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





The incident above related gave new life to the adherents of Catherine

of Arragon, while it filled those devoted to Anne Boleyn with alarm.

Immediately on Anne's return to the castle Lord Rochford had a private

interview with her, and bitterly reproached her for endangering her

splendid prospects. Anne treated the matter very lightly--said it was

only a temporary gust of jealousy--and added that the king would be at

her feet again before the day was past.



"You are over-confident, mistress!" cried Rochford angrily. "Henry is

not an ordinary gallant."



"It is you who are mistaken, father," replied Anne. "The king differs

in no respect from any of his love-smitten subjects. I have him in my

toils, and will not let him escape."



"You have a tiger in your toils, daughter, and take heed he breaks not

forcibly through them," rejoined Rochford. "Henry is more wayward than

you suppose him. Once let him take up a notion, and nothing can shake

him from it. He has resolved upon the divorce as much from self-will as

from any other consideration. If you regain your position with him, of

which you seem so confident, do not consider yourself secure--not even

when you are crowned queen--but be warned by Catherine of Arragon."



"Catherine has not the art to retain him," said Anne. "Henry will never

divorce me."



"Take care he does not rid himself of you in a more summary manner,

daughter," rejoined Rochford. "If you would stand well with him, you

must study his lightest word, look, and action--humour him in every

whim--and yield to every caprice. Above all, you must exhibit no

jealousy."



"You are wrong in all but the last, father," returned Anne. "Henry is

not to be pleased by such nice attention to his humours. It is because

I have shown myself careless of them that I have captivated him. But

I will take care not to exhibit jealousy, and, sooth to say, I do not

think I shall have cause."



"Be not too sure of that," replied Rochford. "And at all events, let not

the king have cause to be jealous of you. I trust Wyat will be banished

from court. But if he is not, do not let him approach you more."



"Poor Sir Thomas!" sighed Anne. "He loved me very dearly."



"But what is his love compared to the king's?" cried Rochford. "Tut,

tut, girl! think no more of him."



"I will not, my lord," she rejoined; "I see the prudence of your

counsel, and will obey it. Leave me, I pray you. I will soon win back

the affections of the king."



No sooner had Rochford quitted the chamber than the arras at the farther

end was raised, and Wyat stepped from behind it. His first proceeding

was to bar the door.



"What means this, Sir Thomas?" cried Anne in alarm. "How have you

obtained admittance here?"



"Through the secret staircase," replied Wyat, bending the knee before

her.



"Rise, sir!" cried Anne, in great alarm. "Return, I beseech you, as you

came. You have greatly endangered me by coming here. If you are seen to

leave this chamber, it will be in vain to assert my innocence to Henry.

Oh, Sir Thomas! you cannot love me, or you would not have done this."



"Not love you, Anne!" he repeated bitterly; "not love you I Words cannot

speak my devotion. I would lay down my head on the scaffold to prove it.

But for my love for you, I would throw open that door, and walk forth so

that all might see me--so that Henry might experience some part of the

anguish I now feel."



"But you will not do so, good Sir Thomas--dear Sir Thomas," cried Anne

Boleyn, in alarm.



"Have no fear," rejoined Wyat, with some contempt; "I will sacrifice

even vengeance to love."



"Sir Thomas, I had tolerated this too long," said Anne. "Begone--you

terrify me."



"It is my last interview with you, Anne," said Wyat imploringly; "do

not abridge it. Oh, bethink you of the happy hours we have passed

together--of the vows we have interchanged--of the protestations you

have listened to, and returned--ay, returned, Anne. Are all these

forgotten?"



"Not forgotten, Sir Thomas," replied Anne mournfully; "but they must not

be recalled. I cannot listen to you longer. You must go. Heaven grant

you may get hence in safety!"



"Anne," replied Wyat in a sombre tone, "the thought of Henry's happiness

drives me mad. I feel that I am grown a traitor--that I could slay him."



"Sir Thomas!" she exclaimed, in mingled fear and anger.



"I will not go," he continued, flinging himself into a seat. "Let them

put what construction they will upon my presence. I shall at least wring

Henry's heart. I shall see him suffer as I have suffered; and I shall be

content."



"This is not like you, Wyat," cried Anne, in great alarm. "You were wont

to be noble, generous, kind. You will not act thus disloyally?



"Who has acted disloyally, Anne?" cried Wyat, springing to his feet, and

fixing his dark eyes, blazing with jealous fury, upon her--"you or I?

Have you not sacrificed your old affections at the shrine of ambition?

Are you not about to give yourself to one to whom--unless you are

foresworn--you cannot give your heart? Better had you been the mistress

of Allington Castle--better the wife of a humble knight like myself,

than the queen of the ruthless Henry."



"No more of this, Wyat," said Anne.



"Better far you should perish by his tyranny for a supposed fault now

than hereafter," pursued Wyat fiercely. "Think not Henry will respect

you more than her who had been eight-and-twenty years his wife. No;

when he is tired of your charms--when some other dame, fair as yourself,

shall enslave his fancy, he will cast you off, or, as your father truly

intimated, will seek a readier means of ridding himself of you. Then you

will think of the different fate that might have been yours if you had

adhered to your early love."



"Wyat! Wyat! I cannot bear this--in mercy spare me!" cried Anne.



"I am glad to see you weep," said Wyat; "your tears make you look more

like your former self."



"Oh, Wyat, do not view my conduct too harshly!" she said. "Few of my sex

would have acted other than I have done."



"I do not think so," replied Wyat sternly; "nor will I forego my

vengeance. Anne, you shall die. You know Henry too well to doubt your

fate if he finds me here."



"You cannot mean this," she rejoined, with difficulty repressing a

scream; "but if I perish, you will perish with me."



"I wish to do so," he rejoined, with a bitter laugh.



"Wyat," cried Anne, throwing herself on her knees before him, "by your

former love for me, I implore you to spare me! Do not disgrace me thus."



But Wyat continued inexorable.



"O God!" exclaimed Anne, wringing her hands in agony. A terrible silence

ensued, during which Anne regarded Wyat, but she could discern no change

in his countenance.



At this juncture the tapestry was again raised, and the Earl of Surrey

issued from it.



"You here, my lord?" said Anne, rushing towards him.



"I am come to save you, madame," said the earl. "I have been just

liberated from arrest, and was about to implore your intercession with

the king, when I learned he had been informed by one of his pages that

a man was in your chamber. Luckily, he knows not who it is, and while he

was summoning his attendants to accompany him, I hurried hither by the

secret staircase. I have arrived in time. Fly--fly! Sir Thomas Wyat!"



But Wyat moved not.



At this moment footsteps were heard approaching the door--the handle

was tried--and the stern voice of the king was heard commanding that it

might be opened.



"Will you destroy me, Wyat?" cried Anne.



"You have destroyed yourself," he rejoined.



"Why stay you here, Sir Thomas?" said Surrey, seizing his arm. "You may

yet escape. By heaven! if you move not, I will stab you to the heart!"



"You would do me a favour, young man," said Wyat coldly; "but I will go.

I yield to love, and not to you, tyrant!" he added, shaking his hand

at the door. "May the worst pangs of jealously rend your heart!" And he

disappeared behind the arras.



"I hear voices," cried Henry from without. "God's death! madam, open the

door--or I will burst it open!"



"Oh, heaven! what is to be done?" cried Anne Boleyn, in despair.



"Open the door, and leave all to me, madam," said Surrey; "I will save

you, though it cost me my life!"



Anne pressed his hand, with a look of ineffable gratitude, and Surrey

concealed himself behind the arras.



The door was opened, and Henry rushed in, followed by Richmond, Norfolk,

Suffolk, and a host of attendants.



"Ah! God's death! where is the traitor?" roared the king, gazing round.



"Why is my privacy thus broken upon?" said Anne, assuming a look of

indignation.



"Your privacy!" echoed Henry, in a tone of deep derision--"Your privacy!

--ha!--ha! You bear yourself bravely, it must be confessed. My lords,

you heard the voices as well as myself. Where is Sir Thomas Wyat?"



"He is not here," replied Anne firmly.



"Aha! we shall see that, mistress," rejoined Henry fiercely. "But if Sir

Thomas Wyat is not here, who is? for I am well assured that some one is

hidden in your chamber."



"What if there be?" rejoined Anne coldly.



"Ah! by Saint Mary, you confess it!" cried the king. "Let the traitor

come forth."



"Your majesty shall not need to bid twice," said Surrey, issuing from

his concealment.



"The Earl of Surrey!" exclaimed Henry, in surprise. "How come you here,

my lord? Methought you were under arrest at the guard-house."



"He was set free by my orders," said the Duke of Richmond.



"First of all I must entreat your majesty to turn your resentment

against me," said the earl. "I am solely to blame, and I would not have

the Lady Anne suffer for my fault. I forced myself into her presence.

She knew not of my coming."



"And wherefore did you so, my lord?" demanded Henry sternly.



"Liberated from the guard-house at the Duke of Richmond's instance, my

liege, I came to entreat the Lady Anne to mediate between me and

your majesty, and to use her influence with your highness to have me

betrothed to the Lady Elizabeth Fitzgerald."



"Is this so, madam?" asked the king.



Anne bowed her head.



"But why was the door barred?" demanded Henry, again frowning

suspiciously.



"I barred it myself," said Surrey, "and vowed that the Lady Anne should

not go forth till she had granted my request."



"By our lady you have placed yourself in peril, my lord," said Henry

sternly.



"Your majesty will bear in mind his youth," said the Duke of Norfolk

anxiously.



"For my sake overlook the indiscretion," cried the Duke of Richmond.



"It will not, perhaps, avail him to hope that it may be overlooked for

mine," added Anne Boleyn.



"The offence must not pass unpunished," said Henry musingly. "My lord of

Surrey, you must be content to remain for two months a prisoner in the

Round Tower of this castle."



"Your majesty!" cried Richmond, bending the knee in supplication.



"The sentence is passed," replied Henry coldly; "and the earl may thank

you it is not heavier. Richmond, you will think no more of the fair

Geraldine; and it is my pleasure, Lady Anne, that the young dame

withdraw from the court for a short while."



"Your majesty shall be obeyed," said Anne; "but--"



"But me no buts, sweetheart," said the king peremptorily. "Surrey's

explanation is satisfactory so far as it goes, but I was told Sir Thomas

Wyat was here."



"Sir Thomas Wyat is here," said Will Sommers, pointing out the knight,

who had just joined the throng of courtiers at the door.



"I have hurried hither from my chamber, my liege," said Wyat, stepping

forward, "hearing there was some inquiry concerning me."



"Is your majesty now satisfied?" asked Anne Boleyn.



"Why, ay, sweetheart, well enough," rejoined Henry. "Sir Thomas Wyat,

we have a special mission for you to the court of our brother of France.

You will set out to-morrow."



Wyat bowed.



"You have saved your head, gossip," whispered Will Sommers in the

knight's ear. "A visit to Francis the First is better than a visit to

the Tower."



"Retire, my lords," said Henry to the assemblage; "we owe some apology

to the Lady Anne for our intrusion, and desire an opportunity to make

it."



Upon this the chamber was instantly cleared of its occupants, and the

Earl of Surrey was conducted, under a guard, to the Round Tower.



Henry, however, did not find it an easy matter to make peace with the

Lady Anne. Conscious of the advantage she had gained, she determined not

to relinquish it, and, after half an hour's vain suing, her royal lover

proposed a turn in the long gallery, upon which her apartments opened.

Here they continued conversing--Henry pleading in the most passionate

manner, and Anne maintaining a show of offended pride.



At last she exhibited some signs of relenting, and Henry led her into

a recess in the gallery, lighted by a window filled with magnificent

stained glass. In this recess was a seat and a small table, on which

stood a vase filled with flowers, arranged by Anne's own hand; and here

the monarch hoped to adjust his differences with her.



Meanwhile, word having reached Wolsey and Campeggio of the new cause of

jealousy which the king had received, it was instantly resolved that the

former should present to him, while in his present favourable mood, a

despatch received that morning from Catherine of Arragon.



Armed with the letter, Wolsey repaired to the king's closet. Not finding

him there, and being given to understand by an usher that he was in

the great gallery, he proceeded thither. As he walked softly along

the polished oak floor, he heard voices in one of the recesses, and

distinguished the tones of Henry and Anne Boleyn.



Henry was clasping the snowy fingers of his favourite, and gazing

passionately at her, as the cardinal approached.



"Your majesty shall not detain my hand," said Anne, "unless you swear to

me, by your crown, that you will not again be jealous without cause."



"I swear it," replied Henry.



"Were your majesty as devoted to me as you would have me believe, you

would soon bring this matter of the divorce to an issue," said Anne.



"I would fain do so, sweetheart," rejoined Henry; "but these cardinals

perplex me sorely."



"I am told by one who overheard him, that Wolsey has declared the

divorce shall not be settled these two years," said Anne; "in which case

it had better not be settled at all; for I care not to avow I cannot

brook so much delay. The warmth of my affection will grow icy cold by

that time."



"It were enough to try the patience of the most forbearing," rejoined

the king, smiling--"but it shall not be so--by this lily hand it shall

not! And now, sweetheart, are we entirely reconciled?



"Not yet," replied Anne. "I shall claim a boon from your majesty before

I accord my entire forgiveness."



"Name it," said the king, still clasping her hand tenderly, and

intoxicated by the witchery of her glance.



"I ask an important favour," said Anne, "but as it is one which will

benefit your majesty as much as myself, I have the less scruple in

requesting it. I ask the dismissal of one who has abused your favour,

who, by his extortion and rapacity, has in some degree alienated the

affections of your subjects from you, and who solely opposes your

divorce from Catherine of Arragon because he fears my influence may be

prejudicial to him."



"You cannot mean Wolsey?" said Henry uneasily.



"Your majesty has guessed aright," replied Anne.



"Wolsey has incurred my displeasure oft of late," said Henry; "and yet

his fidelity--"



"Be not deceived, my liege," said Anne; "he is faithful to you only so

far as serves his turn. He thinks he rules you."



Before Henry could reply, the cardinal stepped forward.



"I bring your majesty a despatch, just received from the queen," he

said.



"And you have been listening to our discourse?" rejoined Henry sternly.

"You have overheard--"



"Enough to convince me, if I had previously doubted it, that the Lady

Anne Boleyn is my mortal foe," replied Wolsey.



"Foe though I am, I will make terms with your eminence," said Anne.

"Expedite the divorce--you can do so if you will--and I am your fast

friend."



"I know too well the value of your friendship, noble lady, not to do all

in my power to gain it," replied Wolsey. "I will further the matter, if

possible. But it rests chiefly in the hands of his holiness Pope Clement

the Seventh."



"If his majesty will listen to my counsel, he will throw off the pope's

yoke altogether," rejoined Anne. "Nay, your eminence may frown at me

if you will. Such, I repeat, shall be my counsel. If the divorce is

speedily obtained, I am your friend: if not--look to yourself."



"Do not appeal to me, Wolsey," said Henry, smiling approval at Anne; "I

shall uphold her."



"Will it please your majesty to peruse this despatch?" said Wolsey,

again offering Catherine's letter.



"Take it to my closet," replied the king; "I will join you there. And

now at last we are good friends, sweetheart."



"Excellent friends, my dear liege," replied Anne; "but I shall never be

your queen while Wolsey holds his place."



"Then, indeed, he shall lose it," replied Henry.



"She is a bitter enemy, certes," muttered Wolsey as he walked away. "I

must overthrow her quickly, or she will overthrow me. A rival must be

found--ay, a rival--but where? I was told that Henry cast eyes on a

comely forester's daughter at the chase this morning. She may do for the

nonce."





What Passed Between Norris And The Tall Monk Comprising The First Two Epochs In The History Of Windsor Castle facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

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