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was his uppermost garment, and he Boleyn, the father of Anne, married heartily wished it was of more worth. Elizabeth, daughter of the Duke of As he was being led out of the Tower Norfolk. While yet extremely young, to his execution, a woman reproached Anne was appointed maid of honour bim for detaining some deeds when to the Princess Mary, the sister of he was in office. “ Good woman,
Henry VIII., when she went over to said he, “have patience a little, for Paris and married the French king. the King is so generous unto me, At this court, the gayest at that that within this half hour, he will time, and long after, of all the courts discharge me of all my business, and in Christendom, Anne played the help thee himself.” As he ascended part that loveliness, youth, and vanthe scaffold, he asked one of the ity are generally desirous of performofficers to help him up, adding, “and ing. She attracted great observation when I come down again, let me by her beauty-won many hearts by shift for myself.” And this scoffing her engaging manners, and delighted manner accompanied him to the mo- all listeners with her cleverness and ment of his death. After he had wit. Enemies she had who spread prayed, and had laid his head upon rumours against her character, but the block, the executioner begged his with no convincing proof; and on forgiveness. “I forgive thee,” said her return to England, she was adhe, but prithee, let me put my vanced to the post of lady of honour beard aside, for that hath never com- to the formal and religious Queen mitted treason”-adding, “ Pluck up Catherine, who would certainly not thy spirit, man, and be not afraid to have admitted into her service and do thine office; my neck is very companionship a person against short; take heed, therefore, that whom these accusations were well thou strike not wrong for the sav- founded. The appearance of a young ing of thine honesty." The wit of and lively girl, so beautiful and so these speeches scarcely seems bright amusing, in the hitherto dull apartenough to carry off the gloominess of ments of the Spanish zealot, must the period he chose for their utter- have been like sunshine in a shady ance; but they show, perhaps, that place; and it was not long before his conscience was at rest, and that the ill-omened eyes of Henry fell he was satisfied with the cause for upon the new attendant of his wife. which he died.
The enemies of Anne Boleyn-who are After a victim so noble had been also the enemies of the Reformationsacrificed for so slender a cause, try to persuade us, that in order to people were on the watch for the gain her object and ascend the throne next stretch of the King's hand, and as Henry's wife, she laid down the folshuddered as the monster roused lowing plan. First, To get the King himself for a new display of his to fall in love with her, which might power. In his own house--in his not be difficult. Secondly, To hold own bedchamber—the blow fell; and him at a distance and keep him conthe fate of his young and beautiful stant by virtue and beauty alone. wife, the hapless Anne Boleyn, was Thirdly, To upset the religion of sealed. Till the age of seven, or as England, overthrow the authority of others say, of thirteen, she was the Pope, and introduce a new ecclebrought up by her father's fireside in siastical system, from the archbishops the county of Kent-a lively, play- in Lambeth and York down to the ful, pretty child.
curates in country parishes, and even "Petulant she spoke, and at herself she clerks and bell-ringers. Fourthly, To " laughed.
get the Queen divorced. And, finally, A rosebud set in little wilful thorns, To procure the execution of the Lord And sweet as English air could make Chancellor, a change in the whole her, she."
policy of Europe, and war with the It was an old English family this Emperor of Germany. Why don't we of the Boleyns, descended originally see the causes that produced her adfrom a lord mayor of London, but vancement? She was young enough by many ambitious marriages now not to take a very desponding, or allied with the chief nobility: and its perhaps a very sensible view of life ; present representative, Sir Thomas and ambitious enough to allow the
splendour of a throne to blind her ful neck was severed at a blow. eyes to the bad qualities of the King Without even a coffin, her body lay who filled it. But even with regard stiff and cold on the blood-stained to his bad qualities, in the year 1527, Green in the Tower; and as her head we must talk with many grains of fell to the ground, a gun was fired allowance. He had not yet had an from the walls. With anxious ear opportunity of showing many of them the King had been watching for the to any observable extent. If Nero signal on an elevation in the Park at had died at twenty-two, he would Richmond. When the sound reached have had the reputation of the best him, he knew that all was over ; but of men ; at thirty-seven Henry was no compunction seized his heart. He known as a man of bluff manners, carried the triumphant news to the obhigh notions of his own abilities, and ject of his passion, and on the followhaving what is commonly called a ing day was married to Jane Seymour. will of his own; but nobody gave A more melancholy record than him credit at that time for being this is not in the annals of crime and little more than a sort of amateur baseness. The person who presided executioner with a crown on.
at the court which condemned her All difficulties, though apparently was her uncle—the victim with whom insuperable, were at, last overcome, she was falsely accused of guilt was and Anne became Queen of England, her brother-the villain who gave and mother of Elizabeth, and might the word for her murder, and actually have expected a long life of happi- furnished the orders for the scaffold ness and popularity. But it was and block, was her husband! The pow 1537, and the hinges of the last subject of her thoughts was her Tower began to grate. Among her - helpless child. Her remains were maids of honour was a young and hurried into a common chest, and high-born damsel of the name of buried in the chapel of the Tower. -Jane Seymour, with the two great After this display of the King's disrequisites in Henry's eyes of novelty position, it is not to be supposed that and youth. How was Anne to be any rank or services were a securigot rid of? He accused her of un- ty against imprisonment and death. guarded words-of improper conduct Queen Jane escaped the family fate --of a previous contract of marriage by dying in childbed. Anne of Cleves with a young Lord Percy,-and on avoided it also by consenting to a one or other of these accusations he dissolution of the marriage; but the was determined to destroy the queen tide flowed on its usual channel, - the mother of his child. The ser- when he gave his hand to a daughter vile courts found her guilty on every of the house of Norfolk, the Lady plea. She was condemned to the Catherine Howard. Scarcely had he Tower, to be burnt or beheaded time to get tired of her, when ruaccording to the good pleasure of the mours reached his ear that her charKing. It was very great pleasure, acter was very bad — that she was indeed, to that affectionate husband, worse, a thousand times, than he had to order her only to have her head endeavoured to make Anne Boleyn cut off. On the 19th of May she appear-a monster of profligacy and was brought out on a scaffold erect- vice; and, in short, as sensual, ed on the Green within the Tower. wicked, and degraded as himself. “She approached,” the historian says, The Tower gates opened once more “ with a firm and graceful step; her for a queen. No sympathy this time beauty shone in all its wonted bright- was felt for the sufferer, for her guilt ness, and every one seemed disarmed was manifest, and could not be deby the sweet benignity that beamed nied. Some few, who cared for the in her looks; even the executioner justice of the case, thought it hard had not for a while the heart to do that a woman should be put to death his office. Anne alone on this trying by her husband for actions committed moment seemed to retain her self- before she was married ; but with possession ;” and, after a few words, Henry it was all the same. He even in which she commended her soul to condemned the relations of the guilty Christ, she laid her fair head upon woman for having concealed herguilt, the block, and the small and grace- and a blow of the headman's axestain.ed once more the soil of this dreadful she could never more cope on equal prison-house with royal blood, and en- terms with her more powerful sister. abled him to look out for another wife. But all these services were for
There are now, fortunately, but a gotten; forgotten also was the obedifew months left of the reign of this ence-we may almost call it gervility Bluebeard on a throne; and we begin —displayed by this chief of the Howto look well pleased on the dismalards to the wishes and caprices of the Tower, which soon will have a holi- King. We wish we could forget them day when a gentler reign succeeds. too, for they are the only blots upon But Henry had two friends, - the his character. Out of an overstrained most faithful in the kingdom, the feeling of the duty of submission, he highest in rank, the brightest in vir- had acquiesced in the execution of tue,--and therefore they must die. his two pieces, Anne Boleyn and These were the Duke of Norfolk, and Catherine Howard, the wives of the the Earl of Surrey his son. We will tyrant who now was intent on his follow the fortunes of the young man owu destruction. With a clinging to first, and end this catalogue of Henry's life, which was, perhaps, natural at victims with the father's fate. The his years, he begged for pardon-conEarl of Surrey was the most accom- fessed guilt, where no guilt existed, plished man of his age; not only in in hopes of softening the obdurate the knightly arts of riding in a tour heart of his destroyer-and found nament, or even commanding in a services, submission, confession, supbattle, but he is beyond all doubt the plication, all in vain. On the 28th most polished author and best poet of January an order was sent to the of his time. All his studies were Lieutenant of the Tower for his exedevoted to peaceful ends. He trans- cution on the following morning. lated part of Virgil, part of Ecclesi- What gloom was in the Duke's chamastes, and some of the Psalms, into ber that night we need not say; very elegant verse, and his original what grief to find his white hairs dissonnets are still quoted for their grace- honoured, his petition disregarded, fulness and sweetness. His crime, his son murdered almost before his however, was so heinous in the eyes eyes, and the hour approaching that of Henry, that it would have out- was to carry him to the fatal block.weighed the merits of all the muses. But there was another chamber that He had quartered the arms of Ed- night that was as full of gloom as ward the Confessor-that is, had had the prisoner's dungeon in the Tower. his shield ornamented with Edward On a stately bed lay a sufferer groanthe Confessor's arms; and though he ing with pain, and tormented, as we showed from the Herald's College may suppose, with the upbraidings that his ancestors had always done of an uneasy conscience. Fretful, so, the King considered it treason, as irritable, and unsubdued, it was the implying a claim to the throne. On King who was now at wrestlings with this plea, the gallant young nobleman death. With trembling hands his and gentle poet was put into the wife administered the opiates recomTower. His father was there already. mended to soothe his pain; the page They were not allowed to meet; but at the door counted the cries of as if to add bitterness to the father's anguish without a sigh of compascup, the son was tried before him, and sion; and silently the physician went again the blood of the Howards was through the ceremony of feeling the spilt upon the grass of Tower Hill, pulse, and could give no prospect and the illustrious Surrey left the of recovery. Here were two men, poor old Duke to battle with his ene- the Tyrant and the Victim, both mies alone. The trial of the Duke struggling with the terrible' hour. came on. Thirty years before this he Grey dawn began to light up the had been the great soldier of England. turret tops of the Tower ; it also He had always conquered, by land rested on the roof of the Palace at or by sea--for the services were not Westminster. The early morn was at that time divided-and especially to see the Duke of Norfolk fall had served under his father at the before the stroke of the executioner; great battle of Flodden, which so but before that time a surer blow weakened the power of Scotland that fell upon the exhausted Tyrant. A
hurried noise of feet sounded at the Last advancement of all, it was prisoner's door-the key is turned- connected with the name and fortunes à voice gives him the news — the of the Great Duke. The Duke was King is dead, and the Duke was constable of the Tower. There is saved. It shows how completely surely a striking similarity in fate these cruelties were the work of the and character between that great individual King, that his decease warrior and the fortress which he was the signal for the abrogation of commanded so long. The youth of a law ;-the sentence was never car- both was passed amid wars and ruried into execution, and in peace and mours of wars. Stern, cold, and quiet the remainder of the emanci- unimpassioned, both did their duty, pated prisoner's days were past. maintained their posts, and were
It would be easy to follow the bulwarks of the State and nation. gloomy history through the persecut- If some harshness mingled with the ing years of Mary, and the firm ad- earlier characteristics of our Duke, ministration of Elizabeth. Herself it is to be attributed to the manners a visitor to its darkened portals in of the time. A soldier in those days her sister's days, she might have been was considered to have reached perless ready to open them for the re- fection when he had expelled the ception of her foes. But the Tower softer feelings of the heart. But a was one of the institutions of the change caine over Wellington, as it State, and asserted its importance has done over his gallant companions under Tudors, and Stuarts, and Ha- in arms, and their successors in the noverians ; closing its grim jaws defence of the land. upon the victims of the hatred of advancing year the great heart of James and Charles, and then in the unrivalled Captain softened into 1715 and 1745 enacting the same part human sympathy—his care fell with towards the gallant loyalists who more tenderness on the comforts and adhered to their descendant's cause. advancement of the common soldier. But enough has been said to identify The noble principle of justice, which this ancient edifice with the worst had always been the regulator of his and most indefensible incidents in conduct, became mixed and mellowed onr history. As time went on, how- with the feelings of charity and ever, its character began to improve. mercy, and ennobled by the sentiWith the same grim features outside, ments of faith and hope ; and these it has gradually got softened and between them make up the perfect civilised within — like a man we man. The grey old Tower, venerasometimes meet who has a very ble with age, and stript of all its harsh countenance but a very warm pomp and circumstance of war, with heart. It opened its doors on the its placid walks and fruit-covered usual payment--to crowds of gaping walls, is not so cheering a sight, not Cockneys and country visitors, and so characteristic of the happv change displayed all its curiosities, its racks, from the gloomy periods of our annow rusty and out of use--its mus. Dals, as the sight of the time-honkets, which looked like fossil remains oured Wellington-- the hero of a of some extinct species of small can- hundred fights—the arbiter of the non-its suits of armour and trophies fate of nations, and the wielder of of all kinds. A tremendous fire in the irresistible thunderbolts of Engthe year 1837 reduced some of those land-living among us, a kind, hustrange but useless collections to mane, affectionate, peace-loving old cinders ; and from that time it has man; and sinking at last to death assumed the appearance of a very amid the regrets of a whole nation, peaceful dwelling indeed. Its moat which loved and honoured him, and is filled up and planted with choice amid the fears of more secret and shrubs ; its frowning loopholes are perhaps more sincere mourners, who covered with climbing wall-fruit ; looked to him for succour in their and it is difficult to believe that these distress, and were relieved and comstones and bricks are the same forted with the true sympathy of a which echoed long ago to such ap- Christian man, and the generosity palling sounds, or were such words of a hand “open as day to melting of fear to whole generations of men. charity."
CHAPTER XXVI. -A RAILWAY MONARCH, AND A POLITICAL CRIMP.
The observation of a few weeks others, through whose properties the gradually opened my eyes to the true lines were to pass. nature of the great speculative move- But in order to feed those great ment. To a casual observer, it doubt- arteries, and bring traffic from a disless must have appeared to be a mere tance, it became necessary to make scramble—a reckless rush of a des- side or cross railways. Some of perate mob, struggling for admission these were undertaken as extensions at the door of the temple of Fortune. by the existing companies, others Or, to use a more classical simile, it were projected by independent spemight have been thought to resemble culators; and as by means of them one of Homer's battles, in which the traffic could be diverted from one champions are represented as fight- main line to another, a vigorous coning indiscriminately, without any test for their possession, or suppresregard being paid to disposition, mi- sion as the case might be, arose litary arrangement, or skilful mar- among the proprietors of the existshalling of the forces. But although ing lines. England became, as it there was, no doubt, a good deal of were, mapped out into large districts, desultory skirmishing, and many at- in each of which the whole traffic, tempts at pillage by mercenaries and direct and contingent, was claimed cump-followers, the railway more- by a monster company to the exment had a distinct organisation of clusion of interlopers; and thus ori. its own. Let me try to explain this ginated the strife which, though it briefly.
-brought vast profits to lawyers, enIn the infancy of the railway sys- gineers, and contractors, had a distem, the chief, indeed the sole object astrous effect in lessening the diviwas to facilitate and expedite inter- dends of the shareholders. Suborcourse between large towns; and by dinate lines were purchased or leased the connection of lines, to establish a at rates which were utterly exorbithoroughfare for passengers through- tant; and many, from which it was out England. The practicability of hopeless to expect that a remunedoing this, so as to economise both rative return could be derived, were time and money to the public, and undertaken for the sole object of yet give a profitable return on their driving rivals from the field. outlay to the projectors, had been The affairs of these huge comdemonstrated by the famous engin- panies were ostensibly administered eer Stephenson, who constructed the by the directors; but it invariably Manchester and Liverpool line; and happens that, when a trust of this then it became evident that the kind is committed to some ten or greater portion of the traffic of the twelve gentlemen, the majority are land must in future pass along the little more than cyphers, and the vast arteries of iron. In order to real management devolves upon two accomplish this, new companies were or three, who act under the influence formed, consisting chiefly of local of the chairman, and are in fact his capitalists; each of which broke cabinet ministers. As a vast responground in a fresh district, without sibility rested on the shoulders of being subjected to competition. And the chairman, so was he allowed vast so long as the movement was con- discretionary powers. To dispute fined to the construction of what his fiat was petty treason--to intermay be called trunk railways, the only fere with his negociations was tan. opposers were the landed gentry and tamount to absolute rebellion. The