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weakness of the king and the queen mother in permitting these concessions, and they formed a scheme called the League to set aside the reigning sovereign and transfer the crown to Henry of Guise.

Henry Duke of Guise, Henry with the Scar they called him, was a popular favourite. He was tall and stately in appearance, with a dark, martial face and expressive eyes; a physiognomy made still more expressive by an arquebus-shot which had damaged his left cheek. He was the idol of the Parisian shopkeepers, and the fishwomen doated on him as something more than mortal. They saw in him the defender of the old

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religion and the uncompromising foe of all new-fangled doctrines. He certainly possessed this advantage over the reigning king-he was a man. But for Henry with the Scar and Madame League-as the great Spanish Catholic conspiracy against the liberties of France, England, and the Netherlands was affectionately termed by the Paris populace-honest Catholics would fare no better in France than they did in England. As to what they suffered in England the printsellers instructed the populace in the matter by coarse caricature engravings of supposed cruelties inflicted by Queen Elizabeth on her Romish subjects. But although Henry of Guise was the ostensible head of the League, its great chief was in reality

Philip of Spain; Spanish counsel, Spanish ducats, Spanish promises were the real machinery, and Catherine de Medici, ostensibly supporting the 'frivolous king, was in reality playing into the hands of Henry of Guise, Philip of Spain, and the Pope of Rome.

"He was the man to prove, too,

On the death of the Duke of Anjou, the king's brother—the Anjou who was almost King of the Netherlands-new life was given to the civil dissensions which disturbed France, for it left Henry of Navarre, the brave, merry-hearted king who had been welcomed into the world by a gay song and a draught of Gascon-heir to the crown. He was a Huguenot, a stout, staunch Protestant. for the instruction of the patient letter-writer of the Escurial, that the crown of France was to be won with foot in stirrups and carbine in hand, rather than to be caught by the weaving and casting of the most intricate nets of diplomatic intrigue though thoroughly weighted with Mexican gold." This prince had been early trained to regard the Spaniards as his bitterest enemies enemies on whom an heirloom of wrong was to be avenged. His education had been of the roughest. Barefooted and bareheaded he had been allowed to wander among the peasantry of Berne, to climb its mountains and rocks, to grow as rugged as a bear and as nimble as a kid, to feed on black bread, beef, and garlic, to read the Bible and to scorn a lie. He could ride, and shoot, and break a lance with any man, could do with less food and less sleep than most men, and was in every way qualified to play a chivalrous part in the great drama of history. With his uncle Condé, and Admiral Coliguay, and Louis of Nassau, he had studied the art of war-in the battle field. In a sort of State imprisonment after the Bartholomew Massacre, at Paris, he had learned a little of the subtlety of courts. Henry of Guise had endeavoured to ascertain his exact sentiments, had courted his society, had written many a letter to him with no other inscription than "to my master," and many a letter had he received in reply "to my gossip." But the wily duke with all his cunning was an unequal match for the simple-hearted Bernese, who saw through him and gave him no advantage, so that, finding himself foiled, Henry of the Scar became the bitterest enemy of Henry of Navarre, and more especially when there was a probability of his ascending the throne of France.

"Of all the princes that stood between him and the throne, there was none remaining save the helpless, childless, superannuated youth who was its present occupant. Henry of Navarre was legitimate heir to the crown of France. 'Espoir' was now in letters of light upon his shield; but he

knew that his path to greatness led through manifold dangers, and that it was only at the head of the Huguenot chivalry that he could cut his way.

"He was the leader of the nobles of Gascony, Dauphiny, and Guienne, in their mountain fastnesses; of the weavers, cutlers, and artizans in their thriving manufacturing and trading towns. It was not Spanish gold, but carbines and cutlasses, bows and bills, which could bring him to the throne of his ancestors. And thus he stood the chieftain of that great austere party of Huguenots, the men who went on their knees before the battle, beating their breasts with their iron gauntlets and singing in full

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chorus a psalm of David before smiting the Philistines hip and thigh. Their chieftain-scarcely their representative-fit to lead his Puritans in battle field, was hardly a model for them elsewhere. Yet though profligate in one sense he was temperate in every other. In food, and wine, and sleep he was always moderate. Subtle and crafty in self-defence, he retained something of his old love of truth, of his hatred for liars. Hardly generous, he was a friend of justice, while economy in a wandering prince like himself was a necessary virtue, of which France was one day to feel the beneficent action. Reckless and headstrong in appearance, he was in truth the most careful of men. On the religious question, most cautious

of all, he always left the door open behind him, disclaimed all bigotry of opinion, and earnestly implored the Romanists to seek not his destruction but his instruction. Always open to conviction on the subject of his faith, he repudiated the appellation of heretic. A creed, he said, was not to be changed like a shirt, but only on due deliberation and under spiritual advice. In his secret heart he probably regarded the two religions as his chargers, and was ready to mount alternately the one or the other as each seemed the more likely to bear him safely in the battle."

No man saw more clearly-or, at all events, with more interest-the anarchy into which France, between these three Henries, was gradually sinking, than Philip of Spain. He felt that he must first make sure of France before he again attempted an invasion of England, or could hope completely to subjugate the Netherlands.

The state of France became every day more and more perplexing. A hundred different plots were hatching; couriers riding hither and thither with secret despatches; hired bravoes ready to kill sometimes Henry the King, sometimes Henry of the Scar, sometimes Henry of Navarre; all the foundations of society seemed to have given way; and the Queen Catherine de' Medici, who had been playing a life-long game, found all the cards going against her.

Henry III. dreaded the Duke of Guise; he felt that he was dangerous, and would fain have kept him off, or have knocked him like a mad dog on the head, by deputy; but Guise was fearless, the crown was at stake, and who shall be king hereafter was freely discussed in the presence of the monarch. Henry heard that Guise with an army was approaching Paris, and forthwith sent forth a courier to forbid him coming. But the royal exchequer was empty, the courier did not receive his fee, and failed to deliver the message, so Guise came on, banners displayed, and weapons glittering in the light; he was welcomed by the Parisians, the traders and the market women thronged about him to give him a hearty reception. Henry III. sent for four thousand of his Swiss guards; but at their appearance the whole city broke forth in insurrection, the streets were unpaved, the windows piled with stones, chains were stretched and barricades erected. The royal troops were invested and attacked. Foremost in the interests of the League and in opposition to Henry III. were the Sixteen, a faction so called on account of its affairs being managed by sixteen members, one for each division of Paris-a faction which asserted the doctrines of the League to their extreme, who adopted what in

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