« ZurückWeiter »
sweethearte?' quoth the king. Forsothe,' quoth she, there is not a man within all your realme, worth five pounds, but he hath indebted you to him:' (meaning a loane which the king had of his subjects) 'Well,' quoth the king, as for that, there was in him no blame; for I know that matter better than you, or any other.' Nay Sir,' quoth she, besides that, what things hath he wrought within this realme to your great slander? There is never a nobleman, but if he had done half so much as he hath done, he were well worthy to lose his heade. Yea, if my lorde of Norfolke, my lord of Suffolke, my lord my father, or any other nobleman within your realme, had done much lesse than he hath done, they should have lost their heades ere this.'
"Then I perceive,' quoth the king, you are not the cardinall's friende !' Why sir,' saith she, 'I have no cause, nor any that loveth you: no more have your grace, if ye consider well his doings.' By that time the waiters toke up the table, and so ended their communication."
After another long consultation, protracted till a late hour of the night, the cardinal left the king, and Cavendish was compelled to go and seek him a lodging, which he found about three miles off. He was appointed to meet the king next morning, and continue their deliberations: but mistress Anne Bullaine, it seems, had been too successful in the interim, and when my lord cardinal arrived at Grafton next morning, he found the king ready to ride, who bid him return again with the other cardinal, "but the king departed amyably with him in the sight of all men."
The King and Mrs. Anne rode out to a place, where Cavendish says, she had provided a dinner for him, " fearing his returne, ere the Cardinalls were gone;" while the Cardinal Campeggio proceeded on his way to Rome, not, however, without having a special messenger sent after him, to search his baggage," as it was reported to the King by the counsell, that cardinal Campeigne was departed, and carried with him great treasures of my Lord Cardinall's of England, to be conveied in great sommes to Rome, whither they surmised he would secretly repaire."
At length the die was cast-when, in the Michaelmas term following, Wolsey began to discharge his duty of Chancellor, he was visited by the dukes of Suffolk and Norfolk, who came to demand the Great Seal, which, after "much debate and many great and heinous words, all which he took in patience," was delivered up in a second interview.
In this decline of his fortunes, Wolsey appears to have acted with consummate policy and thorough knowledge of the King's temper. He was aware that resistance was always fuel to his passion; and also, that a greedy desire of wealth was very frequently a strong secondary cause, which confirmed and
inflamed his previously conceived disgusts. During the whole of the time when Wolsey's disgrace was doubtful, or his recal probable, he submitted with the utmost patience and devotedness to the pleasure of the King; and now, that the first decided step in his dishonour was taken, he instantly proceeded to amass his wealth, and present it to the King, with words the most soothing in the ears of a tyrant, which confessed himself but as the creature of his monarch's pleasure, and incapable of possessions independent of his will. Thus he contrived for a time to stay the fury of Henry's displeasure, who was never before or after, as now, slow to anger. Never did this bold, bad man, then, indeed, only commencing the most brutal part of his reign, experience so many relapses and relentings-never did he cast back so many lingering looks at a fallen favorite, or remain so long deaf to the suggestions of enmity, whispered in the hour of amorous dalliance, as in his final separation from the counsels of his faithful Wolsey.
The Cardinal had no sooner surrendered the Seal, than he set about taking an inventory of his property, for the purpose already mentioned; and so gorgeous is the description of his wealth, and so illustrative of the interior economy of a nobleman's house of those times, that we cannot omit it.
"Then went my lord cardinall, and called his officers before him, and toke account of them for all suche stuffe and things whereof they had charge. And in his gallery were set divers tables, whereupon lay a great number of goodly riche stuffes; as whole pieces of silke of all coulores, velvet, satten, damask, tufted taffeta, grograine, sarcenet, and other things, now not in remembrance; also there lay on these tables a thousand pieces of fine holland clothe, whereof as he reported after, there was five hundred of the said pieces of clothe stolne, and conveied away from the king and him; yet there was laide upon every table, bokes, made in manner of inventories, reporting the number and contents of the same. And even so there were bokes made in manner of inventories of all things here after rehearsed, wherein he toke great paines to set all things in order against the king's comming. Also he hanged all the walls of the gallery on the one side, with clothe of golde, clothe of tyssewe, clothe of silver, and with riche clothe of bodkin, of divers colours. Also on the other side were hanged the richest suite of copes of his owne provision (made for his colledges of Oxenforde and Ipswiche) that ever I sawe in Englande. Then had he two chambers adjoyning to the gallery, the one called most commonly the gilt chamber, and the other the counsell chamber, wherein were set up two broade and long tables, upon tressles, whereupon was set suche a number of plate of all sortes, as was almost incredible. In the gilt chamber were set out upon the table nothing but gilt plate; and upon a cupboarde and in a windowe was set no plate, but all gold very riche. And in the counsell chamber was all white and parcell gilt plate; and under the table in baskets was all
olde broken silver plate, not esteemed worthy to be occupied as plate, but as broken silver; and bokes set bye them, purporting every kinde of plate, and every parcell, with the content of the ounces thereof. Thus was all things furnished and prepared, giving the charge of all the saide stuffe, with all other things remaining in every office, to be delivered to the king, as well unto diverse persons, in whom he put his trust, as to one in especiall of his officers, in every office of his house, to make aunswer to their charge, charged in their indenture of the parcells; for the order was suche, that every officer was charged with the receipt of the stuffe belonging to their office by indenture.'
He then determines to retreat to his house at Esher.
"Then all things being ordered as it is before rehearsed, my lord prepared him to departe by water. And before his going, Sir William Gascoigne, being his treasurer, came unto him, to whom he gave, among other, the charge of the delivery of the saide goods, to be delivered unto the king, who saide unto the cardinall, then being his lord and master, Sir,' quoth he, I am sorry for your grace, for ye shall go straightway to the Tower, as I heard say.' 'Is this the goode counsell and comforte,' quoth my lord cardinall unto him, that you can give your master in adversity? It hath alwaies been your naturall inclination to be very lighte of credite; and much more lighter of reporting lies. I would you should knowe, Sir William, and all these reporters, that it is untrue; for I never deserved to come there, although it hath pleased the king to take my house ready furnished for his pleasure at this time. I would all the world knewe that I have nothing, but it is his of right; for by him, and of him, I have received all that I have; therefore it is of convenience and reason, that I render unto his majesty the same againe, with all my harte. Therefore goe your waies, and attend well to your charge.' And therewithall he made him ready to ride: and then with his traine of gentlemen and yeomen, whiche was no small number, he toke his barge at his privy staires, and so went by water unto Putney. At the taking whereof, there was walking up and downe on the Thames, boates filled with people of London, expecting the cardinall's departing by water, supposing that he should have gone to the Tower, whereat they joyed very much."
He had not gone far from Putney on his mule, when
"Riding not paste a paire of butt lengths, he espied a gentleman come riding in poste downe the hill, in the towne of Putney, and demanding of his gentlemen aboute him, what he was, that came riding downe so faste, Forsoothe sir,' quoth they, it is Mr. Norris, as it seemeth to us.' And by and by he came to my lord saluting him, and sayd, Sir, the king's majesty commendeth him unto you, and commaunded me to shewe you, that you be as muche in his favor as ever you were, and so shall be. Therefore he would that you should be of good cheere, and take no thought, for ye shall not lacke. And
although he hath done thus unkindly towards you, it is more for the satisfying of some, than for any indignation: and yet you knowe well, he is able to recompence you againe, and to restore you twise so much; and thus he bad me, that I should shewe you, and willed me to bid you to take all this matter in patience. And sir, for my parte, I trust to see you in better estate, than ever you were.' But when he had heard Mr. Norris reporte the good and comfortable words of the king, he quickly lighted off his mule, all alone, as thoughe he had bine the youngest amongst us, and incontinent kneeled downe in the dirte upon bothe his knees, holding up his hands for joye of the king's most comfortable message. Mr. Norris alighted also, espying him so sone upon his knees, and kneeled by him, and toke him in his armes, and asked howe he did, calling upon him to credite his message. 'Mr. Norris,' quoth he, when I consider the joyfull newes that yee have brought to me, I could doe no lesse than greatly rejoice. Your wordes pierced my harte, that the sodain joye, surmounted my memory, having no regarde or respecte to the place, but I thought it my duty, in the same place where I received this comforte, to laude and praise God upon my knees, and most humbly to render to my soveraigne lorde my harty thanks for the same.'
"And as he was thus talking upon his knees to Mr. Norris, he would have pulled off a velvet night cap, which he wore under his black hat, and scarlet cap; but he could not undoe the knot under his chin: wherefore with violence he rent the laces of his cap, and pulled his said cap from his head, and kneeled bare headed. And this done, he rose up and mounted upon his mule, and so rode forthe up the high waye in the towne, talking with Mr. Norris. And when he came unto Putney Heathe, where Mr. Norris should departe from him, Mr. Norris gave him a ring of gold with a stone, and sayd unto him, that the king sent him the same for token of good will, which ringe,' quothe he, the king saithe you knowe very well.' It was the privy token between the king and him, when the king would have any especiall thing sped at his hands. Then saide he to Mr. Norris, If I were Lorde of a realme, the one halfe were too small a rewarde to give you for your paines, and good newes. But, good Mr. Norris, consider with me, that I have nothinge lefte me but my clothes upon my backe. Therefore I shall desire you to take this small rewarde at my hands;' the which was a little chaine of gold, made like a bottle chaine, with a crosse of gold, wherein was a piece of the Holy Crosse, which he continually ware about his necke next his body; and saide furthermore, Master Norris, I assure you, when I was in prosperity, although it seme but small in value, yet I would not gladly have departed with the same for a thousand poundes. Therefore I shall require you to take it in good worthe, and to weare it about your necke continually for my sake, and to remember me to the king when ye shall see opportunity, unto whose Highness I shall most instantly require you, to have me most humbly commended; for whose charitable disposition to me, I can but pray for the preservation of his royall estate. I am his obedient subject, his poore chaplaine, and beadman, and so will be during my life, accompting myselfe nothinge, nor to
have any thinge, but only of him and by him, whome I have justly and truely served, to the beste of my grosse wit.' And with that he toke Master Norris by the hand bareheaded, and so departed. And when he was gone but a small distance, he returned againe, and caused Mr. Norris to be called to him. When Master rris was returned, he said unto him, I am sorry,' quothe he, that I have no token to send to the king. But if you will at my request present the king, with this poore Foole, I trust he will accept him, for he is, for a nobleman's pleasure, forsoothe, worthe a thousand poundes.'
"So Master Norris toke the Foole; with whom my Lorde was faine to send sixe of his tallest yeomen, to helpe him to convaie the Foole to the courte; for the poore Foole toke on like a tyrant, rather than he would have departed from my Lord. Notwithstanding they convaied him away, and so brought him to the courte, where the king received him very gladly. After departure of Master Norris with his token to the kinge, my Lorde rode straight to Ashur, which is an house belonging to the Bishopricke of Winchester, situate in the county of Surry, nor farre from Hampton Courte, where my Lord and his family continued the space of three or fowre weeks, without either beds, sheets, table clothes, or dishes, to eat their meete in, or wherewith to buy any. Howbeit, there was good provision of all kind of victualls and of drinke, as bere and wine, whereof there was sufficient and plenty enough. My Lord was compelled of necessity to borrowe of Mr. Arundell, and of the Bishop of Carlile, plate and dishes, bothe to drinke in, and to eate his meate in. Thus my Lord with his family continued in this strange estate, untill after All-hallowne tide."
Cromwell, the Cardinal's Secretary, and afterwards Earl of Essex, figures as a principal character in these pages, and, under the descriptive pen of Cavendish, discloses those traits which foretold his future distinction. The first glimpse we have of him is in the following passage, after the fall of his master :
"I chaunced me upon All-hallowne day to come into the Great Chamber at Assher, in the morning, to give mine attendance, where I found Mr. Cromwell leaning in the great windowe, with a Primer in his hand, saying our Lady mattens; which had bine a strange sight in him afore. Well what will you have more? He prayed no more earnestly, than he distilled teares as fast from his eyes. Whom I saluted, and bad good morrowe. And with that I perceived his moist chekes, the which he wiped with his napkine. To whom I saide, Why, Mr. Cromwell, what meaneth this dole? Is my Lord in any danger, that ye doe lament for him? or is it for any other losse, that ye have sustained by misfortune?'
"Nay,' quoth he, it is for my unhappy adventure. For I am like to lose all that I have laboured for, all the daies of my life, for doing of my master true and diligent service.' Why, sir,' quoth I, 'I trust that you be too wise, to do any thing by my Lord's commaundement, otherwise than ye might doe, whereof you ought to be