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ness, as being brought up in the Court of France, where such freedom was allowed ;' declaring myself willing to endure what kind of punishment her Majesty should be

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pleased to inflict upon me, for so great an offence. Then she sat down low upon a cushion, and I upon my knees by her, but with her own hand she gave me a cushion to lay under my knee, which at first I refused, but she com


pelled me to take it. She inquired whether my queen or she played best? In that I found myself obliged to give her the praise.”

Elizabeth was equally fond of the lute, "on which,” says Camden, “she played very handsomely.” She and Leicester were on one occasion found by Norfolk sitting on the floor together in the Privy Chamber, listening to a boy playing on that instrument. Sometimes she used to sing to the ladies and gentlemen of the Court; and once, after she had been entertaining them in this way at Hampton Court, some of those who had been present fell into a discussion as to the merits of the performance. Most of the company conmended it, but Lord Oxford, Burghley's son-in-law, on the contrary, protested, “By the blood of that she had the worst of voyce, and did everything with the worst grace that ever any woman did.” This disparaging judgment was reported to the Queen and Council, and Oxford had cause to rue his rash freedom of speech, for it formed one of the charges against him when he was committed to the Tower not long after.

At the same time she loved music for its own sake, as well as for its being a fascinating female accomplishment. For, to whichever of her palaces she went, there was always a great number of musicians in attendance, such as trumpeters, lute-players, harpers, sackbutt and flute-players, and many others, to the number of a hundred, who played while the Queen dined or supped, and on State occasions at banquets, balls, and masquerades. In her own chapel, also, she was very particular that the music should be of the very best. Four sets of singing boys were maintained on the royal establishment, and royal warrants were issued “to take up apt and sweet children” to be instructed in the art of singing, who were carefully trained. Her organist, Dr. Tye, “a peevish and humoursome man,” sometimes played in such a fashion that she sent the verger to tell him that he played out of tune, whereupon he sent her word that “her ears were out of tune.” At Hampton Court she had a great many musical instruments, among them one entirely of glass, except the strings. She seems to have maintained her

predilection for music to the end, for Hawkins declares, in his "History of Music," that "in the hour of her departure she THE QUEEN'S SINGING AND DANCING.


ordered her musicians into her chamber, and died hearing them.”

To return to Melville and the Queen. Although he told her he was anxious to get back to Scotland, she insisted on detaining him two days after the interview just described, “that I might,” says he, see her dance, as I was afterwards informed. Which being done, she inquired at once whether she or my queen danced best? I answered, my queen danced not so high or disposedly as she did.”

Next morning Melville was conveyed by Leicester in his barge from Hampton Court to London, and, as they were being rowed down the river, Leicester asked him what the Queen of Scots thought of him and of the proposition that he should marry her. “Whereunto I answered,” says Melville, “very coldly, as I had been by my queen commanded. Then he began to purge himself of so proud a pretence as to marry so great a queen, declaring that he did not esteem himself worthy to wipe her shoes, and that the invention of that proposition of marriage proceeded from Mr. Cecil, his secret enemy; ‘For if I,' said he, should have appeared desirous of that marriage, I should have offended both queens, and lost their favour.'»



In the autumn of 1568, when the conference for the trial of the differences between Mary Queen of Scots, now a prisoner in England, and her subjects, had been adjourned from York to London, Elizabeth was residing at Hampton Court, and here a council was summoned on the 30th of October, to decide on what should be the future course of proceedings.

Hitherto Elizabeth seems to have sincerely sympathized with her unfortunate cousin, and to have desired a result which might lead to her reconciliation with the rebel lords and her restoration to her throne. But the news which reached her about this time was beginning to work a change in her feelings. She heard with alarm that the excitement among her Catholic subjects was increasing, that the chivalrous interest aroused in the northern counties in Mary's cause was rising to a dangerous pitch, and that the Duke of Norfolk was intriguing to marry her. Cecil immediately took advantage of this mood to further his designs; so that a few days before the Council met he was able to congratulate himself that the Queen of Scots would not “be advanced to greater credit than her cause will deserve," and that the

15 68


disposition of his mistress was now rather to put her back than to further her."

The effect of this was at once apparent on the meeting of the Council. It was then determined that Murray should be induced by promise of protection and countenance, to produce his alleged proofs of his Queen's guilt, that at the same time Mary should be informed how desirous Elizabeth was that the investigation “should have some good end”; but that “because this manner of proceeding cannot be so secretly used, but that knowledge thereof will by some means come to the Queen of Scots,” precautions should be taken against her escaping by removing her to Tutbury, a place of great security, as soon as the Regent consented

to show and make proof of the Queen of Scots' guiltiness for the murder of her husband.”


While the conference was holding its sittings in London, and Murray was putting in the accusations against Queen Mary ; while Lennox was appearing, contrary to the understanding, and appealing for judgment against her; and while her commissioners, Lord Herries and Bishop Ross, were denouncing this and other breaches of the engagements, Elizabeth remained at her palace in the country, giving audiences to La Mothe Fénélon, the newly-appointed am

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bassador from the French Court; and to M. le Cardinal de Châtillon, brother of Coligny, the envoy of Condé and the Huguenots, with equal distinction. On his first visit, La Mothe was met with all the customary pomp at the foot of the great stairs, and thence conducted through the Great Hall to the Presence Chamber, where he was ushered before Elizabeth, who was seated in her chair of State. She conversed with him for upwards of an hour on the state of parties in France and the affairs of Spain and Scotland.

M. de Châtillon, who sought an audience of her a few

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