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Title: The Story of Don John of Austria

Author: Luis Coloma

Translator: Ada Margarette Moreton

Release Date: October 27, 2016 [EBook #53383]

Language: English

Character set encoding: UTF-8


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Photo Anderson.

Don John of Austria.

Flemish School in Prado Gallery, Madrid.





In one of the addresses delivered at the time of Padre Coloma's admission to the Real Academia Española there is a reference to Jeromín, as this Story of Don John of Austria is called in Spanish, which says that it awakes great interest in the reader by inaugurating a new type of book, half novel and half history. This seems too true a description of it not to be quoted here.

In his preface the author states that he does not propose to delve into any deep problems, or to put forward unknown facts about personages already judged at the bar of history. All the same, I think that much in this book will be fresh to English readers, notably, perhaps, the fact that an "auto da fe" consisted in hearing the sentences pronounced on the prisoners of the Inquisition, not in witnessing their execution, and that in most cases the condemned were garrotted before being burnt.

Many of the illustrations will also be new to most people. Through the kindness of the Duke of Berwick and Alba the two pictures of the "Gran Duque" in his palace at Madrid are reproduced with their history. I am indebted to Colonel Coloma for the picture of Antonio Pérez and the one of Luis Quijada, photographed specially for this book. Señor de Osma was good enough to send me the autograph of Don John's mother, which proves her to have been a woman of at least some education. From him, too, comes a most interesting specimen of Don John's writing—the postscript to the dispatch announcing the battle of Lepanto.

Of the more familiar illustrations it can surely weary no one to be reminded of how Jeromín pictured his father to himself, or how Philip II, "Reyna Ysovel," Prince Carlos, and others appeared to the blue eyes of the hero of Lepanto.

I disclaim all responsibility for the views, historical or otherwise, expressed in this book, but if I have failed to reproduce a vivid picture of life in old Spain, it is solely the fault of my prentice hand.

As on the walls of some tapestried chamber the author displays the Story of Don John of Austria from his engaging childhood to his saintly death. The light as it shines on this Prince Charming, also falls on those great ones of his time who were his friends or foes, and on the multitude of their servants and followers, lingering most lovingly on beautiful Doña Magdalena de Ulloa, as it glints on the golden texture of her unselfish life. In the woof of the background the author has woven many homely touches, which seem to make the figures live again, and, shaking off the dust of more than three centuries, to leave the arras as in some Pavillon d'Armide.

Has the turning of the hangings broken the spell? As I cannot but remember that Cervantes, shrewdest of observers, has said that translating from one language to another is "like one looking on the wrong side of Flemish tapestry; although the figures are seen they are full of threads which blur them, and the smoothness and bloom of the surface are not seen; not for this" he, however, adds encouragingly, "do I wish to say that this exercise of translating is not praiseworthy, because a man may spend his time in other and worse ways." Ojalá! that any possible reader of this book may not have cause to doubt the truth of this last axiom.

My best thanks are due to Padre Coloma for his courtesy in allowing me to translate this work, to Colonel Coloma for the trouble he has taken for its welfare, to Señor de Osma for all his kindness, to Doctor de Alcázar y Polanco and Mr. Medd, and last, but not least, to my husband for all his help.

A. M. M.




Don John of Austria


Sir William Stirling Maxwell describes this picture as "perhaps the most satisfactory existing portrait on canvas as he appeared in his prime. It is not impossible that it may be the work of Stradamus." "He wears a small rapier, the Order of the Fleece and a steel cuirass, slightly enriched with gold, with sleeves of chain armour, a band of red velvet being on the right arm and a pair of trunk breeches of some dark parti-coloured stuff, over which is a casing of crimson perpendicular bars (resembling velvet). That this outer covering or cage is detached from the lining is made evident by his dagger hanging between the lining and the cage. His hose and shoes are of light crimson, approaching to pink ... a helmet with a blue plume."

Flemish School. In the Prado Gallery, Madrid.

Philip II as a Young Man


Born 1527. Died 1598.

Son of the Emperor Charles V and Isabel of Portugal.

Married 1. Maria of Portugal. 2. Mary Tudor, Queen of England. 3. Elizabeth of Valois (Isabel of the Peace). 4. Anne of Austria (his niece).

Portrait by Titian (1477-1576) is in the Prado Gallery, Madrid.

Luis Quijada, Lord of Villagarcia


Died 1570.

Specially photographed for this book from a picture in the possession of the Conde de Santa Coloma.

A replica of this picture exists in Seville in the Palace of the Marqués de la Motilla, of which Don Emilio M. de Torres y Gonzalez-Arnao kindly sent a specially taken photograph.

Emperor Charles V. Charles I of Spain, 1500-58.


Son of Philip the Handsome, of Burgundy, and Joan the Mad.

Began to reign 1516. Elected Holy Roman Emperor 1519.

Abdicated 1555. Married Isabel of Portugal.

This portrait by Titian represents the Emperor at the battle of Muhlberg (1546), where, an historian says, "he looked a warrior; he rode an Andalusian horse covered with a crimson silk cloth with a gold fringe. His armour was brilliant, the helmet and cuirass garnished with gold. He wore the red sash with golden stripes of the general of the house of Burgundy."

This armour still exists in the Royal Armoury at Madrid, and has been reconstructed according to the portrait with the most life-like results. The picture itself is in the Prado.

Doña Leonor de Mascareñas


As governess to Philip II and his son, D. Carlos, she exercised, by reason of her virtues and great discretion, much influence at the Court of the Emperor Charles V, who held her in great esteem. She was also the friend of St. Theresa, and founded the Convent of Our Lady of the Angels in Madrid, to which she retired.

This photograph is from the portrait by Sir Antonio More, belonging to the Marqués de la Vega-Inclán, which until recently remained in the Convent she had founded. The photograph is the first ever taken of the picture, and was kindly sent by Don Emilio M. de Torres y Gonzalez-Arnao.

Infanta Juana of Spain


Daughter of the Emperor Charles V and Isabel of Portugal. Married D. Juan, Prince of Portugal, and was mother of the luck-less King Sebastian. As a widow she returned to rule Spain during the years that Philip spent in England as husband of Queen Mary Tudor.

Don Juan Valera says, "Beautiful and passionate as we cannot doubt her to have been, since she inspired so ardent a devotion in the Prince her husband that he preferred to die rather than leave her ... yet she was so austere and shy that she never consented to show her face," and was heavily veiled when she gave audiences. If any doubted whether they were really addressing her, she would lift her covering, and directly her visitor was satisfied, drop it again. Señor Valera quotes this as a proof that none of the descendants of Joan the Mad were entirely free from the taint of insanity.

Portrait by Sir Antonio More (1512-82) is in the Prado Gallery, Madrid.

Alexander Farnese, Prince of Parma


Died 1592, aged forty-eight.

Son of Margaret, Duchess of Parma, half-sister to Don John, after whose death Alexander Farnese took command of the troops in Flanders. Married the Princess Maria of Portugal.

The portrait in the Museo Nazionale, Naples, is ascribed to F. M. Mazzola (called Parmigiano) (1503-40), but dates would seem to make this impossible.

Don Carlos, Prince of the Asturias


Died 1568.

Son of Philip II and Maria of Portugal.

Picture by Sanchez Coello (died 1590) is in Prado Gallery, Madrid.

Elizabeth de Valois. Isabel de la Paz


Died 1558, aged twenty-three.

Daughter of Henry II of France and Catherine de Medici.

Third wife of Philip II of Spain.

Brantôme writes of her: "Those who saw her thus in a painted portrait admired her, and I will leave you to guess the delight it was to see her face to face with her sweetness and grace."

This picture is alluded to by Sir William Stirling Maxwell in his "Annals of the Artists of Spain"; he says that her eyes and hair are dark and her complexion brilliant, "The head is full of beauty and life; the dress of black velvet, though closed at the throat, is becoming ... a small ruff encircles the neck, and the robe is garnished with a profusion of gold chains and jewellery, all admirably designed and painted. Unless there be some mistake in the date of the painter's birth, this portrait was probably copied from one by his master (Sanchez Coello), as Queen Isabella died in 1568, when Pantoja was only seventeen years of age."

This portrait is by Juan Pantoja de la Cruz (1551 circa 1609), and is in the Prado Gallery, Madrid.

Don Fernando Alvarez de Toledo. 3rd Duque de Alba, called the "Gran Duque," 1507-82


Married Maria Enriquez, daughter of the Conde de Alba de Lesten. Captain-General of the Kingdoms of Castille and Aragon, of the Spanish troops in Italy, and of the army in Portugal. Governor of Milan and Viceroy of Naples. Governor of Flanders. Councillor of State and War to Charles V and Philip II, whose tutor he was. He acted as Proxy for the King at Philip II's third and fourth marriages. Recalled from Flanders in 1573, he fell into disgrace with Philip II, and was imprisoned in the Castle of Uceda. He was liberated in order that he might pacify the Portuguese rebellion. In 1580 he won the battles which gained this Kingdom for Spain. He died at Lisbon.

This portrait by Titian represents the Duke at about the age of forty. He wears black armour wrought with gold and a red sash, and the balustrade on which he leans is cushioned with red velvet. It may very possibly have belonged to the Duke himself; it certainly was in the possession of the celebrated Conde Duque de Olivares, as it was amongst those entailed by him with the Carpio estate. With this property it passed to the Alba family, and from thence was brought to its present place in the Palacio de Liria in Madrid.

Portrait of the same by Gulliermo Key (1520-68)


Painted in Flanders when the Duke was sixty-one.

There is an improbable legend about this picture that it cost the artist his life, from the shock of hearing the Duke let drop in Spanish that the two Counts, Horn and Egmont, were sentenced to death.

Don John of Austria


From a picture attributed to Sir Antonio More in the possession of Don Fernande Fernandez de Velasco.

Cardinal de Granvelle


Born 1517. Died 1586.

Antoine Perrenot. Bishop of Arras. Primate of the Netherlands.

A well-known statesman during the reigns of Charles V and Philip II. Chief Councillor to the Duchess of Parma when Governess of the Netherlands. He became so unpopular that in 1564 Philip II was compelled to advise him to retire to his estates in Burgundy. The Cardinal left vowing that he would not cut his beard until he returned to Brussels. Three years later he went to Rome, where he assisted in the negotiations of the Holy League. He subsequently became Viceroy of Naples.

From his picture by Scipione Pulzone called Gaetano in Municipal Museum, Besançon.

Sebastian Veniero. Doge of Venice


Died 1578.

Son of Moise Venier.

Married Cecilia di Nadalin Contarini.

After being constantly employed in many important posts at home and abroad, including that of Procuratore di San Marco, he became General del Mar, and commanded the left wing at the battle of Lepanto, where he was wounded in the knee by an arrow. Padre Coloma says that he was seventy at this time, which would place his birth in 1501. He was elected Doge June 11, 1577, and died eight months later.

Portrait by Titian in the Prado Gallery, Madrid.

Dispatch announcing the Victory of Lepanto, dated Petala, October 9, 1571. Postscript in Don John's Writing


There are several known copies of the dispatch, the postscripts varying from one to two lines, according to the importance of the person addressed. This one was almost certainly sent to the President of the Council of Castille, Cardinal Espinosa, though, from the outer sheet being torn, the address is wanting.

It is in three lines:

"Doy a V.M. el parabien desta vitoria que Nrõ Señor ha sido servido darnos, como a quien holgara de tan felice nueva lo es justo."

"I congratulate Your Grace on the victory that Our Lord has been pleased to give us, as is due to one who will rejoice over such happy news."

From the collection of the Conde de Valencia de D. Juan. Photographed specially for this book.

Postscript in D. John of Austria's writing from the collection of the Conde de Valencia de D. Juan.


Philip II and his son, Don Fernando


Sir William Stirling Maxwell says that tradition has connected this picture with Lepanto. Philip II is represented holding up to Heaven his short-lived son, by Anne of Austria, Don Fernando, who was born December 4, 1571, shortly after the news of the victory reached Spain. It is stated that the picture was painted by Titian (1477-1576) "at the age of ninety-four at least."

It is in the Prado Gallery, Madrid.

Statue of Don John of Austria at Messina


This statue by Andrea Calamech is still in existence (June, 1912). Sir William Stirling Maxwell is "disposed to consider it the most interesting and important" portrait which has come down to us. He says, "The head, which was considered an excellent likeness, is very noble and graceful." "Although the gilding with which it once shone resplendent has disappeared it is still one of the most effective monuments of sixteenth-century art."

"The statue stood in the small Piazza between the Palace and the Church of Our Lady of the Pillar until 1853 when it was removed to the Piazza of the Annunziata."

Don John of Austria


From a print sent by Colonel Coloma.

Antonio Pérez


Died 1611.

Illegitimate son of Gonzalo Pérez.

Married Doña Juana de Coello Bozmediano. Secretary and favourite of Philip II. Fell into disgrace and was tried and tortured in 1582. Contrived to escape, first to Aragon, afterwards to France and England, but was sent back to Portugal and died in Paris.

In his exile he wrote his "Memorial" to prove his own innocence and his master's guilt. Major Martin Hume thinks that "the moral portrait of the King (Philip II), still current in foreign countries, owes much to the literary talent with which Antonio Pérez presented his subtle sophistries."

(Españoles é ingleses en el siglo XVI.)

The picture by Sir Antonio More is in Paris.

Autograph of Barbara Blombergh


Mother of Don John of Austria by the Emperor Charles V.

Afterwards married to Jerome Kegel.

Died 1598.

From the collection of the Conde de Valencia de D. Juan.

Photographed specially for this book.

Princesa de Évoli


Born 1540.

Daughter of the Count de Melito. Married in 1553 Ruy Gomez de Silva, afterwards Prince of Évoli, who died 1573.

She was a great heiress, and her family accused Antonio Pérez of squandering her fortune. There now seems little doubt that anger at the discovery of her intrigue with him was the chief reason of the assassination of the Secretary Escovedo.

Philip II caused her to be arrested suddenly in 1579, and imprisoned first in the tower of Pinto, and then exiled to her own house at Pastrana for the rest of her life.

The picture from which the print used is taken is by Sanchez Coello, in the possession of her descendant, the Duque de Pastrana.

Philip II as an Old Man


"This picture is well worthy of note, as it shows how the crowned monk of the Escorial looked when on the brink of the grave. In Pantoja's worn, sickly, sour old man, with lack-lustre, restless eyes, protruding under-lip and

'pallid cheeks and ashy hue
in which sad death his portraiture hath writ',

wearing a rusty sugar-loaf hat and holding in his hand a common brown rosary, we see the last stage of the sumptuous Prince whose youthful bearing has been made immortal by the pencil of Titian."

(Sir William Stirling Maxwell.)

By Juan Pantoja de la Cruz in the Prado Gallery, Madrid.

Don John of Austria's Place of Burial


View of the Escorial and surrounding country. Present day.

To quote Señor Baros, "The victory of St. Quentin was gained on the Feast of St. Laurence and Don Philip wished to raise an edifice in honour of the saint which should be a convent, a royal mausoleum and a palace. When the Emperor took leave of his son he had charged him to erect a worthy sepulchre for his own remains and those of the Empress. The King caused the Spanish architect Juan Bautista de Toledo to come from Naples, who designed the Escorial in the shape of a gridiron. The first stone was laid in 1563. This superb monument was finished by Juan de Herrera, 1584."

These short notes are mostly culled from the works of Sir William Stirling Maxwell, Major Martin Hume and Señor Baros. Those on the Duque de Alba are taken from the catalogue made for the present Duke by Don Angel de Barcia, of which a portion was specially reprinted for this book.




Like a flock of frightened sparrows the children of Leganés arrived that afternoon at Ana de Medina's door, just as the bells were ringing for vespers. Ana's son Jeromín was the first to get there, with his big blue eyes staring and his beautiful golden hair thrown back. But there was good cause for all this, and twenty shrill voices hastened to explain it to Ana, who, startled, came to the door distaff in hand, and a scolding on her lips.

There was no school in Getafe that afternoon; the sun had stricken down Sancha Apelza, the master's wife, while working on the farm of the Comunero, and she was to receive the last sacraments that night. The children from Leganés were coming back to the village, playing as usual by the way at Moors and Christians. Jeromín always insisted on this, and never would play at Comuneros, or at being Padilla, Adelentado or Bishop Acuña, all recent and popular heroes. He said it was enough for him to be Jeromín and to pretend to cut off the heads of Moors. He entrenched himself in the Canon's well as if it were a castle on a rock, and Pedro Verde defended the orchard of Maricuernos opposite, declaring it to be the Vega of Granada. Jeromín gave the word "Santiago," and from both sides, like bullets from an arquebus, came lumps of soft earth. At this inopportune moment, while the battle was raging along the road from Madrid bordering the orchard of Maricuernos, four mules appeared, harnessed in pairs with long traces to what seemed to be a little wooden house, with two tiny windows and four big wheels. A man was riding the foremost mule on the off side, and another was seated on the roof of the house, guiding the mules with a long stick. Through one of the windows a very fat man with grey moustaches and a pointed beard, could be seen, sitting inside. Four well-armed horsemen and two baggage-mules escorted the unwieldy vehicle. The children were frightened at the sight of this extraordinary machine, such as they had never seen before, but curiosity overcame their fear and they all grouped themselves, very silent, in the orchard of Maricuernos to see it pass closer. The boys' terror increased when they realised that the heavy machine was halting in front of them, and the fat gentleman, putting his head out of window, was asking them very politely whether the Emperor's former guitar-player, Francis Massy, who had married Ana de Medina, a native of the village, still lived there.

The boys began to giggle and look at each other, not daring to answer, stir or even take off their caps as a mark of respect. The fat man repeated the question two or three times very politely and kindly, till at last Pedro Verde, who was eleven years old, and had been twice to Pinto, and had seen the cavalcade of Ruy Gómez de Silva from afar, made up his mind to answer, his mouth dry with fear and keeping his cap on, that the musician Francisquin, as they called him, had died some years previously, but that his widow Ana de Medina still lived there and that her son Jeromín, was one of those present. This Pedro demonstrated by seizing Jeromín by the neck of his doublet and pulling him forward. For the fat man to hear this, look at Jeromín and stretch his arms out of the window as if to seize him and drag him into the coach was only the work of a second. But it took the children, terrified at the old man's behaviour, even less time to scamper up the hill towards the village as if they had legions of devils at their heels. The gentleman called to them to stop. The escort also called out. But the children, spurred on by fright, ran harder and harder up the hill like hunted hares, until they stopped at the threshold of Ana de Medina where we met them.

The widow's face fell when she heard all this, and she drew Jeromín towards her as if she wished to hide him in her woollen skirt. She asked the boys several questions, but they all answered together, and all she could make out was that a fat gentleman had wished to carry off Jeromín in a little house on wheels.

Ana, worried, went back into her house and sent a message by Pedro Verde to ask the priest to come and see her, the cleric Bautista Vela, who served the parish for D. Alonso de Rojas, chaplain to His Majesty in the Royal Chapel at Granada at that time. Bautista Vela tarried too long; by the time he arrived at Ana's house he could no longer be there alone. Round the corner of the street came the whole population of the village, surrounding with wonder the vehicle in which the fat man came. He sat smiling, greeting some and of others asking the way to Ana's house, which a hundred hands pointed out to him, while he continued to look out of the window as if this house was the goal of his journey.

The hubbub made Ana come to her door, with Jeromín clinging to her skirts. The coach, the like of which was never seen before, stopped in front of her; the gentleman greeted her politely, and the widow could not therefore do otherwise than offer him hospitality in a peasant's homely way.

The gentleman then got out, and Ana conducted him to her parlour, which was also her kitchen, clean certainly and with room for twenty people in the chimney corner on the rough stone seats placed on either side.

Invited by the widow, who seemed to be afraid to be alone with the stranger, Bautista Vela entered also, followed by Jeromín, recovered from his fear, but still full of wonder and looking the visitor up and down as if he were the bearer of good or evil fortune. The fat man was about sixty, but his extraordinary corpulency neither destroyed the activity of his limbs nor the charm of his manners. He spoke with a soft, low, kindly voice with a marked Flemish accent, and not like the haughty man of war so common at that time. Everything in him betokened the obsequious courtier, accustomed to the yoke of powerful masters. Very courteously he told the widow who he was, the object of his visit, and what he hoped and wished from her. His name was Charles Prevost, a servant of the Emperor, who had come to Castille on his own business, but had also brought a special and secret message for her from Adrian du Bois, valet to the Emperor, and therefore his fellow-servant.

Here the courteous Fleming made a pause and, slightly raising his voice and accentuating his words, added that this business had been urgently recommended to him by the very high and mighty gentleman Luis Méndez Quijada, Steward to the invincible Cæsar Charles V.

Hearing the name of Cæsar all bowed their heads in token of respect, and on hearing that of Quijada the cleric and the widow exchanged a rapid glance of fear and suspicion. Jeromín, calmer than the rest, sat on a high stool, swinging his legs and never taking his eyes off the stranger, as if he were trying to decipher in that round red face some problem which he was turning over and over in his baby mind.

Charles Prevost pointed to the child as if its presence were an obstacle, so the widow took Jeromín by the arm and shut him up in a room, telling him to wait there. Meanwhile Prevost had produced a paper carefully wrapped up in two covers of linen, which he held out to the widow folded in four. As she could not read, shrugging her shoulders she passed it in her turn to Bautista Vela, who, very much astonished, unfolded the letter and slowly and solemnly read as follows:

"I, Francis Massy, musician to His Majesty, and Ana de Medina, my wife, know and confess that we have taken and received a son of Señor Adrian de Bois, valet to His Majesty, which we did by his wish, and he prayed us to take and bring him up like our own son, and not to tell anyone whose son he was, as Señor Adrian did not wish that by this means his wife or anyone else should know or hear of him. For this reason I, Francis Massy, and Ana de Medina, my wife, and our son Diego de Medina, swear and promise to the said Señor Adrian not to tell or declare to any living person whose this child is, but to say that it is mine, until Señor Adrian sends someone with this letter or the said Señor Adrian comes in person.

"And because Señor Adrian wishes to keep the matter secret, he has begged me to do him the favour of taking charge of this child, which my wife and I willingly do and acknowledge to have received from the said Señor Adrian 100 crowns which he gave me for the journey, for taking the child, for a horse and clothes, and keep for one year that is to say that the year is counted from the 1st day of August of this present year 1550. For which I hold myself content and paid for this year, as it is the truth. I sign my name to it, I and my wife, but as she cannot write I begged Oger Bodarce to sign her name for her. And the said Señor Adrian shall give me 50 ducats each year for the keep of the child. Dated, Brussels, 13th of June, 1550."

A long silence followed the reading of this letter; and when Ana de Medina understood that the hour had arrived for giving up the child she had looked upon as her son, she burst into tears and between her sobs said that she perfectly recognised this document to be genuine from end to end. She had done as she had sworn, and would act in the same way in the future, and give up the child to whoever was sent to fetch him; but for God's sake and Our Lady's and a multitude of saints, let him stay until seed-time, so that there should be time to make him some new clothes and render him more presentable. Bautista Vela seemed also touched, and timidly added his entreaties to those of the widow.

But the Fleming, with roundabout reasonings and kindly, comforting words, showed all the same his absolute determination to leave the next day at daybreak, taking Jeromín with him. Then, in a long talk and by clever questions, he let the widow and the priest know how very displeased the powerful Luis Quijada would be when he found the state of absolute mental neglect in which the boy had lived all these years, as he was healthy in body and appeared to be so also in mind; but it was clear that he knew nothing except how to run about the country shooting at birds with his crossbow and arrows, nor had he had other lessons than those of the sacristan Francis Fernandez, and those just lately in the school in Getafe. The blame for this fell on Bautista Vela, because he had written from time to time to Luis Quijada that he was seeing that the boy's education was cared for and that it was not that of a little peasant.

At this the priest and the widow were silent, knowing they were in the wrong, the more so as more than once the idea had occurred to them that Jeromín was not the son of Adrian de Bois, from whose hands they had received the child, but of Luis Quijada, Steward to Cæsar and one of his greatest lords. And their idea, which no doubt Prevost also shared, was confirmed when the supper-hour arrived and he ordered that the table should be set with the silver and service he had brought in his baggage, and, seating Jeromín in the place of honour, himself served the meal and waited.

Jeromín let himself be waited on without showing any diffidence or surprise, as if all his life he had been used to such attentions. But when he saw Ana de Medina remaining by the fire and helping to pass the plates, without daring to come to the table, he said, without looking at anyone, in a tone which might be a question, or a request or an order, "Isn't she going to have any supper?" This made the widow burst again into sobs and lamentations, and the boy bit his lips to restrain the tears which filled his eyes. We cannot be certain whether Jeromín slept that night or not, but it is certain that no one had to rouse him the next morning, and the first light of dawn found him already awake, dressed in his best clothes, with his fair hair covered by the picturesque "monterilla." He twice kissed Ana de Medina at the door, and then turned back and kissed her a third and fourth time. But he did not shed a tear or say a word, nor did his face change, though it was paler than usual.

The whole village was at the door, the children in the front row, Christians and Moors all mixed up, filled with awe and envy at seeing him in the seat of honour in the little house on wheels which had frightened them so much the day before.

Then Jeromín asked the widow for his crossbow, so she brought the roughly made plaything with which he had acquired such wonderful dexterity, and he gave it to his enemy of the battles, Pedro Verde, saying shortly, "Keep it."

All the neighbours accompanied the coach to the outskirts of the village, and the children much farther, also Ana de Medina, crying out and begging that they would not take away her Jeromín, but would give her back her son.

He did not stir inside the coach, or put out his head, but remained so quiet with his eyes shut that the Fleming began to think he was asleep. But at the last turn, passing the orchard of Maricuernos, at the place where the Hermitage de los Angeles was afterwards erected, Jeromín's little hand could be seen out of the window, making last signs to his playfellows and to the humble woman who had brought him up.


Jeromín went from one surprise to another, seeing pass, for the first time before his eyes, lands and mountains, villages, castles, and people who were not like those of Leganés or anything he had imagined. Charles Prevost answered his doubts and questions with real and kindly anxiety to enlighten him, now explaining curious things, now making instructive remarks which opened new and wide horizons before the boy's virgin mind. But in spite of the Fleming's kindness, which sometimes seemed natural and at other times only courtly manners which had become a second nature, the child's innate sharpness showed him that Prevost always hid him from the gaze of the people; that he never explained in inns and on the road who the boy was, or where he was taking him, which Jeromín himself did not in the least know either. This restrained the natural open character of the boy and armed him with a certain reserve, which without being sulky was a want of confidence, the offspring, no doubt, of offended dignity.

They arrived at Valladolid one May morning, between the 12th and 14th, at midday. Not to attract attention to his conveyance, Charles Prevost got out and entered by the small gate of Balboa and went on foot holding Jeromín by the hand.

Great animation and movement reigned in the streets, because at the moment the big suites of Grandees, gentlemen, servants and armed men who were to accompany the Prince of the Asturias, D. Philip, on his famous expedition to England were in Valladolid, and no doubt for this reason Charles Prevost chose back streets by which to reach a convent of barefooted friars. They evidently expected him here, for without more words than politeness demanded the Fleming handed the boy over to the Prior, a venerable old man, and left without saying anything further, promising Jeromín to fetch him in a few days.

The little boy was frightened at finding himself alone among these austere figures, whom he saw for the first time, and who seemed, therefore, strange and terrifying. With precocious self-command, however, he disguised his feelings, and the brothers were so kind to him that after the first day he got used to them and wandered about the cloisters and the orchard as he might have done at Leganés. The Prior told off a young, cheerful brother to keep him company and wait on him, and gave him a little crossbow that he might gratify his love of shooting at little birds in the orchard. In a few days they brought him much fine white linen and three suits, made like a peasant's but of fine cloth and beautifully trimmed, from Charles Prevost. Jeromín wanted to try them on at once, as he was nice about his dress and rather vain, for which there was excuse. He was strong, well made and extremely agile; his skin was white, although burnt by the sun of Leganés; he had big, clear blue eyes, soft fair hair, and his whole person was so graceful, high and noble, that seeing him in his ordinary clothes he looked like a little prince dressed up as a peasant.

He arrayed himself in his new clothes at once, and that same afternoon an adventure befell him in the orchard which made a deep impression on his childish imagination. The orchard was very large and extremely shady, and crossed in all directions by rows of trees.

Tired with running about, Jeromín threw himself at the foot of a pear tree, with his crossbow by his side; in front of him stretched a line of the same trees, from one side of the low cloister to the big stew-pond where the trout were kept.

Very soon Jeromín saw two very important personages who were conversing amiably, leaving the cloisters and coming towards him. One was the Prior of the convent, a bent old man, who leant on his wooden crutch at each step. The other was a great gentleman of not more than forty, spare, with a bright complexion, a hooked nose, piercing eyes, and a long, carefully tended beard which fell on his chest. He wore a doublet of black velvet, slashed with satin, an old-fashioned cap of the same with a black feather, and fine buckskin gloves which he carried loose in one hand. He had the Prior on his right hand, and was listening to him with great respect, bowing his proud head towards him, at other times answering him vehemently, hitting one hand with the gloves that he carried in the other.

Jeromín, frightened, wanted to hide, but it was too late, and he had to remain crouching under his pear tree hoping not to be seen. However, the Prior espied him from afar, and at once began a strange manœuvre, which made the boy wonder; continuing to talk he moved forward little by little so as to put himself between Jeromín and the gentleman, who passed by without noticing the presence of the little boy. He then saw that when the Prior arrived at the stew-pond he secretly gave an order to a lay brother, and soon after the young brother came and took him out of the orchard by back paths, and shut him up in his cell without saying anything or giving any reasons.

Jeromín understood that they did not wish him to meet the great personage, and this fixed the hooked nose and long beard so firmly in his memory that, having seen them for only a brief instant, he was able to recognise him years afterwards at a supreme moment.

Photo Lacoste


Titian. Prado Gallery, Madrid

The next day the young brother came into Jeromín's cell looking very pleased, and, as if to make up for the night before, told him that he was going to show him the greatest and bravest soldiers who ever drew sword. With much mystery he took the boy to the sacristy under the church, and showed him a small rose window, which opened half-way up the wall to let in air and sunshine. He made him mount a ladder, and through this sort of peep-hole Jeromín could see one of the narrow, irregular squares which are still so common in Valladolid. The whole square was crowded; not only the windows and balconies, but even the roofs were overflowing with men, women and children, all merry and looking as if they waited for something. And such was the case. Prince Philip was marching to the frontier to receive his widowed sister, the Infanta Juana of Portugal, and from there was going to Corunna to sail for England, and that day, his last in Valladolid, the Prince, with all his suite, was going to attend a service at St. Mary's, and then parade through the streets to take leave of his father's faithful lieges. Jeromín, ignorant of all this, sought in vain the promised soldiers among the crowd. But he had not long to wait. Very soon the silver trumpets of the Archers of the Guard began to be heard. Jeromín gave a jump as if he had received an electric shock, and proudly raised his handsome little face, almost fiercely, like a charger who hears for the first time the martial note of a trumpet. With eyes wide open with wonder and admiration he seemed glued to his window. The brother had mounted too, and was looking at what was happening in the square. Slowly, heavily, like walking towers on their great horses, the hundred Archers of the Guard began to pass six deep, wearing their cloaks of yellow velvet, with stripes of three colours, red, white and yellow, which was the device of the Prince. The trumpets duly gave out slowly their melodious notes. Then followed another hundred of halberdiers of the German Guard wearing the same colours and devices, and then another hundred of the Spanish Guard with their captain the Conde de Feria at their head.

The square burst into joyful cries. The brother got down quickly and wished the boy to do so too; between curiosity to see and fear of falling he clung anxiously to the ladder, but he still had time to look at a handsome, fair young man of twenty-six with his beard cut into a point, who came slowly by himself into the square, and from the back of a beautiful horse, caparisoned with velvet and gold, smiled and bowed to the crowd. On his right, at a respectful distance, Jeromín also saw the gentleman with the hooked nose and long beard who had been the cause of his imprisonment the night before, wearing brilliant orders on his embroidered dark grey doublet and riding a horse with green velvet trappings and a cloth embroidered in silver.

Jeromín could see no more, the brother made him come down. Once on the ground the boy walked up and down the sacristy in a rage, with his little fists clenched, like a lion cub from whom has been taken some dainty morsel. Through the open window he could hear the measured tread of the horses, and the cries of the people greeting the brilliant suite which closed the triumphal march.

He looked at the brother and thought him hideous; he went to the cloister and thought it a horrible place; he thought of the older man with the long beard and of the young one with the short beard, to try and find some defect in them, but could not. What business had these people to prevent him looking at the soldiers?


The Infanta Doña Juana arrived in Valladolid as Governess of the Kingdom very soon after D. Philip left, and four days later Charles Prevost came unexpectedly to the convent to fetch Jeromín to continue his journey.

They arrived at Medina de Rioseco in two stages, and slept that night at an inn in the outskirts. The next day, late in the morning, they set out by the main road to Toro, and after half an hour's journey they could descry standing against the horizon of vast plains a great castle, flanked by four towers, a large village, and two churches lying at its feet.

Charles Prevost called the child's attention to it, and pointing to the place said, "That is Villagarcia. You will stay there, but I must go on much farther." Drawing the child towards him, and seating him on his knee, he told him very kindly that he had come to the end of his journey; and that in that castle he would find a great lady who was very good, and who would be a mother to him, and, as such, he was to obey, love and respect her, and profit by the lessons that would be given him, and give a good account of himself in the service of God and the study of letters and arms, and not leave the castle without becoming a learned cleric, a great preaching friar, or a brave soldier, according to the vocation God would give him and the advice of his benefactors.

Jeromín listened to him with astonishment, never taking his beautiful eyes off him. Charles Prevost, who noticed that, as they got nearer to the castle, the child grew more and more uncomfortable and shy, took him again on his knees and told him not to be frightened when he saw the lady, but to greet her with the respect and reverence due to her rank.

They had already reached the castle, which was at the entrance of the village on the Rioseco side. To distract the attention of the child Prevost made him notice the massive towers, the strong turreted walls with loopholes for artillery, and the flag which waved from the tower of homage, announcing to travellers, according to ancient and lordly custom, the presence in the castle of the masters, and the offer of free and safe hospitality to all those who asked for it.

The castle had a fortified gateway which still stands, with a drawbridge over the moat, and another of a later date towards the village with a gentle slope up to it which served as an entrance. Prevost's little Flemish cart went in by this way and entered into a big square courtyard, a real parade ground, which was formed by the two northern towers and the two walls on the east and west, the first precinct of the fortress.

Several grooms came out to receive him, and a grave, bearded squire with his doublet emblazoned with arms and a big sword of the time of the Comunidades. He made Jeromín and the Fleming enter into the second courtyard through heavy iron gates; then they found themselves in another court of elegant proportions, really that of the house. It was formed by two ornamental cloisters, an upper and a lower one, with slender columns, the top one shut in by a balustrade of stone. There was a big well in the middle of the court, with a great chain and two copper buckets, and the rest of the space was covered with little paths and box bushes, except at the foot of the cloisters, where it was paved. From this lower cloister there was a wide staircase of white stone which Jeromín mounted trembling, not realising what was the matter with him. At the first landing he became dazed. A group of people hurried down and became confused before the dazzled eyes of the child, as if they flickered like the rays of the sun which was shining on them—a majestic figure dressed in velvet with things that sparkled—a tall Dominican friar—two duennas with white caps and black shawls—some women—several men.

Jeromín became giddy and everything swam before his eyes, he only saw that two hands of alabaster were stretched out towards him. The boy, hardly knowing what he was doing, only remembering that Prevost had told him to greet the lady with great respect, fell on his knees, joining his little hands as Ana de Medina had taught him to do before the altar of Our Lady of the Angels.

Then he felt that the velvet arms were embracing him and lifting him up; that a beautiful face was against his, covering it with tears, and that a choked voice said to the friar these historical words: "God be with me and help me, my lord brother! It is a pity that I am not the mother of this angel."


Doña Magdalena de Ulloa, Toledo, Osorio and Quiñones was one of the greatest ladies of the Spanish nobility of the sixteenth century. She was the sister of D. Rodrigo de Ulloa, first Marqués de la Mota, San Cebrián, and the Vega del Condado, and of Doña Maria de Toledo, of the ancient and noble house of the Condes de Luna.

When she was very young God took from her, first her mother, and then her father, and she remained an orphan under the charge of her grandmother, the Condesa de Luna, and after her death under that of her brother, who fulfilled his duties well and sought a wealthy marriage for her by arrangement, after the custom of the time, between the two families. The bridegroom chosen was Luis Méndez Quijada, Manuel de Figueredo and Mendoza, Colonel of the Spanish infantry, Steward to the Emperor Charles V, and Lord of Villagarcia, Villanueva de los Caballeros, and Santofimia, and also of Villamayor in the region of Campos, in right of his mother. The pair did not know each other; Doña Magdalena lived in Toro with her brother, and Luis Quijada followed the Emperor in his wars and journeys, having been his favourite for twenty years. The marriage articles were arranged in Valladolid on the 29th of February, 1549. D. Diego Tabera, Councillor to H.M. and the Inquisition, represented the bride, and the bridegroom was represented by his uncle, the Archbishop of Santiago, D. Pedro Manuel, and by the illustrious gentleman D. Gómez Manrique and D. Pedro Laso de Castilla, Steward to Prince Maximilian, Archduke of Austria.

By these articles the Marqués de la Mota promised to give his sister a fortune of ten million maravedises, paid by 5000 ducats in money, 2000 in jewels, and the rest by an annuity, adding this clause: "Besides the ten 'cuentos' she is to have clothes and apparel and furniture and ornaments for the house, which she has or will have up to the day of the wedding, estimated by two persons on oath." The bridegroom promised for his part tapestry worth 4000 ducats and to endow her with the towns of Villanueva de los Caballeros and Santafimia, which for this purpose he pledged. The marriage was authorised by the Emperor. Luis Quijada sent from Brussels, where he was then living, full powers to his brother Álvaro de Mendoza to marry Doña Magdalena in his name, and this he did in Valladolid on the 27th of November, 1549, adding this clause to the document in his own hand: "And in the name of the said D. Luis Quijada, my brother, for him and as if he himself were present and as a gentleman of noble birth, I do homage once, twice, three times in the presence and under the authority of D. Bernardo de Acuña, Commander of the Order of Santiago, gentleman of noble birth, who through me, and in the said name received him, taking my hand in his according to the law of Spain, that the said Lord Luis Quijada, my brother, shall have and keep and fulfil and pay all that is said and is contained in this writing in good faith, and without deception and without adding or taking away under the penalties which befall and are incurred by gentlemen of noble birth who do not keep their word, faith and homage."

In this strange way marriages were then made, and still more extraordinary is it that they usually turned out as happily as did this one. For when, soon afterwards, Luis Quijada arrived in Valladolid, where his wife went to meet him, they were so attracted to each other, he by her beauty and womanly discretion, she by his generosity and noble bearing, that the Christian love and absolute confidence they then plighted to each other lasted unto death.

Notwithstanding that, there came a time when a severe test was put to this mutual confidence. At the end of 1553 or the beginning of 1554 the posts from Flanders began to come more frequently than ever to Villagarcia. Luis Quijada was following Charles V in his last campaign against the French, and the husband never lost an opportunity of letting his wife have news of the dangers he ran or the triumphs he gained. She was the first person in Spain to know of the taking of Terouanne and the tower of Hesdin, where Luis Quijada so much distinguished himself, and to her came the first rumours of the return of the Emperor and his projected retirement to a convent.

But among all this news which pleased her as a wife, and added to the lustre of her house, one day there came unexpectedly a letter which plunged her in perplexity. It was the letter which Luis Quijada had written from Brussels, probably in February, 1554, although the date is unknown. Quijada announced to his wife that before long, but after she had heard again, a man who had his entire confidence would present himself at Villagarcia, and that this man would make over to her a child of seven or nine years old, called Jeromín, and he begged her by the love she bore and which she had always shown him to accept the boy as a mother would, and as such to protect and educate him. He also said that the boy was the son of a great friend, whose name he could not reveal, but whose position and prestige he guaranteed. And he added that though the education of Jeromín was to be that of a gentleman, his father did not wish him to dress as such, but to wear the garb of a peasant, in which he would present himself. It was the desire of the father, moreover, that with all gentleness and discretion the child Jeromín should be urged to enter the Church, but not if it were not his vocation or the Divine wish. The reading of this letter produced in the warm heart of Doña Magdalena a first and keen sense of pleasure. She had no children, nor had hopes of ever having any, and through the door, when she least expected it, was coming to her one of God's own little ones, sent by him whom she loved best, her own husband. Doña Magdalena's imagination, spurred on by the charitable anxiety to protect the weak and love the oppressed, made her see Jeromín already in her arms while Luis Quijada looked on contentedly, smiling at her lovingly and gratefully.

This is what Doña Magdalena felt rather than thought at first, but then came slow, cold reflection, extinguishing with its logic the eagerness of her impulse and giving light with its reasons to the blindness of the senses, tarnishing by its rough contact the smiling work of her imagination, as a heavy shower of rain spoils the wings of a butterfly. And more icy than reflection, who, if cold and severe, is still honourable, came her bastard sister, suspicion, vile suspicion, who undermines and poisons everything and worms her way into the most upright souls. Reason placed this question roughly but frankly before her. Why does not Luis Quijada have enough confidence in you to tell you the name of the father, if he gives the child into your care? And suspicion slipped gently into her bosom this mean reply, "Because who knows but that he is himself the father."

Doña Magdalena had a severe conflict with herself, but her heart was so large that nothing and nobody except her conscience could ever stop her in a generous act, and throwing everything, fears, suspicions and imagined wrongs into the flames of her pure charity, she cried out, "What does it matter where the child comes from, if he is a helpless creature whom God throws into my arms?"


The presence of Jeromín in Villagarcia brought a ray of joy to the sombre castle of the Quijadas, which reflected itself on its inhabitants. The merry laugh of a child always enlivens its surroundings, like the song of a bird in a gloomy wood, or a sunbeam piercing a dark cloud.

The retinue of Doña Magdalena consisted of two duennas, Doña Elizabeth and Doña Petronilla de Alderete, both noble widows and first cousins; four maids, of only two of whom are the names preserved, Louisa and the Blonde; two squires, Diego Ruy and Juan Galarza, this last an old noble, a companion-in-arms of Quijada; three pages; a steward, Pedro Vela by name; an accountant called Luis de Valverde, who enjoyed the utmost confidence of the lady. Besides these there was a swarm of cooks, labourers, and grooms, also six of Luis Quijada's old soldiers, who looked after the artillery and armaments of the fortress, unnecessary at the moment as Castille was at peace, but ready in case of need. Doña Magdalena also had two chaplains; one, García de Morales, who lived in the castle, and the other, Guillén Prieto, a very learned doctor of Salamanca, who came to educate Jeromín from Zamora. He lived in the village and also served the chapel of the ancient hermitage of St. Lazarus, which stood on the site where Doña Magdalena afterwards founded the great house of the Society.

The household fell in love with the graceful, childish figure, and each outdid the other in serving and spoiling Jeromín, attracted by the charm of his person and the halo of mystery which surrounded him. He, on his side, with the discernment children have of the love, aversion or indifference they inspire, and the degree of liberty they may take, felt himself loved from the first moment, though not for an instant did he feel, as do the spoilt children of to-day, that he was the master of the house. Between the spoiling and flattery of these good people, and the native pride and self-will of the boy, interposed the stately figure of Doña Magdalena, neither severe nor austere, but smiling and lovingly wise, and for this reason she kept him firmly in a secondary position, in absolute obedience to her, according to Luis Quijada's wish.

Doña Magdalena usually ate with the household, according to the custom of the time, and Jeromín sat at her table, below the two duennas and above the squires. Every day she heard mass in her oratory with Jeromín at her side, but she did not give him either a cushion or a seat. On Sundays and feast days the noble dame went with all her household to the parish church of St. Peter, and heard high mass and a sermon from her stall in the chancel, as lady of the place and patroness of the church; as page of honour Jeromín stood at her side, between her stall and the bench of the duennas. Similarly in the parlour, Doña Magdalena often sent for him to hear her duennas reading aloud, while she embroidered for the church, or spun for the poor, or sewed, or mended; but she never gave him more than a cushion, and this far from the dais on which she alone was seated.

Once a day, however, everything was changed, and she forgot the dignity of the great lady in the tenderness of the mother, coming into his room and waking him, dressing him, and combing his hair, he still half asleep with his pretty face in her lap, and his little hands in hers; and making him kneel at her side, she prayed and taught him to pray before a crucifix that she herself had given him.

This crucifix was and is, for it is still preserved in a reliquary at Villagarcia, an object of no great artistic merit, about a palm and a half high without the pedestal. This is its history. Years before the terrible rebellion in the Alpujarras, in one of the warning outbreaks of the Moors, Luis Quijada was skirmishing in the environs of Valencia, before embarking for Tunis. A suspected village was denounced to him, where the Moors were holding secret meetings, and there Quijada went, alone and disguised. He lodged in the house of the informer, and at night saw a bonfire blazing in a Moorish enclosure, which was surrounded by high walls.

He got there as best he could, and in the yard saw a strange sight. As many as sixty Moors were surrounding the fire, with gestures and mien of adoration, but in profound silence. Others entered, carrying, tied to a long reed, a figure of Christ, which they had stolen from a church. All the worship was changed to angry grimaces and shaking of fists, and taking the figure from its bearers, they threw it into the fire.

The thud of the image falling into the flames roused Quijada from the horrible astonishment which paralysed him; and without thinking, which is the way heroic deeds are done, he jumped into the yard, and without other weapon than his sword, set on the Moors, pushing some, upsetting others, wounding many, and making them all take to their heels. When the coast was clear, he threw himself into the fire, among the flames and smoke and hot cinders, searching for the sacred image. He found it at last, half burned, and went out of the door, holding it aloft and calling down vengeance, his sword in his hand, his hair scorched, his clothes burnt, and his face and hands blackened and covered with blood. Doña Magdalena told Jeromín this story, and he asked the first time why they burnt the crucifix. The child listened with his soul in his tear-filled eyes, his mouth contracted, his nostrils dilated, and his little fists clenched, with all the look of a Clodovic in miniature, furious not to have been able with his Gauls to have prevented the theft of the Christ. The lady understood the nobleness of this childish heart, which beat at the sound of that which was great, holy, and brave, and she looked at him for a moment in admiration, and then contented herself by kissing him. But, by the next courier, she asked Quijada's permission to place the child under the protection of the sacred image. This Quijada readily granted, and the crucifix was moved from the head of his bed, where it was, to Jeromín's, who always kept it with him, calling it afterwards "His Christ of battles," and he died kissing it, invoking its holy name.


Doña Magdalena only allowed Jeromín two days in which to rest from the fatigue of his journey, and to visit the village and castle; the third day, which was a Monday, she made him begin at once to regulate his hours and studies, according to the plans she had prepared. She had given him a room near hers, and the chaplain García de Morales, who was to be his tutor and instructor in religion and Christian doctrine, was lodged on the other side. The chaplain Guillén Prieto was given the care of his secular education, and the noble squire Juan Galarza undertook to instruct him in the theory and use of arms and also in riding.

Doña Magdalena for her part reserved the duty of training him in the love of God and of his neighbour, which she easily did by always showing him the good example of her saintly life, rather than by rules and precepts. Charity was the distinguishing virtue of this great woman, made brighter by her discretion. She thought that the duties of her rank consisted in forwarding God's glory and the good of her neighbour, particularly of her vassals, to whom she felt specially bound by the mere fact of her position. She gave away her ample income, and, later, distributed her fortune, which was not entailed, in this way, to relieve misery and the material wants of the poor, to supply the needs of their souls, and to increase the service of Our Lord and His honour.

In order to further these objects she founded hospitals on her estates and beyond them, in increasing numbers she redeemed captives, and so continuous and copious were her alms, that after her death she was called "God's almoner." She also founded colleges, schools, missions and catechisings; and was so munificent in what referred to God's service that, not content with raising sumptuous temples, at one time she ordered 500 silver chalices to be made and distributed among poor parishes which did not possess any worthy of the Blessed Sacrament, the object of her special devotion.

Doña Magdalena had ordered her accountant, Luis de Valverde, an honourable old man, to ascertain the wants of the poor of Villagarcia, and to give each one a paper signed by him, setting out what in his opinion was lacking to the bearer.

The poor brought the papers at a special time to Doña Magdalena, which was very early in the morning, not to interfere with their work. She religiously paid them, adding to the alms the balsam of compassion, good advice and respect for misfortune. This was Doña Magdalena's hour of recreation, and she had also chosen it to instil in Jeromín charity and respect towards the poor, which after the fear of God is the first duty of the great and powerful.

This lady got up at sunrise at all times, and at once went to Jeromín's room to wake and dress him. They heard the mass read by García de Morales, and then Jeromín was dispatched to await in the cloisters the arrival of the poor people. He made them sit on two stone benches which ran along the lower cloisters, giving preference to the old and infirm, and then went to tell his aunt, for by this name, according to Quijada's wish, the child began to call Doña Magdalena. "Aunt! There are such a lot of poor," he used to announce.

Then she would come down with two big purses, one filled with silver reales for the poor who were proud and had Valverde's papers, the other one with pence for the ordinary poor who had no papers, to whom she always gave 20 maravedises and upwards. Doña Magdalena collected the papers, and Jeromín gave the money, very respectfully, kissing it first, cap in hand.

One day, however, there came among the poor a very dirty old man from Tordehumos; it disgusted Jeromín to touch his hand, so he let the money fall, as if by accident, and the old man had to pick it up. But Doña Magdalena, guessing the reason, stooped down and picked it up herself, and gave it to the old man, first kissing the dirty hand. Jeromín flushed up to the roots of his hair, and full of shame went on with his task.

Three days afterwards the same old man came again. Jeromín turned crimson on seeing him, intentionally dropped the money, stooped and picked it up, and kneeling humbly down, kissed first the money and then the hand of the old man.

Thus the child profited by and understood the lessons given him, and grew and flourished amid the love and blessings of everyone in the castle. There was only one thing which drew on him scoldings from D. Guillén Prieto and severe remarks from Doña Magdalena—his studies. He could read Spanish fluently, write well in a running hand, and began to stammer in French, which by the express order of Quijada was taught him by a Fleming, who had come to Villagarcia for the purpose, but Latin with its "ibus" and "orum," and Greek with its horrible letters like flies' legs, were uphill work to the boy, which nothing save the wish to please Doña Magdalena and to earn her approbation would have made him undertake. But the boy had made a complete conquest of Juan Galarza. No one, according to him, had a better eye, a steadier hand, or was more quick and agile, or more daring and brave, and at the same time more calm, "and when he got astride either the pony or the Roman mule of my lord D. Álvaro, God rest his soul," wrote the squire to Fr. Domingo de Ulloa, "a devil seems to enter him and make him more merry and active and a greater romp than ever."

And Doña Magdalena said with deep conviction, "Let him grow up and he will be another Luis Quijada, my lord."

Periodically she wrote about these things to Quijada, who passed them on to a mysterious person, whom we shall often meet in the course of this history.

"The person who is in my charge," she wrote about then, "is in good health and to my mind is growing and is a good size for his age. He gets on with his lessons with much difficulty, and he does nothing with so much dislike. He is also learning French, and the few words he knows he pronounces well, though to know it as he should will take more time and practice. What he likes best is to go on horseback riding either with a saddle or bareback, and you will see that he seems as if he would use a lance well, though his strength does not help him yet."

This news must have proved to Luis Quijada and his mysterious correspondent that Jeromín's tastes were not those of a cleric, as his unknown father and Quijada desired they should be. Doña Magdalena had seen it from the first moment with her usual perspicuity. On his arrival at Villagarcia both she and her brother, Fr. Domingo de Ulloa, wished that she should show the boy the castle and its treasures, so as to be able to judge his character from his first impressions. Nothing caused the boy wonder or even surprise. Not the rich Flemish tapestries with which some of the halls were hung, or the sumptuous beds with their columns and canopies; not the plate which shone everywhere, or the embroidered ornaments in the oratory, purposely displayed before his gaze, or the cast-iron stove which had come from Flanders to warm Doña Magdalena's parlour, and which was something then unknown in Spain, and so much prized that it was afterwards taken to Yuste, so that the Emperor himself might make use of it.

The boy looked at everything with the simple indifference of one who has grown up among similar objects, and with high-bred ease that pleased as much as it astonished.

But when he came to the armoury and saw the heavy iron armour, the lances four times as tall as himself, the trophies of shining cuirasses, swords, and shields, the sight of these dread weapons filled him with enthusiasm. He ran about looking at all the details, and at each step stretched out his little hand to touch these wonders, and then drew it back as if he was afraid of hurting them.

Till at last admiration overcoming everything, he stopped before a small suit of very beautiful armour, that Quijada had brought from Italy, which was lying on the ground waiting to be cleaned, and he asked Doña Magdalena's leave to touch it, with all a child's shyness. The lady gladly gave him permission, and with trembling respect, as if he was handling something sacred, he fingered the armour all over, examining the joints, working the visor up and down, and ending by putting his fist into the cuirass. This made a metallic sound, and Jeromín lifted his radiant face towards his protectors with a smile on his lips, and a look in his eyes that showed his character.

The lady, half smiling and half astonished, said to her brother, "Luis Quijada, my lord, will be annoyed. We have here a little soldier and no monk."


Jeromín had a great fright on the morning of the 28th of August, 1556. He was doing his lessons with D. Guillén Prieto, when Doña Elizabeth de Alderete, first lady-in-waiting, appeared suddenly to tell him from Doña Magdalena to come to the parlour.

She considered his lesson time so sacred, and it was so extraordinary that she should send for him during this hour, that the boy, frightened, began hastily to examine himself to see what faults of commission or omission he could have been accused of. Then he saw a courier covered with dust passing through the cloister. He began to imagine that the strange power which governed him and took him from one place to another was claiming him once more, and was going to separate him from Doña Magdalena, which made the child so miserable that he arrived in the presence of the lady very crestfallen, and with eyes full of tears.

Doña Magdalena was standing, an open letter in her hand, and joy in her face, so that, with the discernment of a much-loved child, Jeromín was comforted at once. "My aunt would not look so happy if they were going to take me away," he said to himself. She came to meet him, holding out her arms.

"Come here, Jeromín, give me a kiss as a reward for good news," and she gave him one on the forehead with all the tenderness of a mother, and then added joyfully, "You shall be the first to know, Jeromín, that in three days Luis Quijada, my lord, will be here." Everyone present, duennas and maids, exclaimed with delight, and pleased with these demonstrations, Doña Magdalena, more beside herself with joy than Jeromín had ever seen her, then said, "And now, Jeromín, amuse yourself all day and go with Juan Galarza wherever you please."

Meanwhile the news, carried by the courier, had run through the castle and village with many added details. The abdication of the Emperor was already a fact, and despoiled of all his power Charles V had embarked at Flushing for Spain, in order to shut himself up for the rest of his days in the convent of Yuste. For this purpose the Emperor was sending forward his steward Quijada, from whom he was inseparable, that he might await Charles's arrival in Laredo, after having spent a few weeks in the bosom of his family.

This news convulsed the castle, village, and most of all Jeromín, who had not a moment's peace during those three days, or passed a night without dreaming of the noble figure of Quijada, whom he only knew by hearsay, and imagined to be something gigantic.

It was a great race, that of Quijada, four centuries of honour sustained from generation to generation on the field of battle, and the present one had not spilled their blood less gloriously. Luis's eldest brother, Pedro, had been shot at the Emperor's side in Tunis. Juan, the youngest, had died at Teruanne fighting for Castille, and Luis, the only one left, had been wounded in the Goletta. He was the hero of Hesdin and the inseparable companion of the Emperor in Africa, Flanders, Germany and Italy, serving him loyally for thirty-five years. It pleased the boy to conjure up this pair, formidable by their deeds, dazzling in their glory, as Juan Galarza had so often described them to him in the battle of Landresies, where the squire also fought. The Emperor gave Luis Quijada his banner, and putting on his helmet said to the squadron of the Court, that the day had come and that they must fight like honourable gentlemen, and that if they saw him or his standard carried by Quijada fall, they were to raise the flag before raising him. There was no doubt about it: two great principles were taking hold of Jeromín without his knowing it. God and the helpless, as Doña Magdalena felt and taught. The Emperor, the King, authority and justice came from heaven and were sisters, as their servant Quijada proclaimed!

And then the poor child became miserable and wrung his little hands—why? Because in three days he would see the glorious leader without having done anything for his God or his King.

Hearing him groaning and restless Doña Magdalena, who was also sleepless, ran to his help, thinking him ill; and when with childish confidence he told her his trouble, the noble dame could not do otherwise than laugh and be astonished at the same time.

All the neighbours in Villagarcia went to meet their lord half a league beyond the village, the men with arquebuses to fire a salute, the women in their best clothes and the children in two rows to sing the hymn of the Quijadas, according to ancient custom. Some of the neighbouring gentlemen, who were relations, went on horseback to Rioseco, where the last stage began, and all the clergy of the place went with uplifted cross as far as the hermitage of St. Lazarus, according to the privilege of the noble house of the Quijadas.

Night was already drawing in when the horn of the watchman, posted on the tower of homage, announced that the suite was approaching. They could hear the salvos and the voices of the girls and boys singing:

Los Quixadas son nombrados
De valientes y muy fieles;
Azules y plateados
Sin quenta, mas bien contados
Traen por armas jaqueles.[1]

The bells of St. Pedro and St. Boil and the small bell of St. Lazarus all began to ring joyfully, and the clergy hastened to the hermitage to give the cross to be kissed by the lord of the place and the patron of the church.

Luis Quijada came, riding a powerful mule, his thin tabard of taffeta soiled by the dust of the journey, and wearing a head-dress of unbleached linen on account of the heat. He was more than fifty, tall, powerful, and spare, sunburnt until he seemed sallow, with a thick black beard, his look intelligent but hard, his head bald beyond his years from the continual friction of his helmet. Bending over his saddle he kissed the cross of the parish with his head uncovered, and answered the responses in correct Latin, trying to soften his naturally rough, harsh voice; and putting his mule at a walk he rode, surrounded by the whole village, followed by the gentlemen and men-at-arms and more than twenty mules with baggage and provisions.

He got off at the gate of the castle, for on the threshold Doña Magdalena and all the household were awaiting him, in front of her Jeromín in his best clothes, holding a tray covered with a rich cloth with the keys of the castle, which he was to present to the master on bended knee when he alighted.

There was a moment of expectant curiosity; those present were breathless and silent from the lady to the lowest villein of Villagarcia. The suspicion that Jeromín was Luis Quijada's son had spread through the castle, and had rooted itself in the village as a certainty, and all wished to see the meeting of father and son, which they thought would be dramatic.

Whether Quijada had come prepared, or whether it was really a spontaneous impulse, he sprang lightly off the mule, and without taking the keys or looking at Jeromín, went straight up to Doña Magdalena and embraced her tenderly with much joy and signs of affection.

Everyone shouted, the artillery of the castle burst forth with salvos which made the old walls echo and shake; fireworks whizzed through the air, and from the cloister minstrels, who had come there on purpose, saluted the arrival of the master with trumpets, drums, and other instruments accompanying the hymn of the Quijadas:


In possession of the Conde de Santa Coloma

De la casa de Roland
Que es casa de gran substancia
Con gran trabajo y afan
Vino un muy gentil galan
Á Castilla de su Francia.[2]

The coming of the lord of Villagarcia did not alter Jeromín's position in the castle. Quijada treated him with the same affection and prudent precautions as Doña Magdalena did, and never lost an opportunity of studying Jeromín's nature and the springs of his character, and those impulses of manliness and energy which are the base of real valour.

One day when Quijada was in the armoury cleaning a gun and Jeromín at his side giving him the pieces, he said suddenly, "Jeromín, would you be capable of shooting off a gun?" and the boy answered him with perfect confidence, "I should be ready to shoot off a gun or to receive a shot."

The answer pleased Quijada, who from that time gave him leave to remain covered in his presence, and gave him a little sword, more a childish toy than an arm of defence.

But very shortly Jeromín covered himself with still greater glory, according to the detailed account of the licenciado Porreño. On the occasion of a bull-fight in Villandrando, a very fierce bull charged the barrier and put everyone to flight except Jeromín, who, sheltered by the woodwork, faced the animal and tried to wound it with his little sword in the head, making the bull go back to the arena, to the astonishment of everyone, who did not attribute the deed to mad daring, but rather to bravery or a real miracle.

On which, says Porreño, "The ladies at the windows of the bull-ring sang his praises and the whole crowd applauded the courage and daring of the lad, who had firmly withstood this savage animal, and congratulated Luis Quijada on the bravery, which under an humble garb his protégé showed, judging that beneath the sackcloth there was the...."


At three o'clock in the morning of the 2nd of October, 1556, a horseman arrived at Villagarcia by road from Valladolid, and knocked furiously on the door of the castle. The night watchman hastened at the noise from the top of the wall, and asked who went there.

"Praised be God," said the person below.

"And the Virgin, Our Lady," replied he on the wall.

Cap in hand, the horseman then added pompously, "A letter from Her Highness the very Serene Princess Governess."

This naturally made a stir throughout the castle. Luis Quijada himself came out to meet the messenger, half dressed, with his spectacles in his hand. He read the Princess's letter and then handed it to Doña Magdalena gloomily, for he was one of those people who are all self-sacrifice and abnegation in their acts, but grumbling and cross in their words. This is what the letter said:

"The Princess.

Luis Méndez Quijada, Steward to the Emperor my Lord, this morning I have received tidings that the Emperor, my Lord, and the Very Serene Queens, my aunts, arrived last Monday, the eve of St. Michael, at Laredo, and that H.M. disembarked that day, and they on the following one, and that they are well, for which much thanks to Our Lord, and were received with due pleasure and contentment. And as you are wanted for the journey, and as it is convenient to know where to lodge them in this town, I pray you that as soon as you receive this you will start and go at once to H.M. by post, and that when you are arrived you will give an account of the two apartments which we had arranged and let me know, with all diligence, which one H.M. would prefer, and that you will say whether any stoves shall be put in them or other things, so that it may be done ready for his arrival.

"Also I beg you that you will ascertain from H.M. if he wishes that foot and horse guards should be sent for his escort or that of the Very Serene Queens, my aunts. If it will be necessary for any Grandees or knights to come as escort. Also if he wishes that there should be any reception in Burgos or here for H.M. or the Queens, my aunts, and of what kind.

"If he wishes the Prince, my nephew, to go to meet them on the road, and where. If he would like me to do the same, or the councillors who are here. That you may advise me with all diligence, particularly as to his wish in everything.

"Also that you should undertake the charge, which I give you, of seeing that His Majesty is well provided on the road with everything necessary, and also the Very Serene Queens, my aunts, and to see that the taxes are well collected, advising the Alcalde Durango what it appears to you necessary for him to provide, that nothing be lacking, and me here what it is convenient to provide for him, in doing which you will please me much. From Valladolid, 1st of October, 1556.

"The Princess."

Doña Magdalena returned the letter, after reading it, to Quijada, saying sadly that he would be obliged to set out that afternoon or the next day at latest, to which Quijada answered irritably that he saw no need to wait until the afternoon when on the Emperor's service, and that he would start at once. And he gave his orders so quickly, and so expeditious was everyone in executing them, that two hours later, at five in the morning, Quijada and his people were all ready to set out. Jeromín came to kiss his hand with eyes full of tears; but shaking him roughly by the shoulders Quijada told him "to keep those tears for when he confessed his sins, that only at the feet of a confessor it became men to cry." Ashamed, the boy swallowed his tears, and then Quijada, thinking that he had been over-severe, gave him his hand to be kissed, making the sign of the cross on his forehead, and promised him the suit of Milanese armour the first time he should break a lance in public.

Luis Quijada made the journey from Villagarcia to Laredo in three days and a half, according to the letter he wrote himself to the Princess's secretary, Juan Vázguez, on the 6th of October.

"Illustrious Sir,

I arrived here from Villagarcia in three days and a half, with great difficulty, as I could not find posts or animals to hire." And further, he adds, "Nothing more occurs to me to say except that it does nothing but rain, that the roads are bad, and the lodgings worse. God keep us; we shall have work, but not so much as I have gone through this journey. I tell your Honour the truth, I have never passed through worse or greater dangers, because I could already see myself knocking off the tops of thirty peaks, as a mule fell with me across a wide gap, and if it had been to the left, I should have had a still worse fall. From Bilbao, 6th of October, 1556, sent from Laredo.—

Luis Quijada."

Luis Quijada then met those three august ruins the Emperor and his two sisters, the widowed Queens of Hungary and France, in Laredo, who, despoiled of everything, and weary of acting great parts in the world's drama, were come to die in the peace of the Lord, each one in a different corner of Spain.

The eldest of the three was Queen Elinor, widow by a first marriage of D. Manuel the Fortunate of Portugal and by a second of the magnificent Francis I of France. Doña Elinor was fifty-eight, but more than years, troubles, anxieties and the dreadful asthma she suffered from had aged her, so that no one would have recognised in this sad, bent old woman the former brilliant Queen of Portugal and France. But neither age, nor illness, nor her many and bitter disappointments had been able to alter the serenity of her character or her goodness, which made D. Luis de Ávila and Zúñiga say in a letter written to the secretary, Juan Vázguez, "She was really an innocent saint, and I think she had no more malice than an old dove."

The Queen of Hungary, on the other hand, was masculine and decided. As quick to see as she was prudent and energetic to execute. Her brother loved her beyond everything, and Doña Maria repaid his fraternal affection with interest, and was always his greatest admirer, upholding his policy with great ability. Her energy and talent got him out of grave difficulties and real troubles during the twenty-five years this great Princess was Regent of Flanders. At the time of her return to Spain she was fifty-two, but had no signs of age except grey hair, and in spite of her years, and the heart disease from which she suffered, would have performed the journey on horseback by the side of her brother's litter if the weakness of the Queen of France had not kept her at her sister's side. Doña Elinor, recognising the affection and superiority of her sister, always sought advice and help from her, which Doña Maria gave, as the most loving mother might to the most trusting daughter. The sisters were also physically a contrast. At that time Doña Elinor was a little, short, dried-up old woman, with very white hair and such a peaceful, sweet face that she attracted by this imposing but gentle majesty, which was placed in relief by virtue of her rank.

Doña Maria was tall for a woman, with a good figure and extremely stately, though not in the same way as her sister, but with that other majesty which stamps the fact of superiority by merit, rather than that of superiority by birth. Neither of the Queens dressed in Spanish fashion, but richly and plainly in the Flemish style, with double skirts caught up, and severe coif of black velvet, linen collars, and black veils which covered them from head to foot.

Photo Lacoste


By Titian. Prado Gallery, Madrid

Between these ruins came that of the no less august and worn-out majesty, the invincible Emperor, vanquished only by years, wars, worries and his gluttony, for this really great man who had controlled two worlds could never control his own excessive appetite, and this had overcome him, crippling his hands and paralysing his knees. His wide forehead was bald, and his under-lip, already a characteristic of this great race and still distinguishing it, fell more than ever. On the 6th of October the Emperor set out from Laredo after dinner, and in one march reached Ampuero, where he made the first halt. The road did not permit all the suite to travel together, and they were divided in this way. First went the Alcalde Durango with fifty alguaciles with wands, and behind came the litter of the Emperor with Quijada at his side; it looked more like the procession of a prisoner than the escort of the greatest monarch on earth. As a matter of precaution there was also a sedan-chair in which they could place His Majesty in difficult places, and behind came valets and several mules with the things indispensable to the Emperor wherever he was.

At the distance of one march followed the litters of the Queens and their ladies, some of whom went on horseback; also sedan-chairs in case of necessity, and a mule and a horse saddled for the Queen of Hungary, who liked to ride occasionally. The third group consisted of the rest of the suite of the Emperor and the Queens and more than a hundred mules laden with baggage.

This modest escort was Quijada's despair, as only five alguaciles guarded the Emperor like a prisoner, and he had several discussions on this point, giving his opinion with his usual peevish frankness. The Emperor sent him to the devil, as was his custom, and Quijada, annoyed and in a bad temper, was silent till the next opportunity.

The Constable of Castille and D. Francisco Baamonde came out to meet them at Burgos, and accompanied them to Valladolid with a very brilliant guard. At Cabezón, two leagues from Valladolid, the Emperor met Prince Carlos; his grandson went to greet him with some gentlemen of his household. The Emperor did not know this unfortunate Prince, who was afterwards so tragically celebrated, and was very pleased to see him. D. Carlos was then eleven, and as the day was rather cold had put on a very richly lined doublet, which, according to a letter from Francisco Osorio to Philip II, suited him very well, and His Highness looked a "foreigner." The bravery of his attire, however, could not hide the Prince's feeble frame, or the notable disproportion of his head to the rest of his body. His grandfather and the two Queens gave him their hands to kiss, which the Prince did very politely and respectfully. But the first moment of shyness passed, the boy returned to his usual restlessness and self-will, and began to make a noise and upset the room with very little respect for those great personages. And seeing a portable stove, which served to warm the Emperor's room during the journey, a thing then unknown in Spain, he asked his grandfather to give it to him. This was refused, and, the child still persisting, the Emperor, almost angry, said sternly, "Be silent, D. Carlos. After my death you will have time to enjoy it." It did not please the Prince that the Emperor and the two Queens talked French among themselves, as they usually did, as he could not understand this language, which drew down upon him another reproof from his grandfather, who told him very severely that his was the fault for having taken so little pains to learn it.

Meanwhile the good Queen Elinor begged her brother to tell the child something of his campaigns; this the Emperor gladly did, and the Prince listened with great attention. But when he referred to his flight from Innspruck before the Elector Maurice, the Prince interrupted him abruptly and disrespectfully, saying that he should not have run away. The grandfather laughed at his grandson's outburst, and explained that want of money, finding himself alone, and the state of his health had obliged him to make this flight.

"It does not matter. You ought not to have run away." His persistence amused the Emperor, who went on arguing, "But if your own pages wished to seize you and you were alone among them, you would have to run away to escape from them." "No," said the Prince proudly and with anger, "I should never run away." The Emperor laughed at this haughty persistence, which pleased him, but he was not altogether very well satisfied with the heir to the throne, as he said to his sister, the Queen of France.

"He seems very noisy, and his manner and temper please me little. One does not know what may become of such a hot-tempered youth."


Luis Quijada hoped that, once established at Yuste, the Emperor would allow him to return to his castle of Villagarcia and rest by the side of Doña Magdalena. The Emperor, however, thought otherwise, and all his generosity consisted in giving Quijada a few days' leave two months after his arrival, in April, 1557.

The Emperor set out from Valladolid on the 4th of November, 1556, at half-past three in the afternoon, after having dined in public, and forbidding absolutely that anyone besides his servants should take leave of him beyond the Puerta del Campo. In this second march he took an escort of cavalry and forty halberdiers. The first stop was at Medina del Campo, in the house of a celebrated money-lender named Rodrigo de Dueñas, who, like all those who unexpectedly become rich, was vain and ostentatious and wished to make a parade of his wealth, putting in the Emperor's room a brazier of massive gold, and instead of ordinary fuel fine cinnamon from Ceylon. This show, however, displeased the Emperor, and the smell of the cinnamon affected his throat, so he ordered the brazier to be taken away, and the money-lender to be paid for his hospitality, to humble his ostentatious, vulgar vanity. Another five marches brought them to Tornavacas on the 11th of November. Tornavacas is on the side of the range which bounds the Vera of Plasencia. From here it is only one march to Jarandilla, the next halt, but it was a very troublesome one, as a horrible defile, called the Black Pass, had to be traversed, which had no real road, only a track across torrents, by precipices, and through dark chestnut woods which covered the steep sides of the mountain.

The Emperor decided to follow this shorter but more difficult route, and left early on the 12th, preceded by many peasants with pikes and staves to make the way practicable. In front went the Emperor, sometimes in his litter, at others in his sedan-chair, or carried on men's shoulders, according to the state of the road. At his side walked Quijada, a pike in his hand, directing the march. Thus they went for three leagues.

The rest of the suite came behind without order and only careful not to leave their bones among the precipices. On arriving at the top of the Puerta the view of the beautiful Vera de Plasencia stretched before the gaze of the Emperor, and far away at the end of the valley on a little hillock, surrounded by orange and lemon trees, was the monastery of Yuste, which was to be his sepulchre. He looked on it for a time in silence, and then, turning round towards the Puerta, through which he had just come, said solemnly and sadly to Quijada, "I shall never go through another pass in my life except that of death."

The Emperor lodged in Jarandilla, in the castle of the Conde de Oropesa, D. Fernando Álvarez de Toledo, and stayed there three months, waiting until his rooms at Yuste were ready for him, and for money to pay the servants who had accompanied him so far, and who were not to follow him to the monastery. They amounted to about ninety, counting among them Italians, Burgundians, and Flemings. At last the Emperor definitely set out for Yuste, on the 3rd of February, 1557. At the door of his room he took leave of his servants, amid their tears, and with no little emotion on his part. After that everything was as silent and solemn as a funeral. Punctually at three o'clock he got into his litter, accompanied by the Conde de Oropesa riding on his right, Quijada on his left, and the Lord Chamberlain La Chaux behind.

The litter passed between two lines of halberdiers formed up at the gates of the castle, and no sooner had it passed than the guards threw down their halberds sorrowfully, as if they no longer wished to use these arms, after having done so in the service of so great an Emperor. The afternoon was rather foggy and the country dreary, and there was much that was impressive and funereal in the passing of this modest procession, which crossed the valley in silence and wound slowly up the hill on which the monastery stands. The litter stopped at the door of the church, among some orange trees, and the Emperor got out; they put him like a corpse into a chair and carried him up the steps of the High Altar. The Conde de Oropesa on his right, Luis Quijada on his left. The Prior, Fr. Martin de Angulo, then intoned the Te Deum. "The bells were overwhelmed and seemed to make more noise than usual," says the ingenuous account of the anonymous monk of Yuste.

The Emperor did not live at Yuste like a simple monk, as so many historians have averred. His household consisted of more than fifty persons, without counting the fifty-three friars who in various ways were connected with his service, and were selected with great care and sent to Yuste from the other convents of the Order. His house was large and comfortable, though not sumptuous, as can still be seen, for, thanks to its proprietors, the Marqueses de Mirabel, it remains intact. On one side it joined the church, the other three looked on the brothers' shady garden, which had been given up to the Emperor. The building consisted of eight big, square rooms, four on the ground-floor for summer, and four above for winter, which were those that the Emperor used. On each floor, from east to west, went galleries, the lower one running round both ends of the garden, the upper one leading to two large terraces, planted with flowers, oranges and lemons, and embellished with beautiful fountains, where, as in a stew-pond, were magnificent trout.

The rooms were hung with twenty-four pieces of Flemish tapestry, representing landscapes and scenes with animals. The study, or room, where the Emperor received was in the deepest mourning. At the time it was fitted up he was wearing mourning for his mother Queen Juana, so it was put up and so it still remains. It was hung with long black cloths and floating curtains and had a canopy and six big chairs of black velvet; twelve chairs of walnut and artistically worked leather, and six benches, which opened and shut, lined with black cloth. In the centre and almost under the canopy was a large table with a black velvet cover and an enormous arm-chair of a particular shape, with six very soft cushions and wheels to move it about, where the Emperor sat.

The bedroom had two beds, a big one and a little one, and a window in front which was also a door, and opened on to the same level as the High Altar of the church. Through it the Emperor heard mass from his bed when he did not get up, and through it the brothers came to give him the Pax and the Holy Communion when he received it, which he frequently did.

He had also brought some family portraits with him and some of his favourite painter Titian's wonderful pictures, rich jewels, and curious clocks by Giovanni Torriano, who was called Juanelo, and abundant plate for the use of his chapel, himself, and his table, little enough, however, for one who had exchanged the kingdom of two worlds for this corner.

The valets, barbers, cooks, bakers, and clock-makers, Juanelo and his assistant Valín, lived in a different part of the cloisters from that inhabited by the monks. The doctor Mathys, the apothecary Overstraeten, and the brewer Dugsen lodged in the hospice of the convent, while the secretary Martin Gastelu, the keeper of the wardrobe Morón, and Luis Quijada were boarded in the best houses of the village of Cuacos, whence they came each day to the monastery.

Having arranged all this difficult installation, Quijada waited patiently for the Emperor to grant him permission to retire, as he had already done to the Lord Chamberlain La Chaux. But the Emperor gave no sign, and the days and weeks and months passed and Quijada poured out his ill-temper in letters to the secretary Juan Vázquez, above all when he had to wait on the illustrious personages who came to visit the Emperor at Yuste and lodge them in his house at Cuacos. But all the same he did not cease to care for the Emperor with the love and watchfulness of a mother for a spoilt child, or to aid him at all times with the light of his good sense and great prudence in those important affairs in which the Emperor took part even after his retirement to Yuste, with his observations, his counsel, and not seldom with his orders.

But at last the Emperor made up his mind, and on the 28th of March he told Quijada that he might go to Villagarcia, if such were his pleasure, and there await orders. Quijada gladly promised this, and on the same day adds this postscript to his letter to Juan Vázguez: "His Majesty has been very good. He has ordered me, of his own freewill, to go home, and says that he will tell me what to do. I assure your Honour that I shall not return to Estramadura to eat asparagus and truffles."

Quijada stopped in Valladolid to execute important commands of the Emperor's for the Princess Governess Juana, and from there he wrote on the 8th of April to his mysterious correspondent to whom alone he wrote about Jeromín's affairs:

"It seems to H.M. that as to the service of his person and house, everything is in order and as it should be, and it is his pleasure to send me to my house, as I have been there so little since he came, and for many reasons my presence there is necessary."

He found nothing changed in Villagarcia, Doña Magdalena was still the model of all virtues and the helper of the poor, and Jeromín the joy of the castle and the sun which shed light and movement and happiness around him. An extraordinary event occurred at this time to strengthen more and more the belief that Jeromín was Quijada's son and to expel the bitter suspicion, on the contrary, from the noble heart of Doña Magdalena. One night, while all slept, a severe fire broke out in the castle, which spread to the rooms of Doña Magdalena and Jeromín, which, as we have said, were contiguous. Quijada saw the great danger they both ran, and without hesitation dashed first to save the child and then afterwards Doña Magdalena.

All saw in this the love of the father triumphing over that of the husband; but Doña Magdalena, knowing how she was loved by him, saw the noble nature of Quijada overcoming this immense love, and thought how great must be the honour which Jeromín's custody conferred on Quijada, that he should sacrifice to it what was dearest to him in the world—namely herself.


The selfishness of the Emperor could not long bear the absence of Quijada, and a messenger was sent to Villagarcia on the 10th of August, 1557, ordering him to return to Yuste. Quijada did not suspect the plot which the whole of the diminished Court had made against him, with the Emperor at its head. On the 17th of August the secretary Gastelu, who much esteemed Quijada, wrote with much mystery from Cuacos to the Secretary of State, Juan Vázguez, "If Luis Quijada comes here and there is anything that you can do for him, will you do all you can to carry out all his wishes, for I can assure you that he well deserves it, and it is politic to gratify him now that it is a question of his staying here and bringing his wife—but this for yourself."

On the 23rd of August Quijada arrived at Yuste, and the next day, directly after dinner, the Emperor himself opened the subject, by asking him plainly to stay altogether with him, and to bring Doña Magdalena and all his household to Cuacos. The proposal frightened Quijada, and thinking, perhaps, first about Jeromín, and then of the various pros and cons, he could give no answer. This same day, the 24th, by order of the Emperor, Gastelu wrote to the secretary Vázguez, "Illustrious Sir, the Emperor put before Señor Luis Quijada, just after dinner to-day, the reasons for not leaving his service. Up till now he (Quijada) has not settled to stay by reason of the many difficulties in the way, not being able to do so alone, and the greater ones of bringing his wife here, and it being so necessary to be in her company. Things being so (the Emperor) has ordered me to write to your Honour that you should inform him what is given to D. Garcia de Toledo, as he is steward to the Lady Princess and also was so to the Serene Queen of Bohemia, when she was in those kingdoms, and also to the King, our Lord, and to the Marqués de Denia, who was so to the Queen, our Lady, that informed about everything, he may see what is just to do, and you may tell him your Honour's opinion, and that secretly, without anyone understanding what he wants to know, and that the answer should come at the first opportunity, because time presses; meanwhile the affair will be brought to an end, although I find some difficulty in doing so."

Six days later, on August 31st, Gastelu wrote again to the Secretary of State Juan Vázguez, "The Lord Luis Quijada, after much talk over his going or staying, has settled, in spite of all the difficulties of bringing his wife and of her staying here, to conform to the will of H.M. and to please him and to stay here, as he has probably written to your Honour; and the emolument which he (the Emperor) has to give, waits the answer of what I wrote to your Honour by the said post. His Majesty is well, and very pleased about Señor Luis Quijada staying. Please God he and his wife will be so in time."

And when the note asked for from Juan Vázguez arrived the Emperor himself wrote to Philip II:

"Son, on the 8th ult. I wrote last in answer to your letters, and I have heard that Ruy Gómez received mine in Laredo. Since then Luis Quijada has arrived here, and I have talked to him about remaining and bringing his wife; I ordered Gastelu to do it as if I were there present, and although there were difficulties in the way he agreed, however, of which I am glad, as it is a thing I much wished. And desiring afterwards to talk to him about the salary, he excused himself and left it to me. And to find out more about this Juan Vázguez was written to, that he might inform me what had been done as regards other persons who had served under similar conditions, and he has sent the report, of which I send you a copy. By it you will see the result of the enquiry: and as I do not know what Ruy Gómez says about this, nor has he told me beyond sending me a copy of the letter which you wrote to him on June 10, in which reference is made to it, I write to you so that in case he should not have sailed, he should give you full information and his opinion about the money aid that should be given (to Quijada); taking into account that nothing has been given him since his arrival in this Kingdom, and the expenses he has and those he may have to incur in bringing his wife and household and establishing himself in the house at Cuacos; with the order that, if the said Ruy Gómez has left, the messenger should go on and overtake him, or go wherever you are, that in view of all that is mentioned above, you may learn what I should do and thereupon tell me."

Once it was settled that Quijada should stay in the service of the Emperor and that Doña Magdalena and Jeromín and all the household should come to the neighbouring village of Cuacos, prompt as usual he lost no time in finding the necessary accommodation. For this purpose he bought two more houses contiguous to the one he occupied, making them into one, and as comfortable as possible in such a wretched place. When everything was prepared, he set out for Villagarcia to fetch and accompany Doña Magdalena and his household on the arduous journey. He wrote from Yuste to his mysterious correspondent,

"Since August I have been here without going home. Now H.M. is willing that I should go and fetch my wife, and that we should establish ourselves, and although you must understand what a work it is to live here, I do it, in spite of the inconveniences, knowing that it is H.M.'s pleasure, so I go and shall return with the companion you know." As soon as he had returned from his journey and had established Doña Magdalena and the "companion" in Cuacos, he hastens to apprise the mysterious correspondent, sending the news this time in a prudent "the rest," the innocent Jeromín being all unconscious of their supervision. "After having done what you asked in your letter in Valladolid and having found out everything and how everybody was there, I went home, leaving again as quickly as possible with Doña Magdalena and 'the rest,' and arrived here on the 1st inst. (July). We found the Emperor very well and fatter than when I left, and with a very good colour and in good spirits."

Doña Magdalena arrived at Cuacos on the 1st of July, as the preceding letter relates. The same day the Emperor sent her a courteous letter of welcome and a substantial present of "cecina," the meat of sheep fed only on bread, and other victuals with which the larder of Yuste overflowed, as Kings, Princes, Grandees and prelates disputed for the honour of supplying it, and each sent the best produce of their estates.

Jeromín came with delight to Cuacos, with the hope of knowing the legendary hero of his martial dreams, the Emperor, whom he always painted to himself as wearing a plumed helmet on his head, his shining armour crossed by a red sash, riding the Andalusian horse caparisoned with velvet and gold, as he is painted in his famous Muhlberg picture by Titian, or as a thousand times Juan Galarza and Luis Quijada, eye-witnesses, had described him. The boy quite understood that in his humble position of an unknown child he would not see the Emperor close, or kiss his hand, or hear his voice, but he counted on seeing him from afar, and he knew from Quijada that the Emperor walked in the garden and sometimes even dined in the open air on the terrace of the house.

However, day followed day, and in spite of all his vigilance Jeromín never caught a glimpse of the Emperor in the garden or on the terrace. When at last, one night after supper, Doña Magdalena called him and told him that his desire was to be more than fulfilled, as the next day he was to accompany her, as page of honour, to visit the Emperor, it gave the boy such a shock, and he turned so white, that the lady was frightened and took him in her arms. Jeromín, throwing his round her neck, with the affection that he felt for her, told her ingenuously that the idea of speaking to the Emperor terrified him, and that he should not know what to answer.

The Emperor had invited Doña Magdalena to go and see him, and Quijada had arranged that Jeromín should accompany her as page of honour, taking a present which Doña Magdalena was to offer. This visit must have taken place in the early days of July, as Gastelu writes on the 19th to Vázguez and refers to it as a thing already long past. "Lord Luis Quijada," he says, "is well, and so is my Lady Doña Magdalena, whom H.M. was careful to order to visit him, and the other day she went to Yuste to kiss hands, and he was all kindness."

We have not been able to ascertain what Doña Magdalena's present was, but it was probably either gloves or handkerchiefs that were taken the next day to Yuste on a silver tray covered with embroidered damask. Doña Magdalena set out at three o'clock in her litter, Jeromín riding beside her on the little Roman mule which Luis Quijada had inherited from his brother Álvaro de Mendoza; he was very smart in his new page's dress and looked like a little painted statuette.

Behind came Juan Galarza and the other squire mounted on good, strong mules. They alighted at the door of the church, according to Quijada's arrangement, and went to the High Altar, where he awaited them. Then he took them by the glazed door into the Emperor's bedroom; he handed Jeromín the present on the tray of silver, and the two went into the Emperor's room, Jeromín following.

The darkness added to the funereal aspect of the room, as the curtains had been drawn and the windows closed because of the heat. Jeromín, as Quijada had ordered him, groped his way to the wall on one side, and there stood very straight, with the tray in his hand. At first he could distinguish nothing, except a sort of mountain of black things, a white spot in the centre, and heavy breathing like that of an asthmatic old man. The Emperor received Doña Magdalena "con todo favor," as Juan Vázguez wrote to the secretary Gastelu. She was the only lady he received in Yuste except the Queens, Doña Elinor and Doña Maria; he sat up in his chair as much as his swollen knees allowed, and took off his thin silk cap. He gave his hand to be kissed, and, with all the grace and gallantry of his youth, then asked Quijada's permission to kiss the lady's. He ordered an arm-chair to be put near him, as if she had been a princess of the blood, and also ordered the curtains to be undrawn and the windows to be opened.

Then the light streamed in, and Jeromín could see what remained of that great Emperor, that hero of many battles: a bent old man, with a white beard, a sunken head, and a tired voice. He was lost in the cushions of his enormous chair, his legs covered with a rich and light quilt stuffed with feathers, a present from his daughter Princess Juana. At his side on a perch a beautiful parrot, and on his knees he had two tiny Indian kittens, which had been sent him a short time before by his sister Doña Catalina, the great widowed Queen of Portugal.

Jeromín remained awestruck before this ruin, till gaining courage he dared to look at him face to face. But at that moment the Emperor raised his head, and, as if by accident, his glance fell on the child. Jeromín shut his eyes and shrank up as if he saw a mountain falling on him. There was the Emperor, the hero of so many battles—he saw the eagle's glance which still had genius and glory in it, and which also had, as it looked on the child, something strange and deep, which was neither stern nor indifferent, but rather gentle and loving, though mixed with something which oppressed and terrified Jeromín, without his knowing why, because it was impossible for his innocent soul to perceive the dim shadows which remorse sheds on love.

All this only lasted a moment; Doña Magdalena spoke of her present, and Quijada ordered the child to approach and offer it. Jeromín did so, trembling like quicksilver, and knelt before the Emperor, lifting up the tray to him. The Emperor took what was on the tray with many expressions of pleasure and thanks, and placed the present on the table. Then he stretched out his crippled hand for Jeromín to kiss, and laid it for a moment on the fair head. At a sign from Luis Quijada, Jeromín returned to his place.

Meanwhile one of the Emperor's kittens had got away and ran to Jeromín and began to make friends and scramble up his legs. The Emperor laughed, and Jeromín, very confused, gently pushed the kitten away with his foot to make it go back to its place. The Emperor said, "Carry it here." Jeromín picked up the little animal and presented it to the Emperor on his knees.

The Emperor again gave his hand to be kissed, and placed it for a second time, for a moment, as if in benediction or as a caress, on Jeromín's head. They left as they had come in. On entering the church Jeromín pulled Doña Magdalena's skirt, and throwing himself into her arms began to cry. Astonished, she asked him what was the matter, and putting his little red mouth close to her ear, he whispered between his sobs, "I do not know, Lady Aunt, I do not know." Luis Quijada came and saw him crying, but did not ask the reason or reprove him, this time, for his tears.


Jeromín never saw the Emperor near again; though from afar he did so in the garden, on the terrace, and sometimes in the church. On many of these occasions the Emperor also saw him, and then the boy felt the strange, earnest glance fixed upon him.

Neither did Doña Magdalena go again to visit the Emperor, but she had daily received signs of his favour, by the visits of authorised persons or by tactful presents. It was seldom that a day passed without the Emperor sending her some dish from his table, and no convoy of meat, preserves, fruit or sweetmeats arrived at Yuste without a substantial portion being reserved for her, which was sent with messages of the greatest kindness. These presents were as useful as honourable, since there was a great scarcity of provisions in Cuacos, and what was obtainable was not very good. On the 30th of August, 1558, Jeromín saw the Emperor for the last time. The child was wandering about in the garden at Yuste with his crossbow and arrows, as he did sometimes by Quijada's own wish in his play-hours. The day was cold for summer in that part of the world, and although the glare from the sun was great on the terraces, the Emperor caused himself to be taken to the west one, and ordered that dinner should be brought there. Hidden in the orange grove that was in front of it Jeromín watched him for a long time.

Luis Quijada and a groom of the chamber named Guillermo Van Male were serving him, on a little table made on purpose, which fixed on to the Emperor's chair. Van Male presented the dishes, Quijada carved them, and four servants brought and took away the courses. D. Mattys was absent; he should have inspected the viands, but was away in Jarandilla. The confessor, Fr. Juan de Regla, was standing before the Emperor, austere and grave as one of Zurbarán's Carthusians, reading as usual a chapter from St. Bernard.

The Emperor ate little and without appetite, and then, in spite of the glare and against the wishes of Quijada, he composed himself there to take his short siesta. He was awakened by the arrival of Garcilaso de la Vega, who came from Flanders to treat with the Dowager-Queen of Hungary to induce her to return to govern the States. The conversation lasted for more than an hour, and at four o'clock the Emperor blew his golden whistle, complaining of a severe headache. A change had come over him and he was shivering. They put him to bed at once, and when the doctor came back that night from Jarandilla, where the Emperor had sent him to see the Conde de Oropesa, he was not pleased with the Emperor's looks. Nor could he have been so himself, as that night he expressed to Quijada his wish to add a codicil to the will he had made in Brussels on the 8th of June, 1554.

This desire did not frighten Quijada, as the Emperor had often expressed the same wish before; but the continued fever, delirium and collapse did alarm him, and on the 1st of September he wrote to the Princess Juana, begging her to send as quickly as possible Queen Maria's old doctor, Corneille Baersdorp, who was staying with her at Cigales.

The Emperor felt himself sick unto death, and confessed and communicated on the 3rd of September, fearing some new and mortal seizure would take him unawares. Dr. Corneille arrived from Cigales on the 8th, as did also Garcilaso de la Vega, bringing the welcome news that Queen Maria had accepted the government of the Flemish States. The Emperor, however, did not wish to see him until he had signed the codicil, which he did on the 9th.

He conferred a long time the next day with Garcilaso and the last joy of his life was knowing that his sister, Doña Maria, had, at last, given in to what he so much desired. He asked with great interest for the "Regente" Figueroa, and the Archbishop of Toledo, Fr. Bartolomé de Carranza, who had come from Flanders with Garcilaso, and was expected at Yuste. He then learnt that the "Regente" was ill at Medina del Campo, and that the Archbishop, knowing nothing of the Emperor's illness, had gone to Cigales to confer, by Philip II's wish, with Queen Maria, and was coming to Yuste from there.

This conversation tired the Emperor very much, and it was the last time that he worried about the things of this world. On the 19th the doctors found him so much worse that they spoke to Quijada about the necessity of administering Extreme Unction. Quijada looked angry on hearing this, as he was one of those men of violent character who always show their sorrow by becoming cross and disagreeable, and he told them not to leave off feeling the Emperor's pulse, and to put it off until the last moment. This last moment seemed to have arrived at nine o'clock that night, and the steward summoned Fr. Juan de Regla and three other monks in a great hurry. He went to the Emperor first and said, "Your Majesty has twice asked for Extreme Unction. If you please, it is here, as your Majesty has health and sense to receive and enjoy it." The Emperor replied, "Yes, and let it be at once." The curtains of his bed were then drawn, and Fr. Juan de Regla gave him Extreme Unction, aided by three of the principal monks in the convent. The next morning, the 20th, the dying man somewhat rallied, and at eight o'clock ordered everyone to leave his room except Luis Quijada.

He was already almost without strength and was propped up by pillows. On account of the heat he could only bear a shirt and a thin silk quilt which covered him to his chest. Sadly Luis Quijada knelt at his pillow, and the Emperor, in a feeble voice but with all his senses, talked for half an hour. Here are his exact words as the same Luis Quijada wrote them to Philip II in his letter of the 30th of September, 1558:

"Tuesday, before receiving the Holy Sacrament, he called me and sent away his confessor and the rest, and I kneeling down, he said, 'Luis Quijada, I see I am ending little by little: for which I give much thanks to God, because it is His Will. You will tell the King, my son, to take care of these servants in general, those that have served me here until death, and that he should use Gilaone (Guillerno Wykesloot, the barber) as he wishes, and order that in this house no guests should be allowed to enter.' What he said about his wishes for me I do not care to say, being an interested party. Also he wished me to say other things to Y.M. which I will tell you when God brings me to Y.M. Please God it may be with the happiness all desire."

In this last conversation that the Emperor had with Quijada he left a strange remembrance to Jeromín. He commissioned his steward after his death to give to the child Jeromín, as his property and for his use, the old mule which he rode on, the blind pony he had kept, and the little mule that with the other two animals formed all his stud.

At midday the Archbishop of Toledo, Fr. Bartolomé de Carranza, arrived in Yuste, a robust old man with a loud, disagreeable voice, and long, ill-kept white hair. He rode on a white mule, and was wrapped in a brown garment over his Dominican habit, and over that wore a crumpled cloak with a magnificent pectoral cross, a present from Mary Tudor, Queen of England. His enormous suite followed him to Cuacos, but he came alone to Yuste with the Dominicans who accompanied him, Fr. Pedro de Sotomayor and Fr. Diego Jiménez. The Archbishop knelt when he reached the Emperor's bedside and kissed his hand. The dying man looked at him for a long time without speaking, and then ordered that a chair should be given him, and asked for news of the King, his son, whom the Archbishop had left in Flanders; but after a few words the Emperor interrupted him abruptly, and ordered him to go and rest in his inn. Charles mistrusted the Archbishop because the first suspicions had come to his ears of that heresy which shortly landed the unlucky old man in prison, persecuted by some, defended by others, and discussed by all, even to our times.

So the Archbishop went to dine in Luis Quijada's house at Cuacos, where Doña Magdalena was awaiting him. The grave condition of the Emperor had made a great sensation in the village; the whole neighbourhood was to be found in the street, making a cordon from Yuste to the church of the place, where continual prayer was offered before the Blessed Sacrament.

Doña Magdalena and Jeromín never rested; since dawn messengers had never ceased coming from Yuste with news, and since the same hour the noble lady came and went from the oratory, where she prayed and wept, to the parlour, where she received the messengers and made preparations for the arrival of the Archbishop, whom she expected from minute to minute. Jeromín, nervous and trembling, could not keep still for an instant; at times he wanted to cry, at others to shut himself up in the oratory with Doña Magdalena and pray, or to dash off to Yuste, and, if it were by main force, to reach the Emperor's room and gaze once more on that pallid face, its snowy beard surrounding it like a fringe of silver. The boy had never seen death, or heard it alluded to except as happening on the field of battle, and it seemed to him like killing by treason that so great an Emperor should die in his bed, and that to annihilate so glorious an existence, thunder and lightning and stars would be necessary, that the elements should war together and the whole earth be convulsed.

At four o'clock the Archbishop arranged with his suite to return to Yuste, and then an idea occurred to Jeromín. Without saying a word to anyone, he saddled the little Roman mule himself and went to the convent among the Archbishop's following. His presence surprised no one, as he was thought to be Luis Quijada's page, and without any difficulty he went to the black hung room next to the chamber where the Emperor lay dying. He found several monks there, the prelate, Juan de Ávila, the Conde de Oropesa, D. Francisco de Toledo, his brother, and Diego de Toledo, uncle to both.

Luis Quijada hastened to meet the Archbishop and came face to face with Jeromín. The great heart of the steward seemed to come into his mouth and even his eyes to moisten when he saw him. With much love and kindness he came towards the frightened child, and drawing him out of the room, begged him to go back to Cuacos to the side of Doña Magdalena. The boy obeyed without a word, hanging his head and casting a look at the room where his hero was dying. He saw nothing; the black curtains were drawn, and between them could only be seen the foot of the enormous bed and, over the crippled limbs, the black silk coverlid. But he could hear the difficult breathing of the dying man.

When Jeromín returned, overcome, to Cuacos, he found Doña Magdalena in the oratory, saying the prayers for the dying, again and again, with her ladies and servants. He knelt in a corner amongst them, and there remained for hours and hours. At ten o'clock sleep, that invincible friend of children, overcame him, and obliged Doña Magdalena to put him, dressed as he was, in her own bed, promising to wake him at the supreme moment. The lady sat at the head of the bed leaning against it, inside the curtains, telling her beads. Jeromín slept uneasily, with a sad expression on his little white face, heaving deep sighs. Doña Magdalena looked at him, anxious also and astonished. All at once, for the first time a strong suspicion crossed her mind; she stopped praying, looking earnestly at the child, and leant over him as if to kiss his forehead, and then kissed his little hands.

At this moment the big bell of Yuste tolled solemnly in the silent night. Doña Magdalena sat up frightened and stretched out her neck to listen, with her hands joined. Another bell tolled and then another. There was no doubt, it was the passing bell. Doña Magdalena hesitated for a moment, and then gently woke the sleeping child. Clinging to her neck he asked, terrified, "Is he dead?" "Pray, my son, pray," she answered.

And, linked together, they prayed the psalm of the dead, "Out of the deep I call."


The grief of Luis Quijada at the death of the Cæsar was so great that the anonymous monk of Yuste, who was an eyewitness of all these events, writes as follows: "It happened that the Archbishop having left with the other lords, as I have said above, to write to the King, our Lord, about the death of his father, there remained in the room where the body of the dead Emperor lay, the three men beloved by H.M., the Marqués de Miraval, Luis Quijada and Martin Gastelbú (Gazletu), who did and said such things in their sorrow for the death of H.M. that those who did not know them might have judged them wrongly. They shouted, they cried, they beat their hands and their heads against the walls, they seemed beside themselves, and so they were, at seeing their lord die, who had brought them to such honours, and whom they so tenderly loved; they said much in praise of Cæsar, referring to his virtues. Such were their cries and shouts that they woke all the household of H.M., and all behaved in the same manner, till they were turned out of the room where four monks remained, who embalmed the body, as I said above." This excess of sorrow no doubt produced a certain nervous irritation in Luis Quijada, and made him harder and more severe than ever for a long while, and perhaps also less prudent. Only as regards Jeromín he seemed just the contrary, not by his care and vigilance, for they could not have been greater than before, but by showing the affection and regard which he had kept hidden.

For three days very solemn services were celebrated in Yuste, and Luis Quijada presided over everything, dressed in a cloak of black baize and a mourning hood which almost completely hid his face. During all these days Jeromín was at his side, also dressed in a cloak and hood which only left uncovered those blue eyes which saw and scrutinised everything. "It certainly astonished us," wrote the nameless monk of Yuste, "how he had the strength to remain standing so long."

It happened that on the first day of these services Quijada saw the page of the Marqués de Miraval bring a chair for his master into the church, and ordered him to take it out. The page answered that his master was ill, and that it was necessary for him to take it in. To which Quijada replied, "Then let him stop outside; I will not allow anyone to be seated before the Emperor, my Lord, alive or dead."

Jeromín asked Quijada if he might have the Emperor's parrot and one of the kittens, the other having died a short time before, and with real pleasure Luis Quijada brought them to Cuacos and placed them in the child's care, until they were claimed by Princess Juana, who had been notified of their existence. And such weight had this august "Zapirón"[3] with the austere steward that in a letter to the Secretary of State, Juan Vázguez, he adds this curious postscript, "This letter was written two days ago, and as I had much to do, and as I wished to wait till they had all gone, I did not send it. To-day they have finished taking out all his baggage. Your Honour will forgive the paper being cut, because the devil of a kitten upset the inkpot on the other sheet."

Luis Quijada stayed in Cuacos until the end of November, as it took all that time to finish the arduous task of arranging the Emperor's house, making inventories, sending away servants, settling accounts, and paying debts. Doña Magdalena took this opportunity of going with Jeromín to the sanctuary of Our Lady of Guadaloupe, which was not far off. While she was away something happened which surprised and displeased Quijada, though he had had warning of it a long time back.

It was that none of the many personages who stayed with him in Cuacos, or the monks of the convent who often came there, or any of the thousand people who, for one reason or another, arrived there during the stay of the Emperor, could fail to notice the attractive little figure of Jeromín, which had so much native charm, or the strange position that he occupied in the Quijada household. Many suppositions were formed and many remarks were made, and so serious were some, and to such exalted circles did others reach, that one day, when Quijada least expected it, he received a letter from the Secretary of State, Juan Vázguez, writing on behalf of Princess Juana, asking him bluntly if it were true that the Emperor had left a natural son, who had been for years in his care, because H.M. wished to provide for him, if such were the case. Quijada was much perturbed at this very important question, and hastened to answer Juan Vázguez on the 18th of October. "Regarding what your Honour says about the boy in my charge, it is true that a friend entrusted him to me years ago, but there is no reason to think that he is H.M.'s son, as your Honour says has been put about here, for neither in his will, a copy of which he had and made Gastelu read in his presence to us, his confessor and me, nor in the codicil which he afterwards made, is there mention of this, and this being so I do not know what more I can answer."

Not content with this, Quijada wrote from Cuacos, as if to put himself right with his unknown correspondent in Flanders, the only person to whom he mentioned anything about Jeromín. "Twenty days after the death of H.M., Juan Vázguez wrote to me from the Very Serene Princess that I should tell her if it were true that I had in my charge a child, wishing to make me understand that it was said to be H.M.'s, and that I should tell her secretly or publicly if it were so, because, if true, she would endeavour to fulfil any wishes left regarding him. To which I answered that I had the boy of a gentleman, a friend of mine, who had given him to me years ago, and that H.M. having mentioned him neither in his will nor in the codicil, there was reason enough for treating it as nonsense, and that I did not know what else to answer publicly or privately."

Juan Vázguez returned to the charge, and the steward, who was already put out, answered, alluding to the secretary's erroneous idea, in spite of Quijada's assurance to the contrary, that the Emperor, months before, was arranging the house of the Archbishop in Alcalá to go there, and to leave Yuste. "It certainly appears to me that your Honour goes on about this boy as if it were as certain as that H.M. was arranging the house in Alcalá so as to go there. Will your Honour ask the agent the value of, and what I said to him about, a certain annuity that I wish to purchase for this child?"

But as Quijada when passing Valladolid on his way to Villagarcia found on all sides the same rumour, of which Vázguez had sent him the echo, and was annoyed by direct and indirect questions, he wrote this time without circumlocution to the unknown Flemish correspondent, who was none other than His Catholic Majesty, King Philip II:

"I find all that concerns the person Y.M. knows that I have in my care, so public here, that I am frightened, and still more so by the particulars I hear. I am alarmed lest the Very Serene Princess should press me to tell her what I know, which I am not at liberty to do. I have decided to be silent and not to answer more than I did the first time, as I told Y.M. from Yuste. H.H. is so gracious that up to now she has said no word to me; so I shall answer no one who asks more than that I am ignorant of what people say; but I am also aware that the Very Serene Princess almost certainly knows the truth, from what I hear. But H.M.'s wish, as you know, was that it should be kept secret until your coming, and that afterwards what Y.M. commands should be done. I have made no more demonstration than in the Emperor's lifetime; but I am very careful that he should learn and be taught the things necessary for his age and his rank, since it is very important that every pains should be taken with him because of the way in which he was brought up before he came under my charge. So I thought that I had better advise Y.M. of what was happening and of the Emperor's intentions, so that Y.M. should understand and say what your wishes are. Also he has had, these ten days, a very severe double tertian fever; but blessed be God! when I came yesterday from my house, it had left him and he was out of danger."

D. Philip was grateful for this loyalty in Quijada, and answered with his own hand that the secret should be strictly kept, as the deceased Emperor had wished, until he himself arrived in Spain, which would be very shortly; but Quijada was not to be alarmed by the rumours as the fact was already public in Flanders. To the will that the Emperor had made in Brussels was added a sealed note with this superscription in his own writing: "No one is to open this writing but the Prince my son, and failing him, my grandson D. Carlos; and failing him, he or she who should be my heir according to my will, when it is opened."

Inside the envelope was the following declaration, signed by the Emperor and sealed with his private seal:

"Besides what is contained in my will, I say and declare, that while I was in Germany, after I was widowed, I had by an unmarried woman, a natural son called Jeromín, and my intention has been and is, for various reasons which lead me to this decision, that he shall be well guided, that of his free and spontaneous will he shall take the habit in some community of reformed friars if he inclines to it without any urging or force whatever. But if he cannot be thus guided and would rather follow the secular life, it is my wish and command that he should be given an income in the usual way each year of from 20,000 to 30,000 ducats from the Kingdom of Naples, apportioning to him places and vassals with the said income. All this, the appointing of the aforesaid and the amount of the income aforesaid shall be as the Prince, my son, thinks best, to whom I commend it; and failing him, as it appears best to my grandson, the Infante D. Carlos, or to the other person who, according to this my will, should be my heir at the time it is opened. And if the said Jeromín is not then already placed in the state I desire, he shall enjoy the said income and places all the days of his life, and after him his heirs and legitimate successors and descendants, and whatever calling the said Jeromín shall embrace, I charge the said Prince, my son, and my grandson and whoever should be my heir, as I have said, when this my will is opened, that they shall honour it and cause it to be honoured, and pay him the respect that is seemly, and that they shall cause to be kept, fulfilled and executed all that is contained in this writing. The which I sign with my name and hand, and close and seal it with my little private seal, and it is to be kept and put into effect as a clause of my aforesaid will. Done in Brussels the 6th of June, 1564. Son or grandson, or whoever at the time that this my will and writing is opened, and according to it is my heir, if you do not know where Jeromín is, you may learn it from Adrian, a groom of my chamber, or, in case of his death, from Oger, the porter of my chamber, in order that you may act towards him according to the above."

To this very important declaration was added a duplicate of the writing signed by Francisco de Massy and Ana de Medina, which had served Carlo Prevost to reclaim Jeromín at Leganés four years before.


Jeromín quickly recovered from his fever, and the happy, peaceful, regular life flowed on at Villagarcia as before the disturbing interlude of Yuste and Cuacos. Luis Quijada faithfully kept the Emperor's secret, according to Philip's commands, and the very existence of Jeromín, once more shut up behind the walls of Villagarcia, seemed completely forgotten.

But there is no accounting for the memory of an inquisitive woman, however discreet and prudent she may be, and if few outdid the Governess of Spain, Princess Juana, in virtue, prudence and discretion, few had more curiosity, or better means of gratifying it at their command.

As no one had found out from Luis Quijada who Jeromín really was, it occurred to her that she might obtain the information from Doña Magdalena, and with this object in view she sent a missive to Villagarcia about the 15th of May, begging her to come to see the Auto and to bring the boy she had with her, in the disguise in which he lived.

The Auto to which the Princess Juana alluded was the celebrated Auto da Fe which took place in Valladolid on the 21st of May, 1559, at which Dr. Augustin Cazalla and thirty of his heretic disciples were condemned. This Lutheran conspiracy had been discovered many months before during the lifetime of the Emperor, who had urged and begged Doña Juana and the Inspector-General D. Fernando de Valdés, Archbishop of Seville, to mete out prompt and severe punishment to the offenders.

There lived then in Valladolid, at No. 13 of the Street of the Silversmiths, a certain Juan García, a silversmith by trade. For some time his wife had noticed that he was absent-minded and irritable, and that he pretended to go to bed early and then went out again. Being a brave, decided woman, she disguised herself one night and followed him, supposing some intrigue. When Juan García reached the street now called after Dr. Cazalla, he at once knocked at the door of a house between what are now cavalry barracks and the old apothecary's shop in the Square of St. Michel. The door was opened with great caution, and the woman distinctly heard a password which seemed to be "Chinela," and Juan García answered "Cazalla," on which the door opened and he went in. The wife remained spellbound, and her astonishment grew as she noticed that, singly and by twos, men and women came from both ends of the street. The same ceremony took place, and they disappeared into the mysterious house, which was none other than that of Doña Leonora de Vibero, mother of Dr. Cazalla. Being, as we have said, a resolute woman, on seeing a very devout woman (the Juana Sánchez who afterwards committed suicide in the prison of the Inquisition by cutting her throat with scissors) approaching, she followed secretly, gave the password, and entered behind Sánchez into a large, ill-lighted room, where she saw and heard Dr. Cazalla explain to more than seventy people the doctrines of the Lutherans which he had brought back from Germany. She understood at once that she was in a conventicle of heretics, and horrified, but not losing her presence of mind, she left quietly and the same morning informed her confessor of all that she had seen and heard. Whether he was infected with the same doctrines or did not much believe the woman, he only told her not to worry over the matter. However, the same day she warned the Grand Inquisitor himself, and put the threads of the plot into his hands. Following them with much prudence and precaution, he found the plot so widespread that when in prison Cazalla rightly said, "If they had waited four months to persecute us, we should have been as numerous as they are, if six months, we should have done for them as they have for us." The affair made a great stir throughout Spain, and it is calculated that 200,000 people flocked to Valladolid to be present at the Auto da Fe, which was to take place as the crowning act of the drama on Trinity Sunday, the 21st May, 1559.

Luis Quijada was party to all this, as he had been sent by the Emperor from Yuste to the Princess and the Inquisitor to urge the swift and severe punishment of the heretics. As a man of his time, a fervent Spanish Catholic and a politician educated in Germany, Quijada thought that only severe warnings would stop Protestantism from entering Spain, and with it the breaking up of the kingdom and probably the end of the monarchy. So it appeared to him a good lesson for Jeromín to go to the Auto da Fe, and he insisted that Doña Magdalena should accept the invitation of the Princess and go to Valladolid with the child and his niece, Doña Mariana de Ulloa, heiress of his brother, the Marqués de la Mota, who was at Villagarcia at that time.

So Doña Magdalena set out with her niece and with the retainers suitable to such illustrious ladies, and arrived very early on the morning of the 20th of May, the day before the Auto. They lodged in the house of the Conde de Miranda, and to avoid tiresome visits and awkward questions, the prudent lady sent Jeromín out and about the streets all day to see the preparations for the ceremony with her squire Juan Galarza. Jeromín went off delighted, and certainly nothing was ever seen like the streets of Valladolid on that 20th day of May. So thronged were they with people that it was hardly possible for the familiars of the Holy Office, who ever since the morning had been making the usual proclamation, to force their way through the crowd. The familiars went on horseback, emblems of their office in their hands, preceded and followed by "alguaciles," and surrounded by criers who announced at the street corners the two usual proclamations, the first forbidding from that moment until the next day the use of arms defensive or offensive under the pain of excommunication and the confiscation of the said arms. Equally was prohibited by the second proclamation, from that time until one hour after the executions, the circulation of carriages, or litters, chairs, horses, or mules in the streets where the procession was to pass, or in the Plaza Mayor, where was the scaffold.

To prevent people entering the square there was a double row of guards. The finishing touches were being given to the enormous scaffold where the Auto was to be held, that is to say the reading of the evidence and the sentences, the only part of the function at which the Court and the more refined portion of the public were present. Away beyond the gates guards were also keeping a space on the Great, or Parade, Ground called the "Quemadero," or the place of burning. To execute the sentences fifteen small platforms were being made for an equal number of prisoners. These platforms were very small and rested on the faggots which were to make the fire, and above them rose a stake with its pillory, like a modern one. To this the prisoner was tied and killed before being burnt, as they were not burnt alive except in rare cases of blasphemy and impenitence. The whole way from the Campo Grande to the Plaza Mayor; and from there to the street of Pedro Barrueco, now called Bishop Street, where stood the prisons and houses of the Holy Office, there was not a corner or square without seats covered in black, for which the enormous prices of 12, 13, and even 15 reales were paid. In all the squares and at many of the cross roads pulpits also were erected, covered in black, where every order of friars preached each day to the enormous crowd which never ceased moving, all in mourning, all sad, very similar in appearance to the scene which used to be general, and still is common, in many places in Spain on Good Friday. The official mourning, the real compunction of some, and the affected piety of others covered the indifference of the many, and gave to the whole concourse an appearance of sadness, even of terror, well in keeping with the terrible scene which was to be enacted. At four o'clock the sermons ceased, and in the streets, windows and balconies the crowd grew greater. The traditional procession called "of the Green Cross" began to leave the chapel. First walked all the religious communities of Valladolid and its neighbourhood, the friars two by two, holding lighted wax torches. Then the commissaries, clerks and familiars of the Holy Office, then the high officers of the Tribunal, with the secretaries, mayor and attorney-general, all carrying lighted candles. Last of all this immense procession, a Dominican friar carried under a canopy of black velvet a great cross of green wood covered with crape. The choirs of the chapel intoned the hymn Vexilla regis prodeunt, which all the people answered, alternating the verses. At the street corners from time to time the voice of some friar was to be heard, imploring Heaven in vehement language to grant repentance to the prisoners, which the people answered with ejaculations, groans and prayers. It was rumoured that among the fifty condemned men only one, the Bachelor of Arts, Herreruelos, remained obstinate and impenitent.

The procession passed slowly and solemnly through the principal streets, and late at night found its way back to the Plaza Mayor, where the scaffold was now finished. Then was prepared an altar on which the Green Cross was solemnly placed with twelve lighted wax candles. Four Dominican monks and a company of halberdiers were to watch it all night.


While Jeromín was going about the streets of Valladolid with more amusement than astonishment or compunction, Doña Magdalena was congratulating herself on having sent him away from the house.

Shortly after her arrival she received a polite message from Doña Leonor Mascareñes, lady to Princess Juana, announcing that at half-past three in the afternoon she would visit her in the name of H.H. the Very Serene Princess Governess, and would have the honour of kissing hands in her name. Doña Magdalena replied with the pompous courtesy of those times, that all hours would be good to receive so signal a favour, and that she, Doña Leonor's humble servant, returned the honour, kissing her hands on her knees.

At the hour fixed, and with courtly punctuality, Doña Leonor arrived with her ladies, pages and squires. She came on foot, as sedan-chairs were forbidden by the proclamation, and in mourning, as the circumstances demanded, with a cloth skirt in Castillian fashion, a crape shawl, gloves and very high black clogs. Doña Leonor was already past sixty, of a great Portuguese family, and for her virtues, merits and talents was rightly one of the most respected ladies of the Court. She had come to Spain as one of the ladies of the Empress Isabel, wife of the defunct Emperor Charles V, then was governess to Philip II, and afterwards to Prince Carlos, who was committed to her care by the same Philip II with these notable words, "This child has no mother; be his as you were mine."

Photo Casa Thomas, Barcelona


From her portrait by Sir Antonio More

Doña Magdalena descended to receive her with all the household at the foot of the staircase, and here the ladies exchanged the first courtesies. Doña Magdalena conducted her to the parlour, and then wished to give her a high seat, while she sat on the carpet; but Doña Leonor would not consent to this, and tried also to sit on the floor. Each went on insisting that the other should have the high seat and the other kept on refusing it, until, after this battle of politeness, both ladies remained seated on great cushions of equal height.

Then Doña Magdalena caused a collation of sweetmeats, fruits and drinks to be brought, and offered half a dozen pairs of gloves scented with ambergris to Doña Leonor in a little box.

The first compliments and courtesies over, Doña Leonor spread out her fan so as to exclude the duennas who were at the end of the room beyond the dais, and said in Doña Magdalena's ear, as naturally as possible, that H.H. the Serene Princess would be pleased if she would kindly arrange an opportunity the next day for her to make the acquaintance of her brother.

Doña Magdalena had expected this from the moment of her arrival, and with ingenuous but well-calculated simplicity she told the truth, point by point. That she did not know what H.H. meant. That the child Jeromín, to whom no doubt she alluded, was certainly given into the care of her lord and husband Luis Quijada five years before, as the son of a great friend whose name he could not reveal to her. As was natural (and with noble dignity Doña Magdalena accentuated these words) she had never tried to talk to her husband about the origin of this child, or to allude by a single word to what he had first written to her from Brussels. That various suspicions had at times come into her mind, but that she had been able to stifle them as a Christian, for fear of forming a judgment without any proof, which would doubtless be rash; and as to the rumours which went about during the child's stay at Yuste, she had never listened to them, and certainly had never confirmed them. Here Doña Magdalena ceased speaking, and, as if by mutual consent, the two ladies fanned themselves in silence for some time. The Portuguese was as good as she was clever, and she needed no more to understand that her exploring expedition was at an end. Her noble nature could appreciate this simple account of Doña Magdalena's, the wife's dignity, the lady's delicacy, and the Christian's absolute rectitude, and her native perspicacity, sharpened by years at Court, made her understand that Doña Magdalena knew no more about Jeromín, nor would it be possible to extract another word beyond what Luis Quijada had told everyone.

However, Doña Leonor wished to fulfil all her mistress's commission, and asked with much delicacy if it would be possible to see the child, because H.H. wished to be prepared, in some degree, for the meeting which was to take place the next day, that surprise or fear should not make her do something imprudent.

Doña Magdalena answered that she was sincerely sorry, but she could not gratify H.H., because the child Jeromín had gone out with a squire to see the procession of the Green Cross, and she did not expect that he would be back in time; but if it would be of service to H.H. she would be careful to let her know as much as was prudent.

It seemed most prudent to Doña Magdalena not to say a word to Jeromín about the occurrence, or prematurely to arouse fantastic or ambitious ideas in his mind which was sleeping peacefully, but to let it rest in quiet and allow the boy's innocence and natural vivacity to inspire them, or as the Divine Majesty should ordain.

All the stars in the sky were shining when Doña Magdalena and her niece left her house, she holding Jeromín by the hand, dressed as a peasant, as the Princess had arranged. The two ladies were covered by ample black shawls which almost hid their faces, and were dressed underneath in mourning, but also with jewels, as was the custom of ladies at Court. Accompanied by very trustworthy servants, and following the same railed-off way as the prisoners, they arrived without much difficulty at the Plaza Mayor, in spite of the great crowds.

It was not yet half-past four in the morning, and already among the seething mass of humanity there was not an empty spot, except in the centre of the platform, where the prisoners were to be placed, and the passage, or wide balcony, of the Casas Consistoriales, which was reserved for the royalties and their numerous suite. At the extreme end of this passage the Princess had ordered that a good seat should be kept for Doña Magdalena, calculating that, as she must naturally pass by there to get to the throne, she could stop and speak to Doña Magdalena and see the child without attracting too much attention. Doña Magdalena had also made her plans: she made Jeromín sit on the ground between her chair and that of Doña Mariana, and covered his little person completely in the lady's shawl, so that no one passing would notice the presence of the child. Jeromín, very much amused, put out his little head from among the folds of the shawl, and looked between the ironwork of the balcony, asking a thousand questions about what he saw and what he hoped to see. In the centre of the balcony of the Consistory, which ran all along the front, there were two rich canopies of maroon velvet and lace of frosted silver and gold, with two large thrones under them for the Princess Governess and D. Carlos. Right and left the balcony was divided into stands destined for the Councillors, the Chancellory, the University, the Grandees, the ladies of the Palace and the servants of the Princes. In the first of these stands, on the entrance side, was where Jeromín and the two ladies were seated.

In front of the Consistory, and back to back with the convent of San Francisco, the magnificent, high scaffold was raised, enclosed by balustrades and railings. It consisted of two stories, an upper and a lower one, in the form of a triangle. In the centre of the front was the altar, on which the Green Cross had been placed the night before between two tapers of white wax whose light paled before that of the dawn. The four Dominicans and the company of halberdiers were still guarding it. Right and left of the altar there were steps for the condemned and a pulpit for the preacher. The platform underneath was destined for the ministers of the Holy Office, and at each end had two tribunes for the reading of the trials and sentences, and another in the middle, but much taller, from which each prisoner heard his sentence read.

From the scaffold ran a sort of enclosure of wood, very similar to those that are used to bring bulls into towns with safety, which stretched to the prisons of the Inquisition, to keep the way clear for the prisoners. The rest of the square was covered with more than two hundred small stands, let to the curious, which at five in the morning already could not hold another person. At this hour the royal guard arrived on foot, opening a path among the packed crowd for the royal suite. First came slowly and solemnly the Council of Castille, then the Grandees, the Constable and Admiral among them, the Marquéses de Astorga and Denia, the Condes de Miranda, Osorno, Nieva, Módica, Sadaña, Monteagudo, Lerma, Ribadeo, and Andrade. D. García de Toledo, tutor to the Prince, the Archbishops of Santiago and Seville, and the Bishops of Palencia and Ciudad Rodrigo, which last was the famous and worthy D. Pedro de la Gasca.

The Princess's ladies followed in two rows, all in mourning, but richly adorned with jewels, and behind them, as if presiding over them, the Marqués de Sarria, Lord Steward to the Princess, and Doña Leonor Mascareñes, who was, or was then acting as, Camarera Mayor.

Then came two mace-bearers with golden maces on their shoulders, four kings-at-arms with dalmatics of crimson velvet embroidered, front and back, with the royal arms. The Conde de Buendía with a naked sword, and, immediately behind him, Princess Juana and Prince Carlos; she dressed in a skirt of mourning stripe, shawl and head-dress of black crape, a bodice of satin, white gloves and a black and gold fan in her hand; he with cloak and jacket also striped, woollen stockings, velvet breeches, a cloth cap, sword and gloves. The procession was closed by the royal guard on horseback with drums and fifes.

Photo Anderson


By Sir Antonio More. Prado Gallery, Madrid

In this order the suite entered the Consistory and filed past Doña Magdalena in the passage, each to go to their respective places. The lady stood up to let them pass, hiding her niece with her person. Doña Mariana was sitting with Jeromín on her knees, covered entirely by the shawl. She had told him, to cover this manœuvre, that children were not allowed in this place, and that as soon as the Court had passed she would put him where he would see everything. Jeromín obeyed without any outward sign of suspicion, but remembering, perhaps, his adventures in the convent of Descalzos, where such care had been taken not to let a certain great person see him.

When the Princess passed Doña Magdalena in the narrow passage, she stopped for a moment and held out her hand; the lady kissed it kneeling, then the Princess said quickly and softly, "Where is the wrapped-up one?"

Then Doña Magdalena opened the shawl and Jeromín appeared, cap in hand, the fair hair all untidy from the shawl, and with an attractive look of annoyance on the pretty face which added to his natural charm. A ray of tenderness illuminated the Princess's beautiful face, and, without remembering who she was or where she was, she embraced him, kissing him several times on both cheeks.

Prince Carlos had also stopped, and looked with astonishment at the little peasant his aunt was kissing, but when he saw the Princess make as if she would take the child with her to the throne, he reproved her harshly and angrily, according to his usual bad habit.

Jeromín, on hearing him, abruptly left the Princess, and clinging on to Doña Magdalena's skirt said, much ruffled, "I prefer to stay with my aunt."

The Princess insisted; D. Carlos began again to chide her, and Jeromín, looking him up and down from head to foot, said again with greater firmness, "I prefer to stay with my aunt."

All this took less time to happen than it takes to tell, but it was long enough for many people to understand, and for the gossips to guess the riddle. From one end to the other of the balcony, and then into the square, the news spread that a son of the dead Emperor was there in the Consistory, in one of the Court seats.


The arrival of the prisoners completely distracted everyone's attention, and so absorbed were they that it seemed as if that dense crowd hardly breathed.

Then clearly were heard the bells of the Holy Office, which tolled sadly to announce that the prisoners had started, and the first thing to appear in the square was the parochial cross of Salvador, with a black handle, and two acolytes with candlesticks. Then came two long rows of devout penitents with lighted torches, among whom were noble gentlemen and a few Grandees. Between these two lines, and about thirty paces from the parochial cross, came the Attorney-General of the Holy Office, Jerónimo de Ramírez, carrying the standard of the Holy Inquisition, of crimson damask with the black and white shield of the Order of St. Dominic and the Royal Arms embroidered in gold; on its two extremities these inscriptions could be read: Exsurge Domine, et judica causam tuamAd deripiendos inimicos fidei.

Behind the standard followed the prisoners, about a dozen steps one from the other, and guarded each by two familiars of the Holy Office and four soldiers. The first was D. Augustin Cazalla, cleric, preacher and chaplain to His Majesty; a man of about fifty, now weak and shrunken, and stooping forward as if overcome by the weight of his sorrow and shame. He was wearing the ignominious "sanbenito," a sort of chasuble made of yellow baize, with a vivid green cross on the chest; on his head the ignoble "coroza" painted with flames and devils, and a lighted taper of green wax in his hand.

Behind him came in the following order, his brother Francisco de Vibero, also a cleric, who did not repent until the last moment, and who was gagged to silence his dreadful blasphemies; their sister Doña Beatriz de Vibero, a devout woman of rare beauty; the master Alonso Pérez, cleric of Palencia, the silversmith Juan García, Cristóbal de Campo, the Bachelor of Arts Antonio Herrezuelo, also gagged, and impenitent to the last, and for this the only one to perish in the flames; Cristóbal de Padilla, a native of Zamora, Doña Catalina de Ortega, widow of the captain Loaysa, the licentiate Calahorra, Alcalde Mayor in the employment of the Bishop, Catalina Román, Isabel Estrada, Juan Velásquez, and Gonzalo Baez, a Portuguese, and not a Lutheran heretic, but a Jew.

These were all condemned to be garrotted and their corpses burnt, and for this reason they had flames painted on their sanbenitos and corozas. Behind them two familiars of the Holy Office carried on a stretcher the shapeless figure of a woman, also dressed with a coroza and sanbenito, the bones of Doña Leonor de Vibero, mother of the Cazallas, exhumed from the monastery of San Benito, to be burnt with her effigy. Behind this first group came, guarded in the same manner, another sixteen prisoners, men and women, condemned to various punishments, but not to death, for which reason they did not wear the corozas or flames on their sanbenitos; the men went bareheaded, and the women with a piece of linen on their head to hide their shame. The most noteworthy among them were D. Pedro Sarmiento, Commander of the Order of Alcantara, and a relation of the Admiral, and his wife Doña Mencia de Figueroa, who had been a lady of the Court; he was condemned to forfeit the robes of his Order and Commandery, to perpetual prison and the sanbenito, with the necessity of hearing mass and a sermon on Sunday, and to communicate on the three great feasts, and forbidden to use silk, gold, silver, horses, and jewels; she was only condemned to perpetual prison and the wearing of the sanbenito.

When Doña Mencia mounted the platform the ladies of the Court burst into tears, and the Princess herself hurriedly left and went inside, wiping her eyes with a handkerchief. The Marqués de Poza, D. Luis de Rojas, also inspired deep pity, a gay boy, exiled for ever from the Court, and deprived of all the honours of a gentleman; and even more Doña Ana Enriquez, daughter of the Marqués de Alcañices, a girl of great beauty, who was sentenced to leave the platform with sanbenito and taper, to fast for three days, to return with her dress to the prison, and then go free. Such was the repentance and confusion of this lady that, mounting the tribune to hear her sentence, her strength left her, and she would have fallen from the platform, had not a son of the Duque de Gandia, who was there as a devout penitent, supported her.

The prisoners were placed on the steps in the order arranged, those condemned to death separated from the others, and the Auto was begun by a young Dominican brother, of ruddy complexion, and rapid and violent in his marvellous eloquence, mounting the centre pulpit. It was the celebrated Maestro Fr. Melchor Cano, one of the most learned men of his time, and he preached for more than an hour on the text of St. Matthew, "Flee from false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves."

The sermon ended, the Archbishop of Seville, Valdéz, the Inquisitor of Valladolid, Vaca, and his secretary mounted the throne to submit the oath to the Prince and Princess. The Archbishop carried a beautiful cross of gold and jewels, the Inquisitor a missal, and the secretary the form of the oath written on parchment. Standing up, the Prince and Princess, D. Carlos cap in hand, swore by the cross and missal in these words, which the secretary read: "That as Catholic Princes they would defend with all might and life the Catholic faith as held and believed by the Holy Mother Church Apostolic of Rome, and its conservation and increase; that they would give all the necessary favour and help to the Holy Office of the Inquisition and its ministers, that heretics, disturbers of the Christian religion which they professed, should be punished according to the Apostolic decrees and sacred canons, without omission on their part or making any exception." "El Relator" Juan de Ortega then read this same formula to the people from one of the tribunes of the lower platform, crying first three times, "Oyez! Oyez! Oyez!"

And the people, with the vehemence of conviction and the haste of those who have received a warning, answered with one voice, with one cry of fear and conviction, "Yes, we swear."

Then the same "Relator," Juan de Ortega, and the clerk of Toledo, Juan de Vergara, ascended the two tribunes on the platform, and began to read alternately, the trials and convictions of the prisoners beginning with Dr. Cazalla. From a high pulpit each heard his own sentence read, and remained all the time with a lighted taper of green wax in his hand, exposed to public shame. Then it was that Doña Ana de Enriquez nearly fell out of the pulpit overwhelmed with confusion.

At four o'clock in the afternoon the reading was ended. Then the Archbishop of Seville put on his pontifical vestments, and solemnly absolved and restored to the bosom of the Church the sixteen reconciled prisoners, who were then taken back to their respective cells. The other fourteen, who were condemned to death, left at the same time, some walking, others riding on donkeys, to be garrotted, and afterwards burnt on the Parade Ground.

Such was then an Auto da Fe, certainly a sad and sorrowful sight, but still, perhaps not so emotional as the sight of certain trials to which in our day the public flock, not to sanction by their presence the judgment and justice nor as a warning lesson, but greedy to see the seamy side of sorrow and crime. As to the horrible scenes of the "Quemadero" (the burning), no one attended them but those obliged by their office, and a public low and ignorant, no doubt, and for this reason much more blameless than those who nowadays attend our executions, full of unhealthy curiosity or cold indifference. There is no doubt, says the profound thinker Balmes, that, if the doctrine of those who wish to abolish the death penalty should ever become effective, when posterity reads of the executions of our days, they will be as horrified as we are over those of the past. The gallows, garrotte and the guillotine will be placed on a par with the ancient "Quemaderos."

Tired by the long wait and the dull reading, Jeromín ended by falling asleep, his head leaning against Doña Magdalena's knees, but he woke up in the midst of a strange tumult, of which he was far from knowing that he was the cause. This is how Vander Hammen describes the scene: "At it (the Auto) the greater part of Old Castille was present, and a great number of Andalucians and those from New Castille, and as the news spread about everywhere of the new son of Charles V, a little more and there would have been a serious disaster, as everyone wanted to see him and the guards could not check them.

"The people threw themselves on each other without minding the halberds, javelins or arquebuses. It came to this, that the Conde de Osorno had to carry him in his arms to the Princess's carriage, because everyone liked him. In it the sister took him to the Palace (the house of the Conde de Benavente), followed by a crowd of people, and from there he went back with Doña Magdalena to her Villagarcia."

All the same, Vander Hammen is wrong in what he says about the Princess and other things. The Conde de Osorno did, it is true, take Jeromín and lift him up to show him to the people, but he did not give him into the Princess's charge, nor did she commit the imprudence of taking him with her to the Palace. He gave him into Doña Magdalena's care, from whom he had got separated in the confusion, and this lady took him back the same night to Villagarcia.

The child, frightened by the tumult, whose cause he did not suspect, asked with rather timid anxiety whether the heretics had escaped.


After an absence of five years Philip II at last returned to Spain and disembarked at Laredo on the 8th of September, 1559. Six days later he made his entry into Valladolid, and the following day his sister Princess Juana made over to him the government of the kingdom, and retired to the convent of Abrojo, about a league away. She and Philip were not long separated, as on the 21st, the first anniversary of the Emperor's death, he caused solemn services for the eternal repose of the Emperor's soul to be celebrated in the same convent.

Meanwhile Luis Quijada awaited at Villagarcia with real anxiety the King's promised decision about Jeromín, which would so much affect the whole family. But the King settled nothing, and the former steward, accustomed to the promptness of the Emperor, who with the inspiration of genius saw, ordered, thought and resolved all in a second, that which more common intelligence would require months to decide, began to despair and could not reconcile himself to D. Philip's slow parsimony.

Philip, however, had not forgotten his brother, as is proved by the famous state council of which Antonio Pérez speaks in one of his letters to Gil de Mesa: "That they were so divided, having taken sides on the subject, these great councillors, each to his own end, but with arguments about the service of the King, whether the Catholic King Philip ought to follow his father's wish about the position of his brother." This last an invention, no doubt, of the crafty secretary Pérez, as none of the councillors, much less Philip II, could quibble in any way about what the Emperor had not counselled but ordered in his will with regard to his bastard son.

At last Luis Quijada received a message from the King ordering him to go to the mountain of Torozos on the 28th of September, making hunting the excuse, and taking Jeromín with him, dressed as usual like a peasant; that they were to go towards the monastery of the Espina, and that about midday he would meet them between the monastery and the forester's tower. He also told Quijada to say nothing to the child to enlighten him, as he wished to do this himself.

What generally happens befell Luis Quijada: the realisation of that which we have most desired fills us with sadness and disappointment. Certainly for him had come the hour of reward, for the Emperor, who was never very generous, had not granted him any favour, leaving only the recommendation to his son to pay, in his name, this very real debt. But at the same time had come the hour for separating from Jeromín, and tearing him from Doña Magdalena who adored him, while as for himself, he had become accustomed to seeing the boy the object of his affection and care, and the living recollection of the Emperor, reincarnate in this attractive little figure, capable for this reason alone of winning all hearts. At this thought the eyes of the fierce victor of Hesdin filled with tears.

At first he thought to spare Doña Magdalena this sorrow until the last moment; but men are weak about troubles, and as in other things they trust proudly to themselves, so in sorrow they seek the aid of a woman, weaker than they are in everything but suffering, because they more often seek the virtue of fortitude from God. So not even until night could Quijada wait, but that same afternoon he called Doña Magdalena to a retired spot, and there told her everything about Jeromín, from the moment that the Emperor had revealed to him the secret of his birth. The husband and wife had never talked about this, and they might well wonder at each other, she at his loyalty and abnegation, which had kept him silent about so weighty a secret; he, at her prudence and delicacy in asking no questions, nor investigating that which had so much mortified her. Doña Magdalena did not think of herself for a moment. She well understood everything, and knew how to estimate everything from its true point of view, but one thing only filled her heart with fear—Jeromín, her dear son, for so she considered him, at thirteen was going to experience one of those sudden changes of fortune which are enough to turn the wisest head. That in a few days the child would find himself at the height of fortune, but exiled from all affection, alone, envied, and perhaps envious, without her to defend the youthful soul, as in his childhood she had done against bad natural inclinations and vexations of vice and sin.

Doña Magdalena had no sudden inspirations of genius, but she had good ideas, and she proposed to Quijada without a moment's hesitation not to abandon the boy, but to follow him to Madrid, sacrificing her quiet life at Villagarcia in exchange for looking after him if only from afar, and not to leave him suddenly and so young among the tumult and dangers of a Court. Quijada thought that his wife had guessed what was passing in his mind, as it was what he had himself been considering; but it seemed idle to make any decided plans until they knew those of the King for Jeromín and for the person of Quijada himself.

Hunting expeditions were too frequent at Villagarcia for the simple preparations that Quijada ordered for the 28th of September at Torozos to call for much attention from Jeromín. Quijada wished to arrange everything well and prevent the eleventh-hour inconveniences which sometimes spoil the best-laid plot. He called his huntsman aside, and ordered him to prepare two or three beats the first thing the next morning, and real or false scents to draw them towards the monastery of the Espinas, as he was obliged to be between the convent and the forester's tower at midday.

At dawn Quijada and Jeromín set out, with no more than the necessary huntsmen and hounds. Jeromín was riding a black horse, and wore over his peasant's dress a loose coat of green "monte." They hunted until ten o'clock, having very good sport, and at that hour the huntsman announced that the hounds were on the scent of a stag heading towards Espina. Quijada and Jeromín followed penetrating into the country, which became more and more solitary, until the hounds suddenly stopped breathless and, questing about as if they had lost the scent, then started off on a cross scent on the opposite side. At the same time, from that direction came the sound of horns and a great noise of calling and shouting, and like an arrow a noble stag was seen passing between the ilex trees, another excited pack of hounds, and a lot of hunters who were following.

Luis Quijada sat still on his horse, and said to Jeromín, who was attentively looking at the disappearing hunters, "Those are the King's huntsmen. Let us leave them the mountain." So they then changed their course towards an open space which had been made by the felling of some oaks, and to the right they saw the forester's tower, and to the left the walls of the convent, and between the two edifices a spinney of about a hundred oak trees, which had been left to afford shade for the animals called "atalayas." From these trees came two gentlemen, riding slowly as if they were waiting for something, or were talking quietly.

Jeromín saw them first, and called Quijada's attention to them while they continued riding towards them as if he intended to meet them. Suddenly Jeromín stopped short; he had recognised in one of the riders the man with a hooked nose and long beard whom he had seen in the garden of the Descalzos in Valladolid five years before.

Quijada also stopped, and turning in the saddle towards Jeromín, who remained behind him, said with a certain emotion foreign to the calm man, "Come up, Jeromín, and do not let this dismay you. The great lord whom you see is the King; the other the Duque de Alba. Do not be frightened, I say, because he wishes you well and intends to confer favours on you."

The two riders had come up, followed at a long distance by two others who appeared to be huntsmen belonging to the convent. Jeromín had no time to answer; but he recognised in the King the fair, pale young man with the beard cut in the Flemish fashion whom he had seen cross the square of Valladolid, among the shouts of the people, when he looked from the rose window of the sacristy of the Descalzos. The five years that had since passed had, without ageing him, given gravity to his face and repose to his manners. D. Philip was at this time thirty-two.

Those from Villagarcia alighted and went to kiss the King's hand, kneeling on one knee. The King stretched out his hand to Quijada without dismounting; but Jeromín was so small that he could not accomplish this part of the ceremony in this humble posture. So the King dismounted and, laughing gaily, gave him his hand to kiss, and taking Jeromín by the chin, looked at him up and down for a long time with great curiosity, as if he would embarrass the boy. But he did not succeed, however; nor was Jeromín the timid, frightened child who had gone to Yuste, nor had D. Philip ever for him the halo of the supernatural with which his imagination always surrounded the person of Charles V.

Then the King asked Jeromín many questions, which the boy answered brightly with much modest composure, but without shyness. Then he went with Quijada towards the oak spinney, leaving the boy alone with the man with the hooked nose and long beard who Quijada had said was the Duque de Alba. The huntsmen had taken the horses, and were waiting at a respectful distance.

Jeromín felt shy at finding himself alone with the grave magnate who stood respectfully at his side, with his cap in his hand. This seemed very odd to Jeromín, as the King had gone away and was even lost to sight among the trees, and this humble attitude in so great a personage worried him.

The Duque at last broke this embarrassing silence, asking Jeromín after Doña Magdalena de Ulloa, and saying much in praise of her talents and virtues; which so pleased the child that the ice was at once broken and sympathy established between the famous commander and the innocent boy.

Meanwhile D. Philip was getting detailed information about Jeromín's character and qualities from Quijada, and was confiding to him and asking his advice about some of his plans for the child.

It was his intention to acknowledge him publicly as the Emperor's son and his own brother, and to give him the rank of Infante at Court without the name, and for him to be addressed only as Excellency. He had already formed an household with this object, and thought of educating him with his son D. Carlos and his nephew Alexander Farnese, in order that the good qualities of Alexander and Jeromín might arouse emulation in the weak and not over well-disposed nature of D. Carlos.

But for all this the help of Luis Quijada and his wife was necessary, because it was certain that the abrupt change of fortune might be the ruin of Jeromín, if he had not at his side to advise and correct him the same persons who had so happily guided his first steps. For this reason D. Philip wished that Quijada should go as his tutor to Court with Jeromín to look after him and his house, and that Doña Magdalena should go, too, to love and watch over him as a mother; a charge, said D. Philip, which would be neither recognised at, nor rewarded by, the Court, but which God and the King would thank them for and repay with bountifulness. And to make a still greater link between Jeromín and D. Carlos, and that the latter should benefit by the moral advantages the former had enjoyed, the King also wished Quijada to accept the office of Master of the Horse to the Prince; and to warrant this office and also to help with his expenses, the King offered him to have the Commandery of Morals of the Order of Calatrava very shortly, and to give him at once the post of Councillor of State and of War. Delighted, Quijada accepted everything which fulfilled all his expectations, and also the wishes of Doña Magdalena, as if the King had consulted them beforehand. D. Philip was also pleased, and giving way to his excessive love of details, he gave Quijada a paper on which were the names of the people who were to form Jeromín's household, and gave him entire liberty to make any observations that occurred to him, because the King was ready to modify, or even to change completely, anything that Quijada and Doña Magdalena judged necessary for the well-being of the child.

These were the names of the household:

Luis Quijada, Tutor and Master of the Household.

The Conde de Priego D. Fernando Carrillo, Lord Steward.

D. Luis de Cordóba, Master of the Horse.

D. Rodrigo Benavides, brother to the Conde de Santestiban, Chamberlain.

D. Rodrigo de Mendoza, Lord of Lodosa, Steward.

D. Juan de Guzmán, D. Pedro Zapata de Cordóba, and D. Jose de Acuña, Gentlemen of the Bedchamber.

Juan de Quiroga, Secretary.

Jorge de Lima and Juan de Toro, Valets.

D. Luis Carillo, eldest son of the Conde de Priego, Captain of his Guard, which was to be half Spanish and half German.

When this list was approved by Quijada in his own name and that of Doña Magdalena, the King gave the final order. That two days afterwards, that is to say on the 1st of October, Jeromín was to be established in Valladolid with the Quijadas in a house which Doña Magdalena owned opposite that of the Conde de Rivadeo, which was henceforth to be the residence of the new prince; and that on the 2nd, at midday, Luis Quijada was secretly to bring Jeromín to the Palace, so that after dinner the King could present him to the Princess Juana and Prince Carlos, and acknowledge him as a brother before all the Court. The time and place to publish this acknowledgment throughout the kingdom would be determined later.

The King and Quijada talked for more than an hour, walking under the shade of the guardian oak trees, and when they emerged into the light not the perspicacity of even such an accomplished courtier as the Duque de Alba could have guessed from their faces what had passed between them. On reaching Jeromín and the Duque the King said to Quijada, "It will now be necessary to take the bandage off the boy's eyes." Then, turning to Jeromín, he asked him pleasant and even joking questions, and, as if recollecting something, all at once he said very kindly, "And with all this, Sir Peasant, you have never even told me your name." "Jeromín," answered the boy. "He was a great saint, but it must be altered. And do you know who your father was?"

Jeromín blushed up to his eyes and looked at the King, half indignant and half tearful, as it seemed to him an affront which had no answer. D. Philip then was touched, and putting his hand on the boy's shoulder, said with simple majesty, "Courage, my child, as I can tell you. The Emperor, my lord and father, was also yours, and for this I recognise and love you as a brother." And he tenderly embraced him without other witnesses than Quijada and the Duque de Alba. The huntsmen saw the scene from afar off, without realising what was happening. The baying of the hounds and gay fanfare on the horns announced in the distance that the hunters were returning after a successful chase.

Stupefied by this revelation Jeromín got on his horse, Luis Quijada holding his stirrup. On the homeward journey to Villagarcia he only once opened his lips, and turning round to Quijada, who followed, asked, "And my aunt, does she know?" "Everything," answered Quijada.

Jeromín hurried his steps as if he would be late getting to the castle, and running through the courts and up the stairs, he arrived at the parlour, opening and slamming the doors. Doña Magdalena was there alone and very pale. The child went to her, and took her hand to kiss it. "Aunt! Aunt!" "My lord, your Highness is no nephew of mine," answered the lady. And she tried to kiss his hands, and set him in her big chair while she sat on the carpet.

But the child, beside himself, cried with great energy that made his voice, all choked with tears, quite hoarse:

"No! No! My aunt, my aunt, my mother." And he kissed her tearfully, miserable and angry all at the same time, as one who cries for something lost through his own fault, and by force made her sit in the chair, and would not be silent or calm until he sat at her feet with his head leaning against her knee, making her promise a thousand times that she would always be his aunt, and that she would never leave off being his mother.

This all happened on a Thursday, and the following Monday, which was the 2nd of October, the acknowledgment of Jeromín took place in the Palace of Valladolid, as the King, D. Philip, had arranged. It is related thus in a manuscript, quoted by Gachard in the Maggliabecchiana library in Florence:

"Thursday, the 8th of September, it reached the lords of the Holy Office that the King would not go before he had seen the act, and so then they had it proclaimed for the 8th of October. And thus the King went to la Spina, and there they brought his half-brother, and he was pleased to see him, as he is handsome and sensible, and he ordered that he should be brought secretly to his house. And thus, the following Monday, he made everyone in the Palace recognise him as his brother, and embraced and kissed him, then his sister, then his son, and then the rest of the black cloaks."

It is, therefore, not true what Vander Hammen says of Philip giving his brother the Golden Fleece, either at Torozos or in the Palace of Valladolid. What really happened at this second interview was that the King gave his brother the family name, and changed his name of Jeromín for that of John, creating that which has descended to posterity surrounded by rays of genius and glory—Don John of Austria.



The change of Jeromín into D. John of Austria was so natural and spontaneous that no one asked how a peasant could have turned into such an accomplished prince; but rather, how such a sublime personage could have been hidden for so long under such a humble disguise.

The undeniable law of heredity had without doubt impressed the august seal of his race on the child; the extreme tact with which God had endowed him, and the counsels of such a finished courtier as Luis Quijada and such a refined, great lady as Doña Magdalena, had easily accomplished the miracle.

He was received by the public with enthusiasm, by the Court with respect, and with real brotherly affection by the Royal Family. The King, pleased with his work, began to hope for great results from it; Princess Juana opened her arms and heart with all the frankness and goodness of her beautiful nature; and even Prince Carlos, who was hard and suspicious of his relations, from the first moment was affectionate. He called D. John apart one day with much mystery, and, taking a paper from his breast, made him swear that he would follow Prince Carlos to war whenever the time came. D. John promised, and the Prince, satisfied, gave him a jewel with a big emerald for his cap.

But from the moment of his presentation at Court D. John met what we should call, but which was not so called in his days, a twin soul in his nephew Alexander Farnese, who, from the first, shared his studies and his childish games, as later he shared D. John's labours, triumphs, joys and sorrows.

The King had convened the Cortes in Toledo for the 9th of December, with the idea of causing his son D. Carlos to be sworn as Prince of the Asturias, and it seemed to him an opportune moment for presenting D. John as a royal prince in the official proceedings of the Court.

The ceremony was fixed for the 22nd of February, 1560, and on the 12th the new Queen Isabel de Valois, rightly called "of the Peace," Philip II's third wife, made her first triumphant entry into Toledo. She came by the Gate of Visagra, riding a white hackney, under a brocaded canopy with an embroidered fringe, and on the shields an "F" and "I," initials of Philip and Isabel. There were great festivities, which were interrupted by the Queen having a slight attack of smallpox, which is why she did not attend the function. On the eve of this ceremony Princess Juana sent her brother D. John a very beautiful suit, begging him to wear it the next day. The good Princess had herself settled and chosen the colours and trimmings, as she judged would best set off the good looks of the youth: a jacket and gown of deep red velvet, richly embroidered with gold and silver thread, and magnificent diamond buttons.

The oath was to be taken in the Cathedral, at that time orphaned of its Archbishop—who was the celebrated F. Bartolomé de Carranza, whom we have already met waiting on the last moments of the Emperor.

But the storm which was gathering over the unfortunate prelate had already burst in all its fury, and he lay, ex-communicated, in the rigorous prisons of the Holy Office.

In the absence of the Archbishop, the King addressed himself to the Chapter, who fulfilled his wishes with pomp and magnificence worthy of the archiepiscopal church. The whole "trascoro" was hung with brocaded cloths, and at the end of the nave was erected a platform forty feet square, with eight steps, all covered with a costly carpet and surrounded by a gilt balustrade. At the back of the platform rose a sumptuous altar covered with gold brocade, and adorned with the richest jewels of the Cathedral treasury. On the right a great canopy covered three thrones with faldstools and cushions, also of gold brocade; the centre one was for the King, the right-hand one for Princess Juana, and the left-hand one for Prince Carlos; at Princess Juana's side, but beyond the canopy, there was a seat, also of gold brocade, for D. John of Austria.

Photo Anderson


Parmigiano, Museo Nazionale, Naples

Before the altar was a throne of crimson velvet for the Cardinal-Bishop of Burgos, who was to receive the oath, and at his side a little table, with a cushion in front of it, all covered with velvet, where the oath was to be taken upon a gold cross and an open copy of the Gospels. Right and left of the nave, and at the foot of the platform, extended many rows of seats, some with backs and some without, according to the rank of those who were to occupy them, Ambassadors of Foreign Powers, Bishops, Grandees, Castillian nobles, and members of the Cortes. The centre of the nave was empty, but in its entrances and at the ends, also in the seats raised above the nave, there was a dense crowd.

The first to arrive at the Cathedral, at half-past eight in the morning, was the Cardinal-Bishop of Burgos, in his Cardinal's hat and cloak; he came riding a white mule, with purple trappings, which was led by two deacons, and before him went the pastoral cross, although he was not in his own diocese. He was preceded and followed by all his household and a great following of canons and gentlemen of the town, who made a brave show. This person was D. Francisco Hurtado Mendoza y Bobadilla, son of the Marqués de Cañete, D. Diego, and grandson, through his mother Doña Beatriz de Bobadilla, of the celebrated Marquesa de Moya, favourite lady-in-waiting to the great "Reina Católica." He was much esteemed by Philip II for his virtues and learning, and as the author of the celebrated memorial presented soon after this date to the King, which has come down to posterity as a curious book, now rare, called "El Tizón de la Nobleza." The Cardinal dismounted at the door "del Perdón," where, arrayed in their pontificals, the Archbishops of Seville and Granada, and the Bishops of Avila and Pamplona received him.

The Court arrived a quarter of an hour later. First came the Prince of Parma, Alexander Farnese, with the Admiral of Castille, the Condes of Benavente and de Ureña, the Duques of Nájera, Alba, and Francavila, the Marquéses of Denia, Villena, Cañete, Mondejar, and Camares; the Maistre of Montesa, the Prior of St. Juan en Castilla and en León, and many other great lords, whose magnificence and luxury as regards their clothes, harness, and mounts were so great that the value of the trappings alone amounted to two thousand ducats, without counting that of the jewels and pearls; these were all embroidered like the clothes with gold thread, because ornaments of gold plates, being more showy, had been given up by the dandies as being vulgar.

Behind this brilliant, dazzling group Prince Carlos and D. John came together, surrounded by all the officers of their respective households, and the good looks of the latter formed a great contrast to the worn and deformed figure of the former. The Prince was pale to lividness from a quartan fever, and all the magnificence of his dress could not completely hide his crooked shoulders, the deformity of his back, or the unequal length of his legs. His dress was of dark grey cloth of gold with pearl and diamond buttons, and he rode a horse with rich trappings, the horse-cloth embroidered on grey cloth of gold to match his clothes. D. John's horse was black, and his trappings and horse-cloth were of velvet and gold, to match the costume, which we have already said was a present from his sister Princess Juana.

This illustrious and saintly Princess came behind them in a litter, surrounded and followed by her ladies, all on horseback, on silver saddles, gorgeously dressed, and attended by pages, and "delighted," according to Luis Cabrera de Córdoba, "to come without the French ladies, who, as the Queen was ill of smallpox, did not appear at the solemnity." In honour of the occasion the Princess had changed her usual simple dress for one of black velvet, with a few jewels and pearls in the head-dress.

Last came the King, preceded by the four kings-at-arms, four archers, and four mace-bearers, all riding, and in front the Conde de Oropesa, also riding, uncovered, and holding the symbolical Sword of Justice naked at his shoulder. Luis Cabrera says, "He had begged the King, as he was ill and the weather was cold, to be allowed to wear a little cap, which was agreed to. Observing that he was tall, and being annoyed, he (the King) ordered him to uncover, but he objected, because permission had been granted, which did not seem to him a great thing. The King never allowed anyone to usurp precedence or place which was not due to their office or rank, even if it was inconvenient."

After Pontifical Mass had been said by the Cardinal of Burgos, the King seated himself in the chair where he was to receive the oath, the Duque de Alba, with his staff in his hand as Lord Steward to the King, standing on the Cardinal's right hand, and on the left the Conde de Oropesa, as bearer of the symbolical Sword of Justice, which rested naked on his shoulder. Then the oldest king-at-arms mounted on the platform, and bowed first to the altar and then to the King, proclaiming on the Gospel side, "Oyez, Oyez, Oyez! The writing which will be read to you of the oath of homage and fidelity, which the Very Serene Lady the Infanta Doña Juana, here present, and the very illustrious Lord D. John of Austria and the Prelates, Grandees, gentlemen, and members of the Cortes of these realms, who by the command of the King, our Lord, are here present to-day, make to His Very Serene and Very Illustrious Prince D. Carlos, eldest son of H.M., as Prince of these realms during the long and happy days of H.M., and afterwards as King and their natural lord and owner."

The king-at-arms left, and then the licentiate Menchaca, the oldest councillor of the Chamber, mounted and read from the same Gospel side the form of the oath, which was very long and dull. Then the Conde de Oropesa went to Princess Juana, and informed her that she would be called on first to swear. The Princess rose at once, and, accompanied beyond the canopy by the King and Prince, went and knelt before the Cardinal, who asked her, "Will your Highness, as Infanta of Castille, swear to guard and fulfil all that is contained in the writing of the oath just read?"

The Princess, placing her hands on the Gospels and the Cross, replied, "I swear."

And the Cardinal answered, "So help you God and the Holy Gospels."

Then the Princess went to kneel before the King to do homage, and placed her joined hands between those of the King, who asked her, "Will you do homage once, twice, and three times; once, twice, and three times; once, twice, and three times; and will you promise and plight your word and faith that you will perform all that which the writing of the oath, which you have heard read, contains?"

"Thus I promise," responded the Princess.

And she then wished to kneel before the Prince to kiss his hand; but he, standing up hurriedly, prevented her, and embraced her tenderly. Princess Juana returned to her seat under the canopy, and as there was no other prince to swear, the king-at-arms advanced again and cried, turning towards the seat of the Grandees, "Marqués de Mondejar! mount up and take the oath of homage." Then the Marqués de Mondejar mounted the platform, and placed himself standing at the Cardinal's left, and behind him three councillors of the Royal Council of Castille, and four of that of Aragón, to serve as witnesses.

Then the secretary, Francisco de Eraso, came forward and said to the King, according to the record of these courts, "That it is known that the Illustrious D. John of Austria has not completed his fourteenth year; but, as he wished it to be known that he has discretion, ability, and understanding already in great abundance, H.M. supplies the defect, so that he may be able to take the oath and do homage, in case it should be necessary, and H.M. having specially heard, in intelligible voice answered and said that such was his will, notwithstanding the law of these realms. When the Most Illustrious D. John of Austria heard this he rose from the chair where he was and went before the Most Reverend Cardinal, and took the same oath as the Princess had taken, and, this done, he rose and went to the said Marqués de Mondejar, who was standing in front of H.M., and, putting his hands between those of the said Marqués, did the homage contained in the said writing of the oath and homage, which he did in sign of obedience, subjection, and vassalage, and fidelity due to the Very Serene Prince D. Carlos, and knelt down on the ground and kissed his hand, and then went back to sit in the chair where he was before, as has been said."

After D. John of Austria, the Prelates, Grandees, and nobles of Castille took the oath, the members of the Cortes, D. Garcia de Toledo, tutor to the Prince, the Conde de Oropesa, the Marqués de Mondejar and the Stewards of the King next swearing. The last to swear was the Duque de Alba, who as Lord Steward of the King had directed the ceremony, staff in hand; but being absent-minded, after making his homage, he forgot to kiss the Prince's hand, who gave him such a look of anger and rancour, that no historian has forgotten to note and comment on it.

The Duke remembered himself, and went at once to make his excuses to the Prince, who then gave his hand to be kissed, but never forgot this trifling inattention, which he took for an affront. The Cardinal of Burgos afterwards took the oath at the hands of the Archbishop of Seville, and finally Prince Carlos wound up by doing so at the hands of D. John of Austria, "To guard the statutes and laws of these kingdoms, maintaining them in peace and justice, and to defend the Catholic faith with his person and property and all his might."

This ended the ceremony, and the Court returned to the royal castle to the music of minstrels, trumpets and drums.


At length the Court removed to Madrid, very soon after the investiture of D. Carlos, and the King gave D. John of Austria, as his residence, the house of D. Pedro de Porras, which was in front of St. Mary's and very near the castle. Half a century later the Duque de Uceda erected his magnificent palace on the site of this house, and it forms the edifice occupied by the Military Governor and the Council of State to-day.

In it D. John was installed with Luis Quijada and Doña Magdalena de Ulloa, and, beyond the respect due to the new position of the son of Charles V, his relations with them were the same as in the six years of quiet, happy intimacy at Villagarcia. D. John went each day to the royal castle with all the pomp of a prince, to study and play with D. Carlos and to pay his respects to the King and the good Queen Doña Isabel de Valois, who always kept him a long time, and loaded him with attentions and invitations, to the great satisfaction of all her ladies. He also daily visited his sister, Princess Juana, and often accompanied her on her visits to churches and other holy places. This all naturally pleased the new-made prince; but when he got home and met Doña Magdalena in her room, always occupied about something for his welfare, then it was that he really opened out and showed himself the old Jeromín, loving his aunt as a very dear mother. He would sit on a cushion at Doña Magdalena's feet, and, with his head leaning against her knee, according to his custom, would confide to her the impressions of the day, and pour out his soul with the candour and simplicity of his early years.

An unexpected catastrophe came to trouble this quiet life. On the 24th of November, a little before dawn, a peasant of Alcorcón came into the town by the gate of the Vega riding his donkey. He was frightened by the vivid light which illuminated the little square and façade of St. Mary's, and he then saw that flames were issuing from the roof of D. John of Austria's house.

It consisted of only two stories, like all the best houses in the town, which in arrangement and architecture were very like that of Valmediano in the square of the Cortes, or that of the Marqués de Corbera in the streets of La Bola, with the only difference that those of the nobles had strong towers at not less than two of their angles. Alarmed that no one in the house was aware of this formidable fire, the boy began to shout and to knock on the door, crying out, "Fire! Fire! Wake up."

They all woke up terrified, and Quijada, as years before at Villagarcia, ran to save Don John of Austria. He met him getting out of bed and hastening to help Doña Magdalena, but without taking any account of his cries and efforts to run to the room of his aunt, Quijada took him in his arms, dressed as he was in his shirt, and going into the street, deposited him on the steps of St. Mary's. Then with great calmness Quijada went back among the flames to save Doña Magdalena, and deposited her, also half dressed, beside D. John.

Then the fire broke out with such tremendous fury, that in spite of the house being so large, in half an hour it was an immense bonfire, and five hours later a mountain of rubbish, among which the only thing that remained standing was the wall of D. John's bedchamber.

Hanging on this wall the famous crucifix of the Moors, saved by Luis Quijada once before from the flames, which, after D. John came to Villagarcia, Doña Magdalena had placed at the head of his bed, remained intact. This was thought to be a miracle, and it was certainly, at least, a special providence of God to save such a venerated image.

The neighbours hurried at once to the spot, mostly poor people who with the utmost good-will offered clothes to D. John and to Doña Magdalena to cover them. All, however, drew aside and formed a respectful path for a pair who emerged from the narrow lane of St. Mary, which existed then between the church of this name and the house which was afterwards that of the Duque de Abrantes. "Rey Gómez," "Rey Gómez," murmured the crowd. And all drew to one side and showed that sort of frightened admiration which takes hold of the lower orders when they have to rub shoulders with the great, whom they usually only see at a distance.

He whom they called Rey Gómez was a man no longer young, of noble bearing and very refined features, with black, curly beard and hair which was already beginning to turn grey.

The lady accompanying him was wrapped up in a short cloak, which did not hide her tall, good figure or her handsome, proud, pale face, sadly disfigured by her right eye being blind. She came to Doña Magdalena and embraced her with great signs of compassion and affection, as if they were old friends, offering her clothes which her servants brought and shelter in her own house, which was behind that called de Abrantes, and is to-day the Italian Embassy. The gentleman did the same by D. John and Luis Quijada, and they went to the house of the one-eyed lady, escorted by the crowd.

This lady was the very celebrated Princess de Évoli, Doña Ana Mendoza de la Cerda, who later had so much influence over the fate of D. John of Austria; and the gentleman was her husband, the Prince de Évoli, Ruy Gómez de Silva, a great favourite, while he lived, of the King, Philip II, for which reason the common people had changed his name from Ruy Gómez to Rey Gómez, to show the great power and favour he enjoyed.

For two long months D. John, Quijada and Doña Magdalena stayed in the house of the Prince and Princess de Évoli, as the King did not have his new house suitably furnished; this house was that of the Conde de Lemus, joining the parish church of Santiago.

Meanwhile the health of Prince Carlos got visibly worse from day to day, making his character strange and gloomy. Philip II, by the advice of the doctors, then determined to give him change of air, and for this purpose sent him to Alcalá de Henares with D. John of Austria and Alexander Farnese, that they might at the same time continue their studies there under the care of Honorato Juan, who had directed them from the first.

So the Prince set out with all his household for Alcalá de Henares on the 31st of October, and three days later D. John of Austria followed with his household, and Alexander Farnese with his humble retinue. The two first lodged in the palace belonging to the Archbishop of Toledo, an airy, healthy dwelling, with big orchards and shady gardens.

King Philip spared no means or expense which could contribute to the brilliant education of the three Princes.

The most famous doctors of the then flourishing University of Alcalá read them their lectures in private, and helped them with every kind of book and manuscript, about which Honorato Juan was extremely learned. Under his direction was copied at that time in Alcalá, solely with a view to the education of the three Princes, the celebrated manuscript of the scientific works compiled by Alfonso the Wise. Diego de Valencia copied the text, and Juan de Herrera went expressly to draw the astronomical figures with which it was illustrated. Philip II himself ordered and wrote with his own hand the arrangement of the hours of study, rest and recreation which the three illustrious students were daily to observe.

They got up at six in the morning in summer, at seven in winter, and after bathing, dressing, and combing their hair, said their prayers in the presence of the Lord Steward and Gentlemen of the Bedchamber, all on their knees. In these prayers they very especially prayed for the Kings of the earth and the souls of the dead.

Then the three Princes breakfasted together, and afterwards heard Mass in D. Carlos's private chapel.

Two hours of continual study with masters followed, always presided over by Honorato Juan. The lessons invariably began by reciting the Veni Creator, and ended by giving thanks to God. At eleven the three Princes left their room to dine in public; at twelve they had a music and singing lesson till one, and from that hour until four o'clock they returned to their studies, with which were interpolated riding and fencing lessons.

From four to five the Princes amused themselves as they liked with the gentlemen of the bedchamber and the gentlemen whom, with the approval of his tutor, D. García de Toledo, the Prince received. Supper was at six o'clock, and after this, until nine, they went for walks and played games, according to the weather and as they pleased. At nine they said their beads all together, and then each one retired to his room. Sundays and feast-days the hours of study were occupied in pious exercises, walks and games of skill and amusement. The union and intimacy of the three Princes grew owing to this life, though it did not prevent their often having the quarrels natural to their age, which were always caused by D. Carlos's hasty and ungovernable temper. Playing one day at pelota with D. John of Austria, a discussion arose about a doubtful stroke, and as the Prince had no more reasons to give he turned his back on D. John very rudely, saying that he could not argue with him, as he was not his equal by birth. D. John sprang like a wild beast, and, seizing D. Carlos's coat, told him proudly that his mother was a German great lady, and that his father had been a much greater man than was that of D. Carlos. The latter was at once frightened, but afterwards, the first time the King came to see them, he referred to the subject. To which D. Philip gravely answered:

"D. John is right. His mother is a German lady; and his father, the Emperor, my Lord, who was much greater than I am or ever can be. Note well, D. Carlos, the only thing in which he never equals you, is in pride and bad manners."


The wise and respected Honorato Juan did not gain much credit from his three pupils. Certainly D. John and the Prince of Parma studied, but they did so because they were obliged to, and naturally progressed as they were sharp, understood easily, and had good memories. But the military proclivities of both, which afterwards made them such great generals, always kept their thoughts on other things, and they only gave a forced, listless attention to the literature and philosophy of Alcalá.

The Prince of the Asturias for his part did not even do this; apathetic and melancholy by nature, without other signs of character than pride or temper, he did not care for science, or letters, or arts, or arms, or wars, nor did healthy things amuse him; the only thing which pleased him was to do harm to his neighbour. Such was the very harsh judgment, according to our mind, of the Venetian Ambassador Paolo Tiepolo.

The Prince was, therefore, bored at Alcalá, and his boredom grew as his health improved.

In this dangerous state of mind it was proposed by one of his servants, of the sort who pander to the vices of their masters, that to amuse his leisure he should pay court to a girl, the daughter of the palace warden, who, according to probably true accounts, was named Mariana de Gardetas.

From a child the Prince had displayed an extraordinary aversion to women, going so far as to grossly insult several, without more reason than the sort of instinctive rage the sight of them caused him. He, however, gladly accepted the servant's evil idea, and, using him as an intermediary, presents and notes followed by assignations began between the Prince and the wench.

They met in the garden; she left her father's dwelling secretly, he descending a narrow staircase, barred by an iron gate, which ran inside the massive wall of the great, so-called, council chamber, and led into the orchard.

The vanity of D. Carlos did not allow him to keep the secret for long, and he confided it to D. John of Austria, asking his help. But D. John was too simple to understand the slippery ways of gallantry, and he laughed heartily at the Prince's extraordinary idea of making a warden's daughter into a Queen of Spain.

In his turn D. Carlos laughed at his uncle's innocence, and with evil intention tore off at a stroke the bandage which covered the still pure eyes of the victor of Lepanto. The part of confidant which the Prince had arranged for him in the unknown land opening before his eyes was repugnant to D. John, and he refused his help and withdrew in disgust. D. Carlos then sought other confidants, and found two very complaisant ones among the gentlemen of his bedchamber, who began to urge him with insistence along the dangerous path, on the pretence that love, as they understood it, would sharpen the Prince's intellectual faculties and build up his weak physique. But neither his tutor D. García de Toledo, nor his master of the horse Luis Quijada, shared their ideas, and, when they at last heard of the matter, with mutual consent, ordered that the little gate leading to the orchard should be shut. D. Carlos did not dare then to vent his rage on his tutor D. García, and contented himself with cruelly thrashing the servant who shut the gate. With great secrecy he procured another key, and on the 19th of April, 1562, which, being Sunday, was for the Prince the freest day, made an assignation with the girl for noon on the following day at the foot of the staircase.

That day D. Carlos dined very hurriedly and as if agitated, and the meal was hardly finished before he sent away all the servants and went out himself, leaving the Prince of Parma and D. John of Austria by themselves.

Photo Anderson


By Sanchez Coello. Prado Gallery, Madrid

They had noticed the Prince's excitement, and, following him at a distance, saw him disappear by the little staircase of the council chamber without even troubling to shut the door.

The Princes looked at each other and smiled, knowing what this meant. At the same moment they heard a great noise on the staircase as of someone falling, and pitiful cries coming from the ground. D. John ran there with open arms, and Alexander Farnese very wisely informed D. García de Toledo and Luis Quijada.

They found the unfortunate Prince lying on the ground, with his head cut open and covered with blood. He had descended the staircase in blind haste, missed his footing on the last step, and fallen on his head, giving it a tremendous blow against the heavy gate.

From the first moment the doctors of the bedchamber Vega and Olivares treated him, and also the Licentiate Deza Chacón, surgeon to the King; and, as the Prince complained very much when he was being bandaged, the surgeon rather stayed his hand. Quijada, who always thought badly of the wound, said, "Tighter, tighter, Licentiate Deza. Do not treat him as a prince, but as a peasant."

D. García de Toledo at once sent off one of the Prince's gentlemen of the bedchamber, D. Diego de Acuña, to tell the King what had happened, and by daybreak the next day, Monday, the 20th, he had already returned with Dr. Gutiérrez, first physician to the King, and the doctors Portugues and Pedro de Torres, his surgeons.

A few hours afterwards the King arrived in person, and in his presence all the doctors examined the wound; they unanimously declared that it was not dangerous; and, reassured by this, D. Philip went back to Madrid that same night.

But at daybreak on the 30th, the eleventh day, a high fever seized the Prince, with severe pains in the wound, neck, and right leg, which otherwise seemed dead.

The doctors were frightened, and then declared that the symptoms revealed a lesion in the skull, if not in the brain.

Hastily the King was informed of this, and the same night, the 30th, he arrived at Alcalá with the Duque de Alba, the Prince de Évoli, and Charles V's former doctor, Vesale. A few hours later came the rest of the Council and the Grandees who held offices at Court.

The Prince was so ill on the 2nd of May that the King ordered the sacraments to be administered to him; his face was inflamed, swollen eyelids made him blind, and his right leg was completely paralysed.

D. Carlos received the Viaticum with great devotion, and, clearing the room, made signs to D. John of Austria to come near him.

Taking his hands affectionately the Prince whispered to him that he had offered to Our Lady of Montserrat his own weight in gold and three times his weight in silver if he got well; and that he had also made the same offerings at the sanctuary of Our Lady of Guadeloupe and to the Christ of St. Augustine in Burgos; but that there was there in Alcalá, in the convent of the Franciscans of Jesus and Mary, the body of a great saint, who was called Brother Diego, to whom he wished to make the same offering, and he begged D. John, as he loved him, to go himself and make this offering at the saint's sepulchre in D. Carlos's name. Much touched, D. John promised, and from that day he went morning and evening to beg for the Prince's recovery before the sepulchre of Fr. Diego. The illness had changed the miserable D. Carlos; he became docile and gentle, obeyed everyone, and asked pardon, especially of his father and Honorato Juan, the only person, perhaps, that he really loved.

He liked D. John of Austria and the Prince of Parma to be always at his side, and when, from exhaustion, he could not talk to them, he took their hands and fondled them.

King Philip presided over forty consultations of doctors between April 30th and May 8th. He sat on his throne with the Duque de Alba on his right and D. García de Toledo on his left; behind were the Grandees of the Court and in front the doctors, sitting on benches in a semi-circle. D. García de Toledo indicated whose turn it was to speak. At one of these consultations someone spoke of an old Moor in Valencia, called the Pintadillo, who had effected wonderful cures with unguents of his own making. The doctors protested; but the King sent to fetch the Pintadillo post-haste, to the great annoyance and scandal of them all.

The night of the 8th of May the doctors gave the Prince up, and told the King that he could not live more than three or four hours.

D. Philip did not wish to see him die, and left that same night, having given the Duque de Alba and the Conde de Feria detailed instructions for the funeral and burying of his son. Some of the lords of the Court hastened to buy cloth for mourning.

All that sad night D. John of Austria passed by the pillow of the dying boy, and at dawn he told the Duque de Alba to accompany him to the convent of Jesus and Mary, for the last time, to ask Fr. Diego to save the Prince.

Then the Duque de Alba had a sudden idea, inspired, no doubt, by God. He ordered, in the name of the King, that the tomb of Fr. Diego should be opened and the body taken to the Prince's room.

The procession was arranged by midday; in front went the people begging mercy from God; then followed hundreds of penitents in hoods and sackcloth, their shoulders bare, cruelly disciplining themselves; then four brothers of St. Francis, carrying on a bier the body of Fr. Diego, which was in a coffin, covered with a shroud, his face, not decomposed, but dried up as it is to-day, uncovered.

Right and left of the coffin went two penitents, their faces covered by a hood of coarse material, and, below, the sackcloth tunic showing their bare and bleeding feet cut by the stones of the road; they were those two "thunderbolts of war," Alexander Farnese and D. John of Austria.

Behind them came the Duque de Alba, with uncovered head, followed and surrounded by the University communities, students, nobility, clergy, courtiers and professors, not in a devout and orderly procession, but all anyhow, filling up the streets like a wave of sorrow and bitterness, which carried to the palace the body of Fr. Diego, which was to save the only male heir of the Crown of Spain.

The body entered the Prince's room, the doors of which were already wide open, as is proper for those of a death-chamber, and all followed who could, without order, precedence or arrangement.

The Prince was lying in bed on his back, his eyes closed through swelling of the lids, his nose pinched, his mouth open, and his hoarse breathing coming with difficulty from his dry throat.

They placed the coffin on the bed, touching the body of the Prince; the Prior of St. Francis took one of the inert hands and placed it gently on Fr. Diego's chest.

An unnatural silence reigned, during which no one breathed, a leaf dropping would have been heard, the wings of the Guardian Angel bore to heaven these clamours of faith, these tears of hope.

Suddenly the Prince turned towards the coffin, and the rattle changed to gentle breathing.

The terror of the supernatural possessed them all, and made the hair of many stand on end. Ten minutes later a gentle sleep overcame the Prince, which lasted for six hours. They all went out on tiptoe, holding their breath; silently the body was taken out.

On waking the Prince called D. John of Austria, and told him that during this sleep he had seen Fr. Diego de Alcalá in his Franciscan habit, with a cross of reeds tied with a green ribbon. The saint had told him that this time he would not die. Nor did he.


D. Carlos left Alcalá to complete his convalescence in Madrid on the 17th of July, and Alexander Farnese and D. John of Austria remained alone to continue their studies until the end of 1564.

D. John was then at the dangerous age of adolescence, when nature unconsciously awakes, and the imagination wanders in unknown spheres, giving rise to strange fears, vague desires, and curious dreams which trouble the mind and heart, and sadly often lead the will from the right road, if some evil influence changes its course.

D. John, however, was too high-minded and had been too well guarded for the vulgar influence of the student crew to affect him. These students, of whom Alarcón has since said in the "Verdad sospechosa":

Son mozos, gastan humor,
Sigue cada cual su gusto,
Hacen donaire del vicio,
Gala de la travesura,
Grandeza de la locura,
Hace al fin la edad su oficio.[4]

But there were students in Alcalá of the highest nobility, who paid their court to the Princes and shared their pleasures and exercises, and one of these, who appears to have been D. Rodrigo de Mendoza, second son of the Duque del Infantado, provided D. John with some of the romances so much in fashion at the time.

The effect of these readings on D. John's mind was that of throwing a lighted torch down on a dry stubble field.

Certainly his good sense reduced the fabulous deeds of Amadis and Palmerin to the limits of possibility, but the spirit, and the inclination to what is daring, chivalrous and romantic, inflamed his already ardent imagination, and made his heart glow, having from his childhood always been drawn to what was great and marvellous.

To honour God and succour the poor, as Doña Magdalena de Ulloa had taught him, always attracted him; his dream was to serve the King loyally, as Luis Quijada had taught him, and on his own account to do great deeds, to which he seemed to be called by the blood of Charles V coursing through his veins. But, after his novel-reading, all this seemed to him small and insignificant, without glamour or glory, and besides a God to honour, a King to serve, and renown to earn, he then added a kingdom to conquer for the faith of Christ, and a lady to love, not in the low, sinful way of Prince Carlos and Mariana Gardeta, but spiritually and platonically, like the Oriana of Amadis of Gaul.

These dreams, pondered over during those two years, determined for ever the great qualities and perceptible faults of D. John of Austria. While he was in this state of mind he learnt, we do not know how, that his brother D. Philip had begged a Cardinal's hat for him from the Pope Paul IV, but this was not really the wish of Charles V, as expressed in his will; because the Emperor never orders that D. John should be forced into the Church, or even adorned with the purple of a Cardinal; but only desires "that he should be well guided, that of his free and spontaneous will he should take the habit in some house of reformed friars, to which he shall be led without undue pressure or extortion whatever."

The sorrow and indignation of D. John on learning this news was boundless, and he hastened to tell it to the good and discreet Doña Magdalena, bemoaning his lost illusions with all the bitterness and despair of youth.

Doña Magdalena understood the enormous mistake it would be, and the dangers to which the soul of D. John would be exposed, were he forced into a career for which God had given him no vocation; and with the independent spirit of strong and saintly souls she earnestly besought him to do all in his power to prevent the hat being given to him, and in case of not being able to prevent it, openly to resist the King with as much respect as firmness.

Conscience and honour are outside vassalage, and the noble dame, like many others of the time, shared the feeling of Calderón, who, making himself the echo of this race, already so degenerate in his day, said:

Al Rey la hacienda y la vida
Se debe; pero el honor
Es patrimonio del alma
Y el alma es solo de Dios.[5]

Encouraged by this, D. John said no more about the matter, even to Doña Magdalena, and nobody could have suspected that he knew what was on foot.

D. Philip returned to Madrid shortly afterwards from the Cortes de Monzón, which he had been attending, bringing with him his two nephews, the Archdukes Rudolph and Ernest, sons of the Emperor Maximilian and of the holy Empress Maria, sister of Philip and of D. John of Austria. D. John went at once to greet the King and welcome the Archdukes, and he met them at the castle of Valsain, away in the wood of Segovia. There was nothing else talked of at the Court, or in the town, but the formidable attack of the Turks on the island of Malta, and the heroic defence made by the old Master of the Order, Juan Parissot de la Valette. The leader of the strong Ottoman squadron was Admiral Pialy, with those two terrible pirates, Hassen and Dragut, with whom were 45,000 men to be landed, led by Mustafa Pacha. The Grand Master de la Valette, only having 600 knights of the Order and 4500 soldiers to defend the whole island, earnestly sought help from the Princes of Christendom, but specially from the Pope and the King of Spain, the one being particularly interested in the defence of the faith, and the other in the preservation of his dominions in Africa and Italy, which were safeguarded by the island of Malta.

Philip II at once ordered a squadron to be prepared with 25,000 soldiers, of whom some were to go from Barcelona and the rest to be taken from Sicily. The besieged urged promptness more and more earnestly, and at the same time came tidings of the heroic valour of their resistance and of the ferocity of the Turk. In mockery of our holy religion Mustafa had made a cross with the numerous hearts of the Knights of Malta killed in the encounter, and had stuck it up at the confines of his camp; and the Grand Master de la Valette had answered this barbarous sacrilege by charging his big cannons with the heads of Turks, as bombs, and firing them at the enemy.

All this made D. John's young blood boil, and he silently made his plans. Certainly here was an enterprise that included everything! The glory of the faith, the succour of the helpless, the service of the King! The kingdom to be conquered was lacking, but, on the other hand, it was an occasion to show the King at once that an iron helmet suited the son of Charles V better than a red hat. Also the lady was wanting; but who could say that in the course of the enterprise he would not meet with her? Nobody noticed, however, that D. John was preoccupied, and they only observed that he had long talks with D. Juan de Gúzman, one of his gentlemen of the bedchamber, and with D. José de Acuña y Peñuela, keeper of his wardrobe.

He went out one morning, the 9th of April, 1565, for a ride with Prince Carlos, and with studied pretence separated from him and turned towards Galapagar, followed only by D. Juan de Gúzman and D. José de Acuña.

D. John did not return that night, and the King, as he missed him next day, sent for Luis Quijada, who thought that he was with Prince Carlos and the Archdukes, but when the King undeceived him he could give no information as to his whereabouts.

Everyone was alarmed; a great search was made, and at length the Duque de Medinaceli said that according to a postillion who had met D. John on the road, this last had taken post for Galapagar with two gentlemen of his household, and was on the way to Barcelona, to embark on the galleys which were going to help the Island of Malta. The annoyance of the King at his independence was somewhat softened by the generosity of the boy's impulse, and couriers were sent to all the ports, and Viceroys, in order that he should be stopped with this message, "that he was to come back at once, as the enterprise was without his (the King's) knowledge or sanction, and that the boy was very young for such a long journey and such a dangerous undertaking." D. Pedro Manuel was dispatched with this message, and with orders that he should follow until he had overtaken D. John, and the King charged Luis Quijada also to write and show how displeased he was. Luis Quijada's displeasure was indeed great, not on account of D. John's escapade, for that pleased him extremely, but on account of the want of confidence in having said nothing to him. But Doña Magdalena, who saw better than anyone to the root of all this, made Quijada note the prudence and affection of D. John in using such great reserve towards him; because if he had told his project to Quijada, he would have been obliged, by virtue of his trust, to forbid it, and to have countenanced it would have been to incur the annoyance of the Monarch. So it was most prudent to be silent, and this is what D. John had been.


The news of D. John's spontaneous departure for the island of Malta to fight the Turks caused such enthusiasm among the people of Madrid that they went shouting through the streets, applauding the worthy son of Charles V.

The nobility, for their part, then paid to this lad of eighteen the most sincere homage which can be paid to the perfect man, set up as our model, that of copying him. The greater portion of the young nobles hastened to embark with D. John at Barcelona, some only with their swords and good intentions, having nothing else to bring; others, at their own cost, brought men-at-arms to fight against the Turk, the constant nightmare of the Europe of that day.

The most important of these gentlemen was D. Bernardino de Cárdenas, Lord of Colmenar de Oreja; D. Luis Carillo, eldest son of the Conde de Priego, and his uncle D. Luis with a great company taken at his charge of gentlemen, kindred, captains, and servants; D. Jerónimo de Padilla, D. Gabriel Manrique, son of the Conde de Osorno, D. Bernardino de Mendoza, brother of the Conde de Coruña, D. Diego de Gúzman, Steward to the Queen, D. Lorenzo Manuel, D. Francisco Zapata de Cárdenas, D. Pedro de Luxán, D. Gabriel Niño, Juan Bautista Tassis, afterwards Conde de Villamediano, and a lot of other Castillian, Andalucian, and Aragonese gentlemen.

There arrived also at the last moment four of Prince Carlos's gentlemen, of whom one was afterwards the famous Marqués de Castel Rodrigo, D. Christóbal de Moúra.

All this made Philip II think, and from that moment he gave up the idea of forcing his brother into the Church, understanding that he would gain more from D. John by using his prestige and courage in matters of war.

Meanwhile D. John was flying from the hat in search of glory, with such bad luck that on arriving at Torija he had to stop, ill of a tertian fever. He was cared for as well as they could manage in a castle that the Conde de Coruña had there, and, more plucky than cured, he went on his way to Frasno, five leagues from Saragossa. Here the fever returned with such force that he could go no further. This place belonged to the Conde de Rivagorza, the Duque de Villahermosa, D. Martin de Aragón, a great gentleman who experienced shortly afterwards, in the person of his eldest son, the most tragic disaster, perhaps, in all the history of the Grandees.

This nobleman was the widower of Doña Luisa de Borja, sister of St. Francis; after fighting in Flanders, and much distinguishing himself at the battle of St. Quintin, he was then living in retirement with his sons in the town of Pedrola. The Duke was told of the illustrious guest on his property, ill in the miserable inn of Frasno, and he hastened to send eighteen mules with everything necessary for the use of a prince, even to beds and coverings, and a complete set of hammered plate.

Not satisfied with this, the Duke went to Frasno with two of the doctors in his service, and pressed D. John to move to his country house at Pedrola or to his castle of Benabarre, the principal place of the county of Rivagorza, where he could be attended to and looked after with the greatest care.

D. John had not time to accept the invitation of the first Grandee of Aragón, because the Archbishop of Saragossa, hearing of his illness and being at Frasno, at once sent the Governor of the town, with many other noble gentlemen, to fetch D. John and carry him off to be well looked after in his own palace.

This Archbishop was D. Hernando of Aragón, grandson of King Ferdinand the Catholic, and was respected as much for his age as for his illustrious lineage.

So D. John was moved with many precautions by mules and litters belonging to the Duque de Villahermosa, who accompanied him with great courtesy until he left him installed in the Archbishop's palace.

The Archbishop received him outside the palace, and the people ran to see the Emperor's son, and to show by their applause their sympathy with him in his youthful escapade.

D. Pedro Manuel had arrived in Frasno, and no sooner did he see D. John a little better, than he hastened to give him D. Philip's order, adding, on his own account, "that he could not go on unless he wished to make the King angry, as the galleys in which he could have sailed had left Barcelona."

To which D. John answered gravely, that the undertaking was in the service of God and of the King his lord, and that this being so, he could not give it up with honour; so he sent D. José de Acuña to Barcelona, to see if there was a galley for his passage. The Archbishop and Governor and many gentlemen also begged him "to go back to Madrid, as they had orders from the King to stop him."

But to this D. John would not give in either. The Archbishop, accordingly, with the King's letter in his hand, notified him "that he should not go further," but D. John, without losing his calmness or politeness, persisted in his wish. Then the Archbishop, Governor, and notables of Aragón, who had hurried to Saragossa, were so charmed by the audacity and firm purpose of this lad of eighteen, that they begged him, if he still persisted in going, "to take 500 arquebusiers for his guard, as it was not right to go alone, and that the Kingdom would pay for them, as long as the expedition lasted." To which D. John replied that, "if he embarked, he would accept their offer." Then they offered him a great sum of money in crowns, but D. John gratefully and courteously refused this.

With an enthusiastic farewell from everyone D. John set out from Saragossa for Belpuche, where he lodged with the Viceroy of Naples. Then he went to Montserrat, to visit the celebrated sanctuary, and the monks, in league with the Viceroy of Catalonia, who was the Duque de Francavilla, arranged to amuse him in the monastery until the galleys for Malta had set sail from Barcelona.

Then the Viceroy, the Duque de Francavilla, with the magistrates, the Archbishop of Tarragona, and the Bishop of Barcelona came to receive him in Montserrat, begging him to return to Madrid in accordance with the King's will as the galleys had sailed for the island of Malta. To which D. John answered imperturbably that, if there were no galleys in Barcelona, he could easily find one by crossing France, as he thought of doing, to seek one in another place.

Puzzled what to do, the Viceroy accompanied him to Barcelona, with much honour and a great following, and entertained him there with feasts, rejoicings and balls, in order to give time for the last resource, which was an autograph letter from the King to D. John, ordering him to return at once, without delay, to Madrid, under pain of his royal and lasting displeasure.

D. John bowed his head to such a conclusive threat, and returned at once to Madrid, with as much applause from everyone for his obedience as for his first brave resolution.

He was received with great enthusiasm in Madrid, and the first to go and meet him was Prince Carlos, who gave him a gold ring with a magnificent diamond, the work of Jacome Trezzo, which cost 800 ducats.

The King was not then in Madrid, having gone to Segovia and Sepulveda to meet the Queen Doña Isabel, his wife, who was returning from the celebrated conference of Bayonne.

Their Majesties' return was announced for the 30th of July, and Prince Carlos and D. John went three leagues from the town to receive them.

The King and D. John had not met since the latter's prank, and the interview promised to be embarrassing.

But good Queen Isabel's prudence and cleverness, however, gave it a more pleasant turn, for, as soon as she saw D. John, she made him approach, and, without giving him time to say anything or make any sign, she asked him, with a sly smile, if the Turks of Malta had seemed brave to him. The would-be champion became as red as a poppy, and answered bitterly that, to his great sorrow, he had not been able to find out.

At this D. Philip laughed, and affectionately embraced his brother, whispering to him to have patience, that very shortly the armada would be ready to go against the pirates of the Mediterranean, of which he had already decided to make D. John Generalissimo.


This adventure made D. John the fashion, as we should say now, a thing which existed in the sixteenth century without being so called. He became the spoilt child of the Court and the idol of the people, to such a degree that many of them wished him to be the heir to the crown, in default of D. Carlos.

D. John's good looks had much to do with this; he was then only nineteen, but was already perfectly developed.

He was of a good height, slim and altogether graceful, because neatness was as much a part of him as flexibility is of fine-tempered steel.

He had fair hair, brushed up to the left in the form of a toupee, a fashion made common by his imitators and called "à la Austriaca"; his beard, the same colour as his hair, was thin; his complexion pale, but rather sunburnt, which gave him a pleasing, manly appearance; big blue eyes, always clear and bright, which could be smiling and loving or grave and severe, as he wished.

He was debonair and very nice in his person, and ostentatious in his dress, which was always in the extreme of fashion, as may be seen in some of his pictures.

That which radiated from him and made him so irresistible was that "je ne sais quoi" belonging to very superior men, which attracts, enchants, and subjugates, and, according to a very profound writer, consists in the mysterious combination of grace, talent, and desire to please.

Such was the attractive figure of D. John when he began to be a real personage at the much-discussed Court of his brother.

Certainly that Court was not then, if it ever was, the gloomy, austere convent, represented to us by those who believe, or seem to believe, in an awesome legendary Philip II, surrounded by holocausts and gallows, and Inquisitors and friars.

Nor was it either the united family of devout maidens and saintly matrons, venerable old men and immaculate pages, which those make out who would, in all good faith, imprison the colossal Philip II in the rickety form of a devout monk.

The Court of Philip II was certainly the strictest of its day, but it was also the most magnificent, sumptuous and full of harmless amusement and the knight errantry of those times, without lacking, as was natural, intrigues, plots and scandals between gallants and ladies. These D. Philip sometimes put down openly with a firm hand, at others corrected secretly, and not a few he pretended not to notice, for reasons which must always remain unknown.

The Court was divided, as nearly always happens, into two absolutely different camps—the courtly and the political.

The principal personages of the former at that time were two princesses, as remarkable for their virtue as for their beauty, and united by the bonds of the tenderest friendship. They were the Queen Isabel de Valois and the widowed Princess of Portugal, Doña Juana, the first aged only twenty and the other thirty at this date.

Their circle included the numerous ladies of both their suites, belonging to the highest Spanish nobility, although the Queen's included a few Frenchwomen and the Princess's several Portuguese, and these foreigners were always at war with the Spanish women.

The Queen's ladies numbered over fifty, all spinsters, and they only remained at the palace until the King had found advantageous alliances for them.

There were also ten duennas of honour, all widows and ladies of high rank, and at their head the Camarera Mayor, who had to be a lady of quality, and was, at that time, the Dowager Condesa de Urena, Doña Maria de la Cueva, a matron of great judgment and experience and the mother of the first Duque de Osuna.

Photo Anderson


From her picture by Pantoja de La Cruz in Prado Gallery, Madrid

Princess Juana also had her ladies, her very respectable duennas, and her Camarera Mayor, Doña Isabel de Quiñones. Doña Elenor Mascarenas, her former and beloved and revered governess, had already retired from the Court, and was then founding, in what is to-day the square of Santo Domingo, the convent of the Angels, where, years afterwards, she ended her holy life.

It pleased the Queen to amuse her ladies with riding, hunting, picnics in the groves, balls, masquerades and theatricals in her apartments, in which they all, including the Queen, took part, and where they also played, at times so high, that in one night Prince Carlos, at a game called "el clavo," lost 100 golden crowns, according to the declaration of his barber Ruy Diaz de Quitanilla, who had lent them to the Prince.

To these entertainments the Queen was in the habit of inviting also all the great ladies who had no places at Court, but who lived in Madrid, or those who were only passing through, particularly the Princess of Évoli, of whom she was always a great friend, and the Duquesa de Alba, Doña Maria Enríquez, who was afterwards her Camarera Mayor, and at all times deserved the greatest affection and respect.

Princess Juana for her part was very fond of the country, and often retired to the Pardo, where she had brilliant concerts which were festivals of real pleasure and enjoyment, with many musicians and singers, whom she kept in her service and paid.

In these high circles D. John of Austria sought and found his lady love, and here he performed his first deeds of arms and of gallantry, thinking, in his simplicity, that the loves of youth might be found in the midst of dangers, in the platonic spheres of the fantastic Orianas, Angelicas, and Melisandres of whom his head was full, and who stirred his blood and heart.

All that was most select among the youth at the Court naturally grouped itself round D. John, and it was he who set the tone, arranged the tournaments, hunts, cane games, masquerades and "camisadas" which then formed the pleasures of the young nobles.

But although all sought his favour, only two became intimate with him, and continued so until death, the Conde de Orgaz and D. Rodrigo de Mendoza, second son of the Duque del Infantado.

At this time, too, there inserted himself first into D. John's acquaintance and then into his friendship, a very clever youth of mean birth and great personal charm, who afterwards brought D. John great misfortunes, and who at that time was driving him with great astuteness into one of the two parties which then divided the political camp at Court. His name was Antonio Pérez, the illegitimate son of the ecclesiastic Gonzalo Pérez, secretary first to the Emperor, then to Philip II.

The two parties in the Court fought over the little power which the all-absorbing personal government of Philip left to his ministers. At the head of one was the great Duque de Alba, who represented the purely warlike policy of force; the other was led by the Prince of Évoli, D. Ruy Gómez, representing the opposite policy of diplomacy, intrigue and peace.

The followers of the first were the Prior D. Antonio de Toledo, the Prince of Mélito, the Marqués de Aguilar, and the secretary, Zayas; the partisans of the other were the Archbishop of Toledo, D. Gaspar de Quiroga, the Marqués de los Vélez, Mateo Vázguez, Santoyo and Gonzalo Pérez.

It is most extraordinary that the open, generous nature of D. John did not lead him to the side of the Duque de Alba, and that, on the contrary, he joined the Prince of Évoli, who rather represented the lawyers and churchmen, but no doubt the explanation must be sought in the cleverness which this party displayed in attracting him, guessing the genuine great qualities of the illustrious youth.

They first provided Antonio Pérez, who with adroit flatteries, in which he was a past master, and with studied confidences as between man and man, made D. John understand how much he was appreciated by the coterie of Ruy Gómez, the great hopes they placed in his bravery and influence, and how much they were trying to work on the King to name him Captain-General of the Mediterranean galleys, as he had already promised.

All of which, it is unnecessary to say, assumed a great air of truth in the mouth of the son of Gonzalo Pérez, who through this channel might well know what was happening, since it was intended that he should succeed his father in the appointment.

When the ground was sufficiently prepared for such an important personage to step in without danger, Ruy Gómez arranged a meeting, as if by accident, with D. John, and repeated the same things in a different way, adding that his appointment was already settled and that it was a magnificent one, as also was the ship "Capitana," which was being got ready at Barcelona, that it would not be long before his desire of fighting the Turks was gratified at the head of a brilliant squadron, and that was a foregone conclusion.

Gonzalo Pérez died this year (1566), and Philip II resisted the efforts of Ruy Gómez to obtain his father's vacant secretaryship for Antonio Pérez, giving as a pretext, not his youth, for he was thirty-two, but the laxity of his life and the depravity of his morals.

Taking, however, as a sign of repentance and amendment Antonio Pérez's marriage with Doña Juana de Coello Bozmediano, which was celebrated on the 3rd of January, 1567, D. Philip hastened to bestow on him Gonzalo Pérez's secretaryship, which delighted D. John as much as if it were the summit of his ambitions or the triumph of his interests.

Once having caught the Prince on the weak side of his ambitions, they wished to do so on that of his platonic love. The Princess de Évoli undertook this, attracting him to her house, giving in his honour balls and banquets, and putting before his eyes, and even within his reach, the lady, the object of his then honest intentions, Doña Maria de Mendoza, one of the ladies of the Palace, and it is thought a near kinswoman of the restless, intriguing Princess. Such artifices did the Princess use to influence the will and gain the confidence of the grateful D. John, that years afterwards, when she was no longer the intriguing, restless lady of former times, but the shameless, criminal woman who plotted with Antonio Pérez perfidious treasons which were, incidentally, to ruin D. John himself, the latter wrote, nevertheless, to his friend D. Rodrigo de Mendoza with the utmost affection and blind confidence: "I kiss the hands of my one-eyed lady, and I do not say her eyes until I write it to her, in order that she may remember this her friend, so much her friend now, who cannot do more, nor has anything else to offer her in payment of his debt. And the reason that this message is sent with so much prudence is that, coming from such a distance, it cannot be otherwise."


The figure of Doña Maria de Mendoza appears for a moment in the story of D. John, discoloured and blurred like the melancholy picture of a fading memory, leaving behind the sad trace of a fault repented and wept over, and the painful sequel which human weaknesses always bring. Without the interference of the Princess de Évoli the loves of D. John and Doña Maria would have passed innocently away, as a bright bubble vanishes in the air, without leaving trace or mark or memory. But the influence of this wretched woman gave substance to his dreams and fire to his desires, and at last made the deluded lovers fall down the precipice.

Never, however, was trouble of this sort so discreetly managed, as this episode of D. John's first youth. Doña Magdalena de Ulloa took the matter in hand, and by her own abnegation salved the conscience of D. John and the honour of a noble family which he had stained. Nobody in the Court or town suspected what had happened, and it was only after D. John's death that Philip II himself, usually so well informed and suspicious, heard of the existence of the daughter, the fruit of their loves. A letter from Alexander Farnese, more well-intentioned than prudent, informed the King of the fact, and, had it not been for a tragic event in which years afterwards this innocent lady was mixed up, and of which she was the victim, it is certain that her existence would be as unknown to history as it was to her contemporaries.

All this happened between 1565, when D. John of Austria returned from Barcelona, and 1568, when he embarked on the Mediterranean armada, and it must have been in October, 1567, that Doña Magdalena came to the rescue.

At the beginning of this month the Queen had given birth to a daughter, called Catherine, after her maternal grandmother of Medicis, who was solemnly baptized on the 19th, at three in the afternoon, in the parish church of St. Giles, which was the church of the castle, and this was a day of great emotion for D. John.

On waking he was presented with a magnificent dress, sent to him as a gift by Princess Juana, as was her custom on all great occasions.

It was of cloth of silver, embroidered with green silk and gold thread, with linings and turnings of dark red cut velvet, and to go with it a neckband of rubies and big pearls.

D. John was simply delighted with his sister's present, because red and green, the colours of the clothes, were those of Doña Maria de Mendoza; a fact of which the austere Princess was doubtless quite ignorant, as she would never have chosen these colours wittingly.

This Princess was the godmother, the Archduke Rudolph the godfather, and D. John of Austria had to carry the baby in the procession. This was to set out at three o'clock punctually, through one of the special passages which used to be improvised then, and which united the castle with the parish church of St. Giles, already at that time a convent of bare-footed Franciscan monks.

First in the procession walked the officers of State, the gentlemen of the bedchamber and of the table, four archers, four mace-bearers, and the stewards of the Queen and the Princess. Four kings-at-arms followed in very rich dalmatics, and then the Duques de Gandía and Nájera, the Prior, D. Antonio de Toledo, the Marqués de Aguilar, the Conde de Alba de Liste and Chinchón, D. Francisco Enríquez de Ribera, President of the Orders, and the Stewards of the King.

Behind came six Grandees, who were the Duques de Arcos, Medina de Rioseco, Sesa, and Bejar, and the Condes de Ureña and Benavente, carrying respectively the hood, the taper, marchpane, salt-cellar, basin and towel, and in the midst of them D. John of Austria, with the baby in his arms, wrapped in a mantle of crimson velvet embroidered with gold thread and lined with cloth of silver; on his left the Emperor's Ambassador, and, behind, those of Portugal and France.

The two godparents came next, the Archduke Rudolph and the Princess Juana, who was preceded by her Lord Steward, D. Juan Manrique de Lara, and the Queen's, the Conde de Lemus, and followed by the Camarera Mayor, Doña Isabel de Quiñones, the Infanta's governess, Doña Maria Chacón, and the duenna Guarda Mayor, Doña Isabel de Castilla, all three in a row. Behind them were the duennas of the Queen and the Princess, their ladies, and the "meninas,"[6] who closed the procession.

But vainly amid this brilliant throng or in her allotted place D. John sought for his lady love, Doña Maria de Mendoza, which upset him very much, partly, no doubt, because he could not see her, and, perhaps, even more that she should not see him, so smart, and fine and honoured, as happens at his age and on similar occasions.

That night Doña Juana gave a ball in her apartments, in honour of her goddaughter's christening, and, to add to D. John's anxiety, neither Doña Maria de Mendoza nor the Princess de Évoli appeared there either.

He no doubt heard there from Doña Maria Ana de Aragón, daughter of the Conde de Rivagorza, who was one of the Queen's ladies, and a great friend of Maria de Mendoza, that she had gone several days before to the house of her relative, the Princess de Évoli, which redoubled D. John's anxiety, not only for the fact itself, but for not having been told so by Doña Maria.

His sister Princess Juana then called him apart, and begged him, with all the goodness of her kind heart, to make the young men improvise a "camisada," with the double purpose of celebrating the Infanta's christening, and of stopping, if only for one night, while the King was at Court, the strange walks of Prince Carlos, who, at those hours, used to visit alone the houses of ill-fame in Madrid, an arquebus in his hand, and disguised by a false beard.

D. John agreed with the good grace he always showed in pleasing his sister, and arranged the "camisada" with the two Archdukes Rudolph and Ernest, the Prince of Parma, and all the young lords of the Court; but no one succeeded in recruiting Prince Carlos, who, as usual, had slipped away to his strange and dangerous adventures, which at that time were the scandal of the Court.

It was already past midnight when the "encamisada" collected together in the little square of Santiago, in front of D. John's house. This singular amusement consisted of a large cavalcade, in which all the riders wore white shirts over their ordinary clothes, and had their heads disguised by picturesque turbans, plumed helmets, or queer caps with ribbons and feathers. Each carried a lighted torch in his left hand, and kept the right arm out of the shirt to display his lady's colours.

In this way they went through the streets of the town until the house of the person to be honoured was reached; then under the windows they executed one of those equestrian dances, in which the riders of that day were such adepts. At their passing the neighbours awoke, lighted up their windows, and applauded the "encamisados," until in a few moments the whole place became a scene of rejoicing and festivity.

"Camisadas" were always improvised when the scarcity of time prevented the preparation of liveries and disguises which the more solemn cavalcades demanded; these were also much the fashion, and were called masquerades, although no one had his face covered.

This "Camisada" went to the royal castle from the square of Santiago, where D. John lived; he took care that it should pass before the house of the Princess de Évoli, where, as he had heard, Doña Maria de Mendoza was staying.

But his alarm and astonishment grew at seeing the house all dark and shut up, and that neither music, nor torches, nor the sound of horses, nor even the cheers that they gave on passing the house of the Princess attracted anyone to those shut balconies and windows; this was in itself strange, as it was then thought an act of great discourtesy not to display illuminations and signs of rejoicing at the passing of the "encamisadas," except in the case of grave illness or recent mourning.

However, a man, covered by a hood, came from a little door in front of St. Mary's Church as D. John was passing, and put his hand on his saddle-bow and quickly gave him a short message. The agitation of D. John knew no bounds, and his only idea was how to shorten the festivity, and, some way or other, to end the quadrilles that had to be danced by torchlight in the square of the Armoury. At last he escaped, and, just as he was, covered by the shirt, hastened alone to the house of the Princess de Évoli.

The man in the hood was still waiting for him at the little gate by St. Mary's, in front of the house which afterwards acquired so much historical celebrity,[7] and, without waiting, the man opened the door, the key of which he had.

Now the mystery begins to be cleared.

D. John did not return to his own house till just before dawn, and, according to the testimony of his valet Jorge de Lima, who was on duty that night, neither rested a moment nor went to bed; on the contrary, he paced up and down his room in a state of great agitation until it was daylight and Doña Magdalena should be dressed, as was her custom, at sunrise. Then D. John went to her rooms, where he passed the whole day, receiving no one, and eating no food except two porringers of broth with eggs beaten up in it which Doña Magdalena served him alone.

At dusk this lady went out in her litter to the house of the Princess de Évoli, her old squire Juan Galarza riding on a mule. In two hours she returned, but not alone, as she went, for she carried, carefully hidden in her shawl, a little girl, born unexpectedly and prematurely two days before, and already baptized by the name of Ana.

A few days later Doña Magdalena asked the King's permission to go and visit her estates, Luis Quijada not being able to do so on account of his duties with D. John and Prince Carlos. The King readily granted this, and Doña Magdalena left for Villagarcia, taking the baby with the greatest secrecy. D. John accompanied her on the first stage, and left her at the post-house; he asked her benediction as a mother, and she made him repeat two things he had promised, and which he religiously performed. Not to see Doña Maria de Mendoza again, and retire, as soon as he could without drawing attention, to the monastery of Abrojo, to meditate for a few days on the eternal truths away from the atmosphere of the Court.

As to Doña Maria de Mendoza, she vanished into the mist, crying like Andromache, and never saw D. John of Austria again. She stayed for a long time at the Princess de Évoli's house at Pastrana, and, on the score of delicate health, retired little by little from the Court. Without attracting anyone's attention, she succeeded in so effacing her memory, that to-day no one knows to which branch of the house of Mendoza she belonged, or where she lived after the sad episode which ruined her life. It is probable that she went to some convent to weep over that which was certainly her first false step, and very likely her only sin.[8]


During all this time Prince Carlos's strangeness had been increasing little by little, until it had become madness, his overbearing nature cruelty, and the aversion he showed to his father deep hatred.

It was in vain that, when the Prince was nineteen, D. Philip admitted him to the Council of State (1564), and gave him a new household, leaving Luis Quijada as Master of the Horse, but naming no less a person than Ruy Gómez de Silva, Prince of Évoli, as Lord Steward, in the place of D. Garcia de Toledo, lately dead.

All D. Carlos's household were the victims of his violence and abuse, from Ruy Gómez, whom he continually threatened that, when he was King, Ruy Gómez should know it, to the lowest barber, whom he beat with his own hand for the least delay or mistake.

One day the King was consulting with his ministers about Flemish affairs; the Prince, who was very curious about the subject, went to listen at the door, with one ear at the keyhole, the Queen's ladies and pages seeing him in this ignoble position from the gallery above. His gentleman D. Diego de Acuña hearing of it, wanted to get him away, but D. Carlos answered him by a slap in the face, which so enraged D. Diego that it was with difficulty that he restrained the impulse of plunging a dagger into the Prince's heart, and he went straight to the King and resigned his appointment. D. Philip soothed his wounded feelings by taking him into his own service, with doubled honours and salary.

D. Carlos insulted another of his gentlemen, D. Alonso de Córdoba, son of the Marqués de las Navas, in the same way, slapping his face because he did not hasten when D. Carlos called, saying that he had intended to do it for six months, and it was fair that he should at last give vent to his desire.

One day he waylaid Cardinal Espinosa, President of Castille (who had exiled an actor named Cisnero, who was on intimate terms with D. Carlos, from the Court), at the door of the Council Chamber, and rushed at him, dagger in hand, and, pulling off his rochet, cried, "Little priest! You dare to stop Cisnero coming to wait upon me? By the life of my father, I must kill you." And so he would have done, had not some of the Grandees, who hastened at the cries, released the Cardinal from him.

This insolence to great personages became monstrous cruelty to the lower orders. In the Palace accounts, preserved in the Archives of Simancas, one meets with entries of indemnification paid to the fathers of boys caused to be beaten by D. Carlos. One day he wanted to throw his valet, Juan Estévez de Lobon, out of a window into the castle moat, after having beaten him, and he obliged a shoemaker, who had made him boots that were too tight, to eat them cooked and cut up in small pieces. Water fell on him one day from a window, and he at once sent a guard to burn the house and kill the inhabitants, and, "to satisfy him," says Cabrera de Córdoba, "the guard returned and said that the Holy Sacrament of the Viaticum was entering the house, and for this they had respected the walls."

On one occasion he shut himself up for five hours in the stables, and on leaving left twenty horses rendered useless through his ill-treatment, including a favourite one of the King's, which died two days afterwards.

He added to these cruel extravagances, the work of an unhinged mind, unkind, barefaced exhibitions of aversion towards his father, of which good proof was found in his papers afterwards.

Among these there was a blank book, with the title, written by the Prince's own hand, "The Great Travels of the King Philip II," and then on each of its pages these sneers: "The journey from Madrid to the Pardo," "From the Pardo to the Escorial," "From the Escorial to Aranjuez," "From Aranjuez to Toledo," "From Toledo to Valladolid," "From Valladolid to Burgos," "From Burgos to Madrid," and "From the Pardo to Aranjuez," "From Aranjuez to the Escorial," "From the Escorial to Madrid," etc.

In another paper, written also by him, was "The list of my enemies," and the first name that figured on it was "The King, my father." Then followed Ruy Gómez de Silva, the Princess de Évoli, Cardinal Espinosa, the Duque de Alba, and various other lords. On the other side of the paper he had written "List of my friends," "Queen Isabel, who has always been very good to me." And then "D. John of Austria, my much-loved uncle," then Luis Quijada, D. Pedro Fajardo, and very few more.

Indeed, Queen Isabel and D. John were the only two people the unlucky Prince spared in his hatred and general rudeness; and this has furnished poets, novelists and pseudo-learned persons with the supposition that between this unfortunate Prince, who never became a man, and the virtuous D. Isabel of the Peace, model of queens and wives, there existed a romantic and incestuous passion, which has served as a base for their midnight studies, calumnies to-day for those who even partially know history. Everyone in Madrid knew of and regretted D. Carlos's mad conduct, and foreign Courts also knew of it, as in their dispatches Ambassadors hastened to send the information, which has enabled posterity to know and judge all these circumstances.

But, although D. Carlos's physical and moral defects were so well known, there was not a Princess in Europe then who would not have been very pleased to give her hand to the heir of the most powerful monarch in the world.

So the various Courts began to present their candidates, first Queen Catherine de Medicis, who proposed for the Prince of the Asturias her younger daughter Margaret de Valois, the celebrated Margot, afterwards Queen of Navarre. At that time the King of France, Francis II, died, and the Guises, always friendly to Philip II, proposed their niece, the recently widowed Mary Stuart, who was also Queen of Scotland in her own right.

The Court of Lisbon, on their part, proposed Princess Juana, and in this sense the great widowed Queen of Portugal, Doña Catalina, wrote to D. Philip, with whom her opinion had much weight, as being grandmother of Prince Carlos and the only remaining sister of the Emperor, and a lady of such great virtues and talents. This alliance was also desired by the nation, as, although the difference in age between the nephew and the aunt was considerable, even this added to the great qualities of the Princess, who had done so well during her regency, and was considered to be a guarantee that her merit would supply the great deficiencies that they noted and feared in D. Carlos.

Last of all, but with great probabilities of success, the Emperor Maximilian of Austria suggested his granddaughter the Archduchess Doña Ana.

Philip II received all these proposals with his usual reserve, neither accepting nor refusing, and, slowly studying them, gave or took away hopes as it suited his policy, but, as was usual in such cases, taking into consideration neither the tastes nor wishes of his son. But D. Carlos was not a man to have the wishes of others foisted on him, least of all those of his father; and, without considering them, resolved to act for himself. He asked for the portraits of the three Princesses, and, after having carefully examined them, he resolved to fall in love with his cousin the Archduchess Ana, and told everyone so, and even convinced himself. He was seen passing hours gazing at the portrait of the Archduchess, which he kept in his room in a round ebony box with silver mouldings.

D. Carlos laid his plans, and neither with the submission of a son nor the humility of a subject, but as from one power to another and as one who asks and demands in his own right, he announced to the King his wish to marry the Archduchess, and to be given the government of the States of Flanders.

Perhaps this was Philip's own idea, and whether because it was so, or whether to ingratiate himself with the Prince, or whether, as some say, D. Philip did not show the same determination face to face that he always did from afar, it is certain that he heard his son favourably, and promised at once to negotiate his marriage with the Archduchess, to accompany him to Flanders with the expedition which was preparing, and himself instruct his son in the manners and customs of that country.

Satisfied by this, D. Carlos wished to secure the success of his plan by a diplomatic stroke in his own way, which he did with so much haughty folly, that he displayed his incapacity for anything like prudence and government before the whole of Europe.

The Cortes of Castille had been convoked since the 1st of December of that year 1556, and the meetings were held in one of the rooms of the castle. On the 22nd of December Philip II, as usual, went to the Escorial for the Christmas festival, and D. Carlos availed himself of this absence to effect his stroke.

He therefore presented himself one morning, unexpectedly, at the meeting of the members, and, without any warning, preamble or announcement, said in a very angry, haughty way, "You must know that my father is thinking of going to Flanders, and I wish at all costs to accompany him. I know that at the last Cortes you had the impertinence to ask my father to marry me to the Princess, my aunt; I do not understand why you should interfere with my marriage, or that it matters to you whether my father marries me to one or the other. I do not wish that you should allow yourselves the fresh impertinence of asking my father to leave me in Spain, and I therefore forbid you to make such a petition, on the understanding that the member who does this will have me for a mortal enemy, and I will do all I can to ruin him."

Having said this, he ordered the members not to dare to say anything of this scene to the King, and he turned his back, leaving these worthy men astounded by his folly and insolence.

Grave disorders broke out in Flanders soon after, and the King put off his journey, sending on the Duque de Alba to pacify those States. The anger of Prince Carlos on hearing this knew no bounds, as he saw his plans in danger, and felt himself passed over, thinking in his heedless pride that, better than anyone, he could pacify the Low Countries.

The Duque de Alba could not help taking leave of the Prince when he went to kiss the King's hand at Aranjuez, where the Court then was.

But no sooner did D. Carlos see him come into the room, than he shouted out in a rage, that "he was not to go to Flanders, because it was his journey; that he should not do it, and if he contradicted he should be killed."

The Duke respectfully answered that the life of H.H. was too precious to expose on such an expedition, that he was only going first to pacify the States, that H.H. should then come and find himself on firm ground. But the Prince, blind with anger, drew out his dagger and threw himself on the Duke, crying out, "You are not to go to Flanders, or I must kill you." The Duke took hold of both his arms, and they joined in a struggle, until the Prince, overcome, fell back breathless. And as the Duke continued with his reasons, in order to calm him, the Prince, all at once, set on him again, this time treacherously, meaning to plunge his dagger in Alba's breast. The Duke held him, and the struggle began again, until the courtiers, this time attracted by the noise, separated them, taking hold of the furious Prince and allowing the Duke to retire.


The temporary healing of the breach between Philip II and Prince Charles was ended by all this, and it widened again when the latter saw that the King was beginning to delay and put obstacles in the way of his projected marriage with the Archduchess Ana. D. Philip's reasons, however, for so doing could not have been better or more conscientious. Up till now the Prince's unfitness for marriage had only been a rumour, more or less explained, to which his looks and conduct gave an appearance of truth.

At this time circumstances occurred which made patent what previously had only been conjectured.

From that time D. Carlos began a strange life, which offered grave suspicions; he spent large sums of money, no one knew how; he went out alone every night, wearing a false beard, and with an arquebus in his hand, to all the houses of ill fame in Madrid; he came back sometimes without his shirt, at other times he had the one he was wearing burnt in his presence; in short, everything in him showed a strange intemperance, in whose muddy depths, perchance, may be found the key of the mystery which surrounds his imprisonment and death.

Because it is really extraordinary that in all the very intimate letters which Philip II, on the imprisonment of D. Carlos, wrote to the Pope, to the Dowager Queen of Portugal, Doña Catalina, the Prince's grandmother, to the Emperor Maximilian and the Empress Maria, who were to have been his father- and mother-in-law, and to the great Duque de Alba, he hastens to clear his son from all suspicion of heresy, rebellion, disrespect to his person, or other such crimes which would justify his rigorous measures, and only makes an attempt to do this in all of them by repeating almost identically the same sentence: "In excesses which result from his nature and particular condition, which cannot be repeated for the decency of the case and the honour and estimation of the Prince."

At last D. Carlos, despairing of governing Flanders by his father's leave, and also fearing that his father was breaking off his marriage with Doña Ana, determined to fly from Spain and go to Italy, and from thence to Flanders or Germany, as the circumstances should dictate. The most necessary thing for this was money, and he sent his attendants, Garci Álvarez Osorio and Juan Martinez de la Cuadra, therefore, to borrow 600,000 ducats from among the merchants of Toledo, Medina del Campo, Valladolid and Burgos. But the credit of D. Carlos was very bad on those markets, because they all knew him to be as free in borrowing as he was faithless in paying, and the efforts of Osorio and de la Cuadra only produced a few thousand ducats.

Nothing daunted by this, D. Carlos sent Garci Álvarez Osorio to Seville with twelve blank letters of credit, of which the text was: "The Prince. Garci Álvarez, my attendant, who will give you this, will speak to you, and will ask you, in my name, for certain sums of money to be lent for a pressing and urgent necessity; I beg and charge you much to do it; on the one hand you will perform your obligations as vassal, on the other you will give me great pleasure. In all that concerns payment I rely on the said Osorio, that what he settles I accept as settled. Madrid, 1st of December, 1567."

And in his own hand: "In this you will please me much. I, the Prince."

He wrote at the same time to many of the Grandees of Spain, saying that he had to go on a journey of great importance, and hoping that they would accompany him and give him their aid.

These requests were answered in very different ways; some, like the Duques de Sesa, Medina de Rioseco, and the Marqués de Pescara, answered, without suspecting anything wrong, that, unconditionally, they would follow him; others, more suspicious, said that they would lend their aid to anything that was not against religion or the service of the King; and a few, like the Admiral, knowing better how the land lay, secretly sent the Prince's letter to the King, begging him to read and study it.

Meanwhile Garci Álvarez Osorio returned from his journey to Seville, where he had made many good and quick negotiations on behalf of D. Carlos, who, seeing the money, thought that everything was settled, and began to make his final arrangements.

He wrote a long letter to the King, his father, full of bitter and offensive complaints, throwing on him the responsibility for his conduct, and also to the Pope, to his grandmother Queen Catalina, to all the Princes of Christendom, Grandees, Chancellors, Courts, and cities of the kingdom, explaining his flight, and attributing it to his father's tyranny and hatred.

All these letters were to have been sent to their destinations after the flight had become an accomplished fact, and meanwhile D. Carlos kept them in a steel casket inlaid with gold, which he locked up in his writing-table.

One thing which D. Carlos judged essential, as it was, he had not done; this was to consult D. John of Austria. Two months before, at the beginning of October, the King had sent for D. John to the Escorial, and had at last granted him the command of the Mediterranean galleys, as he had promised.

It was in one of these galleys, now anchored at Cartagena, that D. Carlos intended to go to Italy, and it was this indispensable help, added to the great prestige that D. John enjoyed among the nobles at Court and all over the kingdom, which made D. Carlos think, this time very rationally, that the success of his project perhaps depended on D. John's yes or no. So, on Christmas Eve, he called his uncle, and was closeted with him for two long hours in his room, unfolding his plans, begging D. John's help, and in return making him great offers.

Photo Anderson


By Titian. Belonging to the Duque de Berwick y de Alba. Palacio de Lirio, Madrid


Gulliermo Key. Belonging to the Duque de Berwick y de Alba
Palacio de Liria, Madrid

According to D. Carlos, D. John could hope for nothing from the King but stingy rewards, limited ever by his envy, avarice and tyrannical deeds; he, on the other hand, would give D. John all a king's best friend could hope for, and he then offered, as if he owned them, the States of Milan or the Kingdom of Naples. D. John looked at him up and down, amazed, without knowing whether to wonder more at the blackness of the treason or the absurdity of the design. He understood, however, how useless and dangerous it would be to contradict D. Carlos openly, or to throw in his teeth, as he deserved, all the contempt and horror which his plan inspired.

So he chose a side attack, making D. Carlos see how difficult and dangerous an undertaking it was, the dreadful consequences to which it might lead in Flanders and Italy, and even among the restless Spanish Moors, the bad example of a son rising against his father, and the grave risk there was of discovery, so many people having been told by D. Carlos. The Prince had an answer for everything.

Everything, according to him, had been thought of and arranged, and it only remained for Garci Álvarez Osorio to exchange for money some letters of exchange he had brought from Seville, and for him, D. John, as General of the Sea, to give him a safe conduct, putting at the disposal of D. Carlos one of the galleys in Cartagena, and then to come with the rest to join D. Carlos in that part of Italy which he should designate.

This determined D. John. Seeing, as a Christian, a brother of the King, and as an honourable gentleman, that there was only one way of stopping such disasters, and in order to adopt it, he asked D. Carlos to give him twenty-four hours in which to think the matter over. This the Prince conceded reluctantly, as it was, according to him, necessary to profit by the absence of the King, who had gone to the Escorial three days before, and was to return to Madrid for the Feast of the Epiphany.

Very early the next day D. John started for the Escorial, where, as a loyal prince and an honourable gentleman, he told his brother the absurd plans and mischievous intentions of D. Carlos, to whom he explained his audience as a command from the King, who had sent for him to give him urgent orders about the galleys at Cartagena.

D. Carlos had no suspicions and continued his preparations, until the situation was complicated by a notable incident, very characteristic of the time. That year (1567) the general Jubilee granted by Pius V, in honour of his elevation to the Pontificate, was being celebrated, and to gain it he fixed the 28th of December, the Feast of the Holy Innocents.

On the 27th D. Carlos went late to the convent of St. Jerónimo to confess and to gain the Jubilee the next day. It was already eight o'clock, and he went in a coach, with a very small retinue. It should be noted that the official and usual confessor of D. Carlos was Fr. Diego de Chaves, and that on that day he asked for some other brother.

The result was that this confessor would not give the Prince absolution, because he said that he harboured the mortal sin of hatred of a man, and that this hate would not end until he had killed him.

The brother, as we have said, refused absolution. The Prince said, "Father, make up your mind quickly." To which the friar answered, "Your Highness must consult the theologians."

D. Carlos got up very much put out, and sent his coach to Atocha to bring theologians, and fourteen came, as many as the coach, which was small, would hold, two by two. "And then," says the account of one of the Prince's attendants, who was there that night, "he sent to Madrid for Alvarado the Augustin, and for Trinitario, and the Prince disputed with each, and persisted that they should absolve him, even for killing a man who was on bad terms with him. And as all said they could not, they resolved, for the sake of the people, to give him an unconsecrated wafer at communion."

"Here all the theologians became upset, as other very deep things happened which I do not tell you. And as they were all there, and the negotiations were going so badly, the Prior of Atocha took the Prince apart, and with skill began to confess him and ask him the rank of the man that he wished to kill, and he answered that he was of high rank; but he could not drag the name from him (the Prince). The Prior deceived him by saying, 'Sir, say who it is that it will be possible to absolve you, according to your Highness's wish.' And then he said that it was the King, his father, whom he was on bad terms with and had to kill. The Prior very quietly said, 'Alone? or who do you think will help you?'

"In the end he remained without absolution or gaining the Jubilee, on account of his obstinacy. And all this ended at two o'clock in the night, and all the brothers left, very sad, especially his confessor, who went the next day to the Palace and to H.M., and told him at the Escorial all that had passed."


D. John of Austria's revelations painfully irritated Philip II; but he gave no sign by which his intentions could be divined or in any way modified the pious programme he had arranged for the festivals.

He kept D. John at the Escorial, and together they gained the Jubilee on the 28th, and together also on the same day they witnessed the Jerónomite Fathers take possession of the provisional convent where they were to lodge until the sumptuous fabric of the monastery, then being built, was ready for them.

On the 6th they were present at the consecration of the provisional church, and on the 11th at the profession of a new monk; on that day the King sent a circular to the Superiors of all the convents in Madrid and its neighbourhood, ordering them to offer continual prayers that God might inspire him with skill and resolution in an affair of the greatest importance for the welfare of the kingdom.

It was also noticed that on those days more couriers came and went between Madrid and the Escorial, and that the King had more frequent and longer meetings with the lords of the Council.

On the 15th of January, 1568, D. Philip left the Escorial with his brother and came to sleep at the Pardo. D. Carlos heard of this, and sent an urgent message to his uncle to go secretly to the furze near the Palace with the Prior D. Antonio de Toledo, and that he would go there to speak to him.

D. John and the Prior waited for him in the balcony of the Palace, with the authorisation of the King, and from there saw D. Carlos enter the furze on horseback with five others. They went to meet him, and D. Carlos, with much anxiety, asked if the King was very much displeased at the bad example he had given the Court and town in not gaining the Jubilee on the day of the Holy Innocents.

Then the Prince took D. John apart and told him that Garci Álvarez Osorio had got the money together; that everything was ready for the morning of the 18th, and that nothing was wanting but the safe conduct which D. John was to give him to enable him to embark on the galleys at Cartagena, and a document which would oblige D. John, if he did not wish to follow at the moment, to do so at his call when he so ordered.

Driven into a corner, D. John answered that he was starting the next day, the 17th, for Madrid, with the King, and that they could there settle what was best.

D. Carlos went back to Madrid still of the same mind, and, not to lose time, sent to order eight post-horses for the morning of the 18th from the head of the post, Raimundo de Tassis.

Tassis, alarmed, answered the Prince that all the horses were on the road, but when they came he should be served. And he at once informed the King of the demand of D. Carlos, who reiterated his order again a few hours later. The terrified post-master sent all the horses he had out of Madrid, and hurried to the Pardo to tell the King. This happened on the night of the 16th, and Tassis arrived at the Pardo at daybreak on the 17th.

The same day D. Philip went to Madrid with D. John of Austria, without displaying any hurry or anxiety, and, as he always did, went straight to the Queen's apartments to greet her and his daughters.

Princess Juana was also waiting there for him, and, seeing him enter, took her goddaughter, the little Infanta Doña Catalina, from her governess, Doña Maria Chacón, and showed her to the King, that he might admire the tiny and pretty tooth which the child had cut during his absence. The Princess adored her godchild with all the enthusiasm and passion of a most devoted mother.

The Queen laughed at her sister-in-law's enthusiasm, and called her the "Portuguese," and presented the little elder Infanta, Doña Isabel Clara Eugenia, whom the Camarera Mayor, the Duquesa de Alba, then brought. The sad heart of D. Philip softened for a moment with that tenderness towards his daughters which no one would have expected in the severe monarch, and which the learned Gachard has made patent in his studies on these two illustrious Princesses, who did so much to add lustre to the House of Austria.

Doña Juana also made her brother D. John admire the little tooth, and at that moment D. Carlos came into the room to welcome and kiss the hand of the King, his father.

D. Carlos greeted him with apparent respect and pleasure, which D. Philip received with a good grace, no less well feigned. No one would have suspected, on seeing the royal family in such affectionate harmony, that such a horrible affliction hovered over them.

Princess Juana spoke of the banquet and ball she thought of giving the next day, the 19th, in honour of the birthday of her son D. Sebastian, the King of Portugal, and wishing, as usual, to draw D. Carlos towards the Court and its circles, and to wean him from the dark and bad ways he frequented, she asked him to arrange with D. John a solemn masquerade for that day, which, besides being the birthday of her son, was also his coming of age.

With the greatest aplomb the Prince promised, and D. John did the same, not being able to do otherwise, and the King gave his consent by nodding his head without saying a word.

They all left the Queen's room together, and then D. Carlos, taking D. John of Austria's arm, took him off to his rooms, which were in the "entresol" of the Palace, looking on the side now called "el Campo del Moro."

D. Carlos ordered the doors to be shut, and no one has ever known for certain what passed between the nephew and the uncle during the two hours they remained there.

At the end of this time the valets heard a noise inside, and the loud, manly voice of D. John of Austria, who shouted indignantly, "Keep there, your Highness."

Frightened, they opened the door, and saw D. John, looking furious, keeping the Prince at bay with his sword, who, livid with rage, was trying to attack D. John with sword and dagger.

The valet's account says that, "after this scene D. John went to his house." Perhaps D. John pretended to do so, to disarm D. Carlos's suspicion, but it is certain that he went straight to D. Philip and told him of the occurrence. The King then feared for D. John's life, and would not let him leave the castle. He sent and had a room prepared, where he made D. John sleep that memorable night.

Meanwhile D. Carlos, fearful that the King would wish to see him alone, went to bed, pretending to be ill. He was not mistaken; for soon afterwards D. Rodrigo de Mendoza brought an order from the King that D. Carlos should go up to his room. D. Carlos gave his pretended illness as an excuse, and, thinking the danger past, got up again at six o'clock; putting on a long overcoat, without dressing, and sitting in the warmth of the fire, he supped off a boiled capon. The mad Prince had not given up his plan for a minute, and more than ever persisted in his project of running away the next day at dawn.

For some time past D. Carlos had taken the most extraordinary precautions for his personal safety, above all while he was asleep. He had sent away the gentleman who, according to etiquette, should have slept in his room at night, and secured his door inside with a curious mechanism which he had had made by the French engineer Luis de Foix; it consisted of a series of springs which prevented the door opening unless D. Carlos pulled a long red silk cord which hung at the head of his bed.

He had also had an extraordinary weapon, which he himself had devised, and the construction of which he superintended, made by the same engineer.

He had read of the deed of the terrible Bishop of Zamora, D. Antonio de Acuña, who broke the head of the Alcaide of Simancas with a stone which he carried hidden in a leather purse, as if it were a breviary.

Enchanted with the idea, the Prince ordered de Foix to make a book composed of twelve pieces of very hard blue marble, six inches long by four inches wide, covered, as if they were bound, with two plates of steel masked with gold.

D. Carlos always had this disguised arm at hand, ready to break the head of anyone as the fancy might take him, an extra proof of the traitorous and perverse nature of the unlucky Prince.

Besides this, there was always an arquebus at the head of his bed, and an arsenal of powder and shot hidden in his wardrobe.

After supper D. Carlos looked through the letters and papers he had prepared, and went to bed at half-past nine, leaving by the side of his bed a naked sword and a loaded arquebus, and having an unsheathed dagger under his pillow.

Meanwhile all seemed to sleep in the royal castle; nevertheless, within its walls one of the most discussed and terrible events in history was preparing.

The King kept vigil in his room, and after eleven o'clock, one by one, there arrived, cautiously, the Prince de Évoli, the Duque de Feria, the Prior D. Antonio, and Luis Quijada. These were afterwards joined by two of the King's gentlemen, D. Pedro Manuel and D. Diego de Acuña, and to all of them D. Philip spoke "as never man spoke before," according to a document of the period, and showed them the hard and terrible necessity he saw of arresting and shutting up his son Prince Carlos.

The best way of carrying this out, without scandal or dangerous resistance, was then discussed, and the King proposed his plan, which was naturally accepted. At midnight they all descended by an inside staircase, on tiptoe, in the dark, cautiously, not to arouse the guard, almost trembling, as justice has to tremble sometimes, to prevent and surprise crime.

The Duque de Feria went first, with a dark lantern in his hand; the King followed, very pale, a cuirass under his clothes, a naked sword under his arm, and an iron helmet on his head. Behind him came all the rest, with naked swords, more to inspire terror and respect than because there was need to use them. Two of the King's servants, Santoyo and Bernal, with nails and hammers, and twelve guards with their lieutenant, also came.

In the Prince's ante-room they met his two gentlemen, D. Rodrigo de Mendoza and the Conde de Lerma, who were on duty, and the King gave them orders to let no one pass.

The door of the room opened without resistance, because the King had ordered the engineer de Foix secretly to make the Prince's springs useless.

Ruy Gómez and the Duque de Feria approached the bed of D. Carlos with much caution; he was sleeping soundly, and without his knowing it they were able to put the arquebus and the unsheathed sword out of reach of his hand; the dagger they did not find.

D. Carlos then woke, and, sitting up frightened, called out in a sleepy, startled voice:

"Who goes there?"

"The Council of State," replied Ruy Gómez.

The Prince then threw himself out of bed with great violence and wished to grasp his weapons; with this movement the dagger slipped down, and Ruy Gómez picked it up from the ground. At the same time the Duque de Feria opened his lantern, and the Prince found himself face to face with his father.

He threw himself back and cried, all beside himself, putting both hands to his head, "What is this? Does Y.M. wish to kill me?"

The King answered very quietly that he wished to do the Prince no harm, but that he wished him and all the kingdom well. Then he ordered the servants to bring lights, to nail up the windows, and take away all arms, even to the fire-irons.

The Prince then realised that he had let himself be arrested, and in his shirt, as he was, he threw himself on the King, crying, "Kill me, Y.M., but do not arrest me, because it is a great scandal for the kingdom; and, if not, I shall kill myself."

To which the King answered, "Do not do this, which would be the act of a madman."

"I shall not do it as a madman, but because I am desperate at Y.M. treating me so ill."

Tearing out his hair, and gnashing his teeth in a way horrible to hear, he tried to throw himself headlong into the fire. The Prior seized his shirt, and between them they once more placed him in his bed, "and many other arguments passed," says the valet's account, "none of them were ended, it not being the time or place for this."

Meanwhile the King ordered that the papers of D. Carlos should be sought for and collected. Then appeared the steel casket with the prepared letters inside, the book of travels, the list of friends and enemies, and other documents, some silly, some culpable, all compromising.

The King then retired, taking the papers with him, having ordered and arranged, with the most scrupulous exactitude, everything referring as much to the service and care of the Prince as to his most strict restraint.

The consternation of the people of Madrid, on hearing the next day of the imprisonment of the Prince, knew no bounds.

"The most sane looked at each other," says Luis Cabrera de Córdoba, "sealing their lips with a finger and silence: and breaking it, some call (the King) prudent, others severe, because his laugh and his sword went together. The Prince, unlucky youth, had thought ill and talked with resentment, but had done nothing; without such extremes he could have punished his unwarned heir, as they do in other countries. Others say that he was a father, and very wise, and that much force drove and obliged him to this determination. Others, that princes are jealous of those who are to succeed them, and that cleverness, bravery, and great, generous natures displease them in their sons; and that if the King fears them, the subjects will fear them more, and that to secure them they should give them a share in the government with moderation. Others, that by a bad instinct heirs are spurred on by the desire to reign and be free, and that few loyal acts come from discontented heads, as the Prince wished to be with the Flemings."

The distress of the Queen and Princess Juana was very great, and in vain they both implored the King, over and over again, to be allowed to visit the Prince. D. John came that evening to the Queen's apartment, dressed carelessly in dark clothes, as a sign of mourning, but the King reproved him, and ordered him to attire himself as usual.


D. John of Austria never saw Prince Carlos again, or heard from the lips of D. Philip the slightest allusion to his unhappy son. These sad events drew the brothers together, and it must be confessed that D. Philip was at this time a real father to D. John.

At the beginning of May, 1568, he announced to D. John that the hour had come for him to take command of the galleys of Cartagena, first to meet and escort the fleet coming from the Indies, and then to clear the coasts of the Mediterranean of corsairs.

These pirates went far inland with the greatest effrontery, and it was known that their real leader and protector, Selim II, was having galleys and engines of war constructed with the intention of taking them to the Ionian Sea.

The news of the expedition prepared for D. John filled the young nobles with enthusiasm, as formerly the unlucky Maltese one had done, and the flower of them hastened to enlist under his banner.

D. Philip was pleased to see his brother's influence, which might be so useful to his political ends, and, in order to stimulate and inspire warlike ardour in these illustrious volunteers, divided the galleys among parties of four, giving the command of each to a captain, chosen from among them, who afterwards were commonly called "cuatraldos."

As lieutenant to D. John, D. Philip named no less a person than D. Luis de Requesens, Knight Commander of Castille, who was ambassador at Rome, and, as secretaries, Juan de Quiroga, already acting as such, and Antonio de Prado, a man of great parts, who was afterwards a statesman under Philip III.

Among the brilliant band of volunteers who followed D. John the most distinguished were D. Martin de Padilla, who was afterwards Governor of Castille and Captain-General of the Ocean; D. Pedro de Cervellon, D. Juan de Zúñiga, afterwards Conde de Miranda; D. Francisco de Rojas, afterwards Marqués de Poza and President of the Treasury; the brothers D. Jerónimo and D. Antonio de Padilla, D. Luis de Córdoba, D. Juan de Gúzman, D. Alonso Portocarrero, D. Rodrigo de Benavides, D. Mendo Rodriguez de Ledesma; D. Hernando de Gamboa, D. José Vázguez de Acuña, D. Hernando de Prado, D. Pedro Zapata de Calatayud, and D. Hernando de Zanguera.

All these gentlemen accompanied D. John to take leave of the King, who was at Aranjuez, and were received with much attention by all the Court. On saying good-bye D. Philip handed to his brother, for his guidance, the following document, written by his own hand, notable for the great maxims for the rule and conduct of a prince which it contains, and for the fraternal solicitude which it shows on the part of Philip II towards his brother:

"Brother: Besides the instructions which you have been given respecting the appointment of Captain-General of the Ocean, and its powers and duties: for the great love I have for you, and also that in your person, life and manners, you should possess the estimation and good name persons of your rank should have, with this end it has occurred to me to give you the following instructions. First, because the foundation and beginning of all great things and of all good counsels is God, I charge you much, that as a good and real Christian, you take this as the beginning and foundation of all your doings and enterprises, and that you dedicate to God, as your chief aim, all your business and affairs, from whose hand comes all the success of your undertakings, negotiations and labours. And that you will take great care to be very devout and God-fearing, and a good Christian, not only in reality, but also in appearance and demonstration, setting all a good example, that by this means and on this foundation God may show you grace and your name and fame may always be increasing.

"Be very particular to go to Confession, especially at Christmas and Easter and on other solemn days, and to receive the Holy Sacrament, if you are in a place where you are able to do so; every day, being on land, hear Mass; and perform your devotions with fervour at stated times, as a good and very Catholic Christian.

"Truth and the keeping of one's word and promise are the basis of credit and esteem on which are founded and built up friendly intercourse and confidence. This is required, and is the more necessary for great ones, and those who have important public duties, because on their truth and integrity depend faith and public safety. Be sure that in this you take great care and pains, that it should be known and understood everywhere that trust may be placed in what you say, as besides its affecting public matters and your appointment, it matters much to your own honour and esteem.

"Use justice with impartiality and rectitude, and when necessary with the severity and example the case requires: as regards this be firm and constant; and also when the quality of persons or things permit it, be pitiful and mild, as these are very appropriate virtues in people of your rank.

"Flattery and words leading to it are ignoble in those who use them, and a shame and offence to those to whom they are addressed. To those who make these professions, and treat you thus, show by your face and manner that they may understand how little acceptable to you such conversation is. Do the same to those who in your presence speak ill of the honours and persons of the absent, that such conversation should not take place, because, besides being prejudicial and an injury to the third person, it tends to turn them from your authority and estimation. You must live and act with great prudence as regards all that concerns the uprightness of your private life, because forgetfulness of this, besides being an offence to God, will bring about inconveniences, and cause a great stumbling-block to the work and fulfilment of what you have to do, and will entail other risks which are dangerous and of evil consequence and example. Excuse yourself, when possible, from games, especially cards and dice, on account of the example you should set others, and because, in gambling, it is not possible to act with the moderation and restraint which is required in persons of your rank. And it often happens that, through gambling, men in high positions lose their temper and dishonour themselves. I charge you, that if at any time you play to amuse yourself, you should preserve the decorum due to your person and authority.

"Swearing, without the greatest necessity which obliges one to do so, is very wrong for every man and woman, and takes away good opinion, but, above all, in men of position, in whom it is very indecent and goes against their credit, dignity, and authority, so I charge you to be very careful about swearing, and never to swear by God or other rare oaths, which neither are nor should be used by people of your rank.

"As I wish that your table, food and way of living should be suitable, use the decency, ostentation and cleanliness that is proper; but also it is well that there should be much moderation and temperance, because of the example that you have set to all, and because of the profession of arms which you have to follow, and because it is good, and it is well for you to show moderation and temperance, because your table has to settle the rule and order for the rest.

"Be careful not to say anything rude or injurious to anyone, that your tongue may be used to honour and do favours, and to dishonour no one. You should punish those who err or commit excesses, being just to all. This punishment should not come from your mouth with haughty words, or from your hand. And also be very careful that in your usual ways and talk you use modesty and temperance without ill-temper or arrogance, which are things that detract much from a person's authority. And at the same time have a care that your conversation and that which takes place in your presence is decent and straightforward, as is required by your rank and person.

"Also be very courteous in your intercourse with every sort of person, being very affable, quiet and gracious, maintaining the decency and decorum of your person and office, because affability gains people's affection, but also preserves the reputation and respect that are due to you. In winter, and at other times, when you are not at sea, but on land, do not neglect the business of your appointment, to which you should pay great attention; occupy yourself in good exercises, especially those of arms; in which also those gentlemen who reside with you should occupy themselves, avoiding by these exercises, expenses, ostentation and excesses, and that all should be prepared for the real exercise of arms. The use of these will make the said gentlemen dexterous and expert in any occasion that may offer. And also by this means the said expenses and extravagance in vesture, clothes and everyday life are avoided, giving an example by what you yourself and your servants wear.

"This is what it has occurred to me to remind you about, confident that you will act in an even better manner than what I have told you.

"It is for you only, and for this, goes, written by my hand.

"At Aranjuez, the 23rd of May, 1568. I, the King."


D. John arrived at Cartagena quite at the end of May, and found, waiting for him there, his lieutenant, the Knight Commander D. Luis de Requesens, who lodged in his house. By the King's orders, D. Álvaro de Bazán, who was afterwards first Marqués de Santa Cruz, D. Juan de Cardona and the veteran Gil Andrada were also waiting for him as councillors.

They took him first to visit the galleys anchored in the port, and D. John was as much pleased as surprised at the "Capitana" which his brother the King had had prepared for him, with all the improvements of the time.

It was a galley of the Venetian type, with sixty oars, as easy to navigate as it was strong to attack or resist. The hulk had been built in Barcelona of Catalonian pine, which is the best timber for ships in Asia, Africa or Europe, and the magnificent poop in Seville according to the designs of the painter and architect Juan Balesta Castello, surnamed the Bergamesco. The keel measured 468 "palms" and the deck 492 "palms," and it stood 72 "palms" above the water.

It was painted white and red, and the stern was adorned with fine pictures and friezes and ornaments, all symbolical of the qualities a great captain should possess.

By the bowsprit there were large pictures divided by two spaces; the centre one represented the capture of the "Golden Fleece" by Jason, who, according to Pliny, was the first man to sail in "nao prolongada," the right-hand picture represented Prudence and Temperance, the left-hand one Fortitude and Justice, and in the dividing tapestries were displayed on one the god Mars, with the sword of Vulcan and the shield of Pallas, and this motto—Per saxa, per undas—and in the other the god Mercury, with his finger on his lips, as one commanding silence, with this legend—Opportune.

From here extended on each side great chains of the "Golden Fleece," interlaced with masks and other symbolical pictures, which reached to the prow, the figurehead being a powerful Hercules, leaning on his club. Over the stern shone the great lantern, emblem of command, of wood and bronze, all gilt, crowned with a statue of Fame.

On the 2nd of June the first council presided over by D. John was held, the Knight Commander D. Luis de Requesens, D. Álvaro de Bazán, D. Juan de Cardona, and Gil Andrada being present. It was the first council that D. John had presided over, and without showing self-sufficiency unsuitable to his years, or the timidity very natural to them, he at once gave proof of one of the best qualities a leader can possess, in order to direct and govern: To know how to ask and how to listen. The council decided to set sail without loss of time, to fall in with the fleet coming from the Indies, and escort it as far as Sanlucar de Barrameda; then to go and follow the corsairs along all the Mediterranean coast to the ports of France and Italy.

The embarkation and departure were fixed for the 4th, and it was a brave sight that the beautiful port of Cartagena offered that day. The thirty-three galleys which composed the fleet were dressed with the magnificence of the period, streamers hung from the lower decks, pendants from the yards, banners at the stern; and the most beautiful of all, the "Capitana," flying, by D. John's orders, as well as the royal ensign, the standard of Our Lady of Guadeloupe.

Very early that morning D. John confessed and received communion, and at nine o'clock went on board the "Capitana," followed by a great retinue. Then all the galleys burst forth with salvos of artillery, and music of drums, and trumpets and clarions and Moorish horns; the crews manned the rigging, the people in feluccas and on the mole, crowded so together that many fell into the water, cheered wildly, and D. John, the great D. John that Doña Magdalena had made of the humble Jeromín, held up his head as if among the smoke of the powder he smelt the perfume of the glory which was coming to meet him, and felt his chest swell and his heart expand as if for the first time he realised Heaven's high mission for him, which was announced not long afterwards to the world by the great Pontiff Pius V, in these words:

Fuit homo missus a Deo, cui nomen erat Joannes.

(There was a man sent from God, whose name was John.)

The expedition lasted until the middle of September, when the fleet returned to Barcelona to winter in that port, according to the custom of those times, except in the case of great urgency or grave peril, during the months of October, November, December and January.

In this expedition, however, there were neither dangers, nor battles, nor rich and abundant prizes. But there was for D. John (and this was Philip II's idea in giving him the command) deep and practical instruction in the working of a fleet and of disembarking an army; a very useful apprenticeship in the way of combining and directing these united forces, and a good opportunity to display to great and small those gifts of energy and courtesy which make the perfect leader, and with which with so unsparing a hand God had endowed D. John of Austria.

His sure, sound judgment, his prudence in deciding, his frankness and courage in performing, and his firmness and energy in reprimanding and punishing revealed to all in the new leader the not unworthy son of Charles V; and his noble magnanimity towards the vanquished, his gracious compassion for the unfortunate, and his respectful charity towards all the poor and miserable, be they ever so low and vile, also revealed the former Jeromín who marshalled Doña Magdalena's poor people in the courtyard of Villagarcia, cap in hand, and who had learnt from that noble woman to see and respect in the poor the image of Our Lord.

Never, she used to say, does a crucifix cease to be a symbol of our redemption; even though evil hands have profaned it and thrown it on the dust-heap, it will always be capable of being cleaned and polished, and always merits the same veneration. In the same way, no man ceases to be the "redeemed of Christ"; and, however tarnished by infamy and stained by crime, is always susceptible of repentance and pardon, and will always merit the respect appertaining to that which has cost the blood of God.

This expedition, then, made firm the pedestal on which had been erected the great figure of D. John of Austria, and thenceforward he was looked up to by the captains as a leader, loved like a father by the soldiers and crews of the ships; the poor galley slaves, tied to the hard bench, saw in him a sort of archangel who descended to the purgatory of their prison to ease their work and raise their hopes, and never throwing their offences in their teeth.

The death of Prince Carlos was announced to D. John when he disembarked at Barcelona; it had occurred two months before on the 24th of July, the Eve of St. James's Day, while D. John was at sea. This news affected him greatly, not so much for the death of the Prince, which was holy and Christian, and the best thing that could have happened to the unlucky man, but more for the sorrow he imagined it would cause to D. Philip as King and father.

These sad warnings of the uncertainty of life made D. John remember the promise he had made Doña Magdalena de Ulloa to retire for a while to the convent of Abrojo to meditate in solitude on the eternal truths, and this seemed to him the best opportunity of fulfilling his word.

The King gladly gave permission, and D. John set out for Madrid and from thence to Valladolid, where Doña Magdalena de Ulloa was waiting for him. There the sad news reached him that his sister-in-law, the good and gentle Queen, Doña Isabel of the Peace, had died on the 3rd of October (1568); this fresh sorrow spurred D. John on to put into execution his design of retiring to the convent of Abrojo, with only two valets and the secretary Juan de Quiroga.

The monastery of Scala-Cœli, commonly called "of Abrojo," from the wood of that name in the midst of which Alvar Deaz de Villacreses founded it, was a convent of bare-footed Franciscans, situated in this thicket, half a league from Valladolid. The Kings of Castille had much veneration for it and made it a royal fortress, surrounding it with towers and battlemented walls, and by the church they kept for themselves a humble lodging where they retired for certain religious solemnities and in their times of mourning and sorrow.

There was, in D. John's day, a very devout servant of God, called Fr. Juan de Calahorra, at Abrojo, who had known him as Jeromín in his youthful days, and had confessed him and often directed him in Valladolid and Villagarcia.

D. John much esteemed his holiness and gentle ways, and wished to keep the brother at his side as confessor and spiritual director during all the time he was in retreat, which was more than two months.

But during this time alarming news reached the solitude of the convent of Abrojo of the rebellion of the Moors of Granada, and Juan de Quiroga, who, like all those who knew him well, simply adored D. John and recognised his military qualities, which only needed scope in which to expand and triumph, advised him to beg the King to give him the command of the expedition.

D. John was fired with the idea, but first desired to consult Fr. Juan de Calahorra and Doña Magdalena de Ulloa, who came to see him several times during those two months. The brother much applauded the project, and as if moved by a spirit of prophecy, said to D. John that not only would he obtain the command, but that it would procure a great name for him throughout Europe.

As to Doña Magdalena, she equally approved of the idea, and insisted on its realisation with even more warmth than Juan de Quiroga or the brother; according to her, the indolent luxury of the Court was always harmful to D. John's youth, and only the responsibilities and hardships of war could keep the proper balance of his ardent nature.

And expressing herself more freely to Fr. Juan de Calahorra, the discreet lady said, "As only the King can marry him to a princess, let us meanwhile betroth him to war; masking her ugliness with the cosmetics of glory."

Satisfied by this, D. John posted to Madrid, and before presenting himself to his brother D. Philip, sent him the following letter:

"Y.C.R.M. The obligation I am under to Y.M., and my natural faith for and love for you, make me always tell you what seems to me suitable, with all submission. I informed Y.M. of my arrival in Madrid, and the reason why I came, and I thought that it was not necessary to worry Y.M. with papers of so little importance as mine. Now I have heard of the state of the rebellion of the Moors at Granada, and how hard pressed the city is, and the rumour is certainly true; as the vindication of Y.M.'s reputation, honour and greatness, lowered by the impudence of these rebels, is very near my heart, I cannot help breaking the obedience and submission I have always shown to the will of Y.M., by telling you my own and begging Y.M. (as it is the honour of kings to be constant in their favours and to make men by their hand), as I am Y.M.'s handiwork, to use me to apply your punishment, and you know that you can trust me more than others, and that no one can better inflict it on these rascals than I can. I confess that they are unworthy of much notice and that someone to punish them is all that is required; but as people, however vile, when they are strong become proud, and as they say that this is not wanting in the present case, it is necessary to deprive them of power: the Marqués de Mondejar is not strong enough for this (because they say that he disagrees with the President and that he is obeyed with a bad grace) and it is advisable to send someone who, like me, is naturally inclined to such work, and I am as obedient to the royal will of Y.M. as clay in the potter's hand, and it would seem to me a grave offence against my love, my inclination, and what I owe to Y.M. if I do not fulfil this duty; but well I know that those who serve Y.M. and are under your royal hand hold all securely and can ask for nothing further, but this is no reason why this action should be blamed, it should rather be esteemed. If I gain my wish, it will be sufficient reward. For this I came from Abrojo; which I should not have presumed to do without an express order from Y.M. except on such important service for Y.M. Our Lord keep the C. and R. person of Y.M.

"From the inn, the 30th of December, 1568. From Y.M.'s handiwork and most humble servant who kisses your royal hand.

"D. John of Austria."


It is certainly extraordinary that a king, so well informed and cautious as Philip II, did not foresee at once the terrible consequences which the rebellion of the Moors of Granada in 1568 might have for Spain and for all Christendom. And it is the more surprising considering that all nations, alarmed from the beginning, never removed their eyes off that corner of the Alpujarras and took precautions according as the defeat or triumph of the rebels suited their interests. The rebels triumphant and the shores of Andalucia open to the "Berberiscos," Moors and Turks who favoured and encouraged them, would make realisable the treasured dream of Selim II of subjugating Spain, a not impossible task for the formidable power of the Turk at that time.

The rebellion had been well prepared beforehand, but it broke out suddenly, as flames fanned by the gentlest wind may burst out from a heap of dry wood which has long lain on embers.

It was whispered in Granada that the Moors of the Albaicin had joined with those of the Vega and the Alpujarras to invade the town and behead the old Christians, and it was held for certain that they were in treaty with the Kings of Algiers and Tunis and Selim's Turks to raise their standards and make over the kingdom to them. All in Granada was consequently suspicion, want of confidence and of trust: houses shut up, shops deserted, commerce with the neighbouring places interrupted and the people always nervous and cautious, taking refuge every moment in the Alhambra and the churches, as being the strongest places.

Things were in this state on the 16th of April, 1568, Easter Eve; the night was closing in, dark and rainy, when between eight and nine o'clock suddenly the bell of the fortress of the Alhambra began to ring the alarm furiously. Fear was everywhere, which was even more increased by hearing the sentinel who rang cry, terrified, "Christians, save yourselves. Look out for yourselves, Christians! This night you are to be beheaded."

The confusion was dreadful; half-dressed women threw themselves even from the windows; men came out buttoning their jackets and clothes and trooped to charge the arquebuses and get ready the crossbows. The brothers of St. Francis arrived at the square all armed with arquebuses, and other friars formed up before the "Audiencia Real" in a company with pikes and halberds.

There also hurried up, each one as he could, the Corregidor, the President of the Chancellery, D. Pedro Deza, and the Conde de Tendella, Captain-General in the absence of his father the Marqués de Mondejar, and then it was known to be a false alarm.

The alguacil Bartolme de Santa Maria, who was on guard, had sent four soldiers at nightfall to the tower of the Aceituno on the top of the hill on which the suburb of the Albaicin was situated; the night was extremely dark; the soldiers had torches of esparto grass to light them, and arriving at the foot of the tower, the ascent to which was open and difficult, those who first gained the summit waved their torches to give light to those who were climbing up, and when they had arrived, threw the torches down. The watchman on the Vela tower, seeing this movement of lights and thinking that the Moors of the Albaicin were making "almenares," that is signals to those of the Vega from the tower of the Aceituno, hastened to ring the tocsin; which showed the state of excitement of those souls and how much they certainly feared from one moment to another that the Moors intended to slay the Christians.

This simple explanation did not quiet the frightened people, and the crowd began to attack the Albaicin and to be beforehand with the Moors by killing them. So the Corregidor, with gentlemen and other trustworthy persons, then guarded the lanes which mounted up to the Albaicin to impede the passage of the crowd. But nothing would have stopped the pillage and bloodshed, if a violent storm of thunder and lightning had not come at that moment to clear the streets and damp the fury of the citizens.

Meanwhile all seemed to sleep in the Albaicin; but behind the barred doors and shut windows the Moors were watching in ambush, prepared for defence, and, knowing that night the risk they ran if they let the Christians be beforehand, resolved to hasten the atrocious undertaking that they were meditating. They met in the house of a wax chandler of the Albaicin named Adelet, and there discussed their doubts and laid their plans.

They decided to strike the blow on New Year's Day and not at Christmas as they had intended, because there existed a prophecy that the Moors would regain Granada on the same day as that on which the Christians took it, which was the 1st of January, 1492. It was determined to make a register among the farms of the Vega and the villages of Decrin and Orgiba of 8000 men, who were to be ready, at a signal made to them from the Albaicin, to attack the town by the gate of the Vega, wearing coloured caps and Turkish head-dresses so as to inspire confidence in some and terror in others, passing themselves off as Turks or Berbers who had come to help the Moors.

This register was well filled by two saddle-makers, who, making a pretext of their trade, went through all these places without awaking anyone's suspicions. They also enrolled among the mountains another 2000 picked men, who, hidden in a bed of reeds, should wait the signal of the Albaicin to scale the wall of the Alhambra, which looks towards the Generalife, with seventeen ladders which were being made in Quejar and Quentan; they were ladders of hempen rope with rungs of wood so wide that three men could easily mount at the same time. The attack which was to be made on Granada from outside being arranged, they then settled that which the Moors of the Albaicin were to make from within. They divided themselves into three parties each with a head. Miguel Acis with the inhabitants of the parishes of St. Gregory, St. Christopher and St. Nicholas and a flag of crimson silk with a silver half-moon and a fringe of gold were to take the gate of Frax el Leuz on the top of the Albaicin; Diego Miqueli with the dwellers of St. Salvador, St. Elizabeth and St. Luis and a yellow silk flag the square of Bib-el-Bonut; and Miguel Moragas with the people of St. Michael, San Juan de los Reyes, and St. Peter and St. Paul and a flag of turquoise-blue damask the gate of Guadix.

When united all were to fall first on the Christians who lived on the Albaicin, beheading them without truce or pity. Then the first group would descend to the town to the prisons of the Holy Office to release the Moorish prisoners, killing and burning all in their path. The second group was to go to the town prisons to liberate the prisoners, then to murder the Archbishop and burn his palace. The third group was to attack the Royal Courts, murder the President, and set free the Chancery prisoners, all reuniting in the square of Bibarrambla, whither the 8000 Moors of the Vega were also to repair. From there they would go all over the city, as it seemed best, to put everything to fire and sword. The principal instigator of these plans was the sanguinary Farax Abenfarax, an African renegade, of the house of the Abencerrajes, a bandit of the kind the Moors call "monfies." To this fierce and brutal man the Moorish conspirators entrusted the work of making known this decree in the Alpujarras, and the summoning of a numerous assembly to elect a king, assuring them that from that moment the choice of the Alpujarras should be confirmed in the Albaicin.

This chosen man was D. Hernando de Valor, a very rich Moor of the Alpujarras, a descendant of Mahomet through the families of Aben-Humeyas and Almanzores, Kings of Córdoba and Andalucia. D. Hernando's ancestors, as they lived in a place in the mountains called Valor, had taken the name. He was a youth of twenty-four, swarthy, with scanty beard, big black eyes, eyebrows that joined, and a very fine figure; sensual, vindictive, sly and false, and, as he showed himself later, extremely wicked.

He was elected according to the ancient ceremony of the Kings of Andalucia, widowers at one end, those going to be married at the other, the married on one side, the women on the other: in the midst the priest, an "alfaqui," who read an ancient Arab prophecy, that a youth of royal lineage who was baptized and a heretic to his law, because in public he professed that of the Christians, should liberate his people.

They all shouted that these signs were found united in D. Hernando; the alfaqui assured them that according to his observations the courses of the stars testified to the same thing and hastened to clothe him in rich purple, and to put round his neck and shoulders a coloured badge, like a sash, and on his head a crown with a cap also of purple. They spread four flags on the ground, for the four quarters of the world, and D. Hernando prayed, leaning over them, with his face to the east, and swearing to die in his law and his kingdom, defending them and his vassals. Then he lifted one foot and, as a sign of general obedience, Farax Abenfarax prostrated himself in the name of all and kissed the ground where the new king had stood. Then he was lifted up on their shoulders and all shouted, "May God exalt Mahomet Aben-Humeya, King of Granada and of Córdoba."

This act made him King, and he named officers and gave appointments, among others that of Chief Magistrate to Farax Abenfarax and that of Captain-General to his uncle D. Fernando el Zaguer, called in Arabic Aben Jauher. He sent his ambassadors to the Kings of Algiers and Tunis, notifying his election and asking for brotherly help: to which they replied with great promises and demonstrations, offering to send galleys with men, arms, and provisions, which should be known by their red-dyed sails.

Meanwhile the month of December had arrived and Farax Abenfarax went secretly to Granada, leaving the sedition prepared behind him, like a train of powder which can be fired in a second when the moment arrives.

But the covetousness and ill-contained hatred of the Moors took fire before the time. On the 28th of December seven clerks of the Courts of Ujijar of Albacete set out for Granada guided by a Moor; they were going to spend Christmas with their wives and were taking a large quantity of fowls, chickens, honey, fruits and money.

Entering a vineyard at the boundary of Poqueira, they met, lying in wait for them, a band of armed Moors, who spoiled them of everything and put them to a cruel death. One called Pedro de Medina escaped with the guide, and they went to raise the alarm in Albacete de Orgivar. The same day five squires of Motril, also going to Granada with Christmas presents, met with a similar fate. That night there arrived to sleep at Cadiar the captain Diego de Herrera with his brother-in-law Diego de Hutado Docampo, of the order of Santiago, and fifty soldiers who were carrying arquebuses for the fort of Adra. D. Fernando el Zaguer, Captain-General and uncle of the new King, was hiding in the place, and he arranged with the other conspirators this blackest treason. He made all his neighbours give hospitality to one soldier, and at midnight, at a preconcerted signal, beheaded them all, from the captain downwards, so that only three remained to return to Adra.

These tidings did not alarm the authorities of Granada as they should have done; on the other hand, the Moors of the Albaicin mistrusting them, and fearing lest the hasty rashness of their brothers in the country should have compromised their plans, hastened to send messengers everywhere to say that nothing was to be done without fresh orders from the Albaicin, which was, according to them, the head-quarters.

But the impetuous Farax was not of this mind, and thinking, on the contrary, that everything would be lost if the events were not pushed forward, decided to enter the Albaicin that same night and either rouse the Moors or compromise them.

He then recruited as best he could 180 men from the nearest villages, and with them went round Granada, defying the cold and the snow which fell that night, the 25th of December, a Saturday, the first day of Christmas.

Punctually at twelve o'clock he reached the gate of Guadix, which was in the wall of the Albaicin; breaking down a mud wall, closed by a small door, with pikes and implements that they had taken by force from some mills on the Darro, they entered the town and went straight to his house, joining the parish church of St. Elizabeth, leaving his people to guard the door, wearing coloured Turkish caps and over them white gauze head-dresses, so that they might appear to be Turks.

Farax summoned the principal leaders of the rebellion there and tried to persuade them of the necessity of rising as one man that same night; but they of the Albaicin, false and disloyal even to their own brothers, thinking that enough had already been done to frighten the Christians without further exposing their lives or properties, excused themselves on the score of lack of time and of men, as of the 8000 men who were to accompany him he had only brought 180.

Then Farax, in a fury and mad with rage, insulted them, and, two hours before dawn, assembled his people and with horns, drums and "dulzainos," went through all the streets of the Albaicin, giving mournful cries. They carried two unfurled flags, between which went Farax Abenfarax, a lighted candle in his hand, the white Turkish head-dress stained and the thick, unkempt beard covered with fresh gore. He was small, fat, with an enormous stomach and such long, powerful arms that they seemed deformed. The sight of him certainly inspired terror in the flickering light of the candle; when he stopped from time to time he threw back his enormous head, turned up his bloodshot eyes and cried in Arabic, in a hoarse and mournful voice, "There is no God but the one God, and Mahomet is his prophet. All Moors who wish to revenge the injuries which Christians have done to their law and persons will be revenged by joining this banner, because the King of Algiers and the Cherif, whom God exalt, favour us and have sent all these people and those who are waiting for us up there."

And all the rest answered in a chorus, "Well! Well! Come! Come! as our hour has arrived and all the land of the Moors has risen."

Nobody, however, responded to the call, nor did a single door or window open, nor was any noise heard, as if the quarter was a real city of the dead. Only, they say, an old man shouted to them from a housetop, "Brothers! Go with God, you are few and come out of season."

They reached the square of Bib-el-Bonut, where was the house of the Jesuits, brought there by the Archbishop D. Pedro Guerrero, and called by name for the famous Padre Albotodo, who was of Moorish origin, insulting him and calling him a renegade dog, who, being the son of Moors, had made himself the alfaqui of the Christians, and as they could not break the door, which was strong and well barred, they contented themselves with destroying a wooden cross which was placed over it.

Now the bells of Salvador began to sound the alarm, because the Canon Horozo, who lived at the back of the sacristy, had got in by a hidden door and was ringing them. Farax then returned to the slope by which the tower of the Aceituno is reached, and from there made another proclamation; and as nobody flocked here either, he began to insult those of the Albaicin, crying, "Dogs! Cowards! You have deceived the people and do not wish to fulfil your promise." And with this outburst he left, as dawn had come, and was lost in the distance amid the tempest, like the coming and going of the threatening storm which discharges itself elsewhere.

Next day the hypocritical Moors of the Albaicin descended to the Alhambra and begged the Marqués de Mondejar to help and protect them against the "monfies" who the night before had come to their quarter inciting them to rebel, and putting to the test their loyalty to religion and the King, endangering their lives and property. The Marqués gave more credit to their words than they deserved, and these bad men remained satisfied that they had unchained the storm without risk to themselves. In truth the storm was afterwards let loose, fierce and terrible, as few other in history.

In less than a fortnight the Moors of Farax had burned more than 300 churches, destroying their images, profaning the Blessed Sacrament, and killing more than 4000 Christians, men, women and children, putting them to such dreadful deaths and refined tortures that they find no parallels in the annals of the martyrs. And it was a great marvel and glory that not one of these victims apostatised, but all died with the name of our Lord and His Holy Mother on their lips; which so exasperated these true Mahomedans that to avoid these saintly cries, which sounded as blasphemies to their impious ears, they filled the victims' mouths with gunpowder and lighted it. The renegade Farax Abenfarax ordered these cruelties, and the new King Aben-Humeya took such advantage of them, that in a short time he found himself master of more than 300 villages in which he proclaimed Mahomedanism; the leader of more than 20,000 men who acclaimed him King, and having within his reach the port of Almeira, which, as in other times Gibraltar, could well be the key of all Spain.

Then Philip II really grasped the situation, and to stifle the rebellion and do away with the rivalry between the Marquéses de Mondejar and de los Vélez, so dangerous before such formidable enemies, he sent his brother D. John of Austria to Granada.


D. John of Austria arrived on the 12th of April, 1568, at Hiznaleuz, where he halted to arrange his solemn entry on the next day into Granada, which was only five leagues off. He was accompanied by a great number of gentlemen, who formed his suite, and at the head of them was Luis Quijada, placed at D. John's side by the King, as adviser and counsellor. The Duque de Sesa, who also had received the King's orders to help D. John, in the same way as Luis Quijada, was to follow in a few days. The same day the Marqués de Mondejar came, with many captains and kinsmen, to visit D. John; he stayed the night at Hiznaleuz to report about the state of the war, and went back early in the morning to Granada, to fill his post in the solemn reception.

The King had written very minute details to the President, D. Pedro Deza, notifying even how many of the officials of the Courts and Chapter were to go to meet his brother. But the King could not regulate the enthusiasm of the neighbours, or the joy of the troops, some of whom had become slack through the indolence of the Marqués de Mondejar, and others discontented through the harshness and severity of the Marqués de los Vélez. So there was universal hope and joy that day in Granada, and all went to meet the new leader through the fields of the Vega, which were as fresh and as full of sunshine and flowers as were their hopes.

The first to set out was the Conde de Tendilla, eldest son of Mondejar, and he reached the village of Alboloto, a league and a half from Granada; with him were 200 men, 100 of the troop of Tello Gonzalo de Aguilar, and 100 of his own, whose lieutenant was Gonzalo Chacón, shortly afterwards the hero of a certain noisy adventure in the capital. The latter were all finely turned out in Moorish costume, the others wearing crimson silk and satin in the Spanish fashion, and all well armed with cuirasses, helmets, shields and lances, as if they wished to show by their dress that it was a day of rejoicing though a time of war. In the same manner came D. John and his men; he wore a breastplate, shoulder-piece, and gorget of burnished steel, garnished with golden nails, "cuxotes" or wide breeches of cloth of silver and gold, over mulberry-coloured silk, caught in by strings of pearls; crimson stockings, high white leather boots with golden spurs, cuffs and ruff of rich Flemish point, and a high hat of cut velvet with a tuft of feathers, fastened with a magnificent jewel of emeralds; on his breast hung the Golden Fleece, and on his left arm he wore a crimson cockade, the badge of his command, which was afterwards changed for a flowing red sash. They met at Alboloto and exchanged compliments, and together returned to Granada, forming a brilliant squadron. First came D. John of Austria between Luis Quijada and the Conde de Miranda, behind them followed the gentlemen and the troops. Meanwhile, at the Royal Hospital, outside the gates, were waiting the President D. Pedro Deza, the Archbishop, and the Corregidor; the first had brought four judges and the magistrates; the second four canons and the dignitaries of the Chapter; and the Corregidor four aldermen and their deputies.

These were those specified by the King in his letter to D. Pedro Deza, but the entire nobility of the town, the principal citizens and the whole neighbourhood were also assembled, without anyone being able or wishing to stop them. The Moors of the Albaicin, discarding their own dress for that prescribed by the much-discussed decree, came from all parts, mixing with their neighbours, making false sounds of joy and gladness, which, according to the subsequent declaration of some, were mingled with curses under their breath on D. John and the Christians in Arabic. The crowd stretched from the gate of Elvira to the stream of Beyro, where the reception was to take place; in the plain of this name were drawn up all the infantry, which formed a body of 10,000 men, the Marqués de Mondejar at their head. When D. John came in sight, the President and the Archbishop pressed forward to the stream, riding powerful mules with fine trappings, followed by their friends and the Corregidor on horseback with his following, and behind them all the gentlemen and citizens. The first to alight was the President, who very humbly made his compliments to D. John, who promptly threw himself off his horse, receiving the President, hat in hand, in his arms, where he held him a while. He did the same to the Archbishop, and then passed before him, according to their seniority, the judges and the Alcaldes, the dignitaries of the Chapter, the Corregidor and the notable citizens. The President, standing on D. John's right hand, presented them all by name, and to each he said something kind or appropriate, and pleased them all; as besides his natural good heart, which made D. John courteous without affectation or study, he possessed a priceless quality for princes, that of making himself sympathetic and winning affection at first sight.

This ceremony over, Luis Quijada and the Conde de Miranda passed in front of D. John, to leave their places at his right and left hand to the President and Archbishop. In this way they walked to the town, with an incredible crowd of people who filled all the fields. As the suite came up to the first rows of the troops formed up in the plains of Beyro, all the bells of the town began pealing, and the drums to roll; trumpets and clarions sounded, and the arquebuses were fired without intermission, making an impressive salute, the thick smoke of which covered everything as with a transparent cloud, giving to the manly figure of D. John something warlike and supernatural, which charmed the gaze and fired the imagination.

But, suddenly, within the city arose the sound of loud cries and wailing, and D. John saw, leaving by the gate of Elvira, more than 400 women, with dishevelled hair, and torn mourning garments, who filled the air with groans, and running towards him in a disorderly troop, threw themselves under his horse's feet, plucking their hair, beating their breasts, tearing their clothes, covering themselves with dust, and uttering lamentations and shrill cries. Till at last one of them, an old woman, lifting herself up, with her grey hair flying and her mourning garments rent, extended her trembling, withered arms towards D. John, and in a hoarse, disconsolate voice addressed him in these words. "Justice, my lord, Justice is that for which these poor widows and orphans beg, who now must love tears in the place of husbands and fathers; who did not feel so much pain when they heard the cruel blows of the arms with which they were being killed by the heretics, as on hearing that these should be pardoned."

D. John was first taken aback, and then touched, when he learned that these poor women were the widows and orphans of those Christians who lately had been killed and martyred by the Moors, and extending his hand towards them, he performed the miracle of silencing them, and consoled them, as much as he could, by promising to see justice done. Then the lamentations ceased in the city, and D. John saw nothing but hangings and awnings of brocade and cloth of gold, and a crowd of richly adorned dames and maidens, who threw flowers from the windows as he passed and, according to the Moorish custom, glass balls filled with scent. D. John alighted at the door of the "Audiencia," where his lodging was prepared; the house of ill fortune, as the Moors called it, because from it was to come their ruin.

Two days later, D. John being still covered, as one may say, with the dust of the journey, the Moors of the Albaicin sent four of their number on an embassy to him, the most crafty among them, says a chronicler. They wished to sound the new leader and deceive what they presumed to be the inexperience of his youth, as they had deceived the sordid nature of the Marqués de Mondejar, and the fervent piety of the Archbishop. They presented themselves consequently as injured, instead of humbling themselves as offenders, enumerated the injuries that they had received, asking for justice and proclaiming their innocence, and with the greatest effrontery clamoured for the help and protection of D. John for their lives, honour and property.

Photo Anderson


Attributed to Sir Antonio More

In possession of Don Fernan de Fernandez de Velasco

D. John let them talk freely, giving the sustained and courteous attention which all judges should show to the prisoner who is defending himself; but, when they had finished, he began to speak gravely and firmly, his face so impassive that not all the quickness of the Moors could guess his intentions, answering them in these studied words:

"The King, my Lord, has ordered me to come to this kingdom, for its quiet and pacification; be certain that all those who have been loyal to the service of God, Our Lord and his Majesty, as you say you have been, will be looked on favourably, and honoured, and you will keep your liberties and freedom. But also I wish you to know, that as well as using equity and clemency to those who deserve it, those who have not so behaved will be punished with the utmost rigour. And, as regarding the injuries which your spokesman says that you have received, give me your writing so that I may send and have them remedied, and I wish to warn you that what you say had better be true, as otherwise you will bring trouble on yourselves."

The Moors left crestfallen on hearing this, understanding that they had not succeeded in taking the youth by surprise, and already fearing his resolution and prudence. And they were right to be afraid, as from the first moment D. John was convinced that the mainspring of the rebellion was the Albaicin, that from there it was always being stirred up with help and news, and sustained and animated by well-grounded hopes of being assisted by Turks and "Berberiscos" from the coast. He, therefore, resolved at once to guard the coast in a way that should make landing impossible, and to clear out the Albaicin, that sink of treason and espionage, at one blow casting forth all the Moors from Granada. So D. John put these two proposals before his Council of War, and without a murmur they approved of the first one, agreeing that the Knight Commander D. Luis de Requesens, Lieutenant-General of D. John at sea, should assist, with the galleys he had in Italy, to guard and defend the coasts. As regards the expulsion of the Moors from the Albaicin, their opinions were divided, and each defended his own with more or less reason and courage. But D. John, firm in his purpose, which was upheld by the authority of the President, D. Pedro Deza, sent the advice to the King, begging him, if he approved, to give instructions about the villages, and how to settle these dangerous people beyond the radius of the rebellion.

D. John did not waste time while the King was arranging the business. He first applied himself with great activity and energy to repress the excesses of the captains and soldiers as to lodging, taxes and rapine of all kinds, and to reduce the war to a plan, under one leader, a thing hitherto impossible, owing to the rivalry and mutual dislike of the Marquéses de Mondejar and de los Vélez, and the want of discipline and cupidity of the officers and soldiers, who were more occupied with pillage and booty than in gaining victories or taking positions. They did not fight to win, but to rob, and at times, overburdened with their plunder, they let themselves be killed rather than abandon it; others, already having enough booty to satisfy their greed, fled with it inland, deserting their colours.

Luis Quijada unfailingly helped D. John with his sound judgment and his great experience in the art of war, without sparing him arguments or grumblings, as in other times he had not spared the Emperor, D. John's father, and a month after Quijada's arrival at Granada, the 16th of May, he wrote the following disconsolate letter to the Prince of Évoli, which gives an idea of the sad state of the campaign.

"I owe an answer to your lordship's letter of the 7th of this month: for three or four days I have had no fever and have endeavoured to get up, but I could only do so for a few hours, as my weakness is great, and I return to bed tired out; I eat and sleep with scant pleasure. I will go as I can and not as I should wish, because if ever I felt ill it is now, and I do not want to make myself out such a great soldier that I could have remedied everything; but I do think that much might have been done at the beginning. These damned soldiers, volunteers and citizens, live in a way never before known; they have no discipline and behave in a way that is not reasonable or right for men of war, because they think not of fighting, but of robbing God and everyone. God's Will be done, but I tell you that such a disaster at such a time has never been known as the one that befell the Knight Commander;[9] we placed our hopes in him to hold the sea, not less than on the soldiers he was bringing us, to produce the good effect that could be brought about. This is over, and so entirely over that for hours at a time and without any difficulty the arms and ammunition these dogs expect, which it is said is a great quantity, can be landed: to receive them there are more than enough people, but not enough to carry them away; according to report the galley slaves will arrive at a signal, and will go to the mountains, to which those of the plain have already retired, taking the remainder of their property, determined to die, and I have no doubt that they will do so if the soldiers were to press them, although the formation of the ground will protect them; but, sir, it grieves me much that these are not soldiers any more than their captains and officers. Then the galleys which came from Italy and the soldiers in them were of so little use that it was best to order them to return, and until Gian Andrea arrives, as D. Álvaro de Bazán is in Sardinia, I do not know if it would be wise to order him to join D. Sancho, that they should not dare to disembark in such a barefaced way, but they will know what is best there. I am afraid we shall pay for the delay of Gian Andrea and the haste of the Knight Commander. These dogs have been making signals for eight days and have assembled 12,000, among whom are 6000 marksmen, the rest with weapons, swords, and slings, and in other parts 8000 are assembled. I do not believe that they are as well armed as they tell us, or that they have as much powder as they make out. Through my illness I have not been near a Council or heard anything for days. You will know what is happening by what the Lord D. John writes; my opinion is that it will be best to press them and bring this business to an end. It might be wrong according to how long the people tarry that we have sent for and whether they are as good as we could wish. The horse soldiers are very good, and wherever they go, however few they be, the Moors do not wait for them, nor please God will they do so unless they alter the order which has been kept here hitherto, as with theirs they can hope for no success; for bad as we are, they are worse, as we at all events try to be more or less worthy men. The Lord D. John does all he can with the assistance of those you know of with all possible care and diligence and in finding out bribes and swindling and wrongs which the officers have done, but it requires great skill, as many arrange that if they lose their money, they have still more left as they give it to the others: they say it is beyond all words, even after they have heard that D. John has named an auditor to look into the matter. It was the wisest thing to have sent the Licentiate Biguera, for many reasons, but specially to see what belongs to His Majesty, which is a great quantity, if it is well looked after, but it is much for one man to do. Oh, my lord! What land to buy! What is worth ten to-day in ten years will be worth a hundred; I should not be sorry to hear you were thinking and finding out about it; for much less than what you gave D. Diego you could buy a better estate: His Majesty must sell and at a good price, and the profit will be great for him who buys. I beg Y.L. to forgive such a long letter, but it is after two o'clock, and I cannot sleep; if it pleases you that I should tell you tittle-tattle I have certainly done so. That Pastrana so much pleases the Princess now it is hers I can well believe: may your lordship and ladyship enjoy it for many long years. I kiss your lordship's hands many times. From Real before the Moors. 16th of May, 1569."


Philip II approved of his brother's proposal and authorised him to expel all Moors over ten and under sixty from Granada.

They were to be assigned places of habitation in the villages of Andalucia and Castille, which the King indicated, and handed over lists to the justices there, that they might know about them.

The King also desired, to avoid scandal and to perform the matter more gently, that the exile should not be inflicted as a punishment, but that they were to be given to understand that they were taken away from danger for their own good and peace, and that, quiet being restored, they would be taken care of, and that the loyal and innocent would be rewarded. Few were so in their acts and none were so in their feelings.

As D. Philip said, it was a dangerous piece of work for two different reasons. It was to be feared that the Moors, seeing themselves found out, would try some last and supreme stroke; and it was equally probable that the populace of Granada, on seeing them captured and without arms, would rise against them and commit some barbarous injury to their persons and property. D. John foresaw all; with great prudence and secrecy he sent to warn first of all, the armed men in the towns and villages of the plain, and on the 23rd of June, the Eve of St. John's Day, he suddenly issued a proclamation, ordering that in two hours' time all the Moors who dwelt in the town of Granada, or its castle, and in the Albaicin, citizens as well as strangers, should repair to their respective parish churches.

The terror of the Moors was great, and fear and surprise stopped all idea of resistance; they knew themselves to be criminals worthy of the extreme penalty, and they were afraid that they were going to be imprisoned in order that they might be beheaded.

With a great tumult of groans and tears they all ran to the square of Bib-el-Bonut, to the residence of the Jesuits, and, giving mournful cries, called for Father Juan de Albotodo, a Moor by origin, who was so often their protector, helper, and also their dupe. The Father appeared at a window, without cap or cloak, as he was in the house, and heard the cries of these shameless ones, who already did not dare to demand justice, but only craved for mercy from the King, and charity and help to save their lives from the Father. Albotodo was truly a saint, a man of about forty, worn in body and face, very sunburnt and with such black eyes and hair that they proclaimed his Arab origin at once.

Albotodo descended to the square, and these wretched people did and said such things that they touched the Jesuit's very tender heart, and he ran off to the Audiencia without stopping to get hat or cloak, hoping to soften President Deza's heart, or, if necessary, D. John of Austria's. All the people followed him with groans to the entrance of the Albaicin, but no one dared to descend the hill, as the danger and their bad consciences had made cowards of them, as always happens to criminals.

Breathless the Jesuit arrived at the Audiencia, and the President received him as if he saw an angel coming down from heaven. Nothing could have been more opportune than his intervention, because no one could quiet the Moors as he could, and convince them that their lives were not in danger. In such good faith did D. Pedro Deza act, that he spontaneously offered to give a paper, signed with his name, to the Jesuit, assuring their lives to the Moors. The Father accepted his word: and wrote the document himself, which D. Pedro Deza signed, and the Jesuit, satisfied with this, ran back to the Albaicin, waving the parchment above his head, as if to quicken the hopes of the unhappy men he detested as criminals, but whom he cordially pitied as brothers and doomed men.

Father Albotodo read the parchment from the window: they believing it as he was a priest, says a chronicler, decided to go to their parish churches, depressed, gloomy and suspicious, because as soon as their hopes for their lives were confirmed, their anger and spite were rekindled, which only death could extinguish.

D. John ordered the parish churches to be guarded with several companies of infantry, and, having managed to establish order as regarded the Moors, he anticipated any trouble on the part of the Christians by issuing a proclamation, in the name of the King, to the effect that the confined Moors were under the royal protection and care, and had been promised that no harm should befall them, and that they were being taken from Granada out of danger from the soldiers.

Everyone in Granada, however, awoke the next morning uneasy and full of anxiety, because the Moors had to be moved from the parish churches, where they had spent the night, to the Royal Hospital beyond the gates, and there given over to the charge of the clerks and royal enumerators in order that the former should make a list of them, and that the others should undertake to assign them residences in those villages in Castille and Andalucia settled beforehand. Rebellion and mutiny were feared on both sides, and such would have been the case had not D. John foreseen everything. He ordered that all the soldiers should form up at daybreak in the plain between the gate of Elvira and the Royal Hospital, which was the most open and dangerous place. He commanded the first of the companies himself, and the other three were led by the Duque de Sesa, Luis Quijada, and the Licentiate Briviesca de Muñatones.

D. John took up his position at the door of the hospital, which was the most critical post. His standard of Captain-General, which was of crimson damask, much adorned with gold and having a figure of Christ on one side and of His Blessed Mother on the other, was carried in front of him to give him more authority. Pity towards these unarmed wretches was, however, stronger in the inhabitants of Granada than hatred and the desire for vengeance, and all the Moors were able to descend from the Albaicin, cross the town, and enter the hospital without being molested by anyone.

"It was a miserable sight," says Luis de Marmol, an eye-witness, participator in and chronicler of all these events "to see so many men of all ages, hanging their heads, their hands crossed, and their faces bathed with tears, looking sad and sorrowful, having left their comfortable houses, their families, their country, their habits, their properties and everything they had, and not even certain what would be done with their heads."

Twice, however, they were on the verge of a catastrophe, as it occurred to a certain captain of infantry from Seville, called Alonso de Arellano, from a stupid wish to be remarkable, to put a crucifix covered with a black veil on the top of a lance, and to carry it as a trophy in front of his company, which was guarding the Moors of two parishes. Seeing this token of mourning, some Moorish women in the street of Elvira thought that D. John had broken his word, and that their husbands were being taken to be beheaded; they began to weep and cry out in their Arabic dialect (aljamia), tearing their hair, "Oh, unlucky ones! they are taking you like lambs to be slaughtered. How much better for you to have died in the houses where you were born!" This inflamed the feelings of all, and Christians and Moors would have come to blows, had not Luis Quijada arrived in time to calm them, assuring the Moors afresh of their safety, and ordering the crucifix to be taken away.

At the door of the Royal Hospital there was another great commotion. A "barrachal" or captain of the alguaciles, named Velasco, gave a blow to a Moorish boy, an imbecile, who threw half a brick that he was carrying under his arm at the captain's head, wounding an ear; in the confusion it was thought that the injured man was D. John of Austria, as he wore blue like the "barrachal"; the halberdiers fell on the Moor and cut him to pieces, and the same thing would have happened to those that followed, had not D. John urged his horse into the middle of the throng and, stopping everything, said in a voice burning with indignation and with a commanding look, "What is this? Soldiers! Do you not realise that if misdeeds displease God in the infidels, how much more they do so in those who profess His laws, because they are the more obliged to keep faith with all sorts of people, especially in matters of confidence. Have a care, then, about what you are doing, that you do not break the pledge I have given them, because once broken it would be difficult to renew it, and if God tarries in their punishment it is not for me to forestall His justice."

Having spoken thus, he ordered D. Francisco de Solis and Luis del Marmol, who saw and relate all this, to have the gates guarded and to let no one enter, that the report should not spread, and he told the "barrachal" to go and get his wound dressed and to say that no one had hurt him, but that his own horse had kicked him.

Once out of Granada, that dangerous focus of the rebellion, D. John determined, with his native energy, to finish the barbarous war, the continual drain of blood, honour and money, at all costs and as quickly as possible; but far from dying out it only went on growing, owing to the quarrels and plunderings of the Christians, to such a point that the Moors no longer fell back and defended themselves in the fastness of the mountains, but attacked and took places as strong as those on the River Almangora or the castle of Serón, where they killed 150 Christians and took as many captive, including the Alcaide Diego de Mirones.

These victories puffed up the kinglet Aben-Humeya, and his pride increased quicker than his power, so that he even dared to write as a king to D. John asking that his father D. Antonio de Valor should be set at liberty, who for a common offence had been shut up in the Chancellery of Granada before the rebellion. He sent the letter by a Christian boy, a captive in Serón, and gave him a safe conduct which said, "In the name of God, the merciful and pitiful. From his high state, exalted and renewed by the grace of God, the King Muley Mahomet Aben-Humeya, by him may God comfort those afflicted, and sorrowful through the people of the West. Let all know that this boy is a Christian and goes to the city of Granada on my business, concerning the welfare of Moors and Christians, in the way it is usual for kings to treat with each other. All who see and meet him are to allow him to go safely on his way and to give him all aid in carrying this out; those who do otherwise and stop or take him will be condemned to lose their heads." Underneath was, "Written by order of the King Aben Chapela." On the left hand, underneath, in big letters, apparently written by his own hand, was, "This is true," in imitation of the African Moorish Kings, who, for greater grandeur, were accustomed to sign in this way.

D. John did not consent to receive either the messenger or the letter of the rebel heretic; the one, however, was read and the other examined by the Council, who decided to send no reply; but the father of Aben-Humeya, D. Antonio de Valor, wrote that he was being well treated in prison; that he had not been tortured as had been falsely put about, and that he, as a father, deplored his son's rebellion and counselled submission and repentance.

Shortly afterwards Aben-Humeya wrote again to both D. John and his father, this time sending the letters by Xoaybi, Alcaide of Guejar. This traitor read and kept them, in order to accuse and take him, as he in fact did.


At length D. John set out on his campaign with all his native energy, according to his wishes so long kept in check by his continual struggle with his advisers, all quarrelling, as D. Diego Hurtado de Mendoza so graphically paints in his laconic and celebrated letter to the Prince de Évoli. "Very illustrious sir—Truly nothing happens in Granada; the Lord D. Luis listens; the Duque (Sesa) fusses; the Marqués (Mondejar) discourses; Luis Quijada grumbles; Munatones submits; my nephew is there and is not missed here."

D. John sent one company of the army towards the Alpujarras, with the Duque de Sesa at their head, and himself attacked with the other, first, Guejar, a formidable place in which the Moors had one of their centres of operations, then reinforced with Berberiscos and Turks. By the clever manœuvre arranged by D. John they fell upon it unawares, and took the place and the castle with fewer losses and less difficulty than was feared.

The first to fly was the Alcaide Xoaybi, and he went proclaiming everywhere, to spite Aben-Humeya, that the latter was in treaty with the Christians to end the war and to give up the Moors, and in proof of this he showed a wrongly interpreted letter, kept by him at Guejar. They all believed the evil deeds of Aben-Humeya, which were many, and most of all a certain Diego Alguacil, a native of Albacete de Ujijar, who owed him a bitter grudge, because Aben-Humeya had, by evil intrigue, decoyed away a widowed cousin who was the mistress of Diego Alguacil. The kinglet took her by force, but she always kept up a correspondence with her cousin, to whom she told all Aben-Humeya's doings and plans.

Diego Alguacil made use of these advantages, and with a nephew named Diego de Rojas, and the renegade Diego Lopéz Aben Aboo, a dyer of the Albaicin, and the Turkish captains Huscein and Carafax, who had come from Algeria, contrived a plot, which would have been iniquitous had it not been against such a scoundrel as Aben-Humeya. They forged letters from him to Aben Aboo, ordering him to kill all the Turks treacherously, and then they went to Laujar de Andarax, where Aben-Humeya was, intending to take him and kill him. He, however, had had warning of what was happening, and decided to fly to Valor at daybreak on the 3rd of October, but he was kept that night by a festival, and tired by merry-making, put off the journey until the next day, though the horses were already saddled. This was his ruin, as with the dawn Diego Alguacil, Aben Aboo and the others arrived and assaulted the house, taking him unawares. Aben-Humeya went to the door half dressed, with a crossbow in his hand, followed by the Moorish widow; but, as this bad woman saw at a glance what was happening, she clung to him, as if frightened, but in reality to stop him using his arms or the crossbow, and to make it easy for the others to capture him. This Aben Aboo and Diego Alguacil did, tying his hands with an "almaijar" (turban of gauze) and his legs very tightly with a hempen cord.

They were then joined by the Turkish captains, and in the presence of the Moorish woman began to hold his trial and to judge him. They produced the forged letters, which he, innocent and surprised, repudiated with energy, but they felled him to the ground with a blow, as one already sentenced and executed, and began in his presence to sack the house, and divide among themselves his women, money, clothes and goods, ending by designating Aben Aboo as the poor wretch's successor, who saw in his lifetime his most mortal enemies dividing his whole property. From the corner in which he lay bound, Aben-Humeya watched them and followed them with bitter speeches, which revealed the depth of his fury and the blackness of his heart. That he never intended to be a Moor except to avenge himself on one or the other. That he had hanged his enemies, friends and relations; cut off their heads, taken their women, stolen their property, and as he had fulfilled his desires and vengeance, now they were taking theirs, but not for all this could they take away his heartfelt satisfaction. When he heard that Aben Aboo was designated to succeed him, he said that he died content, because Aben Aboo would soon find himself in the same situation as he was in at the moment.

At daybreak Diego Alguacil and Diego de Rojas took him to another room and there strangled him with a cord, each pulling an end. In the morning they took him out and buried him in a dunghill, as something despicable.

Meanwhile D. John of Austria was driving the Moors from place to place, and from rock to rock, towards the Alpujarras, where the other wing of the army was to cut them off. And such were his ardour, forethought, and wish to participate as much in the responsibilities of a leader as in the fatigues and dangers of a soldier, that the then veteran D. Diego Hurtado de Mendoza says of this, "And those of us who were in the engagements of the Emperor seemed to see in the son an image of the courage and forethought of the father, and his desire to be everywhere, especially with the enemy." Luis Quijada never left him for a moment, restraining at each step D. John's imprudent rashness in what concerned his own person, as he exposed his life with dangerous frequency. However, on this path of triumph, D. John met with desperate resistance from the town of Galera, where even the women fought with the vigour of valiant men. It was a very strong place, situated on a long ridge like a ship, whence its name, and on the summit it had an old castle surrounded by high mounds of rock, which supplied the lack of the fallen walls. In the town were more than 3000 Moorish fighting men, with a good handful of Turks and Berberiscos; so safe did they think the place that they had stored there wheat and barley to last more than a year, and great treasure of gold, silver, silks, pearls and other costly things.

D. John made a careful survey of the place from one of the high hills which dominated it, with Luis Quijada, the Knight Commander of Castille, and other renowned captains, and then ordered the batteries and trenches to be prepared for the assault. D. John personally inspected this work as Captain, General, and soldier, and, because it was necessary to go for the esparto grass of which the gabions were made to a distant hill, he went on foot in front of the soldiers to encourage them to work, and carried his load on his back like the rest, even to placing it in the trench. They began, as soon as it was light, to fire at the tower of the church with two big cannon, and in a few shots they opened a high, though small breach, through which to make the assault, and D. Pedro de Padilla, the Marqués de la Favara, and D. Alonso de Luzón entered with others of the courageous gentlemen who followed D. John with his people from simple love of him.

The artillery went on firing at some houses, seemingly of earth, which were beside the church; but when they tried a second assault, so great was the fury with which the Moors repulsed them, and so strong was the resistance these miserable hovels offered, that the Christians had to retire with great damage, leaving several gallant gentlemen who had clamoured to advance penned in. One of them was D. Juan de Pacheco, a knight of Santiago, who was dismembered limb by limb, on account of the rage which the red cross on his breast inspired in the Moors. He had only arrived at the camp two hours before, from his home, Talavera de la Reina, and without more than just kissing D. John's hand entered the fray where he met with his death.

D. John, nothing daunted by this defeat, ordered new mines to be laid and fresh batteries placed, and settled another assault for the 20th of January, which, from the mines exploding prematurely, ended in a second disaster. Both sides fought with great valour, and ensign D. Pedro Zapata succeeded in planting his flag on the enemy's wall with such boldness that, if the entrance had permitted others to help him, the town would have been gained that day; but the narrowness of the place prevented all help, and the Moors fell on him and threw him, badly wounded, down from the battery, still holding his flag, which he never let go, nor could anyone tear it from him, pull as they might. That day died more than 300 soldiers, among them many captains and men of worth, and more than 500 were wounded.

D. John's sorrow changed to ill-concealed rage, and he swore that day to level Galera to the ground and to sow it with salt, and to put all its dwellers to the sword; which he soon afterwards accomplished, as at the third assault, with new mines laid to the foundations of the castle, and enormous breaches made by heavy artillery brought from Guescar, almost the whole village blew up with a dreadful noise and earthquake, which made the hill tremble, and the Christians dashed forward and gained the town inch by inch, until they penned up more than 1000 Moors in a little square, where they slew them without mercy or pity. The streets ran with blood and it made the roads slippery, covering the bushes and brambles as if with crimson flowers. They took great booty of things of much value, and D. John ordered that the great quantity of wheat and barley which the Moors had stored there should be seized; he also ordered D. Luis del Mármol, who relates all these events, to raze the town and sow it with salt, as he had sworn.

D. John of Austria left Galera and went straight to lay siege to the town and castle of Serón, where awaited him the first real sorrow which embittered his life. He encamped his troops at Canilles, and from there he wished to go personally to reconnoitre the place, taking with him the Knight Commander of Castille and Luis Quijada, with 2000 picked arquebusiers and 200 horses.

The Moors of Serón saw them coming, and hurriedly began to make signals from the castle, asking for help. Many went to take shots at the Christians from the slope and then fled, pursued by the Christians, all of whom entered the place, which seemed deserted; the women could be seen running to take refuge in the castle, and from there were making signals. The soldiers gave themselves up in a shameless manner to sacking the houses, and better to secure the plunder many shut themselves up in them. Suddenly there appeared more than 1000 Moors from Tijola, Purchena, and other villages on the river, in response to the signals, and the panic of the Christians was then boundless.

They fled in a disorderly way, and unwilling to leave the booty they had already in their hands, and encumbered with the loads, they stumbled, fell one on the top of the other, affording a good mark for stones, arrows, and bullets. D. John, from the hill where he was, saw all this confusion, and angry at the danger to his soldiers and at their want of discipline, fearlessly plunged his horse into the midst of them, crying with heroic force:

"What is this? Spaniards! Whom are you flying from? Where is the honour of Spain? Have you not your captain D. John of Austria in front of you? What do you fear? Retire in order like men of war with your faces to the enemy, and you will soon see these barbarians terrified at your arms." But Luis Quijada also saw the danger D. John ran within reach of shot, and he went with all speed to make him retire. At the same moment a ball from an arquebus struck the Prince's helmet, and, had it not been so solid, would have killed him. Like a lion whose cubs are being hurt, Luis Quijada turned and urged his horse on as if he would annihilate the marksman. He then received a shot in the shoulder, and they saw him first stagger and then fall heavily from his horse, among the cries of grief and shrieks of rage of those who were near. D. John covered him with his person, and with wonderful presence of mind, ordered him to be taken to Canilles with an escort by Tello de Aguilar and the horses from Jerez la Fontera.


Luis Quijada arrived at Canilles very much exhausted on a stretcher made of poles, carried by four soldiers who were continually changed; they took him to his inn, poor and bare, it being war-time and in an enemy's country, and there D. John's doctors hastened to dress the wound. He was consumed with thirst and continually asked for water, and, above all, was anxious about D. John, whom he had left in such a dangerous situation. At last Juan de Soto arrived, D. John's new secretary, good Juan de Quiroga having died months before in Granada. He said that D. John had been able to effect a retreat with great loss, and that he had received such a blow from a stone on his shield that the pebble remained fixed in the metal: a wonderful performance, but by no means unique, considering the strength of those terrible Moorish slingers, who could do as much harm with a stone as with an arquebus.

D. John returned to Canilles after dark, his left arm somewhat hurt by the terrible rebound of the shield on receiving the blow; he went direct to Luis Quijada's room and shut himself up with the doctors. These all declared the veteran's wound to be mortal; but they did not think that death was imminent, and without hope of saving him, they nevertheless believed that they could ward it off for at least a few days. D. John was profoundly grieved, and thought first of all of Doña Magdalena. This lady was in Madrid, in order to have the quickest and most reliable news about the war, and that same night D. John sent a messenger there with a true and detailed account of what had happened. Knowing the great heart and courage of the lady, he did not doubt for a moment that on hearing the news she would at once fly to her husband's side, so he also sent an itinerary, written by his own hand, marking the safest route by which to make this undoubtedly brave journey considering the roughness of the road, the coolness of the season, and even the age of the lady, who was already fifty, and, above all, the continual risk of being surprised and attacked by the Moorish highwaymen, scattered all over that part of the kingdom of Granada, which was then the seat of war.

To prevent great dangers, D. John wrote to all the places where there were garrisons, which most places had, ordering them to give Doña Magdalena a strong and safe escort on her way, and he also ordered that daily two messengers might leave, one at daybreak and one in the evening, so that she should have frequent reports, whether she was in Madrid or on the journey, at the close of each day. D. John wrote these dispatches daily with his own hand after having consulted the doctors and heard their opinion. The first news D. John sent to Doña Magdalena by his favourite and confidential valet Jorge de Lima. He had not judged the intrepid lady wrongly; as no sooner did she hear the terrible news than she at once arranged her journey, without hesitation or foolish hurry, but with the calmness and prudent activity which carry superior souls through difficult situations. She was accompanied by her brother the Marqués de la Mota, D. Rodrigo de Ulloa, several relations and friends, and a good many armed and trusty servants. Doña Magdalena performed this journey as far as Granada in a litter, and from there to Canilles she rode strong mules lent her by the Archbishop; so long were the stages and so short the rests, that in five days she had traversed the sixty leagues which separated her from her lord and husband Luis Quijada. Meanwhile he felt that he was dying little by little, as he had himself said of the Emperor on the eve of his death. D. John had suspended operations, and looked after and helped Luis Quijada by himself as long as possible. These filial cares touched the old soldier, and he gave him counsels and warnings, and warmly commended good Doña Magdalena to him, although he did not really believe that he was actually dying.

But when he heard from D. John himself that Doña Magdalena was already on the way, and knew of all the loving precautions he had taken to protect her journey, the veteran's eyes filled with tears, and putting his only available hand on D. John's head, he pressed it with a manly and supreme effort. The advent of death laid bare the tenderness of his heart and smoothed his rugged nature. On the 20th of February, 1570, he was very much exhausted, and for the first time realised that his end was near. He at once asked for the sacraments, and D. John brought a Franciscan friar, one of those who followed the army, and was at the convent of Canilles. He was the then celebrated Fr. Christóbal de Molina, the hero of Tablate, whose dreadful gorge he was the first to cross, on a fragile plank, his frock turned up, a sword in one hand and a crucifix in the other. Owing to the great terror inspired in the Moors, and the heroic emulation of the Christians, to the daring of the friar was due the defeat of the former and the victory of the latter, and the relief of Orgiva, sorely pressed by Aben-Humeya. Fr. Christóbal was small and ill-looking, and at his first visit Luis Quijada did not like him. When D. John, who revered him much, asked the reason, Quijada answered candidly, "He distracts me and makes me worry, thinking how such a wretched little man could do so brave a deed."

Quijada, however, confessed to him with great contrition for his sins, and the same day they brought the Viaticum from St. Mary's and he received extreme unction, waited on by D. John, who most lovingly uncovered his hands and feet to be anointed with the holy oils. The next day, before the auditor of the army, Juan Bravo, he made a long codicil whose clauses all breathe the same simple piety, at times rude, of the great warriors of former times, in which, no doubt, lay the secret of their courage. A celebrated, but by no means devout author, says, "Heaven smiles on the soldier who can dash into the fray uttering the holy war cry 'I believe.'"

Luis Quijada left the poor heirs of all his considerable wealth that was not entailed, and the usufruct of it to Doña Magdalena. He founded granaries and "monts de piété" in his four towns of Villagarcia, Villanueva de los Caballeros, Santofimia and Villamayor, founded schools, endowed hospitals with a special income that the dying should want for nothing, and added clauses referring to Doña Magdalena in this tender way: "And if Doña Magdalena thinks it best to join our estates and found some convent of friars or nuns, provided that they are not the bare-footed nuns, as it is so cold at Campos that they could not live there, in this case I give power to Doña Magdalena and my executors, that joined, she may dispose of and order them, as our wishes have both been to make a perpetual foundation with her property and mine, and that we should be buried together and have in death the same good companionship we had in life."

On the morning of the 23rd Luis Quijada was rather restless from fever, and a little before noon Jorge de Lima arrived saying that Doña Magdalena was only one hour behind. D. John went to meet her at the entrance of the village, and led her himself to Quijada's bedside. In his delirium Quijada did not know her, but at dawn this disappeared as the fever lowered, and he had long, loving talks with her. He again wandered in the afternoon of the 24th, and never again came to himself; this strong life was ebbing away, little by little, and on the 25th of February at dusk he quietly expired, as one who passes from the natural to the eternal sleep. D. John held the hand which grasped the candle of the dying, Doña Magdalena, on the other side, showed him the crucifix, and Fr. Christóbal de Molina, kneeling at his feet, commended the passing soul.

At the moment of death D. John embraced Doña Magdalena, pressing her to his heart, as if he wished to show that he still remained to love and care for her; the lady hid her face for a moment in that loyal breast, and three or four dry, hoarse sobs escaped from her, signs rather of manly sorrow than of feminine weakness; but she recovered herself at once, and with great calmness and devotion closed the dead man's eyes, according to the custom of the times, sealing them with drops of wax from the candle of the dying; keeping the lids closed with her fingers and D. John dropping the wax. There were present the Knight Commander D. Luis de Requesens, the Marqués de la Mota, and the other captains and gentlemen who filled the poor habitation, the rest grouping themselves in the street, waiting sorrowfully for the fatal conclusion.

They dressed the corpse in his war armour, and, as a sign of piety, in a Franciscan's cloak; the hands were crossed over the breast, on which rested his sword, whose handle was a cross. D. John arranged that the corpse should be exposed all the morning before the army, on a litter adorned with trophies and flags, and that in the afternoon they should carry it and bury it in the convent of the Heronimites at Baza, which was the place Quijada had himself chosen, until Doña Magdalena could carry it elsewhere.[10] All the army were on the march with arquebuses reversed, the lances, pikes and flags trailing, the drums muffled, the clarions and pipes untuned. The oldest captains carried the litter alternately, and behind them went D. John, riding a mule, covered to the ground with mourning, he wearing a cloak with a hood which covered him to the eyes, his standard of Generalissimo in front, not reversed like the other flags, but carried high as usual; the Knight Commander followed and all the leaders of the army, more or less wearing mourning, according to what black cloth they could procure in that wretched place.

Doña Magdalena stayed on three days in the camp and then went to the convent of Abrojo, where she intended retiring for a few weeks. She travelled in a very comfortable mourning litter which D. John had provided for her, and he accompanied her for two leagues beyond Canilles, riding by the side of her litter. There they separated: she sad as one having left behind all she loved; he sad too—as sad as one can be at twenty-three.


During these days of encampment at Canilles D. John reformed his army, and falling again on Serón with great force and good fortune, the Moors had no choice but to fly, first setting fire to the village and castle. Then he entered Tijola, Purchena, Cantoria, and Tahali, and went from victory to victory all along the River Almanzora, and so great was the dread of the Moors that on only hearing of his coming they fled incontinently, abandoning without resistance places and fortresses; which was due not only to D. John's great reputation for valour and energy, but also because this youth of twenty-three was already one of those valiant and honoured leaders who only make war to gain peace, and while on one side he terrified the enemy with the renown of his victories, on the other he secretly held out his hand to arrive at a just judgment, which would spare bloodshed, although it might detract some rays of fame from his glory.

For some time D. John had contemplated making a truce with the Moors, and with the greatest secrecy he had put this matter into the hands of the captain Francisco de Molina, a friend from childhood of the Moorish leader in that land, Hernando el Habaqui. With much secrecy, then, the two friends had an interview, and the proposals did not displease the Habaqui; he was a very discreet man and, unlike most of his race, loyal and frank.

They discussed the conditions, and at last the Habaqui agreed, and promised to do all that he could to make the kinglet Aben Aboo agree also. D. John had not sufficient confidence in these treaties to make him suspend operations; on the contrary, the war went on, cruel and sanguinary, at Terque, the River Almanzora, and the Padules de Andarax. But on arriving at Santa Fé, on the 17th of April, the negotiations were so far advanced that he decided to issue a proclamation, whose principal articles were as follows: "It is promised to all Moors who have been in rebellion against His Majesty, men as well as women, of whatever rank and condition they may be, if within twenty days, counting from the date of this proclamation, they will come and give themselves up, and deliver their persons into the hands of his Majesty and of the Lord D. John of Austria in his name, he will grant them their lives and will order that they shall be heard, and justice done to those who afterwards desire to prove the violence and oppression they have suffered to force them to rebel; and he will act towards the rest with his usual clemency, to these, as to those, who besides giving themselves up, render some signal service, such as beheading or taking prisoner Turks or Berberiscos of those who joined the Moors or other natives of the kingdom who have been captains or leaders of the rebellion and who still persist, not caring to enjoy the grace and mercy that his Majesty offers them.

"Furthermore; to all those who are above fifteen and under fifty who come within the said time to give themselves up and who give into the keeping of his Majesty's ministers, each one a gun or a crossbow with ammunition."

Thousands of this proclamation were scattered throughout the kingdom of Granada, and from the first minute Moors began to present themselves in the camps of D. John and the Duque de Sesa, craving for pardon. All had a cross of red cloth or linen sewn on the left sleeve, so that they might be known from afar and not hurt, as was ordered in one of the articles of the proclamation. Meanwhile the Habaqui fulfilled his promise to obtain leave from Aben Aboo to submit, and he begged D. John to name commissioners to arrange the form in which the kinglet and he should make their submissions, as well as the other leaders for whom they were acting. On Friday, the 19th of May, the gentlemen named by D. John conferred in Fondon de Andarax with the Habaqui and his men, and it was settled that the Habaqui, in the name of all, should throw himself at the feet of D. John of Austria, begging mercy for his sins, and delivering up flag and arms.

They then set out the same day for the Padules, where D. John was encamped; the Habaqui and the gentlemen commissioners, with 300 Moorish marksmen whom they brought as escort. The Habaqui rode an Algerian horse, with Arab trappings; he wore a white turban and a crimson caftan, his only arms a sword set with many precious stones; he was a spare man with a good figure, with a thin beard which was beginning to turn white. At his side an ensign of the escort bore the banner of Aben Aboo, of turquoise damask, with a half-moon on the point of the staff, and some words in Arabic which meant, "I could not desire more or be contented with less." The marksmen followed five in a row. Four companies of Spanish infantry, who were waiting at the limits of the camp, surrounded them, and on passing the lines the Habaqui gave up the banner of Aben Aboo to the secretary Juan de Soto, who was riding at his side. In this way they passed through the ranks of the infantry and horse soldiers, who played their bands and fired a fine salute of arquebuses, which lasted a quarter of an hour.

D. John of Austria waited in his tent, attended by all the captains and gentlemen of the army; he was in full armour, one page held his helmet, and another, on his left hand, the standard of the Generalissimo. The Habaqui alighted in front of the tent and went straight to throw himself at the feet of D. John, exclaiming, "Mercy, my lord, may your Highness grant us mercy in the King's name, and pardon for our sins, which we know have been great," and taking off the sword with which he was girded, he placed it in D. John's hand, saying, "These arms and flag I give up to His Majesty in the name of Aben Aboo and of all the rebels for whom I am empowered to act." And at that moment Juan de Soto threw down the kinglet's banner at D. John's feet.

D. John listened to him and looked at him with such quiet and peaceful dignity that he well represented the justice and mercy of which he was the guardian. He ordered the Habaqui to rise, and giving him back his sword, told him to keep it, and with it to serve His Majesty. D. John afterwards loaded him with favours, and ordered his gentlemen to do the same: that day the Habaqui dined in the tent of D. Francisco de Córdoba, and the following one in that of the Bishop of Guadix, who was in the camp.

The next day the festival of Corpus Christi was celebrated in the camp, with all the pomp and solemnity possible in such an out-of-the-way place, and with the joy natural to those who believed that the disastrous war was ended. By cartloads and armfuls the soldiers brought flowers and herbs, so plentiful in May in that fertile country, to adorn the altar and the road by which the Holy Sacrament was to go. They hung with fair and fragrant garlands the tent in which Mass was said, and which stood, raised, in a sort of square in the centre of the camp, and around it they planted green groves and arches of foliage, with flags and streamers. The soldiers had made it a point of honour to adorn their tents, and there was not one which was not beautified with wreaths, flags, and little altars of different kinds; many of them were ornamented with rich cloths and other precious things, the booty of war. The Host was carried by the Bishop of Guadix, under a brocaded canopy, held up by D. John of Austria, the Knight Commander of Castille D. Francisco de Córdoba, and the Licentiate Simon de Salazar, Alcaide of the King's Court and household; in front, two by two, went all the friars and clergy of the camp, who were numerous, and the knights, captains, and gentlemen, with torches and tapers of wax, lighted, in their hands. From one end of the camp to the other the infantry and horsemen had formed up with their flags flying, and as the Blessed Sacrament passed, they knelt down, lowering their arms, standards and banners, kissing the dust; the bands played martial hymns, and through the air thundered salvos of arquebuses, which did not cease for at least a quarter of an hour. "A friar of St. Francis preached that day," says Luis del Mármol, "who with many tears praised Our Lord for His great favour and mercy in having made the place Christian by bringing the Moors to a knowledge of their sins; and besides this he said many things which consoled the people."

But, unluckily, these rejoicings and consolations were premature, as very soon afterwards the traitor Aben Aboo went back on his word, and fortified himself in the Alpujarras, and began to prevent, with atrocities and punishments, the pacification of the Moors, who had thronged to submit, and he asked for fresh help from the Kings of Algiers and Tunis. Loyal and honourable for his part, Hernando el Habaqui was furious; he went to the Alpujarras swearing to bring Aben Aboo to reason, or to bring him into the presence of D. John tied to his horse's tail. But the crafty Moor knew how to lay a snare into which the loyal Habaqui incautiously fell, and was treacherously killed, and his corpse hidden for more than thirty days in a dung-heap, covered up with a matting of reeds.

Few, however, were the followers who remained to Aben Aboo after this crime was discovered; and pressed without respite, he fled from cave to cave, always seeing his following diminish, until it consisted of few more than 200 men, and these tired and worn out. Gonsalo el Xeniz, who was Alcaide, agreed with a silversmith of Granada, called Francisco Barrado, to capture Aben Aboo or to kill him, as he was the cause of so many lives being lost. So, one night, el Xeniz arranged to meet Aben Aboo in the caves of Berchul, on the pretext that it was necessary to talk over matters which concerned everyone. Aben Aboo came alone, as he confided to nobody where he slept. El Xeniz said to him, "Abdala Aben Aboo: what I wish to say to you is that you should look at these caves, which are full of unhappy people, sick folk and widows and orphans, and things have come to such a pass, that if all do not give themselves up to the King's mercy, they will be killed and destroyed: and by doing the contrary they will be relieved of their great misery."

When Aben Aboo heard this, he gave a cry as if his soul were being torn out, and looking furious, he said, "What? Xeniz! You have brought me here for this? You harbour such treason in your breast! Do not say any more, or let me see you again."

And saying this he left the cave, but a Moor called Cubeyas seized his arms behind, and a nephew of el Xeniz gave him a blow on the head with the butt of a musket and stupefied him and threw him to the ground; then el Xeniz gave him a blow with a stone and killed him. They took the body, wrapped in a matting of reeds, lying across a mule, to Berchul, where Francisco Barrado and his brother Andres were waiting for them. There they opened the corpse, took out the intestines and filled the body with salt to preserve it; they then put it on a sumpter mule, with boards at the back and front under the clothes, to make it appear living. On the right rode the silversmith Barrado, el Xeniz on the left, bearing the musket and scimitar of the dead man, surrounded by el Xeniz's relations with their arquebuses and muskets, and Luis de Arroyo and Jeronimo de Oviedo formed the rear-guard with a troop of horse. In this manner they entered Granada with a great crowd of people, who were anxious to see the body of the dyer of the Albaicin, who had dared to call himself king in Spain: the arquebuses fired salvos in the square of Bibarrambla and again in front of the houses of the Audiencia, which were answered by the artillery of the Alhambra. The President D. Pedro Deza came out and el Xeniz gave him the musket and scimitar of Aben Aboo, saying that he did so like the faithful shepherd, who being unable to bring to his master the animal alive, brought the skin. Then they cut off the head of the corpse, and abandoned the body to the boys, who dragged it about and then burned it; the head was nailed in an iron cage on the gate "del Rastro," facing the road to the Alpujarras, with an inscription underneath, which said:

This is the head
of the traitor Aben Aboo.
No one shall take it away
on pain of death.

Thus ended this celebrated Moorish war, another step by which D. John of Austria mounted to the summit of his glory.



From its narrowness and bareness it seemed a prison, and no comparison could be found for the scarcity of its furniture; its triangular shape and massive walls, on which could be seen the remains of torn-down tapestry, luxurious gilt cornices, and carved, vaulted ceiling, suggested, as in reality was the case, the corner of a sumptuous room which, for convenience or by caprice, had been cut off by a partition. In the centre of this partition rose an altar of dark wood, without other images or adornments than a life-sized crucifix; the pallid limbs of the Christ stood out with imposing realism against the dark background; the dying head was bowed, and its agonised gaze fixed itself, with a gentle expression of mercy and sorrow, on those who knelt beneath it. In the opposite corner was one of those carved fifteenth-century cupboards, of so much value now, but of so little then; it was open, and in its depths were to be seen many and terrible instruments of penitence and a few books of prayer; leaning against the wall was a shut-up folding seat, the only one, and the only piece of furniture to be seen in this curious room; a great silver lamp glowed in front of the altar, and by its light could be vaguely seen the outline of a strange figure, which was moving on the ground on the frozen stones, giving vent to deep groans and dis-jointed words.

Little by little the light began to filter through the narrow, arched window which pierced one of the walls, and then the solitary personage could be plainly seen; he was old, with a pronounced aquiline nose, a white beard fell on his chest, and he was so spare and decrepit, that it might have been said of him as St. Theresa said of St. Peter Alcantara, "That he seemed made of the roots of trees." He was wrapped in a big black cloak, underneath which a kind of white gown showed. He was prostrate before the altar, on the cold stones, and was writhing like a feeble worm, at times leaning his bald head on the ground, at others raising his withered arms towards the crucifix, with a movement of love and anguish, like a sorrowful child who craves the help of its father; then could be seen the big gold ring with a great seal which moved up and down on his finger as if it were threaded on a dried-up vine branch. It was full daylight before the old man finally abandoned his lowly position and somewhat arranged the disorder of his dress, which was none other than the habit of a Dominican monk, whose wide folds seemed only to heighten his tall figure. With a firm step he went to a little door in the partition, almost hidden by the altar, and through it went into the adjoining room. This was a sumptuous octagonal oratory, whose altar was exactly in front of the one in the miserable room where the old man prayed, so that the rich silver cibary which enclosed the Blessed Sacrament on the altar of the front room corresponded with the feet of the crucifix in the back one. There was only one picture on this magnificent altar, an artistic marvel: the celebrated Madonna of Fra Angelico, known as the "Salus Infirmorum." On the Gospel side there was a rich canopy of cloth of gold, with faldstool and cushions covered with the same; and in a line in front of the altar there were four other faldstools covered with brocade, where four prelates were praying; they wore white rochets over their purple cassocks, and stoles embroidered at the neck. On the brilliantly lighted altar could be seen everything arranged that was necessary for celebrating the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. As the old man entered the oratory, the four prelates rose at once and bowed low before him, because this old man, who a few seconds before was moaning like a feeble child, and writhing on the ground before the crucifix like a vile worm, was no less a person than Christ's Vicar on earth; called then in the chronology of Roman Pontiffs Pope Pius V, now in the calendar of saints, St. Pius V.

The Pope knelt under the canopy and buried his wrinkled forehead in his thin fingers for a long while; then at a sign from him the four prelates approached and began to robe themselves in the sacred vestments to celebrate the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. The Pope was celebrant, with solemn slowness and deep devotion, although nothing revealed to the outside world the depth of his internal emotions.

But on reaching the Gospel of St. John an extraordinary thing happened; he began to read it slowly, pausing, and marking all the words, as one who understands and appreciates its deep meaning, and suddenly, with his face strange and transfigured, and in a voice which was not his own, he said these words: "Fuit homo missus a Deo, cui nomen erat Joannes!" (There was a man sent from God, whose name was John.) He paused for a minute, turned his face towards the Virgin, gazing into space, as if seeing celestial visions, and repeated in a questioning, humble, submissive, loving tone, like a child asking his mother, "Fuit homo missus a Deo, cui nomen erat Joannes?" and in his natural voice, firm, strong, and decided, he repeated, for the third time, "Fuit homo missus a Deo, cui nomen erat Joannes."

From that moment the weight which was burdening the Pontiff seemed lifted. The Holy League against the Turk, between the Holy See, the Signory of Venice and the King of Spain, had been formed, thanks to the efforts, energy, heroic patience and fervent prayers of this feeble old man. The united forces of the three powers amounted to 200 galleys, 100 ships, 50,000 infantry, 4000 horses, and 500 artillery with ammunition and apparatus. The expense of this army was calculated at 600,000 crowns a day, of which Spain paid half, Venice two-sixths, and the Holy See the other sixth part. The Pope had named Marco Antonio Colonna, Duke of Paliano and Grand Constable of Naples, to be General of his fleet; Venice placed at the head of her contingent the veteran Sebastian Veniero; and the King of Spain appointed as General of all his forces by land and sea his brother D. John of Austria, who had just ended the war with the Moors.

The Pope in person promulgated the articles of the Holy League from the altar of St. Peter's. The Roman citizens filled the immense Basilica, and Pius, standing in front of the altar, surrounded by the Cardinals and foreign ambassadors, read the text of the document himself with profound emotion. Then the Te Deum was intoned and 30,000 voices replied at once, and 30,000 hearts were moved with faith and hope, because the horrors the Turks committed at the taking of Nikosia, and the danger which threatened Famagusta and all the island of Cyprus at the moment, made the whole of Europe fear that Selim would execute, if he were not checked, the plan which Mahomet II and Solomon the Magnificent had made, of overcoming Italy and destroying Christianity there.

There remained, however, to be settled a matter of the utmost importance, and it was this that overburdened the Holy Pontiff at the time we saw him praying and groaning in the lonely corner, which he himself had made, behind his oratory, to conceal from men his converse with Heaven. It was the appointing of a Generalissimo for the armada of the Holy League, who was worthy to be the leader of the great enterprise, and who would be a skilful manipulator of this complicated and difficult machine, on which all Christendom was gazing and fixing their hopes. The allies did not agree over this, and, as so often happens in politics, they put personal and wounded vanity before the holy and noble end that the Pontiff had in view. He proposed his own general, Marco Antonio Colonna; the Spaniards wished for their D. John of Austria, the Venetians, without daring to propose their general, Sebastian Veniero, rejected Colonna, as having been a failure in the first League; they also objected to D. John of Austria, on account of the lack of experience which they imagined he must possess at twenty-four, and proposed the Duke of Savoy, Emanuele Filiberto, or the Duke of Anjou, afterwards Henri III of France, who had not revealed as yet his ineptitude and vices. The arguments about D. John's youth weighed with the Pontiff, and he inclined to the Duke of Anjou, thinking that his appointment might possibly gain the help of his brother the King of France, who hitherto had refused it. However, the time passed in vacillations and doubts, proposals and refusals, until at last the allies resolved to leave the appointment absolutely in the hands of the Pontiff, which did not prevent anyone from using all the means in his power to influence the august old man in their favour.

However, his holy diplomacy was too far above human cabals for intrigues to affect his upright policy. The Pope resorted for three consecutive days to prayer and penitence, as was his humble custom in difficult circumstances, and on the fourth, on which we saw him saying Mass before the Madonna of Fra Angelico, he convoked for that morning the presence of the Cardinals Granvelle and Pacheco and D. Juan de Zuñiga, the delegates of the King of Spain, and Michele Suriano and Juan Surenzo, ambassadors from Venice, and told them distinctly, without evasion, and in contradiction to his previous opinion, that he named the Lord D. John of Austria Generalissimo of the Holy League.

The Venetians looked disgusted; but the astute Granvelle was before them with the only possible objection to D. John: "Holy Father! In spite of his twenty-four years?" To which the Pope answered with great firmness, "In spite of his twenty-four years."

The Venetians then knew that they were vanquished, but made it a condition that the Generalissimo should consult, in cases of importance, with his two colleagues, thenceforward subordinates, Marco Antonio Colonna and Sebastian Veniero.

The Pope agreed, shrugging his shoulders as if he granted a thing of scant importance, and the next day signed the commission of D. John which the Cardinal Granvelle presented to him, repeating, with the profound feeling of security which Heaven gives to holy souls, "Fuit homo missus a Deo, cui nomen erat Joannes."


Pius V wrote at once a brief to D. John of Austria, informing him of his appointment, and telling him to come quickly to Italy to take command of the fleet, saying that henceforward he looked on D. John as a son; as a father he would care for his interest, and would at once reserve for him the first kingdom conquered from the Turk; that D. John was never to forget for a moment the great undertaking which had fallen to his charge, and that he could count on victory, as he (the Pope) promised it in God's name.

The Pope sent this brief to D. John by his legate a latere to Philip II, Cardinal Alexandrino, who also bore, at the same time, important communications for the Kings of France and Portugal. The Cardinal Alexandrino Michele Bonelli was a nephew of the Pope, and still only a boy, but he had so much prudence and sagacity and tact in the management of affairs, that he enjoyed the full confidence of the Pontiff, who had named him his Secretary of State. However, the Pope wished to counterbalance the youth of Alexandrino by the importance and grey hair of those who accompanied him, and sent in his suite Hipolito Aldobrandini, afterwards Clement VIII, Alessandro Rierio, Mateo Contarelli, and Francesco Tarugi, all soon afterwards Cardinals. This learned and splendid company all disembarked at Barcelona, where they found awaiting them the Nuncio Giovanni Battista Castagna, afterwards the Pope Urbain VII, and the General of the Dominicans, Vincenzo Giustiniani; also, representing the King, the Legate D. Herando de Borja, brother of the Duque de Gandia, and representing D. John of Austria, his Master of the Horse, D. Luis de Córdoba.

But it happened that while the embassy of Pius V was disembarking at Barcelona, by other channels came the dreadful news of the surrender of Famagusta, the awful death of Marco Antonio Bragadino, and the horrible treachery committed by Mustafa on these conquered heroes. For seventy-five days Famagusta withstood the assault of 250 galleys which blockaded the island, and of 120,000 Turks with whom Mustafa besieged the walls of the unhappy town, which had to defend it only 4000 Italian soldiers, 200 Albanians, 800 horse, and between peasants and fishermen 3000 Cypriotes. Till at last, defeated and wanting food, the brave Governor of the place, Marco Antonio Bragadino, counted the forces left to him, and found them to be only 1700 soldiers and 1200 Cypriotes, counting sick and wounded, provision for two days, six barrels of powder, and 120 cannon balls.

Then he thought of capitulating, and Mustafa favourably received the first overtures they made, loading the officers who went to propose the capitulation with presents and praises. The besieged asked that their officers and men of war might be taken to the isle of Crete with their arms and baggage: that the Turks should supply galleys for the transport of the troops: that the inhabitants of Famagusta should be allowed to keep their property and practise their religion freely.

Mustafa agreed to everything, and even wished the soldiers to take five cannon and three picked horses, as a testimony to their heroic defence.

The capitulation was signed by both parties, and the soldiers began at once to embark on the Turkish galleys.

The next day Bragadino set out from Famagusta to deliver up the keys to Mustafa, who waited in his tent. He rode a magnificent horse, preceded by trumpeters in gala armour, with surtout of purple and a scarlet umbrella which a squire held over his head. The principal leaders and gentlemen followed, to the number of twenty. Mustafa received them in his tent with much courtesy, he made Bragadino sit down at his side on the same divan, and talked for a long while of the incidents of the siege. But, suddenly throwing off the mask and revealing his black perfidy, he began to reproach the Venetian General with having killed several Turkish prisoners in time of truce, and with insolent arrogance and vehemence, asked him, "And what guarantees, Christian, are you giving me for the safety of the boats which are taking you to Crete?"

Bragadino was indignant at this question, which was an outrage on the good faith of Venice, and replied that such an insulting suspicion should have been shown before the capitulation was signed. Mustafa then rose in a fury, and at a signal, which must have been previously arranged, his guards threw themselves on Bragadino and his comrades and loaded them with chains. In front of Mustafa's tent there was a wide esplanade, and there they were beheaded, one by one, with such violence that more than once their gore bespattered Bragadino's purple surtout; three times they made him kneel down at the block to be beheaded, and as often they took him away again, just for the pleasure of causing him anguish, contenting themselves at last by breaking his teeth, cutting off his nose and ears, and pulling out his nails. Meanwhile the Turkish seamen threw themselves on the Christian officers and soldiers already embarked, took away their arms, and chained them to the benches, to convert them into galley slaves. By dint of tortures the cruel Turks wore out the noble Bragadino in twelve days. Every morning they beat him, tied to a tree, and with two baskets of earth hanging from his neck they made him work at the same forts which the illustrious General had so gallantly defended. When he met Mustafa out walking, the soldiers obliged him to kneel down and kiss the dust with his mutilated lips.

Mustafa converted the cathedral of Famagusta into a mosque, and to celebrate the sacrilegious ceremony, he ordered the martyred Bragadino to be brought to his presence. Mustafa was seated on the high altar, on the very ara, and from there condemned Bragadino to be flayed alive, crying out in a diabolical rage, "Where is your Christ? See me seated on His altar! Why does He not punish me? Why does He not set you free?"

Bragadino answered nothing, and with the calm dignity of a martyr began to say the Miserere. They began flaying him by his feet, fearing that he would not be able to live through the torture, and they were right; when his executioners reached his waist, and while the heroic martyr was repeating the words cor mundum crea in me Deus, he gave a dreadful shudder and died. They filled the skin with hay, and put it on the yard of a ship, that all the crews might see it.

These terrible tidings spread fear and consternation everywhere, but specially in Italy and Spain; because the Ottoman monster, with its gory claws fixed in defeated Cyprus, was lifting its head and surveying Europe, seeking new conquest to satisfy its rage and cupidity. Italy and Spain were the most exposed to fresh attacks of the monster, with whom no power could then grapple successfully single-handed, and this is why they welcomed the Holy League with such enthusiasm, and the anxiety of those who meet with a means of dissipating a looming danger; and for this also, that the arrival of Cardinal Alexandrino was looked upon in Spain as an embassy from Heaven, who was come to confer, as defender of the kingdom, the invincible sword of the Archangel on D. John of Austria, its best loved prince.

The Legate's journey from Barcelona to Madrid was one continued triumphal march, and his entry into the city one of those events which mark the history of a people. The pontifical ambassador lodged provisionally at the convent of Atocha, while his official entry into Madrid was being prepared.

The next day Prince Ruy Gómez de Silva came to visit the Legate in the name of the King, accompanied by all the principal personages of the Court, with much pomp and decked out with many jewels, and two hours later D. John of Austria arrived on the same errand, with the four Archdukes Rudolph, Ernest, Albert and Wenceslas, brothers of the Queen Doña Ana, fourth wife of Philip II. The Legate was very pleased to make D. John's acquaintance, and talked to him for half an hour, addressing him as Highness, which displeased Philip, and was the reason why he secretly advised all the Chancelleries not thus to address his brother, as Philip had not granted him this honour.

The solemn entry of the Legate was fixed for the next day, and for it, adjoining the hospital of Anton Martin, and in front of the gate of that name, was erected a big platform which occupied all the width of the street, with five wide steps by which to mount on to it, covered with costly carpets. In the midst of the platform an altar was raised, with the finest tapestry and ornaments that the palace could provide, and at the back a gorgeous room in which the Legate might rest, as from there he was to see all the clergy and monks of Madrid and the neighbourhood, who had come to receive him and to offer their homage, pass before him.

At two o'clock D. John of Austria set out in a coach, and went to the convent of Atocha to pick up the Legate, and enter by the gate of St. Martin in his company; he was accompanied by his entire household, in gala attire, and by several Grandees and gentlemen of the Court, whom the King sent to add to his importance. D. John was greatly beloved by the people of Madrid, and the naming him Generalissimo, and the hopes that all Christendom placed in the brave Prince, had increased their enthusiasm. His coming was awaited by a great crowd of people, who at once surrounded his coach and accompanied him to Atocha, applauding him and shouting for joy. The Legate got into D. John's coach wearing his Cardinal's cloak, hood and hat, and the enthusiasm of the people grew to such a pitch, and so loudly did they acclaim D. John, the Legate and the Pope, that Alexandrino, not accustomed to such a display of feeling, was first frightened, and then wept for joy, bestowing blessings right and left, anxious to show his gratitude.

When Alexandrino arrived at the platform, the procession had already mounted by the street of Atocha, and he seated himself on the velvet throne, which was placed on the Gospel side, with many Monsignori, prelates and gentlemen of his household, and a little before him on his right hand was a Papal Protonotary with the pontifical standard, which was of white damask, with the tiara and keys on one side and Christ on the cross on the other. Right and left of the throne and on the steps, the soldiers of Spain and Germany guarded him like a royal personage. Then, before the platform, began to file the Confraternities with their standards, the monks with their banners, and the parishes with their crosses, and many of the neighbouring villages had brought their dancers, minstrels, and clarions, and others were accompanied by Alcaides, Regidors and Alguacils, all with their wands. On passing they bowed first to the altar and then to the Legate, who, in return, gave them his blessing.

The King had so nicely calculated the time and the distance, that, as the procession left by one side of the square, he entered by the other in a coach, followed by his Spanish and German guard and by the hundred noble archers. The King went towards the altar and the Legate came to meet him, taking off his hat and the hood of his cloak; to which D. Philip replied by bowing, hat in hand.

Then there passed between the two many polite words of welcome, and then D. Philip and D. John of Austria mounted their horses, and the Legate a beautiful mule, with cloth of crimson velvet, a present from the city, and they went together to St. Mary's to sing a Te Deum and announce the arrival of the Legate.

Twelve trumpeters headed the march with the attendants; two spare horses covered with crimson velvet with fringes and trimmings of gold, with saddles and saddle-cloths and bridles of great value; the family, attendants and retainers, lackeys and pages with their bags of crimson velvet embroidered with gold. The household of the Legate and then that of the Alcaides de Corte, many private gentlemen and members of the Orders, gentlemen purveyors and of the bedchamber, and a great concourse of nobles and native and foreign gentlemen. Then followed the Masters of the Horse and Stewards of the King, Queen, Princess, and of D. John of Austria, and mixing among them, in different lines, gentlemen and prelates who had come with Cardinal Alexandrino.

Then a short space, in the midst of which rode, dressed in mulberry, a Protonotary with the pontifical standard, preceded by two lictors, and followed by two others wearing the livery of the Legate and carrying the fasces of the Roman Consuls of old, which had been granted to the Popes, as a sign of great respect, by the Emperor Constantine.

The standard was escorted by two of Alexandrino's mace-bearers and four of the King's, with their coats of arms and crowned maces, and then followed the Grandees in such numbers, that seldom have so many been together at one ceremony.

Then came D. John of Austria, and twenty paces behind, the King, giving the Legate his right hand; but whether it was accidental or intentional, it happened that on entering the street of Léon D. John fell back to the King's left, and the three proceeded in a row, conversing pleasantly, which was so extraordinary and unlike the rigid etiquette always observed by D. Philip, that it was interpreted as a public honour the King was doing to the Generalissimo of the Holy League, and was greeted and welcomed by the populace with great applause and renewed rejoicing and enthusiasm.

At the porch of St. Mary's the King took leave of the Legate, without alighting, doffing his hat with great politeness, and the Legate replied from his mule, in his turn taking off his hood and hat.

Then in the historic church they sang the Te Deum and the Regina cœli lætare; Alexandrino gave the blessing from the epistle side, and a Protonotary announced afterwards to the people, from the centre of the altar, that the Very Illustrious Lord Cardinal Alexandrino, nephew of the very holy Father and Lord Pius V, came to these kingdoms of Spain as Legate a latere of His Holiness, and conceded 200 years of pardon to those present.

This ended the ceremony, and D. John of Austria got into his coach again with the Legate, and conducted him to the lodging which was prepared in the house of D. Pedro de Mendoza, where the Presidents of Castille afterwards lived.


D. John's departure once settled and fixed, his first thought was to say good-bye to Doña Magdalena de Ulloa. Neither years, nor the natural dazzling of triumph and glory, nor the dark clouds which, on the contrary, brought disillusion and disenchantment, were ever able to deaden in D. John his tender love for Doña Magdalena; away at the bottom of his heart, joined to the religious faith which had taken such firm root in his soul at Villagarcia, the loyal chivalry, strong and manly, learned from Luis Quijada, and the active and practical charity taught by Doña Magdalena herself, there was, so to speak, like the foundations of the castle of his great nature, the tender, respectful, confiding love he bore for Doña Magdalena, his aunt, true remains of the former Jeromín who had become the D. John who filled the world with his fame, and there always flourished in him, as in all loyal breasts, the fragrant flower of gratitude.

D. John made a glory of his love and gratitude towards Doña Magdalena de Ulloa, and in how many of his papers do these natural and spontaneous gloryings burst forth, like a spring of crystal water which seeks the first fissure by which to escape. Soon after the triumph of Lepanto he wrote to the Marqués de Sarria, "That my aunt really is as delighted as she seems to be, I am very certain, as we share each other's good fortunes, for no son owes his mother more than I owe her."

So D. John wrote to Doña Magdalena, telling her of his appointment as Generalissimo, and at the same time begging her to name a place where he could go to receive her blessing and take leave of her. He proposed that she should, as she had done before, leave Villagarcia, where she was, for the convent of Abrojo or Espina, where, without entering Valladolid, he would go to meet her. It is certainly a curious circumstance, the reason for which we do not know, that in none of the many visits D. John paid Doña Magdalena, did he ever wish to enter Valladolid or stop in Villagarcia, but they always met at one or other of these convents.

The courier who took D. John's letter brought back Doña Magdalena's answer, that she would come to Madrid to give him the blessing he craved and the embrace he desired, and thousands of other blessings and embraces that she wanted to give him on her own account. D. John, delighted, ordered the rooms to be prepared that were always kept in his house for Doña Magdalena, which were comfortable and apart, in one of the towers which flanked the palace, which was, as we have said, that of the Conde de Lemus, in the square of Santiago; it was spacious and magnificent, with two stories and two towers, very like the Casa de Lujan, which still exists in the Plaza de la Villa.

D. John and Doña Magdalena had not seen each other since the death of Luis Quijada, and D. John was very much shocked at the great change he saw in her. Doña Magdalena was no longer the beautiful fine lady of whom good Luis Quijada had been so proud at the entertainments and solemnities of the Court. His death had freed her from the obligation of complying, like a good wife, with his wishes, innocent vanities, and the calls of high rank; and now, free from all such obligations, she had given herself entirely to the saintly impulses of her austere virtue.

Two pictures of her still exist, which fully show these two phases of her life. One is in the church of St. Luis at Villagarcia, and the other in that of St. Isidoro at Oviedo, both founded by the noble dame. In the first she is seen in all the glory of her youth and beauty, which was remarkable, in magnificent attire, with costly jewels and a commanding, though at the same time modest, attitude: the great lady who hides beneath her velvet and laces the austere virtues of the saint. In the second picture she wears the severe dress of the widows of the sixteenth century, more or less similar to that of many nuns of our own day, still handsome, but worn by years, penitence and vigils; her weeds of coarse woollen material, with wide stays stiffened with wood at the waist; she wears no jewels, nor is there anything white in her dress, not even the coif or veil which surrounds her pale face; her pose is humble, but at the same time it has something noble and commanding, even elegant: the picture of the saint who cannot altogether hide under her mourning and sackcloth the dignity of the lady of high degree.

It was this last Doña Magdalena in her humility and mourning that D. John received in his arms when she alighted from her litter, at the old palace in the square of Santiago. Without a word she pressed him for a long while to her heart, and then made the sign of the Cross on his forehead, as she always did in old times to Jeromín when he got up and when he went to bed. D. John seized the generous hand, and kissed it again and again, at which those present were much affected, not only the faithful servants from Villagarcia, who had come with Doña Magdalena, but all D. John's household, who had gone to receive her as if she really were his mother.

For some time Doña Magdalena had known that envy was making unworthy murmurings against D. John, and with all a mother's solicitude and fear she had told him of this. D. John's answer to this letter from Doña Magdalena is the only one that remains of this interesting correspondence; it breathes the lad's noble confidence and his absolute faith in the justice of the King, and the tranquillity of his conscience. After several arguments which prove this, he adds, "You tell me, making me very great, to be careful what I do, as all eyes are fixed on me, and that I should not be too gay, but rather avoid all occasions which might be harmful. Again I kiss your hands for what you are doing for me, and I beg you not to tire in so doing. To this, Lady, I reply with the simple truth of which I am such a friend; I give endless thanks to Our Lord that since the loss of my uncle and father I have always tried to live though absent from one who was always so good to me as he would wish me to live, and thus I think that I have not ruled myself so badly or done so little, that in this respect anyone can affirm the contrary. However much I should wish to wear smart clothes, the work of a nine months' campaign would not afford me much opportunity to do so; moreover, Lady, all times and conditions are not the same, and I see that sensible people, who are not fools, change as they get older; if there are others in the world who, in order to speak ill, fall on anybody, it does not alarm me, whatever they may murmur or say, and as you write that this has come to such a pitch that you did not even dare to ask news about me; however, as far as that goes, saints are not free from the vexations of the world, but I will try to do my utmost to behave as you think best, whose good advice I pray that I may always enjoy, because there is no one I wish or ought to please like her to whom I owe my up-bringing and my present position; this I shall remember even in my grave. I pray you to forgive such a long discourse, as the inventions of the times are enough to make a man do what he least intended, and let me know if those of the Lady Abbess[11] are such as to disturb greatly your peace of mind."

These murmurs wounded Doña Magdalena more than if they had been directed against herself, and her wish to defend D. John and warn and advise him, were the principal reasons for her coming to Madrid; because it seemed to her that all this would be easier in her leisurely visit than to await a passing one from him, which would of necessity be hurried and agitated. D. John quieted Doña Magdalena, opening out his heart to her. These rumours, according to him, came from the Marqués de los Vélez and the Marqués de Mondejar, whose vanity was wounded, especially the former's, by D. John's victory over the Moors, which they had not been able to effect with more time, money and means of action. But these murmurs had had no influence on the King, so D. John declared. He showed himself a most loving brother, giving such positive proofs of his confidence in D. John by appointing him General of the Fleet, and of his paternal solicitude by counsels and instructions, so that even two days before he had given a big sheet, corrected by his own hand, in which was set forth the addresses and formulas to be used in D. John's correspondence with every sort of person, from the Pope and Kings to the humblest Councillor or Prior of the Orders. Then Doña Magdalena asked whether to the names of Mondejar and los Vélez should not be added another, not so illustrious, but at the same time more powerful, Antonio Pérez.

D. John strongly repudiated the suspicion. Antonio Pérez had always been one of his warmest friends. So Doña Magdalena did not insist further, as she had spoken more by instinct than having certain proof. She, however, permitted herself to repeat smilingly an Italian proverb, which Luis Quijada was always quoting, about the honeyed snares and deceptions of the Court, "Chi non sa fingersi amico non sa essere inimico." Which impressed D. John, coming from her, although, unfortunately, not as the instinctive cry of alarm should have done, no doubt an inspiration from Heaven. Then D. John talked of another person, who was at that time a thorn in his side, his mother Barbara Blombergh. Away in Flanders, where she lived, the frivolity and want of decorum of this lady's life had begun to displease the great Duque de Alba, the Governor of those States, and he was contemplating taking some violent measures, as she seemed not to listen to prudent counsels, and the solution D. John wished was to move her to Spain, for Doña Magdalena to receive her and constitute herself Barbara's guardian angel.

It grieved Doña Magdalena to see him so sad, and she promised, and, as we shall see later, performed all he asked; and to distract his attention from such bitter thoughts, she showed him with glee the rich neckties and fine shirts she had brought him as a present, because one of Doña Magdalena's attentions to D. John was that he never wore any linen that was not sewn by her own hands. She was always at work, and then sent him large parcels, carefully packed, wherever he happened to be.

Doña Magdalena's faithful servants came to pay their respects to D. John, whom they had known as a little boy at Villagarcia. The old accountant Luis de Valverde, the two squires Juan Galarza and Diego Ruiz, and the first duenna of honour Doña Petronilla de Alderete, all came; the other duenna Doña Elizabeth de Alderete was left behind at Villagarcia to look after Doña Ana of Austria; the duenna came in very much overcome, and knelt down before D. John to kiss his hand; but he, touched and smiling and always full of fun, lifted the frail old woman in the air like a feather, and clasped her in his arms, and, seeing Jeromín, she dared just to press the smooth, noble forehead of the future conqueror of Lepanto with her lips. What joy for her this embrace of her beloved Jeromín, and what an honour and glory to have kissed the forehead of this august prince, for whom she—she and nobody else—had sewn and tried on his first breeches!

The satisfaction lasted the good woman to the end of her days, and in her will, made three years later at Villagarcia, she left D. John her savings, 320 ducats, to redeem captives of Lepanto, who were to give honour to D. John and to pray for her soul.


D. John started from Madrid to embark at Barcelona on Wednesday, the 6th of June, 1571, at three o'clock in the afternoon. He was accompanied only by his Master of the Horse D. Luis de Córdoba, his gentleman D. Juan de Gúzman, the secretary Juan de Soto, the valet Jorge de Lima, a caterer, a cook, two D. Juanillos or fools, two couriers, a guide and three servants, in all fifteen horses. The rest of his following and servants had been divided into two parties, one which went on ahead with his Lord Steward the Conde de Priego, and the other which followed under the chamberlain D. Rodrigo de Benavides. D. John had arranged this in order to set out more quietly, and to avoid the manifestations of the love and enthusiasm of the people of Madrid, which he well knew not to be to the taste of certain personages. His precaution, however, was useless, because the people got wind of his departure, and from the morning waited in the little square of Santiago, watching for his coming, and when he got to the gate of Guadalajara, the crowd was so great, that it overflowed into the country and extended all along the side of the road.

The magnificent Roman gate called Guadalajara still existed then, its strong blocks of rock united by an enormous arch with railings and balustrades of the same golden stone. Above this archway, and standing out bravely between two towers, was the beautiful chapel with two altars, one to venerate the figure of Our Lady, called la Mayor, the other that of a Guardian Angel, with a naked sword in his right hand and a model of Madrid in his left. All travellers used to pray there, and following the usual custom, D. John alighted and mounted to the chapel; and he appeared afterwards at the railing to bow to the people, who were acclaiming him, and such were the cries of blessing, good-byes and hurrahs, that, according to a writer of the time, "it resounded more than was necessary in some crooked ears."

D. John slept that night at Guadalajara, in the country house of the Duque del Infantado, who was waiting there for D. John, with his two brothers D. Rodrigo and D. Diego de Mendoza, his brother-in-law the Duque de Medina de Rioseco, and the Conde de Orgaz, all most intimate friends of D. John. He spent Thursday there, and on Friday, after dinner, continued his journey, with more haste and courage, says Vander Hammen, than pleased those who followed him. D. John truly journeyed with a light heart, and the way seemed long which separated him from his dreams of glory. His absolute confidence in Doña Magdalena and her promises had dispelled the fears he had for his mother's future, and the affectionate farewell, and fatherly, prudent warnings of his brother the King, had made him believe that the murmurs and tittle-tattle of those envious of him had made no impression on the severe monarch. So D. John was at peace, and he smiled at life, as fortune smiled on him; he received everywhere honours and ovations, and, what pleased him more, sincere marks of love and appreciation. A courier overtook him at Calatayud with a papal brief and letters from Marco Antonio Colonna, General of the pontifical fleet, and from the Cardinal Granvelle, temporary Viceroy of Naples, urging him to come to Messina, which was the meeting-place of the fleets of the Holy League.

He stopped two days at Montserrat to visit the celebrated sanctuary of the Virgin, and on Saturday, the 16th of June, he entered Barcelona at five in the evening, amidst the salutes of artillery on land and sea, the pealing of bells and the cheers of an enormous crowd. The Prior D. Hernando de Toledo, who was Viceroy of Catalonia, received him, with all the magistrates and nobility and the Knight Commander D. Luis de Requesens, D. John's naval lieutenant, who had been awaiting him there for three days. The city overflowed with the noise and animation natural to a seaport on the eve of the embarkation of a great enterprise. Flags were plentiful at sea, and on land soldiers, adventurers, and those seeking to be enlisted, long strings of slaves destined to row in the galleys, noble volunteers with brilliant suites, workmen from other arsenals who had come to work in these dockyards, merchandise of all kinds, pedlars, friars looking for souls, women seeking gain, and the curious who thronged the streets and encumbered the dock, already full of chests of provisions and ammunition, piles of arms, and pieces of artillery waiting to be put on board ship.

D. John was in his element, and with intelligent and methodical activity at once began to receive information and to take measures to hasten the embarkation. He took counsel of the Knight Commander, the Viceroy of Catalonia, and the secretary Juan de Soto, and decided first to send an urgent message to the Marqués de Santa Cruz, who was at Cartagena, and to Sancho de Leiva and Gil de Andrade, who were waiting at Majorca, to come with the galleys they commanded to Barcelona; these last were to bring all the biscuit they possibly could. The Archdukes Rudolph and Ernest then arrived, as they were to embark with D. John to go from Genoa to their own home, and the next day, at four o'clock in the afternoon, the merry pealing of all the bells and the shouts of the people announced that the galleys of Gil Andrade and of Sancho de Leiva were in sight.

They entered the bay at nine that night, in battle array, with beautiful illuminations on yards and sides, firing salutes of arquebuses, which were answered by all the cannon of the city's walls and dockyards.

D. John's royal galley came with these, the same built for him on his first expedition against the corsairs of the Mediterranean. The next morning, very early, he went to visit her, and was pleased with the new improvements, made under Sancho de Leiva's directions, following the original plan of Bergamesco and Tortilla. The hull had been carefully careened, the paintings and ornaments renovated, the sails and rigging renewed, and the artillery reinforced. The figure-head was changed, and instead of the former Hercules with his club was a Neptune, holding his trident, riding on a dolphin, and at the stern a new goddess—Thetis, between two golden eagles with black outlines, and above two life-sized lions, also gilded, supporting the arms of the King, those of D. John of Austria, and the Golden Fleece, whose chains ran along each side, standing out well on the red background, and joining at the prow. The old lantern with its statue of Fame had disappeared, and in its place, crowning the stern, were three great lanterns of bronze and copper, gilt outside and silvered inside, with figures of Faith, Hope and Charity, more than a palm high. The deck of the round-house was also new, formed of ninety squares of walnut, with outlines of ebony, boxwood, tin and blue enamel, with a large flower in gilt bronze in the centre of each; one could open these squares by means of a key, and beneath appeared chests in which were stored, in beautiful little wicker baskets, fresh bread, fruit, and all the service for the table. The crew wore as uniform jerkins of crimson damask, with little caps of the same, and the greatest order and cleanliness reigned everywhere.

D. John was very pleased with his galley, and on the 1st of July he took his two nephews, the Archdukes Rudolph and Ernest, to visit her and gave them a collation. The galley was decked with streamers and pennons, and was adorned from stem to stern with red cloth, with many flowers and ribbons and crimson damask, which covered the bows. They arrived in a big boat, all hung with tapestry, and with a canopy of damask at the stern, under which their Highnesses sat; the twelve rowers wearing jerkins of crimson damask, and caps of the same slashed and trimmed with gold and feathers.

When the Princes embarked on the galley, the slaves made their "salva de forzado," which was a kind of song, or rather a sad complaining but not disagreeable cry, by which these wretches implored mercy of the visitors. Then a royal salute was fired from all her guns, which was answered by the galleys in the port. The Princes sat at a table in front of the roundhouse, under an awning of damask with crimson and white stripes, and there was served a collation of fruit, sweetmeats, green and cool drinks, which the heat of the day made delicious.

Meanwhile, at the stern a band of musicians dressed in turquoise brocade were playing, and to their music the crew were executing a sort of flying dance, jumping, climbing, and doing a thousand feats among the yards, topsails, masts and rigging, with such agility, quickness and order that it was a spectacle of real merit.

When the Princes rose, the Viceroy, the Knight Commander and all the gentlemen of the suites were served at the same table, with equal plenty, and at nightfall D. John regained the Viceroy's palace, where he was living, and where was waiting for him the greatest blow, perhaps, he ever received in his life, as it was the first and the most unexpected.


During the absence of D. John on the royal galley that afternoon a courier had arrived at Barcelona from the Court, bearing various letters from the King, all in D. Philip's writing, and one of them, dated the 17th of June, or six days after D. John had left Madrid, caused the latter the bitterest and deepest dismay. It is not recorded what the orders of D. Philip were which caused such distress to D. John of Austria; but judging from the two letters which he wrote then, and from other preceding and following ones, it is certain that following other orders, unknown to us, this letter also brought reproaches, more or less severe, from D. Philip to his brother, for having allowed himself to be addressed as Highness, and for having accepted the honours due to an Infante, which on all sides were given him; forbidding D. John in future to accept these honours, which the King had not granted him, and saying that a letter from Antonio Pérez was coming with a copy of the instructions which had been sent to the ministers in Italy, respecting the way in which D. John was to be received and addressed, and he was to keep strictly to these same instructions.

D. John was thunderstruck at this letter, and it amazed the faithful secretary Juan de Soto, the only person to whom D. John dared to confide it. Up to a certain point the fact was true, because it is certain that nobles and people, great and small, regarded and respected D. John, both in Spain and out of it, as an Infante of Castille, as he was a son of the great Emperor and brother to the present King, and because his personal gifts and deeds made him worthy of the high dignity. But that which was the spontaneous act of nations and peoples had been transformed by those envious of D. John into intrigues and presumptuous efforts to occupy a rank he did not possess, and this had been treacherously whispered in the Monarch's ear. It seems certain that D. John's enemies had carried their tittle-tattle and misrepresentations to Philip II himself; it was also certain that he believed them, and equally certain—and this is what so pained D. John's loyal heart—that D. Philip had hidden his displeasure as King and brother, and had said good-bye to him with false words of kindness and confidence, condemning him unheard, in his absence, and deputing a minister to sanction, by a letter, the grave humiliation which he was imposing.

D. John's youthful blood boiled at these thoughts, and, depressed and dismayed under the weight of his first disillusion, he seriously thought of renouncing his dreams of glory, and of taking refuge in the ecclesiastical state, as the Emperor, his father, had counselled, as being quieter and more peaceful. Juan de Soto comforted him with much wise reasoning, and for his counsel and encouragement wrote to the Prince de Évoli, to whom Soto owed his appointment as secretary, the following letter, asking for advice and explanations, which clearly shows the trouble and fears which perturbed him:

"Lord Ruy Gómez, as you well know of H.M.'s new wishes for me since I came here, I will not weary you by mentioning them; but availing myself of your knowledge, and the permission you gave me to go to you as to a father about my concerns, I will say that I have resented and do feel it, as I cannot help doing; not so much, my lord, is my vanity wounded—as I take God to witness that I am free from that—but it gives me much pain that I, alone in the world, have deserved such fresh orders, as I lived in the utmost confidence that H.M. would show to all that he held to me, and that he would be pleased by my being more honoured. I confess that the disfavour of putting me on the common level has wounded me so much that at times I feel inclined to find some other way of serving God and H.M., as in the one I am following I am so clearly shown that I do not succeed; however, if anything deters me, it is that, as I do not deserve it, it is not H.M.'s wish, but that of someone who has more influence with him than I have. Consequently, then, Lord Ruy Gómez, if one could see through people, perhaps those who enjoy the public confidence would have most need of advisers and of reform, and this truth I feel the more as the present and future punishment is bitter, not through the fault of those less opinionated, who have less say in the matter, but by means of those who through being so much in favour, and this is certainly seen, show themselves finding fault in every way. All this moves me to speak and hear others more than to be silent, believing that I am pursued by false stories; at all events, I have great cause to complain, when you come to think of the little value that has been placed on all that I have done, to find myself, which is what I feel most, now ordered by H.M. to be placed on a level with those whom God, having made me his brother, did not place between him and me. I well know that my services do not deserve crowns of laurel; but that what I desired to arrive at, and for which I worked, should be so little esteemed, and that instead of being appreciated it should be thought less of by H.M. is what weighs on my mind. I put my trust again in you, whom I implore without keeping anything back to write and tell me what are the causes of H.M. treating me thus, because if you will only let me know that I do not deserve his favours, I would rather serve him in some other way than weary him in my present one. On which matters, if it appears well to you, I would like you to talk to him and give me your advice, reminding him how much he will be worthy of God's pleasure in acting as a father to one who has no other, but a thousand people who will take advantage of my youth and want of experience to compass my ruin, as if that were an honour and glory to them. And as far as this concerns me I again commend myself and it to your notice, to you whom alone I entirely trust.

"Our Lord, etc. From Barcelona, July 8, 1571."


From his portrait by Gaetano in Musées Municipaux, Besançon

But not satisfied with this, and thinking that it was disloyal not to tell the King what he was feeling, he wrote this other letter on the 12th of July, humble and submissive, as a vassal of the King, but dignified, loyal and energetic, as was always his heart and conduct.

"Sir! For the grace and favour Y.M. has done me by writing with your own hand, from the bottom of my heart I kiss your hands. I have also received the instructions and other dispatches for my journey, and they have arrived in such good time that it annoys me how much is being lost here, and consequently so much for Y.M.'s service; every day I expect the Marqués de Santa Cruz, on whose arrival we can set out, as everything is ready. As to following the instructions and opinions of those whom Y.M. has designated to help and counsel me, particularly the Knight Commander, I will certainly do so, as I know it is my duty, and this being so, it will be my pleasure to care for Y.M.'s affairs, with as much sincerity and prudence as the one I am at present entrusted with. In truth, I have no other desire, and it is my duty to arrive at this object, postponing the things of less importance, and Y.M. must not doubt that I will continue to act thus, and I beg you to tell me always what I do not understand, for, as I have written before, I trust so little to my youth, experience and judgment, that I well see the want I have of another's help; for which reason I again beg Y.M., with all humility, that you will continue to warn and reprimand me as you think well (after having heard) of what I have left undone, because it will not be want of devotion which will prevent me doing my duty. The instructions Y.M. gave me on my first setting out on a galley, I look on as very precious, and they will be the more so now that I realise that it gave Y.M. pleasure, and nothing I hold dearer than fulfilling your desires.

"I answered the Pope as the Knight Commander thought it was best not to wait for Y.M.'s reply; and that it was well to let him know how the matter stood: however, in future I will keep such things secret.

"You have done me a great favour in ordering Antonio Pérez to let me know what he is writing to the ministers in Italy, about the way I am to be addressed, and not only shall I be very pleased to conform to the wishes of Y.M. in this, but also it will be my delight to guess your desires, in order that I may follow them as I ought to do; only I make bold to say, with all the humility and respect due, that it would be a boundless favour and grace if Y.M. would be pleased to communicate directly with me about what you desire, for two reasons; the chief one being that it is now your pleasure that any of your ministers should confer with me as to your wishes, as none of them are under as great an obligation to do them as I am; the other reason is that before leaving I ought to have given some notice that what Y.M. wished should have been done and with less fuss; and inasmuch as God has made me Y.M.'s brother, I cannot help saying, or continuing to feel, that personally I am worth little, but when everyone thought that I deserved more from Y.M., and expected to see it, by Y.M.'s orders I see exactly the opposite, putting me on the common level, which I do not deserve, because I have put the service of Y.M. before vanity and everything else, of which God is my witness, and it has given me so much pain to see how little you are satisfied with me, that often I think that if it is Y.M.'s pleasure I will seek some other way of serving you, as in the present one I seem so unfortunate in obtaining what I yearn for. Meanwhile I will obey Y.M.'s orders as far as possible, although it will be difficult amid the adulation I am told exists in Italy. Y.M. will believe me that I desire neither honour nor good except that with it one can serve the better, but the consideration of this detail does not affect me, only to execute your orders, which for no reason will I fail to do.

"Our Lord, etc. From Barcelona, July 12, 1571."

This was the first sign that Philip II gave his brother D. John of Austria of the unjust want of confidence which the ingenious Antonio Pérez knew how to sow in his path, to whom belongs the doubtful honour of being the only man who for long years could deceive and often pervert the straight and calm judgment of the prudent Monarch.


When for the first time D. John of Austria trod Italian soil, on disembarking at Genoa, he hastened to send his old Lord Steward D. Hernando de Carillo, Conde de Priego, to Rome, to kiss, in his name, the Pope's foot, to thank him for his appointment of Generalissimo, and to declare himself the most submissive and obedient of his sons. The Pope answered the steward in the words which he had already written in his brief: "That I consider him a son, that he must hasten to fight, as, in the name of God, I assure him victory, and for his honour and advancement I promise him the first kingdom conquered from the Turk." At the same time D. John sent D. Miguel de Moncada to Venice, to visit the Signory, also in his name to cheer them, and tell them that in a very short time he would be at Messina to settle what was best to be done.

The reception accorded to D. John at Genoa confused and perplexed him, after the blow that he had received in Barcelona, and he called upon the Knight Commander and Juan de Soto to witness that he had neither sought these honours, nor was there any possibility of refusing them.

He did, in fact, receive in Genoa that which had never been granted before: the Doge in person and all the Signory awaited him at the foot of the landing-place, and the Dukes of Savoy, Parma, Florence, Ferrara, Mantua and all the cities of Lombardy sent their representatives to welcome him. Gian Andrea Doria lodged D. John in his palace, and in his honour gave a splendid masked ball, at which the Generalissimo delighted everyone with his great skill in the complicated dances of the day.

The greatest lords of Italy were assembled at Genoa, craving to be allowed to fight under his orders as volunteers; the best known of them were the Prince of Parma, Alexander Farnese, and the Duke of Urbino, Francesco de la Rovere, who was twenty-two, and had just married Lucrezia of Este, daughter of the Duke of Ferrara. Accompanied by his brilliant staff, which the most powerful king might have envied, on the 10th of August D. John disembarked at Naples, where the celebrated Antonio de Perronet, Cardinal Granvelle was temporary Viceroy owing to the death of the Duque de Alcalá. He was much too clever and politic to oppose the wave of sympathy which flowed towards D. John throughout Italy, and allowed the enthusiasm of the Neapolitans to show itself freely, limiting himself, according to the instructions of D. Philip II, in not, as everyone else did, addressing D. John as Highness.

At Naples was to be given to D. John of Austria the standard of the League and the baton of Generalissimo, blessed by the Pope, who had sent it there by Count Gentil de Saxatelo. Cardinal Granvelle was commissioned by the Holy Pontiff to make the presentation, and he arranged the ceremony with the greatest pomp and magnificence, in the Church of the Franciscan convent of St. Clara. On the 14th the ceremony took place; the first to arrive at St. Clara's was the Cardinal, in order to receive D. John in the porch. This famous statesman was already over fifty; he still retained his upright and handsome presence, about which, with more or less reason, there was so much gossip in his day, his beard, already quite white, fell, carefully combed, on his breast, and his rich scarlet vestments were as correct in their ecclesiastical cut as ever were the secular ones of such a dandy as D. John of Austria. But it was not in a courtier's fine clothes, but in the garb of war, that D. John arrived, as being more suitable to the leader who was about to receive the insignia of Christendom on the eve of battle. He wore a light Milanese coat of mail of white steel, richly inlaid with gold; the collar of the Golden Fleece round his neck, and on his helmet a goodly plume of feathers of the colours of the League; his horse was black, also covered with white steel, cut out and fastened on crimson velvet, with arms, tassels, feathers and allegorical figures on the crupper and headpiece. Similar dress was worn by the greater part of his enormous suite, among which was the flower of the chivalry of Italy and Spain.

D. John advanced to the steps of the high altar with the Princes of Parma and Urbino, and sat in front of them on a high seat covered with brocade. On the Gospel side were displayed the standard and baton on a dresser with many lights and flowers. The standard was very big, suitable for a galley of the largest size; all of blue brocade with great tassels and silken cords; embroidered on it was a great crucifix with many arabesques of silk and gold round it, and at the foot the arms of the Pope, with those of the King of Spain on the right hand, and those of the Signory of Venice on the left, and those of D. John underneath, all surrounded with an embroidered golden chain, to signify the union of the League between the three nations. The baton was also symbolical, forming three batons united by a ribbon, splendidly carved, with handle and chape of gold adorned with jewels and engraved with the three coats of arms encircled by a chain. It measured about 24 inches in length, by about 2-1/2 in diameter.

Cardinal Granvelle celebrated the Pontifical Mass, and at the end of it D. John of Austria mounted to the chancel, and, kneeling in front of the altar, received from the hands of Granvelle, first the baton and then the standard, with these words, which the Cardinal said over three times in Latin, Spanish and Italian: "Take, fortunate Prince, the insignia of the true Word made flesh; take the living sign of the holy faith of which this enterprise is the defender. He gives thee glorious victory over the impious enemy, whose pride shall be humbled by thy hand." Then a shout burst out in the church, and a thousand voices, with one accord, cried "Amen! Amen."

Then a brilliant military procession was formed to carry the standard from the church to the port; it was carried, furled, on the back of a white horse, whose crimson velvet cloth dragged on the ground, led by two captains who took it in turns. Behind came the Lord D. John, carrying the baton of Generalissimo, followed by the brilliant suite, all with drawn swords, as if ready to defend the insignia of the Holy League. It was at length hoisted at the magnificent stern of the royal galley at one o'clock. D. John himself directed this, and the fleet and the port saluted him with a formidable salvo of artillery, muskets and arquebuses, which lasted more than half an hour.

D. John then embraced Count Gentil de Saxatelo, who had brought the baton and standard, and threw round his neck a golden chain worth 400 crowns.


Meanwhile in the port of Messina Marco Antonio Colonna and Sebastian Veniero, with the Pontifical and Venetian fleets, awaited the coming of D. John of Austria. The delay made the two Generals impatient, especially Veniero, an irascible, vehement, fiery old man of seventy, who saw with anxiety the season advancing and the provisions being consumed during that useless delay. Colonna shared his fears and impatience, and a dreadful blow, moreover, came to distract him at this supreme moment. His angelic daughter Giovanna Colonna, Duchess de Mondragone, died suddenly in Rome, and this unexpected sorrow plunged him in the deepest grief. He retired to his galley, not wishing to see anyone, and ordered that all the galleys of his fleet should be painted black; the ropes and the sails were also to be stained black, and the lanterns, escutcheon and flags covered with crape. This sombre mourning fleet anchored in the port was looked on as a bad omen in Messina, and sinister rumours of fresh pillage by the Turks in Corfu, and that their fleet was hastening to fall on Sicily, caused great alarm among this superstitious and fanatic people, which neither the news that D. John had left Naples nor the sumptuous preparations for his reception sufficed to calm. On the 23rd of August, at noon, the Sicilian watchmen spied a numerous fleet, with all sails set, making for the lighthouse. Hope awoke in some, terror in others, for while all sensible people were certain that this was the expected fleet of D. John of Austria, the ignorant were frightened, and cried out that it was the dreaded Turk, and upset the town with their shouting and hurrying to and fro. The two fleets, Pontifical and Venetian, set out to meet the coming one, and on the weighing of the anchors of Colonna's mourning ships, a great clamour arose among the superstitious populace, begging that if he left he would not return, because this black fleet could only bring desolation and death to Messina. Two miles beyond the entrance of the straits the two fleets met that of D. John, and the joy and enthusiasm were equal on both sides. Marco Antonio left his captain's cabin for the first time, and boarded the royal galley to kiss D. John of Austria's hand; but he ran to meet the afflicted father, and took him in his arms, and pressed him to his heart. Marco Antonio Colonna was the picture of a great Italian noble of his day: tall, well made, and of proud bearing, an oval face, with a wide, bare forehead, and big moustaches getting grey, although he was only thirty-five. He was of great intelligence, very brave and magnanimous, and had the soul of a poet.

The effect of the entrance into Messina of the three united fleets cannot be described. From the most saintly Christian hope to the most animal instinct of self-preservation, all passions, ideas and sentiments of which human nature is capable, joyfully united to bless and welcome the realisation of their hopes and the overcoming of their fears, represented at that moment by the Generalissimo D. John of Austria.

He entered Messina by the Royal Gate, under a triumphal arch which ran out to the sea, and was twenty-five poles in length; there were three stories and three arches on each front, and 128 columns, which divided the niches, pedestals and divisions of the endless statues, emblems, inscriptions and couplets which adorned them, this great fabric ending in a colossal figure of D. John of Austria, with the vanquished Moors of Granada at his feet. Perhaps what was greatest and strongest among all this magnificence was the quiet nature of the youth of twenty-four, who, far from being made vainglorious by all this adulation, said humbly to his lieutenant, the Knight Commander: "They give me this in advance; I trust to God that I shall pay the debt."

D. John assembled all the leaders and generals at once, more to greet them than to hold a Council, as he fancied some of them were vacillating from fear, and he preferred to await the arrival of the fresh Nuncio, whom the Pope was sending to uphold his valorous designs. The Nuncio, Mons. Odescalchi, Bishop of Penna, came with a great following of Capuchins, Dominicans, Jesuits and Franciscans, whom the Pope sent to serve the galleys; he also brought letters for D. John and Marco Antonio Colonna, exhorting them without hesitation to give battle to the Turk, as in God's name he assured them of victory. D. John did not require such advice, and had, with much prudence and cleverness, been meanwhile preparing the Council, according to what the great Duque de Alba indicates in the following letter: "Before proposing the matter at a Council," wrote the Duke from Brussels to D. John, "it would be well to talk familiarly with each of the Councillors, commending them to secrecy, and in this way learning their opinion, which is a very good thing to do; as the person to whom Y.E. thus talks will feel very much honoured and will be grateful to Y.E. for the confidence placed in him; and will tell Y.E. freely what he thinks. Because it often happens in the Council that the soldiers wish to get the best of each other, but having already told Y.E. their opinion, they will not fall into this error, or contradict those to whom they owe a grudge for the sake of contradicting, which is a common habit. And Y.E. having heard all, will have time to think over the pros and cons which each one has put forward; and when you go to the Council you will have made up your mind. Because while hearing and questioning each one, Y.E. must never tell anyone your own opinion, except to those whom H.M. has ordered you, or it is Y.E.'s pleasure to consult. In Council do not allow them to be obstinate; it is well to discuss matters, but private obstinacy Y.E. must never allow, as it will lower your authority. And Y.E. will be bound, and it will be a very good thing sometimes, to summon to a great Council the field-marshals, and some colonels and captains, and those who can be called to such councils, to give them a taste of public business, because it will give much satisfaction to people a grade lower than those summoned."

In this way D. John more or less knew the opinions of all the Council when he convoked it for nine o'clock on the morning of the 10th of September. There assembled that day on board the galley "Real" seventy persons, among whom were thirty officers; it was presided over by the Nuncio Odescalchi, the honour being conceded to him by D. John, out of respect for the Pontiff. The Nuncio spoke first in the name of the Pope, and in a brave speech, full of faith and enthusiasm, exhorted them to set out without losing time to seek the Turk, and to offer him battle without hesitation; such was the wish of the Pope, and, in the name of God, he promised them victory. Then the old Conde de Priego rose, who had just been able to appreciate for himself the holiness of Pius V, and without more words or arguments, said that if the Pope desired fighting and promised them victory in the name of God, it was impiety and madness to shut their ears and fail in the enterprise. All the captains were fervent Catholics and friends of the Pope, but most of them did not equal D. John of Austria's old steward in faith and enthusiasm. One of them, a long, thin man, with a pointed head, sunken eyes and a flat nose, who looked more like a Barbary corsair than an Italian prince, slowly rose, and with much pompousness and dignity said, "That he thought it rash to provoke the Turk so late in the season in those seas, and it was, in his opinion, safer to concentrate all the forces of the Holy League against Tunis, than to expose themselves to a defeat from such a formidable sea power as Selim II, up to then invincible." The proposal pleased many, because the courage of the man who made it was above suspicion; he was none other than Gian Andrea Doria, one of the most experienced mariners and bravest captains of his day. However, Marco Antonio Colonna openly contradicted him, proposing a prompt and decisive battle, according to the wish of the Pope, and turning to D. John, whose desire to fight he knew, repeated in public what he had said in private:

"Etiamsi oportet me mori, non te negabo."

Sebastian Veniero upheld Colonna with great vehemence, and the two Venetian commissaries Barbarigo and Quirini, and then D. John breathed freely, because once the two other Generals of the League were agreed, he, as Generalissimo, only had to make up the quarrel. He, however, allowed all to talk who wished to do so, some for and some against, and when they had finished, he contented himself with saying, "Enough, gentlemen; all that remains to be done is to hasten the departure and set out in search of victory."

Very simple words certainly, but they were undoubtedly the most heroic in all the story of Lepanto, because it required superhuman courage to undertake the responsibility of an enterprise so dangerous, that men of the stamp of Gian Andrea Doria recoiled before it.

D. John began his preparations for his departure by visiting all the forts and the vessels anchored in the port, which amounted to 200 galleys, fifty-six ships, six formidable galliasses, and more than 80,000 soldiers, counting mercenaries and volunteers. D. John found all the fleet well supplied and prepared, except the Venetian galleys, which were very short of soldiers; this the Generalissimo remedied by dividing among them four Spanish regiments, two of veterans and two of recruits, which wounded the pride of the Venetians, and was the cause of the trouble and danger we shall hear of later. In the galley "Marchesa," of the Pontifical fleet, D. John passed an obscure soldier, whom he did not particularly notice, but whose fame, nevertheless, was to compete with his own in the coming ages; he was Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra. So it happens sometimes in life; two geniuses brush against each other without knowing it, separate personages to whom Providence allots similar destinies. D. John distributed the monks sent by the Pope among the various galleys, the Capuchins to the Pontifical ships, the Franciscans to those of Genoa, Venice and Savoy, and the Jesuits to the Spanish ones. On board the "Real" was the Franciscan Fr. Miguel Servia, confessor to D. John, and two other Jesuits, H. Briones and Father Cristobal Rodriguez, a man of great learning and virtue, who had been a prisoner of the Turk. Pius V much esteemed Father Cristobal Rodriguez, and entrusted him to tell D. John very privately and with great insistency what he had conveyed to him by other channels: not to hesitate to give battle, as, in the name of God, he promised victory. He also conveyed from the Pope a piece of the True Cross, an inch long and half an inch wide, in a clumsy reliquary of silver with two angels at the sides: it was the wish of the Pontiff that D. John should wear it on his breast during the battle.

Meanwhile Mons. Odescalchi promulgated a plenary jubilee which the Pope had granted to all on board the armada who had confessed, communicated, and prayed to God for victory against the Turk.

The forces all fasted for three days to prepare themselves to gain these spiritual graces, and there was not a soldier, sailor or galley slave who did not confess and communicate, and receive from the hands of the Nuncio a wax Agnus Dei blessed by the Pope, the Generalissimo D. John of Austria setting the example with all the leaders and officers. Then they organised a solemn procession of rogation and the Pontifical Nuncio, wearing vestments, conceded from the high altar to all those who were to fight the same graces that the Church had granted to the conquerors of the Holy Sepulchre. On the 16th of September the fleet at last left Messina for Corfu, and the Nuncio, in a small vessel at the entrance of the port, blessed the galleys and smaller vessels, one by one, as they passed.


The fleet moved away carefully, to prevent any surprise from the Turk, in the order and formation planned by D. John, and communicated in writing to all the Field-Marshals, Colonels, Captains, Sergeant-Majors and other officers. In the vanguard was D. Juan de Cardona, with three Sicilian and four Venetian galleys. He was followed on the right wing at a distance of twenty miles during the day and eight at night by fifty galleys, under the orders of Gian Andrea Doria. Behind, on the left wing, were fifty-three galleys, commanded by the Commissary Agostino Barbarigo. Then came the centre division of the fleet, consisting of sixty-two galleys, commanded by the Generalissimo D. John of Austria; on the right of the "Real" was the flagship of Marco Antonio Colonna, on the left that of Sebastian Veniero. The rearguard of thirty galleys, commanded by the Marqués de Santa Cruz, was a mile behind. None of these divisions were formed of the galleys of one nation only, they were all intermingled, nor did they fly their own flags, only a pennant of the colour the Generalissimo had selected as a distinguishing mark. Doria's pennants were green, Barbarigo's yellow, Don John's blue, and those of the Marqués de Santa Cruz white. The "Real" and the flagships, instead of these, flew broad pennants of their respective colours.

The fleet cast anchor that night in the roadstead of San Giovanni, and at dawn they erected a tent on the shore, in front of the "Real," and before weighing anchor celebrated the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, as it was not then lawful to celebrate it on board ship. At the elevation of the Host so loud were the cries and shouts with which the whole fleet besought the God of Battles for triumph over those whom they were pursuing, that the clamour drowned the noise of the drums and clarions and the salutes of the artillery as they rolled across the waves.

The Armada of the Holy League cast anchor at Corfu on the morning of the 28th of September; there were no signs there of the whereabouts of the Turk, but on all sides the island showed the marks of his devastating steps. Then D. John sent Gil de Andrade with four galleys in search of news, and meanwhile embarked the considerable reinforcements of artillery, ammunition, victuals and soldiers which the Venetians had kept there ready.

On the night of the 28th a frigate arrived at Corfu from Cephalonia, sent by Gil de Andrade, bringing word that the Turks were at Lepanto, and, without doubt, flying from battle, and retiring to their winter quarters, because their Generalissimo Ali Pasha had taken leave of the Viceroy of Algiers, Aluch Ali, with his 110 galleys; so that the Ottoman fleet was reduced to 180 galleys; but unfortunately, these tidings were absolutely false. It was true that the Ottoman Armada was at Lepanto, and also that the Viceroy of Algiers, Aluch Ali, had separated himself, with his galleys, from it; but it was only a temporary absence, to reconnoitre the archipelago, and he was already back at Lepanto, where the whole powerful fleet was, much superior to the Christian one, and, far from fleeing from fighting, they were trying to provoke a battle. This mistake on the part of the Christians, and a similar one, as we shall see, on the part of the Turks, was no doubt the simple means which Providence employed to bring about the decisive combat between the Cross and the Crescent, which could have been effected in no other way.

D. John, satisfied with this information, ordered the decks to be cleared for action, and this time, in agreement with all the Generals, decided to wait at Gomenizza, while the wind, then contrary, did not permit them to make for Lepanto. The bay of Gomenizza is on the Albanian coast, thirty miles south-east of the port of Corfu, and there for the last time discord managed to upset the plans God was unfolding. This was on the 2nd of October, and the order had already been given to have everything in readiness for sailing the next morning at daybreak. Consequently there reigned in all the galleys the confusion that such manœuvres always bring, and on the Venetian Áquila, whose Captain was a native of Crete, Andres Calergi, two Spanish arquebusiers were disputing with a Venetian sailor as to whether or no the latter had come against them with the end of a yard; the contention became general, owing to the bad feeling between the Spanish arquebusiers and the Venetian sailors, who looked upon them as interlopers on their ships, and it was all aggravated by the Captain, Muzio Alticozzi, taking part. He was a quarrelsome, wrong-headed man, who had already got himself into trouble with the law; words changed to blows, and then arms were used with such rage and violence, that in a few moments the deck was covered with many wounded and some dead bodies. The Ammiraglio, or head of the police, hastened with four boatswains, sent by Sebastian Veniero himself, to make peace, arrest Muzio, and end the fight. But Muzio was not a man to let himself be taken easily, and seizing the first arquebus he could find, he stretched the Ammiraglio dead with a ball in his chest, and put the boatswains to flight, wounding two of them. Meanwhile the Colonel of the arquebusiers, Paolo Sforza, flew to the flagship of Veniero, begging him to go in person to quiet his men, and already blind with rage, threatening to throw him overboard and also to sink his galley, the old Venetian sent his Captain to go on board the ship which was the scene of the struggle. He went on board at the head of his sailors, arrested Muzio and two of the most turbulent Spaniards, and in less than ten minutes the fleet could see all three hanging from a yard.

Photo Anderson


By Titian. Prado Gallery, Madrid

Sebastian Veniero's usurpation of the exclusive right of the Generalissimo to administer justice was so great and grave an offence against the person of D. John and the King of Spain, whom he represented, that on seeing the corpses swinging in space, in all the fleet there was a moment of terrified silence; the same idea, the same thought of danger, crossed all minds and dismayed all hearts, and without an order being given, or a word spoken, or a signal made, the Venetian galleys were seen slowly grouping themselves round Veniero's ship, and the Spanish and Pontifical ones falling back in order to surround that of the Generalissimo D. John of Austria, all the artillerymen charging their guns, the sailors sharpening their axes, and the soldiers, without a word, seizing their pikes and arquebuses. A stray shot, an ill-timed cry, and farewell to the Holy League, and Christian would have fallen on Christian, the Turks a mile away, and the whole future of Europe and the triumph of the Cross at stake!

D. John was on deck with Juan de Soto and the Prince of Urbino, playing with a little monkey, which was a great amusement to him, when his attention was aroused by the shots and shouting. He at once asked the cause of the tumult, and before they could give him any reply, Colonel Paolo Sforza hurried on board the "Real," livid with rage, and with loud voice calling for justice against the injuries that Sebastian Veniero was doing him. D. John heard him with astonishment, hardly believing his own ears, when he saw slowly being raised, on the galley "Aquila," the yard from which were hanging the three Spanish arquebusiers. Then he was so furious that he walked up and down the bridge like a caged animal, muttering words which seemed like the growls of a lion when pierced by a spear. The Spanish Captains, mad with rage, came round him, the most moderate asking that the "Real" should attack the Venetian Admiral's ship and throw Veniero, laden with chains, into the hold. At the same moment from different directions, came on board the "Real" Marco Antonio Colonna, and a corpulent, vigorous old man with an enormous moustache, who was Agostino Barbarigo, coming to D. John with the greatest earnestness, begging for peace, offering explanations and shedding tears. D. John listened to them, leaning his elbows on the side of the ship, digging his nails into his chest until they drew blood, and so much did these two brave and honourable men do and say, that at length the rage of the Generalissimo softened, not little by little but all at once, as a hurricane ceases when God clips the wings of the storm, and, his great nature already freed from the chains of wrath which bound it, he turned to his Captains, who, almost in arms, were asking for vengeance and extreme measures, and said to them quietly, "I know better than anyone what I owe to the King, my brother, and to God, who has put me in this enterprise."

And he sent Barbarigo to tell Sebastian Veniero to go back at once to his flagship; that never was he to show himself on board the "Real," and that from that moment Barbarigo was appointed in his stead to represent Venice on the Council, and that he should prepare everything to weigh anchor that night, to make for Lepanto.

In the log kept on board the "Real" by D. John's confessor Fr. Miguel Servia, after referring to these events, it says: "This same day (3rd of October), by order of His Highness, a proclamation was made, that no soldier should let off an arquebus under pain of death; and His Highness went from ship to ship, giving orders as to what was to be done."


Meanwhile the Turks had reinforced their fleet until their 290 galleys held 120,000 men, counting soldiers and rowers. They had, like the Christians, divided the fleet into three divisions: the centre one commanded by the great Admiral Ali Pasha, an arrogant young man, more brave than prudent, in all the pride of his youth and of being the favourite of Selim II; the right wing was under the orders of the King of Negroponto, Mahomet Scirocco, a cautious man of mature years, brave as well as experienced; and the left wing was commanded by the Viceroy of Algiers, Aluch Ali, surnamed "el Fartass," that is "The mean one," a former Calabrian renegade, an old man of sixty-eight, careful, brave and crafty, whom more than forty years of piracy had made familiar with these seas.

At Lepanto Ali Pasha received a message from Selim II, much to his satisfaction, ordering him to give battle, and in order to do this he assembled his Council of War on board his galley, "La Sultana," on the 4th of October. The Council consisted of the two Generals of the Fleet, Mahomet Scirocco and Aluch Ali, the Serasker or general of all the troops, Perter Pasha, and several great dignitaries of the Empire, to the number of twenty, among whom were the former King of Algiers, Hassen Pasha, and two sons of Ali, who were still children, Ahmed Bey, who was eighteen, and Mahomet Bey, aged thirteen, who with their tutor Alhamet commanded a galley.

The Turkish fleet was undeniably superior to the Christian, and wherein lay, perhaps, its greatest advantage was that it was not like the Christian fleet compounded of different elements, who might, and in fact did, have different and even opposing interests. Far from this, the Turks were all vassals of one lord, and neither desired glory or power for anything but the Empire. However, Selim II's order to give battle was vigorously opposed in the Council, and the first to do so was Aluch Ali, who, with many weighty reasons, drawn from his experience of Christian warfare, showed what harm defeat would entail. The Serasker Perter Pasha and Mahomet Scirocco agreed with him, being much perturbed over the six formidable galliasses of the Christians; these vessels, the greatest of their day, carried twenty cannon, and easily broke through any line of battle which confronted them.

Ali Pasha's arrogant petulance then turned to insolence; he jeered at the fears of the veterans, and told the Council of the information he had received from two spies, Kara Kodja and Kara Djali, Barbary corsairs, whom he had sent to reconnoitre the Christian fleet in Corfu; according to them it was so inferior in strength and numbers that it would have difficulty in resisting the attack of the Turks. Ali, however, did not know that this enumeration had been made while the vanguard of D. Juan de Cardona and the rearguard of the Marqués de Santa Cruz had been detached at Tarento with some other ships, and that, consequently, there only remained at the moment seventy galleys in the fleet of the League. Thus the confidence of both Generalissimos, Ali Pasha and D. John of Austria, was founded on the same error; D. John supposed that the galleys of Aluch Ali had separated themselves from the Turkish fleet, and were on their way to Algiers or Tripoli; and Ali Pasha, not reckoning on the ships of D. Juan de Cardona, or those of the Marqués de Santa Cruz, and in his ignorance of naval matters, which was great, failed to appreciate the importance of the six galliasses which old Mahomet Scirocco so much feared.

The discussions became embittered, until there was contention among the Ottoman leaders, to which Aluch Ali put an end by saying, "Silence, I am ready, because it is written that the youth of a Captain Pasha has more weight than my forty-three years of fighting. But the Berbers have made sport of you, Pasha! Remember this when the peril draws nigh."

Having said this with impassive Oriental gravity, Aluch Ali left to prepare his fleet. Then everyone was for Ali Pasha; but he, more for appearance than from fear or want of confidence, desired to send the corsair Kara Kodja to make fresh investigation of the enemy's strength. So the Barbary pirate set out from Lepanto with two galleys, and began to seek cautiously for the allied fleet; on the 5th he had crossed the long, narrow channel of Ithaca, which is at the extreme north of the bay of Samos, in Cephalonia, having to take refuge in the creek of Pilaros, owing to bad weather. D. John proposed to reach the isles of Curzolari from the north, and to shelter among these islands to rest the crews on the 6th, and to fall back suddenly on Cape Scropha on the 7th, surprising the Turkish fleet anchored at Lepanto. Kara Kodja, with daring, entered the channel of Ithaca with his two galleys, and discovered the allied fleet at Pilaros; but he had gone so far that the Christians, in their turn, discovered him and gave chase, and it was only by the great strength of his oarsmen, and because the wind favoured him, that he was able to escape. However, again this time God desired to blind this Barbary pirate, and in the hurry and fear of his flight his sharp eyes failed to see the ships that were sheltered behind a bend of the bay. So Kara Kodja thought that the fleet had not altered since he saw it at Corfu without its rear or vanguard, and returned triumphant to Lepanto, confident in his mistake, and he announced to Ali Pasha that the Christians were at Pilaros, in Cephalonia, and that there was nothing to diminish the enormous advantage the Turks had over them.

Ali Pasha wanted no second telling; he hurried to leave Lepanto, to go and cast anchor in the bay of Calydon, at the mouth of the gulf, only twelve miles distant from that fatal Cape Scropha, to which the Turks gave, the next day, the sinister name of Cape Sangriento.

D. John, meanwhile, was anchored in the port of Petala, seven miles from Cape Scropha, on the opposite side, without suspecting the proximity of the enemy. Therefore both fleets were resting on either side of the fatal point, like two enemies who, drawn through hatred, approach without knowing, lie in wait, and suddenly meet each other without expecting to do so, by rounding the same corner. D. John thought the Turks were at Lepanto, Ali imagined the Christians to be still in Cephalonia, and was going to seek them there. At daybreak on the 7th of October, 1571, D. John of Austria ordered the fleet to leave the port of Petala, and very carefully to go along the channel between the coast of Greece and Oxia, the last island of the Curzolari; in the latitude of Cape Scropha the watch on the "Real" made signals that two sails were in sight. Then the curious at once covered masts and yards, but it was not two sails that they saw; there were dozens and dozens which stood out against the blue of the sky and the blue of the sea, skimming the waves like a flock of white sea-gulls. There was no doubt; the enemy was in sight; the belligerents had met face to face turning the same corner. It was then seven o'clock in the morning.

D. John of Austria at once ordered his pilot, Cecco Pizano, to disembark on one of the high islets, to observe the strength of the enemy. From this height could be seen all the wide bay, and in it Pizano spied the Turkish fleet advancing, about twice as numerous as had been supposed, favoured by the breeze, which was hindering and embarrassing the manœuvres of the Christians. The pilot was horrified at what he saw, and back on the "Real" he did not dare say what he had seen at such a critical moment, and contented himself with whispering in the Generalissimo's ear, "Put out your claws, my lord, for the job will be a tough one."

On hearing this D. John made no sign, and as at that moment several of his Captains came to ask him whether he would not hold a last Council, he answered blandly, "There is no time for anything but fighting."

And he at once ordered a small cannon on the "Real" to be fired, and a white flag to be run up in the centre of the galley, which was, ever since Messina, the signal for battle.


Calmness in the presence of danger had always been one of D. John of Austria's great qualities, and it did not fail him in this crisis. He refrained from telling anyone of the fears and anxieties that Cecco Pizano's information had inspired in him, and without wasting a second he at once began to take measures with that intelligence and orderly activity required by the art of war, seeing and taking in everything at a glance, making his arrangements without hurry or confusion.

He ordered that a little rowing and sailing galley, employed to transmit orders, should come alongside of the "Real," and he embarked in her with Juan de Soto and D. Luis de Córdoba, to visit, one by one, all the galleys of the centre division and of the right wing; those of the left he gave over to his lieutenant the Knight Commander, Luis de Requesens.

In all the galleys D. John gave orders, the forethought and prudence of which could be appreciated later. He ordered that in all the galleys the high peaks should be cut off, to ensure the more effectual working of the forward guns.

He made them take off the chains and give arms to those galley slaves who were condemned to row for ordinary offences, promising them pardon if they gave a good account of themselves in the fight. These poor creatures wept and embraced the boatswains who came to give them arms, swearing to die, as, in truth, most of them did, for the Faith, the King, and D. John of Austria. He also ordered on deck the best food in the holds, and leather bottles of wine to be divided among the crews, and then went among them to speak to them and to encourage them.

D. John went unarmed, with an ivory crucifix in his hand, that he afterwards gave to his confessor Fr. Miguel Servia, which existed in the convent of Jesus, outside the walls of Palma in Majorca until 1835. His words were not polished nor his arguments intricate; he only told them that they were fighting for the faith, and that there was no heaven for cowards. But he said it all so earnestly and courteously, and his declarations and promises so evidently came from his heart, that they filled all with enthusiasm and the wish to be brave, as if he were filling them with some of his own heroism.

He gave medals to some, money to others, to others scapularies and rosaries, and, when he had no more to give, he bestowed his hat on one and divided his gloves between two more. And when a Captain offered the galley slave who had received it fifty ducats for one of the gloves, the man promptly refused, and stuck it in his hat as if it had been the finest plume.

The two fleets came face to face at eleven o'clock in the morning, scarcely a league dividing them. Then in a moment Ali Pasha could understand the extent of his error, seeing ship after ship that he had not counted on coming up the narrow channel of Oxia, and Marco Antonio Arrozo narrates that, turning round to the Christian captives who were chained to the benches, he said to them, deadly pale, "Brothers! Do what is your duty in return for the good treatment I have given you. If I am victorious, I promise you liberty, and if to-day is your day, God gives it to you."

Then the crafty Aluch Ali proposed to tack so as to bring the Christian fleet under the fire of the entrance of the gulf; but the proud Ottoman leader answered that never should the galleys of the Padisha, under his command, offer even an appearance of flight. Meanwhile the two fleets were manœuvring to form up for battle, the Ottoman one in the open sea, light and favoured by the wind, the Christian one heavy, and shut in by visible and invisible rocks which there surround the Curzolari islands, and hampered by the contrary wind. They spread out their left wing to the coast, getting quite close when the sounding allowed it, to prevent the Turkish galleys passing and attacking them from the rear. It was formed of fifty-three galleys, under Agostino Barbarigo, whose galley went first, as guide on the land side, the guide of the other side was Marco Quirini, with Venice's third flagship. The right wing, on the other hand, went out to sea; it consisted of fifty-six galleys, commanded and guided from the extreme right by Gian Andrea Doria, whose flagship had a globe of glass as a lantern, with gilded hoops; the left was guided by D. Juan de Cardona, with the flagship of Sicily.

Between the two wings, forming the centre division, were sixty-two galleys; in the middle the "Real" of D. John of Austria, flanked on each side by the flagships of the Captains Marco Antonio Colonna and Sebastian Veniero, and their stern guarded by D. John's "Patrona" and the ship of the Knight Commander D. Luis de Requesens, who did not wish to be separated for an instant from the Generalissimo; the two extremes of the centre division were led, on the left by the flagship of Malta, commanded by the Prior of Messina, Fr. Pietro Gustiniani. Behind the centre division and at a convenient distance were the thirty galleys in reserve, commanded by the Marqués de Santa Cruz. There was not more than the space necessary for manœuvring between ship and ship, and the line of the allied fleet extended at sea for nearly two miles. A mile in front of the line of battle were the six galliasses, two appertaining to each part of the fleet.

Ali Pasha had disposed his fleet in an identical manner; he also spread out his right wing, composed of fifty-six galleys, towards the land, under Mahomet Scirocco. The left, formed of ninety-three galleys, also went to sea, under the orders of Aluch Ali; and in the midst of the centre division, formed of ninety-five galleys, a ship of Ali Pasha's pressed forward, a very large one, with five high stanchions with five great gilded lanterns in the stern, and well supplied with artillery and with more than 500 men, Turks of Epacos, excellent archers and gunners who were the pick of his force. Round her, to defend her, were seven galleys, the strongest and best that the Serasker Perter Pasha had. Behind the centre division, as in the allied fleet, were thirty galleys in reserve. The space between the ships was the same in both fleets, and the Turkish fleet stretched for over four miles. Therefore the two armadas were each formed into three divisions, which each faced an enemy. That of Barbarigo was opposite that of Mahomet Scirocco; that of D. John of Austria was opposite that of Ali Pasha, and Gian Andrea Doria was facing Aluch Ali, the real and most redoubtable Captain of the Turks.

D. John's visit had aroused enthusiasm among the galleys, and all preparations being made, they only waited for the signal of battle. The Generalissimo had also made his preparations on the "Real"; he ordered that the deck should be cleared as much as possible, in order to give plenty of room for fighting and for suitably posting the 400 veterans of the Cerdena regiment whom he had on board. He confided the defence of the platforms of the forecastles to the Field-Marshals D. Lope de Figueroa and D. Miguel de Moncada, and to Andres de Mesa and Andres de Salazar; the midships to Gil de Andrade; the kitchen to D. Pedro Zapata de Calatayud; the boat to Luis Carillo; the quarter-deck to D. Bernardino de Cardenas, D. Rodrigo de Mendoza Cervellon, D. Luis de Cardena, D. Juan de Gúzman, D. Felipe Heredia, and Rui Diaz de Mendoza; and as principal defender of the ship and true Generalissimo of the battle, he had hung up, in a wooden box, the Moorish crucifix rescued by Luis Quijada, which D. John always carried about with him.

From the stern D. John followed the manœuvres of both fleets, and, not to lose sight of them for a moment, he began to don his armour there, under the little awning of red and white damask which was at the door of his cabin; he put on a strong black coat of mail with silver nails; below the cuirass he wore the "piece of the True Cross," the present of Pius V, and over the cuirass the Golden Fleece, as by the statutes of the order a knight should always wear it when he engages in battle. D. John had just finished arming himself when he noticed that Gian Andrea Doria had got too far ahead with the wing he was commanding, leaving a wide space between the left and the centre of the line; he also observed that Aluch Ali had followed the manœuvre of Doria with a parallel Turkish one with his left wing, and at once understood the strategy of the cunning renegade, who wished, and was succeeding in doing so, to separate the Christian right wing from the centre division, in order to surround them completely and cut them off. D. John hastened to send a frigate to Doria, to warn him of the trap into which he had fallen, and which threatened to cause the loss of the battle; but, unfortunately, it was too late, and the frigate had not time to cover the three miles which separated them from Doria.

The Turkish fleet came on imposing and terrible, all sails set, impelled by a fair wind, and it was only half a mile from the line of galliasses and another mile from the line of the Christian ships.

D. John waited no longer; he humbly crossed himself, and ordered that the cannon of challenge should be fired on the "Real," and that the blue flag of the League should be hoisted at the stern, which unfurled itself like a piece of the sky on which stood out an image of the Crucified. A moment later the galley of Ali replied, accepting the challenge by firing another cannon, and hoisting at the stern the standard of the Prophet, guarded in Mecca, white and of large size, with a wide green "cenefa," and in the centre verses from the Koran embroidered in gold. At the same moment a strange thing happened, a very simple one at any other time, but for good reason then considered a miracle: the wind fell suddenly to a calm, and then began to blow favourably for the Christians and against the Turks. It seemed as if the Voice had said to the sea, "Be calm," and to the wind, "Be still." The silence was profound, and nothing was heard but the waves breaking on the prows of the galleys, and the noise of the chains of the Christian galley slaves as they rowed.

Fr. Miguel Servia blessed from the quarter-deck all those of the fleet, and gave them absolution in the hour of death. It was then a quarter to twelve.


The first shot was fired by the galliass "Capitana," commanded by Francisco Duodo, and it smashed the biggest of the five lanterns which crowned the stern of Ali Pasha's galley; the second injured the castle of a neighbouring galley, and the third sunk a small vessel which was hurrying to transmit orders. Then there was a retrograde movement throughout the Turkish fleet, which the bravery of Ali Pasha at once checked. He rushed to the tiller and made the "Sultana" pass between the galliasses with the rapidity of an arrow, without firing a shot; all the fleet followed him, their line already broken, but prepared to form up again when they had passed the obstacle, as the water of a river reunites after it has passed the posts of a bridge which has impeded and divided it. The left Christian wing and the Turkish right one were the first to engage. Mahomet Scirocco attacked with such force in front, and with such tumult of shouts and savage cries, according to the Turkish custom when fighting, that all attention was drawn to one point; meanwhile some of his light galleys slipped past on the land side and attacked the stern of Barbarigo's flagship, who saw himself sorely pressed as the crew of Mahomet Scirocco's galley had boarded his by the prow, and the Turks were already up to the mizzen mast. The Christians defended themselves like wild beasts, gathered in the stern, and Barbarigo himself was directing them and cheering them on from the castle. He had lifted the vizor of his helmet, and was using his shield against the storm of arrows that flew through the air. To give an order, he uncovered himself for a moment, and an arrow entered by the right eye and pierced his brain. He died the next day.

Then there was grave risk of the Turks overcoming the Venetian flagship, destroying the left wing, and then attacking the centre division on the flank and from the rear, making victory easy. Barbarigo's nephew Marino Contarini overcame the danger. He boarded his uncle's ship on the larboard side with all his people, and fought on board perhaps the fiercest combat of all on that memorable day. All was madness, fury, carnage and terror, until Mahomet Scirocco was expelled from the Venetian flagship and penned, in his turn, in his own ship, where he at last succumbed to his wounds. Clinging to the side, they beheaded him there and threw him into the water. Terror then spread among the Turks, and the few galleys at liberty turned their prows towards the shore. There they ran aground, the decimated crews saving themselves by swimming.

D. John had no time to reflect either on this danger, or that catastrophe, or that victory, for he was also hard pressed. Five minutes after Mahomet Scirocco had fallen on Barbarigo, Ali Pasha fell on him with all the weight of his hatred, fury and desire for glory. He could be seen proudly standing on the castle of the stern, a magnificent scimitar in his hand, dressed in a caftan of white brocade woven with silk and silver, with a helmet of dark steel under his turban, with inscriptions in gold and precious stones, turquoises, rubies, and diamonds, which flashed in the sunlight. Slowly the two divisions came on, unheeding what happened on the right or left, and in the midst were the galleys of the two Generalissimos, not firing a shot, and only moving forward silently. When the length of half a galley separated the two ships, the "Sultana" of Ali Pasha suddenly fired three guns; the first destroyed some of the ironwork of the "Real" and killed several rowers; the second traversed the boat; and the third passed over the cook's galley without harming anyone. The "Real" replied by sweeping with her shots the stern and gangway of the "Sultana," and a thick, black smoke at once enveloped Turks and Christians, ships and combatants. From this black cloud, which appeared to be vomited from Hell, could be heard a dreadful grinding noise, and horrible cries, and through the smoke of the powder could be seen splinters of wood and iron, broken oars, weapons, human limbs and dead bodies flying through the air and falling in the bloodstained sea. It was the galley of Ali which had struck that of D. John by the prow with such a tremendous shock that the peak of the "Sultana" entered the "Real" as far as the fourth bench of rowers; the violence of the shock had naturally made each ship recoil; but they could not draw apart. The yards and rigging had become entangled, and they heaved first to one side and then to the other with dreadful grinding and movement, striving to get free without succeeding, like two gladiators, whose bodies are separated, who grasp each other tightly, and then seize each other by the hair. From the captain's place where he was, at the foot of the standard of the League, D. John ordered grappling-irons to be thrown from the prow, holding the ships close together, and making them into one field of battle. Like lions the Christians flung themselves on board the ship, destroying all in their path, and twice they reached the mainmast of the "Sultana," and as often had to retire, foot by foot and inch by inch, fighting over these frail boards, from which there was neither escape, nor help, nor hope of compassion, nor other outlet than death.

The "Sultana" was reinforced with reserves from the galleys, and to encourage them, Ali, in his turn, threw himself on board the ship. The "Sultana" rode higher out of the water than the "Real," and the men poured down into her like a cataract from on high; the shock was so tremendous that the Field-Marshals Figueroa and Moncada fell back with their men, and the Turks succeeded in reaching the foremast. All the men at the prow hastened there, and D. John jumped from the captain's post, sword in hand, fighting like a soldier to make them retire. This was the critical moment of the battle. There was neither line, nor formation, nor right, nor left, nor centre; only could be seen, as far as the eye could reach, fire, smoke and groups of galleys in the midst, fighting with each other, vomiting fire and death, with masts and hulls bristling with arrows, like an enormous porcupine, who puts out its quills to defend itself and to fight; wounding, killing, capturing, cheering, burning were seen and heard on all sides, and dead bodies and bodies of the living falling into the water, and spars, yards, rigging, torn-off heads, turbans, quivers, shields, swords, scimitars, arquebuses, cannon, arms, everything that was then within the grasp of barbarism or civilisation for dealing death and destruction.

At this critical moment, by a superhuman effort, a galley freed itself from that chaos of horrors, and threw itself, like a missile from a catapult, hurled by Titans, against the stern of Ali's galley, forcing the peak as far as the third bench of rowers.

It was Marco Antonio Colonna who had come to the assistance of D. John of Austria; at the same time the Marqués de Santa Cruz executed a similar manœuvre on one of the flanks. The help was great and opportune; still, the Turks succeeded in retiring in good order to their galley; but here, pressed hardly by the followers of Colonna and Santa Cruz, they tumbled over the sides, dead and living, into the water, Turks and Christians fighting to the last with nails and teeth, and destroying each other until engulfed in the gory waves.

Among this mass of desperate people Ali perished beside the tiller; some say that he cut his throat and threw himself into the sea; others that his head was cut off and put on a pike. Then D. John ordered the standard of the Prophet to be lowered, and amidst shouts of victory, the flag of the League was hoisted in its place.

D. John had been wounded in the leg,[12] but without limping at all he mounted the castle of the vanquished galley to survey from there the state of the battle. On the left wing the few galleys left to Mahomet Scirocco were flying towards the land, and could be seen running violently aground in the bays, the crews throwing themselves into the water to swim ashore.

But, unluckily, the same was not happening on the right. Doria, deceived by the tactics of Aluch Ali, had followed him out to sea, making a wide space between the right wing and the centre division; D. John's orders to him to come back did not arrive in time. Meanwhile, Aluch Ali contented himself by watching Doria's manœuvres, keeping up with him, but not attacking; until suddenly, judging, no doubt, that the space was wide enough, he veered to the right with marvellous rapidity, and sent all his fleet through the dangerous breach, literally annihilating the two ends which remained uncovered; the disaster was terrible and the carnage awful; on the flagship of Malta only three men remained alive, the Prior of Messina, Fr. Pietro Giustiniani, pierced by five arrows, a Spanish gentleman with both legs broken, and an Italian with an arm cut off by a blow from an axe. In the flagship of Sicily D. Juan de Cardona lay wounded, and of his 500 men only fifty remained. The "Fierenza," the Pope's "San Giovanni," and the "Piamontesa" of Savoy succumbed without yielding; ten galleys had gone to the bottom; one was on fire, and twelve drifted like buoys, without masts, full of corpses, waiting until the conqueror, Aluch Ali, should take them in tow as trophies and spoils of war. Doria, horrified at the disaster, in all haste returned to the scene of the catastrophe, but D. John was already there before him. Without waiting a moment, the Generalissimo ordered that the towing ropes which already attached twelve galleys to their conquerors should be cut, and although wounded, and without taking any rest after his own struggle, he flew to the assistance of those who were being overcome. "Ah! Brave Generalissimo," exclaims Admiral Jurien de la Graviere, in his valuable study of the battle of Lepanto, "to him the armada owed its victory, to him the right wing its preservation." The Marqués de Santa Cruz followed with his whole reserve, and seeing this help, the already victorious Aluch Ali understood that the prey would be torn from his claws.

The cunning renegade then thought only of saving his life, which he did by a means that no one else would have employed; he placed his son in a galley, and followed by thirteen other ones, passed like a vapour in front of the prows of the enemy, before they could surround him, and fled incontinently to Santa Maura, all sails set, he at the tiller, the unfortunate rowers with a scimitar at their throats, so that they should not flag or draw breath for a second, and should die rather than give in.

The first moment of astonishment over, the Marqués de Santa Cruz and D. John of Austria hastened in pursuit; but the advantage Aluch Ali had obtained increased each minute, night began to fall, and the storm which had threatened since two o'clock began to blow, and the first claps of thunder were heard. So the famous renegade escaped on the wings of the storm, as if the wrath of God were protecting him and preserving him to be the scourge of other people.

This was the last act of the battle of Lepanto, the greatest day that the ages have seen, as we are assured by a witness who shed his blood there, Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra.

It was then five o'clock on the evening of the 7th of October, 1571.


In the afternoon of that same day, the 7th of October, 1571, the Pope was walking about his room, listening to the relation by his treasurer, Mons. Busotti de Bibiana, of various businesses committed to his care; the Pope suffered terribly from stone, and as usually the pain attacked him while seated, he had to receive and to do his business standing up or walking up and down. He stopped suddenly in the middle of the room and put out his head in the attitude of one listening, at the same time making a sign to Busotti to be silent. Then he went to the window, which he threw open wide, leaning out, still silent and in the same listening attitude. Busotti looked at him in astonishment, which changed to terror on seeing the face of the old Pontiff suddenly transfigured, his tearful blue eyes turned to heaven with an ineffable expression, and his joined and trembling hands raised; Busotti's hair stood on end as he understood that something supernatural and divine was happening, and thus he remained for more than three minutes, as the same treasurer afterwards declared on oath.

Then the Pope shook off his ecstasy, and with a face radiant with joy, said to Busotti, "This is not the time for business. Let us return thanks to God for victory over the Turks."

And he retired to his oratory, says Busotti, stumbling, and with beautiful lights coming from his forehead. The treasurer hastened to acquaint the prelates and Cardinals with what had happened, and these ordered that at once a record should be made, noting all the circumstances of time and place, and that it should be deposited, sealed up, at a notary's office. On the 26th of October a messenger from the Doge of Venice, Mocenigo, arrived in Rome, to announce the victory of Lepanto, and three or four days later the Conde de Priego, sent by D. John to give an account of the details of the battle. Then they made a calculation, allowing for the different meridians of Rome and the Curzolari Isles, and they found that the Pope's vision announcing the triumph of Lepanto took place exactly when D. John of Austria jumped, sword in hand, from the quarter-deck to drive back the Turks who were invading his galley, and when the "Sultana" was being attacked on the side and at the stern by the Marqués de Santa Cruz and Marco Antonio Colonna. Then they gave much importance to this event, and it afterwards figured with all its proofs and documents in the proceedings of the canonisation of Pius V, from which we have taken them.

Meanwhile it was another of God's mercies that the storm which put the renegade Aluch Ali in safety, did not end by destroying the armada of the League. Without thought of danger, the galleys were drifting in the wide gulf, busy, as far as possible, repairing their damages, putting manacles on the Turkish prisoners, and collecting and disposing of the enormous booty provided by the 178 galleys taken from the enemy. No one thought of danger or of anything but enjoying the triumph. However, the Generalissimo was looking after everything, and he suddenly ordered that the alarm gun should be fired on the "Real"; the flagships repeated the same signal, and with haste, by force, and, if one can say so, by driving them, D. John gathered together this scattered flock, and shut them up, as in a fold, in the port of Petala. It was time; the storm was let loose, violent and terrible, and during all that night it swept over those seas with alarming force. But for the prudence of D. John, the victory of Lepanto would inevitably have been reduced to the opposite of the battle of Trafalgar, two centuries and a half later, which was a glorious disaster; Lepanto would have been a disastrous glory.

Very early next morning D. John visited all the galleys, one by one, to comfort and aid the wounded and to take count of the losses suffered. The Christians lost in the battle of Lepanto fifteen galleys and nearly 8000 men; of these 2000 were Spaniards, 800 the Pope's men, and the rest Venetians. Of the Turkish armada 30 galleys got away, 90 were sunk in the gulf, and the remaining 178 were in the hands of the Christians, with 117 big cannon and 250 of smaller size. At the same time more than 12,000 Christian captives whom the Turks had rowing in their galleys regained their liberty. These poor creatures, wild with joy, offered spontaneously, and with the greatest enthusiasm, to take the places of the wounded and killed in the Christian fleet, both as soldiers and sailors.

The division of the spoil D. John made in the following manner, according to what was stipulated in the articles of the Holy League.

To the Pope, 27 galleys, 9 big cannon, 3 swivel guns, 42 small cannon, and 200 slaves.

To the Catholic King, Ali Pasha's galley, the "Sultana," with 81 others, 78 great cannon, 12 swivel guns, 178 small cannon, and 3700 slaves.

To Venice 54 galleys, 38 cannon, 6 swivel guns, 84 small cannon, and 2500 slaves.

To D. John of Austria, as Generalissimo, fell the tenth part of everything; but he only took 16 galleys, 700 slaves, and one of every ten pieces of artillery. Among the prisoners he kept the tutor of the sons of Ali Pasha, Alhamet, who was taken with them by Marco Antonio Colonna on the galley of the King of Negroponto, where they had taken refuge after their own ship had gone to the bottom.

From Santa Maura D. John sent the Field-Marshal D. Lope de Figueroa to the King his brother; also his courier Angulo, carrying the standard of the Prophet called "Sanjac," taken from Ali's galley. To the Pope he sent the Conde de Priego; D. Fernando de Mendoza to the Emperor Maximilian II of Austria; and D. Pedro Zapata de Calatayud to the Signory of Venice, to offer them congratulations.

Photo Lacoste


Photo Lacoste


In the delirium of triumph D. John of Austria did not forget his "aunt," Doña Magdalena de Ulloa, and at the same time as he sent to the Pope, King, Emperor, and Signory, he sent Jorge de Lima to her, taking her that which he knew would please her most as a Christian, a Spaniard, and a loving mother, the "piece of the True Cross," the Pope's present, which he had worn at the battle of Lepanto, and a Turkish flag he himself had taken from the galley of the Serasker.


D. John of Austria's kind heart was full of compassion for the misfortunes of the sons of Ali, and he ordered that, without being separated from their tutor Alhamet or their five servants, they were to be brought on board the "Real," that he might have them under his own eye to protect and comfort them, which was the reason of an episode which shows the noble, great, and compassionate character of the hero of Lepanto.

The eldest of the sons of Ali, Ahmed Bey, was eighteen, handsome, strong, manly and arrogant. He accepted his misfortune with dumb and gloomy despair, which never lifted, but rather became stronger, making him churlish, hard and irritable, with no other wish or idea than to escape, like a wild bird shut up in a cage. The younger one, Mahomet Bey, was, on the other hand, a child of thirteen, affectionate and demonstrative, and without understanding the extent of his misfortunes, his innocent eyes sought everywhere love and protection from anyone, and finding both in D. John, he clung to him tenderly. This humbled the pride of his brother, and seeing him one day playing on deck with D. John's monkey, he tore the little animal violently from him, saying in Turkish laconic words which may be translated, "The great infidel killed our father."

The kindness of D. John and his great tact at last overcame the boy's animosity and fierceness, and then desperation changed to profound sadness, which seemed to undermine him and consume him, without any illness. D. John was very much disturbed at the fate of these poor children, and to give hope and pleasure, on arriving at Corfu, he at once liberated their tutor Alhamet and sent him to Constantinople, to give news of them to their family, and to say how impossible it was then to give them their freedom, but that it was his wish and intention to give it them later. The two orphans formed one prize of war, of which D. John's share was only the tenth part, according to the articles of the League, the remainder in equal parts belonged to the Pope, the King of Spain, and the Signory of Venice.

D. John then begged from the three Powers that the two boys should be set at liberty without loss of time, offering to give in exchange anything that they should demand. He, however, judged it prudent to send the brothers to Rome, with all their servants, to place them under the protection of the Holy Father. The orphans did not like leaving D. John, and so much did this absence aggravate the sadness and consumption which was undermining Ahmet Bey, the eldest of the brothers, that he died in Naples three days after their arrival, begging D. John, at his last hour, not to forget his generous intentions of setting his innocent brother at liberty, who, broken-hearted and afflicted, went on to Rome, where he was placed, by order of the Pope, in the castle of St. Angelo, with all the care and attention that his age, rank and misfortunes demanded. D. John then, on his part, took the same steps on behalf of Mahomet Bey as before for the two brothers, and wrote to Philip II and the Doge Mucenigo, urgently and effectually, as the following noble letter, written to the Spanish Ambassador in Rome, D. Juan de Zúñiga, shows, the original of which is in the collection of autographs belonging to the Conde de Valencia de San Juan:

"Illustrious Sir. Several times I remember having written to Y.E. of the great affection that I have for the sons of the Pasha since the first day when they were taken captive in battle, and they appear to me to be noble lads with very good inclinations, and taking into consideration their misery, which they incurred through no fault of theirs, as they were neither of an age or power to do us any real harm. This same wish has lasted, and still lasts, the more, when I at times reflect that it is not the act of noble souls to ill-treat the enemy after he is vanquished, and according to this my opinion, during the time that these boys and the other prisoners of rank were under my power and orders I desired that they should be well treated and looked after, especially the said boys. Having sent them from here to the city, and one of them dying in Naples, and desiring extremely that the younger, who is here in prison, should be given his liberty, the more, when I remember having several times told you my intention of doing so, and to this end, wrote to the King, my Lord, begging that it might be his pleasure to give me the favour of the half of the boy, which he held by the articles of the League, to which I await an answer. At present it has occurred to me that it would be well in this vacant see[13] to beg from the College of Cardinals, the part which falls to this Holy See, as regards the Venetian's other two parts I shall try to have them by the means which seem to me best. Before engaging in this affair I wished to communicate with Y.E. and to ask you, with much earnestness, to tell me your opinion, and to do all you can that these captives should be well treated, as I said above, that one should show fierceness and bravery to one's enemies until one has conquered them, and after they are conquered, gentleness and pity, and to advise me on the first occasion that offers about this.

"Our Lord keep the Illustrious person of Y.E. as I wish.

"From Messina, the 7th of May, 1572."


Titian. In Prado Gallery, Madrid

At the end of this letter is the following postscript in D. John's own hand:

"I desire that this boy should be given me much more than I can say, as he will do so little harm, and I am truly fond of him, and almost under an obligation, and thus, as I have said, I desire to have my wish gratified, and for this I truly want your help, whom I beg that if it now appears to you to be the time and occasion, to do me this favour, to grant it, and to see that in every case and time the rest of those in the company of the said boy should be well treated, as pity towards such is certainly, in my opinion, the sign of a good heart, and, moreover, I wish that they should know that I am watching over their interests, and all this I confide to you, Don Juan.

"At your service,
"D. John."

The Pope, the King, and the Doge of Venice readily agreed to what D. John asked, and left him exclusive master of the poor captive child. The Generalissimo sent to set him at liberty with all his servants; but beforehand, and while D. John was at Naples, there arrived in the port a beautiful Turkish galley, with a safe conduct of embassy, sent by Fatima Cadem, a daughter of Ali Pasha, and the only remaining relation left to the orphan. Alhamet came in this galley, the tutor of the two brothers, bringing a letter and a rich present from Fatima for D. John of Austria. The following is the translation of her letter, given by Vander Hammen:

"Great Lord: After kissing the earth Y.H. treads, that which this poor and miserable orphan wishes to make known to Y.H., Her Lord, is to tell you how grateful I am for the favour you have done to all of us, not only in giving liberty to Alhamet, our servant, but by sending him to give us news, that after the death of my father and the destruction of the Armada, my poor orphan brothers remained alive and in the power of Y.H., for which I pray to God to give Y.H. many years of life. What remains to us, My Lord, to me and all of us, is to beg Y.H. to do us the favour and charity by the Soul of Jesus Christ, by the life of Y. Royal H., by the head of your mother, by the soul of the Emperor, your father, by the life of the Majesty of the King, your brother, to give liberty to these poor orphans. They have no mother, their father died at Y.H.'s hand. They are under your sole protection. But if you are the courteous gentleman people say, so pious and generous a prince, pity the tears I shed for hours, and the affliction in which my brothers find themselves, and concede me this mercy. Of the things I have been able to get here, I send Y.H. this present, which I beg you will be willing to receive. I well know that it is not worthy of Y.H.'s greatness, which deserves greater things, but my resources are small. Do not look at the smallness of the service, but, like a great lord, accept the good-will with which it is made. Again, My Lord, I beg Y.H. by the Soul of Jesus Christ to do me the charity of giving liberty to my brothers, as in doing this good, even to enemies, you will gain a renown for liberality and piety; and, thinking of their tears, you were pleased to send Alhamet, to say that they were alive and of the good treatment Y.H. gave them (which all this Court thinks very noble and does nothing but praise the virtue and greatness of Y.H.), for you have ended in gaining this title from everyone, there remains nothing but that Y.H. should grant this mercy, of giving them liberty.

"Your slave, the poor sister of the sons of Ali Pasha, kisses the feet of Y.H.

"Fatima Cadem."

D. John received this letter, wrapped in a cloth of brocade, from the hands of Alhamet, and the eight Turkish slaves who came with him then brought in the magnificent present. It consisted of four garments of sable, two of lynx, one of ermine, another of lynx with crimson satin, which had belonged to the King of Persia, with a trimming, half a yard wide, of brocade, each piece seven ells long; two boxes of very fine Levantine porcelain, a box of handkerchiefs and towels embroidered with gold, silver and silk in the Turkish fashion; a cover of cut-out silk embroidered in relief with gold; another cover of quilted brocade; a quantity of table-covers of leather; perfumed leather tapestry; a damascene scimitar which had belonged to the Grand Turk, set with gold and adorned with fine turquoises; five gilt bows with 500 arrows, which had belonged to the Grand Turk, much adorned with gold and enamel, and the quivers chased and perfumed; a quantity of all sorts of feathers; a little box of fine musk; some turban pieces of fine linen; six big carpets; six felt covers; a bow and quiver all of fine gold, enamelled in blue, which had belonged to Soliman; a quantity of water-bottles and flasks of perfumed leather; four flasks of fine mastic of Chios; twenty-four damascened knives, worked in gold, silver and rubies.

D. John of Austria examined all these riches minutely, with many expressions of courtesy and thanks; but then he made the slaves pack them up again as they had come, and ordered Alhamet to take them himself to Rome and make them over to the child captive, Mahomet Bey, to do as he liked with them. The son of Ali arrived at Naples at the end of May, and a few days afterwards embarked for Constantinople, with all his servants and some other prisoners whom D. John had redeemed to do him honour. The child took back this answer to his sister Fatima from the Generalissimo:

"Noble and virtuous Lady: From the first hour that Ahmet Bey and Mahomet Bey, your brothers, were brought to my galley, after having gained the battle over the Turkish Armada, knowing their nobility of mind and good morals, and considering the misery of human weakness, and how the state of man is subject to change, added to which that these noble youths came more for the pleasure and company of their father, than to do us harm, it was in my mind, not only to order that they should be treated as noblemen, but to give them liberty, when it seemed to me the time and place. This intention grew when I received your letter, so full of affliction and fraternal affection, and such demonstrations of desiring the freedom of your brothers, and when I thought I could send them both, to my very great sorrow, came to Ahmet Bey the end of his labours, which is death. I now send Mahomet Bey, free, and all the other prisoners he asked for, as I would have sent the deceased, if he were alive; and be certain, Lady, that it has been a special annoyance not to be able to satisfy you or gratify part of what you ask, because I hold in much esteem the fame of your virtuous nobility. The present you sent I did not accept, and I have given it to Mahomet Bey, not that I do not appreciate it as coming from your hand, but because the greatness of my ancestors was not accustomed to receive gifts from those who wanted favours, but to grant them; and for this reason receive your brother from my hand, and those I send with him; be certain, that if in another battle I should take any of his kinsmen, with the same liberality I will give them their liberty, and would procure them all pleasure and contentment.

"From Naples, 13th of May, 1573. At your service,

D. John."



The downfall of the Ottoman Empire began at Lepanto and its ruin followed. It is, however, certain that the immediate benefits of this triumph did not correspond either to the splendour of its glory or to the heroism of those who gained it.

The Generals of the League were in a great hurry to separate; old Veniero was anxious to find himself in Venice to have the wound he had gained in the battle cared for; Colonna wished to be back in Rome to enjoy the merited honours of the triumph, and D. John of Austria, shut up in Messina by the definite orders of his brother Philip II, who had instructed him to retire there and not to move, or do anything without fresh orders from him, was consumed with impatience at seeing the opportunity of plucking the fruits of the battle of Lepanto slip away, and, as a natural consequence, the fulfilment of the promise made by the Pope at the investiture, of granting him the first kingdom gained from the Turks.

A mysterious event, then very secret, but afterwards known by everyone, came to spur on in D. John his desire to continue the campaign according to the treaty of the League, and according to the continual demands of Pius V, the only one who raised his voice, without worldly interests, in absolute and saintly independence. D. John had entered Messina on All Saints' day at the head of the Venetian fleet, towing the innumerable captive galleys, with their standards lowered, their flags dragging through the water, their cannon and arms crossed, forming trophies of war. Nothing seemed enough in Messina with which to feast and welcome the hero of Lepanto; the city, Archbishop and clergy received him under a pall, and there on the mole they gave him the munificent present of 30,000 golden crowns, which D. John divided between the hospitals and the wounded soldiers of the fleet. In his honour they gave the name of Austria to the magnificent doorway which they had constructed on the mole to receive him, and also to the street which ran from it. In the most prominent site of Messina, in front of the palace and in the centre of the square of Our Lady del Piller they erected, at that time, a colossal statue, the work of the renowned sculptor and architect Andres Calamech. This was (and is, for it still stands in the same place) of gilded bronze; the right hand holds the triple baton of the Generalissimo of the League, and it is placed on a very high column also of bronze, on the pedestal of which are sculptured Latin verses and allegories alluding to the short but glorious life of D. John of Austria.

While the feastings and rejoicings which lasted many days were still going on, there glided one night, among the many boats in the harbour, a Greek galley, of the kind which at that time brought the merchandise of the East to Italy. It was there several days, without attracting anyone's attention, moored to the mole, unloading its cargo under the direction of the Captain, a portly Albanian, who was acquainted with the principal merchants of Messina. But one night, after the curfew had sounded, three men secretly disembarked from the Greek galley, and, guided by the Captain himself, went through the deserted streets, shrouded in ample cloaks, with hoods that hid their faces, two of whom seemed to regulate their firm steps by those of the third man, who went slowly and with fatigue. They gained the square del Piller, where was the statue of D. John; the great mole of the old castle stretched in front, constructed in the time of Arcadio and renovated lately by D. Garcia de Toledo, and towards it the hooded men went, stopping at a little door, which opened in the side looking towards the old arsenal. They were, no doubt, expected, as at the sound of their steps the door opened, and D. John of Austria's secretary appeared in person, lantern in hand. Soto guided them, without a word, through dark and winding passages to a distant room, luxuriously furnished, in which he left them by themselves: the three mysterious visitors then took off their cloaks, and appeared in rich Albanian dresses, embroidered with gold and silver, with jewels of precious stones. Two of them were strong men in the prime of life, the third one was very old and bent, with a long white beard: the captain had remained respectfully behind at the entrance. D. John of Austria appeared at once, followed by Juan de Soto, and the three Albanians threw themselves at his feet, with marks of the greatest respect: the old man was unable to do this as quickly as he wished, and D. John was in time to prevent him.

Photo Brogi


By Calamech at Messina

The captain acted as interpreter when they presented their credentials and said who they were and where they came from. They were ambassadors from Albania and Morea and were come to offer D. John of Austria the crown of those kingdoms oppressed by the Turk, and to offer him their allegiance at once in the name of the Albanian Christians. The old man lifted up his voice and talked very quietly and with courtly ease, laying great stress on the points which might decide D. John to accept the offer, and insisting over and over again that it was necessary to take advantage of the panic and despair that the terrible defeat of Lepanto had produced in Constantinople and throughout the Ottoman Empire.

D. John was not in the least disturbed by the unexpected proposal which had come so suddenly to realise the brilliant dreams of his school-days. To conquer a kingdom for Christ! Was not the dream of his youthful imagination intensified by the reading of romances at Alcalá, being realized? and the kingdom calling to him, opening its doors, and holding out its arms and offering sceptre and crown in exchange for the Christian faith in Albania and Morea being safeguarded by the conquering sword of Lepanto.

The temptation was great to a youth of twenty-four, greedy of glory and enthusiastic for his faith, spoiled by fortune and protected by the great power that the Court of Rome then was; but the knightly ambition of D. John, great and active as it was from his lineage and noble qualities, was always subordinate to the obedience and loyalty that he owed to Philip II as King and brother: so, without hesitating for a moment, he answered the ambassadors, thanking them and making much of the honour they were doing him, but frankly confessing that he could settle nothing which was not the will of the King his Lord and brother, who was the master of his person and all his actions. That he would communicate with him to gain his consent, and that time would show what best to do, and Our Lord would dispose as was best, as he (D. John) placed the business in His hands.

The ambassadors retired in good heart, much pleased with D. John, who at once sent a courier to Philip II telling him of the circumstance. He did not have to wait long for the answer: D. Philip neither accepted or refused the offer, which came at a bad time, he said, as his acceptance might displease the Venetians: however, he advised D. John to keep up the hopes of the ambassadors, as the opportunity might come for him to gain his desires: and he reiterated his orders "That D. John was not to stir from Messina."

Vander Hammen comments on this answer from the King and says, "D. Philip meant to fan his brother's hopes, so that, by them, he should obtain greater things from his service; but never to let him be King." And a celebrated modern historian, sometimes unjust to Philip, adds, "What was it that made Philip II act in this way, when previously he had shown his desire that D. John should hasten as quickly as possible on the enterprise, to gain all the fruits to be expected from a first victory? Was it only the difficulties that France was making about the war in Flanders? Or was it fear that his brother should set too much sail, and obtain one of the sovereignties, with which his friends and even the Pontiff himself seemed to kindle his youthful ambition?" To us it seems certain that Philip II did not wish D. John to rise above the sphere in which Philip had placed him. Philip had told his ministers in Italy to honour and serve the Lord D. John, but neither by word nor in writing to call him "Highness," that "Excellency" was the most they should call him, and Philip ordered them not to say that they had received this order from him. The ambassadors of Germany, France and England received the same instructions. And if he showed himself so jealous of the title of "Highness" being given to his brother, it is evident that he would do his utmost to prevent him being decorated with that of "Majesty."

But in our opinion it is not necessary to descend to such a base passion as envy to explain Philip II's conduct on this occasion. It was enough, and more than enough, that his brother's good or bad plans, lawful or unlawful ambitions, should hinder the progress of his complicated policy, for Philip II to bring the plans to naught and smother the ambitions without pity. If he had any jealousy of D. John at that time, it was without doubt owing to what the sly traitor Antonio Pérez was beginning cleverly to insinuate. He did not yet dare to attack the noble Prince openly, and confined his shots to the secretary Juan de Soto, accusing him of inflating D. John's vanity by his flattery and advising Philip to remove him from his brother's side.

On the 1st of May, 1572, Pius V died, and was succeeded in the Pontificate by Gregory XIII,[14] who no sooner sat in the Chair of St. Peter, than he began to stir up the League, and stimulate D. John, with what he called "Briefs of Fire," that he should take the fleet to sea and pursue his victories. Such were the confidence and estimation in which his person was held, that he publicly extolled him in the Consistory, calling him a Scipio for valour, a Pompey for charm, an Augustus for fortune; a new Moses, a new Gideon, a new Samson, a new Saul, and a new David without homicide or envy or the failings noted in the others. What was written privately to D. John was said and repeated three times publicly: that before he died, it was hoped, in God, to give him a king's crown.

And these three opposite influences embittered and shortened the remainder of the life of D. John of Austria; the determination of the Pontiff to give him a crown excited his always loyal, frank and noble ambition; D. Philip's systematic policy of opposing and defeating these plans, and the unbridled envy of Antonio Pérez, poisoning with his calumnies and falsehoods the suspicious nature of the Monarch and succeeding at last in making him detest his brother.


By one of its articles the Holy League insists that every year in the month of March, or in April at the latest, the squadrons of the three Powers should set out to sea, with an army at least equal to the one of 1571. But when Pius V died on the 1st of May, 1572, the Powers had not been able to agree about this second campaign, in spite of the superhuman efforts of the saintly old man. At last, in July, his successor, Gregory XIII, managed to get the matter settled, and in July, on the 6th, D. John of Austria left the port of Messina with Marco Antonio Colonna, to join the Venetian fleet which was cruising in the Levant at Corfu. Jacobo Foscarini commanded instead of old Sebastian Veniero, against whom D. John had made grave complaints before the Venetian Senate. The Duque de Sesa was D. John's lieutenant in the place of the Knight Commander D. Luis de Requesens who had been appointed Governor of Milan by Philip II. These were the only changes in the fleet.

"This expedition," says an historian, "was undertaken with inexcusable delay, continued with slowness, and failed through quarrels. Nobody could have believed in October, 1571, that the victors of Lepanto could have returned thus in 1572." They did return, without having engaged in any definite battle with the Turk, and without other loot than the magnificent galley belonging to Barbarossa's grandson, taken by the Marqués de Santa Cruz and brought back to Naples, to be rechristened "La Presa." Then the expedition was considered ended, and the Venetians went to winter in Corfu, the Pontifical fleet at Rome, and D. John of Austria with his squadron to Messina and from there to Naples, where by ill-fortune Philip II had ordered him to spend the winter.

It was an unfortunate circumstance, for what Doña Magdalena de Ulloa with her maternal foresight had foretold, when she sent D. John to the Granada war, came to pass: "Indolent wealth will be always prejudicial to his youth, and it is only by the labours and responsibilities of war that he will be able to balance the youthful ardour of his nature." D. John found himself unoccupied, because, while the fleet wintered, the duties of his command did not satisfy his longing for activity; he was wounded in his pride, that his advice about the organisation and commencement of this campaign had not been listened to, the scanty results of which were now deplored by all, when it was too late, proving the Generalissimo to have been right. Something, therefore, was necessary to distract him and fill up his time, and this he found in that delightful country, under that matchless sky, in that corrupt Naples of the sixteenth century, as dangerous then in its treacherous delights as it is to-day.

Naples was at that time one of the most beautiful cities in Italy or in Europe; the famous Viceroy D. Pedro de Toledo had enlarged and beautified it, throwing down the old walls, and constructing magnificent palaces, monasteries and churches in the two miles which this improvement added to the town. He also caused streets and squares to be paved, and filled with trees and fountains, and made the celebrated road more than half a league long, full of sumptuous palaces, which he named the street of the Holy Spirit, and which to-day is called the street of Toledo in his honour. Naples had then more than 300,000 inhabitants, and was the centre to which all the aristocracy of the Kingdom flocked.

In D. John's day, 40 Princes lived there, 25 Dukes, 36 Marquises, 54 Counts, 488 Barons, and numberless gentlemen, not so rich in money as in titles, and sometimes absolutely poor, but not the less proud of their nobility on account of this, and as disdainful as the rest, with no other occupations than riding, games with arms, and to "ruar," that is to saunter about the streets, paying compliments to the ladies, and lazily gossiping in the thousand comfortable seats which it was the custom of the city to provide in the squares and streets.

So, what we call good society was very numerous at Naples, and in it could be noted, in certain elevated circles, as to-day, that fatal anxiety for enjoyment and amusement of every possible kind, as if life had no other aim or object. That lazy nobility, strange medley of the virtues and vices of the time, strongly tinged with paganism, a relic of the Renaissance, flighty and chivalrous, cultured and wild, devout and corrupt, welcomed the hero of Lepanto as a demi-god, whose human charms, which were many and great, were enhanced by the divine rays of Genius and Glory. The men, overcome with admiration, slavishly imitated him, the women, in love with his winning presence, vied with each other for his glances, and solicited his favours as supernatural honours, and the people idle too, and captivated with so much grace and splendour, exaggerated his deeds and triumphs, followed him, and enthusiastically applauded his skill and undoubted bravery in the cane jousts, and games of "pelota," in masquerades, tournaments and bull-fights.

In the diary of D. John's confessor, Fr. Miguel Servia, who had followed him to Naples, we notice a circumstance which will make those smile sadly who know the frailty of the human heart. The more D. John was engulfed in the pleasures of Naples, the more the regularity and the frequency with which the good Franciscan notes this simple phrase in his diary diminishes, "To-day his Highness confessed."

Submerged in these pleasures and the continual amusements of Naples, there happened to D. John what always happens to the unwary, passionate youth, that he went further than he intended.

There was outside assistance for this first false step of D. John's in Naples, which astonishes to-day more than it did then. This is what happened. In the stable-yard of the Viceroy's palace, who was then the Cardinal de Granvelle, there was a bull-fight every Sunday. The noble families were invited in turns, as the place was too small for them all to be bidden at one time; and the last Sunday in October, a radiant day of a Neapolitan autumn, it fell to the lot of a certain gentleman of Sorrento named Antonio Falangola, who lived in Naples with his wife Lucrecia Brancia and his daughter Diana, said to be the handsomest woman in Naples: "La piu bella donna di Napoli," says the Knight Viani. Antonio Falangola was poor for his position, swaggering and not at all scrupulous: Lucrecia sly and hypocritical, and both intending to profit by the beauty of their daughter, who for her part was a great flirt.

They showed themselves everywhere therefore, displaying much luxury and ostentation, leaving hidden at home the misery and want due to their poverty. They arrived that Sunday at the bull-fight in a coach, the ladies finely dressed, and accompanied by duennas and pages, and settled themselves in the seats covered with damask and tapestry, opposite the place reserved for D. John of Austria.

He was not there at the moment, as he was going to spear the bull in the Spanish fashion, and waited in the little yard until it was his turn to go into the arena. D. John speared his bull successfully, leaving the neck covered with "banderillas" of all colours, which streamed on each side of the bull's head; two gentlemen on horseback gave him the spear, and they in their turn took them from servants wearing the Granvelle livery. Then they gave him a big dart of ash with its wide iron sharp and clean; at the first thrust he killed the wild animal, with a lunge in the nape of the neck which made it fall to the ground, pierced with the weapon, but the horse had no blinkers, so that the bull frightened it, and it gave a false start, allowing the bull to wound it in one of its shoulders, thus spoiling the brilliance of the feat.

D. John returned to his place on the seats, surrounded by a crowd of gentlemen who with much adulation applauded his skill and intrepidity, and Cardinal Granvelle also came to congratulate him: showing him Diana Falangola from afar on the seats opposite, as something wonderful, and D. John, who did not know her, was amazed.

It was then the custom for ladies to throw from the seats, at the bull, what were called "garrochas," which were small darts with sharp points, very like modern "banderillas." These "garrochas" were smartly adorned with flowers, ribbons and feathers; the ladies threw them at the bull with extraordinary skill, and it was very much admired gallantry for the youth of that day to draw them out of the beast with brave daring and return them to the ladies, without a stain or perceptible harm done to the flowers and ribbons or feathers.

D. John took one of these little "garrochas," very smart with its white and yellow ribbons, which were the colours of Diana Falangola, and sent it to her by a little page with a polite message, begging her to throw it, for love of him, at the first bull which appeared. Diana received the "garrocha" with transports of gratitude, and it was worth seeing the obeisance of the father, the bows of the mother, and the attitude of the daughter, who seemed not to wish to throw the "garrocha" for fear of losing or destroying it, but to prefer to keep it like a beautiful toy as a remembrance of the Prince.

D. John sent a second message saying she must throw it: and that he gave her his word to return it to her unhurt. On this, the bull, a very fierce one, black as night, called Caifas, entered the ring; and as luck would have it, after some turns came, snorting, to a standstill in front of the seat of Diana Falangola, fierce and holding his head high, casting wild eyes round the arena, as if seeking enemies to fight. D. John made repeated signs to Diana from his place, until the maiden stood up, threw and stuck with sure aim and great strength the "garrocha" in the back of the bull. The ring broke into applause which stopped at once: all saw D. John jump bravely alone into the arena, a naked sword in one hand, a scarlet cloak in the other. All held their breath and the silence was absolute; the bull was penned at one end bellowing and scraping the ground as if anxious to attack; D. John went straight up to him and at twenty steps called him, stamping on the ground. The bull dashed forward with violence, and D. John, throwing the cloak to the ground to the left, tore the "garrocha" out on the right, at the same time giving such a strong cut on the muzzle, that the animal withdrew from the man, and went and savagely laid hold of the red cloth with roars of pain and in clouds of dust. Meanwhile D. John quietly and slowly walked to Diana Falangola's seat, and cap in hand, on one knee, smilingly presented the "garrocha" to her, without a speck of blood to spoil it, or a stain to mar its feathers and ribbons.

Antonio Falangola, touched and beside himself with joy, craved permission to wait with his wife and daughter on D. John the next day to show his gratitude. The day after D. John returned the visit, making rich gifts to Lucrecia and Diana, and soon afterwards Antonio Falangola set out for Puzzoli, of which he had been appointed Governor by Granvelle, leaving his wife and daughter at Naples: "To appear to know nothing about his shame," writes the spiteful author of the manuscript, "Fatti occorsi nella città di Napoli," in the national archives of that famous city.


This lapse of D. John did not last long; for in the middle of December Fr. Miguel Servia writes thus in his diary:

"At this time Christmas approached, and His Highness retired the Monday before to a monastery outside Naples, of Norbertinian monks, called Pie de Grutta, and the day before the Vigil he sent a gentleman to the Duque (de Sesa) to order him to give notice that he was going to confession. The next day, which was the Vigil, we went, Fr. Fee and I. He received us very graciously, and ordered a room to be given us, as he would not confess until night; and when it was already the hour of matins he called us, and I confessed His Highness and the steward, and Father Fray Fee the valet and many other gentlemen; and His Highness communicated at the first sung Mass, and afterwards all the gentlemen who had confessed. We, on Christmas Day, after having dined, returned to our convent."

D. John had thought, no doubt, to ensure better the fruits of his penitence, to go straight from the monastery of Pie de Grutta to the Abruzzi, without entering Naples, to visit at Aquila, and make the acquaintance of his sister Donna Margaret of Austria, the celebrated Governess of the Low Countries and mother of Alexander Farnese. But letters reached him in this retreat of piety from Philip II which were much to his taste, and which obliged him to return to Naples and to put off his visit. These letters made it clear that King Philip had decided to bring about a third campaign against the Turks, according to the injunctions of the League, for March of next year, 1573, and with this end in view he ordered D. John not only to prepare the galleys, which were wintering in Naples, for this date, but also to make their numbers up to 300, and the fighting men to 60,000.

"And now that the affairs of the League are understood and talked about in Rome," wrote D. John to his sister, explaining why he was prevented from paying the visit he had announced, "I must attend to them here, to inform the ministers deputed to do this business about things which require questions and answers. H.M. has very really taken up the continuation of the League, and has, therefore, given orders, and especially to me, to attend to the reinforcement of his fleet. So with this idea all the suitable provisions are being made. I hope to God that all may conduce to damage the enemy, who, one hears, are arming themselves in a great hurry, intending to set out to meet us, but, perchance, they will happen on us before they imagine."

This was enough to awake in D. John the love which dominated all other affections, and from that moment he thought of nothing but of obeying his brother's orders, entirely forgetting Diana Falangola, until he took a short holiday in the middle of February, and left Naples with a small following, only thirty gentlemen, and set out for Aquila, the usual residence of Donna Margarita of Austria. This lady was the eldest child of the Emperor Charles V, born when he was twenty-two, four years before his marriage; her mother was Margarita Vander Gheynst, a beautiful Fleming, orphan of some wealthy carpet-weavers. Her father acknowledged her a long time after her birth, and confided her to his sister, the widowed Queen of Hungary, who was then Governess of the Low Countries. The youthful Margarita was educated by her aunt, whose manly virtues and hasty temper she always imitated, perhaps by natural impulse. They married her when she was twelve years old to Alexander de Medicis, Duke of Florence, who was assassinated during the first year of their marriage; she then wedded Octavio Farnese, Duke of Parma and Piacenza, by whom she was mother of the great Alexander, afterwards such a famous leader. Her capacity was great, her character strong and masculine, and her piety solid, strengthened by S. Ignacio de Loyola, who for some time in Rome confessed her with much greater frequency than was then usual.

When Philip II publicly acknowledged D. John as his brother Donna Margarita hastened to send an affectionate letter by Francesco de Berminicourt, Lord of Thieuloye, who was one of her "maîtres d'hôtel," declaring herself a loving sister. D. John had answered suitably, and from that time an uninterrupted correspondence had passed between brother and sister, more filial than fraternal on D. John's part, and more maternal on the part of Donna Margarita, as she was twenty-five years older. When D. John came to Italy for the first time in 1571 Donna Margarita sent one of her principal gentlemen, Pietro Aldobrandini, to Genoa to welcome him, offer him hospitality, and to say how great was her desire to see and embrace him. D. John was no less anxious to see this unknown sister, who had shown him so much affection, and on the first opportunity, the one we speak of, he set out for Aquila, where Donna Margarita lived, having given over the government of Flanders to the Duque de Alba.

Donna Margarita was then fifty, and was so vigorous in her person and in her way of moving about, that she appeared more like a man dressed up as a woman, with her black cloth petticoat for winter, and of serge for summer, and her simple coif with its band of pearls. "Nor was a little beard wanting," adds P. Strada; "and down on the upper lip, which not only gave her a manly appearance, but also one of much authority." Donna Margarita received her brother with affectionate warmth, and during the few days he was there diversions and rejoicings succeeded one another in Aquila, especially hunts, of which she was never tired. She challenged her brother to chase a stag on horseback; he accepted, and, as this sort of hunting is enough to kill anyone, D. John did not have to use much self-denial in letting himself be beaten, and so please the lady.

They had long talks alone, in which she gave him prudent counsels and wise political instruction, drawn from her experience as Governess. In one of these talks she asked D. John whether he had any children. He answered, "No." But said she, "If you ever have any, give them to me." He got rather uncomfortable, and answered, "Possibly soon I may accept this offer." She said no more; but after D. John left many things happened, and on the 18th of June of this same year he wrote the following letter to his sister from Naples:

"Lady, Y. Highness will laugh when you read what is contained in this letter, and although I blush, I feel like doing so too. Does Y. Highness remember, among other private things, asking me if I had any children, and ordering me to give them to you if I had? I answered that I would not take the favour you offered; but I said it soon might be accepted. This soon, Lady, is almost now; as in a month's time I think that, bachelor as I am, I shall see myself an ashamed and blushing father, I say ashamed, for it is absurd for me to have children. Now Y. Highness must forgive, as you must be a mother to me and to him who is coming, which will be the first. And thus I truly beg you to do me the kindness of undertaking this new work and trouble, and that it should be with all possible secrecy and caution. But this and the rest which may seem right and proper to you I leave and desire to leave to Y. Highness, begging you not only to take charge of everything, but to advise me about this and all that you judge best: as it is certain to be, when the time comes to make over the baby to Y. Highness, which will be as soon as it can be taken to where you are without danger. Cardinal Granvelle, who, out of love for me and that all should be better and more secretly done, has taken charge of it until it can be made over to you, to whom the said Cardinal will write. Again I beg Y. Highness to agree to this, and that henceforward you will consider you are the mother of father and child. The real mother is one of the most highly born and well-known women here, and one of the most beautiful in all Italy. For all these reasons, especially that of her noble birth, it seems that you will better bear this upset. This is all, Lady. From Naples, July 18, 1573. Your very true servant and brother kisses Y. Highn's hands. Don John of Austria."

This "directly" at last happened. On the 11th of September Diana Falangola gave birth to a daughter, who was baptised by the name of Juana. Cardinal Granvelle at once took charge of it, and gave it to the care of a nurse, engaged beforehand. Two months later, the Cardinal complied with the orders of D. John and Donna Margarita, and sent the baby to Aquila, with its nurse and her husband, in charge of Francisco Castano, of the Cardinal's household. Castano accompanied them as far as the village of Rocca, near Sulmona, and there confided them to a trusty person great secrecy that no one should guess the child's origin.[15]

Historians wonder why D. John so flatly denied to his sister the existence of his other daughter. What obliged D. John to keep up this deception all his life was probably the promise of secrecy made to Doña Magdalena, and his fear of scandal for the unhappy Doña Maria de Mendoza.


D. John returned from Aquila on the 3rd of March, according to the diary of Fr. Miguel Servia, so much pleased with his sister that the next day he wrote to Gian Andrea Doria:

"Yesterday, after dinner, I returned from Aquila, from having visited and made the acquaintance of one of the bravest and most prudent women known; and although I love her as a sister and a friend, it is not affection which makes me say this, but because it is so, and much more so than the world says."

D. John was not equally pleased with the news in Naples. It was whispered, without anyone knowing where the rumour sprang from, that the Venetians were retiring from the Holy League, and making a shameful peace with the Turk; and it was also said that this peace had been negotiated by the Huguenot bishop Noailles, Ambassador of the French King, Charles IX, at Constantinople. D. John did not give a thought to this gossip, and went on actively arming the fleet, and it was almost ready when he retired, for Holy Week, to a Carthusian convent. "Tuesday in Holy Week, the 17th of March," says Fr. Miguel Servia in his diary, "His Highness retired to the monastery of St. Martin, which is of Carthusians, and Wednesday he sent for me and the other fellow-confessor to go to the said monastery, and so we did. His Highness confessed the night of Easter Eve, and communicated on the morning of Easter Day. Father Fr. Fee confessed many gentlemen of his Highness's household. On Easter Day His Highness and all his household went up to dine at the castle of Sant' Elmo, where we took leave of His Highness and returned to our convent. His Highness came down on the 3rd day of the festival after dinner."

And directly D. John came down from the castle he knew for certain that the rumours which had been going about Naples were as true as they were disgraceful. The Venetians had made peace with the Turk, without telling the Pope or Philip II, just at the moment when everything was preparing for a third campaign, and the expedition was already beginning to be settled. D. John was furious at such villainy. He went at once, followed by the gentlemen of his household and a crowd of people crying out against Venice, and ordered that the flag of the League, on which were the arms of Venice, should be torn down, and the Royal Standard of Castille hoisted in its place. The indignation of Gregory XIII was also great. He refused to receive the ambassador, Nicholas de Porta, whom the Venetians had sent to pacify him, and gave vent, in public Consistory, to hard words, saying that the Venetians were little religious, and had kept ill their word and faith and oath to the Apostolic See. Philip II, however, although he was no less annoyed, received Antonio Tiepolo, entrusted to give him the news, with impenetrable calm, contenting himself with saying that if the Republic acted thus in its own interest, he had acted for the good of Christendom and the same Republic, and that God and the world would judge.

The Holy League once dissolved, there remained a problem to be solved, a most important one for D. John, to which, however, he could give no answer. What was to happen to the powerful fleet, so fully equipped at the cost of so much labour and expense? Should it be disbanded without honour or benefit to anyone? Or should it alone, without the help of the Venetians, go to seek fresh advantages on the Turkish coast and fresh glory for the arms of Spain? It was the theme of all the talk of Naples, and great and small, wise and ignorant, gave their opinions, discussing warmly, conquering kingdoms and annihilating Turks, with the reckless daring of the vulgar of all times, who in one second settle the most difficult questions of war and government. But these wild ideas were all more or less harmless talk at that time, as happily then there were no newspapers to pervert opinion in their interests and to belittle legitimate authority.

The grave men of the Council were also divided, and three opinions principally prevailed. Some, with the Duque de Sesa, wished to take the fleet to sea to fight the Turk, wherever they might find him, as at Lepanto. The Marqués de Santa Cruz thought that the fleet should go at once against Algiers, because, once this kingdom conquered and free from the yoke of Selim, Tunis and Tripoli would yield, and the Mediterranean would be free of Turks. The third opinion, which was that of D. John, preferred first to attack Tunis, as most easy and feasible, leading to the results the Marqués de Santa Cruz proposed. D. John, on this, received a secret message from the Pope Gregory XIII, telling him to attack Tunis, and that he ratified the promise of St. Pius V to invest D. John with the crown of that kingdom. The Pontiff much desired to found a Christian empire in Africa, which could gradually extend its limits and thus realise the policy of the great Cardinal Ximénez de Cisneros, set out in the will of Isabel the Catholic. This was the most opportune occasion, and, if they had profited by it, perhaps the destinies of Africa would be different to-day. But no orders came from the Court, and not knowing what to do, D. John sent his secretary Juan de Soto to Madrid, which caused great comment in Naples. Fr. Miguel de Servia says, "This same day (May 22) the secretary Juan de Soto left in a galley for Spain, sent by His Highness. Nobody knows why. It has caused great astonishment." D. John notified the departure of Juan de Soto to his sister Donna Margarita in this way: "The reason of not having written to Y.H. for some days has been that all, and especially myself, have been in suspense, without anything settled, waiting (to hear) from the Court, where I have sent the secretary Juan de Soto, to give account, as one so well informed of things past and future, and to learn what we are to do in the time and circumstances in which we find ourselves."

Meanwhile Juan de Soto had been received in Madrid with concealed suspicion on the part of Philip II, and with feigned want of confidence by Antonio Pérez, who was slowly preparing the dark perfidy which was to end in the mysterious assassination of Escovedo and the misfortune of D. John of Austria. But to understand better the crafty plans of the deceitful secretary, it will be necessary to make things plainer, and to recall some past events to fix in the reader's mind the state of the case at the time when the gloomy drama began to unfold itself.

For more than twenty years two parties had divided the Court of Philip II, which disputed for his favour and intimacy. One was led by Ruy Gómez de Silva, Prince of Évoli, who was for diplomacy, settlements and peace; the head of the other party was the Duque de Alba, who, on his side, was for frank declarations, extreme resolutions and war, as a last resource. For reasons we have given before, D. John was attached to the first of these parties, and Ruy Gómez and his followers placed great hopes in the young Prince. At that time good Juan de Quiroga was D. John's secretary, appointed by Philip, in agreement with Luis Quijada, when he arranged his brother's first household. By reason of D. John's youth, this appointment had no importance then; but Juan de Quiroga saw D. John grow up and his great gifts develop. He became devoted to him, attracted by his good temper and frank, loyal manners; and on the first opportunity, which was the Moorish war, encouraged and decided D. John to ask for the command of the campaign, certain that the eaglet had sufficient feathers and strength, and only needed to beat the powerful wings of his genius and take his lofty flight. Juan de Quiroga did this out of his disinterested affection for D. John, and out of respect for Doña Magdalena de Ulloa, whose opinions about him we already well know. The Prince of Évoli, on his part, Antonio Pérez and all his gang, approved the conduct of the secretary Quiroga, aiding him with their efforts and enthusiastically applauding this first flight of D. John, which placed him on the level of the greatest captains of the Kingdom, and was already gaining envy for him.

Good Juan de Quiroga died at Granada before D. John set out on the campaign, and Ruy Gómez and Antonio Pérez hastened to place a new secretary at D. John's side, one of their creatures, who would guide him according to the interests of their party. This new secretary was Juan de Soto, a capable, active man, very skilful in business, and a great friend of Ruy Gómez; but his judgment was at the same time independent, and his generous heart scorned selfishness and injustice.

Soto served D. John in the Moorish campaign and in that of the Mediterranean against the Turks, and was present at and studied and, so to speak, saw the internal workings of the great glories and triumphs which in so short a time made D. John the terror of the Moor and Turk, the hero of Christendom, the man of Providence, the "John sent from God," that the Pontiff, at all costs, wished to see settled on a throne. Soto was as captivated by D. John's real merit as Quiroga had been. The offer of Albania and Morea seemed to him the most natural thing in the world, and the promise of Gregory XIII to give D. John the Kingdom of Tunis the just payment of a debt, and the most sure and certain way of planting the Empire of the Cross in Africa. But the fact was that the offer of these crowns did not have the same effect on Philip II, Ruy Gómez or Antonio Pérez. D. Philip was full of jealousy of D. John, not, as some have alleged, because he envied D. John—he was much too great to envy anyone—but because these plans frustrated his policy, and, above all, threatened to take away from him that strong and brilliant instrument with which he had accomplished such glorious enterprises, and counted on accomplishing more in the future. He wished to keep his brother all to himself, flying as high as he wished or could, but always subject to Philip's will, and without other ideas of his own or those of other people besides his brother's.

Ruy Gómez died on the 27th of July, 1573, when the drama began to unfold, but Antonio Pérez remained heir to his favour and power, and master of the King's ear, and chief of the party erstwhile led by the Prince. His jealousy of D. John, for different reasons, was very unlike Philip's. The secretary counted on the King never allowing his brother to wear a crown. He had seen for a long time that D. John's brilliant victories and applauded triumphs were separating him more and more from the peaceful policy of his (Pérez's) party, and feared that, disappointed, D. John would join the party of the Duque de Alba, more in sympathy with his own warlike tastes, or create a following for himself, which, given his personal popularity and the great help he could count on in Rome, might well absorb and annihilate all other parties.

It was necessary, then, to provide against these contingencies; and the bad conscience of Antonio Pérez devised means of being forewarned against everything; to poison Philip's jealousy by painting D. John's ambitious ideas first, with a tinge of independence and then of treason, which would for ever discredit the hero of Lepanto in the mind of the King. It was necessary, however, to be very cautious in daring anything with Philip II. This care Antonio Pérez used, and it is, in our opinion, the most convincing proof of his false talent, cunning cleverness and wonderful audacity. He was very careful not to attack D. John of Austria, and confined himself to whispering to Philip that Juan de Soto, carried away by his great affection for D. John and his own interests, was inflating D. John's imagination with plans which went far beyond the ideas of Philip II. Antonio Pérez, consequently, thought that it was imperative to remove so dangerous an adviser from the side of D. John, and to put in his place a temperate, energetic man, who would know how to calm these ambitious ideas. In this may be seen the first drop of venom for poisoning Philip's mind against his brother. Antonio Pérez made him out to be a bold, ambitious boy, who could only be relied on while under the rule of an energetic and temperate tutor.

Such was the situation which Juan de Soto found at the Court, when sent by D. John with a public mission to ask instructions from the King about the way the fleet was to be employed, and a secret one to tell him about the proposals of Gregory XIII, respecting Tunis, of which in Madrid they had had some secret advices from the Ambassador in Rome, D. Juan de Zúñiga. Philip II could therefore verify the plain truth of what his brother's secretary said, who tranquillised him with respect to the loyalty of the ambitions of both. But the warmth with which Juan de Soto advocated the project of Gregory XIII, and the promptitude with which he explained away the arguments Philip cunningly urged against it, confirmed the stories of Antonio Pérez about stirring up D. John's ambitions, and decided the King to act according to the advice of Pérez, and to separate Soto from D. John. But knowing D. John to be very fond of Soto, and not wishing to alarm or annoy him, nor having reason for not making use of Soto's services elsewhere, D. Philip at once appointed him a naval contractor, and sent him back to Naples, with the instructions for which D. John begged, waiting to relieve him of the duties of secretary, and to separate him from D. John, until the temperate, energetic man Antonio Pérez talked of was found.

The orders for the fleet were precise. They were to attack Tunis, take this kingdom from the Turks, and place on the throne Muley Hamet, son of the former Moorish King Muley Hacem, under the protection and dependence of Spain, and to see quietly if it would be well to dismantle the town completely, throwing down the fortifications, a policy to which the King inclined.


When in 1534 the Turkish pirate Barbarossa, by treason and treachery, overcame the kingdom of Tunis, and made himself King of those Barbary Moors, he dethroned the legitimate lord Muley Hacem, who wrote to the Emperor Charles V from Arabia, where he had taken refuge, asking for help against the Turk, and it was then that the Emperor undertook the glorious expedition against Tunis, which formed one of the most brilliant pages of his history. Muley Hacem was restored to his throne, Barbarossa and the Turks expelled ignominiously from Tunis, and the fort of Goletta, the key of the kingdom, remained in the power of Spain as a guarantee against Turks and Berbers, who, whether they were friends or adversaries, were equally barbarians and enemies of the name of Christian.

This Muley Hacem had two sons, Muley Hamida and Muley Hamet; the elder one, Hamida, was jealous because his father made a favourite of the younger son, leaving him the crown, so he took up arms, chased him from the throne and barbarously tore out his eyes. The second son, Muley Hamet, fled in terror to Palermo, and placed himself under the protection of the King of Spain, and Hamida, triumphant, refused to pay the tribute arranged between his father and Charles V, and craved the protection of Selim II, rendering him homage. This brought his punishment, because Aluch Ali, who was then Viceroy of Algiers, invaded the kingdom with his Turks in the name of Selim, and, on the pretext of protecting it, subjected it with an iron hand to his tyranny of petty king and the rapines of a renegade pirate. Such was the state of Tunis when D. John of Austria received his brother's commands to conquer it and place Muley Hamet, still a fugitive at Palermo, on the throne, under the same conditions that the Emperor Charles V enforced when he had reinstated the father, Muley Hacem.

Apart from other interests, this enterprise held for D. John the special enchantment of being like the one his father had so gloriously achieved thirty-nine years before. He knew all about it from having heard Luis Quijada refer to it thousands of times, as he was one of the great heroes of this campaign. D. John therefore desired to follow his father step by step, and left Naples on the 1st of August, 1573, with the greatest part of the fleet and the Italian and Spanish infantry, hoping to collect the rest of the ships, people, victuals and equipment of war in passing Messina, Palermo, Trapani and the island of Favignana. At Messina he joined the Marqués de Santa Cruz with the remainder of the infantry, and, while the galleys were being loaded, drilled the soldiers with continual exercises and manœuvres, subjecting them to the most severe discipline. On one of these occasions, the Royal Standard being hoisted and D. John a witness of the affair from an elevation, a gentleman of Florence dared to pull out his dagger and wound an Italian captain. D. John ordered him to be decapitated, without anyone being surprised at the order or thinking it unduly severe. This happened at Messina on the 19th of August.

They also stopped at Palermo and Trapani, where they had a magnificent welcome. "The Trapanians had made," says the confessor Servia in his diary, "a pier for His Highness, which entered 100 feet into the sea. It had three arches in front and 17 along it. On the centre arch towards the sea were the Royal Arms, on the right those of His Highness, on the left those of the town. The columns and arches were covered with blue, yellow, green and red taffeta. On each column was a little red and yellow taffeta flag. They presented to him a very nice grey horse covered with black velvet with harness of gold." And further on he adds, "On the 30th, after dinner, His Highness went to visit the Annunziata of Trapani. It is a Carmelite convent, outside the city, of great sanctity, and in the evening he confessed in the sacristy, where in other days his father the Emperor Charles V had done so."

At last all the fleet joined at Marsala, eighteen miles from Trapani, in a beautiful harbour which had been long stopped up, and which since that time has been named of Austria, as it was D. John who had it opened and put in order. There were 140 ships of great tonnage, 12 large boats, 25 frigates, 22 feluccas, among which were divided 20,000 infantry, Spaniards, Italians and Germans, without counting numerous volunteers and 750 pioneers, 400 light horse, good artillery, abundant ammunition, sufficient machines and victuals, and many yoke of oxen to drag the cannon. In the Sicilian galley with the Duque de Sesa was the Moorish Prince Muley Hamet, destined to ascend the throne of Tunis.

On the 7th of October, anniversary of the battle of Lepanto, D. John confessed and communicated in a Capuchin convent, in the outskirts of Marsala, and at night left the port of Austria at the head of the whole fleet, making for Africa. On the 8th at sundown they came in sight of Goletta, and it was with great emotion that D. John saw from the castle of his galley those white towers standing out on the grey mountains, which it had cost his father so much blood to conquer. The soldiers could be seen running joyfully about the fortifications, saluting the Royal Standard, and they fired a big salute of artillery and arquebuses, which re-echoed solemnly and lighted up with singular beauty the shades of night which were slowly falling. Very early the next morning D. John was the first to disembark with several gentlemen, among them Juan de Soto, who was a navy contractor without ceasing to be secretary. They had not even had time to reach the first outworks of Goletta, when they spied coming from the direction of Tunis a group of Moors on horseback, who hurried towards them brandishing bunches of oak leaves with white streamers in sign of peace.

D. John made them enter a room that was close by in the front part of the fortifications, and sat to receive them, surrounded by his gentlemen. The Moors seemed half terrified and half curious, and did not dare to pass the threshold without taking off their shoes, throwing their arms on the ground, which were Moorish scimitars, short and wide, daggers and a few lances forty-five palms long. Only three of them came in, seemingly the chiefs, bare-footed, wearing long dark cloaks which reached to their ankles, and with their shaven heads covered with Moorish turbans. The rest, apparently poor people, with sheepskin coats and coloured "haiques," sat cross-legged on the threshold, according to their custom, heads bowed and eyes lowered, as if D. John's presence dazzled them so that they did not dare to look at him.

Among them was a renegade Calabrian who acted as interpreter, and who made known to D. John the state of Tunis, which was the object of their coming. The mere advent of D. John had filled Turks and Moors with consternation and terror; but when they heard the night before the news of his arrival, and learnt from some Berber fishermen with what a strong fleet he had come, the panic in Tunis came to a head: the 3000 Turks of the garrison fled, after pillaging and sacking all they could from the natives. They were followed by the 40,000 Moors of the militia of the province, and the peaceful neighbours, without protection or soldiers to defend and help them, fled, too, to Carvan, Biserta and to other villages and mountains, carrying what they could with them, and hiding what they could not take in wells, cisterns, caves and other places. The old men, women and children only remained in Tunis, and as for the King, Muley Hamida, deserted by everyone, alone and defenceless, he had embarked for Goletta with his son, going out of the usual course, so as to avoid encounters. He was willing to yield the kingdom to D. John, and place himself under the protection of this Prince, who was extolled as much for his heroic bravery as for his magnanimity and nobleness. The triumph of D. John was great. He had gained other victories by the might of arms, but this was gained by the prestige of his name.


From a print

D. John did not lightly accept the words of the Moors, well knowing how crafty and untruthful they could be. He took leave of them, however, in a kindly manner, and ordered them to return to Tunis, and to say there that he was coming at once at the head of his army, and that, with the help of God, he would take it at once, whether or not it opened its gates. He also commanded his gentlemen to take the Moors and give them food and make much of them, so as to give them time to see the formidable engines of war which were then being disembarked, and to take an account of them back to Tunis.

The next day, the 10th of October, D. John selected 1500 old soldiers of those who formed the garrison, and sent them on to Tunis, under the command of the Marqués de Santa Cruz, to find out and confirm the truth of what the Moors had said. Four hours later the rest of the army set out, in orderly formation, and as equipped and ready as if they were to meet an enemy at each step. The heat was stifling, in spite of its being already October; the soil was sandy and shifting, and the soldiers marched overcome by the weight of their heated armour and by the thirst which became burning. To set an example, D. John, as his father Charles V did in other days, went up and down the lines on horseback, in full armour and carrying his baton as Captain-General. Fr. Miguel Servia, who also took part in this expedition, says in his journal, "All the way His Highness went on his horse, ordering people and forbidding them to disband, showing himself first to the vanguard and then to the rearguard, at times commanding the artillery to march, and ordering the people to march in great order."

At last they reached the famous olive yards on the road to Tunis, where the veterans of Charles V had done such brave deeds, and there D. John ordered them to encamp round the wells, so that the soldiers were able to slake the burning thirst which devoured them. In all the march they had not seen a sign of the enemy, or of other human beings, except an old goatherd, who fled towards the mountains; this confirmed the news that the Turks and Moors had left the town.

Meanwhile the Marqués de Santa Cruz and his veterans had reached the gates of Tunis and found them wide open. But still fearful of the cunning and treachery of the Moors, they did not enter the town without great precautions. The soldiers walked one by one, in two long rows, close to the houses of the narrow lanes, arquebuses at their shoulders, pointing at the doors and windows, which seemed absolutely deserted. In many cases they saw signs of the recent sacking by the Turks, broken doors and shutters, and the beautiful courtyards with their arches and columns and marble cisterns in the centre, surrounded by orange trees and pomegranates loaded with fruit ruined.

In this way they crossed the town, and began to mount the Alcazaba, which was on a height to the west. It was spacious, and had very strong walls, and in one block of them, against a closed door, were to be seen about twenty Moors surrounding a fat old man, who was making signs with a piece of white linen, whom they guessed to be the Alcaide. The Marqués went forward on horseback, with four of his veterans, and, standing up in his stirrups, shouted out to know for whom the fortress was held.

The old man replied for the King Muley Hamida; but, as he had fled to Goletta, to put himself under the protection of the Lord D. John of Austria, the speaker was willing to give up the fortress to the said Lord D. John when he should appear. The Marqués was satisfied with this, and refused to take the keys, reserving this honour for D. John of Austria, to whom he sent a messenger at once, announcing the fact, and collected his troops in the arsenal, which was in the lower part of the town, there to await the arrival of the army. The soldiers went back with less caution, and, as they on their part committed no acts of violence, the people remaining in Tunis were reassured, and at the openings of the shutters began to appear sun-burnt childish faces, the forms of veiled women and old men, who came to the doors bowing to the invaders. There was also a great number of domestic animals, fowls above all, which wandered about the streets, seemingly having escaped from open farm-yards or deserted stables.


D. John of Austria received the message from the Marqués de Santa Cruz at a deserted place called Diana, two miles from Tunis, where he had camped. He ordered a crier to announce at once that the town of Tunis was given over to be sacked, on the understanding that no one was to be either wounded, killed, or taken as a slave. Then he continued the march, and arrived at Tunis at two o'clock. He left the army drawn up in front of the walls, and entered the town accompanied only by his captains, to reconnoitre it for himself, arrange barracks and billets to avoid misbehaviour on the part of the soldiery and give courage to the Moors who showed themselves, which were all those left in Tunis. The Alcaide of the Alcazaba came with the other principal Moors, and delivered up the keys of the fortress, with a humble but dignified address. D. John listened courteously, without alighting from his horse, and did not take the keys which the Alcaide offered on his knees. He made a sign to the Marqués de Santa Cruz that he should take them, as he was the first to enter the place.[16] Then he wrote at once from the Alcazaba to his brother Philip II, announcing that His Majesty was Lord of Tunis without a shot having been fired. At last he gave the signal to sack the town. The loot was plentiful, and as far as it was possible the sack was orderly, without other outrage than the death of an old man who had taken refuge in a Mosque, and several fires, due to the Italians, whom D. John punished without loss of time, causing four of them to be hanged. "They found in the town," says the journal of Fr. Miguel Servia, "much wheat, barley, wool, butter, oil, and many garments; pimento, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, beautiful porcelain and veils. From the wells, cisterns and caverns they drew rich garments, gold, silver and other things; and these first days they all ate nothing but fowls, because there were countless numbers of them. The soldiers divided the spoil among themselves in their barracks afterwards, and nothing else was heard but digging in various parts of the town, and then selling what was found, clothing being sold for a low and wretched price. Some parts of the town the Italians set on fire, which much annoyed His Highness, but many people came up, and it was remedied."

A very extraordinary thing happened to D. John at the Alcazaba. This castle, which, as we have said, was big and strong, had within its walls large cloistered court-yards, orchards, and gardens, comfortable rooms richly furnished in the Moorish fashion, with pavements and fountains of white marble. These were the rooms of the King Muley Hamida, and in them D. John lived. There was a winding staircase by which to descend to a shady little garden, with hedges of myrtle and beautiful flower borders, and oranges and lemons, quinces and pomegranates. Beyond were the baths, and behind these the old ruined part of the Alcazaba. The day after his arrival D. John went to this garden, at the hour of siesta, in search of coolness. He was accompanied by Gabrio Cervelloni, Captain-General of the artillery, and by Juan de Soto, and they sat down on a sort of seat of Moorish tiles, under the shade of some creepers. The heat, the hour, the noise of running water, and the sweet peacefulness of this enchanting spot soon overcame the feeble conversation, and they were in that comfortable, charmed state which precedes sleep. Suddenly Cervelloni jumped up from his seat and put his hand on his dagger, D. John and Soto doing the same: along one of the myrtle-edged paths they saw slowly advancing an enormous lion with a tangled mane. The animal seemed astonished to see these persons, and paused for a moment, gazing about as if surprised, with one paw poised in the air. Then it quietly continued its walk, and went up to D. John, who had gone to meet it, rubbing against his legs like a dog, and throwing itself humbly at his feet. Then a Nubian slave appeared from the side of the baths, and explained by picturesque signs that his beautiful animal was a tame lion for the solace of King Hamida, and that it lived familiarly with all the dwellers of the Alcabaza. D. John then gently caressed the mane, and such a current of sympathy passed between the lion of Austria and the lion of the desert, that the latter became the devoted slave of the former, and thus the great knight D. Luis Zapata de Calatayud describes it, having often seen it: "D. John gave it his own name of Austria," says the already quoted Zapata in his Miscellany, "and neither by day nor by night, like a faithful captain, did it ever leave its post. When transacting business at Naples he had it lying at his feet like a greyhound, its head on the ground, and satisfied with the attention paid to it. When he dined it was at the table, and ate what D. John gave it. It came when he called it, and on the galley, the boat was its dwelling-place. When he was riding, it ran at his stirrups like a lackey, and if he went on foot, behind like a page. There was nothing in his royal house at which this gentle and obedient lion was not present, to the point of being by day or by night of those of his bed-chamber; and if it was cross with anyone who took hold of it, in order to rouse it, a word from the Lord D. John, calling, "Austria, quiet, come here," pacified it, and it went to throw itself on his bed. This beautiful and rare animal, when D. John left Naples for Flanders, gave such sighs and roars that it saddened and astonished all those of that kingdom, until at last, from sorrow for the loss and absence of its master, eating much and eating little, it died."

It is this lion which is painted in various portraits of D. John, whose gay, chivalrous nature made him sign himself for fun in the letters to his two great friends, D. Rodrigo de Mendoza and the Conde de Orgaz, as the Knight of the Lion, and in another letter to Gian Andrea Doria, lamenting his work in Flanders, he says, "The Knight of the Lion does not in the least envy the good life of Genoa, and its coast, as his life is as laborious as that of the Knight at Ease is peaceful."

D. John, according to Philip II's instructions, made a thorough examination of the fortifications and strategical position of Tunis, and had long talks about it with Gabrio Cervelloni, who was well versed in such matters; but, far from settling to dismantle the town, as the King thought, he decided to build a new fort, capable of holding 8000 men, to complete its defence. Tunis is situated on the banks of a lagoon, which is so shallow that it is called "el estaño" (the pond), which is no other than the ancient and famous port of Carthage, silted up by the centuries, and the carelessness and the filth of all Tunis which emptied itself there. The mouth of the lagoon is a narrow channel in the Gulf of Tunis, and it is in this opening that Goletta is situated, defending the entrance. On the opposite side there is an island, separated by another channel from Tunis, and it is here that D. John thought to build the new fort, with a covered communication with the Alcazaba. Most of those consulted warmly applauded the project, a few condemned it, faint-hearted ones or toadies, to whom not to agree with the King was openly to disobey him. But D. John, firm in his idea, ordered Gabrio Cervelloni to put it into execution without delay; which fact was not overlooked, and later the crafty Antonio Pérez, always on the watch, knew how to make capital out of it.

Meanwhile the Moors were reassured by the humane and generous conduct of D. John. They trusted him absolutely, and daily the fugitives returned to their houses, and Moors of the country descended from the mountains to sell bread, meat, eggs, olives, fish, beef, mutton, and a thousand other things, as peacefully and with as much confidence and security as they would in an ordinary market. There still remained, however, a garrison of Turks in Biserta; but the Moor Horrus, who was the Alcaide, surprised them with a few neighbours, and beheaded them all. He then took a fine Turkish galley which was in the port, killing some of the crew, making slaves of others, and giving liberty to the 156 Christian captives on board. Having accomplished this feat, the twenty-two Moorish magnates went to Tunis, with the Christian captives, to deliver them up to D. John, and to make their submission to him.

This happened on the 13th of October, and on the 14th D. John, satisfied as to the submission of the kingdom, publicly gave it over to the Prince Muley Hamet; not with the title of King of Tunis, but with that of Governor in the name of His Catholic Majesty D. Philip II, King of Spain. He also wrote the same day to Goletta, giving D. Juan de Cardona orders to embark on a galley for Palermo, and gave another as an escort to the dethroned King Muley Hamida and his son, and all the other Moors of his suite who cared to follow them. At first the proud Moor refused to embark, but, convinced by his son and by those about him that resistance would be futile, he allowed himself to be taken on the galley without resistance. He was wrapped in a long mulberry-coloured cloak, with a white burnous over it, with the hood drawn, hiding his face with its swollen features. He was swarthy, with an evil countenance and a scanty beard. He walked slowly and with much dignity, his arms crossed, and his eyes fixed on the African soil which he was treading for the last time. When he embarked on the galley from the boat he received a salute of two cannons, and the crew gave theirs also, which they called "de forzado." Then his African impassiveness broke down, and he burst into tears, saying bitterly in Arabic, "King without a crown, man without freedom, salutes are unbecoming to you." Such was the King Muley Hamida, whom Cervantes calls "the cruellest and bravest Moor in the world."

Tunis quieted and the Moors content with their new government, D. John returned to Goletta and began the preparations for his departure. He left 8000 men divided between Goletta, Tunis, Biserta and the island where they were beginning the new fort, and named as Generals of these garrisons D. Pedro Portocarrero, Gabrio Cervelloni, D. Francisco de Avila, and D. Juan Zagonera. This done, he embarked on the 24th of October in the evening, taking with him all the remainder of the army, except the Marqués de Santa Cruz, who remained with the galleys under his command as rearguard. At Palermo he learnt of the death of Princess Juana, which had taken place at the Escorial on the 8th of September. The loss of this beloved sister affected D. John very much, and those of his household saw him, in the privacy of his room, cry like a child, which proves that bravery and energy are not weakened by feelings and the tears which spring from pure and tender affections. He ordered funeral rites in the churches, and the fleet to go into mourning, painting and hanging with black the masts, yards, oars and bulwarks of the ships.

This mourning, however, did not prevent the great reception D. John received in Naples. It was something like the solemn triumphs of the Roman conquerors of old; nor did the procession lack captive kings and princes, to wit, Muley Hamida and his son, or strange wild beasts of other countries, represented by the lion Austria, who walked at D. John's stirrups, led by two strong Nubians who waited on it, without its seeming surprised or put out by the bands, salutes, or the shouting of the mixed multitude which accompanied D. John all the way from the mole to the palace.

D. John entered Naples on the 12th of November, and on the 13th Juan de Soto left for Rome on a secret mission, to tell the Pope from D. John that the Tunis expedition was ended as far as it concerned him, and that if the Pope still intended to give him the kingdom as he had offered to do, that he should interpose his good offices with Philip II, so that D. John might accept it without any disloyalty and with Philip's absolute consent. The ambassador D. Juan de Zúñiga knew of the arrival of Soto in Rome, and although he did not know the reason, he hastened to apprise Philip II of the fact, who by it was filled with suspicion and fresh jealousy. He was, however, soon enlightened, as in a day or two the Nuncio Ormanetto, Bishop of Padua, presented himself on a special mission on behalf of Gregory XIII, and explained very minutely the Pope's plans for the kingdom of Tunis and for D. John, urging strongly that they should be approved and favoured. D. Philip listened attentively, and as if these plans were not for the good of all Christendom, but only for the benefit of D. John of Austria. He thanked His Holiness very much for the interest that he took in his brother, and charged the Nuncio to say so to Gregory XIII.

Three days later he wrote a letter to his brother, of which Lorenzo Vander-Hammen makes a precis thus:

"That he was not to be anxious about his person or promotion, as he would see to that as of one so near to him, but that this was not the time until it was seen what would be the result of the past expedition, nor could it be of use or value, but rather a great vexation and care to all; that he would consider the matter well as the case demanded, and if it were advisable he would be the first to assist in its execution, as he desired it."


Philip II was much annoyed at the result of his interview with the Nuncio Ormanetto, because he saw that the Pope was seriously thinking of raising D. John from his dependent position by giving him a crown, and that D. John, on his part, would go as far as his chivalrous loyalty permitted. Antonio Pérez confirmed the King's fears, making him see that the preservation of the forts of Tunis contrary to D. Philip's opinion, and Juan de Soto's secret journey to Rome, were acts of real independence; and, although he did not dare to accuse D. John openly, he threw the blame on the secretary Soto, attributing everything to his influence and intrigues, and again insisted on the necessity of separating D. John from such a dangerous adviser, and of substituting for him an energetic, temperate man, who would know how to moderate these fiery ambitions. This temperate, energetic man whom Pérez now ventured to propose was Juan de Escovedo, a former retainer of the Prince of Évoli and completely his creature, who was then secretary of the King at the Treasury.

All this irritated and perplexed D. Philip. He did not wish to vex the Pope, whose disinterestedness and holy aims he well knew; nor did he wish either to deprive his brother of all hope, because, although he did not doubt D. John's loyalty, he was afraid, having become suspicious, of subjecting it to undue proof.

In this difficulty he judged very wisely that the danger would cease with the opportunity, and he resolved to get rid, as far as possible, of "this care and worry of Tunis," and in this sense wrote to D. John the letter which we have already quoted. He also decided to follow the advice of Antonio Pérez, appointing Juan de Escovedo as secretary to D. John; and as his natural prudence and judgment saw no reason for injuring Juan de Soto, or motive for depriving himself of Soto's useful services elsewhere, he confirmed him in the appointment of Commissary of the Fleet in Italy, which was both an honourable and lucrative post.

So Juan de Escovedo set out to join D. John at Naples, bearing express orders from the King and strong recommendations from Antonio Pérez, to moderate D. John's ambitious aspirations, and reduce him to a mere instrument of the policy of his brother, without any views of his own. This man, celebrated afterwards for the gloomy drama of which he was the victim, was then between forty-five and fifty years old. He appeared rather a clownish peasant from anywhere than a noble of the Asturias. He was of middle height, thick-set, with heavy shoulders, and so swarthy and bilious-looking, that in the secret correspondence of Philip II and Antonio Pérez he is often designated by the name of "verdinegro" (the dark green one). However, he compensated with interest for his rough ways and absolute want of manners by his generous, unselfish nature, his sterling honesty, clear understanding, and energetic activity, which rendered him capable of facing all obstacles. Ruy Gómez and Luis Quijada esteemed him much and the latter honoured him not a little in his lifetime, and Doña Magdalena de Ulloa had retained, in her retirement, such a happy recollection of his honesty and uprightness, that no sooner did she hear of his new appointment than she hastened to write him the following letter:

"Illustrious Sir; I desire to write to you to tell you the pleasure that it gives me to see you in the company of the Lord D. John, because I desire nothing in the world so much as to see such persons about him, for I know the necessity he has of this, and how he will profit by it, and as H.H. does not neglect to keep me informed, I have begged him to make the duty over to you, whom I ask to write by every post whatever you think that I might care to hear about D. John and what he does, and I also beg of you that no post should leave without bringing me information, because if this is not carried out, and the post comes with nothing, it gives me a great shock, and you can send the letters to the house of D. Pedro Manuel, and I will reply by the same means or as you may direct; and because I think that, although it will be a trouble to you, you will do it as a favour to me, I end by praying Our Lord to give you as good a journey and as much success as I wish you. May Our Lord keep and prosper your illustrious person as I wish. At your service,

Doña Magdalena de Ulloa."

Gregory XIII, on his part, never wavered in his ideas, and losing all hope that Philip II would help him in his plans for the kingdom of Tunis, he turned to another scheme which had been a failure in the time of Pius V, but which he desired to resuscitate with fresh life and vigour by confiding its execution to D. John of Austria, "because of his valour and good fortune," quoth the Pontiff, who matured in silence his secret project, which was to bring so much good to Christendom and so much glory to D. John, and until he could divulge it he contented himself with lavishing proofs of esteem and affection on him, such as were then only shown to kings and reigning princes.

In March of that year, 1574, he sent to Naples by his Chamberlain the Golden Rose, blessed on Palm Sunday, which, according to ancient custom, the Pope was in the habit of sending to the king or queen who had deserved the most gratitude from the Holy See during the year. This unusual honour frightened the Viceroy of Naples, Cardinal de Granvelle, who was no friend of D. John, and he hastened to apprise Philip II of the fact. The Chamberlain arrived at Naples with the Golden Rose on the 24th of March, and on the 25th the solemn presentation took place in the church of St. Clara. The friars of St. Clara, great admirers of D. John, put a crimson velvet carpet on the Gospel side, to receive him, with a chair and curtain, as they would have done for an Infante of Spain. Granvelle knew of this, but held his tongue and let it pass, in order to have something against D. John, if he had accepted the honour; but he, warned in time, ordered the canopy to be removed and another chair to be placed at the left of his own for Granvelle.

Great was the enthusiasm in Naples over the new honour bestowed on D. John, and all wished to take part in it. It was a point of honour with the ladies to go to the festival with symbolical roses in their head-dresses and at their breasts, and they bombarded everyone, from the Cardinal to the smallest acolyte, with demands for seats. It was, however, impossible to satisfy them all, and on this day noble ladies were seen in the gutter, crowded on the stairs, in the doorways, and even in the recesses of the chapel, anxious to see everything and to be seen.

There were faintings from lack of air, cries of protest, bad-tempered pushing, crumpled ruffs, crooked caps, creased petticoats, unfastened shawls, lost jewels, and heaps of petals from the roses that had occupied such honourable positions. The necklace of the wife of an important Councillor was broken; it was a string of pearls, and only half a dozen could be recovered.

D. John came between the Cardinal Granvelle and the Archbishop of Monreale, and was followed by all the numerous princes, marquises and counts who were in Naples, and by a crowd of gentlemen. A Bishop celebrated the Mass, and the Bishop of Castellamare, who was Chaplain to the King, gave D. John the Pax and presented him with the Gospels to kiss. The Pope's Chamberlain was on the Epistle side, on a seat without a back covered with crimson velvet. He wore a black velvet cassock, and over it a crimson garment. The Golden Rose was displayed on the high altar in a big silver jar. It was of massive gold, with its foliage a foot high; it had diamonds sprinkled over it like drops of dew, and the green leaves were made of emeralds, some of enormous size. Mass over, the Chamberlain took a brief of the Pope and gave it to D. John to kiss, and then to a secretary to read aloud. The reading finished, D. John knelt down on a cushion of crimson velvet before the Bishop who had celebrated the Mass, and who, taking the Golden Rose from the hands of an ecclesiastic, gave it to D. John, saying, "Our Holy Father, Gregory XIII, Very Serene Prince, sends you this consecrated rose, in token of his benevolence and paternal love. By his orders I give it to your Highness."

To which D. John replied, "I kiss the feet of His Holiness for so great a favour, and I receive the rose with the veneration due to something so sacred, sent by the Vicar of Christ, universal Shepherd and head of the Church."

At this time there broke out in Genoa the famous disturbances between the old and the new nobility, called respectively "the Porch of St. Luke" and "the Porch of St. Peter," and Philip II, who held the protectorate of this republic, hastened to send D. John of Austria with a few galleys to pacify the insurgents with skill and cleverness; and if it were not possible to quiet them by any other means, to do so by force of arms. The Pope heard of his passing Gaeta, which was only twenty leagues from Rome, and on the pretext of greeting him, sent his son Jacobo Boncompagni, who carried secret instructions to apprise D. John of those mysterious plans over which the Pope had long been meditating. Marco Antonio Colonna accompanied Jacobo on his own account, as also did the Spanish ambassador in Rome, D. Juan de Zúñiga.

The three illustrious personages came to visit D. John on the 18th of April on board his galley with a numerous and brilliant suite, and the next day D. John landed to give them a royally sumptuous banquet in the house of the Governor of Gaeta. The long, wide table was set in the principal saloon, with two places side by side laid with services of rich plate, D. John giving the place of honour to Jacobo. On the right, but at a respectful distance, was a similar place for Marco Antonio Colonna, and at an equal distance on the left another for D. Juan de Zúñiga. One hundred and twenty-three dishes were served with all the viands and exquisite sauces for which Italian cooking was then so famous, without counting dessert, which covered the table three times, with different conceits of towers, tournaments, castles, and wild beasts, with pastry and delicious sweetmeats; more than forty kinds of wine were passed round. The merriment and good temper of the illustrious guests never flagged for a moment, and the crowd of noble gentlemen, who stood respectfully watching the banquet, snatched a mouthful at the sideboard, and were satisfied with abundant cups of wine.

At the end of dinner Boncompagni asked D. John's permission to present him with the gift that Gregory XIII had sent: some very rich tournament armour, a great black velvet pouch full of gold medals that had been blessed, which D. John divided among those present, and a little chest of red velvet containing a beautiful group of the Crucifixion, of great artistic merit. The Pope kept this chest in his rooms, and it was enriched with numerous indulgences.

In return for these presents D. John gave Boncompagni a horse worth 500 ducats, and its trappings which cost 2500, and a sword ornamented with gold worth 800 ducats.

The next day, on board the galley "Real," under the awning of striped red and white damask which stretched in front of D. John's cabin, Boncompagni confided to him the mysterious enterprise which Gregory XIII proposed to undertake with D. John's help. D. John listened attentively in silence, from time to time his blue eyes flashed with enthusiasm. It was a question of setting at liberty a beautiful captive queen and snatching a kingdom from the heretics.


Meanwhile the capture of Tunis had made patent to all Europe how deep was the wound that the credit and power of the Ottoman Empire had received at Lepanto. This great defeat was no doubt a disaster for the Turks; but a glorious disaster, both on account of the deeds of valour they had performed, and the titanic efforts it cost the victors to gain the triumph. The flight from Tunis without firing a shot, at the mere presence of D. John two years after this rude warning, showed how deeply rooted was the terror in the souls of the infidels, and how the renown of the Christian bravery had been enhanced, especially that of the Spaniards. All this cruelly wounded the overweening pride of Selim, and he was consumed with the desire of avenging himself by reconquering Tunis and Goletta. He was urged, with malicious eagerness, to undertake this enterprise by Aluch Ali and the renegade Mustafa, one of the engineers who built Goletta in the time of Charles V. The name of this traitor was Jacobo Zitolomini. Resenting the treatment he had received from Philip II, he fled to Algiers to Aluch Ali, who took him to Constantinople, where he revealed to Selim a sure and secret way of taking Goletta.

At the beginning of May, 1574, D. John received an urgent message from Gabrio Cervelloni, to say that the Turks were preparing a very powerful fleet; that it was feared that they would fall suddenly upon Tunis, and that, in consequence of this, funds should be sent as quickly as possible to finish the new fort, which was not yet completed. D. John was at Genoa, quieting the disturbances there, and he hastened to send the Commissary of the Fleet Juan de Soto to Madrid, to warn Philip II of the danger which threatened. The King was not much alarmed about this, and, perhaps, saw a prompt and certain opportunity of ridding himself of this care and worry of Tunis. At any rate, his answer makes it clear that this new conquest was the least of his cares, and while writing to Cardinal Granvelle, Viceroy of Naples, and to the Duque de Terranova, Regent of Sicily, that they were to guard the ports and reinforce the garrisons, especially in Messina, Augusta, Syracuse, Trapani and Palermo, he contented himself with adding that they were not to forget to help his brother, and to look after the coast of Barbary. He also ordered D. García de Toledo and the Marqués de Santa Cruz to watch how D. John was garrisoning Goletta, and to the latter the King wrote that he was to do what he judged best in the matter, but that he was to remember that he had said that 2000 foot soldiers were enough to defend Goletta. D. John then sent D. Juan de Cardona with all the galleys under his command to Tunis without loss of time, taking the help for which Gabrio Cervelloni craved. This was not sufficient, and those in Tunis reiterated their request. D. John then exhausted all his resources, and sent D. Bernardino de Velasco with twenty Neapolitan galleys and four companies of Italian infantry. With these comings and goings summer was getting old, and on the 13th of August, at the Cape of Carthage, appeared the dreaded Turkish fleet of 300 ships and 60,000 soldiers, the fleet being commanded by Aluch Ali, and the troops by Selim's son-in-law Sinan Pasha, the renegade.

A great outcry arose at the extreme peril of the Barbary Christians, and by every means in their power they sent to ask help from Granvelle, Terranova, and, above all, from D. John of Austria, in virtue of his office and Christian piety. He wished to fly to their aid, abandoning everything. He wrote first, however, to the Duque de Sesa, "To urge the Cardinal to send people to help Goletta, as that province was in his charge." But the imperturbable Granvelle replied coldly, "That he had much to guard in the Kingdom, and that it did not suit him to divide his forces." "This was," says Vander Hammen, commenting on the fact, "to give colour to the excuse. The real reason was Granvelle's dislike to support D. John, jealous of his favours with Mars and Venus, and because he was a foreigner, and because his brothers conspired in the Flemish rebellion;" and Luis Cabrera de Córdoba expresses himself in similar words, equally severe, not forgetting Mars and Venus. And D. John himself wrote to his sister Donna Margarita: "In short, Lady, everything goes badly; and in truth it is not entirely the fault of His Majesty, except for permitting those who govern his States to forget that those in their vicinity, or those that are not, are as much His Majesty's as those which each minister has charge of."

Meanwhile D. John, tired of waiting for orders, troops and money which did not come, and making it a point of honour to go to Tunis, moved with desperate activity from Genoa to Naples, Messina and Palermo, recruiting soldiers everywhere, chartering ships, and pledging for all this his plate, his jewels, and even his word, until he had collected at Messina a moderate fleet with no lack of fighting men. He was all ready to sail for Africa, when he met with another obstacle, more powerful than the calculated coldness of Philip II, or the jealous hatred of the Cardinal. The sea! The terrible sea which rose in a furious storm which threw him to Trapani, much against his will, and kept him there days and days, giving time for Christians to perish and for the Turks to become victorious. Three times he tried to leave the port, defying the storm, and as often had to retire before the surging waves. Then he sent four galleys without quarter-decks and platforms on the forecastles to take the mere hope of help to Goletta, but the implacable tempest prevented this by destroying two of them. At last the weather improved; but before D. John could put to sea, a French galley, without masts and knocked about by the storm, was driven into the port of Trapani. On board of her was D. Juan Zagonera, with fifty soldiers, all that remained at liberty of the garrison that D. John had left in Barbary. From them he heard of the terrible disaster. The Turks were in possession of Tunis; three thousand soldiers were dead, and the rest wounded or captives; Pagano Doria had been beheaded; Gabrio Cervelloni, D. Pedro Portocarrero and D. Francisco de Avila were the slaves of Sinan; the new fort razed before it was finished; and Goletta, the glorious legacy of Charles V, blown up by mines, and erased from the African soil by Aluch Ali, as the wind of the desert obliterates footprints.

Those who were jealous of D. John blamed him for this catastrophe, with which he had had nothing to do; the sensible public opinion, at times so right and sharp, blamed Granvelle, and songs, which have come down to us, were sung on the subject in the streets. A few, but very few, said in a whisper, as in those days it was necessary to do, that the Cardinal was not responsible, since in refusing aid to Goletta he had obeyed secret orders from Madrid. Of this, however, absolutely no proof exists.

The energetic nature of D. John was not depressed by this bad news; but it awoke a thousand different sentiments in his mind, and under the impression of disgust, sorrow and wounded dignity, and, above all, his loyal frankness, which always urged him to treat questions openly and in a straightforward manner, he resolved to go to Spain to confer with his brother Philip II face to face about three different questions which were connected with each other—as to his remaining permanently in Italy as Lieutenant-Governor of those States, his recognition as Infante of Castille, and the mysterious scheme that Gregory XIII had proposed to him.

So it fell out, and by January, 1575, D. John was already in Madrid. On the 15th of February he wrote to his sister Donna Margarita:

"Lady, I, praised be God, arrived a few days ago at this Court, where I have received such kindness from His Majesty that only to have gained this I consider that I have spent my life well. Since my arrival I think that he understands Italian affairs very differently from what he did before. I had thought, as I had prayed His Majesty, to stay some time in Madrid; but in the end he is resolved to order me to return to those parts, and is in a great hurry to send me off. I think that I shall start in the middle of the coming month, and I also think that I go to begin a new sort of service according to what suits His Majesty. Meanwhile one has to overcome difficulties and hasten on the things required for this summer's campaign.

"To all this I pay so much attention that each day, in councils and out of them, I do nothing else. It is already drawing so near summer, that I am satisfied with nothing that I do not see. Here, Lady, everything is councils; every day I hold two, besides a thousand other occupations, which leave me no time that I can call my own."

D. Philip was under the spell of the fascination that D. John always exercised, and, notwithstanding the groundless suspicions of Antonio Pérez, he received his brother with loving affection and the gratitude and graciousness due to a leader who had added such lustre and glory to the arms and name of Spain. He listened long, and with great interest, to D. John's information about Italian affairs, changing his opinion much about them. He agreed with D. John in blaming the Ministers and Viceroys of those States, especially Granvelle and the Duque de Terranova. He talked over and fixed the loans which should be made to the various councils to enable them to guard themselves that summer against the Turk, whose pride had to be humbled after the recent capture of Tunis; and finally appointed him, with the approval of the whole council, and to the secret horror of Antonio Pérez, his Lieutenant-General of all Italy, with authority over all the Viceroys and Ministers who governed those States. This, however, was to remain a secret, to spare the reputations and prestige of these functionaries, and was only to be manifested in case of abuse of authority or boast of independence. "This for Y. Highness only, I beg for many reasons," wrote D. John from Naples to Donna Margarita. "I also bring an order that everyone has to act with obedience; but this is only to be used when some Minister persuades himself to the contrary, which I do not think will happen, as by letters they have learnt what concerns them."

D. John, encouraged by this, dared to present the second part of his programme, which was that, in order to wound no one and to give an outward sign of this supremacy over the Italian Ministers, the King should concede to him the rank and title of Infante, which was spontaneously given him by all, great and small. D. Philip did not like to refuse this well-deserved favour, but with excuses made D. John understand that the time was not ripe for this. He did not do this out of ill-will, or from miserly stinginess, or still less from jealousy of his fame and renown, as some say, but because it was one of the maxims of this prudent King, inherited from his father Charles V, to stimulate the services of the Grandees with a reward in proportion to their rank; and without giving D. John a crown, which Philip did not wish to do, there remained no other reward worthy of him but the title of Infante, and it seemed premature to give him this now, considering the many and important services Philip hoped to obtain from him in the future.

As to the project of Gregory XIII, D. John did not have to broach the subject to his brother. D. Philip himself began it, having already talked over and settled it with the Nuncio Ormanetto.


Four years before these events, in June, 1571, a little old, nervous and active Italian arrived in Madrid. He called himself Giulio Benasai, a merchant from Genoa; he stopped at an inn, near the gate of the Viper, now the Puerta Cerrada, and very early the next day began his visits, which were anything but commercial ones. He visited Monsignor Ormanetto, the Pope's Nuncio; Dr. Milio, governor, in the Duke's absence, of the Alba estates; the secretaries Zayas and Mateo Vázguez, and lastly, five days after his arrival, on the 28th, he visited the King, Philip II, at the Castle. This visit, however, was very different from the others, it was paid secretly at night, and once inside the Castle he no longer called himself Giulio Benasai, or a native of Genoa, or a merchant. His name was Roberto Ridolfi, a banker in London, and secret agent of His Holiness Pius V in that heretic country.

Ridolfi gave three letters, substantially alike, into Philip's own hands. These begged him to give Ridolfi his entire confidence, and to undertake what he would explain, granting all the resources he deemed prudent in order to further the enterprise. They were from no less personages than Pius V, the Queen of Scots, Mary Stuart, then a prisoner in England, and the third one from the Duke of Norfolk.

The project was this; to capture the heretic Queen of England, Elizabeth, and the lords of her Council, and shut them up in the Tower of London; to marry the lawful Queen, Mary Stuart, to the Duke of Norfolk, and in this way to re-establish Catholicism in England and Scotland. Philip's aid was sought for the plan, and they had already obtained the support of the most influential English lords and of Mary's partisans in Scotland, who were then numerous and powerful. The Pope had prepared the way by hurling his terrible Bull against Elizabeth, declaring her to be an obstinate heretic and an abettor of heresy, deposing her from the English throne and absolving her subjects from their oaths of fealty and obedience. He promised, moreover, all the funds that the Holy See had at its disposal.

For this enterprise the Duke of Norfolk asked the King of Spain for 6000 arquebusiers, 4000 arquebuses, 2000 cuirasses and 25 pieces of artillery, with the necessary money and ammunition. He promised, for his part, to raise in England 3000 horsemen and 2000 foot soldiers and to undertake the dangerous task of capturing the Queen and her Councillors and of setting Mary Stuart free. He also promised to remain on his estates in Norfolk, facing the coast of Holland, to protect the landing of the troops that the Duque de Alba was to send from Flanders. The Duque had talked to Ridolfi in Brussels and approved of the plan, with certain reservations, and even thought it an easy one, once Elizabeth was either captured or dead; he waited, however, for the orders and consent of his Sovereign.

Philip II listened to Ridolfi with his usual reserve and caution, and sent him to the Escorial, where the Duque de Feria examined him at length, and where an important council was held on the 7th of July, the minutes of which are preserved in the archives at Simancas. They all approved of the plan and agreed to order its prompt execution by the Duque de Alba. But such was the slowness of Philip in settling the details and such was his indecision about dictating the last orders, that time was given for Norfolk to be denounced, tried, and publicly beheaded in London.

It was this scheme, ruined by the death of Norfolk, which Gregory XIII wished to resuscitate. He sent another Bull, similar to the one of Pius V, giving the sovereignty of England to her legitimate Queen, Mary Stuart, and marrying her to D. John of Austria, who was to command the Spanish hosts which were to invade England. The Pope had already consulted the English and Scotch lords and other magnates who were willing to support Norfolk's movement, and they undertook to perform all that they had previously promised to the unhappy Duke. To reinstate the plan in the same advantageous position it had held in the days of Pius V only the consent and help of Philip and D. John were lacking. At his interview at Gaeta with Jacobo Boncompagni D. John enthusiastically gave his consent, subject to his brother's will, which was for him an unbreakable law. But Philip, on his part, received the proposal coldly when it was unfolded to him in the name of Gregory XIII by the Nuncio Ormanetto; he very courteously thanked the Pope for the favour shown to his brother, but excused himself from helping the enterprise because of the necessity there was of concentrating large armies in Italy for fear of the Turk, who had been heartened by the triumph of Tunis, and in Flanders where the rebels were also encouraged by the departure of the Duque de Alba. And as the Nuncio argued, pointing out the truth so well known to the politicians of the day, that the focus of the rebellion had to be stamped out, not in Flanders, but in England, where the Queen was always stirring it up and helping the rebels in every way, D. Philip answered that this was true and that he knew it full well; but that all the same he could not remove a single pike from Flanders until the new policy of gentleness and reconciliation, which he had entrusted to the Knight Commander Requesens, had taken effect. Then he would consider whether or no the expedition to England would suit him.

Philip gave his brother the same answer when they treated of the circumstance, adding other reasons, all tending to bind D. John tighter to his service, without disappointing him or at once dissipating the dreams he might have woven round such a romantic plan as conquering a kingdom by setting a beautiful captive queen at liberty, which must have appealed so strongly to D. John's chivalrous fancy. So D. Philip promised, without any intention of fulfilling it, according to Antonio Pérez, or as we think, meaning to do so if it suited the plans of his policy to favour Gregory's scheme when the danger of a fresh war with the Turk, which then threatened, was over.

And as if to bring D. John down from the sphere of heroic ideas, where genius usually dwells, to the petty weaknesses among which most mortals struggle, in the next line the King spoke of what in certain ways was the only thing which could humiliate and shame D. John, and which embittered his life—the conduct of his mother—which had reached such a pitch that no one frequented her house but low persons, among whom was an Englishman, supposed to be on too intimate terms with her. The Duque de Alba, who, though severe, was not straitlaced, had upbraided her without success several times, and, tired out, had decided to write the following letter to the secretary Zayas:

"Very magt. Sir. An affair is taking place here which much troubles me, because I have tried by every means to remedy it, without success, and it has reached such lengths, that it would be well if H.M. should quickly cure it. You will be doing me a favour to tell H.M. that the mother of D. John lives with so much liberty, in a manner so unlike that in which the mother of such a son should live, that it is necessary to put a stop to it, as the affair is so public and so free and open that they tell me that no honourable woman will enter her doors. Things have come to such a pass that they are changing the servants every week, and in my absence she has gone so far, that most days there are dances and banquets. She has turned out the two honourable old spinsters I placed near her and has filled their places with low women. She is dreadful and very obstinate. His Majesty will order what he wills, I had resolved to take her by night and put her in a convent, but I did not like to do so without first consulting him."

D. Philip answered the Duque de Alba by the following letter written in cipher.

"The King.

"Duke and Cousin. Cayas has shown me the letter you wrote about my brother D. John's mother, which, for reasons you mention and enter into, grieves me much, because she does not live with seemly modesty and respectability; and it appears to me, as it does to you, that the only thing to do is to bring her here, and her son is also of the same opinion, to whom I have sent Juan de Soto, to say I have done it for her welfare, these States being in the condition they are, without saying more, as there was no need to do so, and, as I understand the journey is to be by sea, if they were to tell her beforehand, it is very likely that she would do something foolish; it would be well to keep her in the dark until a safe ship is found, and then, everything being ready and the weather fine, to put her on board, whether she likes it or not, with a suitable retinue, giving orders that everything necessary for the journey should be provided, and that during it she should be well treated. Let me know in time, that she may be met at the port, and from there taken to the nearest and most suitable convent, which I have not yet decided on."

It was not the first time that the brothers had talked about this painful subject; but now D. John knew all, without palliation or reserve. D. Philip told him in wise and tactful words, like a kind surgeon, who, without wishing to pain, probes a wound, and suggested the remedy like a father who discusses a sad family matter. As there was no other way, they determined to remove Barbara Blombergh from Flanders by deceiving her, and to bring her to Spain, where, by D. John's proposal, she should be given into the charge of Doña Magdalena de Ulloa, that this noble lady should settle her in her own proximity, wherever, in her prudence, discretion and charity, she deemed best. This idea appeared an excellent one to D. Philip, and a few days later D. John set out for Abrojo, where Doña Magdalena was expecting him.

Never had the mourning figure seemed so dignified to him, or had he found such sweet and deep repose in her company, or thought that he saw in her still beautiful eyes such intense love, such maternal solicitude, or such tender grace as when she showed him the big coffers of linen which she had ready for him, neckties of Flemish point which she herself tried on, and the full starched ruffs, very full as she knew that he liked them.

And it was his yearning for a mother, exasperated by the disillusion about his own parent, that was comforted by the pure love and great virtues of that other whom a merciful Heaven had sent to him. D. John stayed four days at Abrojo, confiding everything that was on his mind to Doña Magdalena, joys and sorrows, hopes and fears, triumphs and disappointments, errors and repentances; and when she said good-bye at the convent door, she thought, as she did the first time she saw him on the staircase of Villagarcia, "It is a pity he is not really my son!" And he said to himself with infinite bitterness, as he kissed her hand for the last time, "It is a pity that she is not really my mother."

D. John left Abrojo with the profound regret and vague mistrust that a wanderer feels who sets out on the desert sand after a day's rest in an oasis. A friendly voice, however, encouraged him all that day, telling him that a glorious future was his, if he fought with firmness and waited with patience, which is the advice constancy gives that fiery activity should achieve its purpose: that Gregory XIII's idea was certain to be realised because it was great and just, and easy and feasible, and in the end he would share the throne with the hitherto unfortunate Queen of Scots; the England of D. John and the Spain of Philip being the two strong pillars of the Holy Catholic Church.

He who spoke thus to D. John was Escovedo, whom Philip had commissioned to moderate D. John's ambitious thoughts. And the most strange thing is that Escovedo was clever and honest and was talking seriously.


Antonio Pérez relates in his famous "Memorial" that at first the secretary Escovedo served the King very well in moderating the ambitious ideas of D. John, but that "as time went on it was evident that he not only did not fulfil the purpose for which he had been sent (to Italy), but that his boldness, like that of Juan de Soto, increased, and that in particular it was known that he began to have communication with Rome for some benefit or grandeur for D. John, without informing his Majesty."

There is truth in all this, mingled with much falsehood, as is the case with all the contents of this venomous book. Escovedo never thought that D. John was acting through vulgar ambition; although vulgarity is found in all spheres, it was distasteful to his heroic nature; but he really thought, as Antonio Pérez assured him, that D. John was blinded by his ambitious ideas, and was craving the protection of Rome to carry into effect visionary plans, which, to say the least, would hamper his brother's policy, and that, in short, he was a brave youth, flushed by his victories, whom it would be necessary to lead by the hand along the beaten path of common sense, that he should not engulf his own great qualities in the abyss of daring and fantasy. This is what Escovedo believed about D. John when he went for the first time to Italy in the capacity of secretary: but, learning to appreciate the frank charm of his ways and the simple cheerfulness of his loyal character, he retracted this opinion, and, little by little, the more he knew of D. John and his affairs, the more he became convinced that what Antonio Pérez called his foolhardy notions were really vigorous flights of genius; and that what he named fantastic plans were the well-considered schemes of two Pontiffs like Pius V and Gregory XIII, who were those that thought of and upheld the project of conquering England; and that, quite contrary to what Pérez said, the solicitations at Rome, far from being humiliating to the King of Spain, were honourable offers made, times and again, to D. John by the Popes, who were enchanted by his bravery and valour, and were convinced that this John, sent by God, was called to be one of the firmest pillars of the Catholic Church.

Then the same thing occurred which had happened to Juan de Quiroga and afterwards to Juan de Soto. Escovedo became as devoted to D. John as they had been; he was converted into a sincere admirer, who loudly sang D. John's praises and began to favour his plans with all the force of his energetic and passionate nature, giving a strange instance, which proves so much, of three men of recognised merit, of unimpeachable honour and upright intention, all warned by Antonio Pérez against D. John's ambitious plans, falling, one by one, under the spell of his charm, and, against their own interests, devoting themselves to serving and helping him. A great proof that the spell D. John used to throw over these people to draw them to him was, without any doubt, his own worthiness.

This change in Escovedo was effected very quickly, and Madrid knew of it at once, as by June, 1575, it was already an anxiety there, as is shown by the following note written, according to that prudent Monarch's habit, by Philip on the margin of a letter of Mateo Vázguez's. "The arrival of Escovedo is certain, as you will see by this letter, and although it appears he is not coming to ask for money, I am, to the last degree, broken-hearted and tired out by it: although it will be well to send him on at once, I cannot help thinking that he is encouraging him and that that is why he is sent and no one else."

Escovedo did not come to Spain in search of money, although this was very scarce, as it always was in all D. Philip's undertakings: D. John sent him to notify to the King a new complication which had arisen in Genoa, due to the intervention of the Pope in these circumstances, and to ask for instructions on so delicate a matter.

Having overcome the danger of the Turk in the summer of 1575, D. John gave himself up with perseverance all the rest of that year and the next to ending these quarrels which might undermine the influence of Spain in Italy and even drag her into a war with France. He therefore watched the trend of affairs, sometimes in Naples, sometimes in Genoa itself, finding time and opportunity in both places to give himself up to gay amusements, even to culpable excesses, to which his youth disposed him and the relaxed morals of the day incited him.

It is to this period of his life that must be assigned his intrigues with the unhappy Zenobia Saratosio, who ended by crying over her sin in the convent of St. Mary of Egypt, and with Doña Ana de Toledo, the proud and domineering woman, who, perhaps, would have been the ruin of D. John, had he not by an effort of his strong will, sharpened by a sense of duty, torn himself in time from her evil influence. Luckily these flowery chains did not bind D. John's manly soul; he broke at every step all that impeded his indomitable temper, or what was insisted on by the disquieting voice of remorse.

One night D. John was supping in the palace of Doña Ana de Toledo with several others of those who screened and upheld his evil ways. Suddenly one of his captains of the guard entered hurriedly with the news that on one of the galleys, taken at Lepanto, the "Renegada," the crew, formed of one hundred captive Turks, had risen, killed four soldiers on guard and a boatswain, and had fled with the galley. Crimson with rage, D. John jumped up, leaving his cup of wine half drunk, and ordered the captain to go before him to the mole to warn the galley "Real" that he was at once setting out to pursue the fugitives. In vain Doña Ana begged him not to go, but to send one of the 160 galleys anchored in the port. D. John answered her that it would all be the work of a moment, and that in less than three hours he would return to finish his half-drunk cup. The wilful and tyrannical woman insisted with tears, wishing to bend him to her caprice and menacing him with a cessation of her favours if he refused her. But without saying more D. John dashed into the street, preceded by two pages with torches, calling out to all the soldiers he met on the way, "Quick! Soldiers! Quick! They have taken a galley from us."

He only met a dozen foot soldiers and one sergeant, Rivera, and with them went to the mole, jumped on the "Real," and left the port. The night was dark and the sea rough, and the "Real" flew along, with her lanterns unlighted, impelled by the rowers, who were encouraged by the great rewards offered by D. John.

They overtook the "Renegada" off the entrance of Capri. Seeing the "Real" suddenly appear and deeming it an ordinary galley, the crew prepared to defend themselves; but when they recognised the ship, fear paralysed the fugitives and they did not dare to do so, which explains how fourteen men took a ship on which were a hundred by boarding her; they killed the Turks, overcoming and binding those who survived and took them back to Naples. A little before dawn D. John disembarked in the port, and once more turned his steps to the palace of Doña Ana. He found it all open and lighted up, as if he were expected; but not a single living soul did he see in it; astonished, he reached the dining-room, and there noticed, to his surprise, that the table was cleared, and on it a small, black velvet cloth; at the corners were four silver candlesticks, in which lighted tapers were burning, and in the centre a small golden salver with the half-emptied cup, as D. John had left it. D. John understood that the proud Doña Ana wished to show by this means, very typical of the period, the funeral of her love, and so he accepted it; he drained the cup of wine at a draught and placed it, mouth downwards, on the table again. As he left the house a duenna, placed there, no doubt, by her lady, called to him from one of the grated windows; but D. John never turned his head nor darkened the doors again.

At this time (March, 1576) the Knight Commander Luis de Requesens died in Brussels, from a carbuncle on the back, leaving Flanders, by his death, without a Governor and these States in more danger than ever, as the Provinces had risen and only Luxemburg remained faithful to Spain. "It is to be observed," says a famous historian, "that whenever a grave danger threatened or a state was about to be lost, Philip II turned to his brother D. John of Austria, and confided to his bravery and talent the most arduous enterprises and the causes which seemed the most hopeless, as to one whom he held capable of rectifying what the imprudence, faults or ill-fortune of others seemed to make difficult or almost impossible to remedy."

Thus it was now; in this difficulty Philip II named D. John Governor and Captain-General of the States of Flanders, and until he could arrive to take up the command, entrusted the government of them absolutely to the Senate of Flanders. This last fatal advice was given to Philip by Joachin Oppier, or Hoperus, as others call him, a Fleming who was Secretary for the affairs of Flanders in Madrid.

D. John's new appointment was secretly opposed by Granvelle from Naples and by Antonio Pérez in Madrid. The secretary was much perturbed lest all his efforts to discredit D. John with the King had come to naught; because, although there was no doubt that distrust had entered and still existed in Philip's naturally suspicious mind, still the embers required much fanning to kindle them into a blaze capable of consuming all the great esteem and confidence evinced by this appointment. So vigorously did Antonio Pérez fan them that if documents in his own writing did not prove it, never would it be credited to-day that a man of his astuteness and talent should have been so blinded by his evil passions as to dare to write to Philip II that for D. John, thunderbolt of war, victor of the Moors, terror of the Turk, pacifier of Genoa, and hero of Lepanto, "a clerical habit would be best suited and orders, so that he should not go too far or ever be able to transgress."


D. John of Austria received the news of his appointment in a letter from the King, written on the 8th of April, 1576, just as he had sent the secretary Juan de Escovedo to Rome, having been importuned by further appeals from Gregory XIII about the English expedition. D. John, therefore, deferred replying to this letter until the return of the secretary, presuming with reason that his acceptance or refusal would depend on the news brought from Rome by Escovedo. This delay, however, joined to the information he had received of the secretary's journey and of his interviews with various personages, gave Antonio Pérez an opportunity of continuing his evil work of setting the King against his brother. On the 16th of June he wrote with this intention to Philip, "I am rather worried, Sir, at the way D. John's messenger tarries, because ours must have arrived forty-two days ago, and I have seen a letter of the 8th of May, from Naples, from Lorenzo Spinola, in which he answers those written to him by the post by land and by Santiago; so that more than twelve or fifteen days have gone by without answering, which is a great delay, and makes one suspect the affair is being disputed over by the leagues and congregations there, not that I doubt the obedience of the Lord D. John, but the delay will cause trouble."

On the margin of this letter Philip replied: "Certainly there is much delay about this answer and it is very annoying, since I am hoping that everything will be settled by it, and this delay is very bad for Flemish matters, principally because I had hoped to send this decision by the Marqués de Havré; but as the answer does not arrive and he must start, I am sending someone by whom to forward it, and thus he must go with a promise, which it will be very undesirable not to fulfil with all dispatch."

Antonio Pérez narrates, with much cynicism, in his "Relaciones" that the King ordered him to pretend to favour the plans of Escovedo and D. John, in order to learn their secrets, if there were any. He needed no command from Philip to do this; but whether or no he had one, it is certain that at this date he was already playing this vile part, as the following letter to Escovedo proves, in which can be seen all the falseness and perfidy of the man, who a few days previously had been advising the King to invest D. John with a priest's dress.

"Truly, Sir, with reference to that of England (the projected expedition), about which your Grace was employed in Rome, I thought that it would be well for H.H. to be at hand and occupied in such serious business for H.M.; the more because I wish to see the Lord D. John in some great appointment, in which he would be master of all, so that H.M. might know his worth, and the good account he would give of such a government, free from embarrassment or rivalry of other Ministers; and it is not a small thing for H.H. to see himself quit of this."

The King sent D. John of Austria his commission and instructions to Lombardy, ordering him to go direct from Milan to Flanders with the haste and caution that the disturbance of these States demanded. But this, however, was not D. John's idea; he wished, beyond anything, to come to Spain, and, avoiding the dishonesty of intermediaries, to treat in person with his brother about the resources on which he might count, and the soldiers he could dispose of in his new and difficult command; he wished also to learn D. Philip's schemes about the English expedition, of which the Nuncio had already spoken to him a second time, because, although it was D. John's greatest wish, he did not desire to do anything in the least against his brother's will; and, lastly, he wanted to plead for his recognition as "Infante," in order to have some rank which would give him sufficient authority as Governor of Flanders, also in England, if the expedition took place. So he wrote to Antonio Pérez announcing his arrival; but the secretary, fearing frank and clear explanations between the two brothers, as much as the King himself did, planned, with him, to stop D. John's arrival by this letter from D. Philip:


By Sir Antonio More

"I sent you a messenger by land ordering you to prevent this, and, above all, your coming here, because of the great mistake it would be. I wish to repeat here, and to charge you that in nowise or for any reason whatever you should come, and when your coming will be suitable, nobody will know it or inform you better than I."

D. John, however, was so firm in his intention that, without hesitating even after such a peremptory order, he sent Escovedo on ahead with letters to announce his coming, and himself embarked at Genoa in a galley belonging to Marcelo Doria, with another as escort, so as to arrive at the beginning of September at Barcelona. D. Philip showed his displeasure by sending the following note to meet him:

"Last night Escovedo gave me your letter and advised me of your arrival at Barcelona, and I cannot help saying that great as is the pleasure and wish to have you here, you have taken away much of the joy that it will give me."

D. Philip did even more; he was at the Escorial, where he had spent the summer with his family, and he prolonged his stay later than usual, in order not to be in Madrid when D. John arrived, bidding Antonio Pérez receive and lodge him in the latter's celebrated country house "La Casilla." This is how Antonio Pérez refers to this remarkable incident in the "Memorial": "And truly I must add here, without waiting to go into details, that the reason why Antonio Pérez was the host of D. John in his "Casilla" for a few days was, that the King did not wish to concede the title of Infante, or refuse it, because hope would give D. John better heart to settle things in Flanders. It is a usual habit of princes to obtain fruit from hopes, as it is found in those inspired by them and is generally wanting when the favour has been granted. And since D. John had naturally to be in Madrid for his own private affairs and did not wish to be in a hired house, but in the Palace, as a beginning of his treatment as Infante, the King resolved not to return to Madrid until D. John had left for Flanders, so that in this way and at Antonio Pérez's expense the blow to D. John's hopes should be disguised."

Accordingly Antonio Pérez set out to meet him, going as far as Guadalajara, where the Duque del Infantado already awaited D. John, together with the Duque's brothers D. Rodrigo and D. Diego, the Conde de Orgaz, the Duque de Medina de Rioseco, and other intimate friends, who escorted him all that day's journey until they left him at Antonio Pérez's "Casilla." This was the celebrated villa, the wonder of the Madrid of that day, which stood on the site at present occupied by the convent of St. Elizabeth, in the street of the same name. It is now hardly possible to imagine that it was then surrounded by shady gardens, big orchards, and by a green, dark wood more than a league in circumference. The house was large and square, with four towers at the corners, and its big windows with their beautifully wrought gratings opened in two symmetrical rows; the entrance was by a great paved courtyard, in which were rough-stone seats and two cisterns of granite and many iron rings, in the form of heads of wild beasts, horses and dogs, fixed in the wall for tieing up animals. The dining-room and rooms for gaming and diversion were on the right hand; on the left were the guest chambers, and the front of the house was taken up by a suite of saloons, furnished as no house belonging to a Grandee in Madrid, was, with pictures, tapestries, Venetian glass, furniture of precious woods and massive silver, and thousands of other valuable things which made the house an object of wonder and gossip for the whole Court: they asked each other how Antonio Pérez could afford luxury greater than that displayed by the most powerful Grandee, as he had no fortune either acquired or inherited, and they whispered about, and even plainly mentioned, bribes, falsehoods, intrigues, and infamous mean acts, the truth of which was proved, years afterwards, in the celebrated trial of the secretary.

It was in the five front rooms that D. John was lodged; they were furnished with all that was best and richest to be found, and as a perfidious compliment from the false Pérez to the future King of England, he placed canopies and attributes of royalty in each of them. In the first room there was a rich gold and silver tapestry of the sacrifice of Abraham and a canopy of tawny velvet, adorned with plates of gold and hammered silver. In another room, arranged for the times when D. John wished to dine alone, there was a similar tapestry with the story of Joseph, a canopy and chairs embroidered in different colours, and a wooden dais with a rich carpet. Then came the ante-room with gold and silver tapestry, with scenes from the Æneid, and a canopy of gold and silver embroidered in relief in different colours, and inlaid writing-tables with their implements of gold and silver beautifully wrought. The bedroom was next, with tapestry of brocaded green gold (verde auro), a silk carpet, and tables and chairs of silver; the bed was also of silver, with angels on the posts holding tablets with this inscription: "The Lord D. John sleeps. Enter softly." Joining the alcove was a closet, hung with gold and silver tapestry, which did not reach the ground, with a bath with perfumes, a dressing-table of silver, and all the necessary implements of the same metal. All over the house were scent-burners with different sweet perfumes, even the courtyard held two of them, under the care of as many lackeys, who perfumed the cloths of the horses as they came in and out. "And to such lengths," says Luis de Zapata de Calatayud naïvely, "did his luxury and ostentation reach, that there was the wherewithal to clean the shoes of those who entered his house on foot, who did not fail to leave them at the door, as the Moors do on entering a mosque."


Antonio Pérez gave up the "Casilla" to D. John and his household, and retired with his wife and sons to his other magnificent and sumptuous house "La Villa," which had belonged to the Conde de Puñonrostro, and was contiguous to the church of St. Justin (the site now occupied by the military school). Every day, however, he went to the "Casilla," to pay his court to D. John and to attend him on his visits, business, and pleasures. Antonio Pérez wasted no time; he had already on the way from Guadalajara exaggerated D. Philip's displeasure, and had offered to go post-haste to the Escorial to try to placate the King with some pretext which he would invent. This he did as soon as he had installed his illustrious guest in the "Casilla," and at the Escorial the King and the secretary decided together that D. John should present himself there as soon as possible, in order not further to delay his departure for Flanders, and that Pérez should boast of the friendly act in having smoothed the annoyance of the King, the more to confirm D. John's incautious confidence, which Pérez was so treacherously acquiring.

D. Philip received his brother with the greatest affability, and without making the slightest allusion to the annoyance the coming of D. John had caused him; he rose on seeing D. John enter the room, and at once gave his hand to be kissed, embracing him tenderly, and then, what always happened when the two brothers met face to face, occurred. The ice melted, suspicion was calmed, and D. John's loyal frankness and lovable charm penetrated and even overthrew D. Philip's cold reserve. It is nowhere related that D. John spoke at that time, as he meant to have done, about his title of Infante: perhaps the artful Pérez had dissuaded him, or maybe he forebore of his own accord, in view of D. Philip's determination to organise the English expedition, according to the plans of Gregory XIII, as soon as Flanders should be pacified. D. Philip's promises were so clear and definite that it is impossible to believe, as Antonio Pérez asserts, that it was simply a strategy to animate D. John by these hopes, without supposing in Philip a falseness and bad faith capable of sweeping away and treading everything under foot. Because it was not only D. John who was taken in by this strategy; it was also the Sovereign Pontiff, the instigator and principal upholder of the English enterprise, and the English and Scotch lords and all the Catholics in these kingdoms, who were risking their lives and properties; and it was, above all, the unlucky Queen of Scots who, deceived by these false hopes, would lose time and the opportunity for using surer means of freeing herself from captivity and death.

Moreover, Philip II did not restrict himself to making these promises privately to D. John, or only by word of mouth; he also made them in writing in two letters which he sent to him in Flanders. Here are the two important documents, which should be read with the greatest attention, because they contain the standard of D. John's loyal conduct in that appointment.

"By another, which goes with this, you will see what I think about the English business. In this I have desired to tell you that the good-will I always have towards you as a brother is such and so great that, after the service which I wish to render to Our Lord in converting this kingdom to the Catholic religion, I wish more than you can estimate, that this should succeed as a way in which I can prove how much I love you; and as a sign and proof of this, from this moment, I assure you that, the business of this kingdom settled, it will be my delight to see you in possession of it, marrying you to the Queen of Scotland, if she be still alive, freeing her and setting her on her throne, which seems to be her desire, and it will be more than due to him who has delivered her from all this peril and placed her in freedom and possession of her throne; even if your rank and quality were not equal to hers, your bravery makes you well deserve each other. And though if this happens there are some things to settle and agree about, it seems to me useless to do so before the time, and it suffices, at present, to tell you, as above, what are to be the ways and conditions which seem to me best for my service and for the welfare of our affairs and States."

The other letter of the same date, alluded to in the one above, says:

"Having considered the orders and advice that I gave you regarding what should be done for the absolute pacification of Flanders, and particularly about removing the Spaniards, if it be necessary, and what to do with them, since you left I have thought what it would be well to do with these soldiers in that case, and whether at this juncture it would be desirable to undertake the English affair, representing to myself, on the one hand, that no better time could offer for taking the Queen of that kingdom unawares and for withdrawing these soldiers from my States with honour, and of the great service it would be to Our Lord to convert that kingdom to the Catholic religion, and other considerations which occurred to me; and, on the other hand, of the responsibilities we undertake in beginning, without much reason or certainty of success, of the difficulties which may arise in this undertaking, and of the great troubles which might be caused by upsetting Christendom and all the world. I wished to advise you about all I think of this affair and my wishes concerning it. First, you must not by any means embark on this business until all is quiet and peaceable in those States. Moreover, it must be well considered how much the help of the English can be counted on in this enterprise, as there is no kingdom, however small, that can be gained without the help of that kingdom, nor should anyone try to do so. Besides this, we must consider whether the said Queen is suspicious about your going to those States, and has taken precautions and begun to live with greater care for her safety and that of the kingdom, because if this were so there would be no use in thinking of the business. To allay the said Queen's suspicion and distrust that the seeing you in those States may have caused her, it seems to me that it would be well to continue to make much of her and to be on good terms with her as opportunity offers."

Philip appeared much pleased by his brother's visit to the Escorial, and, contrary to what he had told Pérez, accompanied him to Madrid on the 22nd of September, and ordered the prelates of the religious orders to make public rogations and processions for the success of D. John's journey and Governorship. D. John took advantage of the days during which D. Philip lingered over dispatching him to enjoy the company of his friends, and this he did at the sumptuous suppers which Antonio Pérez gave daily at the "Casilla," followed by much gambling and picnics at Los Chorrillos, a delightful spot in the wood, to which the great ladies of the Court also came. The most sought after of these was the Princess de Évoli, then a widow, about whose intimacy with Antonio Pérez people had begun to whisper. This gossip had not yet reached the ears of D. John, but it was then brought by the Marqués de Fabara, an ill-natured busybody, who had fought under his orders in the Alpujarras, and who now followed him about, wishing to be taken to Flanders. The Marqués said much about the lady's light conduct and the presumption of the haughty plebeian, and ended by consulting D. John whether as a relation of the Princess he ought to beat Antonio Pérez or give him a thrust with his sword. D. John cut him short by saying that he did not understand questions of casuistry, only war; but what Fabara said made him remember certain strange familiarities he had noticed between the secretary and the Princess, on the several visits that he had paid her in her house in the lane of St. Mary, always accompanied by Pérez. A simple event happened the next day which ended by convincing him of these impure loves which were to bring about the terrible drama which Antonio Pérez was preparing.

In the wood of the "Casilla" there was a delightful place called Los Chorrillos, from the springs which burst forth there. Antonio Pérez had built a cottage there, rustic in appearance, but in reality costly and luxurious, and had made in front of it a wide space, on which cane jousts could be held, or tilting at the ring, or even bull-fights and other games of the period. Before D. John left, Antonio Pérez gave a picnic to the ladies at the Chorrillos, and to amuse and please them the gentlemen were to tilt at the "estafermo." This game consisted in a big figure of an armed man, with a shield in his left hand, and in his right some straps, from which bags of sand hung. The figure was placed on a pole, above an axle, so that it could turn round; when a rider, coming at it with his lance couched, struck the shield and made the figure turn quickly, it gave him a heavy blow with the bags if he were not very quick; to avoid the blow with dexterity was the first point in the game.

The ladies arrived at the "Casilla," some in coaches, others in litters, and the humbler ones among them on horseback, all very smart and accompanied by gallants; at the head of them was the Duquesa de Infantado, Doña Juana de Coello, the wife of Antonio Pérez, and the Princess de Évoli. From the "Casilla" to Los Chorillos, a distance of about half a league, the ladies went in carts prepared by Antonio Pérez; these were adorned with tapestries and brocades and soft cushions, and the oxen were caparisoned with crimson and had their horns gilded; the herdsmen were dressed in shepherd's garb of brocade and fine skins, and velvet caps, and in their hands were long wands of wood with silver rings. The gentlemen rode around the carts, going from one to the other with merry talk and seemly jests. The "estafermo" was erected in the middle of the ground; it was a grotesque and corpulent warrior, armed like a Fleming, a caricature of the Prince of Orange, the redoubtable leader of the rebels in Flanders. And that no one should doubt the meaning there was written in big letters on the support of the "estafermo," "The Silent," which was the nickname given to Orange.

It happened that, when tilting at the "estafermo," Honorato de Silva, a gentleman much liked by D. John, gave such a hard thrust that one of the bags fell off and by ill-luck knocked Antonio Pérez on the head, who fell, stunned and unconscious from the blow. Everyone was upset; they carried him to the rustic cottage, and the first fright over went back to the game, laughing over the violence of the Prince of Orange. Antonio Pérez remained resting in a little room apart. After a long while D. John went to see him; at the door he met one of the Princess de Évoli's duennas, named Doña Bernardina, sitting on a bench. She was much perturbed at seeing him and wished to prevent his entering, saying that the Lord Antonio was asleep; but as at that moment D. John heard laughing behind the curtain, the duenna darted into the room to give warning; unfortunately, as she lifted the curtain, D. John could plainly see Antonio Pérez lying on a low sofa and the Princess de Évoli kneeling before him, and with great liveliness, amid the laughter of both, putting medicated cloths on his head, which she wetted in a silver bowl placed on the ground. D. John pretended to have seen nothing, neither did he dare confide the matter to anyone for fear of showing up the weakness of a lady and the peccadilloes of a friend. But many months later, away in Flanders, while he was talking one day to Escovedo about certain demands of the Princess de Évoli, which the secretary wished to grant, he was obliged, in order to convince Escovedo of the shamelessness of the case, to tell him of Fabara's gossip and the scene at the Chorrillos. D. John himself thus, unconsciously, unchained the winds of the terrible storm of reproaches, hatred and shame in which Escovedo perished.

The King arranged D. John's journey with great caution and mystery, to prevent his departure being known in Flanders, lest they should guard against his coming. He set out at the end of October, without saying farewell to anyone, and, as the story goes, went to the Escorial to return again to Madrid, where Escovedo awaited him, arranging with the Treasurer Garnica the necessary funds for paying the troops in Flanders. At the Escorial D. John took leave of his suite, and with only Octavio Gonzaga and Honorato de Silva went by post to Abrojo, where he was expected by Doña Magdalena de Ulloa. D. John had written to tell her he had prepared for the visit "a ceremonial which delights your Grace, as you are so holy, and for the great love you have for me, the like of which certainly I have never found or ever shall find in my life."

This "ceremonial" which D. John had arranged was one of the proofs of his tender affection, knowing the highly religious feelings of the noble lady. The day of his arrival he confessed fully to the old Fr. Juan de Calahorra, and on the next, in the Prior's private oratory, he communicated humbly and devoutly at Doña Magdalena's side, partaking of the same wafer as she did, as on the first occasion of his approaching the holy table, led by the hand of Doña Magdalena, twenty years before, away in Villagarcia. Tears of quiet joy streamed over the old lady's wrinkled cheek, as she understood that in this way D. John wished to show her that his faith and his love for her were unchanged, and tears also ran down the face of the hero of Lepanto as he reflected that, although his faith and filial love were unaltered, yet that he could not kneel by the side of that saintly woman wearing, as before, the white stole of innocence, but rather the rough, dark sackcloth of penitence.

Then he gave her several Bulls and briefs obtained by him from the Roman Pontiff, conceding graces and privileges to the church and house of the Jesuits, founded by Doña Magdalena at Villagarcia, and the drawings of the beautiful alabaster "retablo" representing the Passion of Our Lord, which he had ordered for the same church, in which lay buried "his uncle and father Luis Quijada," and in which a sepulchre for Doña Magdalena was open and ready. Too soon for everyone came the moment of departure. D. John was to make the rest of the journey disguised as the servant of Octavio Gonzaga, and for this purpose donned a coat of brown homespun, a cap of the same, and high boots of Cordovan leather; he also wished to cut off his moustaches but Doña Magdalena cried out against this profanation of D. John's manly beauty and the sacrifice of those fair hair, she had seen slowly grow. She offered herself to stain his hair and beard black with some dye he had brought, and did so, taking great pains, holding D. John's head in her lap as when he was a child, amid peals of laughter on his part and no small amusement and tenderness on hers. Her work finished, Doña Magdalena contemplated it, and thought D. John as comely as a black-haired servant as he was as a fair-haired Prince, and, smiling complacently, she said, half pleased and half nervous, "It must be a very obtuse person that Y.H. takes in—they will all say, 'Under this sackcloth there is ——'"

Doña Magdalena mounted a tower on the wall which surrounded Abrojo, to see the last of him, with Fr. Juan de Calahorra, the Prior, and the other monks, and, bathed in tears, to watch him turn his head and smile at the last bend of the road, her kind heart not guessing that he was disappearing for ever, that she would never see him again, and that in less than two years all this youth, gallantry and greatness would be dust, and that this deep, pure love would be nothing but a memory in her old age.


D. John of Austria wished to make up for his delay in starting by the haste with which he accomplished the journey, and so rapidly did he make it, and so arduous was it, that with his usual good humour he could with reason write to his great friends the Conde de Orgaz and D. Rodrigo de Mendoza, "Octavio is very stiff, and the same would your lordships have been, if you had slept as little, hurried as much, and gone through all that we have, which made us often call out, Ah! D. Rodrigo! Ah! Conde de Orgaz!"

On the 20th of October he wrote to the King from Ventosa; and again on the 24th from Irun, to announce that he was crossing the frontier alone with Octavio Gonzaga, as he had left Honorato de Silva ill at Fuenterrabia. On the 31st, at six in the morning, he wrote from Paris, complaining of the dreadful roads and bad horses, and of having journeyed two days with a French merchant, who had given him his trunk to carry for three stages, being quite taken in by his disguise of servant. On the 3rd of November they at last reached Luxemburg at night, from where he wrote first to the Council in Brussels, which held the temporary Government, representing the Senate, and afterwards to the Spanish soldiers, notifying them of his arrival and the command he brought from the King. He wrote also to D. Philip, telling him of the dreadful disorder of these provinces, of the complete isolation of his servants, friends and partisans, and the difficulties which offered themselves with regard to handing over the command to him.

In truth, the arrival of D. John could not have been at a more difficult or dangerous time. On the 3rd of November, the day he first trod Flemish soil, Antwerp was taken, and its horrible sack by the Spanish and German troops took place. These furious and mutinous men then took in a cruel and evil way the pay which the Council of Brussels maliciously held back from them. The Council, terrified, authorised all citizens to arm themselves, and ordered the expulsion of all foreign troops from the States. At this juncture D. John's letters reached the Council in Brussels and the victorious and mutinous troops at Antwerp. These obeyed at once, laying down their arms as their beloved and respected General ordered, and there was great rejoicing among them that he had come as Governor and Captain-General. But the Council was divided within itself, some refusing to hand over the command to D. John; others feared such disobedience against the authority of the King, and they were only agreed in asking the advice of William the Silent, Prince of Orange, the oracle and shrewd instigator of all these more or less disguised rebels.

The answer of Orange was precise: liberty bought at the price of so much blood could not be given up by making over the command to D. John of Austria; and if the Council lacked the courage to retain it, they were first "with pride and arrogance" to exact from D. John that he would confirm on oath the "Pacification of Ghent," one of whose articles was the expulsion of all foreign troops from Flemish soil. This "Pacification of Ghent" was in itself an act of rebellion and independence, for it was resolved upon at a peace conference between the Prince of Orange and the Council of Brussels, as provisional Government, in the name of the King, but without the knowledge or authority of Philip II.

The Council agreed to the latter part of Orange's answer, not having the courage to oppose D. John openly, and sent it to him by the senator Iskio; but couched in such haughty and insolent language that the ambassador was in difficulties, not knowing which to fear the more—the wrath of the Senate, if he refused to take it, or the anger of D. John, if he did. He took counsel of a guest in his house, who said, "Take my advice, Iskio, for this Gordian knot use the sword of Alexander: when you are alone with the Austrian, draw the steel with dexterity, and bury it in the body of this man who is fraudulent and baneful to Flanders. By his death you will free yourself from his annoyance, and will be certain of the thanks of the States." Iskio understood with horror that this was the general wish in Flanders, and resolved to take the message to D. John on his own account, softening its terms as much as possible. But such was the dignity and politeness of D. John in giving his refusal, and such the graciousness of his reception of Iskio, understanding his good intentions, that the messenger, completely subjugated and full of enthusiasm, warmly praised D. John to the Senate when he returned to Brussels, which brought him insults and bad treatment from many, and, over-excited by such conflicting emotions, in a few days he went mad.

His arguments, however, had impressed the Council, and they decided to send D. John a second message by John Funk, this time a very respectful and courteous one, begging him to deign to ratify the "Peace of Ghent." D. John answered with equal politeness that he must have time to think it over and to study thoroughly the eighteen articles of the said convention: he suspected that there might be something against the Catholic religion, and wished to submit it to the opinion of theologians. D. John was also very perplexed about the expulsion of the Spanish troops, and on this subject asked the opinion of the only two confidential advisers he had there, Octavia Gonzaga and Juan de Escovedo.

Gonzaga replied at once without hesitation, as a man full of an idea who takes the opportunity of displaying it, that he thought that it was neither prudent nor seemly to send away the Spanish regiments; it was not seemly, as the Governor was the King's representative, and he should submit to no conditions save those imposed by the King; it was not prudent, because once the soldiers had left Flanders, the royal authority and the person of D. John, who represented it, would be helpless, alone and without support in this country of shameless rebels, secret enemies and lukewarm friends who could, with impunity, laugh at the one and ruin the other whenever they wished. Escovedo, on the other hand, thought that the Spanish regiments should leave Flanders as soon as possible, because the King wished for peace at all costs, giving in to everything which was not against religion or the royal authority; and the expulsion of the Spaniards was against neither the one nor the other, and was necessary to obtain peace in the actual state of affairs. It also seemed to him that the noble confidence with which D. John placed himself in the hands of the Flemings would oblige them the more to act loyally, and in the opposite case that Gonzaga imagined, they were not so badly off for German troops that they would not be able to resist, nor the Spaniards so far off that they could not return there in time. Escovedo also urged secretly, and pressed D. John with this other argument; if, as the Council believed, the expulsion of the Spanish regiments would assure the peace of Flanders, they could at once undertake the expedition to England and use these famous and dreaded troops, as Philip II remarked in a letter written from the Pardo which D. John received from him just then.

D. John pondered over and weighed these arguments. He could clearly see that Gonzaga was thinking of the dignity of Spain and Escovedo of his own golden dream, the expedition to England, and he did not dare to decide for himself, fearing lest his own wish and feelings should carry him away, so he loyally submitted it for Philip II to decide. At the same time he sent the opinions of four Bishops, twelve Abbots, fourteen theologians eminent in offices and dignities, nine doctors and professors, and five jurists of Louvain, that there was nothing prejudicial to religion or the royal authority in the eighteen articles of the "Peace of Ghent."

Meanwhile deputations of the clergy and nobility of those parts, who publicly acknowledged themselves loyal to Spain and Philip II, came to welcome D. John in Luxemburg, and these also urged that the Spanish troops should be dismissed as soon as possible, adding arguments and proposals, warnings, and presumptuous, even rude advice, which clearly showed to what an extent the very name of Spain was distasteful and even hated in Flanders. On one of these deputations came the Bishop of Arras, with the Baron of Liquerque and the Marquis de Havré, who was brother to the Duke of Arschot and had been to Spain several times, and to whom Philip had shown much favour and proof of confidence. When the Marquis saw that his companions were amusing themselves or pretending to do so at the end of the room, he took D. John apart to the opposite end, and there point-blank, without fear of God or respect for himself, proposed that he (D. John) should rise with all and rule over the States, and they would help him. The shame and anger which showed in D. John's face cut the speech short, and mechanically he put his hand to his dagger, according to what Vander Hammen and Porreño say, referring to this deed of D. John's, "That, not being able to suffer this blow, which touched his fidelity to the quick, he drew out his dagger and wounded him with great indignation."

D. John was more heroic than this, as, from prudence and loyalty to the King, he was silent and swallowed the affront; and thus Escovedo refers to it in a letter to the King, written on the 21st of January, 1577: "And to advise Y.M. that Y.M. should see what good and loyal vassals Y.M. has here, and how much they love you. Know that the Marquis de Havré, on his own part and that of others, tempted the Lord D. John, offering all this for himself, and that he should not lose the chance, and although he tried to change the subject, pretending not to understand, he was so bold and shameless that he repeated it. He answered that God save Y.M., that they had a very good King, and that it would not be well for them to alter, and he swore to me that he was moved to box his ears, and that he would have done so, if it would not have done harm to the main business."

D. John speaks of the matter in a very veiled way in one of his letters to D. Rodrigo de Mendoza:

"Lately came a deputation and embassy from the States, among others the Marquis de Havré, strangely without shame and respect even, since he openly spoke of everything, trusting everything and everybody without any respect, as I say."

At last Philip's reply arrived, ordering D. John to sign, without demur, the "Pacification of Ghent," and to send the Spanish regiments at once away from Flanders. D. John felt greatly humiliated and discouraged, because before sending away the regiments it was necessary to pay them, and D. Philip did not mention this or send any money whatever.


Amid the struggles and anxieties which caused D. John to know contempt and humiliations for the first time, he had one pleasure, which, in spite of there being much to embitter it, must still have been a great one, that of making the acquaintance of his mother, and of embracing her for the first and last time. No sooner had he arrived in Luxemburg than he wrote to her at Ghent, where she then was, inviting her to come and see him, as he could not, as he ought to do, visit her at that moment; and as the cold, shallow Barbara Blombergh neither came nor answered the letter, he sent a second message, this time accompanied by everything necessary for her to perform the journey in a suitable and comfortable way. She came, and the mother and the son met. We do not know what she felt on finding herself in the presence of this brilliant and renowned son, who up to now had inspired her with nothing but indifference. As to D. John, apart from the natural love and respect due to her name of mother, she made a disagreeable impression on him, perhaps because his ideals of mothers and widows were formed on the austere and refined model of that great lady Doña Magdalena de Ulloa.

Barbara Blombergh was then over fifty, and she preserved traces of her great beauty, which she tried to enhance with cosmetics and fine clothes, unsuited to her age or situation. She, however, lacked that inborn distinction and dignity which then, even more than now, characterised ladies of noble lineage; because education, which to-day refines, polishes and levels manners to a certain extent, belonged then exclusively to dames of high degree. Barbara Blombergh certainly did not belong to this privileged class, although several historians have asserted it, in order to exalt D. John's maternal descent. She was simply a girl of the middle class, daughter of a citizen of Ratisbon of moderate fortune. Three years after the birth of D. John she married Jerome Kegel, who was not a noble gentleman either, but a poor "hére," as Gachard calls him, who for a humble position at the Court of Queen Mary, the Regent of Flanders, compromised himself by giving her his name and sheltering her dishonour.

Madam Blombergh, as from this time she began to call herself, was left a widow in June, 1569, and then it was that her cold, shallow, hard, extravagant and ungenerous character began to show itself freely. "As vapid as obstinate," said the Duque de Alba. But what is really surprising about her is the indifference that she always showed for her son D. John, who by the greatness of his name would have seemed called to be her glory and pride, and by his love, respect and solicitude for her, her delight and good fortune. In the Alba archives there is a letter from D. John to his mother, the only one known, which begins in this way: "Lady, it is many days since I had news of you, which worries me, having written and begged, last from Messina, that you should always remember to advise me about your health and of what is your pleasure, as besides the obligation I am under to procure it for you as your son, I also much wish to give it to you, being certain that I owe it to the good mother and lady you are to me." Compare this letter with another from D. John to Doña Magdalena de Ulloa, and it will be plainly seen that if Barbara Blombergh was in fact his mother, the one who responded to his filial affections was the illustrious widow of Luis Quijada: "Lady, I kiss your hands for the trouble you take in always answering my letters, but principally because what I wish is to hear continually of your health and welfare."

When Kegel died D. John begged Philip II to come to his mother's assistance, and the King sent the Duque de Alba, then Governor of the Low Countries, to visit Madam Blombergh, and to suggest to her that, having such a son as hers in Spain, she should make her residence there. Madam Blombergh replied that although, doubtless, she would much like to see her son, it was of no use talking to her about going to Spain, for she well knew the way women were shut up there, and wild horses would not make her go to such a country. Philip II then gave her an income of 4944 florins, with which she installed herself with a luxury and parade it was impossible to support on these means. Her household consisted of a duenna and six waiting-maids, a steward, two pages, a chaplain, a butler, four servants, and a coach with all its paraphernalia of grooms and horses. She then began the gay, but not very decorous, life of festivities and banquets which caused the warnings and complaints of the Duque de Alba, and first the admonitions and later the violent measures of Philip II, which, however, on account of the political disturbances, could not be carried out until the arrival of D. John in Flanders. This made Barbara Blombergh's departure more than ever necessary, so as not to compromise the authority of D. John at this difficult moment by her frivolities and imprudences. But as neither by prayers nor by wise persuasion could he overcome his mother's invincible obstinacy about going to Spain, he resolved to use the stratagem he had devised long ago with his brother Philip II.

He told her that his sister Donna Margarita of Austria much wished to know her, and had invited her to spend a few months at the palace of Aquila in the Abruzzi. This invitation from such a personage as the Duchess of Parma gratified Madam Blombergh immensely, and she accepted at once, only bargaining to settle afterwards to live where she wished. D. John agreed, and Madam Blombergh set out for Italy with all her household the middle of March, 1577. As extra steward D. John sent a confidential person called Pero Sánchez, who was used to travelling, and who carried secret instructions. On arriving at Genoa they found a luxurious galley which Pero Sánchez said was ready to carry them to Naples, and thence they could journey overland to the Abruzzi. Without any mistrust the embarkation was made, and after a disagreeable voyage of some days' duration they sighted the grey mountains of Vizcaya, so different from the blue Neapolitan coast, where they thought to arrive. The galley had gone to Spain and was at Laredo.


From a photograph by Lacoste

Barbara Blombergh was met at this port by Doña Magdalena de Ulloa, who had been warned of her advent by D. John, and at San Cebrian de Mazote she was awaited by Doña Magdalena's brother and sister-in-law, the Marqueses de la Mota, who wished to help the illustrious widow of Luis Quijada over this difficult meeting. In truth it needed all Doña Magdalena's tact, patience, and love for D. John to tame the furious wild beast who was disembarked at Laredo on the 3rd of May in the form of Barbara Blombergh. Doña Magdalena took her at once to the castle of San Cebrian de Mazote, where the Marqués de la Mota and his wife received her very kindly, and entertained her splendidly, and such pains did the good and discreet Doña Magdalena take, that in the three and a half months Madam Blombergh was with her, the angry, wild animal was changed into a gentle lamb, and when the hour of farewell came she herself asked to retire to the Dominican convent of Santa Maria la Real, in the village of San Cebrian, where Doña Magdalena had prepared for her a comfortable, separate apartment, so that she could go in and out.

From the 3rd of May, 1577, when she disembarked at Laredo, until the end of July, 1579, when, after D. John's death, Philip II gave her an income of 3000 ducats, all the expenses of Barbara Blombergh were borne by Doña Magdalena de Ulloa. This is shown, without any shadow of doubt, by the paper presented by this lady in the testamentary accounts of D. John of Austria, which exists in the Alba archives, signed and with this label:

"That which I, Doña Magdalena de Ulloa, have paid in virtue of two letters from the Very Serene D. John of Austria, God rest his soul, one dated from Louvain the 23rd of April, 1577, the other from Brussels the 4th of July of the same year, about the expenses of Madam Blombergh his mother, also arranging her apartment and her ordinary expenses, and her extraordinary personal ones, servants and wages and clothes and other things, some furniture indispensable and necessary for her use, the which I gave over to her servants, and that which I gave for this is the following."

A detailed account of the money made over to Madam Blombergh and her stewards follows, divided into thirty-six items; then comes the reimbursement by the same Doña Magdalena in three items by the hand of Melchor de Camago, Juan de Escovedo, and Antonio Pérez, and this curious document concludes by making the following balance and protest: "So what I have paid by order of His Highness, according to the said letters relating to the building of the house and other things belonging to it, and providing for the said house and servants of the said Madam his mother, comes to one million three hundred and forty thousand one hundred and ninety-two maravedis, which as I have said in the items by God and my conscience I gave over to Madam and her servants, and what I have received on account of this amounts to nine hundred and seventeen thousand and eighty-eight maravedis: so that it is more than the goods of the said Lord D. John by four hundred and twenty-two thousand and five hundred and four maravedis; and I certify that the account and items, of the receipt as of the fact, by my conscience are certain and true, and that the said amount is due to me, and I have not received it, nor has anything been given to me on account, and this being true, I sign this with my hand and with my name, this date at Valladolid, fourteenth of July, one thousand five hundred and eighty-two."

"Doña Magdalena de Ulloa."

Thus it is proved that D. John, helped by Doña Magdalena, provided everything necessary for his mother until his last hour; and when he was dying he commended her to his brother D. Philip through his confessor P. Dorante, for which reason Philip II granted her an income of 3000 ducats for her life. No sooner was D. John dead, however, than Madam Blombergh presented a memorial to the King, claiming D. John's estate as sole and lawful heiress. This was granted to her without hesitation, as D. John had no private property, and his debts amounted to much more than the value of the jewels and furniture he possessed.

Barbara Blombergh lived peaceably at the convent of Santa Maria la Real for several years; but as regularity and quietness were not her strong point, she became bored, and begged Philip II to move her to some other place. As the house of the unfortunate Escovedo at Colindres was at Philip's disposal at that time, she retired there, and there died the same year as Philip (1598), leaving directions that she was to be buried at the Franciscan convent in the town of Escalante.

By her marriage with Jerome Kegel Barbara Blombergh had two sons. The younger drowned himself in a cistern in his own house, eight days after his father's death; the elder, who was named Conrad, took the name of Pyramus, which his father bore, joined to that of Kegel. He began to study for the Church, well supplied with funds by D. John, at whose death he abandoned these studies, owing to his love of arms. He joined the army, being helped by Alexander Farnese, and became a colonel. He married the Baroness de St. Martin, and died before his mother, during whose lifetime his widow came to Spain, and died there; but where or when we do not know.


D. John of Austria at last signed the "Peace of Ghent," called the "Perpetual Edict," on the 14th of February, 1577, with his heart full of shame and depression. He was full of shame, because it was humiliating for Spain, for his King, and for himself as Philip's representative to give in to the rude and insolent demands of that band of rebels and dissembling heretics; and it depressed him, because, in signing the paper, he destroyed with a stroke of the pen, for a doubtful gain, the brilliant hope of his golden and chivalrous dream—the expedition to England.

At that moment the key of the situation of the whole expedition was the departure of the Spanish regiments from Flanders. D. John could send them along the coast of Holland, and from there descend on England, where everything was ready for their reception. But the Prince of Orange, afraid lest these redoubtable soldiers should approach the two provinces he had usurped, Holland and Zeeland, vigorously opposed the plan of embarkation, and prevailed on the States to inform D. John, with their usual rudeness, that the troops should not leave by being embarked on the north, but should march towards Italy. A violent altercation took place between the Council in Brussels and D. John, and all the negotiations that had been made were on the point of being broken off, because D. John was at the end of his patience, and the Council at the limit of the insolence with which they endeavoured to tire and exasperate him. But Philip, frightened lest the peace, which was his only desire, should be endangered, stopped the quarrel by ordering D. John to dispatch the troops by land, as the States wished.

D. John bowed his head and signed the "Perpetual Edict," thus sacrificing by his obedience the hopes of a kingdom, then more than ever well founded, as Monsignor Filippo Sega, Bishop of Ripa Trazone, had just arrived at Luxemburg, sent to Flanders by Gregory XIII as Nuncio to D. John. The ostensible object of the mission was to counsel and guide him, that in his treaties with the heretics there should be nothing prejudicial to the Catholic Church; but in reality it came to give him the Bulls from Gregory XIII, conceding him the kingdom of England, and to give him the 50,000 golden crowns which the Pope sent to help the enterprise, and offering 5000 well-armed infantry which the Holy See would provide, and which only waited for D. John's signal to start for England. This unhoped-for assistance from the Pope, joined to the news from the English and Scotch lords that everything was ready, promised such success to the expedition that it made it all the harder and more disappointing to give it up.

All the same, D. John sacrificed his hopes just as they were coming true, and thus cruelly humbled his own personal pride, and smothered his own legitimate aspirations, in order to obey the King, his brother, loyally; and without loss of time he ordered the Spanish regiments to assemble at Maestricht, to leave Flanders for Italy. It happened, as D. John had foreseen, that the troops obeyed, because it was he who ordered them; but they did so murmuring against the King, grumbling at the way he treated them, promising that very soon he would call for them again, and claiming, with great justice, their overdue pay before leaving.

D. John then found himself in a fresh quandary; the States, who should have paid the troops, refused to pay more than a third part of what was due, and, by an unreasonableness which showed their bad faith, at the same time refused to acknowledge D. John as Governor, or give him the command so long as the troops did not leave Flanders. On the other hand, in spite of D. John's repeated petitions and Escovedo's violent letters, no money came from Spain, nor could D. John have found, by begging in all the exchanges and banks, any to lend him the necessary sum, because the King of Spain's credit was very bad in Flanders.

In this difficulty D. John told Monsignor Sega, and, showing him all the trouble of the situation, asked him to lend the 50,000 golden crowns destined by Gregory XIII for the unlucky expedition to England, to pay the soldiers, pledging his word and oath, in the name of his brother, that they should be quickly and surely returned. Escovedo was able to negotiate, for his part, by pledging his credit and oath, for the rest of the amount that remained to pay off this dangerous debt, at the cost of D. John's hopes and the self-denial of the secretary. By these means the famous troops at last left Flanders for Italy, commanded by the Count de Mansfeld, amid the great rejoicing of the Flemish rebels, who then saw the coast clear for the further treasons they were plotting.

This put an end to the pretext for not receiving D. John and making over the command to him, and he was proclaimed Governor at Louvain amid a crowd of gentlemen, and the real joy of some and the false and feigned enthusiasm of the rest. From there he went to Brussels, in spite of the fact that the loyal Count of Barlaimont warned him that they were conspiring against his life and liberty. He came in sight of the city on the 4th of May, and an hour before his entry an insurrection broke out, promoted by the followers of the Prince of Orange. One Cornelius Straten, a known agent and leader of highwaymen, began to harangue the crowd, telling them that they should not let the Austrian traitor enter Brussels, who, with falseness and deceit, was bringing them death. Upon this a mass of riotous people dashed towards the gates of the city, overthrowing the guards, and lowered the portcullis. The magistrates arrived in haste, and, arresting Straten, quieted the tumult and cleared the gates. D. John arrived a few minutes later, calm and quiet, showing his bravery and greatness by dismissing his guard of halberdiers, as a proof of his confidence in the people. This is how Famiano Strada refers to D. John's entry into Brussels and his first acts as Governor:

"But the Austrian, at the time the Spaniards left, entered Brussels with extraordinary pomp, between the Pontiff's delegate and the Bishop of Liége and a complete deputation of all the States. It was he who made the brilliance of the show, with his debonair person—he was not thirty-two—laden with fame and triumphs by land and sea, and with these adornments representing his father, the Cæsar Charles, beloved and popular name among Flemings. Having solemnly sworn at the beginning of his government, he started to fulfil these promises with incredible clemency, rare affability, and all sorts of kindnesses, and an unheard-of liberality, exercised towards those who had the least claim, to such an extent that the citizens, attracted by his gentle bearing, forgetting their first ideas, and how much they had said against him, outbid each other in praising him, principally for having seen him one day without the foreign militia, and they congratulated themselves that the Austrian had brought its former happiness back to Flanders."

Philip II wrote to thank D. John for his trouble, very pleased with his conduct, and letting him plainly understand that there was no reason for definitely giving up the English plan.

"On the 14th of last month," he says, "I told you of the arrival of Concha, and of the receipt of the dispatches which he brought, and how pleased I was to learn the good state of affairs through the arrangement you have made with the States, and the satisfaction everything you have done has given me, and this to the extent that I do not content myself with what I wrote then, without again thanking you for it, and certifying that it has given me such satisfaction, that, although nothing could add to the love I have for you, the desire to prove to you how much I esteem your work, and the fruit and success which has followed from it in all the business of my service, that I shall praise you more each day, and my care will grow for all that concerns you, knowing that every day you are putting me under fresh obligations by remaining in the same cares and work as heretofore, in order that the affairs of these States may become settled, and that which is best for the service of God and my service may be established; and although what you have done hitherto is much, what is before you is indescribably more. And as I know this, you may believe that it gratifies me much to show you the good-will which I have towards you in all that occurs, and that things will go on in such a way that that of England will be effected."

In the next line, and as if it were a means of arriving at this conquest, so desired by D. John, he insinuates his approval of the new and strange plans, invented by we know not whom, of substituting the marriage of D. John and Mary Stuart, which would cost blood and money, for that of D. John with Elizabeth of England, to which she seemed inclined.

"As to the marriage with the Queen of England, what I can tell you is that if in this way and with this view it could be treated of and brought about, it would be doing a great service and sacrifice to Our Lord, converting this kingdom to the Catholic Religion, which is in itself such an honour and glory that nothing can surpass it."

But D. John did not desire to be King of England by any and every means, but by those of justice and nobleness, conquering the kingdom with his sword, setting the lawful Queen, Mary Stuart, at liberty, and sharing her throne by her own wish. He therefore protested against this short cut of ignominy, which would lead him peaceably to the English throne, with no more exertion than that of joining his fate to that of a usurper, by her own apostasy and vices the scandal of Europe. "The favours the Queen of England is everywhere conferring," answered D. John to his brother, "are not so unimportant as to be disregarded and steps not taken to prevent them; as the world is so full already of heretics, she has very efficient ministers everywhere. It is natural to those whom God rejects to take much thought for things here, and thus does this unhappy Queen and her followers, of whose life and morals I have heard and hear so much, that I do not care to jest even about marrying her."

The summer was drawing on, and the letters from Madrid began to grow fewer in a strange way, and nothing was said in them of the absolute want of money, or of the loans which D. John and Escovedo had raised, pledging their own word and credit, until at last D. John decided to send the secretary to Rome, and from there to Spain, to tell Gregory XIII everything about the English expedition, and to require from the King the prompt acknowledgment and repayment of the debt contracted with the Pope, and of the letters honoured by Escovedo, compromising his credit and honour.

Escovedo set out at the beginning of July, and D. John said good-bye to him at Mechlin, little thinking he was sending him to be treacherously killed by a sword-thrust in a lane at Madrid.


There was so much brave daring in D. John's act of entering alone a country, for the most part rebel and not a little heretical, his Spanish troops already dismissed, and without other guards than the Duke of Arschot's Flemings, that the Prince of Orange and his followers were amazed and understood that nothing would stop D. John if he were not deprived of life or liberty. They determined, therefore, to effect one or the other, and the numerous agents of Orange, helped by those of the Queen of England, went about the country spreading clever calumnies against him, to prepare the way, maliciously interpreting all his acts and gradually making him and his government hated. Faithful to the policy of peace which had been enjoined on him, D. John wished to confer with Orange, and sent the Duke of Arschot to tell him that the Provinces of Holland and Zeeland were the only two which had not signed the "Perpetual Edict," and as they were under his command D. John confided this task to him. Orange then threw off that mask, which had gained for him the surname of "Silent," and with which he had covered his ambitions and mischievous designs, and answered Arschot that Holland and Zeeland would never sign the "Perpetual Edict," as both these provinces were Calvinistic and neither would promise to keep the Roman faith, and taking off his hat and showing his bald head, he said to the Duke, with a smile, "You see my head is bald (calva)! Then know that it is not more so than my heart." This play upon words signified that the traitor meant he was also a Calvinist, and his apostasy being now known, all hopes of agreement were at an end. In truth, Orange continued his infamous war of calumnies and perfidious intrigues against D. John even more openly from this time, and with the greatest effrontery as also all that he had hitherto done in secret to the Catholic Church in the provinces of Holland and Zeeland: persecuting the clergy, expelling monks and nuns, destroying temples and altars, melting bells to make cannon, confiscating ecclesiastical revenues for his own purse or those of his partisans, and from the pulpits of Catholic churches making heretic ministers preach the doctrines of Calvin. At such impious insolence D. John proposed to the States to join their troops with those of the King, and make war on Orange and seize the provinces he had usurped; but the States put off his proposal with such shallow excuses that D. John could easily see that mutual and secret confidence existed between them and Orange. Meanwhile, in Brussels, the want of confidence and even the hatred which the agents and partisans of Orange the Silent had sown against the Austrian, grew more and more. These men became so barefaced that they wore special caps and medals with allusive letters, and the authorities and deputies became so arrogant that they ordered D. John to be called the Magistrate of Brussels, as if he were what we should now call the Mayor. He answered that they must come and see him, because it was not usual for the Magistrate to hear anyone outside the Hôtel de Ville.

The solemn festivity which the magistrates were accustomed to hold in the Hôtel de Ville, a banquet, always presided over by the Governor-General, was about to take place. D. John received several warnings not to attend it, as something was being contrived against his person; but he, even more afraid of showing that he distrusted the magistrates, came to occupy his place, accompanied by eighty musketeers of his guard, who had orders that, happen what might, they were to wound nobody. Half-way through the banquet a crowd of seditious people attacked the Hôtel de Ville, intending to enter by force, uttering insults and threats against the Austrian. The musketeers drove them back without wounding any, but many of them were hurt. D. John retired with those who remained uninjured, leaving the magistrates to deal with the guilty ones, but they overlooked this and let them go free, to show D. John that they did not consider an affront to his person worth punishing. Then it came to D. John's knowledge that the Baron of Hesse and Count de Lalaing, with two other great lords, confirmed heretics, had assembled one night in the house of another noble, and had arranged with the English ambassador and more than 500 neighbours to take D. John at the first opportunity and to kill him if he resisted. They thought that the procession of the Holy Sacrament, called in Brussels the "Miracle," might afford a good one. It took place on the 3rd of July and was always presided over by the Governor-General. D. John did not wish to break with the States, who were consenting to all this, and preferred to avoid the danger by going to Mechlin on the pretence of settling the pay of the German troops, who were asking for their money, which was in arrears. But his friends did not think him safe there and so they told him; because the conspirators, furious at their prey having escaped them, armed the militia and took the road to Luxemburg, which was a quiet place where D. John and Alexander Farnese could take refuge, and to which the Spanish troops could return. With great patience D. John thought it wise still to dissimulate, and found another plausible excuse for leaving Mechlin and not returning to Brussels and getting nearer to a strong and safe place. He went to Namur, very quietly and calmly, to receive the Queen of Navarre, Margaret of Valois, who was passing in order to take the waters of Spa at Liége. This lady was the celebrated Queen Margot, first wife of Henry IV of France, then at the summit of her vaunted beauty and in the waxing period of her coquetry, which at last degenerated, as it generally does, into shameless and complete dissoluteness.

Queen Margot entered Namur on the 24th of July in a litter entirely made of glass, a present from D. John of Austria. The glass of the litter was engraved with forty verses in Spanish and Italian, all alluding to the sun and its effects, to which the poet gallantly compared the beautiful Queen. D. John rode on her right, and their persons were guarded by the forty archers who surrounded them; they were preceded by a company of arquebusiers on horseback and one hundred Germans forming two lines, and were followed by the Princess de la Roche sur Yonne and Mme. de Tournon in litters; ten maids of honour, as pretty, coquettish and flighty as their mistress, were riding amid a crowd of gentlemen, who waited on them and flirted with them; six coaches were in the rear with the rest of the ladies, and the female servants and an escort of lancers on horseback.

Queen Margot stayed four days in Namur, entertained all the time magnificently by D. John; at eleven o'clock they dined in one of the delicious gardens of the place, and then danced till the hour of vespers, which they went devoutly to attend in some convent of friars. Then they went for a ride and supped at six o'clock, also out of doors in the gardens, when more dancing followed, or romantic walks by the river in the moonlight with delightful music. The Bishop of Liége, who had come there, was present at all these gatherings, also the Canons and a crowd of native and foreign gentlemen, among whom Margot made her treacherous propaganda, because this bad woman, (as she always was in many ways) was in connivance with the Prince of Orange, and was working secretly in favour of her brother the Duke of Alençon, whom Orange wished to appoint Governor of Flanders, D. John being a prisoner or dead. Margot knew this, and she, being very much taken with him and not wishing any harm to befall him, gave him several very useful warnings; through her he knew that the conspirators of Brussels had plans for carrying out their evil designs there in Namur, and then it was that, in agreement with the loyal Count of Barlaimont and his sons, he resolved to retire to the castle of Namur and break with the States.

He was, however, ignorant of the number of the soldiers in the castle, and how far it was safe to count on the Governor de Ives; time pressed and he then formed a scheme, the execution of which Vander Hammen refers to as follows: "Mos. de Hierges, eldest son of the Count of Barlaimont, said that he would go to sleep that night at the castle, as Mos. de Ives, the Governor, was a great friend of his; and that His Highness would come next morning to hunt, and as he passed, if he thought he could install himself in the castle, he would put his hand to his beard as a signal, and if not he was to commend himself to God and fly. They agreed on the plan and executed it the following day, without telling the Council of the States or the deputies or trusting them. He therefore pretended to go hunting, and passing by the gate of the castle asked what it was. They answered, 'One of the best in Flanders.' Monsieur de Barlaimont then said, 'My eldest son is there: would Y.H. like us to see if he wishes to go hunting?' D. John stopped and ordered him to be called. He came to the gate; His Highness asked why he had gone to sleep at a castle and had left the town, and then they began a conversation. In the middle of it he said, 'If you like to see it, it is still early and it will please them greatly,' and made the sign. D. John turned to the Duke of Arschot and the Marquis de Havré, and said to them, 'It is early, let us see it.' With this he reached the door and dismounted, carrying a pistol he had taken from the saddle-bow. Twenty-four Spanish lackeys preceded him. As relations were not ruptured, Mos. de Ives ordered the few Walloons (they were old soldiers, wearied by long wars) to open the door, and the twenty-four lackeys entered and disarmed the guard. The Lord D. John, standing at the door, said, 'All who are servants of the King, my Lord, come here to me,' and turning to Ives, he told him 'not to fear, because he had taken the castle for the King, his Lord, to whom it belonged, to free himself from a conspiracy formed against him.' He gave him the keys and permission to leave to all those who did not wish to stay with him. Nobody stirred, all mounted with him. Upstairs he took Arschot and Havré on one side, and told them all that had passed and the treaty they had made, and showed them his letters. The Duke, being convinced, offered, in the name of the States, to acknowledge him Lord of Flanders, and said that all would readily obey him if he liked to take them as vassals; but the Lord D. John reproved him very severely for the offer, and said many angry words. It was only his courage and loyalty which could do so heroic an action and resist such a great temptation. The talk ended by the two leaving the castle and going to the town, where their wives were; but on reaching it they, also Mos. de Capres and the soldiers who had come to capture His Highness fled, so hurriedly, that they scarcely collected their clothes, saying that there was nothing further to do there as he had escaped them. D. John's chief almoner, the Abbot de Meroles, who was crafty and untrustworthy, followed them with a few others. D. John heard of the flight of the Duke and the Marquis, and at once sent Octavio Gonzaga after them, with rather more than twenty gentlemen, to make them return, but they fled in such good earnest that he could not overtake them."

The Duchess of Arschot and the Marchioness of Havré, who were at Namur, indignant at the bad conduct of their husbands, wrote to D. John protesting and offering themselves as hostages. He answered that his mission was to serve ladies, not to make them captive, and sent them 600 crowns, so that they might rejoin their husbands. So impoverished was D. John that to obtain this money he had to borrow from the gentlemen and servants who had followed him. Bad as this was, the worst part of D. John's situation was that Philip II persisted in upholding that policy of peace, which was encouraging the States more and more, forbidding the Spanish regiments to return to Flanders to continue the war, which D. John thought absolutely necessary, and as a means of forcing him to this obedience, against his opinions and wishes Philip adopted the plan of sending no money whatever to Flanders or answering the frequent and despairing letters the poor Prince wrote, which, after four centuries, give one pain to read. But what was the most extraordinary, and which immersed D. John in a sea of fears and perplexities and made him foresee grave catastrophes, was that his false friend Antonio Pérez did not write either, and the good and loyal Escovedo preserved the same silence.


To understand properly the complicated reasons which induced Philip II to leave his brother D. John of Austria without help in such an uncalled-for way, it is necessary to disentangle the skein, among whose threads will be found the mysterious and tragic death of the secretary Juan de Escovedo. Some light has been thrown on the gloomy drama which shows that various figures are stained with this innocent blood. By these sinister signs we are able to trace, and through many winding ways to establish, the connection of certain deeds which show by themselves the characters and degree of responsibility of these persons.

We must retrace our steps to the year 1569, and on a beautiful June afternoon we shall see slowly entering Pastrana a covered waggon of the sort still called "galeras." The mysterious vehicle excited much curiosity, and a crowd of men, women and children gathered round it when it stopped at the threshold of the ducal palace of Pastrana, whose heavy doors opened to receive it, leaving the curious outside. In the first courtyard Prince Ruy Gómez de Silva and his wife the Princess de Évoli were waiting with all their children, even down to the babies in the arms of their nurses and maids, the duennas, waiting-maids, pages and other retainers in rows, according to their standing. All eyes were fixed on the waggon, with curiosity mingled with respect, and those in the back row stood on tiptoe to see better. The curtains of the cart were at last withdrawn, and Ruy Gómez and his wife went forward respectfully; all heads were stretched out, and an old woman, who had been in the service of the Condesa del Mélito, the mother of the Princess, fell on her knees and beat upon her breasts. Three strange figures alighted, such as were never seen about the streets at that time; they wore tunics of coarse cloth, white cloaks of the same material, and their bare feet were shod with sandals of esparto grass; long, thick black veils covered their faces and almost all their persons. A small bundle tied up in a cloth was carried under the cloak by the last figure to alight.

All these marks of curiosity and respect, however, were well justified, as the woman who was first to get out, dressed in the coarse cloth, was St. Theresa de Jesus, who was come to found a convent of barefooted Carmelites at Pastrana. It was not two years since Ruy Gómez had come into possession of his duchy, and he was hastening to do all he could for the material and moral welfare of his vassals. He wished to establish a monastery in his town, and the Princess a convent for women, which she had given over to Mother Theresa, attracted by the wonderful things she had heard of this marvellous woman, and anxious to flatter her own curiosity and vanity by associating herself with one with whom God held familiar intercourse and to whom He showed such stupendous wonders. The saint accepted the offer; she was just beginning her great reforms, and for this purpose went from Toledo to Pastrana, passing by Madrid, where she stayed with an old friend of ours and a devoted follower of the saint, Doña Leonor Mascareñes, in the Franciscan convent which Doña Leonor had founded and to which she had retired. She gave Mother Theresa many details of the Princess's difficult temper, having known her well at Court. Well primed with this information the saint went to Pastrana, where she arrived towards the end of June. Here, she says in her book about her foundations, "I found the Princess and the Prince Ruy Gómez, who received me very well; they gave me a private apartment, which was more than I could have expected, because the house was so small that the Princess had had much of it pulled down and rebuilt, not the walls, but many things. We were there for three months, hard times, the Princess asking me things contrary to our religion. I had even determined to leave rather than give in, but the Prince Ruy Gómez, in his gentle way (he was very gentle and sensible), made his wife come to reason." Besides the troubles alluded to by the saint the Princess made others from her capricious, domineering character and want of fine feeling. She had heard that St. Theresa was very beautiful, in spite of being fifty-four, and she was dying of curiosity to see her face, but the saint would not consent to show it to her, nor did she or her companions ever lift their veils before the Princess or anybody else. This exasperated the Princess, and she was always peeping through the windows and keyhole hoping to surprise Theresa in one of her trances, in which Our Lord used to appear to her. Theresa laughed at what she calls stupidities, but in the end this constant prying worried and became intolerable to her. The Princess also gave her another real cause for annoyance; knowing that her confessor had ordered her to write her wonderful life, the Princess, full of curiosity, wished to read it. Mother Theresa refused with much firmness; this piqued the capricious lady, who wrote to the saint's superiors, asking them to order her to let the Princess read the manuscript she had with her at Pastrana. They, being either very complacent or not knowing the Princess's character, did not hesitate to give the order. Theresa obeyed without delay, and then the Princess triumphed. She greedily read the ingenuous pages in which the divine marvels are told with such sublime simplicity; they excited her imagination, and, like all talkative women, feeling the necessity of imparting her feelings, she committed the breach of confidence of giving the manuscript to her duennas, waiting-maids and pages. So from hand to hand, in hall and antechamber, went the mysterious outpouring of the Virgen del Carmel, and so many comments were made that they reached the ears of the Inquisitor, who sent for the book. The severe tribunal kept it for ten years and then returned it without observation or alteration, but not before all this had caused very great annoyance.

At last the foundation was finished, and Mother Theresa left for Salamanca and the Prince and Princess for Madrid, where a year afterwards Ruy Gómez died in his house in the lane of St. Mary. He expired in the arms of his old and faithful friend Juan de Escovedo; his last moments were aided by two barefooted Carmelite friars who came from Pastrana. The Princess gave way to paroxysms of grief, which were more like fits of temper; in the first moments she roared rather than wept over her sorrow, as she really loved the worthy man who had gratified her vanity and her senses, the only two poles which guided this lady's life. Suddenly, thinking herself like St. Theresa, inspired by Heaven, she determined at once to retire to the Carmelite convent at Pastrana and end her days in retirement and prayer. In vain the two monks, her relations and friends put before her her obligations as a mother, the duties which the will of Ruy Gómez imposed on her by making her guardian of her children, and her strict obligation to administer the properties and fortunes of these minors.

The widow's obstinacy was fanned by this opposition, and as her only answer she requested the two friars to give her the habit. They replied that they could not do so without the permission of the superiors and the authorisation of Mother Theresa. The Princess shrugged her shoulders and ordered a new habit, but as one was not forthcoming at once, she attired herself in an old, dirty one and covered herself with a black veil, as she had seen St. Theresa do, never raising it to show her face. As the sandals of esparto grass hurt her bare feet she ordered them to be lined with the softest cloth. She also ordered a waggon covered with an awning like St. Theresa's, and with her duennas and maids set out for Pastrana, without taking leave of anyone and abandoning the body of her husband. Her mother, the Princess del Mélito, got into the cart almost by main force, so as to accompany her to the convent. One of the friars, Bartholomé de Jesus, seeing that she was really going, outstripped the Princess's waggon and arrived at the convent at two in the morning to warn the nuns. The Prioress, Elizabeth de San Domingo, a discreet woman of rare virtue, came downstairs, and on hearing that the Princess was arriving in a few hours, already habited as a nun and with the intention of remaining at the convent, exclaimed, clasping her hands in amazement, "The Princess a nun—then I give up this house as lost."


The author of the "History of the Reforms of the Barefooted Order of Our Lady of Carmel," Fr. Francisco de Santamaria, thus describes the arrival of the Princess de Évoli at the convent of Pastrana. "The Prioress called the nuns, got ready the house, and prepared two beds, one for the Princess, the other for her mother, who arrived at eight o'clock in the morning. The Princess changed her habit, as the one she had taken in Madrid was neither suitable nor so clean as it might have been. She rested for a while, and suddenly showing her determination wished that the habit should be given at once to the two waiting-maids she had brought with her, paying with a little sackcloth the salaries of long years. The Prioress answered that the licence of the prelate was necessary. She said, very much offended, 'What have friars to do with my convent?' Not without resentment on the Princess's part, the Mother Prioress deferred doing it until she had consulted the Father Prior. Having conferred with him she resolved to give them the habit. This was done in the parlour, the Princess being placed between the two, so that she might also attain the blessings. They took her to eat meat with her mother in a room apart. She dispensed with this service and went to the refectory, and leaving the place near the Prioress which had been prepared for her took one of the lowest, without giving in to prayers and exhortations, preserving superiority in an inferior place.

"The Prioress, considering that such self-will would cause much trouble, consulted with the Princess, her mother, that it would be better if the lady took a part of the house, where she could live with her servants and be visited by secular people, with a door to go to the cloister when she wished, but not any secular person to use it. This seemed to everyone good advice, but she thought it bad, as it was not hers, and she remained as she was in the convent.


From a print of her portrait by Sanchez Coello,
belonging to Duque du Pastrana

"The next day, having buried the Prince and performed the obsequies, the Bishop of Segorbe and other persons of rank who were there came to visit her. Mother Elizabeth told her to talk to them at the grating, but she wished that they should come into the cloister, and made such a point of this that, in spite of the monks, nuns, and laymen who came to visit her, they opened the doors of the convent and many servants entered with the lords, overthrowing the decrees of the Council, the orders of the holy Mother, the silence and retirement of the nuns and all good government, because lords do not think that they need obey laws. Not content with this she insisted on having two secular maids; the Mother Prioress offered that she herself and everyone would wait on her, especially two novices formerly in her service, but nothing would satisfy her, as she thought that she should be obeyed.

"The Mother Elizabeth wrote to our Mother St. Theresa, telling her of the death of the Prince, the resolution of the Princess, and the first episodes she had gone through with her.

"Mother Elizabeth and two of the oldest nuns told her that if she went on in this way, they knew that the holy foundation would take them away and put them where they could keep their rules, of more importance in her eyes than all the Grandees in the world. Annoyed by this, she took her servants and went to a hermitage in the orchard, and remained there, having nothing to do with the nuns. They sent her, however, the novices to wait on her, they not being yet so bound by the rules of the cloister.

"From there a door opened into the street, by which she admitted everyone, modifying thereby the grief for her husband's death. Because of all this the work of the church and convent stopped and the alms which Ruy Gómez had left for its support, so that it began to suffer great straits."

But as all this lasted too long, and since the Princess would not give in and the troubles went on, so that all peace and quiet were at an end, and the "dovecot of the Virgin," as St. Theresa called it, was turned into a nest of intrigues and gossip, the saint wrote to the Prioress that she and all the nuns were to leave Pastrana and go to the convent in Segovia. This, however, was not necessary, as the superiors of the Order went to the King, and, acting with him, obliged the Princess to leave the convent. She then retired to her country house at Pastrana, and from there carried on such a campaign against the nuns and persecuted them so cruelly that Theresa, weary of it, ordered the Prioress to leave the convent with all the nuns, taking nothing with them that had been given by the Princess. "The beds," says the saint in her "Book of Foundations," "and the little things that the nuns themselves had brought, they took away with them, leaving the village people very sad. I saw them in peace with the greatest joy, because I was well informed that the displeasure of the Princess was no fault of theirs, rather they waited on her as before she wore the habit."

The Princess then sought for a Franciscan community to establish in the empty convent, and she helped and made much of them as she had never done before to the others. She took care that this should reach the ears of St. Theresa, her small, vindictive nature thinking that human jealousies could have a place in that heart which was protected by divine love. In the midst of this wretched strife the grief of the Princess had lessened, and in 1575 she already thought of returning to Madrid, so her father the Prince de Mélito wrote to the King's secretary Mateo Vázguez, that he might inform Philip and gain his support in her lawsuits. According to his custom, the King answered on the margin of Mateo Vázguez's letter, in these very severe words: "Here is the paper, which I have seen, and by the prudence, which I have exercised all my life, of not mixing myself in the affairs of these persons, it will be well to do what is said here; and the more as I do not know if for these affairs and lawsuits the coming (of the Princess) is necessary, but I am certain that for their conscience and peace, and, who knows, their honour, it is best that she should not come here; and even for keeping the friendship of her father and mother, as she herself says, that when absent they are friends, but cannot be so when they are together. And Ruy Gómez often told me, and well I know that it was much against his will that she should come here as a widow, and that he would be sorry if he knew that she did it; and it is not reasonable that I should order a thing I know to have been so certainly against his wishes. And, moreover, I do not know if this would suit all of us of the Court, especially those who cannot leave it. Thus, although I should have to mix in such matters, I will not in this one, particularly as I have long since determined not to do so. Otherwise I should be pleased to favour Ruy Gómez's relations, as his services deserve. This for yourself, as it cannot be said to others. And you must see how you can answer Mélito, excusing me from interfering about his daughter's coming."

The precise date of the Princess de Évoli's arrival in Madrid is not known; we think that she came for short and frequent visits in 1575 and settled there the next year. She would then realise that it was not the same thing to be the widow as the wife of Ruy Gómez, and many rude awakenings soured her proud spirit. The secretary Antonio Pérez began to frequent her house at this time, and these two monsters of vanity were attracted by, and suited to, each other. He, a political puppet, sought from her the prestige that intimacy with such a great and high-born lady as the Princess could give him, for, in spite of all his grandeur and luxury and power, then at its height, he never could forget his base and lowly origin. She, on her part, sought in him what she had lost by the death of Ruy Gómez, a share of power and influence, easier to manage from the hands of the unworthy Antonio Pérez than from those of the level-headed Prince de Évoli: "I can do more than ever," said the Princess proudly a little later to one of her correspondents.

The lady was at this time thirty-six, and in spite of the superlative praise of her beauty that Antonio Pérez gives in his "Relaciones," it was not then extraordinary, nor ever could have been so. None of her contemporaries mention it, and the only authentic portrait known of her represents her as a nice-looking girl, dreadfully disfigured by a black patch which covered her blind eye, and specially noticeable from the whiteness of her skin and the blackness of her hair. Antonio Pérez was forty-two, and was, according to Luis Cabrera de Córdoba, "a good-looking man, with a handsome, manly face, over sumptuously and curiously dressed, perfumed, and pompous in his house." The inevitable happened: the sudden intimacy of two people, so well known, after years of slight acquaintance, caused them to be talked about, and the frequency and familiarity of the visits at unsuitable hours, and, above all, the endless exchange of presents, until mine and thine hardly existed between them, let loose among all the Court that gossip which previously had only been timidly circulated, as the Marqúes de Fabara had whispered to D. John. Then, in the presence of Antonio Pérez, she committed the treacherous act of a plotting woman; she called her children and told them not to be astonished at his visits or the affection he showed for them, because he was the son of Ruy Gómez and therefore their brother.

At this historical moment Escovedo arrived from Flanders (July, 1577), sent by D. John to Madrid to represent to Philip how cut off he was, and the grave risks that these States and his own person ran. Escovedo had not forgotten, among his many preoccupations, the adventure at the Chorrillos, that D. John had told him of to moderate his zeal for the Princess de Évoli, and one of his first cares on reaching Madrid was to inform himself of the state of the case. At once he found that the fact was true, the scandal public, and the honoured memory of Ruy Gómez degraded by the lightness of the widow and the horrible ingratitude of Antonio Pérez, who owed everything to this great patrician. Loyal Escovedo was greatly distressed, and wishing to retrieve the honour of his dead benefactor and friend went to the house of the Princess, intending to warn and counsel her with all the regard he had for her. She was in the saloon with Doña Brianda de Gúzman; he waited patiently until this lady had left, and then spoke, not with his usual brusqueness, but with deep and affectionate concern, of the dreadful rumours that were going about, and said that she must close her door to Antonio Pérez in order not to give support to them. Blind with rage on hearing him, the Princess rose, and in an unsteady voice answered that "it did not concern squires what great ladies did." And with this she turned and went to the further end of the room. All of which is told by Doña Catalina de Herrera, duenna to the Princess.


During this time the diabolical craftiness of Antonio Pérez had again stirred into a flame Philip's slumbering suspicions of his brother. Absolute master of the King's confidence, and also master of that which he had treacherously obtained by pretending to favour the interests of D. John and Escovedo, it was easy for this past master of perfidy and intrigue to tangle the skein. The unfortunate troubles in Flanders had put an end to the English scheme; and Philip's tenacity in following the policy of peace when only that of war was possible helped Antonio Pérez very much. D. John and Escovedo often wrote to him, as faithful friends pursuing the same end, telling him of their plans and their fears, grumbling to him, and begging for his powerful support with the King. For his part Antonio Pérez took the echo of all this to D. Philip, but not as it was, sincere and frank, always loyal and noble, if sometimes violent, but changed in its meaning, exaggerated, its text even altered when deciphered by Fernando de Escobar, a creature of Antonio Pérez. He answered them, in agreement with Philip, trying to maintain their confidence, and his hypocrisy went the length of letting disrespectful words against the Monarch slip into his letters, in the hope that seeing these they would imitate his example, which he never succeeded in making them do.

Sending one of these insidious letters for D. John to the deceived Sovereign for his approval, Antonio Pérez wrote:

"Sir, It is necessary to hear and write in this manner for your service, because thus they fall into the net, and one is better able to judge what course to take on behalf of your Majesty. And I would ask your Majesty to be careful not to be overlooked when reading these documents, as if my artifice were discovered, I could not serve you, and should have to give up the game. For the rest, I very well know, that for my conscience and duty I am acting as I ought in this matter, and I have need of no more casuistry than I possess to know it."

The King answered Pérez on the margin of the letter: "Believe me, I am very discreet, and my casuistry agrees with yours; and not only are you doing your duty, but you would fail in doing it towards God and everyone if you acted differently, in order that I may be well enlightened of all that is necessary according to the twists and turns of the world and its affairs, which certainly frighten me."

Thus deceiving Philip II and betraying and calumniating D. John and Escovedo, Antonio Pérez made the false and subtle plot by which the hero of Lepanto lost his credit with the King, and honest Escovedo his life by a treacherous sword-thrust. Pérez, in his "Memorial," shows the threads of the plot, whose falseness Philip II found out later, and which modern history has proved by many authentic documents. That D. John had disobeyed the King by refusing to dismantle Tunis, the better to raise himself in that kingdom; that behind the King's back he had sought protection from Rome; that he put the English expedition before all the King's interests; that he exaggerated the state of affairs in Flanders, in order to get aid from Spain to use in the said expedition; that, once master of England, he contemplated invading Spain at Santander, making over the castle of Mogro to Escovedo, who had solicited its lieutenancy; that the hope of the English expedition over, he thought of going to the help of the King of France at the head of the Spanish troops; that his wish to return to Spain was only to obtain a canopy and take possession of the government; that behind the King's back he had made a league with the Guise Princes, called the "Defence of the two Crowns," going back to the idea of invading England.

All these absurd, senseless plans Antonio Pérez did not attribute entirely to D. John. As formerly he represented Juan de Soto, so now he held up Escovedo as the instigator and principal agent, and D. John as a weak prince, who, devoured by ambition and blind through his vivid imagination, allowed himself to be dragged into disloyal adventures. For this, and perhaps because he loved D. John and was frightened of him, Philip II never showed his suspicion, nor took any steps against him, and took much trouble afterwards to hide his vengeance from him; so all his wrath fell on Escovedo, and he came to look on this rough and honest mountaineer as a dangerous man, capable of every treason and every crime. It is not wonderful that Escovedo's unexpected coming to Madrid in July, 1577, which we noted in a former chapter, should have given D. Philip a great shock; writing, as usual, on the margin of the letter in which Antonio Pérez announced the arrival of Escovedo at Santander, he says, "It will be necessary to be well prepared, and to make haste to dispatch him before he kills us."

Escovedo came, furious at what he considered the incomprehensible way D. John had been left without soldiers or money; furious also at Philip's policy of peace, which he presumed to describe as overdone, writing to the King himself, and finally determined, with all his rough energy, to claim the acceptance of the bills he had negotiated in Brussels, and the payment of the 80,000 gold crowns lent to D. John by the Pope's Nuncio, that the troops might be dismissed from Flanders. This he did with such hard words and bitter reproaches, that Philip sent one of Escovedo's letters to Pérez, adding on the margin, "That you should see how he comes thirsting for blood." And shortly afterwards, lamenting over another letter from Escovedo, he wrote, "Certainly if he said to me what he writes, I do not know if I could have helped losing my temper as he does."

Photo Lacoste


Pantoja de la Cruz. Prado Gallery, Madrid

At last the news of D. John's retirement to the castle of Namur reached the Court, and the despairing letters of the distressed Prince began to arrive, in which, with such painful urgency, he craves for the return of Escovedo. "Money, money, and more money, and Escovedo," he repeats in all his letters of this date. His anxiety to have his secretary at his side, and the same feeling which was noticed in Escovedo to return as quickly as possible to Flanders, awoke in D. Philip the suspicion that something was being plotted to continue the war there against his orders, and to favour D. John's pretensions. Antonio Pérez fanned this new fire, and henceforward Escovedo was in D. Philip's eyes a constant danger, a State criminal, who could not be sent back to Flanders, for fear lest he would carry out his work, or kept in Spain, without the risk of rousing the dreaded ire of D. John. For several days this vexed and perplexed Philip, until at last he made a resolution which Antonio Pérez himself relates in a letter to Gil de Mesa.

One day Philip called him to his room in the Escorial. It was at an inconvenient time, and the secretary hastily ran, carrying the dispatches in a large bag. The King came to the door to meet him, and took him, with much mystery, to a distant, isolated room, where the furniture, ornaments and treasures for the still unfurnished house were stored. The King ordered Pérez to shut the door and put the bag of papers on the table. The furniture was stacked at the two sides, leaving a passage in the middle, up and down which Philip began to walk, his hands behind his back, preoccupied and thoughtful. Pérez kept a respectful silence, waiting for the King to break it, which he did at last, standing in front of Pérez, and saying very slowly and in measured tones, "Antonio Pérez, I have passed many sleepless nights on account of my brother's affairs, or rather those of Juan de Escovedo and his predecessor Juan de Soto, and the point to which their plots have come, and I consider it is very necessary to take a resolution quickly, or we shall not be in time. And I can find no better remedy, in fact there is no other, than getting rid of Juan de Escovedo. Imprisoning him would result in exasperating my brother as much as killing him would. So I have determined on it, and trust this deed to no one but you, because of your well-proved fidelity and your ingenuity, as well known as your fidelity. Because you know all the plots, and I owe the discovery of them to you, yours shall be the hand to effect the cure. Speed is very necessary for the reasons you know."

As he himself affirms, the heart of Antonio Pérez leapt, and he answered the King with great devotion that he was entirely his, and that he had no more wish or movement than the hand as regards its owner. But, as his cunning forethought always saw a long way ahead, he at once realised the risk that he ran in a matter so secret and with so powerful an accomplice, if he did not have a witness in his interest to note the facts, if things were ever discovered, and to share the responsibilities in case of disagreement, so he craftily added, "But, Sir, let Y.M. permit me to speak with the presumption of love. I consider Y.M. outside this affair, although your prudence and presence of mind prevent your being incensed at the greatest crimes, I, as I might get angry at such offences against your person and crown, also have much interest in this. It will be well to bring in a third person to judge this determination, to justify it, and for the better ascertaining of the facts. This will be much to the point."

Then he saw the King come towards him, who, stopping, answered: "Antonio Pérez, if it is because you do not care to run the risk of this business that you wish for a third person, it is the same to me. To settle the matter I do not require a third person. Kings in such extreme cases have to act like King's physicians and great doctors among their inferiors with patients under their care: that in grave and urgent accidents they act on their own authority with promptitude, although in other illnesses they act with and follow the consultations of other doctors. Moreover, in these matters (believe me that what I say relates to my profession) there is more danger than security in consultations."

Antonio Pérez makes the following comment on these royal words in his letter to Gil de Mesa: "When old kings come to announcing such principles of their art, either they love much (a rare thing) or necessity opens the door of confidence (a certain fact)."

Well Antonio Pérez must have known and measured Philip's necessity when he determined to press him to interpose a third person, and even presumed to propose his friend and boon companion the Marqués de los Vélez, D. Pedro Fajardo, who was a Councillor of State and Lord Steward to the Queen Doña Ana. At last Philip consented, and authorised Antonio Pérez to consult him. The secretary had little trouble in bringing the old noble to his opinion, a despot himself, a great soldier but absolutely illiterate, who considered Pérez an oracle, and for some years had owed D. John a grudge for having usurped, as he said, the triumph over the Moors.

Pérez talked to him, and both agreed that Escovedo deserved to die as a disturber of the kingdom who was trying to make war in Flanders; that it was impossible to arrest, judge and sentence him in the ordinary way without risk of awaking the alarm of D. John and provoking fresh conflicts; but the King, as supreme arbiter of his subjects' lives, according to the precepts and practices of those times, could judge and sentence him by the secret law of his conscience, without any legal transactions, and entrust the execution of this sentence to some person in his confidence, whom he should authorise by a paper in his own writing, "and that the best and least inconvenient way would be that with some mouthful or other similar means he should get out of the trouble, and even this with the greatest care, as the Lord D. John might not suspect it was the result of the true cause and motive, but of some vengeance and private grudge."

And then the Marqués de los Vélez, with all the customary pomposity of a wind-bag, and with all the jealous rancour which he nourished, pronounced these words so often quoted by the apologists of Antonio Pérez, "That if his opinion were asked, with the Sacrament in his mouth, who was the person it was most important to take away, Juan de Escovedo or anyone else, he would vote for Juan de Escovedo."

In conformity, then, with this interview Philip II judged Escovedo and condemned him to death by the law of his conscience, and charged Antonio Pérez with the execution of the sentence, authorising him by a paper written by his own hand, in which he adds, "That although it may be realised that he has nothing to do with all that has happened, it will be well that there should be no doubt whatever about it."


Antonio Pérez lost no time, and with the greatest secrecy began to arrange the means by which to give Escovedo "a mouthful," which would cause his death and give him time to confess, "so that he should not also lose his soul," according to Philip II's expressed wish. In the houses of the Grandees—and Antonio Pérez lived as if he were one—in those days of little security, scoundrels and ruffians were attached to the household to guard its lord, in cases of attack or defence. Because of his many plots and businesses, Antonio Pérez had several in his service, and chief among them his steward and confidential servant Diego Martinez, a wild, brave, unscrupulous man. So to Diego Martinez Pérez went and confided his intentions, asking him to obtain a poison to kill Escovedo, and a trustworthy, capable agent to administer it. Martinez proposed a certain Antonio Enriquez, one of Antonio Pérez's pages, a clever, determined man, and of the stuff assassins are made of. Diego Martinez interviewed him, and revealed the affair to him little by little, as had been arranged. He asked him first whether he knew of any bravo who was capable of dealing a blow that would bring much gain and little danger, as secret protection would be forthcoming.

Enriquez answered that he knew a muleteer capable of giving one for nothing, and with all risks if he undertook the engagement. Then Martinez revealed a little more, and said that it was an important personage, and that Antonio Pérez wished for his death. For this, answered Enriquez, a cleverer man than a muleteer is wanted, and he said no more that day.

But very early the next morning Diego Martinez entered the chamber of Enriquez, holding a glass phial, as it seemed, of clear water, and holding it up to the light, said that it contained the poison to kill a certain person, who was none other than the secretary Juan de Escovedo, whose death Antonio Pérez desired, and which was to take place at a dinner that was being prepared at the "Casilla," and it was the wish of the Lord Antonio that he, Enriquez, should administer the poison at the banquet, with all the skill and caution Pérez knew him to possess.

To this Enriquez answered roughly that if the Lord Antonio desired to make him kill a man, he should tell him so openly and by his own mouth, otherwise he would not kill anyone. Accordingly Pérez made an appointment at the "Casilla" one afternoon with Enriquez, according to the declaration of the same, and said, "As it is important that the secretary Escovedo should die, he had been instructed to give the poison the day that he was a guest, and in order to do so he must see and communicate with the said Diego Martinez, giving him his word and promise and friendship in all things. And with this declaration he was very satisfied, and communicated each day with the said Diego Martinez, about what was to be done." The arrangements for striking the blow were the following. The dining-rooms at the "Casilla," as we said while describing the celebrated villa, were on the ground-floor, on the right hand of the door, and the first was a square room with two cupboards, one for plate, the other for the cups, in which, according to the custom of those times, beverages were served. Next was a passage room, with much rich Cordova leather, which led into the dining-room itself. It was agreed that Antonio Enriquez should serve Escovedo with wine when he asked for it. Diego Martinez was to hide in the passage room, with the poisoned water all ready, and as Enriquez passed carrying Escovedo's full cup, Martinez was to throw in quickly and secretly enough poison to fill a nutshell, which was the prescribed quantity.

This plan was carried out, and twice during the dinner Antonio Enriquez administered the poisoned drink to Escovedo. There were eight guests that day, all great and important personages, some of them officers of the Court. Antonio Pérez sat next to Escovedo, watching the coming and going of the page Enriquez, when he served his confiding victim with wine, even to the number of cupfuls the latter drank. But this man made of stone did not watch these sinister movements with the unrest and trepidation usual in a criminal, or with the anticipation of remorse at seeing the dagger sharpened which is to be plunged into the breast of a friend; but seemingly calm, quiet, merry, and joking with his victim, and keeping up animation among his guests with that charm, wit, and eloquence and gaiety which made the wicked secretary so attractive and delightful. At last the horrible feast came to an end, and they rose from the table to begin to play, all except Escovedo, who, saying that he had important business, at once returned to Madrid. He rode on a mule with no other escort than a groom on foot, and he leant over the mule's neck like a man either very ill or very much preoccupied. Pérez thought that the poison was already taking effect, and, full of impatience, Antonio Enriquez says in his declaration, "he made an excuse and joined the witness and his steward in one of the chambers near the courtyard, where he learnt the amount of water that had been given to the secretary Escovedo, and then went back to play."

The next morning Diego Martinez went as if by chance to prowl about the lane of St. Mary, where Escovedo lived in a house which he had bought from the Prince de Évoli, in proximity to whose dwelling it was. It was called "of the lions" from two at the door. The steward waited for some sign of alarm or unusual movement in the house, to manifest the grave illness, at least, which he anticipated for Escovedo by this time. The most absolute calm, however, reigned in the street and house. In the wide, dark, paved courtyard Escovedo's mule was being cleaned by the groom; a servant was hanging a child's white clothes out of a window, and at the bend of the narrow lane three men, with great labour, were putting two casks through the narrow grating of the cellar. The spy drew nearer stealthily, and saw with surprise and terror that at the bottom of the cellar Escovedo himself, in doublet and breeches, and his son Pedro, were assisting by their orders, and even by their efforts, the difficult passage of the casks. There was no doubt that the poison had not taken effect, either because the patient was too strong or the dose too light.

The failure of this, his first attempt, annoyed Pérez very much; but he was not the least discouraged, because men like him, cold, artful and wicked, never are. He at once began to think of another ambush to which to attract his victim, and this was another dinner, this time at his house in Madrid, that of the Conde de Puñonrostro, behind the church of St. Justin. He had furnished this historical house with a luxury and magnificence much greater even than the vaunted "Casilla," and the parties given there had something courtly and serious about them, very different from the country jaunts and merry suppers of the other. The wife of Pérez, Doña Juana de Coello, who always presided over them, gave the parties this character; she was a highly gifted lady, whose heroic conjugal affection has passed into history. At the dinner, where a second attempt on the life of Escovedo was made, Doña Juana was present, and besides Antonio Pérez and Escovedo there were five guests, of whom two were ecclesiastics. In the declaration of the page Antonio Enriquez, he relates how the poisoning was carried out this time. He says that some porringers were served full of either cream or milk, he did not remember which. There was a porringer for each guest, and they were placed before using them in a row in a great cupboard. Diego Martinez came and threw some white powder like flour into one of the porringers. He told Enriquez to give this one to Escovedo, as it contained the poison, and not to get it mixed with the others, making him hold it, while the other pages came to fetch the rest. They all entered the dining-room together to serve the porringers, and Enriquez placed the poisoned one in front of Escovedo. Antonio Pérez, who knew where the poison was, never took his eyes off it. Moreover, Antonio Enriquez relates that he himself several times served Escovedo at this dinner with wine mixed with the poisoned water which had been used before.

The violent and terrible effects of the poison this time did not delay in showing themselves. That same night Escovedo was seized with sharp internal pain, sickness, and putrid fever which for many days kept him between life and death. The doctors saved him without suspecting poison, and Escovedo began to get steadily better. Antonio Pérez watched all the symptoms of the illness, and seeing that his wounded quarry was again escaping him, once more let his pack of furious hounds loose on the unlucky victim, that the crime should be perpetrated in his own honoured home.

At that time there was a scullion, "racals," as they were called, in the King's kitchen, Juan Rubio by name. He was the son of the agent of the estate of the Prince de Mélito (father of the Princess de Évoli), who having killed a priest in Cuenca, had fled to Madrid, and taken refuge in the royal kitchens, where, disguised as a scullion, he was unrecognised. Juan Rubio was a friend of Escovedo's cook, from seeing him each day at the market, and also of Antonio Enriquez, by the mysterious sympathy which always unites villains. By this simple means Enriquez learnt about Escovedo's kitchen, and knew that during his convalescence a special stew was prepared for him, but from the caprice of an invalid inspired by certain fancies this stew was not prepared by the cook, but by an old female slave there was in the house, who was a great adept at making mince and other simple dishes.

Antonio Pérez took advantage of all these circumstances, and ordered his followers to deal a third blow, which would destroy the life which defended itself so tenaciously. So Antonio Enriquez spoke to the scullion Juan Rubio, and with flattering promises, based on the credit of Antonio Pérez, decided Rubio to force his way by some excuse into the kitchen of Escovedo, and throw the poison into the stew which was daily prepared for him. Enriquez gave him the poison, a white powder of a different kind from that used before. The task was not so easy as the two ruffians thought it would be, because the slave never left her fire while she was cooking the stew, and the cook was always coming to the oven. Three times Juan Rubio went in vain to the kitchen, but the fourth time he achieved his object. Early one morning he watched for the cook to go out, and then went in on an excuse of bringing some live rabbits from the Prado. The slave was by the fire-place, having just put on the stew. Juan Rubio gave her the rabbits, and as they were alive and tried to escape, the poor old woman went to shut them up in a kind of cage there was in the yard hard by. Then Juan Rubio lifted the cover of the pot and threw in the thimbleful of the white powder, which was the quantity ordered by Enriquez.

At eleven o'clock Escovedo's wife and his son Pedro, who nursed him tenderly, gave him his meal; but on tasting the first mouthful the secretary pushed the porringer from him, saying that it tasted of broom juice. The poison, no doubt decomposed by the action of the fire, gave an unbearably bitter taste to the dish, on which the poisoners had not reckoned. Everyone was amazed. They made a search, and hunting carefully through the stew at the bottom, they came on unmistakable signs of poison.

Suspicion at once fell on the unlucky slave, who in vain protested her innocence. She was taken and loaded with chains and tortured, confessing in her weakness the crime she had not committed. She afterwards retracted this confession, torn from her in her pain; but it was too late, and she was condemned to be hanged, and the sentence was carried out a few days later in the public square.


At the same time that Escovedo was escaping so wonderfully from these three attempts on his life, tidings arrived at Madrid, which had been always feared and expected, and which came to change entirely Philip II's plans and policy. War, more cruel and gory than ever, had broken out in Flanders, provoked by the rebels. D. John, having received a handful of money to animate his German troops, and joining them to some Spanish soldiers who had returned to France, and who, knowing his danger, spontaneously flew to his aid, at Gembleux gloriously picked up the glove that the rebels threw down, and gained over them that marvellous victory which placed his personal courage in as much relief as it did his talent as a leader, his prophetic political sagacity, and his real faith as a Christian. "With this sign I vanquished the Turks; with this sign I will vanquish the heretics," he had written round the cross on his standard; and to his friends D. Diego de Mendoza and the Conde de Orgaz he communicated the great news that his losses only consisted of four killed and fifteen wounded, the enemy having been 5000, adding humbly, "God did it, and His only was the day, at a time, when if it had not been done, we should have died of hunger, surrounded by a hundred thousand other dangers."

The Baron de Willy, dispatched by D. John after the battle which was fought on the 31st of January, 1578, brought the news to Philip. He also informed him of the dreadful state of unrest in these provinces, all in open rebellion, where religion was not respected, nor the King obeyed, nor any Catholic law venerated. The fortresses gave their troops, the cities, towns and even the miserable villages armed their militia, and all joined in pursuing D. John, then deprived of all aid, surrounding him, pressing him, destroying and overthrowing at the same time the strong leader and the hated Spanish yoke. The victory of Gembleux, gained by D. John, made them retire and widen the circle, like cowardly hounds who see the lion they imagined done for suddenly rise, with bristling mane and outstretched claws. Many of them never stopped until they reached Brussels, and from there some fled to Antwerp, where they imagined themselves safe. But, once they had recovered from their surprise and fright, and knew that there was abundance of nothing except valour in D. John's camp, they would return to reunite, and once again narrow the circle, advancing slowly and with great caution, until at last they would fall on D. John and annihilate him by their numbers, if the help asked for in his letters were not sent. In these letters, which the Baron de Willy gave to Philip, D. John paints a vivid picture of his situation, and asks more urgently than ever for soldiers and plenty of money. He also begs that his secretary Escovedo may be sent, in the utmost good faith and ignorance of what was happening, recommending him warmly to his brother D. Philip for certain favours, which D. John averred he very well deserved.

All these facts and circumstances brought two things, distinct but much connected with each other, to the knowledge of Philip; one, that it was high time to give up his exaggerated peace policy in Flanders and take refuge in that of force, as his brother had been urging him for months. The other, that once the war had been lighted in Flanders by the rebels the danger of Escovedo doing so had ceased, and consequently also the political reason which made Philip condemn him to death. It was hard for Philip to make practical use of these two convictions, because by the first he had to retract an opinion he had held long and tenaciously; and by the second he had to smother grudges, dislikes and petty spites, which, united, made up what he, wrongly but sincerely, conceived to be political reasons, and which had undeniably influenced him in sentencing Escovedo to death. But the iron will of the prudent King knew how to drown personal feelings, and hide at any rate dislikes and spites, and frankly and definitely to enter on another course. So he wrote to D. John by the Baron de Willy: "If before he had been tardy in not making war on the rebels, to give them time to quiet themselves, as his clemency had done nothing but irritate them, he desired to sustain his authority by arms, and in order that it could be done in his name, he sent 900,000 crowns, offering to provide in future 200,000 each month, with which D. John was to maintain an army of 30,000 infantry and 6500 horse, without any prejudice to everything he thinks should be granted."

He also sent a fresh edict, which he ordered to be published, in which, after enumerating the offences of the rebels against God and his authority, he ordered them all to obey D. John, as his lieutenant; that the deputies were no longer to sit, and that they were to return to their provinces until they were legally convoked. He annulled everything decreed by them, forbidding the Council of State and the Treasury to act so long as they did not obey his Governor-General, and ordering that all Royal Patrimony that had been usurped should be given up. At the same time he ordered the Field-Marshal D. Lope de Figueroa, with 4000 veterans who were with him, to go to D. John's camp, where Alexander Farnese already was with a part of the Spanish troops. The Duque de Fernandina and D. Alfonso de Leiva were also to go with several companies of Spaniards, also Gabrio Cervelloni, now ransomed by the Pope from the hands of the Turks, with 2000 Italians he had raised in Milan.

Everything thus arranged about the war, the King wrote regarding Escovedo, on the 8th of March, 1578, these conclusive words: "I will be careful to order the secretary Escovedo to be dispatched shortly, and as to the rest of what you write about him, as to this and as to what he deserves, I will remember that it is right in its particulars." This very important letter is in the archives of Simancas, and proves that at that time (March 8) Philip had already retracted Escovedo's sentence of death and had ordered Antonio Pérez to hasten his departure for Flanders, as on the 12th of the same month the King answers on the margin of one of Pérez's own letters, "and do not forget what I wrote to you to hasten with the Verdinegro (Escovedo), who knows much and will not understand."

And yet, twenty-two days later, on the 31st of March, which that year was Easter Monday, Juan de Escovedo was treacherously murdered in the lane of St. Mary. He was found run through in the street, between the wall of the church and the house of the Princess de Évoli. He had a sword-thrust in the back, and had fallen on his face, still wrapped in his cloak, which the suddenness of the blow, no doubt, did not give him time to undo.

What had happened in this short space of time? Had Philip again signed Escovedo's death warrant, or had some treacherous hand interposed to effect the retracted sentence against the will of the Monarch? An event had taken place in those days which gives the key to the mystery. This fact was shown plainly at the trial of Antonio Pérez, eleven years later, and was attested by Andres de Morgado, brother to Rodrigo de Morgado, equerry and confidential friend and go-between to the Princess de Évoli and Antonio Pérez. In Pérez's letter to Philip of the 12th of March, which we have just quoted, he says that at that time Escovedo had not yet quite recovered. "The man Verdinegro," it says, "is still weak, and will never get up." However, he rose soon, in spite of Antonio Pérez's kind wish, and a few days later, about the end of March, he went to visit the Princess de Évoli, according to Morgado's declaration. Perhaps he went to take leave, before starting for Flanders; perhaps to thank her for the hypocritical attentions she and Antonio Pérez had shown him during his illness and convalescence. The details of this visit, as given by Antonio de Morgado, cannot be written. Enough to say that Escovedo surprised the Princess and Pérez in circumstances so indecorous and suggestive, that, blind with rage and wounded to the quick in his love and respect for the memory of Ruy Gómez, he broke out into invectives against the pair, and threatened to disclose all to the King. Pérez, ashamed, crept silently from the room, but the Princess, irritated in her pride as a great lady and her passion as a bad woman, faced Escovedo, and answered him by saying things about the King, which could figure in a trial where indecency was in its element, but cannot be read elsewhere without the blush of shame mounting to the forehead.

The Princess herself was afraid of what she had done, and late that night sought Antonio Pérez at his house, where she went secretly with a duenna and two of her bravos as escort, and together these two guilty ones, terrified lest Escovedo should fulfil his threat, settled to get him out of the way, and planned how this was to be done. Then Pérez showed the Princess the writing signed by Philip II, which authorised him to kill Escovedo, and both decided to use this, given for State reasons and afterwards retracted, to cover and make secure the secret of their illicit amours.

We shall see how the crime was carried out.


After his second failure Antonio Pérez lost faith in being able to kill Escovedo by poison, and with horrible premeditation had entrusted assassins to do the deed by sword or shot, if the third attempt that he was planning also miscarried. He entrusted this to his two former accomplices, the steward Diego Martinez and the page Antonio Enriquez. Martinez summoned from Aragon two merciless men whom he could trust and who were skilled in this kind of adventure; one was Juan de Mesa, uncle of the Gil de Mesa, who, when Antonio Pérez fled to Aragon, figured so much as his ally; the other a certain Insausti, a typical Italian bravo of that time, with his quarrelsome air, his formidable sword, and his matted locks which fell over his ears and head, and could be made to cover his face like a mask, so that he should not be recognised in his exploits. For his part Antonio Enriquez recruited at once in Madrid the scullion from the royal kitchen, Juan Rubio, already an accomplice, and began to treat with his own half-brother, Miguel Bosque, who was in Murcia. Enriquez went there to fetch him, and persuaded him at last by the promise of a hundred golden crowns and the protection of Antonio Pérez. The two brothers reached Madrid the day on which Escovedo's innocent slave was hanged in the public square.

When all were in Madrid they hid from each other, each in his hole, like reptiles that dreaded the sunlight, waiting until the hour for the crime had struck. Escovedo, then recovering from the third attempt to poison him, did not yet go out. But very soon Diego Martinez made an assignation with his gang, at a lonely tile kiln, which was about half a league from Madrid, outside the gate of Guadalajara. He told them that the Lord Antonio had gone to Alcalá to spend Holy Week, and had left orders to make an end of Escovedo before his return, or that of the King from the Escorial, which were to coincide. Time therefore pressed, and Diego Martinez hastened to trace out a plan of campaign. He decided that Insausti should deal the blow, as being the best hand at sword-thrusts in Aragon, and for the purpose Martinez gave him a very good sword with a wide blade, grooved to the point. To the rest he distributed daggers and pistols, if they lacked them, but most of them carried them hidden in their breeches, according to the practice of ill-doers of the time. It was also agreed that from that afternoon they should meet in the square of Santiago as a centre of operations, and from there divide into distinct groups; one, composed of Insausti, Miguel Bosque and the scullion Juan Rubio should watch the comings and goings of Escovedo in the lane of St. Mary, where he lived, and take advantage of the first opportunity of giving him a thrust; the other three, Juan de Mesa, Antonio Enriquez and Diego Martinez, were to follow them at a distance to help if necessary, at any rate to assist their flight.

In that out-of-the-way corner, which even to-day faces the Royal Palace silent and solitary as an island in the unquiet sea of Madrid, then lived the nobles, personages of the Court, Grandees and gentlemen who held appointments in it, and all the life of those days flowed through its narrow, steep lanes. So it is not extraordinary that nobody noticed these birds of ill-omen who haunted the lane of St. Mary. At last, on the 31st of March, that year Easter Monday, the much-sought opportunity presented itself. At nightfall Escovedo went down the street called Mayor, towards the gate de la Vega, on his way home. He was alone, as usual, without page or servant. By his slow, unsteady gait it could be known that he was still weak from his illness, and as it was cold, he protected himself from the air by the muffler of his black cloak. Behind him, at a considerable distance, came the three assassins Insausti, Miguel Bosque and Juan Rubio, also muffled up in their cloaks, sauntering along, but not losing a movement of their desired victim. When Escovedo arrived at the lane of St. Mary, he stopped a moment, as if to get his breath, and then began to mount the steep slope to his house. The assassins also pulled up, and after a few hurried words, separated, Juan Rubio going stealthily to the corner of the lane, then formed by the great house of the Cuevas, and there stopping to cut off Escovedo's retreat. Insausti and Miguel Bosque went hastily by what is to-day the street of the Factor, which formed the other corner of the Cuevas' house, in order to enter the lane of St. Mary by the other end, and meet Escovedo face to face. He was impeded not only by his weakness, but also by the shades of night, which were rapidly gaining possession of the dark lane, and also by the inequality of the ground, which, as in all streets of the period, was full of stones and deep holes caused by the throwing out of water; so the unfortunate secretary walked very slowly, keeping close to the wall of the church, and gave more than enough time for the villains to get round and meet him in front of the house of the Princess de Évoli, which was just at the back of the Cueva one. Insausti had an unsheathed sword under his cloak and a pistol in his left hand. Miguel Bosque had a dagger ready and another pistol. They passed Escovedo, almost brushing against him without attracting his attention, as he took them for peaceable passers-by. But all at once, turning round, Insausti rapidly and silently cast himself on Escovedo, and ran him through the back with a mighty thrust. Escovedo fell forward without a cry, without an exclamation, only giving a hoarse groan. The assassin leant over him for a moment to see if a second blow was necessary, and then at once ran away. Miguel Bosque went up the lane to get into the Castle Square, Insausti by the Street Mayor, dragging Rubio with him in his flight, and Diego Martinez, who was a long way off.

Antonio Enriquez ends this declaration by saying: "The death-blow was given on Easter Monday, the 31st of March. Juan de Mesa and I arrived in the square of Santiago later than usual; so that the others had left to lie in wait for the secretary Escovedo to pass. Juan de Mesa and I wandered round about, and here we heard the rumour that Escovedo had been killed. Then we went secretly to our houses, and on entering mine I met Miguel Bosque, wearing a jacket, because in running he had lost his cloak and pistol. Juan de Mesa met Insausti at his door, also without a cloak, because he had lost it in his flight, and he took him in to hide him, and together they threw the sword which killed Escovedo into a well in the yard; the sword was long and grooved to the point. That same night Juan Rubio went to Alcalá on a mule which the priest Fernando de Escobar gave him, to tell Antonio Pérez that all was over, and he asked if anyone was taken, and hearing that no one had been he was very pleased."

The assassination of such a well-known personage as Escovedo in the midst of the streets at Madrid upset all the neighbourhood, and set all the mayors and "alguaciles" in the city to work. The next day, which was the 1st of April, they arrested everyone who tried to leave the gates, and the next day forced all the inn and hotel-keepers to furnish a detailed list of their inmates. Antonio Pérez ordered the assassins to remain quiet in their hiding-places, and not to make any noise so long as the first hot search was being made, and until he could find means of placing them in safety. He succeeded at last, after a long period of uneasy waiting, and on the 19th of April they all left Madrid, largely rewarded. Miguel Bosque received a hundred golden crowns from the hands of the priest Escobar, and then returned to his native place. Juan de Mesa went back to Aragon, carrying a gold chain, fifty doubloons, a beautiful silver cup, and the appointment of agent for the property of the Princess de Évoli, which she herself gave him. To Insausti, Juan Rubio, and Antonio Enriquez Antonio Pérez sent by Diego Martinez the appointment of ensign, with twenty golden crowns of pay, and without demur they went to their respective posts, Juan Rubio to Milan, Antonio Enriquez to Naples, and Insausti to Sicily, where he died shortly afterwards.


Meanwhile D. John of Austria was not losing time, and heartened by the first help that Philip II sent, set about to gain all the results possible from the victory of Gembleux. Since this defeat the rebels had fallen back towards Brussels, fearful lest D. John was going there, and he, leaving them in this belief, continued his plan of campaign with clever strategy, and in little more than a month became master of Louvain, Bouvignes, Tilemont, Sichem, Diest, Nivelles and Philippeville. There he stopped, tired out by this hard work, in which fell on him not only the anxieties of a general, but the duties of a soldier, and there, too, he received the news of Escovedo's death. This was the finishing stroke for D. John. It is not known when or through whom the information came to him; but the fatal news must have come quickly, as already on the 20th of April he wrote a beautiful letter to Philip, true transcript of his noble, generous and Christian soul[17].

A little later, while at Namur, he writes on the 3rd of May to his friend D. Rodrigo de Mendoza: "Of the little I shall say in this, the first thing shall be how grieved I am at the death of Escovedo, the more that they do not find out from whence comes such an ill deed; because certainly, besides how greatly he was needed for H.M.'s service in what he was looking after, I also wanted him infinitely, and I have lost a great support, and even more so, I think, in the future. May God rest him in heaven, and reveal to me who killed him."

And further, he wrote to Gian Andrea Doria on the 7th of June: "Of Escovedo's unhappy death I do not know what to say, particularly from such a distance, even if I could say anything were I nearer; but in my opinion it is a case which asks for prompt action more than words: but so many suspicions and no certainty stop one's mouth and tie one's hands, so at present one can only wait and feel what one must about such a servant and a case like this death of Escovedo."

These are all D. John's papers about Escovedo's death which have come down to us. Though nothing in these letters shows clearly that he had sounded all the depths of iniquity hidden behind the treacherous crime, it is impossible to think to the contrary. From the first moment public opinion in Madrid pointed at Antonio Pérez and the Princesa de Évoli as authors of the murder, and even, it is said, came near to the truth; a fact to be remembered, as those who wrote nearest the event, Van der Hammen and Cabrera de Córdoba, mention "that to authorise the assassination, Antonio Pérez gave the assassins a writing signed by the King, of the sort that are given blank to ambassadors and viceroys to shorten some business." The declaration of Antonio Enriquez at the famous trial eleven years later proves that these rumours reached beyond Spain. "Antonio Enriquez said that in Italy and Flanders it was openly said that Antonio Pérez killed Escovedo because of the Princesa de Évoli." It is impossible that these rumours should not have reached the ears of D. John, or that, with his shrewdness, he should not have put two and two together, the truth proved to him by the old story of their intrigue. One fact makes it patent that if D. John knew nothing for certain, he had at least very strong suspicions that Antonio Pérez was the murderer of Escovedo. From this time the intimate correspondence which he kept up with the false secretary abruptly ceases, and he only replies to the honeyed, flattering letters by stiff and official dispatches such as could not be avoided between the Governor-General and the Secretary for Flanders. And further, we think D. John must then have known, at any rate in part, of the treason and calumnies of Pérez and the absolute ruin of his credit with D. Philip effected by these means; which accounts for the depression, despondency, and presentiment of death that overwhelmed the hero of Lepanto at this time, never to leave him during his remaining months of life.


Some people censure as fantastic the scheme of invading England which the two Pontiffs Pius V and Gregory XIII were always planning, and D. John as a dreamer, for placing in this project all his aspirations and ardent desires for glory. But Lord Burghley judged otherwise. He was an immoral politician, certainly, but the most far-seeing and profound that England then possessed. In a memorandum all in his own handwriting, which exists in the British Museum in London, and from which Mignet quotes, he advises Queen Elizabeth to send prompt aid to the Flemish rebels. "If the Spaniards succeed in subduing the Low Countries, they will lose no opportunity of invading England, and will unite their forces with the malcontents of this kingdom; thus, if D. John finishes with the States, he will not tarry in turning his arms against Y.M. The correspondence which is carried on between him and the Queen of Scots since he arrived in the Low Countries, his interview with the Bishop of Glasgow, the ambassador of this Queen, and the general opinion that there is a plan of marriage between him and her, are the reasons which make for this conclusion. According to those who desire a change of religion in this kingdom, this marriage is the best and only means for the return of the kingdom to the Church of Rome. By this marriage D. John would have a claim to the crown of England, and then it would be seen that the Pope, the King of France, and the King of Spain, and all the Catholic Princes would help him; the Pope from religious motives, the King of France to please the house of Guise and to prevent England helping the French Protestants, and the King of Spain to settle his brother advantageously. Therefore, to give aid to the Low Countries is a means of preservation and defence for this realm."

These grave reasons, which did not seem fantastic to Burghley, decided Queen Elizabeth and the lords of her Council to help the Flemish rebels even more openly than they had hitherto done, not only with money, but also with English and Scotch troops, under the command of Norris. But they soon saw that the real obstacle to these ends was the person of D. John, and that nothing and nobody could dismay him or weary out his patience, or overcome his military skill, and they judged, as Orange had done before the retreat from Namur, that the shortest and safest way to conquer this obstacle was to overthrow it by treachery, taking D. John's life. One warning voice, however, God sent from a prison, and it reached the ears of D. John, and stopped this new crime.

There was a Spanish merchant in London, a native of Tarragona, called Antonio de Guaras, rich and respected. He lived in a house belonging to the Guild of Drapers, with a warehouse and wharf on the Thames, and many pedlars came there to fit themselves out with things that they afterwards sold retail, travelling about the counties. But in these humble pedlars' boats which slowly mounted the Thames, most important secrets and messages from great personages came to the house of Antonio de Guaras. The merchant was an Aragonese, and an agent of the Court of Spain since the time of Henry VIII, and since the arrival of D. John in Flanders he had constituted himself the most active promoter of the Spanish invasion of England, and the intermediary between D. John and the Queen Mary Stuart, at that time a prisoner in Sheffield Castle. D. John sent his letters for the Queen of Scots to Guaras, and she also sent him the answers; a very interesting correspondence, of which no trace remains.

Under the disguise of one of these hucksters the English Jesuit Hort, whom Gregory XIII had sent to England, together with his Scotch companion Crichton, to be Papal agent in the business of the Spanish invasion, came one day to the house of Antonio de Guaras. He came from Sheffield, and brought a letter in cipher from Mary Stuart for Antonio de Guaras. He carried it cleverly hidden in a little mirror, which in these perilous times he always had among his pedlar's wares. In this letter the Queen of Scots ordered Antonio de Guaras to tell D. John of the plot that the Council of Queen Elizabeth were scheming against his life, rumours of which reached Sheffield by one of the many advocates of the marriage of Mary and D. John, who were numerous, and were working in England and Scotland. The news was vague, however, as she only talked of this plot without giving any details, and contented herself by warning D. John to have a care for his person. "It seems to me that the Lord Don John should be very careful that he has not near him some greater spies than faithful servants, English or others."

Guaras, alarmed, hastened to communicate this warning to D. Bernardino de Mendoza, then ambassador of the Catholic King in London, and a great partisan of Mary Stuart, who, having more means of action and of espionage, at last succeeded in unravelling the mystery, as far as was necessary, and could thus write to Philip II on the 17th of May: "Here for many days there is talk in the house of Leicester of killing H.H. (D. John), the talk being renewed by the good opportunity of the war. Of this I have advised H.H., and also that this Queen on the 10th set free Edmond Ratcliffe, brother of the Earl of Sussex, who has been confined in the Tower of London for three years, and because of giving him liberty very secretly he has been exiled from this kingdom, which is a thing very seldom or never done, he resolved the moment he regained his liberty to go and serve H.H.; I have been advised that he is an intemperate youth, and daring enough for anything, they tell me, so his sudden liberation and determination can with great reason engender suspicion."

D. Bernardino did, as he notifies in this letter, write to D. John, and also sent him a portrait of Ratcliffe, that he should recognise him and be prepared at once if he came. The assassin did not fail to arrive. D. John was in his camp at Tirlemont, and when giving audiences one day, suddenly saw Edmond Ratcliffe enter his tent, humbly begging the favour of a hearing. He had entered the camp, in spite of the vigilance of the sentries, and had hidden two light Hungarian horses in a wood near to ensure his flight, in the event of his being able to strike the blow. D. John knew him in a moment, from the picture D. Bernardino had sent, and without displaying the least surprise or mistrust, graciously ordered him to speak. At the same time he called his valet Bernardino Ducarte in the most natural manner, and secretly gave him an order for the Captain of the Guard to take the gentleman, whenever he left the tent, and give him over to the Provost-General of the camp. Ratcliffe explained to D. John, with the most refined hypocrisy, who he was and what he wanted. He said that he was a son of the old Earl of Sussex and a Catholic, but having disagreed with his eldest brother on religious questions, and wishing to assure living and dying in the Roman faith, he had fled from England to offer his services to the Catholic King, and only begged D. John for a post in the army, and pay according to his grade, as he had a wife and little children to keep. And as he spoke the miscreant was waiting and calculating where to give the wound.

D. John listened to him, looking him up and down, and not losing a single one of his movements, at last answering him affably, praising his religious faith and his ideas, and promising, in the name of the King, to help him to fulfil them. While this conversation was being carried on the two walked slowly about in the tent, and Ratcliffe tried to arrange that the walk should be prolonged outside, as was D. John's custom when finishing audiences, in order that, amused by the talk, he should go on a few steps. His intention was then to plunge a poisoned dagger, which he had ready, in D. John's heart, leave the weapon in the wound, and hurry off to the wood, where his horses were waiting. But D. John, as if he liked to sport with danger, went to the door, took a step or two outside, and then returned to the end of the tent, until, intimating that the audience was over, he took leave of Ratcliffe until the next day, "when he would seek employment for him." Ratcliffe retired, promising himself to do on the second visit what he had failed to do on the first; but hardly had he set foot outside the tent than D. John's Captain of the Guard arrested him, and handed him over to the Provost. Ratcliffe protested his innocence at first, but being put to the torture he confessed fully all we have told. He was not executed during the lifetime of D. John, but after his death Alexander Farnese ordered him to be decapitated with his accomplice, also an Englishman, who waited with the horses in the wood.

On the 16th of January, 1579, D. Bernardino de Mendoza wrote to Philip II from London:

"The Prince of Parma has had justice done to the two Englishmen about whom I wrote on the 16th of May, who left here with orders to kill the Lord D. John, God rest his soul. The Queen said with much annoyance, when she received the news from Walsingham, that it was the result of advice he and others had given, and the pass to which things were brought, which words Walsingham felt so much, that he came to this place from Court the next day with fever."


At nightfall on Tuesday, the 16th of September, 1578, D. John suddenly felt the intense cold of fever and general lassitude. The fever lasted all night, and the next day, although still unwell, and with a bad headache, he got up at his usual time, heard Mass, did his business, held a council, and visited several quarters. This was at the camp of Tirlemont, where D. John had moved the royal troops after the famous battle of Mechlin, the last at which he commanded, and at which he did such valiant deeds. The plague was decimating the camp of the rebels, and although the infection had not penetrated to that of D. John, his soldiers suffered from diarrhæa, especially the Germans, who were intemperate in what they ate, and not careful about what they drank. This, with reason, worried D. John, and he took infinite precautions to avoid the contagion, inspecting everything himself, making daily rounds, visiting the sick in their huts, helping and cheering them, and striving, above all, that none died without receiving the Viaticum, which he usually accompanied. This matter of the Sacraments, as being transcendental and eternal, he had committed to his then confessor, the Franciscan Fr. Francisco de Orantes, in order that he might urge and watch over the many ecclesiastics in the camp, because D. John, who always had taken much care of the spiritual welfare of his troops, had in these latter days, according to Vander Hammen and Cabrera de Córdoba, made his camp into a real convent of monks.

It was feared, therefore, that this sudden illness of D. John was the forerunner of the plague, and this fear was strengthened when the same symptoms showed themselves in three or four gentlemen of his household, of those who attended him most closely, among them the venerable Gabrio Cervelloni, who was already seventy, and was then, by D. John's orders, making a fort on the heights of Bouges, in front of the camp at Tirlemont, and scarcely a league from Namur. Alarm was ended on the fourth day, seeing that the fever and other ills left D. John. But the next day, which was a Saturday, he suddenly grew worse, and while the other invalids went on getting better and became convalescent, he showed other symptoms of a strange illness, palpitations which made him get up in bed, tremblings of the hands, arms, tongue and eyes, and red spots showed themselves, others livid and almost blue, with black, rough heads.

Then another suspicion spread through the camp, which historians of old have transmitted to us, and which the fresh facts and discoveries of modern ones make probable. They said that D. John had been poisoned during his recovery, and Vander Hammen goes so far as to point to the hand which was the instrument of the crime. "This made his household suspect," he says, "that he was poisoned, and that Doctor Ramirez had given him something in his broth." And in the diary of D. John's illness, kept by his doctor, the original of which Porreño inserts in his life of the hero of Lepanto, these words are to be read: "With some suspicion, the antidote for poison was used, sometimes externally, sometimes internally."

Public opinion, not only in the camp, but wherever the news reached, at once pointed to the Queen of England or the Prince of Orange as authors of the suspected crime. Ratcliffe's recent attempt and the various defeated ones of Orange justified this bad opinion, and the application of the judicial principle "cui prodest" fits like a glove either the heretic Queen or the apostate Prince.

But nobody could then suspect that the sinister "cui prodest" suits the Secretary Antonio Pérez better than anyone else, because nobody yet knew that he, more than anyone, was interested in the disappearance from the world's stage of D. John. It must have been a nightmare for Antonio Pérez, even to dream that D. John might return to Spain, knowing, or at least suspecting, the crimes, infamies and artifices of which he had been the victim. And once put on the scent, investigating, proving, becoming certain, with his right and terrible thirst for justice, in a single interview with the King, his brother, he could bring everything to light, and sink Antonio Pérez in that abyss of infamy and iniquity in which the hand of God buried him later. It is, therefore, very probable that Antonio Pérez, believing at last that D. John of Austria would return to Spain, would try to keep him away for ever with "the broth of Doctor Ramirez," or by some similar means; and it is the general opinion at present that if D. John's death were caused by crime (although it is not sufficiently proved), it might be as justly attributed to the Queen of England, or the Prince of Orange as to the secretary Antonio Pérez; all three were capable of it, and for divers reasons all three gained great advantages by the death of the conqueror of Lepanto.

But be this as it may, it is certain that from the first moment of his relapse D. John understood that he was dying, and that his hoped-for end was coming to him—

... que non ha dolor
Del home que sea grande ni cuytado.[18]

He therefore made ready to receive death with perfect, manly courage, with the dignity of a Prince and the humility of a Christian, and his first arrangement was that he should be conveyed to the fort which Gabrio Cervelloni was then making a league away. He ordered himself to be carried on a stretcher by his servants, without order or arrangement, to prevent the soldiers having the grief of saying good-bye to him, and to cause no one alarm or trouble. There remained inside the surrounding wall of the fort the only part yet finished, a hut, or rather a pigeon house, where D. Bernardino de Zúñiga, D. John's Captain of Infantry, lodged, and there he ordered himself to be taken to disturb no one. "There was only," says Vander Hammen, "a pigeon house to make him a chamber." They cleared out the young pigeons, cleaned it, hung a few coverings on the ceilings and wall to exclude the light, and over them some pieces of cloth, which they sprinkled with perfumed waters, and made a wooden staircase for mounting to it. The father confessor Fr. Francisco de Orantes writes to Philip II: "He died in a hut, as poorly as a soldier. I assure Y.M. there was nothing but a cock-loft over a farm-yard, in order that in this he should imitate the poverty of Christ."

All this took place on Saturday, the 20th, and on Sunday, the 21st, very early in the morning, D. John ordered his confessor, Fray Francisco de Orantes, to be called, and with great humility and with much sorrow for his sins he made a general confession of his life, with the eagerness and fervour of one who is preparing to die; and although the doctors still held out hopes of saving his life, and tried to dissuade him, he asked for the Viaticum, and received it with great devotion and fervour, at a mass celebrated in his room by the Jesuit Juan Fernández. Then he sent for all his Field-Marshals to his miserable retreat, also the Councillors of State and other personages attached to the army, and before them solemnly resigned the command and gave the baton to Alexander Farnese, Prince of Parma, who was present, kneeling at the foot of the bed, and so overcome and afflicted because of his great love for D. John, that he buried his forehead in the bed-clothes, and the Count de Mansfeld had to lift him up and comfort him. It was an extraordinary thing, which moved and brought tears to the eyes of all those veterans, to see that thunderbolt of war, Alexander Farnese, daring and brave and of indomitable courage, afflicted and overcome like a weak woman on receiving the supreme command from the hands of his dying friend and kinsman.

Then he directed his confessor Fr. Francisco de Orantes to declare before them all what D. John had already told him privately. That he left no will, because he possessed nothing which was not his Lord and Master the King's. That he commended his body and soul to the King; his soul in order that the King should order suffrages to be made for the great need there was; his body that it might be buried near that of his Lord and father the Emperor, by which he should consider his services were repaid. But if this were not so, then that they should give him burial in the monastery of Our Lady of Montserrat. Item, he begged the King to look after his mother and brother. Item, to look after his servants, pay them and reward them, because he died so poor that he could not do so. "As to my personal debts and bills," he said at the end, "they are very few and are very clear."

He said this with great firmness, taking leave of them all with his hand, and himself taking leave of the things of earth to think and speak of nothing beyond those of heaven.

He, however, retained Father Juan Fernández, and showing him a little manuscript book which he kept under his pillow, said these were the prayers which he recited every day, without ever missing one in his life, and as the dreadful pain in his head troubled his sight, so that he could not read, begged the father, for the love of God and for the love of him, to do him the favour of reciting them in his name. Much moved, the father promised, and, according to his own testimony, it took him a good hour to recite those prayers which the devout Prince said "every day of his life," in the midst of the fatigues of war, the occupations of Governor, and, most difficult of all, in the midst of the dissipations of worldly pleasures. The little book was all in D. John's writing. It began with the baby prayers he had learnt in his childhood from Doña Magdalena de Ulloa; then followed various pious exercises, and it ended with several prayers composed by D. John himself, according as he had been inspired in the course of his life, by his difficulties, his sorrows, hopes and joys, and his warm effusions of thanksgiving. In short, it was an index, showing his attitude towards God in all the events of his life, which the grateful heart of D. John daily remembered, and which only the holy Father Juan Fernández had the happiness of knowing.

It was this father who, a few months later, under the command of Alexander Farnese, performed the extraordinary deed of heroism, at the same time an act of incredible charity, in the trench of Maestricht, which we have told in another place. D. John had known him in Luxemburg, on his first arrival, and astonished at his holiness, prudence and learning, and profoundly struck by his untiring zeal for the welfare of the soldiers, attached him at once to the army, and took him everywhere; and although he was not D. John's official confessor, he confessed to him often, and consulted him privately in all difficult matters. During D. John's short last illness, together with Fr. Francisco de Orantes, he assisted him all the time, and when D. John's dreadful headache and delirium left him, the father sustained him with spiritual talks which maintained the sick man in his peace and resignation, and gave the Jesuit the ineffable comfort that the just experience before the marvels of Divine Grace.

In one of these conversations D. John told P. Juan Fernández of his firm determination, taken four months beforehand, if God spared his life in Flanders, to retire for ever from the world to the hermitage of Montserrat, there to serve "that Lord who could and would do much more for him than his brother D. Philip." A bitter phrase this, which without, as some have thought, censuring Philip (because there would be none in supposing greater power and love in the King of heaven than in the most powerful and saintly King on earth), still reveals the profound disillusionment which had taken hold of the victor of Lepanto, for the last four months, that is to say since the death of Escovedo.

Photo Anderson


Escorial and surrounding country, present day

The illness gained ground rapidly; each day, even each hour, produced some new, strange and painful symptom. At times he was seized with fainting fits, in which he appeared to have drawn his last breath, at others with delirium of wild things and of war, in which he always imagined himself commanding in a battle, and from which he was only drawn by the names of Jesus and Mary, which Fathers Orantes and Fernández invoked in his hearing. On the 30th D. John felt so weak that he again desired to receive the Viaticum, and charged Fr. Francisco de Orantes to give him extreme unction in time, whenever he judged that the moment had come. At nightfall that day the confessor thought that the time had arrived, and administered the last Sacrament to him, which D. John received with great devotion and perfect consciousness, in the presence of all the Field-Marshals and other personages who were crowded into the narrow precincts.

No one slept that night in fort or camp, and continually messengers went to and fro, bearers of sad news. At dawn Father Juan Fernández said mass at the bedside, thinking D. John unconscious, as his eyes were already closed; but being told by the confessor that the Host was being raised, he quickly took off his cap and did reverence. At nine o'clock he seemed somewhat to revive, and then he was taken with a fresh delirium, in which, with extraordinary strength, he began to get angry with the soldiers, commanding in a battle, giving orders to the battalions, calling the captains by name, sending horses flying, reproving them at times because they allowed themselves to be cut off by the enemy, calling others to victory with eyes, hands and voice, always clamouring for the Marqués de Santa Cruz, whom he called "D. Álvaro, my friend," his guide, master, and his right hand.

"Jesus! Jesus! Mary!" implored the confessor. "Jesus! Jesus! Mary!" at last repeated D. John of Austria, and, repeating these holy names, became gradually calmer, until he sank into a profound lethargy, forerunner, doubtless, of death, with his eyes shut, his body inert, with the Crucifix of the Moors on his breast, where P. Juan Fernández had placed it, the only sign of life being his difficult, uneven breathing.

They all knelt, believing that the supreme moment had come, and the two priests began to recite by turns the prayers for the dying. Suddenly, about eleven o'clock, D. John gave a great sigh, and they heard him distinctly articulate in a weak but clear, sweet, plaintive voice, like a child calling to its mother, "Aunt! Aunt! My lady Aunt!"

And this was all. For two hours the lethargy lasted, and at half-past one, without effort, trouble, or any violence, he gasped twice, and the soul of "That John sent by God" fled to His bosom to render account of the mission which had been confided to him.

Had he really fulfilled it? Was the mission of D. John of Austria to drown in the waters of Lepanto the great power of the Turk, threat to the faith of Christ and to the liberty of Europe, or did the mission also extend to conquering the kingdom of England, and bringing back that great people to the fold of the Catholic Church, as Christ's two Vicars Pius V and Gregory XIII wished and thought?

If it were so, D. John of Austria can well liquidate his debt before the Divine Tribunal, giving for only answer those words of Christ to St. Theresa, which so alarmingly show the fearful reach of human free will: "Theresa! I wished it, but men did not wish it."

Eusebio Nieremberg, in his life of the P. Juan Fernández, relates this strange circumstance relative to D. John of Austria:

"A few days later (after D. John's death) he appeared to the father, who was at one of the colleges, and said, 'Father Juan Fernández, why have you forgotten friends?' 'I have not forgotten, my lord, but what have I got to do?' Then he told him that he must help him with his suffrages and do certain things. The servant of God did all he asked with much celerity and earnestness, saying masses and prayers and doing penances for him, and making others do the same. At the end of a few days he appeared again, shining and glorious, saying that he was in heaven and was very grateful for the good works they had done for him."

Don John was buried first in the Cathedral at Namur, but the following spring his body (except his intestines) was conveyed to Spain by orders of Philip II and buried with much pomp in the Escorial. The story of the body being cut in pieces at the joints and placed in three leather bags on the pack saddle of a horse for the journey, is too well known not to be mentioned here. Sir William Stirling Maxwell says that it was to avoid "expense and the troublesome questions which were in those days likely to arise between the clergy and magistracy of the towns through which a royal corpse was publicly carried." (Translator.)

The End.

A Page From


It has long been a reproach to England that only one volume by ANATOLE FRANCE has been adequately rendered into English; yet outside this country he shares with TOLSTOI the distinction of being the greatest and most daring student of humanity living.

¶ There have been many difficulties to encounter in completing arrangements for a uniform edition, though perhaps the chief barrier to publication here has been the fact that his writings are not for babes—but for men and the mothers of men. Indeed, some of his Eastern romances are written with biblical candour. "I have sought truth strenuously," he tells us, "I have met her boldly. I have never turned from her even when she wore an unexpected aspect." Still, it is believed that the day has come for giving English versions of all his imaginative works, as well as of his monumental study JOAN OF ARC, which is undoubtedly the most discussed book in the world of letters to-day.

¶ Mr. John Lane has pleasure in announcing that the following volumes are either already published or are passing through the press.

JOAN OF ARC (2 vols.)

¶ All the books will be published at 6/- each with the exception of JOAN OF ARC, which will be 25/- net the two volumes, with eight Illustrations.

¶ The format of the volumes leaves little to be desired. The size is Demy 8vo (9 × 5-3/4), and they are printed from Caslon type upon a paper light in weight and strong of texture, with a cover design in crimson and gold, a gilt top, end-papers from designs by Aubrey Beardsley and initials by Henry Ospovat. In short, these are volumes for the bibliophile as well as the lover of fiction, and form perhaps the cheapest library edition of copyright novels ever published, for the price is only that of an ordinary novel.


¶ As Anatole Thibault, dit Anatole France, is to most English readers merely a name, it will be well to state that he was born in 1844 in the picturesque and inspiring surroundings of an old bookshop on the Quai Voltaire, Paris, kept by his father, Monsieur Thibault, an authority on eighteenth-century history, from whom the boy caught the passion for the principles of the Revolution, while from his mother he was learning to love the ascetic ideals chronicled in the Lives of the Saints. He was schooled with the lovers of old books, missals and manuscript; he matriculated on the Quais with the old Jewish dealers of curios and objets d'art; he graduated in the great university of life and experience. It will be recognised that all his work is permeated by his youthful impressions; he is, in fact, a virtuoso at large.

¶ He has written about thirty volumes of fiction. His first novel was JOCASTA & THE FAMISHED CAT (1879). THE CRIME OF SYLVESTRE BONNARD appeared in 1881, and had the distinction of being crowned by the French Academy, into which he was received in 1896.

¶ His work is illuminated with style, scholarship, and psychology; but its outstanding features are the lambent wit, the gay mockery, the genial irony with which he touches every subject he treats. But the wit is never malicious, the mockery never derisive, the irony never barbed. To quote from his own GARDEN OF EPICURUS: "Irony and Pity are both of good counsel; the first with her smiles makes life agreeable, the other sanctifies it to us with her tears. The Irony I invoke is no cruel deity. She mocks neither love nor beauty. She is gentle and kindly disposed. Her mirth disarms anger and it is she teaches us to laugh at rogues and fools whom but for her we might be so weak as to hate."

¶ Often he shows how divine humanity triumphs over mere asceticism, and with entire reverence; indeed, he might be described as an ascetic overflowing with humanity, just as he has been termed a "pagan, but a pagan constantly haunted by the pre-occupation of Christ." He is in turn—like his own Choulette in THE RED LILY—saintly and Rabelaisian, yet without incongruity. At all times he is the unrelenting foe of superstition and hypocrisy. Of himself he once modestly said: "You will find in my writings perfect sincerity (lying demands a talent I do not possess), much indulgence, and some natural affection for the beautiful and good."

¶ The mere extent of an author's popularity is perhaps a poor argument, yet it is significant that two books by this author are in their HUNDRED AND TENTH THOUSAND, and numbers of them well into their SEVENTIETH THOUSAND, whilst the one which a Frenchman recently described as "Monsieur France's most arid book" is in its FIFTY-EIGHTH-THOUSAND.

¶ Inasmuch as M. FRANCE'S ONLY contribution to an English periodical appeared in THE YELLOW BOOK, vol. v., April 1895, together with the first important English appreciation of his work from the pen of the Hon. Maurice Baring, it is peculiarly appropriate that the English edition of his works should be issued from the Bodley Head.

___________________________ 19

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JOAN OF ARC (2 Vols.)

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Those who possess old letters, documents, correspondence, MSS., scraps of autobiography, and also miniatures and portraits, relating to persons and matters historical, literary, political and social, should communicate with Mr. John Lane, The Bodley Head, Vigo Street, London, W., who will at all times be pleased to give his advice and assistance, either as to their preservation or publication.

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The Quixadas are called
Brave and very loyal;
Without number and much esteemed
They carry for arms.


From the house of Roland
Which is a very important house
With great labour and trouble
Came a very fine gallant
To Castille from his France.

3. Zapirón is the feline hero of Lope de Vega's "Gatomaquia" (Translator's note).


They are boys, prodigal of mirth,
Each one following his own will,
They make light of vice,
A glory of mischief,
A grandeur of folly,
In short—boys will be boys.


To the King property and life
Belong; but honour
Is the patrimony of the soul
And the soul is God's alone.

6. "The Meninas, which are a set of ladies of the nature of ladies of honour in that (the Spanish) Court, children in years, but higher in degree (being many of them daughters and heirs to Grandees of Spain) than ordinary ladies of honour attending likewise that queen."—From Heathcote MSS., page 236. Vide the 1907 edition of "Memoirs of Ann Lady Fanshawe" (Translator's note).

7. According to tradition it was from this doorway that Philip II, muffled up to his eyes, witnessed the arrest of the Princess de Évoli in the night of July 28, 1579.

8. Doña Magdalena de Ulloa brought up the child with the greatest care and secrecy until Doña Ana was seven years old, when she placed her in the convent of Augustins at Madrigal, with the intention that she should become a nun, as, in fact, she did, no one suspecting the name and rank of her ancestors. After D. John's death, in order that the King might help and protect her, Alexander Farnese divulged the fact of her existence. Philip granted her the surname of Austria and to be addressed as Excellency, but her name and rank were not known until the tragic event occurred to which we alluded in the text, which was as follows:

About the year 1590 or 1591 a Portuguese Augustin monk, named Fr. Miguel de los Santos, arrived in Madrid. He was a wild, scheming man, who had been exiled from his country as a supporter of plots and revolts in favour of the Prior of Crato, D. Antonio, then claiming the throne of Portugal. He was appointed vicar of the Augustin nuns at Madrigal, and for this reason used to confess and see much of Doña Ana de Austria, who, besides being very young then, seems to have been also very simple. At that time there was a shepherd named Gabriel Espinosa, who the monk thought bore a great resemblance to the King of Portugal, D. Sebastian, who had been killed shortly before at the battle of Alcárzarquiver in Africa. All these circumstances suggested an intrigue to Fr. Miguel, which, daring and absurd as it was, made much stir in Portugal and also in Castille. He persuaded the shepherd to pretend that he was the King, who by a miracle had escaped from the famous defeat, promising him by this deception to place him on the throne of Portugal. The first person he made to believe his story was Doña Ana, pretending that God had revealed to him that she was destined to share the throne of the spurious D. Sebastian. The simple Doña Ana fell into the trap, and, convinced that the shepherd was King Sebastian and she chosen by heaven to be his spouse, she sent rich jewels to Espinosa and established an "amoroso-politica" correspondence with him, which still exists in the archives of Sinmancas. The friar used these letters to obtain deluded partisans for the sham king, and so many did he thus gather in Portugal as well as Castille, and so much did the farce grow, that Espinosa was at last arrested in Valladolid on suspicion and tried with the monk and Doña Ana. Espinosa was condemned to be dragged from prison, put in a basket and hanged in the square of Madrigal, quartered, and put on the highway and his head placed in an iron cage. Fr. Miguel de los Santos, after being degraded, was given over to the secular law and was hanged in the square of Madrigal on the 19th of October, 1595. As to Doña Ana, she was ordered to be transferred to the convent of Augustins at Aviles, rigorous seclusion in her cell for four years, and to fast on bread and water during this time every Friday, to lose her right to be an abbess and to be addressed as Excellency. This sentence was, however, shortly afterwards remitted, and she was transferred to las Huelgas at Burgos, where she was elected perpetual abbess. The licentiate Baltasar Porreño dedicated his life of D. John of Austria to her about the years 1620 to 1625.

9. He alludes to the dreadful storm that the twenty-four galleys under the command of Luis de Requesens encountered for three days on leaving the port of Marseilles; some were lost, others dispersed and went, disabled, to Sardinia. It was impossible for the Knight Commander to fulfil D. John's orders. Gian Antonio Doria was then instructed to come from Naples with his galleys and D. Álvaro de Bazán to bring his from Sardinia; but it was too late, and meanwhile the Moors could receive provisions and reinforcements of soldiers, Turks and Berbers.

10. The remains of Luis Quijada were translated two years later with much pomp to the church of S. Luis at Villagarcia by Doña Magdalena de Ulloa, where she also now rests near the high altar. The figure of his tomb no longer exists, but the inscription still does, which says that he is buried under the altar and that he died "as he would have wished, fighting against the infidel, 25 Feb., 1570" (note abridged by Translator).

11. His little daughter.

12. "I got without knowing how a small cut in my ankle; but one ought to feel nothing considering such happy events."

Letter from D. John to the Prior Hernando de Toledo about the battle of Lepanto. From the Alba archives.

13. Pius V having just died.

14. Reformer of the Calendar (Translator).

15. Margarita of Parma carefully educated her niece, and kept her until the death of D. John. When this happened she did all she could to influence Philip II to recognise the child; but all she could obtain from the King was an order that Doña Juana should enter the convent of St. Clara at Naples, with a nun of noble birth to look after her and four nuns to wait on her. For this he obtained a brief from the Pope, and was always careful to commend the person of Doña Juana to the Viceroys of Naples. This lady was very bright and intelligent: she spoke several languages and wrote books in Latin which she dedicated to the King and his son, afterwards Philip III. When he came to the throne, persuaded that she had no vocation, he tried to arrange a marriage for her and at last succeeded in 1603, wedding her to Francisco Branciforte, eldest son of the Prince of Butera. Philip III gave her a dower of 60,000 ducats and an income of 3000 for pin-money. Doña Juana died at Naples on February 7th, 1630, when she was fifty-six, leaving an only daughter called Margarita, after the Duchess of Parma. This Margarita Branciforte, D. John's only grandchild, married Federico Colonna, Duke de Patrano and Constable of Naples.

16. These keys are still in the possession of his descendant the Marqués de Santa Cruz.

17. "Sir. With greater sorrow than I know how to express I have heard of the unhappy death of the secretary Escovedo, for which I cannot be consoled or ever shall be, as Y.M. has lost such a servant as I know; and I, that Y. M. knows; and though I sorrow over this as I do, above all I feel it that at the end of many years and services he should have ended by such an unworthy death, for having served his King with such faithfulness and love without other consideration or practices, such as are now in use. And though it is wrong to judge anyone hastily, I do not think I am falling into this sin now, as I mention no one; but I hold as a fact what I say, and as a man who has had so much opportunity, and who knows the frankness with which Escovedo treated Y.M.'s service, I fear where it may have come from. But, after all, I am not certain, or, not knowing, I will only say, by the love of Our Lord, I beg Y.M., with all the earnestness possible, that you will not permit such an offence to be committed in your city, or allow so great a one to be done to me, without using all possible diligence to ascertain whence it comes, and to punish it with the rigour it deserves. And although I believe that Y.M. will have already done so very thoroughly, and will have done so, being such a Christian and justice-observing Prince, all the same, I wish to beg you that, as a gentleman, I may defend, and allow to be defended, the honour of one who deserved it as much as Escovedo, and this because I am the more bound, as with good reason I can imagine myself to have been the cause of his death, for that which Y.M. knows better than another. Do not take it amiss if I beg not only to remember, and urge, as I shall do by each courier, about what concerns the deceased, until justice is done and his services remunerated; even if I should overlook the rest, that as a gentleman I must do.

"Again I pray Y.M., as humbly and earnestly as I am able, that it will be your pleasure to send me an answer to all these things, as I confess to Y.M. that nothing could happen to worry me more than his death has done, until everything relating to the deceased is settled.

"I do not know how he has left his affairs, so I can enter into no details, but I beg Y.M. to remember Escovedo's purpose, which was that of honour, and the sincerity with which he served you, and of the small comfort he leaves in his house, and do all the favours to those who remain in it that they deserve, especially to the eldest son, of those offices and emoluments which the father held, that Pedro Escovedo deserves them, and will go on deserving them more and more, if he is employed and favoured, Y.M. knows better than anyone. And because I think, according to what he was obliged to spend and the little he had, he may have left some debts which might pain his soul, and his children and wife here below, I will also beg Y.M. to order them to be favoured by the wherewithal to pay them. Although I chiefly beg that, being left like a father to the said eldest son, you will do me this signal favour of giving him in all everything his father enjoyed, because as to the debts I can easily pay the most of the food and dress, and what are obliged to be paid, which is the least I can do for the repose of him who worked for me till death, as he did, to help to enable me to do the best for Y. M.'s service in whatever passed through his hands, which he did, as I have claimed and shall claim all my life. Consider, Y. M., if these obligations deserve that he should have these offices, and if I can be confident that you will do this favour, that I ask in all that I beg, and shall beg for continually, until the justice and favour that the blood and services of the deceased cry out for, are gained."


... Which has no pain
For the great man, nor anxiety.

Transcriber's Note

The original spelling and punctuation have been retained. Except where noted.

Variations in hyphenation and compound words have been preserved.

End of Project Gutenberg's The Story of Don John of Austria, by Luis Coloma


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