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Title: Queens of the Renaissance
Author: Ryley, M. Beresford
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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         QUEENS OF THE



         METHUEN & CO.

   _First Published in 1907_


To B----


  PREFACE                             ix

  CATHERINE OF SIENA                   1

  BEATRICE D'ESTE                     53

  ANNE OF BRITTANY                   104

  LUCREZIA BORGIA                    150

  MARGARET D'ANGOULÊME               202



There are no two people who see with the same kind of vision. It is
for this reason that, though twenty lives of the six women chosen for
this book had been written previously, there would still, it seems to
me, be room for a twenty-first. For though the facts might remain
identical, there is no possible reiteration of another mind's exact
outlook. Hence I have not scrupled to add these six character studies
to the many volumes similar in scope and subject.

The book is called "Queens of the Renaissance," but Catherine of Siena
lived before the Renaissance surged into being, and Anne of Brittany,
though her two husbands brought its spirit into France, had not
herself a hint of its lovely, penetrating eagerness. They are included
because they help, nevertheless, to create continuity and coherence of
impression, and the six leading, as they do naturally, one to the
other, convey, in the mass, some co-ordinated notion of the
Renaissance spirit.

The main object, perhaps, in writing at all lies in the intrinsic
interest of any real life lived before us. For every existence is a
_parti pris_ towards existence; every character is a personal opinion
upon the value of character, feeling, virtue, many things. No
personality repeats another, no human drama renews just the same
intricate complications of other dramas. In every life and in every
person there is some element of uniqueness, some touch of speciality.
Because of this even the dullest individuality becomes quickening in
biography. It has, if no more, the pathos of its dulness, the didactic
warnings of its refusals, the surprise of its individualizing

All the following lives convey inevitably and unconsciously some
statement concerning the opportunity offered by existence. To one, it
seemed a place for an ecstasy of joy, success, gratification; to
another, a great educational establishment for the soul; to a third,
an admirable groundwork for practical domestic arrangements and
routine; to Renée of Ferrara, a bewildering, weary accumulation of
difficulties and distress; to her more charming relative, an enigma
shadowed always by the still greater and grimmer enigma of mortality.
And lastly, for the strange, elusive Lucrezia, it is difficult to
conceive what it must have meant at all, unless a sequence of
circumstances never, under any conditions, to be dwelt upon in their
annihilating entirety, but just to be taken piecemeal day by day,
reduced and simplified by the littleness of separate hours and

In a book of this kind, where the intention is mainly concerned with
character, and for which the reading was inevitably full of bypaths
and excursions, a complete bibliography would merely fill many pages,
while seeming to a great extent to touch but remotely upon the ladies
referred to, but among recent authors a deep debt of gratitude for
information received is due to the following: Jacob Burckhardt, Julia
Cartwright, Augusta Drane, Ferdinand Gregorovius, R. Luzio, E. Renier,
E. Rodoconarchi, and J. Addington Symonds.

Finally, in reference to the portraits included in the life of
Beatrice D'Este, a brief statement is necessary. For not only that of
Bianca, wife of Giangaleazzo, but also those of Il Moro's two
mistresses, Cecilia Gallerani and Lucrezia Crivelli, are regrettably
dubious. The picture of Bianca, however, by Ambrogio da Predis, is
more than likely genuinely that of Bianca, though some writers still
regard it as a likeness of Beatrice herself. It is to be wished that
it were; her prettiness then would have been incontestable and
delicious. But in reality there is no hope. One has but to look at the
other known portraits of Beatrice to see that her face was podgy, or
nearly so, and that her charm came entirely and illusively from
personal intelligence. It evaporated the moment one came to fix her
appearance in sculpture or on canvas. Nature had not really done much
for her. There was no outline, no striking feature, no ravishing
freshness of colouring. On a stupid woman Beatrice's face would have
been absolutely ugly. But she, through sheer "aliveness," sheer
buoyant trickery of expression, conveyed in actuality the equivalent
of prettiness. But it was all unconscious conjuring,--in reality
Beatrice was a plain woman, with sufficient delightfulness to seem a
pretty one, while the portrait of Bianca is unmistakably and lovingly

As regards the portraits, again, of Il Moro's two mistresses, Cecilia
Gallerani and Lucrezia Crivelli, there is no absolute certainty. The
portrait facing page 6 in the life of Beatrice has been recently
discovered in the collection of the Right Hon. the Earl of Roden, and
in an article published by the _Burlington Magazine_ it has been
tentatively looked upon as that of Lucrezia Crivelli. This does not,
however, appear probable, because Lucrezia, at the time of Il Moro's
infatuation, was a young girl, and the picture by Ambrogio da Predis
is certainly that of a woman, and a woman, moreover, whose experiences
have brought her perilously near the verge of cynicism.

At the same time, the portrait is not only beyond doubt that of a
woman loved by Il Moro, but was presumably painted while his affection
for her still continued, as not only are the little heart-shaped
ornaments holding together the webs of her net thought to represent Il
Moro's badge of a mulberry-leaf, but painted exquisitely in a space of
⅜ by ⅝ inch upon the plaque at the waistbelt is a Moor's head,
another of Ludovico's badges, while the letters L. O. are placed on
either side of it, and the two Sforza S. S. at the back. A discarded
mistress, if Ambrogio--one of Il Moro's court painters--had painted
her at all, would have had the discretion not to wear symbols
obviously intended only for one beloved at that moment.

There seems--speculatively--every reason to suppose that the picture
represents Cecilia Gallerani, who was already beyond the charm of
youth before Ludovico reluctantly discarded her, and whom he not only
cared for very greatly, but for quite a number of years. Cecilia
Gallerani, besides, to strengthen the supposition, was an
exceptionally intellectual woman, and the portrait in the possession
of the Earl of Roden expresses above everything to an almost
disheartened intelligence. To think deeply while in the position of
_any_ man's mistress must leave embittering traces, and Cecilia became
famous less even for physical attractions than because her mind was so
intensely rich and receptive.

The other two--the pictures of "La Belle Ferronière" and the "Woman
with the Weasel,"--by Leonardo da Vinci, have both a contested
identity. But since the first is now almost universally looked upon as
being the portrait of Lucrezia Crivelli, the second must surely
represent her also. For in both there is the same beautiful oval, the
same youth, the same unfathomable eyes and gentle deceit of
expression. Both, besides, represent to perfection the kind of
beautiful girl likely to have drawn Ludovico into passionate
admiration. He was no longer young when he cared for Lucrezia, and if
Leonardo's paintings are really portraits of her, she was like some
emblematical figure of perfect youthfulness,--unique and unrepeatable.

                                                    M. B. R.


                                                        TO FACE PAGE
      ZENALE AT BRERA                                 _Frontispiece_
    _From a Photograph by Messrs. Anderson_

    _From a Photograph by Messrs. Lombardi_

  ST. CATHERINE'S HOUSE AT SIENA                                  16
    _From a Photograph by Messrs. Lombardi_


  THE BRIDGE AT PAVIA                                             61

  BEATRICE D'ESTE. BUST IN THE LOUVRE                             64
    _From a Photograph by Messrs. Levy_

      AMBROGIO DA PREDIS                                          90
    _From the Collection of the Earl of Roden_

  LUCREZIA CRIVELLI, BY LEONARDO DA VINCI                         96
    _From a Photograph by Messrs. Mansell_

      SANSEVERINO                                                 98
    _From a Photograph by Messrs. Mansell_

  CHURCH OF ST. MARIA DELLE GRAZIE AT MILAN                      100
    _From a Photograph by Messrs. Brogi_


      BIBLIOTHÈQUE NATIONALE, PARIS                              120
    _From a Photograph by Messrs. Berthaud_

      NATIONALE                                                  128
    _From a Photograph by Messrs. Berthaud_

      NATIONALE                                                  140
    _From a Photograph by Messrs. Berthaud_

      ELDERS," BY PINTORRICCHIO                                  152
    _From a Photograph by Messrs. Brogi_

      AT THE VATICAN                                             159
    _From a Photograph by Messrs. Anderson_

      BY PINTORRICCHIO AT THE VATICAN                            171
    _From a Photograph by Messrs. Anderson_

      PAINTED BY PINTORRICCHIO AT THE VATICAN                    188
    _From a Photograph by Messrs. Anderson_

  HEAD OF GASTON DE FOIX                                         206
    _From the Monument at Milan_

  CHARLES V.                                                     226
    _From a Photograph by Messrs. Giraudon_

      DE LYON                                                    248
    _From a Photograph by Messrs. Giraudon_

    _From a Photograph by Messrs. Giraudon_

  THE CASTELLO AT FERRARA                                        260

      BIBLIOTHÈQUE NATIONALE                                     294
    _From a Photograph by Messrs. Giraudon_




Catherine of Siena does not actually belong to the Renaissance. At the
same time she played an indirect part in furthering it, and she
represented a strain of feeling which continued to the extreme limits
of its duration. During the best period of the desire for culture, a
successor--and imitator--of Catherine's, Sister Lucia, became a craze
in certain parts of Italy. Duke Ercole of Ferrara, then old and
troubled about his soul, took as deep and personal an interest in
enticing her to Ferrara as he did in the details of his son's marriage
to Lucrezia Borgia, just then being negotiated. The atmosphere
Catherine created is never absent from the Renaissance. She fills out
what is one-sided in the impression conveyed by the women who follow.
She was also the contemporary of Petrarch and Boccaccio, the
acknowledged forerunners of the intellectual awakening that came after
them, and being so, is well within the dawn, faint though it still
was, of the coming Renaissance day. Finally, in her own person she
contained so much power and fascination that to omit her, when there
exists the least excuse for inclusion, would be wilfully to neglect
one of the most enchanting characters among the women of Italian

The daughter of a well-to-do tradesman, Giacomo Benincasa, Catherine
was born in Siena in 1347. Her father possessed several pleasant
qualities, and a great reserve of speech, hating inherently all
licence of expression. Catherine's mother, Lapa, on the other hand,
belonged to an ordinary type of working woman--laborious, but
irritable and narrow. She brought twenty-five children into the world,
and her irascibility may have been not unconnected with this heroic
achievement. The sons also, after their marriages, continued to live,
with their wives--it being the custom at that time--under the parental
roof. Even a sociable temperament would easily have found such a
community difficult always to handle cordially.


Catherine was Benincasa's youngest child. As a baby she proved
extraordinarily attractive. She was, in fact, so sweet and radiant
that the neighbours nicknamed her Euphrosyne, and her little person
was much enticed and humoured. Unfortunately, like all children of
that period, she became bewilderingly precocious, and with the first
development of intelligence, the religious passion revealed itself.
With Catherine the desire for spirituality was inborn. At five years
old she formed the habit of going upstairs on her knees, reciting the
"Hail, Mary," at every step. She delighted in being taken to churches
and places of devotion, and at the age of six years her deliberate and
piteous self-martyrdom commenced.

The child, during an errand on which she was sent, believed herself to
have seen a holy vision. The incident had nothing extraordinary, for
her imagination was keen, and her temperament nervous. In a later
century, fed upon fairy stories, she would have seen gnomes, sprites,
or golden-haired princesses. Instead, saturated in religious legends,
she perceived Jesus Christ in magnificent robes, and with a tiara on
His head, while on each side of Him stood a saint, and several nuns in
white garments. This unchallenged vision produced colossal
consequences. The child went home convinced that God Himself had come
to call her to a better life; proud, frightened, and exultant, she set
her mind to find out, therefore, how she might best become as good as
God wanted her to be.

This beginning of Catherine's religious life is painful to remember.
She decided primarily that she must give up childish amusements; in
addition, she determined to eat the least possible amount of food, and
to fill up her life with penances in the manner of the grown-up holy
men and women about her. She also procured some cord, and, having
knotted it into a miniature scourge, formed the habit of secretly
scourging herself until her back was lined with weals. Describing
these first spiritual struggles of a child of six years old,
Cafferini, her contemporary and biographer, says, "Moreover, by a
secret instinct of grace, she understood that she had now entered on a
warfare with nature, which demanded the mortification of every sense.
She resolved, therefore, to add fasting and watching to her other
penances, and in particular to abstain entirely from meat, so that
when any was placed before her, she either gave it to her brother
Stephen, who sat beside her, or threw it under the table to the cats,
in such a manner as to avoid notice."

This pitiable "warfare with nature" continued until she reached the
age of twelve. Her parents, so far, had been pleased at her religious
fervency. But at twelve years old the girl became marriageable. The
comparative freedom of childhood ceased; Catherine was kept secluded
in the house, besides being harried with injunctions concerning the
arrangement of her hair and her dress.

She had, as a matter of fact, charming, warm brown hair.
Unfortunately, a shade of gold was then fashionable, and Lapa,
ambitious for a good marriage, insisted that the girl should do like
others, and have it dyed that colour. Catherine resisted with all the
strength of her frightened soul. But in the end, apparently through
the persuasions of a favourite married sister, she allowed her hair to
become golden. It was no sooner done than conscience suffered
passionate remorse. In fact, to the end of life this one backsliding
remained almost the sharpest regret Catherine possessed. She could
never refer to it without sobbing, from which it is at least
presumable that a canary-coloured head had its attractions for a saint
of twelve years old.

Meanwhile, the choice of a husband became imminent. At this
Catherine's semi-passivity turned into actual panic. It was not
possible both to marry and to give up one's life to God. Only, who
would listen to the refusals of so young a girl? Following the
practice of the Roman Catholic religion, she took her difficulties to
her confessor, and was saved through the proposal of a rather
questionable trick. She had only to cut her hair off to make marriage
impossible: no Italian would marry a woman with a shaven head.
Catherine rushed home, and at once did as she was told, covering her
work, when she had finished, with a white linen coif. Virgins in Italy
wore their hair flowing; the stratagem, therefore, did not exist an
hour before discovery took place. Then followed a passionate domestic
scene. The whole family appears for once to have unanimously agreed
that Catherine's piety had overstepped the bounds of common sense. The
loss of her child's hair left Lapa infuriated. Exasperation grew so
intense that for a time, with the view to breaking her stubborn
spirit, Catherine was deliberately ill-treated. A servant had been
kept for rough work in the kitchen; she was dismissed, and Catherine
made to take her place. But the girl had not a temperament that could
be cowed. She was a true Sienese, and Boccaccio, as well as others,
speaks of the virile character of the people of Siena. The name
Euphrosyne also still expressed her disposition. With a pretty
childishness of imagination, she made religious play out of their
harshness. Her father, she pretended, was Jesus Christ, Lapa she made
the Virgin Mary, and her brothers and sisters the apostles and
disciples. The kitchen became the innermost tabernacle of the temple
where sacrifices were offered to God. In consequence, she went about
diffusing radiance and a sober joy, and bewildering those who wanted
to see her crushed and penitent.

In the end Giacomo interfered. He had the instinct of kindness, and
was himself sincerely religious. Both the question of marriage and the
system of ill-treatment were abandoned. A little later he gave consent
to the pursuance of a religious vocation, and Catherine, still a
child, became a member of the order of St. Dominic. It was not a
strict community. The sisters did not live in retirement, but in their
own homes, merely wearing a white veil and a black habit called

Just before this Catherine experienced a very human temptation. She
became possessed by the longing to dress herself in the pretty
clothes of a rich married woman, and to go out flaunting in silks and
extravagance. The wish is more likeable than her physical
self-torturings. The latter gain their power to distress, in fact, to
some extent because her few temptations show that Catherine had all
the average longings of humanity, and was not devoid of the
companionable frailties of ordinary men and women.

The temptation was, of course, conquered, and from the glad moment of
taking her vows Catherine intensified every austerity of conduct. As a
child she had been robust and hardy. But the frightful treatment to
which she subjected her system would have ruined any constitution, and
from the time she grew up she became more and more delicate,
suffering, and neurotic. The desire to suppress her excesses is very
great. One could write abundantly and give only a life overflowing in
fragrant incidents. But in the case of Catherine, to pass over
foolishness would entail not only a falsification of character, but a
falsification also of the curious atmosphere from which she drew the
principal inspirations of her conduct.

From the age of twelve she forced herself gradually to eat so little,
that her stomach became finally incapable of retaining solid food at
all. How she kept life in her body for the last half of her existence
is difficult to understand. Her bed, from the time she became a nun,
consisted of a few planks with a log of wood for pillow. An iron band
made part of her wearing apparel, and her discipline--if the one now
shown as hers in the sacristy of St. Dominico is genuine--consisted of
an iron chain with sharp projections for piercing and tearing the
flesh. The idea was monstrous and horrible; nevertheless, its
fortitude uplifts it into heroism. To pursue unflinchingly martyrdom
such as this may be grotesque and ridiculous, but no invertebrate
creature could contemplate it. Of all the violences, however, which
Catherine did to her body, the one under which she suffered most
acutely was her refusal of proper sleep. It is said, though it is
extremely hard to believe, that for a certain length of time she took
only half an hour's sleep in the twenty-four hours, and that--only
every other day.

Notwithstanding this, a picture given of her at the time by Father
Thomas Antonio Cafferini, also a member of St. Dominic, and an
intimate friend of the family, is altogether charming. He asserts that
her face was always gay and smiling, more especially if she were
called upon to help those troubled or out of health. Other
contemporaries bear out this possession of an effulgent gladness.
When she spoke her face became illuminated, and her smile was like
some living radiance passing into the hearts of those she looked at.
The same writer mentions her delight in singing and her love of
flowers. A certain Fra Bartolomeo of Siena bears similar witness. He
wrote, "She was always cheerful, and even merry." He mentioned,
besides, that she "was passionately fond of flowers, and used to
arrange them into exquisite bouquets." Catherine's personal writings
are strewn with references to plants and blossoms. It was also part of
the fulness of a character unusually rich in finer fascinations that
she was constantly singing. Melancholy she scarcely knew. The
spirituality which did not produce happiness, she could only feel as a
spurious effort. Either it lacked love or understanding.

For years she lived as a recluse in her father's house, but while
still in her teens it appeared to her--presumably through a natural
wisdom of character--that God needed less personal worship than
continuous benefits to others, out of her religious exaltation, and
from that time Catherine's public career commenced. Almost the first
result of her belief in being called to an active existence was her
constant attendance at the hospitals and among the lepers. One of the
prettiest of all the stories told about her deals with her nursing
labours. Pity had very small vitality either during the Middle Ages or
the Renaissance; it was almost a dead quality of character, and the
Sienese were particularly hardened by harsh experiences.

A woman who had lived a notoriously bad life lay dying in one of the
hospitals, absolutely and deliberately neglected. A sinner laid low
was scum to spit at for most people. Catherine saw no scum on earth.
She smiled with all her native inborn softness at the dying woman,
listened to her desolate complainings, her maundering reminiscences,
gave her the nourishment she liked best, coddled her with sweet
attentions, and finally, without any violent denunciations, brought
her to repentance and tranquillity. A child might as tenderly have
been coaxed out of a phase of naughtiness.

The incident brings one naturally to Catherine's reputation as a
peacemaker. She was still a young girl when tales of her
persuasiveness were told to amazed, arrested audiences throughout the
country. The Sienese temper was fundamentally savage; nothing,
therefore, could touch fancy more than stories of a nature capable of
acting as a gentle and cooling balm upon outrageousness. Catherine, as
a matter of fact, possessed both the magnetism of intense belief and
the power of innate urbanity. The first awed superstition by
incomprehensible achievements. Forestalling the Christian Scientists,
she had healed the sick by prayer, while her mere enticements brought
about the end of many virulent dissensions.

To dabble with mystical methods is an old and universal weakness. The
wife of a certain Francesco Tolomei, head of one of the noblest
families in Siena, heard of Catherine's miracles, and being hard
pressed by domestic difficulties, turned to the dyer's daughter for
assistance. Madonna Tolomei was herself a profoundly religious woman,
but she anguished with the consciousness that the rest of her family
were damned. The eldest son, Giacomo, had murdered two men before he
was grown up, and his cruelty had now become diabolical, ingenious,
and systematic. There were also two daughters, bitten with worldliness
to the marrow of their bones. Both were fast, dyed, and painted.
Catherine offered to see the girls, but expressed no confidence as to
the consequences. She found them with the garish hair that always
touched her to the quick, and possibly felt more yearningly because of
it. No account has been given of the interview. The two sisters, with
the Tolomei blood in their veins, could hardly have been easy natures
to lure out of worldliness; but at the end of Catherine's visit, they
were like lambs in the hands of a skilful shepherd. According to
Cafferini, they threw their cosmetics into the gutter, cut off their
gleaming hair, and in a few days joined the Sisters of St. Dominic.
This is the kind of triumph of which Catherine's life is full. Her
personal magnetism was extraordinary, her insight actually a touch of
genius. At this time also she was young, and herself a living exponent
of how seductively gay goodness could make one. To the end, in truth,
she remained less a nun than a woman, and as a woman she was the
embodiment of enchanting sympathies and comfort. Merely to see
her,--soft, sweet, mysteriously comprehending,--was like a cordial to
an aching heart. But the most astounding part of the Tolomei story is
still to be told. Giacomo, with his mad and bloody passions, was away
when his sisters' conversion took place. He came home to cow the house
with terror. A lunatic let loose would have been less persistently
dangerous. Donna Tolomei, shaken now with physical and not spiritual
forebodings, immediately sent a messenger to warn Catherine that no
danger was too horrible to anticipate; in his present condition he was
capable of doing anything. Catherine did not feel a quicker
heart-beat. She was steeped in intuitions and spontaneous knowledge.
Ostensibly as an act of exquisite courtesy, she sent Fra
Bartolomeo--who must have been a brave man--to explain matters, while
she prayed with all her heart and soul for the unmanageable sinner.
Some hours later Bartolomeo came back. Catherine met him smiling; she
knew already the news he brought. Her prayers--so passionately
eager--had already been answered. Giacomo--the diabolical, murderous,
implacable Giacomo--was already meek as a lamb under the shock of a
new and overwhelming emotion. It is not the least curious part of the
story that he remained a changed character, and continued to abominate
wickedness with the same intensity that in his earlier days he had
practised it. Towards the end of his life he even took the habit of a
Dominican of the Tertiary Order, the obligations of this third order
not being excessive.

There is another story of this earlier period more enchanting still,
in its original and tragic graciousness. Only before telling it the
question of Catherine's miracles should, perhaps, be dealt with, for
they also commenced when she was scarcely out of childhood, and helped
enormously to render her a recognized celebrity. They and her
austerities are the unlikeable side of Catherine's holiness. At the
same time no saint of the period could have obtained a hearing without
them, and no human system could have endured the strain put upon it by
a mediæval religious enthusiast, without producing self-hypnotism and
catalepsy. Catherine, at an early age, fell into trances, described by
her biographers as "ecstasies at the thought of God." Describing one
of these ecstasies, her friend Raymond wrote "that on these occasions
her body became stiff, and raised in the air, gave out a wonderful
fragrance." All the old Catholic writers, to whom miracles were an
integral part of saintship, were generous in multiplying supernatural
details. A good deal has to be deducted from these statements; but
even then there remain a good many so-called miracles attested by
other and more critical witnesses. That she was seen raised from the
ground while she prayed, is a fact sworn to by a number of people. A
man called Francesco Malevolti affirms that he saw her "innumerable
times" raised from the ground as she prayed, and remaining suspended
in the air more than a cubit above the earth. He mentions, to give
weight to his evidence, that in order to test the reality of the
occurrence, he and some others passed their hands between her and the
floor--a thing perfectly easy to do. As this occurred in broad
daylight, modern spiritualistic _séances_ become clumsy in comparison.
Catherine could do better in the fourteenth century.

The most important miracle of all was, of course, the stigmatization.
That alone definitely assured her position as one with authority from
God; it constituted the final and irrefutable sign of Divine and
miraculous intervention. At the time of its occurrence Catherine was
twenty-eight, and suffered extreme agony from it. The most curious
circumstance about the stigmata in Catherine's case was that they were
not properly visible during her lifetime, but became perfectly clear
after her death. In this one matter her successor, St. Lucia, the
religious celebrity of Lucrezia Borgia's day, outdid the woman she
tried to follow. Her stigmata were always visible--bleeding wounds
anybody could look at.


Returning to the loveliest of all the stories concerning Catherine's
girlhood, it must be remembered that the prisons of Siena were almost
more filled with political prisoners than criminals. During the whole
of the Renaissance political prisoners were in themselves almost
sufficient in number decently to fill Italian dungeons. Catherine, who
had the understanding to love sinners, habitually visited condemned
offenders. Those forlorn of any hope in this world she insidiously
replenished with winning dreams of hope hereafter. She did more. When
the day of execution came, she joined the procession to the scaffold.
What it meant, in the unconveyable desolation of that last public
outgoing, to have the company of this woman, with her sweet,
contagious promises in the name of Christ, would be hard to
overestimate. She was at all times embodied comfort to be with, and
even a sharp and reluctant death must have been easier when she was
there to pour out pity and encouragement.

Among the prisoners at one time was a certain Nicholas di Toledo, who
had spoken irreflectively against the Riformatori--the strong
Government party. This Riformatori consisted of a council chosen
originally at a tense political crisis for purposes of urgent
amendments. The nobility had no part in it. Siena, since 1280, when a
reconciliation occurred between the Sienese Guelfs and Ghibellines,
had been a merchant oligarchy, first governed by the _Nove_, then by
_Dodici_, and after both these had been swept away, by the
_Riformatori_, into which some members of both the previous
Governments had been included. The _Riformatori_ began well and ended
badly. The _Noveschi_ and _Dodicini_ members almost immediately worked
against it; civil trouble became interminable. The new power,
exasperated, fell back upon repressive horrors. People were arrested
upon simple suspicion of disapproval, and then publicly tortured in
order to appal others. A common habit was to tear a criminal slowly to
pieces with red-hot pincers while he was bound upon a cart driven
slowly through the principal streets.


In the case of Nicholas di Toledo, he had barely gone from the place
of his impulsive utterance before he was arrested, and he was barely
arrested before he was condemned to death. Such a sentence had never
risen in his thoughts for one sickening moment even; it came with so
awful an unexpectedness that his mind for an interval whirled to the
verge of insanity. Nicholas di Toledo was scarcely more than a boy,
and the first warmth of life ran in every pulse. This bitter,
inconceivable end unnerved him--he could not make up his mind to die.
Suddenly he thought of Catherine, of whom other prisoners may have
babbled, and sent a messenger imploring her to come to him. She wrote
afterwards to her confessor a full description of the brief drama. Her
presence almost immediately calmed and heartened him. Both were young,
and Catherine, if not actually pretty, was delicious with overflowing
tenderness. For Nicholas, besides the optimism communicated to him by
her spiritual promises, there must have been the unconsidered but
poignant fact that she was a woman and he a man. It is undeniable that
no monk, however good, could have helped his dying to the same extent.
Catherine not only rendered it possible to go through with courage,
but in the end tinged it with something almost blessed. She was with
him, it would seem, most of the time, and not only promised to
accompany him to the scaffold when the day of execution came, but
previously took him to Mass, and persuaded him to communicate for the
first occasion in his life.

Nicholas had been nothing deeper than a young society man, and the
wrench of this merciless conclusion was all the greater because of
it. Catherine, in her account of the circumstance, went on to say
that he grew quite resigned, his only dread being lest his courage
should fail him at the supreme moment. He repeated constantly, "Lord,
be with me; abandon me not." To help him she reiterated her assurance
that she would be with him at the last. In a moment his face
brightened, and he asked her with a boyish impulsiveness how it was so
great a sweetness was being vouchsafed to him. With this to look
forward to he could face the end, not only with courage, but with
something strangely akin to pleasure.

They met, as she had promised, at the scaffold next day. Catherine
wrote concerning it that when he saw her his face broke into a smile,
and that he begged her to make the sign of the cross upon his
forehead. She did so, whispering that soon, very soon, he would have
passed to a life that never ends. Then occurred the unforgettable
incident of the story. At the best Nicholas was a creature not
disciplined to suffering, and the worst moment had yet to come.
Leaping to obey an intuition in itself exquisite, Catherine did what
the prudery alone of most religious women would have made unthinkable.
She took the boy's head in her thin, soft hands, and herself laid it
in position upon the block. The action was like a caress in which his
last impressions melted. He murmured the words "Jesus and Catherine."
The knife ripped through the air to his neck, and his head fell into
the same trembling hands that had guided it during its last activity.

On its human side Catherine's spirituality was seldom less than
perfect. Character and beauty emanated from her every spontaneous
action. Nicholas di Toledo was only one of the many men she
fascinated, and the fact renders the question of her personal
appearance peculiarly interesting. The triumphs of a plain woman are
always more stirring than those achieved by a simple success of
feature. The "divine plainness," immortalized by Lamb, can convey
subtleties not possible to the simple regularities of well-cut
features. Catherine proved adorable to most people, but from her
portraits it is practically impossible to receive any impression save
that of dulness. This, at any time, was the last thing she could have
been, but the conventions of the Roman Catholic Church in dealing with
the portraits of saints opposed any lifelike treatment. The picture of
her in the church of St. Domenico at Siena, said to be by Francesco
Vanni, might do equally well for any other emaciated sister. There is
no temperament in it, no illumination, no visible sweetness. The eyes
are half closed, the expression is inert and apathetic. The mouth is
small but meaningless, the nose is long and well formed, the oval of
the face delightful. Vanni did slightly better on another occasion.
There is an engraving by him which is very nearly attractive. The
eyes, owing to the religious demand for humility, are again half
closed, but the mouth is both delightful and winning, and a half-smile
plays about her expression. Given the glamour of vivacity, the
kindling changes of life, and Catherine when young must have been
delightful to look at. Certainly many men loved her. She had the power
of being poignant in recollection, and disturbingly sweet in her
bodily presence.

Even the painter Vanni, wicked enough to have been conversion-proof,
yielded to the disquieting need she roused in him. He had been a great
hater, and the men he hated were assassinated without after-remorse.
For some amazing reason--probably that of curiosity--he consented to
interview Catherine. She was out when he called, and her Confessor
Raymond received him. According to Raymond, who describes the
incident, Vanni soon grew bored, and presently remarked bluntly that
he had promised to call upon Catherine, but since she was out, and he
was a busy man, he could not wait for her any longer.

At that moment Catherine appeared--according to Raymond, much to
Vanni's disgust. But Catherine was all smiles, comfortableness, and
simple ease of manner. Vanni's chances, in fact, of not being
converted ended with her entrance. The manner of his surrender was
humorously characteristic of the man himself. Catherine--she was
always so clever when she was good--presently left the room. No woman
ever knew better when another word would have been too much. She had
hardly gone when Vanni broke out that, for the sake of courtesy, he
could not wholly refuse her some gratification. At the moment he had
four virulent hatreds, but to please Catherine he would give up, in
the case of one of them, all thoughts of vengeance. He then started to
leave the house, but before he reached the door stopped suddenly and
declared he could hardly draw his breath, so intense was the sense of
peace and ecstasy this one small action of the right kind had given
him. Evidently it was useless to hold out against her influence, and
he then and there declared himself conquered, and ready to abandon all
the vices he could under Catherine's gentle guidance.

Thus came an end to Vanni's murders. Catherine held him for the rest
of his days. It is only to be regretted that he did not paint her
portrait before instead of after his conversion. He would have
attended less to her reputation as a saint, and more to what was
lovely and pictorial in her person.

Catherine no longer lived at home. She had instituted an informal
sisterhood at Siena, where "Mantellate" sisters from every part of
Lombardy lived in community. Her work still continued among the sick,
the lepers, and prisoners. But rumours of her miracles, and of an
almost miraculous gift of persuasion, were spreading to many parts of
Italy. Talk of the dyer's daughter had already reached the ears of the
Pope at Avignon, and was paving the way to further political
successes. Before Catherine had passed out of her teens she employed
four secretaries to cope with the colossal inflow of correspondence
that reached her. It was through the urgency of help in answering
letters in fact that Catherine made the great friendship of her life,
and drew under her influence the man who largely contributed towards
keeping natural feelings alive in her.

Stephen Marconi never cast off a cheerful and innate earthliness. He
came across Catherine originally, as so many people did, over the
matter of a Sienese family feud. Stephen, headstrong and exuberant,
had roused ill-feeling in both the Tolomei and Rinaldini families.
Torrents of blood loomed as the sole termination. Mutual acquaintances
had made useless attempts to produce peace; at the last crisis before
violence Stephen's mother implored him to go to the "Mantellate"
sister. The suggestion drew some contemptuous comments. But the woman
persisted, and essentially good-natured, Stephen went in order to
pacify her. He had every reason subsequently to thank the
solicitations that overbore derision. Catherine settled everything
with absolute successfulness, Stephen himself speaking of the
reconciliation that followed as truly miraculous.

More extraordinary than the reconciliation even was the effect of
Catherine's individuality upon Stephen Marconi. He possessed no
natural aptitude for spirituality. Handsome, irresponsible, sought
after, he epitomized effervescent worldliness. But, having once seen
Catherine, he could not keep away. Excuses were raked together for
further interviews, and one day, finding her overburdened with
correspondence, he wrote a letter at her dictation. It was the
beginning of the end. At first informally, and later explicitly, he
became one of her secretaries; presently also a member of what was
called her "spiritual family."

Siena relished as a joke the dandy converted by the ascetic, but
Stephen was unconcerned. An irrepressible humourist, he appreciated to
the full the oddity of the situation; though if jocose, he was also
deeply contented. Catherine had become almost instantly the
instigating motive of his life, the one precious thing his heart
needed. Catherine, on her side, was known to care for him more than
for almost any other person. Her relations with him became those of a
deep and exciting friendship. Towards the end of her life she heard a
report that Stephen had definitely cast off his semi-worldliness and
taken ascetic vows. Catherine should have known an exquisite and
glowing comfort. Instead of it, her letter to him on the subject is
very nearly petulant. That any action should have been taken without
first becoming a matter of confidences between them clearly
unspeakably hurt her. She wrote that of course it was a great joy to
hear that he desired to lead a better life, but that she was "very
surprised" that he should have made any decision without previously
having said a word to her about it. She added further that there was
something in the matter that she could not understand, though she
prayed that whatever he did would prove to be for the benefit of his

There is more sign in this of a woman stung by an unexpected neglect,
than any religious exaltation at a soul saved. Stephen had not become
a monk, and the misunderstanding swiftly passed over. But the letter
is pleasant reading, because it was written at a time when Catherine's
mysticism threatened to overshadow the purely human kindnesses of her
earlier years. The idea of Christ as the heavenly Husband had
developed from vague symbolism into a definite expression of spiritual
familiarity. It was an unrealized element of good fortune that
Stephen's whimsical frivolity kept alive in her a strain of normal
sensations. She suffered whenever they were separated, and among the
last letters she ever wrote, moreover, was one to Stephen with the
pathetic, dependent cry, "When will you come, Stephen? Oh, come soon!"

Another secretary closely associated with Catherine's life for many
years was Neri di Landoccio, a poet belonging to the group of dawning
Renaissance writers. He suffered from melancholy, and having once met
Catherine, naturally clung to the heartening radiance of her
presence. From his letters, his youth appears to have been vicious. He
was, at any rate, haunted by the notion that his misdemeanours were
greater than God would be likely to forgive. He worried himself into a
dangerous dismalness--a gloom perceiving no remedy. Then Catherine
wrote him a long letter. She reiterated that God was far more ready to
forgive than humanity to offend; that He was the Physician, and
mankind His sick and ailing children. She told him that sadness
constituted the worst fault of all in a disciple of Christ. To believe
in the unplumbable love of God, and still persist in disheartenment,
was a form of unrighteousness.

Neri did his best, but a gentle wistfulness penetrated his
disposition, and not even Catherine could give him gaiety of thoughts.
He and Stephen Marconi--the extreme opposites in temperament--became
deeply attached to one another. They corresponded when apart, and
Stephen, after Catherine's death, called Neri "among those whom the
Lord has engrafted in the very innermost depths of my heart." A third
man constantly in Catherine's society was her Confessor Raymond. Two
small incidents told by himself, and against himself, suggest a
perfectly honest and rather pleasant temperament, but a somewhat
limited spiritual capacity. In the first, he confesses that when on
their journeys great multitudes thronged to Catherine for confession
and comfort, and that the fact of having to go for hours without food
or rest greatly annoyed as well as wearied him.

From the other, both issue rather sweetly, but Catherine with almost a
touch of greatness. Raymond, who again tells the story, says that she
loved to talk to him upon spiritual matters, but that, not having the
same mystical sensibility, these conversations frequently sent him to
sleep. Catherine, absorbed in her subject, would continue for some
time talking without perceiving that she lacked a listener, but when
she did, she would merely wake the other, and good-humouredly tease
him for allowing her to talk to the walls.

Catherine had by nature the sanest and tenderest common sense. It was
she who wrote of prayer that everything done for the love of God or of
our neighbours was a form of prayer, and those who were always doing
good were always, as it were, at prayer. Love of one's fellow-creatures
was practically one long-continued lifting of the heart to God.

When Catherine came to the political portion of her life, the point
at which she may be said to have indirectly affected the Renaissance
in Italy was reached. The popes were still at Avignon, while Rome
clamoured for a return of the papacy to its original capital.
Petrarch, in a letter, pictured Rome as a venerable matron standing
desolate and in rags at the gate of the Vatican. "I asked at last," he
wrote, "her name, and she murmured it forth. It reached me through the
void, in the midst of sobs--it was Roma." Certainly, since the removal
of the popes to France, Rome, as a city, had gone to pieces. The
churches were in ruins, grass grew through the pavements up to the
very steps of St. Peter's, peaceful sheep used its environments for
pasturage. As the two great families of the town, the Colonna and
Orsini fought unceasingly for supremacy, while the people were equally
pestered, tortured, and destroyed by both. Save for those who fancied
murder as a profession, life had grown a nightmare; decency and quiet
were as things of which even the ashes had been scattered.

Catherine, like Petrarch, flung the weight of her eloquence on the
side of the Romans, and Gregory's return to Italy is always attributed
by Roman Catholics to her influence. But before this question had
become poignant between them, Gregory had already tested Catherine's
good sense in two political missions--one to Lucca, and one to Pisa.
Both were successfully concluded, and in consequence, when Florence
rose openly against the authority of the Pope, Catherine was chosen
for a third time to conduct mediation. The employment of any woman as
a diplomatic agent as early as 1370, was an extraordinary
circumstance. During the Renaissance, frequent use was made of the
intellectual adroitness of women. But, in Catherine's day, females, as
Boccaccio states definitely, had few occupations besides house-bound
duties and the excitements of intrigue.

Catherine created an admirable impression in Florence. On her arrival
she was formally met by the principal men of the city. The Florentine
Republic had itself invited her to come to their assistance. At the
same time pure enthusiasm would have effected nothing. Consummate
intelligence only could move the Florentines. Each Bull that came from
the French Court, and from a pope with every personal interest in a
foreign country, newly exasperated them. Catherine watched warily,
judging character and manipulating it, until Guelfs and Ghibellines,
acute in unfailing antagonisms, equally authorized her to commence
peace negotiations at Avignon. Catherine immediately started for
France. Stephen Marconi went with her, and the actual journey must
have filled her with many unavoidable pleasures. To begin with, she
loved the country. In addition, the gypsy travelling of the day
entailed perpetual chance incidents and unexpected humanizing
makeshifts. A week of gentle progress among Italian scenery would keep
the joy of life stirring in most people, if only unawares.

At Avignon her story becomes, even more than before, the dramatic
triumph of personality. When she came nobody wanted her. The cardinals
had strong reasons for not wishing an ascetic's influence in the
palace; Gregory, inert and ailing, flinched at the thought of a person
noted for arousing qualities. She was received, notwithstanding, with
ceremony. At her first audience, Gregory sat dressed in full
canonicals, and surrounded by the entire conclave of cardinals, like a
brilliant jewel in a purple case. Catherine behaved meekly, though in
all likelihood her thoughts were less quiet than usual. For the papal
residence was a gorgeous place; there were galleries, marble
staircases, colonnades, magnificent gardens, elegant fountains. The
ultimate possibility of luxury lay before Catherine's sober eyes, the
very air itself being perfumed.

This was sufficient to have perturbed her, for a markedly unclerical
influence emanated from so much comfort. But the women who filled the
palace jarred still more emphatically. Their sumptuous persons were
obviously at home--the very atmosphere indicated femininity. A large
number were, in fact, mistresses of the cardinals; the rest, relatives
and friends of the Pope, who had been granted apartments in the palace.
Gregory's own morals have never been questioned. He sanctioned, by
ignoring them, the scandals of his household, but his own life was that
of an innocent and cultivated gentleman, with a liking for expensive
living. Raynaldus, in his "Ecclesiasticus Annals," says that he was of
an affectionate and domestic nature, loving his own people, and, in
fact, too much led by them, especially in the matter of benefices. His
private life was above reproach,--chaste, kindly, and generous. A
scholarly man, he delighted in the society of other scholars. At Rome
he instantly remitted all the duties on corn, hay, wine, etc., which
the clergy had previously levied, and which fell most heavily on the
poor people. But the troubles and anxieties that followed his return
to Italy, added to an internal disease, from which he had for some time
suffered, brought about his death at the age of sixty-seven.

This internal disease had something to do with the gentle inertia of
Gregory's conduct. Once roused by Catherine to a certitude as to where
his duty lay, he did it regardless of every personal inclination and

But at the commencement of Catherine's visit, the question was solely
how best to deal with the disaffected Florentines. The issue did not
prove gratifying. The Government had promised Catherine to send
ambassadors to Avignon, suing for peace. New dissensions leaping up
between Guelfs and Ghibellines, none were sent, and negotiations
collapsed. In the mean time the ladies at Avignon had grown interested
in the attenuated sister, who passed them constantly on her way to and
from an audience. They started primarily with the frank indifference
of society women to another of a lower class. But indifference became
painful interest when in a few days it was breathed tempestuously that
this pale woman had come almost solely in order to persuade the Pope
to return to the Vatican at Rome. Scared and disordered, the papal
ladies ceased to look insolent; they set themselves instead to
conciliate the "Mantellate" woman. Led by the Pope's sister, the
Countess Valentinois, they made religion fashionable. Discarding all
dancing, they instituted afternoon parties for pious conversation. The
Countess Valentinois also visited Catherine in her own room, and after
a few days, whenever Catherine went to the chapel to pray, she found
all the court ladies following her example. Raymond, never very
perspicacious, owns to being moved by "such unexpected signs of
grace." He even admired the lovely gowns and misleading courteseys of
the seemingly repentant ladies. Clearly a little susceptible,
Catherine's churlish indifference greatly annoyed him. As her
confessor, he had the opportunity of chiding her for this
incivility--it was painful to see such pretty, graceful creatures
repulsed so sternly. But Catherine upon this subject was adamant, and
merely replying that had he the smallest inkling of the true
dispositions of these mistresses of the cardinals, he would be nothing
less than horrified.

Raymond, one imagines, still privately clung to a more pacific opinion;
but if the story generally attributed to the Pope's niece is true, his
eyes were soon opened to the real sanctity of these ladies. Catherine
had fallen into one of the trances frequent with her when at prayer.
Elys de Beaufort Turenne happened to be kneeling conveniently near, and
the opportunity to expose a spurious absorption thrilled her with
pernicious pleasure. The temptation was too exceptionable to resist,
and bending over, she presently ran a big pin into the Mantellate's
toe. The joke, as far as she was concerned, spurted into no more life
than saturated fireworks. Catherine never stirred--unaware of the
incident until afterwards. But Raymond realized for the future that
some courtesies are means of concealment only.

The women of the Pope's household were not alone in disliking
Catherine. The cardinals objected to her as strongly. She had come to
labour against everything pleasing in their lives. Those won over,
besides, praised immoderately, and the instinct to strike a balance is
natural and intuitive.

Her spiritual pretensions had not even, as far as they were concerned,
been proved to be genuine. They solicited from the Pope, therefore, an
interview with the Mantellate nun, in which the soundness of her
theology might be tested. This encounter lasted from noon until late
in the evening, during the whole of which time they endeavoured to
confuse her into foolishness. But Catherine had a very clear brain and
a very quick one. She knew her subject, and, being a clever woman, in
a few minutes also, roughly, the temperaments of the men she was
dealing with. The thought is a purely personal one, but it is
difficult not to believe that she enjoyed the excitement. Catherine
was humble through instinct, but she must have realized that she was
considerably more capable than most people. Stephen Marconi, present
during the interview, says that two of them were enticed over almost
immediately, and took sides with Catherine against their own party.
The questions put, however, were anything but easy to deal with. Among
other points they queried how she knew that she was not really in the
subtle clutches of Satan; it was no uncommon trick for the Evil One to
change himself into an angel of light, or sham to be a vision of
Christ himself. All this time her extraordinary manner of life might
be simply a cunning prelude to damnation.

Catherine neither wavered nor deliberated; her calm was gracious and
simple; she was exquisitely willing to be interrogated. The cardinals
gave in; the struggle over, they had even the grace to admit that
"they had never met a soul at once so humble and so illuminated."
Gregory, inherently a gentleman, afterwards apologized to Catherine
for having permitted her to be molested by them, and from that time
her troubles with the cardinals at any rate terminated.

Gregory himself had from the beginning been openly impressed by her.
She left Avignon before the actual journey to Rome was made, but her
passionately eager persuasions were the fire at which Gregory's
conscience chiefly ignited. For his household became desperate and
loquacious at the mere suggestion. Gregory also had been born in
France; all his roots were in the genial soil of Avignon. But
Catherine would not let the matter rest. In a yearning and courageous
letter, beginning, "Holy Father, I, your miserable little daughter
Catherine," she urged him to be overborne by nobody against doing his
duty, for if God was with him, nobody could be against him.

Gregory went, and in a man old, fearsome, and extremely out of health,
the action has an element of greatness. For the reputation of Rome,
constantly reiterated by those about him, was very much like that of a
den of wild beasts. Ser Amily, a provincial poet, who gives a rhymed
description of the journey from Avignon, says, further, that all the
physicians and astrologers prophesied a fatal termination to the
expedition, but adds that they had apparently misread the
constellations, as after some terrifying storms they sailed for the
rest of the way upon a tranquil sea.

The fatal termination merely tarried somewhat, though the entrance
into Rome proved a triumphant pageant. The streets had been laid with
carpets, white flowers rained from every window--no welcome could have
looked more cordial or inspiriting. The entry once over, however,
Gregory found himself alone in an inimical country. Catherine wrote
encouraging letters to him to discard all fears and strenuously to do
all he could. But Gregory _had_ done all he could. Rome, depraved and
indocile, required a sterner nature at its head. He was ill and
overtired, and fourteen months after having reached Italy, died,
lonely and disheartened, at the age of sixty-seven.

Urban VI., by birth a peasant, short, squat, unpolished, succeeded
him. The election was instantly unpopular. Half the people desired a
French pope, residenced at Avignon and keeping French interests
uppermost. The rest writhed under the truculent uncouthness of the
new Pope, hating him personally. Matters became so envenomed that the
most acutely aggrieved presently declared his election to have been
illegal, and proceeded to place another pope at Avignon, known as
Clement VII.

There were, in consequence, two popes--one at Rome, and the other in
France. Both claimed supreme authority, and the confusion produced by
them brought the papacy very near to the ridiculous. Then commenced,
according to Muratori, a long series of terrible scandals in the
Church. The result was unceasing private and public dissensions,
incessantly culminating in murder. Urban excommunicated Clement and
his cardinals. Clement, on his part, excommunicated Urban and his
followers. The same benefices were conferred on different persons by
the rival popes, each appointing his own bishop to every vacant see.
Urban had been one of the cardinals during Catherine's momentous stay
at Avignon, and knowing his character, she wrote him after his
election some very wistful counsel. The necessity of behaving
benevolently was like a cry wrung out of her involuntarily; again and
again, in different phraseology, she begged him to "restrain a little
those too quick movements with which nature inspires you."

This puts matters prettily--with an innate tact of feeling. Urban, in
reality, was a man destitute of pleasant impulses. Fundamentally
irritable, he possessed no control of utterance. Towards the cardinals
his manners were inexcusable. He shouted the word "Fool!" at them upon
the least hint of contradiction: over a difference of opinion he
blurted furiously, "Hold your tongue; you don't know what you are
talking about." Having determined to put down the rampant cupidity and
immorality of these same cardinals, he raided their palaces as the
quickest method of exposing them. On the other hand, he was a man of
absolute probity, austerity, and courage. Petrarch had several times
attacked the gluttony of high ecclesiastics. Urban ordered that one
course only was ever to be seen upon the table of any prelate
whatsoever, and adhered to the rule himself even upon occasions of
hospitality. The following incident is a good example of his courage.
As a result of the schism and his own extreme unpopularity, the people
of Rome broke into open rebellion. The mob rushed to storm the
Vatican. At the first rumour the household had fled to take refuge in
other places. Only Urban refused to move, and remained alone in the
great empty palace. When the mob stormed the doors and made for the
Pope, they found him sitting motionless upon the throne, dressed in
full pontifical splendour and holding the cross in solemn defiance in
one upraised hand. The sight of his immovable figure, dramatic,
repellent, denunciatory, broke the nerve of the impressionable Romans.
They saw before them the representative of God, and with incoherent
noises, fearful of eternal wrath, they fled, leaving the rigid figure
impassive as an image, alone once more.

It was with Urban that Catherine went through the last exciting
interview of her life. The impression left by her personality at
Avignon must have been considerable, for when the election of Clement
VII. took place and divided the Church into two disordered and
querulous factions, the man who could not support a single adverse
suggestion actually sent for Catherine to come and help him render the
people of Rome at least loyal to the true Head of the Church.
Catherine, though by now very frail in body, set out immediately,
taking twenty helpful people with her, but, for some reason not given,
leaving Stephen Marconi behind. Then, when she had got to Rome, and
had recovered from the exhaustion of the journey, Urban insisted that
she should give an address upon the schism before the entire assembly
of cardinals.

She could only have looked a rather wan and paltry object set against
the lace and silk and breadth of the well-fed cardinals. She was by
this time nothing but a narrow line of black draperies and a thin
white face. But the moment she began to speak the old warmth leapt
into her voice, and the nun became more deeply rich in colour than all
the scarlet and purple she fronted. Catherine never lost her head or
her courage. She was there to rouse the sluggish morals of the
cardinals, but she was quite aware that Urban stood almost as much in
need of improvement as they did. With admirable clarity she laid
stress upon the fact that the only weapons suitable for a pope were
patience and charity. Urban owned neither, but the pluck and eloquence
of the woman reached some responsive feeling, and he praised her then
and there in a generous abundance of phrases. Unfortunately he did
nothing else, and the following Christmas Catherine sent him another
cajoling reminder--the kind of reminder only a subtle woman, and one
with charming ways in private life, would have thought of. She
preserved some oranges, coated them with sugar, and having gilded
them, sent them to the Pope. With the present came a note, explaining
that in the preserving all the acidity of the orange had been drawn
out, and that, like the orange, the fruit of the soul, when prepared
and sweetened and gilded on the outside with the gold of tenderness,
would overcome all the evil results of the late schism, or, as with a
careful selection of an unhurtful word, she put it--"the late

Urban had previously empowered her to invite to Rome in his name
whoever she considered would be useful to the divided Church in its
hour of need. Among those Catherine wrote to William of England and
Anthony of Nice, two friends, who lived in a pleasant convent at
Lecceto, a few miles from Siena. A quaint correspondence resulted, for
the two old men were sadly shaken in their comfortable habits by
Catherine's letter. Yet the letter itself was a singularly good one.
She states in it plainly that the Church was in such dire necessity
that the time had come to give up all questions of peace and solitude
in order to succour her.

There were few characters that Catherine could not understand;
certainly she understood her two friars perfectly. For the peace and
quiet of their country retreat, where they sat and talked in the shady
woods, had made them absolutely flabby of spirit. The thought of
change and bustle flustered them from head to foot. Catherine had to
write again, and this time she wrote with some directness that this
was a crisis when character became visibly tested, and when there was
no mistaking who really were the true servants of God, and who were
merely seekers of a way of life personally congenial to them. These
latter, she said, seemed to think that God dwelt in one particular
place, and could not be found in any other. This letter must have
harried the two old gentlemen sadly. Friar Anthony came to Rome at
last, and though it is not clear whether Friar William accompanied him
or not, it is probable that, when one gave in, both did.

Catherine endured great fatigue in Rome; it drained the remnant of
strength left in her. Nevertheless she sent a letter from there to
Stephen that was still almost playful. It is in this letter that
occurred the winning petulance concerning the rumours of Stephen's
conversion. How little she could do without him issued again in a
still later epistle, when she wrote to him, "Have patience with me."
At this time she was ill, in pain, tired to breaking-point with the
Roman risings against the Pope. The schism had spread rapidly. Queen
Joanna of Naples, to whom Catherine wrote regrettably stern letters,
had flung her influence upon the side of Clement. Urban grew so
uncertain that there was talk of sending Catherine--nearly dead
through the strain already--to Paris, as the only ambassador likely to
draw the French king over to the true Pontiff. She wrote instead, and
while her letter was on its way, Charles V. joined the Anti-pope

When Rome, at least, had grown comparatively reconciled to Urban,
Catherine returned to Siena. She was thirty-three, and the radiance
that had magnetized men into contemplating even death with
tranquillity, if she was only with them, had to a great extent gone
out of her. Nevertheless, her correspondence shows that she never lost
her fine discernment of character. Some of her letters are still
masterpieces of practical understanding.

For a short time still she lived quietly with the men and women who
loved and made much of her, though had she for a second realized how
subtly indulged she was, a panic of dismay would have shaken her
strenuous spirit. Physical strength, however, was almost exhausted.
She suffered greatly, and with a touching foolishness--touching
because of its presence in so much wisdom--she repeated again and
again that God permitted demons to distress her, and, in consequence,
bent her failing strength to wrestle with their torments. That a
natural disease was killing her did not seem credible to imagination.
Nevertheless, except during intolerable pain, her expression continued
pathetically joyous. When she was well enough they carried her out
into a neighbouring garden, lent for her use. Catherine never, after
the first excesses of her childhood, repudiated out-of-door pleasures.
She died in 1380, surrounded by a very passion of regret and
tenderness. On her death-bed she confessed quaintly that in the early
days of her spiritual career she had yearned for solitude, but that
God would have none of it. Each creature possessed a cell in their own
souls, where the spirit could live as solitarily and as enclosed in
the world as out of it.

Stephen Marconi was with her when she died, and just before the end
she entreated him to enter the Order of the Carthusians. Neri she
begged to become a hermit. The injunction for a moment appears to lack
her usual intuition. Yet it was probably the result of a very deep
understanding. Neri's nerves may have been more tranquil when not
played upon by other people.

To the last she prayed, dying peacefully towards the "hour of Sext,"
one Sunday evening, according to Stephen, the body until her burial
retained a wonderful beauty and fragrance.

Her last request to the latter was reverently complied with, and for
the future he carried on, with the grace of nature that made him so
lovable, the most endearing of his dead friend's labours--he became
famous as a healer of feuds. The cult of Catherine's memory gave a
sentimental happiness to his days. He remembered her with the painful
delight of a faithful lover. Nothing in their companionship had been
too trivial for a living recollection. Being elected Father Superior
to his monastery, he "invariably added the delicacy of beans to the
fare of his religious on Easter Day." He did this because one Easter
Day he had dined with Catherine on beans, there having been nothing
else in the house, and as Friar Bartholomew puts it, "the remembrance
of that dinner stuck fast to the marrow of his spine." As an old man,
Stephen still cherished the smallest details of her life, and on one
occasion, at the sudden recall of some little incident illustrative
of her loving-kindness, he burst abruptly into tears, seeming as if
his heart would break. The brothers were obliged to lead him gently to
a seat out-of-doors, where a freshening wind restored him.

Neri also did as she wished. But his life as a hermit did not
interfere with his literary labours, nor did it by any means leave him
without society. Once he seems to have gone out of his mind for a
time. Stephen mentions in one letter that he was told that he had been
_alienato_, but that it is evident, since he had now heard from him,
that he had recovered.

An account of his death, written by a monk to a certain friend of the
dead man, Ser Jacomo, and given in the English version in Miss Drane's
life of Catherine, is sufficiently unusual to quote. It falls to the
lot of few people to have their deaths recorded in quite such a
superfluity of phrases.

    "Dearest Father of Christ,

    "My negligence--I need say no more--but yet with grief and
    sorrow I write to you, how our Father and our comfort, and our
    help, and our counsel, and our support, and our refreshment,
    and our guide, and our master, and our receiver, and our
    preparer, and our writer, and our visitor, and he who thought
    for us, and our delight, and our only good, and our entertainer;
    and his meekness, and his holy life, and his holy conversation,
    and his holy teachings, and his holy works, and his holy words,
    and his holy investigations. Alas, miserable ones, alas poor
    wretches, alas orphans, where shall we go, to whom shall we have
    recourse? Alas, well may we lament, since all our good is
    departed from us! I will say no more, for I am not worthy to
    remember him, yet I beg of you that, as it is the will of God,
    you will not let yourself be misled by the news; know then alas,
    I don't know how I can tell you--alas, my dear Ser Jacomo, alas,
    my Father and my brother, I know not what to do, for I have lost
    all I cared for. I do not see you, and I know not how you are.
    Know then that our love and our father--alas, alas, Neri di
    Landoccio, alas, took sick on the 8th of March, Monday night,
    about daybreak, on account of the great cold, and the cough
    increasing, he could not get over it, alas. He passed out of his
    life, confessed, and with all the sacraments of the Holy Church,
    and on the 12th of March was buried by the brethren of Mount
    Olivet, outside the Porta Tufi, and died in the morning at the
    Aurora at break of day."

According to the writer, Neri did not die until some hours after he
had been buried at the Porta Tufi!

Catherine's influence lingered in almost all those who had once
responded to it. But the quality that remains rousing to the present
day was her unremitting remembrance that one cannot be good without
being happy. Though due to a different source, the spirit of the
Renaissance seemed to emanate from her--the spirit that laboured so
hard, in a world rich in all manner of things, to be joyful every
minute. In Catherine's case, it was the result, not only of a
realization of life's inherent wondrousness, but of an unconscious
knowledge that heroism is never anything but smiling; that the
acceptance which is not absolute, composed, and tendered in fulness of
heart, is but a semi-acceptance after all.

In addition, Catherine had the one supreme characteristic that no age
can render less superb or less inspiring. She was a nature drenched in
loving-kindness. Consciously and unconsciously love streamed out of
her, penetrating and unifying every soul she came in contact with. At
all times there is nothing the world stands more in need of than
loving saints,--at all times there is nothing that brings more
creatures out of mistakenness, intractability, and mean-souled egoism
than a glowing greatness of heart. And finally, there is nothing so
vividly illuminating upon the intense and vital beauty of life and
human efforts than the persons who, like Catherine, have but to enter
a room, and,--satisfied, aflame, compassionate,--instantly transpose
its atmosphere into delicious, renewing goodness.



Beatrice D'Este could never have been a beautiful woman, though most
contemporary writers affirmed that she was. Neither was she
particularly good; nevertheless, very few women of the Renaissance
make anything like the same intimacy of appeal. Nothing in her life
has become old-fashioned. She suggests no reflections peculiar merely
to the time in which she lived. The drama of her domestic existence is
so familiar and modern, that it might be the secret history of half
the charming women of one's acquaintance.

At the same time she was vividly typical of the Renaissance. Nobody
expressed more completely what the determined quest for beauty and joy
could do. And as far as she was concerned it could do everything--except
make a woman happy. Her life, in fact, is one of the most absorbing
instances of the tragedy that lies in wait for the majority of women
after the pleasantness of youth is over.

Born at Ferrara on June 24, 1475, Beatrice was the younger sister of
the great Isabella D'Este, who became one of the chief connoisseurs of
the Renaissance. There is always some pain entailed in being the
plainer sister of a beauty. Triumph also, in those days, was entirely
for the precocious. Isabella embodied precocity itself. Though only a
year older than Beatrice, she showed herself incomparably the more
graceful, the more receptive, the more premature of the two. At six
she had become the talk of the Ferrarese court circle. As a future
woman was desired to do, she already showed signs of culture, of tact,
of fascination. A pretty little prodigy, with hair like fine spun
silk, her hand was constantly being asked for in marriage; and no
visitor ever came to the court but Isabella was sent for to show off
her premature accomplishments.

There is little said about Beatrice. A second girl had been so frankly
unneeded that at her birth all public rejoicings were omitted. She
passed her babyhood with her grandfather, the King of Naples, and when
she came back, a round contented child, with a chubby face and black
hair, she served chiefly as a foil to Isabella, who was like some fine
and dainty flower, with her pale soft hair and finished elegancies of
behaviour. At Ferrara education had become a hobby. A son of the great
Guarino, who with Vittorino da Feltre practically laid the foundations
of modern schooling, had the chief control of their education. It was
not a bad one, perhaps, save for its excess. These two mites were at
lessons of some kind from the time they got up to the time they went
to bed. Happily, the Renaissance was all for the open air, and a good
deal of their education took place in the garden of a country villa
belonging to the D'Estes. Petrarch's sonnets were among the lighter
literature allowed them, and a good many of the sonnets were set to
music especially for their thin incongruous voices. Guarino was their
master for Cicero, Virgil, Roman and Greek history; other teachers
took them in dancing, deportment, music, composition, and the
rudiments of French. Isabella, indeed, is said to have spoken Latin as
easily as her native tongue.

Though a little severe, Leonora was a capable and conscientious woman.
Most of the qualities that Beatrice could have inherited from her
mother would have been very good for temperament--presence of mind,
courage, intelligence, decision. The girl's light-heartedness she
probably got from her Uncle Borso, Ercole's brother and predecessor,
whose fat and smiling face Corsa's painting has made the very type of
cruel joviality. Ercole was not jovial, and the chief characteristics
he transmitted to his daughters were strong artistic and literary
passions, a gift for diplomacy, and, perhaps, a little elasticity in
the matter of conscience.

Culture pervaded the atmosphere at the court of Ferrara. And though
Leonora saw to it that the children were strictly trained in religious
observances, it was essentially life, and a full and engrossing life,
that they were being prepared for. At six Isabella was already engaged
to the future Duke of Mantua. Some time afterwards, Ludovico Sforza of
Milan, uncle and regent for the young Duke Giangaleazzo, wrote and
asked for her in marriage. He was not a person to refuse lightly. The
real duke everybody knew to be foolish almost to the point of mental
deficiency. Il Moro, as Ludovico was called, held the power of Milan,
and politically an alliance with Milan would be good for Ferrara.
Ercole answered the request by saying that his eldest daughter was
already promised to Mantua, but that he had another daughter a year
younger, and if the King of Naples, who had adopted her, gave his
consent, Ludovico could have her instead. The political value of the
marriage remained the same, and Ludovico accepted without demur the
little makeshift lady. Hence, at nine years old, Beatrice, as a
substitute for her more elegant sister, became engaged to a man of
twenty-nine. She was then still living with her grandfather at Naples.
But when, in the following year, she returned to Ferrara, to be
educated with Isabella, she was publicly recognized as Ludovico's
future wife, and known as the Duchess of Bari, the title to be hers
after marriage.

It was over this engagement that Beatrice was made acutely to realize
the difference of life's ways with the plain and the bewitching. The
young Marquis of Mantua soon became an ardent lover of his
golden-haired lady. He wrote to her, he sent her presents; a slight
but pretty love affair went on between the two during all the years of
their engagement. And when in due course they were married, it was
with every show of eagerness upon the side of the handsome bridegroom.
Ludovico, on the other hand, took no notice whatever of the childish
Beatrice; there was no interchange of winning courtesies, no
presents, no letters. Twice, when the marriage was definitely settled,
Ludovico put it off; and on the second occasion, at any rate, no girl
could avoid the sting of wounded vanity. Everybody had been eager to
marry Isabella. Beatrice also, according to the notions of her time,
was grown up, and far too clear-witted not to understand the gossip
following upon Ludovico's second withdrawal. Unmistakably she was not
wanted. Her future husband had his heart already filled. There was
another woman in the case, and a woman loved with such intensity that
Il Moro literally had not the courage to face marriage with a
different lady. On the arrival of the ambassadors asking for a second
delay, an agent of the court wrote that everybody was annoyed and the
Duke of Ferrara extremely angry.

This was in April, 1495, and for several months Beatrice lived on
quietly in the Castello at Ferrara. To deepen the dulness, not only
Isabella, but her half-sister Lucrezia, was now married. Among the
people of the court it was openly said that the marriage with Ludovico
would probably not take place at all. Beatrice went back to lessons,
music--she was all her life a great lover of music--and to needlework
in the garden. But she probably felt fiercely dispirited and without
hope. Thankfulness for life itself cannot exist in youth. At fifteen
it is not possible to thank God for just the length of time ahead.
Most likely, also, she hated Ludovico. No girl of any spirit could
have done otherwise, and Beatrice had more spirit than most.

Then, suddenly, in August, another ambassador arrived from Milan, and
even then hopes began to float again. The ambassador had come this
time with a present from the bridegroom to his betrothed. It was
exquisite--a necklace of pearls made into flowers, with a pear-shaped
pendant of rubies, pearls, and diamonds. The ambassador came also to
fix a day for the wedding. Ludovico had at last made up his mind to
the rupture with his mistress, Cecilia Gallerani, the rare and
beautifully mannered woman, who has been compared, with Isabella
D'Este and Vittoria Colonna, as among the most cultured women of the

Now, at last, Beatrice became brusquely a person of importance. The
subject of Cecilia Gallerani was dropped like a burning cinder, and
outwardly everything smoothed to a satin surface. There was more money
than in the Mantuan marriage, and no expense was consequently spared
in Beatrice's trousseaux. Only Leonora still worried a little.
Ludovico came of a bad stock--the only one among the family to show
fine qualities had been the famous Francesco Sforza, founder of the

As for the present duke's father, and Ludovico's brother, Galeazzo
Maria, he had been a fiend, whose very soundness of mind was
questionable. True, Ludovico's own ability was indubitable. The skill
with which he had steered himself from exile into the regency could
not be questioned. Moreover, though nominally only Regent, he had
already commenced to drive in the thin end of the wedge of usurpation.
The real duke was old enough to control his own state, and had
recently been married to Isabella, daughter of the King of Naples.
Notwithstanding this, the regency continued with a grasp tightened,
rather than loosened, upon the affairs of Northern Italy. Meanwhile
preparations for the marriage were rapid and luxurious, and as soon as
possible, though it was then in the depth of winter, Beatrice and her
suite started for the wedding. At Pavia Ludovico was waiting to
receive them, and as soon as Beatrice had been helped on to a horse,
wonderfully caparisoned for the occasion, the two rode slowly side by
side from the water's edge--she had come by boat up the Po--across
the bridge that spans the river Ticino, and through the gates of the
Castello of Pavia.

  [Illustration: THE BRIDGE AT PAVIA

It would be interesting to know what lay in the minds of both. In the
case of Ludovico one surmise has as much likelihood as another. He was
a man much experienced in women, and to a person whose mistresses were
always beautiful and interesting, Beatrice, at first sight, could have
offered very small attractions. She had not the features to possess
beauty of the finest quality. At the same time she was compensated by
almost all the minor enticements. The smooth and delicate freshness of
youth was fragrant in her, and, like Isabella, she was extremely
graceful in body. But the chief attraction of her face sprang from its
oddity, and the inner rogue it suggested. According to rigid canons
she was plain, but her plainness was so near to prettiness that it was
as often as not over the border.

The first impression given by her portrait in the Altar-piece, said to
be Lemale's, is disappointing. From her personality the expectation is
of something different--a little more distinguished, a little more
wanton, and a little more incontestably seductive. But a mild
fascination comes with familiarity. Waywardness and intelligence are
both in the face; the gift of humour is clear as day. Her expression
radiates a mixture of sauciness and wisdom. In certain clothes and in
certain moods she must have looked adorable, more especially before
she was actually dressed, when her curls hung upon her shoulders.

What Beatrice thought of Ludovico is more easily hazarded. The man was
handsome, and bore every sign of a personal force of character. His
profile formed too straight a line, but in the general effect his
features were impressive and masterful. Beatrice was fifteen, and as
Isabella's plain sister had never yet been incensed with too much
flattery. Ludovico had in fact reached at her childlike heart with
unequal advantages; confronted by this suave and dignified person a
girl's imagination had everything to feed upon.

They were married next morning, and a few days later Beatrice made her
state entry into Milan--Ludovico, Giangaleazzo, the real duke, his
wife Isabella, and every Milanese person of importance, meeting her at
the gates. She and Ludovico then rode side by side in a procession
through the town, the horses being decorated and the streets lined
with people to cheer them as they passed.

But the really interesting incident of the day was the meeting of the
two girls, the reigning duchess and the duchess of the Regent. The
situation pushed them into antagonism, and into mean and agitated
rivalries. Isabella's was the position of easier righteousness,
Beatrice's the one of more colossal temptations. Everything moreover
in the future was to help them into unfairness. The wife of the futile
duke was cringed to by nobody. All Milan cossetted and flattered the
wife of the Regent who held the power, and suggested still greater
power in the future. To have been meek and secondary would have
required a temperament of great spiritual vitality. Beatrice came of a
worldly family, and the reasons for not tethering ambition grew to be
very specious. Giangaleazzo, as head of the State, was too clearly
incapable. Il Moro did all the work, bore all the responsibility, and
when necessary, all the execration. Why should an idle, dull-witted
boy, who did nothing, enjoy the benefit of public precedence? Why
should Beatrice and her husband walk humbly behind these two, whose
importance was as a balloon inflated for the occasion?

Corio says that from the first days of her arrival in Milan, Beatrice
chafed at yielding place to Isabella. But Corio, who wrote many years
after the death of Beatrice and Ludovico, was bent upon making the
worst of them. And to contradict him there is a good deal of
correspondence which goes to show that at the beginning the girls were
glad enough to have each other for companionship. Some writers of the
struggle between Beatrice and Isabella also urge that it was Beatrice
who drove Ludovico to schemes of usurpation. This is one of the
statements that are introduced in the heat of advocacy. Ludovico had
made his mark as a dangerous personality years before he married
Ercole's second daughter. The Ferrarese ambassador had written of him
long before his marriage that he was a great man, who intended later
on to make himself universally recognized as such.

The day before her state entry into Milan, Beatrice's brother Alphonso
was married to the gentle Anna, who, after her death, was to be
succeeded by the enigmatic Lucrezia Borgia. A week of public rejoicing
followed, after which Leonora returned to Ferrara, and Beatrice
commenced the routine of her new existence. But the reports of
Ludovico, sent shortly afterwards, were pleasant reading for the
girl's father.

  [Illustration: BEATRICE D'ESTE

The Ferrarese representative at the court of Milan wrote that Ludovico
was incessantly singing his wife's praises, and a few days later
added that he was brimming over with admiration both for his wife and
his sister-in-law, and that he reiterated incessantly the extreme
delight their society gave him. Then, some time after the last of
Beatrice's people had left, Trotti once more repeated that Ludovico
appeared to have no thought but how to captivate and amuse his wife,
and that every day he repeated how much he loved her.

Not only Trotti, but Palissena D'Este, a cousin, and one of Beatrice's
elder ladies-in-waiting, wrote enthusiastic accounts of the Milanese
_ménage_ at the commencement. Palissena's letter was to Isabella, and
not to Beatrice's parents. She wrote that Beatrice was unceasingly
made much of by her husband, and that every possible tender attention
was paid to her by him. According to her accounts the two were
delightful to see together, the man being evidently as delighted to
spoil the pretty child, as the child was to be spoilt by him. And
since Beatrice had been the plain member of the family, with uncertain
prospects of future beauty, the writer mentions, with an evident sense
of conveying good news, that in the new climate the girl had grown not
only very much stronger, but very much better looking.

Beatrice was certainly very happy at this time--nothing in life
compares with the first days of the first love affair--and Ludovico as
a lover has already been insisted upon. Muratori, writing of her after
the shyness of her arrival had worn off--she is mentioned as being
timid at first--describes her as young and always occupied in dancing,
singing, or in some kind of amusement. Muratori also touches upon one
of Beatrice's weaknesses. Truly never was a woman more intelligently
fond of dress. She came to Milan a child, but within a year she knew
her woman's business like her alphabet, and of that, one of the
serious items is to understand that a woman is most frequently
rendered attractive by her clothes. In dress, Beatrice had one
peculiar predilection--she loved ribbons. She liked to have her
sleeves tied with them; she liked them, in fact, almost everywhere. In
the Altar-piece portrait her gown is extremely ugly, but little
superfluous-looking ribbons are tied all over it. She also grew
certainly to be extravagant. On one occasion, when her mother went
over her country house, she was shown the Duchess of Bari's wardrobe.
There were eighty-four gowns, pelisses, and mantles, besides many more
that had been left in Milan. There is no doubt that eighty-four gowns
and mantles were too many at one period. Beatrice grew over-rich for
the finer qualities of character to keep exercised. To desire a thing,
if only in passing, was to have it.

During the first months after her arrival in Milan, however, she was a
child, and too much cossetted to realize more than a very limited
responsibility. Her life for some time was little more than a perfect
example of the winning freshness belonging to the Renaissance
conception of happiness. Open-air pleasures were a large part of its
delight. Every man who was rich enough had a country residence with
shady places and pools of water. Beatrice constantly went picnics into
the country. A certain Messer Galeazzo Sanseverino, who later married
Ludovico's illegitimate daughter Beatrice, wrote a description of one
of them. He said--it was in a letter to Isabella--that they started
early in the morning, and as they drove--he, Beatrice, and another
lady--they sang part-songs arranged for three voices. Having arrived
at their destination--Ludovico's country house at Cussago--they
immediately commenced fishing in the river, and caught so many fish
that they were obliged to fling some back into the water. A portion of
the rest was cooked for their midday meal, and afterwards, the writer
says, for the sake of their digestions, they played a vigorous game of
ball. This finished, they made a tour over the beautiful palace, and
after that once more started fishing. This might well have been
occupation enough for one day, but when fishing had grown wearisome
horses were saddled, and they first flew falcons by the river-side,
and then started hunting the stags on the duke's estate. It was not
until an hour after dark that the indefatigable and cheerful party got
back to Milan.

When Rabelais wrote his description of a day in Pantagruel's life, he
might well have had this pleasure outing in remembrance.

Ludovico took no part in these outings; affairs of state, he said,
absorbed his time. To have instantly suspected these affairs of state
would have needed the sharpened wits of worldly knowledge. But
presently, since everybody but the bride knew or guessed from the
beginning how the duke really occupied himself, comments began to
circulate. In the end Beatrice realized the truth. There are no
letters showing how she first grasped the fact that Ludovico still
gave tenderness to another woman; but she knew at last that Cecilia
Gallerani was not only shortly expecting to be confined, but was also
still lodged in apartments at one end of the Castello. The last fact
in itself must have sufficed to be insufferable. Whether Beatrice made
a scene or not, she could only have felt burnt up with anger as well
as with sickness of heart. A crisis became inevitable. The particular
motives were trivial, but the triviality occurred when anything would
have been too much for her. Ludovico gave his wife a gown of woven
gold. The moment she wore it curious expressions flickered over the
faces of her household--Cecilia Gallerani was going about in its
counterpart. Only one inference presented itself. Beatrice soon knew,
and by this time had borne as much as the unseasoned endurance of her
years was able. What followed is summarized in a letter by Trotti to
the Duke of Ferrara--a letter which he begs the duke to burn
immediately. Trotti speaks of the garment as a vest, showing that it
was only part of a dress, and he says that Madonna Beatrice had
refused to wear hers again if Madonna Cecilia was allowed to appear in
another similar. The attitude was a bold one for a child of fifteen,
and Beatrice must have made it with the most unhindered courage. For
immediately afterwards Ludovico himself went to interview Trotti, and
so make sure that something more soothing than a mere statement of
Beatrice's grievance went to Ferrara. He gave an actual promise that
the liaison should come to a conclusion. He would either find a
husband for the lady or send her into a nunnery.

Beatrice won, and, indeed, won handsomely. Political expediency was on
her side, but the girl's own likeableness must be counted for
something in the matter. Ludovico was among the most cunning men of
Italy, yet upon this occasion he did exactly what he promised. As soon
as Cecilia had recovered from the birth of a son the two alternatives
were considered. Her tastes were not for convents, and she married a
Count Ludovico Bergamini. With this, as far as Il Moro was concerned,
the episode closed. Beatrice would probably have preferred the
convent, for, as things remained, Cecilia was not in any sense removed
out of society. She continued to receive all the notable men of that
part of the world at the beautiful palace a little way out of Milan
which Ludovico had given her as an inheritance for his son, and at all
court functions she appeared as usual.

Beatrice's triumph may have come to her a little through her courage.
It was a quality Ludovico admired above all things, though his own was
not to be relied upon. Commines says of him, "Ludovico was very wise,
but extremely timid, and very slippery when he was afraid. I speak as
one well acquainted with him, and who has arranged much diplomatic
business with him."

Few characters of the Italian Renaissance are more difficult to get at
than Ludovico's. Like Cæsar Borgia, he had much of the magnificent
adventurer in his blood, and though he never cut the figure in Italy
that Cæsar Borgia did, he was in many ways the more interesting of the
two. Cæsar Borgia outshines him easily as a schemer, as a fighter, as
a man nothing stopped and nothing staggered; but Cæsar Borgia was
known as a being more eager to conquer towns than to govern them, and
Il Moro was above all admirable at the head of a state. His politics
were over-cunning, but as a ruler of Milan he went consistently for
improvement and for more humanity than was customary. In personal
charm he must have run the Borgia close. All those who knew him
intimately liked him. There was dignity of presence and an eloquent
habit of speech. Leonardo da Vinci could not be reckoned an easy man
to satisfy, but he lived for sixteen years contentedly under the
patronage of Ludovico. Ludovico's ambitions did not drive him at the
same furious pace as the other's, and he worked for a city and the
future along with and in the interval of his own deep plots. A
contemporary writer, Cagnola, says of him that he improved to an
extraordinary degree the town of Milan, by enlarging and embellishing
the streets and squares, and by the erection of many fine buildings,
the fronts of which were decorated with frescoes. He did the same at
Pavia, until both towns, previously hideous and filthy, were scarcely
recognizable. Corio adduces further evidence in his favour by saying
that every man of culture and learning, wherever he could be found,
was enticed by Ludovico to Milan, and in some flowery phrases writes
that all that was sweetest in music and finest in art and literature
was to be found in the court of Il Moro.

This, put in plainer language, was very nearly true. Ludovico had a
passion for having great men as company. His library, too, was famous.
He collected books in France, Italy, and Germany. He had manuscripts
printed, copied, illuminated wherever he could find them. In
connection with this library, besides, a pleasant trait in his
character comes out. He allowed scholars to borrow his books for
purposes of study, and even gave facilities to them for using his
library. The universities of both Milan and Pavia were saved by his
energy, and his attitude towards education was always generous and

To a man so full of temperament Beatrice's own nature was very much in
tune, and after the disposal of Cecilia Gallerani there came to her
the really good time of her life. It seems more than probable, in
fact, that Ludovico had already grown fond of the round-faced girl
with the audacious expression and the inexhaustible vitality of ways.
Some of her earlier escapades were like a schoolboy's home for the
holidays, but Ludovico referred to them invariably with a touch of
pride. He wrote on one occasion to Isabella that his wife, the Duchess
of Milan, and their suites, had, at Beatrice's instigation, been
dressing up in Turkish costumes. These dresses, also under Beatrice's
impetuous influence, were finished in one night's labour. She herself
sewed vigorously with the rest, and Ludovico wrote that upon the
duchess expressing surprise at her energy, replied that she could do
nothing without flinging her whole soul into it. That was like
Beatrice; she had no impulses that were not glowing, tremendous,
whole-hearted. Some of her nonsense at this time, nevertheless, was
not so pleasing, though Ludovico does not appear to have realized its
naughtiness. He wrote on another occasion, and still with an air of
pride, that one of her amusements in the country was to ride races
with the ladies of her suite, when she would gallop full speed behind
some of them in the hope of making them tumble off their excited

Of Beatrice's pluck many instances are given, but at this time,
undoubtedly, she was a little drunk with youth and happiness. Trotti
wrote to Ferrara of a wrestling match between her and Isabella of
Milan, in which Beatrice succeeded in throwing Isabella down. And the
tirelessness of the creature came out also in a letter of her own to
Isabella of Mantua, in which she told her sister how every day after
their dinner she played ball with some of her courtiers. In the same
letter there is another assurance that she was really happy, not only
because she was young and vigorous, but because her heart was
satisfied, for she mentions, as if it brimmed over spontaneously from
a joy still fresh enough to be marvelled at, how tender her husband
was to her. She added a pretty and affectionate touch by mentioning a
bed of garlic which she had planted on purpose for her sister when she
should come to stay with them, garlic being evidently a flavouring of
which Isabella was extremely fond.

Beatrice's statement of Ludovico's affectionate habits is largely
corroborated. Once, when she was ill, Trotti reported to Ferrara that
Ludovico left her bedside neither night nor day, but spent his entire
time trying to soothe and distract her.

As far as Beatrice was concerned, this illness could not consequently
have been entirely lamentable. It is in the nature of women not to
begrudge the price paid for visible assurances of being beloved, and
to Beatrice Ludovico had soon become the integral requirement of life.

Some time after this the real duchess, Isabella, gave birth to a son.
At last Giangaleazzo was not only duke, but possessed an heir to come
after him. This child destroyed the Regent's prospects. Giangaleazzo,
weak as well as foolish, had not the making of old bones in him. Until
now the able and popular Regent stood with an easy grace, one day to
be persuaded to step into his nephew's shoes. Isabella's son put
girders to her house, and thrust Ludovico's future back to that of
simple service, gilded and honourable, but yet, after all, merely
service to the house of which he was not head. For Beatrice and
Ludovico, moreover, this new-born infant tinged the situation either
with flat mediocrity or with a new and secret ugliness. No change
showed, however, upon the surface. Public rejoicings took place to
celebrate the birth of an heir, and life then fell back into its
customary habits. There is a picture of these days given many years
after by Beatrice's secretary, the _elegantissimo_ Calmeta, as he was
called at the time. He wrote that her court was filled with men of
distinction, all of whom were expected to use their talents for her
intellectual pleasure. When she had nothing else to do, a secretary
read Dante or some minor poet out loud to her, on which occasions
Ludovico would more often than not come and listen with her.

Calmeta mentions some of the men who made Beatrice's court remarkable,
but the greatest of all, Leonardo da Vinci, is not included. From what
it is possible to ascertain, Leonardo came very little into Beatrice's
private existence. His life was enclosed by what Walter Pater calls
"curiosity and the desire of beauty," and the passion for humanity was
very slightly developed in him. He believed in solitude, and, in a
limited and cordial fashion, indulged in it.

In reference to his coming to Milan, Pater, referring to the facts
given by Vasari, says, "He came not as an artist at all, or careful of
the fame of one; but as a player on the harp, a strange harp of silver
of his own construction, shaped in some curious likeness to a horse's
skull. The capricious spirit of Ludovico was susceptible also to the
power of music, and Leonardo's nature had a kind of spell in it.
Fascination is always the word descriptive of him."

Leonardo's letter to Ludovico about his coming to Milan is written in
a very different mood, and, read in the light of his fame, is wholly
humorous. He says, "Having, most illustrious lord, seen and pondered
over the experiments of all those who pass as masters in the art of
constructing engines of war, and finding that their inventions are not
one whit different from those already in use, I venture to ask for an
opportunity of acquainting your excellency with some of my secrets.

"Firstly, I can build bridges, which are light and strong and easy to
carry, so as to enable one to pursue and rout the enemy; also others
of a stouter make, which, while resisting fire and assault, are easily
taken to pieces and placed in position. I can also burn and destroy
those of the enemy.

"Secondly, in times of siege I can cut off the water supply from the
trenches, and make pontoons and scaling ladders and other contrivances
of a like nature."

Seven other paragraphs follow, explaining contrivances for ensuring
success in warfare by land or sea. It was only at the end of the tenth
that he touched upon less military matters. Then he wrote: "In times
of peace, I believe that I could please you as completely as any one,
both in the designing of public and private buildings, and in making
aqueducts. In addition, I can undertake sculpture in marble, bronze,
or clay. In painting I am as competent as any one else, whoever he may
be. Moreover, I would execute the commission of the bronze horse, and
so give immortal fame and honour to the glorious memory of your father
and the illustrious house of Sforza."

Leonardo had painted Cecilia Gallerani for Ludovico before the time of
Beatrice's arrival, but, as far as one knows, never painted Beatrice.
Mrs. Cartwright suggests, and the opinion has been repeated elsewhere,
that the reason for this sprang from Beatrice's jealousy of the
beautiful woman who had preceded her. But this is not in keeping with
her nature. Beatrice loved all beautiful pictures, and was far too
intuitive not to know that if any one could give her portrait beauty,
Leonardo was that man. Whatever strangeness exhaled from within he
would have drawn upon the surface. That he should never have painted
her is extraordinary, but, at the same time, it is absolutely certain
that he would never have felt any inclination to. Leonardo did not
care for any woman's face that could look happy and be satisfied with
that mere possession. And the Regent's wife had no withholdings in her
expression, and no subtleties, save perhaps the subtlety of audacity
and laughter.

       *       *       *       *       *

Presently Beatrice gave birth to a son, and whatever sinister thoughts
had ebbed and flowed in Ludovico's brain before, now became permanent
and concrete. Beatrice's confinement was in itself the first open
threat at Isabella. The arrangements for the child's arrival were a
menace in their unfitness. A queen's son could not have been received
into the world with more elaborate ceremony. The layette and cradle
were exhibited to ambassadors as if a future monarch were being waited
for. The cradle was of gold, its coverlet of cloth of gold. With no
restraint as to cost, three rooms had been decorated--one for the
mother, one for the child, and one for the presents, which poured in
every hour. The boy was no sooner born than public rejoicings were
ordered. Bells were rung for six days, processions were held,
prisoners for debt were released, and ambassadors, councillors, and
all important officials entered to congratulate the slender girl in
her magnificent bed, with its mulberry and gold coloured hangings.

At the court of Giangaleazzo meanwhile Isabella must have felt as if
bitterness stifled her--bitterness and the sick despair of any
creature conscious suddenly that it is trapped. Everybody remembered
that when the real heir to the duchy had been born two years before,
there had been less extravagance and formality than for the entry of
the Regent's infant. And when a week later Isabella also went to bed
and brought a second child into the world, the torture of the body
must have been little in comparison to the torture of the mind that
knew its children already marked out for disinheritance. Even her
confinement became a convenience to Ludovico, who was able to inform
the ambassadors that the rejoicings were for a double joy, though the
statement was not made with any intention to deceive. The thin end of
the wedge had been driven in, and Ludovico desired men to grow
prepared and seasoned for what would one day be thrust upon them as an
accomplished policy.

When both duchesses had recovered, ceremonies of thanksgiving were
organized. They drove together in wonderful clothes and as part of a
gorgeous procession to the church of St. Maria della Grazie. Beatrice
may have uttered some light gratitude as she knelt, but to Isabella
the day must have been a burning anguish, wearying to the very fibre
of her nature. She and Beatrice sat side by side, and their dresses
were almost equally extravagant. The public only saw two bejewelled
and magnificent figures, but one of the two women already hated the
other, with a heart swollen by the wrongs she did not dare to utter.

From this day forward Isabella's life is ill to think of; for
Ludovico's plans were soon no longer secret. The King of the Romans
was to marry his niece--Giangaleazzo's sister--and to receive with her
an immense dowry. In return he was to give Ludovico the investiture of
Milan. On paper this change of dukes did not read as a flagrant
usurpation. Giangaleazzo had been cleverly thrust into the position of
sinner. It was seemingly abruptly discovered that he had no right to
the dukedom at all without the consent of Maximilian. The Viscontis
held it in fief from the empire. When they died it should have passed
back into the keeping of Germany. The duchy belonged to the emperor,
and the Sforzas holding it on their own authority made them nothing
less than adventurers. Il Moro, confirmed as duke by the King of the
Romans, would possess the duchy upon legal and unimpeachable grounds,
and have only dispossessed therefore a creature without any rights to
hold it at any time, and incapable into the bargain.

Isabella fought with an impassioned fury for her child and her
position. It was brave, heart-rending, and useless. Giangaleazzo could
not be made even to understand Ludovico's treachery. In a fit of
temper he could beat his wife, as a child strikes what offends it. But
he could not grasp any more than a child that a person, who had never
given it an unkind word, should nevertheless intend to do it evil.
Sometimes driven beyond control, Isabella would fix the story of
Ludovico's coming usurpation into his wandering attention. For a
moment her burning phrases stimulated some dim perception. But
presently Ludovico and the boy would meet, and Giangaleazzo, in
reality bewildered and helpless without the support of this capable,
pleasant relative he had leant on since infancy, would blurt out all
his wife's accusations and come back to her soothed into the implicit
faith of before. Not a soul that would, had the capacity to help her,
whilst the crowd had gone over to the light-hearted, triumphant
duchess who was stepping remorselessly into her place.

Of all the women of the Renaissance there are none more piteous and
more innocently forlorn than this girl Isabella, married to the futile
son of a madman and pitted against the unrighteous cravings of a
Ludovico. He and Beatrice between them made her life a nightmare, but
they never abased her courage. The letter to her father, given by
Corio as hers, but generally looked upon as worded by the historian,
shows the noble fierceness that ran through her body. In burning
phrases she laid bare the unjust misery of her position. Giangaleazzo
was of age, and should have succeeded some time back to the duchy of
his father. But so far was this from being the case that even the bare
necessities of existence were doled out to them by Ludovico, who not
only enjoyed all political power, but who kept them practically both
helpless and unbefriended. The bitter hurt she endured through
Beatrice came out in the mention of the latter's son and the royal
honours paid to him at birth, while she and her children were treated
as of no importance. In truth she added--and there is something so
hot, so passionately and recklessly sincere in the whole letter that
it is difficult to believe that anybody but Isabella herself wrote
it--they remained at the palace in actual risk of their lives, the
deadly envy of Ludovico aching to make her a widow. But her letter,
for all its despair and anger, was imbued with an unbreakable spirit.
When she had laid bare the danger, the loneliness, and humiliation of
her position, explaining that she lacked even one soul she dared speak
openly to, since all her attendants were provided by Ludovico, she
closed with a brave and defiant statement that in spite of everything
her courage still endured unshaken.

Beatrice, it is true, does not show bravely in this one matter. True,
from the worldly standpoint of the time, it was not as ugly as it
seems to-day. Position during the Renaissance was legitimately to
those indomitable enough to seize it. But the private intuitions of
the heart do not alter greatly at any period, and in these Beatrice
was not by nature deficient. She had strong affections and abundant
fundamental graces of temperament--laughter, courage, insight,
whole-heartedness, multiplicity of talents. But during the first years
of her married life she had too many happinesses at once. There was
nothing in her life to quicken the spiritual qualities, nor to foster
the more delicate undergrowths of character--pity, compassion, the
living sense of other sorrows. She lived too quickly, and there was no
time for conscience to hurt her. That she could be tender there are
little incidents to bear witness. Her motherhood, for instance, was
both charming and childlike. She wrote to her mother, in sending the
baby's portrait, that though it was only a week since the picture had
been painted, the baby was already bigger, but that she dared not send
his exact height because everybody told her that if she measured him
he would never grow properly.

The innocent foolishness of this disarms harsh judgment. And in
judging Beatrice's relations to Isabella of Milan there is no need to
deduce a bad disposition from one bad action. No individuality stands
clear from some occasional unworthinesses. In this one matter Beatrice
was inexcusable, heartless, driven by nothing but an unjust ambition.
But in others she was charming, affectionate, thoughtful, and
moreover, under circumstances of colossal temptations and a great deal
too much wealth, she remained a devoted wife, a faithful friend, and a
woman capable in the end of a sorrow deep enough, practically, to kill
her. In addition, it was harder for Beatrice than for most people to
be really very saintly. She had too much of everything--vitality,
intelligence, charm of person--and the call of life in consequence
became too loud and too insistent. It is partly because of this that
one loves her. For she had enough grace to be lovable, but not enough
to be above the need of a regretful compassion and understanding. It
is, of course, possible to be extraordinarily robust--to feel life
_sing_ in one's body through sheer physical well-being--and yet be all
aflame in spirit also. But it is certain that when for a woman
considerable personal fascination is added, this extreme vitality
makes it much harder to retain only a sweet and limpid thinking. Each
actual moment becomes too engrossing and sufficient.

There is, of course, no use in denying that from the time Ludovico was
immersed in disreputable politics, Beatrice knew a great deal about
them. To help, in fact, in their fulfilment she was herself presently
sent as envoy to Venice. The Venetians were reluctant to fit in with
Il Moro's intentions, and it was realized at Milan that what may be
lost by argument may be won by unuttered persuasion. In any case, a
pretty woman, all gaiety, tact, and responsiveness, could only be a
pleasant incident for a party of elderly gentlemen. So Beatrice, with
all the clothes that most became her, went to Venice, where she set
the teeth of the women on edge with the wicked excess of her personal
splendour. But though the feminine society of Venice did not love her,
Beatrice knew that her business was with men, and that to fascinate,
therefore, she must give out the charm the eye perceives immediately.

During her visit she wrote long letters to her husband, telling him
everything save the information not wise to trust on paper. She even
gave a description of the clothes she wore on each occasion. The fact
is interesting, because nothing could constitute a clearer revelation
of the closeness of their married relationship. Only when a husband
and wife are on the tenderest terms of comradeship does a man care to
hear what his wife wears, and even then he must possess what might be
called the talent for domesticity.

The wedding of Bianca, sister of Giangaleazzo, became the next step in
Ludovico's policy. It was during the pageants organized to show the
greatness of the match that the Duchess Isabella made her last brave
show in public. She knew exactly what lay at the back of the marriage,
but maintained to the end the fine endurance of good breeding. Through
all the ceremonies that preceded Bianca's departure into Germany,
Isabella outwardly bore herself as any tranquil-hearted woman, who
was the first lady of Milan, should do. Later on, some at least of the
anguish surging within was to overflow in a sudden torrent. But in
public nothing broke her wonderful composure. Not until Charles VIII.
came to see her privately did her accumulated sorrows openly express

Previously to this Louis XII., then Duke of Orleans, had been sent
into Italy, to discuss plans with Ludovico. Nobody thought much then
of the man who was later to destroy Il Moro. A contemporary wrote
sneeringly that his head was too small to hold much in the way of
brains, and that Ludovico would find it easy enough to outwit him.
Charles followed, when Beatrice and her court journeyed from Milan to
Asti in order to fascinate and amuse him. Beatrice even danced for his
pleasure, and she was an exquisite dancer. As a result Charles
metaphorically fell at her pretty feet, which was only natural,
considering that her appearance must have been gay and young
enough--in a dress of vivid green and with a bewildering blaze of
jewels--to have fascinated anybody.

Coming after a duchess all radiance and light-heartedness, Isabella,
on the other hand, empty of everything but desolation, could only
appear a disagreeable interlude. Giangaleazzo was already ill at
Pavia when Charles VIII. crossed into Italy, but after Ludovico and
Beatrice had done everything possible to amuse the French king, he
passed on to the town of Pavia. Here the real duke lay in bed, and it
was Isabella who received the king and Ludovico at the entrance to the
Castello, dramatically beautiful in her forlorn observance of social
obligations. Commines gives a detailed account of Isabella's sudden
outcry against the downfall being prepared for her house. In this
account he says that the king told him that he would like to have
warned Giangaleazzo had he not feared the consequences with Ludovico.
Commines adds that, disregarding the Duke of Bari's presence, Isabella
threw herself on her knees before the French king, and piteously
besought him to have pity on her father and brother, in answer to
which, the situation being a very awkward one for him, he could only
beg her to think of her husband and herself, she being still so young
and lovely a woman.

That Charles pitied these two, as lambs lying in the paws of a wolf,
is very clear from Commines' statement.

And a few days later Giangaleazzo died. His life had been useless,
but he took leave of it with an arresting gentleness. After a serious
illness he had rallied, taken a fair amount of nourishment, and slept
a little. That same evening he asked to see two horses Ludovico had
sent him, and they were brought into the great stone hall, out of
which his room opened. He talked of Ludovico, his confidence remaining
childlike and unshaken to the end. His uncle, he said, would have been
sure, would he not, to come and see him, if the French business had
not swallowed up attention? As he grew weaker, he asked his favourite
attendant--much as a woman might ask about her lover, for the pleasure
of the answer--if he thought his uncle loved him, and grieved at his
serious illness. Satisfied, he begged to see his greyhounds, and then,
all his little interests tranquillized, quietly fell asleep. He was
dead next morning, and Ludovico's path was made easier than before. He
was, in fact, instantly proclaimed head of Milan. Guicciardini says of
it, "It was proposed by the heads of the council that, considering the
importance of the duchy, and the dangerous times dawning for Italy, it
would be extremely undesirable that a child not yet five years old
should succeed his father.... Ambition getting the better of honesty,
the next morning, after some pretence of reluctance, he accepted
the name and arms of the Duke of Milan."


At the time Ludovico was almost universally credited with having
murdered Giangaleazzo, but the accusation has since fallen to the
ground. Practically it was based upon the fact that the moment of the
duke's passing was too opportune to wear an air of naturalness. In
spite, moreover, of what men thought, nothing dared be uttered openly,
and Ludovico, blazing in cloth of gold, rode to the church of St.
Ambrozio to give public thanks for his accession. The wind was with
him for the moment. Beatrice, too, had become the first lady of Milan,
and her soul stood in a more perilous state than ever. She had reached
the place of her desire by ways too shady for loveliness of thought to
have had much hold in her.

Isabella meanwhile, from this time onwards, passes into a desolate
private existence. But there is an incident which occurred first that
remains very difficult to penetrate. Literally at Ludovico's mercy
after her husband's death, she still bore herself bravely. For a time
she refused to leave Pavia. When she did, we are told that Beatrice
drove out to meet her, and that when they came together, some two
miles from town, she got out of her own carriage and entered
Isabella's, both women sobbing bitterly as she did so. That Isabella
should cry was natural; she was weak with the weariness of sorrow. But
Beatrice's was not the nature to weep either easily or falsely.
Clearly face to face with the price paid for her own position, it beat
back upon her for a moment as an utter heaviness, and she cried
because Isabella was the living expression of despair, and they had
once been intimate and companionable. God knows what they said to each
other in this drive together, or whether through the passing grace of
a sudden penitence Beatrice found anything the widow could hear
without a sense of nausea. For how dire Isabella felt her life to have
become is revealed in a singularly tender reference made to her by the
court jester Barone, who wrote that she was so changed, and so thin
and grief-stricken, that the hardest heart could not have seen her
without compassion.

But the Duchy of Milan was to yield little happiness to the two who
had acquired it so shabbily. Charles' Italian campaign soon thrust
Ludovico into both difficulty and danger. At the commencement of it he
had been a great man. But when one Italian town after another became
as a doormat for Charles to walk over, he perceived suddenly the flaw
in his French invasion policy. Ferrante of Naples wrecked was one
thing; Italy given over to Charles VIII. another.

He was not even personally safe with Louis of Orleans at Asti. A
league was formed, in which the Pope, the King of the Romans, the King
and Queen of Spain, Henry VII. of England, the Signory of Venice, and
the Duke of Milan all combined. Isabella D'Este's husband was made
captain, with the express duty of cutting off Charles' triumphant
return into France. This fight against the king, so cajoled at the
beginning, and the subsequent peace patched up between him and
Ludovico, is purely a matter of history. In the attack against Asti,
made by Louis of Orleans, however, Beatrice showed a magnificent and
practical courage. Ludovico's own astuteness had died in a sickly
terror, and he had rushed back to his fortified castle at Milan. At
the time there is little doubt that he was suffering from nervous
exhaustion; but it was Beatrice whose courageous eloquence roused
Milan, and it was Beatrice who ordered the steps necessary to defend
the town and Castello.

It was about this time, also, that she showed a disarming and
warm-hearted rightness of feeling. Among the booty her sister
Isabella's husband, Francesco, had acquired from the French were some
hangings that had belonged to Charles VIII.'s own tent. They were
originally forwarded to Isabella, but presently Francesco asked her to
send them back, as he wished to give them to Beatrice. That made
Isabella angry. She had some degree of reason, but her expression of
it was repellantly ungracious. The hangings, notwithstanding, were
sent to Beatrice. Happily, she would not have them. As keenly as
Isabella, she loved beautiful and notable things, but with the simple
statement that, under the circumstances she felt she ought not to have
them, she returned the draperies to her sister. In doing so she was
beginning to practise the little niceties that help to keep existence
lovable. Had she lived, she would almost surely have weathered the
over-eager selfishnesses of her married life. They were after all
largely due to the absorption that all youth suffers during the first
unsettled, uncertain period, when life is still all newness and
personal excitements. But her time was short, and after the settling
of peace with France, the end drew horribly near to her.

For five years she had been happy. Ludovico constituted the integral
part of heaven for her, and after the first fierce struggle she had
lived in the soft security of an equal affection. Nature had given her
brains and seductiveness. To have both in one person, and then, as
crowning grace, to possess a genius for light-heartedness, was more
than most women can rely upon in the unceasing labour of retaining a
husband's affectionateness. But Beatrice was bolstered by even more
than this. The tastes of husband and wife were similar--Ludovico had
no hobbies outside the radius of her understanding. Nevertheless, at
twenty she stumbled upon the disheartenment that for most wives lurks
about the forties. She could not keep her husband from the charm of
other women. She had been everything, but the time had come when a
pretty face was to sweep her peace down like a house of flimsy

She had grown stale--observation, dulled by familiarity, could receive
no fresh impression. The very years they had handled life together
worked not for, but against, her. All her ways had grown a parrot-cry;
those of other women were new and half mysterious. Further, she was at
that time physically in a peculiarly defenceless condition. When
Ludovico's last passion swept him away from her, Beatrice was once
more expecting to be a mother.

Among the members of her household at this time there had been
included the daughter of a Milanese nobleman, a girl called Lucrezia
Crivelli. This Lucrezia Crivelli was far too beautiful to be a safe
person in the house of any man susceptible to all precious or lovely
objects. Could anything, indeed, be more exquisite than her face as
painted by Leonardo da Vinci? At the same time, to look for long at
the beautiful oval is to see that its meekness is purely a sham
expression. The eyes too, so gentle, undisturbed, observant, are just
a little, though illusively, unscrupulous. It is essentially the face
of a young girl with all the delicate finenesses and sweet, reliant
placidities of inexperience; but it is also a face already rich in
power, reservations, and a silent deliberateness of conduct. In
addition to all this, her hair was golden, her head almost perfectly
outlined. In any court she must have created a sensation--she was so
dazzling, and yet so quiet, so self-contained, and so demurely and
subtly dignified. The temperament was probably cold. There is more
thought than feeling in its gracious quietude--thought and a dim
suggestion of pain, not in the present, but for the future. Small
wonder she drew Ludovico. To be young, beautiful--a sweet wonder to
look at--and, in addition, to strain at men's heartstrings by just a
hint of wistfulness, is to be dangerous beyond bearing.

  [Illustration: LUCREZIA CRIVELLI

Ludovico's admiration became rapidly unmistakable. From being
constantly pin-pricked, Beatrice saw the friendship between the two
spring suddenly into something mortal to her heart. The two were
thrown hourly into each other's society--the man with the inflammable
response to beauty, and the girl with the discreet and tantalizing
loveliness. It was a tense drama of three. For Beatrice was always
there as the tortured third. From the commencement nothing was spared
her. Each day some new incident shook her with unutterable
anticipations. Slowly existence, as she watched these two, became a
solidifying terror. There must have been some scenes at the
commencement. No woman could accept a crisis such as this and not cry
out for mercy. But Beatrice, with the innate wisdom that so soon grew
strong in her, quickly realized that to plead was like a voice trying
to be heard above a tempest. Ludovico was infatuated. Everybody knew,
and talked of the affair, both at the Court of Milan and beyond it.
In 1496, a Ferrarese ambassador wrote that the latest news from Milan
was the duke's infatuation for one of his wife's ladies-in-waiting,
with whom he passed the greater part of his time--a fact which was
widely condemned there.

That same autumn Ludovico's natural daughter, whom Beatrice had
adopted when she came to Milan, and whom she loved dearly, died. Only
a few months back she had been married to the Galeazzo di Sanseverino,
who had helped so largely to keep Beatrice merry in the first months
of her marriage. Her name was Bianca, and in her portrait by Ambrogio
da Predis--a portrait sometimes said to be of Beatrice D'Este--she
looks adorable. Her death struck Beatrice when she was already
heartsick. A dozen times between daylight and bedtime Lucrezia and
Ludovico had acquired the power to drive the blood to her temples.
Muralto, who mentions Il Moro making the girl his mistress, says, with
the simplicity characteristic of the period when touching anything
emotional, that though it caused Beatrice bitter anguish of mind, it
could not alter her love for him. It is very evident that Beatrice
dared nothing against this later mistress. With an admirable
wisdom--the wisdom of an intelligence which had deepened upon the
facts of experience--she did not struggle, after five years of married
life, against the fever of this tempestuous passion. But a passionate
restlessness wore her out. She looked upon days unending and
unbearable. In a few weeks her manner changed entirely. She, who had
been like an embodied joy for years, grew to have tears always near
the surface. In the end she became too weary to control them; for
there is no weakness like that brought about by a forlornness
constantly goaded into fresh sensations. Both her ladies and her
courtiers, in the inevitable publicity of court habits, saw her eyes
frequently blinded by silent tears. But she said nothing, and they
could not be certain whether they fell because of her husband's
conduct or because of the death of Bianca.


To some extent she had become abruptly absorbed by a new outlook. All
her life previously she had been a frank materialist; the question of
death had loomed too distant to need attention. But suddenly life had
betrayed her, and in the bitter knowledge of its cruelties the soul
stirred to tragic wakefulness.

The Renaissance, as far as she was concerned, had shown itself
inadequate. It had promised, with artistic and philosophic culture,
to bring happiness. But in practice it provided nothing for the heart
of women. It could not make men faithful, nor help the warm and simple
ways of domesticity from the denudations of instability. There
remained only the question of the afterlife to fall back upon, and
Beatrice, enfevered and tortured, tried to fix her mind upon this
prospect. Bianca had been buried in the church of St. Maria delle
Grazie, and during the last months of her existence Beatrice formed
the habit of going constantly to her tomb, and of staying there for
hours at a time. In fact, shipwrecked as far as life was concerned,
and brought by her approaching motherhood to the nearness and
possibility of death, her soul sprung at last into a quivering
alertness, drawing her to silent introspections in the dark and
restful church, where the girl who had been alive a short time back,
now lay quietly buried. Only the most unshaken agnostics can come
close to death and not suddenly feel an overwhelming necessity for
some preparatory equipment--some consciousness of a clean and
justified existence. And Beatrice, whose manner hinted to those about
her the possession of a secret foreboding of what was coming, had
reached very close to the moment when this peace, both of
remembrance and of hope, would be tragically necessary.


On January 2, 1497, she drove as usual to the church of St. Maria
delle Grazie. She remained there for hours, as if only in this one
sombre place could she obtain a little respite and tranquillity. Her
ladies--who probably disliked these outings beyond expression--had
difficulty in coaxing her at last from the building. They got her
home, and she seemed much as usual until about eight o'clock in the
evening, when the agony of child-birth suddenly commenced in her.

Her pains only lasted three hours. Then she gave birth to a still-born
child, and shortly after midnight she died. For a short hour she lay
in her canopied bed, worn in body and uncomforted in soul. Then she
died, and whom Ludovico loved or did not love mattered not one whit to

But her death had been brutal, unexpected, sudden, and acted upon
Ludovico like a douche of icy water. Passion for Lucrezia died
brusquely through the shock. Beatrice, had she known it, had never
been profoundly discarded, and the thought of life without her had not
formed part of the Lucrezia madness.

And suddenly she was dead. There had been no reconciliation. In the
abruptness of her collapse, there had not been an interval in which to
endear her back to joy. She had suffered great pain, and then, in a
forlorn and piteous weakness, passed from existence.

Ludovico's grief became intense. His passionate prostration was so
unusual in the callousness of the period, that every one talked about
it. He refused to have her name mentioned in his presence, and when
most widowers of that time would have been thinking of a second wife,
he was still spoken of as caring nothing any longer for his children,
or his state, or for anything on earth.

Seven months after her death he continued still apparently a changed
man. He had become religious, recited daily offices, observed fasts,
and lived "chastily and devoutly." His rooms were still draped in
black, he took all his meals standing, and every day went for a time
to his wife's tomb in the church of St. Maria delle Grazie.


His last action in connection with Beatrice has a certain moving
sentimentality. It was when the miserable end of his adventure had
commenced, and he was obliged to escape from Milan with all the haste
he could. His safety depended upon his swiftness. Knowing this, he
nevertheless stopped at the church of St. Maria delle Grazie, and
stayed so long by the tomb of his wife that the small group with him
became anxious for their own skins as well as his. He came out at last
with the tears streaming down his face, and three times, as he rode
away, he looked back towards the church, as if all his heart held dear
lay there behind him.

Not long afterwards he was captured, and his captivity at Loches is
one of the few inexcusable stains upon Louis XII.'s character.



With Anne of Brittany the Renaissance entered France. She herself,
though she had her little fastidiousnesses, hardly belongs to it. No
artistic strain ran through her temperament. She was an intelligent,
but excessively practical woman, who twice married men of opposite
dispositions from her own. Anne, it is certain, never glowed at the
thought of a beautiful thing in her life, but both her husbands did,
and both, as a result of their Italian campaigns, brought into France
a variety of new and educative lovelinesses. Charles VIII., Anne's
first husband, and Louis XII., her second, gave the primary impulse to
the Renaissance movement in France.

As for Anne herself, though in the end she appeals through a colossal
weight of sorrow, one feels her chiefly as a warning. Almost every
quality a woman ought to spend her strength in avoiding, she hugged
unconsciously to her soul, and every quality a woman needs as the
basis of her personality, she had not got. A woman should be
indulgence itself, and Anne indulged nobody; a woman should be as a
brimming receptacle of sympathy, toleration, and forgiveness, and Anne
forgave no one, and tolerated nothing that went against her. A woman
should be--it is without exaggeration her great essential--good to
live with, cosy, accommodating, an insidious wheedler, almost without
premeditation, not only into happiness, but into righteousness of
living. Now, Anne could never have been cosy, and it is doubtful
whether, once safely married for the second time, she would have
condescended to wheedle any one. She had not sufficient love to have a
surplus for distribution. Duties of some kinds she could observe
excellently, but there was no sub-conscious sense that in marrying she
was accepting one of the subtlest posts of influence in the world. She
had not the capacity for understanding that it is a woman's adorable
privilege to be _in herself_ so much, that the atmosphere of the house
she controls must in the end express principally her personality. And
nothing was more remote from Anne's intelligence than the secret
triumph of realizing how greatly the building up of character is the
charge intrusted to her sex by destiny.

It was not her gift to make any house feel warmer when she entered
it. Her second husband loved her--contrast is a frequent motive for
falling in love--but she could do nothing for temperament. Character
is not upheaved by violences, and Anne was all imperatives and
despotism. Practical organizations are often admirably conducted with
these methods, and as a housewife Anne attained considerable
proficiency; but the more immaterial achievements are beyond the
reaching power of a chill autocracy.

Born in 1476, she was the daughter of Francis II. of Brittany, enemy
of Louis XI. of France. Her mother, Marguerite de Foix, died when she
was little more than a baby, and the first thing one hears about the
child Anne was, as usual, concerned with the question of marriage. At
eight years old more than one suitor already desired her hand. The
English Prince of Wales had been accepted, when his murder put an end
to the engagement. Then the widowed Archduke of Austria, Maximilian,
was seriously considered, and for a short time Louis, Duke of Orleans,
subsequently her second husband, numbered among those said to be
possibly acceptable. He was married already to Jeanne, daughter of
Louis XI., but his dislike to the woman forced upon him by her
sinister parent had never been disguised. A dispensation from the Pope
could at any time make another marriage possible.

The notion did not hold attention long, but the man and the child,
after all one day to come together, were excellent friends during the
period when Anne was in the schoolroom. Louis of Orleans, restless and
discontented, could bear anything better than the presence of his own
wife. Jeanne, who was not only deformed but hideous, had wrung from
her own father on one occasion the remark, "I did not know she was so
ugly." Curtained behind physical ungainliness, her nature was white as
snow and soft as the breast of a bird; but though every thought that
came to her fused into tenderness, she lacked the common gaieties
needful for ordinary existence. She had wanted to be a nun, and
instead they made her the wife of a boy who felt for her nothing but
an uncontrollable physical repulsion.

Louis, when he fled to Brittany, did not take her with him, and every
writer is agreed that the pretty, precocious child whom he found
there, and the dissatisfied husband, became the best of comrades. One
chronicler mentions that Anne was flattered by the _hommage_ paid to
her by Louis, but it is very much in keeping with his character to
have been amused by a little creature with all the airs and graces,
and all the feminine obstreperousnesses, that Jeanne did not possess.
Louis admired character, and even at nine years old Anne must have
required no trifling efforts to manage.

In 1488, her father, worsted at last by the French, was obliged to
come to terms with them. Almost immediately afterwards he died, and
Anne, at twelve years old, became Duchess of Brittany.

It was, under the circumstances, a tragic position for any child to be
placed in, and Anne's little baby face and thin childish voice, at the
head of so forlornly placed a duchy, becomes suddenly pathetic. She
was no sooner proclaimed her father's successor, moreover, than France
sent to state that, since there were differences of opinion concerning
their respective rights to Brittany, she should, pending the decision
of arbitrators, not take the title of duchess. The reply--firm but
cautious--amounted to the statement that Anne had already convoked the
states of Brittany, in order to have the recent treaty made by her
father with France ratified.

This answer the child probably had nothing to do with, but, in the
vital question of her marriage, she suddenly revealed herself very
definitely the authoritative head of her own dominions. All her
ministers desired a marriage with the Comte D'Albret, thought to be in
a position to help Brittany against the claws of its enemy. D'Albret
was a widower, old, ugly, bad tempered, and the father of twelve
children. Anne hated him--he is said to have had a spotty face--and
the shrinking antipathy of children is not controllable by reasons.
Primarily she must have felt a little frightened when both her
governess, and the great bearded men who controlled affairs, informed
her that, whatever her feelings, the marriage must take place.
Happily, she was not timid, and she understood perfectly that she had
succeeded to the power of her father. She refused point-blank to marry
D'Albret. They argued, coaxed, laboured with interminable
explanations, but the girl merely became mulish. When their
importunities allowed no other outlet, she declared that sooner than
marry him she would enter a nunnery and become a nun. Obstinacy such
as this, when the child owed subjection to nobody, was a thing to gasp
at. The tempers of her ministers must have been sorely tested, but
the D'Albret marriage had in the end to be abandoned.

Maximilian was then brought forward once more--a suitor towards whom
Anne appears to have been more tractable. It was necessary to marry
somebody. Maximilian she had never seen, and therefore could regard to
some extent optimistically. At the worst he would be better than
D'Albret, and there was the chance that he might be actually charming.
Once she had consented they gave her no time to change her mind.
Maximilian sent his favourite, Baron de Polhain, to Brittany, and a
marriage by proxy, according to the German fashion, took place there.
The bride, having been dressed in her best frock, was placed in her
canopied bed, with the best pillows at her head, and the best
counterpane over her small person, and in the presence of the
necessary witnesses, Polhain bared one leg to the knee and introduced
it into the bed. This brief and simple ceremony rendered Anne a
married woman, wife of the King of Germany. For a year afterwards in
all proclamations she was called Queen, and Maximilian Duke, of

Had he been rich, Maximilian might have kept his wife and changed
history. He was, however, too poor to send assistance, and France
inordinately wanted Brittany. Anne's position, therefore, grew month
by month more desperate, until, after the town of Nantes had fallen,
ultimate defeat became inevitable. Brittany, unaided, was a pigmy
standing up to a colossus. What facts the little duchess's childish
mind grew to understand during the two years she ruled in Brittany are
hard to imagine. Every night her people put her to bed knowing that
the enemy crept, hour by hour, nearer to her person. Every morning
fresh perplexities of state were tumbled into her strained, embittered
understanding. She learnt by heart the cheerless vicissitudes of life
before she knew its kindling compensations. And by nature Anne was
proud, obstinate, prematurely intelligent. This little thing was no
dazed creature propped up as a mere figure-head of state by powerful
officials. No one knew better than Anne the value of her own position.
If she cried when the lugubriousness of her household grew more
patent, she cried, not from terror, but from the bitter knowledge of
utter powerlessness. The mere thought of being conquered roused a
tempest in the fiery spirit of the child-duchess.

She was fourteen when a compromise saved her. Charles VIII., to settle
matters more securely than could be done by any temporary conquest,
proposed to marry his past antagonist. When the proposal was first
laid before her, Anne naturally refused with a sickened fury and
vehemence. No extremity should drive her to think submissively of the
man whose ambition had been the bane of her short existence. She
argued, moreover, that she was already the wife of King Maximilian of
Germany. But Brittany was in sore distress, and once more all those
with power to persuade urged her to consider this proposal as a
godsend to her country. She would not listen; every nerve in her body
revolted against this man, whose very proposal carried a threat behind
it. Finally a priest was called upon to help the troubled counsellor,
and the poor girl, whose happiness throughout had been the one thing
nobody considered, was informed that the Holy Church demanded this
sacrifice for the welfare of her people. She gave in then; there
remained no alternative open to her. An interview took place, when the
enemies of yesterday fumbled with reluctant courtesies. Three days
later they were betrothed, the Duke of Orleans being among the
witnesses of the ceremony.

Anne at this time was, it is said, a pretty, fresh-looking girl, with
an admirable carriage, for all that one leg was slightly shorter than
the other. Charles VIII., on the other hand, could hardly have been
uglier. His head was too big for his body, his eyes were prominent and
expressionless, his lips flabby. There was nothing in his lethargic
appearance to disarm Anne's sullen misery, and during their first
poignant meeting one can feel with certainty that she did nothing to
render easier the polite apologies stammered out by the uneasy lover.
But Charles's manner was gentleness and simplicity itself. Even
Commines, who considered him futile and childish, says of it, "No man
was ever more gentle and kindly in speech. Truly I think he never in
his life said a thing to hurt any one; small of body and ill-made, but
so good, a better creature it would be impossible to find."

The marriage once accomplished, Anne and her husband started upon a
triumphal journey through Brittany. The marriage had been a brutal
necessity, and, for all her determination, the girl of fourteen was in
it only the tool of the men and women who called themselves her
subjects. But once married, Charles showed the utmost tactfulness. In
the "History of the Dukes of Brittany" we read, "The king, having
against his will, as it were, become her husband, omitted nothing
that could assuage the unhappiness their marriage had caused her,
behaving so well that in the end she was quite satisfied with her new
life, and felt for this prince the greatest love and tenderness." But
to have hated Charles would seem to have been impossible. All writers
are unanimous as to the sweetness of his character in personal

A good deal is known about Anne's equipment for her first journey as a
married woman. Her travelling dress was of black velvet trimmed with
zebeline, and her gown for best occasions of gold material lined with
ermine. Among the furniture also were two beds--a serviceable one,
draped with black, white, and velvet cloth; and another hung with gold
brocade and bordered with a heavy fringing of black.

During the journey Anne received innumerable wedding presents, and at
the gates and squares of every town plays were acted for the two young
people. Most of these were mystery plays, but a certain number of
farces were introduced for variety. What these comic plays were like
can be gathered from the _Farce du Cuvier_, famous a little later. It
deals with a hen-pecked husband, whose wife had provided a written
list of his household duties in order to jog his harried memory.

One day, while washing the linen, his wife fell into the copper. The
conversation between them is the dramatic moment of the play. I quote
it as given in Mr. Van Laun's interesting "History of French

    _Wife_ (_in the copper_). Good husband, save my life. I am
    already quite fainting; give me your hand a while.

    _Jacquemet._ It is not in my list....

    _Wife._ Alas! oh, who will hear me? Death will come and take me

    _Jac._ (_reading his list_). "To bake, to attend to the oven, to
    wash, to sift, to cook."

    _Wife._ My blood is already quite changed. I am on the point of

    _Jac._ (_continuing to read_). "To rub, to mend, to keep bright
    the kitchen utensils ..."

    _Wife._ Come quickly to my assistance.

    _Jac._ "To come, to go, to bustle, to run ..."

    _Wife._ Never shall I pass this day.

    _Jac._ "To bake the bread, to heat the oven ..."

    _Wife._ Ah, your hand; I am approaching my last moment.

    _Jac._ "To bring the corn to the mill ..."

    _Wife._ You are worse than a mastiff.

    _Jac._ "To make the bed early in the morning ..."

    _Wife._ Oh, you think this is a joke.

    _Jac._ "And then to put the pot on the fire ..."

    _Wife._ Oh, where is my mother, Jacquette?

    _Jac._ "And to keep the kitchen clean...."

    _Wife._ Go and fetch the priest.

    _Jac._ My paper is ended, but I tell you, without more ado, that
    it is not on my list.

In the end, having wrung from her a promise of docility, he helped her
out. The farce concluded with the joyful murmur, "For the future,
then, I shall be master, for my wife allows it."

But the great day of Anne's youth was the day of her coronation in
France. No toy lay so dear to her heart as a crown, and no one could
have felt more unspeakably proud and great when, before an immense
crowd of nobles and people, her crowning took place at the church of
St. Denis. She wore a gown of pure white satin, and hung her
hair--which was long and beautiful--in two great plaits over her
shoulders. St. Gelais de Montluc said of her at this time, "It did one
good to look at her, for she was young, pretty, and so full of charm
that it was a pleasure to watch her."

Afterwards followed the unavoidable reaction, when the ordinary
routine of existence had to be confronted. Anne's position, once the
glamorous days of public functions were over, revealed innumerable
drawbacks. She was a little girl in a strange country, surrounded by
persons unwilling to surrender either power or precedence. Anne of
Beaujeu, the former Regent--harsh, efficient, domineering--was the
first power with whom Anne suffered combat. Small questions of
precedence kindled the tempers of both. The elder Anne loved power as
much as the younger, and was a woman few people cared to defy. But the
juvenile bride had been modelled a little bit after the same pattern;
she also possessed indomitable qualities, and had no intention of
being a queen for nothing. The Regent--her surprise must have been
overwhelming--found herself worsted. Sensible as well as proud, she
retired before any pronounced unseemliness had occurred, and left the
two young people to manage the kingdom for themselves.

But the period of domesticity between Charles and Anne did not
continue long. There was a little love-making, a little house
decorating, and then came the momentous first invasion of Italy.
Commines, a shrewd and plain-spoken observer, says a good deal about
this Italian campaign, which he accompanied. Both he and the Italian
historian Guicciardini refer with pronounced contempt to Charles's
mismanagement of it, while Commines goes so far as to state
practically that nothing but the grace of God kept the army from

While Charles was away time passed wearily for Anne. Previously to
her husband's departure, when barely fifteen years old, she had given
birth to her first baby, the needful son and heir. But to make the
days more empty and interminable, the child was taken from her at the
beginning of hostilities. For safety's sake he remained at the castle
of Amboise, strongly guarded by a hundred of the Scottish guard. So
carefully was he protected, in fact, that when one of his godfathers,
François de Paule, came to see him, he was only allowed to bring one
other priest with him--a man born in France, and one who had never
been to Naples. Unfortunately, no guards could save a life so feeble
as this child's of a child-mother. Almost immediately after Charles
had come back from Italy the little creature fell ill and died with
tragic suddenness.

Before this, and after her husband's safe arrival, Anne is said to
have been unprecedently light-hearted. To exist for months, as she had
been doing, waiting hour after hour for the daily courier's arrival,
was to become drained at last of every feeling except a tortured
expectancy. Charles's death would not only have made her a widow, it
would have taken her cherished crown away from her also. To hold both
safe again relaxed even Anne's cherished decorum of manner. But the
death of the Dauphin struck the newly arisen gaiety abruptly out of
her. She grieved passionately, bewildered that God should do this
inexplicable and bitter thing to her. How fiercely she rebelled is
shown by the following incident. Her friend of childish days, Louis,
Duke of Orleans, was now once more heir to the throne. In a court of
mourning he struck Anne as unduly blithe and cheerful, and instantly
her sore heart revolted and hated him. Commines, who mentions the
circumstance, says that "for a long time afterwards they did not
speak." As a matter of fact, Anne insisted upon his removal from the
court circle. Louis retired to his own home at Blois, where he fell
back upon the hobbies of his father, the childlike poet Louis of
Bourbon, whose poems he collected while he waited for his old friend's
nerves to tranquillize.

Charles meanwhile gladdened his spirit with architectural interests.
He had come back deeply influenced by the beauty of Italian methods,
and having brought with him a crowd of Italian artists and craftsmen.

How the tumultuous Anne struck him after the subtlety of Italian
womenfolk is not mentioned. The women of the Italian Renaissance were
an education in themselves. Charles had been cajoled by Beatrice, had
been knelt to by Isabella of Aragon, had been flattered delicately and
unceasingly. His path to Rome had been strewn with gracious ladies,
all more consummate, more complex, more highly wrought, as it were,
than his own house-bound countrywomen. Anne, besides, could never have
been a person of irresistible daily whimsicalities. Fortunately,
Charles possessed strong domestic instincts, and in justice to Anne it
should be mentioned that she did not show the same indifference to
personal graces usually associated with women of her practical
temperament. She had a few dainty vanities--was particular about baths
and washing in basins all of gold; and had shoals of little scented
sachets placed between her linen and in the clothes she wore, violets
being her favourite perfume.

  [Illustration: FROM THE _CALENDRIER_

In the April after the Italian campaign the two were at Amboise
Castle, Charles, it is said, having grown from an irresponsible youth
into a ruler actuated by definite tenderness for his people. And then
a tragic thing happened. On the Saturday before Easter some of the
household were playing tennis in the courtyard. Anne and Charles went
to watch them play, but in passing through a corridor known as the
_Galerie Hacquelebac_--about to be pulled down--Charles hit his
head against the low frame of a doorway. The accident seemed trivial,
and for some time he watched the players as if unaffected by it; but
suddenly, in the middle of a phrase, he dropped mysteriously to the
ground. Placed upon a mattress, he lingered until the evening, and
died at eleven o'clock at night. He was then twenty-eight, and Anne,
struck brusquely from placid trivialities to the supreme incident of
existence, was twenty-four.

Louis of Orleans had become King of France. Anne, huddled in a
darkened room at Amboise, cried for hours without ceasing. She sat
forlornly on the floor, and knew the uselessness of wordy
consolations. Charles had been good to her; the future would have been
full of pleasant habits. Now he was dead, and there remained nobody
whose interests and hers were identical. Many would be brazenly glad
that she was cast down. She who yesterday had been Queen of France,
was now nobody--a widow--whose crown, that salient, exalting
possession, belonged to the wife of Louis. True, she was still Duchess
of Brittany, but she had suffered sufficient baneful experience to
know that they would soon try and wrench that honour from her also.

No efforts could appease her grief. A contemporary nobleman, writing
to his wife four days after Charles's death, remarked, "The queen
still continues the same mourning, and they cannot pacify her." How
could they, when all that she craved had been subtracted from her
life? For days she crouched upon the floor of a black-draped room,
desolately rebellious against the stupid harshness of life. Hour after
hour she moaned, and cried, and wrung her hands. Nevertheless, for all
her stricken gestures, her brain worked well enough. She began to
write letters the day after Charles's death, and as soon as she had at
last been induced to eat, she signed an order to re-establish the
Chancellorship of Brittany. Courage and intelligence continued intact
for all the abasement of her attitude. She wept, but as she wept she
thought out practical behaviour for the future.

At the same time, there is no doubt that she was genuinely disturbed
and disconsolate. When, after some days, they brought her the usual
charming white of royal widows, her pitiable and comfortless thoughts
mutinied instinctively against its serenity and calm. She would not
wear it: black was the only hue that could meet the blackness of her
life--white revolted her as an equal offence and mockery. With a
dogged insistence upon the hurt that tortured her, she set an
undesirable fashion, and through a tumultuous intolerance of pain did
away with an old prettiness of custom.

Three days after her widowhood her old friend the new king called to
express condolence. Anne still repined in her darkened chamber. The
only light that fell upon her came from two great candles. She had not
risen when a bishop came to offer consolation, but she probably did so
now, and made a grudging obeisance to the man who had suddenly climbed
above her.

Louis XII.'s manners, to every woman save his wife, were notoriously
deferential. Anne, moreover, was still very youthful, and in the
semi-darkness her great mass of shining hair could not but have looked
soft, and young, and movingly incongruous with her sorrow. They spoke
of the dead man's funeral. Anne expressed the wish that nothing that
could do honour to his memory should be omitted. Louis answered
instantly that all her wishes were sacred, and did, in fact, pay all
the funeral expenses out of his private purse. Then she stated her
desire to wear black as mourning, and once more Louis acquiesced with
a visible desire to spare her feelings to the utmost of his capacity.
In the soft, uncertain candlelight a new emotional quality may well
have appertained to the girl so harshly and abruptly widowed.
Surrounded by darkness, her desolate youthfulness, and her pitiful
desire to obscure her youth in still more blackness, might easily have
stirred an old admirer to a renewal of tenderness.

Anne continued to moan a good deal for several days, but it is
questionable whether the hidden excursions of her mind were so
storm-beaten after this visit as before it. The majority of women have
an intuitive knowledge of the emotions felt by men when in their
company, and Anne possessed great powers of discernment. She could
perfectly understand that Louis XII. wished desperately to retain
Brittany. By the terms of her marriage settlement it now indisputably
belonged to her once more. She also knew, with an acute sense of the
potentialities flung open by the fact, that the idea of having his own
marriage annulled had become an invincible necessity of his nature.
The wayward brutality of her conduct to him after the death of the
Dauphin might have chilled original kindliness of feeling; but he had
thought her charming previously, and the desire for Brittany would
naturally facilitate the effort to find her charming henceforward.

There is no doubt that Louis's visit, at least in some degree,
alleviated depression; for a little later, with the impetuosity that
kept Anne from being a totally dull woman, she said, in answer to some
remark of one of her ladies, that sooner than stoop to a lower than
her husband she would be a widow all her days, adding, in the same
breath, that she believed she could still one day be the reigning
Queen of France if she should wish it. A quaint writer of that time
described Anne accurately, but kindly, when he said, "The greatness of
heart of the queen-duchess was beyond all belief, and could yield in
nothing that belonged to her, neither suffer that she should not have
entire control of it."

But her statement was literally correct. While she lived in the strict
retirement of mourning, writing lucid, emphatic letters to Brittany,
the new king flung himself into the business of repudiating Louis
XI.'s daughter. It is an episode that considerably smirches the
propriety of Anne--afterwards a great upholder of propriety--for
several further visits took place between the black-robed widow and
the new king, and that they did not meet merely to extol the merits of
the dead husband soon became apparent. Charles died in April, and in
August two acts, dated on the same day, were passed. In the one Anne
consented to marry Louis so soon as his present marriage should be
annulled in Rome, and in the second Louis agreed to give back to the
duchess the two towns of Nantes and Fougeres, if by death or other
impediment he should prove unable to marry her within a year.

The divorce was not a difficult one to obtain. Alexander needed French
assistance for the aggrandisement of Cæsar Borgia, and sent him
personally with the Bull to Louis. Then a tribunal, formed of a
cardinal, two bishops, and other minor dignitaries, sat upon the case
and called upon the queen to appear in person. Both she and the
council knew that the inquiry was a degrading and unmerciful farce.
Nevertheless, for form's sake, endless questions were put to the woman
who was at one and the same time both so ugly and so beautiful. They
questioned her concerning her father, Louis XI., pressing to obtain
involuntary exposures. Jeanne's sensitive and finely poised reserve
could not be splintered by insistence. "I am not aware of it," or "I
do not think so," were all that her lips yielded. She rendered even
distress a little lovely by the silence in which she sheltered it. In
reality, Louis's memory must have been essentially painful. For, like
her husband, he had unremittingly hated her. As a child her tutor was
even in the habit of hiding her in his robe for safety if by chance
Louis met them in a corridor.

From family discords the court passed to the question of her marriage.
Bluntly, they informed the martyred woman that she was a deformity. "I
know I am not as pretty or as well made as most women," was the
answer, that seemed to carry a lifetime's tears below its
plaintiveness. They insisted further that she was not fit for
marriage. Then a little anguished humanness seems to have fluttered
for a moment through her patient spirit. "I do not think that is so. I
think I am as fit to be married as the wife of my groom George, who is
quite deformed, and yet has given him beautiful children." But all the
while both she and those who questioned her knew with perfect clarity
that neither questions nor answers could affect the ultimate issue.
They were but a mean and vulgar form gone through to blind the
judgment of the people. Louis XII. denied that their union had ever
passed beyond the marriage service. Once more Jeanne fell back upon
grave words conveying nothing. "I want," she answered, "no other
judges than the king himself. If he swears on oath that the facts
brought against me are true, I consent to condemnation."

That gave all they needed, and the marriage was declared null and
void. For the last time Jeanne and Louis went through the discomfort
of an interview, and for once, and once only, Jeanne's consummate
self-immolation drew tears from her husband. Then she passed out of
his existence, and became, what she had always desired to be, a nun.
In one of the sermons preached on the anniversary of her death, it was
said of her, "She was so plain that she was repudiated by her husband;
she was so beautiful that she became the bride of Jesus Christ."

Anne and Louis were then delivered from all impediments, and in the
year after Charles's death were married at the Nantes Cathedral. The
marriage settlement drawn up was entirely advantageous to Anne.
Undoubtedly Louis loved her. In his time many kinds of women had
engrossed him, for he was a man who, as one writer puts it kindly,
"did not disdain the pastime of ladies." But after many love affairs,
and much knowledge of women's subtleties, he finally surrendered to
the charms of a woman possessed of no subtleties of any sort.

  [Illustration: ANNE KNEELING

The attraction is difficult to account for. Possibly Anne held him
through his domestic leanings, and through her own indomitable force
of character. The monotonies of guilty love episodes may have given a
restful grace to placid respectability; Louis knew by heart every
cankering perversity inherent to the women who are not virtuous, and
probably, therefore, set additional store by one possessing at least a
steadfast and limpid purity. How much virtue in a woman, when she was
not Jeanne, appealed to him is clear from a remark made some years
later. It had reference to Anne's aggressiveness. Some one complained
of it to Louis. His answer offered no consolation, but expressed a
definite attitude of mind. He remarked merely, "One must forgive much
to a virtuous woman."

Anne's affection for Louis is more immediately comprehensible. He was
peculiarly lovable, though almost as ugly as Charles himself. He had a
low forehead, prominent ruminating eyes, a sensual, affectionate
mouth, high cheek-bones, and a flabby skin. It was the face of a man
who liked life as it was, and people as they were; there appeared in
it no desire for illusions of any kind. He had in his own nature all
the sympathetic weaknesses, and his expression conveyed the easy
tolerance of a nature which had at least used experience as a school
of understanding. A Venetian ambassador once called him "a child of
nature," and he was essentially natural, with an almost childlike
trustfulness, not so much of manner as of opinion. He ruled--save for
his unfortunate passion to possess a piece of Italy--like a man
preoccupied with the happiness of his children. The people adored him.
If money had to be raised, he made personal sacrifices rather than
burden the poor with additional taxation, while his home policy was
persistently humane and sensible. Historians rarely do him justice.
Because he failed to prove a great diplomatist, they ignore his
possession of a delightful personality. In regard to Italy, he was
plainly foolish; but then Italy stood for the romance of life--the
adventure that drew the commonplace out of existence. Even specialized
astuteness could have blundered easily in the cunning complications of
international politics at that crisis, and Louis went to Italy, not
out of policy, but literally because he could not keep himself away
from it.

Though in private life his interests were largely intellectual, he had
always a certain strain of cordial earthliness. The "pastime of
ladies" he is said to have given up entirely after his second
marriage, but good dinners and good wine he liked to the end of life.
When Ferdinand of Aragon was told that Louis complained of being twice
cheated by him, he exclaimed exultantly, "He lies, the _drunkard_; I
have cheated him more than ten times."

Anne stood for his antithesis. She was regrettably without small
weaknesses, and she forgave nobody. When Louis came to the throne he
remarked, "It would ill become the King of France to avenge the wrongs
of the Duke of Orleans." But if any one hurt Anne, she could not rest
until a greater hurt had been flung back upon the offender. Once a
grown woman, and married to Louis, she was, except from the point of
view of housewifery, almost completely a failure. She might have had
more flagrant vices and aroused compassionate affection. But she was
pre-eminently respectable, pious, hedged in by sedate rules of
conduct. And all the time one of the most corroding sins possible
flourished in her to offend posterity. Anne's revengefulness is like a
blight, destroying the grace of her femininity.

Happily she was generous, and generosity is a sweet redemption of much
crookedness. She loved to give presents. After her second marriage
she kept a gallery full of jewellery and precious stones, which she
gave from time to time to the "wives of the captains or others who had
distinguished themselves in the wars, or faithfully served her husband
Louis." Also, she never denied the tragic clamour of the poor. Mezerai
wrote: "You saw thousands of poor waiting for her alms, whenever she
left the palace."

Of the private life led by Anne and Louis an unusual amount is known.
They got up at six in summer and seven in winter. They had their
dinner at eight or nine in the morning. At two o'clock they took some
light refreshments. By five or six supper was served, and either at
eight or nine o'clock they went to bed, after having a glass of wine
and some spiced cakes. An old rhyme of the period might have been
written for them--

    "To rise at five, and dine at nine,
    Sup at five, and sleep at nine,
    Keeps one alive until ninety-nine."

Louis passed the larger part of the day occupied with state matters.
To quicken recognition of the gravity of a ruler's efforts, he read
fragmentarily but constantly Cicero's "Treatise on Duties;" it was to
him like a spring of stimulating waters. When he had nothing else to
do, he made love to his "Bretonne"--the name, for intimate use, given
by him to Anne. She could have stirred no poetic imaginings, but she
was comfortable to his nature. Domesticity and the hearthside
securities were expressed by her.

Meanwhile, Anne ruled her household after the manner of an austere
schoolmistress. Like all unimaginative people, she shrank from any
form of waywardness, and none was permitted near her person. Her court
grew to be spoken of as a school of good conduct for girls of the
upper classes. Whether because she took so many or not, the beds for
the rooms of the maids of honour were six feet long by six feet wide,
so that several girls slept in the same bed--a little row of heads on
one long pillow. No maids of honour were allowed to address a man save
with an audience in the room. When the king went hunting, Anne sat
surrounded by intimidated ladies, all sedately at work upon huge
pieces of tapestry.

Even their recreations had to be of a sober and cautious nature.
Françoise D'Alençon, the sister-in-law of Margaret D'Angoulême, is
reported to have kept intact the traditions of Anne's court, and the
following quotation is a description of how her household was
managed. "She made all her ladies also come into the room, and after
having looked at them one by one, she called back any whose bearing
struck her as plebeian or wanting in propriety. She scolded any whose
dress was not as it should be. Then she examined each one's work, and
if there was a fault, righted it, and if the little progress made
showed negligence and laziness, scolded the worker pretty sharply. As
to their morals, she allowed none of them to have any conversation
alone with any man, nor suffered any conversation before them not
strictly proper and honourable.... As to their pastimes and festivals,
this prudent princess did not keep them so strictly but that they were
allowed to walk about, and play in the gardens or in some honourable
house; or that they '_balassent_,' or played the guitar,
_d'espinettes_, or other musical instruments, recommended by the
nobility and other honourable minds; or that they should sing modestly
and religiously in their room, which she often made them do in her
presence, and while she herself joined them. But she never allowed
them to sing other songs than the Psalms of David, or the songs of the
dead Queen of Navarre. She did as much for their literature, for as
she herself only read the Scriptures, or some historical biography
which contained no false doctrine, so she would not allow her ladies
to read anything else either."

With insignificant alterations the picture conveys as accurately
Anne's method of management as that of the inflexible Françoise
D'Alençon. Perhaps of the two Anne's control permitted more brightness
to stray through its severity. There were occasional dances at the
court, as well as journeys from one town to another. But it was not
Anne's destiny to retain either of her husbands comfortably at her
elbow. Though Louis loved both his wife and his people, the desire for
adventure fretted the surface of his domestic life. Before Anne gave
birth to their first baby, he had already gone to struggle for a piece
of the country which perpetually ensnared him with abnormal and
inexplicable longings.

During the first expedition Ludovico Sforza was taken prisoner. In
this one matter Louis's conduct freezes one's blood. He brought Il
Moro to France, and imprisoned him underground at the castle of
Loches, while to increase safety he was placed every night in an iron
cage. For ten years Ludovico endured this extreme limit of mental and
physical privation, his magnificent physique refusing to admit Death
sooner. But even at this distance of time it is not possible to think
without unhappiness of the destroying agony of such imprisonment.

While Louis was in Italy, Anne wrote to him daily. A little letter
from her proving that Louis was both affectionate and in love is still
in existence. It commenced, "A loving and beloved wife writes to her
husband, still more beloved, the object both of her regrets and her
pride, led by the desire of glory far from his own country. For her,
poor _amante_, every moment is full of terrors. To be robbed of a
prince more lover than husband, what a terrible anguish it is!" The
words "more lover than husband" reveal the practice of constant minor
and endearing attentions.

A miniature painting of the period discloses Anne writing one of these
daily letters. She sits in her bedroom, clearly used as a sitting-room
as well. Her black gown trails consequentially upon the floor, but her
table and seat are both perfectly unpretentious. Round her, on the
ground, sit her ladies-in-waiting, intensely docile and industrious.
Besides being disciplined in an outward meekness, they were, it would
seem, obliged to adopt a court uniform, since in all the pictures they
are dressed absolutely alike. Anne's inkstand and pen are both gold,
and a little handkerchief is set conveniently near to wipe the seemly
tears that should blur her eyes as she writes. At the back is a
charming four-poster, rich and radiant with opulent gold hangings.

When Louis returned to France, society flung its eager frivolity into
a series of organized rejoicings. But already to Anne life was
beginning to imply unrestfulness. Louise de Savoie had a son Francis;
and unless Anne gave birth to one later, this child became heir to the
throne of France. The two women hated each other with an almost
equally tortured intensity; certainly from this time forward Louise
spoiled the peace of Anne's existence. Even without the poignant
person of Francis, Duc D'Angoulême, some friction would still have
been unavoidable. Anne clung to sober and steadfast if uninspired
propriety; Louise de Savoie in conduct had no morals, no restraint,
and no delicate prejudices whatsoever. Her brain teemed with
complexities, exaggerations, and superlatives. She saw everything
through a falsifying excitement, while to weave a lie was one degree
more comfortable to her than to speak veraciously. In appearance also
the advantages were on her side, and possessing an intuitive gift for
understanding the worst of men, her society was dangerously
flattering and easy to them.

Anne flinched, both at the other's conduct and at her possession of an
heir to the French throne. Fleurange, who knew Anne well, said that
there was never an hour but these two houses were not quarrelling.
Both women, as the years passed, grew to have a constant piercing
apprehension that killed all abiding buoyancy of feeling. In Anne's
case the anguish was far the sharper and the more pitiful. Again and
again she throbbed at the expectation of motherhood, and after nine
overwrought months, when to both women the suspense had grown almost
more than they could suffer, a girl, or a boy born dead, came to crush
the vitality out of Anne's brave spirit.

After the birth of Claude a still keener edge was given to
disquietude. Almost immediately arose the question of a marriage
between the girl and Francis. For years, with all the passionate
fierceness of her nature, Anne fought to ward off this triumph for her
adversary and to marry the child to a different husband. In 1501 a
temporary victory expanded her heart. The baby became promised to the
Duke of Luxembourg, afterwards Charles V., son of the Archduke Philip
of Austria. This engagement continued for several years. Then Louis
realized that the probability of his having a son had grown very
small, and that under these conditions the Austrian marriage would be
in the last degree impolitic. For some reason not stated, he and Anne
stumbled at this period into a serious breach of tenderness. His
attitude to the question of Claude's marriage may have roused her to a
despairing fury. To surrender the little plain girl she delighted in,
to the son of the woman she abominated, was a hard thing to do--too
hard for a heart already contracted with useless yearnings. Louis met
her strenuous obstinacy with an implacable conclusiveness. The pulse
of the nation beat, he knew, for the young D'Angoulême, who was "all
French;" and his own opinion could be summed up in one sentence--that
"he preferred to marry his mice to rats of his own barn."

A chill, destroying discord rose between the married lovers, who had
once known such warmth in each other's presence. Louis, stung out of
placidity, even commenced to snub the proud and suffering woman
struggling against his wishes. During one of the recurring discussions
upon the same subject, he informed her that "at the creation of the
world horns were given to the doe as well as to the stag, but the doe
venturing to use these defences against her mate, they were taken
from her." If he had whipped Anne, the sense of stinging humiliation
could hardly, one imagines, have been sharper. For no woman bore
herself with a more unyielding dignity before witnesses, and the
remark was not made beyond the reach of auditors.

In 1505, Anne, fretted, sore of heart, beaten and discouraged, went to
Brittany. The actual reason of her going is not given, but having gone
she stayed there, and more, wrote no longer daily letters to "her
loving and beloved." Outwardly she was happy--held magnificent
receptions, and went interesting journeys from one town to another.
Clearly it was rest of heart to be away. Home had become a place of
piercing bitterness, of rending and exhausting antagonisms. On a vital
question she and Louis pulled different ways. Here in Brittany
friction and sorrow lulled a little. Her nerves took rest, and her
heart forgot at intervals.

  [Illustration: ST. HELENA

That she flinched from return as from a renewal of intolerable
provocation is unmistakable. In the September of 1505 she was at
Rennes; and while she was there, Louis's friend, the Cardinal
D'Amboise--upon whose death Pope Julius II. "thanked God he was now
Pope alone"--wrote with a hint of distraction concerning the
gravity of her prolonged absence from France. He said, "The king sent
for me this afternoon, madame. I have never seen him so put out, as
also I understand from Gaspar, to whom he spoke in my presence." The
letter concluded with an urgent appeal that she should return and "so
satisfy the king and also stop strangers from gossiping."

Four days afterwards he wrote again: "Although wonderfully pleased at
the assurance you send me of making all possible haste to return to
court, I am deeply distressed that you do not mention any date. I do
not know what to answer the king, who is in the greatest
perplexity.... I wish to God I was with you.... I can only say that I
grieve with all my heart that you and the king no longer speak frankly
to one another." Still she lingered, like a person bathing weary limbs
in warm and soothing waters. Amboise, seeing the oncoming of permanent
alienation, wrote again, "For God's sake don't fall, you and the king,
into these moods of mutual distrust, for if it lasts neither
confidence nor love can hold out, not to speak of the harm that can
come of it, and the contempt of the whole Christian world."

In the end Anne drew upon her tired courage and came back. Once
together again, moreover, she and Louis must have yielded to gentler
feelings, for two children were born afterwards. But from this time to
the end Anne never again felt the glow of life really stream upon
her--a chill loneliness sapped capacity for pleasure. Once Louis
exchanged the lover for the husband, they possessed no mental
companionableness to fall back upon. They saw few things with the same
emotion, and for successful marriage this is the primal necessity. Anne
was intuitively religious, and Louis had been excommunicated--without
visible disturbance--for his exploits in the second Italian campaign.
To increase a marked sense of the difference between their views,
Brittany had been excluded from the excommunication.

Everything for Anne had grown a little out of gear--a little hurtful
and antagonistic. Claude was lame and not pretty--Louise's handsome
son and daughter were adored by everybody.

Moreover, she had been coerced and disregarded; for all her excessive
stateliness men knew her as a humiliated and beaten woman. Before
Louis left for the third Italian campaign, the betrothal of Claude to
Francis had been ratified. Deputies from the different departments
had visited Louis at Plessis-les-Tours. They called him "Father of his
people;" then upon bent knees begged that he would "give madame your
only daughter to Monsieur François here present, who is a thorough
Frenchman." Both Louis and the kneeling deputies shed tears, but
though a sentimental emotion fluttered them in passing, the scene was
essentially an organized drama, gone through in order to cut the last
possible ground of resistance from under Anne's feet. Two days later
Francis, aged eleven, and Claude, aged six, were formally promised to
one another.

There is one more outstanding incident in Anne's life--her bitter
warfare with the great Marechale de Gie. It has been called the
inexcusable stain upon her reputation. The story certainly leaves her
nakedly crude, fiercely elemental, but at least upon this occasion a
glaring provocation roused her to fury. Louis fell ill. He had enjoyed
his youth too coarsely, and paid heavily in after years for the
absence of more delicate cravings. Anne nursed him with an affection
made quick through terror. "She never left his room all day, and did
everything she was able herself." But Louis failed to get better. Each
day he drew nearer the purlieus of finality; his doctors perceived no
possibility even of return. Then Anne, sitting wearily by the bedside
of the sick man, did undoubtedly think of practical matters. She
remembered Louise and their mutual hatred. Historians express disgust
at what followed, but in reality there is nothing to be deeply
disgusted about. The brain in times of tense, overwrought excitement
is assailed by many discordant and trumpery remembrances. Anne, alert
and nervous both, gazed at the sinking patient, and recalled the
valuable furniture, jewellery, and plate, whose possession might be
contested later. Had she been a woman of momentous feeling, the
knowledge could equally have flashed through her kindled intelligence,
but would have left it bitterly indifferent. Anne was not strung with
overwhelming affections, and her predominating common sense saw that
after this man's death she had still a future to organize. Without
relaxing one personal nursing labour, she gave rapid orders to the
household, until all the articles stated as hers in the marriage
contract were despatched by ship to Brittany.

Gie had long ago placed his interests upon the side of the power to
follow. Being informed of the queen's arrangements, he stopped her
vessels, definitely refusing to allow them to leave the country.

There was a certain reckless temerity in the action; but Louis, it was
understood, could not live more than a few hours, and the new king
would know how to reward such strenuous adroitness in his interests.
But in this matter Gie was unlucky.

Louis suddenly--and apparently unreasonably--abandoned the notion of
dying. From extreme collapse he rapidly recovered, and immediately
afterwards banished Gie from court. There are slight variations in the
story--in one account Anne was labouring to remove Claude to Brittany
as well--but the above is the account given by the greatest number.

For a short time Gie remained thankfully at his magnificent place in
the country, clutching at the fact that his punishment went very
comfortably with his instincts. But Anne's heart was too primitive for
trivial retaliations. Mezerai did not say for nothing, "She was
terrible to those who offended her." Presently Gie received a summons
to answer to the charges of _lèse-majesté_ and peculation, was
arrested, and after being treated with a shameless brutality, received
a verdict of guilty, with a loss of all honours and five years'
banishment from court. The ugliest part of a story--in which from the
beginning everybody behaved with a rather ignoble sagacity--is the
report that Anne openly stated that she did not desire the Marechale's
death, since death gave relief from suffering, and she chafed for him
to live and feel all the misery of being low when he had been high; in
other words, that she craved a long and cankering duration to his

After the birth of another daughter--the child Renée, subsequently to
be Duchess of Ferrara--Anne's last fragment of happiness died in her.
Jean Marot, father of the famous Clement Marot, referred to her in
some verses with a singular realism and comprehension. He wrote--

    "At this time was in Lyons
    The uneasy queen. Always in grief
    For the regrets her tired heart
          Bore incessantly."

She was, in truth, tired to death of the involved labour of life.
Thoughts of the complacent, unprincipled, mendacious Louise de Savoie,
whose son was heir to the throne of France, fermented in her blood,
and kept her heart from beating contentedly. From the time of Renée's
birth she surrendered to an uncontested weakliness. Though she became
_enceinte_ again shortly afterwards, hope scarcely fluttered, and her
physical condition bore witness to a mind past any salutary optimism.
She had already given birth to three sons, not one of whom had lived,
and throughout the household it was recognized that she lacked good
fortune in motherhood.

In 1512, some one wrote: "The queen is in great pain, and her baby is
expected at the end of this month or the beginning of next. But there
is not the fuss and excitement here that was made over the others."

The child came, but the triumphant Louise records the event in her
diary with cynical cheerfulness: "... His birth will not hinder the
exaltation of my Cæsar, for the infant was born dead."

Anne, worn and heartbroken in her second best bed--always used for
_accouchements_--becomes at last entirely touching. She was by this
time ultimately and irremediably beaten. The child had been a son, but
was dead. "She took pleasure in nothing afterwards," said D'Argentre,
while she continued so ill that most of the time she had to stay in
bed. Louis, back from renewed disasters in Italy, found her there on
his return. Shortly afterwards--on the 9th of February, 1514--she

Louis grieved considerably. The flaring heat of latter quarrels had
burnt up much original tenderness, but De Seyssel's statement that
Louis "loved her so that in her he had placed all his pleasure and
delight," was an approximate interpretation of their position until
vital antagonisms sharpened the tongues of both.

Anne was given a sumptuous funeral. The arrangements for it, could she
have known them, would have caused her exquisite pleasure. For six
days she lay in her own room, prayed for unceasingly. Then she was
placed upon a _Lit de Parade_, and covered with a pall of gold cloth
bordered with ermine, the fur represented by the coat-of-arms of
Brittany. She lay underneath this, with white gloves upon her hands,
and a crown upon her head; her dress was of purple velvet, and on each
side were cushions holding the Sceptre and the Hand of Justice.

After the funeral Louis sent her heart in a golden case to be entombed
in Brittany. On the casket was written--

    "In this small vessel
    Of pure, fine gold
    Rests the greatest heart
    Of any woman in the world."

But as a matter of fact, the one great drawback to Anne was that she
had not heart enough. Her presence inspired neither tenderness nor
laughter, her society neither encouraged nor comforted. And the
consequence was that nobody could have been missed less. On the whole
she had been a good woman; except in times of tumultuous temper, she
had endeavoured to live conscientiously and reasonably. Only she
possessed no deep-dwelling sympathies; consequently when she died she
was dead immediately. It is the people who kindle perpetually at the
needs of others who live for years in the hearts of those they have



Of all the famous women of the Renaissance, Lucrezia Borgia is, in one
sense, though in one sense only, the most disappointing. There are a
great number of books dealing with her personality, but little real
information. Few personal friends reveal more of themselves than
Margaret D'Angoulême, Anne of Brittany, or Beatrice D'Este. What is
evasive about them is pleasantly evasive, since every woman should
retain a little that is inexplicable. But Lucrezia Borgia evades
altogether. There is nothing, from beginning to end, comprehensible to
seize upon. All the facts of her life are ascertainable, but never a
word concerning the temperament that to a certain extent gave life to
them. The events of the first half of her existence are begrimed with
evil, but the evil is so involved and extraordinary, so little in
keeping with the second half of her existence, and in many instances
so dubious, that it scarcely adheres to her. In the end she emerges
with such inherent calm, such effulgent gentleness, that the whole
story of her Roman days has an air, not only of inapplicability, but
of extraneousness. The actions of that early period seem to cling to
her little more than the unconscious proceedings of a sleep-walker.

To disarm once and for all any preconceived prejudice, it is only
necessary to look at the supposed portrait of her as St. Catherine,
painted by Pintorricchio. In that she is adorable. To believe in the
absolute baseness of a creature with such an expression is not
possible. Looking at it, do we see anything save a child, nearly grown
up in years, but with a little brain absolutely muddled and
unreasonable? Exquisitely plaintive and helpless, the figure seems
surely as if its youth appealed against it knew not what. The creature
is all prettiness, weakness, and grace. Standing with slender hands in
a useless attitude, her expression appears destitute of any vital
understandings, but conveys instead the very essence of the sweetness
and dependence possible to femininity. The little mouth is weak but
endearing, the little chin weak but tender-hearted. The whole face,
framed in its loose and volatile hair, exhales a gentle, childish
passivity. Only in the eyes lurks an unconscious wistfulness, as if
they knew or foreboded being involved in many tragic contemplations.
There is no evil anywhere--there is no _parti pris_, in fact, of any
sort. A soft perplexity is perhaps the strongest impression given.

The other likeness of her, stamped upon a medal, and known
incontestably to be a portrait, is not so lovable. But no woman's
charm could be conveyed in the few hard lines of a profile struck upon
a medal. There is no possible opportunity to convey more than an
accentuated impression of nose, chin, and forehead. In the medal
Lucrezia's gift of gaiety, here almost saucy, is the chief
characteristic visible.


This power to be continuously gay, which was so markedly to
distinguish her all her life, was perhaps the only good quality
Alexander was able to transmit to his daughter; but by this one
quality alone, almost, Lucrezia finally lifted herself away--as if it
had been solely a cloak thrust about her by the brutality of
others--from the darkness of her original reputation. Now one is
chiefly conscious of a creature courageously cheerful; a creature
continuously desirous to please, to convey gentle impressions, to
smooth out everything into pleasantness. Having carefully and
repeatedly read the various books upon her, the feeling left is
actually of a woman who understood, up to a point, her woman's
business uncommonly well, but who suffered sore mishandling during the
early crucial years of her existence. The moment they took her out of
the undesirable surroundings in which she had been reared, nothing but
brave, becoming laughter and comfortable domesticity--Ruskin's demand
that a woman should bring "comfort with pleasantness"--issued from
her. Obviously there were no roots of evil to renew themselves; at the
worst there had been only a nature over-adaptable to outside forces,
and a temperament not forceful in powers of resistance.

Born in 1480, she was the daughter of Alexander, then known as
Cardinal Rodriguez, and Vanozza Cataneri, a woman whose origin is
obscure, but who was certainly educated, and who had two husbands,
Giorgio di Croce, and later, when Alexander had turned to younger
idols, a certain Carlo Canali, an author of some reputation in his
day. During her babyhood Lucrezia remained with her mother in a house
close to the cardinal's. But later, though why or when is not known,
she was taken from Vanozza and given into the care of Madonna
Adrienne, a widow, and a connection of the cardinal's, said by
Gregorovius to be also "very deep" in the Spaniard's confidence. The
atmosphere of Madonna Adrienne's house could not have created for
Lucrezia early impressions of delicate or winning conduct--she had no
groundwork afterwards of moving ideals to fall back upon. There is one
incident which lets in all the daylight necessary upon the character
of Lucrezia's guardian. Julia Farnese was her son's wife, and it was
with her mother-in-law's complete acquiescence that the girl became
Alexander's acknowledged mistress. There is something, therefore,
under the flagrant circumstances of the case almost offensive in the
fact that Adrienne had the child carefully instructed in religious
observances, though, for that matter, they were all religious, these
women of undesirable conduct. Vanozza, for instance, built a chapel,
and was looked upon as deeply devout long before Alexander's death.

Lucrezia's intellectual education took the same surface quality as her
spiritual one. The Renaissance ideas of culture for women had not
penetrated to Rome, and the child underwent a very different schooling
from the D'Estes, the Gonzagas, and so many others. Her chief
facility appears to have been in the matter of languages. Bayard, in
1512, said of her, "She speaks Spanish, Greek, Italian, and French,
and a little and very correctly Latin; she also writes and composes
poems in all these languages." Moral sense must have remained
absolutely sheathed. None of the set who brought her up would have
dared to instil so dangerous and disturbing a quality. In
Pintorricchio's portrait there is no sign of a living conscience,
though she might well from her expression be wistfully looking for it,
aware of something wanting.

When Lucrezia was eleven years old, besides, a new impropriety was
added to the number already submersing ordinary moral comprehension.
It was then that Julia Farnese, aged sixteen, became Alexander's
mistress. There was no concealment, and Lucrezia became unhesitatingly
involved in the new arrangements. To her the circumstance wore no more
unnatural air than marriage. The child had never been in an atmosphere
of customary domesticity since she was born; her playfellows were
almost all the children of other cardinals, and in thinking of her
life it should be remembered that few minds question easily the
standards of conduct grown familiar since early childhood.

She was herself already engaged to two people. Alexander, looking at
this time to his own country for a good match for his daughter, had
formally promised her hand to a Spaniard. In the same year,
considering it a better bargain, he also affianced her to a certain
Don Gasparo; so that the child had actually two prospective husbands
at one time. Nothing came of either. In 1492, Innocent VII. died, and
Rodriguez Borgia was elected Pope in his place, assuming the name of
Alexander. He had always notably pleasant manners, but Giovanni de
Medici, looking at the new Pope, remarked, nevertheless, under his
breath, "Now we are in the jaws of a ravening wolf, and if we do not
flee he will devour us." He devoured a good many, though his primary
policy was widespread propitiation.

For Lucrezia, her father's elevation from cardinal to Pope proved
immediately significant. The two previously chosen husbands were
dropped; neither was good enough for a Pope's daughter. And in 1493
they married her to Giovanni Sforza, who was an independent sovereign,
and a relation also of the powerful Ludovico Sforza of Milan. She was
then thirteen years of age, and was to remain, after the marriage, one
more year in Rome before her husband took her away to his own
possessions. Ostensibly, however, they made a woman of her
immediately. She received a house of her own close to the Vatican,
Madonna Adrienne passed from governess into lady-in-waiting, and the
whole weariness of formal social life became a part of the child's
ordinary duties. She had to receive all important visitors to Rome,
and behave with the effortless dignity of a great lady. Alphonso of
Ferrara, come to render homage to the new Pope, had also to pay his
court to this thirteen-year-old bastard, whom he was himself later to
marry. He brought her, in fact, as a wedding present from the duke his
father, two large and beautifully worked silver washing jugs and

Curiously enough, in the comments made about the marriage, there are
none at all concerning the girl herself. At that age she had clearly
no distinguishing precocities. The Ferrarese ambassador dismissed her
with a phrase, and that referring more to Alexander than the newly
made bride. He wrote that the Pope loved his daughter in a superlative
degree. It may have been so: it is a fact most biographers lay stress
upon. Nevertheless, almost every single known incident tells against
much affection, and it is very certain that he sacrificed her whenever
it was necessary, either for Cæsar's ambition or his own purposes.

Another brief reference made to her at this time is in the well-known
letter by Pucci. From his statement it would almost seem as if Julia
Farnese and Lucrezia were housed together. For he mentioned going to
call upon Julia at the Palace of Santa Maria in Porlica, and wrote,
"When we got there she had just been washing her hair. We found her
sitting by the fire with Madonna Lucrezia, the daughter of his
Holiness, and she welcomed both my companions and myself with every
appearance of delight.... She desired me to see the child, who is
already quite big and as like the Pope _adeo ut vere ex ejus semine
orta dici possit_.

"Madonna Julia has grown fatter, having developed into a very
beautiful woman. While I was there she unbound her hair and had it
dressed. Once loose it fell to her feet; I have never seen anything to
compare with it. Truly she has the most beautiful hair imaginable. She
wore a thin lawn head-dress, and over it the lightest of nets
interwoven with gold threads, shining like the sun.... Her dress was
made after the style of the Neapolitans, and trimmed with fur. So was
Madonna Lucrezia's, who after a while went and changed hers, coming
back in a gown made of purple velvet."

  [Illustration: VIRGIN AND CHILD

The reference to Lucrezia is singularly meaningless, but the letter
itself is interesting. The child of fourteen and the deliberate wanton
were evidently, at least, in constant companionship. "Wanton" is a
strong expression, but Julia Farnese belonged to the type for whom no
other word is equally applicable. She was young, fresh, beautiful, and
Pope Alexander was an old corrupt man of sixty. But she became his
mistress with the same tranquil publicity with which a woman might
become the consort of a reigning sovereign. The fact of her soiled
youth and abandoned domestic decencies weighed no more upon
imagination, than the casual discarding of an uncared-for garment.

Pintorricchio, in his series of frescoes at the Vatican, is said to
have painted her as well as Alexander and Lucrezia. There is, above
the door of the Hall of Arts, a madonna and child, the madonna of
which is supposed to have been Julia. If so--and it looks essentially
like a portrait--she was very interesting as well as exquisite. There
is character and a sort of intelligent carelessness about the
face--the kind of carelessness that suggests an intuitive
consciousness of the insignificance of most minor occurrences. The
error made by Julia was in including ethics among the non-important

As regards the question whether she and Lucrezia were really painted
by Pintorricchio, there seems little doubt that, since the portrait of
Alexander is incontestable, those of the two girls would have been
included somewhere in the series of frescoes. Alexander must so
certainly have desired them painted, and both would have been about
the ages they look in the frescoes at the time Pintorricchio was at
work upon the private apartments of the Pope. As a matter of fact,
Pintorricchio laboured quietly for years in the rooms through which
Lucrezia was constantly passing, and he must have become so much part
of unchanging daily impressions, that one imagines all her after
memories of life in Rome held as a sort of background the
consciousness of the wonderful pictures in which the painter
expressed, with perhaps more completeness than anywhere else, his
special sense of loveliness.

Lucrezia must have known Pintorricchio from the time when she was
little more than a child until her third marriage, though it is
probable that she was at this period too engrossed and light-headed to
take much notice of the wistful-looking man making beauty upon every
side of her. Certainly the complicated nature of her own domestic
drama was in itself sufficient to absorb anybody. Not long after her
marriage Il Moro had drawn France into the Neapolitan adventure.
Alexander VI. was vehemently opposed to this invasion, and was,
besides, close friends with the King of Naples. Instantly the
situation became difficult for Lucrezia's husband; the policy of his
house and that of his father-in-law had grown brusquely antagonistic.

Giovanni himself was acutely alive to the awkwardness of his own
position. In 1494 he wrote to Ludovico that he had been asked by the
Pope what he had to say to the situation, and had answered, "Holy
Father, everybody in Rome believes that you are in agreement with the
King of Naples, who is the enemy of Milan. If it is so, I am in a very
difficult position, for I am in the pay of your Holiness and of the
last-named state. If things are to follow this course, I do not see
how I can serve the one without abandoning the other, though I desire
to detach myself from neither." He concluded the letter by a
statement very unflattering to Lucrezia. "If I had known, monseignor,"
wrote the distracted Sforza, "that I should find myself in my present
position, I would sooner have eaten the straw of my bed than have made
this marriage."

As a young girl, Lucrezia obviously arrested nobody's notice. This
alone suggests that she was not wicked: wickedness always at least
produces attention. To her first husband, when he wrote the above
letter, she could have held no kind of significance. Shortly after
sending it, however, Giovanni left Rome for his own town, Pesaro,
taking the girl he so much regretted marrying with him. He was not yet
openly on bad terms with the Vatican: in addition to his own wife, he
had been given charge of quite a collection of the Pope's ladies.
Julia Farnese, Madonna Adrienne, and Madonna Vanozza were all
included, an outbreak of the plague in Rome having terrified Alexander
as to the safety of the two younger women. Giovanni, probably, would
have preferred Lucrezia to have been less accompanied. Involved always
in this crowd of feminine connections, she must, as a young girl, have
worn almost a mechanical air of manipulation--have seemed little
better than a mouthpiece for the Vatican opinions. While they were at
Pesaro, however, husband and wife went through the momentarily uniting
experience of falling equally under the Pope's displeasure. They had,
it seems, permitted Madonna Julia and Madonna Adrienne to leave them.
Julia's brother was seriously ill, and the two women had gone to nurse
him. Upon this matter, Alexander, who could be very petulant when
thwarted, wrote himself, and not at dictation, to Lucrezia. He wrote
that he was much surprised at not having heard more often from them,
and in a tense and irritated sentence ordered the girl to be more
punctilious for the future. But this was not the real grievance, and
he passed instantly to the departure of Julia and her mother. Lucrezia
and Giovanni were both held to have behaved equally inexcusably in
letting them go without permission from Alexander. He wrote as if they
had been two disobedient children, whose deliberate frowardness had
resulted, as they must have known perfectly from the beginning, in
great annoyance to him personally. At the end of exasperated
remonstrance, they were warned that for the future they would never
again be trusted. A letter like this, including both in mutual
disgrace, might easily have fugitively roused a slight bond of
friendliness between so young a couple. The general opinion is,
notwithstanding, that they were never sympathetic. At Pesaro, besides,
though Lucrezia remained there a year, they were very seldom together.
Giovanni held the position of officer in the Pope's army, and it was a
year of sharp anxiety for Alexander. It required Charles VIII.'s
feeble return journey to France before the papal ground felt once more
solid under the pontiff's feet.

Then Lucrezia was recalled to Rome, and the old wayward existence at
her palace near the Vatican was taken up once more. From this time
onwards the Borgia scandals thickened with extraordinary rapidity,
becoming the interested gossip of every other court in Italy.
Alexander's youngest son, Jofre, had married a Spanish girl several
years older than himself, and upon the return of political quietude
brought her back with him to Rome. This Madonna Sancia alone piled up
a staggering accumulation of scandals for Italy to gasp at. She had a
passion, in her most innocent moments, for the less tranquil pleasures
of life. Her arrival whipped up the gaiety of social Rome into an
extremity of worldliness. She was openly flagrant: the word
"wickedness" seemed to have no more unpleasant meaning to her than
another. Both her husband's brothers, Giovanni and Cæsar Borgia, were
said to be among her lovers. Giovanni Borgia's subsequent murder, in
fact, was looked upon by many people as the outcome of her lack of
moral reasonableness, Cæsar's jealousy, it was thought, driving him to
thrust the other prematurely upon eternity. Between the gorgeous
wickedness of Sancia and Julia Farnese, Lucrezia was trailed like some
insignificant and unconsidered appendage. She is mentioned constantly
as in the society of Sancia, but no impropriety is even suggested
concerning her, until the divorce with Giovanni involved her in the
hate universally nourished against the rest of the family.

This divorce had been shaping ever since the French invasion had
rendered the Sforzas politically useless to Alexander. One day
Giovanni Sforza was bluntly requested to abandon Lucrezia. Should he
refuse, extreme measures were threatened, and no man so intimate with
the family could possibly have been unacquainted with the kind of
coercion likely to be employed should he maintain obduracy. For a few
days he went about hoarding rather more bitterness than he knew how to
deal with. Then a dramatic urgency brought indecision to an abrupt
conclusion. According to most accounts of the story, Jacomino,
_camerière_ to Giovanni Sforza, was in Lucrezia's room one day when
they heard Cæsar Borgia's footsteps outside. Lucrezia had already been
made cognizant of the pending divorce. Alexander and Cæsar never
regarded the soft and pliant creature as likely to need concealments.
She was to them obviously the perfect tool, childlike, flighty,
inherently docile, and moved by the least enticement to new
anticipations. But Lucrezia even then had some instincts her people
did not know of, and to deprive a man of the delight of living was not
endurable to her. She must have suspected some sinister communication,
for on hearing Cæsar's footsteps she thrust Jacomino behind some
tapestry. In the course of conversation, Cæsar stated that the order
to assassinate her husband had already been given. It sounds
incredible, but then the whole Borgia history has the same quality of
impossible melodrama. The moment he had gone Lucrezia rushed to the
curtains: the man must go at once and save his master. Twenty-four
hours later Giovanni Sforza reached Pesaro. His horse fell dead as he

Gregorovius states that Lucrezia was not agreeable to the divorce. It
fits in pleasantly with one's conception of her to believe that this
was true. The Lucrezia of recent discovery would have been bound by a
light and gentle affection to any one not unkind to her, and all her
instincts would have been against giving pain to anybody. Certainly,
after Giovanni's escape, she felt the weight of some unpleasantness at
the Vatican. And shortly afterwards she either went, or was sent in
disgrace, to the convent of San Sisto on the Appian Way. In a letter
written that June by Donati Aretino to Cardinal Hippolyte D'Este, he
says: "Madonna Lucrezia has left the palace _insalutato hospite_, and
has gone to stay at a convent called San Sisto, where she still is. It
is rumoured by some that she desires to become a nun herself, but
there are a number of other rumours as well, of a nature not possible
to trust to a letter."

These "other rumours" are presumably the scandals which leapt into
belief after the divorce, and which Giovanni, embittered to the marrow
of his bones, is credited with having started.

But the divorce obtained, a new marriage was instantly negotiated for
the girl, whose ideas of customary conduct must have been so piteously
topsy-turvy. The new match contemplated was solely intended to
benefit Cæsar--in it Lucrezia became purely a means of assistance.
Cæsar, having renounced the priesthood after the mysterious murder of
his elder brother, which had taken place while Lucrezia was in the
convent, had conceived the scheme of marrying Charlotte of Aragon, and
through this marriage of becoming King of Naples. Since the French
invasion the present reigning dynasty crumbled visibly. Cæsar had
already asked for Princess Charlotte's hand, and had been emphatically
refused. It was hoped at the Vatican that Lucrezia's marriage to
Charlotte's brother, Don Alphonso, would pave the way for the other
and more important wedding. Lucrezia was eighteen at the time of her
second marriage, and, according to the ambassador of Mantua, really in
love with the handsome boy who made her Duchess of Biselli.

Unfortunately they remained in Rome, in the undesirable set Lucrezia
had belonged to from babyhood, and from this time horrible scandals
grew as thickly round Lucrezia as the rest of her family. According to
one of them, she had given birth to an illegitimate son, by a certain
favourite of Alexander's, Perotto. This unfortunate is another person
whom Cæsar is credited with having murdered. He did it apparently in
the Pope's very presence, and splashed the blood all over the old
man's garments. The existence of a child by Perotto is not
corroborated, and the truth of later scandals, since discussed with
bated breath, is less ascertainable still. At the same time, that
Lucrezia should have given birth to an illegitimate baby is very
feasible. In a society where lovers were more normal than husbands, it
is difficult to conceive that she should have escaped with flawless,
untarnished innocence--probably took a lover because she was young,
affectionate, and nobody she knew thought it grievous behaviour.
Nevertheless, though there is every reason for this individual scandal
to have had roots in truth, the evidence for its genuineness is
equally flimsy and unsupported.

For a year the Biselli marriage wore an air of ordinary
successfulness. Then the politics of the Vatican veered once more, and
tragically and brutally, Lucrezia's fate changed with them. Louis XII.
had started the second Italian campaign, and Alexander was now upon
the side of the French. Once more, therefore, the awkward factor in
the situation became Lucrezia's husband. It seemed, indeed, as if she
was to have a knack of possessing awkward spouses. In this second
crisis Lucrezia, however, did not wait to be warned of danger, and one
day Alphonso disappeared. A Venetian writer in Rome remarks: "The Duke
of Biseglia, husband of Madonna Lucrezia, has secretly fled, and is
gone to Genazzano, to the Colonnas. He has left his wife six months
_enceinte_, and she does nothing but cry." The statement is at last a
lifting of the veil for a second from the girl's character. She loved
this second husband; at the hint of danger she sent him away, but once
gone she cried for him all day. This is the whole conduct-sheet of any
normal, tender woman.

Alphonso wrote and urged her to follow him, but Alexander, it is said,
forced her to beg Alphonso to return instead. There is some confusion
at this point. Certainly, in the end, Lucrezia was sent away into the
country--to Spoleto--and here, after a little while, Alphonso joined
her. It was dangerous, but they were at the age when evil
anticipations are sustained with an effort. It is not natural in one's
teens to hold for ever a problematical foreboding. Death in fulness of
physical well-being is a dark midnight possibility, not a permanent
obsession for broad and cheerful daylight. Foolishly, and yet so
naturally, their fears gradually fell away, and Cæsar Borgia being at
Forli, fighting, by the following October they were back in Rome,
where Lucrezia gave birth to a son, and where, for another year, they
lived undisturbed, while Michelangelo was at work upon his Pieta
Copernicus, and Pintorricchio continued to make pictures round the
walls of the Vatican.

  [Illustration: THE ANNUNCIATION

In 1500, the year of Alexander's jubilee, Cæsar returned, and the
calamity, which had practically been a foregone conclusion for a year,
came upon the Biselli household. Before it occurred, however, an
incident occurred which is another strong testimony to gentleness of
heart in Lucrezia. A chimney fell upon Alexander, and during his brief
illness it was not his mistress, nor any of the many persons whose
business it was more or less to attend to him, who undertook the
nursing, but the girl Lucrezia herself. It is said the old man refused
to have anybody else about him. Clearly, then, she had more tender
ways, more naturally capable and patient methods, than the rest, and
to a patient made herself the comfortable embodiment of motherliness,
sympathy, control, and unselfishness. No woman would be clamoured for
in a sick-room who did not possess all the finer and warmer qualities
of character.

Soon after this the inevitable happened. Alphonso, walking up the
steps of the Vatican, was set upon by a group of masked men with
daggers. Grievously wounded, he managed to tear past them into the
Pope's own apartments, where Lucrezia was sitting with her father. As
the bleeding man staggered into the room she fainted dead away. So
would any normally tender woman, dragged suddenly from the trivial
conversation into this new horror of desolation.

The dying man was put to bed, and joyfully given the last absolution.
But Lucrezia, ill herself with a fever brought on by shock, made a
desperate struggle to save the life belonging to her. Here again she
shows as a perfectly natural woman. Driven at last into revolt by
those she dared not openly defy, and heartsick, shaken, burning with
terror, impotence, and distress, she yet fought them with all the
pitiful means at her disposition. Nobody but herself or his sister
Sancia were allowed to attend the wounded man; all his food these two
cooked between them, probably with their hearts racing in perpetual
fearfulness. It is said--and there seems always a vague suggestion
behind these circumstances that Alexander was a weak man in the power
of Cæsar--that the Pope himself sided with the two aching, troubled
women, and helped to keep dangerous persons out of the sick-room. But
Alphonso once convalescent, Cæsar could not be refused admittance. He
had no recognized hand in the crime; none could openly accuse him.
Nevertheless, his visit accentuated sinister anticipations. After
making it he remarked grimly, "What was unsuccessful at noon may be
successful at night."

He took every care that it should. One evening the two women--why is
difficult to understand, for both were soaked in heartbreaking
suspicions--left the room for a moment. Cæsar himself must surely have
seen to their absence, for instantly afterwards he slipped in with his
throttler Michelletto, and in a minute or two Lucrezia was a widow.
The agony, sharp enough, had at least been brief.

This time, though there is not a single intimate statement written
about her, Lucrezia must have made some primary outcry, some first
plaint against the cruelty of such a widowhood. The Venetian
ambassador refers to trouble between Lucrezia and her father. He
writes: "Madonna Lucrezia, who is generous and discreet, was formerly
in high favour with the Pope, but he seems no longer to care for her."
The girl was then at Nepi. What had previously occurred no one knows,
but she and her father would certainly not have fallen out if her
meekness had remained predominant. Something must have overstrained
docility and sent her once more out of Rome, either in a spirit of
bitterness or because she exasperated those who controlled her

But negotiations for a third marriage were not allowed to linger. When
Cæsar had subdued the plucky and intensely wicked Catherine Sforza,
and taken the town of Pesaro, Collenuccio mentions at the end of a
letter, "The Pope intends to give this town as a dowry to Madonna
Lucrezia, and to secure her an Italian husband who will always keep on
good terms with the Valentinois. I do not know if this is the truth,
but it is at least generally believed to be." In the same letter there
is a sketch of Cæsar himself. Collenuccio says, "He is looked upon as
brave, powerful, and generous, and they say he takes care to make much
of wealthy people. He is pitiless in his vengeances; many people have
told me this. He is a man with a great spirit, and set on greatness
and glory, but it seems he prefers to conquer provinces than to
pacify and organize them."

Nevertheless, because the Borgia was a man with an unrelaxed purpose,
he stood, even for a good many of his enemies, as a type of greatness.
Machiavelli actually made him the ideal of governing princedom--the
subtle combination of the lion and the fox.

Machiavelli--himself so extraordinarily interesting--belongs to the
history of Florence and not to that of Rome and Alexander. He never
came actually into contact with Lucrezia, but the following
description of his days, when he was living on his own small estate,
given in a letter to a friend, is so luminously expressive of the
spirit of the age in which he and Lucrezia lived that there seems more
than sufficient reason for including it. He wrote that he got up at
sunrise, and after a couple of hours in the woods, where he examined
the work of the previous day and chatted with the wood-cutters, he
walked to a certain grove with a volume of Dante, Petrarch, or one of
the Latin poets, to read. Subsequently he strolled to the inn,
gossiped with the people there, and by direct intercourse with many
kinds of temperaments studied human nature. For dinner, which he spoke
of as being very simple fare, he returned home; but the meal over, he
made his way back to the inn, where he passed the afternoon playing at
_cricca_ and _tric-trac_ with the host or any one else who happened to
be there. It was not apparently desired to be a peaceful recreation.
Machiavelli states, with a sort of cheerful glow, that they quarrelled
incessantly, and shouted at each other like infuriated lunatics. But
this boisterousness was for the day. When the evening came he once
more went homewards, and this time, having discarded his muddy country
clothes, and having dressed himself with as much care as if he were at
court, he retired to his library till bedtime, and became absorbed in
the works of past writers. This was in reality the intense portion of
his days; all his nature, he wrote, became immersed in the joy of this
intellectual companionship, everything else, every care, every thought
for the present or the future, slipping away from him while he read.

Machiavelli's day contains the whole substance of Renaissance
behaviour--absolute immersion of personality in fine art or good
literature, and along with it the extreme of physical tempestuousness.
These people almost panted with vitality; they were not yet subdued
and wearied through the evil and sorrows of too many past generations.

Lucrezia, like the rest, responded to life far too instinctively to
hold grief for any period. She took the interest of a giddy child in
the suggestions for her third marriage, and this time Alexander had
chosen Alphonso of Ferrara as the person essentially desirable. It was
aiming ambitiously. The besmirched, divorced, and widowed daughter of
a Pope did not constitute a suitable bride for the future Duke of
Ferrara. In fact, the proposal created nothing less than a panic when
laid before the chosen bridegroom and his father. Lucrezia's
reputation was unspeakable.

The charge of incest was among others laid against her. It has been
repeated by Machiavelli, Guicciardini, and the poets Sanozzo and
Pontanus. Nevertheless, nobody now believes it. Neither Alexander nor
Cæsar's conduct makes it supposable. Secondly, all those who spread it
had either personal animosity against the Borgias or repeated it
solely from hearsay. The two poets, besides, were friends and subjects
of the house of Aragon, and in Naples, after the murder of Alphonso,
the word "Borgia" stood for abomination.

But in Ferrara the accusation was unquestioned, and Alphonso
immediately and violently refused to entertain the idea of the
suggested marriage for a second. The old Duke Ercole, though no less
nauseated than his son, was even more harassed and more fearsome. To
offend Alexander involved the security of his duchy. To make matters
worse, when the Pope's proposal reached Ferrara, other wifely
negotiations had already been started with France. And suddenly all
pleasant plans were made parlous and uncertain. Distressed out of
circumlocution, Ercole wrote plainly and rather piteously to the
French ambassador, begging that the French king would not take the
side of the Pope, but would write and support him by stating, which
would have been almost the truth, that another marriage had already
been arranged for. The whole letter was full of stress and pleading,
and though ending with the statement that consent to the union would
in any case never be wrung out of him, and that in addition nothing
would induce his son to take the lady, it showed in every line the
anguish of a revolt that knows its own futility.

Ercole found no friend to help him. His letters, after Louis had
slithered out of the responsibility of abetting him, revealed the
agitation this acceptance of a virtueless future duchess caused at
Ferrara. Exasperated and miserable, he showed openly that he regarded
the king's conduct as a mean refusal of good-fellowship. He gave in
finally, as he was bound to do, but spoke of it with a tragic veracity
as an act "postponing" the honesty of his most ancient house.

The news caused an almost outrageous joy at the Vatican, though
Lucrezia's delight is perhaps the most inexplicable of the abundantly
inexplicable facts of her existence. She could not have believed
herself welcome, and she could not have conceived Alphonso as a
genial, heart-stirring companion. He was emphatically a man satisfied
with men's society. His appearance, besides, was in itself sufficient
to terrorize a woman of light reputation. Lucrezia had seen him and
the remorseless type of the straight, down-reaching nose, the tip
almost touching the upper lip. Physically he was a fine creature, but
cold suspicion glared out of him, and only excessive courage or
excessive obtuseness would have dared to be wholly at ease in his
presence. True, the marriage offered Lucrezia the great opportunity of
her life--the opportunity to retrieve, which should follow everybody's
primary misdemeanours. She rose, moreover, magnificently to the
occasion, and through that fact alone made her life of deep and
touching value. For no past human backsliding should be allowed to
blur the smoothness of a changed and nobler future. There is no object
in life if improvement is to be hindered by cast-off failings. But
though Lucrezia wiped out a bad beginning by the finest possible
maintenance of contrary behaviour, she was not the woman to think of
this beforehand, or to plan deeply and carefully the development of a
new character. She possessed too strongly the wisdom of living in the
moment, and her retrievement came, not from any long-considered
purpose, but _naturally_ when once removed from the constant, forceful
on-thrust of evil people.

The instant the engagement had been brought about, a correspondence
began between her and Ercole. Certainly men were practised liars in
those days. When Ercole wrote to Cæsar Borgia accepting the proposed
marriage, he stated that he did so "on account of the reverence we
feel for the holiness of our Lord, and the admirable character of the
most illustrious Madonna Lucrezia, but even more for the great
affection we have for your Excellence."

When the marriage by proxy had taken place, he further wrote to
Lucrezia herself that not only was the marriage a great happiness and
comfort in his old age, but that he had loved his new daughter-in-law
from the first, both because of the exceptional goodness of her
character, and because of her relationship to the Pope and to Cæsar
Borgia. Just at the end a grain of truth slipped in, when he stated
that he hoped that posterity through her would be assured to his house
in Ferrara.

In spite of these protestations of affection, the D'Estes were
anything but comfortable. What they feared is clear from a letter of
the Ferrarese ambassador, written after a long interview with
Lucrezia. He wrote that she showed nothing but excellent qualities,
and appeared extremely modest, gracious, and decorous, as well as
fervently religious. He adds, "She is very pretty, but doubly so
through the charm of her manners. To be brief, her character seems to
me to warrant no evil anticipations, but to raise rather the most
pleasant expectations." Another writer says of her at this same period
that though she was not regularly beautiful, her golden hair, white
skin, and gentle manners made her a most attractive person. Also he
mentions, "She is very joyous and light-hearted, and is always
laughing." The radiance of a sunny temperament was in reality one of
the best things she brought to her reluctant husband.

At Ferrara, Isabella of Mantua came to help her brother to receive
the Roman widow. Her letters to her husband give a graphic description
of the first days of Lucrezia's third marriage. Isabella--a keen lover
of admiration--was a little put out by rivalry with the new-comer.
Every reference to Lucrezia holds the suspicion of a sting. Even the
simple phrase, "I need not describe Lucrezia's appearance, as you have
already seen her," placed in Isabella's context, conveys an
unfavourable impression.

The irritation of a certain insecurity acidified opinion. Isabella was
an acknowledged beauty; from babyhood she had been accustomed to be
looked upon as a pearl among women. This disreputable Borgia, with
hair equally as golden and with her incomparably magnificent clothes
and jewellery, might produce a division of opinions. Even Isabella's
own lady-in-waiting mentioned to the Marquis of Mantua that the bride
was sweet and attractive in appearance. At any rate, the marchesana
wrote: "Your Excellency enjoys more pleasure in being able to see our
baby son every day than I am able to get out of these festivities....
Bride and bridegroom slept together last night, but we omitted the
usual morning visit, since, to be frank, this is a very chill
marriage. I think that both my suite and I compare favourably with
the rest here, and we shall, at any rate, win the prize for
card-playing, Spagnali having already won 500 gold pieces off the Jew.
To-day there is dancing till four o'clock, after which another play is
to be given...." She wrote again next day, and jealousy had evidently
not been alleged in the interval. "We passed yesterday shut up in our
rooms until four o'clock, as, being Friday, there was no dancing, and
Madonna Lucrezia, in order to outdo the Duchess of Urbino and myself,
insisted upon spending all these hours over her toilet.... Your
Excellency has no cause to envy my presence at this wedding, for never
was a more spiritless and unemotional an affair."

Isabella was a great, lusty creature, and Lucrezia a frail, slight
woman, just arrived from an exhausting journey, after having been
overtired before she started. If she could not charm, besides, in
these first crucial days, her case was lost. Who cares at any time to
champion an ugly woman with every fragment of evidence against her?
But a fresh, smiling, childlike creature disarms antagonism through
sheer contagion of joy. And Lucrezia, as one knows, could be like
sunshine itself in her soft urbanity and good humour. She did her best
to create a pacifying impression, and succeeded. Nevertheless, the
marriage remained, as Isabella had said, a cold one. The bride was so
lightly thought of that not even a pretence of affection could be
asked from Alphonso. Alexander himself only required that he should
actually be her husband, and, satisfied upon that point, remarked to
the Ferrarese ambassador, "It is true that being young he wanders here
and there after pleasure during the day, but he does well."

From the first, however, Lucrezia proved herself wonderful. She had no
sooner reached Ferrara than she shed the soiled Roman personality, as
she might have done a dirty garment. Without slow gradations, she
showed herself a pleasant, sober housewife, lacking even the
self-assurance to make demands upon fidelity. Intellectually, she
could not compete with Isabella of Mantua or Elizabeth of Urbino; but
she had, at least, sufficient vitality of character to turn her back
in one bound, as it were, on her entire past life, as if she were
trying to prove herself an alien personality.

Ercole she conquered immediately. He was old, and this girl, whose
coming had so agitated him, possessed a very graceful attitude towards
her elders. Also he was tired, and those nearing the tragic
termination of existence are always fugitively warmed by the presence
of attentive youthfulness. These two, at least, got on excellently.
Once she fell ill, and had to go away for the sake of her health.
During her absence the old man insisted upon receiving daily notes of
her condition. They are the simplest, most disarming little letters
imaginable. Of all things about Lucrezia, artfulness appears the most
conspicuously absent. Her sins could never have been of the
deliberate, prearranged order. She must have stumbled into them, more
than anything, as a strayed, unshepherded lamb falls over a precipice.

Presently came the customary baby. It was a girl, thus thwarting the
wishes of everybody. But Lucrezia knew some comfort, notwithstanding.
For a time she was dangerously ill, and during this period Alphonso
could hardly be drawn from her bedside. Evidently he had grown aware
that she suited him, and the weak girl in her stuffy bed must have
experienced an inflow of pleasure. She had not been good for nothing.

Her recovery brought her to one of the most fateful events of her
fateful and dramatic existence. Alexander suddenly died. He and Cæsar
had fallen ill simultaneously. Every one spoke of poison, but
Alexander's symptoms were perfectly consistent with apoplexy. His
death, however, placed the new Ferrarese lady in the utmost social
peril. She had become Don Alphonso's wife solely because he and Ercole
deeply feared her father. Now that he was dead, nothing could be
easier than to draw upon the hoard of former scandals and to repudiate
her upon the strength of them. Alexander was no sooner buried, in
fact, than Louis XII. remarked diplomatically to the Ferrarese
ambassador, "I know you never approved of this marriage. Madame
Lucrezia has never been, in fact, the wife of Don Alphonso."

Lucrezia must have grown cold with terror; but nothing calamitous
occurred. Fortunately she had been given sufficient time to show _how_
good she could be. By now neither Ercole nor Alphonso desired to
change the gentle-mannered woman, who was needed to give an heir to
the family. Her placid, light urbanity suited both, and the danger
that threatened for a moment to overwhelm her drew off quietly like
calm, receding waters. But in connection with it one of the principal
friendships of Lucrezia's life at Ferrara comes into prominence.
Bembo, at the time of her mourning--a year after her marriage--had
become intimate enough to give the advice no man troubles to offer to
a woman entirely indifferent to him. He wrote, referring to
Alexander's death, that having been informed that her sorrow was
terrible and extreme, he had called the day before in the hope of
being able, in some small degree, to comfort her. But he owned
regretfully that his visit had proved useless, for he had no sooner
seen her than her forlorn unhappiness, and her piteous, black
draperies, had stricken him with such an overwhelming heartache, that
he had been literally unable to utter a single coherent sentence. He
then went on to beg her--and he wrote with a kind of tender
directness--to try and control her misery, for fear, the circumstances
being evidently not absolutely straightforward, it should be thought
she wept less for her father than for the possible insecurity of her
present position. He reminded her gently that this was not the first
dire calamity that a harsh fate had thrust upon her, and in some
admirably sincere phrases he practically beseeched her, for her own
sake, to show a brave and composed demeanour. He closed the letter by
an almost ingratiating apology for having said so much, and with the
request--so customary with a man in love--that she should take every
care of her health.

Apart from the distress at seeing Lucrezia unhappy, the second part
of the letter shows a man who had received confidences. Lucrezia's
version--perhaps the true one--of the turbid past, was to some extent
in his keeping, and he gave her what warning he could to save her from
adding to her present precarious position in Ferrara.

The friendship of these two is another of the uncertainties in which
everything intimately concerning Lucrezia lies. It has been dragged
unnecessarily into a false appearance of shadiness. A lock of her hair
was found among a packet of her letters to him, and though it is
extremely doubtful that the hair could have been hers even, the
intimacy because of it was immediately regarded as having passed the
bounds of virtue. Yet why should a lock of hair incriminate anybody?
The desire to soften the pains they see is strong in all mothering
women. Lucrezia wore her hair about her shoulders; scissors must have
been conveniently near owing to the amount of needlework done at that
period. Bembo, then a young man, was also for a time very much in
love, therefore capable of little sentimental comforts. A woman's hair
is a fragment of her very personality. To grant a boon like that,
under circumstances of such facility, would need merely a softened or
impulsive moment. Lucrezia, besides, with a husband absorbed in the
manufacture of explosives, may reasonably have been a little grateful
that somebody at least loved her.


There is no habit so pernicious as that of deducing evil from trivial
whimsicalities. No judgment that is unaware of the inner
subtleties--the whole complex growth of any given circumstance--does
aright to suppose harmfulness. A lock of hair may be the result of
sheer frowardness, or it may be the outcome of the most unaccompanied
compassion: it may be the meaningless consequence of sudden
unconsidered laughter, or the proffered comfort of a heart with
nothing else to offer. But in all cases it is entirely destitute, by
itself, of anything justifying a condemnatory construction.

Bembo is too well known among Renaissance celebrities to need personal
explanations. Vasari says of him: "The Italians cannot be sufficiently
thankful to Bembo for having not only purified their language from the
rust of ages, but given it such regularity and clearness that it has
become what we see." Few men have known a life of more sustained
triumph. At the time of his friendship with Lucrezia he was young--a
good-looking man of about twenty-eight--but already he had attained a
widespread appreciation.

He was not the only clever man in the duchess's society at Ferrara;
the traditions of the house were intellectual. Lucrezia, at last, had
fallen into excellent hands, and was being formed in the best school
possible. Men, notable not only for genius, but for serious qualities
of temperament, educated her by companionship. Bembo, Castiglione,
Aldo Manuce, were all men who thought with some profundity and
breadth. Ariosto, from 1503 in the service of Hippolyte D'Este, was
another man of genius she must have known intimately, and among minor
intellects the two Strozzi poets, as well as Tebaldeo and Callagnini,
sang her praises from personal acquaintance.

It was not altogether, however, an easy-minded society. Alphonso,
though he mixed little with his wife's _entourage_, formed a
constantly dangerous background to it. His suspicions were always
alert. The murder of the poet Strozzi is put down to him, and in 1505
Tebaldeo wrote to Isabella: "This duke hates me, though I do not know
why, and it is not safe for me to stay in the town." Even Bembo, in
his relations to his friend, had to be girded with the uttermost
caution, and finally for him also it became unadvisable to remain
longer in Ferrara. With his going one of the most delicate affections
of Lucrezia's life fell to pieces. And yet not altogether; Bembo,
though he took mistresses he loved to distraction, continued for
fifteen years to correspond with his Ferrarese duchess. Unless their
friendship had been very real and very rich in sincerities, it would
have crumbled into nothingness within a year.

Lucrezia's intimacy with Castiglione was a slighter affair. He had no
importance in her life, save as being among those who helped to give
her culture. That she should have known him is interesting, however,
because in his great book Castiglione expressed with a limpid
particularity the Renaissance ideal of womanhood. On the whole it was
an unimaginative conception--at least expressed as Castiglione
expressed it. For no book ever avoided more completely than "The
Courtier" any obliqueness or any individual frankness of idiosyncrasy.
Tact, according to Castiglione, was the essential mainspring of
feminine fascination--tact and the art of conversation. One wise point
he insisted upon--suavity. That, he said, should be inseparable from
every woman's society. The remark lingers in the memory,--suavity, a
soft and soothing composure, having so nearly passed out of even the
conception of good manners. Scandals, especially of her own sex, it
was unpardonable for a woman either to utter or to attend to. Dancing
and other accomplishments he urged as a necessary part of education;
but, on the other hand, he did not encourage naturalness. He wrote:
"When she cometh to dance or to show any kind of music, she ought to
be brought to it with suffering herself somewhat to be prayed, and
with a certain bashfulness that may declare the noble shamefastness
that is contrary to headiness." The early Victorian code of good
manners was therefore only a return to a former fashion, and a fashion
instigated by men and not by women at all.

Castiglione wrote at length upon the question of dress. Here his
common sense is unimpeachable: "Women ought to have a judgment to know
what manner of garments set her out best, and be most fit for the
exercise she intendeth to undertake at that instant, and with them
array herself." He urged keenly that lean and fat should pay attention
to their peculiarities. Every woman, he insisted, ought to do all in
her power to keep herself "cleanly and handsome."

Upon the subject of morality, Castiglione possessed no grave feelings.
He advocated virtue, but not because conduct is vital, far-reaching,
touching momentarily the character and fate of so many besides the
doer, but almost entirely on account of the greater safety attaching
to circumspection. Intrigue involved so many dangers. Consequently, he
urged women "to be heedful, and remember that men with less jeopardy
show to be in love than women." He begged a woman to "give her lover
nothing but her mind when either hatred of her husband or the love he
beareth to others inclineth her to love." Words were so much vapour,
but a definite action was perilously apt to produce definite
consequences. Husbands had a knack of revenging in their own wives
what they asked from the wives of others.

A quaint and almost subtle stipulation ends the list. The perfect
lady, according to Castiglione, "must not only be learned, but able to
devise sports and pastimes." All active brains need rest. The
desirable woman should know, in consequence, how to relax the tension
of absorbing thoughts, as well as how to tender the encouragement of
sympathy. Health demands some intervals for relaxation and

Castiglione himself married a child called Ippolyta Torelli, whose
life was tragically brief. As a husband, nothing is known of him
except that he was a good deal away from home. His wife wrote _one_
exquisite letter--one loves her because of it--and that is practically
all that remains of their domestic existence. The note was written
just before her death, which took place through the birth of her third
child. She lay in bed, and put on paper--

    "My dear Husband,

    "I have given birth to a little girl, which I do not think you
    will be displeased to hear. I have suffered this time much more
    than before, and I have had three bad bouts of fever. But now I
    am better, and hope to suffer no more pain. I will not write
    more to you lest I overtax my strength. But with all my heart I
    commend myself to your lordship.

    "In Mantua, the 20th of August, 1520.

    "Your wife, who is a little weary with pain."

The caressing prettiness of the last phrase is like the feel of a
tired child's hand slipped into one's own. Castiglione felt her death
acutely, and wrote that he never dreamt his wife, whom he referred to
with great tenderness, would have died before him, and all he now
prayed for was that the Almighty might not leave him long before he
followed her.

Lucrezia needed friends at Ferrara. Her life was one almost without
respite from harassments, internal troubles and political insecurity
being always present. Plague and famine devastated the well-being of
the duchy. Twice Lucrezia was left in charge of a famine-stricken
district, and twice proved herself capable, resourceful,
self-forgetting. On the first occasion she was ill, but,
notwithstanding, absolutely refused to leave the town as ordered by
the doctors. She worked for the unhappy people starving about her, in
a flaming rush of pity. Jews and Christians were alike to Lucrezia;
her protection of Jews was strenuous in a period when the mere name
roused men's ferocity. That her heart throbbed in response to the
right instincts is proved by the whole compassionate fabric of her
later life. Any human being, intuitively conscious that pain equalizes
all things, cannot be encased in the callousness of the really bad or
cold nature. During all the years Lucrezia lived in Ferrara her care
for charitable institutions was personal and active.

And it should be remembered that philanthropy had not yet become a
fashionable occupation; sympathy of attitude by those in high places
was still unusual and undemanded. The management of the few existing
charitable houses during the Renaissance was deplorable. But Alphonso
and Lucrezia not only built a new and improved hospital for infectious
diseases, but took, besides, sufficient personal interest in its
patients to dismiss a man for neglecting the invalids entrusted to his

This phase of Lucrezia's life ought to be dwelt upon at length. It
lifts her from a flighty extravagance and immorality into positive
goodness of behaviour. Depth she probably had not--deep, brooding
persons are not necessary in great abundance--and the woman who left
her only child, the son of the murdered Don Alphonso, could not have
been fiercely tenacious of heart. In all Lucrezia's life, in fact,
this is the worst incident--this abandonment of her baby. So much was
thrust upon her; this surrender itself was so to a certain extent. But
not the manner of it, the effortless blitheness, the impulsive
acquiescence. It is this one revealing episode that chiefly keeps her
from the region of supremely wronged and tragic persons.

In 1507 her brother Cæsar died. Alphonso was away at the time, fighting
with Louis XII. A letter, despatched at once, told him how she took the
news. According to the writer, "she showed great grief, but with
constancy and without tears." This phrase "without tears" carries a
certain poignant implication. Surely the hearer was at last sinking
through shallowness to find some deep places in her nature. Shallowness
can always shed tears. Had Lucrezia even been indifferent to Cæsar's
death--and indifference is the least likely sensation--shallowness
would have dropped a few tears of excitement, silliness, shock. There
is a moving weariness of grief in any tearless conduct.

Isabella D'Este, who was with her at the time, wrote as well. She said
that Lucrezia "immediately went to the monastery of the Corpo di
Cristo, to offer up prayers for his soul. At the monastery she
remained for two nights, and having left it, she found herself so much
indisposed that her physician, for security, insisted on her keeping
her bed, to which she is still confined."

Lucrezia had several children after her third marriage, and in the
year following Cæsar's death she gave birth to the desired heir,
Ercole, afterwards to marry the poor, cheerless Renée of France. But
she had been a delicate, frail creature all her life, and when, in
1519, she gave birth to a dead child, the case immediately became
hopeless. As a Roman Catholic, she was told at once how near Death
loomed, though the information seems a cruel thing to give to any
person not yet old enough to have wearied of existence. But Lucrezia,
who had never yet made a fuss about anything, did not make a fuss over
the last great unpleasantness of all. This composure at dying touches
all her past serenity with something almost effulgent. It makes her
suddenly full of strange wisdom and singular comprehensions; as if
unconsciously she understood the real value of individual mortality,
and knew it just sweet enough for smiles and laughter, but at the same
time too slight, unstable, and finite for great commotions or

Having been told that she could not live any longer, and seeing
Alphonso suddenly attentive, the exhausted woman wasted no strength
contesting the unalterable, but simply lay quietly in her bed and
tried to think of God, the Virgin, and the world beyond. A few days
before her death she wrote to Pope Leo X. Her letter is sedateness
itself and courage. Nothing was further from its utterance than
discomposure or demur. If forlornness reached her at leaving the
lovely homeliness of mortal life, she was too magnanimously courteous
to burden another person with a private sorrow. She wrote--

    "Most Holy Father and Worshipful Lord,

    "With all reverence I kiss your Holiness's feet, and humbly
    commend myself to your good will. Having been in great pain for
    more than two months, early on the morning of the 14th day of
    the present month, according to the will of God, I gave birth to
    a little daughter. I hoped then to get alleviation from my
    sufferings, but the contrary took place, and I have to pay my
    debt to nature. And through the grace of God I am conscious that
    the end of my life is near, and that in a few hours, having
    received the holy sacraments of the Church, I shall have passed
    away. And having came to this state, as a Christian, although a
    sinner, I beseech your Holiness in your goodness to give me from
    the heavenly treasures spiritual consolation and your holy
    benediction for my soul. This I most devoutly pray for, and to
    your great mercy I commit my husband and my children, who are
    all faithful servants of your Holiness.

    "In Ferrara, the 22nd of June, 1519, at the fourteenth hour.

    "Your Holiness's humble servant,

    "Lucrezia da Este."

No braver letter, nor one more touching in its noble staidness of
expression, was ever written by a woman, knowing that in a few hours
life would have ceased for her. Two days after writing it she died,
and Alphonso wrote after her death that it was hard to face the loss
of so sweet a companion, the gentleness of her conduct having made the
bond between them a very close and tender one. No single individual
can possess the whole round of virtues--a fact too often ignored in
current judgment of character--but every writer lingered upon
Lucrezia's gentleness. There is no more winning thing than a gentle
woman. Persistent gentleness not only excludes harsh thoughts, but is
a force constantly wooing men out of turbulent bitterness and acrimony
of spirit.

Alphonso fainted at his wife's funeral, and nothing could protest more
eloquently against assertions of her wickedness. Grim men of
Alphonso's fibre do not, after nine years of marriage, faint for a
woman who has not known how to bring to life the softer undergrowths
of character. Lucrezia must have possessed a more than normal degree
of conciliatory seduction. And she charms still, in spite of much
calumniating gossip, not only because she expressed undeviatingly the
heartening value of good cheer, and set so fine an example of how to
discard bad yesterdays, but to a certain extent because, as far as one
knows, she babbled nothing for biographers to seize upon, and so left
herself perpetually among the engrossing enigmas of European history.



The Renaissance in France has not the same degree of charm as the
Renaissance in Italy. It misses the radiance and the sense of open-air
sweetness that clings to the original movement. The women of the
Italian Renaissance were constantly adventuring into the country; the
enchantment of the climate lingers in all recollections of them. The
Renaissance in France conveys a different impression--one colder, more
troubled, more half-hearted. The large frescoed palaces, with their
adorable colonnades, are gone, and the sensation given is of a
bleaker, darker, and more housed existence. The entranced
light-heartedness of the Italian period did not travel into France.
When the Renaissance came into that country the Reformation came too,
and the labours of the Sorbonne robbed it of the youth and
irresponsibility that made the other so vital and complete. The
Italian Renaissance breathed out the exultation of adolescence; the
French, the reflectiveness of maturity.

Of the French Renaissance, Margaret D'Angoulême is the central female
figure. She was born on April 11, 1492, when her mother, Louise de
Savoie, was only fifteen. Louise had been a poor relation at court
before she married, and her aunt, Anne of Beaujeu, had arranged her
marriage. Louise de Savoie was among the women who had not been given
a fair start in life. The bridegroom, Charles D'Angoulême, had already
an attachment; he loved greatly a certain Jeanne de Polignac. He did
his best not to marry Louise, and so remain unharassed in the service
of his lady friend. But Anne de Beaujeu was very masterful, and
Charles surrendered through necessity. He married Louise, then a child
of twelve, and made Jeanne de Polignac one of her ladies-in-waiting.

When Louise was fifteen, Margaret was born, and two years afterwards,
Francis--"My Cæsar, my lord"--came into the world. A year later
Louise's husband died. She mentions the fact in her journal without
expressions of regret. Not but that she had been happy enough in his
lifetime. Charles, absorbed by his own love affairs, allowed his wife
moderate freedom to indulge in hers. But his death made such
amusements less anxious and more easy. The complaisance of husbands
has always an element of uncertainty.

There was another trait in Louise's character to which her husband's
death gave fuller scope--her ardent maternal instincts. The quality of
her love for her children was vehement, jealous, and primitive.
Margaret, as a result of this, became educated in an atmosphere
unusual at that period. An indulged tenderness steeped her juvenile
days in pleasantness. There were no severities at Cognac. Of Francis,
Louise made an idol, but Margaret, though trained from the days she
could lisp to worship this idol along with her mother, was also
herself a treasured person. The glow of these early days left their
influence upon her for a lifetime. She never shook off the warmliness
of heart all her upbringing had encouraged.

Upon Louise's widowhood, Louis XII. was for a short time very kind to
her and to her children. This mood suddenly changed--in a few days, it
is said--and a certain Jean de St. Gelais, a friend of Louise's, is
credited with having caused the alteration. Louise was ordered to
retire to the castle of Blois, and there was talk of taking the
children away from her. In the end, the Marechale de Gie, whose tragic
downfall has been told in the life of Anne, was given practical
control of her household. His first act--presumably under Louis's
orders--consisted in the dismissal of St. Gelais. It was this action
which Louise is supposed never to have forgiven. De Gie became her
most devoted supporter; all his interests were on the same side as
hers, all his aims were to place Francis subsequently upon the throne
of France. But when the catastrophe of Anne's luggage occurred, Louise
flung the weight of her evidence remorselessly against him, and lied
with a sinister heartiness.

At Blois, Margaret was brought up with boys. A number of _pages
d'honneur_ were being educated with the heir-presumptive. Margaret
grew to know at an early age a good deal about the temperaments of the
other sex, and a good deal about flirtation. At nine years old she
went through her first love affairs. No wonder that later she knew, as
Brantome put it, more about the art of pleasing (_galanterie_) than
her daily bread.

The playfellow to whom Margaret lost her childish heart was the
fascinating Gaston de Foix, but there were several others among her
brother's pages who were momentous in her after existence. There was,
for instance, Charles de Montpensier, afterwards Connétable de
Bourbon, whom Louise de Savoie, by unduly persecuting--it is said
because he refused to marry her--drove to the side of Charles V. Of
this Connétable, Henry VIII. of England made a shrewd observation when
he saw him at the Field of the Cloth of Gold. "If he was a subject of
mine," he said, "he would not keep his head." There was also, among
the pages at Blois, Anne de Montmorency, for whom Margaret's
friendship continued long after both were grown up. He owed his
subsequent position in a large measure to her assistance, but desirous
of possessing the supreme influence over Francis himself, he grew to
hate the woman who also possessed so much. The unworthy termination of
the friendship began in the light-hearted childhood at Blois--it was
Montmorency who made the famous remark to Francis: "If your majesty
wants to rid the country of heretics, you must begin with your own
sister"--which was among the sharpest disillusions of Margaret's

  [Illustration: HEAD OF GASTON DE FOIX

But as a child her affection for Montmorency was as nothing to the
adoration she felt for the gentle, endearing Gaston, who could do
everything well, and whose manners won people's hearts perpetually.
Unfortunately, at ten Margaret was marriageable, and she had no sooner
reached that age than Louis XII. tried to arrange a marriage for her
with the English Prince of Wales--afterwards Henry VIII. Happily,
Henry wanted some one nearer the throne than a cousin, and the little
group at Blois remained unbroken. But the question of marriage was
always in the air--the sense that the enfolded home life might cease
at any moment could never be entirely shaken off. Later, Margaret
narrowly escaped another English husband. Henry VII., then an old
widower, wanted a second wife. He made a formal proposal for Louise.
She refused point-blank, and the ambassador then asked for the
daughter. This was accepted, and arrangements were in progress, when
Margaret herself suddenly set everybody agape by declining an old and
decrepid husband. The marriage came to nothing, though probably not
because of the small girl's protest; there were political reasons
against it as well.

Meanwhile, Margaret's childish lover, Gaston, had left the château at
Blois. The modest-mannered boy, known familiarly as "the Dove," had
gone to take up a man's business, leaving his little weeping friend
behind him. But Margaret had grown by now into an interesting-looking
girl. Her face, at the age of sixteen, must have been singularly
arresting. She had the charm that is rarest of all--the charm of
strangeness. Her appearance was not like other people's. The portrait
of her, painted when she was about twenty, leading Francis to the
crucified Christ, is full of subtleties. The face is round, with the
sweet fulness of young things, but the chin is tiny, lovable,
incongruous--the chin of soft assents and surrenders. The nose is
long, the over-long nose of Francis I.; the mouth deliciously curved
and tender. All the lower half of the face expresses a desire for
gentle pleasures and soft and caressing habits. But the eyes belong to
a different temperament. They gaze out of the happy face with
unexpected wistfulness and mysticism. Their expression is almost
tired, as if so many difficult matters had vexed their understanding
that they were weary before their time. The preoccupied eyes, the
love-needing chin, the long, cold nose, and the charming outline of
the head, make an extraordinary combination.

Every contemporary writer agreed that Margaret had the gift of
fascination, and she had also in youth the kind of looks that linger
in the imagination. It is, consequently, not surprising that while she
sighed for the absent Gaston, some one else should have sighed for
her. This second love affair is one of the interesting experiences of
Margaret's life; it is rich in information about Margaret, about
Louise, about the habits and customs of Margaret's times. Using
fictitious names, she tells it herself, as well as her early affection
for Gaston, in the "Heptameron." Bonnivet was a lieutenant when he
first saw Margaret, and he fell in love with her immediately.
Immediately also he set himself to try and arouse a corresponding
emotion. She was a princess, and he was a simple gentleman of good
family; marriage was out of the question. But one could live without
marriage, and Bonnivet set to work instantly to realize a plan by
which he could remain permanently near his enticing lady. There was a
rich and ugly heiress who lived close to the castle of Amboise, and
whose parents belonged to the royal circle. Bonnivet made love to her
and married her. To further facilitate his own reception at the
castle, his brother about this time received a post in Louise's
household. Bonnivet then saw Margaret constantly. The girl considered
herself forlorn. Her round blue eyes were plaintive under their first
experience of a heartache. Bonnivet, fascinating and determined,
became her friend. She confided to him all her innocent little
love-story. He took the part of sympathizer. Margaret could never hate
any one who liked her, and she was at the age when to be loved easily
stirs a vague and evanescent fluttering.

Presently Bonnivet had to go away also--Louis was at war with
Italy--and for two years Margaret saw nothing of either Gaston or her
newer comrade. When Bonnivet returned he was warmly welcomed at the
castle of Amboise. But apparently--it may have been a ruse--he had
come back visibly dejected through the weight of some great sorrow.
Margaret commenced to ask questions. This was clearly only out of a
desire for flirtation, for Bonnivet's feelings had never known
secrecy, and Margaret was more than ordinarily intelligent. One day
they leant together at one of the windows of the castle. Bonnivet
ceased to talk of Gaston, and confessed the reason of his own
melancholy. Having done so, he stated that he must go away.
Margaret--to suspect that she enjoyed all this is unavoidable--replied
that there was no need, "she trusted utterly in his honour, she was
not angry at all;" which last statement, at any rate, strikes one as
being unmistakably accurate.

The confession, nevertheless, was an error. Margaret wanted to be
loved, and she adored the glow of a sentimental friendship. But
Bonnivet desired more than this, and showed that he did. The situation
lost its grace and easiness. The girl found herself pressed by an
emotion tired of simple playfulness; she grew uncomfortable, and
Bonnivet, seeing that the situation had become untenable, went away. A
wise, grave woman would have let him stay away. It is part of
Margaret's appeal to us that she was never entirely sensible. She
liked Bonnivet, and she felt that a young creature left destitute of
love has lost a large part of the exquisiteness of youth. Gaston had
faded by now into a sentimental and rather plaintive memory; she
wrote, therefore, to Bonnivet to come back. Away among other women he
could not be trusted to remain the same--he was one of those who love
vehemently and often. He came in answer to her call, but shortly
afterwards another Italian expedition removed him once more from her
influence. In this war he was taken prisoner, and Margaret is said to
have both fasted and gone pilgrimages in order to win God into
releasing the prisoner. She had also promised him before he left that
wherever she went after her marriage she would take his wife as one of
her ladies, thereby assuring a re-meeting.

And marriage had become at last unavoidable. The Duc D'Alençon had
asked the king and queen for her hand, and she had refused so many
husbands that it was impossible to continue obdurate. Margaret hung
back, but could not ultimately resist the wishes of the king, and
though it is said she declared that she would rather have had death
instead, the marriage took place at the court of Anne and Louis on
October 9, 1509.

The match was in all ways unsuitable. The Duc D'Alençon was
good-looking, but invertebrate, jealous, and very stupid. This was
exactly the type of character to depress Margaret, who at
seventeen--or, for that matter, all her life--showed herself an ardent
seeker after a cheerful way of living. The mystic strain in her
temperament was involuntary. She troubled about the soul, death, and
the after life because she could not help herself; questions of
conduct and the future came unasked, and shook her with uncontrollable
distresses. But of her own desires she was all in tune with the
Renaissance. She says of herself that "she was _de moult joyeuse
vie_," and her contemporaries bear her out in the statement.

Life at Alençon proved more than uncongenial to her. Separated from
her mother and Francis, the two people Margaret loved best in the
world, and from all congenial society, the girl fretted visibly. It
was at this time that, in her correspondence with the Bishop of Meaux,
she called herself "worse than dead."

But her love-story with Bonnivet was far from being terminated. Some
time after her marriage, when Margaret, her husband, and her
mother-in-law were together, Bonnivet once more returned from foreign
service. He at once went to Alençon, presumably to see his wife.
Margaret watched him arrive from an upper window, for fear that in the
brusqueness of a sudden meeting she might betray the tumult of her
heart. It had been left to grow so cold, this little hot heart, since
her marriage. They met, and when they were alone she slipped back
joyfully into the old habit of confidence. She told him about her
marriage, she talked of Gaston, and cried. Bonnivet grew hopeful that
she loved him, when a sudden untoward event once more flung them
apart. Bonnivet's wife died; he had no longer any excuse for hanging
about Margaret's person. The king also sent orders for his departure.
But this renewed separation--his lady had grown more than ever
seductive and engrossing--affected his health. He fell ill and took to
his bed.

Margaret--for the age permitted these acts of intimate
graciousness--went to pay him a visit. He looked so ill that she cried
once more. They both cried, and the girl, whose instincts were always
mothering, put her arms round her ailing friend. Intelligence should
have warned her against the action. But Margaret, whose intelligence
was so markedly above the average, seldom used it when love scenes
were in question--they fascinated her too much. Bonnivet lost his
head, and his visitor, frightened, began to scream. Plain speaking had
grown unavoidable. The invalid urged her loveless marriage, his own
despair and constancy. Margaret became sad and reproachful. "In her
sorrow," she said wistfully, "she had thought to have found a friend."
They separated for the third time; after which, Margaret did nothing
but cry for several days.

After further fighting, Bonnivet received a post at home. The Duchesse
D'Alençon had gone to pay a visit to her mother, and Bonnivet knew
that Louise was his friend--she hated anybody, it would seem, to be
more fastidious than herself upon questions of morality. One evening,
when passing upon state business, he asked permission to call, and
Louise at once told her daughter to be ready when sent for. Margaret
knew the disposition of her mother; instead of obeying, she ran to the
castle chapel, and prayed, with all her heart flowing into the words
upon her lips, for the help of Heaven. She did more; she took a stone
and tore her face with it until the cheeks were swollen and scratched
and bleeding. The action is wholly beautiful. No girl disfigures and
hurts herself unless driven by a fundamental instinct of the soul into
an extremity for salvation. Margaret was afraid--terribly afraid. She
liked Bonnivet, she hated her husband, and she was not made of stone;
after all, she was the daughter of Louise and Charles of Savoie, and
the sister of Francis. But she wanted more ardently to be good than
anything, and she knew no surer way than this to defend herself while
the youth ran so hot in her pulsing body.

Louise found her torn and bleeding, but remained inexorably upon the
side of unrighteousness. The girl's face having been hastily attended
to, she was sent straight into the presence of Bonnivet. The naïve
grace of the action demanded, in truth, a more pitiful generation
than Margaret's for appreciation. Her little hands were roughly
seized, and the scene developed into an inexcusable and ungentle

Margaret screamed for her mother. Louise, who was undisturbedly
holding her usual evening court, had in the end to go to them.
Embarrassing explanations brought the incident to a close, but there
is no doubt that Margaret once more wept a good deal. Louise was very
angry, and in refusing to have Bonnivet as a lover, the Duchesse
D'Alençon lost her friend. She had to go back to the chill life of her
husband's court with the one soft thread drawn out of existence. But
when it came to more than words--Margaret had no prejudices of
speech--she never made vital mistakes. Conduct was the one ultimate
test by which the mystery of life became beautiful and tranquillizing.

For six years Margaret lived at Alençon, and it is said that her
mystical and Protestant sympathies were principally developed in these
years. But there is very little known of this period, and nothing that
is at all intimate. She emerged into prominence only from the year
1515, when Louise wrote in her journal, "The first day of November,
1515, my son was King of France."

This event brought some improvement into Margaret's life. Francis
cared for both his mother and sister; nobody flattered him with the
same undoubted sincerity as these two. After his accession the
Duchesse D'Alençon was often with her brother's court at Paris. But
the intervals between these visits were still dull and melancholy. Her
famous correspondence with the Bishop of Meaux, Guillaume Briconnet,
could not have commenced until some five years after her brother's
accession, when Martin Luther had uprisen to preach against the Pope.
These letters are steeped in complainfulness. Written from Alençon,
they read as the letters of a young person--unhappy, but not too
unhappy to make a sort of pretty plaintiveness out of melancholy.
Questions of the soul had begun to vex her. According, also, to the
new and curiously convincing doctrines, it was not so easy to elude
punishment for this life's licences as the priests protested. The new
theories found obscure, hesitant acquiescences in her own
intelligence. Their spiritual clearness possessed a renewing freshness
after the iniquities into which the old religion had fallen. Margaret
was insatiably curious; she craved to know everything, and when she
started her correspondence with Briconnet--at that time sympathetic
to the new religion--she both desired more knowledge of the Lutheran
doctrine, and some one who could attune conflicting uncertainties.

The correspondence is extraordinary. Briconnet--impassioned of
complexity in style--was half the time not comprehensible. In answer
to some letter of Margaret's dealing with spiritual bewilderments, he
wrote to her: "The extent of your kingdom's goods and honours should
be a voice to stimulate, and a great breath to light a torrent of fire
of love for God. Alas, madam, I fear that it is in some uneasiness;
for, as Jeremiah said, the bellows that should light the fire has
failed--_defect sufflatorium in igne_!... Madam, who is deserted in a
desert, in a desert is lost, seeking solitude and cannot find it; and
when he finds it is then prevented, is a bad guide to guide others out
of the desert and lead them to the desired desert. The desert starves
them with mortal hunger, even though they should be full up to the
eyes, sharpening desire only to satiate it, and impoverish him to

Margaret could make no sense of this. She wrote back
humorously--nobody was more quickly moved to laughter--"The poor
wanderer cannot understand the good which is to be found in the
desert for lack of knowing she is benighted there. I pray you that in
this desert, out of affection and pity, you will not hasten forwards
so swiftly that you cannot be followed, in order that the abyss,
through the abyss which you invoke, may not engulf the poor wanderer."

But the request for clarity passed unheeded. Briconnet seized the word
"abyss," and the following paragraph was his answer. I give it in the
original French, as translation is almost impossible. "_L'Abysme, qui
tout abysme présent, pour en le désabysment l'abysmes en l'abysme
(sans l'abysmes). Auquel abysme est fond sans fond voie des errants_,"

Margaret must have abandoned hope of enlightenment; but Briconnet,
happily, had intelligible intervals. When he chose he could write with
the same lucidity as other people. Once, for instance, after Margaret
had written more sadly than usual, he replied sensibly enough:
"Madame, you write to me to have pity on you because you are lonely. I
do not accept this proposition. Who lives in the world and has her
heart in it remains alone through being badly accompanied. But she
whose heart sleeps to the world and lives for the gentle and debonnair
Jesus, lives in all that is necessary, and certainly is not alone."
Margaret refused to respond to this; she had such need of men and
women, of friendship, of intellectual friction, of a perpetual output
of loving-kindnesses. She wrote again to Briconnet, saying, "It is so
cold--one's heart is frozen;" and signed herself, "Worse than dead."

Briconnet may have been moved; young women should not be neglected and
unhappy. But he remained sensible, and reproved the method of
signature. Then Margaret, with a defiant meekness, signed her next
letter, "Worse than ill."

This humorous docility shows that the depression she complained of was
not yet grief--merely the illusive melancholy of juvenility. After the
days of Alençon there was no repetition of it. Youth once traversed,
the realities of death, of irretrievable sorrow--nothing is
irretrievable until thirty--put an end to imaginative melancholy.
Conscious of the familiar agonies always so close, the intelligent
grow to hug what gaiety they can. Certainly there is no longer the
playfulness in regard to sorrow, to sign "Worse than death" in a mood
of amused defiance.

Some time before Francis started upon the disastrous Italian campaign,
Margaret went through the last episode in her love-story with
Bonnivet. Except for the light it throws upon the morals of the
period, it would be as well omitted; and but for Monsieur de
Claviere's assertion of its veracity, one would gladly leave the story
at its last dramatic moment. Bonnivet had married again, and during
one of Margaret's visits to Paris he invited royalty to pay a visit at
his estate in the country, in order to take part in a great hunt he
had organized. Margaret gives in the "Heptameron" a very full account
of what occurred; but, condensed, it comes to this--that Bonnivet,
having previously made a trap-door for the purpose, penetrated one
night into the princess's bedroom. This time Margaret did not scratch
her own face, but her adversary's. Before her lady-in-waiting rushed
into the room, and her conscienceless admirer fled back through the
carefully arranged trap-door, Bonnivet's appearance had been rudely
disfigured. He could not appear next day; it was necessary to plead
illness to avoid unanswerable questions, and Margaret never saw him
again. He was killed at the battle of Pavia. They had fought, but she
grieved at his death, and to the end of her life loved to talk of him
as one dear and tender in her memory.

Among other friends of this period, the poet Marot ought to be
included. Marot's father, also a poet, had been attached first to the
court of Anne, and then to that of Francis. Marot himself had been
brought up in an atmosphere of royalty. He was an interesting
personality--incurably light and incurably honest. His poetry, of
which Sainte Beuve remarked that good manners in poetry were born with
him, was never deep, but always fascinating, natural, light-hearted.
He wrote many verses to Margaret, in the gay and witty manner which
was peculiarly his own. An excellently condensed impression of
Margaret's temperament is given in the following lines:--

    "Tous deux aimons la musique chantes,
    Tous deux aimons les livres fréquenter,
    Tous deux aimons d'aucun ne médire,
    Tous deux aimons un meilleur propos dire,
    Tous deux aimons gens pleins d'honnêtete.

        *     *     *     *     *

    Tous deux aimons a visites les heux
    On ne sont point gens mélancoleux
    Que diraj plus? Ce mot, la dire j'ore
    Je le disaj! Que presque en toute chose,
    Nous ressemblons, fois que j'ai plus d'envoi,
    Et que tu as le cœur plus dur que moi."

As a personality, Marot only came into prominence later, when the
religious persecutions had begun. He leant towards Lutheranism, and
Margaret had twice to save him from the sinister machinery of the
Sorbonne. Later still, after her second marriage, she sheltered him
at Navarre, and when even that became a place of doubtful security,
she sent him to Renée in Ferrara. To translate Clement Marot's poetry
is to destroy all impression of its delicate and witty pleasantness.
The following example is typical of his manner at its lightest. They
are verses to


    "Ma Mignonne,
    Je vous donne
    Le bon jour.
    Le séjour
    C'est prison.
    Puis ouvrez
    Vostre porte,
    Et qu'on sorte
    Car Clement
    Je vous mande
    Va, friande
    De ta bouche
    Qui se couche
    En danger
    Pour manger
    Si tu dures
    Trop malade
    Couleur fade
    Tu prendras.
    Et perdras
    Dieu te doint
    Santé bonne
    Ma Mignonne."

It was characteristic of a strain of cheerful callousness in the poet
to tell his friend that to continue ill would be to lose the pretty
plumpness which made her so attractive.

In 1524, Francis started to reconquer Milan, and from that time a
great change came into Margaret's way of life. When he went, her
husband went with him; also Bonnivet, Anne de Montmorency, and many
others who were her friends. Margaret then moved to Paris to keep her
mother company; also the poor queen Claude, who was in the last stages
of consumption, and who died before Francis had gone far upon his
journey. The disaster of Pavia came as an almost inconceivable blow to
those in Paris. Francis was the prisoner of Charles V., and it was
said the calamity had taken place, to a great extent, owing to the
stupidity of Margaret's husband, who, as leader of the vanguard, had
failed to come to the king's rescue. La Palice, Bayaret, and Bonnivet,
among her friends also, were dead, and Marot and Montmorency were
prisoners. In reference to Palice's death some ridiculous verses were
sung in the streets by the people--

    "Hélas, La Palice est mort,
    Il est mort devant Pavie.
    Hélas, s'il n'etait pas mort
    Il serait encore en vie."

From the moment of Francis's capture Margaret commenced a
correspondence of almost impassioned tenderness with him and about
him. The poet Dr. Bellay refers to Margaret, Louise, and Francis as
one heart in three bodies, and they were known as The Trinity,
Margaret, upon one occasion, referring to herself as the last corner
in it. She wrote to Francis, after he had been taken to Madrid: "If I
can be of service to you, even to the scattering of the ashes of my
bones to the winds, nothing will be amiss, difficult, or painful, but
consolation, repose, and honour."

The next incident was to fling Margaret upon the colossal failure of
her life. Charles V. would agree to no terms of peace in which Francis
did not surrender Burgundy as well as all claims to Milan and Naples.
Francis was willing to give up claim to the last two places, but to
relinquish Burgundy, which meant giving up a slice of France, was out
of the question.

Margaret had meanwhile become a widow. The Duc D'Alençon died shortly
after the disaster of Pavia--it is said, in a great measure, from want
of will to live. Everybody--including his wife--looked upon him with
abhorrence, since he had been, in some measure, responsible for the
capture of the king. The knowledge helped to destroy vitality, though,
in the end, Margaret nursed and coddled and forgave him, as she ought
to have done--the ultimate necessity for every woman being to possess
the power to forgive interminably.

But D'Alençon was scarcely cold before Louise de Savoie offered
Charles V. Margaret's hand, and proposed Charles's sister, the widowed
Queen of Portugal, as wife for Francis. Margaret, however, was not to
feel flattered at any period of her acquaintance with the
self-contained Spaniard. He took no notice of Louise's proposal as
regards her daughter. Nevertheless, when Margaret started upon her
famous embassy to Spain, there was in the minds of all those concerned
the almost secure anticipation that her personal enticement would have
a good deal of influence in bringing about a swift and satisfactory
release of the French prisoners.

  [Illustration: CHARLES V.]

Neither Margaret nor her counsellors knew anything of the nature of
the man she had gone to deal with. A woman was the last person to
negotiate successfully with the suspicious and comprehending emperor.
From the first he was opposed to her coming. His opinion, and that of
his entourage, is frankly expressed by the English ambassador at
the Spanish court: "Being young, and a widow, she comes, as Ovid says
of women going to the play, to see and to be seen, that perhaps the
emperor may like her, and also to woo the Queen-Dowager of Portugal
for her brother.... Then, as they are both young widows, she shall
find good commodity in cackling with her to advance her brother's
matter, and if she finds her inclined thereto, they will help each

Happily, Margaret was unaware of the Spanish views upon her embassy,
for, even without the knowledge, her nerves could only have been tense
with the crucial uncertainties of her expedition, and the gravity of
the issues hanging practically upon her personal fascination and
diplomacy. If this man could be made to feel attraction, her mission
was half secured already. All France looked upon success as a certain
prospect. She was held to be so clever, so fascinating, so superior
and intelligent, that beyond doubt, it was thought, she would achieve
in a few interviews what a man would require a month to bring to a
conclusion. She had hardly reached Spain before she received premature
congratulations--"_A vous, madame, l'honneur et la merite._"

But Margaret was to fail--bitterly, completely, and inevitably.
Charles had pointedly ignored the question of marriage in his answer
to Louise de Savoie's letter. After seeing Margaret, it had still no
attraction for him. That in itself was, in some measure, failure, and
a thrust at pride as well. As a matter of fact, Charles found her, not
only no longer very young or very pretty, but far too clever. "She is
more of a prodigy than a woman," remarked the man, who had every kind
of astuteness himself, and needed contrast for fascination.

The negotiations took place in Toledo, but from the beginning Margaret
had no chance of producing the smallest change of outlook. Charles
refused to have any witness to their interviews; whatever he said
could therefore be denied, if necessary. Margaret wrote to Francis
from Toledo: "I went yesterday to visit the emperor. I found him very
guarded and cold in his demeanour. He took me apart into his room with
one lady to await me"--(this was outside)--"but when there, his
discourse was not worth so great a ceremony, for he put me off to
confer with his council, and will give me an answer to-day."

The poor ambassadress soon grew baffled and exasperated. She had
hoped great things from gaining over the Queen of Portugal. But
Eleanor was cleverly sent upon an unwilling pilgrimage, concerning
which Margaret wrote to Francis: "It is true that she sets out on her
journey to-morrow. Before her departure I shall take leave of her. I
believe she acts thus out of obedience more than in compliance with
her own will, for they hold her in great subjection."

A later letter showed that Margaret had now grown utterly
disheartened. And before the end of her embassy, to express how deeply
inimical and unworthy she considered the emperor's conduct to be, she
left the palace placed by him at her disposal, and moved into a
convent, so as to destroy all obligations of hospitality.

The negotiations, as one knows, came to nothing. Charles was resolute
not to abate one demand for the woman who had all the facile
sweetnesses of her brother, all the glib and cunning adroitnesses he
knew so well in his intercourse with the other. The family resemblance
between them was over-strong; Charles could not avoid suspecting the
sister of the same deep, inherent duplicity as the brother.

Margaret had failed, and all her life this sharp and public failure
must have remained a hidden sore in memory. She had also, after her
defeat, ungracefully to rush back into safety. The period of her safe
conduct had almost expired, and information had been received that
Charles intended to detain her as prisoner if she exceeded it.

The consequent release of Francis and the terms of the agreement are
matters of history. Margaret had no hand in them, and the next
momentous incident in which she figured was her own re-marriage with
the King of Navarre.

This marriage is among Margaret's foolishnesses. Henri D'Albret, who
had been another of the prisoners taken at Pavia, was eleven years her
junior and exceptionally good-looking. Charles V. remarked of him
later that, save for Francis, he was the one _man_ he had seen in
France. Margaret should have known that to keep the affections of a
handsome husband, over whom she possessed the disadvantage of eleven
years' seniority, was anticipating the impossible. But at the time of
their first meeting they had intellectually many interests in common,
and Margaret, it seems, fell in love with his fascinations. The
marriage was not to prove happier than the previous one; but in the
beginning everything promised the creature of _joyeuse vie_ a more
congenial existence than she had known for many years. Henri de
Navarre was an able and conscientious administrator; Bordeaux says of
him, "Had he not been so given to women as he was, he would have been
irreproachable. He loved his people like his children."

At Navarre, Margaret made her court the home of three kinds of
people--the intellectual, the gay, and the persecuted; for while
Francis had been a prisoner in Spain, Louise had established the
Inquisition in France. The scholar Berguin was the first notable
personality to be martyred by it; but the precedent once established,
there followed a never-ending list, drawn from every class of society.
Margaret had tried to save Berguin, and, indeed, was all her life,
from that date onwards, trying to save some one from the furnaces of
the Inquisition. Florimond de Rémond, in his "Historie du Progres de
l'heresie," says--and he was not upon her side, and refers to her
elsewhere as a good but too easy-going princess--"She had a marvellous
dexterity in saving and sheltering those in peril for religion's
sake." As a further corroboration, there is Sainte Marthe's pretty
reference, "She made herself a harbour and refuge for the
despairing.... Seeing them surrounding this good lady, you would have
said it was a hen who carefully calls and assembles its little
chickens to cover them with her wings."

Etienne Dolet, another remarkable scholar, who was at one time the
friend of Rabelais, she strove to the last to rescue. She was twice
successful, but Dolet was more difficult to save than most people,
being by nature inherently quarrelsome. Among the charges made by the
Sorbonne against him was the remark he had made, that he preferred the
sermon to the mass, while in his writings he had seemed to doubt the
immortality of the soul. The first charge alone was considered
sufficient reason for burning him. Orriz, the Inquisitor, whom later
Renée was to have bitter dealings with in Ferrara, headed the Paris
Inquisition; and Orriz, of the feline persuasive manners, is said to
have found no occupation so congenial as that of hunting, trying, and
making ashes of heretical people. Dolet himself had already said of
him, "I never knew any one more ignorant, more cunning, or more
lustful after the death of a Christian." Lanothe Laizon adds an
interesting touch to this impression. He writes: "Orriz was grim only
to those who did not finance his purse. He became soft and lenient to
those who paid him, ... and for a round sum one could get from him
excellent certificates of Catholicity." This leniency, however, could
not be relied upon; Orriz had a trick of letting prisoners go and then
rearresting them upon another accusation.

Dolet was very brilliant and very eloquent. His epigrams were held to
be so good that one of his friends begged him to make one on him, so
that his name might go down to posterity. Margaret had invited Dolet
to shelter in the safety of Bourges, but he was too reckless to be
permanently rescued. He escaped once from prison, and was re-caught,
it is said, because he could not keep himself from coming back to see
his little son. He had written in his Commentaries, "I now come to the
subject of Death, the extreme boundary of life, terrible to those
about to die." It is a wonderful phrase, solemn with a simply worded,
haunting veracity.

Margaret herself had, it is said, become touched with more than pure
compassion for the new doctrines. And martyrs were being made not only
for Lutheranism; a rival reformer--no less abusive--had arisen in
Calvin, whom Margaret was supposed among others to have sheltered at
Navarre. She certainly corresponded with him, and Calvin upon one
occasion censured her for harbouring godless people among her flock.
It is, however, wonderful and disturbing to realize how these
Protestants, through a sustaining passion for right conduct, bore the
unbearable. There are stories of death after death which cannot be
read without anguish. These martyrs of the Sorbonne rendered even
hideous facts heartbreaking and sweet. In 1557, for instance, Calvin
wrote to comfort some doomed disciples in the Inquisition prisons at
Paris. Among them was a certain Lady Phillipine de Luny. When the day
for her burning came, "the executioners beheld her approach with a
smile of happiness on her face, and dressed in white as for a
festival." How did they do it? Phillipine de Luny was not yet
twenty-four years of age.

At another bonfire Louis de Marsac was offended because they did not,
in leading him to the stake, put a halter round his neck as they had
done to the rest of the party; the indignity had been spared him on
account of his noble birth. He asked why he was refused the collar of
that "excellent order" of martyrs. Another victim, Peter Berger,
shortly before, had exclaimed, like Stephen when the flames reached
him, "I see the heavens opened."

These burnings destroyed a good deal of Margaret's original joyousness
of temperament. But nothing lasts; an event that whitens a person's
very lips with horror is over by the morrow; the week after, thousands
of trivial incidents have swept between. Domestic existence is full of
sanity and healing. Margaret had an engrossing daily life apart from
her pitiful struggle to save people who exulted in new conceptions of
the soul and immortality. She was often at Paris, and she was also
busy at this time with her babies.

Before the birth of her first, the little Jeanne D'Albret of the brave
heart and strenuous life, Margaret wrote the following letter to
Francis: "I hope, nevertheless, that God will permit me to see you
before my hour arrives; but if this happiness is not to be mine, I
will cause your letter to be read to me, instead of the life of Sainte
Marguerite" (the patron saint of pregnant women), "as having been
written by your own hand it will not fail to inspire me with courage.
I cannot, however, believe that my child will presume to be born
without your command; to the last, therefore, I shall eagerly expect
your much-desired arrival." The little lady, who was always to prove
of an independent spirit, did apparently presume to be born without
Francis's command.

The relation between Margaret and her daughter is the least
satisfactory part of Margaret's life. She was upon one occasion
actually cruel to the child--a thing incomprehensible from a heart so
motherly and kind. Francis was the reason but not the excuse for
Margaret's behaviour. There were rumours that she and her husband were
negotiating to marry the child to a prince of Spain. Navarre--held in
fief from Spain--would then be free once more, which Francis, for
personal political reasons, did not desire. When Jeanne was two years
old, therefore, he took her from her mother and placed her in the
gloomy castle of Plessis Les Tours, where Louis XI. had shut himself
up behind bolts and bars during the last years of his life. It was
like educating a child in prison. In all her writings Margaret has not
left one word of protest, and yet at two years old a child to its
mother is a miracle and an intoxication.

Later, when Francis promised the child in marriage to the Duke of
Cleves, Margaret was really cruel. The marriage could only have been
bitter both to her and to Henri of Navarre. But Francis desired it,
and that was sufficient for Margaret. The duke was a heavy,
unattractive person; and Othagaray says that Francis originally "named
the lady to the Duke of Cleves without the consent of father and
mother." When he named him to the lady herself--not quite twelve years
old--a supreme surprise occurred for her elders. The child became
passionate with disgust. She would not marry him--a hideous foreign
creature, whose language she did not even understand. There were many
scenes with the disobedient child at Plessis. Her father, who would
have helped her if he could, had not the power to do so, and Margaret
remained like ice to the appeals of her sickened daughter.

Now, Margaret had once written to Montmorency in reference to some
woman Francis wished her to persuade into a marriage for her daughter
which the lady disliked: "You know that my disposition and hers are so
different that we are not fairly matched; for to vanquish the will of
a woman whom no one has yet been able to persuade through the medium
of one who is persuaded by everybody, seems to me to promise little
except that she will conduct herself in her usual manner towards me."
This "who is persuaded by everybody" had its heart-sprung quality, but
in the matter of Jeanne's marriage it showed a colder and more
weak-willed element. She wrote to Francis an almost frantic letter,
expressing her "tribulation" at her daughter's "senseless" appeal
that she might not be married to the Duke of Cleves. Then, as Jeanne
continued rebellious, Margaret wrote to her governess that she must be
beaten into obedience. True, a child of twelve years old could not
very well be in a position to select a suitable husband, and whipping
was a recognized and much-used discipline at that period. But Margaret
of Navarre should have known better: she had been brought up in a
different school of feeling.

Presently Francis--afraid that Henri might save his daughter--gave
orders that the betrothal and marriage should take place immediately.
It was under these circumstances that the child wrote her well-known
protest, signing it with her own brave, childish hand, and having it
witnessed by three members of her household. This is what she said:
"I, Jeanne de Navarre, persisting in the protestations I have already
made, do hereby again affirm and protest, by those present, that the
marriage which it is desired to contract between the Duke of Cleves
and myself is against my will; that I have never consented to it nor
will consent, and that all I may say and do hereafter by which it may
be attempted to prove that I have given my consent, will be forcibly
extorted against my wish and desire from my dread of the king, of the
king my father, and the queen my mother, who has threatened me, and
has had me whipt by my governess, the Baillive of Caen. By command of
the queen, my mother, my said governess has also several times
declared that if I did not give my consent, I should be so severely
punished as to occasion my death, and that by refusing I might be the
cause of the total ruin and destruction of my father, my mother, and
of their house."

Jeanne was married, notwithstanding, but happily the sequel showed an
unusual quality of mercy. She never really became the wife of the Duke
of Cleves after all. After the marriage ceremony had taken place, she
was left for two years with her mother, pending the time when she
should be old enough to join her husband. At the end of the two years
the Duke of Cleves surrendered to the emperor, and abandoned all
claims to his bride, the marriage, therefore, being at once declared

Jeanne did not, in fact, marry until the next reign; but there is one
story of her after life so charming that it is a pity not to tell it
here. Her father promised her a golden box he wore on a long chain
round his neck, if she would sing an old Bearn-folk song while in the
pains of child-birth. She agreed, and kept her promise, singing with
brave persistence at a time when most women wish that they were dead.

Margaret's own marriage had proved unhappy some time before her
daughter's futile first wedding. She had written long ago, in one of
her letters to Montmorency, concerning her husband: "As you are with
him, I fear not that everything will go well, excepting that I am
afraid you cannot prevent him from paying assiduous court to the
Spanish ladies." It comes as a digression; but there is, about the
same period, an interesting appeal from Margaret to Montmorency,
concerning her brother: "It strikes me it would be advisable for you
to praise the king in your letters for the great attention he pays to
affairs." The suggestion holds the essence of the relationship of a
woman to the man she loves. No woman but manages and cajoles the
creature cared for, like a mother trying to coax a child into good

Margaret and her husband disagreed upon religious questions as well as
about the subject of other ladies. Jeanne, who lived with them for the
two years she was waiting to join the Duke of Cleves, wrote, many
years after her mother's death, that her father grew very angry and
beat her if she showed any interest in the new doctrines, and that
she remembered on one occasion, when a Protestant teacher had been
with her mother, his coming furiously to drive him out. Margaret
having been warned, had already got rid of the man; but Henri, too
angry instantly to abstain from violence, went up and boxed Margaret's
ears, saying passionately, "You want to know too much, madam." His
conduct became so undesirable that Brantome says, "Henri D'Albret
treated the queen, his wife, very badly, and would have treated her
worse, had it not been for her brother Francis, who rated him soundly,
and ended by threatening him because he had been disrespectful to his
sister, in spite of her high rank."

Margaret, happily, was many-sided; one unhappiness did not render her
obdurate against the entry of the rest. Probably she went through an
interval of supreme heart-sickness. But a middle-aged woman has under
every circumstance a painful phase to go through. There is one period
in every woman's life hard to face and hard to bear--the period of
relinquishments. The sweets of youth are over; for the future there is
only the swift, chill journey into old age to front with calm and
dignity. Margaret's face in middle age suggests that she made her
relinquishments with completeness and courage.

But--though the statement is a repetition--no person's life can be
laid unremittingly upon the rack. Margaret, surrounded by people--her
ladies, poets, scholars, painters, and others--was kept pleasantly
preoccupied. The second Clouet painted her; Leonard Limousin, the
great enamellist, wrought her exquisite enamels. Like most royalties
of her day, she took great interest in her garden, and in the love
affairs of her ladies she was unfailingly sympathetic and kind. A
contemporary wrote of her as "the precious carnation in the flower
garden of the palace. Her fragrance had drawn to Bearn, as thyme draws
the honey-bee, the noblest minds in Europe."

It is true that many of the "noblest minds of Europe" were drawn to
Margaret. Even Rabelais, the last man to take pleasure in praising
women without good reason, dedicated the third book of his
"Pantagruel" to her. Rabelais, though he was the epitome of the
Renaissance spirit in France, is too capacious to mention
fragmentarily in the life of another person. And yet few men of the
period convey a sweeter impression. He was colossal in everything; in
compassion as well as laughter.

After the publication of his "Gargantua" and "Pantagruel," Rabelais
narrowly escaped the Sorbonne. But he was wise, and had no taste for
being roasted. In the life of Pantagruel, referring to Toulouse, then
the great centre of persecution, he said, ostensibly of Pantagruel, in
reality of himself, "But he remained little time there, when he
perceived that they made no bones about burning their regents alive
like red herrings, saying, 'The Lord forbid that I should die in this
manner, for I am dry enough by nature, without being heated any

It is purposeless here to refer to Rabelais's coarseness. At the
present time no woman could read him. But, then, no woman for pleasure
would read Margaret's "Heptameron," and Margaret, for all the
grossness of a large number of her stories, had the capacity for a
very delicate and artificial refinement.

She and Rabelais never came to a sufficient knowledge of each other
for friendship; but there is a legend of Rabelais's death which
touches her outlook upon spiritual things very closely. A messenger
had been despatched by Rabelais's friend, Cardinal du Bellay, to
inquire how he felt. Rabelais lay dying when the messenger arrived,
but he sent back the following answer: "I go to find the great
Perhaps." A little later, still conscious of the pettiness of all
human circumstances, he rallied sufficiently to make a last good
phrase. "Pull the blind," he is said to have whispered; "the farce is
played out."

This, "I go to find the great Perhaps," was a sentence Margaret might
have echoed had she known of it. There is an incident in her own life
curiously in tune with the statement.

It must have occurred when she was, at any rate, middle aged, and the
thought of death had become hauntingly vivid. One of her
ladies-in-waiting lay dying. As the girl gradually sank into
unconsciousness, the duchess insisted upon sitting by her bed. The
attendants begged her to go away, but she refused to move, and sat
staring silently at the dying figure. There seemed something unnatural
in the absorption of her eyes, and her women were puzzled. When the
girl was at last dead, Margaret turned away; visibly she betrayed
disappointment. One of her ladies then asked her why she had leant
forward and watched with such unmoving intensity the lips of the dying
girl. Her answer is pathetic behind its callousness. She had been
told, she said, that the soul leaves the body at the actual moment of
death. She had looked and listened to catch the faintest sound of its
emergence through the lips of the dying body, but she had seen and
heard nothing. The watching had been, to a great extent, cold-blooded,
but the result was a tragic discouragement of thought. There seemed
nothing to strengthen belief with at all.

Nevertheless, if Margaret felt occasionally like a rat caught in a
trap, since being alive one must inevitably and shortly die, she
continued to the end to enjoy the present as far as possible. She
shivered with spiritual dubieties; but at the same time she wrote the
"Heptameron," a book above everything earthy, caustic, and shrewd. It
is said to have been written for Francis I. during his last illness.
He had been inordinately amused by Boccaccio, and Margaret tried to
give him stories in the same vein.

They are and they are not. The outline and the idea are similar; but
Margaret was not a second Boccaccio. She wrote easily and
naturally--she would have written a novel every year had she lived at
the present time; but where Boccaccio was witty and light, Margaret
was relentless and crude. Her brutality gives as great a shock as her
indelicacy. It seems incredible, for instance, that she should have
written the following termination to one of her stories. In the tale a
priest was discovered to have made his sister his mistress. The woman
was about to have a baby. The judges waited until the child was born;
then brother and sister were burnt together. The very simplicity with
which the statement is made adds to its horror. Margaret wrote: "They
waited till his sister was brought to bed. Then when she had made a
beautiful son, the sister and brother were burnt together." The
sentence, "when she had made a beautiful son," renders the incident
alive and unbearable.

It is difficult to say much of Margaret's "Heptameron." The stories
are a curious mixture of appalling grossness, and the most soft and
grieving mysticism. What one chiefly gathers from them in connection
with her temperament is that, side by side with a noteworthy charm and
sympathy, she possessed a slender strain of ruthlessness. Margaret's
nose was too long. To have a nose so much in excess, so thin and
pointed, is always dangerous. Some want of balance must accompany its
disproportion, some streak of cruelty its ungenerous narrowness. As a
matter of fact, notwithstanding her nose, Margaret was a miracle of
lovely kindlinesses, but it conquered in the matter of her
daughter--she was a cold, unprofitable mother. Again, in the
"Heptameron," it is the temperament belonging to the long unbalanced
feature whose detestation of the priests found outlet in such
relentless vengeances. To some extent Margaret's little chin saved
her. Counterpoised, as it were, between two excesses--the cold,
deceitful nose, and the yielding, enthusiastic chin--she contrived to
retain balance between either, and to be, on the whole, an intricacy
of characteristics, none of which surged into overwhelming
predominance. The ascendant characteristics were all good--her
sheltering instincts and her half-fearsome mystical aspirations. She
had, long before the Maeterlinck utterance of it, the sense of a world
in which everything was in reality spiritual and portentous. In one of
the stories of the "Heptameron" she makes a lady--in reality herself,
for the tale is said to be true--bring a fickle lover to the grave of
his forgotten love, to see if no subtle communication issues from the
dead body beneath them. When he feels nothing, her disappointment is
almost painful, for no trait in Margaret renders her so endearing as
this disquieted craving to be assured that existence was something
more profound and worthy than a brief term of suffering consciousness.

During the latter years of her existence Margaret suffered from ill
health. In 1542 Mario Cavelli wrote of her: "The Queen of Navarre
looks very delicate, so delicate, I fear she has not long to live. Yet
she is so sober and moderate that, after all, she may last. She is, I
think, the wisest, not only of the women, but of the men of France."

She must have been pleasant company. So many men of sound insight
could not have valued her society unless she had possessed unusual
sense and heartiness. Her conversation is repeatedly mentioned as
brilliant, eloquent, full of thought and sympathy.

Francis I. died in March, 1547. Margaret had said that when he died
she did not want to go on living, but she had more brains and more
vitality than she knew of. Everything interested her, even when she
was not happy. To the last she did what she could to help the
Reformers--her husband made it impossible for her to do much. Under
the stimulus of Henri and Diane the Sorbonne had increased in
laboriousness. Upon the subject of its added licence there is one
humorous story, told by Duchatel, the witty secretary of Francis I.,
who used to say of him that he was the only man whose knowledge he had
not exhausted after two years' intimacy.


Duchatel preached the funeral sermon upon Francis, and said, with
complimentary intention, that the soul of the king had gone straight
to heaven. The doctors of the Sorbonne--swollen with courage under the
known bigotry of the new king and the king's mistress--complained at
once of the horrible utterance. Pious as the late king had been, his
soul could not have escaped purgatory. They sent deputies to Henri II.
charging Duchatel with heresy; there existed an old grudge against
him. The deputies were received, and given a conciliatory dinner by
the king's _maître d'hôtel_, Mendoza, and advised not to proceed
further with the charge. "I knew the character of the late king
intimately," said Mendoza, wittily. "He never could endure to be in
one place long. If he did go to purgatory, he would only stay there
sufficient time to drink a stirrup cup and move on."

It was Margaret's time to "move on." She went, in the autumn of 1549,
to drink some mineral waters, but they did her no good. She was
consumptive, and in a condition past being cured. During her last
illness she is reported to have said, concerning her protection of
heretics, "All I have done, I have done from compassion." She could
have given no better reason.

Her death was preceded by less suffering than most people's; she
simply sank into unconsciousness. At the last she struggled back for a
second from stupor, and, grasping a cross that lay upon the bed,
muttered, "Jesus, Jesus, Jesus," and fell back dead.



Renée, daughter of Anne of Brittany, was, like her mother, destitute
of any sympathy with the intellectuality of the period in which she
lived. But the Renaissance brought about the reaction of the
Reformation, and Renée's life is interesting as the story of the
domestic difficulties confronted by an individual sympathetic to the
new doctrines during their first calamitous strivings in Italy. The
danger to a person of the same views in France has been seen in the
life of Margaret D'Angoulême.

Renée's Italian career is interesting, besides, as the intimate
history of a stubborn, unimaginative, and unadaptable temperament in a
married life betraying from the commencement extreme incompatibility
of disposition. The circumstance may occur to any one, and each woman
deals with it according to her nature. Exactly how she does so, is one
of the clearest tests of her valour and her intelligence. A true
woman of the Renaissance--Vittoria Colonna and Isabella of Mantua, for
instance, carried a dignified marital complaisance to heroic
extremities--would have preserved surface amenities, however
distasteful the husband. But Renée, brought up by people to whom she
was simply a dull and undesirable orphan, never learnt that small
accommodations of behaviour are among the primary and desirable
virtues. Her father had been rich in them, but the self-willed spirit
of her mother, Anne, was more noticeable in the character of her
second daughter than the paternal trait. To have lived with Renée
would undoubtedly have rendered affection difficult. But to know her
without the irritation of daily intercourse, as a perplexed, mistaken,
blundering, wistful, and unloved woman, is to be drawn into a
reluctant sympathy. She was, to begin with, ugly, and there is nothing
in its consequences more pathetic than a woman's ugliness. She was
also, almost from her babyhood, without one single person who truly
loved her. From the outset her character had been chilled and

Born on October 25, 1510, though she came disappointingly enough to
the woman craving for a son, Renée was made welcome with a careful
pomp that bordered almost upon tenderness. Her baptism became the
pretext for a magnificent pageant, and in an account of the expenses
incurred for her childish household, she is called the king's "very
dear and much loved daughter, Renée."

Two years after Renée's birth Anne died. At five years old Renée was
an orphan, and with her sister Claude, the patient, piteous, and most
mishandled wife of Francis I., passed into the care of Louise de
Savoie. They were the children of Louise's most persistent enemy; she
could not, therefore, have done otherwise than dislike them. Brantome
says that she was extremely harsh to both, and it is certain that
Renée, plain, delicate, and deformed, never became to anybody a person
of sufficient importance to be coaxed into prettiness of ways and
feelings. The gentle Claude must have loved her smaller sister while
she lived, but Claude died of consumption almost immediately after
Francis I. started for Italy, when Renée was only fourteen years of
age, and from that time until her marriage the girl knew no one
prepared to do more than a cold and pleasureless duty towards her.

In justice to Louise it must be admitted that every effort was made
to procure Renée a suitable husband. They promised her at one time to
the Archduke Charles, but already her want of average good looks
rendered some apologies necessary. The life of any girl towards whom
such an attitude has to be assumed must possess an undue measure of
painfulness. Before presenting the bride to the Archduke it was
considered imperative to tell him that "the charm of her conversation
greatly atoned for her want of beauty." The proposal came to nothing,
and after several other unavailing negotiations Francis settled upon a
marriage with Ercole of Ferrara, the son of Duke Alphonso and

It was not a good match for a girl in whose veins ran the blood of a
king of France. Mezeray said of it, "The king arranged a very poor
match for this princess, and sent her into a far country, lest she
should ask him one day for a share in Brittany and in the patrimony of


Mezeray spoke from a knowledge of Francis's character, but the motives
in this one instance were probably less cunning than he thought them.
Renée was not an easy young girl to marry; her own father had said
years ago that it would be difficult to find a husband for her.
Nevertheless, at this time she was probably as nearly nice-looking
as at any time of her existence. She had just turned eighteen, and, in
spite of a slight deformity, possessed a certain dignity of carriage,
inherited from her mother. She had also the whitest of skins, and
beautiful fair hair that reached to the ground. It was said that she
had at this time more to thank nature for than to complain of, and the
early portraits of her are at least not actually ugly. The principal
thing that strikes one in them is a certain dulness of expression, as
if heaviness of spirit had crushed out vivacity. Her face suggests
strongly the uncared-for upbringing of her childhood--the blue eyes
are apathetic and unamused, the mouth wistfully inanimate. It is just
possible that Ercole might have kissed her into a childlike lightness
of thought; but Ercole did not find her kissable, and she was in any
case born with the confined and congealing seriousness of character
that came to her as an intensified quality from her unimaginative and
easily scandalized mother.

Ercole represented the antithesis of his future wife. His appearance
was fascinating, his manners were good; all the culture of the
Renaissance permeated his blood. Small wonder, therefore, that Renée's
looks came as a bitter shock to him. He wrote to his father after the
first interview, and stated plainly, "_Madama Renea non e bella._"
The Ferrarese ambassador also wrote that his master would have
preferred the lady to possess a better figure. But Ercole had come to
France chiefly to make a good political marriage, and his objections
to poor Renée personally were greatly outweighed by her parentage and
her dowry.

Oddly enough, the girl herself does not appear to have liked the
handsome Italian any better than he liked her. At the formal
engagement she behaved with extreme shyness and a visible distress of
manner. Nobody cared, however, what she thought in the matter, and a
month later the wedding was celebrated. For that one day Louise does
certainly appear to have tried to make the most of her. The girl's
magnificent hair hung, soft and moving in itself, unbound about her
shoulders, and her gown of scarlet and ermine literally gleamed with
the jewels heaped upon it. Renée's skin was undeniably good--Bonnet
refers to the whiteness of her breast and throat--and above the heavy
splendour of her wedding garments her little subdued and plaintive
face could only have worn a look of quaint, appealing incongruity.

The subsequent festivities continued until both bride and bridegroom
became rather comically ill--through excess of food and want of
sleep. Renée, who all her life suffered from the tragedy of headaches,
had the _migraine_, and they began to think the time had come to start
for Italy. Francis I. himself accompanied them to the gates of Paris.
Here he solemnly confided his sister-in-law into the care of her
husband, who was ordered always to treat her as a daughter of the
royal house of France. Ercole, feeling that he had no reason to be
diffident as regards his relations to the other sex, answered that he
would have no difficulty in both pleasing and managing the lady.
Subsequent events rendered the reply a little humorous. The small,
meek wife, who heard the remark probably without even the desire to
smile, proved in after years to the last degree intractable. Certainly
Ercole never succeeded in managing her.

Ferrara, at the time of Renée's marriage, had been devastated by the
plague. Before she made her state entry, an order was issued
commanding the people to reopen their shops, put on their best
clothes, and, whatever their private emotions, show a cheerful
countenance upon the arrival of their future duchess. Triumphal arches
were erected, windows hung with silk, and through an almost painful
effort Renée was received with the usual good-natured welcome from
the people. Isabella of Mantua, the new bride's aunt-in-law, always in
great request for social occasions, had come to assist in receiving
her, and several days were filled with public pageants, banquets, and

But below the surface neither the new arrival nor those that received
her were in a rejoicing mood. The last duchess to be welcomed to
Ferrara had been the attractive, sweet-faced Lucrezia Borgia, dubious,
it is true, in morals, but pleasant as a flower to look upon. This
"ugly and hunch-backed" French girl could not avoid coming as a
disagreeable shock, both to the crowd and to her new connections. It
is the bitter fate of an ugly woman that she must always destroy
antipathetic first impressions before she can hope to sow favourable
ones. And Renée, on her side, was as little pleased as those who
received her. It is generally supposed, in fact, that her instant and
intense dislike to Ferrara had a good deal to do with her initial
mistakes in Italy.

Certainly Ferrara was not an attractive city. Set in the middle of an
enormous plain, a dreary monotony encompassed it, while the town
itself, having pre-eminently to consider the necessities of defence,
was grim, sinister, and aggressive looking. Even the Castello appeared
nothing more than a powerful and gloomy fortress. Subject to unhealthy
mists from the Po, the climate, moreover, underwent continual extremes
of temperature, and one of Renée's ladies-in-waiting describes it
bitterly as a perfect hotbed of fleas. Frogs croaked all night and
crows cawed all day. The inside of the castle, besides, was pitiably
dilapidated. The house of Ferrara, constantly in want of money, had a
habit of leaving matters needing repairs until repairs were no longer

To Renée the place exhaled the chill of exile. In addition, as all the
amusements arranged for her reception were in Italian, they only bored
her beyond expression. In fact, one of the gravest faults of the
girl's Italian career lay in her reluctance to acquire Italian
phrases. She arrived in Ferrara ignorant of even a rudimentary
knowledge of her husband's language, and taking an immediate dislike
to the place and to the people, refused to make any real effort to
learn the speech of those about her. This slow, and at all times
inefficient, acquirement of Italian remained steadily against her,
keeping her, apart from any other consideration, a very isolated
person in her own establishment--an outsider where she should have
been the central figure.

The only attempt she made in the right direction was to order, soon
after her arrival, a number of dresses cut after the Italian fashions.
But even this, due probably to an evanescent dazzlement at the
charming appearance of the Italian women, she rendered an actual
affront in the sequence. For shortly afterwards, either in bitterness
of soul at her own poor appearance in them, or because she
deliberately wished to behave with provocation, they were discarded
for her former French style of dressing, which she then bluntly stated
to be "more holy and more decent." From the beginning Renée
persistently refused to identify herself with her husband's interests.
She clung with stupid pathos to the associations of her by no means
happy childhood, and was homesick all the years of her Italian sojourn
for the ways of her own people.


All through, her conduct was hopelessly mistaken. In the give and take
of marriage it is part of a woman's lovely chances always to give a
little more than is yielded back to her. At the same time, it is
questionable whether, owing to her ugliness and want of charm, Renée,
whatever she had done, could have become popular. There ought, in
truth, almost to exist a different code for the really ugly woman. The
fact is so profoundly and entirely tragic. Tenderness is the heart of
life to women, and any woman so misused by nature as to be unable to
rouse this becomes, through subtle piteousness, beyond ordinary
judgment. She lives in a world both unjust and inimical, practically
with her back to the wall. Sweet follies have never harmonized her to
the unreason of humanity; failure lies always upon her soul. For
inherited, deep-rooted, ineradicable, is in most women the
unformulated knowledge that to attract men is the normal fate of their
sex; the creature who cannot do this once at least in life, carries a
hidden sense not only of loneliness, and of something vital ungranted
by destiny, but of secret shame and humiliation.

Renée had never glowed bewildered under absurdities of praise. If only
as an isolated experience, this mad blitheness is curiously good for
character. Afterwards a woman knows--is sympathetically inside the
circle of things--seeing the dramas of others, not like a child
staring starved at a food shop, but as one who has already had her
fill of cakes with the best of them.

All her life Renée remained the hungry child who sees others overfed
on the sweets denied to her. Small wonder, in consequence, that she
hated the ways of frivolity, and was slow in advances of friendship.
No soft remembrances freighted her thoughts with gentleness, and when
she came to Italy she was already destitute of the exaltation that,
out of the abundance of its own contentment, craves to create nothing
but contentment about it. For this immediate hostility Ercole must
have been in a measure responsible. A woman happy in her married life
is incapable of passionately revolting against the accessories that
encompass it. Renée never liked her husband, and the fact that she did
not may have been due to his half-hearted efforts as lover. A girl of
eighteen, ugly, neglected, and unattractive, cannot be a difficult
person for a handsome man to ensnare. Renée, besides, was a very
ordinary woman--she had inherent need to cling to some one. It would
certainly have bored Ercole had he been the creature she clung to, but
the boredom would at least have saved him years of dangerous domestic
friction, and a life of disagreements in which he did not always get
the best of it.

As it was, mutual dissatisfaction came almost immediately. Very soon
after their arrival in Ferrara they had begun to quarrel. Among the
French women Renée had brought with her from France was her old
governess, Madame de Soubise, whose leanings were strongly Protestant.
She had instilled the same sympathies into her pupil, and a very short
time after her arrival in Ferrara the new duchess was surrounded by a
large number of persons professing the new religion. A good deal of
her personal income also went in assisting French fugitives who
happened to pass through the city. Both proceedings were objected to
by Ercole. The presence of Protestants in his household constituted an
actual danger to his own and his father's position. The tenure of the
Dukedom of Ferrara depended upon the maintenance of friendly relations
with Rome and Germany. Renée's monetary kindness to French fugitives
he complained about as "inordinate and ill-considered expenses," and
since her allowance from France was very irregularly paid, this
grievance had a certain rational basis. Nobody attached to the
duchess's personal service was Italian, a final discourtesy in her
arrangements that added to the growing exasperation of her new

As regards the Protestantism of Renée's household, no direct mention
was made of it in Ercole's objections. With the indirect methods of
his family, he merely stated that the duchess had surrounded herself
with a number of people unfit for the functions attributed to them.
That certainly was true. A certain number of Renée's so-called
servants did absolutely nothing for their pay, save keep some
lingering memories of her French home vivid in her thoughts.
Consequently, in the first definite publication of friction between
the newly married couple, most of the reasonable complaints were
Ercole's. They show, however, the rapidity with which these two had
got upon each other's nerves. Neither, at any stage of their
intercourse, made the least attempt to adopt a conciliatory attitude.

Renée's generosity, nevertheless, was the redemption of her character.
For there is more than one kind of generosity. There is the careless
output of a person chiefly feckless, and not desirous of uttering
disagreeable refusals, and the deliberate, anxious, continuous
assistance of a nature really capable of fretting for the distresses
of other people. Renée's generosity was essentially of this sort. The
most prominent facts in the book of her daily expenses are sums given
in some form of charity. She appears, indeed, to have been unable to
refuse any cry for assistance, and all her life gave with equal
pleasure either to Roman Catholics or to Protestants. Anne had been
generous, but in the showy and semi-profitable manner so easy for
great people. Renée's generosity was entirely lovely and intuitive.

Concerning her attitude in the matter of her household arrangements,
it is more difficult to guess what lay in her peevish spirit. Madame
de Soubise had obviously brought her up--_sub rosa_--to a tentative
liking for the new religion. But by character she belonged to the
conservatives; she was supremely among those who consider that what
has been good enough for their parents is good enough for them also.
And Louise and Francis--of whom she stood in awe--were not likely to
receive pleasantly the news that her religious soundness had become
doubtful. At the beginning there are no statements suggesting that she
was not fairly comfortable in the tenets she conformed to. It is
possible, in fact, that the people of her entourage were originally
chosen without intention of offence, from sheer obtuseness to perceive
unsuitability. Then when it became evident that they caused annoyance
to Ercole, it may have become a sulky pleasure to retain them.

Ercole and Renée were two personalities that ought never to have come
together. Both were capable of pleasant relations with other people,
but there existed between them the instinctive and intractable
antipathy which almost every nature experiences against some one
person in the world. It is an emotion outside the reach of argument
and very nearly beyond control. And no person can flower into the best
possibilities of character when confronted with another fundamentally
antagonistic. In the presence of a mind closed to perceive any kind of
graciousness and merit, only the worst of nature will rise uppermost,
flung out in a despairing perversity, distress, and irritation. For
the actual sweetness of their souls no two people capable only of
mutual repugnance should even make an effort to live together.
Good--bewildered and assaulted--shrivels like a frozen plant under the
chilling air of interminable disparagement.

Renée, less than a year after her marriage, already wrote unhappy
letters to France. She spoke in one of them of being badly treated,
but of not expecting that the real truth about the matter would ever
reach the king and queen. She mentioned that both her husband and her
father-in-law nourished some grievance against her. Soon afterwards
she fell ill, and for a short time Ercole's repugnance lulled into
vague compassion. He sent two bulletins every day to Paris, and
mentioned, almost with a hint of pleasure, when she was well enough to
leave her bed for a little while daily. Even after her recovery no
quarrels are mentioned for some time. The duchess had become
_enceinte_, and the fact in itself, where an heir was so urgently
needed, yielded sufficient pleasure to bring about temporary

Nevertheless, irritation between husband and wife must have smouldered
unceasingly, and after the birth of a daughter in November, 1531,
contention flared once more into an open blaze between them. Madame de
Soubise represented the duke's new object of denunciation. A good deal
of the turmoil of Renée's existence, in fact, arose from the influence
of her former governess. She was old enough to be the girl's mother,
and had lived sufficiently long in the world to know all the needful
facts about life and character. Renée clung to her as the one friend
familiar from childhood, and the older woman was in a position to have
incalculably helped a rather dense nature in the first crucial months
of marriage.

For reasons difficult to understand, she did exactly the opposite.
Ercole loathed her, and at any cost desired to have her back in Paris.
Under ordinary circumstances this would have been a simple matter, but
the position of Madame de Soubise was not so straightforward as it
seemed. The Ferrarese authorities knew perfectly that she acted as
secret agent to the French king. Owing to this fact, dismissal was
unpolitic: Ferrara could not afford to offend France. It is to
Ercole's credit that Madame de Soubise did not die a sudden death. The
temptation to bring about an untimely ending must have been
extraordinarily insistent.

To add to Ercole's domestic discomfort, Madame de Soubise's daughter
was also among Renée's ladies-in-waiting. About this time, in fact,
she married Monsieur Pons, another member of the household, and the
man whose later friendship with Renée was to fleck the solemnity of
her character with an incongruous suggestion of scandal.

During the time that husband and wife were bitterly fighting out the
question of Madame de Soubise, Renée gave birth to another child--the
son so necessary to the welfare of the house. A second lull in
hostilities followed. For the first time since she had come to Italy,
Ercole's wife had done a truly desirable and conciliatory thing--she
had given an heir to the dukedom. A feeling of pleasure lightened the
constant tension of Ercole's establishment. Even the mother, conscious
of being at last approved of, yielded to the warmth of a fugitive
commendation and became almost frivolous. Her clothes, during the
rejoicings that followed, were for once so sumptuous that all Ferrara
talked of them.

Not long afterwards the old Duke Alphonso died, and Ercole became
reigning Duke of Ferrara. Concerning his accession a curious incident
is reported. After the religious ceremony of his inauguration, Renée
met him at the entrance to the palace, where, it is said, in an
outburst of mutual excitement and satisfaction, they fell into each
other's arms. For a moment the interests of husband and wife were
identical. The motive for this passing concord was in itself unworthy
enough, but it is curiously interesting as an example of how intensely
married people are fortified, by the very nature of marriage itself,
into some sort of fellowship and good feeling. The immense number of
mutual interests should be in themselves sufficient to save any but
the really vicious or abnormally unsuited from total disunion and

But the impulse of an exultant moment rapidly chilled in the case of
Ercole and his duchess. Madame de Soubise's secret labours prevented
any but the briefest pacification. And Ercole had not long been duke
when he came to the conclusion that, even at the price of a break with
France, the daily infliction of her person was no longer supportable.
With as much tact as the circumstances permitted, he wrote to Francis
I. upon the subject, and in the end received authority for her
departure. But even so, difficulties arose about the actual journey,
and she still continued long enough in Ferrara to negotiate one last
unpleasantness for Ercole.

He went away for a short time, and during his absence Madame de
Soubise subtly arranged with the French royalties that Renée should at
last go on a visit to her own country. Ercole returned to find the
invitation waiting for him. He was placed by it in a very awkward
position. An unhappy wife, quivering to tell a tale of misery and
ill-treatment, was not a politic person to send to her own people
when, should it suit them, they possessed the power to make affairs
very difficult for the husband. On the other hand, to refuse might be
to rouse suspicion and displeasure.

Not entirely unperturbed, Ercole chose the second risk as the less
dangerous of the two. In reply to the French invitation, he wrote that
Renée had several small children to take care of, and that she was
also still too feeble in health to undertake so long and dangerous a
journey. The refusal came almost like a loss of all hope to Renée.
Thought of it had been a sudden irradiating anticipation in the drear
distastefulness of life. Nothing in a monotonous existence is more
uplifting than an incident to make plans for, and now from the sudden
quickening influence of a contemplated holiday she was flung back
again upon the old confusing friction of her days in the grim

Every year Ercole's interests diverged more widely from her own. Renée
loved France instinctively, as people love the home of their
forefathers. When she first married Ferrara's interests lay in
friendship with France. But Ercole's policy brought him later to the
side of Pope and Emperor, when support from France ceased to be
important. After Madame de Soubise, therefore, had at last been sent
from Italy, and all hope of Renée's going home had been withdrawn,
the latter must have experienced almost a sense of desolation. The
easement of heart entailed by merely telling the hoarded mischances of
her married life would have warmed her spirit like a cordial.

She did not naturally love Ercole better for getting rid of the woman
who had been motherly to her all her days, and for having thwarted the
one intense longing which it was in his power to gratify. Their
antagonism quieted not a whit through the departure of Renée's
governess; Ercole had rid himself of one grievance only to find
another grow more hardy.

Its first public demonstration took place during a Good Friday service
in the church of Ferrara. As the cross was being raised for adoration,
a little singer, Zanetto, belonging to the duchess's service, suddenly
walked out of the building, making blasphemous comments in a voice of
penetrating clarity. He was arrested that evening, and trouble and
danger swept into Renée's household. She herself had for some time
past secretly belonged to the Protestant party. Ercole's hope that his
wife would fall into a weary acquiescence of conduct, when the
influence of Madame de Soubise had been withdrawn, ended in
inevitable failure. Renée was disastrously obstinate, and in addition,
the doctrines of Calvin had already become too deeply engrafted in her
ever to be really uprooted. Religion was an urgent necessity to her.

She was an unloved woman, and consequently the other world had never
slunk into vagueness through the engrossing sufficiencies of this one.
The appeal made to her by the new religion is easy to understand. Her
little soul was narrow, but it was at the same time eager, and
temperamentally attuned to austere and dreary dogmas. Renée belonged
to the class who prefer to take life sadly--a gloomy religion, hedged
in by appalling terrors, met the needs of her character far more
closely than the shifty and cheerful methods of Roman Catholicism
could ever have done.

Before the Good Friday incident Calvin had secretly been to see her,
had preached to her, and exhorted her. No man was better fitted to
keep a hold over Renée; for Calvin was not merely the great preacher
of a new religion, he was an impassioned and autocratic schoolmaster.
When later he controlled the town of Geneva, it became impossible to
indulge in even the mildest private weaknesses. Domestic conduct fell
under the jurisdiction of a council, which inflicted penalties for
the least undesirable idiosyncrasy. It was at Geneva, for instance,
that Calvin had a gambler set in the stocks for an hour, with his
playing-cards hung round his neck; the inventor of a masquerade was
forced to ask pardon for it on his knees in the cathedral; a man
guilty of perjury they hoisted on a ladder and kept there for several
hours, his right hand fastened to the top; while a man and woman,
whose love lay under the stigma of impropriety, were paraded through
the streets of the city for the abuse of virtuous horror. Calvin flung
immense energy into the conversion of Renée. As an individual he
thought little of her, but converts among the socially great were
momentous for the growth of the cause. Renée, moreover, gave awed and
pliant assent to the uncompromising preacher's teaching, until the
arrest of her singer for blasphemy brought the sudden sharpness of
danger into her household. This created panic. Not actually for
herself--while Francis I. remained King of France she relied
implicitly upon French protection--but for the people of her
entourage. Zanetto, placed upon the rack, broke down at the third
twist of the screw, and a list of names poured out of his lips. They
were all persons employed in the duchess's service. Several had
already been arrested as accomplices, though concerning one of them,
usually thought to be Calvin, there is considerable mystery. The
arrests had been made by Ercole's orders, chiefly, it would appear, to
exasperate his wife.

He owed her a fresh sword-thrust. This public religious scandal
constituted a really serious danger for him. The Vatican had some time
previously realized that the new heresy must be exterminated if it
were not to become a growing danger to the power at Rome. Apart from
this, Renée had been behaving with an inimical cunning difficult for
any man to pass over good-humouredly. She had been writing secret
letters to the Pope, supplicating him to have the prisoners delivered
out of the power of Ercole into the authority of France.

In retaliation, Ercole had Cardillan, treasurer and controller of
finances to Renée ever since her arrival in Ferrara, imprisoned with
the others. Few things could have hurt her more, and the scenes that
took place between the two over the Zanetto business must again have
driven them into unforgettable personalities. In the matter of
personal interviews Ercole no doubt had the best of it. Renée did not
possess the gift of facile utterance; her face alone shows a mind
easily disconcerted. But her stolid silence would have held as much
inner rancour as the other's violence. Beyond question, when roused,
Ercole frightened her, but not sufficiently to abate forlorn
contrariness. All he could achieve was to make her hate him a little
more desperately than before, and to fling her with renewed tenacity
upon the policy of aggravation. According to current rumour, Ercole
beat her. The allegation has not been proved, but she was the type of
woman liable to ill-treatment, and it is more than likely that he did.
Certainly no respect was enforced towards her, for Renée, writing to
Margaret of Navarre, complained that the Inquisitor whom she
interviewed concerning the arrested heretics spoke to her with so much
contempt and insolence, that the other would have been dumbfounded had
she been present.

The situation of husband and wife at that period could not possibly
have been worse. Ercole's enflamed resentment also found utterance in
a letter. It was written to the Ferrarese envoy at the French court.
Extreme caution in statements conveyed to paper formed part of Italian
education, and the plain truthfulness of the duke's expressions could
only have issued from a spirit choking with a sense of injury. He
wrote: "If it were not for the respect I owe to the king, I should
certainly not have suffered such an insult, and should have shown
madame the deep resentment I feel."

The bustling distress and excitement roused by the heretics
nevertheless fizzled out. That a scandal of this sort should take
serious proportions would have brought very evil notoriety upon the
Ferrarese court. Cardillan was released and banished; the other
prisoners conveniently permitted to escape. Ercole still gained his
main object--the satisfaction of depriving Renée of another of her
French attendants. Probably husband and wife hated each other a little
more keenly than before, but to all appearances another storm had
passed over. For the two still continued to share one bedroom. They
must in consequence have enjoyed intervals of ordinary conversation
and apparent friendliness. Moreover, they had children. In all the
divergences of their interests, there remained some that could not be
separated. After the sharp encounter brought about by the unwisdom of
Zanetto, Renée gave birth to another infant. Household trivialities
provided permanent groundwork for amiable bedroom discussions, and,
however apathetically, they must at least have gone through intervals
of superficial good-humour.

Outwardly, at any rate, there occurred another lull in the fighting.
The court removed into the country, and eased everything by an
out-of-door existence. Marot, who had been sent by Margaret of Navarre
to Renée for safety, made light, enticing verses upon the ladies he
transiently delighted in. He also wrote a sonnet to Renée herself,
that, besides containing one line of exquisite musicalness--"_O la
douceur des douceurs feminines_"--shows how unconcealed the failure of
her marriage had become. It suggests, in fact, that Ercole's behaviour
was publicly abusive and unpardonable. He wrote--

    "Souvenant de tes graces divines
    Suis en douleur, princesse, en ton absence,
    Et si languis quand suis en ta presence
    Voyant ce Lys au milieu des épines.
    O la douceur des douceurs feminines?
    O cœur sans fiel? O race d'excellence?
    O dur mari rempli de violence."

The rest is uninteresting. But the reference to Ercole, allowing for
prejudice, could not have been uttered, one imagines, wholly without
justification. No fundamentally pleasant person could be referred to
so uncompromisingly as steeped in hateful violences.

Marot sided deeply with Renée, and wrote some additional verses to
Margaret, which he told her openly were intended to convey a picture
of the wrongs and sufferings to which the duchess was subjected. All
the lines dealing directly with the subject read as if sincere and
vivid, while the note of gravity was struck in the poignant bluntness
of the opening verse. Marot meant the queen to realize that he handled
something unmistakably and acutely tragic--

    "Playne les morts qui plaindre les voudra
    Tant que vivrai mon cœur se résoudra
    A plaindre ceux que douleur assauldra
          En cette vie.

        *     *     *     *     *

    "Ha Marguerite, écoute la souffrance
    Du noble cœur de Renée de France
    Puis comme sœur plus fort que d'espérance

    "Tu sais comment hors son pays alla
    Et que parens et amis laissa là,
    Mais tu ne sais quel traitement elle a
          En terre étrange.

    "De cent couleurs en une heure elle change,
    En ses repas percée d'angoisse mange
    Et en son vin larmes fait melange
          Tout par ennui.

    "Ennui reçu du côté de celui
    Qui dut être sa joie et son appui
    Ennui plus grief que s'il venait d'autrui
          Et plus à craindre."

        *     *     *     *     *

Few phrases could expose more explicitly a brutal husband. Allowing
for exaggeration, Ercole obviously behaved like a boor, making his
wife's meals, when he was present, little else than a weeping
martyrdom. Renée certainly had the temperament to cry often and
easily, though not tempestuously; but at Ferrara the vague-looking
eyes seem to have possessed ample reason for being constantly and
bitterly watered. Marot, of course, had neither the opportunity nor
the desire to dwell upon intervals of passivity. But, as one knows,
there must inevitably have been some in the hectored years of Renée's
Italian existence. And among them was certainly the visit of Vittoria
Colonna. She stayed for ten months, and all the information given
implies that during that period there was almost peace at the
Castello. This is to Ercole's credit, for Vittoria Colonna would have
bored any but a practised intelligence. Her _forte_ lay in an unerring
sense of what was fine in everything--art, conduct, and deliberation.
Clever men adored her, and her brain was certainly imposing,
deliberate, attentive, and comprehending. The woman who understood
Michelangelo could scarcely fail to grasp the meanings of lesser
intelligences. But the minor gaieties she had not; the quaint, swift
humour with which subtle women sweep away tension would never have
lightened Vittoria's solid arguments. She wrote poetry--very insincere
and laboured--but she possessed no imagination. The gravity of
existence, and the fact that each soul in it is born to exist
eternally, clothed her thoughts with an almost restricting austerity.
Few jokes would have sounded suitable in her presence. She appeared
too exquisitely reasonable, cool, and punctiliously magnificent for
any descent into the ridiculous.

Undoubtedly Vittoria's presence eased domestic friction, though it is
doubtful, notwithstanding, whether Renée liked her. There are letters
between Vittoria and Ercole, but none to be found between the two
women. Vittoria Colonna was inherently good, but she was also
triumphant, pampered, flattered, and successful. When she came to
Ferrara she was received with a voluntary public ovation. Flanked by
the mental sumptuousness of this efficient creature, Renée's
insignificance was accentuated; the contrast dragged the whole extent
of her ineffectuality into light. And Renée, almost meek in
appearance, with her "weakened body," as Brantome put it, and her
vague-looking face, was not meek in disposition. She forgot at no time
of her life that but for the Salic law she would have sat upon the
throne of France.

There is no statement against the existence of affection between the
two women, but the probabilities are not for it. There is far more
likelihood that Vittoria got upon her hostess's nerves, and chilled
her by flaming, for all her disadvantages of years, with a sort of
opulent beauty that intensified the pallid ugliness of the foreign
duchess. Small wonder that Renée turned to the sympathy offered by
Monsieur Pons; small wonder that she permitted the elegant and amiable
Frenchman to make inroads upon her affections.

Monsieur Pons represents the solitary scandal of Renée's existence.
Some writers do not like Monsieur Pons. They desire the page
unblemished by this warm and doubtful incident. To them Renée must
stand as a blameless martyr to the cause of Protestantism, and this
friendship confuses the picture. In such hands Monsieur Pons fades
into an insignificance not sufficiently substantial for impropriety.

The effacement is entirely to be regretted. Monsieur Pons was the one
wholly tender circumstance in Renée's life. It is ridiculous to
pretend that she did not love him. Her harassed heart, unaccustomed
to being besieged, surrendered naturally to sympathetic advances from
a fascinating man of her own nationality. He made love to her
discreetly, mildly, and, no doubt, indirectly, while the woman warmed
under it before she realized the fearsome pleasantness of the
sensation. They may actually have had sympathy of temperament.
Monsieur Pons also may really have experienced a slight compassionate
tenderness for the frail, misshapen little duchess, who was openly
ill-treated by a lusty and unfaithful husband. It is difficult to
probe Monsieur Pons's motives. Policy is rarely absent from the mind
of those who deal with powerful persons. He was upon admirable terms
with his own wife. So was Renée, notwithstanding a friendship for the
husband exhilarated by a hint of something just a little more alive
and poignant. Genuine impropriety, one feels assured, there was not.
Yet to those anxious for scandal the duchess's letters would in
themselves be considered sufficient to take away any woman's
character. They are personal, intimate, and interwoven with unspoken
statements. Actually they have charm--the charm that issues when a
woman with some grace of mind desires her letter to be chiefly a
persuasive form of flirtation. The word "love" is not mentioned in
them, but for all that they are undeniably love-letters. They are, in
addition, the love-letters of a woman not yet muddled by any
uncertainty as to the recipient's reciprocity.

It must be admitted that Renée, had she behaved with strict decorum,
would not have written these documents. Married persons forfeit the
licence to indulge in a certain kind of correspondence. But there is
no reason to suppose that because a woman writes a delicately
flirtatious letter she has any evil thoughts at the back of it, or
that the relations of the two will at any time transgress the limits
of an audacious friendliness. The mistake is usually made, though few
things show less acquaintance with human nature.

Renée of Ferrara was temperamentally incapable of the scandal some of
her biographers have foisted upon her. Putting it upon the lowest
basis, she had neither sufficient courage nor sufficient pliancy for
unfaithfulness. The distinguishing trait of Renée's character was her
incapacity ever to go the extreme length in anything. There are no
tenable grounds, besides, for supposing that she desired to forget
right living for Monsieur Pons and passion. She was not an ardent
woman; the dull face expresses nothing so unmistakable as a wistful
apathy and a bad circulation.

From the internal evidence of the letters themselves, one finds a
romantic and sentimental friendship, or, phrased more colloquially, a
flirtation. But the essence of a flirtation is to play at being more
than it is in reality--to hover skilfully about borders neither player
would really care to trespass. Not a phrase in Renée's letters reveals
any desire to thrust aside cautious boundaries. She had also perfect
knowledge of Monsieur Pons's comfortable domestic circumstances.
Madame de Pons was her friend, the closest woman companion remaining
to her. What is more than likely is that she and Madame Pons--madame
with a finger secretly to her nose--enjoyed a perfect understanding as
to Renée's relations with the husband. They agreed together in worship
of Monsieur Pons, while he on his side was supposed to love them
both--though Renée, of course, with discretion, with reverence, with
the distance that her rank necessitated.

Madame Pons was safe; she could afford this dismal and lonely woman
some farcical illusions. Renée, in consequence, was allowed her
pathetic share in Monsieur Pons. The real, warm, comfortable
possession could only be the wife's, but Renée felt that she also had
her small, vague place; she was included; she was dear to Monsieur
Pons; she had her right of confidences, and perhaps--who knows?--in
certain ways, might convey an appeal his wife lacked possession of.
The wanderings of a heart ill-fed are always wild and a little tragic.

The letters were written during a diplomatic mission to France, upon
which Monsieur Pons had been sent by the duke. They contain intimate
accounts of little everyday doings, put down with a woeful disregard
of grammar, and yet with something approaching literary instinct.
Reading them, one discovers that the duchess was not an entirely
stupid woman. Without possessing the least intellectual capacity, she
shows a gift of irony, of graceful utterance, and of oblique
suggestion that is totally unexpected.

She says in one, "If this letter is badly written, it is because of
the place and the hour, for I write in bed, and I began so early that
I can scarcely see clearly; but I hope to write more every day until
the Basque starts again. I began yesterday, the very day he
arrived.... The wee doggie came, and fondled me a thousand times, in
betweenwhiles seizing the pen with his little teeth, after which he
came and settled himself on my arm, with the pen under his head, and
so went to sleep, and I too, to keep him company, for I don't know
which of us needed it most." This little pet dog, and another,
evidently given to her by Monsieur Pons, figure several times in the
correspondence. She writes again, "The Basque will give you an account
of your wife's state of health, of our little company, and, above all,
of the wee doggies who still, as always, sleep with me, and refuse to
leave my side."

How much Monsieur Pons was missed, is said many times and in diverse
ways. She conveys it very prettily upon one occasion, in the
statement, "Lesleu was saying that since you had gone the house seems
deserted. He is not the only one who thinks this. Several others say
the same, and there are some who are only too well aware of it." In
French the meaning is both more finely and more definitely
transmitted. In another place she says, "We need you to bring back the
joy you took away with your departure."

Madame Pons gave birth to a boy during her husband's absence, and
Renée writes that it resembles its father in chin and mouth, adding
immediately that she had kissed the little lips "two or three" times.
She also says, "He has such a sweet expression; everybody likes to
look at him. He does not sulk like the others." His mouth, she states,
is infinitesimal. Later, when his wife continued very unwell, Renée
wrote, "I beg you to try and return before the winter, as much for her
as for me, of whom I will say nothing, for I think less of my own
troubles than that you should be successful in your undertaking."

There were no concealments between Monsieur Pons and herself
concerning Ercole. She tells the diplomatist that her visit to France
had once more been broached by the ambassador, who had received the
usual answer, "when the weather permitted." With delicious irony the
duchess adds, "I think he means when the wind carries me." At all
times she was indifferent to her husband's mistresses. And she tells
Monsieur Pons, "Monday, which was the eve of St. John, I took him (the
ambassador) to the mountain where monsieur was having supper with the
Calcaquine.... The day after the birth of your son I had supper with
the cardinal and monsieur, and the day of St. John I had supper in the
'_bosquet_' with monsieur and the ambassador." The Contessa Calcaquine
was at that time Ercole's mistress.

In the continuation of daily details Renée makes it quite clear how
little she enjoyed "monsieur's" society. She had been asked by him to
join, if she cared to, a little party spending the evening on the
hill--presumably at the contessa's. But, she says, with an
undercurrent of wider meaning than the actual words express, "I made
the excuse that it would be too late."

Renée implied no objection upon the grounds of the hostess. She
mentions quite gaily a visit to one of Ercole's ladies, concluding,
"That is all the fresh air I have had since you left, but I am waiting
till your wife is up again, and then we shall go out together, and
with all the more pleasure because you will be with us."

It is deeply to be regretted that all these letters, unknown to Renée,
were intercepted by the duke, though he must have been interested at
the almost contemptuous calm of his wife's attitude towards him
personally. Renée wondered why the answers from France were so few.
She had no suspicion that her lengthy correspondence lay locked up in
the care of her husband, and never journeyed across the Alps at any
time. Ercole, secretive by nature and by training, made no remarks
about these intercepted letters. With a house full of spies, he stood
in a position to know how flimsy the flirtation really was. When
Monsieur Pons returned, he allowed the same intimacy as previously.
Only very soon afterwards Renée was sent into the country and kept
there, away from her friend.

Then Ercole, considering the moment opportune, got rid of both wife
and husband. A story of an extremely mischievous nature was foisted
upon them. The charges were, in fact, dangerous for two foreigners in
the power of a man hating them both. Renée's household became shaken
to the depths with fear and excitement, and Monsieur and Madame Pons
fled almost immediately to Venice. The action was no more than wise.
Ercole had called Madame Pons "an infernal fury." Any possible
extremity would have been proceeded to, if even a fraction of the
charges stated could have been proved against them.

The months that followed were among the most dismal of Renée's life.
The flight of her friend chilled her to the marrow of her being.
Realization could not be avoided. She was over thirty, and the bitter
sense of being suddenly old and weary is unavoidable in any woman
brusquely abandoned by the man who has kept her young with kindnesses.
All the vaporous flimsiness of her hold upon Monsieur Pons lay
brutally exposed and patent. His wife had got into difficulties; his
business lay immediately with the welfare of his wife. No outside
woman existed in the intimate agitation of private affairs. Renée was
simply dropped like some acquaintance grown needless, and husband,
wife, and the baby, whose mouth Renée had described as so incredibly
small, practically withdrew from her existence.

The next crucial circumstance--perhaps the most crucial of Renée's
long and uncomfortable life--was her encounter with the Inquisition.
This supreme test of Renée's character came when Paul III. died and
Julius III. succeeded to the throne of Rome. Paul had been mild,
gentle, and favourable to some reformation in the ways of the Church.
Contarini, in a letter, spoke of him as "this our good old man." His
successor had no leanings towards change; mercy sent no gentle warmth
through his system. The heresy practised by the Duchess of Ferrara had
been notorious for a considerable period; her household constituted a
sanctuary for heretics; she permitted herself Protestant preachers and
Protestant services. Her attendance at mass had ceased, and she was
accused, though it seems unjustly, of eating meat on Fridays.

Ercole's position, consequently, at this time was far from easy, the
basis of his political security requiring that he should maintain
peace with the authorities of Rome. Renée's new religion endangered
his duchy. She either did not understand the political risks of what
she persisted in doing, or did not care. But Ercole, alarmed as well
as furious, wrote bluntly to the King of France, saying what he
thought of her. The unburdenment was no longer incautious. Francis I.
had been dead some time. Henry II. felt no obligation to be bothered
by an elderly woman whom he did not know, and whose claims upon him
were negligible. Himself an intolerant Roman Catholic, he wrote to her
upon receiving Ercole's letter, and explained unambiguously that
should she be relying upon the support of France, her confidence was
founded upon false anticipations. He did more--he sent the famous
Inquisitor Orriz, with orders to use "rigour and severity," sooner
than return to France without having reduced the elderly lady to a
proper religious disposition.

The letter in which Orriz received directions shows a curious method
of thinking. Renée was exhorted to return more easily to the Mother
Church, "by consideration of the great favours which God has granted
to her, and among others that of being the issue of the purest blood
of the most Christian house of France, where no monster has ever
existed." The sentence ended with the statement that should she
"choose to remain in stubbornness and pertinacity, it would displease
the king as much as anything in the world, and would cause him
entirely to forget the friendship, with all the observances and
demonstrations of a good nephew, he hating nothing with a greater
hatred than all those of the reprobate sects, whose mortal enemy he

The following paragraph was still more plain spoken, and might well
have sent a shiver through the hard-pressed duchess. Henry wrote, "And
if, after such remonstrances and persuasions, together with those
which the said Doctor Orriz shall employ of his own way and
profession, to make her know the truth, and the difference there is
between light and darkness, it shall appear that he is unable by
gentle means to gain her and to reclaim her, he shall take counsel
with the said lord duke as to what can possibly be done in the way of
rigour and severity to bring her to reason."

Renée's position had at last become dire and dangerous. She stood
with none to help her, pressed about by a crowd of enemies. From the
moment Orriz arrived in Ferrara her life became a nightmare. When he
chose to preach, she had to listen; when he questioned, she had to
answer; when he threatened, she had to preserve quiescence. Morning,
noon, and evening, the menacing presence of the French Inquisitor kept
her shaken, sickened, lacerated. His arguments could only have been
torture to her, for pitted against the subtlety of the trained
heretic-catcher, Renée's mentality would have been the incarnation of
incoherent feebleness. Her person, moreover, made no appeal to mercy;
ugly, drear, and wrinkled, she did not even possess dramatic
dignity--only tears and an obstreperous dismalness of manner.
Gradually, however, Orriz was to discover that dismalness did not
necessarily accompany weakness. He could make her cry, but that was
about all he could do with her. His own temper must have quickly
sharpened. The position left him ridiculous. Presently the Inquisitor
and the husband took counsel together. Renée's unexpected fortitude
proved equally serious for both. Ercole had given his word to the Pope
that the lady should return duly submissive to the fold she outraged.
Renée had got to be mastered somehow. Words left her tearfully
obstinate--there remained nothing but harsher measures. Ercole himself
wrote in a letter, "We kept her shut up for fifteen days, with only
people who had no sort of Lutheran tendencies to wait upon her. We
also threatened to confiscate all her property."


She held out, notwithstanding. Some decree of courage must have
stiffened resistance, but it also is probable that the little creature
relied upon a definite limit to persecution. A daughter of the royal
house of France stood too high for genuine martyrdom. She had, in
addition, a secret Bull previously given her by Paul III., which
exempted her from the jurisdiction of all local inquisitions.

Up to a certain point there is, beyond question, an underflow of
sweetness in being persecuted, especially when, besides the
persecutors, there are people who realize the persecution. To show
endurance is softly comforting to the soul. Character, exultant at
finding itself not wholly worthless, is joyous below its pain. There
are few people, indeed, who do not want to prove themselves morally
better than their ordinary conduct, and who are not exalted by a
sudden blaze of inner illumination when they have let the good rise
triumphant over an ardent and forceful temptation. At any rate,
whether Renée was, or was not, sustained by a sense of proving
something finer than she had hoped for, she certainly showed such
curious tranquillity that those who attended her remarked upon it. The
fact puzzled everybody--she was by nature distinctly flaccid. It has
since been put down to the possession of the Bull from Paul III., but
the explanation is unlikely. Nothing could be more simple than a fresh
Papal Bull annulling the first. Besides, what followed shows that she
either made no use of it, or was quickly undeceived as to its utility.

But the crisis of her life was stalking grimly nearer every hour.
Confinement leaving steadfastness intact, a rasped husband and
exasperated inquisitor flung themselves upon a last extremity, and
Renée, Duchess of Ferrara, was actually brought before the Ferrarese
Inquisition, and tried for heresy by that body. Her answers at the
trial are not given, but that she went through the ordeal at all
compels admiration. She was utterly alone--hemmed in by Roman
Catholics and Italians--and grievously subject to prostration and
headaches. Few people thought of her save as an unmitigated nuisance.
Still she continued firm. Her answers were probably stupid and
reiterated, but if flustered on the surface she was stolid at the
foundations. After an angry, blustering trial, during which nobody
could browbeat her into helplessness, defeat had to be admitted, and a
formal sentence passed against the duchess. She may have winced for a
moment when it came; the indignity alone would have stung her like a
blow upon the face. There was nothing in this world she felt more
pride in than the fact that she was a king's daughter; this sentence
put her on the level of any refractory woman that the Church and her
husband considered in need of punishment. She was to suffer perpetual
solitary imprisonment, and her children and the greater part of her
revenue were to be taken from her.

Still she maintained the same unaccountable self-possession. It seemed
almost as if some store of inner strength placed her beyond the reach
of personal sufferings. All who knew her were bewildered. For, the
very morning after condemnation, she was driven from the Castello to
an old building next door, to be imprisoned under guards chosen
carefully by Ercole. Two servants, also picked out by him, were the
only people allowed in her presence.

She held out for a week. It was too little; mere sulkiness could have
endured that period. Six months would have made her sympathetic and
dignified, a week rendered her previous fortitude useless. Still, it
should be borne in mind that imprisonment for life with two foreigners
of a different class is very cold to the heart after the first glow of
resistance has faded. Renée had known her triumph. The famous
Inquisitor, so proud of his infallible method, had exhausted cunning
for nothing. They were obliged to shut her up for the humiliating
reason that not one of them had been able to move her by a hair's
breadth. She had that victory to kindle satisfaction with for the rest
of existence.

During a day or two she probably lived supported by the joy of
steadfast conduct. Then gradually the meaning of a lifetime's solitude
pressed upon imagination. At any rate, by the end of seven days,
everybody knew in Ferrara that the duchess had surrendered. The news
reduced her to an absurdity; she had possessed sufficient courage to
be maddening, and no more. Capitulation, however, was complete. She
not only expressed her desire openly to attend mass, but her
willingness to return to confession. By her own choice, a Jesuit
confessor was sent for, and in a "flood of tears" the necessary
recantation was given.

Instantly the guards were withdrawn, and her ordinary household
allowed to recommence attendance. The struggle was over. Ercole could
feel at last that he had tamed her, and in a few days the surface
showed no signs of the immense upheaval it had suffered. Only the
Protestants stood aghast. Calvin wrote bitterly when he heard of it:
"What shall I say, except that constancy is a very rare virtue among
the great of this world?" Olympia Morata, who had a sore place in her
thoughts made by Renée, declared that she was not surprised, and that
she had always said it was _une tête légère_.

Upon one point, notwithstanding, the duchess remained unexpectedly
firm. She had surrendered a good deal. But she drew the line for the
future at playing love-scenes with the man who had caused her to be
tried and imprisoned like a common criminal.

From the time of her trial, Renée occupied a separate establishment,
though Ercole, to whom she could do no right, made even this a
grievance, and complained that "the duchess refused to return to the
chamber they had shared for fifteen years, and in which they had made
such beautiful children."

With this brief, tense, and futile drama, the interest of Renée's
life evaporates. The remainder,--long and untranquil though it
was,--reads like an anti-climax. She never knew a year's serenity to
the end of her lengthy and eventful existence. And yet all that
followed has a certain sameness and monotony. The unhappinesses were
constantly repeated; also the piteous efforts to remain firm in
Protestantism only to be driven back again to the old faith of her

In 1559 Ercole died, and from that day Renée passed entirely out of
the sphere of the Renaissance into that of the Reformation. She
returned to France, and went to live at the town of Montargis, which
belonged to her. Comfort she never knew again. Her castle was so
constantly overcrowded that it became impossible to move in it for
people. Brantome, who visited her there, says he saw "three hundred
Protestant refugees," on the occasion of his visit. Horrors,
bloodshed, and persecutions became her daily preoccupations. Blood, at
that period in France, made the world look red. During the massacre of
St. Bartholomew, she was in Paris, and remained for nine days shut up
in her rooms, before the gates of Paris were opened once more, and she
was able to fly back to Montargis.

But the latter part of her existence nobly atoned for the dispirited
uselessness of the beginning. She took mass, and professed to be a
humble and obedient daughter of the Pope when there was no alternative
between that and being driven out of Montargis. But continuously,
hourly, and unhesitatingly, she helped all those who came to her.

At the time of her death she was sixty-four, though long before that
time she had looked a hundred. All her friends died before she did.
Even Calvin, who from the day she left Ferrara, had been the real prop
of her existence, passed out of life twelve years earlier.

Though almost all that was best of the Renaissance seemed gathered
into the stretch of Renée's existence, it is difficult to remember her
association with it. Tintoretto, Titian, Correggio, and Raphael were
the joy of Italy during her lifetime. Ariosto, Tasso, Montaigne, all
belong to this period--Ariosto dying when she was twenty-three, while
Tasso outlived her by many years. She passed the whole of her married
life in a court of impassioned connoisseurs, and never rose above a
taste for cheap majolica. Her niche was in a convent, a hospital, or a
training school for orphans, not in a centre of artistic and literary

She was unfortunate all her life, and even after death it remained
her tragic fate to be a nuisance. Her son, Alphonso III., found
difficulty in coming to a decision as to what behaviour to observe
about the circumstance. She had been his mother, but she had also been
a heretic. In the end he compromised, ordering mourning for a brief
period, but omitting any mourning services. They buried her at
Montargis, and on her tomb made no mention of Italy, or of her
discomforted connection with the House of Ferrara. The inscription
merely bore the words--

    "Renée de France, Duchesse de Chartres, Comtesse de Gisors et
    Madame de Montargis.

    May many daughters of France yet rise to emulate the example of
    her faith, patience, and charity."

At a brief glance only the last virtue appears appropriate. But the
grace of Renée's life lies in the fact that she used it for
development. The self-engrossed, unfriendly girl who fought with
Ercole, slowly but momentously learned from experience. Handicapped
both by nature and circumstances, she yet issued from the tempestuous
stumblings of youth into an old age, still clumsy enough to an eye
seeing only in a dull moment, but exquisite to a consciousness aware
how the soul had continuously developed through every untoward
incident of existence. As a girl Renée had been too querulous to
circumvent her own ugliness. But as an old woman she rendered it of no
account. Surely--though probably unconsciously--she learnt at last
that it is what a nature gives from within that is the ultimate test
of value, and that to a great heart there are no denials, and cannot
be--in the world's colossal and unceasing need of sympathy--anything
but welcome and appreciation.



Adrienne, Madonna, 154, 157, 162, 163

Albret, Comte d', 109, 110

Albret, Henri d', 230, 238

Albret, Jeanne d', 230, 236

Alençon, 213, 216-220

Alençon, Duc d', 212, 225

Alençon, Françoise d', 133, 135

Alexander VI., Pope, 154, 155, 161, 164-172, 178, 185, 186

Alphonso I., Duke of Ferrara, 64, 157, 177-190, 198-201, 254, 269

Alphonso II., Duke of Ferrara, 302

Alphonso, Don, of Naples, 168-173

Amboise, Castle of, 210

Amboise, Cardinal d', 140

Amily, Ser, 38

Angoulême, Charles d', 203, 204

Angoulême, Margaret d', 133, 134, 150, 202-250, 251, 276, 278, 279

Anna (wife of Alphonso I.), 64

Anne of Brittany, 104-149, 205, 212, 222, 251, 252, 265

Anthony, Brother, 44, 45

Aragon, Charlotte of, 168

Aragon, Ferdinand of, 131

Aretino, Donati, 167

Argentre, d', 147

Ariosto, 190, 301

Asti, 88, 93

Avignon, 24, 30, 32, 33, 38-40


Bari, Duchess of. _See_ Beatrice D'Este

Barone, 92

Bartholomew, Saint, 300

Bartolomeo, Fra, 10, 14

Bayard, 155

Bayaret, 224

Beatrice D'Este. _See_ Este

Beaujeu, Anne of, 117, 203

Bellay, de, 225

Bellay, Cardinal de, 243

Bembo, Cardinal, 186-191

Benincasa, Giacomo, 2, 7

Berger, Peter, 234

Berguin, 231

Beuve, Sainte, 222

Bianca (illegitimate daughter of Ludovico), 67, 98, 99

Bianca (sister of Giangaleazzo), 87

Blois, 205, 206, 207

Boccaccio, 2, 6, 245

Bonnivet, 209-216, 220, 221, 224

Bordeaux, 231

Borgia, Cæsar, 71, 126, 165-175, 177, 180, 185, 197, 198

Borgia, Giovanni, 165

Borgia, Jofre, 164

Borgia, Lucrezia, 5, 9, 150-201, 254, 258

Borso, Duke, 56

Bourbon, Connétable de, 206

Bourbon, Louis de, 119

Brantome, 205, 241-253, 300

Briconnet, 213, 217-220

Burgundy, 225


Cafferini, Thomas Antonio, 4, 9, 13

Cagnola, 72

Calcaquine, Contessa, 288

Callagnini, 190

Calmeta, 76

Calvin, 233, 234, 273-301

Canali, Carlo, 153

Cardillan, 275, 277

Carthusians, the order of, 47

Castiglione, 190-194

Cataneri, Vanozza, 153, 154

Catherine of Siena, 1-52

Cavelli, Mario, 248

Charles, Archduke, 254

Charles V., of Austria, 46, 224-230

Charles VIII., of France, 88, 89, 93, 94, 104, 111-114, 118

Claude, of France, 138, 142, 145, 224, 253

Claviere, R. de Maulde la, 221

Clement VII., Pope, 40, 42, 46

Cleves, Duke of, 236-239

Clouet, 242

Cognac, 204

Collenuccio, Pandolfo, 174

Colonna, the, 30

Colonna, Vittoria, 59, 252, 280-282

Commines, 70, 89, 113, 117, 119

Corio, 63, 83

Correggio, 301

Corsa, 56

Crivelli, Lucrezia, 96, 98, 101

Croce, Giorgio di, 153

Cussago, 67


Dante, 76, 175

Dodici, 18

Dodicini, 18

Dolet, Etienne, 232, 233

Domenico, St., 21

Duchatel, 249


Ercole I., Duke of Ferrara, 1, 56, 64, 178, 180, 184-186, 198

Ercole II., Duke of Ferrara, 254-257, 266, 271, 275, 278, 280, 288-290,

Este, Beatrice d', 53-103, 150

Este, Hippolyte d', 167

Este, Isabella d', 54-57, 59, 65, 74, 94, 181-184, 197, 252, 258

Este, Leonora d', 55, 56, 60, 64

Este, Palissena d', 65


Farnese, Julia, 154, 155, 158, 159, 162, 163, 165

Feltre, Vittorino da, 55

Ferrante, of Naples, 93

Ferrara, 54, 57, 64, 70, 191, 256, 257, 268, 269, 271, 272

Fleurange, 138

Foix, Gaston de, 206-211, 213

Forli, 171

Francis I., 137, 138, 203-208, 215-217, 224-226, 229-231, 236-238,
    248, 249, 253-255, 265, 274, 292

Francis II., of Brittany, 106


Galeazzo, Maria, 60

Gallerani, Cecilia, 59, 68-70, 73, 78

"Gargantua," 243

Gasparo, Don, 156

Gelais, Jean de St., 204, 205

Ghibellines, 31, 34

Giangaleazzo, Duke of Milan, 56, 62, 75, 81-83, 89, 91

Gie, Marechale de, 143-145, 205

Grazie, St. Maria delle, 100-102

Gregorovius, 154, 166

Gregory XI., Pope, 30-34, 38, 39

Guarino, 55

Guelfs, 31, 34

Guicciardini, 90, 117, 177


"Heptameron," the, 209, 243, 245, 246

Henri II., 248, 292

Henry VII., 93, 207

Henry VIII., 206


Innocent VII., Pope, 156

Inquisition, the, 231, 232

Isabella D'Este. _See_ Este

Isabella of Naples, 60, 63, 64, 74-76, 79-83, 85, 87-89, 92, 120


Jacomino, 57, 58

Jacomo, Ser, 49, 50

Jeanne, wife of Louis XII., 106, 126-128

Joanna, Queen of Naples, 46

Julius II., Pope, 140

Julius III., Pope, 291


Laizon, Lanothe, 232

Lamb, Charles, 21

Landoccio, Neri di, 27, 28, 47, 49, 51

Lapa, mother of Catherine of Siena, 2, 5, 7

Laun, Van, 115

Lemale, 61

Leo X., Pope, 199

Leonora D'Este. _See_ Este

Lesleu, 287

Limousin, Leonard, 242

Loches, 135

Louis XI., 106, 126, 236

Louis XII., 88, 93, 103, 104, 106, 107, 112, 121-123

Lucca, 31

Lucia, Sister, 1, 16

Lucrezia Borgia. _See_ Borgia

Ludovico Sforza. _See_ Sforza

Luny, Phillipine de, 234

Luther, Martin, 217


Machiavelli, 175-177

"Mantellate" sisters, 24, 35, 36

Mantua, Francesco, Duke of, 56, 57, 62

Manuce, Aldo, 190

Marconi, Stephen, 24-28, 32, 42, 45, 47

Maria Galeazzo. _See_ Galeazzo

Marot, Clement, 146, 222-224, 278, 279

Marot, Jean, 146

Marsac, Louis de, 234

Marthe, St., 231

Maximilian I., Emperor of Germany, 81, 93, 106, 110-112

Meaux, Bishop of, 213, 217-220. _See_ Briconnet

Medici, Giovanni de, 156

Mendoza, 249

Mezerai, 132, 145, 254

Milan, 63, 64-68, 71, 72, 76, 88

Michelangelo, 171

Michelletto, 173

Montaigne, 301

Montargis, 300-302

Montluc, St. Gelais de, 116

Montmorency, Anne of, 206, 224, 239

Montpensier, Charles de, 206

Morata, Olympia, 299

Moro, Il. _See_ Sforza, Ludovico

Muralto, 98

Muratori, 40, 66


Nantes, 111

Naples, King of, 54-57, 161, 168

Navarre, King of, 230

Navarre, Henri de. _See_ Albret

Nepi, 174

Nove, the, 18

Noveschi, the, 18


Olivet, Mount, 50

Orriz, 232, 233, 292-294, 298

Orsini, the, 30

Othagaray, 236

Ovid, 227


Palice, La, 224

Pantagruel, 68, 222

Pater, Walter, 76

Paul III., Pope, 291, 296

Paule, François de, 118

Pavia, 61, 71, 73, 89, 91, 224, 225

Perotto, 168

Pesaro, 162-164, 166, 174

Petrarch, 2, 30, 41, 55, 175

Pintorricchio, 151, 155, 160, 171

Pisa, 31

Poictiers, Diane de, 248

Polhain, Baron de, 110

Polignac, Jeanne de, 203

Pons, M. de, 268, 282-291

Pontanus, poet, 177

Portugal, Queen of, 226, 227, 229

Predis, Ambrogio da, 98

Pucci, 158


Rabelais, 68, 232, 243

Raphael, 301

Raymond, 15, 22, 23, 28, 29, 35, 36

Raynaldus, 33

Rémond, Florimond de, 231

Renée, of Ferrara, 146, 198, 223, 232, 251-303

Riformatori, the, 17, 18

Rodriguez, Cardinal, 153. _See_ Alexander VI.


Sancia, Madonna, 164, 165

Sanozzo, 177

Sanseverino, Galeazzo, 67, 98

San Sisto, convent of, 167

Savoie, Louise de, 137-139, 142, 146, 147, 203

Seyssel, De, 148

Sforza, Catherine, 174

Sforza, Francesco, 60

Sforza, Giovanni, 156, 161, 162-167

Sforza, Ludovico, 56, 57, 60-62, 64-70, 86, 87, 98, 101, 157, 161

Siena, Catherine of. _See_ Catherine

Sorbonne, the, 202, 222, 232, 248, 249

Soubise, Madame de, 263, 265, 267, 268, 270, 271

Spagnali, 183

Spoleto, 170

Strozzi, Callagnini, 190

Strozzi, Tebaldeo, 190


Tasso, 301

Tintoretto, 301

Titian, 301

Toledo, Nicholas di, 17-21

Toledo, town of, 228

Tolomei, Francesco, 12

Tolomei, Giacomo, 12-14

Tolomei, Madonna, 12-14

Torelli, Ippolyta, 194

Toulouse, town of, 243

Tours, Plessis Les, 236

Trotti, 65, 69, 74, 75

Tufi, Porta, 51

Turenne, Elys de Beaufort, 36


Urban VI., Pope, 39-44, 46

Urbino, Elizabeth, Duchess of, 183, 184


Valentinois, Countess of, 35

Vanni, Francesco, 21-24

Vasari, 76

Venice, 86

Vinci, Leonardo da, 71, 76-79, 96


William of England, 44, 45


Zanetto, 272, 274, 277

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JULY 1907




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=Christian (F. W.).= THE CAROLINE ISLANDS. With many Illustrations
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=Cicero.= See Classical Translations.

=Clarke (F. A.)=, M.A. See Leaders of Religion.

=Clausen (George)=, A.R.A., R.W.S. AIMS AND IDEALS IN ART: Eight
Lectures delivered to the Students of the Royal Academy of Arts. With
32 Illustrations. _Second Edition. Large Post 8vo. 5s. net._

SIX LECTURES ON PAINTING. _First Series._ With 19 Illustrations.
_Third Edition. Large Post 8vo. 3s. 6d. net._

=Cleather (A. L.).= See Wagner.

=Clinch (G.).= See Little Guides.

=Clough (W. T.).= See Junior School Books and Textbooks of Science.

=Clouston (T. S.)=, M.D., C.C.D., F.R.S.E., Lecturer on Mental
Diseases in the University of Edinburgh. THE HYGIENE OF MIND. With 10
Illustrations. _Fourth Edition. Demy 8vo. 7s. 6d. net._

=Coast (W. G.)=, B.A. EXAMINATION PAPERS IN VERGIL. _Cr. 8vo. 2s._

=Cobb (W. F.)=, M.A. THE BOOK OF PSALMS: with a Commentary. _Demy 8vo.
10s. 6d. net._

=Coleridge (S. T.)=, POEMS OF. Selected and Arranged by Arthur Symons.
With a photogravure Frontispiece. _Fcap. 8vo. 2s. 6d. net._

=Collingwood (W. G.)=, M.A. THE LIFE OF JOHN RUSKIN. With Portraits.
_Sixth Edition. Cr. 8vo. 2s. 6d. net._

=Collins (W. E.)=, M.A. See Churchman's Library.

edition limited to 350 copies on handmade paper. _Folio. £3, 3s. net._

=Combe (William).= See I.P.L.

=Conrad (Joseph).= THE MIRROR OF THE SEA: Memories and Impressions.
_Third Edition. Cr. 8vo. 6s._

=Cook (A. M.)=, M.A., and =Marchant (C. E.)=, M.A. PASSAGES FOR UNSEEN
TRANSLATION. Selected from Greek and Latin Literature. _Third Edition.
Cr. 8vo. 3s. 6d._


=Cooke-Taylor (R. W.).= THE FACTORY SYSTEM. _Cr. 8vo. 2s. 6d._

=Corelli (Marie).= THE PASSING OF THE GREAT QUEEN. _Second Ed. Fcap.
4to. 1s._


=Corkran (Alice).= See Little Books on Art.

=Cotes (Everard).= SIGNS AND PORTENTS IN THE FAR EAST. With 24
Illustrations. _Second Edition. Demy 8vo. 7s. 6d. net._

=Cotes (Rosemary).= DANTE'S GARDEN. With a Frontispiece. _Second
Edition. Fcap. 8vo. 2s. 6d.; leather, 3s. 6d. net._

BIBLE FLOWERS. With a Frontispiece and Plan. _Fcap. 8vo. 2s. 6d. net._

=Cowley (Abraham).= See Little Library.

=Cowper (William)=, THE POEMS OF. Edited with an Introduction and
Notes by J. C. Bailey, M.A. Illustrated, including two unpublished
designs by William Blake. _Demy 8vo. 10s. 6d. net._

=Cox (J. Charles)=, LL.D., F.S.A. See Little Guides, The Antiquary's
Books, and Ancient Cities.

_Second Edition revised. Cr. 8vo. 3s. 6d. net._

=Crabbe (George).= See Little Library.

=Craigie (W. A.).= A PRIMER OF BURNS. _Cr. 8vo. 2s. 6d._

=Craik (Mrs.).= See Little Library.

=Crane (Capt. C. P.).= See Little Guides.

=Crashaw (Richard).= See Little Library.

=Crawford (F. G.).= See Mary C. Danson.

=Crofts (T. R. N.)=, M.A. See Simplified French Texts.

=Cross (J. A.)=, M.A. THE FAITH OF THE BIBLE. _Fcap. 8vo. 2s. 6d.

=Cruikshank (G.).= THE LOVING BALLAD OF LORD BATEMAN. With 11 Plates.
_Cr. 16mo. 1s. 6d. net._

=Crump (B.).= See Wagner.

=Cunliffe (Sir F. H. E.)=, Fellow of All Souls' College, Oxford. THE
HISTORY OF THE BOER WAR. With many Illustrations, Plans, and
Portraits. _In 2 vols. Quarto. 15s. each._

=Cunynghame (H. H.)=, C.B. See Connoisseur's Library.

=Cutts (E. L.)=, D.D. See Leaders of Religion.

=Daniell (G. W.)=, M.A. See Leaders of Religion.

=Danson (Mary C.) and Crawford (F. G.).= FATHERS IN THE FAITH. _Fcap.
8vo. 1s. 6d._

=Dante.= LA COMMEDIA DI DANTE. The Italian Text edited by Paget
Toynbee, M.A., D.Litt. _Cr. 8vo. 6s._

THE PURGATORIO OF DANTE. Translated into Spenserian Prose by C. Gordon
Wright. With the Italian text. _Fcap. 8vo. 2s. 6d. net._

    See also Paget Toynbee, Little Library, Standard Library, and

=Darley (George).= See Little Library.

=D'Arcy (R. F.)=, M.A. A NEW TRIGONOMETRY FOR BEGINNERS. With numerous
diagrams. _Cr. 8vo. 2s. 6d._

=Davenport (Cyril).= See Connoisseur's Library and Little Books on

=Davey (Richard).= THE PAGEANT OF LONDON. With 40 Illustrations in
Colour by John Fulleylove, R.I. _In Two Volumes. Demy 8vo. 15s. net._

=Davis (H. W. C.)=, M.A., Fellow and Tutor of Balliol College, Author
of 'Charlemagne.' ENGLAND UNDER THE NORMANS AND ANGEVINS: 1066-1272.
With Maps and Illustrations. _Demy 8vo. 10s. 6d. net._

=Dawson (Nelson).= See Connoisseur's Library.

=Dawson (Mrs. N.).= See Little Books on Art.

=Deane (A. C.).= See Little Library.

=Dearmer (Mabel).= A CHILD'S LIFE OF CHRIST. With 8 Illustrations in
Colour by E. Fortescue-Brickdale. _Large Cr. 8vo. 6s._

=Delbos (Leon).= THE METRIC SYSTEM. _Cr. 8vo. 2s._

=Demosthenes.= AGAINST CONON AND CALLICLES. Edited by F. Darwin Swift,
M.A. _Second Edition. Fcap. 8vo. 2s._

=Dickens (Charles).= See Little Library, I.P.L., and Chesterton.

=Dickinson (Emily).= POEMS. _Cr. 8vo. 4s. 6d. net._

=Dickinson (G. L.)=, M.A., Fellow of King's College, Cambridge. THE
GREEK VIEW OF LIFE. _Sixth Edition. Cr. 8vo. 2s. 6d._

=Dilke (Lady), Bulley (Miss), and Whitley (Miss).= WOMEN'S WORK. _Cr.
8vo. 2s. 6d._

=Dillon (Edward).= See Connoisseur's Library and Little Books on Art.

=Ditchfield (P. H.)=, M.A., F.S.A. THE STORY OF OUR ENGLISH TOWNS.
With an Introduction by Augustus Jessopp, D.D. _Second Edition. Cr.
8vo. 6s._

OLD ENGLISH CUSTOMS: Extant at the Present Time. _Cr. 8vo. 6s._

ENGLISH VILLAGES. Illustrated. _Second Edition. Cr. 8vo. 2s. 6d. net._

THE PARISH CLERK. With 31 Illustrations. _Demy 8vo. Third Edition. 7s.
6d. net._

=Dixon (W. M.)=, M.A. A PRIMER OF TENNYSON. _Second Edition. Cr. 8vo.
2s. 6d._


=Doney (May).= SONGS OF THE REAL. _Cr. 8vo. 3s. 6d. net._

    A volume of poems.

=Douglas (James).= THE MAN IN THE PULPIT. _Cr. 8vo. 2s. 6d. net._

=Dowden (J.)=, D.D., Lord Bishop of Edinburgh. See Churchman's

=Drage (G.).= See Books on Business.

=Driver (S. R.)=, D.D., D.C.L., Canon of Christ Church, Regius
Professor of Hebrew in the University of Oxford. SERMONS ON SUBJECTS

    See also Westminster Commentaries.

=Dry (Wakeling).= See Little Guides.

=Dryhurst (A. R.).= See Little Books on Art.

=Du Buisson (J. C.)=, M.A. See Churchman's Bible.

=Duguid (Charles).= See Books on Business.

=Dumas (Alexandre).= MY MEMOIRS. Translated by E. M. Waller. With
Portraits. _In Six Volumes. Cr. 8vo. 6s. each._ Volume I.

=Dunn (J. T.)=, D.Sc., and =Mundella (V. A.)=. GENERAL ELEMENTARY
SCIENCE. With 114 Illustrations. _Second Edition. Cr. 8vo. 3s. 6d._

=Dunstan (A. E.)=, B.Sc. See Junior School Books and Textbooks of

=Durham (The Earl of).= A REPORT ON CANADA. With an Introductory Note.
_Demy 8vo. 4s. 6d. net._

=Dutt (W. A.).= THE NORFOLK BROADS. With coloured Illustrations by
Frank Southgate. _Cr. 8vo. 6s._

WILD LIFE IN EAST ANGLIA. With 16 Illustrations in colour by Frank
Southgate, R.B.A. _Second Edition. Demy 8vo. 7s. 6d. net._

    See also Little Guides.

=Earle (John)=, Bishop of Salisbury. MICROCOSMOGRAPHIE, OR A PIECE OF
THE WORLD DISCOVERED. _Post 16mo. 2s. net._

=Edmonds (Major J. E.).= See W. B. Wood.

=Edwards (Clement)=, M.P. RAILWAY NATIONALIZATION. _Second Edition
Revised. Crown 8vo. 2s. 6d. net._

=Edwards (W. Douglas).= See Commercial Series.

=Egan (Pierce).= See I.P.L.

Cheaper Issue. _Demy 8vo. 7s. 6d. net._

    A Colonial Edition is also published.

=Ellaby (C. G.).= See Little Guides.

=Ellerton (F. G.).= See S. J. Stone.

=Ellwood (Thomas)=, THE HISTORY OF THE LIFE OF. Edited by C. G. Crump,
M.A. _Cr. 8vo. 6s._

=Epictetus.= See Aurelius.

=Erasmus.= A Book called in Latin ENCHIRIDION MILITIS CHRISTIANI, and
in English the Manual of the Christian Knight.

    From the edition printed by Wynken de Worde, 1533. _Fcap. 8vo.
    3s. 6d. net._

=Fairbrother (W. H.)=, M.A. THE PHILOSOPHY OF T. H. GREEN. _Second
Edition. Cr. 8vo. 3s. 6d._

=Farrer (Reginald).= THE GARDEN OF ASIA. _Second Edition. Cr. 8vo.

Illustrations. _Second Edition. Demy 8vo. 12s. 6d. net._

=Ferrier (Susan).= See Little Library.

=Fidler (T. Claxton)=, M.Inst. C.E. See Books on Business.

=Fielding (Henry).= See Standard Library.

=Finn (S. W.)=, M.A. See Junior Examination Series.

=Firth (J. B.).= See Little Guides.

=Firth (C. H.)=, M.A. CROMWELL'S ARMY: A History of the English
Soldier during the Civil Wars, the Commonwealth, and the Protectorate.
_Cr. 8vo. 6s._

=Fisher (G. W.)=, M.A. ANNALS OF SHREWSBURY SCHOOL. Illustrated.
_Demy 8vo. 10s. 6d._

=FitzGerald (Edward).= THE RUBÁIYÁT OF OMAR KHAYYÁM. Printed from the
Fifth and last Edition. With a Commentary by Mrs. Stephen Batson, and
a Biography of Omar by E. D. Ross. _Cr. 8vo. 6s._

    See also Miniature Library.

WALL SHRUBS. Illustrated. _Fcap. 8vo. 3s. 6d. net._

=Fitzpatrick (S. A. O.).= See Ancient Cities.

=Flecker (W. H.)=, M.A., D.C.L., Headmaster of the Dean Close School,
PRAYER AND LITANY. With an Introduction and Notes. _Cr. 8vo. 2s. 6d._

=Flux (A. W.)=, M.A., William Dow Professor of Political Economy in
M'Gill University, Montreal. ECONOMIC PRINCIPLES. _Demy 8vo. 7s. 6d.

=Fortescue (Mrs. G.).= See Little Books on Art.

IN THE FAR EAST. Illustrated. _Cr. 8vo. 6s._

    A Colonial Edition is also published.

=Fraser (J. F.).= ROUND THE WORLD ON A WHEEL. With 100 Illustrations.
_Fifth Edition. Cr. 8vo. 6s._

=French (W.)=, M.A. See Textbooks of Science.

=Freudenreich (Ed. von).= DAIRY BACTERIOLOGY. A Short Manual for the
Use of Students. Translated by J. R. Ainsworth Davis, M.A. _Second
Edition. Revised. Cr. 8vo. 2s. 6d._

=Fulford (H. W.)=, M.A. See Churchman's Bible.

=Gallaher (D.) and Stead (W. J.).= THE COMPLETE RUGBY FOOTBALLER, ON
THE NEW ZEALAND SYSTEM. With an Account of the Tour of the New
Zealanders in England. With 35 Illustrations. _Demy 8vo. 10s. 6d.

=Gallichan (W. M.).= See Little Guides.

=Gambado (Geoffrey, Esq.).= See I.P.L.

=Gaskell (Mrs.).= See Little Library and Standard Library.

=Gasquet=, the Right Rev. Abbot, O.S.B. See Antiquary's Books.

=George (H. B.)=, M.A., Fellow of New College, Oxford. BATTLES OF
ENGLISH HISTORY. With numerous Plans. _Fourth Edition._ Revised, with
a new Chapter including the South African War. _Cr. 8vo. 3s. 6d._

8vo. 3s. 6d._

OUTLINES. With 5 Maps. _Fourth Edition. Demy 8vo. 10s. 6d._

THE INDUSTRIAL HISTORY OF ENGLAND. _Thirteenth Edition._ Revised. With
Maps and Plans. _Cr. 8vo. 3s._

ENGLISH SOCIAL REFORMERS. _Second Edition. Cr. 8vo. 2s. 6d._

    See also Commercial Series and R. A. Hadfield.

with Notes, Appendices, and Maps, by J. B. Bury, M.A., Litt.D., Regius
Professor of Greek at Cambridge. _In Seven Volumes. Demy 8vo. Gilt
top, 8s. 6d. each. Also, Cr. 8vo. 6s. each._

MEMOIRS OF MY LIFE AND WRITINGS. Edited by G. Birkbeck Hill, LL.D.
_Cr. 8vo. 6s._

    See also Standard Library.

=Gibson (E. C. S.)=, D.D., Lord Bishop of Gloucester. See Westminster
Commentaries, Handbooks of Theology, and Oxford Biographies.

=Gilbert (A. R.).= See Little Books on Art.

=Gloag (M. R.) and Wyatt (Kate M.).= A BOOK OF ENGLISH GARDENS. With
24 Illustrations in Colour. _Demy 8vo. 10s. 6d. net._

=Godfrey (Elizabeth).= A BOOK OF REMEMBRANCE. Edited by. _Fcap. 8vo.
2s. 6d. net._

=Godley (A. D.)=, M.A., Fellow of Magdalen College, Oxford. LYRA
FRIVOLA. _Third Edition. Fcap. 8vo. 2s. 6d._

VERSES TO ORDER. _Second Edition. Fcap. 8vo. 2s. 6d._

SECOND STRINGS. _Fcap. 8vo. 2s. 6d._

=Goldsmith (Oliver).= THE VICAR OF WAKEFIELD. _Fcap. 32mo._ With 10
Plates in Photogravure by Tony Johannot. _Leather, 2s. 6d. net._

    See also I.P.L. and Standard Library.

=Goodrich-Freer (A.).= IN A SYRIAN SADDLE. _Demy 8vo. 7s. 6d. net._

    A Colonial Edition is also published.

=Gorst (Rt. Hon. Sir John).= THE CHILDREN OF THE NATION. _Second
Edition. Demy 8vo. 7s. 6d. net._

=Goudge (H. L.)=, M.A., Principal of Wells Theological College. See
Westminster Commentaries.

=Graham (P. Anderson).= THE RURAL EXODUS. _Cr. 8vo. 2s. 6d._

=Granger (F. S.)=, M.A., Litt.D. PSYCHOLOGY. _Third Edition. Cr. 8vo.
2s. 6d._


2s. 6d._

Elementary Text-Book. With 181 Diagrams. _Cr. 8vo. 3s. 6d._

=Green (G. Buckland)=, M.A., late Fellow of St. John's College, Oxon.

=Green (E. T.)=, M.A. See Churchman's Library.

=Greenidge (A. H. J.)=, M.A. A HISTORY OF ROME: From 133-104 B.C.
_Demy 8vo. 10s. 6d. net._

=Greenwell (Dora).= See Miniature Library.

=Gregory (R. A.).= THE VAULT OF HEAVEN. A Popular Introduction to
Astronomy. Illustrated. _Cr. 8vo. 2s. 6d._

=Gregory (Miss E. C.).= See Library of Devotion.

=Grubb (H. C.).= See Textbooks of Technology.

=Guiney (Louisa I.).= HURRELL FROUDE: Memoranda and Comments.
Illustrated. _Demy 8vo. 10s. 6d. net._

=Gwynn (M. L.).= A BIRTHDAY BOOK. New and cheaper issue. _Royal 8vo.
5s. net._

With many Illustrations and a Map. _Demy 8vo. 15s._

=Hadfield (R. A.) and Gibbins (H. de B.).= A SHORTER WORKING DAY. _Cr.
8vo. 2s. 6d._

=Hall (R. N.) and Neal (W. G.).= THE ANCIENT RUINS OF RHODESIA.
Illustrated. _Second Edition, revised. Demy 8vo. 10s. 6d. net._

=Hall (R. N.).= GREAT ZIMBABWE. With numerous Plans and Illustrations.
_Second Edition. Royal 8vo. 10s. 6d. net._

=Hamilton (F. J.)=, D.D. See Byzantine Texts.

=Hammond (J. L.).= CHARLES JAMES FOX. _Demy 8vo. 10s. 6d._

=Hannay (D.).= A SHORT HISTORY OF THE ROYAL NAVY, 1200-1688.
Illustrated. _Demy 8vo. 7s. 6d. each._

MONASTICISM. _Cr. 8vo. 6s._

THE WISDOM OF THE DESERT. _Fcap. 8vo. 3s. 6d. net._

=Hardie (Martin).= See Connoisseur's Library.

numerous Diagrams. _Demy 8vo. 6s._

=Harrison (Clifford).= READING AND READERS. _Fcap. 8vo. 2s. 6d._

=Harvey (Alfred)=, M.B. See Ancient Cities.

=Hawthorne (Nathaniel).= See Little Library.

HEALTH, WEALTH AND WISDOM. _Cr. 8vo. 1s. net._

=Heath (Frank R.).= See Little Guides.

=Heath (Dudley).= See Connoisseur's Library.

=Hello (Ernest).= STUDIES IN SAINTSHIP. Translated from the French by
V. M. Crawford. _Fcap. 8vo. 3s. 6d._

=Henderson (B. W.)=, Fellow of Exeter College, Oxford. THE LIFE AND
PRINCIPATE OF THE EMPEROR NERO. Illustrated. _New and cheaper issue.
Demy 8vo. 7s. 6d. net._

AT INTERVALS. _Fcap. 8vo. 2s. 6d. net._

=Henderson (T. F.).= See Little Library and Oxford Biographies.

=Henley (W. E.).= ENGLISH LYRICS. _Second Edition. Cr. 8vo. 2s. 6d.

=Henley (W. E.) and Whibley (C.).= A BOOK OF ENGLISH PROSE. _Cr. 8vo.
2s. 6d. net._

=Henson (H. H.)=, B.D., Canon of Westminster. APOSTOLIC CHRISTIANITY:
As Illustrated by the Epistles of St. Paul to the Corinthians. _Cr.
8vo. 6s._


=Herbert (George).= See Library of Devotion.

=Herbert of Cherbury (Lord).= See Miniature Library.

CENTURY. _Cr. 8vo. 2s. 6d._

=Hewitt (Ethel M.).= A GOLDEN DIAL. A Day Book of Prose and Verse.
_Fcap. 8vo. 2s. 6d. net._

=Heywood (W.).= PALIO AND PONTE: A Book of Tuscan Games. Illustrated.
_Royal 8vo. 21s. net._

    See also St. Francis of Assisi.

=Hill (Clare).= See Textbooks of Technology.

=Hill (Henry)=, B.A., Headmaster of the Boy's High School, Worcester,
Cape Colony. A SOUTH AFRICAN ARITHMETIC. _Cr. 8vo. 3s. 6d._

=Hind (C. Lewis).= DAYS IN CORNWALL. With 16 Illustrations in Colour
by William Pascoe, and 20 Photographs. _Cr. 8vo. 6s._

    A Colonial Edition is also published.

=Hirst (F. W.).= See Books on Business.

=Hoare (J. Douglas).= ARCTIC EXPLORATION. With 18 Illustrations and
Maps. _Demy 8vo. 7s. 6d. net._

=Hobhouse (L. T.)=, Fellow of C.C.C., Oxford. THE THEORY OF KNOWLEDGE.
_Demy 8vo. 10s. 6d. net._

=Hobson (J. A.)=, M.A. INTERNATIONAL TRADE: A Study of Economic
Principles. _Cr. 8vo. 2s. 6d. net._

PROBLEMS OF POVERTY. _Sixth Edition. Cr. 8vo. 2s. 6d._

THE PROBLEM OF THE UNEMPLOYED. _Third Edition. Cr. 8vo. 2s. 6d._

=Hodgkin (T.)=, D.C.L. See Leaders of Religion.

Edition. Post 8vo. 6s._

=Hogg (Thomas Jefferson).= SHELLEY AT OXFORD. With an Introduction by
R. A. Streatfeild. _Fcap. 8vo. 2s. net._

=Holden-Stone (G. de).= See Books on Business.

=Holdich (Sir T. H.)=, K.C.I.E. THE INDIAN BORDERLAND: being a
Personal Record of Twenty Years. Illustrated. _Demy 8vo. 10s. 6d.

    A Colonial Edition is also published.

=Holdsworth (W. S.)=, M.A. A HISTORY OF ENGLISH LAW. _In Two Volumes.
Vol. I. Demy 8vo. 10s. 6d. net._

=Holland (H. Scott)=, Canon of St. Paul's. See Library of Devotion.

=Holt (Emily).= THE SECRET OF POPULARITY: How to Achieve Social
Success. _Cr. 8vo. 3s. 6d. net._

    A Colonial Edition is also published.

=Holyoake (G. J.).= THE CO-OPERATIVE MOVEMENT TO-DAY. _Fourth Edition.
Cr. 8vo. 2s. 6d._

=Hone (Nathaniel J.).= See Antiquary's Books.

=Hoppner.= See Little Galleries.

=Horace.= See Classical Translations.

=Horsburgh (E. L. S.)=, M.A. WATERLOO: A Narrative and Criticism. With
Plans. _Second Edition. Cr. 8vo. 5s._

    See also Oxford Biographies.

=Horth (A. C.).= See Textbooks of Technology.

=Horton (R. F.)=, D.D. See Leaders of Religion.

=Hosie (Alexander).= MANCHURIA. With Illustrations and a Map. _Second
Edition. Demy 8vo. 7s. 6d. net._

    A Colonial Edition is also published.

=How (F. D.).= SIX GREAT SCHOOLMASTERS. With Portraits and
Illustrations. _Second Edition. Demy 8vo. 7s. 6d._

=Howell (A. G. Ferrers).= FRANCISCAN DAYS. Translated and arranged by.
_Cr. 8vo. 3s. 6d. net._

=Howell (G.).= TRADE UNIONISM--NEW AND OLD. _Fourth Edition. Cr. 8vo.
2s. 6d._

=Hudson (Robert).= MEMORIALS OF A WARWICKSHIRE PARISH. Illustrated.
_Demy 8vo. 15s. net._

=Huggins (Sir William)=, K.C.B., O.M., D.C.L., F.R.S. THE ROYAL
Illustrations. _Wide Royal 8vo. 4s. 6d. net._

=Hughes (C. E.).= THE PRAISE OF SHAKESPEARE. An English Anthology.
With a Preface by Sidney Lee. _Demy 8vo. 3s. 6d. net._

=Hughes (Thomas).= TOM BROWN'S SCHOOLDAYS. With an Introduction and
Notes by Vernon Rendall. _Leather. Royal 32mo. 2s. 6d. net._

=Hutchinson (Horace G.).= THE NEW FOREST. Illustrated in colour with
50 Pictures by Walter Tyndale and 4 by Lucy Kemp-Welch. _Third
Edition. Cr. 8vo. 6s._

=Hutton (A. W.)=, M.A. See Leaders of Religion and Library of

=Hutton (Edward).= THE CITIES OF UMBRIA. With many Illustrations, of
which 20 are in Colour, by A. Pisa. _Second Edition. Cr. 8vo. 6s._

    A Colonial Edition is also published.

THE CITIES OF SPAIN. _Second Edition._ With many Illustrations, of
which 24 are in Colour, by A. W. Rimington. _Demy 8vo. 7s. 6d. net._

FLORENCE AND NORTHERN TUSCANY. With Coloured Illustrations by William
Parkinson. _Cr. 8vo. 6s._

    A Colonial Edition is also published.

ENGLISH LOVE POEMS. Edited with an Introduction. _Fcap. 8vo. 3s. 6d.

=Hutton (R. H.).= See Leaders of Religion.

=Hutton (W. H.)=, M.A. THE LIFE OF SIR THOMAS MORE. With Portraits.
_Second Edition. Cr. 8vo. 5s._

    See also Leaders of Religion.

=Hyde (A. G.).= GEORGE HERBERT AND HIS TIMES. With 32 Illustrations.
_Demy 8vo. 10s. 6d. net._

=Hyett (F. A.).= A SHORT HISTORY OF FLORENCE. _Demy 8vo. 7s. 6d. net._

=Ibsen (Henrik).= BRAND. A Drama. Translated by William Wilson. _Third
Edition. Cr. 8vo. 3s. 6d._

=Inge (W. R.)=, M.A., Fellow and Tutor of Hertford College, Oxford.
CHRISTIAN MYSTICISM. The Bampton Lectures for 1899. _Demy 8vo. 12s.
6d. net._

    See also Library of Devotion.

=Innes (A. D.)=, M.A. A HISTORY OF THE BRITISH IN INDIA. With Maps and
Plans. _Cr. 8vo. 6s._

ENGLAND UNDER THE TUDORS. With Maps. _Demy 8vo. 10s. 6d. net._

=Jackson (C. E.)=, B.A. See Textbooks of Science.

=Jackson (S.)=, M.A. See Commercial Series.

=Jackson (F. Hamilton).= See Little Guides.

=Jacob (F.)=, M.A. See Junior Examination Series.

=James (W. H. N.)=, A.R.C.S., A.I.E.E. See Textbooks of Technology.

=Jeans (J. Stephen).= TRUSTS, POOLS, AND CORNERS. _Cr. 8vo. 2s. 6d._

    See also Books on Business.

=Jeffreys (D. Gwyn).= DOLLY'S THEATRICALS. Described and Illustrated
with 24 Coloured Pictures. _Super Royal 16mo. 2s. 6d._

=Jenks (E.)=, M.A., Reader of Law in the University of Oxford. ENGLISH
LOCAL GOVERNMENT. _Second Edition. Cr. 8vo. 2s. 6d._

=Jenner (Mrs. H.).= See Little Books on Art.

=Jennings (Oscar)=, M.D., Member of the Bibliographical Society. EARLY
WOODCUT INITIALS, containing over thirteen hundred Reproductions of
Pictorial Letters of the Fifteenth and Sixteenth Centuries. _Demy 4to.
21s. net._

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=Morton (Miss Anderson).= See Miss Brodrick.

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=Newman (J. H.) and others.= See Library of Devotion.

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=Parmentier (Prof. Léon).= See Byzantine Texts.

=Parsons (Mrs. Clement).= GARRICK AND HIS CIRCLE. With 36
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=Pascal.= See Library of Devotion.

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LADY MARY WORTLEY MONTAGU. With 24 Portraits and Illustrations.
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VOL. V. ROMAN EGYPT. J. G. Milne, M.A.




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=Phillips (W. A.).= See Oxford Biographies.

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UP ALONG AND DOWN ALONG. Illustrated by Claude Shepperson. _Cr. 4to.
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=Plarr (Victor G.).= See School Histories.

=Plato.= See Standard Library.

=Plautus.= THE CAPTIVI. Edited, with an Introduction, Textual Notes,
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=Raven (J. J.)=, D.D. See Antiquary's Books.

=Rawstorne (Lawrence, Esq.).= See I.P.L.

=Raymond (Walter).= See School Histories.

=A Real Paddy.= See I.P.L.


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=Reynolds.= See Little Galleries.

=Rhoades (J. F.).= See Simplified French Texts.

=Rhodes (W. E.).= See School Histories.

=Rieu (H.)=, M.A. See Simplified French Texts.

=Roberts (M. E.).= See C. C. Channer.

=Robertson (A.)=, D.D., Lord Bishop of Exeter. REGNUM DEI. The Bampton
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=Robinson (Cecilia).= THE MINISTRY OF DEACONESSES. With an
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=Robinson (F. S.).= See Connoisseur's Library.

=Rochefoucauld (La).= See Little Library.

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=St. Anselm.= See Library of Devotion.

=St. Augustine.= See Library of Devotion.

=St. Bernard.= See Library of Devotion.

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=St. Cyres (Viscount).= See Oxford Biographies.

FRANCIS AND HIS FRIARS. Newly translated by William Heywood. With an
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=Schmitt (John).= See Byzantine Texts.

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=Tileston (Mary W.).= DAILY STRENGTH FOR DAILY NEEDS. _Thirteenth
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=Tompkins (H. W.)=, F.R.H.S. See Little Guides.

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=Troutbeck (G. E.).= See Little Guides.

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=Tyrrell-Gill (Frances).= See Little Books on Art.

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=Vaughan (Henry).= See Little Library.

=Vaughan (Herbert M.)=, B.A. (Oxon.). THE LAST OF THE ROYAL STUARTS,
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THE NAPLES RIVIERA. With 25 Illustrations in Colour by Maurice
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=Voegelin (A.)=, M.A. See Junior Examination Series.

=Waddell (Col. L. A.)=, LL.D., C.B. LHASA AND ITS MYSTERIES. With a
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=Wagner (Richard).= MUSIC DRAMAS: Interpretations, embodying Wagner's
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    VOL. I.--THE RING OF THE NIBELUNG. _Third Edition._



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=Walters (H. B.).= See Little Books on Art and Classics of Art.

=Walton (F. W.).= See School Histories.

=Walton (Izaak) and Cotton (Charles).= See I.P.L., Standard Library,
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=Warren-Vernon (Hon. William)=, M.A. READINGS ON THE INFERNO OF DANTE,
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=Waterhouse (Mrs. Alfred).= WITH THE SIMPLE-HEARTED: Little Homilies
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=Webber (F. C.).= See Textbooks of Technology.

EUROPE. _Cr. 8vo. 6s._

=Wells (Sidney H.).= See Textbooks of Science.

=Wells (J.)=, M.A., Fellow and Tutor of Wadham College. OXFORD AND
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A SHORT HISTORY OF ROME. _Seventh Edition._ With 3 Maps. _Cr. 8vo. 3s.

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=Wheldon (F. W.).= A LITTLE BROTHER TO THE BIRDS. With 15
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=Whibley (C.).= See W. E. Henley.

=Whibley (L.)=, M.A., Fellow of Pembroke College, Cambridge. GREEK

=Whitaker (G. H.)=, M.A. See Churchman's Bible.

=White (Gilbert).= THE NATURAL HISTORY OF SELBORNE. Edited by L. C.
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=Whitfield (E. E.).= See Commercial Series.

=Whitehead (A. W.).= GASPARD DE COLIGNY. Illustrated. _Demy 8vo. 12s.
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=Whiteley (R. Lloyd)=, F.I.C., Principal of the Municipal Science
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=Whitley (Miss).= See Lady Dilke.

=Whitten (W.).= See John Thomas Smith.

=Whyte (A. G.)=, B.Sc. See Books on Business.

=Wilberforce (Wilfrid).= See Little Books on Art.

=Wilde (Oscar).= DE PROFUNDIS. _Ninth Edition. Cr. 8vo. 5s. net._

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THE DUCHESS OF PADUA. _Demy 8vo. 12s. 6d. net._

POEMS. _Demy 8vo. 12s. 6d. net._

INTENTIONS. _Demy 8vo. 12s. 6d. net._

SALOME, AND OTHER PLAYS. _Demy 8vo. 12s. 6d. net._

LADY WINDERMERE'S FAN. _Demy 8vo. 12s. 6d. net._

A WOMAN OF NO IMPORTANCE. _Demy 8vo. 12s. 6d. net._

AN IDEAL HUSBAND. _Demy 8vo. 12s. 6d. net._

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=Williams (A.).= PETROL PETER: or Pretty Stories and Funny Pictures.
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=Williamson (M. G.).= See Ancient Cities.

=Williamson (W.).= THE BRITISH GARDENER. Illustrated. _Demy 8vo. 10s.

=Williamson (W.)=, B.A. See Junior Examination Series, Junior School
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=Willson (Beckles).= LORD STRATHCONA: the Story of his Life.
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=Wilmot-Buxton (E. M.).= MAKERS OF EUROPE. _Cr. 8vo. Seventh Ed. 3s.

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=Wilson (H. A.).= See Books on Business.

=Wilson (J. A.).= See Simplified French Texts.

=Wilton (Richard)=, M.A. LYRA PASTORALIS: Songs of Nature, Church, and
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=Winbolt (S. E.)=, M.A. EXERCISES IN LATIN ACCIDENCE. _Cr. 8vo. 1s.

LATIN HEXAMETER VERSE: An Aid to Composition. _Cr. 8vo. 3s. 6d. Key,
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=Windle (B. C. A.)=, F.R.S., F.S.A. See Antiquary's Books, Little
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=Winterbotham (Canon)=, M.A., B.Sc., LL.B. See Churchman's Library.

=Wood (Sir Evelyn)=, F.M., V.C., G.C.B., G.C.M.G. FROM MIDSHIPMAN TO
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Edition. Demy 8vo. 25s. net._

    A Colonial Edition is also published.

=Wood (J. A. E.).= See Textbooks of Technology.

=Wood (J. Hickory).= DAN LENO. Illustrated. _Third Edition. Cr. 8vo.

    A Colonial Edition is also published.

=Wood (W. Birkbeck)=, M.A., late Scholar of Worcester College, Oxford,
and =Edmonds (Major J. E.)=, R.E., D.A.Q.-M.G. A HISTORY OF THE CIVIL
WAR IN THE UNITED STATES. With an Introduction by H. Spenser
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=Wordsworth (Christopher).= See Antiquary's Books.

=Wordsworth (W.).= POEMS BY. Selected by Stopford A. Brooke. With 40
Illustrations by Edmund H. New. With a Frontispiece in Photogravure.
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    A Colonial Edition is also published.

=Wordsworth (W.) and Coleridge (S. T.).= See Little Library.

=Wright (Arthur)=, D.D., Fellow of Queen's College, Cambridge. See
Churchman's Library.

=Wright (C. Gordon).= See Dante.

=Wright (J. C.).= TO-DAY. _Demy 16mo. 1s. 6d. net._

=Wright (Sophie).= GERMAN VOCABULARIES FOR REPETITION. _Fcap. 8vo. 1s.

=Wrong (George M.)=, Professor of History in the University of
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=Wyatt (Kate M.).= See M. R. Gloag.

=Wylde (A. B.).= MODERN ABYSSINIA. With a Map and a Portrait. _Demy
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With an Introduction and Notes. _Demy 8vo. Buckram, gilt top. 10s.

=Wyon (R.) and Prance (G.).= THE LAND OF THE BLACK MOUNTAIN. Being a
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=Yeats (W. B.).= A BOOK OF IRISH VERSE. Selected from Modern Writers.
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=Young (Filson).= THE COMPLETE MOTORIST. With 138 Illustrations.
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THE JOY OF THE ROAD: An Appreciation of the Motor Car. _Small Demy
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=Young (T. M.).= THE AMERICAN COTTON INDUSTRY: A Study of Work and
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8vo. 1s. 6d. net._

Ancient Cities

General Editor, B. C. A. WINDLE, D.Sc., F.R.S.

_Cr. 8vo. 4s. 6d. net._

CHESTER. By B. C. A. Windle, D.Sc. F.R.S. Illustrated by E. H. New.

SHREWSBURY. By T. Auden, M.A., F.S.A. Illustrated.

CANTERBURY. By J. C. Cox, LL.D., F.S.A. Illustrated.

EDINBURGH. By M. G. Williamson, M.A. Illustrated by Herbert Railton.

LINCOLN. By E. Mansel Sympson, M.A., M.D. Illustrated by E. H. New.

BRISTOL. By Alfred Harvey. Illustrated by E. H. New.

DUBLIN. By S. A. O. Fitzpatrick. Illustrated by W. C. Green.

The Antiquary's Books

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_Demy 8vo. 7s. 6d. net._

ENGLISH MONASTIC LIFE. By the Right Rev. Abbot Gasquet, O.S.B.
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M.A., and Henry Littlehales. With Coloured and other Illustrations.

CELTIC ART. By J. Romilly Allen, F.S.A. With numerous Illustrations
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SHRINES OF BRITISH SAINTS. By J. C. Wall. With numerous Illustrations
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THE ROYAL FORESTS OF ENGLAND. By J. C. Cox, LL.D., F.S.A. Illustrated.

THE MANOR AND MANORIAL RECORDS. By Nathaniel J. Hone. Illustrated.

ENGLISH SEALS. By J. Harvey Bloom. Illustrated.

THE DOMESDAY INQUEST. By Adolphus Ballard, B.A., LL.B. With 27

THE BRASSES OF ENGLAND. By Herbert W. Macklin, M.A. With many
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PARISH LIFE IN MEDIÆVAL ENGLAND. By the Right Rev. Abbot Gasquet,
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THE BELLS OF ENGLAND. By Canon J. J. Raven, D.D., F.S.A. With
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The Arden Shakespeare

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General Editor, W. J. CRAIG.

An edition of Shakespeare in single Plays. Edited with a full
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HAMLET. Edited by Edward Dowden.

ROMEO AND JULIET. Edited by Edward Dowden.

KING LEAR. Edited by W. J. Craig.

JULIUS CAESAR. Edited by M. Macmillan.

THE TEMPEST. Edited by Moreton Luce.

OTHELLO. Edited by H. C. Hart.

TITUS ANDRONICUS. Edited by H. B. Baildon.

CYMBELINE. Edited by Edward Dowden.


A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM. Edited by H. Cuningham.

KING HENRY V. Edited by H. A. Evans.

ALL'S WELL THAT ENDS WELL. Edited by W. O. Brigstocke.

THE TAMING OF THE SHREW. Edited by R. Warwick Bond.

TIMON OF ATHENS. Edited by K. Deighton.

MEASURE FOR MEASURE. Edited by H. C. Hart.

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TROILUS AND CRESSIDA. Edited by K. Deighton.


LOVE'S LABOUR'S LOST. Edited by H. C. Hart.


PERICLES. Edited by K. Deighton.

THE COMEDY OF ERRORS. Edited by H. Cuningham.

KING RICHARD III. Edited by A. H. Thompson.

KING JOHN. Edited by Ivor B. John.

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EASY FRENCH RHYMES. By Henri Blouet. _Second Edition._ Illustrated.
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EASY EXERCISES IN ARITHMETIC. Arranged by W. S. Beard. _Second
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EASY DICTATION AND SPELLING. By W. Williamson, B.A. Fifth Edition.
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=Walford (Mrs. L. B.).= MR. SMITH.



=Wallace (General Lew).= BEN-HUR.


=Watson (H. B. Marriott).= THE ADVENTURERS.

=Weekes (A. B.).= PRISONERS OF WAR.



Transcriber's Note

Archaic and variant spelling is preserved as printed. This includes
French variants, for instance, hommage. The author uses both Mezeray
and Mezerai to refer to the French historian.

The following have been noted as possible errors:

    Page xv--references the illustration facing page 140 as an image
    depicting St. Ursula; however, the plate caption states that it
    depicts St. Helena. By reference to the original _Grandes Heures_
    (available on Gallica at http://gallica.bnf.fr) it appears that the
    plate caption is correct. However, the differing references are
    preserved as printed.

    Page 102--includes the quote "chastily and devoutly." This has
    been preserved as printed on the assumption that this was the
    spelling in an original source.

    Page 114--includes the term 'zebeline'. This is more usually
    spelled as 'zibeline' or 'zibelline', but is preserved as

    Page 115--the extract from the 'Farce du Cuvier' references one
    of the characters as Jacquemet; however, the original source
    (History of French Literature Vol. 1, by Henri Van Laun, 1878)
    has this character as Jaquinot. It is preserved here as printed.

    Page 218--includes the quoted matter 'defect sufflatorium in
    igne'. This should be 'defecit sufflatorium', but as the
    material is quoted, it is preserved as printed.

    Page 222--includes quoted verse by Marot. Reference to other
    editions of Marot's work suggest that this verse should read as

      'Tous deux aimons gens pleins d'honnesteté,
      Tous deux aimons honneur & netteté,
      Tous deux aimons à d'aucun ne mesdire,
      Tous deux aimons un meilleur propos dire,
      Tous deux aimons à nous trouver en lieux,
      Où ne sont point gens melancolieux,
      Tous deux aimons la musique chanter,
      Tous deux aimons les livres frequenter:
      Que diray plus? Ce mot là dire j'ose,
      Et le diray, que presque en toute chose
      Nous ressemblons: fors que j'ai plus d'esmoy,
      Et que tu as le cœur plus dur que moy:'

    The quoted version in the text has been preserved as printed.

    Page 224--Bayaret should probably read as Bayard, but it is
    preserved as printed.

    Page 231--includes reference to the title 'Historié du Progrès
    de l'heresie', but omits the accents. This is preserved as

Minor punctuation errors have been repaired.

Hyphenation has been made consistent.

The following amendments have been made:

    Page xiv--Crevelli amended to Crivelli--... as being the
    portrait of Lucrezia Crivelli, ...

    Page 18--Ghilbellines amended to Ghibellines--... between the
    Sienses Guelfs and Ghibellines, ...

    Page 18--Novescli amended to Noveschi--The _Noveschi_ and
    _Dodicini_ members ...

    Page 32--unxpected amended to unexpected--... chance incidents
    and unexpected humanizing makeshifts.

    Page 35--courtseys amended to courteseys--He even admired the
    lovely gowns and misleading courteseys ...

    Page 46--regretably amended to regrettably--... to whom
    Catherine wrote regrettably stern letter, ...

    Page 49--Jacome amended to Jacomo--... of the dead man, Ser
    Jacomo, ...

    Page 64--his amended to her--... who, after her death, was to be
    succeeded ...

    Page 65--Pallissena amended to Palissena--Not only Trotti, but
    Palissena D'Este, ...

    Page 66--Muratari amended to Muratori--Muratori, writing of her

    Page 66--Muratari amended to Muratori--Muratori also touches
    upon ...

    Page 66--predeliction amended to predilection--In dress,
    Beatrice had one peculiar predilection ...

    Page 81--viscontis amended to Viscontis--The Viscontis held it
    in fief ...

    Page 117--Beaujeau amended to Beaujeu--Anne of Beaujeu, the
    former Regent--harsh, ...

    Illustration facing page 120--CALENDRIES amended to

    Page 135--docctrine amended to doctrine--... which contained no
    false doctrine, ...

    Page 147--dairy amended to diary--... Louise records the event
    in her diary ...

    Page 153--Rodriquez amended to Rodriguez--... then known as
    Cardinal Rodriguez, ...

    Page 156--Medeci amended to Medici--... but Giovanni de Medici,

    Page 166--flightly amended to flighty--... the perfect tool,
    childlike, flighty, inherently docile, ...

    Page 177--Macchiavelli amended to Machiavelli--It has been
    repeated by Machiavelli, ...

    Illustration facing page 188--SUSSANAH amended to

    Page 224--Parie amended to Pavie--Il est mort devant Pavie.

    Page 279--coté amended to côté--Ennui reçu du côté de celui ...

    Page 283--Pon's amended to Pons's--It is difficult to probe
    Monsieur Pons's motives.

    Page 296--Farrara amended to Ferrara--... and Renée, Duchess of
    Ferrara, ...

    Page 299--legère amended to légère--... said it was _une tête

    Page 301--Tintoretti amended to Tintoretto--Tintoretto, Titian,
    Correggio, and Raphael ...

Entries in the index have been made consistent with the main body of
the text, as follows:

    Page 305--Bazaret amended to Bayaret--Bayaret, 224

    Page 305--d'Este amended to D'Este--Bari, Duchess of. _See_
    Beatrice D'Este

    Page 305--d'Este amended to D'Este and D'Este amended to
    Este--Beatrice D'Este. _See_ Este

    Page 305--Beaujeau amended to Beaujeu--Beaujeu, Anne of, 117,

    Page 305--de amended to du--Bellay, Cardinal du, 243

    Page 306--Jofra amended to Jofre--Borgia, Jofre, 164

    Page 306--Clavière amended to Claviere and Manlde amended to
    Maulde--Claviere, R. de Maulde la, 221

    Page 306--Corregio amended to Correggio--Correggio, 301

    Page 307--Pallisenna amended to Palissena--Este, Palissena d',

    Page 307--Guelphs amended to Guelfs--Guelfs, 31, 34

    Page 307--d'Este amended to D'Este--Isabella D'Este.

    Page 308--d'Este amended to D'Este--Leonora D'Este.

    Page 308--D'Albert amended to Albret--Navarre, Henri de. _See_

    Page 308--Orris amended to Orriz--Orriz, 232, 233, 292-294, 298

    Page 309--Palicé amended to Palice--Palice, La, 224

    Page 309--Raynaldas amended to Raynaldus--Raynaldus, 33

    Page 309--Remond amended to Rémond--Rémond, Florimond de, 231

    Page 309--Callaquini amended to Callagnini--Strozzi, Callagnini,

    Page 309--Nicolas amended to Nicholas--Toledo, Nicholas di,

The frontispiece illustration has been moved to follow the title page.
Other illustrations have been moved where necessary so that they are
not in the middle of a paragraph.

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Queens of the Renaissance" ***

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