Puslapio vaizdai

race. Certainly no other age could have given them that splendor and picturesqueness of setting which make them hold the gaze and admiration of the people forever. When only fifteen years old, Bayard's graceful skill in horsemanship so charmed his King-and this in an age of cavaliers, that is, of horsemen-that he was made a companion of every royal pleasure, and soon placed in command in the campaigns. In Ferrara, while fighting for France, one word from Bayard would have procured the poisoning of the Pope. He refused it, and indignantly threatened to hang the traitor and warn the Pope of his peril.

"Why," said the Duke, "Julius would have poisoned you or me."

"No odds is that to me. He is God's lieutenant on earth. He shall never, with my consent, die such a death."

But he used every means to make a present of the Pope's body as prisoner to his King. At Brescia, just as the city was taken and entered, Bayard was wounded grievously, well-nigh to death. Of course, he had already leaped down the wall into the street, and two of his archers carried him to the richest-looking house at hand. Only the wife was left within, and two young girls, who had hidden in the granary. She led the way to her finest room, and saw him placed upon the bed; and she fell upon her knees and said:

"Noble sir, this house and all within are yours by right of war; but spare, I implore you, my honor and that of our two young daughters, now ready for marriage!"

"Madam," said Bayard, "while my wound shall let me live, you and they shall see no displeasure."

He sent for the lady's husband, who had fled to a monastery, and bade him take courage. When Bayard was preparing to leave, the lady came in the morning into his room, followed by a servant with a little box of steel. She offered it, with the two thousand five hundred ducats it contained, to the Chevalier. He was still weak, and lay half-reclining in his chair.

"My Lord," she said, "you have saved my husband's life, and my own, and my daughters' honor. Your men have been all courtesy. Please take in good part this little present which we make you."

The gentle lord, who never in his life made any case of money, burst out laughing. Then said he:

"I will none of your ducats. I have always loved people more than ducats."

When she still remained firm, he said: "Well, then, madam, for love of you I will take this present; but call your daughters, as I would fain say farewell to them." When they had come, he said to them: "Dear damsels, you know that we fighting men are not likely to be laden with pretty things for to present to ladies. But your lady mother has given me two thousand five hundred ducats. Of them, I give you each a thousand toward your marriage, an' if it please you, pray God for me."

And he put the ducats into their aprons. And he said:

"Madam, I pray you distribute these five hundred ducats among the poor sisterhoods that have been plundered by my people; and hereupon I take my leave of you."

He touched their hands, as the Italians do, and the three fell upon their knees, weeping bitterly tears of gratitude.

As he was going to mount his horse, the two young girls came down and offered him their presents, which were worked with their own fingers while he was sick,—a pair of delicate bracelets, all of gold and silver threads, and a crimson satin purse, wrought most cunningly. He put the bracelets on his arms and the purse in his sleeve, and said he would wear them forever for love of the givers; and so he rode away.

His very enemies so admired and loved him, that, twice in his life, when taken prisoner, he was sent back to his camp without ransom, and with horse and arms.

As he was the first to plunge into the fight, so he was the last to leave it. At Romagnano, when the commanding officer was disabled, the direction of the contest fell upon Bayard. He charged upon the Spaniards and was struck by a shot.

"Jesus, my God," he said, "I am dead! Miserere mei, Deus, secundum magnam misericordiam tuam!" and kissed the cross-hilt of his sword as a sign of the cross.

They laid him down under a tree, with his face to the enemy. His attendant burst into tears.

"Leave off thy mourning, my friend," he said; "this is God's will. By His grace, I have lived long and received blessings and honors more than my due. All the regret I feel at dying is, that I have not done my duty as well as I ought."

To his own gentlemen who would not leave him, he said:

"I do beseech you, get you gone, else you might fall into the enemy's hands. All is over with me. Salut he King, our

master; and my lords the princes of France, and all my lords, my comrades, and generally all gentlemen of the most honored realm of France, when ye see them."

From a king without a kingdom, we turn to a kingdom without a king, or rather to the semblance of a king. And yet Francis the Second has been treated hardly by the historians. What is charitable, fair, even just, to demand, amid affairs of state, from a youth of sixteen, whose bodily health had begun to fail before he came to responsibilities? His uncles and aunts had determined to rule the kingdom of their nephew, from its finances to its very consciences. They were all "bloody, bold, and resolute." They directed his daily education-sometimes by the most effective of object-lessons; as, when the Cardinal of Lorraine made him witness the execution of Protestant men and women, and, pointing to their firmness, said to Francis:

"See what they would do to you, if they had you in their clutches!"

Francis was at least harmless. The Guises and Medicis, who massacred and brutalized his people, might have envied his actual moral superiority to themselves. He might have presented the frequent spectacle of the cruelty of weakness. The times considered, it is, indeed, remarkable that he abstained from the overt persecution which characterized the day, and which would have needed from him but a syllable or sign.

Francis was affianced to Mary Stuart, before either of them was seven years old. But as neither of them knew anything of the transaction, their little hearts were as swift to coalesce, as if they had been forbidden to look at each other. And it is probable that love-making was the chief Occupation of what powers Francis possessed.

They underwent their formal espousals at the Louvre, in the presence of the brilliant dames and gentlemen of the court. They were then about sixteen. The evening before, the young couple were left in intercourse more intimate than had of late been usual, and were noticed tenderly conversing, arm in arm, and heart with heart.

Again, the clash and crash of intestine war breaks over the "pleasant land of France." A king has come, who not only is a kingly king, but is resolved to have a kingdom-too well resolved, thought many of his day. King Henry of Navarre, although born to the throne, having all

right, constitutional and "divine,” had yet to make his own way to it. The calm, impartial historian of France, Guizot, himself a Protestant, and recognized as authority by Protestant and Catholic alike, adds his approval of the general career of Henry the Fourth. Both parties, in turn, have called Henry a traitor to his Christian and moral conscience; the one, when he exchanged the Protestant dogma for the Roman Catholic; the other, when he declared the Edict of Nantes. Of these critical acts, Guizot remarks: "Henry did not take for the ruling principle of his policy, and for his first rule of conduct, the plan of alternate concessions to the different parties, and of continually humoring personal interests; he set his thoughts higher, upon the general and natural interests of France as he found her and saw her. Maintenance of the hereditary rights of monarchy, preponderance of Catholics in the Government, peace between Catholics and Protestants, and religious liberty for Protestants,— these points became the law of his policy, and his kingly duty, as well as the nation's right."

"A true king," said the Protestant De Thou, " more anxious for the preservation of his kingdom than greedy of conquest; and making no distinction between his own interests and those of his people." Still, of that act of abjuration which awoke the horror of thousands, the troubled hope of more, the grave, sad questioning of all, the best word that the impartial, comprehensive judgment of Guizot can render is: "His procedure from the beginning seemed a painful mixture of the frivolous and the serious, of sincerity and captious reservation, of resolution and weakness, at which nobody has any right to be shocked who is not determined to be pitiless toward human nature, and to make no allowance for the complication of facts, ideas, sentiments, and duties under which the best men are often obliged to decide and to act."

Henry's face is hardly indicative of some of the traits which were most effective with the men of his day. Its length of feature, the somewhat deep-set eye, the somewhat retreating brow, suggest a nature rather contemplative, perhaps, than executive; rapid in conception; modulated by delicate sentiments, rather than outflowing in promiscuous companionship; guiding a people rather through plans and agents, than by any personal magnetism. As for the fact, we know that he was swift in plan and act, full of tact in his dealing with all classes, if not natur

ally sympathetic with them, and, seemingly | at least, full of bonhommie.

As he started forth to claim his throne, Givry said to him:


"Sir, you are the king of the brave. You will be deserted by none but dastards."

At Ivry, as he passed before his own squadron, he cried:

"Comrades, I will conquer or die with

you! If you lose your standards, keep sight of my white plume. You will always find it in the path of honor, and I hope of victory.” As Francis the First had his Francis the Second, so Henry the Fourth, the patriot king, had his Louis the Thirteenth.


But this Louis had one most profitable virtue, one sort of wisdom, that stood him in stead of political genius and ruling will. He knew his own comparative incapacity; he knew where it lay, and hence he knew, with reasonable precision, what was its complement. Fortun

ate in this knowledge, he was equally fortunate in finding within his kingdom a man of wisdom, will, and devotion to absolutism in monarchy. Indeed, in securing that minister to the throne, he displayed much of that quality whose lack he was seeking to supply.

He stood one day in a little room of the Luxembourg, discussing with his mother the need of Richelieu's counsels, in the crisis of affairs. The Cardinal entered upon them unexpectedly. The queen-mother threatened him, told her son that not a servant of Richelieu's should remain about the palace.

The gentlemen both withdrew. All the court was prepared to enjoy the Cardinal's disgrace, and his rival held himself in readi

ness to receive from Louis the call to office.

Louis was standing at the window, tapping on the pane, and asked his favorite, St. Simon, what he thought of it all.

St. Simon answered:

"You are the true master here." "Yes," said Louis, "and I will make it felt too;" and he sent for the Cardinal to come to him at once.

The next morning Richelieu began his reign in France-a reign which was the true foundation of all the glory, at least the political glory, of that of the Grand Monarque.

This act should cover the multitude of shortcomings of the man. He had of these more than enough to prove that genius is not comimunicated by blood, and quite enough to prove that the defects of character are more persistent in repeating themselves in offspring than are its merits. Music, drawing, carpentry, hunting with falcon, and pious reading, were honorable occupations for one whose "strength" evidently was "to sit still," and for whose one act and one life-long inaction, posterity may be equally grateful.

From the two great royal conservators of political and ecclesiastical institutions,-Francis and Henry, we may profitably turn to two of the destructive agents in the mighty chaos-cosmos of that sixteenth century. In these, the same extremes join each other that are found in every other range of actors in that age. Who, at first

thought, links the Iconoclasts with Rabelais; the peasant, artisan brain possessed with, rather than possessing, one idea, or rather the vulgar fraction of an idea, with the

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Belgium. The first act, which spread its infection slowly through the kingdom, only, however, to the east and north, occurred in Paris in the early half of the century. It

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