Most ViewedHow The Earl Of Surrey And The Fair Geraldine Plighted Their Troth In The Cloisters Of Saint George's Chapel
How The Earl Of Surrey And The Fair Geraldine Met In King James's Bower In The Moat
Of The Combat Between Will Sommers And Patch
How King Henry The Eighth Held A Chapter Of The Garter
What Passed Between Anne Boleyn And The Duke Of Suffolk And How Herne The Hunter Appeared To Her In The Oratory
How Mabel Lyndwood Was Taken To The Castle By Nicholas Clamp
Showing How Morgan Fenwolf Escaped From The Garter Tower
Of The Meeting Of King Henry The Eighth And Anne Boleyn At The Lower Gate
In What Manner Herne Declared His Passion For Mabel
How The Fair Geraldine Bestowed A Relic Upon Her Lover
Least ViewedHow Tristram Lyndwood Was Interrogated By The King
Of The Interview Between Henry And Catherine Of Arragon In The Urswick Chapel
The Last Great Epoch In The History Of The Castle
Of The Mysterious Noise Heard In The Curfew Tower
How Anne Boleyn Received Proof Of Henry's Passion For Jane Seymour
How Herne The Hunter Appeared To Henry On The Terrace
How Sir Thomas Wyat Found Mabel In The Sandstone Cave And What Happened To Him There
Of The Desperate Resolution Formed By Tristram And Fenwolf And How The Train Was Laid
Comprising The Fourth Epoch In The History Of The Castle
What Passed Between Norris And The Tall Monk
How Wolsey Was Disgraced By The King
On the following day, a reconciliation took place between the king and
Anne Boleyn. During a ride in the great park with his royal brother,
Suffolk not only convinced him of the groundlessness of his jealousy,
but contrived to incense him strongly against Wolsey. Thus the queen and
the cardinal lost the momentary advantage they had gained, while Anne's
power was raised yet higher. Yielding to her entreaties not to see
Catherine again, nor to hold further conference with Wolsey until the
sentence of the court should be pronounced, Henry left the castle that
very day, and proceeded to his palace of Bridewell. The distress of the
unhappy queen at this sudden revolution of affairs may be conceived.
Distrusting Wolsey, and putting her sole reliance on Heaven and the
goodness of her cause, she withdrew to Blackfriars, where she remained
till the court met. As to the cardinal himself, driven desperate by
his situation, and exasperated by the treatment he had experienced,
he resolved, at whatever risk, to thwart Henry's schemes, and revenge
himself upon Anne Boleyn.
Thus matters continued till the court met as before in the
Parliament-chamber, at Blackfriars. On this occasion Henry was present,
and took his place under a cloth of estate,--the queen sitting at some
distance below him. Opposite them were the legates, with the Archbishop
of Canterbury, and the whole of the bishops. The aspect of the
assemblage was grave and anxious. Many eyes were turned on Henry, who
looked gloomy and menacing, but the chief object of interest was the
queen, who, though pale as death, had never in her highest days of power
worn a more majestic and dignified air than on this occasion.
The proceedings of the court then commenced, and the king being called
by the crier, he immediately answered to the summons. Catherine was next
called, and instead of replying, she marched towards the canopy beneath
which the king was seated, prostrated herself, and poured forth a most
pathetic and eloquent appeal to him, at the close of which she arose,
and making a profound reverence, walked out of the court, leaning upon
the arm of her general receiver, Griffith. Henry desired the crier to
call her back, but she would not return; and seeing the effect produced
by her address upon the auditory, he endeavoured to efface it by an
eulogium on her character and virtues, accompanied by an expression of
deep regret at the step he was compelled to take in separating himself
from her. But his hypocrisy availed him little, and his speech was
received with looks of ill-disguised incredulity. Some further discourse
then took place between the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Bishop
of Rochester; but as the queen had absented herself, the court was
adjourned to the next day, when it again met, and as she did not then
appear, though summoned, she was pronounced contumacious. After repeated
adjournments, the last session was held, and judgment demanded on the
part of the king, when Campeggio, as had been arranged between him and
Wolsey, declined to pronounce it until he had referred the matter to the
Pope, and the court was dissolved.
About two months after this event, during which time the legate's
commission had been revoked, while Henry was revolving the expediency of
accomplishing the divorce through the medium of his own ecclesiastical
courts, and without reference to that of Rome, a despatch was received
from the Pope by the two cardinals, requiring them to cite the king
to appear before him by attorney on a certain day. At the time of the
arrival of this instrument, Campeggio chanced to be staying with Wolsey
at his palace at Esher, and as the king was then holding his court at
Windsor, they both set out for the castle on the following day, attended
by a retinue of nearly a hundred horsemen, splendidly equipped.
It was now the middle of September, and the woods, instead of presenting
one uniform mass of green, glowed with an infinite variety of lovely
tints. And yet, despite the beauty of the scene, there was something
melancholy in witnessing the decline of the year, as marked by those old
woods, and by the paths that led through them, so thickly strewn with
leaves. Wolsey was greatly affected. "These noble trees will ere long
bereft of all their glories," he thought, "and so, most likely, will it
be with me, and perhaps my winter may come sooner than theirs!"
The cardinal and his train had crossed Staines Bridge, and passing
through Egham, had entered the great park near Englefield Green. They
were proceeding along the high ridge overlooking the woody region
between it and the castle, when a joyous shout in the glades beneath
reached them, and looking down, they saw the king accompanied by Anne
Boleyn, and attended by his falconers and a large company of horsemen,
pursuing the sport of hawking. The royal party appeared so much
interested in their sport that they did not notice the cardinal and his
train, and were soon out of sight. But as Wolsey descended Snow Hill,
and entered the long avenue, he heard the trampling of horses at a
little distance, and shortly afterwards, Henry and Anne issued from out
the trees. They were somewhat more than a bow-shot in advance of the
cardinal; but instead of halting till he came up, the king had no sooner
ascertained who it was, than, despatching a messenger to the castle, who
was seen galloping swiftly down the avenue, he rode off with Anne Boleyn
towards the opposite side of the park. Though deeply mortified by the
slight, Wolsey concealed his vexation from his brother cardinal, and
pursued his way to the castle, before which he presently arrived. The
gate was thrown open at his approach, but he had scarcely entered
the lower ward when Sir Henry Norris, the king's groom of the stole,
advanced to meet him, and, with a sorrowful expression of countenance,
said that his royal master had so many guests at the castle, that he
could not accommodate him and his train.
"I understand your drift, sir," replied Wolsey; "you would tell me I am
not welcome. Well, then, his eminence Cardinal Campeggio and myself must
take up our lodging at some hostel in the town, for it is necessary we
should see the king."
"If your grace is content to dismiss your attendants," said Norris in a
low tone, "you and Cardinal Campeggio can be lodged in Henry the Third's
Tower. Thus much I will take upon me; but I dare not admit you to the
Wolsey tried to look unconcerned, and calling to his gentleman usher,
George Cavendish, gave him some instructions in a low voice, upon which
the other immediately placed himself at the head of the retinue, and
ordered them to quit the castle with him, leaving only the jester,
Patch, to attend upon his master. Campeggio's attendants being
comparatively speaking, few in number, were allowed to remain, and
his litter was conveyed to Henry the Third's Tower--a fortification
standing, as already stated, in the south side of the lower ward, near
the edge of the dry moat surrounding the Round Tower. At the steps of
this tower Wolsey dismounted, and was about to follow Campeggio into
the doorway, when Will Sommers, who had heard of his arrival, stepped
forward, and with a salutation of mock formality, said, "I am sure it
will grieve the king, my master, not to be able to accommodate your
grace's train; but since it is larger than his own, you will scarce
blame his want of hospitality."
"Nor the courtesy of his attendants," rejoined Wolsey sharply. "I am in
no mood for thy jesting now. Stand aside, sirrah, or I will have the rod
applied to thy back!"
"Take care the king does not apply the rod to your own, lord cardinal,"
retorted Will Sommers. "If he scourges you according to your deserts,
your skin will be redder than your robe." And his mocking laugh pursued
Wolsey like the hiss of a snake into the tower.
Some two hours after this, Henry and his attendants returned from the
chase. The king seemed in a blithe humour, and Wolsey saw him laugh
heartily as Will Sommers pointed with his bauble towards Henry the
Third's Tower. The cardinal received no invitation to the royal banquet;
and the answer to his solicitation for an interview was, that he and
Campeggio would be received in the presence-chamber on the following
morning, but not before.
That night a great revel was held in the castle. Masquing, dancing,
and feasting filled up the evening, and the joyous sounds and strains
reached Wolsey in his seclusion, and forced him to contrast it with his
recent position, when he would have been second only to the king in the
entertainment. He laid his head upon his pillow, but not to rest, and
while tossing feverishly about his couch, he saw the arras with which
the walls were covered, move, and a tall, dark figure step from behind
it. The cardinal would have awakened his jester, who slept in a small
truckle-bed at his feet, but the strange visitor motioned him to be
"You may conjecture who I am, cardinal," he said, "but in case you
should doubt, I will tell you. I am Herne the Hunter! And now to my
errand. There is a damsel, whom you once saw in the forest near the
great lake, and whom you promised to befriend. You can assist her
now--to-morrow it may be out of your power."
"I have enough to do to aid myself, without meddling with what concerns
me not," said Wolsey.
"This damsel does concern you," cried Herne. "Read this, and you will
see in what way."
And he tossed a letter to Wolsey, who glanced at it by the light of the
"Ha! is it so?" he exclaimed. "Is she--"
"Hush!" cried Herne, "or you will wake this sleeper. It is as you
suppose. Will you not aid her now? Will you not bestow some of your
treasure upon her before it is wholly wrested from you by the king? I
will do aught you wish, secretly and swiftly."
"Go, then, to my palace at Esher," cried the cardinal. "Take this key
to my treasurer--it is the key of my coffers. Bid him deliver to you the
six caskets in the cabinet in the gilt chamber. Here is a token by which
he will know that you came from me," he added, delivering him a small
chain of gold, "for it has been so agreed between us. But you will be
sure to give the treasure to Mabel."
"Fear nothing," replied Herne. And stretching forth his hand to receive
the key and the chain, he glided behind the tapestry, and disappeared.
This strange incident gave some diversion to Wolsey's thought; but ere
long they returned to their former channel. Sleep would not be summoned,
and as soon as the first glimpse of day appeared, he arose, and wrapping
his robe around him, left his room and ascended a winding staircase
leading to the roof of the tower.
The morning promised to be fine, but it was then hazy, and the greater
part of the forest was wrapped in mist. The castle, however, was seen to
great advantage. Above Wolsey rose the vast fabric of the Round Tower,
on the summit of which the broad standard was at that moment being
unfurled; while the different battlements and towers arose majestically
around. But Wolsey's gaze rested chiefly upon the exquisite mausoleum
lying immediately beneath him; in which he had partly prepared
for himself a magnificent monument. A sharp pang shook him as he
contemplated it, and he cried aloud, "My very tomb will be wrested from
me by this rapacious monarch; and after all my care and all my cost, I
know not where I shall rest my bones!"
Saddened by the reflection, he descended to his chamber, and again threw
himself on the couch.
But Wolsey was not the only person in the castle who had passed a
sleepless night. Of the host of his enemies many had been kept awake by
the anticipation of his downfall on the morrow; and among these was
Anne Boleyn, who had received an assurance from the king that her enmity
should at length be fully gratified.
At the appointed hour, the two cardinals, proceeded to the royal
lodgings. They were detained for some time in the ante-chamber, where
Wolsey was exposed to the taunts and sneers of the courtiers, who had
lately so servilely fawned upon him. At length, they were ushered
into the presence chamber, at the upper end of which beneath a canopy
emblazoned with the royal arms woven in gold, sat Henry, with Anne
Boleyn on his right hand. At the foot of the throne stood Will Sommers,
and near him the Dukes of Richmond and Suffolk. Norfolk, Rochford, and
a number of other nobles, all open enemies of Wolsey, were also present.
Henry watched the advance of the cardinals with a stern look, and after
they had made an obeisance to him, he motioned them to rise.
"You have sought an interview with me, my lords," he said, with
suppressed rage. "What would you?"
"We have brought an instrument to you, my liege," said Wolsey, "which
has just been received from his holiness the Pope."
"Declare its nature," said Henry.
"It is a citation," replied Wolsey, "enjoining your high ness to appear
by attorney in the papal court, under a penalty of ten thousand ducats."
And he presented a parchment, stamped with the great seal of Rome, to
the king, who glanced his eye fiercely over it, and then dashed it to
the ground, with an explosion of fury terrible to hear and to witness.
"Ha! by Saint George!" he cried; "am I as nothing, that the Pope dares
to insult me thus?"
"It is a mere judicial form your majesty," interposed Campeggio, "and
is chiefly sent by his holiness to let you know we have no further
jurisdiction in the matter of the divorce."
"I will take care you have not, nor his holiness either," roared the
king. "By my father's head, he shall find I will be no longer trifled
"But, my liege," cried Campeggio.
"Peace!" cried the king. "I will hear no apologies nor excuses. The
insult has been offered, and cannot be effaced. As for you, Wolsey--"
"Sire!" exclaimed the cardinal, shrinking before the whirlwind of
passion, which seemed to menace his utter extermination.
"As for you, I say," pursued Henry, extending his hand towards him,
while his eyes flashed fire, "who by your outrageous pride have so long
overshadowed our honour--who by your insatiate avarice and appetite for
wealth have oppressed our subjects--who by your manifold acts of bribery
and extortion have impoverished our realm, and by your cruelty and
partiality have subverted the due course of justice and turned it to
your ends--the time is come when you shall receive due punishment for
"You wrong me, my dear liege," cried Wolsey abjectly. "These are the
accusations of my enemies. Grant me a patient hearing, and I will
"I would not sharpen the king's resentment against you, lord cardinal,"
said Anne Boleyn, "for it is keen enough; but I cannot permit you to
say that these charges are merely hostile. Those who would support
the king's honour and dignity must desire to see you removed from his
"I am ready to take thy place, lord cardinal," said Will Sommers; "and
will exchange my bauble for thy chancellor's mace, and my fool's cap for
thy cardinal's hat."
"Peace!" thundered the king. "Stand not between me and the object of my
wrath. Your accusers are not one but many, Wolsey; nay, the whole of my
people cry out for justice against you. And they shall have it. But you
shall hear the charges they bring. Firstly, contrary to our prerogative,
and for your own advancement and profit, you have obtained authority
legatine from the Pope; by which authority you have not only spoiled and
taken away their substance from many religious houses, but have usurped
much of our own jurisdiction. You have also made a treaty with the
King of France for the Pope without our consent, and concluded another
friendly treaty with the Duke of Ferrara, under our great seal, and
in our name, without our warrant. And furthermore you have presumed to
couple yourself with our royal self in your letters and instructions, as
if you were on an equality with us."
"Ha! ha! 'The king and I would have you do thus!' 'The king and I give
you our hearty thanks!' Ran it not so, cardinal?" cried Will Sommers.
"You will soon win the cap and bells."
"In exercise of your legatine authority," pursued the king, "you have
given away benefices contrary to our crown and dignity, for the which
you are in danger of forfeiture of your lands and goods."
"A premunire, cardinal," cried Will Sommers. "A premunire!--ha! ha!"
"Then it has been your practice to receive all the ambassadors to our
court first at your own palace," continued Henry, "to hear their charges
and intentions, and to instruct them as you might see fit. You have also
so practised that all our letters sent from beyond sea have first come
to your own hands, by which you have acquainted yourself with their
contents, and compelled us and our council to follow your devices.
You have also written to all our ambassadors abroad in your own name
concerning our affairs, without our authority; and received letters in
return from them by which you have sought to compass your own purposes.
By your ambition and pride you have undone many of our poor subjects;
have suppressed religious houses, and received their possessions; have
seized upon the goods of wealthy spiritual men deceased; constrained all
ordinaries yearly to compound with you; have gotten riches for yourself
and servants by subversion of the laws, and by abuse of your authority
in causing divers pardons of the Pope to be suspended until you, by
promise of a yearly pension, chose to revive them; and also by crafty
and untrue tales have sought to create dissention among our nobles."
"That we can all avouch for," cried Suffolk. "It was never merry in
England while there were cardinals among us."
"Of all men in England your grace should be the last to say so,"
rejoined Wolsey; "for if I had not been cardinal, you would not have had
a head upon your shoulders to utter the taunt."
"No more of this!" cried the king. "You have misdemeaned yourself in
our court by keeping up as great state in our absence as if we had been
there in person, and presumptuously have dared to join and imprint your
badge, the cardinal's hat, under our arms, graven on our coins struck at
York. And lastly, whenever in open Parliament allusion hath been made
to heresies and erroneous sects, you have failed to correct and notice
them, to the danger of the whole body of good and Christian people of
this our realm."
"This last charge ought to win me favour in the eyes of one who
professes the Opinions of Luther," said Wolsey to Anne. "But I deny it,
as I do all the rest."
"I will listen to no defence, Wolsey," replied the king. "I will
make you a terrible example to others how they offend us and our laws
"Do not condemn me unheard!" cried the cardinal, prostrating himself.
"I have heard too much, and I will hear no more!" cried the king
fiercely. "I dismiss you from my presence for ever. If you are innocent,
as you aver, justice will be done you.. If you are guilty, as I believe
you to be, look not for leniency from me, for I will show you none."
And, seating himself, he turned to Anne, and said, in a low tone, "Are
you content, sweetheart?"
"I am," she replied. "I shall not now break my vow. False cardinal," she
added aloud, "your reign is at an end."
"Your own may not be much longer, madam," rejoined Wolsey bitterly. "The
shadow of the axe," he added, pointing to the reflection of a partisan
on the floor, "is at your feet. Ere long it may rise to the head."
And, accompanied by Campeggio, he slowly quitted the presence-chamber.
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