CHAPTER XXX. ELIZABETH. A.D. 1558 - 1587.

All through Queen Mary's time, her sister Elizabeth, Anne Boleyn's daughter, had been in trouble. Those who held by Queen Mary, and maintained Henry's first marriage, said that his wedding with Anne was no real one, and so that Elizabeth ought not to reign; but then there was no one else to take in her stead, except the young Queen Mary of Scotland, wife to the French dauphin. All who wished for the Reformation, and dreaded Mary's persecutions had hoped to see Elizabeth queen, and this had made Mary much afraid of her; and she was so closely watched and guarded that once she even said she wished she was a milkmaid, to be left in peace. While she had been in the Tower she had made friends with another prisoner, Robert Dudley, brother to the husband of Lady Jane Grey, and she continued to like him better than any other person as long as he lived.

When Mary died, Elizabeth was twenty-five, and the English were mostly willing to have her for their queen. She had read, thought, and learnt a great deal; and she took care to have the advice of wise men, especially of the great Thomas Cecil, whom she made Lord Burleigh, and kept as her adviser as long as he lived. She did not always follow even his advice, however; but, whenever she did, it was the better for her. She knew Robert Dudley was not wise, so, though she was so fond of him, she never let him manage her affairs for her. She would have wished to marry, but she knew her subjects would think this disgraceful, so she only made him Earl of Leicester: and her liking for him prevented her from ever bringing herself to accept any of the foreign princes who were always making proposals to her. Unfortunately he was not a good man, and did not make a good use of her favor, and he was much disliked by all the queen's best friends.

She was very fond of making stately journeys through the country. All the poor people ran to see her and admire her; but the noblemen who had to entertain her were almost ruined, she brought so many people who ate so much, and she expected such presents. These journeys were called Progresses. The most famous was to Lord Leicester's castle of Kenilworth, but he could quite afford it. He kept the clock's hands at twelve o'clock all the time, that it might always seem to be dinner time!

Elizabeth wanted to keep the English Church a pure and true branch of the Church, free of the mistakes that had crept in before her father's time. So she restored the English Prayer-book, and cancelled all that Mary had done; the people who had gone into exile returned, and all the Protestants abroad reckoned her as on their side. But, on the other hand, the Pope would not regard her as queen at all, and cut her and her country off from the Church, while Mary of Scotland and her husband called themselves the true queen and king of England; and such of the English as believed the Pope to have the first right over the Church, held with him and Mary of Scotland. They were called Roman Catholics, while Elizabeth and her friends were the real Catholics, for they held with the Church Universal of old: and it was the Pope who had broken off with them for not accepting his doctrines, not they with the Pope. The English who had lived abroad in Mary's time wanted to have much more altered, and to have churches and services much less beautiful and more plain than they were. But Elizabeth never would consent to this; and these people called themselves Puritans, and continued to object to the Episcopal form of worship.