THE KING OF PARIS
III. was alarmed by the cold greeting of his
subjects. Moreover, a few days
after his return to the capital, the Sorbonne, the
famous college of Paris, decreed
that "the government might be taken away from princes
who were found not what they
ought to be."
The decree had a sinister sound in the king's ears. He
feared what might happen if
his rival the duke came to Paris, and he forbade him to
enter the city.
But Guise laughed at the king's order, knowing that he
was unable to enforce it. In
a few days, in defiance of his king, he boldly came to
It is true that he entered the city quietly, hiding his
face with his cloak, but he
was soon recognised and cheered at every step. Before
long a crowd gathered around
him, flowers were thrown upon him from the windows, a
young girl, pushing through
the crowd, kissed him, crying, "Brave prince, since you
are here we are all saved."
Tall and fair, with curls clustering around his brow,
the hero went straight on
toward the Louvre and, unattended, was led into the
presence of the king.
"What brings you thither?" asked
Henry III. haughtily. "I
commanded you not to come."
"I entreat your Majesty," answered the duke, "to
believe in my fidelity, and not
allow yourself to go by the reports of my enemies."
The king allowed the duke to leave the palace in
safety, but neither his anger nor
his fear was allayed. He ordered
 his Swiss troops
to guard the Louvre more
closely. This was an unfortunate move, for it roused
the indignation of the Paris
Before the Swiss could reach the palace, chains were
stretched across the streets
leading to the Louvre, while great barricades of timber
and paving-stone were run up
around it. The day was called the " Day of Barricades."
So angry was the mob that it attacked the Swiss
soldiers, who at length laid down
their arms. The rabble then hastened toward the palace,
meaning to attack the king
himself, but the Duke of Guise rode among them unarmed,
carrying only a white stick
in his hand, and, for he was the idol of the citizens,
soon succeeded in calming
Being now, in reality. King of Paris, Guise sent for
the queen-mother, hoping to
make terms, through her, with the king.
Catherine de Medici came and used all her wiles to make
the duke listen while she
talked to him of many different things, for while she
talked and he listened, the
king was escaping from Paris, vowing that he would not
enter the city again, save
through a hole in the wall.
But it was useless for Henry IV. to be angry. Guise was
all-powerful, and in July
1588 the king was forced to sign the Edict of Union,
making the duke
Lieutenant-General of France, dismissing his own
favourite, and promising to take up
arms against the Huguenots.
Every one, even the duke, knew that Henry signed the
Edict only because he could do
nothing else. Rumours soon began to steal about that
the king would not rest until
his enemy was slain.
Again and again Guise was warned that his life was in
danger, but he refused to take
In December 1588, as the duke sat down to dinner, he
found a note under his table
saying, "The king means to kill you."
Guise asked for a pen, and wrote beneath the words he
 had read, "He dare not,"then carelessly flung the note under the table.
Two days before Christmas, Henry III., who was still at
his castle of Blois, rose
early and, going to a secret staircase, he let nine
guards enter. Leading them to
his own room he hid them behind some curtains, first
giving to each a dagger.
That same day the Duke of Guise, with only a few
friends, rode to the castle to
attend a meeting of the council. He was told that the
king wished to see him alone.
Pulling his cloak around him, the duke went fearlessly
to the king's room.
As he reached the door, he stooped to raise the
curtains, when at once the assassins
sprang from their hiding-place and stabbed him. Henry
of Guise paid for his
fearlessness with his life.
The Cardinal of Guise was killed the following day, and
many of the nobles belonging
to the League were imprisoned.
At the next council meeting Henry III., as he entered
the room, looked around at all
the members, and then in a voice of triumph he said, "I
am now sole king."
A little later he went to see the queen-mother, who had
been ill and knew nothing of
what had happened.
"How do you feel?" asked her son.
"Better," she answered.
"So do I," replied the king. "I feel much better; this
morning I have become King of
France again; the King of Paris is dead."
"God grant," she answered, "that you become not king of
nothing at all."
A few days later Catherine de Medici died, her power,
to gain which she had done so
many cruel deeds, all useless and outworn.
Henry III. soon found that the death of his enemy had
not helped his cause. Many
cities rose in revolt against him, led by the Duke of
Mayenne and the Duke of
 brothers of the murdered Duke of Guise.
The Sorbonne too, declared
that he had no right to wear a crown, and the Pope
As his mother had feared. Henry was now king of
nothing at all. In vain Henry tried
to make terms with members of the League. They turned
from him in hatred, for he had
slain their chief.
Then in April 1589 the hapless king turned to Henry of
Navarre, and begged him to
come to his aid.
Henry of Navarre, because he loved his country and
wished for her sake that war
might soon cease, promised to help the king against his
enemies. In wise, brave
words he spoke to the people of France, begging them to
forget their own quarrels
and ambitions for the sake of their country and their
Henry of Navarre then joined Henry III. Together they
marched against Paris and
encamped with a large army at St. Cloud, where, the
French king could see "quite at
his ease his city of Paris."
"Yonder," he cried, pointing to the city, "is the heart
of the League; it is there
that the blow must be struck It is a great pity to lay
in ruins so beautiful and
goodly a city. Still, I must settle accounts with the
rebels who are in it and who
ignomimously drove me away."
Paris was in dismay when she saw the two kings and
their army approaching the
capital. Yet in the hearts of every Catholic there was
fierce resentment against the
King of France, for he had made friends with a Huguenot
to save his crown.
The clergy in the city preached vehemently against this
new alliance; they even said
that Henry III. ought to be killed, one young monk, named
Jacques Clement, brooded
over what he heard, until he believed that to slay the
king would be to do God a
Paris was to be stormed on the 2nd of August. On the
1st, Jacques Clement went to
St. Cloud and begged to speak
 with the King of
France, for he had private
tidings for his ear alone.
And so the monk, just because he was a monk, was
admitted to the king's presence,
and before Henry was aware, Jacques had drawn a dagger
from his sleeve and stabbed
"Ah, wicked monk, he has killed me! Kill him!" cried
the king, and at his voice the
guards rushed in and the monk was slain.
Jacques Clement had done his work well, for the wound
proved fatal. Henry III. dying
the next morning, August 2, 1589. With him perished the
last of the lungs of the
House of Valois.
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