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John Heywood

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Loyola's General








She rushed to the window and gazed after him till he had disappeared,
then she uttered a deep cry of anguish, and, wholly overcome by her
agony, she sank down on her knees weeping and wailing, wringing her
hands, and raising them to God.

But just before so happy and joyful, she was now full of woe and
anguish; and bitter sighs of complaint came trembling from her lips.

"Oh, oh," moaned she, with sobs; "what terrible agonies are these, and
how full of despair the anguish that lacerates my breast! I have lain in
his arms; I have received his vows of love and accepted his kisses; and
these vows are not mine, and these kisses he gave not to me. He kissed
me, and he loves in me only her whom I hate. He lays his hands in mine
and utters vows of love which he dedicates to her. He thinks and feels
for her only--her alone. What a terrible torture this is! To be loved
under her name; under her name to receive the vows of love that yet
belong to me only--to me alone! For he loves me, me exclusively.
They are my lips that he kisses, my form that he embraces; to me are
addressed his words and his letters; and it is I that reply to them. He
loves me, me only, and yet he puts no faith in me. I am nothing to him,
naught but a lifeless image, like other women. This he has told me; and
I did not become frenzied; and I had the cruel energy to pass off the
tears wrung from me by despair, for tears of rapture. Oh, detestable,
horrible mockery of fate--to be what I am not, and not to be what I am!"

And with a shrill cry of agony she tore her hair, and with her fist
smote upon her breast, and wept and moaned aloud.

She heard naught; she saw naught; she felt naught but her inexpressible
and despairing anguish.

She did not once tremble for herself; she thought not at all of
this--that she would be lost if she were found in this place.

And yet at the other side of the room a door had opened, softly and
noiselessly, and a man had entered.

He shut the door behind him and walked up to Lady Jane, who still lay
on the floor. He stood behind her while she uttered her despairing
lamentation. He heard every word of her quivering lips; her whole heart
painfully convulsed and torn with grief lay unveiled before him; and she
knew it not.

Now he bent over her; and with his hand he lightly touched her shoulder.
At this touch she gave a convulsive start, as if hit by the stroke of a
sword, and her sobbing was immediately silenced.

An awful pause ensued. The woman lay on the floor motionless,
breathless, and near her, tall and cold as a figure of bronze, stood the
man.

"Lady Jane Douglas," said he then, sternly and solemnly, "stand up. It
becomes not your father's daughter to be upon her knees, when it is not
God to whom she kneels. But you are not kneeling to God, but to an idol,
which you yourself have made, and to which you hate erected a temple in
your heart. This idol is called 'Your own personal misfortune.' But it
is written, 'Thou shalt have no other Gods but me.' Therefore I say to
you once more, Lady Jane Douglas, rise from your knees, for it is not
your God to whom you kneel."

And as though these words exercised a magnetic power over her, she
raised herself up slowly from the floor, and now stood there before her
father, stern and cold as a statue of marble.

"Cast from you the sorrows of this world, which burden you, and hinder
you in the sacred work which God has imposed on you!" continued Earl
Douglas in his metallic, solemn voice. "It is written, 'Come unto Me,
all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest,' saith
our God. But you, Jane, you are to throw down your trouble at the foot
of the throne; and your burden will become a crown that will glorify
your head."

He laid his hand on her head, but she wildly shook it off.

"No," cried she, with heavy, faltering tongue, as if confused in a
dream. "Away with this crown! I wish no crown upon which devils have
laid a spell. I wish no royal robe that has been dyed crimson with the
blood of my beloved."

"She is still in the delirium of her anguish," muttered the earl, as
he contemplated the pale, trembling woman who had now sunk again to
her knees, and was staring straight before her with eyes bewildered
and stretched wide open. But the looks of the earl remained cold and
unmoved, and not the least compassion was aroused in him for his poor
daughter, now penetrated with anguish.

"Arise," said he, in a hard, steelly voice. "The Church, by my mouth,
commands you to serve her as you have vowed to do; that is to say, with
glad heart and a sense of your reliance on God; that is to say, with
smiling lips and a serene, beaming eye, as becomes a disciple inspired
by faith, and as you have sworn to do in the hands of our lord and
master, Ignatius Loyola."

"I cannot! I cannot!" moaned she, in a low tone. "I cannot be glad at
heart when despair, like a wild boar, is rending my heart; I cannot
command my eye to shine when my eyes are dimmed with tears of anguish.
Oh, have pity, have compassion! Remember that you are my father; that I
am your daughter--the daughter of a wife whom you loved, and who would
find in the grave no rest if she knew how you are racking and torturing
me. My mother, my mother, if thy spirit is near me, come and protect me.
Let thy mild looks overshadow my head, and breathe a breath of thy love
into the heart of this cruel father, who is ready to sacrifice his child
on the altar of his God."

"God has called me," said the earl, "and, like Abraham, I too will learn
to obey. But I will not adorn my victim with flowers, but with a royal
crown. I will not plunge a knife into her breast, but will put a golden
sceptre into her hand and say: Thou art a queen before men, but before
God be thou a faithful and obedient servant. Thou hast all to command.
But the holy Church, to whose service thou hast consecrated thyself, and
who will bless thee if thou art faithful, who will dash thee in pieces
with her curse if thou darest deal treacherously, she commands thee. No,
you are not my daughter, but the priestess of the Church, consecrated
to her holy service. No, I have no sympathy with your tear's and this
anguish, for I see the end of these sorrows, and I know that these tears
will be as a diadem of pearls about your temples. Lady Jane Douglas, it
is the saintly Loyola who sends you his commands by my mouth. Obey them,
not because I am your father, but because I am the general to whom you
have sworn obedience and fidelity unto your life's end."

"Then kill me, my father!" said she, feebly. "Let this life end, which
is but a torture, a protracted martyrdom. Punish me for my disobedience
by plunging your dagger deep into my breast. Punish me, and grudge me
not the repose of the grave."

"Poor enthusiast!" said the father; "suppose you, we would be foolish
enough to subject you to so light a punishment! No, no, if you dare, in
insolent disobedience, rebel against my commands, your penance shall be
a terrible one, and your punishment without end. I will not kill you,
but him whom you love; it will be his head that falls; and you will be
his murderess. He shall die on the scaffold and you--you shall live in
disgrace."

"Oh, horrible!" groaned Jane, as she buried her face in her hands.

Her father continued: "Silly, short-sighted child, who thought she could
play with the sword, and did not see that she herself might feel the
stroke of this double-edged blade! You wanted to be the servant of the
Church, that you might thereby become mistress of the world. You would
acquire glory, but this glory must not singe your head with its fiery
rays. Silly child! he who plays with fire will be consumed. But we
penetrated your thoughts and the wish of which you yourself were
unconscious. We looked into the depths of your being, and when we found
love there, we made use of love for our own purposes and your salvation.
What do you bewail, then, and why do you weep? Have we not allowed you
to love? Have we not authorized you to give yourself entirely up to this
love? Do you not call yourself Earl Surrey's wife, though you cannot
name to me the priest that married you? Lady Jane, obey, and we envy you
not the happiness of your love; dare to rebel against us, and disgrace
and shame overtake you, and you shall stand before all the world
disowned and scoffed at; you the strumpet, that--"

"Stop, my father!" cried Jane, as she sprang vehemently from the floor.
"Desist from your terrible words if you do not wish me to die of shame.
Nay, I submit, I obey! You are right, I cannot draw back."

"And why would you either? Is it not a life pleasant and full of
enjoyment? Is it not rare good fortune to see our sins transfigured to
virtue; to be able to account earthly enjoyment the service of Heaven?
And what do you bewail then? That he does not love you? Nay, he does
love you; his vows of love still echo in your ears; your heart still
trembles with the fruition of happiness. What matters it if the Earl of
Surrey with his inward eyes sees the woman he folds in his arms to be
another than you? Yet in reality he loves but you alone. Whether you are
for him named Catharine Parr or Jane Douglas, it is all the same if you
only are his love."

"But a day will come when he will discover his mistake, and when he will
curse me."

"That day will never come. The holy Church will find a way to avert
that, if you bow to her will and are obedient to her."

"I do bow to it!" sighed Jane. "I will obey; only promise me, my father,
that no harm shall happen to him; that I shall not be his murderess."

"No, you shall become his savior and deliverer. Only you must fulfil
punctually the work I commit to you. First of all, then, tell me the
result of your meeting to-day. He does not doubt that you are the
queen?"

"No, he believes it so firmly that he would take the sacrament on it.
That is to say, he believes it now because I have promised him to give
him publicly a sign by which he may recognize that it is the queen that
loves him."

"And this sign?" inquired her father, with a look beaming with joy.

"I have promised him that at the great tournament, the queen will give
him a rosette, and that in that rosette be will find a note from the
queen."

"Ah, the idea is an admirable one!" exclaimed Lord Douglas, "and only
a woman who wishes to avenge herself could conceive it. So, then, the
queen will become her own accuser, and herself give into our hands
a proof of her guilt. The only difficulty in the way is to bring the
queen, without arousing her suspicion, to wear this rosette, and to give
it to Surrey."

"She will do it if I beg her to do so, for she loves me; and I shall
so represent it to her that she will do it as an act of kindness to me.
Catharine is good-natured and agreeable, and cannot refuse a request."

"And I will apprise the king of it. That is to say, I shall take good
care not to do this myself, for it is always dangerous to approach a
hungry tiger in his cage and carry him his food, because he might in his
voracity very readily devour our own hand together with the proffered
meat."

"But how?" asked she with an expression of alarm. "Will he content
himself with punishing Catharine alone; will he not also crush him--him
whom he must look upon as her lover?"

"He will do so. But you yourself shall save him and set him free. You
shall open his prison and give him freedom, and he will love you--you,
the savior of his life."

"Father, father, it is a hazardous game that you are playing; and it
may happen that you will become thereby your daughter's murderer. For,
listen well to what I tell you; if his head falls, I die by my own
hands; if you make me his murderess, you become thereby mine; and I will
curse you and execrate you in hell! What to me is a royal crown if it is
stained with Henry Howard's blood? What care I for renown and honor,
if he is not there to see my greatness, and if his beaming eyes do not
reflect back to me the light of my crown? Protect him, therefore; guard
his life as the apple of your eye, if you wish me to accept the royal
crown that you offer me, so that the King of England may become again a
vassal of the Church!"

"And that the whole of devout Christendom may praise Jane Douglas,
the pious queen who has succeeded in the holy work of bringing the
rebellious and recreant son of the Church, Henry the Eighth, back to the
Holy Father in Rome, to the only consecrated lord of the Church, truly
penitent. On, on, my daughter; do not despond. A high aim beckons you,
and a brilliant fortune awaits you! Our holy mother, the Church, will
bless and praise you, and Henry the Eighth will declare you his queen."





Next: The Prisoner

Previous: Lady Jane



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