Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘religion,’ Category

This is to highlight the great work done by Project Gutenberg. Thanks to them great literary works that are in public domain are available for those who care to read them. Dumas’s novels certainly whetted my appetite for reading history. I read Marguerite de Valois and its sequel Chicot the Jester in my adolescent years. Then I read an excellent biography on Catherine Medici by Leonie Frieda. Lately I have been reading the memoirs of La Reine Margot, an interesting, intimate study of Court life in one of the fascinating but dark periods of France.
History is the blind spot of man who wants to create history, For all his understanding of the events that are in full flow and in his eagerness to make them suit his own needs he makes news. But has he escaped the mistakes that happened in another time and another place? No the early modern French history shows our inability so clearly.
When one reads the six religious wars(1562-1629) and the Massacre on the night of St. Bartholomew one can well understand the present intolerance that exists in our midst. Religion didn’t make any tolerant then as now. The pulpit in the Churches as now as from the mosques is a place to spew hate; mullahs speak for their prophets and is Islam any better for it? Popes wash feet on special days to show humility. But still rest of their days they are stuck to the seat of Satan making appropriate sounds to show love of God. A plague on both houses, I say.B.

MARGUERITE DE
VALOIS BY ALEXANDRE
DUMAS….

NEW YORK, THOMAS Y.
CROWELL & COMPANY,
PUBLISHERS

COPYRIGHT, 1900,
BY THOMAS Y. CROWELL & CO.

Title: Marguerite de Valois

Author: Alexandre Dumas

Release Date: September 2, 2010 [EBook #33609]

Language: English

Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1

The Project Gutenberg EBook of Marguerite de Valois, by Alexandre Dumas

This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with
almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or
re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included
with this eBook or online at http://www.gutenberg.org
Produced by Chuck Greif and the
Online Distributed Proofreading Team at http://www.pgdp.net

CONTENTS.

CHAPTER PAGE

I. MONSIEUR DE GUISE’S LATIN 1

II. THE QUEEN OF NAVARRE’S BEDCHAMBER. 13

III. THE POET-KING 25

IV. THE EVENING OF THE 24TH OF AUGUST, 1572 36

V. OF THE LOUVRE IN PARTICULAR, AND OF VIRTUE IN GENERAL 44

VI. THE DEBT PAID 53

VII. THE NIGHT OF THE 24TH OF AUGUST, 1572 64

VIII. THE MASSACRE 78

IX. THE MURDERERS 89

X. DEATH, MASS, OR THE BASTILLE 102

XI. THE HAWTHORN OF THE CEMETERY OF THE INNOCENTS 114

XII. MUTUAL CONFIDENCES 125

XIII. HOW THERE ARE KEYS WHICH OPEN DOORS THEY ARE NOT MEANT FOR 132

XIV. THE SECOND MARRIAGE NIGHT 142

XV. WHAT WOMAN WILLS, GOD WILLS 150

XVI. A DEAD ENEMY’S BODY ALWAYS SMELLS SWEET 164

XVII. MAÎTRE AMBROISE PARÉ’S CONFRÈRE 176

XVIII. THE GHOSTS 183

XIX. THE ABODE OF MAÎTRE RÉNÉ, PERFUMER TO THE QUEEN MOTHER 193

XX. THE BLACK HENS 204

XXI. MADAME DE SAUVE’S APARTMENT 210

XXII. “SIRE, YOU SHALL BE KING” 219

XXIII. A NEW CONVERT 224

XXIV. THE RUE TIZON AND THE RUE CLOCHE PERCÉE 236

XXV. THE CHERRY-COLORED CLOAK 248

XXVI. MARGARITA 257

XXVII. THE HAND OF GOD 263

XXVIII. THE LETTER FROM ROME 268

XXIX. THE DEPARTURE 274

XXX. MAUREVEL 280

XXXI. THE HUNT 284

XXXII. FRATERNITY 293

XXXIII. THE GRATITUDE OF KING CHARLES IX 300

XXXIV. MAN PROPOSES BUT GOD DISPOSES 306

XXXV. A NIGHT OF KINGS 316

XXXVI. THE ANAGRAM 324

XXXVII. THE RETURN TO THE LOUVRE 329

XXXVIII. THE GIRDLE OF THE QUEEN MOTHER 340

XXXIX. PROJECTS OF REVENGE 348

XL. THE ATRIDES 362

XLI. THE HOROSCOPE 372

XLII. CONFIDENCES 379

XLIII. THE AMBASSADORS 389

XLIV. ORESTES AND PYLADES 395

XLV. ORTHON 404

XLVI. THE INN OF LA BELLE ÉTOILE 415

XLVII. DE MOUY DE SAINT PHALE 423

XLVIII. TWO HEADS FOR ONE CROWN 430

XLIX. THE TREATISE ON HUNTING 441

L. HAWKING 448

LI. THE PAVILION OF FRANÇOIS I 456

LII. THE EXAMINATION 464

LIII. ACTÉON 473

LIV. THE FOREST OF VINCENNES 479

LV. THE FIGURE OF WAX 486

LVI. THE INVISIBLE BUCKLERS 497

LVII. THE JUDGES 503

LVIII. THE TORTURE OF THE BOOT 512

LIX. THE CHAPEL 520

LX. THE PLACE SAINT JEAN EN GRÈVE 525

LXI. THE HEADSMAN’S TOWER 530

LXII. THE SWEAT OF BLOOD 538

LXIII. THE DONJON OF THE PRISON OF VINCENNES 542

LXIV. THE REGENCY 547

LXV. THE KING IS DEAD! LONG LIVE THE KING! 551

LXVI. EPILOGUE 556

MARGUERITE DE VALOIS.

CHAPTER I.

MONSIEUR DE GUISE’S LATIN.

On Monday, the 18th of August, 1572, there was a splendid festival at
the Louvre.
The ordinarily gloomy windows of the ancient royal residence were
brilliantly lighted, and the squares and streets adjacent, usually so
solitary after Saint Germain l’Auxerrois had struck the hour of nine,
were crowded with people, although it was past midnight.

The vast, threatening, eager, turbulent throng resembled, in the
darkness, a black and tumbling sea, each billow of which makes a roaring
breaker; this sea, flowing through the Rue des Fossés Saint Germain and
the Rue de l’Astruce and covering the quay, surged against the base of
the walls of the Louvre, and, in its refluent tide, against the Hôtel de
Bourbon, which faced it on the other side.

In spite of the royal festival, and perhaps even because of the royal
festival, there was something threatening in the appearance of the
people, for no doubt was felt that this imposing ceremony which called
them there as spectators, was only the prelude to another in which they
would participate a week later as invited guests and amuse themselves
with all their hearts.

The court was celebrating the marriage of Madame Marguerite de Valois,
daughter of Henry II. and sister of King Charles IX., with Henry de
Bourbon, King of Navarre. In truth, that very morning, on a stage
erected at the entrance to Notre-Dame, the Cardinal de Bourbon had
united the young couple with the usual ceremonial observed at the
marriages of the royal daughters of France.

This marriage had astonished every one, and occasioned much surmise to
certain persons who saw clearer than others. They found it difficult to
understand the union of two parties who hated each other so thoroughly
as did, at this moment, the Protestant party and the Catholic party; and
they wondered how the young Prince de Condé could forgive the Duc
d’Anjou, the King’s brother, for the death of his father, assassinated
at Jarnac by Montesquiou. They asked how the young Duc de Guise could
pardon Admiral de Coligny for the death of his father, assassinated at
Orléans by Poltrot de Méré.

Moreover, Jeanne de Navarre, the weak Antoine de Bourbon’s courageous
wife, who had conducted her son Henry to the royal marriage awaiting
him, had died scarcely two months before, and singular reports had been
spread abroad as to her sudden death. It was everywhere whispered, and
in some places said aloud, that she had discovered some terrible secret;
and that Catharine de Médicis, fearing its disclosure, had poisoned her
with perfumed gloves, which had been made by a man named Réné, a
Florentine deeply skilled in such matters. This report was the more
widely spread and believed when, after this great queen’s death, at her
son’s request, two celebrated physicians, one of whom was the famous
Ambroise Paré, were instructed to open and examine the body, but not the
skull. As Jeanne de Navarre had been poisoned by a perfume, only the
brain could show any trace of the crime (the one part excluded from
dissection). We say crime, for no one doubted that a crime had been
committed.

This was not all. King Charles in particular had, with a persistency
almost approaching obstinacy, urged this marriage, which not only
reëstablished peace in his kingdom, but also attracted to Paris the
principal Huguenots of France. As the two betrothed belonged one to the
Catholic religion and the other to the reformed religion, they had been
obliged to obtain a dispensation from Gregory XIII., who then filled the
papal chair. The dispensation was slow in coming, and the delay had
caused the late Queen of Navarre great uneasiness. She one day expressed
to Charles IX. her fears lest the dispensation should not arrive; to
which the King replied:

“Have no anxiety, my dear aunt. I honor you more than I do the Pope,
and I love my sister more than I fear him. I am not a Huguenot, neither
am I a blockhead; and if the Pope makes a fool of himself, I will myself
take Margot by the hand, and have her married to your son in some
Protestant meeting-house!”

This speech was soon spread from the Louvre through the city, and, while
it greatly rejoiced the Huguenots, had given the Catholics something to
think about; they asked one another, in a whisper, if the King was
really betraying them or was only playing a comedy which some fine
morning or evening might have an unexpected ending.

Charles IX.’s conduct toward Admiral de Coligny, who for five or six
years had been so bitterly opposed to the King, appeared particularly
inexplicable; after having put on his head a price of a hundred and
fifty thousand golden crowns, the King now swore by him, called him his
father, and declared openly that he should in future confide the conduct
of the war to him alone. To such a pitch was this carried that Catharine
de Médicis herself, who until then had controlled the young prince’s
actions, will, and even desires, seemed to be growing really uneasy, and
not without reason; for, in a moment of confidence, Charles IX. had said
to the admiral, in reference to the war in Flanders,

“My father, there is one other thing against which we must be on our
guard–that is, that the queen, my mother, who likes to poke her nose
everywhere, as you well know, shall learn nothing of this undertaking;
we must keep it so quiet that she will not have a suspicion of it, or
being such a mischief-maker as I know she is, she would spoil all.”

Now, wise and experienced as he was, Coligny had not been able to keep
such an absolute secret; and, though he had come to Paris with great
suspicions, and albeit at his departure from Chatillon a peasant woman
had thrown herself at his feet, crying, “Ah! sir, our good master, do
not go to Paris, for if you do, you will die–you and all who are with
you!”–these suspicions were gradually lulled in his heart, and so it
was with Téligny, his son-in-law, to whom the King was especially kind
and attentive, calling him his brother, as he called the admiral his
father, and addressing him with the familiar “thou,” as he did his best
friends.

The Huguenots, excepting some few morose and suspicious spirits, were
therefore completely reassured. The death of the Queen of Navarre passed
as having been caused by pleurisy, and the spacious apartments of the
Louvre were filled with all those gallant Protestants to whom the
marriage of their young chief, Henry, promised an unexpected return of
good fortune. Admiral Coligny, La Rochefoucault, the young Prince de
Condé, Téligny,–in short, all the leaders of the party,–were
triumphant when they saw so powerful at the Louvre and so welcome in
Paris those whom, three months before, King Charles and Queen Catharine
would have hanged on gibbets higher than those of assassins.

The Maréchal de Montmorency was the only one who was missing among all
his brothers, for no promise could move him, no specious appearances
deceive him, and he remained secluded in his château de l’Isle Adam,
offering as his excuse for not appearing the grief which he still felt
for his father, the Constable Anne de Montmorency, who had been killed
at the battle of Saint Denis by a pistol-shot fired by Robert Stuart.
But as this had taken place more than three years before, and as
sensitiveness was a virtue little practised at that time, this unduly
protracted mourning was interpreted just as people cared to interpret
it.

However, everything seemed to show that the Maréchal de Montmorency was
mistaken. The King, the Queen, the Duc d’Anjou, and the Duc d’Alençon
did the honors of the royal festival with all courtesy and kindness.

The Duc d’Anjou received from the Huguenots themselves well-deserved
compliments on the two battles of Jarnac and Montcontour, which he had
gained before he was eighteen years of age, more precocious in that than
either Cæsar or Alexander, to whom they compared him, of course placing
the conquerors of Pharsalia and the Issus as inferior to the living
prince. The Duc d’Alençon looked on, with his bland, false smile, while
Queen Catharine, radiant with joy and overflowing with honeyed phrases,
congratulated Prince Henry de Condé on his recent marriage with Marie de
Clèves; even the Messieurs de Guise themselves smiled on the formidable
enemies of their house, and the Duc de Mayenne discoursed with M. de
Tavannes and the admiral on the impending war, which was now more than
ever threatened against Philippe II.

In the midst of these groups a young man of about nineteen years of age
was walking to and fro, his head a little on one side, his ear open to
all that was said. He had a keen eye, black hair cut very close, thick
eyebrows, a nose hooked like an eagle’s, a sneering smile, and a growing
mustache and beard. This young man, who by his reckless daring had first
attracted attention at the battle of Arnay-le-Duc and was the recipient
of numberless compliments, was the dearly beloved pupil of Coligny and
the hero of the day. Three months before–that is to say, when his
mother was still living–he was called the Prince de Béarn, now he was
called the King of Navarre, afterwards he was known as Henry IV.

From time to time a swift and gloomy cloud passed over his brow;
unquestionably it was at the thought that scarce had two months elapsed
since his mother’s death, and he, less than any one, doubted that she
had been poisoned. But the cloud was transitory, and disappeared like a
fleeting shadow, for they who spoke to him, they who congratulated him,
they who elbowed him, were the very ones who had assassinated the brave
Jeanne d’Albret.

Some paces distant from the King of Navarre, almost as pensive, almost
as gloomy as the king pretended to be joyous and open-hearted, was the
young Duc de Guise, conversing with Téligny. More fortunate than the
Béarnais, at two-and-twenty he had almost attained the reputation of his
father, François, the great Duc de Guise. He was an elegant gentleman,
very tall, with a noble and haughty look, and gifted with that natural
majesty which caused it to be said that in comparison with him other
princes seemed to belong to the people. Young as he was, the Catholics
looked up to him as the chief of their party, as the Huguenots saw
theirs in Henry of Navarre, whose portrait we have just drawn. At first
he had borne the title of Prince de Joinville, and at the siege of
Orléans had fought his first battle under his father, who died in his
arms, denouncing Admiral Coligny as his assassin. The young duke then,
like Hannibal, took a solemn oath to avenge his father’s death on the
admiral and his family, and to pursue the foes to his religion without
truce or respite, promising God to be his destroying angel on earth
until the last heretic should be exterminated. So with deep astonishment
the people saw this prince, usually so faithful to his word, offering
his hand to those whom he had sworn to hold as his eternal enemies, and
talking familiarly with the son-in-law of the man whose death he had
promised to his dying father.

But as we have said, this was an evening of astonishments.

Indeed, an observer privileged to be present at this festival, endowed
with the knowledge of the future which is fortunately hidden from men,
and with that power of reading men’s hearts which unfortunately belongs
only to God, would have certainly enjoyed the strangest spectacle to be
found in all the annals of the melancholy human comedy.

But this observer who was absent from the inner courts of the Louvre was
to be found in the streets gazing with flashing eyes and breaking out
into loud threats; this observer was the people, who, with its
marvellous instinct made keener by hatred, watched from afar the shadows
of its implacable enemies and translated the impressions they made with
as great clearness as an inquisitive person can do before the windows of
a hermetically sealed ball-room. The music intoxicates and governs the
dancers, but the inquisitive person sees only the movement and laughs at
the puppet jumping about without reason, because the inquisitive person
hears no music.

The music that intoxicated the Huguenots was the voice of their pride.

The gleams which caught the eyes of the Parisians that midnight were the
lightning flashes of their hatred illuminating the future.

And meantime everything was still festive within, and a murmur softer
and more flattering than ever was at this moment pervading the Louvre,
for the youthful bride, having laid aside her toilet of ceremony, her
long mantle and flowing veil, had just returned to the ball-room,
accompanied by the lovely Duchesse de Nevers, her most intimate friend,
and led by her brother, Charles IX., who presented her to the principal
guests.

The bride was the daughter of Henry II., was the pearl of the crown of
France, was MARGUERITE DE VALOIS, whom in his familiar tenderness for
her King Charles IX. always called “_ma soeur Margot_,” “my sister
Margot.”

Assuredly never was any welcome, however flattering, more richly
deserved than that which the new Queen of Navarre was at this moment
receiving. Marguerite at this period was scarcely twenty, and she was
already the object of all the poets’ eulogies, some of whom compared her
to Aurora, others to Cytherea; she was, in truth, a beauty without rival
in that court in which Catharine de Médicis had assembled the loveliest
women she could find, to make of them her sirens.

Marguerite had black hair and a brilliant complexion; a voluptuous eye,
veiled by long lashes; delicate coral lips; a slender neck; a graceful,
opulent figure, and concealed in a satin slipper a tiny foot. The
French, who possessed her, were proud to see such a lovely flower
flourishing in their soil, and foreigners who passed through France
returned home dazzled with her beauty if they had but seen her, and
amazed at her knowledge if they had discoursed with her; for Marguerite
was not only the loveliest, she was also the most erudite woman of her
time, and every one was quoting the remark of an Italian scholar who had
been presented to her, and who, after having conversed with her for an
hour in Italian, Spanish, Latin, and Greek, had gone away saying:

“To see the court without seeing Marguerite de Valois is to see neither
France nor the court.”

Thus addresses to King Charles IX. and the Queen of Navarre were not
wanting. It is well known that the Huguenots were great hands at
addresses. Many allusions to the past, many hints as to the future, were
adroitly slipped into these harangues; but to all such allusions and
speeches the King replied, with his pale lips and artificial smiles:

“In giving my sister Margot to Henry of Navarre, I give my sister to all
the Protestants of the kingdom.”

This phrase assured some and made others smile, for it had really a
double sense: the one paternal, with which Charles IX. would not load
his mind; the other insulting to the bride, to her husband, and also to
him who said it, for it recalled some scandalous rumors with which the
chroniclers of the court had already found means to smirch the nuptial
robe of Marguerite de Valois.

However, M. de Guise was conversing, as we have said, with Téligny; but
he did not pay to the conversation such sustained attention but that he
turned away somewhat, from time to time, to cast a glance at the group
of ladies, in the centre of whom glittered the Queen of Navarre. When
the princess’s eye thus met that of the young duke, a cloud seemed to
over-spread that lovely brow, around which stars of diamonds formed a
tremulous halo, and some agitating thought might be divined in her
restless and impatient manner.

The Princess Claude, Marguerite’s eldest sister, who had been for some
years married to the Duc de Lorraine, had observed this uneasiness, and
was going up to her to inquire the cause, when all stood aside at the
approach of the queen mother, who came forward, leaning on the arm of
the young Prince de Condé, and the princess was thus suddenly separated
from her sister. There was a general movement, by which the Duc de Guise
profited to approach Madame de Nevers, his sister-in-law, and
Marguerite.

Madame de Lorraine, who had not lost sight of her sister, then remarked,
instead of the cloud which she had before observed on her forehead, a
burning blush come into her cheeks. The duke approached still nearer,
and when he was within two steps of Marguerite, she appeared rather to
feel than see his presence, and turned round, making a violent effort
over herself in order to give her features an appearance of calmness and
indifference. The duke, then respectfully bowing, murmured in a low
tone,

“_Ipse attuli._”

That meant: “I have brought it, or brought it myself.”

Marguerite returned the young duke’s bow, and as she straightened
herself, replied, in the same tone,

“_Noctu pro more._”

That meant: “To-night, as usual.”

These soft words, absorbed by the enormous collar which the princess
wore, as in the bell of a speaking-trumpet, were heard only by the
person to whom they were addressed; but brief as had been the
conference, it doubtless composed all the young couple had to say, for
after this exchange of two words for three, they separated, Marguerite
more thoughtful and the duke with his brow less clouded than when they

met. This little scene took place without the person most interested
appearing to remark it, for the King of Navarre had eyes but for one
lady, and she had around her a suite almost as numerous as that which
followed Marguerite de Valois. This was the beautiful Madame de Sauve.

Charlotte de Beaune Semblançay, granddaughter of the unfortunate
Semblançay, and wife of Simon de Fizes, Baron de Sauve, was one of the
ladies-in-waiting to Catharine de Médicis, and one of the most
redoubtable auxiliaries of this queen, who poured forth to her enemies
love-philtres when she dared not pour out Florentine poison. Delicately
fair, and by turns sparkling with vivacity or languishing in melancholy,
always ready for love and intrigue, the two great occupations which for
fifty years employed the court of the three succeeding kings,–a woman
in every acceptation of the word and in all the charm of the idea, from
the blue eye languishing or flashing with fire to the small rebellious
feet arched in their velvet slippers, Madame de Sauve had already for
some months taken complete possession of every faculty of the King of
Navarre, then beginning his career as a lover as well as a politician;
thus it was that Marguerite de Valois, a magnificent and royal beauty,
had not even excited admiration in her husband’s heart; and what was
more strange, and astonished all the world, even from a soul so full of
darkness and mystery, Catharine de Médicis, while she prosecuted her
project of union between her daughter and the King of Navarre, had not
ceased to favor almost openly his amour with Madame de Sauve. But
despite this powerful aid, and despite the easy manners of the age, the
lovely Charlotte had hitherto resisted; and this resistance, unheard of,
incredible, unprecedented, even more than the beauty and wit of her who
resisted, had excited in the heart of the Béarnais a passion which,
unable to satisfy itself, had destroyed in the young king’s heart all
timidity, pride, and even that carelessness, half philosophic, half
indolent, which formed the basis of his character.

Madame de Sauve had been only a few minutes in the ballroom; from spite
or grief she had at first resolved on not being present at her rival’s
triumph, and under the pretext of an indisposition had allowed her
husband, who had been for five years secretary of state, to go alone to
the Louvre; but when Catharine de Médicis saw the baron without his
wife, she asked the cause that kept her dear Charlotte away, and when
she found that the indisposition was but slight, she wrote a few words
to her, which the lady hastened to obey. Henry, sad as he had at first
been at her absence, had yet breathed more freely when he saw M. de
Sauve enter alone; but just as he was about to pay some court to the
charming creature whom he was condemned, if not to love, at least to
treat as his wife, he unexpectedly saw Madame de Sauve arise from the
farther end of the gallery. He remained stationary on the spot, his eyes
fastened on the Circe who enthralled him as if by magic chains, and
instead of proceeding towards his wife, by a movement of hesitation
which betrayed more astonishment than alarm he advanced to meet Madame
de Sauve.

The courtiers, seeing the King of Navarre, whose inflammable heart they
knew, approach the beautiful Charlotte, had not the courage to prevent
their meeting, but drew aside complaisantly; so that at the very moment
when Marguerite de Valois and Monsieur de Guise exchanged the few words
in Latin which we have noted above, Henry, having approached Madame de
Sauve, began, in very intelligible French, although with somewhat of a
Gascon accent, a conversation by no means so mysterious.

“Ah, _ma mie_!” he said, “you have, then, come at the very moment when
they assured me that you were ill, and I had lost all hope of seeing
you.”

“Would your majesty perhaps wish me to believe that it had cost you
something to lose this hope?” replied Madame de Sauve.

“By Heaven! I believe it!” replied the Béarnais; “know you not that you
are my sun by day and my star by night? By my faith, I was in deepest
darkness till you appeared and suddenly illumined all.”

“Then, monseigneur, I serve you a very ill turn.”

“What do you mean, _ma mie_?” inquired Henry.

“I mean that he who is master of the handsomest woman in France should
only have one desire–that the light should disappear and give way to
darkness, for happiness awaits you in the darkness.”

“You know, cruel one, that my happiness is in the hands of one woman
only, and that she laughs at poor Henry.”

“Oh!” replied the baroness, “I believed, on the contrary, that it was
this person who was the sport and jest of the King of Navarre.” Henry
was alarmed at this hostile attitude, and yet he bethought him that it
betrayed jealous spite, and that jealous spite is only the mask of love.

“Indeed, dear Charlotte, you reproach me very unjustly, and I do not
comprehend how so lovely a mouth can be so cruel. Do you suppose for a
moment that it is I who give myself in marriage? No, _ventre saint
gris_, it is not I!”

“It is I, perhaps,” said the baroness, sharply,–if ever the voice of
the woman who loves us and reproaches us for not loving her can seem
sharp.

“With your lovely eyes have you not seen farther, baroness? No, no;
Henry of Navarre is not marrying Marguerite de Valois.”

“And who, pray, is?”

“Why, by Heaven! it is the reformed religion marrying the pope–that’s
all.”

“No, no, I cannot be deceived by your jests. Monseigneur loves Madame
Marguerite. And can I blame you? Heaven forbid! She is beautiful enough
to be adored.”

Henry reflected for a moment, and, as he reflected, a meaning smile
curled the corner of his lips.

“Baroness,” said he, “you seem to be seeking a quarrel with me, but you
have no right to do so. What have you done to prevent me from marrying
Madame Marguerite? Nothing. On the contrary, you have always driven me
to despair.”

“And well for me that I have, monseigneur,” replied Madame de Sauve.

“How so?”

“Why, of course, because you are marrying another woman!”

“I marry her because you love me not.”

“If I had loved you, sire, I must have died in an hour.”

“In an hour? What do you mean? And of what death would you have died?”

“Of jealousy!–for in an hour the Queen of Navarre will send away her
women, and your majesty your gentlemen.”

“Is that really the thought that is uppermost in your mind, _ma mie_?”

“I did not say so. I only say, that if I loved you it would be uppermost
in my mind most tormentingly.”

“Very well,” said Henry, at the height of joy on hearing this
confession, the first which she had made to him, “suppose the King of
Navarre should not send away his gentlemen this evening?”

“Sire,” replied Madame de Sauve, looking at the king with astonishment
for once unfeigned, “you say things impossible and incredible.”

“What must I do to make you believe them?”

“Give me a proof–and that proof you cannot give me.”

“Yes, baroness, yes! By Saint Henry, I will give it you!” exclaimed the
king, gazing at the young woman with eyes hot with love.

“Oh, your majesty!” exclaimed the lovely Charlotte in an undertone and
with downcast eyes, “I do not understand–No! no, it is impossible for
you to turn your back on the happiness awaiting you.”

“There are four Henrys in this room, my adorable!” replied the king,
“Henry de France, Henry de Condé, Henry de Guise, but there is only one
Henry of Navarre.”

“Well?”

“Well; if this Henry of Navarre is with you all night”–

“All night!”

“Yes; will that be a certain proof to you that he is not with any
other?”

“Ah! if you do that, sire,” cried Madame Sauve.

“On the honor of a gentleman I will do it!”

Madame de Sauve raised her great eyes dewy with voluptuous promises and
looked at the king, whose heart was filled with an intoxicating joy.

“And then,” said Henry, “what will you say?”

“I will say,” replied Charlotte, “that your majesty really loves me.”

“_Ventre saint gris_! then you shall say it, baroness, for it is true.”

“But how can you manage it?” murmured Madame de Sauve.

“Oh! by Heaven! baroness, have you not about you some waiting-woman,
some girl whom you can trust?”

“Yes, Dariole is so devoted to me that she would let herself be cut in
pieces for me; she is a real treasure.”

“By Heaven! then say to her that I will make her fortune when I am King
of France, as the astrologers prophesy.”

Charlotte smiled, for even at this period the Gascon reputation of the
Béarnais was already established with respect to his promises.

“Well, then, what do you want Dariole to do?”

“Little for her, a great deal for me. Your apartment is over mine?”

“Yes.”

“Let her wait behind the door. I will knock gently three times; she will
open the door, and you will have the proof that I have promised you.”

Madame de Sauve kept silence for several seconds, and then, as if she
had looked around her to observe if she were overheard, she fastened her
gaze for a moment on the group clustering around the queen mother; brief
as the moment was, it was sufficient for Catharine and her
lady-in-waiting to exchange a look.

“Oh, if I were inclined,” said Madame de Sauve, with a siren’s accent
that would have melted the wax in Ulysses’ ears, “if I were inclined to
make your majesty tell a falsehood”–

“_Ma mie_, try”–

“Ah, _ma foi_! I confess I am tempted to do so.”

“Give in! Women are never so strong as after they are defeated.”

“Sire, I hold you to your promise for Dariole when you shall be King of
France.”

Henry uttered an exclamation of joy.

At the precise moment when this cry escaped the lips of the Béarnais,
the Queen of Navarre was replying to the Duc de Guise:

“_Noctu pro more_–to-night as usual.”

Then Henry turned away from Madame de Sauve as happy as the Duc de Guise
had been when he left Marguerite de Valois.

An hour after the double scene we have just related, King Charles and
the queen mother retired to their apartments. Almost immediately the
rooms began to empty; the galleries exhibited the bases of their marble
columns. The admiral and the Prince de Condé were escorted home by four
hundred Huguenot gentlemen through the middle of the crowd, which hooted
as they passed. Then Henry de Guise, with the Lorraine gentlemen and the
Catholics, left in their turn, greeted by cries of joy and plaudits of
the people.

But Marguerite de Valois, Henry de Navarre, and Madame de Sauve lived in
the Louvre.

Read Full Post »

Science vs God

Let Science sets its own problems and find solutions in a way the scientific discipline has taught man. Let God be Himself and as master of Space and Time; may He let man use science or faith in his hour of need.
If man sets a problem let him solve it and and let him not think it has settled the problem once for all. If God has created man God’s problem doesn’t go away because man settled one set of problems. Shall we think there are problems that science has not yet addressed? How can he since he has no idea he himself is the problem for himself or for another? God is the Being that can settle problems that is beyond man’s ken or what Science is not equipped to solve.
2.
A believes in God and says:’funny the more I inquired into true state of things I am all the more convinced God s a reality.
B is rational and knows his neighbor A as one who has not left his house for all the seventy years. (B laughs loud.) B:’You are sitting in that armchair and do not know a thing! God does not exist! Even this earth is not true state of things’
A: ‘No? then on what basis have you set your premises?’
benny

Read Full Post »

Here I quote the latest news:

“LONDON – Did creation need a creator?

British physicist and mathematician Stephen Hawking says no, arguing in his new book that there need not be a God behind the creation of the universe.

The concept is explored in “The Grand Design,” excerpts of which were printed in the British newspaper The Times on Thursday. The book, written with fellow physicist Leonard Mlodinow, is scheduled to be published by Bantam Press on Sept. 9.

“The Grand Design,” which the publishers call Hawking’s first major work in nearly a decade, challenges Isaac Newton’s theory God must have been involved in creation because our solar system couldn’t have come out of chaos simply through nature.

But Hawking says it isn’t that simple. To understand the universe, it’s necessary to know both how and why it behaves the way it does, calling the pursuit “the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe, and Everything.”

“We shall attempt to answer it in this book,” he wrote. “Unlike the answer given in ‘The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy,’ ours won’t be simply ’42.’”

The number 42 is the deliberately absurd answer to the “Ultimate Question” chosen by sci-fi author Douglas Adams.

Hawking, who is renowned for his work on black holes, said the 1992 discovery of another planet orbiting a star other than the sun makes “the coincidences of our planetary conditions … far less remarkable and far less compelling as evidence that the Earth was carefully designed just to please us human beings.”

In his best-selling 1988 book “A Brief History of Time,” Hawking appeared to accept the possibility of a creator, saying the discovery of a complete theory would “be the ultimate triumph of human reason — for then we should know the mind of God.”

But “The Grand Design” seems to step away from that, saying physics can explain things without the need for a “benevolent creator who made the Universe for our benefit.”

“Because there is a law such as gravity, the Universe can and will create itself from nothing,” the excerpt says. “Spontaneous creation is the reason there is something rather than nothing, why the Universe exists, why we exist. It is not necessary to invoke God to … set the Universe going.”

Hawking retired last year as the Lucasian Chair of Mathematics at Cambridge University after 30 years in the position. The position was once held by Newton.
Conclusion:
The ‘Old Curiosity Shop’ of this earth,- what the Dickens!, just became a shop by natural consequences of some laws in physics (and quirks in human nature) and funny it is,- the junk has something common as though they all came from an assembly line and could branch out with specific characteristics to be labeled as distinct from another! Just the same this is a junkyard and where one may shop for hours. Ye Curiosity Shoppe is run by no one. So fellows what brought you here to browse or what gave you the impression to drop in and think of a bargain? Ah since you have come by some curious mistake a friendly advice. ‘Here the customer is king. Take all that you can, sneak past the door- and it is not monitored.’
‘What you are stricken with a stab of conscience? O dear sir, you are deceived, take your stuff and run!’

benny

Read Full Post »

Is constructing an Islamic Center with a mosque near Ground Zero a controversial point?
As an outsider and one interested in what goes on about me my views are my own. Freedom of worship is an article of faith for whoever places premium on good sense than obscurantist principles that religion always espouses. Christian churches, no matter what their persuasion or creed, shall not accept a church that support gay community. Take a recent bombing of a Sufi mosque in Pakistan where the bomber waited for the prayer time to cause maximum damage will be an eye opener for any one that imagines religion is as innocuous as what it preaches. Religion is the opium of the masses and it takes away all the nuances of good breeding, sweetness of civil society,- and Islam has from the time it became an established religion proved the implacable hostility of a believer for any dissent, and this religion is a heady potion for the Semitic race. Just like Hebrews this children of Ishamael cannot see beyond black and white on the point of faith. For a Moslem there is nothing in between. It may be ironic that as far as liberties of individuals under Moslems and Christian rulers in the past they have been far more tolerant to let Christians, Jews and other sect practice their religion in their own quarters as long as they did it quietly and without endangering the public order and peace. Only one go through the atrocities the so called crusaders perpetrated in order to deliver Jerusalem from the ‘infidels’. Catholic Church has shown in comparison far more perfidious in this respect.
For the rise in fundamentalism and terror as a political tool Islam has only taken a leaf out of the policies of the West. An average Moslem on the street equates the west for Christianity and the manner the west has double dealt with the political fortunes the Middle east is now etched in his consciousness. Thus if some fundamentalist Imam in Malaysia says any Christian who utters the world ‘Allah’ has profaned it what is the result? Several churches are torched forthwith.
Now we see a good will ambassador sent by Cordoba Initiative making a pitch for harmony and religious good-will. This is all well and commendable.
Given the past examples one cannot induce goodwill by some fatuous gestures and speeches.
Coming to the controversy of Islamic Center near Ground Zero I remember the government of Yahoos allowing a bar near the kindergarten school. The one who got license to open the bar said he stood guarantee for the quality of spirits he sold over the counter. ‘There shall be no loose, ungodly curses, four letter words around here,’ he was certain. The drinks were meant to be consumed by grown ups and responsible citizens.
What he did not guarantee was the customers under the influence of liquor.
We have a situation similar where the right to practice religion is guaranteed.
benny

Read Full Post »

If Aliens come here there shall be future shock for great many.

Marvel Comics will simply have to be airbrushed away. Out with kryptonite and batman’s cape. Both shall be replaced by something more life-like, I mean Alien-size to fit three microns width of alien forms.

Those who swore by Star Wars and genuflected before some sci-fi mumbo-jumbo will simply dig a hole and be nomads of the Middle Kingdom.

Scientology will prove to be the Emperor’s New Clothes.  Some Alien street Arab will point to the ridiculous travesty of Religion and laugh their heads off. Is it Mission Impossible Mr. Cruise?

Those paranormalists will levitate while their brains that they left behind will go around asking if their brains can be set right.

Harry Potter will learn that he simply cannot escape the Hall of Incoherence in which he is trapped between bad prose and infantile fantasies.

These are some of the future shocks we are going to live with. Aliens will show themselves. Whether we take them for what they are depends on this question: Have we learned to separate the real from fantasy? If we have not  set our upper case in order we will see Aliens and look to the sky while ther are down at our feet.

Think of all the conspiracy theories we have; do they speak well as to our judgment or our intellect? We have learned to progress while undermining progressively the learning. We have covered up our tracks in such a fashion we all have become too clever for our own good. We merely lived not with human beings with real problems. We escaped instead  in virtual reality. Perhaps the invasion of Aliens ,-not in a negetive sense but in moral terms, may drive us to give learning its right value. Not the instant gratification but acquisition of maturity by willing to pay the price for becoming real human beings.

Tailspin:What value is to bend spoons? Aliens may teach Uri geller (if his gift is genuine) a few tricks  to make some  real contribution to science. For instance relation between mind and matter and not limit it to some spoons and forks.

LONDON (AP) – British astrophysicist Stephen Hawking says aliens are out there, but it could be too dangerous for humans to interact with extraterrestrial life.

The 68-year-old scientist says a visit by extraterrestrials to Earth would be like Christopher Columbus arriving in the Americas, “which didn’t turn out very well for the Native Americans.”

He speculates most extraterrestrial life will be similar to microbes, or small animals – but adds advanced lifeforms may be “nomads, looking to conquer and colonize.”(Ack:The Chicago Tribune-AP Press)

benny

Read Full Post »

Overheard at the Gehenna.

‘”Whenever I hear war I am losing some millions of souls who would have otherwise made my kingdom resound with their joyous sounds.’

“Oh whenever I hear talks of peace I am winning as many to my kingdom where gnashing of teeth and wailing make my sleep sweeter.”

The first speaker is God who regrets men who have proved too sheep-like to listen to some warmonger on the earth. The second of course is Satan who has created politicians, wolves in lambskins to play peacemakers. These speak of ‘doing the right thing.”

Duty of any religion should be to create man who knows his mind and heart. If he does not know how shall he give the best of his will, actions, emotions and thoughts? He may speak of his holiness but with one whose mind is confused and emotions in turmoil it is like rags. Similarly what kind of  obedience the Master can expect from a servant who is dull of understanding and inconsistent?

Suppose man had the inner courage and character not to fight a war in which he  doesn’t believe or thinks  is immoral, will the warmongers prosper? Those who  do not have the courage of their beliefs( not drawn from some silly babbling of a prophet)  will only blow themselves up like some crack their knuckles not  having anything better to do. Those who cannot believe in themselves will not get it right even if the prophet be from Allah.

benny

Read Full Post »

Hold a cardboard with a tiny hole against the sun. Is it a square light that you see or an image of the sun despite of its actual square cut?
It was Aristotle who first wondered on the above. ‘why does a square hole admit a round image of the sun?
Francesco Maurolico in the sixteenth century took up on the question and he explained from nature: the sunlight streaming between the leaves whether square or irregular opening renders an image of the sun. In this case the earth acts like a film and the opening between leaves whether square or irregular,  the aperture of a pinhole camera. In short the sun is being photographed by the tree.
Recalling my note on the earlier post on Multiverse each of us sees the same sun and interprets it. In the tree of mankind we cannot escape the eternal and absolute value of Truth. Some call it God and another, Allah. When one tries to force another at the gunpoint to his belief all I can say, ‘What a fool he is!’ Thousand times the sun is photographed by human heart and each one has his own name for it. What is in a name?
benny

Read Full Post »

Religion is for man. Quality of religion is such an abstract quantity that makes no sense unless it is shown in practice.

Religion requires a base from which anyone may show off the merit of belief-systems that he subscribes to. Man is one such. He or she may demonstrate its color and other qualities. It is said of Cicero that even as a child his fame was such parents of his schoolmates came to see for themselves the pupil who carried such an excellent  report. Religion is now debased that each one chatters the quality of his or her religion and we see no one ever showing the proof in their lives. Megachurches hold thousands of listeners where the preacher gives his performances. One would think he has some serious personality problems that he requires so many lights on him and he needs to show his best side, in terms of his looks and morals, in order to keep the crowd’s attention. Take any religion and you see those who preach too loud so often are farther from demonstrating the merits. Speaking doesn’t mean proof. Love thy neighbor as thyself. One may speak of it every hour and it doesn’t demonstrate one is proving love that he so vigorously declaims. Praying five times a day  for this reason means nothing.

Idiots are everywhere in churches or in mosques and they are degenerate idiots who preach in order not to fulfill the very demands of their religion.

2.

Man as a social animal needs to belong and he often continues the traditions of his parents without questioning whether the merits of their belief were proved in their own lives. Churches over the years have been getting leaner. Is it because people have found religion had not filled their pockets with cash or larders with goods? No. Those who were placed in positions of trust to lead the children of men into ways of righteousness have misled their flock. Out of their own personal ambitions or out of their stupidity. He who preaches his infallibility and also hides evil priests is a Satan’s disciple.  Protestant and Catholic churches are not freed from this. How can such evil men lead the men to better themselves? Or Mullahs who preach hate and use children in the name of Jihad to pull chestnuts from fire for their own ends? Christianity and Islam alike have failed in their practice.  Take religions from all over the world. Do they make the Earth a better place?

It is not the fault of religion which are ideas but men who have lapsed in their thinking. They have fouled up the earth with their stupidity. No more proof is needed as to this than seeing the environment pollution around us. Recently an astronaut seemed to have observed the Earth has changed for the worse. In Hebraic tradition of Creation God gave Adam domination over the Earth and the Rule is still valid. Aren’t we all guilty of flouting it? Christianity has always given an undue emphasis to man, his soul and his obedience to body of men whose merits for commanding such honor have not been always proved beyond doubt. Think of all the witch hunts throughout history. How the Church has treated women for witches? Their sins? They loved the earth and worshiped the spirits they didn’t understand. We say we understand our spirits and yet we do not follow them. What difference is then between organized religion and paganism? Will slaughtering suspected members of the cults help? If pagans let nature cure their ills the Churches relied on their own cure miracles and their members, the so called  physicians try their cure.  In a way it has been detrimental in developing a respect for environment.

Now the Earth cults are gaining ground but how much responsible are they? Many of them may have genuine desire to live close to the nature but do they have a cohesive and positive plan based on universally acknowledged facts to reclaim the Earth from deteriorating  any further? I do not see any such body that holds the credentials. There are many cult groups each flexing his  muscles in his own fashion. Private revelations and gifts are not the answer but a clear scientific temper that can enthuse all men to respect his own hearth and backyard; who dares to claim his or her moral soundness for the good of all. Neither Pope nor a shaman has it in himself to speak of religion without his credentials of humanness. Science speaks for discipline and education.  If these cannot make a man to think for himself what is the purpose of science?

Religion is for man. Is man for such religions that are short of proving with deeds?

3

Overheard: Thank God! I am an atheist!

An atheist is a silly man who denies God but cannot understand how close to Him he is nevertheless. It is to be proved with his life and from his context with all things living.  If his humanness cannot make him rise above some contrary beliefs or atheism he is foolish indeed. Merely mouthing the tag of his non-belief proves his foolishness.  Religion and lack of it should not hold unearned influences. Neither should Science.

benny

Read Full Post »

In an expanding universe what has set it in motion? No one knows.

The scientists attribute this expansion due to inertia. What is inertia? The matter in the universe is separating because it was separating in the past and partly to a repulsive force of unknown nature and they call it a cosmological constant. But here we have an unknown quanity. If the universe expands slightly, then the expansion releases *vacuum energy, which causes yet more expansion. Conversely a universe, which contracts slightly will continue contracting. There is something that slows it down.

Unsolved problems in physics#1: Why doesn’t the zero-point energy of vacuum cause a large cosmological constant? What cancels it out?

If the creationists look for a neat universe they will also have to explain  the pre-existing chaos (Tohu and Bohu) before God set about tidying up things.

Finally a famous quote:

“There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,

Than are dreamt of in your philosophy”. (Hamlet Ac.1 sc.v)

(Note: *Vacuum energy is an underlying background energy that exists in space even when devoid of matter or free space)

benny

Read Full Post »

Soul is the essence of an individual straddling the Hereafter and Now. St. John the Divine exiled to the isle of Patmos witnessed a series of visions. These visions were entirely of a different kind than that of Nostradamus. Secular or religious visions spring from an individual and what sets them off is soul. What would that mean? Even the most sublime visions that a man ever gets to see is set on this side of heaven and it is meant only for man and is clothed in the human language. Naturally the symbols used are common to mankind for pagan and godly alike. Since the soul is the magic lantern and and it touches Hereafter and Now there shall be elements that are discerned spiritually. As a result how the Soul  flashes the images is not straight forward. Prophesies of Nostradamus has been stretched to include as diverse personages as Kennedy, Hitler etc., The number 666 of the Antichrist similarly is made to fit Nero, Napoleon or some other.In short images flashed by the soul hold significance that you may interpret as you will. If you use them for good you have done well or if you have distorted them for selfish gains you do so at your peril.
2.
Soul of man connects
The writing on the wall judged King Belzhassar but its meaning escaped the king for whom it was intended. But Daniel could interpret its meaning. Earlier the seer had explained the significance of the dream which Nebuchadnezzar his father had seen.
From these we can understand the Soul is source of visions that speaks Truth in a special language. Infirmity of man is such that Truth cannot be handled by all. ‘What is Truth?’ Pontius Pilate asked and remained as ignorant as he was before.  Like the Ethiopian eunuch who asked Philip one might ask,’How can I except some man should guide me?’  The Scriptures is one source where Truth that one seeks will be found.  The soul of Stephen came to the aid of the Ethiopian official and  Daniel was on hand to help the king.
From the Emmaus experience it is clear where soul opens our understanding we shall see Truth as it is. But do you possess it? You may be set by such an experience into the ways of righteousness but possessing it is a matter that will be settled hereafter.
benny

Read Full Post »

« Newer Posts - Older Posts »

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,383 other followers