King Henry The Eighth
Letter First To Anne Boleyn
The King And The Priest
Choosing A Confessor
Henry The Eighth And His Wives
Letter Fourth To Anne Boleyn
Least ViewedLetter Fifteenth To Anne Boleyn
Letter Eighteenth To Anne Boleyn
Letter Sixteenth To Anne Boleyn
Letter Eleventh To Anne Boleyn
Letter Ninth To Anne Boleyn
Letter Seventeenth To Anne Boleyn
The Queen's Toilet
Letter Thirteenth To Anne Boleyn
Letter Sixth To Anne Boleyn
Letter Seventh To Anne Boleyn
Father And Daughter
Both now kept silent for a long time. Lord Douglas had leaned back on
the ottoman, and, respiring heavily, seemed to breathe a little from the
exertion of his long discourse. But while he rested, his large, piercing
eyes were constantly turned to Jane, who, leaning back on the cushion,
was staring thoughtfully into the empty air, and seemed to be entirely
forgetful of her father's presence.
A cunning smile played for a moment over the countenance of the earl as
he observed her, but it quickly disappeared, and now deep folds of care
gathered on his brow. As he saw that Lady Jane was plunging deeper and
deeper into reverie, he at length laid his hand on her shoulder and
hastily asked, "What are you thinking of, Jane?"
She gave a sudden start, and looked at the earl with an embarrassed air.
"I am thinking of all that you have been saying to me, my father,"
replied she, calmly. "I am considering what benefit to our object I can
draw from it."
Lord Douglas shook his head, and smiled incredulously. At length he said
solemnly: "Take care, Jane, take care that your heart does not deceive
your head. If we would reach our aim here, you must, above all things,
maintain a cool heart and a cool head. Do you still possess both, Jane?"
In confusion she cast down her eyes before his penetrating look. Lord
Douglas noticed it, and a passionate word was already on his lips. But
he kept it back. As a prudent diplomat, he knew that it is often more
politic to destroy a thing by ignoring it, than to enter into an open
contest with it. The feelings are like the dragons' teeth of Theseus.
If you contend with them, they always grow again anew, and with renewed
energy, out of the soil. Lord Douglas, therefore, was very careful not
to notice his daughter's confusion. "Pardon me, my daughter, if, in my
zeal and my tender care for you, I go too far. I know that your dear and
beautiful head is cool enough to wear a crown. I know that in your heart
dwell only ambition and religion. Let us, then, further consider what we
have to do in order to attain our end.
"We have spoken of Henry as a husband, of Henry as a man; and I hope
you have drawn some useful lessons from the fate of his wives. You have
learned that it is necessary to possess all the good and all the bad
qualities of woman in order to control this stiff-necked and tyrannical,
this lustful and bigoted, this vain and sensual man, whom the wrath of
God has made King of England. You must, before all things, be perfect
master of the difficult art of coquetry. You must become a female
Proteus--today a Messalina, to-morrow a nun; to-day one of the
literati, to-morrow a playful child; you must ever seek to surprise
the king, to keep him on the stretch, to enliven him. You must never
give way to the dangerous feeling of security, for in fact King Henry's
wife is never safe. The axe always hangs over her head, and you must
ever consider your husband as only a fickle lover, whom you must every
day captivate anew."
"You speak as though I were already queen," said Lady Jane, smiling;
"and yet I cannot but think that, in order to come to that, many
difficulties are to be overcome, which may indeed perhaps be
"Insuperable!" exclaimed her father with a shrug of the shoulders. "With
the aid of the holy Church, no hinderance is insuperable. Only, we must
be perfectly acquainted with our end and our means. Do not despise,
then, to sound the character of this king ever and again, and be certain
you will always find in him some new hidden recess, some surprising
peculiarity. We have spoken of him as a husband and the father of a
family, but of his religious and political standing I have as yet told
you nothing. And yet that, my child, is the principal point in his whole
"In the first place, then, Jane, I will tell you a secret. The king, who
has constituted himself high-priest of his Church--whom the pope once
called 'the Knight of the Truth and the Faith'--the king has at the
bottom of his heart no religion. He is a wavering reed, which the wind
turns this way to-day, and that way to-morrow. He knows not his own
will, and, coquetting with both parties, to-day he is a heretic, in
order to exhibit himself as a strong, unprejudiced, enlightened man;
to-morrow a Catholic, in order to show himself an obedient and humble
servant of God, who seeks and finds his happiness only in love and
piety. But for both confessions of faith he possesses at heart
a profound indifference; and had the pope at that time placed no
difficulties in his way, had he consented to his divorce from Catharine,
Henry would have always remained a very good and active servant of
the Catholic Church. But they were imprudent enough to irritate him by
contradiction; they stimulated his vanity and pride to resistance; and
so Henry became a church reformer, not from conviction, but out of pure
love of opposition. And that, my child, you must never forget, for, by
means of this lever, you may very well convert him again to a devout,
dutiful, and obedient servant of our holy Church. He has renounced the
pope, and usurped the supremacy of the Church, but he cannot summon up
courage to carry out his work and throw himself wholly into the arms
of the Reformation. However much he has opposed the person of the pope,
still he has always remained devoted to the Church, although perhaps he
does not know it himself. He is no Catholic, and he hears mass; he has
broken up the monasteries, and yet forbids priests to marry; he has the
Lord's supper administered under both kinds, and believes in the real
transubstantiation of the wine into the Redeemer's holy blood. He
destroys the convents, and yet commands that vows of chastity, spoken by
man or woman, must be faithfully kept; and lastly, auricular confession
is still a necessary constituent of his Church. And these he calls his
six articles, [Footnote: Burnet, vol. I, p. 259. Tytler, p. 402.
Mioti, vol. I, p. 134.] and the foundation of his English Church. Poor,
short-sighted and vain man! He knows not that he has done all this, only
because he wanted to be the pope himself, and he is nothing more than an
anti-pope of the Holy Father at Rome, whom he, in his blasphemous pride,
dares call 'the Bishop of Rome.'"
"But, for this audacity," said Jane, with looks of burning rage, "the
anathema has struck him and laid a curse upon his head, and given him up
to the hatred, contempt, and scorn of his own subjects. Therefore,
the Holy Father has justly named him 'the apostate and lost son,
the blaspheming usurper of the holy Church.' Therefore, the pope has
declared his crown forfeited, and promised it to him who will vanquish
him by force of arms. Therefore, the pope has forbidden any of his
subjects to obey him, and respect and recognize him as king."
"And yet he remains King of England, and his subjects still obey him in
slavish submission," exclaimed Earl Douglas, shrugging his shoulders.
"It is very unwise to go so far in threats, for one should never
threaten with punishment which he is not likewise able to really
execute. This Romish interdict has rather been an advantage to the
king, than done him harm, for it has forced the king into haughtier
opposition, and proved to his subjects that a man may royally be under
an interdict, and yet in prosperity and the full enjoyment of life."
"The pope's excommunication has not hurt the king at all; his throne
has not felt the slightest jar from it, but the apostasy of the king has
deprived the Holy See at Rome of a very perceptible support; therefore
we must bring the faithless king back to the holy Church, for she needs
him. And this, my daughter, is the work that God and the will of His
holy representative have placed in your hands. A noble, glorious, and at
the same time profitable work, for it makes you a queen! But I repeat,
be cautious, never irritate the king by contradiction. Without their
knowing it, we must lead the wavering where salvation awaits them.
For, as we have said, he is a waverer; and in the haughty pride of his
royalty, he has the presumption to wish to stand above all parties,
and to be himself able to found a new Church, a Church which is neither
Catholic nor Protestant, but Ms Church; to which, in the six articles,
the so-called 'Bloody Statute' he has given its laws.
"He will not be Protestant nor Catholic, and, in order to show his
impartiality, he is an equally terrible persecutor of both parties. So
that it has come to pass that we must say, 'In England, Catholics are
hanged, and those not stich are burned.' [Footnote: Leti, vol. I, p.
144. f Tytler, p. 38.] It gives the king pleasure to hold with steady
and cruel hand the balance between the two parties, and on the same day
that he has a papist incarcerated, because he has disputed the king's
supremacy, he has one of the reformed put upon the rack, because he has
denied the real transubstantiation of the wine, or perhaps has disputed
concerning the necessity of auricular confession. Indeed, during the
last session of Parliament, five men were hanged because they disputed
the supremacy, and five others burned because they professed
the reformed views! And this evening, Jane--this, the king's
wedding-night--by the special order of the king, who wanted to show his
impartiality as head of the church, Catholics and Protestants have been
coupled together like dogs, and hurried to the stake, the Catholics
being condemned (as traitors, and the others as heretics!)
"Oh," said Jane, shuddering and turning pale, "I will not be Queen of
England. I have a horror of this cruel, savage king, whose heart is
wholly without compassion or love."
Her father laughed. "Do you not then know, child, how you can make the
hyena gentle, and the tiger tame? You throw them again and again a fresh
prey, which they may devour, and since they love blood so dearly, you
constantly give them blood to drink, so that they may never thirst for
it. The king's only steady and unchanging peculiarity is his cruelty and
delight in blood; one then must always have some food ready for these,
then he will ever be a very affectionate and gracious king and husband.
"And there is no lack of objects for this bloodthirstiness. There are
so many men and women at his court, and when he is precisely in a
bloodthirsty humor, it is all the same to Henry whose blood he drinks.
He has shed the blood of his wives and relatives; he has executed those
whom he called his most confidential friends; he has sent the noblest
men of his kingdom to the scaffold.
"Thomas More knew him very well, and in a few striking words he summed
up the whole of the king's character. Ah, it seems to me that I see now
the quiet and gentle face of this wise man, as I saw him standing in
yonder bay-window, and near him the king, his arms around the neck of
High-Chancellor More, and listening to his discourse with a kind of
reverential devotion. And when the king had gone, I walked up to Thomas
More and congratulated him on the high and world-renowned favor in which
he stood with the king. 'The king really loves you,' said I. 'Yes,'
replied he, with his quiet, sad smile, 'yes, the king truly loves me.
But that would not for one moment hinder him from giving my head for
a valuable diamond, a beautiful woman, or a hand's breadth of land
in France.' [Footnote: Leti, vol. i, p 194.] He was right, and for a
beautiful woman, the head of this sage had to fall, of whom the most
Christian emperor and king, Charles V., said: 'Had I been the master
of such a servant, of whose ability and greatness we have had so much
experience for many years; had I possessed an adviser so wise and
earnest as Thomas More was, I would rather have lost the best city of my
realm, than so worthy a servant and counsellor.' [Footnote: Tytler, p.
"No, Jane, be that your first and most sacred rule, never to trust
the king, and never reckon on the duration of his affection and the
manifestations of his favor. For, in the perfidy of his heart, it often
pleases him to load with tokens of his favor those whose destruction he
has already resolved upon, to adorn and decorate with orders and jewels
to-day those whom to-morrow he is going to put to death. It flatters his
self-complacency, like the lion, to play a little with the puppy he
is about to devour. Thus did he with Cromwell, for many years his
counsellor and friend, who had committed no other crime than that of
having first exhibited to the king the portrait of the ugly Anne of
Cleves, whom Holbein had turned into a beauty. But the king took good
care not to be angry with Cromwell, or to reproach him for it. Much
more--in recognition of his great services, he raised him to the earldom
of Essex, decorated him with the Order of the Garter and appointed him
lord chamberlain; and then, when Cromwell felt perfectly secure and
proudly basked in the sunshine of royal favor, then all at once the king
had him arrested and dragged to the tower, in order to accuse him of
high treason. [Footnote: Ibid, p. 423.] And so Cromwell was executed,
because Anne of Cleves did not please the king, and because Hans Holbein
had flattered her picture.
"But now we have had enough of the past, Jane. Now let us speak of the
present and of the future, my daughter. Let us now first of all devise
the means to overthrow this woman who stands in our way. When she is
once overthrown, it will not be very difficult for us to put you in her
place. For you are now here, near the king. The great mistake in our
earlier efforts was, that we were not present and could work only
through go-betweens and confidants. The king did not see you, and since
the unlucky affair with Anne of Cleves he mistrusts likenesses; I very
well knew that, for I, my child, confide in no one, not even in the most
faithful and noblest friends. I rely upon nobody but ourselves. Had we
been here, you would now be Queen of England instead of Catharine
Parr. But, to our misfortune, I was still the favorite of the Regent
of Scotland, and as such, I could not venture to approach Henry. It was
necessary that I should fall into disgrace there, in order to be again
sure of the king's favor here.
"So I fell into disgrace and fled with you hither. Now, then, here
we are, and let the fight begin. And you have to-day already taken an
important step toward our end. You have attracted the notice of the
king, and established yourself still more securely in the favor of
Catharine. I confess, Jane, I am charmed with your prudent conduct.
You have this day won the hearts of all parties, and it was wonderfully
shrewd in you to come to the aid of the Earl of Surrey, as you at the
same time won to you the heretical party, to which Anne Askew belongs.
Oh, it was indeed, Jane, a stroke of policy that you made. For the
Howard family is the most powerful and greatest at court, and Henry,
Earl of Surrey, is one of its noblest representatives. Therefore we have
now already a powerful party at court, which has in view only the
high and holy aim of securing a victory for the holy Church, and which
quietly and silently works only for this--to again reconcile the king
to the pope. Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey, like his father, the Duke of
Norfolk, is a good Catholic, as his niece Catharine Howard was; only
she, besides God and the Church, was a little too fond of the images of
God--fine-looking men. It was this that gave the victory to the other
party, and forced the Catholic to succumb to the heretical party at
court. Yes, for the moment, Cranmer with Catharine has got the better of
us, but soon Gardiner with Jane Douglas will overcome the heretics, and
send them to the scaffold. That is our plan, and, God permitting, we
will carry it out."
"But it will be a difficult undertaking," said Lady Jane, with a sigh.
"The queen is a pure, transparent soul; she has a shrewd head and a
clear glance. She is, moreover, guileless in her thoughts, and recoils
with true maidenly timidity from every sin."
"We must cure her of this timidity, and that is your task, Jane. You
must despoil her of these strict notions about virtue. With flattering
voice you must ensnare her heart, and entice it to sin."
"Oh, that is an infernal plot!" said Lady Jane, turning pale. "That,
my father, would be a crime, for that would be not only destroying her
earthly happiness, but also imperilling her soul. I must entice her to a
crime; that is your dishonorable demand! But I will not obey you! It is
true, I hate her, for she stands in the way of my ambition. It is true
I will destroy her, for she wears the crown which I wish to possess;
but never will I be so base as to pour into her very heart the poison
by which she shall fall. Let her seek the poison for herself; I will not
hold back her hand; I will not warn her. Let her seek the ways of sin
herself: I will not tell her that she has erred; but I will, from afar,
dog her, and watch each step, and listen for every word and sigh, and
when she has committed a crime, then I will betray her, and deliver her
up to her judges. That is what I can and will do. I will be the demon to
drive her from paradise in God's name, but not the serpent to entice her
in the devil's name to sin."
She paused, and, panting for breath, sunk back upon the cushion; but
her father's hand was laid upon her shoulder with a convulsive grip, and
pale with rage and with eyes flashing with anger, he stared at her.
A cry of terror burst from Lady Jane. She, who never had seen her father
but smiling and full of kindness, scarcely recognized that countenance,
distorted with rage. She could scarcely convince herself that this man,
with eyes darting fire, scowling eyebrows and lips quivering with rage,
was really her father.
"You will not?" exclaimed he, with a hollow, threatening voice. "You
dare rebel against the holy commands of the Church? Have you, then,
forgotten what you promised to the Holy Fathers, whose pupil you are?
Have you forgotten that the brothers and sisters of the Holy League are
permitted to have no other will than that of their masters! Have you
forgotten the sublime vow which you made to our master, Ignatius Loyola?
Answer me, unfaithful and disobedient daughter of the Church! Repeat to
me the oath which you took when he received you into the holy Society of
the Disciples of Jesus! Repeat your oath, I say!"
As if constrained by an invisible power, Jane had arisen, and now stood,
her hands folded across her breast, submissive and trembling before her
father, whose erect, proud, and wrathful form towered above her.
"I have sworn," said she, "to subject my own thought, and will, my life,
and endeavors, obediently to the will of the Holy Father. I have sworn
to be a blind tool in the hands of my masters, and to do only what they
command and enjoin. I have vowed to serve the holy Church, in which
alone is salvation, in every way and with all the means at my command;
and I will despise none of these means, consider none trifling, disdain
none, provided it leads to the end. For the end sanctifies the means,
and nothing is a sin which is done for the honor of God and the Church!"
"Ad majorem Dei gloriam!" said her father, devoutly folding his hands.
"And you know what awaits you, if you violate your oath?"
"Earthly disgrace and eternal destruction await me. The curse of all my
brethren and sisters awaits me--eternal damnation and punishment. With
thousands of torments and tortures of the rack, will the Holy Fathers
put me to death; and as they kill my body and throw it as food to
the beasts of prey, they will curse my soul and deliver it over to
"And what awaits you if you remain faithful to your oath, and obey the
commands given you?"
"Honor and glory on earth, besides eternal blessedness in heaven."
"Then you will be a queen on earth and a queen in heaven. You know,
then, the sacred laws of the society, and you remember your oath?"
"I remember it."
"And you know that the holy Loyola, before he left us, gave the Society
of Jesus, in England, a master and general, whom all the brethren and
sisters must serve and submit to, to whom they owe blind obedience and
service without questioning?"
"I know it."
"And you know, likewise, by what sign the associates may recognize the
"By Loyola's ring, which he wears on the forefinger of his right hand."
"Behold here this ring!" said the earl, drawing his hand out of his
Lady Jane uttered a cry, and sank almost senseless at his feet.
Lord Douglas, smiling graciously, raised her in his arms. "You see,
Jane, I am not merely your father, but your master also. And you will
obey me, will you not?"
"I will obey!" said she, almost inaudibly, as she kissed the hand with
the fatal ring.
"You will be to Catharine Parr, as you have expressed it, the serpent,
that seduces her to sin?"
"You will beguile her into sin, and entice her to indulge a love which
must lead her to destruction?"
"I will do it, my father."
"I will now tell you whom she is to love, and who is to be the
instrument of destruction. You will so manage the queen that she will
love Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey."
Jane uttered a scream, and clung to the back of a chair to keep from
Her father observed her with penetrating, angry looks. "What means this
outcry? Why does this choice surprise you?" asked he.
Lady Jane had already gained her self-possession. "It surprised me,"
said she, "because the earl is betrothed."
A singular smile played about the earl's lips. "It is not the first
time," said he, "that even a man already married has become dangerous
to a woman's heart, and often the very impossibility of possession adds
fuel to the flames of love. Woman's heart is ever so full of selfishness
Lady Jane cast down her eyes, and made no reply. She felt that the
piercing and penetrating look of her father was resting on her face. She
knew that, just then, he was reading her soul, although she did not look
"Then you no longer refuse?" asked he, at length. "You will inspire the
young queen with love for the Earl of Surrey?"
"I will endeavor to do it, my father."
"If you try, with a real and energetic determination to succeed, you
will prevail. For, as you said, the queen's heart is still free; it is,
then, like a fruitful soil, which is only waiting for some one to sow
the seed in it, to bring forth flowers and fruit. Catharine Parr does
not love the king; you will, then, teach her to love Henry Howard."
"Yet, my father," said Lady Jane, with a sarcastic smile, "to bring
about this result, one must, before all things, be acquainted with a
magic spell, through the might of which the earl will first glow with
love for Catharine. For the queen has a proud soul, and she will never
so forget her dignity as to love a man who is not inflamed with an
ardent passion for her. But the earl has not only a bride, but, as it is
said, a mistress also."
"Ah! you consider it, then, perfectly unworthy of a woman to love a man
who does not adore her?" asked the earl, in a significant tone. "I am
rejoiced to hear this from my daughter, and thus to be certain that she
will not fall in love with the Earl of Surrey, who is everywhere else
called 'the lady-killer.' And if you have informed yourself in so
surprising a manner as to the earl's private relations, you have done
so, without doubt, only because your sagacious and subtle head has
already guessed what commission I would give you with respect to the
earl. Besides, my daughter, you are in error: and if a certain high,
but not on that account the less very unfortunate lady, should happen
to really love the Earl of Surrey, her lot will, perhaps, be the common
one--to practise resignation."
An expression of joyful surprise passed over the countenance of Lady
Jane, while her father thus spoke; but it was forced to instantly give
way to a deathly paleness, as the earl added: "Henry Howard is destined
for Catharine Parr, and you are to help her to love so hotly this proud,
handsome earl, who is a faithful servant of the Church, wherein alone is
salvation, that she will forget all considerations and all dangers."
Lady Jane ventured one more objection. She caught eagerly at her
father's words, to seek still for some way of escape.
"You call the earl a faithful servant of our Church," said she, "and yet
you would implicate him also in your dangerous plot? You have not, then,
my father, considered that it is just as pernicious to love the queen as
to be loved by her? And, without doubt, if love for the Earl of Surrey
bring the queen to the scaffold, the head of the earl will fall at the
same time, no matter whether he return her love or not."
The earl shrugged his shoulders.
"When the question is about the weal of the Church and our holy
religion, the danger which, thereby, it may be, threatens one of our
number, must not frighten us back. Holy sacrifices must be always
offered to a holy cause. Well and good, then, let the earl's head fall,
provided the only saving Church gains new vigor from this blood of
martyrs. But see, Jane, the morning already begins to dawn, and I must
hasten to leave you, lest these courtiers, ever given to slandering, may
in some way or other take the father for a lover, and cast suspicion on
the immaculate virtue of my Jane. Farewell, then, my daughter! We both,
now, know our roles, and will take care to play them with success. You
are the friend and confidante of the queen, and I the harmless courtier,
who tries, now and then, to gain a smile from the king by some kind and
merry jest. That is all. Good-morning, then, Jane, and good-night. For
you must sleep, my child, so that your cheeks may remain fresh and your
eyes bright. The king hates pining pale-faces. Sleep, then, future Queen
He gently kissed her forehead, and left the room with lingering step.
Lady Jane stood and listened to the sound of his footsteps gradually
dying away, when she sank on her knees, wholly crushed, utterly stunned.
"My God, my God!" murmured she, while streams of tears flooded her face,
"and I am to inspire the queen with love for the Earl of Surrey, and
I--I love him!"
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