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PREFACE TO NEW EDITION.
THE object which I had before me in writing the following pages was to sketch the life of Elizabeth as plainly as possible. I have en
deavoured to illustrate a character rather than to write the history of a time. But Elizabeth's life was so closely interwoven with the history of England that it is impossible to separate her actions from public affairs, and I have been drawn into general history more often than I wished. I can only say that I have endeavoured not to wander into any matters which were not necessary for an explanation of Elizabeth's conduct, and that I have only enlarged the stage to find room for the actor.
It was impossible within my limits to do more than sketch a rough outline of a very complex personality, which reflected only too
faithfully the perplexities of a very difficult time. Such an attempt was only possible owing to the amount of detailed work which has already been done by others. But it seemed to me that the outline must be clearly drawn before the amazing varieties of expression could be understood. Bewildering as they were in any particular matter, they all had reference to certain central conceptions. It is these which I tried to discover and exhibit.
THE YOUTH OF ELIZABETH.
THE Princess Elizabeth of England was born at Greenwich, between three and four of the afternoon of September 7, 1533. Her birth was a matter of small rejoicing to her parents, who were sorely disappointed that their first-born was not a boy. Seldom had greater issues depended on the sex of a child than were now at stake. Henry VIII. pined for a male heir to succeed to the English throne. had wearied of his Spanish wife, Catherine; he had made the hand of his sole daughter, Mary, the bait of many an alliance, which had come to nought. He had wasted England's resources on foreign wars, which had brought no return. He had found Catherine, with her devotion to Spain and her nephew, Charles V., an obstacle to his political plans, and had wearied of her person. He had lost his heart to Anne Boleyn, and determined to make her Queen at