On the walls also hung portraits by Holbein and many works of the Flemh and Italian schools.
The furniture of the room was of costly nature, being chiefly of ebony, richly inlaid with mother-of-pearl.
Here the light was given by hundreds of wax candles, set in silver sconces, and it shone upon the fairest dames which England had to show to the proud Castilian nobles who grouped around the King.
Here, also, great Churchmen were presentmong whom the Cardinal stood pre-eminent in h scarlet robes.
Presently the Cardinal found h way to the side of Queen Mary, who welcomed him with a smile, though it was a faint and weary one. For Mary was growing feeble in health and broken in spirits, though, to-night, she had shown herself more like the Mary Tudor of former days.
Alas, poor Queen!
Dappointed of her fondest hopes, childless and neglected by her husband, who would not pity her?
In the Court to-night she could but see how the young gallants gathered round the ring starhe Lady Elizabeth.
It was mainly by Philip's influence that she had recalled the hope of the Reformation Party to Court, and she saw, with bitter pain, that the Spanh King was strangely attentive to her young rival. Had Stephen Gardiner's advice been followed, Elizabeth would long ere now been swept from her path.
"Ah! had she erred?" thought the Queen in her inmost heart.
For th young and gay Princess was next in succession to the Throne, according to the will of their father, King Henry.
And so all her work might be undone, and the fondest, dearest hopes of her heart frustrated!
As these thoughts darkened her soul she saw Pole approaching her, and h very presence brought new life to her heart.
He knelt and ksed the Queen's hand, and when he rose Mary beckoned him to a seat beside her, and they fell into a close and confidential conversation.
The night was wearing on, the Queen was growing weary, yet she said in reply to a request from him鈥?/P>
"Yes, to-night, after Chapel, in my boudoir;" and so they separated.
The King had left the salon.
A Court courier had arrived from Brussels, and together with Don Renard he had withdrawn to h own rooms.
There they hastily examined the messenger's portfolio, and that business being transacted the Ambassador entered upon other matters.
King Philip was a hard master! Great statesmen and famous warriors knew that it behoved them to walk warily in their dealings with him. Eminent service and a long dcharge of duty would not save them from the pron cell, and even the block, if they thwarted their imperious master.
Don Renard knew th full well.
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