Before the king's return from Holland, he had concerted with his allies the operations of the ensuing campaign. He had engaged in a negotiation with the prince of Hesse D'Armstadt, who assured him that if he would besiege and take Cadiz, the admiral of Castile, and divers other grandees of Spain, would declare for the house of Austria.
Three years later the King and Queen, with the grandees of their Court, set out to visit Hsiang Shan, but on the way the monarchs were captured by the Green Lion, or God of Fire, and the White Elephant, or Spirit of the Water, the two guardians of the Temple of Buddha, who transported them to a dark cavern in the mountains.
This was replied to by an entreaty that they would still wait patiently for twenty-four days, in hopes of an answer from the king; and she sent the marquess of Bergen in all speed to Madrid, to support Montigny in his efforts to obtain some prompt decision from Philip. The king, who was then at Segovia, assembled his council, consisting of the duke of Alva and eight other grandees.
"They concealed the most powerful cause of the immobility of their countrymen; it was to be discovered in the interested attachment of their grandees to the crafty policy of Russia, which flattered their self-love, respected their customs, and secured their right over the peasants, whom the French came to set free. Doubtless, national independence appeared too dear a purchase at such a price."
It had been his father's policy to hold the grandees in subjection, and to govern by means of ministers who were little more than clerks, generally of humble origin; keeping the reins in his own hands. Such great personages as he did employ, like Alva, Don John of Austria, and Farnese, were sure at last to excite his jealousy and to incur his hatred.
Before Don Alvarez could reply to this appeal, Zamore had been haled off by the enraged soldiery before the Council of Grandees. Don Gusman had been mortally wounded; and the Council proceeded at once to condemn to death, not only Zamore, but also Alzire, who, they found, had been guilty of complicity in the murder.
This vice was a fruitful source of hurt, as well as blame, to himself, to say nothing of unhappiness to many. The cupidity of this prince always caused him to incline towards those who promised him most. All his own oaths, and those of the bishops and the grandees, were consequently violated."
You grandees are now too rich, and though you pretend to be anxious about my interests, you are only thinking of what might happen to yourselves in case of my death, and the dismemberment of my empire. I regulate my conduct much more by the sentiments of my army than by yours. Is it my fault that the height of power which I have attained compels me to ascend to the dictatorship of the world?
James contrived to mortify and to mark the difference between those with whom she was, and with whom she was not, upon terms of intimacy and equality. Thus the ancient grandees of Spain drew a line of demarcation between themselves and the newly created nobility.
But the luxury of a great city enriches also many an industrious hand, and supports more poor than philanthropy with its expenditure of alms. Those aviaries and fish-ponds of the grandees were of course, as a rule, a very costly indulgence.