Such were the instructions of Philip to Eboli, and precisely in accordance with the program, was the horrible comedy enacted at the death-bed of the envoy. Three days after his parting interview with his disinterested friend, the Marquis was a corpse.
This he turns over to the king, and gets a warrant for the arrest of Carlos. The young prince, suspecting quite reasonably that he has been betrayed, goes to Eboli for enlightenment. Here Posa finds him and draws his dagger upon the woman, as if she were the possessor of some terrible secret, which in fact she is not. Then he relents and arrests Carlos without explanation.
Since Escovedo's immediate family now washed their hands of the affair, Vasquez sought out more distant relatives of the murdered man, and stirred them up until they went in their turn to pester the courts, not only with accusations against myself, but with accusations that now openly linked with mine the name of the Princess of Eboli.
This paper, written in Philip's own hand, had been delivered to Eboli on the very day of his visit to Bergen, and bore the superscription that it was not to be read nor opened till the messenger who brought it had left his presence. It directed the Prince, if it should be evident Marquis was past recovery, to promise him, in the King's name, the permission of returning to the Netherlands.
As this unfortunate lady's only crime consisted in her husband's intrigue with the king's mistress, Princess Eboli, in which she could scarcely be considered an accomplice, this permission to exchange one form of incarceration for another did not seem an act of very great benignity.
Dolores had reached the last passage that led out upon the terrace, when she heard hurrying footsteps behind her, and a woman in a cloak slipped beside her, walking very easily and smoothly. It was the Princess of Eboli.
I do not believe that there was ever in Spain a Minister so highly favoured by the reigning Prince, so powerful as I became. Not Eboli himself in his halcyon days had been so deeply esteemed of Philip, or had wielded such power as I now made my own. All Europe knows it for it was to me all Europe addressed itself for affairs that concerned the Catholic King.
QUEEN. Then heaven be praised! it was the marquis seized him! EBOLI. Can you speak thus, and with such tranquil mien? Oh, heavens! you do not know you cannot think QUEEN. The cause of his arrest! some trifling error, Doubtless arising from his headlong youth! EBOLI. No! no! I know far better. No, my queen! Remorseless treachery! There's no help for him. He dies! QUEEN. He dies!
The queen recoiled one step, crimson with astonishment and rage; but before she could find words to reply, the lady continued in a voice that betrayed no feeling "I request you to make my son Count of Eboli." "That has nothing to do with me, madam; the barons of this kingdom would revolt to a man if I were on my own authority to exalt to one of the first dignities the son of a "
As soon as it was clear that he meant to descend the steps to the floor of the hall, the chief courtiers came forward, Ruy Gomez de Silva, Prince of Eboli, Alvarez de Toledo, the terrible Duke of Alva, the Dukes of Medina Sidonia and of Infantado, Don Antonio Perez the chief Secretary, the Ambassadors of Queen Elizabeth of England and of France, and a dozen others, bowing so low that the plumes of their hats literally touched the floor beside them.