Of The Meeting Of King Henry The Eighth And Anne Boleyn At The Lower Gate

A joyous day was it for Windsor and great were the preparations made by

its loyal inhabitants for a suitable reception to their sovereign. At

an early hour the town was thronged with strangers from the neighbouring

villages, and later on crowds began to arrive from London, some having

come along the highway on horseback, and others having rowed in various

craft up the river. All were clad in holiday attire, and the streets

presented an appearance of unwonted bustle and gaiety. The Maypole

in Bachelors' Acre was hung with flowers. Several booths, with flags

floating above them, were erected in the same place, where ale, mead,

and hypocras, together with cold pasties, hams, capons, and large joints

of beef and mutton, might be obtained. Mummers and minstrels were in

attendance, and every kind of diversion was going forward. Here was one

party wrestling; there another, casting the bar; on this side a set

of rustics were dancing a merry round with a bevy of buxom Berkshire

lasses; on that stood a fourth group, listening to a youth playing on

the recorders. At one end of the Acre large fires were lighted, before

which two whole oxen were roasting, provided in honour of the occasion

by the mayor and burgesses of the town; at the other, butts were set

against which the Duke of Shoreditch and his companions, the five

marquises, were practising. The duke himself shot admirably, and never

failed to hit the bulls-eye; but the great feat of the day was performed

by Morgan Fenwolf, who thrice split the duke's shafts as they stuck in

the mark.

"Well done!" cried the duke, as he witnessed the achievement; "why, you

shoot as bravely as Herne the Hunter. Old wives tell us he used to split

the arrows of his comrades in that fashion."

"He must have learnt the trick from Herne himself in the forest," cried

one of the bystanders.

Morgan Fenwolf looked fiercely round in search of the speaker, but

could not discern him. He, however, shot no more, and refusing a cup of

hypocras offered him by Shoreditch, disappeared among the crowd.

Soon after this the booths were emptied, the bar thrown down, the

Maypole and the butts deserted, and the whole of Bachelors' Acre cleared

of its occupants--except those who were compelled to attend to the

mighty spits turning before the fires--by the loud discharge of ordnance

from the castle gates, accompanied by the ringing of bells, announcing

that the mayor and burgesses of Windsor, together with the officers of

the Order of the Garter, were setting forth to Datchet Bridge to meet

the royal procession.

Those who most promptly obeyed this summons beheld the lower castle

gate, built by the then reigning monarch, open, while from it issued

four trumpeters clad in emblazoned coats, with silken bandrols depending

from their horns, blowing loud fanfares. They were followed by twelve

henchmen, walking four abreast, arrayed in scarlet tunics, with the

royal cypher H.R. worked in gold on the breast, and carrying gilt

poleaxes over their shoulders. Next came a company of archers, equipped

in helm and brigandine, and armed with long pikes, glittering, as did

their steel accoutrements, in the bright sunshine. They were succeeded

by the bailiffs and burgesses of the town, riding three abreast, and

enveloped in gowns of scarlet cloth; after which rode the mayor of

Windsor in a gown of crimson velvet, and attended by two footmen, in

white and red damask, carrying white wands. The mayor was followed by a

company of the town guard, with partisans over the shoulders. Then

came the sheriff of the county and his attendants. Next followed the

twenty-six alms-knights (for such was their number), walking two and

two, and wearing red mantles, with a scutcheon of Saint George on the

shoulder, but without the garter surrounding it. Then came the thirteen

petty canons, in murrey-coloured gowns, with the arms of Saint George

wrought in a roundel on the shoulder; then the twelve canons, similarly

attired; and lastly the dean of the college, in his cope.

A slight pause ensued, and the chief officers of the Garter made their

appearance. First walked the Black Rod, clothed in a russet-coloured

mantle, faced with alternate panes of blue and red, emblazoned with

flower-de-luces of gold and crowned lions. He carried a small black rod,

the ensign of his office, surmounted with the lion of England in silver.

After the Black Rod came the Garter, habited in a gown of crimson satin,

paned and emblazoned like that of the officer who preceded him, hearing

a white crown with a sceptre upon it, and having a gilt crown in lieu

of a cap upon his head. The Garter was followed by the register, a

grave personage, in a black gown, with a surplice over it, covered by a

mantelet of furs. Then came the chancellor of the Order, in his robe of

murrey-coloured velvet lined with sarcenet, with a badge on the shoulder

consisting of a gold rose, enclosed in a garter wrought with pearls of

damask gold. Lastly came the Bishop of Winchester, the prelate of the

Order, wearing his mitre, and habited in a robe of crimson velvet

lined with white taffeta, faced with blue, and embroidered on the right

shoulder with a scutcheon of Saint George, encompassed with the Garter,

and adorned with cordons of blue silk mingled with gold.

Brought up by a rear guard of halberdiers, the procession moved slowly

along Thames Street, the houses of which, as well as those in Peascod

Street, were all more or less decorated--the humbler sort being covered

with branches of trees, intermingled with garlands of flowers, while the

better description was hung with pieces of tapestry, carpets, and

rich stuffs. Nor should it pass unnoticed that the loyalty of Bryan

Bowntance, the host of the Garter, had exhibited itself in an arch

thrown across the road opposite his house, adorned with various

coloured ribbons and flowers, in the midst of which was a large shield,

exhibiting the letters, b. and h. (in mystic allusion to Henry and Anne

Boleyn) intermingled and surrounded by love-knots.

Turning off on the left into the lower road, skirting the north of the

castle, and following the course of the river to Datchet, by which

it was understood the royal cavalcade would make its approach, the

procession arrived at an open space by the side of the river, where it

came to a halt, and the dean, chancellor, and prelate, together with

other officers of the Garter, embarked in a barge moored to the bank,

which was towed slowly down the stream in the direction of Datchet

Bridge--a band of minstrels stationed within it playing all the time.

Meanwhile the rest of the cavalcade, having again set for ward, pursued

their course along the banks of the river, proceeding at a foot's pace,

and accompanied by crowds of spectators, cheering them as they moved

along. The day was bright and beautiful, and nothing was wanting to

enhance the beauty of the spectacle. On the left flowed the silver

Thames, crowded with craft, filled with richly-dressed personages of

both sexes, amid which floated the pompous barge appropriated to the

officers of the Garter, which was hung with banners and streamers, and

decorated at the sides with targets, emblazoned with the arms of

St. George. On the greensward edging the stream marched a brilliant

cavalcade, and on the right lay the old woods of the Home Park, with

long vistas opening through them, giving exquisite peeps of the towers

and battlements of the castle.

Half an hour brought the cavalcade to Datchet Bridge, at the foot of

which a pavilion was erected for the accommodation of the mayor and

burgesses. And here, having dismounted, they awaited the king's arrival.

Shortly after this a cloud of dust on the Staines Road seemed to

announce the approach of the royal party, and all rushed forth and held

themselves in readiness to meet it. But the dust appeared to have been

raised by a company of horsemen, headed by Captain Bouchier, who rode up

the next moment. Courteously saluting the mayor, Bouchier informed him

that Mistress Anne Boleyn was close behind, and that it was the king's

pleasure that she should be attended in all state to the lower gate of

the castle, there to await his coming, as he himself intended to enter

it with her. The mayor replied that the sovereign's behests should be

implicitly obeyed, and he thereupon stationed himself at the farther

side of the bridge in expectation of Anne Boleyn's arrival.

Presently the sound of trumpets smote his ear, and a numerous and

splendid retinue was seen advancing, consisting of nobles, knights,

esquires, and gentlemen, ranged according to their degrees, and all

sumptuously apparelled in cloths of gold and silver, and velvets of

various colours, richly embroidered. Besides these, there were pages

and other attendants in the liveries of their masters, together with

sergeants of the guard and henchmen in their full accoutrements.

Among the nobles were the Dukes of Norfolk and Suffolk--the king being

desirous of honouring as much as possible her whom he had resolved to

make his queen. The former was clothed in tissue, embroidered with roses

of gold, with a baldric across his body of massive gold, and was mounted

on a charger likewise trapped in gold; and the latter wore a mantle of

cloth of silver, pounced in the form of letters, and lined with blue

velvet, while his horse was trapped hardwise in harness embroidered with

bullion gold curiously wrought. Both also wore the collar of the Order

of the Garter. Near them rode Sir Thomas Boleyn, who, conscious of the

dignity to which his daughter was to be advanced, comported himself with

almost intolerable haughtiness.

Immediately behind Sir Thomas Boleyn came a sumptuous litter covered

with cloth of gold, drawn by four white palfreys caparisoned in white

damask down to the ground, and each having a page in white and blue

satin at its head. Over the litter was borne a canopy of cloth of gold

supported by four gilt staves, and ornamented at the corners with silver

bells, ringing forth sweet music as it moved along. Each staff was borne

by a knight, of whom sixteen were in attendance to relieve one another

when fatigued.

In this litter sat Anne Boleyn. She wore a surcoat of white tissue,

and a mantle of the same material lined with ermine. Her gown, which,

however, was now concealed by the surcoat, was of cloth of gold tissue,

raised with pearls of silver damask, with a stomacher of purple gold

similarly raised, and large open sleeves lined with chequered tissue.

Around her neck she wore a chain of orient pearls, from which depended

a diamond cross. A black velvet cap, richly embroidered with pearls and

other precious stones, and ornamented with a small white plume, covered

her head; and her small feet were hidden in blue velvet brodequins,

decorated with diamond stars.

Anne Boleyn's features were exquisitely formed, and though not regular,

far more charming than if they had been so. Her nose was slightly

aquiline, but not enough so to detract from its beauty, and had a little

retrousse; point that completed its attraction. The rest of her features

were delicately chiselled: the chin being beautifully rounded, the brow

smooth and white as snow, while the rose could not vie with the bloom of

her cheek. Her neck--alas! that the fell hand of the executioner should

ever touch it--was long and slender, her eyes large and blue, and of

irresistible witchery--sometimes scorching the beholder like a sunbeam,

anon melting him with soul-subduing softness.

Of her accomplishments other opportunities will be found to speak; but

it may be mentioned that she was skilled on many instruments, danced and

sang divinely, and had rare powers of conversation and wit. If to these

she had not added the dangerous desire to please, and the wish to hold

other hearts than the royal one she had enslaved, in thraldom, all

might, perhaps, have been well. But, alas like many other beautiful

women, she had a strong tendency to coquetry. How severely she suffered

for it, it is the purpose of this history to relate. An excellent

description of her has been given by a contemporary writer, the Comte de

Chateaubriand, who, while somewhat disparaging her personal attractions,

speaks in rapturous terms of her accomplishments: "Anne," writes

the Comte, "avait un esprit si deslie qui c'estoit a qui l'ouiroit

desgoiser; et ci venoitelle a poetiser, telle qu' Orpheus, elle eust

faict les ours et rochers attentifs: puis saltoit, balloit, et dancoit

toutes dances Anglaises ou Estranges, et en imagina nombre qui ont garde

son nom ou celluy du galant pour qui les feit: puis scavoit tous les

jeux, qu'elle jouoit avec non plus d'heur que d'habilite puis chantoit

comme syrene, s'accompagnant de luth; harpoit mieueix que le roy David,

et manioit fort gentilment fleuste et rebec; puis s'accoustroit de tant

et si merveilleuses facons, que ses inventions, faisoient d'elle le

parangon de toutes des dames les plus sucrees de la court; mais nulle

n'avoit sa grace, laquelle, au dire d'un ancien, passe venuste'." Such

was the opinion of one who knew her well during her residence at the

French court, when in attendance on Mary of England, consort of Louis

XII., and afterwards Duchess of Suffolk.

At this moment Anne's eyes were fixed with some tenderness upon one of

the supporters of her canopy on the right--a very handsome young man,

attired in a doublet and hose of black tylsent, paned and cut, and

whose tall, well-proportioned figure was seen to the greatest advantage,

inasmuch as he had divested himself of his mantle, for his better

convenience in walking.

"I fear me you will fatigue yourself, Sir Thomas Wyat," said Anne

Boleyn, in tones of musical sweetness, which made the heart beat and the

colour mount to the cheeks of him she addressed. "You had better allow

Sir Thomas Arundel or Sir John Hulstone to relieve you."

"I can feel no fatigue when near you, madam," replied Wyat, in a low


A slight blush overspread Anne's features, and she raised her

embroidered kerchief to her lips.

"If I had that kerchief I would wear it at the next lists, and defy all

comers," said Wyat.

"You shall have it, then," rejoined Anne. "I love all chivalrous

exploits, and will do my best to encourage them."

"Take heed, Sir Thomas," said Sir Francis Weston, the knight who held

the staff on the other side, "or we shall have the canopy down. Let Sir

Thomas Arundel relieve you."

"No," rejoined Wyat, recovering himself; "I will not rest till we come

to the bridge."

"You are in no haste to possess the kerchief," said Anne petulantly.

"There you wrong me, madam!" cried Sir Thomas eagerly.

"What ho, good fellows!" he shouted to the attendants at the palfreys'

heads, "your lady desires you to stop."

"And I desire them to go on--I, Will Sommers, jester to the high and

mighty King Harry the Eighth!" cried a voice of mock authority behind

the knight. "What if Sir Thomas Wyat has undertaken to carry the canopy

farther than any of his companions, is that a reason he should be

relieved? Of a surety not--go on, I say!"

The person who thus spoke then stepped forward, and threw a glance so

full of significance at Anne Boleyn that she did not care to dispute the

order, but, on the contrary, laughingly acquiesced in it.

Will Sommers--the king's jester, as he described himself--was a small

middle-aged personage, with a physiognomy in which good nature and

malice, folly and shrewdness, were so oddly blended, that it was

difficult to say which predominated. His look was cunning and sarcastic,

but it was tempered by great drollery and oddity of manner, and he

laughed so heartily at his own jests and jibes, that it was scarcely

possible to help joining him. His attire consisted of a long loose gown

of spotted crimson silk, with the royal cipher woven in front in gold;

hose of blue cloth, guarded with red and black cloth; and red cordovan

buskins. A sash tied round his waist served him instead of a girdle, and

he wore a trencher-shaped velvet cap on his head, with a white tufted

feather in it. In his hand he carried a small horn. He was generally

attended by a monkey, habited in a crimson doublet and hood, which sat

upon his shoulder, and played very diverting tricks, but the animal was

not with him on the present occasion.

Will Sommers was a great favourite with the king, and ventured upon

familiarities which no one else dared to use with him. The favour in

which he stood with his royal master procured him admittance to his

presence at all hours and at all seasons, and his influence, though

seldom exerted, was very great. He was especially serviceable in turning

aside the edge of the king's displeasure, and more frequently exerted

himself to allay the storm than to raise it. His principal hostility was

directed against Wolsey, whose arrogance and grasping practices were the

constant subjects of his railing. It was seldom, such was his privileged

character, and the protection he enjoyed from the sovereign, that any of

the courtiers resented his remarks; but Sir Thomas Wyat's feelings being

now deeply interested, he turned sharply round, and said, "How now, thou

meddling varlet, what business hast thou to interfere?"

"I interfere to prove my authority, gossip Wyat," replied Sommers,

"and to show that, varlet as I am, I am as powerful as Mistress Anne

Boleyn--nay, that I am yet more powerful, because I am obeyed, while she

is not."

"Were I at liberty," said Sir Thomas angrily, "I would make thee repent

thine insolence."

"But thou art not at liberty, good gossip," replied the jester,

screaming with laughter; "thou art tied like a slave to the oar, and

cannot free thyself from it--ha! ha!" Having enjoyed the knight's

discomposure for a few seconds, he advanced towards him, and whispered

in his ear, "Don't mistake me, gossip. I have done thee good service in

preventing thee from taking that kerchief. Hadst thou received it in the

presence of these witnesses, thou wouldst have been lodged in the

Round Tower of Windsor Castle to-morrow, instead of feasting with the

knights-companions in Saint George's Hall."

"I believe thou art right, gossip," said Wyat in the same tone.

"Rest assured I am," replied Sommers; "and I further more counsel thee to

decline this dangerous gift altogether, and to think no more of the fair

profferer, or if thou must think of her, let it be as of one beyond thy

reach. Cross not the lion's path; take a friendly hint from the jackal."

And without waiting for a reply, he darted away, and mingled with the

cavalcade in the rear.

Immediately behind Anne Boleyn's litter rode a company of henchmen of

the royal household, armed with gilt partisans. Next succeeded a

chariot covered with red cloth of gold, and drawn by four horses

richly caparisoned, containing the old Duchess of Norfolk and the old

Marchioness of Dorset. Then came the king's natural son, the Duke of

Richmond--a young man formed on the same large scale, and distinguished

by the same haughty port, and the same bluff manner, as his royal

sire. The duke's mother was the Lady Talboys, esteemed one of the

most beautiful women of the age, and who had for a long time held

the capricious monarch captive. Henry was warmly attached to his son,

showered favours without number upon him, and might have done yet more

if fate had not snatched him away at an early age.

Though scarcely eighteen, the Duke of Richmond looked more than

twenty, and his lips and chin were clothed with a well-grown though

closely-clipped beard. He was magnificently habited in a doublet of

cloth of gold of bawdekin, the placard and sleeves of which were wrought

with flat gold, and fastened with aiglets. A girdle of crimson velvet,

enriched with precious stones, encircled his waist, and sustained a

poniard and a Toledo sword, damascened with gold. Over all he wore a

loose robe, or housse, of scarlet mohair, trimmed with minever, and was

further decorated with the collar of the Order of the Garter. His

cap was of white velvet, ornamented with emeralds, and from the side

depended a small azure plume. He rode a magnificent black charger,

trapped in housings of cloth of gold, powdered with ermine.

By the duke's side rode the Earl of Surrey attired--as upon the previous

day, and mounted on a fiery Arabian, trapped in crimson velvet fringed

with Venetian gold. Both nobles were attended by their esquires in their


Behind them came a chariot covered with cloth of silver, and drawn,

like the first, by four horses in rich housings, containing two very

beautiful damsels, one of whom attracted so much of the attention of

the youthful nobles, that it was with difficulty they could preserve due

order of march. The young dame in question was about seventeen; her face

was oval in form, with features of the utmost delicacy and regularity.

Her complexion was fair and pale, and contrasted strikingly with her

jetty brows and magnificent black eyes, of oriental size, tenderness,

and lustre. Her dark and luxuriant tresses were confined by a cap of

black velvet faced with white satin, and ornamented with pearls. Her

gown was of white satin worked with gold, and had long open pendent

sleeves, while from her slender and marble neck hung a cordeliere--a

species of necklace imitated from the cord worn by Franciscan friars,

and formed of crimson silk twisted with threads of Venetian gold..

This fair creature was the Lady Elizabeth Fitzgerald, daughter of Gerald

Fitzgerald, ninth Earl of Kildare, who claimed descent from the Geraldi

family of Florence; but she was generally known by the appellation of

the Fair Geraldine--a title bestowed upon her, on account of her beauty,

by the king, and by which she still lives, and will continue to live, as

long as poetry endures, in the deathless and enchanting strains of her

lover, the Earl of Surrey. At the instance of her mother, Lady Kildare,

the Fair Geraldine was brought up with the Princess Mary, afterwards

Queen of England; but she had been lately assigned by the royal order as

one of the attendants--a post equivalent to that of maid of honour--to

Anne Boleyn.

Her companion was the Lady Mary Howard, the sister of the Earl of

Surrey, a nymph about her own age, and possessed of great personal

attractions, having nobly-formed features, radiant blue eyes, light

tresses, and a complexion of dazzling clearness. Lady Mary Howard

nourished a passion for the Duke of Richmond, whom she saw with secret

chagrin captivated by the superior charms of the Fair Geraldine. Her

uneasiness, however, was in some degree abated by the knowledge, which

as confidante of the latter she had obtained, that her brother was

master of her heart. Lady Mary was dressed in blue velvet, cut and lined

with cloth of gold, and wore a headgear of white velvet, ornamented with


Just as the cavalcade came in sight of Datchet Bridge, the Duke of

Richmond turned his horse's head, and rode up to the side of the chariot

on which the Fair Geraldine was sitting.

"I am come to tell you of a marvellous adventure that befell Surrey in

the Home Park at Windsor last night," he said. "He declares he has seen

the demon hunter, Herne."

"Then pray let the Earl of Surrey relate the adventure to us himself,"

replied the Fair Geraldine. "No one can tell a story so well as the hero

of it."

The duke signed to the youthful earl, who was glancing rather wistfully

at them, and he immediately joined them, while Richmond passed over to

the Lady Mary Howard. Surrey then proceeded to relate what had happened

to him in the park, and the fair Geraldine listened to his recital with

breathless interest.

"Heaven shield us from evil spirits!" she exclaimed, crossing herself.

"But what is the history of this wicked hunter, my lord? and why did he

incur such a dreadful doom?"

"I know nothing more than that he was a keeper in the forest, who,

having committed some heinous crime, hanged himself from a branch of the

oak beneath which I found the keeper, Morgan Fenwolf, and which still

bears his name," replied the earl. "For this unrighteous act he cannot

obtain rest, but is condemned to wander through the forest at midnight,

where he wreaks his vengeance in blasting the trees."

"The legend I have heard differs from yours," observed the Duke of

Richmond: "it runs that the spirit by which the forest is haunted is a

wood-demon, who assumes the shape of the ghostly hunter, and seeks to

tempt or terrify the keepers to sell their souls to him."

"Your grace's legend is the better of the two," said Lady Mary Howard,

"or rather, I should say, the more probable. I trust the evil spirit did

not make you any such offer, brother of Surrey?"

The earl gravely shook his head.

"If I were to meet him, and he offered me my heart's dearest wish, I

fear he would prevail with me," observed the duke, glancing tenderly at

the Fair Geraldine.

"Tush!--the subject is too serious for jesting, Richmond," said Surrey

almost sternly.

"His grace, as is usual in compacts with the fiend, might have reason to

rue his bargain," observed Lady Mary Howard peevishly.

"If the Earl of Surrey were my brother," remarked the Fair Geraldine

to the Lady Mary, "I would interdict him from roaming in the park after


"He is very wilful," said Lady Mary, smiling, "and holds my commands but


"Let the Fair Geraldine lay hers upon me, and she shall not have to

reproach me with disobedience," rejoined the earl.

"I must interpose to prevent their utterance," cried Richmond, with a

somewhat jealous look at his friend, "for I have determined to know more

of this mystery, and shall require the earl's assistance to unravel it.

I think I remember Morgan Fenwolf, the keeper, and will send for him to

the castle, and question him. But in any case, I and Surrey will visit

Herne's Oak to-night."

The remonstrances of both ladies were interrupted by the sudden

appearance of Will Sommers.

"What ho! my lords--to your places! to your places!" cried the jester,

in a shrill angry voice. "See ye not we are close upon Datchet Bridge?

Ye can converse with these fair dames at a more fitting season; but it

is the king's pleasure that the cavalcade should make a goodly show. To

your places, I say!"

Laughing at the jester's peremptory injunction, the two young nobles

nevertheless obeyed it, and, bending almost to the saddle-bow to the

ladies, resumed their posts.

The concourse assembled on Datchet Bridge welcomed Anne Boleyn's arrival

with loud acclamations, while joyous strains proceeded from sackbut and

psaltery, and echoing blasts from the trumpets. Caps were flung into

the air, and a piece of ordnance was fired from the barge, which was

presently afterwards answered by the castle guns. Having paid his

homage to Anne Boleyn, the mayor rejoined the company of bailiffs and

burgesses, and the whole cavalcade crossed the bridge, winding their

way slowly along the banks of the river, the barge, with the minstrels

playing in it, accompanying them the while. In this way they reached

Windsor; and as Anne Boleyn gazed up at the lordly castle above which

the royal standard now floated, proud and aspiring thoughts swelled her

heart, and she longed for the hour when she should approach it as its

mistress. Just then her eye chanced on Sir Thomas Wyat, who was riding

behind her amongst the knights, and she felt, though it might cost her a

struggle, that love would yield to ambition.

Leaving the barge and its occupants to await the king's arrival, the

cavalcade ascended Thames Street, and were welcomed everywhere with

acclamations and rejoicing. Bryan Bowntance, who had stationed himself

on the right of the arch in front of his house, attempted to address

Anne Boleyn, but could not bring forth a word. His failure, how ever,

was more successful than his speech might have been, inasmuch as it

excited abundance of merriment.

Arrived at the area in front of the lower gateway, Anne Boleyn's litter

was drawn up in the midst of it, and the whole of the cavalcade

grouping around her, presented a magnificent sight to the archers and

arquebusiers stationed on the towers and walls.

Just at this moment a signal gun was heard from Datchet Bridge,

announcing that the king had reached it, and the Dukes of Suffolk,

Norfolk, and Richmond, together with the Earl of Surrey, Sir Thomas

Wyat, and a few of their gentle men, rode back to meet him. They had

scarcely, however, reached the foot of the hill when the royal party

appeared in view, for the king with his characteristic impatience, on

drawing near the castle, had urged his attendants quickly forward.

First came half a dozen trumpeters, with silken bandrols fluttering in

the breeze, blowing loud flourishes. Then a party of halberdiers, whose

leaders had pennons streaming from the tops of their tall pikes. Next

came two gentlemen ushers bareheaded, but mounted and richly habited,

belonging to the Cardinal of York, who cried out as they pressed

forward, "On before, my masters, on before!--make way for my lord's


Then came a sergeant-of-arms bearing a great mace of silver, and two

gentlemen carrying each a pillar of silver. Next rode a gentleman

carrying the cardinal's hat, and after him came Wolsey himself, mounted

on a mule trapped in crimson velvet, with a saddle covered with the same

stuff, and gilt stirrups. His large person was arrayed in robes of

the finest crimson satin engrained, and a silk cap of the same colour

contrasted by its brightness with the pale purple tint of his sullen,

morose, and bloated features. The cardinal took no notice of the clamour

around him, but now and then, when an expression of dislike was uttered

against him, for he had already begun to be unpopular with the people,

he would raise his eyes and direct a withering glance at the hardy

speaker. But these expressions were few, for, though tottering, Wolsey

was yet too formidable to be insulted with impunity. On either side of

him were two mounted attend ants, each caring a gilt poleaxe, who, if he

had given the word, would have instantly chastised the insolence of

the bystanders, while behind him rode his two cross-bearers upon homes

trapped in scarlet.

Wolsey's princely retinue was followed by a litter of crimson velvet, in

which lay the pope's legate, Cardinal Campeggio, whose infirmities

were so great that he could not move without assistance. Campeggio was

likewise attended by a numerous train.

After a long line of lords, knights, and esquires, came Henry the

Eighth. He was apparelled in a robe of crimson velvet furred with

ermines, and wore a doublet of raised gold, the placard of which was

embroidered with diamonds, rubies, emeralds, large pearls, and other

precious stones. About his neck was a baldric of balas rubies, and over

his robe he wore the collar of the Order of the Garter. His horse, a

charger of the largest size, and well able to sustain his vast weight,

was trapped in crimson velvet, purfled with ermines. His knights and

esquires were clothed in purple velvet, and his henchmen in scarlet

tunics of the same make as those worn by the warders of the Tower at the

present day.

Henry was in his thirty-eighth year, and though somewhat overgrown and

heavy, had lost none of his activity, and but little of the grace of his

noble proportions. His size and breadth of limb were well displayed in

his magnificent habiliment. His countenance was handsome and manly, with

a certain broad burly look, thoroughly English in its character, which

won him much admiration from his subjects; and though it might be

objected that the eyes were too small, and the mouth somewhat too

diminutive, it could not be denied that the general expression of the

face was kingly in the extreme. A prince of a more "royal presence"

than Henry the Eighth was never seen, and though he had many and grave

faults, want of dignity was not amongst the number.

Henry entered Windsor amid the acclamations of the spectators, the

fanfares of trumpeters, and the roar of ordnance from the castle walls.

Meanwhile, Anne Boleyn, having descended from her litter, which passed

through the gate into the lower ward, stood with her ladies beneath the

canopy awaiting his arrival.

A wide clear space was preserved before her, into which, however, Wolsey

penetrated, and, dismounting, placed himself so that he could witness

the meeting between her and the king. Behind him stood the jester, Will

Sommers, who was equally curious with himself. The litter of Cardinal

Campeggio passed through the gateway and proceeded to the lodgings

reserved for his eminence.

Scarcely had Wolsey taken up his station than Henry rode up, and,

alighting, consigned his horse to a page, and, followed by the Duke

of Richmond and the Earl of Surrey, advanced towards Anne Boleyn, who

immediately stepped forward to meet him.

"Fair mistress," he said, taking her hand, and regarding her with a look

of passionate devotion, "I welcome you to this my castle of Windsor,

and trust soon to make you as absolute mistress of it as I am lord and


Anne Boleyn blushed, and cast down her eyes, and Sir Thomas Wyat, who

stood at some little distance with his hand upon his saddle, regarding

her, felt that any hopes he might have entertained were utterly


"Heard you that, my lord cardinal?" said Will Sommers to Wolsey. "She

will soon be mistress here. As she comes in, you go out--mind that!"

The cardinal made no answer further than was conveyed by the deepened

colour of his cheeks.

Amid continued fanfares and acclamations, Harry then led Anne Boleyn

through the gateway, followed by the ladies in waiting, who were joined

by Richmond and Surrey. The prelate, chancellor, register, black rod,

and other officers of the Garter, together with the whole of the

royal retinue who had dismounted, came after them. A vast concourse

of spectators, extending almost as far as the Lieutenant's Tower, was

collected in front of the alms-knights' houses; but a wide space had

been kept clear by the henchmen for the passage of the sovereign and his

train, and along this Henry proceeded with Anne Boleyn, in the direction

of the upper ward. Just as he reached the Norman Tower, and passed the

entrance to the keep, the Duke of Shoreditch, who was standing beneath

the gateway, advanced towards him and prostrated himself on one knee.

"May it please your majesty," said Shoreditch, "I last night arrested

a butcher of Windsor for uttering words highly disrespectful of your

highness, and of the fair and virtuous lady by your side."

"Ah! God's death!" exclaimed the king. "Where is the traitor? Bring him

before us."

"He is here," replied Shoreditch.

And immediately Mark Fytton was brought forward by a couple of

halberdiers. He still preserved his undaunted demeanour, and gazed

sternly at the king.

"So, fellow, thou hast dared to speak disrespectfully of us--ha!" cried


"I have spoken the truth," replied the butcher fearlessly. "I have said

you were about to divorce your lawful consort, Catherine of Arragon, and

to take the minion, Anne Boleyn, who stands beside you, to your bed. And

I added, it was a wrongful act."

"Foul befall thy lying tongue for saying so!" replied Henry furiously.

"I have a mind to pluck it from thy throat, and cast it to the dogs.

What ho! guards, take this caitiff to the summit of the highest tower of

the castle--the Curfew Tower--and hang him from it, so that all my loyal

subjects in Windsor may see how traitors are served."

"Your highness has judged him justly," said Anne Boleyn. "You say so

now, Mistress Anne Boleyn," rejoined the butcher; "but you yourself

shall one day stand in as much peril of your life as I do, and shall

plead as vainly as I should, were I to plead at all, which I will never

do to this inexorable tyrant. You will then remember my end."

"Away with him!" cried Henry. "I myself will go to the Garter Tower to

see it done. Farewell for a short while, sweetheart. I will read these

partisans of Catherine a terrible lesson."

As the butcher was hurried off to the Curfew Tower, the king proceeded

with his attendants to the Garter Tower, and ascended to its summit.

In less than ten minutes a stout pole, like the mast of a ship, was

thrust through the battlements of the Curfew Tower, on the side looking

towards the town. To this pole a rope, of some dozen feet in length,

and having a noose at one end, was firmly secured. The butcher was then

brought forth, bound hand and foot, and the noose was thrown over his


While this was passing, the wretched man descried a person looking at

him from a window in a wooden structure projecting from the side of the


"What, are you there, Morgan Fenwolf?" he cried. "Remember what passed

between us in the dungeon last night, and be warned! You will not meet

your end as firmly as I meet mine?"

"Make thy shrift quickly, fellow, if thou hast aught to say," interposed

one of the halberdiers.

"I have no shrift to make," rejoined the butcher. "I have already

settled my account with Heaven. God preserve Queen Catherine!"

As he uttered these words, he was thrust off from the battlements by

the halberdiers, and his body swung into the abyss amid the hootings and

execrations of the spectators below.

Having glutted his eyes with the horrible sight, Henry descended from

the tower, and returned to Anne Boleyn.

Of The Interview Between Henry And Catherine Of Arragon In The Urswick Chapel Of The Mysterious Disappearance Of Herne The Hunter In The Lake facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail