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List Of Contents | Contents of Joan of Naples, by Alexandre Dumas, Pere
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do otherwise; but as soon as I heard of your arrival at Fermo I took
my troops away again.  I hope for the love of Christ I may obtain
your mercy and pardon, by reason of my former services and constant
loyalty.  But as I see you are now angry with me, I say no more
waiting for your fury to pass over: Once again, my lord, have pity
upon us, since we are in the hands of your Majesty."

The king turned away his head, and retired slowly, confiding the
prisoners to the care of Stephen Vayvoda and the Count of Zornic, who
guarded them during the night in a room adjoining the king's chamber.
The next day Louis held another meeting of his council, and ordered
that Charles should have his throat cut on the very spot where poor
Andre had been hanged.  He then sent the other princes of the blood,
loaded with chains, to Hungary, where they were long kept prisoners.
Charles, quite thunderstruck by such an unexpected blow, overwhelmed
by the thought of his past crimes, trembled like a coward face to
face with death, and seemed completely crushed.  Bowed, upon his
knees, his face half hidden in his hands, from time to time
convulsive sobs escaped him, as he tried to fix the thoughts that
chased each other through his mind like the shapes of a monstrous
dream.  Night was in his soul, but every now and then light flashed
across the darkness, and over the gloomy background of his despair
passed gilded figures fleeing from him with smiles of mockery.  In
his ears buzzed voices from the other world; he saw a long procession
of ghosts, like the conspirators whom Nicholas of Melazzo had pointed
out in the vaults of Castel Nuovo.  But these phantoms each held his
head in his hand, and shaking it by the hair, bespattered him with
drops of blood.  Some brandished whips, some knives: each threatened
Charles with his instrument of torture.  Pursued by the nocturnal
train, the hapless man opened his mouth for one mighty cry, but his
breath was gone, and it died upon his lips.  Then he beheld his
mother stretching out her arms from afar, and he fancied that if he
could but reach her he would be safe But at each step the path grew
more and more narrow, pieces of his flesh were torn off by the
approaching walls; at last, breathless, naked and bleeding, he
reached his goal; but his mother glided farther away, and it was all
to begin over again.  The, phantoms pursued him, grinning and
screaming in his ears:--

"Cursed be he who slayeth his mother!"

Charles was roused from these horrors by the cries of his brothers,
who had come to embrace him for the last time before embarking.  The
duke in a low voice asked their pardon, and then fell back into his
state of despair.  The children were dragged away, begging to be
allowed to share their brother's fate, and crying for death as an
alleviation of their woes.  At length they were separated, but the
sound of their lamentation sounded long in the heart of the condemned
man.  After a few moments, two soldiers and two equerries came to
tell the duke that his hour had come.

Charles followed them, unresisting, to the fatal balcony where Andre
had been hanged.  He was there asked if he desired to confess, and
when he said yes, they brought a monk from the sane convent where the
terrible scene had been enacted: he listened to the confession of all
his sins, and granted him absolution.  The duke at once rose and
walked to the place where Andre had been thrown down for the cord to
be put round his neck, and there, kneeling again, he asked his
executioners--

"Friends, in pity tell me, is there any hope for my life?"

And when they answered no, Charles exclaimed:

"Then carry out your instructions."

At these words, one of the equerries plunged his sword into his
breast, and the other cut his head off with a knife, and his corpse
was thrown over the balcony into the garden where Andre's body had
lain for three days unburied.




CHAPTER VII

The King of Hungary, his black flag ever borne before him, started
for Naples, reusing all offered honours, and rejecting the canopy
beneath which he was to make his entry, not even stopping to give
audience to the chief citizens or to receive the acclamations of the
crowd.  Armed at all points, he made for Castel Nuovo, leaving behind
him dismay and fear.  His first act on entering the city was to order
Dona Cancha to be burnt, her punishment having been deferred by
reason of her pregnancy.  Like the others, she was drawn on a cart to
the square of St. Eligius, and there consigned to the flames.  The
young creature, whose suffering had not impaired her beauty, was
dressed as for a festival, and laughing like a mad thing up to the
last moment, mocked at her executioners and threw kisses to the
crowd.

A few days later, Godfrey of Marsana, Count of Squillace and grand
admiral of the kingdom, was arrested by the king's orders.  His life
was promised him on condition of his delivering up Conrad of
Catanzaro, one of his relatives, accused of conspiring against Andre.
The grand admiral committed, this act of shameless treachery, and did
not shrink from sending his own son to persuade Conrad to come to the
town.  The poor wretch was given over to the king, and tortured alive
on a wheel made with sharp knives.  The sight of these barbarities,
far from calming the king's rage; seemed to inflame it the more.
Every day there were new accusations and new sentences.  The prisons
were crowded: Louis's punishments were redoubled in severity.  A fear
arose that the town, and indeed the whole kingdom, were to be treated
as having taken part in Andre's death.  Murmurs arose against this
barbarous rule, and all men's thoughts turned towards their fugitive
queen.  The Neapolitan barons had taken the oath of fidelity with no
willing hearts; and when it came to the turn of the Counts of San
Severino, they feared a trick of some kind, and refused to appear all
together before the Hungarian, but took refuge in the town of
Salerno, and sent Archbishop Roger, their brother, to make sure of
the king's intentions beforehand.  Louis received him magnificently,
and appointed him privy councillor and grand proto notary.  Then, and
not till then, did Robert of San Severino and Roger, Count of
Chiaramonte, venture into the king's presence; after doing homage,
they retired to their homes.  The other barons followed their example
of caution, and hiding their discontent under a show of respect,
awaited a favourable moment for shaking off the foreign yoke.  But
the queen had encountered no obstacle in her flight, and arrived at
Nice five days later.  Her passage through Provence was like a
triumph.  Her beauty, youth, and misfortunes, even certain mysterious
reports as to her adventures, all contributed to arouse the interest
of the Provencal people.  Games and fetes were improvised to soften
the hardship of exile for the proscribed princess; but amid the
outbursts of joy from every town, castle, and city, Joan, always sad,
lived ever in her silent grief and glowing memories.

At the gates of Aix she found the clergy, the nobility, and the chief
magistrates, who received her respectfully but with no signs of
enthusiasm.  As the queen advanced, her astonishment increased as she
saw the coldness of the people and the solemn, constrained air of the
great men who escorted her.  Many anxious thoughts alarmed her, and
she even went so far as to fear some intrigue of the King of Hungary.
Scarcely had her cortege arrived at Castle Arnaud, when the nobles,
dividing into two ranks, let the queen pass with her counsellor
Spinelli and two women; then closing up, they cut her off from the
rest of her suite.  After this, each in turn took up his station as
guardian of the fortress.

There was no room for doubt: the queen was a prisoner; but the cause
of the manoeuvre it was impossible to guess.  She asked the high
dignitaries, and they, protesting respectful devotion, refused to
explain till they had news from Avignon.  Meanwhile all honours that
a queen could receive were lavished on Joan; but she was kept in
sight and forbidden to go out.  This new trouble increased her
depression: she did not know what had happened to Louis of Tarentum,
and her imagination, always apt at creating disasters, instantly
suggested that she would soon be weeping for his loss.

But Louis, always with his faithful Acciajuoli, had after many
fatiguing adventures been shipwrecked at the port of Pisa; thence he
had taken route for Florence, to beg men and money; but the
Florentines decided to keep an absolute neutrality, and refused to
receive him.  The prince, losing his last hope, was pondering gloomy
plans, when Nicholas Acciajuoli thus resolutely addressed him:

"My lord, it is not given to mankind to enjoy prosperity for ever:
there are misfortunes beyond all human foresight.  You were once rich
and powerful, and you are now a fugitive in disguise, begging the
help of others.  You must reserve your strength for better days.  I
still have a considerable fortune, and also have relations and
friends whose wealth is at my disposal: let us try to make our way to
the queen, and at once decide what we can do.  I myself shall always
defend you and obey you as my lord and master."

The prince received these generous offers with the utmost gratitude,
and told his counsellor that he placed his person in his hands and
all that remained of his future.  Acciajuoli, not content with
serving his master as a devoted servant, persuaded his brother
Angelo, Archbishop of Florence, who was in great favour at Clement
VI's court, to join with them in persuading the pope to interest
himself in the cause of Louis of Tarentum.  So, without further
delay, the prince, his counsellor, and the good prelate made their
way to the port of Marseilles, but learning that the queen was a
prisoner at Aix, they embarked at Acque-Morte, and went straight to
Avignon.  It soon appeared that the pope had a real affection and
esteem for the character of the Archbishop of Florence, for Louis was
received with paternal kindness at the court of Avignon; which was

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