Very anxiously she awaited the replies from the King and Alen?on to her new approaches. After some delay the former very coolly sent word that he could go no further thand by Pinart; but day after day passed without the arrival of an answer from Alen?on, and313 the Queen, in the interim, hardly sought to hide her trepidation from her councillors, especially from Sussex. In the meanwhile Leicester and his friends were busy again stirring up Protestant fears against the match, and Cecil and Sussex were urging an arrangement with Spain. At last, on the 2nd of May, Bacqueville arrived with a letter from Alen?on to the Queen full of extravagant professions of love and rejoicing. He had, he said, ceased to mention the marriage for the last two months as he had despaired of it, she having told him herself that the mountains would move ere she would willingly wed. Now, however, that she had changed her mind, he would not trust to letters, but would himself take flight like a swallow and nest in England. This was his final resolution, and he entreated her to send him word immediately when he might come and consummate his joy. This letter plunged the Queen once more in the midst of the intrigue, and she confidently resumed her masterly handling of the tangled skein. She openly expressed her pleasure at her approaching union, she scolded poor Walsingham as if he were a pickpocket, because, she said, he had caused dissension between her and her lover, and then she sent for Castelnau and Marchaumont. She conveyed to them Alen?on’s determination to come, and swore solemnly that since she had given him the ring she had never wavered for a moment in her intention of becoming Alen?
on’s wife, if the King of France would fulfil the conditions. Having thus demonstrated her sincerity with regard to the marriage itself, her next move was to dissociate herself from Alen?on’s projects in the Netherlands. She turned upon Marchaumont like a fury, told him314 he was a sordid, venal fellow who had never ceased to importune her for money since his master left, as if they both of them only cared for her to administer to his ambition, and his only object was to torment the old woman until they had drained her purse.158 She then formally requested the ambassador to inform. the King—first, that Alen?on was coming to marry her as soon as word was sent to him; second, that she herself was of the same mind; and third, that the final word now rested with the King. She had demanded that he should defray half of the expenses of the war in the Netherlands, not because she desired war with Spain—quite the contrary. She desired universal peace and good-will, but as Alen?
on, for his own ends, had entered into the affair she did not want her subjects to say that she had broken their long peace and prosperity and wasted their treasure for the sake of marriage; and she therefore wished the King to promise to defray half the cost of the war before the marriage. It was of the utmost importance, she repeated, that the King should hand the money over before the ceremony, and she did not see how she could marry unless he did so.