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Page 224

CHAPTER FOURTEEN

LIZBETH quieted her horse which was restive with the cheers and cries of the crowd and the fluttering of handkerchiefs and flags.
The Strand and Fleet Street were decked in blue and there were ensigns and banners fluttering in the crisp air from every house along the route to St. Paul's Cathedral. It was Sunday, the 24th of November, and the Queen was going in state to celebrate the country's deliverance from Spain.
Her Majesty was seated in a chariot on which was set a throne supported by four pillars and surmounted by a lion and a dragon holding the arms of England. It was drawn by two milk-white steeds and attended by the pensioners and state footmen. At the head of the procession moved the heralds, gentlemen ushers and harbingers, followed by the Court Physicians, Judges, bishops and nobles, while just before the Queen's chariot walked the French Ambassador, her Counsellors and Chamberlain, and upon the flanks filed the Serjeantat-Arms and halberdiers.
It was a wonderful sight, Lizbeth thought ; and she felt that she could not look enough at the colour, beauty and richness of the great throng, which was unlike anything she had ever seen before.
Near to Her Majesty, leading the richly-caparisoned horse of state, rode the new Master of the Horse, the gay and gallant Earl of Essex ; and the six Maids of Honour who followed cast many a glance in his direction. His young, bearded face, Lizbeth thought, was handsome enough ; but for good looks she preferred Sir Walter Raleigh who, surrounded by his guardsmen, their halberds gilded and with handles set in rich velvet, seemed to watch the new favourite with a brooding resentment which no one pretended to misunderstand.
Lizbeth, in a robe of white satin embroidered with silver flowers had thought herself finely garbed until she saw the gowns of the other Maids of Honour and the glittering splendour of the Queen herself.

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His young, bearded face, Lizbeth thought, was handsome enough ; but for good looks she preferred Sir Walter Raleigh who, surrounded by his guardsmen, their halberds gilded and with handles set in rich velvet, seemed to watch what is new favourite with a brooding resentment which no one pretended to misunderstand. 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