Philip II. was accustomed to honor More by frequent visits to his studio, on which occasions he treated him with extraordinary familiarity. One day, in a moment of condescension and admiration, the monarch jocosely slapped More on the shoulder which compliment the painter, in an unguarded moment, playfully returned by smearing his hand with a little carmine from his brush. The King withdrew his hand and surveyed it for a moment, seriously; the courtiers were petrified with horror and amazement; the hand to which ladies knelt before they had the honor to kiss it, had never before been so dishonored since the foundation of the monarchy; at that moment the fate of More was balanced on a hair; he saw his rashness, fell on his knees, kissed the King's feet, and humbly begged pardon for the offence. Philip smiled, and pardoned him, and all seemed to be well again; but the person of the King was too sacred in those days, and the act too daring to escape the notice of the Inquisition, from whose bigotry and vengeance the King himself could not have shielded him. Happily for More, one of Philip's ministers advised him of his danger, and without loss of time he set out for Brussels, upon the feigned pretence of pressing engagements, nor could Philip ever induce him to return to his court.