had for so long been the dominant
Catharine cursed the Spaniards graduate employment, and swore to be revenged upon them for her dead son, though how they were to blame for his death is not very clear; but the messages, both331 from the King and his mother to Elizabeth, kept up to the last the fiction of the love and marriage negotiations between her and the dead Prince. Catharine, indeed, sent to the English Queen the mourning which she wore for her so-called affianced husband; and the letter in which Elizabeth sent her condolence to Catharine is carefully conceived in the same strain. “Your sorrow,” she says, “cannot exceed mine, although you were his mother. You have another son, but I can find no other consolation than death, which I hope will soon enable me to rejoin him. If you could see a picture of my heart, you would see a body without a soul; but I will not trouble you with my grief, as you have enough of your own.”168
In very truth the farce of marriage by this time had been played out to the bitter end. Elizabeth was now fifty years of age and there were no princes left in Europe marriage with whom would have given her any advantage. From the far-off Ivan the Terrible, who had Однодневная поездка в Макао been dismissed with a gibe, to the youngest of the Valois, with whom she had played for years, every marriageable prince in Christendom had, in his turn, been suggested as a suitor for Elizabeth’s hand. The long juggle she had carried on had resulted in so much advantage to her country that she was in any case strong enough now to discard the pretence. Her old enemy, Philip, was a sad and broken recluse, sorely pressed even to hold his own, unable to avenge his ruined commerce, swept from the seas by the ubiquitous Drake, whilst his destined successor was too young to be feared, and he had no man of his house332 to second him. One more despairing effort was he to make in which he was to risk his all and lose it on the hazard of regaining the paramount position from which he had allowed himself to be ousted by the bold chicanery of the English Queen. But the armada was beaten by anticipation years before it was launched amid so much pompous mummery; for the English seamen knew full well that fast, well-handled ships that would sail close to the wind could harass the cumbrous galleons of Philip as they pleased, and the victory for England was a foregone conclusion. The King of France was a childless cipher, incapable of great designs or important action; his mother, whose busy brain factor in France, was rapidly sinking to her rest. Protestantism was now firmly rooted in England, and had nothing to fear from within during the life of the great Queen, whose popularity was unbounded amongst all sections of her subjects, whilst in the rest of Europe it was evidently a waxing rather than a waning power. The Huguenot Henry of Navarre was next heir to the French crown, and could be trusted to give a good account of the Pope, the Guises, and the league; the strong Protestant princes of Germany rendered the Emperor harmless as a Catholic force, whilst the stubborn determination of the brave Dutchmen to hold to their faith HKUE amecat all costs, gave to their sympathetic English neighbours the certainty of a guiding voice in their affairs.