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June 09 , 2010

Valet's Tragedy and Other Studies


These studies in secret history follow no chronological order. The
affair of James de la Cloche only attracted the author's attention after
most of the volume was in print. But any reader curious in the veiled
intrigues of the Restoration will probably find it convenient to peruse
'The Mystery of James de la Cloche' after the essay on 'The Valet's
Master,' as the puzzling adventures of de la Cloche occurred in the
years (1668-1669), when the Valet was consigned to lifelong captivity,
and the Master was broken on the wheel. What would have been done to
'Giacopo Stuardo' had he been a subject of Louis XIV., ''tis better only
guessing.' But his fate, whoever he may have been, lay in the hands
of Lord Ailesbury's 'good King,' Charles II., and so he had a good

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The author is well aware that whosoever discusses historical mysteries
pleases the public best by being quite sure, and offering a definite and
certain solution. Unluckily Science forbids, and conscience is on the
same side. We verily do not know how the false Pucelle arrived at her
success with the family of the true Maid; we do not know, or pretend to
know, who killed Sir Edmund Berry Godfrey; or how Amy Robsart came by
her death; or why the Valet was so important a prisoner. It is only
possible to restate the cases, and remove, if we may, the errors and
confusions which beset the problems. Such a tiny point as the year
of Amy Robsart's marriage is stated variously by our historians. To
ascertain the truth gave the author half a day's work, and, at last,
he would have voted for the wrong year, had he not been aided by the
superior acuteness of his friend, Mr. Hay Fleming. He feels morally
certain that, in trying to set historians right about Amy Robsart, he
must have committed some conspicuous blunders; these always attend such
enterprises of rectification.


The valet's tragedy – The valet's master – The mystery of Sir Edmund Berry Godfrey – The false Jeanne D'Arc – Junius and Lord Lyttelton's ghost – The mystery of Amy Robsart – The voice of Jeanne D'Arc – The mystery of James de la Gloche – The truth about "Fisher's ghost" – The mystery of Lord Bateman – The queen's Marie – The Shakespeare-Bacon imbroglio.

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