of the Spanish government might prove a docile and most dangerous instrument to the internal repose of France not only after Henry's death but in his life-time. Conde's character was frivolous, unstable, excitable, weak, easy to be played upon by designing politicians, and he had now the deepest cause for anger and for indulging in ambitious dreams.
He had been wont during this unhappy first year of his marriage to loudly accuse Henry of tyranny, and was now likely by public declaration to assign that as the motive of his flight. Henry had protested in reply that he had never been guilty of tyranny but once in his life, and that was when he allowed this youth to take the name and title of Conde?
For the Princess-Dowager his mother had lain for years in prison, under the terrible accusation of having murdered her husband, in complicity with her paramour, a Gascon page, named Belcastel. The present prince had been born several months after his reputed father's death. Henry, out of good nature, or perhaps for less creditable reasons, had come to the rescue of the accused princess, and had caused the process to be stopped, further enquiry to be quashed, and the son to be recognized as legitimate Prince of Conde. The Dowager had subsequently done her best to further the King's suit to her son's wife, for which the Prince bitterly reproached her to her face, heaping on her epithets which she well deserved.
Henry at once began to threaten a revival of the criminal suit, with a view of bastardizing him again, although the Dowager had acted on all occasions with great docility in Henry's interests.
The flight of the Prince and Princess was thus not only an incident of great importance to the internal politics of trance, but had a direct and important bearing on the impending hostilities. Its intimate connection with the affairs of the Netherland commonwealth was obvious. It was probable that the fugitives would make their way towards the Archdukes' territory, and that afterwards their first point of de