The great levee was over. Sitting beside the king on the throne,

Catharine had received the congratulations of her court; and the king's

smiling look, and the tender words which, in undertone, he now and

then addressed to the queen, had manifested to the prudent and expert

courtiers that the king was to-day just as much enamored of his young

consort as he had been yesterday of his bride. Therefore, every one

exerted hi
self to please the queen, and to catch every look, every

smile, which she let fall, like sunbeams, here and there, in order to

see for whom they were intended, so that they might, perchance, by this

means, divine who were to be the future favorites of the queen, and be

the first to become intimate with them.

But the young queen directed her looks to no one in particular. She

was friendly and smiling, yet one felt that this friendliness was

constrained, this smile full of sadness. The king alone did not notice

it. He was cheerful and happy, and it seemed to him, therefore, that

nobody at his court could dare sigh when he, the king, was satisfied.

After the grand presentation, at which all the great and noble of the

realm had passed in formal procession before the royal pair, the king

had, according to the court etiquette of the time, given his hand to his

consort, led her down from the throne and conducted her to the middle

of the hall, in order to present to her the personages in waiting at her


But this walk from the throne to the centre of the hall had greatly

fatigued the king; this promenade of thirty steps was for him a very

unusual and troublesome performance, and the king longed to change to

something else more agreeable. So he beckoned to the chief master of

ceremonies, and bade him open the door leading into the dining-room.

Then he ordered his "house equipage" to be brought up, and, seating

himself in it with the utmost stateliness, he had the sedan kept at the

queen's side, waiting impatiently till the presentation should at last

conclude, and Catharine accompany him to lunch.

The announcements of the maids of honor and female attendants had been

already made, and now came the gentlemen's turn.

The chief master of ceremonies read from his list the names of those

cavaliers who were, henceforth, to be in waiting near the queen, and

which names the king had written down with his own hand. And at each new

appointment a slight expression of pleased astonishment flitted across

the faces of the assembled courtiers, for it was always one of the

youngest, handsomest, and most amiable lords whom the master of

ceremonies had to name.

Perhaps the king proposed to play a cruel game at hazard, in surrounding

his consort with the young men of his court; he wished to plunge her

into the midst of danger, either to let her perish there, or, by her

avoiding danger, to be able to place the unimpeachable virtue of his

young wife in the clearest light.

The list had begun with the less important offices, and, ever ascending

higher, they now came to positions the highest and of greatest


Still the queen's master of horse and the chamberlain had not been

named, and these were without doubt the most important charges at the

queen's court. For one or the other of these officers was always very

near the queen. When she was in the palace, the lord of the chamber

had to remain in the anteroom, and no one could approach the queen but

through his mediation. To him the queen had to give her orders with

regard to the schemes and pleasures of the day. He was to contrive

new diversions and amusements. He had the right of joining the queen's

narrow evening circle, and to stand behind the queen's chair when the

royal pair, at times, desired to sup without ceremony.

This place of chief chamberlain was, therefore, a very important

one; for since it confined him a large part of the day in the queen's

presence, it was scarcely avoidable that the lord chamberlain should

become either the confidential and attentive friend, or the malevolent

and lurking enemy of the queen!

But the place of master of horse was of no less consequence. For as soon

as the queen left the palace, whether on foot or in a carriage, whether

to ride in the forest or to glide down the Thames in her gilded yacht,

the master of horse must be ever at her side, must ever attend her.

Indeed, this service was still more exclusive, still more important.

For, though the queen's apartments were open to the lord chamberlain,

yet, however, he was never alone with her. The attending maids of honor

were always present and prevented there being any tetes-a-tetes or

intimacy between the queen and her chamberlain.

But with the master of horse it was different--since many opportunities

presented themselves, when he could approach the queen unnoticed, or at

least speak to her without being overheard. He had to offer her his hand

to assist her in entering her carriage; he could ride near the door of

her coach; he accompanied her on water excursions and pleasure rides,

and these last were so much the more important because they afforded

him, to a certain extent, opportunity for a tete-a-tete with the queen.

For only the master of horse was permitted to ride at her side; he even

had precedence of the ladies of the suite, so as to be able to give the

queen immediate assistance in case of any accident, or the stumbling of

her horse. Therefore, no one of the suite could perceive what the queen

said to the master of horse when he rode at her side.

It was understood, therefore, how influential this place might be.

Besides, when the queen was at Whitehall, the king was almost always

near her; while, thanks to his daily increasing corpulency, he was not

exactly in a condition to leave the palace otherwise than in a carriage.

It was therefore very natural that the whole company at court awaited

with eager attention and bated breath the moment when the master of

ceremonies would name these two important personages, whose names had

been kept so secret that nobody had yet learned them. That morning,

just before he handed the list to the master of ceremonies, the king had

written down these two names with his own hand.

Not the court only, but also the king himself, was watching for

these two names. For he wished to see the effect of them, and, by the

different expression of faces, estimate the number of the friends of

these two nominees. The young queen alone exhibited the same unconcerned

affability; her heart only beat with uniform calmness, for she did not

once suspect the importance of the moment.

Even the voice of the master of ceremonies trembled slightly, as he

now read, "To the place of high chamberlain to the queen, his majesty

appoints my Lord Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey."

An approving murmur was heard, and almost all faces manifested glad


"He has a great many friends," muttered the king. "He is dangerous,

then!" An angry look darted from his eyes upon the young earl, who was

now approaching the queen, to bend his knee before her and to press to

his lips the proffered hand.

Behind the queen stood Lady Jane, and as she beheld thus close before

her the young man, so handsome, so long yearned for, and so secretly

adored; and as she thought of her oath, she felt a violent pang, raging

jealousy, killing hatred toward the young queen, who had, it is true,

without suspecting it, robbed her of the loved one, and condemned her to

the terrible torture of pandering to her.

The chief master of ceremonies now read in a loud solemn voice, "To the

place of master of horse, his majesty appoints my Lord Thomas Seymour,

Earl of Sudley."

It was very well that the king had at that moment directed his whole

attention to his courtiers, and sought to read in their appearance the

impression made by this nomination.

Had he observed his consort, he would have seen that an expression

of delighted surprise flitted across Catharine's countenance, and a

charming smile played round her lips.

But the king, as we have said, thought only of his court; he saw only

that the number of those who rejoiced at Seymour's appointment did not

come up to that of those who received Surrey's nomination with so much


Henry frowned and muttered to himself, "These Howards are too powerful.

I will keep a watchful eye upon them."

Thomas Seymour approached the queen, and, bending his knee before her,

kissed her hand. Catharine received him with a gracious smile. "My

lord," said she, "you will at once enter on service with me, and indeed,

as I hope, in such manner as will be acceptable to the whole court. My

lord, take the fleetest of your coursers, and hasten to Castle Holt,

where the Princess Elizabeth is staying. Carry her this letter from her

royal father, and she will follow you hither. Tell her that I long to

embrace in her a friend and sister, and that I pray her to pardon me if

I cannot give up to her exclusively the heart of her king and father,

but that I also must still keep a place in the same for myself. Hasten

to Castle Holt, my lord, and bring us Princess Elizabeth."