The Life of Marie de Medicis — Volume 1 eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 375 pages of information about The Life of Marie de Medicis Volume 1.

Suffice it that the modern Delilah triumphed, and that the King was induced to promise the required document;[72] a weakness rendered the less excusable, if indeed, as Sully broadly asserts:  “Henry was not so blind but that he saw clearly how this woman sought to deceive him.  I say nothing of the reasons which he also had to believe her to be anything rather than a vestal; nor of the state intrigues of which her father, her mother, her brother, and herself had been convicted, and which had drawn down upon all the family an order to leave Paris, which I had quite recently signified to them in the name of his Majesty.” [73]

As it is difficult to decide which of the two the Duke sought in his Memoirs to praise the most unsparingly, the sovereign or himself, the epithet of “this weak Prince,” which he applies to Henry on the present occasion, proves the full force of his annoyance.  He, moreover, gives a very detailed account of an interview which took place between them upon the subject of the document in question; even declaring that he tore it up when his royal master placed it in his hands; and upon being asked by the King if he were mad, had replied by saying:  “Would to God that I were the only madman in France!” [74] As, however, I do not find the same anecdote recorded elsewhere by any contemporaneous authority, I will not delay the narrative by inserting it at length; and the rather as, although from the influence subsequently exercised over the fortunes of Marie de Medicis by the frail favourite I have already been compelled to dwell thus long upon her history, it is one which I am naturally anxious to abridge as much as possible.  I shall therefore only add that the same biographer goes on to state that the contract which he had destroyed was rewritten by the King himself, who within an hour afterwards was on horseback and on his way to Malesherbes, where he sojourned two days.  It is, of course, impossible to decide whether Henry had ever seriously contemplated the fulfilment of so degrading an engagement; but it is certain that only a few months subsequently he presented to Mademoiselle d’Entragues the estate of Verneuil, and that thenceforward she assumed the title of Marquise, coupled with the name of her new possession.[75]

FOOTNOTES: 

[2] Henri de Lorraine, Duc de Guise, was the brother of Charles, Duc de Mayenne, and of Louis, Cardinal de Guise.  He was the chief of the League, and excited a popular revolt on the day of the Barricades, in the hope of possessing himself of the crown.  Henri III caused him to be assassinated at Blois, in the year 1588.  He was distinguished as le Balafre by the people, in consequence of the deep scar of a wound across the face by which he was disfigured.

[3] Catherine was the second daughter of Francois de Cleves, Duc de Nevers, and of Marguerite de Bourbon-Vendome, the aunt of Henri IV.  Her dower consisted of the county of Eu, in Normandy.  She was twice married; first to Antoine de Croi, Prince de Portien, by whom she had no issue; and secondly, to Henri de Lorraine, Duc de Guise.  She died in 1633, at the age of eighty-five years.

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