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A Popular History of France from the Earliest Times, Volume 4
written by "Black, Robert, 1830?-1915"
...e should be put to death on the spot by men posted there for the purpose. It is even added that Francis II. was to strike the first blow. Catherine de' Medici, who was beginning to be disquieted at the arrogance and successes of the Lorraine princes, sent warning of this peril to the King of Navarre by Jacqueline de Longwy, Duchess of Montpensier; and, just as he was proceeding to the royal audience from which he was not sure to return, Anthony de Bourbon, who was wanting in head rather than in heart, said to Renty, one of his gentlemen, "If I die yonder, carry my blood-stained shirt to my wife and my son, and tell my wife to send it round to the foreign princes of Christendom, that they may avenge my death, as my son is not yet of sufficient age." We may remark that the wife was Jeanne d'Albret, and the son was to be Henry IV. According to the chroniclers, when Francis II. looked in the eyes of the man he was to strike, his fierce resolve died away: the King of Navarre retired, safe and sound, from the interview, and the Duke of Guise, irritated at the weakness of the king his master, muttered between his teeth, "'Tis the very whitest liver that ever was." In spite of De Thou's indorsement of this story, it is doubtful whether its authenticity can be admitted; if the interview between the two kings took place, prudence on the part of the King of Navarre seems to be quite as likely an explanation of the result as hesitation to become a murderer on the part of Francis II. One day Conde was playing cards with some officers on guard over him, when a servant of his who had been permitted to resume attendance on his master, pretending to approach him for the purpose of picking up a card, whispered in his ear, "Our gentleman is croqued." The prince, mastering his emotion, finished his game. He then found means of being f...

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