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Reign of Queen Elizabeth. (Continued) page 3

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The royal lover who was now proposed by his mother, Catherine de Medicis, to supplant the two private lovers, was a youth of sixteen, whilst Elizabeth had arrived at the age of thirty-eight. His figure was diminutive, his features excessively ugly; he had a remarkably large nose, and his face was dreadfully scarred with the small-pox. His mind was as deformed as his body - and this was the suitor at this moment recommended to Elizabeth by Catherine! This was not, in fact, the Duke of Anjou, but of Alencon, his younger brother. Long negotiations had taken place for the match with Anjou, but every one of Elizabeth's ministers had opposed it; and, finally, the youth had declined it himself. Cecil used all his influence against the match. He declared that not only Anjou, but the whole Royal family of France, were so bigotedly Papist, that the proposal was perilous to the Protestant religion. When he could not prevail on that argument, he even endeavoured to persuade her to marry Leicester, who, he declared, would be far more acceptable to the whole realm. But Elizabeth was now bent on carrying on this courtship, at least for a time, and complained to the Ladies Clinton and Cobham of the opposition of her ministers, Lady Cobham spoke in favour of Anjou, only she observed that it was a pity he was so young. Elizabeth said the difference was only ten years, though it was really nearly twenty. But, unfortunately for Elizabeth's vanity, the young Anjou, who was one of the handsomest princes in Europe, positively refused to have her, declaring that he would not marry "an ugly old creature who had a sore leg." This news of the sore leg he had learned from Fenelon, who had informed his Court that, like her royal father, she had been laid up with a sore leg all the summer.

From Norris, her ambassador at Paris, Elizabeth obtained so flattering an account of the beauty and grace of Anjou, that she asked Leicester to contrive that he should make a pleasure cruise on the Kentish coast, where she would betake herself, and so that they could see each other as by accident: but even this the un-gallant prince bluntly refused, for he did not wish to see her at all.

Early in April, however, of this year, Guido Cavalcanti arrived in England with a joint letter from Charles IX, of France and Catherine de Medicis, making a formal offer of the Duke of Anjou's hand. Elizabeth appeared to receive the proposal with so much satisfaction, that the French ambassador really thought her this time sincere. She ran over, in great self-complacence, all the list of her royal and noble lovers, including the Kings of Spain and Sweden, the Prince of Denmark, and the son of the emperor; and, after all, professed to like the idea of the handsome Anjou best. But the ambassador made demands, in case of marriage, which, had Elizabeth been ever so sincere, would have effectually stopped the way. First and foremost, he was to enjoy free exercise of his religion: that Elizabeth determined nobody should exercise. Next, he was to enjoy joint power with her: Elizabeth would never let go a particle of her power. Either of these items was enough to defeat the whole scheme. Besides, Elizabeth had heard of the prince's making jests at her expense, and she took care to let the ambassador know it. She told him "that it had been said in France that monsieur would do well to marry an old creature who had had, for the last year, the evil in her leg, which was not yet healed, and never could be cured; and that> under pretext of a remedy, they would send her a potion from France of such a nature that he would find himself a widower in six months, and then could please himself by marrying the Queen of Scotland, and remain the undisputed sovereign of the united realms."

Fenelon pretended to be extremely shocked at such abominable falsehoods, as he termed them; and demanded the author of them, that he might be punished. She replied that it was time enough yet to name the author, but she would let them know more about it; and the next time she gave audience to the ambassador, she let him know that, "notwithstanding the reported state of her leg, she had not failed to dance on the preceding Sunday at the Marquis of Northampton's wedding; so that she hoped monsieur would not find himself cheated into marrying a cripple, instead of a lady of proper paces."

At this crisis, when Elizabeth was wreaking her resentment on her ungracious royal lover, she was suddenly startled by Walsingham informing her that Anjou was actually proposing for the Queen of Scots; that the French Court was earnestly seconding it, and that an application was already made to the Pope, who had promised a dispensation. He added that it was determined, if the treaty for the restoration of Mary did not succeed, France should fit out an expedition and take her from England by force. Elizabeth heard this intelligence with uncontrollable rage. Whilst she was affecting to reprimand the prince for his freedom of speech regarding herself, that he should actually show such contempt for her as to be wooing her rival - her captive, whom she could at any moment destroy - was a deep stroke to her pride. She is said to have wreaked her mortification on the unfortunate Mary, whose treatment became sensibly more rigorous and unkind. This treatment was, indeed, so cruel and vindictive, that the King of France ordered his ambassador to intercede on her behalf; and in doing this he added a menace which confirmed all that Walsingham had heard. He said "that unless Elizabeth took I means for the restoration of the Queen of Scotland to her I rightful dignity, and in the meantime treated her in a kind I and honourable manner, he should send forces openly to her assistance."

Elizabeth justified her conduct to Mary by accusing her of constant plots against her crown and life, not only with her subjects, but with France, Home, Flanders, and Spain; and, to turn the tables on the French Court, she immediately began to favour a proposal of marriage which was made her by the Emperor Maximilian for his eldest son, Prince Rodolph. About the same time she had an offer, also, of the hand of Prince Henry of Navarre, afterwards the famous Henry IV. These offers Elizabeth played off against the French Court, but especially that of Prince Rodolph, boasting that she was about to send to Spain a secret mission, whose object was an alliance with Philip, based on her marriage with his relative, Prince Rodolph.

By these acts she succeeded in alarming the French Court, and resuming the negotiation on account of the Duke of Anjou. The greater part of this year was consumed in these coquetries betwixt Elizabeth and the Court of France; for it could scarcely be said to be Anjou himself, as he continued to make no scruple of his disgust at the prospect of the connection. His mother, Catherine de Medicis, was greatly disconcerted by this obstinacy of her son. She complained to Walsingham and Sir Thomas Smith, Elizabeth's ambassadors, that she was afraid Anjou listened to all the scandalous stories of the queen with her favourites Leicester and Hatton, and, in truth, these stories were extraordinary, and in every one's mouth. The Earl of Arundel, and other nobles at her Court, represented the freedoms used by Leicester as a disgrace to the crown, and that neither the nobles nor the people at large ought to allow of such proceedings. They charged Leicester with using his privilege of entree into the queen's bed-chamber most disreputably, asserting that he went in and out there before she rose; they also accused him of kissing Her Majesty when he was not invited thereto."

But whilst Anjou hung back from this great alliance, Elizabeth seemed only the more bent on it. She appeared to forget her pride, and to do all the wooing herself. She sent her portrait to the prince, declared her full determination to have him, and that he should enjoy the private exercise of his religion in England. The ungallant Anjou replied that he would not go there unless he could enjoy it publicly too. That he might no longer believe her lame or invalid, she gave over going to the chase in her coach, but rode upon a tall horse. She shot a large stag with her own hand, and sent it to the French ambassador to show how vigorous and robust she was; and she herself filled her work-basket with fine apricots, and desired Leicester to forward them to the prince, that he might see that England had a climate fine enough to produce beautiful fruit. But all these condescensions failed to move the obdurate Anjou, who, though he sometimes made fair speeches as a matter of courtesy, steadily recoiled from her offered hand, and would not even come over to England to gratify her with a view of him. At length, perceiving that her attentions were wholly thrown away on Anjou, she broke off the negotiation in disgust, declaring that the prince's adherence to his demand for the public exercise of his religion rendered the alliance impossible, and, therefore, the thought of it must be dismissed. The French ambassadors, at the suggestion of Burleigh, hastened to remove her mortification, which was in secret shown to be excessive, by offering the hand of the younger brother, the Duke of Alencon; and Elizabeth, though well aware of his mean person and as mean mind, pretended to listen to it, and, as we shall see, commenced a show of negotiation on that subject which lasted for some years; and, that there might appear no sign of chagrin or resentment on her part, she signed a treaty of perpetual peace and alliance with France on Sunday, the loth of June, 1572, the Duke de Montmorenci and M. de Foix signing it on the part of Charles IX.

The course of these love affairs Elizabeth had diversified by an execution. In June of the last year she caused one of her most bitter and determined enemies to be executed. This was Dr. Storey, who, during the reign of her sister Mary, had strenuously recommended her being put to death as the great root of all heresies and seditions. On her accession he had prudently left the kingdom, and entered the service of Philip, where he was said to have cursed Elizabeth every day before dinner as the most acceptable part of his grace. He was captured on board an English ship, in which, for some purpose or other, he was making his way to England, and was condemned as guilty of treason and magic. The Spanish ambassador claimed him as a subject of Philip, to which Elizabeth replied that His Majesty was welcome to his head, but that his body should not quit England. A much greater victim was now to suffer the penalty of her resentment. The Duke of Norfolk, both by his religion and by his earnest attachment to the Queen of Scots, excited her deepest resentment. She had cast him into prison, but even there he was a terror to her. The whole body of the Roman Catholics, indeed, was in a state of irritation and disaffection. They were excluded from all places of honour or profit, from the Court down to the City corporation, and even to the constable of the most remote and obscure village. This expulsion of them from patronage, at the same time that they were persecuted otherwise for the retention of their faith, was most impolitic. It converted them into one great mass of enemies; and as they had little to do, and were many of them at once men of family, of education, and of narrow means, they were anxious for some revolutionary demonstration, because they could lose little in it, and might chance to gain everything: they might avenge their injuries, and achieve liberty and government employment. If Elizabeth had studied how best she might add to this spirit of restless fermentation, she could not have hit on a more successful plan than that of introducing the beautiful Queen of Scots into the midst of them as an object of admiration for her person and accomplishments, and of deep sympathy on account of her sufferings, her unjust thraldom, and her oppressed religion. She was the very apple of discord which the most calculating enemy would have thrown into the centre of the teeming mass of resentments, wounded conscience, crushed hopes, and political abasement. Elizabeth had fixed her there herself by her perfidious and relentless detention, and she now reaped the punishment in perpetual plots and alarms of treason amid her very Court. All the disaffected looked still to the Duke of Norfolk as worthy, by his rank - being nearly connected in blood with the crown - by his sufferings and affection for the Queen of Scots, to be their head.

In the month of April. 1571, Charles Bailly, a servant of the Queen of Scots, who was coming from Brussels to Dover, was arrested at the latter place, and upon him was discovered a packet of letters which, being written in cipher, created suspicion. The Bishop of Ross, Mary's staunch and vigilant friend, who knew very well whence* they came, on the first rumour of their seizure, contrived to obtain them from Lord Cobham, in. whose hands they were, from a pretended curiosity to read them before they were sent to the Council. Having obtained his desire, he dexterously substituted others, and very innocent ones, in their place, in a like cipher: but Bailly, being sent to the Tower and placed on the rack, at length confessed that he had written the letters from the dictation of Rudolf, of Brussels, formerly an Italian banker in London, and then had been commissioned by him to convey them to England. He further confessed that they contained assurances from the Duke of Alva of his warm sympathy with the cause of the captive queen, and approved of the plan of a foreign invasion of England; that if his master the King of Spain authorised him, he should be ready to co-operate with 30 and 40. Who these 30 and 40 were Bailly said he did not know, but that all that was explained by a letter enclosed to the Bishop of Ross, who was requested to deliver them to the right persons.

One of these persons was immediately believed to be the Duke of Norfolk. When he had been ten months a prisoner without any matter having been brought against him of more consequence than that of his having desired to marry the Queen of Scots, provided the Queen of England was willing - which was no treason - and had been brought to no trial, he petitioned to be liberated, contending that though he was wrong in not communicating everything fully to the queen, yet that he had neither committed nor intended any crime, and that his health and circumstances were suffering greatly from his close imprisonment. In consequence, he was removed from the Tower, on the 4th of August, 1570, to one of his own houses, under the custody of Sir Henry Neville. He certainly then obtained sufficient variety of prisons, but no more liberty, for he was repeatedly removed from one house to another. He petitioned to be restored to his seat in the Council, but was refused; and in August of 1571 circumstances transpired which occasioned his return to the Tower.

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