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Erlanbte sie mir jemals ein Geschenk ground, embroidered with fleur-de-lis. Von hóherm Werth, als eine frühe Blume The Queen was also splendidly atIm Winter oder seltne Frucht! Von mir
tired; but as far surpassing her in Nimmt sie kein Opfer an, und bringt mir
magnificence, as she did in beauty, alle!
Agnès Sorel rode by her side. The Wagt ihren ganzen Reichthum und Besitz
only weakness recorded of " la belle Grossmüthig an mein untersinkend Glück.”
des belles," is her fondness for sump
tuous dress; and the only unamiable An anecdote has been transmitted
speech she was ever heard to utter to us, which illustrates her playful yet
was on this occasion. The Parisians judicious interference in the military murmured when they beheld her costly measures of Charles the Seventh. An
and rich costume, excelling in splenastrologer, in whose predictions the dour that of the rightful and justly monarch placed much reliance, was
Les Parisiens ne closeted with him on one occasion
sont que vilains," she, contemptuously when Agnès was present. Charles,
exclaimed : “et si javais su qu'ils ne discouraged by some recent failures,
m'eussent pas fait plus d'honneurs, je and the predictions of the soothsayer,
n'aurais jaunais mis le pied dans leur was more than ordinarily disheartened, ville." But to return from the ofand disposed to inaction-Agnès in
fended and pettish beauty. The royal terrupted the conference by extending
pages; the nobles of the household; her hand to the magician : "I also
and the young dauphin, afterwards would read my destiny,” she said.
Louis the Eleventh, succeeded, and the "Madam, you will be beloved by the
procession was closed by a corps of greatest monarch in Europe," readily
one thousand men-at-arms, the élite of replied the flattering astrologer, well
the French armies, headed by their aware of her relation to the King gallant commander, the Count de Charles smiled at the implied compli. Dunois. His armour was sparkling ment to himself; but Agnès rose, and
with gold and silver, and surpassed in playfully addressed him, “Will your
splendour that of the monarch himself. Majesty grant me your royal safe
The populace were not behindhand in conduct, for I would not willingly run
their preparations. We can scarcely counter to my destiny,” she said,
refrain from smiling when we read of archly. “I must go to the King of
their arrangements for an effective reEngland, for I see clearly he is the
ception of the King, now, for the first greatest monarch, since he retains, in
time, entering his capital. The seven addition to his own dominions, the
cardinal virtues, and the seven cardinal richest provinces of France, from
sins, met him on the threshold, if we which its sovereign makes no effort to
may so speak; then, on various platdislodge him, fearing, it would seem, forms which lined the way, were reto assert his legitimate claim." Charles
presented those mysteries, or sacred blushed under the merited, though dramas, which had for the middle ages sportive rebuke. Such a persuasive such significant import, and were so Nentor seldom spoke in vain : but her
popular with all classes. The preaching infinence was most practically felt by of St. John the Baptist, the nativity bringing, as with extraordinary saga- of the Saviour, the adoration of the city she did, under the notice of the
shepherds, the passion, crucifixion, and King, brave knights and skilful war. resurrection of our Lord, were all reriors, whose courage and prudence presented: even the despairing Judas achieved many a victory for the na- figured aloft, apparently hanging himtional cause.
self in his hopeless grief. Charles made his first entry into A short time previously, the Dauphin Paris in the November of 1437. The Louis had wedded the young Margaret procession which accompanied him of Scotland,
daughter to the
chivalrous was truly splendidl; and the details are James I. This princess, then only in dwelt on with the utmost minuteness, her twelfth year, was fondly loved by by contemporary writers. A thousand
her mother-in-law, Queen Marie, who archers, some of them composing lavished on the gifted and interesting Charles's body-guard, led the way; then Dauphiness that tenderness which even rode the King, clad in brilliant silver ar- her maternal breast could not feel for mour-the trappings of his noble steed the wayward and unamiable Louis. The were of blue velvet which swept the young couple were from the first un
happy. This jealous, crafty, intriguing Agnès Sorel, who, soon after, asked young man, “mauvais fils, mauvais and obtained permission from the King père, mauvais frerè, inauvais sujet, mau- to retire from court. She chose for vais allié, mauvais mari, et ennemi the scene of her seclusion the castle dangereux," was indeed ill-matched which Charles had built for her in the with the ardent, susceptible, and roman. neighbourhood of Loches, and in the tic Scottish princess. Margaret found architectural details of which may yet her sole happiness in the mutual affection which subsisted between her, her
be seen the device (A Sur-elle), mother-in-law, and the gentle Agnès. which identifies it with her name. These high-souled women passed many She selected it in preference to her blissful hours together, cultivating more picturesque château of Beauté Sur those elegant tastes in which they alike Marne—that romantic spot, formerly found solace and enjoyment. Mar- the favourite retreat of the murdered garet in particular had inherited from Louis of Orleans, father to her friend her father, the royal poet of Scotland, the Count de Dunois, because she a genius and feeling for this refining proposed to herself to spend the reart. She spent ber nights in compos- maining years of her life in devotional ing ballads, which seem to have been exercises; and in the canons of Loches not unworthy of the daughter of him -to whose cathedral she had ever
• The King's Quhair.” proved a liberal patroness-she hoped Her patronage of men of genius was to find pious and worthy instructors. liberal and discriminating: A little Agnès Sorel was still in the prime of incident connected with Alain Chartier life—she was thirty-six — when she may be worth recording. Passing voluntarily parted from her royal and through one of the saloons in the still faithful lover. She had the conpalace, she perceived the poet asleep solation of reflecting that, during the on a chair. To the astonishment of fifteen years she had influenced his the ladies who attended her, she softly mind and his counsels, she had been approached him, and kissed his lips. the disinterested advocate of all that In reply to their amazed glances she was “worthy and of good report.” She said to them :-" Ce n'est point à left him surrounded by tried and faithl'homme que jai donné un baisir, c'est ful friends, most of them attached to à la bouche d'où sortent de si belles his cause by her influence and exerparoles."
tions. Jacques Cour, the goldsmith Soon after her marriage her royal of Bourges-whose vast monetary refather, too enlightened for a barbarous
sources, acquired by his trade in the age, perished the victim of a villanous
East, through her instrumentality had treachery. Here, too, we are among been placed at the disposal of the the records of the loyalty and heroism monarch, and had mainly conduced to of women. It was in resisting the the successful issue of his warlike unapproach of James's assassins that dertakings—was her tried and dearest the noble Catherine Douglas thrust friend. She had named him the exeher own fair arm into the bolt-rings cutor of her will, in which she had of the door, and kept it so fastened until devised all her wealth to pious uses. the brutal murderers broke the bone. For five years longer she was all-powerMargaret herself bade adieu to life ere ful with the King, who frequently she had attained her twenty-first year. visited her, and took counsel with her Young as she was, existence had long on affairs of state. His peace during been distasteful to her. She has been these years was disturbed by the maaccused of having voluntarily injured chinations of the Dauphin, who took her health by eating in excess unripe every possible opportunity of annoyfruits and other acids, with the design ing his father, and thwarting his proof preventing herself from becoming jects. One grievance, on which he the mother of children to so hateful a frequently insisted_his only real onehusband. In her last illness, when was the insult shown to his mother by those around her expressed hopes of the elevation of Agnès Sorel, towards her recovery, she shudderingly ex- whom he manifested an irreconcileable claimed, “Fi de la vie, qu'on ne m'en hostility. As for the meek Queen, parle plus !"
when reminded of her wrongs, she The death of the hapless Daupliin. would only answer, “C'est mon seigess deeply impressed the mind of neur; il a tout pouvoir sur mes actions, et ini auenn sur les siennes." She angels, with extended wings, hover, as well knew, in truth, that the influence if waiting to convey to heaven the which the Lady of Beauté exercised prayer which her clasped hands and over his mind was exercised in her half-parted lips seem to express; favour, and was beneficial to her, as while two lainbs, emblems of meek. well as to the interests of the kingdom. ness and gentleness, lie passively
In the winter of 1449-50, Charles, crouched at her feet. The inscription who had recently subjugated Norman- is simple :dy, took up his abode in the Abbey of “Cy git noble Demoiselle Agnès Jumièges. The cold was intense: this Seurelle en son vivant Dame de Beauté inclement season in France had never de Roqueserein, d'Essoudun, et de brought more severe and dreary wea- Vernon-sur-Seine, piteuse envers toutes ther. He was surprised to receive an gens, et qui largement donnoit de unannounced visit from kis fair Agnès. ses biens aux églises et aux pauvres; She had left Loches, and braved the laquelle trépassa legiem jour de winter's snow, to warn him of a con- Fevrier, l'an de grace 1449. Priez spiracy which might endanger his life, Dieu pour l'âme d'elle. Amen." and in which the rebellious Dauphin It may seem a paradox to speak of was prime morer. Having conveyed the virtuous mistress of Charles the ber precautionary warning, she retired Seventh; and posterity—even allowing to the neighbouring hamlet of Mesnil, for the frailties and errors of fallible where she was seized by sudden and human nature—might still pronounce alarming illness. Her health, which an unfavourable verdict on the chahad long been delicate, had been iin. racter and conduct of Agnès Sorel, paired by the trying journey she had were it not for the negative evidence just accomplished. She felt—with that given in her favour by the contrast intuitive perception which is given to which is apparent in the actions of many on the brink of eternity—that Charles during the twenty years in the grave would soon open its portals which her influence was paramount; to receive her ; and that she must pre- and his conduct after her death. Then, pare for her pilgrimage to that “bourne as in his early youth, he abandoned whence no traveller returns.” Her himself to sensual indulgences. No agonies of mind and body were intense. longer conceding to his amiable Queen She reviewed, with self-upbraiding, that respect and consideration she so her past life: lamented the fatal gift well merited, he treated her with of beauty, but for which she might harsh and cruel neglect. He became have accomplished her youth's early unmindful of his friends, and ungratepromise; lived in innocent happiness, fully dismissed them at the suit of and died in peace.
To the Count de newer and unworthy favorites. Tancarville, who stood by her death.
Jacques Caur, to whom he owed bed, she spoke of her fears for the so much, was the first who fell under future : nor could she gain a moment's his displeasure, or rather, we should tranquillity, but by retlecting on the say, his indifference, and he basely left merey shewn by the Saviour to Mary him to fall a prey to his personal eneMagdalen, the woman, who, like her, mies. The great money-changer of was “a great sinner.” She repeated, Bourges had amassed, for that day, incessantly, passages from the confes- enormous riches. He had been a sucsions of St. Bernard, which she had cessful trader in the Levant; his argo. copied with her own hand, feeling that sies rode, richly laden with the treasures they were applicable to her case. At of the East, in all the southern harbours length, exhausted by mental and bodily of France. In his commercial estasuffering, she breathed her last sigh in blishment he had three hundred factors the arms of the King. Her heart was receiving their orders from him, and bequeathed to the monks of Jumiegès ; devoted to his interests. His seigher body was interred in the middle neurie of St. Fargeau enclosed twentyof the choir of the cathedral church two parishes. His house at Bourges at Loches, where a beautiful monument still remains a monument of his rich was erected to her memory by her and elegant taste in architecture. The royal lover. She is represented in a King was his debtor to an enormous recumbent posture; graceful drapery amount. When Charles undertook veils her figure, and a circlet round the conquest of Normandy in 1448, her brow confines her flowing tresses ; Jacques Cæur advanced hiin 200,000 crowns of gold, and entertained four were snatched from her ere they had armies at his own expense.
« Il est attained the age of manhood. Her aussi riche que Jacques Cæur," was a daughters, Yolande and Margaret, common proverb. T'he people believed were celebrated for their charms, as that he had discovered the philosopher's the latter afterwards became for her stone, and could thus transmute the sorrows and misfortunes. Yolande baser metals into pure gold. But the was betrothed to Ferry, son of Ansecret of his success was less magical ;- toine de Vandemont, who had so long may we not trace it in the punning de- contested with René the succession to vice which yet stands, carved in bold Lorraine: and part of the disputed relief, on his house at Bourges—“A territory was settled on the young VAILLANS (caurs) RIEN IMPOSSIBLE.” couple. Margaret, when scarcely fifTruly the omnipotence of Will is great. teen, was solicited in marriage by He who steadily resolves, and bends Henry the Sixth of England; and one every energy to obtain the prize, what- of the last occasions on which Agnès ever it may be, which he proposes to Sorel appeared in public, was the cehimself, runs but little chance of failure. remony of the espousals at Nanci. Still, when success has been attained, « La Belle des Belles” was, as usual, how often does it fail to give the happi- sumptuously attired, and her presence ness and satisfaction which its possessor was considered to give great éclat to looked for? So was it with Jacques the scene. When the youthful bride Cæur. The sunshine of his prosperity bade adieu to her native land, the King brought forth the adder.
tenderly embraced her: “I seem to Soon after the death of Agnès Sorel, have done little for you, my niece," he Chabannes, one of the enemies whom said, addressing her, " in placing you his riches had excited, being high in on one of the mightiest thrones in the favour of the King, obtained his Europe, for it is not worthy of pos. consent to a “procès” against the sessing you.". Poor Margaret could goldsmith of Bourges. One of the then but little anticipate the destiny absurd charges brought against him that awaited her; doomed as she was was, that he had poisoned his constant to return to France, a heart-broken and true friend, the fair and gentle widow, a childless mother, a fallen Lady of Beauté!. With base injustice, and dis-crowned Queen—a suppliant Charles made his accuser his judge. for the penurious charity of others; After an indecent proceeding, in which her beauty gone, her hopes blighted; every form of justice was violated, waiting and longing until her weary Jacques Caur was condemned to per- pilgrimage on earth should be accompetual banishment, with confiscation of plished and ended. his goods, in addition to a fine of 400,000 The last hours of King Charles were crowns to the royal coffers. The per- scarcely less wretched. He survived secuted man fled to Rome, stripped of his once-loved Agnès eleven years - a the wealth which he had acquired by sufficient time to prove to himself and the urtremitting industry of years. He to others, how utterly he was unworthy found the pontiff, Nicholas the Fifth, of her devoted and faithful love. No about to dispatch a fleet against the constant friend stood by his death-bed, Turks, and solicited the command, or received his last sigh. He died which was readily granted him. But from starvation !-fearing to partake before his voyage was completed he of food, sustenance, or medicine, lest fell sick, and died at Chio, where his poison should be conveyed in them. mortal remains repose in a church of his own son was the virtual parricide the Cordeliers. Popular rumour in who thus hastened his end, and whose France long refused credence to the emissaries he dreaded in all those that tidings of his death. In the belief of surrounded him. many he lived to amass, anew, riches On the accession of Louis the no less considerable than the fortune Eleventh, the monks of Loches, anxhe had been stripped of in France with ious to propitiate the new sovereign, such cruel injustice.
who had shown such rancorous hostiWe must not close our notice of lity to Agnès Sorel, requested his perAgnès Sorel without reverting to the mission to remove her monument, fate of her early playmate, Isabelle of which, as we have stated, stood in the Lorraine. She died long before her choir of their cathedral ; alleging the friend—baving survived her sons, who scandal which it caused them in their
devotions. “I respect your scruples,” being acrostics on her name. When replied the sneering Louis, "and grant Francis the First, many years afteryou the permission you desire. Of wards, gazed at the portrait of the course, you will not hesitate to re- Lady of Beauté, he expressed in the instate in my coffers the large sums of following lines, which he wrote undermoney with which Agnès Sorel en. neath it, his sense of the services she dowed you, and which it would be a had rendered her country, and her sin against your tender consciences consequent claims to the gratitude of any longer to retain.”
patriotic Frenchmen :The character of Agnès Sorel has since met with a juster appreciation. In
"Gentille Agnès, plus d'honneur tu merites the chapter-house of this very Cathe
(La cause étant de France recouvrer), dral of Loches is preserved a manu
Que-ce que peut, dedans un cloitre ouvrer
Clause nonain ou bien dévot hermite." script, containing one thousand sonnets or poems in her praise; most of them
THE OLD MAN'S BEQUEST; A STORY OF GOLD.
Through the ornamental grounds of a and heaven knows the gold turns their handsome country residence, at a lit- feelin's to iron." tle distance from a large town in Ire. " It all belongs to my son, Henry land, a man of about fifty years of age
Lawson, and Mrs. Lawson, and their was walking, with a bent head, and children—it is all theirs ;" he sighed the impress of sorrow on his face. heavily, and deep emotion was visible
“Och, yer honour, give me one six- in every lineament of his thin and pence, or one penny, for God's sake," wrinkled face. cried a voice from the other side of The poor woman raised her blooda fancy paling which separated the shot eyes to his face, as if she was grounds in that quarter from a tho- puzzled by his words. She saw that roughfare. “For heaven's sake, Mr. he was suffering, and with intuitive Lawson, help me as ye helped me before. delicacy she desisted from pressing her I know you've the heart and hand to wants, though her need was great. do it.”
“Well, well, yer honor, many's the The person addressed as Mr. Law- good penny ye have given me and the son looked up and saw a woman whom childer, and maybe the next time I see he knew to be in most destitute cir- you you'll have more change." cumstances, burdened with a large and She was turning sadly away, when sickly family, whom she had struggled John Lawson requested her to remain, to support until her own health was and he made inquiries into the state of ruined.
her family; the report he heard seemed “I have no money—not one far- to touch him even to the forgetfulness thing," answered John Lawson. of his own sorrows; he bade her stop
“No money!” reiterated the wo- for a few moments and he would give man, in surprise; “isn't it all yours, her some relief. then?_isn't this garden yours, and that He walked rapidly towards the house, and all the grand things that house and proceeded to the drawingare in it yours?-ay, and grand things room. It was a large and airy apartthey are-them pictures, and them ment, and furnished with evident probright shinin' things in that drawing- fusion; the sunlight of the bright sumrooin of yours; and sure you deserve mer-day, admitted partially through them well, and may God preserve them the amply-draperied windows, lit up a long to you, for riches hasn't hardened variety of sparkling gilding in pictureyour heart, though there's many a one, frames, and vases, and mirrors, and