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a little further on, "generally comes off in this way: the huntsmen remain on the spot where the game is to be found, with twenty or thirty hounds; if the King fancies any in particular among the herd, he causes his pleasure to be signified to the huntsmen, who forthwith proceed to mark the place where the animal stood ; they then lead the hounds thíther, which are taught to follow this one animal only, and accordingly away they run straight upon his track; and even should there be forty or fifty deer together, they do nothing to them, but chase only the one, and never give up till they have overtaken and brought it down. Meanwhile the King hurries incessantly after the hounds until they have caught the game. There is therefore,” adds the foreigner, “no particular enjoyment in this sport.”
On such occasions he went to the meet of the hounds dressed in a suit “ green as the grass he trod on, with a feather in his cap, and a horne instead of a sword by his side: how suitable to his age, calling, or person,” remarks one of his censors, “I leave to others to judge from his pictures.” This we are enabled to do from the accompanying print of his Majesty receiving from the huntsman the knife with which he is to “take the assay,” that is, the first cut on the stag's breast, to discover how fat he is. This print is a facsimile of a woodcut in Turberville's “Noble Art of Venerie," published in 1611.
So amply did the King stock the parks at Hampton Court with game, and so renowned did the place consequently become, that to have a day's hunting here was considered by all travellers visiting the palace to be “the thing to do,” and foreigners of distinction, especially, liked to be able to boast that they had witnessed "le sport Anglais ” in King James's famous preserves at Hampton Court. One of these travellers was the son of the Landgrave Maurice of Hesse, Prince Otto, of whose visit to England in the year 1611, when he was aged only seventeen, there is in the library of Cassel a curious manuscript narrative, which contains a valuable description of the palace. He mentions especially that in the King's porch on a tablet is the inscription :
“Nihil pace commodius et sanctius ; tamen cum bella vitare non possumus, interdum suscipienda : sed pax servanda semper."
“PEACE WITH HONOUR.”
This Latin stanza in commendation of peace
characteristic of King James, who, as the French Ambassador observed, “hated war from habit, principle and disposition, and would (to use his own words) avoid it like his own damnation. For he was born and bred up with a base and weak heart, and imagines (after the manner of princes who devote themselves to religion, the sciences, and sloth) that he can never be forced into a war against his will, by duty or conscience, or forcible and legitimate reasons.”
His reluctance to engage in any warlike enterprises, and especially his backwardness in intervening on behalf of the struggling Protestants on the continent, increased his unpopularity with the people, who could not but despise a king with no other foreign policy than the negative one of nonintervention. His satirist, Weldon, also severely blames him for preferring diplomatic to military methods, and declares that James would rather "spend £100,000 on embassies to keep or procure Peace with Dishonour, than £10,000 on an army that would have forced Peace with Honour ;”—a sentence, by the way, which shows that a famous modern phrase had been coined several centuries earlier than is generally supposed.
Prince Otto continues: “This Palace of Hampton Court has 700 rooms, as the Vice-Chamberlain, who led us round, informed us, among which are 80 splendid royal chambers, all decorated with beautiful gold tapestries, the like of which we have not seen, which tapestry was hung up in honour of his Highness the Landgrave Otto, besides other tapestry being underneath. The golden tapestry, which hangs in the Queen's and other apartments, and which Henry VIII. bought, is said to have cost £50 a yard, and to have been offered to many other potentates first,
so Hampton Court now possesses them. The Palace has seven courts and two fine gardens, and fine parks.”
Another visitor to Hampton Court Palace about this time was Ernest, Duke of Saxe-Weimar, who records that “in all the state chambers stood a royal throne, a seat, and a canopy above, either of golden work or satin. In the rooms stood large beds, nine feet long and as many wide, adorned in the most costly fashion. In one room, which is called the 'Paradise Room,' is to be seen a great treasure of gold
tapestry and royal robes, and a beautiful large unicorn's horn. All the apartments and galleries were laid with rush matting. The pleasure gardens, also, are very beautiful here as everywhere, and laid out in the best manner.”
The Duke of Saxe-Weimar's account of his hunting experiences with James I. we have already noticed. This, however, recalls the fact that the Queen, who occasionally shared the King's sports and shot deer like him, mistook her mark one day at Theobalds, just before Saxe-Weimar's visit, and, instead of the stag, killed Jewel, “the King's most principal and special hound, at which he stormed exceedingly awhile; but after he knew who did it, he was soon pacified, and with much kindness wished her not to be troubled with it, for he should love her never the worse, and the next day he sent her a diamond worth £2,000 as a legacy from his dead dog."
An interesting reminiscence of her sporting tastes still exists at Hampton Court in Vansomer's curious picture, dated 1617, of her Majesty as the “Huntress Queen,” as Ben Jonson flatteringly calls her. She is standing by the side of a fat sorrel steed, with a cream-coloured mane, behind which is a negro groom in red, holding the bridle. In a leash she holds two small greyhounds, while another is jumping up to her; they wear little ornamental collars embroidered in gold, with the Queen's initials, A.R. In the background is seen the Palace of Oatlands. Her hunting costume is somewhat fantastic, consisting of a dark green velvet skirt of cut velvet, with a bodice of the same material, very tight at the wrist and very low cut: the whole trimmed with lace and red ribbons. On her head she wears a conical hat of gray felt with a red plume. The whole composition recalls the lines of Dryden:
“The graceful goddess was arrayed in green, About her feet were little beagles seen, Who watched with upward eyes the movements of their queen.” Soon after this picture was painted, the Queen's state of health began to give rise to a good deal of anxiety at Court. She was suffering, in fact, from a complication apparently of gout, dropsy, and phthisis, and continued to grow worse during her residence in London all through the winter. In ILLNESS OF "THE EMPRESS OF BRITAIN.” 193
the autumn of 1618, her health still declining, she removed, after a short stay at Oatlands, to the Palace of Hampton Court, where she was seized one night with such a bad attack of spitting of blood that she was nearly choked in her sleep, and her physicians had to be sent for in great haste. Ill as she was, however, she did not neglect her old protégé Sir Walter Raleigh, who was now under sentence of death, and about to perish on the scaffold, and who in his extremity addressed the following appeal to her in verse :
" Then unto whom shall I unfold my wrong,
She was probably not unmindful of the fact that in one of her former illnesses Raleigh had cured her with a medicine of his own preparation, called “Raleigh's Cordial,” when her own physicians were at their wits' end to know what to do.
Accordingly she wrote a supplicatory letter to Buckingham asking him to prevail on the King to pardon him. But her intervention on his behalf was of no avail, and on the 29th of October, 1618, “the gallantest worthie that England ever bred,” was beheaded on Tower Hill.
“The Empress of Briton," as Raleigh styles her, or "the Empress of the North,” as she is entitled in an old print, seems at first to have derived some good from the air of Hampton Court, for a few days before this we read that “the Queen began to recover ; and her advisers were urgent that she should remain at this Palace, as it seemed to suit her so well.” On Christmas Day she was able to hear a sermon from the Bishop of London, "in the chamber next Paradise”; and a few days after she received a visit from Buckingham and Prince Charles, while the King came to see her twice a week. The rally, however, was but of short duration; and on the 22nd of February she began to grow rapidly worse, and the symptoms showed that her dissolution was now close at hand. One of her attendants, writing after her Majesty's death to some lady abroad, gives a detailed account of her last illness, which we will quote in its original quaintness of expression.
“Whereas your Ladyship desires to be satisfied of the form of her Majesty's death it was thus. She was reasonably well recovered to the eyes of all that saw her, and came to her drawing-chamber and to her gallery every day almost ; yet still so weak of her legs, that she could not stand upon them, neither had she any stomach for her meat, the space of six weeks before she died.”
On Monday the ist of March, it was evident to those about her that her end was drawing nigh; and the news being quickly known "all the Lords and Ladies almost about this town (London) went to Hampton Court, but very few were admitted.” The Lord Privy Seal, however, and the Archbishop of Canterbury, and the Bishop of London, were allowed to enter her room, when they knelt by her bedside and addressed her, “Madame, we hope that as your Majesty's strength fails outwardly, your best part groweth strong." They then said a prayer which she followed word by word ; after which the Archbishop said, “Madame, we hope your Majesty doth not trust to your own merits, nor to the mediations of saints, but only by the blood and merits of our Saviour Christ Jesus you shall be saved ?” They put these questions to her because they were aware of the current rumours that she had secretly embraced the Catholic faith. “I do," she answered, “and withal I renounce the mediation of all saints, any my own merits, and do only rely upon my Saviour Christ, who has redeemed my fault with His blood.” “This being said,” continues the eye-witness whom we are quoting, "gave great satisfaction to the Bishops, and to the few that heard her. Then the Prince was brought in to her, and she made him welcome, and asked him how he did. He answered 'At her service,' and two or three questions merrily. Then she bade him go home. 'No,' he says, “I will wait upon your Majesty.' She answered, 'I am a pretty piece to wait upon, servant !' (for she ever called him so.) She bade him go to his chamber, and she would send for him again; he went. . . After supper the Prince was brought to her again, but did stay no time. The Lords were very desirous to have her make her will. She prayed them to let her alone till the morrow, and then she would. Still