The Man with the Iron Mask

Man with the Iron Mask
Iron mask
   The Man with the Iron Mask was a mysterious state prisoner of France. He was confined in several prisons during the reign of Louis XIV. He always wore a mask of black velvet secured with springs of steel or iron. No one, not even his physician, was allowed to see his face. His name was never mentioned. In other respects he was treated with the greatest consideration. He was evidently a person of some education. He whiled away the time by reading and playing the guitar, and was given anything he desired except his freedom. He died in 1703 and was buried under the name of Marchiali. Everything which had been employed in his service was burned, and every precaution taken to keep the secret of his name from being discovered. Even the tiles in the room he had occupied were removed lest a letter might have been concealed behind them. Great curiosity was felt for many years as to his identity. The question was never settled positively, but the more commonly accepted view is that he was Count Matthioli, a minister of the Duke of Mantua, and that he was imprisoned for treachery. Another view is that he was implicated in a conspiracy against the king.