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How 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



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How 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 Sir Thomas Wyat Found Mabel In The Sandstone Cave And What Happened To Him There

Comprising The Fourth Epoch In The History Of The Castle

How Anne Boleyn Received Proof Of Henry's Passion For Jane Seymour

How Herne Appeared To Henry In The Home Park

Of Henry's Attachment To Jane Seymour

Containing The History Of The Castle From The Reign Of Charles The Second To That Of George The Third






Of Tristram Lyndwood The Old Forester And His Granddaughter Mabel








In consequence of the announcement that a grand hunting party would be
held in the forest, all the verderers, rangers, and keepers assembled at
an early hour on the fourth day after the king's arrival at Windsor in
an open space on the west side of the great avenue, where a wooden stand
was erected, canopied over with green boughs and festooned with garlands
of flowers, for the accommodation of the Lady Anne Boleyn and her dames,
who, it was understood, would be present at the chase.

At a little distance from the stand an extensive covert was fenced round
with stout poles, to which nets were attached so as to form a haye or
preserve, where the game intended for the royal sport was confined;
and though many of the animals thus brought together were of hostile
natures, they were all so terrified, and seemingly so conscious of the
danger impending over them, that they did not molest each other.
The foxes and martins, of which there were abundance, slunk into the
brushwood with the hares and rabbits, but left their prey untouched. The
harts made violent efforts to break forth, and, entangling their horns
in the nets, were with difficulty extricated and driven back; while the
timid does, not daring to follow them, stood warily watching the result
of the struggle.

Amongst the antlered captives was a fine buck, which, having been once
before hunted by the king, was styled a "hart royal," and this noble
animal would certainly have effected his escape if he had not been
attacked and driven back by Morgan Fenwolf, who throughout the morning's
proceedings displayed great energy and skill. The compliments bestowed
on Fenwolf for his address by the chief verderer excited the jealousy
of some of his comrades, and more than one asserted that he had been
assisted in his task by some evil being, and that Bawsey herself was no
better than a familiar spirit in the form of a hound.

Morgan Fenwolf scouted these remarks; and he was supported by some
others among the keepers, who declared that it required no supernatural
aid to accomplish what he had done--that he was nothing more than a good
huntsman, who could ride fast and boldly--that he was skilled in all the
exercises of the chase, and possessed a stanch and well-trained hound.

The party then sat down to breakfast beneath the trees, and the talk
fell upon Herne the Hunter, and his frequent appearance of late in the
forest (for most of the keepers had heard of or encountered the spectral
huntsman); and while they were discussing this topic, and a plentiful
allowance of cold meat, bread, ale, and mead at the same time, two
persons were seen approaching along a vista on the right, who specially
attracted their attention and caused Morgan Fenwolf to drop the
hunting-knife with which he was carving his viands, and start to his
feet.

The new-comers were an old man and a comely young damsel. The former,
though nearer seventy than sixty, was still hale and athletic, with
fresh complexion, somewhat tanned by the sun, and a keen grey eye,
which had lost nothing of its fire. He was habited in a stout leathern
doublet, hose of the same material, and boots rudely fashioned out of
untanned ox-hide, and drawn above the knee. In his girdle was thrust a
large hunting-knife; a horn with a silver mouthpiece depended from his
shoulder, and he wore a long bow and a quiver full of arrows at his
back. A flat bonnet, made of fox-skin and ornamented with a raven's
wing, covered his hair, which was as white as silver.

But it was not upon this old forester, for such his attire proclaimed
him, that the attention of the beholders, and of Morgan Fenwolf in
especial, was fixed, but upon his companion. Amongst the many lovely and
high-born dames who had so recently graced the procession to the castle
were few, if any, comparable to this lowly damsel. Her dress--probably
owing to the pride felt in her by her old relative was somewhat superior
to her station. A tightly-laced green kirtle displayed to perfection her
slight but exquisitely-formed figure A gown of orange-coloured cloth,
sufficiently short to display her small ankles, and a pair of green
buskins, embroidered with silver, together with a collar of the whitest
and finest linen, though shamed by the neck it concealed, and fastened
by a small clasp, completed her attire. Her girdle was embroidered with
silver, and her sleeves were fastened by aiglets of the same metal.

"How proud old Tristram Lyndwood seems of his granddaughter," remarked
one of the keepers.

"And with reason," replied another. "Mabel Lyndwood is the comeliest
lass in Berkshire."

"Ay, marry is she," rejoined the first speaker; "and, to my thinking,
she is a fairer and sweeter flower than any that blooms in yon stately
castle--the flower that finds so much favour in the eyes of our royal
Hal not excepted."

"Have a care, Gabriel Lapp," observed another keeper. "Recollect that
Mark Fytton, the butcher, was hanged for speaking slightingly of the
Lady Anne Boleyn; and you may share his fate if you disparage her
beauty."

"Na I meant not to disparage the Lady Anne," replied Gabriel. "Hal
may marry her when he will, and divorce her as soon afterwards as he
pleases, for aught I care. If he marries fifty wives, I shall like him
all the better. The more the merrier, say I. But if he sets eyes on Mab
Lyndwood it may somewhat unsettle his love for the Lady Anne."

"Tush, Gabriel!" said Morgan Fenwolf, darting an angry look at him.
"What business have you to insinuate that the king would heed other than
the lady of his love?"

"You are jealous, Morgan Fenwolf," rejoined Gabriel, with a malignant
grin. "We all know you are in love with Mabel yourself."

"And we all know, likewise, that Mabel will have nothing to say to you!"
cried another keeper, while the others laughed in chorus. "Come and sit
down beside us, Morgan, and finish your breakfast."

But the keeper turned moodily away, and hied towards Tristram Lyndwood
and his granddaughter. The old forester shook him cordially by the hand,
and after questioning him as to what had taken place, and hearing how
he had managed to drive the hart royal into the haye, clapped him on the
shoulder and said, "Thou art a brave huntsman, Morgan. I wish Mab could
only think as well of thee as I do."

To this speech Mabel not only paid no attention, but looked studiously
another way.

"I am glad your grandfather has brought you out to see the chase to-day,
Mabel," observed Morgan Fenwolf.

"I dame not to see the chase, but the king," she replied, somewhat
petulantly.

"It is not every fair maid who would confess so much," observed Fenwolf,
frowning.

"Then I am franker than some of my sex," replied Mabel. "But who is the
strange man looking at us from behind that tree, grandfather!

"I see no one," replied the old forester.

"Neither do I," added Morgan Fenwolf, with a shudder. "You are wilfully
blind," rejoined Mabel. "But see, the person I mentioned stalks forth.
Now, perhaps, he is visible to you both."

And as she spoke, a tall wild-looking figure, armed with a
hunting-spear, emerged from the trees and advanced towards them. The
garb of the newcomer somewhat resembled that of a forester; but his
arms and lower limbs were destitute of covering, and appeared singularly
muscular, while his skin was swarthy as that of a gipsy. His jet-black
hair hung in elf-locks over his savage-looking features.

In another moment he was beside them, and fixed his dark piercing eyes
on Mabel in such a manner as to compel her to avert her gaze.

"What brings you here this morning, Tristram Lyndwood?" he demanded, in
a hoarse imperious tone.

"The same motive that brought you, Valentine Hagthorne," replied the old
forester--"to see the royal chase."

"This, I suppose, is your granddaughter?" pursued Hagthorne.

"Ay," replied Tristram bluntly.

"Strange I should never have seen her before," rejoined the other. "She
is very fair. Be ruled by me, friend Tristram--take her home again. If
she sees the king, ill will come of it. You know, or should know, his
character."

"Hagthorne advises well," interposed Fenwolf. "Mabel will be better at
home."

"But she has no intention of returning at present," replied Mabel. "You
brought me here for pastime, dear grandfather, and will not take me back
at the recommendation of this strange man?"

"Content you, child--content you," replied Tristram kindly. "You shall
remain where you are."

"You will repent it!" cried Hagthorne.

And hastily darting among the trees, he disappeared from view.

Affecting to laugh at the occurrence, though evidently annoyed by it,
the old forester led his granddaughter towards the stand, where he was
cordially greeted by the keepers, most of whom, while expressing their
pleasure at seeing him, strove to render themselves agreeable in the
eyes of Mabel.

From this scene Morgan Fenwolf kept aloof, and remained leaning against
a tree, with his eyes riveted upon the damsel. He was roused from his
reverie by a slight tap upon the shoulder; and turning at the touch,
beheld Valentine Hagthorne. Obedient to a sign from the latter, he
followed him amongst the trees, and they both plunged into a dell.

An hour or two after this, when the sun was higher in the heavens, and
the dew dried upon the greensward, the king and a large company of lords
and ladies rode forth from the upper gate of the castle, and taking
their way along the great avenue, struck off on the right when about
half-way up it, and shaped their course towards the haye.

A goodly sight it was to see this gallant company riding beneath the
trees; and pleasant was it, also, to listen to the blithe sound of
their voices, amid which Anne Boleyn's musical laugh could be plainly
distinguished. Henry was attended by his customary band of archers and
yeomen of the guard, and by the Duke of Shoreditch and his followers. On
reaching the haye, the king dismounted, and assisting the Lady Anne from
her steed, ascended the stand with her.

He then took a small and beautifully fashioned bow from an attendant,
and stringing it, presented it to her.

"I trust this will not prove too strong for your fair hands," he said.

"I will make shift to draw it," replied Anne, raising the bow, and
gracefully pulling the string. "Would I could wound your majesty as
surely as I shall hit the first roe that passes."

"That were a needless labour," rejoined Henry, "seeing that you have
already stricken me to the heart. You should cure the wound you have
already made, sweetheart-not inflict a new one."

At this juncture the chief verderer, mounted on a powerful steed, and
followed by two keepers, each holding a couple of stag-hounds in leash,
rode up to the royal stand, and placing his horn to his lips, blew three
long mootes from it. At the same moment part of the network of the haye
was lifted up, and a roebuck set free.

By the management of the keepers, the animal was driven past the royal
stand; and Anne Boleyn, who had drawn an arrow nearly to the head, let
it fly with such good aim that she pierced the buck to the heart. A loud
shout from the spectators rewarded the prowess of the fair huntress; and
Henry was so enchanted, that he bent the knee to her, and pressed
her hand to his lips. Satisfied, however, with the' achievement, Anne
prudently declined another shot. Henry then took a bow from one of the
archers, and other roes being turned out, he approved upon them his
unerring skill as a marksman.

Meanwhile, the hounds, being held in leash, kept up a loud and incessant
baying; and Henry, wearying of his slaughterous sport, turned to Anne,
and asked her whether she was disposed for the chase. She answered in
the affirmative, and the king motioned his henchmen to bring forward the
steeds.

In doing this, he caught sight of Mabel, who was standing with her
grandsire among the keepers, at a little distance from the stand, and,
struck with her extraordinary beauty, he regarded her for a moment
intently, and then called to Gabriel Lapp, who chanced to be near him,
and demanded her name.

"It is Mabel Lyndwood, an't please your majesty," replied Gabriel. "She
is granddaughter to old Tristram Lyndwood, who dwells at Black Nest,
near the lake, at the farther extremity of Windsor Forest, and who
was forester to your royal father, King Henry the Seventh, of blessed
memory."

"Ha! is it so?" cried Henry.

But he was prevented from further remark by Anne Boleyn, who, perceiving
how his attention was attracted, suddenly interposed.

"Your majesty spoke of the chase," she said impatiently. "But perhaps you
have found other pastime more diverting?"

"Not so--not so, sweetheart," he replied hastily.

"There is a hart royal in the haye," said Gabriel Lapp. "Is it your
majesty's pleasure that I set him free?

"It is, good fellow--it is," replied the king.

And as Gabriel hastened to the netted fencework, and prepared to
drive forth the hart, Henry assisted Anne Boleyn, who could not help
exhibiting some slight jealous pique, to mount her steed, and having
sprung into his own saddle, they waited the liberation of the buck,
which was accomplished in a somewhat unexpected manner.

Separated from the rest of the herd, the noble animal made a sudden dart
towards Gabriel, and upsetting him in his wild career, darted past the
king, and made towards the upper part of the forest. In another instant
the hounds were un coupled and at his heels, while Henry and Anne urged
their steeds after him, the king shouting at the top of his lusty
voice. The rest of the royal party followed as they might, and the woods
resounded with their joyous cries.

The hart royal proved himself worthy of his designation. Dashing forward
with extraordinary swiftness, he rapidly gained upon his pursuers--for
though Henry, by putting his courser to his utmost speed, could have
kept near him, he did not choose to quit his fair companion.

In this way they scoured the forest, until the king, seeing they should
be speedily distanced, commanded Sir Thomas Wyat, who, with the Dukes of
Suffolk and Norfolk, was riding close behind him, to cross by the
lower ground on the left, and turn the stag. Wyat instantly obeyed,
and plunging his spurs deeply into his horse's sides, started off at a
furious pace, and was soon after seen shaping his rapid course through a
devious glade.

Meanwhile, Henry and his fair companion rode on without relaxing their
pace, until they reached the summit of a knoll, crowned by an old oak
and beech-tree, and commanding a superb view of the castle, where they
drew in the rein.

From this eminence they could witness the progress of the chase, as it
continued in the valley beyond. An ardent lover of hunting, the king
watched it with the deepest interest, rose in his saddle, and uttering
various exclamations, showed, from his impatience, that he was only
restrained by the stronger passion of love from joining it.

Ere long, stag, hounds, and huntsmen were lost amid a thicket, and
nothing could be distinguished but a distant baying and shouts. At last
even these sounds died away.

Henry, who had ill brooked the previous restraint, now grew so
impatient, that Anne begged him to set off after them, when suddenly the
cry of hounds burst upon their ears, and the hart was seen issuing from
the dell, closely followed by his pursuers.

The affrighted animal, to the king's great satisfaction, made his way
directly towards the spot where he was stationed; but on reaching the
side of the knoll, and seeing his new foes, he darted off on the right,
and tried to regain the thicket below. But he was turned by another band
of keepers, and again driven towards the knoll.

Scarcely had Sir Thomas Wyat reined in his steed by the side of the
king, than the hart again appeared bounding up the hill. Anne Boleyn,
who had turned her horse's head to obtain a better view of the hunt,
alarmed by the animal's menacing appearance, tried to get out of
his way. But it was too late. Hemmed in on all sides, and driven to
desperation by the cries of hounds and huntsmen in front, the hart
lowered his horns, and made a furious push at her.

Dreadfully alarmed, Anne drew in the rein so suddenly and sharply, that
she almost pulled her steed back upon his haunches; and in trying to
avoid the stag's attack, caught hold of Sir Thomas Wyat, who was close
beside her. In all probability she would have received some serious
injury from the infuriated animal, who was just about to repeat his
assault and more successfully, when a bolt from a cross-bow, discharged
by Morgan Fenwolf, who suddenly made his appearance from behind the
beech-tree, brought him to the ground.

But Anne Boleyn escaped one danger only to encounter another equally
serious. On seeing her fling herself into the arms of Sir Thomas Wyat,
Henry regarded her in stern displeasure for a moment, and then calling
angrily to his train, without so much as deigning to inquire whether
she had sustained any damage from the accident, or making the slightest
remark upon her conduct, rode sullenly towards the castle.





Next: By What Means Sir Thomas Wyat Obtained An Interview With Anne Boleyn

Previous: How The Earl Of Surrey And The Fair Geraldine Plighted Their Troth In The Cloisters Of Saint George's Chapel



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