there; but if he should enter it, the
neutrality was to cease, and so to remain as long as he continued there.
This convention was observed, on both sides, with all the exactness I
could desire.  However, the King my husband was not to be prevented from
often visiting Nerac, which was the residence of his sister and me. He
was fond of the society of ladies, and, moreover, was at that time
greatly enamoured with Fosseuse, who held the place in his affections
which Rebours had lately occupied.  Fosseuse did me no ill offices, so
that the King my husband and I continued to live on very good terms,
especially as he perceived me unwilling to oppose his inclinations.

Led by such inducements, he came to Nerac, once, with a body of troops,
and stayed three days, not being able to leave the agreeable company he
found there.  Marechal de Biron, who wished for nothing so much as such
an opportunity, was apprised of it, and, under pretence of joining M. de
Cornusson, the seneschal of Toulouse, who was expected with a
reinforcement for his army, he began his march; but, instead of pursuing
the road, according to the orders he had issued, he suddenly ordered his
troops to file off towards Nerac, and, before nine in the morning, his
whole force was drawn up within sight of the town, and within cannon-shot
of it.

The King my husband had received intelligence, the evening before, of the
expected arrival of M. de Cornusson, and was desirous of preventing the
junction, for which purpose he resolved to attack him and the Marshal
separately.  As he had been lately joined by M. de La Rochefoucauld, with
a corps of cavalry consisting of eight hundred men, formed from the
nobility of Saintonge, he found himself sufficiently strong to undertake
such a plan.  He, therefore, set out before break of day to make his
attack as they crossed the river.  But his intelligence did not prove to
be correct, for De Cornusson passed it the evening before.  My husband,
being thus disappointed in his design, returned to Nerac, and entered at
one gate just as Marechal de Biron drew up his troops before the other.
There fell so heavy a rain at that moment that the musketry was of no
use.  The King my husband, however, threw a body of his troops into a
vineyard to stop the Marshal’s progress, not being able to do more on
account of the unfavourableness of the weather.

In the meantime, the Marshal continued with his troops drawn up in order
of battle, permitting only two or three of his men to advance, who
challenged a like number to break lances in honour of their mistresses.
The rest of the army kept their ground, to mask their artillery, which,
being ready to play, they opened to the right and left, and fired seven
or eight shots upon the town, one of which struck the palace.  The
Marshal, having done this, marched off, despatching a trumpeter to me
with his excuse.  He acquainted me that, had I been alone, he would on no
account have fired on the town; but the terms of neutrality for the town,
agreed upon by the King, were, as I well knew, in case the King my
husband should not be found in it, and, if otherwise, they were void.
Besides which, his orders were to attack the King my husband wherever he
should find him.

I must acknowledge on every other occasion the Marshal showed me the
greatest respect, and appeared to be much my friend.  During the war my
letters have frequently fallen into his hands, when he as constantly
forwarded them to me unopened.  And whenever my people have happened to
be taken prisoners by his army, they were always well treated as soon as
they mentioned to whom they belonged.

I answered his message by the trumpeter, saying that I well knew what he
had done was strictly agreeable to the convention made and the orders he
had received, but that a gallant officer like him would know how to do
his duty without giving his friends cause of offence; that he might have
permitted me the enjoyment of the King my husband’s company in Nerac for
three days, adding, that he could not attack him, in my presence, without
attacking me; and concluding that, certainly, I was greatly offended by
his conduct, and would take the first opportunity of making my complaint
to the King my brother.



LETTER XXI.

Situation of Affairs in Flanders.--Peace Brought About by Duc d’Alencon’s
Negotiation.--Marechal de Biron Apologises for Firing on Nerac.--Henri
Desperately in Love with Fosseuse.--Queen Marguerite Discovers Fosseuse
to Be Pregnant, Which She Denies.--Fosseuse in Labour.  Marguerite’s
Generous Behaviour to Her.--Marguerite’s Return to Paris.


The war lasted some time longer, but with disadvantage to the Huguenots.
The King my husband at length became desirous to make a peace.  I wrote
on the subject to the King and the Queen my mother; but so elated were
they both with Marechal de Biron’s success that they would not agree to
any terms.

About the time this war broke out, Cambray, which had been delivered up
to my brother by M. d’Ainsi, according to his engagement with me, as I
have before related, was besieged by the forces of Spain.  My brother
received the news of this siege at his castle of Plessis-les-Tours,
whither he had retired after his return from Flanders, where, by the
assistance of the Comte de Lalain, he had been invested with the
government of Mons, Valenciennes, and their dependencies.

My brother, being anxious to relieve Cambray, set about raising an army,
with all the expedition possible; but, finding it could not be
accomplished very speedily, he sent forward a reinforcement under the
command of M. de Balagny, to succour the place until he arrived himself
with a sufficient force to raise the siege.  Whilst he was in the midst
of these preparations this Huguenot war broke out, and the men he had
raised left him to incorporate themselves with the King’s army, which had
reached Gascony.

My brother was now without hope of raising the siege, and to lose Cambray
would be attended with the loss of the other countries he had just
obtained.  Besides, what he should regret more, such losses would reduce
to great straits M. de Balagny and the gallant troops so nobly defending
the place.

His grief on this occasion was poignant, and, as his excellent judgment
furnished him with expedients under all his difficulties, he resolved to
endeavour to bring about a peace.  Accordingly he despatched a gentleman
to the King with his advice to accede to terms, offering to undertake the
treaty himself.  His design in offering himself as negotiator was to
prevent the treaty being drawn out to too great a length, as might be the
case if confided to others.  It was necessary that he should speedily
relieve Cambray, for M. de Balagny, who had thrown himself into the city
as I have before mentioned, had written to him that he should be able to
defend the place for six months; but, if he received no succours within
that time, his provisions would be all expended, and he should be obliged
to give way to the clamours of the inhabitants, and surrender the town.

By God’s favour, the King was induced to listen to my brother’s proposal
of undertaking a negotiation for a peace.  The King hoped thereby to
disappoint him in his expectations in Flanders, which he never had
approved.  Accordingly he sent word back to my brother that he should
accept his proffer of negotiating a peace, and would send him for his
coadjutors, M. de Villeroy and M. de Bellievre.  The commission my
brother was charged with succeeded, and, after a stay of seven months in
Gascony, he settled a peace and left us, his thoughts being employed
during the whole time on the means of relieving Cambray, which the
satisfaction he found in being with us could not altogether abate.

The peace my brother, made, as I have just mentioned, was so judiciously
framed that it gave equal satisfaction to the King and the Catholics, and
to the King my husband and the Huguenots, and obtained him the affections
of both parties.  He likewise acquired from it the assistance of that
able general, Marechal de Biron, who undertook the command of the army
destined to raise the siege of Cambray.  The King my husband was equally
gratified in the Marshal’s removal from Gascony and having Marechal de
Matignon in his place.

Before my brother set off he was desirous to bring about a reconciliation
betwixt the King my husband and Mareohal de Biron, provided the latter
should make his apologies to me for his conduct at Nerac.  My brother had
desired me to treat him with all disdain, but I used this hasty advice
with discretion, considering that my brother might one day or other
repent having given it, as he had everything to hope, in his present
situation, from the bravery of this officer.

My brother returned to France accompanied by Marechal de Biron.  By his
negotiation of a peace he had acquired to himself great credit with both
parties, and secured a powerful force for the purpose of raising the
siege of Cambray.  But honours and success are followed by envy.  The
King beheld this accession of glory to his brother with great
dissatisfaction.  He had been for seven months, while my brother and I
were together in Gascony, brooding over his malice, and produced the
strangest invention that can be imagined.  He pretended to believe (what
the King my husband can easily prove to be false) that I instigated him
to go to war that I might procure for my brother the credit of making
peace.  This is not at all probable when it is considered the prejudice
my brother’s affairs in, Flanders sustained by the war.

But envy and malice are self-deceivers, and pretend to discover what no
one else can perceive.  On this frail foundation the King raised an altar
of hatred, on which he swore never to cease till he had accomplished my
brother’s ruin and mine.  He had never forgiven me for the attachment I
had discovered for my brother’s interest during the time he was in Poland
and since.

Fortune chose to favour the King’s animosity; for, during the seven
months that my brother stayed in Gascony, he conceived a passion for
Fosseuse, who was become the doting piece of the King my husband, as I
have already mentioned, since he had quitted Rebours.  This new passion
in my brother had induced the King my husband to treat me with coldness,
supposing that I countenanced my brother’s addresses.  I no sooner
discovered this than I remonstrated with my brother, as I knew he would
make every sacrifice for my repose.  I begged him to give over his
pursuit, and not to speak to her again.  I succeeded this way to defeat
the malice of my ill-fortune; but there was still behind another secret
ambush, and that of a more fatal nature; for Fosseuse, who was
passionately fond of the King my husband, but had hitherto granted no
favours inconsistent with prudence and modesty, piqued by his jealousy of
my brother, gave herself up suddenly to his will, and unfortunately
became pregnant.  She no sooner made this discovery, than she altered her
conduct towards me entirely from what it was before.  She now shunned my
presence as much as she had been accustomed to seek it, and whereas
before she strove to do me every good office with the King my husband,
she now endeavoured to make all the mischief she was able betwixt us. For
his part, he avoided me; he grew cold and indifferent, and since Fosseuse
ceased to conduct herself with discretion, the happy moments that we
experienced during the four or five years we were together in Gascony
were no more.

Peace being restored, and my brother departed for France, as I have
already related, the King my husband and I returned to Nerac.  We were no
sooner there than Fosseuse persuaded the King my husband to make a
journey to the waters of Aigues-Caudes, in Bearn, perhaps with a design
to rid herself of her burden there.  I begged the King my husband to
excuse my accompanying him, as, since the affront that I had received at
Pau, I had made a vow never to set foot in Bearn until the Catholic
religion was reestablished there.  He pressed me much to go with him, and
grew angry at my persisting to refuse his request.  He told me that his
little girl (for so he affected to call Fosseuse) was desirous to go
there on account of a colic, which she felt frequent returns of.  I
answered that I had no objection to his taking her with him.  He then
said that she could not go unless I went; that it would occasion scandal,
which might as well be avoided.  He continued to press me to accompany
him, but at length I prevailed with him to consent to go without me, and
to take her with him, and, with her, two of her companions, Rebours and
Ville-Savin, together with the governess.  They set out accordingly, and
I waited their return at Baviere.

I had every day news from Rebours, informing me how matters went.  This
Rebours I have mentioned before to have been the object of my husband’s
passion, but she was now cast off, and, consequently, was no friend to
Fosseuse, who had gained that place in his affection she had before held.
She, therefore, strove all she could to circumvent her; and, indeed, she
was fully qualified for such a purpose, as she was a cunning, deceitful
young person.  She gave me to understand that Fosseuse laboured to do me
every ill office in her power; that she spoke of me with the greatest
disrespect on all occasions, and expressed her expectations of marrying
the King herself, in case she should be delivered of a son, when I was to
be divorced.  She had said, further, that when the King my husband
returned to Baviere, he had resolved to go to Pau, and that I should go
with him, whether I would or not.

This intelligence was far from being agreeable to me, and I knew not what
to think of it.  I trusted in the goodness of God, and I had a reliance
on the generosity of the King my husband; yet I passed the time I waited
for his return but uncomfortably, and often thought I shed more tears
than they drank water.  The Catholic nobility of the neighbourhood of
Baviere used their utmost endeavours to divert my chagrin, for the month
or five weeks that the King my husband and Fosseuse stayed at
Aigues-Caudes.

On his return, a certain nobleman acquainted the King my husband with the
concern I was under lest he should go to Pau, whereupon he did not press
me on the subject, but only said he should have been glad if I had
consented to go with him.  Perceiving, by my tears and the expressions I
made use of, that I should prefer even death to such a journey, he
altered his intentions and we returned to Nerac.

The pregnancy of Fosseuse was now no longer a secret.  The whole Court
talked of it, and not only the Court, but all the country.  I was willing
to prevent the scandal from spreading, and accordingly resolved to talk
to her on the subject.  With this resolution, I took her into my closet,
and spoke to her thus: “Though you have for some time estranged yourself
from me, and, as it has been reported to me, striven to do me many ill
offices with the King my husband, yet the regard I once had for you, and
the esteem which I still entertain for those honourable persons to whose
family you belong, do not admit of my neglecting to afford you all the
assistance in my power in pour present unhappy situation.  I beg you,
therefore, not to conceal the truth, it being both for your interest and
mine, under whose protection you are, to declare it.  Tell me the truth,
and I will act towards you as a mother.  You know that a contagious
disorder has broken out in the place, and, under pretence of avoiding it,
I will go to Mas-d’Agenois, which is a house belonging to the King my
husband, in a very retired situation.  I will take you with me, and such
other persons as you shall name.  Whilst we are there, the King will take
the diversion of hunting in some other part of the country, and I shall
not stir thence before your delivery.  By this means we shall put a stop
to the scandalous reports which are now current, and which concern you
more than myself.”

So far from showing any contrition, or returning thanks for my kindness,
she replied, with the utmost arrogance, that she would prove all those to
be liars who had reported such things of her; that, for my part, I had
ceased for a long time to show her any marks of regard, and she saw that
I was determined upon her ruin.  These words she delivered in as loud a
tone as mine had been mildly expressed; and, leaving me abruptly, she
flew in a rage to the King my husband, to relate to him what I had said
to her.  He was very angry upon the occasion, and declared he would make
them all liars who had laid such things to her charge.  From that moment
until the hour of her delivery, which was a few months after, he never
spoke to me.

She found the pains of labour come upon her about daybreak, whilst she
was in bed in the chamber where the maids of honour slept.  She sent for
my physician, and begged him to go and acquaint the King my husband that
she was taken ill.  We slept in separate beds in the same chamber, and
had done so for some time.

The physician delivered the message as he was directed, which greatly
embarrassed my husband.  What to do he did not know.  On the one hand, he
was fearful of a discovery; on the other, he foresaw that, without proper
assistance, there was danger of losing one he so much loved.  In this
dilemma, he resolved to apply to me, confess all, and implore my aid and
advice, well knowing that, notwithstanding what had passed, I should be
ready to do him a pleasure.  Having come to this resolution, he withdrew
my curtains, and spoke to me thus: “My dear, I have concealed a matter
from you which I now confess.  I beg you to forgive me, and to think no
more about what I have said to you on the subject.  Will you oblige me so
far as to rise and go to Fosseuse, who is taken very ill? I am well
assured that, in her present situation, you will forget everything and
resent nothing.  You know how dearly I love her, and I hope you will
comply with my request.”  I answered that I had too great a respect for
him to be offended at anything he should do, and that I would go to her
immediately, and do as much for her as if she were a child of my own.  I
advised him, in the meantime, to go out and hunt, by which means he would
draw away all his people, and prevent tattling.

I removed Fosseuse, with all convenient haste, from the chamber in which
the maids of honour were, to one in a more retired part of the palace,
got a physician and some women about her, and saw that she wanted for
nothing that was proper in her situation.  It pleased God that she should
bring forth a daughter, since dead.  As soon as she was delivered I
ordered her to be taken back to the chamber from which she had been
brought.  Notwithstanding these precautions, it was not possible to
prevent the story from circulating through the palace.  When the King my
husband returned from hunting he paid her a visit, according to custom.
She begged that I might come and see her, as was usual with me when any
one of my maids of honour was taken ill.  By this means she expected to
put a stop to stories to her prejudice.  The King my husband came from
her into my bedchamber, and found me in bed, as I was fatigued and
required rest, after having been called up so early.

He begged me to get up and pay her a visit.  I told him I went according
to his desire before, when she stood in need of assistance, but now she
wanted no help; that to visit her at this time would be only exposing her
more, and cause myself to be pointed at by all the world.  He seemed to
be greatly displeased at what I said, which vexed me the more as I
thought I did not deserve such treatment after what I had done at his
request in the morning; she likewise contributed all in her power to
aggravate matters betwixt him and me.

In the meantime, the King my brother, always well informed of what is
passing in the families of the nobility of his kingdom, was not ignorant
of the transactions of our Court.  He was particularly curious to learn
everything that happened with us, and knew every minute circumstance that
I have now related.  Thinking this a favourable occasion to wreak his
vengeance on me for having been the means of my brother acquiring so much
reputation by the peace he had brought about, he made use of the accident
that happened in our Court to withdraw me from the King my husband, and
thereby reduce me to the state of misery he wished to plunge me in.  To
this purpose he prevailed on the Queen my mother to write to me, and
express her anxious desire to see me after an absence of five or six
years.  She added that a journey of this sort to Court would be
serviceable to the affairs of the King my husband as well as my own; that
the King my brother himself was desirous of seeing me, and that if I
wanted money for the journey he would send it me.  The King wrote to the
same purpose, and despatched Manique, the steward of his household, with
instructions to use every persuasion with me to undertake the journey.
The length of time I had been absent in Gascony, and the unkind usage I
received on account of Fosseuse, contributed to induce me to listen to
the proposal made me.

The King and the Queen both wrote to me.  I received three letters, in
quick succession; and, that I might have no pretence for staying, I had
the sum of fifteen hundred crowns paid me to defray the expenses of my
journey.  The Queen my mother wrote that she would give me the meeting in
Saintonge, and that, if the King my husband would accompany me so far,
she would treat with him there, and give him every satisfaction with
respect to the King.  But the King and she were desirous to have him at
their Court, as he had been before with my brother; and the Marechal de
Matignon had pressed the matter with the King, that he might have no one
to interfere with him in Gascony.  I had had too long experience of what
was to be expected at their Court to hope much from all the fine promises
that were made to me.  I had resolved, however, to avail myself of the
opportunity of an absence of a few months, thinking it might prove the
means of setting matters to rights.  Besides which, I thought that, as I
should take Fosseuse with me, it was possible that the King’s passion for
her might cool when she was no longer in his sight, or he might attach
himself to some other that was less inclined to do me mischief.

It was with some difficulty that the King my husband would consent to a
removal, so unwilling was he to leave his Fosseuse.  He paid more
attention to me, in hopes that I should refuse to set out on this journey
to France; but, as I had given my word in my letters to the King and the
Queen my mother that I would go, and as I had even received money for the
purpose, I could not do otherwise.

And herein my ill-fortune prevailed over the reluctance I had to leave
the King my husband, after the instances of renewed love and regard which
he had begun to show me.



HISTORY OF THE HOUSE OF VALOIS.

[Author unknown]


CHARLES, COMTE DE VALOIS, was the younger brother of Philip the Fair, and
therefore uncle of the three sovereigns lately dead.  His eldest son
Philip had been appointed guardian to the Queen of Charles IV.; and when
it appeared that she had given birth to a daughter, and not a son, the
barons, joining with the notables of Paris and the good towns, met to
decide who was by right the heir to the throne, “for the twelve peers of
France said and say that the Crown of France is of such noble estate that
by no succession can it come to a woman nor to a woman’s son,” as
Froissart tells us.  This being their view, the baby daughter of Charles
IV. was at once set aside; and the claim of Edward III. of England, if,
indeed, he ever made it, rested on Isabella of France, his mother, sister
of the three sovereigns.  And if succession through a female had been
possible, then the daughters of those three kings had rights to be
reserved.  It was, however, clear that the throne must go to a man, and
the crown was given to Philip of Valois, founder of a new house of
sovereigns.

The new monarch was a very formidable person.  He had been a great feudal
lord, hot and vehement, after feudal fashion; but he was now to show that
he could be a severe master, a terrible king.  He began his reign by
subduing the revolted Flemings on behalf of his cousin Louis of Flanders,
and having replaced him in his dignities, returned to Paris and there
held high state as King.  And he clearly was a great sovereign; the
weakness of the late King had not seriously injured France; the new King
was the elect of the great lords, and they believed that his would be a
new feudal monarchy; they were in the glow of their revenge over the
Flemings for the days of Courtrai; his cousins reigned in Hungary and
Naples, his sisters were married to the greatest of the lords; the Queen
of Navarre was his cousin; even the youthful King of England did him
homage for Guienne and Ponthieu.  The barons soon found out their
mistake.  Philip VI., supported by the lawyers, struck them whenever he
gave them opening; he also dealt harshly with the traders, hampering them
and all but ruining them, till the country was alarmed and discontented.
On the other hand, young Edward of England had succeeded to a troubled
inheritance, and at the beginning was far weaker than his rival; his own
sagacity, and the advance of constitutional rights in England, soon
enabled him to repair the breaches in his kingdom, and to gather fresh
strength from the prosperity and good-will of a united people.  While
France followed a more restricted policy, England threw open her ports to
all comers; trade grew in London as it waned in Paris; by his marriage
with Philippa of Hainault, Edward secured a noble queen, and with her the
happiness of his subjects and the all-important friendship of the Low
Countries.  In 1336 the followers of Philip VI. persuaded Louis of
Flanders to arrest the English merchants then in Flanders; whereupon
Edward retaliated by stopping the export of wool, and Jacquemart van
Arteveldt of Ghent, then at the beginning of his power, persuaded the
Flemish cities to throw off all allegiance to their French-loving Count,
and to place themselves under the protection of Edward.  In return Philip
VI. put himself in communication with the Scots, the hereditary foes of
England, and the great wars which were destined to last 116 years, and to
exhaust the strength of two strong nations, were now about to begin. They
brought brilliant and barren triumphs to England, and, like most wars,
were a wasteful and terrible mistake, which, if crowned with ultimate
success, might, by removing the centre of the kingdom into France, have
marred the future welfare of England, for the happy constitutional
development of the country could never have taken place with a sovereign
living at Paris, and French interests becoming ever more powerful.
Fortunately, therefore, while the war evoked by its brilliant successes
the national pride of Englishmen, by its eventual failure it was
prevented from inflicting permanent damage on England.

The war began in 1337 and ended in 1453; the epochs in it are the Treaty
of Bretigny in 1360, the Treaty of Troyes in 1422, the final expulsion of
the English in 1453.

The French King seems to have believed himself equal to the burdens of a
great war, and able to carry out the most far-reaching plans.  The Pope
was entirely in his hands, and useful as a humble instrument to curb and
harass the Emperor.  Philip had proved himself master of the Flemish,
and, with help of the King of Scotland, hoped so to embarrass Edward III.
as to have no difficulty in eventually driving him to cede all his French
possessions.  While he thought it his interest to wear out his antagonist
without any open fighting, it was Edward’s interest to make vigorous and
striking war.  France therefore stood on the defensive; England was
always the attacking party.  On two sides, in Flanders and in Brittany,
France had outposts which, if well defended, might long keep the English
power away from her vitals.  Unluckily for his side, Philip was harsh and
raw, and threw these advantages away.  In Flanders the repressive
commercial policy of the Count, dictated from Paris, gave Edward the
opportunity, in the end of 1337, of sending the Earl of Derby, with a
strong fleet, to raise the blockade of Cadsand, and to open the Flemish
markets by a brilliant action, in which the French chivalry was found
powerless against the English yeoman-archers; and in 1338 Edward crossed
over to Antwerp to see what forward movement could be made.  The other
frontier war was that of Brittany, which began a little later (1341). The
openings of the war were gloomy and wasteful, without glory.  Edward did
not actually send defiance to Philip till 1339, when he proclaimed
himself King of France, and quartered the lilies of France on the royal
shield.  The Flemish proved a very reed; and though the French army came
up to meet the English in the Vermando country, no fighting took place,
and the campaign of 1339 ended obscurely.  Norman and Genoese ships
threatened the southern shores of England, landing at Southampton and in
the Isle of Wight unopposed.  In 1340 Edward returned to Flanders; on his
way he attacked the French fleet which lay at Sluys, and utterly
destroyed it.  The great victory of Sluys gave England for centuries the
mastery of the British channel.  But, important as it was, it gave no
success to the land campaign.  Edward wasted his strength on an
unsuccessful siege of Tournia, and, ill-supported by his Flemish allies,
could achieve nothing.  The French King in this year seized on Guienne;
and from Scotland tidings came that Edinburgh castle, the strongest place
held by the English, had fallen into the hands of Douglas.  Neither from
Flanders nor from Guienne could Edward hope to reach the heart of the
French power; a third inlet now presented itself in Brittany.  On the
death of John III. of Brittany, in 1341, Jean de Montfort, his youngest
brother, claimed the great fief, against his niece Jeanne, daughter of
his elder brother Guy, Comte de Penthievre.  He urged that the Salic law,
which had been recognised in the case of the crown, should also apply to
this great duchy, so nearly an independent sovereignty.  Jeanne had been
married to Charles de Blois, whom John III. of Brittany had chosen as his
heir; Charles was also nephew of King Philip, who gladly espoused his
cause.  Thereon Jean de Montfort appealed to Edward, and the two Kings
met in border strife in Brittany.  The Bretons sided with John against
the influence of France.  Both the claimants were made prisoners; the
ladies carried on a chivalric warfare, Jeanne de Montfort against Jeanne
de Blois, and all went favourably with the French party till Philip, with
a barbarity as foolish as it was scandalous, tempted the chief Breton
lords to Paris and beheaded them without trial.  The war, suspended by a
truce, broke out again, and the English raised large forces and supplies,
meaning to attack on three sides at once,--from Flanders, Brittany, and
Guienne.  The Flemish expedition came to nothing; for the people of Ghent
in 1345 murdered Jacques van Arteveldt as he was endeavouring to persuade
them to receive the Prince of Wales as their count, and Edward, on
learning this adverse news, returned to England.  Thence, in July, 1346,
he sailed for Normandy, and, landing at La Hogue, overran with ease the
country up to Paris.  He was not, however, strong enough to attack the
capital, for Philip lay with a large army watching him at St. Denis.
After a short hesitation Edward crossed the Seine at Poissy, and struck
northwards, closely followed by Philip.  He got across the Somme safely,
and at Crecy in Ponthieu stood at bay to await the French.  Though his
numbers were far less than theirs, he had a good position, and his men
were of good stuff; and when it came to battle, the defeat of the French
was crushing.  Philip had to fall back with his shattered army; Edward
withdrew unmolested to Calais, which he took after a long siege in 1347.
Philip had been obliged to call up his son John from the south, where he
was observing the English under the Earl of Derby; thereupon the English
overran all the south, taking Poitiers and finding no opposition.  Queen
Philippa of Hainault had also defeated and taken David of Scotland at
Neville’s Cross.

The campaign of 1346-1347 was on all hands disastrous to King Philip.  He
sued for and obtained a truce for ten months.  These were the days of the
“black death,” which raged in France from 1347 to 1349, and completed the
gloom of the country, vexed by an arbitrary and grasping monarch, by
unsuccessful war, and now by the black cloud of pestilence.  In 1350 King
Philip died, leaving his crown to John of Normandy.  He had added two
districts and a title to France: he bought Montpellier from James of
Aragon, and in 1349 also bought the territories of Humbert, Dauphin of
Vienne, who resigned the world under influence of the revived religion of
the time, a consequence of the plague, and became a Carmelite friar. The
fief and the title of Dauphin were granted to Charles, the King’s
grandson, who was the first person who attached that title to the heir to
the French throne.  Apart from these small advantages, the kingdom of
France had suffered terribly from the reign of the false and heartless
Philip VI.  Nor was France destined to enjoy better things under John
“the Good,” one of the worst sovereigns with whom she has been cursed. He
took as his model and example the chivalric John of Bohemia, who had been
one of the most extravagant and worthless of the princes of his time, and
had perished in his old age at Crecy.  The first act of the new King was
to take from his kinsman, Charles “the Bad” of Navarre, Champagne and
other lands; and Charles went over to the English King. King John was
keen to fight; the States General gave him the means for carrying on war,
by establishing the odious “gabelle” on salt, and other imposts.  John
hoped with his new army to drive the English completely out of the
country.  Petty war began again on all the frontiers,--an abortive attack
on Calais, a guerilla warfare in Brittany, slight fighting also in
Guienne.  Edward in 1335 landed at Calais, but was recalled to pacify
Scotland; Charles of Navarre and the Duke of Lancaster were on the Breton
border; the Black Prince sailed for Bordeaux.  In 1356 he rode northward
with a small army to the Loire, and King John, hastily summoning all his
nobles and fief-holders, set out to meet him.  Hereon the Black Prince,
whose forces were weak, began to retreat; but the French King outmarched
and intercepted him near Poitiers.  He had the English completely in his
power, and with a little patience could have starved them into
submission; instead, he deemed it his chivalric duty to avenge Crecy in
arms, and the great battle of Poitiers was the result (19th September,
1356).  The carnage and utter ruin of the French feudal army was quite
incredible; the dead seemed more than the whole army of the Black Prince;
the prisoners were too many to be held.  The French army, bereft of
leaders, melted away, and the Black Prince rode triumphantly back to
Bordeaux with the captive King John and his brave little son in his
train.  A two years’ truce ensued; King John was carried over to London,
where he found a fellow in misfortune in David of Scotland, who had been
for eleven years a captive in English hands.  The utter degradation of
the nobles, and the misery of the country, gave to the cities of France
an opportunity which one great man, Etienne Marcel, provost of the
traders at Paris, was not slow to grasp.  He fortified the capital and
armed the citizens; the civic clergy made common cause with him; and when
the Dauphin Charles convoked the three Estates at Paris, it was soon seen
that the nobles had become completely discredited and powerless.  It was
a moment in which a new life might have begun for France; in vain did the
noble order clamour for war and taxes,--they to do the war, with what
skill and success all men now knew, and the others to pay the taxes.
Clergy, however, and burghers resisted.  The Estates parted, leaving what
power there was still in France in the hands of Etienne Marcel.  He
strove in vain to reconcile Charles the Dauphin with Charles of Navarre,
who stood forward as a champion of the towns.  Very reluctantly did
Marcel entrust his fortunes to such hands.  With help of Lecocq, Bishop
of Laon, he called the Estates again together, and endeavoured to lay
down sound principles of government, which Charles the Dauphin was
compelled to accept.  Paris, however, stood alone, and even there all
were not agreed.  Marcel and Bishop Lecocq, seeing the critical state of
things, obtained the release of Charles of Navarre, then a prisoner.  The
result was that ere long the Dauphin-regent was at open war with Navarre
and with Paris.  The outbreak of the miserable peasantry, the Jacquerie,
who fought partly for revenge against the nobles, partly to help Paris,
darkened the time; they were repressed with savage bloodshed, and in 1358
the Dauphin’s party in Paris assassinated the only great man France had
seen for long.  With Etienne Marcel’s death all hope of a constitutional
life died out from France; the Dauphin entered Paris and set his foot on
the conquered liberties of his country. Paris had stood almost alone;
civic strength is wanting in France; the towns but feebly supported
Marcel; they compelled the movement to lose its popular and general
character, and to become a first attempt to govern France from Paris
alone.  After some insincere negotiations, and a fear of desultory
warfare, in which Edward III. traversed France without meeting with a
single foe to fight, peace was at last agreed to, at Bretigny, in May,
1360.  By this act Edward III. renounced the French throne and gave up
all he claimed or held north of the Loire, while he was secured in the
lordship of the south and west, as well as that part of Northern Picardy
which included Calais, Guines, and Ponthieu.  The treaty also fixed the
ransom to be paid by King John.

France was left smaller than she had been under Philip Augustus, yet she
received this treaty with infinite thankfulness; worn out with war and
weakness, any diminution of territory seemed better to her than a
continuance of her unbearable misfortunes.  Under Charles, first as
Regent, then as King, she enjoyed an uneasy rest and peace for twenty
years.

King John, after returning for a brief space to France, went back into
his pleasant captivity in England, leaving his country to be ruled by the
Regent the Dauphin.  In 1364 he died, and Charles V., “the Wise,” became
King in name, as he had now been for some years in fact.  This cold,
prudent, sickly prince, a scholar who laid the foundations of the great
library in Paris by placing 900 MSS. in three chambers in the Louvre, had
nothing to dazzle the ordinary eye; to the timid spirits of that age he
seemed to be a malevolent wizard, and his name of “Wise” had in it more
of fear than of love.  He also is notable for two things: he reformed the
current coin, and recognised the real worth of Du Guesclin, the first
great leader of mercenaries in France, a grim fighting-man, hostile to
the show of feudal warfare, and herald of a new age of contests, in which
the feudal levies would fall into the background.  The invention of
gunpowder in this century, the incapacity of the great lords, the rise of
free lances and mercenary troops, all told that a new era had arrived. It
was by the hand of Du Guesclin that Charles overcame his cousin and
namesake, Charles of Navarre, and compelled him to peace.  On the other
hand, in the Breton war which followed just after, he was defeated by Sir
John Chandos and the partisans of Jean de Montfort, who made him
prisoner; the Treaty of Guerande, which followed, gave them the dukedom
of Brittany; and Charles V., unable to resist, was fair to receive the
new duke’s homage, and to confirm him in the duchy.  The King did not
rest till he had ransomed Du Guesclin from the hands of Chandos; he then
gave him commission to raise a paid army of freebooters, the scourge of
France, and to march with them to support, against the Black Prince, the
claims of Henry of Trastamare to the Crown of Castile.  Successful at
first by help of the King of Aragon, he was made Constable of Spain at
the coronation of Henry at Burgos.  Edward the Black Prince, however,
intervened, and at the battle of Najara (1367) Du Guesclin was again a
prisoner in English hands, and Henry lost his throne.  Fever destroyed
the victorious host, and the Black Prince, withdrawing into Gascony,
carried with him the seeds of the disorder which shortened his days. Du
Guesclin soon got his liberty again; and Charles V., seeing how much his
great rival of England was weakened, determined at last on open war. He
allied himself with Henry of Trastamare, listened to the grievances of
the Aquitanians, summoned the Black Prince to appear and answer the
complaints.  In 1369, Henry defeated Pedro, took him prisoner, and
murdered him in a brawl; thus perished the hopes of the English party in
the south.  About the same time Charles V. sent open defiance and
declaration of war to England.  Without delay, he surprised the English
in the north, recovering all Ponthieu at once; the national pride was
aroused; Philip, Duke of Burgundy, who had, through the prudent help of
Charles, lately won as a bride the heiress of Flanders, was stationed at
Rouen, to cover the western approach to Paris, with strict orders not to
fight; the Aquitanians were more than half French at heart.  The record
of the war is as the smoke of a furnace.  We see the reek of burnt and
plundered towns; there were no brilliant feats of arms; the Black Prince,
gloomy and sick, abandoned the struggle, and returned to England to die;
the new governor, the Earl of Pembroke, did not even succeed in landing:
he was attacked and defeated off Rochelle by Henry of Castile, his whole
fleet, with all its treasure and stores, taken or sunk, and he himself
was a prisoner in Henry’s hands.  Du Guesclin had already driven the
English out of the west into Brittany; he now overran Poitou, which
received him gladly; all the south seemed to be at his feet.  The attempt
of Edward III. to relieve the little that remained to him in France
failed utterly, and by 1372 Poitou was finally lost to England.  Charles
set himself to reduce Brittany with considerable success; a diversion
from Calais caused plentiful misery in the open country; but, as the
French again refused to fight, it did nothing to restore the English
cause.  By 1375 England held nothing in France except Calais, Cherbourg,
Bayonne, and Bordeaux.  Edward III., utterly worn out with war, agreed to
a truce, through intervention of the Pope; it was signed in 1375.  In
1377, on its expiring, Charles, who in two years had sedulously improved
the state of France, renewed the war.  By sea and land the English were
utterly overmatched, and by 1378 Charles was master of the situation on
all hands.  Now, however, he pushed his advantages too far; and the cold
skill which had overthrown the English, was used in vain against the
Bretons, whose duchy he desired to absorb.  Languedoc and Flanders also
revolted against him.  France was heavily burdened with taxes, and the
future was dark and threatening.  In the midst of these things, death
overtook the coldly calculating monarch in September, 1380.

Little had France to hope from the boy who was now called on to fill the
throne.  Charles VI. was not twelve years old, a light-wined, handsome
boy, under the guardianship of the royal Dukes his uncles, who had no
principles except that of their own interest to guide them in bringing up
the King and ruling the people.  Before Charles VI. had reached years of
discretion, he was involved by the French nobles in war against the
Flemish cities, which, under guidance of the great Philip van Arteveldt,
had overthrown the authority of the Count of Flanders.  The French cities
showed ominous signs of being inclined to ally themselves with the civic
movement in the north.  The men of Ghent came out to meet their French
foes, and at the battle of Roosebek (1382) were utterly defeated and
crushed.  Philip van Arteveldt himself was slain.  It was a great triumph
of the nobles over the cities; and Paris felt it when the King returned.
All movement there and in the other northern cities of France was
ruthlessly repressed; the noble reaction also overthrew the “new men” and
the lawyers, by whose means the late King had chiefly governed. Two years
later, the royal Dukes signed a truce with England, including Ghent in
it; and Louis de Male, Count of Flanders, having perished at the same
time, Marguerite his daughter, wife of Philip of Burgundy, succeeded to
his inheritance (1384.) Thus began the high fortunes of the House of
Burgundy, which at one time seemed to overshadow Emperor and King of
France.  In 1385, another of the brothers, Louis, Duc d’Anjou, died, with
all his Italian ambitions unfulfilled.  In 1386, Charles VI., under
guidance of his uncles, declared war on England, and exhausted all France
in preparations; the attempt proved the sorriest failure.  The regency of
the Dukes became daily more unpopular, until in 1388 Charles dismissed
his two uncles, the Dukes of Burgundy and Berri, and began to rule.  For
a while all went much better; he recalled his father’s friends and
advisers, lightened the burdens of the people, allowed the new ministers
free hand in making prudent government; and learning how bad had been the
state of the south under the Duc de Berri, deprived him of that command
in 1390.  Men thought that the young King, if not good himself, was well
content to allow good men to govern in his name; at any, rate, the rule
of the selfish Dukes seemed to be over.  Their bad influences, however,
still surrounded him; an attempt to assassinate Olivier de Clisson, the
Constable, was connected with their intrigues and those of the Duke of
Brittany; and in setting forth to punish the attempt on his favourite the
Constable, the unlucky young King, who had sapped his health by
debauchery, suddenly became mad.  The Dukes of Burgundy and Berri at once
seized the reins and put aside his brother the young Duc d’Orleans. It
was the beginning of that great civil discord between Burgundy and
Orleans, the Burgundians and Armagnacs, which worked so much ill for
France in the earlier part of the next century.  The rule of the uncles
was disastrous for France; no good government seemed even possible for
that unhappy land.

An obscure strife went on until 1404, when Duke Philip of Burgundy died,
leaving his vast inheritance to John the Fearless, the deadly foe of
Louis d’Orleans.  Paris was with him, as with his father before him; the
Duke entered the capital in 1405, and issued a popular proclamation
against the ill-government of the Queen-regent and Orleans.  Much
profession of a desire for better things was made, with small results. So
things went on until 1407, when, after the Duc de Berri, who tried to
play the part of a mediator, had brought the two Princes together, the
Duc d’Orleans was foully assassinated by a Burgundian partisan.  The Duke
of Burgundy, though he at first withdrew from Paris, speedily returned,
avowed the act, and was received with plaudits by the mob.  For a few
years the strife continued, obscure and bad; a great league of French
princes and nobles was made to stem the success of the Burgundians; and
it was about this time that the Armagnac name became common.  Paris,
however, dominated by the “Cabochians,” the butchers’ party, the party of
the “marrowbones and cleavers,” and entirely devoted to the Burgundians,
enabled John the Fearless to hold his own in France; the King himself
seemed favourable to the same party.  In 1412 the princes were obliged to
come to terms, and the Burgundian triumph seemed complete.  In 1413 the
wheel went round, and we find the Armagnacs in Paris, rudely sweeping
away all the Cabochians with their professions of good civic rule.  The
Duc de Berri was made captain of Paris, and for a while all went against
the Burgundians, until, in 1414, Duke John was fain to make the first
Peace of Arras, and to confess himself worsted in the strife.  The young
Dauphin Louis took the nominal lead of the national party, and ruled
supreme in Paris in great ease and self-indulgence.

The year before, Henry V. had succeeded to the throne of England,--a
bright and vigorous young man, eager to be stirring in the world, brave
and fearless, with a stern grasp of things beneath all,--a very
sheet-anchor of firmness and determined character.  Almost at the very
opening of his reign, the moment he had secured his throne, he began a
negotiation with France which boded no good.  He offered to marry
Catharine, the King’s third daughter, and therewith to renew the old
Treaty of Bretigny, if her dower were Normandy, Maine, Anjou, not without
a good sum of money.  The French Court, on the other hand, offered him
her hand with Aquitaine and the money, an offer rejected instantly; and
Henry made ready for a rough wooing in arms.  In 1415 he crossed to
Harfleur, and while parties still fought in France, after a long and
exhausting siege, took the place; thence he rode northward for Calais,
feeling his army too much reduced to attempt more.  The Armagnacs, who
had gathered at Rouen, also pushed fast to the north, and having choice
of passage over the Somme, Amiens being in their hands, got before King
Henry, while he had to make a long round before he could get across that
stream.  Consequently, when, on his way, he reached Azincourt, he found
the whole chivalry of France arrayed against him in his path.  The great
battle of Azincourt followed, with frightful ruin and carnage of the
French.  With a huge crowd of prisoners the young King passed on to
Calais, and thence to England.  The Armagnacs’ party lay buried in the
hasty graves of Azincourt; never had there been such slaughter of nobles.
Still, for three years they made head against their foes; till in 1418
the Duke of Burgundy’s friends opened Paris’s gates to his soldiers, and
for the time the Armagnacs seemed to be completely defeated; only the
Dauphin Charles made feeble war from Poitiers.  Henry V. with a fresh
army had already made another descent on the Normandy coast; the Dukes of
Anjou, Brittany, and Burgundy made several and independent treaties with
him; and it seemed as though France had completely fallen in pieces.
Henry took Rouen, and although the common peril had somewhat silenced the
strife of faction, no steps were taken to meet him or check his course;
on the contrary, matters were made even more hopeless by the murder of
John, Duke of Burgundy, in 1419, even as he was kneeling and offering
reconciliation at the young Dauphin’s feet.  The young Duke, Philip, now
drew at once towards Henry, whom his father had apparently wished with
sincerity to check; Paris, too, was weary of the Armagnac struggle, and
desired to welcome Henry of England; the Queen of France also went over
to the Anglo-Burgundian side.  The end of it was that on May 21,1420, was
signed the famous Treaty of Troyes, which secured the Crown of France to
Henry, by the exclusion of the Dauphin Charles, whenever poor mad Charles
VI., should cease to live.  Meanwhile, Henry was made Regent of France,
promising to maintain all rights and privileges of the Parliament and
nobles, and to crush the Dauphin with his Armagnac friends, in token
whereof he was at once wedded to Catharine of France, and set forth to
quell the opposition of the provinces.  By Christmas all France north of
the Loire was in English hands.  All the lands to the south of the river
remained firmly fixed in their allegiance to the Dauphin and the
Armagnacs, and these began to feel themselves to be the true French
party, as opposed to the foreign rule of the English.  For barely two
years that rule was carried on by Henry V. with inflexible justice, and
Northern France saw with amazement the presence of a real king, and an
orderly government.  In 1422 King Henry died; a few weeks later Charles
VI. died also, and the face of affairs began to change, although, at the
first, Charles VII. the “Well-served,” the lazy, listless prince, seemed
to have little heart for the perils and efforts of his position.  He was
proclaimed King at Mehun, in Berri, for the true France for the time lay
on that side of the Loire, and the Regent Bedford, who took the reins at
Paris, was a vigorous and powerful prince, who was not likely to give way
to an idle dreamer.  At the outset Charles suffered two defeats, at
Crevant in 1423, and at Verneuil in 1424, and things seemed to be come to
their worst.  Yet he was prudent, conciliatory, and willing to wait; and
as the English power in France--that triangle of which the base was the
sea-line from Harfleur to Calais, and the apex Paris--was unnatural and
far from being really strong; and as the relations between Bedford and
Burgundy might not always be friendly, the man who could wait had many
chances in his favour.  Before long, things began to mend; Charles wedded
Marie d’Anjou, and won over that great house to the French side; more and
more was he regarded as the nation’s King; symptoms of a wish for
reconciliation with Burgundy appeared; the most vehement Armagnacs were
sent away from Court.  Causes of disagreement also shook the friendship
between Burgundy and England.

Feeling the evils of inaction most, Bedford in 1428 decided on a forward
movement, and sent the Earl of Salisbury to the south.  He first secured
his position on the north of the Loire, then, crossing that river, laid
siege to Orleans, the key to the south, and the last bulwark of the
national party.  All efforts to vex or dislodge him failed; and the
attempt early in 1429 to stop the English supplies was completely
defeated at Bouvray; from the salt fish captured, the battle has taken
the name of “the Day of the Herrings.”  Dunois, Bastard of Orleans, was,
wounded; the Scots, the King’s body-guard, on whom fell ever the grimmest
of the fighting, suffered terribly, and their leader was killed.  All
went well for Bedford till it suited the Duke of Burgundy to withdraw
from his side, carrying with him a large part of the fighting power of
the besiegers.  Things were already looking rather gloomy in the English
camp, when a new and unexpected rumour struck all hearts cold with fear.
A virgin, an Amazon, had been raised up as a deliverer for France, and
would soon be on them, armed with mysterious powers.

A young peasant girl, one Jeanne d’Arc, had been brought up in the
village of Domremy, hard by the Lorraine border.  The district, always
French in feeling, had lately suffered much from Burgundian raids; and
this young damsel, brooding over the treatment of her village and her
country, and filled with that strange vision-power which is no rare
phenomenon in itself with young girls, came at last to believe with warm
and active faith in heavenly appearances and messages, all urging her to
deliver France and her King.  From faith to action the bridge is short;
and ere long the young dreamer of seventeen set forth to work her
miracle.  Her history is quite unique in the world; and though probably
France would ere many years have shaken off the English yoke, for its
strength was rapidly going, still to her is the credit of having proved
its weakness, and of having asserted the triumphant power of a great
belief.  All gave way before her; Charles VII., persuaded doubtless by
his mother-in-law, Yolande of Aragon, who warmly espoused her cause,
listened readily to the maiden’s voice; and as that voice urged only what
was noble and pure, she carried conviction as she went.  In the end she
received the King’s commission to undertake the relief of Orleans.  Her
coming was fresh blood to the defence; a new spirit seemed to be poured
out on all her followers, and in like manner a deep dejection settled
down on the English.  The blockade was forced, and, in eight days the
besiegers raised the siege and marched away.  They withdrew to Jargeau,
where they were attacked and routed with great loss.  A little later
Talbot himself, who had marched to help them, was also defeated and
taken.  Then, compelling Charles to come out from his in glorious ease,
she carried him triumphantly with her to Rheims, where he was duly
crowned King, the Maid of Orldans standing by, and holding aloft the
royal standard. She would gladly have gone home to Domremy now, her
mission being accomplished; for she was entirely free from all ambitious
or secondary aims.  But she was too great a power to be spared.  Northern
France was still in English hands, and till the English were cast out her
work was not complete; so they made her stay, sweet child, to do the work
which, had there been any manliness in them, they ought to have found it
easy to achieve for themselves.  The dread of her went before her,--a
pillar of cloud and darkness to the English, but light and hope to her
countrymen.  Men believed that she was called of God to regenerate the
world, to destroy the Saracen at last, to bring in the millennial age.
Her statue was set up in the churches, and crowds prayed before her image
as before a popular saint.

The incapacity and ill-faith of those round the King gave the English
some time to recover themselves; Bedford and Burgundy drew together
again, and steps were taken to secure Paris.  When, however, Jeanne,
weary of courtly delays, marched, contemptuous of the King, as far as St.
Denis, friends sprang up on every side.  In Normandy, on the English line
of communications, four strong places were surprised; and Bedford, made
timid as to his supplies, fell back to Rouen, leaving only a small
garrison in Paris.  Jeanne, ill-supported by the royal troops, failed in
her attack on the city walls, and was made prisoner by the Burgundians;
they handed her over to the English, and she was, after previous
indignities, and such treatment as chivalry alone could have dealt her,
condemned as a witch, and burnt as a relapsed heretic at Rouen in 1431.
Betrayed by the French Court, sold by the Burgundians, murdered by the
English, unrescued by the people of France which she so much loved,
Jeanne d’Arc died the martyr’s death, a pious, simple soul, a heroine of
the purest metal.  She saved her country, for the English power never
recovered from the shock.  The churchmen who burnt her, the Frenchmen of
the unpatriotic party, would have been amazed could they have foreseen
that nearly 450 years afterwards, churchmen again would glorify her name
as the saint of the Church, in opposition to both the religious liberties
and the national feelings of her country.

The war, after having greatly weakened the noblesse, and having caused
infinite sufferings to France, now drew towards a close; the Duke of
Burgundy at last agreed to abandon his English allies, and at a great
congress at Arras, in 1435, signed a treaty with Charles VII.  by which
he solemnly came over to the French side.  On condition that he should
get Auxerre and Macon, as well as the towns on and near the river Somme,
he was willing to recognise Charles as King of France.  His price was
high, yet it was worth all that was given; for, after all, he was of the
French blood royal, and not a foreigner.  The death of Bedford, which
took place about the same time, was almost a more terrible blow to the
fortunes of the English.  Paris opened her gates to her King in April,
1436; the long war kept on with slight movements now and then for several
years.

The next year was marked by the meeting of the States General, and the
establishment, in principle at least, of a standing army.  The Estates
petitioned the willing King that the system of finance in the realm
should be remodelled, and a permanent tax established for the support of
an army.  Thus, it was thought, solidity would be given to the royal
power, and the long-standing curse of the freebooters and brigands
cleared away.  No sooner was this done than the nobles began to chafe
under it; they scented in the air the coming troubles; they, took as
their head, poor innocents, the young Dauphin Louis, who was willing
enough to resist the concentration of power in royal hands.  Their
champion of 1439, the leader of the “Praguerie,” as this new league was
called, in imitation, it is said, of the Hussite movement at Prague, the
enthusiastic defender of noble privilege against the royal power, was the
man who afterwards, as Louis XI., was the destroyer of the noblesse on
behalf of royalty.  Some of the nobles stood firmly by the King, and,
aided by them and by an army of paid soldiers serving under the new
conditions, Charles VII., no contemptible antagonist when once aroused,
attacked and overthrew the Praguerie; the cities and the country people
would have none of it; they preferred peace under a king’s strong hand.
Louis was sent down to the east to govern Dauphiny; the lessons of the
civil war were not lost on Charles; he crushed the freebooters of
Champagne, drove the English out of Pontois in 1441, moved actively up
and down France, reducing anarchy, restoring order, resisting English
attacks.  In the last he was loyally supported by the Dauphin, who was
glad to find a field for his restless temper.  He repulsed the English at
Dieppe, and put down the Comte d’Armagnac in the south.  During the two
years’ truce with England which now followed, Charles VII. and Louis drew
off their free-lances eastward, and the Dauphin came into rude collision
with the Swiss not far from Basel, in 1444.  Some sixteen hundred
mountaineers long and heroically withstood at St. Jacob the attack of
several thousand Frenchmen, fighting stubbornly till they all perished.

The King and Dauphin returned to Paris, having defended their
border-lands with credit, and having much reduced the numbers of the
lawless free-lances.  The Dauphin, discontented again, was obliged once
more to withdraw into Dauphiny, where he governed prudently and with
activity. In 1449, the last scene of the Anglo-French war began.  In that
year English adventurers landed on the Breton coast; the Duke called the
French King to his aid.  Charles did not tarry this time; he broke the
truce with England; he sent Dunois into Normandy, and himself soon
followed.  In both duchies, Brittany and Normandy, the French were
welcomed with delight: no love for England lingered in the west. Somerset
and Talbot failed to defend Rouen, and were driven from point to point,
till every stronghold was lost to them.  Dunois then passed into Guienne,
and in a few-months Bayonne, the last stronghold of the English, fell
into his hands (1451).  When Talbot was sent over to Bordeaux with five
thousand men to recover the south, the old English feeling revived, for
England was their best customer, and they had little in common with
France.  It was, however, but a last flicker of the flame; in July, 1453,
at the siege of Castillon, the aged Talbot was slain and the war at once
came to an end; the south passed finally into the kingdom of France.
Normandy and Guienne were assimilated to France in taxation and army
organisation; and all that remained to England across the Channel was
Calais, with Havre and Guines Castle.  Her foreign ambitions and
struggles over, England was left to consume herself in civil strife,
while France might rest and recover from the terrible sufferings she had
undergone.  The state of the country had become utterly wretched.

With the end of the English wars new life began to gleam out on France;
the people grew more tranquil, finding that toil and thrift bore again
their wholesome fruits; Charles VII. did not fail in his duty, and took
his part in restoring quiet, order, and justice in the land.

The French Crown, though it had beaten back the English, was still
closely girt in with rival neighbours, the great dukes on every frontier.
All round the east and north lay the lands of Philip of Burgundy; to the
west was the Duke of Brittany, cherishing a jealous independence; the
royal Dukes, Berri, Bourbon, Anjou, are all so many potential sources of
danger and difficulty to the Crown.  The conditions of the nobility are
altogether changed; the old barons have sunk into insignificance; the
struggle of the future will lie between the King’s cousins and himself,
rather than with the older lords.  A few non-royal princes, such as
Armagnac, or Saint-Pol, or Brittany, remain and will go down with the
others; the “new men” of the day, the bastard Dunois or the Constables Du
Guesclin and Clisson, grow to greater prominence; it is clear that the
old feudalism is giving place to a newer order, in which the aristocracy,
from the King’s brothers downwards, will group themselves around the
throne, and begin the process which reaches its unhappy perfection under
Louis XIV.

Directly after the expulsion of the English, troubles began between King
Charles VII. and the Dauphin Louis; the latter could not brook a quiet
life in Dauphiny, and the King refused him that larger sphere in the
government of Normandy which he coveted.  Against his father’s will,
Louis married Charlotte of Savoy, daughter of his strongest neighbour in
Dauphiny; suspicion and bad feeling grew strong between father and son;
Louis was specially afraid of his father’s counsellors; the King was
specially afraid of his son’s craftiness and ambition.  It came to an
open rupture, and Louis, in 1456, fled to the Court of Duke Philip of
Burgundy.  There he lived at refuge at Geneppe, meddling a good deal in
Burgundian politics, and already opposing himself to his great rival,
Charles of Charolais, afterwards Charles the Bold, the last Duke of
Burgundy.  Bickerings, under his bad influence, took place between King
and Duke; they never burst out into flame.  So things went on
uncomfortably enough, till Charles VII. died in 1461 and the reign of
Louis XI. began.

Between father and son what contrast could be greater?  Charles VII.,
“the Well-served,” so easygoing, so open and free from guile; Louis XI.,
so shy of counsellors, so energetic and untiring, so close and guileful.
History does but apologise for Charles, and even when she fears and
dislikes Louis, she cannot forbear to wonder and admire.  And yet Louis
enslaved his country, while Charles had seen it rescued from foreign
rule; Charles restored something of its prosperity, while Louis spent his
life in crushing its institutions and in destroying its elements of
independence.  A great and terrible prince, Louis XI. failed in having
little or no constructive power; he was strong to throw down the older
society, he built little in its room.  Most serious of all was his action
with respect to the district of the River Somme, at that time the
northern frontier of France.  The towns there had been handed over to
Philip of Burgundy by the Treaty of Arras, with a stipulation that the
Crown might ransom them at any time, and this Louis succeeded in doing in
1463.  The act was quite blameless and patriotic in itself, yet it was
exceedingly unwise, for it thoroughly alienated Charles the Bold, and led
to the wars of the earlier period of the reign.  Lastly, as if he had not
done enough to offend the nobles, Louis in 1464 attacked their hunting
rights, touching them in their tenderest part.  No wonder that this year
saw the formation of a great league against him, and the outbreak of a
dangerous civil war.  The “League of the Public Weal” was nominally
headed by his own brother Charles, heir to the throne; it was joined by
Charles of Charolais, who had completely taken the command of affairs in
the Burgundian territories, his father the old duke being too feeble to
withstand him; the Dukes of Brittany, Nemours, Bourbon, John of Anjou,
Duke of Calabria, the Comte d’Armagnac, the aged Dunois, and a host of
other princes and nobles flocked in; and the King had scarcely any forces
at his back with which to withstand them.  His plans for the campaign
against the league were admirable, though they were frustrated by the bad
faith of his captains, who mostly sympathised with this outbreak of the
feudal nobility.  Louis himself marched southward to quell the Duc de
Bourbon and his friends, and returning from that task, only half done for
lack of time, he found that Charles of Charolais had passed by Paris,
which was faithful to the King, and was coming down southwards, intending
to join the Dukes of Berri and Brittany, who were on their way towards
the capital.  The hostile armies met at Montleheri on the Orleans road;
and after a strange battle--minutely described by Commines--a battle in
which both sides ran away, and neither ventured at first to claim a
victory, the King withdrew to Corbeil, and then marched into Paris
(1465).  There the armies of the league closed in on him; and after a
siege of several weeks, Louis, feeling disaffection all around him, and
doubtful how long Paris herself would bear for him the burdens of
blockade, signed the Peace of Conflans, which, to all appearances,
secured the complete victory to the noblesse, “each man carrying off his
piece.”  Instantly the contented princes broke up their half-starved
armies and went home, leaving Louis behind to plot and contrive against
them, a far wiser man, thanks to the lesson they had taught him.  They
did not let him wait long for a chance.  The Treaty of Conflans had given
the duchy of Normandy to the King’s brother Charles; he speedily
quarrelled with his neighbour, the Duke of Brittany, and Louis came down
at once into Normandy, which threw itself into his arms, and the whole
work of the league was broken up.  The Comte de Charolais, occupied with
revolts at Dinan and Liege, could not interfere, and presently his
father, the old Duke Philip, died (1467), leaving to him the vast
lordships of the House of Burgundy.

And now the “imperial dreamer,” Charles the Bold, was brought into
immediate rivalry with that royal trickster, the “universal spider,”
 Louis XI.  Charles was by far the nobler spirit of the two: his vigour
and intelligence, his industry and wish to raise all around him to a
higher cultivation, his wise reforms at home, and attempts to render his
father’s dissolute and careless rule into a well-ordered lordship, all
these things marked him out as the leading spirit of the time.  His
territories were partly held under France, partly under the empire: the
Artois district, which also may be taken to include the Somme towns, the
county of Rhetel, the duchy of Bar, the duchy of Burgundy, with Auxerre
and Nevers, were feudally in France; the rest of his lands under the
empire.  He had, therefore, interests and means of interference on either
hand; and it is clear that Charles set before himself two different lines
of policy, according as he looked one way or the other.

At the time of Duke Philip’s death a new league had been formed against
Louis, embracing the King of England, Edward IV., the Dukes of Burgundy
and Brittany, and the Kings of Aragon and Castile.  Louis strained every
nerve, he conciliated Paris, struck hard at disaffected partisans, and in
1468 convoked the States General at Tours.  The three Estates were asked
to give an opinion as to the power of the Crown to alienate Normandy, the
step insisted upon by the Duke of Burgundy.  Their reply was to the
effect that the nation forbids the Crown to dismember the realm; they
supported their opinion by liberal promises of help.  Thus fortified by
the sympathy of his people, Louis began to break up the coalition.  He
made terms with the Duc de Bourbon and the House of Anjou; his brother
Charles was a cipher; the King of England was paralysed by the antagonism
of Warwick; he attacked and reduced Brittany; Burgundy, the most
formidable, alone remained to be dealt with.  How should he meet him?--by
war or by negotiation?  His Court was divided in opinion; the King
decided for himself in favour of the way of negotiation, and came to the
astonishing conclusion that he would go and meet the Duke and win him
over to friendship.  He miscalculated both his own powers of persuasion
and the force of his antagonist’s temper.  The interview of Peronne
followed; Charles held his visitor as a captive, and in the end compelled
him to sign a treaty, of peace, on the basis of that of Conflans, which
had closed the War of the Public Weal.  And as if this were not
sufficient humiliation, Charles made the King accompany him on his
expedition to punish the men of Liege, who, trusting to the help of
Louis, had again revolted (1469).  This done, he allowed the degraded
monarch to return home to Paris.  An assembly of notables of Tours
speedily declared the Treaty of Perrone null, and the King made some
small frontier war on the Duke, which was ended by a truce at Amiens, in
1471.  The truce was spent in preparation for a fresh struggle, which
Louis, to whom time was everything, succeeded in deferring from point to
point, till the death of his brother Charles, now Duc de Guienne, in
1472, broke up the formidable combination.  Charles the Bold at once
broke truce and made war on the King, marching into northern France,
sacking towns and ravaging the country, till he reached Beauvais.  There
the despair of the citizens and the bravery of the women saved the town.
Charles raised the siege and marched on Rouen, hoping to meet the Duke of
Brittany; but that Prince had his hands full, for Louis had overrun his
territories, and had reduced him to terms.  The Duke of Burgundy saw that
the coalition had completely failed; he too made fresh truce with Louis
at Senlis (1472), and only, deferred, he no doubt thought, the direct
attack on his dangerous rival.  Henceforth Charles the Bold turned his
attention mainly to the east, and Louis gladly saw him go forth to spend
his strength on distant ventures; saw the interview at Treves with the
Emperor Frederick III., at which the Duke’s plans were foiled by the
suspicions of the Germans and the King’s intrigues; saw the long siege of
the Neusz wearing out his power; bought off the hostility of Edward IV.
of England, who had undertaken to march on Paris; saw Charles embark on
his Swiss enterprise; saw the subjugation of Lorraine and capture of
Nancy (1475), the battle of Granson, the still more fatal defeat of Morat
(1476), and lastly the final struggle of Nancy, and the Duke’s death on
the field (January, 1477).

While Duke Charles had thus been running on his fate, Louis XI. had
actively attacked the larger nobles of France, and had either reduced
them to submission or had destroyed them.

As Duke Charles had left no male heir, the King at once resumed the duchy
of Burgundy, as a male fief of the kingdom; he also took possession of
Franche Comte at the same time; the King’s armies recovered all Picardy,
and even entered Flanders.  Then Mary of Burgundy, hoping to raise up a
barrier against this dangerous neighbour, offered her hand, with all her
great territories, to young Maximilian of Austria, and married him within
six months after her father’s death.  To this wedding is due the rise to
real greatness of the House of Austria; it begins the era of the larger
politics of modern times.

After a little hesitation Louis determined to continue the struggle
against the Burgundian power.  He secured Franche Comte, and on his
northern frontier retook Arras, that troublesome border city, the “bonny
Carlisle” of those days; and advancing to relieve Therouenne, then
besieged by Maximilian, fought and lost the battle of Guinegate (1479).
The war was languid after this; a truce followed in 1480, and a time of
quiet for France.  Charles the Dauphin was engaged to marry the little
Margaret, Maximilian’s daughter, and as her dower she was to bring
Franche Comte and sundry places on the border line disputed between the
two princes.  In these last days Louis XI. shut himself up in gloomy
seclusion in his castle of Plessis near Tours, and there he died in 1483.
A great king and a terrible one, he has left an indellible mark on the
history of France, for he was the founder of France in its later form, as
an absolute monarchy ruled with little regard to its own true welfare. He
had crushed all resistance; he had enlarged the borders of France, till
the kingdom took nearly its modern dimensions; he had organised its army
and administration.  The danger was lest in the hands of a feeble boy
these great results should be squandered away, and the old anarchy once
more raise its head.

For Charles VIII., who now succeeded, was but thirteen years old, a weak
boy whom his father had entirely neglected, the training of his son not
appearing to be an essential part of his work in life.  The young Prince
had amused himself with romances, but had learnt nothing useful.  A head,
however, was found for him in the person of his eldest sister Anne, whom
Louis XI. had married to Peter II., Lord of Beaujeu and Duc de Bourbon.
To her the dying King entrusted the guardianship of his son; and for more
than nine years Anne of France was virtual King.  For those years all
went well.

With her disappearance from the scene, the controlling hand is lost, and
France begins the age of her Italian expeditions.

When the House of Anjou came to an end in 1481, and Anjou and Maine fell
in to the Crown, there fell in also a far less valuable piece of
property, the claim of that house descended from Charles, the youngest
brother of Saint Louis, on the kingdom of Naples and Sicily.  There was
much to tempt an ambitious prince in the state of Italy.  Savoy, which
held the passage into the peninsula, was then thoroughly French in
sympathy; Milan, under Lodovico Sforza, “il Moro,” was in alliance with
Charles; Genoa preferred the French to the Aragonese claimants for
influence over Italy; the popular feeling in the cities, especially in
Florence, was opposed to the despotism of the Medici, and turned to
France for deliverance; the misrule of the Spanish Kings of Naples had
made Naples thoroughly discontented; Venice was, as of old, the friend of
France.  Tempted by these reasons, in 1494 Charles VIII. set forth for
Italy with a splendid host.  He displayed before the eyes of Europe the
first example of a modern army, in its three well-balanced branches of
infantry, cavalry, and artillery.  There was nothing in Italy to
withstand his onslaught; he swept through the land in triumph; Charles
believed himself to be a great conqueror giving law to admiring
subject-lands; he entered Pisa, Florence, Rome itself.  Wherever he went
his heedless ignorance, and the gross misconduct of his followers, left
behind implacable hostility, and turned all friendship into bitterness.
At last he entered Naples, and seemed to have asserted to the full the
French claim to be supreme in Italy, whereas at that very time his
position had become completely untenable.  A league of Italian States was
formed behind his back; Lodovico il Moro, Ferdinand of Naples, the
Emperor, Pope Alexander VI., Ferdinand and Isabella, who were now welding
Spain into a great and united monarchy, all combined against France; and
in presence of this formidable confederacy Charles VIII. had to cut his
way home as promptly as he could.  At Fornovo, north of the Apennines, he
defeated the allies in July, 1495; and by November the main French army
had got safely out of Italy.  The forces left behind in Naples were worn
out by war and pestilence, and the poor remnant of these, too, bringing
with them the seeds of horrible contagious diseases, forced their way
back to France in 1496.  It was the last effort of the King.  His health
was ruined by debauchery in Italy, repeated in France; and yet, towards
the end of his reign, he not merely introduced Italian arts, but
attempted to reform the State, to rule prudently, to solace the poor;
wherefore, when he died in 1498, the people lamented him greatly, for he
had been kindly and affable, brave also on the battle-field; and much is
forgiven to a king.

His children died before him, so that Louis d’Orleans, his cousin, was
nearest heir to the throne, and succeeded as Louis XII.  By his accession
in 1498 he reunited the fief of Orleans County to the Crown; by marrying
Anne of Brittany, his predecessor’s widow, he secured also the great
duchy of Brittany.  The dispensation of Pope Alexander VI., which enabled
him to put away his wife Jeanne, second daughter of Louis XI., was
brought into France by Caesar Borgia, who gained thereby his title of
Duke of Valentinois, a large sum of money, a French bride, and promises
of support in his great schemes in Italy.

His ministers were men of real ability.  Georges d’Amboise, Archbishop of
Rouen, the chief of them, was a prudent and a sagacious ruler, who,
however, unfortunately wanted to be Pope, and urged the King in the
direction of Italian politics, which he would have done much better to
have left alone.  Louis XII. was lazy and of small intelligence; Georges
d’Amboise and Caesar Borgia, with their Italian ambitions, easily made
him take up a spirited foreign policy which was disastrous at home.

Utterly as the last Italian expedition had failed, the French people were
not yet weary of the adventure, and preparations for a new war began at
once.  In 1499 the King crossed the Alps into the Milanese, and carried
all before him for a while.  The duchy at first accepted him with
enthusiasm; but in 1500 it had had enough of the French and recalled
Lodovico, who returned in triumph to Milan.  The Swiss mercenaries,
however, betrayed him at Novara into the hands of Louis XII., who carried
him off to France.  The triumph of the French in 1500 was also the
highest point of the fortunes of their ally, Caesar Borgia, who seemed
for a while to be completely successful.  In this year Louis made a
treaty at Granada, by which he and Ferdinand the Catholic agreed to
despoil Frederick of Naples; and in 1501 Louis made a second expedition
into Italy.  Again all seemed easy at the outset, and he seized the
kingdom of Naples without difficulty; falling out, however, with his
partner in the bad bargain, Ferdinand the Catholic, he was speedily swept
completely out of the peninsula, with terrible loss of honour, men, and
wealth.

It now became necessary to arrange for the future of France.  Louis XII.
had only a daughter, Claude, and it was proposed that she should be
affianced to Charles of Austria, the future statesman and emperor.  This
scheme formed the basis of the three treaties of Blois (1504).  In 1500,
by the Treaty of Granada, Louis had in fact handed Naples over to Spain;
now by the three treaties he alienated his best friends, the Venetians
and the papacy, while he in fact also handed Milan over to the Austrian
House, together with territories considered to be integral parts of
France.  The marriage with Charles came to nothing; the good sense of
some, the popular feeling in the country, the open expressions of the
States General of Tours, in 1506, worked against the marriage, which had
no strong advocate except Queen Anne.  Claude, on intercession of the
Estates, was affianced to Frangois d’Angouleme, her distant cousin, the
heir presumptive to the throne.

In 1507 Louis made war on Venice; and in the following year the famous
Treaty of Cambrai was signed by Georges d’Amboise and Margaret of
Austria.  It was an agreement for a partition of the Venetian
territories,--one of the most shameless public deeds in history.  The
Pope, the King of Aragon, Maximilian, Louis XII., were each to have a
share.  The war was pushed on with great vigour: the battle of Agnadello
(14th May, 1509) cleared the King’s way towards Venice; Louis was
received with open arms by the North Italian towns, and pushed forward to
within eight of Venice.  The other Princes came up on every side; the
proud “Queen of the Adriatic” was compelled to shrink within her walls,
and wait till time dissolved the league.  This was not long.  The Pope,
Julius II., had no wish to hand Northern Italy over to France; he had
joined in the shameless league of Cambrai because he wanted to wrest the
Romagna cities from Venice, and because he hoped to entirely destroy the
ancient friendship between Venice and France.  Successful in both aims,
he now withdrew from the league, made peace with the Venetians, and stood
forward as the head of a new Italian combination, with the Swiss for his
fighting men.  The strife was close and hot between Pope and King; Louis
XII. lost his chief adviser and friend, Georges d’Amboise, the splendid
churchman of the age, the French Wolsey; he thought no weapon better than
the dangerous one of a council, with claims opposed to those of the
papacy; first a National Council at Tours, then an attempted General
Council at Pisa, were called on to resist the papal claims.  In reply
Julius II. created the Holy League of 1511, with Ferdinand of Aragon,
Henry VIII. of England, and the Venetians as its chief members, against
the French.  Louis XII. showed vigour; he sent his nephew Gaston de Foix
to subdue the Romagna and threaten the Venetian territories.  At the
battle of Ravenna, in 1512, Gaston won a brilliant victory and lost his
life.  From that moment disaster dogged the footsteps of the French in
Italy, and before winter they had been driven completely out of the
peninsula; the succession of the Medicean Pope, Leo X., to Julius II.,
seemed to promise the continuance of a policy hostile to France in Italy.
Another attempt on Northern Italy proved but another failure, although
now Louis XII., taught by his mishaps, had secured the alliance of
Venice; the disastrous defeat of La Tremoille, near Novara (1513),
compelled the French once more to withdraw beyond the Alps.  In this same
year an army under the Duc de Longueville, endeavouring to relieve
Therouenne, besieged by the English and Maximilian, the Emperor-elect,
was caught and crushed at Guinegate.  A diversion in favour of Louis
XII., made by James IV. of Scotland, failed completely; the Scottish King
was defeated and slain at Flodden Field.  While his northern frontier was
thus exposed, Louis found equal danger threatening him on the east; on
this aide, however, he managed to buy off the Swiss, who had attacked the
duchy of Burgundy.  He was also reconciled with the papacy and the House
of Austria.  Early in 1514 the death of Anne of Brittany, his spouse, a
lady of high ambitions, strong artistic tastes, and humane feelings
towards her Bretons, but a bad Queen for France, cleared the way for
changes.  Claude, the King’s eldest daughter, was now definitely married
to Francois d’Angouleme, and invested with the duchy of Brittany; and the
King himself, still hoping for a male heir to succeed him, married again,
wedding Mary Tudor, the lovely young sister of Henry VIII.  This marriage
was probably the chief cause of his death, which followed on New Year’s
day, 1515.  His was, in foreign policy, an inglorious and disastrous
reign; at home, a time of comfort and material prosperity.  Agriculture
flourished, the arts of Italy came in, though (save in architecture)
France could claim little artistic glory of her own; the organisation of
justice and administration was carried out; in letters and learning
France still lagged behind her neighbours.

The heir to the crown was Francois d’Angouleme, great-grandson of that
Louis d’Orleans who had been assassinated in the bad days of the strife
between Burgundians and Armagnacs, in 1407, and great-great-grandson of
Charles V. of France.  He was still very young, very eager to be king,
very full of far-reaching schemes.  Few things in history are more
striking than the sudden change, at this moment, from the rule of
middle-aged men or (as men of fifty were then often called) old men, to
the rule of youths,--from sagacious, worldly-prudent monarchs--to
impulsive boys,--from Henry VII. to Henry VIII., from Louis XII. to
Frangois I, from Ferdinand to Charles.

On the whole, Frangois I. was the least worthy of the three.  He was
brilliant, “the king of culture,” apt scholar in Renaissance art and
immorality; brave, also, and chivalrous, so long as the chivalry involved
no self-denial, for he was also thoroughly selfish, and his personal aims
and ideas were mean.  His reign was to be a reaction from that of Louis
XII.

From the beginning, Francois chose his chief officers unwisely.  In
Antoine du Prat, his new chancellor, he had a violent and lawless
adviser; in Charles de Bourbon, his new constable, an untrustworthy
commander.  Forthwith he plunged into Italian politics, being determined
to make good his claim both to Naples and to Milan; he made most friendly
arrangements with the Archduke Charles, his future rival, promising to
help him in securing, when the time came, the vast inheritances of his
two grandfathers, Maximilian, the Emperor-elect, and Ferdinand of Aragon;
never was a less wise agreement entered upon.  This done, the Italian war
began; Francois descended into Italy, and won the brilliant battle of
Marignano, in which the French chivalry crushed the Swiss burghers and
peasant mercenaries.  The French then overran the north of Italy, and, in
conjunction with the Venetians, carried all before them.  But the
triumphs of the sword were speedily wrested from him by the adroitness of
the politician; in an interview with Leo X. at Bologna, Francois bartered
the liberties of the Gallican Church for shadowy advantages in Italy. The
‘Pragmatic Sanction of Bourgea’, which now for nearly a century had
secured to the Church of France independence in the choice of her chief
officers, was replaced by a concordat, whereby the King allowed the
papacy once more to drain the wealth of the Church of France, while the
Pope allowed the King almost autocratic power over it.  He was to appoint
to all benefices, with exception of a few privileged offices; the Pope
was no longer to be threatened with general councils, while he should
receive again the annates of the Church.

The years which followed this brilliantly disastrous opening brought
little good to France.  In 1516 the death of Ferdinand the Catholic
placed Charles on the throne of Spain; in 1519 the death of Maximilian
threw open to the young Princes the most dazzling prize of human
ambition,--the headship of the Holy Roman Empire.  Francois I., Charles,
and Henry VIII.  were all candidates for the votes of the seven electors,
though the last never seriously entered the lists.  The struggle lay
between Francois, the brilliant young Prince, who seemed to represent the
new opinions in literature and art, and Charles of Austria and Spain, who
was as yet unknown and despised, and, from his education under the
virtuous and scholastic Adrian of Utrecht, was thought likely to
represent the older and reactionary opinions of the clergy.  After a long
and sharp competition, the great prize fell to Charles, henceforth known
to history as that great monarch and emperor, Charles V.

The rivalry between the Princes could not cease there.  Charles, as
representative of the House of Burgundy, claimed all that had been lost
when Charles the Bold fell; and in 1521 the war broke out between him and
Francois, the first of a series of struggles between the two rivals.
While the King wasted the resources of his country on these wars, his
proud and unwise mother, Louise of Savoy, guided by Antoine du Prat,
ruled, to the sorrow of all, at home.  The war brought no glory with it:
on the Flemish frontier a place or two was taken; in Biscay Fontarabia
fell before the arms of France; in Italy Francois had to meet a new
league of Pope and Emperor, and his troops were swept completely out of
the Milanese.  In the midst of all came the defection of that great
prince, the Constable de Bourbon, head of the younger branch of the
Bourbon House, the most powerful feudal lord in France.  Louise of Savoy
had enraged and offended him, or he her; the King slighted him, and in
1523 the Constable made a secret treaty with Charles V. and Henry VIII.,
and, taking flight into Italy, joined the Spaniards under Lannoy.  The
French, who had again invaded the Milanese, were again driven out in
1524; on the other hand, the incursions of the imperialists into Picardy,
Provence, and the southeast were all complete failures.  Encouraged by
the repulse of Bourbon from Marseilles, Francois I. once more crossed the
Alps, and overran a great part of the valley of the Po; at the siege of
Pavia he was attacked by Pescara and Bourbon, utterly defeated and taken
prisoner (24th February, 1525); the broken remnants of the French were
swept out of Italy at once, and Francois I. was carried into Spain, a
captive at Madrid.  His mother, best in adversity, behaved with high
pride and spirit; she overawed disaffection, made preparations for
resistance, looked out for friends on every side.  Had Francois been in
truth a hero, he might, even as a prisoner, have held his own; but he was
unable to bear the monotony of confinement, and longed for the pleasures
of France.  On this mean nature Charles V. easily worked, and made the
captive monarch sign the Treaty of Madrid (January 14, 1526), a compact
which Francois meant to break as soon as he could, for he knew neither
heroism nor good faith.  The treaty stipulated that Francois should give
up the duchy of Burgundy to Charles, and marry Eleanor of Portugal,
Charles’s sister; that Francois should also abandon his claims on
Flanders, Milan, and Naples, and should place two sons in the Emperor’s
hands as hostages.  Following the precedent of Louis XI. in the case of
Normandy, he summoned an assembly of nobles and the Parliament of Paris
to Cognac, where they declared the cession of Burgundy to be impossible.
He refused to return to Spain, and made alliances wherever he could, with
the Pope, with Venice, Milan, and England.  The next year saw the ruin of
this league in the discomfiture of Clement VII., and the sack of Rome by
the German mercenaries under Bourbon, who was killed in the assault.  The
war went on till 1529, when Francois, having lost two armies in it, and
gained nothing but loss and harm, was willing for peace; Charles V.,
alarmed at the progress of the Turks, was not less willing; and in
August, 1529, the famous Treaty, of Cambrai, “the Ladies’ Peace,” was
agreed to by Margaret of Austria and Louise of Savoy.  Though Charles V.
gave up all claim on the duchy of Burgundy, he had secured to himself
Flanders and Artois, and had entirely cleared French influences out of
Italy, which now became firmly fixed under the imperial hand, as a
connecting link between his Spanish and German possessions.  Francois
lost ground and credit by these successive treaties, conceived in bad
faith, and not honestly carried out.

No sooner had the Treaty of Cambrai been effectual in bringing his sons
back to France, than Francois began to look out for new pretexts and
means for war.  Affairs were not unpromising.  His mother’s death in 1531
left him in possession of a huge fortune, which she had wrung from
defenceless France; the powers which were jealous of Austria, the Turk,
the English King, the members of the Smalkald league, all looked to
Francois as their leader; Clement VII., though his misfortunes had thrown
him into the Emperor’s hands, was not unwilling to treat with France; and
in 1533 by the compact of Marseilles the Pope broke up the friendship
between Francois and Henry VIII., while he married his niece Catherine
de’ Medici to Henri, the second son of Francois.  This compact was a real
disaster to France; the promised dowry of Catherine--certain Italian
cities--was never paid, and the death of Clement VII. in 1534 made the
political alliance with the papacy a failure.  The influence of Catherine
affected and corrupted French history for half a century.  Preparations
for war went on; Francois made a new scheme for a national army, though
in practice he preferred the tyrant’s arm, the foreign mercenary.  From
his day till the Revolution the French army was largely composed of
bodies of men tempted out of other countries, chiefly from Switzerland or
Germany.

While the Emperor strove to appease the Protestant Princes of Germany by
the Peace of Kadan (1534), Francois strengthened himself with a definite
alliance with Soliman; and when, on the death of Francesco Sforza, Duke
of Milan, who left no heirs, Charles seized the duchy as its overlord,
Francois, after some bootless negotiation, declared war on his great
rival (1536).  His usual fortunes prevailed so long as he was the
attacking party: his forces were soon swept out of Piedmont, and the
Emperor carried the war over the frontier into Provence.  That also
failed, and Charles was fain to withdraw after great losses into Italy.
The defence of Provence--a defence which took the form of a ruthless
destruction of all its resources--had been entrusted to Anne de
Montmorency, who henceforward became Constable of France, and exerted
great influence over Francois I.  Though these two campaigns, the French
in Italy and the imperialist in Provence, had equally failed in 1536,
peace did not follow till 1538, when, after the terrible defeat of
Ferdinand of Austria by the Turks, Charles was anxious to have free hand
in Germany.  Under the mediation of Paul III. the agreement of Nice was
come to, which included a ten years’ truce and the abandonment by
Francois of all his foreign allies and aims.  He seemed a while to have
fallen completely under the influence of the sagacious Emperor.  He gave
way entirely to the Church party of the time, a party headed by gloomy
Henri, now Dauphin, who never lost the impress of his Spanish captivity,
and by the Constable Anne de Montmorency; for a time the artistic or
Renaissance party, represented by Anne, Duchesse d’Etampes, and Catherine
de’ Medici, fell into disfavour.  The Emperor even ventured to pass
through France, on his way from Spain to the Netherlands.  All this
friendship, however, fell to dust, when it was found that Charles refused
to invest the Duc d’Orleans, the second son of Francois, with the duchy
of Milan, and when the Emperor’s second expedition against the sea-power
of the Turks had proved a complete failure, and Charles had returned to
Spain with loss of all his fleet and army.  Then Francois hesitated no
longer, and declared war against him (1541).  The shock the Emperor had
suffered inspirited all his foes; the Sultan and the Protestant German
Princes were all eager for war; the influence of Anne de Montmorency had
to give way before that of the House of Guise, that frontier family, half
French, half German, which was destined to play a large part in the
troubled history of the coming half-century.  Claude, Duc de Guise, a
veteran of the earliest days of Francois, was vehemently opposed to
Charles and the Austro-Spanish power, and ruled in the King’s councils.
This last war was as mischievous as its predecessors no great battles
were fought; in the frontier affairs the combatants were about equally
fortunate; the battle of Cerisolles, won by the French under Enghien
(1544), was the only considerable success they had, and even that was
almost barren of results, for the danger to Northern France was imminent;
there a combined invasion had been planned and partly executed by Charles
and Henry VIII., and the country, almost undefended, was at their mercy.
The two monarchs, however, distrusted one another; and Charles V.,
anxious about Germany, sent to Francois proposals for peace from Crespy
Couvrant, near Laon, where he had halted his army; Francois, almost in
despair, gladly made terms with him.  The King gave up his claims on
Flanders and Artois, the Emperor his on the duchy of Burgundy; the King
abandoned his old Neapolitan ambition, and Charles promised one of the
Princesses of the House of Austria, with Milan as her dower, to the Duc
d’Orleans, second son of Francois.  The Duke dying next year, this
portion of the agreement was not carried out.  The Peace of Crespy, which
ended the wars between the two great rivals, was signed in autumn, 1544,
and, like the wars which led to it, was indecisive and lame.

Charles learnt that with all his great power he could not strike a fatal
blow at France; France ought to have learnt that she was very weak for
foreign conquest, and that her true business was to consolidate and
develop her power at home.  Henry VIII. deemed himself wronged by this
independent action on the part of Charles, who also had his grievances
with the English monarch; he stood out till 1546, and then made peace
with Francois, with the aim of forming a fresh combination against
Charles.  In the midst of new projects and much activity, the marrer of
man’s plots came on the scene, and carried off in the same year, 1547,
the English King and Francois I., leaving Charles V. undisputed arbiter
of the affairs of Europe.  In this same year he also crushed the
Protestant Princes at the battle of Muhlberg.

In the reign of Francois I. the Court looked not unkindly on the
Reformers, more particularly in the earlier years.

Henri II., who succeeded in 1547, “had all the faults of his father, with
a weaker mind;” and as strength of mind was not one of the
characteristics of Francois I., we may imagine how little firmness there
was in the gloomy King who now reigned.  Party spirit ruled at Court.
Henri II., with his ancient mistress, Diane de Poitiers, were at the head
of one party, that of the strict Catholics, and were supported by old
Anne de Montmorency, most unlucky of soldiers, most fanatical of
Catholics, and by the Guises, who chafed a good deal under the stern rule
of the Constable.  This party had almost extinguished its antagonists; in
the struggle of the mistresses, the pious and learned Anne d’Etampes had
to give place to imperious Diane,  Catherine, the Queen, was content to
bide her time, watching with Italian coolness the game as it went on; of
no account beside her rival, and yet quite sure to have her day, and
ready to play parties against one another.  Meanwhile, she brought to her
royal husband ten sickly children, most of whom died young, and three
wore the crown.  Of the many bad things she did for France, that was
perhaps among the worst.

On the accession of Henri II. the duchy of Brittany finally lost even
nominal independence; he next got the hand of Mary, Queen of Scots, then
but five years old, for the Dauphin Francois; she was carried over to
France; and being by birth half a Guise, by education and interests of
her married life she became entirely French.  It was a great triumph for
Henri, for the Protector Somerset had laid his plans to secure her for
young Edward VI.; it was even more a triumph for the Guises, who saw
opened out a broad and clear field for their ambition.

At first Henri II. showed no desire for war, and seemed to shrink from
rivalry or collision with Charles V.  He would not listen to Paul III.,
who, in his anxiety after the fall of the Protestant power in Germany in
1547, urged him to resist the Emperor’s triumphant advance; he seemed to
show a dread of war, even among his neighbours.  After he had won his
advantage over Edward VI., he escaped the war which seemed almost
inevitable, recovered Boulogne from the English by a money payment, and
smoothed the way for peace between England and Scotland.  He took much
interest in the religious question, and treated the Calvinists with great
severity; he was also occupied by troubles in the south and west of
France.  Meanwhile, a new Pope, Julius III., was the weak dependent of
the Emperor, and there seemed to be no head left for any movement against
the universal domination of Charles V.  His career from 1547 to 1552 was,
to all appearance, a triumphal march of unbroken success.  Yet Germany
was far from acquiescence; the Princes were still discontented and
watchful; even Ferdinand of Austria, his brother, was offended by the
Emperor’s anxiety to secure everything, even the imperial crown for his
son Philip; Maurice of Saxony, that great problem of the age, was
preparing for a second treachery, or, it may be, for a patriotic effort.
These German malcontents now appealed to Henri for aid; and at last Henri
seemed inclined to come.  He had lately made alliance with England, and
in 1552 formed a league at Chambord with the German Princes; the old
connection with the Turk was also talked of.  The Germans agreed to
allow’ him to hold (as imperial vicar, not as King of France) the “three
bishoprics,” Metz, Verdun, and Toul; he also assumed a protectorate over
the spiritual princes, those great bishops and electors of the Rhine,
whose stake in the Empire was so important.  The general lines of French
foreign politics are all here clearly marked; in this Henri II. is the
forerunner of Henri IV. and of Louis XIV.; the imperial politics of
Napoleon start from much the same lines; the proclamations of Napoleon
III. before the Franco-German war seemed like thin echoes of the same.

Early in 1552 Maurice of Saxony struck his great blow at his master in
the Tyrol, destroying in an instant all the Emperor’s plans for the
suppression of Lutheran opinions, and the reunion of Germany in a
Catholic empire; and while Charles V.  fled for his life, Henri II. with
a splendid army crossed the frontiers of Lorraine.  Anne de Montmorency,
whose opposition to the war had been overborne by the Guises, who warmly
desired to see a French predominance in Lorraine, was sent forward to
reduce Metz, and quickly got that important city into his hands; Toul and
Verdun soon opened their gates, and were secured in reality, if not in
name, to France.  Eager to undertake a protectorate of the Rhine, Henri
II. tried also to lay hands on Strasburg; the citizens, however,
resisted, and he had to withdraw; the same fate befell his troops in an
attempt on Spires.  Still, Metz and the line of the Vosges mountains
formed a splendid acquisition for France.  The French army, leaving
strong garrisons in Lorraine, withdrew through Luxemburg and the northern
frontier; its remaining exploits were few and mean, for the one gleam of
good fortune enjoyed by Anne de Montmorency, who was unwise and arrogant,
and a most inefficient commander, soon deserted him.  Charles V., as soon
as he could gather forces, laid siege to Metz, but, after nearly three
months of late autumnal operations, was fain to break up and withdraw,
baffled and with loss of half his army, across the Rhine.  Though some
success attended his arms on the northern frontier, it was of no
permanent value; the loss of Metz, and the failure in the attempt to take
it, proved to the worn-out Emperor that the day of his power and
opportunity was past.  The conclusions of the Diet of Augsburg in 1555
settled for half a century the struggle between Lutheran and Catholic,
but settled it in a way not at all to his mind; for it was the safeguard
of princely interests against his plans for an imperial unity.  Weary of
the losing strife, yearning for ease, ordered by his physicians to
withdraw from active life, Charles in the course of 1555 and 1556
resigned all his great lordships and titles, leaving Philip his son to
succeed him in Italy, the Netherlands, and Spain, and his brother
Ferdinand of Austria to wear in his stead the imperial diadem.  These
great changes sundered awhile the interests of Austria from those of
Spain.

Henri endeavoured to take advantage of the check in the fortunes of his
antagonists; he sent Anne de Montmorency to support Gaspard de Coligny,
the Admiral of France, in Picardy, and in harmony with Paul IV.,
instructed Francois, Duc de Guise, to enter Italy to oppose the Duke of
Alva.  As of old, the French arms at first carried all before them, and
Guise, deeming himself heir to the crown of Naples (for he was the eldest
great-grandson of Rene II., titular King of Naples), pushed eagerly
forward as far as the Abruzzi.  There he was met and outgeneraled by
Alva, who drove him back to Rome, whence he was now recalled by urgent
summons to France; for the great disaster of St. Quentin had laid Paris
itself open to the assault of an enterprising enemy.  With the departure
of Guise from Italy the age of the Italian expeditions comes to an end.
On the northern side of the realm things had gone just as badly.
Philibert of Savoy, commanding for Philip with Spanish and English
troops, marched into France as far as to the Somme, and laid siege to St.
Quentin, which was bravely defended by Amiral de Coligny.  Anne de
Montmorency, coming up to relieve the place, managed his movements so
clumsily that he was caught by Count Egmont and the Flemish horse, and,
with incredibly small loss to the conquerors, was utterly routed (1557).
Montmorency himself and a crowd of nobles and soldiers were taken; the
slaughter was great.  Coligny made a gallant and tenacious stand in the
town itself, but at last was overwhelmed, and the place fell.  Terrible
as these mishaps were to France, Philip II. was not of a temper to push
an advantage vigorously; and while his army lingered, Francois de Guise
came swiftly back from Italy; and instead of wasting strength in a
doubtful attack on the allies in Picardy, by a sudden stroke of genius he
assaulted and took Calais (January, 1558), and swept the English finally
off the soil of France.  This unexpected and brilliant blow cheered and
solaced the afflicted country, while it finally secured the ascendency of
the House of Guise.  The Duke’s brother, the Cardinal de Lorraine,
carried all before him in the King’s councils; the Dauphin, betrothed
long before, was now married to Mary of Scots; a secret treaty bound the
young Queen to bring her kingdom over with her; it was thought that
France with Scotland would be at least a match for England joined with
Spain.  In the same year, 1558, the French advance along the coast, after
they had taken Dunkirk and Nieuport, was finally checked by the brilliant
genius of Count Egmont, who defeated them at Gravelinea.  All now began
to wish for peace, especially Montmorency, weary of being a prisoner, and
anxious to get back to Court, that he might check the fortunes of the
Guises; Philip desired it that he might have free hand against heresy.
And so, at Cateau-Cambresis, a peace was made in April, 1559, by which
France retained the three bishoprics and Calais, surrendering Thionville,
Montmedy, and one or two other frontier towns, while she recovered Ham
and St. Quentin; the House of Savoy was reinstated by Philip, as a reward
to Philibert for his services, and formed a solid barrier for a time
between France and Italy; cross-marriages between Spain, France, and
Savoy were arranged;--and finally, the treaty contained secret articles
by which the Guises for France and Granvella for the Netherlands agreed
to crush heresy with a strong hand.  As a sequel to this peace, Henri II.
held a great tournament at Paris, at which he was accidentally slain by a
Scottish knight in the lists.

The Guises now shot up into abounded power.  On the Guise side the
Cardinal de Lorraine was the cleverest man, the true head, while
Francois, the Duke, was the arm; he showed leanings towards the
Lutherans.  On the other side, the head was the dull and obstinate Anne
de Montmorency, the Constable, an unwavering Catholic, supported by the
three Coligny brothers, who all were or became Huguenots.  The
Queen-mother Catherine fluctuated uneasily between the parties, and
though Catholic herself, or rather not a Protestant, did not hesitate to
befriend the Huguenots, if the political arena seemed to need their
gallant swords.  Their noblest leader was Coligny, the admiral; their
recognised head was Antoine, King of Navarre, a man as foolish as
fearless.  He was heir presumptive to the throne after the Valois boys,
and claimed to have charge of the young King.  Though the Guises had the
lead at first, the Huguenots seemed, from their strong aristocratic
connections, to have the fairer prospects before them.

Thirty years of desolate civil strife are before us, and we must set it
all down briefly and drily.  The prelude to the troubles was played by
the Huguenots, who in 1560, guided by La Renaudie, a Perigord gentleman,
formed a plot to carry off the young King; for Francois II. had already
treated them with considerable severity, and had dismissed from his
councils both the princes of the blood royal and the Constable de
Montmorency.  The plot failed miserably and La Renaudie lost his life; it
only secured more firmly the authority of the Guises.  As a counterpoise
to their influence, the Queen-mother now conferred the vacant
chancellorship on one of the wisest men France has ever seen, her Lord
Bacon, Michel de L’Hopital, a man of the utmost prudence and moderation,
who, had the times been better, might have won constitutional liberties
for his country, and appeased her civil strife.  As it was, he saved her
from the Inquisition; his hand drew the edicts which aimed at enforcing
toleration on France; he guided the assembly of notables which gathered
at Fontainebleau, and induced them to attempt a compromise which moderate
Catholics and Calvinists might accept, and which might lessen the power
of the Guises.  This assembly was followed by a meeting of the States
General at Orleans, at which the Prince de Conde and the King of Navarre
were seized by the Guises on a charge of having had to do with La
Renaudie’s plot.  It would have gone hard with them had not the sickly
King at this very time fallen ill and died (1560).

This was a grievous blow to the Guises.  Now, as in a moment, all was
shattered; Catherine de Medici rose at once to the command of affairs;
the new King, Charles IX., was only, ten years old, and her position as
Regent was assured.  The Guises would gladly have ruled with her, but she
had no fancy for that; she and Chancellor de L’Hopital were not likely to
ally themselves with all that was severe and repressive.  It must not be
forgotten that the best part of her policy was inspired by the Chancellor
de L’Hopital.

Now it was that Mary Stuart, the Queen-dowager, was compelled to leave
France for Scotland; her departure clearly marks the fall of the Guises;
and it also showed Philip of Spain that it was no longer necessary for
him to refuse aid and counsel to the Guises; their claims were no longer
formidable to him on the larger sphere of European politics; no longer
could Mary Stuart dream of wearing the triple crown of Scotland, France,
and England.

The tolerant language of L’Hopital at the States General of Orleans in
1561 satisfied neither side.  The Huguenots were restless; the Bourbon
Princes tried to crush the Guises, in return for their own imprisonment
the year before; the Constable was offended by the encouragement shown to
the Huguenots; it was plain that new changes impended.  Montmorency began
them by going over to the Guises; and the fatal triumvirate of Francois,
Duc de Guise, Montmorency, and St. Andre the marshal, was formed.  We
find the King of Spain forthwith entering the field of French intrigues
and politics, as the support and stay of this triumvirate.  Parties take
a simpler format once, one party of Catholics and another of Huguenots,
with the Queen-mother and the moderates left powerless between them.
These last, guided still by L’Hopital, once more convoked the States
General at Pontoise: the nobles and the Third Estate seemed to side
completely with the Queen and the moderates; a controversy between
Huguenots and Jesuits at Poissy only added to the discontent of the
Catholics, who were now joined by foolish Antoine, King of Navarre.  The
edict of January, 1562, is the most remarkable of the attempts made by
the Queen-mother to satisfy the Huguenots; but party-passion was already
too strong for it to succeed; civil war had become inevitable.

The period may be divided into four parts: (1) the wars before the
establishment of the League (1562-1570); (2) the period of the St.
Bartholomew (1570-1573); (3) the struggle of the new Politique party
against the Leaguers (1573-1559); (4) the efforts of Henri IV. to crush
the League and reduce the country to peace (1589-1595).  The period can
also be divided by that series of agreements, or peaces, which break it
up into eight wars:

1. The war of 1562, on the skirts of which Philip of Spain interfered on
one side, and Queen Elizabeth with the Calvinistic German Princes on the
other, showed at once that the Huguenots were by far the weaker party.
The English troops at Havre enabled them at first to command the lower
Seine up to Rouen; but the other party, after a long siege which cost
poor Antoine of Navarre his life, took that place, and relieved Paris of
anxiety.  The Huguenots had also spread far and wide over the south and
west, occupying Orleans; the bridge of Orleans was their point of
junction between Poitou and Germany.  While the strength of the Catholics
lay to the east, in Picardy, and at Paris, the Huguenot power was mostly
concentrated in the south and west of France.  Conde, who commanded at
Orleans, supported by German allies, made an attempt on Paris, but
finding the capital too strong for him, turned to the west, intending to
join the English troops from Havre.  Montmorency, however, caught him at
Dreux; and in the battle that ensued, the Marshal of France, Saint-Andre,
perished; Conde was captured by the Catholics, Montmorency by the
Huguenots.  Coligny, the admiral, drew off his defeated troops with great
skill, and fell back to beyond the Loire; the Duc de Guise remained as
sole head of the Catholics.  Pushing on his advantage, the Duke
immediately laid siege to Orleans, and there he fell by the hand of a
Huguenot assassin.  Both parties had suffered so much that the
Queen-mother thought she might interpose with terms of peace; the Edict
of Amboise (March, 1563) closed the war, allowing the Calvinists freedom
of worship in the towns they held, and some other scanty privileges.  A
three years’ quiet followed, though all men suspected their neighbours,
and the high Catholic party tried hard to make Catherine sacrifice
L’Hopital and take sharp measures with the Huguenots.  They on their side
were restless and suspicious, and it was felt that another war could not
be far off.  Intrigues were incessant, all men thinking to make their
profit out of the weakness of France.  The struggle between Calvinists
and Catholics in the Netherlands roused much feeling, though Catherine
refused to favour either party.  She collected an army of her own; it was
rumoured that she intended to take the Huguenots by surprise and
annihilate them.  In autumn, 1567, their patience gave way, and they
raised the standard of revolt, in harmony with the heroic Netherlanders.
Conde and the Chatillons beleaguered Paris from the north, and fought the
battle of St. Denis, in which the old Constable, Anne de Montmorency, was
killed.  The Huguenots, however, were defeated and forced to withdraw,
Conde marching eastward to join the German troops now coming up to his
aid.  No more serious fighting followed; the Peace of Longjumeau (March,
1568), closed the second war, leaving matters much as they were.  The
aristocratic resistance against the Catholic sovereigns, against what is
often called the “Catholic Reaction,” had proved itself hollow; in
Germany and the Netherlands, as well as in France, the Protestant cause
seemed to fail; it was not until the religious question became mixed up
with questions as to political rights and freedom, as in the Low
Countries, that a new spirit of hope began to spring up.

The Peace of Longjumeau gave no security to the Huguenot nobles; they
felt that the assassin might catch them any day.  An attempt to seize
Condo and Coligny failed, and served only to irritate their party;
Cardinal Chatillon escaped to England; Jeanne of Navarre and her young
son Henri took refuge at La Rochelle; L’Hopital was dismissed the Court.
The Queen-mother seemed to have thrown off her cloak of moderation, and
to be ready to relieve herself of the Huguenots by any means, fair or
foul.  War accordingly could not fail to break out again before the end
of the year.  Conde had never been so strong; with his friends in England
and the Low Countries, and the enthusiastic support of a great party of
nobles and religious adherents at home, his hopes rose; he even talked of
deposing the Valois and reigning in their stead.  He lost his life,
however, early in 1569, at the battle of Jarnac.  Coligny once more with
difficulty, as at Dreux, saved the broken remnants of the defeated
Huguenots.  Conde’s death, regarded at the time by the Huguenots as an
irreparable calamity, proved in the end to be no serious loss; for it
made room for the true head of the party, Henri of Navarre.  No sooner
had Jeanne of Navarre heard of the mishap of Jarnac than she came into
the Huguenot camp and presented to the soldiers her young son Henri and
the young Prince de Conde, a mere child.  Her gallant bearing and the
true soldier-spirit of Coligny, who shone most brightly in adversity,
restored their temper; they even won some small advantages.  Before long,
however, the Duc d’Anjou, the King’s youngest brother, caught and
punished them severely at Moncontour.  Both parties thenceforward wore
themselves out with desultory warfare.  In August, 1570, the Peace of St.
Germain-en-Laye closed the third war and ended the first period.

2.  It was the most favourable Peace the Huguenots had won as yet; it
secured them, besides previous rights, four strongholds.  The Catholics
were dissatisfied; they could not sympathise with the Queen-mother in her
alarm at the growing strength of Philip II., head of the Catholics in
Europe; they dreaded the existence and growing influence of a party now
beginning to receive a definite name, and honourable nickname, the
Politiques.  These were that large body of French gentlemen who loved the
honour of their country rather than their religious party, and who,
though Catholics, were yet moderate and tolerant.  A pair of marriages
now proposed by the Court amazed them still more.  It was suggested that
the Duc d’Anjou should marry Queen Elizabeth of England, and Henri of
Navarre, Marguerite de Valois, the King’s sister.  Charles II. hoped thus
to be rid of his brother, whom he disliked, and to win powerful support
against Spain, by the one match, and by the other to bring the civil wars
to a close.  The sketch of a far-reaching resistance to Philip II. was
drawn out; so convinced of his good faith was the prudent and sagacious
William of Orange, that, on the strength of these plans, he refused good
terms now offered him by Spain.  The Duc d’Alencon, the remaining son of
Catherine, the brother who did not come to the throne, was deeply
interested in the plans for a war in the Netherlands; Anjou, who had
withdrawn from the scheme of marriage with Queen Elizabeth, was at this
moment a candidate for the throne of Poland; while negotiations
respecting it were going on, Marguerite de Valois was married to Henri of
Navarre, the worst of wives [?? D.W.] to a husband none too good.
Coligny, who had strongly opposed the candidature of Anjou for the throne
of Poland, was set on by an assassin, employed by the Queen-mother and
her favourite son, and badly wounded; the Huguenots were in utmost alarm,
filling the air with cries and menaces.  Charles showed great concern for
his friend’s recovery, and threatened vengeance on the assassins.  What
was his astonishment to learn that those assassins were his mother and
brother!  Catherine worked on his fears, and the plot for the great
massacre was combined in an instant.  The very next day after the King’s
consent was wrung from him, 24th August, 1572, the massacre of St.
Bartholomew’s day took place.  The murder of Coligny was completed; his
son-in-law Teligny perished; all the chief Huguenots were slain; the
slaughter spread to country towns; the Church and the civil power were at
one, and the victims, taken at unawares, could make no resistance.  The
two Bourbons, Henri and the Prince de Conde, were spared; they bought
their lives by a sudden conversion to Catholicism.  The chief guilt of
this great crime lies with Catherine de’ Medici; for, though it is
certain that she did not plan it long before, assassination was a
recognised part of her way of dealing with Huguenots.

A short war followed, a revolt of the southern cities rather than a war.
They made tenacious and heroic resistance; a large part of the royal
forces sympathised rather with them than with the League; and in July,
1573, the Edict of Boulogne granted them even more than they, had been
promised by the Peace of St. Germain.

3.  We have reached the period of the “Wan of the League,” as the four
later civil wars are often called.  The last of the four is alone of any
real importance.

Just as the Peace of La Rochelle was concluded, the Duc d’Anjou, having
been elected King of Poland, left France; it was not long before troubles
began again.  The Duc d’Alencon was vexed by his mother’s neglect; as
heir presumptive to the crown he thought he deserved better treatment,
and sought to give himself consideration by drawing towards the middle
party; Catherine seemed to be intriguing for the ruin of that
party--nothing was safe while she was moving.  The King had never held up
his head since the St. Bartholomew; it was seen that he now was dying,
and the Queen-mother took the opportunity of laying hands on the middle
party.  She arrested Alencon, Montmorency, and Henri of Navarre, together
with some lesser chiefs; in the midst of it all Charles IX. died (1574),
in misery, leaving the ill-omened crown to Henri of Anjou, King of
Poland, his next brother, his mother’s favourite, the worst of a bad
breed.  At the same time the fifth civil war broke out, interesting
chiefly because it was during its continuance that the famous League was
actually formed.

Henri III., when he heard of his brother’s death, was only too eager to
slip away like a culprit from Poland, though he showed no alacrity in
returning to France, and dallied with the pleasures of Italy for months.
An attempt to draw him over to the side of the Politiques failed
completely; he attached himself on the contrary to the Guises, and
plunged into the grossest dissipation, while he posed himself before men
as a good and zealous Catholic.  The Politiques and Huguenots therefore
made a compact in 1575, at Milhaud on the Tarn, and chose the Prince de
Conde as their head; Henri of Navarre escaped from Paris, threw off his
forced Catholicism, and joined them.  Against them the strict Catholics
seemed powerless; the Queen-mother closed this war with the Peace of
Chastenoy (May, 1576), with terms unusually favourable for both
Politiques and Huguenots: for the latter, free worship throughout France,
except at Paris; for the chiefs of the former, great governments, for
Alencon a large central district, for Conde, Picardy, for Henri of
Navarre, Guienne.

To resist all this the high Catholic party framed the League they had
long been meditating; it is said that the Cardinal de Lorraine had
sketched it years before, at the time of the later sittings of the
Council of Trent.  Lesser compacts had already been made from time to
time; now it was proposed to form one great League, towards which all
should gravitate.  The head of the League was Henri, Duc de Guise the
second, “Balafre,” who had won that title in fighting against the German
reiters the year before, when they entered France under Condo.  He
certainly hoped at this time to succeed to the throne of France, either
by deposing the corrupt and feeble Henri III., “as Pippin dealt with
Hilderik,” or by seizing the throne, when the King’s debaucheries should
have brought him to the grave.  The Catholics of the more advanced type,
and specially the Jesuits, now in the first flush of credit and success,
supported him warmly.  The headquarters of the movement were in Picardy;
its first object, opposition to the establishment of Conde as governor of
that province.  The League was also very popular with the common folk,
especially in the towns of the north. It soon found that Paris was its
natural centre; thence it spread swiftly across the whole natural France;
it was warmly supported by Philip of Spain.  The States General, convoked
at Blois in 1576, could bring no rest to France; opinion was just as much
divided there as in the country; and the year 1577 saw another petty war,
counted as the sixth, which was closed by the Peace of Bergerac, another
ineffectual truce which settled nothing.  It was a peace made with the
Politiques and Huguenots by the Court; it is significant of the new state
of affairs that the League openly refused to be bound by it, and
continued a harassing, objectless warfare.  The Duc d’Anjou (he had taken
that title on his brother Henri’s accession to the throne) in 1578
deserted the Court party, towards which his mother had drawn him, and
made friends with the Calvinists in the Netherlands.  The southern
provinces named him “Defender of their liberties;” they had hopes he
might wed Elizabeth of England; they quite mistook their man.  In 1579
“the Gallants’ War” broke out; the Leaguers had it all their own way; but
Henri III., not too friendly to them, and urged by his brother Anjou, to
whom had been offered sovereignty over the seven united provinces in
1580, offered the insurgents easy terms, and the Treaty of Fleix closed
the seventh war.  Anjou in the Netherlands could but show his weakness;
nothing went well with him; and at last, having utterly wearied out his
friends, he fled, after the failure of his attempt to secure Antwerp,
into France.  There he fell ill of consumption and died in 1584.

This changed at once the complexion of the succession question. Hitherto,
though no children seemed likely to be born to him, Henri III. was young
and might live long, and his brother was there as his heir. Now, Henri
III. was the last Prince of the Valois, and Henri of Navarre in
hereditary succession was heir presumptive to the throne, unless the
Salic law were to be set aside.  The fourth son of Saint Louis, Robert,
Comte de Clermont, who married Beatrix, heiress of Bourbon, was the
founder of the House of Bourbon.  Of this family the two elder branches
had died out: John, who had been a central figure in the War of the
Public Weal, in 1488; Peter, husband of Anne of France, in 1503; neither
of them leaving heirs male.  Of the younger branch Francois died in 1525,
and the famous Constable de Bourbon in 1527.  This left as the only
representatives of the family, the Comtes de La Marche; of these the
elder had died out in 1438, and the junior alone survived in the Comtes
de Vendome.  The head of this branch, Charles, was made Duc de Vendome by
Francois I. in 1515; he was father of Antoine, Duc de Vendome, who, by
marrying the heroic Jeanne d’Albret, became King of Navarre, and of
Louis, who founded the House of Conde; lastly, Antoine was the father of
Henri IV.  He was, therefore, a very distant cousin to Henri III; the
Houses of Capet, of Alencon, of Orleans, of Angouleme, of Maine, and of
Burgundy, as well as the elder Bourbons, had to fall extinct before Henri
of Navarre could become heir to the crown.  All this, however, had now
happened; and the Huguenots greatly rejoiced in the prospect of a
Calvinist King.  The Politique party showed no ill-will towards him; both
they and the Court party declared that if he would become once more a
Catholic they would rally to him; the Guises and the League were
naturally all the more firmly set against him; and Henri of Navarre saw
that he could not as yet safely endanger his influence with the
Huguenots, while his conversion would not disarm the hostility of the
League.  They had before, this put forward as heir to the throne Henri’s
uncle, the wretched old Cardinal de Bourbon, who had all the faults and
none of the good qualities of his brother Antoine.  Under cover of his
name the Duc de Guise hoped to secure the succession for himself; he also
sold himself and his party to Philip of Spain, who was now in fullest
expectation of a final triumph over his foes.  He had assassinated
William the Silent; any day Elizabeth or Henri of Navarre might be found
murdered; the domination of Spain over Europe seemed almost secured.  The
pact of Joinville, signed between Philip, Guise, and Mayenne, gives us
the measure of the aims of the high Catholic party.  Paris warmly sided
with them; the new development of the League, the “Sixteen of Paris,” one
representative for each of the districts of the capital, formed a
vigorous organisation and called for the King’s deposition; they invited
Henri, Duc de Guise, to Paris.  Soon after this Henri III. humbled
himself, and signed the Treaty of Nemours (1585) with the Leaguers.  He
hereby became nominal head of the League and its real slave.

The eighth war, the “War of the Three Henries,” that is, of Henri III.
and Henri de Guise against Henri of Navarre, now broke out.  The Pope
made his voice heard; Sixtus excommunicated the Bourbons, Henri and
Conde, and blessed the Leaguers.

For the first time there was some real life in one of these civil ware,
for Henri of Navarre rose nobly to the level of his troubles.  At first
the balance of successes was somewhat in favour of the Leaguers; the
political atmosphere grew even more threatening, and terrible things,
like lightning flashes, gleamed out now and again.  Such, for example,
was the execution of Mary Stuart, Queen of Scots, in 1586.  It was known
that Philip II. was preparing to crush England.  Elizabeth did what she
could to support Henri of Navarre; he had the good fortune to win the
battle of Contras, in which the Duc de Joyeuse, one of the favourites of
Henri III., was defeated and killed.  The Duc de Guise, on the other
hand, was too strong for the Germans, who had marched into France to join
the Huguenots, and defeated them at Vimroy and Auneau, after which he
marched in triumph to Paris, in spite of the orders and opposition of.
the King, who, finding himself powerless, withdrew to Chartres.  Once
more Henri III. was obliged to accept such terms as the Leaguers chose to
impose; and with rage in his heart he signed the “Edict of Union” (1588),
in which he named the Duc de Guise lieutenant-general of the kingdom, and
declared that no heretic could succeed to the throne.  Unable to endure
the humiliation, Henri III. that same winter, assassinated the Duc and
the Cardinal de Guise, and seized many leaders of the League, though he
missed the Duc de Mayenne.  This scandalous murder of the “King of
Paris,” as the capital fondly called the Duke, brought the wretched King
no solace or power.  His mother did not live to see the end of her son;
she died in this the darkest period of his career, and must have been
aware that her cunning and her immoral life had brought nothing but
misery to herself and all her race.  The power of the League party seemed
as great as ever; the Duc de Mayenne entered Paris, and declared open war
on Henri III., who, after some hesitation, threw himself into the hands
of his cousin Henri of Navarre in the spring of 1589.  The old Politique
party now rallied to the King; the Huguenots were stanch for their old
leader; things looked less dark for them since the destruction of the
Spanish Armada in the previous summer.  The Swiss, aroused by the threats
of the Duke of Savoy at Geneva, joined the Germans, who once more entered
northeastern France; the leaguers were unable to make head either against
them or against the armies of the two Kings; they fell back on Paris, and
the allies hemmed them in.  The defence of the capital was but languid;
the populace missed their idol, the Duc de Guise, and the moderate party,
never extinguished, recovered strength.  All looked as if the royalists
would soon reduce the last stronghold of the League, when Henri III. was
suddenly slain by the dagger of a fanatical half-wined priest.

The King had only time to commend Henri of Navarre to his courtiers as
his heir, and to exhort him to become a Catholic, before he closed his
eyes, and ended the long roll of his vices and crimes.  And thus in crime
and shame the House of Valois went down.  For a few years, the throne
remained practically vacant: the heroism of Henri of Navarre, the loss of
strength in the Catholic powers, the want of a vigorous head to the
League,--these things all sustained the Bourbon in his arduous struggle;
the middle party grew in strength daily, and when once Henri had allowed
himself to be converted, he became the national sovereign, the national
favourite, and the high Catholics fell to the fatal position of an
unpatriotic faction depending on the arm of the foreigner.

4.  The civil wars were not over, for the heat of party raged as yet
unslaked; the Politiques could not all at once adopt a Huguenot King, the
League party had pledged itself to resist the heretic, and Henri at first
had little more than the Huguenots at his back.  There were also
formidable claimants for the throne.  Charles II.  Duc de Lorraine, who
had married Claude, younger daughter of Henri IL, and who was therefore
brother-in-law to Henri III., set up a vague claim; the King of Spain,
Philip II., thought that the Salic law had prevailed long enough in
France, and that his own wife, the elder daughter of Henri III. had the
best claim to the throne; the Guises, though their head was gone, still
hoping for the crown, proclaimed their sham-king, the Cardinal de
Bourbon, as Charles X., and intrigued behind the shadow of his name.  The
Duc de Mayenne, their present chief, was the most formidable of Henri’s
opponents; his party called for a convocation of States General, which
should choose a King to succeed, or to replace, their feeble Charles X.
During this struggle the high Catholic party, inspired by Jesuit advice,
stood forward as the admirers of constitutional principles; they called
on the nation to decide the question as to the succession; their Jesuit
friends wrote books on the sovereignty of the people.  They summoned up
troops from every side; the Duc de Lorraine sent his son to resist Henri
and support his own claim; the King of Spain sent a body of men; the
League princes brought what force they could.  Henri of Navarre at the
same moment found himself weakened by the silent withdrawal from his camp
of the army of Henri III.; the Politique nobles did not care at first to
throw in their lot with the Huguenot chieftain; they offered to confer on
Henri the post of commander-in-chief, and to reserve the question as to
the succession; they let him know that they recognised his hereditary
rights, and were hindered only by his heretical opinions; if he would but
be converted they were his.  Henri temporised; his true strength, for the
time, lay in his Huguenot followers, rugged and faithful fighting men,
whose belief was the motive power of their allegiance and of their
courage.  If he joined the Politiques at their price, the price of
declaring himself Catholic, the Huguenots would be offended if not
alienated.  So he neither absolutely refused nor said yes; and the chief
Catholic nobles in the main stood aloof, watching the struggle between
Huguenot and Leaguer, as it worked out its course.

Henri, thus weakened, abandoned the siege of Paris, and fell back; with
the bulk of his forces he marched into Normandy, so as to be within reach
of English succour; a considerable army went into Champagne, to be ready
to join any Swiss or German help that might come.  These were the great
days in the life of Henri of Navarre.  Henri showed himself a hero, who
strove for a great cause--the cause of European freedom--as well as for
his own crown.

The Duc de Mayenne followed the Huguenots down into the west, and found
Henri awaiting him in a strong position at Arques, near Dieppe; here at
bay, the “Bearnais” inflicted a heavy blow on his assailants; Mayenne
fell back into Picardy; the Prince of Lorraine drew off altogether; and
Henri marched triumphantly back to Paris, ravaged the suburbs and then
withdrew to Tours, where he was recognised as King by the Parliament. His
campaign of 1589 had been most successful; he had defeated the League in
a great battle, thanks to his skilful use of his position at Arques, and
the gallantry of his troops, which more than counterbalanced the great
disparity in numbers.  He had seen dissension break out among his
enemies; even the Pope, Sixtus, had shown him some favour, and the
Politique nobles were certainly not going against him.  Early in 1590
Henri had secured Anjou, Maine, and Normandy, and in March defeated
Mayenne, in a great pitched battle at Ivry, not far from Dreux.  The
Leaguers fell back in consternation to Paris.  Henri reduced all the
country round the capital, and sat down before it for a stubborn siege.
The Duke of Parma had at that time his hands full in the Low Countries;
young Prince Maurice was beginning to show his great abilities as a
soldier, and had got possession of Breda; all, however, had to be
suspended by the Spaniards on that side, rather than let Henri of Navarre
take Paris.  Parma with great skill relieved the capital without striking
a blow, and the campaign of 1590 ended in a failure for Henri.  The
success of Parma, however, made Frenchmen feel that Henri’s was the
national cause, and that the League flourished only by interference of
the foreigner.  Were the King of Navarre but a Catholic, he should be a
King of France of whom they might all be proud.  This feeling was
strengthened by the death of the old Cardinal de Bourbon, which reopened
at once the succession question, and compelled Philip of Spain to show
his hand.  He now claimed the throne for his daughter Elisabeth, as
eldest daughter of the eldest daughter of Henri II.  All the neighbours
of France claimed something; Frenchmen felt that it was either Henri IV.
or dismemberment.  The “Bearnais” grew in men’s minds to be the champion
of the Salic law, of the hereditary principle of royalty against feudal
weakness, of unity against dismemberment, of the nation against the
foreigner.

The middle party, the Politiques of Europe,--the English, that is, and
the Germans,--sent help to Henri, by means of which he was able to hold
his own in the northwest and southwest throughout 1591.  Late in the year
the violence of the Sixteen of Paris drew on them severe punishment from
the Duc de Mayenne; and consequently the Duke ceased to be the recognised
head of the League, which now looked entirely to Philip II. and Parma,
while Paris ceased to be its headquarters; and more moderate counsels
having taken the place of its fierce fanaticism, the capital came under
the authority of the lawyers and citizens, instead of the priesthood and
the bloodthirsty mob.  Henri, meanwhile, who was closely beleaguering
Rouen, was again outgeneralled by Parma, and had to raise the siege.
Parma, following him westward, was wounded at Caudebec; and though he
carried his army triumphantly back to the Netherlands, his career was
ended by this trifling wound.  He did no more, and died in 1592.

In 1593, Mayenne, having sold his own claims to Philip of Spain, the
opposition to Henri looked more solid and dangerous than ever; he
therefore thought the time was come for the great step which should rally
to him all the moderate Catholics.  After a decent period of negotiation
and conferences, he declared himself convinced, and heard mass at St.
Denis.  The conversion had immediate effect; it took the heart out of the
opposition; city after city came in; the longing for peace was strong in
every breast, and the conversion seemed to remove the last obstacle.  The
Huguenots, little as they liked it, could not oppose the step, and hoped
to profit by their champion’s improved position.  Their ablest man,
Sully, had even advised Henri to make the plunge.  In 1594, Paris opened
her gates to Henri, who had been solemnly crowned, just before, at
Chartres.  He was welcomed with immense enthusiasm, and from that day
onwards has ever been the favourite hero of the capital.  By 1595 only
one foe remained,--the Spanish Court.  The League was now completely
broken up; the Parliament of Paris gladly aided the King to expel the
Jesuits from France.  In November, 1595, Henri declared war against
Spain, for anything was better than the existing state of things, in
which Philip’s hand secretly supported all opposition: The war in 1596
was far from being successful for Henri; he was comforted, however, by
receiving at last the papal absolution, which swept away the last
scruples of France.

By rewards and kindliness,--for Henri was always willing to give and had
a pleasant word for all, most of the reluctant nobles, headed by the Duc
de Mayenne himself, came in in the course of 1596.  Still the war pressed
very heavily, and early in 1597 the capture of Amiens by the Spaniards
alarmed Paris, and roused the King to fresh energies.  With help of Sully
(who had not yet received the title by which he is known in history)
Henri recovered Amiens, and checked the Spanish advance.  It was noticed
that while the old Leaguers came very heartily to the King’s help, the
Huguenots hung back in a discontented and suspicious spirit.  After the
fall of Amiens the war languished; the Pope offered to mediate, and Henri
had time to breathe.  He felt that his old comrades, the offended
Huguenots, had good cause for complaint; and in April, 1598, he issued
the famous Edict of Nantes, which secured their position for nearly a
century.  They got toleration for their opinions; might worship openly in
all places, with the exception of a few towns in which the League had
been strong; were qualified to hold office in financial posts and in the
law; had a Protestant chamber in the Parliaments.

Immediately after the publication of the Edict of Nantes, the Treaty of
Vervins was signed.  Though Henri by it broke faith with Queen Elizabeth,
he secured an honourable peace for his country, an undisputed kingship
for himself.  It was the last act of Philip II., the confession that his
great schemes were unfulfilled, his policy a failure.



THE ETEXT EDITOR’S BOOKMARKS:

Adversity is solitary, while prosperity dwells in a crowd
Comeliness of his person, which at all times pleads powerfully
Envy and malice are self-deceivers
Everything in the world bore a double aspect
From faith to action the bridge is short
Hearsay liable to be influenced by ignorance or malice
Honours and success are followed by envy
Hopes they (enemies) should hereafter become our friends
I should praise you more had you praised me less
It is the usual frailty of our sex to be fond of flattery
Lovers are not criminal in the estimation of one another
Mistrust is the sure forerunner of hatred
Much is forgiven to a king
Necessity is said to be the mother of invention
Never approached any other man near enough to know a difference
Not to repose too much confidence in our friends
Parliament aided the King to expel the Jesuits from France
Prefer truth to embellishment
Rather out of contempt, and because it was good policy
Situated as I was betwixt fear and hope
The pretended reformed religion
The Massacre of St. Bartholomew’s Day
The record of the war is as the smoke of a furnace
There is too much of it for earnest, and not enough for jest
Those who have given offence to hate the offended party
To embellish my story I have neither leisure nor ability
Troubles might not be lasting
Young girls seldom take much notice of children





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