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royal table. This love of our ancestors for good cheer, in the reign of Queen Mary, is confirmed by another Frenchman who was in England soon after.
“The English,” says he, “are great drunkards, and if an Englishman would treat you, he will say in his language, Will you drink a quart of Gascoyne, of Spanish, of Malmsey wine?' Their conversation is continually interspersed with phrases such as these : • Drind iou,' 'Iplaigiou,' 'Bigod sol drind iou agoud oin' (meaning thereby: I drink to you, I pledge you, By God, I shall drink you a good wine).” Like the Spaniard, he censures them for the large quantities of beer they drink, and declares that in England “there is no kind of order; the people are reprobates, and thorough enemies of good manners and letters, for they do not know whether they belong to God or the devil, and their manners are very unpolite.”
On the 3rd of April in the following year, 1555, Philip and Mary came again to Hampton Court, in which palace the Queen intended to have her confinement, which she fondly imagined was soon going to take place. According to the custom of that time, therefore, she retired entirely from public view, and for some weeks we hear little news from Court, except that, on the 8th of April, Courtenay was admitted to kiss hands before his departure for the Netherlands, and that the Duke of Alva spent a few days with Philip.
In the meanwhile processions were organised and masses were said in London to draw down the Divine blessing upon the expected offspring, and “a solemn prayer was made for King Philip and Queen Mary's child, that it might be a male child, well-favoured and witty.”
On the 23rd of April, being St. George's Day, after a grand high mass in the Chapel Royal, King Philip, as Sovereign of the Order of the Garter, went with the Knights, and the Lords of the Council in their robes, in procession round the cloisters and courts of the palace, attended by heralds, and accompanied by the Lord Chancellor, and by Bishop Gardiner in his mitre, and followed by a crowd of noblemen and ecclesiastics, with acolytes bearing crosses and carrying tapers, thurifers swinging censers, and clerks and priests all in copes of cloth of gold and tissue. As they marched round the cloister of the old Inner Court (which stood on the site
NEWS THAT A PRINCE WAS BORN.
of the present Fountain Court) solemnly singing the hymn
Salve festa dies," the Queen looked down on them from the window of her bed-chamber, and watched them pass, so that she was seen by hundreds of spectators. This was considered a somewhat serious breach of etiquette, but it was, doubtless, done in order publicly to testify to Mary's reverence for the ceremonies of the Catholic faith, and to refute the rumour then current that she was dead.
Immediately after this, the birth of the anxiously expected heir was believed at length to be imminent, and the greatest excitement prevailed in the palace. The nursery was got ready, midwives, nurses, and rockers were engaged, and “ cradle veri sumptuouslie and gorgeouslie trimmed ” was prepared ; and on it were inscribed the verses :
“The child which thou to Marie, O Lord of might hast send,
To England's joie in health
Preserve, keepe and defend.” Indeed, so completely confident were they as to the anticipated event, that not only were passports made out for the Queen's messengers, who were to be the bearers of the joyful intelligence, but despatches were also prepared for the English ambassadors abroad, and letters for the continental sovereigns, announcing the fact of her Majesty's safe delivery.
These documents were signed by the King and Queen “Given under our signet at our house of Hampton Court," the date being left in blank to be filled in afterwards, and the word fil left unfinished, so that by the after addition of s or of le it would serve for a boy or a girl. One of these singular letters however-namely, the one which was to be sent to Cardinal Pole—was more decidedly worded, and went so far as to settle the sex of the expected baby, informing him in express terms “that God had been pleased, amongst his other benefits, to add the gladding of us with the happy delivery of a Prince.”
These curious evidences of the infatuation of the royal confidence may still be seen in the Record Office. At length, on the last day of the month, the glorious hour in which should be brought forth the hope of England and of the Catholic world was declared to have arrived. Messengers
were despatched in advance to announce the happy event in London, where the news was received with the ringing of bells, the singing of the “Te Deum” in several churches, the preaching of thanksgiving sermons, and the lighting of bonfires. Indeed one devout priest went so far, in his religious enthusiasm, as to describe the very appearance of the child—“how fair, how beautiful and great a prince it was, as the like had not been seen.”
The news even crossed the Channel to Antwerp, where the great bell of the Cathedral was set ringing, salutes were fired by the vessels in the river for the actual birth, and the English mariners supplied by the Regent with a hundred crowns to drink the health of the new-born prince.
But, as Machyn observes, “the morrow after, yt was torned ordur ways, to the plesur of God.” No child had been born; and suspicion began to arise that some very considerable mistake had been made. Still Mary herself had no misgivings. So religious processions were ordered, and up and down marched the priests" through city and suburb, park and square; torches flared along Cheapside at midnight behind the Holy Sacrament, and five hundred poor men and women from the almshouses walked two and two, telling their beads on their withered fingers. Then all the boys of all the schools were set in motion, and the ushers and the masters came after them; clerks, canons, bishops, mayor, aldermen, officers of guilds. Such marching, such chanting, such praying, was never seen or heard before or since in London streets.”
RECONCILIATION OF MARY AND ELIZABETH.
It was at this juncture that Elizabeth arrived at the palace, having been sent for by the Queen, perhaps that she might be a witness of the birth, and because that event would probably terminate the political intrigues that had hitherto