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The man, to her astonishment, replied,
In thalamis hâc nocte tuis regina, jacerem,
Ah, beauteous queen, were this but true,
This night I would repose with you.
Carccris in tenebris plorans hâc nocte faceres,
Thy tongue's strange licence should restrain. Marguerite was divorced from Henry on his accession to the throne of France, and led up Mary de Medicis, his second wife, to the altar at St. Denis to be crowned. She was extremely charitable to the poor, and liberal to scholars and men of talents. Her palace at Paris was the rendezvous of the beaux esprits of that capital. She was beautiful in her person, very fascinating in her manners, and danced with such peculiar grace, that the celebrated don John of Austria went incognito from Brussels to Paris to see her dance.
Beside Memoirs of her Life, which are imperfect, she wrote some poems. In the former she thus describes what passed in her bedchamber on the morning of St. Bartholomew:
“ My husband rose early in the morning to play at tennis, before he should see the king. He and his gentleman left me. I, perceiving that it was day, and supposing that the danger which my sister had predicted to me was over, overcome by watchfulness, told my old nurse to shut the door of the room, that I might sleep more at my ease. About an hour afterwards, I was awakened out of a very profound sleep by hearing the door knocked at very loudly, and by hearing a man cry out, Navarre! Navarre! My nurse, thinking that it was the king, my husband, who wished to come in, ran to the door and opened it immediately. The person,
however, that knocked thus violently, was a Monsieur de Tejan, who was wounded in the elbow with a sword, and had likewise another wound in the arm with a halbert; and who was closely pursued by three dragoons, who all of them together forced themselves into the room. Tejan, anxious to save his life, threw himself upon my bed. I, perceiving myself held down by him, threw myself upon the side of the bed, and he after me, taking hold of my waist. I had not the least acquaintance with him, and in my fright did not know whether the soldiers intended mischief to him or to myself. At last, however, it pleased God that Monsieur de Nancey, captain of the king's guards came in to us, who, finding me in this situation (although he was a man of great humanity), could not refrain from laughter ; and storming at the soldiers for their insolent intrusion, sent them away, and granted me the life of the poor man, who still held by me. I afterwards ordered his wounds to be dressed, and himself put to bed in my closet till he was recovered.
“When I had changed my shift (which was covered with blood), M. de Nancey told me what had happened, and informed me that the king my husband was with the king my brother in his apartment, and that not a hair of his head would be touched. Then making me throw my night-gown over me, he conducted me to the room of my sister the duchess of Lorraine, and which I entered more dead than alive. As I was passing through the ante-room (the doors of which were all open), I saw a gentleman of the name of Bourse, in endeavouring to escape some soldiers that were pursuing him, fall down dead nearly at my feet, run through with a halbert. I fell down at no great distance from him on the other side in a swoon, into the arms of Monsieur de Nancey, firmly persuaded that the same thrust of the halbert had run us both through. Recovering, however, I made the best of my way to my sister's bedchamber, where I found M. de Meossins, first gentleman of the bedchamber to the king my husband, and Armagnac, his first valet-de-chambre,
who came running up to me, desiring me to save their lives. I then hastened to pay my respects to the king and queen; when, falling upon my knees, I requested them to spare the lives of these gentlemen; with which request at last they complied.'
THE LOCK OF HAIR.
The course of true love never did run smooth.-SHAKSPEARE.
“Well, take it, Henry!" said a lovely girl, as she cut a tress of hair from her amber locks, and which, as she twined it around her ivory fingers, appeared like gold contending for beauty with alabaster-“But how long will thy love for her who once owned it continue ?" and she faintly smiled, as Friendship does when smootha ing the pillow of suffering, while her heart whispers, it is in vain. Nay, nay, Ellen, has not that love been the orb which has cheered my morning of life; and think you that I will forsake its beams amidst the difficulties which may impede my noon-day path ? Ah no! on the bright current of pleasure, and on the storm-tossed waves of adversity, thou shalt be the polar star to guide me from destruction.”—“ Be it so, Henry, and remember that death must arrest the pulsations of faithful woman's heart, ere it will cease to love!"
Months rolled on, and saw Henry established in a subordinate mercantile situation, exposed to the temptations of a dissolute metropolis, and far from the scenes consecrated by the pure feelings of a first affection. Still Ellen was gladdened by the continuance of his love, still she perused with delight the repeated, the ardent declarations of his affection. But, alas ! too soon did those declarations become less and less frequent; too soon was their tone chilled by estrangement; too soon did their total discontinuance dash into a thousand atoms the defences erected by hope for the preservation
of the heart's peace of Ellen: happily for her, she knew not the cause. The infatuated votary of dissipation, for this phantom Henry had sacrificed every virtuous principle ; at the gaming-table time, fame, fortune, all were squandered; and finding his resources unequal to his wants, he had determined to forge a draft in his father's name, hoping to replace the money before the act was discovered. To imitate the signature with exactness, he had recourse to one of his father's letters; it was the first which Henry had received on his arrival in the capital, and contained all the admonitions to virtue, all the dissuasives from vice, which a parent's heart could dictate. Though buried in the silence of night, and in the solitude of his chamber, still the consciousness of his purpose paralysed his hand : he falteringly opened it, but started on discovering that it held his still-loved Ellen's tress of amber hair. The sight of it revived all the recollections of joy and innocence connected with her image : he pansed even upon the threshold of crime; le perused the admonitions of his father, and virtue conquered. But too transient, alas ! was her empire: Henry, impelled by vanity, and lured by the fascinations of a beauty who, bound to no authority but that of passion, prepared to fly from a husband only too indulgent, from children whose only fault was, that their helplessness and innocence reproached their mother. The day previous to that had arrived on which Henry had resolved to separate from innocence for ever; the arrangements for his departure were completed, except packing the few valuables he possessed, which were contained in an antique cabinet; and he proceeded with hurried abstraction to remove them into a small casket. One ring only, and that the most valuable, was missing; there still remained a small box unexamined : with a mind absorbed in the contemplation of one idea, he mechanically opened it; the ring was indeed there, but with it was the hair of that onceloved one, whose image had gradually faded from his soul, as the bright rainbow of heaven retires from the approach of the whirlwind and the storm. He remained
for a few minutes riveted to the spot; but in those minutes the electric spark had flown through memory, and the pictures of early happiness and love appeared glowing as the sea when it blushes a welcome to the morning. Distracted by remorse, he instantly resolved to abandon his present design, and wrote an eternal farewell to her whose loveliness had seduced him from the path of honour. He then remembered with
agony the time which had elapsed since he had last written to Elen; and resolying to tell his tale of penitence in person, he trusted the persuasions of love would obtain his pardon. On arriving at her cottage, he found the roses blooming as when he left it, and the brightness of a summer's day diffusing loveliness and animation over nature. With a heart vibrating between hope and fear he entered the cottage, and there found all that remained of Ellen. Exhausted by disease, she was reclining on a sofa, pale as the snow-drop, which, rearing its gentle head to meet the sunbeam which it loves, is withered by the winter's blast, then droops and dies. After recovering the shock which Henry's presence gave her, she calmly listened to the recital of his errors and his repentance; then fixing her mild eyes upon him, · Henry," she said, “I feel that my very hours are numbered. Believing that you had trampled on a heart which only beat for you, death has long appeared as the best gift of Heaven. How much, how dearly I have loved, my grave will tell you! May God bless you for soothing with your presence my dying moments! and oh! may he doubly bless you, for cheering me with the hope that we shall meet in a better world : that has extracted the last thorn from my death-pillow: that has"-she clasped her hands as if in prayer,--she looked up to heaven, and expired!