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Page:Man Who Laughs (Estes and Lauriat 1869) v1.djvu/286

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THE MAN WHO LAUGHS.

IV.

Queen Anne bore the Duchess Josiana a slight grudge,—for two reasons. Firstly, because she thought the Duchess Josiana handsome. Secondly, because she thought the Duchess Josiana's betrothed handsome. Two reasons for jealousy are sufficient for a woman; one is sufficient for a queen. Let us add that she bore her a grudge for being her sister.

Anne did not like women to be pretty. She considered it contrary to good morals. As for herself, she was ugly,—not from choice, however. She derived a part of her religion from that ugliness. Josiana, beautiful and philosophical, was a cause of vexation to the queen. A pretty duchess is not a desirable sister to an ugly queen.

There was another grievance,—Josiana's "improper" birth.

Anne was the daughter of Anne Hyde, a simple gentlewoman, lawfully but vexatiously married by James II. when Duke of York. Anne, having this inferior blood in her veins, felt herself but half royal; and Josiana, having come into the world irregularly, drew closer attention to the incorrectness, less great, but really existing, in the birth of the queen. The daughter of a mésalliance disliked to see the daughter of bastardy so near her. It was an unpleasant reminder. Josiana had a right to say to Anne, "My mother was at least as good as yours." Of course at court no one said so, but they evidently thought it. This was a bore for her Royal Majesty. Why did this Josiana exist? What had put it into her head to be born? What good was a Josiana? Some relationships are detrimental.

Nevertheless, Anne smiled on Josiana. Perhaps she might even have liked her, had she not been her sister.