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.

Madame de Verneuil was in despair; the coveted sceptre was sliding from within her grasp, and with the ill-judged hope of regaining the affections of her royal lover by exciting his jealousy, she encouraged the attention of the Due de Guise, who, undismayed by the previous attempt of his brother to divert the affections of another of the royal favourites and its unfortunate result, at length openly avowed himself the suitor of the brilliant Marquise, and even promised to make her his wife; while the scandalous chroniclers of the time do not hesitate to affirm that the Prince de Joinville himself had previously done the same, but that his proverbial fickleness had protected him from so gross a mesalliance.

In the case of the Duke, however, the affair wore a more serious aspect; and so earnest did he appear in his professions that Madame de Verneuil, anxious at once to secure an illustrious alliance and to revenge herself upon the monarch, caused the banns of marriage between the Prince and herself to be published with some slight alteration in their respective names, which did not, however, suffice to deceive those who had an interest in subverting her project; and the fact was accordingly communicated to the King, upon whom it produced an effect entirely opposite to that which had been contemplated by the vanity of the lady, who had been clever enough to procure from M. de Guise a written promise similar to that which she had formerly extorted from the monarch.  Four years previously the knowledge of such a perfidy on her part would have overwhelmed Henry with anxiety, jealousy, and grief, but his passion for the Marquise had, as we have seen, long been on the decline, and his only feeling was one of indignation and displeasure.  To the Marquise herself he simply expressed his determined and unalterable opposition to the alliance, but to the Duke he was far less lenient, reminding him of the former offences of himself and his family, and forbidding him to pursue a purpose so distasteful to all those who had his honour at heart This was a fatal blow to Madame de Verneuil, and one which she was never destined to overcome.  Clever as she was, she had suffered herself to forget that youth is not eternal, and that passion is even more evanescent than time; and thus, by a last impotent effort to assert a supremacy to which she could no longer advance any claim, she only succeeded in extinguishing in the heart of the King the last embers of a latent and expiring attachment.[390]


[356] The careme-prenant includes the three days which precede Ash-Wednesday.

[357] L’Etoile, vol. iii. pp. 411, 412.

[358] Benjamin de Rohan, Duc de Soubise, was the grandson of Jean de Parthenay-Soubise, and the son of Rene-Rohan.  He was a zealous supporter of the reformed faith, and was present at several sieges; but becoming dissatisfied with the citizens of La Rochelle, with whom he took refuge in 1622, he passed over to England, to solicit assistance; a proceeding which compelled the French Court to declare him guilty of lese-majeste, and he subsequently refused to return to his own country when a general amnesty was proclaimed.

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