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CHAPTER LXXXVI. - THE DUCHESS OF ORLEANS IS SUSPECTED OF CAUSING THE KING'S ILLNESS.

Every year the king of France had relapses of his frenzy, without any physician or surgeon being able to prevent it. Some indeed had boasted that they would restore him to health but it was soon found they laboured in vain. The king's disorder never ceased until it had run its course, in spite of prayers and medicines. Some of the physicians and sorcerers who attended the king, on finding their labour lost, declared the king must have poisoned or enchanted by some pernicious herbs. This agitated greatly the minds of the nobility and people, for these sorcerers affirmed, the better to gain belief, that the king was under the power of sorcery, and that they knew it from the devil who had revealed it to them. Several of these conjurors had been burnt at Paris and Avignon, for having gone so far as to say that the duchess of Orleans, daughter to the duke of Milan, was the cause of this mischief, that she might succeed to the crown of France. This was so much believed that common report said she had frequently practised such arts, and that, so long as she was near the person of the king, he neither would nor could regain his health. It was therefore necessary, to put an end to this slander, that the duchess of Orleans should quit Paris. She went first to reside at Asnieres, a very handsome castle near Pontoise, that belonged to the duke her lord, and then to Neufchateau, on the Loire, which also belonged to him. The duke of Orleans was very melancholy on hearing such injurious reports against his duchess which he dissembled as well as he could, and never on this account quitted the king or court, for he took pleasure in attending public business and the different councils on the affairs of the realm.

Galeas, duke of Milan, was duly informed of the infamous crimes his daughter, the duchess of Orleans, was accused of. He deeply felt the injury, and had twice or thrice sent ambassadors to France, to exculpate his daughter to the king of France and his council, offering, at the same time, a knight or knights that should engage in mortal combat any person who should dare to accuse his daughter of such iniquitous and treasonable practises.

 

 
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