|Chapter Number||VOL III IX|
|Chapter Title||A SPANISH MATCH.|
|Newspaper Title||The Queenslander (Brisbane, Qld. : 1866 - 1939)|
|Trove Title||Her Majesty's Tower|
Her Majesty's Tower.
VOL. III. CHAPTER IX.
A SPANISH MATCH.
BY WILLIAM HEPWORTH DIXON.
So long as Villiers stood in front of the party which hated Spain and the Catholic League he was too strong for Suffolk and his faction to assail him. Suffolk and his faction, therefore,
had been facing round, trying on a second Favorite the arts by which they had won the first They would become hia friends; they would surround his person; they would form his court; and they would worship him as a god. .Young, sensual, inexperienced, how could he resist these flatteries and caresses ? If they won him over, all would yet be well; and even if they failed to win him over they might lessen his power to do them harm. They could not hang about him much without exciting the suspicions of his honest friends. It was a great point in their favor that he had a Catholic wife ; the greater that this Catholic wife was one who went to church, and bore the name of convert from her faith. A Jesuit who slept one night in Belvoir Castle could remove next day to Audley End, and secret messages might pass by these safe hands from Lady Suffolk to the Favorite's wife. It was a great point in their favor that he had a wavering Parent, and the greater that this wavering Parent was a woman who attended mass. This Parent was beginning to tire of Williams, and " Little Laud," a parson of a different stamp, was creeping noiselessly into his place. Laud's person was not comely, his address not taking ; fur his face was red and blotched, as if from drink, and his discourse was sometimes spotted with unseemly oaths. But then his notions of Church government were sound. Like women of tempestuous passions, she was of the High Church very high. She thought that priests should hold the keys ; that women ought to have their spiritual guides ; that penances, indulgences, and fasts were charming things; and that confession was a lady-like and easy way of wiping out her sins. " Hocus-pocus Laud," as some folk called him, helped this lady in her spiritual throes, and gained an influence with hor only equalled by the sway of Father Fisher and Doctor Lamb. Fisher was soon a guest in the lady's house, and Little Laud his visitor and friend. Helped by such agencies, the Howard family were soon on terms with Buckingham and his kin. Suffolk was often in bis closet; Arundel professed to be his servant; Walden begged him to lend his first-born son a name. They let him into secrets known to few. They taught him how to coin his place, and guide his course by help from sorcerers and quacks. All great men had their wizards—what the vulgar called their " devils,"—who could rule the planets for them. Percy had bis Magi; Carr consulted Forman ; Villiera had the service of Dr. Lamb. They called in Lady Salisbury to their aid ; and this young dame—a wife, a mother—stooped to court and dazzle Villiers, much as Lady Essex, her more lovely and guilty sister, had been led into courting and dazzling Carr.' Not stout of will, the young man's head was turned, the young man's blood was fired. By cunning arts these veterans of intrigue inspired him with some portion of their spirit. The Dutch he came to see might grow too strong. A good deal could be urged against the Huguenot cauße in France. The " Queen of Hearts" was married to a vain and restless prince; and, while he pitied her misfortunes, he began to see that she had grievous f»ultß. Inspired by these new friends he left the popular party on the final question of a Spanish match for Charles. This match was now the hope of every man, from Suffolk downwards, who desired to over throw the system and the settlement of Eliza* beth. A Catholic bride for the Prince of Wales would give them in due time a Catholic Queen. The children of that Catholic Queen would grow up iv the hands of nuns and priests. A grandson of King Philip would be King of England. Under such a prince the country might be forced, as under Mary, to submit her neck to the Roman yoke. King James had long been dreaming of a Spanish match for Charles ; and Diego de Sarmi ento, Condd de Qondomar, the Spanish minister in London, had received a hint to whisper in his ear, though not to give him a certain pledge, that he might have the Dona Maria for the Prince of Wales, if only the Escorial and White Hall could come to terms. When first her hand was prof fered to the Prince, Dona Maria was exactly six years old t One day the council in Madrid, then sorely puzzled how to aot in London so as not to lose in credit, yet to save some portion of the ducats paid to admirals and secretaries, saw a sudden light. " I have just been reading in an English volume," cried Pastrana, " how the Queen Eliza beth of that country made pretence of a match with the Duke of Anjou, never intending to wed that prince, but only to baffle France, and gain her ends by craft. Why should we not do like the Queen, and trick our enemies with the prospect of a Spanish match ?" Upon this hint they Bpake ; and then began, in studied werds of falsehood, the amusing comedy of " the Spanish match." Much time was gained, and many ducats saved ; for James, in prospect of this match, was brought to regard the Spaniards as his friends ; and Philip saw less need to pension ministers and secretaries when he got their Becrets from the King himself. A portrait of the Dona, with a face of pea-green tint, was hung in the Prince's gallery at White Hall, and everyone was ordered to salute it as the image of his future Queen. Gondotnnr, a Jew in blood, and probably iv creed, could hardly Bee this capping to the Bride without a smile ; he knew too well his Spanish olive was forbidden fruit. No love was lost between the Prince oud the Infanta. When they were old enough to know their minds they fell into fiery scorn, instead of into fervent love. Maria would not hear of Charles the Heretic, as her people called him ; Charles the Heretic saw but little to admire in such a pea-green piece of flesh and blood. She told her ludies she would rather take the veil, chough she had no great calling to the * The right of rwpubliuhing ' H«r Majesty* Tower ' has been purchased by the proprietor! of Tht Quttnilandtr.
Church, than marry such a partner. Charles was do less free. "If it were not a am," he aighed, on turning from her portrait on the wall, "it would be well if princes could marry two wives; one wife to pleaae the politicians, a second wife to please themselves." Tet Charles —now come of age, and hence, as Gondomar perceived, the central figure on the Beene —was willing to go on, if only he could have the lady for a wife on easy terms. He cared but little for her pea-green face, as that of a girl who might be loved and kissed by him; but even hisj sober blood beat wildly at a hint from Spain that a daughter of the Kaiaers might become the mother of his son. Gondomar dropped that hint, and Charles was Gondomar's dupe for life. In rear of these intrigues of the palace, the confessional, and the court, Btood the English Commons—fixed as death against this policy of asking for a Spanish bride. To marry an Infanta was to dally with the Beast! Gondomar took no heed of such, except when blood was stirred by news of some great fight like that of Prague, on which they smashed his windows, stopped his coach, and threatened to hang him in the streets. He fled to his chamber, called his priests, and asked for consecrated bread. He was no hero, as the London lads found out; but he could press for his revenge as cruelly as Shylock for his pound of flesh. One day the Condo", who resided in a house with a big garden in Gravel-lane, Houndsditch, was being carried down Fenchurch-street, past a tradesman's shop at which three lads were standing. " Sirrah," cried one lad to his fellow, "knowest thou what goes there V "Why," asked the second, " what goes there ?" " The devil in a duug-cart!" laughed the city wit A servant of the Condo" beard them jeer, and thinking they were laughing at his master, yelled, " You shall Bee Bridewell for your lnirth ere long." " What I" quoth the lad in answer, " shall we go to Bridewell for such a dog as thou !" and, going straight to the liveried flunkey, slapped his face and tripped him by the kerb. The Condd wrote to the Lord Mayor, Sir Martin Lumley, who ad mitted that the boys were wrong, and offeredto give them a sharp reproof ; but Gondomar in-' sisted that they should be lashed ; and LumTey, much against his will, was forced to give an order that they should be whipped from Temple Bar to Newgate-street. As usual they were tied to carts and beaten through the public steets, a great mob following them and mocking them ; until the news ran through the shops that these young lads were flogged at Gondomar'a Buit; on which the city boys turned out with staves and knives. A hundred rushed upon the carts near Temple Bar, set free the lads, and beat the offi cers. A cry was raised that more than a thousand were coming down Fetter-lane. The sheriffs' officers now fled, and hid themselves in Blums and stews. The knighU and burghers in the House of Commons were still more troublesome to Gondo mar than the apprentice lads. From hour to hour his creatureß brought hjm news of what was done ; and, if a word were dropped against his master, he was quickly closeted with the King, demanding that the speaker should be lodged in gaol. Gondomar had a deep dislike to Parlia ments, and he urged the King to put them down, A king, he said| was not his own master —not the equal of other kings—bo long as he was teazed by subject* who could meet to judge him. A scene at court came hard upon that scene in Fenchurch-street Misled by hints that patriots ought to "strike while toe iron was hot," Borne men of the class «rho liked to be popular in the Bhires and yet acceptable at court —the " Undertakers," Diggesand Phelips—went on striking when the iron was no longer hot; not seeing that their work was done the moment they had put the Favorite in a way to get York House, they framed a petition to the King, in which they begged his Majesty to draw his sword, to place himself in front of the reforming states, to put down Papists wiiih a powerful hand, to point his weapon at the King of Spain, and wed his son to a Protestant wife. A copy of this paper was (by treachery) in Gondomar's hands before it had been voted by the House of Commons; and on the night when it was carried Gondomar wrote these words to James :— " Your Parliament is insolent and seditious;, and but for my belief that your Majesty will punish these people I should quit) the kingdom. I must do so, as your Majesty would be no longer king; and I have no troops to castigate them." James was furious; not with the foreigner who had dared to write such things, but with tho Commons who had put the wishes of his country into wordß. He was insulted in his place. He could not suffer them to judge him. They were ignorant of his policy and his means. Aforetime be had left them to their talk; but he could never allow them to turn this grace against himself. He would punish such speeches in the future, both when they were sitting and when they rose. The Houße, in answer to a threat which struck at their right of speech, drew up and entered on their books a protest, reasserting their free and ancient right. Then James rode up from the country, called for the journals, and in presence of his Council and his Judges tore out the leaf en which this protest "stood. His act was taken as a call to arms. Villiers bore the newß himself to Goudomar, and Gondomar wrote to Madrid the most joyful letter he had penned for many a day. "It is the best thing," he wrote, " for Spain and Catholicism that has happened since Luther began to preach." The King was acting like a king, and if the quarrel spread he would be drawn into the arms of Spain. Gondomar took care the quarrel should go ou. If James would save his crown, the Condi whispered, he must thrust these traitors from the court and lny them by the heels ; and James, too dull to see the craft by which his family were being ruined, ordered Digges into Ulster on a pretended mission, commanded Pym to keep his chamber, and committed Coke aad Phelipa to the Tower. Wentworth, who had proved his gifts, was taken into favor and preferred. Some courtiers said he would be lifted to the House of Lords ; but they were wrong; for such high proof of favor he h:id yet to wait Borne years. One farther step, and Gondomar could dispose of England as he liked. The King had only to dissolve his Parliament, and in parting from his
factious critics break with parliaments for ever, even as the Kings of Aragon and Castile had broken with their parliaments for ever. This stage was nearly reached. The Houses were dispersed, and Gondomar got a promise that they should not meet again. "It is now fixed," he wrote home gaily, " that the King will not call another Parliament so long as he shall live." And then he summed up all his gaiiu in one joyous sentence: —" The King will not be able to help his children on the Rhine ; he will not be able to oppose the Catholics anywhere." Not one of his English dupes—not Charles, not Buckingham, not Laud, not Wentworth— could perceive, as yet, that Qondomar was leading tbem through violent means to yet more violent ends; that he was driving all these victims to the Tower, the assassin's knife, the court of justice, and the headsman's axe! (TO BE CONTINUED.)