« AnteriorContinuar »
be deprived of the splendid harbour of Lisbon, and of the very considerable Colonial possessions of Portugal in America and India. By the treaty of the Pyrenees, Louis had bound himself not to assist the Portuguese against the Spaniards; but this did not hinder him from being glad to secure them a powerful ally, and it was suggested to Charles by his mother, at the desire of Louis, that the young King of Portugal, Alfonso, had a sister, Catalina, of a suitable age, and that he would be willing to give her a splendid dowry to secure a royal connection.
Soon after the offer was formally made by the Portuguese ambassador, Don Francisco de Melho, of the Infanta, with £500,000 in hand, also of the city of Tangier in Africa, and the island of Bombay in the East Indies, and the right of free trade with the Colonial possessions of Portugal. Such an offer was extremely tempting, and though there were some regrets that there was no Protestant Princess to the King's taste, his counsellors, Clarendon, Ormond, and Sandwich, were dazzled by the idea of the money, and of Tangier, little thinking how much the most important part of the dowry was that island of Bombay.
Don Francisco was sent home to make further arrangements, and after a few hesitations caused by malicious reports as to the lady's health and beauty, set forth by the Spaniards, the portrait sent decided Charles that that person cannot be unhandsome,' and the treaty was concluded.
Catharine, as she was called in England, was dark-eyed and chestnut haired, not 'unhandsome,' but not a striking beauty. Her mother, Queen Louisa, was the leading spirit in the family, a most able woman; but she had always kept her daughter in a convent. Give years the Infanta had not been beyond its walls, and when she knew she was to be Queen of England, her excursions were only to the shrines of saints in Lisbon. What a preparation for such a husband and such a Court!
Sir Richard Fansbawe brought her the King's miniature, and early in the spring of 1662, Lord Sandwich, after taking possession of Tangier, came with the fleet to carry the bride to England. She embarked on the 23rd of April with full a hundred Portuguese gentlemen and ladies in her suite, besides six chaplains. She never came on deck through the voyage ; but on arriving off the Isle of Wight, she received the Duke of York, and many civilities passed between them. She was ill for a day or two after landing at Portsmouth, but was nearly recovered by the time the King arrived, and on the 21st of May, they were privately married early in the morning, according to the Romish ritual, and after dinner, in public, in St. Thomas's Church, by the Bishop of London, according to the forms of the Church of England. The bride wore rose colour, with knots of blue ribbon, which were cut off and distributed as favours by her ladies, all present striving for a scrap. The register still exists at the church.
Charles wrote to Clarendon that he must be the worst man living if he did not make a good husband,' adding that, we cannot stir from hence till Tuesday, by reason that there are not carts to be had tomorrow to transport all our guarde infantas, without which there is no stirring.
These Guarde infantas were the huge farthingales of the Portuguese ladies who were still wearing Queen Elizabeth's fashions, to the great diversion of the English ladies, with whom a far more freeand-easy style of drapery was beginning to prevail. The olive complexions of these foreign dames were as little admired as their farthingales. King Alfonso had exhorted his sister never to forsake her own country's costume, and to get it adopted in her Court, and she tried hard to do so; but fashion was too strong for her, and before long, she, too, was wearing French fashions.
For six weeks Catharine's simplicity, freshness, and delight in novelty pleased the King; but then came a great struggle between them as to whether she should receive Lady Castlemaine as one of her ladies, as Marie Therèse did by Madamoiselle de la Vallière.
When Charles himself brought her into his wife's presence, Catharine fell back in a fainting fit, and was only relieved by violent nose bleeding. Even this only provoked Charles. Ormond and Clarendon both declared that such concessions should not be demanded of a wife, nor, indeed, had any English Queen been thus treated; but Charles, impelled by the fierce temper of Lady Castlemaine, declared that if he gave up the point, the country would think him in a state of pupilage, and he even wrote a letter to Clarendon, declaring that he should regard any one who opposed his intentions as his enemy for life.
Clarendon, to his shame, submitted to argue with the poor Queen. She was desperate, and declared that sho would go back to Portugal; but Clarendon showed her it was impossible, and Charles told her she had better find out whether her mother would receive her there, also that he should send home all her Portuguese attendants for eucouraging her in her “frowardness.'
In this conflict of wills, even his ordinary good-nature and courtesy gave way. He avoided coming into the company of the poor forlorn lady, and when obliged to do so, he did not speak to her, but only to those who made it their business to laugh at everything in earth or Heaven.
A visit from Queen Henrietta made things somewhat better for poor Catharine, who went with the King to meet his mother at Greenwich, and was treated by her with the utmost tenderness and affection; but unfortunately they had no language in common, for the one Queen knew no Spanish, and the other no French, nor could she yet speak English freely. Henrietta had never suffered in the same way; but she was accustomed to the French code of manners, and probably in private, persuaded her daughter-in-law to submit, for from this time she made no more resistance, but freely admitted Lady Castlemaine. Once when that personage, entering her chamber while she was at her toilette, had the insolence to ask, “How she could have the patience to sit so long a dressing.'
*Madam,' replied the Queen, gravely, 'I have so much reason to use patience, that I can well bear such a trile.'
Most of her Portuguese attendants were sent home, but a few remained, and she braced herself to endurance. When she had a very severe illness in 1663, and lay for many days at the point of death, the King was touched with remorse, hung over her with unremitting attention, and shed many tears. Poor thing, in her delirium, she fancied that she had borne a son, and was only troubled that it was an ugly child. 'Nay, it is a very pretty boy,' said the King, to humour her, and in this happy delusion she slept. She was long recovering, and in the attendance on her, Charles's hair turned 80 grey that he began the fashion of wearing a wig, which by-and-by spread to a preposterous size.
His tokens of real affection made her position somewhat less wretched for the future, and she could endure his admiration for Frances Theresa Stuart, Lord Blantyre's daughter, a brilliant merry young creature, something of a romp, but well principled, and guarding herself effectually. It was she who sat to Rotier, the medallist, for the figure of Britannia, which we still bear on our copper coinage. Never again had the Queen hopes of a child, and the Duke of York's boy had died in early babyhood, so that the only child in the family besides the young Prince of Orange, was Mary, the newly-born daughter of the Duke of York.
Want of money was sorely pressing Charles. He wanted to send out an armament to take possession of Bombay, and be had further to assist the King of Portugal. Dunkirk was an expensive possession, requiring a garrison, and its capture having been in part a Cromwellian achievement, did not greatly interest the Royal Government. It was therefore decided that the offer of Louis XIV. should be accepted, and that it should be sold to the French for five millions of money. The English had been proud of the possession, and had had part enough in the capture to feel it like a conquest of their own, and an equivalent for Calais; but, on the other hand, the Cavaliers had fought for its defenders, and esteemed it an expensive and useless piece of property. It was the more vexatious to find that Louis was making the fortifications almost impregnable, and forming a harbour capable of containing thirty ships-of-the-line, so that in time of war it became a very dangerous neighbour. The London merchants had' offered Charles a sum exceeding the purchase-money if he would keep Dunkirk in his own hands, and probably he would have accepted this, if he had not been engaged in secret negotiations with the French. Clarendon increased great odium on this account. He was building himself a grand mansion, it was popularly supposed with his share of the price, and the name of Dunkirk House was bestowed on it by the general voice. VOL. 14.
PREPARATION OF PRAYER-BOOK LESSONS.
THE LAST COMMUNION AND COMMENDATION.
Susan. I have been thinking constantly of the lines in the • Christian Year.'
Aunt Jane. Say them. They cannot be heard too often.
• Faith listens, till her pale eye glow
We sate, and talked of Jesus' death.' This, then, is the fit place to speak of the Communion of the Sick, though it has a separate heading in the Prayer-book.
A. For its Collect, Epistle, and Gospel; the only ones intended for occasional services which have been introduced at the compilation of our English Prayer-book.
S. How is that?
A. Because the Reformers wanted to do away with Reservation and the public carrying of the Host to the Sick. Even in 1549 the rubric was, ' And if the same day there be a Celebration of the Holy Communion in the Church, then shall the priest reserve so much of the Sacrament of the Body and Blood as shall serve the sick person, and so many as shall communicate with him (if there be any), and so soon as he conveniently may after the open Communion ended in the Church, go and minister the same food to those that are appointed to communicate with the sick (if there be any), and last of all with the sick person himself.' It was added that the Confession and Absolution, and the comfortable words in the Communion Service, must precede the sick man's reception; and there was another rubric enacting that when consecrated for one sick person, the Blessed Sacrament might be carried to another.
S. It was a most wise and right provision, it seems to me, and quite cruel to do away with it!
A. It was a great mistake. You see Calvinism led the Puritans to regard reverence to the Holy Sacraments as idolatry, and acknowledgment of the most material and superstitious view of the Real Presence. On that account they shortened as much as possible the space of time during which the Elements were consecrated and unconsumed even in Church, they endeavoured to prevent kneeling, and forbado any portion to be carried out of the Church, or taken from house to house.
S. Yes; one reads how sorely conscientious people were tried in Continental towns by meeting a priest carrying the Host with a canopy and servers attending, when they actually put themselves in danger by not showing the reverence that they fancied was idolatrous.
A. In that spirit this rule was made ; and I am afraid that Church feeliug ebbed so low, that the practical cruelty was long unfelt in compelling a fresh consecration to take place for every communicant at the time of some epidemic, and sometimes in lengthening the service too much for a greatly exhausted patient. A proposal to alter the rubric has been introduced into Convocation, but was rejected. I hope greatly that it may be carried when there has been more time for consideration.
S. I suppose what was really intended was to prevent the carrying the Host at the head of a procession, as a kind of charm in the time of danger from pestilence and the like.
A. Which was done sometimes in earnest faith, sometimes in superstition.
S. But did it ever stop the plague, like Aaron making atonement between the dead and the living?
A. St. Gregory the Great, St. Mamertus of Vienne, would seem to have rightly used it in faith; but I should think the analogy was to the carrying the Ark into battle. It brought victory to Joshua, and defeat and death to Hophni and Phinehas.
S. Then it would depend upon the spirit in which it was done.
A. Remember, too, there were two parties contending when the Prayer-book was compiled : one anxious to preserve its catholicity, and conceding something for the sake of saving the rest; and the, other, so much afraid of anything not Scriptural on the very surface, and depending so much more on the feeling they called faith, than on its pledges, that tbey cared little for throwing impediments in the way of last Communions.
S. I have been shocked in some books, even at the present day,