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Recently Published, iu 3 vols, post 8vo,



Preparing- for Publication, in 3 vols, post 8vo,



^g°* The Seventh Volume of the New and Illustrated Edition of


Will be published on the 1st of January, 1846, and will contain


Or, the tenants OF THE HEART.

This new and attractive Series of Mr. James' Works commenced on the 1st of
July, 1844, and the following Volumes have been already published : —

Vol. I. containing THE GIPSY ....

July 1st, 1844.
Oct. 1st, 1844.
Jan. 1st, 1845.
April 1st, 1845.
July 1st, 1845.

*»* The Third Volume, in addition to the usual Ulustration, contains
a new and liiglily-finished Portrait of the Author.

The following are extracts from a few of the favourable Reviews which have appeared

of this Series : —
Times. Atlas.

" Messrs. Smith, Elder and Co., of Comhill, have
just published the first volume of a New Edition of the
Works of this gentleman, which has the advantage of
the latest revisions and corrections of the author. . . .
The present edition is well got up, there are few errata,
the type is clear, sharp, and legible, and the size of the
volume convenient for the reader, and appropriate for
the shelves of a bookcase. The books will form a pleas-
ing addition to the collections of readers of modem
literature of the class to which they belong."

Iiiterary Gazette.

" We are glad to see our prognostication respecting
the New Edition of Mr. James' Works more than ful-
filled by the rapid absorption of a very large first edi-
tion, and a second in the course of speedy disappear-
ance. This is as it should be with a writer
vrai.semldance is always so perfect ; and even what he
invents so like truth, that we can never fancy we are
reading fiction, nor indeed are we, in the historical
portions of his publications, — and these form the far
greater division, — which are all drawn from diligent
research, deep .'<tudy, and elaborate comparison."

" This is a most admirable edition of the works of
this popular author, convenient in size, and handsome
in appearance. It, moreover, possesses the advantage
of being revised and corrected by the author, — no small
recommendations, since, the generality of Mr. James'
Works being connected with history, a careful perusal
of his productions increases their value, and renders
them a source of amusement, through the medium of


" This new and uniform edition of the works of this
justly popular author, at the price of scarcely a fourth
of the former editions, has brought them within the
reach of a numerous class of readers, who, though able
to appreciate their excellence, were unable witliout
inconvenience to purchase them at their original

Berkshire Clironicle.

" The publication will take its rank with the Eng-
lish classics next to the immortal series of the Waverley













" D'autres auteurs I'ont encore plus avili, (le roman,) en y melant les tableaux degoutant du
vice ; et tandis quo le premier avantage des fictions est de rassemblcr autoiir de I'liomine tout
ce qui, dans la nature, pent lui servir dc Ici.on on de modfile, on a imagine qu'on t irorait une
utilitc quelconque des peintures odieuses de mauvaises mcBm-3 ; comme si elles pouvaient jamais
laisser le coeiir qui les repousse, dans une situation aussi pure que le coeur qui les aurait toujours
ignorees. Mais an roman tel qu'on pent le concevoir, tel que nous en avona quelqucs meddles, est
une des plus belles productions de I'esprit humain, une de.s plus influentea sur la morale des indi-
vidus, qui doit former ensuite les moeurs publiques."— Madame de Stael. Essai sur les Fictions.

" Poca favilla gran flamma seconda:
Forse diretro a me, con miglior voci
Si prcghera, pcrchfi Cirra risponda."

Dante. I'aiadiso, Canto I.










rf * t

t e m -i t * »* •

V •' , - , J « J ' -

; t * t » * *

* J






My dear Scott,

In dedicating to you the following work as the tribute of
old friendship, and of sincere and well-founded esteem, allow me to
add a few words in explanation of the course I have pursued in the
composition. I do this, it is true, more for the public than for
yourself, as you were with me while it was in progress, and by your
good judgment confirmed my opinion of the mode in which the
subject ought to be treated.

The character of every person who plays a prominent part on the
great stage of the world is of course lauded by friends and decried
by adversaries at the time, and the mingled report comes down to
after ages. But the mists of prejudice are wafted away by the
breath of years. The character of the historian is considered in
connexion with those of the personages he has depicted, and allow-
ances are made for errors and wrong views on all sides : the greater
facts remain, in general, clear and distinct ; and from these, together
with those small traits which are rather let fall accidentally than re-
corded, by contemporaries, the estimate of history is formed.

J.,it,.> (»'J.« i<^S


There are some characters, however, which from various causes
remain obscure and doubtful through all time, and many which
have points in them that are never satisfactorily explained, pro-
ducing acts which cannot be accounted for ; like those waters
which have never been fathomed, though we know not whether
it be some undercurrent that we see not, or the profound depth
itself, which prevents the plumbed line from reaching the bottom.
Amongst the many acts recorded in the annals of the world, the
motives for which have never been ascertained, one of the most
extraordinary is that of Henry Duke of Guise, when, on the 12th
of May, 1588, the famous day of the barricades, he had the crown
of France within his grasp, and did not close his hand. Some have
called it weakness, some virtue, some moderation, some indecision ;
and in fact, whatever view we take of it, there are points in which
it is opposed to the general character of the Duke.

In the account of this transaction which I have given in the
following pages, I have rather attempted to narrate how the event
took place, than to put forth a theory regarding the motives. My
own opinion is, indeed, fixed, after diligent examination of every
contemporary account, that the motives were mixed. I do not be-
lieve that the Duke's moderation proceeded from indecision, for I
imagine that he had decided from the first not to dethrone the
King ; but I do believe that he might be, and was, much tempted
to usurp the throne, as the events of the day proceeded. Oppor-
tunity could not be without its temptation to a bold and ambitious
heart like his. Whether he would have remained master of his
own conduct, whether he would have been able to struggle against
his own desires and the wishes of the people, whether he would
have maintained his resolution to the end of that day, had the


King not escaped from Paris, is another question. Suffice it that
he resisted the temptation as long as the temptation existed ; and
that he did so deUberately is proved by his strictly prohibiting the
people from surrounding the royal residence, " lest it should com-
mit him too far." Upon this view of the case have I based my

In regard to the death of the Duke of Guise, I had but little
difficulty ; for the event is so amply and minutely detailed by con-
temporaries, that no doubt can exist in regard to any of the facts.
In the treatment of the story, however, I had to choose between
two courses* A French writer, or writer of the French school, in
order to concentrate the interest upon the Gmse, would most Hkely
have brought into a prominent point of view his criminal passion
for Madame de Noirmontier, and would have wrought it up with
sentiment till the feelings of the reader were enlisted in favour of
herself and the Duke.

I did not do this for two reasons. In the first place, it would
have been a violation of history to represent Madame de Noir-
montier as anything but a mere abandoned woman, as her amours
with Henry IV. and others clearly show. In the next place, I
consider it an insult to virtue to endeavour to excite interest for
vice. It was necessary, indeed, to introduce Madame de Noir-
montier, on account of the famous warning which she gave to
Guise on the night before his death ; but I have done so as briefly
as possible for the reasons I have just stated.

I have only further to say, that I know there is a French work
bearing the same title, or very nearly the same title, as this. I
have never seen that work, nor read any review of it, nor heard
any part of its contents, and therefore have no idea whatsoever of


how the story is there conducted. Doubtless very differently, and,
perhaps, much better than in the following pages ; but nevertheless,
I trust that the public will extend to them the same indulgence
which has been granted to my other works, and for which I am
most sincerely grateful.

To you, my dear Scott, I am also very grateful, for many a
happy hour, and many a pleasant day, and for many a trait which,
in our mutual intercourse, has given me the best view of human
nature, and added one to the few whom in this life we find to love
and to respect. Accept, then, this very slight testimony of such
feelings, and believe me ever.

Yours faithfully,

G. P. R. James.





It was as dark and sombre a morning, the sky was as gloomy, the
earth as dry and parched, as earth, sky, and morning ever appear in
the most northern climates. A dull grey expanse of leaden cloud
shut out the blue heaven, a hard black frost pinched up the ground,
the blades of grass stood stiff and rugged on the frozen soil, and
vague grey mists lay in all the hollows of the ground. U'he forests,
the manifold forests that then spread over the fair land of I''rance,
showed nothing but bare l)ranches, except where here and there the
yoke-elm or tenacious beech retained in patches its red and witheretl
leaves; while beneath the trees again, the ground vcas thickly car-
peted with the fallen honours of the past summer, mingled witli
hoar frost and thin snow. A chilliness more piercing than mere
frost pei-vaded the air ; and altogether the appearance was cheerless
and melancholy.

Such was the aspect of the day, though the scene was in the south
of France, at a spot which we shall leave for the present nameless,
when, at about seven o'clock in the morning — an hour at Avhich,
during that period of the year, the sun's rays are weak and j)ovvcr-
less — a tall, strong, florid man of about four-and-thirty years of age
was seen upon the edge of a wide wood, walking along cautiously,
step by step, and carefully bending down his eyes upon the withered
leaves that strewed his path, as if he sought for something of value
which he had dropped.

The wood, as we have said, was extensive, covering several miles
of imdulating ground, broken by rocks and dingles, and intersj)ersed
by more tlian one ])iece of water. It contained various kinds of


tree, as well as various sorts of soil ; but at the spot of which we now
speak, the wood was low and thin, gradually increasing in volume as
it rose along the slope of the adjacent hill, till it grew into a tangled
thicket, from which rose a number of tall trees, waving their grey
branches sadly in the wintry air. On a distant eminence, rising far
above the wood itself, might be seen towers, and turrets, and pin-
nacles, the abode of some of the lords of the land; and at the end
of a long glade, up which the man just mentioned was cautiously
stealing, as we have described, appeared a little cottage with one or
two curious outbuildings, which are not usually found attached to
the abodes of the agricultural population.

The features of this early wanderer in the woods were good, the
expression of his countenance frank ; and though poring so intently
upon the ground as he passed, there was nevertheless an air of
habitual cheerfulness in his countenance, which broke out in the
frequent smile, either at what was passing in his own thoughts, or
at something he observed amongst the withered leaves. He was
dressed in a plain suit of dark brownish grey, with a cap and feather
on his head, a sword by his side, and an immense winding horn
slung under his left arm ; and though at the present moment he
was without either horse or dogs, his whole dress and appearance
bespoke him one of the huntsmen of some neighbouring lord.

After walking on for about three or four hundred yards, he sud-
denly stopped at some traces on the ground, turned into the wood,
which in a particular line seemed disturbed and broken, and follow-
ing the marks, which denoted that some large object of the chase
had passed that way, he reached the thicker part of the wood,
where, to use his own expression, he felt sure the boar was lodged.

It would be both useless and tedious to accompany him in all the
perquisitions that he made round the thicket, in order to ascertain
that the animal had not again issued from its woody covert. He
satisfied himself, however, completely, that such was not the case,
and then paused, musing for a moment or two, till he was roused
from his reverie by the distant sounds of human voices and of horses'
feet, coming from the side of the glade in which we have first dis-
played him to the reader's eyes. He now hurried back as rapidly
as possible, and in a minute or two after stood uncovered in the
midst of a gay and glittering party, on which we must pause for a
few minutes, ere we proceed to describe the events of that morning.
There were about twenty persons present, but the greater num-
ber consisted of various attendants, such as were attached to the


household of all French noblemen of that period, under the names
of grooms, piqueurs, valets de chiens, chefs de relais, &c. Three
out of the group, however, are worthy of greater attention, not alone
because they were higher in rank, but because with them we shall
have to deal throughout the course of this tale, while most of the
others may well be forgotten. The eldest of the three bore the
robe of an ecclesiastic, though in his deportment, as he sat a spirited
and somewhat fretful horse, he seemed fully as well suited to play
the part of a gay cavalier as that of a sober churchman.

His features were fine, though not strongly marked ; the nose
straight and well cut ; the chin rounded ; the brow broad and high,
and the mouth well formed. But with all these traits of beauty,
there were one or two drawbacks, both in feature and expression,
which rendered his aspect by no means so prepossessing as it other-
wise might have been. The eyes, which were remarkably fine,
large, dark, and powerful, were sunk deep under the sharp cut,
overhanging brow, looking keenly oiit from below their long fringed
lids, as if in ambush for each unguarded glance or gesture of those
with whom he conversed. The lips, though, as we have said, well
formed, closed tight over the teeth, which were as white as snow,
never suffering them to appear, except when actually speaking.
Even then those lips parted but little, and gave one the idea of their
being, as it were, the gates of imprisoned thoughts, which opened
no farther than was necessary to give egress to those which they
were forced to set at liberty. The nostril, though it was finely
shaped, was even stiller and more motionless than the lips. No
moment of eagerness, no excited passion of the bosom, made that
nostril expand, and if it ever moved at all, it was but when a slight
irrepressible sneer upon the lip drew it up with a scornful elevation,
not the less cutting because it was but slight.

The age of this personage at the time we speak of might be
about forty-five ; and if one might judge by the clear paleness of his
complexion, a considerable ])ortion of his life had been spent in
intense study. The marks of his age were visible, too, in his beard
and mustachios, which had once been of the deepest black, but were
now thickly grizzled with grey. No sign, however, of any loss of
strength or vigour was apparent ; and though still and (piiet in his
demeanour, he seemed not at all disinclined to show, by an occasional
exercise of strength or agility, that stillness and quietude were with
him matters of choice and not of necessity. lie kept his horse a
very small pace behind those of his two younger companions ; but


4 HENRY OF guise; OR,

he so contrived it that this very act of deference should not have
the shghtcst appearance of humihty in it, but should rather seem
an expression of what he owed to his own age and character rather
than to their superior rank.

The other two were both young men in the very early outset of
life, and were so nearly of the same age, that it was difficult to say
which was the elder. Both were extremely handsome, both were
very powerfully and gracefully formed ; and the most extraordinary
similarity of features and of frame existed between them, so that it
would have been difficult to distinguish the one from the other,
had it not been that their complexions were entirely different. The
one was dark, the other fair : in one the hair curled over the brow
in large masses, as glossy as the wing of the raven ; in the other,
the same profuse and shining hair existed, but of a nut brown,
with here and there a gleam as if the sun shone upon it. The
eyes of the one were dark, but flashing and lustrous ; those of the
other of a deep hazel, and in them there mingled, with the bright
bold glances of fearless courage, an occasional expression of depth
and tenderness of feeling, which rendered the character of his
countenance as different from that of his brother as was his com-

Notwithstanding the great similarity that existed between them,
they were not, as may have been supposed, twins, the fairer of the
two being a year younger than his brother. They were both, in-
deed, as we have said, in their early youth, but their youth was
manly ; and though neither had yet seen three-and-twenty years,
the form of each Avas powerfid and fully developed, and the slight
pointed beard and sweeping mustachio were as completely marked
as the custom of the day admitted.

On the characters of the two we shall not pause in this place, as
they will show themselves hereafter ; and it is sufficient to say that
there was scarcely a word, or action, or gesture, which did not more
or less display a strong and remarkable difference between the hearts
and minds of the two. During their whole life, hitherto, notwith-
standing this difference, they had lived in the utmost friendship and
regard, without even any of those occasional quarrels which too often
disturb the harmony of families. Perhaps the secret of this might
be that the elder brother had less opportunity of domineering over
the younger than generally existed in the noble families of France,
for their mother had been an heiress of great possessions, and
according to the tenour of her contract of marriage with their father.


her feofs and riches fell on her death to her second son, leavino; him.
if anything, more powerful and wealthy than his elder brother.

The fortune of neither, however, though each was large, was of
such great extent as to place him amongst the few high and power-
ful families who at that time struggled for domination in the land of
their birth. The territory of each could bring two or three hundred
soldiers into the field in case of need : the wealth of each sufficed to
place him in the next rank to the governor of the province which
he inhabited ; but still their names stood not on the same list with
those of Epcrnon, Joyeuse, Montmorency, Guise, or Nemours ; and,
contented hitherto with the station which they enjoyed, neither they
themselves, nor any of their ancestors, had striven to obtain for
their house a distinction which, in those times, was, perhaps, more
perilous than either desiraljlc or honourable. They were neither of
them, indeed, without ambition, though that ambition was, of
course, modified l)y their several characters ; but it had been con-
trolled hitherto, perhaps, less by the powers of their own reason than
by the influence of the personage who now accompanied them, and
whom we have before described.

Not distantly connected with them by the ties of blood, the Abbe
de Boisgucrin had been called from Italy, where he had long re-
sided, to superintend their education shortly after their mother's
death. His own income, though not so small as that of many
another scion of a noble house in France, had, nevertheless, proved
insufficient through life to satisfy a man of expensive, though not
very ostentatious, tastes and habits; and the large cmolumciUs
offered to him, together with the prospects of advancement which
the station proposed held out, induced him without hesitation to
quit his residence in Rome, and revisit a country, the troublous
state of which gave the pros})cct of advancement to every dariug
and imscrupulous spirit.

It may seem strange to say, as we have said, that the influence of
an ambitious man had been directed to check their ambition : but
he was ambitious only for the attainment of certain ends, lie
valued not power merely as power, but for that which power uiight
command. Personal gratification was his object, though the pursuit
of that gratification, as far as the objects of sense went, was also
restrained, like his ambition, by other qualities and feelings. Thus,
as an ambitious man, at the time we speak of, he was neither fierce
nor grasping; as an epicurean, he was neither coarse nor insatiable ;
and yet with all this apparent — nay, real, moderation — there lay


■within his breast, unexcited and undeveloped, passions as strong and
fierce, desires as eager and as fiery, as ever burned within the heart
of man. He controlled them by skill and habit, he covered them, as
it were, with the dust and ashes of his profession ; but it needed
only an accidental breath to blow them into a flame, which, in turn,
would have given fire to every other aspiration and effort of his

He had found it in no degree difficult to obtain a complete
ascendancy over the minds of the two 3'oung men he was called
upon to govern. Their father had plunged deeply, after his wife's
death, into the wars and troubles of the times, and he left his two
sons entirely to the care and direction of the Abbe de Boisguerin.
Thus he had every opportunity that he could desire ; and he
brought to the task most extensive learning, which enabled him to
direct in everything the inferior teachers. His manners were
graceful, polished, and captivating ; his temper calm and um-uffled :
hiding his own thoughts and feehngs under an impenetrable
veil, never alluding to his past life or his future purposes, he
skilfully, nay, almost imperceptibly, made himself master of the
confidence of others, and gained every treasured secret of the
hearts around him, without giving anything in exchange. His
learning, his wisdom, his acuteness, his impenetrability, won respect
and reverence, and almost awe, from the two youths yet in their
boyhood : his courtesy, his kindness, his consideration for the errors
and the desires of their youth, gained greatly upon their regard ;
and their admiration and love were increased by some events which
took place towards their seventeenth and sixteenth years.

Online LibraryUnknown[The works : Revised & corrected by the author, with an introductory preface] (Volume 6) → online text (page 1 of 44)