Thus much may be built upon as a certainty, that neither the palace here upon Monday morning when I went, nor the Escurial this morning when I left it, had the least notice or inkling of any intention of the French Ambassador to go thither at this time. A report there hath been for some days whispered, that the said Ambassador is revoken.
The expensive policy of maintaining traitors in every cabinet of Europe; the support of the League in France; the revolt of the Moors in Granada; the conquest of Portugal, and the magnificent fabric of the Escurial, drained at last his apparently inexhaustible treasury, and prevented his acting in the field with spirit and energy.
The armies might proceed to Vienna, pillage the Escurial, or subjugate all Europe, and I am convinced no emotion of pleasure would be excited equal to that manifested at the downfall of the Jacobins of Paris.
She was denied the pleasure of placing a flower upon his grave, for King Philip had done his dead brother the honour which he withheld from him during life and, though only as a corpse, received him among the members of his illustrious race. His coffin had been entombed in the cold family vault of the Escurial, where no sunbeam enters.
He cast one glance on those beloved features, unseen for eighteen years, those features over which corruption seemed to have no power, and rushed from the vault, exclaiming, "She is with God; and I shall soon be with her." The awful sight completed the ruin of his body and mind. The Escurial became hateful to him; and he hastened to Aranjuez.
The diversions which had been the serious employment of his youth became distasteful to him. He ceased to find pleasure in his nets and boar spears, in the fandango and the bullfight. Sometimes he shut himself up in an inner chamber from the eyes of his courtiers. Sometimes he loitered alone, from sunrise to sunset, in the dreary and rugged wilderness which surrounds the Escurial.
Hobhouse, that his friend made a more perilous, though less celebrated, achievement by water than his crossing the Hellespont, in swimming from old Lisbon to Belem Castle, Byron praises the neighbouring Cintra, as "the most beautiful village in the world," though he joins with Wordsworth in heaping anathemas on the Convention, and extols the grandeur of Mafra, the Escurial of Portugal, in the convent of which a monk, showing the traveller a large library, asked if the English had any books in their country.
Most of the productions of the Grenadian authors of this period perished at the final conquest of their country; but some of them have been preserved, and still exist in the library of the Escurial.
Nay, the document establishing the University, a paper, which with all the earnestness that dictated it, deserves to be called an unsurpassed masterpiece of the subtlest political irony, purported to issue from King Philip's mouth, and it sounds amusing enough to read in this paper, that the gloomy dunce in the Escurial, after mature deliberation with his dear and faithful cousin, William of Orange, has determined to found a freeschool and university, from motives, which could not fail to seem abominable to the King.
On the 27th of October we went, with all our train, to see the Escurial, the Duke de Medina de las Torres having procured a letter here from the Pope's Nuncio to give me leave to see the convent there, which cannot be seen by any woman without his leave: likewise the Duke did send letters to the Prior, commanding him to assist in showing all the principal parts of that princely fabric, and to lodge us in the lodging of the Duke de Montaldo, the Mayor-domo to her Majesty.