Short summary - Queen Margot, or Marguerite de Valois - Alexandre Dumas

French literature summaries - 2021

Short summary - Queen Margot, or Marguerite de Valois
Alexandre Dumas

1570, the era of civil wars in France, bloody clashes between Catholics and Huguenots. Over the past ten years, the leaders of the warring parties have died. Peace is concluded in Saint-Germain, for the consolidation of which the sister of King Charles IX, Princess Margaret, is married to Henry of Navarre. This marriage is equally amazing and outraged by the fighters in both camps. Something incredible is happening at the court! Most recently, Admiral Coligny was sentenced to death in absentia, a generous reward was appointed for his head by the king, and now the king calls him father in the Louvre and entrusts him with the command of the combined forces in the upcoming campaign in Flanders.
King Henry of Navarre explains to his young wife. Their marriage is a political union, they are indifferent to each other. Heinrich is not without reciprocity in love with Madame de Sauves, wife of the Secretary of State; Margarita has her own secrets of the heart. But this is a marriage of two honest and pure souls - so why shouldn't they be allies? Margarita promises Heinrich to support him to the end.
These days, an intrigue is swiftly unfolding in the palace, the inspiration of which is Catherine of Siena, the dowager queen who hates the Huguenots. The patience of the opponents was barely enough for a week: an attempt on the life of Admiral Coligny is being prepared. King Charles IX entrusts this matter to Morvel, an officer of the squad of firecrackers. Rumors of new bloody feuds are spreading throughout the kingdom. Two young nobles arrive in Paris overnight: Count Lerac de La Mol, a Huguenot, with letters to King Henry and Admiral Coligny, and Count Annibal de Coconnas, a Catholic, with a secret message to the Duke de Guise, Coligny's fierce enemy. After settling in the hotel "Guiding Star", the young people quickly get closer and, over a card game, inform each other that at night they both have very important audiences at the Louvre. It was the night - from 24 to 25 August - the night of St. Bartholomew, the bloody night of the beating of the Huguenots.
Embroiled in carnage, La Moll and Coconnas turn their weapons against each other. alas, La Mole is lonely, and Coconnas is at the head of a squad of Catholic soldiers. Bleeding La Moll escapes from pursuit in the chambers of Queen Margaret of Navarre. However, Coconnas is also seriously injured - and he finds shelter in the house of Margaret's closest friend, Duchess Henriette of Neverskaya. The two beauties who fell in love with the warriors they saved oppose the slogans of the warring camps with their own motto: "Eros-Cupido-Amor".
After a terrible night, Margot's brother, the Duke of Alencon, comes to see Margot. What happened, he says, is only a prologue to great upheavals. King Karl is ill and has seizures. The defeat of the Huguenots made de Guise the de facto ruler. Marrying a Huguenot is now both reprehensible and not in time, can still be replayed. Margot refuses to betray her husband. She clearly saw the troubles threatening her and Henry: Charles IX did not prevent the massacre planned by the Queen Mother and de Guise; Guise and her brother François, Duke of Alençon are ready to reap the most benefits from the spilled blood; as soon as the king of Navarre does not become - and everything tends to that - his possessions will be seized, and she, the widow, will be sent to a monastery. Madame de Sauves informs Margot of the highest command to appoint Henry of Navarre a date in her chambers: she suspects that this is a provocation and they want to kill him. Margarita hides her husband in her bedroom, where he is discovered with surprise and indignation by the Queen Mother, who has arranged this malicious intent. What an embarrassment: the king of the Huguenots sleeps not with his mistress, but with his legal wife! He is flawless - and she has nothing to blame him. After her departure, Marguerite introduces Henry to La Mola, hidden in one of the adjacent rooms. The young man belatedly gives the king a letter warning him of the mortal danger. Ah, if the king had not been busy at the hour when La Moll first appeared in the Louvre, the history of France could have developed differently! .. Queen's beloved Margot sleeps in her bed that night at the feet of her consort-king - as his companion unfortunately, a loyal subject and a new friend, but not a rival in love.
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Queen Dowager Catherine is furious. Everything - both the events of the last night, and the predictions of the sorcerer Rene - against her will, against her passionate desire to get rid of Henry of Navarre. Her next gamble suffers a fiasco: the poisonous lipstick she sent to Madame de Sauves, deadly both for the beauty and for her frequent guest Henry, for some reason does not work (Catherine is unaware that the master René himself at the last minute replaced the ominous bottle with another, quite harmless). The Queen Mother cannot even reconcile with her son-in-law even his conversion to Catholicism.
He accepts Catholicism at the same time as his king and La Moll: he vowed to accept the faith of his deceased mother in the event of a miraculous deliverance from death. He and Coconnassus were healed from their wounds by the same master Rene - and yesterday's enemies become inseparable friends, whose union is sealed in addition to the tender feelings of their beautiful ladies, Margarita and Henrietta. La Moll is still unable to believe that the most beautiful of the queens responded to his love. The friends turn to the clairvoyant Rene for the final answer. There is no doubt: Margot loves La Mola as much as he loves her. Proof - a wax figurine fortune-telling in the crown and mantle with a heart pierced by a sharp needle, Like an icon, La Mole hiding at this doll - image of their beloved Marguerite de Navarre ...
Paris - de Mooi, Head of the Huguenots seeking to political revenge. Having overheard his conversation with Henry, the Duke of Alencon tries to convince de Mouy that he is a more worthy contender for the throne when he becomes empty after the death of his brother Charles. To make it easier for de Mouy to get into the Louvre, the Duke François advises him to sew the same cherry parade ground as Marguerite's favorite, La Mola. Heinrich is alarmed: someone again stood in his way, and he knows - who. The figure of his mother is clearly visible behind François. He is not mistaken: right now, in the office of King Charles, the Queen Mother, frightening him with the news of her appearance in the Louvre de Mouy, forces her son to issue a decree on the arrest of Henry, entrusting Morvel to capture him - dead or alive.
Karl the next day has to regret his decree: on the hunt, Henry saves him from the boar's fangs. Thus, the King of Navarre not only saved a person's life, but also prevented the change of sovereigns in the three kingdoms, but most importantly, he saved the life of himself and Margot. Henry confidentially talks with the Duke of Alencon: de Mouy offered him a conspiracy against Charles - he rejected these proposals. But de Mouy will not calm down, he will direct his gaze in the other direction, for example, at Prince Condé ... or at someone else. François turns pale: it seems that Heinrich guessed the evil designs of him and his mother. He ardently convinces the King of Navarre to lead the Huguenot movement to guide it. The Huguenots trust Henry, King Charles loves him, Francois himself has already prepared an act of his abdication to the throne in his favor: "Fate is in your hands!" The interlocutors shake hands - at that moment Ekaterina Sienskaya enters the room. Hypocritically touched by the handshake of the brothers-kings, she internally triumphs over the victory over Henry. At night, Morvel bursts into his bedroom with the guards and stumbles upon de Mouy. Two guards are killed, Morvel is badly wounded. The incident becomes another palace scandal. In fact, Henry owes his salvation not only to the leader of the Huguenots, but also to the king of the Catholics: Charles took him out of the palace late at night. He decided to entrust Heinrich with his secret - to introduce him to the charming Marie Touchet and their illegitimate son. Something funny happened to them on the way. The Duke of Guise and the Duke of Anjou (brother of Charles and François, king of Poland five minutes later), met by them on one of the dark streets, lead them to the house, where, according to them, two very splendid ladies meet with two gentlemen entering the Louvre (speech , of course, it is about Marguerite and Henriette having dinner in the company of La Mola and Coconnas). An attempt to break into the house is met with a decisive rebuff: pots, basins and food are flying at the heads of the king and his retinue from the windows ...
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Returning to the palace, Heinrich learns about de Mui's nocturnal prowess. However, the Duke of Alencon inspires him with the suspicion that it could have been La Moll: the brave man who almost killed Morvel was dressed in a cherry cloak. The King of Navarre hurries to his wife: "A terrible suspicion hangs over our friend!" "It's impossible: he was in a different place at night." Margot falls at her mother's feet: “La Moll is innocent. He spent that night with me. If he is arrested, he will have to admit it. " “Calm down, my daughter,” Queen Catherine replies. "I stand guard over your honor!"
It becomes clear to the Queen Mother: La Mol does not separate her daughter from Henry, on the contrary, he is their ally. The Duke of Alencon, at the instigation of his mother, invites La Mola to his place - and lies in wait for him with several faithful people in the dimness of the corridor. The plan is solved by the King of Navarre, he warns La Mola of the danger and advises him to hide. Having entered into an agreement with de Mouy, La Mole is preparing to join the Huguenots, watching from a safe distance for her beloved, who every evening goes on a date with him "in Spanish" on the balcony of the palace.
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Maitre Rene bewitches the Queen Mother, predicting the imminent death of her son Karl - a violent death. While making some other predictions, Rene, among other things, tells Queen Catherine about divination for Margarita at the request of La Mola. We must hurry to break all the knots: in Paris - the Polish ambassadors who arrived for the coronation of the Duke of Anjou, she is obliged to ensure the future of her sons! At her request, Maitre René impregnates an ancient falconry manual with poison, which she instructs to hand over to the King of Navarre. But this book is in the hands of Charles IX. The incurably ill king arranges a falconry. De Mouy, La Mole and Coconnas are waiting in the forest for King Henry to escape to the Huguenot camp. This plan was thwarted by the Duke of Alencon, who was initiated into the conspiracy and at the decisive moment refused to keep Henry company.
La Moll and Coconnas in the fortress. King Charles also imprisons Henry there: this is the only way to save his life, in prison he is at least under guard. The interrogations of the captured conspirators begin. One of the proofs of La Mola's evil intentions is a wax doll in royal regalia. The letter "M" in place of the heart, pierced by a needle, means, of course, "death" (morte)! La Moll cannot dismiss this accusation: Queen Margaret, his divine lover, must remain above suspicion. Two friends have their heads cut off. Having received them from the hands of the executioner, Margaret and Henrietta watered them with tears ... The
hour of death and Charles IX is near. He finally realizes that his illness is the result of poisoning, that his mother poisoned him and that the poison was passed on to him by his younger brother. He summons the amiable Anrio, the King of Navarre, and announces the decision to declare him regent and heir to the throne until the Duke of Anjou returns from Poland. If the Duke of Anjou begins to challenge the power of Henry, the latter will be able to present the Pope's letter of his rights (the letter is on the way). The Duke of Alencon is to be imprisoned in a fortress, the Queen Mother is to be exiled to a monastery. The dying Karl announces his will to his mother and brother Francois. On the way to Paris, a detachment of Huguenots led by de Mouy. Everything suggests that Henry is the king of France! However, the Huguenots are ahead of the train of the Duke of Anjou: he was informed by his mother that his brother Charles was dying, and hastened, leaving Poland, to arrive at the Louvre to inherit the crown.
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Queen Mother rejoices: at least one of Master Rene's gloomy prophecies did not come true! She makes one last attempt to eliminate Heinrich, dictating a letter to Morvel to the State Counselor de Sauves: his wife is at the Guiding Star Hotel in the company of a dandy from among his friends. What was allowed to Henry under King Charles was unacceptable under King Henry III, the namesake and rival of the King of Navarre in the struggle for the throne. The calculation is simple: the jealous spouse will hurry to the place of the meeting - and the lover, whom he endured for so many years, will be killed! De Mouy and two of his officers are on guard at the door of the hotel. Heinrich, warned of the danger, jumps out of the window and breaks down. De Mouy pursues Morvel, who came with the guards to celebrate the insulted honor of M. de Sauves, and kills him. Returning to the hotel, Heinrich sees the dying Charlotte: she was stabbed by her husband who was walking behind Morvel.
Among those who arrived in time from the palace to the place of the atrocity is the master Rene. Henry, shocked by what had happened, ready to leave Paris again, exclaims: “And you said that I would become king ?! Am I an unfortunate exile ?! " “No, sire, it’s not me speaking. She says it! " - and Maitre René points to a star in the gap of black clouds, announcing the forthcoming glorious king of France and the beautiful Queen Margaret, who does not love him, but is infinitely faithful to him ...