15 MAY 1915, Page 23

TWO SPANISH HOUSES.f LADY MORETON introduces her readers to a

society of which most of them know little, the great Spanish families of the sixteenth century. Her hero is Don Martin of Aragon, a descendant of John II., King of Aragon, and so a remote cousin as well as "a playmate" of Philip II. His father, Don Alonzo Felipe, was a man of great force of character, and contended not unequally with Charles V. In the Cortes of the three Spanish kingdoms in 1533 he gave his vote against a proposal of the Emperor's which ho thought destructive of the liberties of Aragon, and the rest of the Assembly followed his lead. There- upon Charles sent for him, dragged him across the room by the shoulder, and put him out of the door. Before the door could be shut Don Alonzo said : "I am not a vassal towards whom your Majesty should behave thus." At this Charles recovered himself and gave Don Alonzo his hand to kiss, but only with the warning : "A vassal who has seen his King so angry must not appear again in his presence." The vassal took him at his word and went off to his castle. The

• Sea-Pie. By I. E. Patterson. London: Max Goschen. [7s. 6d. net.] t A Playmate of Philip II. By Lady Moreton. London: John Lane. DO.. 6d. net.]

Cortes retaliated by suspending all business, and Charles thought it best to send a highly conciliatory message to his old servant. Don Martin seems to have been a much less resolute person than his father. Indeed, Lady Moreton describes him as "a man who appears never to have done anything for himself when there was any one at hand to do it for him." Certainly the habit of doing anything for himself was early checked. The circumstances of his marriage were unfor- tunate. He was two months short of fourteen when the marriage articles with Dorm Luisa de Borja were signed, though the marriage did not take place till two years later. The bride was just double her husband's age, and any inclination towards the married state had been checked by her conventual bringing up and her strong desire to become a nun. Still, she made him an excellent wife, and her management of an intrigue which she discovered some years after the marriage was both kindly and Christian. The Spanish branch of the Borgias was a striking contrast to the Italian branch. Of Dona Luisa's father, the third Duke of Gandhi, we read that his benevolence was great; he gave a third part of his fortune in alms, and on the feast of the patron saint of each child " the boys of the family gave a dinner to two poor men and the girls to two poor women." His eldest son, who succeeded him in the dukedom, was a friend of Ignatius Loyola, and after the death of his wife be resigned his title and estates to his eldest son and joined the Jesuit Order. He became their third General, and was eventually canonized as St. Francis Borgia. Don Martin's last years were clouded by the tragic history of his eldest son, Don John, who became furiously jealous of his young wife and deliberately condemned her to death after a pretended triaL Her relations had great influence at Court, and Don John when taken was handed over to the brother of the murdered woman and executed by the orders of his old "playmate." Lady Moreton has added some interesting photographs from portraits of members of the two families by a little-known painter, Rolam de Mois, and one of Philip IL from the picture of him by Titian now in America.