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Our Island Story by  H. E. Marshall

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CHAPTER LXVIII

MARY I.—HOW A CANDLE WAS LIT IN ENGLAND WHICH HAS NEVER BEEN PUT OUT

[327] WHEN Mary had put down the rebellion which her desire to marry Philip had raised, she had her own way and married him.

He came from Spain with much pomp and splendour, and as he rode through the streets of London there was a show of rejoicing, but the people did not really like him. He brought a great deal of money with him, and gave presents to the people, but still they did not like him. Parliament took good care that he should have no share in the government, and that made him angry. No one loved him except Mary.

With Philip's help the Queen began to do what she dearly wished. That was to bring England again under the power of the Pope.

The Pope sent a messenger to England, and Philip and Mary, holding a solemn service, knelt at his feet. They confessed that Henry VIII. had done a wicked thing, when he quarrelled with the Pope. They said that the people of England were sorry for it, and humbly begged to be forgiven.

Then the Pope's messenger granted them forgiveness in his master's name, and England was once more said to be Roman Catholic.

[328] Now began the most terrible time of Mary's reign, for it required more than a few words from King, Queen, and Pope to make England again truly Roman Catholic. The Protestants would not give up their religion. Mary was determined that they should. Those who refused were imprisoned and put to death in the most cruel way. They were burned alive.

It would make you too sad to tell stories of this terrible time. In three years nearly three hundred people were put to death by Mary's cruel orders. Yet she did no good but rather harm to her cause. For many who were at first on her side turned away with horror from her dreadful cruelties.

These men and women who suffered death so cheerfully for their religion fought for British freedom as much as Caractacus, or Harold or any of the brave men of whom you have heard. And it was much harder to die as they did, than to fall in battle fighting for their country with sword and spear. So when you hear such names as Rogers, Hooper, Ridley, Latimer, and Cranmer, honour them as heroes, and think gratefully of the many, many others, whose names we shall never know, but who suffered as bravely.

"Be of good comfort, Master Ridley, and play the man," said Latimer, as they were being led to be burned together, "We shall this day light such a candle, by God's grace, in England, as I trust shall never be put out." By this he meant that others, hearing of the brave manner in which they died, would take heart too, and fight as bravely for their faith and freedom. So instead of crushing out God's light and truth, Mary was making it shine as a light which every one might see.

Mary was not happy, She could not help knowing that her cruel behaviour did harm rather than good to [329] the religion which she loved, yet she went on killing and torturing more fiercely than ever.

Philip grew tired of England, where he was not allowed to rule, so he went back to his own country. This was a great sorrow to Mary, for she loved her husband. Philip returned indeed once, but it was only to get money for a war with France. Very unwillingly the Parliament granted the money and help he asked, but the war ended sadly for Mary. Calais, which had belonged to the English for more that two hundred years, was lost. Mary grieved very much over this. "When I am dead," she said, "you will find 'Calais' graven on my heart." In the same year, 1558 A.D. , she died, wretched and unloved.

She was succeeded by her sister, the Princess Elizabeth, who was the daughter of Anne Boleyn, the second wife of Henry VIII.


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