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1442 * to choose one of the daughters and to treat of the marriage. Fabyan says † that “it was afterwards disallowed and put apart by the means of the Earl of Suffolk, which kindled a new brand of burning envy between the lord pro. tector and him, and took fire in such wise that it left not till both partie ; with many others were consumed and slain, whereof ensued much mischief within the realm, and loss of all Normandy."
Rapin says that the English government " grew cold with respect to the natch,” when Armagnac had been stripped of his territories by the French king.
Cardinal Beaufort was not (as in the play, employed upon this mission, nor upon any connected with the marriage of Heury; though he had been an extensive diplomatist, and was especially employed at the negociation of Arras in 1434, 1 and at Calais in the following year.
The dramatist's mode of bringing about the match with Margaret of Anjou is quite imaginary. Suffolk is made to take the young princess prisoner, about the time of the capture of Joan of Arc, to fall in love with her, to propose, on the spot, her union with Henry, and then to come home and suggest it to the King. Holinshed's account is different.
“ In treating of this truce, the Earl of Suffolk, adventuring somewhat upon his commission, without the consent of his associates, imagined that the next way to come to a perfect peace was to contrive a marriage between the French king's kinswoman, the lady Margaret, daughter to Reignier, Duke of Anjou, and his sovereign lord King Henry. This Reignier named himself King of Sicile, Naples, and Jerusalem, having only the name an 1 style of those realms, without any penny, profit, or foot of possession. This marriage was made strange the Earl at the first, and one thing seemed to be a great hindrance to it, which was, because the King of England occupied a great part of the duchy of Anjou, and the whole county of Maine, appertaining (as was alleged) to King Reignier. The Earl of Suffolk (I cannot say either corrupted with bribes, or too much affectioned to this unprofitable marriage) condescended that the duchy of Anjou and the county of Maine should be delivered to the King, the bride's father, demanding for the marriage neither penny nor farthing; as who would say that this new affinity passed all riches, and excelled both gold and precious stones. .
This lady excelled all other, as well in beauty and favour as in wit and policy, and was in stomach and courage more like a man than a woman.''
There is thus not even the slender authority of Holinshed for believing that Margaret was taken prisoner, or even that Suffolk had seen her when he proposed the marriage. Nor indeed is it clear that he did propose the match. He was employed in the negociation which ended in the truce between England and France, and then, it is supposed, the project occurred to him: but his original instructions, il which are on record, contemplated the King's marriage, though they are silent as to the person; and in these instructions Gloucester concurred.
I know not then upon what authority it is presumed that the proposal of this ill-fated marriage came from Suffolk, or that it was suggested by him and the Cardinal in opposition to Gloucester; ror have we older authority than Fabyan's ** for Gloucester's pleading the faith pledged to Armagnac. Suffolk, no doubt, was employed to espouse Margaret, as the
* Rymer, xi., 8.
Nicolas, Pr. Counc., vi. p. x. xiii.
+ P. 616.
| Rymer, xi., 53.
** P. 617.
King's proxy, and to bring her to England; and it is probable that he then got into her good graces. But Lingard * has shown that Gloucester concurred publicly in the thanks bestowed upon Suffolk for his conduct in the affair ; but this historian also refers to the terms of Suffolk's instructions, by which it appears that he was diffident of approbation, and this perhaps countenances the belief that he was aware of opposition from a powerful quarter.
The instruction to Suffolk to “gather up a tenth,” for his expenses, is an anticipation of a grant which I shall notice in the next number.
If soine violence is done to history in this matter of Suffolk and Margaret, a more unjustifiable liberty is taken with truth, in regard to the pacification which preceded the marriage. It is not only that Winchester is substituted for Suffolk, who was the real negociator of this treaty, and that_York is made, without any warranty, to oppose
it altogether, but the French King is made to submit to ignominious terms.
" You shall become true liegeman to his crown, *
And, Charles, upon condition thou wilt swear
And still enjoy thy regal dignity." There is not a word, even in Holinshed, to support this: the terms of the truce are extant, and contain no condition of allegiance or submission on either side. I
Johnson makes no critical remark upon this play. He could have said little that was good.
To decide upon the question of authenticity would require a minute acquaintance, which I have not, with the dramatic literature of the time.
The result of my observation in the historical department shall be given when I have gone through the three parts.
As the principal English characters will appear again, I shall make no remark upon them as they exhibit themselves in this play. Of our Talbot, as well as of Dunois, Alençon, and other Frenchmen, we know nothing but that they were brave soldiers. Charles the Seventh had, according to French historians, but not, as I believe, according to any that were open to Shakspeare, a character susceptible of dramatic art; it had some resemblance to that which is popularly ascribed to Henry the Fifth; but with this essential difference, that the good did not follow and supersede the bad, but kept up an alternation with it through life.
* V., 121, referring to Rolls, v. 73, 4 June, 1444. After reciting the services of Suffolk in the truce and marriage, " The Speaker, in the name of himself and all the said commons, prayed to all my lords, spiritual and temporal, there then being present, that they would vouchsafe, for the said considerations, pray and beseech our said sovereign lord the King to repute, accept, declare, and take my said lord of Suffolk to his good and benign grace and favour, for the causes above said, in manner and form above rehearsed at their singular prayer and desire, and desired the said declarations, labours, and demeaning of my said lord of Suffolk to be enacted in this present parliament, to his true acquittal and discharge and honour of l'im in time to come ; upon the which request thus made to the King our sovereign lord, and to the lords spiritual and temporal, by the commons, my lord of Gloucester, and many other Jords spiritual and temporal abovesaid, arose of their seats, and besought humbly the King of the same as they were prayed by the snid commons, 8c." † Henry's.
| Monstr., iii., 378; Rymer, xi., 63. $ See Sismondi, xiii. 163, 522.
BARON VON BOOTS; A TALE OF BLOOD.”
BY HENRY BROWNRIGG, ESQ. BARON VALHALLAH VON Boots was descended from the Sea Kings! One colonel of Black Hussars, who, in an incautious moment, had smiled a doubt of the glorifying fact, sleeps beneath Silesian turf, sent thither by the Baron's sword; and a French captain of dragoons coughing, as the Baron supposed, sarcastically at a Scandinavian ancestor of the first century, was incurably maimed in the left arm by the sabre of Von Boots! The wounded man is now alive in Paris, and ready to depose in his person to the sensitiveness and skilful valour of the Baron, above all men fiercely proud of the inestimable treasures inherited of an ancient and illustrious race. “ I have no gold,” the Baron would exclaim, smiling, as it appeared, the very deepest satisfaction at his condition, “ I have no gold, but—" and here the Baron would fling up one hand to the heavens, and, with the other, remove his hat, should it be there, from his capacious forehead; and as though gazing on his grandfathers' grandfathers tippling mead in the halls of Odin, would add, in a tone of thunder,“ but—but I have de blood !”
High blood, like the finest wine, may be kept so long that it shall entirely lose its flavour; and though it may obtain an affectation of respect for its antiquity, yet circumstances may combine to make men turn from it, allowing it to be very“ curious,” but selecting that of a less illustrious quality. Hence, the last man of an old family may be like the last bottle of a famous vintage-a thing to talk of, not to use. We remember an illustration.
“ You talk of old wine, gentlemen,” cried Mr. Dovesheart, a bankruptcy attorney to a select circle—we were about to write knot-of professional friends ; " why, upon my life, and as I'm a Christian, I have in my cellar port wine a hundred and seventeen years old !”—“ Is it possible?”_" Mind, it's only one bottle, the last bottle. Here, John, bring up that wine, bring it up: and now, gentlemen, since you talk of old wine, you shall have a bonne bouche.”—“My dear Dovesheart, you wouldn't drink it?”—“ Why not? why not?”—“
with age, observes Costs, confidentially, to his neighbour Pinch, who replies, “ Worse than physic, of course.”—“ D -d if I spoil my mouth with it,” whispers the conscientious Gorge; whilst others of the party, saying nothing, only endeavour not to make wry mouths.—“ Here it is!” cries the hospitable Dovesheart ; “ the corkscrew, John.”—“The corkscrew!" exclaims Flay, “ surely, surely, you'll never draw it: a thousand pities
-such a curious thing !”—“ Pooh! pooh!” answers Dovesheart; “ it must be drunk some day, and, on an occasion like this, why, there'll just be a taste a piece, and -"_“No, no; really your kindness goes too far,” says Rubygill; “ consider, one hundred and seventeen years old ! -so rare a thing !-don't draw it for us. I'm sure, no gentleman here requires -” and Rubygill looks around him, and every guest cries “ No, no,”-shocked at the very proposal of the sacrifice. At length, amidst words and looks of entreaty, Dovesheart lays down the corkscrew ;
is a burst of applause attending the merciful act. Well, it's
odd!” says the host, shaking his head at the ancient port, very strange-but, to tell you the truth, I have had that bottle up at least a dozen times,
and just, as now, nobody would ever suffer me to draw the cork. John, take the bottle to the cellar."
Baron Von Boots was the last bottle of his race: many and many time had he found his way up to the drawing-room-had been praised as a person of most ancient stock-had heard the highest eulogies of his name—had been gazed at, smiled upon, by the brightest eyes; and yet, yet was the Baron the last bachelor of his line, the sole remaining bottle of the vintage of Von Boots! However, even doomed to the dark and comfortless bin of celibacy, the Baron had his consolation—"I have not de money,” he would always cry,“ but I have de blood.”. -“ Not a soul will give twopence halfpenny for me--nay, will even wet his lips with me, cries Dovesheart's port—" but, hurrah! I am a hundred and seventeen years old !"
The Baron Von Boots had, in happy season, entered the family circle of the Neatskins. The true friend is tried by affliction : Philip Neatskin was in sorrow, and Von Boots proved himself a friend indeed. Death was gradually withdrawing Mrs. Neatskin, that best of womenas her husband vehemently called her—from a vain and wicked world, when the Baron stept in to support the good man beneath the shock, which, truth to say, he had long awaited with commendable philosophy : sustained and strengthened by the Baron, Neatskin deemed himself invulnerable. To be sure, custom does much to harden men; and as Mrs. Neatskin had, every day and night for a whole ten years, threatened to depart from this earth, it is not so great a matter of surprise that her husband became at length comparatively unmoved by the alarming menace.
" It's very good of you, Baron-very kind, indeed, to come and sit with me; for whilst things are as they are, I must be wretched company."
“ Not at all—by no means—delightful!” said the Baron, to Philip Neatskin.
Ha, Baron! it's friendly in you to flatter-friendly, and like yourself; but, at such a time, with Mrs. Neatskin getting weaker and weaker-"
“ Poor woman!” said Von Boots ; " and so long, too!”
“For ten years and upwards," observed Neatskin," and every day weaker and weaker."
“She must have been very strong at first,” said Von Boots.
“ A fine woman in her time, Baron,” remarked her husband; she's disappointed all the doctors,"
“ Doctors !” cried Von Boots, and his moustache curled, like a worm, with contempt;
“ doctors !-dey know nothing about it.” “ You are right, Baron,” exclaimed Neatskin, with some animation, “d-d a bit!”
“ It's all as de luck happens,” said Von Boots. “Just so," rejoined Neatskin.
Still and lovely was the summer evening on which Neatskin and his friend, sitting in a green arbour, thus discoursed of death and fate. Pipes and best tobacco-brandy, and that better fluid, water, cold as chastity, from a neighbouring fountain, lay before them. The blackbird whistled as the Baron filled.
We envy not the feelings of that man who could sit in that bower planted in that orchard, with such sights and sounds about him, yet,
remain unmoved. Happy are we to say, Von Boots was not that image; for filling his tumbler with a most scrupulous hand, the water boasting no drop above the brandy, whilst the glorious sun flamed in the west, and the blackbird sent his music in mellow gushes from an apple-free, the Baron emptied his glass adown his throat, and waving his hand about him, he placed it upon his heart, saying, " Dis-dis is truc boetry.”
“It is, Baron; here's to you;" and Neatskin took a draught.
“ Dis is,” cried Von Boots, his hand again upon the brandy, " dis is dat elevation of de spirit, which, my dear friend, in all de calamities of dis life is true philosophy.”
“ Not a doubt of it," answered Neatskin, and he prepared to mix, “ Brandy-and-water, my dear Baron, is like marriage: to be palateable the parties should be equal. Nothing can be better," pronounced Neatskin, sipping at his glass. “What say you to a game ?” and, with the question, Neatskin pulled out a drawer, and took hence his darling cards and cribbage-board.
“Anyting, my friend," answered the benevolent Baron, “ anyting to case your wounded soul. Since de wife of your bosom is all but torn from you—it's your deal-since de partner of your joys
“Ha! it is kind of you, Baron; at such a time, too-in the hour of affliction-cut to me,” said Neatskin, who proceeded with his game, mingling his domestic cares with his cares of crib, and had already been twice victor, and was preparing for further conquest, when Dolly ran into the orchard, and crying and wringing her hands, informed her master that his wife was unaffectedly dying. Neatskin paused in his deal, and, with an incredulous eye, challenged the countenance of Dolly. It was plain that the good man's feelings had before been trified with, “Dying, Dolly ?"
Really and truly, Sir--all too true, now, Sir—the doctor says you must come, Sir,” exclaimed Dolly.
“I'll come instantly—directly,” said Neatskin, and he played his last card, pegged his hand, and-distracted by his emotion-made the cards, and proceeded to deal again.
Indeed, Sir,” cried Dolly,“ mistress is very bud, indeed.”
Poor soul! Fifteen-two, say I'm-and six are thirty-one. The doctor's with her, I hope ?” asked Neatskin.
“ The doctor sent me, Sir, and told me to say, Sir, if you wished to see dear mistress alive—the doctor, Sir ” and Dolly paused.
“ He's a very clever man--one for his heels," muttered Neatskin.
“ But, mistress, Sir!" cried Dolly; “ she's at the very brink of the grave.” And Dolly ran into the house.
“Spades are trumps," said the Baron. “ The very thing I want,” cried Neatskin. Eh? The girl's
Make haste, my dear Baron, for she's an excellent woman. Twenty years we have been together, and—and—that will spoil your crib, I think; twenty years we have been one, and-fifteen-two.”
“Oh, Sir! oh, Sir!” shrieked Dolly, returning--" too late, Sir !-too late!”
“ Too late! What you mean ?” asked the Baron, for Neatskin was dumb. “What you mean, too late?” And the Baron played.
“ Gone, Sir! You wouldn't come; and now, now,'—and Dolly sobbed-“now, quite gone."