What Happened At The Jousts





The first of May arrived; and though destined to set in darkness and

despair, it arose in sunshine and smiles.



All were astir at an early hour within the castle, and preparations

were made for the approaching show. Lists were erected in the upper

quadrangle, and the whole of the vast area was strewn with sand. In

front of the royal lodgings was raised a gallery, the centre of which,

being set apart for the queen and her dames, was covered with cloth

of gold and crimson velvet, on which the royal arms were gorgeously

emblazoned. The two wings were likewise richly decorated, and adorned

with scutcheons and pennons, while from the battlements of the eastern

side of the court were hung a couple of long flags.



As soon as these preparations were completed, a throng of pages,

esquires, armourers, archers, and henchmen, entered it from the Norman

gateway, and took up positions within the barriers, the space without

the pales being kept by a double line of halberdiers. Next came the

trumpeters, mounted on richly caparisoned horses, and having their

clarions decorated with silken bandrols, fringed with gold. Stationing

themselves at the principal entrance of the lists, they were speedily

joined by the heralds, pursuivants, and other officers of the tilt-yard.



Presently afterwards, the Duke of Suffolk, who was appointed judge of

the lists, appeared, and rode round the arena to see that all was in

order. Apparently well satisfied with the survey, he dismounted, and

proceeded to the gallery.



Meanwhile, the crowd within the court was increased by a great influx

of the different members of the household, amongst whom were Shoreditch,

Paddington, and Hector Cutbeard.



"Marry, this promises to be a splendid sight!" said the clerk of the

kitchen; "the king will, no doubt, do his devoir gallantly for the sake

of the bright eyes that will look upon him."



"You mean the queen's, of course?" said Shoreditch.



"I mean hers who may be queen," replied Cutbeard; "Mistress Jane

Seymour."



"May be queen!" exclaimed Shoreditch. "You surely do not think the king

will divorce his present consort?"



"Stranger things have happened," replied Cutbeard significantly. "If

I am not greatly out of my reckoning," he added, "these are the last

jousts Queen Anne will behold."



"The saints forefend!" cried Shoreditch; "what reason have you for

thinking so?"



"That I may not declare," replied Cutbeard; "but before the jousts are

over you will see whether I have been rightly informed or not."



"Hush!" exclaimed Shoreditch. "There is a tall monk eyeing us strangely;

and I am not certain that he has not overheard what you have said."



"He is welcome to the intelligence," replied Cutbeard; "the end will

prove its truth."



Though this was uttered in a confident tone, he nevertheless glanced

with some misgiving at the monk, who stood behind Paddington. The object

of the investigation was a very tall man, with a cowl drawn over his

brow. He had a ragged black beard, fierce dark eyes, and a complexion

like bronze. Seeing Cutboard's glance anxiously fixed upon him, he

advanced towards him, and said in a low tone--"You have nothing to fear

from me; but talk not so loud if you value your head."



"So saying he proceeded to another part of the lists.



"Who is that tall monk?" asked Paddington.



"Devil knows!" answered Cutbeard; "I never saw him before. But he has a

villainous cut-throat look."



Soon afterwards a flourish of trumpets was heard, and amid their joyous

bruit the queen, sumptuously arrayed in cloth of gold and ermine, and

having a small crown upon her brow, entered the gallery, and took her

seat within it. Never had she looked more beautiful than on this fatal

morning, and in the eyes of all the beholders she completely eclipsed

her rival, Jane Seymour. The latter, who stood on her right hard, and

was exquisitely attired, had a thoughtful and anxious air, as if some

grave matter weighed upon her.



While the queen's attendants were taking their places, Lord Rochford,

accompanied by Sir Henry Norris and the Earls of Surrey and Essex,

entered the lists. The four knights were completely armed, and mounted

on powerful steeds barded with rich cloth of gold, embroidered with

silver letters. Each had a great crimson plume in his helmet. They rode

singly round the arena, and bowed as they passed the royal gallery,

Norris bending almost to his saddle-bow while performing his salutation

to the queen.



The field being thus taken by the challengers, who retired to the upper

end of the court, a trumpet was thrice sounded by a herald, and an

answer was immediately made by another herald stationed opposite Henry

the Seventh's buildings. When the clamour ceased, the king fully armed,

and followed by the Marquis of Dorset, Sir Thomas Wyat, and the Lord

Clifford, rode into the lists.



Henry was equipped in a superb suit of armour, inlaid with gold, and

having a breastplate of the globose form, then in vogue; his helmet was

decorated with a large snow-white plume. The trappings of his steed were

of crimson velvet, embroidered with the royal arms, and edged with great

letters of massive gold bullion, full of pearls and precious stones.

He was attended by a hundred gentlemen, armourers, and other officers,

arrayed in white velvet.



Having ridden round the court like the others, and addressed his

salutation exclusively to Jane Seymour, Henry took his station with his

companions near the base of the Round Tower, the summit of which was

covered with spectators, as were the towers and battlements around.



A trumpet was now sounded, and the king and the Lord Rochford having

each taken a lance from his esquire, awaited the signal to start from

the Duke of Suffolk, who was seated in the left wing of the royal

gallery. It was not long delayed. As the clarion sounded clearly and

loudly for the third time, he called out that the champions might go.



No sooner were the words uttered, than the thundering tramp of the

steeds resounded, and the opponents met midway. Both their lances were

shivered; but as the king did not, in the slightest degree, change his

position, he was held to have the best of it. Courses were then run by

the others, with varied success, the Marquis of Dorset being unhorsed

by Sir Henry Norris, whose prowess was rewarded by the plaudits of the

assemblage, and what was infinitely more dear to him, by the smiles of

the queen.



"You have ridden well, Norris," cried Henry, advancing towards him.

"Place yourself opposite me, and let us splinter a lance together."



As Norris reined back his steed, in compliance with the injunction, the

tall monk stepped from out the line, and drawing near him, said, "If you

wish to prove victorious, aim at the upper part of the king's helmet."

And with these words he withdrew.



By the time Norris had placed his lance in the rest, the trumpet

sounded. The next moment the word was given, and the champions started.

Henry rode with great impetuosity, and struck Norris in the gorget with

such good will that both he and his steed were shaken.



But Norris was more fortunate. Following the advice of the monk, he made

the upper part of the king's helmet his mark, and the blow was so well

dealt, that, though he did not dislodge the royal horseman, it drove

back his steed on its haunches.



The success was so unequivocal that Norris was at once declared the

victor by the judge. No applause, however, followed the decision, from a

fear of giving offence to the king.



Norris dismounted, and committing his steed to the care of an esquire,

and his lance to a page, took off his helmet and advanced towards the

royal gallery, near which the Earl of Surrey and Sir Thomas Wyat were

standing talking with the other dames. As Norris drew near, Anne leaned

over the edge of the gallery, and smiled at him tenderly, and, whether

by design or accident, let fall her embroidered handkerchief.



Norris stooped to pick it up, regarding her as he did so with a glance

of the most passionate devotion. A terrible gaze, however, was fixed

on the unfortunate pair at that moment. It was that of the king. While

Henry was careering in front of the gallery to display himself before

Jane Seymour, a tall monk approached him, and said, "Look at Sir Henry

Norris!"



Thus addressed, Henry raised his beaver, that he might see more

distinctly, and beheld Norris take up the embroidered handkerchief,

which he recognised as one that he had given, in the early days of his

affection, to the queen.



The sight stung him almost to madness, and he had great difficulty

in repressing his choler. But if this slight action, heightened to

importance, as it was, by the looks of the parties, roused his ire,

it was nothing to what followed. Instead of restoring it to the queen,

Norris, unconscious of the danger in which he stood, pressed the

handkerchief fervently to his lips.



"I am hitherto the victor of the jousts," he said; "may I keep this as

the prize?"



Anne smiled assent.



"It is the proudest I ever obtained," pursued Norris. And he placed it

within his helmet.



"Does your majesty see that?" cried the tall monk, who still remained

standing near the king.



"Death of my life!" exclaimed Henry, "it is the very handkerchief I gave

her before our union! I can contain myself no longer, and must perforce

precipitate matters. What ho!" he cried, riding up to that part of

the gallery where the Duke of Suffolk was seated--"let the jousts be

stopped!"



"Wherefore, my dear liege?" said Suffolk. "The Earl of Surrey and Sir

Thomas Wyat are about to run a course."



"Let them he stopped I say!" roared Henry, in a tone that admitted of

no dispute. And wheeling round his charger, he dashed into the middle of

the barriers, shouting in loud, authoritative accents, "The jousts are

at an end! Disperse!"



The utmost consternation was occasioned by the announcement. The Duke of

Suffolk instantly quitted his seat, and pressed through the crowd to the

king, who whispered a few hasty words in his ear. Henry then called to

the Earl of Surrey, the Marquis of Dorset, the Lord Clifford, Wyat, and

some others, and bidding them attend him, prepared to quit the court.

As he passed the royal gallery, Anne called to him in an agonised

voice--"Oh, Henry! what is the matter?--what have I done?"



But without paying the slightest attention to her, he dashed through the

Norman Gate, galloped down the lower quadrangle, and quitted the castle.



The confusion that ensued may be imagined. All saw that something

extraordinary and terrible had taken place, though few knew precisely

what it was. Dismay sat in every countenance, and the general anxiety

was heightened by the agitation of the queen, who, uttering a piercing

scream, fell back, and was borne off in a state of insensibility by her

attendants.



Unable to control himself at the sight, Norris burst through the guard,

and rushing up the great staircase, soon gained the apartment to which

the queen had been conveyed. Owing to the timely aid afforded her, she

was speedily restored, and the first person her eyes fell upon was her

lover. At the sight of him a glance of affection illumined her features,

but it was instantly changed into an expression of alarm.



At this juncture the Duke of Suffolk, who, with Bouchier and a party

of halberdiers, had entered the room, stepped up to the queen, and

said-"Will it please you, madam, to retire to an inner apartment? I

grieve to say you are under arrest."



"Arrest!" exclaimed Anne; "for what crime, your grace?"



"You are charged with incontinency towards the king's highness," replied

Suffolk sternly.



"But I am innocent!" cried Anne--"as Heaven shall judge me, I am

innocent!"



"I trust you will be able to prove yourself so, madam," said Suffolk.

"Sir Henry Norris, your person is likewise attached."



"Then I am lost indeed!" exclaimed Anne distractedly.



"Do not let these false and malignant accusations alarm you, madam," said

Norri. "You have nothing to fear. I will die protesting your innocence."



"Sir Henry Norris," said the duke coldly, "your own imprudence has

brought about this sad result."



"I feel it," replied Norris; "and I deserve the worst punishment that

can be inflicted upon me for it. But I declare to you as I will

declare upon the rack, if I am placed upon it--that the queen is wholly

innocent. Let her not suffer for my fault."



"You hear what Sir Henry says," cried Anne; "and I call upon you to

recollect the testimony he has borne."



"I shall not fail to do so, madam," replied Suffolk. "Your majesty will

have strict justice."



"Justice!" echoed Anne, with a laugh of bitter incredulity. "Justice

from Henry the Eighth?"



"Beseech you, madam, do not destroy yourself," said Norris, prostrating

himself before her. "Recollect by whom you are surrounded. My folly and

madness have brought you into this strait, and I sincerely implore your

pardon for it."



"You are not to blame, Norris," said Anne; "it is fate, not you, that

has destroyed me. The hand that has dealt this blow is that of a queen

within the tomb."



"Captain Bouchier," said the Duke of Suffolk, addressing that officer,

who stood near him, "you will convey Sir Henry Norris to the strong-room

in the lower gateway, whence he will be removed to the Tower."



"Farewell for ever, Norris!" cried Anne. "We shall meet no more on

earth. In what has fallen on me I recognise the hand of retribution. But

the same measure which has been meted to me shall be dealt to others. I

denounce Jane Seymour before Heaven! She shall not long retain the crown

she is about to snatch from me!"



"That imprecation had better have been spared, madam," said the duke.



"Be advised, my gracious mistress," cried Norris, "and do not let your

grief and distraction place you in the power of your enemies. All may

yet go well."



"I denounce her!" persisted Anne, wholly disregarding the caution; "and

I also denounce the king. No union of his shall be happy, and other

blood than mine shall flow."



At a sign from the duke she was here borne, half suffocated with

emotion, to an inner apartment, while Norris was conveyed by Bouchier

and a company of halberdiers to the lower gateway, and placed within the

prison chamber.





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