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Villegagnon A Tale of the Huguenot Persecution   By: (1814-1880)

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Villegagnon, by W.H.G. Kingston. The date is sometime during the reign of Philip and Mary, the Catholic interlude between the Protestant times of Henry the Eighth and his son Edward the Sixth, and Queen Elizabeth. Religious intolerance was at an extreme, with burnings at the stake and other very nasty tortures being applied to persons of an opposite sect.

Nigel Melvin comes to the Court of France with some letters to deliver. His young cousin Mary Seton is with him in the opening scene, and she introduces him to the young royals who happen to be walking in the same garden. We find that there are several with Protestant leanings even in that setting. Nigel is conducted to a house where he is to find Admiral Coligny, who is setting up an expedition to found a Protestant colony the other side of the Atlantic in the bay now known as Rio de Janeiro, and idea that had been propounded by Monsieur Villegagnon. Nigel is given command of one of the ships. They set off for Havre, where the vessels are, but on the way Nigel overhears a conversation between Villegagnon and a monk, which makes it plain that Villegagnon is no Protestant, and that there is a dubious motive in all these plans.

On arrival at Rio they meet with a local Indian chief who warns them about some white settlers nearby who appear to have a religion not at all satisfactory to Indian tastes. These are the Portuguese, Catholics. They are permitted to settle on any island in the bay. There is a gale and it becomes plain they must move to a more sheltered island than the one they started on. Nigel falls in love with the fair lady Constance, but so also does the Indian, Tecumah.

Nigel returns to France to pick up more Protestant emigrants, who have to run the gauntlet of a Catholic mob apparently led by the monk who had been plotting before the first voyage, with Villegagnon. The voyage proceeds well but the five French ships were attacked by five Portuguese, whom they routed except for one, which they captured. They were unable to shut up the shot holes in her, and she sinks. On arrival in Brazil they set her passengers and crew ashore in a Portuguese held part of the territory, and continue to their settlement in the bay of Rio. Thereafter the story gets more and more exciting, and we hope that you will read it for yourself.




"And what brought you to France, fair cousin?"

The question was put by a beautiful girl scarcely yet verging on womanhood to a fine intelligent youth, two or three years her senior, as they paced slowly on together through the gardens of the Louvre on the banks of the Seine, flowing at that period bright and clear amid fields and groves. Before them rose the stately palace lately increased and adorned by Henry the Second, the then reigning monarch of France, with its lofty towers, richly carved columns, and numerous rows of windows commanding a view over the city on one side, and across green fields and extensive forests, and far up and down the river on the other.

The walk along which the young people were proceeding was shaded by tall trees, the thick boughs of which kept off the rays of the sun, shining brightly on the gay flowers and glittering fountains, seen in the open space beyond them.

The young girl had the air and manner of a grown up person, with that perfect self possession which seems natural to those brought up in the atmosphere of a court.

Her companion's manner formed a contrast to hers; but though evidently not at all at his ease, as a brave man does when called upon to encounter danger, he had braced himself up to face those he might have to meet, who would, he naturally felt, look down on him on account of his travel stained dress, his Scottish accent, and rustic appearance... Continue reading book >>

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