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and be merciful. I know not where I am, they have made me so perplexed and agitated. How will all this end !-What shall I do? I am lost for ever! I know it.' Then the nurse thus addressed him:Sire, be the murders on those who forced you to order them; your majesty could not help it, and since you never consented, and now regret them, believe God will never impute them to you, and will cover them with the mantle of justice of his Son, to whom alone you should look for aid. Ah! for the honour of God, let your majesty cease from this weeping.' Having said this, she rose for a handkerchief, for his was drenched with tears : Charles having taken it from her, made a sign that she should retire and leave him to repose."
The dreadful narrative of the massacre of St. Bartholomew is detailed in the history of De Thou; and the same scene is painted in glowing, though in faithful colours, by Voltaire in the Henriade.-Charles, whose last miserable moments we come from contemplating, when he observed several fugitive Huguenots about his palace in the morning after the massacre of 30,000 of their friends, took a fowling-piece and repeatedly fired at them.
Such was the effect of religion operating, perhaps, not on a malignant, but on a feeble mind!
If the golden gate of preferment is not usually opened to men of real merit, persons of no worth have entered it in a most extraordinary manner.
Chevreau informs us that the Sultan Osman having observed a gardener planting a cabbage with some peculiar dexterity, the manner so attracted his imperial eye that he raised him to an office near his person, and shortly afterwards he rewarded the planter of cabbages by creating him beglerbeg or viceroy of the Isle of Cyprus!
Marc Antony gave the house of a Roman citizen, to a cook, who had prepared for him a good supper! Many have been raised to extraordinary preferment by capricious monarchs for the sake of a jest. Lewis XI. promoted a poor priest whom he found sleeping in the porch of a church, that the proverb might be verified, that to lucky men good fortune will come even when they are asleep! Our Henry VII. made a viceroy of Ireland if not for the sake of, at least with a clench. When the king was told that all Ireland could not rule the Earl of Kildare, he said, then shall this earl rule all Ireland.
It is recorded of Henry VIII, that he raised a servant to a considerable dignity because he had taken care to have a roasted boar prepared for him, when his majesty happened to be in the humour of feasting on one! and the title of Sugar-loaf-court, in Leadenhall-street, was probably derived from another piece of munificence of this monarch: the widow of a Mr. Cornwallis was rewarded by the gift of a dissolved priory there situated, for some fine puddings with which she had presented his majesty!
When Cardinal de Monte was elected pope, before he left the conclave he bestowed a cardinal's hat upon à servant, whose chief merit consisted in the daily attentions he paid to his holiness's monkey!
Louis Barbier owed all his good fortune to the familiar knowledge he had of Rabelais. He knew his Rabelais by heart. This served to introduce him to the Duke of Orleans, who took great pleasure in reading that author. It was for this he gave him an abbey, and he was gradually promoted till he became a cardinal.
George Villiers was suddenly raised from a private station, and loaded with wealth and honours by James the First, merely for his personal beauty. Almost all the favourites of James became so from their handsomeness.
M. De Chamillart, minister of France, owed his promotion merely to his being the only man who could beat Louis XIV. at billiards. He retired with a pension, after ruining the finances of his country.
The Duke of Luines was originally a country lad, who insinuated himself into the favour of Louis XIII. then young, by making bird-traps (pié grieches) to catch sparrows. It was little expected, (says Voltaire,) that these puerile amusements were to be terminated by a most sanguinary revolution. De Luines, after causing his patron the Marshal of Ancre to be assassinated, and the queen mother to be imprisoned, raised himself to a title and the most tyrannical power.
Sir Walter Raleigh owed his promotion to an act of gallantry to Queen Elizabeth, and Sir Christopher Hatton owed his preferment to his dancing : Queen Elizabeth, observes Granger, with all her sagacity could not see the future lord chancellor in the fine dancer. The same writer says, “ Nothing could form a more curious collection of memoirs than anecdotes of preferment,” Could the secret history of great men be traced, it would appear that merit is rarely the first step to advancement. It would much oftener be found to be owing to superficial qualifications, and even vices.
Francis The First was accustomed to say, that when the nobles of his kingdom came to court, they were received by the world as so many little kings; that the day after they were only beheld as so many princes; but on the third day they were merely considered as so many gentlemen, and were confounded among the crowd of courtiers.--It was supposed that this was done with a political view of humbling the proud nobility; and for this reason Henry IV. frequently said aloud, in the presence of the princes of the blood, We are all gentlemen.
It is recorded of Philip the Third of Spain, that while he exacted the most punctilious respect from the grandees, he saluted the peasants. He would never be addressed but on the knees ; for which he gave this artful excuse, that as he was of low stature, every one would have appeared too high for him. He showed himself rarely even to his grandees, that he might the better support his haughtiness and repress their pride. He also affected to speak to them by half words; and reprimanded them if they did not guess at the rest. In a word, he omitted nothing that could mortify his nobility.