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 Sir Thomas Wyat Found Mabel In The Sandstone Cave And What Happened To Him There
How Herne The Hunter Appeared To Henry On The Terrace
Of The Desperate Resolution Formed By Tristram And Fenwolf And How The Train Was Laid
How Anne Boleyn Received Proof Of Henry's Passion For Jane Seymour
Comprising The Fourth Epoch In The History Of The Castle
What Passed Between Norris And The Tall Monk
The Butcher And How He Was Cast Into The Vault Of The Curfew Tower
Turning off on the right, the earl and his companion continued to
descend the hill until they came in sight of the Garter--a snug little
hostel, situated immediately beneath the Curfew Tower.
Before the porch were grouped the earl's attendants, most of whom
had dismounted, and were holding their steeds by the bridles. At
this juncture the door of the hostel opened, and a fat jolly-looking
personage, with a bald head and bushy grey beard, and clad in a brown
serge doublet, and hose to match, issued forth, bearing a foaming jug of
ale and a horn cup. His appearance was welcomed by a joyful shout from
"Come, my masters!" he cried, filling the horn, "here is a cup of stout
Windsor ale in which to drink the health of our jolly monarch, bluff
King Hal; and there's no harm, I trust, in calling him so."
"Marry, is there not, mine host;" cried the foremost attendant. "I spoke
of him as such in his own hearing not long ago, and he laughed at me
in right merry sort. I love the royal bully, and will drink his health
gladly, and Mistress Anne Boleyn's to boot."
And he emptied the horn.
"They tell me Mistress Anne Boleyn is coming to Windsor with the king
and the knights-companions to-morrow--is it so?" asked the host, again
filling the horn, and handing it to another attendant.
The person addressed nodded, but he was too much engrossed by the horn
"Then there will be rare doings in the castle," chuckled the host; "and
many a lusty pot will be drained at the Garter. Alack-a-day! how times
are changed since I, Bryan Bowntance, first stepped into my father's
shoes, and became host of the Garter. It was in 1501--twenty-eight years
ago--when King Henry the Seventh, of blessed memory, ruled the land, and
when his elder son, Prince Arthur, was alive likewise. In that year the
young prince espoused Catherine of Arragon, our present queen, and soon
afterwards died; whereupon the old king, not liking--for he loved his
treasure better than his own flesh--to part with her dowry, gave her to
his second son, Henry, our gracious sovereign, whom God preserve! Folks
said then the match wouldn't come to good; and now we find they spoke
the truth, for it is likely to end in a divorce."
"Not so loud, mine host!" cried the foremost attendant; "here comes our
young master, the Earl of Surrey."
"Well, I care not," replied the host bluffly. "I've spoken no treason.
I love my king; and if he wishes to have a divorce, I hope his holiness
the Pope will grant him one, that's all."
As he said this, a loud noise was heard within the hostel, and a man was
suddenly and so forcibly driven forth, that he almost knocked down Bryan
Bowntance, who was rushing in to see what was the matter. The person
thus ejected, who was a powerfully-built young man, in a leathern
doublet, with his muscular arms bared to the shoulder, turned his rage
upon the host, and seized him by the throat with a grip that threatened
him with strangulation. Indeed, but for the intervention of the earl's
attendants, who rushed to his assistance, such might have been his fate.
As soon as he was liberated, Bryan cried in a voice of mingled rage and
surprise to his assailant, "Why, what's the matter, Mark Fytton?--are
you gone mad, or do you mistake me for a sheep or a bullock, that you
attack me in this fashion? My strong ale must have got into your addle
pate with a vengeance.
"The knave has been speaking treason of the king's highness," said the
tall man, whose doublet and hose of the finest green cloth, as well as
the how and quiverful of arrows at his back, proclaimed him an
archer--"and therefore we turned him out!"
"And you did well, Captain Barlow," cried the host.
"Call me rather the Duke of Shoreditch," rejoined the tall archer; "for
since his majesty conferred the title upon me, though it were but in
jest, when I won this silver bugle, I shall ever claim it. I am always
designated by my neighbours in Shoreditch as his grace; and I require
the same attention at your hands. To-morrow I shall have my comrades,
the Marquises of Clerkenwell, Islington, Hogsden, Pancras, and
Paddington, with me, and then you will see the gallant figure we shall
"I crave your grace's pardon for my want of respect," replied the host.
"I am not ignorant of the distinction conferred upon you at the last
match at the castle butts by the king. But to the matter in hand. What
treason hath Mark Fytton, the butcher, been talking?"
"I care not to repeat his words, mine host," replied the duke; "but
he hath spoken in unbecoming terms of his highness and Mistress Anne
"He means not what he says," rejoined the host. "He is a loyal subject
of the king; but he is apt to get quarrelsome over his cups."
"Well said, honest Bryan," cried the duke; "you have one quality of a
good landlord--that of a peacemaker. Give the knave a cup of ale, and
let him wash down his foul words in a health to the king, wishing him a
speedy divorce and a new queen, and he shall then sit among us again."
"I do not desire to sit with you, you self-dubbed duke," rejoined Mark;
"but if you will doff your fine jerkin, and stand up with me on the
green, I will give you cause to remember laying hands on me."
"Well challenged, bold butcher!" cried one of Surrey's attendants. "You
shall be made a duke yourself."
"Or a cardinal," cried Mark. "I should not be the first of my brethren
who has met with such preferment."
"He derides the Church in the person of Cardinal Wolsey!" cried the
duke. "He is a blasphemer as well as traitor."
"Drink the king's health in a full cup, Mark," interposed the host,
anxious to set matters aright, "and keep your mischievous tongue between
"Beshrew me if I drink the king's health, or that of his minion, Anne
Boleyn!" cried Mark boldly. "But I will tell you what I will drink.
I will drink the health of King Henry's lawful consort, Catherine
of Arragon; and I will add to it a wish that the Pope may forge her
marriage chains to her royal husband faster than ever."
"A foolish wish," cried Bryan. "Why, Mark, you are clean crazed!"
"It is the king who is crazed, not me!" cried Mark. "He would sacrifice
his rightful consort to his unlawful passion; and you, base hirelings,
support the tyrant in his wrongful conduct!"
"Saints protect us!" exclaimed Bryan. "Why, this is flat treason. Mark,
I can no longer uphold you."
"Not if you do not desire to share his prison, mine host," cried the
Duke of Shoreditch. "You have all heard him call the king a tyrant.
Seize him, my masters!"
"Let them lay hands upon me if they dare!" cried the butcher resolutely.
"I have felled an ox with a blow of my fist before this, and I promise
you I will show them no better treatment."
Awed by Mark's determined manner, the bystanders kept aloof.
"I command you, in the king's name, to seize him!" roared Shoreditch.
"If he offers resistance he will assuredly be hanged."
"No one shall touch me!" cried Mark fiercely.
"That remains to be seen," said the foremost of the Earl of Surrey's
attendants. "Yield, fellow!"
"Never!" replied Mark; "and I warn you to keep off."
The attendant, however, advanced; but before he could lay hands on the
butcher he received a blow from his ox-like fist that sent him reeling
backwards for several paces, and finally stretched him at full length
upon the ground. His companions drew their swords, and would have
instantly fallen upon the sturdy offender, if Morgan Fenwolf, who, with
the Earl of Surrey, was standing among the spectators, had not rushed
forward, and, closing with Mark before the latter could strike a blow,
grappled with him, and held him fast till he was secured, and his arms
tied behind him.
"And so it is you, Morgan Fenwolf, who have served me this ill turn,
eh?" cried the butcher, regarding him fiercely. "I now believe all I
have heard of you."
"What have you heard of him?" asked Surrey, advancing.
"That he has dealings with the fiend--with Herne the Hunter," replied
Mark. "If I am hanged for a traitor, he ought to be burnt for a wizard."
"Heed not what the villain says, my good fellow," said the Duke of
Shoreditch; "you have captured him bravely, and I will take care your
conduct is duly reported to his majesty. To the castle with him! To
the castle! He will lodge to-night in the deepest dungeon of yon
fortification," pointing to the Curfew Tower above them, "there to await
the king's judgment; and to-morrow night it will be well for him if he
is not swinging from the gibbet near the bridge. Bring him along."
And followed by Morgan Fenwolf and the others, with the prisoner, he
strode up the hill.
Long before this Captain Bouchier had issued from the hostel and joined
the earl, and they walked together after the crowd. In a few minutes the
Duke of Shoreditch reached Henry the Eighth's Gate, where he shouted to
a sentinel, and told him what had occurred. After some delay a wicket in
the gate was opened, and the chief persons of the party were allowed to
pass through it with the prisoner, who was assigned to the custody of a
couple of arquebusiers.
By this time an officer had arrived, and it was agreed, at the
suggestion of the Duke of Shoreditch, to take the offender to the Curfew
Tower. Accordingly they crossed the lower ward, and passing beneath an
archway near the semicircular range of habitations allotted to the
petty canons, traversed the space before the west end of Saint George's
Chapel, and descending a short flight of stone steps at the left, and
threading a narrow passage, presently arrived at the arched entrance in
the Curfew, whose hoary walls shone brightly in the moonlight.
They had to knock for some time against the stout oak door before any
notice was taken of the summons. At length an old man, who acted as
bellringer, thrust his head out of one of the narrow pointed windows
above, and demanded their business. Satisfied with the reply, he
descended, and, opening the door, admitted them into a lofty chamber,
the roof of which was composed of stout planks, crossed by heavy oaken
rafters, and supported by beams of the same material. On the left a
steep ladder-like flight of wooden steps led to an upper room, and from
a hole in the roof descended a bell-rope, which was fastened to one of
the beams, showing the use to which the chamber was put.
Some further consultation was now held among the party as to the
propriety of leaving the prisoner in this chamber under the guard of the
arquebusiers, but it was at last decided against doing so, and the old
bellringer being called upon for the keys of the dungeon beneath, he
speedily produced them. They then went forth, and descending a flight of
stone steps on the left, came to a low strong door, which they unlocked,
and obtained admission to a large octangular chamber with a vaulted
roof, and deep embrasures terminated by narrow loopholes. The light of
a lamp carried by the bellringer showed the dreary extent of the vault,
and the enormous thickness of its walls.
"A night's solitary confinement in this place will be of infinite
service to our prisoner," said the Duke of Shoreditch, gazing around.
"I'll be sworn he is ready to bite off the foolish tongue that has
brought him to such a pass."
The butcher made no reply, but being released by the arquebusiers, sat
down upon a bench that constituted the sole furniture of the vault.
"Shall I leave him the lamp?" asked the bellringer; "he may beguile the
time by reading the names of former prisoners scratched on the walls and
in the embrasures."
"No; he shall not even have that miserable satisfaction," returned the
Duke of Shoreditch. "He shall be left in the darkness to his own bad and
With this the party withdrew, and the door was fastened upon the
prisoner. An arquebusier was stationed at the foot of the steps; and
the Earl of Surrey and Captain Bouchier having fully satisfied their
curiosity, shaped their course towards the castle gate. On their way
thither the earl looked about for Morgan Fenwolf, but could nowhere
discern him. He then passed through the wicket with Bouchier, and
proceeding to the Garter, they mounted their steeds, and galloped off
towards Datchet, and thence to Staines and Hampton Court.
Next: Of The Meeting Of King Henry The Eighth And Anne Boleyn At The Lower Gate
Previous: Of The Earl Of Surrey's Solitary Ramble In The Home Park