Joan of Naples eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 117 pages of information about Joan of Naples.

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, refusing 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

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Joan of Naples from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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