BLTC Press Titles


available for Kindle at Amazon.com


Tao Te Ching

Lao Tzu, James Legge (trans.)


The Haunted Bookshop

Christopher Morely


The Count of Monte Cristo

Alexandre Dumas


Darby O'Gill and the Little People

Hermenie Templeton Kavanagh


La dame de Monsoreau

by Alexandre Dumas

Excerpt:

On the evening of a Sunday in the year 1578, a splendid fete was given in the magnificent hotel just built opposite the Louvre, on the other side of the water, by the family of Montmorency, who, allied to the royalty of France, held themselves equal to princes. This fete was to celebrate the wedding of Francois d'Epinay de Saint-Luc, a great friend and favorite of King Henri III., with Jeanne de Cosse-Brissac, daughter of the marshal of that name.

The banquet had taken place at the Louvre; and the king, who had been with much difficulty induced to consent to the marriage, had appeared at the feast with a stern expression of countenance not at all appropriate to the occasion. His costume was in harmony with his face; he wore that suit of deep chestnut in which Clouet has presented him to us at the wedding of Joyeuse. And this royal spectre, solemn and majestic, had chilled all the spectators, but, above all, the young bride, at whom he cast many angry glances. The reason of all this was known to every one, but was one of those court secrets of which no one likes to speak. Vol. i. — 1

Scarcely was the repast finished, when the king had risen abruptly, thereby forcing every one to do the same. Then Saint-Luc had given a long look to his wife, as if to draw courage from her eyes, and approaching the king had said, "Sire, will your Majesty do me the honor to accept the fete which I wish to give to you this evening at the Hotel de Montmorency 1" This was said in an imploring tone, but Henri, with a voice betraying both vexation and anger, had replied, —

"Yes, Monsieur, we will go, although you certainly do not merit this proof of friendship on our part."

Then Madame de Saint-Luc had humbly thanked the king, but ho had turned his back without replying.

"Is the king angry with you 1" asked the young wife of her husband.

"I will explain it to you later, my love, when this anger shall have passed away."

"And will it pass away 1"

"It must."

Mademoiselle de Brissac was not yet sufficiently Madame de Saint-Luc to insist further; therefore she repressed her curiosity, promising herself to satisfy it at a more favorable time.

They were therefore expecting Henri III. at the H6tel de Montmorency at the moment in which our story commences. It was already eleven o'clock, and the king had not arrived. Suint-Luc had invited all the king's friends and all his:own, and the princes and their favorites, particularly those of our old acquaintance the Due d'Alencon, who on the accession of Henri III. had become Due d'Anjou. But the Due d'Anjou had not been present at the banquet in the Louvre, nor did it appear that he would attend the f6te at the H6tel de Montmorency.

As to the King and Queen of Navarre, they were, as we have said in a former work, safe at Navarre; and there they made open opposition to the king, fighting at the head of the Huguenots.

The Due d'Anjou, according to his custom, also made opposition, but an opposition hidden and treacherous, in which he took care to keep himself out of sight, pushing forward those of his friends who had not been warned by the example of La Mole and Coconnas, whose terrible death our readers probably have not forgotten. Of course, his favorites and those of the king lived in a state of antagonism, which brought on rencontres two or three times a month, in which it was rare that some one was not killed or badly wounded.

As for Catherine, she was at the height of her wishes; her favorite son was on the throne, and she reigned through him, while she pretended to care no more for the things of this world, and to be concerned only for the salvation of her soul.

Saint-Luc, very uneasy at the absence of all the royal family, tried to reassure his father-in-law, who was much distressed at this menacing absence. Convinced, like every one else, of the friendship of Henri for Saint-Luc, he had believed he was allying himself to royal favor; and now it began to look as if his daughter had, on the contrary, married something like a disgrace. SaintLuc tried hard to inspire in him an assurance which he did not feel himself; and his friends, Maugiron, Schomberg, and Quelus, clothed in their most magnificent costumes, stiff in their splendid doublets, with enormous frills, added to his annoyance by their ironical lamentations.


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