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Ada Margarette Smith Moreton.

A playmate of Philip II, being the history of Don Martin of Aragon, Duke of Villahermosa, and of Doña Luisa de Borja, his wife online

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A PLAYMATE
OF PHILIP II



Uniform with this Volume

THE STORY OF DON
JOHN OF AUSTRIA. By
Padre Luis Colema, SJ. (of
the Real Academia Espanola).
Translated from the Spanish by
Lady Moreton. With Photo-
gravure Frontispiece and 24 other
Illustrations.




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( Ex Libri3\
0. K. OGDEN

A PL AY M ATE
OF PHILIP II

BEING THE HISTORY OF DON
MARTIN OF ARAGON, DUKE OF
VILLAHERMOSA, AND OF DONA
LUISA DE BORJA HIS WIFE

BY LADY MORETON



WITH SEVENTEEN ILLUSTRATIONS



LONDON : JOHN LANE, THE BODLFY HEAD
NEW YORK: JOHN LANE COMPANY
TORONTO : BELL & COCKBURN . • . MCMXV



THE BALLANTYNE PRESS TAVISTOCK STREET COVENT GARDEN LONDON



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*^ ' , UNIVER.STT^Y OV uiNlA

/ (5 / SANTA BARBARA



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PREFACE



THE works, without which this book could
not have been written, came into my
hands through the kindness and cour-
tesy of the Duke of Luna, who not only gave me
permission to make use of them and to reproduce
the pictures, but himself made several notes
about the little-known painter, Rolam de Mois.

Except for a short memoir written as an
introduction to the " Discourses," by Don
Ramon Melida, who, as librarian to the family,
enjoyed unique opportunities of consulting the
archives, the life of Don Martin of Aragon, Duke
of Villahermosa, has never been told, even in
Spanish.

On the other hand, the biography of his
saintly wife has been exhaustively written three
times ; first by Padre Muniesa in 1691, at the
instance of Doiia Maria Guzman, wife of the
ninth Duke ; then the late Duchess of Villa-
hermosa instructed Don Valentin Carduera in
1876, and later Padre Norell in 1897, to write
two further memoirs of the holy Duchess.

It is from this last work, the " Discourses " and
an album of the proceedings of the Cervantes
celebrations held in Saragossa in 1905 (which



vi PREFACE

was also compiled by Sefior Melida by the direc-
tion of the Duchess) that the facts narrated
are chiefly taken. In truth the story is little
more than a patchwork of them, and in the words
of one of Cordova's Sultans, "Just as a tailor
useth his needle to sew together pieces of cloth,
so I " have stitched the shreds one to another
with such threads of history as seem to make
the sense more clear, striving to keep in view
the poet Sou they 's advice and " to omit none
of those little circumstances which give life to
narration, and bring old manners, old feelings,
and old times before your eyes."

As references have been as far as possible
omitted, it may be well to say that no statement
has been made without authority, and that
readers can accept the sketch as a slight, but
true, account of how the " first of the eight
families of Aragon " lived, and loved and died
nearly four centuries ago, in a " Chateau en
Espagne," not of dreams, but of fabric so solid
that it still remains the home of the same ancient
race.

A recent Portuguese author has said that there
are periods which have the gift of attracting the
interest of the cultivated, and names which have
the power of awakening popular imagination.
As instances he quotes the Renaissance, and the
daughters of Emanuel the Fortunate, of
Portugal.



PREFACE vii

If such perennial interest can be claimed for
the Empress Isabel and her sisters, it may
certainly with even greater reason be urged as
regards her husband Charles V, and her son
Philip II, of Spain. Therefore it may be hoped
that the quaint touches respecting them, which
peep out here and there in the life history of
that kinsman whom Philip dubbed the " Philo-
sopher of Aragon," and other members of the
Villahermosa family, will not be devoid of
interest.

My best thanks are due to Mrs. Emery for
allowing me to reproduce her beautiful picture
of Philip II by Titian, and to Sir Hugh Lane for
giving me permission to use his photograph of it,
also to my husband for all his help.

A. M. M.



CONTENTS



PREFACE




PAGE
V


MEMOIR




I


APPENDIX


(ROLAM DE MOIS)


215


INDEX




221



IX



ILLUSTRATIONS



PAGE



Don Martin de Gurrea y Aragon, Count of
RiBAGORZA, Duke of Villahermosa

Frontispiece

Dona Maria Lopez de Gurrea, Countess of

RiBAGORZA 4

Don Juan of Aragon, Duke of Luna io

Don Alonso Felipe de Gurrea y Aragc)n, Count

OF RiBAGORZA, DUKE OF LUNA l8

Dona Luisa de Borja y Arago'n, Countess of

RiBAGORZA, Duchess of Villahermosa 28

Don Martin, aged Thirty 52
Chasuble embroidered for St. Francis de Borja

BY his sister Dona Luisa 72

Philip II of Spain 78

Don Martin's Medal 90

" POMPA FuNEBRE " OF ChARLES V IN BRUSSELS Io8

Don Martin carrying the Royal Sword in the

Procession iio

Villahermosa Palace at Pedrola 134

Dona Ana de Aragon y Borja 150
Staircase of the Villahermosa Palace at

Pedrola 167

Don Juan Alonso de Aragon y Borja 178
Dona Ana Sarmiento de Ulloa, Countess of

RiBAGORZA 187

Don Alonso de Arago'n, First Duke of Villa-
hermosa 216



A PLAYMATE
OF PHILIP II



0^



CHAPTER I



YOUR friend the philosopher of Aragon
is dead," announced PhiHp II of
Spain one day to Cardinal Granvelle.

*' And your Majesty has lost a great vassal,
who for this reason was my friend," was the
diplomatic answer of the statesman. To say
more would probably have been impolitic, for r
Don Martin of Aragon, Duke of Villahermosa, (
who, by his fortitude in braving his many mis- '
fortunes, well merited the name of philosopher,
had been the playmate of Philip's childhood,
but later the victim of his stern justice.

One spring day, nearly four centuries ago and
more than fifty years before the above conversa-
tion took place, joy reigned in the Castle of
Pedrola, for a little son had been born to its
lord, Don Alonso Felipe of Aragon, the great
Count of Ribagorza. The mother of the baby,
Doila Ana de Sarmiento, was the Count's third
wife, and had already been married to him for
twelve long years. Time after time his great
wish for an heir had been disappointed, as it
would appear that all his thirteen daughters were
older than this " child of the miracle," who was

I A



2 A PLAYMATE OF PHILIP II

born on Friday, March 27, 1526 ; therefore the
father's deHght can be easily understood.

Early in the preceding summer the Count and
Countess had made the long, weary pilgrimage
on foot from their home at Pedrola, near Sara-
gossa, to Osella in the Pyrenees ; there to crave
at the shrine of St. Martin the blessing hitherto
withheld from them. Hardly had they regained
their home than they had hopes that their
prayers were to be answered, so it was only
natural that the baby should receive the name of
Martin, instead of John or Alonzo like his fore-
bears. It was possibly also in compliance with
some strange vow to the holy Bishop who gave
half his cloak to the beggar, that the parents
chose as sponsors to this precious child two
poor persons, who, as Don Martin's biographer
quaintly observes, probably henceforward ceased
to be so.

Nothing more is known of the first years of the
child, who grew up to play a part as a great
noble in the splendid days of Spain's prosperity,
and from whom it is most probable that Cer-
vantes drew the figure of the Duke in Don
Quixote ; but it may well be assumed that in
spite of a long stiff frock he had already begun
to toddle about the wide courtyard of Pedrola,
when one June morning, some fifteen months
later, his father, Don Alonso Felipe, set out for
Valladolid, through the country grey with its



A PLAYMATE OF PHILIP II 3

veil of wild lavender^ to attend the christening
of the little kinsman, who was afterwards
Philip II, son of the Emperor Charles and his
wife Isabel. It will be well to explain at once
why the children were relations.

Don Alonso Felipe of Aragon was the great
grandson of John II, King of Aragon, descended
from a son of that monarch who, for his valour,
had been created Duke of Villahermosa and
given the County of Ribagorza, then the greatest
fief a subject could hold, and formerly an in-
dependent state. By a noble lady, Dofia Maria
Junquers, whom he caused his soldiers to ab-
duct, no unwilling victim, from her father's
house, he had a son called John, an heroic figure
who deserves more than a passing notice, as not
only did he serve his country by filling great
offices, but was moreover a pioneer of the
Renaissance in Spain, his love of antiques having
been acquired, no doubt, in Naples during his
Viceroyalty, in which he succeeded the " Gran
Capitan." He was created Duke of Luna by
the Catholic King. Many years earlier King
John (to show his approval of the way Ribagorza
was defended during the Duke's absence by the
aforementioned Dofia Maria) had acknowledged
Don John as a grandson, and not only had
granted the County to him, but desired by will
that he should marry the great heiress, called
on that account the " Rica Hembra." Dofia



4 A PLAYMATE OF PHILIP II

Maria Lopez de Gurrea. The wedding took
place on St. John's day 1479, the bride being
decked out in tawny cloth with green velvet
stripes and a golden necklace. This learned
lady brought Pedrola and many other possessions
into her husband's family, as well as the surname
of Gurrea, which legend affirmed had been be-
stowed by King Pedro of Aragon on her ancestors
for their valiant deeds against the Moors at the
battle of Alcoraz, 1094. It is best to tell the
curious story about her and the swallow in her
grandson Don Martin's own words. " This same
have I heard certified by my father, the Count
Don Alonso, as having happened to my grand-
mother the Duchess of Luna, Dona Maria Lopez
de Gurrea, at one of my places called Pedrola.
It was this : this lady knew three languages
perfectly, having had a very learned master, she
studied Greek and Hebrew with a Dutch Rabbi
who lived in my town of Luna, where there were
rich Jews. Once in a tower to which these
birds (swallows) often came, either from curiosity
or remembering what Pliny had written, she
caught a swallow and in a quill of his wing put
a tiny writing in Greek, Latin and Hebrew,
with the date, and saying where and by whom
it had been caught, and then let it go ; the next
year when it came back to its nest she had the
curiosity to catch it, and she recognized the quill
and found an answer, which said that the











COUNTESS OF RIBAi;ORZA,
CALLP;i) THE KKA IIEMBKA
; 'illahcriuosa Palace, Madii'd, rcpahitid hv I^olaiu de Mois



DONA MAKIA Lcil'EZ DE GUKREA



From picture in flu



A PLAYMATE OF PHILIP II 5

swallow had been caught in Jerusalem by a
Greek priest in his house, and naming the day
and hour."

At her death Pedrola passed to her son, to
whom later his father also gave the County of
Ribagorza, a territory fifteen leagues long, in the
province of Huesca, which was separated from
France by the Pyrenees, and contained three
hundred and fifty villages. The Count must
therefore have been well endowed with this
world's goods, and no doubt was riding forth in
all the state the circumstances demanded, as to
quote his own words to his steward, some years
later, " There are occasions when a gentleman
should make a show."

It may also be safely conjectured that the
retinue was well mounted, for the breeding of
horses was the Count's favourite hobby, and
he established a stud of Andalucian horses on
his property. His delight was to keep beautiful
mares, whose action and swiftness were the
joy of all beholders when he rode them himself,
which he often did, being a very fine horseman.
Fond of playing in cane jousts, he used to
direct his lackeys to place a gold piece be-
tween his foot and the stirrup. If it were still
there on his return it became their property ;
but if he had lost it, he gave them two gold
pieces.

The Count was at this time about forty, a tall,



6 A PLAYMATE OF PHILIP II

handsome, dignified man, with a merry, jovial
face. He was, no doubt, dressed as usual and
wearing a long coat, wide sleeves with ribbons
and gold buttons, a close-fitting hood, shoes
and gaiters, the picture of a great Lord of the
period on the way to the Court of the Sovereign,
who, five years before, had written to him from
Ghent, " In truth we are very pleased with you
concerning all the foregoing and thank you
much. Though it is no new thing, as your
ancestors and you have always served the
Crown well." ^

Two years after writing this Charles V had
chosen him to accompany the Duchess of
Alengon " la sage et docte Marguerite " on her
journey through Aragon, when she went to visit
her captive brother Francis I of France in
Madrid,^ and greater compliment still, in the
previous year the Count had gone in Charles's
company to receive that monarch's wife and
cousin, Dona Isabel, daughter of Emanuel the

^ "Anales de Aragon." Zayas and other authorities.

* The letter ran thus : " The King. Illustrious Count
our Kinsman. Madame de Lanzon, sister of the Very
Serene King of France, comes to us for reasons that are very
important to our Kingdom, and we wish her to be treated
as if she were our own person. We beg you to go as far as
Fraga to receive and escort her to the limits of this Kingdom,
doing all you can to oblige and entertain her. We assure
you this will be rendering us much pleasure and service.
Given in Toledo, July 23, 1525. I the King."

National Library, Madrid.



A PLAYMATE OF PHILIP II 7

Fortunate, King of Portugal. To attend the
baptism of this lady's first born son was the
object of Don Alonso Felipe's present journey.
As he rode, his thoughts may have turned to the
simple christening of his own little heir, or
perhaps may have strayed to a more impos-
ing ceremony, when Charles's former tutor.
Pope Adrian VI, had, during a sojourn at
Pedrola, himself baptized the Count's short-
lived little daughter Andriana, whose memorial
still exists in the parish church of that
place.

The baptism of the Infante who was after-
wards Philip II and husband of Queen Mary
Tudor took place in the Convent of St. Paul on
June 5, 1527. The name of Philip was, doubt-
less, given as being that of Charles's father,
Philip of Burgundy, celebrated more for his good
looks and white hands than for his merits.
Possibly the parents thought by so doing they
would gratify poor, mad Queen Joan, who still
lingered not very far away in her dreary quasi
prison.

Few children had ever been born heirs to such
a goodly heritage as this grandson of *' Los
Reyes Catolicos." His mother " looked with
reverential awe upon her own child, so great
and important to mankind was held to be
the inheritance to which he was heir," ^ even
^ Major Martin Hume.



8 A PLAYMATE OF PHILIP II

fancying before his birth that she was bearing a
" mappa mundi." ^

This inheritance comprised not only Spain
and part of Italy, Mexico and other countries
of the New World, but also Flanders, Burgundy,
Artois, and Luxembourg. The imperial crown
which Charles was to wear two years later,
having been elected King of the Romans in
15 1 9 on the death of his grandfather, did not
pass to his son.

Spain, it will be remembered, at that date
had been one Kingdom for a comparatively
short period. First Castille and Aragon had
been united in 1479 ^Y ^^^ marriage of Ferdi-
nand and Isabel, and when the Moorish strong-
hold of Granada fell (1492) and Boabdil, called
the " Little King " on account of his want of
courage, had fled away by the road still called
*' The Last Sigh of the Moor," Los Reyes
Catolicos ruled over an united Spain.

To Isabel, "the greatest and best queen that
ever swayed an independent sceptre," ^ also
belongs the glory of having helped Christopher
Columbus to realize his dream of finding new
lands beyond the western ocean. English readers
may like to fancy that her Plantagenet forebears
can have endowed her with the spirit of ad-
venture as well as with the ruddy hue of her
fair hair.

^ Raymond Clauzel. ^ Miss Strickland.



A PLAYMATE OF PHILIP II 9

By the death of her only brother and eldest
sister, Joan, the second daughter of Ferdinand
and Isabel,^ became their heiress. She had
married Philip of Burgundy, son of the Emperor
Maximilian, and with her husband was ruling
over the Low Countries.

Poor Joan did not earn her surname of " the
Mad " for nothing, and after her husband's
death in Spain, her jealous devotion to him
while living was changed to a no less morbid
passion for him while dead.

This is not the place to tell how, after the
death of Isabel, the policy of her widower was a
selfish one, nor of the rising of the '' Com-
muneros," nor of other events of those stormy
days. Suffice it to say that when the Catholic
King died, although Joan, '* by the laws of
Castille and Aragon, as well as by the testament
of Isabella and Ferdinand, was undisputed
sovereign,^ Charles ' assumed the title of King.' "
His mother lived nearly as long as he did ; for
between the cares of his vast empire and wars,
in which his arms were directed now against the
Most Christian King, now against heretic princes
or infidel pirates, the Caesar was a worn-out
old man when he put off the purple and retired

^ Catherine of Aragon was their youngest child, the
other daughter married the King of Portugal, and was
mother of Empress Isabel.

2 Goxe's " House of Austria."



10 A PLAYMATE OF PHILIP II

to peaceful Yuste, dying before he was sixty,
gout, no doubt, as well as this strenuous life
causing premature decay, gluttony perhaps
also assisting; for to quote Mignet, " il etait
maitre de son ame dans les diverses extremit^s
de la fortune, il n' etait pas de son estomac a
table." ^

This was, however, all in the future, and on
the day when his blue eyes rested proudly on
his first born son, he no doubt appeared as tall,
and his limbs as straight and slim as he did to
Beatis ten years previously.^

The ceremony of receiving the child into the
Church — the child who was to be one of its
most devoted sons — was conducted, as was
meet, with much pomp. Don Alonso Felipe
speaks of it as the " fiesta."

At the christening, as the great lords were
standing together in the Emperor's presence,
one of them, the Count of Olivares, spoke rudely
to Don Alonso Felipe, who, not being the man
to brook an insult, sent his aggressor the follow-
ing challenge, written on parchment : " Don
Pedro de Guzman. To-day at the festival you
were rude to me before the Emperor, as you
know, without reason. And because you are
aware that this conduct is discourteous to one

^ Coxe, however, asserts that he was " temperate in his
diet " — " House of Austria."
2 " Voyage du Cardinal D'Aragon."




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Online LibraryAda Margarette Smith MoretonA playmate of Philip II, being the history of Don Martin of Aragon, Duke of Villahermosa, and of Doña Luisa de Borja, his wife → online text (page 1 of 15)