Full Text Archive logoFull Text Archive — Free Classic E-books

Memoirs of Marguerite de Valois, Complete by Marguerite de Valois, Queen of Navarre

Part 1 out of 4

Adobe PDF icon
Download this document as a .pdf
File size: 0.4 MB
What's this? light bulb idea Many people prefer to read off-line or to print out text and read from the real printed page. Others want to carry documents around with them on their mobile phones and read while they are on the move. We have created .pdf files of all out documents to accommodate all these groups of people. We recommend that you download .pdfs onto your mobile phone when it is connected to a WiFi connection for reading off-line.

Produced by David Widger




Written by Herself

Being Historic Memoirs of the Courts of France and Navarre


Marguerite de Valois--Etching by Mercier

Bussi d' Amboise--Painting in the Versailles Gallery

Duc de Guise--Painting in the Versailles Gallery

Catherine de' Medici--Original Etching by Mercier

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

A Scene at Henri's Court--Original Photogravure


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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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



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


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


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


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


The Massacre of St. Bartholomew's Day.


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


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


What Happened at Lyons.


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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





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

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

"C'est chercher Rome en Rome, Et rien de Rome en Rome ne trouver."

('Tis to seek Rome, in Rome to go, And Rome herself at Rome not know.)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


The Massacre of St. Bartholomew's Day.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

"De mon bien, on mon mal, Mon esprit m'est oracle."

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

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


What Happened at Lyons.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"Well, was it not as I told you?"

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"Madame, I only relate what I have heard."

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The King, yielding to this man's persuasions, spoke of it to my husband,

Book of the day:
Facebook Google Reddit StumbleUpon Twitter Pinterest