THE BABY-KING OF FRANCE
 SOON after the battle of Agincourt the dauphin died;
then the king's second son,
John, also died—of poison, people whispered. Prince
John had been a friend of the
Duke of Burgundy, and that alone was enough to make
people mutter that the prince
had been poisoned by the Armagnacs. They would
certainly see to it that no friend of
the Burgundian should rule over France.
Charles, the king's youngest son, a boy of fourteen,
now became Dauphin. He was an
Armagnac, and as this party was the most powerful at
the time, all was well with
him. The Count of Armagnac took the title of Constable,
and ruled France for the
One of the count's first acts was to imprison Queen
Isabelle, who by her wicked
conduct did much harm to the kingdom. In 1417, however,
she escaped by the help of
John, Duke of Burgundy, and from that day she used all
her influence on the side of
The constable ruled Paris better than it had been ruled
for years, yet his hand was
an iron hand, and before long the citizens grew angry
because the count was so stern
and showed so little pity. Fickle as ever, they began
to think that perhaps after
all Queen Isabelle and the Burgundians might prove more
So in 1418 the citizens opened the gates of Paris to
the Burgundians, who poured
into the city and slew the Armagnacs, sparing neither
women nor little children. The
constable was brutally torn to pieces by the angry
 mob, and Charles the
Dauphin barely escaped with his life.
The Duke of Burgundy had not been with his followers
when they entered Paris. As
soon as he heard of their violence and the fury of the
citizens, he hastened to the
capital, but too late to do much good, even had he
Henry V. meanwhile had again come to France with an
army, and was besieging the town
John, Duke of Burgundy, who was now ruler of Paris if
not of France, sent an army to
relieve the city, but after three months it fell into
the hands of the English.
Henry at once hastened towards the capital. Then at
length the Duke of Burgundy, for
the sake of his country, put aside his feud with the
Armagnacs. He determined to
join them and the dauphin, that together they might
save France from falling into
the hands of the English and being ruled by an English
The dauphin was but a boy, and when he heard that the
Duke of Burgundy wished to
make peace with him he did as his courtiers advised. He
asked John the Fearless to
meet him, that they might discuss their plans together
at the bridge of Montereau,
which crossed the river Seine.
Duke John agreed to go to Montereau. Accordingly a
wooden enclosure was built on the
middle of the bridge in which the dauphin and the duke
Usually a barrier was placed within such an enclosure
lest by any chance a quarrel
should arise and swords should thoughtlessly be drawn.
At Montereau, alas, no
barrier was erected.
A sense of foreboding was heavy upon the followers of
the duke. They entreated him
not to meet the dauphin they warned him that the
Armagnacs were not to be trusted'
Suppose he was taken prisoner, suppose they should
attempt to take his life?
But the duke laughed at their fears, or pretended to do
 "It is my duty,"he told his followers, "to risk my person in order to
get so great a blessing as
peace. Peace being made, I will take the men of my lord
the dauphin to go and fight
In July 1419 the meeting at length took place. The
dauphin, it was easy to see, had
been encouraged by his advisers to be angry. Almost at
once when he saw the duke,
Charles began to reproach him for not coming earlier to
Montereau. He accused him of
allowing the English to reach Paris, and many other
complaints he made against the
man who had risked his life that his country might be
"You have been wanting in your duty," said the dauphin.
"My lord," answered the duke, "I have done only what it
was my duty to do."
But still Charles continued to upbraid him, when
suddenly one of the Armagnacs who
was with the dauphin raised his battle-axe and struck
the duke to the ground.
All was at once in confusion. The dauphin hastily
withdrew, but the Armagnacs who
had been waiting at one side of the bridge now rushed
across to the other side where
the Burgundians were expecting their master, and soon
put them to flight.
Thus after many years the cruel murder of Louis, Duke
of Orleans, was avenged upon
the noble Duke John the Fearless, who, whatever his
faults, had at least loved his
country enough to risk his life for her sake.
Philip, the son of John the Fearless, now became Duke
of Burgundy. He determined to
avenge his father's death, and at once began to fight
against the Armagnacs. He
also, along with Queen Isabelle, allied himself with
The people of Paris were as eager as the new Duke of
Burgundy to have nothing to do
with the dauphin or his chosen friends the Armagnacs.
The crime they had committed
made the citizens wish rather to have Henry, King
 of England, to rule over
them than the Dauphin and his evil counsellors.
Henry was not slow to seize the favourable moment to
enter into a treaty with the
citizens of Paris.
So the important Treaty of Troyeswas signed on May 21,
1420. It declared that on the
death of the poor mad king Charles VI., Henry V. of
England should become King of
France. It also said among other things that Henry
should at once marry Catherine,
the daughter of Charles VI.
On June 2, 1420, Henry V. therefore entered Paris, and
was married to Catherine.
For two years the king and queen held their court in
the capital, and during these
years Henry ruled justly and well, and restored order
to the city, and in part at
least to France.
But in August 1422 Henry V. died, leaving behind him a
little son, nine months old,
who was also named Henry.
Less than two months later, Charles VI., the poor mad
King of France, also died.
While his body lay in state many of his subjects went
to lament over him. Their love
for Charles had never failed.
"Ah, dear prince," they cried, "never shall we have any
so good as thou wert; never
shall we see thee more. Since thou dost leave us, we
shall never have aught but wars
and troubles. As for thee, thou goest to thy rest; as
for us, we remain in
tribulation and sorrow."
When the service at the tomb of Charles VI. was ended,
English heralds proclaimed
the tiny baby boy, son of Henry V., King of France and
But as the little king. Henry VI., would not be able to
rule for many a long year to
come, his uncle, the Duke of Bedford, became regent,
and ruled France for his little
Six days after his father's death, Charles the Dauphin
also took the title of King,
going to the chapel of Mehun,
 that he might begin
to reign as Charles VII.with the blessing of the priests.
There were now two kings in France: Henry VI., the
baby-king of Paris, and Charles
VII., the King of Bourges, as the French called him in
scorn of his claim to be King
The north of the country was in the hands of the
English and the Burgundians, but
south of the river Loire the country was loyal to the
In the next chapters I will tell you the strange way by
which Charles the Dauphin
did, at length, actually become King, not only of
Bourges, but of the whole kingdom
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