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Windsor Castle by William Harrison Ainsworth

Part 7 out of 7

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fragments of rock into the air.

Astounded at the extraordinary occurrence, and not knowing what
might ensue, the pursuers reined in their steeds. But the terror of the
scene was not yet over. The whole of the brushwood had caught fire,
and blazed up with the fury and swiftness of lighted flax. The flames
caught the parched branches of the trees, and in a few seconds the
whole grove was on fire.

The sight was awfully grand, for the wind, which was blowing strongly,
swept the flames forward, so that they devoured all before them.

When the first flash was seen the demon had checked his steed and
backed him, so that he had escaped without injury, and he stood at the
edge of the flaming circle watching the progress of the devastating
element; but at last, finding that his pursuers had taken heart and were
approaching him, he bestirred himself, and rode round the blazing zone.

Having by this time recovered from their surprise, Wyat and Surrey
dashed after him, and got so near him that they made sure of his
capture. But at the very moment they expected to reach him, he turned
his horse's head, and forced him to leap over the blazing boundary.

In vain the pursuers attempted to follow. Their horses refused to
encounter the flames; while Wyat's steed, urged on by its frantic
master, reared bolt upright, and dislodged him.

But the demon held on his way, apparently unscathed in the midst of
the flames, casting a look of grim defiance at his pursuers. As he
passed a tree, from which volumes of fire were bursting, the most
appalling shrieks reached his ear, and he beheld Morgan Fenwolf
emerging from a hole in the trunk. But without bestowing more than a
glance upon his unfortunate follower, he dashed forward, and becoming
involved in the wreaths of flame and smoke, was lost to sight.

Attracted by Fenwolf's cries, the beholders perceived him crawl out of
the hole, and clamber into the upper part of the tree, where he roared
to them most piteously for aid. But even if they had been disposed to
render it, it was impossible to do so now; and after terrible and
protracted suffering, the poor wretch, half stifled with smoke, and
unable longer to maintain his hold of the branch to which he crept, fell
into the flames beneath, and perished.

Attributing its outbreak to supernatural agency, the party gazed on in
wonder at the fire, and rode round it as closely as their steeds would
allow them. But though they tarried till the flames had abated, and little
was left of the noble grove but a collection of charred and smoking
stumps, nothing was seen of the fiend or of the hapless girl he had
carried off. It served to confirm the notion of the supernatural origin of
the fire, in that it was confined within the mystic circle, and did not
extend farther into the woods.

At the time that the flames first burst forth, and revealed the
countenances of the lookers--on, it was discovered that the self-styled
Dacre and Cryspyn were no other than the king and the Duke of Suffolk.

"If this mysterious being is mortal, he must have perished now,"
observed Henry; "and if he is not, it is useless to seek for him further."

Day had begun to break as the party quitted the scene of devastation.
The king and Suffolk, with the archers, returned to the castle; but Wyat,
Surrey, and Richmond rode towards the lake, and proceeded along its
banks in the direction of the forester's hut.

Their progress was suddenly arrested by the sound of lamentation, and
they perceived, in a little bay overhung by trees, which screened it from
the path, an old man kneeling beside the body of a female, which he
had partly dragged out of the lake. It was Tristram Lyndwood, and the
body was that of Mabel. Her tresses were dishevelled, and dripping
with wet, as were her garments; and her features white as marble. The
old man was weeping bitterly.

With Wyat, to dismount and grasp the cold hand of the hapless maiden
was the work of a moment.

"She is dead!" he cried, in a despairing voice, removing the dank
tresses from her brow, and imprinting a reverent kiss upon it. "Dead !--
lost to me for ever!"

"I found her entangled among those water-weeds," said Tristram, in
tones broken by emotion," and had just dragged her to shore when you
came up. As you hope to prosper, now and hereafter, give her a decent
burial. For me all is over."

And, with a lamentable cry, he plunged into the lake, struck out to a
short distance, and then sank to rise no more.



I. Of Henry's Attachment to Jane Seymour.

ON the anniversary of Saint George, 1536, and exactly seven years from
the opening of this chronicle, Henry assembled the knights-companions
within Windsor Castle to hold the grand feast of the most noble Order of
the Garter.

Many important events had occurred in the wide interval thus suffered
to elapse. Wolsey had long since sunk under his reverses - for he never
regained the royal favour after his dismissal--and had expired at
Leicester Abbey, on the 26th November 1530.

But the sufferings of Catherine of Arragon were prolonged up to the
commencement of the year under consideration. After the divorce and
the elevation of Anne Boleyn to the throne in her stead, she withdrew to
Kimbolten Castle, where she dwelt in the greatest retirement, under the
style of the Princess Dowager. Finding her end approaching, she sent a
humble message to the king, imploring him to allow her one last
interview with her daughter, that she might bestow her blessing upon
her; but the request was refused.

A touching letter, however, which she wrote to the king on her death-
bed, moved him to tears; and having ejaculated a few expressions of
his sense of her many noble qualities, he retired to his closet to indulge
his grief in secret. Solemn obsequies were ordered to be performed at
Windsor and Greenwich on the day of her interment, and the king and
the whole of his retinue put on mourning for her.

With this arrangement Anne Boleyn cared not to comply. Though she
had attained the summit of her ambition; though the divorce had been
pronounced, and she was crowned queen; though she had given birth
to a daughter--the Princess Elizabeth, afterwards the illustrious queen
of that name two years before; and though she could have no
reasonable apprehensions from her, the injured Catherine, during her
lifetime, had always been an object of dread to her. She heard of her
death with undisguised satisfaction, clapped her hands, exclaiming to
her attendants, "Now I am indeed queen!" and put the crowning point to
her unfeeling conduct by decorating herself and her dames in the
gayest apparel on the day of the funeral.

Alas! she little knew that at that very moment the work of retribution
commenced, and that the wrongs of the injured queen, whose memory
she thus outraged, were soon to be terribly and bloodily avenged.

Other changes had likewise taken place, which may be here recorded.
The Earl of Surrey had made the tour of France, Italy, and the Empire,
and had fully kept his word, by proclaiming the supremacy of the Fair
Geraldine's beauty at all tilts and tournaments, at which he constantly
bore away the prize. But the greatest reward, and that which he hoped
would crown his fidelity--the hand of his mistress - was not reserved for

At the expiration of three years, he returned home, polished by travel,
and accounted one of the bravest and most accomplished cavaliers of
the day. His reputation had preceded him, and he was received with
marks of the highest distinction and favour by Henry, as well as by
Anne Boleyn. But the king was still averse to the match, and forbade
the Fair Geraldine to return to court.

Finding so much opposition on all sides, the earl was at last brought to
assent to the wish of the Fair Geraldine, that their engagement should
be broken off. In her letters, she assured him that her love had
undergone no abatement--and never would do so--but that she felt they
must give up all idea of an union.

These letters, probably the result of some manoeuvring on his own part,
set on foot by the royal mandate, were warmly seconded by the Duke of
Norfolk, and after many and long solicitations, he succeeded in
wringing from his son a reluctant acquiescence to the arrangement.

The disappointment produced its natural consequences on the ardent
temperament of the young earl, and completely chilled and blighted his
feelings. He became moody and discontented; took little share in the
amusement and pastimes going forward; and from being the blithest
cavalier at court, became the saddest. The change in his demeanour
did not escape the notice of Anne Boleyn, who easily divined the cause,
and she essayed by raillery and other arts to wean him from his grief.
But all was for some time of no avail. The earl continued inconsolable.
At last, however, by the instrumentality of the queen and his father, he
was contracted to the Lady Frances Vere, daughter of the Earl of
Oxford, and was married to her in 1535.

Long before this the Duke of Richmond had been wedded to the Lady
Mary Howard.

For some time previous to the present era of this chronicle, Anne
Boleyn had observed a growing coolness towards her on the part of the
king, and latterly it had become evident that his passion for her was
fast subsiding, if indeed it had not altogether expired.

Though Anne had never truly loved her royal consort, and though at
that very time she was secretly encouraging the regards of another,
she felt troubled by this change, and watched all the king's movements
with jealous anxiety, to ascertain if any one had supplanted her in his

At length her vigilance was rewarded by discovering a rival in one of
the loveliest of her dames, Jane Seymour. This fair creature, the
daughter of Sir John Seymour, of Wolff Hall, in Wiltshire, and who was
afterwards, it is almost needless to say, raised to as high a dignity as
Anne Boleyn herself, was now in the very pride of her beauty. Tall,
exquisitely proportioned, with a complexion of the utmost brilliancy and
delicacy, large liquid blue eyes, bright chestnut tresses, and lovely
features, she possessed charms that could not fall to captivate the
amorous monarch. It seems marvellous that Anne Boleyn should have
such an attendant; but perhaps she felt confident in her own

Skilled in intrigue herself, Anne, now that her eyes were opened,
perceived all the allurements thrown out by Jane to ensnare the king,
and she intercepted many a furtive glance between them. Still she did
not dare to interfere. The fierceness of Henry's temper kept her in awe,
and she knew well that the slightest opposition would only make him
the more determined to run counter to her will. Trusting, therefore, to
get rid of Jane Seymour by some stratagem, she resolved not to
attempt to dismiss her, except as a last resource.

A slight incident occurred, which occasioned a departure from the
prudent course she had laid down to herself.

Accompanied by her dames, she was traversing the great gallery of the
palace at Greenwich, when she caught the reflection of Jane Seymour,
who was following her, in a mirror, regarding a jewelled miniature. She
instantly turned round at the sight, and Jane, in great confusion, thrust
the picture into her bosom.

"Ah I what have you there?" cried Anne.

"A picture of my father, Sir John Seymour," replied Jane, blushing

"Let me look at it," cried Anne, snatching the picture from her. "Ah! call
you this your father? To my thinking it is much more like my royal
husband. Answer me frankly, minion--answer me, as you value your life!
Did the king give you this?"

"I must decline answering the question," replied Jane, who by this time
had recovered her composure.

"Ah! am I to be thus insolently treated by one of my own dames?" cried

"I intend no disrespect to your majesty," replied Jane, "and I will, since
you insist upon it, freely confess that I received the portrait from the
king. I did not conceive there could be any harm in doing so, because I
saw your majesty present your own portrait, the other day, to Sir Henry

Anne Boleyn turned as pale as death, and Jane Seymour perceived that
she had her in her power.

"I gave the portrait to Sir Henry as a recompense for an important
service he rendered me," said Anne, after a slight pause.

"No doubt," replied Jane; "and I marvel not that he should press it so
fervently to his lips, seeing he must value the gift highly. The king
likewise bestowed his portrait upon me for rendering him a service."

"And what was that?" asked Anne.

"Nay, there your majesty must hold me excused," replied the other. "It
were to betray his highness's confidence to declare it. I must refer you
to him for explanation."

"Well, you are in the right to keep the secret," said Anne, forcing a
laugh. "I dare say there is no harm in the portrait--indeed, I am sure
there is not, if it was given with the same intent that mine was
bestowed upon Norris. And so we will say no more upon the matter,
except that I beg you to be discreet with the king. If others should
comment upon your conduct, I may be compelled to dismiss you."

"Your majesty shall be obeyed," said Jane, with a look that intimated
that the request had but slight weight with her.

"Catherine will be avenged by means of this woman," muttered Anne as
she turned away. "I already feel some of the torments with which she
threatened me. And she suspects Norris. I must impress more caution
on him. Ah! when a man loves deeply, as he loves me, due restraint is
seldom maintained."

But though alarmed, Anne was by no means aware of the critical
position in which she stood. She could not persuade herself that she
had entirely lost her influence with the king; and she thought that when
his momentary passion had subsided, it would return to its old

She was mistaken. Jane Seymour was absolute mistress of his heart;
and Anne was now as great a bar to him as she had before been an
attraction. Had her conduct been irreproachable, it might have been
difficult to remove her; but, unfortunately, she had placed herself at his
mercy, by yielding to the impulses of vanity, and secretly encouraging
the passion of Sir Henry Norris, groom of the stole.

This favoured personage was somewhat above the middle Size,
squarely and strongly built. His features were regularly and finely
formed, and he had a ruddy complexion, brown curling hair, good teeth,
and fine eyes of a clear blue. He possessed great personal strength,
was expert in all manly exercises, and shone especially at the jousts
and the manege. He was of an ardent temperament, and Anne Boleyn
had inspired him with so desperate a passion that he set at nought the
fearful risk he ran to obtain her favour.

In all this seemed traceable the hand of fate--in Henry's passion for
Jane Seymour, and Anne's insane regard for Norris--as if in this way,
and by the same means in which she herself had been wronged, the
injured Catherine of Arragon was to be avenged.

How far Henry's suspicions of his consort's regard for Norris had been
roused did not at the time appear. Whatever he felt in secret, he took
care that no outward manifestation should betray him. On the contrary
he loaded Norris, who had always been a favourite with him, with new
marks of regard, and encouraged rather than interdicted his approach
to the queen.

Things were in this state when the court proceeded to Windsor, as
before related, on Saint George's day.

II. How Anne Boleyn received Proof of Henry's Passion for Jane

On the day after the solemnisation of the Grand Feast of the Order of
the Garter, a masqued fete of great splendour and magnificence was
held within the castle. The whole of the state apartments were thrown
open to the distinguished guests, and universal gaiety prevailed. No
restraint was offered to the festivity by the king, for though he was
known to be present, he did not choose to declare himself.

The queen sat apart on a fauteuil in the deep embrasure of a window;
and as various companies of fantastic characters advanced towards
her, she more than once fancied she detected amongst them the king,
but the voices convinced her of her mistake. As the evening was
wearing, a mask in a blue domino drew near her, and whispered in a
devoted and familiar tone, "My queen!"

"Is it you, Norris?" demanded Anne, under her breath.

"It is," he replied. "Oh, madam! I have been gazing at you the whole
evening, but have not dared to approach you till now."

"I am sorry you have addressed me at all, Norris," she rejoined. "Your
regard for me has been noticed by others, and may reach the king's
ears. You must promise never to address me in the language of
passion again."

"If I may not utter my love I shall go mad," replied Norris. "After raising
me to the verge of Paradise, do not thrust me to the depths of

"I have neither raised you nor do I cast you down," rejoined Anne.
"That I am sensible of your devotion, and grateful for it, I admit, but
nothing more. My love and allegiance are due to the king."

"True," replied Norris bitterly; "they are so, but he is wholly insensible
to your merits. At this very moment he is pouring his love-vows in the
ear of Jane Seymour."

"Ah! is he so? "cried Anne. " Let me have proof of his perfidy, and I may
incline a more favourable ear to you."

"I will instantly obtain you the proof, madam," replied Norris, bowing
and departing.

Scarcely had he quitted the queen, and mixed with the throng of
dancers, than he felt a pressure upon his arm, and turning at the touch,
beheld a tall monk, the lower part of whose face was muffled up,
leaving only a pair of fierce black eyes and a large aquiline nose visible.

"I know what you want, Sir Henry Norris," said the tall monk in a low
deep voice; "you wish to give the queen proof of her royal lord's
inconstancy. It is easily done. Come with me."

." Who are you?" demanded Norris doubtfully.

" What matters it who I am?" rejoined the other; "I am one of the
masquers, and chance to know what is passing around me. I do not
inquire into your motives, and therefore you have no right to inquire into

"It is not for my own satisfaction that I desire this proof," said Norris,
"because I would rather shield the king's indiscretions than betray
them. But the queen has conceived suspicions which she is
determined to verify"

"Think not to impose upon me," replied the monk with a sneer. "Bring
the queen this way, and she shall be fully satisfied."

"I can run no risk in trusting you," said Norris, "and therefore I accept
your offer."

"Say no more," cried the monk disdainfully, "I will await you here."

And Norris returned to the queen.

"Have you discovered anything? " she cried.

"Come with me, madam," said Norris, bowing and taking her hand.

Proceeding thus they glided through the throng of dancers, who
respectfully cleared a passage for them as they walked along until they
approached the spot where the tall monk was standing. As they drew
near him he moved on, and Norris and the queen followed in silence.
Passing from the great hall in which the crowd of dancers were
assembled, they descended a short flight of steps, at the foot of which
the monk paused, and pointed with his right hand to a chamber, partly
screened by the folds of a curtain.

At this intimation the queen and her companion stepped quickly on, and
as she advanced, Anne Boleyn perceived Jane Seymour and the king
seated on a couch within the apartment. Henry was habited like a
pilgrim, but he had thrown down his hat, ornamented with the scallop-
shell, his vizard, and his staff, and had just forced his fair companion to

At the sight, Anne was tranfixed with jealous rage, and was for the
moment almost unconscious of the presence of Norris, or of the monk,
who remained behind the curtain, pointing to what was taking place.

"Your majesty is determined to expose my blushes," said Jane
Seymour, slightly struggling with her royal lover.

"Nay, I only want to be satisfied that it is really yourself, sweetheart,"
cried Henry passionately. "It was in mercy to me, I suppose, that you
insisted upon shrouding those beauteous features from my view.

"Hear you that, madam?" whispered Norris to Anne.

The queen answered by a convulsive clasp of the hand.

"Your majesty but jests with me," said Jane Seymour. "Jests!" cried
Henry passionately. "By my faith! I never understood the power of
beauty till now. No charms ever moved my heart like yours; nor shall I
know a moment's peace till you become mine."

"I am grieved to hear it, my liege," replied Jane Seymour, "for I never
can be yours, unless as your queen."

Again Norris hazarded a whisper to Anne Boleyn, which was answered
by another nervous grasp of the hand.

"That is as much as to say," pursued Jane, seeing the gloomy reverie
into which her royal lover was thrown, "I can give your majesty no
hopes at all"

"You have been schooled by Anne Boleyn, sweetheart," said Henry.

"How so, my liege? "demanded Jane Seymour.

"Those are the very words she used to me when I wooed her, and which
induced me to divorce Catherine of Arragon," replied Henry.

"Now they may bring about her own removal"

"Just Heaven!" murmured Anne.

I dare not listen to your majesty," said Jane Seymour, in a tremulous
tone; "and yet, if I dared speak -

"Speak on, fearlessly, sweetheart," said Henry.

"Then I am well assured," said Jane,." that the queen no longer loves
you; nay, that she loves another."

"It is false, minion! "cried Anne Boleyn, rushing forward, while Norris
hastily retreated, " it is false! It is you who would deceive the king for
your own purposes. But I have fortunately been brought hither to
prevent the injury you would do me. Oh, Henry! have I deserved this of

"You have chanced to overhear part of a scene in a masquerade,
madam--that is all," said the king.

"I have chanced to arrive most opportunely for myself," said Anne. "As
for this slanderous and deceitful minion, I shall dismiss her from my
service. If your majesty is determined to prove faithless to me, it shall
not be with one of my own dames."

"Catherine of Arragon should have made that speech," retorted Jane
Seymour bitterly. "She had reason to complain that she was
supplanted by one much beneath her. And she never played the king

"Nor have I!" cried Anne fiercely. "If I had my will, I should strike thee
dead for the insinuation. Henry, my lord - my love--if you have any
regard for me, instantly dismiss Jane Seymour."

"It may not be, madam," replied Henry in a freezing tone; "she has done
nothing to deserve dismissal. If any one is to blame in the matter, it is

"And will you allow her to make these accusations against me without
punishment?" cried Anne.

"Peace, madam!" cried the king sternly; "and thank my good-nature that
I go no further into the matter. If you are weary of the masque, I pray
you retire to your own apartments. For myself, I shall lead Jane
Seymour to the bransle."

"And if your majesty should need a partner," said Jane, walking up to
Anne and speaking in a low tone, "you will doubtless find Sir Henry
Norris disengaged."

The queen looked as if stricken by a thunderbolt. She heard the
triumphant laugh of her rival; she saw her led forth, all smiles and
beauty and triumph, by the king to the dance, and she covered her face
in agony. While she was in this state, a deep voice breathed in her
ears, "The vengeance of Catherine of Arragon begins to work!"

Looking up, she beheld the tall figure of the monk retreating from the

III. What passed between Norris and the Tall Monk.

Tottering to the seat which Henry and Jane had just quitted, Anne sank
into it. After a little time, having in some degree recovered her
composure, she was about to return to the great hall, when Norris

"I did not deceive you, madam," he said, "when I told you the king was
insensible to your charms; he only lives for Jane Seymour."

"Would I could dismiss her!" cried Anne furiously.

"If you were to do so, she would soon be replaced by another," rejoined
Norris. "The king delights only in change. With him, the last face is
ever the most beautiful.",

"You speak fearful treason, sir! " replied Anne; "but I believe it to be the

"Oh, then, madam!" pursued Norris, "since the king is so regardless of
you, why trouble yourself about him? There are those who would
sacrifice a thousand lives, if they possessed them, for your love."

"I fear it is the same with all men," rejoined Anne. "A woman's heart is a
bauble which, when obtained, is speedily tossed aside."

"Your majesty judges our sex too harshly," said Norris. "If I had the
same fortune as the king, I should never change."

"The king himself once thought so--once swore so," replied Anne
petulantly. "It is the common parlance of lovers. But I may not listen to
such discourse longer."

"Oh, madam!" cried Norris, "you misjudge me greatly. My heart is not
made of the same stuff as that of the royal Henry. I can love deeply--

"Know you not that by these rash speeches you place your head in
jeopardy?" said Anne."

"I would rather lose it than not be permitted to love you," he replied.

"But your rashness endangers me," said the queen. "Your passion has
already been noticed by Jane Seymour, and the slightest further
indiscretion will be fatal."

"Nay, if that he so," cried Norris, "and your majesty should he placed in
peril on my account, I will banish myself from the court, and from your
presence, whatever the effort cost me."

"No," replied Anne, " I will not tax you so hardly. I do not think," she
added tenderly, "deserted as I am by the king, that I could spare you."

"You confess, then, that I have inspired you with some regard?" he
cried rapturously.

"Do not indulge in these transports, Norris," said Anne mournfully.
"Your passion will only lead to your destruction - perchance to mine.
Let the certainty that I do love, content you, and seek not to tempt your
fate further."

"Oh, madam! you make me the happiest of men by the avowal," he
cried. "I envy not now the king, for I feel raised above him by your

"You must join the revel, Norris," said Anne; "your absence from it will
be observed."

And extending her hand to him, he knelt down and pressed it
passionately to his lips.

Ah! we are observed," she cried suddenly, and almost with a shriek.
"Rise, sir!"

Norris instantly sprang to his feet, and, to his inexpressible dismay, saw
the figure of a tall monk gliding away. Throwing a meaning look at the
almost sinking queen, he followed the mysterious observer into the
great hall, determined to rid himself of him in some way before he
should have time to make any revelations.

Avoiding the brilliant throng, the monk entered the adjoining corridor,
and descending the great staircase, passed into the upper quadrangle.
From thence he proceeded towards the cloisters near St. George's
Chapel, where he was overtaken by Norris, who had followed him

"What would you with me, Sir Henry Norris? "cried the monk, halting.

"You may guess," said Norris, sternly and drawing his sword. "There
are secrets which are dangerous to the possessor. Unless you swear
never to betray what you have seen and heard, you die."

The tall monk laughed derisively.

"You know that your life is in my power," he said, " and therefore
you threaten mine. Well, e'en take it, if you can."

As he spoke, he drew a sword from beneath his robe, and stood upon
his defence. After a few passes, Norris's weapon was beaten from his

"You are now completely at my mercy," said the monk, "and I have
nothing to do but to call the guard, and declare all I have heard to the

"I would rather you plunged your sword into my heart," said Norris.

"There is one way--and only one--by which my secrecy may be
purchased," said the monk.

"Name it," replied Norris. "Were it to be purchased by my soul's
perdition, I would embrace it."

"You have hit the point exactly," rejoined the monk drily. "Can you not
guess with whom you have to deal?"

"Partly," replied Norris "I never found such force in mortal arm as you
have displayed."

"Probably not," laughed the other: "most of those who have ventured
against me have found their match. But come with me into the park,
and you shall learn the condition of my secrecy."

"I cannot quit the castle," replied Norris; "but I will take you to my
lodgings, where we shall be wholly unobserved."

And crossing the lower ward, they proceeded to the tower on the south
side of it, now appropriated to the governor of the alms knights.

About an hour after this Norris returned to the revel. His whole
demeanour was altered, and his looks ghastly. He sought the queen,
who had returned to the seat in the embrasure.

"What has happened?" said Anne, in a low tone, as he approached her.
"Have you killed him?"

"No," he replied; "but I have purchased our safety at a terrible price."

"You alarm me, Norris; what mean you?" she cried. "I mean this," he
answered, regarding her with passionate earnestness: "that you must
love me now, for I have perilled my salvation for you. That tall monk
was Herne the Hunter."

IV. Of the Secret Interview between Norris and Anne Boleyn, and of the
Dissimulation practised by the King.

Henry's attentions to Jane Seymour at the masqued fete were so
marked, that the whole court was made aware of his passion. But it
was not anticipated that any serious and extraordinary consequences
would result from the intoxication--far less that the queen herself would
be removed to make way for her successful rival. It was afterwards,
however, remembered that at this time Henry held frequent, long, and
grave conferences with the Dukes of Suffolk and Norfolk, and appeared
to be engrossed in the meditation of some project.

After the scene at the revel, Anne did not make another exhibition of
jealousy; but it was not that she was reconciled to her situation, or in
any way free from uneasiness. On the contrary, the unhappy Catherine
of Arragon did not suffer more in secret; but she knew, from experience,
that with her royal consort all reproaches would be unavailing.

One morning, when she was alone within her chamber, her father, who
was now Earl of Wiltshire, obtained admittance to her

"You have a troubled look, my dear lord," she said, as she motioned him
to a seat.

"And with good reason," he replied. "Oh, Anne! words cannot express
my anxiety at the present state of things."

"It will speedily pass by, my lord," she replied; "the king will soon be
tired of his new idol."

"Not before he has overthrown the old one, I fear," rejoined the earl.
"Jane Seymour's charms have usurped entire sovereignty over him.
With all her air of ingenuousness and simplicity, the minion is artful and
dangerous She has a high mark, I am persuaded--no less than the

"But Henry cannot wed her--he cannot divorce me," said Anne.

"So thought Catherine of Arragon," replied her father; "and yet she was
divorced. Anne, I am convinced a plot is hatching against you."

"You do not fear for my life, father? "she cried, trembling.

"I trust there are no grounds for charges against you by which it might
be brought in jeopardy," replied the earl gravely.

"None, father--none!" she exclaimed.

"I am glad of it," rejoined the earl; "for I have heard that the king said to
one who suggested another divorce to him, ' No, if the queen comes
within the scope of the divorce, she also comes within the pale of the

"A pledge was extorted from him to that effect," said Anne, in a hollow

"That an attempt will be made against you, I firmly believe," replied the
earl; "but if you are wholly innocent you have nothing. to fear."

"Oh, father! I know not that," cried Anne. "Innocence avails little with
the stony-hearted Henry."

"It will prove your best safeguard," said the earl. "And now farewell,
daughter! Heaven guard you! Keep the strictest watch upon yourself."

So saying, he quitted the apartment, and as soon as she was left alone,
the unhappy Anne burst into an agony of tears.

From this state of affliction she was roused by hearing her own name
pronounced in low accents, and looking up, she beheld Sir Henry Norris.

"Oh, Norris!" she said, in a tone of reproach, " you have come hither to
destroy me."

"No one knows of my coming," he said; "at least, no one who will betray
me. I was brought hither by one who will take care we are not

"By Herne?" demanded Anne.

Norris answered in the affirmative.

". Would you had never leagued yourself with him! " she cried; "I fear
the rash act will bring destruction upon us both."

" It is too late. to retract now," he replied; "besides, there was no help
for it. I sacrificed myself to preserve you."

"But will the sacrifice preserve me?" she cried. "I fear not. I have just
been told that the king is preparing some terrible measure against me--
that he meditates removing me, to make way for Jane Seymour."

"You have heard the truth, madam," replied Norris.;he will try to bring
you to the block."

"And with him, to try is to achieve," said Anne. "Oh, Norris! it is a fearful
thing to contemplate such a death!"

"But why contemplate it, madam?" said Norris; "why, if you are satisfied
that the king has such designs against you - why, if you feel that he will
succeed, tarry for the fatal blow? Fly with me--fly with one who loves
you, and will devote his whole life to you--who regards you, not as the
queen, but as Anne Boleyn. Relinquish this false and hollow grandeur,
and fly with me to happiness and peace."

"And relinquish my throne to Jane Seymour?" rejoined Anne "Never! I
feel that all you assert is true--that my present position is hazardous--
that Jane Seymour is in the ascendant, while I am on the decline, if not
wholly sunk--that you love me entirely, and would devote your life to
me--still, with all these motives for dread, I cannot prevail upon myself
voluntarily to give up my title, and to abandon my post to a rival."

"You do not love me, then, as I love you, Anne," said Norris. "If I were a
king,I would abandon my throne for you."

"You think so now, Norris, because you are not king," she replied. "But
I am queen, and will remain so, till I am forced to abandon my dignity."

"I understand, madam," rejoined Norris gloomily. "But oh I bethink you
to what risks you expose yourself. You know the king's terrible
determination--his vindictiveness, his ferocity."

"Full well," she replied--" full well; but I will rather die a queen than live
disgrace and ruined. In wedding Henry the Eighth, I laid my account to
certain risks, and those I must brave."

Before Norris could urge anything further, the door was suddenly
opened, and a tall dark figure entered the chamber, and said hastily -
"The king is at hand."

"One word more, and it is my last," said Norris to Anne." Will you fly with
me to-night?--all shall be ready."

"I cannot," replied Anne.

"Away!" cried Herne, dragging Norris forcibly behind the tapestry.

Scarcely had they disappeared when Henry entered the chamber. He
was in a gayer mood than had been usual with him of late.

"I am come to tell you, madam," he said, "that I am about to hold jousts
in the castle on the first of May, at which your good brother and mine,
the Lord Rochford, will be the challenger, while I myself shall be the
defendant. You will adjudge the prize."

"Why not make Jane Seymour queen of the jousts?" said Anne, unable
to resist the remark.

"She will be present at them," said Henry, "but I have my own reasons,"
he added significantly, "for not wishing her to appear as queen on this

"Whatever may be your reasons, the wish is sufficient for me," said
Anne. "Nay, will you tarry a moment with me? It is long since we have
had any converse in private together."

"I am busy at this moment," replied Henry bluffly; "but what is it you
would say to me?"

"I would only reproach you for some lack of tenderness, and much
neglect," said Anne. "Oh, Henry! do you remember how you swore by
your life--your crown--your faith--all that you held sacred or dear--that
you would love me ever?"

"And so I would, if I could," replied the king; "but unfortunately the heart
is not entirely under control. Have you yourself, for instance,
experienced no change in your affections?"

"No," replied Anne. "I have certainly suffered severely from your too
evident regard for Jane Seymour; but, though deeply mortified and
distressed, I have never for a moment been shaken in my love for your

"A loyal and loving reply," said Henry. "I thought I had perceived some
slight diminution in your regard."

"You did yourself grievous injustice by the supposition," replied Anne.

"I would fain believe so," said the king; "but there are some persons
who would persuade me that you have not only lost your affection for
me, but have even cast eyes of regard on another."

"Those who told you so lied!" cried Anne passionately. "Never woman
was freer from such imputation than myself."

"Never woman was more consummate hypocrite," muttered Henry.

"You do not credit me, I see," cried Anne.

"If I did not, I should know how to act," replied the king. "You
remember my pledge?"

"Full well," replied Anne; "and if love and duty would not restrain me,
fear would."

"So I felt," rejoined the king; "but there are some of your sex upon
whom nothing will operate as a warning--so faithless and inconstant are
they by nature. It has been hinted to me that you are one of these; but I
cannot think it. I can never believe that a woman for whom I have
placed my very throne in jeopardy--for whom I have divorced my queen-
whose family I have elevated and ennobled--and whom I have placed
upon the throne would play me false. It is monstrous- incredible!"

It is--it is! " replied Anne.

"And now farewell," said Henry. "I have stayed longer than I intended,
and I should not have mentioned these accusations, which I regard as
wholly groundless, unless you had reproached me."

And he quitted the chamber, leaving Anne in a strange state of
perplexity and terror.

V. What happened at the Jousts.

The first of May arrived; and though destined to set in darkness and
despair, it arose in sunshine and smiles.

All were astir at an early hour within the castle, and preparations were
made for the approaching show. Lists were erected in the upper
quadrangle, and the whole of the vast area was strewn with sand. In
front of the royal lodgings was raised a gallery, the centre of which,
being set apart for the queen and her dames, was covered with cloth of
gold and crimson velvet, on which the royal arms were gorgeously
emblazoned. The two wings were likewise richly decorated, and
adorned with scutcheons and pennons, while from the battlements of
the eastern side of the court were hung a couple of long flags.

As soon as these preparations were completed, a throng of pages,
esquires, armourers, archers, and henchmen, entered it from the
Norman gateway, and took up positions within the barriers, the space
without the pales being kept by a double line of halberdiers. Next came
the trumpeters, mounted on richly caparisoned horses, and having their
clarions decorated with silken bandrols, fringed with gold. Stationing
themselves at the principal entrance of the lists, they were speedily
joined by the heralds, pursuivants, and other officers of the tilt-yard.

Presently afterwards, the Duke of Suffolk, who was appointed judge of
the lists, appeared, and rode round the arena to see that all was in
order. Apparently well satisfied with the survey, he dismounted, and
proceeded to the gallery.

Meanwhile, the crowd within the court was increased by a great influx
of the different members of the household, amongst whom were
Shoreditch, Paddington, and Hector Cutbeard.

"Marry, this promises to be a splendid sight!" said the clerk of the
kitchen; "the king will, no doubt, do his devoir gallantly for the sake of
the bright eyes that will look upon him."

"You mean the queen's, of course? "said Shoreditch.

"I mean hers who may be queen," replied Cutbeard; "Mistress Jane

"May be queen!" exclaimed Shoreditch. "You surely do not think the
king will divorce his present consort?"

"Stranger things have happened," replied Cutbeard significantly. "If I
am not greatly out of my reckoning," he added, " these are the last
jousts Queen Anne will behold."

"The saints forefend!" cried Shoreditch; "what reason have you for
thinking so?"

"That I may not declare," replied Cutbeard; "but before the jousts are
over you will see whether I have been rightly informed or not."

"Hush!" exclaimed Shoreditch."There is a tall monk eyeing us strangely;
and I am not certain that he has not overheard what you have said."

"He is welcome to the intelligence," replied Cutbeard; "the end will
prove its truth."

Though this was uttered in a confident tone, he nevertheless glanced
with some misgiving at the monk, who stood behind Paddington. The
object of the investigation was a very tall man, with a cowl drawn over
his brow. He had a ragged black beard, fierce dark eyes, and a
complexion like bronze. Seeing Cutboard's glance anxiously fixed upon
him, he advanced towards him, and said in a low tone -

"You have nothing to fear from me; but talk not so loud if you value your

"So saying he proceeded to another part of the lists.

"Who is that tall monk?" asked Paddington.

"Devil knows!" answered Cutbeard; "I never saw him before. But he has
a villainous cut-throat look."

Soon afterwards a flourish of trumpets was heard, and amid their
joyous bruit the queen, sumptuously arrayed in cloth of gold and
ermine, and having a small crown upon her brow, entered the gallery,
and took her seat within it. Never had she looked more beautiful than
on this fatal morning, and in the eyes of all the beholders she
completely eclipsed her rival, Jane Seymour. The latter, who stood on
her right hard, and was exquisitely attired, had a thoughtful and
anxious air, as if some grave matter weighed upon her

While the queen's attendants were taking their places, Lord Rochford,
accompanied by Sir Henry Norris and the Earls of Surrey and Essex,
entered the lists. The four knights were completely armed, and
mounted on powerful steeds barded with rich cloth of gold,
embroidered with silver letters. Each had a great crimson plume in his
helmet. They rode singly round the arena, and bowed as they passed
the royal gallery, Norris bending almost to his saddle-bow while
performing his salutation to the queen.

The field being thus taken by the challengers, who retired to the upper
end of the court, a trumpet was thrice sounded by a herald, and an
answer was immediately made by another herald stationed opposite
Henry the Seventh's buildings. When the clamour ceased, the king fully
armed, and followed by the Marquis of Dorset, Sir Thomas Wyat, and the
Lord Clifford, rode into the lists.

Henry was equipped in a superb suit of armour, inlaid with gold, and
having a breastplate of the globose form, then in vogue; his helmet was
decorated with a large snow-white plume. The trappings of his steed
were of crimson velvet, embroidered with the royal arms, and edged
with great letters of massive gold bullion, full of pearls and precious
stones. He was attended by a hundred gentlemen, armourers, and
other officers, arrayed in white velvet.

Having ridden round the court like the others, and addressed his
salutation exclusively to Jane Seymour, Henry took his station with his
companions near the base of the Round Tower, the summit of which
was covered with spectators, as were the towers and battlements

A trumpet was now sounded, and the king and the Lord Rochford
having each taken a lance from his esquire, awaited the signal to start
from the Duke of Suffolk, who was seated in the left wing of the royal
gallery. It was not long delayed. As the clarion sounded clearly and
loudly for the third time, he called out that the champions might go.

No sooner were the words uttered, than the thundering tramp of the
steeds resounded, and the opponents met midway. Both their lances
were shivered; but as the king did not, in the slightest degree, change
his position, he was held to have the best of it. Courses were then run
by the others, with varied success, the Marquis of Dorset being
unhorsed by Sir Henry Norris, whose prowess was rewarded by the
plaudits of the assemblage, and what was infinitely more dear to him,
by the smiles of the queen.

"You have ridden well, Norris," cried Henry, advancing towards him.
"Place yourself opposite me, and let us splinter a lance together."

As Norris reined back his steed, in compliance with the injunction, the
tall monk stepped from out the line, and drawing near him, said, "If you
wish to prove victorious, aim at the upper part of the king's helmet."
And with these words he withdrew.

By the time Norris had placed his lance in the rest, the trumpet
sounded. The next moment the word was given, and the champions
started. Henry rode with great impetuosity, and struck Norris in the
gorget with such good will that both he and his steed were shaken.

But Norris was more fortunate. Following the advice of the monk, he
made the upper part of the king's helmet his mark, and the blow was so
well dealt, that, though he did not dislodge the royal horseman, it drove
back his steed on its haunches.

The success was so unequivocal that Norris was at once declared the
victor by the judge. No applause, however, followed the decision, from
a fear of giving offence to the king.

Norris dismounted, and committing his steed to the care of an esquire,
and his lance to a page, took off his helmet and advanced towards the
royal gallery, near which the Earl of Surrey and Sir Thomas Wyat were
standing talking with the other dames. As Norris drew near, Anne
leaned over the edge of the gallery, and smiled at him tenderly, and,
whether by design or accident, let fall her embroidered handkerchief.

Norris stooped to pick it up, regarding her as he did so with a glance of
the most passionate devotion. A terrible gaze, however, was fixed on
the unfortunate pair at that moment. It was that of the king. While
Henry was careering in front of the gallery to display himself before
Jane Seymour, a tall monk approached him, and said, "Look at Sir
Henry Norris!"

Thus addressed, Henry raised his beaver, that he might see more
distinctly, and beheld Norris take up the embroidered handkerchief,
which he recognised as one that he had given, in the early days of his
affection, to the queen.

The sight stung him almost to madness, and he had great difficulty in
repressing his choler. But if this slight action, heightened to
importance, as it was, by the looks of the parties, roused his ire, it was
nothing to what followed. Instead of restoring it to the queen, Norris,
unconscious of the danger in which he stood, pressed the handkerchief
fervently to his lips.

"I am hitherto the victor of the jousts," he said; "may I keep this as the

Anne smiled assent.

"It is the proudest I ever obtained," pursued Norris. And he placed it
within his helmet.

Does your majesty see that?" cried the tall monk, who still remained
standing near the king

"Death of my life!" exclaimed Henry, "it is the very handkerchief I gave
her before our union! I can contain myself no longer, and must perforce
precipitate matters. What ho!" he cried, riding up to that part of the
gallery where the Duke of Suffolk was seated -" let the jousts be

"Wherefore, my dear liege?" said Suffolk. "The Earl of Surrey and Sir
Thomas Wyat are about to run a course."

"Let them he stopped I say!" roared Henry, in a tone that admitted of no
dispute. And wheeling round his charger, he dashed into the middle of
the barriers, shouting in loud, authoritative accents, "The jousts are at
an end! Disperse!"

The utmost consternation was occasioned by the announcement. The
Duke of Suffolk instantly quitted his seat, and pressed through the
crowd to the king, who whispered a few hasty words in his ear. Henry
then called to the Earl of Surrey, the Marquis of Dorset, the Lord
Clifford, Wyat, and some others, and bidding them attend him, prepared
to quit the court. As he passed the royal gallery, Anne called to him in
an agonised voice- "Oh, Henry! what is the matter?--what have I done?"

But without paying the slightest attention to her, he dashed through the
Norman Gate, galloped down the lower quadrangle, and quitted the

The confusion that ensued may be imagined. All saw that something
extraordinary and terrible had taken place, though few knew precisely
what it was. Dismay sat in every countenance, and the general anxiety
was heightened by the agitation of the queen, who, uttering a piercing
scream, fell back, and was borne off in a state of insensibility by her

Unable to control himself at the sight, Norris burst through the guard,
and rushing up the great staircase, soon gained the apartment to which
the queen had been conveyed. Owing to the timely aid afforded her,
she was speedily restored, and the first person her eyes fell upon was
her lover. At the sight of him a glance of affection illumined her
features, but it was instantly changed into an expression of alarm.

At this juncture the Duke of Suffolk, who, with Bouchier and a party of
halberdiers, had entered the room, stepped up to the queen, and said-
"Will it please you, madam, to retire to an inner apartment? I grieve to
say you are under arrest."

"Arrest!" exclaimed Anne; " for what crime, your grace?"

"You are charged with incontinency towards the king's highness,"
replied Suffolk sternly.

"But I am innocent!" cried Anne -" as Heaven shall judge me, I am

"I trust you will be able to prove yourself so, madam," said Suffolk. "Sir
Henry Norris, your person is likewise attached."

"Then I am lost indeed!" exclaimed Anne distractedly.

Do not let these false and malignant accusations alarm you, madam,"
said Norri. "You have nothing to fear. I will die protesting your

"Sir Henry Norris," said the duke coldly, "your own imprudence has
brought about this sad result."

"I feel it," replied Norris; "and I deserve the worst punishment that can
be inflicted upon me for it. But I declare to you as I will declare upon the
rack, if I am placed upon it--that the queen is wholly innocent. Let her
not suffer for my fault."

"You hear what Sir Henry says," cried Anne; "and I call upon you to
recollect the testimony he has borne."

"I shall not fail to do so, madam," replied Suffolk. "Your majesty will
have strict justice."

"Justice! "echoed Anne, with a laugh of bitter incredulity. "Justice from
Henry the Eighth?"

"Beseech you, madam, do not destroy yourself," said Norris, prostrating
himself before her. "Recollect by whom you are surrounded. My folly
and madness have brought you into this strait, and I sincerely implore
your pardon for it."

"You are not to blame, Norris," said Anne; "it is fate, not you, that has
destroyed me. The hand that has dealt this blow is that of a queen
within the tomb."

"Captain Bouchier," said the Duke of Suffolk, addressing that officer,
who stood near him," you will convey Sir Henry Norris to the strong-
room in the lower gateway, whence he will be removed to the Tower."

"Farewell for ever, Norris!" cried Anne. "We shall meet no more on earth.
In what has fallen on me I recognise the hand of retribution. But the
same measure which has been meted to me shall be dealt to others. I
denounce Jane Seymour before Heaven! She shall not long retain the
crown she is about to snatch from me!"

"That imprecation had better have been spared, madam," said the

"Be advised, my gracious mistress," cried Norris, "and do not let your
grief and distraction place you in the power of your enemies. All may
yet go well."

"I denounce her!" persisted Anne, wholly disregarding the caution; "and
I also denounce the king. No union of his shall be happy, and other
blood than mine shall flow.

At a sign from the duke she was here borne, half suffocated with
emotion, to an inner apartment, while Norris was conveyed by Bouchier
and a company of halberdiers to the lower gateway, and placed within
the prison chamber.

VI. What passed between Anne Boleyn and the Duke of Suffolk, and how
Herne the Hunter appeared to her in the Oratory.

For some hours Anne Boleyn's attendants were alarmed for her reason,
and there seemed good grounds for the apprehension, so wildly and
incoherently did she talk, and so violently comport herself--she who
was usually so gentle now weeping as if her soul would pass away in
tears--now breaking into fearful hysterical laughter. It was a piteous
sight, and deeply moved all who witnessed it. But towards evening she
became calmer, and desired to be left by herself. Her wish being
complied with, she fell upon her knees, and besought Heaven's
forgiveness for her manifold offences.

"May my earthly sufferings," she cried, "avail me here--after, and may
my blood wash out my guilt. I feel the enormity of my offence, and
acknowledge the justice of my punishment. Pardon me, O injured
Catherine--pardon me, I implore thee! Thou seest in me the most abject
pitiable woman in the whole realm! Overthrown, neglected, despised--
about to die a shameful death--what worse can befall me? Thine
anguish was great, but it was never sharpened by remorse like mine.
Oh! that I could live my life over again. I would resist all the dazzling
temptations I have yielded to--above all, I would not injure thee. Oh!
that I had resisted Henry's love--his false vows--his fatal lures! But it is
useless to repine. I have acted wrongfully and must pay the penalty of
my crime. May my tears, my penitence, my blood operate as an
atonement, and procure me pardon from the merciful Judge before
whom I shall shortly appear."

In such prayers and lamentations she passed more than an hour, when
her attendants entered to inform her that the Duke of Suffolk and the
Lords Audley and Cromwell were without, and desired to see her. She
immediately went forth to them.

"We are come to acquaint you, madam," said Suffolk, that you will be
removed at an early hour tomorrow morning, to the Tower, there to
abide during the king's pleasure."

"If the king will have it so, my lords," she replied, " I must needs go; but
I protest my innocence, and will protest it to the last. I have ever been
a faithful and loyal consort to his highness, and though I may not have
demeaned myself to him so humbly and gratefully as I ought to have
done--seeing how much I owe him- yet I have lacked nothing in
affection and duty. I have had jealous fancies and suspicions of him,
especially of late, and have troubled him with them; but I pray his
forgiveness for my folly, which proceeded from too much regard, and if I
am acquitted of my present charge, I will offend him so no more."

"We will report what you say to the king," rejoined Suffolk gravely; "but
we are bound to add that his highness does not act on mere suspicion,
the proofs of your guilt being strong against you."

"There can be no such proofs," cried Anne quickly. "Who are my
accusers? and what do they state?"

"You are charged with conspiring against the king's life, and
dishonouring his bed," replied Suffolk sternly. "Your accusers will
appear in due season."

"They are base creatures suborned for the purpose!" cried Anne. "No
loyal. person would so forswear himself."

"Time will show you who they are, madam," said Suffolk.

" But having now answered all your questions, I pray you permit us to

"Shall I not see the king before I am taken to the Tower?" said Anne,
upon whom the terror of her situation rushed with new force.

"His highness has quitted the castle," replied Suffolk, " and there is no
likelihood of his return to-night."

"You tell me so to deceive me," cried Anne. "Let me see him--let me
throw myself at his feet! I can convince him of my innocence and move
him to compassion! Let me see him, I implore of you--I charge you!"

"I swear to you, madam, that the king has departed for Hampton Court,"
replied Suffolk.

"Then take me to him there, under strong guard, or as secretly
as you please," she cried passionately; "I will return with you instantly,
if I am unsuccessful."

"Were I to comply with your request it would be fruitless, madam,"
replied Suffolk; "the king would not see you."

"Oh, Suffolk!" cried Anne, prostrating herself before him, "I have shown
you many kindnesses in my season of power, and have always stood
your friend with the king. Do me this favour now; I will never forget it.
Introduce me to the king. I am sure I can move his heart, if I can only
see him."

"It would cost me my head, madam," said the duke in an inexorable
tone. " Rise, I pray you."

"You are more cruel than the king," said Anne, obeying. "And now, my
lords," she continued with more composure and dignity, "since you
refuse my last request, and plainly prove to me the sort of justice I may
expect, I will not detain you longer. I shall be ready to attend you to the
Tower tomorrow."

"The barge will proceed an hour before dawn," said Suffolk.

"Must I, then, go by water? " asked Anne.

"Such are the king's commands," replied Suffolk.

"It is no matter," she rejoined; "I shall be ready when you will, for I shall
not retire to rest during the night."

Upon this Suffolk and the others slowly withdrew, and Anne again
retired to the oratory.

She remained alone, brooding, in a state of indescribable anguish, upon
the probable fate awaiting her, when all at once, raising her eyes, she
beheld a tall dark figure near the arras.

Even in the gloom she recognised Herne the Hunter, and with difficulty
repressed a scream.

"Be silent!" cried Herne, with an emphatic gesture. "I am come to
deliver you."

Anne could not repress a joyful cry.

"Not so loud," rejoined Herne, "or you will alarm your attendants. I will
set you free on certain conditions."

"Ah! conditions!" exclaimed Anne, recoiling; "if they are such as will
affect my eternal welfare, I cannot accept them."

"You will repent it when it is too late," replied Herne. "Once removed to
the Tower I can no longer aid you. My power extends only to the forest
and the castle."

"Will you take me to the king. at Hampton Court?" said Anne.

"It would be useless," replied Herne. "I will only do what I have stated.
If you fly with me, you can never appear again as Anne Boleyn. Sir
Henry Norris shall be set free at the same time, and you shall both dwell
with me in the forest. Come!"

"I cannot go," said Anne, holding back; "it were to fly to a worse danger.
I may save my soul now; but if I embrace your offer I am lost for ever."

Herne laughed derisively.

"You need have no fear on that score" he said.

"I will not trust you," replied Anne. "I have yielded to temptation
already, and am now paying the penalty of it."

"You are clinging to the crown," said Herne, "because you know that by
this step you will irrecoverably lose it. And you fancy that some change
may yet operate to your advantage with the king. It is a vain delusive
hope. If you leave this castle for the Tower, you will perish
ignominiously on the block."

"What will be, must be!" replied Anne. "I will not save myself in the way
you propose."

"Norris will say, and with reason, that you love him not," cried Herne.

"Then he will wrong me," replied Anne; "for I do love him. But of what
account were a few years of fevered happiness compared with endless

"I will befriend you in spite of yourself," vociferated Herne, seizing her
arm; "you shall go with me!"

"I will not," said Anne, falling on her knees. "Oh, Father of Mercy!" she
cried energetically, "deliver me from this fiend!"

"Take your fate, then!" rejoined Herne, dashing her furiously

And when her attendants, alarmed by the sound, rushed into the
chamber, they found her stretched on the floor in a state of

VII. How Herne appeared to Henry In the Home Park.

On that same night, at a late hour, a horseman, mounted on a powerful
steed, entered the eastern side of the home park, and stationed himself
beneath the trees. He had not been there long, when the castle clock
tolled forth the hour of midnight, and ere the deep strokes died away, a
second horseman was seen galloping across the moonlit glade towards

"Has all been done as I directed, Suffolk? "he demanded, as the
newcomer approached him.

"It has, my liege," replied the duke. "The queen is imprisoned within
her chamber, and will be removed, at early dawn, to the Tower."

"You had better start in an hour from this time," said the king. "It is a
long passage by water, and I am anxious to avoid all chance of attempt
at rescue."

"Your wishes shall be obeyed," replied the duke. "Poor soul! her grief
was most agonizing, and I had much ado to maintain my composure.
She implored, in the most passionate manner, to be allowed to see your
highness before her removal. I told her it was impossible; and that even
if you were at the castle, you would not listen to her supplications."

"You did right," rejoined Henry; "I will never see her more--not that I fear
being moved by her prayers, but that,. knowing how deceitful and
faithless she is, I loathe to look upon her. What is expressed upon the
matter by the household? Speak frankly."

"Frankly then," replied the duke, "your highness's proceedings are
regarded as harsh and unjustifiable. The general opinion is, that you
only desire to remove Anne to make way for Mistress Jane Seymour."

"Ha! they talk thus, do they?" cried the king. "I will silence their saucy
prating ere long. Tell all who venture to speak to you on the subject
that I have long suspected the queen of a secret liking for Norris, but
that I determined to conceal my suspicions till I found I had good
warrant for them. That occurred, as you know, some weeks ago.
However, I awaited a pretext for proceeding against them,and it was
furnished by their own imprudence to-day. Convinced that something
would occur, I had made my preparations; nor was I deceived. You may
add, also, that not until my marriage is invalidated, Anne's offspring
illegitimatised, and herself beheaded, shall I consider the foul blot upon
my name removed."

"Has your majesty any further commands? "said Suffolk. "I saw Norris
in his prison before I rode forth to you."

"Let him be taken to the Tower, under a strong escort, at once," said
Henry. "Lord Rochford, I suppose, has already been removed there?"

"He has," replied the duke. "Shall I attend your majesty to your

"It is needless," replied the king. "They are waiting for me, close at
hand, at the foot of Datchet Bridge. Fare well, my good brother; look
well to your prisoners. I shall feel more easy when Anne is safely
lodged within the Tower."

So saying he wheeled round, and striking spurs into his steed, dashed
through the trees, while the duke rode back to the castle.

Henry had not proceeded far, when a horseman, mounted on a sable
steed, emerged from the thicket, and galloped up to him. The wild
attire and antlered helm of this personage proclaimed the forest fiend.

"Ah! thou here, demon!" cried the king, his lion nature overmastered by
superstitious fear for a moment. "What wouldst thou?"

"You are on the eve of committing a great crime," replied Herne; "and I
told you that at such times I would always appear to you."

"To administer justice is not to commit crime," rejoined the king. "Anne
Boleyn deserves her fate."

"Think not to impose on me as you have imposed on Suffolk!" cried
Herne, with a derisive laugh. "I know your motives better; I know you
have no proof of her guilt, and that in your heart of hearts you believe
her innocent. But you destroy her because you would wed Jane
Seymour! We shall meet again ere long--ho! ho! ho!"

And giving the rein to his steed, he disappeared among the trees.

The Signal Gun. Windsor Castle VII How Herne appeared to Henry
In the Home Park.ON that same night, at a late hour, a horseman,
mounted on a powerful steed, entered the eastern side of the home
park, and stationed himself beneath the trees. He had not been there
long, when the castle clock tolled forth the hour of midnight, and ere
the deep strokes died away, a second horseman was seen galloping
across the moonlit glade towards him.

"Has all been done as I directed, Suffolk? "he demanded, as the
newcomer approached him.

"It has, my liege," replied the duke. "The queen is imprisoned within
her chamber, and will be removed, at early dawn, to the Tower."

"You had better start in an hour from this time," said the king. "It is a
long passage by water, and I am anxious to avoid all chance of attempt
at rescue."

"Your wishes shall be obeyed," replied the duke. "Poor soul! her grief
was most agonizing, and I had much ado to maintain my composure.
She implored, in the most passionate manner, to be allowed to see your
highness before her removal. I told her it was impossible; and that even
if you were at the castle, you would not listen to her supplications."

"You did right," rejoined Henry; "I will never see her more--not that I fear
being moved by her prayers, but that,. knowing how deceitful and
faithless she is, I loathe to look upon her. What is expressed upon the
matter by the household? Speak frankly."

"Frankly then," replied the duke, "your highness's proceedings are
regarded as harsh and unjustifiable. The general opinion is, that you
only desire to remove Anne to make way for Mistress Jane Seymour."

"Ha! they talk thus, do they?" cried the king. "I will silence their saucy
prating ere long. Tell all who venture to speak to you on the subject
that I have long suspected the queen of a secret liking for Norris, but
that I determined to conceal my suspicions till I found I had good
warrant for them. That occurred, as you know, some weeks ago.
However, I awaited a pretext for proceeding against them,and it was
furnished by their own imprudence to-day. Convinced that something
would occur, I had made my preparations; nor was I deceived. You may
add, also, that not until my marriage is invalidated, Anne's offspring
illegitimatised, and herself beheaded, shall I consider the foul blot upon
my name removed."

"Has your majesty any further commands? "said Suffolk. "I saw Norris
in his prison before I rode forth to you."

"Let him be taken to the Tower, under a strong escort, at once," said
Henry. "Lord Rochford, I suppose, has already been removed there?"

"He has," replied the duke. "Shall I attend your majesty to your

"It is needless," replied the king. "They are waiting for me, close at
hand, at the foot of Datchet Bridge. Fare well, my good brother; look
well to your prisoners. I shall feel more easy when Anne is safely
lodged within the Tower."

So saying he wheeled round, and striking spurs into his steed, dashed
through the trees, while the duke rode back to the castle.

Henry had not proceeded far, when a horseman, mounted on a sable
steed, emerged from the thicket, and galloped up to him. The wild
attire and antlered helm of this personage proclaimed the forest fiend.

"Ah! thou here, demon!" cried the king, his lion nature overmastered by
superstitious fear for a moment. "What wouldst thou?"

"You are on the eve of committing a great crime," replied Herne; "and I
told you that at such times I would always appear to you."

"To administer justice is not to commit crime," rejoined the king. "Anne
Boleyn deserves her fate."

"Think not to impose on me as you have imposed on Suffolk!" cried
Herne, with a derisive laugh. "I know your motives better; I know you
have no proof of her guilt, and that in your heart of hearts you believe
her innocent. But you destroy her because you would wed Jane
Seymour! We shall meet again ere long--ho! ho! ho!"

And giving the rein to his steed, he disappeared among the trees.

VIII. The Signal Gun.

Anne Boleyn's arraignment took place in the great hall of the White
Tower, on the 16th of May, before the Duke of Norfolk, who was created
lord high steward for the occasion, and twenty-six peers. The duke had
his seat under a canopy of state, and beneath him sat the Earl of Surrey
as deputy earl-marshal.

Notwithstanding an eloquent and impassioned defence, Anne was
found guilty; and having been required to lay aside her crown and the
other insignia of royalty, was condemned to be burned or beheaded at
the king's pleasure.

On the following day, she was summoned to the archiepiscopal palace
at Lambeth, whither she was privately conveyed; and her marriage with
the king was declared by Cranmer to be null and void, and to have
always been so. Death by the axe was the doom awarded to her by the
king, and the day appointed for the execution was Friday the 19th of
May, at the hour of noon.

Leaving the conduct of the fatal ceremony to the Duke of Suffolk, who
had orders to have a signal gun fired from the summit of the White
Tower, which was to be answered from various points, when all was
over, Henry repaired to Windsor Castle on the evening of Thursday.
Before this, he had formally offered his hand to Jane Seymour; and
while the unfortunate queen was languishing within the Tower, he was
basking in the smiles of his new mistress, and counting the hours till
he. could make her his own. On the Tuesday before the execution, Jane
Seymour retired to her father's mansion, Wolff Hall, in Wiltshire, where
preparations were made for the marriage, which it was arranged should
take place there in private on the Saturday.

On arriving at the castle, Henry gave out that he should hunt on the
following morning in the great park, and retired to his closet. But he did
not long remain there, and putting on the garb of a yeoman of the
guard, descended by the narrow flight of steps (already mentioned as
occupying the same situation as the existing Hundred Steps) to the
town, and proceeded to the Garter, where he found several guests
assembled, discussing the affairs of the day, and Bryan Bowntance's
strong ale at the same time. Amongst the number were the Duke of
Shoreditch, Paddington, Hector Cutbeard, and Kit Coo. At the moment
of the king's entrance, they were talking of the approaching execution.

"Oh, the vanity of worldly greatness!" exclaimed Bryan, lifting up his
hands. "Only seven years ago, last Saint George's Day, this lovely queen
first entered the castle with the king, amid pomp and splendour and
power, and with a long life--apparently--of happiness before her. And
now she is condemned to die."

"But if she has played the king false she deserves her doom," replied
Shoreditch. "I would behead my own wife if she served me the same
trick--that is, if I could."

"You do right to say 'if you could,' "rejoined Paddington. "The beheading
of a wife is a royal privilege, and cannot be enjoyed by a subject."

"Many, I wonder how the king could prefer Mistress Jane Seymour, for
my part !" said Hector Cutbeard. "To my thinking she is not to be
compared with Queen Anne."

She has a lovely blue eye, and a figure as straight as an arrow,"
returned Shoreditch. "How say you, master?" he added, turning to the
king; "what think you of Mistress Jane Seymour?"

"That she is passably fair, friend," replied Henry.

"But how as compared with the late--that is, the present queen, for,
poor soul! she has yet some hours to live," rejoined Shoreditch. "How,
as compared with her?"

"Why, I think Jane Seymour the more lovely, Undoubtedly," replied
Henry. "But I may be prejudiced."

"Not in the least, friend," said Cutbeard. "You but partake of your royal
master's humour. Jane Seymour is beautiful, no doubt, and so was Anne
Boleyn. Marry! we shall see many fair queens on the throne. The royal
Henry has good taste and good management. He sets his subjects a
rare example, and shows them how to get rid of troublesome wives. We
shall all divorce or hang our spouses when we get tired of them. I
almost wish I was married myself, that I might try the experiment-ha! ha

"Well, here's the king's health!" cried Shoreditch, "and wishing him as
many wives as he may desire. What say you, friend?" he added, turning
to Henry. "Will you not drink that toast?"

I"That will I," replied Henry; "but I fancy the king will be content for the
present with Mistress Jane Seymour."

"For the present, no doubt," said Hector Cutbeard; "but the time will
come--and ere long--when Jane will be as irksome to him as Anne is

"Ah, God's death, knave! darest thou say so?" cried Henry furiously.

"Why, I have said nothing treasonable, I hope? "rejoined Cutbeard,
turning pale; "I only wish the king to be happy in his own way. And as he
seems to delight in change of wives, I pray that he may have it to his
heart's content."

"A fair explanation," replied Henry, laughing.

"Let me give a health, my masters!" cried a tall archer, whom no one
had hitherto noticed, rising in one corner of the room. "It is--The
headsman of Calais, and may he do his work featly tomorrow!"

"Hal ha! ha! a good toast! "cried Hector Cutbeard.

"Seize him who has proposed it!" cried the king, rising; "it is Herne the

"I laugh at your threats here as elsewhere, Harry," cried Herne. "We
shall meet tomorrow."

And flinging the horn cup in the face of the man nearest him, he sprang
through an open window at the back, and disappeared.

Both Cutbeard and Shoreditch were much alarmed lest the freedom of
their expressions should be taken in umbrage by the king; but he
calmed their fears by bestowing a good humoured buffet on the cheek
of the latter of them, and quitting the hostel, returned to the castle by
the same way he had left it.

On the following morning, about ten o'clock, he rode into the great park,
attended by a numerous train. His demeanour was moody and stern,
and a general gloom pervaded the company. Keeping on the western
side of the park, the party crossed Cranbourne chase; but though they
encountered several fine herds of deer, the king gave no orders to
uncouple the hounds.

At last they arrived at that part of the park where Sandpit Gate is now
situated, and pursuing a path bordered by noble trees, a fine buck was
suddenly unharboured, upon which Henry gave orders to the huntsmen
and others to follow him, adding that he. himself should proceed to
Snow Hill, where they would find him an hour hence.

All understood why the king wished to be alone, and for what purpose
he was about to repair to the eminence in question, and therefore,
without a word, the whole company started off in the chase.

Meanwhile, the king rode slowly through the woods, often pausing to
listen to the distant sounds of the hunters, and noticing the shadows on
the greensward as they grew shorter, and proclaimed the approach of
noon. At length he arrived at Snow Hill, and stationed himself beneath
the trees on its summit.

From this point a magnificent view of the castle, towering over its pomp
of woods, now covered with foliage of the most vivid green, was
commanded. The morning was bright and beautiful, the sky cloudless,
and a gentle rain had fallen over night, which had tempered the air and
freshened the leaves and the greensward. The birds were singing
blithely in the trees, and at the foot of the hill crouched a herd of deer.
All was genial and delightful, breathing of tenderness and peace,
calculated to soften the most obdurate heart.

The scene was not without its effect upon Henry; but a fierce tumult
raged within his breast. He fixed his eyes on the Round Tower, which
was distinctly visible, and from which he expected the signal, and then
tried to peer into the far horizon. But he could discern nothing. A cloud
passed over the sun, and cast a momentary gloom over the smiling
landscape. At the same time Henry's fancy was so powerfully excited,
that he fancied he could behold the terrible tragedy enacting at the.

"She is now issuing forth into the green in front of Saint Peter's Chapel,"
said Henry to himself. "I can see her as distinctly as if I were there. Ah,
how. beautiful she looks! and how she moves all hearts to pity! Suffolk,
Richmond, Cromwell, and the Lord Mayor are there to meet her. She
takes leave of her weeping attendants--she mounts the steps of the
scaffold firmly - she looks round, and addresses the spectators. How
silent they are, and how clearly and musically her voice sounds! She
blesses me.--I hear It!--I feel it here! Now she disrobes herself, and
prepares for the fatal axe. It is wielded by the skilful executioner of
Calais, and he is now feeling its edge. Now she takes leave of her
dames, and bestows a parting gift on each. Again she kneels. and
prays. She rises. The fatal moment is at hand. Even now she retains her
courage-- she approaches the block, and places her head upon it. The
axe is raised--ha!"

The exclamation was occasioned by a flash of fire from the battlements
of the Round Tower, followed by a volume of smoke, and in another
second the deep boom of a gun was heard.

At the very moment that the flash was seen, a wild figure, mounted on a
coal-black steed, galloped from out the wood, and dashed towards
Henry, whose horse reared and plunged as he passed.

"There spoke the knell of Anne Boleyn!" cried Herne, regarding Henry
sternly, and pointing to the Round Tower. "The bloody deed is done,
and thou art free to wed once more. Away to Wolff Hall, and bring thy
new consort to Windsor Castle!"


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