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seemed impossible for either to sink lower. Yet the political maladies of the monarchy and the physical maladies of the monarch went on growing, and exhibited every day some new and frightful symptom. Since the death of the Bavarian prince, the court had been divided between the Austrian faction, of which the queen and the leading ministers, Oropesa and Melgar, were the chiefs, and the French faction, of which the most important member was Cardinal Portocarrero, Archbishop of Toledo. At length an event which, as far as can now be judged, was not the effect of a deeply meditated plan, and was altogether unconnected with the disputes about the succession, gave the advantage to the adherents of France. The government, having committed the great error of undertaking to supply Madrid with food, committed the still greater error of neglecting to perform what it had undertaken. The price of bread doubled. Complaints were made to the magistrates, and were heard with the indolent apathy characteristic of the Spanish administration from the highest to the lowest grade. Then the populace rose, attacked the house of Oropesa, poured by thousands into the great court of the palace, and insisted on seeing the king. The queen appeared in a balcony, and told the rioters that his majesty was asleep. Then the multitude set up a roar of fury. “It is false; we do not believe you. We will see him.” “He has slept too long,” said one threatening voice, and it is high time that he should wake.” The queen retired weeping; and the wretched being on whose dominions the sun never set tottered to the window, bowed as he had never bowed before, muttered some gracious promises, waved a handkerchief in the air, bowed again, and withdrew. Oropesa, afraid of being torn to pieces, retired to his country seat. Melgar made some show of resistance, garrisoned his house, and menaced the rabble with a shower of grenades, but was soon forced to go after Oropesa ; and the Supreme power passed to Portocarrero. Portocarrero was one of a race of men of whom we, happily for us, have seen very little, but whose influence has been the curse of Roman Catholic countries. He was, like Sixtus the Fourth and Alexander the Sixth, a politician made out of an impious priest. Such politicians are generally worse than the worst of the laity, more merciless than any ruffian that can be found in camps, more dishonest than any pettifogger who haunts the tribunals. The sanctity of their profession has an unsanctifying influence on them. The lessons of the nursery, the habits of boyhood, and of early youth, leave in the minds of the great majority of avowed infidels some traces of religion, which, in seasons of mourning and of sickness, become plainly discernible. But it is scarcely possible that any such trace should remain in the mind of the hypocrite who, during many years, is constantly going through what he considers as the mummery of preaching, saying mass, baptizing, shriving, When an ecclesiastic of this sort mixes in the contests of men of the world, he is indeed much to be dreaded as an enemy, but still more to be dreaded as an ally. From the pulpit where he daily employs his eloquence to embellish what he regards as fables, from the altar whence he daily looks down with secret scorn on the prostrate dupes who believe that he can turn a drop of wine into blood, from the confessional where he daily studies with cold and scientific attention the morbid anatomy of guilty consciences, he brings to courts some talents which may move the envy of the more cunning and unscrupulous of lay courtiers; a rare skill in reading characters and in managing tempers, a rare art of dissimulation, a rare dexterity in insinuating what it is not safe to affirm or to propose in explicit terms. There are two feelings which often prevent an unprincipled layman from becoming utterly depraved and despicable, domestic feeling and chivalrous feeling. His heart may be softened by the endearments of a family. His pride may revolt from the thought of doing what does not become a gentleman. But neither with the domestic feeling nor with the chivalrous feeling has the wicked priest any sympathy. His gown excludes him from the closest and most tender of human relations, and at the same time dispenses him from the observation of the fashionable code of honor. Such a priest was Portocarrero; and he seems to have been a consummate master of his craft. To the name of statesman he had no pretensions. The lofty part of his predecessor Ximenes was out of the range not more of his intellectual than his moral capacity. To reanimate a paralyzed and torpid monarchy, to introduce order and economy into a bankrupt treasury, to restore the discipline of an army which had become a mob, to refit a navy which was perisling from mere rottenness, these were achievements beyond the power, beyond even the ambition of that ig. noble nature. But there was one task for which the new minister was admirably qualified, that of establishing, by means of superstitious terror, an absolute dominion over a feeble mind; and the feeblest of all minds was that of his unhappy sovereign. Even before the riot which had made the cardinal supreme in the state, he had succeeded in introducing into the palace a new confessor selected by himself. In a very short time the king's malady took a new form. That he was too weak to lift his food to his misshapen mouth, that, at thirty-seven, he had the bald head and wrinkled face of a man of seventy, that his complexion was turning from yellow to green, that he frequently fell down in fits and remained long insensible, these were no longer the worst symptoms of his malady. He had always been afraid of ghosts and demons, and it had long been necessary that three friars should watch every night by his restless bed as a guard against hobgoblins. . But now he was firmly convinced that he was bewitched, that he was possessed, that there was a devil within him, that there were devils all around him. He was exorcised according to the forms of his church: but this ceremony, instead of quieting him, scared him out of almost all the little reason that nature had given him. In his misery and despair he was induced to resort to irregular modes of relief. His confessor brought to court impostors who pretended that they could interrogate the powers of darkness. The Devil was called up, sworn and examined. This strange deponent made oath, as in the presence of God, that his Catholic majesty was under a spell, which had been laid on him many years before, for the purpose of preventing the continuation of the royal line. A drug had been compounded out of the brains and kidneys of a human corpse, and had been administered in a cup of chocolate. This potion had dried up all the sources of life; and the best remedy to which the patient could now resort would be to swallow a bowl of consecrated oil every morning before breakfast. Unhappily, the authors of this story fell into contradictions which they could excuse only by throwing the blame on Satan, who, they said, was an unwilling witness, and a liar from the beginning. In the midst of their conjuring, the Inquisition came down upon them. It must be admitted tlat, if the Holy Office had reserved all its terrors for such cases, it would not now have been remembered as the most hateful judicature that was ever known among civilized men. The subaltern impostors were thrown into dungeons. But the chief criminal continued to be master of the king and of the kingdom. Meanwhile, in the distempered mind of Charles one mania succeeded another. A longing to pry into those mysteries of the grave from which human beings avert their thoughts had long been hereditary in his house. Juana, from whom the mental constitution of her posterity seems to have derived a morbid taint, had sat, year after year, by the bed on which lay the ghastly remains of her husband, apparelled in the rich embroidery and jewels which he had been wont to wear while living. Her son Charles found an eccentric pleasure in celebrating his own obsequies, in putting on his shroud, placing himself in the coffin, covering himself with the pall, and lying as one dead till the requiem had been sung, and the mourners had departed, leaving him alone in the tomb. Philip the Second found a similar pleasure in gazing on the huge chest of bronze in which his remains were to be laid, and especially on the skull which, encircled with the crown of Spain, grinned at him from the cover. Philip the Fourth, too, hankered after burials and burial-places, gratified his curiosity by gazing on the remains of his great grandfather, the emperor, and sometimes stretched himself out at full length like a corpse in the niche which he had selected for himself in the royal cemetery. To that cemetery his son was now attracted by a strange fascination. Europe could show no more magnificent place of sepulture. A staircase incrusted with jasper led down from the stately church of the Escurial into an octagon situated just beneath the high altar. The vault, impervious to the sun, was rich with gold and precious marbles, which reflected the blaze from a huge chandelier of silver. On the right and on the left reposed, each in a massy sarcophagus, the departed kings and queens of Spain. Into this mausoleum the king descended with a long train of courtiers, and ordered the coffins to be unclosed. His mother had been embalmed with such consummate skill that she appeared as she had appeared on her death-bed. The body of his grandfather too seemed entire, but crumbled into dust at the first touch. From Charles neither the remains of his mother nor those of his grandfather could draw any sign of sensibility. But, when the gentle and graceful Louisa of Orleans, the miserable man's first wife, she who had lighted up his dark existence with one short and pale gleam of happiness, presented herself, after the lapse of ten years, to his eyes, his sullen apathy gave way. “She is in heaven,” he cried, “and I shall soon be there with her; ” and, with all the speed of which his limbs were capable, he tottered back to the upper air. Such was the state of the court of Spain when, in the autumn of 1699, it became known that, since the death of the Electoral Prince of Bavaria, the governments of France, of England, and of the United Provinces were busily engaged in forming a second treaty of partition. That Castilians would be indignant at learning that any foreign po tentate meditated the dismemberment of that empire of which Castile was the head might have been foreseen. But it was less easy to foresee that William would be the chief, and, indeed, almost the only object of their indignation. If the meditated partition really was unjustifiable, there could be no doubt that Lewis was far more to blame than William. For it was by Lewis, and not by William, that the partition had been originally suggested; and it was Lewis, and not William, who was to gain an accession of territory by the partition. Nobody could doubt that William would most gladly have acceded to any arrangement by which the Spanish monarchy could be preserved entire without danger to the liberties of Europe, and that he had agreed to the division of that monarchy solely for the purpose of contenting Lewis. Nevertheless, the Spanish ministers carefully avoided whatever could give offence to Lewis, and indemnified themselves by offering a gross indignity to William. The truth is, that their pride had, as extravagant pride often has, a close affinity with meanness. They knew that it was unsafe to insult Lewis, and they believed that they might with perfect safety insult William. Lewis was absolute, master of his large kingdom. He had at no great distance armies and fleets which one word from him would put in motion. If he were provoked, the white flag might in a few days be again flying on the walls of Barcelona. His immense power was contemplated by the Castilians with hope as well as with fear. He, and he alone, they imagined, could avert that dismemberment of which they could not bear to think. Perhaps he might yet be induced to violate the engagements into which he

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