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Title: Red and White - A Tale of the Wars of the Roses
Author: Holt, Emily Sarah, 1836-1893
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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[Illustration: "Nan!" broke from her father’s lips, in tones more
eloquent than a volume would have been.  "Little Nan!" "I would I were
your little Nan again," she said.  "We were happy then, my Lord—at least
I was."  P. 140.]



                            _Red and White_

                               _A Tale of
                         The Wars of the Roses_


                                   BY

                            EMILY SARAH HOLT

              AUTHOR OF "THE WHITE ROSE OF LANGLEY," ETC.



    "If loving hearts were never lonely,
      If all they wish might always be,
    Accepting what they look for only,
      They might be glad, but not in Thee."
        —ANNA L. WARING.



                             _NEW EDITION_



                                 LONDON
                          JOHN F. SHAW AND CO.
                           48 PATERNOSTER ROW
                                  1882



                               *PREFACE.*

It is a proverbial truth that thunderstorms clear the air.  And it would
seem as though that eventful and terrible period of English history,
known as the Wars of the Roses, had cleared the political air for the
coming Reformation.  How little those who took part in it realised the
time to follow!  To the men of that day it was either a wrestle for
personal fame, or a passionate enthusiasm for the establishment of
Right. To the women with whom it was not the latter, it must have been a
meaningless agony—a passion with no visible end, and with no conceivable
moral purpose.  Alas for him who loses his faith in the providence of
God, for the key of the world has dropped out of his hand.  And happy
are they who can calmly walk on in the dark by the side of the Father,
it may be feeling the atmosphere painfully oppressive, yet willing to
wait His time, and knowing that when they come forth into the light of
the Golden City, they will be satisfied with it.



                              *CONTENTS.*


CHAP.

      I. THE FLEDGLINGS LEAVE THE NEST
     II. LILIES AMONG THE THORNS
    III. FLIGHT
     IV. SCENE-SHIFTING
      V. HIS LITTLE NAN
     VI. THE MIST ON EASTER DAY
    VII. THE LAST BATTLE OF THE RIVAL ROSES
   VIII. THE END OF A WEDDING-DAY
     IX. DRAWING NEARER
      X. AT THE PARCHMENT-MAKER’S
     XI. A LAST INTERVIEW
    XII. IDONIA UNDERSTANDS
   XIII. THE LAST OF THE SILVER RING

HISTORICAL APPENDIX



                            *RED AND WHITE.*



                              *CHAPTER I.*

                    *THE FLEDGLINGS LEAVE THE NEST.*

    "Ah, God will never let us plant
      Our tent-poles in the sand,
    But ever, e’er the blossom buds,
      We hear the dread command,—
    ’Arise and get thee hence away,
      Unto another land.’"


"Frid!" said little Dorathie in a whisper.

Frid held up a hushing finger with a smile.

"Frid!" came again; in a tone which showed that tears were not very far
from Dorathie’s blue eyes.

Frid’s hand was held out in reply, and little Dorathie, understanding
the gesture, sidled along the window-seat until she reached her sister
in the opposite corner.  There, nestled up close to Frideswide, and held
fast by her arm, Dorathie put the melancholy question which was
troubling her repose.

"Frid, be you going hence?—verily going?"

The answering nod was a decided affirmative.

"But both of you?—both thee and Agnes?"

Another silent, uncompromising nod from Frideswide.

"O Frid, I shall be all alone!  Whatever must I do?"

And the tears came running from the blue eyes.

"Serve my Lady my grandmother," Frideswide whispered back.

"But that is—only—being useful," sobbed Dorathie, "and I—want to—be
happy."

"Being useful is being happy," said her sister.

"I would being happy were being useful," was Dorathie’s lugubrious
answer.  "They never go together—not with me."

"So do they alway with me," replied Frideswide.

"Oh, thou!  Thou art a woman grown," said Dorathie with a pout.

"Right an old woman," said Frideswide with a sparkle of fun in her eyes,
for she was not quite twenty.  Dorathie was only eight, and in her
estimation Frideswide had attained a venerable age.  "But list, Doll!
My Lady calleth thee."

Dorathie’s sobs had attracted the notice of one of the four grown-up
persons assembled round the fire. They were two ladies and two
gentlemen, and the relations which they bore to Dorathie were father,
mother, grandmother, and grand-uncle.

It was her grandmother who had called her—the handsome stately old lady
who sat in a carved oak chair on the further side of the fire.  Her hair
was silvery white, but her eyes, though sunken, were lively, flashing
dark eyes still.

Dorathie slipped down from the window-seat, crossed the large room, and
stood before her grandmother with clasped hands and a deferential bob.
She was not much afraid of a scolding, for she rarely had one from that
quarter: still, in the days when girls were expected to be silent
statues in the august presence of their elders, she might reasonably
have feared for the result of her whispered colloquy with Frideswide.

"What ails my little Doll?" gently asked the old lady.

"An’t please your good Ladyship, you said Frid and Annis[#] should both
go away hence."


[#] Annis, or more correctly Anneyse, is the old French form of Agnes,
and appears to have been used in the Middle Ages, in England, as an
affectionate diminutive.  Some have supposed Annis to be a variety of
Anne, and have therefore concluded that Anne and Agnes were considered
the same name.  This, I think, is a mistake.  Annas is the Scottish
spelling.


"We did, my little maid.  Is our Doll very sorry therefor?"

"I shall be all alone!" sobbed Dorathie.

"’All alone!’" repeated her grandmother with a smile, which was pitying
and a little sympathetic. "Little Doll, there be fourteen in this house
beside Frideswide and Agnes."

"But they are none of them _them_!" said Dorathie.

"Aye.  There is the rub," answered her grandmother. "But, little maid,
we all have to come to that some time."

"’Tis as well to begin early, Doll," said her uncle.

"Please it you, Uncle Maurice," replied Dorathie, rubbing the tears out
of her eyes with her small hands, "I’d rather begin late!"

Her father laughed.  "Folks must needs go forth into the world, Doll,"
said he.  "Thou mayest have to do the like thine own self some day."

"Shall I so?" asked Dorathie, opening her eyes wide.  "Then, an’ it like
your good Lordship, may I go where Frid and Annis shall be?"

"Thou wilt very like go with Frid or Annis, it we can compass it,"
replied her father; "but they will not be together, Doll."

"Not together!" cried Dorathie in a tone of disappointed surprise.

"Nay: Frideswide goeth to my good Lady of Warwick at Middleham; and
Agnes to London town, to serve my Lady’s Grace of Exeter in her
chamber."

"Then they’ll be as unhappy as me!" said Dorathie, with a very sorrowful
shake of her head.  "I thought they were going to be happy."

"They shall be merry as crickets!" answered her father.  "My Lady of
Warwick hath two young ladies her daughters, and keepeth four maidens in
her bower; and my Lady’s Grace of Exeter hath likewise a daughter, and
keepeth other four maids to wait of her.  They are little like to be
lonely."

Her grandmother understood the child’s feeling, but her father did not.
And Dorathie was dimly conscious that it was so.  She dropped another
courtesy, and crept back to Frideswide in the window-seat,—not comforted
at all.  There they sat and listened to the conversation of their elders
round the fire.  Frideswide was sewing busily, but Dorathie’s hands were
idle.

The season was early autumn, and the trees outside were just beginning
to show the yellow leaf here and there.  The window in which the two
girls sat, a wide oriel, opened on a narrow courtyard, in front of which
lay a garden of tolerable size, wherein pinks, late roses, and other
flowers were bowing their heads to the cool breeze of the Yorkshire
wolds.  The court-yard was paved with large round stones, not pleasant
to walk on, and causing no small clatter from the hoofs of the horses.
A low parapet wall divided it from the garden, which was approached by
three steps, thus making the court into a wide terrace.  Beyond the
garden, a crenellated wall some twelve feet high shut out the prospect.

What it shut out beside the prospect was a great deal, of which little
was known to Frideswide, and much less to Dorathie.  They lived at a
period of which we, sheltered in a country which has not known war for
two hundred years, can barely form an adequate idea.  For fourteen
years—namely, since Frideswide was five years old, and longer than
Dorathie’s life—England had been torn asunder by civil warfare.  Nor was
it over yet.  The turbulent past had been sad enough, but the worst was
yet to come.

Never, since the cessation of the Heptarchy, had a more terrible time
been seen than the Wars of the Roses.  In this struggle above all
others, family convictions were divided, and family love rent asunder.
Father and son, brother and brother, uncle and nephew, constantly took
opposite sides: and every warrior on each side was absolutely sure that
all shadow of right lay with his candidate, and that the "rebel and
adversary" of his chosen monarch had not an inch of ground to stand on.

Nor was the question of right so clear and indisputable as in this
nineteenth century we are apt to think.  To our eyes, regarding the
matter in the light of modern law, it appears certain that Edward IV.
was the rightful heir of the crown, and that there was no room for
dispute in the matter.  But the real point in dispute was the very
important one, what the law of succession really was.  Was it any bar
that Edward claimed through a female? The succession of all the kings
from the Empress Maud might be fairly held to settle this item in
Edward’s favour.  But the real difficulty, which lay beyond, was not so
easily solved.

Very little understood at present is the law of non-representation, the
old "custom of England," which was also the custom of Artois, and
several other provinces.  According to this law, if a son of the king
should predecease his father, leaving issue, that issue was barred from
the throne.  They were not to be allowed to represent their dead father.
The right of succession passed at once to the next son of the monarch.

Several of our kings tried to alter this law, but it was so dear to the
hearts of the English people that up to 1377 they invariably failed.
The most notable instance is that of Richard I., who tried hard to
secure the succession of Arthur, the son of his deceased brother
Geoffrey, in preference to his youngest brother John.  But the "custom
of England" was too strong for him: and though John was personally
neither liked nor respected by any one, England preferred his rule to
making a change in her laws.

It was Edward III. who succeeded in making the alteration.  His eldest
son, the famed Black Prince, had died leaving a son behind him, and the
old King strongly desired to secure the peaceable succession of his
grandson.  He succeeded, partly because of the popularity of the
deceased Prince, partly on account of the unpopularity of the next heir,
but chiefly because the next heir himself was willing to assist in the
alteration.  His reward for this self-abnegation is that modern writers
are perpetually accusing him of unbridled ambition, and of a desire to
snatch the crown from that nephew who would assuredly never have worn it
had he withheld his consent.

But though John of Gaunt was perfectly willing to be subject instead of
sovereign, his son Henry did not share his feelings.  He always
considered that he had been tricked out of his rights: and he never
forgave his father for consenting to the change.  After sundry futile
attempts to eject his cousin from the throne, he at last succeeded in
effecting his purpose.  The succession returned to the right line
according to the old "custom of England"; and since King Richard II.,
for whom it had been altered, left no issue, matters might have gone on
quietly enough had it been suffered to remain there.

They were quiet enough until the death of Henry V.  But a long minority
of the sovereign has nearly always been a misfortune to the country: and
the longest of all minorities was that of Henry VI., who was only eight
months old when he came to the throne.  Then began a restless and weary
struggle for power among the nobles, and especially the three uncles of
the baby King. The details of the struggle itself belong to general
history: but there are one or two points concerning which it will be
best to make such remarks as are necessary at once, in order to save
explanations which would otherwise be constantly recurring.

King Henry was remarkably devoid of relatives, and the nearest he had
were not of his own rank. He was the only child of his father, and on
the father’s side his only living connections beside distant cousins
were an uncle—Humphrey Duke of Gloucester—and a grand-uncle—Cardinal
Beaufort—both of whom were, though different from each other, equally
diverse from the King in temperament and aim.  On the mother’s side he
had two half-brothers and a sister, with whom he was scarcely allowed to
associate at all.  He wanted a wife: and he took the means to obtain one
which in his day princes usually took.  He sent artists to the various
courts of Europe, to bring to him portraits of the unmarried Princesses.
King Henry’s truth-loving nature comes out in the instructions given to
these artists.  They were to be careful not to flatter any of the royal
ladies, but to draw their portraits just as they were.  Of the
miniatures thus brought to him, the King’s fancy was attracted by the
lovely face of a beautiful blonde of sixteen—the Princess Marguerite of
Anjou, second daughter of René, the dispossessed King of Naples.  An
embassy, at the head of which was William Duke of Suffolk, was sent over
to demand, and if accepted, to bring home the young Princess.

The girl-Queen found herself a very lonely creature, flung into the
midst of discordant elements. She loved her husband, as she afterwards
showed beyond question, and she must have felt deep respect for his
pure, gentle, truthful, saintly soul. Yet, excellent as he was, he was
no adviser for her. It was simply impossible for her brilliant intellect
and brave heart to lean upon his dulled brain and timid nature.  How
could he, with the uttermost will to aid her, help his young wife to
keep out of snares laid for her which he could not even see, or counsel
her to beware of false friends whose falsehood he never so much as
suspected?  Is it any wonder that Marguerite in this sore emergency
turned to Suffolk, her first friend, a man almost old enough to be her
grandfather, with a wise head and a tender heart, and thoroughly
desirous to do his duty?  Poor, innocent girl! she paid dearly for it.
One word of cruel, contemptuous surmise dropped from the lips of a young
nobleman,—who very possibly had wished the fair young Queen to make him
her chief adviser—and all over the land, as with wings, the wicked
falsehood sped, till there was no possibility of undoing the evil, and
Marguerite woke up in horror to find her name defamed, and her innocent
friendship with Suffolk believed to be criminal.  She did not discover
for some time who was the author of this cruel slander: but when she
did, she never forgave Warwick.

There is not the shadow of probability that it was true.  Suffolk was
about fifty years of age[#] when Marguerite was married, and he had been
for nearly fifteen years the husband of one of the loveliest women in
England, to whom he was passionately attached.  His character is shown
further by the farewell letter written to his son,[#] one of the most
touching and pious farewell letters ever penned by man.


[#] He was born at Cotton, in Suffolk, and baptized in that church on
"The Feast of St. Michael in Monte Tumba" [Oct. 16] 1396. (_Prob. Ætatit
Willielmi Ducis Suffolk_, 5 H. V. 63.)

[#] Published among the Paston Letters.


But now another and a more serious complication was added to those
already existing.  The dispossessed heir of the elder branch, Richard
Duke of York, had much to forgive the House of Lancaster. He had the
memory of a murdered father and a long-imprisoned mother ever fresh
before him.  His claim was only through the female line, as the son of a
daughter of the son of a daughter of Lionel Duke of Clarence, the second
son of Edward III. who attained manhood, and who had predeceased his
father.  In respect of the male line, he was descended from a younger
brother[#] of the grandfather of Henry VI.  It was therefore only as the
representative of Duke Lionel that he could put forward any claim at
all.  But Richard was not good at forgiving.  And when, as if for the
purpose of further entangling matters, and suggesting to Richard the
very idea which he afterwards carried into action, Henry VI. was seized
with an attack of that temporary insanity which he inherited from his
maternal grandfather, Richard, as his next male relative, was placed in
the position of Regent: a state of things so entirely suited to his
wishes that when, the King having recovered, he was summoned to resign
his charge, Richard coolly expressed his perfect satisfaction with the
position of governor, and his intention to remain such, since he
considered himself to be, as heir general of Duke Lionel, much more
rightfully King of England than the cousin who had displaced him.


[#] Edmund Duke of York.


The first sensation of Henry VI., on hearing this calm assertion of
Richard, was simply one of unbounded amazement.

"My grandfather," said he, "held the crown for twelve years, and my
father for ten, and I have held it for twenty-three: and all that time
you and your fathers have kept silence, and not one word of this have I
ever heard before.  What mean you, fair cousin, to prefer such a claim
against the Lord’s Anointed?"

It was not quite the fact that Richard’s fathers had kept absolute
silence, since his uncle, Edmund Earl of March, had been put forward as
a claimant for the throne, just fifty years before:[#] but in all
probability the King was entirely justified in stating that the idea was
new to him.  It is not likely that those about him from infancy would
have allowed him to become familiar with it, since his delicate sense of
right and justice was—in their eyes—the most tiresome thing about him.
But the question was not in his hands for decision.  Had it been so, no
man would ever have heard of the Wars of the Roses.  King Henry "had no
sense of honour," which probably means that ambition, self-seeking, and
aggressiveness were feelings utterly unknown to him.  "Yea, let him take
all," would have been the language of his lips and heart, so long as he
had left to him a quiet home in some green nook of England, the wife and
child whom he dearly loved, a few books, and peace.  At times God’s
providence decrees peace as the lot of such men.  At other rimes it
seems to be the one thing with which they must not be trusted.  They are
tossed perpetually on the waves of this troublesome world, "emptied from
vessel to vessel," never suffered to rest.  This last was the destiny of
Henry VI.  For him, it was the way home to the Land of Peace, where
there is no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying.  For four hundred
years his spirit has dwelt in the eternal peace of Paradise; God has
comforted him for ever.


[#] A full account of this transaction will be found in "The White Rose
of Langley."


It was an unfortunate thing for Richard of York that he had married a
woman who acted toward his ambitious aspirations not as a bridle, but as
a spur. Cicely Neville, surnamed from her great beauty The Rose of Raby,
was a woman who, like two of her descendants, would have "died to-morrow
to be a queen to-day," and would have preferred "to eat dry bread at a
king’s table, rather than feast at the board of an elector."[#]  Of all
members of the royal family of England, this lady is to my knowledge the
only one who ever styled herself in her own charters "the right high and
right excellent Princesse."  The Rose of Raby was not the only title
given her.  To the vulgar in the neighbourhood where her youth was spent
she was also known as Proud Cis.  And every act of her life tends to
show the truth of the title.


[#] The words first quoted were spoken by Anne Princess of Orange,
eldest daughter of George II.; the latter by Elizabeth Queen of Bohemia,
eldest daughter of James I.


It was at the battle of St. Albans—the first fought between the rival
Roses—that Dorathie’s grandfather had been killed; the husband of the
stately old lady who remained head of the household at Lovell Tower.
His barony descended to his only daughter Margery, who, after a good
deal of hesitation among rival suitors who greatly admired her title and
fortune, had gradually awoke to the discovery that she liked nobody
quite so well as her old friend John Marston, though he was nearly twice
her age, and a widower with three children. So on him, with the full
consent of her mother, she bestowed hand and heart, title and fortune;
the former being in his eyes, alone of all her lovers, more valuable
than the latter.  In her right he became Lord Marnell of Lymington, for
until a comparatively recent period the title of a peeress in her own
right was held to become the property of her husband as absolutely as
her goods, and was conferred by courtesy, as a matter of necessity, upon
any second wife whom he might marry.  Two more children—Dorathie and
Ralph—were added to the family: but only the former now survived.  It
will thus be seen that Frideswide and Agnes were half-sisters of
Dorathie.  The other member of the family not yet introduced was Walter,
the eldest son.  He was at present a young squire in the household of
Queen Marguerite.

Every soul at Lovell Tower was passionately Lancastrian.  To them Henry
VI. was The King, and Edward IV. was "the rebel."  In the house of the
next knight, half a mile away, the conditions were reversed: and the two
families, who had been old and firm friends, now passed each other on
the road with no notice whatever.  Very painful was this state of things
to the Lady Idonia, the only sister of four brothers thus placed at
variance.  Her two younger brothers, Maurice and William, were still on
good terms with her, for they were Lancastrians like herself.  But the
Carew family was one of those which the political earthquake had
shattered, and Hugh and Thomas were determined Yorkists.  It was the
sadder—or should have been,—since the younger Lady Marnell had been
educated under the roof of her Uncle Hugh, during the prolonged
residence of her parents at the Court of Scotland.  Fortunately or
unfortunately, Uncle Hugh and Aunt Mabel had contrived to impress
themselves on the mind of young Margery in no other character than that
of live barricades against the accomplishment of all her wishes.  To be
otherwise than on speaking terms with them, therefore, was a much
smaller calamity to Margery than to her mother.  The Lady Idonia used to
sigh heavily when their names were mentioned.  Yet to keep up the
friendship would have been no easy matter. Hugh Carew was granite where
his convictions were concerned; and not content with following them
himself, he insisted on imposing them on every body who came near him.
It would have been in his eyes a matter of principle not to allow his
sister or his niece to speak of "the King" or "the rebel," without
letting them see that he wilfully misunderstood the allusion.  Idonia
merely sighed ever this piece of perversity, while yet their intercourse
remained unbroken: but Margery was apt to flare up and make an open
breach of the peace.  It certainly was trying, when she spoke of the
King (meaning Henry VI.) as in Scotland, to be reminded in a cold,
precise tone, slightly astonished, that she had unaccountably forgotten
that His Highness was at Westminster.  It is not therefore to be
wondered at, if Margery felt the open hostility rather a relief than a
burden, while her mother grieved over it in secret.

"’Tis strange gear," the Lady Idonia would sometimes say, "that men
cannot think alike."

"Nay, fair Sister, why should they so?" was her brother William’s
answer.  "This were tame world if no man saw by his own eyes, but all
after a pattern."

"That were well, Ida," replied the graver Maurice, "could all men see
through God’s eyes."

"Aye, and who shall dare say how He looketh on these matters?" rejoined
William.

"Know we not that?" said Maurice.  "’The righteous Lord delighteth in
righteousness; His countenance beholdeth equity.’"[#]


[#] Psalm xi. 8.


"On which side is the equity?" asked his brother with a shrug of his
shoulders.  "Somewhat scant on both, as methinks.  My Lords of Warwick
and Somerset are scarce they which, before giving battle, should look
through a speculation glass[#] to find the righteousness of the matter."


[#] Magnifier.


"Perhaps it were hardly so small as to need the same," was Maurice’s dry
answer.

"Nay, fair Uncle William, but I cry you mercy!" broke in Margery.  "It
seems me you be but half-hearted toward our good King.  Surely his, and
none other, is the cause of right and justice."

"Gramercy, Madge!  I am well assured I never said they lay with that
rebel," returned her uncle, laughing.

"Methinks," said Maurice quietly, "that King David was the wisest, which
committed his cause unto God.  Never, truly, had king so clear and
perfect title as he.  But we find not that he laid siege to King Saul,
in order to come by it the sooner."

"Dear heart! prithee go tell that to the Queen," said William, still
laughing.  "Such reasoning were right after the King’s heart."

"The Queen fights not for herself," responded Maurice.  "It is easier to
trust our own lot in God’s hands, than the lot of them we love most. But
mind ye not, Will and Ida, what our Philip were wont to say—’They that
God keepeth be the best kept’?"

William made no reply.  He was silenced by the allusion to the dead
brother, on whom the Carews looked much as those around them did upon
the saints.

The interval between the battles of St. Albans and Wakefield—five years
and a half—had changed most of the _dramatis personæ_, but had not in
any degree altered the sanguinary character of the struggle.  Richard
Duke of York was gone—killed at Wakefield: Suffolk was gone, a victim to
popular fury.  King Henry and Queen Marguerite were still the prominent
figures on the Lancastrian side, joined now by their son Prince Edward.
On the York side were the three sons of Duke Richard,—Edward, George,
and Richard, whose ages when the story opens were twenty-eight,
nineteen, and seventeen.  Which of these three young men possessed the
worst character it is difficult to judge, though that evil eminence is
popularly assigned to Richard.  Edward was an incorrigible libertine;
not a bad organiser, nor devoid of personal bravery, though it usually
appeared by fits and starts.  He could do a generous action, but he was
irremediably lazy, and far weaker in character than either of his
brothers.  One redeeming point he had—his personal love for his blood
relations.  But it was not pure love, for much selfishness was mixed
with it. Perhaps really the worst of the three was George, for he was
not merely an ingrained self-seeker, but also false to the heart’s core.
No atom of trust could ever be placed in him.  The most solemn oath
taken to-day was no guarantee whatever against his breaking through
every engagement to-morrow.  The Dutchman’s maxim, "Every man for
mineself," was the motto of George’s life.  Each of the brothers spent
his life in sowing seeds of misery, and in each case the grain came to
perfection: though most of the harvest of George and Richard was reaped
by themselves, while Edward’s was left for his innocent sons to gather.

It may reasonably be asked why Warwick is counted among the
Lancastrians, when to a great extent Edward owed his throne to him, and
he had been a consistent Yorkist for years.  It is because, at the
period when the story opens, Warwick thought proper so to account
himself.  King Henry, never able to see through a schemer or a traitor,
had complacently welcomed him back to his allegiance: Queen Marguerite,
who saw through him to the furthest inch, and held him in unmitigated
abhorrence, felt that he was necessary at this moment to her husband’s
cause, and locking her own feelings hard within her, allowed it to be
supposed that she was able to trust him, and kept sharp watch over every
movement.

It has already been said that the decision for peace or war was not left
in the hands of King Henry.  The woman who sat by his side on the throne
was no longer the timid, lonely dove of their early married life.
Marguerite of Anjou was now a woman of middle age, and a mother whose
very soul was wrapped around that bright-haired boy who alone shared her
heart with his father.  Could she but have looked forward a few years,
and have seen that for that darling son war meant an early and bloody
end, she might have been more ready to acquiesce in King Henry’s
preference for an obscure but peaceful life.  What she saw was something
very different.  How was she to know that the golden vision which rose
so radiantly before her entranced eyes was but a mirage of the desert,
and that the silver stream which seemed to spread so invitingly before
her would only mock her parched lips with burning sand?

The fatal choice was made for war, and the war had now been raging for
fourteen years.  The wheel of Fortune had turned rapidly and
capriciously, but York had on the whole been uppermost.  To the majority
of ordinary Englishmen who cared at least as much for peace and
prosperity as politics, "the King" had meant Edward IV. since 1461.
England at that weary hour cared more for rest than she cared to know
who gave it to her.  Edward, on his part, had "indulged himself in ease
and pleasure"[#]—which was what he most valued—and might have continued
to do so if he had kept on good terms with Warwick.  For let Edward or
Henry be termed the King, it was Warwick who "had all Englond at his
bedyng," and the man who offended this master of kings was not likely to
be king much longer.  Edward had sent Warwick to France to negotiate for
his marriage to Bona of Savoy, the Queen’s sister, and while the envoy
was away, the master fell into the toils of the fair face and golden
hair and sweet purring ways of the Lady Grey of Groby.  As Edward had
passed his life on the easy principle of never denying himself any
thing, he acted consistently in marrying the lady.  Considering how few
ever do so, he had probably not realised that this easy principle is apt
to turn in later life into the sharpest of scourges.  Warwick came home
in a furious passion, and carried his power, influence, and army
instantly over to the side of Lancaster.  No man likes being made to
"look small," and least of all could it be brooked by a man of Warwick’s
character and position.  Edward paid very dearly for his golden-haired
bride, and whether the purchase was worth the amount it cost may be
considered extremely doubtful.  Elizabeth Grey was not like Marguerite
of Anjou, a far-seeing, self-less, large-hearted woman.  Her mental
horizon was exceedingly minute.  She was chiefly concerned, like the
creature she most resembled, to obtain the warmest spot of the hearthrug
for herself.  Very delightful to stroke and pet when all goes well, such
quadrupeds—and such women—are capable of becoming extremely
uncomfortable companions in certain combinations of circumstances.


[#] Comines.


Edward was not the only person who paid that heavy bill which he ran up
with so light a heart. Only one small instalment of it was discharged by
him.  A heavier one was due from Queen Elizabeth, wrung out through long
years of anguish and desolation: another from their innocent boys,
discharged in their life’s blood.  The least amount, perhaps, was
exacted from the most undeserving sharer in the penalty—that young
Warwickshire girl who was Edward’s real wife by canon law, and whose
strong love proved equal to the fiery ordeal of saving his honour and
ensuring what seemed his happiness at the cost of all her own.  It cost
her life as well.  Edward had the cruelty and baseness to call her into
court to deny their marriage.  He knew her well enough to dare to do it.
And she came, calm and self-restrained, and perjured her soul because
she thought it would make him happier and save his good name.  Hers was
of no moment. Then she passed out of sight, and the overstrained string
snapped, and nothing was left to vex the triumphant monarch.  Only God
saw a nameless green grave in a country churchyard.  And when He comes
to make inquisition for blood, when every thing that was hidden shall be
known, I think it will be found that He did not forget Elizabeth Lucy.

Yet Edward did not escape quite without reproach. One person endeavoured
to prevent this sin and shame, and it was a very unlikely person.  The
voice of Proud Cis was the only one raised against it, and her
interference, futile though it was, is the best action of her life.
From the far north Edward received the passionate reproaches of his
mother for this dastardly action.  They did not deter him from its
accomplishment: but let the fact be remembered to Cicely’s honour.[#]


[#] Some writers have disputed, and more have ignored, these miserable
transactions. Surely the interference of Cicely, and the language of
Comines, who was a personal acquaintance of the royal family, may fairly
be held to prove the point.


Two months before the story begins, Warwick had taken advantage of some
quarrel between Edward and his brother George of Clarence to allure the
latter to the Lancastrian cause.  He offered him an enormous bribe to
come over, being his elder daughter Isabel, with one half of her
mother’s vast inheritance.  It must not be forgotten that all Warwick’s
titles were derived from females.  He was Earl of Salisbury in
succession to his mother, and Earl of Warwick only by courtesy, in right
of his wife.  His two daughters, Isabel and Anne, were his only
children, and the richest heiresses in the kingdom.  They were both
extremely beautiful girls, but Isabel was considered the lovelier.
Clarence, who kept neither a heart nor a conscience, was ready to do any
thing, good, bad, or indifferent, which promised to promote his own
advancement in this world.  He accepted Warwick’s offer; and was now
therefore in arms against his brother, and a member of Warwick’s
household at Middleham Castle, of which household Frideswide Marston was
about to form an item.



                             *CHAPTER II.*

                       *LILIES AMONG THE THORNS.*

"Thy soul was like a star, and dwelt apart."—WORDSWORTH.


"Aye, perchance that may serve.  What cost it by the yard?"

_That_ was a piece of superb purple satin, which the tailor was holding
up for inspection, in the best way to catch the light.

"Five nobles, an’ it please my Lady."

Five nobles amounted to one pound thirteen and fourpence, and was the
price of the very best quality.  It is not easy to reduce it into modern
value, since authorities are disagreed on the multiple required.  Some
would go as high as sixteen times the value, while others would reduce
it to five.  Mv own opinion inclines to the highest number.

"And wherewith wouldst line it, good Whityngham?"

"With velvet, Madam?" suggested the tailor interrogatively.

"Aye.  Let it be black."

"At your Ladyship’s pleasure."

"And I will have the cloak well furred with Irish fox.  Is my broched[#]
cloth of gold gown made ready?"


[#] Figured.


"Madam, it shall be meet for your Ladyship’s wearing to-morrow."

"Well, see thou fail me not, for I would have it for our Lady Day in
harvest.—Well, Avice Hilton, what wouldst?"

Avice Hilton, who was a young lady of about eighteen years, had been
waiting the pleasure of her mistress for some minutes.

"An’t like you, Madam, your new chamberer that shall be, is now come."

"The Lord Marnell his daughter?"

"She, Madam."

"Hath she eaten aught?"

"Aye, Madam, in the hall."

"Good.  Bring her hither."

Frideswide Marston was not a timid or nervous girl by any means, but her
heart beat somewhat faster as Avice Hilton introduced her to the
presence of the Countess of Warwick, the woman who had more of the
reality of queenship than either of those ladies whom the partisans of
the rival Roses termed the Queen.

She saw a pleasant upper chamber, about twenty feet square, whose
windows looked over the beautiful vale of Wensleydale.  It was hung with
tapestry on which scenes from the Quest of the Sangraal were delineated.
At the lower end three young ladies were busily at work of various
kinds: on the daïs, or raised step at the further end, nearest the
windows, stood the tailor with his roll of satin over his arm, and two
ladies were seated, the elder in a chair of carved wood, the younger in
a more elaborate one inlaid with ivory.  In those days people did not
take the seat they found most comfortable, but were carefully restricted
to a certain fashion of chair, according to delicate gradations of rank.
Frideswide, being a well-educated young person, as education went in the
fifteenth century, had no difficulty in perceiving that she was in the
presence of the Countess of Warwick and her daughter, the bride of the
royal Clarence.

The Countess of Warwick was a rather slightly-made woman, but tall, with
a long pale face, haggard features bearing traces of great former
beauty, and a particularly prominent pair of blue eyes.[#]  As is often
the case with persons who exhibit the last-named feature, she was at no
loss for language. She was the daughter, and now the only surviving
child, of that Earl of Warwick who had held a conspicuous place in the
burning of the Maid of Orleans, and of Isabel, heiress of Le Despenser.
All the old prestige and associations of the House of Warwick centred in
her, not her husband.  How far her influence over him may have been for
good or evil, is not an easy question.  What evidence there is, is
mostly negative, and tends to show that the Countess Anne exercised but
little influence of any kind, and was of a type likely to be more
concerned about the burning of the marchpane in her own oven, than about
the burning of a city at some distance.  If this be so, she is much to
be pitied: for of the seed of future misery which Warwick sowed, the
heaviest portion of the harvest was reaped by her and by the best and
dearest of her daughters.


[#] All the members of the Warwick family, and also those of the royal
family, are described so far as is practicable from contemporary
portraits.


The young Duchess of Clarence, who was in her nineteenth year, was a
woman cast in another mould.  She resembled her father in character, and
her mother in features: but she was more beautiful than the Countess had
ever been, and was accounted "the finest young lady in England."  She
was fair, with blue eyes and shining light hair, over which she wore the
new head-dress, which consisted of a most elaborate erection of
wire-work, surmounted by a veil of transparent gauze, so that the hair,
for many years concealed, was left fully visible.

Head-dresses were now, and for a long time had been, the most important
portion of the female costume.  The variety was nearly as astounding as
the size.  Hearts, horns, crowns, and steeples, were all represented:
and a full-dressed lady, in all her paraphernalia, was a formidable
object both as to cost and dimensions.

Frideswide found herself put through a lively fire of interrogatories by
the Countess, who might have been projecting the writing of memoirs of
the whole Marnell family, to judge from the minute and numerous details
into which she descended.  The Duchess sat generally a silent listener,
but occasionally interjected a query.  At last the Countess looked
across the room, and summoned Avice.

"There, take the new maid to you, and show her what shall be her duty,"
said she.  "See that she wants for nought, and say to Bonham ’tis my
desire she be set a-work."

Frideswide followed Avice to the further end of the room, where she was
introduced to her remaining fellow-chamberers as Theobalda Salvin and
Eleanor Farley.  Beyond them, and hitherto concealed by a chair, she
suddenly perceived a fourth person, in the shape of a little old lady,
so very little as to be almost a dwarf, with the cheeriest and brightest
of faces.

"Mother Bonham," said Avice, "’tis my Lady’s good pleasure you set
Mistress Frideswide a-work."

"Well, my lass, there’s no pleasure in idlesse," was the answer.  "See
you here, my maid: would you rather a white seam, or some matter of
broidery?"

Frideswide, whose tastes inclined her rather to the useful than the
ornamental, chose the plain work, and sitting down among the chamberers,
was soon as busy as any of them.

Mother Bonham was the most important person at Middleham Castle, in the
sense that without her every thing would have gone furthest wrong.  She
was "mother," or official chaperone, to the chamberers, which accounted
for the title bestowed on her; she was general housekeeper to the
Countess; she had been nurse and governess to the young ladies; and she
was adviser in general to all the younger inmates of the house.  She was
as great a hand at proverbs as Sancho Panza himself: she mixed
marvellous puddings and concocted unimaginable cakes; she drew patterns
for embroidery, told stories of all kinds, nursed every body who was ill
(which often included prescribing for them), praised every body who did
well, smiled on, at, and through every thing that happened to her.  Only
one thing there was, as Eleanor confided to Frideswide, which Mother
Bonham could not do.  She was totally incapable of scolding!  The most
severe thing she ever said was a solemn proverb, prefaced by both
Christian and surname of the offender.  The use of both names instantly
informed a chamberer that she had fallen under Mother Bonham’s grave
displeasure.  But so dearly loved was the little old lady that except in
strong emergencies, this was quite enough to recall the person addressed
to a sense of her delinquencies.

Frideswide was rather amused to find that she had again to run the
gauntlet of inquiries concerning her antecedents from the chamberers.
She certainly had never talked so much about herself and her relatives,
as she did that first afternoon of her stay at Middleham Castle.  The
fire of interrogations had slightly slackened, when a door opened in the
wall behind the tapestry, and pushing aside the latter, a girl of
fifteen came forward and sat down by Mother Bonham, who moved some
embroidery from a carved chair to make room for her.  The chair taken,
and the style of her dress, sufficiently pointed her out as one of the
Earl’s daughters.

Though strongly resembling her mother and sister in colour and features,
the expression of her face was entirely different from either.  The
piquancy of the elder sister was wholly absent in the younger, and was
replaced by a mixture of gentleness and dignity.  Very queenly she
was—not in the false sense of pride, of which there was none about her:
but in the true sense of that innate kingliness of soul which can
tolerate nothing evil, and can stoop to nothing mean.  A lily among
thorns was sweet Anne Neville. And the thorns sprang up, and choked it.
She stood now just

    "Where the brook and river meet,
    Womanhood and childhood fleet"—

but in the path to be pursued a turn as yet hid the river from view, and
she who was so soon to be borne down it could see nothing of the roaring
cascade and the black pool beneath, where the young life was to be
crushed out, and the fair soul to be set free.  As Frideswide glanced at
her, where she sat with her head slightly bent over the broidery, and a
sunbeam lighting up her shining hair, she thought no face so attractive
had ever yet crossed her path in life.

"Tib, draw thou the curtain across," said Mother Bonham.  "The sun
cometh too hot on my Lady Anne, I reckon."

Theobalda obeyed in silence, while Lady Anne looked up and smiled
thanks.

"Tib is the best to do it," remarked Eleanor, laughing a little, "for
she is highest of all us.  I do believe she should mete to twice of you,
Mother."

"’Good stuff’s lapped up in little parcels,’ Nell," was Mother Bonham’s
good-tempered answer.

Conversation flagged after this.  Perhaps work went on the better for
it.  Supper was announced in an hour, which was served in the hall,
Frideswide, as the newest arrival, being seated last of the chamberers,
and next to the Earl’s squires.  She found her neighbour decidedly
communicative. From him she learned that the Countess was not ill to
please, which was more than could be said for my Lady of Clarence; but
my Lady Anne was the sweetest maid in the world.  As to my Lord,—with a
little shrug of the squire’s shoulders—why, he was in his element in the
midst of a battle, and not anywhere else.  Rather just a little
queer-tempered—you had to find out in a morning whether he had got out
of bed on the right side or the wrong.  In the former case, he could be
very pleasant indeed: but in the latter—well, least said was soonest
mended.

Frideswide looked up at the potent nobleman thus described to her.  She
saw a man of moderate height and breadth, with strong features, a florid
complexion, rather dark hair and eyes, and a very quick, lively,
intelligent expression.  His limbs were well-knit and in good
proportion, giving the idea of great muscular strength.  It may be
added, though Frideswide of course could only learn this by degrees,
that Warwick was an extremely clever man, with that sort of serpentine
cleverness which regards any means as sanctified by the end proposed;
full of physical courage, but looking upon tenderness and compassion as
contemptible weaknesses only fit for a woman, and indicative of the
consummate inferiority of her sex.  He was one of those men in whose
eyes a good woman is simply a woman who has hitherto found no
opportunity of being otherwise.  When the opportunity comes in her way,
she must be expected to take advantage of it, as a matter of course.
Clear-sighted as Warwick was in some matters, he was strangely obtuse in
others.

A good deal of further information Frideswide heard from her next
neighbour, who told her that his name was John Wright.[#]  He informed
her that the King (by whom he meant Henry VI.) was in the Tower of
London, a prisoner in the hands of "Edward that rebel," who was not
permitted by zealous Lancastrians to enjoy even his ancestral title of
Duke of York.  The Queen was abroad, seeking fresh help, and intending
to take the first good opportunity afterwards to land in England.  The
Prince of Wales was with her.


[#] Name historical, character imaginary.


As for "that rebel," he of course was enjoying himself to the utmost,
residing in the palaces and squandering the finances which did not
belong to him: and as for "that witch his wife," Mr. Wright was ready to
believe anything of her—by which of course he meant, anything the
reverse of complimentary.

That Edward was squandering money, whether it were his own or not, was
only too true.  Never lived man in whose hands money melted in a more
instantaneous manner.  During that very summer, he had spent on dress
materials and "other necessaries" upwards of twelve hundred pounds, and
on jewellery and goldsmiths’ work £744, inclusive of a gold collar which
cost £34.[#]  Nor as we shall presently see, had his extravagance
reached its highest point.  No King of England ever spent like him. The
degree to which he surpassed all his predecessors in this point was an
enormous one.  By most contemporary chroniclers, Richard II. is accused
of having been a shocking waster of money:[#] but the Issue Rolls of
Richard II. reveal a state of things which is economy itself when
compared with those of Edward IV.  Moreover, Richard’s extravagance,
such as it was, was mainly in presents to other persons: but what Edward
spent was on his beloved self. This was the more noticeable, as Henry
VI. had not been at all given to spending money; and Queen Marguerite,
while lavish enough in her charities, was singularly frugal in respect
of her wardrobe. As for Edward’s Queen, her lord and master, as his
Issue Rolls bear witness, took care she had not much to spend.  May not
this exhaustion of the royal treasury under the brothers of York,
account to some extent for the parsimony of which Henry VII. is accused?


[#] Issue Roll, Michis. 9 Edw. IV.

[#] A supposition not at all borne out by his Issue Rolls.


After supper the hall was cleared for dancing. Then followed vespers in
the Castle chapel, rear-supper, a little general conversation, cups of
wine handed round, and the Countess retired to her oratory, and the Earl
to his closet.  Last came the Countess’s _coucher_, at which three of
the chamberers were expected to be present, one being told off to assist
the Lady Anne.  The Duchess of Clarence had her separate household.
Frideswide found herself summoned to the Countess’s chamber, where
Theobalda instructed her in her duties, which were simply those of a
lady’s maid.  The chamberera were then free to seek their own beds.

It was not until the next morning that Frideswide saw the Duke of
Clarence, who had been absent from the supper-table.  He was the least
good-looking of the handsome royal brothers.  "A great alms-giver and a
great builder" is the character given of him by the retainer of the
House of Warwick: but a more skilful hand than his, a hundred years
later, sketched a far truer portrait.

"False, fleeting, faithless Clarence!"

With the Duke came two other persons—the brothers of Warwick, John Lord
Montague and George Archbishop of York.  They were about as much given
to tergiversation as their better-known brother, with the proviso that
in their innermost hearts they were a shade more determinately Yorkist
than he. Montague in particular was remarkable for his power of
versatility.  His personal convictions were in favour of Edward, but the
least offence given to him by his chosen master was enough to make him
veer round like a weathercock to the opposite quarter.  At the present
moment some such annoyance was rankling in his narrow mind, and he was
therefore just in a fit state to lend an ear to the persuasive
representations of his brother of Warwick.  The marvel of the matter is
how these three crafty, changeable, unprincipled men contrived to trust
each other.

During two previous years, Warwick had been dexterously drawing his net
around his brothers. But now matters were almost ripe for action.  For
the whole of the autumn he had kept quiet and matured his plans.  His
reverend brother was quite as ready to his hand as the secular one.  Any
thing which involved a plot or a tumult seems to have been to the taste
of this gentleman, who in seeking holy orders had certainly not taken
the course for which nature intended him.

The four chamberers of the Countess of Warwick slept in one room, into
which opened the smaller one of Mother Bonham.  The furniture of the
chamber consisted of two beds, large square ones with a tester, or head,
the one having curtains of verder, or tapestry, and the other of dark
crimson say, which was a coarse silk chiefly used in upholstery.  In the
first bed slept Eleanor and Theobalda, in the second Frideswide and
Avice.  The remaining articles were a large chest at the bottom of each
bed, with a division across it, each young lady having a half to
herself; a chair, two stools, and a fire-fork.  Wardrobes were then kept
in a separate chamber; while dressing-tables and washstands were
luxuries of the future.  There was a mirror fixed to the wall, almost
too high to see—a position adopted for the discouragement of personal
vanity: while every morning a bowl of water and a towel (to serve all
four) was brought up by a slip-shod girl, one of half-a-dozen who did
the dirtiest work of the house.

One evening in November, after the lights were out, and Mother Bonham
and Theobalda were peacefully asleep, while Eleanor was perpetrating a
sound so nearly akin to snoring that her fastidious taste would have
been shocked had she known it, Frideswide, whose eyes were disinclined
to close, heard a soft whisper from Avice beside her.

"Are you waking?"

"Oh aye," she said in a similar tone, and turning round towards Avice to
hear the better what she wished to say.

"Your father, if I err not, is the Lord Marnell, that dwelleth at Lovell
Tower, on the wolds?"

"Aye so," said Frideswide.

"Were you loth I should know of what kin you be to the Lady Margery,
that died, an old man’s life past, on Tower Hill?"

It was no wonder if Frideswide held her breath for a moment, and
listened whether all the rest were safely asleep.  The reference to a
Lollard and a martyr, in the past of any family, had been safe enough
during the latter half of Henry VI.’s reign, but it had already been
pretty plainly shown not to be equally wise in that of Edward IV.

"Look you," she said, after that momentary pause, "it is my step-dame,
not my father, that is verily a Marnell.  The lady whom you wot of was
her grandame—to wit, her father’s mother."

"Of no kin to you, then?" asked Avice, in a tone in which Frideswide
fancied she heard a shade of disappointment.

"Nay, that can I not rightly say," was the reply: "for Dame Agnes
Lovell, the Lady’s mother, which was by birth a Greenhalgh, was sister
unto Mistress Ladreyne Clitheroe, whose daughter Maud was my
grandmother.  So you shall see we are near of kin."

A cousin thrice removed would not now be thought a very near relation;
but in past times much more was made of "kindly blood" than at present.

Avice did not answer, and Frideswide, having recovered her courage,
spoke up boldly.  For a hundred years her ancestors had been of the
Lollard faith, and she was far more disposed to glory in the fact than
to be ashamed of it.

"Wherefore?  Are you of that learning?"

"Hush, gramercy!" cried Avice under her breath.

"Wherefore?" asked Frideswide again.

"Dear heart, if any should o’erhear us!" explained Avice.  "Know you not
that ’tis a dangerous matter to speak thereof?"

"It may be worse to let be," answered Frideswide thoughtfully.  She was
thinking of a story of twenty years ago, which she had heard most
sorrowfully told by the lips of the Lady Idonia, how she had at one time
fallen away for fear, and had never forgotten her defection nor forgiven
herself.

"Ah, Frideswide," said Avice earnestly, "you speak like to her that had
dwelt in a sure place, and knew nought of the world on the outside.
Look you, matters be no more as they were these twenty-five years back.
So long as the King were in power and of good wit, never man were
ill-used for speaking Lollardy, for he never would have creature harmed
in his realm an’ he wist it, by his good-will. Have you ne’er heard how
he bade remove down from the Micklegate at York the one quarter of a
traitor there set, saying he would ne’er see Christian thus cruelly used
for his sake?  But the rebel is made of other metal.  Heard you not of
one Will Balowe, that was burned on Tower Hill scarce three years gone,
for that he would not make confession to no priest, but only unto God,
and had (said they) no conscience in eating of flesh during Lent?  Both
he and his wife had been afore abjured, so that he was a lapsed man.
There were no burnings whenso as King Henry were in power.  Nor know you
not, about the same time, some pixes were stole for the silver, and one
of them that stale them was heard for to say that he had a dainty morsel
to his supper, for he had eaten nine gods—to wit, the hosts that were in
the boxes?  There is more Lollardy about the realm than ever afore,
trust me: but ’tis not so safe to speak thereof as when you and I were
childre."

"Methinks," said Frideswide thoughtfully, "they were little credit unto
Lollardy that should steal a pix for the silver."

"There be men enough will make cloaks of new virtue to cover up old
sins," was the answer of Avice.

"You wot more hereof than I, as I may well see," said Frideswide.

"Aye, I have seen and heard, and I can reckon so much as twice two,"
replied Avice drily.  "Look you, I have been with my Lady but half a
year, and I came to her from London town, where I served my Lady of
Exeter.  So I saw and heard much, and I have not an ill memory."

"Pray you, tell me somewhat touching that my Lady of Exeter," said
Frideswide.  "My sister is but now entered of her chamber, and I would
fain wit what manner of mistress she shall have."

"Pray for her!" was the reply.

"Against what?" demanded Frideswide with considerable uneasiness.

"’Shield us fro the foule thing,’" quoted Avice, under her breath.

"But, dear heart, what mean you?" returned Frideswide, rising on her
elbow in her eager desire to comprehend these mysterious hints.  "Is it
my Lady of Exeter, or her Lord, or his squires, or where and what shall
it be that is thus foul and fearful?"

"Her Lord?—_No_," was the earnest answer.

"Herself?" repeated Frideswide.

"She and her Lord," said Avice, in a low, sad tone, "have not dwelt of
one house these seven years.  He, as you must wot, is of the King’s
side, and she (which is sister to the rebel) brake with him shortly
after the war began.  There were sore discontents betwixt them, for two
years or more ere they parted for good: but now they never meet. His
lands be all confiscate and granted to her, and he is the man that shall
never win one penny of them at her hands.  I think she alway hated
him—they were wed being childre—but certes she hates him now.  In all my
life never saw I in one house so much of God, and so much of the Devil.
But the Lord campeth round about them that fear Him. There is an angel
in the house, as your sister will early find to her comfort.  There are
devils too."

"And her Lady is of them?" asked Frideswide.

"She is not the angel," drily responded Avice.

"And her Lord?"—said Frideswide.

"Ah, he is sore to be pitied," answered Avice in a compassionate tone.
"May-be he is not wholly an angel neither: yet methinks there is much in
him that is good; and he might have been a better man—had she been a
better woman.  The first sin is an easy matter, but it is hard most
times to see whither it will lead."

"Be any here well-affectioned toward Lollardy?" suddenly asked
Frideswide.

"Only one, to my knowing."

"And that is?"—

"Mother Bonham.

"Avice Hilton!" came at this moment in clear tones from the closet.

"I cry you mercy, Mother!" was the natural reply.

"Days for talk, nights for sleep," said the old lady sententiously.

With simply a "Good night, Frideswide," Avice turned on her pillow, and
no more was said.

This revelation by no means conduced to Frideswide’s happiness.  She was
uneasy about Agnes, whom she knew to be a girl who would say little, but
suffer keenly.  Yet what could she do?—beyond taking Avice’s counsel,
and praying for her.

The idea of writing, either to her father or sister, did not occur to
Frideswide.  Letters were serious affairs in those days, more especially
to women: and though Frideswide had learned to write, which was not too
common an accomplishment in ladies, yet it was to her a very laborious
and tedious business, requiring some decided reason to induce so great
an effort.  While there were at that time a sufficient number of women
who could write, yet not to have acquired the art was considered no
disgrace to a woman of any rank.  In that interesting contemporaneous
poem, "The Song of the Lady Bessy," we find the daughter of Edward IV.
assuring Lord Stanley that there is no need to send for a scribe to
write his important private letters, for she could write as well as any
scrivener.

    "You shall not need none such to call,
      Good Father Stanley—hearken to me,
    What my father, King Edward, that King royal,
      Did for my sister, my Lady Welles,[#] and me:
    He sent for a scrivener to lusty London,
      He was the best in that citie;
    He taught us both to write and read full soon—
      If it please you, full soon you shall see—
    Lauded be God, I had such speed
      That I can write as well as he,
    Both English and also French,
      And also Spanish, if you had need."[#]


[#] The Princess Cicely.

[#] Humphrey Brereton, Lord Stanley’s squire, and the writer of the
poem, was present at the conference, and we may therefore take him to
record the exact statements made by the Princess Elizabeth.


Certainly, the black-letter hand was one requiring far more effort and
pains than the modern running or Italian hand.  The caligraphy of the
Lady Bessy (afterwards Queen Elizabeth of York) which has descended to
posterity, would lead to the melancholy conclusion that if she wrote as
well as the best scriveners in London, the productions of inferior
penmen must have been illegible indeed.  It really is the case; for of
all periods in English history (alas, excepting the present century!)
the worst writing is found in that which runs from the close of the Wars
of the Roses to the latter part of the reign of Elizabeth.  A document
dating from the reign of King John is like copper-plate in comparison
with the atrocious scrawls of some writers of the Reformation period.

Before that year was ended, Pope Paul thought proper to confer upon
Louis XI. of France the title of "Most Christian King."  It was no
sooner heard of than it was gleefully seized by Edward IV., under his
character of _soi-disant_ King of France.  We may also conclude that
Proud Cis snatched at it with considerable self-gratulation, since a
charter of hers, dated in this very year, adds it to her titles. She
styles herself "the excellent Princess, mother of the Most Christian
Prince, our Lord and son, Edward, and lately wife of the most excellent
Prince Richard, by right King of England and of France, and Lord of
Ireland."[#]  Further than this, even Cicely’s ambition dared not to
venture; yet it seems almost surprising that she did not step across the
very little gulf which lay between all these high-sounding epithets and
the one which would have involved them all—the coveted name of Queen.


[#] Close Roll, 9 Edw. IV.


During this year, another daughter was born to Edward and Elizabeth.
They had three now—Elizabeth, Mary, and Cicely—but no son.  The eldest
daughter, however, was treated as Princess of Wales in her own right.
She is always styled "the Lady Princess"—a title which, until the
accession of the Stuarts, appertained alone to the Princess of Wales,
whether she were daughter or daughter-in-law of the monarch.  The King’s
daughters, apart from this, were simply addressed as "Lady."  The
Princess had her own separate household, and judging from the amount of
money spent upon her, was rather better provided for than the Queen.

Another occurrence was taking place this year, of no moment to any but
the parties immediately concerned, yet which might have had very
considerable influence on the future history of England. William
Herbert, Earl of Pembroke, had a boy of thirteen as his ward, the nephew
of Henry VI., whom at that time it was desirable for his own sake to
keep as much in obscurity as possible.  This was Henry Tudor, the young
Earl of Richmond, whose mother was next heir to the Crown after the
descendants of Henry IV.  The Earl, who liked his young ward, lent a
kindly ear to his pleading when a love-story came before him.  He was
not altogether sorry to find that he could provide for the eldest of his
very numerous family by betrothing her to the young Earl.  Very young
they both were; but boys and girls came early to the front, and
blossomed rapidly into men and women in the time of the rival Roses.  So
the Earl of Richmond was formally affianced to the Lady Maud Herbert, in
anticipation of a marriage which was never to be.  Would it have been
better if it had been? Humanly speaking, the course of English history
would assuredly have been different.  For Maud Herbert was a woman of
strong character, and did not faint in the weary march, as Elizabeth
Lucy had done.  But one thing is certain: that the change for the worse
which came over the character of Henry of Richmond dates from the time
of his parting from Maud Herbert.  He went into exile; and she wedded
the Earl of Northumberland, years before his triumphant return to wear
the crown of England.  Which of the two was to blame must be left an
open question.  Perhaps it was not either: for Maud’s marriage was not
improbably forced upon her, and Henry could not have returned to claim
her without the most reckless risk of life. His marriage with "the Lady
Princess" gave peace to England, but he died a lonely, unloved man,
grown miserly and callous,—no longer the graceful and gallant Richmond
of those early years when he and Maud had lived and loved at Pembroke
Castle.



                             *CHAPTER III.*

                               *FLIGHT.*

    "My barque is wafted to the strand
      By breath Divine:
    And on the helm there rests a hand
      Other than mine."
        —DEAN ALFORD.


The Lady Idonia sat writing at a small table in the hall of Lovell
Tower.  She was the best writer in the family—which does not by any
means imply extraordinary fluency of diction or rapidity of penmanship.
The letters grew slowly under her hand, and she frequently paused to
look out of the window and think.  What lay on the desk before her was
the following unfinished letter.

"Jh’u.[#]

"MY NOWEN[#] DERE CHYLDE,

Thys shal be to give you to wyt, wt[#] all louyng comendac’ons from all
us, that wee well fare, and do hope in God that you be the same. And we
have not yett herde so much as one word from yr sistar.  Matters here
bee reasonable quyett at this present, onlie that Doratie has broke y’
powdre box of siluer, in good sooth a misaduenture and noe malice, wch
shall be wel amended ere yow com home.  The dun cowe hath a calfe of hir
veraye coloure.  And Lyard Carlile[#] and all the dogges fare wel.
Maistres Henley hir littel lad lyethe sicke of a fevare, but the leech
reckoneth he shal doe well.  Dorathie ys merrie, and gode withal. Yr
father thynkes to buy som pigges ayenst Xmas.[#] We shal bee fayn to
here of yr newes, the rather if you can give us any tydynges of such as
you wot of,[#] how they be now in men’s reckonings, and if thei be lyke
to fare wel or noe.  The gode Lorde of his mercie kepe us all, and make
vs to bee hys trew seruantes.  Annis, I wold haue you, when conueniencie
serue, to sende mee from London towne viij ells gode clothe of skarlette
for a goune for yr moder, and so moche of greene kersay as shall be a
goun for Doratie: and dowlas to lyne the same, and silke frenge to guard
the skarlett goun, and fur of rabetts to guard ye grene: alsoe siluer
botons iij dozen, and black botons vj dosen and halfe.  And sende ye
same well packed vp to the Goldene Lyon by Powles,[#] to ye name of
Maister Anthanie Milborne, yt is a frend of mye broder Will, and cometh
into Yorksh: thys nexte monethe.  And let him that berethe ye same aske
of ye sayd Maister Anthanie for a token[#] yt he hath of mee for yow.
Annis, wee trust in God yt yow shal be a discrete mayd and gode, and
obedyent to yowr maistres, and kyndlie wt yr fellowes.[#] And above al,
my dere harte, kepe yow ye fayth yt ve have ben learned, nor let not
anie man beguile you therof."


[#] A contraction of Jesus, commonly used at the head of a letter by
pious persons.

[#] Mine own.

[#] With.

[#] The name of a horse.

[#] Against Christmas.

[#] The Lollards.

[#] St Paul’s Cathedral.

[#] Present.

[#] Fellow-chamberers.


The pen had been laid down at this point, and left so long that the ink
was dry.  The Lady Idonia was speaking now to Another than Agnes,

"O Lord, keep the child!" went up from her inmost heart.  "Suffer the
unfaithful handmaid to plead with Thee, that the faithful one may be
preserved in the faith.  I may give her wrong cautions—I may fancy
dangers that will not assault her, and be blind to those that will.
Thou, who seest the end from the beginning, hold the child up, and
suffer her not, for any pains nor fears, to fall from Thee!"

She roused herself at last, and finished her letter.


"And so, with all louyng comendac’ons from al vs, I commend yow to God.

"Yr louyng grandame to my litel powar,
       "IDONIA MARNELL.

"Writyn at Louell Towre, this Wensday."


The letter was delivered by Mr. William Carew to a retainer of the Earl
of Warwick, who was also one of his friends, and from whom he had
understood that the Earl meant to go southwards before the week was
over.

The plot was ripe at last.  Warwick left Middleham with the first dawn
of 1470, and arrived in London without any suspicion of his proceedings
being excited at Court.  He left his brothers behind him in the north,
with strict injunctions to George to keep John out of mischief.  They
were very necessary.  Unfortunately (from Warwick’s point of view) just
at that juncture King Edward took it into his head to create Lord
Montague’s little son George a Duke—a title then shared by very few who
were not Princes of the Blood—with the object of marrying him to the
Princess Elizabeth, and thus making him, in case Edward himself left no
son, virtually the future King.  This high advancement for his boy
sorely tried Montague’s new-born Lancastrian proclivities.  He swung
like a pendulum between the royal rivals: and all the efforts of his
brother George were needed to prevent him from going off to Edward, and
of course, revealing the plot in which Warwick was now engaged.  One
thing which had annoyed Warwick was the discovery, real or fancied, that
his influence with Edward was less powerful than of old.  But he went to
work darkly, as was his wont.  He was greatly assisted in his
proceedings by the fact that he held Edward’s commission to raise troops
for his service in the north, and no suspicion would therefore be
excited by his gathering an army around him.[#]  When he arrived in
London, he reported himself at the Palace, and a long interview followed
in Westminster Hall between Edward, Clarence, and Warwick.  They parted
"worse friends than they met,"[#] but Edward still does not appear to
have suspected that Warwick was actually plotting against him, or he
would hardly have let him go so calmly.  Edward had left for Canterbury,
and Warwick and Clarence prepared to return northwards and continue
their amusement.  Before leaving London, Clarence dispatched Sir John
Clare to Lord Welles and his son Sir Robert, desiring them to "be ready
with all the fellowship they could, whenever he should send word; but to
tarry and not stir till my Lord of Warwick were come again from London,
for fear of his destruction."[#]  In the mean time they assiduously
spread a report that "the King was coming down with great power to
Lincolnshire, and his judges should sit, and hang and draw great numbers
of the commons."[#]  Of course this disposed the commons to rally round
Warwick, who represented himself in the light of a protector from the
impending terrors.  He sent messenger after messenger to bid Sir Robert
Welles be of good comfort, and go forward, promising to meet him at
Leicester on the twelfth of February with nineteen thousand men.[#]


[#] A very varied tale is told of Warwick’s capturing Edward in his bed
at Wolvey in 1469, and sending him prisoner to Middleham, whence he
effected his escape in a romantic manner.  The accounts given are
contradictory, the story of the escape is disbelieved by Carte, and
intimations on the Rolls seem to show that the King had never left
Westminster; I therefore have thought it wiser to ignore this episode
entirely beyond the present mention of it.


[#] Sandford.

[#] Confession of Sir Robert Welles, Harl. Ms. 283, fol. 2.

[#] Confession of Sir Robert Welles, Harl. Ms. 283, fol. 2.


Clarence, meanwhile, was playing his own little game, independently of
his father-in-law.  His messengers had private orders to "move the host,
that at such time as the matter should come near the point of battle,
they should call upon my Lord of Clarence to be King, and destroy the
King that so was about to destroy them and all the realm."[#]


[#] Confession of Sir Robert Welles, Harl. Ms. 283, fol. 2.


Meanwhile, Edward continued his favours to Montague—not because he
trusted, but really because he suspected him, and was anxious to ensure
his fidelity.  A few days only after the meeting of Warwick and Welles,
he granted to John, Earl of Northumberland and Baron Montague, the
manors of Tiverton, Plympton, Okehampton, and many others in
Devonshire,[#] being a portion of the confiscated lands of the
Courtenays, Earls of Devon. Perhaps this timely gift prevented Montague
from openly siding with Warwick until a later date: but he was not
particularly grateful for it, since he contemptuously termed it "a
’pie’s nest," and plainly intimated that it was not so much as might
have been expected.  However, for the present, he held aloof from the
actual struggle.


[#] Rot. Pat., 9 Edw. IV, Part 2.  The earldom of Morthumberland was not
immediately restored to the Percys on their submission in the previous
October.  A writer in the Paston Letters dates their restoration Mar.
25, 1470.


That was close at hand.  Some rumour of the transactions with Welles
must have reached Edward, for he sent a peremptory order to Lord Welles
to come to him.  It was obeyed; and the old man was then commanded to
write a letter to his son, charging him instantly to forsake Warwick and
to join his father.  The command was accompanied by a hint that the
writer’s head would be the forfeit of his failure.  Sir Robert, who
seems to have been of an obstinate temper, since we are told that he
knew his power was too weak to grapple with Edward, refused to obey, and
moved southward to give battle.  Edward kept his word, and the father’s
life paid for the son’s imprudence.  Then he marched northwards, and the
two armies met at Stamford, on a place afterwards known as Loosecoat
Field. Welles had no chance against the overwhelming superiority of
Edward’s forces, and Warwick was not there.  Sir Robert was taken, and
beheaded at Doncaster on the 13th of March.  Hearing that Warwick was
encamped about twenty miles from Doncaster, Edward went on to the latter
town.  The next morning, March 20, "at nine of the bell," Edward took
the field at Estrefield, and Warwick met him.  "Never were seen in
England so many goodly men, and so well arranged."  But no sooner did
Warwick and Clarence perceive that fortune was against them than they
fled the field, and went to seek succour from Lord Stanley.  They halted
first at a little town, so obscure that it was necessary to say that it
was in Lancashire, as otherwise few would have known whereabouts
Manchester might be.  Thence they sent messengers to Lathom, but my Lord
Stanley, most cautious of men, showed them little favour.  "And so men
say they went northward, and thence, men deem, to London."[#]


[#] Paston Letters.


Perceiving that his chief adversaries had escaped him, Edward stopped
pursuit of their troops, and went on to York.  He and his men had
probably had thirsty work, for we learn that "York was drunk dry when
the King was there."[#]  He was wise enough to send to Middleham for
Lord Montague.  When that trustworthy gentleman appeared, it was to be
created Marquis Montague, the earldom of Northumberland being now taken
from him and restored to its rightful owner.  It might have been
supposed that an earl would scarcely deem it a deplorable occurrence
that he should be made a marquis: but my gracious Lord of Montague was
evidently in an exceedingly bad temper.  He growled and grumbled as if
he were a deeply injured man,—managing, however, to keep up a contented
face in the presence of his master, who appears to have fancied that he
had secured Montague’s fidelity.  Never were there more men than at that
time who were able to "smile, and smile, and be a villain": and all the
Warwick brothers were certainly of the number.


[#] Paston Letters.


From York was issued a long and curious proclamation, in which Edward
showed that he had at last fully realised that Warwick and Clarence were
his open enemies.  If the words of Edward were to be relied on to the
exclusion of his deeds, it would certainly be supposed that he was a man
of the tenderest and most affectionate nature.  In this respect he
somewhat resembled his predecessor, Henry III.  Both could use very
touching language—which the actions of both sorely contradicted.  In
this document the tone taken by Edward is that of a well-deserving man
who had been injured in his deepest affections.  He sets forth that "the
King granted to George Duke of Clarence and Richard Earl of Warwick his
pardon general for all offences before Christmas last," trusting thereby
to have caused them to have "shewed unto him their naturall loue,
ligeance, and duetee," for which purpose he had authorised them to
assemble his subjects in certain shires.  "Yet the said Duke and Earl,
unnaturally, unkindly, and truly intending his destruction and the
subversion of the kingdom, ... and to make the said Duke king of this
the said realm, against God’s law, man’s law, all reason, and
conscience, dissimuled with his said Highness."  Their proceedings are
then detailed, as deposed in the confessions of Sir Robert Welles and
others, concluding with their flight "with all their fellaship into
Lancastreshire, so as his said Highness with his hoste for lack of
vitayll might not follow."  Notwithstanding all these offences, "our
sovereign Lord considered the nighness of blood,[#] and tender love
which he hath aforetime borne to them, and was therefore loth to have
lost them if they would have submitted them to his grace."  Having
disobeyed the writs which allowed them to present themselves, under
promise of pardon, up to the 28th of March, the Duke and Earl are now
solemnly proclaimed rebels, to whom loyal subjects of King Edward are to
give no aid, favour, nor assistance, with meat, drink, money, or
otherwise, but are to take them and bring them to the King, upon pain of
death and forfeiture.  The reward announced for the capture of either is
£100 in land by the year, to the captor and his heirs, or £1000 in ready
money, at his election.  The capture of any knight of their following is
to be rewarded by £20 in land or a hundred marks in cash; and of a
squire, £10 in land or forty in money.[#]


[#] The Countess of Warwick was Edward’s second cousin, and the Earl his
third cousin.

[#] Close Roll, 10 Edw. IV.; dated York, March 24, 1470.


The day after this proclamation, Montague received his marquis’s
coronet, and was, in appearance at least, one of the most faithful
subjects of King Edward.  The news he brought on his return to Middleham
caused no little excitement there. The Countess ordered instant
preparations for departure.  Some of the household were left behind at
Middleham: some were suffered to return to their friends, among whom
were Theobalda and Eleanor. The only ladies she took with her, beside
her daughters, were Mother Bonham, Frideswide, and Avice.  There was
also a dresser, or lady’s maid, and a scullion-girl.

About midnight, when the ladies were trying to get a little sleep before
their early journey on the morrow, the porter was awoke by small pebbles
thrown up at his window.

"Who goes there?" he inquired, opening the casement about an inch.

"It is I, John Wright," answered the familiar voice of the young squire.
"Pray thee, good Thomas, be hasteful and let me in privily, with all
silence, for I bring word from my Lord unto my Lady."

The porter cautiously unbarred the small wicket, and Wright stepped
inside.  He did not wait to satisfy the porter’s curiosity, but sped
across the court-yard, and by means of a key which he carried, let
himself into the tower which contained the apartments of the Countess.
A minute later, he was softly rapping at the outer door of her rooms,
and Mother Bonham admitted him.

The Countess sent for him at once to her bedside.  She guessed that his
message was one of imminent import.

"Noble Lady," said Wright, with a low courtesy—for the courtesy was a
gentleman’s reverence in those days,—"behold here my Lord’s token, who
greets you well by me, and desires you to come unto him, and my young
ladies withal, at Dartmouth, in Devon, so speedily and secretly as you
may."

He held forth a diamond ring, which the Countess recognised as one
usually worn by her husband, and not sent as a token except on occasions
of serious moment.  She sent Mother Bonham at once to communicate the
news to her daughters, and to desire them to be ready to set forth two
hours earlier than the time originally fixed.  Her idea had been to seek
the Earl at Warwick Castle, though she hoped to receive more exact news
before her departure.  But she deemed it quite as well that that very
reliable person, the Marquis Montague, should be left in a little
uncertainty touching her departure.  She had already taken advantage of
a conveniently smoky chimney to move the Marquis into a tower which did
not overlook her own. She now gave further orders that the horses were
to be in waiting outside the Castle, on the grass, so as to avoid noise,
and in a position where they could not be seen from Montague’s windows.
At two o’clock, wrapped in long travelling cloaks, and wearing list
slippers, the ladies crept out of the Castle into the fresh April night
air, and mounted their horses in silence.  Sir John Clare rode before
the Countess, Sir Walter Wretill before the Duchess of Clarence, and
John Wright before the Lady Anne.  Slowly and silently, at first, the
procession filed off from the Castle, not breaking into a trot till they
thought themselves beyond sight and hearing.  The Archbishop (just then
to be trusted) was keeping watch over his brother, and with him
Warwick’s servant, Philip Strangeways, who was to follow an hour later,
in order to gallop on and warn the ladies if any pursuit were attempted.

Once out of Wensleydale, and joined by Philip, the journey changed into
a rapid flight.  They travelled by night.  They were afraid of being
pursued, not only on their own account, but on that of Warwick, to whose
locality theirs would give a clue, as it would instantly be surmised
that they were going to join him.  They kept as much as possible to the
bye-ways and moor roads, which were less frequented, and also less
capable of ambush, than the high roads: but they could not keep
altogether out of human sight and hearing. Many a cottager woke up in
the dark to hear a rush of horses, and to see the flash of the lanterns
as the fugitives fled past.  It was a wretched journey, especially for
the Duchess, who was by no means in health to stand it.  But the Duchess
had a spirit which carried her above all pain and languor.  She would
have no halts made for her.  She entertained a strong dislike and fear
of Edward personally, and if report spoke truly, not without good
reason.

Before Dartmouth was reached, Frideswide Marston had most heartily
wished herself, a score of times at least, within the safe shelter of
Lovell Tower.  Oh, if she could wake up from this hurried snatch of
sleep under an elderbush, to find herself in that little white bed in
the turret chamber, with Dorathie’s head beside her on the pillow!  It
seemed to Frideswide as if, that wish granted, she could never complain
of any thing again.

Along the wild hill-passes of "the back-bone of England," winding round
the Peak, keeping clear of Stafford Castle, where the Yorkist Duke of
Buckingham had his home, skirting Shropshire and Hereford, taking the
ferry over the Severn, down through Somerset, avoiding alike the
uncivilised neighbourhood of Exmoor, where bandits loved to congregate,
and the too civilised neighbourhood of Exeter, they came into those
safer parts of Devon where the exiled Courtenays were lords of the
hearts, though they had lost the lands,—where once more "the King" was
Henry VI., and his adherents would meet with honour and help.  Near
Totness they were met by William Newark, Warwick’s nuncio, who conducted
them to boats moored in the river awaiting them.  It was a great relief
to change their weary saddles for the boats in which they dropped down
the lovely Dart, and found Warwick’s fleet, of eighty ships, ready to
weigh anchor the moment they arrived, lying off Kingswear.

The voyage, however, had not been long before they discovered that the
saddles had been the safer mode of conveyance.  The wind, though low,
was not unfavourable: but they had scarcely passed Portland when they
were met by the very enemy from whom they were endeavouring to escape.
As they rounded the little peninsula, ships of war stood before them,
with King Edward’s standard and Lord Rivers’ pennon flying from the
masthead.

An evil augury for Warwick was that pennon. With any weaker commander,
the fleet would have obeyed its Lord High Admiral, as Warwick had been
created a year before.  But Lord Rivers was a conscientious man of one
idea, and he thoroughly believed in Edward’s right.  The ships joined
battle, and the ladies of course were kept below.

Oh for that little white bed and Dorathie!

Never till then had Frideswide Marston looked death in the face, and
never after that day could she be as she had been, again.

Warwick was a less honest and true-hearted man than Rivers, but he was
also a better general.  The battle was short and sharp, but the victory
remained in the hands of Warwick.  His ships got safely away, but they
were not by any means out of their troubles.  It seemed as though both
God and man were against them that night.  Before they could reach
Beachy Head, there came on them a terrific tempest, and they were tossed
up and down in the Channel like toys of the storm.  To add to all other
distresses, the Duchess of Clarence, whose mental energy had hitherto
borne her through her physical sufferings, sank beneath them at last,
and became alarmingly ill.  It was not until the morning of the fourth
day that they found themselves off Calais, and a few hours before, the
Duchess had given birth to a child which had not survived the event many
minutes.  But Calais was Warwick’s old home; he had been Governor of the
town for years.  Here, at least, he might hope for rest and aid.

They cast anchor under shelter of Cape Grisnez, and sent John Wright
ashore in a little boat to notify to Vauclere, Warwick’s deputy in
command, that his master was about to land.

Warwick himself paced the quarter-deck impatiently.  What were those
sluggards ashore doing, that his own state barge was not sent off at
once to land the ladies?  Why did Vauclere not appear, cap in hand, to
express his satisfaction at the return of his master?  When at last he
saw his squire return alone, Warwick’s patience, never very extensive,
failed him utterly.

"What means all this?" he roared in a passion.

"My Lord," shouted John Wright back from the boat, "Messire de Vauclere
begs your Lordship will not essay a landing, for the townsmen will not
receive you."

"Not receive _me_!" cried the Earl in amazement. "Me, their own
Governor!  Lad, didst hear aright? Is Vauclere beside himself?"

"In good sooth, nay, my Lord, and he is sore aggrieved to have no better
welcome for your Lordship than so.  ’Tis the townsmen, not he, as he
bade me for to say, and he earnestly desires your Lordship to make for
some other French port."

Warwick could hardly believe his ears.

"But surely," he answered in a rather crestfallen tone, "they will never
refuse to receive my Lady Duchess?  Have you told Vauclere in what case
she now is?"

"My Lord, I told him all things: and he replied that he was sore
troubled it should so fall out, but he had no power.  He hath, howbeit,
sent two flagons of wine for Her Grace."

"No power!" repeated the Earl.  "Wherefore then is he there?  Leave me
but land in safety, and Messire de Vauclere, and my masters the
townsmen, shall soon behold if I have any power or no!  No power,
quotha!  Well! better luck next time.  Get you up, lad, and bring the
wine, for ’tis sore needed. Bid the shipmaster stand southward.  Were we
in better case, they should find their ears tingle ere they were much
older!  Messire de Vauclere shall one day hear my name again, or I much
mistake!"

And away strode the Earl wrathfully, to communicate the disappointing
news to his suffering ladies.

Southwards, for two days more, they slowly sailed. The storm was over,
and the wind had dropped almost to a calm.  But at the end of two days,
with much difficulty, the vessel containing the Earl and his family was
run into the mouth of the Seine, and between Harfleur and Honfleur they
landed on the soil of Normandy.

In France the scene was changed.  Louis XI. had been pleased to take up
the Lancastrian cause—the cause of the King who had of old, as a child,
been made the rival of Louis’s father, and whose troops had been so
ignominiously driven out of France by the Maid.  In France, therefore,
Warwick was received with honour and material help. Every provision was
made for the wearied ladies at Valognes, where they took up their
temporary abode: but for some weeks nothing would tempt Warwick from
Honfleur—not even the remonstrances of his friend the Duke of Burgundy,
who sent to entreat him to come to his Court.  One important point was
wanting—Queen Marguerite would make no move towards conciliation.  In
vain King Louis assured her that Warwick’s help was absolutely essential
to the Lancastrian cause.  The Queen might have welcomed him, but the
cruel defamation of her name the woman knew not how to forgive.  She
only relented after long importunity, and then on the stern condition
that in the presence of the Kings of France and Naples, Warwick should
solemnly retract all his accusations, and beg her pardon for his
infamous falsehoods.  She also insisted on this retractation being
published in England.  Finding that no better terms could be obtained
from his insulted sovereign, Warwick was compelled to eat this most
unpalatable piece of humble-pie with what appetite he might.  He waited
on the Queen at Angers, where he begged her pardon on his knees, and
formally unsaid all the imputations which he had made upon her
character. Even then all present could see that Marguerite found it a
very bitter task to receive her enemy into favour.  After this
humiliating scene, the Earl rejoined his ladies, and some weeks later
they travelled together to the Castle of Amboise, where their royal
hosts were then residing.

The Castle of Amboise stands on one of those natural platforms of rock
which in and about Touraine gem the vale of the Loire; the little town
clustering at its foot, between it and the river, while the Palace
towers above all.  Were it not for them, the scenery would be as flat as
the sea.  But wherever they stand up there is a little oasis of beauty,
for they are generally clad in verdure, as well as crowned with some
picturesque edifice of the Middle Ages.

It was after dark when the barge which bore the fugitives was moored at
Amboise.  Royal footmen stood on each side of the landing-stage, bearing
large torches, and royal ushers handed the ladies from the barge, and
led them into the Castle.  As Frideswide was modestly following her
mistress, the last of the group, rather to her surprise, a hand was
offered her, and a voice asked her in English if she were not very
tired.

Frideswide looked up into the pleasant face of a man of some thirty
years of age, who wore the royal livery of England.  Livery, it must be
remembered, was not at that time any badge of servitude; all the King’s
equerries, household officers, and gentlemen ushers, wore his livery.
This man was of fine proportions, had bright, dark, intelligent eyes,
and wore—what few then did—a long beard and moustache.  There was a
kind, friendly expression in his face which made Frideswide feel at her
ease. She answered the sympathising inquiry by a smiling affirmative.

"Well, here may you find good rest," said he. "At the least, after all
these stairs be clomb, which I fear shall yet weary you somewhat.  Shall
we, of your good pleasure, make acquaintance?  I am the Queen’s
henchman."

"Master Combe?" asked Frideswide, looking up.

"John Combe, and your servant," said he. "Truly a lowly name—it could
scarce be shorter—but it hath serven me these thirty years, and yet
shall, if it please God."

The name was no unknown sound to Frideswide Marston, for John Combe had
been Queen Marguerite’s personal attendant—equerry, secretary,
confidant, friend—ever since that dark and evil day when, stung by
Warwick’s cruel stab in the dark, the beautiful young Queen, to avoid
all ground for evil surmisings, had selected a boy of fourteen to ride
before her.  Truest of the true had John Combe proved to his royal lady.
He was low down, indeed, in her household—no peerage ever adorned his
name, nor order glittered on his breast—but there was not a man about
her whom Marguerite would have trusted as she trusted him.  His feeling
towards her was one of reverential tenderness—the sentiment of a devotee
towards his chosen saint.  In fact, it was John Combe’s nature to look
out for, to protect, to love, whatever he found in need of it.  "The man
who wanted him was the man he wanted."  A timid, shrinking girl, who
looked frightened and uncomfortable, would have won John Combe’s notice,
though a dozen luxuriously-appointed beauties were fluttering about him
in vain.  What had originally attracted him to Marguerite herself was
not the beauty nor the Queen, but the lonely, helpless, calumniated
woman.

The world holds a few John Combes.  Would there were more!

The long stretch of stairs came to an end at last, and John Combe led
Frideswide into the private closet of Queen Marguerite.  It was the
first time she had ever seen the royal lady who to her was the
incarnation of every thing that was fair and noble. While the Queen was
occupied with the Countess and her daughters, Frideswide had time to
look at her.

Marguerite of Anjou was now just forty years of age, but she still
retained, in every item but one, that wonderful beauty which had won her
the reputation of the loveliest woman in Europe.  The once brilliant
complexion was dimmed and faded by long years of anxiety and privation.
But the graceful figure, lithe and slender, was not changed—the gracious
bearing was no less fascinating than of old—the blue eyes were bright
and sparkling still, and the golden hair held its own without a silver
thread. She received the Countess with the affectionate concern of an
old friend who was sorry for her recent suffering, and her daughters
with motherly kindness. Perhaps there was just a shade more of it for
the Lady Anne than her sister.  But Anne was the younger, and was at
that moment looking the more wearied of the two.  Then the Queen turned
to the suite, greeted Mother Bonham as she might have done her own old
nurse, and gave her hand to kiss to Frideswide and Avice.  The Earl, who
had been first to wait on King Louis, made his appearance last.
Marguerite received him with cold civility, very different from her
manner to the ladies.  But she condescended to converse with him on
political affairs, though it was in a grave and distant style.
Marguerite showed to most advantage when she spoke, for then her face
lighted up, her eyes were animated, and her natural vivacity made itself
apparent.  Let her be silent, and the face grew grave and sad, as she
had good cause to be.

Before much of this political converse had gone on, the Queen, by a
motion of her hand, summoned John Combe, who, whatever he might be
doing, always seemed to keep one eye upon every act and gesture of his
royal mistress.  She desired him to call the Lady de Vivonne, and a
plump, lively, gesticulating Frenchwoman accordingly sailed into the
room.  To her care the Queen committed the ladies who had accepted her
hospitality, desiring her to see that they wanted for nothing: and the
Lady de Vivonne carried them off to the apartments already prepared for
them.  Here were several other women, both French and English, who
busied themselves in offering help.  One of the latter, a girl of about
their own age, devoted herself to Frideswide and Avice.

"Gramercy, my damsels, but you must be a-weary!" said she.  "I wis I was
when we hither came.  You shall yet have seen none, as I reckon, save
our own Queen?"

"None at all," answered Avice.  "I would right fain see my Lord Prince."

"And the King and Queen of France—be they here?" said Frideswide.

"They be so," replied Christian, as they found the girl was named: "but,
gramercy! they be not much to look at."

"Ill-favoured both?"

Christian pulled an affirmative face.  She was evidently ready to
continue the conversation to any extent; but both the chamberers were so
tired that when their duties were over, they were only too thankful to
lie down in bed.  Only, before they dropped asleep, Frideswide said,—

"What shall be the next move?"

"God wot," said Avice, gravely.

"Know you if the Queen hath or no any leaning toward our doctrine?"

"Hush, prithee!  I cannot tell, in any wise. The King is good man and
holy—men say, holy as any saint.  The Queen, I have heard, is a great
almsgiver—or so were, when she had alms to give. Poor lady! now ’tis
well nigh come to asking alms, with her."

"Poor lady!" echoed Frideswide.

And then they went to sleep.



                             *CHAPTER IV.*

                           *SCENE-SHIFTING.*

"What a world this is!—a cur of a world, which fawns on its master, and
bites the beggar.  Ha, ha! it fawns on me now, for the beggar has bought
the cur."—EDWARD, EARL LYTTON.


A brilliant spring morning greeted Frideswide’s eyes when she opened her
curtains in the little turret-room at Amboise where the chamberers were
lodged.  Avice was still asleep, but Frideswide, hearing sounds of life
without, and fearing it might be late, roused her, and they dressed
quickly, and hastened to the Countess’s rooms. They found that lady
refreshed by her night’s rest, and in the highest spirits.  From the
sanguine tone of her conversation, it might have been supposed that the
conquest of England was only a thing to ask and have.  They would soon
be back at Warwick or Middleham,—there could not be the least doubt of
it: King Henry would be restored amid the acclamations of a delighted
and loyal people, that rebel would have his head cut off, and all would
be smooth as a looking-glass, and sweet as a bouquet of roses, for ever
thenceforward.

It was not Frideswide’s place to utter a word. But in her heart she
thought that she had no wish to return to Middleham.  Were it in her
power to return to Lovell Tower, that would have been a different
matter.

The process of dressing over, the ladies descended to Queen Marguerite’s
drawing-room, there to wait till the chapel bell rang for matins.  The
Queen herself appeared in a few minutes, and gave them a kindly
greeting.  She was accompanied by a youth of seventeen years, in whom it
was easy to recognise the Prince of Wales.

Edward Prince of Wales was "only the child of his mother."  Neither in
person nor character did he bear any resemblance to the King.  He was
tall for his age, fair-haired, blue-eyed, and superlatively handsome.
His beauty, nevertheless, was of rather too feminine a cast—though there
was no shade of weakness in his character, unless too great a tendency
to fiery rashness be considered in that light.

It may be said that the Prince did not enter the room unattended.  A
little allegorical person accompanied him, Cupid by name, who is said to
take great delight in the making of mischief and the breaking of hearts.
In this instance he certainly came for the latter pursuit.  Well would
it have been for Warwick’s youngest and sweetest daughter if the
electric spark had not been shot that day from heart to heart, which was
to end in so soon making her a widow indeed, with a heart which could
throb no more to any human love.

The King of France was now on his way to the chapel, as a loud ringing
of bells and a trumpet-blast informed every body within hearing.  Queen
Marguerite marshalled her guests, giving her own hand to Clarence, the
Prince conducting the Duchess. In pairs they slowly filed down the
stairs of the tower, and crossed the court-yard to the chapel, where the
English Queen and Prince sat in the royal traverse, the former on the
right hand of King Louis, and the latter on the left of Queen Carlotta.

Frideswide felt quite ready to echo Christian’s opinion that neither
King nor Queen of France was much worth looking at.  King Louis had
strong and by no means beautiful features, and he stooped in the
shoulders to an extent which approached an appearance of deformity.  The
Queen’s features were more regular, but her face had a horse-like
length, and every thing about her was on a large and rather coarse
scale.  From the constant glances of fear cast by the Queen upon her
husband, Frideswide readily guessed that her married life was not a
happy one.  In truth, poor Carlotta’s brains had been frightened out of
her.  She was not naturally at all deficient in intellectual power: but
eighteen years spent under the influence of unceasing terror had so
completely broken her spirit and crushed her capacities of all kinds,
that Carlotta was now a simple nonentity—good to sit, clad in robes and
jewels, at a pageant, but in all other respects, outside her children’s
nursery, good for nothing at all.

After matins, breakfast was served in the Queen’s drawing-room.
Breakfast was only now beginning to be considered a social meal.
Hitherto it had been much what afternoon tea is now—a light repast, to
which people came or not as they chose, and chiefly affected by women
and invalids.  It had, therefore, mainly consisted of bread or cakes.
Now fish and meat made their appearance in addition, and also the
acceptable novelty of butter—novel, that is to say, in its new form of
bread and butter.  It had long been used in cooking: but about this time
it permanently took the place of dripping as a relish to bread.  Wine,
ale, and milk, were the beverages used.

Never, perhaps, to the same extent as at this time, did the staff of
life appear under so many different forms.  The more delicate kinds were
termed simnel and _pain de main_: wassel was the best kind of common
bread; cocket was a spongy loaf of cheaper flour; maslin was made of
wheat mixed with oats and barley.  Griddle-cakes were peculiar to Wales
and the counties bordering thereon. Spice-bread was plum-cake in all
varieties of richness.  There was also brown bread, and Christmas bread,
which last was made of fine flour, milk, and eggs.  Manchet bread, which
was of high class, seems to have borne its distinctive name rather in
reference to shape than to material, and probably resembled a Yorkshire
tea-cake.[#]  There were beside all these, rolls, biscuits and cakes of
all sorts, maccaroons, gingerbread, and marchpane—a sweet cake of the
maccaroon type.


[#] This is the explanation usually given by antiquaries; but in
Lancashire, within living memory, a manchet was a small square loaf of
very white bread.  Some writers make manchet (afterwards termed _chet_
bread) the name of the simnel loaf; this is perhaps the true
explanation.


After breakfast, Queen Marguerite proceeded to business.  She held a
long sitting of her council—for the King being a prisoner, she was
virtually and unavoidably the Lancastrian Sovereign.  The Prince was yet
too young to assume this position, though circumstances had forced him
to the front so early that his intellect was beyond his years. He had
inherited nothing of the mental weakness of his father.

The council consisted of the Prince, Warwick, Clarence, Oxford, Jaspar
Tudor Earl of Pembroke (brother of King Henry by the mother’s side),
Walter Lyhart Bishop of Norwich (the Queen’s Confessor), Ralph
Mackarell, her Chancellor, and several gentlemen of less note who were
in the Queen’s suite.  The only ladies admitted in attendance on the
Queen were the Countess of Warwick and the Lady de Vivonne, the latter
of whom understood no English.  Any thing of serious consequence could
therefore be said in that tongue.

English had now almost entirely taken the place so many centuries held
by French as the Court language, and there is very little difference
between the English of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. During the
reign of Elizabeth a polishing process was slowly progressing, which has
never ceased,—though how far all changes in this respect are
improvements, may reasonably be open to question.

The idea of a new campaign was now mooted. Marguerite was sure of help
from King Louis.  The Duke of Burgundy was a more doubtful ally, who
vacillated between the rivals as inclination or policy led him, and who
was at that time recently married to the youngest sister of Edward IV.,
and yet entertaining and pensioning a number of the Lancastrian fugitive
nobles.  Just now the Red Rose was in the ascendant at his Court.  His
personal liking for Edward was doubtful, and his fear and dislike of
Warwick were not doubtful.  Two of the most prominent Lancastrian
nobles, the Dukes of Exeter and Somerset, both of whom were at his
Court, did their utmost to incline him in their own direction, and the
result was that he openly offered his assistance to Queen Marguerite,
while he privately sent underhand information to Edward of all her plans
so far as they were known to him.  This, at least, is generally
believed.  It is, nevertheless, very possible, that the Duchess Margaret
may be really responsible for much of her lord’s apparent treachery.
She was a woman to whose soul conspiracy and scheming were as the breath
of life.

The preparations for the campaign were quietly maturing as the summer
advanced.  It was arranged that Warwick was to precede the Queen,
landing about September, and she was to follow with more troops, two
months later.  But in the mean time it was desirable that some means
should be found to make the interests of Warwick identical with those of
King Henry.  No one knew better than Marguerite that Warwick’s fidelity
was an article that had its price, and that he might be expected to
serve any cause just so long as that cause served him.  He was
perpetually at see-saw, and a very little additional pressure at either
end would hoist or depress him in an instant.  The fact of his
daughter’s marriage to Clarence made him more dubious than ever. True,
Clarence himself was at the present moment a Lancastrian: but how long
would he remain so? He was even less to be trusted of the two: for while
solid advantage was required to weigh with Warwick, caprice was enough
at any time to sway the actions of Clarence.  Something, therefore, must
be done to provide a make-weight for Warwick’s family connection with
Edward: and while the Queen was considering how it could be done, King
Louis made a suggestion to her which showed the best way to do it.

Human hearts will break through all state trappings, and will insist on
being heard even through the roar of revolution.  The young Prince of
Wales, barely seventeen, had fallen passionately in love with the Lady
Anne Neville, Warwick’s youngest daughter, who was a year younger than
himself. But people were grown up at that age in the eventful fifteenth
century, which acted like a hot-bed upon the intellect and judgment of
its children. That the Prince should marry the Lady Anne Neville was
politically most devoutly to be wished: it was ardently desired by both
the parties most concerned, by Warwick himself, and by every body but
the one person into whose hands the matter had to come for decision.
But so well were the feelings of Queen Marguerite known to all around
her, that no one but the King of France himself dared to suggest to her
the marriage of her son with Warwick’s daughter.  And when suggested,
the proposal was at first received by the Queen with a blaze of
indignation.  The wrath was all for Warwick,—certainly not for the
innocent Anne, whom she loved dearly for her own sake.

"What!" cried the Queen passionately, "does he ask to marry his daughter
to the son of the woman he traduced?  The wounds that he has inflicted
on me will bleed till the day of judgment."[#]


[#] These are the Queen’s own words.


King Louis had need of all his craft and cajolery (in both which he was
an adept when he chose) to bring the insulted woman to what he
considered reason.  Perhaps, after all, she yielded rather to the
pleading eyes of her darling than to any political argument.  But she
did yield: and usually, when Marguerite resolved to do any thing, she
did it graciously.

The marriage of the Prince of Wales and the Lady Anne was celebrated in
the chapel of Amboise, in July or August, 1470.  It was attended by the
usual ludicrous stratagems on the part of King Louis, who loved grand
pageants only less than he detested paying bills for them.  Accordingly,
when hangings were to be put up, he bought new velvet for those parts
where they could be seen, and made old serve wherever they could not.
On the present occasion, His Majesty had new robes made for himself and
the Queen, but the fronts only were of previously unused material,—for,
as the King very truly observed, "when we are sitting in the traverse in
chapel, who will see the backs of our clothes?"  On this economical
principle, the gold trimmings on Queen Carlotta’s dress were gold in
front, but at the back tinsel was employed.  A splendid diamond served
as a button to fasten the ostrich feather in His Majesty’s hat (which
was of a round form turned up with fur, like a tall "pork-pie" hat), but
the velvet of which the back portion was composed was creased and worn,
and the back fur had been cut from an old cloak of the Queen’s.

Queen Marguerite practised her economies in another fashion.  Economy
was far more necessary to her than to Louis, for she literally lived
upon alms: but when she found velvet beyond her purse, she dressed
herself in honest camlet, or, had it come to that, in uncompromising
serge.  In truth, Marguerite was too high-souled to measure a man’s
worth by that of his clothes.  In velvet or in serge, she was still the
Queen of England.  By a little pinching, in this instance, velvet was
obtained for the bridegroom’s dress: but there was not enough for the
Queen also, and she therefore appeared contentedly in sendal, which cost
less, nor was she so mean a soul as to feel one pang in doing so.
Warwick, who acquired wealth not as he ought, but as he could, had cash
enough, and exhibited the fact by showering jewellery on the bride.

The ceremony over, congratulations were offered in abundance, and all
the suite knelt to kiss the hand of the Princess.  It was the general
opinion that a splendid future lay before the young pair,—how could it
be otherwise?  They were already dowered with rank, beauty, intellect,
and devoted love.  What did they lack except wealth and success, which
the approaching campaign would undoubtedly confer on them?  O blind
eyes, which saw not the Angel of Death stand with folded wings behind
the bridegroom!—which read not the scroll, written within and without,
with desolation, and mourning, and woe, to be crushed into those few and
evil years which were the portion of the bride!  Woe unto them that
laughed now, for they should weep!

The remainder of the summer was busily filled with preparations for the
approaching campaign. On an early day in September, the Duke of
Clarence, and the Earls of Warwick and Oxford, took leave of the ladies,
and with banners flying, at the head of a mercenary host, set out for
England.

"God guard you, my Lady!" said Warwick, with his last kiss to his wife.
"Farewell, my pretty ones!" to his daughters.  "Only a short farewell.
We meet at Westminster, two months hence, if His will be."

It was not.  Never again were they to see his face.

Queen Marguerite did not remain long at Amboise after Warwick’s
departure.  She removed to Paris, to be nearer the scene of action,
accompanied by the Prince and Princess, the Countess of Warwick, the
Countess of Wiltshire, and the rest of her ladies.  A very comical story
is told of the husband of this Countess of Wiltshire at the battle of
St. Albans, where, says the sly old chronicler, "the said James set the
King’s banner again an house end, and fought manly with the heels, for
he was afeared of losing of beauty, for he was named the fairest knight
of this land."[#]


[#] Gregory’s Chronicle.


On the thirteenth of September, Warwick and his army landed at Plymouth,
some at Dartmouth and Exmouth.  The Duke of Burgundy tried in vain to
intercept him, his vessels being scattered by a great storm through
which Warwick passed safely. Burgundy, however, sent word to Edward of
the port and time of Warwick’s choice: but Edward was on a hunting
expedition, and, true to his character, he left matters to look out for
themselves. A man of no foresight, vigilance, nor strength of character,
but capable of sudden rushes of violent bravery, it was Edward’s habit
to trust to the chapter of circumstances, which hitherto had usually
turned in his favour.  Moreover, he had in this instance a secret source
of hopefulness, of which Warwick was not aware.  Private overtures had
been going on between him and Clarence, by means of a lady in the
household of the Duchess, whom Edward had sent over primed with
instructions.  Ostensibly she came, of her own accord, to join her
mistress, and her _rôle_ of envoy was never suspected, for "she was no
fool, nor loquacious."[#]  Beyond this, Edward placed trust in Warwick’s
brothers, of whose fidelity he felt no doubt.  The past was apparently
forgotten.


[#] Comines.—Who this ambassadress was is not known.


Warwick had not landed a week when he found the whole country pouring in
to aid him.  He set his face towards Bristol, where he had left his
heavy baggage when he fled to France.  Here he was well received; and
after three days spent in collecting forces, he marched upon Nottingham
at the head of sixty thousand men.

King Edward was now at Lynn, in a fortified house, to which there was no
access except by one bridge.  He had "begun to look about him" when he
heard of Warwick’s approach, but he does not appear to have done much
beyond it.[#]  As he sat at dinner, news was brought to him that his
trusted partisan, the Marquis Montague, had mounted his horse, and was
crying, along with others, "God save King Henry!"  Edward treated the
first rumour as mere nonsense: but when it was repeated, and Lord Rivers
shook his head with the remark that "things did not look well," Edward
despatched Lord Hastings to see if it were true.  He returned with the
news that it was less than the truth.  Nearly the whole army had
deserted to Warwick, as represented by his brother Montague.  If Edward
meant to save himself at all, he must escape now.


[#] Several chroniclers state that Edward fled from Nottingham to Lynn
when he heard of Warwick’s coming: but no hint of this movement is given
by Comines, who tells us that he received his version of the narrative
from Edward’s own lips.


At anchor off Lynn lay one English and two Dutch ships, ready to sail,
having come laden with provisions for Edward’s army.  He hastily
summoned such of his nobles as were faithful to him, and about seven
hundred of the army, and fled on board one of the Dutch ships.  Lord
Hastings stayed behind to give a piece of deceitful advice to his
men—namely, that they should join Warwick, but retain their allegiance
to King Edward and himself—and then followed his master.  So hurried was
the flight that Edward had no money, and no clothes but those he wore,
and a cloak "lined with beautiful martens," which he had probably caught
up in departing.  The three ships sailed away from Lynn with all the
speed they could make, and the day, which had opened on the tenth year
of Edward IV., closed on the forty-ninth of Henry VI.

Once more—and though he knew it not, for the last time—Warwick "had all
England at his bidding."  He was king in all but name, for King Henry
still lay a prisoner in the Tower, and Queen Marguerite was in France.
Warwick sent off Sir John Clare with hasty triumphant despatches to the
Queen, and himself marched on London.

Of course the news of his coming reached the capital before him, and the
citizens turned out to greet their favourite.  Warwick’s popularity with
them is said to have been due to three causes: first, he flattered them;
secondly, he allowed them to engage in any acts of piracy they pleased
with impunity; and lastly, he took care to be always heavily in debt to
various citizens.[#]  It became therefore the interest of London that
Warwick should triumph.


[#] Comines.


Warwick’s first act was to march on the Tower, and summon it to
surrender.  The terrified Constable delivered his keys to the Lord
Mayor, who opened the gates for Warwick.  Jaspar Earl of Pembroke and
John Earl of Oxford entered with him.  They went straight to the chamber
in which the King was confined, and found that simple-minded man calmly
reading his Psalter, and not more disturbed by the tumult than to look
up and say,—"Pray you, Master Gaoler, what noise is this without?"

But Henry’s tone changed the next instant, and the prisoner became the
king.

"Ha! my Lord of Warwick here!—and Jaspar—my dear brother!" and he gave
him his hand affectionately.  "My Lord of Oxford—God give you good
morrow all!  What means this?"

Warwick knelt at the feet of the King.

"It means, my Lord, that God hath saved King Henry."

And from all around rose the chorus.  The King gazed from one to another
as though he scarcely believed the evidence of his senses.

"Where are my wife and son?" was his next query.

"At Paris, my Lord, and soon to come hither, if God be serven."

"And the Earl of March?"

This was Edward’s proper title in the eyes of a Lancastrian.

"Fled, my Lord,—fled the realm: and his wife is in sanctuary with her
childre."

It would not have been Henry VI. if he had not answered, "Poor souls!"

"All is o’er of the rebellion," broke in Oxford, always fiery and rash:
"all is o’er, your Highness; and we pray you give us leave to conduct
you to your own lodging."

"Nay," said the King, kneeling down at the table; "tarry till I have
thanked God."

Then, the rest kneeling around bareheaded, he poured forth a fervent
thanksgiving.  Very simple as this man was in worldly wisdom, he was
eloquent when he spoke to God.  Then they took from him the prison garb,
and attired him in royal robes, and led him to "the King’s lodgings" in
the White Tower.

Here a singular ceremony took place.  Warwick and his colleagues were
not content with merely restoring King Henry, but deemed it a better
safeguard to give him the additional advantage of popular election.
Accordingly they held a formal _plébiscite_—of whom composed we are not
told,—whether simply of the little group of Lancastrian nobles, or of
their army of four thousand men, or generally of the citizens of London.
This process completed, the King was set on horseback, and conducted to
the Bishop of London’s palace.

But Warwick soon discovered that he had an account to settle with his
intensely discontented son-in-law.  The deposition of Edward, in the
eyes of Clarence, was not at all equivalent to the restoration of Henry.
He had been ready enough to displace his brother, but his
intention—which Warwick had frustrated—had been to set himself, not
Henry, on the vacant throne.  Clarence was in a very sulky temper, and
required a tiresome amount of smoothing.  This desirable end was at last
accomplished; and having been joined by his excellent brother, the
Archbishop of York, who was always constant to one side—the winning
one—Warwick proceeded to get up a splendid procession to St. Paul’s
Cathedral, which King Henry entered in state on the thirteenth of
October.  He wore his crown, and Warwick carried his train, while Oxford
bore the sword before him.  After the procession, Edward of March was
solemnly proclaimed a usurper through London.

Meanwhile, Edward, deserted and destitute, chased by Esterlings across
the sea, ran his vessel into Alkmaar, and landed, accompanied by his
brother Richard and his few faithful adherents.  He had no money to pay
the captain, and he gave him all that he had, his fur-lined cloak.  The
Lord of Gruthuse, Governor of Holland for the Duke of Burgundy, received
the fugitives kindly, provided them with clothing, and conducted them to
the Hague, whence Edward sent a messenger to the Duke to notify his
arrival.  This news was by no means a source of pleasure to that royal
trimmer, Duke Charles, whose endeavours to keep in with both parties are
as amusing to readers of history as they were troublesome to himself.
He did, however, grant to his brother-in-law a pension of five hundred
crowns per month; but he gave him little encouragement to come on to his
court, whither Edward nevertheless proceeded at once, as soon as he had
money to do so.  When Edward presented himself at St. Pol, where the
Court was then residing, the poor Duke was in a ludicrous state of
indecision. On his one hand was his wife Margaret, to whom he was really
attached, as he showed by marrying her as soon as he became his own
master—his father having set his face against the marriage for political
reasons: on the other side, the Lancastrian Dukes of Exeter and
Somerset, who had resided for some years at his Court, and were his
chosen friends. On both sides, as it seemed, was his own interest. At
last he contrived to find a way out of the difficulty, which, as usual
in such circumstances, was a crooked one.  He publicly proclaimed his
intention of giving no assistance to Edward, and forbade any of his
subjects to enlist with him: while privately he presented him with fifty
thousand florins, and quietly made ready at Ter Veere four or five large
ships of his own navy, and fourteen more hired from the Esterlings, or
merchants of the Hanse Towns.

These preparations of course took time; and during that time Queen
Marguerite would have been energetically working in England, had she
found it possible.  But winds and waves were against her.  She came down
to the French coast in November, as had been agreed with Warwick: but
she could go no further.  In an agony of impatience and longing, she was
compelled to waste at Harfleur time more precious than jewels.  Her
husband wanted her, in every sense of the word. The Lancastrian party,
deprived of her, was a body without a soul.  Even Warwick, clever man as
he was, and little love as was lost between him and her, condescended to
express a wish for the Queen’s presence.

On the fourth of November, 1470, while things were in this condition, a
little life began in the sanctuary at Westminster, which was to end,
fifteen years later, as sorrowfully as it had opened, in the Tower of
London.  The long wished for son of Edward IV. came at last.  But the
news does not seem to have lightened the discouraged hearts of the
Yorkists.  Before the month was over, Sir Richard Widville, Queen
Elizabeth’s own brother, had made his submission to King Henry.

The King was residing, quietly enough, at Westminster Palace, which he
never quitted during his short tenure of power.  Large grants were made
to the three Warwick brothers; and Henry, who could not conceive the
idea of any body playing him false, seems to have placed himself
entirely in their hands. His sagacious wife would have taken a truer
view of the situation.  But she was a virtual prisoner on the French
coast, bound there by the winds and waves of God.

Warwick was created afresh Lord High Admiral of England, Ireland, and
Aquitaine, with enormous powers: Clarence was made Viceroy of Ireland,
and letters patent granted enabling him to do any thing he chose.  The
whole tone of the grants shows them to have really proceeded from the
persons to whom they were ostensibly made, and in whose hands the King
was an innocent toy, skilfully moved at pleasure.  O for the wise head
and the true heart of his one real friend!—of her who loved _him_ first,
and the crown and sceptre second.  There were other friends, true in a
sense: but to them the crown was the point of importance, and Henry was
interesting merely as the man who ought to be wearing it.

One of these last was with him—his brother Jaspar,—and early in
February, another fought his way to his side.  The winds and waves, soon
to have so dire a message for him, yielded now to the eager importunity
of Exeter.  The sight of Edward at the Court of Burgundy was more than
his Lancastrian heart could bear.  The bitter cruelty which he had
received at the hands of Edward’s sister, his own wife, came back upon
him too vividly to be endured.  Half driven by the one reason, half
drawn by the other, he hastily left St. Pol, and journeyed across France
to the port where Queen Marguerite waited for a fair wind from the east.
And then it was that Frideswide Marston first saw the face which she
should never forget again.

Henry Duke of Exeter was a Holand, but not one of the handsome Holands
of Kent, who were characterised by their lofty height, their stately
carriage, and their magnificent beauty.  His grandfather, John de
Holand, the first Duke of Exeter, had stepped out of the family ranks in
respect of personal appearance, being a short, dark-haired man, with
pendulous cheeks and no good looks of any kind.  Duke Henry had improved
upon this pattern, having inherited some of the attractiveness of his
beautiful grandmother, the Princess Elizabeth of Lancaster.  Two Holand
qualities were his, derived from his grandfather—the fiery fervour and
the silver tongue.  From both sides of his ancestry came his impulsive
bravery; from the Plantagenet side his chivalrous generosity, his
delicate courtesy: from all, the unswerving loyalty and faithfulness
which formed the most prominent feature of his character.  Yet they were
joined by that shrinking from pain, and that despondent hopelessness,
which an eminent psychologist tells us are manly, not womanly
characteristics, inconsistently mingled with weakness of a type much
more feminine than masculine.  A strangely complex and inconsistent
character was this: a brave man who never feared disgrace nor death; a
true man, who would have died with his hand upon his banner and his face
to the foe; a man with distinct convictions, and courage to avow
them—yet a weak man.  A voice that he loved would lead him in the teeth
of his own convictions, though a voice that he did not love could not
make him swerve for an instant.  In this respect he was unlike all his
family,—most of all unlike his bluff and cruel father, the last act of
whose life had been the invention of the rack, long popularly known in
England as "The Duke of Exeter’s daughter."

In a popular ballad of the day, wherein the state is described under the
figure of a ship, Exeter is selected as the lantern at the mast-head.
The idea was doubtless originally taken from his badge—the fiery cresset
set aloft upon the pole—yet it was equally true to the fervent, devoted,
transparent character of the man.

    "The ship hath closèd hym a lyght
    To kepe her course in way of ryght,
    A fyrè cressant that bernethe bryght,
      With fawte was never spyed.
    That good lyght that is so clere
    Call Y the Duke of Exceter,
    Whos name in trouthè shyned clere,
      His worship spryngethe wyde."


The memory of the wife at whose hands he had endured what few husbands
would have borne, much less have pardoned, was to Exeter one of unmixed
pain and bitterness.  It could scarcely be said that he had loved her.
He had liked her, and he would have loved her with very little
encouragement. But so far from encouraging the affection, she had
smothered it in its cradle.  She gave him no chance to love her.
Repulsed and mortified, his heart—to which love of something was an
absolute necessity—had turned to their one child, the fair-haired little
daughter who resembled her mother in face, but her father in character.
For her sake he had borne all this suffering inflicted by her mother;
for her sake he had continued to live in the same house with his wife,
long after her company had become intolerable.  Nay, not to be parted
from Anne, he had done, and would have done, almost any thing required
from him.  They were parted now.  The Duchess knew her daughter’s power
over her husband, and she therefore insisted on keeping the daughter by
her side.  She might become a useful tool some day, if she received
proper training, which her mother meant to give her.

All that Exeter knew was that the only creature whom he loved, and who
loved him, was in the hands of enemies who would try hard to make her
hate him.  She was his one comfort in all the world, and she was kept
away from him.  This was the bitterest drop in his bitter cup—and his
wife meant it to be so.  Few men had suffered in the Wars of the Roses
as he had.  To-day in prison, and to-morrow in sanctuary; forsaken by
his own soldiers, reduced to beg his bread barefooted until the Duke of
Burgundy took compassion upon him, robbed of every penny of his
inheritance by the woman who had sworn in God’s presence to love and
cherish him—all these painful memories were less to Exeter than the
cruel separation from his only child.  Deep down in his heart, scarcely
confessed even to himself, was the hope that would break out of that
passionate longing for her.  If he could cross the Channel, if he could
get to London, perhaps, some day, at a window or through the curtains of
a litter, he might catch a glimpse of Anne.  Even a wilder hope than
this he cherished; for it might be possible to bribe one of his own
servants to obtain for him a secret and stolen interview with his own
child.  But would he ever find his child again?  He might see the Lady
Anne de Holand: but would she be the little Nan that he had left years
ago—the little Nan that used to climb upon his knee and kiss him and
tell him that she "loved him so"?  Better to keep that sweet remembrance
undimmed, though it called up such hopeless yearning, than to meet a
cold, haughty maiden who would courtesy to him and call him "my gracious
Lord," and take the first opportunity of getting away from him.  That
would be to lose his darling indeed, in a far worse sense than he had
lost her now.

It was not for Frideswide Marston to read all this.  But she saw the
weary, wistful look in the dark eyes, and she wondered whence it came.

How Exeter contrived to do what the Queen could not do, and make his way
to England, has not been explained.  We only know that he did it, and
that on the fourteenth of February, 1471, he rode into London—where King
Henry VI. reigned in the Palace of Westminster, where Queen Elizabeth
Widville pined in the Sanctuary, and where the Duchess Anne of Exeter
held royal state at Coldharbour—safe from both rival Roses, for what
Lancastrian would harm the wife of his King’s most faithful councillor,
and what Yorkist would dare to touch the favourite sister of his
sovereign?

In anticipation of the Duke’s journey, Queen Marguerite had kindly
suggested that any of the suite who wished to do so might send letters
by him. Frideswide, who was longing for communication with home,
undertook the tremendous task of writing both to her father and sister.
The Duke turned over the letters which were put into his hands, and
paused suddenly when he came to the one addressed to his own home.

"Who writ this?" he asked of John Combe, who had brought the letters to
him.

Combe glanced at the address—"_To the hands of Mistress Agnes Marston,
at Coldharbour, in the City of London, le these delivered._"

"I reckon, my gracious Lord, it shall be Mistress Frideswide Marston,
that is of my Lady of Warwick’s following."

"Pray you, desire Mistress Frideswide to come hither, for I would fain
have speech of her."

She came, and stood courtesying within the doorway.

"Come nigh, I pray you, Mistress," said the Duke, "and tell me, is this
fair dame of your kin?"

He held up her letter to Agnes, as he spoke.

"An’ it like you, aye, my gracious Lord: it is my sister, that is
chamberer unto your Lady."

The Duke looked thoughtfully at the letter.

"Think not my words strange," said he, "but answer me, if this your good
sister be of gent and pitying kind?"

"That is she, right surely."

"One that should do a kind deed for a man in need, an’ it fell in her
way?"

"I am assured of that, my gracious Lord."

"Then pray you, Mistress Frideswide, do me so much grace as to write
outside your letter, that you do beseech her, for the love of you, to
grant that the bearer thereof shall ask of her."

Frideswide looked, as she felt, astonished.

"Mistress Frideswide," said the Duke sadly, "you are here, as I, cut off
from home and friends.  But you have hope to return thither when God
will, and I have none.  My maid, I have one only child, that is the very
jewel of my heart, and they keep her from me.  (He did not say who
"they" were.)  If you will do so much for me, I will myself deliver your
letter, an’ it may be compassed, and pray your good sister to let me
have a word with my darling."

Frideswide Marston looked up into the sad earnest eyes, and then,
without another word, stooped down and added the request to her letter.
There was more wet on the cover than ink, when she had done.



                              *CHAPTER V.*

                           *HIS LITTLE NAN.*

    "Some feelings are to mortals given
    With less of earth in them than Heaven;
    And if there be a human tear
    From passion’s dross refined and clear,
    A tear so limpid and so meek
    It would not stain an angel’s cheek,
    ’Tis that which pious fathers shed
    Upon a duteous daughter’s head."
      —SIR WALTER SCOTT.


"Be sure, Jane, to tell Valentine that I will have my gown of motley
velvet ready for my wearing on the morrow; and bid him set silver
buttons thereto—and good plenty."

"Please it your Grace, Master Valentine did desire of me that I should
say unto you that he could not make ready the gown of motley as
to-morrow, nor afore Thursday come."

"Could not?"  The Duchess of Exeter’s chiselled eyebrows were slightly
raised.  "Could not?  But he must."

"Please it your Grace, thus said he."

"Tell him it skills not[#] what he can.  I say he shall."


[#] Matters not.


"Then belike there shall be more tailors had?"

"I care not how it be done, so it cost no money."

"But, an’t like your Grace, the tailors will not work without money: and
unless more be had, Master Valentine can never, his own self—without he
sit up all night, nor scarce then—make an end of your Grace’s gown by
to-morrow."

"Let him sit up, then.  Good lack! what ado is here over a sely[#]
tailor!"


[#] Simple, mean.


"Your Grace mindeth, maybe, that you were set to have the murrey[#] gown
by next Sunday?—and both two cannot be done."


[#] Plum-coloured.


"Cannot! always at _cannot_!  Hold thine idle tongue.  Of course it can
be done if I will have it so."

"Doubtless, Madam, if it please your Grace to pay more tailors."

"I will pay nobody.  Ye will clean ruin me amongst you.  "’Twas but
yesterday I paid four thousand marks to a Lombard for jewelling.  Ye
would leave me never a cross[#] in my purse."


[#] Penny, divided by a cross that it might be easily broken into
fourthings=farthings.


"Then, an’ it please your Grace, what is to be done?" demanded the
practical Jane, who was one of the four chamberers of the Duchess.

"Gramercy, maid, burden not me withal!" testily exclaimed her royal
mistress.  "Go and ask at Dame Elizabeth Darcy, an’ thou wist not what
to do.  I tell thee, the motley must be made ready for to-morrow, and
the murrey by Sunday next: and how it shall be is no business of mine,
so it cost not money.  _It shall be_.  See to it."

Poor Jane, who felt herself ordered to do the impossible, made one more
faint struggle with destiny.

"It should not like your Grace to bear that gown to-morrow?"

"This?" returned the Duchess contemptuously, glancing down at her dress,
which was of dark blue satin, heavily trimmed with minever.  "’Tis not
fit to be seen.  Hast lost thy wit?  I tell thee, I must have a decent
gown to put on.  That idle Valentine hath left me never a one in my
wardrobe.  He is the laziest tyke that ever set needle."

"Please it your Grace, there is the broched[#] cloth of silver"——


[#] Figured.


"’Tis all frayed at the bottom.  I warrant he hath not hemmed it anew."

"And the tawny velvet"——

"The which yon rascal Fulk spilt a glass of malmsey o’er.  Tell Dame
Elizabeth it must be docked of his wages."

"And the changeable[#] green velvet"——


[#] We retain changeable silk, under the name of shot silk; but
changeable velvet is lost.


"With a rent across the front breadth as wide as mine arm, and none of
you idle hussies hath thought to mend it."

"And the russet figury velvet"——

"All the pile worn off—as shabby as can be."

"And the crimson and blue damask, and the purple tartaryn,[#] and the
mustredevilers,[#] and"——


[#] A kind of satinette, or satin Turk.

[#] A cloth, of which the name was derived either from _moitié de
velours_, or from being manufactured at Villars.


"Go thy ways for an impudent ne’er-do-well!  I tell thee I will have
those two gowns—I _will have_ them!  Let me hear no more of thy
foolery."

And away marched the Duchess, and left poor Jane standing in the middle
of the room.

"It shall cost Master Valentine his place an’ he do it not," muttered
she to herself.  "And he cannot do it—’tis not possible in the time."

"Then, were I Master Valentine, catch me essaying to compass it!" said a
voice beside her.

"Dear heart, Marion! wouldst lose thy place?"

"I would lose this place, and be rare thankful to do it," responded the
girl addressed as Marion, who was another of the chamberers.  "I
oft-times wish we were as the meynie,[#] and could be hence if we
would."


[#] Household servants.


The expression of Jane’s face indicated that she thought such a
sentiment treasonable.

"What with her Grace, and what with Tamzine, it is not a dog’s life we
lead!" continued Marion. "If the thing lay in mine hands, you should
see, but I would wed the first man that asked me, just to be out of it."

"So might you be worser off than now," suggested Jane.

"Could not!" said Marion expressively.

Jane shook her head as if she thought that very questionable.

"Men be queer matter," said she.  "Now you can make out a woman."

"Good lack! think you making out is all?" replied Marion.  "She is easy
enough to make out, is Her Grace.  So is Tamzine.  But I love their
company never a whit the more for that.  Gramercy, there goeth my Lady’s
handbell!  I must away."


In an upper room in the same house two other girls were sitting.  One,
who sat at work in the window-seat, was so like Frideswide that we can
easily guess her to be Agnes Marston.  She was a little quieter than her
sister in manner, and a shade less good-looking.

The other girl sat in a large, handsome, curule chair, with an
illuminated manuscript open on the table before her.  Her face was a
remarkable one. Her figure was extremely slender, thin almost to
emaciation: but more striking than this was the wan white face, where
two hectic spots burned in the hollow cheeks, and the large dark blue
eyes seemed of unnatural size and brilliance.  A long-drawn sigh made
Agnes look up.

"Your Ladyship is weary, methinks," she said.

"I may well be thus," was the answer, as the head was leaned on the thin
hand.  "I was doing that which would weary an angel, for I was trying to
understand God."

"How, dear my Lady?"

The white-faced girl lifted her head, and let her eyes meet those of
Agnes.

"It were to no good to speak in riddles," she said.  "Agnes, you have
dwelt in this house a full year, and you know the sorrows thereof as
well as I.  Specially, you know my sorrows—you know that I live a life
wherein there is nothing to make the present happy, and the future is
all full of a great dread.  There is only one in all the world that
loves me, and I cannot go to him: and one that I love not, and that
loves not me, is about to be forced upon me whether I will or no.  Why
should I try to hide these things from you?  You know them all.  In all
the whole world that is, and in the life that is to be, there is not one
ray of sunlight for me.  Do you marvel, Agnes, if life looks black to
mine eyes?  Are you one of those surface seers, that reckon a woman
should be comforted for a breaking heart by a necklace of pearl, and
that she is a fool to weep for a lost friend if she have a new gown of
crimson velvet?"

"No, indeed, Lady mine."

"Aye me!" sighed the Lady Anne.  "If I had but been a carpenter’s child,
or of a gardener——that I could have welcomed him back at eve from his
daily work, and kept his hearth bright, and might have loved and been
loved!  I could have done without the pearls and the velvet, Agnes. But
I have them: and they be poor exchange for the other."

"Things will change one of these days, sweet my Lady.  ’’Tis a long lane
has no turning.’"

"It has been a long one, and there be eight years now since it turned
last.  Eight years, Agnes—more than half my life!  And folks think it
strange that I care.  They looked for me, it should seem, to set mine
heart on gewgaws, and to think more of the bidding to a dance than of
the loss of a father.  If I could see an end to it, I might take less
thought.  But I can behold no turn coming save one, and that is for the
worser."

Agnes knew that this allusion was to her approaching marriage.
Certainly that was no source of congratulation.  In the eyes of the
waiting-woman no less than the mistress, the handsome young Baron of
Groby, Thomas Grey, the eldest son of Queen Elizabeth, who had been
chosen as the future husband of the Lady Anne de Holand, was not a man
to be regarded with any other sentiment than repugnance.  Agnes had seen
him kick his dog out of the way, and never look whether he had hurt it,
when the poor little spaniel, unaware of its master’s mood, had presumed
to request his attention when he was not disposed to give it.

"There is only one comfort thereanent.  I shall, may-be, never live to
be wedded."

"Dear my Lady, pray you"——

"Does it look likely, Agnes?" said Lady Anne with a quiet
smile,—scarcely a sad one this time.

The tears came to Agnes’s eyes.  She could not say that it did.

"No," resumed Lady Anne, after a short pause, and in a low voice, "I
never loved any thing yet that did not either die or go away from me."

"Except Jesus Christ," said Agnes softly.  She knew that she was safe in
saying it—that however the black clouds might hide the Sun of
Righteousness, He had risen, with healing in His wings, upon the young
lonely heart beside her.

"Except Jesus Christ," echoed the girl reverently. "And yet—O Agnes,
does He not know how hard it is to see nothing? to have nothing at all
that one can feel and touch, and clasp close to the heart? He had
friends in this life—even He, the Man of Sorrows, was not quite without
them."

"Yet they all forsook Him, and fled."

"Aye.  That was worse.  But they came back again."

There were tears behind the voice.

"Dear my Lady, what causeth you be thus sorrowful this even?"

She broke down when that was asked.  Pushing away the book, she bent her
head down on her clasped hands on the table, and sobbed as though her
heart would break.

"Oh, it is all so dark!" she sobbed.  "If we might have gone to Heaven
together, and have had each other there!  Why are we kept parted? Agnes,
I hate these signs of mine high estate, which seem as if they came
betwixt me and him—betwixt me and peace.  If I had not been King
Edward’s niece—Oh, if this awful war had never begun!"

Agnes had dropped her work, and sat looking out of the window.  She did
not know what to say. Well enough she knew that religious platitudes
would do no good here.  The Lady Anne was nearer God than she was, but
just now she was in the dark.  She had dropped the conscious holding of
the Father’s hand, and she felt like a lost child left out in the cold.
Agnes did not realise that much of her depression was physical; but she
did feel the necessity for offering some cheerful diversion to her
thoughts.

"Dear my Lady, pray you, think on pleasanter gear."

"Wilt find it for me, Agnes?"

That was not an easy task.  Agnes hesitated. But in a few moments more
the sorrowing girl had found it for herself.

"I suppose," she said more quietly, "I must lift up mine eyes unto the
hills, above all the turns in the long road.  We shall be together one
day, and with God.  I shall not be long first.  And set down at Christ’s
feet in the light of the Golden City, I count it shall not seem long to
wait for him."

The child was coming back into the light. Physically, the burst of tears
had relieved her.

"And yet, after all," she said, "I shall miss him, till he comes.  One
cannot love one instead of another, even if God be that One.  And to
love once is to love for ever."

"You can tell the Lord so, dear my Lady."

Lady Anne looked up with an expression of child-like trust and
simplicity in her eyes.

"Agnes, I am always telling Him."

"And is He not, then, always hearing you?"

Light came into the sad blue eyes.

"Aye, He must be always hearing.  I thank thee."

The door opened, and Marion came in.

"Agnes, here is—O my Lady, I cry you mercy. I wist not you were hither."

"Make an end, Marion," said Lady Anne, with a smile.

"Under your Ladyship’s pleasure.—Agnes, here is one that would have
speech of you.  He hath brought a letter, if I err not, and for some
cause is desirous to deliver the same into your own hand."

"Go and see to it, Agnes," said Lady Anne kindly: and Agnes left the
room, and descended a long flight of stairs to the base court, where the
stranger awaited her.

The stranger!  Ah, what a stranger he felt, standing there in the
meanest part of his own house, among strange menials to whom his face
was unknown, for whom his voice had no authority. Did he think of
Another who was Lord and Master of all, and who came unto His own, and
His own received Him not?

"You would speak with Agnes Marston, my master?" said a gentle voice
close to him.  "I am she."

The Duke turned quickly.  He wore a long cloak, and a hat which could be
pulled down so as to hide his face.  For any eyes to recognise him would
probably be fatal to his errand.  Yet the sensation of utter isolation
was oppressive, notwithstanding that.

"Gentle Mistress," said he, in a tone and manner which instantly
revealed to Agnes that her visitor was of her own rank or above it, "I
bring you a letter from Mistress Frideswide Marston, in France, and I
pray you of your courtesy to give heed to that which is writ on the
outside thereof."

Agnes held the letter up to the lamp, and read—

"Good Sister, I do beseech you to do that which this bearer shall
request of you; and herein fail you not, for the love of me."

"My sister desires me that I will do what you shall ask," she said.
"What ask you?"

"May I ask it with fewer ears by?" returned the Duke in a low tone.

Agnes nodded.  That was a request only too intelligible in the fifteenth
century.  She took him aside to a small chamber where no other person
was at that moment.

"Now, Master, your will with me?"

"I am the Duke of Exeter," he said simply. "And I pray you, Mistress
Agnes, as you ever loved any human soul, that you will win for me privy
speech of the only one that loveth me—the Lady Anne, my daughter."

Agnes looked up, and saw the yearning, passionate hunger in the poor
father’s eyes.  She saw nothing more for a minute.

"Sir," she said then, "if I do it not, be assured that it shall be only
because I can no way compass it."

"God go with you!" was the reply.

Agnes hastened back to the room where she had left Lady Anne alone with
Marion, and heard to her dismay the sharp tones of the Duchess as she
came near the door.

"Heard any ever the like!" cried Her Royal Highness.  "’An’ it please
me!’  I do you plainly to wit, my dainty mistress, that it doth not
please me.  I will have thee come down and speak with Master Grey.  And
I will have thee don a better gown for it, belike.—Agnes Marston, go
this minute and lay out the Lady Anne’s gown of purple velvet.—And go
thou and don it.  Dost hear?"

Lady Anne said no more, but her whole face betrayed intense dislike to
the task imposed upon her, when she caught the eye of Agnes.  The
language of the eye was well understood at that time, when the language
of the lips was often dangerous.  Lady Anne saw in an instant that Agnes
knew of some reason why she had better leave the room, and she followed
her without another word.

Meanwhile the Duke of Exeter stood below, waiting to know the result of
his appeal.  Could Agnes convey it at all? and if she did, would Anne
come? Last and saddest question of all, if she came, would it be the
child he knew, altered of course in person, but unchanged in heart?  At
last he could keep still no longer.  Plantagenet blood was in his veins,
and it was a habit of all the race, when suffering from mental
excitement, to pace up and down like caged tigers.  He had sufficient
excuse in the cold of a February evening, and he yielded to the impulse,
pausing at every sound to listen—till the door was flung open suddenly,
and a tall, slight maiden, robed in violet velvet and decked with
jewels, dashed into the room, and flung herself into his arms with a
burst of passionate tears.  Enough! Enough for the father’s heart!  His
little Nan had come back to him.

When the first wave had broken, he lifted the young head with one hand,
and looked long and tenderly on the beloved face.  And at the first
glance his heart sank down, lower than it had ever been.

Come, but not to stay.  Bound on a longer journey than from England to
France—than from earth to stars.  He held his darling close clasped in
his arms, but it was probably for the last time.  Verily for her the
Bridegroom waited, but the bridal was not of earth.

"Nan!" broke from the father’s lips, in tones more eloquent than a
volume would have been. "Little Nan!"

"I would I were your little Nan again," she said. "We were happy then,
my Lord—at least I was."

"I never was," was the sad answer.  "I only came near enough to see that
I could have been. If it had been God’s will!"

"It will be, my Lord," replied Anne, brightly. "’_Satiabor cum
apparuerit gloria tua_.[#]’"


[#] Psalm xvii. 15.


"Dost know, little Nan, that thou didst learn that Psalm at mine
instance?  But when will it be, my darling?—when?  It is such a long
dark night without thee."

Yet as he said the words, the thought smote him to the heart,—Not long,
not long for one of them!

"When God’s will is," she responded simply. "We must wait, my Lord.  Oh,
this awful war! had it never begun!"

She did not realise that they were parted by any but political
reasons—mournful necessities, which might come to an end some time.  It
was better she should not.

"Little Nan," said the Duke, "I love not ’my Lord’ from thy lips.  Call
me Father."

The request was an unusual one.  But she looked up and responded as he
wished, with tears glistening in the violet eyes.

"You will come and see me again, Father?"

"I will come and see thee again," he echoed—well knowing, as he spoke,
that the interview was not likely to be held on the earthly side of the
cold river.  But surely he would meet her again; and it would be he that
should come to her.  There would be room in the halls above, and no need
to employ a third person, nor to use secrecy and stratagem in order to
meet.  Up from the core of his soul went the passionate cry, "Let us go
together! Make no tarrying, O my God!"  He knew now at least, if he had
never known it before, that there was to be no paradise for him outside
the Paradise of God.

"My Lady!" said the rather nervous voice of Agnes at the door.  "I cry
you verily mercy, but—Her Grace is calling for you."

None of them dared to disregard that summons.

One more last embrace!  One more last look! From the Duke’s eyes

    "No tears fell, but a gaze fixed, long,
      That memory might print the face
      On the heart’s ever-vacant space
    With a sun-finger, sharp and strong."


His very soul seemed to dissolve itself upon her head as he gave her the
last blessing.  She tore herself away, and stumbling with tear-blinded
eyes over her velvet train, went up to receive a sharp scolding for
loitering from the Duchess, and some very cold ceremonial speeches from
her affianced.

All was over.  There was nothing left for that desolate man.  Nothing to
which he could look forward!  There had been just that one hope, and it
was gone.  Nothing was left now to hope or fear.

He had come on foot and unattended, in order to avoid recognition.
Mechanically he turned to the river stairs, called a boat, and was rowed
up to Westminster.  As he wearily mounted the Palace stairs, the Earl of
Pembroke met him.

"Ah, my very good Lord of Exeter!  Whither away?"

"I know not, and care less."

"Gramercy! what aileth you this starlight even?"

"Is it starlight?" and the Duke lifted his eyes to the glowing heavens,
clear in the frosty atmosphere.  "I had not observed it."

"Good lack! you must be in the blues to-night. More shame for you!  Here
is nought but making ready for the Queen, whom my Lord of Warwick rideth
for to meet as to-morrow.  ’Tis thought the wind may give her leave to
come across to-night."

"I do desire it, right heartily."

"Heigh-ho! do you desire anything right heartily, with that face?" said
Earl Jaspar, laughing. "Come, my good Lord, what aileth you?"

"My Lord, I cry you mercy, for I wis well I am not merry company.  I
have this night spoken, as I think, a long farewell to mine only child.
Let me pass, I pray you, till I can be more like my fellows, and come
into your company without spoiling your mirth—if I ever can."

Jaspar stood looking at his friend with eyes of utter want of
comprehension.  Exeter "spoke to him who never had a child," and who,
moreover, had but little sympathy with human sorrow.  It was
inconceivable to Jaspar why a man should bring his private sorrows into
his political rejoicings, while to Exeter the difficulty would have been
to allow the political joy to temper the private sorrow. Nor was Warwick
a whit more sympathising. To weep for a woman, or anything that
concerned one, was his emblem for masculine weakness of the extremest
type.  Exeter passed on, and sought refuge in his own chamber, where he
lay down, but did not sleep, that night.

But when, the next morning, he presented himself as usual in the
presence-chamber, he found that the Palace of Westminster held one
Christ-like heart—a heart more at home in the house of mourning than in
the house of feasting,—

    "A heart at leisure from itself,
    To soothe and sympathise."


Through the score of eager, triumphant faces in the presence-chamber,
the face upon which grief was written was instantly visible to those
eyes which were worth so little for earthly foresight, and were so rich
toward God.

"My Lord of Exeter!  The King calls for you."

The King himself was that day at his happiest—with the last earthly
happiness which he was ever to know.  He was at home again—and his was a
nature which clung to accustomed things; and he was expecting the daily
arrival of his wife and son, when—as he and every body believed—all
would again flow smoothly, and they would live happily ever after.  But
Henry was one of those rare souls who cannot be happy till they have
made others so.

"I pray you, come this way, my good Lord," said the King.  "There is
trouble in your eyes. Is it aught I may remedy?"

"I thank your Highness heartily; but I fear not. There be evils that
none save the King of kings may deal withal."

Exeter had not meant to say another word.  But in five minutes—he
scarcely knew how—he found himself telling the whole story of his sorrow
to the tender soul which shone in those royal eyes.

"I need not tell you, my good Lord," said the gentle comforter, "that he
were an ill soldier that should lie down to sleep ere the battle were
won. It will not be long ere the battle is over.  It seems to me at
times"—and the dark eyes grew dreamy, as they were very wont to do—"as
if it were only such a little while!  And then God shall give us back to
each other.  We have only to wait for Him."

"My Lord, I cry your Highness mercy, but it looks to me this night a
very, very long while."

The King smiled on his godson.  The spiritual relationship between them
made it only natural that the one should offer instruction and comfort
to the other.  He said, "_Unus dies apud Dominum sicut mille anni, et
mille anni sicut dies unus_."[#]


[#] 2 Peter iii. 8.


"Ah, Sire!" said Exeter sadly, "the one day for Him, but for us the
thousand years."

The response came quickly.  "’_Ego vobiscum sum omnibus dielus_.’"[#]


[#] Matt. xxviii. 20.


"We cannot see our Lord, Sire."

"He can see us."

"True: yet, my gracious Lord"——

"My son," said the King tenderly, "He hath written down a word of set
purpose for thee. ’_Quomodo miseretur pater jiliorum, misertus est
Dominus timentibus se_.’  Muse thou thereon, and God lead thee into His
peace."[#]


[#] Psalm ciii. 13.


He had said enough, for the Word of God in his lips had reached the
heart of the mourner.  It was nothing new—it had been sung in Exeter’s
hearing a hundred times—but it came this time with power.  Did God feel
for him just as he felt for that one darling child over whom he was
yearning and lamenting?  It said just that.  What right had he to water
it down, and make it mean something vague and metaphysical?  At last he
had found the man who understood him.  The King was a father himself,
and a very loving one.  And had he not at last found the God who
understood him?—who was indeed his Father, who loved him as he loved his
little Nan?

Yes, it would be only a little while.  Ah, how little for him who spoke!
Three short months, into which was to be poured an ocean of living
agony, and then he should see God, and be at peace for ever.  And to him
who heard, only a little longer.  He had but to wait for God.



                             *CHAPTER VI.*

                       *THE MIST ON EASTER DAY.*

      "Such a day,
    An old man sees but once in all his time."
        —EDWIN ARNOLD.


In vain the "King-Maker" waited at Dover for the Queen.  The west wind
which had fallen a little in London, and thus excited their hopes, set
in with more violence than before, and Marguerite, notwithstanding her
agony of impatience, was bound hopelessly at Harfleur.

But though winds and waves fought against the coming of her who was so
sorely needed, they seemed powerless to deter him against whose return
all Lancastrians were praying.  Backed by the secret machinations of the
Duke of Burgundy, Edward embarked at Ter Veere on the second of March:
and after twelve days’ tossing, landed at Ravenspur on the fourteenth of
that month.  Did it strike him as a parallel coincidence that under the
same circumstances, and at the same place, seventy years before, Henry
of Lancaster had landed, softly announcing to the populace that he had
no designs upon the Crown, and came only to recover his own inheritance?
Probably it did, for he imitated his predecessor’s tactics in every
particular. He came only to secure his duchy of York, as he sweetly
assured the people of Holderness when they opposed his landing.  Surely
they would allow him to proceed to his own property—to his own city? He
was the truest subject King Henry had, nor would he ever have been
otherwise but for the inciting of that wicked Earl of Warwick.  He stuck
the ostrich feather in his cap—the badge of Prince Edward,—and solemnly
swore eternal allegiance to King Henry.  The honest folks in Holderness
were completely won by this fine-spoken man.  They fell back, and let
him ride on to York.

But York was held by a Clifford,—sternest of all families adherent to
the House of Lancaster. It was the head of that House—the "Bloody
Clifford,"—who, just ten years before, had gleefully cut off the head of
Edward’s father, had crowned it with a paper crown, and set it high on
Micklegate Bar.  He, too, had stabbed young Rutland—the best of the York
brothers—in cold blood after the battle of Wakefield.  As Edward came up
to York, the ghastly heads upon Micklegate Bar, the foremost of which
was his own father’s, seemed to be the only friends to welcome him.  But
though Edward could assume sentiment exquisitely, when he expected it to
pay, he was not in reality much under its influence.  There was no
softening at his heart when he rode up to Micklegate, and sounded his
horn for a parley, and proudly desired York to open her gates to her
Duke.  The old Lord Clifford would have known better than to rest any
faith on the fair words of the Rose of Rouen.  But his kinsman Mr.
Thomas was not so wary.  He consented to a parley.  And when Edward, at
the close of his eloquent and well-studied speech, ended by flinging up
the ostrich-feathered cap into the air, with the loyal cry of "A, King
Harry!  A, King and Prince Edward!" the Governor and citizens of York
were won.  Beguiled, not conquered, they offered to let him pass
southward on condition that he would swear his allegiance. Edward,
Jesuit to the core, was ready to swear any thing.  Had they promised to
escort him to London with an army on condition of his swearing to
restore the worship of Jupiter, the probability is that he would have
accepted the oath with graceful complacency.  Micklegate was thrown
open, and Edward with his band passed through, and marched towards
London.

The reconquest of England was an easier matter to Edward of York than it
had been to Henry of Lancaster.  Three months had elapsed between the
landing and coronation of the former; one was enough for the latter.
There were traitors in the Lancastrian camp, whose hearts were always
ready to desert, and who only required to hear that Edward had landed to
induce an immediate and public declaration in his behalf.  Foremost of
these was the heavily perjured Clarence, with whom his sister of
Burgundy had been secretly tampering. Edward was now at the head of a
very small band, consisting of nine hundred English and three hundred
Flemings.  With him were his faithful friend Lord Hastings, Lord Say,
and a few more distinguished persons.  But by the time he came to
Nottingham, Sir William Stanley and Sir William Norris had joined him
with four hundred more; and with men slowly coming in to him along the
line of march, he arrived at Leicester. Here was Warwick waiting for
him.  A battle was imminent, when letters from Clarence reached Warwick,
stating that he was on his way from London to join him, and begging him
not to fight until he came.  Warwick committed the fatal blunder of
compliance.  Humanly speaking, had he engaged in battle at once, the
probability is that Edward would have been easily driven out of England.

It was not until the 25th of March that the news of Edward’s landing
reached London.  The language of the grant of Tutbury and many other
manors to Clarence on the 23rd, intimates that no such information had
reached King Henry on that day.  But on Lady Day a proclamation was
issued appointing Clarence, Warwick, and others, to gather the King’s
subjects and to defend the kingdom, "against our enemies and adversaries
of Flanders, Burgundy, and other parts, by the excitation, procuration,
and inducement of our great adversary and rebel, Edward, of late the
false, traitorous, and usurping occupant of our crown and dignity."[#]
Two days later, the young Prince of Wales was created Viceroy of England
against "Edward our rebel, who, with subjects of Burgundy and Flanders,
has landed in the north."[#]


[#] Patent Roll, 49 Hen. VI.

[#] Patent Roll, 49 Hen. VI.


This is the only occasion on which the language used by, or in the name
of, Henry VI. departs from the calm dignity which characterises it on
all others in making mention of Edward IV.  Edward can never allude to
Henry without a spiteful addition of "late in dede and nat of ryght
King:"[#] but Henry’s allusions to Edward are always content with,
"Edward IV., late _de facto_ King of England."  There is a kind of
feverish spite about Edward’s notices of his rival, which is exchanged
for quiet matter-of-fact in his rival’s notices of him. It is easy to
see that Henry had the better title—because he makes so little fuss over
it!


[#] Ib., 9 Edw. IV. and many others.


Late on the evening of the 10th of April, George Neville, Archbishop of
York, sat writing in the Bishop of London’s Palace.  To this place the
Court had been removed, under the impression that the City would be
easier to defend than the less protected town of Westminster.  In an
adjoining chamber King Henry slept the quiet sleep of the just, with his
Latin Psalter[#] lying on the table beside his bed.  The Archbishop had
paused in his writing, and was thinking deeply, his head resting on his
hand; "when a slight sound caused him to lift his eyes, and he looked up
into the unexpected face of Master John Shorter, sometime varlet of the
chamber to King Edward IV.


[#] This Latin Psalter, originally the property of Richard II., and
afterwards of Henry VI., is now in the British Museum (Cott. MS.,
Domit., A., xvii.), a beautifully illuminated and most interesting
volume.


"Whence camest thou?" was the astonished query.

"Out of the street," said Shorter, drily.

"To what end?"

"To tell your Lordship a thing."

"What thing?  Prithee, have on with thy matters, and be done.  I am
busy."

"Your Grace may yet be busier, when King Edward cometh."

"My Lady Saint Mary!  What mean you?"

"I left him, my Lord, on the hither side of Herts."

"Gramercy!  When?"

"This morrow at day-break."

"Is he on his way to London town?"

"Certes, my Lord."

The Archbishop’s face might have furnished, not one, but several studies
for a painter, as successive and diverse emotions swept across it.
Foremost was the true Neville sentiment—How will this affect _me_?  He
was silent for a moment, pondering that deeply interesting question.

"Did he send thee to me?"

"He did so, my good Lord."

"What would he have of me?"

Shorter came close to the desk, and quietly laid down before the
Archbishop a parchment to which a seal was affixed.  It was a document,
couched in highly flattering terms, addressed by Edward, by the Grace of
God King of England and France, and Lord of Ireland, to his dearly
beloved and faithful, the Most Reverend Father in God, George, by Divine
permission Archbishop of York, conveying his royal pardon to the said
Archbishop, for all treasons, felonies, and offences whatsoever,
committed before the thirteenth day of April, 1471.  In other words, the
Archbishop was pardoned beforehand for the sins of the three days next
ensuing.  Some people might have felt puzzled as to the ulterior meaning
of such a document.  Not so Archbishop Neville.  He comprehended to
perfection that he was expected to purchase that parchment, by some
tremendous act of service still to be performed, and requiring official
forgiveness from the _de facto_ sovereign.

"What would he?"

An expressive pantomime from Shorter pointed first to the door of King
Henry’s chamber, then to a bunch of keys which lay on the desk, and
lastly to the prelate himself.  The latter pursed up his lips for a
moment.

"Rather ugly work!" he muttered, as if to himself.

"Necessity," shortly suggested the messenger.

"Where?" was the equally short answer.

"Here.  There is, of course, one unconvenient matter."

The Archbishop looked up for explanation.

"That all suspiciousness may be diverted from your Grace, it shall be
needful to arrest you with the other."

A nod of intelligence from the Archbishop.

"Your captivity shall be matter but of a few days."

The prelate nodded again.

"Go you back to His Highness?"

"I have first to speak with Master Recorder, which hath promised me the
key of Aldersgate."

"Ha!—when shall this matter be?"

"Maundy Thursday, in the even.  ’The better day, the better deed.’"

The Archbishop received the wicked proverb with a grim smile.  "Very
good: I undertake it."

"I thank your Grace for my master.  God give you good even."

"The peace of Christ be upon you!  Amen."

Which benediction really meant the expression of a wish that the
diabolical bargain just concluded might not be successful, for surely
the last thing likely to come upon its actors was the peace of Christ.

Another sort of peace they had.  The City was perfectly calm, and its
guardians utterly unsuspicious, when on the following night, Mr.
Urswick, the Recorder of London, came down with a few more to
Aldersgate, and quietly let in about a dozen men who were waiting
outside.  They were wrapped in long cloaks, in which they muffled their
faces; and, accompanied by Urswick, they took their way to the Bishop’s
Palace.  Behind the postern door the Archbishop’s servant was waiting,
and they were allowed to enter as silently as possible.

Upstairs, in the royal chamber, King Henry sat with that devout prelate
who has been already mentioned.  They had been discussing political
matters for a short time, and then the King, turning to a subject more
congenial to himself, had requested the Archbishop’s opinion as to the
meaning of a passage in the Psalms.  Both by intuition and education,
George Neville was about as well fitted to judge of the meaning of King
David as a snail to decide the intentions of an eagle.  But he was a
priest; therefore of course he must be competent to expound Scripture.
The prelate began glibly to explain that of which he had not the
remotest idea, and the King meekly to receive instruction on a subject
with which he was far better acquainted than his instructor.  The notion
that he could be better than any body in any possible sense, outside the
mere fact of social position, never occurred to the mind of King Henry,
one of the humblest Christians that ever breathed.

A slight click of the door-lock made the prelate look up.  The King was
too much interested in his subject, and his head was bent over the
Psalter. In the doorway stood the Recorder of London, and several others
were dimly visible behind him.  The traitor knew that the hour of his
treachery had come.

"What is this?" he exclaimed, with well feigned astonishment.  "Master
Urswick, who be these with you?  The blessed saints be about us!
Treachery, my gracious Lord, treachery!  Here is my Lord of March!"

Aye, treachery enough!  Henry lifted his head, rose, and confronted
Edward with a steady gaze as he came forward boldly into the room.

They stood fronting each other, the two Kings, the cousins and rivals,
each of whom saw in the other an unprincipled usurper.  Only, in the one
case, the conviction was a calm certainty that the thing was so, and in
the other a feverish determination that it must and should be.

"What dost thou here in my place, thou rebel?" was the insolent demand
of Edward, who had sworn many an oath of allegiance to the man whom he
addressed.

"I am here in mine own, as God wot," was the dignified reply.  "What
would you with me?"

Edward turned to his followers without deigning a reply.  "Take the
rebel," said he, "and this priest with him."

The Archbishop, with well counterfeited terror, began to implore mercy.
The King asked none, nor did he waste another word on Edward.  He lifted
his calm dark eyes heavenward, and merely said, to the sole Friend who
was with him, "_Fiat voluntas Tua!_"

An hour later, he was once more secured in his old dungeon in the Tower.

The gates of London were thrown open, and the northern army of Edward
poured into the City. The Sanctuary was visited, and the Countess of
March and her infant son, now suddenly become the Queen and the Prince,
were installed in Westminster Palace with fitting ceremony.  The reign
of Henry VI. was over, and the eleventh year of Edward IV. had begun.

The restored monarch was grace and graciousness to all around him.
While he took care to propitiate and make friends of those who had
hitherto been enemies, Edward did not, like his descendant Charles II.,
commit the fatal mistake of overlooking and neglecting to reward his
friends.  He gave away twenty tuns of wine (not forgetting to spend some
£2800 on himself), replaced his old officers in their respective state
positions, and made up for the forced abstinence and shabbiness of his
recent life by buying a new service of plate, ordering twenty-one gold
collars (doubtless for presents to his friends who had proved faithful
in adversity), purchasing horses, and providing six new and gorgeous
garments—a robe of tawny satin, a doublet of purple satin, two jackets
of cloth of gold, and two "habits" of black damask and crimson
velvet—for his wardrobe.  He further expended in alms the munificent sum
of £3 3*s*. 4*d*.  The Queen does not appear to have required any new
clothes, since provisions and wood are alone bought for her.[#]


[#] Issue Roll, Easter term, 11 Edw. IV.


So quietly had this mighty reversion of state affairs been effected,
that the citizens of London were unconscious that any thing was
happening until they saw the army of Edward IV. marching along their
streets.  Then, of course, it was too late to express an adverse
opinion, had they wished to do so.

The necessary imprisonment of that honourable man, Archbishop Neville,
extended only to a few days.  He was received into favour on the day to
which his pardon reached, but was not released from the Tower until a
little later.

And then, when it was too late, the wind changed.  Three times had Queen
Marguerite set forth from Harfleur, and three times was she driven back
on the French coast.  Now, just when all was over which her coming might
have prevented, on the 24th of March, she was able to embark, and she
landed at Weymouth on Saturday night, the 13th of April, which was
Easter Eve.  Can we come to any conclusion but that of the contemporary
letter-writer, that "God hath showed Himself marvellously like Him that
made us all, and can undo again when Him list?"  It was not immediately
upon landing that the mournful news of her husband’s capture and
deposition met her.  The news was to be far worse before it should reach
her.  She proceeded inland about thirteen miles, as far as the Abbey of
Cerne, and there awaited the ceremonies of Easter.  The Prince was with
her—unconscious of his proclamation as Viceroy of England, as well as of
the downfall of all his hopes—the Princess, and their respective suites.

While Marguerite and her companions knelt at mass that Easter morning in
the chancel of Cerne Abbey, with the last hope springing in their hearts
which they were ever to know, scenes very unbefitting Easter-tide were
taking place in and near the metropolis.

No sooner had Warwick heard of the return of Edward than he came dashing
down from the north, and with Exeter,[#] Somerset, Montague, Oxford, and
forty thousand men, marched to take the field at Barnet.  Exeter and
Somerset wished to wait until the Prince should come up, as they had
heard of his landing: but this Warwick refused to do.  He was doubtful
of the good faith of Somerset, who had ere this shown himself remarkably
devoid of that quality; to which motive on Warwick’s part Comines adds
another—"the hatred he bore to Queen Marguerite."


[#] Where and when Exeter had joined Warwick we have no information.  It
is only known that he was in London on the 14th of February, and that he
came with Warwick from the north on the 13th of April.


As soon as Edward heard of Warwick’s approach, he and his brother of
Gloucester went out to meet him.  They took with them carefully one
person whom they might have been expected to leave behind. This was King
Henry.  Was there in the minds of the royal brothers of York any
sinister intention of exposing their rival to the fate of Uriah the
Hittite? Had Henry fallen, perchance by a stray shot from his own side,
would the pair have mournfully and hypocritically condoled with each
other on the fact that "the sword devoureth one as well as another?"

The little town of Barnet was occupied by Edward, Warwick remaining on
the plain without.

Late on that Saturday night, without any previous despatch of a herald,
as was usual, to request an interview, the Duke of Clarence, encamped on
Gladmore Heath, received a visit from his brother of Gloucester.  They
held a long conversation; after which Clarence returned with Gloucester
to the town, and humbly implored pardon from his brother Edward.  He was
likely to be welcomed and forgiven, for he brought with him twelve
thousand men.  This little business arranged, Clarence sent a message to
Warwick, informing him of the very interesting occurrence which had just
taken place, and offering to make peace for him also.  The envoy
returned with an answer from Warwick which breathed scorn in every
syllable.

"I choose rather," said the King-Maker, "to be consistent with myself
than to follow the example of thy perfidy!"

The night was now wearing towards morning—the morning of Easter Sunday.
But no sun danced, nor even shone, upon that awful Easter Day.  At four
o’clock in the morning the armies met, but in so thick a mist that no
man could see the banner of his feudal lord.  Since the battle of
Mortimer’s Cross, where three mock suns had been considered a happy
augury, Edward had borne as his badge a sun with rays: and the Earl of
Oxford’s men, mistaking this sun for the star of the Veres, made the
blunder of the Midianites, and turned their arms against each other.
They engaged with Warwick’s men, and a cry of "Treachery!" was raised by
both sides.  Oxford fled, carrying with him eight hundred men.  At this
juncture Montague (another "honourable man"), who had been in private
correspondence with Edward ever since he landed, thought it time to turn
coat, and did so literally, donning Edward’s livery under cover of the
mist.  But some of Warwick’s men caught a glimpse of the hated blue and
murrey, and falling upon Montague, exacted the penalty of his treachery
in his life.  Warwick saw that the field was lost. Montague was dead;
Exeter was not to be found; Oxford had fled the field.  He mounted his
horse, and tried to make his own escape through the intricacies of a
neighbouring wood.  Even here fate met him in the persons of two of
Edward’s men, who after a short sharp struggle, unhorsed and slew the
foremost man of their age—the man who, more or less, for twenty years
had had all England at his bidding.

It was now four o’clock in the afternoon.  King Edward—king in a sense
he had never been till then,—as the first regal act of his restoration,
took his revenge upon the commons of England for their Lancastrian
proclivities.  Hitherto, following the ancient humane custom peculiar to
this country (a source of considerable astonishment to French generals),
after a battle, Edward had been accustomed to mount his horse, and cry
loudly over the field, "Quarter for the commons!"  The nobles and gentry
of the defeated side were of course put to the sword.  But at Barnet
Edward forsook his usual custom.  He mounted, indeed, but he left the
commons quarterless to the fury of his soldiers, and he spurred fast to
London.

That evening, after Edward had entered his metropolis in triumph, King
Henry was brought, attired in a long gown of blue velvet, from the fatal
field of Gladmore Heath, to that silent dungeon in the Tower which he
had occupied so long that it must have borne almost a homelike look to
him, and which he was never to leave again, except for the better Home
above.

When the military grave-diggers came to bury the dead, they found lying
on Gladmore Heath the body of the Duke of Exeter.  He had fought
manfully, and had fallen at seven o’clock, since which time he had lain
insensible on the field.  They took him at first for dead: but on
careful consideration they came to the conclusion that life was not
quite extinct.  The party of workers were either Lancastrians, or they
were for their time inexplicably tolerant and humane.  Instead of
stamping out the little spark of life, they respected it, and carried
the Duke to the house of one Ruthland, an old servant of his own, who
nursed his master back to that life which was worth so little to him.
He was then, on the 26th of May, carried a prisoner to Westminster,
where he was allowed the service of a chaplain, cook, page, and varlet,
with three servants to wait on them.  He was detained in this captivity
until the fifteenth of September.[#]  Six shillings and eightpence per
week were allowed for the Duke’s board, two shillings for the chaplain,
twenty pence each for the cook, page, and varlet, and sixteen pence each
for the inferior domestics.


[#] Issue Roll, Easter term, 11 Edw. IV.—Rymer is apparently under a
mistake in stating that Exeter fled to Westminster Sanctuary, about two
months after Barnet. The language of the Roll is decisive that Exeter
was a prisoner, and not in sanctuary, between the dates named.


King Henry was rather better treated.  Dispute his title as he might,
Edward provided for him as for a captive prince.  About half-a-crown per
day was allowed for his "diet;" but a strong guard of thirty-six
persons, afterwards gradually reduced to eleven, was thought necessary
for his safe keeping.

The corpses of Warwick and Montague were exposed to popular view, with
uncovered faces, in St. Paul’s Cathedral, for four days: and on the
eighteenth of April they were laid with their Montacute fathers in the
church at Bisham. The day after their funeral, the royal pardon was
renewed to their brother the Archbishop.  His offence was that of
"taking oath to Harry our great adversary, as to his Sovereign Lord, and
to Margaret, calling her Queen, which if a French woman born, and
daughter to him that is extreme adversary and mortal enemy to all this
our land and people," and "assembling unto him numbers of French men
beside other traitors and rebels."[#]


[#] Close Roll, 11 Edw. IV.


Considering that Edward himself had married the daughter of a French
lady, had negotiated previously for his marriage with an Italian
Princess, and had reconquered England with the assistance of Flemings,
this taunt upon Queen Marguerite’s foreign extraction and alien troops
is rather amusing, and marked with as much consistency as usually
characterised his actions.  What poor King René of Naples had done, to
be singled out beyond all other persons as the special adversary to the
English land and people, may reasonably be questioned, particularly by
those who know his quiet, rather lazy, artistic disposition.  But people
in a passion, and people trying to impress others with a conviction, are
not in all cases consistent and truthful.

On the 27th of April a solemn proclamation was issued by name of "the
King’s rebels and traitors."  The announcement of the names was not made
with particular courtesy.  They were "Margaret (with no other
distinctive appellation); Edward, her son; Henry, late Duke of Exeter
(whose wife continued to be styled Duchess); Edmund Beaufort, calling
himself Duke of Somerset; John, Earl of Oxford; John Courtenay, calling
himself Earl of Devon; William late Viscount Beaumont; John Beaufort and
Hugh Courtenay, knights."  It was solemnly commanded that none should
"give them help, favour, or succour, on pain of death and forfeiture of
all held of us: we calling Almighty God to record that it shall be
against our will and intent."[#]


[#] Close Roll, 11 Edw. IV.


Did it ever strike the man who dictated these words, that God Almighty
had kept a record concerning him, and did he ever think what his
feelings would be, when that record was read out before men and angels?
The Nemesis for the sins of Henry IV. was descending with dire vengeance
on the House of Lancaster.  But did he imagine that the House of York
should escape the judgment of God—that the Jehu who had been raised up
to destroy the innocent sons of Ahab, should be permitted to walk with
impunity in the sins of Jeroboam?



                             *CHAPTER VII.*

                 *THE LAST BATTLE OF THE RIVAL ROSES.*

    "May this be borne?  How much of agony
    Hath the heart room for?"
      —FELICIA HEMANS.


One enemy remained for Edward IV. to vanquish, and it was a woman: a
woman whose hand he had kissed upon the knee, and whom his Queen had
served in her chamber. So long as husband and son were left to fight
for, so long Marguerite of Anjou was irrepressible and invincible.  When
they were not, the complete indifference of despair with which she let
the sceptre drop from her hand, proved that it was not it which she had
loved, but them.

Yet the dreadful news which met her at Cerne Abbey for one moment
overwhelmed the eager and resolute spirit.  King Henry was once more a
captive, and Warwick—who united the strange characters of her worst
enemy in private, and her sole reliable friend in public—could be
neither enemy nor friend any more for ever.  The bright head was bowed
down, and tears, such as Marguerite was rarely seen to shed, came
rushing from her eyes.

"Oh, let us give it up!" she cried.  "Edward, let us go back to France,
and give up the struggle!"

"I cry you mercy, Madame my mother!" was the ringing answer of the
Prince.  "Never, while another battle may retrieve all!  Look, I pray
you—have we not yet the Duke of Somerset"——

"Not to be trusted," said Marguerite, under her breath.

"And my Lord of Oxford"——

"Who fled from us at Barnet."

"And my Lord of Devon"——

"Well, yes—I think _he_ may be."

The Prince dropped on one knee, and clasped his mother’s hand in his.

"And, sweet Mother, have you not _me_?"

The Queen clasped her darling in her arms, and bent her fair head low
upon his darker locks.

"_Mon chéri, mon mignon!_" she cried tenderly, in her own language, not
often used now, for English had become almost the mother-tongue to the
woman who had been Queen of England since she was a maiden of sixteen
years.  "Aye, my streak of sunlight, I have thee!—and never will I let
thine inheritance calmly fall into the hands of thine enemies!  Come,
let us be up and doing. When, on the day of mine espousals, I set the
Rose of England in my bosom, did I not know that I must wear it with all
its thorns?"[#]


[#] The last sentence is in the actual words of the Queen, though not
spoken on this occasion.


The momentary sensation of irresolute hopelessness was passed, and
Marguerite was herself again. She held a council of war, at which it was
decided that they should march on the western provinces, which were more
loyal than the midland wherein Warwick had held sway, or the northern of
which Edward was Duke.  The ladies were to be left behind in sanctuary,
except the one or two in personal attendance on the Queen, who knew well
enough that whoever might constitute the body of the Lancastrian party,
she was and had always been its soul: and that however her forces might
acquit themselves with her, they were not likely to do well without her.
The Countess of Warwick, with her daughter of Clarence and their suites,
had crossed the Channel separately from the Queen, and had taken refuge
at Beaulieu Abbey.  But nothing would tempt the young Princess of Wales
to join them.  Whether in life or in death, where her heart’s lord was,
there also would she be.

The Countess of Devon, in attendance on the Queen, and Lady Katherine
Vaux, in waiting on the Princess, were the sole women who accompanied
the army.  From Bath they marched on to Bristol, intending to join the
Earl of Pembroke, Jaspar Tudor, who was coming from Gloucester with his
men.  But when the Queen’s army attempted to pass the Severn, they found
themselves intercepted by the men of Gloucester, who urged their
necessary "obeissance to their Duke."  Marguerite turned aside, and went
on to Tewkesbury.

Perhaps few places in England are less changed than Tewkesbury from the
appearance they presented in the fifteenth century.  Not only the grand
old Abbey (alas! restored), but the Bell Inn within a stone’s throw, the
old winding High Street and its hostelry the Bear, are very little
altered in outward seeming from what they were on that night of the
third of May, when Marguerite of Anjou drew up her troops in "the Bloody
Field" outside the town.  Edward was at Tewkesbury in person, awaiting
what either side felt instinctively would be the last and decisive
battle in the Wars of the Roses.

Early the next morning, the Prince of Wales, who was to command the
army, took leave of the royal ladies.

Clasp him close, poor mother! cling to him, young wife!  You will do it
never, never any more. It was no act of the Prince, whether of
commission or omission, that lost the day.  Victory hung yet in the
balance, when Somerset, traitor to his last breath, fled from his young
gallant master, followed by Hugh Courtenay: and from that moment the
field was King Edward’s.

The Prince was taken.  The craven Somerset fled to the sanctuary of a
church, and he was followed by Humphrey Audley (who had York blood in
his veins), Henry de Ros, James Gower, the Prince’s standard-bearer, and
many more.  But Prince Edward, most valuable prisoner of all, was taken
before the conqueror in his royal pavilion. What followed is well
known,—King Edward’s contemptuous query—

"How camest thou, young man, to bear sword against me?"

It was met by Prince Edward’s defiant reply—

"I came to recover my father’s kingdom, and mine own inheritance, out of
the hands of them that had no right to hold it."[#]


[#] Only the opening words of this speech are commonly quoted.


Some chroniclers say that Edward dashed his gauntleted hand in the face
of his young cousin. Others assert that he merely flung a sign to those
around him.  Either action was well understood. Hastings, the King’s
faithful servant, and Thomas Grey, his step-son, the affianced of Anne
of Exeter, hurried Prince Edward out of his presence to the next tent,
where the Dukes of Clarence and Gloucester were standing.  There they
flung him down. One cry of pitiful appeal rang through the evening
air—"Clarence!  _Brother!_" but Clarence stood deaf and motionless.
Gloucester was equally still, but from a very different motive.  Then
came a second and a lower moan—"_Jesu, Doming!_"  That was heard.
Another instant, and they had no more that they could do.  Edward
Plantagenet was with God.

Not that night did Marguerite of Anjou learn all the awful news in store
for her.  She heard—from the gentle lips of John Combe—that her army was
routed, and the day lost: heard it, with the young Princess by her side,
seated in that charette in which it had been so difficult to keep her,
for she suspected already that fate was going against her, and she was
scarcely restrained from mounting her horse, and taking the command of
her troops.  The one worst item—the loss of her boy—did not reach her
then. But what she did hear made her sink down in the charette,
"half-dead."

Those about the Queen—very few they were—felt the necessity of doing for
her what she was not in a position to do for herself.  They hurried the
royal ladies away from their dangerous place to a little religious house
outside Tewkesbury, where they entered them in sanctuary.  Alas for
their innocence, if they expected Edward of York to keep promises or
reverence sanctuary!  At that moment he was presenting himself with
drawn sword at the door of the church where so many of the Lancastrian
nobles had taken refuge.  All honour be to the brave priest who, pix in
hand, resolutely barred the victor’s entrance, until he had given a
solemn promise of pardon to the fugitives.  Alas for the fugitives, that
they trusted it!  All might have escaped, but trusting to that honour of
which Edward knew so little, they remained in their asylum until the
Monday, when they were marched out and beheaded before the door.
Somerset richly deserved his fate: but this cannot be said of many
others.  Even Humphrey Audley was not spared, though King Edward and he
were second cousins.[#]


[#] He was the younger son of Alianora de Holand, Lady Audley, daughter
of Constance of York, King Edward’s grand-aunt.


Notwithstanding all his specious words, ties of blood, no less than
those of gratitude, weighed as nothing with Edward of York when a man
stood in his way.

There was a long funeral procession that day in Tewkesbury Abbey.  The
Duke of Somerset, as we are told by his herald, who was present, was
buried "before the image of Saint Jame at an autar in ye said monastery
churche on the northe parte."[#]  But it was in the very midst of the
church, just under the tower, that they laid the flower of the Red Rose,
"the gallant-springing young Plantagenet," who in the endeavour to
recover his father’s kingdom had sacrificed himself.  The rest were
buried in one great grave, dug close to that of the Prince in the nave
of the Abbey.


[#] Harl. MS. 545.—This tomb was removed at a later date, and is now on
the south side of the chancel.


The next step on the part of Edward was to capture the two hapless
ladies who had taken refuge in the little nunnery.  Sir William
Stanley—an old enemy of the Queen—was sent to do this; and he is said to
have behaved as brutally as he well could, and in particular to have
broken to the bereaved mother the news of her boy’s death in the most
inhuman manner.  Driven almost to frenzy by the suddenness and anguish
of the blow, Marguerite broke forth into passionate execrations upon
Edward and all his posterity, which Stanley had the cruelty to repeat to
the conqueror, when, on the 11th of May, he brought his prisoners to
Coventry. The royal mourners were conveyed southwards together, captives
in the victorious train of the Rose of Rouen.

One more attempt, however, was to be made in the Lancastrian cause, like
the last expiring gleam of a candle ere it dies out.  The Governors of
Calais, Sir Walter Wretill and Sir Geoffrey Gates, despatched the brave,
if somewhat rash, Thomas Fauconbridge "to raise Kent, and deliver King
Henry from the Tower."  It was only a dying flash, but it roused the
Yorkists to instant action. Lord Rivers was sent down to Kent and Lord
Bourchier to Essex by the Council; Lord Dudley, with a hundred soldiers,
was put in charge of the Tower, where defensive works were cast up in
haste in less than a week; Lord Hastings was despatched to supersede the
Governor of Calais, and Lord Pembroke sent to South Wales "to capture
rebels, and reduce the King’s castles to his obedience."  The citizens
of London, that unknown and difficult quantity, were complimented by the
gift of two tuns of red wine, "expended on them after the conflict at
Mile-end against the rebels."[#]  For the safe custody of Rochester
Castle, a squire of the body was sent down, by name Thomas St. Leger, of
whom we shall hear again.


[#] Issue Roll, Easter term, 11 Edw. IV. This Roll is one of the most
interesting state papers ever penned.


The insurrection was quashed.  But how many more might arise?  It was no
doubt extremely inconvenient to be perpetually in risk of another; and
Henry VI. had still friends enough to make Edward’s throne a very uneasy
seat.  So long as the Lancaster King lived, the York King would have a
thorny time of it.  There was only one way to end the difficulty: and
there was one man who was ready to take it.

On the twenty-first of May, King Edward, accompanied by his brother of
Gloucester, and carrying his captives in his victorious train, made his
triumphal entry into the City of London.  The Queen and Princess were
lodged in the Tower. They were now under the same roof as King Henry. If
any ray of hope ever entered Marguerite’s heart after Tewkesbury, it
must have been that night, at the thought of a possible meeting with the
husband from whom she had been parted for six weary years.  She may well
have imagined that fate had done its worst, and no further sorrows could
yet be in reserve for her.  But the worst had only begun to come.
Whether it were that night or a few days later,—within one week from her
imprisonment in the Tower, Marguerite of Anjou was a widow.

When and how did Henry VI. die?  The how has often been disputed: but
the when has generally been considered less doubtful.  The popular
belief for centuries was that, weary of the continual risk and fear,
Gloucester went to the Tower on that same night of his arrival in
London, and with one stroke of his dagger ended the Wars of the Roses,
and the sorrows of Henry of Lancaster. The courtier Comines writes
cautiously: Henry was killed by Gloucester, "if what was told me be
true."  Had he in his heart believed it untrue, would he have thus
mentioned it?  One dry old chronicler remarks that Henry died on the
twenty-first of May, "the Duke of Gloucester and his men being in the
Tower that night."  Stow says that his body was carried to St. Paul’s in
an open coffin on the 22nd.  Stow, Sandford, Baker, and Mezeray have no
doubt of the murder.  It was not until the last century that it was ever
questioned, and then by writers who were desirous to whitewash the
decidedly black character of Richard III.  But so far as I know, no one
has ever noticed on either side the singular fact recorded on the Issue
Roll, that Henry did not die on the twenty-first at all. There may have
been some reason—now perhaps inscrutable—why Edward wished to convince
the public that Henry did die on that day: but his own Roll, meant for
no eyes but those of safe persons, unquestionably indicates that Henry
was living until the 27th of May, six days later.  His "diet" is charged
until the latter day.  There may have been some show of reason, as
putting a stop to all future trouble, why the public should believe
Henry to be dead when he was not: but what possible cause could there be
for entering on the Roll a false statement with the object of showing
Henry to be alive when he was really dead?  The question of course
arises, whose was the body exposed to view in St. Paul’s on the
twenty-second?—even if we put aside the sensational item that the corpse
bled wherever it rested, on account of the presence of the murderer as
chief mourner.  The Roll above mentioned, which gives the expenses of
Henry’s funeral, makes no mention of the day of burial. Perhaps the
difficulty is best left unsolved, with just one statement—that
Gloucester was perfectly capable of the crime laid to his charge: and
that the main point of circumstantial evidence in determining the
question, is to decide whether Gloucester was or was not at the Tower on
the 27th of May.

The strongest evidence known to me in Gloucester’s favour is the
assertion of Fleetwood, adopted by the usually careful and accurate
Carte, that Henry was found dead, probably of apoplexy, on the night of
the twenty-first of May.  This was of course the York version of facts.
But if, as has been shown, the date is conclusively disproved by the
testimony of the Issue Roll, may not the circumstances be equally far
from true?  It was so exceedingly in the interest of Edward that Henry
should die just at that moment, that the suspicion of his death having
been humanly assisted will never be removed as long as the world lasts.

Very little expense attended the funeral of the dead.  Twenty ells of
linen cloth, wax, and spices, were provided; two men only carried
torches (the number usually corresponding with the years of the
deceased); a few soldiers of Calais watched the corpse; and to five
orders of friars a pittance was given for masses, wretched indeed when
compared with the usual outlay.  The whole cost was under £43—just the
price that King Edward paid about the same date for a crimson velvet
jacket.

There is nothing but pure fancy as the source of the scene imagined by
our greatest dramatist, wherein Gloucester makes love to the young
Princess of Wales when she officiates as chief mourner at King Henry’s
funeral.  The poor Princess was an outlaw and a prisoner in the Tower at
that moment, and assuredly never held any such position, any more than
she lent willing ear, whether first or last, to any such words.

The body of King Henry was buried at Chertsey Abbey, where it rested
until Gloucester himself was King, when, on the 12th of August, 1484, it
was finally removed to his birthplace, Windsor.

Many days had not elapsed after the funeral of the dead King, when
London was startled with the news that the Princess of Wales was
missing. How she had made good her escape no man knew: that she was no
longer a prisoner in the Tower was the one thing certain.  Princess,
indeed, no one now called her.  As her father’s daughter, she was still
the Lady Anne: and this title now replaced the royal one.  The first
idea was that she had taken refuge at Beaulieu with her mother; but this
was soon found to be a mistake.  The Countess of Warwick was still in
sanctuary, though her elder daughter, the Duchess of Clarence, had
departed at once to take her proper place at Court as King Edward’s
sister-in-law: and from her honorary imprisonment poor Lady Warwick was
inditing pitiful letters to every person whom she thought likely to have
any influence with King Edward, in the hope of procuring her pardon.
She addressed herself to every member of the royal family in turn; and
she notes as a special grievance in the petition she presently offered
to the King, that "in the absence of clerkes, she hath wretyn l’res with
her owne hand."[#]


[#] Cott. MS. Jul. B. xii., fol. 317.


Bitterly she complains that the King had sent letters to the Abbot of
Beaulieu, on account of some "synester informacion to his said Highness
made," with orders to keep her in strict prison, which was a deep grief
to her.  She pleads her sore poverty, being cut off from all enjoyment
of her jointure and dower of the earldom of Salisbury, and also from her
own Despenser lands and earldom of Warwick: and lastly, she represents
that she has no opportunity of putting her case into the hands of any
solicitor, nor, if she had, is there one that would dare to undertake
it.

Edward paid little attention to this sad appeal. Clarence had his
brother’s ear: and Clarence had set his mind upon one thing,—to hand
down to his children the vast Warwick inheritance, undivided. In order
to do this, he grudged his mother-in-law every unnecessary penny: and he
determined that so far as in him lay, his sister-in-law, the Princess of
Wales, should never marry again.  There was much danger of this
calamity: not because of any wish to that effect on the part of the
girl-widow, whose heart was buried for ever in the nave of Tewkesbury
Abbey, and whose sole ambition was to creep out of sight and hearing of
the hard, cold world, into some quiet corner, where she could wait
undisturbed until God called her to rejoin her dead. The danger arose
not from her, but from the Duke of Gloucester.  From his early boyhood,
Richard of York had loved Anne Neville; or rather, to put it more
accurately, he loved himself, and he found in Anne Neville a plaything
the possession of which was necessary to his happiness.  That he did not
love her, he plainly showed by his actions.  Had he done so, he would
have let her alone, which was all the grace she asked at his hands.  But
Gloucester, like most human beings, looked upon love and persecution as
exchangeable terms.  He wanted Anne Neville: whether she wanted him was
a point quite unnecessary to take into the account.  And Anne did not
want him.  On the contrary, she intensely disliked him.  It was not
possible for her to compare to his advantage such a man as this, whose
soul was ten times more crooked than his body, with her tender, brave,
gallant young Plantagenet, whose death

      "had made all earth and heaven
    One vaulted grave to her."


It was not his disadvantages of person which made Anne shrink from
Gloucester like a bird from a snake.  Had the characters been exchanged,
matters might have been very different.

These being the circumstances of the case, Anne had lent a willing ear
to the overtures of Clarence, who sent her secret messages during her
imprisonment, offering to deliver her from the Tower and keep her in
hiding from Gloucester.  His object was to prevent her from requiring
her share of the Warwick lands: hers was to get rid of persecution from
a man whom she hated.  Both being agreed upon the means, however they
might differ in the object, Clarence contrived to steal Anne out of the
Tower, and secreted her in a very romantic manner. The Princess of Wales
was actually placed in service, as a cook, in "a mean house" in the City
of London.  So thoroughly was she concealed, that nearly two years
elapsed before the indefatigable Gloucester succeeded in discovering the
place of her retreat.

King Edward appears to have been at this time in a most gracious frame
of mind, which he evinced by scattering pardons and honours broadcast on
all sides.  Fauconbridge, the latest insurrectionist in favour of the
House of Lancaster, was not only pardoned, but made Vice-Admiral.
Bishop Waynflete, Lord St. John, and even the Earl of Oxford, were taken
into favour.  The poor Countess, his mother, who was Warwick’s sister,
was left in such poverty for some time that she was reduced to earn her
bread by her needle, until Edward was pleased to awake to the fact of
her existence, and to grant her a pension of £100 per annum.  The Duke
of Gloucester was created Lord High Chamberlain, the Earl of Wiltshire
Chief Butler, and the Earl of Essex Treasurer of the Exchequer.  The
castles of Middleham and Sheriff Hutton—possessions of Warwick—were
granted to Gloucester, who had always been Edward’s favourite brother,
notwithstanding the anger of Clarence at this poaching on his preserves.
The King also granted all the lands of John Lord Lovell, deceased, to
his sister the Princess Elizabeth and her husband, John Duke of Suffolk,
son of the famous Duke who had been the counsellor of Queen Marguerite.
This was a stroke of policy, for Suffolk was a Lancastrian.  But now
that Henry VI. and his son were dead, numbers of Lancastrians came in
and offered themselves as henceforward loyal subjects of Edward IV., who
had now in their eyes become the rightful King. Thomas Earl of Ormonde
led the van: and he was followed by Jaspar Earl of Pembroke, the late
King’s half-brother, by the Duke of Exeter from his prison, various
members of the Courtenay and Clifford families, and among others, not
least, by Margaret Duchess of Somerset, the mother of the only person
living who could on any pretence of right dispute the crown with Edward.
This was Margaret Beaufort, Countess of Richmond, heiress of the
Beauforts, and widow of Edmund Tudor, the elder but deceased
half-brother of King Henry.  The Beauforts, who were the illegitimate
children of John of Gaunt by Katherine Swynford, the lady who afterwards
became his third wife, had been formally legitimated in 1397, by a
patent which distinctly pronounced them capable of succeeding, to all
"honours, dignities, positions, and offices, public and private, whether
permanent or temporary, and to all feudalities and nobilities, by
whatsoever name known, whether dukedom, princedom, earldom, barony, or
other fief, mediately or immediately held of us ... as if they had been
born in lawful wedlock."[#]


[#] Patent Roll, 20 Ric. II., Part 2.


This language undoubtedly qualified the Beauforts for the royal
succession, and was meant to do so:[#] but at the time the patent was
drawn up, there was little reasonable probability of any such event, for
not only the reigning Sovereign, but the whole House of Lancaster, lay
between them and the throne.  But now that the royal family was reduced
to the children of Richard Duke of York, and the heiress of the
Beauforts, Edward IV. was very naturally jealous of the latter.  Under
the old law, she stood before him; and it was therefore necessary for
his peace that some bar should be provided to her further advance.  This
was the more desirable, since she had a son, a clever youth of fifteen
years, concerning whom an anecdote, very awkward for Edward, was in
circulation among the populace. Five years[#] before this, Jaspar Tudor,
going into Wales, where young Richmond was residing with Lord Pembroke,
had brought him back with him, and presented him to King Henry.  The
King was reported to have said, laying his hand on the boy’s head as he
spoke,—


[#] The qualifying words "the royal dignity excepted," are over-lined,
in blacker ink and in a later hand than the original entry.

[#] This is the date usually given; but an earlier one is more likely to
be true, since in 1466 King Henry was a prisoner.


"Much striving there is between us; but this is he to whom both we and
our adversaries must submit."

There can be little doubt that Henry regarded his young nephew as his
heir presumptive, a fact which in itself was likely to rouse Edward’s
jealousy against the boy: and even now a popular reaction was beginning
in favour of the deceased King, which took the form of reverence for the
sanctity of his life, and disposition to believe in his powers of
prediction.  The last item was rather helped than hindered by his
predisposition to insanity, for in the Middle Ages a man with impaired
intellect, in whatever form, was always regarded as one with whom God
held direct communication.  The particular form of madness which had
afflicted King Henry, and which was characterised not by any kind of
passion or violence, but by silence and dreaminess—an apparent absence
of the soul from the body—was especially looked upon as indicative of
inspiration.  King Henry’s own account of these attacks of aberration
was that they were simply a blank to him, and that he had not the
slightest idea of any thing that had taken place.  It may be that to a
man of his tender, sensitive, affectionate nature, placed as he was in
these dreadful circumstances, these seasons, resting both mind and body,
were God’s greatest mercy.  At this early date after Henry’s death, a
strong wish for his canonisation had already arisen.  Had those who
aspired to canonise him after death been a little more friendly to him
in life, it would have been a state of things much more to his
advantage.  But this is human nature.  We worry our friend into his
grave, and then we call him poor dear So-and-so, and wear his portrait
in a locket.

All these facts tended to make Edward’s throne an uneasy seat, and
caused him to be very anxious to get hold of young Richmond.  His
grandmother, the Duchess of Somerset, had returned to her allegiance:
but his mother, the Countess of Richmond and Wiltshire, made no sign.
His uncle Jaspar was watching over the boy; and no sooner did he hear
that Edward was endeavouring to discover him, than he fled with him
across the Channel, and delivered him into the safe keeping of the Duke
of Bretagne.

Seeing that his dangerous rival had escaped his hands, Edward thought it
desirable to assure himself of the fidelity of his nobles to his son.
The little child of eight months old was created Prince of Wales, Duke
of Lancaster, and Earl of Cornwall; and on the 3rd of July, in "the
Parliament Chamber" at Westminster, the Lords Spiritual and Temporal
swore allegiance to him.[#]  Among those who took this oath is specially
named, third on the list, his uncle of Gloucester.  An entire household
was appointed for the baby Prince—Chancellor, Seneschal, and
Chamberlain.


[#] Close Roll, 11 Edw. IV.


On the 27th of August, a patent of pardon was issued for five
Lancastrians.  Three were men of no note.  The others were described as
"Henry, calling himself Duke of Exeter," and "Jaspar Owen, calling
himself Earl of Pembroke."[#]  It was not, however, for three weeks
after this, that Exeter was suffered to leave his prison.  He came out
to find such a pestilence raging all over the country as had not been
known in England for many years—scarcely since the "black death" in the
reign of Edward III.  No borough town in England was free.  King and
Queen went on pilgrimage to Canterbury as an expiation for the sins
which had caused it.  But, as a set-off to this humiliation, the
personal expenses of King Edward for this half-year—the bloodiest period
of his reign—amounted to a sum which no previous King of England had
ever approached.  The details of this expenditure, from April to
September, 1471, will be found in the Appendix.  They throw more light
on the King’s character than pages of description.


[#] Patent Roll, 11 Edw. IV., Part I.—The scribe probably omitted a
word, and meant to describe the son of Owen Tudor as Jaspar ap Owen.


Perhaps, had Edward—and it may be more than he—carefully studied his
account-book, it might have given him some intimation of the quarter
wherein those sins lay for which he rode to Canterbury to do penance.



                            *CHAPTER VIII.*

                       *THE END OF A WEDDING-DAY*

    "Aye, there’s a blank at my right hand
    That ne’er can be made up to me."
      —HOGG.


"And how goes it with the fair Grisacres, Sellinger?"

The question was asked by King Edward IV., who was lounging in an
attitude of lazy ease on a "day-bed," the ancestor of the modern sofa.
His Majesty’s life was spent in alternations between taking his ease in
the very easiest of ways, and fits of fiery bravery when occasion called
them forth.  The gentleman addressed was Master Thomas St. Leger, a
squire of the body, to whom Edward had granted the marriage of Jane
Grisacres, one of the chamberers of his sister of Exeter.  This meant
that the young lady was an heiress, and that the gentleman was at
liberty either to marry her himself, or to make merchandise of her to
some other person.  The inclinations of the lady were not considered.
Her sole opportunity, therefore, if she did not admire her master, lay
in making herself so extremely disagreeable to him that he might prefer
to sell her.

"I humbly thank your Highness, all goes rarely well," replied St. Leger,
with a courtesy.

St. Leger was a good-looking man of some five and twenty years, with
light hair, which, in accordance with fashion, he wore very long, and
cut quite straight all round.

"That is well.  I would fain do thee some grace for thy service," said
Edward, rising, and calling another of his squires to attend him, he
lounged out of the room.

King Edward IV. was the handsomest man of his age.  "A more beautiful
person," says Comines, "never did mine eyes behold."  He was very
tall,—six feet three inches—of extremely fair complexion, light brown
hair, and blue eyes—true Plantagenet colours: but he grew corpulent in
his later years—a blemish which at this time had not begun to appear.
Like most persons at that period, he wore his hair very long, but
neither beard, whiskers, nor moustache.

      "What though the face be fair,
      What though the eye be bright,
    What though the rare and flowing hair
      Vie with the rich sunlight,—
    If the soul which of all should the fairest be,
    If the soul which must last through eternity
      Be a dark and unholy thing?"


And certainly, in Edward’s case, the beauty of the outward man was very
far from corresponding with the inner man of the heart.

A rather peculiar smile curled the lip of the squire after the King’s
departure.

"His Highness would fain do me some grace—would he so?" he inquired half
aloud, and to all appearance addressing himself to a fly which was
marching up the diamond-shaped panes of the window.  "What should he
say, trow, an’ he wist of the grace which another thinks to do me?"

The same evening saw Mr. St. Leger a visitor at Coldharbour, for the
purpose of carrying on that wooing which was now beginning to be thought
decorous even in these cases where the lady was not free to
refuse—though, of course, capable of omission if preferred.  Half an
hour he spent with Mistress Jane Grisacres in the hall—a half-hour which
was a weary weight to him, and a moment of enchantment to her, for—alas
for poor Jane Grisacres!—she loved the handsome suitor who cared so
little about her.  This business well over, Mr. St. Leger slipped out of
the hall, and passed lightly up a spiral staircase, to do his real
wooing in another chamber, to a lady who had double the beauty, and ten
times the position, but not one per cent. of the heart, of poor Jane
Grisacres.

Men and women do not leap, but grow, into monsters of iniquity.
Dionysius the Tyrant, Pope Alexander the Sixth, Judge Jeffries, and
Robespierre, were all innocent babies once.  The heart not yet hardened
in sin shrinks back from the first touch of what it recognises as evil,
with the cry, "Is thy servant a dog, that he should do this thing?"[#]


[#] These words have passed into an English proverb, and are here used
in their current sense: but it should be remembered that in that sense
they are not a Scriptural quotation, the key-note word being omitted
from the sentence. Hazael really said, "Thy servant the dog, shall he do
this great thing?"  In other words, Is so mean a creature as I to attain
to so high a position as you intimate?  His feeling, therefore, was not
righteous indignation, but rather rapturous astonishment.


But when the evil is not recognised, how then? There is no shrinking
from Satan when he comes to us clad in the robes of an angel of light.
One of the most skilful touches of the wonderful tinker is that passage
where Christian and Hopeful admit that they were forewarned to beware of
the Flatterer. "But we did not imagine (said they) that this fine-spoken
man had been he."

When the Lady Anne of York, in her innocent girlhood, scarcely more than
a child, stood at the altar with Henry Duke of Exeter, she would
probably have repulsed with indignant horror the prophet who should have
told her that ere twenty years were over, she would fling overboard,
careless what fate he met, the husband who would have loved her if she
had given him leave, for the sake of a young man who was merely
attracted by her beauty, rank, and wealth.  She was ready to do it now.
Beginning by simply amusing herself with the young squire, then
regarding him as a friend, she had reached a point at which she was
willing to abnegate rank, and sacrifice even her hoarded wealth, sooner
than part with him.  The matter was easily managed.  A Princess would
find it no hard matter to obtain a divorce.  Of course the King must be
amused with some other reason than the true one, as he might not fancy a
marriage between his sister and his servant.  But it was easy enough to
take him in, by a little virtuous indignation about the wicked
Lancastrian proclivities of the Duke, which made it utterly
impracticable for the Duchess ever to bear him again.  Edward’s own
constancy was not so remarkable that he could afford to be severe upon
Anne.

And what of the delicate maiden whose one tie to life was that father
who was thus to be cast away and left to his fate?  Her mother did not
find it convenient to consider her.  She was to be married to Thomas
Grey.  If she did not like him, worse luck!  What more could be said?
She must put up with her fate, as others had done before her.

It did, however, strike the Duchess that it might be as well to get her
daughter’s marriage over before her own.  The divorce could take place
any time—the sooner the better.  She had already induced her royal
brother to make sundry small grants of minor offices and inexpensive
manors to St. Leger: and His Majesty was just now very busy—partly
occupied in settling political difficulties, and partly in recruiting
his recent heavy exertions.  Among the former were a quantity of pardons
to Lancastrians who had submitted themselves—among whom was a mercer of
London, by name William Caxton, whose thoughts were busy on the setting
up of that quiet little printing-press at Westminster which was to
revolutionise the world; the removal of Clarence from Court (where he
was eternally quarrelling with Gloucester) by creating him Viceroy of
Ireland; the re-arrest of Archbishop Neville, under cover of a friendly
visit from the King, who gleefully appropriated his £20,000 worth of
personalty, and broke up his mitre to make a crown for himself.  Edward
was still worried on the subject of Richmond, whom he was trying hard to
induce to come to England, alleging as his sole object the desire to
restore his dear young kinsman to his forfeited inheritance: but the
Duke of Burgundy—with whom Richmond had now taken refuge—at the last
moment stopped the negotiations, on hearing from the proverbial little
bird that what Edward really wanted with his dear young kinsman was to
show him the same civility which Herod did to John the Baptist. King
Edward’s recourse, under these accumulated annoyances, for rest and
refreshment, was as usual to a sylvan recreation which was a mixture of
picnic and hunting tour, gorgeous pavilions being pitched for that
galaxy of Court ladies without whom life would in his eyes have been a
howling wilderness.

The Duchess of Exeter and her daughter were among the royal guests.  The
flirtation between the former and Mr. St. Leger was thereby considerably
promoted: while the aversion of the Lady Anne for Mr. Thomas Grey was
very far from lessened. The Duchess, however, pushed on the settlements
and preparations: and soon after the King’s return to Westminster, both
events were ready to happen.  The divorce came first.  On the twelfth of
November, 1472, the marriage of the Duke and Duchess of Exeter was
dissolved by Papal bull: and in the following January, the Lady Anne de
Holand was made to give her hand—_not_ with her heart in it—to the
eldest son of Queen Elizabeth.

On the evening before this sacrifice was offered at the shrine of
politics and propriety, the Lady Anne, and several of her mother’s
chamberers, were gathered at Coldharbour.  The bride had been trying on
her wedding-dress, which Jane Grisacres and Marion Rothwell were
carefully folding up. It was of rich crimson velvet, heavily furred with
ermine, and was almost too great a weight for the slight shoulders which
drooped beneath it. Suddenly there was an exclamation from Jane.

"Help us, holy Mary!  If I have not lost my locket!"

"Dear heart!" responded Marion.  "Look and see if it have not catched in
my Lady’s gown."

The search was made, but without success.

"Woe is me!  I had liefer have lost all mine having rather than yon
locket," lamented Jane.

"I know wherefore," suggested the teazing Tamzine, in that tantalising
style which is always meant to provoke a request for further
explanation: and Marion, who was not devoid of curiosity, responded as
Tamzine intended she should.

"Wherefore?  The saints be about us!  Had she not yon locket for a token
of Master Sellinger?  _I_ know!" announced Miss Thomasine, in a tone
which called the colour into Jane’s face.

The last-named young lady was still hunting for her lost treasure, in
likely and unlikely places, with a running accompaniment of remarks
addressed to nobody, such as are usual in similar cases.

"I am assured I put it on this morrow!—Dear, dear, but to think of
it!—Where can it be?—I have looked every whither!—Had ever poor maid
such an ill loss?"

"It had his hair in it, I warrant you," said Marion, not
ill-naturedly—she was not an ill-natured girl—but with that spice of
enjoyable excitement at the least adventure or misadventure, which gave
Rochefoucauld the occasion to observe that there is something
exhilarating in the misfortunes of our friends.

"Not it, forsooth!" said Tamzine.  "Master Sellinger is not he that
should lay violent hands of his greatest treasure to please a woman."

"Is his hair his greatest treasure?" laughed Marion.

"Trust me!" was Tamzine’s sententious response. "Have you ne’er beheld
him shake it with yon delicate turn of his head that he hath?  Why, he
beareth it a good inch longer than any other in the Court."

"Good lack! the man is a very popinjay,"[#] said Marion.  "He might be a
maid, with his pouncet-box and his pomanders."[#]


[#] Parrot.

[#] The pomander, now becoming old-fashioned, was a ball of
sweet-scented drugs enclosed in a network of metal, which was held in
the warm hand to call out its fragrance: the pouncet box had taken its
place, and was filled with sweet powder.


"And his little mirror stuck of a little poke[#] of his doublet—have you
ne’er watched him pull it forth when he counted him unseen?"

[#] Pocket is the diminutive of poke.

"Nay, verily! but doth he so?  That passeth!"[#]


[#] Surpasses belief.


"Use your eyes," said Tamzine.  "Jane, sweet chuck, give up searching
for a needle of a bottle of hay.  The cat hath it, I’ll be bound, or
some animal belike."

In which Miss Tamzine was not so far wrong, seeing that the missing
article lay in her own pocket.

"Cats eat no lockets, trow," said Marion.

"Nay, but I cannot," answered Jane in a distressed voice.  "I had never
yet heavier loss in all my life."

"Good sooth, your life must have been a merry one," said Tamzine.

"I have lost father and mother," added Marion. "Somewhat passing a
locket, belike."

"I have lost worser than that," said the cynical Tamzine, "for I had
eleven hundred pound put out to usury, and he that had it paid me ne’er
a plack."

"Dear heart! how came that?" said Marion.

"Father Nokes said it came of the temptation of Satan, and the evilness
of men’s hearts," was the demure reply of Tamzine.

"What was your worst loss, Agnes?" asked Marion.

Agnes had to think.  "I scarce can tell," said she.  "I were o’er young
when my mother died to feel any loss."

"What happy maids be ye!" came softly from Lady Anne, who had listened
hitherto without joining.  "Dear damsels, I pray you to thank God that
the worsest loss ye know is the loss of death."

"Can there be a worser, Madam?"

"Aye, Marion, there be losses in life far wofuller."

"Your Ladyship scarce speaks from your own knowledge, methinks."

"Aye, but I do!" answered the bride sadly. "We may lose our living, in a
sorer fashion than our dead.  The dead can go no further from us than
they be: and the day cometh when we shall go to them.  But the living
may go further away from us till they never come back again: aye, and
worser—for they may go further and further from God till they never come
back to Him.  And who shall measure the loss of a lost life?—who shall
measure the loss of a lost soul?"

"Cheery talk for a bride of her wedding-eve!" muttered Marion, not for
Lady Anne to hear.

Nor did she hear it.  She sat by the table, resting her head upon her
hand, and her thoughts evidently far away.  Probably they were either on
the life that lay before her, or on the father whom she might never see
again.

"Oh dear!" exclaimed poor Jane, standing up from the cramped position in
which she had been hunting for the missing locket.  "I must give it up
till daylight come.  Our sweet Lady grant it be not truly lost!"

"Not a bit of it," said Tamzine peremptorily: and reasonably enough,
since she knew where it was.

"I will help you look for it to-morrow," said Agnes kindly.

"Truly, I am beholden to you," replied Jane. "I would give a gold
half-angel to know where it were."

"Give it me," said Tamzine, holding out her hand.  "I am going to-morrow
even to see the White Witch of Bermondsey."

"Wait and see if the locket be found afore the even," wisely suggested
Marion.

"Won’t be," said Tamzine.

Jane, whose chief failing was being too easily led, paid over the five
shillings to Tamzine without taking Marion’s advice.

"We must be early abed, maids," said Lady Anne, rising, with a weary
air.  "We must needs be stirring early, and ’tis now so late the night
shall not be long."

She turned away from them, to go to her own chamber, with a hollow cough
which smote painfully on Agnes Marston’s heart.

"Not long!" she said to herself, in another sense. "No, dear, gentle,
suffering maiden—the night will not be long!"

The next morning rose brilliantly clear, and cruelly cold.  There was a
keen frost, and a keener east wind: but it was _de rigueur_ that the
bride must wear no covering on her head except a coronal of gems.  She
bore herself royally, with no sign of the outward sufferings which were
consuming her life, any more than of the inward anguish which was
gnawing at her heart.  The marriage took place at Greenwich Palace,
after a freezing voyage: and the bride was given away by her royal
uncle.  All the chamberers of course were present, and so were the
people of England, represented by as many as could squeeze into the
Palace chapel.  Men and women of all ranks were there: but only two
pairs of eyes noticed one man, muffled in a thick cloak as if he felt
the cold, who stood back in the furthest corner.  Agnes thought she
could guess who he was; and she contrived to leave the chapel by the
door close to which he stood.  As she passed him in the crush, the Duke
slipped a scrap of paper into her hand, with a significant look.  Agnes
hid it hastily, for it was not for a long time that she dared to examine
it.  There was a grand banquet to be gone through, and a series of
dances and games in the Palace hall; and hours were over before Agnes
could without notice slip away from the dancers, and in the recess of a
window where no eyes saw her, unfold the Duke’s missive.

"I would fain speak with you," it ran.  "Dare you come alone to the
waterside, without the little postern, as soon as the dark falleth?
Risk nothing: but if you can come, you shall find me there."

It was growing dusk already.  Agnes listened for a moment to the sounds
of mirth which came surging from the hall.  No one would miss her there.
She tied a hood over her head, and ran down to the little postern.  True
to his appointment, the Duke was walking slowly up and down, muffled in
his cloak.

"May Christ bless you, my good damsel!" he said warmly, as Agnes made
her appearance.  "I do heartily trust that no ill shall hap to you for
this grace.  Now tell me quickly, for I would not keep you to your
harm—what manner of man is this Master Grey?  Since he were babe have I
never seen him.  What is in him?—what hath he done?"

Ah, Agnes knew of one thing he had done, which so far as in her lay must
be kept from the ears of Anne’s father for ever.  Could she look up into
those mournful, longing eyes, and tell him that the man into whose hands
his one darling had fallen was one of the murderers of Prince Edward?
She cast her eyes downwards, and played nervously with her chatelaine.

"Methinks, my gracious Lord, not much hath been yet known of the young
gentleman."

"Perchance, not much," answered the Duke quietly: "yet something, my
gentle maid, which you would fain not tell me."

Agnes took refuge in the smaller of the two evil actions of which she
knew Grey to be guilty.  The smaller—yet showing, as straws show how the
wind blows, that he was capable of the greater.

"I have seen him not o’er good to his dog," said she.  "But I know not
much of his conditions."

The Duke sighed.  "Doth my little maid love him?" he asked.  "Was she
willing to wed with him?"

It was an unusual idea for that time, and would scarcely have been asked
but by an exceptionally tender-hearted parent.  Agnes shook her head.

"O my darling, my darling!  My little white dove!"

"My Lord," said Agnes tremulously, "it will not be for long."

"I know it.  And then—I shall have nothing left to live for."

Agnes Marston was one of those shy, undemonstrative, yet deeply-feeling
natures, to whom talking of any thing they feel deeply is all but
impossible. The fervent souls who wear their hearts upon their sleeves
never comprehend a nature like this.  They always think them cold,
impassive, unfeeling.  Yet such have shown themselves capable of martyr
death: and they beyond all others can live the martyr life.[#] The most
suffering life, and the most saintly, is the life that has no outlet
except towards God.


[#] I would fain take this opportunity of protesting against a very
common misapprehension (as it appears to me) of a passage of Scripture,
by which hearts have been made sad which I believe God would not have
made sad.  How often the fervent nature condemns the shy and silent with
"Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh."  If the latter
cannot speak, it is assumed, it is because it cannot feel, or is only
half-hearted; if love be in your heart, it must come out of your lips:
Christ says so! But does Christ say so?  Let the context be carefully
examined, and it will be found that Christ says, not that whatever is
felt in the heart will come out of the mouth—but that whatever does come
out of the mouth must first have originated in the heart.  I venture to
submit that this passage does not deal with the counter-proposition at
all: and that between the two there is as much difference as between
saying all one thinks, and meaning all one says.


As she stood there by the river, listening to the soft lapping of the
water against the bank, Agnes felt as though she could have given any
thing to comfort that desolate man.  Yet what could she say that might
comfort him?  To quote God’s Word, for a woman, and especially in
English, would put herself in jeopardy: but she did not mind that, if it
would do him any good.  Agnes did not realise that the Duke had been
educated by a Lollard stepmother, herself the daughter of a martyr of
Jesus Christ.

"’_Youre liif is hidde with Crist in God_.’"  She made the quotation
very tremblingly.  Amazed indeed she was at the style of its reception.
The Duke’s hand fell softly on her head as if in blessing, and—most
astonishing of all—the quotation went on.

"’_For whanne Crist schal apere youre liif, thanne also ye schuln apere
with him in glorie...  Where is not male and female, ... larlarus and
scita, bonde man and fre man; but alle thingis and in alle thingis
Crist_.’  I thank you, heartily, my good maid.  Aye, and methinks it
runneth next,—’_As the Lord forgaf to you, so also ye_.’  It is well.  I
count that shall last us both for this little while. ’_Alle thingis and
in alle thingis, Crist_.’"

Agnes was silent.  She had taken a text: if her hearer would preach the
sermon to himself, it was far better than any comment on her part.

"I scarce looked to find one of that sort in Coldharbour now," said the
Duke, with a smile which made him but look the sadder.  "But you must
have a care, Mistress Agnes.  We be no longer under King Henry, that
would not see a Christian man nor woman ill-usen.  Yet I would fain,
whenso you find safe chance, that you should speak such words to my
little maid as you have spoken to me to-night.  She cannot remember her
grandmother, that should have learned them to her, as she did to me."

"My gracious Lord, the Lady Anne wist thereof far more and better than
I."

The light came to the Duke’s eyes, for the first time that sorrowful
night.

"Then we shall meet again," he said.  "Not long—no, not long!  God keep
you, Mistress Agnes, and give you, for this little while,—give all of
us—to have, ’_alle thingis and in alle thingis, Crist_.’"

Once more, light and warm, his hand rested on her head: and the next
moment he was gone.  She stood still and silent, with the feeling of
that hand upon her head—of that last word in her ear.  It was as if
Christ Himself had blessed her.  A sense of deep peace sank into Agnes
Marston’s heart. The little while to be spent on this side the cold
river seemed so very little, and the golden gates of Paradise so very
near.  She would never forget those words—never forget that tone—"_alle
thingis, and in alle thingis, Crist_."

"Agnes!  Agnes Marston!  Where art, hussy? Dost look for thy betters to
waste their breath a-bawling of thee?  Art any better than thou shouldst
be, a-chattering to strange men at postern doors?  Come in this minute,
for shame of thy face, and tell me who is thy gallant.  Some
penny-go-quick pot-loving companion, I’ll be bound.  Come hither, I
say!"

Oh, what a revulsion it was!  But Agnes did not hesitate a moment.  Her
conscience was clean as snow.  She ran up the spiral staircase, and
found herself in the awful, because angry, presence of the Mistress of
the Household, Lady Elizabeth Darcy.

"Come up to the light, and let me look at thee!"

Agnes stood the scrutiny without flinching.

"Now then—with whom wert thou talking yonder?"

"Please it you, Madam, with a gentleman whose daughter is a maid of my
cognisance, and he, knowing the same, did desire to have some speech of
me touching her."

"Yonder’s a jolly hearing!  Get thy tale up better another time.
Wherefore should such meet thee after dark, behind posterns?  He should
have come up to the hall, and desired speech of thee like an honest man.
Now then, tell me another story, and let it be the true one, this time."

"Madam, I have spoken truth.  An’ I tell your Ladyship any other tale,
it must needs be false."

The two pairs of eyes met, and the Lady Elizabeth’s fell first.

"Holy Mary! but thou art a brazen piece of goods as ever I saw!  Come
with me to thy Lady. She must be told of this."

Agnes followed silently.  Wild horses should not drag that secret from
her keeping.

The Duchess of Exeter—who had just divorced her own husband in order to
marry another man—was inexpressibly horrified at the moral turpitude of
Agnes Marston.  Was she to allow of such scandals in her house?  No,
indeed!  The only atonement that Agnes could make was to declare then
and there the name and business of her companion.  The Duchess was
doubtful whether, after any disclosures or expressions of penitence, she
would be justified in overlooking the matter.

Agnes kept silence.  She had repeated her explanation, and she held to
it as the simple truth: but not another word would she utter.

"Wilt not even say thou art sorry?" demanded Lady Darcy, who, now that
the Duchess had taken up the matter so warmly, was herself cooling down.

Sorry! would she ever be sorry, all her life long, for what had passed
in those few minutes?

"No, Madam.  I am not sorry."

"Nor ashamed?"

"Nor ashamed, in any wise."  And Agnes lifted her clear, honest eyes to
her examiners.

"Verily, this passes!" cried the Duchess.  "Dost look to tarry any
longer in mine house, thou good-for-nought?"

"At your pleasure, Madam."

"Then thou mayest write to my Lord Marnell, and tell him I send him back
a thing that is no better than she should be."

Agnes, whose sense of the ludicrous was very delicate, thought she would
be quite safe in making that report.

"I’ll have thy sister in the stead of thee.  She is a well-looking maid
enough, and of good conditions.  I saw her this last week, when she that
was Queen Margaret was sent from Windsor to Wallingford."

Agnes felt quietly amused.  It was Frideswide who had been the Duke’s
first friend, not she.  He would be no worse by the exchange—whatever
she might be.

"Dost hear, hussy?"

"Aye, Madam, an’t like you."

"Then begone!"

And so—for Agnes Marston—closed the Lady Anne’s wedding-day.

She went quietly enough upstairs to the room shared by the chamberers of
the Duchess.  For a moment she stopped at the summit, with her hand on
the banister.  A sharp pain was shooting through her heart, but whence
and what it was she did not know herself.

"What does it matter?" she said to herself, looking out of the window at
the starry night. "Only such a little while!  ’_Alle thingis, and in
alle thingis, Crist!_’"



                             *CHAPTER IX.*

                           *DRAWING NEARER.*

    "A bowing, burdened head,
      That only asks to rest
    Unquestioning, upon
      A loving breast."


The Duchess carried her point, and packed off Agnes in disgrace within a
week of the offence.  She had the grace to see that there was some
escort for the friendless girl on her journey home.  A small party of
travellers were on their way to the north—consisting of three gentlemen,
one of whom was accompanied by his wife and daughters.  Agnes received a
frigid intimation that she was to make one of this party, and must be
ready to start in four days.  Mr. Banaster, the married gentleman, lived
in Lancashire, whither he was returning, and would take charge of Agnes
as far as Sheffield, where, if her friends did not meet her, she must be
content to go forward to York with the two younger men whose destination
it was.  Agnes inwardly hoped that somebody would meet her: but it was a
difficult matter to let them know.  She wrote to her father, and
contrived to send the letter by a post who was going to York with
letters from the Duke of Gloucester: but whether it would reach Lovell
Tower before herself was an open question.  She humbly requested to know
the names of the other gentlemen, in a faint hope that they might
possibly be acquaintances.  Lady Darcy informed her, in her coldest
manner, that one of them was a Yorkshire squire, Master Rotherham by
name: as for the other, his name was Combe, and whence he might come,
she neither knew nor cared.  Wherein my Lady Darcy was guilty of saying
the thing that is not, since she was perfectly well aware that Master
John Combe was of old time Queen Marguerite’s henchman, and she had,
under different circumstances, appeared to be very good friends with
him.  Both names were strange to Agnes.  She had one more request to
make—for an interview with Frideswide ere she set out. Lady Darcy
hesitated, but finally granted the request, though she made a great
favour of doing so.

During the last few months, Frideswide’s movements had been regulated by
political necessities. Thirty-seven days was the limit beyond which no
person could claim the privilege of sanctuary at the cost of the house:
and to reside in sanctuary at a man’s own expense was a ruinous
proceeding.  It was therefore impossible to Frideswide to remain with
the Countess of Warwick: and she had no money to provide for herself;
yet, being unindicted, she was not a prisoner, and could not expect to
be kept at the royal cost.  In these uncomfortable circumstances, she
had availed herself of an opportunity which few girls would have
accepted.  A small, though extremely diminished suite had to be provided
for the imprisoned Queen, and Frideswide had thankfully received
permission to share her captivity.  A fervent Lancastrian, she
reverenced Marguerite from the core of her heart.  Beyond the one change
to her own home, any change from that service would be unwelcome.

The unwelcome change was at hand.  The Duchess of Exeter had petitioned
her brother for Frideswide Marston, and no choice was allowed the
latter.  One evening in January, Queen Marguerite’s gaoler entered her
bower, as he politely termed it—she called it her dungeon—in Wallingford
Castle.  As gaolers went in those days, Sir Thomas Thwaytes was fairly
civil to his illustrious captive.

"Dame," said he, "please you, take your leave of Mistress Marston, whom
it is His Highness’ gracious pleasure to command otherwhere."

Frideswide turned rather pale, as was but natural. Her first idea was
that the alteration had reference to her mistress rather than herself.
But Sir Thomas soon undeceived her.  Her sister was going home; and
Frideswide was to take her place with my Lady of Exeter.  Every fibre of
Frideswide’s heart and nerves revolted at the very name.  Take service
under the woman who had ruined the life of that man with the soft sad
eyes, for whose miserable story her compassion had been intensely
awakened! But Frideswide had no choice.  And then the thought flashed
upon her that perhaps she might serve him there.  At least she could do
what Agnes had done, and help him, if he should seek it, to obtain
private interviews with his daughter.

Queen Marguerite took an affectionate leave of her young attendant.  She
gave her a token, or gift, in the form of a table-book—one of those
little ivory books, turning on a pivot, for memoranda, which have lasted
in the same form for many a century.  This one was among the few relics
of her lost estate, and was mounted in gold, and set with turquoises.
It was also fitted with a silver pen.[#]


[#] Silver pens are considerably more ancient than either steel or gold.


The next morning Frideswide left Wallingford, in charge of one Simon
Quyxley, an officer of the garrison, who was going on pilgrimage to
Canterbury, and meant to stay a few weeks with his friends in London on
his way thither.  He delivered Frideswide at Coldharbour; and before she
well set her foot inside the house, she found herself in the arms of her
sister Agnes.

Fortunately for the sisters, the Duchess was spending the evening at
Court, and they were free to be alone together if they chose.  Agnes
hurried Frideswide upstairs to the maidens’ chamber, which was at that
moment empty, and each rapidly poured her story into the ear of the
other—a process which left Agnes comforted, and Frideswide indignant.

"Tarry here I must," said the latter: "but trust me, Annis, so far as
lieth in my good will, ’tis for his sake, not hers."

"And thou wilt serve our gracious Lord to thine uttermost, dear heart?"
urged Agnes earnestly.

"Trust me, but I will!" was the reply.  "And who be thy travelling
fellows, sweeting?"

Agnes told her.  The names of Messrs. Banaster and Rotherham were
received without any comment; but no sooner had she said, "Master
Combe," than Frideswide’s eyes were lifted with light in them, and a
slight flush crept over her brow.

"Master John Combe—not he?  He that was the Queen’s henchman?"

There was no Queen but Marguerite to the apprehension of Frideswide
Marston.

"Aye, the very same," said Agnes.  "Dost know him?"

Frideswide’s hood wanted a good deal of settling just at that moment.

"Ay," said she, rather shortly.  "Thou wilt not journey ill if Master
Combe look to thy comfort. And maybe it shall be none the worser for
thee if thou tell him thy name is Marston."

Agnes quietly drew her own conclusions, but she asked no questions.  She
found, moreover, during the journey, that Master John Combe was
undoubtedly an agreeable travelling companion, doing his utmost to make
others comfortable: and that when she had once informed him that she was
the sister of Frideswide Marston, he appeared to know as much as she did
herself about her home, her relatives, and all that concerned her.
About Frideswide herself he said very little: but Agnes soon perceived
that to talk of her was the surest means of engrossing Master Combe’s
attention.

Sheffield was reached at last, and Agnes found to her regret that no one
from Lovell Tower awaited her.  She went on to York with the two young
gentlemen, with much less reluctance than she had anticipated: for
though she was indifferent to Master Rotherham, she had come to have a
very sisterly feeling towards John Combe.  It was odd that John Combe’s
way from York should lie exactly past Lovell Tower: but of course, very
convenient for Agnes.  Master Rotherham also offered to attend her
thither; but Agnes civilly declined his offer as giving him unnecessary
trouble.  It was late on a Saturday evening in January that Agnes and
John Combe reached Lovell Tower at last.

The family were seated in the hall, where a large fire of thick oaken
logs was blazing, and the men-servants were bringing in the boards and
trestles for rear-supper, the last meal of the day.  Fixed tables in the
centre of a room were unknown to our medieval ancestors, though they
were common enough with the Romans, and even with the Anglo-Saxons. They
had leaf-tables, attached to the wall; and wealthy persons indulged in
small round or square tables on three feet: but to a much later period
than this, the setting of tables for meals included the erection of the
table, a mere wide board set upon trestles.  We use phrases derived from
this practice when we speak of setting a table, or of an hospitable
board.  Over this was laid a fine damask tablecloth, and the silver
_nef_, or ship, was placed in the middle.  This was a large salt-cellar,
used as the barometer of rank.  The family and their guests sat above
the salt; the servants below it.  Silver plates and cups were set for
the former, wooden trenchers and earthen mugs for the latter. To each
person was given a knife and spoon: forks were not invented except for
spices, and were never used to eat with.  A clean damask napkin, and a
basin of water, were carried round before and after every meal: but as
neither was changed in the process, the condition in which both reached
the lower end of the board is better left undescribed. Fastidiousness
was out of place in such circumstances, particularly when husband and
wife still ate from the same plate, and for a host to share his plate
with his guest was the highest honour he could do him.  Yet our
ancestors’ rules of etiquette show that they were fastidious in their
way.  Ladies and gentlemen are therein recommended not to wipe their
fingers on the tablecloth, to refrain from all attentions to nose and
hair during meals, to lick their spoons clean before putting them into
the dish—special spoons for helping were never thought of—and above all
things, not to feed their dogs from the table.

Saturday evening being a vigil, the supper consisted of salt ling and
haddock, baked eels, galantine, eggs prepared in different ways, and
various tarts and creams.  Wassel bread was set above the salt, maslin
below.

The Lady Idonia sat in a large carved chair near the fire.  Lord
Marnell, who had only just entered, and had had a day’s hard riding, had
thrown himself on a settle near, with the air of a tired man who was
glad to come back to home comforts.

The settle itself would have been hard comfort, but a well-to-do house
in those days never ran short of cushions, and his Lordship lay on half
a dozen. The Lady Margery was flitting about the table, looking to the
ways of her household, and Dorathie was extremely busy on a strip of
tapestry.  The baked eels were just coming in at the door, when the
clear notes of a horn rang outside the gate.  It was accompanied—as that
sound always was—by a nervous start from Idonia.

Dorathie never could understand why her grandmother always seemed
alarmed when a horn sounded. She was too young to be told that before
she was born, two horns had so sounded, one of which had brought to
Idonia the news of her widowhood, and the other had heralded the arrival
of persecutors for the faith.  For the momentary defection on her part
which followed the latter, Idonia’s pardon might be registered in
Heaven, but she had never forgiven herself.  Was it any wonder if the
sound of a horn brought back to her shrinking heart both those awful
memories?

"Guests, I ween!" said Lord Marnell, not altering his position on the
settle, where he lay with both arms thrown back and beneath his head.

"Dear heart, who shall they be, trow?" responded his wife.

The slip of tapestry dropped from the fingers of Dorathie, who had
rushed to the door, and was peering through the crack to make such
discoveries as she could.

"Doll!  Dorathie!  Doll, I say!" cried the scandalised Lady Marnell to
her curiosity-stricken heiress.  "Come back this minute!  Where be thy
manners?"

Dorathie’s obedience, rather than her manners, produced a reluctant
retreat from the door.  The gate was heard to open and shut, the clatter
of horses came into the paved court-yard, there was the sound of a
little bustle and several voices without, and then through the door one
voice that all recognised with exclamations of pleasure, the rather
because it was one of the last which they expected to hear.

"Agnes, sweet heart!"

"Annis, my dear maid!"

"O Annis, hast come back?—_hast_ come back!"

Lord Marnell was up in an instant, his wife warmly embracing her
step-daughter, and Dorathie clinging to her as though she had not seen
her for a life-time.  Agnes returned the greetings as warmly as they
were given, and when all the kisses and blessings were over, presented
John Combe.

There was a cordial welcome for Queen Marguerite’s henchman at Lovell
Tower, and he was of course desired to remain there as long as it suited
his convenience.  Any thing less would have been very rude in the eyes
of the fifteenth century. Agnes had a shrewd suspicion that Lovell Tower
was the real destination of the guest, and that before he left that
place he would find that a little private conversation with Lord Marnell
was the thing that suited his convenience.  She was not mistaken.
Before John Combe had stayed a fortnight at Lovell Tower, Agnes and
Dorathie were informed by their mother that they were henceforward to
regard that gentleman in the light of a brother-in-law elect.  Agnes
received with a quiet smile the communication which she had been
expecting; Dorathie with ecstatic excitement an idea entirely new to
her.

"But"—she suddenly exclaimed, ceasing her transports—"will Frid have to
go away, or stay away?  Won’t she come home?"

"She will come home first, surely," answered her mother, "for she will
be wed from hence: afterward, Master Combe hath some desire to dwell in
this vicinage, though if it shall be compassed I yet know not."

"Oh, how jolly should that be!" cried Dorathie, "to have Frid but a step
off, and run in and out!"

Lady Margery laughed.  "A good step, I take it, my little maid.
Howbeit, I trust thou mayest have thy wish."

It was on that very evening that Maurice Carew, who had been to York on
business, came in with an important piece of news.  The Princess of
Wales was found.  Found, by the man whom she most dreaded, in the guise
of a cookmaid, at a "mean house" in the City of London,—dragged out from
her seclusion, and placed under the care of her uncle, Archbishop
Neville, with permission to hold intercourse with Queen Marguerite,—the
only kindness that could be done to that lonely, widowed, orphan girl.
Of all the quarrels that had ever taken place between Clarence and
Gloucester, the worst ensued upon this point.  The royal family went to
Shene on the sixteenth of February "to pardon," but little pardon was in
the hearts of the brothers, who were quarrelling all the way.  The King,
with whom Gloucester was always the favourite, tried to persuade
Clarence to more amiability: but all the concession that could be wrung
from the latter was—

"He may well have my Lady my sister-in-law, but she and my wife shall
part no livelihood!"

In other words, Clarence did not care how soon the Princess married, so
long as she remained a portionless bride, and the Warwick property was
left undivided to his children.  To do Gloucester credit—the rather
since little credit can be done him—he does not seem to have been
anxious about the property at that time.  It was Anne herself whom he
wanted: and he was astute enough to see that if he once got hold of her,
the property could be agitated for at leisure.

Not many days after this news had been a nine days’ wonder, Lady Darcy
informed Frideswide that my Lady Anne Grey had petitioned her mother for
her, and she was to be transferred to her service. Frideswide was
exceedingly pleased, the rather because she could thus serve the Duke
far better than at Coldharbour.  She had heard something of Lady Anne
from Agnes: but she was hardly prepared for the thin white face and
burning eyes which struck to her heart when she saw her new mistress.
She might keep in her service as long as Lady Anne should live, and not
defer her wedding.  The interview in the presence of the Duchess was
very short, and question and answer were brief on both sides.  But the
engagement was effected, and Lord Marnell was fully satisfied with the
transfer.  He was glad, he said, to win both his poor doves from the
clutches of that kite of a woman.  Had Frideswide remained at
Coldharbour, he would have hastened her marriage in order to get her
away. Now there was no need to do it.

The first night that Frideswide spent in her new home, she was required
to attend her young lady at her _coucher_.  Mr. Grey was not at home; he
rarely was so.  Noble ladies never had the privilege of a room to
themselves in the Middle Ages. When their husbands were away, and often
when they were not, a female attendant must occupy the pallet bed, which
ran on castors underneath the state bed, and was pulled out when
required. Frideswide found herself appointed to the pallet bed this
first night—an unusual promotion, since it argued some amount of
attachment and confidence on the part of the mistress.  The _coucher_
was very silent, the only remarks made having reference to the business
in hand.  But when Frideswide, having finished her duties, had hastily
undressed and lain down, the silence was broken.

"Frideswide, art thou in Agnes’ secrets?"

"That is somewhat more than I can answer, my Lady.  I wis a thing or
twain of hers."

"Did she ever speak unto thee of—of my Lord my father?"

"I think it was I that spake to her," answered Frideswide, softly.

"Hast thou seen him?"  The tone was painfully eager.

"My Lady, may I speak out?"

"That is it I would have thee do."

"Doth your Ladyship mind a certain even in winter that his Lordship came
to Coldharbour, and, as I think, had speech of yourself?"

"Mind it?  Yes, and shall while my life lasts!"

"My Lady, his Lordship had ere that been tarrying with the Queen at
Harfleur, and he was pleased to require of me a letter to my sister the
which should serve him as a passport to your Ladyship’s presence."

"He came hither by thy means, Frideswide?"

"Mine and hers, my Lady."

"Which of you knows him better?"

"Methinks, I, by much, Madam."

"Frideswide, art thou willing to be his true friend and mine?"

"Trust me, my Lady."

"Which Rose dost thou wear?"

A delicate question to answer, when the questioner was a daughter of the
House of York!  But Frideswide Marston never hesitated.

"The Red, Madam, from my cradle; and shall so do to my coffin."

"So do I," said Lady Anne, quietly, "down in mine heart, Frideswide.  He
wears it; and what he is, I am.  Ah, would I could pass further!—’Where
thou goest, I will go, and where thou lodgest, I will lodge.’  I had
asked God no more. Yet at the least, his people can be my people, as his
God is my God.  And may-be, when he dies, if not where, then may I die
and be buried."

"My Lady, you are young to count on dying."

"It seems long since I counted on living," she said in a low voice.
"Life is not worth much, Frideswide."

Frideswide knew too much to ask why.  But she knew that for her, under
similar circumstances, life would have gone on; and she wondered whether
her physical nature were stronger than that of Lady Anne, or her moral
nature more blunt and hard.

"I mind," said Lady Anne, in the same tone, "once hearing my Lady of
Clarence my aunt to say that none save weak folks brake their hearts. I
reckon I must be weak.  For mine is broken. I misdoubt if it were ever
otherwise than weak and easily shattered.  It has not taken much to
break it.  Thou mayest despise me if thou wilt."

"None less, Madam!  It would be impossible."

"Would it?" she answered, rather wistfully. "Yet methinks thy nature is
far stronger than mine. The blows which have crushed me into a poor
handful of dust should have rebounded from thee with scarce a bruise.  I
can see it in thy face; and thy sister is like thee."

"It may be so, my Lady.  But I take it, He told us to pity the weak, who
is a God so strong and patient, and who was crucified through weakness
for our sakes.  Is it not in His strength we can do all things?"

"Dost thou know Him, Frideswide?"

"Aye so, my Lady."

"Then thou wilt be a comfort to me—in what is coming.  It will not be
long, Frideswide.  Dost thou know that?"

Frideswide’s voice was very low and tender as she said, "Ay, my Lady.  I
think it will not be long."  She had more hardihood than Agnes, and
spoke out her thoughts instead of feeling them in silence.

"And I shall be glad," said Lady Anne gently. "Only I hope my father may
not be long after me. Though we have met of late but so seldom, yet I
know the world will seem darker and colder to him when I am gone out of
it.  I am all he has save God; and he is all that I have."

Frideswide’s eyes were wet; but she made no reply.

"I used to have a fair dream once—too fair to be true.  I reckoned that
we might have dwelt together, he and I, in some quiet cot in a green
glade, where no strangers should come near us, and none seek to take us
from each other.  But—it was not to be."

"Not here, Madam.  Yet will it not be—hereafter?"

"I feel as though I knew little of what will be hereafter.  It will be
as God wills; and His will is good.  I lack rest sorely—so does my
father: and we miss each other very, very much.  I suppose our Lord can
give us what we need; and as to how, and when, and where—He will know.
We have only to wait.  Only—I am so weary!"

And she turned on her pillow with a heavy sigh. Weary of life and all
that was in it—and she only just eighteen!  Frideswide would have given
much to comfort her: but she did not know what to say.

"Our Lord was weary Himself," she said at last.

"Aye, and the memory should rest me.  But it doth not so.  I seem to
have sunk beneath all that—down into the great depths where no words can
reach me.  Only His own voice, when He shall come and lay His hand upon
me, and say, ’Arise, and come away.’  I reckon I shall be strong enough
to rise up then.  Now, I only want to lie and wait for it.  Frideswide,
dost thou know what gladness feels like?  It is so long sithence I have
felt it, that I can barely remember."

"Yes, Madam, I know it well."

"And I do not, save in flashes," said Lady Anne again in that wistful
tone.  "I marvel how it will come to me.  I suppose it will come."

She spoke as if she thought it hardly possible.

"Madam, saith not the Psalmist, ’Thou hast put gladness in mine heart?’
Methinks that is God’s gift as much as grace or mercy."

"Then I will ask Him to put it there," she said, with that childlike
simplicity which was a part of her character.  "Frideswide, methinks it
shall be another way of saying to Him, ’Lord, let me die!’"

And Frideswide knew it was so.

"My maid," said the mistress after a moment’s pause, "who was it led
thee into the ways of God?"

Frideswide could hardly tell.  It had always been so, as it seemed to
her.  She could barely remember her mother; but first her aunt, and then
her stepmother, and always her father, had brought her up in the Lollard
faith since her world began.  But friends, after all, however faithful
and loving, can only lead us into the Court of Israel: the Lord of the
Temple must draw aside the veil, and admit His priests Himself into the
holy place.

"I can tell thee who it was that led me," resumed Lady Anne, "and let it
cheer thee, my maid, to do God’s work on them that thou hast opportunity
to reach.  It was one that I cannot in any wise remember—my Lady my
grandmother.  She was sometime the Lady Anne de Montacute, a daughter of
my Lord of Salisbury that died for King Richard at Cirencester: and she
bred up first my father, and after, me, in that which she had learned
from her father.  I cannot recall her face, essay it as I may: but her
doctrine abides with me.  ’Tis true, I might have minded it less had not
my father kept me thereto belike: for the which reason, may-be, it hath
alway seemed me that to love him and to love God went together.  They
were diverse sides of the same medal.  I might say that either came of
itself, as I learned the other.  Once on a time I seemed to come at God
through him: and now—I can come at him only through God.  And the day
when I shall have both, Frideswide, will be the day when I shall know
what like it is to feel glad.  But, O my God, was there no other way to
bring it?—was there no other way!"

"’There are delights in Thy right hand unto the end,’"[#] softly quoted
Frideswide.  "And, dear my Lady, surely they will be the sweetest unto
them that had the fewest delights here below."


[#] Psalm xvi. 10.


The answer came in another quotation from the same Book.  "’I am poor
and needy; the Lord is mine help.  My helper and my deliverer art Thou:
tarry not, O my God!’"[#]


[#] Psalm xi. 17.



                              *CHAPTER X.*

                      *AT THE PARCHMENT-MAKER’S.*

    "My life hath been a search for Thee,
      ’Mid thorns left red with Thy dear blood;
    In many a dark Gethsemane
      I seemed to stand where Thou hadst stood:
    And, scorned in this world’s judgment-place,
    At times, through tears, to catch Thy face."
        —ROBERT, EARL LYTTON.


The shadow was falling very low on the sun-dial in a small back yard
looking into the fields to the north of Chicken Lane, which crossed the
Fleet River, one end abutting upon Lither Lane (running northwards from
Holborn) and the other entering Smithfield at its north-western corner.
Over the sundial for a moment bent a youth of some twenty years or more,
clad in a buff jerkin and working apron.  His face was remarkable for
the extremely good-humoured expression of the lips, and for the perfect
frankness of the clear, honest eyes.  Having satisfied himself as to the
time of day, he re-entered the house by the back-door, which led him
into a low, narrow room, fitted with a long table and sundry benches.
Here half-a-dozen men and boys were at work, some engaged in preparing
skins for use by scraping off the hair, some arrived at the further
stages of straining or bleaching, some at the concluding point of
cutting the parallelograms of parchment, the manufacture of which was
manifestly their trade.

"Put up work, lads’" said the young man, as he came in, in a tone which
showed him, notwithstanding his youth, to be the master.  "The
’prentice-lads may be gone.  I have more ado yet with Dick and Robin."

He was obeyed with that alacrity which usually finds its way into the
cessation of work more readily than into its commencement, and one of
the men, with the three apprentices, shouldered their tools and
departed, exchanging "God be wi’ you!" with the rest.  When they were
gone, and the two men remaining had gathered their tools into baskets,
one of them said,—

"Monition to-night, Master?"

"Even so, Dick.  Come you both into the kitchen."

The two men nodded, and followed their master into a small but cheerful
kitchen, where a large fire blazed in the wide chimney.  In a wooden
chair in the chimney corner, propped up by cushions, sat a silver-haired
old woman, and a girl in the chimney corner at work, while an elder girl
and a middle-aged woman were arranging forms as though some gathering of
persons was expected.

"Time, Jack?" said the old woman.

"Aye so, Mother," returned he cheerily, setting to work with the forms.

He called her mother, for none other had he ever known: but the old
woman was really the grandmother of the young man and the girls.  The
middle-aged woman was their one servant.

"There!" said Jack at length, glancing over the forms when the
arrangement was finished.  "Me reckoneth those shall be so many as we
are like to have need."

"Who be a-coming, Jack?"

"No more than custom is, Mother—without Will Sterys bring yon friend of
his that he spake of t’other night.  Very like he may."

"Who shall he be?"

"I wot not, Mother: only Will said he was one safe to be trusted."

Before the words were well out of Jack’s lips, a low knock came on the
house-door—a peculiar knock; three little taps, a pause, two more.

"Here they come," said Jack, and darted to the door.

A somewhat motley assemblage dropped in by twos and threes.  Here came a
lame man on crutches; a blind man led by a girl; two wan, tired-looking
women; a very old man, bent nearly double; another woman; a young man in
his prime.  All, however, had as yet one peculiarity—they were dressed
in a style which indicated that many of the good things of this life had
not come in their way.  There was a pause while they spoke kind
greetings to the family and each other: and then, at another low knock,
Jack let in first one man, and a minute afterwards, two more.  All the
guests expected had evidently now arrived, for Jack bolted the door and
returned to the kitchen.

The man who came by himself, first of the concluding three, proved to be
a monk of the Order of St. Austin: a man of about thirty, spare and
active, with keen dark eyes which looked as if they saw every thing at
once.  Coming in with uplifted hand in the traditional attitude of
blessing, and "Christ’s peace be on all here!" he took his stand at a
small table, and unfastened from his girdle one of those leather books
bound with a projecting end and a knot, for the purpose of being carried
in that manner.  This he set down on the table, and waited a moment for
the other two to appear.

These last arrivals were both wrapped in cloaks, as though they were
anxious not to be recognised. The first, throwing his cloak off, showed
that he was dressed in livery, in a style peculiar to the latter half of
the Middle Ages.  He wore a tabard, or loose short coat, something like
a smock-frock in shape, but only reaching to the hips; with wide sleeves
which ended at the elbow.  The right half of this coat was blue; the
left half blue and red in stripes, with yellow fleurs-de-lis worked on
the blue stripes.  On his left arm, just below the shoulder, was
embroidered a silver cresset filled with red and yellow flames.  In days
when every servant bore his master’s badge, and every body knew whose
badge it was, no one could doubt for a moment whence this man came.  The
fiery cresset, borne aloft on the silvered pole, was the familiar badge
of the De Holands, Dukes of Exeter.

The second man laid his cloak aside more slowly. But when he did so, he
revealed a costume indicating a very high rung on the social ladder.
That gold chain and those slashed sleeves marked an esquire at the
lowest; the gilt spurs could be worn by none under a knight; and the
peculiar cut of the cloak revealed to the initiated that he who bore it
must be a peer of the realm.  It was no wonder if Jack and his
grandmother felt slightly nervous when they discovered that the friend
whom Master William Sterys—himself the grandest person they knew—had
asked leave to bring, was no other than his noble master, Henry Duke of
Exeter.

There was one person in the room, however, who was not in the least
affected by the discovery. This was the Austin Friar who was about to
conduct the little conventicle.  He felt, as one long after him
expressed it, that he had always one Hearer of such supreme distinction,
that the rank of all the remainder faded into nothingness.  Now he said
simply, before the others had time to recover themselves,—"Let us pray."

They knelt down on the brick floor—peer, and parchment-maker, and
poor—and the voice of the Austin Friar rose in prayer.

"Lord, Thou art made a refuge to us, from generation to generation!"

Oldest of all Psalms, that has been and will be the Psalm of the
wilderness Church for ever.  First sung in the desert, there is in it a
breathing of desert air, a perpetual reminiscence of those who had no
city to dwell in, but who sought one to come. These who prayed it that
night were all desert-dwellers: and no one of them felt the journey so
weary, or the wilderness air so keen, as that one handsomely robed
worshipper with the gold chain about his neck, whom one or two of the
poorer ones were almost unconsciously envying, and imagining that he had
never breathed the air, nor felt a second’s weariness from the journey.

    "His thoughts they scanned not: but I ween
    That could their import have been seen,
    The meanest groom in all the hall
    That e’er tied courser to a stall,
    Would scarce have wished to be their prey,
    For Lutterward and Fountenay."[#]


[#] Scott’s Marmion.


After the prayer came the monition.  There was no singing.  The voice of
the spiritual singer was silent during the corrupt ages of the Church.
Britons and Anglo-Saxons had sung hymns freely: but one after another
the voices were hushed, and no new ones rose.  Except in her authorised
services, and to words chosen by herself, the Church frowned upon sacred
music.  This was especially remarkable, in an age when the popular love
for secular music was at a height to which, in England at least, it has
never risen since.  It was reserved for Martin Luther to unlock the
sealed spring, and let the frozen waters dash downwards in a joyous
cataract.

The text was taken from the fifty-fifth Psalm,[#] "There is no mutation
to them, and they fear not God."  The preacher touched lightly, first,
on the changes and chances of this mortal life.  In the eyes of
inexperienced youth, change is a glad thing, for it is always expected
to be for the better, and it accords with that eager restlessness which
is the natural feeling of youthful minds.  But when middle age is
reached, and when men have known trouble, change ceases to be so
welcome.  It may be good still: we are not so ready to take it for
granted that it must be.  And when old age is come, or when men have
lived through much sorrow, we become afraid of all change, and averse to
it.  What we desire then is not change and variety; it is rest and
peace.


[#] Verse 19.


"Brethren," said the monk in that low, quiet voice of his, which yet was
so distinct that it penetrated every corner, "this is a world of change,
wherein we ourselves are the most changeable of all things.  There is
only one Man that changeth not, who is the same to-day, and yesterday,
and to all the ages.  There is only one Land where is no autumn.  Change
is not needed there, for all is perfect.  But here, no mutation
signifieth no betterment.  It is the nature of earthly things to become
worser: it is the nature of heavenly things to grow fairer, purer,
better.  And here, were there no worser changes in things around us,
there would be no better change in things within us.  Nay! but all we be
apt to think the very contrary.  Oh! saith one, if I had not lost mine
having—if I had not lost my children—if I were but better off, with no
fear of losing the same, then I would live to God.  Brethren, if ye
cannot live to God in the place where He has set you, ye will never do
the same in the place where you set yourselves.

"Think you, in spiritual things, no change is death.  Growth is life.
While a plant liveth, it must needs grow and bud and put forth leaves.
Let that cease, and what say you at once?  The plant is dead.

"Look, I pray you, what the prophet saith of Moab.  Quoth he, ’Moab hath
prospered from his youth up, and hath rested on the dregs of him: nor
hath he been poured from bowl to bowl, and hath not gone a-journeying:
wherefore his taste abideth in him, and his scent is not changed.’[#]
And what saith God unto His people that had gone far from Him—’Wherefore
should ye be stricken more?’[#]


[#] Jer. xlviii. 11, Vulgate.

[#] Isaiah i. 5.


"These late years, brethren, have been changeful ones.  Verily we have
been poured from bowl to bowl.  Are we the better for it?  How many of
us be resting on our dregs?  How many of us be choked up, and bringing
no fruit to perfection? Fruit, may-be: the plant is not dead; but poor,
little, stunted fruits, half blasted before they be grown.  Note, I pray
you, in that our Lord’s parable which methinks ye know, touching the
sower and his seed, He saith the fruit is choked, not only by
deceitfulness of riches, but by cares of this life as well.  Beware how
ye move God to shake you out of slumber!  Keep yourselves awake: so
shall He not need to wake you with sudden terror.  There is scarce a
fearfuller passage in all His Word than this: ’Because I desired to
cleanse thee, and thou art not cleansed from thy filthiness, therefore
cleansed shalt thou not be, until I have caused Mine indignation to rest
upon thee.’[#]


[#] Ezek. xxiv. 13.


"But ye whom the Lord hath poured from bowl to bowl, thank Him if the
dregs be left behind. This is His purpose, that ye should be partakers
of His holiness.  Grudge not if ye be poured, even with violence, so
long as thereby ye are purified. Look you, the dregs must be got rid of.
’Blessed are the clean in heart: for they shall see God.’[#]


[#] Matt v. 8


"But ere I go further, friends, I must cast up a fence, that ye stray
not on wrong paths.  Herein is the weakness of mortal man, and of the
tongues of men.  One emblem showeth but one side of the matter.  If we
would show all sides, we must have so many emblems as there be sides to
show.

"Our Lord saith, ’Be ye perfect.’[#]  Yet perfect we cannot be.  To the
very last day of life, the dregs will be left in the wine so long as it
abideth in earthly vessels.  There be three kinds of perfectness,
brethren: the perfectness of imputation, which is Christ’s work done for
us; this we have of Him.  ’Perfect in His comeliness, which He hath put
on us.’[#]  This we have now, on earth. But this is not wrought in us,
much less by us: it is wrought for us.  The second fashion of
perfectness is the perfectness of a sincere heart and a single eye.
This we must see to, each man for himself.  This it is to which our Lord
pointeth us when He saith, Be perfect.  This it is which is said of
David and other, that their hearts were perfect with the Lord.  But that
whereof I speak now is neither of these, but the third fashion of
perfectness; to wit, the perfectness of a soul hallowed unto God, and
set apart for Him.  This is not done for us, like the first manner; nor
by us, like the second manner; but in us, by the power of the Holy
Ghost.  This is the cleansing out of these dregs, which shall leave the
wine pure and meet for the King’s use.  And this, though it be begun the
very moment the heart turneth unto God, will never be ended till we
stand before Him in glory.


[#] Matt v. 48.

[#] Ezek. xvi. 14.


"Doth one of you say in his heart, How can I tell what be dregs?  Well,
oft-times we cannot. We be apt to mistake therein.  But He can. Pray Him
to purge you from your dregs, and then let Him take what He will.  Lord,
give to us what we need!  But look you, it must be what He seeth you to
need, not what ye see.

"Brethren, let us thank God that in His infinite perfectness He changeth
not.  Let us thank Him also that He is changing us, into the likeness of
that perfectness.  Let us thank Him that the day is at hand when we
shall need no further mutation, but shall be with Him, and shall be like
Him, for ever."

Then the Friar read from his leather book a portion of the Gospel of St.
John in Wycliffe’s version: offered another short prayer: blessed his
hearers, and departed with rapid steps, like a man who had much work to
do, and but little time to do it.

One by one, the little congregation took leave of host and hostess, and
passed out into the fresh night air.  But the Duke of Exeter sat on: and
William Sterys waited his Lord’s pleasure.  When all were gone, the
noble guest rose.

"May I pray you of your name, good master?" he said to Jack.

"Truly, my gracious Lord, it might be bettered. I am but a Goose, at
your Lordship’s bidding—John Goose, an’ it like you."

"I would fain wit, good Master Goose, if you do ever lodge any in your
house?  Is there a spare chamber that you were willing to let out to
any?"

John’s eyes went to his grandmother for a reply.

"Well-a-day!" murmured the old woman, apparently rather staggered by the
suddenness of the proposition, and requiring some time to consider it.
"I scarce can tell.  There is the chamber o’er here, that might be
cleared forth, and the gear set in the porch-chamber.  Yet mefeareth,
did we our best, it should scarce be meet for any servant of such as
your gracious Lordship."

"I ask it not for my servant; I want it for myself," said the Duke
quietly.

Poor Mrs. Goose looked dumb-foundered, as she felt.

"My gracious Lord, so poor a lodging as we could"—— began John Goose.

"Nay, Master Goose, but my need is to lie hid. I desire to be where men
shall not think lightly to look for me.  And I seek an house whereon
God’s peace cometh.  Moreover, I would gladly hear more of Father
Alcock’s monitions."

"My Lord," said the old woman with some dignity, "if that be what your
Lordship seeks, you shall find it here.  You be not the first peer of
England that hath lain hid in this house.  Sixty years gone, when he
that was sometime mine husband was a little lad, for divers weeks
concealed in this house was Sir John Oldcastle, sometime Lord Cobham,
that died for Christ’s sake and the Gospel’s.  If it content your
Lordship to be as well—nay, better lodged than he was, come."

"Abundantly, good Mother!" said the Duke. "And was that true man in the
chamber where ye would put me?"

"Nay, my Lord, he had worser lodging than you shall find.—Jack, light a
candle, and show his Lordship where my Lord Cobham lay."

John obeyed, and the Duke followed him, out of the kitchen and through
the workshop, into a large closet in the wall of the latter room.
Clearing away an armful of skins from the latter, John slipped back a
sliding panel, by some mechanism known to himself, and disclosed a
small, dark, dusty room, a little larger than the closet into which it
opened, and furnished only with a leaf-table and a stool.

"Here, as I have heard," said John, "his Lordship lay during the day:
and at night, when work was over, he came forth into the chamber which
your Lordship shall have, and there he commonly sat a-writing till late
into the night.  Once, when a party came that ’twas thought might know
the chamber, his Lordship donned an apron and a jerkin, and was set to
work in the shop.  ’Tis said," added John with a merry laugh, "he
spoiled a skin thereby: but my grandfather recked not, but would have it
set by as a precious thing, and ’twas so kept, some years."

"And did the men at work here never hear him?"

"Nay, I reckon they made too much noise themselves. Only one that was
next unto him when he was in the shop said after unto my grandsire that
he had taken a raw hand a-work, which should be some cost to train,"
said John, laughing.

"That can I conceive," replied the Duke, with a smile.  "Well, Master
Goose, so you and yours be willing, I will gladly engage this chamber.
For the hire, charge you what is meet."

The whole transaction was so unwonted that the Duke really did not know
what to offer.

"Oh, my gracious Lord, we shall find no bones in that matter," returned
John Goose, metaphorically. "I will leave that to Mother, seeing the
charge shall be hers and my sisters’.  Mefeareth, howbeit, that our rude
cookery shall little content your good Lordship."

"Bread and water would content me," answered the Duke, "so your cookery
is little like to fail."

There were at this time as many delicate gradations of rank in cooking
as in costume.  Peers were entitled to five dishes at a meal; gentlemen
to three, and meaner persons to two, exclusive of pottage.  The
distinctions of bread have been already mentioned.  The daily provision
made for the household of the Duke of Clarence is on record, and it
reads almost like the details of an army commissariat.  For a man who
was accustomed to a provision of two oxen, twelve sheep, twelve pigs,
and thirty-six barrels of fish—with a great many other things—as the
daily consumption of his household, to come down to the style of living
of a small tradesman, was a descent indeed.  Trade was then held in very
low estimation, even a first-class merchant being reckoned below a
gentleman’s servant.  The supply customary for such a house as that of
John Goose, was bread and dripping for breakfast, with ale to drink; one
dish of meat, with a vegetable and bread, for dinner; the same for
supper on grand occasions, perhaps with a pudding or pie in addition;
but in all ordinary cases, the supper was brown bread and buttermilk.
Only one thing, therefore, could more have astonished old Mrs. Goose
than the Duke’s expressed indifference on this point; and that would
have been to find that he was willing to sleep on a mattress.  Down beds
for the upper ten—mattresses for the common folks—was the arrangement in
the fifteenth century.  I said, only one thing; but there was indeed a
lower depth even than this, which to see would have reduced Mrs. Goose
to the furthest point of amazement.  Had the Duke—for any purpose short
of disguise—made his appearance with a long cloak, a buff jerkin, a
fustian doublet, and neither gloves nor rings, she would almost have
thought the world was coming to an end.

It was, therefore, as may be conjectured, with some trepidation, that
Mrs. Goose ventured to superintend her grand-daughters, Joan and Cicely,
in the preparation of the room destined for so superior an occupant.
The estimation in which a Brahmin of the highest caste is held by a
Pariah is alone to be compared with the feelings wherewith Mrs. Goose
regarded her lodger elect.  She was deeply concerned to remember that
the Duke would be accustomed to sleep on cambric sheets, and to eat from
gold plate, while she had nothing better to offer him than blankets in
the first place, and wooden trenchers in the second.  But she was far
from realising that, during many years now, the Duke had been accustomed
to sleep on whatever he could get to sleep on; and that a good meal
served on a wooden trencher was luxury to a man who had begged his bread
for months in exile.  The cloth of Rennes and the gold plate which were
the proper adjuncts of his rank had receded into the far distance,
behind the long years of want and pain which Providence had decreed for
him.

"Eh dear!" exclaimed Mrs. Goose, surveying her preparations when
complete, with her head on one side, as if that would assist her sight.
"Gramercy, but it shall be a come-down for the like of him!"

"’Tis the best we can do, Mother," said Cicely.  "And ’somewhat is
better than nought.’"

"Eh, good lack, but ’tis a small somewhat!" returned the old woman.
"Why, I trow he shall have washed him in silver basins set with turkey
stones,[#] and drank out of cups of gold all bordered with pearls."


[#] Turquoise.


"Mighty discomfortous, in good sooth!" said Cicely.  "I would liefer
have a good cow’s horn any day.  It should hold the drink every whit as
well, and be a deal smoother to take in your lips."

"And, dear heart! how shall we find to our hands aught fit for such an
one to drink?  Why, the meanest matter that hath passed his lips, I
warrant you, shall be Malmsey or claret wine at sixpence the gallon.[#]
And I doubt not he hath ate pike[#] and marmalade every day to his
dinner; aye, peacocks and rice, too."


[#] A high price at this time; threepence or fourpence a gallon was the
cost of ordinary wine.

[#] Pike was now the most costly fish in the market, being ten times the
value of cod and turbot. Marmalade was about two shillings or
half-a-crown the pound; peacocks, about three shillings each, were
reserved for the nobility; rice was very scarce and dear.


"Well, then," rejoined Cicely, "it shall be a change for him to come
down to cod and bacon. I dare reckon he never tasted them."

A few days later, Mrs. Goose made a deprecatory remark of the same kind
to the Duke himself.  It was met with a smile which was a blending of
sadness and amusement, and an assurance that for eighteen mouths of his
life he had never dined at all, and could therefore easily afford to put
up with inexpensive fare now.  Mrs. Goose was struck to silence—until
she reached the kitchen, when she made up for it in notes of
exclamation.

The life passed by the Duke in his retirement was very quiet.  He had
brought with him a collection of books which struck the unaccustomed
eyes of his hosts with the magnitude of a public library. But John, who
was used to make quiet observation of all that passed under his eyes,
noticed that one after another of these was gradually laid aside upon
the shelf and left unused, until the number was reduced to two, which
continued in daily employment.  He was curious to know what they were:
but as he could not read, it was of no use to open them.  At last, one
day when Father Alcock came, and the Duke was out, John brought the two
books to the Friar, and asked to be told what they were.

"The Confessions of St. Austin, my son," answered the monk, opening the
one that came first: "an holy volume, and good."

"And this, Father?" pursued John, offering the other.

"A better, my son, for it is the best of all—the true Word of God, that
liveth and abideth for ever. Here be the Psalms of David, and the New
Testament, bound in one, and in the Latin tongue."

John put the volumes back in his lodger’s room with a feeling of
satisfaction.  It gratified him also to see how regularly the Duke
attended the weekly "monition."  In all other respects, the lodger made
little impression on the household, and less on the world outside.  He
dressed as an ordinary gentleman: and as soon as he had ceased to be a
nine days’ wonder to the Joans and Megs of the neighbourhood, nobody
took further notice of him. John Goose found him a very silent man, who
dealt chiefly in matter-of-fact when he spoke at all, and sometimes
heaved sighs which went to his young host’s tender heart.  No one ever
came to see him but his servant Will Sterys: and he kept indoors until
the dusk had fallen.  And so the days went on.



                             *CHAPTER XI.*

                          *A LAST INTERVIEW.*

    "Now all these things are over,—yes, all thy pretty ways,
    Thy needlework, thy prattle, thy snatches of old lays:
    And none will grieve when I go forth, nor smile when I return,
    Nor watch beside the old man’s bed, nor weep upon his urn."
      —LORD MACAULAY.


The two youthful Annes of the royal House at this period, who were
nearly of an age, were very similar in character in all points but one.
Both the Princess of Wales and Lady Anne Grey were gentle, amiable,
refined, and gifted with deep affections: but the one was strong, and
the other weak.  For the strong nature was carved out a heavy cross.
For the weak one, there was a light structure appointed, which so
crushed down her feeble frame, that it was as oppressive to her as the
greater burden to her cousin.

The sorrows of the one were close to their ending, while those of the
other had little more than begun.  Treated at first with apparent
kindness and lenity—placed in the keeping of her uncle, and suffered to
visit her beloved mother-in-law,—the Princess of Wales maintained so
dauntless a front, and so unswerving a resolution, that Gloucester saw
plainly that to wait for any change in her would be to wait for ever.
No earthly consideration would ever make her willingly wed with him.
So, as she refused to change front, he changed his.  One dark evening in
the March of 1473;[#] the Princess was removed from her place of
detention by a band of armed men.  Whither she knew not, until she found
herself, to her amazement, in the lighted aisles of Westminster Abbey,
with robed priests awaiting her in the chancel, and the Duke of
Gloucester, in gorgeous array, standing before the altar.  Then the full
perception of the gulf of misery in which she was to be plunged rushed
upon Anne Neville.  She tried to fly, but the armed men held her down.
She poured out passionate protests—she refused to utter the words
prescribed by the service—she screamed in agony for the help that was
not to come. Every thing she did which a lonely, captive girl could do,
to show that this detested marriage was accompanied by no good-will and
no consent of hers.  But she might as well have cried to the stone
pillars, or have fled for refuge to the dead kings lying around her.
The priests went on with their ceremonies, the choir sang calmly, the
bridegroom performed his part of the service, the ring was forced on her
finger, and Richard Plantagenet and Anne Neville were pronounced man and
wife, in the name of that God who looked silently down upon the
iniquitous scene, and seemed as though He had forgotten the girl who
cried in vain even to Him for mercy.  With how much more truth may that
dying appeal which has echoed through a hundred years be made, not to
liberty, but to the God of all truth and righteousness,—"What crimes are
committed in Thy name!"  It may have been,—nay, if she were His, it must
have been,—that eleven years later, when Anne Neville’s spirit returned
to the God who gave it, she found that His mercy towards her was better
than the mercy she desired of Him, and that but for that painful and
weary beating of the gold, the vessel would have been unfit for its
place in the sanctuary above.


[#] The exact date cannot be ascertained, but circumstances point to
this period.


But meanwhile to Anne Grey the mercy came. The period of her married
life, to which she had looked forward with so much dread, proved the
least painful time of her life.  Not because Mr. Thomas Grey was any
better than she had expected to find him, but because, after the first
week, he relieved her of his company almost entirely.  Affection for her
he had none.  So long, therefore, as the duties prescribed by civility
and custom were properly performed, he had no scruple about leaving her
to herself—which was exactly what she most desired.

One troublesome item remained, for no separate residence had been
provided for the young pair, and Mr. Grey continued to occupy his old
apartments in the Palace of his royal stepfather.  This was the last
place where Lady Anne could have wished to be.  To her uncle she felt no
dislike, for he had always shown his best side to her, and her pure and
simple nature was incapable of entering into the darker features of his
character. Towards the Queen her feeling was a curious mixture of
affection and misgiving.  The soft caresses and tender words could not
be resented, nor even coldly received, yet they were unavoidably
provocative of an under-current of doubt as concerned their
whole-heartedness.

"The lady did protest too much."

With the children Lady Anne was at home, especially with that grave-eyed
boy in whom much of her own temperament was reproduced.

It had not been intended that the young pair should reside in the
Palace.  The King fully meant to provide them with a separate abode: but
one of his practical rules being never to do to-day that which could be
put off till to-morrow, the provision remained unmade, and day after day
followed its fellow to the silent chambers of the past.

The chief difficulty of Lady Anne’s married life concerned her father.
If it had been scarcely possible to receive him at Coldharbour, to do it
at Westminster was absolutely impossible.  But it might be comparatively
easy to meet elsewhere, could she ascertain where he might be met.  The
Duke had as much difficulty in communicating with her as she with him.
But

    "Under floods that are deepest
      Which Neptune obey,
    Over rocks that are steepest,
      Love will find out the way"—

and here also love found it out, though it was not until three months
had elapsed since the marriage, and their time for meeting was growing
very short. They met again only twice—once under the wing of the Lady
Douglas, the Duke’s half-sister; and once by appointment at a draper’s
shop in Lombard Street.  And each time the father saw with a pang that
the end drew nearer, and that the likelihood was that the next meeting
would be in the Garden of God.  He let her go very reluctantly the last
time.

"Somewhat tells me," he whispered to his sole friend and companion,
William Sterys, "that this shall be the last time."

"Dear my Lord," was the sympathising answer, "can you not look on to the
next time?"

The Duke understood him.  "_Domine, ne moreris!_" broke passionately
from his lips.

After that last parting the white rosebud withered quickly.  She passed
away when the summer began, fading with the May-flowers.  The last word
upon her lips was "Father!"  Was she thinking of the earthly or the
heavenly Father? Perhaps of both.  She was safe now in the keeping of
the Father of spirits: and the one earthly creature whom she loved would
join her before long.

The Duchess of Exeter showed little feeling on the death of her
daughter; scarcely more than Mr. Grey, who looked on an invalid wife as
a nuisance which he felt glad to have removed.  It had been
unfortunately necessary to marry her in order to obtain her vast
inheritance; and it was an additional grievance that she left no child
behind her to give him a continued lien upon the estates. However,
better luck next time.  He could now secure a lady with good health and
lively spirits, of a disposition akin to his own: and of course the
larger purse she had, the better.  He soon found her, in the person of
Cicely Bonvile, heiress to both parents, and a girl who suited his taste
infinitely better than the heiress of Exeter had ever done.  Decency was
respected by a proper mourning of twelve months: and in the July of the
following year, Mr. Grey repaired his loss to his entire satisfaction.

The mother was longer in repairing hers.  She had considered herself a
most ill-used woman, through the necessity for delaying her marriage
until after her daughter’s death.  There were two reasons for this.  The
Duchess knew that public opinion would cry shame upon her for marrying
while her own and only child was standing face to face with death: and
little as she cared for public opinion in general, in this instance she
could not afford to disregard it.  Her marriage with Mr. St. Leger—a
mere squire in her brother’s service—would at any time bring upon her as
much obloquy as she cared to brave: and it was not desirable to increase
it by choosing such a time.  Moreover, there remained a further and very
awkward consideration, that King Edward might be irremediably offended:
and while the adverse verdict of public opinion represented a mere loss
of character—an article not of very high value in the eyes of the
Duchess—the adverse verdict of her royal brother might represent a very
substantial loss of gold and silver, which was a far more serious
matter.  She had never dared to unfold her intentions to Edward; nor did
she mean to do so until she had secured her prize.  And as Mr. St.
Leger, in losing his master’s favour, would have lost even more than the
royal lady, he was quite as willing as herself to keep the project
secret. However unwillingly or impatiently, she was accordingly bound to
wait.

It seemed, therefore, as though no creature mourned for Anne Grey beyond
a few of her dependants.  The gulf had opened, and the fair, gentle,
loving girl had disappeared from sight: and then it had closed again,
and the world was dancing over it, and she was forgotten as though she
had not been.  Frideswide Marston was one of those few who wore mourning
for her in their hearts.  She had lived in her household only for three
months, but she had been her immediate and favourite attendant, and had
learned to love her.  Now that phase of life was over, and Frideswide
was preparing to return home.  There was a good deal of shopping to be
done first, for Frideswide meant to bring her trousseau from London; and
accompanied by one of Lady Anne’s ushers, she went to and fro to West
Chepe, where the mercers and haberdashers congregated; Guthrum’s Lane
(afterwards corrupted to Gutter Lane) where the goldsmiths dwelt;
Lombard Street, the habitat of drapers; St. Mary Axe, where the furriers
were found; and Cordwainer Street, where the shoemakers lived.  Of
course she visited Paternoster Row for a new rosary and copies of the
Psalter and Gospels in Latin; purchased a pair of pattens in Pattens
Lane; and, as the most acceptable present she could carry to her
stepmother, bought a sugar-loaf, weighing twenty pounds, price
twenty-six shillings and eightpence, from the druggist in Soper’s Lane.
A handsome piece of scarlet cloth—the most esteemed material for a
dress[#]—was also procured for Lady Margery, at a cost of eight
shillings the yard: and twelve yards—a very handsome quantity—of black
satin of Bruges, to make a gown for the Lady Idonia.  For her father she
provided a hat in the newest fashion, small, round, edged with fur, and
adorned with a single ostrich feather, small but full, which was
fastened by a jewelled button. Ladies never wore feathers in the
fifteenth century. The present for Agnes was a gold chain, which cost
two pounds; and—a far more precious article—a silver cramp-ring which
cost nothing.  But it had been solemnly consecrated, as was done every
year, by her on whom Frideswide looked as the rightful and only Queen of
England; and no one who wore it could possibly be troubled with cramp.
For a ring which owed its value to the touch of "Dame Bessy Grey,"
Frideswide would not have paid a halfpenny, nor would Agnes have deigned
to soil her fingers by wearing it.  What she should bring for Dorathie
was a matter of severe reflection to Frideswide.  She would have liked a
parrot: but parrots were not only rare and costly, but scarcely portable
articles.  A mirror would not find favour with the authorities, as
likely to foster vanity in the immature mind of youth.  Her final choice
was a silver girdle-clasp and a primer.  The latter was not a book from
which to learn reading, as we should suppose, but rather a collection of
elegant extracts, chiefly of a religious cast.  Primers varied in price
from about a shilling to fifteen shillings, according to size and
binding; and were put forth by authority, containing such things as were
considered proper for the people to know.


[#] Writing about this time, Lady Fasten assures her husband that she
would prefer his return home to a new gown, "yea, though it were of
scarlet."


Frideswide’s purchases were at last complete, and her bags packed.
Comparatively few boxes were used, when all luggage had to be carried on
the backs of mules or galloways.  She was to leave London on the first
of June, escorted as far as St. Albans by one of her late Lady’s ushers.
Here she was pretty sure to fall in with a train of pilgrims to Newark
or Whitby, or possibly with a convoy of merchants going to York.  On the
last evening, it occurred to her that she might as well take with her a
few ells of fringe to trim the dresses, as they would pack in no great
compass, and would doubtless be of better quality than such as could
easily be procured at Lovell Tower. Calling the usher to attend her, she
went out to the nearest mercer’s in West Chepe.  The fringe was soon
bought, and she was turning homewards, when her attention was roused by
a young man who kept walking close behind them.  Taking the bull by the
horns, Frideswide said at once,—

"Would you have speech of us, Master?"

"If your name be Marston, that would I," was the answer: "but pray you
go a little farther, for we shall come anon to a dark passage where
there is more conveniency for talk."

Guessing in an instant that the young man was entrusted with some
message for her ear only, Frideswide followed his directions, when he
said,—

"Mistress, there is one would speak with you ere you leave London—one
that you knew of old time."

"Man or woman?"

"Man."

"What manner of man?"  Frideswide was cautious.

"A cresset-bearer."

No further explanation was required.  The Duke of Exeter wished for an
interview.

"Go to: where shall it be?"

"At my house, an’ it like you."

"May it be done this even?  for I should set forth on my journey by
morning light."

"It can be done this minute, an’ you will come with me."

"Is it far?—and who be you?"

"I am a parchment-maker, of Smithfield, and a Goose by name and nature,"
said the young man with a smile.

"By name, may-be," replied Frideswide, with an answering smile:
"methinks scarce by nature, else had not your master and mine trusted
you with such an errand.  But have you no token for me?"

"Ay, one of gold forged in the King’s mint.—’_Alle thingis, and in alle
thingis, Crist_.’"

There could be no further question to a Lollard mind of the
trustworthiness of the Duke’s messenger.  Frideswide came out of the
dark passage, and dismissed her usher, giving him her parcels to take
back with him.

"This worthy master will see me home, and I have ado with him first,"
she said.  "Now, pray you, Master Goose, if your name be so, lead on."

Silently Frideswide followed her guide up to Aldersgate, through Little
Britain,—where of old time stood the town mansion of the Counts of
Bretagne, who through several centuries were Earls of Richmond—across
Smithfield, and paused before a small house at the north-west corner of
that open space.  Mr. Goose unlocked the door by a key from his pocket,
and led Frideswide up a very narrow staircase, into a small room fitted
as a sitting-room.  Leaving her there, he disappeared for a moment; and
the next minute, a stately step crossed the chamber, and the Duke stood
before her.

It was rather more than two years since they had met, but Frideswide was
unprepared to find him so sadly changed.  He looked rather as if twenty
years than two had passed over him.  Yet only in his forty-fourth year,
he had the appearance of broken-down, premature old age: and every tone
of his voice was like a moan of pain.

"Mistress Frideswide, I have heard, in this my retreat, that which hath
broken mine heart.  Tell me, is it true?"

Frideswide did not ask what he meant.  She knew that only too well.

"My Lord, it is true indeed.  Our sweet young Lady went her way to God,
on Sunday se’nnight in the even."

"On whose soul Jesu have mercy!" broke almost mechanically from the lips
of the desolate father.

"Amen!" responded Frideswide.

"Was he with her?" demanded the Duke almost fiercely.  He had neither
affection nor respect for "Tom Grey," as his Lancastrian instincts
contemptuously termed him.

"Master Grey?  No."

Frideswide did not tell the Duke, though she knew it, that the young
gentleman in question was playing bowls at Lambeth.

"My Lady her mother was, I count?"

Frideswide was thankful that she could truthfully say that the Duchess
had been in her daughter’s apartments on the night of her death.  She
had just looked in for ten minutes.  She would have been glad to say no
more: but the Duke’s queries were persistent.  He put one after another
till he knew all she could tell him: and then, folding his arms upon the
table, he laid his head upon them, and a low moan of bitter pain broke
from him.

For some minutes there was dead silence in the little chamber.  At
length the Duke spoke.

"If only a man might die when he would!  The sun is gone down, and there
be no stars for me."

"Nay, my gracious Lord, I cry you mercy!" said Frideswide gently.  "The
sun is but gone behind a cloud, for our Lord Jesu Christ is the sun of
His people.  It is the star which has set.  The sun is there as
aforetime."

"Then the cloud is sore thick, for I see no light."

"Not now, my Lord.  It will break forth again."

"Is that so sure?" said the Duke, mournfully. "Ah, you are young and
hopeful; to you the birds always chant ’To-morrow.’  But I—I am a man
old before his time, and hope is gone from me."

"Christ is not, my Lord."

"Mistress Frideswide," was the earnest answer, "wit you what it is to
stretch forth numb hands into the darkness, and not find them taken?—to
feel none other hands meeting yours?"

"So long as the numbness is but in mine hands, my Lord, I know not that
it signifieth much. They may be taken, yet be too numb to feel it.
Truly, I am but a poor maid and a young, and of little wit: some doctor
of the Church could aid your Lordship, but not I.  Yet if I might speak
one word, it should be,—dear my Lord, if our Lord have gripped hold of
your Lordship, will it matter whether your hands have hold of Him or no?
They be safe borne, methinks, whom Christ carrieth."

"Yet if one feel not the carrying—only a sense of falling down, down,
into a pit whereto is no bottom"——

"My gracious Lord, can that be if you have trusted our Lord to carry
you?  Shall your feeling be put in enmity to His word?  Have you come to
Him? for if so, you give Him the lie to say He hath cast you out."

The Duke rose.  "My maid," he said, "there be times when it looks to
mine eyes as though mine whole life had been but one mighty blunder, and
one great sin."

"Be it so, my Lord.  Is Christ strong enough to bear it?"

"Undoubtedly."

"Is He reluctant to bear it?"

"I dare not say so much."

"Then, my Lord, what wait you for?"

"I have no strength to give it to Him."

"Have you any need?  If a burden lay at my feet that I could not lift,
and my brother stood by, think you I should tarry to ask him to bear it
for me till I could lift it up and give it to him?  Is He that carried
our sins away upon His cross become so weak that He cannot bear our
sorrows now?  If He can hold heaven and earth, verily He can hold you
and me."

"Amen!" said the Duke softly.  "Mistress Frideswide, we may never set
eyes again each on other: and you and your sister have been true friends
to me.  Pray you, do me so much pleasure as to wear this gold chain for
my sake.  I would I had a better gift to mine hand, but a man that hath
spent half his life in exile, and hath his lands proscribed, is not he
that can make rich gifts."

"My Lord, a far smaller matter should be more than enough to pleasure
your handmaid.  I thank your good Lordship right heartily."

"And what shall I send unto Mistress Annis?" said the Duke thoughtfully,
as he turned over some dozen of jewels and trinkets, which were all now
left to him of his once splendid fortune.  "I would not by my good-will
she were had in oblivion, for she was very good unto me, more than once
or twice. What say you, Mistress Frideswide, should like her best of
these?"

Frideswide glanced rapidly over the articles indicated.

"I am somewhat afeared to pick and choose, under your Lordship’s
allowance: for that which may seem the least precious matter unto a
stranger, may be the dearest thing in all the treasure-house to him that
ought[#] it."


[#] Owned.


"Nay, go to," replied the Duke.  "There is nought dear to me now, save a
ring my Nan once gave me—and I put not that on my list of tokens."[#]


[#] Gifts.


Thus invited, Frideswide picked out a plain silver ring, set with the
badge of the fiery cresset in minute rubies.  "This, methinks, should
like her, if your Lordship set no store thereby."

"Certes, none at all: yet this is poor matter."

"It is enough, my gracious Lord, and I thank you right heartily for my
sister."

"Tell her, I pray you, Mistress Frideswide, that the last words we spake
each to other be the parting message of love[#] that I shall send
her,—and may God give me to find it true for myself, as I pray she may
for her."


[#] Then a word used generally in the sense of friendship or kindliness.


"What were they, an’ it like your Lordship?"

"They were the words I told Jack Goose to give you as token of his
trustworthiness, the which I thought should bring quickly one of our
doctrine. ’_Alle thingis, and in all thingis, Crist_.’"

"May you so find it, my gracious Lord!"

The Duke gave her his hand at parting—an unusual condescension from his
position to hers. Frideswide bent low, and kissed the hand of him whom
she was no longer to call master, and whose face she would never see any
more.

John Goose took her home with a lantern.  As they threaded their way
along St. Martin’s Lane, which led from Aldersgate to St. Paul’s
Churchyard, he said to her,—

"Pray you, my mistress, is aught heard at this time of any ado against
them of our doctrine?"

"In good sooth I trust not, Master Goose," was the reply.  "I have
nought heard of any such matter.  Eh, good lack! it should be hard for
some to be staunch, if so were!"

"I count it should be hard to them that had it to do for themselves,"
said John Goose.

"How mean you, my master?"

"Look you, I told you afore I was a Goose by name and nature," said the
youth with a merry laugh.  "So being, I know well I have no wits to cope
with my learned masters the doctors of the Church.  Herein I must needs
betake me wholly unto my Master.  He will give me the endurance, if He
send me the need to endure.  And that which cometh down from Heaven is
like to be better than aught a man hath of his own."

"Then look you for troubles, Master Goose?"

"I look for nought, Mistress.  My Master doth the work for me, and I
take mine ease.  So merry is Christ’s service."

"It should be little ease that you should take at the stake, methinks,"
said Frideswide with a shake of her head.  "Verily, methinks it were
past all endurance."

"For Him, or for me?" significantly asked John Goose.

"It were over hard for you," said Frideswide to the second question,
meeting the first with a deprecatory smile.

"Nay, my Mistress.  The enduring was with Him that bare the wrath of God
for me: surely not with me that do but bear a few earthly pains for Him.
At the least, if it should please Him to call me to that honour."

"Would you covet it, Master Goose?"

"Mistress, I am Christ’s servant.  Is it for the servant to admonish the
Master of the work whereunto He shall set him?"

"But the suffering should be your own!"

"Nay!  When I bid my journeyman get a-work, he doth it at my charges,
not his own."

"Yet you must needs feel it, Master Goose?"

They had reached the gate of Coldharbour.  John Goose swung the lantern
into his left hand, and unlatched the outer gate for Frideswide, calling
for the porter as he did so.

"Mistress, if our dear Lord list to have me to His presence without an
hair of mine head singed, think you He could compass it, or no?"

"Most certainly!"

"Farewell; and God be with you!"

And the smile with which he took leave of her, she remembered later.

Early the next morning, Frideswide left Coldharbour and London: and she
left them readily enough.  Her sojourn in the south had been productive
of any thing rather than pleasure.  Now she was journeying home to all
she loved; and of course hope told a flattering tale, and she expected
to live happily ever after her arrival at Lovell Tower. Her journey was
pleasant and prosperous: and she reached York on the evening of the
eighth of June, in company with a party of whom one portion were bound
for that city, and another for Beverley Minster.

As Frideswide entered the hotel at York, to her surprise she found an
old friend leaning against the sidepost of the door.

"Why, Mistress Marston, is it you?" said he, starting up.

"Why, Master Strangeways! whence came you?"

"Truly, at the heels of my good Lady, that is but now out of Beverley
Sanctuary, and goeth northward under convoy of Sir James Tyrell."

"Whither?"

"That shall we see when we be there," returned Mr. Strangeways,
jovially, as though such a journey were the pleasantest amusement in the
world.

"Is it of the King’s Grace’s pleasure?"

"Who is the King’s Grace?" returned Mr. Strangeways, putting his hands
in his pockets, with as little concern about possible spies or enemies
as though he had lived in the nineteenth century.

"’When we be at Rome, we do as Rome doth,’" quoted Frideswide, with a
smile.  Not only had her ears become accustomed to the term as applied
to Edward, but, like many Lancastrians, she considered that the regal
right had now become vested in the House of York.  Mr. Philip
Strangeways, on the contrary, held politics of so very red a dye that
the young Earl of Richmond was his King.  "You know, Master Philip,"
concluded she.

"I know more than I profit by, mayhap. Howbeit, your question tarrieth
his answer.  Nay, ’tis not Merry Ned this time.  ’Tis Crookback Dickon.
His soul is not as straight as his body. Now I marvel," said Mr.
Strangeways, reflectively, "if that companion reckoneth he is going to
Heaven.  I’ll lay you a broad shilling he so doth."

"What did he, my Master?"

"Kicked my Lady up into Yorkshire, when she fled to that her
dearworthy[#] son, and begged him of his protection.  And ne’er a
plack[#] in her pocket withal.  I do pray the blessed saints to give him
his deserts, and I rather count they will."


[#] Beloved.

[#] Coin.


"Dear heart! but sure he would not thus evil entreat his own
mother-in-law?"

This innocent query seemed to cause Mr. Philip Strangeways
inextinguishable amusement.

"Be men so fond of their mothers-in-law?" said he.  "He is, take my word
for it: for both he and his brother have set down the foot that never a
penny shall my old Lady finger that their fingers can keep from her.
She hath scarce more gowns than backs, nor more hoods than heads; and as
to her botews,[#] I took them myself to the cobbler this morrow to be
patched.  Be thankful, Mistress Marston, that you have lighted on your
feet like a cat, and are well out of an ill service."


[#] Boots.


"Eh, dear heart! but my poor Lady—I am sorry for her!"

"So am I," said Philip, suddenly dropping his mask of light nonchalance,
and becoming another man.  "So am I, Mistress Marston: and trust me, I
am worser than sorry for the Lady Anne, that is wed against her will and
allowing to the man she hated most.  Eh, well!  God be lauded in all His
works!"

And Philip turned into the inn, without vouchsafing any explanation of
the manner in which he meant his words to be taken.

His news was only too true.  The poor Countess of Warwick, the richest
heiress in England, had been stripped of every penny of her vast
inheritance by the rapacious greed of her own sons-in-law. Their cruel
and wicked deed was formally sanctioned by Act of Parliament about a
year later—May 9th, 1474—by which statute it was decreed that George
Duke of Clarence and Isabel his wife, and Richard Duke of Gloucester and
Anne his wife, were to have and hold all possessions of the said
Countess "as if she were naturally dede, and the said Countess is to be
barrable, barred, and excluded as well of all jointours, dower, actions,
executions, right, title, and interesse, of, in, and for all honours,
lordships, castles, manors, etc., as were at any time the said Earl’s
her husband:" and "the said dukes and their said wives may make
partition of all the premisses."[#]  More sweeping language could
scarcely be.  No notice was taken of poor Lady Warwick’s piteous
allegation of "noon offence by her doon," nor of her fervent assurance
that she had "duly kept her fidelity and ligeance, and obeyed the King’s
commandments."  Naboth’s title to his vineyard, even though Divine, was
accounted of small matter, so long as King Ahab wanted it for a garden
of herbs.


[#] Patent Roll, 14 Edw. IV.


How Lady Warwick lived through the next twelve years is not recorded.
We only know that she had nothing to live on.  Perhaps, like Warwick’s
sister, his widow kept herself alive by means of her needle, deeming
herself happy when she could buy a few yards of serge for a new dress,
while her daughters were decked with pearls and diamonds, and trailed
velvet and ermine trains over palace floors.  One of the daughters at
least was not to blame.  The Duchess Anne of Gloucester was as helpless
in her palace as her destitute mother in her northern refuge.
Gloucester kept her in watch and ward as closely as if she had been his
prisoner, which in fact she was: for the first three years of her hated
marriage were spent in perpetual efforts to escape its cruel toils.  The
Act of Parliament just quoted contains the significant entry that if a
divorce shall take place between Gloucester and Anne, he shall
nevertheless continue to enjoy her property as if she were still his
wife, so long as he "doo his effectuell diligence and continuell deuoir
by all conuenient and laufull meanes to be lawfully maried to the said
Anne."  No words could have shown more plainly that the caged bird was
constantly working at the fastenings of the cage, and that the jailer
was afraid lest it should compass its end some time.

Less than this can be said for Isabel of Clarence. She was in no
durance, and her influence over her husband was great.  She was, in
fact, the only person who was permanently able to do any thing with
Clarence.  It is difficult to believe that if she had chosen to exert
herself, some small pension at least—which would have made all the
difference between comfort and care—should not have been conferred on
her lonely and destitute mother. But she did it not.  Are we justified
in assuming that it was by more than fortuitous coincidence or the
action of sanitary laws, that her days were not long in the land?

"God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also
reap."



                             *CHAPTER XII.*

                         *IDONIA UNDERSTANDS.*

    "But hush!  What is the utmost that I would?
    To give my life to God is all I could:
    And this may be the way He wills to take—
    This daily death may be for God’s own sake;
    He gave, and took.  So let my soul be still."
      —ISABELLA FYVIE MAYO.


At Lovell Tower, things were going as merry as marriage-bells could make
them. About six weeks after her return home, Frideswide Marston became
the wife of John Combe.  They were to live, for the present, with Lord
Marnell, until it should be seen what would happen further.  There was a
pretty little estate in Devonshire, named Combe Abbas, which belonged of
right to Queen Marguerite’s henchman: but of course, so long as King
Edward lived, no deprived Lancastrian could expect to recover his lands.
What might happen in the next reign, when men’s minds might be supposed
to have cooled down, and the throne to be assured to the House of York,
was another matter.

Frideswide had delivered the Duke’s message and token to her sister.
They were so quietly received by Agnes, almost in silence, that
Frideswide was afraid that she felt disappointed at receiving so small a
gift.

"Thou seest, dear heart," said she, apologetically, "there is so little
left to his Lordship that methought it were ill done to choose any
choice thing: and moreover I counted thou shouldst better love a matter
whereon was his badge than something greater that had it not.  That
speaketh for himself, from whom he came."

"Thou hast done well, and I thank thee," was the reply, as Agnes lifted
her eyes for a moment.

Could Frideswide have read the eyes, her impression would have been
different.  The language of her sister’s inmost heart was—"Do you
understand me no better than that?"  From that day, the silver ring with
its ruby sparks was always to be seen on Agnes Marston’s hand.

The year 1473 was drawing to a close, when Walter Marston came home from
London.  His life had been an eventful one.  From the household of Queen
Marguerite he had passed to that of the Duke of Burgundy, shortly before
his sister’s arrival in France.  Thence, returning to King Henry, he had
fought at Barnet and Tewkesbury, had remained long a prisoner, had
received pardon, and was now a knight in the household of the Earl of
Oxford.  Often very near Frideswide, he had never actually met her.  Now
he came home on a month’s leave, and as it was six years since any of
his relatives had seen him, the occasion was a festive one indeed.

"But how big thou art!—and what a beard hast thou!" exclaimed Dorathie.

"I am not by the half as much bigger as thou," laughed Walter.  "Why, I
left thee a little chick all over down, and here thou art a proper young
damsel."

"And what news abroad, Wat?" said his father.

"No great matter, my Lord, to my knowledge. ’Tis said the Venetians have
won the Isle of Cyprus, that lieth off the coast of the Holy Land: and
likewise that, I know not well how, they of Genoa have lost a certain
land[#] that lieth beyond the Grand Turk.  Here at home, the King goeth
to build a new chapel to his Castle of Windsor.  You shall have heard, I
reckon, of the young Lady of Clarence[#] that was born some weeks gone?
I mind not aught else of any moment, without you would hear of a poor
Lollard of late brent upon Tower Hill."


[#] The Crimea.

[#] Margaret Countess of Salisbury.


"The Lord may reckon that of more moment than all the rest, Wat," said
the Lady Idonia, gravely.

"Truly so, Madam."

"Was he of any note, lad?"

"In no wise, my Lord: a parchment-maker, as I heard, that dwelt without
the City."

"Of what name?" asked Frideswide, quickly.

"Why, ’twas a queer name," said her brother. "One John Goose, they told
me.  A young man, I heard—scarce elder than I."

"Aye me!  Had he it to do for himself?" murmured Frideswide in an
unsteady voice.

"What sayest, sweeting?"

"Prithee, Wat, tell me all thou wist of the inwards[#] thereof."


[#] Details.


"Well, that is not much.  He was delivered afore dinner to Master
Sheriff, to put in execution the same afternoon; who had him home to his
house, and gave him great exhortation that he should reny[#] his false
errors, quoth he: but—as I heard from one that was by—all that Goose
would say was to desire that he might have meat, for he was sore
hungered.  Then Master Sheriff commanded him meat, whereof he ate as
though he had ailed nothing: and quo’ he, ’I eat now a good and
competent dinner, for I shall pass a little sharp shower ere I go to
supper.’  Then, when he had dined, he required to be shortly led to
execution; and so, as I heard it, merrily and with good cheer took his
death."


[#] Recant.


"Then his Lord gave him the endurance,—laud be to His name!" said
Frideswide.  "I knew him, Walter, though I talked with him but once.  He
did at that time lodge my gracious Lord of Exeter, and his house was
that whereat I last spake with my Lord."

"Thou hast well said, good sister: for thou shalt speak with my Lord of
Exeter no more."

"Walter!—Woe is me! is my Lord dead?"

It was from Frideswide the cry came.  There was no sound from Agnes.
Only the Lady Idonia, who happened to be looking at her, saw her
needlework stand suddenly still.

"’Tis a few weeks gone, Frid," said Walter, kindly.  "Dear heart, I am
sorry if I started thee. I thought he had been little more than a name
to either of you."

"How died he, and where?  Do tell me all."

"Nay, good sister, for how he died must we remit to God.  But for where,
it was in the waves of the sea—the British Channel, betwixt Calais and
Dover.  His body was washed up on the sands of Dover, and was there
found by the fishers, a dead corpse, stripped of all."

"But was he drowned, Wat?  My poor master!"

"The Lord wot, dear heart.  The matter had the look of a shipwreck, but
no boat was found. If he so were wrecked, or fell from the cliff of
misadventure, or—well, whatso it were—who shall tell thee?  The sea hath
given up her dead, but blabbeth none of their secrets."

This is all that was ever known of the death of Henry Duke of Exeter.
The days of his mourning were ended: but how they closed—whether by
accident, or shipwreck, or by the worse violence which Walter would not
suggest openly—only his God and Father knows.

A few tears stole from Frideswide’s eyes.  She had felt for her noble
master very deep compassion.

"On whose soul God have mercy!" she said with an accent of tender
regret.  "He hath his little Nan at the last.—Annis! art thou not sorry
at all?"

The last words were spoken rather reproachfully.

"I am sorry," said Agnes.  But she said it in tones that sounded even
and hard: and leaving her work on the settle where she had been sitting,
she rose and quitted the room.

"Well!" said Frideswide, looking after her. "Verily, I am astonied.  I
had thought Annis should be well-nigh as sorry as I for our poor
master."

"Folks can be sorry, Frideswide, though they say it not," quietly
answered the Lady Idonia.

But in her heart she was saying,—"O blind eyes, that can see no further
than that!  Agnes is an hundred times more sorry than Frideswide—so
sorry that she can speak of it to none but God."

In the early winter of this year, the baby Prince of Wales, just three
years old, was placed under the care of governors spiritual and
temporal.  His uncle Lord Rivers was the latter, and the Bishop of
Rochester the former.  King Edward’s language, in the decrees which
record these appointments, is worth quoting, not only as a specimen of
the English of his day, but on account of its inherent singularity.  The
one entry commences thus:—

"How be it euery child in his yong age ought to be brought vp in vertue
and cunnyng,[#] to then-tent that he might delite therin and contynue in
the same, and soo consequently deserue the merites of euerlasting
blisse, and in this world to be therfore the more eureux[#] and
fortunat, yit nathelesse such persoones as god hath called to the
pre-eminent astate of princes, and to succede thair progenitours in
thestate of Regalte ought more singulerly and more diligently to be
enfourmed and instructed in cunnyng and vertu," etc.


[#] Knowledge.

[#] Heureux=happy.


The second decree asserts that—

"We, considering the great bounte of our lord god, whom it hath pleased
to send unto us our first begoten son, hole[#] and furnysshed in nature,
to succeed us in our Realmes of England and France, and lordship of
Ireland, for the which we thank most humbly his infynyte magnificens,
purpose by his grace so to purvey for his precieux sonde[#] and yefte[#]
and our most desired tresour our seid first begoten son, that he shall
be so virtuously, cunningly, and knyghtly brought up, for to serue
Almighty God cristenly and deuoutly, as accordeth to his dute, and to
leue and precede in the world honourably, after his estate and
dignite."[#]


[#] Whole.

[#] The lost noun of the verb to send.

[#] Gift.

[#] Patent Roll. 13 Edw. IV.


The child thus belauded with a flourish of court trumpets was of utterly
different character to both parents.  He had neither his father’s
ease-loving selfishness, nor his mother’s sly cajolery.  The shadow of
the sanctuary wherein his eyes first saw the light seemed to lie upon
his soul for ever. Grave and shrewd far beyond his years, yet at the
same time of child-like transparency, his character was one that might
have become a rare blessing to England.  He lived in the constant, calm
expectation of early death.  When his little brother, who was "joyous
and witty, nimble, and ever ready for dances and games"—true son of
Edward IV.—besought the elder to learn to dance, the young Prince’s
grave reply was, "It would be better for us to learn to die."  It seems
as though in him, perhaps alone of all his family, there was some good
thing found towards the Lord God of Israel.  "His soul pleased the Lord:
therefore He hasted to take him away from among the wicked."

The King was still supremely blind concerning the matrimonial intentions
of his sister of Exeter, and continued to lavish favours on St. Leger.
He and the Queen were at this time interested in the approaching second
marriage of Thomas Grey, with Cicely Bonvile, which took place
immediately on the expiration of the year of mourning for his dead wife.
In the same month, on a summer evening, and in the private chapel at
Coldharbour, with only two or three witnesses, the Princess Anne,
Duchess of Exeter, bestowed her hand upon Mr. St. Leger, and—the deed
irrevocably done—sent information of it to her royal brother.  It was
characteristically received.  Edward did not see the slightest occasion
to put himself out.  Anne could do as she liked, he said, as he lounged
on his sofa.  She liked to please herself, and so did he.  After all,
Sellenger was not a bad fellow, nor an ill-looking one.  "What ho! Bid
the minstrels strike up there!"  And settling himself comfortably among
his cushions, His Majesty prepared to listen to the music.

But there was one person at Coldharbour who received the information
very differently.

The news that her suitor was married to her mistress came upon Jane
Grisacres like a thunderbolt. Her love had been so blind that the bare
possibility of such a thing had never occurred to her for an instant.
She heard the terrible tidings suddenly, with nothing to soften the
blow: and with a sharp cry of astounded anguish, she fell into Marion
Rothwell’s arms in a dead swoon.  The Duchess, who was herself present,
merely glanced at the white face, and in a tone which was calmly
contemptuous, commanded that somebody should carry yon poor dolt to her
bed.  Tamzine, silent for once, came forward and helped Marion to lift
the dead weight of poor Jane, and to bear her away from the sight of the
mistress to whom her stricken face was a reproach. But the reproach was
felt by the Duchess only as she might have regarded a dead fly in her
pot of scented ointment.  Pick out the intrusive nuisance, throw it
away, and then all would be well again. What did a smothered fly, or a
broken heart, signify to the royal bride who had obtained her own
wishes?

Not long after that event, Master Rotherham, who had been the
fellow-traveller of Agnes on her journey home, paid a visit at Lovell
Tower, and at his own request was closeted with Lord Marnell for some
time.  For so much time, indeed, that Lady Margery became rather
impatient, and expressed it as she sat and span.

"Dear heart! what would yonder man with my Lord?  I had so much to ask
him!  I want to know when he will have the calf killed, and how much
lime we shall take in for the meadow.  Will he ne’er have done?  What
can the companion be after, trow?"

"Thou alway wert a bat, Madge," said her mother, calmly.  "He is after
Annis."

"Eh, good lack!" returned the daughter.  "I marvel where he dwelleth,
and if it be far away."

"Shall my Lord covenant with him, I marvel?" said Frideswide, looking up
from her embroidery-frame.

Agnes was not in the room.

"Not ere he ask our counsel, methinks," replied Lady Idonia.  "At the
least I hope not."

"I will read him a lecture an’ he do!" said Lady Margery, laughing.

"Hush!" was her mother’s quick check.  "Hold your peace afore the maid."

For Agnes was just entering, and she came and sat down to her sewing.
Another half-hour passed almost in silence.  At its close, Lord Marnell
came to the door and called out John Combe, who was seated with a book
in the recess of the window. With a few low-toned words he sent him off
somewhere, and came forward into the hall himself.

"Well, my Lady," said he, rubbing his hands with the air of a man very
well satisfied with his morning’s work, "and what think you is Master
Rotherham come about?"

"You were best tell us, my Lord," answered his wife, prudently declining
to commit herself.

"Of a truth I am well pleased," returned he. "I have heard much good of
the young gentleman: and he hath a fair estate, and spendeth well-nigh
two hundred pound by the year; and true to the Red is he, and a good
fellow belike, as I do believe. He would make his wife jointure of sixty
pound by the year, and an house—not so ill, eh?"

"Has he a wife?" demanded Lady Margery rather slily.

"Nay, for that he came hither," said her husband, laughing complacently.

"Dear heart, but Doll is o’er young to be wed yet—think you not so, my
Lord?" responded she, with an affectation of innocent simplicity.

"Doll!" cried Lord Marnell.  "Gramercy, what would the woman be at?
Doll! she is but a babe in the cradle.  ’Tis Annis he would have—where
be thine eyes, Madge?"

Lady Margery’s laugh revealed her joke.

"Oh! good heart, thou wert but a-mocking, I see.—Well, my maid, how
likest the matter?"  And he turned to Agnes.

He expected to see a blush, a smile, and to hear a few faltered words of
satisfaction with his arrangement.  But no one of them answered him.
Instead of these, what he did hear was perhaps the last speech he ever
expected from the lips of Agnes Marston.

"Good my Lord, I thank you for your care. But if it may stand with your
pleasure, pray you, give me leave to be a nun."

"A what!" came in accents of astonished dismay from her father, and the
expression of satisfaction died out of his face in an instant.

"Annis!" exclaimed her stepmother.

"Gramercy!" said Frideswide.

Lady Idonia said nothing.  She sat and watched the quiet, pale face,
with its set lips, and the far-away look in the eyes which were gazing
from the window.

"If you please, my Lord," repeated Agnes calmly.  "That is my desire."

"And what in all this world hath moved thee to desire the same?"

"I have so done of some time," was the reply, in the same quiet tone.

"Lack-a-day, maid!  How long time?"

A faint flush rose to the white brow, and dying away, left it whiter
than ever.  But she was spared an answer.

"Give the maid her way, Jack," said a voice hitherto silent.  "She hath
well spoken."

"Truly, fair Mother, but I thought it ill spoken," said Lord Marnell, in
a puzzled tone, turning to face the Lady Idonia.  "I never looked to see
one of my little maids in cloister—not by my good-will."

"Then thou hadst best bring thy good-will thereto, Jack.—Frideswide and
Annis, give us leave, dear hearts."

The young ladies retired obediently.  No sooner had the door closed on
them than Lady Margery said, with a mixture of perplexity and
eagerness,—

"Pray you, sweet Madam, give us to wit your meaning.  It seems me you
see further into this matter than either my Lord or I."

"’Tis little enough I see," added her husband. "Verily, I counted it
rare good fortune for the lass.  Here is a good man, that loveth her,
and offers her jointure of sixty pound by the year—"

"For thee, Madge," resumed her mother calmly, "thou always wert a bat,
as I have aforetime told thee.  As to Jack here, men be rarely aught
else where women be concerned.  Let the maid be, dear hearts.  I tell
you, she has well said."

"But what doth it all mean?" asked Lord Marnell, impatiently.

"I go not about to tell Annis’ secrets—more in especial when she hath
not confided them to me," replied the Lady Idonia drily.  "Only this I
say to you both—withered hearts make the best nuns, and the worst wives.
God, not you, hath made a nun of Annis.  Let her obey His voice."

"Dear heart, I would ne’er think to hinder it!" returned her father, in
a voice of much regret. "But what means your Ladyship?  How gat she her
heart withered, poor wretch?"

"The babe that shall cry for the moon is commonly disappointed, Jack.  I
do but tell thee, Agnes Marston will never wed with any—and it were to
his hurt an’ she so did.  Aye, and to her own belike.  Enough said."

Nor was another word on that subject to be extracted from the Dowager.
But Master Rotherham received a kindly dismissal, and it was generally
understood from that hour that Agnes was to be a nun.  Should this
strike the reader as a strange thing, it must be remembered that the
Lollard views on the subject of monasticism were scarcely at all in
advance of the Roman, and that the time had not come when any woman who
did not wish to be a wife could be otherwise than a nun.  There did
exist the rare phenomenon of an old bachelor; but an old maid, out of
the cloister, was unknown before the Reformation.

The same evening, when she came up to her chamber, which Agnes shared
with her, Lady Idonia sat down by the window, and remained there for a
time, looking out upon the summer night.  Agnes, who usually helped her
to undress, was bidden to "hie her abed, and tarry not."  She obeyed;
but the old lady sat still, long after Agnes was asleep, or at any rate
seemed to be so. Each of the two was under the impression that she knew
the other’s train of thought, and had kept her own a profound secret.
In truth, the thoughts of Agnes were much better understood by the
Dowager than the reverse.  Quarter after quarter of an hour dripped
heavily from the water-clock in the corner, yet the Lady Idonia sat
still in the carved oaken chair.  And,

    "Her great heart through all the faultful past
    Went sorrowing."


At last she turned her head towards the sleeper. Agnes lay with her
cheek pillowed on one hand, and from that hand, close by the cheek, the
ruby cresset of the Duke’s ring sparkled in the lamp-light.

"Poor child!" said the heart of the Lady Idonia, though her lips were
silent.  "I can guess what that ruby cresset is to thee.  To him, of
course, it was nothing, beyond a kindly wish to give pleasure to an
inferior who had shown a kindly feeling towards him.  But out of thy
life all possibility of wedlock died upon Dover sands, fifteen months
ago.  Not that _that_ was ever possible—poor child!  Didst thou fancy,
babe, that thou wert about to touch the stars?  God grant, for thy sake,
that it was not so!"

It was not so.  Never, for one moment, had Agnes Marston dreamed of that
impossible thing. Her love had never calculated on a return.  It had
only grown out of the necessity of love to give itself; and her heart
had passed out of her keeping before she had known that it was gone.

Idonia was right, also, in guessing that the Duke had never entertained
the faintest suspicion of the deep wealth of self-sacrificing love
hidden under that quiet manner and silent face.  His one venture in the
matrimonial lottery had been so utter a blank that the very idea of
trying another had never occurred to him, and, had it been suggested,
would probably have been dismissed with a shudder.

"And so—" the thoughts of the watcher went on—"’so He leadeth them unto
the haven of their desire.’  _So_!  Ah, how many devious, winding paths
there are, which lead up to the door of life!  One He leads through
pain, another through sorrow: one by loneliness and absence of human
love, another by the happiness of a satisfied heart, a third through the
shards of broken idols.  Not often the second of those three: much
oftener the first or the last.  But through all the paths He brings us
to the one Gate—through all the wilderness journeying, to the one City.
He who has paid for us the price of His own life cannot afford to lose
us.  And then, ’when we have forded the Jordan, with the ark of the Lord
borne before us, we eat of the fruit of the Land of Canaan that year.’"

Far back into the past years ran the "inner eye,"—back to a stately
woman in robes of white, with long black hair flowing behind her.  The
years seemed obliterated, and Idonia Marnell stood in a turret-chamber
of the Palace of Holyrood, with the mournful music of Marjory Douglas’
voice sounding in her ears.

"It cannot be much longer for me now," she said to herself in
conclusion.  "She has been comforted these thirty years; and I am nigh
fourscore.  But for thee, poor little Agnes!—the wilderness may be long
yet: and unless I mistake, for thee also it will be ’the wilderness all
the way.’  So the ark of the Lord go before thee, it is well. He will
lead thee no whither but into the Holy Land."



                            *CHAPTER XIII.*

                     *THE LAST OF THE SILVER RING.*

    "Past the pearl-gates, through the golden—
      When we meet His face who died,
    Each want full filled, new and olden,
      We, too, shall be satisfied."


King Edward quitted England on the twentieth of June, 1475, for a
personal interview with the King of France.  At this interview an
agreement was entered into between the monarchs for the ransom of the
royal widow who for four years had been pining out her life in English
prisons.  What moved that inscrutable mortal, King Louis, to lay down
twenty thousand crowns in hard cash for the ransom of Marguerite, is one
of those puzzles in psychology which must ever remain perplexities.  It
is true that her father, King René, was pressing him hard—as hard as it
lay in his dreamy artist nature: and it is also true that Louis was
urged—or at any rate professed to be so—by considerations of the
outraged dignity of his own family, to which Marguerite belonged,
through her continued imprisonment—a statement which might be true—and
by feelings of compassion for a helpless woman—an assertion which hardly
can be so.  One of the last men to be moved by sentiments of pity,
particularly towards a woman, was surely Louis XI.

King Edward was more consistent with himself. He took care to have the
money in his pocket before he permitted Marguerite to escape his
fingers.  And, with that intense smallness of soul which—with the
exception of King John—was most remarkable in him of all the Plantagenet
monarchs, he refused, in his diplomatic negotiations, to bestow upon
Marguerite the regal title.  Judging from his diction, he was puzzled
what to call her. He hit at last upon her title as a Neapolitan
Princess, less than which it might seem impossible to give her.  On the
thirteenth of November, 1475, Thomas Thwaytes, knight, received the
royal command to deliver "the most serene Lady Margaret, daughter of the
illustrious Prince King René," to Sir Thomas Montgomery; and the latter
was ordered to convey the said lady to "the most serene Prince, Louis of
France, our dearest cousin."  The ingenious way in which King Louis is
very civilly described, without admitting his title to the crown of
France, is worth notice.  But when the actual delivery came, it was
found that a lower indignity yet was possible for poor Marguerite. She
was required to sign a formal renunciation of all rights and privileges
in England which her marriage-settlements had secured to her.  In this
document no title whatever was given to her.  She was not even
recognised as a foreign Princess. The opening words described her as
"Margaret, sometime in England married."  The words would have truly
described every cottager’s wife in the kingdom who bore the name of
Margaret—then one of the commonest names in England.  But when the
insulting document was laid down before the Queen, she calmly took up
the pen and signed it.  What did titles signify to her now?  There was
no husband, there was no son, whose rights could be invaded, and whose
feelings could be outraged, by any renunciation of name or dignity on
her part.  She felt with Valentina of Orleans—"Rien ne m’ est plus: plus
ne m’ est rien!"  So she quietly signed her regal "Marguerite,"[#] and
by her own act laid down that queenly title which had been so heavy and
blood-stained a burden.


[#] In signing English documents, the Queen spelt her name "Margarete."


Queen Marguerite survived this action six years, which she spent, so
long as her father lived, with him at the Castle of Reculée, near
Angers, and afterwards at Château Dampierre, near Saumur. Her last years
were burdened with the horrible disease of leprosy,[#] supposed to have
been caused by intense grief.  It was on the twenty-fifth of August,
1482, at Château Dampierre, that she laid down the weary weight of life,
and as we would fain believe and surely may be allowed to hope, went to
keep eternal holiday.


[#] What was meant by leprosy in the Middle Ages is an unsettled
question.  It was evidently a cutaneous disease of some kind, but is
generally supposed not to have been identical with the oriental leprosy
of which we read in Scripture.


Perhaps, for her, there was no other way into the Garden of God than
through that great and howling wilderness.  If it were so, how glad a
sight must the lights of home have been to that storm-wearied voyager!

This interview between the two Kings had a further pecuniary result—the
payment during some time of an annual sum of £11,000 by France to
England—a sum which the King of France was careful to term a pension,
and which the King of England took equal care to call a tribute.  Edward
also made a further effort to obtain the young Earl of Richmond, who was
the fly in his ointment: but that wary youth, learning the fact, took
instant sanctuary, and the effort was in vain.

The winter of 1475-6 opened with rejoicings for the birth of the
Princess Anne—perhaps the best of the daughters of Edward IV.  She
certainly possessed two qualities enjoyed by few of the others—lowliness
and modesty.  The rejoicings were increased a week after New Year’s Day,
when a second royal Anne was born—the only child of the Duchess of
Exeter and Sir Thomas St. Leger. She lived to become the stock of the
Dukes of Rutland: and she transmitted to them, not only the property of
her mother, but also lands on which she had no equitable claim—those of
the hapless Duke of Exeter.  Had there been any right feeling in the
heart of his wretched widow, she would have bequeathed those estates to
the last of the Holands of Exeter, his sister Anne, Lady Douglas, and
they would have descended to her posterity, the Nevilles of Raby.  She
did it not: and she had little time to do it.  The baby daughter had
scarcely more than entered this troublesome world, ere the soul was
required of the Princess Anne of Exeter.  She died on the twelfth or
fourteenth of January, 1476.  For her an awful account waited at the
judgment bar.

In the last month of that year, Isabel Duchess of Clarence was summoned
before the same Divine tribunal.  Her death was a signal misfortune to
her husband.  Her influence had not been altogether for good, by any
means, yet such good as had been in it was sorely missed.  Clarence had
loved her, and it is doubtful if he ever loved any other creature.
After her death he became reckless even beyond his former unscrupulous
condition. Gloucester kept his sinister eyes upon him, ready to take
advantage of the first political slip which he might make.  It came two
years after Isabel’s death.  Clarence, who had previously quarrelled
with his brother Edward, was present at a trial of some old women on the
charge of witchcraft, and took the liberty of remonstrating with the
judges on too much haste in condemning the prisoners, as it seemed to
him, without sufficient evidence. Gloucester took advantage of this
circumstance. He adroitly represented to the King that Clarence had
interfered with the course of justice, thus taking upon himself a
prerogative of the Crown: that there was strong reason to think that he
contemplated a journey to Burgundy, with the view of assisting the Duke,
then in hostility to King Edward: that he had many times tried to
supplant his brother.  The intensely superstitious Edward was reminded
of an old prediction that "G. shall reign after E.,"—and did not George
begin with the fated letter?  So did Gloucester, but of course my Lord
Duke omitted that suggestion. He succeeded in frightening Edward into a
panic.  Clarence was arrested, placed before the Council, and condemned
unheard.  He was sentenced to be hanged: but at the intercession of the
Duchess Cicely, mother alike of the King and of the criminal, the
sentence was commuted to imprisonment in the Tower.  Ten days later, in
his dungeon, Clarence was found dead, his head hanging over an open butt
of his favourite liquor, malvoisie.  Hence arose the popular tradition
that he had been allowed to choose the manner of his death, and that he
had elected to be drowned in a butt of malmsey.  In all probability the
open butt had been placed in his cell by order of the brother who so
well knew Clarence’s weakness, and hoped by this means to get rid of him
without any legal responsibility as to his end.  So perished the false
and faithless Clarence,—destroyed, like many another, on a mere
technical pretext, when on other counts he had previously merited
execution a hundred times over.

The years went on, and after a very short illness, Edward IV. passed to
his own account.  After him came the deluge.  Events succeeded one
another with startling rapidity.  Only for two months was that grave and
gentle boy styled King Edward V.  Then came the sudden _coup d’ etat_,
prepared for during many years, by which Gloucester seized the crown,
and shut up the boy-King in prison.  The Queen and Princesses once more
fled to sanctuary; the old friends and adherents of Edward, some of whom
had sold their very souls for the White Rose, were sacrificed on the
most trifling pretexts: and among them, the best of them all, the
upright and honourable Rivers.  The boy-King and his brother were put
quietly out of the way.  The new King made a progress throughout the
country, from Windsor to York, joined by the Queen at Warwick.  One of
those strange gleams of tenderness which now and then flit across the
conduct of Richard III., as though for an instant he paused to listen to
the whispers of his better angel, induced him to spare Anne Neville a
royal progress which would have led her through Tewkesbury.  At the
close of the year King Richard was at Westminster, firmly seated on his
blood-stained throne.  He might well think, like the Spanish Regent,
that he had not a single enemy: for he had shot them all.  But he forgot
one, yet left on earth: and he forgot one Other, who remaineth for ever
in Heaven.

And then his Nemesis began to come upon him. His one cherished child
died "an unhappy death" at Middleham Castle.  His wife, once if
selfishly, yet so passionately loved, faded away and died by inches,
surviving her boy just twelve months.  The terrors of God overwhelmed
him.  He was tormented by perpetual apprehensions of conspiracy, and
distracted by nightly visions of horror.  And then Richmond landed at
Milford Haven, and the climax came.  With that personal courage which
was the best item of his bad character, Richard rushed into the field of
Bosworth, "and, foremost fighting, fell."

So ended the male line of the White Rose.  The Red was uppermost at
last.  The struggle, with all its untold agony, which had lasted through
thirty years, was over at length, and for ever.

Some tardy justice was done now.  To the poor old Countess of Warwick,
starving in the north, her lands were given back, the iniquitous decree
which had deprived her of them being stigmatised, as it deserved, as
"against all reason, conscience, and course of nature, and contrary to
the law of God and man."  But not only the pomps and vanities of this
wicked world, but also all covetous desires of the same, had long ago
faded from that lonely and weary heart.  All whom she had loved were in
the grave, and her heirs were grandchildren whom she had never known,
whose father had been her worst enemy, and who were abundantly provided
for without a rood of any land of hers.  Just a few pounds while she
lived, just a shelter to cover her hoary head, was all that Anne
Beauchamp craved for the little rest of life.  She resigned all her
property the same year to the Crown, receiving in exchange the manor of
Sutton, in Warwickshire. It was probably there that she died, full of
years and sorrows, in or shortly before 1493.

To "Dame Bessy Grey" the Nemesis came too. It is customary to bestow
great pity on the widow of Edward IV.; and it is true that few women
have known more crushing sorrow than she.  But I think it is too
commonly forgotten how much she had deserved it.  She was a most
designing woman—the truth was not in her: and she was pitiless to the
sorrows of others.  In her last years she retired to Bermondsey
Convent—of her own motion; not, as has been represented, through
coercion from her son-in-law—and there she died, on the 7th or 8th of
June, 1493.

Except in the form of witnessing sorrows borne by his friends, no
Nemesis ever came to Thomas Grey, now[#] Marquis of Dorset.  That form
is, to some natures, one of the very bitterest which pain can take: to
others it is absolutely painless. Judging from what is known of his
character, it may be surmised that the misfortunes of his friends would
be a sorrow borne very philosophically by him. Two years’ exile, during
the short reign of King Richard, was the worst he had to bear for
himself—that is, in this life.


[#] Created Apr. 18th, 1475.  He is said to have been previously made
Earl of Huntingdon, Aug. 4, 1471—the second title of the Duke of Exeter:
but I never found one instance when he was so termed on the Rolls.


Notwithstanding his disappointment concerning Agnes, Master Rotherham
kept up his acquaintance with Lovell Tower.  He was present when she
took the veil at Godstow, in the summer of 1476; and that she was not
the only attraction he found in the family was proved by the continuance
of his visits.  About three years after her profession, Master Rotherham
came to the conclusion, which he communicated to Lord Marnell, that his
grief for the loss of Agnes would be considerably alleviated if he might
have her sister Dorathie.  Lord Marnell hesitated: for Dorathie’s social
position, as heiress presumptive to her mother’s barony, was very
different from that of Agnes.  But he consulted the elder ladies, and
found Lady Margery of opinion that a good, sensible man without title or
large property would be a much better husband for Dorathie than a bad or
foolish man who brought her a coronet and a county.

"Say you not so, Madam?" she concluded, turning to her mother.

The Lady Idonia’s reply was to call Dorathie to her.  She took her
grand-daughter’s face in both hands, and looked tenderly at the rosy
cheeks and the pretty blue eyes, which were those neither of father nor
mother, but which reminded Idonia Marnell, how often no one knew, of
other blue eyes which were dust now in the Abbey of St. Albans.

"Aye, Madge.  It will do," was the short but distinct decision of the
old lady.

So Dorathie Marston became Dorathie Rotherham, and instead of departing
to some strange place with her husband, he came to live with her.

The years went on, until the autumn leaves of 1537 were carpeting the
green sward, and the wind was blowing keenly through the glades of
Woodstock, and waving the willows that congregate round the Abbey of
Godstow.  The period was one which we look back upon as lively and
tumultuous: yet to the few aged men and women who could look back
further yet, to the terrible days of the Roses, it seemed very quiet.
Matters had changed greatly since that time.  The little printing-press
set up by William Caxton the mercer in the Westminster Cloisters, had
spread its wide wings over all the land: and the monk who, in his
isolated courage, had posted his theses on the door of the church at
Wittemburg, had spread his skirts over all the world.  Men talked busily
now on subjects which they had hardly thought about, fifty years before.
Men, aye, and women too, dared to think for themselves.  And one of the
earliest results of these phenomena was the conclusion that the
so-called religious houses had generally ceased to be houses of
religion, and that the sooner they were done away with the better.

The state of many of these religious houses was of a kind that simply
cannot be described.  In them Satan and his angels reigned supreme.  But
there were a few—alas! they were very few—where the vows were really
kept, where learning still had scope, and charity still held sway.  And
of female communities, the best of all these was the Abbey of Godstow.

The smaller houses, of the value of three hundred marks and under, were
first suppressed.  The larger, of which Godstow was one, followed later.
Undoubtedly the motives for this proceeding were not pure and unmixed.
Every person who joined in it was not actuated by exclusive regard for
morality, nor was everybody quite innocent of some respect for those
confiscated lands—not to speak of silver vases, gemmed reliquaries, and
gold pieces—which, in the general up-breaking, might fall in his
direction.  Perhaps, when we have satisfied ourselves that our own
motives are on all occasions absolutely unadulterated, we shall be in a
more advantageous position to cast stones at the Reformers.

The suppression of the Abbey of Godstow was close at hand, and the nuns
had made arrangements for the lives they meant to lead in future. Such
of them as had relatives living commonly returned to them.  A few of the
elder ones, who had none, took refuge in the one or two convents of
their Order which were, reasonably and charitably, allowed to remain
until the death of the last surviving member.  Those who married were
very few, and were decidedly independent of public opinion.

On a small, but comfortable, pallet-bed in the infirmary of the Abbey
lay one nun who needed to make no such provision for future life.  She
had received her invitation to the King’s Palace, and she lay waiting
for His messengers to bring His chariot for her.  She had other
invitations too: loving entreaties from the distant wolds of Yorkshire,
where Dorathie Rotherham, Baroness Marnell of Lymington, herself an old
woman of eighty years, was longing to cheer the last days of her aged
and only sister; and scarcely less urgent pressure from far Devonshire,
where the Lady Combe, of Combe Abbas, was affectionately desirous to
minister to her husband’s saintly and venerable aunt.  But none of all
these moved Mother Agnes, as she lay in the pallet-bed, waiting for the
King’s messengers.  Life’s fitful fever was over, and the eventide had
come.  For her there was a longer journey, to a better home.

Outside the infirmary two nuns, an old woman and a middle-aged one, were
discussing some point which evidently disturbed their serenity.

"Well, it must be, I count," said the younger, who was the Abbess
herself.  "I am sore afeared it shall be diseaseful to Mother Agnes.
Good lack, can they not do the King’s gracious pleasure without poking
into every corner, and counting the threads in every spider’s web!
Howbeit—Well! go, Sister Katherine, and say that my Lords the King’s
Commissioners can ascend now.  But I would have thee say to the chief of
them, whoso it be, that in the infirmary is a very aged and holy sister
that is nigh to death, and that I pray them of their grace to tread in
that chamber as quiet as may be."

Sister Katherine departed on her errand, and the Abbess went forward
into the sick chamber.  A few minutes later her messenger rejoined her.

"My Lords Commissioners speak very fair," said she.  "I told the eldest
gentleman as you bade me, holy Mother: and he promiseth that only the
three chiefest of them shall come into this chamber, and that they shall
tread and speak so quiet as may be."

"’Tis the best we may look for," responded the Abbess: "but I would it
were well over."

In about half an hour the footsteps were heard approaching.  They roused
the dying nun, who had been in a dozing condition for some time.

"What is it, holy Mother?" she said nervously.

"Dear heart, ’tis but those weary companions, the King’s Highness’ noble
Commissioners, that must needs see with their own evil eyes how many
candlesticks and phials of physic be of the mantel-shelf," said the
Abbess rather irritably.  "They know their own business, trow: but
verily I would have thought, after reckoning every aglet[#] in the
treasury, and every stick of firewood in the yard, they might have left
us poor nuns be to drink our senna in peace.  Dear heart, what work is
here to drive out an handful of old women into this wicked world!  Well,
well! we shall soon have done therewith, most of us."


[#] The little silver ring which surrounds lace-holes in boots, stays,
&c.


She ceased her diatribe, for my Lords Commissioners were entering, and
standing up, gave them her blessing—with how much sincerity she was not
careful to state.  The three gentlemen bowed low to the mitred Abbess,
and seemed half alarmed at their own temerity.

"Methinks we need not tarry hither," said the chief Commissioner.
"May-be, holy Sister"—addressing Sister Katherine—"it should stand with
your conveniency, under leave of my Lady Abbess, to take note of such
furnishings as be in this chamber, and we will accept the same.—Lead
forth, my Lord of Dorset."

Before this could be done, the further progress of the Commissioners was
intercepted by a weak voice from the pallet bed.

"My Lord of Dorset!" said Mother Agnes faintly.

The youngest of the party, a fair-haired, good-looking young man of
about five-and-twenty, paused and turned to her, as if the name belonged
to him.

"Pray you, of your grace, come one moment hither," she said, speaking
with some difficulty.

The young Marquis came forward at once, and knelt by the bed of the
dying nun, who looked earnestly for some seconds into his face.

"What kin are you," she asked, "to sometime Queen Elizabeth, whose son
was Lord of Dorset?"

"That son was my father’s father," answered the young man.

"So long ago!" said the dying woman. "Young Lord, ’tis but like
yesterday that your father’s father was a young man like you.  ’Past, as
a watch in the night!’"

Her eyes ran feebly over the handsome features, the clear grey eyes, the
nervous twitching of the brow, the good-natured fulness of the lower
lip, the weak, vacillating indecision of the retreating chin.  In those
few seconds, she seemed to read his character.

"The good Lord’s grace be with thee!" said the faint voice at last.  "Be
thou strong in the Lord, and in the power of His might!"

Did Henry Grey think of those words, twenty years later, when after a
life spent in bondage through fear of death, God gave him grace to break
through the trammels of Satan, and to stand bravely out upon Tower Hill
to die for Him?

The Commissioners were gone, to the relief of the Abbess, who muttered
something as the door closed after them, which was not the same form of
words as the benediction with which she had greeted them.  The next
moment she bent down to listen to the weak tones of Mother Agnes.

"Holy Mother, may I crave a boon of you?"

"Surely, good my sister," said the testy yet kind-hearted Abbess.

"Mother, among the gear that came hither with me, must be in the
treasury "—

Agnes paused for breath.

"Well, good sister?"

"A silver ring, set with little rubies in form of a cresset."

"Aye.  What so?"

"Good Mother, of your grace, give me leave to bear that ring upon my
finger until I go hence."

The Abbess was sorely exercised by this request. It must imply either
strong vanity in the dying nun, or else a most undue attachment to
earthly things.  Nay, probably, it meant what was still worse—an
attachment to earthly persons: a most improper thing in a professed nun!
The Abbess hesitated, but the woman’s heart in her prevailed, as she
looked into the wistful, dying eyes.

"My sister, shall I do well if I say aye?  Thou wist no holy nun must
have affinity with the world.  Who gave thee the ring?"

"One that hath been dust these sixty years."

"Well, well! be it so.  I trust thee, Sister Agnes.  Only remember, thy
thoughts should be above, not below."

"Below is the dust only," said Agnes.  "What I loved is above."

The old nun who kept the keys of the treasury found the silver ring, and
brought it to the Abbess. A faint smile greeted the remembered token as
it was slipped on the thin hand.

"Remove it not, I pray," she said, "until I am not here to care for it.
And now suffer me to keep silence, for I would commune with God."

The hand that bore the ring was laid upon her breast, with the other
hand crossed over it.  Two hours passed, and she never stirred.

"She must lack food now," whispered the Abbess to Sister Katherine.

Sister Katherine shook her more experienced head.

"She will eat no more, save of the angels’ manna."

That night, Sister Margaret unlocked the treasury, and restored the ruby
ring to its place.  Agnes Marston cared for it no more.



                         *HISTORICAL APPENDIX.*


             I. THE HOUSE OF LANCASTER, AND ITS CONNECTION
                        WITH THE HOUSE OF TUDOR.


Catherine, sixth and youngest daughter of Charles VI. King of France,
and Isabeau of Bavaria, was born at the Hôtel, de St. Pol, Paris, Oct.
27th, 1401; and died at Bermondsey Abbey, London, Jan. 3rd, 1437.  She
was buried in Westminster Abbey, after many years of neglect, during
which her corpse, dried to the appearance of a mummy, had been made a
show to strangers.  Surnamed The Fair. One historian tells us that she
was a most devout woman, perpetually at prayer: but the excessively
wayward, impulsive, selfish character of all her actions during her
queenly life points to the conclusion that this refers exclusively to
her later days: as otherwise we should be impelled to the unwelcome but
unavoidable surmise that her prayers were allowed to have very little
effect upon her conduct. She married—

(1) King Henry V. of England, eldest son of Henry IV. and Mary Bohun:
born at Monmouth, Aug. 9th, 1387: married at Troyes Cathedral, June 3rd,
1420: died at Vincennes, of fever, Aug. 31st, 1432: buried in
Westminster Abbey.

(2) Owain, surnamed Twdwr (often contemporaneously spelt Tydier), son of
Meredith ap Twdwr and Margaret, daughter of David Vychan: born at
Snowdon, date unknown: wardrobe-keeper to Queen Catherine, whom he
married in 1428: beheaded, after the battle of Mortimer’s Cross, at
Hereford, Feb. 2nd, 1461: buried in Grey Friars’ Church, Hereford.


ISSUE OF CATHERINE OF FRANCE.  (A) By Henry V.:—

1. HENRY VI., surnamed _The Holy_, born at Windsor (in direct
contravention of his father’s orders) Dec. 6th, 1421: deposed Mar. 4th,
1461; restored, Oct., 1470; again deposed, Apr. 11th, 1471; died in the
Tower, London, May 21 [? 27th—see text], 1471: buried first at Chertsey
Abbey, afterwards in St. George’s Chapel, Windsor.

Though to some extent weak in intellect, and subject, like his maternal
grandfather, to occasional attacks of mental aberration, Henry was, on
the testimony even of his enemies, one of the best men that ever lived.
His strongest asseveration was "Forsooth," at a time when it was
customary for men, and even women, to use profane language in the freest
manner.  He was "wholly given to prayer, Scriptures, and alms-deeds."  A
Bishop who was his confessor for ten years, bore witness that he had
during that time, "never confessed a mortal sin."  In person, Henry was
not handsome, having the large, strongly-marked features of his Valois
ancestors: but his hands and feet were extraordinarily small; so much so
that a pair of his boots (still preserved) can only be worn by a woman
of slender proportions.  His hair and eyes were dark brown.  He married—

MARGUERITE, second daughter of René of Anjou, King of Naples, and
Isabelle of Lorraine: born at Pont à Mousson, Mar. 23rd, 1429, and
baptized in Toul Cathedral: married by proxy, in St. Martin’s Church,
Tours, Apr. 10th [?], and in person at Titchfield Abbey, Hants, Apr.
22nd, 1445: died at Château Dampierre, near Saumur, in Normandy, Aug.
25th, 1482: buried in Angers Cathedral.  The hope expressed in the text
as to the Christian character of Marguerite is not a mere baseless
imagination. There is evidence showing that in her later years at least,
she possessed and was familiar with a French Bible: and in those days
persons did not, as a rule, read the Scriptures in their own language as
a mere matter of form or custom.


                          (B) By Owain Twdwr:—

2. Tacina (this singular name is authenticated by occurring on the
Patent Roll, 32 B. VI.) born 1429-30, married Reginald, 7th Lord Grey de
Wilton, and left issue.

3. Edmund, born at Hadham, 1431; created Earl of Richmond, Mar. 6th,
1453; died Nov. 1-3, 1456; buried, first at Caermarthen, afterwards at
St. David’s.  Married—

Margaret, only child and heiress of John Beaufort, Duke of Somerset, and
Margaret Baroness Beauchamp of Bletshoe: born at Bletshoe, Apr. 1443:
married, 1455: [remarried (2) Henry Stafford, Earl of Wiltshire, and (3)
Thomas Stanley, Earl of Derby]: died at Westminster, July 5th, 1509 [the
date usually given is June 29th; but her Inquisition gives July 5]:
buried in Westminster Abbey.  Generally known as Margaret Countess of
Richmond.  She is the "Lady Margaret," whose name has been given to
professorships, lectures, streets, &c.

4. JASPAR, born at Hatfield, about 1432: created Earl of Pembroke, Nov.
23rd, 1452, and Duke of Bedford Oct. 28th, 1485: died Dec. 21st, 1495:
bur. at Keynsham.  According to some writers, his illegitimate daughter
Helen married William Gardiner, squire and citizen of London, and was
mother of Stephen Gardiner, Bishop of Winchester.  He married (but left
no legitimate issue),

Katherine, daughter of Richard Earl Rivers and Jaquette de St. Pol, and
sister of Queen Elizabeth Widville: married at Court, in or before
1490-1.

5. Owain, born at Westminster, about 1434; monk in Westminster Abbey.

6. Katherine, or Margaret, born and died 1436.


                          ISSUE OF HENRY VI.:—

EDWARD, born at Westminster, Oct. 13th, 1453; created Prince of Wales,
Mar. 15th, 1454; murdered after battle of Tewkesbury, on the field, May
4th, 1471: buried in Tewkesbury Abbey.  Married—

ANNE, second and youngest daughter of Richard Neville, Earl of Salisbury
(and by courtesy of Warwick) and Anne Beauchamp, Countess of Warwick:
born at Warwick Castle, 1454: married at Amboise, July or August, 1470:
[re-married to King Richard III.]: died of consumption, at Westminster
Palace, Mar. 16th, 1485: buried in Westminster Abbey.  Some writers have
endeavoured to show that the ceremony at Amboise was only a betrothal,
and that the actual marriage never took place.  The best authors,
however, are of the contrary opinion: and the strongest evidence is
afforded by the language of Warwick’s own henchman, John Rous, who
distinctly terms the Prince "_primus maritus prenobilissimæ Dominæ
Annæ_."


                   ISSUE OF EDMUND EARL OF RICHMOND:—

King HENRY VII., surnamed _Le Doyen des Rois_: born at Pembroke Castle,
July 26th, 1456: died of gout, at Richmond, Apr. 22nd, 1509; buried at
Westminster.  An interesting portrait of Henry VII. is drawn for us by
Humphrey Brereton, who on arriving at

    "Beggrames Abbey in Little Britain,
      Whereas the English Prince did lie,"

was obliged to inquire of the porter how he was to recognise the Earl of
Richmond, to whom he brought letters and money from the Princess
Elizabeth.

    "He weareth a gown of velvet black,
      And it is cutted above the knee,
    With a long visage and pale and black—
      Thereby know that Prince may ye:
    A wart he hath (the porter said),
      A little alsoe above the chinn,
    His face is white, his wart is redd,
      No more than the head of a small pinn."


King Henry VII. married—

Elizabeth, eldest daughter of Edward IV. [See next section.]


                          II.  HOUSE OF YORK.

RICHARD Duke of York, only son of Richard of Conisborough, Earl of
Cambridge, and Anne Mortimer: born Sept. 21st, 1410 (Inquisition) 1412
(Patent Roll): created Duke of York 1425: killed, battle of Wakefield,
Dec. 30th, 1460: buried first at Pomfret, and afterwards at Fotheringay.
The only known portrait of this Prince is in the "Neville window" of
Penrith Church: it exhibits him as fair-complexioned and rather
good-looking, wearing a moustache and a small pointed beard.  He
married—

CICELY, fourth daughter of Ralph Neville, first Earl of Westmoreland,
and his second wife Joan Beaufort: surnamed _Proud Cis_, and _The Rose
of Raby_: born probably at Raby, date unknown, about 1418: married about
1437: died at Berkhamsted Castle, May 31st, 1495: buried at Fotheringay.
In the coffin of the Duchess, tied round her neck with a silver ribbon,
was found "a pardon from Rome, which, penned in a very fine Roman hand,
was as fair and fresh to be read as if it had been written but
yesterday."  Cicely’s portrait will be found with that of her husband in
the church at Penrith: she also is fair and handsome, her face
suggesting more embonpoint than his, and the expression not quite free
from that haughtiness which might be expected from her character.


                             THEIR ISSUE:—

1. Henry, born about 1438, godson of Henry VI.; died young.

2. ANNE, born about 1439: married, (1) probably in childhood, Henry de
Holand, Duke of Exeter, from whom she was divorced at her own suit, Nov.
12th, 1472: (2) after the death of her elder daughter, and while he was
still a squire (Inquisition), namely, after Feb. 3rd, 1474 (Patent
Roll), Thomas St. Leger, afterwards (before Nov. 28th, 1475) knighted,
and made Master of the Hounds (Patent Roll; Harl. MS. 433): died at
birth of younger daughter, Jan. 12th, or 14th, 1476 (Inquisition):
buried in St. George’s Chapel, Windsor, with second husband, who
survived her for at least five years.  Portrait, in Sandford’s
Genealogical History of Kings of England, is not suggestive of beauty.

3. EDWARD IV., surnamed _The Rose of Rouen_: born at Rouen, Apr. 29th,
1441; died at Westminster Palace, Apr. 9th, 1483; buried St. George’s
Chapel, Windsor.  News of his death was received at York on the 7th,
from which it has been inferred that the date given by all writers, the
ninth, is a mistake; but the report might be premature.  He married—

ELIZABETH, eldest daughter of Richard Widville, Earl Rivers, and
Jaquette de St. Pol: born at Grafton Regis, probably about 1438:
[married (1) about 1452, John Grey, 2nd Lord Grey of Groby]: married (2)
at Grafton Regis, May 1st, 1464; died at Bermondsey Abbey, June 7th,
1492; buried in St. George’s Chapel, Windsor, on Whit Sunday.

4. Edmund, Earl of Rutland, born at Rouen, May 17th, 1443; murdered by
Lord Clifford, after battle of Wakefield, Dec. 31st, 1460; buried first
at Pomfret, afterwards Fotheringay.

5. William, died young.

6. John, died young.

7. Humphrey, died young.

8. Elizabeth, married, in or before 1463, John de La Pole, Duke of
Suffolk: died 1503.

9. GEORGE, born at Dublin, probably 1450; created Duke of Clarence,
1461, Earl of Warwick and Salisbury, Mar. 25th, 1473: died in the Tower
of London, Feb. 18th, 1478: buried in Tewkesbury Abbey.  Married—

ISABEL, elder daughter of Richard Neville, Earl of Salisbury and (by
courtesy) of Warwick, and Anne Beauchamp, Countess of Warwick: born at
Warwick Castle, Sept. 5th, 1451; married in Lady Church, Calais, July
11th, 1469: died at Warwick Castle, Dec. 16th, or 22nd, 1476; buried in
Tewkesbury Abbey.

10. Thomas, born 1451; died young.

11. RICHARD III., born at Fotheringay, Oct. 2nd, 1452, and as is said,
with hair and teeth fully grown: surnamed _Crookback_: created Duke of
Gloucester, 1461: killed on Bosworth Field, Aug. 22nd, 1485; buried at
Leicester.  He had dark auburn hair, and dark blue eyes. Married—

ANNE, widow of Edward Prince of Wales [see last section]: married (by
force, against her own consent) in Westminster Abbey, after Feb. 17th,
1472 (Paston Letters) and before May 9th, 1474. (Patent Roll.) Miss
Strickland’s suggested date, Mar. 30th, 1473, is probably about the true
one.  Portrait in Rous Roll; another engraved in Strickland’s _Lives of
the Queens_.

12. Margaret, born 1453; married, at Damme, in Flanders, July 3rd, 1468,
Charles the Bold, Duke of Burgundy: died at Malines, Nov. 28th, 1503:
buried at Malines.  Portrait engraved in Paston Letters.

13. Ursula, died young.


              ISSUE OF EDWARD IV. AND ELIZABETH WIDVILLE:—

1. Elizabeth, born at Westminster, Feb. 11th, 1466: married to King
Henry VII., Jan. 18th, 1486: died in the Tower, Feb. 11th, 1503: buried
at Westminster.  Portrait engraved in Strickland’s _Queens_.

2. Mary, born at Windsor, Aug. 14th, 1466; affianced, 1481, to Frederic
I., King of Denmark; died unmarried, at Greenwich, May 23rd, 1483:
buried at Windsor.  Her coffin was opened in 1817, when her corpse was
found in perfect preservation; the hair of "exquisite pale gold," the
eyes "a beautiful blue, unclosed and bright."

3. Cicely, born 1469: affianced, Dec. 26th, 1474, to James IV. King of
Scotland (broken off): married (1) at Court, before Dec. 1487, John
Viscount Welles; (2) without royal licence, between Feb. 1503 and Jan.
1504, Thomas Kyme: died at Quarr Abbey, Isle of Wight, Aug. 24th, 1507:
buried at Quarr.

4. EDWARD V., born in the Sanctuary, Westminster, Nov. 4th, 1470:
baptized in Westminster Abbey; created Prince of Wales, July 1st, 1471;
knighted Apr. 18th, 1475: murdered in Tower of London, after July 6th
[exact day much disputed], 1483.  Supposed to have been buried in Tower,
and afterwards removed to Westminster Abbey.

5. Margaret, born Apr. 10th, and died Dec. 11th, 1472: buried in
Westminster Abbey.

6. Richard, born at Shrewsbury, May 28th, 1474, and created Duke of
York, same day: knighted Apr. 18th, 1475: Earl of Nottingham, Earl
Marshal, Jan. 12th, 1477; Duke of Norfolk, Feb. 6th, 1477: died and
buried with eldest brother.  (There seems to be very little doubt that
this is the truth, and that Perkin Warbeck was an impostor.  It is,
however, not improbable that he was an illegitimate son of Edward IV.)
Richard Duke of York married—

Anne, only child and heir of John Mowbray, fifth and (of his family)
last Duke of Norfolk, and Elizabeth Talbot: born Dec. 10th, 1472,
probably at Framlingham: married in St. Stephen’s Chapel, Westminster,
Jan. 15th, 1477: died young, before her husband: buried at Westminster.

7. Anne, born at Westminster, Nov. 2nd, 1475: married Feb. 4th, 1495,
Thomas Howard, second Duke of Norfolk: died between Nov. 22nd, 1510, and
Feb. 1512: buried at Framlingham.

8. George, Duke of Bedford: born at Windsor, probably in 1477: died
young, before 1482: buried at Windsor.

9. Katherine, born at Eltham, about Aug. or Sept., 1479: married at
Court, before Oct. 1495, William Courtenay, Earl of Devon: vowed
widowhood, July 13th, 1511: died at Tiverton, Nov. 15th, 1527; buried at
Tiverton.

10. Bridget, born at Eltham, Nov. 10th, 1480: nun at Dartford, 1486-92:
died at Dartford, 1517: buried at Dartford.

(_By Elizabeth Lucy_, Edward IV. had two children—

1. Arthur Plantagenet, Viscount Lisle, born at Lille, 1462 and died in
the Tower, Mar. 3rd, 1542, leaving female issue: 2. Elizabeth, married
to Thomas Lumley, son of George, second Lord Lumley, whom he
predeceased; left issue.)


                   ISSUE OF GEORGE DUKE OF CLARENCE:—

1. Child, born at sea, off Calais, Apr. 1470: died at birth; buried at
Calais.

2. Margaret, born at Farley Castle, Aug. 14th, 1473: married at Court,
before 1494, Sir Richard Pole: created Countess of Salisbury (or rather
formally recognised as such by inheritance) Oct. 14th, 1513: beheaded on
Tower Hill, May 27th, 1541: buried in the Tower. Left issue.

3. Edward, Earl of Warwick: born at Warwick Castle, Feb. 21st, 1475:
beheaded on Tower Hill, Nov. 28th, 1499: buried at Bisham.

4. Richard, born at Tewkesbury Abbey, Oct. 6th, 1476: died at Warwick
Castle, Jan. 1st, 1477: buried at Warwick.


                    ISSUE OF RICHARD III. AND ANNE:—

Edward, born at Middleham Castle, 1476 (Rous Roll): created Earl of
Salisbury 1477; Prince of Wales, Aug. 24th, 1483: knighted Sept. 8th,
1483: died at Middleham, "an unhappy death," Mar. 31st, 1484: buried at
Middleham.


                       III.  DE HOLAND OF EXETER.

John de Holand, second son (but eventual heir) of John, first Duke of
Exeter, and Elizabeth of Lancaster (sister of Henry IV.): born Mar.
29th, 1396 (Inquisition): created Duke of Exeter, in consequence of his
father’s attainder, 1443: beheaded on Goodwin Sands, Aug. 5th, 1447;
buried in Church of St. Catherine by the Tower, London. Inventor of the
rack,[#] long called "the Duke of Exeter’s daughter."  Married—


[#] I am anxious to correct here a mistake into which I fell in a note
to the early editions of _Lettice Eden_, where it is suggested that the
Duke of Exeter who invented the rack might have been Henry himself. The
testimony of dates made that appear probable which I have now
ascertained was certainly not the case: and the characters of the two
Dukes were less known to me at that time.


(A) Anne, daughter of Edmund Earl of Stafford and Princess Anne of
Gloucester: widow of Edmund Mortimer, last Earl of March: married 1439:
died Sept. 20th or 24th, 1433 (Inquisition): buried in Church of St.
Katherine by the Tower.

(B) Briatiz, natural daughter of D. Joam I., King of Portugal, and widow
of Thomas 13th Earl of Arundel: marriage licence dated Jan. 20th, 1433
(Patent Roll): died Oct. 23rd, 1439: buried at Arundel.

(C) Anne, daughter of John de Montacute, third Earl of Salisbury, and
Maud Francis: widow of (1) Sir Richard Hankford, and (2) Sir John
Fitzlewes: died Nov. 28th, 1457 (Inquisition): buried in Church of St.
Katherine by the Tower.  There are certain items of bequest, and
peculiarities of expression, by which Lollardism may always be detected
in the last will of any person: and the testament of Anne Montacute
bears a decidedly Lollard tone, as beseemed her martyred father’s
daughter.


                    His ISSUE.  By _Anne Stafford_:—

1. HENRY, third and last Duke of Exeter: born in the Tower, June 27th,
1430, and baptized same day in St. Stephen’s Chapel, Westminster, his
sponsors being King Henry VI., Cardinal Beaufort, and his grandmother,
Princess Anne, Countess of Stafford (Prob. Æt. 36 Hen. VI. 43): drowned,
in sea between Dover and Calais, body cast ashore at Dover, date
unknown, authorities differing greatly: some give 1473, some 1474, some
1475.  He was very likely buried at Dover. No portrait known.  He
married—

ANNE, eldest sister of Edward IV.  [See first section.]

2. (_By Anne Montacute_.)  Anne, born 1440-1, married (1) in infancy,
before Feb. 5th, 1442 (_Patent Roll_) John, Lord Neville of Raby: he
died while she was still a child, 1451, and she married (2) by Papal
dispensation, about 1456, his uncle, Sir John Neville: (3) 1473, James,
9th and last Earl Douglas: date of death unknown: buried in Black
Friars’ Church, London.


                    ISSUE OF HENRY DUKE OF EXETER:—

ANNE, probably born about 1455: married Thomas Grey of Groby, son of
John Lord Grey and Queen Elizabeth Widville.  Miss Strickland says that
the marriage took place at Greenwich, in October, 1466, but gives no
authority.  There may have been a formal betrothal at that date, but the
exact date of the marriage is extremely doubtful. On the one hand, the
royal assent to the marriage-settlements, which in all ordinary cases
preceded the marriage, is dated Jan. 4th, 1473 (Patent Roll, 12 Edw.
IV., Part 2): yet mention is therein made of Anne as the wife of Thomas
Grey, which would seem to indicate that the ceremony had already taken
place.  If Thomas Grey were really created Earl of Huntingdon on the 4th
of August, 1471, the fact would imply a strong probability that he was
then married to Anne, or at least on the immediate eve of marriage.
Lady Anne Grey was dead on July 18th, 1474, when negotiations were
entered into for the second marriage of her husband (Patent Roll, 12
Edw. IV., Part 2).  Portrait and place of burial unknown; character
imaginary.


                        IV. NEVILLE OF WARWICK.

Richard Neville, eldest son of Ralph, first Earl of Westmoreland, and
his second wife Joan Beaufort: born 1400, created Earl of Salisbury,
Feb. 1st, 1439: beheaded at Pomfret, Christmas, 1462: buried at Bisham,
Feb. 15th, 1463.  Married—

Alesia, eldest daughter and heir of Thomas de Montacute, fourth Earl of
Salisbury, and Alianora de Holand: born 1407, married in or before 1439;
died 1463, buried at Bisham Feb. 15th.


                             THEIR ISSUE:—

1. Joan, married William Earl of Arundel after Aug. 17th, 1438, when his
marriage was granted to her father (Patent Roll), and before May 10th,
1459.

2. Cicely, married, 1434, Henry Beauchamp, Duke of Warwick: died July
28th, 1450.  (Dugdale says that she married, secondly, 1448-9, John
Tiptoft, Earl of Worcester: but this is doubtful.)

3. RICHARD, Earl of Warwick, surnamed the _King-Maker_; killed at
Barnet, Easter Sunday, Apr. 14th, 1471; buried at Bisham.  Married—

ANNE, daughter and eventual heir of Richard Beauchamp, Earl of Warwick,
and his second wife Isabel Baroness Le Despenser: born at Caversham,
July 13th, 1429: married 1434: died between 1490 and Michaelmas 1493.

4. Thomas, killed at Wakefield, and buried at Bisham Feb. 15th, 1463.
Married (but left no issue),

Maud, daughter and heir of Richard Stanhope, knight: married after May
10th, 1459; died Aug. 30th, 1497: buried at Tateshale.

5. JOHN, born before May 14th, 1431 (Patent Roll), created Earl of
Northumberland on defection of the Percys, and on resigning that title,
Marquis of Montague, Mar. 25th, 1470: killed at Barnet, Apr. 14th, 1471:
buried at Bisham. Married—

Isabel, daughter and heir of Sir Edmund Ingoldesthorp: married before
July 19th, 1459 (Close Roll): [re-married Sir William Norris of
Yattenden]: died 1477, and buried at Bisham.

6. GEORGE, Bishop of Exeter Nov. 25th, 1455. Lord Chancellor, 1460;
Archbishop of York consecrated June 17th, 1465: died 1476.

7. Alesia, married, Henry Lord Fitzhugh: living June 1st, 1475 (Patent
Roll).

8. Eleanor, married about 1459, Thomas Stanley, first Earl of Derby:
buried in Church of St. James, Garlick-hithe.

9. Ralph, died young.

10. Katherine, married (1) after May 10th, 1459, William Lord Bonvile
(2) before July 18th, 1461 (Patent Roll) William Lord Hastings: died in
or after 1503: buried at Ashby-de-la-Zouche. She was mother of Cicely
Bonvile, second wife of Thomas Grey, Marquis of Dorset.

11. Robert, died young.

12. Margaret, married after 1458, John de Vere, thirteenth Earl of
Oxford: died after 1486; buried at Earl’s Colne.


                   ISSUE OF RICHARD EARL OF WARWICK:—

1. ISABEL, Duchess of Clarence [see second section],

2. ANNE, Princess of Wales and Queen [see second section].


                    ISSUE OF JOHN MARQUIS MONTAGUE:—

1. George, created Duke of Bedford, Jan. 5th, 1470, and affianced to
Princess Elizabeth: died minor, May 4th, 1483: buried at Sheriff Hutton.

2. John, probably died young, and buried at Salston.

3. Anne, married (1) Sir William Stonor (2) ... Fortescue: dead, Nov.
14th, 1494 (Inquisition).

4. Elizabeth, married (1) Thomas Lord Scrope of Masham (2) Sir Henry
Wentworth: died Sept. 20th, 1517: buried Black Friars’ Church, London.

5. Margaret, married (1) before Nov. 14th, 1494 (Inquisition) Sir John
Mortimer, (2) Robert Downes, (3) in or before 1507, Charles Brandon Duke
of Suffolk: died Jan. 21st, 1528 (Inquisition).

6. Lucy, married (1) before Nov. 14th, 1494 (Inquisition) Sir Thomas
Fitzwilliam, (2) Sir Anthony Browne; died at Bagshot, Mar. 25th, 1533,
buried at Bisham, 31st. (Harl. MS. 897, fol. 76.)

7. Isabel, aged 23, Nov. 14th, 1494 (Inquisition): married, (1) Ranulph
Dacre (2) before Nov 14th, 1494, William Huddlestone, Esq., (3) Sir
William Smith: died in or before 1516-7.


                      V. EXPENDITURE OF EDWARD IV.

Only three of this King’s Issue Rolls are extant for the period covered
by the story—for the Easter and Michaelmas terms of 1469, and for the
Easter term of 1471.  They are unpublished, and a few of the more
remarkable items can scarcely fail to be interesting.

For the Easter term (March to September) of 1469, the personal expenses
of the King were—for wardrobe (purchase of silk, cloth, &c.), £1231 16s.
3-1/2d.: and for jewels, £744 13s. 4d.: those of the Queen, £209 7s.: of
the "Lady Princess" (though her "diet" and that of the chaplains is
reckoned together,) £100.  The expenses, board, and safekeeping of Henry
VI. are set down at £146 13s. 4d. The keep of four lions, two in Spain,
and two in the Tower, costs £10.  £33 6s. 8d., divided among three
Orders of Friars, suffices for the royal alms.

The account for the Michaelmas term contains less worth noting.  We are,
however, there told that the annual allowance to the Queen, "considering
the great expense of Elizabeth and Mary our daughters," was £400.  There
are entries of £33 6s. 8d. for "the diet and custody of Henry Beauford
in the Tower"—namely, the Duke of Somerset—and of £13 3s. 6d. for the
clothing of Henry Percy, also a prisoner in the Tower.

But never was a state paper penned of deeper interest than the one Roll
extant for 1471—for those six months which included the battles of
Barnet and Tewkesbury, the murders of King Henry and his son, the
massacre (for it can be called by no lighter term) of the Lancastrian
nobles, and the imprisonment of Queen Marguerite and the young Princess
of Wales.  The business-like entry on May 16th,—"To the Lord King, in
his chamber, at Tewkesbury, fifty shillings"—strikes the reader with
something like a shudder, from the fearful contrast between the scenes
that were passing at Tewkesbury and that fifty shillings squandered on
some frivolous pleasure.  The items of expenditure run as follows:—

    Expenses of the Queen (one item
    including "the victualling of
    the Tower")  . . . . . . . . . . . . . .    £177 18s. 3 1/2d.
    Plate, gold and silver . . . . . . . . .     223 15s. 4d.
    Jewellery and goldsmiths' work . . . . .      55  1s. 9d.
    Wardrobe . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .    1905 14s. 6d.
    Armour . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .       5  3s. 4d.
    Horse, a Spanish jennet  . . . . . . . .      10  0s. 0d.
    Travelling expenses  . . . . . . . . . .       9 19s. 0d.
    Wine . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .     197 13s. 0d.
    Paid to Florentine merchants . . . . . .    6266 13s. 4d.
    Household expenses . . . . . . . . . . .  26,536  9s. 0d.
    Expenses of the King's chamber
    (gifts, trinkets, bets, and all
    sundries)  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .    9456 10s.
    Divine service . . . . . . . . . . . . .      40
    Alms and oblations . . . . . . . . . . .       4  6s. 8d.

    Total  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  44,885 14s. 6 1/2d.


There is a further entry of £135, paid for various articles, of which
jewels and medicine are alone indicated; and also of £180 paid to Henry
Lord Grey, to discharge all the King’s debts to him.

These are simply the private expenses, no military nor state charges
being quoted, except in the one instance where the victualling of the
Tower and the Queen’s expenses are entered together at £124 10s., and it
is impossible to say what proportion of the sum referred to either.  The
list speaks for itself.


                        VI. FICTITIOUS PERSONS.

Those introduced in this story are the members of the Marnell and Carew
families, the waiting-women of the Countess of Warwick and Duchess of
Exeter (Mistress Grisacres excepted), and the relatives of John Goose,
who is himself a real person: Father Alcock, Master Rotherham, and the
Banasters. The name and office of John Combe are historical. The
character ascribed to the Duke of Exeter is historical in all but its
religious aspect, where it is probable only: that sketched for his
daughter is entirely fictitious.  That of Sir Thomas St. Leger rests
also to some extent on probabilities.  All other historical persons are
drawn from life.

The names of such individuals as figure in the story are printed in
small capitals in the Appendix to assist identification.  Where
authorities are given within brackets for dates, either the dates are
(to my knowledge) hitherto unpublished, or they are corrections from
first-class authorities of incorrect dates usually given.


                      VII. THE OATH OF SUBMISSION.

It may interest some readers to see the exact terms of the oath taken on
a man’s return to his allegiance, as recorded upon the Close Roll for
1469.

"Sovereign Lord, I, Herry Percy, becom your subgette and liegeman, and
promyt to God and you that hereafter of faith and trouth shall bear to
you, as to my sovereign liege lord, and to your heirs, Kings of England,
of life and limb and of erthlye worship, for to live and die ayenst all
earthly people; and to you and to your commandments I shall be obeisant,
as God me help and his holy evangelists."

For a man to swear this unconditional oath was styled "putting himself
in the King’s mercy."


                 VIII.  THOMAS GREY, MARQUIS OF DORSET.

While these pages were passing through the press, I discovered an entry
on the first part of the Patent Roll for 1 Ric. III., which, if one
quarter of its statements be true, shows Dorset to have been one of the
vilest men that ever walked the earth. One offence in particular, of
which all the chroniclers accuse Lord Hastings (a most unlikely man), is
there distinctly charged upon Dorset, while Hastings is not even
mentioned in connection with the subject. The pardon issued on the
coronation of Richard III. excepted Dorset on the ground of his
disgraceful character.



           *      *      *      *      *      *      *      *



                       *Stories of English Life.*

                          *BY EMILY S. HOLT.*


    A.D. 597

    I. Imogen:
    A TALE OF THE EARLY BRITISH CHURCH.


    A.D. 1066

    II. Behind the Veil:
    A STORY OF THE NORMAN CONQUEST.


    A.D. 1159

    III. One Snowy Night;
    OR, LONG AGO AT OXFORD.


    A.D. 1189

    IV. Lady Sybil's Choice:
    A TALE OF THE CRUSADES.


    A.D. 1214

    V. Earl Hubert's Daughter;
    OR, THE POLISHING OF THE PEARL.


    A.D. 1325

    VI. In all Time of our Tribulation:
    THE STORY OF PIERS GAVESTONE.


    A.D. 1350

    VII. The White Lady of Hazelwood:
    THE WARRIOR COUNTESS OF MONTFORT.


    A.D. 1352

    VIII. Countess Maud;
    OR, THE CHANGES OF THE WORLD.


    A.D. 1360

    IX. In Convent Walls:
    THE STORY OF THE DESPENSERS.


    A.D. 1377

    X. John De Wycliffe,
    AND WHAT HE DID FOR ENGLAND.


    A.D. 1384

    XI. The Lord Mayor:
    A TALK OF LONDON IN 1384.


    A.D. 1390

    XII. Under One Sceptre:
    THE STORY OF THE LORD OF THE MARCHES


    A.D. 1400

    XIII. The White Rose of Langley;
    OR, THE STORY OF CONSTANCE LE DESPENSER.


    A.D. 1400

    XIV. Mistress Margery:
    A TALE OF THE LOLLARDS.


    A.D. 1400

    XV. Margery's Son;
    OR, UNTIL HE FIND IT.


    A.D. 1470

    XVI. Red and White;
    OR, THE WARS OF THE ROSES.


    A.D. 1480

    XVII. The Tangled Web:
    A TALE OF THE FIFTEENTH CENTURY.


    A.D. 1515

    XVIII. The Harvest of Yesterday:
    A TALE OF THE SIXTEENTH CENTURY.


    A.D. 1530

    XIX. Lettice Eden;
    OR, THE LAMPS OF EARTH AND THE LIGHTS OF HEAVEN.


    A.D. 1535

    XX. Isoult Barry of Wynscote:
    A TALE OF TUDOR TIMES.


    A.D. 1544

    XXI. Through the Storm;
    OR, THE LORD'S PRISONERS.


    A.D. 1555

    XXII. Robin Tremayne:
    A TALE OF THE MARIAN PERSECUTION.


    A.D. 1556

    XXIII. All's Well;
    OR, ALICE'S VICTORY.


    A.D. 1556

    XXIV. The King's Daughters.
    HOW TWO GIRLS KEPT THE FAITH.


    A.D. 1569

    XXV. Sister Rose;
    OR, THE EVE OF ST. BARTHOLOMEW.


    A.D. 1579

    XXVI. Joyce Morrell's Harvest:
    A STORY OF THE REIGN OF ELIZABETH.


    A.D. 1588

    XXVII. Clare Avery:
    A STORY OF THE SPANISH ARMADA.


    A.D. 1605

    XXVIII. It Might Have Been:
    THE STORY OF GUNPOWDER PLOT.


    A.D. 1635

    XXIX. Minster Lovel:
    A STORY OF THE DAYS OF LAUD.


    A.D. 1662

    XXX. Wearyholme;
    A STORY OF THE RESTORATION.


    A.D. 1712

    XXXI. The Maiden's Lodge;
    OR, THE DAYS OF QUEEN ANNE.


    A.D. 1745

    XXXII. Out in the Forty−five;
    OR, DUNCAN KEITH'S VOW.


    A.D. 1750

    XXXIII. Ashcliffe Hall:
    A TALE OF THE LAST CENTURY.


    XXXIV.  A.D. 1556

            For the Master's Sake;
            OR, THE DAYS OF QUEEN MARY.


            A.D. 1345

            The Well in the Desert.
            AN OLD LEGEND.


    XXXV.   A.D. 1559

            All for the Best;
            OR, BERNARD GILPIN'S MOTTO.


            A.D. 1560

            At the Grene Griffin:
            A TALE OF THE SIXTEENTH CENTURY.


    XXXVI.  A.D. 1270

            Our Little Lady;
            OR, SIX HUNDRED YEARS AGO

            A.D. 1652

            Gold that Glitters;
            OR, THE MISTAKES OF JENNY LAVENDER.


    XXXVII.  A.D. 1290

             A Forgotten Hero:
             THE STORY OF ROGER DE MORTIMER.

             A.D. 1266

             Princess Adelaide:
             A STORY OF THE SIEGE OF KENILWORTH.


    XXXVIII.  1ST CENTURY.

              The Slave Girl of Pompeii.


              2ND CENTURY.

              The Way of the Cross.
              TALES OF THE EARLY CHURCH


    A.D. 870 to 1580

    XXXIX. Lights in the Darkness:
    BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES.


    A.D. 1873

    XL. Verena.
    SAFE PATHS AND SLIPPERY BYE−WAYS.
    A Story of To−day.



                     LONDON: JOHN F. SHAW AND CO.,

                          48 PATERNOSTER ROW.





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