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List Of Contents | Contents of Joan of Naples, by Alexandre Dumas, Pere
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As soon as Joan and Andre; the Princes of Tarentum and Durazzo, the
Counts of Artois, and Queen Sancha had taken their places round the
bed of death, forming a semicircle, as we have just described, the
vice-chancellor passed through the rows of barons, who according to
their rangy were following closely after the princes of the blood;
and bowing low before the king, unfolded a parchment sealed with the
royal seal, and read in a solemn voice, amid a profound silence:

"Robert, by the grace of God King of Sicily and Jerusalem, Count of
Provence, Forcalquier, and Piedmont, Vicar of the Holy Roman Church,
hereby nominates and declares his sole heiress in the kingdom of
Sicily on this side and the other side of the strait, as also in the
counties of Provence, Forcalquier, and Piedmont, and in all his
other territories, Joan, Duchess of Calabria, elder daughter of the
excellent lord Charles, Duke of Calabria, of illustrious memory.

"Moreover, he nominates and declares the honourable lady Marie,
younger daughter of the late Duke of Calabria, his heiress in the
county of Alba and in the jurisdiction of the valley of Grati and the
territory of Giordano, with all their castles and dependencies; and
orders that the lady thus named receive them in fief direct from the
aforesaid duchess and her heirs; on this condition, however, that if
the duchess give and grant to her illustrious sister or to her
assigns the sum of 10,000 ounces of gold by way of compensation, the
county and jurisdiction aforesaid--shall remain in the possession of
the duchess and her heirs.

"Moreover, he wills and commands, for private and secret reasons,
that the aforesaid lady Marie shall contract a marriage with the very
illustrious prince, Louis, reigning King of Hungary.  And in case any
impediment should appear to this marriage by reason of--the union
said to be already arranged and signed between the King of Hungary
and the King of Bohemia and his daughter, our lord the king commands
that the illustrious lady Marie shall contract a marriage with the
elder son of the mighty lord Don Juan, Duke of Normandy, himself the
elder son of the reigning King of France."

At this point Charles of Durazzo gave Marie a singularly meaning
look, which escaped the notice of all present, their attention being
absorbed by the reading of Robert's will.  The young girl herself,
from the moment when she first heard her own name, had stood confused
and thunderstruck, with scarlet cheeks, not daring to raise her eyes.

The vice-chancellor continued:

"Moreover, he has willed and commanded that the counties of
Forcalquier and Provence shall in all perpetuity be united to his
kingdom, and shall form one sole and inseparable dominion, whether or
not there be several sons or daughters or any other reason of any
kind for its partition, seeing that this union is of the utmost
importance for the security and common prosperity of the kingdom and
counties aforesaid.

"Moreover, he has decided and commanded that in case of the death of
the Duchess Joan--which God avert!--without lawful issue of her body,
the most illustrious lord Andre, Duke of Calabria, her husband, shall
have the principality of Salerno, with the title fruits, revenues,
and all the rights thereof, together with the revenue of 2000 ounces
of gold for maintenance.

"Moreover, he has decided and ordered that the Queen above all, and
also the venerable father Don Philip of Cabassole, Bishop of
Cavaillon, vice-chancellor of the kingdom of Sicily, and the
magnificent lords Philip of Sanguineto, seneschal of Provence,
Godfrey of Marsan, Count of Squillace, admiral of the kingdom, and
Charles of Artois, Count of Aire, shall be governors, regents, and
administrators of the aforesaid lord Andre and the aforesaid ladies
Joan and Marie, until such time as the duke, the duchess, and the
very illustrious lady Marie shall have attained their twenty-fifth
year," etc.  etc.

When the vice-chancellor had finished reading, the king sat up, and
glancing round upon his fair and numerous family, thus spoke:

"My children, you have heard my last wishes.  I have bidden you all
to my deathbed, that you may see how the glory of the world passes
away.  Those whom men name the great ones of the earth have more
duties to perform, and after death more accounts to render: it is in
this that their greatness lies.  I have reigned thirty-three years,
and God before whom I am about to appear, God to whom my sighs have
often arisen during my long and painful life, God alone knows the
thoughts that rend my heart in the hour of death.  Soon shall I be
lying in the tomb, and all that remains of me in this world will live
in the memory of those who pray for me.  But before I leave you for
ever, you, oh, you who are twice my daughters, whom I have loved with
a double love, and you my nephews who have had from me all the care
and affection of a father, promise me to be ever united in heart and
in wish, as indeed you are in my love.  I have lived longer than your
fathers, I the eldest of all, and thus no doubt God has wished to
tighten the bonds of your affection, to accustom you to live in one
family and to pay honour to one head.  I have loved you all alike, as
a father should, without exception or preference.  I have disposed of
my throne according to the law of nature and the inspiration of my
conscience: Here are the heirs of the crown of Naples; you, Joan, and
you, Andre, will never forget the love and respect that are due
between husband and wife, and mutually sworn by you at the foot of
the altar; and you, my nephews all; my barons, my officers, render
homage to your lawful sovereigns; Andre of Hungary, Louis of
Tarentum, Charles of Durazzo, remember that you are brothers; woe to
him who shall imitate the perfidy of Cain!  May his blood fall upon
his own head, and may he be accursed by Heaven as he is by the mouth
of a dying man; and may the blessing of the Father, the Son, and the
Holy Spirit descend upon that man whose heart is good, when the Lord
of mercy shall call to my soul Himself!"

The king remained motionless, his arms raised, his eyes fixed on
heaven, his cheeks extraordinarily bright, while the princes, barons,
and officers of the court proffered to Joan and her husband the oath
of fidelity and allegiance.  When it was the turn of the Princes of
Duras to advance, Charles disdainfully stalked past Andre, and
bending his knee before the princess, said in a loud voice, as he
kissed her hand--

"To you, my queen, I pay my homage."

All looks were turned fearfully towards the dying man, but the good
king no longer heard.  Seeing him fall back rigid and motionless,
Dona Sancha burst into sobs, and cried in a voice choked with tears

"The king is dead; let us pray for his soul."

At the very same moment all the princes hurried from the room, and
every passion hitherto suppressed in the presence of the king now
found its vent like a mighty torrent breaking through its banks.

"Long live Joan!  "Robert of Cabane, Louis of Tarentum, and Bertrand
of Artois were the first to exclaim, while the prince's tutor,
furiously breaking through the crowd and apostrophising the various
members of the council of regency, cried aloud in varying tones of
passion, "Gentlemen, you have forgotten the king's wish already; you
must cry, 'Long live Andre!' too"; then, wedding example to precept,
and himself making more noise than all the barons together, he cried
in a voice of thunder--

"Long live the King of Naples!"

But there was no echo to his cry, and Charles of Durazzo, measuring
the Dominican with a terrible look, approached the queen, and taking
her by the hand, slid back the curtains of the balcony, from which
was seen the square and the town of Naples.  So far as the eye could
reach there stretched an immense crowd, illuminated by streams of
light, and thousands of heads were turned upward towards Castel Nuovo
to gather any news that might be announced.  Charles respectfully
drawing back and indicating his fair cousin with his hand,
cried out--

"People of Naples, the King is dead: long live the Queen!"

"Long live Joan, Queen of Naples!" replied the people, with a single
mighty cry that resounded through every quarter of the town.

The events that on this night had followed each other with the
rapidity of a dream had produced so deep an impression on Joan's
mind, that, agitated by a thousand different feelings, she retired to
her own rooms, and shutting herself up in her chamber, gave free vent
to her grief.  So long as the conflict of so many ambitions waged
about the tomb, the young queen, refusing every consolation that was
offered her, wept bitterly for the death of her grandfather, who had
loved her to the point of weakness.  The king was buried with all
solemnity in the church of Santa Chiara, which he had himself founded
and dedicated to the Holy Sacrament, enriching it with magnificent
frescoes by Giotto and other precious relics, among which is shown
still, behind the tribune of the high altar, two columns of white
marble taken from Solomon's temple.  There still lies Robert,
represented on his tomb in the dress of a king and in a monk's frock,
on the right of the monument to his son Charles, the Duke of
Calabria.




CHAPTER II

As soon as the obsequies were over, Andre's tutor hastily assembled
the chief Hungarian lords, and it was decided in a council held in
the presence of the prince and with his consent, to send letters to
his mother, Elizabeth of Poland, and his brother, Louis of Hungary,
to make known to them the purport of Robert's will, and at the same
time to lodge a complaint at the court of Avignon against the conduct
of the princes and people of Naples in that they had proclaimed Joan
alone Queen of Naples, thus overlooking the rights of her husband,
and further to demand for him the pope's order for Andre's
coronation.  Friar Robert, who had not only a profound knowledge of
the court intrigues, but also the experience of a philosopher and all
a monk's cunning, told his pupil that he ought to profit by the

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