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Chapter 3

  • When Henry was calmed by his pacing in her chamber he came out to her in th_unlight, rolling and bear-like, and so huge that the terrace seemed to gro_maller.
  • 'Chuck,' he said to her, 'I ha' done a thing to pleasure thee.' He moved tw_ingers upwards to save the Duke of Norfolk from falling to his knees, caugh_atharine by the elbow, and, turning upon himself as on a huge pivot, swun_er round him so that they faced the pavilion. 'Sha't not talk with a citron- faced uncle,' he said; 'sha't save sweet words for me. I will tell thee what _a' done to pleasure thee.'
  • 'Save it a while and do another ere ye tell me,' she said.
  • 'Now, what is your reasoning about that, wise one?' he asked.
  • She laughed at him, for she took pleasure in his society and, except when sh_as earnest to beg things of him, she was mostly gay at his side.
  • 'It takes a woman to teach kings,' she said.
  • He answered that it took a Queen to teach him.
  • 'Why,' she said, 'listen! I know that each day ye do things to pleasure me, things prodigal or such little things as giving me pouncet boxes. But you wil_ind—and a woman, quean or queen, knows it well—that to take the full pleasur_f her lover's surprises well, she must have an easy mind. And to have an eas_ind she must have granted her the little, little boons she asketh.'
  • He reflected ponderously upon this point and at last, with a sort of peasant'_ravity, nodded his head.
  • 'For,' she said, 'if a woman is to take pleasure she must guess at what yo_en have done for her. And if she be to guess pleasurably, she must have _lear mind. And if I am to have a clear mind I must have a maiden console_ith a husband.'
  • Henry seated himself carefully in the great chair of the small pavilion. H_pread out his knees, blinked at the view and when, having cast a look roun_o see that Norfolk was gone—for it did not suit her that he should see o_hat terms she was with the King—she seated herself on a little foot-pillow a_is feet, he set a great hand upon her head. She leaned her arms across ove_is knees, and looked up at him appealingly.
  • 'I do take it,' he said, 'that I must make some man rich to wed some poo_aid.'
  • 'Oh, Solomon!' she said.
  • 'And I do take it,' he continued with gravity, 'that this maid is thy mai_argot.'
  • 'How know you that?' she said.
  • 'I have observed her,' he maintained gravely.
  • 'Why, you could not well miss her,' she answered. 'She is as big as a plough- ox.'
  • 'I have observed,' he said—and he blinked his little eyes as if, pleasurably, she were, with her words, whispering around his head. 'I have observed that y_ffected her.'
  • 'Why, she likes me well. She is a good wench—and to-day she tore my hair.'
  • 'Then that is along of a man?' he asked. 'Didst not stick thy needle in he_rm? Or wilto be quit of her?'
  • She rubbed her chin.
  • 'Why, if she wed, I mun be quit of her,' she said, as if she had never though_f that thing.
  • He answered—
  • 'Assuredly; for ye may not part man and lawful wife were you seven time_ueen.'
  • 'Why,' she said, 'I have little pleasure in Margot as she is.'
  • 'Then let her go,' he answered.
  • 'But I am a very lonely Queen,' she said, 'for you are much absent.'
  • He reflected pleasurably.
  • 'Thee wouldst have about thee a little company of well-wishers?'
  • 'So that they be those thou lovest well,' she said.
  • 'Why, thy maid contents me,' he answered. He reflected slowly. 'We must giv_er man a post about thee,' he uttered triumphantly.
  • 'Why, trust thee to pleasure me,' she said. 'You will find out a way always.'
  • He scrubbed her nose gently with his heavy finger.
  • 'Who is the man?' he said. 'What ruffler?'
  • 'I think it is the Magister Udal,' she answered.
  • Henry said—
  • 'Oh ho! oh ho!' And after a moment he slapped his thigh and laughed like _hild. She laughed with him, silverly upon a little sound between 'ah' and
  • 'e.' He stopped his laugh to listen to hers, and then he said gravely—
  • 'I think your laugh is the prettiest sound I ever heard. I would give thy mai_argot a score of husbands to make thee laugh.'
  • 'One is enough to make her weep,' she said; 'and I may laugh at thee.'
  • He said—
  • 'Let us finish this business within the hour. Sit you upon your chair that _ay call one to send this ruffler here.'
  • She rose, with one sinuous motion that pleased him well, half to her feet and, feeling behind her with one hand for the chair, aided herself with the othe_pon his shoulder because she knew that it gave him joy to be her prop.
  • 'Call the maid, too,' she said, 'for I would come to the secret soon.'
  • That pleased him too, and, having shouted for a knave he once more shook wit_aughter.
  • 'Oh ho,' he said, 'you will net this old fox, will you?'
  • And, having sent his messenger off to summon the Magister from the Lady Mary'_oom, and the maid from the Queen's, he continued for a while to soliloquis_s to Udal's predicament. For he had heard the Magister rail against matrimon_n Latin hexameters and doggerel Greek. He knew that the Magister was a_ncorrigible fumbler after petticoats. And now, he said, this old fox was t_e bagged and tied up.
  • He said—
  • 'Well, well, well; well, well!'
  • For, if a Queen commanded a marriage, a marriage there must be; there was n_ore hope for the Magister than for any slave of Cato's. He was cabined, ginned, trapped, shut in from the herd of bachelors. It pleased the King ver_ell.
  • The King grasped the gilded arms of his great chair, Katharine sat beside him, her hands laid one within another upon her lap. She did not say one singl_ord during the King's interview with Magister Udal.
  • The Magister fell upon his knees before them and, seeing the laughing wrinkle_ound the King's little eyes, made sure that he was sent for—as had often bee_he case—to turn into Latin some jest the King had made. His gown fell abou_is kneeling shins, his cap was at his side, his lean, brown, and sly face, with the long nose and crafty eyes, was like a woodpecker's.
  • 'Goodman Magister,' Henry said. 'Stand up. We have sent for thee to advanc_hee.' Without moving his head he rolled his eyes to one side. He loved hi_ramatic effects and wished to await the coming of the Queen's maid, Margot, before he gave the weight of his message.
  • Udal picked up his cap and came up to his feet before them; he had beneath hi_own a little book, and one long finger between its leaves to keep his plac_here he had been reading. For he had forgotten a saying of Thales, and wa_eading through Cæsar's Commentaries to find it.
  • 'As Seneca said,' he uttered in his throat, 'advancement is doubly sweet t_hem that deserve it not.'
  • 'Why,' the King said, 'we advance thee on the deserts of one that finds the_weet, and is sweet to one doubly sweet to us, Henry of Windsor that spea_weet words to thee.'
  • The lines on Udal's face drooped all a little downwards.
  • 'Y'are reader in Latin to the Lady Mary,' the King said.
  • 'I have little deserved in that office,' Udal answered; 'the lady reads Lati_etter than even I.'
  • 'Why, you lie in that,' Henry said, ''a readeth well for she's my daughter; but not so well as thee.'
  • Udal ducked his head; he was not minded to carry modesty further than i_eason.
  • 'The Lady Mary—the Lady Mary of England——' the King said weightily—and thes_ast two words of his had a weight all their own, so that he added, 'o_ngland' again, and then, 'will have little longer need of thee. She shall we_ith a puissant Prince.'
  • 'I hail, I felicitate, I bless the day I hear those words,' the Magister said.
  • 'Therefore,' the King said—and his ears had caught the rustle of Margot's gre_own—'we will let thee no more be reader to that my daughter.'
  • Margot came round the green silk curtains that were looped on the corner post_f the pavilion. When she saw the Magister her great, fair face became slowl_f a fiery red; slowly and silently she fell, with motions as if bovine, t_er knees at the Queen's side. Her gown was all grey, but it had roses of re_nd white silk round the upper edges of the square neck-place, and white law_howed beneath her grey cap.
  • 'We advance thee,' Henry said, 'to be Chancellier de la Royne, with an hundre_ounds by the year from my purse. Do homage for thine office.'
  • Udal fell upon one knee before Katharine, and dropping both cap and book, too_er hand to raise to his lips. But Margot caught her hand when he had don_ith it and set upon it a huge pressure.
  • 'But, Sir Chancellor,' the King said, 'it is evident that so grave an offic_ust have a grave fulfiller. And, to ballast thee the better, the Queen of he_raciousness hath found thee a weighty helpmeet. So that, before you shal_ouch the duties and emoluments of this charge you shall, and that even to- night, wed this Madam Margot that here kneels.'
  • Udal's face had been of a coppery green pallor ever since he had heard th_itle of Chancellor.
  • 'Eheu!' he said, 'this is the torture of Tantalus that might never drink.'
  • In its turn the face of Margot Poins grew pale, pushed forward towards him; but her eyes appeared to blaze, for all they were a mild blue, and the Quee_elt the pressure upon her hand grow so hard that it pained her.
  • The King uttered the one word, 'Magister!'
  • Udal's fingers picked at the fur of his moth-eaten gown.
  • 'God be favourable to me,' he said. 'If it were anything but Chancellor!'
  • The King grew more rigid.
  • 'Body of God,' he said, 'will you wed with this maid?'
  • 'Ahí!' the Magister wailed; and his perturbation had in it something comic an_carecrowlike, as if a wind shook him from within. 'If you will make m_nything but a Chancellor, I will. But a Chancellor, I dare not.'
  • The King cast himself back in his chair. The suggested gibe rose furiously t_is lips; the Magister quailed and bent before him, throwing out his hands.
  • 'Sire,' he said, 'if—which God forbid—this were a Protestant realm I might d_t. But oh, pardon and give ear. Pardon and give ear——'
  • He waved one hand furiously at the silken canopy above them.
  • 'It is agreed with one of mine in Paris that she shall come hither—God forgiv_e, I must make avowal, though God knows I would not—she shall come hither t_e if she do hear that I have risen to be a Chancellor.'
  • The King said, 'Body of God!' as if it were an earthquake.
  • 'If it were anything else but Chancellor she might not come, and I would we_argot Poins more willingly than any other. But—God knows I do not willingl_ake this avowal, but am in a corner, _sicut vulpis in lucubris_ , like a fo_n the coils—this Paris woman is my wife.'
  • Henry gave a great shout of laughter, but slowly Margot Poins fell across th_ueen's knees. She uttered no sound, but lay there motionless. The sigh_ffected Udal to an epileptic fury.
  • 'Jove be propitious to me!' he stuttered out. 'I know not what I can do.' H_egan to tear the fur of his cloak and toss it over the battlements. 'Th_oman is my wife—wed by a friar. If this were a Protestant realm now—or if _leaded pre-contract—and God knows I ha' promised marriage to twenty wome_efore I, in an evil day, married one—eheu!—to this one——'
  • He began to sob and to wring his thin hands.
  • ' _Quod faciam? Me miser! Utinam. Utinam——_ '
  • He recovered a little coherence.
  • 'If this were a Protestant land ye might say this wedding was no wedding, fo_hat a friar did it; but I know ye will not suffer that——' His eyes appeale_iteously to the Queen.
  • 'Why, then,' he said, 'it is not upon my head that I do not wed this wench.
  • You be my witness that I would wed; it gores my heart to see her look so pale.
  • It tears my vitals to see any woman look pale. As Lucretius says, "Better th_unshine of smiles——"'
  • A little outputting of impatient breath from Katharine made him stop.
  • 'It is you, your Grace,' he said, 'that make me thus tied. If you would let u_e Protestant, or, again, if I could plead pre-contract to void this Pari_arriage it would let me wed with this wench—eheu—eheu. Her brother will brea_y bones——'
  • He began to cry out so lamentably, invoking Pluto to bear him to th_nderworld, that the King roared out upon him—
  • 'Why, get you gone, fool.'
  • The Magister threw himself suddenly upon his knees, his hands clasped, hi_own drooping over them down to his wrists. He turned his face to the Queen.
  • 'Before God,' he said, 'before high and omnipotent Jove, I swear that when _ade this marriage I thought it was no marriage!' He reflected for a breat_nd added, at the recollection of the cook's spits that had been turne_gainst him when he had by woman's guile been forced into marriage with th_idow in Paris, 'I was driven into it by force, with sharp points at m_hroat. Is that not enow to void a marriage? Is that not enow? Is that no_now?'
  • Katharine looked out over the great levels of the view. Her face was rigid, and she swallowed in her throat, her eye being glazed and hard. The King too_is cue from a glance at her face.
  • 'Get you gone, Goodman Rogue Magister,' he said, and he adopted a canonica_one that went heavily with his rustic pose. 'A marriage made and consummate_nd properly blessed by holy friar there is no undoing. You are learned enoug_o know that. Rogue that you be, I am very glad that you are trapped by thi_arriage. Well I know that you have dangled too much with petticoats, to th_reat scandal of this my Court. Now you have lost your preferment, and I a_lad of it. Another and a better than thou shall be the Queen's Chancellor, for another and a better than thou shall wed this wench. We will get her suc_ goodly husband——'
  • A low, melancholy wail from Margot Poins' agonised face—a sound such as migh_ave been made by an ox in pain—brought him to a stop. It wrung the Magister, who could not bear to see a woman pained, up to a pitch of ecstatic courage.
  • ' _Quid fecit Cæsar_ ,' he stuttered; 'what Cæsar hath done, Cæsar can d_gain. It was not till very lately since this canon of wedding an_onsummating and blessing by a holy friar hath been derided and contemned i_his realm. And so it might be again——'
  • Katharine Howard cried out, 'Ah!' Her features grew rigid and as ashen as col_teel. And, at her cry, the King—who could less bear than Udal to hear a woma_n pain—the King sprang up from his chair. It was as amazing to all them as t_unters it is to see a great wild bull charge with a monstrous velocity. Uda_as rigid with fear, and the King had him by the throat. He shook hi_ackwards and forwards so that his book fell upon the Queen's feet, burstin_ut of his ragged gown, and his cap, flying from his opened hand, fell dow_ver the battlement into an elm top. The King guttered out unintelligibl_ounds of fury from his vast chest and, planted on his huge feet, he swung th_agister round him till, backwards and staggering, the eyes growing fixed i_is brown and rigid face, he was pushed, jerking at each step of the King, ou_f sight behind the green silk curtains.
  • The Queen sat motionless in her purple velvet. She twisted one hand into th_hain of the medallion about her throat, and one hand lay open and pale by he_ide. Margot Poins knelt at her side, her face hidden in the Queen's lap, he_wo arms stretched out beyond her grey coifed head. For a minute she wa_ilent. Then great sobs shook her so that Katharine swayed upon her seat. Fro_er hidden face there came muffled and indistinguishable words, and at las_atharine said dully—
  • 'What, child? What, child?'
  • Margot moved her face sideways so that her mouth was towards Katharine.
  • 'You can unmake it! You can unmake the marriage,' she brought out in hug_obs.
  • Katharine said—
  • 'No! No!'
  • 'You unmade a King's marriage,' Margot wailed.
  • Katharine said—
  • 'No! No!' She started and uttered the words loudly; she added pitifully, 'Yo_o not understand! You do not understand!'
  • It was the more pitiful in that Margot understood very well. She hid her fac_gain and only sobbed heavily and at long intervals, and then with many sob_t once. The Queen laid her white hand upon the girl's head. Her other stil_layed with the chain.
  • 'Christ be piteous to me,' she said. 'I think it had been better if I ha_ever married the King.'
  • Margot uttered an indistinguishable sound.
  • 'I think it had been better,' the Queen said; 'though I had jeoparded m_mmortal part.'
  • Margot moved her head up to cry out in her turn—
  • 'No! No! You may not say it!'
  • Then she dropped her face again. When she heard the King coming back an_reathing heavily, she stood up, and with huge tears on her red and crumple_ace she looked out upon the fields as if she had never seen them before. A_mmense sob shook her. The King stamped his foot with rage, and then, becaus_e was soft-hearted to them that he saw in sorrow, he put his hand upon he_houlder.
  • 'Sha't have a better mate,' he uttered. 'Sha't be a knight's dame! There!
  • there!' and he fondled her great back with his hand. Her eyes screwed tightl_p, she opened her mouth wide, but no words came out, and suddenly she shoo_er head as if she had been an enraged child. Her loud cries, shaken out o_er with her tears, died away as she went across the terrace, a loud one an_hen a little echo, a loud one and then two more.
  • 'Before God!' the King said, 'that knave shall eat ten years of prison bread.'
  • His wife looked still over the wooded enclosures, the little stone walls, an_he copses. A small cloud had come before the sun, and its shadow was movin_eisurely across the ridge where stood the roofless abbey.
  • 'The maid shall have the best man I can give her,' the King said.
  • 'Why, no good man would wed her!' Katharine answered dully.
  • Henry said—
  • 'Anan?' Then he fingered the dagger on the chain before his chest.
  • 'Why,' he added slowly, 'then the Magister shall die by the rope. It is a_ffence that can be quitted with death. It is time such a thing were done.'
  • Katharine's dull silence spurred him; he shrugged his shoulders and heaved _eep breath out.
  • 'Why,' he said, 'a man can be found to wed the wench.'
  • She moved one hand and uttered—
  • 'I would not wed her to such a man!' as if it were a matter that was not muc_n her thoughts.
  • 'Then she may go into a nunnery,' the King said; 'for before three months ar_ut we will have many nunneries in this realm.'
  • She looked upon him a little absently, but she smiled at him to give hi_leasure. She was thinking that she wished she had not wedded him; but sh_miled because, things being as they were, she thought that she had all th_uthorities of the noble Greeks and Romans to bid her do what a good wif_hould.
  • He laughed at her griefs, thinking that they were all about Margot Poins. H_ttered jolly grossnesses; he said that she little knew the way of courts i_he thought that a man, and a very good man, might not be found to wed th_ench.
  • She was troubled that he could not better read what was upon her mind, for sh_as thinking that her having consented to his making null his marriage wit_he Princess of Cleves that he might wed her would render her work always th_ore difficult. It would render her more the target for evil tongues, it woul_et a sterner and a more stubborn opposition against her task of restoring th_ingdom of God within that realm.
  • Henry said—
  • 'Ye hannot guessed what my secret was? What have I done for thee this day?'
  • She still looked away over the lands. She made her face smile—
  • 'Nay, I know not. Ha' ye brought me the musk I love well?'
  • He shook his head.
  • 'It is more than that!' he said.
  • She still smiled—
  • 'Ha' ye—ha' ye—made make for me a new crown?'
  • She feared a little that that was what he had done. For he had been urgen_ith her, many months, to be crowned. It was his way to love these things. An_er heart was a little gladder when he shook his head once again and uttered—
  • 'It is more than that!'
  • She dreaded his having made ready in secret a great pageant in her honour, fo_he was afraid of all aggrandisements, and thought still it had been bette_hat she had remained his sweet friend ever and not the Queen. For in that wa_he would have had as much empire over him, and there would have been muc_ess clamour against her—much less clamour against the Church of her Saviour.
  • She forced her mind to run upon all the things that she could wish for. Whe_he said it must be that he had ordered for her enough French taffetas to mak_welve gowns, he laughed and said that he had said that it was more than _rown. When she guessed that he had made ready such a huge cavalcade that sh_ight with great comfort and safety ride with him into Scotland, he laughed, contented that she should think of going with him upon that long journey. H_tood looking at her, his little eyes blinking, his face full of pride an_oy, and suddenly he uttered—
  • 'The Church of God is come back again.' He touched his cap at the sacred name.
  • 'I ha' made submission to the Pope.'
  • He looked her full in the face to get all the delight he might from her look_nd her movements.
  • Her blue eyes grew large; she leaned forward in her chair; her mouth opened _ittle; her sleeves fell down to the ground. 'Now am I indeed crowned!' sh_aid, and closed her eyes. ' _Benedicta sit mater dei!_ ' she uttered, and he_and went over her heart place; ' _deo clamavi nocte atque dië._ '
  • She was silent again, and she leaned more forward.
  • ' _Sit benedicta dies haec; sit benedicta hora haec benedictaque, saeculu_aeculûm, castra haec._ '
  • She looked out upon the great view: she aspired the air.
  • ' _Ad colles_ ,' she breathed, ' _levavi oculos meos; unde venit salvati_ostra!_ '
  • 'Body of God,' Henry said, 'all things grow plain. All things grow plain. Thi_s the best day that ever I knew.'