In December 1675, Hortense Mancini, Duchess of Mazarin (1646-99), rode into London on horseback disguised in male clothing (en cavalier). e event did not go unnoticed. A record in the Calendar of State Papers contains an account of a co ee house conversation that took place between a pair of Frenchmen and several ‘co sts’ detailing Mazarin’s arrival: 1st Co st. Pray tell us, if you know, what news the late notable express brought. Frenchmen. We know not of any. 1st Co st. Have you not heard of the courier arrived three days since with a retinue that marked him for a man of great quality? 2nd Co st. I saw him and his attendants alight from their post horses, terribly weather-beaten, having rid in the late storms. 1st Frenchman. I now understand. Was it not in Bedford Street, Covent Garden? 1st Co st. Yes. 1st Frenchman. en I will tell you that the person you saw was indeed an extraordi- nary courier and one of great quality. 2nd Frenchman. In truth it was not a courier, but a very illustrious ‘courreuse’. 1st Frenchman. e courier you saw alight, booted and spurred, covered with a great coat and still more covered with mud was the fair Duchess of Mazarin herself.