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Title: Queens of old Spain
Author: Hume, Martin A. S. (Martin Andrew Sharp)
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.

*** Start of this LibraryBlog Digital Book "Queens of old Spain" ***

                          QUEENS OF OLD SPAIN



  _After a Painting by Sir Antonio More._

                               Old Spain


                              MARTIN HUME



                          GRANT RICHARDS LTD.

                     _Published      October 1906_
                     _Re-issued      July    1911_


The books left by a man whose every thought was about books, are even
more himself than were his actions during life. In fact, at times, I
think it is the case with all who write; for, after all, what a man
writes is really far more important than anything he does.

Most of us in wandering through a churchyard where we come upon a
friend’s name, on a tombstone, feel a spirit of revolt. It is no good to
tell us death is as natural as life. We all know that, and still feel
that in some strange way we have been defrauded by the death of a dear
friend. Nothing is more unjust than is a natural cause.

Even the Greeks, with all their joyousness, must have felt this when
they invented Nemesis.

We Caledonians, who took our faith from Hippo (nane o’ yer Peters, gie
me Paul), perhaps stand up against the stabs of Fate better than those
nurtured in the most damnable doctrine of freewill. Once allow it, and
life becomes a drunken whirligig on which sit grave and reverend
citizens playing on penny whistles, all attired in black.

If though the name upon the tombstone strikes a chill to the heart, half
of regret and half of fear—for what, when all is said and done, is your
_memento mori_ but blue funk?—when we pick up a dead friend’s book upon
a stall, published at twelve-and-sixpence and ticketed a penny, we must
reflect—that is, the most of us—that to that favour we shall come, and
all the pages, that cost us so much thought in the writing, to be tied
together with a piece of string and sold with the base trash of Smith
and Jones and Brown, fellows who had no style, nor knew the difference
betwixt invention and imagination, humour or wit, and did not know a
colophon from an illuminated capital, and sold all in a lot.

Therefore I am glad that this edition of one of Hume’s best works is
coming out, and I who saw him laid to rest in the dry, marly earth of
that drear East End cemetery only a year ago—or was it ten, for when a
man is dead time ceases for him and for ourselves in thinking of him—am
writing these few lines to do my best to keep his memory green.

His ‘Queens of Spain’ was one of the books that he liked best.

Some say an author always likes his weakest book, but, even if he does,
what does it matter? A mother not infrequently adores the least
desirable of all her sons, but the world judges him; and she who bore
him has to submit to all its judgments of her well-beloved, just as the
author has to bow the head to what it says about his books.

Hume was a man who valued what the public said about his work. I used to
fancy him, as a good gladiator, some Roman citizen who for his debts, or
some cause or another, was forced to live by push of sword, and took it
up in the same spirit in which my friend took up the pen, and set about
to write.

Such a man, I fancy, fighting of course like Tybalt, by the book of
arithmetic, would feel a pride in dying well. Just as he fell,
despatched by some rude Dacian who in his life had never come within the
walls of any fencing school, he would wrap his mantle round him
decently, and murmur: ‘Civis Romanus sum,’ as he lay dying in the dust.

These kind of men are never vanquished. Even if they die, their death
serves as an example to the world, and makes boys miserable at school
who have to put it into Greek hexameters.

Hume was of these good gladiators and passed laborious days. How many
reams of paper he must have filled; how many miles of writing he must
have traced in his hard-working life, only himself could have been sure
of, and perhaps not he, for who shall say if a silkworm measures the
length of silk that comes from the cocoon.

When in a music hall I see a man do something easily which seems
impossible, I always think upon the hours he must have passed—missing,
remissing, perspiring, cursing, and at last see him successful, and then
no matter how respectable my neighbours in the stalls appear, or tight
my gloves are, clap with a will. Noise, after all, is the reward,
perhaps the sole reward, that we accord success.

A modest modicum was all Hume had to show for a self-denying life
spent—that is to say, for the last twenty years of it—in burrowing in
archives and writing ceaselessly upon the facts he found.

Most certainly he lived the simple life. Up early in the morning, he
used to begin writing just as a mill horse turns round in a mill. Three
or four thousand lines by tea-time, and then perhaps he would review a
book. Then twice a week (no more) he used to walk down to the club, dine
simply, and sit reading till it was time to walk back home, to sleep and
rise again to work.

With almost lightning speed he wrote, so that, when once he had his
facts, nothing remained but the material labour of the pen.

‘Martin fa presto’ I used to call him, and certainly, considering how
much he wrote, the level he maintained was high; not perhaps in the vein
of Hallam or of Robertson, but then in history there are many bypaths,
and along them he strayed. Sometimes a ramble in a country lane is
better than a tramp upon the Great North Road.

I like to fancy that in the Record Office, at Simancas, Brussels, and in
the Archives of the Indies (that great red pile, in Seville), there are
some old librarians who remember him, and talk about his work. I hear
them say, at Seville or Simancas, ‘There was an Englishman who used to
come here, one who spoke Christian. He used to sit and write, and knew
the documents better than we ourselves’ (which was not difficult). ‘I
tell you that that Englishman was like a devil at his work.’

If they exist, and Hume could hear of them, I am certain he would smile
in his grave way and say: ‘Ah, yes; old Don Saturino Lopez, or Don
Eustaquio Perez,’ as the case might be, ‘I well remember him. He never
knew where to find anything; he came from Coria, I think.’

                                               R. B. CUNNINGHAME GRAHAM.


In a previous volume I have remarked upon the extremely small political
significance of most of the Queens Consort of England, although socially
the country has become what it is mainly through feminine influence. In
Spain the exact reverse has happened, and in no Christian country has
the power of women been less formative of the life and character of the
nation, whilst, largely owing to personal and circumstantial accident,
the share of ladies in deciding the political destinies of the country
from the throne has been more conspicuous than in other European
monarchies. The oriental traditions dominant in Spain for centuries
tended to make wives the humble satellites rather than the equal
companions of their husbands; and the inflated gallantry, before
marriage at least, that sprang from the chivalrous obsession grafted
upon mixed feudal and Islamic ideals, affected to exclude woman from the
harder facts of existence, and from the practical problems that occupied
the minds of men. But whilst these traditions limited the power of
Spanish women generally, they were insufficient to counteract the
extraordinary political influence of a series of remarkable feminine
personalities who, mainly owing to feebleness and ineptitude of
consorts, or to long minorities of sons, have on occasion during the
course of four centuries practically wielded the sceptres of Spain. It
is true that queens regnant in England as well as in Spain have usually,
and quite naturally, been powerful political factors, but in most
instances they necessarily differed but little, either in aims or
methods, from male sovereigns. The difference between the queens of the
two countries is most remarkable in the case of queens consort, who in
Spain have, either as wives or widowed regents, influenced government to
an extent quite unparalleled in England. Apart from the accident of
forceful personal character, or other influential qualities possessed by
some of these ladies, the reason for their importance must be sought in
the fact that most of them represented great dynastic interests or
national alliances, and were supported by powerful parties in Spain or
abroad. In order that their lives should be properly understood, it will
be necessary to keep in view contemporary events in other parts of
Europe which more or less concerned them; and to relate the history of
all the Queens of Spain upon such a plan would exceed the capacity of a
single volume and the patience of the ordinary reader. It is proposed,
therefore, to select for treatment only the lives of some of the Queens
of Spain who, for their greatness, their political significance, their
attractions, or their misfortunes, stand forth most prominently in the
romantic history of their country. The temptation is great to dwell upon
certain of the earlier Queens of the small kingdoms which constituted
Spain before the union of the crowns: to tell the heroic story of the
great Berengaria, the mother of St. Ferdinand, and those of Queen Maria
de Molina and Blanche of Bourbon; to recount the matrimonial vagaries of
Peter the Cruel, and dwell upon Catharine of Lancaster, whose marriage
with the heir of Castile closed the war of succession to the Castilian
crowns waged by her father John of Gaunt. She, especially, stands forth
with almost photographic precision in the pages of the genius who penned
the chronicles of her time. Gigantic in size she seemed to the more
diminutive Spaniard: florid, fat, and fair; a vast eater and drinker,
whose valiant prowess at the festal board astounded the abstemious
people amongst whom she lived; strong and masculine, but idle, and
careless of the feminine arts by which woman’s attraction is increased;
ruled by her favourites, but withal a good woman and a good Queen, who
governed Spain honestly for ten years, during the minority of her weak
son, John II. of Castile.

But, interesting as some of these earlier personages are, they cannot
rightly be called Queens of Spain; and the first of all Spanish Queens,
the great Isabel of Castile and Aragon, may fittingly begin the volume,
which will contain the stories of other ladies perhaps more loveable,
more feminine, more sympathetic, but none so splendidly steadfast, so
noble of aim, or so strong as she. Her function in the world, aided by
her husband, was to crush the rieving nobles, and bring unity to Spain
by religious exaltation. The end endowed her country with transient
greatness and febrile force, whilst the methods by which it was attained
doomed the nation she loved so well to a long agony of decay, and
ultimate exhaustion. The problems facing Spanish rulers thenceforward
were no longer centred upon the development of the country as a
prosperous Christian land, or even upon the maintenance of the
Mediterranean as a Christian sea. The policy of the ‘Catholic Kings’
plunged Spain into the vortex of mid-European politics at the critical
period of the world’s history, when new lines of demarcation were being
scored by religious schism across the ancient boundaries: when deep,
unbridgable crevasses were being split between peoples hitherto bound
together by common interests and traditional friendship. At this crucial
time, when the centre of all earthly authority was boldly challenged,
Spain was pledged by Isabel and Ferdinand to a course which
thenceforward made her the champion of an impossible religious unity,
and squandered for centuries the blood and treasure of her people in the
fruitless struggle to fix enduring fetters upon the thoughts and souls
of men. Myriads of martyrs shed their blood to cement the solid Spain
that might serve as an instrument for such gigantic ends; and the
ecstatic Queen, though gentle and pitiful at heart, yet had no pity for
the victims, as her clear eyes pierced the reek of sacrifice, and saw
beyond it the shining glory of her goal. To her and to her descendant
kings the end they aimed at justified all things done in its attainment,
and the touch of mystic madness that in the great Queen was allied to
exalted genius, grew in those of her blood who followed her to the
besotted obsession that blinded them to the nature and extent of the
forces against them, and led them down at last to babbling idiocy, and
their country to impotent decay. The pale figure of Joan the distraught
flits across our page, and forces to our consideration once more the
awful problem of whether she was the victim of a hellish conspiracy on
the part of those who should have loved her best, or a woman afflicted
by the hand of God; whether her lifelong martyrdom was the punishment of
heresy or the need of her infirmity. Pathetic Mary Tudor, Queen Consort
of Spain, demands notice because her marriage with Philip II. marked the
vital need of Spain, at any cost, to hold by the traditional alliance
with England amidst the shifting sands of religious revolt which were to
overwhelm and transform Europe; whilst, later, the desperate attempt of
Philip to form a new group of powers which should enable Spain to
dispense with unorthodox England, is personified in the sweet and noble
figure of his third wife, Isabel of Valois, upon whose life-story,
poignant enough in its bare reality, romancers have embroidered so many
strange adornments. The Austrian princesses, who in turn became consorts
of the Catholic Kings, all represent the unhappy persistence of the
rulers of Spain in clinging to the splendid but unrealisable dream
bequeathed by their great ancestor the Emperor to his suffering realm;
that of perpetuating Spanish hegemony over Europe by means of compulsory
uniformity of creed, dictated from Rome and enforced from Madrid. And in
the intervals of discouragement and disillusionment at the impotence of
Habsburg Emperors to secure such uniformity even within the bounds of
the empire itself, and the patent impossibility for Spain alone to cope
with the giant task, we see the turning of kings and ministers in
temporary despair towards the secular enemy of the house of Austria, and
Spain in search of French brides who might bring Catholic support to the
Catholic champion. When, at last, exhausted Spain could deceive herself
no longer, and was fain to acknowledge that she had been beaten in her
attempt to hold the rising tide and deny to men the God-given right of
unfettered thought, the matrimonial alliances of her Kings, whilst
ceasing to be instruments for the realisation of the vision of her
prime, still obeyed the traditionary policies which drew Spain
alternately to the side of France or Austria. But the end of such
efforts now was not to serve Spanish objects, wise or otherwise, but to
snatch advantage for the rival birds of prey who were hovering over the
body of a great nation in the throes of dissolution, ravening for a
share of her substance when the hour of death should strike. Sordid and
pathetic as the story of these intrigues may be in their political
aspect, the personal share in them of the Queens Consort themselves,
their methods, their triumphs and their failures, are often fraught with
intense interest to the student of manners. The life of the unscrupulous
Mariana of Austria, who in the interests of her house held Spain so long
in the name of her imbecile son, and in her turn was outwitted by Don
Juan and the French interest, presents us with a picture of the times so
intimate, thanks to the plentiful material left behind by a
self-conscious age, as to introduce us into the innermost secrets of the
intrigues to an extent that contemporaries would have thought
impossible. And again the sad, but very human, story of the young
half-English Princess, bright and light-hearted, torn from brilliant
Paris to serve French interests, as the wife of Mariana’s half-witted
son Charles II., only to beat herself to death against the bars of her
gloomy golden cage and break her heart to old Mariana’s undisguised joy,
throws a flood of lurid light upon Spanish society in its decadence, and
proves the baseness to which human ambition will stoop. More repugnant
is the career of poor Marie Louise’s German successor as the Consort of
the miserable Charles the Bewitched in his last years, and the tale of
the extraordinary series of plots woven by the rival parties around the
lingering deathbed of the King, whom they worried and frightened into
his grave, a senile dotard at forty. Only briefly dealt with here are
the Queens of the Bourbon renascence, stout little Marie Louise of
Savoy, and the forceful termagant Isabel Farnese, who, chosen to serve
as a humble instrument of others, at once seized whip and reins herself,
and drove Spain as she listed during a long life of struggle for the
aggrandisement of her sons, in which Europe was kept at strife for years
by the ambition of one woman.

These and other Queens Consort will pass before us in the following
pages, some of them good, a few bad, and most of them unhappy. There is
no desire to dwell especially upon the sad and gloomy features of their
history, or to represent them all as victims; but it must not be
forgotten, in condonation of the shortcomings of some of them, that they
were sent from their own homes, kin, and country, often mere children,
to a distant foreign court, where the traditional etiquette was
appallingly austere and repellent; sacrificed in loveless marriage to
men whom they had never seen; treated as emotionless pawns in the game
of politics played by crafty brains. No wonder, then, that girlish
spirits should be crushed, that young hearts should break in despair,
or, as an alternative, should cast to the winds all considerations of
honour, duty, and dignity, and seek enjoyment before extinction came.
Some of them passed through the fiery ordeal triumphant, and stand forth
clear and shining. Great Isabel herself, another more colourless Isabel,
the Emperor’s wife, a third, Isabel of the Peace, most beloved of
Spanish Queens, and Anne her successor, as solemn Philip’s wife. Of
these no word of reproach may justly be said, nor of Margaret, the
Austrian consort of Philip III., nor of the spirited Isabel of Bourbon,
daughter of the gay and gallant Béarnais, and sister of Henriette Marie
of England. These and others bore their burden bravely to the last; and
of the few who cast theirs down, and strayed amongst the poisoned
flowers by the way, it may be truly urged that the trespasses of others
against them were greater than their own transgressions. Such of their
stories as are here told briefly are set forth with an honest desire to
attain accuracy in historical fact and impartiality in deduction
therefrom. There has been no desire to make either angels or devils of
the personages described. They were, like the rest of their kind, human
beings, with mixed and varying motives, swayed by personal and political
influences which must be taken into account in any attempt to appraise
their characters or understand their actions. Several of the lives are
here told in English for the first time by the light of modern research,
and in cases where statements are at variance with usually accepted
English teaching, references are given in footnotes to the contemporary
source from which the statements are derived. The opening of the
archives of several European countries, and the extensive reproduction
in print of interesting historical texts in Spain of late years, provide
much of the new material used in the present work; and the labours of
recent English, French, and Spanish historians have naturally been
placed under contribution for such fresh facts as they have adduced.
Where this is the case, acknowledgment is made in the form of footnotes.

                                                            MARTIN HUME.


                                 BOOK I

 ISABEL THE CATHOLIC                                                   1

                                 BOOK II

 JOAN THE MAD                                                        139

                                BOOK III

 1. MARY OF ENGLAND                                                  207
 2. ISABEL OF VALOIS                                                 259

                                 BOOK IV

 1. ISABEL OF BOURBON                                                315
 2. MARIANA OF AUSTRIA                                               359

                                 BOOK V

 1. MARIE LOUISE OF ORLEANS                                          411
 2. MARIANA OF NEUBURG                                               485

 EPILOGUE                                                            529

 INDEX                                                               543


   by ANTONIO MORE                                        _Frontispiece_

   Painting by PRADILLA                                               64

   Painting by PRADILLA                                    „   „     176

 ISABEL OF VALOIS. After a Painting by PANTOJA DE LA CRUZ  „   „     288

 ISABEL OF BOURBON. After a Painting by VELAZQUEZ          „   „     336

 MARIANA OF AUSTRIA. After a Painting by VELAZQUEZ         „   „     368

 ISABEL FARNESE. After a Painting by VAN LOO               „   „     536

 _The above Illustrations are reproduced from Photographs by J. Lacoste,

                                 BOOK I
                          ISABEL THE CATHOLIC

                               CHAPTER I

Proudly reared upon a lofty cliff above the trickling Manzanares, there
stood the granite palace that had gradually grown around the ancient
Moorish fortress of Madrid. Like an eagle from its aerie, its tiny
windows blinked across the tawny plain at the far-off glittering snow
peaks of Guadarrama, standing forth clear and sharp against a cobalt
sky. The Alcazar had been the scene of many strange happenings in the
past; and for a hundred years chivalric splendour had run riot in its
broad patios, with their arcades of slender columns, and in its
tapestried halls, whose carved ceilings blazed with gold and colour.
Frivolous, pleasure-loving, Juan II. of Castile, grandson of John of
Gaunt, had through a long reign outdone in vain ostentation the epic
poems and romances of chivalry that filled his brain, and he himself,
with his attendant Nubian lion slouching by his side, had stalked
through the Alcazar upon the cliff, a figure more picturesque than that
of Amadis or Arthur. His lavish, easy-going son, Henry IV., had followed
in his footsteps, and had made his palace of Madrid a home of dissolute
magnificence and humiliating debauchery, unexampled even in that age of
general decadence.

But rarely had scenes at once so pregnant of evil, and yet so ostensibly
joyous, been enacted in the palace of Madrid as on the 17th March 1462.
Greed, hate and jealousy, raged beneath silken gowns and ermine mantles;
nay, beneath the gorgeous vestments of the great churchmen who stood
grouped before the altar in the palace chapel, though smiling faces and
words of pleasure were seen and heard on every side. For to the King,
after eight years of fruitless marriage, an heiress had been born, and
the court and people of Castile and Leon were bidden to make merry and
welcome their future Queen. Bull fights, tournaments, and cane contests,
the songs of minstrels and plenteous banquets, had for days beguiled a
populace palled with gaudy shows; and now the sacred ceremonies of the
Church were to sanctify the babe whose advent had moved so many hearts
to shocked surprise. The King, a shaggy, red-haired giant with slack,
lazy limbs and feeble face, towered in his golden crown and velvet
mantle over his nine-year-old half-brother Alfonso by his side. The
child, under a canopy, was borne in state up to the font by Count Alba
de Liste, and the stalwart, black-browed primate of Spain, Alfonso
Carrillo, Archbishop of Toledo, who, with three attendant bishops,
performed the ceremony, blessed the baby girl unctuously beneath the
King’s lymphatic gaze, though he had already resolved to ruin her. By
the side of the font stood the sponsors: a girl of eleven and a sturdy
noble in splendid attire, with his wife. All around, the courtiers,
their mouths wreathed in doubtful smiles which their lifted brows
belied, glanced alternately at the little group of sponsors, and at the
noblest figure of all the courtly throng: a young man glittering with
gems who stood behind the King. Tall, almost, as Henry himself, with
flashing dark eyes and jet black hair, a fair skin and gallant mien,
this youth formed with the King, and the group at the font, the elements
of a great drama, which ended in the renascence of Spain. For the young
man was Beltran de la Cueva, the new Count of Ledesma, who, all the
court was whispering, was really the father of the new-born Princess,
and the sponsors, besides the Frenchman Armignac, were the gorged and
spoiled favourite of the King, the all-powerful Juan Pacheco, Marquis of
Villena, and his wife, and the King’s half-sister, Princess Isabel of
Castile. The girl had seen nothing of court life, for up to this time,
from her orphaned babyhood, she had lived with her widowed mother and
younger brother in neglected retirement at the lone castle of Arevalo,
immersed in books and the gentle arts that modest maids were taught; but
she went through her part of the ceremony composedly, and with simple
dignity. She was already tall for her age, with a fair, round face,
large, light blue eyes, and the reddish hair of her Plantagenet
ancestors; and if she, in her innocence, guessed at some of the
tumultuous passions that were silently raging around her, she made no
sign, and bore herself calmly, as befitted the daughter of a long line
of kings.[1]

Seven weeks afterwards, on the 9th May, in the great hall of the palace,
the nobles, prelates, and deputies of the chartered towns met to swear
allegiance to the new heiress of Castile. One by one, as they advanced
to kneel and kiss the tiny hand of the unconscious infant, they frowned
and whispered beneath their breath words of scorn and indignation which
they dared not utter openly, for all around, and thronging the corridors
and courtyards, there stood with ready lances the Morisco bodyguard of
the King, eager to punish disobedience. And so, though the insulting
nickname of the new Infanta Juana, _the Beltraneja_, after the name of
her assumed father, passed from mouth to mouth quietly, public protest
there was none.[2]

Already before the birth of the hapless _Beltraneja_, the scandal of
Henry’s life, his contemptible weakness and the acknowledged sexual
impotence which had caused his divorce from his first wife, had made his
court a battle ground for rival ambitions. Like the previous Kings of
his house, which was raised to the throne by a fratricidal revolution,
and himself a rebel during his father’s lifetime, Henry IV. had lavished
crown gifts upon noble partisans to such an extent as to have reduced
his patrimony to nought. Justice was openly bought and sold, permanent
grants upon public revenues were bartered for small ready payments, law
and order were non-existent outside the strong walls of the fortified
cities, and the whole country was a prey to plundering nobles, who,
either separately or in “leagues,” tyrannised and robbed as they
listed.[3] Feudalism had never been strong in the realms of Castile,
because the frontier nobles, who for centuries pushed back gradually the
Moorish power, always had to depend upon conciliating the towns they
occupied, in order that the new regime might be more welcome than the
one displaced. The germ of institutions in Spain had ever been the
municipality, not the village grouped around the castle or the abbey as
in England, and the soldier noble in Spain, unlike the English or German
baron, had to win the support of townsmen, not to dispose of
agricultural serfs. But when the Moors in Spain had been reduced to
impotence, and a series of weak kings had been raised to the throne as
the puppets of nobles; then when feudalism was dying elsewhere, it
attempted to raise its head in Spain, capturing the government of towns
on the one hand and beggaring and dominating the King on the other. By
the time of which we are now speaking, the process was well nigh
complete; and the only safeguard against the absolute tyranny of the
nobles, was their mutual greed and jealousy.

For years Juan Pacheco, Marquis of Villena, had ruled the King with a
rod of iron. The grants and gifts he had extorted for himself and his
friends made him more powerful than any other force in the land. But
there were those who sulked apart from him, nobles, some of them, of
higher lineage and greater hereditary territories than his; and when the
handsome foot page, Beltran de la Cueva, captured the good graces of the
King and his gay young Portuguese wife, Queen Juana, the enemies of
Villena saw in the rising star an instrument by which he might be
humbled. After the Beltraneja’s birth and christening, honours almost
royal were piled upon Beltran de la Cueva; and Villena and his uncle,
Alfonso Carrillo, Archbishop of Toledo, grew ever more indignant and
discontented. Only a fortnight after the Cortes had sworn allegiance to
the new Princess, Villena drew up a secret protest against the act,
alleging the illegitimacy of the child,[4] and soon open opposition to
King and favourite was declared.

There is no space here to relate in detail the complicated series of
intrigues and humiliations that followed. The King on one occasion was
forced to hide in his own palace from the assaulting soldiery of
Villena. To buy the goodwill of the jealous favourite towards his little
daughter he went so far as to agree to a marriage between the Beltraneja
and Villena’s son;[5] and more humiliating still, in December 1464, he
consented to the inquiry of a commission of churchmen nominated by
Villena and his friends, to inquire into the legitimacy of his reputed
daughter. The inquiry elicited much piquant but entirely contradictory
evidence as to the virility of the King, who, it was admitted on all
hands, delighted in the society of ladies, and aroused the violent
jealousy of the Queen; but, although with our present lights there seems
to have been no valid reason for disinheriting the princess, the
commission was sufficiently in doubt to recommend the King to make the
best terms he could with the rebels. The King’s sister, Princess Isabel,
who at the time lived at Court, was also used as an instrument by Henry
to pacify the league against him. She had been betrothed when quite a
child at Arevalo to Prince Charles of Viana, eldest son of the King of
Aragon, and in right of his mother himself King of Navarre; a splendid
match which, failing issue from Henry and from her younger brother
Alfonso, might have led to the union of all Spain in one realm. But
Charles of Viana had already in 1461 fallen a victim to the hate and
jealousy of his stepmother, Juana Enriquez, daughter of a great
Castilian noble, Don Fadrique, the Admiral of the realm, and Isabel
became to her brother a valuable diplomatic asset. Before the storm of
war burst Henry attempted to wed his sister to Alfonso V. of Portugal,
his wife’s brother, and so to prevent her claims to the Castilian crown
being urged to the detriment of the Beltraneja; but the match had no
attraction for the clever cautious girl of thirteen; for the suitor was
middle-aged and ugly, and already her own genius or crafty councillors
had suggested to her the husband who would best serve her own interests.
So she gravely reminded her brother that she, a Castilian princess,
could not legally be bestowed in marriage without the formal
ratification of the Cortes.

In September 1564 Beltran de la Cueva received the great rank of Master
of Santiago, which endowed him not only with vast revenues, but the
disposal of an armed force second to none in the kingdom, and this new
folly of the King was the signal for revolt. A party of nobles
immediately seized Valladolid against the King, and though the
townspeople promptly expelled them and proclaimed the loyalty of the
city, the issue between the factions was now joined. On the following
day, 16th September, an attempt that nearly succeeded was made to
capture and kidnap the King himself near Segovia. He was a poor,
feeble-minded creature, hating strife and danger, and, though some of
his stronger councillors protested against such weakness, he consented
to meet the revolted nobles, and redress their grievances. In October
Villena, the Archbishop of Toledo, Count Benavente, the Admiral Don
Fadrique, and the rest of the rebels, met Henry between Cabezon and
Cigales, and in three interviews, during their stay of five weeks,
dictated to the wretched King their demands.[6] The King was to dismiss
his Moorish guard and become a better Christian: he was to ask for no
more money without the consent of the nobles, to deprive Cueva of the
Mastership of Santiago, recognise his own impotence and the bastardy of
his daughter, and acknowledge as his heir his half-brother Alfonso, whom
he was to deliver to the guardianship of Villena. On the 30th November
the nobles and the King took the oath to hold the boy Alfonso as the
heir of Spain; and then Henry, a mere cypher thenceforward, sadly wended
his way to Segovia, where the commission to inquire into the shameful
question of his virility was still sitting,[7] and Villena and his
uncle, the warlike Archbishop, were thus practically the rulers of
Spain. But though Henry consented to everything he characteristically
tried to avoid the spirit of the agreement. Beltran de la Cueva was
deprived of the Mastership of Santiago, but he was made Duke of
Alburquerque in exchange for the loss, and the poor little disinherited
Beltraneja was treated with greater consideration than before.

When civil war was seen to be inevitable in the spring of 1465, Henry
carried his wife and child with his sister Isabel to Salamanca, whilst
the Archbishop of Toledo, in the name of the revolted nobles, seized the
walled city of Avila, where within a few days he was joined by Villena
and his friends, bringing with them the Infante Alfonso, who, in
pursuance of the agreement made with the King at Cigales, had received
the oath of allegiance as heir to the crown. From the King it was clear
that the nobles could hope for no more, for he had summoned the nation
to arms to oppose them; but from a child King of their own making, rich
grants could still be wrung, and for the first time since the dying days
of the Gothic monarchy, the sacredness of the anointed Sovereign of
Castile was mocked and derided. In April 1565, at Plascencia, the nobles
swore secretly to hold Alfonso as King; and on the 5th June 1364, on a
mound within sight of the walls of Avila, the public scene was enacted
that shocked Spain like a sacrilege. Upon a staging there was seated a
lay figure in mourning robes, with a royal crown upon its head; a sword
of state before it, and in the hand a sceptre. A great multitude of
people with bated breath awaited the living actors in the scene; and
soon there issued from the city gate a brilliant cavalcade of nobles and
bishops, headed by Villena escorting the little prince Alfonso. Arriving
before the scaffolding, and in mockery saluting the figure, most of the
nobles mounted the platform, whilst Villena, the Master of Alcantara,
and Count Medillin, with a bodyguard, conveyed the Infante to a coign of
vantage some distance away. Then in a loud voice was read upon the
platform the impeachment of the King, which was summed up under four
heads. For the first, it ran, Henry of Castile is unworthy to enjoy the
regal dignity; and as the tremendous words were read the Archbishop of
Toledo stepped forth and tore the royal crown from the brows of the
lifeless doll: for the second, he is unfit to administer justice in the
realm, and the Count of Plascencia removed the sword of state from its
place: for the third, no rule or government should be entrusted to him,
and Count of Benavente took from the figure’s powerless grasp the
sceptre which it held: for the fourth, he should be deprived of the
throne and the honour due to kings, whereupon Don Diego Lopez de Zuñiga
cast the dummy down and trampled it under foot, amidst the jeers and
curses of the crowd. When this was done, and the platform cleared, young
Alfonso was raised aloft in the arms of men that all might see, and a
great shout went up of “_Castilla, Castilla, for the King Don Alfonso_,”
and then, seated on the throne, the boy gave his hand to kiss to those
who came to pay their new sovereign fealty. Like wildfire across the
steppes and mountains of Castile sped the awful news, and Henry in
Salamanca was soon surrounded by hosts of subjects whose reverence for a
sacrosanct King had been wounded by what they regarded as impious

Both factions flew to arms, and for months civil war raged, the walled
cities being alternately besieged and captured by both parties. Isabel
herself remained with the King, usually at Segovia or Madrid; though
with our knowledge of her character and tastes, she can have had little
sympathy with the tone of her brother’s court. At one time during the
lingering struggle in 1466, Henry endeavoured to win Villena and his
family from the side of rebellion by betrothing Isabel to Don Pedro
Giron, Master of Calatrava, Villena’s brother. The suitor was an uncouth
boor, and that an Infanta of Castile should be sacrificed in marriage
with an upstart such as he was too much for Isabel’s pride and great
ambition. Nothing in the world, she said, should bring her to such a
humiliation; though the King, careless of her protests, petitioned the
Pope to dispense Don Pedro from his pledge of celibacy as Master of a
monkish military order. Isabel’s faithful friend, Doña Beatriz
Bobadilla, wife of Andres Cabrera, High Steward of the King, and
Commander of the fortress of Segovia, was as determined as her mistress
that the marriage should not take place, and swore herself to murder Don
Pedro, if necessary, to prevent it. A better way was found than by Dona
Beatriz’s dagger, for when the papal dispensation arrived, and the
prospective bridegroom set out in triumph to claim his bride, poison cut
short his career as soon as he left his home. Whether Isabel herself was
an accomplice of the act will never be known. She probably would not
have hesitated to sanction it in the circumstances, according to the
ethics of the time; for she never flinched, as her brother did, at
inflicting suffering for what she considered necessary ends.

On the 20th August 1467, the main bodies of both factions met on the
historic battlefield of Olmedo, the warlike Archbishop of Toledo, clad
in armour covered by a surcoat embroidered with the holy symbols, led
into battle the boy pretender Alfonso; whilst the royal favourite,
Beltran de la Cueva, now Duke of Alburquerque, on the King’s side,
matched the valour of the Churchman.[8] Both sides suffered severely,
but the pusillanimity of the King caused the fight to be regarded as a
defeat for him, and the capture of his royal fortress of Segovia soon
afterwards proved his impotence in arms so clearly, that a sort of
_modus vivendi_ was arranged, by which for nearly a year each King
issued decrees and ostensibly ruled the territories held by his

At length, in July 1468, the promising young pretender Alfonso died
suddenly and mysteriously in his fifteenth year, at Cardeñosa, near
Avila; perhaps of plague, as was said at the time, but more probably of
poison;[10] and the whole position was at once revolutionised. Isabel
had been in the Alcazar of Segovia with her friends the commander and
his wife when the city was surrendered to the rebels, and from that
time, late in 1567, she had followed the fortunes of Alfonso, with whom
she was at his death. She at once retired broken-hearted to the convent
of Santa Clara in Avila, but not, we may be certain, unmindful of the
great change wrought in her prospects by her brother’s premature death.
She was nearly seventeen years of age, learned and precocious far beyond
her years; the events that had passed around her for the last six years
had matured her naturally strong judgment, and there is no doubt from
what followed that she had already decided upon her course of action.
She was without such affectionate guidance as girls of her age usually
enjoy; for her unhappy widowed mother, to whom she was always tender and
kind, had already fallen a victim to the hereditary curse of the house
of Portugal, to which she belonged, and lived thenceforward in lethargic
insanity in her castle of Arevalo. Isabel’s brother the King was her
enemy, and she had no other near relative: the churchmen and nobles who
had risen against Henry, and were now around her, were, it must have
been evident to her, greedy rogues bent really upon undermining the
royal power for their own benefit; and deeply devout as Isabel was, she
was quite unblinded by the illusion that the Archbishop and bishops who
led the revolt were moved to their action by any considerations of
morality or religion. On the other hand, the rebellious nobles and
ecclesiastics could not persist in their revolt without a royal figure
head. Young Alfonso, a mere child, had been an easy tool, and doubtless
the leaders thought that this silent, self-possessed damsel would be
quite as facile to manage.

They did not have to wait many days for proof to the contrary. The
Archbishop of Toledo was the mouthpiece of his associates. Within the
venerable walls of the royal convent at Avila he set before Isabel a
vivid picture of the evils of her elder brother’s rule, his shameful
laxity of life, his lavish squandering of the nation’s wealth upon
unworthy objects, and the admitted illegitimacy of the daughter he
wished to make his heiress; and the Archbishop ended by offering to
Isabel, in the name of the nobles, the crowns of Castile. The wearer of
these crowns, wrested painfully through centuries of struggle from
intruding infidels, had always been held sacred. The religious
exaltation born of the reconquest had invested the Christian sovereigns
in the eyes of their subjects with divine sanction and special saintly
patronage. To attack them was not disloyalty alone, but sacrilege; and
the deposition of Henry at Avila had, as we have seen, thrilled Spain
with horror. It was no part of Isabel’s plan to do anything that might
weaken the reverence that surrounded the throne to which she knew now
she might succeed. So her answer to the prelate was firm as well as
wise. With many sage reflections taken from the didactic books that had
always been her study, she declared that she would never accept a crown
that was not hers by right. She desired to end the miserable war, she
said, and to be reconciled to her brother and sovereign. If the nobles
desired to serve her they would not try to make her Queen before her
time, but persuade the King to acknowledge her as his heir, since they
assured her that the Princess Juana was the fruit of adultery.

At first the nobles were dismayed at an answer that some thought would
mean ruin to them. But the Archbishop, Carrillo, knew the weakness of
Henry, and whispered to Villena as they descended the convent stairs,
that the Infanta’s resolve to claim the heirship would mean safety and
victory for them. Little did he or the rest of the nobles know the great
spirit and iron will of the girl with whom they had to deal. No time was
lost in approaching the King. He was ready to agree to anything for a
quiet life, and Alburquerque, and even the great Cardinal Mendoza,
agreed with him that an accord was advisable; though it might be broken
afterwards when the nobles were disarmed. Before the end of August all
was settled, and the cities of Castile had sent their deputies to take
the oath of allegiance to Isabel as heiress to the crown. A formal
meeting was arranged to take place between Henry and his sister at a
place called the Venta de los Toros de Guisando, a hostelry famous for
some prehistoric stone figures of undetermined beasts in the
neighbourhood. All was amiable on the surface. Henry embraced his sister
and promised her his future affection, settling upon her the
principality of Asturias and Oviedo, and the cities of Avila, Huete,
Medina, and many others, with all revenues and jurisdictions as from the
beginning of the revolt (September 1464).[11] But by the agreement
Isabel was bound not to marry without the King’s consent, and it is
evident that to this condition Henry and his friends looked for
rendering their concessions voidable.

The intrigues of the two parties of Castile were therefore now centred
upon the marriage of the Princess. Suitors were not lacking. If we are
to believe Hall, Edward IV. of England, before his marriage with
Elizabeth Grey, was approached by the Spaniards, and it is certain that
his brother Richard, Duke of Gloucester, was at one time a wooer. Either
of them would have suited Henry of Castile, because it would have
removed Isabel from Spain. A Portuguese would have also been acceptable
to the same party, because Portugal was naturally on the side of the
Beltraneja and her Portuguese mother. But Isabel had other views, and
the only suitors that were entertained seriously were the Duke of
Guienne, the brother of Louis XI., and the young Ferdinand of Aragon,
the son and heir of John II. and nephew of the doughty old Admiral of
Castile, who had stood by the side of the nobles in their revolt. There
was never any doubt as to which of the suitors Isabel favoured. The
Frenchman was reported to her as a poor, puny creature with weak legs
and watery eyes, whilst Ferdinand, a youth of her own age, was praised
to the skies for his manliness, his good looks, and his abilities, by
those whose judgment she trusted. It is impossible to say whether Isabel
as yet fully understood what such a marriage might mean to Spain; but it
is certain that the wicked old John II. of Aragon was quite aware of its
advantages for his own realm.

The house of Aragon, with its domains of Sicily and Naples, and its
secular ambition towards the east, had found itself everywhere opposed
by the growing power of France. The Mediterranean, the seat of empire
for centuries, had no finer havens than those under the sceptre of
Aragon, but the Catalans were harsh and independent with their kings,
and sparing of their money for royal purposes. A poor king of Aragon
could not hope, with his own unaided resources, to beat France on the
Gulf of Lyons, and bear the red and yellow banner of Barcelona to the
infidel Levant. But with the resources in men and money of greater
Castile at his bidding, all was possible; and John II., who had not
scrupled to murder his first-born son for the benefit of his second, and
oust his own children from their mother’s realm of Navarre, was ready to
go to any lengths to bring about the union which might realise the dream
of Aragon.

From Isabel’s point of view, too, the match was a good one, apart from
personal inclination. There is no doubt whatever that she was, even thus
early, determined when her time came to crush the tyrannous nobles who
had reduced Castile to anarchy and the sovereign to a contemptible lay
figure. With her great talent she understood that to do this she must
dispose of force apart from that afforded by any league of nobles in
Castile itself; and she looked towards Aragon to lend her such
additional strength. This fact, however, was not lost upon the greedy
nobles, especially Villena. The turbulent leader of conspiracy already
looked askance at the quiet determined girl who thus early imposed her
will upon her followers, and throwing his power again on the side of the
king he had once solemnly deposed, he seized the mastership of Santiago
as his reward. In a panic at the fear of the Aragonese match, the king
and Villena once more agreed to marry Isabel with the king of Portugal,
Villena and Cardinal Mendoza being heavily bribed by the Portuguese for
their aid.[12] Isabel was at her town of Ocaña at the time, and her
position was extremely difficult and perilous when the Portuguese envoys
came to her with Villena to offer her their king’s hand. As Isabel had
several weeks before secretly bound herself to marry Ferdinand of
Aragon, her reply was a diplomatic refusal to the Portuguese advances;
and Villena, enraged, was disposed to capture her on the spot and carry
her a prisoner to Court. Inconvenient princes and princesses were easily
removed in those days, and Isabel’s danger was great. But she had the
faculty of compelling love and admiration; she was as brave as a lion
and as cunning as a serpent, and the people of Ocaña made it quite
evident to Villena that they would allow no violence to be offered to
her. But clearly something must be done to prevent Isabel from becoming
too strong; and as a last resort after her refusal to entertain the
Portuguese match it was determined to capture her by force of arms. She
was then at Madrigal, and Villena’s nephew, the Bishop of Burgos, bribed
her servants to desert her in her hour of need: the King sent orders to
the townsmen that no resistance was to be offered to his officers; and
Cardinal Mendoza with a strong force marched towards Madrigal to arrest
Isabel. But another archbishop, more warlike than he, Carrillo of
Toledo, was before him. With the Admiral Don Fadrique and a band of
horsemen, he swooped down from Leon and bore Isabel to safety amongst
those who would have died for her, and entered into the great city of
Valladolid after sunset on the 31st August 1469. No time was to be lost.
Envoys were sent in disguise hurrying up to Saragossa, to hasten the
coming of the bridegroom. The service was a dangerous one; for if
Ferdinand had fallen into the hands of the Court party a short shrift
would have been his. But the stake was great, and Juan II. of Aragon and
his son, young as the latter was, did not stick at trifles. One
difficulty, indeed, was overcome characteristically. Isabel was known to
be rigidity itself in matters of propriety; and, as she and Ferdinand
were second cousins, a papal bull was necessary for the marriage. The
Pope, Paul II., was on the side of the Castilian Court, and no bull
could be got from him; but Juan II. of Aragon and the Archbishop of
Toledo carefully had one forged to satisfy Isabel’s scruples.[13]

Whilst one imposing cavalcade of Aragonese bearing rich presents took
the high road into Castile and occupied the attention of the King’s
officers, a modest party of five merchants threaded the mountain paths
by Soria, after leaving the Aragonese territory at Tarazona on the 7th
October. The first day after entering Castile they rode well-nigh sixty
miles; and late at night the little cavalcade approached the walled town
of Osma, where Pedro Manrique and an armed escort were to meet them. The
night was black, and their summons at the gates of the town was
misunderstood: a cry went up that this was a body of the king’s men to
surprise the place; and from the ramparts a shower of missiles flew upon
the strangers below. One murderous stone whizzed within a few inches of
the head of a fair-haired lad of handsome visage and manly bearing, who,
as a servant, accompanied those who wore the garb of merchants. It was
Ferdinand himself who thus narrowly escaped death, and a hurried
explanation, a shouted password, the flashing of torches followed, and
then the creaking drawbridge fell, the great gates clanged open, and the
danger was over.[14] The next day, with larger forces, Ferdinand reached
Dueñas, in Leon, near Valladolid; and four days later, now in raiment
that befitted a royal bridegroom, for his father had made him king of
Sicily, he rode when most men slept to Valladolid. It was nearly
midnight when he arrived, and the gates of the city were closed for the
night, but a postern in the walls gave access to the house in which
Isabel was lodged; and there the Archbishop of Toledo led him by hand
into the presence of his bride, to whom he was solemnly betrothed by the
Archbishop’s chaplain. It was all done so secretly that no inkling of it
reached the slumbering town; and within two hours the youth was in the
saddle again and reached Dueñas long before dawn.[15]

On the 18th October 1469, four days later, all was ready for the public
marriage, and Ferdinand entered the city this time in state, with
Castilian and Aragonese men-at-arms and knights around him. Isabel was
staying at the best house in Valladolid, that of her partisan, Juan
Vivero, and the great hall was richly decked for the occasion of this,
one of the fateful marriages of history, though none could have known
that it was such at the time. The celebrant was the warlike Archbishop
who had been so powerful a factor in bringing it about; and the next
day, after mass, the married pair dined in public amidst the rejoicing
of the faithful people of Valladolid. There was little pomp and
circumstance in the wedding, for the times were critical, the realm
disturbed, and money scarce; but imagination is stirred by the
recollection of the great consequences that ensued upon it, and those
who saw the event, even with their necessarily limited vision of its
effects, must have realised that any splendour lavished upon it could
not have enhanced its importance.

The news of the dreaded marriage filled the King and his court with
dismay. Villena, in close league with Alburquerque and the Mendozas, now
espoused the cause of the Beltraneja,[16] who was declared the
legitimate heiress to the Crown, and betrothed to Isabel’s former
suitor, the Duke of Guienne, in the presence of the assembled nobles, at
the monastery of Loyola, near Segovia. It mattered not, apparently, that
the very men who now swore fealty to Juana, the hapless Beltraneja, had
previously denounced her as a bastard: they wanted a puppet, not a
mistress, as Isabel was likely to be, and they were quite ready to
perjure themselves in their own interests. Isabel was formally deprived
of all her grants and privileges, even of the lordship of her town of
Dueñas, near Valladolid;[17] where she and Ferdinand had kept their
little court, and where their first child had just been born (October
1470), a daughter, to whom they gave the name of Isabel.

Ferdinand could not remain long in idleness, and was soon summoned by
his father to aid him in a war with France, being absent from his wife
for over a year, winning fresh experience and credit both as soldier and
negotiator. In the meanwhile, things were going badly again for the
Beltraneja. Her French betrothed died in May 1472; and some of the
nobles, jealous of the greed of Villena, were once more wavering, and
making secret approaches to Isabel. She had bold and zealous friends in
the Chamberlain Cabrera, who held the strong castle of Segovia, and his
wife, Beatriz de Bobadilla.[18] In the last weeks of 1473, Doña Beatriz
and her husband urged Henry to forgive and receive his sister. She was,
they told him, being persecuted by the Marquis of Villena, and had meant
no harm in her marriage with the man she loved. Henry was doubtful, but
Cardinal Mendoza and Count Benavente had changed sides again, and now
quietly used their influence in Isabel’s favour. A grudging promise was
given by the King, but it was enough for Doña Beatriz; and, disguised as
a farmer’s wife, she set forth from Segovia on a market pad; and alone
over the snowy roads, hurried to carry the good news to the Princess in
the town of Aranda, which had just been surrendered to her by the
townsfolk. A few days afterwards, on further advice from Doña Beatriz,
Isabel, escorted by the Archbishop of Toledo and his men-at-arms,
travelled through the night, and before the first streak of dawn on the
28th December 1473, they were admitted into the Alcazar of Segovia,
where no force but treachery could harm her.

Villena’s son, who, fearing betrayal, had refused to enter the city when
he had come with the King weeks before, and had remained in the
neighbourhood at the famous Geronomite monastery of El Parral, founded
by his father, fled at the news. His father, with Alburquerque and the
Constable of Castile, Count of Haro, at once met at Cuellar, and sent an
insolent order to Henry to expel his sister from Segovia. It came too
late, however. The King, by this time, had met Isabel, who had received
him at the gate of the Alcazar, and professed her love and duty to him.
In a speech full of womanly wisdom,[19] she said she had come to pray
him to put aside anger towards her, for she meant no evil; and all she
asked was that he should fulfil his oath taken at Toros de Guisando, and
acknowledge her as heiress of Castile. ‘For by the laws of God and man,
the succession belonged to her.’ Weak Henry swayed from one side to the
other like a reed in the wind, as either party had his ear; and at last
Isabel took the bold course of sending secretly for Ferdinand, who had
just returned from Aragon. The risk was great, but Isabel knew, at
least, that she could depend upon the Commander of the Alcazar of
Segovia, and Ferdinand secretly entered the fortress on the 4th January
1474. It was a difficult matter for Doña Beatriz to persuade the King to
receive his young brother-in-law; but she succeeded at last, and when
Henry had consented, he did the thing handsomely, and they all rode
together through the city in state, with great show of affection and
rejoicing. On Twelfth Day, Doña Beatriz and her husband gave a great
banquet to the royal party[20] at the Bishop’s palace, between the
Alcazar and the Cathedral. Whilst the minstrels were playing in the hall
after dinner, the King suddenly fell ill. Violent vomiting and purging
seemed to point to poison, and the alarm was great. Prayers and
processions continued night and day, and the unfortunate man seemed to
recover; but, though he lived for nearly a year longer, he never was
well again, the irritation of the stomach continuing incessantly until
he sank from weakness.

In the interim both factions interminably worried him to settle the
succession. Sometimes he would lean to Isabel’s friends, sometimes to
Villena and Alburquerque, but Isabel herself, wise and cautious, knew
where safety alone for her could be found, and took care not to stir
outside the Alcazar of Segovia, in the firm keeping of Cabrera, who
himself was in the firm keeping of his wife, Doña Beatriz. Once in the
summer it was found that the King had treacherously agreed that
Villena’s forces should surreptitiously enter the town and occupy the
towers of the cathedral, whence they might throw explosives into the
Alcazar and capture Isabel on the ground that she was poisoning the
King; but the plan was frustrated, and Henry, either in fear or ashamed
of his part of the transaction, left Segovia to place himself in the
hands of Villena at Cuellar. Greedy to the last, Villena carried the
sick King to Estremadura to obtain the surrender of some towns there
that he coveted; but to Henry’s expressed grief, and the relief of the
country, the insatiable favourite died unexpectedly of a malignant
gathering in the throat on the way, and the King returned to Madrid,
himself a dying man. His worthless life flickered out before dawn on the
12th December 1474, and his last plans were for the rehabilitation of
the Beltraneja. He is said to have left a will bequeathing her the
succession; but Cardinal Mendoza, Count Benavente, and his other
executors, never produced such a document, which, moreover, would have
been repudiated now by the nation at large, passionately loyal, as it
already mainly was, to Isabel.[21]

There was hardly a private or public shortcoming of which Henry in his
lifetime had not been accused. From the Sovereign Pontiff to frank, but
humble subjects, remonstrances against his notoriously bad conduct had
been offered to the wretched King; and at his death the accumulated
evils, bred by a line of frivolous monarchs, had reached their climax.
There was no justice, order or security for life or property, and the
strong oppressed the weak without reproach or hindrance, the only
semblance of law being maintained by the larger walled cities in their
territories by means of their armed burgess brotherhood. But in the
disturbances that had succeeded the birth of the Beltraneja the cities
themselves were divided, and in many cases the factions within their own
walls made them scenes of bloodshed and insecurity. Faith and religion,
that had hitherto been the mainstay of the throne of Castile, had been
trampled under foot and oppressed by a monarch whose constant companions
and closest servitors had been of the hated brood of Mahomet. Nobles
who, for themselves and their adherents, had wrung from the Kings nearly
all they had to give, and threatened even to overwhelm the cities, were
free from taxation, except the almost obsolete feudal aid in spears
which the Sovereign had nominally a right to summon at need. Such men as
Villena, or Alvaro de Luna in the previous reign, with more armed
followers than the King and greater available wealth, were the real
sovereigns of Castile in turbulent alternation, and the final
disintegration of the realm into petty principalities appeared to be the
natural and imminent outcome of the state of affairs that existed when
Henry IV. breathed his last.

All Castile and Leon, with their daughter kingdoms, were looking and
praying for a saviour who could bring peace and security; and at first
sight it would seem as if a turbulent State that had never been ruled by
a woman could hardly expect that either of the young princesses who
claimed the crown could bring in its dire need the qualities desired for
its salvation. Isabel’s popularity, especially in Valladolid, Avila and
Segovia, was great; and at the moment of the King’s death her friends
were the stronger and more prompt, for Villena had just died, the
Beltraneja was but a child of twelve, and the Queen-Mother, discredited
and scorned, was lingering out her last days in a convent in Madrid.[22]
The towns, for the most part, awaited events in awe, fearing to take the
wrong side, and a breathless pause followed the death of the King.
Isabel was at Segovia, and under her influence and that of Cabrera, the
city was the first to throw off the mask and raised the pennons for
Isabel and Ferdinand, to whom, in her presence, it swore allegiance and
proclaimed sovereigns of Castile. Valladolid followed on the 29th
December; whilst Madrid, whose fortress was in the hands of Villena’s
son, declared for the Beltraneja. The nobles shuffled again; moved by
personal interest or rivalry, the Archbishop of Toledo, abandoning
Isabel out of jealousy of Cardinal Mendoza; whilst Alburquerque, the
supposed father of the Beltraneja, joined her opponent, and civil war,
aided by foreign invasion from Portugal, was organised to dispute with
Isabel and her husband their right to the crown.

By rare good fortune the young couple, who were thus forced to fight for
their splendid inheritance, were the greatest governing geniuses of
their age. It is time to say something of their gifts and characters.
They were both, at the time of their accession, twenty-three years of
age, and, as we have seen, their experience of life had already been
great and disillusioning. Isabel’s was incomparably the higher mind of
the two. The combined dignity and sweetness of her demeanour captivated
all those who approached her, whilst her almost ostentatious religious
humility and devotion won the powerful commendation of the churchmen who
had suffered so heavily during the reign of Henry. There is no reason to
doubt her sincerity or her real good intentions any more than those of
her great-grandson, Philip II., a very similar, though far inferior,
character. Like him, she never flinched from inflicting what we now call
cruelty in the pursuance of her aims, though she had no love for cruelty
for its own sake. She was determined that Spain should be united, and
that rigid orthodoxy should be the cementing bond; that the sacred
sovereign of Castile should be supreme over the bodies and souls of men,
for her crown in her eyes was the symbol of divine selection and
inspiration, and nothing done in the service of God by His vice-regent
could be wrong, great as the suffering that it might entail. She was
certainly what our lax generation calls a bigot; but bigotry in her time
and country was a shining virtue, and is still her greatest claim to the
regard of many of her countrymen. She was unmerciful in her severity in
suppressing disorder and revolt; but we have seen the state at which
affairs had arrived in Castile when she acceded to the crown, and it is
quite evident that nothing but a rod of iron governed by a heart of ice
was adequate to cope with the situation. Terrible as was Isabel’s
justice, it entailed in the end much less suffering than a continuance
of the murderous anarchy she suppressed.[23] Her strength and activity
of body matched her prodigious force of mind, and she constantly struck
awe in her potential opponents by her marvellous celerity of movement
over desolate tracts of country almost without roads, riding often
throughout the night distances that appear at the present day to be
almost incredible.

Ferdinand was as despotic and as ambitious as she, but his methods were
absolutely different. He wanted the strength of Castile to push
Aragonese interests in Italy and the Mediterranean; and, like Isabel, he
saw that religious unity was necessary if he was to be provided with a
solid national weapon for his hand. But for Isabel’s exalted mystic
views of religion he cared nothing. He was, indeed, severely practical
in all things; never keeping an oath longer than it suited him to do so,
loving the crooked way if his end could be gained by it, and he
positively gloried in the tergiversation by which throughout his life he
got the better of every one with whom he dealt, until death made sport
of all his plans and got the better of him. His school of politics was
purely Italian; and he cynically acted upon the knowledge, as Henry VII.
of England also did, that the suppression of feudalism doomed the
sovereign to impotence unless he could hoard large sums of ready money
wrung from subjects. In future he saw that kings would be feared, not
for the doubtful feudatories they might summon, but in proportion to the
men and arms they could promptly pay for in cash; and he went one better
than the two Henry Tudors in getting the treasure he saw was needed.
They squeezed rills of money from religious orthodoxy, and divided their
subjects for a century; he drew floods of gold by exterminating a
heterodox minority, and united Spain for the ends he had in view.
Ferdinand and Isabel might therefore challenge the admiration of
subjects for their greatness and high aims, and command loyalty by their
success as rulers; but they cannot be regarded as loveable human beings.

Between two such strong characters as these it was not to be expected
that all would be harmonious at first, and the married life of Isabel
began inauspiciously enough in one respect. There is no doubt that both
Ferdinand and his father intended that the former should be King regnant
of Castile, and not merely King consort. Ferdinand indeed, through his
grandfather of the same name, was the male heir to the Castilian crowns;
and as the Salic law prevailed in Aragon, they assumed that it might be
enforced in Castile. This, however, was very far from Isabel’s view;
reinforced as she was by the decision of the Castilian churchmen and
jurists, and she stood firm. For a time Ferdinand sulked and threatened
to leave her to fight out her battle by herself; but better counsels
prevailed, and an agreement was made by which they were to reign
jointly, but that Isabel alone should appoint all commanders, officers
and administrators, in Castile, and retain control of all fiscal matters
in her realms.

On the 2nd January 1475, Ferdinand joined his wife in Segovia, where a
Cortes had been summoned to take the oath of allegiance to them. Through
the thronged and cheering street he rode to the Alcazar; Beltran de la
Cueva, Duke of Alburquerque, by his side, and nobles, bishops and
burgesses, flocked to do homage to the new sovereigns. Two months later
the faithful city of Valladolid greeted the royal couple with effusive
joy; and a round of festivities drew the lieges and gave time for
adherents to come in. Both parties were mustering forces for the great
struggle; and it needed stout hearts on the part of Isabel and her
husband to face the future. The Archbishop of Toledo was now on the side
of the Beltraneja; and so was Madrid and some of the great nobles of
Andalucia; and, worst of all, Alfonso of Portugal had been betrothed to
his niece the Beltraneja; and was even now gathering his army to invade
Castile and seize the crown. On the 3rd April the new sovereigns held
high festival at Valladolid. Isabel, in crimson brocade and with a
golden crown upon her veiled abundant russet hair, mounted a white
hackney with saddle cloth, housings and mane covered with gold and
silver flowers. She was followed by fourteen noble dames dressed in
parti-coloured tabards, half green brocade and half claret velvet, and
head dresses to imitate crowns; and, as they rode to take the place of
honour in the tilt yard, men said that no woman was ever seen so
beautiful and majestic as the Queen of Spain.[24] Knights and nobles
flocked to the lists, and King Ferdinand rode into the yard mounted upon
his warhorse to break a lance, the acknowledged finest horseman in
Spain. But as he entered the populace stared to see the strange crest he
bore upon his helm, and the stranger motto emblazoned upon his shield.
What could it mean? asked, not without fear, some of those who professed
to be his friends. The crest took the form of a blacksmith’s anvil, and
the motto ran;—

                 _Como yunque sufro y callo,
                 Por el tiempo en que me hallo._

                 I do bear, like anvil dumb,
                 Blows, until the time shall come.[25]

which we are told was meant as a warning to those at his side that he
knew they were beguiling him with such pageantry whilst they were
paltering with his enemies.

It was a gay though ominous feast; but Isabel could not afford much time
for such trifling, and on the second day she mounted her palfrey and
rode out to Tordesillas, forty miles away, to inspect the
fortifications, and then to make an attempt to win back to her cause the
Archbishop of Toledo. With prodigious activity the young Sovereigns
separately travelled from fortress to fortress, animating followers, and
providing for defence; and Isabel was in the imperial city of Toledo
late in May 1475, when the news came to her that the King of Portugal
had entered Spain with a large army, had formally married the Beltraneja
at Palencia, and proclaimed himself King of Castile.[26] Without wasting
a moment Isabel started on horseback for her faithful fief of Avila,
ninety miles away. She was less than two days on the road, and, though
she had a miscarriage on the way at Cabezon she dared not tarry until
safe within the walls of the city, which she entered on the 28th May.

For some months thereafter the fate of Spain hung in the balance.
Ferdinand strained every nerve, but the forces against him were stronger
than his, and the Archbishop of Toledo with his wealth and following had
reinforced the Portuguese. The invading army lay across the Douro at
Toro, a frontier fortress of Leon of fabulous strength, and Ferdinand
from Valladolid attempted to push them back and was beaten. All Leon,
and the plain of Castile as far as Avila, looked at the mercy of the
invaders. But the Portuguese was slow of action, and at this critical
juncture the splendid courage of Isabel saved the situation.[27]
Summoning Cortes at her city of Medina, the centre of the cloth industry
and the greatest mart for bills of exchange in Europe, she appealed to
their patriotism, their loyalty, and their love. Her eloquent plea was
irresistible. Money was voted without stint, merchants and bankers
unlocked their coffers, churches sold their plate, and monasteries
disinterred their hoards. Aragonese troops marched in, Castilian levies
came to the call of their Queen, and by the end of 1475 Ferdinand was at
the head of an army strong enough to face the invaders. Isabel took her
full share of the military operations. On the 8th January 1476, she rode
out of Valladolid through terrible weather, in the coldest part of
Spain, to join Ferdinand’s half-brother, Alfonso, before Burgos. For ten
days the Queen travelled through the deep snowdrifts before she reached
the camp, to find that the city had already surrendered; and on the
evening of her arrival, in the gathering dusk, she entered the city of
the Cid, to be received by kneeling, silk-clad aldermen with heads bowed
for past transgressions, to be graciously pardoned by the Queen. The
pardon was hearty and prompt; for these, and such as these, Isabel meant
to make her instruments for bringing Spain to heel.

In the meanwhile Ferdinand had marched to meet the invading army of 3000
horse and 10,000 foot which lay across the Douro at Toro. First he set
siege to Zamora, between the invading army and its base, and the King of
Portugal ineffectually attempted to blockade him. Failing in this, the
invaders on the 17th February raised their camp and marched towards Toro
again. They stole away silently, but Ferdinand followed them as rapidly
as possible, and caught up with them twelve miles from Toro, late in the
afternoon, on the banks of the Douro. The charge of the Aragonese upon
the disorganised army on the march was irresistible, and a complete rout
of the invaders ensued, no less than 300 of the fugitives being drowned
in the river in sheer panic. King Alfonso of Portugal fled, leaving his
royal standard behind him, and before nightfall all was over, and the
last hope of the Beltraneja had faded for ever.

A month afterwards Zamora, the almost impregnable fortress, surrendered
to Ferdinand; and then the King marched to subdue other towns, whilst
Isabel laid siege to Toro. The Queen scorned to avail herself of the
privilege of her sex, and suffered all the hardships and dangers of a
soldier’s life. Early and late she was on horseback superintending the
operations, and ordered and witnessed more than one unsuccessful assault
upon the town. At length, after a siege of many months, Toro itself
fell, the last great fortress to hold out, and Isabel rode into the
starving city in triumph. Then indeed was she Queen of Castile, with
none to question her right.

The waverers hastened to join the victorious side, the nobles who had
helped the Beltraneja, even the Archbishop of Toledo, came penitently,
one by one, to make such terms as their mistress would accord; whilst
the Beltraneja herself, unmarried again by an obedient Pope, retired to
a Portuguese convent, and the King of Portugal afterwards laid aside his
royal crown and assumed the tonsure and coarse gown of a Franciscan
friar. Never was victory more complete; and when three years later,
early in 1479, the old King of Aragon, Ferdinand’s father, went to his
account, Isabel and Ferdinand, for ever known as ‘the Catholic kings,’
by grace of the Pope, reigned over Spain jointly from the Pyrenees to
the Pillars of Hercules, one poor tributary Moorish realm, Granada,
alone remaining to sully with infidelity the reunited domains of the

But the elements of aristocratic anarchy still existed, especially in
Galicia and Andalucia, where certain noble families assumed the position
of almost independent sovereigns, and at any time might again imperil
the very existence of the State. With the great ambitions of Ferdinand
and the exalted fervour of Isabel to spread Christianity, it must have
been clear to both sovereigns that they must make themselves absolutely
supreme in their own country before they could attempt to carry out
their views abroad. The realms of Aragon offered no great difficulty,
since good order prevailed, although the strict parliamentary
constitutions sorely limited the regal power, and gave to the estates
the command of the purse. In Castile, however, the nobles, eternally at
feud with each other, were quite out of hand, and Isabel’s first
measures were directed towards shearing them of their power for
mischief. All the previous kings of her line—that of Trastamara—had been
simply puppets in the hands of the nobility; she was determined, as a
preliminary of greater things, to be sole mistress in her realm. Her
task was a tremendous one, and needed supreme diplomacy in dividing
opponents, as well as firmness in suppressing them. Isabel was a host in
herself; and to her, much more than to her husband, must be given the
honour of converting utter anarchy into order and security in a
prodigiously short time.

The only semblance of settled life and respect for law in Castile was to
be found in the walled towns. The municipal government had always been
the unit of civilisation in Spain, and the nobility being untaxed, the
Castilian Cortes consisted entirely of the representatives of the
burgesses. With true statesmanship Isabel therefore turned to this
element to reinforce the crown as against lawless nobles. The proposal
to revive in a new form the old institution of the ‘Sacred Brotherhood’
of towns was made to her at the meeting of the Cortes at Madrigal in
April 1476, and was at once accepted. A meeting of deputies was called
at Dueñas in July, and within a few months the urban alliance was
complete. An armed force of 2000 horsemen and many foot-soldiers was
formed and paid by an urban house tax.[28] They were more than a mere
constabulary, although they ranged the country far and wide, and
compelled men to keep the peace, for the organisation provided a
judicial criminal system that effectually completed the task of
punishment. Magistrates were appointed in every village of thirty
families for summary jurisdiction, and constables of the Brotherhood
were in every hamlet, whilst a supreme council composed of deputies from
every province in Castile judged without appeal the causes referred to
it by local magistrates. The punishments for the slightest transgression
were terrible in their severity, and struck the turbulent classes with
dismay. In 1480 a league of nobles and prelates met at Cabeña, under the
Duke of Infantado, to protest against the Queen’s new force of
burgesses. In answer to their remonstrance she showed her strength by
haughtily telling them to look to themselves and obey the law, and at
once established the Brotherhood on a firmer footing than before, to be
a veritable terror to evildoers, gentle as well as simple.

Isabel was no mild saint, as she is so often represented. She was far
too great a woman and Queen to be that; and though for the first two or
three years of her reign diplomacy was her principal weapon, no sooner
had she divided her opponents and firmly established the Holy
Brotherhood, than the iron flail fell upon those who had offended. In
Galicia the nobles had practically appropriated to themselves the royal
revenues, and the Queen’s writ had no power. That might suit weak Henry,
but Isabel was made of sterner stuff than her brother had been, and in
1481 she sent two doughty officers to summon the representatives of the
Galician towns to Santiago, and to demand of them money and men to bring
the nobles to their senses. The burgesses despaired, and said that
nothing less than an act of God would cure the many evils from which
they suffered. The act of God they yearned for came, but Isabel was the
instrument. Forty-seven fortresses, which were so many brigand
strongholds, were levelled to the ground in the province; and some of
the highest heads were struck from noble shoulders. The stake and the
gibbet were kept busy, the dungeons and torture chambers full; and those
of evil life in sheer terror mended their ways, or fled to places were
justice was less strict.

But it is in the suppression of the anarchy at Seville that Isabel’s
personal action is most clearly seen. For years the city had been a prey
to the sanguinary rivalry between two great families who lorded it over
the greater part of Andalucia, the Guzmans and the Ponces de Leon; and
at the time of Isabel’s accession the feud had assumed the form of
predatory civil war, from which no citizen was safe. The cities of the
south were less settled in Christian organisation than those of the
north, and their municipal governments not so easy to combine; and
Isabel, in 1477, determined by her personal presence in Seville to
enforce the hard lessons she had taught the rest of her realms. The
armed escort that accompanied her was sufficient, added to the awe
already awakened by her name, to cow the turbulent spirits of Seville.
Reviving the ancient practice of the Castilian kings, Isabel, alone or
with her husband by her side, sat every Friday in the great hall of the
Moorish Alcazar at Seville, to deal out justice without appeal to all
comers. Woe betided the offender who was haled before her. The barbaric
splendour, which Isabel knew how to use with effect, surrounding her,
gave to this famous royal tribunal a prestige that captured the
imagination of the semi-oriental population of Seville, whilst the
terrible severity of its judgments and the lightning rapidity of its
executions reduced the population to trembling obedience whilst Isabel
stayed in the city. No less than four thousand malefactors fled—mostly
across the frontier—to escape from the Queen’s wrath, whilst all those
who in the past had transgressed, either by plundering or maltreating
others, and could be caught, were made to feel to the full what
suffering was. So great was Isabel’s severity that at last the Bishop of
Cadiz, accompanied by the clergy and notables of Andalucia, and backed
by hosts of weeping women, came and humbly prayed the Queen to have
mercy in her justice. Isabel had no objection. She did not scourge and
slay because she loved to do it, but to compel obedience. Once that was
obtained she was content to stay her hand; and before she left the city,
a general amnesty was given for past offences except for serious crimes.
But she left behind her an organised police and criminal tribunals,
active and vigilant enough to trample at once upon any attempt at
reviving the former state of things.

A more difficult task for Isabel was that of reforming the moral tone of
her court and society at large. The Alcazar of Henry IV. had been a sink
of iniquity, and the lawlessness throughout the country had made the
practice of virtue almost impossible; whilst the clergy, and especially
the regular ecclesiastics, were shamefully corrupt. Isabel herself was
not only severely discreet in her conduct, but determined that no
countenance should be given to those who were lax in any of the
proprieties of life; and it was soon understood by ecclesiastics and
courtiers that the only certain passport to advancement in Castile was
strict decorum. It is probable that much of the sudden reform thus
effected was merely hypocrisy; but it lasted long enough to become a
fixed tradition, and permanently raised the standard of public and
private life in Spain.

In all directions Isabel carried forward her work of reform. The great
nobles found to their dismay, when the Queen was strong enough to do it,
that she, fortified by the Cortes of Toledo, had cancelled all the
unmerited grants so lavishly squandered by previous kings upon them.
Some of those who had been most active in the late troubles, such as the
Dukes of Alburquerque and Alba and the Admiral of Castile, Ferdinand’s
maternal uncle, were stripped almost to the skin. Isabel’s revenue on
her accession had only amounted to 40,000 ducats, barely sufficient for
necessary sustenance; but in a very few years (1482) it had multiplied
by more than twelvefold, and thirty millions of maravedis a year had
been added to the royal income from resumed national grants. To all
remonstrances from those who suffered, Isabel was firm and dignified,
though conciliatory in manner. Her voice was sweet and her bearing
womanly; she always ascribed her measures, however oppressive they might
seem, to her love for the country and her determination to make it
great. Upon this ground she was unassailable; and enlisted upon her side
even those who felt the pinch by appealing to their national pride.

There was no one measure that added more to Isabel’s material power than
her policy towards the religious orders of knighthood. These three great
orders, Calatrava, Santiago, and Alcantara, had grown out of the long
crusade against the Moors; devout celibate soldiers receiving in
community vast grants of territory which they wrested from the infidel.
By the time of Isabel they had grown to be a scandal, for the
grandmasters disposed of revenues and forces as large as those of the
crown, and were practically independent of it. Isabel’s treatment of
them was diplomatic and wise as usual. As each mastership fell vacant
she granted it to her husband; and thus the three most dangerous rivals
to the royal authority were made thenceforward appanages of the crown,
to which the territories were afterwards appropriated.[29]

The Queen’s activity and strength of body and mind must have been
marvellous. We hear of her travelling vast distances, almost incessantly
in the saddle, visiting remote parts of her husband’s and her own
dominions for State business, to settle disputed points, to inspect
fortifications, to animate ecclesiastical or municipal bodies, and to
suppress threatened disorder. No difficulty seemed to dismay her, no
opposition to deflect her from the exalted purpose she had in view. For
it must not be supposed that this strenuous activity was sporadic and
without a central object which inspired it all. In this supreme object
the key to Isabel’s life must be sought. Isabel’s mother was mad: after
the death of her husband she had sunk into the gloomy devotional lunacy
which afflicted in after years so many of her descendants; and in the
impressionable years of Isabel’s youth, passed in the isolated castle of
Arevalo, the whole atmosphere of her life had been one of mystic
religious exaltation.

The Christian Spaniard of Castile had through seven centuries gradually
regained for Christ his lost kingdom by a constant crusade against the
infidel. The secular struggle had made him a convinced believer in his
divine mission to re-establish the reign of the cross on earth. To this
end saints had led him into battle in shining armour, blazing crosses in
the sky had heralded victory to God’s own militia, and holy relics,
miraculously revealed, had served as talismans which ensured success.
Mysticism and the yearning for martyrdom was in the air in Isabel’s
youth, and she, a saintly neurotic, who happened also to be a genius and
a queen, shared to the full the Castilian national obsession. The man
who fostered the growth of this feeling in the young princess at Arevalo
might have been useful in spurring a sluggish mind to devotion; but to
further inflame the zeal of a girl of Isabel’s innate tendency was
unnecessary, and of this alone was he capable. He was a fiery,
uncompromising, Dominican monk, called Tomas de Torquemada. The
Dominicans, centuries before, had been entrusted by the Pope with the
special duty to maintain the purity of the faith, and as its guardians,
spiritual pride and arrogance had always been the characteristic of the
order. Torquemada, as Isabel’s confessor and spiritual tutor, had
abundant opportunities of influencing her, and never ceased to keep
before her the sacred duty imposed upon rulers of extirpating heresy,
root and branch, at any cost. Her own brother Henry had been surrounded
by the hated infidel, the enemy of Christ and Spain. Failure as a king,
ruin as a man, and a miserable death, had been his portion. And so the
lesson was ceaselessly dinned into Isabel’s ear, that no ruler could be
happy or successful who did not smite heretics, infidels and doubters,
hip and thigh, for the glory of God. The Moor, she was told, still
defiled in Granada the sacred soil of Spain, suffered by an unworthy
Christian king to linger for the sake of the paltry tribute paid.

To establish the rule of Christ on earth, which she was taught was her
sacred duty, Isabel knew that a strong weapon was needed. Only a united
and centralised Spain could give her that, and Spain must be unified
first of all. Her marriage with Ferdinand was a great step in advance;
her suppression of the nobles and the masterships of the orders another,
the submission of the country to her will and law a third, the increase
of her revenues a fourth; but a greater than all was the reawakening in
the breasts of all Spaniards the mystic exaltation and spiritual pride
that gave strength to their arms against the Moor in the heroic days of
old. The character of the Spanish people, and the state of the public
mind at the time, made it easy to stir up the religious rancour of the
majority against a minority already despised and distrusted. Throughout
Spain there were numerous families of the conquered race nominally
Christians, but yet living apart in separate quarters, and unmixed in
blood with their neighbours. They were, as a rule, industrious and
well-to-do handicraftsmen and agriculturists, whose artistic traditions
and skill gave them the monopoly in many profitable and thriving
avocations. The Christian Spaniard had not, as a rule, developed similar
qualities, and were naturally jealous of the so-called new Christians
who lived with them, but were not of them.

There was, however, at first but little open enmity between these two
races of Spaniards, though distrust and dislike existed. It was
otherwise in the case of the Jews. They, during the centuries of Moorish
rule, had grown rich and numerous, and had in subsequent periods almost
monopolised banking and financial business throughout Spain, marrying in
many cases into the highest Christian families. As farmers of taxes and
royal treasurers they had become extremely unpopular, especially in
Aragon; and although, for the most part, professed Christians, they were
eyed with extreme jealousy by the people at large, and on many occasions
had been the victims of attack and massacre in various places.[30]
Nevertheless, so far as can be seen, the first steps towards religious
persecution by Isabel and her husband do not appear to have been
prompted, although they may have been strengthened, by this feeling.
There had for centuries existed in Aragon and Sicily an Inquisition for
the investigation of cases of heresy. It was a purely papal institution,
and its operations were very mild, though extremely unpopular. In
Castile, the papal Inquisition had never been favoured by rulers, who
were always jealous of the interference of Rome, and at the time of
Isabel’s accession it had practically ceased to exist.

When the sovereigns were holding Court at Seville in 1477, a Sicilian
Dominican came to beg for the confirmation of an old privilege, giving
to the Order in Sicily one-third of the property of all the heretics
condemned there by the Inquisition. This Ferdinand and Isabel consented
to, and the Dominican, whose name was Dei Barberi, suggested to
Ferdinand that as religious observance had grown so lax under the late
King Henry, it might be advisable to introduce a similar tribunal into
Castile. Ferdinand’s ambitions were great. He wanted to win for
Barcelona the mastership of the Mediterranean and the reversion of the
Christian Empire of the East, and, as a preliminary, to clear Spain
itself of the taint of dominant Islam at Granada. He understood that
times had changed, and that the nerve of war was no longer feudal aids,
but the concentration in the hands of the King of the ready money of his
subjects. The people who had most of the ready money in Spain were the
very people whose orthodoxy was open to attack, and he welcomed a
proposal that might make him rich beyond dreams.

Isabel was not greedy for money as her husband was: she was too much of
a religious mystic for that; but to spread the kingdom of Christ on
earth, to crush His enemies and raise His cross supreme in the eyes of
men, seemed to promise her the only glory for which she yearned. By her
side was her confessor Torquemada, the Dominican Ojeda, and the Papal
Nuncio, all pressing upon her that to strike at heresy in her realms was
her duty. So Isabel took the step they counselled, and begged the Pope
for a bull establishing the Inquisition in Castile. The bull was granted
in September 1478, but no active steps were taken for nearly two years.

In 1480, Isabel and her husband were again in Seville, and the
Dominicans were ceaseless in their exhortations to them to suppress the
growing scandal of obstinate Judaism. The complaints of the clergy
against the Jews were such as they knew would be supported by the
populace. Amongst other things, they said that the Jews bought up and
ate all the meat in the market for their Sabbath, and there was none
left for Christians on Sunday;[31] that they were hoarding coin to such
an extent that there was a lack of currency; that they donned rich
finery and ornaments only fit for their betters, and so on.[32]

The various modern apologists of Isabel have striven to minimise her
share in the establishment of the dread tribunal that sprang out of
these and similar complaints. There seems to me no reason for doing so:
she herself probably considered it a most praiseworthy act, and her only
hesitation in the matter was caused by her dislike of strengthening the
papal power over the church of Castile.[33] There could have been no
repugnance in her mind to punishing, however severely, those whom she
looked upon as God’s enemies, and consequently unworthy of the
privileges of humanity. Ferdinand added his persuasion to the clamours
of the churchmen; and from Medina del Campo, Isabel, in September 1480,
commissioned two Dominicans to act as Inquisitors, and to establish
their tribunal at Seville.

The Jews of Seville took alarm at once, and large numbers of them fled
from the city to the shelter of some of the neighbouring great nobles,
who looked with dislike at this new development of priestly power. A
decree of the sovereign’s at once forbade all loyal subjects to withhold
suspected heretics from their accusers, and those fugitive Jews who
could escape sought the safety of Moorish Granada. In the first days of
1481, the Inquisition got to work, striking at the highest first, and
before the end of the year 2000 poor wretches were burnt in Andalusia
alone.[34] All Spain protested against it. Deputations from the chief
towns came and demanded the abolition of a foreign tribunal over
Spaniards. The Aragonese, rough and independent as usual, resorted to
violence, and hunted the Inquisitors, whilst in Old Castile the tribunal
could only sit, in many places, surrounded by the Queen’s soldiers. But
Isabel’s heart was aflame with zeal, and Ferdinand, with gaping coffers,
was rejoicing at the showers of Jewish gold that flowed to him; and all
remonstrance was in vain. The Pope himself soon took fright at the
severity exercised, and threatened to withdraw the bull, but Ferdinand
silenced him with a hint that he would make the Inquisition an
independent tribunal altogether, as later it practically became, and
thenceforward the horrible business went on unchecked until Spain was
seared from end to end, and independent judgment was stifled for
centuries in blood and sacrificial smoke.

The heartless bigot Torquemada, Isabel’s confessor, was appointed
Inquisitor-General in 1483, and he, the most insolent, because the
humblest, man in Spain, became the greatest power in the land, master of
Isabel’s conscience and feeder of Ferdinand’s purse. Isabel’s Spanish
biographers continue to assert that she was tireless in her endeavours
to soften the rigour of her own tribunal, and to intercede for her ‘dear
Castilians.’ There is not a scrap of real evidence known to prove that
she did so, and certainly her contemporaries did not believe it.[35] Her
administration, however, had already been extremely successful. Peace
and order reigned, the pride of Spaniards, which she so sedulously
fostered, had been worked up to a high pitch, the Queen herself was
personally popular, in consequence of her dignity, her activity, and her
patriotism; and the urban populations, who had so greatly aided her, and
were now so powerful, dreaded to cause disturbance that might have
thrown the country again into the clutches of the nobles. Terrible,
therefore, as was the action of the Holy Office, acquiesced in by the
Queen, there were many reasons why no combined opposition to it in
Castile was offered, although for the first years of its existence it
was bitterly hated.

To the Queen during these first few years of ceaseless activity, no
other child had been born but the Infanta Isabel, the first fruit of her
marriage in 1470. The constant long journeys on horseback, the hardships
and risk entailed by her work, thus for eight years prevented the birth
of a male heir. But during Isabel’s stay at Seville, on the 30th June
1478, the prayed for Prince of Asturias, Juan, was born. Ferdinand was
away in the north at the time, but all the pomp and splendour, which
Isabel knew so well how to use, heralded the birth of the Prince. On the
15th July the Queen was sufficiently well to ride in state to the
cathedral from the Moorish Alcazar where she lived, and to present her
first-born son to the Church. Through the narrow, tortuous lanes of the
sunny city, packed with people, Isabel rode on a bay charger; her
crimson brocade robe, all stiff with gold embroidery, trailing almost to
the ground, over the petticoat covered with rich pearls. Her saddle, we
are told, was of gold, and the housings black velvet, with bullion lace
and fringe. Ferdinand’s base brother Alfonso, and his kinswoman the
Duchess of Vistahermosa, followed close behind, and the Queen’s bridle
was held by the Constable of Castile and Count Benavente. The merry
music of fife, tabor, and clarion preceded the royal party; and behind
there came on foot the nobles and grandees, and the authorities of the
city. The baby Prince was borne in the arms of his nurse, seated upon a
mule draped with velvet, and embroidered with the scutcheons of Castile,
Leon, and Aragon, and led by the Admiral of Castile. At the high altar
of the famous Mudejar Cathedral, Isabel solemnly devoted her child to
the service of God, and then, with splendid largess to all and sundry,
she returned to the palace.[36]

Isabel was unremitting always in the performance of her religious
duties, and wherever she stayed, endowments for purposes of the Church
commemorated her visit. Her humility and submission to priests and nuns
is cited with extravagant praise by her many ecclesiastical eulogists,
and they tell the story of how, when Father Talavera first succeeded
Torquemada as her confessor, he bade her kneel at his feet like an
ordinary penitent. When she reminded him that monarchs always sat by the
side of the confessor, as she had always done before, he rebuked her by
saying that his seat was the seat of God, before whom all kneeled
without distinction; and the Queen thenceforward kept upon her knees
before the priest, whom she honoured thenceforward for what in our days
we should consider unpardonable arrogance.

There was little of repose for Isabel, even after the birth of her
child. To Seville came the news a few months afterwards that the old
soldier Archbishop of Toledo and the Pachecos had once more persuaded
Alfonso of Portugal to strike a blow for his niece and wife the
Beltraneja. Raising what troops she could, Isabel rode through
Estremadura at the head of her force, determined to end for good claims
that she thought had already been disposed of. Ferdinand was in Aragon,
where, his father having just died, his presence could not be dispensed
with; but Isabel was undismayed. In vain her councillors begged her to
refrain from undertaking the campaign in person. The country was
devastated by famine and war, they said; pestilence prevailed in the
towns, and the raids of the Portuguese and rebels would expose her to
great danger. ‘I did not come hither,’ Isabel replied, ‘to shirk danger
and trouble, nor do I intend to give my enemies the satisfaction, nor my
subjects the chagrin, to see me do so, until we end the war we are
engaged upon or make the peace we seek.’[37] Isabel, in command of the
Castilians, finally crushed the Portuguese at the battle of Albuera; and
then, after reducing to submission the rebel noble fortresses, she
negotiated a peace with Portugal and France at Alcantara, by which both
powers were compelled to recognise her as Queen of Spain. Suppressing
revolt, deciding disputes, and punishing transgressions on her way,
Isabel then rode to Toledo, where Ferdinand joined her, and there her
third child, Joan, was born, in November 1479.

                               CHAPTER II

Castile and Aragon, now being indissolubly united, and internal peace
secured, it was time for the sovereigns to prepare for the execution of
the great designs that had respectively moved them to effect what they
had done. These designs were to some extent divergent from each other.
Ferdinand’s main object was to cripple his rival, France, in the
direction of Italy, and assume for Aragon the hegemony of the
Mediterranean and of the sister Peninsula, of which Sicily already
belonged to him and Naples to a member of his house. Castile, on the
other hand, had for centuries cultivated usually harmonious relations
with France, the frontiers not being conterminous except at one point,
the mouth of the Bidasoa; and the ambitions of Castile were
traditionally towards the absorption of Portugal, the domination of the
coast of North Africa, and the spread of the Christian power generally
to the detriment of Islam, its secular enemy. Its own Moorish
populations were as yet but imperfectly assimilated, and the existence
of the realm of Granada in the Peninsula kept hopes alive in the breasts
of the Castilian Moors. The presence of many thousands of potential
enemies in the midst of Christian Spain, and the wealth and number of
the Jews, who, in a struggle, would probably side with the Moors,
undoubtedly influenced greatly in causing the severity of the
Inquisition against them and their subsequent expulsion. The first step,
therefore, to be taken towards the objects either of Aragon and Castile,
was to reduce to impotence any Moorish power in Spain itself that might
cause anxiety to the Christian rulers whilst they were busy upon plans
abroad, though this step was mainly important to Castile rather than to

This was the state of affairs in the beginning of 1481. The Castilians
were subdued and prepared to do the bidding of their Queen, but the
Catalans and Aragonese, rough and independent, had to be conciliated
before they could be depended upon to give their aid to an object
apparently for the advantage of Castile. Isabel had summoned a Cortes of
her realms to the imperial city of Toledo late in 1480, to take the oath
of allegiance to her infant son Juan as heir to the throne: and thence,
with a splendid train, she rode to visit for the first time her
husband’s kingdoms, to receive their homage as joint sovereign.
Ferdinand met his wife at Calatayud in April 1481, and there, before the
assembled Cortes of Aragon, the oath of allegiance to the sovereigns and
their heir was taken. The Aragonese were rough-tongued and jealous, and
even more so the Catalans, dreading the centralising policy of Isabel
and their assimilation by Castile; and throughout Ferdinand’s dominions
Isabel was forced to hear demands and criticisms to which the more
amenable Cortes of Castile had not accustomed her. It was gall and
wormwood to her proud spirit that subjects should haggle with monarchs,
and in Barcelona she turned to her husband, when the Cortes had refused
one of his requests, and said: ‘This realm is not ours, we shall have to
come and conquer it.’ But Ferdinand knew his subjects better than she,
and gradually made them understand that in all he did he had their
interests in view. He was forced, indeed, by circumstances and his wife
to allow precedence to Castilian aims, the better to compass those of

The turbulent Valencians were being won to benevolence by the presence
of their King and the smiles of his wife in the last days of 1481, when
the news reached the sovereigns that the pretext they needed for their
next great step had been furnished by the Moors of Granada. From the
fairy palace of the Alhambra for the previous two hundred and fifty
years, the Kings of Granada had ruled a territory in the South of
Andalucia, running from fifteen miles north of Gibraltar along the
Mediterranean coast two hundred and twenty miles to the borders of
Murcia, and including the fine ports of Malaga, Velez, and Almeria. The
industry of the people and the commerce of their important seaboard,
facing the African land of their kinsmen, made the population prosperous
and their standard of living high; but a series of petty despots,
successively reaching the throne by usurpation and murder, had enabled
the Kings of Castile, by fomenting the consequent discord, to reduce
Granada to the position of a tributary. When Isabel succeeded, and the
treaties between Castile and Granada had to be renewed in 1476,
Ferdinand had demanded the prompt annual payment of the tribute in gold.
Muley Abul Hassan had paid no tribute to Isabel’s brother, and intended
to pay none to her. ‘Tell the Queen and King of Castile,’ he replied,
‘that steel and not gold is what we coin in Granada.’ From the day they
received the message Isabel and Ferdinand knew that they could not wield
a solid Spain to their ends until the Cross was reared over the Mosque
of Granada. When, therefore, all the rest of Spain was pacified, and the
sovereigns were at Valencia at Christmas 1481, the pretext for action
came, not unwelcome, at least for Isabel. The Moors of Granada had swept
down by night and captured the Christian frontier fortress of
Zahara.[38] Isabel and her husband had never ceased since their
accession to prepare for the inevitable war. The civil conflict they had
passed through had proved the superiority for their purpose of paid
troops of their own over feudal levies, and already the organisation of
a national army existed. The Royal Council appointed by Isabel had
brought from France, Italy, and Germany the best skilled engineers and
constructors of the recently introduced iron artillery; great quantities
of gunpowder had been imported from Sicily, and improved lances, swords,
and crossbows had been invented and manufactured in Italy and Spain.

The troops that had been expelled from Zahara, and those that at first
revenged the insult by the capture and sack of the important Moorish
fortress of Alhama, between Malaga and Granada, were the vassals of the
princely Andalucian nobles, the Duke of Medina Sidonia and the Marquis
of Cadiz; but the sovereigns, hurrying from Valencia to the Castilian
town of Medina del Campo, set about organising the coming war with
national forces. The efficiency and foresight shown were extraordinary,
and, up to that time, unexampled. Nothing seems to have been forgotten
or left to chance; flying hospitals, field ambulances, and army
chaplains, testify to Isabel’s personal influence. Whatever may have
been the case with Ferdinand, his wife approached the struggle as to a
sacred crusade. Torquemada, though not yet Inquisitor-General, was busy
with the Holy Office, and had just been replaced as Isabel’s confessor
by the saintly Father Talavera, whose influence over the Queen was
greater still; and whose zeal for the conquest of Granada for the cross
was a consuming passion, only comparable in its strength with his proud

The kingdom of Granada was girt around with mountain fortresses of
immense strength upon the spurs and peaks of the Sierra Nevada; and in
the midst stood the lovely city, as it stands to-day, with its twin
fortresses upon their sister cliffs, the Alhambra and the Albaycin, each
capable of housing an army. The task of reducing the mountain realm was
a great one, for the outlying fortresses had to be subdued separately
before the almost impregnable capital could be attacked, whilst the long
line of coast had to be watched and blockaded to prevent, if possible,
succour being sent from Africa by kinsmen across the sea. In the first
days of March 1482, the news of the capture of Alhama by the Andalucian
nobles, and the awful slaughter of the women and children, as well as
the men, who so heroically defended it, reached Isabel at Medina; and
the splendid exploit and vast booty won uplifted all Castilian hearts.
It is said by many historians, but is not true, that Isabel herself set
out barefooted on a pilgrimage to Compostella, to thank Santiago for the
victory. But though she had no time for this, she bade the Church
throughout Castile sing praises for the boon vouchsafed to the Christian
cause. But then came tidings less bright. The Moorish King, with all his
force of 80,000 men, was besieging the Marquis of Cadiz in Alhama: the
water supply had been cut off, food was scarce, and the Christians
surrounded. Within a week of the news Ferdinand was on the march with
his army, and the Duke of Medina Sidonia, with his 40,000 armed
retainers, was rapidly approaching Alhama to succour his ancient foe the
Marquis of Cadiz. The slaughter of Moors in the constant unsuccessful
assaults upon Alhama had been immense; the King, Muley Abul Hassan, had
bitter domestic enemies, and daring not to face the approaching
Christians, he raised the siege and returned to Granada. The rich booty
taken in the town by the original captors aroused the cupidity of the
relieving force, and dissensions between the Christians arose over the
division of the spoil. Medina Sidonia and his army marched away, and
again Muley Abul Hassan beleaguered Alhama, with artillery this time,
and a powerful army. Once more deeds of unheard of gallantry and
hardihood were done by the Moorish chivalry; but, as before,
unavailingly. By the end of March Ferdinand’s great host, with 40,000
beasts of burden carrying supplies and munitions, approached, and again
Muley Abul Hassan retreated to his disaffected capital. It was a blow
from which the Moorish power in Spain never recovered, and thenceforward
Granada fought hopelessly with her back to the wall.

Into the fertile vega of Granada swept Ferdinand’s host in the midsummer
of 1482, carrying devastation and ruin in its van. From the heights of
Granada the Moors, with impotent hate and rage, saw their blazing
villages, their raided flocks and herds, their murdered countrymen, and
desolated fields; and yet within the fair city treason and civil discord
numbed all hearts, and paralysed the warrior’s arms. For Muley Abul
Hassan was fighting foes within his own harem more deadly than the
Christians who raided beneath his walls; and a palace revolution led by
his wife and his undutiful son, Abu Abdalla (Boabdil), was already
plotting his downfall. To secure his position in the vega of Granada, it
was necessary for Ferdinand to capture the frowning fortress that
crowned the height of Loja, and commanded the pass into Castile. It had
long been a thorn in the Christian flesh, and now Ferdinand, with all
the chivalry of Spain, were pledged to capture it at any cost. Though
brave and cool, Ferdinand was no great tactician, and was easily
outwitted by the wily Moors, who led his forces into ambush and utterly
routed the Christian host. Panic and flight ensued, with the loss of
baggage, standards, and arms; and Ferdinand himself escaped only by the
efforts of a small devoted band of Castilian knights. The ruin was
complete, and when Ferdinand joined his heroic wife at the ancient
Moorish Alcazar of Cordova, even her faith and steadfastness for a time

But not for long. Talavera, Torquemada, and Mendoza, the Cardinal of
Spain, with fiery zeal for the extirpation of heresy, were at her side.
Not for territory alone, but to fix God’s realm on earth freely, must
sacrifice be made and final victory won: and, though Ferdinand with
longing eyes towards his own aims, yearned to use his arms against
France for the recapture of his own provinces of Rosellon and Cerdagne,
and tried to persuade his wife that though ‘her war might be a holy one,
his against the French would be a just one,’ Isabel had her way, and
with unflinching zeal set about organising to snatch conquest from
defeat.[40] Muley Abul Hassan, expelled from his city of Granada, but
holding his own in Malaga and the south, had been succeeded in his
capital by the weak, rebellious Boabdil. The old King and his brother,
El Zagal, were still fighting doughtily, and even successfully raiding
the Christian land near Gibraltar; and Boabdil, jealous of their
activity, determined to sally from Granada and strike a blow for his
cause, at the instigation of his masculine mother. At the head of 9000
Moors, all glittering and confident, the Prince sallied out of Granada
in April 1483, and, collecting the veteran guard of Loja on the way,
marched towards Cordova. The Moors were undisciplined, loaded with loot,
and led by a fool, when they approached the Christian Cordovese city of
Lucena, and their ostentatious march into Christian land had been
heralded. Their attack upon the city was repulsed with great valour, and
whilst they were meditating a renewed assault, a relieving force of
Christians approached. The Moors retired, but were overtaken and utterly
routed. Boabdil the King, garbed in crimson velvet mantle heavy with
gold, and armed in rich damascened steel, was singled out from amongst
the mob of fugitives, captured by a Castilian man-at-arms, and borne in
triumph by the Christian chief, the Count of Cabra, to the strong castle
of Porcuna, there to await the sovereign’s decision as to his fate.
Isabel and her husband were far away at the time; for, after the birth
of her fourth child, Maria, in the previous summer of 1482, she and
Ferdinand had travelled north to Madrid to meet the Castilian Cortes,
and ask for supplies for carrying on the war. Thence, on a more
questionable errand, they had moved further north. The little mountain
realm of Navarre on the Pyrenees, a buffer state between Castile and
France, belonged to the descendants of Ferdinand’s father by his first
wife. The desire of the Aragonese King to unite Navarre to Ferdinand’s
kingdoms, had removed by murder one Navarrese sovereign after another,
until now, in 1482, the beautiful young half French Francis Phœbus was
King. He was one more obstacle to be removed; for after him a sister
would come to the throne, and she might be easily dealt with: so poison
ended the budding life of Francis Phœbus—by Ferdinand’s orders, it was
credibly said at the time;[41] and Ferdinand and his wife hurried up to
Vitoria, bent, if possible, upon adding one more crown to the brows of
the Queen of Castile.[42] It was a cynically clever move of Ferdinand’s,
for it would bring Castile in touch with France, and thus play into the
hands of the Aragonese, but the threatening attitude of Louis XI.
convinced Ferdinand that he must wait for a more fitting opportunity,
which he did for thirty years, when Isabel had long been dead. When the
news came to Tarazona, where the Cortes of Aragon were in session, that
Boabdil was captured, Ferdinand hurried south to Cordova to reap the
fruits of victory, leaving Isabel in Castile.

In the great hall of the Alcazar of Cordova, Ferdinand sat in council in
August 1483, surrounded by the soldiers who in his absence had overrun
the vega, and two Moorish embassies claimed audience. One came from the
old King, Muley Abul Hassan, in Malaga, begging with heavy bribes the
surrender of his rebellious son Boabdil. This embassy Ferdinand refused
to receive; but the other from the Queen Zoraya, Boabdil’s mother, with
offers of ransom, submission, and obedience, was admitted. Ferdinand was
the craftiest man of his age, and saw that the imprisonment of Boabdil
gave unity to the Granadan Moors, whilst his presence amongst them would
again be the signal for fratricidal conflict. But the King of Aragon
drove a hard bargain, as he always did, and the foolish, vain Boabdil
only bought his liberty at a heavy price. He was to do homage to the
Christian kings, to pay a heavy ransom and yearly tribute, and give
passage to the Christian armies to conquer his father in Malaga. Boabdil
meekly subscribed to any terms, and then paying homage on bended knee to
his master, he wended his way to Moorish land, a mark for the scorn of
all men, ‘Boabdil the Little’ for the rest of time.

Anarchy thenceforward reigned through the kingdom of Granada, as
Ferdinand had foreseen. I shall pluck the pomegranate, seed by seed,
chuckled the Christian king. And so he did; for, although a two years’
truce had been settled with Boabdil, the civil war gave to the Christian
borderers constant opportunities of overrunning the land, on the pretext
of aiding or avenging one of the combatants and attacking the old King.
Ferdinand would fain have attacked the new King of France, Charles
VIII., but Isabel was firm; and though Ferdinand was thereafter obliged
to stay a time in his own dominions to placate the discontented
Catalans, Isabel was tireless in her insistence upon the Christian
crusade that she had undertaken, though, for appearance sake, she
consented to both wars being carried on at the same time, which she knew
was impracticable.[43] The spirit of the woman was indomitable.
Travelling south towards the seat of war in 1484 with the new Archbishop
of Toledo, Cardinal Mendoza, she herself took command of the campaign
against the Moor.

It was, verily, her own war. In counsel with veteran soldiers she
surprised them with her boldness and knowledge; and her harangues to the
soldiery, and care for their welfare, caused her to be idolised by men
who had never yet regarded a woman as being capable of such a stout
heart as hers. She managed even to spur Ferdinand into leaving Aragon,
and once more taking the field against the old King of Granada, and, one
by one, the Moorish fortresses fell, and the Christian host encamped
almost before the walls of Granada: the Queen herself, though
approaching childbirth (in 1485), travelling from place to place in the
conquered country, encouraging, supervising, and directing. The
following year, 1486, Isabel and her husband again travelled to Cordova
from Castile, and now with a greater force than ever before. For news of
this saintly warrior Queen, who was fighting for the cross, had spread
now through Christendom, and not Iberian knights alone, but the chivalry
of France and Italy, Portugal and England, were flocking to share the
glory of the struggle.

At the conquest of Loja in May 1486, Lord Rivers, Conde de Escalas, as
the Spaniards called him, aided greatly with his men in capturing the
place, and earned the praise of Isabel.[44] As each church was dedicated
to the true worship in the conquered towns, Isabel herself contributed
the sacred vessels and vestments necessary for Christian worship; relics
of the saints, and blessed banners sent by her, went always with the
Castilian hosts; and soon the spiritual pride, which had been the secret
of all Spain’s strength in the past, became again the overwhelming
obsession, which, whilst it strengthened the arms, hardened the hearts
of all those who owned the sway of Isabel.

In December 1485, Isabel’s last child, Katharine, was born at Alcalá de
Henares, and through most of the stirring campaigns of 1486 the Queen
accompanied the army in their sieges of Moorish towns, and thence rode
with her husband right across Spain to far Santiago, crushing rebellion
(that of Count Lemos), holding courts of justice, punishing offences and
rewarding services on the way. The next spring again saw her in the
field against the important maritime city of Velez-Malaga, which was
captured in April; and in the autumn the great port of Malaga fell after
an heroic defence. But heroism of infidels aroused no clemency in the
breast of the Christian Queen. By her husband’s side, with cross borne
before them, and a crowd of shaven ecclesiastics around them, they rode
in triumph through the deserted city to the mosque, now purified into a
Christian cathedral. Christian captives in chains were dragged from
pestilent dungeons that the manacles might be struck from their palsied
limbs in the victors’ presence, and when the Christians had given thanks
to the Lord of Hosts, the whole starving population of Malaga were
assembled in the great courtyard of the fortress, and every soul was
condemned to slavery for life: some to be sent to Africa in exchange for
Christian captives; some to be sold to provide funds for the war, some
for presents for the Pope and other potentates and great nobles, whilst
all the valuables in the wealthy city were grabbed by greedy Ferdinand,
by one of his usually clever and heartless devices.[45]



  _After a Painting by Pradilla._

The want of magnanimity and common humanity to these poor people, who
had only defended their homes against the invader, is usually ascribed
entirely to Ferdinand; but there is nothing whatever to show that Isabel
thought otherwise than he, except that she objected to a suggestion that
they should all be put to the sword. She was a child of her age, an age
that did not recognise the right of others than orthodox Christians to
be regarded as human beings; and in Isabel all instinctive womanly
feeling was dominated by her conviction of the greatness of her duty as
she understood it, and the sacred mission of her sovereignty. The fall
of Malaga rendered inevitable that of the city of Granada, only held, as
it was, under the nominal rule of the miserable Boabdil, supported by
the Christian troops under Gonzalo de Cordova. Every week his little
realm grew smaller, and every hour the streets of Granada rang with
Moslem curses of his name. Outside the walls rapine and war, inside
treachery and murder, scourged Granada; and whilst the pomegranate was
rotting to its fall, in the intervals of fresh conquests Isabel and her
husband progressed through Aragon and Valencia, everywhere carrying
terror to evildoers and strengthening the arm of the Inquisition. The
next year, 1488, the same process was continued, and in 1489 the large
cities of Baza, Almeria and Guadix were conquered from Boabdil’s rebel
uncle. Baza was the strongest fortress in the kingdom, and offered a
resistance so obstinate that the Christians, despairing of taking it,
sent to Isabel at Jaen, asking her permission to raise the siege. She
commanded them to redouble their efforts. Fresh men, money and munitions
were sent to them. The Dukes of Alba and Najera, and the Admiral of
Castile, were bidden to lead their men to aid Ferdinand before Baza. New
field hospitals were supplied, and all the Mancha and Andalucia were
swept for food and transport, no less than 14,000 mules, for the relief
of the besiegers. Floods broke down the bridges and made the roads
impassable, but still Isabel did not lose heart. A body of 6000 men were
raised to repair the ways. The cost exhausted the Queen’s treasury, but
she laid hands on the church plate and the treasures of the convents,
pledged her own crown with the Jews to overcome the obstacle, and raised
a hundred million maravedis for her purpose. Her ladies followed her
example and poured their gold and jewels into her coffers, and yet Baza
still held out, and winter was close at hand. Ferdinand was for
abandoning the siege, but the stout-hearted Queen herself set out from
Jaen in November, and rode undaunted through the bitter weather, night
and day, to join her troops at Baza. Her presence struck the Moors with
dismay, and filled the Christian hearts with confidence, for both knew
that there she would stay, at any cost, until the place surrendered, as
it did, to her, on the 4th December 1489,[46] whereupon Almeria and
Guadix gave up the struggle, and the Queen and her husband returned to
winter at Seville, knowing now that Granada itself was theirs for the
plucking when the season should arrive.

All through the year 1490 the preparations for the crowning feat went on
throughout Castile. Patriotism, in the sense of a common pride of
territory, did not exist in Spain; but already in the nine years that
the Inquisition had been at work, and Isabel’s fiery zeal against the
Moors had continued, the spiritual arrogance, always latent, had knit
orthodox Spaniards together as they had never been bound before. To the
majority, the persecution of a despised and hated minority was
confirmation of their own mystic selection. Isabel was the
personification of the feeling, and to her, as to her people now, the
oppression of the unbeliever was an act that singled her out as the
chosen of God to vindicate His faith. So Torquemada and the Inquisition,
with the approval of the Queen, harried the wretched Jews, who professed
Christianity, more cruelly every day.[47] If a ‘New Christian’ broke
bread with a Jew it was the former who was punished. If he dared to wear
clean linen on Saturday, or used a Hebrew name, the Dominican spies, who
dogged his footsteps, accused him, and the flames consumed his carcass
whilst Ferdinand emptied his coffers. The revenue of the Jewish
confiscations had provided much of the treasure needed for the constant
war of the last eight years; but Ferdinand wanted more, and ever more,
money before Granada could be made into a Christian city. Isabel would
conquer Granada, and at any cost gain the undying glory of recovering
for Christ the last spot in Spain held by the infidel. Injustice,
cruelty, robbery, and the torture of innocent people were nothing, less
than nothing, to the end she aimed at; and when the flames were found
all too slow for feeding Ferdinand’s greed, Isabel easily consented to a
blow being struck at the unbaptised Jews, in a body, whenever it was
necessary to collect a specially large sum of money for _her_ war.

In April 1491, the siege of the lovely city, set in its vast garden
plain, was begun. The Moors inside were gallant and chivalrous,
determined to sell their city dearly, however their spiritless King
might deport himself; but their dashing cavalry sallies where almost
futile against an army so carefully organised and disciplined as that of
Isabel. The head quarters of the Christian Queen were about two leagues
from Granada, and when Isabel joined her army the siege opened in grim
earnest. The many contemporary chroniclers of the campaign have left us
astonishing descriptions of the dazzling splendour which surrounded the
Queen. She, who in the privacy of her palace was sober in her attire,
and devoted to housewifely duties, could, when she thought desirable, as
she did before Granada, present an appearance of sumptuous splendour
almost unexampled. Her encampment, with its silken tents magnificently
furnished, its floating banners and soaring crosses, were such as had
never been since the time of the Crusades. On a white Arab charger, with
floating mane and velvet trappings to the ground, the Queen, herself
dressed in damascened armour and regal crimson, was everywhere
animating, consoling, and directing. Cardinals and bishops, princes,
nobles and ladies, thronged around her; and every morning as the sun
tipped with gold the snow peaks of the Sierra, all in that mighty host,
from the Queen down to the poorest follower, bowed before the gorgeous
altar in the midst of the camp, whilst the Cardinal of Spain (Mendoza)
performed the sacred mystery of the mass.

One night in the summer (14th July) the Queen had retired to her tent
and was sleeping, when, two hours after midnight, a lamp by her bedside
caught the hangings, stirred by the breeze, and in a minute the great
pavilion was ablaze. Isabel in her night garb had barely time to escape,
and witnessed the conflagration spread from tent to tent till much of
the encampment was reduced to ruin. At the cries and bugle calls of the
distressed Christians, the Moors afar off on the walls beheld with joy
the discomfiture of their enemies; and if another leader than Boabdil
had been in command, it would have gone ill with Isabel and her men. But
there was no defeat for a woman with such a spirit as hers. The
suggestions that the siege should be raised until the next year, she
rejected in scorn. Once again her virile spirit had its way. More money
was raised, mostly squeezed out of the miserable Jews; the army was
quartered in neighbouring villages, and within eighty days a city of
masonry and brick replaced the canvas encampment, and here, in the city
of Santa Fe,[48] Isabel solemnly swore to stay, winter and summer, until
the city of Granada should surrender to her.

Granada was entirely cut off from the world. The coast towns were no
longer in Moorish hands, and no succour from Africa could come to the
unhappy Boabdil. The desperate warriors of the crescent were for
sallying _en masse_ and dying or conquering, once for all; but Boabdil
was weak and incapable; and less than a month after the completion of
Isabel’s new city of Santa Fe, he made secret advances to his enemy at
his gates for a capitulation. The Queen entrusted the greatest of her
captains, Gonzalo de Cordova, who understood Arabic, with the task of
negotiation; but soon the news was whispered inside the city, and twenty
thousand furious Moorish warriors rushed up the steep hill to the
Alhambra, to demand a denial from the King. Seated in the glittering
hall of the ambassadors, Boabdil received the spokesmen of his indignant
people, and pointed out to them with the eloquence of despair the
hopelessness of the situation; and the wisdom of making terms whilst
they might. Stupefied and grief-stricken the populace acknowledged the
truth, bitter as it was, and with bowed heads and coursing tears left
the beautiful palace that was so soon to pass from them.

The negotiations were protracted, for Granada was divided and might
still have held out, and the Moors begged hard for at least some vestige
of independence as a State. But at last, on the 28th November 1491, the
conditions were agreed to. The Granadan Moors were to enjoy full liberty
for their faith, language, laws and customs; their possessions and
property were to be untouched, and those who did not desire to owe
allegiance to Christian sovereigns were to be aided to emigrate to
Africa. The tribute to be paid was the same as that rendered to the
Moorish King, and the city was to be free from other taxation for three
years; whilst Boabdil was to have a tiny tributary kingdom (Purchena) of
his own in the savage fastnesses of the Alpujarra mountains, looking
down upon the splendid heritage that had been his. The terms were
generous to a beaten foe, and their gentleness is usually ascribed to
Isabel. Since, however, they were afterwards all violated with her full
consent, it matters little whether the Queen or her husband drafted
them. But mild as the conditions of surrender were, many of the
heartbroken Moors of the city were still for fighting to the death in
defence of the land of their fathers and their faith; and Boabdil, in
deadly fear for his life, begged the visitors to hasten the taking
possession of the city. On the last day but one of the year 1491, the
Christian men-at-arms entered the Alhambra; and on the 2nd January 1492,
a splendid cavalcade went forth from the besieging city of Santa Fe to
crown the work of Isabel the Catholic. Surrounded by all the nobles and
chivalry of Castile and Aragon, the Queen, upon a splendid white
charger, rode by her husband’s side, followed by the flower of the
victorious army. Upon a hill hard by the walls of the city, Isabel
paused and gazed upon the towers and minarets, and upon the two
fortresses that crowned the sister heights, for which her heart had
yearned. This must have seemed to her the most glorious moment of her
life: for the last stronghold of Islam was within her grasp; and well
she must have known that, capitulations notwithstanding, but a few short
years would pass before the worship of the false prophet would disappear
from the land where it had prevailed so long.

At a signal the gates of the city opened, and a mournful procession came
towards the royal group upon the rise. Mounted upon a black barb came
Boabdil the Little, dusky of skin, with sad, weeping eyes downcast. His
floating haik of snowy white half veiled a tunic of the sacred green,
covered with barbaric golden ornaments. As he approached the group upon
the mound, the conquered King made as if to dismount, and kneel to kiss
the feet of the Queen and her husband. But Ferdinand, with diplomatic
chivalry, forbade the last humiliation, and took the massive keys of the
fortress, whilst Boabdil, bending low in his saddle, kissed the sleeve
of the King as he passed the keys to the Queen, who handed them to her
son, and then to the Count of Tendilla, the new governor of the city.
Four days later, Granada was swept and garnished, purified with holy
water, ready for the entry of the Christian Sovereigns.[49] The steep,
narrow lane leading to the Alhambra from the Gate of Triumph was lined
by Christian troops, and only a few dark-skinned Moors scowled from
dusky jalousies high in the walls, as the gallant chivalry of Castile,
Leon, and Aragon, flashed and jingled after the King and Queen. As they
approached the Alhambra, upon the tower of Comares there broke the
banner of the Spanish Kings fluttering in the breeze, and at the same
moment, upon the summit of the tower above the flag, there rose a great
gilded cross, the symbol of the faith triumphant.

Then, at the gates, the heralds cried aloud, ‘Granada! Granada! for the
Kings Isabel and Ferdinand;’ and Isabel, dismounting from her charger,
as the cross above glittered in the sun, knelt upon the ground in all
her splendour, and thanked her God for the victory. The choristers
intoned Christian praise in the purified mosque, whilst the Moors, who
hoped to live in favour of the victors, led by the renegade Muza, added
the strange music of their race to the thousand instruments and voices
that acclaimed the new Queen of Granada. Amidst the rejoicing and
illuminations that kept the city awake that night, Boabdil the beaten
was forgotten. When he had delivered the keys of the Alhambra, he had
refused to be treated by his followers any longer with royal honours,
and had retired weeping to the citadel, soon to steal forth with a few
followers and his masculine mother to the temporary shelter of his
little principality.[50] When the sad cavalcade came to the hill called
Padul, ‘The last sigh of the Moor,’ thenceforward tears coursed down the
bronze cheeks of the King as he gazed upon the lost kingdom he was to
see no more. ‘Weep! weep!’ cried his mother, ‘weep! like a woman for the
city you knew not how to defend like a man.’

Throughout Christendom rang the fame of the great Queen, whose
steadfastness had won so noble a victory; and even in far-off England
praise of her, and thanks to the Redeemer whose cause she had
championed, were sung throughout the land. For the conquest of Granada
marked an epoch, and sealed with permanence and finality the
Christianisation of Europe, the struggle for which had begun eight
centuries before, from the mountains of Asturias. The imagination of the
world was touched by the sight of a warrior-crusading Queen, more
splendid in her surroundings than any woman since Cleopatra, who yet was
so modest, meek, and saintly in the relations of daily life, so
exemplary a mother, so faithful a wife,[51] so wise a ruler; and the
cautious, unemotional Ferdinand, whose ability as a statesman was even
greater than that of his wife, was overshadowed by her radiant figure,
because she fought for an exalted abstract idea, whilst his eyes were
for ever turned towards the aggrandisement of himself and Aragon. She
could be cruel, and deaf to pleas for mercy, because in her eyes the
ends she aimed at transcended human suffering; he could be mean and
false, because his soul was baser and his objects all mundane.

In the Christian camp before Granada there had wandered a man who was
not a warrior, but a patient suitor, waiting upon the leisure of the
Sovereigns to hear his petition. He was a man of lofty stature, with
light blue eyes that gazed afar away, fair, florid face and ruddy hair,
already touched with snow by forty years of toil and hardship. He had
long been a standing joke with some of the shallow courtiers and
churchmen that surrounded the Queen, for he was a dreamer of great
dreams that few men could understand, and, worst offence of all, he was
a foreigner, a Genoese some said. He had followed the Court for eight
long years in pursuit of his object, the scoff of many and the friend of
few; but the war, and the strenuous lives that Isabel and Ferdinand
lived, had again and again caused them to postpone a final answer to the
prayer of the Italian sailor, who had, to suit Spanish lips, turned his
name from Cristoforo Colombo to Cristobal Colon.

At the end of 1484,[52] the man, full of his exalted visions, had sailed
from Lisbon, disgusted at the perfidy of the Portuguese, who had feigned
to entertain his proposals only to try to cheat him of the realisation
of them. His intention was first to sail to Huelva in Spain, where he
had relatives, and to leave with them his child Diego, who accompanied
him, whilst he himself would proceed to France, and lay his plans before
the new King, Charles VIII. Instead of reaching Huelva, his pinnace was
driven for some reason to anchor in the little port of Palos, on the
other side of the delta, and thence the mariner and his boy wended their
way to the neighbouring Franciscan Monastery of St. Maria de la Rabida,
to seek shelter and food, at least for the child. Colon, as we shall
call him here, was an exalted religious mystic, full of a great
devotional scheme, and himself, in after years, wore a habit of St.
Francis. It was natural, therefore, that he should be well received by
the brothers in that lonely retreat overlooking the delta of the Rio
Tinto; for he was, in addition to his devotion, a man of wide knowledge
of the world as well as of science and books, and in the monastery there
was an enlightened ecclesiastic who had known courts and cities, one
Friar Juan Perez, who had once been a confessor of Queen Isabel. With
him and the physician of the monastery, Garcia Hernandez, Colon
discussed cosmogony, and interested them in his theories, and the aims
that led him on his voyage. The mariner needed but little material aid,
two or three small ships, which could easily have been provided for him
by private enterprise. But his plans were far reaching, and well he knew
that to be able to carry them out, the lands he dreamed of discovering
could only produce for him the means to attain the result he hungered
for, if a powerful sovereign would hold and use them when he had found

There was a great magnate within a few days’ journey of the monastery,
who himself was almost a sovereign, and not only had ships in plenty of
his own, but could, if he pleased, obtain for any plan he accepted the
patronage of powerful sovereigns. This was the head of the Guzmans, the
Duke of Medina Sidonia, the Andalucian noble who controlled the port of
Seville and the coasts of the south. It must have seemed worth while to
Colon to address himself to this neighbouring noble before setting out
on his long voyage to France; for he journeyed from La Rabida towards
Seville, leaving his child, Diego, to be educated and cared for by the
friars of the monastery. He found the Duke of Medina Sidonia
irresponsive to his approaches, and was again thinking of taking ship to
France, when he was brought into contact, by what means is not known,
with another great noble almost as powerful as the head of the Guzmans,
the Duke of Medina Celi, who, from his palaces at Rota and Puerto de
Santa Maria, on the Bay of Cadiz, disposed of nearly as many sail as
Medina Sidonia.

The magnate listened, often and attentively, to the eloquent talk of the
sailor seer whom he lodged in his house: how, far away across the
western ocean, beyond the islands that the Portuguese had found, lay
Asia, the home of gems and spices rare, now only reached painfully
across the forbidden lands of the infidel and by the Levant Sea, or
perchance, though that was not sure, around the mighty African
continent; that wealth untold lay there in pagan hands, awaiting those
who, with cross and sword, should capture it, and win immortal souls for
Christ, and so eternal glory. He, Colon, was the man destined by God to
open up the new world foretold to Saint John in the tremendous dream of
the Apocalypse, for some vast object of which he yet refrained to speak.
Books, Seneca, Ptolemy, and the Arab geographers, the Fathers of the
Church, legends half forgotten, the conclusions of science, the course
of the stars, and the concentrated experience of generations of sailor
men, were all used by the Genoese to convince the Duke. The prospect was
an attractive one, and Medina Celi promised to fit out the expedition.

In the building yards of Port Santa Maria the keels of three caravels
were laid down to be built under Colon’s superintendence. They were to
cost three or four thousand ducats, and be fitted, provisioned and
manned, for a year at the Duke’s expense; and Colon must have thought
that now his dream was soon to come true, and that his doubt and toil
would end. But for the inner purpose he had in view beyond the discovery
of the easy way to Asia, he needed a patron even more powerful than
Medina Celi; and it may have been the discoverer who took means to let
the Queen of Castile know the preparations that were being made, or, as
Medina Celi himself wrote afterwards, the information may have been sent
to Court by the Duke, fearing to undertake so great an expedition
without his sovereign’s licence.[54] In either case, when Isabel was
informed of it in the winter of 1485, she and her husband were in the
north of Spain, and instructed the Duke to send Colon to court, that
they might hear from his own mouth what his plans were.

The mariner arrived at Cordova on the 20th January 1486, with letters of
introduction from the Duke to the Queen and his friends at court. The
sovereigns were detained by business in Madrid and Toledo for three
months after Colon came to Cordova; but his letters procured for him
some friends amongst the courtiers there, with whom he discussed the
theories he had formed, especially with the Aragonese Secretary of
Supplies, the Jewish Luis de Sant’angel, who, throughout, was his
enlightened and helpful friend. Most of the idle hangers-on of the court
at Cordova, clerical and lay, made merry sport of the rapt dreamer who
lingered in their midst awaiting the coming of the sovereigns. His
foreign garb and accent, his strange predictions, absurd on the face of
them—for how could one arrive at a given place by sailing directly away
from it?—all convinced the shallow pates that this carder of wool turned
sailor was mad.

When Isabel and Ferdinand at last arrived at Cordova, on the 28th April
1486, the season was already further advanced than usual to make
preparations for the summer campaign: and there was little leisure for
the sovereigns to listen to the vague theories of the sailor. But early
in May Colon was received kindly by Isabel and her husband, and told his
tale. Their minds were full of the approaching campaign, and of the
trouble between Aragon and the new King of France about the two counties
on the frontier unjustly withheld from Ferdinand; and after seeing Colon
for the first time Isabel instructed the secretary, Alfonso de
Quintanilla to write to the Duke of Medina Celi that she did not
consider the business very sure; but that if anything came of it the
Duke should have a share of the profits.

In the meanwhile Ferdinand and his wife were too busy to examine closely
themselves into the pros and cons of Colon’s scheme, and followed the
traditional course in such circumstances, that of referring the matter
to a commission of experts and learned men to sift and report. The
president of the commission was that mild-mannered but arrogant-minded
confessor of the Queen, Father Talavera; the man of one idea whom the
conquest of Granada for the cross blinded to all other objects in life.
With him for the most part were men like himself, saturated with the
tradition of the church, that looked upon all innovation as impiety, and
all they did not understand as an invention of the evil one. So, when
Colon sat with them and expounded his theories to what he knew were
unsympathetic ears, he kept back his most convincing proofs and
arguments; for his treatment in Portugal had taught him caution.[55]
There were two, at least, of the members of the commission who fought
hard for Colon’s view, Dr. Maldonado and the young friar Antonio de
Marchena, but they were outvoted; and when the report was presented it
said that Colon’s project was impossible, and that after so many
thousands of years he could not discover unknown lands, and so surpass
an almost infinite number of clever men who were experienced in

Hardly had Talavera and his colleagues assured the sovereigns that the
whole plan was impossible and vain, unfit for royal personages to
patronise,[57] than Ferdinand again took the field (20th May), and once
more Cristobal Colon was faced by failure. But he was a man not easily
beaten. During his stay at Cordova he had made many friends, and gained
many protectors at Court. First was his close acquaintance, Luis de
Sant’angel, by whose intervention he was so promptly received by the
sovereigns after their arrival at Cordova; but others there were of much
higher rank: the great Cardinal Archbishop of Toledo, Mendoza, the tutor
of the Prince Don Juan, Friar Diego Deza, Friar Juan Perez, who had
first received Colon at La Rabida, and was now at court, Alonso de
Quintanilla, the Queen’s secretary, Juan Cabero, the intimate Aragonese
friend and chamberlain of the King; and one who probably did more in his
favour quietly than any one else, that inseparable companion of Isabel,
Beatriz de Bobadilla, now Marchioness of Moya.

But it was weary waiting. As we have seen, the energies of the
sovereigns were absorbed in the war. Ferdinand, moreover, was
desperately anxious to finish it successfully, and get to Aragonese
problems that interested him more directly; the intended war with France
and that world-wide combination he was already planning, by which not
the strength of Spain alone but that of all Christendom should be at his
bidding, to humble his rival and exalt Aragon in Italy, the
Mediterranean and the East. It was too much to expect that Ferdinand
would welcome very warmly any project for frittering away in another
direction the strength of the nation he was hungering to use for his own
ends. Isabel, on the other hand, would naturally be inclined to listen
more sympathetically to such a project as that of Colon. Here was half a
world to be won to Christianity under her flag, here was wealth
illimitable to coerce the other half, and, above all, here was the
fair-faced mystic with his lymphatic blue eyes, like her own, showing
her how the riches that would fall to his share were all destined for a
crusade even greater than that of Granada, the winning of the Holy
Sepulchre from the infidel, and the fixing for ever of the sovereign
banner of Castile upon the country hallowed by the footsteps of our
Lord. To Isabel, therefore, more than to Ferdinand, must it be
attributed, that when the campaign of 1486 was ended the Italian mariner
was not dismissed, notwithstanding the unfavourable report of Talavera’s

The sovereigns were obliged to start out to far Galicia, as has been
related on page 64; but before they went they replied to Colon that,
‘though they were prevented at present from entering into new
enterprises, owing to their being engaged in so many wars and conquests,
especially that of Granada, they hoped in time that a better opportunity
would occur to examine his proposals and discuss his offers.’[58] This
answer, at all events, prevented Colon’s supporters in Spain from
despairing; and whilst the monarchs were in Galicia in the winter of
1486, the Dominican Deza, the Prince’s tutor, who was also a professor
at Salamanca, conceived the idea that an independent inquiry by the
pundits of the university might arrive at a different conclusion from
that of Talavera’s commission, and undo the harm the latter had
effected. Though there is no evidence of the fact, it is certain that
Deza, who was a Castilian and a member of the Queen’s household, would
not have taken such a step as he did without Isabel’s consent. In any
case, Colon travelled to Salamanca; and there, as the guest of Deza in
the Dominican monastery of Saint Stephen, he held constant conference
with the learned men for whom the famous University was a centre.

Isabel and her husband themselves arrived at Salamanca in the last days
of the year 1486, and heard from Deza and other friends that, in the
opinion of most of them, the plans of Colon were perfectly sound. The
effect was seen at once: the mariner accompanied the Court to Cordova in
high hopes, no longer an unattached projector of doubtful schemes, but a
member of the royal household. Before once more taking the field in the
spring of 1487, the Queen officially informed Colon that ‘when
circumstances permitted she and the King would carefully consider his
proposal’; and in the meantime a sum of 3000 maravedis was given to him
for his sustenance, a grant that was repeated, and sometimes exceeded,
every few months afterwards. In August 1487, Colon was summoned by the
sovereigns to the siege of Malaga, probably to give advice as to some
maritime operations; but thenceforward he usually resided in Cordova,
awaiting with impatience the convenience of the Queen and King.

During the heartbreaking delay he entered again into negotiation with
the Kings of Portugal, France, and England, but without result; and it
was only when the city of Granada was near its fall, and the end of the
long war in sight, that Colon, following the sovereigns in Santa Fe, saw
his hopes revive. Now, for the first time, he was invited to lay before
them the terms he asked for if success crowned his project. Isabel had
been already gained to Colon’s view by the transparent conviction of the
man and his saintly zeal. His friends at Court were now many and
powerful, and Ferdinand himself had not failed to see that the promised
accession of wealth to be derived from the discovery would strengthen
his hands. Perhaps he, like Isabel, had been dazzled with Colon’s life
dream of the recovery of the Holy Sepulchre; for that would, if it were
effected, tend to realise the highest ambitions of Aragon. But
Ferdinand, as a prudent man of business, never allowed sentiment,
however exalted, to override practical considerations. When, therefore,
the terms demanded by Colon were at length submitted to him and the
Queen, he unhesitatingly rejected them as absolutely out of the
question. Much obloquy has been heaped upon Ferdinand for his lack of
generosity in doing so; but a perusal of the conditions, with a
consideration of the circumstances and ideas of the times, will convince
any impartial person that Ferdinand’s first rejection of them was more
to his credit than his subsequent acceptance with the obvious intention
of violating them.

They were, indeed, extravagant and impracticable to the last degree. The
title of Admiral had only been given in Spain to nobles of the highest
rank and greatest possessions. The office, usually hereditary, carried
with it seignorial rights over the coasts and ports that were
practically sovereign, as in the case of the Enriquezs in Castile and of
Medina Sidonia in Andalucia. And yet Colon, a plebeian Italian sailor,
dropped as if from the clouds, made as his first demand, that he should
be recognised as ‘Admiral of all the islands and continents that may be
discovered or gained by his means, for himself during his life, and for
his heirs and successors for ever, with all the prerogatives and
pre-eminences appertaining to such office, as they are enjoyed by Don
Alonso Enriquez, your Admiral of Castile.’ The Admiral of Castile was
Ferdinand’s uncle, and the second person in realm after the blood royal;
and, although the office was hereditary in his house, the sovereigns of
Castile had never surrendered the power of withdrawing the title if they
pleased, whereas the Italian mariner demanded that for ever he and his
should be practically independent of the sovereigns. The second
condition was, that Colon was to be Governor and Viceroy of all islands
and continents discovered, with the right of nominating three persons
for each sub-governorship or office from which the sovereigns were bound
to choose one. This latter condition was also an infraction of the right
of the kings to choose their own officers freely. The discoverer claimed
for himself and his heirs for ever one clear tenth of all merchandise,
gold, gems, pearls, and commodities of every sort, bought, bartered,
found, gained, or possessed, in the territories discovered. It was just,
of course, that Colon should be splendidly rewarded if success crowned
his efforts, but the imagination reels at the idea of the stupendous
wealth that would have been his by virtue of such a claim as this. But
this was not all. Colon claimed the right, if he pleased, of taking
one-eighth share in every expedition and trading venture leaving Spain
for the Indies, and, to crown all, if any dispute arose with regard to
the discoverer’s rights and profits, under the capitulation, he and his
nominees were to be the sole judges of the case.

Most of these demands could not be legally granted under the laws of
Castile, and it is no wonder that when Colon refused to modify them, he
was curtly dismissed by Ferdinand, and told to go about his business and
propose his plans elsewhere. There is no reason to doubt, in spite of
romantic legends unsupported by evidence, that Isabel acquiesced in this
action of her husband. She was, it is true, strongly in favour of the
proposed undertaking; but she was a greater stickler than Ferdinand for
her regal prerogatives, and it is unlikely that she would have lightly
surrendered them thus any more than he. In any case, Colon, in high
dudgeon, left Santa Fe with the intention of offering his plans to
France. First visiting in Cordova the lady with whom he had lived, he
proceeded on his way to La Rabida, where his son Diego was still living,
thence to embark for France. In the monastery there he again met the
guardian, Fray Juan Perez, the Queen’s confessor, to whom he told his
tale of disappointment; and the physician, Hernandez, was summoned to
the conference.

Colon, with his earnestness and eloquence, impressed them more than ever
with the glowing prospects of wealth unlimited for Spain, and glory
undying for the Christian Queen, who should bring pagan Asia into the
fold of the Church; and, unknown to the explorer, Juan Perez sent post
haste by a trusty messenger a letter to the Queen urging her not to let
Colon go elsewhere with his plans. It is well-nigh two hundred miles,
and a bad road, from Palos to Granada, and Isabel was in the midst of
taking possession of the conquered city; but yet she found time to send
back an answer within a fortnight to Perez, who, by one pretext or
another, had detained Colon in the monastery, bidding her late confessor
himself to come and see her without delay, that she might discuss with
him the subject of his solicitude. Perez lost no time; for at midnight
the same day, without a word to Colon, he rode out of La Rabida towards

What arguments he used to Isabel we do not know, probably he told her
that Colon was inclined now to modify his pretensions. In any case, the
good friar hurried back to the monastery with the cheering news that the
Queen had promised to provide three caravels for the expedition, and
summoned Colon to court again, sending him, in a day or two, two
thousand maravedis to buy himself some new clothes, and make him fit to
appear before her. It is extremely unlikely—indeed impossible—that
Isabel should have taken this step without Ferdinand’s consent. She was
the stronger vessel, and may have won him over to her way of thinking,
aided probably by the representations of Juan Perez, that Colon’s terms
would be modified.

The explorer arrived at Granada shortly after the triumphal entry of the
conquerors, and saw Isabel (and presumably her husband) on several
occasions at their quarters at Santa Fe. To Ferdinand’s annoyance he
found that Colon still insisted upon the same impracticable conditions
as before. Talavera, the new Archbishop of Granada, full of zeal for the
Christianisation of his new diocese, frowned at all suggestions that
might divert attention to another direction; and finally, the King and
Queen decided to dismiss Colon for good as impossible to deal with.
Rather than bate a jot of his vast claims, for, as he solemnly asserted
afterwards, he needed not the wealth for himself, but to restore the
Holy Land to Christendom, he wended his way heartbroken towards his home
at Cordova; his red hair now blanched entire to snow. The glory for
Spain of discovering a new world for civilisation was trembling in the
balance. The great dreamer, hopeless, had turned his back upon the court
after seven years of fruitless waiting, and Ferdinand, this time, had no
intention of recalling him.

Then the keen business prescience of the Jew Secretary of Supplies, Luis
de Sant’angel, pained that such bright hopes should be carried to other
lands, took what, for a man of his modest rank, was a very bold step. He
was a countryman of Ferdinand, and in his confidence, but it was to
Isabel he went, and with many expressions of humility and apology for
his daring,[59] urged her not to miss such a chance as that offered by
the Genoese. Sant’angel appears to have been under the impression that
the main reason for Colon’s dismissal was the difficulty of the
Castilian treasury providing the money he asked for, as he offered to
lend the million maravedís necessary. It is quite likely, indeed, that
he did not know the details of the explorer’s demands as to reward.
Isabel appears to have thanked Sant’angel for his offer and opinion,
with which she said she agreed; but asked him to defer the matter until
she was more at leisure.

This was something gained; but the principal difficulty was to persuade
Ferdinand. Another Aragonese it was who undertook it; that inseparable
companion of the King, the Chamberlain, Juan Cabero. What arguments he
employed we know not, but he was as astute as Ferdinand himself, and
probably we shall not be far from the truth when we presume that he and
his master agreed that, since the Queen was so bent upon the affair, it
would be folly to haggle further over terms, which, after all, if they
were found inconvenient, could be repudiated by the sovereigns, and it
is probable that Isabel may have been influenced by the same view. So, a
few hours only after Colon had shaken the dust of Santa Fe from his
feet, a swift horseman overtook him at the bridge of Los Pinos, and
brought him back to court.

Again he stood firm in his immoderate pretensions, and the chaffering
with him was resumed, for it must have been evident to Ferdinand that
the terms could never be fulfilled. It must not be forgotten that Colon
had come with a mere theory. The plan was not to discover a new
continent: there was no idea then of a vast virgin America, but only of
a shorter way to Japan and the realms of the great Khan. Such a project,
great as the profit that might result, would naturally loom less in the
sight of contemporary Spaniards than the Christianisation of Granada,
and it is unjust to blame Ferdinand for holding out against terms which
were even a derogation of his own and his wife’s sovereignty. Isabel,
far more idealist than her husband, was ready to accede to Colon’s
demands, and her advocacy carried the day. Possibly, to judge from what
followed, even she assented, with the mental reservation that she, as
sovereign, could, if she pleased, cancel the concessions she granted to
Colon if she found them oppressive.

The terms demanded, however, were not the only difficulty in the way.
There was the question of ready money; and the war had exhausted the
treasury. It is an ungracious thing to demolish a pretty traditional
story, but that of Isabel’s jewels, sacrificed to pay for Colon’s first
voyage, will not bear scrutiny.[60] As a matter of fact, her jewels were
already pawned for the costs of the war, and although Las Casas,
Bernaldez, and Colon’s son Fernando, say that the Queen offered to
Sant’angel to pawn her jewellery for the purpose, and it is probable
enough that in the heat of her enthusiasm she may have made such a
suggestion figuratively, it is now quite certain that the money for the
expedition was advanced by Luis de Sant’angel, although not as was, and
is, usually supposed, from his own resources, but from money secretly
given to him for the purpose from the Aragonese treasury, of which he
was a high officer.[61]

The agreement with Colon was signed finally in Santa Fe on the 17th
April 1492, and at the end of the month the great dreamer departed, this
time with a light heart and rising hopes, to Palos and La Rabida to fit
out his caravels, and sail on the 3rd August 1492 for his fateful
voyage. With him went Isabel’s prayers and hopes; and during his
tiresome and obstructed preparations at Palos, she aided him to the
utmost by grants and precepts,[62] as well as by appointing his
legitimate son, Diego, page to her heir, Prince Juan, in order that the
lad might have a safe home during his father’s absence. Although
Isabel’s action in the discovery may be less heroic and independent of
her husband, than her enthusiastic biographers are fond of representing,
it is certain that but for her Ferdinand would not have patronised the
expedition. Looking at the whole circumstances, and his character, it is
difficult to blame him, except at last for agreeing to terms that he
knew were impossible of fulfilment, and which he probably never meant to
fulfil. But Isabel’s idealism in this case was wiser than Ferdinand’s
practical prudence, so far as the immediate result was concerned, and to
Isabel the Catholic must be given the glory of having aided Columbus,
rather than to her husband, who was persuaded against his will.

Granada was conquered for Isabel, and it was now Ferdinand’s turn to
have his way. For years Aragonese interests had had to wait, though, as
Ferdinand well knew, the unifying process, which he needed for his ends,
was being perfected the while. Under the stern rule of Torquemada the
Inquisition had struck its tentacles into the nation’s heart, and, crazy
with the pride of superiority over infidels, the orthodox Spaniard was
rapidly developing the confidence in his divine selection to scourge the
enemies of God, which made the nation temporarily great. Isabel was the
inspiring soul of this feeling. A foreigner, visiting her court soon
after Granada fell, wrote, as most contemporaries did of her, in
enthusiastic praise of what we should now consider cruel bigotry.
‘Nothing is spoken of here,’ he says, ‘but making war on the enemies of
the faith, and sweeping away all obstructions to the Holy Catholic
Church. Not with worldly, but with heavenly aim, is all they undertake,
and all they do seems inspired direct from heaven, as these sovereigns
most surely are.’[63]

This eulogium refers to the plan then under discussion for ridding
Isabel’s realms of the taint of Judaism. We are told that to the Queen’s
initiative this terrible and disastrous measure was due. ‘The Jews were
so powerful in the management of the royal revenues that they formed
almost another royal caste. This gave great scandal to the Catholic
Queen, and the decree was signed that all those who would not in three
months embrace the faith, were to leave her kingdoms of Castile and
Leon.’[64] Ferdinand was quite willing, in this case, to give the
saintly Queen and her clergy a free hand, because, to carry out his
world-wide combination to humble France, he would need money—very much
money—and the wholesale confiscation of Jewish property that accompanied
the edict of expulsion was his only ready way of getting it. On the 30th
March 1492, less than three weeks before the signature of the agreement
with Colon, the dread edict against the Jews went forth. Religious
rancour had been inflamed to fever heat against these people, who were
amongst the most enlightened and useful citizens of the State, and whose
services to science, when the rest of Europe was sunk in darkness, make
civilisation eternally their debtor. They were said to carry on in
secret foul rites of human sacrifice, to defile the Christianity that
most of them professed, and Isabel’s zeal, prompted by the churchmen,
was already climbing to the point afterwards reached by her
great-grandson, Philip II., when he swore that, come what might, he
would never be a king of heretic subjects.

By the 30th July 1492 not a professed Jew was to be left alive in
Isabel’s dominions. With cruel irony, in which Ferdinand’s cynical greed
is evident, the banished people were permitted to sell their property,
yet forbidden to carry the money abroad with them. At least a quarter of
a million of Spaniards of all ranks and ages, men, women, and children,
ill or well, were driven forth, stripped of everything, to seek shelter
in foreign lands. The decree was carried out with relentless ferocity,
and the poor wretches, straggling through Spain to some place of safety,
were an easy prey to plunder and maltreat. It was a saturnalia of
robbery. The shipmasters extorted almost the last ducat to carry the
fugitives to Africa or elsewhere, and then, in numberless cases, cast
their passengers overboard as soon as they were at sea. It was said
that, in order to conceal their wealth, the Jews swallowed their
precious gems, and hundreds were ripped up on the chance of discovering
their riches. There was no attempt or pretence of mercy. The banishment
was intended, not alone to remove Judaism as a creed from Spain—that
might have been done without the horrible cruelty that ensued—but as a
doom of death for all professing Jews; for Torquemada had, five years
before, obtained a Bull from the Pope condemning to major
excommunication the authorities of all Christian lands who failed to
arrest and send back every fugitive Jew from Spain.[65] Isabel appears
to have had no misgiving. Her spiritual guides, to whom she was so
humble, praised her to the skies for her saintly zeal: her subjects,
inflated with religious arrogance, joined the chorus raised by servile
scribes and chroniclers, that the discovery of the new lands by Colon
was heaven’s reward to Isabel for ejecting the Hebrew spawn from her
sacred realm; and if her woman’s heart felt a pang at the suffering and
misery she decreed, it was promptly assuaged by the assurance of the
austere churchmen, who ruled the conscience of the Queen.

Leaving Talavera as archbishop, and Count de Tendilla as governor of
conquered Granada, Isabel and her husband, with their children and a
splendid court, travelled in the early summer of 1492 to their other
dominions where their presence was needed. Ferdinand, indeed, was
yearning to get back to his own people, who were growing restive at his
long absence, and for the coming war with France, it was necessary for
him to win the love of his Catalan subjects, who, at first, still
remembering his murdered half-brother, the Prince of Viana, had borne
him little affection. He had treated them, however, with great
diplomacy, respecting their sturdy independence, and had asked little
from them, and by this time, in the autumn of 1492, when he and Isabel,
with their promising son, Juan, by their side, rode from Aragon through
the city of Barcelona to the palace of the Bishop of Urgel, where they
were to live, the Catalans were wild with enthusiasm for the sovereigns
with whose names all Christendom was ringing.

Ferdinand nearly fell a victim to the attack of a lunatic assassin in
December, as he was leaving his hall of justice at Barcelona, and during
his imminent danger Isabel’s affection and care for him gained for her
also the love of the jealous Catalans.[66] Throughout the winter in
Barcelona Ferdinand was busy weaving his web of intrigue around France
and Europe, to which reference will presently be made, and in March 1493
there came flying to the court the tremendous news that Colon had run
into the Tagus for shelter after discovering the lands for which he had
gone in search. No particulars of the voyage were given; but not many
days passed before Luis de Sant’angel, the Aragonese Treasurer Gabriel
Sanchez, and the monarchs themselves, received by the hands of a
messenger sent by the explorer from Palos, letters giving full details
of the voyage.[67] No doubt as to the importance of the discovery was
any longer entertained, and when the Admiral of the Indies himself
entered Barcelona in the middle of April, after a triumphal progress
across Spain, honours almost royal were paid to him. He was received at
the city gates by the nobles of the court and city, and led through the
crowded streets to the palace to confront the sovereigns, at whose feet
he was, though he and they knew it not, laying a new world. With him he
brought mild bronze-skinned natives decked with barbaric gold ornaments,
birds of rare plumage, and many strange beasts; gold in dust and nuggets
had he also, to show that the land he had found was worth the claiming.

Ferdinand and Isabel, with their son, received him in state in the great
hall of the bishop’s palace; and, rising as he approached them, bade him
to be seated, an unprecedented honour, due to the fact that they
recognised his high rank as Admiral of the Indies. With fervid eloquence
he told his tale. How rich and beautiful was the land he had found; how
mild and submissive the new subjects of the Queen, and how ready to
receive the faith of their mistress. Isabel was deeply moved at the
recital, and when the Admiral ceased speaking the whole assembly knelt
and gave thanks to God for so signal a favour to the crown of Castile.
Thenceforward during his stay in Barcelona, Colon was treated like a
prince; and when he left in May to prepare his second expedition to the
new found land, he took with him powers almost sovereign to turn to
account and bring to Christianity the new vassals of Queen Isabel.

It is time to say something of Isabel’s family and her domestic life. As
we have seen, she had been during the nineteen years since her accession
constantly absorbed in state and warlike affairs; and the effects of her
efforts to reform her country had already been prodigious, but her
public duties did not blind her to the interests of her own household
and kindred; and no personage of her time did more to bring the new-born
culture into her home than she. She had given birth during the strenuous
years we have reviewed to five children. Isabel, born in October 1470;
John, the only son, in 1478; Joan in 1479, Maria in 1482, and Katharine
at the end of 1485: and these young princesses and prince had enjoyed
the constant supervision of their mother. Her own education had been
narrow under her Dominican tutors, and that of Ferdinand was notoriously
defective. But Isabel was determined that her children should not suffer
in a similar respect, and the most learned tutors that Italy and Spain
could provide were enlisted to teach, not the royal children alone, but
the coming generation of nobles, their companions, the wider culture of
the classics and the world that churchmen had so much neglected. And not
book learning alone was instilled into these young people by the Queen.
She made her younger ladies join her in the work of the needle and the
distaff, and set the fashion for great dames to devote their leisure, as
she did, to the embroidering of gorgeous altar cloths and church
vestments, whilst the noble youths, no longer allowed, as their
ancestors had been, to become politically dangerous, were encouraged to
make themselves accomplished in the arts of disciplined warfare and
literary culture.

Isabel, like all her descendants upon the throne, set a high standard of
regal dignity, and in all her public appearances assumed a demeanour of
impassive serenity and gorgeousness which became traditional at a later
period; but she could be playful and jocose in her family circle, as her
nicknames for her children prove. Her eldest girl, Isabel, who married
the King of Portugal, bore a great resemblance to the Portuguese mother
of Isabel herself, and the latter always called her child ‘mother,’
whilst her son Juan to her was always the ‘angel,’ from his beautiful
fair face. She could joke, too, on occasion, though the specimens of her
wit cited by Father Florez are a little outspoken for the present day;
and her contemporary chroniclers tell many instances of her keen caustic
wit. Her tireless and often indiscreet zeal for the spread of the faith
has been mentioned several times in these pages; but submissive as she
was to the clergy, she was keenly alive even to their defects, and the
laxity of the regular orders, which had grown to be a scandal, was
reformed by her with ruthless severity. Her principal instrument,
perhaps the initiator, of this work was the most remarkable
ecclesiastical statesman of his time, and one of the greatest Spaniards
who ever lived, Alfonso Jimenez de Cisneros.

A humble Franciscan friar of over fifty, living as an anchorite in a
grot belonging to the monastery of Castañar, near Toledo, after a
laborious life as a secular priest and vicar-general of a diocese, would
seem the last man in the world to become the arbiter of a nation’s
destinies; and yet this was the strange fate of Jimenez. When Talavera
was created Bishop of Granada, Isabel needed a new principal confessor;
and, as usual in such matters, consulted the Cardinal Primate of Spain,
Mendoza, who years before had been Bishop of Sigüenza, and had made
Father Jimenez his chaplain and vicar-general, because his rival
archbishop, that stout old rebel Carrillo, had persecuted the lowly
priest. Mendoza knew that his former vicar-general had retired from the
world, and was living in self-inflicted suffering and mortification; and
he was wont to say that such a man was born to rule, and not to hide
himself as an anchorite in a cloister. When, after the surrender of
Granada, a new royal confessor was required, Jimenez, greatly to his
dismay, real or assumed, was at the instance of the Cardinal summoned to
see the Queen. Austere and poorly clad, he stood before the sovereign
whom he was afterwards to rule, and fervently begged her to save him
from the threatened honour. In vain he urged his unfitness for the life
of a court, his want of cultivation and the arts of the world; his
humility was to Isabel a further recommendation, and she would take no

Thenceforward the pale emaciated figure, in a frayed and soiled
Franciscan frock, stalked like a spectre amidst the splendours that
surrounded the Queen; feared for his stern rectitude and his iron
strength of will. His mind was full, even then, of great plans to reform
the order of Saint Francis, corrupted as he had seen it was in the
cloisters; and when the office of Provincial of the Order became vacant
soon afterwards the new Confessor accepted it eagerly. Through all
Castile, to every monastery of the Order, Jimenez rode on a poor mule
with one attendant and no luggage; living mostly upon herbs and roots by
the way. When, at last, Isabel recalled him peremptorily to her side, he
painted to her so black a picture of the shameful licence and luxury of
the friars, that the Queen, horrified at such impiety, vowed to sustain
her Confessor in the work of reform. It was a hard fought battle; for
the Priors were rich and powerful, and in many cases were strongly
supported from Rome. All sorts of influences were brought to bear.
Ferdinand was besought to mitigate the reforming zeal of Isabel and
Jimenez, and did his best to do so. The Prior of the Holy Ghost in
Segovia boldly took Isabel to task personally, and told her that her
Confessor was unfit for his post. When Isabel asked the insolent friar
whether he knew what he was talking about he replied, ‘Yes, and I know
that I am speaking to Queen Isabel, who is dust and ashes as I am.’ But
all was unavailing, the broom wielded by Jimenez and the Queen swept
through every monastery and convent in the land; the Queen herself
taking the nunneries in hand, and with gentle firmness examining for
herself the circumstances in every case before compelling a rigid
adherence to the conventual vows. When Mendoza died in January 1495, the
greatest ecclesiastical benefice in the world after the papacy, the
Archbishopric of Toledo, became vacant. Ferdinand wanted it for his
illegitimate son, Alfonso of Aragon, aged twenty-four, who had been
Archbishop of Saragossa since he was six. But Toledo was in the Queen’s
gift, and to her husband’s indignation she insisted upon appointing
Jimenez. The Pope, Alexander VI., who had just conferred the title of
‘Catholic’ upon the Spanish sovereigns, was by birth a Valencian subject
of Ferdinand; and there was a race of the rival Spanish claimants to win
the support of Rome. But Castile had right as well as might on his side
this time, and, again to his expressed displeasure, Jimenez became
primate of Spain, and the greatest man in the land after the King who
distrusted him.[68]

From their births Ferdinand had destined his children to be instruments
in his great scheme for humbling France for the benefit of Aragon; and
Isabel, in this respect, appears usually to have let him have his way.
It was a complicated and tortuous way, which, in a history of the Queen,
cannot be fully described. Suffice it to say that when Ferdinand found
himself by the fall of Granada free to take his own affairs seriously in
hand, he had for years been intriguing for political marriage for his
children. First he had endeavoured to capture the young King of France,
Charles VIII., on his accession in 1483, by a marriage with Isabel, the
eldest daughter of Spain. Charles VIII. was already betrothed to
Margaret of Burgundy, but Anne of Brittany, with her French dominion,
was preferred to either, and then (1488) Ferdinand, finding himself
forestalled, betrothed his youngest daughter, Katharine, to Arthur,
Prince of Wales, to win the support of Henry Tudor in a war against
France,[69] to prevent the absorption of Brittany. All parties were
dishonest; but Ferdinand outwitted allies and rivals alike. Henry VII.
of England was cajoled into invading France; whilst Ferdinand, instead
of making war on his side as arranged, quietly extorted from the fears
of Charles VIII. an offensive and defensive alliance against the world,
with the retrocession to Aragon of the counties of Roussillon and
Cerdagne; and England was left in the lurch.

There is no doubt that the object of the King of France in signing such
a treaty was to buy the implied acquiescence of Ferdinand in making good
his shadowy claims to the kingdom of Naples, then ruled by the unpopular
kinsman of Ferdinand himself. As was proved soon afterwards, nothing was
further from Ferdinand’s thoughts than thus to aid the ambition of the
shallow, vain King of France in the precise direction where he wished to
check it. But in appearance the great festivities held in Barcelona on
the signature of the treaty in January 1493, heralded a cordial
settlement of the long-standing enmity between the two rivals. Isabel
took her share in the rejoicings; and rigid bigots appear to have
written to her late Confessor, Archbishop Talavera, an exaggerated
account of her participation in the gaiety. Isabel, in answer to the
letter of reprimand he sent her, defended herself with spirit and
dignity, after a preface expressing humble submission. ‘You say that
some danced who ought not to have danced; but if that is intended to
convey that I danced, I can only say that it is not true; I have little
custom of dancing, and I had no thought of such a thing.... The new
masks you complain of were worn neither by me nor by my ladies; and not
one dress was put on that had not been worn ever since we came to
Aragon. The only dress I wore had, indeed, been seen by the Frenchmen
before, and was my silk one with three bands of gold, made as plainly as
possible. This was all my part of the festivity. Of the grand array and
showy garments you speak of, I saw nothing and knew nothing until I read
your letter. The visitors who came may have worn such fine things when
they appeared; but I know of no others. As for the French people supping
with the ladies at table, that is a thing they are accustomed to do.
They do not get the custom from us; but when their great guests dine
with sovereigns, the others in their train dine at tables in the hall
with the ladies and gentlemen; and there are no separate tables for
ladies. The Burgundians, the English and the Portuguese, also follow
this custom; and we on similar occasions to this. So there is no more
evil in it, nor bad repute, than in asking guests to your own table. I
say this, that you may see that there was no innovation in what we did;
nor did we think we were doing anything wrong in it.... But if it be
found wrong after the inquiry I will make, it will be better to
discontinue it in future. The dresses of the gentlemen were truly very
costly, and I did not commend them, and, indeed, moderated them as much
as I could, and advised them not to have such garments made. As for the
Bull feasts, I feel, with you, though perhaps not quite so strongly. But
after I had consented to them, I had the fullest determination never to
attend them again in my life, nor to be where they were held. I do not
say that I can of myself abolish them; for that does not appertain to me
alone, nor do I defend them, for I have never found pleasure in
them.[70] When you know the truth of what really took place, you may
determine whether it be evil, in which case it had better be
discontinued. For my part all excess is distasteful to me, and I am
wearied with all festivity, as I have written you in a long letter,
which I have not sent, nor will I do so, until I know whether, by God’s
grace, you are coming to meet us in Castile.’[71]

This letter gives a good idea of Isabel’s submission to her spiritual
advisers, as well as of her own good sense and moderation, which
prevented her from giving blind obedience to them. Another instance of
this is seen by Isabel’s attitude towards the chapter of Toledo
Cathedral after the death of her friend Cardinal Mendoza (January 1495),
the third King of Spain, as he had been called. The Queen travelled from
Madrid to Guadalajara to be with him at his death, and tended him to the
last, promising, personally, to act as his executor, and to see that all
his testamentary wishes were fulfilled. Amongst these was the desire of
the prelate to be buried in a certain spot in the chancel of the
cathedral. To this the chapter had readily assented in the life of the
archbishop, but when he had died they refused to allow the structural
alterations necessary, and the matter was carried to the tribunals,
which decided in favour of the executors. The chapter still stood firm
in their refusal, and then the Queen, as chief executrix, took the
matter in her own hands, and herself superintended the necessary
demolition of the wall of the chapel at night, to the surprise and
dismay of the chapter, who no longer dared to interfere.[72]

On leaving Aragon after the signature of the hollow Treaty of Barcelona
(1493), Isabel and her husband took up their residence in the Alcazar of
Madrid, where, with short intervals, they remained in residence for the
next six years. During this period, spent, as will be told by Ferdinand,
in almost constant struggle for his own objects in Italy and elsewhere,
Isabel was tireless in her efforts for domestic reform. The purification
of the monasteries and convents went on continually under the zealous
incentive of the new Archbishop of Toledo, Jimenez: the roads and
water-sources throughout Castile were improved; the municipal
authorities, corrupt as they had become by the introduction of the
purchase of offices, and the effects of noble intrigue, were brought
under royal inspection and control; and this, though it improved the
government of the towns, further sapped their independence and
legislative power. The Universities and high schools, which had shared
in the universal decadence, were overhauled, and a higher standard of
graduation enforced: the coinage, which had become hopelessly debased,
in consequence of the vast number of noble and municipal mints in
existence, was unified and rehabilitated: sumptuary pragmatics, mistaken
as they appear to us now, but well-intentioned at the time, endeavoured
to restrain extravagance and idle vanity: measures for promoting
agriculture, the great cloth industry of Segovia and oversea commerce,
and a score of other similar enactments during these years, from 1494 to
the end of the century, show how catholic and patriotic was Isabel’s
activity at the time that Ferdinand was busy with his own Aragonese
plans. The annals of Madrid at this period give a curious account of
Isabel’s prowess in another direction. The neighbourhood of the capital
was infested with bears, and one particular animal, of special size and
ferocity, had committed much damage. By order of the Queen a special
battue was organised, and the bear was killed by a javelin in the hands
of Isabel herself, upon the spot where now stands the hermitage of St.
Isidore, the patron of Madrid.[73]

Ferdinand’s marvellous political perspicacity, and the far-reaching
combinations he had formed, now began to produce some of the
international results for which he had worked. The Treaty of Barcelona
had bound Ferdinand to friendship with France, and abstention from
marrying his children in England, Germany or Naples, and implied the
leaving to Charles VIII. of a free hand in Italy: but no sooner had
Ferdinand received his reward by the retrocession of Roussillon and
Cerdagne to him, than he broke all his obligations under the treaty.
Charles VIII. had marched through Italy, to the intense anger of the
native princes, and took possession of Naples, and then Ferdinand, in
coalition with the Valencian Pope, Alexander VI., formed the combination
of Venice, and Spanish troops under the great Castilian, Gonzalo de
Cordova, expelled the French from Naples, and set up the deposed
Aragonese-Neapolitan king, until it should please, as it soon did,
Ferdinand to seize the realm for himself.

This war was an awakening to all Europe that a new fighting nation had
entered into the arena. Already the proud spirit of superiority by
divine selection was being felt by Spaniards as a result of the
religious persecution of the minority, and the devotional exaltation
inspired by the example of the Queen: and under so great a commander as
Gonzalo de Cordova Spanish troops for the first time now showed the
qualities which, for a century at least, made them invincible.[74]
Whilst this result attended the policy of Isabel and her husband in
religious affairs, their action in another direction simultaneously,
whilst for the moment seeming to give to Ferdinand the hegemony of
Europe, really wrought the ruin of Spain by bringing her into the vortex
of central European politics, and burdening her with the championship of
an impossible cause under impossible conditions.

                              CHAPTER III

Amidst infinite chicanery and baseness on both sides the marriage treaty
of Isabel’s youngest daughter, Katharine, with Arthur, Prince of Wales,
had been alternately confirmed and relaxed, as suited Ferdinand’s
interests. But he took care that it could be at any time revived when
need should demand it. This made Ferdinand always able to deal a
diverting blow upon France in the Channel. But Ferdinand’s main stroke
of policy was the double marriage of his children, Juan, Prince of
Asturias, with the Archduchess Margaret, daughter of Maximilian,
sovereign of the Holy Roman Empire; and of Joan, Isabel’s second
daughter, with Philip, Maximilian’s son, and, by right of his mother,
sovereign of the dominions of the Dukes of Burgundy with Holland and
Flanders; whilst Isabel’s eldest daughter, already the widow of the
Portuguese prince, Alfonso, was betrothed to his cousin, King Emmanuel.
Imagination is dazzled at the prospect opened out by these marriages.
The children of Philip and Joan would hold the fine harbours of
Flanders, and would hem in France by the possession of Artois, Burgundy,
Luxembourg, and the Franche Comté; whilst their possession of the
imperial crown and the German dominions of the house of Habsburg would
identify their interests with those of Ferdinand in checking the French
advance towards Italy. On the other side of the Channel the
grandchildren of Ferdinand and Isabel would rule England, and hold the
narrow sea; whilst the friendship between England and Scotland, prompted
by Ferdinand, and the marriage of Margaret Tudor with James IV.,
deprived France of her ancient northern ally. The King of Aragon might
then, with the assurance of success, extend his grasp from Sicily to the
East, and become the master of the world. The plan was a splendid one;
and for a time it went merry as the marriage bells that heralded it.
With his family seated on the Portuguese throne, Ferdinand had,
moreover, no attack to fear on that side from French intrigue, such as
had often been attempted; and for a brief period it seemed as if all
heaven had smiled upon the astute King of Aragon.

Isabel had always been an exemplary mother to her children, who, on
their side, were deeply devoted to her. She had rarely allowed them to
be separated from her, even during her campaigns; and had herself cared
for their education in letters, music, and the arts under the most
accomplished masters in Europe.[75] When they had to be sacrificed one
by one for the political ends of their father, Isabel’s love as a mother
almost overcame her sense of duty as a queen, and in the autumn of 1496
she travelled through Spain with a heavy heart to take leave of her
seventeen-year old daughter, Joan, for whom a great fleet of 120 sail
was waiting in the port of Laredo, near Santander. The King was away in
Catalonia preparing his war with France; the times were disturbed, and a
strong navy with 15,000 armed men were needed to escort the young bride
to Flanders, the home of her husband, Philip of Burgundy, heir of the
empire, and to bring back to Spain the betrothed of Prince Juan,
Philip’s sister, Margaret, who, in her infancy, had been allied to the
faithless Charles VIII. of France. For two nights after the embarkation
Isabel slept on the ship with her daughter, loath to part with her, as
it seemed, for ever; and when, at last, the fleet sailed, on the 22nd
August 1496, the mother, in the deepest grief, turned her back upon the
sea, and rode sadly to Burgos to await tidings of her daughter.

Storms and disasters innumerable assailed the fleet. Driven by tempest
into Portland, one of the largest of the ships came into collision and
foundered; and though the young Archduchess received every courtesy and
attention from the English gentry, she was not even yet at the end of
her troubles; for on the Flemish coast another great ship was wrecked,
with most of her household, trousseau, and jewels. Eventually the whole
fleet arrived at Ramua, sorely disabled, and needing a long delay for
refitting before it could return to Spain with the bride of Isabel’s
heir.[76] Whilst Joan was being married, with all the pomp traditional
in the house of Burgundy, to her handsome, good-for-nothing husband,
Philip, at Lille, Queen Isabel, at Burgos, in the deepest distress, was
mourning for the loss of her own distraught mother, as well as for her
daughter.[77] Every post from Flanders brought the Queen evil news. The
fleet that had carried Joan over, and was refitting to bring Margaret to
Spain, was mostly unseaworthy: Philip neglected and ill-treated his
wife’s countrymen to the extent of allowing 9000 of the men on the fleet
at Antwerp to die from cold and privation, without trying to help them;
already his young wife was complaining of his conduct. Her Spanish
household were unpaid; and even the income settled upon her by Philip
was withheld, on the pretext that Ferdinand had not fulfilled his part
of the bargain, which was, of course, true.

At length, after what seemed interminable delay, the Archduchess
Margaret arrived at Santander early in March 1497. Ferdinand, with a
great train of nobles, received his future daughter-in-law as she
stepped upon Spanish soil, and a few days later Queen Isabel welcomed
her in the palace of Burgos, where, with greater rejoicing than had ever
been seen in Castile, the heir of Ferdinand and Isabel was married to
gentle Margaret, one of the finest characters of her time. Seven months
afterwards the Prince of Asturias, at the age of twenty-one, was borne
to his grave, and his wife gave birth to a dead child.[78] The blow was
one from which Isabel never recovered. Juan was her only son, her
‘angel,’ from the time of his birth; and the dearest wish of her heart
had been the unification of Spain under him and his descendants. The
next heiress was Isabel, her eldest daughter, just (August 1497) married
to King Emmanuel of Portugal, and the jealous Aragonese and Catalans
would hardly brook a woman sovereign; and, above all, one ruling from
Portugal, when Ferdinand should die.[79] Hastily Cortes of Castile was
summoned at Toledo, and swore allegiance to the new heiress and her
Portuguese husband as princes of Asturias in April 1498, but she, too,
died in childbed in August, when the heirship devolved upon her infant
son, Miguel, who, if he had lived, would have united not only Spain, but
all the Iberian Peninsula under one rule. But it was not to be, and the
babe followed his mother to the grave in a few months.

Troubles fell thick and fast upon Isabel and her husband. Death within
three years had made cruel sport of all their plans; and the support of
England, long held in the balance by Ferdinand, to be bought when it was
worth the price demanded, had now to be obtained almost at any cost. The
price had increased considerably; for Henry Tudor was as keen a hand at
a bargain as Ferdinand of Aragon, and closely watched events. With the
usual grasping dishonesty on both sides, the treaty for the marriage of
Isabel’s youngest daughter, Katharine, to the heir of England was again
signed and sealed, and the young couple were married by proxy in May
1499. But Katharine was young. Her mother could hardly bring herself to
part with her last-born, and send her for ever to a far country amongst
strangers; and she fought hard for two years longer to delay her
daughter’s going, with all manner of conditions and claims as to her
future life. At length Henry of England put his foot down, and said he
would wait no longer; and, worse still, he hinted that he would marry
Arthur elsewhere, and throw his influence on the side of Philip of
Burgundy, Ferdinand’s son-in-law, in the struggle that was already
looming on the horizon. Isabel and her daughter both knew that the
latter was being sent to serve her father’s political interests against
her own sister and brother-in-law; but, from her birth, Katharine had
been brought up in her mother’s atmosphere of uncompromising duty,
surrounded by the ecstatic devotion which demanded serene personal
sacrifice for higher ends; and, on the 21st May 1501, the Princess of
Aragon bade a last farewell to her mother in the elfin palace of the
Alhambra, to see her no more in her life of martyrdom.[80]

Isabel’s health was already breaking down with labour and trouble.
Disappointment faced her from every side, and as tribulations fell,
bringing her end nearer, and ever nearer, the stern religious zeal that
inflamed her grew more eager to do its work in her day. She had never
been a weakling, as we have seen. From her youth the persecution of
infidels had been as grateful to her sense of duty, as the crushing of
her worldly opponents had been satisfying to her love of undisputed
dominion. In all Castile, no man but her confessor, and he at his peril,
had dared to say her nay; but at this juncture, when health was failing
and her strength on the wane, there came to her tidings from across the
sea that turned her heart to stone. Joan, her daughter, had always been
somewhat wayward and rebellious at the gloomy, devout tone that pervaded
her mother’s life, and Isabel had coerced her, on some occasions by
forcible means, to take her part in the religious observances that
occupied so large a share of attention at the Spanish court.[81]

Joan was young and bright: the life in her palace at Brussels was free
from the gloom that hung over crusading Castile. Philip, her husband,
cared for little but pleasure, and, though he was but a faithless
husband, she was desperately in love with him. The new culture,
moreover, which had even found its way, with Peter Martyr, into Isabel’s
court, had, in rich, prosperous Flanders, brought with it the freedom of
thought and judgment that naturally came from the wider horizon of
knowledge that men gained by it, and doubtless the change from the rigid
and uncomfortable sanctimony of her native land to the gay and debonair
society of Flanders had seemed to Joan like coming out of the darkness
into the daylight. The Spanish priests who surrounded her sounded a note
of warning to Isabel only a few months after Joan had arrived in
Flanders. She was said to be lax in her religious duties: her old
confessor, who continued to write to her fervent exhortations to
preserve the faith as it was held in Spain, could get no reply to any of
his letters, and he learnt that the gay Parisian priests, who flocked in
the festive court, were leading Joan astray.

Isabel sent a confidential priest, Friar Matienzo, to Flanders to
examine and report on all these, and the like accusations. He saw Joan
in August 1498, and found her, as he says, more handsome and buxom than
ever, though far advanced in pregnancy; but when he began to press her
about religion, though she had plenty of reasons ready for what she did,
she was as obstinate as her mother could be in holding her own way. She
refused to confess at the bidding of the friar, to accept any confessor
appointed by her mother, or to dismiss the French priests who were with
her, and the friar sent the dire news to Isabel that her daughter had a
hard heart and no true piety.[82]

This was bad enough, but on the death of the Queen of Portugal, Isabel’s
eldest daughter and heiress, leaving her infant son as heir to the
united crowns, Philip assumed for himself and his wife, Joan, the title
of Prince and Princess of Castile. This was a warning for Ferdinand.[83]
Already Philip and his father, the Emperor Maximilian, had shown that
they had no idea of being the tools of Ferdinand’s foreign policy, but
if Philip of Burgundy successfully asserted Joan’s right to succeed her
mother as Queen of Castile, then all Ferdinand’s edifice of hope fell
like a house of cards, for most of Spain would be governed by a
foreigner, with other ends and methods, and poor, isolated Aragon, by
itself, must sink into insignificance.

When the infant Portuguese heir, Miguel, died, early in 1499, the issue
between Ferdinand and his son-in-law was joined. Isabel was visibly
failing, and it was seen would die before her husband, in which case
Joan would be Queen of Castile, in right of her mother. Philip, her
husband, with the riches of Flanders and Burgundy, and the prestige of
the empire behind him, would come, perhaps in alliance with the French,
and reduce greedy, ambitious Ferdinand to the petty crown of Aragon.
Thenceforward it was war to the knife between father and son-in-law, who
hated each other bitterly; and Isabel’s distrust of her daughter Joan
grew deeper as religious zeal and ambition for a united Spain joined in
adding fuel to the fire. With true statesmanship Isabel, under the great
influence of Jimenez, clung more desperately than ever to the idea of a
Spain absolutely united. Ferdinand’s object in working for the
consolidation of the realms had always been to forward the traditional
objects of Aragon in humbling France, but those of Isabel and Jimenez
were different. To them the spread of Christianity in the dark places of
the earth, for the greater glory of Castile, was the end to be gained by
a united Spain, and for that end it was necessary that the people should
be unified in orthodoxy as well as in sovereignty. The cruel and
disastrous expulsion of the Jews[84] served this object in Isabel’s
mind, though to Ferdinand its principal advantage was the filling of his
war chest. The squandering of Castilian blood and treasure in Naples and
Sicily was to Isabel and Jimenez a means of strengthening the Spaniards
in their future Christianisation of north Africa, whilst to Ferdinand it
meant the future domination of Italy, the Adriatic, and gaining the
trade of the Levant for Barcelona.

When Isabel and her husband went to Granada, after a long absence, in
1499, with the all-powerful Jimenez in his dirty, coarse, Franciscan
gown, the difference of view of the husband and wife was again seen. The
Moors of Granada had lived, since their capitulation, contented and
prosperous in the enjoyment of toleration for their customs and faith
under the sympathetic rule of the Christian governor, the Count of
Tendilla, and the ardent, but always diplomatic, religious propaganda of
Archbishop Talavera. If these two men had been allowed to continue their
gentle system for a generation, there is no doubt that in time Granada
would have become Christian without bloodshed, even if it had retained
its Arabic speech. But Jimenez and the Queen could not wait, and
determined upon methods more rapid than those of Talavera. In the seven
years that had passed since Granada surrendered to Isabel, the crown of
Spain had become much more powerful. The prestige and wealth of the
sovereigns had been increased; the discovery of America had considerably
added to the importance of Castile, whilst the expulsion of the French
from Naples had magnified Aragon. The Jews had been expelled from Spain,
and, above all, the Inquisition, under the ruthless Torquemada, had
raised the arrogance both of people and priests on the strength of the
stainless orthodoxy of Spain.

Jimenez doubtless felt that the circumstances demanded, or at least
excused, stronger measures towards the Moslems in Granada. He soon
persuaded or stultified Talavera, and set about converting the Moors
wholesale. Bribery, persuasion, flattery, were the first instruments
employed, then threats and severity. Thousands of Moors were thus
brought to baptism, with what sincerity may be supposed. Jimenez, a book
lover himself, and afterwards the munificent inspirer of the polyglot
Bible in his splendid new University of Alcalá, committed the vandalism
of burning the priceless Arabic manuscripts that had been collected by
generations of scholars in Granada. Five thousand magnificently
illuminated copies of the Koran were cast into the flames, whilst many
thousands of ancient Greek, Hebrew, and Arabic texts were sacrificed to
the blind bigotry and haste of Jimenez and Isabel, who, even in
learning, drew the line at Christian writings. From sacrificing books to
sacrificing men was but a step for Jimenez. Isabel and her husband had
sworn to allow full toleration to the Moors, but what were oaths of
monarchs as against the presumed interests of the faith? Soon the
dungeon, the rack, and the thumbscrew came to fortify Jimenez’s
propaganda, and, though the Moslems bowed their heads before
irresistible force, they cursed beneath their breath the day they had
trusted to the oath of Christian sovereigns.

The absence of Ferdinand and Isabel in Seville early in 1500, gave to
Jimenez full freedom; and soon the strained cord snapped, and the
outraged Moors rebelled. Like a spark upon tinder an excess of insolence
on the part of one of Jimenez’s myrmidons set all Granada in a blaze;
and the Primate was besieged in his palace, in imminent danger of death.
He acted with stern courage even then, and refused to escape until Count
de Tendilla with the soldiery dispersed the populace, and drove them
into their own quarter, the Albaicin. There they were impregnable, and
Tendilla, who was popular, with Talavera, even more beloved, took their
lives in their hands, and unarmed and bareheaded entered the Albaicin to
reassure the Moors. ‘We do not rise,’ cried the latter, ‘against their
highnesses, but only to defend their own signatures,’[85] and the
beloved Archbishop and Governor, who left his own wife and children in
the Albaicin as hostages of peace, soothed the Moors into quietude
almost as soon as the storm had burst.

The news flew rapidly to Seville, though Jimenez’s version was not the
first to arrive, and when he heard it, Ferdinand turned in anger to
Isabel. ‘See here, madam,’ he said, handing her the paper, ‘our
victories, earned with so much Spanish blood, are thus ruined in a
moment by the rashness and obstinacy of your Archbishop.’[86] Isabel
herself wrote in grave sorrow to Jimenez, deploring that he had given
her no proper explanation of what had happened; and after sending his
faithful vicar, Ruiz, to placate the monarchs somewhat, the Archbishop
himself appeared before the Queen and her husband. He was a man of
tremendous power. Over Isabel his religious influence was great, and he
proved now that he knew how to get at the weak side of Ferdinand. The
Moors, he urged, had been converted by thousands; and so far, his work
had been successful. But rebellion on the part of subjects could never
be condoned, no matter what the cause, and he appealed to both
sovereigns only to pardon Granada for its revolt on condition that every
Moor should become a Christian or leave Spain. It was a shameful
violation of a sacred pledge given only seven years before, but the
rising of the Albaicin was the salve which Jimenez applied to the
wounded honour of his Queen and King.

To Granada he returned triumphant, with the fell decree in the pocket of
his shabby grey gown. More converts flocked in than ever when the
alternative was presented to them. But up in the wild Alpujarras, the
Moslem villagers and farmers looked with hatred and dismay at the lax
townsmen abandoning Allah and his only prophet at the bidding of a
ragged, sour-faced priest who broke his monarch’s word. Like an
avalanche the mountaineers swept down from their fastnesses upon Malaga,
beating back the Christian force from Granada which came to rescue the
city. But Ferdinand from Seville and the greatest soldier in Europe,
Gonzalo de Cordova, hastened with an army to crush the desperate handful
who had defied an empire; and every Moor in arms, with many women and
children, were pitilessly massacred. The repression was carried out with
a savage ferocity and heartlessness only equalled by the despairing
bravery of the insurgents; but at last, by the end of 1500, the few who
were still left unconverted were brought to their knees: all except the
fierce mountaineers of Ronda, a separate African tribe, notable even
to-day for their lawlessness and indomitable independence. From their
savage fortress over the gorge they repelled one Christian force after
another, until Ferdinand himself, with vengeance in his heart against
all rebels, came with an army strong enough to crush them. A ruinous
ransom and instant conversion were dictated to them, and confiscation
and death, or deportation to Africa, for those who hesitated.

Then came the turn of Granada itself. Jimenez and the new
Inquisitor-General, Deza, the friend of Colon, demanded of Isabel and
Ferdinand the establishment of the Inquisition in the city. This was
considered too flagrant a violation of all promises; but what was
refused in the letter was granted in the spirit; and the Inquisition of
Cordova was given power to extend its operations over Granada. What
followed will always remain a blot upon the name of Isabel, who with
Jimenez was principally responsible. In July 1501, she with her husband
issued a decree forbidding the Moslem faith throughout the kingdom of
Granada, on pain of death and confiscation; and in February 1502, the
wicked edict went forth, that the entire Moslem population, men, women,
and all children of over twelve years, should quit the realm within two
months, whilst they were forbidden to go to a Mahommedan country.
Whither were the poor wretches to go but to Africa, opposite their own
shores? and some found their way there. This was a pretext a few months
afterwards for prohibiting any one to emigrate from Spain at all; and
such Moors as still remained in Spain had only the alternatives of
compulsory conversion or death.[87] By the end of 1502 not a single
professed Moslem was left in Spain; and Isabel, with saintly joy in her
heart, could thank God that she had done her duty, and that in her own
day the miracle had come to pass: the Jews expelled, the Moors
‘converted,’ the Inquisition scourging religious doubt with thongs of
flame; all men in very fear bowing their heads to one symbol and
muttering one creed. This was indeed a victory to be proud of, and it
made Spain what it was and what it is.

To Isabel, in broken health and sad bereavement, it was the one ray of
glory that gilded all her sorrow. Not the least of her troubles were
those arising from her new domain across the sea. The impossible terms
insisted upon by the discoverer had, as we have seen, been accepted with
the greatest unwillingness by Ferdinand, and probably with no intention
of fulfilling them; and when Colon began to prepare his second
expedition on a great scale, and thousands of adventurers craved to
accompany him, the King realised the danger that threatened his own
plans in Europe if such an exodus continued; and, at the same time, the
tremendous power that this foreign sailor, now Admiral of the Indies and
perpetual Spanish Viceroy, with riches untold, would hold in his hands.
So the process of undermining him began. The Council of the Indies was
formed to control all matters connected with the new domain, and the
priests that ruled it obstructed and thwarted the Admiral at every turn.
Isabel was mainly concerned in winning her new subjects to Christianity;
and four friars went this time in the fleet to baptise. All of them but
his friend Marchena were disloyal to the chief, and so were the crowd of
Aragonese who accompanied the expedition. Of the fifteen hundred
adventurers who at last were selected, the great majority were greedy,
reckless men whom the end of the Moorish war had left idle.

At first the news from Colon on his second voyage were bright and
hopeful. New lands, richer than ever, were discovered, and the prospects
of coming wealth from this source, whilst delighting the King, only made
the downfall of the Admiral more inevitable. But soon the merciless
violence of the colonists provoked reprisals, and every ship that
returned to Spain brought to Isabel bitter complaints of Colon’s
rapacity and tyranny; whilst he, on his side, denounced the want of
discipline, of industry, and of justice, on the part of those who were
rapidly turning a heaven into a hell. At length the complaints, both of
friars and laymen, against the high-handed Admiral of the Indies, became
so violent that the sovereigns summoned him to Spain to give some
explanation of the position. Colon saw the Queen at Burgos in 1496, and
found her, at least, full of sympathy for him in his difficulties, and
still firmly convinced that his golden hopes would be fulfilled. But the
reaction had set in against the extravagant expectations aroused by his
second expedition. The idlers, many of them, had come back disappointed,
fever-stricken and empty-handed, and had much evil to say of the
despotic Italian who had lorded over land granted by the Viceregent of
Christ at Rome to the Spanish sovereigns; and though Isabel herself,
full of zeal for winning all Asia, as she thought, for the faith, did
her best, the treasury was empty after the wars of Granada and Italy,
and the heavy expense of the royal marriages then in progress.

Amidst infinite obstruction from the Council of the Indies, and with
little but frowning looks from Ferdinand, Colon’s third expedition was
painfully and slowly fitted out. Few adventurers were anxious to go now;
and condemned criminals had to be enlisted for the service; but, withal,
at length in May 1498, the Admiral sailed on his third voyage to his new
land. When he arrived at his centre, the isle of Hispanola (Haiti), he
found that a successful revolt of the lawless ruffians he had left
behind had overturned all semblance of order and discipline. The mines
were unworked, the fields untilled, the natives atrociously tortured,
and violence everywhere paramount. Isabel’s verbal instructions to the
Admiral when she took leave of him had been precise. Her first object,
she said, was to convert the Indians to Christianity, and to carry to
them from Spain, not slavery and oppression, but the gentle, Christian,
virtues. This doubtless to some extent was the desire of Colon himself,
with his mystic devotional soul, though wholesale slavery of natives was
part of his system, and he set about his work of the reconciliation of
the Indians, whose horrible sufferings had driven them to armed
opposition or flight. The undisciplined Spaniards had the whip hand, and
the Admiral could only with much diplomacy, and perhaps unwise
concessions to them, at length bring some semblance of peace and order
to the colony. But mild as his methods were on the occasion, they were
bitterly resented by arrogant Spaniards, indignant that a foreigner
should wield sovereign powers over them in their own Queen’s territory.

Complaints and accusations more bitter than ever came to the King and
Queen by every ship. The men who returned to Spain assured Ferdinand
that Colon was sacrificing every interest to his own insatiable greed;
and Isabel, favourably disposed as she was to the discoverer generally,
at length lost patience when she found that he was shipping cargoes of
Indians to Spain to be sold for slaves. To enslave infidels was not
usually held to be wrong, and Colon considered it a legitimate source of
profit: but Isabel’s new subjects, mild and gentle as they were, had
been looked upon by her as actual or potential Christians, and her
indignation was great when she saw that Colon was treating them
indifferently as chattels of his own.[88] At length it was decided to
send an envoy to Hispanola, with full powers to inquire into affairs and
to take possession of all property and dispose of all persons in the new
territories. The man chosen thus to exercise unrestrained power was
Francisco de Bobadilla, probably a relative of the Queen’s great friend,
Beatriz de Bobadilla, Marchioness of Moya; but in any case an intolerant
tyrant, who considered it his business, as, by Ferdinand, it was
probably intended to be, to degrade the Admiral in any case. With
unexampled insolence and harshness, he loaded the great explorer with
manacles almost as soon as he arrived in Hispanola; and then, whilst
Colon lay in prison, the whole of the charges against him were raked
together, and, without any attempt to sift them judicially, were
embodied in an act of accusation, and sent to Spain by the same caravel
as that which carried in chains the exalted visionary, whose dream had
enriched Castile with a new world.

The shameful home-coming of Colon in December 1500, struck the
imagination and shocked the conscience of the people; and Isabel herself
was one of the first to express her indignation. She and Ferdinand were
at Granada at the time, and sent to the illustrious prisoner a dignified
letter of regret, ordering him at once to be released, supplied with
funds, and to present himself before them. The Queen received him in her
palace of the Alhambra, and as he stood before his sovereign, with his
bared white head bowed in grief and shame for the insult that had eaten
into his very soul,[89] Isabel lost her usual calm serenity and wept,
whereupon the Admiral himself broke down, and he cast himself at the
foot of the throne that he had so nobly endowed. The title of Admiral
was restored to him: though in his stead as Viceroy was sent out Nicolas
de Ovando, with thirty-two vessels and a great company of gentlemen. But
disaster overtook the fleet; and, though Ovando arrived, most of the
ships and men were lost, and thenceforward Isabel’s zeal for maritime
adventure grew cooler.

The cost and drain of men for the enterprise had been very great. The
fame of the discovery had rung through the world, and had exalted Isabel
and Castile as they had never been exalted before, but up to this period
the returns in money had been insignificant, whilst the unsettling
influence of the adventure upon the nation at large had been very
injurious. Ferdinand, for reasons already explained, always regarded it
coldly; and the loss of Ovando’s fleet seemed to prove him right. When,
therefore, Colon begged for the Queen’s aid to sail with a fourth
expedition early in 1502, she was unwilling to help; though she was
sufficiently his friend still to prevent others from hindering him; and
he sailed for the last time in March 1502, to see his patroness no more;
for when he came back, two years and nine months later, broken with
injustice, and with death in his heart, Isabel the Catholic was dead.

Even greater sorrows than those of America came to Isabel in her last
years, troubles that stabbed her to the very heart, and from which one
of the great tragedies of history grew. From Flanders came tidings of
grave import for the future of the edifice so laboriously reared by
Ferdinand and Isabel. The heiress of Spain, the Archduchess Joan, with
her cynical, evil-minded husband, Philip the Handsome, were daily
drifting further away from the influence of Joan’s parents. Dark
whispers of religious backsliding on the part of the Court of Brussels
were rife in the grim circle of friars and devotees that accompanied
Isabel. It was said that Joan and her husband openly slighted the rigid
observance of religious form considered essential in Spain, and that the
freedom of thought and speech common in Flanders was more to the taste
of Joan than the terror-stricken devotion of her Inquisition-ridden
native land. Isabel had dedicated her strenuous life and vast ability to
the unification of the faith in Spain. She had connived at cruelty
unfathomable, and had exterminated whole races of her subjects with that
sole object. Throughout her realms and those of her husband no heresy
dared now raise its head, or even whisper doubt; and the thought that
free-thinking, mocking Burgundian Philip, with his submissive wife, so
alienated from her own people that she refused to send a message of
loving greeting to her mother, should come and work their will upon the
sacred soil of Castile, must have been torture to Isabel. To Ferdinand
it must have been as bad; for it touched him, too, in his tenderest
part. His life dream had been to realise the ambitions of Aragon. For
that he had plotted, lied, and cheated; for that he had plundered his
subjects, kept his realms at war, bartered his children and usurped his
cousin’s throne. But it would be all useless if Castile slipped through
his fingers when his wife died, and his deadly enemy, his son-in-law,
became king of Castile in right of his wife Joan.

The difficulty became more acute when Joan gave birth to her son at
Ghent in February 1500, because, according to the law of succession, the
child christened Charles, a name unheard of in Spain before, would
inherit, not Castile and Leon alone, but Aragon as well, with Flanders,
Burgundy, Artois, Luxembourg, the Aragonese kingdoms in Italy, and,
worst of all, Austria and the empire. Where would the interests of
Aragon, nay, even of Spain, be amongst such world-wide dominions; and
how could such a potentate devote himself either to aggrandising Aragon,
or to carrying the Cross into the dark places of Moorish Africa? What
added to the bitterness in Ferdinand’s case was, that Philip was even
now intriguing actively with the Kings of France, Portugal, and England
against Aragon; and was, with vain pretexts, evading the pressing
invitations of his wife’s parents to bring her to Spain, to receive with
him the oath of allegiance as heirs of the realms.

It was necessary somehow to conciliate Philip and Joan before they went
too far; for Philip’s plan, to marry the infant Prince Charles to a
French princess, struck at the very root of Ferdinand’s policy. Envoy
after envoy was sent to Flanders to expedite the coming of Philip and
Joan, if possible, with the infant Charles; but the Archduke had no
intention of becoming the tool of his astute father-in-law, and was
determined to be quite secure before he placed himself in his power. He
was anxious enough to obtain recognition as heir of Castile jointly with
his wife, but desired to leave Spain immediately afterwards, which did
not suit Ferdinand, who wished to have time to influence him towards his
policy, and alienate him from his Flemish and French favourites.[90]
Joan herself flatly refused to come without her husband; of whom, with
ample reason, she was violently jealous; and neither would allow the
infant Charles to come without them. At length, after Joan had been
delivered of her third child, a daughter named Isabel, the prayers and
promises of Queen Isabel and her husband prevailed, and the Archduke and
Archduchess consented to come to Spain. But it was under conditions that
turned the heart of Ferdinand more than ever against his son-in-law.
They would travel to Spain through France, and ratify in Paris the
betrothal of their one-year old son Charles, heir of Spain, Flanders,
and the empire, with Claude of France, child of Louis XII. Philip went
out of his way during the sumptuous reception in Paris to show his
submission to the King of France; and even did homage to him as Count of
Flanders; but Joan, mindful for once, at least, that she belonged to the
house of Aragon, and was heiress of Spain, refused all tokens implying
her subservience.

On the 7th May 1502, Joan and her husband entered the imperial city of
Toledo with all the ceremony that Castile could supply. At the door of
the great hall in the Alcazar, Isabel stood to receive her heirs. Both
knelt before her and tried to kiss her hand, but the Queen raised them,
and embracing her daughter, carried her off to her private chamber. Soon
afterwards the Archduchess and her husband took the oath as heirs of
Castile in the vast Gothic Cathedral; and the splendid festivities to
celebrate the event were hardly begun before another trouble came in the
announcement of the death of Arthur, Prince of Wales, husband of
Isabel’s youngest daughter, Katharine. The event immediately changed the
aspect of the game. The next heir of England was a boy of eleven, who
might be married to a French princess, and thus cause one other blow to
Ferdinand’s carefully arranged schemes. This made it more necessary than
ever that Joan and Philip should be brought into entire obedience to
Spanish views. War broke out between France and Spain at once, and
strenuous efforts were made by Ferdinand to expel from Spain the
councillors of Philip, who were known to be in the French interest.[91]
The Archduchess and her husband were then taken to Aragon, to receive
the homage of the Cortes there as heirs of Ferdinand, and then Philip,
in spite of all remonstrance, hurried back again to his own country.
Isabel gravely took her son-in-law to task when he announced his
intention to return to Flanders by land through France whilst Spain was
at war. It was, she said, his duty to recollect, moreover, that he was,
in right of his wife, heir to one of the greatest thrones in the world,
and should stay at least long enough in the country to know the people
and their language and customs. To her entreaties the Archduchess, now
far advanced in pregnancy, and unable to travel, added her prayers and
tears. But all in vain; Philip, against the respectful protest even of
the Cortes, would go, and insisted upon travelling through France, the
enemy of Spain.[92] So, almost in flight, Philip of Burgundy crossed the
frontiers of his father-in-law, leaving his wife Joan and their unborn
child in Castile, in December 1502.

Never in their lives had Ferdinand and Isabel suffered such a rebuff as
this. That the man, who on their death would succeed them, was a
free-living German Fleming, who cared nothing for Spain, to promote
whose glory they had lived and laboured so hard, was bitter enough for
them. But that he should be so lost to all duty and respect towards them
and to their country as to leave them thus, to rejoice with the enemy in
arms against them, convinced them that under him and his wife Spain and
the faith had nothing to expect but neglect and sacrifice for other
interests. Isabel’s frequent conversations with her daughter Joan,
during the months she had been in Spain, had more than confirmed the
worst fears she had formed from the reports sent to her from Flanders.
Joan, though of course a Catholic, obstinately refused to conform to the
rigid ritual of Castile; and, both in acts and words, showed a strange
disregard of, and, indeed, captious resistance to, her mother’s wishes.
She was inconstant and fickle; sometimes determined, notwithstanding her
condition, to go and rejoin her husband, sometimes docile and amiable.

It had become evident to Isabel and her husband not many weeks after
Joan and Philip’s arrival, that these were no fit successors to continue
the policy that was to make Spain the mistress of the world and the
arbiter of the faith; and to the Cortes of Toledo, which took the oath
of allegiance to Philip and his wife, it was secretly intimated that the
Queen wished that, ‘if, when the Queen died, Juana was absent from the
realms, or, after having come to them, should be obliged to leave them
again, or that, although present, she might not choose, or _might not be
able to reign and govern_,’[93] Ferdinand should rule Castile in her
name. This was a serious departure both from strict legality and from
usage, and has been considered by recent commentators to indicate that,
even thus early, Isabel wished to exclude her daughter from the throne,
either for heresy or madness, or with that pretext. That Joan was
hysterical, obstinate, and unstable, is evident from all contemporary
testimony, and that she defied her mother in her own realm is clear from
what followed; but it seems unnecessary to seek to draw from these facts
the deduction that Isabel at this juncture meant to disinherit her
daughter _in any case_. Philip’s flagrant flouting of what Isabel and
her husband considered the best interests of Spain, and his laxity in
religion, as understood in Castile, furnished ample reason for the
desire on the part of Isabel, when she felt her health failing, to
ensure, so far as she could do it, that the policy inaugurated by her
and her husband should be continued by him after her death, instead of
allowing Spain to be handed over by an absentee prince to a Flemish
viceroy. The suggestion that Joan _might not be able_ to govern, even if
she was in Spain, was not unnatural, considering that her conduct, as
reported to Isabel from Flanders, had certainly been strangely
inconsistent, whilst her behaviour since she had arrived in Spain had
not mended matters.[94]

Joan gave birth in March 1503 at Alcalá de Henares to a son, who, in
after years, became the Emperor Ferdinand; and immediately after the
christening in Toledo Cathedral the Archduchess declared that she would
stay in Spain no longer, but would join her husband in Flanders. Isabel
humoured her as best she could, persuading her to accompany her from
Alcalá to Segovia, on the pretext that it would be more easy to arrange
there the sea voyage from Laredo. The Princess was held in
semi-restraint under various excuses for a time, but at last she
extracted from her mother a promise that she would let her go by sea
(but not through France, with which they were still at war), when the
weather should be fair, for it was still almost winter.

From Segovia the Queen took her daughter to Medina del Campo, as she
said, to be nearer the sea; but there the worry of the situation threw
Isabel into some sort of apoplectic fit, and for a time her life was
despaired of. Ferdinand was with his successful army on the French
frontier; and the physicians, in their reports to him of his wife’s
illness, attribute the attacks she suffered entirely to the life that
Joan was leading her. ‘The disposition of the Princess is such, that not
only must it cause distress to those who love and value her so dearly,
but even to a perfect stranger. She sleeps badly, eats little, and
sometimes not at all, and she is very sad and thin. Sometimes she will
not speak, and in this, and in some of her actions, which are as if she
were distraught, her infirmity is much advanced. She will only take
remedies either by entreaty and persuasion, or out of fear, for any
attempt at force produces such a crisis that no one likes or dares to
provoke it.’[95] This trouble, the doctor adds, together with the usual
constant worries of government, is breaking the Queen down entirely, and
something must be done. The Secretary, Conchillos, writing at the same
time, gives the same testimony. ‘The Queen,’ he says, ‘is better, but in
great tribulation and fatigue with this Princess, God pardon her.’[96]

Isabel soon had to travel to Segovia, after praying her daughter not to
leave Medina until her father returned. But she took care to give secret
instructions to the Bishop of Cordova, who had charge of Joan, ‘to
detain her, if she tried to get away, as gently and kindly as possible.’
Nothing, however, short of force would suffice to prevent Joan from
joining her husband, who, on his side from Flanders, constantly urged
her coming, and protested against delay.[97] At last Joan became so
clamorous that a message was sent to her from her mother, saying that
the King and herself were coming to see her at Medina, and ordering her
not to attempt to leave until they arrived. Joan seems to have taken
fright at this, and, horses being denied her, she attempted to escape
alone and on foot from the great castle of La Mota, where she was
lodged. Finding when she arrived at the outer moat that the gates were
shut against her by the Bishop of Cordova, she fell into a frenzy and
refused to move from the barrier where she was stayed. All that day and
night, in the bitter cold of late autumn, the princess remained
immovable in the open, deaf to all remonstrance and entreaty, refusing
even to allow a screen of cloth to be hung for her shelter. Isabel was
gravely ill at Segovia, forty miles away, but she instantly sent Joan’s
uncle, Enriquez, to pacify the princess and persuade her at least to go
to her rooms again. But neither he nor the powerful Jimenez, Cardinal
Primate of Spain, could move her, and at last Isabel, sick as she was,
had to travel to Medina, and prevailed upon her daughter again to enter
the castle, where she remained on the assurance of the Queen that she
should go and rejoin her husband in Flanders when the King arrived.

In the meanwhile peace was made with France, and Isabel and her husband
tried their hardest to persuade Philip to send the infant Charles to
Spain to replace his mother. Promise after promise was given that
Charles should go to his grandparents; but Philip had no intention of
entrusting his heir to Ferdinand’s tender mercies, and all the promises
were broken. Isabel’s death was seen to be approaching, and already a
strong Castilian party, jealous of Aragon and of the old King, was
looking towards Isabel’s heiress in Flanders and drifting away from
Ferdinand. The detention of Joan against her will at Medina was regarded
sourly by Castilians generally, and at length the scandal had to be
ended. In March 1504, the princess therefore was allowed to leave her
place of detention at Medina, and after two months further delay in
Laredo, took ship for Flanders, to see her mother no more.

No sooner was she safe in her husband’s territory than the plot that had
long been hatching against her father came to a head. In September 1504
Philip, his father Maximilian, Louis XII., and a little later the Pope,
joined in a series of leagues, from which Ferdinand was pointedly
excluded. It was intended as a notice to Ferdinand, that when his wife
died he would no longer be King of Spain, but only King of Aragon,
unable to hold what he had grasped; and, though the wily King fell ill
and was like to die at the news, he was not beaten yet, and in time to
come was more than a match for all his enemies. But Isabel was sick unto
death. A united orthodox Spain had been her life’s ideal. With labour
untiring she and her husband had attained it, and now she saw the
imminent ruin of her work through the undutifulness of her daughter’s
foreign husband. It was no fault of Isabel’s, for she had been
single-minded in her aims; but Ferdinand had been brought to this pass
by his own overreaching cleverness. In yoking stronger powers than
himself to his car he had enlisted forces that he could not control, and
which were now pulling a different way from that in which he wanted to
go. Those that he depended upon to be his prime instruments had been
removed by death, whilst those who he had hoped to make subsidiary
factors in his favour were now principals and against him.

The accumulating troubles at length, in the autumn of 1504, threw Isabel
into a tertian fever, which was aggravated by the fact that Ferdinand,
being also ill in bed, could not visit his wife. Isabel’s anxiety for
her husband was pitiable to witness; and though her physicians assured
her that he was in no danger, his absence from her bedside increased the
fever and threw her into delirium. Symptoms of dropsy, and probably
diabetes, since constant insatiable thirst and swelling of the limbs are
mentioned as symptoms, ensued, and for three months the Queen lay
gradually growing worse and worse. Rogations for her recovery were
offered up in every church in Castile, but by her own wish, after a
time, this was discontinued, and the heroic Queen, strong to the last,
faced death undismayed, confident that she had done her best, yet humble
and contrite. When the extreme unction was to be administered she
exhibited a curious instance of her severe modesty, almost prudery, by
refusing to allow even her foot to be uncovered to receive the sacred
oil, which was applied to the silken stocking that covered the limb
instead of to the flesh.

To the last she was determined that, if she could prevent it, Joan and
her husband should not rule in Castile as absentee sovereigns whilst
Ferdinand lived. Her will, which was signed in October, is a notable
document, showing some of Isabel’s strongest characteristics. She would
be buried very simply, and without the usual royal mourning, in the city
of her greatest glory, the peerless Granada; ‘but if the King, my lord,’
desires to be buried elsewhere, then her body was to be laid by the side
of his. Her debts were to be paid, and many alms distributed and
religious benefactions founded, and all her jewels were to be given to
Ferdinand, ‘that they may serve as witness of the love I have ever borne
him, and remind him that I await him in a better world, and so that with
this memory he may the more holily and justly live.’ What does not seem
so saintly a provision was, that all the royal grants she had given,
except those to her favourite Beatriz de Bobadilla, were cancelled on
her death. With a firm hand she signed this will later in October 1504,
providing in it also that her daughter Joan should succeed her on the
throne of Castile:[98] but before she died, almost indeed in the last
act of her life, her fears for Spain conquered her love for her
daughter. In a codicil signed on the 23rd November, three days before
her death, she left to Ferdinand the governorship of Castile in the name
of her daughter Joan; and enjoined him solemnly to cause the Indians of
America to be brought to the faith gently and kindly, and their
oppression to be redressed.

With trembling hands and streaming eyes she handed the codicil to
Jimenez, solemnly entrusting him with the fulfilment of all her wishes,
a trust which he obeyed far better than did her husband, and then Isabel
the Catholic had done with the world. Thenceforward she was serene;
eyewitnesses say as beautiful as in youth. ‘Do not weep,’ she said to
her attendants, ‘for the loss of my body; rather pray for the gain of my

And so at the hour of noon, on the 26th November 1504, the greatest of
Spanish queens gently breathed her last, a dignified, devout, great lady
to the end. Days afterwards, when Ferdinand was busy plotting how he
could oust his daughter from her heritage, the body of Isabel was
carried across bleak Castile, with soaring crucifixes and swinging
censers, by a great company of churchmen to far away Granada, there to
lay for all time to come, under the shadow of the red palace that she
had won for the cross. As the velvet hearse with the body of the Queen
of Castile, dressed in death as a Franciscan nun, wound its way over the
land she had made great, the wildest tempest in the memory of man roared
her requiem. Earthquake, flood and hurricane, scoured the way by which
the corpse was borne: skies of ink by night and day for all that three
weeks’ pilgrimage lowered over the affrighted folk that accompanied the
bier, convinced that heaven itself was muttering mourning for the mighty
dead. But it is related that when at last Granada was reached, and the
Christian mosque received the corpse of its conqueror, the glorious sun
burst out at its brightest for the first time, and all the vega smiled
under a stainless sky.

Isabel the Catholic was a great queen and a good woman, because her aims
were high. She was not tender, or gentle, or what we should now call
womanly. If she had been, she would not have made Castile one of the
greatest powers in Europe in her reign of thirty years. She was not
scrupulous, or she would not have been so easily persuaded to displace
her niece the Beltraneja. She was not tender-hearted, or she would not
have looked unmoved upon the massacre or expulsion, in circumstances of
atrocious inhumanity, of Jews and Moors, to whom she broke her solemn
oath upon a weak pretext. She was none of these pleasant things; nor was
she the sweet, saintly housewife she is usually represented. If she had
been, she would not have been Isabel the Catholic—one of the strongest
personalities, and probably the greatest woman ruler the world ever saw:
a woman whose virtue slander itself never dared to attack; whose saintly
devotion to her faith blinded her eyes to human things, and whose
anxiety to please the God of mercy made her merciless to those she
thought His enemies.

                                BOOK II
                              JOAN THE MAD

On the same day (26th November 1504) that Isabel died, Ferdinand, with
sorrow-stricken face, and tears coursing down his cheeks, sallied from
the palace of Medina del Campo, and upon a platform hastily raised in
the great square of the town, proclaimed his daughter Joan Queen of
Castile, with the usual ceremony of hoisting pennons and the crying of
heralds: ‘Castile, Castile, for our sovereign lady Queen Joan.’ Then the
clause of the dead Queen’s will was read, giving to Ferdinand power to
act as King of Castile whenever Joan was absent from Spain, or was
unable or unwilling to govern, and enjoining upon Joan and her husband
obedience and submission to Ferdinand. Castile was in a ferment; for all
men knew that the death of the Queen opened infinite possibilities of
change. The Castilian nobles, so long humbled by Isabel, dared again to
hope that better times for them might come in the contending interests
around the throne; and there were not a few, especially Aragonese, that
counselled Ferdinand to claim the throne of Castile for himself[99] by
right of descent, instead of governing in his daughter’s name.

But Ferdinand’s way was always a tortuous one, and the letters from him
the same night that carried to Flanders the news of his wife’s death
were addressed to Joan and Philip, by the grace of God Sovereigns of
Castile, Leon, Granada, Princes of Aragon, etc., etc.’; whilst every
city in the realms was informed that henceforward the title of King of
Castile would be borne no more by Ferdinand, but only that of
Administrator for Joan.[100] The step was profoundly diplomatic, for all
Europe and half Spain was distrustful of Ferdinand, and the open
usurpation of Castile would have been forcibly resisted. And yet, as we
shall see, he intended to rule Castile; and in the end had his way.
Philip and Joan, in reply to their loving father, declined to commit
themselves as to Ferdinand’s proceedings, and announced their coming to
take possession of their realm of Castile. They were equally cool to
Ferdinand’s envoy, Fonseca, Bishop of Cordova, whom Joan had no reason
to love. In the meanwhile, Cortes was convoked at Toro (January 1505) in
the name of Joan; and there Ferdinand played his first card, by
claiming, under the clause in Isabel’s will, the right to govern Castile
until Joan should be present and demonstrate her fitness to rule.[101]
The nobles of Castile, already jealous of Aragon, were determined to
resist this, though the Cortes agreed; and Juan Manuel, the most notable
diplomatist in Castile, descended from the royal house, and Ferdinand’s
deadly enemy, was sent to Philip, over whom his influence was complete,
as the envoy of the Castilian nobles; thenceforward from Flanders to
animate and direct the diplomatic campaign against Ferdinand.

The situation thus became daily more strained. Ferdinand’s confidential
agents endeavoured to sow discord between Joan and her husband, not a
difficult matter; and on one occasion the Queen, in a fit of jealousy,
was persuaded by the Aragonese Secretary Conchillos to sign a letter
approving of her father’s acts. The messenger to whom it was entrusted
betrayed it to Philip, and Conchillos was cast into a dungeon; all
Spaniards were warned away from Court, and Joan completely isolated,
even from her chaplain. Thinking that in the palace of Brussels Joan was
too easy of access, Philip arranged that she should be secretly removed.
Whilst the Burgomaster and Councillors were discussing at dead of night
in the palace the details of the secret flitting, poor Joan herself
learnt what was in the wind; and being denied an interview with the
Spanish bishop who attended her, she peremptorily summoned the Prince of
Chimay. He dared not enter her chamber alone; but accompanied by another
courtier he obeyed the Queen’s summons. They found her in a violent
passion, and with difficulty escaped personal attack; with a result
that, though the Queen was not immediately removed, she was
thenceforward kept strictly guarded in her chambers, a prisoner.[102]

When news came of the decision of the Cortes of Toro that Joan was unfit
to rule, Philip prevailed upon his wife to sign a remarkable letter[103]
for publication in Castile. ‘Since they want in Castile to make out that
I am not in my right mind, it is only meet that I should come to my
senses again, somewhat; though I ought not to wonder that they raise
false testimony against me, since they did so against our Lord. But,
since the thing has been done so maliciously, and at such a time, I bid
you (M. de Vere) speak to my father the king on my behalf, for those who
say this of me are acting not only against me but against him; and
people say that he is glad of it, so as to have the government of
Castile, though I do not believe it, as the King is so great and
catholic a sovereign and I his dutiful daughter. I know well that the
King my Lord (_i.e._ Philip) wrote thither complaining of me in some
respect; but such a thing should not go beyond father and children!
especially as, if I did fly into passions and failed to keep up my
proper dignity, it is well known that the only cause of my doing so was
jealousy. I am not alone in feeling this passion; for my mother, great
and excellent person as she was, was also jealous; but she got over it
in time, and so, please God, shall I. Tell everybody there (_i.e._ in
Castile) ... that, even if I was in the state that my enemies would wish
me to be, I would not deprive the King, my husband, of the government of
the realms, and of all the world if it were mine to give.’...—Brussels,
3rd May 1505.

We can see here, and in the several reports sent, that Joan had little
or no control over herself. In the conflict, daily growing more bitter,
between her husband and her father, she swayed from one side to another
according to the influences brought to bear upon her. Her gusts of
jealous rage and frenzied violence gave to both sides the excuse of
calling her mad when it suited them to do so, or to declare that such
temporary fits were compatible with general sanity when they wanted her
sane. Joan’s affection for her husband was fierce, and monopolous, and
his influence over her was great, especially when he appealed to her
pride and her rights as Queen of Castile, but her sense of filial duty
was also high; and whenever she understood that a measure was intended
to be against her father, she indignantly refused to countenance it.
Ferdinand knew that the King of France had been enlisted by Philip and
Maximilian against him; and that an army was being mustered in Flanders;
whilst a project was on foot for Philip to come to Castile without Joan.
This he was determined to prevent; and warned his son-in-law that he
would not be allowed to act as King without his wife. To this warning
Philip retorted by ordering his father-in-law to leave Castile, and
return to his own realm of Aragon.

In this contest poor hysterical Joan was but a cypher, with her gusts of
jealous passion and her lack of fixed resolution. When she had arrived
in Flanders after her detention in Spain, she had discovered that her
husband, whose coolness she noted from the first, was carrying on a
liaison with a lady of the court. We are told that she sought out the
lady in a raving fury and seriously injured her; as well as causing all
her beautiful hair, of which she was proud, to be cut off close to the
scalp. This led to a violent scene between Philip and Joan, in which not
only hard words but hard blows were exchanged; and Joan took to her bed,
seriously ill both in body and mind. These scenes continued at
intervals, either with or without good reason, but with the natural
result that Philip in his relations with his father-in-law acted almost
independently of his wife; who, as Ferdinand afterwards said, was really
a good dutiful daughter, proud of Spain and her people.

Ferdinand had at his side at this juncture the great Cardinal Jimenez.
The stern Franciscan had been no friend of the King, who had opposed his
appointment as primate; but he was a patriotic Spaniard, and could not
fail to see that if Flemish Philip was paramount in Spain, the work of
Isabel for the faith would be in peril. Ferdinand, he knew, was an able
and experienced ruler, who would not greatly change the existing system;
and he threw all his powerful influence on the side of an arrangement
that might leave Ferdinand real power in Castile, without entirely
alienating Philip. Above all, Jimenez was determined to prevent the
ambitious Castilian nobles from again dominating the government; which
they hoped to do if an inexperienced foreigner like Philip took the
reins. It was, indeed, quite as much a struggle between Ferdinand and
Jimenez and the Castilian nobles, as between Ferdinand and his
son-in-law. But Jimenez’s patriotic efforts met with little success, so
far as Philip was concerned; and, in the meantime, Ferdinand, whilst
ostensibly solacing himself in hunting, was quietly planning a
characteristic stroke at his enemy.

He was fifty-five years of age and still robust, and he bethought
himself that he might yet win the game by a second marriage. It was
almost sacrilege to contemplate such a thing in the circumstances; but
to Ferdinand of Aragon any crooked way was straight that led him to his
goal. So he sent his natural son, Hugo de Cardona, to propose secretly
to the King of Portugal that the forgotten Beltraneja should leave her
convent and become Queen of Aragon, joining her claims to Castile to
those of Ferdinand and ousting Joan and Philip.[104] It was a wicked
cynical idea, for it made Isabel a usurper; but neither the King of
Portugal nor his cousin, the Beltraneja, would have anything to say to
it; so Ferdinand turned towards a solution, which, if not quite so
iniquitous morally, was even more inimical to the interest of Spain as a
nation. This was nothing less than to outbid Philip for the friendship
of the King of France, upon which he mainly depended to frustrate his
father-in-law’s plans. Ferdinand had broken all his former covenants
with Louis XII. The French had been turned out of Naples, and the great
Gonzalo de Cordova was there as Ferdinand’s viceroy. He was a Castilian;
and already Ferdinand’s spies had reported that the Castilian nobles, in
union with Philip and France, were tampering with Cordova’s loyalty and
endeavouring to establish the claim of Castile, instead of Aragon, to
Naples. Ferdinand, with what sincerity may be supposed, rapidly patched
up an alliance with Louis XII., by which the widowed King of Aragon was
to marry the niece of the King of France, Germaine de Foix, a spoiled
and petted young beauty of twenty-one. Any heirs of the marriage were to
inherit Aragon, Sicily, and Naples; but in the case of no children being
left, Naples was to be divided between France and Aragon; great
concessions were made at once to the French in Naples, and a million
gold crowns were to be paid by Ferdinand to France as indemnity for the
late war.

This, it will be seen, quite isolated Philip, threatened again to
separate Aragon and Castile, and at one blow to undo the work both of
Isabel and her husband. But as Ferdinand never kept more of a treaty
than suited him at the moment, it may be fairly assumed that he signed
this only to bridge his present difficulty and with such mental
reservation as was usual with him. When the news reached Brussels
Maximilian himself was there with his son, and they at once tried their
best to deal a counterstroke. When certain papers were presented to Joan
for signature denouncing to the Castilian people Ferdinand’s treaty and
second marriage, she stood firm in her refusal to sign. Philip exerted
the utmost pressure upon his wife; but at last, worn out by his and
Maximilian’s importunity, the unhappy lady burst into ungovernable rage,
flinging the papers from her and crying that she would never do anything
against her father. The isolation and close guard over the Queen was
indeed working its natural effect upon her highly wrought nervous
system; and Ferdinand’s ambassadors, who had come to announce his
marriage with his French bride, and to offer terms of friendship to his
son-in-law, were scandalised at the treatment of their Queen. When,
after much difficulty, they were allowed to see her at the palace of
Brussels it was only on condition that they should have no conversation
with her.

Shortly afterwards, in September 1505, Joan was delivered of a daughter
(Maria, afterwards Queen of Hungary and Governess of the Netherlands),
and Philip then decided that the time had come to carry her to Castile
and claim the throne. First issuing a manifesto to the Castilian nobles
and towns, ordering them not to obey Ferdinand in anything, he made
overtures to the King of France to allow him to pass overland to Spain.
This was flatly refused. The French princess, Germaine, was now
Ferdinand’s wife, and all the help that Louis XII. could give would be
against Philip and Joan. It was therefore decided to make the voyage by
sea, and a large fleet of sixty ships, with a retinue of three thousand
persons, was mustered in one of the ports of Zeeland. In the meanwhile
ceaseless intrigue went on both in Spain and abroad. France having
abandoned him, Philip turned to England. Juan Manuel’s sister, Elvira,
was the principal lady-in-waiting upon Katharine, Princess of Wales, and
through her and Katharine secret negotiations were opened for a marriage
between Henry VII. and Philip’s sister, the Archduchess Margaret, the
widow of Juan, Prince of Asturias and of the Duke of Savoy, with an
alliance between England and Philip—though Katharine probably did not
understand at first how purely this was a move against her father. So,
although Henry VII. still professed to be on Ferdinand’s side in the
quarrel, he was quite ready for a secret alliance with Philip and Joan
against him and the King of France.

The King and Queen of Castile left Brussels early in November to join
the waiting fleet, but from the slowness of their movements and the
ostentatious publicity given to them, it is clear that their first
object was to prepare Castile in their favour. Philip, for a time,
scouted all idea of arrangement with Ferdinand. He knew that the
Castilian nobles were on his side, and that his wife’s legal right was
unimpeachable. The wily old King of Aragon saw that his best policy was
to temporise, and to do that he must seem strong. His first move was to
declare to the Castilians that Joan was sane, but was kept a prisoner by
her husband, and he proposed to send a fleet to rescue her and bring her
and her son Charles to Castile. Philip’s Flemish subjects were
discontented at his proposed long absence, and also threatened trouble.
Then Ferdinand hinted that he would mobilise all his force to resist
Philip’s landing.

This series of manœuvres delayed the departure of Philip and his wife
month after month; until Ferdinand, by consummate diplomacy, managed to
patch up an agreement with Philip’s ambassadors at Salamanca at the end
of November; which, though on the face of it fair enough, was really an
iniquitous plot for the exclusion of Joan in any circumstances. Philip
and Joan were to be acknowledged by Castile as sovereigns, and their son
Charles as heir; but, at the same time, Ferdinand was to be accepted as
perpetual governor in his daughter’s absence: and in the case of Queen
Joan being unwilling or unable to undertake the government, the two
Kings, Ferdinand and Philip, were to issue all decrees and grants in
their joint names. The revenues of Castile and of the Grand Masterships
were to be equally divided between Philip and Ferdinand.

When once this wicked but insincere agreement was ratified there was no
further need for delay, and Philip’s fleet sailed for Spain on the 8th
January 1506 to engage in the famous battle of wits with his
father-in-law, which only one could win. All went well until the Cornish
coast was passed, and then a dead calm fell, followed by a furious
south-westerly gale which scattered the ships and left that in which
Philip and Joan were without any escort. To add to the trouble a fire
broke out upon this vessel, and a fallen spar gave the ship such a list
as to leave her almost waterlogged. Despair seized the crew, and all
gave themselves up for lost. Philip played anything but an heroic part.
His attendants dressed him in an inflated leather garment, upon the back
of which was painted in staring great letters, ‘The King, Don Philip,’
and thus arrayed, he knelt before a blessed image in prayer, alternating
with groans, expecting every moment would be his last. Joan does not
appear to have lost her head. She is represented by one contemporary
authority[105] as being seated on the ground between her husband’s
knees, saying that if they went down she would cling so closely to him
that they should never be separated in death, as they had not been in
life. The Spanish witnesses are loud in her praise in this danger. ‘The
Queen,’ they say, ‘showed no signs of fear, and asked them to bring her
a box with something to eat. As some of the gentlemen were collecting
votive gifts to the Virgin of Guadalupe, they passed the bag to the
Queen, who, taking out her purse containing about a hundred doubloons,
hunted amongst them until she found the only half-doubloon there,
showing thus how cool she was in the danger. A king never was drowned
yet, so she was not afraid, she said.’[106]

At length, mainly by the courage and address of one sailor, the ship was
righted, the fire extinguished, and the vessel brought into the port of
Weymouth on the 17th January 1506. Henry VII. of England had been
courted and conciliated by Philip for some time past, but it was a
dangerous temptation to put in the wily Tudor’s way to enable him to
make his own terms for an alliance. Above all, he wanted to get into his
power the rebel Earl of Suffolk, who was in refuge in Flanders, and this
seemed his opportunity. Philip had had enough of the sea for a while. We
are assured by one who was there that he was ‘fatigate and unquyeted in
mynde and bodie,’ and he yearned to tread firm land again. His
councillors urged him to take no risk, but Philip and Joan landed at
Melcombe Regis to await a fair wind for sailing again. From far and near
the west country gentry flocked down with their armed bands, ready for
war or peace, but when they found that the royal visitors were friendly
their hospitality knew no bounds. Sir John Trenchard would take no
denial. The King and Queen must rest in his manor-house hard by until
the weather mended; and, in the meanwhile, swift horses carried the news
to King Henry in London.

As may be supposed, when he heard the news, ‘he was replenyshed with
exceeding gladnes ... for that he trusted it should turn out to his
profit and commodity,’ which it certainly did. But Philip grew more and
more uneasy at the pressing nature of the Dorsetshire welcome. The armed
bands grew greater, and though the weather improved, Trenchard would not
listen to his guests going on board until the King of England had a
chance of sending greeting to his good brother and ally. At length
Philip and Joan realised that they were in a trap, and had to make the
best of it, which they did with a good grace, for they were welcomed by
Henry with effusive professions of pleasure. Philip was conveyed with a
vast cavalcade of gentlemen across England to Windsor, where he was met
by Henry and his son, the betrothed of Katharine, Joan’s sister. Then
the King of Castile was led to London and to Richmond with every
demonstration of honour. But, withal, it was quite clear that Henry
would not let his visitors go until they had subscribed to his terms,
whatever they might be. And so the pact was solemnly sworn upon a
fragment of the true cross in Saint George’s Chapel, Windsor, by Philip
and Henry, by which Suffolk was to be surrendered to his doom, Philip’s
sister Margaret, with her fat dowry, was to be married to the widowed
old Henry, and England was bound to the King of Castile against
Ferdinand of Aragon.

Joan was deliberately kept in the background during her stay in England.
She had followed her husband slowly from Melcombe, and arrived at
Windsor ten days later, the day after Philip, with great ceremony, had
been invested with the Order of the Garter and had signed the treaty. On
her arrival at Windsor on the 10th February she saw her sister
Katharine, though not alone, and Katharine left the next day to go to
Richmond. Three days later, on the 14th February, Joan set out from
Windsor again towards Falmouth, whilst Philip joined Henry at Richmond;
and soon after the King of Castile was allowed to travel into the west
and once more take ship for his wife’s kingdom. The cynical exclusion of
Joan from all participation in the treaty with England,[107] and the
fact that she was only allowed to see her sister once, and in the
presence of witnesses in the interests of Philip, seems to prove that
she was purposely kept in the dark as to the real meaning of the treaty,
which was directed almost as much against herself as against her father,
because, with England on his side, Philip could always paralyse France
from interfering with him in Spain; and it is clear that, whether Joan
was really incapacitated at the time or not, both Ferdinand and Philip
had already determined to make out that she was.

Like a pair of wary wrestlers the two opponents still played at arms’
length. Ferdinand, after celebrating his second marriage—as he had
celebrated his first, nearly forty years before—at Valladolid, awaited
at Burgos, so as to be near on arrival of his daughter and her husband
at one of the Biscay ports, as was expected. But nothing was further
from Philip’s thoughts than to land at any place near where Ferdinand
was waiting. His idea was to go to Andalucia, so as to be able to march
through Spain before meeting the old King, and to gather friends and
partisans on the way. Contrary winds, however, drove the fleet into
Corunna, on the extreme north-west of the Peninsula, on the 26th April;
and Ferdinand, when he got the news, for a moment lost his smooth
self-control, and was for flying at his undutiful son-in-law sword in
hand. But the outbreak was not of long duration, for the circumstances
were serious, and needed all the great astuteness of which Ferdinand was
capable. He was determined to rule Castile whilst he lived for the
benefit of his great Aragonese aims.

He had, indeed, some cause for complaint against fortune; for, with the
exception of the kingdom of Naples, he had not yet gathered the harvest
that he had reckoned upon as the result of the union of the realms. His
son-in-law, now that, by the death of other heirs, Joan had become Queen
of Castile, was an enemy instead of an ally, and his defection had
rendered necessary the pact between Ferdinand and France, which had
stultified much of the advantage previously gained by the Castilian
connection. At any cost Castile must be held, or all would be lost. If
Joan herself took charge of the government, as was her right, then
goodbye to the hope of Ferdinand employing for his own purposes the
resources of Castile; for around her would be jealous nobles hating
Aragon; whereas, with Philip as King, it was certain that his
imprudence, his ignorance of Spain, and the Castilian distrust of
foreigners, would soon provoke a crisis that might give Ferdinand his
chance. Both opponents, therefore, were equally determined to keep Joan
away from active sovereignty, whatever her mental state; and as Philip
and his wife rode through Corunna, smiling and debonair, gaining friends
everywhere, but surrounded with armed foreigners, German guards,
archers, and the like, strange to Spaniards, as if in an enemy’s
country, the plot thickened between the two antagonists.

Everywhere Philip took the lead, and Joan was treated as a consort.[108]
In the verses of welcome it was Don Philip’s name that came first; and
Joan showed her discontent at the position in which she was placed by
refusing to confirm the privileges of the cities through which they
passed until she had seen her father, though Philip promised readily to
do so. No sooner did Philip find himself supported by the northern
nobles, than he announced that he would not be bound by the treaty of
Salamanca, and generally gave Ferdinand to understand that he, Philip,
alone, intended to be master. Ferdinand travelled forward to meet his
son-in-law, making desperate attempts at conciliation and to win Juan
Manuel to his side, but without success: whilst Philip tarried on the
way and exhausted every means of delay in order to gain strength before
the final struggle. To Philip’s insulting messages Ferdinand returned
diplomatic answers; in the face of Philip’s scornful rejection of
advances, Ferdinand was amiable, conciliatory, almost humble; he who,
with the great Isabel, had been master of Spain for well nigh forty
years. But he must have chuckled under his bated breath and whispering
humbleness, for he knew that he was going to win, and he knew how he was
going to do it.

Slowly Ferdinand travelled towards the north-west, sending daily
embassies to Philip soliciting a friendly interview, and at every stage,
as he came nearer, his son-in-law grew in arrogance. When Ferdinand left
Astorga in the middle of May, Juan Manuel sent a message to him that if
he wished to see the King of Castile, he must understand three things:
first, that no business would be discussed; second, that Philip must
have stronger forces than he; and third, that he must not expect that he
would be allowed to obtain any advantage by, or through, his daughter,
Queen Joan, as they knew where that would lead them to. Therefore,
continued Manuel, King Ferdinand had better not come to Santiago at all.
In the meanwhile the inevitable discord was brewing in the Court of Joan
and Philip at Corunna. The proud Castilian nobles, greedy and touchy,
who had flocked to Philip’s side, found that Flemings and Germans always
stood between them and the throne, and intercepted the favours for which
they hungered. The Teutons, who thought they were coming to Spain to
lord over all, found a jealous nobility and a nation convinced of its
own heaven-sent superiority, ready to resist to the death any
encroachment of foreigners, whom they regarded with hate and scorn.

The Castilians deplored most the isolation of Joan, and endeavoured by a
hundred plans to persuade her to second her husband’s action towards her
father. Philip ceased now even to consult her, since she had refused to
oppose Ferdinand; and in the pageantry of the entrance into Santiago and
the triumphal march through Galicia, with a conquering army rather than
a royal escort, Joan, in deepest black garments and sombre face, passed
like a shadow of death. As the Kings gradually approached each other,
Ferdinand, in soft words, begged Philip to let him know what alterations
he desired to make in the agreement of Salamanca. After much fencing,
Philip replied that if his father-in-law would send Cardinal Jimenez
with full powers, he would try to arrange terms. The great point, he
wrote, was that of Queen Joan; and the King of Aragon knew full well
that upon this point the issue between him and Philip would be joined.
Ferdinand had little love or trust in the great Castilian Cardinal,
Jimenez, though the latter was faithful to him, not for his own sake,
but for the good of Spain; but the Cardinal went to Philip with full
powers, and bearing a private letter, saying that, as Joan was
incapacitated from undertaking the government, Ferdinand besought Philip
to join and make common cause with him, in order to prevent her, either
of her own accord or by persuasion of the nobles, from seizing the
reins. This was the line upon which Philip was pleased to negotiate, and
Cardinal Jimenez found a ready listener. Ferdinand, however, was ready
with the other alternative solution if this failed. If Philip would not
join with him to exclude Joan, he would join Joan to exclude Philip, and
all preparations were quietly made to muster his adherents at Toro, make
a dash for Benavente, the place where Philip was to stay, rescue Joan,
and govern, with her or in her name, to the exclusion of
foreigners.[109] But it was unnecessary. Jimenez’s persuasion and
Ferdinand’s supple importunity conquered; and, though with infinite
distrust and jealousy on all sides, the Kings still slowly approached
each other, stage by stage, whilst the negotiations went on.

The Teutons and Castilians were at open loggerheads now; Queen Joan,
reported Jimenez, was more closely guarded and concealed than ever, and
Philip less popular in consequence. But, at length, the two rival Kings,
on the 20th June 1506, found themselves in neighbouring villages; and on
that day at a farmhouse half-way between Puebla and Asturianos they met.
Ferdinand, in peaceful guise, was attended only by the Duke of Alba and
the gentlemen of his household, not more than two hundred in all, mostly
mounted on mules and unarmed; whilst Philip came in warlike array with
two thousand pikemen and hundreds of German archers in strange garments
and outlandish headgear, whilst the flanks of his great company of
nobles were protected by a host of Flemish troops. When Philip
approached his father-in-law, with steel mail beneath his fine silken
doublet, and surrounded by armed protectors, it was seen that his face
was sour and frowning, whilst Ferdinand, almost alone and quite unarmed,
came smiling and bowing low at every step. When the Castilian nobles
came forward one by one shamefacedly, to kiss the hand of the old
monarch they had betrayed, Ferdinand’s satiric humour had full play, and
many a sly thrust pierced their breasts, for all their hidden armour.
After a few empty polite words between the Kings the conference was at
an end, and each returned the way he came; Ferdinand more than ever
chagrined that he had not been allowed even to see his daughter.

For the next few days the Kings travelled along parallel roads towards
Benavente; Philip continuing to treat his father-in-law as an intruder
in the most insulting fashion. At length their roads converged at a
small village called Villafafila, at the time when the long discussed
agreement had been settled by their respective ministers; and here, in
the village church, the two rivals finally met to sign their treaty of
peace on the 27th June 1506. It was a hellish compact, and it sealed the
fate of unhappy Joan whatever might happen. Ferdinand came, as he said,
with love in his heart and peace in his hands, only anxious for the
happiness of his ‘beloved children,’ and of the realm that was theirs:
and, after warmly embracing Philip, he led him towards the little
village church to sign and swear to the treaty. With them, amongst
others, were Don Juan Manuel and Cardinal Jimenez, and when the treaty
was signed and the church cleared, the great churchman took the arm of
Manuel, and whispered, ‘Don Juan, it is not fitting that we should
listen to the talk of our masters. Do you go out first, and I will serve
as porter.’ And there alone, in the humble house of prayer, the two
Kings made the secret compact which explains the treaty they had just
publicly executed. In appearance Ferdinand gave up everything. He was,
it is true, to have half the revenues from the American discoveries, and
to retain much plunder from the royal Orders and other grants of money,
but he surrendered completely all share and part in the government of
Castile, and allied himself to Philip for offence and defence against
the world.

The secret deed, the outcome of that sinister private talk between two
cruel scoundrels in the village church, allows us to guess, in
conjunction with what followed, the reason for Ferdinand’s meek
renunciation of the government. ‘As the Queen Joan on no account wishes
to have anything to do with any affair of government or other things;
and, even if she did wish it, it would cause the total loss and
destruction of these realms, having regard to her infirmities and
passions, which are not described here for decency’s sake’; and then the
document provides that, ‘if Joan of her own accord, or at the instance
of others, should attempt to interfere in the government or disturb the
arrangement made between the two Kings, they will join forces to prevent
it.’ ‘And so we swear to God our Lord, to the Holy Cross, and the four
saintly evangelists, with our bodily hands placed upon His altar.’ And
the two smiling villains came out hand in hand, both contented; each of
them sure that the best of the evil bargain lay with him, and Ferdinand
made preparations for departure to his own Aragon, and so to his realm
of Naples and Sicily, delighted that his ‘beloved children’ should
peacefully reign over the land of Castile.

It was more than two years and a half since Ferdinand had seen his
daughter Joan. During that time both he and Philip had alternately
declared she was quite sane and otherwise, as suited their plans. Now
both were agreed, not only that she did not _wish_ to govern her
country: but that if ever she _did_ wish, or Castilians wished for her
to do so, then her ‘passions and infirmities,’ so vaguely referred to,
would make her rule disastrous. It ensured Philip being King of Castile
_so long as he lived_, and Ferdinand being master if he survived, and
until the majority of his grandson Charles. There is no reason to deny
that Joan was wayward, morbid, and eccentric; subject to fits of jealous
rage at certain periods or crises, and that subsequently she developed
intermittent lunacy. But at this time, according to all accounts, she
was not mad in a sense that justified her permanent exclusion from the
throne that belonged to her. Philip, heartless, ambitious, and vain,
wished to rule Castile alone, according to Burgundian methods, which
were alien to Spain and to the Queen. Ferdinand knew that, in any case,
such an attempt could not succeed for long; and by permanently excluding
Joan he secured for himself the reversion practically for the rest of
his life. And so Joan was pushed aside and wronged by those whose sacred
duty it was to protect and cherish her, and as Joan the Mad she goes
down to all posterity.

But old Ferdinand had not yet shot his last bolt, for symmetry and
completeness in his villainy was always his strong point. On the very
day that the secret compact was signed, he came again to that humble
altar of Villafafila, accompanied this time only by those faithful
Aragonese friends who would have died for him, Juan Cabrero, who had
befriended Colon, and his secretary, Almazan. Before these he swore and
signed a declaration that Philip had come in great force whilst he had
none, and had by intimidation and fear compelled him to sign a deed so
greatly to the injury of his own daughter. He swore now that he had only
done so to escape his peril, and never meant that Joan should be
deprived of her liberty of action: on the contrary, he intended when he
could to liberate her and restore to her the administration of the realm
that belonged to her: and he solemnly denounced and repudiated the
former oath he had just taken on the same altar. And then, quite happy
in his mind, Ferdinand the Catholic went on his way, having left heavily
bribed all the men who surrounded doomed Philip, including even the
all-powerful favourite Juan Manuel.

Philip lost no time. Before Ferdinand had got beyond Tordesillas, a
courtier reached him from his son-in-law giving him news of Joan’s anger
and passion when she learnt that she was pushed aside and was not to see
her father. What would Ferdinand recommend? asked Philip. But the old
King was not to be caught; he would not be cajoled into giving his
consent to Joan being shut up, but he sent a long sanctimonious
rigmarole enjoining harmony, but meaning nothing. Philip then appealed
to the nobles one by one, asking them to sign a declaration assenting to
Joan’s confinement. The Admiral of Castile, Ferdinand’s cousin, led a
strong opposition to this, and demanded a personal interview with the
Queen to which Philip consented, and the Admiral and Count Benavente
went to the fortress of Murcientes, where Joan and her husband were
staying. At the door of the chamber stood Garcilaso de la Vega, a noble
in Philip’s interest, and Cardinal Jimenez was just inside; whilst in a
window embrasure in the darkened room sat the Queen alone, garbed in
black with a hood which nearly obscured her face. She rose as Admiral
Enriquez approached, and with a low curtsey, asked him if he came from
her father. ‘Yes,’ he replied, ‘I left him yesterday at Tudela on his
way to Aragon.’ ‘I should so much have liked to see him,’ sighed poor
Joan; ‘God guard him always.’ For many hours that day and the next the
noble spoke to the Queen, saying how important it was to the country
that she should agree well with her husband, and take part in the
government that belonged to her. He reported afterwards that in all
these conferences she never gave a random answer.

The Admiral was too important a person to be slighted, and Philip was
forced to listen to some plain warnings from him. He must not venture to
go to Valladolid without the Queen, or ill would come of it: the people
were jealous already, and if Joan was shut up their fears would be
confirmed. So Joan was borne by her husband’s side to Valladolid in
state, though her face was set in stony sorrow beneath the black cowl
that shrouded it. Near there one other interview took place between the
two kings with much feigned affection, but no result as regards Joan. On
the 10th July 1506, Joan and her husband rode through the city of
Valladolid with all the pomp of Burgundy and Spain. Two banners were to
be carried before the royal pair, but Joan knew she alone was Queen of
Castile, and insisted that one should be destroyed before she would
start. She was mounted upon a white jennet, housed in black velvet to
match her own sable robes, and a black hood almost covered her
face.[110] Shows, feasts and addresses were arranged for their
reception, but they rode straight through the crowded, flower-decked
streets without staying to witness them; and this joyous entry, we are
told by an eyewitness, meant to be so gay, was blighted by an
all-pervading gloom, as of some great calamity to come.

On the following day the Cortes took the oath of allegiance to Joan as
Queen, and to Philip only as consort, and she personally insisted upon
seeing the powers of the deputies. The ceremonies over, Philip came to
business. Great efforts were made to persuade the Cortes to consent to
Joan’s confinement and Philip’s personal rule; and Jimenez did his best
to get the custody of her.[111] But the stout Admiral Enriquez stood in
the way, and insisted that this iniquity should not be, so that Philip
was obliged to put up with the position of administrator for his wife,
since he could not be King in her stead. Flemings, Germans and
Castilians, in the meanwhile, vied with each other in rapacity. Philip
was free enough with the money of others, but even he had to go out
hunting by stealth to escape importunity when he had given away all he
had to give and more. But of all the greedy crew there was none so
rapacious as Juan Manuel, little of body but great of mind, who, like
the Marquis of Villena forty years before, grabbed with both hands
insatiate. Fortresses, towns, pensions, assignments of national revenue,
nothing came amiss to Manuel, and at last his covetous eyes were cast
upon the fortress-palace of Segovia, still in the keeping of that stout
Andrés Cabrera and his wife, Beatriz de Bobadilla, Marchioness of Moya,
the lifelong friend of the great Isabel. Philip gave an order that the
Alcazar of Segovia was to be surrendered to Manuel. Surrender the
Alcazar! after fifty years of keeping! No, forsooth, said big-hearted
Dona Beatriz; only to Queen Joan will we give the fortress that her
great mother entrusted to our keeping.

And so it happened that Philip, with Joan still in black by his side,
rode out of Valladolid in August towards Segovia, to demand the fortress
from its keeper. When the cavalcade reached Cogeces, half way to
Segovia, Joan would go no further. They were taking her to Segovia, she
cried, to imprison her in the Alcazar, and she threw herself from her
horse writhing upon the ground, and refused to stir another step on the
way. The prayers and threats of Philip and his councillors, whom she
hated, were worse than useless, and all that night she rode hither and
thither across country refusing to enter the town. When the morning came
Philip learnt that Cabrera had surrendered the Alcazar of Segovia to
Manuel; and as there was no reason now for going thither, they rode back
to Burgos. As they travelled through Castile, brows grew darker and
hearts more bitter at this fine foreign gallant with his fair face and
his gay garments, who kept the Queen of Castile in durance in her own
realms, and packed his friends and foreign pikemen in all the strong
castles of the land. When Burgos was reached on the 7th September,
Philip deepened the discontent by ordering the immediate departure of
the wife of the Constable of Castile, an Enriquez by birth, and
consequently a cousin of Ferdinand, in order that Joan should have no
relative near her, although they lodged in the Constable’s palace. The
Admiral of Castile and the Duke of Alba were also attacked by Philip,
who demanded their fortresses as pledges of loyalty; and soon all
Castile was in a ferment, clamouring for the return of the old King
Ferdinand, and the liberation of their Queen Joan.

The King, not content with conferring upon his favourite Manuel the
Alcazar of Segovia, now entrusted to his keeping the castle of Burgos,
where it was determined to celebrate the surrender by entertaining
Philip at a banquet. After the feast the King was taken ill of a
malignant fever, it was said, caused by indulgence or over-exercise, and
Philip lay ill for days in raging delirium. Joan, dry-eyed and cool,
never left his side, saying little, but attending assiduously to the
invalid. At one o’clock on the 25th September 1506 Philip I., King of
Castile, breathed his last, in his twenty-eighth year: but yet Joan,
without a tear or a tremor, still stayed by his side, deaf to all
remonstrance and condolence, to all appearance unmoved. She calmly gave
orders that the corpse of her husband should be carried in state to the
great hall of the Constable’s palace upon a splendid catafalque of cloth
of gold, the body clad in ermine-lined robes of rich brocade, the head
covered by a jewelled cap, and a magnificent diamond cross upon the
breast. A throne had been erected at the end of the hall, and upon this
the corpse was arranged, seated as if in life. During the whole of the
night the vigils for the dead were intoned by friars before the throne,
and when the sunlight crept through the windows the body, stripped of
its incongruous finery, was opened and embalmed and placed in a lead
coffin, from which, for the rest of her life, Joan never willingly

Joan, in stony immobility, dazed and silent, gave no indication that she
understood the tremendous importance of her husband’s death; but
courtiers and nobles, Castilians and Teutons alike, did not share her
insensibility. Dismay fell upon the rapacious crew, fierce denunciations
of poison,[113] scrambling for such plunder as could be grasped,[114]
and dread apprehensions as to what would happen to them all when the
King of Aragon should return. Joan had to be forcibly removed from the
corpse; and for days remained shut up in a darkened room without
speaking, eating, or undressing. When, at length, she learnt that the
coffin had been carried to the Cartuja de Miraflores, near Burgos, she
insisted upon going thither, and ordered an immense number of new
mourning garments fashioned like nun’s weeds. Arriving at the church,
she heard mass, and then caused the coffin to be raised from the vault
and broken open, the cerecloths removed from the head and feet, which
she kissed and fondled until she was persuaded to return to Burgos, on
the promise that the coffin should be kept open for her to visit it when
she pleased; which she did thenceforward every few days whilst it
remained there.

The Flemish chronicler, whom I have quoted several times, gives a
curious description of Joan’s jealous amorous obsession for her husband.
Philip is represented as being libidinous to the last degree, as well as
being the handsomest man of his time; whilst Joan herself is praised for
her beauty, grace, and delicacy. ‘The good Queen fell into such jealousy
that she could never get free from it, until at last it became a bad
habit which reached amorous delirium, and excessive and irrepressible
rage, from which for three years she got no repose or ease of mind; as
if she was a woman possessed or distraught.... She was so much troubled
at the conduct of her husband that she passed her life shut up alone,
avoiding the sight of all persons but those who attended upon and gave
her food. Her only wish was to go after her husband, whom she loved with
such vehemence and frenzy, that she cared not whether her company was
agreeable to him or not. When she returned to Spain, she would not rest
until all the ladies that had come with them were sent home, or she
threatened to make a public scandal. So far did she carry this mania,
that it ended by her having no woman near her but a washerwoman, whom,
at any hour that seized her caprice, she made to wash the clothes in her
presence. In this state, without any women attendants, she kept close to
her husband, serving herself like a poor, miserable woman. Even in the
country she did not leave him, and went by his side, followed sometimes
by ten thousand men, but not one person of her own sex.’[115]

The frantic jealousy of her husband during life, together with the
knowledge that he was determined to confine her as a lunatic, whilst
ruling her kingdom at his will, turned into gloomy misanthropy and
rebellion at her fate at his death; and her refusal to sign the formal
documents presented to her as Queen in the first days of her widowhood,
made evident to the few nobles who kept their heads that some sort of
government would have to be improvised, pending the return of Ferdinand
from Naples. Juan Manuel, fiercely hated by every one, kept in the
background; only hoping to save his life and some of his booty; but the
stern old man in his coarse grey frock, to whom money and possessions
were nothing, though, next to the Pope, he was the richest churchman in
Christendom, Cardinal Jimenez, who perhaps was not taken by surprise by
the opportune disappearance of Philip, had everything ready, even before
the King died, for the establishment of a provisional government; and on
the day of the death a meeting of all the nobles and deputies in Burgos
confirmed the arrangements he had made. All parties of nobles were
represented upon the governing council; but Jimenez himself was
president, and soon became autocrat by right of his ability. Order was
temporarily guaranteed, and all the members, in a self-denying
ordinance, undertook not to try to obtain possession of the Queen or of
her younger son, Ferdinand, who was in Simancas Castle,[116] the elder,
Charles, being in Flanders. Joan, sunk in lethargy, refused to sign the
decrees summoning Cortes; and the latter were irregularly convoked by
the government. But when they were assembled, carefully chosen under
Jimenez’s influence in favour of Ferdinand, Joan would not receive the
members, until, under pressure, she did so only to tell them to go home
and not meddle with government any more without her orders. Thus with a
provisional government, whose mandate expired with the year 1506, a
Queen who refused to rule, and already anarchy and rebellion rife in the
South, Castilians could only pray for the prompt return of King
Ferdinand, who, but a few short weeks before, had been expelled with
every circumstance of insult and ignominy the realm he had ruled so

No entreaty could prevail upon Joan to fulfil any of the duties of
government. Her father would see to everything, she said, when he
returned; all her future work in the world was to pray for the soul of
her husband, and guard his dead body. On Sunday, 19th December 1506,
after mass at the Cartuja, Joan announced her intention of carrying the
body for sepulture in the city of Granada, near the grave of the great
Isabel, in accordance with Philip’s last wish.[117] The steppes of
Castile in the depth of winter are as bleak and inhospitable as any
tract in Europe. For scores of miles over tableland and mountain the
snow lay deep, and the bitter blast swept murderously. The Queen cared
for nothing but the drear burden that she carried upon the richly
bedizened hearse; and with a great train of male servitors, bishops,
churchmen, and choristers, she started on her pilgrimage on the 20th
December.[118] The nights were to be passed in wayside inns or
monasteries, and at each night’s halt the grisly ceremony was gone
through of opening the coffin that the Queen might fondle and kiss the
dead lips and feet of what had been her husband. At one point on the
way, when after nightfall the cortège entered the courtyard of the
stopping place, Joan learnt that, instead of being a monastery for men,
it was a convent of nuns. Instantly her mad jealousy of women flared up,
and she peremptorily ordered the coffin to be carried out of the
precincts. Through the crude winter’s night Joan and her attendants kept
their vigil in the open field over the precious dust of Philip the
Handsome, until daylight enabled them to go again upon their dreary way.
Such experiences as this could not be long continued, for Joan was far
advanced in pregnancy; and when she arrived at Torquemada, only some
thirty miles from her starting-place, the indications of coming labour
warned her that she could go no further; and here, on the 14th January
1507, her youngest child, Katharine, was born.

There is no doubt whatever that Joan was throughout carefully watched by
the agents of her father and Jimenez; and that, although ostensibly a
free agent, any attempt on her part to act independently or enter into a
political combination would have promptly checked. Her mental malady was
certainly not minimised by her father or his agents; who were as anxious
to keep her in confinement now as her husband had been. Nevertheless,
when every deduction has been made, it is indisputable that in her
morbid condition it might have been disastrous to the country to have
allowed her to exercise full political power at this time, even if she
had consented to do so; though if Ferdinand had not been, as he was,
solely moved by his own interests, the unhappy woman might after his
arrival have been associated with him in the government, and have
retained, at least, her personal liberty and ostensible sovereignty.

Jimenez, in the meanwhile, kept his hand firmly on the helm of State.
The great military orders, of which Ferdinand was perpetual Grand
Master, were at his bidding, and enabled him to hold the nobles in
check,[119] as well as the Flemish party, which claimed for the Emperor
Maximilian the regency of Castile as representing the dead King’s son
Charles. The great Cardinal, far stronger than any other man in Spain,
thus kept Castile from anarchy until the arrival of Ferdinand in July
1508. His methods were, of course, arbitrary and unconstitutional; for
the Queen either would not, or was not allowed to, do anything; but, at
least, Jimenez governed in this time of supreme crisis, as he did at a
crisis even more acute on the death of Ferdinand eight years later: and
when Ferdinand eventually came from Naples everything was prepared for
him to govern Castile as he listed for the ends of Aragon.

So far Ferdinand had triumphed both at home and abroad. The death of
Philip made it necessary for Henry of England to change his attitude and
court the friendship of the King of Spain. Katharine of Aragon, the
neglected and shamefully treated widowed Princess of Wales, once more
found her English father-in-law all smiles and amiability. To please him
further she consented to try to bring about a marriage between Henry
VII., recently a widower by the death of Queen Elizabeth of York, and
poor Joan, languishing by her dead husband’s side at Torquemada. The
proposal was a diabolical one; for Joan’s madness and morbid attachment
to her husband’s memory had been everywhere proclaimed from the
housetops: but Katharine of Aragon made no scruple at urging such a
match, in order to improve her own position in England. Ferdinand gently
dallied with the foul proposal. It was a good opportunity for gaining
some concession as to the payment of Katharine’s long overdue dowry,
without which Henry threatened to break off her match with his son and
heir. So Ferdinand wrote in March 1507 from Naples, praying that the
proposal to marry Joan should be kept very secret until he arrived in
Spain, or Joan ‘might do something to prevent it’; but if she ever
married again he promised that it should be to no one but to his good
brother of England.

Whatever may have been Ferdinand’s real intention, and it would appear
very unlikely that he would have permitted so grasping a potentate as
Henry Tudor to gain a footing, as regent or otherwise, in Castile, his
agent in England was quite enamoured of this plan for getting Joan out
of the way in Spain. ‘No king in the world,’ he wrote on the 15th April
1507, ‘would make so good a husband (as Henry VII.) for the Queen of
Castile, whether she be sane or insane. She might recover her reason
when wedded to such a husband; but even in that case King Ferdinand
would, at all events, be sure to retain the Regency of Castile. On the
other hand, if the insanity of the Queen should prove incurable, it
would perhaps be not inconvenient that she should live in England. The
English do not seem to mind her insanity much; especially as it is
asserted that her mental malady will not prevent child-bearing.[120]

Whilst Katharine in England was, as she says, ‘baiting’ Henry VII. for
her own benefit with the tempting morsel of the marriage with Joan, and
the King of France was offering the hand of a French prince, the Queen
of Castile remained in lethargic isolation at Torquemada, though the
plague raged through the summer in the over-crowded village. Joan had
been told by some roguish friar that Philip would come to life again
there, and she obstinately stayed on in the face of danger; saying when
she was urged to go to the neighbouring city of Palencia, where there
was more accommodation, that it was not meet that a widow should be seen
in public, and the only move she would consent to make was to a small
place called Hornillos, a few miles from Torquemada, in April.[121] She
spoke little, and with the exception of listening to music, of which she
was fond, she had no amusement; but it is evident from at least one
incident that, however strange her conduct might be, she was not
deprived entirely of her reason. Jimenez had obtained from her a decree
dismissing all the Councillors appointed by Philip. These favourites of
her husband were naturally furious, and demanded audience of the Queen
at Hornillos. They were received by her in the church where the corpse
of Philip was deposited. ‘Who put you into the Council?’ she asked them.
‘We were appointed by a decree issued and signed by your Highness,’ they
replied. An angry exchange of words then took place, and Joan, turning
to the Marquis of Villena,[122] who was behind her, told him that it was
his smartness that brought such affront as this upon her. Then she
declared in a resolute tone that it was her wish that every one should
return to the office or position he held before she and her husband
landed in Spain; so that when King Ferdinand arrived he should find
everything as it used to be in his time. This, of course, was a victory
for Ferdinand’s party, but it is clear that Joan knew what she was
talking about on this occasion.[123]

At length, in the early autumn of 1507, came the happy news that King
Ferdinand had landed at Valencia; and, accompanied by a large force, was
entering Castile; being generally welcomed by nobles and people.[124] As
soon as Joan learnt that her father had entered her realm, she caused a
_Te Deum_ to be sung in the church of Hornillos, and set forth to
receive him, carrying always the corpse of her husband, and travelling
only by night, as was now her custom. At a small place called Tortoles,
about twenty-five miles beyond Valladolid, father and daughter met. The
King approached, surrounded and followed by great crowds of nobles and
prelates. He was met at the door of the house by Joan, attended by her
half-sister and the Marchioness of Denia; and as he doffed his cap she
threw back the black hood which she wore as a Flemish widow, and bared
the white coif with which her hair was covered. Casting herself upon her
knees she sought to kiss her father’s hand; but he also knelt and
embraced her tenderly; leading her afterwards by the hand into the
house. Every sign of dutiful submission was given by Joan to her father;
and after several long private conferences between them, Ferdinand
announced that she had delegated to him the government of Castile.



  _After a Painting by Pradilla._

A few days afterwards the whole court moved to another small place,
called Santa Maria del Campo, a few miles nearer Burgos, Joan, as usual,
travelling by night, accompanied by the coffin; and here, at Santa
Maria, the grand anniversary funeral service for Philip was celebrated
(25th September 1507), and Jimenez received the Cardinal’s hat, though
Joan would not allow that joyous ceremony, as she said, to be held in
the church that held her husband’s remains. With infinite trouble
Ferdinand at length persuaded his daughter to accompany him to a larger
town, where more comfort could be obtained, and in early October they
set forth, Ferdinand travelling by day and Joan by night. Suddenly,
however, Joan guessed that they were taking her to Burgos, that dreadful
city where Philip had died. No consideration would induce her to go
another step in that direction; and she took up her residence at Arcos,
a few miles away, whilst Ferdinand established himself at Burgos with
his young French wife, whom Joan received politely.

At Arcos Joan, with her two children, Ferdinand and Katharine, lived her
strange, solitary life for eighteen months, broken only when Ferdinand,
going in July 1508 to reduce Andalusia to order, decided to take his
favourite little grandson and namesake with him. Joan flew into a fury
when she learnt that her child was to be taken from her; and there is no
doubt that the disturbance thus caused aggravated her malady for a time,
although it is said that she forgot the boy in a few days. A curious
idea of her life at Arcos is given in a letter sent on the 9th October
1508 by the Bishop of Malaga, her confessor, to the King. ‘As I wrote
before, since your Highness left, the Queen has been quiet, both in word
and action; and she has not injured or abused any one. I forgot to say
that since then she has not changed her linen, nor dressed her hair, nor
washed her face. They tell me also that she always sleeps on the ground,
as before.’ There follow some medical details, from which the Bishop
draws the conclusion that the Queen would not live long. ‘It is not
meet,’ he says, ‘that she should have the management of her own person,
as she takes so little care of herself. Her lack of cleanliness in her
face, and they say elsewhere, is very great, and she eats with the
plates on the floor, and no napkin. She very often misses hearing mass,
because she is breakfasting at the hour it is celebrated, and there is
no opportunity of her hearing it before noon.’[125]

Before leaving to suppress the revolt in Andalucia, Ferdinand took
effective measures to prevent Joan from being made a tool of faction. He
had tried without success to prevail upon her to remove to the remote
town of Tordesillas, on the river Douro, where there was a commodious
castle-palace fit for her habitation, and the climate was good; but he
posted around Arcos strong forces, commanded by faithful partisans, with
orders that if the Queen at last gave way to the persuasion of her
attendants, and removed to Tordesillas, the troops were to guard her
just as closely and secretly there. But Joan obstinately refused to
move; and Ferdinand found her still there when he returned from the
South in February 1509. Whilst he had been absent, the great magnate in
whose district of Burgos Arcos was situated, the Constable of Castile
(Count de Haro) had been coquetting with the Emperor Maximilian to
displace Ferdinand by his grandson Charles, now nine years old; and the
possession of the person of Joan was of the highest importance.
Ferdinand decided, therefore, that, either willingly or unwillingly,
Joan should be placed where she would be safe from capture by surprise.
When he visited her at Arcos, he found her thin and weak with the cold,
unhealthy climate.[126] ‘Her dress was such as on no account could be
allowed, or is fit even to write about, and everything else looked
similarly, and as if it would be totally impossible for her to go
through another winter if she continued to live in the same way.’

The King stayed with her for some days, without broaching the sore
subject of removing her; but on the 14th February 1509, he had her
aroused at three o’clock in the morning—since he knew she would not
travel in daylight—and told her she must prepare to be gone. She offered
no resistance, but only pleaded for one day to prepare, which was
granted; and she consented to cast away the filthy rags which she had
been wearing, and don proper garments before setting out on the journey
to her new home; carrying her little daughter, Katharine, with her; the
corpse of Philip on its great hearse drawn by four horses, as usual,
leading the way. Although it was evening when she started, great crowds
of people had flocked over from Burgos to see their Queen, who had been
invisible for so long, and was by many thought to be dead.

As the morning sun on the third day was glinting with horizontal rays
the bare brown cornlands that stretch for many miles around Tordesillas
on both sides of the turbid Douro, the wan and weary cavalcade rode over
the ancient bridge. Between the main street and the river stood a
fortress-palace with frowning walls and little windows looking across
the road at the convent of Saint Clara, with its florid Gothic church
and cloisters. Into the palace rode, by her father’s side, with her face
shrouded, Joan, Queen of Castile; and thenceforward, for forty-seven
dreary years, the palace was her prison, until, an old, broken woman of
seventy-six, but wayward and rebellious to the last, she joined her
long-lost husband in the splendid sepulchre in Granada. From the windows
of Joan’s early apartment in the palace, she could see the coffin of
Philip deposited in the convent cloister, and in the first years of her
confinement, she kept her vigil over the corpse in most of her waking
hours, as well as on rare occasions, and closely guarded, attending
commemoratory services in the convent in honour of the dead, until her
undutiful son, the Emperor Charles, either overcoming her resistance, or
perhaps finding the dismal caprice outworn, transferred the mouldering
remains of Philip the Handsome to its last abiding place; whilst Joan
the Mad waited for her release with fierce defiance in her heart, and
revilings on her tongue for all that her oppressors held sacred.

It would not be profitable, even if it were possible, to follow closely
the monotonous life of Joan during her long years of confinement; but,
at certain crises in the political history of her country, her
personality assumed temporary importance, and on these occasions a flood
of light is thrown upon her, which, to some extent, will enable us to
see the reality and extent of her malady, and to judge how far her
laxity in religious observance was the cause of her continued
incarceration. Mr. Bergenroth, in his introduction to the early volumes
of the Calendars of Spanish State Papers, very forcibly urges the view
that Joan was not really mad at all, and that she was sacrificed solely
to the ambition of her husband, her father and her son, in succession.
After carefully considering all the documents adduced by my learned
predecessor as Editor of the Calendars, and many in the Spanish Royal
Academy of History which were unknown to him, I find myself unable to
come to the same conclusion. The separate accounts of her behaviour are
so numerous, and many of them so disinterested, as to leave in my mind
no reasonable doubt that after Philip’s death, whatever may have been
the case before, Joan was not responsible for all her actions. She
appears to have been able on many occasions to discuss complicated
subjects quite rationally, as is not infrequent with people undoubtedly
insane, but her outbursts of rage against religious ceremonies, her
neglect of her person, her persistence for days in refusing food, and
other aberrations, are not only clearly indicative of lunacy, but were
the symptoms repeated exactly in the case of her great-grandson, Don
Carlos, who was undoubtedly insane. At the same time it is clear to see
that there was no reason for keeping her closely confined and isolated
under strong guard, except the dread of Ferdinand, and afterwards of
Charles, that leagues of nobles might make use of her to weaken the
power of the Castilian crown.[127] That this fear was not groundless has
already been shown, and at one point, as will be related presently, the
peril was imminent. That Joan did not seize the opportunity when it was
offered to her after her bitter complaints of her treatment is, in my
view, the best proof that she was not capable of independent rule.

Ferdinand died in January 1516, leaving the whole of his realms to his
grandson Charles in Flanders, in view of Joan’s ‘mental incapacity.’ He
tried almost with his last breath to divide Spain for the benefit of his
younger son, Ferdinand; but was overborne by the remonstrances of his
Council. Jimenez was appointed to be Regent until the new King arrived;
and when Cardinal Adrian, Charles’s ambassador, claimed the Regency in
virtue of a secret authority he produced, Jimenez accepted him as
colleague, but made him a cypher. Up to this period Joan had been under
the care of Ferdinand’s faithful Aragonese friend, Mosen Ferrer, the man
whom rumour accused of having poisoned Philip: whilst her principal lady
in waiting was the Dowager Countess of Salinas. The personal guard of
the Queen was entrusted to the incorruptible _Monteros de Espinosa_, and
there were some companies of Castilians on duty in, and around, the
palace. Mosen Ferrer was hated, especially by the townspeople of
Tordesillas and by the Castilian attendants of Joan, because it was
asserted that he had treated the Queen cruelly, and had not attempted to
cure her. He gave strict orders that Joan should not be told of her
father’s death; but such news could not be hidden, for all Castile was
astir to know what was coming next.

Many of the nobles were around young Ferdinand, and were claiming
Castile for him, in accordance with the old King’s penultimate wish; and
not a few were looking towards Queen Joan. When she first heard the news
she was disturbed to know that Jimenez was not on the spot when the King
died, but was tranquilised to learn that he was on the way, and would
promptly assume the government. No sooner was it known in Tordesillas
that Ferdinand was dead than the townspeople and the Castilian guards
endeavoured to enter the Queen’s apartments and expel Mosen Ferrer: but
the latter and the _Monteros de Espinosa_[128] stood firm, and for weeks
the feud continued. The Guards brought an exorcising priest to cast out
the devils that afflicted the Queen; but Ferrer would not let them enter
the room; though they got into an ante-chamber, where, quite unknown to
the Queen, the exorciser performed his futile incantations through a
hole in the door. As soon as Jimenez had established himself in the
regency, he sent the Bishop of Majorca to set matters right in
Tordesillas. Ferrer, intensely indignant at the accusations against him,
wrote a letter to the Regent, which, being read between the lines, tells
us much. How could he hope to cure the Queen when her own father could
not do so? and how could he be so bad a man as they say, if wise King
Ferdinand entrusted his daughter to his care? This does not seem very
convincing: but when he tries to excuse himself Ferrer makes matters
much worse. It was, he says, only to prevent the Queen from starving
herself to death that he had put her to the torture (_dar cuerda_). He
complains bitterly that though he is not dismissed he is not allowed to
go near the Queen, for fear he should injure her health. Jimenez,
probably recognising that Ferrer had thought more of Aragonese interests
than of the health of Joan, thereupon let him go, and appointed the Duke
of Estrada to be her Keeper.

The first instructions sent by the new King Charles, whose age was
barely sixteen, to the Regent Jimenez concerned Joan. Her custody was so
important, he said, that he agreed, in view of the dissensions amongst
Spaniards, that a Fleming should guard her. Until one was appointed he
directed that ‘whilst she was to be very well treated, she was to be so
closely guarded that if any body should attempt to thwart my good
intentions they may not be able to do it. It is more my duty than that
of any one to care for the honour, contentment, and solace of the Queen;
and if any one else attempts to interfere it will be with an evil
object.’[129] Nevertheless many did attempt to interfere by whispering
doubts to Joan of her Flemish eldest son, in the interests of his young
brother Ferdinand, whom his mother and all Spaniards loved best; and
when in September 1517 one of the _monteros_ approached her and said:
‘Madam, our sovereign lord King Charles, your highness’ son, has arrived
in Spain,’ Joan burst forth in a great rage. ‘I alone am Queen: my son
Charles is but the prince,’ and she always resisted calling him King

Charles and his sister Leonora came to Tordesillas to see their mother
in December. Charles’s tutor and counsellor, Chièvres, first saw Joan to
break to her the news of the presence of her children; and when,
immediately afterwards, they entered the room and knelt before their
mother, she was overcome with joy to see those whom she had left as
little children twelve years before, now in the best period of
adolescence. When Charles and his sister had retired, Chièvres lost no
time in saying that in order to relieve the Queen, and accustom Charles
to rule, it would be well to entrust the government of Spain to him.
Joan made no great objection to this; but it is clear that her intention
was, that he should administer the government for her and not rule on
his own account as he subsequently did; and when, a few months
afterwards, Charles met the Cortes at Valladolid they would only confirm
his power as joint sovereign, jealous as they were of Flemings, on
condition that he swore that if ever Joan recovered her faculties he
would resign the government to her.[130] Thenceforward Joan, though her
name appeared for years on decrees and proclamations, was politically

During his stay at Tordesillas, Charles was distressed to see the sad
fate of his young sister, Katharine, now aged eleven. Joan was fiercely
attached to her, and would hardly let her out of her sight. The child’s
rooms were behind those of the Queen, and could only be reached with
Joan’s knowledge; little Katharine’s sole amusement being to look
through a window which had been specially cut for her, and watch the
people going to the opposite church, and the children playing in the
side lane that led to the river, who were encouraged by money to play
there for her amusement. She never left the palace, and was dressed in
mean rags, such as the Queen herself wore, and Charles, knowing that the
Queen would never let the child go willingly, somewhat cruelly planned
to have her kidnapped. He caused a way into her apartment to be broken
through a tapestry-covered wall from an adjoining gallery; and the girl
and her female attendants were carried away at dead of night to a large
force of horsemen and ladies awaiting her on the opposite side of the
bridge across the Douro; and thence spirited away to Valladolid, where,
dressed in fitting splendour, she was lodged in her sister Leonora’s
palace. When, in the morning, Joan discovered her loss, she was
inconsolable. She would neither eat, drink, nor sleep, she said, until
her child was restored to her, and after two days had passed, and she
still stood firm, the King had to be asked what was to be done. He was
loath to give up the education of his sister; for princesses were
valuable dynastic and international assets; but there was no other way
but to send her back. Charles accompanied her to Tordesillas, and made
terms with Joan; the girl must have proper companions and attendants,
she must dress suitably to her rank, and she must be allowed some little
relaxation and liberty outside the palace. To this Joan consented, and
Katharine lived with her until her marriage with the King of Portugal
six years later.

In March 1518, Charles appointed to the custody of the Queen, the
Marquis of Denia, who held her until his death, and was succeeded by his
son. Soon after his appointment, he wrote a letter to the King which
lifts the veil considerably on Joan’s condition. She tried, he says,
persistently and with artful words, remarkable for one in her condition,
to persuade him to take her out of her prison, and to summon the nobles
of Castile, as she was discontented at the way she was being kept out of
the government, and wished to complain. He details the excuses with
which he put her requests aside, and evidently looks upon her
blandishments as wiles to escape; but assures Charles, as he did for
many years afterwards, that ‘nothing should be done against his
interests,’ whatever that may have meant. But even in this letter we see
signs of Joan’s undoubted madness. A day or two before she had thrown
some pitchers at two of her women, and hurt them; and when Denia went
with a grave face to her and said, ‘How is this, my lady? This is a
strange way to treat your servants; your mother treated hers better;’
Joan rose hurriedly, and the very act of her rising sent her servants
scurrying off in a fright. ‘I am not so violent as to do you any
injury,’ she said; and so began again, and for the next five hours, to
try by wheedling to get him to take her out, ‘for she could not bear
these women.’

In reply to this, Charles warned Denia that his conversations with the
Queen must never be overheard by anybody, and that all his letters about
her must be strictly secret. Thus every few days news of his mother
reached the young King, sometimes reporting improvement, sometimes the
reverse; but always harping upon her desire to get out, her dislike of
her woman attendants, and her extreme irregularity in getting up and
eating, which she often did only at intervals of two days. At this time,
too, began to develop her great repugnance to attend mass. The women
seem to have been a great source of trouble to every one. They were, it
appears, always gadding about the town, telling people of what passed in
the palace, and what the Queen said, especially about religion, and her
desire to go out, and to summon the grandees. What was worse, they
defied Denia to dismiss them, until the King gave him full authority
over them, and brought them to reason. In the autumn of the same year,
1518, there was a visitation of plague in the country, though
Tordesillas had not suffered much, owing to the scrupulous care taken to
isolate the place. The removal of the Queen, however, had to be
considered. ‘If it be necessary,’ wrote the Marquis, ‘we shall want
saddle mules with black velvet housings for the Queen and the
Infanta.... It will also be necessary to take the body of the King, your
father, and if this has to be done, we must put into proper order the
car in which it was brought here, as it is now dismantled. Charles was
against any removal if it could possibly be avoided, but if quite
unavoidable, the Queen might be taken to the monastery of St. Paul at
Moralejo, near Arevalo. If she refused to go, she must be taken by
force; but with as much respect as possible, and with every precaution
against her endeavouring to stay in the open on the way. If she wanted
the corpse of Philip to go with her, a dummy coffin might be made up and
carried, whilst the real one with the body remained behind at

The plague passed away, and the move was not made; and so things passed
with Joan as before. Squalid and unhappy, she resisted as obstinately as
ever the pressure put upon her to attend mass, though more than once she
was violently desirous of going over in Holy Week, or other
anniversaries, to the convent church of St Clara, and on several
occasions had her clothes washed in preparation for the great event;
which Denia himself was inclined to allow, under strict guard, as people
in the town were tattling about her being kept a prisoner. Great efforts
were made by Juan de Avila, the chaplain, to bring Joan to a better
frame of mind about religion; and in June 1519 he writes a curious
letter to the King, beseeching him to do his duty by his mother;
‘especially for the salvation of her soul.’ Perhaps in answer to this
Charles ordered Denia to insist that the Queen should hear mass. She had
wished it to be said at the end of a corridor, instead of in a special
room adjoining her own, as Denia desired, and, at last, rather than she
should not hear it at all, she was allowed to have her way; and an altar
and chapel were screened off by black velvet hangings at the end of the
corridor. She went through the service with great devotion until the
_evangelium_ and the _pax_ were brought to her, when she refused them,
but motioned that they should be administered to her daughter.

This attendance at mass continued for some time, to the immense
jubilation of Denia and the priests; but as the day approached when
Charles was to leave Spain for Germany to claim the imperial crown, in
consequence of Maximilian’s death (January 1519), the effervescence and
discontent in Castile at the prospect of an absentee King drawing money
from Spain for foreign purposes, penetrated in some mysterious way the
prison-palace of Joan the Mad. For hours the Queen railed at Denia for
not having summoned the Grandees, as she had requested him to do so
often. She was being disgracefully treated, she said; everything
belonged to her, and yet she was being denied what she required. She
excitedly summoned the treasurer, and demanded money of him, which he
was not allowed to give her. So vehement did she become, that at last
Denia forbade any one to speak to her at all. She would go to
Valladolid, she said; and at another time she would dress to go over to
the convent church, though she was not allowed to go. She ordered Denia
to write to her son, asking that she should be better treated; and that
the grandees should come to her to consult about the realm. Denia, at
his wit’s end to pacify her, on one occasion, for, as he says, ‘she uses
words fit to make the very stones rise,’ had the inspiration to mention
her father, as if he were still alive, and at the head of affairs; and
for a time all the disagreeable answers given to her were said to be by
order of King Ferdinand, for whose wisdom she had a great respect. But
this lie gave her a new idea. If her father were alive, he could help
her; and she ordered Denia to write and tell him that she could no
longer stand the life she led. She was badly treated, and as a prisoner,
her son, Ferdinand, had been taken away from her, and she feared they
were going to rob her of her daughter Katharine; but, if they did, she
would kill herself. Denia fell more and more into her black books, as
the discontent at Charles’s departure grew in the country, and echoes
reached the Queen’s prison of the public indignation at her seclusion,
and wild rumours of intentions to rescue her. On one occasion (July
1520) she ordered Denia to open a doorway from her apartments into the
corridor where mass was said. He was suspicious and refused, whereupon
she fell into a violent rage with him, and heaped upon him outrageous
words without measure. No wonder the poor man deplores that everybody
believes he keeps her prisoner (as indeed he did, though he says not),
and he advocates her entire seclusion, although the best way to
undeceive the people, he says, would be to let them see her, and
recognise her sad condition.

Charles sailed from Corunna on 20th May 1520. During the time he had
been in Spain he, or rather his rude, greedy gang of Flemings, had
driven Castilians to desperation. Jimenez, who had held the country for
him in his absence in the face of the nobles and young Ferdinand, had
been contemptuously dismissed—and probably poisoned on Charles’ arrival:
young Ferdinand had been packed off to Flanders: Flemings had crowded
all the great posts, to the exclusion of Spaniards: Joan was not
presented before the Cortes as Queen jointly with her son, as she should
have been; and now, to crown all, the Constitution of Castile had been
violated by the insolent young foreigner who was to rule, not Spain
alone, but half the world. He had held a Castilian Cortes outside the
limits of Castile itself, and had coerced the deputies to vote him large
sums of money to be spent away from Spain. The nobles were already
seething with discontent, and now the people in the towns, who paid all
the taxes, rose and hanged some of the deputies who had voted away their
money for an absent king.

Then, like a well-laid train, all Castile blazed into revolt. It was a
great social, industrial and political struggle, which ended in the
financial impotence of the Cortes of Castile, and the decadence of the
Castilian nobility. The complicated details of the revolt cannot here be
told, but only those points in which Joan was personally concerned. The
governing committee of the revolutionary Comuneros met at Avila at the
end of July 1520, headed by the gentry, and, to some extent, secretly
encouraged by the great nobles. The Flemish Regent, Cardinal Adrian, was
paralysed with dismay at the extent of the rising, and did nothing;
whilst to the cry of ‘Long live the King and Queen: down with evil
ministers,’ every Spanish heart responded. The manifesto published by
the committee announced that the revolutionaries had risen in the
interests of the imprisoned Queen Joan; and early in August a committee
of the council of Castile, the supreme executive body of the Regent’s
government, with its president, Bishop Rojas, presented themselves
before Joan in her palace of Tordesillas, to beg her to sign decrees
against those who were in arms. Joan was to all appearance calm, and
replied to the demand for her signature, ‘It is now fifteen years that I
have been kept from the government and badly treated; and this marquis
here’ (pointing to Denia), ‘is he who has lied to me most.’ Denia,
confused, replied: ‘It is true, my lady, that I have lied to you, but I
have done so to overcome certain prejudices of yours. I may tell you
now, that your father is dead, and I buried him.’ The Queen shed tears
at this, and turning to Rojas, murmured between her sobs, ‘Bishop,
believe me, all that I see and hear is like a dream.’ Rojas pressed his
point. ‘My lady, I can assure you that your signature to these papers
will work a greater miracle than Saint Francis; for, after God, in your
hands now rests the salvation of these realms.’ ‘Rest now,’ replied the
Queen, ‘and come back another day.’

On the morrow the committee of the council saw the Queen again, and as
there was no seat but hers in the room, the president mentioned that it
was not meet that they should be kept standing. ‘Bring a seat for the
council,’ directed the Queen; but, as the attendants were bringing in
chairs, she said, ‘No, no, not chairs, but a bench; that was the rule in
my mother’s time: but the bishop may have a chair.’ After another long
conference the Queen directed the committee to return to Valladolid and
discuss again, in full council the papers to which they requested her
signature; and thus, unsatisfied, the members left her, only to find
themselves prisoners at Valladolid, which was now in the hands of the
rebels, who were rapidly marching upon Tordesillas at the urgent request
of the townspeople of the latter place, to save Queen Joan from being
carried away by the government party.

The rebels had no time to communicate with Joan as to their aims before
they appeared outside the walls of the town on the 29th August. As soon
as Joan learnt of their coming she ordered the townspeople to welcome
them; and so, amidst salute of cannon and enthusiastic cheers, Padilla,
the rebel leader, and his host were escorted into the town, and passed
before the Queen, who stood in a balcony of the palace. After resting
and changing their garments, Padilla and other chiefs sought audience of
the Queen. Joan received him smilingly. ‘Who are you?’ she asked, as he
knelt before her. ‘I am Juan Padilla, my lady,’ he replied, ‘son of the
captain-general of Castile, a servant of Queen Isabel, as I am a servant
of your Highness.’ And then the insurgent chief told the astonished
Queen all that had happened since old King Ferdinand died: how the evil
foreign advisers of young Charles had brought all Spain into revolt, and
that Padilla and the commons of Castile were ready to die in the service
of their own Queen Joan. She expressed her wonderment at all this. She
had been kept a prisoner, she said, for nearly sixteen years, and Denia,
her gaoler, had hidden everything from her. If she had been sure of her
father’s death she would have gone forth and have prevented some of this
trouble in her realm. Then, addressing Padilla, she said: ‘Go now; I
order you to exercise the authority of captain-general of the realm.
Look to all things carefully, until I order otherwise.’

Joan thus made herself the ostensible head of the revolution; and on
many subsequent occasions conferred with the leaders in arms at
Tordesillas, fully approving of their proceedings and aims. She tried to
exonerate Charles on account of his youth and inexperience of Spain, but
clearly indicated her intention to govern for herself in future. Most
important of all, she authorised the leaders to summon the Cortes to
meet at Tordesillas. The weak, foreign Cardinal Regent could only
ascribe Joan’s attitude to her madness; though, as he wrote to Charles,
the people regard it as a proof of her sanity. Denia was now almost a
prisoner, but the revolutionary leaders could never persuade Joan to
sign his formal dismissal, though they, on their own authority, turned
both the marquis and his wife unceremoniously out of the town when
Tordesillas became the centre of the rebel government in September, and
the Cortes held its sittings there.[131]

Joan met her Parliament in the hall of the palace, and listened
patiently to the lengthy harangues of the deputies. In her reply, which
seems to have been extempore, she spoke at great length of her father,
whose death had been concealed from her. During his life she was at
ease, because she knew no one would dare to do harm. But she now saw how
the country and herself had been abused and deceived, to the injury of
the people whom she loved so much. She wished she were in some place
where she could direct affairs better; but as her father had placed her
there, either because of the woman who took her mother’s place, or for
some other reason, she could do no more than she had done. She wondered
that the Spaniards had not avenged themselves before upon the foreigners
who had come with her son. She thought at first that these foreigners
had meant well to her boys; whom they had, she was told, taken back to
Flanders; but she saw differently now, and she hoped no one here had any
evil meaning towards her sons. Even if she were not the Queen she ought
to have been better treated, for, at least, she was the daughter of
great sovereigns; and she was in favour of the Comuneros, because she
saw they were anxious to remedy the abuses of which she complained. All
this seemed quite sane, but at the end of the speech there is a pathetic
ring of self-distrust that tells the sad tale. ‘To the extent of my
power I will see to affairs, either here or elsewhere. But if, whilst I
am here, I cannot do much it will be because I am obliged to spend some
time in calming my heart and strengthening my spirit, on the death of
the King, my husband. But as long as I am in disposition for it, I will
attend to affairs.’[132]

The democratic excesses of the revolutionary Committee, together with
the diplomacy of Charles, were gradually enlisting the great nobles on
the side of the government. Although Joan’s attendants generally were in
her favour, and continued to assert her sanity now they had got rid of
the Denias, her confessor, Juan de Avila, was always secretly faithful
to the Regent; and whispered warnings constantly in the Queen’s ear. It
was evident after a short time also to the revolutionary junta that Joan
was not sane; as they wrote from Tordesillas to the city of Valladolid
saying that they had summoned all the best physicians in Spain to her;
and, apparently finding human aid powerless, they had ordered
processions and prayers for her restoration to health. The Regent,
indeed, writing to Charles in October, says that the Queen cannot last
long if she does not escape from the power of the rebel government; as
she was much worse after Denia went. She no longer sleeps in a bed, he
says, nor eats regularly, but keeps her food all around her cold until
it goes bad. At another time, after she had eaten nothing for three
days, she was given the accumulated food of the whole period at once.
The government party asserted that all the poor woman’s crazy caprices
were acceded to, and even threats resorted to by the junta, in order to
get her to sign the decrees necessary to legitimise their action; but
she continued obstinate in her refusal to put her hand to anything.[133]

The junta began to grow desperate; for the forces against them were
growing daily, whilst they made no progress, depending, as they did, for
legality upon obtaining the signature of a lunatic. They tried to bribe
the poor woman to sign by promising to take her away from Tordesillas;
but that was fruitless: on another occasion, in the middle of the night,
a hue and cry was raised that the Constable of Castile with a great
force of government troops was outside, and the Queen was told that the
‘tyrants’ had come to seize her. ‘Tell the Constable,’ she replied, ‘not
to do anything until the daylight comes; and then I will see about it.’
Things thus went from bad to worse for the rebellion. This was the one
chance of Joan’s life, and she missed it. For months she trifled and
smiled upon the rebel junta, but would sign nothing; and early in
December the government troops were strong enough to make a dash for
Tordesillas, which they took by assault after four hours of desperate
fighting; the rebel junta flying in a panic from the place. Joan
welcomed the victors with a smiling face. She had been expecting and
wishing they would come, she said; and had ordered that the nobles
should be admitted before the fight began.

During the battle she with the Infanta had left the palace, carrying her
jewels with them, and had ordered the corpse of Philip to be taken from
the church and carried with them out of the town. Before it could be
done, in the confusion, the royal troops entered, and they found the
Queen and her daughter crouched in the doorway of the palace trembling
with fright. The great nobles who came to the capture of Tordesillas
were full of lip service to Joan, and she, flattered apparently by their
deference, professed delight at their coming; but from the moment the
rebel junta fled before the Constable’s troops at Tordesillas without
her signature, Joan was a closely watched prisoner. Denia and his wife,
with their harsh methods, came back, to the loudly expressed disgust,
not only of Joan, but of some of the greatest of the Castilian nobles,
who saw how his presence irritated her;[134] but Charles would permit no
change in his mother’s keeper, for he knew he could depend upon Denia to
keep her close.

In April 1521, the Comuneros were finally crushed at the battle of
Villalar, and the yoke of imperialism forged unwittingly by Ferdinand
the Catholic, and open-eyed by Charles the Emperor, was fixed upon the
neck of Spain until it strangled her. Thenceforward Joan was but a
shadow in the world, to which she no longer appertained.

The person most to be pitied, until marriage rescued her in 1524, was
the poor young Infanta Katharine. The Denias came back vowing vengeance
against every one who they thought had been polite to the rebels, and
the Infanta, as well as the Queen, had to feel their petty tyranny. The
girl wrote indignantly to her brother of the wretched straits to which
she was reduced by them, and also of the persecution of her mother by
them. Amongst other complaints, the following may be quoted. ‘For the
love of God, pray order that if the Queen wishes to walk in the gallery
looking on to the river, or in the matted corridor, or to leave her
chamber for pastime, they shall not prevent her from doing so. And pray
do not allow the servants and daughters of the marchioness, or others,
to go to my closet through the Queen’s rooms, but only the persons who
serve; because, in order that the Queen may not see them, the
marchioness orders the women to shut the Queen up in her chamber, and
will not allow her to go into the passages or hall, but keep her in the
chamber where there is no light but candles; for there is nowhere else
for her to go, and she will not leave the chamber until she is dragged
out: or, if she would, the women are there to prevent her.’ This is the
Infanta’s own version; but the Denias’ story is that the young princess
is not allowed by her mother to see any one but a common servant, and
has not the fit company of ladies. To make matters worse for the girl
the Denias accused her of favouring the rebels, which she indignantly
denied, and made peace successfully with her brother. Her departure from
Tordesillas for her marriage afflicted Joan greatly, and for the rest of
the Queen’s life there was no one to stand between the emperor and her

During the long years of Joan’s seclusion, the principal feature of her
aberration was its anti-religious tendency. It is true that she often
demanded the summoning of the nobles, and continued her eccentricity in
eating and sleeping, but the strange antipathy she showed, and often
violently expressed, to the services of her church, was a scandal worse
than any in a country where thousands of people were being burnt for a
tenth part of what the Queen allowed herself to say and do. The whole of
the emperor’s system was based upon the enforcement of universal
religious orthodoxy by Spain: and it was a bitter affliction for him to
know that his mother, and rightful Queen, was madly opposed, at
intervals, to the ceremonies imposed upon the rest of Spaniards. Denia
in his letters to the Emperor, on several occasions, drops dark hints
that torture should be applied—as it evidently had been applied to Joan
years before by Mosen Ferrer. Speaking of her obstinacy soon after the
rebel defeat, and advising that she should be transferred to the
fortress of Arevalo, which he thought safer and more loyal to Charles,
he says: ‘Your Majesty may be sure that this will not be done with the
Queen’s goodwill, for it is not to be expected that a person who refuses
to do anything beneficial, either for her body or her soul, but does
quite the contrary, will agree to this. And, in good truth, if your
Majesty would use pressure[135] upon her in many things, you would serve
God and benefit her Highness, for people in her condition really need
it. Your grandmother, Queen Isabel, served her Highness, her daughter,
in this way, but your Majesty will do as you think best.’

Denia, whilst recommending the employment of force for the removal of
the Queen, did not wish to appear personally as the instrument, but
recommended that the President of the Council of Castile should be sent
with the Emperor’s order for her to submit, and if she resisted, to have
her seized and put into a litter by force in the night time, and carried
off. The removal of the Queen, often urged by Denia for years, on the
ground of the accessibility of Tordesillas to disaffected people, does
not seem ever to have taken place.[136] Denia’s desire to lodge Joan in
a strong isolated fortress is also explained by him on the ground of the
scandal caused by the Queen’s religious attitude. In the letter just
quoted, where he recommends torture, he relates that on Christmas night,
whilst early matins were being sung in the presence of the Infanta, the
Queen came in search of her daughter, and screamed out in anger for them
to clear the altar of everything upon it; and she had to be forcibly
taken back to her rooms. He relates also that: ‘She often goes into the
gallery overlooking the river, and calls to any one she sees to summon
the troops to kill each other. Your majesty may judge from all this what
is best to do, and what we have to put up with.’

These hints at personal punishment of the Queen are repeated again and
again over a series of years by Denia, though, so far as can be gathered
from the Emperor’s replies, he gave no instructions for it to be done.
In 1525 Denia writes: ‘Nothing would do so much good as some pressure
(_i.e._, punishment or torture), although it is a very serious thing for
a subject to think of applying such to his Sovereign. Perhaps it will be
best to try what effect a good priest would have upon Her Highness ... a
Dominican would be best, as she does not like Franciscans.’ On another
occasion soon afterwards, when Charles had decided to have his mother
secretly carried by night to the impregnable castle of Toro, not far
from Tordesillas, Denia remarks that he had taken measures that no
persons should be in the streets to witness her arrival, ‘for, in good
truth, I myself am ashamed of what I hear and see.’

And so from year to year the Queen’s religious aberrations consigned her
to constantly increased seclusion to avoid scandal. The Emperor and his
only son Philip visited the Queen at least on one occasion at
Tordesillas, and during the regency of Philip in 1552, whilst Charles
was in Germany, the Prince, much more rigidly devout even than his
father, and shocked at the continued refusal of his grandmother to
attend the services of the Church and fulfil her religious duties, sent
to Tordesillas the saintly Jesuit Francis of Borgia, Duke of Gandia, to
exert his influence upon the Queen. His success was very small. For
weeks Joan refused to conform, until, at last Borgia persuaded her to
make what is called a ‘general confession,’ and he thereupon gave her
absolution;[137] but directly he left she relapsed into her former
indifference again.

When Philip was leaving Spain to marry Mary, Queen of England, in 1554,
he sent Father Borgia again to try to bring Joan to her religious
duties. She heard the good father patiently, and when he had finished
his exhortations, she endeavoured to make terms. Yes, she would hear
mass, and confess, and receive absolution, and the rest of it, if the
women attendants upon her were sent away, as they always mocked her
whilst she was at her devotions. ‘If that be so,’ replied Father Borgia,
‘the Inquisition shall deal with them as heretics;’ and he at once wrote
to Philip recommending that they should pretend to hand the women over
to the Holy Office, place crosses and images of saints about the Queen’s
rooms, say daily mass on the corridor altar, and if the Queen objected,
tell her that it was done by the order of the Inquisition. He also
proposed to bring some priestly exorcisers to cast out the devils that
afflicted the Queen; but this Philip would not allow. The effect of
Borgia’s efforts on this occasion was, that when Prince Philip on his
way to Corunna to sail for England called at Tordesillas, he found Joan
to his delight going through the ordinary religious rites without
resistance. But her devotion was clearly only on the surface, and her
new confessor Friar Luis de la Cruz, soon reported that he dared not
expose himself to the peril of committing a grave act of sacrilege by
administering the sacraments to the Queen, and resigned his office. It
appears, amongst other things, that she always shut her eyes at the
elevation of the Host at the mass, and on one occasion she violently
told her attendants to throw away the blessed tapers they carried before
her, as she said they stank.

Since the summer of 1553, Joan, then an old woman, had suffered from
swelling of the lower limbs, which almost crippled her; and in February
1555, after a bath of very hot water, the legs broke out into open
wounds. Thenceforward the course of her illness presented an
extraordinary resemblance to that which proved mortal in the case of her
grandson, Philip II. Dreadful gangrenous sores, which she refused to
have dressed or washed, caused her the most awful torment. She paid no
heed to the directions of doctors or nurses; and when her
grand-daughter, the Infanta Joan, came over from Valladolid with the
best medical men procurable, the Queen violently refused to see them or
allow them to examine her. Thus, lying in repulsive squalor and filth,
the poor creature was told that Father Borgia had come to see her. She
angrily refused to listen to him at first, but she was weak, and his
persistence seems finally to have conquered. By and bye she admitted
that she was sorry for her errors, and deplored the divagations of her
spirit. At the request of Borgia she repeated the apostle’s creed and
confessed; but just as he was about to administer the _viaticum_, she
expressed some scruple at receiving it. Learned theologians were
summoned in haste from Salamanca; and a few days afterwards, on the 11th
April 1555, the famous Dr. Soto was closeted with her for hours. His
report was that, though she had privately told him things that consoled
him, the Queen was not fit to receive the Eucharist; though extreme
unction might be administered.

That same night the last rites were performed. Leaning over the dying
woman with a crucifix, the priest told her that the last hour for her
was come, and that it behoved her to ask God for pardon. By signs and
gestures of grief and contrition, she expressed what her poor palsied
tongue refused to utter; and Father Borgia, believing her beyond speech,
asked her to signify whether he should recite the creed for her. To the
astonishment of every one she suddenly recovered her power of utterance,
and replied, ‘You begin it, and I will repeat it after you.’ When the
last amen was said, the saintly Jesuit placed a crucifix to the lips of
the dying woman. ‘Christ crucified aid me,’ she had strength yet to say,
and then Joan the Mad passed to the land where all are sane. For twenty
years her body lay in the Convent of St. Clara, opposite her prison
palace; upon the same spot where the coffin of her husband had rested
for so many years; and then, in 1574, she was carried at last to the
sumptuous tomb at Granada, to join for the rest of time the dust of him
that she had loved not wisely but too well.

The foregoing account of the life of this most unfortunate of queens,
gathered entirely from the contemporary statements of persons who knew
her, tends irresistibly to the conclusion that her early rigid training,
followed by her life in Flanders, had implanted in her mind a dislike of
the stern bigotry which characterised the religion of Spain under the
influence of the Inquisition; and that this dislike grew to hatred when
her mind became permanently unsettled. Her strict seclusion and cruel
treatment do not appear to have been so necessary for her own health, or
even primarily for the public welfare, as for the interests of her
father and son, whose autocratic power was threatened by any combination
of nobles acting in her name, and whose policy largely depended upon the
maintenance of strict religious orthodoxy. To leave at liberty and
accessible a feeble-minded Queen who desired to govern through the
nobles, and hated the religion of the Inquisition, would have been to
invite disaster to the very basis upon which the vast edifice of Spanish
autocratic power at its grandest was erected. It might have been better
for Spain in the long run, but it would have been ruin for Ferdinand and
Charles; and to their interests successively Joan the Mad was

                                BOOK III
                               MARY TUDOR
                       QUEEN OF ENGLAND AND SPAIN

In the noble gallery at the Prado there hangs the full-length seated
portrait of a lady of peculiarly modern aspect, painted by Titian from
sketches and descriptions in his extreme old age.[138] Her sad, sweet
smile, vague, lymphatic eyes, and high prominent forehead, give to the
face a character of far away ideality, such as marked so many of the
members of her house: for this is Isabel, the consort of the Emperor,
and she, like the greater Isabel’s mother, belonged to the fated royal
family of Portugal, whose tainted blood so often carried to its
possessors the mysticism that degenerates into madness. Throughout the
poor lady’s life of barely thirty-six years, she was overshadowed by the
tremendous responsibility of being the mother of the Cæsar’s children.
During the long and frequent absences from Spain of Charles V. in his
life-struggle against France and heresy on the one side, and the powers
of Islam on the other, the Empress Isabel, as Regent, controlled by a
council mainly of churchmen, had to squeeze funds for the imperial wars
from the commons of Castile, well nigh crushed into financial impotence
since the defeat of the parliamentary champions at Villalar.

Like all those who came into immediate contact with Charles in his
imperial capacity, his wife was humbly subordinate to the overwhelming
magnitude of the policy which he directed, and she had no share in
moulding events. For her the glory was sufficient to have borne her
husband a son who lived, besides daughters and two boys who died of
epilepsy in infancy. The mother of Philip of Spain looked with
reverential awe upon her own child, so great and important to mankind
was held to be the inheritance to which he was to succeed; and when she
flickered out of life in 1539, the boy of twelve was her main
contribution and justification to a world which had only known her as
Cæsar’s wife, and only remembered her as Philip’s mother.

In the atmosphere of hushed reverence and rigid sacrifice to imperial
ends that filled the monastic court of Spain in the absence of the
Emperor, Philip was never allowed to forget for an hour the destiny,
with all its duties, its responsibilities, and its power, for which he
was taught that God had specially selected him as son of his father. As
a boy regent in the Emperor’s first great trial of strength with the
German Lutherans, his heart had ached at the sufferings of Spain from
the cruel drain of blood and treasure for the war in which she had no
direct concern; but when he dared, almost passionately, to remonstrate
with his father at the ruin which he himself was forced to impose upon
the people he loved, he was coldly reminded that it was the cause of God
that he and his were fighting, and all earthly considerations must be
sacrificed for its triumph. Philip was the son of his forbears, and he
learnt his lesson well. Like his grandmother Isabel, he had no love of
cruelty for its own sake, but like her he held the mystic belief that he
and the Most High were linked in community of cause, and that the
greater the suffering the greater the glory. He never spared himself or
others when the cause for which he lived, the unification of the faith,
demanded sacrifice; but fate was cruel in the era she chose for him. The
age when Charles and his son were pledged to force all men to take their
faith unquestioned from Rome at the tips of Spanish pikes was that in
which the rebellious Monk of Wittemburg had challenged Rome itself, and
the world was throbbing with the new revelation, that beyond the
trappings that man had hung upon the church, there was a God to whom all
were equal, and to whom all might appeal direct.

So, throughout the century of strife, both Charles and his son, rigid as
they were, were always obliged to conciliate England, whatever its faith
might be; for France, and heresy in their own dominions, were ever the
nearest enemies; and for England permanently to have thrown in its lot
with either of them would have consigned Spain to impotence. Henry VIII.
might defy the Pope, despoil the Church, and insultingly repudiate his
blameless Spanish wife, but the Emperor dared not quarrel with him for
long together, or provoke him too far. But, withal, it was a hard trial
for the champion of orthodoxy to have to speak fair and softly to his
heterodox, excommunicated uncle, and welcome alliance with the power
that was a standing negation of the cause for which he lived. Still
harder was it when Henry was dead; for his personal prestige was great,
and his professions of orthodoxy were emphatic, apart from his personal
quarrel with the Papacy. But to him there succeeded a child-king ruled
by men of small ability, determined to alter the faith of England
itself, and make a durable friendship with Spain impossible.

Then almost suddenly the whole aspect of affairs changed. It had been
known for some time that the young King of England, Edward VI., was
failing, and would probably die without issue; but the uncertain element
had been the extent of the Duke of Northumberland’s power and the
strength of English Protestantism. Edward VI. died on the 7th July 1553,
and the undignified collapse of Northumberland at once decided the
Emperor’s plans. The treachery of Maurice of Saxony had brought Charles
to the humiliating peace of Passau, and had made for ever impossible the
realisation of the great dream of making Philip Emperor as well as King.
It was the heaviest blow that Charles had ever suffered; and, if he
could have appreciated its significance, he would have seen that it
proved the impossibility of the task he had undertaken. He was still at
war with the enemy, France, who had supported his Lutheran princes, and
he was burning to avenge the crowning disaster of Metz, when the death
of the boy King of England opened to his mind’s eye the gates of a
shining future. The hollow crown of the Empire might go, with its poor
patrimony and its turbulent Lutheran subjects, the fat Portuguese dowry
he coveted for his son Philip might be cheerfully sacrificed; but if
only rich England could be joined in lasting bonds to Spain, then France
would indeed be in the toils, Flanders and Italy safe, the road to
unlimited expansion in the East open, and Spain, supreme, might give
laws to Latin Christendom, and to heathendom beyond. The prize was worth
bidding for, and Charles lost no time.

                  *       *       *       *       *

In the brilliant summer weather of late July in 1553, a faded little
woman with a white pinched face, no eyebrows, and russet hair, rode in a
blaze of triumph through the green-bordered roads of Suffolk and Essex
towards London. Around her thronged a thousand gentlemen in velvet
doublets and gold chains, whilst a great force of armed men followed to
support if need be the right of Mary Queen of England. It was not much
more than a fortnight since her brother had died, but into that time the
poignant emotions of a century had been crammed. The traitors who had
proclaimed Queen Jane had tumbled over each other to be the first to
betray some of their companions, and all to disown the despotic craven
who had led them, the wretched Northumberland; Protestant London, even,
had greeted with frantic joy the name of the Catholic Queen, whose right
it knew, and whose unmerited sufferings it pitied; but at thirty-seven,
an old maid, disillusioned and wearied by years of cruel injustice, Mary
Tudor came to her heritage resigned rather than elated.

Amongst the crowds of officials and gentlemen who rode out of London to
pay homage to the new Queen, were two men, each pledged to outwit the
other in his quest. They were of similar age, about fifty, both
Frenchmen, though one was born in the Burgundian territory of the
Franche Comté, and both were ambassadors; one, Simon Renard,
representing the Emperor, and the other, Antoine de Noailles, the King
of France, and they went racing towards Chelmsford, each to try to win
Queen Mary to the side of his master. Noailles was the more courtly and
aristocratic; and his insinuating grace made him a dangerous rival, for
it hid a spirit that stopped at no falsity or treachery if it would
serve his turn. But in gaining Mary Tudor he was fatally handicapped,
though when she received him at New Hall she spoke so fairly that he
thought he had succeeded.[139] For Simon Renard represented the power
that throughout all the bitter trials of her life Mary had looked to as
her only friend. Again and again the imperial ambassadors alone had
dared to claim better treatment for her and her outraged mother; and had
threatened her father with vengeance if ill befell her; whilst France
had always taken the opposite side, and egged King Henry on to work his
own will in despite of Spain and the empire. So, though Mary was
diplomatic to Noailles she was friendly to Renard, for to him and his
master she looked to keep secure her trembling throne.

Already it was seen that the Queen must marry. She had been betrothed
times out of number as an instrument of policy, but of her own will she
desired no husband; and when Renard, in a long private chat with her at
New Hall on the 1st August, broached the subject, she told him that she
knew her duty in that respect and would do it, but prayed for the
guidance of the Emperor in her choice of a husband. She was no longer
young, she said, and hoped that too youthful a husband would not be
recommended to her. Renard knew that already English people had chosen
as the Queen’s prospective bridegroom young Courtenay, still in the
Tower as a prisoner; and that failing him, some had thought of Cardinal
Pole; but he knew well, as did the Emperor, that Mary was too proud to
marry a subject, and looked to her marriage as a means of strengthening
her throne; and soon afterwards even Noailles saw that Courtenay had
spoilt his chance by dissoluteness of life, though he continued to make
use of him as a tool for conspiracy against Mary and her Spanish

On the 3rd August the new Queen, dressed in violet velvet, and mounted
on a milk-white pony, came to her city of London through the gaily
decked portal of Aldgate, and so to the Tower, where she released those
who had lain there in prison to suit the policy of the men who had ruled
Edward VI. Events moved apace. Gardiner from a prison was suddenly
raised to the post of chief minister. Bonner, the hated Bishop of
London, came from the Marshalsea to his throne in Saint Paul’s; and
everywhere, though yet illegal, the mass was already being introduced.
The Emperor kept warning Mary to be moderate, and to walk warily; whilst
the churchmen, burning with zeal to come upon their own again, were
obstinately shutting their eyes to all that had happened since bluff
Henry’s death. Renard it was who almost daily saw the Queen with these
messages of modern counsel from his master; and the subject of marriage
was mentioned more than once. Noailles and Gardiner were pushing as hard
as they might the suit of Courtenay; but on the 7th August Mary told
Renard that she saw no fit match for her in her own country, and had
decided to marry a foreigner.

Then gently and tentatively the ambassador mentioned the Emperor’s only
son Philip. She affected to laugh at the idea, for the Prince was only
twenty-seven—the same age as Courtenay, by the way—and, as she said on
another occasion, most of the bridegrooms they offered her might have
been her sons. But Renard saw that his suggestion was not altogether an
unwelcome one, and hastened to ask his master for further instructions.
‘Do not overpress her,’ wrote Granvelle, ‘to divert her from any other
match; because if she have the whim she will carry it forward if she be
like other women.’ But Mary Tudor’s birth and trials had made her not
like other women; and she listened to the tale of marriage, not because
she hankered for a husband, but because she hungered for a son to
present to her people.

Noailles soon got wind of the plan to marry Mary to the Emperor’s son,
and wherever French gold or interest could reach the enemies of the new
regime they were plied with hints of the terrible results that would
come if Spain ruled England by Torquemada’s methods. A gust of panic
swept over London at the idea of an Inquisition; for the Queen had come
at first with promises of toleration, and already the zeal of the
churchmen had darkened the horizon. On the eve of the Queen’s
coronation, on the 1st October, a Spanish resident in London, whilst
professing to despair of the probability of the match, writes words that
show how well aware even private citizens were of the advantage that it
would bring to Spain. ‘And if the Lord vouchsafed us to behold this
glorious day, what great advantage would befall our Spain, by holding
the Frenchmen in check, by the union of these kingdoms with his Majesty.
And if it were only to preserve Flanders his Majesty and his son must
greatly desire it, ... for when the Lord shall call his Majesty away the
Low Countries will be in peril of the Frenchmen attacking them, or of
the Germans (_i.e._, Lutherans) invading them by their help, the succour
from Spain being so remote, and the people (_i.e._, of Flanders) not
being well affected towards our nation. It would also be most
advantageous to Spain, because if aught should happen to the Prince’s
son (_i.e._, Don Carlos) the son born here would be King of both
countries, and, in sooth, this would be advantageous to the English

We may be sure that Mary’s coyly sympathetic attitude was not lost on
the Emperor. But Philip was a man of twenty-seven, a widower since his
boyhood, with a mistress (Isabel de Osorio) whom he loved; and for many
years past he had been his own master, and practically King of Spain,
though nominally only Prince Regent. His marriage, moreover, to a
Portuguese cousin with a rich dowry was in active final negotiation, and
the Emperor could not be sure how the Prince would receive the
suggestion of marriage with an unattractive foreign woman more than ten
years his senior, and living in a far country. He need have had no
distrust. Philip under his system had been brought up from his birth to
regard sacrifice to his mission as a supreme duty. He was a statesman
and a patriot, and he saw as clearly as his father the increment of
strength that the union with England would bring to the cause to which
their lives were pledged; and his reply, given, as Sandoval says, ‘like
a second Isaac ready to sacrifice himself to his father’s will and for
the good of the church,’ was, ‘I have no other will than that of your
Majesty, and whatever you desire, that will I do.’

Promptly on the heels of the courier that bore the dutiful letter to the
Emperor went two nobles of Philip’s household, Don Diego Hurtado de
Mendoza and Don Diego de Geneda, to offer congratulations and greetings
to the new Queen of England in his name. Geneda bore a secret message to
her of a warmer character than mere greeting; and before the sumptuous
coronation in Westminster Abbey on the 1st October, Mary had practically
made up her mind to marry her second cousin. She knew that England,
under Noailles’ artful incitement, was in a ferment of alarm at the
idea; but she was a Tudor; she had some long scores to settle, she
needed strength to do it, and opposition only made her firmer.
Parliament met on the 5th October, and, under pressure from Mary, made a
clean sweep of all the anti-Papal laws that had severed England from
Rome; but when, influenced by Gardiner and prompted by Noailles, the
House of Commons voted an address to the Queen praying her not to marry
a foreigner, Mary sent for the members to wait upon her. The Speaker and
a deputation of twenty parliament men stood trembling before her and
presented their humble address, whilst the angry Queen muttered that she
would be a match for Chancellor Gardiner’s cunning. Her reply to the
Speaker was haughty and minatory: ‘Your desire to dictate to us the
Consort whom we shall choose we consider somewhat superfluous. The
English parliament has not been wont to use such language to its
sovereigns, and when private persons on such matters suit their own
tastes, sovereigns may reasonably be allowed to choose whom they
prefer.’[141] This was the true Tudor way of dealing with the Commons,
and Mary having obtained the religious legislation she needed to
legalise her own position on the throne, promptly dissolved the
parliament she had flouted.

It was only after much prayerful heart-searching that Mary had so far
made up her mind to prefer the Prince of Spain. At first she had tried
to make it a condition that the Emperor should not ask her to marry any
candidate before she had seen him; but this in Philip’s case was
impossible. He was too great a catch to be trotted out for inspection
and approval, and when this was gently put to her by Renard, she
tearfully implored the ambassador, whose hands she seized and held
between her own, not to deceive her with regard to the Prince’s
character. Was he really well conducted and discreet, as he had been
described to her? The ambassador emphatically protested on his honour
that he was; but still the Queen, almost doubting still, wished that she
might see him before she gave her word. A good portrait by Titian was
sent to her, representing the Prince rather younger than he was, a
good-looking young man with the fair Austrian skin and yellow hair, the
slight curly beard hardly masking the heavy jaw and underlip he
inherited from his father. The portrait appears to have banished the
last doubts in Mary’s mind. She had never had a love affair before,
often as she had been betrothed: even now her idea had been to marry
because her position entailed it. But the contemplation of the face of
him who was to be her husband, and Renard’s reiteration of his good
qualities, gradually worked in her mind an intense yearning for the
affection for which she had hungered in vain during her persecuted

On Sunday evening, the 31st October, she summoned Renard to a room
containing an altar upon which the monstrance with the Host was placed.
The Queen was alone, except for her devoted nurse Mrs. Clarencius, when
the ambassador entered; and with much emotion she told him that since he
had presented the Emperor’s letter asking her hand for Philip, she had
been sleepless, passing her time in weeping and prayers for guidance as
to her choice of a husband. ‘The Holy Sacrament is my resource in all my
difficulties,’ she said, ‘and as it is standing upon the altar in this
room, I will appeal to it for counsel now;’ and, kneeling, as did Renard
and Clarencius, she recited _Veni Creator Spiritus_ almost below her
breath. After a short silent prayer she rose, calm and self-possessed,
and told the ambassador that she had chosen him for her father confessor
with the Emperor. She had considered carefully all that had been told
her about Philip, and had consulted Arundel, Paget, and Petre[142] on
the subject; and, bearing in mind the good qualities and disposition of
the Prince, she prayed the Emperor to be indulgent with her, and agree
to the conditions necessary for the welfare of her realm; to continue to
be a good father to her, since henceforward he would be doubly her
father, and to urge Philip to be a good husband. Then solemnly upon the
altar, before the Sacred Presence, she promised Renard that she would
marry Philip, Prince of Spain, making him a good and faithful wife,
loving him devotedly without change.[143] She had wavered long in doubt,
she said, but God had illumined her, and her mind was now made up: she
would marry Philip and no one else.

Renard was overjoyed at the news, which he sent flying to the Emperor,
but kept inviolably secret from all others. But though no one knew,
every one suspected; and the muttering of coming trouble sounded on all
sides. Lady Jane Grey, Northumberland’s three sons, Cranmer, Ridley, and
others, were tried and condemned to death. Risings here and there in the
country burst out sporadically, for disaffection was everywhere;
Noailles’ confabulations with Elizabeth and Courtenay were discovered
and denounced; Pole was stopped by the Emperor on his way to England;
and Gardiner, kept in the dark as to the Queen’s irrevocable promise,
still battled against the project of a Spanish match. But the secret had
to be let out at last, and the Spanish adherents in Mary’s council were
obliged to consult Gardiner as to the marriage treaty. They drove a hard
bargain, notwithstanding all the bribes and blandishments, for they were
determined that the marriage should not mean the political subjugation
of England by Spain; and the King Consort’s power was so fenced around
by safeguards and limitations that when Philip finally heard the
conditions, he was well nigh in despair, for he knew that if they were
fulfilled to the letter the marriage would be useless to Spanish
interests, and that his sacrifice would be in vain. But of this the
populace knew nothing. What they did know was, that a Spaniard was
coming to be their King, and London at least shuddered at the plenteous
hints that Noailles had spread, that the Inquisition and the _auto de
fe_ were coming too.

So when, on the 1st January 1554, a troop of foreign servants and
harbingers rode through the city of London to prepare the lodgings of
the brilliant imperial embassy that was to arrive next day, even the
’prentices gathered as they passed and greeted them with curses and
volleys of snowballs.[144] The brilliant Count of Egmont and his train
landed duly at the Tower wharf on the morrow, to ask formally for the
hand of the Queen for the Emperor’s son. ‘They were met by Sir Anthony
Browne, he being clothed in a very gorgeouse apparel. At the Tower Hill
the earle of Devonshire (_i.e._, Courtenay), with the lorde Garrett and
dyvers others, receyved him in most honorable and famylier wyse; and so
the lorde of Devonshire, gevyng him the right hand, brought him
thoroughte Chepsyde, and so fourthe to Dyrram Place (_i.e._, Durham
House in the Strand), the people nothing rejoysing, helde downe their
heddes sorrowfully.’[145] The formalities were soon got through with a
few solemn banquets and courtly ceremonies, and on the 13th January
Gardiner, with as good a face as he could put upon the matter, made an
oration in the Chamber of Presence at Westminster to the lords and
officials, declaring the Queen’s purpose to marry Philip of Spain: ‘in
most godly lawfull matrimonye: and further, that she should have for her
joynter xxx.^{mil}.. ducketes by the yere, with all the Lowe Country of
Flanders; and that the issue betweene them two lawfully begotten
shoulde, yf there were any, be heir as well to the Kingdome of Spayne,
as also to the sayde Lowe Country. He declared further that we were much
bounden to thanck God that so noble, worthye, and famouse a prince,
would vouchsafe so to humble himself in this maryadge to take upon him
rather as a subject than otherwise: and that the Quene should rule all
thinges as nowe: and that there should be of the Counsell no Spanyard,
nether should have the custody of any fortes or castells, nether have
rule or offyce in the quene’s house or elsewhere in all England.’[146]
Gardiner made the best of it, but the bare fact was enough to send the
friends of the late regime, and not a few of those who had profited by
the plunder of the church, into a delirium of fear. Carews, Wyatts, and
Greys protested, rebelled and collapsed, for England, in the main, was
loyal to Mary, and the vast majority of the people, except in and about
London, bitterly resented the iconoclastic changes of Edward’s reign.
The Queen knew her own mind too, and in the face of danger was as firm
as a rock, for in her sight the Spanish marriage meant the resurrection
of her country and the salvation of her people. Charles and his son
doubtless thought so too in a general way, but that was not their first
object. What they wanted was to humble France permanently by means of
their command of English resources, and to make Spain the dictatress of
the world.

On the very day that poor Wyatt’s ‘draggletayles,’ all mud-stained and
weary with their march from Kingston Bridge, were toiling up Fleet
Street to final failure and the gallows, a dusty courier rode into
Valladolid with the news for Philip, that the offer of his hand had been
accepted by the Queen of England. The prince was at Aranjuez, a hundred
miles away, planning his favourite gardens, when the news reached him,
with the premature addition that the Earl of Bedford was already on the
way to Spain with the marriage contract. Philip stopped his pastime at
once and started the same day for Valladolid with his bodyguard of
horsemen in the scarlet and gold of Aragon. In haste the old city put
itself into holiday garb, and organised tourneys, cane-tiltings and
fireworks, to celebrate the agreement which was to make the beloved
Prince of Spain King of England. The looms and broidery-frames of all
the realms were soon busy making the gorgeous garb and glittering
trappings to fit out the nobles and hidalgos who were to follow their
prince to England, each, with Spanish ostentation, bent upon
outstripping his fellows in splendour. Alba, Medina Celi, Aguilar,
Pescara, Feria, Mendoza and Enriquez, and a hundred other haughty
magnates, were bidden to make ready with their armies of retainers all
in fine new clothes, in spite of Renard’s warning that: ‘_Seulement sera
requis que les Espaignolez qui suyuront vostre Alteze comportent les
façons de faire des Angloys, et soient modestes._’

Philip’s steward, Padilla, was sent hurrying to the coast to receive the
Earl of Bedford, who did not start from England for another month; and
the Marquis de las Novas, loaded with splendid presents from Philip to
his bride, set out for England. Mary was conspicuously fond of fine
garments and jewels, and Philip in his youth, and on state occasions,
wore the richest of apparel; but even they must have been sated at the
piled-up sumptuousness for which their wedding was an excuse. Philip’s
offering to Mary, sent by Las Novas, consisted of ‘a great table
diamond, mounted as a rose in a superb gold setting, valued at 50,000
ducats; a collar or necklace of eighteen large brilliants, exquisitely
mounted and set with dainty grace, valued at 32,000 ducats; a great
diamond and a large pearl pendant from it (this was Mary’s favourite
jewel, and may be seen in the accompanying portrait), the most beautiful
gems, says a contemporary eyewitness, ever seen in the world, and worth
25,000 ducats; and then follows a list of pearls, diamonds, emeralds and
rubies, without number, sent to Mary and her ladies by the gallant

Whilst all these fine preparations were going on in Spain, the Emperor
more than once questioned the wisdom or safety of allowing his son to
risk himself amongst a people so incensed against the match as the
English, and in partial rebellion against it; and Renard held many
anxious conferences with Mary and her council on the subject. The Queen
declared again and again that she would answer for Philip’s safety; and
she put aside, as gently as she could, Renard’s incessant promptings of
greater severity upon Elizabeth, Courtenay and the rest of the suspects
and rebels. Once, at the end of March, Renard told her that if she was
so lenient to rebels, he doubted whether Prince Philip could be trusted
in her realm, ‘as he could not come armed; and if anything befell him it
would be a most disastrous and lamentable scandal. Not only would the
person of his Highness suffer, but also the lords and gentlemen who
accompanied him: and I could not help doubting whether she had taken all
the necessary steps to ensure safety.’ To this she answered, with tears
in her eyes, ‘that she had rather never been born than that any outrage
should happen to the Prince; and she fervently hoped to God that no such
thing would occur. All the members of her Council would do their duty in
their reception of the Prince, and were going to great expense about it.
Her Council shall be reduced to six members, as Paget and Petre had
advised; and she would do her best to dispose the goodwill of her
subjects who wish for the Prince’s coming.’[148]

Mary was overwhelmed with anxiety. ‘She had neither rest nor sleep,’ she
said, ‘for thinking of the means of security for Philip in England.’ But
she would not sacrifice Elizabeth for all the clamouring of Renard, and
even of Gardiner. She knew that the French were almost openly
subsidising rebellion against her; and that her people grew more
apprehensive daily that her marriage with Philip would mean a war with
France for Spanish objects, but she had now set her mind upon the
marriage, and nothing in the world would shake her. Philip, though he
was not personally brave, was equally firm about coming, even at risk of
his life; for his was a spirit of sacrifice and his marriage was a
sacred duty. From duty Philip never shrank, whatever the suffering it

On the 14th May 1554 Philip rode out of Valladolid with nearly a
thousand horsemen in gaudy raiment. First going south west to near the
Portuguese frontier to meet his sister Joan, who had just lost her
husband, the Prince of Portugal, he turned aside to take a last farewell
to his grandmother, Joan the Mad, in her prison-palace at Tordesillas,
and then passed on from town to town, through Leon and Galicia; his
puny, hydrocephalic heir, Don Carlos, by his side, towards Santiago and
Corunna. Loving greeting and good wishes followed him everywhere; for
was he not going to fix upon yet another land, and that a rich one, the
seal that marked it as within the circle of the Spanish realms? Proud
were these hidalgos who rode behind him, proud the Spaniards, high and
low, who welcomed him and sped him on his way, proud the very lackeys in
the smallest squireling’s train; for they were all Spaniards, and they
felt that this was a Spanish victory.

On the vigil of St. John, 23rd June, Philip was received at the gates of
Santiago by kneeling citizens with golden keys as usual; and as he and
his train, all flashing in the southern sun, pranced through the streets
of the apostolic capital, two English lords, Bedford and Fitzwalter, sat
at a window with their mantles before their faces, watching the progress
of their future King. The next morning the English special envoys were
publicly led into Philip’s presence. He met them at the door of the
chamber leading into the great hall, and as the Englishmen bent the knee
and doffed their bonnets the Prince uncovered and bowed low. Bedford, ‘a
grandee and a good Christian,’ we are told by an eyewitness, then handed
the marriage contract to him, and kissed hand, as did his colleagues. On
leaving the room one Englishman said to another, apparently delighted at
Philip’s demeanour, ‘O! God be praised for sending us so good a King as
this’; and the Spaniard who heard the remark and understood English was
only too glad of an opportunity of repeating it to his gratified
compatriots. The envoys had good reason to be pleased with Philip, for
though he was usually a bad paymaster to those who served him, he could
be very liberal when it suited him; and on the day after the state
interview a splendid piece of gold plate, magnificently worked, and
standing nearly five feet high, was presented to Bedford, all the rest
of the Englishmen being dealt with in similar generous fashion.

In the harbour a fine fleet of vessels rode at anchor with several
English royal vessels; and Bedford prayed that Philip would make the
voyage in one of the latter. This, however, was not considered prudent
or dignified; but the English envoys were given the privilege of
choosing amongst the Spanish vessels that which should carry the King.
It was a fine ship they selected, belonging to Martin de Bertondona, one
of the first sailors in Spain; and when Philip went to inspect it the
next day it must have presented a splendid sight, with its towering
gilded poop and forecastle, its thousand fluttering pennons; and over
all the proud royal standard of crimson damask thirty yards long.[149]
At length, after much ceremonious junketing, the heralds announced that
the King would embark the next day, 12th July. There were over a hundred
sail, fully armed and carrying a body of over six thousand men to
reinforce the Emperor, besides six thousand sailors; and when the King
stepped upon his beautiful twenty-four-oared galley, all decked with
silk and cloth of gold, with minstrels and rowers clad in damask
doublets and plumed bonnets to go on board the ship that was to bear him
to England, the ‘Espiritu Santo,’ the great crowd on shore cried aloud
to God and Santiago to send the royal traveller a safe and happy voyage,
and confusion to the French. On the fifth day out a Flemish fleet of
eighteen sail hove in sight off the Land’s End, and convoyed the Prince
past the Needles with some ships of the English navy; and on Thursday,
19th July 1554, the combined fleets anchored in Southampton Water amidst
the thunderous salutes of the English and Flemish ships at anchor there
to greet them.

The English and Flemish sailors had not got on well together during the
stay of the Flemish fleet at Southampton. The officers suspected the
Lord Admiral of England (Lord William Howard) of intriguing with the
French to capture Philip on his way; and reported that he made little
account of the Flemish Admiral, de la Chapelle, and called his ships
mussel shells. When some of the Flemings had landed the English soldiers
had hustled and insulted them in the streets; and by the time Philip
arrived in Southampton water the two naval forces were not on speaking
terms.[150] On shore things were no better. The nobility of England,
usually so lavish, except those around the Queen, were for the most part
sulking as much as they dared. They were too poor, they declared, to
make great and costly preparations to receive the King, and even a
majority of the Queen’s Council were suspected of plotting in favour of
Elizabeth; whilst Noailles was tireless in his efforts to spread alarm
and disaffection.

Bedford had reported that Philip was a bad sailor, but fortunately the
voyage had been a calm one, and he remained at anchor for twenty hours
before he landed for the first time in England; so that he was quite
able to carry out the instructions of his father, and the
recommendations of Renard, to conciliate the English in every possible
way. During his visit years before to Germany and Flanders he had
offended the subjects there by his cold precision of manner and his
Spanish abstemiousness; but from the first hour of his stay in England,
his whole behaviour underwent a change, for at the call of duty he was
even willing to sacrifice all his usual tastes and habits. A crowd of
English nobles and courtiers who were to be Philip’s household came off
at once to salute him on board the ‘Espiritu Santo’; and when the next
day he stepped into the magnificent royal barge that was to bear him to
land, the Earl of Arundel invested him with the badge of the Garter in
the name of the Queen. With him, besides the English lords, there went
in the barge a stately crowd of Spanish grandees, Alba, Feria, Ruy
Gomez, his only friend, Olivares, with Egmont, Horn, and Bergues; but no
soldier or man-at-arms was allowed on shore on pain of death. Philip had
learnt from Renard the agony of distrust felt in England of Spanish
arms, and at the same time came the even less welcome news that the
Emperor had suffered a defeat in Flanders, and needed urgently every
soldier that could be sent to him. So the Spanish fleet was not even
allowed to enter the port of Southampton, but after some delay and much
grumbling on the part of the Spaniards at what they considered churlish
treatment, was sent to Portsmouth to revictual for their voyage to

As Philip stepped ashore, Sir Anthony Browne in a Latin speech announced
that the Queen had appointed him her consort’s master of the horse, and
had sent him the beautiful white charger, housed in crimson velvet and
gold, that was champing its bit hard by. The King would have preferred
to walk the short distance to the house prepared for him; but Browne and
the lords in waiting told him that this was not usual, and the former
‘took him up in his arms and placed him in the saddle, then kissing the
stirrup, marched bareheaded by the side of his new master to the Church
of Holy Rood.’ The King must have looked a gracious figure as he passed
through the curious crowd smiling and bowing, dapper and erect on his
steed, with his short yellow beard and close-cropped yellow head;
dressed as he was in black velvet and silver, with massive gold chains
and glittering gems on his breast, around his velvet bonnet, and at his
neck and wrists; and every one around him, so far as fine clothes went,
was a fit pendant to him. All the English guards, archers, and porters
wore the red and yellow of Aragon; and the nobles in attendance, both
English and Spanish, were splendid in the extreme; but beneath the silk
and jewels beat hearts full of hate. The Spanish servants, 400 of them,
who landed, were not allowed by the jealous English to act for their
master in any way; and at Philip’s public dinner the day before he left
Southampton, Alba forcibly asserted his right to hand the napkin to his
master; whilst all the lowlier courtiers stood by, idly scoffing and
sneering at the clumsy service of their English supplanters.

During the four days of Philip’s stay at Southampton, whilst his
belongings were being landed, splendid presents and loving messages
passed almost hourly to and fro between Mary and her betrothed. Hundreds
of gaily clad servitors, with finely houselled horses, diamond rings and
gold chains galore, came from the Queen at Winchester, though a
continuous pelting rain was falling; and on Monday, 23rd July, the great
cavalcade set out from Southampton 3000 strong. To the disgust of the
Spaniards the King was surrounded by Englishmen alone; and on the way
600 more English gentlemen in black velvet and gold chains met him, sent
by the Queen as an additional bodyguard; followed a few miles further on
by another embassy from her of six pages clad in crimson brocade and
gold sashes, with six more beautiful horses.[151] The rain never ceased,
and soon Philip’s felt cloak failed to keep dry his black velvet surcoat
and his trunks and doublet of white satin embroidered with gold. So wet
was he, indeed, that he had to stay at St. Cross to don another suit
just as splendid, consisting of a black velvet surcoat covered with gold
bugles, and white velvet doublet and trunks. And so clad he and his
train rode to the stately cathedral of Winchester to hear mass; and then
to the Dean’s house close by, where he was to lodge.

That night at ten o’clock, after he had supped, the Earl of Arundel came
and told him that the Queen awaited him at the Bishop’s palace on the
other side of the Cathedral. Once more he donned a change of garments:
this time of white kid covered with gold embroidery; and with a little
crowd of English and Spanish nobles, he crossed the narrow lane between
the two gardens, and entered that of the Bishop by a door in the
wall.[152] A private staircase gave access to the Queen’s apartment, and
there Philip saw his bride for the first time. The apartment was a long
narrow gallery, where Gardiner and several other elderly councillors
were assembled; and as Philip entered the Queen was pacing up and down
impatiently. She was, as usual, magnificently dressed, with many jewels
over her black velvet gown, cut high, with a petticoat of frosted
silver. When her eyes lighted on him who was to be her husband, she came
rapidly forward, kissing her hand before taking his, whilst he gallantly
kissed her upon the mouth, in English fashion.

In her case, at all events, it was love at first sight. The poor woman,
starved and hungry for love all her life, betrayed and ill-treated by
those who should have shielded her, with a soul driven back upon itself,
at last had found in this fair, trim built, young man, ten years her
junior, a being whom she could love without reproach and without
distrust. He confronted the match in a pure spirit of sacrifice; for to
him it meant the victory of the cause for which he and his great father
lived. It meant, sooner or later, the crushing of France, the
extirpation of heresy, and the hegemony of Spain over Europe; and though
Mary was no beauty, Philip was a chivalrous gentleman, and, having
decided to offer himself as a sacrifice for the cause, he did so with a
good grace. Sitting under the canopy side by side, the lovers chatted
amicably; he speaking in Spanish and she in French, though she made some
coquettish attempts to teach him English words.

The next day brought fresh changes of gorgeous raiment, this time of
purple velvet and gold, and the public reception of Philip by his bride
in the great hall. There, under the canopy of state, the betrothed
pledged each other in a cup of wine, whilst the Spanish courtiers
sneered at everything English, and the Englishmen frowned at the
Spaniards. On the day of St. James, the patron saint of Spain (25th
July), the ancient cathedral was aglow with brilliant colour. All the
pomp that expenditure could command, or fancy devise, was there to
honour a wedding which apparently was to decide the fate of the world
for centuries. The Queen, we are told, blazed with jewels to an extent
that dazzled those who gazed upon her, as she swept up to her seat
before the altar, with her long train of cloth of gold over her black
velvet gown sparkling with precious stones. Philip wore a similar
mantle, covered with gems, over a dress of white satin almost hidden by
chains and jewels. Upon a platform erected in the midst of the nave,
Philip and Mary were made man and wife by Bishop Gardiner, who
afterwards proclaimed to the assembly that the Emperor had transferred
to his son the title of King of Naples.

At the wedding banquet in the bishop’s palace that afternoon Mary took
precedence of her husband. She sat on the higher throne, and ate off
gold plate, whilst Philip was served on silver; and Spaniards scowled at
the idea that their prince should be second to any. The solid
sumptuousness and abundance of everything struck the Spaniards with
amazement, both at the banquet and at the ball and supper which
followed. But the richer the country the greater their disappointment.
Already they were grumbling that the sacrifice the King had made was
vain. Philip, after all, was not to be master in England, and must go to
a council to ask permission to do anything with English resources. Nay,
said the courtiers, so far from being master, it is he who has to dance
as these Englishmen play: he must bend to their prejudices and caprices,
not they to his, as was fitting for vassals. The English, on their side,
were just as dour under the terrifying predictions of French agents; and
as the royal lovers travelled to Basing, and so to Windsor, Richmond and
London, matters grew worse and worse.

Philip and Renard did their best to smooth ruffled susceptibilities. All
acts of clemency were ostentatiously coupled with Philip’s name, and the
King surpassed himself in amiability and generosity.[153] Mary, in the
meantime, was perfectly infatuated with her young husband, and he was
kind and gentle to her, as he was to each of his wives in turn. ‘Their
Majesties,’ writes a Spanish courtier, ‘are the happiest couple in the
world, and are more in love with each other than I can say. He never
leaves her, and on the road is always by her side, lifting her into the
saddle and helping her to dismount. He dines with her, publicly
sometimes, and they go to mass together on feast days.’ Then the same
writer continues: ‘These English are the most ungrateful people in the
world, and hate Spaniards worse than the devil. They rob us, even in the
middle of the city, and not a soul of us dares to venture two miles away
for fear of molestation. There is no justice for us at all. We are
ordered by the King to avoid disputes and put up with everything whilst
we are here, and to endure all their attacks in silence.... We are told
that we must bear everything for his Majesty’s sake.’[154]

Spanish nobles were openly insulted in the streets of London, and
Spanish priests stoned in the churches: but this was not the worst. What
galled most was the growing conviction that all this humiliation was in
vain. Instead of a submissive people ready to bow the neck to the new
King and his countrymen, the Spaniards found a country where the
sovereign’s power was strictly circumscribed, and where a foreigner’s
only hope of domination was by force of arms. ‘This marriage will,
indeed, have been a failure if the Queen have no children,’ wrote one of
Philip’s chamberlains. ‘They told us in Castile that if his Highness
became King of England we should be masters of France ... but instead of
that the French are stronger than ever, and are doing as they like in
Flanders. Kings here have as little power as if they were subjects; the
people who really govern are the councillors, who are the King’s
masters.... They say openly that they will not let our King go until
they and the Queen think fit, as this country is quite big enough to
satisfy any one King.’

But still Philip struggled on, gaining ascendency over his wife and
gradually influencing the councillors by gifts and graciousness.[155]
The fifty gallows that had borne as many dead sympathisers of Wyatt were
cleared from the streets, and the skulls of the higher offenders were
banished from London Bridge, so that the triumphant entry of Philip and
Mary into the capital should be marred by no evil reminders; but though
London was loyal to Mary, it hated Spaniards more than any city in the
realm; and the crowd that hailed the Queen effusively when, on the 18th
August, she and her husband went in state from Southwark through the
city to Whitehall, listened and believed the wild and foolish rumours
that a great army of Spaniards was coming to fetch away the crown of
England; that a Spanish friar was to be Archbishop of Canterbury, that
English treasure was being sent from the Tower to fill the Emperor’s
coffers, and much else of the same sort that French agents set afloat;
so, withal, there were few who smiled upon the Queen’s consort, let him
smile as he might upon them. Fair pageants decked the street corners,
and far-fetched compliments were recited to the King and Queen by
children dressed as angels, for the corporation of London had been
warned that there must be no lack of official signs of welcome; but to
prove how sensitive and apprehensive both the court and the people were,
the story is told of how the Conduit in Gracechurch Street was decked
with painted figures of kings, one of whom, Henry VIII., was represented
with a bible labelled ‘_Verbum Dei_’ in his hand; whereupon Gardiner, in
a towering rage, thinking this quite innocent representation was
intended as an insult to the Catholic idea of the Bible, sent for the
painter and threatened him with all sorts of punishments.

Philip’s patience, however, was gradually breaking down the distrust
entertained in him. It was seen that wherever his influence was exerted
it was on the side of moderation; though of course it was not understood
that this and all his sweetness was only part of the deep plan of the
Emperor to obtain for his son full control of English policy. Mary’s
position at the time was a most difficult one. She was deeply in love
with her husband; and she desired fervently the aggrandisement of Spain,
which would mean the triumph of Catholicism over heresy and security for
her throne; but she was an English Queen, determined if she could to
rule for the good of her people, and to bring about peace with France
before she was drawn into the war. When Noailles saw Mary to give his
tardy and insincere congratulations on the marriage that he had tried so
hard to thwart, she assured him that her friendship with France was
unchanged, and Philip immediately afterwards added his assurance that he
would maintain intact all the alliances contracted by England, whilst
they were for England’s good.[156]

After Pole had been made to understand that the full restitution of
church property in England must not be pressed, or revolution would
result, he was allowed to come to England as legate, and the country
formally returned to the pale of the church in November 1554. On the
very day that Pole arrived it was officially announced that the Queen
was pregnant; and all England, and still more all Spaniards, greeted the
great news as a special favour vouchsafed by heaven. To Philip and his
father it meant very much; for if a son was born the hold of Spain over
England would be complete for generations, at least long enough for the
great task of unification of the faith to be effected. Its significance,
even in anticipation, was made use of by Philip at once, and during the
jubilation to which it gave rise, he caused his spokesman in parliament
to propose the sending of an armed English contingent to aid the Emperor
in the war against France, and the appointment of himself as Regent of
England in case the expected child outlived his mother. The zeal of
Bonner and Gardiner, however, spoilt it all. They had already begun
their fell work of religious persecution; and the reaction that
naturally resulted against Spain compelled the Queen to dissolve
parliament in a hurry before Philip’s turn was served.

Not only was Philip personally opposed to the persecution in England,
which he saw would injure his object, but he caused his chaplains openly
to denounce from the pulpit the policy pursued by the English bishops.
Renard ceaselessly deplored in his letters to the Emperor this over zeal
of the English churchman, whose one idea of course was to serve, as they
thought, their church, and not Spanish political ends. For six months
Philip stood in the breach and dammed the tide of persecution: but his
father was growing impatient for his presence in Flanders. The deadly
torpor was creeping over him, though he was not yet old, as it had crept
over others of his house; and he had begged for months that his son
should come and relieve him of his burden. Philip had waited week after
week in the ever deluded hope that Mary’s promise of issue would be
fulfilled; but, at last, even the unhappy Queen herself had become
incredulous, and her husband could delay his departure no longer. By
August 1555 the rogations and intercessions to the Almighty for the safe
birth of a prince were ordered to be discontinued, and the splendid plot
of the Emperor and Philip to bring England and its resources permanently
to their side against France and heresy, was admitted to be a failure.

The conviction that she was to be childless was only gradually forced
upon Mary; for she had prayed and yearned so much for motherhood that
she could hardly believe that heaven would abandon her thus. In her mind
a son born of her and Philip would have made England, as she said,
Catholic and strong for ever; and as the bitter truth of her barrenness
came home to the Queen she sank deeper into gloomy despondency,
increased by the knowledge that her beloved husband, polite and
considerate though he was to her, was obliged to leave her, with the
tacit understanding that their marriage had failed in its chief object.
Mary passionately longed to bring about peace between her husband’s
country and France. She knew that the revolutionary movement in and
about London was being actively fomented by French intrigue; that the
crowd of pamphlets and scurrilous publications attacking her and her
faith were being paid for with French money; and that unless peace was
soon made or the agitation stopped England would be drawn into the war
and her throne would be in peril. But her efforts towards peace met with
little real aid from the French, for any step that consolidated her
position and gave time for Spaniards and Englishmen to settle down under
one system would have meant ruin to France; and Mary’s Council, and more
reluctantly Mary herself, was obliged to turn to the other alternative,
and attempt to suppress the organised manifestations of rebellion
against her rule.

The burning of heretical and treasonable books, and even of the Edward
VI. prayer book, was but a prelude to the burning of bodies, and Renard
warned the Emperor that before Philip had been gone six months from
England the holocaust would begin. It matters little whether the
persecutions were religious or political—the apologists of Mary and
Elizabeth respectively strive to prove that their victims in each case
were political criminals; and doubtless, according to the letter of the
law, they were—but it was clear to Philip and his father, that whatever
excuse might be advanced for the burning of Englishmen by Mary’s
Council, the executions would increase the ill-feeling against Spain,
and make English resources less available to them against France. But
notwithstanding this Charles would wait no longer for his son, and
peremptorily ordered him to return to Flanders.

Philip accompanied his wife in state through London from Hampton Court
to Greenwich[157] for the farewell; and there urged her—as he did her
Council—to be moderate in punishment. Mary herself was kindly and
gentle; but she was a Tudor Queen, and she lived in an age when the life
of the individual was considered as nothing to the safety of the State
as constituted. Moreover, counsels of moderation coming from Philip of
Spain, the patron of the Inquisition, could hardly have sounded very
convincing; though they were sincere in the circumstances, for Philip
was a statesman before all things, and persecution in England at the
time was contrary to his policy. In any case Philip did his best to keep
his hand on the brake before saying goodbye to his wife. Mary was in the
deepest affliction when she took leave of him on the 29th August 1555,
though she struggled to retain her composure before the spectators of
the scene. With one close embrace she bade him farewell, and sought
solitude in a room of which the window commanded a view of the Thames.
So long as the barge that bore him to Gravesend was in sight Mary’s
tear-dimmed eyes followed it yearningly; whilst Philip, courteously
punctilious, continued waving his hand and lifting his plumed cap to her
until a turn in the river shut him from her sight.

Renard was right. No sooner had Philip gone than the fires blazed out.
Hooper, Rogers, Saunders and Tayor, were burnt a fortnight afterwards;
then Ridley and Latimer some weeks later, to be followed in a few months
by Cranmer and the host of others less distinguished. Gardiner, Mary’s
prime minister and only able councillor, died in November, just after
the opening of parliament; and then, with Pole, practically a foreign
ecclesiastic, as her only guide, with a divided Council, and herself in
utter despondency, Mary sank deeper and deeper into impotence. Philip
had ordered before he left that minutes of all the Council meetings
should be sent to him, but he soon found it difficult to control, for
his own ends, the action of ministers far away; and when soon afterwards
he began to press for English ships to fight the French at sea, he found
the Queen’s Council tardy and unwilling. The ships, they said, were not
ready; but as soon as possible some would be sent to guard the Channel.
This did not suit Philip. The ships must be instantly fitted out and
commissioned; not at Dover, as the Council had promised, but at
Portsmouth, to guard the Emperor’s passage to Spain. This, of course,
was the thin end of the wedge; what he really needed—and it was now the
only benefit he could hope for from his marriage—was that an English
fleet should be at his disposal to attack France. The coolness of the
English Council and the continued refusal to accede to Mary’s request
and give him the crown matrimonial of England, soon changed Philip’s
attitude, and the suavity that had so remarkably characterised him in
England gave way to his usual dry _hauteur_ towards Englishmen whom he
met in Brussels.

He had found his father in the last stage of mental and bodily
depression. All had gone ill with him; and the burden of his task, as
far from fulfilment as ever, was greater than he could any longer bear.
‘Fortune,’ he said, ‘is a strumpet, and reserves her favours for the
young;’ and so to the young Philip he had determined to transmit his
mighty mission of Christian unification as a means of Spanish
predominance. In October 1555, in perhaps the most dramatic scene in
history, the Emperor solemnly handed to Philip the sovereignty of
Flanders; and on the 16th January 1556, the assembly of Spanish
grandees, in the great hall of the palace of Brussels, witnessed the
surrender of the historic crowns of Castile and Aragon by Charles V. to
his beloved only son. Heart-broken Mary Tudor from that day was Queen of
Spain, as well as Queen of England. The title was a hollow one for her,
though, for her mother’s sake and her own, she loved the country which
alone had succoured them in their trouble; for Philip’s accession made
the return of her husband to her side more than ever remote. Philip had
promised faithfully to come back, and in his letters to her he repeated
his promise again and again. On one occasion when he was indisposed,
Mary sent a special envoy with anxious inquiries after his health. There
was nothing more the matter than the result of some little extra gaiety
on Philip’s part; and he reassured his wife and announced his immediate
visit to England. The English messenger, overjoyed at the good news,
said to some of Philip’s gentlemen, that, though he was delighted to be
able to bear the glad tidings to the Queen, he would take care not to
tell her that his Majesty had exposed himself twice to the dreadful
weather then prevailing, and of his dancing at weddings, as the Queen
was so easily upset and was so anxious about him that she might be too
much afflicted.[158]

But still Philip came not; and soon afterwards Mary was thrown into
despair by the order from Brussels, that the King’s household in England
was to proceed to Spain. The English people followed the Spanish
courtiers with reviling when they embarked, for the fear of being drawn
into the war was stronger than ever; but to the Queen their departure
was a heavy blow, for it meant that her husband would live in England no
more. For a few months in the early part of 1556, the alliance of the
Pope and the King of France against the Emperor and Philip was broken up
by the settlement of a truce between the latter and the French King; and
for a time matters looked more hopeful for Mary; but in the summer of
1556, the war with France broke out again, and Philip found himself face
to face with a powerful coalition of the Papacy, France and the Turk. It
meant a war over half of Europe, and now if ever England might aid its
Spanish King Consort. Philip wrote constantly urging the English Council
to join him in the war against France; but met only with evasions. Mary
was breaking her heart in sorrow and disappointment, but was willing to
do anything to please Philip. She had, moreover, her own grudge against
France; for Noailles and his master had left no stone unturned to ruin
her from the first day of her accession. But her Council, and above all,
her subjects, had always dreaded this as a result of her Spanish
marriage, and were almost unanimously opposed to the entrance of England
into a strife which mainly concerned the supremacy of Spain over Italy.
Mary, moreover, was in the deepest poverty, owing to her own firm
resolve against all advice to restore to the church the forfeited tenths
and first fruits; and the forced loans collected from the gentry, it was
untruly said at the instance of the Spaniards for the purposes of their
war, had caused the deepest discontent in the country.

It was clear that nothing more could be got from England for Spanish
objects unless some special effort were made, and Philip was forced to
undertake the journey himself to try the effect of personal pressure.
Mary’s joy at the news of his coming was pathetic in its intensity,
though Pole warned her that, as had happened on other occasions, Philip
might not be able to come after all. The hope of seeing her husband
again seemed to give her new life, and she hurried to London, visiting
Pole at Lambeth on the way, and exerting herself to the utmost to win
him to her side. Thenceforward for weeks, whilst the King’s voyage was
pending, the English Council sat nearly night and day, and couriers
incessantly hurried backwards and forwards to and from London, Brussels,
and Paris.[159] The French reinforced their troops around Calais and
Guisnes, and all the signs pointed to the approach of a war between
England and France at the bidding of Philip.

The King landed at Dover on the 18th March 1557, and again all his
haughty frigidity gave way to genial smiles for all that was
English.[160] To the Queen’s delight he spent two quiet days with her
alone at Greenwich, and then rode through London to Whitehall by her
side as she sat in her litter. Their reception by the citizens was
polite, but cold; for though Philip personally was not unpopular, the
idea of going to war with France for another nation’s quarrel was
distasteful in the extreme to Englishmen of all classes. What
complicated the situation infinitely was that Philip was at war with the
Pope—that violent, headstrong enemy of his house and nation, Cardinal
Caraffa, Paul IV.—and Pole, as legate, could not even greet the King,
much less acquiesce as a political minister in a war against the Papacy
on the part of England. Mary, too, was torn between her devotion to the
Church on the one hand and her love for her husband on the other. Her
idea, and that of her Council, was to provide a subsidy and an English
contingent to Philip, without entering into a national war; and this
much, under the existing treaty between Charles v. and Henry VIII. in
1543, Philip had a right to claim if he was attacked by France.

But the King wanted more from his wife’s country than that which he
could have claimed even if he had not married the Queen, and he
ceaselessly urged upon Mary, and upon her Council, heavily bribed to a
man, the granting of much greater aid than that offered. He was at last
successful in this, though it was still arranged that there was to be no
declaration of war by Mary against France, the English forces being used
only for the defence of Flanders and the territory of Calais. There were
to be 8000 infantry and 1000 horse, and an English fleet with 6000
fighting men was to be raised and maintained, half at the cost of
England and half by Philip.

When this had been arranged, France struck her counterblow, for it was
clearly better for her to be at open war, in which she could adopt
reprisals on the Scottish border, than to fight English contingents in
Philip’s service. The English Protestant exiles in France were made much
of and subsidised; and hare-brained Stafford and his crew of foolish
young gallants sailed from Dieppe on Easter Sunday to seize the crown of
England for himself. He captured Scarborough, but himself was captured
directly afterwards, and incontinently lost his head. It was a silly,
hopeless business; but the rebels had started from France, and had been
helped by the French King, and the fact was argument enough. On the 6th
June 1557, war was declared between England and France, and Philip, at
last, saw some return for his marriage in England. He hated war, and his
methods were in all things different from those of a soldier; but his
best chance of securing a durable peace was to show his strength whilst
his hold over English resources lasted, and it was clear from Mary’s
declining health that this would not be long.

At the beginning of July, Philip rode for the last time from Gravesend
through Canterbury to Dover, his ailing wife being carried in a litter
by his side. On the 3rd July he bade her farewell as he stepped into the
barge that carried him to the galleon awaiting him, and Mary, with death
in her heart, turned her back to the sea, and went desolate to her home
in London.

The combined army in Flanders was commanded by the brilliant young
soldier, Emanuel Philibert of Savoy, who had 50,000 men, whilst the
French army, under Constable Montmorenci, reached barely half that
number. Savoy began the campaign by several rapid feints that deceived
the French, and then suddenly invested St. Quintin, into which Coligny
with 1,200 men just managed to enter before Savoy reached it. Finding
himself in a trap, Coligny begged Montmorenci to come to his relief. The
first attempt at this failed; and on the the 10th August the French main
body made a desperate effort to enter the town by boats over the Somme.
This was found impossible, and Montmorenci’s force was surprised and
taken in the rear by Savoy’s superior strategy. The order to retire was
given too late, and the French retreat soon became a panic-stricken
rout. Six thousand Frenchmen were killed, and as many more captured,
with all the artillery and Montmorenci himself; and there was no force
existent between Savoy’s victorious army and the gates of Paris. Philip
was at Cambrai during the battle; and if he had been a soldier, like his
cousin Savoy, or even like his father, he might have captured the
capital, and have brought France to her knees. But he turned a deaf ear
to Savoy’s prayers, and lost his chance, as he did all his life, by
over-deliberation. _Te Deums_ were chanted, votive offerings promised,
joy bells rung, but Philip’s host moved no further onward. St. Quintin
itself held out for a fortnight longer; and murder, sack, and pillage,
by the rascal mercenaries of Philip, held high saturnalia, in spite of
his strict command, and to his horror when he witnessed the havoc
wrought: and then, with the fatal over-deliberation that ruined him, he
tamely quartered his men in the conquered territory instead of pressing
his victory home.

The Germans, discontented with their loot, quarrelled and deserted by
the thousand; the English, sulky and unpaid, grumbled incessantly; and
the Spaniards asserted that they had shown no stomach for the fight
before St. Quintin. Their hearts, indeed, were not in the war, for it
concerned them not, and they demanded to be sent home. In London, the
most was made of the victory of St. Quintin by the Queen’s Government.
Bonfires blazed in the streets, free drink rejoiced the lieges, and
Pole, in the Queen’s name, congratulated Philip upon so signal a mark of
divine favour; but the people wanted to gain no victories for
foreigners, and obstinately refused to be glad. Philip, as usual, was
pressed for money, and rather than keep the unruly English contingent
through the winter, he acceded to their request to be allowed to go

Whilst Philip’s forces were melting away in idleness the fine French
army under Guise, who were fighting the Spaniards outside Rome, were
suddenly recalled by Henry II. to the Flemish frontier. The Pope was
then obliged to make terms with Alba, and withdrew from the war, leaving
the greater antagonists face to face. The English fortress of Calais had
been neglected, and at the declaration of war Noailles, on his way back
to France, had reported that it might be captured without difficulty.
Guise and his army from Italy suddenly appeared before the fortress, and
stormed and captured the Rysbank-fort on the sandy island forming Calais
harbour. The news, when it came the next day (4th January 1558), to
Mary, found her again in high hopes of a child; and she received it
bravely, setting about means to reinforce the town without the loss of a
day. Lord Pembroke was ordered to raise a force of 5000 men and cross to
Philip’s town of Dunkirk. But before they were ready matters were
desperate, for treachery was at work within and without the fortress of
Calais. Lord Grey de Wilton at Guisnes was also in evil case; ‘clean cut
off,’ as he says, ‘from all aid and relief. I have looked for both out
of England and Calais, and know not how to have help by any means,
either of men or victuals. There resteth now none other way for the
succour of Calais, and the rest of your Highness’s places on this side,
but a power of men out of England, or from the King’s Majesty, or from
both.’ A first attempt to storm the citadel of Calais failed, but a few
days later a great force of artillery was brought to bear. Wentworth,
the governor, and Grey, the governor of Guisnes, sent beseeching
messages to Philip for relief, but the time was short, and no sufficient
force to attack Guise could be raised. Philip from the first had been
impressing upon the English Council the need for strengthening Calais;
but, as we have seen, they were overburdened, without money, and without
any able leader. Calais had been left to its fate, and on the 8th
January 1558 the place cheerfully surrendered to the French. A few days
afterwards Guisnes fell, and the last foothold of the English in France
was gone for ever.

When Guise had first approached Calais, Philip instructed his favourite
Count de Feria to hasten to England and insist upon reinforcements being
sent. Before his departure Calais fell, and on arriving at Dunkirk to
embark he learnt of the loss of Guisnes; whereupon he delayed his
departure for a day, in order not to be the bearer of the last bad news.
The tidings of the English defeats had fallen like a thunderbolt upon
Mary and her advisers; but there was no repining yet, so far as the
Queen was concerned, for God might yet, she hoped, send her a son, and
then all would be well. She would, she said, have the head of any
councillor of hers who dared to talk about making peace without the
restitution of the captured fortresses; and church and laymen alike
opened coffers wide to provide funds for avenging English honour and
protecting English soil.

Feria arrived in London on the 26th January, though the primary reason
of his mission had disappeared when Calais fell. He saw Mary
immediately, and found her stout of heart and hopeful, desirous of all
things to please her husband, though doubtful about the goodwill of her
Council. Two days afterwards Feria met the Council in Pole’s room, and
presented his master’s demands. Mary had told the ambassador that both
they, and the people at large, were murmuring that the war was of
Philip’s making, and she thought that it would be well boldly to face
and refute that point before it was advanced by the councillors. The
Council listened politely to the King’s message, and recognising that
they had before them the ideas not only of King Philip, but of their own
Queen as well, took time to reply. A day or two afterwards the Council
visited Feria, and Archbishop Heath, the chancellor, delivered their
answer. It was couched in submissive language towards Philip, and told a
sorry story. Far from being able to send any troops across the sea, they
badly wanted troops for their own defence. The coast and the Isle of
Wight were at the mercy of the French, and an invasion was threatened
over the Scottish Border. But if King Philip would send them 3000 German
mercenaries, for which they would pay, they would quarter them in
Newcastle to protect the north country, and they would then arm a
hundred ships in the Channel with a considerable force of men, some of
whom might be used, at need, for Philip’s service. Feria reported that
the 5000 Englishmen he had seen at Dover, intended for embarkation, were
disorderly rascals, useless as soldiers, and he and his master agreed
that nothing could now be expected from England in the form of a
military contingent for foreign service.

The country, says Feria, is in such a condition that if a hundred
enemies were to land on the coast they could do as they liked.[161]
Confusion was spreading throughout all classes in England, owing to the
dislike of the war for the sake of Spain, and to the disquieting news of
the Queen’s health. Not a third of the usual congregation go to church
since the fall of Calais, reported Feria; and when, in a conversation
with the Queen, the ambassador explained to her how the Spanish nobility
were bound to contribute so many mounted men each, in case of war, Mary
sadly shook her head at the idea of applying any such rule to England.
‘Not all the nobility of England together,’ she said, ‘would furnish her
with a hundred horse.’ Parliament was sitting, and at the demand of
money tongues began to wag that it was to send across the sea to the
Queen’s Spanish husband, whose proud envoy could only sneer and scoff at
the clumsy English way of raising funds for their sovereign, and tell
everybody that he would be only too glad if he could prevail upon them
to raise the necessary money for their own defence, for his master
wanted none of it from them.

Philip did not go so far as that, for he was very hard pressed indeed,
and urged upon Mary some other way of collecting funds besides the
parliamentary vote. In vain Gresham tried to borrow £10,000 in Antwerp
on the Queen’s credit; attempts to cajole more money from the church and
the nobles were made with but small result. The money from the
parliamentary grant and other sources that could be got together was
sent to Flanders to pay for the raising of German levies for the English
service; and at once the murmurs in London grew to angry shouts, that
English money was being sent out for King Philip. The fitting out of the
English fleet, ostensibly for coast defence, was hurried forward, for
the distracted English councillors were deluded into the idea that a
great combined movement would be made to recover Calais: they were
frightened by a false rumour that there was a strong French fleet at
Dieppe, that the Hanse Towns and Denmark would descend on the east
coast; anything to get them to push forward a strong fleet, really,
though not ostensibly, for Philip’s purpose. But Philip took care when
the fleet was ready that Clinton should use it as he desired;[162] and
the much talked of 3000 German mercenaries never came to England, but in
due time were incorporated in Philip’s army. It is curious to see how
cleverly Feria and his master worked off the Queen against her
councillors, and vice versa. With regard to these mercenaries, for
instance, though the King was constantly sending letters and messages to
his wife, he purposely refrained from mentioning his desire to make use
of the Germans, for whom she had paid. ‘I am writing nothing of this to
the Queen,’ he wrote; ‘I would rather that you (Feria) should prudently
work with the councillors to induce them to ask _us_ to relieve them of
these troops.’[163]

Mary’s hopes of progeny were once more seen to be delusive; and she, in
deep despondency now, was seen to be rapidly failing. Pole also was a
dying man, said Feria; and all the other councillors, though constantly
clamouring for Spanish bribes, were drifting away from the present
regime. ‘Those whom your Majesty has rewarded most are the men who serve
the least: Pembroke, Arundel, Paget, Petre, Heath, the Bishop of Ely and
the Controller.’ Even Philip himself was ready now to turn to the rising
sun, and away from his waning wife. ‘What you write (he replied to
Feria) about visiting Madam Elizabeth before you leave England, for the
reasons you mention, seems very wise; and I am writing to the Queen that
I have ordered you to go and see the Princess, and I beg the Queen also
to order you to do so.’[164] When Feria had frightened the Queen and
Council out of all that was possible, he went to Hatfield to see
Elizabeth, with all manner of kind messages and significant hints from
Philip; and sailed from England in July, leaving as his successor a
Flemish lawyer named D’assonleville.

Mary had lost all hope. She knew now, at last, that she would never be a
mother: the persecutions for religion, and above all the war for the
sake of Philip, had made her personally unpopular, as she never had been
before; she had not a single, honest capable statesman near her, Pole
being now moribund, but a set of greedy scamps who looked to their own
interests alone; and the doomed Queen saw that not for her was to be the
glory of making England permanently Catholic, and ensuring uniformity of
faith in Christendom. As the autumn went on the Queen’s condition became
more grave, and constant fever weakened her sadly. In the last week of
October D’assonleville wrote to Philip that the Queen’s life was
despaired of, and Feria was instructed to make rapidly ready to cross,
and stay in England during the period of transition that would supervene
on her death. On the 7th November D’assonleville wrote again, urging
that, as Parliament had been summoned to consider the question of the
succession, it would be well that Philip himself should if possible be
present. This was true; but Philip had his hands full, and, even for so
important an errand as this, he could not absent himself from Flanders;
for the peace commissioners from England, France, and Spain were in full
negotiation, and peace to him now was a matter of vital importance.

Feria arrived in London on the 9th November, and found Mary lying in her
palace of Saint James’s only intermittently conscious. She smiled sadly
as the ambassador handed her Philip’s letter, and greeted her in his
name; but she was too weak to read the lines he had written, though she
indicated that a favourite ring of hers should be sent to him as a
pledge of her love. Her faithful Clarentius and beloved Jane Dormer,
already betrothed to Feria, whom she afterwards married, tended her day
and night: but most of the others who had surrounded her in the day of
her glory were wending their way to Hatfield, to court the fair-faced
young woman with the thin lips and cold eyes who was waiting composedly
for her coming crown. Feria himself took care to announce loudly his
master’s approval of Elizabeth’s accession when her sister should die;
and did his best to second the Queen’s efforts to obtain some assurance
from the Princess that the Catholic faith and worship should be
maintained in England. Elizabeth was cool and diplomatic. She knew well
that she must succeed in any case, and was already fully agreed with her
friends as to the course she should take, careful not to pledge herself
too far for the future; and when Feria, leaving the Queen’s deathbed,
travelled to Hatfield to see the Princess, she was courteous enough, but
firmly rejected every suggestion that she should owe anything to the
patronage of the King of Spain.

Mary in her intervals of consciousness was devout and resigned,
comforting the few friends who were left to sorrow around her bed, and
exhorting them to faith and fortitude. It was the 17th November, and the
light was struggling through the murky morning across the mist upon the
marshes between Saint James’s and the Thames, when the daily mass in
Mary’s dying chamber was being celebrated. The Queen was sick to death
now, but the sacrament she ordered for the last time riveted her
wandering brain, and the clouds that had obscured her intelligence
passed away, giving place to almost preternatural clearness. She
repeated the responses distinctly and firmly; and when the celebrant
chanted ‘_Agnus Dei qui tollis peccatur mundi_,’ she exclaimed with
almost startling plainness, ‘_Miserere nobis! Miserere nobis! Dona nobis
pacem_‘; then, as the Host was elevated, she bowed in worship, with
closed eyes that opened no more upon the world that for her had been so

And so, with a prayer for mercy and peace upon her lips, and her last
gaze on earth resting upon the holy mystery of her faith, Mary Tudor
went to her account.[165] Her life was but a passing episode in the
English Reformation; for she was handicapped from the first by her
unpopular marriage, and the unstatesmanlike religious policy of her
ecclesiastical advisers. Like her mother, and her grandmother Isabel,
she would deign to no compromise with what she considered evil. ‘Rather
would I lose ten crowns if I had them,’ she exclaimed once, ‘than palter
with my conscience’; and, though to a less exalted degree, this was
Philip’s attitude of mind also. Fate cast them both in an age when
rigidity of belief was breaking down before the revival of ancient
learning, and the widened outlook of life growing from the renaissance.
They were pitted against rivals whose convictions were as wax, but who
were determined not only to win but to appear right in this world, at
any sacrifice of principle; and the fight was an unequal one. Mary could
not change—only once under dire compulsion did she even pretend to give
way in the matter of religion—Elizabeth changed as often and as
completely as suited her purpose: Philip had only one invariable set of
convictions and methods, his rivals had none, but invented them and
abandoned them as occasion served.

And so Mary Tudor failed; pitiably, because she was naturally a good
woman, who did her best according to her conscience. But the defects of
her descent were too strong for her: she was a Tudor, and consequently
domineering and obstinate; she was a grand-daughter of Isabel the
Catholic, and as a natural result mystically devout and exalted, caring
nothing for human suffering in the pursuit of her saintly aims; she was
an English Queen, proud of her island realm; a Spanish princess, almost
equally proud of the land of the Catholic kings; and, to crown all, she
was the consort of Philip II., pledged to the cause for which he lived,
the unification of the Christian faith and the destruction of the power
of France. Within a year of her death England was a Protestant country,
and Philip was married to a French princess.

                                BOOK III
                          ISABEL OF THE PEACE
                         (ELIZABETH DE VALOIS)

When Mary Tudor lay dying at Saint James’s, and all England was in the
throes of coming change, Feria archly hinted to Elizabeth that she might
secure her succession and consolidate her throne by marrying her Spanish
brother-in-law when her sister should die. Elizabeth loved such hints
and smiled, though she did not commit herself; and for the next few
weeks the main endeavour of Philip and his agents was to perpetuate his
hold over England by means of the marriage of the new Queen. They all
failed at first to gauge her character. Feria was certain that if she
decided to marry a foreigner, ‘her eyes would at once turn to your
Majesty’; and, at length, after his usual tedious deliberation and
endless prayers, Philip once more donned the garb of matrimonial
martyrdom and bade Feria offer his hand to the daughter of Anne Boleyn.
The conditions he laid down were ridiculous, for even he quite
misunderstood the strength of Elizabeth and the new national spirit of
her people. She must amongst many other things become a Catholic, and
obtain secret absolution from the Pope. ‘In this way it will be evident
that I am serving the Lord in marrying her, and that she has been
converted by my act.’ Elizabeth keenly enjoyed the compliment conveyed
by the offer; but she neither wished nor dared to accept it, and she
played with the subject with delightful skill until the latest possible
moment. While the question was pending, Philip kept open the peace
negotiations with France, in order that, if he had his way in England,
pressure might be exerted to obtain the restitution of Calais; but as
soon as it became clear that he was being used by this cunning young
woman as a cat’s paw, he gave her clearly to understand that he intended
to make peace himself, Calais or no Calais; and the treaty of Cateau
Cambresis was signed on the 2nd April 1559, leaving the erstwhile
English fortress in the hands of France.

Throughout the negotiations that followed Elizabeth’s accession,
Philip’s advisers urged upon him incessantly the vital need for him to
retain his hold over England by conquest and force if other means
failed. The new Queen, they said, was not yet firmly established; the
country was unsettled, and now was the time to act if ever. Philip was
well aware that the friendship of England was of greater importance to
him than ever, but he hated war, and the growth of protestantism in
Europe, especially now that Elizabeth was Queen of England, had
suggested to him a combination that exactly suited his diplomatic
methods. When the peace negotiations had first been broached in the
summer of 1558, Henry II. of France had suggested that a close league of
the great Catholic powers might be formed to withstand the growth of
heresy throughout Europe. Such combinations had been attempted several
times before, but had never been sincerely carried out; national
traditions had always been too strong. It had been further proposed at
the ephemeral truce of Vaucelles in 1556, that the friendship of France
and Spain might be cemented by the marriage of Philip’s only son Carlos
to Henry’s eldest daughter Elizabeth of France.

The idea slumbered and the truce was broken; but at the beginning of the
peace negotiations of Cateau Cambresis the marriage was again brought
forward, and in principle accepted by Philip. When it became evident
after Mary Tudor’s death that England under the new Queen might stand
aside, or even permanently oppose Spain on religious grounds, Philip
decided that an entire change of policy that should isolate Elizabeth
would suit him better than war. So a close union with France was
adopted; Philip’s name was substituted for that of his son in the
treaty, and the widower of thirty-two became the betrothed husband of
the most beautiful and gifted princess in Europe, the dainty eldest
daughter of Henry II. and Catharine de Medici. It was a clever stroke of
policy; for it not only bound France to Philip against heresy
everywhere, as it was intended to do, but it enabled him to counteract
from the inside any attempt on the part of his allies to depose
Elizabeth of England in favour of Mary Queen of Scots, the next Catholic
heir and the betrothed wife of the Dauphin of France. So far as France
was concerned, the substitution of Philip for his son as a husband of
the princess was an advantage. Don Carlos, though of the same age as the
bride (14), was a deformed, stunted epileptic, who probably for years to
come, if ever, would not possess any political power; whereas Philip, in
the prime of manhood, was by far the most powerful sovereign in the
world at the time, and could, if he chose, at once render any aid that
France might need in suppressing the reformers.

Elizabeth of Valois, or Isabel of the Peace, as the Spaniards called
her, was the flower of an evil flock. Tall, graceful, and well formed,
even in her precocious youth, she had been destined from her birth for
splendid marriage. ‘My daughter, Elizabeth, is such that she must not be
married to a duchy. She must have a kingdom, and a great one,’ said her
proud father once, when his younger daughter Claude was married to the
Duke of Lorraine; and the Spanish ambassador, describing her magnificent
christening feast at Fontainebleau, in July 1546, says that: ‘Isabel was
chosen for her name, because of the hope they have at a future time of a
marriage between her and the Infant (_i.e._ Don Carlos), and Isabel is a
name beloved in Spain.’[166] We may doubt the correctness of this; for
the Princess’s sponsor was Henry VIII. of England, and probably he chose
the name after his own mother, Elizabeth of York.

Isabel grew up by the side of her sister-in-law, the young Queen of
Scots; and although the latter was four years the senior of her
companion, they were close rivals in the learning then becoming
fashionable for young ladies of rank. The curious Latin and French
didactic letters written by Mary Stuart, aged ten or eleven, to her
little sister-in-law, although prim and priggish according to our
present ideas, throw a flood of light upon the severe and systematic
training for their future position that the young princesses underwent.
After making all allowances for inevitable flattery on the part of such
a courtier as Brantome, it is evident that Isabel was a beauty of the
very first rank. ‘Her visage was lovely and her eyes and hair black,
which contrasted with her complexion, and made her so attractive, that I
have heard say in Spain that the gentlemen did not dare to look at her,
for fear of falling in love with her, and to their own peril making the
King jealous. The churchmen also avoided looking at her for fear of
temptation; as they did not possess sufficient strength to dominate the
flesh on regarding her.’ In 1552 she was betrothed to Edward VI. of
England, and this danger to Spain, averted by Edward’s death, made
Philip and his father all the more eager to keep a firm hold upon
England as soon as Mary’s accession made an alliance possible.

It was this young beauty of fourteen whose portrait by Janet was sent to
Philip in the early days of 1559. He was always an admirer of women, and
had been twice an affectionate husband; but his first wife he had
married when he was but a boy, and she died within a year; and his
second wife, Mary Tudor, was, as we have seen, married to him for
political reasons alone. Doña Isabel de Osorio, who had been his
acknowledged mistress for years, and had borne him children, had retired
into a convent, and was, of course, now out of the question. The sight
of this radiant young French beauty seems to have stirred Philip’s heart
to as much eagerness as he was capable of feeling.[167] But though the
bride was an attractive one, and her own family exhausted eulogy in her
praise, as well they might, for no princess of her time excelled her,
the marriage was regarded on both sides as a political event of the
first importance, though, as we shall see, it became really more
important even than was anticipated. It was vital for Philip that he
should have some control over French policy now that friendship with
England was denied him; whilst to have his own clever daughter by the
side of Philip was to the King of France a guarantee that no step
inimical to him would be taken in Spain without his knowledge, and that
he could depend upon the help, or at least the neutrality, of Spain if
he had to deal with the French and Scotch reformers, who seemed to
threaten the basis of authority. Thenceforward the Catholic sheep were
to stand apart from the Protestant goats throughout the world.

So, when the saturnine Duke of Alba, with his train of gallant
gentlemen, rode into Paris on the 19th June 1559 to wed Isabel, as proxy
for Philip, the court and capital, all swept and garnished in its gayest
garb, were impressed with the knowledge that these brilliant nuptials
were intended to mark a new departure in the politics of Christendom.
Led by the princes of the blood royal of France, the Spaniards and
Flemings who represented Philip rode through the crowded and jubilant
city to the Louvre, heralded by triumphal music, and were received at
the door by Henry II. and his court. Alba dismounted and knelt at the
King’s feet, but was raised and embraced by Henry, and, arm in arm,
Philip’s proxy and his erstwhile enemy entered the great hall where the
Queen Catharine and her daughter sat in gorgeous state, surrounded by
their ladies. As Alba knelt and kissed the hem of the girl’s robe, it
was noticed that the colour fled from her cheek, and she rose from her
chair and remained standing whilst the Duke read to her Philip’s
message, and handed to her the splendid casket of jewels he had sent
her. One of the gifts was a portrait of the bridegroom in a superb
diamond locket, which Isabel pressed to her lips.

On the next day, 20th June, the same great hall of the Louvre was
crowded with the princes and nobles of France, whilst the solemn
betrothal ceremony was performed that gave to Isabel the title of Queen
of Spain: and on Thursday, 21st June, the capital was alive from early
dawn for the marriage itself. Frenchmen and Spaniards alike could speak
of nothing but the dignity and beauty of the bride. Even Alba, dour as
he was, broke into exclamations at the perfections of the new Queen, and
grew almost romantic in her praises in his letters to Philip. Isabel,
indeed, had been well schooled by her mother, whom she feared and
admired more than any other person in the world. Catharine de Medici was
still, to some extent, in the shade, for the Duchess of Valentinois was
the real Queen; but she was profoundly wise, and had moulded her
favourite daughter well for the character she was destined to play.
Isabel herself was fully conscious of the great position she was called
to fill, and was proud of the triumph that was hers.

She bore herself throughout the trying ceremonies with a composure and
grace which she knew were fitting for the Queen of Spain; and as she
glided, holding her handsome father’s hand, along the gorgeous raised
and covered gangway leading from the bishop’s palace to the great door
of Notre Dame, she presented a vision of beauty adorned with such
stately magnificence as can rarely have been surpassed, even at the
marriage of her friend and sister-in-law, Mary Stuart, in the same place
shortly before. The texture of Isabel’s robe was literally interwoven
with pearls. Round her neck was suspended Philip’s portrait, and the
great pear-shaped pearl which was the greatest treasure in the crown
jewels of Spain. Her mantle was of blue velvet, enriched with a border
of bullion embroidery a foot wide. The train of this gorgeous robe was
borne by her sister Claude, Duchess of Lorraine, and Mary Stuart, Queen
of Scots, and, as she foolishly called herself, Queen of England. Isabel
wore an imperial crown which, we are told, cast a halo of light around
her as she walked, so refulgent were the jewels of which it was
composed.[168] Alba, in cloth of gold and with the royal insignia,
personated his absent master, and in his name was married to the
Princess by Cardinal de Bourbon. Splendour truly seems to have excelled
itself in that sumptuous court on this occasion; the long-standing
enemies, France and Spain, each trying to outdazzle the other in its
lavish magnificence.

But scowling faces there were not a few, for this was the triumph of the
house of Lorraine, and the debonair Duke of Guise and his brothers took
no pains to hide their elation, whilst the princes of the blood of the
house of Bourbon, the Montmorencis and the reformers were full of
foreboding, for they knew now that their enemies could look across the
Pyrenees, almost certain of aid from the most powerful potentate on
earth. Queen Catharine, too, clerical though she was, smiled with a
bitter heart, for she had no love for the house of Guise. For days the
festivities went on: masque and banquet, ball and tournament following
each other with wearisome brilliancy, for another daughter of France,
Margaret, was wedded at the same time to the Duke of Savoy, and the
double nuptials called for double display.

At length the last and greatest of the gallant shows was held under the
shadow of the Bastille, hard by the gate of St. Antoine, on the 30th
June. In gorgeous tribunes under broidered silken canopies sat the Queen
of France and Spain, Catharine and her dearest daughter; and the
Duchesses of Lorraine and Savoy, with the fairest court in Christendom,
gathered around the great parallelogram of the lists to witness the
tournament. The glittering courtiers, gay as they looked, who stood
behind the ladies in the seats, knew that the wedding feast really
celebrated a political event of the first consequence. It foreboded the
suppression of Protestantism in Scotland by France, a war with England,
and the crushing of reform in France itself and in Flanders; for there
was to be no more paralysing rivalry between Philip and his new
father-in-law, and it made the Catholic Guises the masters of France.

But none could tell that the stroke that was to set all these events
into immediate motion was to fall so soon. Henry II., shallow and vain
of his unquestioned preeminence in the gallant sport, rode into the
lists upon a big bay war horse, decked, like its rider, with the black
and white devices and interlaced crescents of Diane de Poitiers, Duchess
of Valentinois. The King of France was determined in the presence of the
Spanish grandees to show that he, at least, was no carpet knight, like
their King Philip, and he rode course after course victoriously with
princes and nobles, until the light began to wane. Catharine, desirous
of ending the dangerous sport, sent a message from her tribune to pray
her husband to tilt no more for that day. Henry laughed to scorn such
timid counsel. He would run once more against the Franco-Scot
Montgomerie, Sieur de L’Orge, who tried his best to avoid the encounter
without success. At the first shock Montgomerie’s lance carried away the
King’s visor, but the shaft broke with the force of the impact and a
great jagged splinter pierced the eye and brain of Henry of Valois, who,
within three days, was dead.

The whole political position was changed in a day. The new King Francis
and his wife, Mary Stuart, were little more than children; and the young
Queen’s uncles the Guises would rule France unless Catharine the Queen
Dowager could beat them on their own ground. For her, indeed, the hour
had now come, or was coming. For years she had been patient whilst the
King’s mistress held sway; but if she could combine the enemies of the
Guises now she might be mistress of France. The alliance with Spain was
no longer to be used if she could help it as a means for crushing
Protestantism; for to Protestantism she must partly look to crush the
Guises; but if by diplomacy and the efforts of her daughter Isabel she
could win Spanish support to her side on personal grounds, then she
might triumph over her foes. It needed, as we shall see, consummate
skill and chicanery, and, in the end, it did not succeed; for Philip
would naturally in the long run tend towards the Guises, the enemies of
reform, and he was easily led by a woman.

And thus the mission of Isabel of Valois in marrying Philip was changed
in a moment by Montgomerie’s unlucky lance thrust from a national and
religious to a personal and political object. But Philip was a difficult
man to be used for the ends of others; what he had needed was French
neutrality whilst he tackled heresy, and he had no desire to forward the
interests of an ambitious Italian woman whom he hated; though at first
there was just one element that made him inclined to smile upon
Catharine, doubtfully orthodox though she was. The Queen of Scots and
France was Catholic heiress of England; and the Guises were already
preparing to employ French national forces to oust Elizabeth in favour
of their niece. This Philip could never have permitted: better for him a
Protestant England than a French England: so again national interests
overrode religious affinities, and before the ink of the treaty of
Cateau Cambresis was well dry the spirit that inspired the agreement was
as dead as the king who had conceived it.

Philip was still at Ghent when the news of Henry’s death reached him,
yearning to get back again to his beloved Spain, and full of anxiety
that even there the detested heresy was raising its head in his absence.
His Netherlands dominions would clearly have to be taught submission;
Elizabeth of England was positively insolent in her disregard of him,
and if Spain failed in orthodoxy then indeed would he and his cause be
lost. His most pressing need therefore, for the moment, was to keep the
alliance with France intact for the purpose he had in view, whilst
restraining the activity of the Guises in England on behalf of their
niece, Mary Stuart. All went well in this respect at first. The
Montmorencis and the princes of Bourbon were divested of political
power, the ultra-Catholic party was paramount, and even the
Queen-Mother, Catharine, was working in apparent harmony with the
Guises. But to keep his hand firmly upon the machine of government in
France, it was desirable for Philip to have at his side at the earliest
possible day his young French wife. Whilst Isabel was yet in mourning
seclusion with her mother, Philip continued to press for her early
coming, and in July the French ambassador, the Guisan Bishop of Limoges,
told the impatient bridegroom that the Princess now only awaited the
instructions of her future husband to commence the journey towards the
Spanish frontier.

As usual, the smallest detail was discussed and settled by Philip with
his Council at Ghent; the choice of the Queen’s confessor, the exact
etiquette to be followed on her reception in Spanish territory and
afterwards, the number of her French household, the amount of baggage
she and her suite might bring, and even the exact manner in which she
was to greet the Spaniards who went to receive her. On the 3rd August
Philip wrote from Ghent to the Cardinal Archbishop of Burgos to make
ready with his brother, the Duke of Infantado, to proceed to the
frontier for the new Queen’s reception soon after the King himself
should arrive in Spain. But Isabel’s departure from her own land could
not be arranged hurriedly. There was a prodigious trousseau to be
prepared, so enormous, indeed, as to strike with dismay the Spanish
officers who had to arrange for its conveyance over the Pyrenees and the
rough bridle paths of Spain; Catharine, too, was loath to let her
daughter go before she had indoctrinated her with her new task in Spain,
and she insisted upon her attending the coronation of her brother,
Francis II., at Rheims in mid September.

Philip, always impatient for the coming of his bride, arrived in Spain
by sea on the 8th September 1559; and signalised his arrival by the
great _auto de fe_ at Valladolid, that was to indicate to Europe that
heresy was to be burnt out of the dominions of the Catholic king. Full
of far-reaching religious plans, for which it was necessary that he
should be sure of France, the presence of his French wife by his side
was more than ever necessary, and in October he sent a special envoy,
Count Buendia, to France to demand that the bride should start at once:
‘first, because of the great desire of his Majesty to see and keep the
Catholic Queen in his realm as soon as possible, he begs most earnestly
his good brother the Christian King and Queen Catharine, to arrange so
that, in any case, the Queen should start at once, and arrive at Bayonne
by the end of November.’[169] Another letter from the King to the same
effect was written to Isabel herself, and she in reply promised through
the French ambassador in Spain to delay her departure no longer.

But week followed week, and yet the bride came not. Splendid presents
and loving messages from Philip went to her frequently, and kind replies
were returned from Isabel and her mother. But intrigue was already rife
in the French court, and Catharine was trying to gain promises from
Philip to support her against those who, she said, were bent upon
disturbing her son’s realm. So every excuse was seized upon to keep
Isabel in France, until Philip had promised what was required. The
French found him anything but compliant, and at length, in the depth of
winter (17th December), Isabel, with her mother and brother, and a great
train of courtiers, left Blois on her long journey south. The household
of the new Queen appointed by her mother was extremely numerous,
notwithstanding the remonstrances of Philip’s agents, who broadly hinted
that they would not be allowed to remain in Spain. Three of the Bourbon
princes of the blood, Anthony, Duke of Vendome, husband of Jeanne
d’Albret, titular Queen of Navarre, his brother, Cardinal de Bourbon,
and the Prince of Roche sur Yon, were to accompany her to the frontier,
a good excuse for sending them away from Paris, and two Bourbon
princesses, the Countess d’Harcourt (Madame de Rieux), and her niece,
Anne of Bourbon, were to go with her into Spain.

All these great personages and scores of others needed long lists of
servitors and trains of baggage, and the journey over the snowy winter
paths was long and tedious. The greatest difficulty was foreseen,
however, in the transport over the Pyrenees of the vast mass of
impedimenta taken by Isabel and her ladies. Much of it was sent by sea,
and was only received in Spain after long delay and continued annoyance
to the ladies, who had to appear in the ceremonies without their fine
clothes. The girl lost heart as the time grew near to bid farewell to
her mother. She loved France dearly, with an ardour she never lost to
the last day of her life, and the French people returned her devotion.
Along the roads to Chatellerault crowds stood in tears, invoking
blessings upon the angel who was to be sacrificed on the altar of peace.
France and Spain had been at war for generations: Philip’s cold, haughty
demeanour, which had earned him the dislike of Flemings, was equally
distasteful to Frenchmen, and stories current of the gloomy rigidity of
his monastic court struck the heart of the bright young beauty with fear
and dread.

For some days Catharine and her daughter stayed at Chatellerault, loath
to say goodbye; but at last, on the 29th November, the parting could be
delayed no longer, and, heartbroken, mother and daughter took a tearful
farewell. Isabel had been reared in the poetical court in which Ronsard
sang, and every courtier wooed in verse. Mary Stuart throughout her life
showed the effects of such training, and so did Isabel. She and her
mother had exchanged poetical letters during the months of their
mourning, and continued to do so afterwards; and on her lonely way from
Chatellerault Isabel solaced herself by inditing a letter in verse to
the beloved mother whom she had just left. As poetry it leaves much to
be desired. The poem is too long to quote, but in it the writer compares
her desire to see her husband with the much stronger natural love for
her mother, who, she says, is to her father, mother, and husband in one.
The epistle ends thus:—

               ‘Tantost je sens mon œil plorer puis ryre,
               Mais la fin est toujours d’estre martyre,
               Qui durera sans prendre fin ne cesse,
               Jusques á tant que je reprenne adresse
               Pour retourner vers vous en diligence:
               Lors oblyant la trop facheuse absence
               Je recevrai la joye et le plaisir,
               Et joyrez de mon parfait desir
               D’ensemble veoir père mère et mari.’[170]

The next morning brought Isabel a similar poem of regretful adieu from
her mother, and some really poetical lines from Mary Stuart, in which
the following occur:—

              ‘Les pleurs font mal au cœur joyeux et sain,
              Mais au dolent, ils servent quasi de pain:
              Car si le mal par les pleurs n’est allegé
              A tout moins il en est soulagé.’

Through snow-clad France the long cavalcade slowly made its way. Endless
questions of etiquette, prompted by pride and jealousy on both sides,
occupied French and Spanish officials the while. Philip, as usual, saw
to the smallest point himself. The proud Mendoza Cardinal objected to
give precedence to the King of Navarre, as he was not a real king, and
the Doge of Venice had always given place to Cardinal Mendoza. ‘The
Prince of Roche sur Yon may be called “lordship,” because he is of royal
blood, but he must have only the privileges of an ambassador whilst in
Spain.’ The Countess of Ureña, who was to be Isabel’s mistress of the
robes, a proud dame in Philip’s entire confidence, was to keep close to
the Queen, and decide all points of feminine etiquette; whilst Lopez de
Guzman, Isabel’s Spanish chief steward, was to arrange everything
according to Spanish etiquette in her table service. Cardinal Mendoza
was instructed to alight and salute the Queen humbly when he first
approached her, and his brother the Duke was to kiss her hand,
notwithstanding any reluctance she might show. Each morning the Cardinal
was to visit her, whereupon she was to receive him standing, and order
an arm-chair to be brought for him, and he was to be seated whilst he
stayed with her. The Duke of Infantado, chief of the Mendozas, was only
to be received by the Queen standing the first time he visited her, and
for him was to be brought a red velvet stool upon which to sit; but the
Duke was warned that this privilege was only to last during the journey,
and was to cease when Isabel joined her husband.[171] And so on, down to
the smaller courtiers in gradation, the honours to be given and received
are all set down in minute detail, that of itself was sufficient to
strike awe in a young girl of fifteen, who had passed her life in the
gay poetical court of her father.

It was a cruel irony that sent Anthony de Bourbon, the shadowy King
Consort of Navarre, to deliver the French Consort of the real King of
Navarre to her husband on the frontier of the little mountain kingdom,
and he probably only accepted the mission in the hope that the
long-pending negotiations with Spain, for giving him some adequate
compensation, such as the title of King of Sardinia, might be
advantageously pushed on such an occasion. Philip fooled poor vain
Anthony as long as it suited him, but without the remotest intention of
giving any satisfaction to the house of Navarre. When, therefore, in
deep snowdrifts the Queen’s cavalcade reached the little frontier town
of St. Jean Pied de Port on the last day in the year 1559, and France
was all behind them, Anthony and the other Bourbon princes were on the
alert to resent any slight that might be offered to them by the
Spaniards. The exchange of the Queen to the custody of her husband’s
envoys was to be made at a point between St. Jean and the Spanish hamlet
of Roncesvalles, but the inclement weather and heavy snow made it
impossible to reach the elevated spot agreed upon; and for three days
Isabel and her French suite tarried weatherbound at St. Jean. For the
first time she donned there the Spanish dress, and received some of her
Spanish household; and on the 3rd January 1560 she started on horseback
towards the frontier, for she refused to enter her new realm in a
litter, and thus, with her veritable army of attendants and
baggage-train, she tramped through the savage pass and into the valley
of Valcarlos into Spain.

The cold was intense, and through the elevated mountain paths the
snowstorm drove furiously, yet she pushed bravely on until she could
gain the shelter of the monastery church of Our Lady of Roncesvalles in
Spanish territory. It was a great concession for the French to make, and
Anthony de Bourbon would not have crossed the frontier first but for the
insistence of Isabel, and the impossibility of carrying out the
ceremonious programme of handing over the Queen in a Pyrenean pass in a
mid-winter snowstorm. Further than Roncesvalles he was determined he
would not go, though only five miles further, at the village of Espinal,
the Cardinal and the Duke with the Spanish train were lodged. At the
gate of the Augustinian monastery, where the King of Navarre helped the
almost frozen Queen to alight, there stood beside the prior and
dignitaries a group of Spanish nobles who had ridden over from Espinal
unofficially to greet their new Queen; and after the religious ceremony
and prayers in the beautifully decorated church, these nobles and their
followers almost came to open fight with the Frenchmen. As Isabel left
the church to enter the apartments in the monastery assigned to her, the
Spaniards, jealous that in their own country Frenchmen alone should
attend the Queen, flocked in unbidden after her, and had to be forcibly
ejected by those in attendance upon her.[172]

Distrust and suspicion prevailed on all hands. It had been arranged,
after much courtly wrangling, that the transfer of the custody of the
Queen should take place at a point exactly midway between Roncesvalles
and Espinal, but King Anthony made the weather an excuse—probably a
perfectly good one—for urging the Spaniards to come the whole way to
Roncesvalles, rather than expose the Queen and themselves to a long
ceremony in an open field three feet deep in snow. But Infantado was
shocked at the idea that he and his brother the Cardinal should be asked
to go a step further than the Frenchmen, and refused. Anthony
remonstrated, but in vain; and in the lone monastery in the Pyrenean
valley Isabel passed two more days waiting for either the pride or the
snow to melt. At length she lost patience. She was as tenacious of
French honour as any one, but she well knew that the success of her
mission depended upon her winning the affections of the Spaniards, and
on the 5th January she sent for Navarre and told him that she intended
herself to ride to the spot agreed upon for the exchange. The French
nobles were indignant, and at first inclined to shirk the journey, but
Isabel, young as she was, could be imperious and insisted; and in
torrents of sleet the great cavalcade, with the ceremonial finery
already bedraggled, had prepared to start, when the welcome message came
from Espinal that the Duke and the Cardinal had relented, and were now
on their way to Roncesvalles to obey, as they said, the summons of their

The utmost confusion then ensued, for the whole of the baggage, with
hangings, furniture and dresses had been packed, and much of it had
already started forward, especially the best frocks and furbelows of
Isabel’s crowd of ladies, who saw their beds and finery no more for many
a long day. The light was failing in the stormy winter day when Cardinal
Mendoza and his brother Infantado, preceded by sixty Spanish nobles in
brave attire, marched side by side up the great torch-lit hall, at the
end of which Cardinal de Bourbon stood upon a canopied dais, surrounded
by French ecclesiastics and nobles. Under the cloth of state, blazoned
with the lilies of France, the powers of the envoys were exchanged and
read; and then, with much stately salutation and stilted verbiage, the
Spanish nobles were led to the chamber where, upon a raised throne,
Isabel awaited them with King Anthony and the two Bourbon ladies. But
the place, a solitary mountain monastery, was unfit for courtly
ceremonies; and the Spaniards were so eager to do homage to their new
Queen that soon all seemliness was lost, and a jostling crowd filled the
presence chamber, each Spaniard trying to get the best place and
hustling rudely aside the French, and even the French ladies in
attendance, until the latter had to retire.

Isabel remained calm and dignified, determined to say nothing to offend
the Spaniards; but when the Mendozas advanced, and the actual exchange
was to be made, she turned pale as she stood to receive and greet them.
Through the interminable pompous speeches that accompanied her transfer
she remained outwardly unmoved, but when Navarre had actually handed to
the custody of Spaniards ‘this princess, whom I have taken from the
house of the greatest king in the world to be delivered to the most
illustrious sovereign upon earth,’ and the Bourbon princes came forward
and knelt to say farewell, the girl’s strength broke down, and she wept
bitterly. Cardinal Mendoza, apparently to improve the occasion, advanced
and chanted the verse, _Audi filia et vide inclina aurem tuam_, and the
response was intoned by another Spanish priest, _obliviscere populum
tuum, et domum patris tui_. She loved her people and the home of her
fathers dearly; she was going, almost a child, to live the rest of her
life amongst strangers who had been the enemies of her house for
generations, to wed a man she had never seen, but of whom she could have
heard little but evil; and, as the words of the versicle were croaked by
the ecclesiastic, they seemed to the overwrought girl a sentence of
doom, and in an agony of tears she threw herself into the arms of
Anthony of Navarre and his brother the Cardinal. She was led away gently
by Infantado, with some chiding words that she, the Queen of Spain,
should so condescend to the Duke of Vendome. In the midst of her grief
she answered with spirit that she did so by order of her brother, and,
‘as to princes of the blood, and after the fashion of the nation to
which, up to that moment, she had belonged.’[173] And, so still in
tears, the beautiful black-eyed girl was led to the Spanish litter
awaiting her, and through the heavily-falling snow was carried, to the
sound of many hautboys and trumpets, to the wretched village of Burgete,
where she was to pass the night; even there, comforted by the beds,
hangings, lights, food and delicacies, sent by her French countrymen to
furnish forth her poor quarters.’[174]

There is no space here to follow the Queen step by step through her new
country to join her husband. It was a progress full of jealousy and
bitterness between the French household of the Queen, that still
accompanied her, and the Spanish courtiers. At Pamplona, the capital of
Navarre, where the company passed three days, Isabel charmed all hearts
by her grace and beauty as she was carried through the thronged
thoroughfares from the cathedral to the royal palace where she was to
lodge. At the foot of the grand staircase stood a lady of fifty, stern
and haughty in appearance, but now all smiles as she kissed the hand of
the Queen and delivered to her a letter from King Philip. It was the
Countess of Ureña, daughter of the Alburquerques and the Toledos, and
one of the greatest ladies in Spain, who had been chosen by Philip as
the guide, philosopher and friend of his new consort. She looked sourly
upon the two Bourbon princesses whom she was obliged to salute; and on
the departure from Pamplona after three days of rejoicing Isabel,
desirous of propitiating the Countess of Ureña, whom Philip had praised
inordinately in his letters, offered her a seat in her own litter. This
she thought fit to refuse, as she was panting for the fray to establish
her precedence next to the Queen; and when the cavalcade was starting
her lackeys, violently hustling aside the equipage of the elder Bourbon
princess Madame de Rieux, intruded that of the countess into the place
in front of it. An affray resulted, and an appeal to the Queen, who
decided politely in favour of the blood royal of France until King
Philip himself should give his orders—which he subsequently did by
placing the countess between Madame de Rieux and her unmarried niece.
But the proud dame stored up in her mind the memory of the slight, and
many a troubled hour for Isabel grew out of this incident.

The young Queen’s life in Spain may now be said to have commenced, and
already she had shown the tact and diplomacy so extraordinary in a girl
of fifteen. Her hold upon the affection of the Spaniards was tenacious
from the first, owing partly, of course, to her great beauty and
sweetness, but also to her prompt adaptability and acceptance of Spanish
customs. From her childhood she had studied Spanish, and a very few
weeks after her entrance she spoke it fluently. But she never forgot her
own people and her own tongue. ‘To Frenchmen she always spoke in
French,’ wrote Brantome, ‘and would never consent to discontinue it,
reading always in French the most beautiful books that could be got in
France, which she was very curious to obtain. To Spaniards and other
foreigners she spoke Spanish very correctly. In short, this princess was
perfect in everything, besides being so splendid and liberal as never
was seen. She never wore a dress twice, but gave them all after once
wearing to her ladies; and God knows what rich and splendid dresses they
were; so rich and superb, indeed, that the least of them cost three or
four hundred crowns, for the King, her husband, kept her very lavishly
in such things. Every day she had a new one, as I was told by her own
tailor, who went thither a poor man and became richer than anybody, as I
have seen with my own eyes. She was always attired with extreme
magnificence, and her dresses suited her beautifully: amongst others,
those with slashed sleeves with laced points, and her head-dress always
matched, so that nothing was wanting. Those who saw her thus in a
painted portrait admired her, and I will leave you to guess the delight
it was to see her face to face with her sweetness and grace.... When she
went walking anywhere, either to church or to the monasteries or
gardens, there was such a great press and crowds of people to gaze upon
her that it was impossible to stir; and happy indeed was the person who
could say after the struggle, “I have seen the Queen.” Never was a queen
so beloved in Spain as she; not even the great Queen Isabel herself. The
people called her the Queen of peace and goodness, and our Frenchmen
called her the “olive branch.”‘[175]

Philip at Guadalajara, the town of the Mendozas, waited impatiently the
coming of his bride. With him from Toledo had come his sombre widowed
sister Joan, and when they learned, at the end of January 1560, that the
Queen’s cavalcade was approaching, it was made known that the King
wished special efforts to be made by the city to welcome his bride.
Through artificial flowering woods with tethered birds and animals,
through lines of gaily decked booths amply supplied with good cheer for
the free refreshment of her suite, by kneeling aldermen in crimson
velvet and white satin, and through an admiring populace, Isabel of the
Peace rode into the city between the Cardinal of Burgos and the Duke of
Infantado. At the door of the famous palace of the Mendozas, where
Philip lodged, stood Princess Joan, who half knelt and kissed the hem of
the girl’s garment; then led her by the hand into the large hall, at the
end of which a sumptuous altar was erected. Before it, in a gilded
chair, sat Isabel’s husband, grave of aspect beyond his thirty-three
years. He saluted his bride ceremoniously; and after mass at the altar
the marriage was performed by Cardinal Mendoza.

Philip’s impatience for his bride had been more political than personal,
for he needed above all things to be sure of France, and there was at
first little cordiality between the newly wedded pair. The first
afternoon, as the sovereigns sat in their tribune witnessing the bull
fight and cane tourneys held in the great square of Guadalajara to
celebrate the wedding, the frightened girl gazed so fixedly in the face
of her husband that Philip became annoyed, and turned to her curtly and
said: ‘What are you looking at? To see whether I have grey hair.’[176]
Through the tedious feasting that followed, the marriage still looked
unpromising. The girl was unformed and inexperienced, and was
overwhelmed with the importance of the task her mother had confided to
her. Around her there raged incessant jealousy, both between the
Countess of Ureña and her French ladies, and amongst the French ladies
themselves, and it needed all the authority of Catharine de Medici, and
the fear with which she inspired her daughter, to keep Isabel on the
right path amidst the contending factions.

The letters that passed between them show how absolute was the command
that at first Catharine exercised over her daughter, a command that
later was to a great extent replaced by that of Philip. Isabel in the
quarrels of her French ladies had sided with Madame Vimeux against her
principal attendant, Madame de Clermont, and, girl like, had made
friends with some of her younger French maids. Upon this her mother
wrote to her as follows: ‘It really looks very bad for you in the
position you occupy to show that you are such a child still as to make
much of your girls before people. When you are alone in your chamber in
private, you may pass your time and play with them as much as you like,
but before people be attentive to your cousin,[177] and Madame de
Clermont. Talk with them often and believe what they say; for they are
both wise, and aim at nothing but your honour and well being; whereas
those other wenches can only teach you folly and silliness. Therefore do
what I tell you, if you wish me to be satisfied with you and love you,
and to show me that you love me as you ought.’[178]

From Guadalajara Philip and his Consort passed on to Toledo for the
completion of the festivities, and to present his son Don Carlos to the
Cortes, to receive their oath of allegiance as heir to the crowns of
Castile. The capital received the Queen with unusual pomp, and after the
public reception was over Isabel retired to her chamber with her
favourite French maids, who for pastime danced before her. Soon the
Queen, flushed and excited, rose and danced several times herself. Her
high colour was noticed by some of the elder ladies, who had been
instructed by Catharine to watch the precious health of her daughter
closely; and in the morning Philip found that his girl wife was in a
burning fever, which was soon pronounced to be smallpox.

Up to this time Philip had not been particularly demonstrative towards
his French bride; and she had not quite got over her fear of him. But
her dangerous illness struck both him and her mother with dismay. Each
of them was determined to use her as a means to keep a hold upon the
other, and her death threatened to be disastrous for both; but, apart
from this, her mother was devotedly attached to her, and Philip was
beginning to love her as he loved no other person in the world, except,
years afterwards, his elder daughter by her. Couriers galloped backwards
and forwards between Paris and Toledo with daily news of the progress of
the malady. No fear for his health, no remonstrance from his courtiers,
could persuade Philip to keep away from his sick wife; and for long
periods during the most dangerous stages of her illness he would not
leave her side. Catharine was almost beside herself with anxiety. For
her everything depended upon her daughter’s success in gaining influence
over her husband, and for this Isabel’s beauty was as necessary as her
life. The attack proved to be light, and the patient was soon out of
danger; but Catharine showered upon the ladies in attendance questions
and counsels innumerable, as to the marks left by the fell disease. The
many remedies she sent appear, according to Brantome, to have given way
to the one which he mentions as having saved the Queen from
disfigurement; namely, the covering of the exposed skin with fresh white
of egg. Though Isabel was soon out of danger her convalescence was long
and tedious, and the intimate details of her bodily habit and condition
that passed between Catharine and Madame de Clermont, frank to the
extreme of coarseness, show how increasingly the Queen-Mother was
depending upon her Spanish son-in-law to sustain her amidst the warring
interests that were rapidly dividing France.

The irregularities so frequently reported by Madame de Clermont in
Isabel’s health, at one time seem to have suggested to her distracted
mother that her disorder was the outcome of the dreadful disease which
it was stated she had inherited from her grandfather Francis I.; and
Catharine alternated scolding with prayers to her daughter to be
circumspect, until Isabel trembled with very fear when she opened one of
her mother’s letters.[179] ‘Recollect’ (wrote Catherine), ‘what I told
you before you left. You know very well how important it is that no one
should know what malady you have got; for if your husband were to know
of it he would never come near you.’[180] France had abandoned almost
every thing at the Peace of Cateau Cambresis in order to gain the
support of Spain against religious reform, and Catharine now looked to
her daughter to bring the same influence upon her side in any case.
Everything depended upon this girl’s being able to captivate her
experienced husband and to lead him as she liked. Philip, it is true,
was now in love with her; but his policy was founded upon a fixed
principle: it was never swayed by personal affection; and Isabel was
really as powerless to move him as all others who tried to do so.

Catharine had impressed particularly upon her daughter that she was to
use every effort to draw the ties between France and Spain closer, by
bringing about a marriage of her young sister Margaret[181] with Don
Carlos: or, in any case, to oppose to the utmost his marriage with an
Austrian cousin; even if it were necessary to marry him to his aunt
Joan. When Isabel entered Toledo she saw for the first time Philip’s
heir. He was within a few months of her own age, a lame, epileptic
semi-imbecile; already vicious and uncontrollable. When he approached
his stepmother for the first time he was yellow and wasted with
intermittent fever, and it was noticed that she caressed and petted him
more than he had been accustomed to; for he had never known a mother.
The passionate ill-conditioned boy had been told only a year ago to call
this young beauty his wife, and now to see her the wife of the father,
whom he feared and hated, turned his heart to gall. During her illness
and convalescence he was ceaseless in his inquiries about her; and when
her health again allowed her to resume her family life, she went out of
her way to entertain and please him. It was probably the only gentle
feminine influence he had ever experienced, for his widowed aunt Joan,
whom he alternately loathed and adored, was a gloomy religious mystic,
almost old enough to be his mother; and Isabel was not only just his own
age, beautiful and French, but for the purposes of her mother exerted
all her charms to gain his goodwill.



  _After a painting by Pantoja._

The romantic story that makes her fall in love with this poor
unwholesome boy may be put aside as baseless; but it is probably true
that her own charms, added to his jealousy and hate of his father, made
him fall in love with her. The letters Isabel wrote to her mother at the
time all speak of Philip as a most affectionate husband, and of Don
Carlos simply with pity for his ill-health; whilst Catharine’s replies
constantly urge her to incline her stepson to a marriage with her sister
Margaret; ‘or you will be the most unfortunate woman in the world if
your husband dies, and the Prince (Carlos) has for a wife any one but
your own sister.’ Unfortunately the youth was unable to hide his
extravagant affection for his young stepmother; and soon all the French
ladies were nodding and shrugging their shoulders at the romance that
was passing before their eyes, which probably Isabel herself hardly

The need for Catharine to draw personally nearer to Spain was greater,
and yet more difficult, than ever after the death, in November 1560, of
her young son Francis II. There was no fear now of France being drawn
into war again for the benefit of Mary Stuart, but, on the other hand,
Mary Stuart herself, being a widow, might marry Don Carlos, and become,
by Spanish aid and the efforts of the English Catholics, Queen of Great
Britain, in which case France would be isolated indeed.[182] Cardinal
Lorraine, and afterwards Mary herself, bade briskly for this match; but,
though Philip shrank from saying so, Carlos was, he knew, unfit for
marriage altogether. In answer to Catharine’s constant pressure upon her
daughter to persuade Carlos to marry Margaret, Isabel repeatedly assured
her that she would do her best, and she appears to have made a sort of
alliance with his aunt Joan to forward _her_ cause if the marriage with
Margaret was found impossible.

Philip’s sister, the wife of Maximilian, heir to the empire, wrote to
Isabel early in 1561, asking her to lend her help to the suit then being
pressed by the imperial ambassador for the marriage of Carlos with one
of his Austrian cousins, the Archduchess Anne,[183] and Isabel, in
giving an account of this to her mother, says that she showed the letter
to Princess Joan, who had received a similar letter, and angrily
expressed her opinion to Isabel that the plan was directed against her
(Joan); with which opinion Isabel agreed. ‘I spoke to the King about
it,’ wrote Isabel to her mother, ‘telling him that the Queen of Bohemia
had made one exception (before her daughter’s claim was put forward),
whereas I made two; namely, first my sister, and, secondly, the Princess
(Joan). He replied that his son was yet so young, and in such a
condition, that there was plenty of time for everything yet, though the
Prince has got over his quartan fever.’[184] To the imperial ambassador
Philip gently hinted also that his son’s infirmity of mind and body made
it impossible to arrange seriously for his marriage; but Catharine was
not to be put off easily, and Isabel did her best to obey her.

The Queen-Mother, sending her own portrait and that of her son, the new
boy King of France, Charles IX., to her daughter, included in the parcel
a likeness of her daughter Margaret; and one of Isabel’s maids writes of
the joy that the pictures of her dear ones gave to the Queen; who, she
says, after having recited her prayers at night in church, went to her
chamber, and said them again before her mother’s portrait. When the
precious portraits were unwrapped Princess Joan was there to admire
them, and soon Don Carlos came in. ‘Which is the prettiest of them?’ he
was asked. ‘The _chiquita_,’ he naturally replied; whereupon one of the
ladies drove home the lesson by saying, ‘Yes, you are quite right, for
she is the most fit for you’; whereupon he burst out laughing.[185]
Isabel herself wrote joyfully to her mother that Carlos was pleased with
Margaret’s portrait, and had repeated to her three or four times
laughing that the ‘little one was the prettiest; if she was like that;’
whereupon Isabel assured him that she was ‘_bien faite_,’ and officious
Madame de Clermont interjected that she would make a good wife for him,
to which the lad, though he giggled, made no reply. Philip also,
probably to please his wife, confessed that the portrait of her younger
sister was very beautiful: but it was noticed that, simultaneously with
these transparent matrimonial intrigues, he suddenly began to pay
ostentatious attention to his sister Joan, whose marriage with her
nephew Carlos was always a possibility to play off against other matches

The kindliest relations were now established between Philip and his
young wife, and though he was usually absorbed in governmental detail
early and late, Isabel’s life was not a gloomy one. The two boys of
Maximilian, King of the Romans, the future emperor, and of Philip’s
sister Maria, were being brought up in the Spanish Court; and though
they were kept very close to their studies, they were allowed to come
and see Isabel and her ladies every afternoon to dance and romp as they
pleased. Carlos also took every opportunity of being in the company of
his stepmother, and the brilliant young Don Juan of Austria, Philip’s
half-brother, and Alexander Farnese, his nephew, were frequent visitors,
all being lively handsome youths except, indeed, poor fever-wasted
Carlos, fretting his weak wits to frenzy in unrequited love and impotent

In the summer of 1561 hopes were entertained that the Queen might fulfil
her husband’s dearest wish and make him the father of another son, and
the King’s delight at the prospect was unbounded. He caused to be made a
solid silver sedan chair in which to carry his wife to Madrid, and
overwhelmed her with attentions. But to Isabel’s grief the hope was
fallacious, and Philip was tenderly solicitous to solace his wife’s
disappointment. ‘Il avait toute la peine du monde de la consoler, et lui
tenir beaucoup plus privée et plus ordinaire compagnie que n’avait
jamais fait, de manière qu’il n’a été que bon que tous deux ayent eu
cette opinion. Il me fit l’honneur de me prier que je l’allasse
consoler, et lui dire qu’elle lui volust donner ce contentement et
plaisir de ne s’en fachier, et mesme quand on seroit à Madrid, que ma
femme le lui allast aussi dire, et user de tous ses bons offices qu’elle
scavoit bien faire en son endroit. Elle est aujourd’hui, Madame, en tel
estat pres du roy son mari que Votre Majesté, et tous ceux qui aiment
son bien et sommes affectionnés à son service, en devront remercier

In the midst of this happy and harmonious life in Spain, the girl Queen
tactfully did her best to obey her mother and serve the France she
always held dear, but it was inevitable that as time went on and the
influence of her husband over her grew, she should take a more purely
Spanish view of affairs. The death of young Francis II., and the fall of
the Guises, had made the friendship between Spain and France more
difficult than ever, for the profound religious divisions in the latter
country forbade any possibility of the national power being used, as had
been contemplated in the Peace of Cateau Cambresis in the suppression of
heresy everywhere; whilst Catharine’s now ostentatious friendship with
the Bourbons and the reforming party, by which she hoped to
counterbalance the Guises, deeply offended her son-in-law. Philip,
however, at this time was in the depth of penury: his own Netherlands
were simmering into revolt; he had suffered a terrible defeat at the
hands of the Turk on the coast of Tunis (February 1560), and the
Christian power in the Mediterranean was in the balance. Elizabeth of
England, too, was more obstinate than ever in her adherence to the
anti-Catholic policy, now that the strength of the Huguenot party in
France banished the fear of a Catholic coalition of France and Spain
against her. Much as Philip frowned at, and Isabel remonstrated against,
Catharine’s proceedings, the King of Spain was not in a position to make
war upon France, and for a time was obliged to dissemble with his
mother-in-law. So far, therefore, the Treaty of Cateau Cambresis had
been a failure, and Isabel had been sacrificed in vain. France and Spain
could not make common cause against Protestantism, and Isabel could not
win Don Carlos for her sister nor make her astute husband the tool of
her mother’s plans, deeply as he loved his charming young wife.

With regard to the marriage of Carlos, Isabel was indefatigable in her
efforts, but the prince grew more reckless than ever. In the spring of
1562 he was studying at the University of Alcalá, when, in descending a
dark stairway to keep a secret assignation, he fell and fractured his
skull. Philip and his wife were at Madrid when they received the news,
and the King at once set out, travelling through the night full of
anxiety for his son. He found him unconscious and partially paralysed:
the doctors, ignorant beyond conception, treated him in a way that seems
to us now nothing less than murderous. Purges, bleeding, unguents,
charms, and, finally, the laying upon the bed of the unconscious lad the
mouldering body of a monkish saint, Diego, were all tried in vain, until
at last an Italian surgeon was bold enough to perform the operation of
lifting the bone of the cranium that pressed upon the brain, and Don
Carlos recovered his consciousness. But if he had been a semi-imbecile
before, he became at intervals after this accident a raving homicidal
maniac. The prince himself, and those who surrounded him, attributed his
recovery to the mummy of the dead monk, and promised to give for
religious purposes in recognition of the miracle four times his own
weight in gold. When he was weighed for the purpose it was found that,
although he was seventeen years old, he only weighed seventy pounds.

But, no matter how weak or vicious Carlos might be, the struggle to
obtain his hand in marriage was waged as keenly as ever by Isabel and
her mother on the one hand, and by the Austrian interest on the other,
with the Princess Joan, the lad’s aunt, as a permanent candidate, to be
used by Philip when he needed a diversion. Hardly had the grave anxiety
about Carlos subsided when Isabel herself fell grievously ill, and was
like to die. At the time that the physicians had abandoned hope of
saving her (August 1562), Philip sent the Duke of Alba with a long
message to the French ambassador, of which the latter wrote a copy to
Catharine. He prefaces his letter by saying that the Queen was truly a
bond of peace since she ‘possède le roi son mari, et est aujourd’hui en
toute privauté et autorité avec lui.’ The message was to the effect that
it had always been the rule when Spanish queens were ill, even slightly,
to urge them to make their last dispositions in good time. On account,
however, of the great love and extreme affection which he (Philip) bore
to his wife, he had not allowed her in her present serious illness to be
spoken to on the subject, so as not to distress or alarm her. For, as he
said, he had in very truth good reason to love her dearly, and to take
great care of her; and if this loss should befall him, he would have
reason to say that it was the greatest and most important he had ever
suffered in his life, and that which most nearly touched his heart,
seeing the shining virtues and noble qualities with which his wife was
endowed. He makes a great point of honouring and pleasing her, and
preventing her from being troubled in any way; but since the physicians
said that she had reached such an extremity that her life could no
longer be expected to last,[187] he would regret that his love for her,
and his sorrow for her loss, should stand in the way of the duty she
owed to her position and reputation to make a will.’ He assured the
French ambassador that his friendship for his wife’s brother and mother
would not be diminished by her death, and he proposed that she should
leave two-thirds of her possessions to her mother, and the remainder be
employed in pious uses and in rewarding her very numerous servants.[188]
This letter is of great interest in showing how truly Philip loved and
respected his young wife, and every testimony shows that their affection
continued to increase as the time went on, though all around them, both
in public and private life, was full of bitterness and anxiety. Don
Carlos grew more and more outrageous in his disregard of all decency and
respect; and more than one miscarriage of Isabel seemed to threaten the
King with the misfortune of a childless marriage.

But what was a source of greater trouble perhaps than anything to Isabel
at this period, was the terrible infliction that was scourging her own
country. The first war of religion in France had ended with the death of
Guise and Anthony of Navarre, and the hollow edict of Amboise had been
issued by Catharine, giving toleration to the Huguenots in certain
towns. This was a heavy blow to Philip and his cause, and he tried to
parry it in his characteristic fashion by the aid of the Guisan party.
Jeanne d’Albret and her son (afterwards Henry IV.) had retired to mourn
the death of Anthony in their castle of Pau. Henry was heir to the crown
of France after Catharine’s sons, and his mother was a strict Calvinist,
so the Catholic party planned, with Philip’s aid, to kidnap Jeanne
d’Albret, Queen of Navarre, and her hopeful son, to prevent the danger
of a Huguenot ever being king of France. All was arranged for the _coup
de main_ when the principal conspirator, Captain Dimanche, fell ill in a
poor hostelry in Madrid. Isabel had always been accustomed to keep
herself well-informed of all cases of trouble amongst her own countrymen
in Spain, and hearing from her servants that a Frenchman was alone and
suffering, had him brought from his squalid lodging to the house of one
of her servants, to be well cared for by one of her own doctors.
Dimanche, in the course of his illness, divulged his conspiracy to his
host, who, though a Catholic, was shocked at the wickedness of the plan,
and told it to a higher officer, and afterwards to Isabel, who, he knew,
was deeply attached to Jeanne d’Albret. The Queen listened to the story
with horror, and cried, with tears in her eyes, ‘God forbid that such a
crime should be committed.’ As fast as a confidential courier could
gallop went the news from Isabel to her mother; how the Catholic party
and Spain were plotting to ruin the house of Navarre, and overthrow the
equilibrium in France; and Jeanne d’Albret and her son, also warned by
Isabel, escaped from Pau into central France.

Philip probably never knew that it was his wife who had upset so
promising a plan; but that her intervention was not from any love of
Protestantism is clearly seen by her subsequent action. Her Catholicism,
indeed, was more Spanish than French in its character; and that her
politic mother should call to her councils at all those whose orthodoxy
was doubtful, appeared to her nothing short of abominable, though for a
short time after the first Huguenot war, Catharine had managed to bring
about an appearance of harmony between the two great French factions.
But Condé, the chief of the Bourbons, after Anthony’s death, was rough
and imperious, and personally disliked by Catharine: Cardinal Lorraine
returned to France from the Council of Trent early in 1564, thirsting to
revenge the murder of his brother Guise, and soon Catholic intrigue was
busy in the French Court.

Isabel wrote to her mother an extraordinary letter at this time (the
summer of 1564), evidently inspired by Philip, and forming a part of the
Lorraine intrigues to win Catherine to the ultra-catholic party. ‘If,’
wrote Isabel, ‘you will cause Frenchmen to live as good catholics, there
is nothing you can ask of my husband that he will not give you. He begs
you will not compromise with the evil people, but punish them very
severely. If you are afraid because of their great number ... you may
call upon us, and we will give you everything we possess, and troops as
well, to support religion. If you do not punish these men yourself, you
must not be offended if the King, my husband, listens to the demands of
those who crave his help to defend the faith, and gives them what they
ask. He is, indeed, obliged to do so, for it touches him more than any
one. If France becomes Lutheran, Flanders and Spain will not be far
behind.’[189] And so, for page after page of her long letter, Isabel
urges her mother to crush the Huguenots for once and for all. Catharine
loved intrigue and crooked ways; and, although it was no part of her
plan to have only one party in France, she feared the Guises less now
that the Duke was dead, and it doubtless seemed to her a good
opportunity for drawing closer to Spain, in order to effect the marriage
of her daughter Margaret with Don Carlos, and gain some advantage by
marriage or otherwise for her darling son Henry (Duke of Orleans).

The effect of Cardinal Lorraine’s action was soon seen in the long
progress through the east and south of France undertaken by Charles IX.
and his mother. Catharine had been trying, ever since the death of
Francis II., to arrange an interview with Philip, and bring her personal
influence to bear upon him, though he had shown no eagerness to discuss
the matter; but now that the Court of France, with Lorraine pulling the
wires, was to visit the south, there seemed a chance of effecting at
last what the treaty of Cateau Cambresis had failed to do. The Court
left Paris in the spring of 1564, and at Nancy, the scheme of Lorraine
for a Catholic league to suppress heresy was first broached to Charles
IX. He was a mere lad, and was apparently alarmed at the idea; but in
the meanwhile, active negotiations were going on to induce Philip and
his wife to meet Catharine when she approached the frontier with her
son. The French ambassador in Spain was a strong Guisan partisan, and
worked hard to bring about the interview, as did Isabel herself, who was
sincerely attached to her kinsfolk, and yearned to embrace her mother
again. Philip was anxious to forward the formation of a Catholic League,
but he distrusted Catharine, and after much negotiation, he consented to
Isabel’s going as far as Bayonne to greet her mother; the political
negotiation, however, being entirely left to the Duke of Alba.

Philip was not enthusiastic, for he knew that Catharine was surrounded
by ‘politicians,’ and he was determined that if nothing came of the
interview, it should not be said that he had been deceived. He would
not, he said, go to any expense on the occasion, and no gold or silver
was to be worn on the dresses on either side: and the Queen was to be
kept to the most rigid etiquette in her communications with her mother
and brother. She left Madrid with a great train of courtiers in April
1565, bearing with her powers from her husband to ratify the
arrangements that Alba might make. What these arrangements were may be
seen by the memorandum given by Philip to Alba for his guidance.[190]
The object aimed at was a league, in which each party should be pledged
to employ all his force and means to sustain Catholic orthodoxy, to
allow no toleration whatever to any other religion, in public or
private, and to expel all persons but catholics from the realms, within
five months, on pain of death, and forfeiture for them and their
abettors, to publish and enforce the decisions of the Council of Trent,
to purge all the offices, commands, and services, of every suspicion of
heresy, and to deprive of their dignities, titles, and authority, every
person not firmly attached to the faith.

With this fateful mission Isabel travelled slowly towards the north,
through Burgos, in the spring of 1565. She had in her train more than
sixty Spanish nobles with their gaudily garbed followers; and, though
Philip’s orders with regard to bullion ornaments had been obeyed, there
was no lack of costly show. On the 14th May, in a heat so suffocating
that many of the soldiers died, Catharine and her son with the French
Court rode at early morning out of Saint Jean de Luz, to reach the
little river Bidasoa which divides France from Spain. For two hours the
royal party rested under a green arbour on the banks, whilst the Spanish
baggage was being ferried across; and just as the burning sun was
beginning to decline, a burst of trumpets heralded the approach of the
Queen of Spain. From the ancient castle of Irun the royal procession
could be seen winding down the hill to the shore, Isabel being borne in
a litter. Catharine at once entered her waiting boat, and swift oars
brought her to the Spanish side just as her daughter’s litter reached
the edge. Both Queens were beside themselves with joy. Isabel bent low
enough to kiss her mother’s knee, but was raised and tenderly embraced,
again and again, and then, overcome by their emotions, both Catharine
and Isabel burst into tears of joyful excitement, which continued
unabated until the boat had landed them on the French bank, where
Charles IX. awaited them amidst saluting volleys of musketry.[191]

The pompous rejoicings, the tourneys, comedies, balls, and banquets,
which followed at St. Jean de Luz and Bayonne; the splendour with which
each Court tried to dazzle the other, and the grave political
conferences between Alba and the French ministers and Catharine, cannot
be dwelt upon here; but the picture drawn of Isabel herself in the midst
of this memorable interview by Brantôme, who was present, is too
interesting to omit. ‘When she entered Bayonne she rode upon a pony very
superbly and richly harnessed with a cloth completely covered with
pearls embroidered, which had belonged to the Empress, and was used by
her when she entered towns in state; it was said to be worth one hundred
thousand crowns and more. She was quite bewitching on horseback, and was
worth gazing upon; for she was so lovely and sweet that every one was
enchanted. We were all ordered to go and meet her and accompany her on
her entrance ... and she was most gracious to us when we paid our
respects to her, and thanked us charmingly. To me, especially, she was
kind and cordial; for I had only taken leave of her in Spain four months
before, and I was greatly touched that she should thus favour me over my
fellows.... She was also familiar to the ladies and maids at the Court,
exactly the same as before her marriage, and took notice of those who
were absent or had got married; and about those who had come to Court
since she left she made many inquiries.’

In the discussions with the political ministers it was soon evident to
Catharine, as she had probably foreseen from the first, that to throw
herself entirely into the hands of the extreme Catholic party as Philip
desired, would be disastrous to her, and probably also to her son’s
throne. But it did not suit her to quarrel with her powerful son-in-law,
or to send her daughter back empty-handed to Madrid, after the much
heralded interview; so, although an arrangement was signed which
ostensibly bound France and Spain together for a religious end,
Catharine took care to leave a sufficient number of knotty points open
to give her a loophole to escape. When she returned to Paris she soon
began to raise difficulties about the ratification, and wrote to her
ambassador in Madrid (Fourquevault), ‘Je lui dis que en faisant ces
mariages, et donnant quelque état à mon fils d’Orleans, qu’il nous
falloit tous joindre ensemble: c’est à savoir le Pape, l’Empereur, et
ces deux rois, les Allemands et autres que l’on avisera: et que le roi
mon fils n’etait pas sans moyens pour aider de sa part, à ce qui serait
avisé quand les dits mariages seroient faits, et la dite ligue conclüe.’
It will be seen that she makes here so many conditions as to render the
league quite impossible. Not only is her daughter Margaret to marry
Carlos, and her son Henry a daughter of the Emperor with an independent
State, but all the other Catholic powers are to join the league before
France is to be bound to anything.

Indeed, it is clear that the power of the Huguenot and ‘politician’
nobles in France, and the old jealousy between France and Spain,
together with the persecution by the Inquisition of French residents and
visitors in Spain, and the massacre in the following year of the French
expedition to Florida by Philip’s orders, made a sincere co-operation
between the two countries in such a league impracticable;[192] and
though appearances were saved at Bayonne, Philip, when he joyfully met
his wife after her nineteen days’ absence from him, must have known that
again his dream of a Catholic league had failed. ‘Je ne fis qu’arriver
hier (writes the French ambassador to Catharine on Isabel’s return) de
baiser la main de la reine, la quelle j’ai trouvée si joieuse et
contente de la bonne venue du roy son mari, et de la démonstration de la
bonne affection et amitié qu’il lui fait.’ Though the personal affection
between the husband and wife was without a cloud, it was certain that
the political results of the marriage were insignificant. Isabel fought
hard for some satisfaction to the outrage to France in Florida, but
without result; Coligny, to her and Philip’s indignation, was growing
powerful in the French government; and the second war of religion was
seen to be inevitable, whilst the issue was already joined between
Philip and his Dutch subjects; pledged, as they were, to stand together
to resist him to the death.

In the midst of these public causes for anxiety Philip was overjoyed to
learn that his wife, whose age was nearly twenty-one, was likely to
become a mother.[193] The King, as usual, arranged every small detail
himself of, ‘le régime dont elle devoit user pour conduire son fruit à
bon port’; and his demonstrations of affection and pride for his wife,
and rejoicing at his hopes for a time, even in public, overcame his
natural frigid dignity. Nor was Catharine less delighted, for to her,
should the child prove a son, the event was of the highest importance,
in view of the growing incapacity of Don Carlos; and she also sent by M.
de Saint Etienne a parcel to her daughter: ‘Où il y a tout plein de
recettes, dont elle peut avoir de besoin’; and she wrote personally to
the physician in attendance, urging him to make use of these recipes,
which she assured him would do Isabel good.

Every day the smallest incident of the Queen’s condition were recounted
by courier to her mother; and Philip could hardly tear himself from her
side whilst he disposed of his usually beloved business. At length, on
the 1st August 1566, a daughter was born, at Balsain, near Segovia, to
Philip and Isabel. The child was christened Isabel, after the great
Queen and her mother, Clara because she was born on the day of the
Saint, and Eugénie, out of gratitude to the efficacious body of St.
Eugène—and the sumptuous ceremony of baptism was not allowed to pass
without a jealous wrangle between the Archbishop of Santiago and the
Bishop of Segovia, as to which should have the honour of performing the
rite, which was eventually celebrated by the Nuncio Castaneo, afterwards
Pope Urban VII. It would doubtless have been more satisfactory to Philip
had a son been born; but his joy and gratitude were nevertheless
intense, and the French ambassador, writing to Catharine a few days
afterwards, says that when he went to congratulate him, he had him (the
ambassador) led to the Queen’s room: ‘Voulant que je visse la fille
qu’il avoit plu Dieu lui donner, de laquelle il est tant aise qu’il ne
peut le dissimuler, et l’aime, à ce qu’il dit, pour le présent mieux
qu’un fils.’ This deep affection for his elder daughter lasted to the
King’s dying day; and the famous Infanta, designated by him to be in
succession Queen of England and France, became by his will sovereign of
the Netherlands, and inherited from her father not only the ancient
domains of his paternal house but his views, his methods, and his

The Queen lay apparently at the point of death for some days after her
delivery, but as soon as her life was safe, the great project, so long
discussed, of a voyage of the royal family to insurgent Flanders, was
again taken in hand. Philip was for going alone, leaving, it was hoped
by Catharine, his wife Regent, though Isabel herself begged hard that
she might be allowed to accompany her husband: ‘Car vraiment, je serois
trop marrie de demeurer par deçà après lui; je ferai ce qui sera en moi
qu’il ne m’y laisse point.’ There was another who desired as ardently as
she to go to Flanders with the King. This was his only son Don Carlos.
The young man’s frantic excesses had grown more scandalous than ever as
he became older. The struggle to obtain his hand in marriage was still
going on between the Austrian and French interests; but Philip continued
to put the matter gently aside on the ground of his son’s ill-health.

The afflicted father had done his best to wean the Prince from his
violence and dissoluteness. He himself had been a dutiful son, ready to
sacrifice everything for the task confided to him, and his grief was
profound that this son of his youth should openly scandalise his court
by his disobedience and insolence to his father and sovereign. Like his
great-grandmother, Joan the Mad, the Prince lived in constant revolt
against authority, sacred and mundane. His conduct in the Council of
State, where his father had placed him to accustom him to business, had
shocked every one. Apparently out of sheer wrong-headedness he had
openly expressed his sympathy with the Netherlanders, who were defying
the will of his father, and he had extorted a semi-promise that he
should accompany the King to Flanders. Whether the Prince had entered
into any communication with the agents of the Flemings is doubtful; but
even if such were the case, and the ambition of Carlos to obtain an
early regency of Flanders was the end he had in view, it is a mere
travesty of history to represent that he seriously held reformed
opinions, any more than did Joan the Mad, when she reviled the mass and
the sacred symbols.

In any case, Philip abandoned his intention, if he ever really held it,
of going in person to the Low Countries; and decided to send the
ruthless Alba with a great army to scourge the stubborn ‘beggars’ into
humble submission to his will. When Carlos heard this, and that he, too,
was to remain in Spain, his fury passed all bounds. He attempted to stab
Alba himself when he went to take leave; and when the Cortes of Castile
petitioned the King that the heir to the throne should be kept in Spain,
Carlos made an open scandal, and threatened the deputies with death.

By this time, the autumn of 1567, Isabel was again pregnant, and
Philip’s hopes ran high that another son would be born to him. It is
clear that the great mission to which he and his father had devoted
strenuous lives could not safely be passed on to Carlos; and in
September, Ruy Gomez, Philip’s only friend, told the French ambassador
that if the Queen gave birth to a son, the future of Carlos as heir
would have to be reconsidered. The Prince was insatiable for money,
which he scattered broadcast on evil doings, he was openly insolent to
his father, and the latter suspected a design to escape clandestinely to
join the enemies of his State: and there is no doubt that if Isabel’s
second child had been a son, he would have been placed in the succession
before Don Carlos. Philip exceeded himself in tender solicitude for his
wife, but at last, on the 17th October 1567, the child that all Europe
was breathlessly expecting, was born—another daughter.

Thereafter the romance of Don Carlos unfolded rapidly. Philip had been
patient and longsuffering under the affliction of such a son, but he at
length despaired, and his attachment to his heir gave place to antipathy
and disgust: especially when his physicians had definitely assured him
that his line could never be continued by Carlos.[194] The Prince, on
the other hand, hated his father bitterly, and was morose with his aunt
Joan, whom he formerly loved, and with the young Austrian Princes,
though he had now been formally betrothed to their sister Anna. The only
person who influenced him was Isabel: ‘Il fait semblant de trouver bon
tout ce que la reyne votre fille fait et dit, et n’y a personne qui
dispose de lui comme elle, et c’est sans artifice ni feinte, car il ne
sçait feindre ni dissimuler.’[195]

Matters came to a head at the end of the year 1567. Philip and Isabel
had gone to pass Christmas at the newly commenced Palace of the
Escorial, when Carlos decided to make his long contemplated attempt to
escape from Spain. On the 23rd December, he whispered to his young
uncle, Don Juan of Austria, that he needed his help to get horses; and
Juan, recognising the seriousness of the situation, at once rode the
thirty odd miles to the Escorial to tell the King. As in all his great
calamities, Philip remained outwardly unmoved, and though he took such
measures secretly as would frustrate the flight, he did not return to
Madrid until the day previously fixed, the 17th January 1568. The next
day he went with Carlos to mass; but still made no sign. In the interim,
the Prince had even attempted to kill Don Juan; and it was time for his
father to strike, in order to prevent some greater tragedy, for Carlos
had admitted to his confessor that he had an ungovernable impulse to
kill a man. Whom? asked the confessor. The King, was the reply. For once
Philip broke down utterly when, with Ruy Gomez and other intimate
councillors, he deliberated what should be done. Late that night, when
the Prince slept, the afflicted father, with five armed gentlemen and
twelve guards, obtained entrance into the chamber, in spite of secret
bolts and locks; and when the Prince, disturbed, sprang up and sought
for his weapons, the weapons were gone. In rage and despair, he tried to
strangle himself, but was restrained; and, recognising that he was a
helpless prisoner, he flung himself upon his bed in an agony of grief,
and sobbed out, ‘I am not mad, not mad, only desperate.’

From that hour he was dead to the world, which saw him no more. The
position was a humiliating one for Philip, but he made the best of it,
by explaining to all the courts that the prince’s mental deficiency
necessitated his seclusion. To his own nearest relatives he did not hide
his bitterness. ‘It is not a punishment,’ he wrote, ‘would to God it
were, for it might come to an end: but I never can hope to see my son
restored to his right mind again. I have chosen in this matter to
sacrifice to God my own flesh and blood, preferring His service and the
universal good to all human considerations.’ Some sort of trial or
examination of the prince was held, but all professed accounts of the
proceedings must be accepted with caution. Certain it is that they
dragged on wearily, whilst the charges of treason, of conspiracy, of
disloyalty, and perhaps of heresy, were laboriously examined in strict
secrecy. Neither Isabel nor his aunt Joan was allowed to see Carlos, and
Don Juan was forbidden even to wear mourning for the calamity. By all
accounts the prince’s malady grew rapidly worse, as well it might in
such circumstances. Like Joan the Mad before him, he would starve for
days, and then swallow inedible things, he would alternately roast and
freeze himself, and he attempted suicide more than once. The end came on
the 25th July 1568, and the immense weight of testimony is in favour of
his having died in consequence of his own mad fancies in diet and

When Fourquevault conveyed the news of Carlos’s death to Catharine, he
wrote that the Queen Isabel was suffering from fainting fits and
headache; but it was her wish that great signs of mourning should be
made for the Prince in France, to show the King of Spain that they
(_i.e._, the French) were sorry for his loss; ‘as the Spanish people
attach so much importance to appearances.’ Isabel in weak health, for
she was again pregnant, was deeply touched by the trouble around her.
The French ambassador was gleefully reminding her mother that the death
of Don Carlos was a very good thing for her, and praising her beauty,
which the deep Spanish mourning set off to advantage, whilst he indulged
in brilliant hopes for the birth of a son to Isabel. But the young
Queen’s heart was heavy, not for Carlos alone, but for the scenes of
horror which were flooding Flanders with blood under the flail of Alba.
Egmont and Horn had been treacherously sacrificed in Brussels, Montigny
in Spain, and her own dear France was reft in twain by fratricidal war.
She was a catholic as sincere as Philip himself, but that the faith
should need wholesale murder for its assertion shocked and frightened
her; and she languished in the atmosphere of gloomy determination which
surrounded Philip.

Catharine wrote often in reply to the depressing news from her daughter,
arousing her hopes for a son who should, in his time, put all things
right; but Isabel at twenty-three had lost her gay elasticity, and the
advance of her pregnancy meant the advance of her exhausting malady.
Philip, as usual, was tenderly solicitous for her ease and happiness;
full of hope, too, that a son at last was to be born to him, for upon
this everything depended. The lying stories which long afterwards the
traitor Antonio Perez wove with hellish skill in the safe refuge of
Essex House, accusing Philip of jealousy of his wife with Don Carlos,
and subsequently with one Pozzo, are hardly worth more credit now than
the sentimental romance of the Abbé de St. Real about her love for
Carlos. Perez, whose only wish was to blacken Philip indelibly to please
his enemies, and his own paymasters in England and France, hints that
Philip himself connived at his beloved wife’s murder by poison: but even
if the confidential letters of her French friends now before us did not
disprove this, the fact that nothing could be so unfortunate for
Philip’s policy as Isabel’s death would give it the lie.

Isabel had been suffering for months from heart failure and bodily
irregularities; and on the 3rd October 1568, the violent remedies
administered to her by her doctors caused a miscarriage. The poor Queen
knew that she was doomed, for when before daybreak Philip, heartbroken,
came and sat by her bed, she calmly took a last farewell of him, praying
him to be good to their two little girls, to be friendly with Catharine
and King Charles IX., and kind to the attendant ladies who had served
her so well: ‘with other words worthy of admiration, and fit to break
the heart of a good husband, such as the King was. He answered her in
the same way; for he could not believe that she was so near her end, and
promised all she asked him; after which he retired to his room in great
anguish, as I am told.’[196] The dying woman had confessed and received
extreme unction during the night; and early in the morning the French
ambassadors were summoned to her chamber. ‘She knew us at once, and
said, Ah! ambassador, you see me well on the road out of this unhappy
world into a better one ... pray my mother and brother to bear my loss
patiently, and to be satisfied with what pleases me more than any
prosperity I have enjoyed in this world, to go to my Creator, where I
may serve him better than I can here. I shall pray Him that all my
brothers and sisters may live long and happily, as well as my mother and
brother Charles: and I beg you to beseech them to look to their realm,
and prevent heresy taking root. Let them all take my death patiently,
for I am very happy.’ ‘O!’ replied the principal ambassador, ‘your
Majesty will live a long time yet, to see France good and happy.’ ‘No,
no, ambassador,’ she whispered, shaking her head with a faint smile. ‘I
do hope it will be so, but I do not wish to see it. I would much rather
go and see what I hope very soon to see.’

After much more tender talk of her own land and people, the dying Queen
took farewell of her countrymen and prayed awhile with her ghostly
comforters: then fell into slumber for a short ten minutes. At midday,
‘she suddenly opened her eyes, bright and sparkling, and it seemed to me
as if she wished to tell me something more, for they looked straight at
me:[197] and then Isabel of the Peace passed quietly into the world her
gentle soul longed for. ‘We left the palace all in tears, for throughout
the people of this city there is not one, great or small, that doth not
weep; for they all mourn in her the best Queen they have ever had.’
Philip in grief hid himself from the world in the monastery of Saint
Jerome; but his task in the world was greater to him even than his
sorrow or his love. The hopes of the French alliance to extirpate heresy
had failed, failed utterly and completely. England, helping the
insurgent Flemings with all her might, had drifted further, and ever
further, away from him. In France the reformation was growing, and only
two lives—and bad ones—stood between the throne and a Huguenot King.
There was no male heir to inherit the thorny inheritance of championing
orthodox Christianity throughout the world. Whither could Philip turn
for sympathy and a mother for the heir he yearned for? Not to England;
not to France, for both had failed him. Where but to his own kin in
Austria; to his niece Anna, the betrothed of his dead son Carlos: and on
the second anniversary of Isabel’s death Anna of Austria landed in Spain
to marry her uncle Philip. Isabel of the Peace politically had lived in

                                BOOK IV
                           ISABEL OF BOURBON

The niece wife of Philip II. bore him many children, of whom one
weakling alone survived to inherit the oppressive crown of his father.
Anna was a homely, devout soul, submissive and obedient to her husband,
ever busy with her needle and her household cares; and, like the other
members of her house, overpowered with the vastness and majesty of the
mission confided by heaven to its chief.[198] On the voyage to Portugal
in 1580 Philip fell ill at Badajoz, and when his life was despaired of
Anna fervently prayed that he might be saved, even if she had to be
sacrificed instead. Her prayer was heard; and as the husband of
fifty-three recovered the wife of thirty sickened and died, leaving
Philip broken and lonely to live the rest of his weary life for his work
alone. The struggle to prevent the victory of reform in France, which
occupied Philip’s later years, and consummated the ruin of his country,
rendered impossible a renewal of the idea of a French and Spanish
coalition, except, indeed, by the conquest of France by Philip, which
many years of fruitless war proved to be impossible, whilst the gallant
cynic, Henry of Navarre, could hold up the national banner of France as
a rally point against the foreign invader.

Once Philip, in sheer despair, turned, when it was too late, to England
again in the hope of bringing it into his system by force, if intrigue
and subornation of conspiracy and murder failed: but with the defeat of
the Armada that hope fled too; and again there was no possible bride but
an Austrian cousin for Philip’s heir, Philip III., and no feasible
policy from Philip’s point of view but a continuance of the close family
alliance with the German Habsburg descendants of Joan the Mad. The
Emperor, it is true, was forced to tolerate his Lutheran princes; but he
and his house made common cause with the Philips when the French cast
greedy eyes towards Catholic Flanders or Italy. Margaret of Austria
brought to sickly, scrofulous Philip III. an anæmic body and a stunted
mind to rear his children. She implored her mother passionately to save
her from the terrifying honour of sharing the gloomy throne of her
cousin, for in her Styrian home she lived the life of a nun, devoted
only to the humble care of the poor and sick of her own land: but she
was sternly told that all must be sacrificed to the supreme duty that
was hers; and thenceforward she, too, lived in the awestricken
atmosphere of religious abnegation, which was the mark of her Spanish
kindred.[199] In besotted, conventual devotion, and frivolous trifling
in turns, her monkish husband and she passed their lives; their
children, of whom they had several, all bloodless decadents of low
vitality, with big mumbling jaws and lack-lustre eyes, brought up in the
same pathetic tradition that to them and Spain—poor, ruined, desolated
Spain now—was confided the sacred duty and honour of upholding religious
orthodoxy throughout the world at any cost or sacrifice.

So long as Henry IV. was King of France, even though he had ‘gone to
mass,’ the close union with Spain was impossible: but on the fateful day
in May 1610 when, in the narrow Paris lane, the dagger of Ravaillac
pierced the heart of the great ‘Béarnais,’ all was changed. The
Queen-Regent of France was one of the Papal Medici, imbued, as they all
were, with the tradition of Spain’s orthodoxy and overwhelming might.
Her marriage with Henry had been a victory for the extreme Catholic
party in Europe; but so long as Henry lived he had prevented violent
reaction. Now that he was gone, with his Huguenot traditions, France and
Spain, it was thought, might again be joined in a Catholic league, and
together impose their form of faith upon the world, either by armed
force or political pressure. It was a foolish, impracticable plan, for
Frenchmen were too far advanced now to be used to play the game of
impotent bankrupt Spain, powerful only in its pride and its traditions.

But James I. of England had been toadying and humiliating himself to
gain Philip’s aid in favour of his son-in-law, the Palatine in Germany,
and it doubtless seemed a good stroke of policy on the part of France
and Spain to leave him and the Lutherans isolated. In any case no time
was lost, and before Henry IV. had lain in his tomb at St. Denis a year
it was agreed that the Spanish Infanta, Anna, should marry Louis XIII.
of France, and that Isabel, or Elizabeth, the eldest daughter of Henry
IV. and Marie de Medici, should become the wife of Philip, Prince of
Asturias, the son and heir of the Spanish King. All the betrothed were
children of tender age, and it was agreed that the exchange of brides
should be deferred until the Infanta was twelve years old (1613).
Pompous and lavish embassies went through the solemn farce of paying
honour to the girl-children respectively as Queen of France and Princess
of Asturias. The Duke of Mayenne, of the house of Guise, ruffled and
swaggered in Madrid with a marriage embassy so splendid in 1612, that
the cost of entertaining him beggared the capital for years; and so keen
was the emulation in sumptuousness of dress and adornments during the
interminable festivities in Madrid to celebrate the double betrothals,
that the Spanish nobles came to dagger-thrusts on the subject in the
palace itself.

In Paris Ruy Gomez’s son, the Duke of Pastrana, paid similar court to
the dark-haired girl of nine who was betrothed to young Philip, heir of
Spain, two years younger. Three years more had to pass, notwithstanding
the impatience of the French, before the backward little Infanta Anna,
in October 1615, was conveyed with a pomp and extravagance that ill
matched the penury of her father’s realm, to the frontier of France,
there to be exchanged for Isabel of Bourbon, her brother’s bride.[200]
On the 9th November 1615 all the chivalry of France and Spain were once
more assembled on either bank of the little stream of Bidasoa that
separated the two countries. Wasteful luxury and vain magnificence had
been squandered wantonly by the Spanish nobles, determined, as usual, to
put the French to shame. At Behovia, the point where the ceremony was to
take place, sumptuous banqueting-halls had been erected upon rafts
moored on each side of the stream, whilst in mid-current another raft
supported a splendid pavilion covered with velvet and cloth of gold, and
carpeted with priceless silken carpets from the East. Here the Duke of
Guise delivered Isabel of France to the Duke of Uceda, in exchange for
Anna of Austria, thenceforward Queen of France. The romantic and
turbulent career of the latter is related elsewhere: here we have to
follow the fortunes of the beautiful dark-haired girl of twelve who,
like Isabel of the Peace fifty-four years before, turned her back upon
her native land to cement the Catholic alliance between France and

The circumstances were widely different, for the battle of religious
liberty in Europe was practically won, though the blind faith and vanity
of Philip III. refused, even now, to recognise the fact, or his own
poverty-stricken impotence. The Medici Queen-Regent of France, moreover,
was a very different person from her kinswoman Catharine. She was not
playing her own game so much as that of the cunning Italians who
directed her, and it was soon evident, under Richelieu, that Frenchmen
were no longer to be made the playthings of foreign ambitions. Isabel,
child as she was, had a stout heart and a high spirit, as befitted her
father’s daughter. She was willing enough to be a queen upon the most
pretentious throne in Europe; but she was not made for martyrdom, and,
as we shall see, her marriage was even less influential in securing
lasting peace and co-operation between France and Spain than that of the
previous Isabel had been.

Through Fuenterrabia, San Sebastian and Vitoria, Isabel travelled
towards Burgos, where she was to meet her boy bridegroom. Dressed in
Spanish garb from Vitoria onward, she won all hearts by her gaiety and
brightness; and, as an eyewitness says of her, ‘even if she had French
blood in her veins she had a Spanish spirit.’ Philip III. and his son
met the bride a league from Burgos, and we are told that the prince of
eleven years old was so dazzled with her beauty that he could only gaze
speechless upon her. The next day Burgos was all alive with the
splendour of the welcome of the future Queen, who entered the city on a
white palfrey with a silver saddle and housings of velvet and pearls;
and so, from city to city, smiling and happy, the girl, in the midst of
the inflated Court, slowly made her way to Madrid. On the afternoon of
19th December 1615 Isabel rode from the monastery of St. Jerome[202]
through Madrid to the palace upon the cliff overlooking the valley of
the Manzanares. An eyewitness describes her appearance as she rode
through the mile of crowded narrow streets of old Madrid, under
triumphal arches, past thousands of peopled balconies, hung with
tapestries, with songs and music of welcome all the way. ‘Her Highness
was dressed in the French fashion, with an entire robe of crimson satin
embroidered with bugles, a little cap trimmed with diamonds, and a ruff
beautifully trimmed in French style, and with a rosette and girdle of
diamonds of great size. She went her way, bright and buxom, full of
rejoicing. Her aquiline face was wreathed in smiles, and her fine eyes
flashed from side to side, looking at everything, to the great delight
of the populace.’[203]

It was five years after this, on the 25th November 1620, at the palace
of Pardo, that young Philip and Isabel began their married life
together. Philip was yet barely sixteen when (in March 1621) the low
vitality of his father flickered out, and the monarch, who should have
been a monk, passed, in alternate paroxysms of fear and ecstacies of
hope, from the world in which he had meant so well and done so ill. The
corruption and waste under Lerma and his crew of parasites had bled
Spain to the white, and utter ruin was now the lot of whole populations.
The tradition of the King’s wealth which still lingered could hardly be
kept up now, though at the fall of Lerma some of the worst robbers had
been made to disgorge their booty. The King had been beloved and revered
for his saintliness, but all saw the desolation that his idle dependence
upon favourites had caused. Spain now looked only to the sallow,
long-faced boy, Philip IV., with the light blue eyes and lank flaxen
hair, to save the people from starvation. Not to him, but to the man at
his side, it soon learned to look. He was a big-boned powerful man of
thirty-three, with a great square head, heavy stooping shoulders, fierce
black eyes, burning like live coals in an olive face; and his upturned
twisted moustache added to the haughty imperiousness of his mien. This
was the man, Gaspar de Guzman, Count of Olivares, Duke of St. Lucar, who
made a clean sweep of all the corrupt gang that had fattened upon Spain,
the brood of Rojas and Sandoval, and replaced them with his own
creatures. Philip, like his father, meant well, and was naturally a much
more able man; but he was idle, pleasure-loving, and pathetically unable
to resist temptation, each constantly recurring transgression being
followed by an agony of remorse, only to be again committed when the
first poignancy of regret had passed.

Following the advice of Olivares, he attempted to mend matters by
cutting down expenses alone, instead of changing the system of taxation
and finance; and the ‘spirited foreign policy’ which he adopted soon
involved him in expenditure, which later completed the downfall of the
country. The foolish old dream that catholic unity might be won by
Spanish arms still kept him at war with the Dutch, whilst the Moors were
harrying the Spanish coasts and commerce, and France and Spain were
already at loggerheads again, now that Marie de Medici and her crew had
been thrust into the background. Instead of recognising facts and lying
low to recuperate, Olivares and Philip, with the blinded nation behind
them, were as boastful and haughty as their predecessors had been in the
days of Spain’s strength. The weak poltroon who reigned unworthily in
England, was ever ready to truckle to apparent strength. He had
sacrificed Raleigh at Spain’s bidding, he had been contemptuously used
and scorned by Lerma and Philip III. when he had tried to marry his heir
to a Spanish Infanta, and he had been cleverly kept from an alliance
with France by hopes and half promises. But the Palatinate was still
unrestored, and when Philip III. had died, James made another attempt
with the new King to win Spain’s friendship by a marriage.

The hare-brained trip of Prince Charles and Buckingham to Madrid, to win
the hand of the Infanta and the alliance of Spain, has often been
described, and can hardly be touched upon here. The Prince suddenly
appeared disguised at the English embassy at Madrid on the 7th March
1622, and the next day, to the dismay of Olivares, the awkward visit was
known to all the capital. He and young Philip made the best of a bad
business. To abandon Austria and the Palatinate for the sake of
protestant England did not suit them, but they could be polite. All the
edicts ordering economy of dress, eating, and adornments, were
suspended, and whilst Charles stayed in Madrid a tempest of prodigality
prevailed. Isabel and the Infanta played their parts in the farce with
apprehension and reluctance, for the former knew that the besought
alliance was directed against France, and the Infanta was horrified at
the idea of marrying a heretic. But they did their best to keep up
appearances, especially Isabel, who treated Charles most graciously. The
day after his arrival, Philip and his wife and sister, the latter with a
blue ribbon round her arm to distinguish her, rode in a coach to the
church in the Prado, and Charles, of course quite by accident, met them
both coming and going, to his great satisfaction. Soon after Isabel sent
to the English prince a fine present of white underwear, a nightgown
beautifully worked, and several scented coffers, with golden keys, full
of toilet requisites, probably guessing that in his rapid voyage he had
not brought such luxuries with him; and at the great bull fight at the
Plaza Mayor in honour of the Prince, she sat in brown satin, bordered
with gold, in the fine balcony of the city bread-store overlooking the
Plaza, as Charles, in black velvet and white feathers, rode his fine bay
horse into the arena by the side of Philip, to take his place in an
adjoining box.

Before the masked ball on Easter Sunday, given by the Admiral of Castile
in Charles’s honour, Isabel in white satin, covered with precious
stones, dined in public; and then, changing her dress to one of black
and gold, awaited the English Prince to lead her to the ballroom. There
during the entertainment, and on all other occasions, he sat at her
right hand under a royal canopy, with Philip on her left; whilst the
Earl of Bristol, on his knees before them, interpreted the small talk
suitable to the occasion. And so, with comedies and cane tourneys,
banquets and balls, Charles and Buckingham were beguiled by Olivares for
well nigh six months, until the farce grew stale, and Charles wended his
way home again, nominally betrothed to the Infanta, but really outwitted
and his country humiliated. The defeat was softened by much loving
profession and splendid presents from Philip and his courtiers to the
English Prince; and it is somewhat curious that, on the departure of
Charles, the present given to him by Isabel again took the form of white
linen garments, fifty amber-dressed skins, two hundred and fifty scented
kidskins for gloves, a large sum in silver crowns, and other

Philip and his wife had now settled down to their regular life in the
most brilliant court in Europe. It was the Augustan age of Spanish
literature and the drama, and a perfect craze for comedies and satirical
verse seized upon the Spanish people, under the influence of the King
and Queen, both of them passionately fond of the theatre and diversions
of all sorts. Isabel, like her husband, was conventionally devout, and
her religious benefactions were constant, as well as her attendances at
the ceremonies of the church;[205] but in her devotion she had none of
the gloomy monastic character which had afflicted her husband’s family,
and the social demeanour of the courtiers and of the townspeople
generally underwent a complete change in her time. Her manners, indeed,
were so free and debonair as to have given rise to some quite
unsupported scandal as to her faithfulness to her husband. Madrid was a
perfect hotbed of tittle-tattle; everybody considered it necessary to be
able to spin satirical verses, and as these were generally anonymous and
in manuscript, the reputation of no one, high or low, was safe from

The reaction from the rigid propriety of previous reigns led the Court
of Philip IV. to assume a licence that quite shocked foreigners. Much of
the day was passed in parading up and down the Calle Mayor (High Street)
in coaches, and much of the night in summer in promenading in the dry
bed of the river. Gallantry became the fashion, and ladies, very far
from resenting, welcomed broad compliments and doubtful jests addressed
to them by strangers in the streets.[206] The palace itself, especially
the new pleasure palace of the Buen Retiro, built in the Prado for
Philip by Olivares in 1632, was a notorious focus of intrigue;
encouraged by the example of Philip himself, by far the most dissolute
king of his line. From his early youth he had delighted in amateur
acting, and under a pseudonym (Un Ingenio de esta Corte), wrote comedies
himself, and delighted in the society of dramatic people.

Isabel was as keen a lover of the stage as her husband, and from the
first days after the mourning for Philip III. was over, she began her
favourite diversion of private theatricals in her own apartments. From
October 1622, every Sunday and Thursday during the winter, as well as on
holidays, comedies were performed by regular actors in her private
theatre. Some of these comedies may be mentioned to show the taste of
the Queen in such matters. ‘_The Scorned Sweetheart_,’ ‘_The Loss of
Spain_,’ and ‘_The Jealousy of a Horse_,’ were three plays by Pedro
Valdés, for which Isabel paid 300 reals (£6) each, the previous price
having been £4. ‘_Gaining Friends_,’ ‘_The Power of Opportunity_,’ and
‘_How our Eyes are Cheated_,’ ‘_The Fortunate Farmer_,’ ‘_The Woman’s
Avenger_,’ and ‘_The Husband of His Sister_,’ were others; and the total
number of such plays represented in the Queen’s apartments in the palace
during the winter of 1622–23, was forty-three, the fees for which
reached 13,500 reals (£270).[207]

Whilst the Prince of Wales was in Madrid the theatres in the palace, and
the two public courtyard theatres in the capital, had a busy season.
James Howell, writing from Madrid at the time,[208] says, ‘There are
many excellent poems made here since the Prince’s arrival, which are too
long to couch in a letter. Yet I will venture to send you this one
stanza of Lope de Vega:

                      “Carlos Estuardo soy,
                      Que, siendo amor mi guia,
                      Al cielo de España voy,
                      Por ver mi estrella Maria.”

                      “Charles Stuart here am I
                      Guided by love afar,
                      Into the Spanish sky
                      To see Maria my star.”

‘There are comedians once a week come to the palace, where, under a
great canopy, the Queen and the Infanta sit in the middle, our Princeps
and Don Carlos on the Queen’s right hand, the King and the little
Cardinal (_i.e._ the King’s boy-brother, Ferdinand) on the Infanta’s
left hand.’

Philip’s notorious and scandalous infidelity to his wife, to whom,
nevertheless, he was devotedly attached, did not prevent him from being
violently jealous of any appearance of special loving homage to her
beauty and charm. At one of the great cane tourneys to celebrate his
accession in the summer of 1621, it was noticed that when Juan de
Tassis, Count of Villamediana, rode with his troop of horsemen into the
arena, he was wearing a sash covered with the silver coins called
_reales_ (royals), and flaunting as his motto, ‘My loves are reals’ (or
royal). The Count was a spiteful poetaster, neither good looking nor
young, but boastful and presumptuous; and the quidnuncs of the capital
who flocked ‘Liar’s parade,’[209] began to whisper that this was a
challenge to the love of the Queen; and that the King, when his wife had
remarked that Villamediana aimed well, had replied, ‘Yes, but he aims
too high.’ It is now fairly certain that Villamediana’s homage was not
intended for the Queen, but for another lady, named Francisca de Tavara,
with whom the King was carrying on an intrigue at the time;[210] and
beyond her usual jovial heartiness there is no ground for supposing that
Isabel gave Villamediana any encouragement.

But in the following spring of 1622, when the Court was at Aranjuez, a
far more serious matter happened which produced tragic results for
Villamediana. There was a great festival to celebrate Philip’s
seventeenth birthday, and one of the attractions was a temporary theatre
of canvas and wood erected in the ‘island garden,’ and beautifully
adorned, in which was to be represented at night a comedy in verse
written by the Count of Villamediana, and dedicated to the Queen. The
comedy was called ‘_La Gloria de Niquea_,’ and Isabel was to represent
the part of the goddess of beauty. All the Court was assembled, the King
being in his seat with his brothers and sister, and the Queen in the
retiring rooms behind the stage. The inside of the flimsy building was
of course lit brilliantly with wax candles and lamps, whilst in the
densely wooded gardens outside all was dark, when suddenly, at the
moment that the prologue had been finished, a cry went up from behind
the curtain: and then a long tongue of flame licked up the side, and
immediately the whole of the stage was aflame. Panic seized upon the
gaily bedizened crowd, and there was a rush to escape. In the confusion
the King with difficulty found his way out, only to rush to the back of
the edifice in search of his wife. Villamediana had been before him, and
Philip found his wife half fainting in the Count’s arms.

Whatever may be the truth of the matter, it was soon noised about by the
scandalmongers of Madrid that Villamediana had planned the whole affair,
and had purposely set fire to the place that he might have an excuse for
clasping the Queen in his arms. This was on the 8th April 1622; and
when, in August of the same year, Villamediana was assassinated in his
coach at nightfall in the Calle Mayor, within a few yards of his own
house,[211] all fingers pointed to Philip himself as the instigator of
the crime; and the current jingle ascribed to Lope de Vega, in which it
says that ‘_el impulso fué soberano_’ echoed public opinion on the
matter. No blame, however, in any case can be ascribed to Isabel, nor
did Philip ever cease to hold her in affection and esteem.

She was a true daughter of her father, sage in counsel, bold in action,
but with a gaiety of heart that often made her pleasures look frivolous
and unbecoming. More Spanish than the Spaniards, she loved the bullfight
and the theatre with an intensity that delighted her husband’s subjects,
who were crazy for both pastimes, but in her boisterous vitality she
would often countenance amusements contrived for her which we should now
think coarse. Quarrels and fights between country women would be
incited, or nocturnal tumults by torchlight in the gardens of Aranjuez
or the Retiro, arranged for her to witness; snakes or other noxious
reptiles would be secretly set loose on the floor of a crowded theatre
to the confusion of the spectators, whilst the Queen almost laughed
herself into a fit, at one of the windows overlooking the scene. The
Court indeed during the first years of her married life was a merry one,
notwithstanding its ostentatious devotion; and, although Olivares more
than once urged the King to take a more active interest in the
government and give less time to his amusements, the minister’s enemies,
and he had many, averred that there was nothing he really liked better
than to keep the young monarch immersed in pleasure, that he himself
might rule supreme.[212]

Much as Isabel herself loved pleasure, she began to be anxious, as
troubles at home and abroad accumulated, at the complete abandonment of
public affairs to the minister, and she urged Philip most earnestly to
give more time to his duties. She had good reason to be distrustful, for
she saw how weak to resist his impulses Philip was. His love affairs
were legion, and as in the case of most of his courtiers, gallantry
became a habit with him. There was, however, one affair of Philip’s that
gave his wife more disquietude than most of the others. Olivares, it was
said, in pursuance of his system, had agents all over Spain to send to
Madrid the most talented actors and attractive actresses that could be
found; and in 1627 there appeared as a member of a very clever troupe at
the ‘Corral de la Pacheca’[213] a girl of sixteen named Maria Calderon.
She was no great beauty, but of extraordinary grace and fascination,
with a voice so sweet, and speech so captivating, that she subdued all
hearts. Philip saw her on the stage, and fell in love with her at once.
She was summoned to the room overlooking the courtyard that served the
King for a private box, in order that he might listen more closely to
the cadence of her lovely voice, and the inflammable heart of Philip
grew warmer still. From the Corral to the palace was but a step when the
king willed it, and the ‘Calderona’ became Philip’s acknowledged
mistress. Gifts and caresses were piled upon her by the love-lorn King;
and the Calderona, proud of her position, turned a severe face to all
other lovers, needing, as she said, no favour but royal favour.

On the 17th April 1629 she had a son by the King, to the great delight
of Philip. The child Juan of Austria was the handsomest member of his
house, and Philip’s affection for him from the first was intense;
somewhat to Isabel’s chagrin when she herself bore him a son six months
afterwards.[214] But from the worthy ‘Calderona’ she had no more rivalry
to fear. As soon as the actress could go out she sought the King, and,
throwing herself at his feet, craved permission, humbly and tearfully,
to devote the rest of her life to religion in a convent, now that she
had been honoured by bearing a son to the King. Philip loved her still
and hesitated, but she firmly refused to cohabit with him again; and
with sorrow he gave way, and the Calderona became a nun.[215]

Isabel’s children were many, five who died at, or soon after, their
births having preceded the looked-for heir of Spain, Don Baltasar
Carlos, that chubby, sturdy little Prince (born in October 1629) who
prances his fat pony for ever upon the canvas of Velazquez. The fastuous
taste of the King and Court was satisfied to the full in the baptism of
Baltasar Carlos. The Countess of Olivares, who was as supreme in the
palace as her husband was in the country, held the babe at the font,
seated, as we are told by an eyewitness, upon ‘a seat of rock crystal,
the most costly piece of furniture ever seen in Europe’; and presents
were showered upon the midwife to the value of thirteen thousand ducats.
As soon as the Queen was able to appear, her birthday (21st November)
was celebrated on this occasion as it had never been before. Masquerades
on horseback, torchlight parades, cane contests and bullfights succeeded
each other, in all of which the King made a sumptuous appearance with
his brother, Don Carlos; and the Queen, who had given an heir to the
crown, was honoured to the full.

This splendid Court, strutting and posturing in rich garments upon the
brink of the slope which was leading to Spain’s overthrow, had the
advantage of being immortalised upon canvas by the greatest master of
portraiture that ever lived, and laid bare to the very soul by some of
the keenest satirists who ever wielded pen. The battue parties, in which
Philip and his wife delighted, for the killing of stags in an enclosure,
are brought before us as if we were present by the great picture in
which Velazquez has portrayed the scene.[216] In the park of Aranjuez,
with the afternoon sun glinting through the trees, dark against a
cloudless sky, the white canvas enclosure is erected. Into its gradually
narrowing limits the frightened deer have been driven by mounted
beaters, and at the only exit through the neck of the funnel are
stationed the gentlemen, beneath a sort of platform of leafy boughs
decked with red cloth, in which the ladies sit. The central figure of
the twelve ladies, seated upon a crimson cushion, the better to see the
sport, is the Queen, Isabel of Bourbon, dressed in a yellow robe, and
wearing a white bow upon her head. Beneath the platform there await,
mounted, the onrush of the deer, Philip and his two brothers, Carlos and
Ferdinand, and, of course, Olivares. With their hunting knives, they
slash at the deer as they fly past underneath the ladies’ bower, killing
some, ham-stringing others, and leaving the rest that escape to be dealt
with by the hounds awaiting them beyond. The ground beneath the bower is
drenched with the warm blood of the butchered beasts, and the ladies
smile approval at the sickly spectacle, whilst groups of courtiers,
servants, and beaters, crowd the foreground and discuss the King’s

Another hunting scene, a little less repugnant to modern ideas, is the
famous ‘Boar Hunt’ in the National Gallery in London. Here the canvas
enclosure is in the hunting seat of the Pardo, and Philip, on his
prancing mount, is just thrusting his forked javelin into the flank of a
passing boar, whilst around him are his courtiers and companions in the
sport, with Olivares nearest; and in the arena there are some clumsy
blue carriages, with partially curtained windows innocent of glass
except in front, in one of which sits Queen Isabel. The mules of her
coach have, of course, been unharnessed and put out of harm’s way; but
as the boars are agile and fierce, and had been known to leap into the
coaches, the ladies themselves are armed with light javelins to repel
them. Every detail of the life of this pleasure-loving Court has been
fixed for us by the great painter: the ladies and gentlemen in the garb
in which they lived, the dwarfs and buffoons who amused them, the
palaces in which they intrigued; and, as a running accompaniment always,
the sated weary face of the King from youth to age.

Fair and lymphatic, with dull blue eyes, and colourless sallow face,
Philip had inherited the tradition that in all public appearances the
King of Spain must never smile: and, mad votary of pleasure as he was,
he never moved a muscle either in delight or annoyance whilst he was
behind the footlights. Isabel was more spontaneous, and Spanish
etiquette never crushed her. But as time went on and the clouds piled up
for the coming tempest, her face grew heavier and her eyes more sad. Her
portrait was painted many times by Velazquez, though only one specimen
remains in the Museo del Prado, the equestrian figure, painted at about
the time of Baltasar’s birth before misfortune had spoilt her life.
Another likeness of her, now at Hampton Court, was painted ten years
later (1638), shows the change wrought by trouble: but in all
Velazquez’s representations of the Queen, we see the same
characteristics: the large, expressive black eyes, the broad spacious
forehead, and the strong full jaw; and, though the general aspect was
more like her buxom mother than her clever father, Isabel’s countenance
is alive with intelligence. In the later portraits the face grows weary,
and the lower part is flaccid and heavy, but in all the painted
portraits of Isabel by Velazquez, we have the woman herself before us;
not a sensuous idealisation of her, like that painted by Rubens, and now
at the Louvre.



If the painter has handed to us by his genius the exact reflection of
this Court in a way that makes it live for us more vividly, perhaps,
than any other, Quevedo and his followers, especially Velez de Guevara
in _El Diablo Cojuelo_, have left in biting prose records no less
faithful of its amusements, its follies, and crimes. By the light held
up by the satirists we see an utterly decadent society, sunk, from the
King downwards, into a slough of apathetic despondency of ever bettering
things, whilst each individual strives madly to get as much pleasure as
he can wring out of life, by fair means or foul, before the catastrophe
overwhelms them all. Faith has decayed, and trembling superstition mixed
with scoffing irreverence has taken its place: idleness is everywhere;
poverty and squalor seek to masquerade as nobility, in order to claim
the privilege to plunder which Court and Church alone possess, and
labour is scorned as beneath the subjects of a King so wealthy and
powerful as the sovereign of Spain is still assumed to be, in the face
of all evidence to the contrary. A pretentious, hollow society it was,
where all sought to share in the scramble, even at second or third hand,
for the possessions of the State, oblivious to the fact that the State
itself could possess nothing but what the individual citizens supplied.

Pretence was not limited to rank and material possessions. The noble
poet and satirist kept a sycophantic man of letters to supply him with
the lucubrations that moved the Court to admiration when they bore the
name of a marquis, the cities swarmed with sham students, who pattered
Latin tags, and cadged on the strength of a scholarship that was not
theirs: and when showy pageants palled upon the King, and even his
beloved comedies failed to spur his jaded wit, Philip could always find
solace in the pedantic and affected academies and poetical contests over
which he was so fond of presiding in his palace. There well-studied
impromptus were mouthed, far-fetched conceits declaimed with a pomposity
worthy of inspired prophecy, and preciosity run mad twisted and befouled
the noble Castilian speech into the bastard _Latiniparla_, at which
Quevedo gibed whilst himself revelling in it.

It was a Court of mean shams and squalid splendour, where all was
rottenness but the fair outside. How ostentatious that outside was may
be seen in the many records of court festivities that a bombastic age
has handed to us. They are for the most part insufferably tedious
catalogues of the dress and ornaments of pompously named nobles,
courtiers, and favourites;[217] but a few details of two great feasts in
which Isabel took a conspicuous part, may be set forth here as a
specimen of the diversions of her time. An entertainment, given to the
sovereigns by the Countess of Olivares early in June 1631, in the garden
of her brother, the Count of Monterey, inspired Olivares with the idea
of outdoing all previous efforts in the same direction. The time was
short, for the night of St. John (24th June) was the day fixed. Two
comedies had to be written specially for the occasion; and Lope de Vega,
the most marvellously prolific playwright that ever lived, managed to
compose one of them in three days: whilst Quevedo and Antonio Mendoza,
put on their mettle by Lope’s rapidity, wrote another jointly in a
single day, whilst Olivarez himself snatched rare moments of leisure
from State affairs, of which he was the universal minister, to
superintend the rehearsals.

As if by enchantment, in a few days there sprang up in the gardens[218]
a sumptuous pavilion from which the King and Queen, with their favoured
courtiers, might see the play. In front was erected the open air
theatre, crowded with crystal lights and rare flowers, whilst all around
were platforms for other guests, choristers, etc. At nine o’clock at
night, Philip and Isabel alighted from their coach, and were received by
Olivares to the sounds of soft music. When they had taken their seats,
Philip on a chair of state, and Isabel on a pile of cushions, trays of
presents were brought them, perfumes, embroidered scented handkerchiefs,
and essences in cut glass flasks,[219] Isabel being especially asked to
accept in addition a jewelled Italian fan. Quevedo’s comedy, _Quien mas
miente medra mas_ (He who lies most thrives most) was represented first,
after a musical prologue and a poetic welcome to Isabel recited by the
famous actress Maria de Riquelme. The first representation occupied two
hours and a half, we are told by an eyewitness: ‘during which many
excellent dances were introduced; and although the players, having had
little time to study, did not succeed in bringing out all the witty
invention of the verses, it is certain that in many ordinary comedies
together could not be found such an abundance of smart jests as in this
one alone; for one day’s work was sufficient for Don Francisco de
Quevedo’s wit to invent it all.’

When the first comedy was finished Philip and Isabel were led to the
adjoining garden of the Duke of Maqueda,[220] where there had been
erected two bowers or summer-houses of leaves and blossoms, with a great
number of coloured lights. These two arbors, one for the King and the
other for the Queen, communicated by an arched passage of foliage, and
were surrounded by similar erections for the suite, each bower being
supplied with a table of light refreshments. In the King’s bower there
was a hamper containing a long cloak of brown cloth, ornamented at the
edge by scrolls of black and silver, solid silver hanging buttons, and
loops serving for fastening. This was accompanied by a white
wide-brimmed hat trimmed with brown feathers and a white aigrette, and a
Walloon falling collar,[221] which was still occasionally worn in place
of the almost universal _golilla_. The King’s brothers were similarly
supplied with disguises; whilst in the Queen’s bower the hamper
contained a mirror, a brown woollen cloak embroidered at the bottom with
sprigs of black silk and silver, the fastenings in this case also being
solid silver hanging buttons and silver loops. The cloak was lined with
silk of the same colour, hemmed and stitched with black and silver, and
with it was a beautiful lace mantilla, a pleated lace ruff, and a white
hat adorned with brown and white plumes and spangles. The whole Court
was thus supplied with wraps and headgear against the night air. A light
supper of surpassing daintiness was then served in the arbors, and the
whole party, politely supposed to be disguised, proceeded to witness the
second comedy; the Queen in her capricious garb, ‘adding to her natural
and marvellous graciousness and beauty the extraordinary attraction of
the strangeness of attire, without losing an atom of the dignity which
distinguishes her Majesty, no less than the other admirable virtues and
perfections which shine in her.’ We are assured that the unusual hats
and garments worn by the King and his brothers were equally powerless to
spoil their dignified appearance, ‘as they unite those qualities which
vulgar censure and envy always strive to keep apart, namely, great
beauty and a noble air:’ and the writer of the account from which I
quote, nervous, apparently, at what the outside public would say to such
a derogation of royalty as to don disguises, assures us that only a very
select company was allowed to be present.[222]

The comedy of Lope de Vega, ‘_La Noche de San Juan_,’ was then
represented on the open air stage, and a short concert followed, after
which the King and Queen were conducted to a flower-decked gallery
erected in the other adjoining garden.[223] Here, after midnight,
another delicate refection was partaken of, the Count and Countess of
Olivares serving the King and Queen, the whole banquet being so well
organised that everything went off with the utmost decorum and
quietness, except for the sweet music which enlivened the feast. When
the day was just breaking the King and Queen entered their coach and,
after a few turns in the Prado, rode home to the palace to bed. Olivares
was praised to the skies for the organisation of this lavish feast, and
the wonder is expressed that the licentious crowd of people who
frequented the Prado at night should have been so awed by the presence
of the King in the garden adjoining, that no disturbance or disorder
took place.

This feast, fine as it was, was completely thrown in the shade by
another which took place a few yards away, two years later (1633), when,
at tremendous expense, and much unjust appropriation of other people’s
property, Olivares run up and sumptuously furnished, in an amazing short
time, the pleasure palace of the Buen Retiro, which afterwards became
Philip’s favourite place of residence, where his comedies, academies,
concerts, recitations and masquerades could be indulged in with more
propriety than in the gloomy, old half-Moorish palace on the cliff at
the other end of the town. The house warming of the Buen Retiro lasted
for a week in one continual round of tedious entertainment, in which
invention and lavishness exhausted itself; but this was only the first
of a series of such revels in the same place, for which any pretext was

In January 1637, for instance, when Philip learnt that his
brother-in-law, Ferdinand, had been elected King of the Romans, and
future Emperor, an entertainment was ordered on a prodigious scale at
the Buen Retiro. Three thousand men were set to work to level a hill
that Pinelo (Anales) says ‘had stood since the world was made,’ for the
purpose of building a wooden enclosure 608 feet long and 480 wide. Four
hundred and eight large balconies or boxes surrounded this vast space,
which was painted to look like masonry outside, whilst the inside was
hung with silk and tapestries, and a silver railing ran round the front
of the boxes. Nine hundred huge candelabra, ‘with four lights in each,’
illuminated the plaza; and the royal box, with its gilded roofs and
pillars, and its green and gold appointments, glittered with mirrors
which cast back the twinkling lights that fell upon them. Blazonry,
imperial and royal crowns, scutcheons of arms and ‘conceited devices,’
were displayed on every side; and when, on the 15th February (Sunday),
Philip came to the feast in state from the house, in the Carrera de San
Geronimo, where he had robed, through a broad lane of people, with
torch-bearers standing shoulder to shoulder throughout his route, people
said that never had such a gorgeous show been seen in Spain.

With martial music, before them rode in his train, sixteen bands of
nobles, twelve in each band, all dressed alike in black velvet and
silver, and every man carrying in his right hand a lighted wax taper,
whilst he restrained his prancing steed with the left. Last of all the
bands came those of Olivares and the King, dressed like the others, but
with some richer ornaments; and then great triumphal cars of strange and
showy designs, made by Cosme Lotti, the clever Florentine. Each of them
was 30 feet long and 46 feet high, lit with 100 torches, and contained
innumerable figures and devices; and bands of music, the weight being so
great that twenty-four bullocks were needed to draw each one, the
bullocks themselves being hung with crimson, and accompanied by men in
the garb of Orientals bearing silver torches. After them followed forty
savages, whose clubs were torches; and as the great procession entered
the enclosed space, and each party passed before Queen Isabel in the
royal box, a fanfare sounded and the men saluted the sovereign; the
whole procession, after having completed the circle, forming up in front
of the royal box, whilst the mummers on the cars represented before the
Queen ‘a colloquy of peace and war.’

Philip’s band of nobles in their musical ride and intricate evolutions,
of course excelled all others; and the King, acclaimed as the champion
cavalier of his realm, ascended to his wife’s box to lay at her feet the
guerdon of his prowess, and witness the rest of the feast at her side.
For ten days thereafter the feasting and vain show went on, comedies,
concerts, banquets, balls, water fetes on the lake, illumination of the
woods, bull fights by torchlight, a poetical contest and greasy poles; a
cotillon in which the party pelted each other with eggshells full of
perfume, and a hundred other devices to waste time and money,[224] and
to beguile Philip from the looming affairs of State, now wholly managed
by the strong, dark-faced man with the big head and bowed shoulders,
whom most people hated for his imperiousness and his greed, the King’s
bogey as some called him, the second King of Spain, the Count Duke of

The brilliant hopes of peace and retrenchment which had greeted Philip’s
accession had all been falsified. The Catholic union with France
represented by the marriages of Philip with Isabel and of Louis XIII.
with the Infanta Anna, had failed before the marriages themselves were
complete; for the ambitious projects of Philip II. were again being
revived by Olivares, who dreamed once more that Spain, cast down in the
dust as she was, might yet hold the hegemony over the powers of Europe,
and dictate to Christendom the articles of its faith. It was a vain,
foolish, vision in the circumstances, for not of material strength alone
had Spain been stripped, but of the real secret of its short
predominance, the firm conviction of divine selection and of the
invincibility of its sacred cause. The country was as politically
heterogeneous as ever, whilst it had lost the homogeneity it had
borrowed from religious exaltation; and yet, with its rival, France,
growing daily in national solidarity and contributive capability under
Richelieu, Spain was hurried by Olivares into a perfect fever for
conquest, and to the arrogant reassertion of its old exploded claims.

The employment of Spanish troops to overrun the Palatinate and reduce
Bohemia, and the recrudescence of the interminable war against the
Dutch, had knit the two branches of the house of Austria closer together
than ever, and strengthened the Emperor immensely. It was clear, that
unless Richelieu struck promptly and boldly, France would once again, if
Olivares had his way, be shut in by a circle of enemies. France and
Savoy, alarmed at the revived pretensions of Spain, made common cause
with the protestant powers, and soon all Europe was at war. Spain was
ruined, but at least the court nobles and the church were rich, and the
national pride was excited to the utmost. The war was primarily against
France, but Isabel of Bourbon was as fiercely Spanish as if her father
had not been Henry the Great, and she herself set the example of
sacrifice. The jewels she loved so well were sold to provide
men-at-arms; the ladies, who took their tone from the Queen, sent their
valuables the same way; the nobles, aroused by appeals to their pride,
contributed voluntarily a million ducats to the war fund; and the church
opened its hoards to the extent of raising and maintaining twenty
thousand troops. All French property in Spain was confiscated, and the
war for a time was carried on with an energy that reminded men of the
great times of the Emperor. At first the Spaniards and Austrians carried
all before them. Tilly in Germany, Spinola in Flanders, and Fadrique de
Toledo on the sea, revived the glory of the house of Austria; and
Spanish pride rose once more to crazy arrogance. Philip the Great, the
Planet King, were the titles already given to the idle young man, whom
Olivares flattered and controlled. But when the first gust of enthusiasm
was past, it was clear that Spain could not provide funds to carry on
war by land and sea the world over; and peace was made with England;
Savoy was won over, and thenceforward it was a duel to the death between
the house of Austria and the house of France, between Olivares and

For years the struggle went on with varying military phases, but with
the inevitable result of reducing poverty-stricken, idle Spain to
absolute penury. Every device to raise more money was tried, and all in
vain. Crushing taxes upon production, debasement of the coinage,
confiscation, repudiation and robbery, were but weak resources to
maintain a great foreign war by a bankrupt State; and unless Olivares
confessed failure more money must be had. The Cortes of Castile was
powerless to check the national waste, but the Cortes of Aragon,
Catalonia and Valencia, were still vigorous, and resisted all attempts
to extort money except by their votes, grudgingly given only after much
haggling. Olivares had understood as clearly as Ferdinand and Isabel had
done, that for the King of Spain to be powerful enough to cope with
France he must control the whole resources of Spain. The bond of
religious exaltation had dissolved, and could not be restored; but the
unification on political lines might be effected by weakening the
separate autonomous institutions of the outlying States.

This was the plan of Olivares; doubtless a wise one if pursued patiently
and cautiously in times of peace and in an era of interior reforms. But
Olivares, like Ferdinand the Catholic before him, needed national unity
in a hurry, in order to obtain resources to fight France, not for the
purpose of making Spain a homogeneous peaceful nation,[225] and his
reckless attempts to obtain money for his war with France by over-riding
the autonomous privileges of Catalonia and Portugal, and extorting
taxation without parliamentary sanction, precipitated the ruin that had
long threatened. In June 1640 Barcelona flamed out in revolt against
Castile, and soon all Catalonia, and part of Aragon and Valencia, had
repudiated the dominion of Philip, and had made common cause with
France. Six months later, in December 1640, Portugal for similar reasons
proclaimed the Duke of Braganza king, and cast off for ever the yoke of

Philip, plunged in his pleasures, as we have seen, was kept in the dark.
The Catalan insurgents were for him merely a band of rioters, as
Olivares assured him, who would soon be suppressed; and when Portugal
proclaimed its freedom the minister had the effrontery to rush into
Philip’s chamber with an appearance of joy, and congratulated him upon
gaining a new dukedom and a vast estate. ‘How?’ asked the King. ‘Sire,’
replied Olivares, ‘the Duke of Braganza has gone mad and revolted
against your Majesty. All his belongings are now forfeit and are yours.’
But Philip knew better, and for once lost his marble serenity. Blow
after blow fell upon him. Starving subjects, a crippled trade, an empty
treasury, and his richest realms in revolt: these were the results of
his twenty years rule, and all he had to show was the hollow glory of
battles gained far away in quarrels not his own.

He was good-hearted and really loved his subjects, but he had never
learnt to rule, for he had never ruled his own passions or curbed his
inclinations; and he was in despair when the truth came to him, bit by
bit. Frantic prayers; tears and vows of amendment were his way of
dealing with all the blows of fortune: but there were others at his side
who were more practical and determined than he. For years the yoke of
Olivares and his wife had galled the neck of Isabel. Fond of pleasure as
she was, she had a statesman’s mind, and her love for her promising son
Baltasar, now aged thirteen, and the pride of his parents’ heart, had
sharpened her wits as she saw his great inheritance slipping away from
him under the rule of a minister whom she personally disliked for his
rudeness even to her.[226] Again and again she had urged Philip to play
the man and head his own armies in the field. Philip was willing, even
eager, to do so; but Olivares would not hear of it, and the breach
widened between the Queen and the minister. Olivares was detested by
most of the principal nobles and churchmen. His policy of war could only
be paid for out of the plunder derived from them, since all other
classes were reduced to poverty, and the elements of discontent
gradually grouped around Isabel.

At last Isabel’s prayers, for once, overrode Olivares’ counsel, and
Philip stood firm in his determination to lead his own armies to rescue
Catalonia from the French. Olivares left no stone unturned to defeat the
Queen. Obedient physicians certified that the voyage would injure the
King’s health, submissive Councils voted against the risk of the
sovereign’s life in war, and constitutional lawyers laid down that it
was not proper for the King to go. Philip, tired out at last, snatched a
report of the Council from the hands of the Protonotary who was about to
present it, and, tearing it into pieces, cried, ‘Bring me no more
reports about my going to Catalonia, but prepare for the journey, for go
I will.’ The royal confessor—of course a creature of Olivares—added his
remonstrance against the King’s journey, but was at once stopped by
Philip, and was told that if Olivares did not want to go he could stay
away; and if he was not at Aranjuez when the King passed through he
would not wait for him.

It was a victory for Isabel that presaged the great minister’s fall; for
Olivares dared not leave his master’s side, and the Queen remained in
the capital as Regent. Every device was adopted to delay the King’s
progress. Money was wanted, and when that had been extorted, in many
cases by imprisonment,[227] the lavish and pompous preparations for the
journey were endless. Nine state coaches and six litters, a hundred and
three saddle horses, with crowds of courtiers, were considered necessary
for a campaign; and every grandee and titled nobleman in Spain was
warned that he must join the royal train. When, at last, after visits to
numberless altars, Philip took leave of his wife at Vacia Madrid in
April 1642, it was only to be delayed on the way for many weeks in
ostentatious feasts, hunting parties and frivolities, before he at
length arrived at Saragossa. By that time Aragon itself was half overrun
by the French, and Philip, fully awake now to the terrible condition of
affairs, grew ever more gloomy with his minister, who even now found
means to keep the King isolated at Saragossa, miles away from the
hostilities, in discounted inaction.

In the meanwhile Isabel in Madrid, free from the terrifying presence of
the favourite, organised the party of his opponents. She had always been
a favourite with the crowd for her popular manners, but now she won
their hearts completely; for they knew she was against the man upon
whose back they laid all their woes. She visited the guards and
barracks, mustered the regiments in the capital and addressed to them
harangues, exciting their loyalty to the King and Spain. Once more she
sacrificed her ornaments, devoted herself to the comfort of the
soldiers, raised a new regiment at her own expense in her son’s name,
presided over the Councils, and infused more activity and enthusiasm in
the administration than had been seen for years.

Isabel of Bourbon had seized her opportunity. Up to that time she had
been simply an appanage of the splendours of the idle King; now, with
the power of a Regent and the favour of the people, she became the
strongest personality in Spain. Her letters to the King were vigorous
and brave; and he thenceforward treated her with greater consideration,
as if up to that time he had never realised that his wife was a woman of
talent and spirit. Philip was kept idle at Saragossa, away from his army
and his nobles for months. Once he acted on his own initiative and
appointed a new commander-in-chief, the Marquis of Leganés, a kinsman of
Olivares; but the appointment was unfortunate. At the first engagement
afterwards Philip’s army was utterly routed before Lerida; and as winter
approached, with a badly fed, unpaid dwindling force, quarrelling
generals, and his best provinces held by France, Philip returned to
Madrid with an aching heart at the end of the year 1642.

He found the tone in his palace very different from when he had left it.
There were four women, all of whom had Philip’s ear, and who hated
Olivares. The Queen, Anna of Austria, Queen of France, Philip’s sister,
the Duchess of Mantua (Margaret of Savoy), his cousin, who had been his
viceroy in Portugal, and who rightly blamed the minister for the loss of
the country; she, moreover, being kept in semi-imprisonment at Ocaña by
the minister’s orders, and Doña Anna de Guevara, the King’s old nurse,
who was also forbidden at Court by the same influence. These ladies were
all in communication with each other and with the nobles who were
Olivares’ enemies, led by the Counts of Paredes and Castrillo. ‘My good
intentions and my son’s innocence,’ Isabel told Paredes, ‘must for once
serve the King for eyes: for if he sees through those of the Count Duke
much longer, my son will be reduced to a poor King of Castile.’

A week or two after the King’s return, Isabel struck her blow at the
tottering favourite. The first sign of the event was the escape of the
King’s Savoy cousin, the Duchess of Mantua, from Ocaña, and her arrival
at Madrid late at night, after a ride of forty miles through a storm of
sleet. Olivares was furious, and kept her waiting for four hours before
he assigned her two wretched rooms in one of the royal convents. But
Isabel received her in the palace with open arms the next morning. Then
the banished nurse, Anna de Guevara, appeared in the palace in defiance
of Olivares. That afternoon Philip visited his wife’s room, and she,
kneeling before him, with little Baltasar in her arms, implored him for
the sake of their son to dismiss his evil minister before it was too
late to rescue the realms his ineptitude had lost. In a torrent of words
Isabel poured forth the pent-up complaints of years; the wars that had
ruined the country, the starving people, the lost provinces, the waste
and frivolity that had been the rule of their lives, the insults and
slights which she, personally, had suffered at the hands of Olivares and
his wife, and the shame that a king, into whose hands God had confided
so sacred a task, should delegate it to others.

Philip was deeply moved, though he said nothing; but as he left his
wife’s chamber, he was confronted in the corridor by the kneeling figure
of his beloved foster-mother, Anna de Guevara. She, too, formed her
impeachment of Olivares in impassioned words, and Philip could only
reply, ‘You have spoken the truth.’ Then for two hours the Queen and the
Duchess of Mantua were closeted with the King, and the victory was
won.[228] That night, 17th January 1643, Olivares was dismissed. He
struggled for days to regain his influence over the King, but tried in
vain; for Philip, like most weak men, was obstinate when once his mind
was made up, and so, ruined and degraded, the Count Duke turned his back
upon the Court he had ruled, and went to madness and death, leaving
Isabel of Bourbon, the mistress of the situation, the ‘King’s only
minister,’ as he said soon after, when he asked the nuns of shoeless
Carmelites to pray for his ‘minister.’

Madrid went wild with joy at Olivares’ fall. ‘Isabels have always saved
Spain,’ the people cried, as the King and Queen with the Duchess of
Mantua went to the convent church of the barefoots to give thanks;
‘Philip is King of Spain, at last, and will save his country.’ But it
needed much more than shouting to save Spain. Philip, spurred by his
wife, plucked up more energy than ever before. He would be his own
minister in future, and would take the field as soon as spring came, and
wrest Catalonia from the French. Before that could be done, Philip’s
army met in Flanders with the greatest defeat it had ever sustained, a
blow from which the reputation of the famous Spanish infantry never
recovered. His young brother, Cardinal Ferdinand, had died two years
before, and his place in Flanders had been taken by the Portuguese noble
Mello. He was a good soldier; but Condé, young as he was, out-generalled
him: and the defeat of Rocroy made it certain that France, and not
Spain, would in future lead Europe. But yet the soil of Spain itself
must be redeemed from the French invaders: and again, through the summer
of 1643, Philip struggled manfully to regain his lost dominion; whilst
Isabel, as Regent in Madrid, organised, directed, and encouraged, with a
spirit and energy that won for her the fervent love of her husband’s
loyal subjects. Some success attended him, for he captured Lerida from
the French: but the war was a terrible drain, and in the campaign of the
following year, 1644, failure followed failure.

The poor, weary, King’s heart was almost breaking under his many
troubles, when he was brought into contact with the saintly woman, who
until the end was his one refuge and solace, the Venerable nun, Maria de
Agreda, whose exhortations and prayers sustained him in his hardest
trials, which were yet to come. Philip was in Saragossa at the beginning
of October when news came to him that his wife was ill. Sending his new
favourite—for his good resolves in that respect had soon failed—Luis de
Haro, to the front, to acquaint the army of the King’s reason for
leaving, he started at once for Madrid.

On the 28th September 1644, Isabel had suffered from some sort of
choleraic attack with much fever. She was copiously bled in the arms,
and seemed to improve, but was soon seen to be suffering from violent
erysipelas in the face; the disease soon spreading to the throat, which
was almost closed, as if by diphtheria. The patient was bled eight times
more, but still the inflammation grew; and, as usual with Spanish
doctors, when bleeding failed, the charms of the church were resorted
to. On the 4th October the last sacrament was administered, and the dead
body of Saint Isidore was brought to the sick chamber. This having
failed to effect a cure, the more sacred relic still, the miraculous
image of the Virgin of Atocha was brought in procession from its shrine
into the convent of St. Thomas, at Madrid, with the intention of placing
it for adoration by the Queen’s bed. When Isabel’s permission was asked,
she said that she was unworthy of the honour of such a visit, and Prince
Baltasar visited the image instead, to implore upon his knees that his
mother’s life might be spared. ‘There was no church nor convent in
Madrid that did not bring out in procession its crucifixes and most
sacred images in prayer for the Queen’s health, and the whole people
wailed fervently their prayers and rogations that her life might be

On the 5th of October, the dying woman tried to make her new will; but
she was too weak, and only left verbal authority before witnesses to the
King to carry out her intentions. At noon on that day she sent for a
_fleur de lys_, which formed one of the ornaments in the crown, and in
which was encased a fragment of the true cross. This she worshipped
fervently. Her two children were brought to her, Baltasar and the girl
Maria Theresa, but she would not let them approach her for fear of
contagion, though she blessed them fervently from afar. ‘There are
plenty of Queens for Spain,’ she sighed, but princes and princesses are
scarce. The next day, as the great clock of the palace marked a quarter
past four in the afternoon, Isabel of Bourbon breathed her last, aged
forty-one. Garbed as a Franciscan nun, the body was carried that night
to the royal convent of barefoots; and thence the day after in a leaden
coffin, encased in another of brocade, it was borne back to the palace
to lie in state amidst blazing tapers, nodding plumes, and all the pomp
and circumstance of royal mourning.

In the meanwhile, Philip was hurrying from Aragon, a prey to the keenest
anxiety. At Maranchon, about fifty miles from the capital, where the
King had alighted at a wretched inn, the news came that the Queen was
dead. The ministers and courtiers around the King forbore to tell him
for a time, out of mere pity; for the journey and anxiety had told upon
him ‘and he had only just dined.’ But a few miles further on, at
Almadrones, the news was broken to him in his carriage by those who
accompanied him. A terrible burst of grief, and an order that he might
be left alone in his sorrow, proved that Philip, for all his
faithlessness, was fond of his wife; and then, rather than enter the
city where the Queen’s body lay, he turned aside and sought solitude at
the Pardo,[230] where he was soon joined by his son Baltasar, whilst,
with the usual heavy pomp at dead of night, the body of Isabel was
carried across the bleak Castilian tableland to the new jasper vault in
the Escorial, which, from very dread, she had never dared to enter in
her lifetime.

Three days after Isabel’s death, the sainted mystic of Agreda saw, as
she asserted, the phantom of the Queen before her, asking for the
prayers of the godly to liberate her from the pains she was suffering in
purgatory, for the vain splendour of her attire during her life.[231] To
the nun Philip’s cry of pain went up, whilst to all the rest of the
world he turned a leaden face. On the 15th November he wrote—‘Since the
Lord was pleased to take from me to himself the Queen, who is now in
heaven, I have wanted to write to you, but the great distress I am in,
and the business with which I am overwhelmed, have hitherto prevented me
from doing so. I find myself more oppressed with sorrow than seems
bearable, for I have lost in one person alone all that I can lose in
this world: and if it were not that I know, according to the faith I
hold, that God sends to us that which is best and wisest, I know not
what would become of me. But this thought, and this alone, makes me
suffer my grief with utter resignation to the will of God; and I must
confess to you that I have needed much help from on high to bring me to
bear this cross patiently. I wanted to ask you to pray to God very
earnestly for me in this dire trouble, and to aid me in asking Him to
grant me grace to offer up this sorrow to Him, and take advantage of it
for my own salvation.’[232]

A yet more terrible trial for him came two years later; and a yet more
heartbroken appeal to the nun for prayers, and to God to save him from
rebellion against his hard fate, burst from the King’s breaking heart
when his only son died in his budding manhood, and left Philip, aged by
suffering, to face matrimony again for the sake of leaving an heir to
the crown of sorrow that was weighing him down.

Isabel of Bourbon died bravely, as she had lived. She was a Frenchwoman,
married to bring about a friendship between France and Spain, and the
two countries were at war continually from the time that her marriage
was completed to the day of her death. In her time the sun of Spain sank
as surely as the day of France brightened, and yet she never gloried in
the triumph of the land of her birth, and kept faithful to the end to
the Spain which she loved so well. It would be unfair to credit her with
so clear and high a soul as either of the previous Isabels; but hers was
a brave, sturdy, heart that accepted things as they were if she was
unable to mend them; and, like her father before her, she enjoyed
herself as much as she could whilst doing her duty valiantly and well.

                                BOOK IV
                           MARIANA OF AUSTRIA

So long as Prince Baltasar lived Philip resisted all pressure that he
should take another wife. The spring and summer were spent in Aragon, in
the now almost despairing attempt to win back his dominions from the
French. Approaches for his own marriage were made by various interests,
but always gently put aside with a reference to his hopes being now
centred in his son, whom he kept at his side and instructed him in the
business of government. With a wretched lack of material resources his
attempts to recover Catalonia were fruitless. One defeat followed
another with wearisome reiteration, and as disaster deepened Philip
became more moody and devout; his one adviser and confidant being the
nun of Agreda, and his one resource agonised prayer. When his boy fell
ill in May 1646, at Pamplona in Navarre, on his way to the seat of war,
Philip’s invocations to heaven for his safety were almost terrible in
their intensity.[233] The lad recovered; and when he arrived with his
father at Saragossa in July, the imperial ambassadors were awaiting them
to offer in marriage to the heir of Spain his first cousin, the
Archduchess Mariana of Austria, the daughter of the Emperor.

Philip could look nowhere else for an alliance. France was his deadly
enemy, though it was governed by his sister Anna as regent, and a
further marriage experiment in that direction was out of the question at
present, even if there had been an available French princess.[234] The
Emperor and Spain, on the other hand, had been—to Spain’s ruin—fighting
shoulder to shoulder throughout the whole of the thirty years’ war, now
dragging to its conclusion, and the treaty was promptly signed for the
marriage of Baltasar, aged seventeen, with Mariana of Austria, three
years younger. With regard to their betrothal, Philip wrote to the nun
thus: ‘My sister, the Empress, having died, I consider it advisable to
draw closer the ties between the Emperor and ourselves in this way, my
principal aim being the exaltation of the faith; for it is certain that
the more intimate the two branches of our house are, so much the firmer
will religion stand throughout Christendom.’

Only two months later, early in October, the blow fell, and the prince
died of smallpox. Whilst he lay ill the distracted father wrote
frantically to his correspondent, crying for God’s mercy to save him
from this last trial. But when the boy had died the King’s letters
assumed a tone of dull despair. God had not heard his prayers, and he
supposed it was for the best. He had done everything to dedicate this
grief to God; but his heart was pierced, and he knew not whether he
lived or dreamed. He was resigned, he said, but feared his constancy,
and so on; each phrase revealing a heart that almost doubted the
efficacy of prayer, and the goodness of the Almighty.[235]

Thenceforward, for a time, his conduct changed. He had done his best and
had not spared himself. He had prayed night and day, and had fashioned
his life according to monastic counsels. But defeat, trouble, poverty
and bereavement had fallen upon him in spite of all, and Philip, in the
intervals of his poignant contrition, plunged into dissolute excesses
that shocked and scandalised the devotees about him. Philip was
forty-two, about the age when some of his forbears had developed that
strain of mystic devotion that so nearly borders madness. He had no male
heir, and only one tiny daughter of eight, and his troubles and excesses
had prematurely aged him. All Spain demanded of him a man child to
succeed to his greatness; and the remonstrances of the churchmen and the
nuns at the scandal of his life were reinforced by the Emperor’s
ambassadors, who urged that he should marry the girl-niece who had been
betrothed to his dead son.

And so history repeated itself; and, as in the case of his grandfather,
Philip II., the King accepted for his wife the Austrian princess who had
been destined for his daughter-in-law. Of his many illegitimate children
he had only legitimised one, Don Juan José of Austria, the son of the
actress Maria Calderon. He was brilliant and handsome, and had won his
father’s regard; but he could never be King of Spain; and Philip, with
little enthusiasm, wedded an immature girl for the sake of giving an
heir to his country, and for the maintenance of the solidarity of the
house of Austria, which typified the old impossible claim of Spain to
dictate the religion of the world. It was a disastrous resolve, which
ensured the consummation of ruin to the country and the cause which it
was intended to benefit.

Philip was straining every nerve against the French in Catalonia and
Flanders; he was, to the extent of his ability, attacking the Portuguese
on the eastern frontier; and his kingdom of Naples was in full revolt.
The long war had exhausted him, as it had exhausted all Europe: he had,
to his own destruction, fought the battles of religion in central Europe
by the side of the Emperor for many years; and his new marriage was
intended to fasten the Emperor to him in the cause of Spain. The
powerlessness of marriage bonds to resist political forces was once more
proved before Philip saw his bride. The Treaty of Westphalia (October
1648) was finally signed, and Spain, which had suffered most in the war,
sacrificed most in the peace. The religious question in Germany was
settled for good, and the dream of Charles v. was finally dissipated:
the independence of Holland, the point which had dragged Spain down and
kept her at war for nearly a hundred years, was recognised at last, out
of sheer impotence for further struggle by Philip. Alsace went to
France, and Pomerania to Sweden: the central European powers were
satisfied: there was nothing more for the Emperor to fight for, and
Spain was left face to face alone with her enemy France, and without the
imperial co-operation for which Philip had paid so dear.

With ceremonies and pomp which would be tedious to relate the young
princess left Vienna on the 13th November 1648, travelling slowly by
coach with her brother, the King of Hungary, towards Trent, where the
representatives of Philip were to take charge of the new Queen. Endless
festivities were held at Trent and the Italian cities,[236] and
simultaneously in Madrid. Illuminated streets, bullfights, and
palace-revels, which Philip attended with dull hopeless face and heavy
heart, celebrated the announcement of the nuptials, coinciding in time
with the rejoicings for the recovery of Naples by the diplomacy of young
Don Juan of Austria, Philip’s son, in the winter of 1648. But it was
well into the autumn (4th September) of 1649 before the bride and her
Spanish household of one hundred and sixty nobles at length landed at
Denia in the kingdom of Valencia.

At Navalcarnero, a small village some fifteen miles from Madrid, the
great cavalcade arrived on the 6th October 1649; and there it was
arranged that Philip should first meet his bride.[237] For months he had
been writing by every post to the nun, deploring and repenting his
inability to resist the temptations of the flesh, and ascribing to his
sins the wars, pestilence and misery that were scourging his beloved
people. With such qualms of conscience as this it must have been welcome
to him—weary voluptuary though he was—to enter into a licit union,
which, at least, might rescue him from temptation. Disguised, he watched
his bride enter Navalcarnero, and then went to lodge in another village
before paying his formal visit to her a day afterwards. Mariana was just
fifteen, a strong, passionate, full-blooded girl with a hard heart. On
her way from Denia the mistress of the robes, the Countess of Medillin,
had gravely remonstrated with her for laughing at the buffoons, who
sought to amuse her, and had schooled her in the etiquette that forbade
a Queen of Spain to walk in public. But Mariana made light of such
prudery, and in the insolence of her gaiety and youth went her own way,
laughing her fill at the comedy played before her at Navalcarnero, to
while away the time until supper.

The King and Queen met for the first time in the little oratory where
their marriage was to be confirmed by the Archbishop of Toledo, and
then, after more comedies and bullfights, the royal pair proceeded to
the Escorial, lit up for the occasion by 11,000 lights, to pass the
first days of their honeymoon. From the Retiro on the 15th November
Mariana made her state entry into Madrid. The capital surpassed itself
in its signs of rejoicing, for Philip was extremely popular and his
subjects yearned for an heir to the throne. We are told that the whole
distance from the Retiro to the old palace, from one end of Madrid to
the other, the way was spanned by arches of flowers, whilst monumental
erections with devices of welcome were placed at each principal
point.[238] The Queen rode a snow-white palfrey; and as she smiled her
frank gratified smile to the lieges they welcomed her for her rosy,
painted cheeks and red pouting lips, knowing little the cold selfish
heart that beat beneath the buxom bosom.

Philip was too busy for weeks in the delights of his honeymoon to write
to his confidante the nun, presumably also because the sins he so deeply
deplored, and so constantly repeated, did not tempt him during the first
weeks of his married life. But when, on the 17th November, he found time
to write, he expresses the utmost satisfaction at his bride. ‘I confess
to you,’ he says, ‘that I know not how I can thank our Lord sufficiently
for the mercy he has shown to me in giving me such a companion; for all
the qualities I have hitherto recognised in my niece are great, and I
find myself exceedingly content, and full of a desire to prove myself
not ungrateful for so singular a mercy by changing my mode of life and
submitting myself in all things to His will.’[239] The nun in answer to
this urged the King to live well in his new condition, ‘trying earnestly
that the Queen shall have all your attention and regard, instead of your
Majesty casting your eyes on other objects strange and curious.’ All
Spain, the nun continues, is yearning for an heir, and her own prayers
are ceaseless to that end.

Philip was full of good resolves. He would never go astray again; but,
though he was as anxious for a son as his people were, he was in doubt
yet as to his new wife’s having arrived at sufficient maturity to have
children: ‘although others of her age, which is fifteen years, can do
so. But it is easy for our Lord to remedy this, and I hope in His mercy
that He will do it.’[240] In the meanwhile, the depositary of all these
hopes, Mariana, was diverting herself as best she could in girlish romps
with her stepdaughter of ten, who seems to have been her constant
companion. Philip, in writing of them, generally speaks of them as ‘the
girls,’ and frequently mentions Mariana’s joy at shows and gaiety. Once
more the Buen Retiro rang with light laughter. Comedies and masquerades
were again the constant diversion of the Court, though pestilence was
scourging the land, Catalonia and Portugal defied the arms of Spain, and
the French in Flanders still held the armies of Philip at bay. Pleasure,
the joy of living, absorbed the young Queen’s attention; and after the
first few months of marriage, Philip usually refers to her somewhat
wearily, and only with reference to her enjoyments or to his hopes of
progeny. After one disappointment a child was born in July 1651, a girl,
who was christened with the usual unrestrained splendour by the name of
Maria Margaret.[241] Again high hopes were entertained in due time, only
to be disappointed, and Mariana fell into melancholy; for Philip had
relapsed into his bad habits again, notwithstanding his vows and
resolves, and the delay in the coming of a son increased his coldness
towards his wife. A frenzied round of gaiety at the Buen Retiro did
something to arouse the Queen out of her depression,[242] but Philip had
now but little pleasure in his old love for glittering shows; for the
prayed for son came not, and war and pestilence still scourged Spain, as
he firmly believed for his own personal backsliding.



  _After a Painting by Velazquez._

The life of the palace had settled down to utter monotony. Philip,
immersed in business; ‘with his pen always in his hand,’ as he says, had
little time for frivolity. His demeanour in public was like that of a
statue, and when he received ministers or deputations it was noticed
that no muscle of his face moved but his lips. Every movement was
settled beforehand; and it was possible to foretell a year in advance
exactly where the Court would be on a given day, and what the King would
be doing at a certain hour. Mariana lived in her own way, with little
show of affection for her elderly husband, or for the people amongst
whom she lived. She had fallen by this time (1657) into the stiff
etiquette of the Spanish Court, and in the intervals of her hoydenish
merriment she displayed a haughtiness as great as that of Philip himself
without his underlying tenderness or his pathetic resignation. She was
German in all her sympathies, and soon lost the love of Spaniards that
had been gained by the freshness of her youth.[243] Dressed in the
tremendous triple-hooped farthingale; with her stiff, squarely arranged
wig, and her full painted cheeks, she presented a sufficiently dignified
appearance in public; but her flat, unamiable face, hard, weary eyes,
and bulging jaw, gave her a look which repelled rather than attracted.

The outward prudery of her Court barely veiled a state of atrocious
immorality amongst all classes. It was considered almost a reproach for
any of the ladies, all widows or unmarried, who were attached to the
palace service by hundreds, to have no extravagant gallant ready to ruin
himself for her caprices; and, as a natural consequence, assassination
was rife in the capital; and the news letters of the time are full of
scandalous stories, in which nobles, ladies and actresses are concerned
disgracefully. Corruption reigned more impudently than ever, and whilst
ships were rotting on the beach, and unpaid soldiers were starving in
the midst of war, vast sums were spent on foolish shows and revelry.
Philip now had little pleasure in it all, going through it like a leaden
automaton, only to torture himself with remorse afterwards, but withal,
habit or mere weakness led him to allow such scandals as the imposition
of a tax upon oil to pay for the new stage at the Buen Retiro, and the
robbing of the shrine of the venerated Virgin of Atocha of a great
silver chandelier for the illumination of the theatre.[244]

In September 1654 it was announced that Mariana was again pregnant. ‘God
grant that it may be so,’ wrote a courtier: ‘but if it is going to be a
girl it is of no use to us. We do not want any of them. There are plenty
of women already.’[245] The King’s hopes rose that a son would at last
be born to him, and Mariana insisted upon accompanying him everywhere;
for in the intervals of her merrymaking she was a prey to deep
melancholy, increased when a girl infant was born only to die a few days
afterwards. The prognostications of astrologers and quacks decided in
the summer of 1655 that the prayed for son was now really on the way;
and as time went on unheard of preparations were made for the event. The
Marquis of Heliche had twenty-two new comedies written ready for
representation in the coming festivities, and large sums of money were
spent in decorations beforehand. Mariana’s lightest caprice was law, and
Philip hardly left her side. The old palace depressed her, and the Buen
Retiro became her permanent abode; Don Juan of Austria sent from
Flanders the most wonderful tapestries, and bed and bed furniture ever
seen, with a vast bedstead of gilt bronze which cost a fortune; the
bedroom furniture being a mass of seed pearl and gold embroidery upon
satin. ‘There is no getting the Queen out of the Retiro, for she frets
in the palace. She passes the mornings amongst her flowers, the days in
feastings, and the nights in farces. All this goes on incessantly, and I
do not know how so much pleasure does not pall upon her.’[246] But again
the prophets were wrong, for in December another epileptic girl child
was born and died: ‘Saint Gaetano notwithstanding.’[247]

Mariana fell gravely ill after this, and a slight stroke of paralysis,
amongst other ailments, kept her for many weeks hovering between life
and death. Philip did his best to raise her spirits, and when the Cortes
petitioned him to have his elder daughter Maria Theresa acknowledged as
heiress, he refused, in order not to distress his wife, who, he said,
would be sure to have an heir directly. His letters to the nun show that
he, at this period, was himself in the depths of black despair,
overborne by his troubles; for Cromwell had seized Jamaica, and Spain
was at war by sea and land with England and France together. Whilst
Philip was gratifying his young wife by such entertainments as looking
on from concealed boxes in a theatre crowded with women, whilst a
hundred rats were surreptitiously let loose upon the floor;[248] he was
a prey to a morbid misery closely akin to madness, anticipating an early
death, weeping for the utter ruin that enveloped him and Spain, and the
absence of a male heir.

One of his strange whims at this time was to pass hours alone in the new
jasper mausoleum at the Escorial, to which the bodies of his ancestors
had just been transferred. He wrote after one of these visits in
1654:—‘I saw the corpse of the Emperor whose body, although he has been
dead ninety-six years, is still perfect, and by this is seen how the
Lord has repaid him for his efforts in favour of the faith whilst he
lived. It helped me much: particularly as I contemplated the place where
I am to lie, when God shall take me. I prayed Him not to let me forget
what I saw there;’[249] and shortly after this another contemporary
records that the King passed two solitary hours on his knees on the bare
stones of the mausoleum before his own last resting-place in prayer; and
that when he came out his eyes were red and swollen with weeping.[250]

Again, in August 1656, a girl child was born to Mariana only to die the
same day, and then depression, utter and profound, fell upon Philip and
his wife, for no ray of light came from any direction. There was no
money for the most ordinary needs. The Indian treasures were regularly
captured by the English, who closely invested Cadiz itself, whilst the
French on the Flanders frontier and in Catalonia worked their will
almost without impeachment, and the Portuguese defied their old
sovereign. Philip was ready to make peace almost at any sacrifice, at
least with the French; but the demands of Mazarin were as yet too
humiliating for a power which had claimed for so long the predominance
in Europe. At length, in the midst of the distress, hope dawned once
more, and again the wiseacres predicted that this time the Queen would
give birth to a son. Mariana’s every fancy was gratified.[251] Water
parties on the lake at the Retiro, endless farces, as usual, capricious
bull feasts, and diversions of all sorts, kept up her spirits; and Don
Juan sent another sumptuous bed and furniture more splendid than the
previous gift. Whilst this waste was going on in one direction, taxes
were being piled up in a way that made them unproductive, and such was
the penury in the King’s palace that Philip himself, on the vigil of the
Presentation of the Virgin (20th November 1657), had nothing to eat but
eggs without fish, as his stewards had not a real of ready money to pay
for anything (Barrionuevo). Exactly a week after the King was reduced to
such straits, the child of his prayers arrived. An heir was born at last
to the weary man of fifty-two, whose crown was crushing him.

Madrid as usual went crazy with turbulent rejoicing, whilst Mariana in
the gravest danger battled for her life. Every bench and table in the
palace, we are told, was broken, and no eating house or tavern in the
town escaped sacking by the crowd of idle rogues who marched with music
and singing, whilst they stripped decent people even of their garments
to pay for their orgy.[252] Later, there were the usual bull fights,
masquerades, and the eternal comedies with new stage effects; and not a
noble in Castile failed to go and congratulate the King. Astrologists
were to the fore, as usual, foretelling by the stars that the newly born
babe would grow up to be wise, prudent and brave, and would outlive all
his brothers and sisters in a prosperous fortunate career. The proud
father was full of gratitude to the Most High for the signal favour
conferred upon him. ‘Help me, Sor Maria,’ he wrote to the nun, ‘to give
thanks to Him; for I myself am unable to do so adequately: and pray Him
to make me duly grateful, and give me strength henceforward to do His
holy will. The new-born child is well, and I implore you take him under
your protection, and pray to our Lord and His holy mother to keep him
for their service, the exaltation of the faith and the good of these
realms. And if this is not to be, then pray let him be taken from me
before he comes to man’s estate.’[253]

Philip, like his courtiers, went into rhapsodies of admiration of the
beauty and perfection of the infant that had been born to him. So fair
an angel surely never had been seen than this poor epileptic morsel of
humanity from whom so pathetically much was expected. On the 6th
December Philip rode in State on a great Neapolitan horse through the
streets of Madrid, to give thanks to the Virgin of Atocha for the boon
vouchsafed to him, and the capital began its round of official
rejoicings. Fountains ran wine, music and dancing went on night and day,
mummers in strange disguise promenaded the streets in procession,
bullfights and the usual tiresome buffoonery testified that Madrid
shared with the King his delight that an heir had been born to him.[254]
Philip himself was in high good humour, bandying jests with his
favourite, Don Luis de Haro; and, at the brilliant ceremony of the
christening of Prince Philip Prosper, a week later, which he witnessed
hidden behind the closed jalousies of his pew, he was proudly pleased at
the vigorous squalls of the infant. ‘Ah!’ he whispered to Haro, ‘that’s
what I like to hear, there is something manly in that.’[255] It was
fortunate for Philip that he could not foresee that this babe for whom
he had prayed so fervently would be snatched from him four years later,
stricken by the calamity of its descent; and that the later child that
would succeed him, the offspring of incest too, would end the line of
the great Emperor in decrepit imbecility, matching sadly with the
decadence of his country.

Whilst the continued and costly celebrations of the Queen’s tardy
recovery after the birth of her sickly child were scandalising the
thoughtful, national affairs were going from bad to worse.[256] Don Luis
de Haro, Philip’s prime minister, had started in January 1658 to relieve
Badajoz, closely invested by the masculine Queen of Portugal, herself a
Spaniard, and had been disgracefully routed by the despised Portuguese.
This was a humiliation that proved to the world the complete impotence
of Spain: but in June of the same year a more damaging blow still was
dealt at the power that had held its head so high in the past. The
battle of the Dunes, or Dunkirk, in which Don Juan, Condé and the Duke
of York on the Spanish side were pitted against Turenne, aided by the
troops of Cromwell, was a crushing defeat for Philip’s forces, and
placed all Flanders at the mercy of the French. It was clear that Philip
could fight no longer, for Spain had well nigh bled to death; and so
great was the depopulation of Castile that a project was adopted—though
not carried out for lack of money—to re-people the country with Irish
and Dalmatian Catholics.

There were other circumstances that tended towards peace besides the
exhaustion of Spain. The long years of war had told heavily upon the
resources of France: the Catalans by this time had grown heartily tired
of their French king Stork, and were yearning for the return of their
Spanish king Log; and, above all, Mazarin had long cast covetous eyes on
the Spanish succession, in the very probable case of Philip’s issue by
his second wife failing. For years the Queen-regent, Anna of Austria,
had been striving for peace with her brother, but circumstances and
national pride had always defeated her. The efforts of the Emperor’s
agents in Madrid, aided very powerfully by Mariana, had also been
exerted to prevent a close agreement between France and Spain. In 1656
M. de Lionne had been sent secretly by Mazarin to Madrid, where he
passed many months in close conference with Luis de Haro, endeavouring,
but without success, to negotiate peace.

In one of their meetings Haro wore in his hat, as an ornament, a medal
impressed with the portrait of the Infanta Maria Theresa, Philip’s
daughter by his first wife. ‘If your King would give to my master for a
wife the original of the portrait you wear,’ said Lionne, duly
instructed by Mazarin, ‘peace would soon be made.’ Nothing more was said
at the time, for, in the absence of a son, Philip dared not marry the
heiress of Spain to his nephew Louis XIV., but when an heir was born to
Mariana, the idea of a marriage between Maria Theresa and Louis XIV. at
once became realisable. The Austrian interest still stood in the way;
and Mariana, who was as purely an ambassador for her brother as his
accredited diplomatic representative was, used all her efforts to
frustrate the plan; and a marriage was actively advocated by her between
the Infanta and Leopold, the heir of the empire. Philip for a long time
allowed himself to incline to the Austrian connection that had already
cost him so dear.

As soon as the French match looked promising, as a result of much secret
intrigue between Mazarin and Haro, the Emperor offered to Philip a great
army in Flanders to aid in expelling the French; and when Philip was
hesitating between the persuasions of his wife Mariana, and her kinsmen
on the one hand, and the pressure of poverty on the other, which made a
continuance of the war difficult for him, Mazarin played a trump card
which won the game. Louis was taken ostentatiously to Lyons to woo the
Princess of Savoy; and, in fear of a coalition against Spain, Philip
sent his minister Haro to negotiate peace with Mazarin personally on the
banks of the Bidasoa. During all the autumn of 1659, on the historic
Isle of Pheasants in the river, the keen diplomatists fought over
details; and often their labours seemed hopeless, for the Spaniards were
as proud as ever and the French as greedy. But the frail health of the
puling babe, who alone stood between the Infanta and the Spanish
succession, at length made Mazarin more yielding: the last great
obstacle, the restoration of Condé’s forfeited estates, was overcome,
and one of the most fateful treaties in history was settled.

It was still a bitter pill for Spain, for she lost much of her Flemish
territory and the county of Roussillon; but, at least, she regained
Catalonia, and, above all, secured peace with France. The Infanta was to
marry Louis XIV., and the Spaniards insisted that she should renounce
for ever her claim to the succession of her father’s crown, though
Mazarin made the clause ineffective by stipulating that the renunciation
should be conditional upon the entire payment of the dowry of 500,000
crowns, which, it was more than probable, Philip could never pay.[257]
In the meanwhile Mariana had borne another son, who died in his early
infancy; and at the pompous embassy of the Duke de Grammont to Madrid,
formally to ask for the hand of the Infanta, she took little pains to
appear amiable to an embassy which she looked upon as bringing a defeat
for her and her family.

A vivid picture of her and her husband at one of the great
representations at the theatre of the old palace is given by a follower
of Grammont, who wrote an account of the embassy.[258] ‘The great
saloon,’ he says, ‘was lit only by six great wax candles in gigantic
stands of silver. On both sides of the saloon, facing each other, there
are two boxes or tribunes with iron grilles. One of these was occupied
by the Infantas and some of the courtiers, whilst the other was destined
for the Marshal (Grammont). Two benches covered with Persian rugs ran
along the sides facing each other, and upon these some twelve of the
ladies of the court sat, whilst we Frenchmen stood behind them.... Then
the Queen and the little Infanta entered, preceded by a lady holding a
candle. When the King appeared he saluted the ladies, and took his seat
in the box on the right hand of the Queen, whilst the little Infanta sat
on her left. The King remained motionless during the whole of the play,
and only once said a word to the Queen, although he occasionally cast
his eyes round on every side. A dwarf was standing close by him. When
the play was finished all the ladies rose and gathered in the middle, as
canons do after service. They then joined hands, and made their
courtesies, a ceremony that lasted seven or eight minutes; for each lady
made her courtesy separately. In the meanwhile the King was standing,
and he then bowed to the Queen, who in her turn bowed to the Infanta,
after which they all joined hands and retired.’

In April 1660 Philip bade farewell to Mariana and set forth on this
famous journey to the French frontier, to ratify the peace of the
Pyrenees with his sister Anna of Austria, whom he had not seen since
their early youth more than forty years before, and to give his daughter
in marriage to the young King of France. Philip, for the sake of
economy, had ordered that as small a train as possible should accompany
him; but, withal, so enormous was his following and that of his
nobles,[259] with the huge stores of provisions and baggage, that his
cavalcade covered over twenty miles of road. Slowly winding its way at
the rate of only about six miles a day through the ruined land, greeted
by the poor hollow-eyed peasants that were left with tearful joy,
because it meant peace, the King’s procession at last arrived at the
seat of so many royal pageants, the banks of the Bidasoa, early in June.
Upon the tiny eyot in mid-river, the temporary palace that in the
previous year had been the meeting-place of Haro and Mazarin, still
remained intact; and here the sumptuous ceremony was performed that gave
to Louis XIV. the custody of his future wife, Maria Theresa.[260]

What all the courtiers wore, and how they looked, is described _ad
nauseam_ by French and Spanish spectators; but the greatest man in all
the host, upon the Spanish side at least, was the King’s quartermaster,
whose exquisite taste and knowledge directed the artistic details of the
pageant, Diego de Silva Velazquez, whose garments may be described as a
specimen of the rest. His dress was of dark material, entirely covered
by close Milanese silver embroidery, and he wore around his neck the
golilla that had replaced the ruff, at the instance of Philip many years
before, to save the waste of starching.[261] Upon his cloak was
embroidered the great red floreated swordlike cross of Santiago, and at
his side he wore a sword in a finely wrought silver scabbard; whilst
around his neck there hung a heavy gold chain from which depended a
small diamond scutcheon with the same cross enamelled in red upon

The restoration of the Stuarts in England soon after the ratification of
the Treaty of the Pyrenees, made a peace easy of negotiation between
their country and Spain, and by the beginning of 1661, Philip found
himself for the first time in a reign of forty years at peace with all
the powers outside the Peninsula.

But rebellious Portugal had still to be reconquered. Again disaster
befell the Spaniards. Don Juan, the King’s son, was utterly routed at
Amegial after some partial successes; for Mariana had been busily
intriguing against him, and had caused the reinforcement and resources
he asked for to be denied him.

Whilst Don Juan was struggling against the Portuguese and their English
abettors with inadequate forces and ineffectual heroism, Philip was
sinking deeper into the morbid devotional misery that afflicted in their
decline so many of his race. His only son, Philip Prosper, after a life
of four years of almost constant sickness, was snatched from him early
in November 1661, as a younger boy had been a year previously. The
bereaved father, who had watched over his son’s bed until the last,
nearly lost heart at this heavy blow; and was so much overcome, as he
confesses, as to be unable even to write for a time to his one refuge,
the nun of Agreda. When he did so, the usual self-accusing cry of agony
went up—‘I assure you,’ he wrote, ‘what troubles me most, much more even
than my loss, is to see clearly that I have offended God, and that He
sends all these sorrows as a punishment for my sins. I only wish I knew
how to amend myself and comply entirely with His holy will. I am doing,
and will do, all I can; for I would rather lose my life than fail to do
it. Help me, as a good friend, with your prayers, to placate the
righteous anger of God, and to implore our Lord, who has seen good to
take away my son, to bless the delivery of the Queen, which is expected
every day, and to keep her in perfect health and the child that is to be
born, if it be for his good service, for otherwise I desire it not. The
Queen has borne this last blow with much sorrow but christian
resignation. I am not surprised at this, for she is an angel, Oh! Sor
Maria: if I had only carried out your doctrines, perhaps I should not
find myself in this state.’[263]

A few days after this was written, Mariana once more bore a son, a weak,
puling infant, that seemed threatened with an early death; but whose
birth threw Spain into a whirlwind of rejoicing as extravagant as any
that had gone before. But Philip was sunk too deep now into despondency,
by witchcraft the people said, to be aroused much, even by the birth of
a son; and, as the shadows fell around him, the power of Mariana grew.
With her clever German Jesuit confessor and confidant, Father Everard
Nithard, she soon managed to drag the unhappy King again into the vortex
of imperial politics, that had already well-nigh wrecked Spain, by
persuading him to maintain an army to aid Austria and Hungary against
the incursions of the Turk. Mazarin had died soon after the peace of the
Pyrenees, and the new advisers of Louis XIV. were already inciting him
to retaliate for the Austrian _rapprochement_ with Spain by fresh
aggression upon Spanish Flanders. Don Juan, bitterly opposed to the new
German interest in Spain, retired to his town of Consuegra in disgust
and disgrace; the French and English governments assumed a tone of
dictatorial haughtiness towards Spain unheard before; and Philip, in
declining health and bitter disappointment, could look nowhere now for
help and solace: for his minister Haro was dead, and the saintly nun of
Agreda, his refuge for so many years, also went to her rest in the
spring of 1665. There was no one now at Philip’s side but Mariana,
already intriguing for uncontrolled power when her husband should die,
and her German confessor Nithard, whose one aim was to use what was left
of Spanish resources for the ends of Austria.

Others also were on the alert as to what would happen when Philip died,
and Sir Richard Fanshawe was sent to Madrid by Charles II., partly to
negotiate for the recognition of Portuguese independence; and also: ‘to
employ his utmost skill and industry in penetrating and discovering
under what model and form his Catholic Majesty designs to leave the
government there, when it shall please God that he die, which,
considering his great infirmity and weakness, may be presumed is already
projected.’[264] When Philip first received Fanshawe in June 1664, he
was so weak and weary that he could only ask him to put his speech on
paper,[265] and thenceforward all Europe regarded the King as a dying
man, whose work in the world was done.

As Philip sank lower in despondency, the importance of Mariana rose.
Lady Fanshawe gives an account of her interview with the Queen on the
27th June 1664, at the Buen Retiro, which shows that Mariana was already
regarded almost as the reigning sovereign: ‘I was received at the Buen
Retiro by the guard, and afterwards, when I came up stairs, by the
Marquesa de Hinojosa, the Queen’s Camarera Mayor, then in waiting.
Through an infinite number of people I passed to the Queen’s presence,
where her Majesty was seated at the upper end under a cloth of state
upon three cushions, and on her left hand the Empress[266] upon three
more. The ladies were all standing. After making my last reverence to
the Queen, her Majesty and the Empress, rising up and making me a little
curtsey, sat down again; then I, by my interpreter, Sir Benjamin Wright,
said those compliments that were due from me to her Majesty; to which
her Majesty made me gracious and kind reply. Then I presented my
children, whom her Majesty received with great grace and favour. Then
her Majesty, speaking to me to sit, I sat down upon a cushion laid for
me, above all the ladies who sat, but below the Camarera Mayor; no woman
taking place (_i.e._ precedence) of her Excellency but princesses....
Thus, having passed half an hour in discourse, I took my leave of her
Majesty and the Empress; making reverences to all the ladies in
passing.’[267] Some months afterwards Queen Mariana sent to the English
lady many messages of regard and esteem, with a splendid diamond
ornament worth £2,000, which Lady Fanshawe received with somewhat
exaggerated professions of humility, and repeated her thanks to her in
an interview soon after (8th April 1655).

The total and final defeat of the Spaniards on the Portuguese frontier,
in June 1665, made the recovery of the lost kingdom hopeless, and broke
Philip’s heart. He had written in the spring to the dying nun, saying
that he desired no more health or life than was meet for God’s service,
and was ready to go when he was called. The call came in September 1665.
His chronic malady had been aggravated to such an extent by anxiety and
worry, that by the middle of the month his physicians confessed
themselves powerless. Then was enacted one of those ghastly farces
common at the time in Spain. It was whispered in the palace that the
King was bewitched, and the Inquisitor-General called a conference of
ecclesiastics to consider the means for exorcising the evil spirits that
held the sovereign in bondage. Philip himself gave permission for the
Inquisitor to act as might be judged best; and one day the royal
confessor, Friar Martinez, accompanied by the Inquisitor-General,
approached the sickbed and demanded of the King a certain little wallet
of relics and charms which he always wore suspended upon his breast.
After examining these carefully the wallet was returned to the King, and
from some clue therein contained, search elsewhere led to the discovery
of an ancient black-letter book of magic, and certain prints of the
King’s portrait transfixed by pins. All these things were solemnly burnt
after a service of exorcism by the Inquisitor-General at the chapel of
Atocha; and then, to assist the cure, the group of churchmen
administered to the King, who was suffering from several mortal
diseases, of which gall-stones caused the immediate danger, an elaborate
confection of pounded mallow-leaves with drugs and sugar.

This treatment aggravated the ill, and in two or three days the King
appeared to be in _articulo mortis_, after what was described as a fit
of apoplexy. The whole Court fell into momentary confusion, and the
death-chamber was already deserted when the King revived and altered
several of his testamentary dispositions, one clause of which now
appointed Mariana regent during the minority of her son. The will, by
Philip’s orders, was then locked into a leather purse with other
important state papers, and the key, by the dying man’s orders, was
delivered to his wife. That afternoon, after taking the sacrament,
Philip bade a tearful farewell to Mariana, and blessed his two children.
He then took an affectionate leave of the Duke of Medina de las Torres
and other nobles, beseeching them with irrepressible tears to work
harmoniously together, and help the widow and the poor child to whom his
heavy heritage was passing.

Philip struggled through the night in agony, and the next day the image
of the Virgin of Atocha was carried past the windows of the palace to be
deposited in the royal Convent of Barefoots hard by, whilst the dead
bodies of St. Diego and St. Isidro were brought to the royal chapel for
veneration;[268] and every church and convent in Madrid resounded with
rogations and processions for the health of the King. Around the bed of
the dying monarch evil passions already raged; for the Court was divided
thus early into two factions, one in favour of Mariana and the other
looking to Don Juan. The Duke of Medina de las Torres, the principal
minister, retired from the palace as soon as he had taken leave; and an
unseemly wrangle, almost a fight, took place over the deathbed between
rival friars, as to whether the viaticum might be administered or not,
until they had to be bundled out of the room by the Marquis of Aytona.

No sooner was this scene over than Count Castrillo entered the chamber
and announced that Don Juan had come and was waiting to see his father.
Philip knew, and bitter the knowledge was, that his wife and son would
be in open strife from the day the breath left his body; but that Don
Juan should return from exile unbidden, and dared to disobey his King,
whilst yet he lived, aroused one more spark of sovereign indignation in
the moribund man. ‘Tell him,’ he said, ‘to return whence he came until
he be bidden. I will see him not; for this is no time for me to do other
than to die.’ At early dawn on Friday, 17th September, poor Philip the
Great breathed his last. ‘And curious it is,’ said a contemporary
courtier, ‘that in the chamber of his Majesty when he died, there was no
one but the Marquis of Aytona and two servants to weep for the death of
their King and master. In all the rest of the court not one soul shed a
tear for him. A terrible lesson is this for all humankind; that a
monarch who had granted such great favours and raised so many to honour,
had no sigh breathed for him when he died.’[269]

The same night the dead body of the King was dressed in a handsome suit
of brown velvet, embroidered and trimmed with silver, with the great red
sword-cross of Santiago worked upon the breast, preparatory to the
pompous lying-in-state in the same gilded hall of the old palace at
Madrid, where the comedies the King had loved were so often played
before him. At the same time in an adjoining room the Councils of
Castile and State gathered to hear the will read by the secretary,
Blasco de Loyola, which made Mariana Queen-Regent of Spain, with the
assistance of a special council of regency, consisting of the great
dignitaries of the State, failing two of whom the Queen might appoint
two substitutes, an eventuality which partially occurred within a few
hours of Philip’s death by the decease of the Cardinal Archbishop of
Toledo, Moscoso. Don Juan, who was commended to the widow in the will,
waited to hear no more than the elevation of Mariana to the regency, and
then took horse with all speed and hurried back to the safe seclusion of
his fief of Ocaña. A few days afterwards, the sumptuous lying-in-state
being concluded, the body of ‘Philip the Great’ was carried in a vast
procession to the Escorial, to rest for ever in the jasper niche before
which he had so often prayed and wept.[270]

Mariana, at the age of thirty-one, was now ruler of Spain for her son
Charles II., aged four, and she lost no time in showing her tendencies
when left to herself. The root of most of the calamities that affected
Spain were the traditions that bound it to the imperial house. All that
the country needed, even now, was rest, peace and freedom from foreign
complications in which Spaniards had no real concern. But Mariana was
Austrian to her finger tips; and ever since Philip’s health began to
fail she had been working for the predominance of her kindred and
weakening the bonds of friendship with France, knit by the marriage of
Maria Theresa with Louis XIV.

There was already a large party of nobles who, seeing the national need
for peace, looked with distrust upon a policy which would still waste
Spanish resources in fighting the battles of the empire in mid-Europe:
and when to the vacancy in the Council of Regency and the
Inquisitor-Generalship, caused by the death of Cardinal Moscoso a few
hours after the King, Mariana appointed her Austrian confessor, Father
Nithard, Spanish pride flared out and protest became general. Nithard
was doubtless a worthy priest, though of no great ability, but if he had
been a genius the same detestation of him would have prevailed, for he
was a foreigner, and it was guessed at once that between him and the
Austrian Queen Spain would be sacrificed as it had been in the past to
objects that were not primarily Spanish. Observers abroad saw it too,
and although the French envoy who went to condole with Mariana on
Philip’s death assured her of the desire of Louis to be friendly with
her, the first acts of her regency gave to the French King a pretext for
asserting his wife’s right to the inheritance of Flanders, as her dowry
had not been paid, and her renunciation was asserted to be invalid.

In May 1667 Louis invaded Flanders with 50,000 men, faced only by a
small disaffected and unpaid force under the Spanish viceroy, the result
being that the French overran the country and captured many principal
cities. Don Juan was summoned in a hurry from his exile to the Council
of State in Madrid, and he and his sworn enemy Mariana divided between
them the sympathies of the capital and the country. Pasquins and satires
passed from hand to hand on the Liars’ Parade and in the Calle Mayor,
mostly attacking Nithard and the Queen, who were blamed for the war; and
the relations between Don Juan and Mariana grew more strained every day.

It was also evident now that Spain was powerless to coerce Portugal any
longer, and in February the humiliating treaty was signed—mainly by the
influence of Fanshawe[271] and Sandwich—in February 1668, recognising
the independence of the sister Iberian nation. Louis XIV. carried on his
attacks in Flanders with vigour, and rejected all overtures of peace
except on terms which aroused Spaniards to indignation. The Spanish
Franche Comté was occupied by the French in February 1668; and then, but
only by a supreme effort, a fresh army of nine thousand men was
collected in Spain to defend her territories. The Austrian friendship
was of little use to Spain, as usual, and Castile had once more to fight
her own battle. In these circumstances of national peril the influence
of Mariana and Nithard on the Council of Regency procured an order for
Don Juan to take command of the army and lead it to Flanders against the
French, and with an ill grace the royal bastard left Madrid on Palm
Sunday, 1668, for his rendezvous at Corunna, where the treasure ships
from Cadiz and his troops were to join him. Don Juan saw in this move an
intention of getting him away from the centre of government, and the
impression was strengthened by the almost simultaneous exile or arrest,
on various trivial pretexts, of some of those who were known to
sympathise with him, one of whom, Malladas, was strangled in prison by
Mariana’s orders.

All through the spring Don Juan lagged at Corunna, excusing himself from
embarking on various grounds, ill-health being the principal; until, at
length, thanks to the intervention of England and Holland, Louis was
brought to sign terms of peace with Spain at Aix la Chapelle, in May
1668, that left him in possession of the Flemish territories he had
conquered. But still Mariana and Nithard were determined that Don Juan
should go and take possession of his government in Flanders, and sent
him a peremptory order to embark. This he refused to do, and a decree of
the Queen in August directed him to retire to Consuegra, and not
approach within sixty miles of Madrid. He had many friends and
adherents, especially in Aragon, and his discontent extended to them.
Those in Madrid began to clamour that Mariana and Nithard were keeping
the little King in the background away from his people, and alienating
those who might serve the monarchy best.

Charles II. was now aged seven, and so degenerate and weak a child was
he, that he had been up to this period, and continued for some years
afterwards, entirely in the hands of women, and treated as an infant in
arms. He was dwarfish and puny, with one leg shorter than the other, his
gait during the whole of his life being uncertain and staggering. His
face was of extraordinary length and ghastly white, the lower jaw being
so prodigiously underhung that it was impossible for him to bite or
masticate food, or to speak distinctly. His hair was lank and yellow,
and his eyes a vague watery blue. This poor creature with his mother at
his side, in obedience to the clamour of Don Juan’s friends, was first
brought out in public for his subjects to see at a series of visits to
the convents and churches of Madrid in the summer of 1668.[272] Just as
the King and Mariana were about to start from the palace at Madrid on
one of these excursions, in October 1668, an officer came in great
agitation to the door of the Queen’s apartment and prayed for audience.
He was told that the coach awaited their Majesties, and the Queen could
not see him then, but would receive him when she returned. He begged in
the meanwhile to be allowed to stay in a place of safety in the palace.
This request made his visit seem important enough for Mariana to be
informed of it: and she ordered him to be introduced at once. When he
entered he threw himself upon his knees and besought that he might speak
with her alone; and for a half hour he was closeted with the Queen.

The story he had to tell was of a widespread conspiracy of Don Juan and
his friends against the Regency, and without delay the net was cast that
swept into prison one of Don Juan’s principal agents in Madrid, Patiño,
and all his household. In a day or two a force of soldiers was
despatched to Consuegra to arrest Don Juan himself, but found the bird
flown. Behind him he had left a document addressed to the Queen,
violently denouncing Nithard as a tyrant and a murderer, whilst
protesting his own loyalty to his father’s son. Madrid began again to
murmur at the persecution of a Spanish prince in Spain by a foreign
Jesuit, and though a brisk interchange of manifestoes and recriminatory
pamphlets was carried on, the great mass of the people were
unquestionably on the side of Don Juan against the German Queen and her
Jesuit favourite.

The Prince fled to Barcelona, where Nithard was especially hated and the
Madrid government always unpopular, and there nobles and people received
Don Juan with enthusiasm. Messages of support came to him from all parts
of Spain, and French money and sympathy powerfully aided his propaganda,
so that by the end of the year 1668 affairs looked dangerous for Mariana
and her confessor. The Queen and her Camarilla took fright and tried
conciliation, but Don Juan knew that he had the whip hand, and in a
letter written in November to Mariana peremptorily demanded the
dismissal of Nithard within fifteen days. Mariana’s friends on the
Council of Regency voted for the impeachment of Don Juan for high
treason; and for a time vigorous measures against him were like to be
taken. But the Council of Castile, the supreme judicial authority,
through its most influential member, warned the Queen that in a
controversy between the King’s brother and a foreign Jesuit Spaniards
must necessarily be on the side of the former, and the Queen must be
cautious or she would alienate the country from her. Mariana thereupon
wrote softly to Don Juan inviting him to approach Madrid that a
conference of conciliation might be held. But the prince would not trust
Nithard, who, he said, had planned his murder, and he declined to risk
coming to the capital except in his own time and way.

Early in February 1669, Don Juan, with a fine bodyguard of two hundred
horse, rode out of Barcelona, and through Catalonia and Aragon towards
Madrid. Mariana had sent strict orders throughout the country that no
honours were to be paid to him, but his journey in spite of her was a
triumphal progress, and as he entered Saragossa in state the whole
populace received him with shouts of: ‘Long live Don Juan of Austria,
and Death to the Jesuit Nithard.’ A regiment of infantry was added by
Aragon to the Prince’s force, and on the 24th February Mariana and her
friend in the palace of Madrid were horrified to learn that Don Juan was
at the gates of the capital with an armed body stronger than any at
their prompt disposal. Whilst they made such hasty preparations as they
could to resist, all Madrid was in open jubilation at the approach of
their favourite prince. Don Juan’s force grew from hour to hour, and
with it grew his haughtiness towards the ruling authority. Mariana, in
alarm, tried every means. The Nuncio endeavoured to soften Don Juan’s
heart; the higher nobles in the Queen’s household wrote to him
deprecating violence; and, finally, the Queen herself wrote a letter of
kindly welcome. But to all blandishments Don Juan stood firm: Father
Nithard must go for good, and at once; whilst the Council of Castile
also demanded the Jesuit’s expulsion.

On the morning of 25th February, whilst Mariana was still in bed, the
courtyards of the palace filled with gentlemen and officials in groups,
who openly declared for Don Juan and the expulsion of Nithard. The Dukes
of Infantado and Pastrana sought an interview with the Queen, for the
purpose of informing her of the general resolution, but were refused
admittance into her bedchamber. They then charged her secretary, Loyola,
to inform her, that unless she instantly signed a decree expelling
Nithard they themselves would take measures against him, as Madrid was
in a turmoil and order imperilled. Mariana with tears of rage swore that
she would not be coerced; and Nithard himself refused to stir. A hasty
meeting of the Council of Regency assembled in the forenoon, which
Nithard abstained from attending only upon the entreaty of the Nuncio,
where a decree of expulsion was drafted in the mildest form possible,
and laid before the Queen for signature as soon as she had dined.

Mariana was at the end of her tether. The Court, the populace, and the
soldiery were all against her favourite, and she was forced to sign the
decree. But, though she did it, she never forgave Don Juan for the
humiliation, and thenceforward it was war to the knife between them.
Cardinal Nithard, with rich grants and gifts from the Queen, was with
difficulty saved from the cursing multitude that surrounded his coach as
he slunk out of the capital; and Don Juan, triumphant, begged for
permission to come and salute the Queen in thanks for his expulsion.
This, haughty Mariana coldly refused to allow, and Don Juan retorted by
demanding a thorough reform in the administration of the government, a
re-adjustment of taxation and many other innovations which he alleged
that Nithard alone had prevented. The Spanish nobles, however, were no
lovers of reform, and Don Juan’s drastic demands were regarded askance
by many. A long acrimonious correspondence was carried on by the Queen
at Madrid and Don Juan at Guadalajara, in the course of which some
financial amendments were promised by the former: but in the meantime
Mariana’s friends were raising an armed force as a bodyguard for her and
her son, which afterwards became famous as the _Chambergo_ regiment,
because the uniform was copied from those worn by the troops of Marshal
Schomberg. The formation of this standing force was bitterly resented by
the citizens of Madrid, and aroused new sympathy for Don Juan. At length
a semi-reconciliation was effected by the appointment of Don Juan as
Viceroy of Aragon in June 1669; and for several years thereafter the
Prince was piling up funds from his rich offices to strike a more
effectual blow when the time should come.

The extreme debility of the boy King, who in 1670 was thought to be
moribund, was already dividing the courtiers, and indeed all Spain and
Europe, into two camps. If Charles II. died without issue, as seemed
probable, his elder sister Maria Theresa, wife of Louis XIV., would be
his natural successor, but for the act of renunciation signed at the
time of her marriage; an act which from the first the French had
minimised and disputed, and Philip himself had characterised as an ‘old
wife’s tale.’ It was evident that Louis XIV., daily growing in power and
ambition, had no intention of allowing the renunciation to stand in the
way of his wife’s claims if her brother died childless; and all of
Mariana’s enemies in Spain, and they were many, were ready to stand by
the claims of the elder Infanta Maria Teresa, daughter of the beloved
Isabel of Bourbon, if the succession fell into dispute.

On the other hand, Mariana, naturally championed the cause of her own
daughter, the Infanta Margaret, married to the Emperor Leopold, and
upheld the validity of Maria Theresa’s formal renunciation of the
succession on her marriage. The Austrian connection had brought nothing
but trouble to Spain, and the brilliant progress of France, even though
it was to the detriment of their country, had gained many Spanish
admirers of the modern spirit that pervaded the methods of Louis XIV.
Mariana, therefore, to most Spaniards, represented, with her pronounced
Austrian leanings, an attempt to tie the country to the bad old times,
as well as to pass over the legitimate rights of the elder Infanta for
the benefit of her own less popular daughter the Empress Margaret.

The Queen-Mother, well aware of the strong party against her, and that
her prime enemy, Don Juan, was only awaiting his time to strike at her,
employed all the resources she could scrape together in providing for
her own defence against her domestic opponents, leaving the frontier
fortresses divested of troops and means for repelling attack from
France; whilst, on the other hand, she provoked Louis by sending a
Spanish contingent to co-operate with the Emperor’s troops in aiding the
Dutch in their war with France; and, later, in 1673, she formed a
regular alliance with the Emperor and Holland against Louis XIV. Nothing
could have been more imprudent than this in the circumstances, for Spain
was in a worse condition of exhaustion than ever, and the hope of
beating France by force had long ago proved fallacious. The ancient
appanage of Burgundy, the Franche Comté, promptly passed for ever from
the dominion of Spain to that of France; and whilst the fighting in
Flanders and the Catalan frontier was progressing in 1674, a new trouble
assailed Mariana’s government. The island of Sicily revolted, and
invited the French to assume the sovereignty, an invitation that was
promptly accepted. Thirty-seven years before, when he was a mere
stripling, Don Juan had recovered Naples for Spain in similar
circumstances; and Mariana, almost in despair, could only beseech her
enemy to leave his government at Saragossa, and take command of the
Spanish-Dutch forces to attack the French in Sicily. But Don Juan,
knowing her desire to get him out of the way, was determined not to
allow himself to be sent far from the centre of affairs, and refused to
accept the position.

His reasons were well founded, for events were passing in Mariana’s
palace that rendered her more unpopular than ever; and, by the will of
Philip IV., her regency would come to an end when her son attained his
fifteenth year late in the next year 1675. It had been hoped that with
the banishment of Nithard and the absence from the capital of Don Juan,
the factions that divided the Court would have held their peace during
the few years the regency lasted; and possibly this would have been the
case if the Queen had been prudent. Her unwise favour to Nithard had
already made her extremely unpopular, for foreign Queens in Spain were
always suspect; but she had learned nothing from her favourite’s
ignominious expulsion; and soon a confidant, less worthy far than
Nithard, had completely captured the good graces of the Queen. This was
a young gentleman of no fortune named Fernando de Valenzuela. He was one
of those facile, plausible, Andaluces, a native of Ronda, who had
figured so brilliantly in the Court of Philip IV. and Mariana, where the
accomplishment of deftly turning amorous verse, improvising a dramatic
interlude, or contriving a stinging epigram, opened a way to fortune. He
had been a member of the household of the Duke of Infantado, and upon
the death of the latter, had attached himself to Father Nithard, who
needed the aid of such men.

Valenzuela was not only keen and clever, but extremely handsome, in the
black-eyed Moorish style of beauty, for which the people of Ronda are
famous, and he soon managed to gain the full confidence of both Nithard
and the Queen, whom he served as a go-between and messenger, a function
which he continued after the Jesuit had been expelled. He had married
the Queen’s favourite half-German maid, and had been appointed a royal
equerry; both of which circumstances gave a pretext for his continual
presence in the palace; and at the time of the agitation against
Nithard, and afterwards, he had been extremely useful in conveying to
the Queen all the comments that could be picked up by sharp ears in the
Calle Mayor and Liars’ Parade (the peristyle of the Church of St.
Philip). It was noticed that those who spoke incautiously of the Queen
in public were promptly denounced and brought to trouble, and the
gossips soon pitched upon Valenzuela as the spy, calling him in
consequence by the nickname, by which he was generally known, of the
‘fairy of the palace.’ The man was bold, ambitious, and unscrupulous,
and soon more than occupied the place left vacant by Nithard.

Jealous nobles and courtiers looked with indignation at the rapid rise
of a mere provincial adventurer to the highest places in the State. Not
only was a marquisate and high commands and offices conferred upon him,
but at a time when Spain was in the midst of a great international war
that ended in the remodelling of the map of Europe at her expense, this
favourite, without special aptitude or experience, was appointed by
Mariana her universal minister for all affairs; and Valenzuela was the
most powerful man in Spain. He manfully did his best though
unsuccessfully, for he was cordially detested, to win popularity in an
impossible position, by multiplying in Madrid the feasts and diversions
its inhabitants loved, by writing comedies himself, full of wit and
malice, for gratis representation in the theatres, by re-building public
edifices, and generally beautifying the capital. He was surrounded,
moreover, by a great crowd of parasites, mostly nobodies, like himself,
who sang his praises for the plunder he could pour upon them.

But his rise was too rapid, and his origin too obscure to be easily
forgiven, and a perfect deluge of satires, verses, pamphlets and flying
sheets, full of gross libels upon him and the Queen, came from the
secret presses and circulated throughout Spain. The general opinion was
that he was the Queen’s lover as well as her minister; but Madrid was
always a hotbed of scandal, and, although this may well have been true,
it must be regarded as non-proven. As a specimen of the view taken of
the connection by contemporaries the following description of a
broad-sheet, found one morning posted on the walls of the palace, may be
given. A portrait of the Queen is represented with her hand pointing to
her heart, with the printed legend, ‘This is given;’ whilst Valenzuela
is portrayed standing close by her side, pointing to the insignias and
emblems of his many high offices, and saying, ‘These are sold.’ The
favourite himself seems to have been anxious to strengthen the rumour
that assigned to him the amorous affection of the widowed Queen, for at
two of the Court festivals, of which he promoted many, he bore as his
devices, ‘I alone have licence,’ and ‘To me alone is it allowed.’[273]

The unrestrained favour extended by the Queen to such an upstart as this
gave hosts of new adherents to Don Juan; and such of them as had access
to the young King, now rapidly approaching his legal majority, took care
to paint the wretched condition of the country in the blackest colours,
and to ascribe the trouble to the Queen’s bad minister. The boy, though
nearly fifteen, was still a child; backward and, at best, almost an
idiot. He could hardly read or write, for the weakness of his wits and
the degeneracy of his physique had caused his education to be entirely
neglected, and he was, even in his mature age, grossly ignorant of the
simplest facts. But, like his father, he was gentle, kind and
good-hearted, and his compassion was easily aroused by the sad stories
told him of the sufferings of his people, especially when they came from
the lips of his father confessor, Montenegro, and his trusted tutor
Ramos del Manzano.

They, and the great nobles who prompted them, understood that the moment
had come for action when, in the late autumn of 1675, Mariana and
Valenzuela ordered Don Juan to sail in Ruyter’s fleet to Sicily and
eject the French; and what to them was just as important, leave them
with no rivals near them when the King came of age. Charles was
persuaded by his confessor, and without the knowledge of his mother, to
sign a letter recalling his half-brother to Madrid; and with this in his
hand Don Juan could refuse, as he did, to sail for Sicily. On the
morning of 6th November 1675, the day that Charles reached his fifteenth
year and the regency ended, Madrid was astir early to see the shows that
were to celebrate the new reign, though the country, in its utter
exhaustion and misery, was in no spirit to rejoice now.

To the surprise of most was seen a royal travelling carriage rapidly
approach the Buen Retiro palace, and the escort that surrounded it
proclaimed that the occupant of the coach was no other than Don Juan.
All was prepared for the coup d’etat. The prince hurried, unknown to
Mariana, to the young King’s apartment, and kneeling, kissed the boy’s
hand; whilst a decree, already drafted, was presented to the King,
appointing his half-brother the universal minister of the crown. Mariana
had passed the night at the palace a mile away, but the coming of her
enemy to the Buen Retiro had been announced to her before he alighted.
Without losing a moment she flew to the Retiro and reached her son’s
room just as the decree that would have ruined her was about to be
signed. She was an imperious woman, and had been Queen-Regent of Spain
for over ten years: her control of her feeble son had been supreme
whilst she was with him, and her angry orders that the room should be
cleared might not be gainsaid. Left alone with her son, she led him to a
private room and, with tears and indignant reproaches, reduced the poor
lad to a condition of abject submission to her will.

The president of the Council of Castile had already told her, that as
Don Juan had come by the King’s warrant, the same authority alone could
send him back, and Charles was induced to sign a decree commanding the
prince to return forthwith to his government in Aragon and remain there
till further orders. Now was the time when boldness on the part of Don
Juan would have won the day; for the nobles, court and people, were
mostly on his side against Valenzuela and the Queen, whose means did not
allow them to bribe everybody. But Don Juan was as vain and empty as he
was ambitious and failed to rise to the occasion. The sacrosanct
character of the King of Castile, moreover, was still a strong
tradition, and Don Juan, who knew his fellow-countrymen well, dared not
aim at ruling instead of the King, but through the King. So that night
Don Juan and his supporters met in conclave, and weakly decided to obey
the King’s new command without protest, instead of making another
attempt to override Mariana’s influence upon her son; and the prince
returned to Aragon overwhelmed with confusion and disappointment.[274]

The triumph of Mariana was complete, and she took no pains to conceal
her joy when she attended that night in state the theatre of the Buen
Retiro, in celebration of the King’s coming of age. In a few days all
those who had had a hand in the futile conspiracy were on their way to
exile; and, to keep up appearances, Valenzuela himself was given the
rich post of Admiral of the Andalucian coast, with another rich
marquisate, as an excuse for his absence from the capital during the
first few weeks of the King’s majority. He was soon back again,
collecting new honours from the feeble King at the instance of Mariana,
and to the indignation of the other nobles. The great post of Master of
the Horse, usually held by one of the first magnates of Spain, was given
to Valenzuela; and when the jealous grandees remonstrated he was made a
grandee of Spain of the first class to match his new dignity. All this,
and the fact that Don Juan had been deprived of his viceroyalty, though
banished from Court, may testify to Mariana’s determination and
boldness, but says little for her prudence; for all Spain, high and low,
was against her, and Valenzuela was a weak reed to depend upon in the
face of so powerful an opposition.

In the meanwhile the conspiracy against Mariana grew in strength. Don
Juan amongst his faithful Aragonese could plot with impunity, whilst the
nobles in Madrid were working incessantly to the same ends, namely, the
banishment of Mariana and the impeachment and punishment of Valenzuela.
In February 1676 all the principal grandees signed a mutual pledge to
stand together until these objects were attained; and as, in virtue of
their position, they had unrestrained access to the King, who was now
nominally his own master, the result of their efforts was soon seen.

The object lesson to which they could point was a very plain one.
Spanish troops were still pouring out their blood upon the battlefields
of Europe without benefit to Spain: the distress in the capital itself
was appalling; even the King’s household sometimes being without food,
or means of obtaining it. On every side ruin had overwhelmed the people.
Industry had been crushed by taxation, whole districts were depopulated
and derelict, and neither life nor property was safe from the bandits
who defied the law in town and country.[275] Spain had almost, though
not quite, reached its nadir of decadence: and, though the distress was
really the result of long-standing causes described in the earlier pages
of this book, the boy monarch was made to believe that it all arose from
the mis-government of his mother and Valenzuela; and that Don Juan could
remedy all the ills and make Spain strong and happy again.

The noble conspirators took care, this time, to neglect no precautions
that might ensure success, and obtained (27th December 1676) from the
King an order to which Mariana was obliged to consent, for Don Juan to
return to Madrid; whilst on various pretexts they kept the Queen as much
as possible from influencing her son. Valenzuela was, of course,
informed of what was going on, and, recognising that the coalition was
strong enough to crush him, had suddenly fled into hiding a few days
previously. The night of the 14th January 1677, after the King had
retired to his bedchamber in the palace of Madrid, and Mariana doubtless
thought that all was safe until the next morning, Charles, accompanied
by a single gentleman-in-waiting, escaped by arrangement with the
conspirators, down backstairs and through servants doorways, from the
old palace to the Buen Retiro, where the nobles and courtiers were
assembled. Long before dawn a decree reached Mariana in her bedroom in
the palace, ordering her not to leave her apartments without the written
permission of the King. Her rage and indignation knew no bounds, and for
the rest of the night letters alternately denouncing the undutifulness,
and appealing to the affection of her son, showered thick and fast from
the Queen in the old Alcazar to the sixteen year old boy with the long
white face, who was trying to play the King in the pleasance of the Buen
Retiro. None of her letters softened him, if ever they reached him,
which is doubtful, and all the next day the antechambers at the Retiro
were crowded with courtiers, applauding the King’s stroke of State,
whilst in the Alcazar on the cliff the Queen-Mother found herself
neglected by flatterers, a prisoner in the palace where she had reigned
so long.

The next day news came that Don Juan, with a great armed escort and
household, had arrived at Hita, thirty-five miles from the capital; and
there the Cardinal Archbishop of Toledo and a crowd of grandees met him
with a message from the King, asking him to dismiss his armed men and
come to Court for the purpose of taking the direction of affairs. But
Don Juan had his conditions to make first, and he refused to enter the
capital until Mariana had left it, Valenzuela made a prisoner, and the
hated Chambergo regiment disbanded. He had his way in all things, and
the same night, with rage in her heart, Mariana rode out of the capital
for her banishment at Toledo; the Chambergos were hurried away for
shipment to Sicily; and then came the question where was Valenzuela.
Reluctantly, and bit by bit, it was drawn from the King that he himself
had contrived the flight of his mother’s favourite, and knew where he
was hidden amongst the friars of the palace-monastery of the Escorial.

From his windows overlooking the bleak Sierra of Guadarrama the fugitive
favourite gazed in the gathering dusk of the 17th January 1677 in
fancied security; when, to his dismay, a large body of cavalry trotted
into the courtyard and dominated the palace. Amongst them the alarmed
Valenzuela descried his enemy the Duke of Medina Sidonia, and a group of
other grandees. Flying for refuge within the consecrated precincts, he
besought the prior to save him; and when the doors of the monastery had
been closed the prior greeted the troops and nobles in the courtyard and
demanded their pleasure. ‘We want nothing,’ they replied, ‘but that you
will deliver to us the traitor Valenzuela.’ ‘Have you an order from his
Majesty?’ asked the prior. ‘Only a verbal one,’ replied Don Antonio de
Toledo, son of the Duke of Alba, who took the lead. ‘In that case,’
replied the monk, supported by a murmur of approval from his brethren
behind, ‘we will not surrender him, except to main force; for we shelter
him by written warrant of the King.’ Threats and insults failed to move
the monks, and an attempt at arrangement was at last made by means of an
interview in the church between Valenzuela himself and the Duke of
Medina Sidonia and Toledo. Owing mainly to the violence of the latter
the interview had no result; and, as the prior saw that the soldiery
were preparing to force the sanctuary, Valenzuela was hidden in a secret
room contrived for such eventualities where he might defy discovery. The
enraged nobles and soldiery, balked of their prey, ransacked the
enormous place, room by room, for three days, overturning altars,
insulting and violating the privacy of the monks, and committing
sacrilege undreamt of in Spain for centuries, for which they were
smartly punished afterwards by the ecclesiastical authority.[276]

At length, on the night of 21st January, Valenzuela took fright at some
voices near, and foolishly let himself down by his twisted sheets from
the window of his safe retreat; and, though one sentry let him go, and
the monks made desperate attempts to keep him hidden, he was captured on
the 22nd January and carried with every circumstance of ignominy to
close confinement in Don Juan’s fortress of Consuegra; then after
terrible sufferings and stripped of all his honours and possessions, he
was imprisoned in Manila, and afterwards taken to Mexico to die; whilst
his unfortunate wife, treated with atrocious brutality by Toledo, was
reduced to beg from door to door for charity, until her troubles drove
her mad.[277] No sooner was Valenzuela safe behind the bars at Consuegra
than Don Juan of Austria entered Madrid in state on the 23rd January,
acclaimed by the populace as the saviour of Spain, and welcomed by the
King as the heaven-sent minister who was to make his reign brilliant and
successful. Don Juan’s vengeance knew no limit, as his soul knew no
generosity. Whatever may have been Mariana’s faults as a Queen of Spain,
or her errors as a diplomatist, the ignominy to which she was now
subjected by order of her son, at the instance of Don Juan, shows the
lack of generosity of the latter and the miserable weakness of the
former. Mariana’s turn was to come again by and bye, but with her
banishment to Toledo her life as ruling Queen of Spain came to an end.
She lived nearly twenty years afterwards, but her vicissitudes during
that time may be told more fittingly in connection with the lives of her
two successors, the wives of her afflicted son.

                                 BOOK V
                        MARIE LOUISE OF ORLEANS

With Mariana, closely watched in her convent at Toledo, and all her
friends exiled from Court, Don Juan of Austria reigned supreme. For
years he had been clamouring for reform, and holding up as a terrible
example of the results of mis-government the utter prostration that had
seized upon the nation. This was his chance, and he missed it; for he,
whom a whole people had acclaimed as the strong man that was to redeem
Spain from the sins and errors of the past, proved in power to be a
jealous vindictive trifler, incapable of great ideas or statesmanlike
action. Every supporter of the Queen-Mother, from the highest to the
lowest, was made to feel the persecution of Don Juan; letters from
Toledo were opened, spies listened at every corner, and violated the
sanctity of every home, in the anxiety of the Prince to discover plots
against him. His pride exceeded all bounds, and most of his time was
occupied in intrigues to secure for himself the treatment due to a royal
prince of legitimate birth.

Whilst Don Juan was engaged in these trifles and equally futile
government measures, such as endeavouring by decree to make the
courtiers dress in the French fashion instead of Spanish, the taxes were
as heavy as before, the prices of food higher than ever, the
administration remained unreformed, and the law was still contemned: the
Spanish troops were being beaten by the French in Catalonia for lack of
support, and King Louis still occupied Sicily. Don Juan’s own
supporters, too, soon got tired of him when they saw that he was
grudging of rewards, even to them; and pasquins and pamphlets rained
against him and in favour of the Queen-Mother. The latter and the
imperial ambassador had, before the coming of Don Juan, betrothed the
King to his niece the Archduchess Marie Antoinette, aged nine, the
daughter of the Emperor; as if the miserable Charles himself had not
been a sufficient warning against further consanguineous marriages in
the house of Austria: but Don Juan promptly put an end to that
arrangement, and proposed to marry Charles to a little Portuguese
Infanta of similar age. Peace was now an absolute necessity to all
Europe. The pourparlers between the powers at Nimeguen had already
lasted two years, and ended in an arrangement between Holland and
France, in which Spain was left out. Louis could then exact his own
terms; and, as usual, they were crushingly hard on Spain, which lost
some of the richest cities in Flanders and all the Franche Comté
(September 1678). But it was peace, and the rejoicing of the
overburdened Spanish people was pathetic to witness.

Charles was seventeen years of age, and already his country was
speculating eagerly upon his marriage; whilst his degeneracy and
weakness aroused hopes and fears of what might happen if he died without
issue. According to the will of Philip IV., the succession fell to the
Empress Margaret, daughter of Mariana; but the French King, who from the
first had made light of his wife’s renunciation of her Spanish
birthright, and Maria Theresa herself, were not inclined to let her
claims go by default. Soon the gossips in Madrid began to whisper that a
French Queen Consort, a descendant of the house which had given them
their beloved Isabel of Bourbon, would suit Spain best, and Don Juan
himself was not unwilling to listen to such a suggestion; for, in any
case, the King must marry, and a French match would be a blow against
Mariana and the Austrian connection. The Duke of Medina Celi, Don Juan’s
principal henchman, slept, as sumiller de corps, in the King’s room; and
it was he who first broached to Charles the idea of a French wife. He
was, the Duke reminded him, a grown man now, and the Austrian
Archduchess of ten was too young for him. The Princess of Portugal, he
said, would never be consented to by the French, and she was also too
youthful: but there was at St. Cloud the most lovely Princess ever seen,
only a year younger than himself, who was a bride for the greatest king
in the world.[278]

Her name was Marie Louise, and she was the daughter of the brother of
King Louis, the Duke of Orleans, by Henriette of England, that beautiful
daughter of Charles I. who had been so beloved in the country of her
adoption. Maria Theresa took care that miniatures of her lovely niece
should go to the Spanish Court, and when one of them was brought to the
notice of the young King, his adolescent passion was inflamed at once,
and the Marquis de los Balbeses, who had represented Spain at the
conference of Nimeguen, was instructed by Don Juan to proceed to Paris
and ask King Louis for the hand of his niece.

Marie Louise was a spoilt beauty of the most refined and gayest court in
Europe. She had when a child lost her English mother; but every body was
in love with her, from King Louis downward; and it had long been
understood that she might marry the Dauphin, with whom she was on the
tenderest terms of affection. But the treaties of Nimeguen had
transformed the face of Europe, and Louis had other views for his son,
whilst the need for securing a footing in Spain during the critical
period approaching was evident. So, when Balbeses came to Paris with
unusual state, and Saint Germain and Saint Cloud were a blaze of
magnificence to receive him, the girl’s heart sank; for with her
precocious intelligence she guessed the meaning of the whispers and
curious glances that greeted her every appearance in the ceremonies in
honour of the King of Spain’s ambassador.

She and the Dauphin were deeply in love with each other, and had been so
since childhood; and it was like a sentence of death for the beautiful
girl with the burnished copper-brown hair and flashing eyes, to learn
that she was to be the bride of the long-faced, pallid boy, with the
monstrous jaw and dull stare, in his gloomy palace far away from
brilliant Versailles, and from her own home at Saint Cloud. When her
father, the Duke of Orleans, and afterwards King Louis himself, gravely
told her the honour that was in store for her, she implored them in an
agony of passionate tears to save her from such a fate. To her
stepmother, Charlotte of Bavaria, to the Queen Maria Theresa, to the
King, she appealed on her knees, again and again, to let her stay in
France, where she was so happy; and not to send her far away amongst
people she did not love. She was told that her duty was to France; and
Colbert, by the order of King Louis, drew up a serious State paper for
the instruction of the frightened girl in the manner that French
interests might be served by her as Queen of Spain.

The fine pearl necklace, worth a hundred thousand crowns, given to her
by King Louis, the magnificent diamonds brought by the Duke of
Pastrana,[279] as a present to her from her future husband, the title of
Majesty, ostentatiously given to her as soon as preliminaries were
arranged, the fine dresses and jewels, and the new deference with which
she was surrounded, only deepened the girl’s grief. Her heart grew hard
and her spirit reckless when she understood that, regardless of her own
feelings, she was to be a sacrifice: and, as the pompous ceremony of her
marriage by proxy approached, she became outwardly calm, and more
proudly beautiful than ever. On the 30th August 1679, as the new Queen
was led by her father on one hand and the Dauphin she loved on the
other, into the principal saloon at Fontainebleau for the formal
betrothal to the Prince of Conti, representing the King of Spain, all
the Court was enraptured at her peerless loveliness. Her train, seven
yards long, of cloth of gold, was borne by princesses of the blood; and
the magnificence that the Roi Soleil loved so well found its centre in
the jewels that blazed over the young Princess who was being sacrificed
for France.

It would be tedious to recount the splendour of the betrothal, and
marriage the next day, 31st August,[280] but when, after the ceremony
with Conti that made Marie Louise the wife of Charles II., she left the
chapel in her royal crown, her purple velvet robe lined with ermine and
covered with golden fleurs de lis, and her flashing gems enveloping her
in light, King Louis and his Queen, between whom she walked in the
procession, praised and soothed her as the most perfect princess and
queen in the world. At the State concert and ball that night, and at the
ceremonies of the morrow, Marie Louise was radiant in her loveliness,
and shed no tears, for she was steeled now to the sacrifice, and
determined thenceforward to get as much sensuous joy out of life as she
could, in spite of the fate that had befallen her.

Whilst this was happening in Fontainebleau, the plot was thickening in
Madrid. The star of Don Juan was visibly on the wane. The adherents of
Mariana grew bolder daily; some of them, like the Duke of Osuna, dared
to come to Court in spite of prohibition; and Don Juan lived in daily
fear that the King would slip through his hands and join his mother in
Toledo. In order to divert him from visiting Aranjuez, which is within
riding distance of Toledo, all sorts of pretexts were invented, and the
surveillance of the old Queen by Don Juan’s agents became more insulting
than ever. Mme. D’Aulnoy narrates a conversation with Don Juan at the
time, which may well be authentic.[281] ‘She asked him if it was true
that the Queen-Mother had written to the King requesting him to see her,
and that he had refused. The prince admitted that it was, and that this
was the sole reason that had prevented his Majesty from going to
Aranjuez, for fear that she might go there and see him, in spite of the
orders given to her not to leave Toledo. “What, sir,” I cried; “The King
refuses to see his mother!” “Say rather,” he replied, “that reasons of
State prevent monarchs from following their own inclinations when they
clash with the public interest. We have a maxim in the Council of State
always to be guided by the spirit of the great Emperor Charles V. in all
difficult questions.”‘... ‘It was quite evident to me,’ concludes Mme.
D’Aulnoy, ‘that Don Juan accommodated the genius of Charles V. to suit
his own.’[282]

Don Juan had grown colder towards the French match as time went on. He
had, indeed, endeavoured more than once to obstruct or frustrate it by
suggesting impossible conditions; but even Charles II. had plucked up
some semblance of manhood with his approaching marriage to the original
of the portrait that had so enraptured him, and gave his half-brother to
understand that he meant to have his own way, in this and in other
things.[283] Don Juan had very soon understood that the appearance of
Marie Louise in Spain, with the influence of Louis XIV. behind her,
would mean his own downfall; and the arrival of the Marquis of Villars,
the French ambassador, with instructions from his master not to accede
to the ambitious claims of Don Juan to receive the ambassador seated and
to give his hand as a royal prince, led to infinite negotiation. Louis
was determined that the bastard of Philip IV. should not be treated by
his ambassador as royal, unless his own illegitimate offspring enjoyed
the same privilege; and Villars was instructed not to negotiate with Don
Juan at all unless he gave way.[284] Louis also instructed Villars to
proceed to Toledo and salute Mariana; and Don Juan knew that with the
Queen-Mother’s interest, the French interest, and most of Spain against
him, his government was doomed to an early extinction.

The knowledge killed him; and before Marie Louise had reached the
Spanish frontier the news came to her that Don Juan was dead, 17th
September. He had suffered for many weeks from double tertian fevers,
and his anxiety had increased the malady. The King, he knew, was already
holding conferences of nobles, plotting to escape to his mother and
decree his half-brother’s dismissal. On all sides those upon whom he had
depended now opposed him, and some of his old enemies had already
claimed the right, in virtue of their rank and offices, to go and attend
the new Queen. In these circumstances it is not necessary to seek, as
many contemporaries did, to explain his death by accusations against
Mariana and her friends of poisoning him; but there is no denying that
his death was most opportune for them, and was welcome to the whole
nation, as ensuring some degree of harmony under the new regime that was
to commence with the King’s marriage. Don Juan’s dying ears were dinned
by the explosion of fireworks from his own windows, in celebration of
the wedding at Fontainebleau, so little regard was paid to him; and
hardly had the breath left his body when Charles ran to seek his mother
at Toledo, and, with tears and embraces on both sides, a reconciliation
was effected. It had all been the wicked bastard’s fault, and
henceforward all would go well.

Mariana managed her triumphant return with tact and skill. She had left
the Court after Valenzuela’s fall intensely unpopular; but much had
happened since then. Don Juan had proved a whitened sepulchre; the
detested Austrian match for the King was at an end, the cordiality shown
by Mariana towards the new marriage pleased the people, and a warm
welcome greeted her as she rode in state by her son’s side in the great
swaying coach with the curtains drawn back,[285] to the palace of the
Buen Retiro which was to be her residence until her own house was

All the Court was eager to know what part Mariana would in future take
in the government. Would she be, as of yore, the sole dispenser of
bounty and the only fountain of power? Would she avenge herself upon Don
Juan’s friends as he had avenged himself upon hers, or would she leave
the dominating influence to her son’s young wife? Mariana had learnt
wisdom by experience, and walked warily. She was no lover of the French
match; but she knew that open opposition to it would alienate the King
and exasperate the country, and she smilingly played the part of the
fond mother who rejoiced at her son’s happiness. Everybody, moreover,
and especially the King, was so busy with the marriage that there was
neither time nor inclination for politics; and until the King’s
departure to meet his bride he was closeted every day in loving converse
with his mother, talking only of his coming happiness. Fortunately the
treasure-fleet from America arrived in the nick of time, and, for a
wonder, there was no lack of money, which not only added to the good
humour of the people, but enabled the preparations for the reception of
Marie Louise on the Spanish side to be made upon a scale approaching the
costly pageantry of former times.

The splendid entertainments at Fontainebleau ended at last; and on the
20th September 1679, the young Queen rode out of the beautiful park on
the first stage of the long voyage to her new country. She sat silently
in the coach with King Louis and his wife, and the one man upon whom her
heart was set, the young Dauphin, whose eyes were red with tears. At La
Chapelle, two leagues from Fontainebleau, the long cavalcade stopped,
for here Marie Louise was to take an eternal farewell of most of those
she loved. As she stepped from Queen Maria Theresa’s carriage and
entered one belonging to the King that was to bear her to the frontier,
every eye was wet with tears, and the common folk who witnessed the
leave-taking cried aloud with grief. Only Marie Louise, with fixed face
and stony eyes, was mute. But when the last farewell was said, and the
Queen’s carriage with the Dauphin turned to leave, one irrepressible
wail of sorrow was wrung from the heart of the poor girl, as she sank
back fainting upon the cushions of the carriage by her father’s

Through France, by short stages, and followed by a great household under
the Duke of Harcourt and the Maréchale Clerambant, as mistress of the
robes, the young Queen made her way, splendidly entertained by the
cities through which she passed; for to them the marriage meant peace
with Spain, and rich and poor blessed her for her beauty and her
sacrifice. The Marquis of Balbeses, the Spanish ambassador and his wife,
a Colonna, rode in her train, and at Poictiers the latter brought her
the news of Don Juan’s unregretted death. The Marchioness happened to be
wearing a black silk handkerchief at her neck; and, lightly touching it,
and smiling, she said: ‘This is all the mourning I am going to wear for
_him_.’[287] Thenceforward to the sad end Marie Louise had to deal with
those who, with smiling face and soft speeches, were secretly bent upon
her ruin; and she, a bright beauty full of strength and the joy of life,
hungry for the love that had been denied her, was no match, even if she
had cared to struggle with them, for the false hearts and subtle brains
that planned the shipwreck of her life.

The household of the new Queen, which had been chosen by Don Juan before
his death, started from the capital towards the frontier on the 26th
September, and already intrigue was rife amongst the courtiers to gain
ascendency over the young consort of the King. The master of the
household, the Marquis of Astorga, was mainly famous for his gallantry,
and had been a firm friend of Don Juan; whilst the mistress of the
robes, the Duchess of Terranova in her own right, was a stern grand dame
of sixty, whose experience, like that of Astorga, had been principally
Italian, and of whom some whispered that ‘she knew more about carbines
and daggers than about thimbles and needles.’[288] However that may be,
she was imperious and punctilious to the last degree, but kept Marie
Louise in the right way as she understood it; though, as we shall see,
the roughness of her methods disgusted the young Queen and hastened the
inevitable catastrophe.[289] Close upon the heels of the official
household went some of Mariana’s friends, especially the Duke of Osuna,
appointed Grand Equerry, and an Italian priest, who aspired to the post
of Queen’s confessor; and even before she entered Spain began to whisper
to Marie Louise political counsels intended to betray her.

Once again on the historic banks of the Bidasoa, and on the island of
Pheasants that had seen so many regal meetings, sumptuous pavilions of
silk brocade and tapestry were erected. Marie Louise at St. Jean de Luz,
a few miles away, was sick at heart, in spite of all the splendour that
surrounded her; and she could not suppress her tears as she stood upon
the last foot of French soil she was ever to touch, ready to enter the
gilded barge that was to cross the few feet of water that separated her
from the little gaily decked neutral island where the Marquis of Astorga
was to receive her on bended knee as his sovereign mistress.

The rule of the formidable old Duchess of Terranova began the moment
Marie Louise stepped into the barge that was to land her on the Spanish
bank. The Queen was dressed in the graceful garb that prevailed in the
Court of Louis XIV. The soft yielding skirts and square cut bodice with
abundance of fine lace at neck and wrists were coquettishly feminine.
The bright brown hair of the bride was curled and frizzed at the sides
and on the brow, in artful little ringlets, and all this grace and
prettiness looked to the Spanish ladies of the old school indecorous, if
not positively indecent. Their vast wide-hooped farthingales, of heavy
brocade, their long flat bodices, their stiff unbendable sleeves, and in
the case of younger ladies, their hair, lank and uncurled, falling upon
their shoulders, except where it was parted at the side and gathered
with a bow of ribbon over one temple, formed an entire contrast to the
French feminine fashions of the time; and until Marie Louise donned the
Spanish garb, and did her hair in Spanish style, the Duchess of
Terranova looked with grave disapproval at her mistress.

After the whole party had attended the Te Deum at Irun the journey south
began, though not before a desperate fight for precedence had taken
place between the Duke of Osuna and the Marquis of Astorga, a struggle
that was renewed on every opportunity until the Duke was recalled to the
King’s side. Long ere this the young King’s impatience to meet his bride
had over-ridden all the dictates of etiquette, and he had started on his
journey northward on the 23rd October, before even Marie Louise had
entered Spain. To one of those witty French ladies who, at the time,
wrote such excellent letters, we are indebted for invaluable information
on the events of the next two years, and the letters of Mme. de Villars,
wife of the French ambassador, will furnish us with many vivid pictures.
Writing from Madrid the day before Marie Louise entered Spain (2nd
November 1679) Mme. de Villars says: ‘M. Villars had started to join the
King, who is going in search of the Queen with such impetuosity that it
is impossible to follow him. If she has not arrived at Burgos when he
reaches there, he is determined to take the Archbishop of Burgos and go
as far as Vitoria, or to the frontier, if needs be, to marry the
Princess. He was deaf to all advice to the contrary, he is so completely
transported with love and impatience. So with these dispositions, no
doubt the young Queen will be happy. The Queen Dowager is very good and
very reasonable, and passionately desires that she (Marie Louise) should
be contented.’[290]

As the royal couple approached each other, almost daily messages of
affection and rich gifts passed between them. First went from Marie
Louise a beautiful French gold watch, with a flame-coloured ribbon,
which she assured the love-lorn Charles had already encircled her neck.
On the 9th November she reached Oñate, where she passed the night, and
sent from there a miniature of herself on ivory set with diamonds, and
with this went a curious letter,[291] now published for the first time,
touching upon a subject which afterwards became one of the principal
sources of Marie Louise’s troubles in Spain. The letter is in Spanish,
and in the Queen’s own writing, a large, bold hand, full of character.
The Queen told Balbeses in Paris that she had learnt Spanish in order to
talk it with Queen Maria Theresa, but did not speak it much. The present
letter was probably, therefore, drafted or corrected in draft before she
wrote it (perhaps by Mme. de Clarembant, who spoke Spanish), as there
are no serious errors of syntax in it.

‘If I were ruled by the impulses of my heart alone, I should be sending
off couriers to your Majesty every instant. I send to you now Sergeant
Cicinetti, whom I knew at the Court of France, and his great fidelity
also to your Majesty’s service. I pray you receive him with the same
kindness that I send him. My heart, sire, is so overflowing with
gratitude that your Majesty will see it in all the acts of my life. They
wished to make me believe that your Majesty disapproved of my riding on
horseback, but Remille (?), who has just come from your Majesty, assures
me that just the contrary is the case, especially as for these bad roads
horses are the best. As my greatest anxiety is to please your Majesty, I
will do as you wish; for my whole happiness is that your Majesty should
be assured that I shall only like that which you like. God grant you
many years of life, as I desire and need. Oñate, 9th November.—Your
Niece and Servant,

                                                          MARIE LOUISE.’

In fact, the Duchess of Terranova, from the first day, had been
remonstrating with the Queen against her insisting upon riding a great
horse over the wretched rain-soaked tracts that did duty for roads.
Spanish ladies, she was told, travelled in closely-curtained carriages
or litters, or, in case of urgent need, upon led mules, but never upon
horses thus: and Marie Louise, who was a splendid horsewoman, had
excusably defended the custom of the Court in which she had been reared.
This was the first cause of disagreement between Marie Louise and her
mistress of the robes, but others quickly followed.

Whilst Charles was impatiently awaiting his bride at Burgos, Marie
Louise travelled slowly with her great train of French and Spanish
courtiers over the miry roads and through the drenching winter of
northern Spain. Already her daily passages of arms with the Duchess of
Terranova had filled her with apprehension and anxiety. M. de Villars
met her at Briviesca, and found her ‘full of inquietude and mistrust,
and perceived that the change of country, and people and manners, enough
to embarrass a more experienced person than she, and the cabals and
intrigues that assailed her on every hand, had plunged her into a
condition of agitation which made her fear everything without knowing
upon whom she could depend.’[292] The ambassador did his best to
tranquillise her. All these people, he said, were intriguing in their
own interests. She need not trouble about them: only let her love the
King and live in harmony with the Queen-Mother, whom she would find full
of affection for her, and all would be well. It is clear that Don Juan’s
faction had not died with him, and even at this early stage the
household, mainly appointed by him, had done their best to make Marie
Louise fear and dread her mother-in-law.

On the 18th November, the day after her interview with Villars, the
bride arrived at Quintanapalla, within a few miles of Burgos, where she
was to pass the night; the ostensible intention of the Spaniards being
that the marriage should take place at Burgos the next day. Everything
was done to lead the official Frenchmen to believe this; but Villars and
Harcourt were suspicious; and early on the morning of the 19th, they
arrived from Burgos at the miserable poverty-stricken village where
Marie Louise had passed the night. Assembled there they found members of
the King’s household, and taxed the Duchess of Terranova with the
intention of carrying through the royal marriage there. She replied
haughtily that the King had so commanded, and had given orders that no
one was to attend the wedding, but the few Spanish officers and
witnesses strictly necessary. The two noble Frenchmen indignantly
announced their intention of attending the ceremony, in obedience to the
orders of their own King Louis, whether the Spaniards liked it or not.
The imperious old lady thereupon flew into a towering rage; ‘_et dit
beaucoup de choses hors de propos_,’ and the ambassadors, declining to
quarrel with an angry woman, sent a courier galloping to Burgos to
demand leave for the official representatives of France to witness the
marriage of a French princess.[293]

At eleven o’clock in the morning, the King himself arrived at the poor
hamlet of ten houses, and at the door of the apartment where she had
lodged his beautiful bride met him. She looked radiant, ‘in a beautiful
French costume covered with a surprising quantity of gems,’[294] though
Charles told her the next day that he infinitely preferred her with the
Spanish garb and coiffure, which she usually assumed thenceforward. On
the threshold of the squalid labourer’s cottage, Marie Louise made as if
to kneel and kiss the King’s hand; but he stepped forward and raised
her. Unfortunately, thanks to his mumbling speech and her agitation, and
small familiarity with spoken Spanish, they soon found that conversation
was impossible without an interpreter, and Villars stepped into the
breach and said the mutual words of greeting between the husband and

But whilst he was doing this courtly service, his keen eyes saw that the
humble living chamber of the cottage, where the ceremony of marriage was
to take place, was being filled by Spanish grandees, who had ranged
themselves in the place of honour on the right hand. Louis had broken
down the old Spanish claim to precedence before other nations, and
Villars at once demanded for Harcourt and himself the pre-eminent place.
Under protest, and with evil grace, the grandees were obliged to make
way for the Frenchmen; and there, in the squalid room, at midday, with
grey skies looming overhead, and the drizzling rain dimming the tiny
windows, Charles King of Spain was married to Marie Louise of

An impromptu dinner was served immediately afterwards to the King and
Queen; and at two o’clock in the afternoon they entered the big coach
that awaited them, and the whole caravan floundered through the mud to
the city of Burgos. The next morning early the bride left the city
privately to dine at the neighbouring convent of Las Huelgas, and thence
to make her state entry on horseback, and dressed in Spanish fashion.
Then, for three days, the usual round of masquerades, bullfights, and
comedies, kept the Court amused, and the dreaded hour of parting from
her French train came to Marie Louise. Loaded with fine presents and
rewards from the King, the great ladies and gallant gentlemen who had
kept up the spirits of the Queen, now perforce turned their faces
towards the north again, and, as Marie Louise saw the French carriages
depart, her composure gave way, and she broke into a paroxysm of tears.

Spaniards generally, and especially the King, saw the French courtiers
depart with delight. For years the two countries had been constantly at
war. The splendour of France had grown proportionately as poverty and
impotence had fallen upon Spain. Old ambitions and vengeful hate were
not dead, and many Spaniards still dreamed of dictating to the world if
only France could be checked. At every step Marie Louise, who loved
France with all her heart, and had been forced to leave it, as she was
told, to serve its interests, was reminded that she must forget the dear
land of her youth and think only of her husband’s realm. It was too much
to expect that she would do it, and it is fair to say that she did not
try. She was a blithe, gay-hearted girl, in the full flower of youth and
strength, not yet eighteen: the pleasures of Versailles and St Cloud had
hitherto filled her life, and here in stern Spain, surrounded by
sinister intrigues she did not understand, and married to this
degenerate anæmic creature by her side, she did her best to play her
part properly; but she was French to her inmost soul, and she would not
forget her own folk and her old home. The harsh Duchess of Terranova
might insist upon the bright brown curls being brushed wet till they
hung flat and lank, and might cram the beautiful round bosom into the
hideous flat corset demanded by Spanish fashion; but even she could not
quite silence the frank, careless laugh, or suppress the triumphant
coquetry of a Parisian beauty overflowing with the sensuousness of
maturing passion.

During the stay at Burgos, and afterwards, the Duchess of Terranova kept
urging upon the narrow, suspicious King that his new wife was a young
woman of free and easy manners, entirely opposed to Spanish ideas of
decorum, and that he must keep a tight rein upon her. She laid it down,
moreover, that the girl must receive no visits of any sort until after
her State entry into Madrid, which would mean some six weeks of complete
isolation.[297] At Torrejon de Ardoz, a few miles from Madrid, Charles
and his wife were met by Mariana. The Queen-Mother was wiser and deeper
than the Mistress of the Robes; and instead of frightening her
daughter-in-law she was outwardly all kindness and sweetness to her. As
we shall see in the course of this history, the Terranova way, harsh as
it was, was less disastrous to Marie Louise than the policy of letting
her go her own way, and then holding her up to reprobation.

Mme. Villars records the coming of the newly-married pair to the Buen
Retiro palace, where the Queen was to remain whilst the preparations
were made for her state entry some weeks later. ‘Le roi et la reine
viennent seuls dans un grand carosse sans glace, à la mode du pays. Il
sera fort heureux pour eux qu’ils soient comme leur carosse.[298] On dit
que la reine fait tres bien: pour le roi, comme il etait fort amoureux
avant que de l’avoir vue, sa presence ne peut qu’avoir augmenté sa

Marie Louise had now no Frenchwomen with her but two old nurses and two
maids of inferior rank; and some days after she had arrived at the Buen
Retiro she begged that Madame Villars, the ambassador’s wife, might be
allowed to come and raise her spirits by a chat in French. The Duchess
of Terranova was shocked, and refused. Neither man nor woman, she said,
should see the Queen until the state entry. Marie Louise then tried her
husband. Might not the ambassadress come in strict incognito? He seems
to have consented, and the Queen joyously sent word to Mme. Villars; but
Villars was aware of the jealousy in the palace, and before allowing his
wife to go, communicated with the Duchess of Terranova. She knew
nothing, she said, of such a permission, nor would she inquire, and the
Queen should see no one whilst she remained at the Retiro.

Secret means were found for letting Marie Louise know why her
countrywoman did not respond to the invitation; but a few days
afterwards Mme. Villars went to the Retiro, doubtless by appointment, to
pay her respects to the Queen-Mother Mariana. She found her everything
that was kind and amiable. ‘Have you seen my daughter-in-law yet?’ the
Queen-Mother asked. ‘She is so anxious to see you, and will receive you
when you like: to-morrow if you wish.’ This was a great victory over the
Duchess of Terranova, for Marie Louise had seen not a soul but the
inhabitants of the Retiro since she entered it. Only two days before the
Marchioness of Balbeses, the late ambassadress in France, who, though an
Italian, was married to a Spanish grandee, had gone to the apartment of
the Mistress of the Robes to beg an audience of the Queen. The latter,
hearing her friend’s voice, had run into the room from her own adjoining
chamber; but the moment the scandalised Duchess of Terranova caught
sight of her she seized her roughly by the arm and pushed her into her
own apartment again. ‘These manners,’ says Mme. Villars in recounting
the incident, ‘are not so extraordinary here as they would be anywhere

The French ambassadress lost no time in availing herself of the
Queen-Mother’s hint; and on the following day went to the Retiro. The
account of her visit to the Queen may best be told in her own racy
words: ‘I entered by the apartment of the Mistress of the Robes, who
received me with all sorts of civility. She took me through some little
passages to a gallery, where I expected to see only the Queen, but, to
my great surprise, I found myself before the whole royal family. The
King was seated in a great arm-chair, and the two Queens on cushions.
The Mistress of the Robes kept hold of my hand, telling me as we
advanced how many courtesies I had to make, and that I must begin with
the King. She brought me up so close to his Majesty’s chair that I did
not know what she wished me to do. For my part, I thought nothing more
was required of me than a low courtesy; and, without vanity, I may
remark that he did not return it, though he seemed not sorry to see me.
When I told M. de Villars about it afterwards, he said no doubt the
Mistress of the Robes expected me to kiss the King’s hand. I thought so
myself, but I felt no inclination to do so.... There I was then, in the
midst of these three Majesties. The Queen-Mother, as on the previous
day, said many agreeable things, and the young Queen seemed very much
pleased to see me, though I did my best that she should show it in a
discreet way. The King has a little Flemish dwarf who understands and
speaks French very well, and he helped the conversation considerably.
They brought one of the young ladies in a farthingale, that I might
examine the machine.[300] The King had me asked what I thought of it,
and I replied, through the dwarf, that I did not believe it was ever
invented for a human form. He seemed very much of my opinion. They
brought me a cushion, upon which I sat only for a moment in obedience to
the sign made to me, but I took an opportunity immediately afterwards to
rise, as I saw so many “ladies of honour” standing, and I did not wish
to offend them; though the Queens repeatedly told me to be seated. The
young Queen had a collation served by her ladies on their knees—ladies
of the most splendid names, such as Aragon, Castile and Portugal. The
Queen-Mother took chocolate and the King nothing. The young Queen, as
you may imagine, was dressed in Spanish fashion, the dress being made of
some of the lovely stuffs she brought with her from France. She was
beautifully _coiffée_, her hair being brought diagonally across the
brow, and the rest falling loose over her shoulders. She has an
admirable complexion, very fine eyes, and a bewitching mouth when she
laughs. And what a thing it is to laugh in Spain! The gallery is rather
long, the walls being covered with crimson damask or velvet, studded all
over very close with gold trimmings. From one end to the other the floor
is laid with the most lovely carpet I ever saw in my life, and on it
there are tables, cabinets and brasiers, candlesticks being upon the
tables. Every now and then very grandly dressed maids come in, each with
two silver candlesticks, to replace others taken out for snuffing. These
maids make very great, long courtesies, with much grace. A good way from
the Queens there were some maids of honour sitting on the floor, and
many ladies of advanced age, in the usual widow’s garb, were leaning
standing against the wall.

‘The King and Queen left in three quarters of an hour, the King walking
first. The young Queen took her mother-in-law by the hand leading her to
the door of the gallery, and then she turned back quickly, and came to
rejoin me. The Mistress of the Robes did not return, and it was evident
that they had given the Queen full liberty to entertain me. There was
only one old lady in the gallery, a long way off, and the Queen said
that if she was not there she would give me a good hug. It was four
o’clock when I arrived, and half-past seven before I left, and then it
was I who made the first move. I can assure you I wish the King, the
Queen-Mother and the Mistress of the Robes could have heard all I said
to the Queen. I wish you could have heard it too, and have seen us
walking up and down that gallery, which the lights made very agreeable.
This young Queen, in the novelty and beauty of her garments, and with an
infinitude of diamonds, was simply ravishing. Once for all do not forget
that black and white are not more dissimilar than France and Spain. I
think our young Princess is doing very well. She wished to see me every
day, but I implored her to excuse me, unless I saw clearly that the King
and the Queen-Mother wished it as much as she did.... The Mistress of
the Robes came to meet me as I left the gallery, and I found there the
Queen’s French attendants, to whom I said that they must learn Spanish,
and avoid, if possible, saying a word of French to the Queen. I know
that they are scolded for speaking it too much to her.’[301]

In the deadly _ennui_ of such a life as that described above Marie
Louise, though she did her best to be patient, begged earnestly that her
countrywoman should be allowed to see her often. But Mme. Villars
pointed out to her how much depended upon her prudence, and avoided the
palace whenever possible, in the hope that the young Queen would fall
into Spanish ways. The King also, in his half-witted way, tried to
please his lovely wife: ‘more beautiful and agreeable,’ says Mme.
Villars, ‘than any lady of her Court,’ giving her many exquisite
presents of jewellery, and running in and out of her apartments to tell
her bits of news, and so on. But the life was deadly dull; and the gloom
within the palace could, as Mme. Villars says, be seen, tasted and
touched. Charles had no amusements other than the most childish games
and trivial pastimes: his intellect was not capable of sustaining a
reasonable conversation, and after a day of stiff monotony, he and his
wife went to bed every night at half-past eight, the moment they had
finished supper: ‘with the last morsel still in their mouths,’ as Mme.
Villars writes.

There was some eager talk of the Queen’s pregnancy before the grand
State entry into Madrid; but when that hope disappeared, and Marie
Louise began to languish alarmingly in the dull incarceration of the
Retiro, she and her husband sufficiently relaxed their surroundings to
go to the hunting palace of the Pardo, six miles away, where the young
Queen could ride her French horses, and Charles could enjoy himself with
a little pigsticking. At length the great day for the public entry into
the capital came on the 13th January 1680. Madrid, as usual, had
squandered money sorely needed for bread in gaudy shows. At every street
corner arose monuments and arches of imitation marble; and all the
heathen mythology was ransacked for far-fetched compliments to the
people’s new idol. The King and his mother leaving the Retiro in the
morning took up a position in the central balcony of the Oñate palace,
still standing, in the Calle Mayor; and at noon Marie Louise on a
beautiful chestnut palfrey issued from the gates of the Buen Retiro,
where the aldermen of the town stood awaiting her with the canopy of
state, under which she was to ride to the palace.

Preceded by trumpeters and the knights of the royal orders, by her
household and by the grandees of Spain, all in garments of dazzling
magnificence, rode the most beautiful woman in Spain, gorgeously dressed
in garments so richly embroidered with gold that their colour was
hidden, and covered with precious stones, but withal, as a Spanish
eyewitness observes, ‘more beautifully adorned by her loveliness and
grace than by the rich habit that she wore.’ Her horse was led by the
Marquis of Villamayna, her chief equerry; and after her came a great
train of ladies led by the Duchess of Terranova, all mounted on draped
led mules. As the new Queen passed the Oñate palace she smiled and bowed
low to the King and his mother, who could be dimly seen behind the
nearly closed jalousies; and went triumphantly forward, conquering all
hearts by the power of her radiant beauty.[302] But though she, poor
soul, knew it not, more was needed than careless beauty to win the
battle in which she was engaged, a battle not of hearts but of subtle
crafty brains.

Bullfights, with grandees as toreros, masquerades, cane tourneys, and
the inevitable religious pageantry, at all of which Marie Louise,
glittering with gems, took her place, ran their usual course; and at the
end of a week after the entry the Queen began her regular married life
in the old Alcazar on the cliff, more gloomy and monotonous, even, than
the Retiro, in its gardens on the other side of the capital.

The political intrigues, though they had never ceased, had been
naturally somewhat abated during the Queen’s voyage and subsequent
seclusion: but as soon as the marriage feasts were over the struggle
began in earnest. Charles, absorbed in his courtship and marriage, had
appointed no minister to succeed Don Juan, the necessary administrative
duties being performed by a favourite of his, Don Jeronimo de Eguia, a
man of no position or ability; and the first bone of contention was the
appointment of the man who was really to rule Spain. The old party of
the Queen-Mother inclined to a Board of Government, headed by the
Constable of Castile; but Mariana, in appearance, at least, held herself
aloof, and the minister ultimately chosen by the King was the first
noble in Spain, the Duke of Medina Celi, an easy going, idle, amiable
magnate, who had sided with Don Juan; but whose gentle manners had
convinced the King that he would not tyrannise over him as Don Juan had
done. The Duchess of Terranova and most of the household whispered
constantly to the young Queen distrust and suspicion of Mariana; and
after her state entry they encouraged her as much as possible to see the
French ambassadress constantly. The Queen-Mother, they said, had been
continually with the German ambassador and his wife talking German, why
should not Marie Louise do the same with the French ambassador. But both
Villars and his wife were wary, and saw that they were to be used to
form a French party at Court to oppose the Queen-Mother and the
Austrians, and this they were not at present inclined to do.

Villars himself constantly reiterates that the Queen-Mother was quite
sincere in her professions of affection for her daughter-in-law, and he
and his wife lost no opportunity of urging Marie Louise to respond
cordially to her mother-in-law’s loving advances. The diplomatist
attributes to Mariana, indeed, at this time, sentiments which her whole
history seems to falsify, and it appears far more probable that Marie
Louise was right than the ambassador when she looked askance at the
tenderness of her husband’s mother. The old Queen, says Villars, was
discontented with the way her Austrian kinsmen had treated her, and
leaned now to the side of France, which had been friendly with her in
her exile; she sincerely loved her daughter-in-law and hoped that her
son would have children to succeed him by his beautiful wife. Villars,
indeed, casts the whole of the blame upon Marie Louise, who, he
says—probably quite truly—was lacking in judgment, decision and
generosity, and hesitated too late between the Duchess of Terranova, who
constantly warned her against the Queen-Mother, and the French
ambassador and others who strove to persuade her to make common cause
with her mother-in-law, and rule all things jointly with her.[303]

The nearest approach to common action of the two Queens was when they
both persuaded Charles to appoint the weak, idle, Medina Celi as
minister; but, in this, and in all the other manifestations of Mariana’s
conciliatory amiability at the time and after, it is unquestionable that
the measures and men she smiled upon were such as would, and did,
inevitably lead to a state of things in which her firm hand would become
indispensable. The effects of the utter ineptitude of such a government
as that of Charles and Medina Celi were soon seen. The coin had been
tampered with to such an extent as to have no fixed value, provisions
were at famine price, and the attempt to fix low values of commodities
by decree aroused a sanguinary revolt in Madrid in the early spring of
1680, that nearly overthrew the wretched government such as it was.
Bandits infested the high roads, half the work of the country was done
by foreigners, whilst Spaniards starved in idleness, or lived by preying
upon the comparatively few who still had means.

In this abject state of affairs, the King gave but a quarter of an hour
daily to his public duties, which were limited to stamping his signature
on decrees placed before him, for he had neither the industry to read
them nor the intellect to understand them; and the rest of his time was
spent on the most puerile frivolity and in endless visits with Marie
Louise to convents and churches. ‘Such visits,’ says Mme. Villars, ‘are
anything but a feast for her. She insisted upon my going with her the
last two days. As I knew nobody, I was very much bored, and I believe
she only asked me to go in order to keep her in countenance. The King
and Queen are seated in two arm chairs, the nuns sitting at their feet,
and many ladies come to kiss their hands. The collation is brought, the
Queen’s repast always being a roast capon, which she eats whilst the
King gazes at her, and thinks that she eats too much. There are two
dwarfs who do all the talking.’

A very few weeks of this idle life and good living worked its effect
upon Marie Louise. In February 1680, Mme. Villars writes: ‘She has grown
so fat, that if it goes much further, her face will be round. Her bosom,
strictly speaking, is already too full; although it is one of the most
beautiful I have ever seen. She usually sleeps ten or twelve hours, and
eats meat four times a day. It is true that her breakfast and her
luncheon (collation) are her best meals. She always has served for lunch
a capon boiled and broth, and a roast capon. She laughs very much when I
have the honour to be with her. I am quite sure that it is not I who am
sufficiently agreeable to put her into such a good humour, and that she
must be pretty comfortable generally. No one could behave better than
she does, or be sweeter and more complaisant with the King. She saw his
portrait before she married him, but they did not paint his strange
humour, nor his love of solitude. The customs of the country have not
all been turned upside down to make them more agreeable for her, but the
Queen-Mother does everything she can to soften them. All sensible people
think that the young Queen could not do better than contribute on her
side to the tenderness and affection that the Queen-Mother shows for
her.... When I tell you that she is fat, that she sleeps well and laughs
heartily, I tell you no more than the truth; but it is no less true that
the life she leads does not please her.... But, after all, she is doing
wonderfully, and I am quite astonished at it.’[304]

Already we see by this, that before Marie Louise had been in Madrid
three months, she was going her own way, and was being humoured to the
top of her bent by Mariana. She had been sold into a slavery of utter
boredom, married to a degenerate imbecile; and she had neither brains,
heart, nor ambition to take a leading part in politics, or to play the
rôle that she was intended to fill in Spain by her uncle King Louis. All
that was left for her, then, was to eat, drink, sleep, and be as merry
as her grim surroundings would allow; and let the world wag as it would.
The society of the capital and Court had reached the lowest degree of
decadence; and a strong, high-minded Queen would have found ample work
in reducing at least her own household to decency. Every lady in the
palace and elsewhere had a gallant, and was proud of it; and it was a
universal practice in theatres and public places, or even at windows
looking upon the street, for lovers to converse openly in the language
of signs. Immorality and vice had reached such a terrible pitch that
mere children who could afford it lived in concubinage, and few people,
high or low, were free from preventible disease.[305]

Marie Louise, utterly frivolous, made no attempt to reform all this, but
swam with the stream, taking part in the Kings puerile pleasures of
throwing eggshells full of scent at people, or playing with him for
hours at his favourite game of spilikins for pence. Mariana looked on at
it all quite complacently, Villars and his wife thought out of mere
amiability. That may have been so, but it is clear to see now that all
that was necessary was to let Marie Louise go her own way unchecked, and
Mariana had nothing to fear from her politically or personally. As an
instance of the attitude of the Queen-Mother towards the young Queen’s
thoughtlessness, a little circumstance related by Mme. Villars may be
quoted: ‘I was walking in the gallery of the Buen Retiro on Sunday,
before seeing the comedy, thinking nothing of kings or queens, when I
heard our young Princess call out my name very loudly. I entered the
room whence the voice proceeded quite unceremoniously; and, to my
confusion, I found the Queen seated between the King and the
Queen-Mother. She had thought of nothing when she called me but her own
wish to see me, quite regardless of Spanish gravity; and she burst out
laughing heartily when she saw me. The Queen-Mother reassured me. She is
always pleased when her daughter-in-law enjoys herself. Indeed, she made
an opportunity for me to come and talk with her in a window recess, but
I retired as soon as I could.’ To encourage Marie Louise to forget for a
moment that she was a Spanish Queen, was to ensure her downfall.

Here is another picture of the young Queen a few days afterwards. Mme.
de Sévigné had written a letter talking of Marie Louise’s beautiful
little feet, with which she danced so nimbly at Versailles. The young
Queen was gratified at the flattery, but ruefully said that all her
pretty feet were used for now was to walk round her chamber a few times,
and carry her off to bed at half-past eight every night. On this
occasion Mme. Villars thus describes her: ‘She was as beautiful as an
angel, weighed down but uncomplaining, by a _parure_ of emeralds and
diamonds on her head, that is to say, a thousand sparks; a _furious_
pair of earrings, and in front, and around her, in the form of a scarf,
rings, bracelets, etc. You think, no doubt, that emeralds on her brown
hair would not look well, but you are mistaken. Her complexion is one of
the loveliest brunettes ever seen, her throat white, and exquisitely

Soon the young Queen’s careless jollity received a blow, which
embittered her. Charles hated and distrusted all French people; and the
insistence of Marie Louise in making companions of her French maids
annoyed him exceedingly; and the lives of the two maids whom she liked
best were made intolerable to them to such an extent that they had to
leave. The Queen was in despair, but protested and wept in vain: the two
Frenchwomen were made to understand that they had to go; and when their
mistress summoned them one morning she was told that they had departed
from the palace for good, leaving her with only two French servants, a
nurse and a maid. As usual in her trouble, she summoned Mme. Villars,
who found her lying down. ‘She rose at once. It is truly surprising how
beautiful she has grown. She wore her hair tied up in great curls on her
forehead, with rose-coloured ribbons on her cap and on the top of her
head; and she was not plastered over with rouge, as she is generally
obliged to be. Her throat and bosom admirable. She slipped on a French
dressing-gown, which she wore for the rest of the day. She stood thus
for a short time regarding herself in a great mirror, and the view
seemed to revive her. Her eyes looked as if she had been weeping much.
As soon as she began to speak to me the King entered the room, and it is
the rule in such cases for the ladies all to leave, except the Mistress
of the Robes and some servants. I heard cards asked for, and I concluded
that the Queen was going to be bored to death with the little game that
the King is so fond of, at which, if you have very bad luck, you may
lose a dollar. The Queen always plays it as if she was enraptured with
the occupation.’

The loss of two of her French attendants drew Marie Louise ever closer
to Mme. Villars, who was a person of mature age, but, to her later
regret, she gradually lost some of the reserve that at first she had
considered prudent in her communications with the Queen. Mariana smiled
upon the constant companionship of her daughter-in-law with the French
ambassadress, but she must have known, for she was experienced and
clever, that it would end in disaster to Marie Louise, whose future
depended upon pleasing her husband and becoming purely Spanish. The
Queen did her best to keep the affection of Charles, who, in his own
way, was desperately in love with her, and on occasions when he had to
leave her for a day or two she affected desperate sorrow at his absence
so cleverly as to arouse the admiration of Mme. Villars for her good

But, though she kept the King in alternate fits of maudlin devotion and
despairing rage at her capricious flouting of all the rules and
traditions of his Court, he himself was politically a cypher, and the
policy always favoured by Mariana slowly but surely gained ground,
whilst the French interest grew weaker; and Marie Louise, in spite of
her uncle’s indignant reminders, raised no finger to help the cause she
had been sent to Spain to champion. If Mariana ever had quarrelled with
the Emperor, as Villars thought, the breach was patched up now, and the
Austrian ambassador, Count de Grana, an old friend of Mariana’s, came to
draw closer than before the family alliance. And yet Mariana
ostentatiously abstained from any governmental action, whilst all went
in the way she wished.

The first open sign of a return to the old policy of religious unity and
the Austrian connection was the holding of the greatest _auto de fe_
that had taken place in Madrid for half a century, in June 1680. The
Plaza Mayor was transformed at a vast expense into a great theatre; all
its hundreds of windows were filled with the aristocracy of Spain, and
the high roofs of the houses crowded with people to see the dreadful
show. All the inquisitors in Spain had been summoned, and the pulpit,
the great tribune for the judges, the platform for the bishops, and the
fronts of the barriers and balconies were covered with costly tapestries
and rich hangings for the occasion. Eighty-five grandees and noblemen
were proud to act as familiars of the Holy Office, and a picked corps of
250 gentlemen served as soldiers of the faith, to guard its ministers,
and each to carry a faggot for the devilish bonfire at the gate of
Fuencarral after the _auto_ was finished.

All day long, from early morning till four in the afternoon, the King,
with Marie Louise and Mariana, sat in the principal balcony of the
Panadería, the centre house in the great square, whilst 120 poor
wretches in sambenitos, with ropes round their necks, gags in their
mouths, and other insignia of shame, were condemned after innumerable
ceremonies, sermons and rogations, to the tender mercies of the law
condemning heresy. Charles swore again on the gospels to defend and
promote the Catholic faith as held in Spain; and when the dread
sentences were pronounced, the captain of the Inquisition Guard entered
the royal balcony, bearing upon his shield a faggot, which was presented
to Charles and the Queen, the former of whom returned it to the holder,
saying: ‘Take it in my name, and let it be the first cast upon the fire
to burn heretics.’ The French ambassador and his wife were obliged to be
present, for those who did not attend were looked upon with suspicion;
but they, and all the world, knew that this atrocious scene meant the
growing power of the traditional ideas connected with Austrian
friendship and the certainty at no distant period of a renewal of the
war with France.

Paltry questions of diplomatic precedence and privilege, the haughty
encroaching spirit of Louis XIV., and the utter abandonment of even
current affairs by the Spanish government, under lazy Medina Celi,
widened daily the breach between France and Spain. Villars and his wife,
according to the evidence now before us, appear to have misunderstood
entirely who were their real friends and foes in the palace. Mariana was
all amiability to them, constantly urging that the ambassadress should
be much with Marie Louise, and openly disapproving of the harsh manners
of the Duchess of Terranova, who was always, says Villars, abusing the
French and turning the King’s dislike to his wife’s countrymen into
unreasoning hatred. The ambassador therefore believed that the Duchess
was really the enemy of the young Queen and the French interest; but it
is unquestionable that in the then state of feeling in Spain, the only
hope for Marie Louise was to keep as far away from her own countrymen
and women as her Mistress of the Robes desired. Marie Louise,
thoughtless as she was, naturally considered this tyrannical and hard.
On one occasion a French half-witted beggar came to her carriage door,
and the Queen, speaking French to him, threw him some alms; whereupon
the King was so enraged that he insisted upon the beggar being arrested,
examined and expelled the country. Another day the King and Queen in
their coach passed in the street some Dutch gentlemen dressed in French
style, whose carriage, according to etiquette, had drawn up whilst the
royal equipage passed. The strangers were on the left side of the
street, and consequently were nearer the Queen than the King, and in
their salutations addressed their respects to her. Again the King made a
violent jealous scene, and caused a grave reprimand to be addressed to
the Dutchmen, who were forbidden ever to salute the Queen again.

In the spring of 1680, on a disputed question of etiquette, the King
took away some of the diplomatic privileges of the French ambassador,
and the Duke of Orleans wrote to his daughter the Queen, asking her to
speak to her husband about it. When Marie Louise did so, Charles sulkily
told her to mind her own business, and not to speak to him on such
affairs. She pressed her point, however, and he replied: ‘They will
recall this ambassador, and send me another gabacho instead.’[306] Some
months later, whilst Mme. Villars was on one of her frequent visits to
the Queen, the King, who had taken a special dislike to her, and often
listened behind the arras to the conversation in the hope of detecting
an indiscretion, broke out from his hiding-place in insulting abuse of
the ambassadress. Villars lays all this trouble at the door of the
Duchess of Terranova and the Marquis of Astorga, the Queen’s master of
the household, both appointed by Don Juan, and praises Mariana to the
skies for her gentleness to Marie Louise, and her desire that she should
have her own way and see as many French people as she liked.[307]

After a time the Duchess of Terranova, finding that the harshness of her
methods, contrasting with the gentleness of her opponents, was
destroying her influence, softened her manners to some extent, and went
so far as to rebuke the King—even to scold him—when he said unkind
things to his wife about her countrywomen, but her desire to mould Marie
Louise into the traditional Spanish Queen never ceased, and if her
advice had been followed, unpalatable and cross-grained as it was, the
unhappy girl would have been saved much of her misery. Every small
device that the King could adopt, Villars says on the advice of the
Duchess, was brought into play to separate the Queen from French
influence. She was kept so short of money that most of her beloved
horses, which she was not allowed to ride, and their French grooms, had
to be sent back to France, all her French men servants, even her doctor,
were dismissed, though he, from his name (Dr. Talbot), would seem to
have been an Englishman.

In this wretched existence Marie Louise grew callous. She took no pains
even to be civil to the Spanish grand dames who visited her, or to
pretend to care a jot for the eternal comedies and visits to convents
that were the only amusements allowed her. She played for hours every
day at spilikins with the King; ‘the worst company in the world, and he
never had any one with him but his two dwarfs.’ She was careless and
buxom, and found some little pleasure in attending to her birds,[308]
but nothing else; for she had neither brains, nor ambition, nor ideas,
worthy of her rank. Secretly all she longed for was to return to France
as a widowed Queen, to enjoy herself as she liked without fear.[309] Her
one delight was the visit of Mme. Villars, who sang French airs with
her, or played whilst the Queen danced a minuet, or chatted about
Fontainebleau and St. Cloud. ‘I do not know,’ says Mme. Villars, ‘what
passes in her breast and in her head to keep her up so, but, as for her
heart, I believe that nothing passes there at all.’ In these words the
witty Frenchwoman aptly sums up the character of the Queen, doomed to
this life of gloomy dulness by the side of a semi-imbecile. She had left
her heart behind her in the land she loved, and her existence now was
carelessly epicurean.

The political intrigues went on around her unheeded, and she had not wit
enough to see the traps laid for her. The Duchess of Terranova was
always dour and disagreeable, but her desperate attempts to alienate the
Queen from all memory of France had now made her specially disliked by
her mistress, whilst Mariana and her friends ostentatiously sided with
the young Queen, and deprecated the severity of the Duchess. Incited by
them Marie Louise determined to get rid if she could of the rough old
lady who was really her only friend, and spoke first to her confidante
Mme. Villars about it. The ambassador and his wife were as deeply
resentful of the old Duchess, who hated French people, as was the Queen,
and were delighted to hear the project for getting rid of her, but Mme.
Villars counselled prudence; for she knew how flighty and unstable the
Queen was. The Duchess, she said, was very clever, and such a change as
that suggested was without precedent in Spain: besides, the Duchess had
been later somewhat more civil than before; nevertheless, if the Queen
really wished for a new mistress of the Robes she must begin by
mentioning the matter to the King, and the Prime Minister, so that the
affair might be settled before a word of it reached the ears of the

Marie Louise used all her witchery that same night when she broached the
subject to her husband. He answered her, as she said, more sensibly than
she had expected, and told her that, if really the Duchess made her so
unhappy, they would make a change; but it was a serious matter, and she
must recollect that no second change would be possible. Marie Louise
then approached Queen Mariana, and found her apparently cool and
indifferent about it, to an extent that somewhat discouraged the young
Queen, who little understood that there was nothing that her
mother-in-law desired more than the removal of the only salutary check
upon her conduct. But Medina Celi, the Prime Minister, whom the
imperious ways of the old Duchess had offended, lent eager ear to the
suggestion when, by the aid of the Villars, it was opened to him. Marie
Louise, by the advice of Madame Villars, asked that the Duchess of
Medina Celi might be her new Mistress of the Robes, but that lady
declined absolutely. Then the Marchioness of los Velez and other great
ladies were suggested; and when Marie Louise consulted Mariana upon each
one in turn, the old Queen remained cold and aloof, and even had
excuses, and good words to say about the Duchess of Terranova.

But when there was a talk of the Duchess of Albuquerque, then Mariana
took an interest in the matter at once, and agreed with Medina Celi that
she would be an ideal person for Mistress of the Robes. But, of all the
ladies at Court, the Duchess of Albuquerque was the one that Marie
Louise disliked most. She might struggle as she liked, however, she soon
found that without Mariana’s goodwill no one could gain a footing in the
palace, and she was almost tempted to beg the Duchess of Terranova to
stay by her side, especially as the King himself was opposed to the
Duchess of Albuquerque. It ended, of course, in Mariana having her way.
She bullied her son into making the appointment, and into dismissing the
people who, she said, had ruled him for a year, the Duchess of Terranova
and his friend Eguia. Unbending to the last, the old Duchess, when she
took leave of the Queen, noticed that the latter was crying now that the
parting had come, and she told her that it was not proper for a Queen of
Spain to weep for so small a matter. Marie Louise, half regretting the
change now that it was too late, asked the Duchess of Terranova to come
and see her sometimes. ‘I will never set foot in the palace again, as
long as I live,’ replied the proud lady, violently banging the table and
tearing her fan to bits; and she went forth in high dudgeon, refusing
all the honours and rewards offered to her.

With her departure the outlook for Marie Louise changed like a charm.
The new Mistress of the Robes had always been considered as austere as
her predecessor, for which reason the young Queen had feared her. But
she came to her new office all sweetness. The Queen was allowed to sit
up until half-past ten at night, an unheard of thing before; she might
mount her saddle horses and ride whenever she pleased, as no previous
Queen Consort had ever done, and the King, on the persuasion of his
mother and the new Duchess of the Robes, positively urged his wife to
divert herself in pastimes that had previously been rigorously
forbidden.[310] The change in the King was extraordinary, and proves the
complete domination of his mother over his weak spirit when she pleased
to exert her power. Mme. Villars happened to visit the Queen two days
after the Duchess of Albuquerque assumed office; and as she entered the
Queen’s apartment Marie Louise ran smiling up to her in joy, crying:
‘You _will_ say yes to what I am going to ask you, will you not?’ The
demand turned out to be that, by the King’s special wish, Mme. Villars’s
daughter should enter the Queen’s household as a maid of honour; and
Marie Louise, at the idea of having a French girl of her own age always
near her, was transported with delight. The appointment was sanctioned
and gazetted, but never took effect, for Villars could not afford to
endow his daughter sufficiently well, and relations soon grew bitter
again; but that Charles, who hated the French, and especially Mme.
Villars, should ever have consented to it proves how complete the sudden
change of scene was.

Encouraged by her new liberty, Marie Louise began to take a keener
interest in public affairs, always playing, as can now be clearly seen,
the game of those who were bent upon her ruin. Medina Celi had been
cleverly diverted by Mariana, who had been ostensibly friendly with him,
whilst the councils and secretariats had been gradually packed with her
friends; and Marie Louise, prompted by her, took the opportunity of the
opposition offered by the minister to the stay of the Court at Aranjuez,
to set her husband against Medina Celi, after which, both she and her
mother-in-law, into whose hands she played, both worked incessantly to
undermine the minister who was already unpopular, owing to the terrible
distress in the country and his own ineptitude. The minister and his
henchman Eguia, and the King’s confessor, retaliated effectively by
sowing jealous distrust between Mariana and her daughter-in-law, and
between the King and his wife and mother; and thenceforward complete
disunion existed between them all. Mariana, in disgust at her son’s
weakness, and knowing that events were tending her way, stood aloof for
a time; Marie Louise went her own gait, making no friends and possessing
no party; and the inept Charles, alternately petulant and sulky,
distrusted everybody.

Villars writes of Marie Louise at this juncture: ‘She, with her youth
and beauty, full of life and vivacity, was not of an age or character
disposed to enter into the views and application necessary for her
proper conduct. Her bent for liberty and pleasure, the memories of
France and all she had left behind her there, had made Spain intolerable
to her. The captivity of the palace, the ennui of idleness without
amusement, the coarse low manners of the King, the unpleasantness of his
person, his sulky humour, which she increased frequently by her lack of
amiability towards him, all nourished her aversion and unhappiness. She
took interest in nothing, and would take no measure, either for the
present or the future; and so, putting aside all that Spain could give
her, she only consoled herself with the idea of returning to France. She
entertained this idea, encouraged by predictions and chimeras which
formed her only amusement, for everything else bored her.’[311]

In her despairing knowledge that she could never hope for happiness in
Spain, Marie Louise thus grew reckless. She had no ambition to rule
except in the heart of the man she loved; she was not clever enough to
succeed in the subtle political intrigues that went on around her; she
knew now that motherhood was hardly to be hoped for with such a husband
as hers, and her one thought was of the joy of living in France. As the
political relations between France and Spain grew constantly more
strained and Charles’s detestation of Frenchmen increased, the visits of
Mme. Villars to Marie Louise perforce grew rarer, for the suspicious
King had got into his head that the French ambassadress was serving as
an intermediary in the palace intrigues which were setting everybody by
the ears. Marie Louise made matters worse by turning to her widowed
nurse Mme. Quantin, and her inferior French maid. Quantin was a greedy,
meddlesome woman, of low rank, who put up her influence over the Queen
for sale, and soon embroiled matters beyond repair.

The Queen, under the influence of this woman, lost what little
discretion and prudence she possessed. The many poor French people in
the town, to whom Quantin and the other French maids were known, would
congregate beneath their apartments in the palace to gossip of France,
tell the news, and perhaps to beg for favours; and Marie Louise would
sometimes be imprudent enough to approach the windows and exchange words
with her countrymen below. Spaniards who saw it—for jealous eyes watched
the Queen always—cried shame upon such a derogation from the dignity of
Spanish royalty, and the scandalmongers of the capital already began to
whisper that the ‘Frenchwoman,’ who would not play the part properly,
and gave no signs of motherhood, might be put aside in favour of another
Queen. In the Calle Mayor, a punning verse passed from hand to hand
reproaching her for her sterility, and demanding in ribald rhyme that
she should either give an heir to Spain, or return whence she came; and
thus, as war loomed ever nearer between her two countries, the lot of
the unhappy Queen grew darker.

Villars began to see that he had been misled in condemning the hard rule
of the Duchess of Terranova, and aiding the Queen to gain the freedom
advocated for her by the amiable Mariana. ‘It was a great misfortune for
the Queen,’ he wrote, ‘who now abandoned herself without restraint to a
dangerous line of conduct, and it is quite a question, judging by
results, whether the hard severity of the Duchess of Terranova was not
better for her than the weak complaisance of the Duchess of
Albuquerque.’[312] The poor misguided girl had not a single friend.
Mariana kept away; for things were going admirably from her point of
view; and a new alliance between Spain and the empire and other powers,
against the threatened encroachments of France, was already being
discussed in secret.

The Minister, Medina Celi, had succeeded, by means of Eguia and the
King’s confessor, in re-establishing his position by arousing the
jealousy of all the three members of the royal family against each
other; and he sought further to isolate and discredit Marie Louise by
whispering to the King that her friend Mme. Villars was engaged in
political intrigue with the Queen to the detriment of Spain. Mme.
Villars had been specially authorised to visit the Queen as much as
possible, and report fully all she heard for the information of the
French government; but it is certain that she had no political mission.
Charles, however, was childishly jealous of her because his wife liked
her, and he instructed the Marquis de la Fuente, his ambassador in
France, to demand the recall of Villars in consequence of his wife’s
indiscretion. Louis XIV. knew his kinsman well, and the real reason for
his demand: but it was part of his policy just then to reassure the
Spanish King, and Villars was sacrificed. In the ambassador’s letter of
recall, Louis writes, after saying that Charles had complained of the
intrigues of Mme. Villars: ‘It is useless to inform you of all the
details ... it will suffice to say that, for many reasons affecting my
service, I have not thought fit to refuse the King of Spain this mark of
my complaisance, however satisfied I may be of the services you have
rendered in the post you occupy.’

Both Villars and his wife disdained to justify themselves by a single
word, and the ambassadress left Madrid in the summer of 1681, to the
despair of Marie Louise; whilst Villars himself was replaced by another
ambassador early in 1682. By this time the empire was at war with
France. Louis had captured Strasbourg, and Casale in Savoy on the same
day (30th September 1681), and Germany seemed almost at the mercy of the
now dominant power in Europe. The imperial ambassador at Madrid,
supported strongly by Mariana, was striving his utmost to draw Spain
into the great war that seemed inevitable, and Holland and England,
jealous of the aggression of France, were for a time apparently willing
to join Spain. But the clever diplomacy of Louis diverted the powers
from the alliance, except the empire and bankrupt Spain; and the sorely
reduced Flemish dominion of Spain was again invaded by French troops.
Luxembourg, which belonged to Spain, was besieged, the cities of
Dixmunde and Courtrai were captured (November 1683), and with every
fresh victory of the French, Louis became more exacting. Finally, when
the unfortunate country could resist no longer, the government of
Charles was forced to accept the humiliating terms of the Treaty of
Ratisbon in June 1684, by which Luxembourg, the well-nigh impregnable
fortress, was lost to Spain for ever, whilst Louis also kept Strasbourg,
Bovines, Chimay, and Beaumont. Other smaller potentates, like the
Elector of Brandenburg and the Regent of Portugal, following the example
of the great Louis, hectored Spain into degrading concessions, whilst
pestilence swept through the south, floods ruined Spanish Flanders,
hurricanes sank the silver fleets, upon which the government of Charles
largely depended, corruption lorded over all in stark desolate Spain;
and the cretin King, growing more feeble in mind and body, mumbled his
prayers, or played childish games with his wife or his dwarfs.

During the war, which further despoiled the land of her adoption, the
lot of Marie Louise was truly pitiable. Even before it broke out, and
during the period of acrimonious recriminatory claims which followed the
recall of Villars, her isolation and impotence and the growing power of
Mariana were plainly evident. In the instructions given by Louis XIV. to
his new ambassador, Vanguyon,[313] in 1682, the latter is instructed to
visit the Queen-Mother first, with all sorts of amiable messages, and
Marie Louise is only to be addressed ‘in general terms,’ and asked to do
her best to maintain good relations between the two countries. Mariana,
indeed, with the imperial ambassador, Mansfeldt, constantly at her side,
had by the mere force of circumstances and her own character gradually
again become the principal controlling power of the State, and, as
usual, she directed her influence not to the benefit of Spain but to the
aid of the empire in its secular struggle against the encroachments of
France. When the war, as already mentioned, broke out (1683) with
France, the underhand intrigues of Mariana and the Austrian faction to
discredit Marie Louise and destroy any political influence she might
have over her husband, were powerfully aided by the general feeling
against everything French; and the young Queen, without a single friend
near her, was more sorely beset than ever by her relentless enemies,
whilst she, perplexed with intrigues that she did not understand,
surrounded by people who would willingly have followed her if she had
had wit enough to lead them, threw away her chance by the frivolity and
imprudence of her behaviour.[314]

She managed, it is true, by her charm and beauty to keep her husband
deeply in love with her in his maudlin fashion, but, weak as he was, she
failed to influence him politically.[315] She had already offended
Medina Celi and played the game of the Queen-Mother against him—for he
had been a friend of Don Juan—by interfering with his appointments for
the benefit of her nurse, the widow Quantin; and now, at the very period
when Mariana had determined that the prime minister, who had failed to
pay her full pension, and who alone stood between her and supreme power,
should be dismissed, Marie Louise again foolishly threw her influence
with her husband against the oft-threatened minister. Medina Celi,
overwhelmed by his unpopularity and the insuperable difficulties of his
task, was brusquely dismissed by the King in June 1685; and
thenceforward Mariana was supreme. The new minister, the Count of
Oropesa, was clever and active, and at first made sweeping financial
reforms: but he was really the tool of the Austrian faction, which,
before many months had passed, negotiated the League of Augsburg, which
bound together Spain, the empire, Sweden, Bavaria and other powers,
against the encroachments of Louis XIV.; and again poor, ruined Spain
was pledged to enter, if called upon, into the central European war.

For the moment Louis was not prepared to meet all Europe in arms, and
his views with regard to Spain had become somewhat changed. It was by
this time evident that Marie Louise would bear no child to her
degenerate husband, and Mariana and Mansfeldt were already preparing to
put forward the claims to the succession of the children of the Empress
(the Infanta Margaret, daughter of Mariana), whilst Louis XIV., making
light, as he always did, of the renunciation signed by Maria Theresa on
her marriage (already referred to), was determined to show that his own
son, the Dauphin, had the best right to be King of Spain if Charles II.
died without issue. When, therefore, the new French ambassador,
Feuquière, went to Spain early in 1685, he was instructed to talk
seriously, and in secret, to Marie Louise on the subject.[316] He was to
tell her that she would be wise to desist from all political intrigue
directed to the change of personnel of the government, and so to gain
the goodwill of the ministers and obtain a firmer hold over the King.
This advice came too late, for she had foolishly connived at Medina
Celi’s fall before Feuquières could deliver his message. This, however,
was only the first step; and in the following year Father Verjus was
sent to Madrid with money and instructions to aid Feuquière in gaining
friends and forming a party under the ægis of Marie Louise to push the
claims of the Dauphin to the Spanish succession.

In the meantime the Austrian party, under Mariana, were having their own
way unchecked. Marie Louise was their sole stumbling-block, for the King
would never willingly lose sight of her, notwithstanding her follies, of
which her enemies made the most; and at the instance of Mariana and her
Austrian backers a dastardly series of plots was formed for ruining the
young Queen in the eyes of her husband. We get the first hint of them
from a letter dated 12th April 1685 in the curious informal
correspondence addressed by the Duke of Montalto in Madrid to the
Spanish ambassador in London, Pedro Ronquillo, both of them partisans of
Mariana: ‘A case of no little scandalousness has happened in the
palace,’ he wrote. ‘You know, of course, that Mme. Quantin is the
favourite of our Queen, and that M. Viremont, a Frenchman who takes care
of the Queen’s saddle horses, is also well liked by her Majesty. By
these means this man introduced himself so much into the palace with the
Quantin woman, that, although she wears the dress of a duenna, and is
neither young nor at all handsome, there was a talk of their getting
married. Everybody laughed at such a courtship; but the matter went so
far and the connection was so close, for both of them are cunning enough
to get out when they liked, and perhaps he may have found means to enter
her chamber in the palace, that the woman was recently taken out of the
palace to the house of Donna Ana de Aguirre, who is in high favour with
the Queen, and it is said that this Quantin woman gave birth to a boy
there the other day.[317] This scandal has caused no end of murmuring
and satires, so shameless some of them as to be incredible. What is
quite as incredible is the irresolution of the King. Up to the present
time nothing has been done, either to the man or the woman, and Viremont
continues in his employment as if nothing had happened. They are married
now; but if I had my way they should be burned. Yesterday the Quantin
woman went to pay her respects to the Queen with as much effrontery as
if she had not behaved thus. You can see by this the state the palace is

We can supplement this narrative from other sources. The French widow
was the only person of her own tongue and country near Marie Louise,
and, though she had been a dangerous companion, the poor Queen clung
desperately to her. As soon as the rumour of her marriage spread the
outcry for her punishment and expulsion was raised by the enemies of
Marie Louise, and the Queen herself was attacked in dozens of spiteful
couplets as having connived at immorality in her own apartments. The
outraged Queen threw herself at her husband’s feet in an agony of tears,
and implored him not to expel the only French woman-servant upon whom
she could depend. Charles, moved by his wife’s tears, allowed Quantin to
remain in Madrid, though not to sleep in the palace, and refused to
believe the stories told him that Marie Louise had knowingly been a
party to the irregularity of her servant.

This was to some extent a defeat for the Queen-Mother and her friends;
but the scandal laid a foundation of distrust, upon which further attack
might be based. This is how the Duke of Montalto speaks of the King’s
concession to his wife. ‘I don’t know whether the Quantin affair is true
or not; but it is publicly stated, and is the most dreadful scandal that
ever happened in the palace. Medina, Oropesa and the Confessor, all
urged the King to take some step, but to no purpose, for he preferred to
give way to the tears and prayers of the Queen, rather than uphold the
decency of his own household. So she has triumphed to such an extent
that this woman, having married the rogue Viremont, has positively been
brought by the Queen into the palace again to serve her, and goes home
to her husband every night! Cases of this sort are surely enough to
drive one crazy, and to banish all hope of better times. Since I have
told you the story I must now tell you the sequel. As soon as they were
married the woman went ostentatiously to the palace to salute the King,
which he placidly allowed. The fine pair have now gone to Aranjuez with
the Court, like people of quality, in one of the royal coaches. Medina
Celi has thrown up everything and gone away in disgust. It is all the
King’s fault, and such goings on as these will expose to the world our
master’s tyranny and incapacity.’[319]

The further blow at the Queen was silently planned whilst the Court was
at the spring palace of Aranjuez, where it usually stayed until Corpus
Christi day. On the 12th May Charles fell suddenly ill, and much was
made of the matter. Although, after bleeding, he was quite well on the
third day, it was decided that he must immediately return to the
capital. ‘What must be well borne in mind in all this’ (wrote an enemy
of Marie Louise) ‘is that the Queen wanted to prefer her own pleasure to
the health of her husband; for it was almost impossible to persuade her
to come to Madrid. She said that the illness was nothing, and wished to
keep the King there till Corpus Christi, notwithstanding the heat and
danger. When she was not allowed to have her own way, she was cross and
ill-humoured; as was clear when the King was confined to his bed, for
she did not even go to see him. This is the more strange, as when the
Quantin woman was to be bled she must needs go and visit her without
ceremony. Neither I nor any one else can understand the strange things
that are going on in that house.’[320]

This was written at the end of May; and some three weeks afterwards the
plot ripened. A Frenchman named Vilaine, who is called by some
authorities a discharged groom of Marie Louise, and by the Duke of
Montalto the wax-chandler of the Queen-Mother, denounced Quantin and her
husband for having plotted, with the knowledge of the Queen, to poison
King Charles. The accused persons were at once arrested, and a carefully
prepared hue and cry was raised against all Frenchmen. Many foreigners
were attacked and some killed in the streets; the French embassy had to
be surrounded by troops, and the whole Court was in a panic. Charles was
a coward and miserably weak, but he stood by his wife as well as he knew
how at this period of trial. Marie Louise, indignant and outraged at
what she knew was a vile plot against her, demanded that the accusers
should also be arrested; but before this could be done, Quantin and her
husband, the French maids and others, were put to the torture; and the
poor woman, with both arms broken and her lower limbs crippled for life,
still maintained her innocence and would confess nothing.

The Queen’s few Spanish friends were put into close confinement. No
evidence whatever could be wrung from any of the accused to support the
charge against them: but the Council of Castile, packed now with the
Queen-Mother’s partisans, still continued to regard the matter as a
serious menace to the King’s life, and frightened poor Charles nearly
out of what small wits nature had given him. In a French news letter of
the time (19th August 1685) the political aim of the proceedings is
exposed. ‘The Council of Spain desires to involve the Queen in the
accusations, because they fear her influence over the King, and he has
not sufficient strength to resist the ministers who propose to appoint
commissaries for the Queen. She has written to her father, saying that
she has no French person now near her, nor any one else whom she could
trust. She is, she says, in daily fear of being poisoned, and she
refuses to eat what they provide for her, which has cast her into great
weakness. She will only eat with the King and from his dishes. Vilaine,
they say, is to be rewarded and sent to an employment in the Canaries.
The French ambassador is not allowed to speak with the Queen; and the
Venetian ambassador was nearly murdered, because they thought he was
French. When the King is with the Queen the ministers are all in the
wrong, but when they are with him he changes his mind.’[321]

Quantin and all the French people about the palace were expelled the
country, when no atom of proof could be found against them, and Charles,
apparently alarmed at the threats of Louis XIV., that if any harm came
to Marie Louise he would avenge her by war in Spain itself, was emphatic
in his repudiation of any suspicion on his part against his wife. He
assured Feuquières that he regarded his wife’s interests as his own, and
never believed for a moment in her guilt: and he assured the Duke of
Orleans that, not only did he not know that the accused French people
had been tortured, but that when he asked for a copy of the whole of the
proceedings in the case, his Council had assured him that the records
had all been burnt. In vain, however, did the French government insist
upon the punishment of the accusers. The King might promise and strive,
but there were others stronger than he; and Vilaine was spirited away
and rewarded.

Another news letter in the same French collection as that justed quoted
does not hesitate, a few months afterwards, when the whole matter was
known, to say: ‘Although the Quantin affair is now a thing of the past,
it is nevertheless worth recording that the Count of Mansfeldt, the
imperial ambassador and his wife, to please the Queen-Mother, originated
the accusation against the woman. She was made to suffer the cruel
tortures she did in order to injure the young Queen, who was so outraged
at it, and the King as well, that the imperial ambassador is forbidden
the palace, except on the business of his embassy.’

Mariana’s friends looked upon it in a very different light. Whilst still
the accusation was hanging over Marie Louise, Montalto wrote to
Ronquillo in London: ‘Quantin and her husband, and all the Frenchmen in
the Queen’s stable, with her bob-tailed horses, have all been packed off
to France. They were a lot of rascals, and the cost of her stable was a
calamity. They were all guilty, but as none of them would confess under
torture, they could not be further proceeded against. People are talking
very scandalously about such shameful laxity. Quantin’s young niece[322]
was sent out of the palace late at night, so that not a single French
person should remain. But the Queen’s tears and prayers soon fetched her
back. This is perfectly odious and disgraceful, and one can only have
contempt of so easy going a King, who will not let even justice take its
course if his wife says nay.’ A few weeks afterwards, the same courtier
says: ‘The Queen is still implacable at the loss of her Quantins, and
the King so excessively loving (not to call it by another name) of his
wife, that all his concessions to her, which ought to make her more
submissive to him, makes her humour worse, and the temper that God gave
her causes no end of trouble as it is; for it is the most extravagant
ever seen.’[323]

The French servants of the Queen, her only solace, all except the girl
Duperroy, had been sent away; but still Marie Louise personally had held
her place in the King’s affection. No sooner, however, had the Quantin
affair fallen a little into the background, than another stab more
wicked still was aimed at the Queen by the same hands out of the
darkness. There was a foolish, vain, French exon of the guard, the
Chevalier Saint Chamans, who had commanded Marie Louise’s escort when
she travelled to the Spanish frontier. As was not unusual in the French
Court at the time, Saint Chamans was pleased to profess a far-off
amorous worship of the lovely Princess; and it is quite probable that
during his attendance upon her, she may have smiled in raillery at his
silly languishing airs. In any case, the talk of his adoration reached
Madrid; and in the autumn of 1685, some miscreant in the capital of
Spain wrote two letters as from the Queen in a forged hand imitating
hers, to Saint Chamans, containing expressions to the highest degree
compromising of her honour. Saint Chamans, like the love-lorn fool that
he was, showed the letters to his chums, and Louis XIV. soon learnt of
their existence, and what is more extraordinary, believed them to be
genuine. In sorrow and severe reprobation, he wrote to Feuquières,
directing him to show the letters to the Queen, which he did in

Marie Louise, outraged at the mere suspicion, and indignant at so cruel
a hoax, rose for once majestic and dignified in her wrath. She scribbled
a burning repudiation of the letters which she handed to Feuquières for
ciphered transmission to the King of France.[324] ‘It will not be
difficult for your Majesty to imagine the affliction in which I am, at
knowing that you suspect a person such as I of so unworthy a thing as
this. I cannot avoid expressing my justified sorrow at seeing that your
Majesty does not esteem at its true worth, as you should, conduct which
is most regular, and which certainly is not of the easiest.... but as I
am so unhappy as to have people near me here perfidious and abominable
enough to use every effort to ruin me by pernicious inventions, I am not
surprised that they should exert all their ingenuity to deprive me of
the esteem of your Majesty.... Believe me, nothing is more false than
that which you have thought of me, and my despair to see that your
Majesty doubts for a moment my good behaviour, makes me, in this, stand
apart from your counsel, and be myself alone; and I cannot think of the
injustice your Majesty has done me without being beside myself with
sorrow. Alas! I had made light of all my grief, believing that your
Majesty, at least, thought well of me: but I see now I am marked for
unhappiness, since your Majesty believes a thing of me which makes me
shudder even to think of.... I am so jealous of my honour, and I love it
so much, that I shall never do anything to stain it: and life itself is
not so insupportable to me, either, that I should seek thus to lose
it.... If I were in a more tranquil state, I should supplicate your
Majesty to have pity upon this poor realm for my sake; but I dare not,
though I think you will be good enough to recollect that I have the
honour to be your niece, and that all my happiness depends upon you....
Believe me, too, when I say that I am prouder of being born a princess
of your blood, than of the rank I hold in the world’: and so on, for
several pages, the wronged and outraged Queen eloquently protests her

Thenceforward Marie Louise, though entirely without political
influence—for the Austrian faction and the Queen-Mother were in that
respect all-powerful—was unassailable in the affections of the poor man
she had married. Her disregard of the ordinary Spanish etiquette, the
free and easy _bonhomie_ of her demeanour, and the indulgence of her
caprices increased as she felt more secure in the love of her husband;
but she made no other use of her influence over him. No better series of
pictures of the life in her palace can be found than in the vitriolic
references to Marie Louise and her husband in letters already quoted of
the Duke of Montalto. On the 30th August 1685, he writes that for months
the Queen had not gone out in public, in which, he says, she was wise,
particularly when the anti-French riots were taking place, as the mob
might have attacked her. ‘They say again that she is pregnant, but there
is not much belief in it, as the same thing has happened several times
before. She had got up a very grand comedy for St. Louis’ day; but it
had to be deferred, because of this pregnancy rumour, and not even the
usual comedies in the palace were given for the same reason.’

On the 24th October of the same year, he records the removal of the
Court to the Retiro: ‘which place the Queen is very fond of, because
there she can enjoy her country sports, and especially ride about on
horseback every afternoon. In order to have her horses nearer to her,
she has had a place made for them near the large pond, where she goes
every morning to visit them.’ A little later he remarks that everything
in the palace is going to the dogs. ‘There is neither firmness nor
stability enough to correct these follies of the Queen.’ In April 1686,
the same writer says: ‘Things are in the greatest embarrassment for the
government, owing to the fancies and caprices of the Queen; for nothing
is done by any other rule than her whim.’ It appears that the presence
of the Queen’s Spanish friend Señora Aguirre, who had been exiled at the
time of the Quantin affair, was much desired by Marie Louise, and the
latter demanded her return of the prime minister, Oropesa. He temporised
for a time, but when she ordered him peremptorily to advise the King to
recall the lady, he refused. ‘Well,’ said the Queen, ‘do not oppose it
if the King suggests it.’ ‘Yes I will,’ replied the minister: whereupon
Marie Louise went with tears and blandishments to her husband, and
begged for the favour. For a time he held out; but at last gave way to
the extent of ordering a decree of recall to be drafted and discussed.
Oropesa protested, and Charles cancelled the decree. Another passionate
outburst from the Queen followed, and in the end she had her way. ‘The
coming of this woman (Aguirre) will be worse than all the devils
together; worse than Quantin. Judge what a state we are in with this
irresolution of our master. The advice of ministers and decisions of
tribunals, all are powerless before the will of this woman (the Queen).’

The caprices of Marie Louise soon reached the ears of her uncle Louis,
and he did, in May 1686, what he ought to have done years before,
namely, to send a French lady of great position and experience,
dependent upon him, to advise the Queen and keep her in the right way.
The lady was a descendant of the royal house, the Countess of Soissons,
and her mission was, if possible, to induce Marie Louise to turn her
influence to political account for the benefit of France. Her task was
almost hopeless from the first, and she failed, though she tried hard
for a time; and in the last few weeks of the Queen’s life, when too
late, was of some service to French interests.

‘The Queen’ (writes Montalto in May 1586) ‘is in the full force of her
madness, dominating the King completely by cries and threats. He has not
an atom of resolution, and no application at all. The day upon which the
great council was held, when he would not attend, he went on muleback to
the wild beast cages at the Retiro, and there he had the animals caught
and counted, thinking more of this frivolity than if it had been some
heroic action. This government of ours is nothing more than a boy’s
school with the master away. No one respects anything, and each person
does as he likes, whilst the Queen follows her whim or the last
suggestion.’ On another occasion, when the Marquis of Los Velez was
giving a representation of a sacred _auto_ on a holy day, Montalto
records that ‘the Queen witnessed the show from a balcony in the
passage, when she behaved herself so unrestrainedly as to shock people;
and the actions of this lady really give rise to the idea that she is
not in her right mind.’

The unfortunate woman kept apparently on friendly, but not cordial,
terms with Mariana, who smilingly let her go her own way without
remonstrance; and there was now no check whatever upon her strange
vagaries, for the King grew more feeble-minded than ever, and was as
clay in her hands. ‘The Queen’s levity approaches light-headedness,’
wrote Montalto in the summer of 1687. ‘She was lately ill with fever,
owing to the rubbish she is always eating. Nobody can control her, and
she looks consumptive. Those of us who are not much attached to her are
not sorry to see her afflicted.’ Utterly reckless in her mode of life
the unhappy woman, though still but twenty-five years of age, was
already losing her health and beauty. In July Montalto reports that ‘the
Queen still continues in her extravagant conduct, and no amendment can
now be expected. She is dreadfully thin and languid, and will take no
remedies but those prescribed by her own caprice and distrust. As for
the King, I say nothing, for I have already said so much, though not
half enough.’

And so, through the summer, matters went from bad to worse. There was no
guidance from the King, no stability or prudence from the Queen, and
Spain drifted helpless towards the whirlpool of civil war that was soon
to engulf her. The only care of old Mariana was to watch over the
interests of her own kin in their claims to the succession to the
Spanish crown, and paralyse the promotion of the French pretensions.
Writing from the palace on the 29th August 1687, Montalto says: ‘It is
impossible to exaggerate the terrible state of things here. This palace
is boiling over with disorder and scandalous stories to such an extent
as to be simply a mass of confusion. The Queen is so extravagant in her
conduct, and has so strange a character, that I dare not write, even in
cypher, what is going on. The King knows, but remedies nothing. It seems
as if God had endowed him neither with force nor application for
anything; and the same wretched laxity is seen in the government of the
realm. He gives no more than a quarter of an hour to business in the
day, and the whole of the rest of his time is spent in such trifles as
running backwards and forwards through these saloons, and from balcony
to balcony, like a child of six, and his conversation would match about
the same age. The Queen is dreadfully ill and thin, and has quarrelled
with the Queen-Mother.’

Months later, in May 1688, when the war between France and the empire
was recommencing, and Spain was once more arming for a conflict not
primarily her own, Montalto wrote, in more despondent spirit than ever,
of the condition of affairs in Madrid. ‘Yesterday it was my turn for
duty at the Retiro. I used to like it, but now I dread the day that
takes me there. Of course I know even when I am not there what is going
on with our master; but it is very shocking to see it close, and, so to
speak, face to face. The neglect everywhere is quite terrible. The
King’s great business whilst I was there was to see the matting taken up
in the rooms, and to count the pins and other trifles of that sort. The
Queen blurts out whatever comes uppermost, and indulges to the full in
her craze for riding on horseback, prancing about indecorously over the
neighbourhood. She has again had her ladies mounted, knowing that the
King hates to see it. She has her way and, dead against his will, she
insists upon acting the principal boy’s part in a comedy they are
rehearsing. As usual, she will do as she likes. There are constant
tourneys and balls because she insists upon them, and there is no
influence or reason that can keep her within bounds. The Queen-Mother
pays great attention to her, but is cruelly slighted by her.’

A week later, the same writer continues in a similar strain, saying that
the Queen had insisted upon the comedy being written specially for her
to take the boy’s part: but she had fallen ill and the performance had
been postponed. ‘The King is totally opposed to this prank; but of
course she has her way. She has had a magnificent theatre constructed at
the Retiro, with lavish ornaments, etc., for the ladies, in which she
has wasted thousands of ducats, and yet there is not a real for urgent
needs. The King is a cypher, and allows things to be done before him of
which he entirely disapproves. I positively dread my turn of duty, for I
see the King does nothing but run about like an imp, and if he goes into
the garden it is only to pick strawberries and count them.’

A week or so later Marie Louise had recovered her health, and the
long-prepared comedy was played with great brilliancy. The King went to
the full rehearsal two days before the public performance; and although
shocked and annoyed by his wife’s caprice in playing a male part, had
not strength of will enough to forbid it. When, however, the piece was
represented publicly, and all the principal ladies in Madrid, with the
gentlemen of the household, were present to praise and applaud, poor,
unstable Charles was so charmed with his wife, even on the stage, that
he testified his delight at her performance, and the entertainment was
repeated again and again during the summer.

Once more at this time there was a belief that the Queen was pregnant,
and the hopes of the French party ran high, though they were soon seen
to be fallacious as before. Montalto, reporting the matter to Ronquillo,
says that the Queen had explained, in answer to an inquiry of her
father, the Duke of Orleans, that the reason for her lack of issue was
not the impotence of the King but his excessive concupiscence, ‘which,’
says the writer, ‘I do not understand, though the effect is plain.’

In the autumn of 1688 Marie Louise fell ill of smallpox in the palace of
Madrid; and in her enfeebled state of health the disease was held to be
dangerous. She was a bad patient, self-willed in her rejection of the
remedies prescribed to her by the only physician she would receive, a
Florentine doctor she had known in Paris in attendance upon the
Balbeses. The King was to have started for the Escorial at the time his
wife was attacked by the malady, and was obliged to delay his departure,
though fear of contagion kept him away from the invalid. Montalto
reports, with characteristic ill-nature: ‘The King seems sorry; but he
is more sorry at having to postpone his journey to the Escorial. For
although his feeling towards his wife appears to be affection, I
maintain that it is more fear of her than anything else.’ Before she was
fit to be moved the Queen insisted upon being carried in a Sedan chair
to the Retiro to pass her period of convalescence there, first visiting
the church of the Atocha, whilst Charles departed to spend a month at
the Escorial.

Left alone in her solitary convalescence, Marie Louise appears to have
developed a more devout spirit than had previously characterised her,
and at the same time lost her desire to live. During the period of low
vitality which followed her illness one of her ladies begged her to
summon a famous saintly man, to pray for her prompt restoration to
strength. ‘No, no,’ she replied, ‘I will not do so. It would be folly
indeed to ask for life which matters so little.’ When, at this juncture,
the representatives of the town of Madrid offered to build a new church
as a votive offering for her restoration to health, she was no less
emphatic. If the money of the suffering subjects was to be spent upon
the building she would not allow it to be done.

She had, indeed, little left to live for. Wedded to the fribble we have
described, and with enemies of herself and her dear France everywhere
around her, she must have felt powerless to cope with the adverse
influences opposed to her. All the love she had to give was given long
ago, before she was called upon to make the great renunciation which had
been made in vain. So long as youth and sensuous vitality had remained
to her she had sought in reckless enjoyment to stifle the horror of the
loveless life to which she was condemned: but when the capacity for
bodily gratification was gone, Marie Louise lost her desire to live.

Spain was trembling upon the brink of a great war with France, and
during the winter succeeding the Queen’s illness Count Rebenac was in
Madrid with what amounted to an ultimatum to Spain to abandon the league
of Augsburg, formed to crush the ambition of Louis. Rebenac often saw
the Queen, and coached by him and by the Countess of Soissons, she
endeavoured, now that matters had gone too far, to employ her hold upon
her husband in a political direction, and to frustrate the policy of the
Queen-Mother in keeping Spain in offensive and defensive alliance with
the Emperor. Her influence upon Charles was great, and he began to
incline to the side of the French against his mother. Marie Louise
pointed out to him the awful condition of destitution in which his
country lay, and painted in moving words the horrors of a war in which
Spain had all to lose and could not hope to gain. Charles was gentle and
tender-hearted, hating to see or hear of suffering, and Rebenac reported
early in February 1689 that the efforts of the Queen had been effectual,
and that he had great hopes of the success of his mission.[325]

It was a great crisis, for a withdrawal of Spain at this point from the
alliance would have meant the predominance of France in Europe
thenceforward, and the defeat of the Austrian party in Spain. Mariana
and her friends were strong and determined; the King was weak and
unstable. Only the life of a languid woman, tired of the struggle, stood
between them and victory, and Marie Louise herself seems to have had a
prophetic knowledge that such an obstacle would not be allowed to
frustrate plans so deeply laid. As usual with Spanish sovereigns, the
Queen went every week to worship at the shrine of the Virgin of Atocha,
and on Tuesday the 9th February 1689, when she took leave of the prior
of the convent church, she told him that she should meet him no more on
earth. That night after her light repast of milk and honey the Queen was
seized with convulsions, violent pains and vomiting; a colic it was
called, which brought her to the lowest extremity of weakness. From the
first she knew that she was doomed and made no effort. In the intervals
of the burning agony she suffered, her confessor asked her if there was
anything that troubled her. ‘I am in peace, Father,’ she replied, ‘and
am very glad to die.’ She lingered in pain until the early hours of the
12th February; and then the most beautiful and ill-fated princess of the
house of Bourbon breathed her last, a martyr, if ever one lived, upon
the altar of her country; but a martyr sacrificed in vain, for she was
immolated, not by her own will, but by the will of others.

All that Marie Louise asked of life was love, and that was the one thing
denied to her. The Spanish people, who had sometimes been cruel to her
because she was a foreigner, were shocked by her untimely death: but
before the pompous procession which bore the body of Marie Louise to its
last resting-place in the inferior mausoleum in the Escorial reserved
for sterile Queens, whispers ran through Spain and France that it was no
colic that had cut short the life of Marie Louise, but poison
administered in the interests of Mariana and the Austrian faction. No
proof has ever been adduced that this was the case, for evidence in such
a matter would naturally not be easily obtainable;[326] but the death of
the Queen, at the very crisis when, by her aid, the King had been turned
to the side of France, seems in all the circumstances to have been too
providential to her enemies to have been entirely accidental. At any
rate it was effectual in changing the whole aspect of affairs
immediately; and before the mourning for Marie Louise had lost its
freshness, the French ambassador was on his way home unsuccessful, Spain
was again at war with France, and negotiations were being actively
carried on to find a German wife for the wretched crétin who wore the
crown of Spain.

                                 BOOK V
                         MARIE ANNE OF NEUBURG

Almost simultaneously with the death of Marie Louise an event happened
which to a large extent altered the political balance of Europe, and
placed at further disadvantage the French partisans in Madrid. The
Prince of Orange had surprised the world by becoming King of England,
practically without opposition. It was no longer a shifty Stuart with
French sympathies and an itching palm for the bribes of Louis who
directed the policy of Great Britain, but a prince whose very existence
was bound up in the exclusion of France from Flanders; a prince,
moreover, under whom England and Holland were for the first time really
united. The coalition against Louis was infinitely strengthened thereby,
and Spain, with Mariana at the helm, was now less likely than ever to
shirk the fulfilment of her obligations under the Treaty of Augsburg.
Madrid thereafter became for a time a prime centre of international
intrigues, aimed at the exclusion of French interest from the Peninsula.
Charles had no personal desire to marry again. He was afraid of fresh
people about him; he was overborne with the responsibilities of his
great position, and, although he was only twenty-eight, his feeble
powers of mind and body were already on the wane. Left to himself, he
would have desired nothing but to throw up matrimony as a failure, so
far as he was concerned, and live in peace, after his own fashion, until
on his deathbed he left his realm to an heir of his own choosing.

But the antagonistic factions that divided his Court between them
decided that such a course was quite impossible. It could hardly have
been with the hope, as they professed, that issue would be more likely
from a second marriage than it had been from the first, for Charles had
been really enamoured with Marie Louise, who had been his consort during
the best period of such vigour as he ever possessed. It is more likely
that the haste to get him married was prompted by the desire of the
intriguers to have by his side, when he was called upon to settle the
succession, a wife favourable to the views of the dominant party.
Badgered and pestered on all sides, the poor creature, always anxious to
do what he was told was his duty, consented to take another wife.

The opponents of the German interest at first suggested a princess of
Portugal, but Mariana and her friends took care that the negotiations
should fall through; and, at the Queen-Mother’s instance, Charles
consented to leave the choice of a fit bride for him to his uncle and
brother-in-law, the Emperor Leopold. The latter, who had only one
daughter by his first wife the Infanta Margarita, Mariana’s daughter,
had married as his second wife, by whom he had sons, Eleanor of
Neuburg-Bavaria, daughter of the Elector Palatine, Duke of Neuburg. This
lady had a sister of twenty-two, Marie Anne of Neuburg; and upon her the
choice of the Emperor fell to be the wife of Charles II., King of Spain.

Three months after Marie Louise died the marriage treaty was signed; and
on the 18th August 1689, late at night in the quaint Bavarian town of
Neuburg on the Danube, the tall, angular girl with hard eyes and mouth,
was led by the Spanish ambassador through the bedizened throng of
princes and princesses of Austria, Bavaria and Hesse, who crowded the
church of the Jesuits, to be wedded to her nephew, the young King of
Hungary, the Emperor’s heir, as proxy for the King of Spain, the
officiating priest being her brother, Prince Alexander. The marriage was
regarded by all Europe as a pledge that thenceforward Spain would be
firmly united with the Germanic interests against Louis XIV., and the
challenge was promptly accepted by the French King. Thenceforward, for
seven years, all Europe was at war; and Spain, which only needed rest,
was forced not only to waste blood and treasure upon foreign fields, but
to fight for the integrity of its own soil in Catalonia, North Africa
and America.

England, under the Dutch King, had taken an active part in promoting an
alliance which drew Spain closer to the Teutonic league; and only an
English fleet was available to convey the new Queen of Spain in safety
to her husband’s realm. Through Cologne and Rotterdam, Marie Anne and
her train of Germans slowly travelled to Flushing in the late autumn of
1689, costly jewels meeting her as gifts, now from her husband, now from
her gratified mother-in-law, who regarded her coming as a triumph for
herself.[327] At Flushing a powerful English fleet, under Admiral
Russell, awaited the bride; and after much delay, and not a few mishaps,
the squadron sailed for Spain late in January 1690. The intention had
been to land the Queen at the port of Santander; and her Spanish
household was on the road thither to receive her, when news reached them
that Corunna had been chosen as a better harbour, and to the extreme
north-west corner of Spain they wended their way. Bad weather, as is not
unusual in the Bay of Biscay in mid-winter, made the voyage of the Queen
a dangerous and difficult one; and on approaching Corunna it was found
that the storm was too violent for the ships to enter. Colonel Stanhope,
the English ambassador, who accompanied the Queen to Spain, says:[328]
‘We were forced into a small port called Ferrol, three leagues short of
the Groyne (_i.e._, Corunna), and by the ignorance of a Spanish pilot
our ships fell foul one with another, and the admiral’s ship was aground
for some hours, but got off clear without any damage.’

To Ferrol came hurrying the Spanish household from Corunna, with the
inevitable Mansfeldt, all not a little ruffled at this game of
hide-and-seek with the German Queen in the most inclement season of the
year; and at length, on the 6th April, after nearly a fortnight’s stay
on board of Russell’s ship in the harbour of Ferrol, Marie Anne and a
great train of German, English and Spanish attendants landed in the
barges of the English squadron, whose decorations and the smartness of
the oarsmen aroused the surprised admiration of the Spaniards.[329]
Though the officials did their best to give Marie Anne a stately welcome
at Corunna, and the Count de Lemos entertained her and her Court at a
splendid festival at his house at Puente de Ume, all was not harmonious.
The general feeling in Spain was against the German connection, and
especially against the ruinous war with France that it entailed, and
Count Mansfeldt, the imperial ambassador, was especially detested. The
people at large firmly believed that he had connived at the poisoning of
Marie Louise, and his overbearing manners had offended the courtiers.

‘I find,’ writes Stanhope, ‘that the Queen’s reception has been much
meaner than it would have been out of a pique the Spanish grandees have
against Count Mansfeldt, who was preferred before them all to the honour
of bringing her over, by the favour of the Queen-Mother and contrary to
the advice of the Council of Castile.’[330] Nor did the demeanour of
Marie Anne mend matters, for, even thus early, her stiff imperious
manner and her hasty temper struck a chill in the hearts of the
Spaniards, who place so high a value upon an amiable exterior. Dressed
in the traditional Spanish garb, which suited her unbending mien, the
Queen sat unmoved at the bullfights, tourneys, masquerades and other
festivities offered in her honour by the storied cities through which
she passed on her way to Valladolid. Nobles who knelt to greet her
received but a cold recognition of their compliments, and the cheers of
the populace awoke no smile of gratification upon the lips of Marie Anne
of Neuburg.

Charles was not an eager wooer this time, and awaited calmly the coming
of his new wife to Valladolid. On Ascension Day, 4th May 1690, he first
met his bride. There was little or no pretence of affection on either
side; but from the first Marie Anne took the lead and imposed her will
upon her husband. The marriage feasts at Valladolid and the stereotyped
gaieties that throughout Spain celebrated the marriage, pleased the
thoughtless, but the more reflecting knew that the war for which Spain
was being again squeezed dry by every empirical resource that ingenuity
and ignorance of finance could devise, was a direct result of the series
of alliances that the German marriage cemented, and many were the
whispered curses uttered against the boorish Germans and Englishmen, who
were not only disrespectful, but heretics to boot. With exactly the same
ceremonial as had marked the entry of the beautiful Marie Louise into
the capital ten years before, Marie Anne rode from the Buen Retiro to
the old Alcazar through the crowded streets, on the 22nd May 1690.
Again, behind the half-closed jalousies, in the house of Count Oñate in
the Calle Mayor, over against the church of St. Philip, Charles II. and
his mother, growing visibly old now, witnessed the passing of the new

The triumph of Mariana at the coming of a German bride for her son was
short lived. The time that Marie Anne had spent at the Buen Retiro
previous to the State entry had been sufficient to show the
mother-in-law that she had met her match, and that here there was no
gentle, submissive, young creature—no thoughtless beauty who would ruin
herself if encouraged to go her own way, like poor Marie Louise—but a
hard, passionate woman, who was determined, whatever happened to Spain,
to make the best of her opportunities for her own advantage. Mariana, in
accordance with her usual policy, endeavoured at first to co-operate
harmoniously with her daughter-in-law, in order to gain predominance in
the partnership afterwards. The sole minister, Oropesa, had done his
best to relieve the suffering country, and his financial reforms had
effected some improvement; but with the renewal of the war on land and
sea, the economies were soon swallowed up, and the penury became as
pressing as ever. The minister’s subordinates were rapacious and corrupt
to an extent unexampled even in Spain, and offices, dignities, titles,
and pensions were openly put up to the highest bidder. Oropesa, though
fairly honest himself, had an ambitious, greedy wife, who increased his
unpopularity; and when Marie Anne arrived in Madrid, the party inimical
to the minister was already powerful.

Mariana had been Oropesa’s patron, but when the new Queen, for whose
aims it was necessary to form a party in Spain, sided with the enemies
of the minister, Mariana dared not take the unpopular and weaker side,
and reluctantly agreed with her daughter-in-law that Oropesa and the
corrupt crew that followed him should be deposed. Their principal
abettors were the King’s confessor, Father Matilla, the Archbishops of
Toledo (Cardinal Portocarrero) and Saragossa, the Constable of Castile,
and the Secretary of State, Lira, formerly a creature of Oropesa. Marie
Anne and the confessor gave the poor King no rest. Charles was deeply
attached to Oropesa; he dreaded new people about him; and for a time he
refused to dismiss his minister. Marie Anne suffered, when contradicted,
from hysterical nervous crises, that were said to threaten her life, and
every one, from her husband downward, went in mortal fear of provoking
an attack by saying anything displeasing to her.[331] The confessor
Matilla finally threatened the King that he would not give him
absolution, unless he did his duty to the country by dismissing Oropesa.

Charles, beset on all sides, at first told everything to Oropesa
himself, but that made matters worse; and he then repeated to each party
exactly what the other said, with the result that the palace itself
became a hotbed of scandal, hatred, and all uncharitableness. At length
Marie Anne had her way, and Charles sent for his minister with tears in
his eyes and told him that his enemies had demanded his retirement.
‘They wish it,’ sobbed the unhappy man, ‘and I must agree to it:’ and
then, in the deepest sorrow, he dismissed the best minister he had ever
had, in obedience to a palace intrigue led by his German wife. Before
Oropesa went into banishment at the end of June 1691, he sought an
interview with the Queen, but was refused, and Mariana with difficulty
was prevailed upon to receive her former instrument; her ungracious
farewell of him being to tell him that he ought to have gone long

A sort of commission of government was then formed entirely composed of
men in the interests of Marie Anne; and thenceforward all method and
regularity in the administration disappeared. The King referred
questions submitted to him to any person who happened to be near him,
and the letters of Colonel Stanhope at the time testify to the
impossibility of getting any official business done at all. The country
was in the midst of war; the French were masters of the best part of
Catalonia, and as the English ambassador reports, the Spaniards had not
4,000 men there in all, fit for service, and in four months’ vigorous
recruiting only 1,000 men could be got. A handful of men, he says,
dashing down from the French frontier, could easily capture Madrid
itself, as not a soldier is between the Pyrenees and the capital: and,
such was the confusion, that it was dangerous to drive out a mile from
the walls of Madrid for fear of violence and robbery.

Marie Anne with her camarilla was mistress of the situation, and then
Mariana, when it was difficult to regain her lost power, discovered what
the aims of her German daughter-in-law were. It will be recollected that
Mariana’s daughter, the Infanta Margaret, Empress, had died, leaving one
daughter married to the Elector of Bavaria, and it was naturally her
son, the boy Prince of Bavaria, to whom Mariana had looked to inherit
the Spanish crown, in default of issue to Charles, and in accordance
with the will of Philip IV. Marie Anne’s mission from the Emperor and
his second wife was, however, quite a different one, and aroused in
Mariana the hottest indignation when she fully understood it. The plan
was to put aside both the female lines descended from the daughters of
Philip iv., Maria Theresa, Queen of France, and the Empress Margaret,
and to claim the succession of the Emperor’s second son by his second
marriage with Marie Anne’s sister, by virtue of his male descent from
the Emperor Ferdinand, brother of Charles V.

Marie Anne had around her a gang of blood-suckers almost as rapacious as
herself, and, so long as they were Spaniards, the people suffered in
silence.[333] But the Queen’s most intimate councillors were Germans,
who, undeterred by the fate of Nithard, vied with the Spaniards in
grasping greed: and this aroused against Marie Anne the hatred of all
who did not share in the booty. The strongest spirit in the Queen’s
entourage was the Baroness Berlips, to whom the crowd had given the
nickname of ‘the partridge,’ from a slight resemblance in her name to
the name of the bird in Castilian. Another German member was one Henry
Jovier, a lame man of infamous character, who had served in the Spanish
army, and to these after the first few months was added the Queen’s
Capuchin confessor Father Chiusa, also a German, who was brought
purposely to replace the Jesuit confessor first appointed, the latter
having been found not sufficiently pliant for the place.

This was the gang that principally advised the Queen in her measures,
and, with a few Spanish grandees, especially the Duke of Montalto and
the Admiral of Castile, practically formed the government. Mariana was
treated with the greatest _hauteur_ by her daughter-in-law, but had some
of the ablest men in Spain on her side, of whom Cardinal Portocarrero
was the most influential. The populace cordially hated Marie Anne, and
dreaded the imperial domination of Spain which she represented; whilst
she took no pains to disguise her contempt for them. Louis XIV., in
describing the state of affairs shortly after this in his instructions
to his ambassador, Harcourt, says: ‘The Queen has acquired such a
dominion over the spirit of her husband that it may be said that she
alone reigns as sovereign of Spain.... The authority of the Queen,
however, is founded rather upon the fear of her anger than upon any love
for her on the part of the nation. There is no people in the world so
sensitive of praise as the Spaniards; and consequently none who are so
much affected by contempt. The Queen professes contempt for the whole
nation, and, as offensive discourse is the only revenge of those who are
excluded from power, it is not surprising to hear all the evil things
that the public detestation causes to be said about her. It is, however,
very true that she gives plenty of reasons for the reproaches levelled
against her with regard to her avidity in receiving and extorting
presents; and there is no one more ingenious than she in finding excuses
for appropriating everything that is most valuable in Madrid, and for
amassing every day fresh treasure for herself.’[334]

In the spring of 1683 the King’s weakness became so alarming that the
physicians almost abandoned hope, and the intrigues around him grew in
intensity. The last successful effort of Marie Louise before her death
had been to extract from her husband a solemn promise that he would
never cede to the persuasions of Mariana to appoint a successor to the
crown until he had received the last sacrament on his deathbed; and the
King had managed so far to withstand all pressure put upon him to do so.
The pressure was redoubled now, especially by Marie Anne, who took the
opportunity of his illness to urge him to summon the Archduke Charles to
Madrid, and adopt him as his successor. When the unfortunate King was
wavering some one, probably Cardinal Portocarrero, warned him of the
certain consequences, and whilst the hesitation continued the King
partially recovered.

Whilst the Court was thus given over to discord the condition of the
country grew worse and worse. The Marquis of Mancera told Stanhope that
the King was only nominally sovereign of the realms of Aragon. Spain,
but for the power of her allies, was absolutely defenceless, and the
public distress had reached to such an extent that famine stalked
unchecked through the land, and to protect the capital from depletion of
food, a strict cordon was placed around it, to search every one entering
or leaving the city. The Duke of Montalto had managed to ingratiate
himself with the Queen sufficiently to obtain recognition as minister;
and his impracticable remedy was to divide the country into four
autonomous provinces, ruled by viceroys practically independent of a
central government. Against this violation of the constitutions all
Spain cried aloud. ‘These disasters coming so thick,’ writes Stanhope in
July 1694, ‘has raised a very high ferment in the minds of people here,
which expresses itself in great insolencies to the great men as they
pass in the streets, and to one of the greatest even in the King’s
palace: and the royal authority itself begins to lose its veneration,
several scandalous pasquins being fixed in several public places,
magnifying the great King of France and with very little respect to his
Catholic Majesty, inasmuch as if Mr. Russell had not appeared with his
squadron as he did, it is generally believed some public scandals would
have followed.’

A few months later the same correspondent writes that the hatred of the
public had greatly increased the strength of the faction opposed to
Marie Anne, whose great influence over the King they intended to
destroy; beginning if possible with the banishment of her bosom friend,
Baroness Berlips. ‘This lady’s son, Baron Berlips, lately made his entry
here, as envoy from the King of Poland, and as he went to his audience
in the King’s coach, a company of ruffians came to the coach side giving
him and his mother very ill names; one of them saying, ‘Let us kill the
dog.’ Another replied, ‘Not now, for he is in the King’s coach.’ Nothing
is so much talked about at present as ousting the Berlips, and then they
think their monarchy safe.’

Cardinal Portocarrero, who was the Queen’s prime opponent, grew in
boldness as he saw that public feeling was on his side, and both he and
Mariana, when she could obtain access to her son, implored him to
withstand the pressure of his termagant wife, and decline to divert the
succession from that laid down by his father’s will, which made the
Prince of Bavaria his heir. At the end of 1694 the Cardinal presented a
formal State paper to the King, urging the expulsion of Marie Anne’s
German camarilla and the royal confessor Matilla, who were ruining the
country by placing and maintaining in power men utterly unworthy to
administer the government. The wretched King, between the hectoring of
his wife, the exhortations of his mother, the warnings of rival
churchmen, and the clamours of his people, swayed first to one side, and
then to the other, hating to discuss what was to take place when he was
dead; yet hearing of very little else. His health, in the meanwhile,
visibly declined; and all parties thought that there was no time to
waste. The Queen feeling probably the need for some stronger personality
near her than Berlips, and the few other inferior Germans who formed her
council, soon caused herself to be reinforced by an imperial ambassador,
Count Harrach, one of the ablest diplomatists in the Emperor’s service,
and the party of old Mariana and her Bavarian grandson fell into the

Mariana, indeed, was now almost past struggling; afflicted by a mortal
disease and abandoned by her physicians. She resorted, as usual, to
charms and quackery of the most revolting description;[335] but, in
spite of incantations and empirical devices, Mariana in May 1696 ended
her turbulent life, leaving the question of the succession still in the
balance.[336] With the death of the old Queen it was thought that the
chance of the little Bavarian prince had disappeared; and Marie Anne
pushed more energetically than ever the claims of her nephew, the
Archduke Charles. Soon the King fell so seriously ill again that his
life was despaired of, and the attempts of the Queen to obtain a will in
the favour of the Archduke were redoubled. Like all semi-imbeciles,
however, Charles, when once an idea had been drilled into his head,
clung to it tenaciously; and though, for the sake of peace, he seemed to
agree with his wife, he did not forget his father’s will and his
mother’s injunction, that his own sister’s descendants had a better
right to succeed him than a distant relative like the Archduke. Count
Benavente, his lord of the bedchamber, although appointed by Marie Anne,
was secretly against the Austrian; and, with his knowledge and that of
Cardinal Portocarrero alone, Charles signed a secret will, appointing
his great-nephew the child prince of Bavaria heir to his crown.

Once again he recovered sufficiently to rise from his bed; and Stanhope
wrote on the 19th September 1696; ‘The King’s danger is over for a time,
but his constitution is so very weak and broken, much beyond his age,
that it is feared what may be the success of another attack. They cut
his hair off in this sickness, which the decay of nature had almost done
before, all his crown being bald. He has a ravenous stomach, and
swallows all he eats whole; for his nether jaw stands out so much that
his two rows of teeth cannot meet; to compensate which he has a
prodigious wide throat, so that a gizzard or a liver of a hen passes
down whole, and his weak stomach not being able to digest it he voids it
in the same manner.’

No sooner was the immediate danger over than Marie Anne wormed out of
the King that he had made his will in favour of the Bavarian. Her rage
and indignation knew no bounds, and she upbraided the King with
hysterical violence, to which he retorted by childish outbursts, leading
to the smashing of crockery, furniture, and the like, and usually ending
in tears. Oropesa, who had just returned to Court reconciled to Marie
Anne, added his persuasions to those of the Queen and the threats of the
confessor, but for a time without success. In November 1696 Stanhope
reports that the King was still very ill, and obliged to keep his bed:
‘although they sometimes make him rise out of his bed, much against his
will and beyond his strength, the better to conceal his illness abroad.
He is not only extremely weak in body, but has a great weight of
melancholy and discontent upon his spirits, attributed in a great
measure to the Queen’s continual importunities to make him alter his

At length, in September 1697, the sick man could withstand the pressure
no longer; and during another grave attack,[337] at the instance of his
wife and Harrach, tore up the will appointing the Prince of Bavaria his
heir. Portocarrero had gone so far as to threaten to call the Cortes
together to confirm the will, and had exhorted the King to stand firm,
but he had been powerless as against the strong will of Marie Anne. For
a long time, however, Charles still held out against making another will
in favour of the Austrian; and only, at last, by threats and cajolery
was he induced to write a letter to the Emperor asking him to send the
Archduke to Spain with ten or twelve thousand men, on the pretext that
they were required for the defence of Catalonia.

But the gigantic armaments needed by Louis XIV. to face all Europe
victoriously, as he had done, was exhausting the resources of France,
and peace was in the air. The need also for French agents to have a good
chance in Madrid to push the succession claim also made Louis pliant;
and when the Peace of Ryswick was signed in October 1697, the world was
surprised at the generous terms accorded by the victor to Spain. With
every chance of success, then, Louis having restored the territory he
had conquered, he could pose as the true friend of Spain, ready to
champion the rights of his descendants by Maria Theresa, the eldest
daughter of Philip, against the unpopular Germans, to succeed to the
Spanish throne. There was much lost ground for the French to make up;
for the German factions had been in sole possession ever since the death
of Marie Louise in 1690; but the death of Mariana had left some of her
friends in the market, and all classes of Spaniards were sick to death
of Germans; so, as soon as the peace was signed, the Marquis d’Harcourt
hurried to Madrid as French ambassador, primed with instructions, and
supplied with means to re-constitute the French party in Spain, and
defeat, if possible, the machinations of Queen Marie Anne.

The first effect of the peace was to stop the project of bringing an
Austrian army to Spain under the Archduke, and also the plan of the
Elector of Bavaria to put in an appearance to counteract the Archduke’s
presence. The arrival of Harcourt at Madrid soon afterwards put a new
complexion on affairs there. Stanhope writes, on the 14th March 1698,
when the King had fallen again dangerously ill: ‘Our Court is in great
disorder: the grandees all dog and cat, Turk and Moor. The King is in a
languishing condition, not in so imminent a danger as last week, but so
weak and spent as to his principle of life, that all I can hear is
pretended, amounts only to hopes of preserving him some weeks, without
any probability of his recovery. The general inclination as to the
succession is altogether French; their (_i.e._ the Spaniards’) aversion
to the Queen having set them against all her countrymen: and if the
French King will content himself that one of his younger children be
King of Spain, without pretending to incorporate the two monarchies, he
will find no opposition, either from grandees or common people.... The
King is so very weak he can scarcely lift his hand to his head to feed
himself, and so extremely melancholy, that neither his buffoons, dwarfs,
nor puppet-shows, all of which have shown their abilities before him,
can in the least divert him from fancying everything that is said or
done is a temptation of the devil, and never thinking himself safe but
with his confessor and two friars by his side, whom he makes lie in his
chamber every night.’[338]

In such circumstances as these it was evident to the Queen’s opponents
that a bold move must be made at once or she would win. Her most
powerful abettor with the King was the confessor, Father Matilla; the
ostensible ministers, the Admiral of Castile,[339] Montalto and Oropesa,
after many wrangles with her, agreeing to let her have a free hand with
her husband, if they were allowed to take a fair share of the national
plunder; the real government behind them being the Queen and her
camarilla. The only man near the King who was inclined to favour the
Bavarian heir was the lord chamberlain, Count Benavente, to whom one
night, late in March 1698, Charles mumbled that he was very unhappy and
uneasy in his conscience, and should like to see Cardinal Portocarrero.

The Cardinal Archbishop, who had been a close friend of Mariana’s, and
was a man of ability, had been carefully excluded from the King’s
chamber by Marie Anne. It was eleven o’clock at night, but swift secret
messengers were soon at the Cardinal’s door; and before midnight,
unknown to the Queen, the primate stood by the King’s bed. Charles
opened all the troubles of his terror-stricken soul to the friend of his
dead mother: how the violence of his wife and the harshness of the
confessor, Matilla, frightened him into adopting a course which his
conscience told him was wrong, and he prayed the primate to help him
with advice in this dire strait. Portocarrero was nothing loath.
Hurrying from the palace, he hastily convened a meeting of his friends.
Count Monterey, the Marquis of Leganés, Don Sebastian de Cotes, Don
Francisco Ronquillo, the idol of the populace, and Don Juan Antonio

What was to be done, and who should do it, before the Queen could banish
them all? Monterey, in his stumbling speech, pointed out the danger of
acting through the King at all, seeing that the Queen could twist him
round her finger and make him alter any resolution he adopted, as she
had done before. The best course, he said, would be for the Cardinal to
frequent the King’s chamber, ostensibly to give spiritual consolation,
and then very gradually to prepare the King’s mind for a change. Others
thought that this process was too slow, since the King might slip
through their hands after all, and Leganés advised that the Cardinal
should immediately urge the King to order the arrest and imprisonment of
the detested Admiral of Castile, the Duke of Rio Seco. ‘His only
escort,’ said Leganés, ‘were four knavish poets and a couple of
buffoons,’ whilst he, Leganés, had plenty of arms at home and two
hundred soldiers in his pay, and could seize the most objectionable
ministers at once. Then turbulent Ronquillo had his say. They must
strike higher than the Admiral. The Queen as well must be seized as soon
as her henchman was laid by the heels, and the Huelgas at Burgos should
be her future place of confinement. Let us be practical, said Monterey,
sneering at Ronquillo for a fool: if we offer violence to the Queen the
excitement will kill the King before we can get a will or decree
executed. We must act more cautiously than that. Then the two angry
nobles clapped their hands to their swords, and were for fighting it out
on the spot, until the Cardinal separated them, and wise old Cotes, with
his quiet voice, calmly gave his opinion. It would be easy for the
Cardinal to obtain such a decree as that required, but the Queen would
get it revoked the next morning more easily still, and then, what would
happen to all of us? Let us, he said, strike at the trunk by all means,
if possible, and get rid of the Queen: but how? Before that can be done
we should put Matilla, the confessor, out of the way. The King hated and
feared him already, and only yesterday refused to speak to him: let the
Cardinal and Benavente advise the King to change his confessor, and the
next step will be easy. This seemed good advice; but the jealous
hidalgos then fell to quarrelling as to who the new confessor should be,
with the result that the choice was ultimately left to the Cardinal.

The next morning Cotes suggested to his colleagues a certain modest
professor of theology at Alcalá, one Father Froilan Diaz, for the post.
He was near enough to the capital to be brought thither without delay,
and would be humble enough to do as he was told: and so it was decided
to secure the great appointment to Father Diaz. There was no lack of
messengers to carry to him from the conspirators the news of his coming
elevation, for each of them, especially Ronquillo, wished to gain the
credit of proposing it; and the next day the astounded professor found
himself already by anticipation a person to be courted by the greatest
grandees in the land.

One day, early in the morning, in the first week in April, the sick King
lay in bed listening dreamily to some music being played in the
ante-chamber, the door between the rooms being open. Father Matilla and
a crony of his, one Dr. Parra, were quietly chatting in one of the deep
window recesses of the ante-chamber; when suddenly Count Benavente
entered unannounced, accompanied by a stout, fresh-coloured
ecclesiastic; and, without saluting Matilla, they walked straight
through into the King’s bedroom, which Benavente alone was entitled to
do, as lord chamberlain. Matilla was keen-witted, and saw at a glance
what it meant. Turning to his friend, he said, ‘Goodbye: this business
is ending just as it ought to have begun;’ and with that he hurried out
of the palace and to the monastery of his order in Madrid.

Spies had already carried to Marie Anne and the Admiral reports of
mysterious confabulations of their enemies, but they knew not where the
blow was to fall. At eleven o’clock the King usually dined; and when
Marie Anne, according to custom, entered the room that morning, to sit
by his side whilst he ate, she learnt for the first time from the
disjointed babble of the sick man, that he was free from Matilla, and
had a new confessor.[340] Marie Anne was aghast at the news, though she
made no sign of disapproval to her husband; but the moment she could
leave the King’s side, she summoned the Admiral and her other advisers,
and considered the ill tidings. None knew who would be the next victim,
and most of them thought that Matilla had betrayed them. Panic and
bewilderment reigned amongst the chosen Camarilla. Some were for
striving to reinstate Matilla, some for punishing him, others were for
saving themselves by resignation and flight, but one great churchman,
the head of the Franciscan order, Folch de Cardona, kept his head, and
advised calmness. Matilla was exonerated and consulted; but when he
learned that the Queen and the Admiral had known of Portocarrero’s
meeting before the blow fell, he broke down. ‘Oh,’ he cried, ‘if I had
only known one short half hour before, I could have saved us all:’ and
then, though nominally pensioned and banished to Salamanca, he fell ill
of grief, fever, or poison, and died within a week of his dismissal.

Diaz did not seem very terrible at first; for his methods with the King
were soothing, and he moved slowly. He took Matilla’s place on the
Council of the Inquisition, and at once became a power in the land; but
he was all politeness and gentle saintliness to Marie Anne, and even
she, suspicious as she was, began to think that she might dominate still
if she could confine Father Diaz to his spiritual functions. In the
course of a few weeks after the change, the Court was moved to Toledo,
but there the mob, who loved the Ronquillo brothers, and hated the
Queen, knowing that she had suffered a defeat, made her feel that her
power was on the wane. ‘The Queen,’ writes Stanhope, ‘is very uneasy at
the impudent railleries of the Toledo women, who affront her every day
publicly in the streets, and insult the Admiral to his face. There is
besides a great want of money; for the King’s new confessor having
persuaded him before he left Madrid to publish a decree forbidding the
sale of all governments and offices, either in present or reversion, as
a duty of conscience ... the superintendent of the revenues declares
that he is not able to find money for his Majesty’s subsistence, all
branches of the revenue being anticipated for many years, and he is now
debarred from selling offices, which was the only resource he had left.’

In the meanwhile, the French ambassador, Harcourt, was busy buying
friends at Court, though most of old Mariana’s late adherents still
preferred, as the King undoubtedly did, the Bavarian Prince. The people
at large were strongly in favour of a French prince, descended from
Maria Theresa, ‘though they would rather have the devil,’ as Stanhope
says, ‘than see France and Spain united.... It is scarce conceivable the
abhorrence they have for Vienna; most of which is owing to the Queen’s
very imprudent conduct; insomuch that, in effect, that party is included
in her own person and family. They have much kinder thoughts of the
Bavarian, but still rather desire a French Prince to secure them against

The intrigues of the French ambassador were met by increased activity on
the part of the Queen, who left Charles no rest in pushing the claims of
her nephew the Archduke. The poor King was sick of the whole business,
and only wished to be left alone, and for his Bavarian nephew to succeed
him. The King will not bear to hear talk of business of any kind, and
when sometimes the Queen cannot contain herself, he bids her let him
alone, and says she designs to kill him.’[341] A few weeks later (25th
June) the English ambassador sent this vivid picture of the invalid:
‘Our gazettes here tell us every week that his Catholic Majesty is in
perfect health.... It is true that he is every day abroad, but _hæret
lateri lethalis arundo_; his ankles and knees swell again, his eyes bag,
the lids are as red as scarlet, and the rest of his face a greenish
yellow. His tongue is “tied,” as it is called, that is, he has such a
fumbling in his speech, that those near him hardly understand him; at
which he sometimes grows angry, and asks if they all be deaf.’

But, with all his feebleness, Charles still resisted the pressure upon
him either to make a will or to summon the Archduke. Marie Anne was
persistent; and at the end of June her importunity produced a dangerous
fit that nearly ended the King’s life there and then, after which
Stanhope writes: ‘There is not the least hope of this King’s recovery;
and we are every night in apprehensions of hearing he is dead in the
morning, though the Queen lugs him out every day, to make the people
believe he is well till her designs are rife, which I rather fear will
prove abortive; for, by the best information I can get of the three
pretenders, her candidate is like to have the fewest votes. Upon old
Count Harrach’s pressing the King to have the Archduke Charles sent for
to Spain ... he gave no answer, but turning to the Queen, who was
present, said laughing, “Oyga mujer, el Conde aprieta mucho” (Hark,
wife, how very pressing the Count is) repeating “very pressing” several
times. The French Ambassador “presses” just as much, and the Nuncio, in
the Pope’s name, also for the French.’

These signs were not lost on Marie Anne, and she began to turn to the
strongest side. Harcourt and his wife were charming and liberal, and had
quite captivated the Madrid crowd, who cheered them wherever they went,
whilst Harrach and his wife were unattractive and unpopular; but what
was more important than anything else, now that Spanish resources were
failing, French money was forthcoming to buy Baroness Berlips and the
Queen’s German hangers-on. The Marquise of Harcourt paid assiduous court
to Marie Anne, who, seeing the impossibility of her own candidate,
listened, beguiled, to the clever suggestion of the French that if she
would abandon the Emperor’s son, she might continue Queen of Spain by a
marriage with the French prince who might succeed Charles.

For a time, in the late autumn of 1698, the French cause suffered a
setback. Louis apparently considering that his chance of placing a
French prince upon the throne of all the Spanish dominions in face of
Europe would be impracticable, revived a scheme that he had agreed upon
with the Emperor years before, when Charles was a child; namely, to
partition Spain, by agreement with the maritime powers, between the
three claimants: a French prince to take Naples, Sicily, and the Basque
province, the Prince of Bavaria to reign in Spain itself, and Austria to
be contented with Milan. This, when it was divulged, aroused the
intensest indignation, not only in Spain, but in Austria and Bavaria.
Harcourt and his wife lost their favour at once, and Marie Anne again
leaned towards her German kinsmen. What was more important still, the
King at last, under pressure which will be presently explained, made a
testament declaring the Prince of Bavaria his heir. Marie Anne, the King
himself, and the Council, all denied it; but it was soon known to be
true, and the French ambassador immediately presented a demand that
Cortes should be summoned to settle the succession by vote.

Suddenly, whilst this demand was being laboriously discussed, the news
came that the little Bavarian prince, the only descendant of old Mariana
except the King, had died, aged six—of poison it was said, in February
1699; and the problem of the succession was changed in a moment. Bribed
and cajoled by hopes of remaining Queen of Spain by a second marriage,
Marie Anne again seemed inclined to side with those who had been her
enemies. Most of the partisans of the Bavarian claimant, including the
King himself, and especially Portocarrero, went over to the French view;
and the principal reason why Marie Anne held herself in doubt was
because she saw those whom she hated all ranged on the side of France.

Whilst this sordid bickering was going on in the palace the distress in
the country increased daily, until famine invaded even the capital. The
new confessor and Cardinal Portocarrero had, as yet, made no great
change in the government; and Marie Anne’s friends were still in office,
headed by Oropesa and the Admiral. Ronquillo and his fellow-conspirators
were growing impatient for their reward, and incited secretly by their
agents, the populace of Madrid broke into revolt in April 1699. A
howling mob surrounded the palace, crying for bread. ‘Long live the
King, and death to Oropesa,’ was the cry. Inside the palace panic
reigned supreme, and poor Charles was like to die with fright, when the
rabble demanded fiercely that he should show himself upon the balcony.
Marie Anne appeared at the open window undaunted, and told the crowd
that the King was asleep. ‘He has slept too long,’ was the reply, ‘wake
him’; and at last the King had to appear, looking, as Stanhope says,
like a ghost, and moving as if by clock work. Ronquillo! Ronquillo!
shouted the mob. We will have Ronquillo for mayor: and in a hurry
Ronquillo was sent for and sworn in as mayor, which somewhat appeased
the insurgents, who bore him off in triumph. Oropesa’s palace was
ablaze, and a rush upon it by the mob had resulted in many of the latter
being killed, and cast into a well within the precincts by Oropesa’s
servants. Further enraged at this, the populace surged _en masse_ to the
King’s palace, clamouring for the heads of Oropesa and the Admiral; and
they were with difficulty restrained from invading the royal apartments
by the clergy, with raised crucifixes and holy symbols. Again they
demanded the presence of the King, who told them that Ronquillo had
orders to do everything to satisfy them, and promised, on his oath as a
King, that the insurgents should be held harmless for the tumult.

A clean sweep was made of Marie Anne’s friends. The Admiral fled to
hiding; and Portocarrero declared that within a week or two he would
have Berlips, the Capuchin confessor of the Queen, and the whole gang
cleared out of Spain. The day after the tumult Stanhope wrote: ‘The King
is very weak, and declines fast. The tumult yesterday, I fear, may have
some ill-effect further on his health. It was such as the like never
before happened in Madrid in the memory of the oldest men here, and
proves, contrary to what they brag of, that there is a mob here as well
as in other places.’ The whole aspect of the palace changed as if by
magic, and Cardinal Portocarrero was supreme. Marie Anne, cowed by the
violence and vituperation of the mob, was glad to lie low, and did not
attempt to influence the King, whose health declined every day.

Since the death of the Bavarian claimant in February the matter of the
succession had remained in abeyance; and it was evident now that unless
the King was indeed very soon to declare his heir by testament he would
die with the question still open. But poor Charles shrunk from the
execution of an act, which he had always said he would only do in
_articulo mortis_, and the persuasions of those about him were always
met by a fresh plea for delay. In this deadlock of affairs a course was
adopted by the dominant party which will always furnish one of the most
repulsive episodes of history. During his first grave attack at the end
of 1697, Charles, who was as superstitious as he was ignorant, sent for
Rocaberti, the Inquisitor-General, a stern Dominican, and confessed that
he believed his illness to be the result of a maleficent charm cast upon
him. The Inquisitor replied that he would have the case examined; but he
saw no probability of result unless the King would point out some person
whom he suspected, or gave some evidence to proceed upon.

There the matter remained until Froilan Diaz was substituted, as has
been related, for Matilla as the King’s confessor. Probably as part of a
concerted plan to obtain complete control over him, Diaz appeared to
agree with Charles in his expressed belief that he was bewitched; and,
having heard that an old friend of his in a convent in Galicia, had by
many efficacious exorcisms become quite familiar with the evil spirits
that he cast out, he consulted the Inquisitor-General Rocaberti, as to
whether it would be well to summon the priestly exorciser to the King.
The Inquisitor did not like the business, but consented to a letter
being written to the Bishop of Oviedo, the exorciser’s spiritual
superior, asking him to submit to the latter the question as to the
truth of the statement that the King was suffering from diabolical arts.
The bishop, determined not to be made the channel of such nonsense,
replied that the only witchcraft the King was suffering from was
weakness of constitution and a too ready acquiescence in his wife’s
will; and he refused to have anything to do with it. Diaz then sent
direct to Argüelles the exorciser in July 1698, instructing him to lay
upon his breast a paper with the names of the King and Queen written
upon it, and summon the devil to ask if the persons whose names were
written were bewitched.

Thenceforward for eight or nine months the ghastly mockery went on.[342]
The devil announced that the King was bewitched: ‘et hoc ad destruendam
materiam generationis in Rege, et eum incapacem ponendum ad regnum
administrandum’; the charm having been administered by moonlight when
the King was fourteen years old. Repulsive remedies were prescribed
which, if administered, would certainly have killed the patient, others
were recommended just as hideous but less harmful; and the poor creature
was submitted to them. At length, after the will in favour of the
Bavarian had been wrung from the King by many months of this ghastly
nonsense, it was seen that the exorciser was aiming at gaining influence
for himself. He said that the charms had been administered by the King’s
mother, and repeated much dangerous political advice that the devil had
given, such as to recommend the complete isolation of the King from his
wife, and other things less palatable to Portocarrero and the French
party; and the exorciser, being able to get no further, was dropped in
June 1699.

This was the time when the King was suffering from the shock of the
recent tumults, and Stanhope writes: ‘His Catholic Majesty grows every
day sensibly worse and worse. It is true that last Thursday they made
him walk in the public solemn procession of Corpus, which was much
shortened for his sake. However, he performed it so feebly that all who
saw him said he could not make one straight step, but staggered all the
way; nor could it be otherwise expected after he had had two falls a day
or two before, walking in his own lodgings, when his legs doubled under
him by mere weakness. In one of them he hurt his eye, which appeared
much swelled, and black and blue; the other being quite sunk into his
head, the nerves being contracted by his paralytic distemper. Yet it was
thought fit to have him make this sad figure in public, only to have it
put into the Gazette how strong and vigorous he is.’

At this juncture Marie Anne’s suspicions were first aroused of the
witchcraft business by a hint dropped by the King, and she at once set
spies upon those who had access to him, and especially upon Diaz the
confessor. A very few days convinced her that the ghastly incantations
that were being carried on were directed against her, politically and
personally. ‘Roaring with very rage,’ she summoned her friends and
demanded instant revenge and punishment of the King’s confessor.[343]
She was reminded by Folch de Cardona, that as the Inquisitor-General was
concerned in the matter, it would be prudent to go cautiously until it
was seen how far the Holy Office itself was a party: and, in any case,
he said it would be wisest to allow the Inquisition to avenge her rather
than for her to do it and thereby make herself more unpopular than she
was. It was soon found that the Sacred Tribunal was not concerned; but
as Rocaberti, the dreaded chief Inquisitor, had been active in the
matter, no one dared to move against Diaz or him, for Inquisitors were
dangerous people to touch. Almost immediately afterwards Rocaberti died
suddenly, almost certainly poisoned; and then Marie Anne laid her plans
to crush Father Diaz the confessor.

Stanhope writes (15th July): ‘The doctors, not knowing what more to do
with the King, to save their credit have bethought themselves to say his
ill must certainly be witchcraft, and there is a great Court party who
greedily catch at and improve the report, which, how ridiculous soever
it may sound in England, is generally believed here, and propagated by
others to serve a turn. They, finding all their attempts in vain to
banish Madame Berlips, think this cannot fail, and are using to find out
any colourable pretences to make her the witch.’ It was higher game even
than Berlips that they were aiming at. Berlips stood behind the Queen,
and one could not be injured without the other.

In September a mad woman, in a state of frenzy, burst into the King’s
presence, foaming at the mouth, and cursed him with demoniac shrieks
until she was removed by force, leaving Charles in an agony of terror
which nearly killed him. The mad woman was followed, and it was found
that she lived with two other demoniacs who were under the impression
that they were keeping the King subject in their room. This nonsense was
conveyed to the King by Diaz, and confirmed the invalid in his
conviction that he was under the influence of sorcery. In this belief he
ordered that the three women should be exorcised by a famous German
monk, who had been brought to Spain as an able exorciser for the King’s
benefit. Diaz, who superintended the incantations, unfortunately for
himself, dictated questions to the demoniacs which were evidently
designed to involve the Queen. Who was it that caused the King’s malady?
A beautiful woman, was the answer. Was it the Queen? and to this no
distinct reply was given. But the question was enough; and when Marie
Anne received a full report of the proceedings, as she did from her
spies, she was, of course, furious that an open attempt should be made
to cast upon her the blame of the witchcraft.

The first step towards her revenge was to get a new Inquisitor-General
in her interest, and she pressed the King to appoint Folch de Cardona,
General of the Franciscans. He refused, prompted no doubt by his
confessor, and, in spite of Marie Anne’s passionate outbursts of
protest, he appointed Cardinal Cordova; to whom the King and the
confessor unburdened themselves completely, and told the whole story of
the exorcism. From these conferences an extraordinary resolution
resulted. The Queen herself was too high to strike at first; but her
great friend and late all-powerful minister, the Admiral of Castile, was
detested and despised by every one, and might be attacked with impunity
to begin with. So it was decided that he, being allied with the devil to
cause all the mischief, should be seized by the Inquisition of Granada
and closely imprisoned, whilst his household should be incarcerated
elsewhere, and his papers seized by the holy office. This could not be
done, however, until the new Inquisitor-General’s appointment was
ratified by the Pope. Once more Marie Anne and her friends trumped their
opponents’ strong suit, for Cardinal Cordova died of poison on the very
day that the bull arrived.

Again Marie Anne pressed her husband to appoint one of her tools
Inquisitor-General; but Father Diaz was now fighting for his life, and
prevented the appointment. Marie Anne then sought out a man who would be
acceptable to her opponents, but whom she might buy, and Mendoza, Bishop
of Segovia, became Inquisitor-General, bribed by the Queen with the
promise of a cardinal’s hat to do her bidding in future. Marie Anne had
the whip hand and promptly used it. Stanhope wrote on the 22nd August:
‘As to Court factions, her Majesty is now as high as ever, and the
Cardinal of Toledo, who carried everything before him two months ago,
now dares hardly to open his mouth. But he is sullen, comes seldom to
Court, and talks of retiring to Toledo.’ First the German exorciser was
captured, and under torture confessed the details of the exorcism of the
three demoniacs when Diaz was present; then the compromising
correspondence with the exorciser in Galicia was seized, with all the
hints and suggestions made in it to incriminate the Queen. This was
sufficient evidence against Diaz, and he was arrested. Everything he had
done, he said, was by the King’s orders; and as royal confessor he
claimed immunity, his mouth being closed. He was at once dismissed from
all his offices, and the King was appealed to by the Inquisitor-General
to allow the confessor’s privileges to be dispensed with. Charles could
only mumble that they might do justice; but Diaz had a powerful party
behind him who took care to spread abroad the story of the Queen’s
vengeance, and Diaz, aided by many of his late colleagues on the Council
of the Inquisition, fled to the coast, and so to Rome. There he was
seized and brought back to Spain; and thenceforward, for many years,
there raged around him a great and unparalleled contest between the
Council of the Inquisition, which favoured Diaz, and the
Inquisitor-General in the interests of the Queen’s vengeance.[344]

Marie Anne had won, so far as the King’s confessor was concerned, but
her unpopularity was so great that she gained no ground politically; nor
did her German candidate for the succession improve in his chance of
success, for Cardinal Portocarrero and his friends filled all the
administrative offices, and Marie Anne was powerless. Stanhope wrote in
September 1699: ‘One night last week a troop of about three hundred,
with swords, bucklers and firearms, went into the outward court of the
palace and, under the King’s window, sung most impudent lampoons and
pasquins; and the Queen does not appear in the streets without hearing
herself cursed to her face.... The pasquins plainly tell her they will
pull her out of the palace and put her in a convent, adding that their
party is no less than 14,000 strong. This new turn has damped the
discourse, which was very hot lately, of the Admiral’s return to Court,
and the Cardinal of Toledo is now like to be the great man again.’[345]

Every day some fresh sign was given that Marie Anne’s foes were
paramount. ‘Our great German lady, the Countess of Berlips, is going,
nor does she go alone; but all the rest of the German tribe are to
accompany her, namely, a fine young lady, her niece, a German woman, a
dwarf, an eunuch, the Queen’s German doctor, the Capuchin, her
confessor, and Father Carapacci ... who, though no German, yet is one of
the Queen’s chief agents, and as great an eyesore to the people as any
of them. This seems a great reform, but I believe will prove no
amendment, for I expect to see others as greedy, if not more so, to take
their places.’[346]

The French party was now absolutely paramount; for the money and
diplomatic skill of Louis XIV. had been lavishly employed in gaining
friends from those who had been in favour of the Bavarian prince; and
Marie Anne herself, though she had now the Inquisitor-General on her
side, could hardly get a word alone with her dying husband. Charles
lingered on in morbid melancholy for many months longer. Like his
father, in similar case, he found the royal charnelhouse at the Escorial
a resort that suited his humour. On one occasion it is related that,
with Marie Anne at his side, he caused the coffins of his relatives to
be opened and the bodies exposed to view. He was deeply affected by the
sight of the corpse that had once been the beautiful Marie Louise, the
wife of his youth, whose dead face he caressed, with tears and promises
to join her soon, whilst Marie Anne, as a reply to the King’s affection
for his dead French wife, kissed the crumbling hand of old German
Mariana, whose enemy she had been on earth.

Whilst the Spanish Court and so-called government were thus employed in
degrading superstitions and petty squabbles, the fate of the nation,
reduced now to utter impotence, was being discussed and settled by
foreign powers. Louis XIV., still desirous, if possible of securing for
France without war the portion of Spain’s inheritance which mainly
interested him, made early in 1700, another treaty with England and
Holland for the partition of Spain between the claimants and others
interested, threatening that if the Emperor refused to accept the terms
offered the invasion of Spain by France would follow, and the whole
inheritance claimed for the Dauphin at the sword’s point. The Emperor
indignantly rejected the advance, and also claimed to be sole heir: the
Spaniards, and even their moribund King, blazing out in anger with some
of their old pride at this unceremonious dismemberment of their ancient
realm. Stanhope’s expulsion from Spain followed quickly upon this new
attempt at partition, and for a short time the French cause looked
black. Then the Austrians, to make their assurance doubly sure,
endeavoured to secure Marie Anne firmly to their side by the same means
as those that Harcourt had employed to win her for the French faction.
They promised that if she aided them the Archduke, her nephew, when he
became King of Spain should marry her. The Queen was delighted; and in
order to deal one more blow at the French claim, went to her husband and
divulged to him, not the Austrian but the former French offer of
marriage. Charles was tired of life and utterly muddled with the
atmosphere of intrigue in which he lived; but even he protested in
impotent passion against his wife being wooed before he was dead, and
this increased his dislike of the French claimant, though Louis XIV.
recalled Harcourt and disclaimed the offer he had made.

But Cardinal Portocarrero was always by the King’s side, and exercised
more influence over him than any one else. He, in his sacred character,
warned Charles that it was his duty to his conscience to lay aside
personal partialities, and to summon a conference of the most famous
theologians and jurisconsults to discuss and decide the question of the
succession. Portocarrero took care that such conferences should result
in a vote in favour of Louis XIV.‘s young grandson, Philip Duke of
Anjou, measures being taken to prevent any future joining of the two
realms under one crown. Charles was hard to convince, for he clung to
the Empire both by tradition and at the pleading of his wife; and
Portocarrero then told him that it was his duty to submit his doubts to
the Pope. Charles was devout, and did so. Innocent XI. had all along
been an enemy of Austria and a friend of France; and, as Portocarrero of
course anticipated, decided in favour of the Duke of Anjou as the
legitimate heir.[347]

But still Charles hesitated. Marie Anne was indefatigable in persuading
him to favour the Austrian, and always managed to prevent the fateful
will being made in Anjou’s favour; distracting her dying husband, even
at this pass, with the vain shows, bull fights, tourneys, and the like,
which had been for so long the traditional pleasures of his Court. She
even endeavoured to make terms with her enemies again, in order to be
safe in any eventuality; but Louis XIV. began to speak more haughtily
now; threatening war if a single German soldier set foot in Spain or
resistance was offered to the partition. There was nothing that Charles
and his people dreaded more than the dismemberment of the country, and
this frightened the King into looking upon the acceptance of the French
claim as the only means of keeping Spain intact. Thus, from day to day,
the irresolute monarch turned to one side or another, as his wife or
Portocarrero, his fears or his affections, gained the upper hand.

On the 20th September he took to his bed to rise no more, and a few days
afterwards received the last sacrament, asking for pardon of all whom he
had unconsciously offended. The sick chamber assumed the appearance of a
mingled charnel house and toyshop, as the pale figure of the King upon
his great bed grew more ghastly and hopeless. All the sacred relics in
the capital were crowded into the room; carved saints, blessed rosaries
and mouldering human remains, until, to make space for fresh comers, the
less renowned objects had to be removed. The Primate of Spain,
Portocarrero, made the most of the priestly privilege; and, in the
interests of the dying King’s religious consolation, he kept from his
side Marie Anne and her allies, the Inquisitor-General and the King’s
regular confessor. Alone with the King, the Cardinal admonished him that
in order to avoid dying in a state of sin, it was necessary for him to
avert war from the country by making a will, leaving his crown to the
Duke of Anjou, putting aside all personal leanings and family ties.

Charles could resist no longer. He was in terror; the spectre of sin and
devilish temptations always before him, and summoning the Secretary of
State, Ubilla, he himself directed him to draft a will in favour of his
young French great-nephew, the Duke of Anjou. On the 3rd October 1700,
the document was placed before him. Around his bed stood Cardinals
Portocarrero and Borgia, and the highest officers of the household; but
Marie Anne of Neuburg was not there to see the final shattering of her
hopes. With trembling hand Charles the Bewitched took the pen. ‘God
alone gives kingdoms,’ he sighed, ‘for to Him all kingdoms belong.’ Then
signing in his great uncultured writing; ‘I, the King,’ he dropped the
pen, saying, ‘I am nothing now:’ and thus the die was cast, the house of
Austria gave place to the house of Bourbon. Marie Anne did not even yet
accept defeat meekly. In an interval of partial improvement in the
King’s health, she returned to the attack, and with tears and
protestations, induced the King to think well again of his Austrian
kinsmen. A courier was sent hurrying to Vienna to tell the Emperor,
that, after all, the last will would make his son the heir of Spain, and
a codicil was signed conferring upon Marie Anne the governorship of any
city in Spain or Spanish State in Italy or Flanders in which she might
choose to reside after her husband’s death.

Soon afterwards (26th October) a decree was signed by Charles, who
seemed then to be dying, appointing a provisional government, headed by
Marie Anne, with Portocarrero and other great officers, to rule, pending
the arrival of the new King; whilst Portocarrero was nominated to act as
Regent if the King, though still alive, might be unable to exercise his
functions. With all the terror-stricken devotion that had been
traditional in his house, the last few days on earth of Charles the
Bewitched were passed, and on the 1st November 1700, the last descendant
in the male line of the great Emperor Charles V., died of senile old age
before he was forty, the victim of four generations of incest; leaving
as his legacy to the world a great war which changed the face of Europe,
and decided the future course of civilisation.

The terms of the will had been kept a close secret; and as soon as the
King’s death was known, the Palace of Madrid was packed with an eager
crowd of nobles and magnates to learn the name of their future king. The
will was read solemnly in the presence of Marie Anne and the principal
great officers; and soon the news was spread that Spain was free from
the house of Austria, which had been the cause of its greatness and its
ruin. Marie Anne, at the head of the Council of Regency, had but a short
term of power, and, as may be supposed, considering her imperious
nature, a far from harmonious one. Louis XIV., however, lost no time;
and the bright handsome lad, full of hope and spirit, thenceforward
Philip V. of Spain, hurried south to take possession of his inheritance
almost before the Emperor had time to protest.

On the 18th February 1701, Philip arrived in Madrid; and his first act
was to confirm Portocarrero as his leading minister. Marie Anne had
quarrelled with her colleagues before this, and they had complained of
her to the young King before his arrival. She had been defeated indeed;
for she saw now that the marriage bait that had been held out to her was
illusory; and when the order came to her from the new King to leave
Madrid before he entered it, she went, full of plans for revenge still,
to her place of banishment at Toledo; yet with kindly professions upon
her lips, for the large pension of 400,000 ducats settled upon her by
Charles, was too valuable to be jeopardised by open opposition to the
ruling powers. She was all smiles when young Philip visited her at
Toledo soon after his arrival; and she hung around his neck a splendidly
jewelled badge of the Golden Fleece as a token of her recognition of his
sovereignty. But when the war broke out, and the Archduke, her nephew,
with his allies came to fight for the prize he claimed, Marie Anne could
hardly be expected to stand quite aloof. In 1706, the victorious
Austrian and his allies were carried by the fortune of war into Toledo;
and Marie Anne welcomed her nephew with effusive joy as King of Spain;
but when the turn of the tide carried Philip V. into power again, a few
months later, two hundred horsemen, under the Duke of Osuna, clattered
into the courtyard of Marie Anne’s convent retreat at Toledo, and
arrested the Queen, carrying her thence as rapidly as horses could
travel over the frontier to France.

At Bayonne, Marie Anne lived in retirement for nine years, when a
strange revolution of fortune’s wheel brought her back to Spain again
triumphant. In the stately Morisco Palace at Guadalajara, Marie Anne
passed in affluent dignity the last twenty-six years of life in
widowhood, and died in 1740. She lived to see Spain rise from its ashes,
a new nation, purged by the fires of war; purified by heroism and
sacrifice. The long duel between the Empire and France for the
possession of the resources of Spain had ended before the death of Marie
Anne in the successful reassertion of Spain to the possession of her own
resources. Rulers, men and women, had blindly and ignorantly done their
worst; pride, bigotry, and sloth had dominated for centuries the spirit
of the nation, as a result of the action which alone had caused Spain to
bulk so big in the eyes of the world, and then to sink so low. But at
last the evil nightmare of the house of Austria was shaken off, and when
the aged widow of Charles II. passed to her rest at Guadalajara,
Spaniards were awakening to the stirring message, that Spain might be
happier and more truly great in national concentration than when the
men-at-arms of the Austrian Philips squandered blood and treasure beyond
count, to uphold in foreign lands an impossible pretension, born of
ambitions as dead as those who first conceived them.


Fire and sword swept Spain clean. The long drawn war of succession broke
down much of the old exclusiveness and conceit which had been for two
centuries the bane of the Spanish people, and a new patriotic spirit was
aroused which proved that the nation was not effete but only drugged.
The accession of Philip V. had been looked upon by his grandfather as
practically annexing Spain to France. ‘_Il n’y a plus de Pyrénées_,’ he
announced; and his first act proved his determination of treating his
grandson’s realm as a vassal state of his own. Again it was to a large
extent the influence of women which directed the course of Spanish
politics, even to the confusion of the _roi soleil_. It has been shown
in this history how often feminine influence had been invoked by
statesmen to bring Spain to a sympathetic line of policy for their own
ends, and how often circumstances had rendered their efforts

The confident anticipations of Louis XIV. that, by rightly choosing his
feminine instruments he might use Spain entirely for the aggrandisement
of France, were even more conspicuously defeated than any previous
attempts had been in a similar direction; for the ladies upon whom he
depended were one after the other caught up by the chivalrous patriotism
of the Spanish people, newly aroused from the bad dream of a hundred
years, and boldly braving Louis, they did their best for Spain and for
their own ends, whether France benefited or not.

The bride that Louis chose for his grandson was one from whom no
resistance could be expected. She was a mere child, under fifteen, Maria
Louisa Gabriela of Savoy, daughter of Victor Amadeus and Anne Marie of
Orleans, sister of that Marie Louise, Queen of Spain, whose life has
been told in detail in these pages. In September 1701 young Philip went
to meet his bride at Barcelona; and even thus early it was seen that he
had to face a coalition of all Europe against him. Revolt had been
stirred up in Naples; and Philip had hardly time to snatch a brief
honeymoon before he was obliged to hurry away to Italy to fight for his
crown; leaving the girl whom he had married to rule Spain in his absence
and to marshal the elements of defence in a country utterly prostrate
and disorganised. Maria Louisa was, of course, entirely inexperienced,
but she came of a stout race and never flinched from the
responsibilities cast upon her. The young married couple were already
deeply in love with each other; and Philip, though only seventeen, had
thus early begun to show the strange uxoriousness that in later life
became an obsession which made him a mere appanage of the woman by his
side; so that Maria Louisa began her strenuous life assured that she
would meet with no captious opposition from her husband.

Louis XIV. and Mme. de Maintenon had placed by her side a far stronger
personality than Philip; one of the greatest women of her century, whose
mission it was to keep the young King and Queen of Spain in the narrow
path of French interests. Anne Marie de la Tremouille, Duchess of
Bracciano, whom the Spaniards called the Princess of Ursinos, took
charge of the young Queen at once when the Piedmontese household was
dismissed at the frontier; and through the most troublous period of the
great struggle which finally gave the throne to Philip, she ruled the
rulers gently, wisely and firmly for their own interests and those of
Spain. No cantankerous straitlaced Mistress of the Robes was she, such
as the Duchess of Terranova who had embittered the life of the other
Marie Louise, but a great lady full of wit and knowledge, and as brave
as a lioness in defence of the best interests of those in her charge.

The young Queen herself, when she had been installed in the capital as
Regent, showed how changed were the circumstances of a Queen of Spain,
now that the dull gloom of the house of Austria had been swept away, and
a new Spain was gazing towards the dawn. Nothing could exceed the
diligence and ability of this girl of fifteen in administering the
government of Madrid in the absence of the new King. Instead of the dull
round of devotion and frivolity which had filled the lives of other
Queen Consorts, she, with the wise old Princess at her side, worked
incessantly. She would sign nothing she did not understand: she insisted
upon all complaints being investigated, and reports made direct to her.
Supplies of men and money for the war in which Philip was already
plunged in Italy, were collected and remitted with an activity and
regularity which filled old-fashioned Spaniards with surprise, and
encouraged those who possessed means to contribute from their hoards
resources previously unsuspected. The manners of the Court were
reformed; immorality and vice, so long rampant in Madrid, was frowned at
and discouraged; and, instead of allowing the news of the wars in which
the King was engaged to filter slowly and incorrectly from the palace to
the gossips of the street, the Queen herself read aloud from a balcony
to the people below the despatches she daily received from her husband.

All this was enough to make the old Queen Consorts of Spain turn with
horror in their porphyry urns at the Escorial; but it came like a breeze
of pure mountain air into the miasmatic apathy which had hitherto
cloaked the capital; and all Spain plucked up heart and spirit from the
energy of this girl of fifteen, with the wise old Frenchwoman behind
her. But even they could only administer things as they found them, and
the root of the governmental system itself was vicious. Time, and above
all knowledge, was required to re-organise the country; and Spaniards
grew restive at the foreign auspices under which the reforms were
introduced. Maria Louisa and her husband well knew that without French
support liberally given, they could never hold their own: for when the
King returned to Madrid early in 1703, the Spaniards, who had belonged
to the Austrian party in the last reign, had thrown off the mask and
fled to join the enemy: and it was clear that no Spaniards would fight
to make Spain a dependency of France.

Nothing less than this would satisfy Louis XIV.; and the Princess of
Ursinos, who had tried to make the struggle a patriotic one for
Spaniards, was warned from Paris that, unless she immediately retired
from the country, King Louis would abandon Spain and his grandson to
their fate. The Princess went into exile with a heavy heart, and the new
French ambassador, Grammont, came when she had departed in 1704,
instructed to make a clean sweep of all the national party in Madrid,
and to obtain control for the French ministers. But Louis _XIV._ had
underrated the power and ability of Maria Louisa, who resented the
contemptuous dismissal of her wise mentor, and took no pains to conceal
her opposition to the change. Louis sent scolding letters to her,
berating her for her presumption in wishing, ‘at the age of eighteen to
govern a vast disorganised monarchy,’ against the advice of those so
much more experienced than herself. But at last he had to recognise that
this girl, with the best part of Spain behind her, held the stronger
position; and he took the wise course of conciliating her by
re-enlisting and restoring to Spain the offended Princess of Ursinos. In
vain his representatives in Madrid assured him that neither the Princess
nor the Queen could be trusted to serve French interests blindly. The
two women were too clever and too firm to be ignored, and the Princess
returned to Madrid in triumph in August 1705, with _carte blanche_ from
Louis to do as she judged best to save Spain for the house of Bourbon,
at all events.

Thenceforward the Mistress of the Robes governed the Queen, the Queen
governed the King, and the King was supposed to govern the country;
plunged in war at home and abroad, with the Spanish nobles either on the
side of the Austrian or sullen at the foreign influence which pervaded
the government measures, even when moderated and held in check by the
Princess of Ursinos. At length, when the long war was wearing itself
out, and peace was in the air, the stout-hearted little Savoyarde fell
sick. She had borne many children to her husband, but only two sons, so
far, had lived, Louis, born in 1707, and Ferdinand, born late in 1713.
The birth of the latter heralded his mothers death. She had not spared
herself in all the strenuous thirteen years of war and tumult, during
which she had to a great extent governed Spain; for Philip, when not
absent in the field, was an obedient husband; and now, at the dawn of a
period of peace at the beginning of 1714, Maria Louisa died at the age
of twenty-six.

Philip was still a young man; but the dependence upon his wife, and his
long fits of apathy that afterwards led to lunacy, had made him unfit to
fulfil the duties of his position without a clever helpmeet by his side.
The first result of the death of Maria Louisa was enormously to increase
the influence of the old Princess of Ursinos. She was the only person
allowed to see the King in his heartbroken grief; and whilst he was in
seclusion in the Medina Celi palace, the monks were turned out of a
neighbouring monastery that the Princess might stay there and have free
access to the King through a passage made for the purpose through the
walls that separated the buildings. The gossips very soon began to say
that the King was going to marry the Princess, though she was old enough
to be his grandmother. But, as usual, the scandalmongers were wrong. The
Princess of Ursinos was far too clever for such a stroke as that; but
she and others saw that Philip must marry some one without loss of time,
or he would lose what wits were left to him.



  _After a Painting by Van Loo_.

The marriage-mongers of Europe were on the alert, but the problem to be
solved was not an easy one. A bride must be found whom Louis XIV. would
accept, and yet one not too subservient to orders from France, nor one
who would interfere with the absolute paramountcy of the Princess of
Ursinos. So all the suggestions coming from France were regarded coldly;
and the Princess set about finding a candidate who would suit her. There
was an Italian priest in Spain at the time, one Father Alberoni, a
cunning rogue, who could be a buffoon when it suited him, who had wormed
himself into Court circles in the suite of the Duke of Vendome. This
man, a Parmese, came to the Princess of Ursinos the day after Queen
Maria Louisa Gabriela died and suggested that there was a modest,
submissive little princess at Parma, the niece and stepdaughter of the
reigning prince, who had no male heirs, and that this girl was exactly
fitted to be the new consort to Philip V. The Princess of Ursinos was
inclined to regard the idea favourably, for not only was it evident that
so young and humble a princess would not attempt to interfere with her,
but the match seemed to offer a chance for re-establishing the lost
influence of Spain in Italy. Louis XIV. had other views for his
grandson, and did not take kindly to the proposal, but he was grudgingly
won over by the Princess of Ursinos, whom he could not afford to offend.
Philip himself was as wax in the hands of the old Princess; and on the
16th September 1714 he married by proxy Isabel Farnese, Princess of

Isabel Farnese had been represented by Alberoni as a tractable young
maiden, but she was a niece, by her mother, of the Queen Dowager, Marie
Anne of Neuburg, who was eating her heart out in spite in her exile at
Bayonne; and Alberoni knew full well when he suggested the Parmese bride
that he was taking part in a deep-laid conspiracy to overthrow the
Princess of Ursinos. His part was a difficult one to play at first, for
he had to keep up an appearance of adhesion to the Princess of Ursinos
whilst currying favour with the coming Queen. Isabel Farnese approached
her new realm with the airs of a conqueror. She was to have landed at
Alicante, and thither went Alberoni and her Spanish household to receive
her: but she altered her mind suddenly, and decided to go overland
through the south of France and visit her aunt Marie Anne at Bayonne.
Marie Anne had a long score of her own to settle with the Princess of
Ursinos, who had kept her in exile, and she instructed her niece how to
proceed to make herself mistress of her husband’s realm.

Isabel Farnese, girl though she was, did not need much instruction in
imperious self-assertion, and began her operations as soon as she
crossed the frontier. She flatly refused to dismiss her Italian suite,
as had been arranged in accordance with the invariable Spanish rule, and
showed from the first that she meant to have her own way in all things.
She was in no hurry, moreover, to meet her husband until the Princess of
Ursinos was out of the way; and when the latter, in great state, came to
meet her at Jadraque, a short distance from Guadalajara, where the King
was awaiting his bride, Isabel was ready for the decisive fray which
should settle the question as to who should rule Spain.

The old Princess was quite aware also by this time that she had to meet
a rival, and she began when she entered the presence by making some
remark about the slowness of the Queen’s journey. Hardly were the words
out of her mouth than the young termagant shouted: ‘Take this old fool
away who dares to come and insult me:’ and then, in spite of protest and
appeal, the Princess was hustled into a coach to be driven into exile
through a snowstorm in the winter night over the bleakest uplands in
Europe. Attired in her Court dress, with no change of garments or
adequate protection against the weather, without respect, consideration
or decency, the aged Princess was thus expelled from the country she had
served so wisely. She saw now, as she had feared for some time before,
that she had been tricked by the crafty Italian clown-cleric, and that
her day was done.

The dominion of the new Queen Isabel Farnese over the spirit of Philip
V. was soon more complete even than that of the Princess had been, and a
letter of cold compliment from the King was all the reward or
consolation that the Princess got for her protracted service to him and
his cause in Spain; services without which, in all human probability, he
would never have retained the crown. So long as Philip had a masterful
woman always by his side to keep him in leading strings, it mattered
little to him who the woman was; and Isabel Farnese, bold, ambitious,
and intriguing, ruled Spain in the name of her husband thenceforward for
thirty years. Her system was neither French nor Spanish, but founded
upon the feline ecclesiastical methods of the smaller Italian Courts:
and the object of Isabel’s life was to assert successfully the rights of
her sons to the Italian principalities, she claimed in virtue of her
descent. The pretext under which she cloaked her aims was the recovery
of the Spanish influence in the sister Peninsula: but the wars which
resulted were in no sense of Spanish national concern, but purely
Italian and dynastic.

Thus, for many years to come, the progress of Spain was retarded, and
her resources wasted in struggles by land and sea all over Europe, and
with allies and opponents constantly changing, with the end of seating
Isabel’s Bourbon sons upon Italian thrones. She succeeded, at the cost
of a generation of war, and gave to Spain once more an appearance of
some of her old potency, thanks to new ideas and more enlightened
administration: but when the successive deaths of her two stepsons, the
heirs of Philip by his first Savoyard wife, made her own eldest son
Charles King of Spain, Isabel was plainly, but delicately, made to
understand that the destinies of the country must in future be guided by
men, and in enlightened national interests, and not by women for
secondary ends.

Again, on the death of Charles III., the only strong King since Philip
II., the regal mantle fell upon a weak uxorious man, whose wife, yet
another Maria Louisa, led Spain by the miry path of disgraceful
favouritism to the great war of Independence—the Peninsular war—which
destroyed what was left of old Spain, and held up to the derision of the
world the reigning family, of whom Napoleon made such cruel sport.

Forty years more of feminine rule in the next generation brought the
unfortunate country to the revolution of 1868, and then the dawning came
of a happier day, now brightening to its full. Only half a century ago
the old, old struggle between France and Germany to provide a Consort
for Spain was engaged anew, and brought England and France upon the very
verge of war. But the fall of the Bourbons in France and Italy, and the
disappearance of the French monarchy, as a result of the great war
between the Frank and Teuton, still, on the ancient pretext of their
rival interests in Spain, banished, at least for our time, the dynastic
jealousy which had kept Europe at war for centuries.

An Austrian Queen-Regent has since then ruled Spain with consummate
wisdom and the noblest self-sacrifice for nearly twenty years; and
France has watched with sympathy, and no thought of aggression, the
sustained effort of a good woman to hand down intact to her fatherless
son the inheritance to which he was born. An English Queen Consort sits
by the side of the Spanish King, now, for the first time for centuries,
and yet no breath of discord comes from other nations to mar the love
match that has ended in a happy marriage.

The world grows wiser at last. The old tradition that dynastic
connection could override irresistible national tendencies has lingered
long, but is really dying now. Matrimonial alliances between reigning
families are symptoms, not causes, and as the personal power of the
monarch wanes before the growth of popular government, the influence of
the consort becomes more social, and consequently more personally

The stories told in these pages treat of a state of affairs never likely
to recur. They show, amongst other things, with what little prescience
the world has been governed. The attempt of Ferdinand the Catholic to
make Aragon great by marriage ended in the swamping of Aragon: the
attempt of Charles V. and his son to dictate the religion of the world,
by means of the strength gained by matrimonial alliances, ended in the
exhaustion and ruin of Spain: the attempts of France and Germany to
obtain control of Spain by providing consorts for the ruling kings has
ended in neither obtaining what it sought, and in Spain being as safe
from foreign domination of any sort as any country in Europe. The lesson
to be drawn surely is that rulers, grandly as they bulk for their little
day in the eyes of men, are themselves but puppets, moved by aggregate
spontaneous national forces infinitely more powerful than any
individuality can be, and that a monarch’s seeming strength is only
effective so long as it interprets truly the accumulated impulse, that,
in obedience to some harmonious law as yet uncoded, guides to their
destiny the nations of the earth.




 Adrian, Cardinal, 182, 192

 Aguirre, Señora, 474

 Agreda, Maria de, 354, 357

 Aix la Chapelle, 391

 Alba, 230, 249, 266

 Albaicin, 116

 Alberoni, Father, 537

 Albuera, 52

 Albuquerque, Duchess of, 455

 Alcantara, Master of, 11

 Alcazar, 3, 165

 Alexander VI., 105

 Alexander Farnese, 292

 Alfonso V. of Portugal, 9, 19

 Alphonso (brother of Henry IV), 10, 11, 14

 Alhama, 56, 57

 Almazan, 162

 Almeria, 55, 65

 Anne of Austria (wife of Phillip II), 314;
   character, illness and death, 316

 Anna of Austria (Queen of France), 320, 321, 352

 Arabic Manuscripts, 116

 Aranda, 24

 Aranjuez, 331

 Arcos, 177

 Arevalo, 200

 Armada, 318

 Armignac, 5

 Arthur, Prince of Wales, 100, 127

 Artois, 106

 Arundel, 220

 Astorga, 156

 Astorga, Marquis, 424

 Augsburg, League of, 463, 480, 487

 Aulnoy, Madame d’, quoted, 419

 Avila, 11, 192

 Avila, Juan de, 189, 196

 Badajoz, 317

 Balbeses, Marquis de los, 415, 423

 Baltasar Carlos, 334, 358

 Barcelona, 46;
   Treaty, 104, 348

 Bavaria, Prince of, 495, 500

 Baza, 65

 Bedford, Earl of, 223

 Behovia, 321

 ‘Beltraneja,’ the birth, 4;
   betrothal, 23;
   betrothal to King of Portugal, 30;
   marriage, 33, 146

 Benavente, Count, 9, 12, 163

 Bergues, 230

 Berlips, Baroness, 496

 Bernaldez, 89

 Bertondona, Martin de, 228

 Bidasoa, 377, 425

 Boabdil, 60, 61, 72

 Bobadilla, Beatriz de, 13, 80, 135, 165

 Bobadilla, Francisco de, 123

 Bonner, 215, 238

 Borgia, Francis of, 202

 Bourbon, Anthony de, 276

 Braganza, Duke of, 348

 Brantôme, quoted, 283, 303

 Bristol, Earl of, 326

 Browne, Sir Anthony, 221, 230

 Buckingham, Duke of, 325

 Buendia, Count, 272

 Buen Retiro, 328, 342, 429

 Burgos, 35, 108, 322

 Burgundy, 106

 Cabeña, 38

 Cabero, Juan, 80, 87, 162

 Cabra, Count of, 60

 Cabrera, Andres, 13, 165

 Cabezon, 9

 Calais, 249

 Calatrava, 42

 Calderon, Maria, 333

 Cardeñosa, 14

 Cardona, Folch de, 507, 516, 518

 Cardona, Hugo de, 146

 Carew family, 223

 Carlos, Don, 288, 296, 309, 310

 Carrillo, Alfonso, 4, 9, 11, 20, 97

 Cartuja de Miraflores, 168

 Castañar, 97

 Castile, Admiral of, 163

 Castile, revolt in, 192

 Cateau Cambresis, 262

 Catharine of Lancaster, ix.

 Cerdagne, 59, 100

 ‘Chambergo’ Regiment, 396, 406

 Charles, Archduke, 497

 Charles, Prince of Wales, 325

 Charles of Viana, 8

 Charles II, birth, 382;
   description as a child, 392, 396;
   recalls Don Juan, 402;
   banishes Don Juan to Aragon, 403;
   coming of age, 403;
   suggestions for marriage, 414;
   reconciliation with Mariana, 421;
   journey to meet Marie Louise, 426;
   marriage, 431;
   neglect of government, 440;
   jealousy of Mme. de Villars, 459;
   dismisses Medina Celi, 463;
   illness at Aranjuez, 467;
   second marriage, 488;
   meets Marie Anne, 491;
   dismisses Oropesa, 494;
   increasing weakness, 497;
   appoints Prince of Bavaria heir, 500;
   destroys will, 502;
   said to be bewitched, 514;
   makes will in favour of Philip, 524;
   death, 525

 Charles III, 540

 Charles V, 105, 179, 184, 189, 243

 Charles VIII, 62, 75, 100, 104, 108

 Chatellerault, 274

 Chièvres, 185

 Chimay, Prince of, 185

 Cigales, 9, 11

 Civil War in Spain, 12, 29

 Clarencius, Mrs., 217, 255

 Claude of France, 127

 Clerambant, Maréchale, 423

 Coligny, 247

 Columbus, Christopher, 74;
   received by Isabel, 78;
   guest of Deza, 82;
   member of royal household, 82;
   grant for maintenance, 82;
   negotiations with Portugal, France, and England, 82;
   extravagant demands, 83, 84;
   agreement with Isabel, 89;
   returns in triumph from first voyage, 94;
   second voyage, 95, 120;
   third voyage, 120;
   imprisoned, 123;
   release, 123;
   fourth voyage, 124

 Columbus, Diego, 89

 Comuneros, 192, 198

 Compostella, 57

 Conchillos, 131, 143

 Condé, 354, 376

 Consuegra, 383

 Conti, Prince of, 417

 Cordova, Cardinal, 518

 Cordova, Gonzalo de, 65, 105, 118

 Corunna, 154, 391

 Cotes, Sebastian de, 505

 Council of the Indies, 120, 121

 Court, Spanish, description, 328, 338, 369, 533

 Courtenay, 214

 Courtrai, 460

 Cranmer, 220

 Cromwell, 371

 Cuellar, 26

 Cueva, Beltran de la, 5, 9, 10

 D’assonleville, 254

 Denia, Marchioness of, 176

 Denia, Marquis of, 187, 194, 198

 Deza, Diego, 80

 Diaz, Froilan, 506, 519

 Dixmunde, 460

 Dominicans, 46, 48

 Dueñas, 21, 38

 Dunkirk, 376

 Edward IV. of England, 17

 Edward VI. of England, 212

 Egmont, Count, 221, 230

 Eguia, Jeronimo de, 440, 454

 Elizabeth of England, 229, 271

 El Zagal, 60

 Emanuel Philibert of Savoy, 247

 Emmanuel, King, 106

 Enriquez, Juana, 8

 Escalas, Conde de, 63

 Escorial, 357, 366, 388, 406

 Estrada, Duke of, 184

 Estremadura, 26

 Fadrique, Admiral, 9, 20

 Fadrique de Toledo, 346

 Fanshawe, Lady, quoted, 384

 Fanshawe, Sir Richard, 383, 390

 Feuquières, 464

 Ferdinand of Aragon, 17;
   marriage, 22;
   in France, 23;
   motto, 33;
   fight against Moors, 56;
   in Council at Cordova, 61;
   rejects Colon’s terms, 83;
   attacked by lunatic, 93;
   schemes for his children, 99;
   treaty with France, 100;
   breaks treaty, 104;
   war with France, 105;
   quarrel with son-in-law, 113;
   represses rebellion of Moors, 118;
   attempts to conciliate Philip, 126;
   illness, 133;
   claims right to govern Castile, 142;
   ordered to leave Castile, 145;
   alliance with Jimenez, 146;
   contemplates second marriage, 146;
   alliance with Louis XII, 147;
   agreement with Philip, 150;
   treaty, 159;
   assumes government of Castile, 177;
   death, 182

 Ferdinand, Emperor, 130

 Feria, 230, 251

 Fernando, 89

 Ferrer, Mosen, 182, 183

 Flanders, 354, 390

 Flushing, 489

 Fonseca, 142

 Fontainebleau, 417, 422

 France, 100, 105, 128, 248, 316, 319, 346

 Franche Comté, 106

 Francis II, 293

 Francis Phœbus, 61

 Galicia, 39

 Gardiner, 215, 220

 Geneda, Diego de, 217

 Germaine de Foix, 147

 Giron, Pedro, 12

 Gloucester, Duke of, 17

 Gomez, Ruy, 230

 Grammont, Duke de, 378

 Granada, 36, 65;
   siege, 67–72;
   burning of library, 116

 Granvelle, quoted, 215

 Grey family, 223

 Grey, Lady Jane, 213

 Grey de Wilton, Lord, 249

 Guadalajara, 284

 Guadix, 65

 Guevara, Anna de, 352

 Guevara, Velez de, 337

 Guienne, Duke of, 17, 23

 Guise, Duke of, 321

 Guisnes, 249

 Guzmans, 39

 Harcourt, Duke of, 423, 502, 503

 Haro, Count de, 179

 Haro, Luis de, 355, 375, 383

 Harrach, Count, 499

 Heliche, Marquis of, 370

 Henry II. (of France), 269

 Henry IV. (of France), 318, 319

 Henry IV. (of Spain), 3;
   impeachment, 11;
   death, 26

 Henry VII. (of England), 149, 153, 173

 Henry VIII. (of England), 211

 Hernandez, Garcia, 75

 Hispanola, 121

 Horn, Count, 230

 Hornillos, 175

 House tax, 38

 Howell, James, quoted, 329

 Huelva, 75

 Infantado, Duke of, 38, 272

 Inquisition, 46, 48, 448, 514, 516

 Isabel, Empress, 209

 Isabel Farnese, xiii;
   marriage, 537;
   influence over Philip, 539

 Isabel of Bourbon, betrothal, 320;
   meeting with Philip, 322;
   marriage, 323;
   character and manners, 327;
   love for stage, 328, 331;
   escape from fire at Aranjuez, 331;
   birth of son, 333;
   children, 334;
   rejoicings at birth of Baltasar Carlos, 334;
   portraits, 336;
   sells jewels to provide soldiers, 346;
   struggle with France, 346;
   breach with Olivares, 349;
   Regent in absence of King, 350;
   demands dismissal of Olivares, 352;
   illness, 355;
   death, 356

 Isabel of the Peace, xi, xiv;
   betrothal, 267;
   marriage, 268;
   journey to Spain, 273;
   meeting with Philip, 284;
   smallpox, 286;
   illness, 295;
   letter to Catharine, 299;
   defeats conspiracy in Navarre, 298;
   meets her mother at Bayonne, 302;
   birth of daughter, 305;
   birth of second daughter, 308;
   death, 313

 Isabel the Catholic, ix;
   betrothed to Charles of Viana, 8;
   suggested betrothal to King of Portugal, 9;
   offered crown, 14;
   accepts heirship, 15;
   meeting with Henry, 16;
   intrigues with reference to marriage, 17;
   marriage, 22;
   deprived of grants and privileges, 23;
   birth of first child, 23;
   reconciliation with Henry, 24;
   revenue, 41;
   reforms Court, 41;
   treatment of religious orders, 42;
   influence f Torquemada, 44;
   establishes Inquisition, 47;
   birth of Prince of the Asturias, 50;
   crushes Portuguese, 52;
   acknowledged Queen of Spain, 52;
   birth of third child, 52;
   war with Moors, 56;
   birth of fourth child, 60;
   takes command of campaign against Moors, 63;
   birth of last child, 64;
   pledges crown, 66;
   Queen of Granada, 73;
   terms with Columbus, 89;
   domestic life, 95;
   letter to Talavera, 100;
   purification of monasteries, 100;
   unification of coinage, 104;
   marriages of children, 106;
   death of Juan, 109;
   death of eldest daughter and her son Miguel, 110;
   troubles domestic and political, 110;
   ill-health, 111;
   visit of Philip and Joan, 127;
   wishes in regard to succession, 129;
   apoplexy, 131;
   will, 135;
   codicil, 136;
   death, 136.

 Isle of Pheasants, 378, 425

 Jaen, 66

 Jamaica, 371

 James I. of England, 319, 324

 James IV., 107

 Jews, 45, 47, 48, 67

 Jimenez de Cisneros, Royal Confessor, 97;
   primate, 99, 136, 158, 164;
   maintains order, 173, 175;
   Cardinal, 177;
   Regent, 182, 191

 Joan the Mad, xi;
   birth, 52;
   marriage, 106;
   birth of son, 125;
   visit to Spain, takes oath with her husband as heir of Castile, 127;
   receives homage as heir of Ferdinand, 128;
   detention at Medina, 132;
   returns to Flanders, 133;
   proclaimed Queen of Castile, 141;
   discord with husband, 143;
   letter on being declared unfit to rule, 144;
   journey to Spain, 150;
   shipwreck and landing in England, 152;
   meeting with Katharine, 153;
   interview with Enriquez, 163;
   receives oath of allegiance of Cortes, 164;
   grief for death of Philip, 168;
   refusal to perform duties of Government, 171;
   pilgrimage to Granada, 171;
   birth of youngest child, 172;
   suggested marriage with Henry VII., 173;
   dismisses Councillors of Philip, 175;
   meeting with Ferdinand at Tortoles, 176;
   at Arcos, 177;
   imprisoned at Tordesillas, 180;
   visited by Charles and Leonora, 184;
   protest against treatment, 190;
   conference with executive body of Regent’s government, 190;
   receives Padilla, 194;
   identifies herself with Revolution, 194;
   anti-religious tendency, 200;
   visited by Francis of Borgia, 202;
   illness, 204;
   death, 205

 Juan, Prince of Asturias, 50, 54, 106, 109

 Juan II., of Aragon, 20

 Juan of Austria, 292

 Juan Jose, of Austria (Don Juan), xii, 363, 370, 376, 383, 387, 388,
    390, 391;
   controversy with Mariana, 393;
   Viceroy of Aragon, 396;
   ordered to Sicily, 401;
   recalled by Charles, 402;
   exiled to Aragon, 403;
   recalled to Madrid, 405;
   enters Madrid in State, 408;
   decrease of power, 418;
   death, 420

 Juan II., of Castile, 3

 Katharine of Aragon, 100, 173

 Katharine, Infanta, 172, 199

 Laredo, 107

 Las Casas, 89

 Las Huelgas, 431

 Leganés, Marquis of, 351, 505

 Lerida, 351, 354

 Lerma, 323

 Lille, 108

 Lionne, M. de, 376

 Lisle, Count Alva de, 4

 Literature, Spanish, 327, 338

 London, 153

 Lope de Vega, 339, 342

 Lotti, Cosme, 344

 Louis XI., 61

 Louis XII., 133, 147

 Louis XIII., 320

 Louis XIV., 460, 464, 521

 Loja, 63

 Luis de la Cruz, Friar, 203

 Luna, Alvaro de, 27

 Luxembourg, 106

 Madrigal, 20, 37

 Malaga, 55, 64, 118

 Maldonado, Dr., 79

 Manrique, Pedro, 21

 Mansfeldt, Count, 463, 490

 Manuel, Juan, 143, 156, 165

 Marchena, Antonio de, 79, 120

 Margaret, Archduchess, 106, 108, 149, 153

 Margaret, Empress, 368, 414

 Margaret of Austria, 318

 Margaret of Savoy, 352

 Margaret Tudor, 107

 Maria of Hungary, 146

 Maria Louisa of Savoy, 532;
   marriage, 532;
   regent in absence of husband, 533;
   ability and diligence, 533;
   death, 536

 Mariana of Austria, offered in marriage to Baltasar Carlos, 361;
   marriage to Philip IV.;
   meets Philip at Navalcarnero, 365;
   birth of a daughter, 368;
   paralysis, 371;
   birth of son, 373;
   intrigues against Don Juan, 382;
   birth of a son, 382;
   growth of power, 382;
   Queen-Regent, 389;
   conspiracy in favour of Don Juan, 394;
   dismisses Nithard, 395;
   alliance with England and Holland against France, 397;
   seeks help of Don Juan, 398;
   favour of Valenzuela, 400;
   regency ends, 402;
   triumph over Don Juan, 403;
   prisoner in Alcazar, 406;
   banished to Toledo, 406;
   reconciled to Charles, 421;
   return to Court, 421;
   meeting with Marie Louise, 433;
   treatment of Marie Louise, 444;
   plots to ruin Marie Louise, 464;
   plans for succession, 499;
   death, 500

 Maria Theresa, 371, 378, 380, 389, 396, 414

 Marie Anne of Neuburg, married by proxy, 489;
   journey to Spain, 489;
   welcome at Corunna, 490;
   sides with enemies of Oropesa, 493;
   unpopularity, 496;
   summons Count Harrach, 499;
   efforts to secure succession of Archduke Charles, 500;
   plans to crush Diaz, 517;
   accused of witchcraft, 518;
   secures dismissal of Diaz, 529;
   head of Council of Regency, 526;
   banished to Toledo, 526;
   visited by Philip V., 526;
   sides with Austria, 527;
   banished to Bayonne, 527;
   returns to Spain, 527;
   death, 527

 Marie Louise of Orleans, 415;
   love for Dauphin, 416;
   betrothed to King of Spain, 417;
   marriage by proxy, 418;
   journey to Spain, 423;
   household, 424;
   letter to Charles, 427;
   marriage at Quintanapalla, 431;
   meeting with Mariana, 433;
   isolation at Burgos, 433;
   entry into Madrid, 439;
   frivolity, 444;
   humoured by Mariana, 444;
   growing interest in public affairs, 456;
   discord with Mariana and Charles, 456;
   unhappiness, 457;
   influence of Madame Quantin, 458;
   reproached for sterility, 458;
   accused of plotting against King, 468;
   French expelled from palace, 469;
   letter to Louis XIV. _re_ Saint Chamans, 472;
   smallpox, 479;
   illness, 480;
   death, 481

 Martinez, Friar, 385

 Mary of England, 213;
   plans for marriage, 214–220;
   accepts Philip, 223;
   presents, 224;
   meeting with Philip, 232;
   marriage, 234;
   parting from Philip, 241;
   Queen of Spain, 243;
   war with France, 247;
   illness, 254;
   death, 256

 Mary Queen of Scots, 263, 290

 Matienzo, Friar, 112

 Matilla, Father, 493, 504, 506, 507

 Maurice of Saxony, 212

 Maximilian, 113, 133, 148, 179, 190

 Mayenne, Duke of, 320, 382

 Mazarin, 376, 382

 Medici, Catharine de, 267

 Medici, Marie de, 320, 321

 Medillin, Count, 11

 Medina, 34

 Medina Celi, Duke of, befriends Colon, 76

 Medina Celi, Duke of (under Charles), 415, 440, 453, 459, 463

 Medina del Campo, 48, 56

 Medina de las Torres, Duke of, 386, 387

 Medina Sidonia, Duke of, 56, 76

 Melcombe Regis, 153

 Mello, 354

 Mendoza, Cardinal, 19, 59, 80, 97

 Mendoza, Bishop of Segovia, 519

 Mendoza, Diego Hurtado de, 217

 Metz, 212

 Montalto, Duke of, quoted, 464, 470, 473, 475, 476, 477

 Montenegro, 401

 Monterey, Count, 505

 Montgomerie, Sieur de l’Orge, 269

 Montmorenci, 247

 Moors, 55, 116, 118

 Moscoso, 388

 Moslems, 116, 119

 Muley Abul Hassan, 55

 Murcientes, 163

 Muza, 72

 New Hall, 213

 Nimeguen, 414

 Nithard, Father Everard, 382, 389, 393, 394;
   dismissed, 395

 Noailles, Antoine de, 213, 220, 229, 238

 Novas, Marquis de las, 224

 Ojeda, 47

 Olivarez, Gaspar de Guzman, Count of, 230, 324, 345;
   breach with Queen, 349;
   fall, 353

 Olivarez, Countess of, 339

 Olmedo, 13

 Oñate, 427

 Orange, Prince of, 487

 Oropesa, Count of, 463, 482;
   dismissed, 494, 501–512

 Osma, 21

 Osorio, Isabel de, 217, 265

 Osuna, Duke of, 418, 425

 Ovando, Nicolas de, 123

 Padilla, 194, 224

 Paget, 220

 Palencia, 175

 Palos, 75

 Passau, 212

 Pastrana, Duke of, 320

 Patiño, 393

 Perez, Friar Juan, 75, 80, 85

 Peter Martyr, 112

 Petre, 220

 Philip II., 202;
   Regent, 209;
   betrothed to Mary, 223;
   journey to England, 226;
   marriage, 234;
   leaves England, 241;
   returns, 245;
   proposal of marriage to Elizabeth, 262;
   union with France, 263;
   marriage to Isabel, 267;
   poverty, 293;
   marriage to Anne, 314

 Philip III., 318

 Philip IV., betrothed, 320;
   marriage, 323;
   succeeds, 323;
   character, 324, 328;
   jealousy, 330;
   intrigue with Maria Calderon, 333;
   birth of son, 334;
   leads armies in Catalonia, 350;
   returns to Madrid, 351;
   letter to Maria de Agredo;
   grief at loss of son, 362;
   marriage to Mariana, 363;
   poverty, 372;
   birth of son, 373;
   journey to French frontier, 379;
   ill-health, 383;
   reported bewitched, 384;
   will, 386;
   death, 387

 Philip V., 523, 526;
   marriage, 532;
   in Italy, 533;
   second marriage, 537

 Philip of Burgundy, 108;
   assumes title, Prince of Castile, 113, 127, 128, 133;
   intrigues with England, 149, 153;
   treaty with Ferdinand, 159;
   death, 166

 Philip Prosper, 374, 381

 Plascencia, 11

 Pole, Cardinal, 214, 220, 245

 Portocarrero, Cardinal, 493, 522

 Portugal, throws off Spanish yoke, 348;
   independence recognised, 390

 Pyrenees, Peace of, 379

 Quantin, Madame, 458, 465, 468

 Quevedo, 337

 Quintanapalla, 429

 Quintanilla, Alfonso de, 79

 Raleigh, 324

 Ramua, 108

 Ratisbon, Treaty of, 460

 Ravaillac, 319

 Rebenac, 480

 Religious Orders, 42

 Renard, Simon, 213

 Richelieu, 321

 Richmond, 153

 Rio Seco, Duke of, 505, 518

 Rieux, Madame, 282

 Riquelme, Maria de, 340

 Rivers, Lord, 63

 Rocaberti, 514, 517

 Roche sur Yon, 273

 Rocroy, 354

 Rojas, Bishop, 192

 Roncesvalles, 276

 Ronquillo, Francisco, 505

 Rosellon, 59, 100, 378

 Ruiz, 116

 Russell, Admiral, 489

 Ryswick, Peace of, 501

 ‘Sacred Brotherhood,’ 37

 Saint Chamans, 471

 St. Jean de Luz, 425

 St. Jean Pied de Port, 277

 St Jerome, monastery of, 313, 322

 Salamanca, 10, 150

 Salic Law, 31

 Salmas, Countess of, 182

 Sanchez, Gabriel, 94

 Sandwich, Lord, 390

 Santa Fe, 69

 Sant’angel, Luis de, 78, 80, 87

 Santa Maria de la Rabida, 75

 Santa Maria del Campo, 177

 Santiago, 39

 Segovia, 9, 10, 165

 Seville, 39, 48

 Sicily, 398, 414

 Soissons, Countess of, 475

 Soto, Dr., 204

 Spinola, 346

 Stanhope, Colonel, quoted, 490, 491, 498, 500, 509, 510, 513, 515, 517

 Suffolk, Earl of, 152

 Talavera, Father, 51, 57, 59, 79, 93, 116

 Tavara, Francisca de, 330

 Tendilla, Count, 72, 93, 116

 Terranova, Duchess of, 414, 429, 454

 Tilly, 346

 Toledo, 54, 127

 Tordesillas, 33, 180;
   battle, 196

 Toro, 34, 36, 142

 Torquemada, 44, 46;
   inquisitor-general, 49, 57, 59

 Torquemada (town), 172

 Trenchard, Sir John, 152

 Uceda, Duke of, 321

 Ureña, Countess of, 282

 Ursinos, Princess of, 532, 534, 535, 536, 538

 Valdés, Pedro, 328

 Valentinois, Duchess, 267

 Valenzuela, Fernando de, 398;
   honours, 403, 405;
   flight, 406;
   imprisoned at Consuegra, 408

 Valladolid, 9, 20, 30, 154, 164, 223

 Vanguyon, 461

 Vaucelles, 262

 Vega, Garcilaso de la, 163

 Velazquez, 335, 337

 Velazquez, Diego de Silva, 380

 Velez, 55

 Velez-Malaga, 64

 Vendome, Duke of, 273

 Venta de los Toros de Guisando, 16

 Verjus, Father, 464

 Vilaine, 468

 Villafafila, 159

 Villalar, 198, 209

 Villamediana, Count of, 330, 331

 Villars, Mme. de, quoted, 426, 433, 435, 443, 445, 446

 Villars, Marquis de, 420, 431, 459

 Villena, Marquis of, 5, 9, 11, 175

 Vistahermosa, Duchess of, 50

 Vivero, Juan, 22

 Westphalia, Treaty of, 364

 Weymouth, 151

 Winchester, 232

 Windsor, 152

 Wyatt family, 223

 Zahara, 56

 Zamora, 35, 36

 Zoraya, 62

 Zuñiga, Diego Lopez de, 12


Footnote 1:

  The ceremony is described by Enriquez de Castillo in the contemporary
  ‘Cronica de Enrique IV.’

Footnote 2:

  Hernando de Pulgar, ‘Cronica de los Reyes Catolicos.’

Footnote 3:

  Letter of Diego de Valera to Henry IV. MS. quoted by Amador de las
  Rios. Historia de Madrid. See also the famous poems of the time,
  Coplas de Mingo Revulgo, and Coplas del Provincial, where vivid
  pictures are given of the prevailing anarchy.

Footnote 4:

  The protest is in the archives of Villena’s descendant, the present
  Duke of Frias, to whom I am indebted for an abstract of it.

Footnote 5:

  The original treaty, which of course came to nothing, is in the Frias
  Archives, and is signed by Louis XI. as one of the contracting
  parties. It is dated 9th May 1463. I have not seen the fact stated

Footnote 6:

  The text of the demands, under thirty-nine heads, will be found in the
  ‘Documentos Ineditos,’ vol. xiv. p. 369.

Footnote 7:

  The exact sequence and dates of these and the following events have
  never yet been made clear in any of the numerous histories of the
  time, not even in Prescott, owing to the fact that Enriquez de
  Castillo and Pulgar very rarely give dates, whilst Galindez only
  mentions the years of such happenings as he records. The printing of
  the contemporary so-called ‘Cronicon de Valladolid’ (partly written by
  Isabel’s physician, Dr. Toledo) in the ‘Documentos Ineditos,’ now
  enables us to set forth the events chronologically, and thus the
  better to understand their significance.

Footnote 8:

  Enriquez de Castillo, ‘Cronica de Enrique IV.‘

Footnote 9:

  A number of decrees issued by Alfonso at the time, conferring upon
  Villena and his partisans great grants and privileges, are in the
  Frias archives; and other charters rewarding the city of Avila for its
  adherence to his cause have recently been printed by the Chronicler of
  the city from its archives, Sr. de Foronda.

Footnote 10:

  Of a poisoned trout which he ate, it was asserted by his partisans.
  The suspicion of poison is strengthened by the fact that his death was
  publicly announced as a fact some days before it happened, when he was
  quite well.

Footnote 11:

  In a series of documents recently published from the archives of the
  city of Avila by St. Foronda, there is one very curious charter signed
  by Isabel on 2nd September, before even she started for the interview
  with her brother. In it she already acts as sovereign of Avila,
  confirming the many privileges given to the city by her brother
  Alfonso, whom she calls King, and cancelling the grants of territories
  belonging to the city which King Henry had made to his follower, the
  Count of Alba. Thus she annulled the King’s grants before he bestowed
  the city upon her.

Footnote 12:

  The original deed signed by the King of Portugal, dated 2nd May 1469,
  is in the Frias archives.

Footnote 13:

  Isabel only learnt of the deception practised upon her some time
  afterwards (1471) from the partisans of the Beltraneja’s projected
  marriage with the Duke of Guienne. A genuine bull of dispensation was
  afterwards granted to her by the new Pope, Sixtus IV.

Footnote 14:

  The story of Ferdinand’s coming and his marriage is graphically told
  in the Decades of Alfonso de Palencia, who had been sent from Isabel
  to fetch him, and accompanied him on his journey.

Footnote 15:

  ‘Cronicon de Valladolid,’ a diary kept at Valladolid at the time by
  Dr. Toledo, Isabel’s physician. _Doc. Ined._ 14.

Footnote 16:

  In the Frias archives there is an undertaking, dated 2nd October 1470,
  signed by the Duke of Guienne, promising rewards to Cardinal Mendoza,
  the Marquis of Villena, the Duke of Arevalo, and others, for their aid
  in bringing about the betrothal with the Beltraneja.

Footnote 17:

  Dueñas was granted on the same day, 21st October 1470, to the Princess
  Doña Juana (the Beltraneja). Cronicon de Valladolid.

Footnote 18:

  How much Isabel prized the fidelity of these steadfast adherents is
  seen by the last act of her life. On her deathbed she revoked—not very
  honestly or graciously most people think—all grants and rewards she
  had given out of crown possessions, on the pretext that she had been
  moved to make them more by need than by her own wish. The only
  exception she made was the manors of the Marquisite of Moya, which,
  with the title, had been granted to Cabrera and his wife Doña Beatriz

Footnote 19:

  Recorded in Enriquez de Castillo’s ‘Cronica de Enrique IV.‘

Footnote 20:

  It should be mentioned that the faithless Queen of Henry IV., the
  mother of the Beltraneja, lived apart from him in Madrid. She had
  several children by various men subsequently.

Footnote 21:

  Galindez tells the story that Henry on his deathbed swore that Juana
  was really his child, and says that he left a will in her favour of
  which Villena was the executor. The latter having predeceased the
  King, the will remained in the keeping of Oviedo, the King’s
  secretary, who afterwards entrusted it to the curate of Santa Cruz at
  Madrid. He, fearing to hold it, enclosed it in a chest with other
  papers and buried it at Almeida, in Portugal. Years afterwards Isabel
  learnt of this, and when, in 1504, she was mortally ill, she sent the
  curate and the lawyer who had told her to disinter the will. When they
  brought it she was too ill to see it, and it remained in the lawyer’s
  keeping. He informed Ferdinand after the Queen’s death, and the King
  ordered the document to be burnt, whilst the lawyer was richly
  rewarded. Others say, continues Galindez, that the paper was

Footnote 22:

  She died in June 1475.

Footnote 23:

  Although she allowed a poor madman who attempted to kill Ferdinand to
  be torn to bits by red hot pincers, and consigned scores of thousands
  of poor wretches to the flames for doubting the correctness of her
  views on religion, she refused ever to go to a bullfight after
  attending one at which two men had been killed. She strongly condemned
  such waste of human life without good object.

Footnote 24:

  Oviedo, who knew her well, says that no other woman could compare with
  her in beauty.

Footnote 25:

  ‘Cronicon de Valladolid,’ Doc. Ined. 14, and also Alfonso de Palencia.

Footnote 26:

  As one instance of the mercenary character of the Castilian nobles of
  the time, I may mention that there is a bond signed by the King of
  Portugal in the Frias archives promising to young Villena the
  Mastership of Santiago in payment for his help.

Footnote 27:

  The King of Portugal, having heard that Castilian raiders had crossed
  the Portuguese frontier, is said to have proposed to Ferdinand at this
  juncture a compromise, by which the Beltraneja should be dropped, and
  Isabel recognised in return for the cession to Portugal of all Galicia
  and the two fortresses of Zamora and Toro which he occupied. Ferdinand
  was inclined to agree to this, and sent an envoy to propose it to his
  wife. Before the envoy had finished his first sentence Isabel stopped
  him indignantly, and forbade him to continue. She herself, she said,
  would in future direct the war, and no foot of her own realm of
  Castile should be surrendered. She then hurried to Medina and summoned
  the Cortes, as is told in the text.

Footnote 28:

  Each group of 100 heads of families subscribed sufficient to pay,
  mount, arm, and maintain a horseman; and when intelligence of a crime
  came, every church bell in the district rang an alarm to summon the
  members of the constabulary to pursue the evil-doer, a special prize
  being given to the captor. It must be understood that the townships in
  Spain extend in every case over a large territory outside the walls,
  so that the house tax, although nominally urban because collected by
  the municipalities, was really collected also from rural hamlets.

Footnote 29:

  The importance of obtaining control of the Orders was seen by Isabel
  at the very beginning of her reign. When the Master of Santiago died
  in 1476 the Queen was at Valladolid. Without a moment’s delay she
  mounted her horse and rode to the town of Huete, where the Chapter to
  elect the new Master was to be held. She entered the Chapter and in an
  energetic speech urged the knights for the sake of her, their
  sovereign, to elect her husband their Master. The Castilian knights
  were angry at the idea of an Aragonese heading them, and opposed the
  suggestion. Isabel found a way out by pledging Ferdinand to transfer
  his powers as Master to a Castilian as soon as he was elected; and
  this he did, appointing his faithful follower Cardenas; but when the
  latter died Ferdinand became actual Master. Thenceforward the
  knighthoods (_encomiendas_) were endowed with pensions derived from
  rent charges on portions of the estates, the bulk of the revenue being
  absorbed by the King’s treasury. For details of the Orders and their
  appropriation, see Ulick Burke’s ‘History of Spain’ to 1515, edited by
  Martin Hume.

Footnote 30:

  As at Jaen in 1473, where the Constable of Castile was killed whilst
  trying to stop the massacre.

Footnote 31:

  Galindez and Perez de Pulgar.

Footnote 32:

  At the Cortes of Madrigal in 1479, and in those of Toledo in 1480,
  Isabel and Ferdinand renewed all the old ferocious edicts against the
  use of silk and jewels by Jews in their garments, and ordered them
  strictly to confine their residence to the ghettoes, and two years
  later all toleration they enjoyed by papal decree was abolished.

Footnote 33:

  Father Florez claims for Isabel and Torquemada alone what he considers
  the great honour of establishing the Inquisition.

Footnote 34:

  In the first eight years of its existence, the Inquisition burnt in
  Seville alone 700 people, and sent to perpetual imprisonment in the
  dungeons 5000 more, confiscating all their goods.—_Bernaldez._

Footnote 35:

  Shortly after her death, the mayor of her own city of Medina del Campo
  declared that the soul of Isabel had gone to hell for her cruel
  oppression of her subjects, and that all the people around Valladolid
  and Medina, where she was best known, were of the same
  opinion.—_Spanish State Papers_, Supplement to vols. i. and ii.

Footnote 36:

  Florez, ‘Reinas Catolicos.’

Footnote 37:

  Pulgar. ‘Cronica de los Reyes Catolicos.’

Footnote 38:

  The Moors justified the attack by the accusation that the famous Ponce
  de Leon, Marquis of Cadiz, had raided and plundered the town of
  Mercadillo, near Ronda.

Footnote 39:

  When somewhat later the Queen urgently begged him to accept the
  bishopric of Salamanca, and he persistently refused, she reproached
  him for not obeying her once when she had obeyed him so many times. ‘I
  will not be the bishop,’ he replied, ‘of any place but Granada.’ He
  was in effect the first archbishop.

Footnote 40:

  Pulgar, ‘Cronica de los Reyes Catolicos.’

Footnote 41:

  Lagréze. See also Zurita’s ‘Anales de Aragon.’

Footnote 42:

  Florez, ‘Reinas Catolicos.’

Footnote 43:

  See Perez de Pulgar, ‘Reyes Catolicos.’

Footnote 44:

  Florez, ‘Reinas Catolicos.’

Footnote 45:

  Bernaldez, ‘Reyes Catolicos,’ and Bleda’s ‘Cronica.’

Footnote 46:

  The chroniclers of the siege dilate much upon the magnificent
  appearance of Isabel and her great train of ladies when, on the day of
  her arrival before Baza, she reviewed her troops in full view of the
  dumbfoundered Moors on the ramparts of the fortress. Her own Castilian
  troops, frantic with enthusiasm, no longer cried ‘Long live the
  Queen,’ but ‘Long live our _King_ Isabel.’—_Florez_, ‘Reinas
  Catolicos,’ and Letters of Peter Martyr, who was present.

Footnote 47:

  The professed Christian Jews were much more severely dealt with than
  the unbaptised.

Footnote 48:

  Perez de Hita (Historia de los Vandos) recounts that the city of Santa
  Fe sprang from a marvellous edifice which four grandees caused to be
  constructed in a single night. It consisted of four buildings of wood
  covered with painted canvas to imitate stone, and surrounded by a
  battlemented wall of a similar construction. Roadways in the form of a
  cross divided the four blocks with a gate at each of the four
  extremities. The Moors, on seeing what they thought was a strong
  fortress raised so rapidly, thought that witchcraft had been at work,
  and were utterly cast down.

Footnote 49:

  The title ‘Catholic’ was formally conferred upon them by the Pope
  after the taking of Granada.

Footnote 50:

  He promptly sold this to Isabel, and retired to Fez, where he was
  murdered. The account of the surrender is mainly taken from Perez de
  Hita’s ‘Historia de los Vandos,’ 1610, and Perez de Pulgar’s

Footnote 51:

  She is said never to have allowed Ferdinand to wear a shirt except
  those that she herself made for him.—_Navarro Rodrigo_, ‘El Cardinal

Footnote 52:

  The sequence of the movements of Columbus, and several facts and dates
  here given, vary from the current accounts. The narrative here set
  forth has been carefully compiled from the result of much recent
  Spanish research, besides the well-known texts of Navarrete and the
  superb anthology of contemporary information reproduced by Mr.
  Thatcher in his exhaustive three volumes lately published. I have also
  depended much upon Rodriguez Pinilla’s ‘Colon en España,’ Cappa’s
  ‘Colon y los Españoles,’ and Ibarra y Rodriguez’s ‘Fernando el
  Catolico y el Descubrimiento de America,’ etc. etc.

Footnote 53:

  See Columbus’s own letter to the nurse of Prince Juan, reproduced by
  Mr. Thatcher.

Footnote 54:

  As Medina Celi was with Ferdinand during all the campaign of 1485, it
  is possible that he may have mentioned it to the King then, and have
  been told that when there was time the sovereigns themselves would
  examine into the matter.

Footnote 55:

  Las Casas and F. Colon.

Footnote 56:

  Fernando Colon.

Footnote 57:

  Las Casas.

Footnote 58:

  Fernando Colon.

Footnote 59:

  The speech, which is probably apocryphal, is given at length by Las

Footnote 60:

  The legend of Queen Isabel and her jewels has been now completely
  disproved by my friend, Don Cesareo Fernandez Duro, in his article
  ‘Las Joyas de la Reina Isabel’ in the ‘Revista Contemporanea,’ vol.

Footnote 61:

  Professor Ibarra y Rodriguez’s interesting study ‘Fernando el Catolico
  y el Descubrimiento’ (Madrid, 1892) makes this matter clear for the
  first time. The treasury of Castile was empty, but Ferdinand had
  plenty of money in Aragon. He was careful, however, not to allow the
  Castilians to know this, or they would have clamoured for some of it
  for their war against Granada, whilst he was hoarding it for his war
  against France. He therefore went through the comedy of causing
  Sant’angel to lend the million maravedis, apparently out of his own
  pocket, but the money was secretly advanced for the purpose to
  Sant’angel from the King’s Aragonese treasury, to which it was
  subsequently repaid through Sant’angel.

Footnote 62:

  Some of these took the form of generosity at other people’s expense.
  The town of Palos was ordered, as punishment for some offence, to
  provide two caravels and stores.

Footnote 63:

  Quoted by Florez. ‘Reinas Catolicos.’

Footnote 64:

  _Ibid._ Both Luis de Sant’angel, who served as accountant general, and
  Gabriel Sanchez, the Aragonese treasurer, were of Jewish descent.

Footnote 65:

  From Ulick Burke’s ‘History of Spain.’ Edited by Martin Hume. Only
  five years after the expulsion from Spain, as many of the Spanish Jews
  had fled to Portugal, Isabel, through her daughter, who had married
  the King of Portugal, coerced the latter to expel all Jews from his

Footnote 66:

  It is said that Ferdinand tried to save the life of his assailant, who
  had been condemned to the most cruel and awful tortures as a
  punishment. The Catalans, furious at being baulked of their vengeance,
  appealed to Isabel, who decided that the sentence should be carried
  out, but that the victim should be secretly suffocated first.

Footnote 67:

  The Luis de Sant’angel and the Sanchez letter have been published
  several times, but the letter to the Sovereigns has been lost, but for
  some passages quoted by Las Casas.

Footnote 68:

  It is related that the Queen concealed from Jimenez her intention to
  make him Primate, and handed him unexpectedly the papal bull addressed
  to him as: The venerable brother Francisco Jimenez de Cisneros,
  Archbishop-elect of Toledo. When the friar saw the superscription he
  dropped the document and fled, crying, This bull is not for me. He was
  pursued and caught two leagues from Madrid by envoys from Isabel, and
  still refused the great preferment on the ground of his unworthiness.
  He stood out for six months until Isabel obtained from the Pope a
  peremptory command to him to accept the archbishopric, and even then
  he insisted that the vast revenues should be used for pious and
  charitable purposes.

Footnote 69:

  A full account of these complicated intrigues will be found in the
  present writer’s ‘Wives of Henry VIII.‘

Footnote 70:

  Father Florez quotes a remark of Isabel, on another occasion, warmly
  approving of the bullfight, ‘which, though foreigners who have not
  seen it condemn as barbarous, she considered it very different, and as
  a diversion where valour and dexterity shine.’

Footnote 71:

  Florez, ‘Reinas Catolicos.’

Footnote 72:

  Montero de los Rios ‘Historia de Madrid.’

Footnote 73:


Footnote 74:

  Ferdinand had wished to appoint an Aragonese commander, but as Castile
  was defraying most of the expenses of the war, Isabel insisted upon a
  Castilian being appointed.

Footnote 75:

  Clemencin. ‘Elogio.’

Footnote 76:

  Zurita, ‘Anales,’ and Padilla, ‘Cronica de Felipe I.‘

Footnote 77:

  The Spanish chroniclers complain bitterly of Philip’s slowness in
  coming to meet his bride. He was in Tyrol when she arrived in
  Flanders, and spent nearly a month in joining her at Lille. From the
  first the love was all on poor Joan’s side.

Footnote 78:

  Ferdinand, it is related, fearing that the sudden news of Juan’s death
  would kill Isabel with grief, caused her to be told that it was her
  husband, Ferdinand himself, that had died, so that when he presented
  himself before her, the—as he supposed—lesser grief of her son’s death
  should be mitigated by learning that her husband was alive. The
  experiment does not appear to have been very successful, as Isabel was
  profoundly affected when she heard the truth. (_Florez_, ‘Reinas

Footnote 79:

  In fact the Cortes of Aragon obstinately refused to swear allegiance
  to the Infanta Isabel as heiress when she went to Saragossa for the
  purpose in the autumn; and she was kept there in great distress until
  her expected child should be born, which, if it were a male, would
  receive the oath of the Cortes. The anxiety and worry consequent upon
  this killed the Infanta (Queen of Portugal) in the birth of her child
  Miguel in August.

Footnote 80:

  Her story is told in ‘The Wives of Henry VIII.,’ by the present

Footnote 81:

  ‘Spanish State Papers.’ Calendar, Supplement to vol. i. p. 405.

Footnote 82:

  ‘Calendar of Spanish State Papers,’ Supplement to vol. i. ‘Reports of
  the Sub-Prior of Santa Cruz to Isabel.’

Footnote 83:

  Ferdinand sent at once an envoy to remonstrate with Maximilian about
  his son’s pretensions, but it was soon seen that Maximilian and his
  son were entirely in accord. Maximilian had the effrontery to claim
  the crown of Portugal in right of his mother, Doña Leonor of Portugal,
  and the crown of Castile for Juana, in preference to any daughter that
  might be born to her eldest sister, Isabel of Portugal. Ferdinand’s
  enemy, the King of France, naturally supported these pretensions,
  which were really put forward at the time to thwart Ferdinand, whose
  plans in Italy were now seen to threaten the suzerainty of the empire
  over some of the Italian States.

Footnote 84:

  As showing how unrelenting was Isabel’s determination to exterminate
  infidelity in the whole Peninsula at the time, it may be mentioned
  that one of the conditions of the marriage of her eldest widowed
  daughter Isabel to the King of Portugal in 1497, was that every Jew
  should be expelled from Portugal.

Footnote 85:

  Marmol Carbajal, ‘Rebelion of Castigo de los Moros de Granada.’

Footnote 86:

  Marmol Carbajal. It will be recollected that Ferdinand had opposed
  Jimenez’s appointment, as he wanted the archbishopric and primacy for
  his son.

Footnote 87:

  Ulick Burke, ‘History of Spain.’ Edited by Martin Hume.

Footnote 88:

  Las Casas.

Footnote 89:

  Colon’s son, Ferdinand, says that he ordered his fetters to be buried
  with him: but this does not appear to have been done. His bitter
  indignation is expressed by his son, Fernando, and in Colon’s ‘Letter
  to the Nurse.’

Footnote 90:

  Zurita: Rodriguez Villa, ‘Juana la Loca,’ and ‘Calendar of Spanish
  State Papers,’ Supplement to Vol. i.

Footnote 91:

  Especially the Archbishop of Besançon, whose influence over Philip was
  great. Philip would not let him go; but he died suddenly directly
  afterwards, doubtless of poison. Philip’s hurry to get away from Spain
  was attributed to his own fears of poison.

Footnote 92:

  A copy of their urgent remonstrance from Toledo is in MS. in the Royal
  Academy of History, Madrid.

Footnote 93:

  ‘Calendar of Spanish State Papers,’ Supplement to vols. i and ii.

Footnote 94:

  Sandoval, in his ‘Historia de Carlos V.,’ gives a glowing account of
  the festivities that followed, and especially of a ridiculously
  fulsome sermon preached by the Bishop of Malaga on the occasion,
  laying quite a malicious emphasis upon poor Joan’s devotion to what
  was called in Spain ‘Christianity,’ or rather the strict Catholic

Footnote 95:

  These interesting letters are in MS. in the Royal Academy of History,
  Madrid, A 11. Some of them are quoted by Rodriguez Villa in his ‘Dona
  Juana la Loca.’

Footnote 96:

  Royal Academy of History, Madrid, A 9, and Rodriguez Villa.

Footnote 97:

  He even had a letter written, as if by his child Charles of three
  years old, to King Ferdinand praying that his mamma might be allowed
  to come home to them.

Footnote 98:

  When the will was signed Isabel called her husband to her bedside, and
  with tears made him swear that, neither by a second marriage nor
  otherwise, would he try to deprive Joan of the crown. She fell back
  then prostrate and was thought to be dead, but afterwards revived.

Footnote 99:

  Zurita, ‘Anales de Aragon.’

Footnote 100:

  A full account of the progress of events from day to day at the time
  is given in Documents Ineditos, vol 18.

Footnote 101:

  Ferdinand, after the Cortes had taken the oath of allegiance,
  addressed to them a document (quoted in full by Zurita) saying that
  when Queen Isabel provided in her will for the case of Joan’s
  incapacity to rule, she had not gone further into particulars out of
  consideration for her daughter; although the latter had, whilst she
  was in Spain, shown signs of mental disturbance. The time had now
  come, said Ferdinand, to inform the Cortes in strict secrecy of the
  real state of affairs. Since Joan’s return to Flanders reports from
  Ferdinand’s agents, and from Philip himself, which were exhibited to
  the Cortes, said that her malady had increased, and that her state was
  such that the case foreseen by Queen Isabel in her will had now
  arrived. The Cortes, after much deliberation and against the nobles,
  led by the Duke of Najera, thereupon decided to acknowledge Ferdinand
  as ruler owing to the incapacity of Joan.

Footnote 102:

  Zurita, ‘Anales de Aragon.’

Footnote 103:

  Discovered in the Alburquerque archives by Sr. Rodriguez Villa, and
  published by him in his ‘Doña Juana La Loca.’

Footnote 104:

  It has already been mentioned on page 26 that, according to Galindez,
  a will of Henry IV. leaving the crown of Castile to the Beltraneja had
  come into Ferdinand’s possession on Isabel’s death. The authority for
  the statement that Ferdinand offered marriage to the Beltraneja at
  this juncture is principally Zurita, ‘Anales de Aragon,’ and it was
  adopted by Mariana and later historians. Mr. Prescott scornfully
  rejects the whole story, without, as it seems to me, any reason
  whatever for doing so, except that it tells against Ferdinand’s
  character. It is surely too late in the day to hope to save _that_.

Footnote 105:

  ‘Collection de Voyages des Souverains des Pays Bas,’ vol. i.

Footnote 106:

  From a most entertaining Spanish account in manuscript in the Royal
  Academy of History, Madrid, in which the courtiers are mercilessly

Footnote 107:

  ‘Spanish State Papers Calendar,’ vol. i. Peter Martyr (Epist. 300)
  says that Katharine did her best to solace, comfort and entertain her
  sister Joan, but that the latter would take pleasure in nothing, and
  only loved solitude and darkness. In order to preserve appearances,
  the treaty arranged and signed before Joan’s arrival at Windsor was
  ostensibly entered into by Philip as ruler of Flanders, not as King of
  Castile; but its whole object obviously was to strengthen Philip in

Footnote 108:

  None of Ferdinand’s envoys were allowed to see Joan at Corunna, but
  when the great Castilian nobles, Count Benavente and Marquis de
  Villena, came to pay homage, Joan was seated by the side of her
  husband, and the reception hall was thrown open to the public. This
  was necessary in consequence of the jealousy of Castilians against
  foreigners, and their insistence upon Joan’s sovereignty; but it was
  the only occasion on which Philip openly associated her with his

Footnote 109:

  See the draft summons to nobles and gentry, kept ready for the
  eventuality, reproduced by Rodriguez Villa, ‘Doña Juana la Loca.’

Footnote 110:

  Her grand-daughter, another Joan, sister of Philip II. and Princess of
  Portugal, had also after her widowhood this curious fancy to keep her
  face hidden.

Footnote 111:

  The part played by Jimenez at this period has always been a puzzling
  problem. He was apparently in the full confidence of Philip, but it is
  impossible to believe that he was not really acting in concert with
  Ferdinand at the time. He probably knew that one way or the other
  Philip was bound to disappear very soon, and his presence at the
  crisis would enable him, as it actually did, to keep firm hold upon
  the government until Ferdinand returned. His anxiety to get the
  custody of Joan seems to point to this also, as the person who held
  the Queen was the master of the situation.

Footnote 112:

  Estanques’ ‘Cronica’ in Documentos Ineditos, vol. viii.

Footnote 113:

  Although, as was usual, Philip’s Italian physician vehemently denied
  that there were any indications of poison on the remains, there can be
  but little doubt that Philip was murdered by agents of Ferdinand. The
  statement to that effect was freely and publicly made at the time, but
  the authorities were always afraid to prosecute those who made them.
  See ‘Calendar of Spanish State Papers,’ Supplement to Vol. i., p.
  xxxvii. There were many persons who attributed Philip’s death, not to
  Ferdinand, but to the Inquisition, which Philip had offended by
  softening its rigour, and suspending the chief Inquisitors, Deza and
  Lucero; but this is very improbable.

Footnote 114:

  ‘Collection de Voyages des Souverains des Pays Bas,’ vol. i. It is
  here stated that foreign officers of the household broke up all the
  gold and silver plate they could lay hands on to turn into money, and
  pay their way back to Flanders.

Footnote 115:

  ‘Collection de Voyages des Souverains des Pays Bas.’

Footnote 116:

  On the very day that Philip died, an attempt was made by a faction of
  nobles to obtain possession of the young Prince. The keeper of the
  Castle of Simancas was on his guard, as he knew of the King’s illness,
  and refused admittance to any but the two gentlemen who bore Philip’s
  signed order for the child to be delivered to them. When the morrow
  brought news of the King’s death, the Seneschal refused to obey the
  order, and defied the forces sent to capture the fortress.

Footnote 117:

  The monks at first flatly refused to have the corpse moved, and the
  Bishop of Burgos reproved the Queen. Joan, however, fell into such a
  fury, that they were forced to obey.

Footnote 118:

  An interesting letter from Ferdinand’s secretary, Conchillos, who was
  at Burgos, to Almazan, who accompanied Ferdinand in Italy (Royal
  Academy of History, Salazar A 12, reproduced by Sr. Rodriguez Villa),
  dated 23rd December, gives a vivid picture of the confusion and
  scandal caused by this sudden caprice of the Queen. He says that
  though they had all done their best to prevent any one speaking to her
  but her father’s partisans, the Marquis of Villena, his opponent, is
  the person she welcomes most. ‘With this last caprice of the Queen
  there is no one, big or little, who any longer denies that she is out
  of her mind, except Juan Lopez, who says that she is as sane as her
  mother was, and lends her money for all this nonsense.’

Footnote 119:

  Jimenez also raised a force of one thousand picked soldiers under an
  Italian commander to enable him to keep the upper hand.

Footnote 120:

  Puebla to Ferdinand, Spanish Calendar, vol. i. 409.

Footnote 121:

  Peter Martyr, Epistolæ.

Footnote 122:

  Villena was against Ferdinand, though Joan liked him. She probably
  meant that it was he who had inspired the protest.

Footnote 123:

  The Castilian jealousy of Aragonese government, which was really at
  the bottom of the adherence of the nobility to Philip, was not by any
  means dead; and, but for the firmness of Jimenez and the diplomacy of
  Ferdinand, it is quite probable that a league of nobles would have
  seized Joan at this time and have governed in her name. Most of the
  greater Castilian nobles appear to have made mutual protests against
  the assumption of rule in Castile by Ferdinand; and in the archives of
  the Duke of Frias there is one dated 19th June 1507, just before
  Ferdinand landed at Valencia, and signed by the Marquis Pacheco,
  solemnly repudiating Ferdinand as King, swearing to be loyal to Joan,
  and attributing anything that he may subsequently do to the contrary
  effect, to intimidation and force. As these protests were kept secret
  the nobles made themselves safe either way.

Footnote 124:

  The Marquis of Villena had just been brought to his side, and somewhat
  later Juan Manuel was bribed to give up his fortresses, though he
  himself retired to Flanders, for he would never trust Ferdinand. The
  only great noble who continued to hold out was the Duke of Najera.

Footnote 125:

  Copied by Rodriguez Villa.

Footnote 126:

  It is in the immediate neighbourhood of Burgos, and one of the coldest
  places in Spain.

Footnote 127:

  And at a later period, when that danger was at an end, the fear of
  scandal being caused in a court so slavishly Catholic by Joan’s
  violent hatred of the religious services.

Footnote 128:

  This strangely privileged corps has always had the duty to guard the
  sovereigns of Castile personally inside their apartments. The men are
  all drawn by right from the inhabitants of the town of Espinosa only.

Footnote 129:

  Calendar, Spanish State Papers, Supplement to vol. i. All the
  documents quoted in narrating this period of Joan’s life are from the
  same source, and from the collection of the Royal Academy of History
  (Rodriguez Villa).

Footnote 130:

  By a long series of intrigues Chièvres had forced the hands of Jimenez
  to have Charles and Joan proclaimed joint sovereigns even before the
  arrival of the former. The Pope and the Emperor had been persuaded to
  address Charles as Catholic King upon Ferdinand’s death; but in the
  face of the discontent of the Castilian nobles it was necessary for
  Charles at last to make all manner of promises as to his future
  residence in Spain, respect for Spanish traditions, and avoidance of
  using Spanish money for foreign purposes, as well as that to which
  reference is made in the text with regard to Joan, before he could be
  fully acknowledged. He broke most of his pledges at once, and so
  precipitated the great rising of the _Comuneros_. See ‘Vie de
  Chièvres’ by Varilla.

Footnote 131:

  Denia told the rebels that he had appealed to the Queen for a
  certificate of his dismissal, but what he really asked for was her
  written order to stay. In reply, she told him to go about his business
  and talk to her no more. He was, however, successful in getting a
  letter from the young Infanta to the revolutionary Junta praying them
  not to send the marchioness away, but it had no effect. The Infanta
  got into sad disgrace with her brother for her alleged kindness and
  sympathy with the rebels, but she spiritedly defended herself, and
  appealed to this letter of hers in favour of the Denias as proof that
  she did what she could in very difficult and dangerous circumstances.
  (Letters from Simancas copied by Señor Rodriguez Villa.)

Footnote 132:

  It was one of the principal allegations of the government, that,
  although Joan never signed anything for the rebels, her verbal orders
  were at once taken down in notarial form and acted upon as royal

Footnote 133:

  One of her demands was that all her women should be sent away, as they
  were. Her hatred of her own sex was remarkable.

Footnote 134:

  The Admiral of Castile and other nobles at the time endeavoured to
  prevail upon Joan to take the direction of affairs under _their_
  guidance; but she refused just as obstinately to give her signature to
  them as she had to the rebels. Denia writes to the Emperor that the
  Admiral is very anxious to cure the Queen; but in no case will it be
  allowed without the Emperor’s permission. ‘Besides, it would be
  another resurrection of Lazarus.’ The bitterest complaints of Denia
  and his methods were sent by the great nobles to Charles, whilst Denia
  could say no good word for them.

Footnote 135:

  Mr. Bergenroth translated ‘_hacerle premia_,’ ‘applying torture,’ and
  it may be so translated. I prefer, however, the wider interpretation;
  though, no doubt, Denia meant to recommend physical coercion.

Footnote 136:

  The Emperor ordered her to be taken to Toro in 1527, but Denia was
  afraid of forcing her to go.

Footnote 137:

  Denia’s account of the interview with Borgia (confirmed by the latter)
  is extremely curious. The priestly Duke said, as she would do nothing
  else, she might recite the ‘General Confession,’ and he would absolve
  her. ‘Can you absolve?’ she asked. ‘Yes!’ he replied, ‘with the
  exception of certain cases.’ ‘Then,’ said the Queen, ‘you recite the
  General Confession.’ This Borgia did, and asked her whether she said
  the same. ‘Yes,’ she replied; and ‘she then permitted him to absolve
  her.’ It will be seen that there was not much submission in this. Only
  a day or so afterwards she appears to have flown into a terrible
  passion because some new hangings and gold ornaments had been placed
  on the corridor altar; and she refused to eat until they had been
  removed, and the altar left plain as before.

Footnote 138:

  For particulars of this portrait, hitherto unknown, see ‘Calendars of
  Spanish State Papers,’ vol. viii., edited by Martin Hume.

Footnote 139:

  Ambassades de Noailles, vol. ii. p. 99.

Footnote 140:

  Antonio de Guaras to the Duke of Alburquerque. ‘Antonio de Guaras,’ by
  Dr. R. Garnett. For particulars of this personage, Antonio de Guaras,
  see ‘Españoles é Ingleses,’ por Martin Hume. Madrid y Londres, 1903.

Footnote 141:

  Correspondance de Cardinal de Granvelle.

Footnote 142:

  These were all councillors in the interest and pay of the Emperor, and
  were pledged in any case to favour the match.

Footnote 143:

  Record Office. Record Commission Transcripts, Brussels, vol. i.

Footnote 144:

  Chronicle of Queen Jane and Queen Mary. Camden Society.

Footnote 145:

  Chronicle of Queen Jane and Queen Mary. Camden Society.

Footnote 146:

  On the 21st January 1554 the Emperor wrote to Philip sending him the
  treaty for ratification, and asked him to send powers for the formal
  betrothal, since the English insist that when, by the blessing of God,
  the marriage takes place you shall take an oath to respect the laws
  and privileges of England: ‘_but the Queen confidently assures us that
  secretly everything shall be done to our liking, and we believe
  this_.’ MSS. Simancas. Estado, 808.

Footnote 147:

  ‘The Coming of Philip the Prudent’ in ‘The Year after the Armada,’ by
  Martin Hume.

Footnote 148:

  Renard to the Emperor, 27th March 1554. Record Commission Transcripts,
  also printed by Tytler.

Footnote 149:

  Full details of Philip’s voyage and arrival in England will be found
  in ‘The Coming of Philip the Prudent’ in ‘The Year after the Armada,’
  by Martin Hume.

Footnote 150:

  Renard to the Emperor, 9th June 1554, Brussels Transcripts, Record

Footnote 151:

  ‘The Coming of Philip the Prudent,’ in ‘The Year After the Armada,’ by
  Martin Hume. Philip himself brought 600 Andalusian jennets to improve
  the English breed of horses.

Footnote 152:

  Though the palace is a crumbling ruin, the door in the garden wall

Footnote 153:

  This, I am aware, is contrary to the statements of most English
  historians, and especially of Mr. Froude. The evidence in favour of my
  view of the King’s attitude is stated in my essay called ‘The Coming
  of Philip the Prudent,’ in ‘The Year After the Armada’ and other
  historical essays. Mr. Froude and his predecessors depended too
  implicitly upon the entirely untrustworthy and biassed accounts sent
  by Noailles to France, and the similarly inimical Venetian agent’s

Footnote 154:

  ‘The Coming of Philip the Prudent.’

Footnote 155:

  Ruy Gomez wrote from Richmond, 24th August 1554, to Eraso. ‘The King
  entertains the Queen excellently, and knows very well how to pass over
  what is not good in her for the sensibility of the flesh. He keeps her
  so contented that truly the other day, when they were alone together,
  she almost made love to him, and he answered in the same fashion. As
  for these gentlemen (_i.e._, the English councillors), his behaviour
  towards them is such that they themselves confess that they have never
  yet had a King in England who so soon won the hearts of all men.’ MSS.
  Simancas Estado, 808. In November 1554 Gonzalo Perez wrote to Vasquez:
  ‘The English are now so civil you would hardly believe it. The
  kindness and gifts they have received, and are receiving every day,
  from the King would soften the very stones. The Queen is a saint, and
  I feel sure that God will help us for her sake.’—MSS. Simancas Estado,

Footnote 156:

  Ambassades de Noailles, vol. iii. Leyden, 1763.

Footnote 157:

  It had been announced and was generally believed that Mary was dead,
  and the citizens were overjoyed to see her in an open litter with
  Philip and Pole riding by her side.

Footnote 158:

  Badoero to the Doge. Venetian State Papers. 15th December 1558.

Footnote 159:

  Michaeli, the Venetian Envoy (‘Calendar of Venetian State Papers’),
  mentions one extraordinary journey of a courier at this time from
  Paris to London in twenty-five hours.

Footnote 160:

  It is related by the Flemish envoy Courteville that on his way through
  Canterbury he entered the Cathedral with his spurs on, against the
  rule; and on being charged with this by a student, he paid the fine by
  emptying his purse of gold in the student’s cap.

Footnote 161:

  Feria to the King. MSS., ‘Simancas Estado,’ 811.

Footnote 162:

  This English fleet was mainly instrumental in gaining for the Flemings
  a great victory over the French under Termes in July 1558.

Footnote 163:

  MSS., ‘Simancas Estado,’ 811.

Footnote 164:

  MSS., ‘Simancas Estado,’ 811.

Footnote 165:

  This account of Mary’s last hours is from the Life of Jane Dormer,
  Duchess of Feria, by her confessor and secretary, Father Clifford.

Footnote 166:

  A curious account of the splendid festival, which celebrated at the
  same time the signature of the peace with England and Isabel’s
  baptism, is given by the Spanish ambassador. (Spanish Calendar, vol.
  viii., edited by Martin Hume.)

Footnote 167:

  The Bishop of Limoges, writing to Cardinal Lorraine soon after the
  betrothal (8th August 1559), says: ‘Never was a prince so delighted
  with any creature as he (_i.e._, Philip) is with the Catholic Queen,
  his wife. It is impossible to put his joy in a letter.’—L. Paris,
  ‘Negociations sous François II.‘

Footnote 168:

  Miss Freer’s ‘Elizabeth de Valois,’ quoted from Godefroi.

Footnote 169:

  ‘Documentos Ineditos,’ vol. iii. Philip to Francis II. from

Footnote 170:

  Bibliothèque Nationale, ‘Fonds François,’ No. 7237, where there is a
  considerable collection of the poems of both mother and daughter
  unprinted. Miss Frere quotes some of Catharine’s lines to Isabel, but
  not the above.

Footnote 171:

  ‘Documentos Ineditos,’ vol. iii.

Footnote 172:

  The account of Isabel’s voyage and reception is drawn mainly from the
  narratives of eyewitnesses in the correspondence published by M. L.
  Paris in ‘Negociations sous François II.‘

Footnote 173:

  ‘Négociations sous François II.,’ p. 173.

Footnote 174:

  Even more comforted, we are told, were the poor maids of honour, whose
  own beds and baggage had gone astray.

Footnote 175:

  Brantome, ‘Dames Illustres.’

Footnote 176:

  Brantome says he had this story from one of Isabel’s ladies in waiting
  who was present.

Footnote 177:

  _i.e._ Anne of Bourbon Montpensier.

Footnote 178:

  ‘Negociations sous Francois II.,’ p. 706.

Footnote 179:

  Brantome, ‘Dames Illustres.’

Footnote 180:

  ‘Negociations sous François II.‘

Footnote 181:

  _i.e._ Margaret of Valois, La Reine Margot, who afterwards married
  Henry IV., the Bearnais on the evil day of St. Bartholomew, and was
  subsequently put aside by him.

Footnote 182:

  Particulars of these intrigues will be found in ‘The Love Affairs of
  Mary Queen of Scots’ by Martin Hume.

Footnote 183:

  She afterwards married Philip himself as his fourth wife.

Footnote 184:

  Négociations sous François II.

Footnote 185:


Footnote 186:

  Letter from the French ambassador in Spain to Catharine de’ Medici,
  quoted in ‘Vie d’Elisabeth de Valois,’ par le Marquis du Prat.

Footnote 187:

  Speaking of this illness Brantôme says quaintly, ‘Elle tomba malade en
  telle extrémité qu’elle fut abandonnée des medecins. Sur quoy il y eut
  un certain petit medecin Italien qui pourtant n’avoit grande vogue à
  la cour, qui se presentant au roy, dit que, si on le vouloit laisser
  faire, il la gueriroit, ce que le roy permit: aussi estoit elle morte.
  Il entreprend et luy donne une medecine, qu’apres l’avoir prise on luy
  vit tout a coup monter miraculeusement la couleur au visage et
  reprendre son parler et puis après sa convalescence. Et cependant
  toute la cour et tout le peuple d’Espagne rompaient les chemins de
  processions, d’allées et venues qu’ils fasoient aux eglises et aux
  hospitaux pour sa Santé, les uns en chemise les autres nuds pieds,
  nues testes, offrans offrandes, prieres, oraisons et intercessions à
  Dieu par jeusnes, macerations de corps et autres telles sainctes et
  bonnes dévotions pour sa Santé.’

  Brantôme arrived in Spain soon after her recovery, and vividly
  describes the joy and gratitude of the people at her convalescence. He
  saw her, he says, go out in her carriage for the first time after her
  recovery to give thanks to the Virgin of Guadalupe, and asserts that
  she looked more lovely than ever as she sat at the door of the
  carriage for the people to see her. She was dressed in white satin
  covered with silver trimming, her face being uncovered. ‘Mais je crois
  que jamais rien ne fut veu si beau que cette reine, comme je pris
  l’hardiesse de luy dire.’ (Dames Illustres.)

Footnote 188:

  L’Aubépine to Catharine. ‘Bibliothèque Nationale,’ printed in an
  appendix to Du Prat’s ‘Elizabeth de Valois.’

Footnote 189:

  Isabel to Catharine. Bibliothèque Nationale, No. 39, printed in the
  appendix of Du Prat’s ‘Elizabeth de Valois.’

Footnote 190:

  Archives Nationales, Paris C. K., 1393, quoted in the Introduction of
  the Spanish Calendar of Elizabeth, edited by Martin Hume.

Footnote 191:

  Bibliothèque Nationale, Colbert, vol. 140. ‘Bref discours de l’arrivée
  de la Reine d’Espagne à St. Jehan de Luz.’

Footnote 192:

  It is usually assumed (and amongst others by Father Florez in ‘Reinas
  Catolicas’) that the massacre of St. Bartholomew seven years later
  (1572) in Paris was arranged at this meeting. There is, however, no
  proof that such was the case. Philip and the Spanish party, it is
  true, were loud in their praises of this enormity, but much happened
  between Bayonne and Bartholomew.

Footnote 193:

  Isabel herself ascribed the blessing to her prayers to the body of St.
  Eugène, which she had with great difficulty persuaded the French to
  surrender to Spain. It was carried with great pomp from St. Denis to
  Toledo, and Isabel was constant in her adoration of it.

Footnote 194:

  French ambassador Fourquevault to Catharine, June 1567. Bibliothèque
  Nationale, No. 220 (Du Prat).

Footnote 195:

  _Ibid._, No. 8.

Footnote 196:

  Fourquevault to Catharine, 3rd October 1568. Du Prat.

Footnote 197:

  Fourquevault to Catharine, 3rd October 1568. Du Prat.

Footnote 198:

  Father Florez tells of her that on one occasion she was brought to
  death’s door by her loathing her food; and as all mundane remedies had
  been tried in vain, the King sent for the blessed friar Orozco. The
  friar told the Queen he had a remedy recommended by his grandmother
  which would cure her if she would take it. The Queen consented, and
  the friar cooked a partridge and bacon before her, reciting verses of
  the Magnificat at each turn of the spit. When the dish was ready he
  took it to the Queen and said, ‘Eat, my lady, in the name of God, for
  the mere smell of this would make a dead man hungry.’ Needless to say,
  Anna ate and was cured.

Footnote 199:

  She was much beloved, especially in Madrid, and died in childbed at
  the Escorial in 1611.

Footnote 200:

  An interminable account of the splendours of the occasion, for which
  the favourite Duke of Lerma was mainly responsible, will be found in
  ‘Documentos Ineditos,’ lxi.

Footnote 201:

  To show how uncertain were still the relations between the people of
  the two countries, it may be mentioned that an eyewitness of the
  ceremonies of the exchange, etc., mentions as a marvellous thing that
  there was no fighting between Spaniards and Frenchmen.

Footnote 202:

  The only portion of this building now standing is the ancient Gothic
  church where King Alfonso and Queen Victoria Eugénie were recently
  married. It stands close to the famous picture gallery in the Prado.

Footnote 203:

  From an unpublished MS. in the British Museum. Add. 10,236.

Footnote 204:

  From MSS. of Diego de Soto, de Aguilar Royal Academy of History,
  Madrid, G. 32, and another in British Museum, Add. 10,236.

Footnote 205:

  Father Florez and other ecclesiastical writers give many instances of
  her liberality in contributing to pious works, and in Reinas Catolicas
  there is an account of Isabel’s action at the time (in 1624), that a
  ‘heretic had outraged the Most Holy Sacrament in this my convent of
  St. Philip.’ In addition to the services of atonement for the outrage
  in all the churches, ‘the royal family made such an atonement as never
  was seen, as befitted an insult to the greatest of the mysteries. The
  corridors of the palace were adorned with all the valuable and
  beautiful possessions of the crown, and a separate altar was erected
  in the name of each royal personage. That of the Queen attracted the
  attention of all beholders for the taste it exhibited, and the immense
  value of the jewels that adorned it belonging to her Majesty. The
  value of these jewels was computed at three million and a half’ (of

Footnote 206:

  ‘Voyage d’Espagne.’ Aersens van Sommerdyk, and many other visitors to
  Spain at the time testify to this. See also ‘Relatione dell’
  Ambasciatore di Venetia.’ British Museum MSS., Add. 8,701.

Footnote 207:

  Historia del Arte Dramatico en España (translated from the German of
  A. F. Schack).

Footnote 208:

  Howell’s ‘Familiar Letters.’

Footnote 209:

  The steps of the Church of St. Philip in the Calle Mayor was so called
  _El Mentidero_.

Footnote 210:

  Speech (published) by Don Eugenio Hartzenbusch to the Royal Academy of
  History, Madrid, 1861, where the whole question is discussed.

Footnote 211:

  The house now belonging to Count Oñate, just out of the Puerta del

Footnote 212:

  It is certain that Olivares urged Philip most fervently to attend to
  business in the early years of his reign. See my chapter on Philip IV.
  in ‘The Cambridge Modern History,’ vol. iv., for a letter on the
  subject from Philip.

Footnote 213:

  On the site of the present Teatro español in the Plaza de Sant Ana.

Footnote 214:

  Philip had had a son by another lady high at Court three years before
  this, in 1626, of whom an account from unpublished sources will be
  found in ‘The Year after the Armada,’ etc., by Martin Hume.

Footnote 215:

  From an unpublished contemporary account in Italian. B. M. Add. 8,703.

Footnote 216:

  Ashburton Collection.

Footnote 217:

  Soto de Aguilar, one of Philip’s gentlemen of the wardrobe, wrote an
  interminable account of all the festivities of his time (MS. Royal
  Academy of History. Copy in the writer’s possession), from which have
  been derived many details.

Footnote 218:

  The garden was that of Monterey, and with the two adjoining gardens,
  which for this occasion were thrown into one, occupied the whole space
  from the Calle de Alcala to the Carrera de San Geronimo, called the
  Salon del Prado.

Footnote 219:

  Amongst other trifles offered to the ladies at this feast were some of
  the small jars (_bucaros_) made of fine scented white clay, which it
  was at the time a feminine vice to eat. Madame D’Aulnoy gives a
  curious account of the evil effects produced by this strange eatable.
  She also mentions the curious craze in Madrid at the time amongst
  people of fashion to throw eggshells filled with scent at each other
  in the theatres, parties, and even whilst promenading in carriages.
  Philip himself was much addicted to this pastime.

Footnote 220:

  This was the garden on the corner of the Carrera de San Geronimo and
  the Prado, now occupied by the Villahermosa palace and grounds.

Footnote 221:

  Philip is represented as wearing such a collar in his portrait by
  Velazquez at Dulwich College.

Footnote 222:

  Although he confesses that when most of the great folks had retired,
  and daylight lit up the scene of revelry, great numbers of people were
  found hidden in the shrubberies.

Footnote 223:

  On the spot where the Bank of Spain now stands, until a few years ago
  the site of the palace and grounds of the Marquis of Alcañices.

Footnote 224:

  Appendix to Mesonero Romanos’ ‘El Antiguo Madrid.’ An account of this
  feast, though much less full, is also given in the newsletters of the
  date published by Sr. Rodriguez Villa in ‘La Corte de España en 1636 y

Footnote 225:

  The policy and aims of Olivares are fully set forth in ‘Spain, Its
  Greatness and Decay,’ Cambridge Historical Series, by Martin Hume.

Footnote 226:

  Olivares was notoriously offensive to ladies. On one occasion when
  Isabel gave an opinion on State affairs he told Philip that monks must
  be kept for praying and women for child-bearing.

Footnote 227:

  One hundred and fifty persons in Madrid alone were cast into dungeons
  for not being liberal enough with their contributions on this

Footnote 228:

  Relatione dell’ Ambasciatore di Venetia (MS. British Museum, Add.
  8,701), and also an account attributed (doubtfully) to Quevedo,
  printed in vol. iii. of the Semanario Erudito.

Footnote 229:

  News letter of 11th October in Semanario Erudito, vol. xxxiii.

Footnote 230:

  Matias de Novoa, ‘Memorias.’ He was one of Philip’s chamberlains.

Footnote 231:

  Life of Sor Maria de Agreda, quoted by Father Florez.

Footnote 232:

  Cartas de la Venerable Madre Sor Maria de Agreda, edited by F.
  Silvela. For two years after Isabel’s death all comedies and
  theatrical representations were forbidden at the instance of Sor
  Maria, but in 1648 Philip consented to their resumption.

Footnote 233:

  ‘Cartas de la Venerable Madre Sor Maria de Agreda y Felipe IV.’ Edited
  by Silvela.

Footnote 234:

  Marie Anne de Montpensier, the daughter of Gaston, Duke of Orleans (La
  Grande Demoiselle), was suggested, but rejected at once as impossible,
  both from the French and Spanish point of view! It would, indeed, have
  further alienated, rather than have drawn together, the French regency
  and Spain.

Footnote 235:

  ‘Cartas de la Venerable Madre Sor Maria de Agreda y Felipe IV.‘

Footnote 236:

  The progress and events from day to day are related by Mascarenhas,
  Bishop of Leyria, who accompanied the Queen, in ‘Viage de la
  Serenisima Reina Doña Margarita de Austria.’ Madrid, 1650.

Footnote 237:

  It has puzzled many inquirers why the marriages of the kings of Spain
  should usually have taken place in poverty-stricken little villages
  like Navalcarnero and Quintanapalla, where no adequate accommodation
  existed, or could be created. The real reason appears to be that when
  a royal marriage took place in a town the latter was freed for ever
  after from paying tribute. The poorer the place, therefore, the
  smaller the sacrifice of public revenue.

Footnote 238:

  It is all described in Amador de los Rios Historia de Madrid, and the
  prodigious sums spent are given.

Footnote 239:

  Cartas de Sor Maria.

Footnote 240:


Footnote 241:

  In course of time she married her cousin the Emperor Leopold.

Footnote 242:

  ‘Reinas Catolicas.’ Florez.

Footnote 243:

  Even thus early she began to introduce Austrian etiquette in her
  receptions; such, for instance, as causing the ladies presented to her
  to pass before her, in by one door and out by an opposite door (Avisos
  de Barrionuevo).

Footnote 244:

  Avisos de Barrionuevo, vol. ii. p. 303 (February 1656).

Footnote 245:

  _Ibid._ vol. i.

Footnote 246:

  Barrionuevo, vol. ii.

Footnote 247:

  The comedy of San Gaetano had been represented at the special desire
  of the Queen shortly before, not without some difficulty from the
  Inquisition, and the crush to see it was so great that several people
  were killed.

Footnote 248:

  Barrionuevo, vol. ii. 308.

Footnote 249:

  Cartas de la Venerable Sor Maria de Agreda.

Footnote 250:

  Barrionuevo, vol. iii. 63.

Footnote 251:

  One day (8th November 1657) she suddenly asked for some _Buñuelos_
  (hot fritters), and men were sent out hurrying to the Plaza where they
  were sold. A great cauldron of 8 lbs. of them were brought smoking hot
  covered with honey, and Mariana ate greedily of them, to her great

Footnote 252:


Footnote 253:

  Cartas de la Venerable Sor Maria de Agreda. The King’s prayer came
  true, for the child died at the age of four.

Footnote 254:

  The extravagance of these rejoicings produced a remonstrance from the
  nun to the King. ‘It is good and politic for your Majesty to receive
  the congratulations of your subjects ... but I do beseech you
  earnestly not to allow excessive sums to be spent on these festivities
  when there is a lack of money needful even for the defence of your
  crown. Let there be in them no offence to God.... It is good to
  rejoice for the birth of the prince, but let us do it with a clear

Footnote 255:

  Barrionuevo. A curious circumstance is related by the same journalist
  as having taken place at the christening. The lady-in-waiting, as
  usual, handed the child to the little Infanta Margaret, aged six, who
  was the godmother; and the only clothing the babe wore was an
  extremely short tunic, the lower limbs being entirely bare. The little
  Infanta, shocked at what she considered disrespectful neglect, asked
  angrily why the prince was not properly dressed; and had to be told
  that it was done purposely in order that all might see that he was
  really a male.

Footnote 256:

  Barrionuevo relates (vol. iv. p. 166), that a saintly Franciscan
  friar, upon being appealed to by Philip to pray for the health of his
  child, replied that he would do so, but a better prayer still would be
  for the King to give up his constant comedies and rejoicings and pray
  to God himself. This was in June 1658; and the nun was for ever giving
  to Philip the same advice.

Footnote 257:

  ‘Recueil des Instructions données aux ambassadeurs de France en
  Espagne,’ vol. i. (Morel Fatio.)

Footnote 258:

  ‘Journal du Voyage d’Espagne.’ Paris, 1669.

Footnote 259:

  Luis de Haro alone took a household of 200 persons, whilst the King’s
  medical staff alone consisted of ten doctors and four barbers.

Footnote 260:

  ‘Viage del Rey N. S. a la Frontera de Francia.’ Castillo. Madrid,

Footnote 261:

  The golilla, so characteristic of Philip’s reign, was a stiff
  cardboard projecting collar, the under surface of which was covered
  with cloth to match the doublet, and the upper surface lined with
  light silk.

Footnote 262:

  Palamino. Life of Velazquez. All the sumptuary decrees were suspended.
  From this date the Spanish fashion in dress changed.

Footnote 263:

  Cartas de Sor Maria.

Footnote 264:

  Original Letters of Sir R. Fanshawe. January 1664.

Footnote 265:

  An interesting account of this ceremony is given by Lady Fanshawe in
  her Memoirs.

Footnote 266:

  This was Mariana’s daughter, the Infanta Margaret, so well recollected
  by Velazquez’s portraits of her. She was at this time thirteen years
  old, and had just been betrothed to the Emperor Leopold, her cousin.
  She was married two years later, and died in 1673, at the age of

Footnote 267:

  Memoirs of Lady Fanshawe.

Footnote 268:

  It is related that when Philip was asked if the bodies of the saints
  should be brought into his room he said, ‘No, they can intercede in my
  favour just as well in the chapel as here.’

Footnote 269:

  As soon as Philip breathed his last the Marquis of Malpica, who was on
  duty as principal gentleman-in-waiting and captain of the guard, went
  to the outer guardroom, and said to the assembled officers:
  ‘Companions, there is no more for us to do here. Go up and guard our
  King, Charles II.’ Philip had died in one of the lower ground-floor
  rooms of the palace. The above account is condensed from a
  contemporary unpublished MS. journal of a courtier in the ‘Biblioteca
  National,’ c. xxiv. 4. Lady Fanshawe also gives a very precise account
  of the lying-in-state, varying in some few details from the MS.
  narrative above referred to.

Footnote 270:

  My diarist gives another instance of the heartless conduct of the
  nobles after the King’s death. When the body was to be transferred to
  the Escorial each of the chamberlains and officials insisted that it
  was not his duty to make the formal surrender, or to help to carry the
  corpse. The squabble was only ended by the Duke of Medina ordering his
  cousin Montealegre, to do it.

Footnote 271:

  Fanshawe died in Spain soon after his recall, Lord Sandwich replacing
  him to conclude the treaty. See ‘Letters of Earl of Sandwich’ and
  ‘Fanshawe’s Letters.’ London.

Footnote 272:

  An extremely detailed account of the events that accompanied the feud
  between Mariana and Don Juan will be found in a rare book called
  ‘Relation of the Differences that happened in the Court of Spain.’
  London, 1678.

Footnote 273:

  Montero de los Rios, ‘Historia de Madrid.’

Footnote 274:

  ‘Diario de los Sucesos de la Corte.’ MS. in the Royal Academy of
  History, Madrid.

Footnote 275:

  A full description of the condition of Spain at the period, drawn from
  many contemporary sources, is given in ‘Spain, Its Greatness and
  Decay,’ by Martin Hume (Cambridge University Press).

Footnote 276:

  The nobles and leaders were all excommunicated, and not even the
  King’s intercession could mollify the Pope until full reparation was
  made at tremendous cost, and penance done in most humiliating fashion.

Footnote 277:

  The contemptible instability of the King is seen in a conversation he
  had with the prior of the Escorial the day after Valenzuela’s capture.
  The prior had been formerly urged most earnestly by Charles to shelter
  and defend the favourite, and a written warrant to that effect was
  given. As no written order for his capture was exhibited the Prior
  presented himself before the King to explain what had been done.
  Before he could speak Charles giggled and said, ‘So they caught him!’
  ‘Yes, sire, they caught him,’ replied the prior. ‘And his wife too?’
  asked the King. ‘His wife is now in Madrid, sire, and I come now to
  crave mercy and protection for both of them.’ ‘For his wife but not
  for him,’ said Charles. ‘But surely your Majesty will not abandon your
  unhappy minister in this sad strait.’ ‘You may take it from me,’
  replied Charles, ‘that a holy woman has had a revelation from God that
  Valenzuela was to be captured at the Escorial.’ ‘A revelation of the
  devil more likely,’ blurted out the disgusted prior. ‘And pray do not
  think, sire, that I am interceding for Valenzuela for interests of my
  own: I never got anything from him in the world but this benzoin
  lozenge.’ With this Charles jumped back in a fright. ‘Put it away! put
  it away!’ he cried. ‘Perhaps it is witchcraft or poison.’

  (The narrative is from an MS. relation written by one of the monks at
  the time, and now in the Escorial Library. Portions of it have been
  quoted by Don Modesto Lafuente, ‘Historia de Espana,’ vol. xii.)

Footnote 278:

  ‘Memoires touchans le mariage de Charles II. avec Marie Louise,’ from
  which many of details related in the text concerning the marriage in
  France and the journey to the frontier are taken.

Footnote 279:

  On the return of the Duke of Pastrana to Spain after the marriage at
  Fontainebleau, Marie Louise sent by him her first letter to her
  husband. I have had the good fortune to come across this hitherto
  unpublished letter in the Biblioteca Nacional, Madrid. It is badly
  written, in a great smeared school hand, evidently copied from a
  draft. I transcribe it here in full: ‘Monseigneur. Je ne puis laisser
  partir le duc de Pastrana sans tesmoigner à votre Majesté l’impatience
  que j’ai d’avoir l’honneur de la voir. Je suplie en mesme temps votre
  Majesté d’estre bien persuadée du respect que j’ai pour elle et de
  l’attachement inviolable avec lequel je serai toute ma vie,
  Monseigneur, de votre Majesté la tres humble et tres observante, Marie

Footnote 280:

  They are described with the minuteness of a milliner’s bill in
  ‘Descripcion de las circunstancias esenciales ... en la funcion de los
  desposorios del Rey N. S. Don Carlos II.’ Madrid, 1679.

Footnote 281:

  Mme. D’Aulnoy’s celebrated ‘Voyage D’Espagne’ is usually quoted
  largely for local colour in the histories and romances of this period.
  I am, however, of opinion that very little credit can be given to it,
  so far as the authoress’s own adventures are concerned. I have grave
  doubts indeed, whether Mme. D’Aulnoy went to Spain at all. Much of her
  information is easily traceable to other books, and the rest, apart
  from the love romances that occupy so many of her pages, may well have
  been gathered from her cousin, who was married to a Spanish nobleman.
  The cousin is represented as a friend of Don Juan, and the
  conversation very likely did take place with her, as Mme. D’Aulnoy
  represents, though perhaps the latter was not present.

Footnote 282:

  ‘Voyage d’Espagne.’ La Haye, 1692.

Footnote 283:

  When he consented to the return of some of Mariana’s friends to Court
  he was told that Don Juan would object. ‘What does that matter?’ he
  replied. ‘I wish it, and that is enough.’

Footnote 284:

  ‘Recueil des Instructions aux Ambassadeurs de France (Espagne).’
  Paris, 1894.

Footnote 285:

  The leather or damask curtains of the coaches were usually kept closed
  except by confessedly immodest women; but on such occasions as these,
  they were sometimes opened to satisfy the crowd, who wished to welcome
  royal persons.

Footnote 286:

  ‘Descripcion de las circunstancias,’ etc. Madrid, 1679.

Footnote 287:


Footnote 288:

  ‘Semanario Erudito,’ vol. ii., where a pamphlet of the period is
  reproduced accusing her of complicity in the murder of her cousin, Don
  Diego de Aragon.

Footnote 289:

  The lively Mme. D’Aulnoy gives a description of a scene previous to
  the departure of the young Queen’s household from Madrid. The ladies
  had been privately mustered in the Retiro Gardens for the King to see
  how they would look mounted when they entered the capital in state
  with the Queen. ‘The young ladies of the palace were quite pretty,
  but, good God! what figures the Duchess of Terranova and Doña Maria de
  Aragon cut. They were both mounted on mules, all bristling and
  clanking with silver, and with a great saddle cloth of black velvet,
  like those used by physicians on their horses in Paris. They were both
  dressed in widows’ weeds, which I have already described to you, both
  very ugly and very old, with an air of severity and imperiousness, and
  they wore great hats tied on by strings under their chins. There were
  twenty gentlemen around them holding them up, for fear they should
  fall, though they would never have allowed one to touch them thus
  unless they had been in fear of breaking their necks.—‘Voyage
  d’Espagne.’ The same authority says that the Duchess of Terranova
  alone took with her on the journey, ‘six litters of different coloured
  embroidered velvet, and forty mules caparisoned as richly as ever I
  have seen.’

Footnote 290:

  ‘Letters de Mme. de Villars.’ Paris, 1823.

Footnote 291:

  Biblioteca Nacional, Madrid, MSS. C., 1–5, transcribed by the present

Footnote 292:

  ‘Mémoires de la Cour d’Espagne,’ par M. de Villars.

Footnote 293:

  ‘Mémoires.’ Villars.

Footnote 294:

  Lettres de Mme. Villars.

Footnote 295:

  Mme. D’Aulnoy thus describes the King’s appearance at this first
  interview with his bride: ‘I have heard that the Queen was extremely
  surprised at his appearance. He had a very short, wide jacket (_just
  au corps_) of grey barracan; his breeches were of velvet, and his
  stockings of very loose spun silk. He wore a very beautiful cravat
  which the Queen had sent him, but it was fastened rather too loosely.
  His hair was put behind his ears, and he wore a light grey
  hat.’—‘Voyage d’Espagne.’ La Haye, 1692.

Footnote 296:

  A note on a previous page explains the reason why these small villages
  were chosen for the marriage ceremonies of the Kings of Spain.

Footnote 297:

  ‘Mémoires.’ Villars.

Footnote 298:

  It will be seen that the sprightly letter-writer indulges here in an
  untranslatable pun. The carriage was without glass = glace, and she
  hoped the occupants would be without ice = glace.

Footnote 299:

  Writing of this period, Mme. D’Aulnoy, who professes to have been in
  Madrid at the time, says that the Marchioness de la Fuente told her
  that: ‘the Queen had been much upset at the roughness of the Mistress
  of the Robes, who, seeing that her Majesty’s hair did not lie flat on
  the forehead, spat into her hand and approached for the purpose of
  sticking the straying lock down with saliva. The Queen resented this
  warmly, and rubbed hard with her pocket handkerchief upon the spot
  where this old woman had so dirtily wetted her forehead.... It is
  really quite pitiable the way this old Mistress of the Robes treats
  the Queen. I know for a fact that she will not allow her to have a
  single hair curled, and forbids her to go near a window or speak to a
  soul.’—‘Voyage d’Espagne.’

Footnote 300:

  It was a hooped skirt of peculiar shape, fashionable in Spain, called
  a _guardainfante_, of which a specimen may be seen in the portrait of
  Mariana in the present volume.

Footnote 301:

  ‘Lettre de Mme. Villars à Mme. Coulange,’ 15th December 1679.

Footnote 302:

  Nouvelle relation de la magnifique et royale entrée ... à Madrid par
  Marie Louise,’ etc. Paris, 1680.

Footnote 303:

  ‘Mémoires de la Cour d’Espagne.’ Villars.

Footnote 304:

  Lettres de Mme. Villars à Mme. Coulange.

Footnote 305:

  ‘Voyage d’Espagne,’ Mme. D’Aulnoy. For the amount of credit to be
  given to Mme. D’Aulnoy, see note on a previous page.

Footnote 306:

  _Gabacho_ is an opprobrious term applied to Frenchmen in Spain.

Footnote 307:

  ‘Mémoires de la Cour d’Espagne.’ Villars.

Footnote 308:

  Mme. D’Aulnoy in her own Mémoires tells a curious though doubtful
  story of these perroquets of which Marie Louise was so fond. They had
  been brought from Paris, and the few sentences they had been taught
  were in French, so that the Duchess of Terranova thought herself
  justified in having them killed. When the Queen asked for them and
  learnt their fate she said nothing: but when next the Mistress of the
  Robes came to kiss her hand Marie Louise gave her two good sound slaps
  on the face instead. When the indignant Duchess with all her followers
  went in a rage to demand redress of the King, Marie Louise excused
  herself by saying that she gave the slaps overcome by the irresistible
  influence of a pregnant woman. This flattered the King and she was

Footnote 309:

  ‘Mémoires de la Cour d’Espagne.’ Villars.

Footnote 310:

  ‘Mémoires de la Cour d’Espagne.’ Villars. Even so, she was not allowed
  to mount her horses from the ground, but had to be driven in her coach
  to the place and mount the horse from the step of the carriage. One of
  her horses being very high spirited resented on one occasion this
  strange performance, and the Queen was thrown to the ground, much to
  her husband’s alarm. No one, it appears, dared to touch the Queen,
  even to raise her from the ground, until Charles had sufficiently
  recovered from the shock to do so himself. (Mme. D’Aulnoy.)

Footnote 311:

  ‘Mémoires.’ Villars.

Footnote 312:

  ‘Mémoires de la Cour d’Espagne.’ Villars.

Footnote 313:

  ‘Recueil des Instructions aux ambassadeurs de France.’ Paris, 1894.

Footnote 314:

  In January 1685 the Duke of Montalto in Madrid wrote to Pedro
  Ronquillo, the ambassador in London. ‘The King attends to nothing but
  his hunting pastimes, and the Queen in tiring horses, as if she were a
  skilled horse-breaker. That is a pretty way to become pregnant! In
  short, my dear sir, it is quite clear that God determines to punish us
  on every side.’ Writing again, a month later (28th February), the same
  correspondent, after vilifying the Medina Celi government, says:
  ‘Neither the things in the palace or anywhere else here improve. It
  looks, on the contrary, as if the devil himself had taken them in
  hand. Medina Celi is very placid over it, and cares only for himself;
  the King has been wolf-hunting for a week thirty miles off, and there
  would be no harm in that if he would only despatch business. As for
  the Queen, Medina Celi positively encourages her in her pranks so as
  to be able to hold on to office by her. He does not care so long as
  others have to pay.’ Both the correspondents, it is needless to say,
  belonged to Mariana’s party. ‘Doc. Ined.,’ lxxix.

Footnote 315:

  There was a document found in Marie Louise’s cabinet after her death,
  which purported to be a political guide, written to her at this period
  by Louis XIV. In this cynical document the Queen is advised how to
  gain advantage from the King’s weakness and ineptitude, and how to
  obtain control of him. She is to maintain an attitude between
  complaint and friendship with the Queen-Mother, but to be very wary
  with regard to her: she is advised to maintain Oropesa in the
  ministry, but not to trust him, or to allow him more power than he
  had. She is to continue to introduce French fashions, manners, etc.,
  in the palace; and advice is given her as to how she should treat all
  the principal nobles. The manuscript concludes: ‘Withdraw this paper
  into your most secret keeping. Live for yourself and for your beloved
  France. In Spain they do not love you, as you know, and they do not
  fear you either, for faint hearts easily conceive suspicions, and
  strength is not needed to commit a cruelty.’ The original document is
  in the Bibliotéca Nacional, Madrid (H. II), and there is a Spanish
  translation of it in MSS. Add. 15,193, British Museum. The document
  has usually been assumed to be authentic, but I am rather inclined to
  regard it as one of the many means employed to blacken the French
  cause after Marie Louise’s death.

Footnote 316:

  To the French ambassador who was in Spain in 1688, the Count de
  Rebenac, she gave the most intimate detailed reasons for her lack of
  issue connected with the constitution of the King. Rebenac repeated
  these confidences in his letters to Louis.

Footnote 317:

  Mme. Quantin was a widow. It has been explained that all the ladies in
  the palace had to be maids or widows.

Footnote 318:

  ‘Doc. Ined.,’ lxxix.

Footnote 319:

  ‘Doc. Ined.,’ lxxix.

Footnote 320:


Footnote 321:

  MSS. of Father Léonard in the Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris. Quoted by
  Morel Fatio in ‘Mémoires de la Cour d’Espagne.’

Footnote 322:

  This was Susanne Duperroy, to whom Marie Louise left 3,000 doubloons
  in her will. Mme. Quantin herself received a legacy of 4,000 from the

Footnote 323:

  ‘Doc. Ined.,’ lxxix.

Footnote 324:

  The letter is in the Archives of the Ministère des Affaires
  Étrangères, Paris, vol. 71. It has been transcribed by M. Morel Fatio.

Footnote 325:

  ‘Recueil des Instructions aux Ambassadeurs Français,’ Paris, 1894, and
  ‘Correspondance de Rebenac, Archives du Ministère des Affaires

Footnote 326:

  The tragic end of the Queen so distressed the French ambassador
  Rebenac that for a time he lost his reason after attending the funeral
  ceremony. In his subsequent correspondence with the King of France he
  made no secret of his belief that she had been murdered. The Duchess
  of Orleans, the Queen’s stepmother, thus refers to Rebenac’s
  statements in her correspondence: ‘Rebenac’s feelings have done no
  wrong to our young Queen of Spain. It is the sharp-nosed Count of
  Mansfeldt who poisoned her.’ De Torcy, in his ‘Mémoires,’ says: ‘The
  Count of Mansfeldt and Count Oropesa are both suspected of having been
  the authors of Marie Louise’s death, and take little care to exonerate
  themselves. The Marquis de Louville, in his ‘Mémoires,’ also
  distinctly states that the Queen was poisoned, and several other
  contemporary French authorities are no less certain.

Footnote 327:

  The jewels taken by Count Benavente from Charles was valued at 180,000
  crowns, and Mariana’s gift to her daughter-in-law 30,000.

Footnote 328:

  Stanhope Correspondence in Lord Mahon’s ‘Spain under Charles II.‘

Footnote 329:

  ‘Reinas Catolicas,’ Father Florez.

Footnote 330:

  Stanhope Correspondence.

Footnote 331:

  ‘Modesto Lafuente Historia de España.’

Footnote 332:

  Stanhope Correspondence.

Footnote 333:

  Stanhope says: ‘Our new junta, which raised so great expectations, at
  first, is now grown almost a jest; especially since, at the time they
  took away all pensions from poor widows and orphans, the Duke of
  Osuna, one of the richest men in Spain, procured himself a pension of
  6000 crowns a year for life, by intercession of the confessor.’

Footnote 334:

  ‘Recueil des Instructions,’ etc.

Footnote 335:

  Stanhope Correspondence, 3rd May 1696.

Footnote 336:

  Stanhope reports, ‘There is now great noise of a miracle done by a
  piece of a waistcoat she died in, on an old lame nun, who, in great
  faith, earnestly desired it, and no sooner applied it to her lips, but
  she was perfectly well and threw away her crutches. This, with some
  other stories that will not be wanting, may in time grow up to a
  canonisation.’ Correspondence in ‘Spain under Charles II.‘

Footnote 337:

  His recovery from this attack was attributed to the body of St. Diego,
  which was brought to his bed; and when the King got better, amidst the
  great rejoicings and bullfights to celebrate the miracle, Charles and
  his wife spent some days at Alcalá worshipping the grim

Footnote 338:

  Stanhope Correspondence.—_Mahon._

Footnote 339:

  The Admiral of Castile, who was the Queen’s most ostentatious
  champion, though she often quarrelled with him, was really betraying
  her all the time (‘Recueil des Instructions’).

Footnote 340:

  The account here given is taken mainly from a contemporary MS.,
  written by an officer of the Inquisition and an adherent of
  Portocarrero, in the British Museum, Add. 10,241: and from another
  account printed in Madrid, 1787.

Footnote 341:

  ‘Stanhope Correspondence,’ _Mahon_, 11th June 1698.

Footnote 342:

  Every detail of the correspondence will be found in the MSS. already
  referred to, and, in English, in ‘The Exorcism of Charles the
  Bewitched,’ in ‘The Year after the Armada,’ etc., by the present

Footnote 343:

  MSS. account already referred to. British Museum MSS., Add. 10,241.

Footnote 344:

  This struggle, which cannot be described here, is fully narrated in
  ‘The Exorcism of Charles the Bewitched’ (‘Year After the Armada’), by
  Martin Hume.

Footnote 345:

  Stanhope Correspondence.—_Mahon._

Footnote 346:

  Stanhope Correspondence.—_Mahon._

Footnote 347:

  There is no doubt whatever that the French claim through Maria Theresa
  and Anna of Austria, Queens of France, was the legitimate one, and
  that the Emperor had no valid right by Spanish law.

 Printed by T. and A. CONSTABLE, Printers to His Majesty at the Edinburgh
                            University Press.


                          TRANSCRIBER’S NOTES

 1. P. 171, changed “1906” to “1506”.
 2. P. 353, changed “1543” to “1643”.
 3. P. 433, changed “amoreux” to “amoureux”.
 4. P. 448, changed “1580” to “1680”.
 5. Silently corrected typographical errors and variations in spelling.
 6. Archaic, non-standard, and uncertain spellings retained as printed.
 7. Footnotes were re-indexed using numbers and collected together at
      the end of the last chapter.
 8. Enclosed italics font in _underscores_.
 9. Superscripts are denoted by a caret before a single superscript
      character or a series of superscripted characters enclosed in
      curly braces, e.g. M^r. or M^{ister}.

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