It is at a stirring period of French history, abounding in horrors and bloodshed, and in plots and intrigues, that M. Alexandre Dumas commences 'Marguerite de Valois.' Beginning with the marriage of Henry and Margaret, he narrates, in his spirited and attractive style, various episodes, real and imaginary, of the great massacre, from the first fury of which Henry himself, doomed to death by the remorseless Catherine de Medicis, was only saved by his own caution, by the indecision of Charles IX., and the energy of Margaret of Valois. (Translated 1900)
Assuredly never was any welcome, however flattering, more richly deserved than that which the new Queen of Navarre was at this moment receiving. Marguerite at this period was scarcely twenty, and she was already the object of all the poets' eulogies, some of whom compared her to Aurora, others to Cytherea; she was, in truth, a beauty without rival in that court in which Catharine de Médicis had assembled the loveliest women she could find, to make of them her sirens.
Marguerite had black hair and a brilliant complexion; a voluptuous eye, veiled by long lashes; delicate coral lips; a slender neck; a graceful, opulent figure, and concealed in a satin slipper a tiny foot. The French, who possessed her, were proud to see such a lovely flower flourishing in their soil, and foreigners who passed through France returned home dazzled with her beauty if they had but seen her, and amazed at her knowledge if they had discoursed with her; for Marguerite was not only the loveliest, she was also the
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