The Life of Marie de Medicis — Volume 1 eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 443 pages of information about The Life of Marie de Medicis — Volume 1.

All further rejoicings were, however, rendered unseasonable by the rapid increase of the plague, which having declared itself with great virulence at Fontainebleau, induced the hasty departure of the Court; and the illustrious guests having taken leave of the King and Queen laden with rich presents, their Majesties, with a limited retinue, repaired for a time to Montargis.

These baptismal festivities had not, meanwhile, been without alloy to the dissipated monarch.  Despite the fascination of the wily Marquise, and the charms of the Comtesse de Moret, Henry was by no means insensible to the attractions of the many beautiful women who followed in the suite of the Queen at the august ceremony just described; and, among others, he especially honoured with his notice the Duchesses de Montpensier[353] and de Nevers.

In neither case, however, was he destined to be successful, both these ladies possessing too much self-respect to accord any attention to his illicit gallantries; and this failure, especially with the latter, of whom he had become seriously enamoured, only tended to re-engage him with Madame de Verneuil.  Throughout all the period occupied by the christening festivities, Madame de Nevers[354] had been the object of his special pursuit; but so carefully did she avoid all occasions of private conversation, that the King, unaccustomed to so decided a resistance, became irritated to a degree which induced her to escape from the Court as soon as the found it practicable; and accordingly, on the very day after the festivities, she left Fontainebleau without any previous intimation of such a design, resisting all the efforts made by the sovereign to detain her.  Nor did she yield to his subsequent endeavours for her recall, but on the appointment of her husband during the following year to the embassy at Rome, she accompanied him thither; and several months elapsed ere she reappeared in France, where her duty having compelled her to pay her respects to the Queen on her return, Henry was so little master of himself as to display his mortification by inquiring who she was, and on her name being announced, to exclaim loud enough for her to hear his reply:  “Ha!  Madame la Duchesse de Nevers!  She is terribly altered.”

The shaft fell harmless.  The lady evinced the most perfect composure under the royal criticism, and having fulfilled her duties as a subject towards her sovereigns, she once more withdrew from the Court, and terminated her life as she had commenced it, without scandal or reproach.[355]


[312] Mamanga was the name given in playfulness by the Dauphin to Madame de Montglat.

[313] Madame de Drou was the governess of the infant Princess.

[314] Mademoiselle de Piolant, femme-de-chambre to the royal children.

[315] Sully, Mem. vol. vi. pp. 151-161.

[316] Bassompierre, Mem. p. 45.

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The Life of Marie de Medicis — Volume 1 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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