True, the period of anxiety concerning the tidings of political affairs which had arrived the day before and that morning appeared to be over, for Herr von Parlowitz, the minister of Duke Maurice of Saxony, had expressed his conviction that this active young monarch might be induced to separate from the other Protestant princes and form an alliance with the Emperor, especially as his Majesty had not the most distant intention of mingling; religious matters in the war that was impending.
Despatches had also been sent from Valladolid by Don Philip, the Emperor’s oldest son, which afforded the greatest satisfaction to the sovereign. If war was waged against the Smalkalds, the allied Protestants of Germany, Spain, which had been taught to regard the campaign as a religious war, was ready to aid Charles with large subsidies of money and men.
Lastly, it seemed as if two betrothals were to be made which promised to sustain the Emperor’s statesmanship. Two of his nieces, the daughters of his brother Ferdinand, expected to marry—one the heir to the Bavarian throne, the other the Duke of Cleves.
Thus many pleasant things came to him simultaneously with his recovery, and his mind, inclined to mysticism, received them as a sign that Heaven was favourable to his late happiness in love.
Granvelle attributed the Emperor’s unexpectedly rapid convalescence and the fortunate change which had taken place in his gloomy mood to the favourable political news, and perhaps also to the music which, as a zealous patron of art, he himself loved. He, who usually did not fail to note even the veriest trifle when he desired to trace the motives of events which were difficult to explain, now thought he need seek no further for causes.
During the ride Barbara was not thought of, but in the Golden Cross it was to become evident to the keen intelligence of the young master of statecraft that something extremely important might escape even his penetration.
While waiting with Malfalconnet in the reception room of the monarch, who had gone into his chamber, for Charles’s return, and summing up to the baron in a most charming way the causes which had effected the wonderful rejuvenation of his Majesty, the other showed him that he, Granvelle, had been short-sighted enough to overlook the most powerful influence.
This would have been vexatious to the statesman had not his mind been wholly occupied in considering how this unexpected event could be made most profitable to himself, and also to his master, whom he served with loyal devotion.
Malfalconnet had received no confidence either from the Emperor or any male member of the court, yet he knew all, for, though the Marquise de Leria well deserved the reputation of secrecy, she did not keep her tongue sufficiently in check while talking with her gay countryman. What she overheard, he succeeded by his amiable wiles in learning, and this time also he had not failed.