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
The Queen's Toilet
Letter Seventeenth To Anne Boleyn
Letter Thirteenth To Anne Boleyn
Letter Sixth To Anne Boleyn
Letter Seventh To Anne Boleyn
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 himself 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."
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