through precept, but through ocular demonstration. Blanche was not con-tent to train her sonto be a king ; she schooled him also in the ways of sanctity. She taught him the elements of Catholic faith and devotion, and drilled him in habits of prayer which he never abandoned.”“From his earliest years she strove to impress upon his sensitive mind the value of holiness. She often – said to him "
I would rather see you dead than know that youshould live to commit a mortal sin.
" When Louis was nineteen years of age, his motherdecided that it was time for him to marry. She chose for him a child of twelve, the PrincessMarguerite, the eldest daughter of Raymond Bérenger, Count of Provence. Perhaps she didnot realize how beautiful the young princess was ; later she apparently became jealous of herson's devotion to his wife. Perhaps Louis was surprised to find that his mother had chosen sopretty and graceful a girl to be his wife, but there is no evidence that he was displeased.Marguerite bore her husband eleven children.”“Saint Francis de Sales, in the chapter on "Counsels for Married Persons," in hisIntroduction to the Devout Life, appeals to the example of this French royal saint as anillustration of the proper use to be made of mutual caresses in married life : "The great St.Louis, who was as rigorous towards his own flesh as he was tender in his love of his wife, wasalmost blamed for being lavish in such caresses, although in truth he rather deserved praisefor knowing how to lay aside his martial and courageous spirit, and give these littledemonstrations of affection ; for although these little demonstrations of pure and frank affection do not bind hearts together, yet they bring them close together, and serve as apleasant aid to mutual intercourse."“Throughout their married life, Louis never entered upon any serious undertaking without first gaining the permission of his wife. Father R. P. Surin, of the Society of Jesus, writing in 1652, praises this habit of the French king as exemplifying the quality of wisdom inconjugal love : "It is re-ported of St. Louis that he never disposed of his person without takingthe advice of Madame Marguerite of Provence, his wife ; and that when in captivity in theHoly Land, when he was treating of his ransom, before giving his final word, he demanded theprivilege of speaking to the queen, who had accompanied him in the voyage to the Levant.Upon the infidels expressing their surprise, he replied that he could conclude nothing withouther, because she was his Lady, and as such he owed her this respect. To act and speak in that way proved the wise love of the holy king for the queen his wife."Once, however, Queen Marguerite refused the consent for which the king had asked. Whentheir eldest son had reached the age when he might succeed to the throne, Louis told thequeen secretly of his own desire to renounce the throne and become a religious, and asked herto acquiesce in his pious intention. She shook her head and stamped her foot, and quickly putforward convincing arguments why he should remain king as long as he lived. He al-lowedhimself to be persuaded, and never again brought up the subject.”“The persistent jealousy which Blanche of Castile displayed towards the queen on many occasions proves that she was not a saint—as yet. Joinville, in his Memoirs, bears witness tothis jealousy : "The harshness which Queen Blanche showed to Queen Marguerite was suchthat Queen Blanche would not allow her son to remain in his wife's company, if she couldprevent it, except in the evening when he retired with her."“It is possible that Queen Blanche had a theory that a husband and wife might see toomuch of each other. However, King Louis and his wife so arranged matters that they could seeeach other when they wished on a winding staircase which connected their two rooms, by instructing their attendants to give them a signal when the queen mother came to either room,so that she always found either the king or the queen alone. Joinville records that "once theking was with his wife, and she was in danger of death, being ill after the birth of a child. TheQueen Blanche came there, took her son by the hand and said, 'Come away, you have no