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Title: At the "Sign of the Golden Fleece" : A Story of Reformation Days
Author: Leslie, Emma
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.

*** Start of this LibraryBlog Digital Book "At the "Sign of the Golden Fleece" : A Story of Reformation Days" ***

Transcriber's note: Unusual and inconsistent spelling is as printed.

[Illustration: "Master Clark hath chosen an over-bold messenger,"
 said Wolsey.]

                            AT THE

                     "SIGN OF THE GOLDEN


                 A Story of Reformation Days

                        EMMA LESLIE,

              Author of "Elsie's Scholarship,"
               "For France and Freedom," &c.

                       AND EDINBURGH.

                         AND BOUND BY
                       GALL AND INGLIS
                         LUTTON PLACE































List of Illustrations.

"Master Clark hath chosen an over-bold messenger," said Wolsey.

As he spoke, the monk watched Miles closely.

"Madam, one of your novices has not taken her place with the rest,"
said Master Baldock.

"Is it—is it Sir Miles Paton at last!" exclaimed Master Monmouth.


THE chief concern of this story is with the beginnings of our English
Testament. The Latin Vulgate was the only version of the Scriptures
known in Europe until the early part of the sixteenth century.

The sack of Constantinople by the Turks in 1453, and the break-up of
the old Greek Empire, had driven many learned Greeks to take refuge in
Italy, where they became teachers, not merely of their own language,
but of the subjects that had long been taught in the schools and
colleges of Constantinople.

But the key to these various branches of knowledge lay in the Greek
tongue, and this gradually became known at the different universities
of Europe, through those who learned it in Italy, and thus it became
the insignia of the new learning.

Among those who studied under the Greek masters in Italy was Erasmus,
a young Dutchman, who had been so disgusted with what he was compelled
to see and hear among the drunken, brutal monks, his companions in
the monastery where he was a novice, that he was glad to leave and
become secretary to the Bishop of Cambray. He had already distinguished
himself as a Latin scholar but the Greek tongue opened a new world of
learning, which he was not slow to conquer.

He became a tutor at the University of Paris, and had several English
pupils, through whose influence he came to Oxford, where he met another
famous Greek scholar, Grocyn, who was most anxious that the new
language and learning should be extended in England.

A little later Erasmus became a lecturer on Greek at Cambridge, while
at the same time he laboured industriously at the work of translating
the ancient Greek authors into modern Greek or Latin.

At last he gave the world the New Testament in Greek and Latin, that
men might judge for themselves in the matter of priestly pretensions
founded on the Vulgate. It was essentially a book for the learned, but
prepared the way for that which was to follow—the English New Testament.

Going back to the original fount of knowledge, it soon became apparent
to the seekers after truth in this direction, that the Latin Vulgate
had been adapted to give authority to the corrupt doctrines of the
Romish Church, and so this Greek New Testament everywhere created a
ferment in men's minds, for while some saw in it the light of God's
truth revealed to men, others saw only a danger to the Church and the
established order of things in general. These defenders of the old
order chose to call themselves "Trojans" in Oxford, as opposed to the
"Greeks," or followers of the new language and learning.

It is curious to note that the Vulgate itself had its origin in a
desire for reform, similar to that which prompted Erasmus to translate
the New Testament direct from the Greek language. In the year 385,
Jerome commenced the translation of the Scriptures from the Hebrew
into the Latin tongue, because he found that the Itala, or version in
general use, contained so many inaccuracies when compared with the
original MSS. The new translation, however, was not received by the
Church with any degree of thankfulness, and even St. Augustine himself
viewed it with suspicion, and was inclined to join in the cry of heresy
taken up against Jerome; and it was not until two hundred years had
elapsed, that it became the recognised version of the Christian Church,
for many still clung to the old Itala version which it had superseded.

It can be easily understood that copyists of Jerome's version, who
still preferred the meaning given in the Itala, could introduce some
of these renderings from time to time, so that at last it was deemed
advisable about the eleventh century to have this translation of
Jerome's revised, owing to these and other causes.

This new revision was undertaken by the Archbishops and Cardinals, but
by the time our story begins, whatever its original purity may have
been, it was so manipulated by its copyists as to give authority to
every corrupt doctrine and belief in the Church of Rome; and these were
all intended to give power to the priests and monks, to hold men's
minds and consciences in bondage. It was carefully instilled into
the people that the Scriptures was a dangerous book in the hands of
the laity, or common people, and therefore must only be read with an
approved commentary, written by a priest, or received from the mouths
of the clergy with such comments and explanations as they might deem
necessary to impart.

This being the condition of things in England, and all over the
Continent of Europe at the dawn of the Reformation, it can be easily
understood what a stir was created by the new translation of Erasmus,
while the publication of the Scriptures in English would arouse alike
the fear and hatred of bishops, priests, and monks, to say nothing of
those whose trade or interests were also threatened by the reform of
old abuses and corrupt practices. By the introduction of a simpler mode
of worship, and the abolition of Masses for the dead, which was such a
fruitful source of gain, not merely to the clergy themselves, but to
the various trades who profited by supplying candles and trappings.
These were deemed necessary to purge away the sins of the departed, and
by this means widows and orphans were often reduced to poverty, if they
were rich, and to absolute starvation if they were poor, through the
cruel perversion of their love for the dear one, imposed upon them by
the Church of Rome and her clergy.

If my readers will bear these facts in mind, they will understand how
great an event in our history as a nation was the translation of the
Scriptures by Tyndale into the English language.

                              AT THE
                    SIGN OF THE GOLDEN FLEECE.



"WHAT d'ye lack? What d'ye lack? Here's Flemish cloth. Here's—"

"What d'ye lack?" screamed a louder voice. "Here's Sheffield knives."
But the cries of both pedlars were drowned in the increasing din, for
this was the first day of Oxford Autumn Fair, and the students from
the different colleges were pouring into the market-place, some to
buy cloth for winter doublets, or knives, or books, while others came
for the mere fun, and, after purchasing a few cakes or wastrel bread
for their midday meal, pushed and jostled and chaffed the crowd, and
were cuffed and joked in turn with merry laughter. But all at once a
cry arose above the general din of pedlars and buyers. "A Greek! a
Greek!" was shouted, and then another answering cry of defiance rang
out, "A Trojan! a Trojan!" while, as if by magic, sticks were suddenly
flourished, and angry words of defiance were bandied about, and the
wrathful cry, "A Greek! a Greek!" resounded from all points, to be
drowned the next moment in a louder shout, "A Trojan! a Trojan!" and
then the fight began.

The pedlars ceased to shout, and gathered their wares closer on the
stalls, and the townspeople sought refuge in tents or any place of
shelter at hand, for pedlars and people alike would have a sorry
time of it during the fray. So they drew closer together for mutual
protection, and left the more open spaces for the combatants, who used
sticks and missiles against each other without mercy, Trojans beating
Greeks, and Greeks belabouring Trojans.

"This all comes of the new learning," said one of the pedlars to
his neighbour, who was hastily gathering up his rolls of cloth and
replacing them on the mule's back, before the angry crowd should
stumble over them.

"The new learning?" repeated the other. "Why, where hast thou been the
last two years not to know what a stir it has made in the world, and
like to make more since these hot-headed lads have taken to fight over

As he spoke two of them came tearing through the fair, closely followed
by two or three others, flourishing stout sticks, without much regard
as to what or who was felled by their blows. As the cloth-merchant
was reached the cudgel of a pursuing Trojan struck down one of the
retreating Greeks, who had lost his weapon of defence.

The lad was stunned, and would have fallen under the legs of the mule
if he had not been rescued by the pedlar, for his assailant swept on in
search of the other Greek, and did not stop to see what mischief he had

The lad groaned as he was dragged to the shelter of one of the stalls,
and they saw there was a deep cut on his forehead, but there was a
barber-surgeon close at hand, who had set up his tent here in the fair,
and the lad was carried to him to have the wound dressed, for he was
unconscious, and continued so until his friends came in search of him
an hour later.

The fight was over then. It had run its course, and Greeks and Trojans
were looking up their friends who had fallen in the fray. Several of
them lay here in the barber's tent, some with broken heads and various
wounds and bruises about their bodies, but one poor Greek it seemed had
broken his leg in falling.

"And all over this fellow Erasmus, who is no Englishman either," said

"Aye, but he's worth fighting for," said the young Greek who had
been carried in by the pedlar; "if you could but read the Greek New
Testament of Erasmus, my masters, you would say a new light had dawned
for the world." *

The pedlar shrugged his shoulders and touched his forehead as he looked
significantly at the barber, but the lad saw it, and murmured faintly,
"I know what I am talking about. Is that you, Standish?" he said, as
another student pushed his way in.

  * See Preface.

"Aye. What! are you hurt, Miles Paton? Where is the damage?" he asked.

"My head and my leg," replied his friend.

"I don't think it's broken now," said the barber, "but he can't stand."

"We'll carry him home," said the other, and he fetched a companion,
paid the few pence charged by the barber for dressing the wound on his
head, and then, lifting the patient in their arms, bore him through the
crowd to his college room, which was little more than a bare cell, with
a table and stool, chest and bed, and a few books.

They carried him through the streets as gently as they could, but
the fair had drawn many strangers into the town, and it was full of
bustling, jostling crowds, and the roadways at that time having no
proper footpath, they had to dodge horses and foot passengers as best
they could as they carried their friend from the fair.

The poor fellow was almost fainting with pain when they at last laid
him on the bed. The two friends looked at him helplessly for a minute
or two. "That barber said there was nothing amiss with your leg," said
one, as he noticed how white and drawn his face was.

"I suppose there ought not to be," said the patient, "but—" And then
the stout oak door was pushed open, and an elderly man said, in a
cheery voice, "Doth Master Miles Paton dwell here?"

In a moment the colour returned to the pale face of the lad on the bed,
and he tried to raise himself as he said, "Aye, aye, Roger. It is our
reeve," he said to his companions, "the one I was in search of when
they began the fray at the fair."

The man, who was dressed in a well-made leather jerkin, stepped to the
bedside, but he looked very much alarmed when he saw the pale face of
Miles; for the effort to sit up had cost the lad dearly, and he now lay
fainting on the hard straw pillow upon which he had fallen back.

His friends were scarcely less alarmed, as they explained to the
steward what had happened at the fair.

"And why should he call himself a Greek, and another lad a Trojan? Ye
all be English, I trow," said the man, sharply.

"Yes, yes, we are all English, but some of us are for the new learning,
and some would have things go on as they are. Miles now has got a Greek
New Testament which he reads every day, and so, of course, he is a
Greek, but there are just as many who say the new learning will bring
nothing but trouble, and turn things upside down at Oxford," said one

"Well, it is a pretty quarrel," said the steward, "but lads of twenty,
like my master there, might leave such questions for greybeards to
settle, and not seek to do it with cudgel and stones. Poor lad! poor
lad! as if there was not trouble enough before. How am I to get him
home to Woodstock?" he asked, looking at his friends, who were staring
helplessly at the fainting lad.

Miles Paton was a favourite among his companions, and the news that he
had been hurt in the fray at the fair had spread from one to another,
and now they began to arrive to make enquiries as to how the patient
was going on.

One of these young fellows, when he came into the little room and saw
how things were, dashed off at once to his own cell to fetch a cordial
to revive the exhausted patient. He had learned something of the
healing art from his uncle, who was a monk at the monastery where he
went to school; and under his care Miles soon began to revive. "It was
us Trojans who did it, I trow," he said, as he proceeded to examine his
friend's leg. "It is badly sprained, and he will have to stay here for
a month at least," said the young surgeon.

"Nay, but I want him to journey home with me to-morrow," said the
steward in some alarm. "I came to the fair for plenishings, but my
chief errand was to bid Master Paton here journey homeward with all

"But he could not ride on horseback, and he cannot walk; and since the
world was made there hath been no other fashion by which a man can move
from place to place," said the young surgeon.

"No!" slowly uttered one of the group. But at last it was proposed
that a duly qualified doctor should be fetched, and the young surgeon
volunteered to go for him and tell him the state of the case, that
he might bring such bandages and medicines with him that he would
be likely to require; and with him went several others, leaving the
steward alone with his master at last, and as soon as he saw this the
young fellow turned and looked at the elder man, and said, "What is it,
Roger? What hath happened? Is my father well?"

"Aye, he is well, and the Lady Jane, thy mother, too."

"Then I care not what the news may be. Tell it, Roger, I can bear it,
though I hope our little Margery is no worse."

"Nay, Mistress Margery is better, but a sore mischance bath befell thy
brother, Mr. John,—and —and—"

"A mischance to Jack? Why, he hath not been married a year!"

"Aye, the bridal marchpane hardly eaten before—" but there he stopped,
for Miles had grown deathly pale again, and he gave him some of the
medicine left by his friend to restore him.

"Don't say it, Roger," murmured the young fellow, feebly. "I quarreled
with Jack the last time I was at home, and it was over this new
learning too. Tell me he is only hurt a little, or ill a little, for we
loved each other, Roger, though he was the eldest, and the Hall and all
that belongs to it would go to him, and leave the rest of us poor."

But at this point the old man hid his face in his hands, and groaned.

"He suffered little pain, my master, less than you are suffering now;
and 'twas said if he lived he would ever be a helpless cripple, so we
may not wish him back," he moaned.

"Oh, Jack, Jack! my brother Jack! And is he really dead?" and, overcome
with grief, the lad burst into tears in spite of his twenty years and
the honours he had gained at the University. But he and the old family
retainer were by themselves, and by degrees he learned all about his
brother's accident, how he was thrown from his horse while riding after
a gang of thieves that had lately infested the neighbouring woods, and
how his young wife had come to the hall as soon as she heard of her
husband's death.

"My mother will comfort her," said the young fellow, "but who will
comfort my father?"

"Aye, there is none can do that but you, my master, and therefore am I
come hither to seek ye. It was my lady's last command, 'Bring the lad
back with you, Roger,' she said; and how shall I tell her of this fray,
and that you cannot come?"

"I must go," said Miles; "my wounds are nought, and—"

But the new doctor arrived at this point, and the steward told him
at once how needful it was that Miles should set off early the next
morning on his journey to Woodstock.

"It is not many miles," commented the doctor, and then he proceeded to
examine his leg, which was much swollen, and would keep him in bed a
month at least, the doctor said.

"Very well; I will stay in bed a month when I reach Woodstock,
but I cannot stay here another day. But, as I seem to be somewhat
chickenhearted with this pain, I will ask you to give me some elixir
that shall keep me steady on my horse until I reach Paton Hall, and
then I care not what they do with me," said Miles.

The doctor tried persuasions to turn him from his purpose, and then
tried to frighten him into obeying his directions, but it was all of
no use, and at last it was arranged that some of his friends should
come and see him off the next morning, and make what arrangements they
could with the saddle and stirrups for his comfort during the journey.
Two of them offered to stay with him through the night, and after some
persuasion the old reeve agreed to go to an inn to secure a night's
rest for himself, and look after the two servants he had brought with

Miles and his friends slept but little during the night. He was going
to take his Greek New Testament home with him, and so his two visitors
sat up the greater part of the night reading it while they had the
chance, for they were only poor scholars, and unable to buy a copy
for themselves. Miles was going to leave his room and the rest of his
books in the charge of these two friends for the present, but he could
not spare his precious Testament, though he was leaving them the works
of Jerome translated by Erasmus, which was in itself a most notable
book, and, being dedicated to Warham, the Archbishop of Canterbury, and
greatly admired and recommended by him to other scholars, could not be
objected to by anybody.

But the priests and monks had already began to denounce this Greek
Testament, for it was altogether different from the Latin Vulgate,
which was the only translation hitherto known, and from which all
others had been copied.

But Erasmus had gone to the original Greek for his translation, and
he had based it on the literal meaning of the original text, without
any reference to any of the dogmas of the Church; and behold it was
altogether a new book, for Christ Himself was set in the place occupied
by the Church in the Vulgate, and the whole book was designed to call
men's minds from theologians to the Founder of Christianity Himself.
Christ was the central figure in this Greek Testament, and all the need
for mediæval superstitions and image worship seemed to fade away as the
vivid picture of the living Christ presented in this book grew upon
them, in this year 1520.

No wonder the lads looked at each other in wondering amazement as
they sat holding the book between them, and slowly reading the Greek
characters which were the key to open such divine knowledge to their
wondering eyes. One of the lads was to be a priest, and, after reading
one of the Gospel stories, he said, "I shall teach that it is no
longer needful to deck statues of the Lord Jesus Christ, for this is a
better way to worship Him than through any image of wax or wood, for
we can see into His very heart of love here in His tenderness for the
multitude of poor folk who followed Him hungry and footsore."

"Let us read on while we can," said his friend, for the further he read
the more eager was he to learn. And so they sat until their poor tallow
candle burnt itself out, and then stretched themselves on the floor to
get an hour's sleep before it was time to waken their friend and help
him to prepare for his journey.

They were up before it was quite daylight, and had roused Miles Paton
from his uneasy slumber, and proceeded to help him to get into his
clothes. As soon as his cloth doublet was fastened he asked for his
precious Testament. "There are a few old monkish books at Paton Hall,
but I shall sorely miss the life and stir the new learning bath brought
to Oxford, and my only light will be here," he said, as he securely
fastened his treasure close to his side.

They managed to carry him out to the college gates, which were just
being opened as they reached them, but a horse, with one of the family
servants in attendance, was already waiting outside, and they helped
Miles into the saddle, though it was evident that every movement was
agony to the lad.

It was a dull, grey morning, and anything more uninviting than the
streets of Oxford then presented cannot well be imagined. The road was
cut up into ruts and holes, and the horse had to be led by the servant,
so as to avoid these as much as possible to spare the rider pain. The
high-gabled houses, with their stories built to project one beyond the
other, left but a narrow space between them at the top, so that only a
narrow rift of sky could be seen from below, just enough to light up
the open sewer that streamed down the middle of the street. There were
no footpaths for passengers walking, but they had to do their best to
dodge the horses and laden mules, as well as to avoid having the refuse
of the houses and shops thrown over them as they passed, for all was
thrown into the street, which was thus plentifully spread with all
sorts of offal and refuse.

In some of the streets poles were stretched across from house to house,
and here the dyers and fullers hung their cloth to dry; and Miles had
to duck his head more than once as he rode towards the inn, to avoid a
slap in the face from the wet cloth flapping in the wind.

They found the reeve waiting for them at the door, with the welcome
news that breakfast was ready for them; they had not waited for the
regular college breakfast, and the morning air or the night's reading
had made two of the party hungry, though Miles declared he could not
eat more than a morsel of pasty and drink a horn of ale.

But the rest managed to clear the board in a very short time, for the
reeve was eager to set out on his journey, that they might reach home
safely before nightfall, and thus avoid meeting the bands of beggars
that roamed the country and usually plundered any unfortunate traveller
that might come in their way.

So they pushed on with all possible speed when the town was left
behind, but the rutty bridle path—for the road was little better—could
not be traversed very quickly, for Miles' horse had to be led, that he
might avoid stumbling, which would have caused his master such pain as
almost to unfit him for continuing the journey. This was not the only
peril of this main road to Oxford, for while the horses and baggage
mules stepped cautiously along, master and servants had to keep a sharp
eye on the trees and undergrowth of the surrounding wood, for thieves
and beggars found a convenient shelter in the tall bracken, and might
spring out upon them at any moment.



MILES PATON had not been home for nearly two years, and during that
time there had been changes which, if he heard of, he soon forgot, but
which startled him now even in the midst of his pain and weariness.

They were close to the village, and Miles was looking round for some
recognition from the villagers, who were generally standing about their
doors at this hour, when he was struck with the quietness of the place.
Even the alehouse had a deserted look, and there were no children to
be seen playing about in the roadway. Most of the cottage doors were
closed too; and weeds were growing in the path that was usually trodden

"Roger, Roger," he called at last, forgetting even the anguish of his
foot in his alarm at the condition of the neighbourhood. "Roger, have
you had the plague here?" he said, in an anxious whisper, that the
other servant should not hear.

"The plague?" repeated the reeve, crossing himself as he uttered the
word of horror.

"Yes. How is it the houses are empty? Where is Diggory Bunce and all
his family?" asked Miles.

"Gone, sir, gone," said the reeve, shaking his head sadly.

"Yes; I can see they are not here," said the young fellow, impatiently.
"But where have they gone? Why, the Bunces were all born on the land,
and have held the village as long as we have held the Hall, and now I
don't see one of them."

"Well! there is just one, old Granf'er Bunce, but he don't often get
out of his door now, for he's doubled up with the stiffness in his
limbs. The master let him stay on, and the neighbours give him a bite
and sup, but there was no more work for the rest of the men or their
families either, when the squire took up with the new way of letting
the land."

"The new way of letting the land?" repeated Miles.

"Yes; the world is full of new ways now it seems, and it all comes of
the new learning you was talking about last night, I expect."

"What can the new learning have to do with the Bunces—with our village
being depopulated?" said Miles, angrily, for he did not like to see
the doors closed, and no merry shouts of children rolling about in the
roadway. It was so unlike what he had expected to see that the sadness
of the homecoming seemed to meet him even here. "You are my father's
steward; tell me what you mean by the new way of letting the land," he
said, after a pause.

"Well, Master Miles, I suppose everybody looks out to do the best he
can for himself, and get as much as he can out of the land he owns, and
this land have belonged to the Patons for hundreds of years now I have

"Yes, yes, of course, go on," said the lad, "I want to hear what you
can tell me before I see my father."

"It can't make no differ now," said the reeve, with something of a
sigh, "but it's this way as far as I can understand the business: wool
is steadily going up in price, for they Flemish folk can't get anything
so good as our English wool, and, as they are always wanting more and
more of it to keep their looms going, why, of course, it gets dearer
and dearer. So your father, hearing of this, says he will take in a
good deal of the land for himself that he has let for small farms, and
buy more sheep for the sake of the money he can make by the wool. But
sheep don't need the 'tendance that corn does. There is far less work
to be done when there is only pasture, for a couple of shepherds and a
hind or two can do the work of three or four farms; and so, of course,
when the farmers had to give up their little bit of land here and there
about, there was nothing left for the Bunces to do, for they had always
been labourers working on the land."

Miles made no answer, for at this moment they came in sight of the
Haugh,—a piece of common land large enough to give pasture to the
villager's cows and few sheep,—but now, instead of being open to all
corners, it was enclosed with a stout fence on three sides, and joined
to the squire's land on the fourth, and sheep were grazing here as well
as in the field to which it had been thrown open.

"It was the squire's land," said the reeve, in answer to the lad's look
of enquiry.

"It was the people's land by right of long usage. It was common land
for the use of all in the village," said Miles, "my father has told me
this many times; no new learning or new ways could make such a wrong
right," and as they had reached the entrance to the park now he urged
forward his horse, for he had almost forgotten the sad circumstance
that had brought him home just now, in his anger at the changes that
had taken place since he had been away.

But, as he rode up to the porch of the house, his father came out to
meet him, and one look at his grief-stricken face made him forget
everything else but the pain in his foot and leg, for he moved it
suddenly to reach over and greet his father, and then, overcome by the
long hours of pain, the sudden anguish made him feel sick and faint,
and he reeled in his saddle, and would have fallen if his father had
not caught him in his strong arms.

"Ah, woe is me! for here is another son struck down in my very arms,"
said the old man, with a groan, as he supported Miles until the
servants could come and help to carry him into the house. Miles heard
the words, although to his failing senses they seemed a long way off,
for he felt as though he was sinking, sinking away into nothingness;
and yet this "Woe is me! woe is me!" kept ringing in his ears while he
sank farther and farther away from life and hope into the depth of its

There was great consternation in the household when Miles was carried
into the hall helpless and unconscious, and although their anxiety was
somewhat relieved when the reeve told them about the students' fray at
the fair, still, to see their second son in such a condition just after
the death of the first, was sufficiently alarming to both his parents.

A monk surgeon was sent for from a neighbouring monastery, and when he
had heard the reeve's account of what had happened before they left
Oxford, and how excited the lad became over the depopulation of the
village, he said the fatigue and pain he had suffered, added to this
excitement, was sufficient to account for his present illness.

But, although it was sufficient for the doctor, there were whispers in
the household the next day that the family misfortune had been caused
by witchcraft, and when it was known that Miles could not possibly
attend his brother's funeral, these vague rumours became certainties in
the minds of the panic-stricken servants.

Sir Thomas Paton and his wife were too fully occupied to pay much heed
to the whispers that were abroad, but after the funeral of their eldest
son, and when Miles began to recover, then there was time for the
rumours to make themselves heard.

Three sons and four daughters had been born to Sir Thomas and Lady Jane
Paton, but the bones of one son were whitening on the fields of France,
and three girls had sickened and died within a month, and the fourth
was a frail, delicate girl, who rarely went beyond her own rooms, which
were in the sunniest and most pleasant wing of the house, looking out
upon the park, and sheltered from every rough wind or disagreeable
sight that could interfere with her comfort.

Margery's rooms, too, were more luxuriously furnished than any other
portion of the house. The walls were hung with arras, and the floor
plentifully supplied with green rushes; her casements were made to open
that she might have the fresh air when she pleased, which was in itself
a most unheard-of luxury in those days. Indeed, to please Mistress
Margery was the business of the whole household, and little went on but
the news of it reached her, either through her maid or one of the other
servants who waited upon her.

And so at last Margery heard the whisper about her brothers being

"Perhaps they think I am bewitched too, as I lie here so long, and get
no stronger," laughed the girl, for her maid's long face provoked this
merriment in spite of the sorrow she was suffering.

The girl stared at her with open lips and widely extended eyes. "Yes,
yes," she uttered at last, with a sort of gasp, "it is! it is! I have
heard before that Grannie Bunce has been known to have dealings with
the Evil One."

"Now, Gillian, do not be such a foolish wench. Poor old Grannie Bunce
has had trouble enough—"

"But—but—she was seen in the park looking up at these windows only—"
but there the girl stopped and shuddered.

"Now, Gillian, go and see if my brother is ready to receive me this
morning, and you shall help me to walk to his room," interrupted the
young lady, for she did not want to encourage this notion about the old
woman being a witch because she was poor and often cross.

Miles was still obliged to lie down, but he was comparatively well now,
and glad enough to see his sister and have a chat with her, for there
were several questions he wanted to ask her about the alterations that
had been made on the estate during his absence.

But before he could say a word Margery exclaimed, as soon as her maid
had closed the door, "That misguided wench thinks there is witchcraft
abroad, Miles."

Her brother looked at her for a minute as though he was pondering the
question, and then said slowly, "That must be it."

"Miles, you know I fell downstairs and hurt my back years ago; the
only witchcraft about that was that I must have been wilful and
disobedient," exclaimed his sister.

"I was not thinking about you, Margery. No one would lay their spells
upon you, little sister," and he tenderly kissed the white hand that he
held in his own. "No, no; it was of my father and John I was thinking.
How is it there have been such changes here in the old home of late?"

"Changes? Of course there had to be changes when John married. We are
not so very rich, my father says, and so he was glad when the lease was
out of Farmer Rankin's holding, and he could take it for himself and
put sheep upon it, for wool sells well now, and—"

"But Rankin's lease was not out, I hear, and he did not want to give
up the land he and his forefathers had held under us for generations;
only, when my father told him that the rent would be fifty instead of
twenty pounds a year, as he had been paying, and there would no longer
be free pasture for his twenty sheep, why, of course, the poor knave
had to give up the farm and go in search of cheaper land. Here is the
witchcraft, Margery. Who persuaded my father to do this injustice?"

"Injustice, Miles? Our father unjust? He could not be," said his
sister, in a grave tone; "the land was his own to do with as he

"Ah! I thought the same at one time, little sister, but new light hath
been given to the world of late upon that and many other things, and I
have heard there are words in the Scriptures something like this: 'The
earth is the Lord's and the fulness thereof.'"

"Yes, but our father is the landlord, Miles," said his sister, stoutly.

"Then hath he taken the place of God the Provider, and before he sent
forth Rankin and the rest, he should have assured himself that other
land could be had upon which they could live, and not become beggars
and thieves roaming about the woods as they are now."

"But—but they went to other farms," said Margery, with a gasp.

But her brother shook his head. "There are no other farms to be had,
and my father has only followed the example of other landlords and
turned the corn lands into pasture, because it costs less for labour,
and the price of wool is high. But what is to become of the labourers?
Is it strange they turn thieves, and that the King's highway is not
safe to travel even by daylight?" Miles spoke very passionately, for he
had heard that morning that his father had served notice upon another
farmer to give up his land in a few months, and he wanted his sister to
join with him to prevent any further eviction of tenants who had tilled
the soil for generations, giving employment to the poor, and bringing
up their families in comfort. Why, one of his own dearest friends at
Oxford was the son of a farmer like Rankin, and his mother had sent a
message to him by a pedlar, urging him to get a licence to beg before
he left the university, as the law allowed a university student to beg
his bread, but was very hard upon farmers and labourers who had been
expelled from their homes. The pedlar told him that his father and
mother were living in the woods, sleeping in a cave or wherever they
could find a chance shelter, but they were glad they had sent their
son as a poor scholar to Oxford, for the law would allow him to beg

"Oh, Miles, it can't be true," said his sister.

"I said the same when I heard it," replied her brother. "I laughed at
the pedlar for a clever story-teller, but I have learned since I have
been home that it is true enough. Men are whipped at the cart-tail, and
women too, for begging for a morsel of bread to save their children
from starving, when landlords like my father have taken their farms and
turned them adrift upon the world. Have you heard how Jack met with his
death, Margery? Forgive me, little sister, if I hurt you, but we must
do what we can to prevent further wrong, though we must learn first
that it is wrong," he added.

Margery dried her eyes, and looked at her brother. "You know I will do
what I can," she said, "but what can a poor witless girl like me do?"

"Only a little, perhaps, but the world is made up of little things. Now
tell me about Jack," he said.

"His horse threw him while he was out hunting," said Margery. "Poor
Jack! he and Lady Audrey were here only the day before, and they seemed
so happy together."

"Poor Jack! he has paid with his life for the new way of managing the
land," exclaimed Miles.

"What do you mean?—he was out hunting," said Margery.

"Yes, but what was he hunting?—the poor creatures who had been driven
out of their homes in the village, and had taken refuge in the woods
close at hand. Two or three sheep had been stolen, and Jack said they
should not stay in the woods any longer—he would hunt them down—and it
was while he was doing this that his horse stumbled and threw him over
its head, and broke his neck. That is the story I have heard, and when
I asked Father Francis about it yesterday he said he believed it was
true, and that our father knew it, but did not wish us to hear of it.
Now, Margery, I want to know who has bewitched my father like this. I
have honoured him as a kind and just man, merciful and tender to man
and beast—and—"

But poor Margery was too much overcome to hear more just now. She
had loved her elder brother, and his young wife too, and she did not
like to blame them, or her father either. Another thing, she could
scarcely believe all that Miles told her now, for she knew nothing of
the labourers being turned out of their homes and the village almost
depopulated, for the servants had been warned not to tell their young
mistress of all this, and so she simply knew that Rankin and one or
two other farmers had given up their land and gone away, and that her
father expected to make a good deal more money by keeping sheep and
selling wool than he could by the renting of the land to the farmers.
She had been glad of it for Jack's sake, for he could not have married
the Lady Audrey unless he could provide her with a separate home, for
her mother objected to her making her home with them at Paton Hall,
although the house was quite large enough for two or three families,
and her mother would have been glad to welcome the young bride, and
would have given her her due place in the household. But if Lady Audrey
herself would have been agreeable to such an arrangement her parents
were not, and Jack pressed his father to follow the example of other
landlords and turn off the old tenants unless they agreed to pay a much
higher rent; and this had been done, and Jack had married and died; but
wool was increasing in value, and brought a better price every year,
and Sir Thomas Paton did not think he could do better than increase his
wealth, even though he had to turn other tenants adrift to do it, and
depopulate the village on the other side of the estate as well as that
near the Haugh.

Miles might well ask whether something like witchcraft had not been at
work to bring about such a change as this, but it was the witchcraft of
greed, the desire to heap up riches, that could but bring the rust and
moth of discontent and misery, rendering all such gains worthless. But
how he was to prevent a further extension of this wrong was the problem
the lad had set himself to solve, and the solution was nearer than he
thought when he had his talk with Margery.



IT is possible that if Miles had been able to go to his brother's
funeral feast, and take his part in the business and bustle he was
sent for to undertake, the changes that he had noticed in the village,
and heard of since, would not have made so deep an impression upon
his mind. But, as it was, he could only lie in bed for some weeks and
think over all he had heard and seen, varied with reading his precious
Greek Testament, until at last he began to make comparison between
the teaching of Christ in its pages and the practice of the world as
exhibited by his father in the disposal of the land.

There was no opportunity to discuss this with his father, and Margery
was the first to whom he had unburdened his mind upon the subject, but,
now it had once been spoken of, he longed to talk to his father about
the matter, and a few days after he had his talk with his sister the
opportunity occurred.

His father came, to his room one morning to pay his customary visit,
but instead of leaving him a few minutes afterwards, he said, "I want a
talk with you, Miles, for John's death has put some of my business into
confusion, and as you are my only son now you must do what you can to
help me."

"Thank you; I shall be glad enough to help you, for time passes slowly
here, so if you can give me some scrivener's work to do I will be
careful to follow all your commands," said Miles.

His father smiled. "I have not much scrivener's work for you, it is but
to write your name a few times. Perhaps you have not heard of the usage
among the Patons in the matter of the land, but it is necessary if any
changes are to be made in the letting and leasing that not only the
landlord himself, but his heir, be he son, or brother, or nephew, shall
conjoin with him in all such signing. Now you may have heard that we
can make a good deal more by the land now than letting it at a low rent
to a few yeomen to grow wheat and rye and oats."

"Did they fail to pay the rent when it fell due?" asked Miles, with a
tremble in his voice, for he had never heard of this custom before, but
he began to see that he would not be so powerless as he thought.

"Oh, yes, the knaves paid well enough," said his father, carelessly,
"but the rent was small, and I began to see that they got far more
profit out of the land than I did. They managed to bring up sons and
daughters, feeding them well while they lived at home, and giving them
as much as five pounds when they married."

"But—but was this more than fair?" asked Miles.

His father fidgetted on his stool. "It is not needful to talk about
that. I am only doing what other landlords have done. I told Rankin
that I must double his rent or turn the land into a sheep farm."

"But was there nothing less than doubling the rent, father? That—"

"Now, Miles, you are a scholar, and know all about Greek and Latin
Testaments I daresay," interrupted his father, "but they have nothing
to do with English land, and you cannot be expected to understand it
either, and I don't ask you to trouble your wits about the matter. You
enjoy yourself as much as you can while you are at home, and if you
like to go back to Oxford for another year you shall do so, but if you
like to take poor Jack's place at once, why, you have the right to it,
and there will be plenty of hunting and hawking by-and-bye."

"Thank you, father, but we were talking about the land, and you seemed
to think that my Greek New Testament could have nothing to say about
such a matter as English land. But we have in this new book not a set
of dogmas, but the very teaching of Christ Himself, and He says that
we should do to others as we would they should do to us if we were in
their place. Now, father, if we were yeomen like the Rankins and the
Clarks, who have been turned off the land, do you think we should like
such treatment?"

Sir Thomas sat and gazed at his son with parted lips and widely opened
eyes, as though he thought he was crazed. "Is—is this the new learning
I have heard you talk about?" he managed to say at last, in a sneering

"It is the new light God bath given to the world through the New
Testament of Erasmus," said Miles, firmly.

"Then it will turn the world upside down, and must be resisted at all
costs," said his father. "We owners of English land know nothing about
this foreigner and his books, so you need not tell me anything about

"Father, father, but you call yourself a Christian man," said Miles, in
a tone of protest.

"To be sure I am a good Christian. See what it hath cost me for candles
for poor Jack's funeral; why—"

"But buying candles for Jack's funeral is altogether another matter,"
said Miles, quickly. "The Lady Audrey and her family would probably
require that that should be done."

But Miles found that the Lady Audrey and her family were a disagreeable
topic to his father just now, for he fumed, and fretted, and swore a
good many oaths before he grew calm again, and then it was to say,
"I have promised to pay a hundred pounds to the holy Fathers at the
monastery to say Masses for him. What more would you have? If I am not
a Christian man I should like to see one."

"My father, people in olden time were called Christians because they
tried to follow the example of the Christ and live as He taught them
they should, and the first commandment he gave them was to love, or
do to, their neighbour as they would have the neighbour do to them if
they could exchange places. This is to be a Christian man, and I have
resolved to make this the rule of my life."

"Then I shall have to build an iron cage for you as they do for
madmen," said his father, with a mocking smile, and yet there was a
threatening look in his eye that made Miles recall the horror he had
once seen, of a madman confined in such a cage in an outhouse on his
own estate. It was the ordinary treatment dealt out to maniacs in that
age, and it warned him to be careful how he acted just now, for, above
all things, he must be able to prove that he was perfectly sane, and
no madman, if he was to do anything to help those who had always been
dependents of the Paton family.

So after a pause he said, quite calmly, "I think you will find I am no
madman, father, but—"

"Tut, tut, lad, I want no further talk on these matters; the scrivener
will be here anon, and then I shall require you to affix your name
to some parchments concerning matters that were to have been settled
before John died."

"May I see these writings, and know what they are?" asked Miles.

Sir Thomas drew himself up, and looked angrily at the lad. "Am I to be
dictated to by you?" he demanded.

"Nay, nay, father, but as you said the custom of the Patons was to make
the heir responsible—"

"I take that responsibility," interrupted his father, loftily, "you do
my bidding, I will see to the rest."

"Nay, but I cannot in this matter, father; since the law of this
estate requires that I assent to what is done before it can be legally
performed I must know whereof I—I am called upon to assent."

His father swore a good many oaths over this, but as Miles was rather
singular in having given up this custom of the day, it did not hurt
or surprise him much, though he hoped the matter might be settled
amicably; but he began to fear that his refusal to sign parchments that
would drive the tenants from their holdings would bring trouble upon
him, and so he waited with some anxiety the coming of the scrivener
from the monastery, for one of the monks drew up all the legal
documents that were required in the management of the estate.

He did not see his father again that day, but his mother had evidently
been told something of what had passed, for she was tearfully tender
over him when he went down to her room the next morning. "Miles, I hope
you will remember how much sorrow and trouble we have had of late," she
said, plaintively.

Miles took her hand, and bowed his head as he raised it to his lips
with all due reverence, not venturing to sit down in her presence until
she bade him. But when he had seated himself upon the stool to which
she pointed, he said, "My mother, I am sorely grieved for you and my
father, and the more so that I can do so little to spare you."

"Yes, it bath fallen out sorely awry that you should be hurt at this
time, and perchance some of those witless knaves may have had a hand in

"No, no, it was a fellow-student who struck me down," said Miles,

His mother waved her hand in deprecation of the interruption.

"It is not seemly to speak thus to me," she said. "Hear what I have
to say. There is talk of witchcraft being at work, for it is passing
strange that you and my poor John should both be struck down. But I
shall pay little heed to such talk if you prove to us that you are not

"How can I prove this, my mother?" asked Miles, seeing she waited for
him to answer.

"How? By acting as an obedient son should to a loving father and
mother. You know what I mean, Miles; John's signature would have been
affixed to these parchments if he had lived a day longer. It was only
the illness of Father Ralph that delayed their being signed a month
before, and therefore I desire that you shall do without question what
your brother would have done gladly."

"Will you tell me what these parchments are, and all about them?"

But the lady was saved from doing this by the announcement that Father
Ralph had come, and was waiting to see Sir Thomas.

"Send him in here," said Lady Paton, and at the same moment she rose
and went out of the room.

Miles bowed to the holy father as he took his seat at the table.

"My lady has bidden me read these parchments to you," said the monk,
with scant ceremony, and the next minute he began mumbling over the
legal phrases of a lease. But before he had read far Miles said,—

"Who is this Giles Morpeth who is to have three farms, and expel the
present holders on so short a notice?"

"A citizen of London, I believe, who bath a mind to make money in wool.
Is there aught to be said against that?"

"Yea, indeed! a good deal," said Miles, with a flash of anger, for
the monk spoke in a sneering tone which he would not have used to his
brother John. "In the first place these yeomen, who are to be driven
forth, have done naught to deserve such treatment at our hands. They
have dwelt on the land as long as we have, and wherefore should they be
driven to the trade of thieves and beggars?"

"Is not the land your father's, and may he not do as he will with his

"Nay, but it is not wholly his own, or the law would not give me a
share in its disposal; and wherefore should I strip myself of my right
to the disposal of the land for forty years, and give it to a stranger?
Nay, I will have no hand in such robbery," said Miles.

This aspect of the case had not struck him before, but he saw at once
that he was much more likely to be able to help the tenants if he
made common cause with them. And, indeed, as he spoke, the look on
the monk's face changed, and he said, "I thought it was this accursed
Erasmus and his New Testament that made you unwilling to obey the
command of Sir Thomas."

"Then my father hath told you of my objection to expel these poor

"Nay, he told me you had gone mad over this new learning that
threatened to turn the world upside down."

"Well, I am not so mad as to affix my name to that which will deprive
me of all power over my own land for forty years. My father is an old
man now, and worn with his service in the King's wars, and that he is
not likely to live many years longer. Why then should he want me to do
this thing?"

"Because he would fain see you a wealthy man. It was your brother's
desire above all things, and this knight of the shambles—this London
butcher—offered him a goodly rent for the land."

"I would not part with the land if the King himself offered me double
what this butcher is offering," said Miles. "Not a rood shall be cut
off from the rest with my assent," concluded Miles.

The monk sighed. "Wilt tell me what it is about, this New Testament
side of the question?" he said, in a wheedling tone.

"Aye, and you can read it in your own Scriptorium, I doubt not,—'Thou
shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.' Hast heard this before?"

"Yes, but this command is for the Church, that thou shalt not rob her
of her dues, or be chary of help to her servants,—holy brethren like
myself and brethren of the monastery."

Miles shook his head, but his father's words about the iron cage had
warned him to be cautious what he said, and so, pointing to the roll of
parchments, he asked, "Did these dispose of all the land but what my
father holds for the pasture of sheep?"

"Yea; it is less trouble and expense to use the land so," said the monk.

"And where are we to buy corn if none is grown on our own English land?"

[Illustration: As he spoke, the monk watched Miles closely.]

"I have nought to do with that, nor have you, Master Miles. It is your
duty to obey your father, and not consider questions of State,—how the
nation is to be fed."

"Nay, but I may consider how I am myself to be fed by-and-bye, I trow.
Of what use is a goodly store of wool if there is no corn to make

"Corn can be bought in the Low Countries, whither we send our wool; but
that is not the question we have to consider, but the signing these
parchments for Master Morpeth, who is in haste to take possession."

"I have told you what I think of the matter: that I will not sell my
birthright for a sack of wool or gold either. It will be mine own
inheritance in a few years' time, and I may then sorely sorrow over it
if I should give mine inheritance to a stranger now."

"And is this the answer I am to take to Sir Thomas?" asked the monk.

"Nay, I will talk with my father over the matter, but I shall not alter
my present will about it."

"Nay, Sir Thomas will not talk again with thee upon this matter, but he
bade me warn you that he should go to Diccon, the blacksmith, without
delay," and as he spoke the monk watched Miles closely, to see what
effect this threat had upon him.

Try as he would the lad could not keep the look of horror out of his
eyes, or his cheeks from paling as he sat and looked at the rolls of
parchment, which the monk deliberately put up while he watched the
effect of his words upon the lad.

The result seemed to satisfy him, for, with a low chuckle, he said, as
he bade Miles good morning, "You will sign these to-morrow."

Miles made no reply to this, but as soon as the monk had left the
house, and he saw him striding back to the monastery, he went up to his
sister's room—not to trouble her with what had passed—but to have one
more talk with her, for when the monk said, "You will send for me again
to-morrow," he resolved to go back to Oxford while he was able to do
so, for he feared his father might carry out his threat in his anger
and disappointment at his refusal to sign the parchments.

Fortunately he had a good sum of money that his father had given him
the day before, and so he went to his sister's room first, and then
to the stable to tell his servant to have the horses ready in a few
minutes, as he intended to ride to the town of Woodstock.

He made no secret of this intention, and, meeting his mother, he told
her of it, and bade her good-bye with all the affectionate deference
she would permit.

As he rode through the park he looked back at his sister's window,
and waved his hand to her in token of farewell, and then bade his
servant ride on with all speed possible, as he hoped to reach Oxford by

"Oxford?" queried the servant in a tone of amazement.

"Aye; did'st ever hear of mad Sir Philip Warren and his cage?" said

"Aye, I have, master," said the young fellow, with a shudder.

"Well, Oxford must save me from that fate. My father will have it that
I am mad over some matters in which we cannot agree, and so I must
leave home until his anger cools or his purpose changes, for I know not
but they might drive me mad, and then put me in such a cage."

"And is that the business Diccon the blacksmith was to see about in
such haste, Master Miles?"

"Then my father hath seen Diccon?" said the lad.

"Aye, he went to the forge while the monk was at the Hall," said the
servant, and then both of them urged their horses into a canter, fur
they must push on with all speed possible that the shelter of the
college might be reached with as little delay as possible.



IT is possible that if Miles and his servant had not been so intent
upon gaining the shelter that would be afforded by the university, they
might have noticed the rustling of twigs and the movement in the bushes
bordering the lane down which they were travelling, but, as it was,
they were taken wholly by surprise when a party of men sprang out upon
them. While two seized the heads of their horses and brought them to a
standstill, others seized Miles and his servant, dragged them to the
ground, and proceeded to pinion their arms behind, though they fought
and struggled, and kicked and swore, and made every effort to throw off
their captors. The party was too large for them to do anything beyond
giving the robbers a few ugly blows that did but madden them the more,
while they bound their captives and carried them into the shelter of
the adjacent wood before other travellers should come along and try to
effect a rescue.

Miles had tried to shout while he was being bound, but his efforts were
effectually stopped by a rag of some sort being thrust into his mouth,
and his servant was treated in the same way when he tried to help his

The whole affair had happened so quickly and unexpectedly that it had
passed in comparative silence; and they were being carried like trussed
poultry into the heart of the wood before Miles had time or thought
to notice very particularly who his captors were, but, after the
first shock of the capture was over, he began to notice some of these
particulars, and the sight was not reassuring. The whole party were
evidently robbers, who would stick at nothing in carrying out their
purpose, and whether he would ever see the walls of Oxford again was
very doubtful, he thought, for, having stolen the horses, they would
very likely murder their prisoners on the principle of dead men telling
no tales.

As he caught sight of the face of his servant, Reuben Patter, he saw
from the white, terror-stricken look in it that the same thought
had occurred to him, but neither could speak, they were both too
effectually gagged; and so they were half-carried, half-dragged, over
the briery ground until they were suddenly met by a scattered crowd,
who had evidently been out begging in spite of the rigorous laws
against this practice, and were making their way to some common centre
by different woodland paths that converged near this place.

Some of these were strong, stalwart men, unkempt and ragged, whose
faces were stamped with misery and despair rather than vice. There
were blind men being led by snappish little curs, and others who bore
on their cheeks the cruel marks of the searing iron, branding them for
ever as beggars and vagabonds and rogues, from force of circumstances
if not from choice. The motely throng gave a faint cheer at the sight
of the prisoners, for although they might not be of so much use to
the hungry crew as a good fat sheep or a couple of hogs, still they
knew their captors well enough to feel assured that they would not be
allowed to escape without a good stiff ransom being paid, and so they
stepped on more cheerfully and briskly.

From the muttered words and oaths that were uttered by the party who
had captured them it was evident to Miles that this meeting with the
beggars and less determined rogues of the band was by no means welcome
to their captors, and a hasty parley was held, but Miles could not
make out much of what was said, for it was conducted in thieves' and
beggars' language. But the outcome of it was that their eyes were
bandaged the next minute, and, as it seemed to them, the course of
their journey was altered.

But before they had gone far they were met by another party of beggars
returning with what they had been able to beg, steal, or earn by plying
the trade of tinkers, and they kept with these to the great relief of

Judging by the sound rather than by what they could see, they were
carried into a large cave a few minutes later, and deposited at the
back of it, both helplessly bound still, but the bandages were taken
off their eyes, and the dirty rags out of their mouths, and, for the
first time, Miles was asked his name and where his friends might be

"My name is Miles Paton, and I am the son of Sir Thomas Paton of
Woodstock," said Miles.

Something like a hush fell upon the group that was near him as he said
this. Miles was sensible of it although no word was spoken, and he
wondered whether these were some of the villains who had killed his
brother, and would only be too glad to kill him now they had got the
chance. But he would not let them see his fears. He asked them in a
calm voice to loosen the rope round his wrists, for it was cutting
sorely into the flesh, and caused him great agony. But they paid no
attention to his request. That he was a son of Sir Thomas Paton was
a fact that needed a good deal of discussion it seemed; and the men
turned away and left their captors to consider among themselves what
their next step should be.

Miles groaned aloud, for the pain and strain of wrists and arms wrung
this from him, while poor Reuben, giving himself up for lost, bellowed
aloud for his poor old father and mother.

"Don't, don't, Reuben—be a man," said Miles, when, just as he spoke and
before he could say another word, there came a stealthy hand out of the
darkness at the back, and, to Miles' intense surprise, began untying
the knotted rope.

"Cry—groan—make a noise," were the whispered words spoken in his ear
by a woman's voice, and Miles felt sure he had heard that voice before

He gave the requisite groans, while Reuben indulged in a low,
half-suppressed howl, that was sufficient to let the rest of the party
know that they were having an uncomfortable time of it, and so give the
woman a chance of loosening their bonds.

They found that she did not dare to leave them untied, but the
slackening of the thongs was an intense relief, and when she had
finished her task he asked her name.

"Patty Bunce," answered the woman, "and my husband worked for Farmer
Rankin until we were all turned off the land to make room for the
sheep, and now we are all beggars here, or worse." The poor woman then
burst into tears in spite of her efforts to keep calm and still for
fear she should be discovered.

She made haste to leave that part of the cave, and Miles heard her
voice calling to one of her children the next minute.

As he lay now he managed to see more of this motely crew. Men, women,
and children of all ages seemed to have found a shelter here, for there
was a dull fire of sticks burning in the middle of the cave, and here
such primitive cooking was done by one and another as their means would

There were a few decent folks like the Bunces and Rankins who tried to
keep the boys and girls close round them when the rougher dwellers of
the cave came to take possession, but it was evident the younger ones
were getting used to their surroundings, and liked listening to the
ribald tales and coarse jokes, and joined in the laughter that rang
through the place.

There were several cripples as well as blind men in the company; old
soldiers who had lost a leg in the wars between France and England,
and, escaping death on the battlefield, had been brought home and
turned adrift, maimed and almost helpless, eking out a miserable
existence with the tales they could tell for a piece of bread or a jug
of mead, and finding a refuge with other outcasts during the night.

Miles lay and listened, and watched the various groups. Some were
thieves from choice there was little doubt, but many alas! were decent
farmers and farm labourers, who, with their families, had been driven
from the land, and whose number his father wanted to increase.

By-and-bye he saw Rankin himself enter the cave, but he was greatly
changed from when he had last seen him. Instead of the bluff, hearty
manner of the old days, he walked with a slouching step, and had a
furtive hangdog look about him. But when someone whispered a few words,
and pointed to the back of the cave, evidently telling him where the
son of his greatest enemy lay helplessly bound, a look of anger came
into the man's face, and he clenched his fists. Miles saw that there
was little mercy to be expected from his old neighbour, and his heart
almost died within him.

Reuben also saw the look, but he was more hopeful than his master, if
he could only get a chance of speaking to Rankin, and so it was a great
relief to him when he heard one of their captors say, "Now, Rankin, I
give them into your charge; you have no cause to love a Paton or any of
the brood. If we can make a little money of him we will, but we must
hear about the horses first," and from what followed Miles learned that
these had been taken in different directions to be sold, and if they
could make a similar bargain for the release of Miles and his servant
with Sir Thomas, his father, they would.

The prospect thus opened before the young fellow made him groan aloud
in despair, and when Rankin came and took up his post as gaoler he
said, impulsively, "Kill me outright if you like, Rankin, but don't
sell me to my father."

"Then you know who I am, sir," said the man, in a surly tone.

"Yes, I know you, and know you have no cause to show mercy to a Paton."

"Perhaps not," said Reuben, "but I never harmed Master Rankin, and so I
hope he'll spare my life, and hear what I've got to say, before he goes
to tell Sir Thomas where you may be found."

"Well, speak out, man," said Rankin, "my temper ain't got any sweeter
while I have been here, and I curse the Patons every day of my life."

"Yes, yes, and you have cause, poor fellow," said Miles, pityingly,
"but I can tell you it was not my fault, and I never knew what had
happened until I went home to my brother's funeral and saw the village

"Aye, and if you sell us to Sir Thomas there'll soon be another village
empty, and the farms given up to sheep," interrupted Reuben, "for my
master here is to be put into a cage, like mad Sir Philip Warren,
because he will by no means sign the papers to make the rest of the
land into sheep farms."

Rankin had heard something of this being in contemplation, and so he
listened in stolid silence while Reuben told his tale. Miles said a
word now and then on behalf of his father, and, but for his desperate
strait, would not have let Reuben tell why they were flying to Oxford,
but nothing Reuben could say would lessen or increase the hate that
burned in the breast of this man against his oppressor, or the son that
had practically forced his father into taking this step. But against
this Oxford lad they had no grudge. On the contrary he had always made
himself a friend of the farmer and villagers alike, and Reuben's story
now, and the consequences that would follow if Miles should be taken
and declared to be insane, would be disastrous to everybody.

Already the country was so overrun with beggars and thieves that those
who felt the greatest pity had to refuse help because of the numbers
that beset them day by day, and so, for this number to be increased,
when it could be prevented, was not to be thought of. But at the same
time the men had set out on their journey to Woodstock to try and
negotiate for the ransom for their two prisoners, and so, if anything
was to be done to save them from being handed over to Sir Thomas, it
must be done at once.

Doubtless the thought of doing the squire an ill turn was not without
its charm for Rankin, but he did not say a word about this. He sat for
a minute or two considering the matter, and then he said, "We must all
go, and get away as soon as possible."

"What do you mean?" asked Miles, as Rankin began to saw away with his
blunt knife at the cords round his ankles.

"It will be my life for yours, Master Miles," said the farmer in a

"Then leave us where we are," said Miles.

But the man shook his head, saying, "You are of more use than I am, and
my wife is not here just now, so we may be able to get away together
when it is dark."

"But if you are caught?" said Miles.

"Then you must try to get away so as not to be forced into setting up
more sheep farms. If Master John had only done as you have he would
have been alive now. Mind, I did not kill him, and I knew nothing about
it till afterwards, but I know he would not have met with his death if
so many of us had not been driven from our homes."

While he had been speaking he had cut all their bonds, but told them to
keep quite still until the rest of the party were fast asleep, and then
to follow him silently, without asking a question as to where they were

The women and children had mostly retired by this time to their several
nooks and lairs, but the festivity of the few half-drunken rascals, who
were still sprawling round the fire, had not ceased, and to the anxious
watchers at the back of the cave it seemed as though these roysterers
would never go to sleep.

Night had fallen long since, and it seemed as though morning would dawn
before the last of them fell asleep. But their patience was rewarded at
last with a chorus of snores that assured them they could move at last,
and they followed their guide—not to the mouth of the cave, as they
expected—but into what seemed the very wall of it at the first touch,
which, however, gradually revealed itself as a narrow winding passage
that was just large enough for them to creep through, and at last
opened in the midst of some bushes on the brink of a pond.

"Hush!" whispered Rankin, when Miles would have thanked him, for to
breathe the fresh, pure air after that noisome cave was something to be
thankful for.

Silently they followed, as he led them by winding woodland paths,
through the tangle of trees and briers, out into a wider and more
frequented roadway.

"We are little more than an hour's walk from Oxford now," said Rankin,
"and I think you would be able to find your way to the gates as soon as
they are opened in the morning."

But Miles begged him to stay, and go with him to the town, and try to
get some employment there.

If he could only have seen it, the man's face would have told him how
grateful he was, even for the offer of such help as this, but he said,
"I am afraid it is too late for me to get any work but farming."

"Nay, but come and see. I have friends in the town as well as in the
colleges, and surely someone might find room for a pair of willing
hands and strong arms. I have enough to keep you for a few days at an
hostelry; and then—"

As he spoke Miles put his hands to his leathern pouch, which he thought
was securely fastened under his doublet. But alas! the robbers had
stripped him of that and every crown that was in it, so that he was

He sank down upon the ground and groaned aloud as he realised this,
for what should he do now if his father refused to send him any more?
And he felt sure that his father would refuse unless he should agree
to sign the documents that would practically consign several other
families to ruin.

"What is it, my master?" asked Reuben, fearing his master had been

"My money I my money Reuben. The rogues have robbed me of every penny."

"Yes, I saw them do it while you were struggling on the ground. I
thought you saw it too."

"No, I thought only of getting away from them. This is ruin indeed."

"But we can all work, my master," said Reuben, cheerfully, but Rankin
spoke no word, for he knew better than either of the others how
helpless a man was in the world without money. But he resolved to
stand by the young fellow who had dared so much for the sake of saving
others from the ruin that had overtaken him; and so the three trudged
on through the dawning light, hoping to gain the gates of the city by
the time they opened, and so secure a refuge before their escape was



OUR three friends presented a sorry spectacle in the streets of Oxford,
but Miles was known at a small hostelry near his college, and to this
he took Rankin and Reuben, bidding the landlord supply them with a good
meal, and the means of making themselves decent.

He then went in search of some of his own friends, and, as it was still
early, had little difficulty in finding them.

They laughed at his sorry appearance, and his story of falling among
thieves on his way, but they were ready enough to help him, for he
was very popular, both with students and teachers, and they were glad
enough to see him back among them.

In the quiet of his own room, however, Miles began to think of the
graver difficulty that beset him now, for he feared his father would
not send him any money; and, as he had not entered the college as a
poor student, money was needed at every turn.

Fortunately the robbers had not taken his Greek New Testament, but had
put it back into the inner pocket when they took his money, probably
thinking it was safest there and of no value to them; and as Miles
laid this precious treasure on the table while he changed his clothes,
it suddenly occurred to him that he might perhaps earn a little money
by translating this, or some portion of it, into English. Many of the
students, who were not sufficiently masters of the Greek tongue, had
openly wished that someone would translate it into English for them,
and as he was a pretty good Greek scholar he thought he might be able
in his leisure time to translate one or two of the Gospels, and, having
made one fair copy, it would not take long to copy it again, and he
resolved to sit down to his task that very day and try what he could
do, before mentioning it to any of his friends.

Then he had to consider what was to be done for Reuben and Rankin.
Without money to help himself, it was a sore perplexity to know what
to do for them. Reuben would go back to Woodstock, of course, and tell
his father what had happened, and the sooner he set out the better. But
there was also the farmer, who had risked his life to save him, he also
must be thought for, and, if possible, provided for, though how it was
to be done it was hard to say; and Miles was so long considering the
subject that two of his friends came in search of him an hour or two

"Why did you not come to the lecture?" said one. "We made sure we
should see you there."

"Well, I must go and see my tutor, and ask him a few questions before
I can do anything," said Miles, "and I was hardly fit for lecture this
morning, having had no sleep all night." And then by degrees he told
these friends something of the difficulties in which he found himself
placed, and the uncertainty whether his father would send him any more
money, even when his servant got back to Woodstock.

"Why, you are trying to work out More's 'Utopia,'" said one of his
friends, laughing.

"What is that?" asked Miles. "Another new book from the Greek?"

"Oh, no; it is in simple English that anyone can read, and so I suppose
it is beneath the notice of you Greek scholars."

"But you said I had been trying to practice it."

"Well, it seems like it from what you say, for the dwellers in
'Nowhere'—More's grand republic—must all have set to work in your way,
and tried to do to others as they would be done by."

"But, man alive, that is not in the 'Utopia,' but in the New Testament,
and one of the commands of Christ Himself," said Miles, quickly. "That
is why it would be such a good thing if we could get the New Testament
translated into English, that men may learn what the mind of Christ
is in such matters. That was why Dean Colet was so anxious that all
Oxford students should study Greek—that each might find for himself a
rational and practical basis for religion—one fit to help a man in the
every-day concerns of life, and not for a monastery. Monasteries might
have been all very well a few hundred years ago, but we want a religion
for farmers, and landlords, and workpeople, in this year of grace and
new light 1520."

"So you've begun the practice of it as a landlord's son," said one
of his friends, a little derisively. "I think I should have done my
father's bidding, and let him take the responsibility," he added.

"But none could take that for me when I had once learned the truth
of the Gospel in such matters," answered Miles. "It is my father who
cannot take the responsibility, because he has not learned what I have.
The light of the new learning had not dawned when he was at Oxford, and
so he can but walk in the old darkness, as it seems to me. But for me
to follow, because the light makes my path a little harder, is to brand
myself as a coward, and unworthy of the new learning. Could I be a true
Grecian, do you think, and not do what I can to save the poor from
further wretchedness?"

"Oh! you are one of More's Utopians. I will bring you the book and
let you read it," he said, laughing, "if you can condescend to read
anything so simple as English."

Miles felt a little disturbed by this talk with his friend, for there
was a touch of irony in his tone, and a want of sympathy that hurt
the lad's sensitiveness, and he wondered whether his tutor would pour
ridicule on his proposed plan to help himself.

But before going to see this older and more experienced friend he went
in search of Reuben, whom he found still at the hostelry. But Rankin
had been too impatient to go in search of work, to stay longer than was
necessary to make himself look more like a decent workman.

"Well, you must abide here to-night, and then set off on your journey
to Woodstock early in the morning. It may be you will find travellers
going in the same direction, and who will be glad for you to join them.
My father will be angry over the loss of the horses, I am sure, but
you must do what you can to smooth matters for me, Reuben. And for
the rest, tell my father I was very sorry to depart from home in such
haste, but his commands left me no choice. If he will send me such
moneys to Oxford as I need, to pay the cost of my learning, I shall be
truly thankful; but if he will not, then I must seek such employment
as I can get, to enable me to finish that which has been well begun.
Give my reverent love to my mother, and assure her that I shall not
do anything to disgrace the name of my father and mother. If you can
obtain speech of my sister, or her maid, ask her to send me somewhat
from her store, by the hand of any faithful messenger, that I may be
able to pay your score here, for the rogues left me without a penny,
and I shall have to sell some of my books to supply my own wants until
I can earn a little money."

He bade Reuben farewell, rather ruefully, and then decided to walk
round the town, and see how the new college was progressing.

"I wonder what name they will give it when it is finished?" he said,
half aloud, as he paused in front of the building that was now well on
its way to completion.

"Oh, it will be 'Cardinal College' or 'Wolsey College,' of course, as
it is being built for the honour and glory of our great Chancellor,"
remarked a stranger who stood near.

But before Miles could reply he was pushed aside by a party of workmen,
bearing some heavy slabs of stone, which they seemed to be very careful
should not be damaged, and to his great surprise he recognised Rankin
as one of the party.

The man was too intent upon preserving from damage the stone that he
was carrying to notice Miles, but he saw that already the man's whole
aspect had undergone a change, and he followed until the stone was
set down, and Rankin was free to stretch himself and say a word as he
walked back to fetch the next load.

"Why, Rankin, how is this?" asked Miles, in a tone of pleased surprise.

"Aye, Master Miles, you may well say, 'How is this?' God and the
Blessed Virgin be thanked! for I never expected such good luck would
come to me, I can tell you."

"Aye, you have got work I can see. But will it last beyond the day?"

"Oh, yes, I hope so. You see they are pulling down the monastery away
yonder to build this new college, and some of the stones they are
moving now are delicately carved, and need careful handling, as well as
a strong man to do it. This morning there was an accident—one of the
stones got damaged, and one of the men hurt, and, as I was near, I lent
a hand to save the poor fellow from being crushed. One of the master
masons saw me do it, and when the injured man had been carried to the
convent for the monks to nurse him, he asked if I would take his place,
as I seemed a strong man and able to handle the stones. So here I am,
and I hope I shall stay here, and be able to help my poor wife and
children to something better than a home in a cave before the winter
quite settles down upon us."

"Aye, that would be a blessing indeed," said Miles, warmly, "worth
being taken prisoner and robbed," laughed he. "I wonder you have not
tried to get work before, Rankin," he added.

"Tried! Master Miles, I have almost gone down on my knees when I have
been asking for work," said the man, earnestly. "I suppose the Lord
sent it just now, because He knows I can't go back to the woods for a
living. But there's my poor wife to be thought of still."

"Yes, but I thought she had gone to stay with her sister for a few
weeks," said Miles. "Now, couldn't Reuben take a message to her on his
way back to Woodstock? Let him carry the good news that you have found
work at last, and it may be she can stay where she is for the present,
as you will be able to pay something of her charges when a messenger
can be found to carry it; or one of us can journey thither ourselves."

"Master Miles, that is a wise thought, and if Reuben will only carry
the news I shall be thankful. I cannot stay to talk longer," he added,
and he ran off after his fellow-workmen, for fear he should be thought
to be idling if he was not ready with the rest to shoulder the slab
that should be given into his charge.

It was heavy work, but the landlord of the hostelry had given him a
good meal, and he could pay for the next himself, and hope gave him
strength and courage too.

It also cheered Miles, and, as he took his way to his tutor's room, he
thought his mischance of being taken prisoner was not such a grievous
calamity after all if it helped poor Rankin into a settled mode of

He was so full of this that he told his friend all about this first,
and then spoke of his own changed prospects unless his father would
forgive him and send him the needful means to continue his studies
until he could take his degree.

"You are a very good Greek scholar I know, Paton, but whether you could
earn anything by translating is another matter. There is also the law
of the Church to be considered, for what you propose to do is in direct
contravention of it. We have this beautiful Testament of Erasmus, and
we cannot be too thankful for it, but although our present Archbishop
Warham, and many others, approve of it, many see in it a great danger
to the Church, and what they would say or do, if it was known that
anyone dared to do it into English, I cannot tell."

Miles opened his eyes in astonishment. "If it is so good for us who
have learned the Greek tongue, why should it not be good for those who
can only read English, but yet desire to find a rational practical
religion such as the New Testament teaches?"

"Because it is not considered safe to put the Bible into the hands of
the unlearned. While it is in Greek and Latin only it is safe from the
simple folk; but, if it is rendered into English, they would be able to
read it for themselves."

"And wherefore should they not have this great gift for which, you say,
we ought to be thankful?"

But his friend only smiled, and shook his head cautiously. He would not
encourage the lad in such a dangerous project, and he told him so, at
the same time warning him that if he did undertake such a task he must
go about it very carefully, or he would involve himself and his friends
in a good deal of trouble.

Poor Miles went back to his rooms feeling very much perplexed. Here
was the great Chancellor Wolsey building a new college to extend the
new learning, which everybody extolled, and for the want of which his
father was acting so unjustly towards his poor, helpless tenants. And
yet when he proposed to extend the most notable outcome of this, by
translating the Greek New Testament into English, he was told that
he should be breaking one of the fundamental laws of the Church! And
the Church itself was believed to be founded on the very truths and
doctrines he wanted to make known to the unlearned, as well as those
who could read Greek, that they might form their lives upon the truth
of Christ Himself!

Life was a dreadful puzzle, he thought, as he sat down in his little
room to try and think out the problem that had been forced upon him.

He had enrolled himself among the Grecians of his college without
thinking much about it, beyond its being a good rallying cry when
there was a fight among the students and the town lads, or among the
students themselves over some knotty point that could not be solved by
logic, and until he went home and saw the depopulated village this had
satisfied him.

There, however, while his injured ankle compelled him to keep within
the shelter of his own room, he had time to think of many things, and
what he heard and saw during this last visit to his home had brought
him face to face with the stern realities of life in a fashion he had
never dreamed of before. Now, for the first time, his public profession
of being a "Grecian"—a follower of the new learning—had brought
him into conflict with that which, to his mind, the word "Trojan"
represented; and he clung most tenaciously to the thought that if his
father had only had the opportunity of learning Greek, and reading the
New Testament in that language, he would never have turned Rankin and
the rest of the poor folks off the land as he had done.

This being so, was it not the duty of those who had been enlightened
to do what they could to extend its influence, so that men like his
father, who were too old to learn a new language, or Rankin, who
would never have time to do so, might yet be able to learn these
all-important truths, which, if carried out, would make life for all
mankind a fairer, sweeter, holier thing than men had ever dreamed it
could be?

In the midst of these reflections his friend came in who had promised
to lend him a book written in English by an Englishman; and he was
almost as eager to hear about it as his friend was to tell him of its

Sir Thomas More, it seemed, on one of his journeys abroad, had met with
a sailor who had seen the new world beyond the great sea, and this had
set Sir Thomas More thinking of what this new land of "Nowhere" or
"Utopia" ought to be.

"Let me read you a little bit about the houses in 'Utopia,'" said his
friend, after he had related some of its wonders. "'The houses in the
beginning were very low,'" he read, "'and like homely cottages, or poor
shepherd huts, made at all adventures of every rude piece of timber
that came first to hand, with mud walls and ridged roofs thatched over
with straw.'"

"Oh! we can see them any day here in Oxford or Woodstock," interrupted

"Yes, of course, but wait a minute; whoever saw houses like these?" And
he read on, "'The streets were twenty feet broad; the houses backed by
spacious gardens and curiously builded, after a gorgeous and gallant
sort, with their stories one after the other. The outsides of the walls
be made either of hard flint, or of plaster, or of bricks, and the
inner sides be well strengthened with timber work. The roofs be plain
and flat, covered over with plaster that be so tempered that no fire
can hurt or perish it, and withstanding the violence of the weather
better than any lead. They keep the wind out of their windows with
glass, for it is there much used, and sometimes also with fine linen
cloth dipped in oil or amber, and that for two commodities, for by this
means more light cometh in, and the wind is better kept out.'"

"Then he would have us all live in palaces," remarked Miles. "But I do
not see how that is to make us better Grecians," he added.

"Oh, just hear what he says we are constantly trying to do at the
present time," said his friend, turning the pages of his book, "'The
rich are ever striving to pare away something further from the daily
wages of the poor by private fraud, and even by public law, so that
the wrong already existing (for it is a wrong that those from whom the
State derives most benefit should receive least reward) is made yet
greater by the law of the State. The rich devise every means by which
they may, in the first place, secure to themselves what they have
amassed by wrong, and then take to their own use and profit, at the
lowest possible price, the work and labour of the poor, and so soon as
the rich decide on adopting these devices in the name of the public
they then become law.'"

"I don't know whether it is as bad as that," said Miles, thoughtfully,
"but what does he propose should be the remedy for this state of
things?" he asked, eagerly.

"Listen—'In "Nowhere" the aim of legislation is to secure the welfare,
social, industrial, intellectual, religious, of the community at
large, and of the labour class, as the true basis of a well-ordered
Commonwealth. The aim of its labour laws was the benefit of the

"Then in 'Nowhere' all men must be true Grecians," said Miles, after a
pause, "for if they were not they would not pass such laws, and they
would not be fit to live in its palaces. I wonder whether the new
learning will ever change our Merry England into such a kingdom as this

"Ah! I wonder," said his friend, and then the two young men began
talking of other matters, but he left his "Utopia" for Miles to
read. And Miles sat up until far into the night devouring this most
fascinating book, that gathered into itself all the hopes and dreams of
such men as Colet, Erasmus, More, Warham, and others like-minded with
them, and which he now fondly hoped he should see become a reality.



MILES PATON found that life at the university with very little money
in his pocket was a hard one. In spite of what had been told him,
that the translation of the Bible into English would be a breach of
the law of the Church, he resolved to do what he could to give to
others the light he had learned to prize so dearly. And so he set to
work upon the translation of the Gospel of St. Matthew. Of this he
managed to make several copies, and sold them to friends. The first
completed copy he sent to his sister, and she did not forget to repay
him handsomely for his gift. But for this, and the kindness of friends
and fellow-students, he could not have remained at Oxford, but now he
felt more unwilling than ever to leave what seemed to him now the very
centre of the world. For news of what was going on in a distant German
university town found its way here in the course of a few months, and
the name of Luther—who was causing such a stir in the far away town of
Wittenberg—was talked of here in Oxford almost as eagerly as though he
belonged to the sister university of Cambridge.

But the news set men not merely talking, but strongly denouncing or
warmly approving what was being said and done by this new teacher.
Nothing less than vehement approval or strong denunciation could
express what men felt upon this matter; for, in the pamphlets brought
over and handed round from one friend to the other, Luther denounced,
not merely the abuses of the Papacy, but the Papacy itself.

The infallibility, the authority, and the truth of the doctrines of the
Romish Church were denied and scoffed at in the most vigorous language,
and, in proof of his assertions, this bold monk quoted Scripture as
the authority that what he said was true. That the people might know
the truth in this quarrel he promised that the New Testament should be
translated into the language of the people, that they might read and
judge for themselves in this matter.

"Well, that is fair enough," said Miles, when one of his student
friends told him of the crowning enormity, as he considered it.

"What! you would put the Gospels into the hands of the common people?"
exclaimed his friend.

"Yes, indeed! if I could, every farmer and every man at the plough
should have his Gospel to read when the day's work was done."

"And where would the ploughing be if such a thing could be done? But
there, the Church will never allow it," said his friend, in a calmer

Not merely among university students did the conflict of talk rage with
ever increasing fury, but the King himself must needs enter the lists
against Luther, and in defence of the Church he wrote a book, which he
called "The Assertion of the Seven Sacraments." Whether it added very
much to the enlightenment of mankind upon the points in dispute was of
small moment. It served the statecraft of Pope Leo the Tenth to make
much of its royal author, and he had the title of "Defender of the
Faith" conferred upon him—a title which every English sovereign has
held since—empty of all meaning as it has long since become.

Miles, and many greater men than he, saw with dismay that what they
had hoped would be a gradual enlightening of the people from the new
learning, would now be a bone of contention and bitterness over which
all the angry passions of men would rage and roar. It was evident
that this quarrel of friars would become a quarrel of nations, and of
friends and families, for already some of his old friends began to
breathe the hateful word "heretic" against Miles, because he had taken
sides with Luther so far as to say that it was fair for people to have
the Scriptures to read for themselves, that they might judge who was in
the right—Luther or the Pope.

It was some comfort to Miles to reflect that the man who guided the
destinies of England, both civil and religious, was a friend to the
new learning, and was doing all he could to foster it. Not only here
at Oxford was the great Cardinal Wolsey doing what he could to further
the cause of education, but at his own town of Ipswich he had founded
a grammar school, much after the pattern of that founded by the good
Dean of St. Paul's in London—Dr. Colet. And so, schools being provided
for poor lads, who could not otherwise get a good education, they might
hope that men would learn to judge fairly and righteously in this

The practical outcome of it, so far as Miles was concerned, was to make
him the more eager to copy his Gospel, not merely for the money the
sale brought him, but because he was anxious to multiply copies of it,
that more of those to whom the Greek language was unknown might be able
to read it in English.

But while he toiled, and almost starved sometimes, he did not forget
the mason's labourer working at the Cardinal's college. Some portion
of it was already opened, and professors had been installed in some of
the chairs, and more students were flocking to Oxford than ever, drawn
thither by the fame of the new college and the wealth that had been
lavished upon it.

Among those who thus publicly lectured was John Clark, a Cambridge
master of arts, learned and conscientious; and he took the Greek
Testament of Erasmus as the basis of many of his lectures. To meet a
student like Miles was a joy to the new lecturer; and he soon heard of
the young man's difficulties, and resolved to help him at the first
opportunity; and this presented itself earlier than he anticipated.

To complete his college, Wolsey had obtained a bull from the Pope
to suppress the monastery of St. Frideswide, and several smaller
monasteries as well. This had caused an outcry among those who
wished to see the old state of things continued, and some difficulty
had arisen, which required the despatch of a messenger of some
intelligence, not merely to carry despatches to the Cardinal, but to
explain some matters to him by word of mouth, that could hardly be
committed to paper; and Miles was recommended by his friend Master
Clark as a suitable person to perform the delicate mission.

"This may prove an opening into a new life to you, my lad," said his
friend, when he sent for Miles and explained that he was to go to
London, and would probably see the great Cardinal himself. "The errand
upon which you are going is a special one, and the future usefulness of
this college depends much upon the despatch and skill you may exercise
in getting these papers placed in the hands of the Cardinal himself
without delay."

"Thank you for entrusting me with such an errand," said Miles, bowing
before his master and friend. "I will do my utmost to fulfil your
wishes. How soon am I to start?"

"To-morrow at daybreak a party of travellers will set off for London,
and it is desirable that you should join them. But we do not wish it
known that you are going to York House, where the Cardinal is living
just now; and so another missive has been prepared for Bishop Tunstall.
This also must be delivered, but your errand is to the Cardinal first.
Place yourself in his hands, and whatever he directs you are to do. If
he decides that another messenger shall be sent to the Bishop, then let
it be so. He is to decide. His will must be law."

Of course Miles felt pleased to be chosen for such a mission, and he
went at once to prepare for his journey.

He went to his own room at the college first, and packed up all his
translations, for as it was pretty well decided now that for a man
to translate the Scriptures into English was to proclaim himself a
heretic, he resolved to take all these compromising papers with him,
securely placed inside the lining of his doublet, for he began to fear
that persecution such as had fallen upon the followers of Wickliffe a
hundred years before might occur again, if this ferment continued over
the sayings and doings of the German monk Luther.

Having settled his more private affairs, he went to the hostelry from
whence travellers usually started on their journey to the south, and
where he hoped he should find other travellers going in the same

"A large party will leave by six o'clock to-morrow morning," said the
landlord, in answer to Miles' enquiry; and then he went once more to
tell Master John Clark that he had made all needful preparations for
his journey, and to receive the despatches he was to carry.

"Now, if it be possible, I want you to let the Cardinal know that we
are in no fear of the teaching of Martin Luther here. The new learning
will not be disturbed in Oxford by—"

"But it is disturbed," interrupted Miles.

The elder man smiled. "Students' discussions are like a brawling brook
after summer rain. What we desire is that there shall be no hindrance
put in the way of the free circulation of God's Word, but we want it
done quietly, peaceably, and the Cardinal alone can hinder or help
forward this work. But say no word to His Eminence of what you yourself
have been doing, for he would think you unfit for such a task, and I
have told you before that there is danger in it, for the Church is very
jealous lest the unlearned should attempt what she claims to be her own
prerogative. I hope and believe that the aim of the Cardinal is the
same as ours, but he is a man of affairs, and understands the temper of
the times better than we do; and so I would have you watch and be wary,
but true to God and the new learning above all things."

"I will not fail to keep your counsel in mind," said Miles, thanking
him for all his kindness.

A good sum of money having been given to him to meet the expense of the
journey, Miles turned his steps toward his own room once more, smiling
to himself as he went, for Master Clark, by his lectures and teaching,
was fast earning for himself the name of heretic. He was wise, perhaps,
to bid Miles be wary and careful of what he said and did, but he deemed
his own position gave authority to teach the unsearchable riches of
Christ revealed in the Scripture; and he could honestly thank God that
such a man as the great Cardinal Wolsey was at the head of Church and

At this time the whole direction of English home and foreign affairs
rested with Wolsey alone. As Chancellor he stood at the head of all
public justice; and, as Cardinal Legate, all ecclesiastical affairs,
instead of being referred to Rome, came into his hands as the Pope's
representative for this realm.

This suspension of the custom of sending weighty appeals to Rome served
a useful purpose later on, when the time came for the King to declare
that his kingdom should sever from the Church of Rome, and he himself
would be the head of the English Church. For men had grown accustomed
to this state of things under Cardinal Wolsey, and the Cardinal
frequently declared that he held all this vast power for the King, and
at his will; and so he was slowly but surely preparing the way for the
greatest blow to be dealt at the Church of Rome it had ever received.

No such intention was dreamed of by the Cardinal, who carefully
insisted, not only that the King could do no wrong, but that the
property and persons of his subjects were his also, and that a man had
no right to more than the King thought fit not to take from him. And
these maxims were being practically carried out in matters of State
policy by the man who now ruled in both Church and State.

So he forged the fetters to bind England's liberty with one hand, and
with the other sowed the seed that should burst them asunder; for the
new learning owed much to the fostering care of the great Cardinal, and
he was ready to join hands with Colet in improving its education.

Miles joined the party of travellers early next morning, and to be
on horseback once more and out in the open country was in itself
sufficient to fill him with delight. He had always loved to be out
beside the budding hedgerows, or watching the springing corn at the
dear old home, which he might never see again perhaps, for his father
had written to tell him never again to show his face at Paton Hall, and
he had not dared to brave his father's displeasure, beyond writing a
letter to his mother, which his father had sent back unopened. Visions
of his home rose before him as his horse plodded on and disturbed the
sheep that were grazing just over the hedge.

The sight of the sheep in such numbers, and in such widely extended
pastures, was not a pleasant one to Miles, for he knew the sorrow and
ruin that had been wrought in the old cornfields to bring this about. A
bitter feeling crept into his heart, and he wondered what would be the
end of this greed for money if it was not speedily checked.

He did not have much to say to any of the party journeying with him
except to one young man about his own age, who, after their first halt
at a wayside tavern, became more cordial in his manner towards Miles
when he found that he was an Oxford student.

He had been on a visit to some friends at Oxford it seemed, and as a
great favour had been taken to hear some of the lectures of Master
John Clark, who was just now attracting a great deal of notice in the

"But I don't like him or his teaching at all," said the young man,
before Miles had time to utter a word of comment. "He teaches very
dangerous doctrines, my uncle says, and he ought to know, for he is the
best tallow chandler in the town."

Miles looked his surprise at the young man's words. "Most men are glad
to hear such truths as Master Clark preaches," he said.

"Then they haven't got trades that this teaching will ruin," said the
young man, frankly. "Now, my father is candlemaker to a good many of
the churches in London, and, of course, we don't want the old state of
things disturbed. What would become of the honest trade of candlemaking
if people were to believe that there was no good in having candles and
Masses for the dead? Why, we sell more candles for the dead than we
do to give light to the living," said the young fellow, and he felt
half-offended that Miles could not take precisely the same view of
the matter that he did. "It is no better than robbery for a priest to
stand up and tell people that they ought not to buy candles for the
funerals and Masses. This new learning is like to prove a great curse
to the world if it is suffered to get into the hands of the poor and
unlearned," he added.

"But why should the Gospel be kept from the poor? Surely they need it
even more than the rich," answered Miles.

His fellow traveller shrugged his shoulders. "I know it will be a bad
day for us candlemakers when the poor hear such preaching as this of
Master John Clark, for think you they will half starve themselves to
buy a good stock of candles for mother or father if they think they can
do just as well without them? I trow not; and it is not the rich so
much as the poor who keep our business brisk."

Miles tried to make his new friend see that this was a very selfish
policy, but the young man contended that without candles the world
would not be a fit place to live in, and certainly no candlemaker could
make a living at his trade if he did not have to supply the churches
and funerals. And so the world would have to go without candles if ever
the people were so foolish as to follow the counsel of men like Master

Miles laughed outright at this view of the matter, which half-offended
his fellow traveller. But though he laughed, he thought of what he
had heard, and began to see that not only the priests and monks would
combine to uphold the present condition of things, but all who made
a profit out of the people's ignorance would combine to keep them
ignorant if they could.



BEFORE London was actually reached, the party of travellers began to
break-up, one going one way, and another taking an opposite direction;
so that by the time they had reached the outskirts of the village
of Charing, Miles was directed to York House, the Cardinal's London
residence, which he had set up not far from the winding Thames and
Westminster on one side, and the pleasant green fields of St. Martin on
the other.

Miles had heard something of the greatness of the Cardinal before he
left Oxford, but he was scarcely prepared for the almost royal state
that surrounded this palatial mansion.

Splendidly-dressed guards challenged him as he dismounted at the gate,
and he had to remember that he was Sir Thomas Paton's son, as well
as the messenger from Cardinal College, or he would not have gained
entrance, even to the outer court, so insolent were these lacqueys
of the great statesman to Miles, because they fancied he was a mere
country bumpkin who had been sent on some trivial errand to their

But when Miles drew himself up in anger, at the thought of his precious
time being wasted in useless parleying with these servants, and
answered them sharply, and bade them announce him without delay, they
allowed him to pass to the next set of footmen who were lounging in the
inner hall, and did not condescend to turn their heads from the game
they were playing, to look at the new comer.

So, after pausing a moment to look round upon the elegantly dressed
lacqueys, he passed on without saying a word to them, until he was
stopped at the door opposite, by one of them springing up and asking
him what business he had to pass through the hall of His Eminence
without asking permission of his servants.

"By the urgency of the business that brings me hither, which will brook
no delay from the Cardinal's footmen," said Miles, in a commanding
tone, and without another word the man preceded him to a corridor where
others were waiting to speak to the Cardinal, or one of his numerous
secretaries. Having passed the door, Miles was told to wait there while
the footman went to announce him to a gentleman sitting at a desk, and,
after a minute or two, he was summoned to give his name and address,
and the business upon which he desired speech of the Cardinal. When the
secretary heard that he was the bearer of private letters from Oxford
concerning the Cardinal's College that had been recently established,
he summoned a page who was standing near, and bade him take Miles to
the ante-room of the Cardinal's private chamber. "You may have to
wait some hours," said the secretary, as he told Miles to follow this
elegant fop, who was evidently too well pleased at his own appearance,
as he caught sight of himself in the Venetian glass that adorned the
opposite wall, and which was regarded as a great curiosity and luxury
in those days.

"You must wait for His Eminence," lisped the young man.

"Nay, my business will not brook the delay of waiting," said Miles,
speaking loud enough to attract the attention of a little procession
that was just entering the gallery at the other end.

"Back! Back!" cried the page, pulling at his doublet, and himself
following on his knees, while the other gentlemen standing round bowed
low, for it was no other than the great Cardinal himself, sumptuously
attired and moving slowly, followed closely by several secretaries.

"Back! Back!" hissed the page, once more trying to drag Miles down upon
his knees.

But he shook him off, though it was at the cost of a rent in his new
cloth doublet; and guessing truly who this imperious-looking man was,
he fell on one knee as he approached, and held out the packet entrusted
to his care. "Pardon me, my lord, if I have transgressed any rule, but
I was bidden to seek you with all haste, and deliver into your own hand
alone these letters from Master Clark and others."

"Master Clark hath chosen an over-bold messenger," said Wolsey. But the
lad's treatment of the page somewhat amused him, for it reminded him
of an episode in his own life; and he bade Miles rise, and promised to
read the papers at once.

"Where is your lodging if we should need to send back an answer?" asked
the Cardinal, looking at Miles critically; "I have not yet received
your name as waiting an audience," he added.

"My name is Miles Paton. I am the son of Sir Thomas Paton, of Paton
Hall, near Woodstock. But I have only now arrived from Oxford, and my
horse is even now at the gate; but my errand brooked no delay, and so I
may not have been over courteous to the servants of your Eminence."

"And does this business concern yourself?" asked Wolsey.

Miles shook his head. "Nay, I am but the messenger," he said, as he
stepped back for the great Cardinal to pass on.

"Come hither again to-morrow morning at this hour for the answer to thy
missive." And, saying this, the Cardinal hastened through the corridor,
and disappeared through a door covered with arras, and which was opened
by waiting pages at the approach of their master.

That the Cardinal had condescended to speak to Miles, without any of
the formalities usually observed before granting anyone an audience,
was sufficient to impress the pages and footmen of the importance
of the visitor and his errand; and he was bowed out of the series
of waiting-rooms in a fashion that rather embarrassed the simple
country lad, who, although he was used to a troop of servants at his
father's house, had learned to wait upon himself at the University, and
especially during the last few months.

He was glad, therefore, when he reached the street, to find that his
importance had slowly evaporated during his passage through the inner
hall, and that the guard at the door simply remarked that he had not
been long on his errand.

"No, I am to have an audience of His Eminence to-morrow," said Miles,
in a matter of fact tone. "Now, can you recommend me to a lodging in
this neighbourhood?" he added, "for I am but now come from Oxford and
know little of the ways of this town."

"Most young gallants speedily learn them, though," said the man, with a
short laugh.

"Well, I have not time, seeing my business will not brook delay, so
prithee tell me where I can find an hostelry that will give rest and
food to me and my horse with as little delay as possible."

Miles having delivered his precious packet began to feel very hungry,
for he would not wait even for breakfast before finding his way to York
House; and once there he must needs complete the business he had come
upon. It was fortunate for him that the Cardinal had departed from his
usual custom, for he might have had to wait about all day, faint and
hungry, without a chance of obtaining any food: and the guard told him
this when he said he had not yet had any breakfast.

The man directed him to an hostelry close by, for the frequent coming
and going of messengers between York House and all parts of the
kingdom, had made it a busy centre, in spite of its being outside
London, and Westminster too, for people must needs find accommodation
close at hand, when so many hours were often wasted waiting for a
chance to bring some case before Wolsey, either in his capacity of Lord
Chancellor of England, or Cardinal Legate of the Court of Rome.

So Miles found his way to the tavern where accommodation could be had
for his horse as well as himself, and where he found all the talk of
the customers was about the doings of the Great Cardinal.

It seemed that, in spite of the enormous amount of business and
powerful interests that were accumulated in Wolsey's hands, he gave
personal attention to every case that came before him, and clients had
their cases decided quickly and fairly; so that everywhere men tried to
get their causes brought before the Lord Chancellor, that the wearisome
delays of the Law, that were often so ruinous, might be done away with.

There was talk now of a subordinate court being set up, to be called
the Rolls Court, that would relieve some of this pressure of business
that so frequently hindered the Cardinal from spending as much time
with the king as he wished, and which Henry the Eighth was inclined to
construe into negligence on the part of his great minister.

As Wolsey held all his great offices at the will of the king, and was
never weary of proclaiming that all the power vested in him, he did but
wield as the king's servant, Henry was not likely to brook anything
like neglect from this servant, and it would not do to let him feel
that he was of less importance than some weighty concern of Church or

So it often happened that the Cardinal hurried away from the business
of the Court of Chancery, or the considering of some ecclesiastical
cause of great moment to the Church and Realm, to join in some merry
frolic at Greenwich or at the Tower.

Whether Wolsey himself ever really liked this side of his life, no
one ever knew, for he carried out practically in his own life what he
declared was the king's right over the persons and possessions of his
subjects; only he did it in such a way that he always made it subserve
his own purpose, while seeming to serve only the king. Of his hauteur,
pride, and ambition there could be no question; but still the tavern
gossips all agreed that he was ruling England well, and doing what he
could to foster the growing trade in wool; as well as encouraging the
new learning, which some of the bishops and clergy were beginning to

After a good stoup of ale and a slice from a boar's head for his own
breakfast Miles went to see that his horse was fed and cared for,
and then wandered out to see the barges on the river and the sloping
gardens of the great noblemen who had dwelling-houses along the Strand.

Miles found plenty to amuse and interest him all that day, and he hoped
to be able to set out on his return to Oxford the following noon or
the next morning. And before he went to bed that night he asked the
landlord to tell anyone he knew of, who was going that way, that he
should like to join them.

"Aye, to be sure, it would not be safe to set out on such a journey
alone; and I will send Dick the ostler to enquire at the 'Falcon'
whether they have any travellers there who are going that way."

"The 'Falcon' is the starting place, then?" enquired Miles.

"Yes, it is hard by the village of Charing; but Dick shall find out all
that is needful to learn, for, if they have none journeying so far just
now, you must needs abide here for a day or two. There is plenty to see
in London town," said the landlord, persuasively.

Miles thought of his score as he smiled and shook his head. He,
however, accepted the landlord's offer to send the ostler, but was
not surprised when he returned and said a party would set off to
Oxford that day week, and the roads would not be safe to travel sooner
than that, as there had been a great flood, and all the fords were

Miles laughed. "So these are your tricks upon travellers," he said,
but he made no further remark, resolving to make enquiries for himself
the next day; doubtless these London tavern keepers played into each
other's hands whenever it was possible to do so at the cost of some
unwary wight. He went to bed, and slept soundly till the morning, in
spite of the watchmen crying the time every half-hour under his window
in most stentorian tones.

"Half-past ten o'clock, and a windy night," came sharply from the
street below; and it sounded as though the man's head was just on a
level with his casement, and that he bawled the words at him. There was
a cry just afterwards of "Watch! watch!" and the sound of running feet,
but after this Miles fell asleep, and all the watchman's bawling, or
belated travellers' cries for help during the rest of the night, failed
to disturb him, for he was tired with his journey and the excitements
of the day.

The next morning he presented himself early at York House, but found he
was by no means the first, there being a little crowd at the gate, each
person having urgent and important business with the Cardinal.

But Miles was not kept waiting to-day. His manner of dealing with
semi-royal guards the previous day had not been forgotten, and they
simply bowed as he passed, and he was allowed to go on through entrance
halls and corridors until the secretary's desk was reached, where his
name, address, and business had been taken the previous day. Here he
paused, and the gentleman said, "The command from His Eminence is that
you are to wait until he is at liberty to see you. Better sit down," he
suggested as Miles stepped aside as if to be ready for the audience the
next minute.

"Do you think I shall have long to wait?" asked Miles.

"I cannot tell; it is the Cardinal's orders that you should wait, and
these we never question."

Miles sat down in the broad window seat close by, and for the first
half-hour was amused and interested in watching the different faces of
those who presented themselves to the secretary, who directed them to
go this way or that, according to the nature of the business they came
about. If any began to talk aloud, there was instantly a distinctly
uttered "Hush!" from one of the waiting pages; and the business went on
silently, swiftly, with just the slightest hum of subdued voices, as
men spoke one to the other in whispers, or asked and answered questions
at the desk.

This low hum of busy, half-suppressed life went on constantly around
him, yet rather soothed than disturbed him. But it grew monotonous at
last, and Miles drew from his pouch his precious Greek New Testament,
in which he was never weary of reading. And so the hours slipped by,
while Miles was mentally translating the gospel of St. John, to be
rendered into English when he got back to Oxford.

Hour after hour slipped away, and the afternoon began to decline, and
Miles thought he must surely have been forgotten. He was hungry, too,
having eaten nothing since the morning, and he was just considering
whether he had not better ask this secretary if he should go and come
again the next day, when he saw an elegantly dressed gentleman come
from another door in the gallery and speak to the secretary, who at
once rose and directed his attention to Miles.

"You are waiting to see His Eminence?" said the nobleman, glancing at
the book in his hand.

"His Eminence commanded me to wait," said Miles, bowing as he rose from
his seat to reply.

"Then follow me," said the gentleman; and, preceded by two pages, he
turned and walked away, closely followed by Miles.

It seemed to the lad, as he followed his guide, that the old Hall at
Woodstock was nothing to this palace, with its passages and galleries,
anterooms and halls, which they traversed before they reached the
Cardinal's private room, where, it seemed, he had chosen to receive
this messenger from Oxford.

This room was plainly furnished in comparison with those they had
passed through, many of which were of surpassing splendour, and quite
dazzled simple Miles Paton.

As soon as they entered the presence of the Cardinal he made a sign
with his hand, and they were left alone; and then he bade Miles tell
him, as shortly as he could, the whole story entrusted to him.

When he had finished he said, "I find you are one who can sweep all
obstacles from your path for the sake of the business entrusted to you,
and you can also wait patiently for the sake of the same business. I
need such a one as you to be about my own person, and as Master John
Clark recommends you to me as one careful and studious, and devoted to
the new learning, you can, I think, be of great service to me."

Miles was altogether too much surprised to speak for a moment. He
understood well enough that this was rather a command than an offer,
for, as the King's servant, the Cardinal deemed himself to have the
right to command the personal service of any of the King's subjects.
Fortunately for Miles he was only too glad to accept this offer, and
so, as soon as he could command his voice, he thanked the Cardinal, and
most gladly promised to do his utmost to prove himself worthy of the
honour and trust reposed in him.

"Very well, I will send my reply to Oxford by another messenger. Return
to your lodging now, and present yourself to the Controller of my
household to-morrow morning. He will appoint you your lodging here, and
give you all needful instructions." Saying this, Wolsey waved his hand
in sign of dismissal, and Miles retreated backwards from the room, in
the fashion he had seen the gentleman leave the august presence of the
man, who demanded that the same reverence given to his royal master
should be accorded to himself.

He hardly knew whether he stood on his head or his feet—whether he
was glad or sorry that his stay at Oxford was thus suddenly brought
to a close. But he went back to the tavern and had a hearty meal
first, and then sat down to write a letter to his good friend Master
Clark immediately afterwards; and then one to his sister enclosed in
it, which he asked his friend to forward to Woodstock by the first
messenger going that way. This packet he contrived to send by the
Cardinal's messenger to Oxford, who went the next day with the reply to
the letter Miles had brought. And Miles went to take up his abode at
the Palace of York House—known to us later as Whitehall.



"AUDREY, I have had a letter from my brother Miles."

"And he is coming home to us from Oxford, as your father wishes!—You
see I can guess the news," added the young lady. She was little more
than a girl, although she was dressed in the sombre cap and wimple of
a widow. She spoke quite eagerly, not waiting for her sister-in-law to
finish what she was saying.

"I am afraid the messenger must have lost my father's letter, or
reached Oxford too late, for this letter—that a pedlar has just
brought—comes from London, although the man received it at Oxford. It
has come right speedily too, for it is little more than a week since it
was written, and now it is in my hands."

"But what does he say?" asked Lady Audrey Paton, stamping her foot
impatiently. She had come on a visit to her husband's old home, but she
found it very dull, and so Sir Thomas, after a good deal of persuasion
from his wife and daughter, had consented that Miles should come home
for a few weeks, and had written a coldly worded invitation to that
effect, and they were expecting the answer to this invitation when
Miles' letter from London reached them, which again upset all the plans
of the old man.

Whether the young widow surmised it or not, Sir Thomas Paton had
decided that the best thing he could do for Miles was to marry him to
his brother's widow; thus following the august example of the king.

Whether she knew what the ultimate intent was or not, she had looked
forward to the coming of Miles, for the death of their elder son had
greatly aged Sir Thomas and Lady Paton; while Margery scarce ever left
her own wing of the house, so that the young widow found that the old
homestead, which was full of life and jollity before she was married,
was now even more dull than her own home. So that she had begun to look
forward to the coming of Miles with some eagerness, and she was greatly
disappointed when she heard the news received by Margery.

While she was telling Lady Audrey what her brother said, the door
opened and her father walked in. "Eh, Margery what is this that I hear?
Betty says the pedlar has brought you a letter from Oxford. What does
that knave mean by not coming home as I commanded him?"

"Miles is in London, father; he has taken service with the great

"What—what?" thundered the old man, trembling with excitement as he
leaned upon his stick. "A son of mine take service with any man, except
it be the king himself, to chastise his enemies and uphold the honour
of England! That is the only service a Paton ever knows."

"But you forget father that you have not sent Miles any money for some
months, so that he has been obliged to write the Greek New Testament
into English to earn his bread of late."

"How now, child—am I to be defied by son and daughter too?"

"Father, I am not defying you," said Margery calmly; "I am only telling
you what I know is the truth. Miles has had a very hard time at Oxford
this last winter, and if he had not been able to—"

"I will hear no more about that story," interrupted the gentleman
angrily, "tell me what he says now."

For answer Margery handed her father the letter she had just been
reading. He looked at it long enough to glean an estimate of its
contents, and then flung it from him angrily, exclaiming, "He has
thwarted me again—the mean souled rebel. What does he mean by it?"

Margery could only look at her father in dumb amazement. For why should
he be so put out because Miles could not come home and amuse Audrey?

When he had flung out of the room in a storm of anger, she turned to
her sister-in-law and said, "I cannot understand my father. Why should
he be angry because Miles has gone to London? He would not let him
come to Woodstock at Christmas, or even send him a silver crown for a
Christmas box."

"Is it true that he is translating the New Testament into English?"

"Yes, he has sent me a copy of the Gospel of Matthew done into English."

"Oh Margery! I am so glad: will you let me see it?" asked Lady Audrey.

Margery looked surprised at her sister-in-law's eagerness. "I would
have shown it to you before," she said; "but my confessor told me it
was against the law of the Church to read such a book, and that I had
better send it back to Miles, and tell him not to do such a thing
again, or grave trouble would befall him and us too."

Audrey laughed. She had very little respect for priests or monks. So
their threats made small impression upon her; and it was only out of
curiosity that she wanted to see Margery's copy of St. Matthew.

But having got possession of it, she would not part with it until she
had read it through; and when she had read it once she began to read it
again, and then to compare it with the Latin Vulgate.

It had such a fascination for her that she could talk of nothing else,
and she often made Lady Paton very uncomfortable by her remark; for
what would happen next if fashionable ladies took upon themselves
to set the clergy right upon such a thing as the translation of the

Audrey protested against this view of the matter, declaring she only
wanted to know what was the truth—to know the mind of God and the Lord
Jesus Christ—and no one could blame her for this.

Lady Paton did more than blame her. She was very angry about the whole
matter. But fortunately Lady Audrey was summoned to go with her mother
to visit an aunt at Little Sodbury, in Gloucestershire; and so her
visit to Woodstock was abruptly terminated, to the great relief of Lady
Paton, who feared that the holy fathers at the monastery would hear
of her talk about the New Testament and be offended about it. She was
angry even with her own darling Margery, and bade her lock up the book
in the oak-chest, and by no means allow anyone else to see it.

But before she went, Lady Audrey had copied several chapters, and these
she took with her, and made no secret of what she had done when she
joined her mother.

The Countess was amused that her daughter should appear as a learned
lady; for the King's daughter, the Lady Mary, was being well educated,
and his sister was accounted a learned lady, and many of the noble
dames she had met were having their daughters educated, to share in
this new learning people were talking about, and as a young widow
Audrey would have a right to talk and express an opinion, which she
could not as an unmarried girl.

At the manor house, at Little Sodbury, they met the tutor of the
family, who had known Erasmus, and had been both at Oxford and
Cambridge, and at dinner frequently the talk turned upon the difference
between the translation of Erasmus and the Latin Vulgate; and from
Master William Tyndale, Audrey learned a good deal more of the gospel
truth—expounded both in conversation and in preaching.

To him she showed her precious sheets of St. Matthew's Gospel in
English, and he seemed very much struck with the idea.

"Why, if we could only get the Testament properly translated and
printed in the new printing presses, it would be better than all the
preaching," said the young man, who could think of nothing but how the
new doctrine that he had learned from God's word should be made known
to others.

In spite of his duties all the week, he went out preaching in the
surrounding villages on Sunday, without fee or reward; nay, he was
thankful if any parish priest would let him use his pulpit to speak out
boldly and plainly, and tell the people that the whole law of God was
contained in the Scripture, which if they could read for themselves
they would be able to judge whether the doctrines of the Church were
true or not.

Sometimes Lady Audrey and another friend would join the children and
their tutor in a ramble through the fields, or climbing the Cotswold
Hills; but wherever it might be, the talk of these two would come round
to the discussion of translating the Scriptures into English; and
Tyndale listened with the greatest interest to the account she gave
of Miles Paton translating the Gospel for his sister, and afterwards
making other copies for friends, to maintain himself at the university.

"But that is slow, slow," said Tyndale, shaking his head. "It is too
costly, too," he added, "for when once the translation is made copies
should be made quickly; and this could only be done by the printing
press, an invention that would give the Scriptures to serving men and
maidens, as well as people of quality, who could afford to pay large
sums of money to the scrivener who wrote them. That is how it must be
at last, Lady Audrey, if ever the Bible is to have any power in this
our England; for it is the only way it can get into the hands of the

Lady Audrey soon found that this was the dream of Master Tyndale's
life,—to bring the new learning, that had wrought such changes at the
universities, down to the comprehension of the common people. But she
was not sure that she liked this idea.

It was, of course, quite the right and proper thing for people
like herself and the Patons to know all about what was said of the
difference between the Latin Vulgate and the new translation, but she
thought the doctrine of penances and Masses for the dead, and the other
doctrines of the Church taught by the priests, were much better suited
to the common people than this new learning; for if they were taught
to think for themselves as the New Testament taught, might they not
be even more troublesome than they were now to the landlords? She had
heard something of this from her late husband and his father, and so
she thought it would be a great mistake to get the Scriptures put into
the hands of such common people as yeomen and ploughmen,—and she said

"But, my lady, have you thought that these same yeomen and ploughmen
have souls for whom the Lord Christ died, as well as for the rich and
great?" said Master Tyndale, in a tone of rebuke.

The lady tossed her head. "What will become of the rich and great
if the poor are taught that they have a right to share in all their
possessions? I quite agree with the priest who came to dinner
yesterday. My mother said he was a wise, foreseeing man, and if this
new learning is to be of any use to us we must keep it to ourselves,
and not make it common by translating books into English."

"But what would you have known of this New Testament of Erasmus if your
friend had not translated it into English?" said the tutor, slyly.

"Oh! I spoke not so much against the book being done into English, but
it being made common through the printing of it, such as you wish. Of
course, if the book is written out fairly by a good scrivener, he must
be paid for his work, and the books will cost a large sum, and—"

"And the rich only can become possessed of them," interrupted Tyndale,
hotly; for the selfish ignorance of the young widow made him angry, the
more so perhaps that he had hoped great things of her during the first
part of her stay in his master's house.

Like many others, Lady Audrey was content to take up the new notion
that reading the Testament had given her, but when she heard the
dinner-table talk about the poor rising and throwing off the duty they
owed to their masters as well as the priests, she drew back, and began
to think that Miles Paton must be as mad as his father said, for, if
the Gospel was to be followed out to its logical conclusion, as one of
the gentlemen said, we should have the ignorant poor pulling out their
eyes and cutting off their right hands, and the number of beggars would
be increased tenfold. She brought forward this second-hand argument
now, but Master Tyndale only laughed at her for thinking sensible men
would be so foolish as to believe that this command was to be taken

"See you now, Lady Audrey, we have a picture at Sodbury Hall of a fox
preaching in a friar's hood and gown, but whoever believes that a fox
ever mounted a pulpit steps? Yet we say the picture is a true one,
because we know that many of the friars and monks are as cunning and
hypocritical as a fox. So with this command to pluck out the eye and
cut off the hand; it but teaches that if some sin is as dear to us, and
as close to us, aye, and as useful to us as a right hand or a right
eye, still they must be given up if we are to enter the kingdom of

Audrey looked serious for a minute or two. She had learned to venerate
this tutor, for she had heard on all sides since she had been here that
he was one of the most learned men in England; and learning was the
passport everywhere now, so that although he might be only a tutor to
Master Walsh's children at present, he might, by-and-bye, be received
at Court, and rise to the highest dignity in Church and State, and so
be able to help forward her interests and those of her family.

So Lady Audrey was careful how she answered him, for he was of good
birth like herself, and she could not tell him that in championing
the cause of the poor he was speaking for those to whom he himself
belonged, as she would have liked to do. So she set about it in a
more gentle manner, conceding all that he said about the cunning and
hypocrisy of the monks and friars.

"Then why should we not warn the poor against falling victims to their
guile?" asked Tyndale, quickly. "The rich can protect themselves better
against the extortion of these foxes than the poor and ignorant can.
Why should they not be told that God is ready and willing to pardon
all sin, if we on our part will earnestly strive and endeavour to
overcome it, or give it up? Why should the poor be left to believe that
penances and masses are necessary to gain the release of the soul from
Purgatory, and starve themselves almost—as they sometimes do—to secure
the prayers of a priest to mitigate the pain of some dear one who has
passed away?"

"But the rich have to pay for masses as well," said Audrey, thinking
of the quarrelling that had gone on between her own and her husband's
family as to who should pay for the requisite number of masses to
be said for the release of his soul from Purgatory. She did not
tell Master William Tyndale about this, for she had wit enough to
see that it did not redound to the credit of either side, and she
thought she might be asked why, if she believed that masses for the
dead were necessary, she did not deny herself some luxury in dress or
appointments, and send the money so saved to the monastery, that the
time of poor Jack's stay in Purgatory might be lessened.

Altogether, she found herself on the horns of a dilemma, and was not
sorry when the children, who had been sitting at their feet listening,
suddenly asked some question on a totally different subject, which she
eagerly took up as an escape from the present discussion.

She had been some months now at Sodbury Hall, and Master Tyndale began
to hope that she too might be one who would help to make known the
glorious news of the Gospel of the love of God. But after this talk
the two mutually avoided further conversation on the subject, for Lady
Audrey did not want to be made uncomfortable by such home truths as
Master Tyndale was apt to apply in his arguments; while he, on his
side, thought that the less he saw of the fascinating little lady the
better it would be for his future work, which was gradually forming
itself in his mind, and from which, he prayed God, he might never be
turned aside,—to become a translator of the New Testament into English,
and get it printed, either in London or at one of the great printing
presses on the continent.

She had some precious fragments of the Word of God which she could
read, and which the Holy Spirit could enforce in His own good time;
but for the mass of the English people there was no such provision,
and their souls were starving for lack of the Bread of Life. So in the
midst of his teaching, preaching, and the opportunities society gave
him of making known the truth to his master's friends, he made some
sort of a beginning to translate the New Testament, using not only the
Greek, but also the Latin translation of Erasmus, that the English
version should be as perfect as possible.

But it was slow work, and he began to see before the summer of this
year—1522—was over, that he should have to make some change in his life
if ever it was to be completed, and the haunting dream of his life
fulfilled, by the Testament being not only translated and written, but
printed in English!

Some thought of this had doubtless entered his mind before the visit
of Lady Audrey, but since he had seen the fragments of the Gospel she
possessed, and heard the story of Miles Paton, it had become almost a
passion that possessed him, to do this work himself for his country, so
that what now seemed the wildest dream might be actual fact, and the
Bible be the possession of ploughmen and shopkeepers, as well as of the
students at the universities.



THE sun was shining brightly one May morning on scattered groups of
people gathered in the neighbourhood of York House to see the splendid
cavalcade that would presently issue from its gates, for the great,
but hated Cardinal, never went out but in almost royal state, and it
might fairly be expected that to-day he would flaunt in the eyes of the
people all those insignia of power which he knew so well how to use.

Whether the gaping crowds knew it or not, this was a notable day in
the history of the English people. We are proud of our Cressy and
Agincourt, but we have much more reason to be proud and thankful for
the battle of this May-day. For eight years no parliament had been
assembled; Wolsey hated parliaments, and saw in them the one real
danger to the despotism which he and the King had settled should be
fastened on the necks of the people. To secure this, Wolsey had done
all he could to foster a policy of peace with other nations, but his
own scheming had, against his will and wish, driven the King into war
with France, and now money was wanted to carry it on.

He had tried another expedient the previous year to supply the
deficiency, and, when Miles first took up the duties of his office,
he found his work consisted for the most part in writing letters and
answering protests from the different Commissioners, who had been sent
into the different counties to assess the value of estates for the
purpose of levying a forced loan to pay the cost of the French War.

Miles thought of his own home, and the deserted village and scattered
tenants, and wondered how it would be possible to raise such a sum as
the Cardinal demanded, in the present condition of the country.

Twenty thousand pounds had been exacted from London and its wealthier
citizens, but the forced tax on the land had been a failure; and the
Parliament had been summoned, not for the redress of grievances, but to
supply the King with money for his costly little war.

In his capacity of Chancellor, Wolsey was going to meet the Commons,
whom he so heartily despised, and it might be expected that he would
go with a princely retinue; and so the villagers of Charing, a few
citizens from London, and some from Westminster had come out to see the

In gorgeous robes of scarlet velvet and silk embroidery, emblazoned
with jewels of priceless value, the Chancellor rode on a milk-white
horse, whose trappings were as costly as his master's dress.

Two grooms in elegant livery led the horse; and the Chancellor was
followed by half-a-dozen secretaries to write down whatever passed at
the meeting; and these were followed by several hundred Knights and
Noblemen, that these common people might see how he was supported by
the Nobles of the land.

But whatever impression this display may have made on the assembled
crowd was not evident, for they gazed in stolid silence on the
splendour displayed before them—or they may have thought that a man
possessed of such boundless wealth as Wolsey, could surely help the
King out of his own fat revenue, without asking more taxes to be levied
on poor people.

They, however, followed the Chancellor down to Westminster Hall,
wondering what was passing within the walls of the House of Parliament.

Miles was one of the secretaries chosen to attend the Chancellor, he
having proved himself a rapid and correct writer, and Wolsey, who was a
diligent and clever man of business himself, was not slow to appreciate
the skill of the young scrivener, whom he had commanded to take down
every word spoken in reply to the demand he would make in his speech to
the House of Commons.

Wolsey made his demand, and Miles and his fellow secretaries sat, with
pen in hand, waiting to record the reply. But he and his master waited
in vain. No member in the House rose to speak, and this dead silence
made Wolsey more angry than the most violent opposition would have
done. In vain he called upon member after member to speak; each and all
sat dumb.

At last he turned to Sir Thomas More, the writer of "Utopia," who had
been chosen Speaker of their Parliament, and demanded some word from
him. But More fell on his knees (as he would have done to the King in
person), and declared that he could not reply until he had received the
instructions of the House, which still sat mute.

Finding he could do nothing, the proud Chancellor was obliged to
withdraw to his own private room, and when he had gone tongues were
loosened, and an angry debate began over the unconstitutional attempt
to influence their decision.

The secretaries had been left at their table, and it was with keen
delight that Miles recorded the brave words spoken in defence of
English liberty, of which the House of Commons, with its power to grant
or refuse subsidies, was the bulwark.

Nice reading this would be for the Cardinal, he thought, and he hoped
this might teach him a salutary lesson before it was too late; for, in
spite of his pride, ambition, and self-seeking, Wolsey possessed many
admirable qualities which Miles could appreciate, and which he wished
others could know of too, but which the man's pride would not let him
show to any but those who were brought into immediate contact with him.

The reports of some of the speeches having been taken to Wolsey, he
returned to the House to answer the objections that had been raised,
but this was an infringement of the Constitution, for he was not an
elected member, and so he was again met with blank silence. And when
at last the assembly broke up for that day, for the first time Wolsey
must have felt that he was beaten by the common people whom he so
heartily despised. For a fortnight this struggle went on, and then the
Commons voted a sum of money that was about a fourth of what Wolsey
had demanded. He had asked for a property tax of twenty per cent; the
Commons authorised one of five per cent for two years, and beyond this
they would not be moved either by King or Cardinal.

Miles was so rejoiced over this burst of sturdy independence, that
he wrote home and told his father all he had seen and heard in this
notable struggle for the rights of the people to the control of

This letter so pleased Sir Thomas that he wrote to his son once more,
inviting him to pay them a visit whenever he could be spared from his

This, however, was not likely at present, for although there were days
now and then when Miles was free to do as he pleased, because his
master was staying at Greenwich, or some other of the royal palaces,
with the King, still there was no telling but he might be summoned to
follow by special messenger, and so he seldom left his rooms in York
House for more than a few hours, in case he should be wanted. Still,
he was very pleased with his father's cordial letter, and sent to say
that he would gladly visit them once more, but his duty and his fortune
lay in London with the Cardinal now, yet whenever he should visit
Oxford—which, it was expected, he would do—then Miles would certainly
journey to Woodstock to visit his mother and sister once more.

He sent this letter by special messenger, who also carried presents to
mother, father, and sister; and he sent a letter to Margery, asking her
to tell him all the home news, and whether any further changes had been
made in the estate.

Miles would have been pleased to pay a visit to his old home, but
he was very happy in London now. He had made friends, both in the
Cardinal's household and also among some of the wealthy citizens of
London, and some of the King's household also, for, in his attendance
on the Cardinal, he often went to one or other of the royal palaces,
and so the Controller of the Royal Household, Sir Harry Guildford,
often had to provide him with a lodging.

This was not always easy, especially when they had extra guests; for
the Cardinal's retainers had many of them caught some of their master's
pride, and would by no means be satisfied with anything short of the

But Miles had learned to carry out his New Testament lessons in the
small details of every-day life, and so, seeing how troubled Sir Harry
was sometimes to lodge all his guests suitably, he had come to the
rescue one day by suggesting that a lodging should be found for him in
some other wing of the palace than that claimed by the Cardinal and his

The gentleman looked at him as if scarcely able to credit his ears, and
said, "Well if you will be content to lodge in mine own house to-night,
I will see that all is made comfortable for you, and it will spare me
some trouble and much grumbling, for I know not how to find suitable
lodging for all here."

So Miles went and spent the evening with the Controller's family, and
a very pleasant friendship was then commenced; and now, whenever he
could spare the time, he was warmly welcomed at Greenwich. For he was
specially drawn to Mistress Cicely Guildford as being like his sister

One day in the summer of this year—1523—he had gone down the river by
barge with the Cardinal and a few of his gentlemen; but as he was not
required to be in immediate attendance upon the Cardinal, he was going
to spend the day with Sir Harry Guildford.

The Controller met him with more than his usual cordiality, as they met
near the landing stairs of the Palace Garden. "You are very welcome
to-day, Master Miles Paton," he said, "For I have a grave gentleman
come to stay with me, recommended to my notice by my friend Sir
John Walsh of Little Sodbury in Gloucestershire. Now he is said to
be a great scholar in Greek, and I would have you see some of these
productions of Master William Tyndale's, before I speak for him to the
Bishop of London when he comes hither."

"Does he come from Oxford?" asked Miles eagerly, thinking he should
hear some news of his beloved University.

"Nay, he hath been tutor to Sir John's family; but he hath some project
in his mind in which he seeks the help of the Bishop, and my friend
hath sent him to me to secure him a proper introduction, and I should
like to know somewhat of his work, for my Greek and Latin are somewhat
rusty, even if I had the time to read that which he hath brought with

So Miles promised to make the acquaintance of the stranger while he
stayed with the Controller: and Sir Harry walked with him to his house
and they made their way to the summer parlour, that opened into a cool
garden walk, which they could reach through a wicket gate from the
Royal garden.

Here Miles was introduced to a grave earnest-looking man, apparently
between thirty and forty years of age, whose face lighted with a very
pleasant smile as he took Miles' hand rather eagerly, and said: "Have I
the pleasure of speaking to Master Miles Paton, who translated several
of the Gospels into English for the use of friends?"

"Yes, I did that for my sister and others who could read English and
could not read Greek."

"And your family live at Woodstock, or near Woodstock," he added.

"And you have come from Paton Hall, my father's home," said Miles,
jumping to the conclusion that his sister had told him this.

"No!" said Master Tyndale, with a smile at the young fellow's
eagerness, "I have never seen Paton Hall that I am aware of; but I made
the acquaintance of Lady Audrey Paton when she was staying at Little
Sodbury Hall last summer; and she had some portions of the Gospel of
St. Matthew, which she said had been done into English by Master Miles
Paton for his sister, and which she had copied for her own use while on
a visit there."

"Ah! Lady Audrey is my brother's widow," said Miles. He could not help
feeling disappointed that his hopes of hearing news from home had been
so speedily dashed; and, for the first few minutes of the talk, he paid
but small attention to what Tyndale said about Lady Audrey and her
mother; but presently his ear caught a few words that made him look at
the grave face eagerly and earnestly.

"I have come to London to translate the New Testament into English, and
get it printed," he said.

"To translate the New Testament into English!" repeated Miles. "Do you
mean the Greek New Testament of Erasmus?" he said.

"Yes; I mean to use that and the Latin translation as well—not the
Vulgate, of course, for that has corrupted the Water of Life by man's
inventions and doctrines."

"God bless you! and further your task with His favour," exclaimed
Miles, eagerly, grasping the hand of his new friend, and shaking it
again most vigorously, as he awoke from the disappointment that had
seized him when he first heard that there was no news from home for
him; for this that the stranger told was better even than tidings of
Margery and his mother.

They had been left to themselves in the summer parlour, and now they
sat down and talked over the project that had brought Master Tyndale to
London; and Miles learned that it was his own efforts at translating
the Word of God that had given the definite direction to what had now
become the purpose of his life.

"The Bishop of London, Dr. Tunstall, is a learned man, I hear. My
friend Sir John Walsh knew him and Dean Colet years ago, and he thinks
it likely that the Bishop will give me a lodging in his house, and such
help from books in his library as I may find needful for my task; and
so he has commended me to Sir Harry Guildford to introduce me to the
Bishop. What do you think of this plan?" he asked, seeing Miles looked

"I would not tell all men what project you have in mind; my lord of
London may be able to help a little, but he is cautious, and I think he
would be afraid to help in anything that would put the Bible into the
hands of the people."

"But he has helped forward the new learning—he was a great friend
of Erasmus—he is not an ignorant bigot like some of the monks and
preaching friars," said Tyndale, eagerly; for, from what he had heard
from Sir John Walsh, he made sure that the Bishop would be quite as
willing to help him as he had been to help Erasmus, if only he could be
introduced to his notice by a duly accredited person.

Miles had seen and known a good deal about Dr. Tunstall, as well as
other friends of the new learning, since he had been in the service of
the Cardinal; and the conclusion he had arrived at was this: that in
almost every instance these men were afraid of what the consequences
would be if the Word of God was put into the hands of the people to be
read in English, and the teaching of the Church compared with what they
read there.

He had heard all sorts of discussions in his master's household upon
this topic of making the new sources of learning available for the
people themselves, and not merely for the rich and learned. In general
the opinion was that it would be most dangerous to do this, and he gave
William Tyndale the benefit of his experience, but at the same time
said he would do all he could to further his plans, for he too desired
to see the New Testament in the hands of the people, which, he held,
would—if anything could—bring into existence More's "Utopia," which at
present could only be a daydream, but could be made a reality if men
would only learn to live and practice the Divine law,—to do to others
as they could justly wish others should do to them if their places were

"I am afraid we cannot hope for that yet," said Tyndale, with a grave

"Of course not. The first step towards it is not gained yet, for the
people are in ignorance of this royal law, but when once they learn
it—learn to live by it—all things will be changed."

"There will be no need of cardinals and priests to come between the
soul and God," said Tyndale, "and I begin to perceive that this view of
the matter may make Dr. Tunstall afraid to give his help to what might
prove the lessening of his power over the bodies and souls of men; but,
now that I have come hither, I will carry through what Sir John thought
would be the best plan for attaining my end."

"And if it fails, some other door will open, and I will give you what
poor help I can, though that may be little enough," said Miles.

The two spent a very pleasant evening with Sir Harry's family, and Lady
Guildford was specially gracious to Master Tyndale, because she saw how
cordially Miles had taken to him, and Miles was a great favourite of
hers by this time.



THE refusal of the Commons to grant more than a five per cent
income-tax, and that for only two years, had been a great blow to the
Cardinal, and the King too, for money must be had from somewhere to
carry on the war against France; and so there was a meeting of all the
principal ecclesiastics at the Palace of Placentia just now to devise
plans for getting an additional tax out of the people.

It was not the most propitious moment perhaps to propose to the Bishop
of London that he should help forward a plan to put the Bible into the
hands of the people, when they had just refused to tax themselves at
the bidding of the Cardinal, for it would inevitably compel the clergy
to dip their hands into their own pockets to supply the King's need.

While King, cardinals, and bishops were debating how they should levy
a new benevolence upon the nation, Miles Paton and William Tyndale
were walking in the shady avenues of Greenwich Park, talking over the
dream that had come to each of them, and devising plans for making it a
blessed reality through the art of printing.

Miles did not think his friend would get much help from the English
bishops,—he even feared that his master might oppose the plan if he
heard of it,—and so he advised that if it could be done in no other way
that Tyndale should take it to some of the foreign printing presses and
get it done there; and he promised to make cautious enquiries from some
of the Cardinal's agents, for these were often coming and going between
London and the principal cities of Flanders, and from some of these men
he would be able to learn where the best printers could be found.

But Tyndale did not think he should need to take all this trouble. Sir
John Walsh knew Dr. Tunstall, and would not have recommended him to
seek his help if he had not felt sure that he would give it; and Sir
Harry Guildford thought it was certainly worth a trial, and took the
first favourable opportunity of speaking to the Bishop about his guest,
telling him that he was an ordained priest, and had received a licence
to preach, and, being a man of vast learning, he would be of great
service to the Church if the Bishop would kindly give him a helping
hand in the project he had at heart.

Sometimes, as the two students were walking in some lonely glade in
the park, or passing through its gates, they would see the stately
procession of the Cardinal and Bishop of London; for not even in the
semi-retirement of Greenwich Park would Wolsey walk without a princely
retinue of gentlemen being in attendance upon him.

"He is the most pompous and vainest man I ever heard of," said Tyndale
one day, as he watched this gorgeous procession of clerics, as they
gravely stalked up the broad avenue; the keepers of the park meanwhile
hustling everybody else out of the way, for Wolsey could not endure the
sight of a common person. But at the first sound of the ecclesiastical
trumpet that was blown to let the keepers know the Cardinal was
approaching, our friends got out of sight, though they were by no means
in a hurry to do this when one of the King's hunting or hawking parties
crossed their path.

Henry was at this time a good-tempered, merry-hearted man, who, so
long as he could have his own way, and was not troubled about anything
beyond the pleasure of the hour, did not trouble himself to keep the
people of Greenwich out of the park. In fact he rather liked to see
them, and the pleasant smile with which they bowed before him; and he
used to think if all his subjects were like these men of Greenwich
he would not have much trouble in persuading them to give him a
"benevolence," which his Chancellor had proposed should now be levied
on the laity. The King had agreed to this, but at the same time had
insisted that the clergy should also give of their wealth, and, after a
good deal of discussion, the Cardinal and Bishop had consented to tax
themselves to the extent of four per cent.

When this agreement had been arrived at the conclave broke up, and the
Bishop of London returned home before Master William Tyndale had an
opportunity of speaking to him, but Sir Harry Guildford having spoken
on his behalf to Dr. Tunstall they all thought it would be best for
Master Tyndale to follow him to London and seek an audience with him at
his palace.

From what he knew of the prelate Miles was not very sanguine about help
being obtained from him, and so, before he returned to Westminster with
the Cardinal, he wrote a letter to the curate of All Hallows Church at
the corner of Honey Lane.

In his letter Miles asked Master Garrett to let his friend share his
lodging if it was necessary, and he would defray all the cost of his
entertainment, for he knew that the curate was poor and had many calls
upon his slender purse from the poor of the neighbourhood.

He was, however, very thankful that he could make this provision for
his new friend in case he should need it, and he also knew it would
cheer the heart of Master Garrett to have such a man us Master Tyndale
to stay with him.

For himself he expected to be very busy when they got back to York

It was arranged between them, during their walks in Greenwich Park,
that Miles should look over and correct the sheets as they were
translated, and if there was any word or sentence that seemed less
clear in the English than he thought it might be made, the friends
should meet and talk the matter over, and compare the difficulty with
the best Greek and Latin books he could borrow from the Cardinal's

As the son of Sir Thomas Paton—a student of Oxford and a good Greek
scholar, Miles was not one of the common people in the Cardinal's eyes,
and so he was welcome to the use of any book his extensive library
contained; and it was one of the advantages of residence at York House
that this library was always at his disposal.

That he could make use of it now, to help Tyndale with his New
Testament translation, had a peculiar piquancy to Miles, who
nevertheless knew he would have to be very cautious how he went to work.

So the friends parted, Tyndale to take his letter to the Bishop, and
Miles to return to York House and write letters to the Commissioners
and Sheriffs of the various counties of England, about the forced loan
or "benevolence" that had to be levied in addition to the tax agreed to
by Parliament.

It was hoped that the House of Commons, having vindicated their right
to impose taxation, the benevolence would pass without much demur. But
opposition came from a most unexpected quarter. Wolsey had done what he
could to protect the shepherds while shearing the sheep almost to the
skin, but the shepherds did not see why they should contribute anything
to the king's demand, and for once they incited the sheep to resist
being shorn.

They preached from every pulpit that this benevolence demanded in the
name of the king was contrary to the liberties of the nation, and that
the king could take no man's goods but by regular process of law.
The keen instinct of the people had been sufficiently aroused now to
understand that in the question of self-taxation was involved that of
the very existence of freedom, and these pulpit orations drove it home
still further, and made the people determine to resist the chancellor's
demand, though they might be able to pay it ten times over.

Messengers rode to York House in hot haste to acquaint the chancellor
of the storm that had been raised in all the country districts, and
how the clergy themselves were leading the revolt against this illegal
taxation, and Miles was soon busy enough receiving and answering the
numerous letters. At first these were peremptory in their command to
carry out the Royal warrant at all costs; and not until news came
that Kent had driven the commissioners out of its bounds, and Suffolk
preparing for an armed resistance, were these commands withdrawn.

As long as it was possible to hold out, Wolsey would not yield; and not
until he had exhausted every political expedient, would he yield to the
popular demand and withdraw the royal warrant.

Then, and not till then, was Miles free to seek his friend William
Tyndale. They had caught, now and then, hasty glimpses of each other,
for Master Tyndale had called to see Miles; but when he understood
how closely he was engaged upon the Cardinal's business just now, he
resolved not to call again until the popular ferment had somewhat
subsided. But as soon as Miles was free to take an hour's rest in the
open air, he went in search of his friend's lodging in Honey Lane, to
learn how he fared, for he knew his plan to lodge with the Bishop had

"My Lord Bishop could not entertain me at his house," said Tyndale;
"but he has granted me leave to preach in the London pulpits, and
assures me that I shall not long lack a service; and Master Garrett
hath been my good friend, and I am to preach next Sunday at St.
Dunstan's in the West."

"It is not far from the village of Charing, and I shall be able to come
and hear you," said Miles eagerly; "and I shall bring a friend, who is
a wealthy citizen of London, with whom I have had many talks concerning
my own writing of the New Testament. He may be able and willing to help
us in our difficulty." And then he told Tyndale what a storm had been
raised throughout the country over the King's illegal demand, and how
busy it had kept him.

The two friends walked to Paul's Stairs, where they took boat to
Westminster, and went back to York House that way. Tyndale carried with
him all the sheets he had translated, that Miles and he might read them
over together, and any words that wanted further consideration might
be copied and compared; for now Miles was free for a few days,—the
Cardinal having gone to his house at Hampton.

But Miles had been left at home for a much-needed rest; and so he
invited Master Tyndale to share his lodging for a day or two, which
he gladly accepted, for his means were small, and the curate of All
Hallows was poor, and could ill afford the shelter he had so kindly
given him, even for a few days.

So it was arranged that Master Tyndale should go back to Honey Lane for
that night, and tell his friend that he was going to spend the next few
days with Miles, after preaching at St. Dunstan's on Sunday.

After he was gone, Miles turned to consider the words that had been
taken down as needing further consideration, and for which special
facilities for elucidation existed in the Cardinal's splendid library.
He was up at six o'clock the next morning, for Church service began at
eight, and many citizens who loved a country walk on Sunday went to St.
Dunstan's. It lay between Temple Bar and the village of Charing, near
the town houses of many of the nobility, so that William Tyndale had
been appointed to preach in one of the most fashionable of the London

In those days the most wealthy of London merchants lived over their
shops, and so city churches were well-filled, and this was a favourite
one to those who loved a walk, and could boast of rather an eclectic

Miles had often been there in preference to attending mass in the
Cardinal's private chapel; and he went out about seven o'clock that
Sunday morning feeling more than usually elated, for he longed to hear
his friend preach, feeling sure he should hear the same doctrine as
that taught by Master Clark at Oxford, whose teaching and preaching he
had sorely missed.

As he came within sight of the church, he saw his friend Master
Monmouth, a wealthy citizen for whom he had learned to have a deep
regard. For Master Monmouth had invited him to his house when he first
came to London, and had given him much fatherly advice as to the
company and places in and around London, to enable him to live purely,
and not fall a victim to some rogue or gamester, who would tempt him to
ruin, if possible.

"Well met, Master Monmouth! You are right heartily welcome this
morning," said Miles, as he walked up to his friend and greeted him.

"And why this morning more than any other, Master Miles?" asked the
merchant warmly.

"Because I am glad you have come to St. Dunstan's, to hear my friend
Master Tyndale's sermon. After church I will tell you more concerning
him, and introduce him to you—but we must go into church now."

"Yes, indeed we must, if we wish to get a seat," said the merchant; for
while they had been speaking, people from beyond Temple Bar, as well
as from the great houses along the Strand, facing the river, had been
hurrying into church. And now the two friends followed, and were glad
to find vacant places near the door.

The sermon preached that day by Master William Tyndale was not speedily
forgotten; for the preacher, instead of insisting upon penance, masses
for the dead, and other Romish doctrines, begged his hearers to make
themselves acquainted with the Word of God Himself, which would teach
them in simple truths the unsearchable riches of Christ.

Monmouth listened with his heart and soul, as well as his ears; and
when the clock struck nine, and the sermon was drawing to a close, he
whispered to Miles, "I could listen for another hour to that priest,
though he has been speaking nigh upon an hour now!"

"Aye, he speaks like Master Clark of Oxford, of whom I have told you."

"Do you think he would come to 'The Golden Fleece,' and have some
discourse with my dame? Can you come with him and spend the rest of the
day?" said Monmouth eagerly.

"I must ask my friend's leave first, for he has promised to spend a day
or two with me while the Cardinal is at Hampton Court, where he has
gone to spend a few days."

Monmouth smiled. "Ah! after the storm he raised about our ears he would
fain hide his head for a while," he said in a pleasant tone, though he
too was one who had denounced the benevolence as illegal. They sat and
chatted quietly together while the people were going out of church, and
when William Tyndale appeared Miles went forward to meet him, and told
him of Master Monmouth's proposal.

But Master Tyndale was a gentleman who came of good family, although
he might not be able to boast of much of this world's goods; and so he
looked a little surprised that Miles should propose to spend the day in
such familiar intercourse with a London merchant, even though he might
be rich.

The learned thinker was not altogether free of the pride and prejudice
of birth, that placed the land owners above those who earned their
bread by trade and the sweat of their own faces, and so he bowed with a
little stiffness to Monmouth's proposal, that they should walk with him
through Fleet Street, and take their dinner with him and his dame.

But fortunately the decision was left to Miles; and he had been to
Monmouth's house before, and made the acquaintance of his family; and
so he soon decided that they would go home with him, and that Master
Tyndale should return with him to York House before sunset.

London shops in those days, with their beetle-browed, overhanging upper
stories, were not the most inviting of places, especially on Sunday
when the outer flap which formed the window shutter was closed, and the
whole place was in darkness. Then, too, there was the close, fusty,
musty smell of the goods stored away in the cellar, and on the shelves,
and in every available corner, so that it was difficult to leave a
clear passage-way for the family use through all the combined litter
of the shop. Now, as the merchant led the way between boxes, bales and
sacks, he had to turn round and grasp the priest's hand, lest he should
stumble over some of the lumber, or down the cellar stairs of "The
Golden Fleece."

But when once these dangers were passed, and the upper rooms gained,
Master Tyndale found that they were as conveniently and elegantly
furnished as little Sodbury Hall itself. Indeed, all the new
inventions, such as stamped leather tapestry on the walls, and a rug of
some foreign make on the floor, in the best room, instead of the rushes
that needed constantly replacing, if the room was to be kept sweet and
clean, were in use here.

Before the day was over, Master Tyndale had learned not to despise a
London merchant; for Monmouth showed as great an appreciation of the
truth of the Gospel as even he could desire, and begged him to come and
stay with him while he translated the New Testament.



MASTER TYNDALE went to spend a day or two with Miles at York House,
before taking up his quarters with the generous London merchant,
Monmouth, at "The Sign of the Golden Fleece." Every shop—no matter what
its trade might be—had its distinctive sign in those days—the picture,
if possible, as well as the words, being painted on a board and hung
out beyond the doorway. Prentice lads called out the wares that were
sold, trying to outbawl each other in their shouts of "What d'ye lack?
What d'ye lack? Here's fine Flemish cloth for hose and doublet!"
"Here's spices and peppers from beyond the sea!" called another. "Hats!
Hats! Hats!" screamed a third. This was the din that greeted the two
friends as they walked up Fleet Street together from York House.

It was not too quiet there for a studious man, with its constant coming
and going; but here, in the midst of this London chaffering, what hope
would there be of ever getting a quiet hour? And Miles said something
of this as they were pushed and jostled and shouted at by these eager
lads, who were anxious to secure them as customers.

But on their arrival at "The Golden Fleece" they found that Dame
Monmouth had anticipated her guest's desire to be quiet, for she had
prepared a room for him at the back, as far away from the noise of the
street as possible; and, being at the very top of the house, it was
light, although the casement was small. But the room itself was not
much larger than a monk's cell, and almost as plainly furnished.

A table, a stool, a little pallet bed in one corner, and two deal
shelves to hold his books! But Tyndale was delighted with his little
room, and deeply grateful to the lady who had taken care that all the
deal furniture should be carefully scrubbed before it was brought up

Miles was inclined to view it with a little disfavour, for he would
fain have honoured his friend by providing him with a more luxurious
lodging, he having begun to get used to "purple and fine linen" from
living in the Cardinal's household—although his own room at Oxford had
been little, if any, better.

"This will be as the portal of heaven to me, I hope," said Tyndale,
looking round the room with a smile of supreme satisfaction. "Here I
trust I shall be taught of the Spirit how to write and what to say, for
the harvest truly is plenteous but the labourers are few."

Yet the two friends had not been idle amid the splendours of York
House; for Miles, the Cardinal, having given him leave to use his
library, had obtained leave from the Controller of the household to
take the country priest there also; and he, nothing loth to exalt his
master's fame for splendour, riches, and learning, had readily agreed
to let the two spend a good deal of their time there.

Books that they could scarcely hope to find anywhere else in England
were stored here—treasures of Greek and Hebrew—valuable tomes that had
been brought from Italy, as presents or bribes to Wolsey, were here
ranged on the shelves; and the friends were not slow to make use of
these for reference in the work they both had so much at heart. It was
for the sake of having such a library to refer to in any difficulty
that Tyndale had so much desired the patronage and help of the Bishop
of London; but, as he turned the pages of these invaluable treasures of
learning, he doubted whether Dr. Tunstall's library would afford him
such help as this of the Cardinal's; and when the Controller graciously
extended his invitation to a seat at the household table, Tyndale was
careful to accept it gratefully, although he would rather have had a
frugal meal served to him at the neighbouring tavern, as he and Miles
had arranged for.

And the Controller was not so pleased after all, for Master Tyndale had
lived sparingly and frugally all the years he had been at Cambridge,
and evidently had believed in plain living and high thinking, for he
persistently declined one dainty after the other, and sat munching a
piece of coarse rye-bread, although there was a loaf made from the
finest wheat meal standing close to him.

Miles was vexed, for he thought his friend might for once have
conformed to the usages of the Cardinal's household, for his sake, if
for nothing else. But all Tyndale would consent to eat was a piece of
coarse boiled beef, such as was served at the tables of the servants
about the kitchen.

It was a small matter, perhaps—this question of eating and drinking—but
Tyndale's sturdy adherence to what he conceived the best manner of
living, was characteristic of the man and the times in which he lived.

Perhaps the Reformers, of whom Tyndale was one of the earliest, might
have yielded a little more in the question of non-essentials; but if
they had done this, would they have been fitted for the strenuous
work that was needed just then? Would they have made their protest
against the corruptions of the Church as effectual, if they had not
held pertinaciously to their principles in little things as well as in
greater matters?

Be this as it may, Tyndale declined all the delicacies served to
the gentlemen at the Cardinal's table, and thereby offended the
Controller, who regarded him as a vain-glorious priest—as he told
Miles afterwards—and one who set himself up as being better than the
Lord's anointed, the Cardinal himself! For he never refused good meat
and wine; but, like a wise man, would have nothing but the best of
everything brought to his own private table.

The same difficulty cropped up at the family table at "The Golden
Fleece." Tyndale did not care for the rich food that was placed on the
board of the London merchant; and to Dame Dorothy's great regret would
eat nothing but the plainest and coarsest food, such as was served to
the 'prentice lads and serving women of the household.

The coming of the priest, Master William Tyndale—or "Sir" William, as
most priests were called—did not add much to Dame Dorothy's household
work, or household expenditure: for Tyndale made his own bed, and
insisted upon cleaning his own room, lest through the carelessness
of some awkward or inquisitive maid, his work of translation should
be spoiled or hindered; for the more he saw and heard of the great
Cardinal, who had the ruling of England in his hands, the more he
desired that the Word of God should be placed in the hands of the
people, that they might see and judge for themselves how far this proud
prelate, and the church he represented, had strayed from the example of
the Master they professed to serve.

To perfect his work, it was necessary sometimes that he should walk
down to York House and consult with his friend, or examine some book in
the Cardinal's library, for the proper elucidation of some word, that
he might, by tracing it through several languages, at last select the
best English word that would express its meaning.

No labour was too great to make his translation as nearly perfect as
it could be; and he thanked God now for the scholarship that made this
possible to him; for without it he could hardly have undertaken such a

But he did not give up preaching occasionally, especially at St.
Dunstan's, beyond the gate of the city. Here a fashionable congregation
would be gathered to hear him, and he did not fail to prepare their
minds for the reception of God's Word in its purest translation,
although he did not venture to speak openly of such a work being done.
For he knew enough now to feel convinced that Dr. Tunstall, and the
Cardinal too, would oppose, and not help forward, such a work. How
far their opposition might go, there was no telling; and while Wolsey
held supreme power, neither rank nor learning would avail to save any
man who ventured to oppose his policy in the slightest degree; and his
policy at present was to keep the people in ignorance, whatever he
might do to help forward learning among the upper classes.

Miles and Master Tyndale did not see eye to eye in this matter. Perhaps
Miles was dazzled; or perhaps he had formed a truer estimate of the man
than his public policy warranted. At any rate, they agreed to differ
as to their estimate of his character, and Miles was content to serve
him faithfully, and even affectionately, for he could see some lovable
traits of character where others saw only haughty disdain.

Yet even if they had quarrelled, neither would have let that interfere
with the self-imposed task they had undertaken. This was to both a
sacred task, to which they had been divinely called, and for which mere
private feelings,—their own convenience or pleasure,—must instantly
give way; for Miles was only a trifle less possessed by this desire to
see the Scripture translated into English than William Tyndale himself;
and he had written home more than once to tell his sister that such a
work was likely to be accomplished at last, and that in his leisure
time he was able to give some help to the translator.

Things were in this condition, and summer was waning in the year 1523,
when one day Sir Thomas Paton himself arrived at York House to his
son's great surprise.

"My father, this is a great joy," said Miles, grasping the old man's
hand, and looking tenderly into his face. He was almost afraid to ask
for his mother and sister, lest his father should have come to tell him
that something had befallen them.

The old man seemed to read his thoughts, for he said, "You need not be
afraid—Margery and our dear dame are well."

"Thank you, father; I was afraid."

"Yes, yes, you always were a coward," said Sir Thomas, impatiently.
"But I have come to see His Eminence the Chancellor, for I cannot pay
these taxes on the land as things are now, and I have come to see what
is to be done about it; and as my son, you ought to make things plain
and easy for me with the Chancellor."

Miles looked puzzled. Was it the old trouble cropping up again, or had
his father simply come on the bootless errand of trying to get the new
tax remitted, under the impression that because he was in the service
of the Cardinal, this favour ought to be extended to them? If this
was the view his father took, he thought perhaps he might solve the
difficulty by paying the tax himself; though he had no wish to spend
his money in this way, for he was saving what he could to help to pay
the cost of printing the New Testament.

From enquiries he had made through various agents employed by the
Cardinal, he had come to the conclusion that it would be better to get
the printing done at one of the printing presses on the continent.
To do this it would be necessary for Master Tyndale to go himself,
and this would make it more expensive than if they had got it done
in London; but his friend wished it to be this way, and he must help
him; and so he did not offer to take upon himself the burden of paying
his father's taxes, but let the old man pour out all the trouble and
vexation that had brought him to London before he said a word.

But presently Sir Thomas said, "I want you to bring me privately
to His Eminence, for I want to ask him a question that he only, as
Cardinal legate, and the Pope himself, can answer,—so far as England is

"Cannot you tell me first what this question is, father? for I may be
able to answer it from what I have heard of other cases—other examples."

"There is but one example of what I want to know; but seeing it's good
for the king, I don't see why it shouldn't be good for his people."

"But there are many things the king may do that are neither fitting nor
convenient for other men," said Miles.

He thought that his father must have lived in the country so long, and
brooded over the same difficulties so much, that his wits had gone
astray a little; and certainly the baronet's next words did not help to
remove this impression.

"Well, lad, did you ever hear of another man beside the king marry his
brother's wife?"

Miles stared as if he did not comprehend the question.

"Hast never heard that our king married his brother Arthur's wife?"
demanded the old man ironically. Now Miles, if he had heard it, had
well-nigh forgotten it, for no one talked of the matter just now. "What
I want to know is this—could you legally marry the Lady Audrey?"

"Father! father! What are you saying?" he interrupted, as he started to
his feet.

"I am just telling you the question I want to lay before His Eminence.
If you can, it will solve a good many difficulties at Paton Hall; and I
shall go back."

"But I cannot," broke in Miles. "I was speaking to a priest the other
day, and he said that the marriage of a man to his deceased brother's
wife was contrary to the law of God, and could by no means be a legal—"

"Master Paton, I require you in my private chamber."

Miles started, and turned crimson, as he bowed before the speaker. It
was the Cardinal himself. He must have opened the door and heard all
that was said, for they were so intent upon what they were saying that
they had not heard a sound.

Miles bowed his assent to the command, and, with a whispered word to
his father to await his return, he silently followed Wolsey to his own
private room.

"Who is that old man?" asked his master, when he had bidden him close
the door of the room.

"My father, may it please your Eminence, and he has but now come from

"But he is prating of the king's matters."

"Nay, he told me he wished me to marry my brother's widow."

"And why not do it if it would be convenient?" said the Cardinal, as if
he was counselling the purchase of a suit of clothes.

"It is against the law of God and the Church," said Miles.

"But such a thing could be granted by the Pope."

"But could the Pope be quite sure it is agreeable to the law of God?
When the King's last baby died, I heard a whisper among those who were
at Greenwich, saying that God would not bless such a marriage with

"Ah! you heard that, did you?" said the Cardinal, looking up sharply.
"But there is the lady Mary," he added the next minute.

"Yes, but the King bath had several other children, but none to live."

For a minute the Cardinal sat looking with unseeing eyes at the hem
of his richly embroidered robe, but he spoke no word; and, after that
pause, he bade Miles take his pen, and copy such directions as he
should give him; they, however, being on a totally different matter;
and Miles thought that what he had said was forgotten by his master, as
the subject was never referred to again.

But the seed had been sown. Wolsey was a man who never forgot. He could
wait. 'He was a man who knew how to wait; and the Queen's nephew,
Charles the Fifth, had outwitted him and baulked his ambition.

After promising to give him all his influence to obtain the honour
and glory of being Pope, he had set his own tutor in the chair of St.
Peter, and crowned him with the triple crown, and somebody would have
to pay for that affront, and pay dearly too; and he would strike at the
Emperor Charles through Queen Catherine.



DURING this year, 1523, the hopes of Wolsey were again raised, that he
might become Pope by the help of the Emperor Charles; and so he paid
assiduous court to Queen Catherine, as well as the King himself: and,
great as he was in his business capacity, this wonderful man was no
less remarkable as a courtier; for, to humour the King, he could throw
off the cares of state, and enter with as much seeming zest into the
roystering fun of the Court, as even the King himself could desire, so
that in his great Chancellor Henry the Eighth found a boon companion,
as well as a wise counsellor!

It was during this time, too, that Miles Paton began to understand how
boundless was his master's ambition, and how eager he was to attain the
highest honour earth could afford, by mounting the papal throne, which
would make him the master of his present master the King.

Confidential letters were written by Miles to one and the other about
the Court of the Emperor, all having the same end in view—the putting
forward the claim of Wolsey to the tiara that had once more been laid

He was therefore in somewhat close attendance upon his master for
some weeks, and could give but small attention to his father and the
business that had brought him to London. Sir Thomas fumed, and fretted,
and grumbled about this, for he was by no means content in the lodging
he had taken; and, though he managed to find out some old friends who
had served with him in the wars, he still pined for his home, and the
company of his wife and daughter, and was only half-reconciled to his
son serving under Wolsey, although he received a good salary for his
services, and was handsomely provided for among other gentlemen of his
own rank in life.

Moreover, he had set his heart upon repeating the royal experiment, in
marrying Miles to the Lady Audrey; and that Miles should not be willing
to follow his advice in the matter fretted him sorely.

The young man sheltered himself behind the argument that they could
not afford to purchase a special dispensation from the Pope, to enable
them to contract such a marriage legally. And again, the cost of this
would be so heavy as to outweigh all the advantages likely to accrue,
by holding the lady and her dowry still in the family. But Sir Thomas
was not easy to be convinced when he had set his heart upon a certain
thing, and so Master William Tyndale and his translation had but scanty
attention for a time, although Miles had by no means forgotten his
friend, or what would have to be the next step when the whole of the
books of the New Testament were done into English.

So, with this next further step in view, he took his father one day to
see the printing presses of William Caxton, that were still at work in
Westminster, and being rapidly improved by the introduction of new type
and skilled workmen from some of the best printers abroad.

There was also a second printing press now, close to Temple Bar, which
they also visited, and where Miles made cautious enquiries to discover
if possible whether it would be wise to try and get their book printed
in London when it was ready.

The Cardinal took a good deal of interest in these printing works
and their improvement, and regarded printing as a most wonderful and
beneficent gift to the world of learning, but he did not want this
to spread too far—not to become common, as the gift of sunshine and
rain; and therefore it was not clear to Miles yet whether Wolsey would
approve or oppose the printing of the New Testament in English.

But, as one of the private secretaries of the man who was king all but
in name, Miles was everywhere received with the greatest courtesy,
and his questions answered fully, for they did not know but that the
Cardinal had sent him on this mission; and so Miles gathered a good
deal of useful information as to the cost of printing, and the time
it was likely to take, and picked up many hints as to the size of the
sheets to be printed, which he was careful to give his friend the next
time he saw him, and had an opportunity for a little private talk to

The net result of his enquiries were that they both concluded it would
be safer to get the book printed at one of the continental printing
presses, for Miles learned quite accidentally that the Cardinal had a
private emissary of his own among these workmen, and everything that
went on at the works was reported to His Eminence, so that if the
Testament was sent there to be printed he would hear of it in a few
hours from this spy. There was little doubt that there was one also at
the Temple Bar printer's, so that altogether it seemed inevitable that
their treasure should be printed on the continent.

When there was a little leisure from his attendance upon the Cardinal,
Miles with his father went by barge from Westminster to Greenwich to
see Sir Harry Guildford and his family.

As he anticipated, Sir Harry Guildford was found in his room at the
palace, and welcomed Sir Thomas, and spoke in warm commendation of
Miles. But Sir Thomas was not so pleased about this; Miles was his
son, and he had done all he could to make his father's visit to London
pleasant, and also had used all the influence he possessed to further
his business; but this was of small account to the old man, as he still
refused to think of Lady Audrey as his future wife, and there was still
the old grievance about the farms outstanding still, so that to Sir
Harry's commendation Sir Thomas gave little more than a dissatisfied

When they reached the family mansion in the town, and the old man saw
how warmly his offending son was welcomed by the girls and boys, as
well as by Lady Guildford herself, he grew silent and grim once more.
Of course he was elaborately polite to his hostess, and civil towards
the young people, but Miles could see that it cost an effort, and he
was not much surprised when, an hour later, his father declared that he
must go back to Westminster at once.

"But, father, the rowers have scarce had time to rest after their long
pull—and we must wait until the tide turns," said Miles, in a tone of

They had come down in one of the Cardinal's private barges, and the
men had gone to enjoy themselves at one of the alehouses in the
neighbourhood of the river.

But the old man declared he must go back at once, and Miles was
compelled to go in search of the boatmen, and ask them to have the
barge in readiness the moment the tide turned. As he went back he met
his father, to his great surprise, and once more he explained that they
must wait a little longer—a half-an-hour at least—and so they might as
well go back to Sir Harry Guildford's.

"You shall never enter that house again!" stormed the old man. Miles
looked at him in dumb amazement, but as they were in the street, he
drew him towards the park, where they could have their talk with fewer
listeners passing.

Miles began to think his father had gone crazy on the subject of this
marriage, for it seemed that Sir Thomas had discovered what Miles
himself scarcely knew until the fact was stated to him. And then it
seemed that the knowledge flooded over him, making him almost oblivious
of what his father was saying, in the rush of joyful enlightenment that
suddenly threatened to overwhelm him.

"This Cicely Guildford is no match for you," Sir Thomas was saying,
when Miles stopped him with an imperative "Hush, father! You know not
what you are saying."

"Ah you take me for a blind fool then, I suppose," foamed the old man
in his wrath. "You bring me here to see this girl, and think I shall
see no more than if she was her sister Elizabeth."

"I know not what you have seen, sir," said Miles, his voice trembling,
"but I can assure you—"

"And I say you are a liar, if you are my son, for it is plain as the
nose on your face that you are in love with the wench, and she with

"Father! father! remember you are speaking of a lady who is quite a
stranger to you."

"And you would have me believe she is a stranger to you too, I
suppose," sneered Sir Thomas.

"Nay, father—did I not tell you that Sir Harry Guildford had been good
enough to welcome me as a friend of his family? I told you that I came
to Greenwich sometimes to visit these friends, as well as when my duty
of attending the Cardinal brought me to the Court."

"But you did not tell me that you were in love with this girl!"

Miles was about to say that he did not know it himself, until his
father made the discovery; but he thought it would be wiser to be
silent about this, until he had had the opportunity of seeing Mistress
Cicely again, when perhaps he might be better able to judge whether his
father's surmise was correct as to her feeling towards him.

Now, however, in the confusion and tumult of his feelings—hopes and
fears—he could only feel thankful that he was not obliged to go back at
once and face his friends, for how could he speak calmly to Mistress
Cicely, until he had time to put his own thoughts in order? So he was
not sorry when the barge was pushed off from the Palace stairs: and the
presence of the rowers at one end, though it did not prevent talking,
hindered his father from scolding and raving, as he might have done.

The old knight, however, was no less earnest in pressing upon him the
claims of Lady Audrey; until at last, for peace sake, Miles agreed that
the case of such a marriage should be submitted to some learned priest,
that an independent opinion might be obtained upon that point before
any more was said about it; though he was careful at the same time to
guard against giving any hope, that he would follow the royal example
in this matter of his marriage.

But having conceded this much, he was allowed to sit in silence and
think of Mistress Cicely Guildford, and wonder he had not discovered
the secret of his own heart before. Rude fingers had torn away the veil
that hid it from himself, yet, he could not but feel thankful that he
had taken his father to pay this visit; though he felt equally thankful
that the business which had brought his father to London was well-nigh
settled, and that he would go back to Woodstock in a few days.

But Sir Thomas was determined to have some legal, as well as Church
opinion, about the proposed marriage with Lady Audrey; and, if it
should be favourable to his wishes, then he would take a house in
London, and send for the young widow and her mother, that the marriage
might be brought about with as little delay as possible. So, while
Miles sat and dreamed of the sweet pure face he had learned to love,
his father was wondering where he had better go for advice for the
delicate business he was contemplating.

Hitherto Miles had been at his service in every emergency; but Miles
was not to be trusted in this matter, and so he sought counsel of a
chance acquaintance he had made during his stay.

"You need a learned priest, and a man well versed in the law," said his
new friend.

"Well now, there is a priest who preaches sometimes at St. Dunstan's,
and I have heard the gossips say that there is not another in London
like him for learning. Why not seek him out, and lay the matter before
him? The man of law is more easily found, and I will take you to one on
whose judgment you can rely."

So Miles was told the next day that this friend was going to take his
father to see some other part of London; and the two went together to
lay the matter before the lawyer first.

But when the client stated the case the man of law was too wary to give
a direct opinion.

"Marriage is a Sacrament of the Church, and therefore can only be
decided by the Church," he said. "We have a royal example that such
marriages can be made legal by help of the Pope, and therefore I cannot
say they are illegal for others."

It was small comfort, perhaps, to Sir Thomas, but he was glad enough of
it, and, as he had no idea that Master William Tyndale was a friend of
his son's, he went without scruple to "The Sign of the Golden Fleece,"
and asked to see the priest Master William Tyndale.

But Sir Thomas thought he would be more cautious this time, and not
give his name, so he simply told Monmouth, whom he saw at the door of
his shop, that he wanted to see the priest on a matter of conscience,
and he was taken upstairs, and Master William Tyndale sent for to see
this grim-looking old penitent, as the merchant thought him. He was not
the first who had come on the same errand, for here in London there
were many strangers coming and going, who had not their own parish
priest at hand, upon whom the burden troubling their conscience could
be laid; so that from preaching in St. Dunstan's Master Tyndale had
become the recipient of many strange confessions.

Owing to these visits having been paid before, a little room had been
set apart for this use, so that strangers were not taken to the little
bare closet where his work of translation was being done; and to this
room Master Tyndale was summoned.

The stranger placed before him the case of Miles and Lady Audrey, but
carefully suppressed all names, or any allusion to that of the King.
The priest, however, at once pointed out that the two were almost
precisely similar, further observing,—"And I do not hesitate to say
that such marriages are against the law of the Church and the law of
the land. For State policy this royal marriage was allowed to take
place, but God bath not prospered it, for the King has no heir to live.
There is but the Lady Mary, and how know we that the distaff can rule
in this realm of England?"

"I care not who rules England so that my son may rule a goodly estate
by-and-bye," growled the old man. He was by no means grateful for such
an outspoken opinion upon the matter, and he rose from his seat and
went down the winding stair, forgetting to leave the customary gift for
the priest in his anger.

He only vouchsafed a grunt to the merchant, as he asked if he had seen
Master Tyndale, and then hurried away towards Temple Bar.

Nothing seemed to come of these enquiries, but men's minds were turned
to consider the King's marriage with his deceased brother's widow, and
thus prepare the way for events in the future which at present were
undreamed of by any, unless it was the man who ruled England both in
Church and State matters.

Miles was startled by the announcement that his father made to him a
day or two after their visit to Greenwich. Sir Thomas sent for him one
day, and announced that he was going home at once. He had met with a
party of gentlemen who were to start with their servants from "The
Magpie" the next morning, and Sir Thomas had decided to journey with
them as far as Oxford.

"But why should you be in such haste, father?" said Miles. "The
business that brought you to the Chancellor's Court is not quite
settled yet,—why not stay a day or two longer? There is no lack of
travellers going from 'The Magpie' to Oxford."

But Sir Thomas shook his head. "I must get back," he said, "for it may
be I shall have business with the Pope."

"Then it will go through my master's hand," said Miles, "for, as
Cardinal Legate, he has the settlement of all disputes, and the
granting of all dispensations for this realm. But, my father, be wary
how you invoke the help of the law in any quarrel. You say our estate
is sorely impoverished by the changes that are going on; do not waste
the substance that remains for any shadow the law can give you of
future benefits." Miles ventured to say this much, because he knew how
many poor men were made poorer by seeking the help they thought the law
ought to give them. His father said nothing of having visited a lawyer
and Master Tyndale on the subject of his marriage, but Miles shrewdly
guessed that he had been somewhere, and that the advice he had received
had not been in accordance with his wishes; and the Lady Audrey was not
mentioned during their last interview.

Sir Thomas had succeeded in getting some abatement in his taxes, but
the old man would rather the business had failed and the marriage
proposals prospered, for now he would most certainly have to hand over
the dowry of the Lady Audrey, and this would compel him to sell a good
many sheep, for it was to stock the farms that had been turned into
pasture that the lady's money had been expended, and he had not been
able to save more than half of it by the sale of the wool the sheep had
produced. And it was for the sake of this money he was so anxious Miles
should marry the young widow.



IT was a relief to Miles when his father left him, and later that
day he was able to pay Master William Tyndale a call, and almost the
first news he heard was of the visit of the stranger, who came to have
a matter of conscience settled, the question being about a marriage
that was exactly parallel with that of the King. "And what was Master
Tyndale's judgment upon the matter?" asked Miles, anxiously, for he had
no doubt but that it concerned himself and Lady Audrey.

He had not mentioned his friend, or the translation of the New
Testament to his father, for he felt sure he would not approve of
such a thing being done, and so he did not know that his father had
ever heard the name of Master Tyndale, though he had taken him to St.
Dunstan's Church to hear him preach.

It was therefore some relief, and a source of amusement too, when he
heard what Master Tyndale had said about the proposed marriage, and
there was some hearty laughter at Sir Thomas Paton's expense when the
Monmouth family heard the news.

It made a talk, too, in city circles, but, when the King was mentioned
as having made just such a marriage, men spoke with bated breath,
though they thought the more, perhaps, upon the matter.

Feeling assured now that his father was not likely to press forward
this plan, Miles was the more eager to see Mistress Cicely Guildford
again, and ascertain for himself whether his father's surmise was
correct,—that the young lady felt kindly towards him.

But autumn was deepening into winter before he could go to Greenwich
again, and then he went in attendance upon his master, for the Cardinal
never went anywhere without a train of servants and several secretaries
in attendance upon him; and it was not until they had been at the
palace two or three days that he was free to go into the town and visit
his friends.

When he got there he found one of the younger girls in the garden,
gathering the last of the dill, and tarragon, and other herbs that were
in such continual demand for cookery.

Miles looked round, expecting to see the elder sister at this task, for
he knew that Cicely always took the lead in these matters.

Saucy Mistress Maud saw the look, and said instantly, "Cicely is not
here; she has gone to the Convent of St. Francis."

"Gone to the convent!" repeated Miles. "When will she be back?"

It was the girl's turn to exclaim now, "Whenever does a girl come back
from a convent?"

"But you mean she has gone to pay a visit for the day to one of the lay
sisters," said Miles, in a tone of trembling anxiety.

The tremble in the young man's voice arrested the girl's attention,
and, though she was only a girl, she felt there was trouble in store
for the friend whom they had all learned to love. She put down the
herbs she had been gathering, and came close to where he was standing.
"I don't think Cicely liked it," she whispered; "at the very last I saw
her crying several times, and I wished you would come, for I thought,
perhaps, if you knew you might—"

"Yes, yes; but tell me, she has not gone to become a nun?" panted Miles.

The girl nodded. "You see the Queen liked her, and that is always what
she wishes for her favourites,—that they should join a sisterhood. She
would become a nun herself if she could."

"Well, I heartily wish she would then, and perhaps when she knew what
it was like she would leave young girls to live a natural life."

He spoke very bitterly; and Maud Guildford could only look and wonder,
for she had never seen the young secretary in this mood before.

While they were standing there Lady Guildford came into the garden;
and, when Miles had bowed and greeted her, he asked quickly why Cicely
had gone to the convent.

A shadow passed over the lady's face. "It was not to please herself,"
she said, "but it was in fulfilment of a promise given to the Queen
several years ago. We postponed its fulfilment as long as we could,"
she added, "for we did not like parting with our home bird, Cicely
being such a help and comfort to us at home."

"Yes, yes, I know; and now you have sent her away," groaned Miles.

The lady looked at him, as Maud had done. Surely there was more than
mere friendship here, she thought; and then she wondered whether her
darling had carried this secret love with her to the convent, to make
her life bitter with regrets through all the slow years that must pass
over her head.

Her eyes filled with tears, and she still held the young man's hand as
she said, "Life is full of such sorrows!"

"Yes, it may be," said Miles, bitterly, "but who sends them? Who makes
them? Who has condemned Cicely and me to a life-long sorrow? I came
to-day to tell you that I loved your daughter better than life, and
to ask if I might win her love in return, and I am told that only
death can give her to me now! Is this fair? Is this just? You say my
Cicely did not go to please herself, but the Queen. What right has even
Queen Catherine to blight two young lives? She is a good woman all are
agreed, but it is also said she would be happier in the convent than at
the Court. Yet what right has she to condemn another to such a life?"

In his bitter disappointment Miles forgot where he was, or to whom
he was speaking, but the lady knew that incautious words were often
carried to the Court, and even to the Queen and young Princess, and so,
for fear mischief should follow upon it, she drew Miles into the house,
where they could at least talk over the matter without fear of being

But the more Miles said, the more convinced the lady became that
Cicely fully reciprocated his affection, and that it was the hope of
seeing her lover once more that had made the girl watch so often and
so wistfully at the windows for a day or two before she went away. She
told Miles of this now, but it seemed rather to increase his distress
than to comfort him, to hear that Cicely might really have loved him,
as his father said she did; and he held up his hand, and said in a
hoarse whisper, "Do not make my burden harder than I can bear. To think
that she, my darling Cicely, is in the convent. But giving all her mind
and strength to its duties is bad enough, but to think of her pining
for the life we might have lived together, would be more than I could
endure. Certainly I shall try every means to get her released, and I
have much influence now, and the vows are not irrecoverable."

The lady shuddered. Hard as her child's lot might be, it would be
harder for everybody if she should dare to draw back, even though she
was as yet only a novice; for in the sight of the Queen she had been
a pledged nun for several years. Cicely had rather enjoyed the little
distinction this gave her among the immediate circle of the Queen's
ladies, and it had not been difficult for her to leave the more merry
of the Court festivities, for she loved the quiet of her own home far
more than the glare, and glitter, and gossip of the Court—even that
which surrounded the Queen, which was far more sedate than where the
King held undivided rule.

So she had been called "the little nun" for several years past, because
of her quiet domestic ways and pleasures, and it seemed to those who
only knew her about the Court that it was only natural that she should
become a nun in reality when she was old enough to take the vows; and
they rather wondered that this had been delayed so long, than that
Cicely had gone so early to the convent.

But this Court gossip had not reached her home, where Miles alone knew
her, and where she was always a merry, happy girl, while thoughtful and
careful to spare her mother trouble, and take her full share in the
domestic work that fell to the share of all ladies in those days.

It was this carefulness to be at hand when any domestic work was going
forward that made Miles look for her expectantly, when he saw her
sister in the garden gathering herbs, for it was this side of Cicely's
character that he knew. It was the quiet thoughtfulness that reminded
him of his sister, and had won his attention and regard, which so
slowly and imperceptibly changed into love, that he knew not that it
was there until his father's over-anxious eyes detected it.

It may have been that some prying Court gossip had also penetrated
their secret, and warned the Queen that if her little nun of the Court
was ever to be a veritable nun of the convent, there was no time to
lose in placing her within its shadow; for the arrangements had been
pressed on by the Queen in great haste at last, and there was little
time given to consider the momentous step that was to be taken.

When Sir Harry came home from his duties at the palace, and heard from
his wife the state of affairs, he was greatly concerned.

"Witless knave that I am!" he exclaimed, "I might have guessed that the
little wench would smile on such a gallant as Master Miles."

"But what good would it have served?" asked his wife, "even if Master
Miles had told us three months agone that he loved her; you forget our
word to the Queen, that she should go to the convent as soon as time

"I am not likely to forget my duty to the Queen, good dame; but my duty
to my child lies even closer than that, and I should have made suit
to the Queen, that my promise and yours was given without Cicely's
consent, and how she had by her own unwitting love for this man made it
impossible for me to carry it out."

"But you are not sure that Cicely does love him," said his wife.

"Ah dame, I wish I could believe she did not, for what you now tell me
has made clear to me several things that I noticed in our little wench
before she went away. Would to God I had known of this earlier, and I
would have saved her from our rash promise, even though I offended the
Queen, and had to give up my post at Court for it."

Lady Guildford looked at her husband, and wondered whether she was
prepared to go to such a length as this. They were not wealthy people,
and their rank imposed upon them many expenses they could not afford
before they came to Greenwich, where they could now live in ease and
luxury, instead of almost pinching poverty, as they had to do before.

This might be the price they would have had to pay for holding their
daughter back from the convent, in the face of the Queen's wish that
she should go there; and in the silence that followed both were asking
themselves whether they were prepared to pay such a price for their
child's future happiness.

Possibly if they had thought it likely that the Cardinal's young
secretary would ask for her hand in marriage, they might have delayed
a little longer sending her to the convent, but no such thought had
crossed the minds of either mother or father. To them Cicely was
already appropriated to the service of the Church, and there the matter
ended so far as they were concerned.

They would gladly have welcomed Miles as a son-in-law, if they had
known his secret in time, but now they could only think with sorrow
that it had come too late. "Too late!" Ah, bitter, bitter words when
their thoughts turned to the convent, where their child was shut away
from the joys of life, as wife and mother; and where there was only too
good reason to fear she would ever be looking back with vain regret to
the time when she and Miles met in free and happy friendship, that had
grown deeper and more lasting, until it changed to love's supreme joy
and sorrow.

Miles had been left for Maud and the younger children to entertain,
while Sir Harry and Lady Guildford had been talking; and before they
went to join the young people, the lady said, "Do not speak of what you
think concerning Cicely."

"Why not, good dame? It may comfort the lad to know that she cared for
him before she went away, though it were sin for such a thought to be
encouraged now. I will be wary though, do not doubt, for the lad has
sorrow enough just now."

Sir Harry Guildford had no intention of doing more than speaking a few
kindly courteous words, that should let the young man know that his
suit would have prospered if Cicely had not been beyond their reach.
Somehow the children got an idea that they were not wanted just then,
and so Miles was left alone with his host; and the kindly words and
sympathetic tone were too much for his firmness just then, and before
he was aware of it, Miles was telling Cicely's father a good deal of
what he might have told her if she had been at home; and the baronet
listened, and at last told Miles that he believed Cicely fully returned
his love, although no words had been spoken between them.

When he heard this, a marvellous change seemed to come over Miles.

"You tell me truly, Sir Harry?" he almost demanded in his eager
impulsiveness, for all at once the sorrow that was almost tearful in
its tenderness, had changed to something that was akin to desperation,
as he said, "This has changed all things for me!"

"What do you mean?" asked Sir Harry, looking up in surprise, for Miles
had started from his seat, and looked as though he would storm the
convent itself to rescue Cicely.

"Sit down lad, sit down, there is nothing to be done," said Cicely's
father sadly.

"Nothing to be done!" repeated Miles. "I thought so a few minutes ago
when I believed I was the only one to suffer this heartache, but now
you tell me my Cicely has suffered, and will suffer the same, do you
think I can say there is nothing to be done? She is but a novice as
yet, and there is time for her to change her mind, and if she will only
say she does not fully assent to take the vows required of her, my
master will absolve her from all that has been done, and she will be
free to leave the convent."

"Yes, as a foresworn nun, whom all men will despise," said Sir Harry,
in a tone of bitterness.

Miles stared at him as though he did not understand. "Do you wish
your daughter to languish out her days in this convent that is but
little better than a prison? I believe that women as well as men, can
serve God better in doing the work of the world, be it ever so humble,
than in being shut away from their fellows to brood and pine for the
sunlight of God's love, and human love, which is as sunlight in this
dark world. No! no! Sir Harry, I must fight for the sunlight now—fight
for it for my Cicely as well as for myself. You have given me something
to work and strive for, and with it has come the strength. We may have
to wait long and work hard, before we can hope to see each other again;
but from this hour I shall hope, and that will nerve me to struggle
against all difficulties. Now will you tell me all you know about the
convent. If I may not see my Cicely, I may at least look upon the roof
that covers her."

But Sir Harry feared that Miles would commit some rash deed in his
present temper—climb the convent wall perhaps, and bring trouble and
disgrace upon Cicely as well as upon himself.

So instead of telling him just where the convent was situated, he
persuaded him to go back with him to the Palace of Placentia at once,
as he had heard the Cardinal enquiring for one of his secretaries
before he left.

Miles had little fear that he was the secretary wanted, but still he
was specially desirous of pleasing his master just now, and so he
readily gave up the idea of going to the convent, and returned to the
palace with the King's controller, talking, as they went, of the steps
that must be taken, if Cicely was to be rescued before the first year
of her novitiate was at an end.

Sir Harry was in favour of approaching the Queen and laying the whole
matter before her, while Miles thought it would be wiser to seek the
counsel and help of his master. As Cardinal Legate he would have the
power to grant a dispensation dissolving the preliminary vows already
taken, and the sooner the business could be set on foot the better.

Miles knew, though he did not tell his friend, that his master would be
ready to do anything that was likely to vex the Queen; for the Papal
Crown had again eluded his grasp, mainly through the duplicity of the
Emperor Charles the Fifth, the nephew of the Queen; and great as he
was, the Cardinal was not above paying off such slights and affronts.
And so to hear that Cicely was one of the Queen's ladies, who had been
half forced, half persuaded, to enter the convent by the Queen, would
powerfully aid in getting her out again, if the Cardinal was to be the
person approached upon the subject.

So, without stating the reason why he thought so, Miles said he was
sure the Cardinal would be more ready to help them on Cicely's behalf
than the Queen was likely to be; and so it was settled that Miles
should seek an opportunity of laying the whole matter before his master.



IN a splendidly-furnished chamber in the Palace of Placentia sat the
Cardinal Chancellor, who held the destinies of England in his hand, but
looking sadly perturbed and anxious. Earlier in the day his private
messenger from the continent had arrived; bringing full particulars of
how his master had been cheated of the popedom once more by the Queen's
nephew, Charles the Fifth.

"It was not for myself that I wanted it, but for England," he muttered.
"England should be the friend and adviser of both the French king and
German sovereign, and by holding the balance even between the two, be
superior to both; but the King grows more wilful every day, and this
war with France, which he is bent upon pursuing, spoils all my dreams
of power for him and England, and yet I cannot make him see it. Now, if
I could have been made Pope I could have held this sway for England,
and, by a due reform of the Church, could make it greater even than
the power of the King, though the people well-nigh adore him, as they
well may, for he is their hope against civil war, and a most goodly and
amiable prince," and again the Cardinal heaved a deep sigh, that told
of the pain that had begun to mingle with the sweetness of the love he
undoubtedly felt for his young master.

We, who only know of Henry the Eighth as the cruel, despotic tyrant
which he proved himself in his later middle life, can have no idea
of the almost adoring love he inspired in his subjects and courtiers
during the early years of his reign. Wolsey, who knew him before he
came to the throne, was one of his most devoted admirers, and, there is
no doubt, truly loved the King, even while he pursued his own ambitions.

Henry was a tall, handsome young man, with most winning manners, and a
suave, gracious demeanour to all who came in his way. Then he was one
of the most learned among his contemporaries, for his astute father,
seeing he was the second son, had educated him for the Church, so that
he was able to hold his own in a discussion with the great thinkers and
theologians who came to his Court. Added to this, he was the one hope
of the nation against the renewal of a civil war that had devastated
the country, and in which scarcely a family lived but had some
tradition of cruel suffering endured through the war.

All these causes combined made the people willing to yield to the
King's wishes in a fashion that is almost inconceivable to us. And
he had been almost as wax in the hands of his Chancellor, who ruled
the kingdom in his name, but now saw, for the first time, that the
power over this accomplished, winsome king was slipping from his hand,
and that a young girl of sixteen, who had lately come to Court in
attendance on the Queen, was likely to prove a formidable rival to his

It was in the midst of these thoughts that one of his pages came to
tell him that Master Miles Paton had returned.

"Send him to me at once," said the Cardinal, shortly; and the next
minute Miles bowed before him, and apologised for being absent when he
was wanted.

Something in the appearance of the young secretary arrested the
attention of the Cardinal, and, instead of telling him the business he
wanted him for, he said, abruptly, "Have you too received bad news?"

"I have had my life blighted beyond remedy, unless your Eminence can
help me," said Miles, in a tone of trembling earnestness.

The Cardinal slowly shook his head. "Unless it is some Church affair, I
fear I may be powerless," he said, sadly, for just now he was in a very
despondent mood as to his power with the King.

"It is an affair of the Church," said Miles, eagerly. "A young girl
has been forced to enter a convent to please the Queen, against her
wish, and thereby our lives are both made sad and barren of all good,"
and as he spoke he fell on one knee, and poured out the whole story of
his love for Cicely Guildford, almost forgetting, in the eagerness of
his tale, that the Cardinal might have but trifling interest in such a
small affair.

But Wolsey, who was a student of men as well as affairs, was noting,
with an interest that drew his mind from his own anxieties for a time,
the change that a few hours had wrought in his young secretary. He was
a man now, ready to do and dare anything for the sake of the woman he
loved, and, in spite of himself, the Cardinal could not help showing
that he was greatly interested in what he heard.

"Ah! would that I were Pope, and I would put down half the convents and
monasteries that now exist. There are far too many of these houses for
the lazy and incompetent."

"Nay, but my Lady Cicely is not lazy. She is a most useful handmaid to
her mother and father," interjected Miles, rather indignantly.

The Cardinal smiled, and said, "How long think you she will be either a
useful or an industrious wench, shut up in a convent, which, you say,
she hates?"

"She will fret herself ill," said Miles, "and then slowly pine away and

"Or else get into mischief and lead other sisters astray. Truly she has
little vocation for the life of a nun I should say. But be silent about
this matter, and of your having conferred with me upon it. I say not
that you shall have the maiden for your wife, but I will see what can
be done. Meanwhile, I want those letters answered with all despatch,
for the messenger returns at daybreak, and they must be ready."

"They shall be ready, my lord," said Miles. But for the Cardinal
interrupting him, he would have told him how he had given Mistress
Cicely Guildford portions of the New Testament, which he had translated
into English, and that the reading of God's Word would most certainly
unfit her for such a life as she would be required to live as a nun.

If he had had time to tell this, he might have gone further and taken
the Cardinal into his confidence as to the work going on in the city
at "The Sign of the Golden Fleece," but fortunately the Cardinal's
own action stopped this confidence, and Miles went to his own room,
greatly cheered, for he knew that slight as was the hope that had been
thus held out to him, his master would do his best to see that it was
fulfilled. There was one difficulty that might prove very hard to
overcome, and that was that Cicely had entered a convent the Queen was
greatly interested in,—the Convent of St. Francis, at Greenwich.

Miles had also learned that prayer will often bring help and guidance
when all other means fail, and so, before writing his despatches, he
committed his care and anxiety for Cicely to God in prayer, and then
he was better able to give his whole and undivided attention to the
writing of his master's letters.

Not a thought outside these was allowed to obtrude, for fear some error
should creep in and cause untold complications, as it might well do,
for the Cardinal was in communication with so many different people,
both in France and Germany, that a slip of the pen might lead to
unheard-of disasters. Here, in one of these confidential letters, he
was writing to a lady in France, asking her to use her influence that
the Lady Anne Boleyn, who had lately come to Court with her father,
might be invited to return to the Court of France with as little delay
as possible, and to further this the writer (Cardinal Wolsey) would do
all in his power to bring about an honourable peace as soon as possible.

Miles knew well enough that his master had always opposed the war with
France, and laboured incessantly to maintain the peace both with France
and Germany; and he often felt, when he heard his master decried,
that if people only knew as much about State secrets as he did, they
would see that the King they adored was responsible for the waste and
extravagance that made taxation necessary, and for which the Chancellor
was blamed, he choosing to stand between the King and the people for
all purposes, and to willingly take the blame that belonged of right to

But Miles rubbed his eyes in astonishment when he read that Mistress
Anne Boleyn was likely to cause grave trouble with the King and Court
if she could not speedily be transferred to the Court of France again.
Of course he knew the young lady from hearing her talked of by most of
the young men who were in attendance upon the King. Full half-a-dozen
were in love with the gay, sprightly girl, who knew so well how to use
her Irish black eyes and raven locks, that half the Court were in love
with her, or fancied they were.

The most favoured of the lady herself was Lord Percy, a son of the Duke
of Northumberland. That much Miles had learned since he had come to
Greenwich, but what he did not know was that the King was so jealous of
young Lord Percy that he had actually told Wolsey he must try and get
this intrusive lover out of the way for him, as he was enamoured of the
Lady Anne himself!

Knowing all the difficulties of playing such a game as the King
desired, it was not wonderful that Wolsey should feel depressed, for
this was altogether a new element in the game of statecraft; and if
Anne Boleyn could be sent back to France it would leave his hands so
much more free to manipulate the other strings that he held, more
especially now that he had become convinced that the reform of the
Church must be the next step in his policy if England was even to hold
her own in the councils of Europe.

It was hard to frame and follow a policy in these transitional times. A
little time back, society as a whole was a much more simple thing. As
the Pope was the spiritual head of the Church—receiving his authority
and power from God, and handing it to the cardinals, and the cardinals
to the bishops and other dignitaries—so there had been a corresponding
State hierarchy, at the head of which was the Holy Roman Emperor, as he
was called. To the Emperor all the sovereigns of Europe owed titular
obedience, although it was of a somewhat shadowy kind, the kings
receiving their power from the will of the Emperor, and granting it in
turn to the feudal lords, who, in their turn, granted it to the people
on condition of certain service rendered. But this old-fashioned feudal
system was fast breaking up. Henry and the King of France had both put
themselves forward for election as Emperor; and now that Charles of
Spain had been chosen because he could bribe the electors more heavily
than his rivals, there seemed an end of the old orderly handing down
of power in the State, and who could tell how soon the same influence
would be at work in the Church?

There was Luther clamouring in Germany, and the best men among the
clergy in England were demanding reform of abuses of the Church. The
Cardinal had thought by getting himself elected Pope he could effect
these reforms in the Church without endangering the Papacy, and at the
same time secure for England more substantial power in the councils of

But twice he had been disappointed of the tiara, and the chance was not
likely to recur again, so he must bend all his energies to the reform
of the Church, which his position as Cardinal Legate gave him, and to
effect this he did not want to be bothered with the lovesick ravings of
the King about Anne Boleyn, for whom he felt a profound contempt, if
not actual dislike, she having already come between him and the King on
more than one occasion.

It might be possible by-and-bye to set aside the King's marriage with
his brother's widow, for Queen Catherine had evidently ceased to charm
the King, much as he loved her at first. This, perhaps, would have been
a small matter if the royal couple had a family of healthy sons and
daughters, but the Queen's sons all died in a most mysterious fashion
as soon as they were born. Wolsey was quite aware of the anxiety of the
nation that there should speedily be an heir to the throne, about whose
title there could be no dispute. At the present time there was only the
Lady Mary,—a rather sad-looking girl,—who was being carefully educated
it is true, but whoever heard of a woman ruling this turbulent English

The idea was preposterous; and once again Wolsey wished, as many
another had, that he could hear of a rosy, healthy boy being born to
the King and Queen. It would set men's hearts at rest, and they would
turn to their trade or their farm with confidence that their labour
would not be wasted in another civil war. But, with no heir-apparent to
the crown, there were a dozen doors where sedition and treachery might
creep in; and Wolsey decided that unless Queen Catherine should present
the King with a son, likely to live, the question of the legality of
their marriage must be enquired into; and then, if possible, another
wife chosen for the King without delay. Wolsey had almost made up his
mind who this should be, but it was not the Lady Anne Boleyn. No! no!
the lady must bring dynastic power in securing a lasting peace with
France; and it might be in restoring the French crown to an English
king; and for this purpose he had fixed his hope on the sister of the
French king, the Lady Margaret of Valois, whose portrait he had had
sent over from Paris that he might judge whether she was likely to
prove a suitable partner for his master.

Of course that master knew nothing of the plans forming themselves in
the mind of his minister. He was content to live a day at a time, and
get as much enjoyment out of it as he could. He liked to be popular
with his subjects as well as with his Court, and loved to display his
skill in feats of arms, tournaments, and manly sports, that the people
were free to witness in Greenwich Park.

Wolsey too—a handsome man—if he did not actually take part in the
spectacles, was not averse to showing off his magnificence as well as
his master; and Henry was ready to welcome him at every frolic, for
snatches of graver business could be settled in the tournament ground
between the two, and save the trouble of discussion at the Council

Between the rush of some great feats of arms, Henry would say to his
minister, while the people were applauding his prowess, "Now, I want
ten thousand crowns, and you must get it out of the pockets of these
varlets." And the Chancellor knew that these light words meant a tax of
some kind; and he had to rack his brains as to what he should put the
tax upon, after the unheard-of rebuff he had received from the House of
Commons in the summer.

Never before had such a thing occurred to a Chancellor of England, and
the thought of it rankled in Wolsey's mind still, and he was not likely
to forget it. Doubtless the revenue of bishoprics, held by Wolsey,
often went to make up the deficit in the King's Exchequer. After this
rebuff from the Commons, Henry was lavish and extravagant, and would
squander money like water.

Not that he was a fool by any means. He was a keen-witted, capable man,
and, if he had only been compelled to use the faculties with which he
was endowed, would have made a better King in later life. But he was
flattered to the top of his bent, and his chief minister was only too
willing to take all the trouble of governing off his hands, that he
might enjoy the pleasure of its shadow.

It was for a taste of this shadowy glory that he had declared war with
France, but which he had small chance of carrying very far; and Wolsey
foresaw that he would soon be called upon to patch up a peace.

Then would be his time to moot the affair of the Princess Margaret of
Valois, and by this master stroke secure at once a lasting peace with
France, an heir to the throne of England, and a possible right to the
throne of France as well.

Secure of this, he could give his undivided attention to the reform of
the Church, which should forestall any such tampering with the power of
the Pope, as had occurred in the case of Germany.

He had not heard of the little room at "The Sign of the Golden
Fleece," and the work going on there. Possibly, if he had heard that
a thunderbolt was being forged there that should split the Papacy
from root to crown, he would have shaken his head, and smiled at the
credulity that could imagine any power great enough to effect this. And
yet it was silently being brought to perfection, almost within sound of
the Cardinal's chapel-bell, and no man was the wiser yet, or dreamed
that such a thing could be!



THE Cardinal always took care that no listener should ever become
possessed of his secrets, or what he might wish to communicate to his
secretaries, so that it was not through anything that passed in the
palace that Queen Catherine heard the next morning, before she left her
closet, that her young favourite, who had recently gone to the convent,
had not gone heart-whole, and that her parents might seek to delay or
prevent her taking the vows of a nun when her novitiate was at an end.

The fact was that Miles had not been very careful to look about him
when he went to the Controller's garden, or he would have seen that a
dwarf, known about the palace as Saladin, had dogged his steps, and
was hiding behind a convenient privet hedge while he was talking about
Cicely to her sister.

Being of a prying, mischievous disposition, he crept close under the
window when Miles went into the house, and with what he heard and what
he surmised and added to the story, he went back to his friend in
the palace with the tale that the little nun was to be rescued from
the convent, and married to one of the King's gentlemen, for he had
mistaken Miles for a young gallant who had often paid court to Mistress
Cicely while she was in the service of the Queen.

Nominally, the dwarf was in the service of the girl Princess Mary, but
he was allowed a good deal of freedom by his mistress, and had attached
himself to the Queen's confessor, because he generally had some sweet
dainty to give him when he carried him any tale of the doings of the
ladies and gentlemen about the Court.

Saladin was the butt and plaything of everybody within the precincts
of Placentia, and, while passing for half an idiot among those who
only saw him as the dwarf to make game of, the priest was training
him to become an acute observer and a careful retailer of all the
sundry scraps of gossip that came in his way. From the miscellaneous
collection poured out to him every evening, the watchful priest could
select such as were likely to be useful to himself or his mistress, and
reject the rest.

Already did this watchful friend of Queen Catherine know that grave
danger threatened his mistress in the person of the merry, black-haired
little lady, who had come recently from the Court of France, and who,
though little more than a girl of sixteen, had sufficient strength
of character to hold fast by the fashion in which the ladies dressed
there, which was altogether more neat and becoming than the English
fashion, which Queen Catherine had followed blindly, caring too little
to approve or disapprove of the cut of a gown or wimple, so that it
was splendid enough to please her husband. The Princess Margaret, the
French king's sister, had done her best to teach her ladies greater
simplicity in dress, which this English girl had adopted, and refused
to give up now that she had returned to England. It was not the only
thing either that she had learned at the French Court, he heard, for
scraps of gossip had come to him, making him fear that the Lady Anne,
in spite of her merry laugh and coquettish ways, had learned something
of the heresy that was whispered the Princess encouraged, so that
Saladin had been warned to collect all he could about the Lady Anne,
and it had been a relief to the priest when he heard that Lord Percy
would marry her presently.

Then, a day or two later, Saladin brought him the news that Lord Percy
and Master Guildford together were going to break into the convent, and
carry off Mistress Cicely, the little nun.

Father Dominic did not believe in the literal fact of this being
attempted, but Saladin's story was too circumstantial not to be
believed in its essential, and so he hastened to the Queen and told her
that her favourite must be removed from the neighbourhood of Greenwich
without delay if the King's waning affection was to be retained, and
she become the mother of an heir to the English throne.

The fact was, Cicely had been devoted to the conventual life as a sort
of hostage for the Queen herself. Catherine had grown very fond of the
girl, and just because she was the sweetest thing about the Court to
her, she must be sacrificed to the Church, that through this, and the
prayers of the girl herself, the greatly desired gift of a son might
be bestowed upon her, and her husband's heart turned towards her once
more. If the Queen herself thought that the death of her babies was a
proof of the anger of God against her, it was because she had chosen to
become the Queen of England rather than the higher vocation of a nun;
and so, in sending Cicely to the convent, surely heaven would pardon
her sin, and accept the sweet, fresh life of the girl as an equivalent,
while she would do all she could to further the power and glory of the
Church through the exalted position which she occupied.

She knew nothing as yet of her husband's regard for Lady Anne, nor of
the reputed love of Lord Percy for Cicely. Her confessor only gave her
carefully assorted pieces of information, and so all she heard of the
affair was that there was danger that her favourite might be removed
forcibly from the convent if she was not sent to a distance, and this
so alarmed the Queen that she gave orders that the girl should be
removed at once to a place of safety at some distance from Greenwich.

The community had a branch establishment in the neighbourhood of
Oxford, and the very next night, under cover of darkness, a party of
nuns and guards set out on the journey thither, while Miles was fondly
imagining that his beloved was walking behind the wall he knew so well,
and listening to the rustle of the trees, under which they had often
walked together, and he had read to her scraps of his beloved Greek
Testament, or some of the notes that Erasmus had written to make the
text quite clear.

Under the trees in Greenwich Park, too, he had given her the
translation he had copied for her; and he wondered now whether she
had taken this with her to the convent, or left it with her girlish
trinkets for her sister to claim by-and-bye.

Miles would have liked to know what had become of this. Certainly,
such a gift as his was not calculated to make her stay in the convent
any happier, and he almost hoped she had left it at home, and that he
should hear the next time he came that his gift had been found, with
her rings and brooches, in the drawer which she said was not to be
opened until she had been in the convent two years.

The removal of Cicely from Greenwich was effected so quietly that her
father and mother knew nothing about it. But the Cardinal, sitting in
his room at Placentia, knew the whole matter, and where they were going
to take the lady; however, he was careful that no breath of this should
reach the ears of Miles just now, for fear he should make some rash
attempt to run away with her while they were upon the road. Such clumsy
methods would not have fitted in with the purpose the Cardinal had
at heart. He could watch and wait, and he hoped to be able to outwit
the Queen, and her confessor too, though he was an astute man, and a
Spaniard to boot. If he did not possess a dwarf like Saladin, he had
other spies in his service, for he could not have been at the King's
elbow at every crucial moment if he had not watchful and intelligent
spies about the Court, who kept him informed of every move in the game
that was going forward on the chessboard of European politics.

This system of espionage was rapidly growing in his hand, but it
was nothing to what it became in the hands of his successor, Thomas

Cromwell governed England and the King through his army of paid spies,
he having studied deeply the methods of Machiavelli. The whole system
of English government was built up on this system, so that no man could
tell but that his dearest friend, or even son or daughter, was not
a paid agent of Cromwell, and that his most simple and confidential
words and deeds would not be reported to the Chancellor; with the
result that the very springs of social and private life were poisoned
at their source by the infamous system that was now coming into vogue
everywhere, and was so largely used by the Cardinal for the furtherance
of his own plans.

As soon as his business with the King was finished, he and his retinue
returned to York House, and early the following day Miles was summoned
to his presence.

"I shall require you to go to Oxford on certain business connected with
the new college, that is now well-nigh completed," he said.

Miles was full of grief and anxiety on Cicely's account, but he could
not help feeling delighted at the thought of revisiting his Alma Mater,
and seeing the friends whom he had left behind; and he thanked the
Cardinal for selecting him for the service that would allow him to see
these dear friends again.

"You have proved yourself wary and careful at York House and other
places, but you will need to exercise the same discretion, as my
commissioner, to enquire into the condition, revenue, and inmates
of the smaller convents and monasteries of the diocese of Oxford. I
appoint you to this post as Cardinal Legate," said Wolsey, in answer
to the look of dumb amazement with which Miles received his master's
news. He could not thank him, for he did not know what to think of such
an offer, except that he was wholly unfitted for it, both on account
of his youth, and also because he had had no previous training in such
work. He, however, managed to say this, after a pause, during which the
Cardinal had looked at him with an amused smile.

"As to experience—who has ever dared to interfere with these dirty
nests of unclean birds?" said Wolsey. "But if ever the Church is to
be reformed, the revenue that now goes to keep a lot of lazy men and
women in dirt and idleness, must be used for the founding of schools
and colleges. If you are in doubt as to whether these places are as
I have described them, read Erasmus's 'Colloquies.' He will tell you
something of what a monastic life is in reality, and he ought to know,
for he took the vows and spent six years of his life in a monastery,
and Erasmus is not a man to speak untruly."

"I have heard, too, that the father of Erasmus was a monk," Miles
ventured to say.

"Aye, he was; he had left his girl-wife before our Erasmus was born,
to go to Rome in search of learning, and before he got back he heard
a false report of the death of his wife; and he went to a monastery
to bury his sorrow, and only found out that he had been deceived, and
that his wife and son were living, when it was too late. You may judge
therefore how Erasmus likes these lazy hooded crows, whom he makes us
laugh at, though it is no laughing matter for the Church to have these
'Colloquies' and the praise of folly so widely read as they are, unless
she means to set about the cleansing of her houses; and therefore do I
send you on this errand, for I know you to be one who has the reform
of the Church at heart, though you may not have set about providing a
remedy in the wisest fashion. Nov, however, I give you the authority to
work for the purification of the Church; and the first step must be in
the monasteries and convents, for these are the hot-beds of corruption.
Now, having told you so much, I will prepare you for a surprise that
may meet you at the outset of your work. I have reason to believe that
Mistress Cicely Guildford has been removed from the Franciscan Convent
of Greenwich to a smaller house of the same community at Oxford, and
it will be the duty of you and your colleague to secure the names of
all the inmates of the house, and, wherever it is possible, reduce the
number of the inmates by sending back to their friends all who are not
fully professed nuns, whether they wish it or not; and if any of those
who have taken the vows desire to return to the world, encourage them
to do so; and carefully note whether they have given wealth to the
community, and in such cases tell them the half of what has been so
given shall be returned, unless it has been otherwise disposed of. In
this way make as many reductions in each house as you possibly can, and
I need not tell you that I shall be glad to hear that Mistress Cicely
is your wife."

The Cardinal rarely waited for anyone to speak to him when he was
issuing orders, but in this case Miles did not know what to say. The
news that this was to be for the rescue of Cicely banished from his
mind any reluctance that he might otherwise have felt in undertaking
such a task. That he was to have a colleague was also a relief to his
mind; and, when later in the day he was introduced to an elderly,
benevolent-looking man, Miles was glad that he had not expressed to
his master all the reluctance he actually felt in undertaking such a
responsible post.

With this grave, elderly man to guide and direct his movements while
he acted as secretary and kept the Cardinal informed of all that took
place, was a very different matter than being such a missionary himself.

Miles' first care was to write a letter to his sister, and ask her to
meet him in Oxford. He had heard that her health had greatly improved
during the last year, so that he hoped it would not be impossible for
Margery to travel with her maid and one or two of the servants to the
principal hostelry in Oxford, whither a messenger had been despatched
to secure accommodation for the Cardinal's two commissioners and their

In an ordinary way the monasteries themselves would entertain them in
no grudging fashion, but it was scarcely to be expected that such an
enquiry as they were about to make would be welcomed by any of the
convents, and it was not beyond the bounds of possibility that the
commissioners might meet with hard treatment if they accepted the
hospitality usually offered to such guests. The Cardinal had therefore
bidden both his commissioners to avoid either eating or drinking at
these places, and to pay for their lodging, as other travellers did, at
the best hostelry they could find.

"If aught of harm befell either of you, I should be compelled to
make close enquiry, and this I do not want to do, because if it is
possible I want a reform of these religious houses before the people
know anything of what is going on. Therefore, I say to you once more,
Master Miles: be silent and wary, watchful and quick to take any
advantage that may offer, but do nothing to cause an outcry, or draw
the attention of people to what you are doing, or my projects may
be thwarted, and your hopes blighted so far as Mistress Cicely is

Saying this, the Cardinal left him to make the final arrangements for
their journey, which was a much more elaborate business than when he
came up from Oxford as the messenger of Master John Clark, Professor of
Cardinal College.

Now he was one of the great Cardinal Legate's commissioners, sent to
enquire into the whole monastic system of the Church in England; and
who can wonder if Miles shrunk a little from such an ordeal.

He went to "The Sign of the Golden Fleece" to bid his friends farewell;
and even Master Monmouth and the priest, William Tyndale, shook their
heads dubiously, when they heard what the Cardinal had decided to do.

"'Tis easier to pluck down than to build up, Master Miles; and if the
monks are to be turned out upon the highways, the number of beggars
will be sorely increased," said the merchant.

"But you have the sturdy fellows bellowing for alms a dozen times a day
now for the different monasteries," said Miles, who was determined to
defend his master's action, on account of the hope it gave him that he
might be able to rescue Cicely.

The merchant laughed when he was reminded how often the monk's wallet
was seen at his door, and how seldom any went away without a supply of
food in some form or other. It was a sort of tax the London citizen was
used to paying, and did not grudge it. Besides, sometimes the jolly
monk would stop and crack a joke, or drink a stoup of ale with the
merchant, or tell a good story by way of payment for the alms bestowed;
and so the notion that this side of London's social life might be
disturbed, if the Cardinal succeeded in carrying out his plans, was not
eagerly welcomed.

Of course they were willing to admit that the monks were, for the most
part, a set of lazy rascals; and they were proud of such a school as
Dean Colet's, where a boy could learn Greek and Latin, as well as other
subjects; but they had not yet made up their minds that they wanted
to get rid of the gossiping old monks, even for good grammar schools;
for these same monks were such an integral part of the social life
of London. While in the country, the connection with the gentry of
the neighbourhood on the one hand, and the poor on the other, was so
close, that Miles feared his master had put his hand to a task that
might prove too great, even for him to carry out; and he saw the wisdom
of confining their enquiries to the smaller and more insignificant
monasteries at first, and not attempting to do more than curtail the
number of inmates, and prevent, if possible, that any should be sent
there against their will, as Cicely had undoubtedly been.



IF Miles could only have followed his own wishes he would have started
on his journey to Oxford without a day's delay, but he was not master
of the situation, and had to be guided by what the Cardinal deemed
best under the circumstances; and so he had to wait until his master's
messengers returned, bringing news of where Cicely had been lodged.

There was also other business to be transacted, that they might carry
out their work of inspection as the duly accredited commissioners of
His Eminence; so that it was nearly a week before they could start with
a retinue befitting the office they had been invested with, and this
involved a slower progress than was altogether pleasant to Miles, who
was impatient to press on with all the speed possible.

But at last the scene for which his eyes had sorely longed gradually
rose before him. The stately tower of Magdalen College was the first
bit of the landscape that greeted his eager eyes, and the towers of the
city, and then at last they were winding along by the river bank, and
the walls of Magdalen were passed. Then Merton, and Balliol, and the
stately Cardinal College were passed on their way to the hostelry where
lodgings had been secured for them.

Here Miles met with his first disappointment, for the host had not
heard of Mistress Margery Paton coming to his house, and Miles had made
sure that she would be there before him, and his father with her; now
he began to fear that his father might refuse to come himself, or allow
Margery to come.

Fortunately he had little time to worry about this, for his master's
orders had been explicit,—that they should at once commence the
inquisition into the condition of the smaller monasteries around,
and so at daybreak the next morning the two commissioners presented
themselves at a monastery Miles had not heard mentioned until they
arrived at its gates. Quite another convent was to be the first to
receive them, he understood; and he was quite as much astonished as the
lay sister herself, who peered through the wicket of the gate, and then
hastened to open it, with trembling fingers, when she heard who were

Master Baldock, his companion, gave the sister no time to warn the
authorities inside, but the moment the gate was open he pushed his way
in, and bade her keep her post at the door, saying he would announce
himself to the Mother-Superior.

The next moment they found themselves in the midst of a group of
novices passing through the corridor on their way to the garden, and
one of these stood still, with bated breath, as her eyes fell upon
Miles Paton, while he was scarcely less moved. But, quick as the glance
had been between the two lovers, the older commissioner had seen it,
and noted the girl as she passed, silent and depressed, with her
companions into the garden.

The sight of the Cardinal's commissioners caused such a flutter among
the nuns and novices that the Mother-Superior was waiting to receive
them by the time they reached her parlour; and she met them suavely
enough, but complained that she had not been informed of their coming,
that the community might have received them with becoming respect, as
they would have wished.

Master Baldock bowed, and was equally suave, but said he was bound to
obey to the letter the commands of his master, and these had left him
no time to announce his arrival, as they had but reached their lodging
just before nightfall the previous day.

The Lady-Superior knew this as well as he did, for, suddenly as the
commission had been despatched, notice had been given to the convent
to be visited; for the system of espionage was not confined to the
Cardinal, and he knew there were spies in his household, who reported
all his movements to those whom it concerned, so that the monasteries
and convents around Oxford were expecting the visit they were supposed
to know nothing about.

But the commissioner's first words evidently took the lady by surprise:
"You will summon all the novices resident in your house; I will examine
these first," said Master Baldock. And he bade his assistant take out
his ink-horn, and prepare to write down the names of the ladies as they
appeared before him.

"Nay, but they are children, not used to the rough methods of men. I
will answer for them that they may be spared, for the minds of some are
over frivolous, and not much given to serious things, or to speak with

But Master Baldock was not disposed to bandy many words with this lady,
or give her time to spirit away any of the girls; and so he cut short
her argument by saying, "I am but the servant of the Cardinal Legate,
and his orders I must obey with all the despatch possible, therefore
summon the maidens here. My assistant will take down their names and
condition, and where their friends dwell, and then I will give you a
week to send them to their homes."

The lady almost screamed at the announcement "Send my children away
from me!" she gasped, her strong masculine face working with passion,
as she clenched her hands as though she would tear the hair of the man
who dared to impose his will upon her.

[Illustration: "Madam, one of your novices has not taken her place with
the rest," said Master Baldock.]

But she soon found that it was useless to struggle against this man.
The calm, benevolent face that she thought gave promise of an easily
swayed will behind it, proved to be but as a velvet glove on a hand
of steel. The Cardinal always chose his instruments wisely, and they
were fitted by nature, as well as by training, for the work they
were deputed to perform; and so the lady was obliged to send for the
novices, and see them ranged in a line before these two men, and in
a moment the absence of one was detected by the elder, almost before
Miles himself could feel certain that Cicely was not among them.

"Madam, one of your novices has not taken her place with the rest,"
said Master Baldock, as he looked keenly along the line of shrinking

"She does not wish to expose herself to the gaze of men," said the
lady, defiantly, and at the moment the door was pushed open by an
elderly nun, and the faint sound of shrieks were heard in the distance.
In a moment Miles had sprung from his seat and darted to the door to
go to the rescue, for he felt sure that it was Cicely calling for him
to help her; but the Lady-Superior reached the door first, and shut it
in his face, and the two stood glaring at each other for a moment in

If she had been a man, or even a woman in secular life, Miles would
have hurled himself upon her and dragged her from the door; but her
sacred habit was still sacred to him, and he shrunk from laying his
hand rudely upon a nun. He shook like a tree beaten in a storm, as he
watched the hard relentless face, and thought of his darling being in
the power of this woman, and he unable to lift hand or foot to help
her, tied and bound as he was by the superstitious reverence, in which
he had been reared, for the sacred vocation of a nun.

Even Master Baldock was relieved to see that his assistant had
sufficient self-control to keep him from what he would have regarded as
the sacrilege of using violence to a pledged recluse, and he said, in a
calm tone, "My friend would fain have saved the lady from the peril she
must have been in, but doubtless the holy sisters of this house have
gone to her relief."

"Of course they have," replied the lady, haughtily, and she remained
master of the field, while Miles felt himself hopelessly beaten.

He was so torn by contending emotions that he scarcely understood what
his chief was saying for the next minute or two. He returned to his
seat, and resumed the cutting of the quill for writing his list of the
novices, and then, as he gradually grew calm, he heard Master Baldock
say, "You will summon the other novice, Cicely Guildford, to our

The Lady-Superior started when she heard the name, and even Miles—who
knew him to be one of the Cardinal's most trusted secretaries—was
amazed at the calm assurance with which he pronounced her name, until
his next words unravelled the mystery.

"How do you know the maiden you name has found a shelter in this
house?" demanded the Mother.

"Because I have seen her. I have known her from a child, and am the
bearer of a message from her parents, which the Cardinal has commanded
me to deliver."

The lady looked greatly disturbed for a moment, but at length she said,
"I will fetch this Cicely Guildford, since you are set upon seeing her;
but I pray you be gentle in your questioning of her, for she is not
over strong, and hath been ill of late."

"Do not fear that we shall be rough in our questioning, and be not long
absent, for I am not of the most patient mind, and already you have
sorely hindered me in my master's work."

The lady nodded, and withdrew, and Miles took the opportunity of asking
his friend if he thought he should know Mistress Cicely. "You have seen
her among the Queen's ladies, of course, but are you sure you would
know my Cicely?" said Miles, earnestly, but in a whisper.

"Be content; Cicely is my sister's child, and I never forget a face I
have once seen," answered Master Baldock, in a reassuring whisper.

They were kept waiting for some few minutes, but at last the Mother
came back, leading by the hand a girl, who looked timidly up at the two
men seated at the table in the middle of the room. The girl was attired
in the dress of a novice, but one glance at her face assured both of
them that it was not Cicely, and Master Baldock said, in a stern tone,
"Look at me, and tell me your true name. You are not Cicely Guildford,"
and the man fastened his eyes on the girl's face, as if to compel her
to speak the truth.

The plan succeeded. "I am Amy Taylor," she said, in a faltering tone,
not daring to look at the Mother-Superior, who stood at the back of her.

"Well, Amy Taylor, tell me where your friends live, and if you know
what dowry was paid with you when you came to this house."

But the girl could only shake her head at these questions. She had
lived with the sisters at the convent all her life, she said. She would
be a novice by-and-bye, she hoped, but now she only helped the lay
sisters. In short, she was the little drudge of the household, who had
been hastily fetched from the kitchen, and dressed in the habit of a
novice for the occasion, and these facts the commissioner soon elicited
from the frightened girl.

"You may go back to the kitchen now, my little wench," said the
commissioner. "I have no wish to take a useful servant away from
these ladies." Then, turning to the Mother once more, he said, "Will
you fetch me the true Cicely, or shall I have to close this house in
consequence of the rebellion of its Superior to the command of the
Cardinal Legate, who administers the affairs of the Church in this
realm as the Holy Father himself." He felt obliged to remind the lady
that he was armed with power to put a summary end to her rule, in the
hope that the hint would be taken, and the true Cicely produced.

Finding that the commissioner was not to be hoodwinked, and would not
proceed to the other part of his work until the girl he asked for was
brought before him, she at last reluctantly sent one of the elder nuns,
who had come to take charge of the novices while they were waiting,
to fetch Cicely; and this time there was no mistaking the sweet, shy
face Miles had learned to love. But it was sadly changed. There was a
deep and abiding look of sorrow in the large grey eyes, and deep rings
beneath told of broken health and sleepless nights; while the look
of terror that mantled her face when the Mother-Superior spoke, was
sufficient to tell both men what she had endured although she had been
here such a short time.

As Cicely drew near the table the Mother contrived to change her
position, and sit so that she could command a view of the girl, and
also make her feel that she was being watched.

So when Master Baldock said, "Now, Cicely Guildford, I have come by
the command of my Lord Cardinal to ask you some questions, which your
father would have propounded to you if his duty to the King would have
suffered him to come with me on this journey. First, are you happy in
this household?"

But, instead of answering at once, Cicely glanced timidly round at the
elder lady, and then slowly answered, in a mechanical tone.

"Madam, I must request you to change your seat, and leave my witness to
answer me alone."

"I have not spoken to the witness," said the Mother, indignantly.

"But you are frightening her, and if you do not move I shall send the
whole of these girls to their friends without further parley."

So the lady moved, and the commissioner took care that the girl kept
her eyes upon him or Miles.

Without betraying the secret of either of them, he contrived to draw
from the girl the confession that she was very unwilling to enter upon
a monastic life when the time came for her to leave home; and, though
she was heartily ashamed to confess it, she would greatly prefer to
live a secular life than be a nun.

She did not make any complaints of the treatment she had received since
she had been here, but it was easy to see that the girl was unhappy;
and a glad light beamed in her eyes when Master Baldock, turning to his
assistant, said, "Mistress Cicely will be returned to her father, and,
as I have his authority to take charge of her, she must come back to
the hostelry with us." To the Lady-Superior he said, "If a lay sister
can attend her I will take the charge of her as well."

"What do you mean? I cannot allow you to remove any of these children
of God out of my care."

"But you forget I have the authority of the Cardinal Legate for this,"
said the commissioner, calmly. And then he motioned Cicely aside, and
called one of the other girls before him. Similar questions were asked
and answered; and among the twenty novices there two only wished to
remain. The rest had grown tired of the life that had been pictured to
them as one of exalted piety, but which they found to be so different
on a fuller knowledge of it.

They all hoped they might be taken to the hostelry as well as Cicely,
but this did not suit the plans of the commissioners, and they simply
received a promise that they should be sent to their friends in the
course of a week, when they could be sent under proper escort, and
arrangements had been made for them to be welcomed home once more.

Then the storm began over Cicely again. The Mother protested that she
must not be separated from her companions until her father came to
fetch her.

In vain Master Baldock explained that the King's business would not
permit him to take such a long journey; and, moreover, that the journey
was needless, as he was her uncle, and duly authorised to take her into
his care. At first the lady would not hear of such a thing; and when,
at last, she was forced to yield a reluctant consent, she said the
girls were all faint and in want of food, and Cicely must have a meal,
and be wrapped up from the observation of passengers in the streets, or
there might be some disturbance in the town over the matter.

This precaution was certainly necessary if they would escape
observation as they passed through the streets, which would be thronged
with students now; and the commissioner blamed himself for not thinking
of this.

So he thanked the lady, and Cicely passed out of the room with the
rest, and Miles packed up his things for that day, eager now to reach
the hostelry, and ascertain whether his sister had arrived yet. If she
had not, he would go in search of Rankin, and see if his wife could
not come to attend upon the young lady until some more suitable friend
could be found.

He would fain have gone on first to ascertain this point, but his
friend declined to be left alone with these ladies. "I would not have
my life at the mercy of that Lady-Superior, and I would not leave you
in her power, and so, for the same reason, I decline to be left here by
myself," he said, in a jocular way.

At length a nun summoned them to the gate, where, she said, Cicely was
awaiting them; and there she stood when they appeared, muffled up to
the eyes, so that the most prying and impudent of students could not
catch a glimpse of the sweet, shy face; and she walked between the two
men without asking a question as to how far she was to go, or how all
the friends at Greenwich were faring.

Judging her by himself, Miles was not surprised at this silence, for
he had no wish to talk, and, indeed, the state of the roads, and the
rushing parties of students compelled them to give more attention to
the passengers around them than to each other.

Cicely walked very slowly now, Miles thought. Remembering how she had
climbed the hills with him in Greenwich Park, her lagging steps now
made him think that she must be very weak through the fasts she had
been keeping, or else she was very tired.

At last their hostelry was reached, and then Master Baldock hastily
seized the cloak she was wearing, and tore it off her head.

"I thought so! I thought so!" he exclaimed. "Fool that I have been to
trust a nun," for there stood revealed before them the demure face of
an elderly nun, instead of Cicely Guildford!



THE Cardinal's commissioner stood for a moment and stared blankly at
the elderly nun who had personated Cicely, and then broke into a storm
of oaths and imprecations, cursing himself for a fool, and Miles for
suffering himself to be cheated; and during this hurricane of passion
the nun managed to make her escape and return to the convent to tell
her story.

Miles, too, was dumbfounded; but it was with grief and dismay, as he
thought of what Cicely's fate was likely to be, left defenceless in the
hands of the hard woman who had unrestrained power over her.

As soon as he could recover from the fit of passion, Master Baldock
exclaimed, "Now they will send her back to the Abbess at Greenwich,
and we may not be able to release her from that convent, even with the
Cardinal to help us."

"Then let us follow and overtake her at once," said Miles, springing
up as he spoke, and calling to the ostler to saddle his horse without

But Master Baldock countermanded the order. "We must go to work warily
in this matter," he said, "and fortunately I left a man to watch
the convent gates and inform us what took place in the night, for I
mistrusted that she-wolf, though I did not think she would try to cheat
us twice in the same way. By our Lady, she must think we are a pair of
fools, Master Paton!" he exclaimed, angrily. And then he picked up the
short sword he had thrown on the table, and said, "I will go in search
of my messenger near the convent and see what he can tell us. It may
be they have not started with Cicely yet. They would need horses and
an escort for a journey to Greenwich, and they are but a household of

Miles was only too thankful to follow his friend; and the two were soon
in the street, and hastening towards the other end of the town. But
Miles was too impatient to wait for his companion; and the well-known
cry of the students in a Town and Gown row, which was evidently being
fought out close at hand, fired his blood, and he tucked up his cloak
and ran much as he did in the old student days, his knowledge of the
city enabling him to take several short cuts, so as to avoid the
thronging streets, and bring him more quickly to the convent, which he
was now anxious to reach before the nun who had gone with them to the
hostelry should get back to tell her tale.

But presently his way was blocked, for he came face to face with the
main body of the combatants, the students slowly driving the town lads
and apprentices before them; and Miles saw to his chagrin that it would
be the wisest course for him to turn and fly too, unless he would take
part in the melee; and he was just about to do this, when a woman laid
her hand upon his shoulder and panted, "Oh sir, for the love of our
Blessed Lady, come and help me. A poor girl has fallen down, and will
be trampled to death by the mob," and, as she spoke, the woman dragged
him to the side of the road, and pointed to the prostrate figure of a
girl which was almost unseen in the gathering gloom of evening; and, by
the fact, that she was closely enveloped in the thick folds of a black

There was no time to ask questions. He could only snatch up the girl,
swing her across his shoulders, and fly before the crowd that came
surging down the street, and would have trampled the girl to death the
next minute if he had not been at hand to rescue her.

"Come, sir, come, I live close by," said the woman, when Miles began to
falter with his burden.

The next minute a stalwart, burly man appeared. "What ho, dame! who
have we here? Come indoors, sir, and rest a minute," and he led the way
down a gloomy entry, but into a comfortable cottage that seemed to have
fastened itself on to the walls of some large building.

Miles deposited his burden on the earth-trodden floor, and then turned
to look at the man who had greeted him, for something in the tone of
his voice sounded familiar; and the next minute he held out both hands,
exclaiming, "What, Rankin! is it you, my friend?"

"Master Miles! Master Miles! Bless the saints for giving me a sight
of you once more. Molly! Molly! it is our Master Miles Paton, who
made our fortune a year or two ago," said Rankin, shaking his wife by
the shoulder in the exuberance of his joy, while she, breathless, and
panting still from her run, could only curtsey and smile, and glance at
the black bundle on the floor.

"What is it, dame?" her husband asked, a little anxiously, turning to
look at the girl.

"One of your girls, isn't it, dame?" said Miles, but at the same time
thinking that she must have grown very tall during the last year or two.

"No, no, it is no girl of mine, but a stranger, who ran to me for help
from the crowd, and she fell down just as you came up."

While she had been speaking, Dame Rankin had knelt down beside the
prostrate figure and loosened the hood of the cloak, so as to give
the girl air, and in that moment Miles caught sight of the face, and
recognised it.

"Cicely! my Cicely!" he exclaimed, pushing Dame Rankin aside, and
taking the girl into his arms once more.

She slowly opened her eyes, and looked at him, and a smile of ineffable
joy and peace passed over her as she whispered, "Miles, take care of
me,—don't let them take me back."

"Never, my darling, never," he said; and then he pressed the first
lover's kiss upon her lips, and silently thanked God for His help and
guidance in bringing him to her in her hour of need.

There was a little truckle-bed in one corner of the room, and he
carried her to that; and then told Rankin something of the day's
doings, and how he had sent for his sister to meet this lady when she
should leave the convent, and how another had been imposed upon them
instead of Mistress Cicely Guildford.

"How she came to be in the streets in this part of the town, I do
not know, but, doubtless, she will tell us when she has somewhat
recovered." And then Miles devoted himself to comforting and reassuring
the frightened girl, who could not be persuaded that she was safe here
from her persecutors; for it seemed that she had been made to suffer
a great deal of unkind treatment, since she had told the abbess at
Greenwich that she did not wish to become a nun, through having been
able to read some portions of God's Word for herself.

These, of course, were from the translation of Miles, which he had
copied, and given to her, and which she had taken with her to the
convent, and lent to some of the other novices secretly, when she
learned that such reading was not approved by her superiors.

She managed to tell Miles this as he sat by her side, while Dame Rankin
busied herself about her household affairs, a little doubtful and
uneasy as to whether she had done right in fetching Miles to the rescue
of a nun, since it seemed likely, as they had found each other, that
she would not go back to a monastic life.

After about an hour Cicely had so far recovered that she said to Miles,
"I am so hungry; we had to keep a special fast to-day. But I may have
something to eat now."

"Of course, you may, my darling. What a stupid fellow I am! I can
scarcely think of anything else because I have found you." And then he
went to enquire what the cottage larder would afford, for he had at
last realised that he was hungry too.

But Rankin, although he had risen to the position of a leading workman,
and had had this cottage built for him close to the walls of Cardinal
College, did not presume to keep white bread in his house, or anything
else that was fit to set before the gentry; but he readily agreed to go
to the hostelry, and fetch Master Baldock if he could be found there,
and also to order a meal to be sent by one of the turnspits to Miles
and Cicely.

It was arranged that she should stay here for the night in the care of
Dame Rankin; for no inconvenience was too great if the man could do
anything for the son of his old master, who had saved him from ruin,
and made him a man again, as he said.

A month later, and this might have been impossible; for, by that time,
the poor fellow would probably have been caught begging, and lashed at
the cart-tail through the neighbourhood of Woodstock. And after that,
the man could no longer have held up his head among his fellow-men,
but would have descended from a man to a savage brute only too easily;
so that Rankin was not far wrong when he said that Miles had saved him
soul and body, and he would serve him with both till death if he needed
such service.

So the simple service of fetching supplies from the hostelry was
quickly accomplished, and he was only too eager to give up the best his
cottage afforded for the accommodation of Cicely.

When she had eaten a hearty meal, and seemed disposed to go to sleep,
Miles left her in charge of his friends; and, as Master Baldock had not
returned to the hostelry, he went in search of him, but did not find
him until the city gates closed, and then he came galloping in from the
London road, his horse covered with foam, and himself almost exhausted
from want of food and the exertion and discomfort of the day. At the
sight of Miles, however, he sprang from his horse, exclaiming, "Thank
God you are safe at least; but I began to think that she-wolf had
somehow spirited you away. She has gone, I am sorry to say, and is half
way to London by this time I fear."

"Who is?" asked Miles, fearing his friend's wits had wandered a little.

"My niece, Mistress Cicely Guildford. My watchman saw them leave the
convent soon after we went to the hostelry, but, as I had bidden him
abide at his post until I saw him, he could not leave to give me notice
of what had happened."

"But I found Cicely here in the streets of Oxford," said Miles.

"Found—Cicely—in—the—street," slowly uttered Master Baldock, who
thought Miles must have sought to drown his sorrow in too much Canary,
and said as much to the young man.

But Miles could afford to be good-tempered, and he laughed at the
insinuation, as he said, "It is true enough, Master Baldock. It seems
that they sent her in charge of two sisters to another convent in the
city, but the Town and Gown riot frightened the women, and they ran
away from the mob, and bade Cicely follow them. But she had caught
sight of a poor woman coming out of a shop, and ran towards her, not
knowing I was close at hand, for the woman ran screaming to me to
rescue a girl who had fallen down almost at the feet of the mob. I
picked her up and carried her to the woman's home, thinking it was her
daughter, until her face was uncovered, and I recognised my Cicely. I
have left her there, for I know the people well, and the man would lay
down his life to defend her."

This story astonished Master Baldock. "The she-wolf has outwitted
herself for once, then," he said, in a tone of satisfaction.

The two hastened back to the hostelry, for now that the city gates were
closed and the shops shut up, it was scarcely safe to be abroad without
an armed guard being in attendance. They had left the hostelry in such
hot haste that there had been no time to summon those who had attended
them from London, and it was certainly unsafe for strangers to be out
so late unattended.

The next day letters were sent by different messengers to the parents
of the novices who wished to return home. These friends were informed
that for the better ruling and guidance of the Church the monastic
system was to be gradually restricted, and for the next few years
no more novices of either sex would be allowed to take the vows of
the monastic life. The great abuses which had crept into the abbeys
and convents had forced the heads of the Church to exercise this
discipline, and therefore the daughter or niece had been sent back to
the care of her friends, and the business of her dowry would be settled

Having settled this matter, Master Baldock began to look round for a
temporary home for these novices, for he scarcely liked to trust them
to the tender mercies of the woman who had deceived him so grossly. But
no one cared to shelter girls who would practically break their vows
by leaving the convent, even under the protection of the Cardinal's
commissioner; and as there were no married clergy in the city, no one
of importance, who could protect the girls from scandal, was willing to
run the risk of offending the higher clergy by receiving a disgraced
nun; and so, for want of protectors, they were obliged to remain in the
convent, and Cicely was securely hidden in the little homely cottage
that had first received her.

The business upon which Miles and his friend had been sent was pressed
forward with all diligence, and the two commissioners found little
difficulty, after sending the novices home, in finding accommodation
for the nuns of two convents, and even three where the sisterhood was
very small, in one only.

By this means the revenue of the houses that were suppressed could be
taken for the further development of colleges, schools, and learning
generally, while the buildings themselves could either be pulled down
and their stones used in the completion of the Cardinal College, or
they might be used for grammar schools or hostelries for students,
who, at present, often had to beg from door to door like the monks,
to maintain themselves while mastering the Greek and Latin tongues,
or preparing themselves to take their degrees as Doctors of Law or
Philosophy; and this daily hunt for food often sorely hindered them in
their studies, the Cardinal knew.

Miles knew it, too, by bitter experience, so that he was willing enough
to press forward the work for the work's own sake, to say nothing of
the plan he had formed in his mind of taking Cicely to Woodstock until
she should become his wife.

But the best laid plans are often upset, and just before the close of
the commission a messenger brought a letter from Paton Hall, bidding
him ride home with all speed if he wished to see his father before he
died. It was not the first letter he had received from home since he
had been in Oxford. He had hoped that his sister could join him there,
but his father had forbidden it, and had sent to tell him that he was
in failing health, and could not spare his daughter Margery to go
junketing about the country. Miles had only half-believed it, although
a letter from his sister herself confirmed the old man's report of his

The fact was Miles did not want to believe it, because it would be very
inconvenient just now. But the inconvenient had happened, it seemed,
and now he was in a dilemma as to what he should do with Cicely. He
rather shrank from taking her home to Paton Hall at such a time as
this, especially when he remembered his father's anger at Greenwich.
But resection taught him that this anger was unreasonable on his
father's part, and he owed a duty to Cicely now which must stand before
all considerations of what people would say; and he made up his mind
how to act before speaking to his friend, Master Baldock, who, as
Cicely's uncle, might think he had a right to interfere if he did not
make up his mind at first.

So, after pondering over the messenger's news for a little while,
he went to Master Baldock, and told him what had happened. "Now, I
must have a strong escort to protect Cicely, and set off at daybreak
to-morrow, for I would fain see my father once again before he dies."

Contrary to his expectations, Master Baldock did not object to this
plan. "It would be better thus, I think," he said, slowly, "for, from
all I can hear, the nuns think she was killed the night of the riot,
and have sent to tell the abbess at Greenwich the story of how it
happened. Of course it will all be hushed up, as such things are, but
I have taken care to send a letter to my brother, informing him of the
true state of the case; and before she leaves Oxford she had better lay
aside the dress of a novice, and no one at Woodstock need know that she
ever contemplated entering the monastic life. You can understand how
inconvenient it would be for her to go home to Greenwich just now."

"I would not let her go. Until she is my wife she shall not go near the
Court or Queen," said Miles, hotly.

Master Baldock shrugged his shoulders, and smiled. Perhaps he thought
it would be just as well if Miles did not have to continue much longer
in the service of the Cardinal, for the affair had already caused more
talk than was pleasant, and Wolsey was apt to think that someone had
blundered if a matter was not settled with the silence and despatch
with which he liked to characterise all his business transactions.

So a secular dress was provided for Cicely, and an escort engaged to
take them to Woodstock, so that they should not be waylaid either by
beggars or miscreants hired by the Mother-Superior to kidnap Cicely and
murder Miles. For, he thought, either fate might befall them if they
were not sufficiently guarded.

So, with his beloved Cicely beside him, and a well-armed guard, Miles
once more passed through the gate of Oxford city, along the Northern
Road, delighted to point out to his companion this and that along the
road, and trying to keep up her spirits, but all the time feeling
gravely anxious as to what reception he should get at the end of his
journey, and wondering whether the Lady Audrey still lived at Paton



BEFORE Miles left Oxford, his friend, Master John Clark, advised that
he should marry Cicely for her due protection, but she demurred to this
hasty marriage, saying she would rather wait until she had seen her
mother and father again, although she did not hesitate to promise Miles
that she would marry him in a few months.

Of course Cicely had her way, but Master Clark told Miles that if any
sudden need should arise, when he reached Woodstock, for the marriage
to be hastened, he would come to Paton Hall and perform the ceremony if
a messenger was sent to tell him that his services were required.

It was winter now, and the ill-kept roads almost impassable for mire
and water, so that the journey to Woodstock was long and uncomfortable,
and when at last the little town was reached, the travellers heard that
Sir Thomas Paton had died the day before.

It was a painful shock to both of them, for Miles greatly desired to
see his father once more, and both could see now that it would have
been better to have taken the advice of friends, and had the marriage
celebrated in Oxford.

But Miles was not long deciding what was best to be done, and, after a
few words with Cicely, a messenger was sent back in hot haste to ask
Master Clark to journey to Paton Hall, as Sir Thomas was dead.

There was no need to say more than this, for the priest would
understand why he was needed, and that it would be for a marriage, and
not for a funeral, that he was summoned.

When the party reached Paton Hall it was Margery who came to receive
them, and then Miles heard for the first time that his mother had been
ill as well as his father, and she was now too weak to leave her bed.
"I am so glad you have come, Miles," said his sister, with a sob.

"And I am glad I could come, and I have not come alone, for I have
brought you a little sister, Margery, who will be a comfort to us both
I think."

In the bustle and confusion Margery had failed to notice Cicely until
her brother spoke, but now she turned and greeted her, feeling somewhat
relieved at the first glance to see that she looked a simple maiden,
and not like the Lady Audrey, whose coming to Paton Hall had seemed to
bring such painful changes in its train.

"Take her to your room, Margery, and don't ask her any questions until
I see you. She is hungry and weary I doubt not."

"And you, Miles?" said his sister, anxiously, but grasping the little
hand that had been placed in hers.

"Oh, I will shift for myself. Where is Reuben?" he asked, looking round
the wide hall, and wondering that his old servant did not come forward
to proffer his services.

"Reuben has gone away," said Margery, in a lower tone. "Do not ask
questions about anything just now. I will bid them set a meal."

"No, no; take Cicely away to your own room, for she is almost fainting
with fatigue and hunger. I am strong, and can look after myself when
I have seen my mother. Ah, there is her serving-woman—"; and Miles
hurried across the hall at once, leaving his sister to take Cicely to
her own rooms, and care for her out of the sight of the servants, who
began to gather round to have a peep at the new mistress of Paton Hall,
for they knew well enough that the present Lady Paton would not rule
them much longer.

"How is my mother, Deborah?" asked Miles, as he hurried the middle-aged
lady's maid towards his mother's room.

"Master Miles, she is very ill, and knows nothing of what has happened
to Sir Thomas, and she must not be told."

"How long has she been ill?" asked Miles.

"It would be better to say, 'How long is it since she was well?'"
said the serving-woman, in a solemn tone, as she shook her head and
wiped her eyes. She did not hesitate to add that in her belief the new
learning had just broken his mother's heart.

Miles looked at the woman in amazement. "What do you know about the new
learning?" he said, sharply.

"Thank the Blessed Virgin I know nothing of such folly," said Deborah,
"but I have heard the master say, many times of late, that all the
troubles that had come upon the land were through this learning they
taught at Oxford; so I hope, Master Miles, that now you have come you
will leave all that has brought the trouble behind you in Oxford, for
the land is well-nigh ruined now, and a little more will quite ruin us
all. Father Boniface says it is all on account of the heresy they teach
in the new books. So that you see Sir Thomas was not far wrong in what
he thought about it."

There was no time to say more, even if Miles had thought it wise to
argue the point with his mother's maid, for Lady Paton's room was
reached, and Deborah hurried forward to prepare her mistress for the
coming of Miles.

She had told her early that morning that he would probably visit them
soon, but she seemed too ill to take very much notice of anything just
now, and in fact Miles stood by her bedside for several minutes before
she quite took in the fact that he was there.

When she had grasped the idea it seemed to waken in her other trains of
thought, for she said, quickly, "I am glad you have come, Miles. Now
you can marry Audrey, and the sheep need not be sold, and—and—" And
then she fell into an incoherent murmur about his father being tired,
and not able to come to see her, and soon she had sunk back into a
state of semi-unconsciousness.

"She's asleep now, Master Miles, and she mustn't be disturbed any more
to-day." And then Miles learned that about once in the twenty-four
hours his mother woke for a few minutes like this, and lapsed into the
stupor that seemed to have seized and benumbed all her faculties the
last few weeks.

Miles sat for a few minutes beside his mother, and then, finding that
she was wholly unconscious of his presence, he went to the room where a
meal had been placed on the table in readiness for him.

To his great relief it was his father's old servant who stood near the
door when he went into the room, and he bade the man stay and tell him
all about his father's illness, while he ate his dinner.

But there was not a great deal to tell. Sir Thomas had been ailing
for some time, like his wife, and a severe cold, brought on by a
change in the weather, had resulted in the last illness, in spite of
all that Father Boniface had been able to do in the way of doctoring,
and the exertions of another monk at the monastery, who was a famous
witch-finder, and held to his opinion that the illness of the old
people was caused by the spells of some witch who had a grudge against

Unfortunately the way things had been managed lately, both in the house
and village, and on the land, had given occasion enough for the poor
to have a grudge against Sir Thomas. But still Miles only smiled, and
shook his head, when old Roger talked of witchcraft.

Not that he disbelieved in it. But he thought there were causes enough
at work to account for the illness of both father and mother without
seeking for it in witchcraft; unless it was that malign influence that
had first set his father on the quest for more money than the ordinary
rent of the land would bring in. This might have been the work of
witchcraft, he was willing to believe, but then it was one that had
seized so many other English landlords at the same time, and they all
seemed so eager to engage in the race for wealth that the witchcraft
must have been on a mighty scale to seize upon so many at once.

Miles tried to explain this to old Roger, but the man only shook his
head. He had lived a good many years at Paton Hall, and it was his
world, and the ideas gathered from his master and the monks at the
monastery were enough for him; and these had said again and again that
the changes which had come the last few years had been the work of the
new learning. That might be another word for witchcraft. He did not
know, nor was he sure whether his master had died from witch spells,
but the holy father, learned in such matters, had given it as his
opinion that he had.

As soon as he had attended to the first most pressing duties that now
developed upon him, Miles went to his sister's room, and was glad to
hear that Cicely was fast asleep.

"Who is she, Miles?" asked Margery, in a whisper; "she says she is not

"No, dear, but I hope she will be to-morrow or the next day. That we
are not married is because she wanted to go home and see her mother
and father first; and if my father had lived I should have taken her
on to London with all speed, and been married at the Church of St.
Dunstan-in-the-West. Now, however, we must have a secret marriage
performed in your room by my friend, Master John Clark, who is coming
from Oxford with all speed for the purpose."

"Then she will really be your wife and my sister," said Margery, in a
tone of satisfaction.

"Ah, you are glad, little sister," said Miles, in a tone of relief.

"I am glad it is not Audrey," whispered Margery.

"Why should you be glad of that? I have just heard from my mother that
she greatly wished it."

"Oh, yes, to save the sheep being sold; but sheep are not everything,
although wool is a good price. In the first place, the Church would not
bless a marriage like that. I learned that from my confessor."

Miles took his sister's hand, and looked earnestly into her face.
"Suppose the Church should refuse to bless this marriage, Margery," he
said, in a whisper.

Margery shivered. "What do you mean, Miles?" she said, in a tone of
horror. "Surely this girl has not been married—she looks almost a

"And yet she has known much sorrow," said Miles.

"Yes; she told me she had suffered much of late," answered Margery.

"Did she tell you wherefore this was?" asked her brother.

"No; she seemed to remember something you had said to her, and when I
asked her to tell me all about it, she said, 'Miles will tell you when
he thinks best.' What is it, Miles? Why is there such a sad look in her
sweet, grey eyes, and how is it she is travelling alone with you if she
is not your wife?"

"Margery, we did not know how much we loved each other until it was
too late. I used to go to Greenwich, and the Tower, and the Palace of
Sheen, in attendance upon my master, and wherever I might go I would
meet Mistress Cicely about the Court, because she was one of the
Queen's favourites, and we talked, and walked, and met at Cicely's
home. But at last somebody found out more than we knew, or, at least,
were quite sure of ourselves, and to prevent our marriage and please
the Queen, Cicely was sent to a convent a few months ago, and it was
not until she had gone that I knew how much I loved her."

"But—but—is she a nun?" asked Margery in a frightened whisper.

"No, Margery, she was only a novice," said Miles, boldly.

"But is not that almost the same?" asked his sister, anxiously.

"No, indeed, there is a very great deal of difference. If a man or
woman is betrothed to another they can change their minds before they
are married, and none can say aught against it. You understand that,

"Oh yes, that is quite clear," said Margery.

"Well, Cicely was a novice, but she had not taken the vows of a nun;
and more than that, the Cardinal Legate has absolved all novices from
whatever vows they may have made, either public or secret; and so my
Cicely is quite free to marry me so soon as Master Clark shall come,
though it will be a poor bridal for my darling," added Miles with a

"Ah, the funeral baked meats for the bridal marchpane," said Margery.
"Could it not be otherwise? It is not fitting that you who are Sir
Miles Paton now should have no wedding feast."

"Better be without the feast than without the bride," said Miles. "I
cannot feel that Cicely is safe for a moment out of my sight until we
are married; for if she could be taken back to the convent I might not
be able to rescue her again, and that is why I want you to keep her
close in your rooms, and never leave her for a moment until Master
Clark comes and the wedding is over. Until then say nought about her,
even to the servants, for I would they should think that we married at
Oxford, or before we journeyed from London. Once we are married I can
speak of her as my dame, the young Lady Paton."

Miles was too impatient for the arrival of his friend to be able to
settle to the consideration of business, although the family scrivener,
having heard of his arrival, had walked over from the monastery to
greet him, and ask if he had need of his services.

"Nay, not yet. I did but hear of my father's death this morning, and
knew not that my mother was ill. You know to whom general and special
invitations to the funeral should be sent. It cannot be hastened, for
all must have time to journey hither. Send messengers with letters to
all old friends of my father both near and far," he said.

This commission satisfied the scrivener for the time, for writing the
letters and going and coming of messengers would cause a little stir in
the torpid life of the brotherhood. And so Miles and his whilom enemy
parted very good friends, for the time being.

Master Clark arrived early the next morning, having ridden with such
hot haste, that people, seeing he was a priest, thought he must be
riding to the death-bed of some patient; and when he enquired for Paton
Hall, they informed him there was no need to hurry, as Sir Thomas had
passed away before his son had reached him.

His arrival was not such a startling surprise to the servants as Miles
feared it might be, and the traveller being taken almost immediately
to Mistress Margery's rooms did not excite any surprise, as the priest
might be expected to go and say a word of comfort to the daughter,
seeing he had arrived too late to speak a word to Sir Thomas himself.

So there was a very small wedding-party gathered in Margery's winter
parlour, and Cicely Guildford became Cicely, Lady Paton; but there
was no marchpane or hippocras, or anything that could suggest that a
wedding had taken place in the house of mourning.

The ladies still kept to their own wing of the house, as was usual in
such cases, and Miles was not in too much haste to speak of his wife
as Lady Paton, or even to mention her at all, leaving the servants
to surmise what they liked, as he was sure now of being able to
introduce her as his wife when the time came for her to emerge from her
retirement with Margery after the funeral.

Master Clark was prevailed upon to stay and take part in the funeral
service; and during the interval he and Miles had many serious talks as
to the future.

As one of the great Cardinal's secretaries, Miles could return to
London with his wife, and turn his back upon all the confusion and
muddle that his father's affairs seemed to have fallen into of late.

If he did this, however, things would inevitably go from bad to worse;
and there was his mother and sister to think for as well as himself,
although it must be confessed that Miles rebelled at the thought of
being so far from London just now, when his friend at the "Golden
Fleece" might be in need of his help in the work of translating God's
Word into English.

Still, great as this work was, and needful as it might be, Master Clark
held that, for the present at least, Miles' duty was to stay at Paton
Hall, and try to alleviate the lot of the peasants, who were apparently
on the verge of a revolt against the landlords.

"You can do something to lighten their lot, and it is the duty that
lies nearest to you now," said his friend; "and though you may not be
able to set up a ready-made Utopia, after the pattern of my friend's,
still you might begin to set one growing, and that would be worth

The two were gazing out over the pasture-land that had been almost
denuded of its sheep, and the sight of which had doubtless done much to
shorten the days of the late baronet.

The sheep had been sold, and the money paid over to Lady Audrey, but
this could not bring back the men who had farmed the land; and as he
thought of this and the beggars' camp in the woods, and how many had
been driven off the land to this roving life by the landlord's passion
for making money by wool, he thought he would try to set right the
wrong that had been wrought in that little corner of the country. He
could thank God now that he had stood firm, and refused to do his part
in ousting the last of the tenants from their holdings. These still
remained, though they were in great trouble, for, as the baronet could
not let the land for sheep farming, he had put a higher rental upon it
than the tenants had ever paid before, and there had been distress and
poverty in every home since.

Now Master Clark thought it would be worth something to put the
teaching of Christ into practice on the Paton lands. At all events it
was the duty that lay nearest to his hand now, and consequently the
one for him to do; and so, before the funeral, a letter was written
to the Cardinal, telling him what had happened, and that he had found
his father's affairs in such confusion that he must ask leave to stay,
for a time at least, and put things in order. And, having despatched
this letter, Miles felt he began to sever his connection with the life
in London, though he still hoped to be able to help his friend at the
"Golden Fleece."



A FUNERAL, in the days of which we write, was a most portentous
business. Friends and neighbours, and even strangers, came from near
and far, and the kitchen spit was going day and night, to roast the
huge joints for the funeral baked meats.

Among the motley crowd who came to honour his father's memory in this
fashion, Miles had to live for nearly a fortnight, but he took care
that neither his sister nor Cicely should be disturbed in their quiet
retreat, and he had the satisfaction of seeing that, as the days went
on, the frightened look faded out of Cicely's eyes, and she began to be
more like the girl he had first met in that happy home at Greenwich.

Letters had been sent by both of them to Sir Harry and Lady Guildford,
telling them of all that had happened, and begging that Sir Harry would
visit them, if it was possible for him to leave his duties, under the
plea of attending the funeral of a friend.

This plea did serve its purpose; and the day before the interment of
Sir Thomas Paton, Sir Harry Guildford arrived, followed closely by a
train of servants and sumpter mules, bringing wedding presents and
wardrobe for Cicely. Lady Guildford realised the awkward position in
which the young couple were placed, and she rightly thought that a
visit from her father, and gifts from all her friends, would do more
than anything else to set matters right in the eyes of servants and

So the coming of Sir Harry was hailed with real pleasure by Miles and
Master Clark too. He also brought news from Tyndale, for he had rested
at the "Golden Fleece" on his way through the city, and had been told
all about the great work going on there, on purpose that he might tell
Miles. He had also brought letters for him from Master Tyndale and the
merchant too—such cheerful, hopeful letters, that Miles thought he
would like to throw his cap in the air and shout for joy.

Tyndale was making good progress with his translation of the New
Testament, and the difficulties that had at first beset him were fast
vanishing, thanks to the pains they had both taken in clearing up the
first difficulties as they arose, and when they had the help of the
Cardinal's library at hand.

This was a very real comfort to Miles, for he saw now clearly enough
that his duty lay here in the country among his tenants; but he could
scarcely have settled down to this, if he had thought that he was
wanted by Tyndale for the larger duty of giving with him the New
Testament to the people. So the visit of Sir Harry brought help and
comfort without alloy, except that Miles had to give so much time and
attention to other guests that he could not see as much of his old
friend as he could wish.

But at last the elaborate funeral came to an end, and there were
candles enough burned on the occasion to satisfy even Lady Paton, whose
mind, now that she had been able to take in the fact that her husband
had passed away, seemed to fasten itself upon this item of the funeral.

Of course, the old friends and fellow landlords of Miles' father had
been lavish in their advice as what he ought to do now that he had
succeeded to the old inheritance of the Patons. One and all agreed that
whatever he had been able to save while in the service of the Cardinal
should now be expended to replace the sheep his father had been
compelled to part with, and that all the property should be turned into
grazing land.

"I say this to you, Sir Miles, with all the authority of an old friend,
who knew your father's mind fully in these matters," said one.

Miles listened patiently enough while another old friend expressed his
views in the same way; but at last he said, "You may have heard from my
father that we did not see eye to eye in these matters."

"Aye, aye, we heard all about that pretty little quarrel, but you are
old enough to know better now—to know that the old way of dealing with
the land is not profitable; and being one addicted to the new learning,
which is just now so fashionable, you surely will not keep to the old
way of managing the land."

"I am, as you say, addicted to the new learning, which teaches a man
to think and judge for himself in many matters, but he must judge
righteously. He must follow the law of Christ, and do to his neighbour,
though he be his tenant or his hind, as he would have them do to him.
In the matter of my father's funeral I have carried out what I know
would have been his wish. I have not stinted candles, masses, nor baked
meats. There has been free bed and board for man and beast for whoever
liked to come to honour him; but, having done this, I must be free to
live my life, and deal with my tenants, as God shall guide me. I have
taken a wife, and propose to live here on the land, as my father did
before me, but what riches I shall gather for the sons and daughters
who come after me, God knoweth, for I must seek first the good of those
He hath placed under my hand, and I must be free to do it in the way
He shall show me; but I do not think it will be other than the old way
of growing corn by which yeoman and hind can live as well as their
master," added Sir Miles.

"Do you mean to say you will keep on those lazy, grumbling beggars,
whom your father would fain have turned off the land years ago?" fumed
one of the old men.

"I do not wonder that they have grumbled when their rent has been
raised, so that they have well-nigh starved, sometimes, because they
could give so little to the land to raise a good crop," said Miles,
indignantly. For he had heard all about this charge of laziness, which
had its root in his father's mistaken policy, and prevented the tenants
from getting a fair crop from the land.

He tried to explain this, but they bade him cut short all his vexations
about tenants and cottages, by clearing the land and keeping sheep to
supply the markets of Flanders with wool.

"I am not going to sell my sheep," said Miles, "nor my wool either next
year, but I am going to send for a steady craftsman from Ghent, who
can teach my people to use it for themselves; and then there will be
employment for men, and women too, in the winter. If it will make the
men of Flanders rich, as it does, to buy our wool, and weave it, and
send it back as cloth, why should we not learn to do it for ourselves,
and so do away with something of the bitter poverty with which all
are now afflicted. It was taught and practised here in England in the
time of Wickliffe, I have read, and if our people would take to it
again we might rightly and truly be called 'Merry England' once more.
Now, however, the merriment is only for the King and his Court, while
the rest of the people sigh and languish for want of work and want of
bread; and no man's life is safe if he stirs from his own hearthstone
by reason of the crowds of beggars and robbers that we make by our
laws, and our unjust dealing with the land."

Of course such a speech as this could not fail to make a sensation, and
the news that Miles had mentioned the name of Wickliffe was carried to
the monastery by a monk who was one of the party.

He did not know much about the matter himself, but he had heard that
somebody of that name was an enemy of the Church, and so it would
be wise for the brethren to keep their eyes open to the doings of
this young man. At present they could find no fault with him. He had
provided a funeral for his father which they fully approved. There were
to be plenty of masses, and plenty of candles, and as the monastery
supplied both, there would be a nice little sum added to their coffers
over the business.

The monk was not disposed to grumble if Miles did give up the growing
of sheep for the growing of corn. With a populous village of well-to-do
peasants, the Church could reap a much richer harvest than from the
enlarged green meadows, with a silent alehouse, and the mud-hovels of
the village dropping to pieces from decay; so that in his design to
bring back the tenants to the land, Miles was not like to meet with any
opposition from the Church. It was only when her rights and privileges
were threatened that the Church bestirred herself; and so if they had
received any news at the monastery about Cicely, they were careful to
keep it to themselves, and the coming of Sir Harry Guildford placed the
young couple out of the way of idle questioning which might have arisen
if it had been known that they were not married when they first arrived.

But although the Church was neutral in its opinion of Miles, and
old friends offended, the news was carried by one and another until
it reached the ears of the beggars in the woods, and among these it
aroused varying feelings. Those who were rogues and vagabonds from
choice, or who, from having lived this life so long did not care for
steady work, mocked and jeered at the idea of men going back when once
they had been turned off the land. Then there were others out of whom
all the manhood had been beaten by the cruel and degrading treatment
they had received, and these seemed to care very little for anything
now. But there were a few young men who had vivid recollections of
a happy home and steady work, who had not yet been flogged at the
cart-tail, or branded as slaves, and two or three of these resolved to
tie their rags together as decently as they could, and go to see Miles
as soon as his funeral guests should depart.

So as soon as Miles had a little time to give to his wife and her
father, he was fetched in some alarm by his steward, to meet this
ragged band of dirty unkempt men, who nevertheless seemed to know how
to behave themselves with courtesy and decorum.

After a few words of explanation, Miles learned that these were for the
most part the sons of those tenants who had been turned off the land.
When he heard this, he said to the steward, "take them to the barn
where the tables are set, and give them a good meal of what is left of
the funeral baked meats!" Then turning to the men he said, "You are
hungry and weary, eat first, and then I will see you and learn what you
want, and how I can help you!"

"God bless you, Master Miles, and may the holy Mother have you in her
keeping," fervently ejaculated one of the most gaunt and hungry looking
of the band, and they gladly followed to the barn.

The servants eyed the ragged crew suspiciously, but they had abundance
of meat and bread still in the larder, and so the men ate their fill,
and washed down the meal with ale that was not too strong for weakly
stomachs. Having eaten and drunk, the men asked if they might wash
and roll themselves in the straw by way of drying before they again
presented themselves before Sir Miles.

To this the servants gave a rather grudging assent, but Miles
was pleased to see in this a sign that the men had not lost all
self-respect, and he did not fail to accord to them a hearty welcome,
and even thanked them for coming to ask as to the truth of the reports
they had heard.

"I will tell you plainly that those who have lived on this land for
generations I should like to come back. But there are difficulties in
the way of doing this all at once. The houses have fallen into decay,
many of them have disappeared, and only a few stones remain of what was
once a comfortable dwelling. Now when they are put up, I would like
them to be more substantially built, and not mere mud-hovels. You are
strong hearty men if you were well fed. Would you be willing to learn
how to do this work, if I could find somebody to teach you, and pay you
a fair wage while you were learning?"

To see the gleaming eager eyes of the half-starved men as they listened
to this proposal, was enough to convince Miles of the sincerity of his
visitors; and so, after some further talk, it was arranged that they
should all sleep in the straw at the upper end of the barn that night,
and Miles would write a letter for them to carry to Rankin the next
day. In this Miles told the farmer something of what he intended to
do, and asked him to give the men some employment, if possible, about
the building, that they might learn something of the art of laying and
compacting the stones and beams of timber, that they might know how to
fashion a house out of these materials, instead of mud and straw, and
thatch of turf, which was what most of them were built of.

Having assented to this proposal, the men then asked Miles what was to
be done when they had learned to build better houses.

"I will employ you to put up substantial barns and farm-houses, where
mud cottages stood before," answered Miles, quite expecting to see a
smile of gratification brighten the gaunt faces.

But a look of sullen obstinacy gradually stole over the countenance of
each, and one of them slowly muttered, "What served our fathers is good
enough for us. We want no houses of timber and stone; we be Englishmen,
and like our own fashions."

This was a fling at Miles, because they knew by report that he had
lived some time in London, and thought it would be as well to let their
future master know at once that they were not going to have any London
ways forced upon them.

It was the first encounter with the crass ignorance and prejudice that
arrayed itself against all change, even though it might be for the
bettering of the lot of those who complained of it.

Miles, full of his Utopian dream, tried to explain to these young men
the advantage of having a house firmly and compactly built, how the
peasants would suffer less from cold and ague if the water did not drip
off the walls on to the beds. It was a sufficient argument that the
little hovels—that were not much more than magnified bee-hives—were
good enough for their fathers, and ought to be good enough for them;
and if they might only repair some of the cottages in the village, and
bring the old people to live there, they would be thankful and content.

So the matter had to be settled in that way for the present, and Miles
hastened to his sister's rooms to tell her and his wife what he had

"You do not want them to be content with the old mud cottages," said
Cicely with a smile, for she began to understand her husband better
than his sister could.

"Is it not right and just that the poor should be content with things
as they are," asked Margery rather severely.

"Nay, they should not be content to be unjustly treated; and for the
sake of the master who is unjust, they should do all that in them lies
to make that master see and remedy the injustice. Perhaps it is too
much to expect that those who have been glad to hide in a cave for
shelter, should now aspire to a well-built house; and I shall have
to bear with the mud-hovels for the present, until they can learn to
appreciate better things."

"What is to come of it all?" asked Margery.

"I have promised to give these five work in putting the deserted
cottages in order; and when they are ready, the old folks, and women,
and children are to come back to the village. While they are working
they must live in the barn, and have the scraps from the kitchen that
would go to the dogs. It is an experiment, I know," he added, when Sir
Harry held up his hands, "but I am beginning to find out that it is
easier to commit a wrong than to set it right again. My father thought
to make a great fortune in wool before he died, but he has left me such
a store of worry and trouble that Cicely and I are not likely to be at
a loss for employment for heart and hands for many a year to come."

"And what better fortune could we have left us than that?" asked young
Lady Paton. "I am not clever, you know, but I have always been busy
either about the Court or at home; and now we can be busy thinking out
the best way of helping these poor tenants."

"If they will let you help them," said her husband slyly. "I begin
to think that the landlords are not quite masters of the situation,
however much they may seem so. I have learned a lesson to-day from
those stupid stolid fellows that I am not likely to forget; and I am
afraid the Utopia will not be set up even in this little corner of the
kingdom for some years to come at least."



BEFORE the winter was over, most of the cottages in the village had
been made habitable, and some of the old folks who had survived the
hard life in the woods had moved back to their old dwellings.

Miles had fondly hoped that when this was attained the hardest part of
his task would be over, but he found to his dismay that it had only
just begun.

His workmen had done well, and worked steadily and carefully until the
cottages that were worth repairing had been finished; but when that
was accomplished, and the old folks moved in, then their ardour for
work seemed to evaporate. Miles wanted his large pastures fenced off
into something like their old proportions, that the land might be made
arable once more; and, as he said, it would give work to all about the
place to bring it back to its former condition. But the men shook their
heads to the proposal.

"It is not the custom among Englishmen to work in the winter; that is
the time for wrestling and running, not for working," said the boldest
of these peasants. "We have worked at the cottages because we are tired
of a roving life in the woods; but what would be thought of a man
who would work all the year round? What would come of our wrestling
matches, which are the glory of every Englishman?"

In vain Miles argued and protested; he was always met with the same
answer,—their fathers never worked in the winter, and why should they?
And he found that he was expected to keep these wrestlers as well as
the old folks who were too weak to work. But in their case he said,
"No;" if they would not work they should not eat at his expense; and
though he was half afraid the more restless of them might go off to the
precarious life of the woods, they at last submitted to the inevitable,
though they grumbled a good deal at the un-English demand made upon
them, and Miles earned the character of being a hard man on his
dependents at the very outset.

But still he had the satisfaction of seeing the fences put up, and the
old landmarks restored, and he hoped this enforced labour would not be
without its uses in breaking down the men's prejudices against working
during the winter season, for it did not have its root in laziness, but
in the pride of race. Frenchmen might, and did work, but they despised
and hated the very name of a Frenchman, this feeling growing out of the
frequent wars between the two countries.

Early in the spring he had a visit from Rankin, who had heard the news
of the changes going on at his old home. He had come to see whether
Miles would not let him have the old holding which had descended from
father to son for so many generations.

Miles said he should be glad enough for Rankin to come back when he
could leave his present employment; and as soon as he could come, he
would supply the materials for him to build a substantial farmhouse
where the old mud-cottage had stood.

But to his disappointment Rankin could not see the need of putting up a
dwelling which would cost so much more in time, labour, and material.
The old tenement, if it did need frequent patching, was easily built,
and he wanted to be back on the land and get to work there with as
little delay as possible; and he brought forward the same argument that
the others did,—what was good enough for his father and mother was good
enough for him.

But after some talk a compromise was effected in the matter, and he
agreed to carry out his landlord's wishes.

It was not encouraging to have these contests with his tenants, over
matters that were so clearly for their own benefit, and Miles wondered
how it would be in the matter of religion by-and-bye.

Here the bulk of the people on his own property were stupidly holding
to customs that were hurtful to themselves, and refusing to adopt
better because they were new. Would it be the same when the New
Testament was printed and scattered broadcast through the land? Or
would they hold to the new light and learning when once it was given to
them, as the Commons held by their rights when his master would have
infringed them that May-day at Westminster?

The memory of that scene was deeply engraven upon the memory of Miles,
and he reflected that after all, the decision concerning this rested in
the hands of the people of the country, rather than with the King and
Cardinal, however powerful they might be.

Of course there were a few like his friend Monmouth, and other
merchants of London, who would hold as fast by what they learned from
Master Tyndale and Master Garrett of Honey Lane; but if the Church
declared that this teaching was heresy, and contrary to that of the
Church, he feared there would be a sorry time in store for a few at
least of those who embraced the new doctrines, unless the people, as a
whole, could be brought to embrace them.

He had thought at one time that no sensible man could fail to do this,
when once they were made clear to him; but his winter's experience
had somewhat shaken his faith in his speedy conversion of even the
thinking part of the community, and he saw that they would have to be
very cautious how they distributed the New Testament, even when it was

He tried to hope that his former master, the Cardinal, would institute
such a reform of the Church, that there would be no need to do as the
German monk Luther had done—separate from the Church, and denounce it.
He shuddered at the thought of doing this, for he and Cicely could go
to the Monastery Chapel now, and take part in the service truly and
devoutly, but what it might be later on he dared not think. He shivered
at the reflection of what a storm might burst, when the prejudices of
some, and the vested interests of others, taken in conjunction with
the hostility of the Church, were all brought into conflict with this
new light that God had given for the advancement of the world, and the
establishment of His kingdom.

These graver thoughts, though they occupied a good deal of his
attention, were not allowed to cloud the happiness of himself, or the
household of which he was master.

His young wife, now known as "the young Lady Paton," was as happy as a
bird as she went about her household duties with Margery; for the two
had agreed to divide these between them, now that the elder lady was no
longer able to take any active share in their management.

The Dowager Lady Paton was better now than she had been during the
winter, but she did not leave her rooms, and behaved with rather
distant courtesy to Cicely; but still, it was a happy and united
household, and they all managed to keep on good terms with the brethren
at the Monastery, though the monks took no pains to hide the fact
that they hated the new learning, and Sir Miles was equally frank in
declaring his attachment to it.

The family were gathered round a fire of logs one chilly evening in
April of this year, 1524, when a messenger arrived, bringing a letter
from London for Sir Miles Paton. He wore the livery of the Cardinal,
and brought a packet from one of his friends in the household; but when
the packet was opened, Miles found the most important news came from
Master Tyndale, who begged him to come to London, if it was possible,
as he had determined to leave England very soon, and he knew not when
he might return.

Miles felt almost alarmed as he read the letter. It was cautiously
written, and no mention was made of the special work in which the
writer had been engaged; for, as it had to pass through the hands of
some of the Cardinal's servants before it could reach Miles, Tyndale
had to be very careful what he said; but Miles could understand that
his friend had been disappointed, as well as himself, lately.

The messenger who had brought the packet of letters—for there were
others besides that of Tyndale's—would stay the night, of course, and
Miles determined to ride back with him to London, for he was anxious to
see his friend once more before he left England. So, by daybreak, the
little party were in their saddles—Cicely and Margery standing in the
porch to bid Miles farewell.

He found the scholarly priest bending over his books in the little
turret-room, and the two friends eagerly grasped hands, and then
silently looked into each other's eyes to see what change time had made
in them since they last met.

"You have grown in knowledge, my friend," said Tyndale, with a closer
clasp on the hand.

"Yes," said Miles, with something of a sigh.

"All growth must be through pain and disappointment of some sort,"
remarked Tyndale. "I used to think when I was at Sodbury Hall that if
I could only be in a fair way to set about my life's work I should be
fully content, and now—"

"But tell me—you have not failed in this endeavour?" said Sir Miles, in
an anxious tone.

"Nay, nay, I have not failed. I have not put my hand to this Gospel
plough to look back and regret it. Nay, nay, but the ploughing is hard
sometimes; still, I have worked on," and, as he spoke, he took out of
an oak-chest a goodly pile of clearly-written sheets of manuscript.

The sight of them filled Miles with joy. "They are beautiful," he said,
in a tone of eager appreciation, as he took them in his hand, and ran
his eye over the clearly-written pages. "Oh, I would that they could be
printed here in London," he added.

But Tyndale shook his head. "It would not do," he said; "your most
magnificent Cardinal has set his heart, I hear, on reforming the
Church, but he would not approve of its being done in this way. He
would cut down some of its abuses that he might fasten the power of
the Pope more securely round our necks. That is not the reformation we
desire, Sir Miles."

"No, indeed; but the Cardinal would not object so much to the
Scriptures being given to the people if—"

"My friend the Cardinal knows that if once the people can read the
Scriptures for themselves, there will be an end of his luxury, pomp,
and power; and think you such a vain, conceited prelate as this Wolsey
would be willing to yield these delights? Nay, nay, my friend, I must
carry my treasure across the seas, to be beyond the power of this
man, and that with as little delay as possible; for it has come to my
knowledge of late that he has many spies in his service."

"But there is nothing in the New Testament half so bitter against the
abuses and hypocrisy of the Church as there is in the books of Erasmus,
and the Cardinal commends them to the notice of all his friends. I read
'The Praise of Folly' and the 'Colloquies' because the Cardinal told me
I ought to do so," said Sir Miles, eagerly.

"Yes, yes; it is the fashion to read Erasmus, and abuse the monks just
now. But to read the New Testament is to lead the soul of man to God
Himself, without the intervention of priest or penance, and that is why
all priests will hate it at first, for it cuts at the root of all their
pretensions. Erasmus has done good service; he has been pulling clown
the Church by his 'Praise of Folly;' but by means of his New Testament
he has taught some of us to see that there must be building up as well
as pulling down. Having cleared away the rubbish, we must see that we
build on a firm foundation, even on the Word of God, for the future,
and not as it has been in the past. I want to see such a reformation
here as they are having in Germany under the monk Luther," concluded

"We want an English Reformation," said Miles, seriously; "but whether
it would be wiser to take the German for our pattern I know not yet.
God will show us the way, doubtless, as we go on," said Miles.

But Tyndale shook his head at his friend's caution, although he did
not openly dissent from it. It was, however, his turn to listen to
his friend's troubles and disappointments now, for Miles was deeply
disappointed that his tenants were so slow to adopt improvements in the
building of their houses and barns, and the cultivation of the land.

"They are all willing enough to grow corn, and turn the sheep off the
land, but they must do it as their fathers did generations ago. They do
not believe in digging deeply into the soil, and working on the land
during the winter for the sake of getting a better harvest the next
summer. The old English sports have always held their own in our part
of the country, and it is hard to persuade our peasants that the winter
is not to be wholly given to sport when the weather does not make it
quite impossible."

"Old customs die hard," said Tyndale, but the matter was of small
interest to him, and he wondered how Sir Miles could interest himself
in such small things as these.

But Sir Miles was not slow to see that his troubles could not touch his
student friend, and so he wisely left off complaining, and they both
turned with eagerness to discuss their plans for the printing of the
New Testament; for Sir Miles had brought a sum of money with him, which
he insisted should be his share in the venture; and as Tyndale had set
his heart upon going to Hamburg first, it was settled that as soon as
a ship was known to be going to that port from London, Monmouth should
secure a passage for him, that he might start on his journey without



SIR MILES PATON went to Greenwich, after his visit to "The Golden
Fleece," for he had letters and messages from his wife for her mother,
father, and sisters, and he wanted Sir Harry Guildford to let him take
back one of his younger daughters to spend the summer with Cicely, for
it was not deemed prudent that she should visit her home for a year
or two. By-and-bye, when the whole affair of her having renounced a
conventual life had been forgotten, she would be able to come as Lady
Paton with little difficulty, but to come just now might bring her
father into trouble with the Queen.

So after some discussion, it was arranged that Maud should ride back
with Sir Miles, to see her sister as a happy wife and mistress, instead
of a nun, as they had thought at one time that she would be.

Whether the story of Cicely's death was fully believed by the Queen,
Sir Harry did not know. She had treated him with some coolness since
that time, but had never mentioned Cicely's name; and, of course,
it would have been a breach of all etiquette for him to bring it
forward—even if she had been killed in the streets of Oxford—as the
sisters of the Convent reported she was.

He did not pay a very long visit to his father-in-law; but after
arranging to meet Maud on a certain day at the pier at Westminster, he
went there by boat, for he wanted to see some of his friends in the
household of the Cardinal; and he also desired to see the Cardinal
himself, if it was possible, and apologise in person for having to quit
his service so suddenly.

It was pleasant to be in the stir and bustle of life in London once
more; and for a day or two Sir Miles was quite content to be back in
his old quarters, and among his old friends, especially as the Cardinal
received him so cordially.

But after a few days, he began to grow weary of the talk about the war
with France, and the efforts the Cardinal was making to incline the
King towards a policy of peace—not that he openly advocated this to the
King or to any one else—but his secretaries knew what was intended, and
why the increased supply of corn, needed from the Low Countries, always
seemed a source of vexation to their master.

This question of the corn supply did interest him for a little while,
and he resolved to spare no pains to get as much as he could off his
land, for he heard on all aides that corn was fetching such a high
price now, that he thought he might induce some of his neighbours to
give up the sheep farming and return to the old system.

At last the day arrived when he was to meet Maud Guildford and her
father. He took Maud to stay for the night with Dame Monmouth, at "The
Golden Fleece," that they might start on their journey at daybreak. He
also wanted to hear whether Master Tyndale had sailed for Hamburg.

It was a still greater pleasure when, after a rather wearisome journey
of several days, Paton Hall was reached, and his darling wife came out
with his sister to meet them.

It was the happiest homecoming he ever remembered, and the meeting of
Maud and Cicely was very pleasant to witness, and quite repaid him for
all the additional trouble caused by bringing a young girl such a long

The summer of that year, 1524, was a busy one on the Paton estate; and
the blacksmith, Diccon, and his men, were at the forge from morning
till night, making new implements, or repairing old ones; for the
energy of Sir Miles seemed to have entered into his tenants, and the
village workpeople too, for all alike seemed eager to make the utmost
of the land that had been brought into cultivation once more.

The fence round the "Haugh," that had kept off the village sheep and
cows from grazing, had been taken down, and this alone had evoked such
a burst of thankfulness from the peasants, that in their gratitude they
promised to do anything and everything their master desired, and then
drank themselves helpless at the village alehouse, as they felt bound
to do, being Englishmen.

As much of the pasture-land as could be sown with wheat, rye, and
barley, was brought into cultivation again, and the sheep still further
reduced in number, by being transferred to the villagers, as they could
buy them with their labour. Several farms had been let on the old
rental to the old tenants or their sons—Miles stipulating that the old
people should be provided for by the young farmer, if the hard life of
the woods had made them incapable of work for themselves.

There had to be a good deal of self-denial on the part of the people
as well as their master, for their life in the woods had brought
on habits of laziness and shiftlessness that was not easy to break
through, especially among the young men and women; and to these the
daily recurring round of toil in the fields, or in building the
cottages or barns, grew irksome, and they sometimes felt tempted to
go off to the woods,—with its plenty one day, and starvation for a
week afterwards,—rather than this steady, plodding work that, as yet,
brought them no result beyond regular, frugal meals and a shelter.

But when the harvest time came, and one neighbour could tell another
that his land had produced more than ever it did in the old days, there
was universal rejoicing, and Sir Miles felt repaid for all his trouble
in the altered appearance of everything and everybody around him.

It may be that some of them thought that with a plentiful harvest they
might spend most of the winter in the old sports again, but, if they
did, they were quickly undeceived; for, at the Harvest Home supper,
when master and men sat down together, he told them frankly that they
must work on the land, or on the finishing of their houses and barns
during the winter, and in the bad weather come to the weaving-house,
which was just being finished, close to his own kitchen door.

Then he explained that the wool he had in store had been sent to be
cleaned, and would be returned to him almost immediately; and the women
and girls must learn to spin this on their wheels, and a Flemish weaver
was coming to stay during the winter to teach them the art and craft of
weaving this thread into cloth, which they were in great need of, to
make new doublets, and petticoats, and bed coverings.

A few of the younger men shook their heads vigorously at each other
over this proposal, but Sir Miles had an unanswerable argument to
meet all their objections. If they did not like the conditions upon
which alone he would grant them the use of his land as tenants, they
could leave it. But he had been so convinced that half the poverty and
wretchedness of the poor had been brought about by their own thriftless
habits that he was determined to alter this on his land. He, or she,
who was able to work, and would not, should not eat, whether winter or
summer. So the choice lay before them now, and they must decide within
the next seven days whether they would stay and pledge themselves to
work at least six hours every day during the winter, or give up their
houses to those who would gladly accept such conditions to escape from
the life of a thief or beggar.

They knew only too well that there were plenty waiting to take their
place if they should fail to satisfy their master; but they were not
disposed to rebel or think the conditions hard when they heard that six
hours a day would only be required of them for work, and that the rest
of the time they might do as they pleased; and so, before the seven
days expired, everyone had pledged himself to work the required time
each day, or ask leave to give additional labour one day for extra time
for sport another.

Miles had also formed another project, but he did not venture to speak
of this just now, for he saw more and more the need of caution, and so
he did not say a word about wishing them to learn to read, though this
was the next innovation he intended to introduce.

Margery and Cicely, too, had their plans about this, and they had
already bought all the hornbooks a pedlar carried in his pack, and
had asked him to bring some more the next time he came that way, for
they had made up their minds to teach some of the girls of the village
to read, as well as their own house-servants, in readiness for the
time when the New Testament should be printed and sent over from the

Sir Miles had received one letter from Master William Tyndale, who
was still working at his translation, with the help of his assistant,
the monk who had left the priory at Greenwich. He was useful in many
ways, he wrote, and a cheerful companion, who would be of still greater
service when the sheets were being printed. He intended to go to
Wittenberg to see Luther, and perhaps he would get the printing done
there; but he had not settled upon this point just now. Sir Miles was
greatly cheered by this letter, for Tyndale wrote altogether more
hopefully of the final success of his project, about which he seemed to
be in grave doubt when he went away. The letter had been some months
reaching him, but was none the less welcome on that account.

This, and the success that had crowned his efforts for the benefit of
his own people, made Miles almost a boy again in his light-hearted
gladness, and, instead of sending his steward to buy the plenishings of
salt and other household commodities at Oxford Fair, he proposed to go
himself, of course taking servants with him, and sumpter mules to carry
the baggage that he hoped to bring back.

Staid man that he had grown since the day when he joined in the
fight of "Grecians" against "Trojans," he was still young enough to
feel elated, and join the rushing students as they tore about the
fair-ground from one point to another, and still using the same old
battle-cry of "A Grecian! a Grecian!" But he noticed that there were
fewer now to take up the answering shout, and the few "Trojans" had
to bear the jokes and jibes now without retaliating with sticks and
cudgels as before.

Sir Miles smiled and nodded, and gave liberally to every begging
student that he met; for had he not begged in the streets of Oxford
himself, to eke out the little he could earn by his translation.

There was a certain delight in elbowing his way through the crowd from
point to point, before he began the serious business of making his
purchases of the various pedlars and hucksters, when he was touched on
the shoulder by a pedlar, whom he recognised at once as having been to
Paton Hall twice during the previous summer with his pack.

"Ah! I have seen you before," he said, by way of greeting.

The man bowed. "You are Sir Miles Paton, of Paton Hall," he said.

"Yes, what then?" said Miles, somewhat impatiently.

"I have been entrusted with a package to deliver to you from one Master
Humphrey Monmouth, a merchant of London."

"A package for me?" said Sir Miles. "I suppose my wife hath sent to him
for naperies for the household?"

"Nay, it is not naperies, but books," whispered the man; and then he
said, in a still lower tone, "it is a dangerous cargo, master, and I
would that you took it off my hands without delay," and, as he spoke,
the man lifted the corner of a bale of cloth on his mule's back, and
disclosed a square package. "It comes from beyond sea," said the man,
"and must in no wise be opened here in the fair. Will you call a
servant to convey it to a place of safety? I have brought it straight
from London with my cloth."

"Give it to me," said Sir Miles; "I am going to see a friend, and will
take it with me." The parcel was both heavy and bulky, but it was
securely fastened out of the sight of prying eyes, and it was the usual
thing to see parcels carried from the fair.

So Miles hurried with his treasure to the rooms of Master Clark, and
together they unfastened it. The sight made them almost speechless for
joy at first, for there were three copies of the Gospels of St. Matthew
and St. Mark, printed in clear English type.

Of course it had come from Master William Tyndale, and was the
first-fruits of his labours in the translation of the whole Testament.

It had been printed at Hamburg, and sent across the sea to "The Sign of
the Golden Fleece," and Master Monmouth had sent on these three copies
and a letter he had received from Tyndale, telling him how he had
fared, and asking for some money that had been left in the charge of
the merchant when he left London.

But the letter was almost overlooked for the present in the delight of
seeing and reading the actual words of the Lord Jesus Christ plainly
printed in English. Although the two friends had talked of this again
and again, yet now that it was really before them, it seemed almost too
wonderful to be realised.

"The coming of the New Testament of Master Erasmus was as the dawn of
a new day to England, though it was in Greek; but this—this English
Gospel, that every matron and maiden can read for herself, is the sun
in its noon-day splendour for our Merry England," said Master Clark,
and he actually hugged the book to his breast as he spoke.

Sir Miles kissed it as reverently as he used to kiss the crucifix at
his mother's knee; and then, having yielded to the first feelings of
joy, the two men each sat down with a copy of the book, and began to
read it critically and carefully—for both were able to do this, being
excellent Greek and Latin scholars; and as they read they could only
wonder the more at the purity of the diction, and the excellence of the
grand, yet simple Saxon language that had been used by the translator
to make the Word of God known to his readers.

Of course after this the fair had lost its charms for Sir Miles, and he
was only eager to complete his purchases, and carry home his treasure
for his wife and sister to see.

One of the three copies he gave to Master Clark, but bade him be
careful to whom he showed it, for as yet it was by no means certain how
the Cardinal would take this matter; and so, until the whole of the New
Testament was received in England, it would be the duty of all to keep
the matter to themselves, lest the translator should be hindered in his

As soon as the plenishings could be got together, Sir Miles set out on
his return, and reached home several days before his wife and sister
expected him.



THE sight of the Gospels printed in English, made Margery Paton more
eager than ever to teach some of the girls and boys of the village to
read. There had been a school at the Monastery, where one or two of
the monks undertook the task of teaching those who liked to come and
learn; but it was closed when the tenants left their holdings, and the
brethren did not seem disposed to re-open it again, although Sir Miles
and his wife had both asked if it could not be done, now that so many
had returned.

It may have been that the monks thought their school might only be
turned against them, if this new learning spread much further. At any
rate they declined to move in the matter, and so Mistress Margery Paton
undertook the task, and by the end of that winter of 1524-5, nearly
a dozen of the elder boys and girls were able to read from the New
Testament for themselves. Margery wanted to lend one of the copies her
brother had brought from Oxford, among her scholars, that they might
take it home and read it to their parents. But her brother thought
it would not do to press this part of their work too rapidly. It was
enough to teach them to understand what they themselves read, and
to make them see that it was a book whose teaching must be put into
practice in their every day life.

And Margery tried to show them what to choose, and what to reject from
the Mass book, which was used at the Monastery, and by the Church all
over the land.

Altogether it was a very busy season, both indoors and out; for when
the weather permitted, there was work on the land to be done, to bring
more into cultivation; and when this could not be done, there was
work on the houses,—strengthening the walls with baulks of timber to
support a properly thatched roof, and make the whole wind and water
tight in the face of any storm. Then there was the weaving for those
who had the aptitude for this work. The craftsman, who had been sent
over from Ghent by the Cardinal's agent, was a man who could build a
loom as well as use one; and having brought one with him for a pattern,
he soon set the men to work to fashion the frames of others, that more
workmen might be employed in weaving, when they had once mastered the
difficulties of learning.

The Cardinal himself took a great interest in this experiment, and had
offered to bear the cost of the trial if it should prove a failure; for
the workman from Flanders asked a high rate of remuneration, being a
skilful workman.

But before the close of the winter, Sir Miles felt assured that the
attempt would prove very successful in the course of another year;
and that, from doing their own shearing, they would be able to carry
through every process in the manufacture of the cloth, and without
actual waste either; for the learners' efforts, if not fit for
clothing, could be used for bed-covering for the old and feeble.

So, here in the heart of England, was a self-dependent, self-supporting
little colony of working folk, trying to better their condition by
using the means close at hand; and if More's Utopia was not realised,
as Sir Miles often felt it was not by a very long way, still, he
thought he had set the feet of these people on the first rung of the
ladder towards its attainment, and he could scarcely hope to do more,
and must not attempt too much at once.

The following summer proved a terrible one for the nation at large.
Pestilence and famine stalked through the land, as the inevitable
result of the policy of the landlords. Corn had to be brought from the
Continent, and sold for almost fabulous prices, so great was the demand
for it, and so short was the supply.

This state of things forced Miles to take a step he never dreamed of
doing when he set about bringing the land into cultivation again.

The news that they had had a plentiful harvest, brought them customers
for more rye and wheat than they could possibly spare, so that at last
he had to refuse to sell a peck of wheat, even for its weight in gold,
for fear his own tenants should want it before the next harvest came

Then came rumours of a deadly sickness, known as "the Black Death."
Some said it had been brought over from France by some of the troops
who had returned from the war. But, however it came, it spread with
awful rapidity through the length and breadth of the land. The poor
creatures, who had been driven from their holdings to find shelter
in the woods, were its first victims; for hunger and exposure had
enfeebled them, and they died at the first touch of the plague. In
their selfish panic to escape, their companions left them to lie
unburied, and thus spread the contagion through the air tenfold, so
that towns and villages were almost depopulated in the course of a few

In the midst of the sickness Cicely's first baby was born, but mother
and child were unaffected by the sickness around, which was in part
due to the fact that in his anxiety to keep out all contamination, Sir
Miles had banished rushes from the floors of the house, and even the
arras was pulled down from the walls of the chamber where Lady Paton
lay when her baby came. This was one of the secondary causes; but the
chief was doubtless the fact that Cicely had learned to trust in the
loving care of God, who ruled her life and that of her husband too.

"For your sake I hope the sickness will not come near me," she said to
him one day; "but if it should, I know it will be because our Father in
heaven sees that you can work for Him better without me than with me."

"Hush, hush, my darling," said Miles imploringly; and when he was
compelled to go out among the plague-stricken people, he would not go
near the room where his wife and child lay, until he had changed his
clothes and washed himself, in a fashion that few Englishmen did at
that time.

By the time the pestilence was over, so many rules as to cleanliness
had been adopted at Paton Hall and the surrounding village, that it was
scarcely likely that master or peasants would ever quite relapse into
the old state of dirt and accumulated filth again, especially when it
became known that they had lost fewer people from the pestilence than
any other place of a similar population.

They were just recovering from the panic caused by the plague, and had
gathered in another plentiful harvest, when Sir Miles received a letter
from London, that made him decide to go there later in the year.

Of course Lady Paton and Mistress Margery were taken into the
confidence of Sir Miles as to his journey to London, just before
Christmas; but the servants and tenants supposed that their master was
going to have a little junketing at Court, for they knew the position
that Lady Paton's father held, and they were not surprised that their
master should go to visit his relatives at Greenwich, or that their
mistress should stay at home, seeing she had a young baby to care for.

So Sir Miles and one trusty servant went to London, and took up their
quarters at "The Sign of the Golden Fleece."

Here Sir Miles learned that the King had gone to spend his Christmas at
Eltham, and so it would be useless to go to Greenwich; and he decided
that Thames Street would suit best, for the business that had brought
him to London, which, his servant learned, was to watch for the arrival
of corn ships from the Low Country.

Sir Miles found the neighbourhood of Thames Street much more cheerful
than any other part of the city, although his servant rather despised
this neighbourhood of wharves and ships.

His master left him free to do as he liked, and as the curate of All
Hallows in Honey Lane seemed to be sufficient attendance for his
master, the servant left these two to themselves.

And so at last they were left to welcome the grandest cargo that had
ever reached the English shores. The merchants and captains who had
brought over this carefully-hidden store of English New Testaments were
glad enough to get them out of their hands; and Sir Miles, and the
rector and curate of All Hallows, were ready enough to do the work of
actual labourers, and lift and haul the heavy packages, until all were
stored in a place of safety.

A few parcels of napery had been put up at "The Golden Fleece" for
him to take home; but the strong mules that had been bought to carry
back his London purchases, carried New Testaments for the most part,
and these were to be hidden in a secure hiding-place in his own house,
until it should be seen what the authorities were likely to do when
some of the copies were sold in the open market, as it was intended
they should be. A good many London merchants were ready to take copies
to sell privately among friends; for some of these who had been
educated at Colet's school were heartily tired of the Church and its
teaching as they knew it, and ready to risk something for the sake of
a purer faith and worship. Many were not without hope that the King
and Cardinal, too, would also favour the new departure. But whatever
hopes were based on the Cardinal's remaining neutral—at least in this
"Quarrel of Friars," that was bound to follow, sooner or later,—were
very quickly dashed.

It had been arranged with Master Garrett, the curate of Honey Lane,
that as soon as he had disposed of some of the books in London,
he should take a parcel of them to Oxford, and also send a trusty
messenger with some to Cambridge. The secret was therefore obliged
to be entrusted to several people, and, as might have been expected,
the Cardinal's spies soon scented it, and then went in search of the
treasure. They managed to trace it to Master Garrett's house, but by
that time he was at Oxford, and most of the books either securely
hidden, or in the hands of those who would value such a treasure.
There were, however, enough found for a bonfire to be made of them,
and the Cardinal read enough to fill him with rage and disappointment,
especially when he heard that the poison, as he chose to consider it,
had been taken to Oxford—his own Oxford, where he had spared no pains
to secure that learned and enlightened men should be gathered to teach
in the halls of his own college.

No time was lost in sending the necessary authority to seize all who
were known to be favourers of this onslaught upon the authority of
the Church; and it may be imagined what the Cardinal's feelings were
when he heard that Master Clark, John Fryth, and eight others of his
own college had been arrested, and New Testaments found in their
possession. Magdalen, Corpus Christi, and St. Mary's, all furnished a
contingent to this noble army; but he heard to his chagrin that his own
college had been a hot-bed of heresy for a long time. This filled the
Cardinal with such rage that all were thrown into prison and treated
with the utmost rigour. Sir Miles Paton heard of it, and rode in hot
haste from Woodstock, hoping and believing he would be able to arouse
a public display of feeling on behalf of the prisoners, such as he had
seen that May-day at Westminster, so that the authorities would be
compelled to release them.

But alas, his words only aroused little interest. A few shrugged their
shoulders, and said they were very sorry; but public protest, such as
an illegal tax would have raised, was out of the question.

He was almost heart-broken as he went about from one to the other,
trying to enlist their sympathy, for he saw in this apathy of the
people themselves, a sure precursor of the persecution of those who
would dare to do the right in the face of King and Cardinal.

In vain he told them that the balance of English liberties trembled,
and if the scale went down on the wrong side now—if they would not
speak up for God and conscience now—so surely would they lose that
civil liberty,—that right for which they had contended again and again
in recent years.

But he might as well have preached to the dead. At the time of trial
two only of the prisoners were released, and the rest sent back to
their foul prison, where, in a few months, evil smells and want of food
did their deadly work, and four of them died, Clark among the number.

Strong as he was, the Cardinal did not dare to go further in his
persecution, even of priests, until he saw what the temper of the
people at large was likely to be. He knew as well as his old secretary,
that if the voice of the people made itself heard, he dare not
persecute the servants of God; but they suffered these men to die in
the prison without protest, and for a generation English liberty, civil
and religious, was lost, and England passed through such a reign of
terror under her despots as has not been equalled in Europe since, not
even by that better known terror that desolated France a hundred years
ago. She knew not the time of her visitation; she refused to listen
to the voice of those who would have led her into the path of peace,
liberty, and progress. She chose darkness rather than light, and only
through the mighty struggles and sore sufferings of a few of her heroic
children in after years, could she regain the treasure she allowed to
slip through her nerveless fingers in this fateful year, 1526.

Sir Miles Paton returned to his home after his unavailing efforts to
befriend the prisoners, almost wishing that his own work on earth was
done. But he remembered there were those at home who would need his
care more than ever now, and for their sakes he resolved to be cautious
and keep his Testaments hidden for the present. He could guide his
household and his tenants on the law of the new learning and the new
commandment given by Christ, and with this he must be content for the
present, he decided. And although the monks only half-believed in
Sir Miles and Lady Paton being true to the Church, they could prove
nothing against them, and Sir Miles was allowed to carry on his work at
Woodstock until brighter days dawned.

Wolsey may have thought, when the last of these silent martyrs died in
his pestiferous dungeons at Oxford, that he had made an end of this
unauthorised attempt to circulate the Word of God, and reform the
Church. If he did, he soon had cause to know that he was mistaken.

This fountain of the water of life,—the Word of God,—being once opened,
could never again be closed. God's Holy Spirit had inspired Tyndale to
devote his life to the perfecting of the translation of the Scriptures,
and though he was hunted from city to city on the Continent,—where
alone he could get his New Testaments printed,—still he always
contrived to carry his treasure with him.

Edition after edition, thus revised and rendered into clearer English,
was poured into the various ports of the kingdom; and though some of
them fell into the hands of the Cardinal's spies, and were publicly
burned, these burnings served to arouse the desire of the people to
know more of this condemned book. And so the numerous copies that
escaped the vigilance of the Cardinal's agents were eagerly sought for,
and found their way into many a quiet English home, both in London and
the country.

In this way the seed of the Word was sown broadcast through the land,
and brought forth fruit in the hearts and lives of many who counted not
their lives dear to them, but for the truth and liberty of the Gospel
were ready to suffer for the sake of conscience, and the true English
Reformation, of which Tyndale's New Testament was the corner stone.

Meanwhile social and political changes were slowly developing in a
fashion that must have been bewildering to an onlooker, and many may
have doubted whether England was being ruled by God or by Satan at that
particular juncture. But we, looking back to this dark page of English
history, can see that an all-wise Providence controlled and guided
tyrant and victim alike, although it may have seemed that God had
forgotten His people for a time.



ONE evening in the early spring of 1536, a party of travellers rode
through the fields of St. Martin towards Westminster. There was a
lady riding on a pillion behind her husband, and several men and maid
servants, with one or two children mounted in a similar fashion,
besides a couple of mules laden with stores and baggage for the whole

Passengers hurrying homeward to London or Westminster in the pleasant
dusk of the evening glanced at the wayfarers; and one or two of these,
seeing that the travellers were undoubtedly well-to-do country folk,
who probably knew nothing of the dangers of the streets and suburbs of
the city, with kindly solicitude for the children, called to suggest
that they should hurry to their hostelry without delay. For swarms of
desperate beggars crept out of their lurking places at sunset, to rob
unwary travellers who had not been fortunate enough to gain a place of
refuge before the rogues set upon them; and this party would fall an
easy prey to a large gang of these roughs, thought the passers by.

The gentleman nodded pleasantly in acknowledgment of the warning. "Oh,
I know the ways of the town, and the poor wretches who are a terror to
all honest men," he said reassuringly to his wife. "I did not live with
the great cardinal, in the palace yonder, without knowing something of
the perils of the streets of London. Be content, sweetheart, we are
close to our hostelry now; and to-morrow I hope we shall all be safely
lodged under your father's roof at Greenwich."

It was more than ten years since Lady Paton had seen her old home in
the royal town; and although her father and sister had been to visit
her more than once, Lady Guildford had never been able to travel so
far, and an unconquerable longing to see her mother once more had
driven Lady Paton to face all the perils and discomforts of the journey
from Woodstock, that she might bring her two elder children to see
their grandmother, and the dear home and noble Park where so many of
her happy days had been spent.

It had not been deemed advisable that she should visit Greenwich while
Queen Catherine held her Court there; but since she had been compelled
to leave her husband's roof, and men were ordered to speak of her as
the dowager Princess of Wales, and she was no longer Queen, it was
thought that Lady Paton's wish to visit her old home might now be
gratified, without risk of danger either to herself or her friends.
Thoughts of the terrible dangers she had incurred through her marriage
were pressing upon the lady now as she jolted along on her pillion,
and made her cling to her husband involuntarily for protection, not so
much from the thieves and beggars of the road, as from that sense of
intangible danger that had crept over her for the last hour or two.

Sir Miles bade his servants quicken their pace as he noticed how people
were running to gain the shelter of the city gates before it grew dark;
and he muttered under his breath, "things must have gone from bad to
worse since I was here last."

It was with a feeling of intense relief that Sir Miles at length helped
his wife down from her pillion at the door of the inn near Westminster
Stairs; for the cry of "Watch! Watch!" in a tone of terrible distress,
proclaimed that some unfortunate traveller had been set upon by the
thieves, and at no great distance either.

Sir Miles hurried his party into the shelter of the house, where rooms
had been secured for their accommodation; and it was not long before
Lady Paton and her children were sound asleep in their beds; while Sir
Miles went to have a chat with his host, and learn the latest news of
the town, and about public affairs in general.

But to his surprise the landlord did not seem disposed to talk about
anything, or express an opinion on any matter he might mention. To all
his questions and suggestions about this or that, the man simply shook
his head in an owl-like fashion, and muttered, "It may be as you say,
sir; but it is not for the likes of me to talk about the King and my
Lord Privy Seal. He has made it plain to all men that it is by the
King's grace that we live and earn enough to pay taxes; and more than
that no man dare covet."

Sir Miles looked at the inn-keeper curiously; but the man looked
stolidly solemn, as though he was speaking what was his own settled
belief in the matter.

"Were you not mine host of this inn ten or a dozen years ago, when
the great Cardinal lived close by, in the Palace of Whitehall or York

The mask of stolidity seemed to break-up for a minute, as he said in
answer to this question, "I thought I had seen your face before, sir.
You were one of my Lord Cardinal's gentlemen, I trow."

"Yes! I think I knew him better than most," said Sir Miles, with a sigh
of regret for his dead master. "He was a great man, take him for all in
all," he added.

"Come this way, sir," said the man, with a suspicious look round at his
other customers; and he led the way to his own especial little room,
the door of which he carefully locked as soon as they had entered. "I
believe I may trust you, sir," said the landlord; "and it will be a
relief to speak without fearing that my Lord Privy Seal's spies will
report what I have said, if I should make a slip."

Sir Miles wondered for a minute whether the inn-keeper was mad; but he
reflected that they were not far from help if he was, so he sat down to
listen to what the man had to say.

"If you have been living in the country secure among your own people,
and know nought of what things are like in London, I should advise you
to go back with all the speed you can, for it is not safe for you to be
abroad among my Lord's spies."

"Spies!" repeated Sir Miles. And then he suddenly remembered that
Wolsey was not above employing this un-English means of attaining his
ends; but as he listened to the inn-keeper's account of what was the
known practice of the present Lord Privy Seal, Thomas Cromwell, who
practically ruled the kingdom as Wolsey had done, he was almost aghast;
for it seemed that no man's life or liberty were safe if they stood
in the way of this man's plans, which were to make the king such an
absolute ruler, that neither the Law nor the Church should stand in the
way of his power.

As the inn-keeper went on with his story of how one and another had
been arrested and tortured, Sir Miles reflected with bitterness that
his late master, the Cardinal, whose memory he revered, had first
planted this seed. Wolsey had never ceased to teach other men, and,
to the last, inculcate in his own acts, the doctrine that men only
held their property at the will of the king, and that if he chose to
recall it, he had a perfect right to do so. Wolsey had carried this
doctrine into practice, too, by handing over to the king his palace of
Whitehall, or York House, and Hampton Court—all the wealth in fact that
he had gathered. Aye, surely the last words of the Cardinal were true;
for if he had only served God by service to the people of England,
instead of devoting all his great powers to the aggrandisement of the
king, and the curtailment of English liberty, how much better it would
have been for himself, and for the nation.

Painful as it was to listen to such a recital, Sir Miles could not but
be thankful for the warning, for it seemed that an incautious word or
joke might land him in prison, especially if it seemed to have any
bearing on the king's supremacy in matters of faith and religious
belief. So he went to his chamber feeling considerably saddened by his
talk, but he was too tired with his wearisome journey to keep awake
very long; and before he awoke the next morning, Lady Paton and the
children were talking of all the wonderful things they were going to
see and do when they reached the royal town of Greenwich.

There was no time or opportunity to indulge in gloomy thoughts this
bright spring morning, for early as Sir Miles and his party were astir,
they could see from their windows that boats and barges were already
afloat on the river, and several gay parties of pleasure-seekers had
started for Greenwich, or for the cherry gardens that were near,
although no promise of cherries were to be seen yet.

"Oh, make haste! make haste!" exclaimed Muriel to her little sister.
"There will not be a boat left for us, to go and see our granddame, if
you are not quicker. Let us go, mother, now at once," she implored, as
she saw another party put off from the shore.

Lady Paton smiled, although she was almost as impatient as her children
to be on the river once more, and nearing her old home.

"We must have breakfast first," said their father, "and Bunce has not
ridden forth more than an hour to tell the Greenwich folk that we are

Sir Miles would have liked to take the old folks by surprise, not
announcing that they were likely to pay them a visit, but Lady Paton
thought it would be better to send on a messenger, lest her father
should be in attendance on the Court elsewhere; in which case her
mother, or whoever was left in charge of the old home, might be
prepared for them. And so, having secured a boat and sufficient rowers,
Sir Miles insisted that they should have a good meal before starting on
their next journey.

Fashions did not change very frequently in those days; but when they
got into their boat about ten o'clock, and were fairly afloat, Lady
Paton was startled to see that she and her children were attracting the
attention of other ladies; and after a time she discovered that the
fashion in ladies' dress had changed since she left home.

The morning was unusually warm for the time of year, and the two little
girls had thrown aside their mufflers, and sat, with bared necks,
while her own was scarcely less exposed when she loosened her cloak.
But she saw that, although the occupants of other boats had likewise
doffed their outer garments, their gowns were close-fitting, and
reaching to the throat, or almost to the throat, and everyone had a
neat, trim appearance, that rendered them conspicuous in their elegant,
but old-fashioned garments. "We must put our cloaks on again," she
whispered to her husband, glancing at the occupants of another boat
close at hand.

"Aye, aye; I ought to have told you. I heard last night that the new
Queen has brought in a new fashion. Queen Anne Boleyn brought other
notions from the French Court, as well as what she deemed the right of
every man to read the Bible in a language he can understand."

"Then this change of fashion in dress is part of the 'Reformation,' as
father called it in his last letter. It is a long time since that came,
Miles. I hope no trouble has befallen them, that we have not heard
tidings of them for so long."

"Keep up a good heart, Cicely; we shall soon know all about them," said
her husband, cheerfully; and remembering his host's warning, he would
not encourage any talk about the Reformation, for fear some passing
breeze should bear their words to other boats, or that the boatmen he
had engaged to row them down the stream were also in the pay of some of
Master Cromwell's agents, as spies, to pick up any stray evidence of
disloyalty to the king.

Lady Paton felt very little inclination to discuss public affairs just
now, for her heart was full at the old familiar sight of the river,
with its boats and barges, and the pleasant gardens of the citizens
sloping down to the bank of the stream; many a one with its own private
boat, moored to the steps leading down to the water, and some already
manned by the liveried rowers, waiting for the company to appear.

To the children the scene was delightful, and they were in no hurry to
reach Greenwich, however anxious their mother was to see her old home
once more. There were many reasons why Lady Paton should be anxious,
for she was going among old friends,—and how would they receive her?
Would they regard her marriage as unlawful, and meet her coldly and
distantly? Or would they ignore the past, now that the reformed faith
had been sanctioned by Parliament, and it was no longer a penal offence
to possess and read a New Testament?

How would these changes, which had all come about while she had been
living quietly at Woodstock, affect her now that she was venturing
into the great world once more? It was not herself alone either that
would be affected, for her mother would be terribly pained if their
old friends should refuse to receive her. There was her husband, too,
and the children. And as they drew nearer to the stately Palace of
Placentia, standing among its green lawns and gardens on the river
bank, she almost wished she had not ventured on the hazardous journey,
but had been content to let her husband come alone, as he had first
proposed to do.

She looked up into his face with a wistful gaze, as they drew near the
landing-stage at Greenwich, and he, surmising something of what she
was thinking, passed his arm tenderly round her, and bade the servants
in attendance take care of the children, for Sir Miles knew by the way
in which his wife was trembling that she would need all his care and
attention for the next few minutes. No word was spoken between husband
and wife, but Lady Paton felt strengthened and comforted, able to
bear this revisiting of old scenes and old friends; and with a silent
thanksgiving to God for this human love and friendship with which
He had blessed her, she smiled through her tears as the boat bumped
against the steps leading up from the water, and almost at the same
moment she caught sight of her mother and father waiting to receive her
just above.

"Be calm, be calm, Cicely," whispered Sir Miles, and the next minute he
had lifted her out of the boat, and placed her in her father's arms;
and then turned to receive the children from the servants, and hand
them on to waiting friends.

The welcome thus awaiting her reassured Lady Paton, and she kissed her
mother, amid smiles and tears, when her father led her to where Lady
Guildford was waiting to receive her.

As soon as the whole party had landed, Sir Harry Guildford hurried them
away from the throng of waiting loungers, who had gathered to see the
boat come in. "Not a word, mind, until we reach home," he had whispered
to Cicely, as he led her to her mother, and so it was almost in silence
that the little party met and walked through the well-remembered
streets of the town. An air of subdued gaiety, touched with dignity
and royal splendour, seemed to pervade the atmosphere—at least to Lady
Paton—and the silence did not depress her, for it gave her time to
recognise and once more enjoy the sense of being at home.

Scarcely a word was spoken as they walked through the streets
and market-place, where the butchers' stalls stood, with
their well-remembered display of meat, and the 'prentice lads
bawling,—"Here's pork, a halfpenny a pound; beef, young and tender,
halfpenny a pound; and mutton from the King's own sheep for
three-farthings. Now then, who'll buy, buy, buy, buy?"

But they stopped their calling when they saw Sir Harry and the
ladies, and doffed their caps, wondering what could have brought the
gentlefolks that way.

In reality Cicely had expressed a wish to go through the market-place,
but before she left it for the more aristocratic quarter of the town
where her father lived, she turned a startled look upon her mother, as
her eyes fell upon a blank, grassy space, where she knew the market
Cross had always stood.

"Where has the old stone Cross gone?" she asked.

"It was removed some time ago by order of the Parliament," answered
Lady Guildford in a stolid tone; she expressed no opinion as to it
being a good or a bad thing that it had been taken away, but Cicely
noticed that one old woman set down her basket near the centre, where
the old Cross used to stand, and furtively take out her beads to count
as she lifted her eyes, as she had done every market-day since she was
a girl.

"Poor old creature! she misses the Cross," said Cicely, in a pitying
tone, as her husband joined her, and looked towards the empty basket.

"Aye, we may be thankful that God has given us the right to read His
Word without fear in these days, but the taking away the old symbols,
which was all the people had to help them, will be a sore trial to
many, I perceive," he said.

"But, Miles, how often I have heard you say that these crosses were
traps and snares, leading the people to idolatry!"

Sir Miles nodded. "It is true, too true," he said, "and yet the removal
of them will cause pain and bitterness, and, it may be, anger and
enmity against the new light and knowledge that the reading of God's
Word will certainly bring to those who learn to love and read it for

"Better leave talking of these matters until we reach home," whispered
Lady Guildford, warningly. "We do not talk in the streets now," she
added, in answer to her daughter's look of amazement, "it has ceased to
be the fashion," and they walked some distance in silence.

Sir Miles, of course, understood Lady Guildford's caution, and he
resolved to tell his wife, as soon as he could, that she must be upon
her guard—but it would be safer to gain the shelter of her old home
before a word of this matter was explained.

"Shall I see the new Queen?" asked Cicely, after a minute's silence,
and forgetting her mother's words about not talking in the street.

"She often walks in the Park with her ladies," replied her mother; "we
will tell you all about that when we reach home," she hastened to add,
for she was in fear lest she should speak some word concerning the late
Queen that might give an advantage to any spy that should be near, and
Cicely, though she wondered, and certainly disapproved of the rule
forbidding friends to talk when and where they pleased, did not attempt
any further questions until they reached home, the dear old home she
had left to please her mistress, Queen Catherine, whose ideas of life
in the convent had filled her with vague longings for a monastic

Ah! what a bitter awakening the reality had proved! During the few
months she had spent at that Franciscan convent overlooking Greenwich
Park, she had passed through a lifetime of disappointment and disgust,
from which she had been rescued almost by a miracle in the streets
of Oxford. And at the thought of what her husband had been to her,
she placed her hand in his as they re-entered the old home she had
despaired of ever seeing again.



IT was a pleasant meal that was served in Sir Harry Guildford's
keeping-room,—a meal rather more stately and ceremonious than at
Woodstock, where Sir Miles kept up the old fashion of having all his
household servants gathered at the same board. Here at Greenwich,
however, it had been found more convenient to follow the usage set
by the Court lately, and only his own family and friends sat down to
dinner now in the Guildford household. As soon as the dishes were
set on the table, the servants left the room, until they were again
required; and by this means the family could talk more freely than
they could have done with servants present. There was a good deal of
pleasant chitchat, from which Lady Paton learned that the practical
outcome of the more general reading of the New Testament by the people,
was different from that which had taken place among them at quiet

Queen Anne Boleyn had made herself very popular, and the upper classes
of society had been ready enough to adopt the more quiet and sedate
fashion in dress she had introduced. Lady Paton heard, to her surprise,
that nearly every one had adopted this fashion, unless they wished to
proclaim to the world that they still adhered to the old form of faith.

This, however, was growing dangerous now, for it implied that they did
not acknowledge the King's right to assume the headship of the Church,
which, springing as it did out of Henry's determination to get rid of
his first queen, that he might marry Ann Boleyn, had caused a good deal
of strife and bitterness, even among private friends and relatives.

"I often wish we could have the old times back again," said Lady
Guildford, speaking to Cicely in an undertone. "Your father and many
others say that to be able to read God's Word in peace, and without
fear, is worth all the cost. But I do not know; I am only a witless
woman, of course, but when I think of your sister Maud," and Lady
Guildford shook her head sadly as she mentioned her younger daughter's

"What is it, mother? What is the matter?" asked Lady Paton. "You told
me Maud was well, and that we should see her, and her husband, too,
before the end of the day."

"Yes; but I thought they would have been at this meal with us. I sent
to tell her you were coming, as soon as your messenger arrived, and she
sent word that she should follow shortly, but she has not come, and I
fear that it is her husband that has hindered it."

"But—but why should he?" asked Cicely.

Her mother could not say, "Because he now deems your marriage unlawful,
and would not let his wife meet you at all if he could help it."
But Lady Paton had an inkling of this, when her mother told her how
passionately Mr. Marvin had taken up the cause of Queen Catherine, and
how the King's divorce had divided people, and severed friendships that
nothing else could have touched.

"I do not wonder at it," said Lady Paton. "My dear mistress was a good
woman, and a faithful wife, and why should she be set aside for my Lady

"Hush, hush, my child! You must not talk like that, or you will bring
us all into trouble with the Vicar-General," said Lady Guildford, in
a tone of suppressed terror, as she stealthily looked round the room
to make sure that no servant was present to hear the dangerous words.
"We cannot trust one of them," she whispered, "now that we know the
ways of the Vicar-General and his agents. Times are hard, and taxes
are heavy; and who can wonder that the witless knaves and wenches are
glad to earn a groat by repeating what you or I may say. They are told
no harm will happen through it, the King only wants to know what his
people think, that he may please them so the little bits of gossip are
reported to the spies, and in crafty hands are woven into a rope that
will presently move the headsman's axe; and here we are living close to
this terrible peril."

"Oh, my mother! Why should you stay here, then? Why not come and live
with us, or at Oxford? Ask father to retire from the Court at once,"
said Lady Paton.

Her mother shook her head. "To do that would inevitably bring trouble.
Your father is a favourite with the King, and, because of that, we dare
not think of retiring from his service; for it would certainly bring
down suspicion if we only asked to be allowed to give up this service.
I tell you, the King is not the good-tempered easy-going man he once
was. It is whispered, too, that he is growing tired of the new queen.
She brought him a daughter—the little Lady Elizabeth—which disappointed
him, and he will put her away somehow." This was said in a whisper, for
fear a servant should enter the room unawares; but the lady wanted to
convince her daughter, that it would not be safe for them to rouse the
anger of the King, that she might not urge her father to retire from
the Court.

When the meal was concluded, Sir Harry said: "Now I have something to
show you. I have made myself a withdrawing-room, somewhat after the
pattern of one at the Palace. I never allow a servant to enter it, for
I have to write for the King many things that are private." As he spoke
Sir Harry led the way to a distant wing of the house, and admitted them
to a room on the upper floor.

Instead of being hung with arras, behind which listeners could conceal
themselves, this room was hung with stamped leather, lined with a thick
padding of wool, that was securely fastened to the walls; and, when
they had entered, an overlapping piece was drawn over the door, so that
no one could hear a word that passed within.

Lady Guildford breathed a sigh of relief as the door was secured. "Now
we can talk freely and without fear," she said.

"Is it possible that such a room as this is necessary in a gentleman's
private house here in England?" said Sir Miles Paton, in a serious
tone. "Of course I have heard of such rooms being needful in Italy and
other outlandish places, but—"

"Aye, but our Vicar-General has lived in Italy, and seems to have
brought many of the Italian methods with him to govern our English
folk," answered Sir Harry.

"But the Parliament?" said Sir Miles. "I know my master, the Cardinal,
would fain have governed the kingdom without the help of Parliaments,
but the want of money for the King's wars and pleasures compelled him
to summon them; and is not Parliament defence enough?"

Sir Harry shook his head. "Wolsey hated the Parliament and all its
ways, but Master Cromwell has now gone a step further, and made the
Parliament a means to do his will, and crush out all that remains of
English liberty."

"And yet this same man has given to the English people the right to
read God's Word in their own tongue! I cannot understand it," said Sir
Miles Paton.

"Aye, I trow many are puzzled by Thomas Cromwell's doings. He has been
everything by turns,—from a mercenary in the army of Italy to the man
next in power to the King of England, whom he has made equal to the
Pope in all matters of faith and belief, and absolute ruler in Church
and State. No other king in this realm has ever dared to assume such
power as our present lord; and with this growing power he grows more
evil, and arrogant, and selfish every day."

At this moment a knocking was heard at the door, and Sir Harry went
to open it. "It is Maud, I trow," he said, and it was Dame Marvin who
entered the room as soon as the door was unlocked. Lady Paton rose and
hurried forward to meet her sister, but the younger lady drew back, and
held up her hand as if to ward off a blow, while she said, in a piteous

"I cannot help it, mother; I may not touch you, dear Cicely, and yet my
heart aches to throw my arms round you as in the old days. Oh, mother,
mother!" and the young matron threw herself into her mother's arms, to
seek relief in tears there.

Lady Paton sank back in her seat with a gasp, while her husband looked
on in amazement.

"I feared it might be thus," muttered Sir Harry, and he turned to Sir
Miles to explain. "You see, when Maud married Walter Marvin the King's
divorce was only being talked about, and he, like many others, could
make a joke of the matter, never supposing it would be carried out. He
was as much interested in the study of Tyndale's Testament as we were
in those days, and we all supposed we should be of one heart and one
mind in matters of faith. But the divorce of Queen Catherine seemed to
set men by the ears, and Walter Marvin took up her quarrel, until we
feared he would bring himself to the Tower if he did not moderate his
zeal on her behalf."

"She has been shamefully treated, father," protested Cicely.

"We all admit that, but still it was the King's will that she should
be put away, and if our present Queen, the Lady Anne Boleyn, had
refused his suit, it would have made little difference. But now that
all trouble is over for Queen Catherine, surely we may cease to quarrel
about the wrongs she suffered."

"All trouble over?" repeated Lady Paton. "What do you mean, father?
Surely my dear mistress is not dead?"

"Oh, yes!" exclaimed her sister and mother in the same breath, "Queen
Catherine died early in January of this year of grace 1536."

"Why, I sent my last letter to you by the King's messenger, who was
sent with the news to Oxford," remarked Sir Harry.

"But we have had no letter from you," said Sir Miles, quickly. "No
letters have reached us from London or Greenwich since Oxford Autumn
Fair—more than six months ago—and Cicely and I had grown anxious
concerning you, seeing no answer came to our letters."

"I have had no letter from you since last summer, and would fain have
journeyed to see how it fared with you all, if my duties at Court would
have suffered me to be absent. But I am never sure that the King will
not need my service at any moment, for he grows more impetuous and
impatient every day, and none would dare to say to him: 'Guildford hath
departed on a journey,' if he should call for me."

"The King's service is no light burden, I trow," said Sir Miles; "but
what of our letters, my father?" he asked.

"They are doubtless safe in the hands of one of Cromwell's agents, to
be brought forward against one or other of us, if ever we should be
caught tripping in word or deed in any matter concerning the King's

"And it is really true, my father, that the Queen, my mistress, is
dead," said Cicely with a sigh. "I wonder whether she ever forgave me
for leaving the convent and embracing a secular life," she added.

"You had no choice in the matter, sweetheart," said her husband, with a
smile, thinking of her rescue in the streets of Oxford.

"I am afraid I was only too willing to be taken captive, and hidden by
you," answered his wife with a smile.

"Aye! You may have been the first novice in England to break her vows
concerning the monastic life, but there have been many since, I trow,
who have gladly followed in your steps; for this breaking up of the
monasteries and convents has been hard and cruel to the helpless women
folk who have lived a sheltered life."

"Aye, we have heard of this," said Sir Miles, "for many of the monks
have come to us asking for a piece of bread, and this has increased the
numbers of beggars enormously."

"Yes, and this is done in the name of the Reformation, and makes good
men like Walter Marvin say they detest it," put in Lady Guildford,
who was always trying to find some excuse for her younger daughter's
husband when she was present.

"Aye, it is all very well, good dame, to try and find excuses for
Master Walter Marvin," said Sir Harry, "but there is another side to
that question, and none can deny that these monks and nuns lived an
idle, useless, often vicious life, caring neither for God nor man. The
Parliament would not have presented the picture they did, in their
petition to the King that helped on this royal supremacy, if the
clergy at large, and the monks in particular, had led clean, honest
lives,—doing their duty to their fellows. Look at the rules passed by
Convocation, and at the command of the bishops, for the guidance of
the clergy and reformation of the Church. It was decreed that priests
should no longer keep shops or taverns, play at dice or other forbidden
games, pass the night in suspected places, be present at disreputable
shows, go about with sporting-dogs, or go about with hawks, falcons,
and other birds of prey on their wrists. If a priest is found doing
any of these things now, he is liable to be fined; but there is very
little change as yet, and with such a clergy how are the people to be
instructed in the Word of God?" asked Sir Harry.

But Lady Paton and her sister were not so interested in public affairs.
They had not met for some years, and now, as Maud pathetically said, if
she dare not kiss her sister she could talk to her; and so the sisters
drew aside, and Lady Paton told her all about her children, and how
both the elder ones had been taught to read the New Testament, and
commit portions of it to memory.

"I taught them when we were obliged to keep the books hidden away, for
fear of the friars and monks, for the precious Word of God had done so
much for Miles and me, that we were resolved our children should be
taught its precious truths as soon as they could understand anything
about it."

"But you had to take them to church; and people are saying now that all
the old service is idolatry. How did you manage about the Mass?"

"Ah! that was a difficulty; not only for our children, but for our
people too, until I thought it over, and prayed God to guide and teach
us what to say, though I think Sister Margery helped me to the thought
a great deal. Of course many of our poor people know bitterly the want
of bread. If only they had bread to eat they used to think themselves
rich, they have said to me; and so I told them that the piece of bread
that the priest lifted up in the Mass, was to remind them that Christ
was to be to their souls what bread was to their bodies. And I believe
this was the first meaning that men attached to the elevation of the
Host, and that they had no intention of worshipping it as they have
come to do; but the first meaning being lost sight of in course of
time, all the rest about transubstantiation has followed and corrupted

"Oh, that dreadful word," sighed Maud. "That is what the fight rages
over; and men and women have been burned at Smithfield, after being
terribly tortured, because they said the Mass was idolatry, and because
they would not bow to the Host. Oh, Cicely, if your thought is right,
why don't the reformers teach the people to think of it in your way,
and stop all this terrible suffering?"

But Lady Paton could only shake her head doubtfully. "How do I know
what would be right for wise and learned men to teach? You see, Miles
had set himself to create a little Utopia by the help of God, and
what he could learn from His Word. And what we set ourselves to teach
our poor people was to do to one another as they would have their
neighbours do to them if they changed places. Miles said when we had
got them to learn and live this first rule, we might find time for
the next, but our people are slow to learn it, and so we have had no
time to think of the things that may come after. Margery and I have
taught, or tried to teach them that Christ, as He is shown in the New
Testament, is as real as the bread held out by the priest, and so we
have made the Mass a help to them as far as we could. Of course we are
always very busy, for we make our ploughs as well as use them, and
build our looms to weave the wool in the winter time, so that there
is little time for questioning this and that. Our dear Margery has
most time for thought, and she is really our household priest, and God
teaches her through His Word, and gives her many helpful thoughts,
which she gives to Miles, and me, and the children; and they are always
helpful, happy thoughts, fitted to help us in the place we are living,
and not great, high thoughts that could only be useful in London, or
here at the Court of Placentia, where grave, learned men meet to talk
over affairs of State."

"Dear Margery! I wish we could all have a household priest like her.
Now, it seems to me she has the true vocation for a religious life, and
I used to think when I was staying with you that if Margery had been in
your place she would not have left the convent, even for Miles."

But Cicely laughed aloud at her sister's suggestion. "Why, Margery
would never hear of being a nun," she said; "she has told me that
her mother asked her more than once if she would like to join the
sisterhood at the convent near Woodstock. But Margery said she was
always too fond of minding other people's business for them, ever to
be content with a nun's life; and she says if she could have chosen,
she could not have had a happier life than she has now, for with Miles,
and me, and the children, and the village folk, who bring all their
troubles to her, she always has her hands full, and plenty to think
about and plan for, when she is obliged to lie still on her couch for
days together. This active life is good for her too, Miles says, for
she is stronger and better able to walk about with her stick than ever
she was before. And Aunt Margery's room is the choicest, and sweetest,
and best in the house, where Miles and I get rested if we are tired
and cross. Oh, no, the world could never get on without our Margery—at
least our busy little world could not," added Lady Paton.



BEFORE Mistress Marvin went home, she arranged to come and spend the
following day with her sister, to help her to plan out, with the aid
of Lady Guildford's sewing-maid, the alterations in her own and the
children's dresses. For Sir Miles commended the neat and sensible
alteration that had been effected in the fashion of ladies' clothes;
and as it was taken as a sort of badge that the wearer had embraced the
reformed opinions and teachings, why, there was every reason that his
wife should follow this new fashion, he said.

To have Cicely thus fully occupied at home would also fit in with his
own plans, for he was anxious now to remove his servants from the
hostelry at Westminster with as little delay as possible, for fear
their talk of his affairs should bring them all into trouble at some
future time. "There is no telling what the witless knaves may say with
this London ale and mead in their pates, and so the sooner I have them
here under mine own eye the safer it will be for all of us," said the
gentleman, when talking the matter over with Sir Harry Guildford.

"Yes; bring them all down here, certainly," said his father-in-law.
"You must make a long stay with us now you are here, and it will be
better in every way to have the knaves where they can be controlled."

"We will stay over May-day," said Sir Miles. "Cicely stipulated that
she should see the old games once more before we left home."

"Well, she shall see all the fun and frolic there is, but there is some
change in this fashion too. Those of us who favour the new opinions,
think there was too much licence in these games, and so a few things
have been lopped off, to the great disgust of the poorer folk, who can
only enjoy the rougher and coarser play."

"Ah, and there is something to be said for them," answered Sir Miles.
"I have learned many lessons since I have lived among my people, and
not apart from them. These games, which we have outgrown since we have
learned to exercise our brains on the problems of the Church and the
rule of the Pope, are still a necessary part of a man's life, if he
lives by the work of his hands, and his brain has but a small share
in the exercise. So now, I am trying both exercises for my varlets,
encouraging the old races and wrestlings for the strengthening of the
body, while giving them some relief to exercise their minds upon. No,
no; it will not do for the poor varlets to be deprived of their May-day
and holiday games; and so, prithee, let it be known, that I will give a
prize for wrestling and racing, among the serving men and maids, and we
will all be present to see the sport."

Sir Harry Guildford laughed. "I see you are as independent as ever. I
am afraid your kindness will not be appreciated by some of our reformed
friends, but Walter Marvin will be greatly pleased when he hears of
what you are going to do."

"Why? How is that?" asked Sir Miles.

"Oh! just another sign of the change that seems to be working in men
and all that concerns them. Those who hold to the Church in all things,
and see no need for reform, are in favour of the old pastimes and
holidays; while the Queen, and many of the reformers who gather round
her, do all that in them lies to discourage these, and I expect to hear
soon that the old saint days and holidays are to be lessened in number,
for many are now saying it takes a man too much from his work to have
so much time to play."

Sir Miles shook his head. "There is not too much playtime if it is
used wisely, and men give their whole heart to their work when it is
working-time. This has been a hard lesson to teach my knaves, but
they have begun to see the worth of it, and winter and summer we work
in working-time, and play when the holidays come, and we are all the
better for it."

"Ah! but you live in a little Utopia, while we in Greenwich have to
live as the great world will let us," said Sir Harry.

"That may be; but you Greenwich folk are making laws and rules by which
the great world is governed; while few will ever hear of our little
world of Paton beyond Woodstock and Oxford. Some of my old University
friends are interested to know how we fare in our little kingdom
of 'nowhere,' but I am afraid the kingdom of England is too much
disturbed; and the fate of my dear friend, Sir Thomas More, has chilled
many hearts."

"Ah! he was a just man, and a learned," remarked Sir Harry; "but he was
no friend to the reformers."

"Nay, but he desired to see the Church reformed," said Sir Miles,
quickly. "Why, it is to his help and encouragement of Erasmus that we
got our Greek New Testament. Tyndale could never have given us the New
Testament in English if it had not been for Erasmus; and who but Sir
Thomas More and a few like-minded men, who desired to see the Church
reformed and purified, helped with their wealth and sympathy the
learned Dutchman in his work."

"And yet, he tortured and sentenced to death several of our reformers,
for reading and expounding the English New Testament."

"Yes, yes; I have heard of it," said Sir Miles, with a sigh. "It
is a mystery no man can understand. That he acted according to his
conscience, and believed he was doing God's service, is proved by the
way he withstood the king's assumption of supremacy; for he gave his
life for the vindication of the Pope's right to rule in the Church."

"Ah! and he condemned Master Tewkesbury to death for his faith in the
New Testament," retorted Sir Harry. "What say you to that, my son?" Sir
Miles could only shake his head sadly. It was a mystery—part of the
tangle, in the meshes of which everybody seemed to be struggling in
this great world just now—and thinking thus, Sir Miles was not sorry
that his father-in-law did not seem disposed to carry the talk any
farther, and the withdrawing-room was locked up, and the gentlemen went
to their chambers without further discussion of the thorny subject.

The next morning Sir Miles went early to Westminster, and despatched
all his servants and horses, with their baggage, by road to Greenwich,
warning the men to say little to any stranger they might meet on the

The little party were not sorry to leave the hostelry, for the idle
loafers who hung about the stables of the inn had turned the speech
and manners of the country folk into jest, and more than one fight had
already taken place; and although the Paton servants had succeeded in
giving their opponents a good drubbing, after the approved Oxfordshire
manner, still they were looking sulky and out of humour, for they
were no match in the use of their tongues, and the flouts, and jeers,
and sneers of the Londoners left them smarting inwardly. So they were
thankful enough when their master appeared, and ordered them off to
Greenwich without delay.

Having seen them safely on the road, Sir Miles bent his steps once more
to "The Sign of the Golden Fleece," for he was anxious to know how his
friend Monmouth fared, and also to hear the latest news concerning
Master Tyndale, for no tidings had reached him concerning this old
friend for the last year or two. It was part of the price he had to pay
for devoting himself to the improvement of his own tenantry, that news
of those whom he had known in the great world outside rarely reached
him; and now it seemed that the caution necessary in sending letters,
would make his position still more isolated, and so he was the more
anxious to get what news he could concerning old friends, while he was
in a position to do so.

If other changes had taken place, in men and things, since he last
trod the streets of London, the apprentices and serving lads of the
shops were just as he had seen them last. "What do you lack! what do
you lack!" they screamed one against the other, and they were just as
ready to push him into the mire of the central gutter, that flowed down
the middle of the street, as they were in the old days when he came to
visit Master Tyndale, splashing him from head to foot, so that Mistress
Monmouth would have to remove some of the filth from his garments,
before he could go up to the little room in the turret.

[Illustration: "Is it—is it Sir Miles Paton at last?" exclaimed Master

The memory of it all came back to him, and he thought of the lonely
life the merchant had lived, since his wife and family had all been
carried off by the plague some years ago.

Thinking of these sad events, and wondering how he should find his old
friend, he was a little startled to see the merchant come out of his
shop almost the next moment, looking as comfortable and energetic as he
did ten years before.

"Is it—is it Sir Miles Paton at last?" exclaimed Master Monmouth when
he saw his visitor.

"It is, Master Monmouth! And I am right glad to see you looking so
well," replied Miles, following Monmouth into his dim little shop.

The merchant led the way upstairs at once. "We may not say a word
before those long-eared 'prentice lads, and I have much to tell you
since you have come," said the merchant in explanation. Sir Miles
could not help smiling now. He was getting used to this warning to be
cautious, uttered by each in turn according to their varied experience,
but all alike enforcing the terrible lesson, that free speech in
England, even in one's own home, had become a danger.

As soon as the sitting-room had been reached, which Sir Miles
remembered so well, the merchant bade him sit down, and then called:
"Mistress Bainham, here is an old friend who would fain taste of your
confections," and almost as he was speaking a young widow came into the
room, bearing on her face the traces of sorrow; but it was a pleasant,
peaceful face, and the merchant spoke as though she might have been his
own daughter, as he asked her to set the wenches to prepare a meal with
all speed.

"Have I seen this lady before?" asked Sir Miles.

"If you have, it was when she was a merry lass, and came to see
my daughter. Now she is a widow, bereaved by that wicked man Sir
Thomas More, who sent her husband to his reward, through the fires
of Smithfield, a year or two ago. Ah, Bainham was one of our truest
friends, and ever ready to expound the New Testament, and therefore he
was marked down for destruction by those who would fain keep us in the
darkness of ignorance."

"And this lady is his widow?" asked Sir Miles.

"Yes. She was left with her two young children helpless in the world.
Bainham was a lawyer, but he had little of this world's wealth, and
what he had was exhausted while he was in prison; and so, when the end
came, and the martyr went in his fiery chariots to the Kingdom not
made with hands, I brought Mistress Bainham and her children here to
stay for a time, and look after the serving-wenches. And now we should
both be grieved to part, for she hath made my home more cheerful and
homelike than I ever thought it could be, while she has something to
live for, besides sorrowing for him who has gone. She loves the things
Master William Tyndale taught us all to love, and keeps his room in
order as he left it, in the hope that he may some day come again to
dwell among us."

"Do you think that is likely?" asked Sir Miles, eagerly.

"I am afraid not. And yet methinks he might do so now; and I know for
certain that Master Cromwell would fain have him come. And now that the
Reformers are in favour at Court, and the King rules in the Church, as
well as the kingdom, I would fain have him journey hither, for a season
at least," added the merchant.

"And you could not persuade him to come? I should greatly like to
see him, and would bear the charges of his journey if he would come
hither," said Sir Miles.

The merchant rose and closed the door, and looked round the room. "He
does not trust the King," he whispered, "or Master Cromwell either, for
that matter."

"Ah!" uttered Sir Miles, in a significant tone; but Master Monmouth was
too eager to tell his news, to notice this slight interruption.

"Mind you, our friend hath good cause to be wary, for our enemies,
having discovered who translated this English Testament, and had it
printed, have sent out agents to try and get Tyndale to come over here,
where he would be in their power, and they could make a quick end of
him. But so soon as he knew one agent was in quest of him, he would
gather up his few belongings and depart to another town, where other
printing presses would do his work."

"Ah, it has been a stirring life for him, while I—well, I wonder—" and
there Sir Miles paused again, and the merchant went on with his story.

"Our enemies, not being able to catch Master Tyndale in any of their
traps, did show their spite and anger by destroying all his books they
could lay their hands upon. My Lord Bishop of London hath more than
once bought up all the New Testaments there were to be had in London,
and a rare burning of the books was witnessed at Paul's Cross. And the
money thus collected from the Bishop and his agents hath forthwith been
sent to Master Tyndale, that he might prepare another and more perfect
edition, for each fresh one has been carefully revised; and though for
my own part I am well content with the book that you and I helped to
carry ashore that winter's night, still there are those who say that
the last sent over, and that is the fourth edition, is a marvel. I am
no scholar myself, I can just read in the English tongue, and that
is why I can prize, more than many, this English Testament. But I
tell you, Sir Miles, these new doctrines are attracting the notice of
learned and thoughtful men, though as yet the poorer folk do not seem
to care which shall succeed,—the Reformers, who would fain see a New
Testament in every house, or the priests, who fill their pockets from
the scanty earnings of the poor, under the pretence of offering Masses
for the dead, whereby the souls of departed friends shall the sooner be
released from the pains of Purgatory."

"Ah! the poor witless knaves have little time to think of anything
but the earning of a rye loaf, and the buying of meat for Sunday. We
must think tenderly of the poor, for they are hardly dealt with on all
hands," said Sir Miles, pityingly.

"Well, we must try to grasp the prize now it is within our reach, that
they may share it with us by-and-bye. To have got rid of the Pope and
all his pretensions, we owe to what some of our forefathers did two
hundred years ago. Wycliffe, and a few like him, tried to shake off
his power then, and the Parliament passed what is called the 'Statutes
of Prœmunire and Provisors,' and this gave the King and Parliament
the right to prohibit the admission or execution of any bulls or
briefs within the realm of England; and also denied the Papal claim
to dispose of any benefices. Well, the Reformers of that day were not
able to do much with this new law when they had got it, but it has
never been repealed, and somebody must have told Master Cromwell of
this old Statute of Prœmunire; and so, when the Pope threatened to put
the kingdom under an interdict, and absolve every man from obeying
the King, my Lord Cromwell went and asked the King why he should bow
his neck to the Pope, when Pope and clergy had all alike broken the
English law concerning the paying of taxes to a foreign power, and the
publishing of bulls and briefs, that were no longer lawful in this

"Ah! the King would have a keen nose for the taxes," remarked Sir
Miles, recalling the time when his old master, Wolsey, often found
himself on the horns of a dilemma over this very question of taxation,
and he wondered whether Wolsey knew of the existence of this old
statute, that had probably been forgotten in the lapse of time, or
surely it would have been expunged from the roll of English laws long

But it surprised him that a plain, simple cloth-merchant like Monmouth
had so clear a grip of the situation, as his explanation of this old
statute proved. Truly the plain man and simple citizen, as well as
those of the university, were awakening, and it was not likely that
they would allow themselves to be fitted with grave-clothes again, and
so the priests and monks must also arise out of the torpor that held
them, or they must go under in the struggle that was fast approaching.

Sir Miles stayed talking at "The Golden Fleece" until all the shops in
the neighbourhood had securely fastened their one-flat shutter for the
night; and then Monmouth told him that he was expecting a few friends
to come in almost immediately, and begged him to stay the night and
take part in their Scripture reading, and the devotions which would

This Sir Miles readily consented to do, although he declined to take
any other part than that of a listener in the reading and expounding
which was to follow.

In the discourse that followed the reading, he noted the same
independence of thought that testified to the general awakening that
was taking place in men's minds, and how the Mass, and the Papal
pretensions arising out of it, were the main points of attack. The
bread and wine, which the priests claimed they had the power to
change into the very body, bones, and blood of Christ by the prayer
of consecration, these Reformers declared was unchanged, and still
remained bread and wine; and that it was only in a spiritual sense
that the Lord Jesus said, "Take, eat; this is my body." This would be
the battle-cry. Round this would the tumult rage; and all at once Sir
Miles felt he should like to take his part as a man in the struggle
and strife. No, the battle was not won yet, he felt sure, although
Master Monmouth and most of his friends thought that there would be
little more persecution, now that the Pope's power was broken. But
he reflected that they did not know King Henry the Eighth as he did;
and, though Queen Anne might foster the new opinions, and give her
protection to the Reformers, who could tell how long her power might
last. The King had loved his first wife, Catherine of Aragon, quite
as much as he loved Queen Anne; and thinking thus, Sir Miles wondered
whether it would be possible for him to spend at least part of every
year in London. He was still thinking thus when the meeting broke up,
and then his host showed him how some curious hiding-places had been
contrived in one or two parts of the house.

"We thought we might need them a year or two back; but, thank God, that
danger is over, and we can come and go now with nothing more to fear
than that the vagabonds of the streets may molest us."

"May it always be so," said Sir Miles, as he bade his host good-night,
and retired to his chamber.



SIR MILES spent several days in London and Westminster. There were
purchases to be made for his wife and household, for the cloth and
linen made at home was neither so fine or so perfect, as yet, that it
was suitable for all their requirements. Then there were old friends
to look up; and although many of these had left the neighbourhood of
London when the Cardinal fell from power, still a few remained, and
he was glad to renew his acquaintance with some of them to hear their
opinions as to the changes now in progress.

Of course these could scarcely be expected to hold the same view as
citizens, like Master Monmouth; but they agreed in one point, and that
was that the King and Cromwell had shown themselves so masterful in
defying the Pope, and claiming the supremacy of the Church as the right
of the Crown, that they feared it would never again revert to Rome;
that for good or evil the Church of England would remain independent of
Papal control, except in so far as the people chose to hold themselves
bound to obey as a matter of conscience.

It was evidently a matter of sorrow to some of these friends that the
Pope had driven the King to take this step; but then, as one of them
argued, what could the Pope himself do between the King of England and
the Emperor of Germany? He was the nephew of Queen Catherine, and had
been known to threaten the Pope with all sorts of punishments if he
dared to pronounce the divorce of his aunt; and so the supreme Pontiff
must have felt himself like a shuttlecock between these two masterful
monarchs, until Henry cut the Gordian knot, by declaring himself head
of the Church, and he and his kingdom free of Papal control.

"It would have been better if our Master Wolsey had succeeded in his
aims, and been made Pope. He would have found some way out of the
difficulty without this severance," said one friend, who was ready to
follow Sir Thomas More to the block rather than acknowledge the right
of the King to be head of the Church.

Sir Miles shook his head. "Whatever the outcome of this struggle may be
in the present," he said, "it must in the end enlarge the liberties of
England. Her people are waking here in the towns, as we in Oxford some
years ago, and among her citizens—"

"What!" interrupted his friend. "You know little of what is going on to
suppose that we have more liberty now than we had under the Cardinal.
He hated Parliaments, I know; but this upstart, Cromwell, has learned
how to make them do his bidding, and it is through the Parliament that
an Englishman scarce dare breathe what he thinks, even in his own home.
Why, I may be taking myself to the block for talking to you as I have
done; and you say the King and Cromwell will enlarge our liberty."

"They have granted the people the right to read the New Testament,"
retorted Sir Miles; "and I tell you that, in doing this, they are
putting a weapon into the people's hands they will not fail to grasp,
and to use with all the tenacity and power that make an Englishman what
he is. This is the seed that shall presently grow into such a tree as
neither King nor priest shall be able to uproot; and I hear that, to
make its truths more widely known, a copy of this book is to be set up
on a desk in every church, that those who cannot read for themselves
may repair thither and listen to some who can read it to them."

"Well, Sir Miles, if you are like to prove a true prophet in this
matter, the Church has been wise to forbid any but the clergy reading
this pestilent book. For my part, I shall forbid it in mine own
household, and any knave or wench bringing a Testament under my roof
shall be cast out instantly."

"Nay, be not so hard on the poor knaves," said Sir Miles, for he knew
it would be a hard matter for the serving men and maids to get other
work in these days, when employment was so scarce.

It was men like this friend who would make the coming struggle so hard
and bitter. And yet the man would do it, believing he was doing his
duty to God and man by this means.

Sir Miles went back to Greenwich at last, feeling that he had learned
a good deal during his absence. And yet affairs in general were in
such a tangle, and so many cross interests were involved, that it was
impossible to get a clear view, and the most that any man could hope
for was to know what his individual duty was, and to do it regardless
of consequences.

It may seem that it was an easy matter for Sir Miles to come to this
conclusion, but in reality he had had a hard struggle with himself
before he could resolve to keep on with the prosy, monotonous every-day
work of his farm and tenantry, instead of throwing in his lot with
those who would share actively in the struggle that was going on in the
outer world. The lad who joined so eagerly in the fight at Oxford Fair
was a fighter still, and it was not easy for him to think complacently
of going back to his little domain near Woodstock, and only the thought
of wife and children, and what he owed to them, reconciled him to the
prospect of being shut away from all share in the great world-strife
that was going on here.

But he went home to Greenwich full of plans for making the May-day
sports a real holiday for the poorer folk of the town. The ladies and
gentlemen of the Court might be trusted to provide ample amusement for
the more fashionable crowd, who would go to see the morris-dancers and
mummers, who were to have their fun in a more subdued fashion now than

This resolve to encourage all sorts of manly sports and exercise,
brought him into contact with his brother-in-law, Master Walter Marvin,
and he found him much more sociable than he expected; and, except upon
the thorny subject of the King's supremacy, they were much alike in
their opinions of men and things in general. He even consented to meet
Lady Paton, although he could not quite forget that Cicely was a woman
who had been unfaithful to her vows and her vocation, as he chose to
consider it; still, as Lady Paton was his wife's sister, he could not
keep entirely aloof at such a time, especially when her husband was
ready to help in all his plans for keeping up the old sports among the
men, and lads, and serving maids.

And so the last days of April passed pleasantly enough, except for one
or two whispers which Sir Miles and Cicely heard concerning the Queen.
She would have brought the King his much desired son shortly, but in
the previous February she had been greatly upset by the King himself,
which made her very ill; and her boy baby came, but was born dead,
which so enraged Henry that it was said he would never forgive the
Queen for disappointing him, quite ignoring the fact that he himself
had brought about the mishap. The Queen had seemed weak and delicate
ever since, but it was also noticed that the King, instead of trying
to console her, paid marked attention to one of her ladies—the Lady
Jane Seymour—and he was not expected to be present at the Palace of
Placentia for the May-day sports. He had gone to Westminster, leaving
the Queen to console herself with the little Lady Elizabeth, who was
now nearly three years old.

Of course, the members of Sir Harry Guildford's family attended the
Court festivities, which were held on one of the lawns facing the
river. Here a gigantic Maypole was raised, garlanded with green boughs
and wreaths of flowers, and round which various dances took place.
The Queen came out for a short time, leading her little daughter, who
skipped and jumped, and would have joined in the dances round the gaily
decorated Maypole if her mother would have allowed it.

"That little lady is a true daughter of our King," remarked one of the
town folk—for the gardens and lawns of Placentia were always thrown
open at such festivals as this. "See now, how she pulls at her mother's
hand," said the gossip.

Many noticed that day how pensive and sad the Queen was looking, and
yet her gaiety would break through her sadness now and again, and she
would smile and nod when one of her ladies spoke to her, and for a
minute or two appeared to be interested in the games.

The rougher sports for the lads and lasses took place in the Park,
and here Sir Miles and his brother-in-law found scope for all their
energies, in keeping order among the crowd, and preventing the whole
affair from developing into a wild orgie.

When at last the games came to an end, and everybody who had taken part
in them had gone home thoroughly tired out, Sir Miles and Master Marvin
were at liberty to cast up the cost of the day's frolic, which they
found to be rather heavier than they expected. They were bruised, and
stiff, and sore from their exertions, and the kicks they had received
in their efforts to keep the lads within bounds.

"There is something to be said for your reformers and their dislike of
these holiday games," remarked Sir Miles when he had limped home, and
given some account of the day's doings. "By my troth, we English people
are a masterful race, as my master, the Cardinal, used to remark. At
least it, must be so, if the way these lads of Greenwich play their
games may be taken as indicating how they will act in graver matters,"
added the gentleman.

Sir Harry Guildford laughed. "Ah! we need taming," he said.

"Nay, leading," retorted Miles. "But who is to do it, unless we gain
the mastery over ourselves, for ourselves, and for love's dear sake?
I trove those who essay the mastery of this nation will receive many
kicks and cuffs in the doing of it, and then achieve but a poor

"Miles, are you hurt," said Lady Paton, in a serious tone; but her
husband would not own to it, saying he had spent a most joyous day, and
learned more than one useful lesson in the course of it.

Everybody seemed to have enjoyed themselves; and it was hoped that the
one shadow that had marred the sports at the Palace would soon pass
away, for the King had sent for the Queen to Westminster, and so it was
hoped that a reconciliation between the royal pair would now take place.

Sir Harry Guildford brought this little bit of gossip home from the
Palace shortly after the Queen had started in the royal barge on her
journey to Westminster the next morning. The little lady, Elizabeth,
had not accompanied her mother, and one of her ladies had told a friend
that the Queen seemed full of sadness when she went away. But no one
paid much attention to this, for the Queen had been out of health and
out of spirits ever since the disaster of February; but now all would
be well, and there would be a renewal of the merry May games when the
King and Queen came back together.

Alas! before sunset, the news came that the Queen had been arrested.
"Arrested!" repeated one and another in blank astonishment, for the
news fell like a thunder-clap upon the town. The people only knew their
King as a pleasure-loving, merry-hearted monarch, and he liked them
to think of him thus; and the other side of his character that was
now coming into action was only known to a few of his council, or to
those who had dared to cross him in any of his projects and pleasures.
To the townsfolk, therefore, it was almost unbelievable that their
light-hearted monarch could have ordered the Queen's arrest. "What has
the poor lady done but mope a little since her illness," they asked one
of the other; while some were disposed to think it was simply an idle
tale of the servants who had attended her and brought back the news.

But it soon came to be known that it was too true, and that the Queen
was a prisoner in the Tower on the charge of being unfaithful to the
King. "They will say you have been unfaithful to me, good dame," said
Sir Harry to his wife, when he brought home this news from the palace.

"Then you do not believe the charge?" said Sir Miles, after a
lengthened pause.

Sir Harry Guildford shook his head. "I should know, if anybody did," he
said, sadly.

"Oh, father I hope you will not be drawn into this coil," said Lady
Paton, with sudden apprehension, lest her father should be called upon
to give evidence in the trial that was sure to follow.

"If I am called upon to speak, I can only say what I know,—that the
Queen hath ever been discreet in word and deed, neither light in her
behaviour to the gentlemen of the Court, or unduly sour, but treating
all as a Queen should, with dignity and courtesy to all."

"And even this may bring ruin upon us, if the King would fain have her
found guilty," said Lady Guildford, wringing her hands.

"I cannot help what may follow. I shall let it be known that I am ready
to bear witness that I have never seen aught amiss in her behaviour
with man or maid, and for the rest we must trust in God, though I doubt
not that, if the Queen is found guilty, it will be a sore blow to the

"Oh! how can it be? Why does not God prevent such things happening!"
exclaimed one of the younger girls; and though no one spoke, she did
but express what was in the mind of several besides herself. Perhaps,
too, there was the thought, that as the Lady Jane Seymour was now
supplanting her royal mistress in the favour of the King, so Queen Anne
had not come to the throne with wholly clean hands.

But no one spoke of this just now, and there was silence for some
minutes, until Lady Guildford said, "The Archbishop will be sorely
grieved over this day's doings."

"Aye, that will he; for Master Cranmer was the first to advise the King
that his marriage with his brother's widow was unlawful, according to
the Bible, and that this should rule the king's life and faith."

"He hath always had a favourable opinion of the Queen, too," added Sir

"Could not he intercede for her with the King?" asked Cicely.

"We are judging hastily, my children," said Sir Harry, cautiously. "Who
can tell that there will be need of intercession. It may be that some
idle gossip hath reached the King, and he will but clear the Queen's
fame in the sight of all men. We talk as though the Queen was sure to
be condemned. I would fain hope that things have not gone so far as

But as the days went on, and reports of the trial that was being held
at the Tower came to be known, it grew plain that it was the ruin of
the Queen that was intended, and not the clearing of her fair fame from
idle gossip; and men began to understand better what their beloved
monarch was becoming, now that he held irresponsible power over the
lives and consciences of his subjects.

Sir Harry Guildford was not called upon to take any part in the
infamous trial of Queen Anne, but other witnesses had been obtained,
who were willing to swear away the life of this innocent woman.

Perhaps her sentence was just, in the face of what had taken place in
the matter of Catherine, but of the charge made against her now she was
wholly innocent, and none knew this better than Henry himself.

It struck the nation dumb when they came to understand this, for Henry
himself made it clear why the unfortunate Queen was found guilty of the
charges brought against her. Before the month of May came to an end,
Queen Anne had been condemned and beheaded. She never left the Tower
again in life; and when the firing of a gun gave notice that the Queen
was dead, Henry at once had the ceremony of marriage performed between
himself and the Lady Jane Seymour.

But Greenwich folk declined to have anything to do with merry-making
over this marriage, and the nation was struck with affright, that their
King, who held such power as no other monarch had ever possessed in
England before, could thus trample under foot the laws of God and man
alike. From that day Henry was dethroned from the hearts of his people,
where he had reigned without question until now.



LADY PATON was playing on the virginal in the pleasant summer parlour,
where she and Sir Miles had so often met before she went to the
convent, and where he had given her the little bit of the New Testament
he himself had translated into English. Cicely was alone, thinking of
all that had happened since that day, and how eventful her life had
been, and how unlikely it seemed at one time that she should ever see
the old home again. And yet, here she was, playing on the virginal,
and likely to be here for a month or two longer at least, for she and
her husband both desired to prolong their visit that they might hear
the wonderful sermons that were preached in the Parish Church—both by
the Archbishop, Cranmer, and also by his more uncompromising friend,
Latimer. He did not hesitate to preach the truth, even to the King
himself; and Cicely was hoping that Henry might yet be brought to
repentance for the murder of the Queen, when the door opening into
the garden was hastily pushed back, and her husband appeared looking
greatly disturbed.

"Cicely, Jack Bunce has come, bringing a letter from Margery, and most
portentous news from home."

"Oh, Miles! is our Harry ill?" asked Lady Paton with a gasp.

"Nay, nay, sweetheart! both our darlings are well. Margery says they
have grown an inch she thinks; and they are good and obedient little

"Then, wherefore should Margery send to you in such hot haste?" asked
his wife, with a sigh of relief.

"Well, we heard here, almost as soon as we came, that the
Vicar-General, Master Cromwell, was determined to carry out what
our master the Cardinal began—the suppression of the monasteries.
We did not think that this commission would affect us, and we paid
little heed to it, although I heard of what was afoot before I left
home. Now, Master Cromwell is not one to let any matter sleep, and
so our monastery at home has been seized by order of the King and
Vicar-General; and all the monks have been turned out, and have gone to
claim a shelter and a home from Margery."

"Oh, poor Margery! what would she do?" exclaimed Cicely.

Sir Miles smiled as he took his sister's letter out to read a piece of
it to Cicely. "This is what she says: 'I am a witless woman, as you
know, Miles; and so, when the brethren came to demand that I should
give them food and shelter, I told them that ours was a house of work,
and none could eat within its doors who did not perform such work as
they were able to accomplish; that we ruled our house by the Word of
God, which said, "If a man will not work, neither shall he eat."' One
of the brethren told her this command was for common people, but not
for monks and holy men; and she told him our house was not for monks,
but for common men, who earned their bread before they ate it." And Sir
Miles laughed again as Sir Harry came in and the story was repeated to

But Sir Harry looked grave as he read the letter. "I see she speaks of
the Prior being placed in the best chamber," he remarked.

"Yes, the poor old Prior hath but a short time to live, and my Lord
Privy Seal might have let him end his days in his old home. Margery
hath done as I would myself, in giving him the best chamber."

"But what of these lusty knaves, the monks?" asked his father.

"Ah! they may not be left loose like wolves among sheep. I must
depart with all speed in answer to this summons," said Sir Miles;
and he glanced at his wife to see what she would say to this sudden
termination of their visit.

Lady Paton looked perplexed. Like her husband she had found this return
to her old home and the great world very pleasant; and she was charmed
and helped by the new order of preaching introduced by the Reformers.
She said something about hoping to learn more from Master Latimer
before she went home.

"Well, sweetheart, shall I leave you here for awhile?" said Sir Miles,
with a wistful look at his wife.

"She will be right welcome," said her father; "though, I doubt not,
Master Latimer will say, as he hears aught of this coil, that it is
not the amount of God's truth that we know, but what we do, that makes
us true Reformers, and true Christians. But this is a matter you must
decide for yourselves," he added. "You must bid your messenger rest,
Miles, and his beast, too, if you think of starting on your journey

As Sir Harry Guildford said this, he left the room to go and tell his
wife of the sudden change in affairs, for he had little doubt what
Cicely's decision would be when she had time to think calmly over the

He had thought a good deal about this projected suppression of the
monasteries; and he knew that, unless the revenues of these poor
and smaller houses were devoted to the providing pensions for those
who should be expelled, the want and misery of the kingdom would be
increased tenfold, for another army of beggars would be let loose upon
the world. Under these circumstances, travelling would become more
difficult and dangerous than ever; and so, it was not a question of
Lady Paton staying a few days or weeks longer at Greenwich, for it
might be many months before an opportunity occurred for the journey to
Woodstock to be undertaken.

Sir Miles said something of this as Sir Harry Guildford left the room.
"Miles, we have never been parted since you took me to your home,"
murmured the lady, dropping her eyes to the floor for a minute. Then
she lifted them and turned to her husband. "I cannot let you go without
me," she whispered, as she rose and threw herself into his arms. But,
having made her decision, she burst into tears of regret that this
pleasant visit had been so summarily ended. "I did so want to stay a
little longer with mother and Maud. Poor Maud! she has no children, and
does not even want them, because she would not be allowed to teach them
the truths she has learned to love, and her life would be more bitter
than it is."

"Poor Maud!" said Sir Miles pityingly, as he caressed his wife. "It is
well she lives here close at hand, that she may have the comfort of
coming home very often. She needs the old home more than you do, my

"Yes, she does, and I can see that God is good to both of us."

"Yes, and I am not without hope that Walter may yet learn that there
is something more than new opinions to be learned from God's Word,
and that it is something better than mere perversity, that sets men's
hearts upon studying it at all costs."

"Oh, Miles! what would our lives be without this sure hope to rest
upon?" said Lady Paton, and then her mother came in and Cicely turned
to meet her, the tears shining in her eyes as she looked up into her
mother's face. "I could not help it, mother," she said, half-pleadingly.

"You have decided, then, my child," said Lady Guildford, and then she
and Cicely sat down together in the pleasant summer parlour, and Sir
Miles crept away to begin his preparations for the journey. He was
very glad, very thankful that his wife had decided to go back with
him; although he was very sorry to take her from her parents and the
dear home nest so soon. Still, in these uncertain, unsettled days, it
was best that they should be together, especially in the unforeseen
circumstances that had so suddenly arisen.

So the next day they went the first stage of the journey by water,
sleeping the night at the Westminster hostelry, and setting out at
daybreak on horseback as they came towards Woodstock.

It soon became apparent to the travellers, that the monastery near
their own home, was not the only one from which the monks had recently
been driven, for every mile or two they would meet little groups of
monks looking weary and footsore already from the unwonted exertion of
walking so far. These were not mendicant friars, who journeyed up and
down the country picking up a living as they could, but men who had
lived an idle life, many of them old and unfit for labour of any kind

Sir Miles and Lady Paton spoke to one or two as they passed, asking
where they were going; all told the same tale,—they were bound for
London, where they hoped some provision would be made for them out of
the revenues of their monasteries.

"Good may eventually come of this," remarked the gentleman; "but it
should have been done with less haste and less harshness."

But the sight of these unwonted travellers made them push on towards
home with more haste, for although Margery and Rankin between them
might be trusted to devise ways and means for the proper control of the
household, there was no telling what might happen when the monks were
quartered among the tenantry.

It was late at night when Paton Hall was at length reached, but Margery
and the steward were on the watch, in the hope of seeing the travellers
return. Their coming was a great relief to Margery and the steward,
for the poor old Prior was not expected to live many days; and the
responsibility of having a sick man in the house, and only a young
priest to attend upon him, was rather trying in the absence of the

"The poor old fellow will not have anybody else near him but Father
John, who is a doctor and a priest, too, it seems, and has to be nurse
as well now," said Margery, when she explained the situation of affairs
to her brother.

Lady Paton was too weary to think of anything, and went to bed as soon
as possible; but when Sir Miles had had some supper, and removed the
dust of travel, he sent a servant to announce his arrival to Father
John, and ask whether he would like to see him at once, or would prefer
to wait until the morning.

The old man lying on the bed roused up at the sound of voices, and
feebly called to the young priest. "I want Miles Paton," he whispered,
when the young priest leaned over him; "and give me the casket we
brought with us," he added.

"It is justice, my son; justice that must be done before there can be
peace again for our holy house," he said, when Sir Miles came to him.

Sir Miles looked at the young priest, and touched his forehead, to
indicate that the old man was wandering in his mind.

But Father John shook his head. "He has told me all about the casket,
and what it contains, since he has been lying here. One or two of the
other brethren also know of its existence, and that is why he begged me
to stay by him to the end, that I might deliver it into your hands if
he should not live to do it himself."

"I can go in peace now," feebly uttered the dying man; and as he spoke
he took the casket from Father John, and with his last remaining
strength he placed it in Sir Miles' hand. "Receive the blessing of an
old man with it," he gasped, and then he closed his eyes as though his
work on earth was done.

Sir Miles sat and shared the watch of the young priest, for they
could see the end was very near now, and in less than an hour the old
Prior had crossed the river we call death, a placid smile resting on
his face, as though he had died with the comfort of the thought that
justice had been done at last.

"What did he mean by giving me this?" said Sir Miles, when the last
breath had been drawn.

"I have written a statement at my master's dictation. I may tell you
this, that nearly all the monastery land belongs of right to the
Patons. By force or fraud this has been taken from your ancestors, and
this casket contains the old deeds, and a statement of how they were
obtained, and my master bade me tell you to claim your own again."

Sir Miles rose and shook his head. "That will be of little use," he
said, as he left the room, but he took the casket with him, and sending
a servant to the priest for orders, he retired to his chamber. Sir
Miles saw some of the younger monks the next day, and told them that
if they remained there they must accommodate themselves to the rule of
the household, which was,—work for everybody who was able to work. But
if they liked to try their fortune elsewhere, their wallets should be
well-filled for a three days' journey; and he advised that those who
had friends should go to them, and see whether they could render them
any help; or, they could go to London, and try, as others were doing,
to obtain a pension or employment from the Vicar-General, who was
directing all these matters.

For the older monks, some of whom were past work and quite friendless,
well, Sir Miles would provide for these for the present, although he
warned them that he could only give them plain, homely fare, and that
he should expect them to keep their own quarters clean, and not make
mischief with either the tenants or the servants.

It was the best he could do, and all he could do at present; and having
settled this matter, temporarily at least, he took the casket to
Margery's room, that he might examine its contents in peace.

The documents it contained were much more clear and explicit than he
expected to find them; and some of the so-called leases that granted
lands to the Prior and brethren of the holy house of Saint Margaret
were signed by his own father. Indeed, it seemed that each ancestor in
turn had been mulcted of some portion of their estate—the Paton lands
thus growing smaller with each generation, while the property of the
Saint increased in proportion. Masses and absolutions seemed to have
been the price paid for these so-called leases.

But in reading them; and noting the dates, Sir Miles found that in no
single case was there an absolute gift of the land, and that most of
these leases had fallen in, although the land had in no instance been
given up to its original owners; so that, as the old Prior said, it was
just that all but a very small portion of this monastery land should
revert to the Paton family, and not become the property of the King, or
Master Cromwell, his Vicar-General.

Now, the question was, would the Vicar-General and the Commission be
disposed to do him justice in this matter? Sir Miles scarcely thought
this was likely, still, it was worth trying; and he resolved to ask
Father John to make a fair copy of these documents, and also of the
statement made at the Prior's dictation; and these, with a letter from
himself, he resolved to get placed before Cromwell with as little delay
as possible.

He found that the young priest was more than willing to do his part in
this matter, for he was very grateful for the asylum given to himself
and his old master, and that Sir Miles would order that his funeral
should be conducted with the same ceremony as if he had still been at
the head of the community. For all the monks had been requested to stay
and take part in the ceremony, whatever their future movements might be.

But before the old Prior was buried, a messenger was despatched to
Greenwich with a letter to Sir Harry Guildford, placing in his hands
the documents copied by the young priest, and asking him to seek a
favourable opportunity of laying them before the Vicar-General, who was
also my Lord Privy Seal, and held other offices under the King, so that
he was now almost as powerful a statesman as Wolsey had been in the
height of his power.

Having despatched his letter, and assured Margery and Cicely that
he did not expect anything would come of it, he took up the task of
ordering his enlarged household. He found, to his great astonishment,
that the young priest had found a New Testament in the library of the
monastery. It was a translation by Erasmus into Latin, and there was
no doubt that the words of life had taken root in the heart of the
young man, so that to him the expulsion from the monastery had come as
a release from bondage. Miles wondered how many secret disciples there
were scattered up and down the country in these hot-beds of ignorance,
superstition, and corruption.

But many or few, there were many who had been brought up under the
conditions that ruled in these so-called religious houses, and for
these some provision ought to be made. And so he resolved that, if
his petition was granted, and the old Paton lands again came into his
possession, he would portion them out as farms among the monks who were
willing to work, and would settle upon them as tenants. They should be
let at a small rental, that might be paid in kind for the first year
at least; but nothing was to be given. Sir Miles set his face like a
flint against the old system of beggary in any shape or form; and one
of the first things he asked the young priest to do, was to write, in
clear, bold English letters, the injunction: "If a man will not work,
neither shall he eat," and this was securely fastened up over the
entrance-hall, that all who came to his door might know the rule of his
household; and the servants were always ready to assure the new comers
that Sir Miles enforced this rule, as well as having it written that
all might read it.

A few of the monks, who had done the greater part of the farm work at
the monastery, were not at all averse to taking service under Sir Miles
and his steward, while others, who thought it was beneath the dignity
of a monk to earn his own living, did not stay long after the funeral
of the Prior. They were bent upon going to London, to see if something
in the way of a pension could not be obtained from the King, that they
might end their days in the idleness in which they had lived for so
many years.

Sir Miles was not sorry to see these depart; and having taken care that
plenty of bread and bacon were put into their wallets, he saw them set
out with something like a sigh of relief, though he could not help
wondering how long it would be before some of them were back again.

For Father John there was plenty to do; he could gather the children
of the tenants into one of the barns, and teach them to read. He could
also carry on the service in the church, which stood on the edge of
the monastery grounds. It had been built for the village by one of his
ancestors, so that Sir Miles considered that he had a perfect right to
use this still, without waiting for the decree of the commissioners
concerning the rest of the land.

However, he did not have to wait very long for this, and it was
altogether more favourable than he expected. The Vicar-General would
send an agent to examine the documents upon which Sir Miles Paton
based his claim; and if he found them to be as they were represented,
the land would be handed over to Sir Miles, upon such terms as the
commissioners should deem equitable. Nor did he have to wait very long
for the arrival of this agent, for in the course of the following
week he came from Oxford, to test the validity and genuineness of the
original parchments contained in the casket.

To his great astonishment, Sir Miles found that this man knew all about
his past life, and what was going on at Paton Hall,—how he had received
and treated the monks when they were expelled.

It simply amazed Sir Miles to hear how all his movements were known,
until he reflected that this of espionage that was doubtless part of
the system was now carried to such lengths, that no man and no home was
safe from its inquisition. Fortunately for him, the Reformation, which
he had helped to bring about through his help to Master Tyndale, was
no longer a barrier to the favour of the King and his council; and the
Vicar-General so far approved of his system of making men work wherever
it was possible, that, by the advice of the council, he was ready to
hand over all the land belonging to the monastery, providing he was
willing to undertake that those who could work he would employ in some
way or other, and that the aged, who were no longer capable of working,
he would feed and nourish so long as they should live. He was also
to provide a stipend for the priest of the parish, and that the said
priest should also teach the children of the village the Lord's Prayer
and the Ten Commandments in English, and also to teach the reading of
the English tongue where it was possible.

"Why, it is just what I should desire to do!" exclaimed Sir Miles, when
his visitor read over the conditions, which he understood had been
drawn up by Cromwell himself. "You may assure the Vicar-General that
the monastery lands shall be let out at a low rental among the monks
themselves, and that they shall have all the help needful to establish
themselves as yeomen among the other tenants."

"My lord knows that his will in that particular will be carried out,"
said his visitor; "and if we can only dispose of the other monasteries
in a like fashion, it will be good for all who are concerned in the
matter." He stayed for a day to see how Sir Miles had disposed of the
land that had descended to him at his father's death; and the look
of the thriving little homesteads, and the village itself, was an
assurance to the agent that this monastery land would be well used
under Sir Miles Paton.



IF the disposal of the monastery lands in general had only been
conducted with the fairness and consideration observed at St.
Margaret's, the social condition of England in those days would not
have sunk to the depth of misery it did, nor would there have been the
bitter opposition to the new faith, which was aroused by the scandalous
way in which the lands and revenues were either seized by the King
himself, or portioned out among his favourites and courtiers.

It must be borne in mind, too, that it was all done in the name of
the Reformation, whereas true reformers, like Cranmer and Latimer,
advocated that when the disinherited monks and nuns had been provided
for, the wealth remaining should be used in the founding of schools,
and the promotion of learning at the different universities.

Henry professed to follow this advice, but a very small portion of the
property was ever devoted to the uses of the nation or the disinherited
brethren, and so the numbers of beggars were daily increasing, trebling
the trouble and anxiety of men like Sir Miles Paton, who were steadily
trying to stem the torrent of poverty that drove men into insurrection
and the wildest excesses. But the most he could do was to guard this
one little corner of the land from being swept into disorder and

And yet, amid all that was discouraging, there were signs that England
as a nation was on the upward path of progress. Tyndale was so far
encouraged by the reception given to the various editions of the New
Testament that, with the help of another translator, Miles Coverdale,
he completed the translation of the whole Bible about 1535. His
enemies, however, did not suffer him to live to see this given to the
English people with the authority of the King, as head of the Church,
for this was not printed and published until 1537, and it was some
months previous to this that Tyndale was strangled at Antwerp by order
of the Emperor.

He had the satisfaction of knowing that his work was done, and well
done, and that able hands were ready to pass on the lamp of life he had
lighted, and never again could England slip back into the darkness of
ignorance in which she had been held so long.

Sir Miles Paton did not hear of the death of his old friend until the
following year, for friends were chary of writing letters still, and so
it was not until he took another journey to Greenwich that the story of
Master Tyndale's martyrdom reached him.

Greenwich was all astir then with the news that the King had a son
born to him at last. But there was a speedy end put to the rejoicings
over this, for a fortnight later Queen Jane died at Wolsey's palace of
Hampton Court.

But Sir Miles heard other news that, to him, was far more interesting,
although the novelty had worn off for most of his friends. Now might be
seen the whole Bible, printed in English, and fastened to a convenient
desk in the parish church, and anyone might go and read it, or listen
to it being read. The king was compelled to adopt this course as a
justification of his own actions in claiming the supremacy of the

He had publicly set up the authority of the Bible against that of the
Pope, and he could no longer deny to his people the right to read it.
And this had so quickened the desire in many to master this art of
reading, that many grown men had begun to learn it, that they might
read the Word of God for themselves, and their families. Now the
difficulty was to obtain readers who could make the sense of this book
plain to the crowd of people who daily gathered in the church to listen
to the reading of God's Word.

Sir Miles could not forbear going each day to the church to read, for a
short time at least, to the little throng who were always waiting round
the desk for some reader to appear.

Speaking one day to his brother-in-law, of this eagerness of the crowd
to hear the words of life, Master Marvin interrupted with, "Aye, they
want to be amused."

"Well, if it is that, you might, with all the time you have to spare,
amuse the goodies and gaffers for an hour every day."

"I have a mind to do this," said Marvin. "I have no objection to people
reading the Bible if they do not rail upon the Church, so if it is
to read it straight on, without any sort of explanation, I shall be
willing to take my turn at the desk once a day, and Maud might go into
the church sometimes; she is never very busy."

Sir Miles was simply amazed that his brother-in-law so readily
consented to his proposal; and Walter Marvin detecting this, said,—"Why
should you marvel at this? The Church of Rome and the Pope, as well as
you Reformers, claim a right to the Scriptures; and surely we may try
the claim of both?"

"Why, that is exactly my argument, Walter. Let the people have the
Bible to read, and judge for themselves. If, after reading it fairly
and thoughtfully they say, 'I like the old way best,' very well, let
them hold to the Pope and priests. But if new light dawn upon them
through the reading of God's Word, then let it shine on, that the man
may be led as God wills, without hindrance from any man."

"That is fair enough," said Master Marvin; "and since the Parliament,
as well as the King, hath authorised the reading of this Bible of
Coverdale's—well, I shall not oppose it."

Sir Miles noted that everybody spoke of it as "Coverdale's Bible"—quite
ignoring the fact that his old friend Tyndale had a large share in
the translation of the Old Testament, as well as the New. Perhaps
Archbishop Cranmer thought that in bringing forward the name of
Coverdale as its translator, it would arouse less hostility than if the
name of Tyndale were made prominent. But Sir Miles was not disposed to
quarrel over this. After all, it was the Word of God; and if it made
the way easier for men to obtain it, he would not grumble, especially
if men like his brother-in-law would read it, which they would possibly
refuse to do, with the name of Tyndale brought prominently before them.
It was well-known now that Master William Tyndale had been executed as
a heretic by the orthodox Emperor, Charles the Fifth; but against the
name of "Coverdale" there was no such stigma.

A few days after this Maud came home with the news that her husband was
going by water to London Bridge to buy one of Coverdale's Bibles, that
he might read it at home for himself. He had twice been to church to
read to the poor folks that were gathered round the reading desk, but
he wanted a Bible of his own now, that he might read the portion over
to himself before reading it aloud.

Of course Maud was very pleased to be able to bring this news home, and
her friends were equally glad, especially Sir Miles.

"Now do not try to hurry in this thing; do not argue with Walter over
disputed opinions, but if you both wish to talk of what you read, try
to find points upon which you can agree. Walter is an honest-minded
man, who was shocked, like many others, over the divorce and treatment
of Queen Catherine. So were many of the Reformers as well as the
Catholics; and that part of his character which makes him desirous of
helping the poor, whenever and however he can, made him take up the
Queen's quarrel so passionately. Now be content with God's leading
Walter, and I believe happier days will dawn for you, Maud. Remember
this, he has never tried to hinder you from following the new opinions,
although he has small respect for them himself," Sir Miles added.

"I believe your advice is good, Miles," said his sister-in-law through
her tears. They were tears of hope and joy, and not of sorrow; and
though she would probably find it hard, when she had heard one of
Latimer's sermons, not to ask her husband to go with her to church the
next time the Bishop preached, she resolved to follow the advice just
given; for no one seemed to find out the good points in her husband's
character as Sir Miles did, and there was no one whom her husband
respected more than his heretic brother-in-law. Marvin always spoke of
him as a heretic, but immediately added, "He is a good knave, though,
for all that, and I only wish he could live a little nearer to us, that
I might see more of him."

"You must come again next year, Miles, if only for Walter's sake," said
Maud, when she bade her brother-in-law farewell, and Sir Miles promised
to do so if he could leave home.

He made but a short stay at Greenwich this time, and was relieved when
he got back to learn that everything had gone smoothly while he was
away. Most of the monks, who had left the neighbourhood at the time
of the suppression of the monastery, had strayed back to their old
haunts during the previous winter, and had by degrees been forced into
the ranks of the workers, in one capacity or the other; and it was
how these grumblers might act during his absence that made Sir Miles
anxious to return with as little delay as possible. He was relieved,
therefore, to hear that his care and anxiety was quite needless, that
the monks were beginning to learn that they were better off after all
than many from other monasteries, who came begging; for here they were
sure of employment by which they could earn sufficient to live upon,
and Sir Miles considerately made their tasks as light as he could at
first, that they might gradually learn, as his other tenants had done,
that work was a blessing and not a curse.

There was, perhaps, another inducement for these idlers to apply
themselves to the mastery of this work problem. Sir Miles had decided
that the monastery lands should be devoted to the benefit of the
brethren, as far as possible; and so, when a monk had proved himself a
good servant and workman, he might rent a piece of the old farm land,
and set up as a small farmer on his own account. Sir Miles did all
he could to develop this ambition, and in several cases with marked
success, but there were others who could not shake off the sloth that
seemed to have crept into their very bones and brains, so that they
would not try to do anything beyond their allotted tasks, and when they
were accomplished they would lie down in any sheltered corner to sleep
for the rest of the day.

Of course these, and the old and sick among the community, had to be
kept near to Paton Hall itself, for some of the tenants, having learned
the worth of work, were by no means disposed to be as merciful as their
master. They would have forced these unwilling workers to do as much
as the man who had learned to take a joy and delight in accomplishing
a good, creditable piece of work, whether on the farm, or on the
building of cottage or barn. For during the summer, work of both kinds
went on with unabated energy; and now that the old monastery and its
lands had come into Sir Miles' possession, there were more cottages and
homesteads to be built, and the materials of which the old monastery
had been constructed, or at least a good portion of them, were given
by the Commissioners to build these scattered homesteads for the new
farmers and yeomen.

Sir Miles quite intended to pay his promised visit to Greenwich the
following year, but the only time he could conveniently leave home the
following summer Lady Paton was very ill, and her illness continued
so long that all thought of such a journey had to be abandoned. So
messengers were sent to and fro with letters, by which means some home
news reached Paton Hall, but—lest mischief should befall—nothing of
great interest, either in public or private concerns, was entrusted to
these letters and messengers.

Early in the summer of 1539 a messenger arrived from Greenwich,
announcing that Master Marvin, with his wife and infant daughter, were
on their way to Paton Hall, and would probably arrive a day after the
letter reached them.

It caused quite a commotion in the household to hear such news as
this, and Lady Paton did not know whether to be glad or sorry that her
brother-in-law was coming. For her sister there would be an unstinted
welcome, and Lady Paton was pleased to hear that a baby had come at
last. But Walter Marvin—she could only shake her head and wonder.

Sir Miles laughed, and reminded his wife that it was possible
that Walter Marvin had changed since he had taken up the study
of God's Word. But the lady shook her head again. "He was such a
bigoted Catholic," she added. "You said yourself he would only read
'Coverdale's Bible.'"

"Well, well, we shall see when the travellers arrive. You and Margery
must have their chambers made ready, for I would not have them think we
do not gladly welcome them. So give them of the best, dear dame, and I
will order fresh rushes to be cut, that all may be in readiness when
they arrive."

But it was not until two days had passed that the travellers were seen
slowly wending their way through the village, with a cavalcade of
horses and mules that quite startled Sir Miles when he went out to meet

"We have come to settle among you," said Master Marvin, when he
had greeted Sir Miles, and led him to where Maud was sitting on as
comfortable a pillion as her husband could contrive for her. She smiled
and looked so happy, as she held up her baby, that Sir Miles wondered
what it could all mean.

"Ah! it is the little one who has brought us hither. We could stand
trouble for ourselves—Maud and I—but when baby came, and the Parliament
passed this Act of Six Articles—'Gardiner's Creed,' as some call
it—well, it was time we got away from Greenwich before there was any
stir, or any talk."

This was whispered to Sir Miles as they stood in the village street,
and did but increase the mystery, as it seemed to Sir Miles. "You shall
tell me all the news when we get to Paton Hall," he replied. "We have
been anxiously awaiting you the last two days; your messenger said you
were close behind."

"Aye, but I had to take care of Maud and my little lady; I led their
mule most of the way myself."

Just then Lady Paton was seen coming towards the park-gate to greet her
sister, and console her for whatever trouble had brought them thither.
But one look at the happy face was enough to convince Lady Paton that,
whatever had happened, it had not touched her sister's happiness; and,
to her amazement, Walter Marvin claimed a greeting that he would have
scorned when she was with them at Greenwich.

"What do you think of our little lady?" asked the proud and happy
father; and then he took the baby from his wife and handed her to Lady
Paton, that she might have the honour of carrying her to the door of
Paton Hall.

"I am going to walk with Cicely," said Mistress Marvin, when her sister
took the baby. "You and Miles can see after the servants and baggage,
while I have a word with Cicely."

"What does it mean, dear sister?" asked Lady Paton when they were left
to themselves.

"Ah, you may well ask; we owe it all to Miles. When I made up my mind
that Walter must be saved from going to the stake, why, it seemed the
most natural thing for us to come to you."

"But you speak in riddles," said Lady Paton. "Why should Walter be sent
to the stake? That is the punishment for heretics."

"If you had only lived in Greenwich, you would have heard that Master
Walter Marvin went further than most of the reformers or heretics. I
followed the advice Miles gave me when he came to pay his last visit,
and let the Bible do its own work, without arguing about anything. But
in a very little while, that dreadful word 'transubstantiation' came
up, and then I found that Walter had actually been telling some priests
in the Church that he did not believe in it now. It would not have
mattered much, perhaps, if the King could be depended upon, but now he
has to decide what we shall, or shall not, believe, and as Gardiner and
he are very close friends just now, they have drawn up between them
what my husband calls 'Gardiner's Creed,' and which is now made the law
of the land. It is called 'The Act of Six Articles.' And the first of
these decrees, that for writing or speaking against transubstantiation,
the person found guilty shall be burned at the stake. The other five
are all in support of Romish doctrine, which we do not believe now.
As soon as I heard about this, I went to father, and he quite agreed
with me, that it would be best to get Walter out of the way as soon as
possible, because of this dreadful law; and we knew he would take every
opportunity of saying what he thought about the priestly pretensions
involved in this doctrine. Baby was only a month old, and Walter was so
fond of her, and I think it must have been God Himself that made me say
one day,"

"'Walter, it would be dreadful for baby to be left without a mother and

"'What do you mean, wife?' he asked, turning pale."

"'Why, this dreadful Act of Six Articles may take us both away from
her, unless we take her away from Greenwich very soon.'"

"He was quiet for a little while, and then he said slowly, 'I see
what you mean! We will go to Miles and Cicely as soon as I can get my
affairs settled.'"

"'Father will do that for you,' I said. 'Let us go away with baby as
soon as we can get packed up.' Do you think I was right, Cicely? You
see I had to think of father, too, for it would involve him in dreadful
trouble if Walter was arrested; and if they had taken him I would have
gone too, for we have been so happy the last year that I could not be
parted from him now."

"How glad I am to hear this," breathed Lady Paton; but she could not
help wondering whether trouble might not come to them through this
uncompromising brother-in-law.

Mistress Marvin divined something of what was in her sister's mind, for
she said, "Before we left Greenwich, Walter promised father that he
would be guided entirely by what Miles said; and if he thought it would
be his duty now to read the Bible without any disputation, he would
give that up for baby's sake. Will you tell Miles this?"

"Yes, dear sister; and as he has proved in his own case that the Word
of God is in itself sufficient to lead a man to the truth, and out of
the errors of Rome, I think that ought to be sufficient."

Did this savour of cowardice? Many of those who went boldly to the
stake left wife and children. Shall we dare to say that they might
have chosen another and a more easy way? We do not know, we cannot
judge what the time demanded, we only know by record that this infamous
law brought many worthy men and women to the fires of Smithfield; and
others, seeing their fortitude, went to the study of God's Word, and at
length followed them through the fiery chrism. And at this awful cost
was England's civil and religious liberty won back from Pope and King,
who would have bound her in the fetters of ignorance and superstition
for all time.

Here I must bring my story to a close. During the remaining years of
Henry's life this "Act of Six Articles" claimed thousands of victims.
During the reign of his daughter, Queen Mary, it claimed even more
perhaps, but never again was the reading of God's Word prohibited in
England, and though Cromwell made the Parliament of his time a tool
for oppression, still the preservation of it was good. For when the
time came that liberty was regained, the channel through which its
life-giving stream should flow was ready to hand, and with an open
Bible and a free Parliament, neither Tudor nor Stuart could long hold
England in bondage.


*** End of this LibraryBlog Digital Book "At the "Sign of the Golden Fleece" : A Story of Reformation Days" ***

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