By the Sword and By The Aspergillum

By The SwordTopic: Twenty-five years long story of a peaceful Huguenot family, especially of the son, Gaston de La Haute-Motte, main character of the story, from secluded Gascony plunged against their will in the turmoil of the Wars of Religion.Background: Totally historic. Religious Wars bloodying France. (See bibliography) Omnipresent: The lifelong fight of Catherine de Medici to protect her sons’ crown, but also, and mainly, to protect France from Spain’s encroachment. Also, the resistance of England and of the nascent Netherlands against hegemonic Spain.

Introduction to “By the Sword and By the Aspergillum”When Henri de Bourbon, King of Navarre, nicknamed le Béarnais- the Man from Béarn- defeated the Holy League’s armies of King Henri III, armies lead by the powerful Henri de Guise, duke of Lorraine, at the battle of Coutras, in 1587, starting what would be known as the “War of the Three Henris” (1587-1589), he was one step away from the throne of France. But it was a gigantic and impassable step; although Henri de Navarre, first cousin to the King, married to his sister Marguerite de Valois, and descendant of the Carolingians, was of pure royal blood and direct heir to the throne as Henri III was without male child or brother alive, he also was a Protestant. Never, ever, would France accept for her King a non-Catholic.To achieve his Destiny, after Henri III’s death, Henri de Navarre, now legitimate King of France under the name of Henri IV, accepted by many, but still rejected by some of the French people, especially by Paris, decided to convert to Catholicism, and to his horrified friends he said these historical words: Paris vaut bien une messe -Paris is worth a mass-. The once outlawed Protestant, and now despised as convert by some, was then officially crowned King of France. He was intelligent, human, and a great politic. His main concern was the welfare of the French people. Under his reign, hunger virtually disappeared from the country. He undoubtedly was the best King France ever had, and deserves in face of posterity the surname given to him by his people: Le Bon Roi Henri[1]. It is true that History also remembers – with an affectionate smile of comprehension- his other sobriquet, earned for his countless amorous exploits: Le Vert Galant.The conversion of Henri should not have come as such a surprise to his friends. Since his youth, even reared as a fervent Protestant, he was an admirer of the Jesuits, the powerful monk-soldiers of the Company of Jesus. Like the Jesuits, Henri understood early in his life that to prevail he would have to vaincre et convaincre – vanquish and convince-. He foresaw that his conversion might be the price to pay to establish civil peace in the nation.He knew that his long cavalcade to the throne could be victorious only by the Sword and by the Aspergillum.

The Era: Second half of 16th century. Location: France and Europe.