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Women of the Romance Countries By John R. Effinger Characters: 32526

Updated: 2017-11-30 00:05

The Women of the Little Monarchies

In spite of the fact that Spain was an easy conquest for the Moors and that whole cities surrendered to the invaders without having struck a single blow in their own defence, it must not be supposed that there was no opposition whatever and no show of Spanish patriotism. The great mass of the population, it is true, were yielding and willing to accept any terms, so long as they were allowed to live unmolested. Such were the Romanized Spaniards, who formed a majority of the population, but who had long been held in subjection by the masterful Goths. As a race they lacked energy and vitality, and they were too corrupt and pleasure-loving to be moved by patriotic instincts in such a time of national crisis. A certain portion of the Goths, however, after their defeat at the battle of Guadalete, decided to renounce their lands and all their possessions rather than live under the rule of the Mohammedans; and with their wives and children and such little treasure as they could hurriedly get together, they set out for the north and found a refuge in the rocky slopes of the Pyrenees. The mountain passes were not under the control of any of these Christian refugees, and the Moors were free to advance on the fair fields of southern France so long as they did not turn aside to molest the Spanish patriots. When they did make such attack, the fortunes of war were generally against them, and more than once those modes of mountain warfare were employed which at an earlier date wrought such great havoc with the hosts of Charlemagne at the pass of Roncesvalles. In these desperate conflicts, as in the olden time when the Celtiberians were trying to beat back the power of Rome, the women were not slow to take their place beside their fathers and husbands at the first wild call to arms. The old Moorish leader Mousa had spoken well when he told the kalif at Damascus that the Christians of Spain were lions in their castles, and the Moors were repeatedly given ample proof of the wisdom of his observation.

"Covadonga's conquering site

Cradle was of Spanish might,"

so says the old ballad. And what and where was Covadonga? At the far western extremity of the Pyrenees, where the Sierra Penamerella thrusts its rugged spur into the Atlantic, was a great mountain cavern, Covadonga, large enough to shelter as many as three hundred men, and there had gathered together the strongest of the Christian bands after the Moorish victory in the south. A long, sinuous valley or ravine, named Cangas, that is to say, the "shell," sloped down to the foothills from the mouth of the cave and seemed to present an easy approach to the stronghold. Pelayo, of the royal line of the Goths, had here been proclaimed a king in 718, and here was the beginning of that kingdom of Asturias and Leon which was later to become a mighty one in Spain. The Moors soon tried to crush this growing power, which was a menace to their own security. They sent an army under a chief named Al Kama, who was to win over the recalcitrants by the offer of fair terms, if possible; and if not, he was to storm their rude citadel and destroy them utterly. The proposal for a shameful peace was indignantly refused, and the Moors, confident of victory, and outnumbering the Christian warriors many times, swept up the broad slope of the long and winding valley to the cavern's mouth. The summits of the rocky walls on either side were filled with people, many of them women, who were waiting for the signal from Pelayo and his brave handful of followers. When the foreguard of the Moors was near the entrance to the cave, the king and his men, mounted, led the attack in front, and all along the line the carnage began. Now let the Spanish ballad speak again:

"'In the name

Of God! For Spain or vengeance!' And forthwith

On either side along the whole defile,

The Asturians shouting: 'In the name of God!'

Set the whole ruin loose: huge trunks, and stones,

And loosened crags, down, down they rolled with rush

And bound and thundering force."

The mountain torrent which had its course along the valley was dyed red with the pagan blood, and so great was the humiliation of the Moors that the Arab chroniclers observe a discreet silence with regard to the details of this defeat. But for the brave and valiant assistance of the Spanish women this defeat might not have been possible.

Another instance of the bravery of the Spanish women, which at this distance seems somewhat tinged with the air of comic opera, is connected with the heroic defence of Orihuela. It was at the time of the Moorish invasion, when the Gothic leaders, after their pitiful failure at Guadalete, were seeking cover and scurrying off to places of safety, closely pursued by the ardent sons of the Prophet. Duke Theodomir, hard pressed in the mountains of Murcia, was obliged to ride for his life; and with but few attendants, he finally succeeded in making his way, after many adventures, to the walled town of Orihuela, with the enemy close upon his heels. To prevent an immediate attack, gain time, and circumvent the Moors in as many ways as possible, Theodomir had to think quickly. The town was practically without a garrison when he entered it, and his followers were too few in numbers to avail him much. Then it was that the women of the town came to his assistance, offering to do what he might command for the common safety. Theodomir clothed them in armor at once, gave them spears and swords, ordered them to tie their hair under their chins, that they might look like bearded men, and then stationed his amazon warriors upon the walls and fortifications, where they made such a brave parade that the Moors were afraid to attack the city, and offered to parley with the Spaniards. Seizing upon this favorable opportunity, Theodomir, disguised as a legate, and preceded by his page, who played the part of a royal herald, boldly entered the hostile camp, made his way to the tent of Abdul Aziz, the leader, and there, by his consummate acting, succeeded in obtaining the province of Murcia, together with seven cities which he was to hold under the kalif, on condition of a yearly tribute. Such was the defence of Orihuela, and while it involved no strenuous fighting, it was at the same time no mediocre test of womanly daring. After the first few trying hours of the masquerade had been passed, however, and it was evident that the ruse had been successful, it may well be imagined that these feminine warriors were not slow to see the humor of the situation, and many must have been the jests as they passed each other upon the battlements, with the Moors, far down below, completely awed by their warlike mien.

Dryden has said: "Women emasculate a monarch's reign;" and more than one instance of the truth of this statement may be found in the court annals of almost any country. The history of the little monarchies of Spain in that chaotic, formative period, when the Christians were slowly gaining in power and strength and preparing for the great final struggle which was to overcome the turbaned invaders and consolidate the Spanish interests, presents many chapters of exceeding interest wherein women play no unimportant r?le, and the dowager-queen Teresa, mother of King Sancho the Fat, of Leon, stands out as a prominent figure among them all. Endowed with no mean portion of feminine art and cunning, she was the author of a plot which gave inspiration for a whole cycle of ballads. The bravest Christian champion in all Spain in the latter half of the tenth century was Fernan Gonzalez, Count of Castile, a veritable Spanish Warwick, who was held in such high esteem by his countrymen that they inscribed upon his great carved tomb at Burgos: A Fernan Gonzalez, Libertador de Castilla, el más excelente General de ese tiempo [To Fernan Gonzalez, liberator of Castile, the greatest general of his time]. His great success, however, in his forays against the Moors made Do?a Teresa fearful lest some harm might befall her sluggish son, King Sancho. For some time Sancho had been on good terms with the Moors. He had even journeyed to Cordova to consult a celebrated physician, and had in many ways been treated with such favor by the kalif, Abd-el-Rhaman, that people had begun to shake their heads and ask themselves whether the ruler of Leon was doing all in his power for the good of Christendom. After the great success of Gonzalez at Pedrahita, where the Saracen invader Abu Alaxi suffered signal defeat, there was greater dissatisfaction than ever with this do-nothing policy, and the Count of Castile was hailed on every hand as the greatest of the Christian warriors. Her jealousy aroused, Do?a Teresa now resolved upon desperate measures, ready to stop at nothing in her mad desire to overthrow Gonzalez. On her advice, the count was summoned to Sancho's capital, Oviedo, for a general conference in regard to matters of Christian defence, and to Oviedo Gonzalez came, little suspecting the trap which had been laid for him there. Do?a Teresa knew that Gonzalez had lately lost his wife, and she found opportunity during his stay, after many words of fulsome flattery, in which she was no novice, to counsel him to seek the hand of her niece, Do?a Sancha, daughter of King Garcia of Navarre. She even undertook to arrange this marriage for him and promised to send her messengers on ahead, that the Navarrese court might be ready to receive him in case he thought best to go at once to press his suit. Gonzalez, at this moment a living example of Gay's couplet,

"And when a lady's in the case,

You know all other things give place,"

all inflamed by the glowing descriptions of Do?a Sancha's beauty, and at the same time fully aware of the political advantage which might follow from this alliance with the powerful house of Navarre, was only too eager to go on the moment, as the cunning Do?a Teresa had supposed; and he set out at once, leaving Oviedo amidst the sound of martial music, with banners flying, and the populace cheering lustily and in all good faith, for they loved this doughty hero. Do?a Teresa had kept her word, in that she had sent on her messengers ahead to announce his coming, but the reception that she was preparing for him was far different from the one which he had imagined. King Garcia was informed by his crafty sister that Gonzalez was coming with an impudent demand for his daughter's hand, and that for the general safety he should be seized and put into one of the castle dungeons as soon as he appeared. Do?a Sancha, the prospective bride of his ardent imagination, was no party to all this, for the rumors of Gonzalez's visit which had come to her ears had filled her with excitement, and she looked forward to his coming with no little fluttering of heart. King Garcia, however, was faithful to his sister's command, and the poor Count Gonzalez, taken unawares, was promptly cast into prison on his arrival. What Do?a Sancha did on learning the unworthy r?le she had been made to play in this sad event is well told in the ballad which recounts the story, and here, as will be seen, a Norman knight is made to act as her informant. The verses are in Lockhart's admirable translation:

"The Norman feasts among the guests, but at the evening tide

He speaks to Garci's daughter within her bower aside:

'Now God forgive us, lady, and God His Mother dear,

For on a day of sorrow we have been blithe of cheer.

"'The Moors may well be joyful, but great should be our grief,

For Spain has lost her guardian, Castile hath lost her chief;

The Moorish host is pouring like a river o'er the land;

Curse on the Christian fetters that bind Gon?ales's hand.

"'Gon?ales loves thee, lady, he loved thee long ago,

But little is the kindness that for his love you show;

The curse that lies on Cava's head, it may be shared by thee.

Arise! let love with love be paid, and set Gon?ales free.'

"The lady answers little, but at the midst of night,

When all her maids are sleeping, she hath risen and ta'en her flight;

She hath tempted the alcayde with her jewels and her gold,

And unto her his prisoner, that jailer false hath sold.

"She took Gon?ales by the hand at the dawning of the day,

She said 'Upon the heath you stand, before you lies the way,

But if I to my father go-alas! what must I do!

My father will be angry-I fain would go with you.'"

It is perhaps needless to add that the fair Do?a Sancha did go with the gallant captain, and in the lofty cathedral at Burgos, which was his capital, their wedding was celebrated in great state. At the conclusion of the marriage feast, however, Gonzalez determined to punish the faithless Garcia, and made war against him to such good effect that he was made a prisoner and only released after the repeated intercessions of his sister, Do?a Teresa. Why Gonzalez should have listened to the pleadings of Teresa after her treatment of him is rather hard to imagine. A still further proof of his unsuspicious character is seen in the fact that he allowed himself to be inveigled into going to Leon to attend a meeting of the Cortes, and while there he was again imprisoned. Such was the sum of Do?a Teresa's iniquity, and all because she was in the clutch of the green-eyed monster and put a higher value upon the glory of her house than upon the glory of the Christian arms. This was the occasion for the good wife Do?a Sancha to show her courage and loyalty, which stand out in striking contrast to the treacherous acts of her jealous aunt. It was Shakespeare who said: "These women are shrewd tempters with their tongues;" and as the alcayde had been won over at the time of Gonzalez's first captivity, so now again Do?a Sancha put her nimble wits to work and devised another plan for his release. In robe of sombre hue, she set out upon a pious pilgrimage to Santiago; and as her way lay through Leon, where her husband languished in prison, she resolved to tarry by the way for a short while and visit him in his misery. Permission for such a visit was slow in coming, as Do?a Teresa was resolved this time that Gonzalez should not escape. After much pleading, however, Do?a Sancha had her way, and the prison doors swung open before her. Once alone with her husband, she quickly changed clothes with him; and the Count of Castile, in the garb of a woman, soon after passed the jailers and found himself at liberty. By the time the ruse was discovered, he was leagues away and in safety among his friends. The wrath of Teresa and her son King Sancho may well be imagined when the news was brought to them; but they resolved to take the matter in a philosophic way, after the first moment of anger had passed, and Do?a Sancha was allowed to join her husband, going unharmed from this unfriendly court.

In all this warring, romantic period of the tenth century, by far the most interesting and thrilling tale is that of Do?a Lambra and the Seven Lords of Lara, and while the story is somewhat legendary and based rather upon stirring ballads than upon authentic records, it must not be forgotten here. Do?a Lambra, a kinswoman of the Count of Castile, had been married with great ceremony at Burgos to Ruy Velasquez, brother-in-law to Don Gonzalo, Count of Lara in the Asturias; and during the five weeks of pleasure and feasting which celebrated this happy event, there were no knights in all the glittering throng more striking in appearance and more admired for their many accomplishments than the seven stalwart sons of Don Gonzalo, the nephews of the bridegroom, who were called the Seven Lords of Lara. During the very last week of the festivities a wooden target was set up upon the other side of the river, and the knights threw light Moorish djerrids, or wooden javelins, at it, each trying with a surer aim to outdo his fellows. Do?a Lambra was an interested spectator, and when at last Alvaro Sanchez, one of her favorite cousins, struck the target full in the centre, she was more than pleased, and declared that he was the best marksman of them all. The Seven Lords of Lara had taken no part in this contest as yet, for six of the brothers had been bus

ily engaged in playing chess, and the youngest of them all, Gonzalo Gonzales, had been standing idly by. Piqued, however, by Do?a Lambra's praise of her kinsman, young Gonzalo threw himself upon his horse, rode to the river's edge, and hurled his djerrid with such force that he completely shattered the target far on the other side. This unexpected turn of events so angered the bride that she grew white with rage, and Alvaro vented his spleen in such abusive language that Gonzalo dealt him a blow which struck him fairly upon the mouth and knocked out his teeth. Thereat Do?a Lambra cried out that no maiden had ever been so dishonored at her wedding, and bloodshed was narrowly averted by the interference of the Counts of Castile and Lara. As it was feared that Ruy Velasquez might be urged on to vengeance by his angered wife, he was induced to set out upon a trip through Castile with many of the older knights, while the Seven Lords of Lara, in the midst of a larger company, were left to escort the bride to her new home at Bavardiello. Once arrived, the brothers went into the garden of the palace, where Gonzalo, who was a devotee of falconry, was engaged in bathing his favorite hawk, when suddenly, without warning, one of Do?a Lambra's slaves rushed upon him and threw in his face a gourd filled with blood. In medi?val Spain this was a most deadly insult, and all the brothers drew their swords and rushed after the offender. They came upon him crouching at Do?a Lambra's feet, and there they killed him without mercy, so that his blood was sprinkled upon her garments. Then, taking their mother with them, they returned to their home at Salas. This time Do?a Lambra demanded vengeance in no uncertain tone, and Ruy Velasquez began to plot in her behalf. The old Count of Lara was prevailed upon to go to the kalif at Cordova, bearing a letter from Velasquez which was supposedly of political import, but which was intended to be the count's death warrant. The kalif, loath to put so brave a knight to death, cast him into prison. Soon after, he made an attack upon the Christians. Velasquez gathered an army to oppose him, and succeeded in getting the young Lords of Lara to join him. In the midst of the battle, Velasquez and his whole army deserted, leaving the seven youths and a small company of retainers to fight alone against the Moorish host. Taken prisoners, their heads were cut off and sent to Cordova, where the kalif was cruel enough to present them to their imprisoned father for identification. Now let the ballad take up the story:

"He took their heads up one by one, he kissed them o'er and o'er;

And aye ye saw the tears run down, I wot that grief was sore.

He closed the lids on their dead eyes, all with his fingers frail,

And handled all their bloody curls, and kissed their lips so pale.

"'Oh had ye died all by my side upon some famous day,

My fair young men, no weak tears then had washed your blood away;

The trumpet of Castile had drowned the misbelievers' horn,

And the last of all the Lara's line a Gothic spear had borne.'

"With that it chanced a man drew near to lead him from the place,

Old Lara stooped him down once more, and kissed Gonzalo's face;

But ere the man observed him, or could his gesture bar,

Sudden he from his side had grasped that Moslem's scymetar."

Before the count was overpowered he had killed thirteen of the Moors, and then he begged that he might be put to death; but the kalif, on learning all of the details of the treachery of Velasquez, restored the count to liberty and sent him back to his wife in the castle at Salas. The fate of the revengeful Do?a Lambra is not recorded, but it is to be hoped that she was made to atone in some way for all her savage rage.

About Ximena and her far-famed husband Don Rodrigo, widely known as the Cid, many marvellous tales have been told, and it is a matter for regret that so many of them are purely legendary. According to one of the traditions, which was followed by the French dramatic poet Pierre Corneille when he wrote his famous play, Le Cid, in 1636, Ximena is given a much more prominent place in the story than that accorded to her in history. According to this version, Don Diego, father of Don Rodrigo, is given a mortal insult by the braggart Don Gomez, who is the father of Ximena. Young Don Rodrigo, eager to avenge the slight put upon his aged father, provokes Don Gomez to a duel and kills him. Ximena, who has loved Don Rodrigo, overcome by these tragic events, is at a loss to know what to do, and in her heart there is a fierce struggle between her love for her lover and her respect for her father. This distressing situation is relieved somewhat by the thought that Don Rodrigo, in killing her father, has but avenged his own; but still her Spanish nature cries for redress, and she appeals to King Fernan of Castile, at whose court all these things have taken place. Believing her love for Don Rodrigo to be stronger than her hatred, the king suddenly announces the death of Rodrigo, which so surprises Ximena that she discloses her deep affection, which she had made an attempt to conceal; whereat he announces his intention to unite the two lovers as soon as Rodrigo should have given further proof of his valor.

As a matter of fact, the Cid was a free-lance of undoubted bravery and courage, who fought now with and now against the Moors; but in spite of the fact that he was not always true to the same allegiance, he is essentially a popular hero, as he represents a spirit of boldness and independence which in itself is enough to endear him to the minds of the people. His killing of Don Gomez in the manner described is extremely doubtful, and history affords no details as to the manner of his wooing or his wedding. But Ximena was his wife, shared in many of his hardships, and at his death, in 1099, ruled in his stead for three years at Valencia. Finally, much harried by the Moslems, who were ever growing bolder, Ximena withdrew to Burgos, taking with her the body of the Cid, embalmed in precious spices, and borne, as in the days of his vigor, on the back of his great warhorse Babieca. The Cid was buried in the monastery of Cardena, near Burgos; and there the brave Do?a Ximena was laid by his side at the time of her death, in 1104. Although a number of fanciful stories have been told about the daughters of Ximena and the doughty Cid, the fact remains that they had two daughters, who married into some of the noblest houses of all Spain. The elder, Christina, became the wife of Ramiro, Infante of Navarre; while the younger, Maria, married Count Ramon Berenguer III. of Barcelona. After a long series of intermarriages, to quote from Burke, in a double stream, through the royal houses of Spain and of France, the blood of the Cid is found to flow in the veins of his majesty Alfonso XIII., the reigning King of Spain.

The religious side of Spanish life in the eleventh century, so far as Christianity is concerned, centres about a woman, Constance of Burgundy, the wife of King Alfonso VI. of Castile. This was the period when the monk Hildebrand, become Pope Gregory VII., was endeavoring to unify the power of the Roman Church and strengthen the authority of the papacy; and as he had a devout woman, the Countess Matilda of Tuscany, to aid him in Italy, so he had as his firm ally in Spain the pious Queen Constance, daughter of King Robert of France. Constance was not a Spanish woman, but the influence she exerted in Spain had such a far-reaching effect that she cannot be overlooked in any category such as the present. With Constance to Spain came the monk Bernard of Cluny, a pale ascetic, who had just been leading a crusade against the corruption existing in the Church itself, and whose whole life had been devoted to serious things. The French court had been given over to works of piety, the Church had great authority, and the clergy were held in high esteem. When the French princess left this devout atmosphere to go to sunny Spain, she had grave misgivings as to the frivolous and irreverent character of her new subjects, and deemed it wise to take with her as a friend and adviser the stern Bernard. The worst fears of these two zealous Christians were more than realized. The king had friendly intercourse with Moorish vassals, and Moslem and Christian lived side by side in perfect harmony! That all this should be and at a time when the same Moslem brood was defiling the place of the Holy Sepulchre in far-off Palestine, and when the crusading spirit filled the air, was almost beyond belief, and Constance and the monk were greatly scandalized thereat. Totally without that toleration which comes with experience, they could conceive of no religion as a good religion which did not meet the rigid requirements of their own belief; and they planned at once a Spanish crusade which was intended to improve the general deplorable condition of public morals and at the same time to modify, in a most radical way, the liturgy of the Spanish Church, which was far too lax in points of discipline. Their conduct at the time of the surrender of Toledo, in 1074, is a most excellent example of the eager, yet thoughtless, way in which they went about their new work. When King Alfonso, after an interval of more than three hundred years, regained possession of the ancient capital of the Goths, the city from which the luckless Rodrigo, the last of the Goths, was driven, Toledo was surrendered on the express condition that the Moors should not be disturbed in their religious beliefs and that they were to retain the use of their mosques. Such terms with such an enemy appeared monstrous to the queen. Especially did it seem a sin before God that the principal mosque, the Alfaqui, the noblest building in all that fair city which lay stretched out with many a gilded dome and minaret upon its seven hills above the Tagus, should still be used for the worship of a pagan people; and Constance and Bernard plotted together, piously, for the triumph of the true religion. The first time that the king left the city, Bernard, now Archbishop of Toledo, acting under the authority of Queen Constance, went to the Alfaqui at the head of a company of monks summoned from his monastery at Sahagun, opened the doors, set up crosses, erected altars, hung bells, and then publicly summoned the people to mass on the following morning. The king, upon his return, was furious at this intolerant act, and was moved to threaten punishment; but the Moors, satisfied by his indignation, displayed a real spirit of toleration in asking for the pardon of the monks.

The queen and Bernard, successful in this first struggle, continued to labor incessantly for the glory of the Church. The masterful Pope Gregory VII., in his letter addressed to the princes of Spain, said: "You are aware, I believe, that from the earliest times the kingdom of Spain was the special patrimony of Saint Peter, and although pagans have occupied it, it still belongs to the same master." The King of Castile was not bold enough to deny this papal claim of overlordship, and Gregory demanded as first proof of his submission that he should substitute throughout his realm the Roman liturgy for the national or Mozarabic ritual then in general use. Queen Constance and Bernard were in favor of this reform, and they prevailed upon the king to accept it; but it was a far different matter to secure its actual use at the hands of the national clergy, who were strongly opposed to the change. In spite of all her efforts the queen could do nothing, and finally, as a compromise, it was decided to submit the question to the ordeal of trial by battle. Two champions were duly appointed who fought before a most august assembly over which the queen presided. The Knight of the Gothic Missal, Don Juan Ruiz de Matanzas, killed the Champion of Rome, and was not only victorious, but unscathed, much to the disgust of Constance and her followers. The manifest disinclination to accept this result as final made another ordeal necessary, and this time, in truly Spanish style, a bull fight was resolved upon. The great arena at Toledo was selected as the place where this ecclesiastical combat was to take place, and on the appointed day the great amphitheatre was crowded with an expectant multitude. The queen, the king, and the archbishop, backed by black-robed monks, looked on with evident interest, hoping that this time the scales would turn in their favor; but the people, expert in contests of this kind, had already picked the Castilian bull as the winner and had begun to wager their small coin as to the probable duration of the fight. The people were right, the Roman toro was promptly slain, and once more the cause of Spain was triumphant. But the queen was persistent, and in spite of the fact that the result of each of these ordeals was popularly considered as a direct sign from heaven, she refused to accept them as final, because her pet project had been rejected. If the results had been different, there is little doubt but that the ordeals would have been received as infallible. However, it was not possible to cast a slight upon this time-honored procedure by any act which might tend to throw it into disrepute, so the whole question was dropped for the space of seven years. Queen Constance, in this interval, carried on a quiet campaign which she hoped would lead eventually to the adoption of the much discussed and twice rejected liturgy, and at no time did she give up her hope. Rome, to her narrow mind, must reign supreme in matters spiritual if the kingdom of Spain was to have relations with the kingdom of heaven, and she did not hesitate to ride rough-shod over the national clergy, to whom alone, without any aid whatever from the pope, the recent Christian successes in Spain had been due. When she considered the time ripe for some radical action, Gregory sent his legate, the Cardinal Ricardo, to hold a Church council at Burgos, and there it was formally decreed that the Mozarabic ritual must be put aside in Castile. Before the formal adoption of the Roman form, however, it was decided wise to resort once more to a trial by ordeal, as the favorable issue of such a public test would make it much easier to conquer the prejudices of the people. This time, Constance advising it, the ordeal by fire was tried, and, as Miss Yonge phrases it, "a great pile was erected in the market place of Toledo for the most harmless auto de fé that ever took place there." Seats were built up on all sides in amphitheatre fashion, the queen, the king, the court, and the dignitaries of the two clerical parties were there in special boxes, and again were the people much in evidence, but this time much in doubt as to the final outcome. When all was ready, the torch was applied to the pile and the two volumes were committed to the flames. The book which was not consumed by the fire was to be considered acceptable to God. To the chagrin of the papal party, the Roman book was utterly consumed, but the Gothic missal came forth unscathed. Although there was great rejoicing at this final triumph for the national clergy, the foreigners were in control, and the king, urged on by his wife, decided to act upon his own responsibility, without regard for the manifest judgment of heaven, and lost no time in giving his signature to the decree of the Council of Burgos, which then went into immediate effect. This time the people made no resistance, and, as has been said, Spain became once more, after the lapse of nearly seven centuries, the obedient province of Rome. In the succeeding centuries the influence of Rome has been ever present and powerful in the affairs of the Spanish peninsula, and whether for its weal or woe, which is not a matter for consideration here, the fact remains that Queen Constance was the one person in Spain who was most responsible for this state of affairs. Her unflagging interest in the success of the papal party and her perseverance in the face of the opposition of a majority of the Spanish clergy made her the life of the whole movement, and to this day she is held in grateful memory at the Holy See.

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