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SIR T. OVERBURY 524
WORDSWORTH . 528
THE BEST AUTHORS.
91.–THE MASSACRE OF SAINT BARTHOLOMEW. [The following is an account, translated from the quaint old French, of the fearful massacre of the Huguenots, or French Protestants, which was perpetrated in the year 1572, and concerning which many disputes have been raised in modern times. The great historian, De Thou, agrees with Adriani, De Serres, and other writers who were in Paris at the time, in stating the total number of victims who perished throughout France on this fatal day at thirty thousand.
The lady whose account we are about to quote was the wife and biographer of that great champion of the reformed church in France, Philip de Duplessis-Mornay. But she was twice married, and at the time of the massacre her first husband, Jean de Pas de Feuquierès, was but recently dead. Her maiden name was Charlotte Arbaleste, and she and all her family were devout Huguenots, and as such, and as persons of mark and consideration, they were obnoxious to the fury of the Papists. The young and handsome widow had an only child by her first husband —the little girl of whom mention is made in her simple narrative.*]
4th August, 1572. In order to divert myself from business, and for the sake of my health, I had made arrangements to pass the winter in the country at the house of my sister, Madame de Vaucelas; and because I had to leave Paris on the Monday after St. Bartholomew's day, I wished to go on the Sunday to the palace of the Louvre, to take leave of Madame the Princess of Condé, Madame de Bouillon, the Marchioness of Rothelin, and Madame de Dampierre. But, while I was yet in bed, one of my kitchen maids, who was a Protestant, came in to me
* Mémoires de Madame de Mornay, sur la Vie de son Mari, &c., prefixed to Mémoires et Correspondance de Duplessis-Mornay, &c.—Paris, 1824.
in a great fear, and told me that they were killing all the Huguenots. I did not take any sudden alarm; but, having put on my dressing. gown, I looked out of the window, and saw, in the great street of St. Anthony, where I was lodging, all the people in great agitation, and many soldiers of the guard, and every one wearing a white cross in his hat. Then I saw that the matter was serious, and I sent to my mother's,
brothers were staying, to know what it was. There, they were all in great alarm, for my brothers made profession of the Protestant religion. Messire Pierre Chevalier, bishop of Senlis, and my uncle on the mother's side, sent to tell me that I ought to put in some safe place all the valuables I had with me, and that he would soon send to fetch me away: but, as he was about to send for me, he had news that Messire Charles Chevalier, lord of Esprunes, his brother, who was very well affectioned to Protestantism, had been killed in the street De Bétizy, where he was lodging in order to be near the Admiral*. This was the reason that M. de Senlis forgot me; besides which, he himself, wanting to go through the streets, was stopped ; and if he had not made the sign of the cross he would have been in danger of his life, although he was not the least in the world concerned with the Protestants. Having waited for him about half an hour, and seeing that the commotion was increasing in the said street of St. Anthony, I sent my daughter, who was then about three years and a half old, on the back of a servant, to the house of M. de Perreuze, who was master of requests in the king's hostel, and one of my best relations and friends, who admitted her by a back-door, and received her kindly, and sent to tell me that if I would go myself I should be welcome. I accepted his offer, and went thither about seven o'clock. He did not then know all that had happened; but, having sent one of his people to the Louvre, the man on his return reported to him the death of the admiral, and of so many lords and gentlemen, and told us that the massacre was raging over all the city. It was now about eight o'clock in the morning. I had scarcely left my lodgings when some of the servants of the Duke of Guiset entered it, calling upon mine host
* The Admiral de Coligni, the head of the Huguenot party, and one of the first of those who were butchered.
+ The Duke of Guise was the head of the Catholic party, and one of an atrocious cabal who had concerted with the queen-mother, Catherine de' Medici, this detestable
to find me, and searching for me everywhere. In the end, not being able to discover me there, they went to my mother's, to offer that, if I would send them one hundred crowns, they would preserve my life and all my
furniture. Of this my mother sent me notice : but, upon a little thought, I could not see it good that they should know where I was, or that I should go to seek them. Yet I earnestly entreated my mother to give them to understand that she did not know what had become of me, and to offer them at once the sum of money they demanded. But, as my mother did not receive this message in time, my lodgings were pillaged. To take refuge in the house of M. de Perreuze, wherein I was, there came M. de Landres and Madame his wife, Mademoiselle Duplessis Bourdelot, Mademoiselle de Chanfreau, M. de Matho, and all their families. We were more than forty; so that M. de Perreuze, in order to remove suspicion from his house, was obliged to send and seek provisions for us at the other end of the town; and either he himself or Madame de P. his wife, stood at the door of the house, to speak a few words now and then to M. de Guise, or to M. de Nevers, and other Catholic lords who passed and repassed thereby; as also to the captains of Paris, who were pillaging all the neighbouring houses that belonged to Protestants. We remained there until the Tuesday; but, however well M. de Perreuze played his part, he could not avoid being suspected; and thus an order was issued that his house should be visited and searched on this Tuesday after dinner. The greater part of those who had first taken refuge in it withdrew secretly to other houses ; and now none remained except the late Mademoiselle de Chanfreau and myself. And now must we hide ourselves as best we might: she and her waiting-maid went into an out-house where they kept the firewood, I and one of my women into the hollow space between the ceiling of the garret and the tiled roof of the house; the rest of our people disguised themselves, and hid themselves as they were able. Being in that dark hollow space above the garret, I heard the cries and shrieks of men, women, and children, that the Papists were massacring in the streets; and, having left mine own little daughter in the apartments below, I fell into such perplexity, and almost despair, that, but for the fear of offending God, I would have precipitated myself from the house-top, in order to escape falling alive into the hands of that populace, or seeing mine own daughter massacred, which was what I feared more than death. A woman ser
vant of mine took away the dear child, and carried it in her arms through all those dangers and horrors, and went and found out the late dame Marie Guillard, the lady of Esprunes, my maternal grandmother, who was yet living, and left the child with her, and the child remained with her until her death. And this same Tuesday, in the afternoon, was killed in the same street in which M. de Perreuze dwelt, and which was the old street of the Temple, the late President de la Place of happy memory, those who butchered him pretending that they were going to carry him to the king in the view of saving his life. M. de Perreuze, seeing himself menaced and assailed so near at hand, in order to preserve our lives and save his house from being sacked, employed M. de Thou, King's advocate, and now president of his Court of Parliament. This tempest having passed by more hastily than we expected, we devised how we might disguise ourselves and seek some other hiding-place. Go to my dear mother I could not, for they had placed a guard in her house. I betook myself to the house of a farrier, who had married one of my mother's chamber-women, a seditious man, and one that was captain of his quarter; but, as he had received favours and benefactions from my mother, I promised myself that he would not willingly injure me. My poor mother came to see me at the farrier's in the evening; she was rather dead than living, and much more petrified by fear than I was. I passed that night in the house of the captain-farrier, hearing nothing but abuse of the Huguenots, and seeing nothing but the pillage that was brought in from the houses of those who professed the Protestant faith. The captain-farrier told me in strong terms that I must go to mass.
On the Wednesday morning my mother sent to the President Tambonneau, and to her mother-in-law, Madame Morin, to ask if they could not conceal me in the house they occupied. And about the hour of noon I went thitherward all alone; but because I knew not the way I fol. lowed a little boy, who went before me to show it. They were lodged in the cloisters of Notre Dame, and there was nobody in the house except Madame Morin, mother to the wife of the Chancellor de l'Hôpital, Messires and Madame Tambonneau, Messire de Paroy their brother, and one of their servants named Jacques Minier, who knew that I was hid there within. Having entered quite secretly, I was concealed in the study of the President Tambonneau, and there I remained all that day and night, and all the next day. But on Thursday, towards the even