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"Hardly a nail," said a Spaniard, writing soon afterwards from Brussels, "was left standing in the walls." The troops seemed to imagine themselves in a Turkish town, and wreaked the Divine vengeance which Alva had denounced upon the city with an energy which met with his fervent applause.

On the other hand, Medina Coeli wrote to the King, complaining of Alva in most unmitigated strains, and asserting that he was himself never allowed to see any despatches, nor to have the slightest information as to the policy of the government.

He had appointed the Duke of Alva to the regency, because it was his royal will and pleasure so to appoint him. The Spanish soldiery were necessary for the thorough chastisement of the rebels, and could not be at present removed.

Alva had now the reins of power in his hand, and with a relentless zeal and cold-blooded ferocity, which have made his name a by-word, he set about the accomplishment of the fell task with which his master had entrusted him.

Unable to speak, but indicating by the expression of his features the occurrence of a great misfortune, the Bishop, soon after his entrance, placed the paper given to him by Alva in Egmont's hands. The unfortunate noble thus suddenly received the information that his death-sentence had been pronounced, and that its execution was fixed for the next morning.

The envoys on the part of Philip were the Prince of Orange, the Duke of Alva, the Bishop of Arras, Ruy Gomez de Silva, the president Viglius; on that of the French monarch, the Constable, the Marshal de Saint Andre, the Cardinal de Lorraine, the Bishop of Orleans, and Claude l'Aubespine.

If it had required thirty thousand choice troops, among which were three regiments called by Alva respectively, the "Invincibles," the "Immortals," and the "None-such," to conquer the weakest city of Holland in seven months, and with the loss of twelve thousand men; how many men, how long a time, and how many deaths would it require to reduce the rest of that little province?

Alva, who came provided with full powers to carry out the great scheme resolved upon, unrestrained by provincial laws or by the statutes of the Golden Fleece, had left Madrid to embark for Carthagena, at the very moment when Egmont was reading the royal letter.

His friends disputed whether he were greater in the field or in the council, but it is certain that he was great in neither. His bigotry was equal to that of Alva, but it was impossible to rival the Duke in cruelty.

Alva did, indeed, after the act was done, endeavor to appease her by declaring that the design had been purposely kept secret from her in order to spare her name from being mixed up in so odious a transaction; but no such considerations of delicacy could close the wound which had been inflicted on her pride.