Charlotte Mary Yonge.

Young folks' history of France online

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Author of "The Heir of Redclyffe," "Little Lucy'

Wonderful Globe," "Book of Golden Deeds,"

" Young Folks' History of Germany,"

"Greece," " Eome." "England,"




\ ^t^o \




THESE Stories on the History of France are meant for
children perliaps a year older than those on the History
of England. They try to put such facts as need most to be
remembered in a comprehensible form, and to attach some
real characteristic to each reign; though, in later political
history, it is difficult to translate the leading ideas into any-
thing that can enter an intellect of seven or eight years old.
The gentleman who, some time ago, recommended teaching
history backwards from our own time, could never have prac-
tically tried how much harder it is to make la Charte or the
Reform Bill interesting to the childish mind, than how King
Kobert fed the beggars or William Rufus was killed by an
arrow. Early history is generally personal, and thus can be
far more easily recollected than that which concerns the mul-
titude, who are indeed everything to the philanthropist, but
are nothing to tlie child. Even the popular fairy tale has its
princes and princesses, and the wonder tale of history can only
be carried on in the infant imagination by the like dramatis




1.— The Old Kelts. B.C. 150 .

2. — The Roman Conquest. B.C. 67. a.d. 79

3. — The Conversion of Gaul. 100 ■ - 400
4. — The Frank Kingdom. 450 — 533
5.— The Long-haired Kings. 533— 6S1 .

6. — Carl of the Hammer. 681

7. — Carl the Great. 768 .

8. — The CarUngs. 814—887 .

9. —The Counts of Paris. 887—987.
10. — Hugli Capet. 987—997 .
11.— Robert the Pious. 997—1031 .

Henry I. 1031—1060

Philip I. 1060—1108
12. —Louis VI. Le Gros. 1108—1137 .
13. —Louis VII. The Young. 1137—1180
14.— Philip IL, Augustus. 1180—1223 .
15. — The Albigenses. 1190

Louis VIII., The Lion. 1223— 122P>
16. —St. Louis IX. 1226 ....
17. — Philip III., The Hardy. 1271—1284

Philip IV., The Fair. 1284—1314 .

18. —Louis X., Hutin. 1314—1316

Philip v., Le Long. 1316—1322
Charles IV., Le Bel. 1322
Philip VL 1350

19. —John. 1350—1364 ....


y 185






22. -


25. -


32. -

Q'^ —



CharlesV. 1364—1380

■ Charles VI. 1380—1396 .
Burgundians and Armagnacs. 1415 — 1422

■Charles YIL 1422—1461 .

Louis XI. 1461—1483
■Charles VIII. 1483—1498 .

Louis XII. 1498—1515 .

■ Francis I. Youth. 1515—1526
■Francis I. Middle Age. 1526—1547

Henry II. 1547—1559

- Francis II. 1559—1560 .
Charles IX. 1560—1572 ,

■ Charles IX. 1572—1574 .
-Henry III. 1574
-Henry I Y. 1589—1610
-Louis XIIL 1610—1643 .
-Louis XIY. Youth. 1643—1061

■ Louis XIY. Middle Age. 1661— L6S8

- Louis XIY. Old Age. 16SS— 1715
■Louis XY. 1715 — 1774
-Louis XYI. 1774—1793 .

- The Great French Revolution. 1792—1796

- Xapoleon I. 1796—1814 .
-Louis XYIII. 1814—1824.
-Charles X. 1824—1830 .
-Louis Philippe. 1830—1848
-The Republic. 1848—1852

- The Second Empire. 1852—1870
The Siege of Paris. 1870—1871

-The Communists. 1871.




[ 210


, 458
, 465
, 474

List of illustrations.



Keltic Tribe H

The Gauls in Rome


Mounted Gauls .


Roman Arm}^ in Gaul .


Vercingetorix surrenders to Caesar


Conversion of Gaul


Druid Sacrifice


Huns at Chalons


Death of Hlodimir's Children


The Meerwings


Arabs had Decamped .


Charlemagne at the Head of his Arm



Baptism of Saxons by Charlemagne


Death of Roland


School of the Palace .


Barks of Northmen


" He Shed Tears at the Sight "


N"orthmen before Paris


Count Eudes entering Paris .


Knights and Peasants .


Coronation of Hugh Capet


The Accolades . .


Crusaders' March


Robert and The Poor .


. 121



List of Illustrations.

*' God willeth it "

The Leaders of the First Crusade

Louis the Fat on an Expedition

Crusaders' Return

Capture of Acre

The Battle of Muret .

Death of Louis . . - .

Colonna Striking tlie Pope

Edward III. doing Homage

" Bade them look out at the Sea "

"This Way, Father" .

Murder of tlie Marshals

The Attack on Marcel .

Laying the Keys on Du Gueslin's Bier

" Thou art Betrayed "

The Night before the Battle of Agincourt

Murder of the Duke of Burgundy .

Joan of Arc ....

Joan of Arc examined in Prison

Louis XL ....

Interview of Louis XI. and Charles the Bold

Charles VIII. Crossing the Alps

Meeting of Charles and Anne of Brittany

Charles VIII

Chevalier Bayard going to the Wars

Bayard knighting Francis I. .

Francis I. at Marignano

Death of Bayard

Capture of Francis I. .

Breaking of the Statue of the Virgin Mary

Duke of Orleans and Charles V..

Guise at Metz ....

List of Illustrations.


Death of Henry II.

Francis II. and Mary Stuart

Death of Francis II.

Massacre of St. Bartholomew

Henry III. and Favorites

Murder of Guise

Henry IV. at Ivry

Henry lY. and Ministers

Henry becomes a Catholic

Concini and Mary de Medicis.

Louis VIII. and Albert de Luy

Richelieu and Father Joseph

King and Cardinal

Death of Cardinal Mazarin

Louis XIV. in Cabinet

Theatrical Representation

Death of Turenne

Louis XIV. presenting King

Death of Louis XfV. .

Maria Leczinska

Battle of Fontenoy

French Chateau

Louis XVI.



Battle of Waterloo








B.C. 150.

I BEGAN the " History of England " with Julius
Caesar's landing in Britain, and did not tr}^ to
tell you who the people were whom he found
there, for I thought it Avould puzzle you ; but you
are a little older now, and can understand rather



12 Young Folks' History of France.

You must learn that in the old times, before
people wrote down histories, Europe was over-
spread by a great people, whom it is convenient to
call altogether the Kelts — fierce, bold, warrior
people, who kept together in large families or
clans, all nearly related, and each clan with a chief.
The clans joined together and formed tribes, and
the cleverest chief of the clans would lead the rest.
They spoke a language nearly alike — the language
which has named a great many rivers and hills. I
will tell 3"0U a few. Ben or Pen means a hill. So
we see that the Ap-pen-nine mountains were named
by the Kelts. Again, Avon is a river. You know
we have several Avons. Ren Avon meant the
running river, and Rhine and Rhone are both the
same word, differently pronounced. Sen Avon
was the slow river — the Seine and Saone ; and
Garr Avon was the swift river — the Garonne.
There were two great varieties of Kelts — the Gael
and the Kymry (you should call this word Kewmri) .
The Gael were the tallest, largest, wildest, and
fiercest, but they were not so clever as the black-
eyed little Kymry. The Kymry seem to have
been the people who had the Druid priests, who
lived in groves of oak, and cut down mistletoe
with golden knives ; and most likely they set up

The Old Kelts. 13

the Avonclerful circles of huge stones which seem to
have been meant to worship in ; at least, wherever
those stones are the Kymry have been. But we
know little about them, as all their knowledge was
in verse, which the Druids and bards taught one
another by word of mouth, and which was never
written down. All we do know is from their
neighbors the Greeks and Romans, wdio thought
them very savage, and were very much afraid of
them, when every now and then a tribe set out on
a robbing expedition into the lands to the south.

When the Kelts did thus come, it was generally
because they were driven from their own homes.
There were a still fiercer, stronger set of people
behind them, coming from the east to the west;
and when the Kelts found that they could not hold
their own against these people, they put their
wives q,nd children into wagons, made of wood or
wicker work, collected their oxen, sheep, and goats,
called their great shaggy hounds, and set forth to
find new homes. The men had long streaming
hair and beards, and wore loose trousers of woollen,
woven and dyed in checks by the women — tartan
plaids, in fact. The chiefs always had gold collars
round their necks, an,d they used, round wicker
shields, long spears, and heavy swords, and they

14 Young Folks' History of France.

were very terrible enemies. When the country
was free to the Avest, they went on thither, and
generally settled down in a wood near a river,
closing in their town with a wall of trunks of trees
and banks of earth, and setting up their hovels
within of stone or wood.

But if other clans whom they could not beat
were to the west of them, they would turn to the
south into Greece or Italy, and do great damage
there. One set of them, in very old times, even
managed to make a home in the middle of Asia
Minor, and it was to their descendants that St.
Paul wrote his Epistle to the Galatians. Another
great troop, under a very mighty Bran, or chief,
who, in Latin, is called Brennus, even broke into
the great city of Rome itself. All the women and
children of Rome had been sent away, and only a
few brave men remained in the strong place called
the Capitol, on the top of the steepest hill. There
they stayed for seven months, while the Bran and
his Gauls kept the city, drank up the wine in the
long narrow jars, and drove in the pale-colored,
long-horned oxen from the meadow land round.
The Bran never did get into the Capitol, but the
Romans were obliged to pay him a great sum of
money before he would go away. However, this


The Old Kelts. 17

belongs to the history of Rome, and I only mean
further to say, that the tribe who came with him
sta3^ed seventeen years in tlie middle parts of Italy
before they were entirely beaten. When the Kelts
were beaten and saw there was no hope, they
generally came within the enclosure they had made
with their wagons, and slew their wives and chil-
dren, set fire to everything, and then killed them-
selves, that they might not be slaves. All the
north part of Italy be3^ond the River Po was filled
with Kelts, and there were man}' more of them
beyond the Alps. So it came about that from the
word Gael the Romans called the north of Italy
Gallia Cis-Alpina — Gauls on this side the Alps;
and the country westward Gallia Trans-Alpina, or
Gaul beyond the Alps, and all the people there
were known as Gauls, whether they were Gael or

Now, far up in Gaul, in the high ground that
divides the rivers Loire, Saone, and Rliine, there
were rocks full of metal, tin, copper, and some-
times a little silver. The clever sailors and mer-
chants called Phoenicians found these out, and
taught the Gauls to work the mines, and send the
metals in boats down the Rhone to the Mediterra-
nean sea. There is a beautiful bay where Gaul

18 Youny Folks'' History of France.

touches the Mediterranean, and not only the Phoe-
nicians found it out, but the Greeks. They carae
to live there, and built the cities of Marseilles,
Nice, Antibes, and several more. Lovely cities
the Greeks always built, with marble temples to
their gods, pillars standing on steps, and gardens
with statues in them, and theatres for seeing pla3^s
acted in the open air. Inside these towns and
close round them everything was beautiful; but
the Gauls who lived near learnt some Greek ways,
and were getting tamed. They coined money,
wrote in Greek letters, and bought and sold with
the Greeks; but their wilder brethren beyond did
not approve of this, and whenever they could catch
a Greek on his journey would kill him, rob him,
or make him prisoner. Sometimes, indeed, they
threatened to rob the cities, and the Greeks beo^o^ed
the Romans to protect them. So the Romans sent
an officer and an army, who built two new towns,
Aix and Narbonne, and made war on the Gauls,
who tried to hinder him. Then a messeno^er was
sent to the Roman camp. He was an immensely
tall man, with a collar and bracelets of gold, and
beside him came a bard singing the praises of his
clan, the Arverni. There were man}^ other attend-
ants ; but his chief guards were a pack of immense



The Old Kelts, 21

hounds, which came pacing after him in ranks like
soldiers. He bade the Romans, in the name of his
chief Bituitus, to leave the country, and cease to
luirm the Gauls. The Roman General turned his
back and would not listen ; so the messenger went
back in anger, and the Arverni prepared for battle.
When Bituitus saw the Roman army he thought it
so small that he said, '' This handfid of men will
hardly furnish food for my dogs." He was not
beaten in the battle, but just after it he was made
prisoner, and sent to Ital\', where he was kept a
captive all the rest of his life, while his son was
brought up in Ronuin learning and habits, and
then sent home to ride his clan, and teach them to
be friends with Rome. This was about one hun-
dred and fifty years before the coming of our
Blessed Lord.



B.C, (i7 — A.D. 79.

THE Romjins called the country they had taken
for themselves in Gaul the Province, and
Provence has always continued to be its name.
They filled it with colonies. A colony was a city
built by Romans, generally old soldiers, who
received a grant of land if they would defend it.


The Roman Conquest. 23

The first thing they did was to set up an altar.
Then they dug trenches the shape of their intended
city, marked out streets, and made little flat bricks,
everywhere after one pattern, with which the}'
built a temple, houses (each standing round a
paved court), a theatre, and public baths, with
causeways as straight as an arrow joining tlie cities
toofcther. Eacii town had two mao^istrates elected
every year, and a governor lived at the chief town
with a legion of the army to keep the country
round in order.

When the Romans once began in this way, they
always ended by gaining the whole country in
time. They took nearl}^ a hundred years to gain
Gaul. First there came a terrible inroad of some
wilder Kymry, whom the Romans called Cimbri,
from the west, with some Teutons, of that fiercer
German race I told you of. They broke into Gaul,
and defeated a G^reat Roman armv ; and there was
ten years' fighting v/ith them before the stout old
Roman, Caius iNIarius, beat them in a great battle
near Aix. All the men were killed in battle, and
the women killed their children and themselves
rather than fall into Roman hands. That was
B.C. 103; and Julius Csesar, the same who first
came to Britain, was nephew to Marius.

24 Young Folks' History of France,

He did not conquer Britain, but he did really
conquer Gaul. It would only confuse and puzzle
you now to tell you how it was done ; but by this
time many of the Gaulish tribes had come to be
friendly with the Romans and ask their help.
Some wanted help because they were quarrelling
with other tribes, and others because the Germans
behind them had squeezed a great tribe of Kymry
out of the Alps, and they wanted to come down
and make a settlement in Gaul. Julius Caesar
made short work of beating these new-comers, and
he beat the Germans who were also trying to get
into Gaul. Then he expected all the Gauls to
submit to him — not only those who lived round
the Province, and had always been friendly to
Rome, but all the free ones in the north. He was
one of the most wonderful soldiers who ever lived.
He gained first, all the east side. He subdued
the Belgse, who lived between the Alps and the
sea, all the Armoricans along the north, and then
the still wilder people on the coast towards the
Atlantic ocean.

But while he was away in the north, the Gaulish
chiefs in the south agreed that they would make
one great attempt to set their country free from
the enem}^ They resolved all to rise at once, and


The Roman Conquest. 25

put themselves under the command of the brave
young mountain chief of the Arverni, from whom
Auvergne was named. The Romans called his
name Vercingetorix ; and as it really was even
longer and harder to speak than this word, we will
call him so. He was not a wild shaggy savage like
Bituitus, but a graceful, spirited chief, who had
been trained to Roman manners, and knew their
ways of fighting. All in one night the Gauls rose.
Men stood on the hill-tops, and shouted from clan
to clan to rise up in arms. It was the depth of
winter, and Csesar was away resting in Italy ; but
back he came on the first tidings, and led his men
over six feet of snow, taking every Gallic town by
the way.

Vercingetorix saw that the wisest thing for the
Gauls to do would be to burn and lay waste the
land themselves, so that the Romans might find
nothing to eat. " It was sad," he said, " to see
burning houses, but worse to have wife and chil-
dren led into captivity." One city, that now
called Bourges, was left ; the inhabitants beseeched
him on their knees to spare it ; and it seemed to
be safe, for there was a river on one side and a bog
on all the rest, with only one narrow road across.
But in twenty-five days Csesar made his waj^ in.

26 Young Folks' History of France, '

and slew all he found there ; and then he followed
Vercingetorix to his own hills of Aiivergne, and
fought a battle, the only defeat the great Roman
captain ever met with ; indeed, he was obliged to
retreat from the face of the brave Arverni. They
followed him again, and fought another battle, in
which he was in great danger, and was forced even
to leave his sword in the hands of the Gauls, who
hung it up in a temple in thanksgiving to their
gods. But the Gauls were not so steady as they
were brave ; they fled, and all Vercingetorix could
do was to lead them to a great camp under the hill
of Alesia. He sent horsemen to rouse the rest of
Gaul, and shut himself up in a great enclosure
with his men. Caesar and the Romans came and
made another enclosure outside, eleven miles round,
so that no help, no food could come to them, and
they had only provisions for thirty days. Their
friends outside did try to break through to them,
but in vain ; they were beaten off ; and then brave
Vercingetorix offered to give himself up to the
Romans, provided the lives of the rest of the Gauls
were spared. Csesar gave his word that this should
be done. Accordingly, at the appointed hour the
gates of the Gallic camp opened. Out came Ver-
cingetorix in his richest armor, mounted on his

The Roman Conquest, 29

finest steed. He gallo[)ecl about, wheeled round
Dnce, then drawing np suddenly before Caesar's
seat, sprang to the ground, and laid his sword at
^he yictor's feet. Csesar was not touched. He
kept a cold, stern face ; ordered the gallant chief
into captivity, and kept him for six years, while
finishing other conquests, and then took him to
Rome, to walk in chains behind the car in which
the victorious general entered in triumph, with all
the standards taken from the Gauls displayed;
and then, with the other captives, this noble war-
rior was put to death in the dark vaults under the
hill of the Capitol.

With Vercingetorix ended the freedom of Gaul.
The Romans took possession of all the country,
3,nd made the cities like their own. The old clans
were broken up. The fighting men were enlisted
in the Roman army, and sent to fight as far away
as possible from home, and the chiefs thought it an
honor to be enrolled as Roman citizens ; they wore
the Roman tunic and toga, spoke and wrote Latin,
and, except among the Kymry of the far nortli-
kvest, the old Gaulish tongue was forgotten. Very
grand temples and amphitheatres still remain in
the Province of Roman building, especially at
Nismes, Aries, and Autun ; and a huge acqueduct,

30 Young Folks' History of France.

called the Pont du Gard, still stands across a
valley near Nismes, with 600 feet of three tier of
arcades, altogether 160 feet high. Roads made as
only Romans made them crossed hither and thither
throughout the country, and, except in the wilder'
and more distant pai'ts, to live in Gaul was very
like living in Home.

After Julius Csesar, the Romans had Emperors
at the head of their state, and some of these were
very fond of Gaul. But when the first twelve
who had some coiniection with Julius were all
dead, a Gaul named Julius Sabinus rose up and
called himself Emperor. The real Emperor, chosen
at Rome, named Vespasian, soon came and over-
threw his cause, and hunted him to his country
house. Flames burst out of it, and it was declared
that Sabinus had burnt himself there. But no ;
lie was safely hidden in a cave in the woods. No
one knew of it but his wife Eponina and one trusty
slave, and there they lived together for nine years,
and had two little sons. Eponina twice left him to
go to Rome to consult her friends whether they
could obtain a pardon for her husband; but Ves-
pasian was a stern man, and they saw no hope, so
she went back disappointed ; and the second time
she was watclied and followed, and Sabinus was

The Roman Conquest, 31

found. He was taken and chained, and carried to
Rome, and she and her two boys came with him.
jShe knelt before the Emperor, and besought his
pardon, saying that here were two more to plead
for their father. Tears came into Vespasian's eyes,
bnt he would not forgive, and the husband and
wife were both sentenced to die. The last thing
Eponina said before his judgment-seat was, that it
was better to die together than to be alive as such
an Emperor. Her two boys were taken care of,
and one of them lived long after in Greece, as far
away from his home as possible.




A.D. 100-400.

GAUL could not be free in her own way, but
the truth that maketh free was come to her.
The Druids, though their worship was cruel, had
better notions of the true God than the Romans
with their multitude of idols, and when they heard
more of the truth, many of them gladly embraced

The Conversion of Gaid. 33

it. The Province was so near Rome that very
soon after the Apostles had reached the great city,
they sent on to Gaul. The people in Provence
believe . tliat Lazarus and his two sisters came
thither, but this is not likely. However, the fiist
Bishop of Aries was Trophimus, and we may quite
believe him to have been the Ephesian who was
with St. Paul in his third journey, and was at
Jerusalem with him when he was made prisoner.
Trophimus brought a service-book with him very
like the one that St. John the Evangelist liad
drawn up for the Churches of Asia.

It uas to Vienne, one of these Roman cities,
that Pontius Pilate had been banished for his
cruelty. In tliis town and in the larger one at
Lyons there were many Christians, and their bishop
was Pothinus, Avho had been instructed by St.
John. It was many years before the Gallic Chris-
tians suffered any danger for their faith, not till
the year 177, when Pothinus was full ninety years

Then, under the Emperor Marcus Aurelius, a
governor was sent to the Province who was resolved
to put an end to Christianity. The difficulty was
that there Avere no crimes of which to accuse the
Christians. So he caused several slaves to be

34 Young Folks' History of France.

seized and put to torture, while they were asked
questions. There were two young girls among
them, Blandina and Biblis. Blandina was a weak,
delicate maiden, but whatever pain they gave her,
she still said, "I am a Christian, and no evil is

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