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.

On the 1st of May, when returning from the Tuileries by the great gallery to the Louvre, supported in consequence of his gout by the Due de Guise and the narrator himself, he said on reaching the door of the Queen’s closet to his two attendants, “Wait for me here.  I will hasten the toilet of my wife that she may not keep my dinner waiting.”  He was of course obeyed, and the Duke and Bassompierre, in order to while away the time, walked to the balcony that overhung the court of the Louvre, against which they leant watching what passed below, when suddenly the great hawthorn which occupied the centre of the area swayed for an instant and then fell to the earth with a loud crash in the direction of the King’s private staircase without any apparent agency, as not a breath of air was stirring, nor was any one near it at the time.

The impressionable imagination of Bassompierre was deeply moved.  “Would,” he exclaimed to his companion, “that any sacrifice on my part could have averted so dire a presage as this.  God preserve the King!”

“You are mad,” was the reply of the Duke, “to connect the fortunes of the King with the fall of a tree.”

“It may be so,” was the melancholy rejoinder; “but neither in Italy nor in Germany would this circumstance fail to produce alarm.  Heaven guard the monarch, and all who are near and dear to him!”

“You are two fools to amuse yourselves with these absurd prognostics,” said Henry, who had approached them unheard during their momentary excitement.  “For the last thirty years all the astrologers and mountebanks in the kingdom, as well as a host of other impostors, have predicted at given intervals that I was about to die, so that when the time comes some of these prophecies must prove correct and will be quoted as miracles, while all the false ones will be studiously forgotten.”

The young nobles received the rebuke in silence; but the inexplicable accident which had just occurred was sufficient in so superstitious an age to arouse the liveliest forebodings in the minds of those by whom it was witnessed.[430]


[391] Mademoiselle de Montmorency was the daughter of Henri, first of the name, Duc de Montmorency, Marshal and Constable of France, celebrated in the history of the civil wars under the name of Damville, who died on the 2nd of April 1614, and of Louise de Budos, his second wife, who had, on her appearance at Court, attracted the attention of the King.  This lady, who became the wife of the Connetable in 1593, died in 1598.  Charlotte Marguerite was born in 1594, and was consequently but fifteen years of age when she entered the household of the Queen.

[392] Bentivoglio, Della Fuga del Principe di Conde.

[393] Bassompierre, Mem. p. 53.

[394] Bassompierre, Mem. p. 55.

[395] Hector de Pardaillan, Seigneur de Montespan, who died in 1611, at the advanced age of eighty years.  He was the father of Antoine-Arnauld de Pardaillan, first Marquis d’Antin, grandfather of Roger-Hector, Marquis d’Antin, great-grandfather of Louis-Henri, Marquis de Montespan, the husband of Franchise Athenais de Rochechouart-Mortemart, the celebrated favourite of Louis XIV.

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