The Dauphin didn’t like any lack of respect for his person.  His governess having accidentally turned her back to him, he says to her, in a very authoritive tone:  “You must not turn your arse to Monsieur Dauphin.”

Heroard also tells us of a dispute between Henri IV and his son.

“The King says to him:  “Take off your hat.”  He has trouble removing it.  The King takes it off for him, and he gets angry about it.  Then the King removes his drum and drumsticks, which is even worse.  “My hat!  My drum!  My drumsticks!”  The King, to upset him even more, puts the hat on his head.  “I want my hat!”  The King hits his head with it, and he is really angry and the King against him.  The King takes him by his wrists and lifts him in the air like stretching his little arms on a cross.  “Hey!  You are hurting me!  Hey!  My drum!  My hat!”  The Queen gives him back his hat, then his drumsticks.  It was a little tragedy.  He is taken away by Mme de Montglat, he is dying of anger.  Carried to the bedroom of Mlle Nurse, where he cries for a long time without being able to calm down, he doesn’t want to be kissed or hugged by Mme de Montglat, doesn’t say sorry to her, except when he feels his clothes being pulled up;  in the end, whipped, not punished… ”

Other passages from Heroard lead us to believe that when the Dauphin is whipped, it is on top of his dress.  When he is punished, it is naked.  It is more often the latter method which is employed by the King.  Henri IV was convinced that it was the best method of education, as is shown in the following letter, which he sent to Mme de Montglat, on 14 November 1607:

“I complain of you because you haven’t written that you have whipped my son;  for I want and command you to whip him every time that he is obstinate or does something wrong;  knowing myself that there is nothing in this world which will profit him more than that;  because I recognize by experience that it has been good for me;  for, at his age, I was often whipped.  That is why I want you to do it and that you make him understand.”

But people have different temperaments, and what might have been successful for the father, could harm the child.

The King didn’t hold back either, if we believe this exclamation from the Dauphin, one day that he had received a good hiding:  “Mamanga!  Papa has broken my thigh!  Put some ointment on me!”  You can’t always believe him, because he often pretended to feel great suffering in order to obtain a pardon.

It is astonishing, however, that an excessively sensitive child was submitted to these multiple beatings.  His sensitivity was sometimes displayed in attacks of a clearly morbid character.

His irritablity was even stronger because he hadn’t had a bowel movement for a long time.  His constipation could therefore be responsible for this state of excessive sensitivity which didn’t last very long.  One of the most conscientious historians writing about the childhood of Louis XIII shares this opinion.  Mr Louis Batiffol writes:

“With children, the following phenomena are produced:  at any given moment, the mood becomes dark, irritable, nervous;  they suffer, they are listless for several days, whitefaced.  Gradually, the abdominal pains become sharp, and the irritability grows extremely.  Then, suddenly, a violent emptying is produced, and the patient is cured.”

His entourage never suspects, of course, that these fits of anger could have a pathological cause.

Sometimes , the child was so enraged, that he fell into fainting fits.  The Queen understood that more gentleness was needed.  She wrote to the governess “that the whip be given with circumspection so that the anger which could take hold of him, does not engender any illness”.

Believing, rightly or wrongly, that the beatings presented more risks in the hot season, she recommended that everything be done before coming to the extremity of the whip.  The Dauphin benefited from this belief, but only for a short time.

He had just been proclaimed King when he was again birched.  His governor having reluctantly whipped him by formal order of his mother, the regent, the young sovereign entered the room where she was.  Obeying etiquette, Marie de Medicis rose and made a beautiful curstey to her son.  This drew the remark from Louis XIII:  “I would rather have fewer curtsies made to me and not be whipped!”  Those present smiled.  The Queen, although uncomfortable, did the same.

Richelieu reports that Henri IV once said to the Queen:  “I can assure you of one thing, that, knowing your temperament the way that I do and forseeing what his [the Dauphin’s] will be, you all of one piece, not to say stubborn, you will absolutely have some horn-locking with each other.”

Fifth part tomorrow.

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