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before the massacre. On that night of horrors Sidney took shelter in the house of Walsingham, and thus escaped all personal danger; but his after-conduct fully proved how indelible was the impression left upon his mind of the monstrous wickedness of the French royal family, and of the disgrace and misery which an alliance with it must entail on his queen and country.

He readily obeyed his uncle's directions to quit France without delay; and proceeding to Frankfort, there formed a highly honorable and beneficial friendship with the virtuous Hubert Languet, who opened to him at once his heart and his purse. The remonstrances of this patron, who dreaded to excess for his youthful friend the artifices of the papal court, deterred him from extending his travels to Rome, an omission which he afterwards deeply regretted; but a leisurely survey of the northern cities of Italy, during which he became advantageously known to many eminent characters, occupied him profitably and delightfully till his return to his native country in 1575; after which he will again occur to our notice as the pride and wonder of the English court.

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1573 TO 1577.

Letters of lord Talbot to his father.Connexion of Leicester with lady Sheffield. Anecdote of the queen and Mr. Dyer. -Queen suspicious of Burleigh.-Countesses of Lenox and Shrewsbury imprisoned-Queen refuses the sovereignty of Holland. Her remarkable speech to the deputies.- Alchemy.-Notice of Dr. Dee.-of Frobisher.-Family of Love. -Burning of two Anabaptists.-Entertainment of the queen at Kennelworth.-Notice of Walter earl of Essex.General favor towards his son Robert.-Letter of the queen to the earl of Shrewsbury respecting Leicester.

GREAT as had been the injustice committed by Elizabeth in the detention of the queen of Scots, it must be confessed that the offence brought with it its own sufficient punishment in the fears, jealousies and disquiets which it entailed upon her.

Where Mary was concerned, the most approved loyalty, the longest course of faithful service, and the truest attachment to the protestant cause, were insufficient pledges to her oppressor of the fidelity of her nobles or ministers. The earl of Shrewsbury, whom she had deliberately selected from all others to be the keeper of the captive queen; and whose vigilance had now for so long a period baffled all attempts for her deliverance, was, to the last, unable so to establish himself in the confidence of his sovereign as to be exempt from such starts of suspicion and fits of displeasure as kept him in a state of continual apprehension. Feeling with


acuteness all the difficulties of his situation, this nobleman judged it expedient to cause Gilbert lord Talbot, his eldest son, to remain in close attendance on the motions of the queen; charging him to study with unremitting attention all the intrigues of the court, on which in that day so much depended, and to acquaint him with them frequently and minutely. To this precaution of the earl's we owe several extant letters of lord Talbot, which throw considerable light on the minor incidents of the time 2.

In May 1573, this diligent news-gatherer acquaints his father, that the earl of Leicester was much with her majesty; that he was more than formerly solicitous to please her; and that he was as high in favor as ever; but that two sisters, lady Sheffield and lady Frances Howard, were deeply in love with him and at great variance with each other; that the queen was on this account very angry with them, and not well pleased with him; and that spies were set upon him. To such open demonstrations of feminine jealousy did this great queen condescend to have recourse! Yet she re mained all her life in ignorance of the true state of this affair, which, in fact, is not perfectly cleared up at the present day.

It appears, that a criminal intimacy was known to subsist between Leicester and dady Sheffield even before the death of her lord; in consequence of which, this event, which was sudden, and preceded it is said by violent symptons, was popularly attributed to the Italian arts of Leicester. During

sa See “Illustrations" by Lodge, passim.


this year, lady Sheffield bore him a son, whose birth was carefully concealed for fear of giving offence to the queen, though many believed that a private marriage had taken place. Afterwards he forsook the mother of his child to marry the countess of Essex, and the deserted lady became the wife of another. In the reign of James I., many years after the death of Leicester, sir Robert Dudley his son, to whom he had left a great part of his fortune, laid claim to the family honors, bringing several witnesses to prove his mother's marriage, and among others his mother herself. This lady declared on oath, that Leicester, in order to compel her to form that subsequent marriage in his lifetime, which had deprived her of the power of reclaiming him as her husband, had employed the most violent menaces; and had even attempted her life by a poisonous potion which had thrown her into an illness by which she lost her hair and nails. After the production of all this evidence, the heirs of Leicester exerted all their interest to stop proceedings; ;-no great argument of the goodness of their cause ;-and sir Robert Dudley died without having been able to bring the matter to a legal decision. In the next reign, the evidence formerly given was reviewed; and the title of duchess Dudley conferred on the widow of sir Robert; the patent setting forth that the marriage of the earl of Leicester with lady Sheffield had been satisfactorily proved.

So close were the contrivances, so deep, as it appears, the villanies of this celebrated favorite! But his consummate art was successful in throwing over these and other transactions of his life, a veil


of doubt and mystery which time itself has proved unable entirely to remove.

Hatton was at this time ill, and lord Talbot mentions that the queen went daily to visit him; but that a party with which Leicester was thought to co-operate, was endeavouring to bring forwards Mr. Edward Dyer to supplant him in her majesty's favor. This gentleman, it seems, had been for two years in disgrace; and as he had suffered during the same period from a bad state of health, the queen was made to believe that the continuance of her displeasure was the cause of his malady; and that his recovery was, without her pardon, hopeless. This was taking her by her weak side; she loved to imagine herself the dispenser of life and death to her devoted servants, and she immediately dispatched to the sick gentleman a comfortable message, on receipt of which he was made whole. The letter-writer observes, to the honor of lord Burleigh, that he concerned himself as usual only in state affairs; and suffered all these love-matters and petty intrigues to pass without notice before his eyes.

All the caution, however, and all the devotedness of this great minister were insufficient to preserve him, on the following occasion, from the unworthy suspicions of his mistress. The queen of Scots had this year with difficulty obtained permission to resort to the baths of Buxton for the recovery of her health; and a similar motive led thither at the same time the lord-treasurer. Elizabeth marked the coincidence; and when, a year or two afterwards, it occurred for the second time, her displeasure broke forth: she openly accused her minister

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