BLTC Press Titles

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Further Adventures of an Irish R. M.

Edith Somerville and Martin Ross

The Art of Worldly Wisdom

Baltasar Gracian

The Picture of Dorian Gray

Oscar Wilde

Paradoxes of the Highest Science

Eliphas Levi

Anecdotes of distinguished persons, 4

by W. Seward Salisbury


Catherine is represented as a Princess of a most majestic presence, and with great powers of pleasing in conversation, when she chose to exert them. Brantome represents her as being fond of buffoons, and always ready to laugh at their jokes; " for," adds he, " de son naturel "elle etoit joviale, et aimant a dire le mot. Her


afternoons (according to the fame Writer) were "always passed in embroidering and in working ** on silk, in which she greatly excelled."

Many satires were published against her: her usual method of treating their authors was to fay, "If these blockheads now did but know "half as much of me as I could tell them 1" When desired to punish them, she replied, "I "hope I have.a soul above revenge."

At the siege of Havre, she mounted on horseback at the head of her army, exposed herself to the fire of the cannon like the most veteran soldier, " and shewed not the least "symptoms of fear," fays Bran-tome, "when "the bullets flew about her. Her maids of "honour," adds he, "were not so well pleased "with this amusement." When desired by the Duke of Guise and the Constable du Montmorenci not to expose her person so much, "Have I not," replied Catherine, "more to ** lose than you, and do you think I have not "as much courage?"

A medal was struck of her with the fame in* scription as that on some of the coins of the Roman Empresses: "Catharina de Media's "Mater Cajirorum."

B 4 When

When one day she overheard some of the soldiers abusing her extremely, the Cardinal of Lorraine said he would order them immediately to be hung. "By no means," exclaimed the Princess: "I wish posterity to know, that a u woman, a queen, and an Italian, has once in * "her life got the better of her anger."

Catherine was extremely liberal, and a very generous Protectress of the Arts. How mortifying it is to human nature, that perfidy, cruelty, and impiety, should stain such a character!

The Deputies of the Reformed Religion in France treated with this Queen and her Council, soon after the horrid massacre of the persons of their persuasion on the day of St. Bartholomew. The parties had agreed upon the articles of the treaty, and it only remained to give security on the side of the Court for the performance of them. Many methods were proposed, and as often rejected by the Deputies: at last the Queen angrily said, "Why sure! the "word of a King is a sufficient security, is it "not?" One of the Deputies answered, "No, ** by Saint Bartholomew! Madam."

A Comet

A Comet appearing in France during the time of the League, seemed to affect the spirits and the chearfulness of Catharine. This occasioned the following Lines:

Spargeret horrendas cum trijlis in athere crines
Venturique Jar et figna Comet a malt,

Eccesua Regina timens male confcia vita
Credidit invifum poscere fata caput.

Sfhfid Regina times? Namque hac malafi qua minantury
Longa timenda tua eji; non tua vita brevis.
Whilst thro' the wide expanse of liquid air
Yon Comet trails its horrid fell of hair,
The impious Catherine with remorse and dread
Sees the dire Fates demand her hated head.
If to portend some ill the star appear,
Be calm, great Princess, and disdain to fear;
Heaven in its utmost vengeance cannot give
A curse so baleful as to let thee live.

** I have often," fays Dupleffis Mornay, in his Notes upon the History of Thuanus, " heard "Henry the Fourth fay, that at the time the "Cardinal of Lorraine died, he was with the "Queen his Mother-in-law, Catherine of Me"dicis, in her Cabinet, with whom he was M reading the office of Vespers, verse by verse; v and that she, lifting up her head, suddenly "cried out that she saw the Cardinal of Lor** raine, who made a sign with his finger to her, **- in the gesture of a person threatening her,

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