Estrees, Gabiuelle D'

, sister of Francois Annibal d’Estr<Ses, was endowed from her birth with all the gifts and graces of nature. Henry IV. who saw her for the first time in 1591, at the chateau de Coeuvres, where she lived with her father, was so smitten with her figure and wit, that he resolved to take her to be his favourite mistress. In order to obtain an interview, he disguised himself one day like a countryman, passed through the enemy’s guards, | and pursued his way at the imminent hazard of his life. Gabrielle, who was fond of the duke de Bellegard, the master of the horse, hesitated at first to comply with the ardent affection of the king; but the elevation of her father and of her brother, the sincere attachment of Henry, his affable and obliging manners, at length prevailed on her. In order that he might visit her more freely, Henry made her marry Nicholas d’Amerval, lord of Liancourt, with whom she never cohabited. Henry loved her to so violent a degree, that though he was married, he was determined to make her his wife. It was in this view that Gabrielle engaged her fond lover to take up the Roman catholic religion, to enable him to obtain from the pope a bull to dissolve his marriage with Marguerite de Valois, and united her utmost efforts with those of Henry IV. to remove the obstacles that prevented their union; but these schemes were defeated by her sudden death, April 10, 1599. It is pretended that she was poisoned by the rich financier Zamet: she died, however, in dreadful convulsions, and on the day following her death, her face was so disfigured, that it was impossible to be known. Of all the mistresses of Henry, he was most attached to this woman, whom he made duchess of Beaufort, and at her death put on, mourning, as if she had been a princess of the blood, yet she had not so entire a sway over his heart as to alienate him from his ministers that were not agreeable to her; much less to make him dismiss them. She took occasion to say to him one day on the subject of Sully, with whom she was displeased: “I had rather die, than live under the shame of seeing a footman upheld against me, who bear the title of mistress.” “Pardieu, madame,” said Henry, “this is too much; and I plainly perceive that you have been put upon this frolic as an attempt to make me turn away a servant whom I cannot do without. But I will not comply; and, that you may set your heart at rest, and not shew your peevish airs against my will, I declare to you, that if I were reduced to the necessity of parting with one or the other, I could better do without ten mistresses like you than one servant like him.*


This trait of the two personages is so extremely characteristic in the original, that we cannot refuse it a place. —“Elle lui disoit un jour” au sujet de Sully, doat elk etoit mécoutente, `J‘aime mieux mourir que de vivre avec cette vergogne, de voir soutenir un valet contre moi, qui ports le titre de maitresse.’—`Pardieu, Madame,‘ lui répondit Henri, `c’st trop; & je


vois bien qu‘on vous a dressée a ce badinage, pour esayer de me faire chasser un serviteur duquel je ne puis me passer. Mais je n’en ferai rien; & afin que vous en teniez votre cœur en repos, et ne fatsiez plus l’accariâtre centre ma volonté, je vous déclare, que si j‘étois réduit en cette nécessité de perdre l’un ou l‘autre, je me passerois mieux de dix maîtresses comme vous, que d’un serviteur comme lui’. "

During | one of the festivities that Henry occasionally gave to Gabrielle, dispatches were brought him that the Spaniards had taken possession of Amiens. “This stroke is from heaven,” said he, “I have been long enough acting the king of France it is time to shew myself king of Navarre;” and then turning to d’Estrees, who, like him, was dressed out for the occasion, and who had burst into tears, he said to her: “My mistress, we must quit our arms and mount on horseback, to engage in another sort of war.” The same day he got together some troops; and, laying aside the lover, assumed the hero, and marched towards Amiens. Henry IV. had three children by her; Cirsar duke of Vendome, Alexander, and Henrietta, who married the marquis d’Elbauf. 1