The Project Gutenberg EBook of Robin Tremayne, by Emily Sarah Holt

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Title: Robin Tremayne
       A Story of the Marian Persecution

Author: Emily Sarah Holt

Release Date: February 9, 2009 [EBook #28040]

Language: English

Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1


Produced by Nick Hodson of London, England

Emily Sarah Holt

"Robin Tremayne"


More than three hundred years have rolled away since the events narrated in the following pages stirred the souls of men; since John Bradford sat down to his “merry supper with the Lord;” since Lawrence Saunders slept peacefully at the stake, lifted over the dark river in the arms of God; since Ridley and Latimer, on that autumn morning at Oxford, lighted that candle in England which they trusted by God’s grace should never be put out.

And how stands it with England now? For forty-three years, like a bird fascinated by the serpent, she has been creeping gradually closer to the outstretched arms of the great enchantress. Is she blind and deaf? Has she utterly forgotten all her history, all the traditions of her greatness? It is not quite too late to halt in her path of destruction; but how soon may it become so? How soon may the dying scream of the bird be hushed in the jaws of the serpent?

The candle which was lighted on that autumn morning is burning dim. It burns dimmer every year, as England yields more and more to Rome. And every living soul of us all is responsible to God for the preservation of its blessed light. O sons and daughters of England, shall it be put out?

Chapter One.

The Folding of the Lamb.

“And then she fell asleep; but God
    Knew that His Heaven was better far,
    Where little children angels are;
And so, for paths she should have trod
Through thorns and flowers, gave her this sod.

“He gave her rest for troublousness,
    And a calm sleep for fitful dreams
    Of what is, and of more that seems
For tossings upon earth and seas
Gave her to see Him where He is.”

W.M. Rossetti.

“Arbel, look forth and see if thy father and Robin be at hand. I fear the pie shall be overbaken.”

The speaker was a woman of about forty years of age, of that quiet and placid demeanour which indicates that great provocation would be needed to evoke any disturbance of temper. Gathering up the garment on which she was at work, Arbel (Note 1) crossed the long, low room to a wide casement, on the outer mullions of which sundry leafless boughs were tapping as if to ask shelter from the cold; and after standing there for two or three minutes, announced that the missing members of the family were approaching.

“And a third party withal,” added she; “that seemeth me, so far as I may hence discern, to be Doctor Thorpe.”

“He is very welcome, an’ it be he,” returned her mother, still calmly spinning. “I trust to ask his counsel touching Robin.”

Figuratively speaking, for more than a century was yet to elapse ere George Fox founded the Society of Friends, it might be said that Custance (Note 2) Tremayne was born a Quakeress. It had hitherto proved impossible, through all the annals of the family experience, to offend or anger her. She was an affectionate wife and mother, but nothing roused in her any outward exhibition of anxiety or annoyance. The tenor of her way was very even indeed.

Before Arbel had done much more than resume her seat and her needle, the room was entered by two men and a lad of sixteen years. The master of the house, Mr Anthony Tremayne, (Note 3) who came in first, was a man of more demonstrative manners than his quiet partner. He who entered second was shorter and stronger-built, and had evidently seen a longer term of life. His hair, plentifully streaked with grey, was thinned to slight baldness on the summit of the head; his features, otherwise rather strong and harsh, wore an expression of benevolence which redeemed them; his eyes, dark grey, were sharp and piercing. When he took off his hat, he carefully drew forth and put on a black skull-cap, which gave him a semi-priestly appearance. The lad, who entered with a slow and almost languid step, though in face resembling his father, was evidently not without an element of his mother in his mental composition. His hair was dark, and his eyes brown: but the same calm placidity of expression rested on his features as on hers, and his motions were quiet and deliberate.

“Good morrow, Dr Thorpe,” (Note 4) said Mistress Tremayne, rising from her work.

“The like to you, my mistress,” was the response. “Well, how fare you all? Be any of you sick? or can you do without me for a se’nnight?”

“Whither go you, Doctor?” gently asked Custance.

The Doctor’s brow grew graver. “On a sorrowful errand, friend,” he replied. “Our noble friends at Crowe are in sore trouble, for their little maid is grievous sick.”

“What, little Honor?” cried Arbel, pityingly.

“Ay, methinks the Master is come, and hath called for her. We might thank God, if we could see things as He seeth. The sorrows of her House shall never trouble her.”

“Poor child!” said Custance in her quiet voice. “Why, good Doctor, we be none of us truly sick, I thank God; but in sooth I did desire you should step in hither, touching Robin.”

“Touching whom?” asked Dr Thorpe with a faint sound of satire in his tone.

But the tone had no effect on Custance.

“Touching Robin,” she repeated. “I would fain have you to send him some physic, an’ it like you.”

“What shall I send him?” said the Doctor with a grim smile. “A bottle of cider? He lacketh naught else.”

“Nay, but I fear me he groweth too fast for his strength,” answered his mother.

“Then give him more meat and drink,” was the rather contemptuous reply. “The lad is as strong as a horse: he is only a trifle lazy. He lacketh but stirring up with a poker.”

“Send us the poker,” said his father, laughing.

“I am not an ironmonger,” retorted the Doctor, again with the same grim smile. “But the boy is all right; women be alway looking out for trouble and taking thought.”

“But I count you know a mother’s fears,” answered Custance calmly.

“How should I?” said he. “I was never a woman, let alone a mother. I know all women be fools, saving a handful, of whom Isoult Avery, at Bradmond yonder, is queen.”

Mr Anthony Tremayne laughed heartily. His wife merely replied as quietly as before. “So be it, Doctor. I suppose men do fall sick at times, and then they use not to think so for a little while at the least.”

“Well, I said not you were not in the handful,” said he, smiling again.

“All that you yourself do know make the handful, I count,” said Tremayne. “Ah! Doctor, your bark did alway pass your bite. But who goeth yonder? Come within!”

The door opened in answer to his call, and disclosed a good-looking man in the prime of life, whose dark hair and beard were particularly luxuriant in growth.

“Ah! Jack Avery, God save thee!” resumed Tremayne, heartily. “Thou art right welcome. What news?”

“Such news,” was the response, in a clear, musical voice, “as we be scarce like to hear twice this century. May I pray you of a cup of wine, to drink the health of the King?”

“Fetch it, Robin,” said Tremayne. “But what hath the King’s Grace done, Avery? Not, surely, to repeal the Bloody Statute, his sickness making him more compatient (Note 5) unto his poor subjects? That were good news!”

“I sorrow to say it,” replied Avery, “but this is better news than that should be.” And holding up the cup of wine which Robin offered him, he said solemnly,—“The King’s Majesty, Edward the Sixth! God save him!”

From all except Custance there came in answer such a cry—half amazement, half exultation—as we in this nineteenth century can scarcely imagine for such an event. For the last eight years of the reign of Henry the Eighth, England had been in slavery—“fast bound in misery and iron.” Every year it had grown heavier. Murmuring was treated as rebellion, and might have entailed death. To know that Henry was dead was to be free—to be at liberty to speak as a man thought, and to act as a man believed right.

“Ay,” resumed Avery gravely, “King Henry the Eight is gone unto the mercy of God. How much mercy God could show him, let us not presume to think. We can only know this—that it was as much as might stand with His glory.”

Dr Thorpe and John Avery left Tremayne together, for both were on their way to Crowe. A walk of twenty minutes brought them to the house of the latter, an erection of some fifty years’ standing. Bradmond comprised not only the house, but a large garden and a paddock, in which Avery’s horse Bayard took his ease. There was also a small farm attached, with its requisite buildings; and when the gentlemen arrived, Tom (Note 4), the general factotum, was meandering about the flower-garden, under the impression that he was at work, while Avery’s little daughter, Kate (Note 4) aged nearly four years, was trotting after him from one spot to another, also under the impression that she was affording him material assistance in his labours.

John Avery brought his guest into the hall, then the usual family sitting-room when particular privacy was not desired. Here they were met by a lady, a little under middle height, with a fair pale complexion, but dark brown eyes and hair, her manners at once very quiet and yet very cordial. This was Isoult Avery.

In due time the next morning the party set forth,—namely, John and Isoult Avery, and Dr Thorpe,—and after two days’ travelling reached Crowe.

Crowe was a smaller house than Bradmond, less pleasantly situated, and with more confined grounds. The door was opened by a girl who, to judge from her dress and appearance, was a maid-of-all-work, and with whom tidiness was apparently not a cardinal virtue.

“Good morrow, Deb (Note 4); how fareth the child?”

“Good lack, Mistress!” was all that could be extracted from Deb.

“Get thee down to the kitchen for a slattern as thou art, and wash thee and busk (dress) thee ere thou open the door to any again!” said a rather shrill, yet not unpleasant, voice behind Deb; and that damsel disappeared with prompt celerity. “The maid is enough to provoke all the saints in the calendar. Isoult, sweet heart, be a thousand times welcomed!” And the speaker, advancing, kissed her guest with as much affection as though they had been sisters.

“And how goeth it with the child, Mrs Philippa?”

A quick shake of the head seemed to give an unfavourable answer.

“Demand that of Dr Thorpe, when he hath seen her; but our apothecary feareth much.”

Very unlike either of the women already described was Philippa Basset. There was nothing passive about her; every thing was of the most active type, and the mood in which she chiefly lived was the imperative. While really under the common height of women, in some mysterious way she appeared much taller than she was. Her motions were quick even to abruptness: her speech sincere even to bluntness. Every body who knew her loved her dearly, yet every body would have liked to alter her character a little. Generally speaking, she seemed to take no part in those softer feminine feelings supposed to be common to the sex; yet there were times when that firm voice could falter, and those bright, quick, grey-blue eyes grow dim with tears. Whatever she did, she did thoroughly and heartily: she loved fervently and hated fervently. That “capacity for indignation” which it has been said lies at the root of all human virtues, was very fully developed in Philippa. Her age was thirty-one, but she looked nearer forty. Perhaps Isoult Avery, who had gone with her through the storm of suffering which fell on the House of Lisle, could have guessed how that look of age had come into the once bright and lively face of Philippa Basset.

“Come in, dear heart,” continued Philippa, “and speak with my Lady my mother; and I will carry up Dr Thorpe to see the child.”

So John and Isoult went into the parlour, and Philippa conducted Dr Thorpe to the sick chamber.

In the little parlour of the little house at Crowe sat a solitary lady. She was not yet fifty years of age, but her hair was only one remove from white; and though lines of thought and suffering were marked on her pale face, it yet bore the remains of what had been delicate loveliness. Her complexion was still exquisitely fair, and her eyes were a light, bright blue. Though she moved quickly, it was with much dignity and grace. She was a small, slightly-made woman; she sat as upright as a statue; and she inclined her head like a queen. It was no marvel, for she had been all but a queen. For twelve years of her life, her velvet robes had swept over palace pavements, and her diamonds had glittered in the light of royal saloons; and for seven of those years she had herself occupied the highest place. An invitation from her had been an envied honour; a few minutes’ conversation with her, a supreme distinction. For this was Honor Plantagenet, Viscountess Lisle, sometime Lady Governess of Calais. But that was all over now. She was “a widow indeed, and desolate.” The House of Lisle had fallen seven years before; and Honour’s high estate, as well as her private happiness, fell with it. And with her, as with so many others, it ended in the old fashion—

“‘Where be thy frendes?’ sayd Robin.
‘Syr, never one wyll me know;
Whyle I was ryche enow at home
Grete boste then wolde they blowe;
And now they renne awaye fro me,
As bestes on a rowe;
They take no more heed of me,
Than they me never sawe.’”

(Note 6).

Of the scores of distinguished persons who had enjoyed the princely hospitality of Lady Lisle at Calais, not one ever condescended to glance into the little house at Crowe. She had friends left, but they were not distinguished persons. And foremost among these was Isoult Avery, who for two years had been bower-woman to the Viscountess, in those old days when she sat in the purple as Governess of Calais.

Many minutes had not elapsed before Philippa and Dr Thorpe entered the parlour together.

“Well, what cheer?” asked Lady Lisle, quickly, even before her greeting: for the grandchild who lay ill in the chamber above was very dear to that lonely woman’s heart.

“Madam, the child is dying.”

“Alack, my poor lamb!” And Lady Lisle rose and went above to the little sufferer.

Dr Thorpe turned to Isoult. “What aileth the mother?” he asked her shortly.

“Frances?” she replied. “In good sooth, I wis not. I have not yet seen her. Doth aught ail her save sorrow?”

“The Lady Frances,” he repeated. “Methinks somewhat else doth ail her. What it is essay you to discover.”

He broke off rather abruptly as the door opened, and the lady under discussion entered the room. Taller than Lady Lisle or Philippa, she was more slender and fragile-looking than either. Hair of pale shining gold framed a face very white and fair, of that peculiar pure oval shape, and those serene, regular Grecian features, which marked the royal Plantagenets. For this lady was of the bluest blood, and but for an act of cruel treachery on the part of King Edward the Fourth, she might have been the Princess Royal of England. And never had England a daughter who could have graced that position more perfectly. To a character so high and pure, and a taste so delicate and refined, as were almost out of place in that coarsest and most blunt of all the centuries, she united manners exquisitely gentle, gracious, and winning. The Lady Frances Basset was a woman taught by much and varied suffering; she had known both the climax of happiness and the depth of sorrow. The crushing blow of her House’s fall had been followed by two years of agonising suspense, which had closed in the lonely and far-off death of the father from whom she derived the fairest features of her character, and whom she loved more than life. Three years ensued, filled by the bitter pain of watching the gradual fading of the husband whom she loved with yet tenderer fervour; and at the end of that time she was left a widow, but with two children to comfort her. And now, two years later, the Lord came and called the elder of those cherished darlings. Joseph was not, and Simeon was not, yet Benjamin must be taken away. But no tears stood in the soft, clear blue eyes, as Frances came forward to greet Isoult. They would come later; but the time for them was not now, when little Honour’s life was ebbing away. The mother was tearless.

“Come!” she said softly; and Isoult rose and followed her.

On a little truckle-bed in the chamber above, lay the dying child. Had she survived till the following spring, she would then have been eight years old. As Isoult bent over her, a smile broke on the thin wan face, and the little voice said,—“Aunt Isoult!” This was Honour’s pet name for her friend; for there was no tie of relationship between them. Isoult softly stroked the fair hair. “Aunt Isoult,” the faint voice pursued, “I pray you, tell me if I shall die? My Lady my grandmother will not say, and it hurteth my mother to ask her.”

Isoult glanced at Lady Lisle for permission to reply.

“Speak thy will, child!” she said in a steeled voice. “We can scarce be more sorrowful than we are, I count. Yet I do marvel what we have sinned more than others, that God punisheth us so much the sorer.”

A grieved look came into Isoult’s eyes, but she only answered the question of the little child.

“Ay, dear Honor,” she replied; “methinks the Lord Jesus shall send His angels for thee afore long.”

“Send His angels?” she repeated feebly.

“Ay, dear heart. Wouldst thou not love to see them?”

“I would rather He would come Himself,” said the child. “I were gladder to see Him than them.”

Isoult’s voice failed her a minute, and Frances laid her head down on the foot of the bed, and broke into a passion of tears.

“Go thy ways, child!” murmured Lady Lisle, her voice a little softer. “It shall not take much labour to make thee an angel.”

“Aunt Isoult,” said Honor again faintly, “will He not come Himself?”

“Maybe He will, sweet heart,” answered she.

“Doth He know I want Him to come?” she said and shut her eyes wearily.

“Ay, He knoweth, darling,” said Isoult.

“Doth He know how tired I am, thinkest?” broke in Lady Lisle, bitterly. “Are three dread, woeful, crushing sorrows in six years not enough for Him to give? Will He take this child likewise, and maybe Frances and Philippa as well, and leave me to creep on alone into my grave? What have I done to Him, that He should use me thus? Was I not ever just to all men, and paid my dues to the Church, and kept my duty, like a Christian woman? Are there no women in this world that have lived worser lives than I, that He must needs visit me? Answer me, Isoult! Canst thou see any cause? Frank will tell me ’tis wicked to speak thus, if she saith aught; or maybe she shall only sit and look it. Is it wicked for the traitor on the rack to cry out? Why, then, should not I, who am on God’s rack, and have so been these six years, and yet am no traitor neither to Him nor to the Church?”

“Mother, dear Mother!” whispered Frances, under her breath.

“Well?” she resumed. “Is that all thou hast to say? I am so wicked, am I, thus to speak? But wherefore so? Come, Isoult, I await thine answer.”

It was a minute before Isoult Avery could speak; and when she did so, her voice trembled a little. She lifted up her heart to God for wisdom, and then said—

“Dear my Lady, we be all traitors unto God, and are all under the condemnation of His holy law. Shall the traitor arraign the Judge? And unto the repenting traitor, God’s hand falleth not in punishment, but only in loving discipline and fatherly training. You slack not, I count, to give Honor her physic, though she cry that it is bitter and loathsome; nor will God set aside His physic for your Ladyship’s crying. Yet, dear my Lady, this is not because He loveth to see you weep, but only because He would heal you of the deadly plague of your sins. Our Lord’s blood shed upon the rood delivereth us from the guilt of our sins; but so tied to sin are we, that we must needs be set under correction for to make us to loathe it. I pray your Ladyship mercy for my rude speaking, but it is at your own commandment.”

“Ah! ’tis pity thou art not a man, that thou mightest have had the tonsure,” replied Lady Lisle drily. “Ah me, children! If this be physic, ’tis more like to kill than cure.”

Little Honor lived through the night; and when the morning came, they were still awaiting the King’s messenger. As those who loved her sat round her bed, the child opened her eyes.

“Aunt Isoult,” she said in her little feeble voice, “how soon will Jesus come and take me?”

Isoult looked for an answer to Dr Thorpe, who was also present. He brushed his hand over his eyes.

“Would you liefer it were soon or long, little maid?” said he.

“For Mother’s sake, I would liefer He waited,” she whispered; “but for mine, I would He might come soon. There will be no more physic, will there—nor no more pain, after He cometh?”

“Poor heart!” exclaimed Lady Lisle, who sat in the window.

“Nay, little maid,” answered Dr Thorpe.

“Nor no more crying, Honor,” said Isoult.

“I would He would take Mother along with me,” pursued the child. “She hath wept so much these two years past. She used to smile so brightly, and it was so pretty to see her. I would she could do that again.”

“Thou shalt see her do that again, dear Honor,” said Isoult, as well as she could speak, “but not, methinks, in this world.”

But her voice failed her, for she remembered a time when that smile had been brighter than ever Honor saw it.

“If He would take us all,” the child continued faintly: “me, and Mother, and Arthur, and Grandmother, and Aunt Philippa! And Father is there waiting—is not he?”

“I think he is, Honor,” answered Isoult.

“That would be so good,” she said, as she closed her eyes. “Aunt Isoult, would it be wrong to ask Him?”

“It is never wrong to tell Him of our wants and longings, dear heart,” was the answer. “Only we must not forget that He knoweth best.”

“Please to ask Him,” the child whispered. But Isoult’s voice broke down in tears. “Ask Him thyself, little maid,” said Dr Thorpe. The child folded her little hands on her breast. “Lord Jesus!” she said, in her faint voice, “I would like Thee to come and take me soon. I would like Thee to take us all together—specially Mother and Grandmother—with me. And please to make Grandmother love Thee, for I am afeard she doth not much; and then make haste and fetch her and Mother to me. Amen.”

“God bless thee, little maid!” said Dr Thorpe in a low voice. “All the singing of the angels will not stay that little prayer from reaching His ear.”

“But list the child!” whispered Lady Lisle under her breath.

Honor lay a minute with her eyes closed, and then suddenly opened them, and clasped her little hands again.

“I forgot to ask Him one thing,” she said. “Please, Lord Jesus, not to send the angels, but come and fetch me Thyself.”

And her eyes closed again. Frances came softly in, and sat down near the bed; and a few minutes after her, Philippa looked in, and then came forward and stood in the window. She and Dr Thorpe looked at each other, and he nodded. Philippa whispered a word or two to Lady Lisle, who appeared to assent to something; and then she came to Frances.

“Dr Thorpe confirmeth me in my thought,” said she, “that ’twill not be long now; therefore I will fetch Father Dell.”

But Frances rose, and laid her hand on her sister’s arm.

“Nay, Philippa!” she said. “I will not have the child’s last hour disturbed.”

“Disturbed by the priest!” exclaimed Philippa, opening her eyes.

“What do ye chaffer about?” cried Lady Lisle, in her old sharp manner. “Go thy ways, Philippa, and send for the priest.”

The noise aroused the dying child.

“Must the priest come?” asked the faint little voice from the bed. “Will Jesus not be enough?”

Frances bent down to kiss her with a resolved look through all her pain.

“Ay, beloved—Jesus will be enough!” she answered, “and no priest shall touch thee.—Mother! forgive me for disobeying you this once. But I pray you, by all that you hold dear and blessed, let my child die in peace! If not for my sake, or if not for hers, for their sakes—the dead which have linked you and me—let her depart in peace!”

Philippa shook her head, but she sat down again.

“Have your way, Frank!” answered Lady Lisle, with a strange mingling of sorrow and anger in her voice. “There is more parting us than time or earth, as I can see. I thought it sore enough, when Jack set him on his dying bed against the priest’s coming; and then thou saidst never a word. But now—”

“There was no need,” said Frances in a quivering voice.

“Have thy way, have thy way!” said her mother again. “I was used to boast there was no heresy in my house. Ah, well! we live and learn. If thou canst fashion to reach Heaven by a new road, prithee do it. Methinks it will little matter for her. And when my time cometh, thou wilt leave him come to me, maybe.”

There was silence for a little while afterwards, and their eyes were all turned where Honor lay, the little life ebbing away like the tide of the ocean. Her eyes were shut, and her breathing slow and laboured. Suddenly, while they watched her, she opened her eyes, lifted her head, and stretched forth her arms with a cry of pleasure.

“Oh!” she said, delightedly. “Mother—it is not the angels—He is come Himself!”

What she saw, how could they know? The dying eyes were clear: but a film of earth over the living ones hindered their seeing Him. For an instant hers kept fixed on something unseen by the rest, and they shone like stars. Then suddenly a shiver came over her, her eyelids drooped, and she sank back into her mother’s arms.

“Is she gone?” asked Lady Lisle.

“With God,” said Dr Thorpe reverently.

Little Honor was buried at Crowe. The evening of her funeral found Isoult Avery in the painful position (for it is both painful and perplexing) of a general confidante. Each member of the family at Crowe took her aside in turn, and poured into her ear the special story of her troubles. This, as it always does, involved complaints of the others.

Of these complaints Lady Frances uttered the fewest, and had the greatest reason. And Isoult now found that Dr Thorpe was right; for more was troubling her than her maternal sorrow. In the first place, they were very poor. The Priory of Frithelstoke, granted some years before to Lord and Lady Lisle by the King their nephew, was all that remained to the widow: and from this piece after piece of land was detached and sold, to supply pressing necessities. The second trouble was of older standing. For the House of Lisle was divided against itself; and the Gospel had brought to them, not peace, but a sword. Nine years before, while he was yet Governor of Calais, Lord Lisle’s heart had been opened to receive the truth, while his wife’s remained closed. Frances followed her father, Philippa her mother. And there was in consequence a standing feud in the family, as to which religion should be taught to Arthur, the remaining child left to Frances. But the third trouble was at that moment pressing the sorest. Mr Monke of Potheridge, a gentleman of good family and fortune, had requested Lady Lisle’s permission to seek the hand of her widowed daughter. For Frances was Lady Lisle’s child by affinity in a double manner, being both her husband’s daughter and her son’s widow. Lady Lisle, under the impression that Mr Monke was of the “old doctrine” which she professed herself, not only gave him her leave, but aided him by every means in her power, in the hope that Frances might thus be converted from the error of her ways. Very bitter was this to the bereaved mother of the dead child. To be asked to marry again at all was no light matter; but to have the subject continually pressed upon her by the mother and sister of the lost husband whose memory she cherished with unabated devotion,—this was painful indeed. Philippa was less to blame in the matter than her mother. Being herself of less delicate mould than her sister-in-law, she really did not see half the pain she inflicted; and her energetic nature would have led her to endeavour to forget sorrow, rather than to nurse it, at any time. In her belief, Frances thought and mourned too much; she wanted rousing; she ought to make an effort to shake off all her ills, physical and mental. Philippa had honestly mourned for her dead brother, as well as for his child; but now it was over and done with; they were gone, and could not be recalled: and life must go on, not be spent in moping and moaning. This was Philippa’s view of matters; and under its influence she gave more distress to the sister whom she dearly loved than, to do her justice, she had the faintest idea that she was giving.

When Lady Frances had unburdened herself, by pouring her troubles into her friend’s sympathising ear, Philippa in her turn took Isoult aside and bespoke her sympathy.

“Frances is but foolish and fantastical,” she said, “or she should wed with Jack’s old friend Mr Monke, that would fain have her. My Lady my mother desireth the same much. It should ease her vastly as matter of money. This very winter doth she sell two parcels of the Frithelstoke lands, for to raise money; and at after, there is but Frithelstoke itself, and Crowe; after the which sold, we may go a-begging.”

“An’ you so do, Mrs Philippa,” said Isoult with a smile, “metrusteth you shall come the first to Bradmond, after the which you shall need to go no further.”

Last came Lady Lisle’s secrets. Her complaint was short and decided, like most things she said.

“Frank is a born fool to set her against Mr Monke. He would make her a jointure of eighty pounds by the year, and he spendeth two hundred by the year and more. And is a gentleman born, and hath a fair house, and ne father ne mother to gainsay her in whatsoever she would. Doth the jade look for a Duke or a Prince, trow? Methinks she may await long ere she find them.”

Isoult thought, but she did not say, that in all probability what Frances wished was only to be let alone. The result of these repeated confidences was that Isoult began to want a confidante also; and as Dr Thorpe had asked her to find out what was distressing Lady Frances, she laid the whole matter before him. When he was put in possession of as much as Isoult knew, he said thoughtfully—

“’Tis my Lady Lisle, then, that doth chiefly urge her?”

“I think so much,” she replied. “Methinks Mrs Philippa doth but follow my Lady her mother; and should trouble her but little an’ she did cease.”

“She will cease ere long,” he answered sadly.

“You think so, Dr Thorpe?” said Isoult, mistaking his meaning. “I shall verily be of good cheer when she doth so.”

“You do misconceive me, Mrs Avery,” said he. “I do not signify that she shall leave it of her good will; nay, nor perchance ere death take her. But that will be ere long.”

“Dr Thorpe!” cried Isoult. “You would say—”

“I would say,” answered he, “that my Lady Lisle’s life is scantly worth twelve months’ purchase. Methought it better to let you know so much, Mrs Avery, for I would not give you but Scarborough warning.” (Note 7.)

“Woe worth the day!” said Isoult.

“The Lady Frances is but ill off touching her health,” replied he, “but with her ’tis rather the soul than the body that doth suffer. Rest from sorrow and vexations might yet avail for her. But neither rest, nor physic, nor aught save a miracle from God, can avail, as methinks, for the Lady Lisle.”

When Isoult came down into the little parlour the day after, she was surprised to find there a stranger, in close conversation with Lady Lisle and Philippa. She hesitated a moment whether to enter, but Lady Lisle desired her to come in; so she sat down and began to work. Little of the conversation reached her, for it was conducted almost in whispers; until the door opened, and Lady Frances came slowly into the room. A quick colour rose to her cheek, and she slightly compressed her lips; but she came forward, the stranger, a dark good-looking man, kissing her hand before she sat down.

“Is there aught new, Mr Monke?” asked Philippa, changing the conversation.

“I have heard but one thing,” said he, “yet is that somewhat strange. My Lord’s Grace of Canterbury is become a Gospeller.”

“Wherefore, gramercy?” inquired Lady Lisle, scornfully.

“Wherefore not, I can say,” said Philippa. “’Twill scarce serve to curry Favelle.” (Note 8.)

“Very little, as I think,” answered Mr Monke. “As to the wherefore, Madam, mecounteth my Lord Archbishop is gone according unto his conscience. ’Tis his wont, as men do know.”

“Humph!” was all Lady Lisle said.

“Men’s consciences do lead them by mighty diverse ways now o’ days,” observed Philippa. “I little wis wherefore all men cannot be of one fashion of belief, as they were aforetime. Thirty years gone, all was peace in religion.”

“The dead are at peace ever, Sister,” said Frances, softly. “The living it is that differ.”

“‘Living,’ quotha!” exclaimed Lady Lisle. “Thy fashion of talk is aside of me, Frank.—But what think you, Mr Monke? Hath every man the born right to do that which is good in his eyes, or should he bow and submit his conscience and will unto holy Church and the King’s Highness’ pleasure?”

Lady Lisle spoke scornfully; but Frances turned and looked earnestly at Mr Monke. Isoult did the same, and she wondered to see his face change and his eyes kindle.

“Madam,” said he, “maybe your Ladyship doth but set a trap for to hear what I shall say touching this matter. But verily, if I must tell mine opinion, in matters so near to a man’s heart and conscience as are his soul and her affinity with God, methinks neither the King’s Highness’ pleasure, neither the teaching of the Church, hath much ado. I would say that a man should submit his will to God’s will, and his conscience to God’s Word, and no otherwise.”

Lady Frances’ eyes were radiant, and a quick flush was kindled on her cheeks. Her mother rose from her chair.

“Are you a Gospeller?” she said, yet in a tone from which no one could have guessed whether she were one herself or not.

“I am so, Madam,” answered Mr Monke, his colour deepening, but his voice as firm as ever.

“Then get you gone out of mine house,” cried she in a rage, “and come hither no more a-tempting of my daughter!”

Mr Monke rose, and endeavoured to kiss her Ladyship’s hand; but she drew it from him as if he had been a snake. He came over to where Isoult sat, and held out his hand.

“Farewell, Mrs Avery,” he said, in a low voice, which trembled a little. “I have made an end of all mine hopes in this quarter. Yet how could I have done other?”

“Forgive me, Mr Monke, I pray you,” she said, glancing at Frances’ face, whence the light and the colour had not yet died away. “I think rather, you have but now made a beginning.”

Isoult Avery returned home in anything but a happy frame of mind. Lady Lisle had turned completely against Mr Monke, and now taunted Frances with “caring nought for him save for his Gospelling;” while Philippa took part, first with one side, and then with the other. In all this turmoil Isoult could see but one bright spot, which was the hope of an approaching visit from Sir Henry and Lady Ashley. Lady Ashley (née Katherine Basset) was Lady Lisle’s second daughter, and there was some reason to expect, from the gentleness of her disposition, that her influence would be exerted on the side of peace.

A letter was waiting for Isoult Avery at Bradmond, from an old friend and mistress whom she had not seen since her marriage. It ran thus:—

“My Good Isoult,—But shall I call you so, now you be Mistress Avery? Choose you if you will not have it so, for until you deny it I shall call you so.

“Annis fareth right well, and is a maid of most sweet conditions. Now I see your brow to wrinkle, and that you shall say, How cometh my Lady of Suffolk to wit any thing of Annis? If all riddles were as readily solute as this, it were scantly worth the trouble to make them. But have here mine explication of the mystery. Three months gone, certain of my kin writ unto me from Spain, to desire me to search and find a discreet maiden of good degree, that should be apt at the tongues, and that she should be reader of English unto the Queen’s Grace of Spain, the Emperor Charles his mother. Truly I slept not on the matter, but endeavoured myself to serve them with all the haste in my power: but though maids be many, discreet maids be few, and discreet maids of good degree be fewer yet. Hereon writ I unto Mistress Anne Basset, the discreetest maid I know, to ask at her if she were ware of an other as discreet maid as herself, that would of her good will learn the Spanish tongue, and dwell in Spain. And what doth Mrs Anne but write me word in answer that there is in all this world no maid to compare for discretion with Annis Holland, which hath learned the French from her, and the Latin from Mr Hungerford, of the King’s house, and can chatter like a pie in both the one and the other. Wherefore I, being aweary of searching for discreet maids, did lay hands with all quickness and pleasure on this maid, and she is now in mine house a-learning of the Spanish from Father Alonso, and Don Jeronymo, and me. And so, being weary, I commend you and Mr Avery to God. From Grimsthorpe, this Wednesday, at six of the clock in the morning; and like a sluggard (Note 9), in my bed.

“Your assured loving friend,—

“K. Suffolk.”

The reader will need more explanation of this lively epistle than did Isoult. Anne Basset, the third of Lady Lisle’s four daughters, had been successively Maid of Honour to the four latter Queens of Henry the Eighth; during much of which period (with an interval for her Calais experience) Isoult Barry had been her bower-woman. When Isoult quitted Anne’s service for that of the Duchess of Suffolk, she begged that her old friend Annis Holland might be promoted to the vacant place,—a request readily granted by Anne. Since Isoult Barry became Isoult Avery, she had seen little of either Anne or Annis; and the transference of the latter to the Duchess’s service was no little wonder to her.

Meanwhile public news poured in on all sides. Mr Tremayne, who had occasion to journey to Exeter, came back armed at all points with fresh tidings of what was doing in the world; and as such live newspapers supplied all that was to be had, every body in Bodmin immediately asked him to dinner. Mr Tremayne declined the majority of the invitations; but he accepted that from Bradmond, which included his family also. So he, in a brown velvet suit, and Custance in the gravest drab, and Arbel with some bright blue ribbons neutralising her sober “sad-coloured” dress, and Robin, whose cap bore a white feather stuck in it in a style not suggestive of Quakerism, walked up to Bradmond one Thursday afternoon, to four-hours.

It is scarcely needful to explain that four-hours was a meal taken at four p.m., and in style and custom corresponding to the “afternoon tea” now in vogue. It may be more desirable to indicate of what it consisted, seeing that tea and coffee were yet mysteries of the future. There were cakes of all varieties; there was clotted cream; and of course there was junket. There were apple puffs, and syllabubs, and half-a-dozen different kinds of preserves. In the place which is now occupied by the tea-pot was a gallon of sack, flanked by a flagon of Gascon wine; beside which stood large jugs of new milk and home-brewed ale. One thing at least was evident, there was no fear of starvation. When the ladies had finished a little private conference, and all the party were gathered round the table, Mr Tremayne was requested to open his budget of news.

It was glad news for the Gospellers, for the grand item which in their eyes overwhelmed every other, was that Bishop Gardiner had left Court—not exactly in disgrace, yet with a tacit understanding that his stay was no longer welcome—and that the King’s uncle, the Earl of Hertford, now created Duke of Somerset, was placed at the head of public affairs. Somerset was a Lutheran, but just emerging from the twilight of Lutheranism into the full Gospel day.

After the great subject came the smaller ones. The knighting of the young King by his uncle Somerset; the creation of a large batch of peers,—Somerset himself and his brother, the brother of Queen Katherine (made Marquis of Northampton), the half-brother of Lady Frances Basset (created Earl of Warwick), and Wriothesley the persecutor, who was made Earl of Southampton. These were only a few of the number, but of them we shall hear again. Then came the account of the coronation on Shrove Sunday: how that grave, blue-eyed child of nine years old, had been crowned and anointed in the venerable Abbey, by Archbishop Cranmer, in the presence of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal; and how he had sat in the throne at the coronation-feast in the Hall, with the crown of England on the little head, and all the nobles at separate tables below. (Note 10.) And throughout England rang the cry, “God bless him!” for England’s hope was all in God and him.

Note 1. Arabella; originally spelt Orabele or Orabilia, now Arbel or Arbella.

Note 2. Constance, at this time pronounced Custance.

Note 3. The members of the Tremayne family are imaginary persons.

Note 4. A fictitious character.

Note 5. The lost adjective of compassion.

Note 6. “A Litel Geste of Robyn Hode.”

Note 7. “Scarborough warning—a word and a blow, and the blow come first.”—Then a very popular proverb.

Note 8.

“He that would in Court dwell
Must curry Favelle.”

Favelle was the mediaeval name for a chestnut horse, as Bayard for a bay, and Lyard for a grey. From this proverb has been corrupted our modern phrase “to curry favour.” The word is sometimes spelt Fauvelle.

Note 9. These expressions do no violence to her Grace’s epistolary style. They are to be found in her genuine letters.

Note 10. Diary of Edward the Sixth, Cott. Ms. Nero, c. x. folio 9, b.

Chapter Two.

The Silver and the Sable.

“‘We measure life by years and tears,’ he said;
‘We live a little; then life leaves us dead,
And the long grass grows greenly overhead.’”

While the party were still conversing, the post came in—always an important event at that day—and brought two letters for Isoult. The first was from Beatrice Dynham (fictitious persons), who had been her fellow bower-woman with the Duchess of Suffolk, and requested her old friend to remember her in the first week in May, when she was to marry Mr Vivian (a fictitious person), a gentleman of the late King’s household. She also informed her that the young Duke of Suffolk, a boy of eleven years, had been placed about the person of the young Sovereign, under the care of the Duke of Somerset. The second letter was from Crowe. Lady Ashley had arrived, and had tried hard to effect a truce between the contending parties, she hoped not entirely without good results. Lady Lisle had been obliged to sell two pieces of land from the Frithelstoke estate, called Choldysoke and Meryfield; and Philippa Basset sent Isoult word that it was well Meryfield was sold, seeing that all mirth had departed from them long ago.

“When shall my mistress your friend be wed, Mrs Avery?” very gravely inquired Jennifer Trevor, Isoult’s bower-woman.

“The first week in May,” repeated Isoult, referring to the letter.

“Ay, methought you read so much,” responded Jennifer, looking still more solemn.

“Come, out with your thought, Mrs Trevor,” said Tremayne; “for I do see plainly that you have one.”

“Why, Mr Tremayne,” replied she, “’tis but that I would not be wed in May for all the gold in Cornwall.”

“But how if your servant (suitor) were a sailor, Mrs Jennifer, and should set forth the last day of May?” queried Avery.

“Then,” she said, “I would either be wed in April, or he should wait till he came back. But ’tis true, Mrs Avery, a May babe never liveth, no more than a May chick thriveth; nor is a May kit ever a mouser. ’Tis the unluckiest month in all the year. I never brake in all my life a steel glass (looking-glass) saving once, and that was in May; and sure enough, afore the same day next May died one on that farm.”

“One of the household?” asked Avery.

“Well, nay,” answered Jennifer, “’twas but the old black cow, that had been sick a month or more.”

“Ah!” was the grave answer; “her dying was a marvel!”

“But there was a death, Mr Avery!” urged Jennifer.

“An’ there had not been,” said he, “I count you should have drowned the cat, to make one. But, Mrs Jennifer, in sober sadness, think you that God keepeth record of the breaking of steel glasses and the ticking of death-watches?”

“Eh, those death-watches!” cried she; “I were out of my wit if I heard one.”

“Then I trust you shall not hear one,” answered he, “for I desire that you should keep in your wit.”

“Well, Mr Avery!” said Jennifer, “I could tell you somewhat an’ I listed.”

“Pray give us to hear it,” replied he. “What is it? and whom threatens it? The red cow or the tabby cat? Poor puss!” and he stooped down and stroked her as she lay on the hearth.

“There shall come a stranger hither!” pursued Jennifer, solemnly. “I saw him yestereven in the bars of the grate.”

“What favoured he?” asked Avery.

“’Twas a fair man, with a full purse,” she replied.

“Then he is welcome, an’ he come to give us the purse,” was the answer. “It shall be an other post, I cast little doubt; for he shall be a stranger, and maybe shall have full saddlebags.”

“You shall see, Mr Avery!” said Jennifer, pursing her lips.

“So I shall, Mrs Jennifer,” responded he. “But in how long time shall he be here?”

“That I cannot tell,” said she.

“Then the first fair man that cometh, whom you know not, shall serve?” answered he. “’Tis mighty easy witchery that. I could fall to prophesying mine own self at that rate. It shall rain, Mrs Jennifer, and thunder likewise; yea, and we shall have snow. And great men shall die, and there shall be changes in this kingdom, and some mighty ill statutes shall be passed. And you and I shall grow old, Mrs Jennifer (if we die not aforetime), and we shall suffer pain, and likewise shall enjoy pleasure. See you not what a wizard I am?”

Tremayne laughed merrily as he rose to depart.

“I shall look to hear if Mrs Trevor be right in her prophecy,” said he.

“We will give you to know that in a month’s time,” answered John Avery rather drily.

In less than a month the news had to be sent, for a stranger arrived. It was Mr Monke. Jennifer was delighted, except for one item. She had announced that the stranger would be fair, and Mr Monke was dark. In this emergency she took refuge, as human nature is apt to do, in exaggerating the point in respect to which she had proved right, and overlooking or slighting that whereon she had proved wrong.

“I might readily blunder in his fairness,” she observed in a self-justifying tone, “seeing it did but lie in the brightness of the flame.”

“Not a doubt thereof,” responded John Avery in a tone which did not tranquillise Jennifer.

When there happened to be no one in the hall but himself and Isoult, Mr Monke came and stood by her as she sat at work.

“Wish me happiness, Mrs Avery,” he said in a low but very satisfied voice.

Isoult Avery was a poor guesser of riddles. She looked up with an air of perplexed simplicity.

“Why, Mr Monke, I do that most heartily at all times,” she answered. “But what mean you?”

“That God hath given me the richest jewel He had for me,” he said, in the same tone as before.

Then Isoult knew what he meant. “Is it Frances?” she asked, speaking as softly as he had done.

“It is that fair and shining diamond,” he pursued, “known among men as the Lady Frances Basset.”

For a moment Isoult was silent, and if Mr Monke could have read the thoughts hidden behind that quiet face, perhaps he would not have felt flattered. For Isoult was wondering in her own mind whether she ought to be glad or sorry. But the next moment her delicate instinct had told her what to answer.

“Mr Monke,” she said, looking up again, “I do most heartily wish happiness to both you and her.”

And Mr Monke never guessed from any thing in the quiet face what the previous thought had been.

The next day brought a letter to Isoult from Lady Frances herself; and the last relic of Jennifer’s uneasiness was appeased by the fair hair and beard of the messenger. She only said now that there might have been two strangers in the fire; she ought to have looked more carefully.

All was smooth water now at Crowe. Lady Lisle had given way, but not until Frances plainly told her that she had urged this very match earnestly before, and now that she was reluctantly endeavouring to conform to her wishes, had turned round to the opposing side. Philippa was more readily won over. Lady Frances had told Mr Monke honestly that a great part of her heart lay in the grave of John Basset; but that she thoroughly esteemed himself, and such love as she could give him he should have.

“I trust,” she wrote to Isoult, “that we may help, not hinder, the one the other on the way to Heaven. We look to be wed in June next, after the new fashion, in the English tongue. Pray meanwhile for me, dear heart, that I may ‘abide in Him.’”

When Isoult came down-stairs from the careful perusal of her letter, she heard Dr Thorpe’s voice in the hall, and soon perceived that her husband and he were deep in religious conversation.

“Softly, Jack!” Dr Thorpe was saying as she entered. “Methinks thou art somewhat too sweeping. We must have priests, man (though they need not be ill and crafty men); nor see I aught so mighty wrong in calling the Lord’s Table an altar. Truly, myself I had liefer say ‘table’; yet would I not by my good will condemn such as do love that word ‘altar.’ Half the mischief that hath arisen in all these battles of religion now raging hath come of quarrelling over words. And ’tis never well to make a martyr or an hero of thine adversary.”

“I have no mind to make a martyr of you, my dear old friend,” answered Avery, “in whatsoever signification. I see well what you would be at, though I see not with you. And I would put you in mind, by your leave, that while true charity cometh of God, there is a false charity which hath another source.”

“But this is to split straws, Jack,” said the Doctor.

“I pray you pardon me,” replied he, “but I think not so. I know, Doctor, you do incline more toward the Lutheran than I, and therefore ’tis like that such matters may seem smaller unto you than to me. But when—”

“I incline toward the truth,” broke in Dr Thorpe, bluntly.

“We will both strive our best so to do, friend,” gently answered Avery. “But, as I was about to say, when you come to look to the ground of this matter, you shall see it (if I blunder not greatly) to be far more than quarrelling over words or splitting of straws. The calling of men by that name of priest toucheth the eternal priesthood of the Lord Christ.”

“As how?” queried the old man, resting his hands on his staff, and looking Avery in the face.

“As thus,” said he. “Cast back your eyes, I pray you, to the times of the old Jewish laws, and tell me wherefore they lacked so many priests as all the sons of Aaron should needs be. I mean, of course, so many at one time.”

“Why, man! one at once should have been crushed under the work!” answered Dr Thorpe. “If one man had been to slay Solomon his twenty-two thousand sacrifices, he should not have made an end by that day month.”

“Good. Then the lesser priests were needed, because of the insufficiency of the high priest for all that lacked doing?”

“That I allow,” said Dr Thorpe, after some meditation.

“See you what you allow, friend?” Avery answered, softly. “If, then, the lesser priests be yet needed, it must be by reason that the High Priest is yet insufficient, and the sacrifice which He offered is yet incomplete.”

“Nay, nay, Jack, nay!” cried the old man, much moved, and shaking his head.

“It must be so, dear friend. To what good were those common and ordinary priests, save to aid the high priest in that which, being but a man, he might not perform alone? Could the high priest have sufficed alone, what need were there of other? But our High Priest sufficeth, and hath trodden the wine-press alone. His sacrifice is perfect, is full, is eternal. There needeth no repeating—nay, there can be no repeating thereof. What do we, then, with priests now? Where is their sacrifice? And a priest that sacrificeth not is a gainsaying of words. Friend, whoso calleth him a priest now, by that word denieth the sufficiency of the Lord Jesus.”

“And whoso calleth the Table an altar—” began Dr Thorpe.

“Is guilty of the same sin,” pursued he; “the same affront unto the Majesty of Him that will not give His glory to an other.”

“They mean it not so, I verily believe,” responded Dr Thorpe, a little uneasily. “They mean assuredly to do Him honour.”

“And He can see the difference,” said Avery, tenderly, “betwixt the denial of Peter that loved Him, and the betrayal of Judas that hated Him. Our eyes are rarely fine enough for that. More than once or twice, had the judgment lain with us, we had, I think, condemned Peter and quitted Judas.”

“I would all this variance betwixt Lutherans and Gospellers might cease!” resumed Dr Thorpe, rather bitterly. “When we should be pointing our spears all against the enemy, we are bent on pricking of each other!”

“A vain wish, friend,” answered he. “So far as I can see, that hath been ever since the world began, and will last unto the world’s end. I am not so fond as to look for Christ’s kingdom until I see the King. The fair Angel of Peace flieth in His train; but, methinks, never out of it.”

“It seemeth,” said Dr Thorpe, “as though the less space there were betwixt my doctrine and thine, the more bitterly must thou and I wrangle!”

“Commonly it is so,” replied Avery.

“And while these real battles be fighting,” pursueth he, “betwixt Christ’s followers and Christ’s foes,—what a sight is it to see the followers dividing them on such matters as—whether childre shall be baptised with the cross or no; whether a certain garment shall be worn or no; whether certain days shall be kept with public service or no! Tush! it sickeneth a man with the whole campaign.”

Both rose, but after his farewell Dr Thorpe broke out again, as though he could not let the matter drop.

“Do the fools think,” asked the old man, “that afore the angels will open the gate of Heaven unto a man, they fall a-questioning him—to wit, whether salt were used at his baptism; whether his body were buried looking toward the East or the West; whether when he carried his Bible he held it in his right hand or his left? Dolts, idiots, patches! (Fools.) It should do me a relief to duck every man of them in the Tamar.”

“And cause them to swallow a dose of physic at afterward?” laughed Avery.

“It were hemlock, then,” said Dr Thorpe, grimly.

“Nay, friend, not so bad as that, methinks. But shall I give you one dose of a better physic than any of yours? ‘By this shall all men know that ye are My disciples, if ye have love one toward another.’”

“How are they to know it now?” said Dr Thorpe, despairingly. “How are they to know it? Well, I know not; maybe thou art not so far-off, Jack; but for all other I know—”

And away he went, shaking his grey head.

Lady Frances and Mr Monke were married when the summer came. John Avery and Isoult were invited to the wedding; and Philippa sent a special message requesting that their little Kate might be included; for, said she, “Arthur shall be a peck of trouble, and an’ he had one that he might play withal he should be the less.”

“List thee, sweet heart! thou art bidden to a wedding!” said Jennifer to Kate.

“What is a wedding?” inquired four-year-old Kate, in her gravest manner. “Is it a syllabub?”

“Ay, sweet heart; ’tis a great syllabub, full of sugar,” answered Jennifer, laughing.

“That is as it may be, Mrs Jennifer,” observed Dr Thorpe, who was present. “I have known that syllabub full of vinegar. That is, methinks, a true proverb,—‘If Christ be not asked at the match, He will never make one at the marriage-feast.’ And ’tis a sorry feast where He sitteth not at the table.”

“I think He shall not be absent from this,” said Isoult, softly.

So Kate went to Crowe with her parents; but her baby brother Walter, a year old, was left behind in charge of Jennifer.

The evening after their arrival, the bride took Isoult apart, and, rather to her surprise, asked her if she thought that the dead knew what was passing in this world. To such a question there was but one answer. Isoult could not tell.

“Isoult,” she said, her eyes filling with tears, “I would not have him know of this, if it be so. And can that be right and good which I would not he should know?”

Isoult needed not to ask her who “he” was.

“Nay, sweet heart!” said she, “thinkest thou he would any thing save thy comfort and gladness? He is passed into the land where (saith David) all things are forgotten—to wit, (I take it) all things earthly and carnal, all things save God; and when ye shall meet again in the body, it shall be in that resurrection where they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are equal unto the angels.”

“All things forgotten!” she faltered. “Hath he forgot me? They must sleep, then; that is a kind of forgetting. But if I were awake and witful, I never could forget him. It were not I that did so.”

“Let us leave that with God, beloved,” answered Isoult.

“O Isoult,” she murmured, her tears beginning to drop fast, “I would do God’s will, and leave all to Him: but is this God’s will? Thou little knowest how I am tortured and swayed to and fro with doubt. It was easier for thee, that hadst but a contract to fulfil.”

Isoult remembered the time before she had ever seen her husband, when it did not look very easy. She scarcely knew what she ought to answer. She only said—

“Dear heart, if thou do truly desire to do only God’s will, methinks He will pardon thee if thou lose thy way.”

“It looketh unto me at times,” she said, “as if it scarce could be right, seeing it should lift me above want, and set me at ease.”

This was a new thought to Isoult, and she was puzzled what to say. But in the evening she told John, and asked his advice. Much to her astonishment, he, usually gentle, pulled to the casement with a bang.

“Is that thine answer, Jack?” said Isoult, laughing.

“Somewhat like it,” answered he drily. “’Tis no marvel that ill men should lose the good way, when the true ones love so much to walk in byepaths.”

“Thou riddlest, Jack,” said Isoult.

“Tell me, dear heart,” he answered, “doth God or Satan rule the world?”

“God ruleth the world, without doubt,” said she, “but if Satan spake sooth unto our Lord, he hath the power of the glory of it.”

“Did Satan ever speak sooth, thinkest?” he replied smiling somewhat bitterly. “Howbeit to leave that point,—doth God, or doth Satan, mete out the lives of God’s people, and give them what is best for them?”

“God doth, assuredly,” said she.

“Well said,” answered he. “Then (according unto this doctrine) when God giveth His child a draught of bitter physic, he may with safety take and drink it; but when He holdeth forth a cup of sugared succades (sweetmeats), that must needs be refused. Is it so?”

“Jack!” wonderingly cried Isoult.

“There be that think so,” he made answer, “but I had scarce accounted my Lady Frances one ere now. Set the thing afore her in that light. This is the self spring whence cometh all the monasteries and nunneries, and anchorites’ cells in all the world. Is God the author of darkness, and not of light? Doth He create evil, and not good? Tell her, when the Lord holdeth forth an honeycomb, He would have her eat it, as assuredly as, when He giveth a cup of gall into her hand, He meaneth she should drink it. And methinks it can scarce be more joyful to Him to watch her drink the gall than eat the honeycomb.”

The last words were uttered very tenderly.

When Isoult told Frances what John had said, the tears rose to her eyes.

“O Isoult! have I been wronging my God and Father?” she said in a quivering voice. “I never meant to do that.”

“Tell Him so, sweet heart,” answered Isoult.

Isoult thought her husband was right, when, on the following day, she came across the text, “The Lord that hath pleasure in the prosperity of His people.” But in her innocent way she showed it to John, and asked him if he thought it meant that it was a pleasure to the Lord Himself to bestow happiness on His people. John smiled at her, as he often did.

“Sweet heart,” he answered, “doth it please or offend thee, when thou dost kiss Kate, and comfort her for some little trouble, and she stayeth her crying, and smileth up at thee?”

“Why, Jack, ’tis one of my greatest pleasures,” answered Isoult.

Very gravely and tenderly he answered,—“‘As one whom his mother comforteth, so will I comfort you.’”

On the 17th of June, Isoult Avery wrote in her diary:—

“The church-bells are making music in mine ears as I sit to write. An hour gone, Frances and Mr Monke went forth, no longer twain, but one. God go with her, and bless her, this dear sister of mine heart, and comfort her for all she hath lost—ay, as ‘one whom his mother comforteth!’”

The ink was scarcely dry from this entry when Philippa Basset marched in, with unrecognised step, for her shoes were new.

“Why, Mrs Philippa! your new shoes wrought that I knew not your step,” said Isoult, with a smile.

“New shoes!” said she, “yea, in good sooth. I flung both mine old ones after Frank; and had I had an hundred pairs in my cupboard, I had sent them all flying.”

The thought of a hundred pairs of shoes falling about, was too much for Isoult’s gravity.

“One of them smote the nag on his tail,” continued Philippa; “I warrant you it gave him a smart, for I sent it with all my might. ’Tis a good omen that—saving only that it might cause the beast to be restive.”

“Believe you in omens, Mrs Philippa?” answered Isoult.

“Not one half so much as I do believe in mine own good sense,” said she. “Yet I have known some strange things in my time. Well, what thinkest thou of this match of Frank’s?”

“I trust with all mine heart she may find it an happy and a comfortable,” was the reply.

“Ay, maybe a scrap of happiness shall not hurt her overmuch,” said Philippa in her dry way. “As to Mr Monke, I will wish him none, for methought from his face he were as full as he could hold; and an’ he had some trouble, he demeriteth it, for having away Frank.”

And so away she went, both laughing.

News that stirred every Gospeller’s heart reached Bradmond ere the Christmas of 1547. The Bloody Statute was repealed; and in every parish church, by royal order, a Bible and a copy of the Paraphrases of Erasmus were set open, for all the people to read.

But the repeal of the Bloody Statute, ardently as she desired it, was not without sad memories to Isoult Avery. The Act now abrogated had brought death, four years before, to one very dear to her heart; and it was not in human nature for her to hear of its destruction without a sigh given to the memory of Grace Rayleigh. In the churchyard at Bodmin were two nameless graves—of a husband and wife whom that Bloody Statute had parted, and who had only met at last in its despite, and to die. And when Grace had closed the eyes of her beloved, she lay down to her own long rest. Her work was finished in this world; and very welcome was the summons to her—“Come up higher.”

“From her long heart-withering early gone,
She hath lived - she hath loved - her task is done.”

Yet how was it possible to wish her back? Back to pain, and sorrow, and fear, and mournful memory of the far-off husband and the dead child! Back from the lighted halls of the Father’s Home, to the bleak, cold, weary wilderness of earth! Surely with Christ it was far better.

When Isoult came in comforted after her visit to Grace’s grave, Barbara, her parlour-maid, met her at the door.

“Mistress, a letter came for you in all haste shortly after you went forth,” said she. “I had come unto you withal, had I known whither you were gone.”

Isoult took the letter from Barbara’s hand. On the outside was written—the energetic ancient form of our mild direction “To be delivered immediately”—a rather startling address to the postman.

“Haste, haste, for thy life, haste!”

With forebodings travelling in more than one direction, Isoult cut the ribbon which fastened the letter and broke the seal. There were not a dozen lines written within; but her heart sank like lead ere she had read half of them.

The letter was from Crowe, and was signed by Mr George Basset, the eldest surviving son of Lady Lisle. He desired John Avery and his wife to hasten with all speed to Crowe, for Lady Lisle had been taken ill suddenly and dangerously, and they feared for her life. There was also an entreaty to bring Dr Thorpe, if he could possibly come; for at Crowe there was only an apothecary. Doctors, regularly qualified, were scarce in those days. All the scattered members of the family within reasonable distance had been summoned.

In as short a time as it was possible to be ready, John and Isoult set forth with Dr Thorpe, who said he could accompany them without more than temporary inconvenience to any of his patients. It was two days’ journey to Crowe; and Isoult’s heart sank lower and lower as they approached the house. But when they reached the end of the long lane which led to it, they suddenly encountered, at a turn in the road, the writer of the letter which had summoned them. It was an instant relief to see Mr George Basset smile and hold out his hand in welcome.

“Better news, thank God!” he said at once. “My mother hath rested well these two nights past, and is fairly amended this morrow. I am glad with all mine heart this bout is well over. It hath feared us no little, as I can tell you.”

With lighter hearts they rode to the door, where Isoult had no sooner alighted than she found herself drawn from behind into the arms of Lady Frances Monke, who had arrived the day before. Isoult followed her into the little parlour, where in a large carved chair she saw a very stiff and rich silk dress; and on looking a little higher, she found that chair and silk were tenanted by Mrs Wollacombe, Lady Lisle’s youngest daughter.

“Ah, Isoult, art thou come?” inquired that young lady, playing with her chatelaine. “I hope thou hast left thy childre behind. These childre be such plagues.”

“Hand me thine for a silver groat,” interrupted Philippa, coming in.

“Thou art welcome, an’ thou choose to take them,” replied her sister. “They do but rumple my ruffs and soil my gowns. They be for ever in some manner of mischievousness. I cannot keep them out thereof, for all I have two nursemaids, and Jack to boot.”

“Thou art little like, Mall, an’ thou add not thyself to the bargain,” answered Philippa, in her old mocking way. “Isoult, but for the pleasure of seeing thee, I could be sorry I sent after thee. My Lady my mother is so sweetly amending (thank all the saints for it!) that I am little pleased to have put thee to such charges and labour.”

“I pray you say no word of that, Mrs Philippa,” said Isoult, “for in very sooth it giveth me right hearty pleasure to see you.”

“Dr Thorpe,” continued Philippa, turning to him, “I am right glad to welcome you, and I thank you with all mine heart that you are come. Will you grant us the favour of your skill, though it be less needed than we feared, and take the pain to come up with me to see my Lady?”

Dr Thorpe assenting, she took him up-stairs; and the next minute Mr Monke, coming in, greeted his friends cordially. Then came Lady Ashley, sweet and gentle as ever, and afterwards Sir Henry Ashley and Mr Wollacombe.

“Mrs Philippa,” said Isoult, when she returned, “we will not be a charge on her Ladyship. Jack and I will lie at the inn, for assuredly she cannot lodge all us in this her house.”

“I thank thee truly, dear heart,” responded Philippa affectionately. “In good sooth, there is not room for all, howsoever we should squeeze us together; wherefore we must need disparkle (scatter) us. Verily, an’ we had here but James and Nan, there were not one of us lacking.”

“How fareth Mr James?” returned Isoult; “is he yet a priest?”

“He is now in London, with my Lord of Winchester,” (Bishop Gardiner) answered Philippa. “Nay, so far from priesthood that he is now on the eve of his wedding, unto one Mrs Mary Roper (daughter of the well-known Margaret Roper), grand-daughter of Sir Thomas More.”

It was late in the evening before Isoult could contrive to speak with Dr Thorpe in private; and then she asked him to tell her frankly how he thought Lady Lisle.

“Better this time,” said he, significantly.

“Think you as you did, then?” she asked.

“Ay, Mrs Avery,” said he, sadly, “I think as I did.”

After this, Isoult saw Lady Lisle herself, but only for a moment, when she struck her as looking very ill; but Philippa assured her that there could be no comparison with what she had been two days before.

The next morning, Isoult, with Lady Frances, Lady Ashley, and Philippa, sat for an hour in the invalid’s chamber. The conversation turned upon public affairs; and at last they began to talk of the pulling down of the roods, which Philippa opposed, while both Frances and Isoult pronounced them idols.

“Fight it out an’ ye will,” said the sick lady, laughing feebly, “only outside of my chamber.”

“Go thou down, Kate, and fetch up Mr Monke first,” responded Philippa; “for I am well assured my first blow should kill Frank an’ she had not his help.”

Thus playfully they chatted for a while, but Isoult fancied that Lady Lisle was scarcely so angrily earnest in her opposition to the doctrines of the Gospel as was generally her wont. Presently up came the untidy Deb, in all her untidiness, to say that dinner was served; and was parenthetically told by Philippa that she was a shame to the family.

“Which of us would you with you, Mother?” asked Frances.

“Why, none of you,” she replied. “Go down all, children; I lack nought; I am going to sleep.”

And she laid back her head on the pillow of her chair.

“Shall I not abide, Madam?” suggested Lady Ashley.

“No, child,” she answered. “When you come above ye shall find me asleep, if all go well.”

So, seeing she preferred to be left alone, they all went to dinner. When they returned, Lady Frances, Lady Ashley, and Isoult, went towards Lady Lisle’s chamber. Lady Ashley opened the door softly, and put her head in.

“Doth she sleep, Kate?” whispered Frances.

“Softly!” said Lady Ashley, withdrawing her head. “Let us not disturb her—she is so sweetly sleeping.”

Sleeping! ay, a sleep that should have no waking, From that sleep not the roaring of the winds, not the thunder of the tempest, not even the anguished voices of her children, should ever arouse her again.

“She had no priest, after all,” said Frances under her breath to Isoult, the same evening.

Lady Ashley added very softly, “She said we should find her asleep, if all went well. We found her asleep. Is it an omen that all did go well?”

Isoult could make no answer.

Where Honor Plantagenet was buried, no record remains to tell us, unless it be some early entry in a parish register of Cornwall or Devon. It might be in the family burying-place of her own kindred, the Grenvilles of Stow; or it might be with her first husband, Sir John Basset, at Umberleigh. Only it may be asserted without fear of contradiction, that it was not with the royal lord whom she had so bitterly lamented, and whose coffin lay, with many another as illustrious as his own, in the old Norman Chapel of the Tower. No stranger admixture can there be on earth, than among those coffins crowding that Norman Chapel,—from traitors of the blackest dye, up to saints and martyrs.

The first news which the Averys heard after their return home, was not encouraging to that religious party to which they belonged. Bishop Gardiner had been set free, and had gone back to his Palace at Farnham, Mr James Basset accompanying him. This was an evil augury; for wherever Gardiner was, there was mischief. But it soon appeared that Somerset kept his eye upon the wolf, and on his first renewed attempt upon the fold, he was quietly placed again in durance. Meanwhile the leaven of reformation was working slowly and surely. On Candlemas Day there were no candles in the Chapel Royal; no ashes on Ash Wednesday; no palms on Palm Sunday. At Paul’s Cross, after eight years’ silence, the earnest voice of Hugh Latimer was heard ringing: and to its sound flocked such a concourse, that the space round the Cross could not hold them, and a pulpit was set up in the King’s garden at Westminster Palace, where four times the number of those at the Cross might assemble. For eight years there had been “a famine of the word of the Lord” in England, and now men and women came hungering and ready to be fed. Perhaps, if we had borne eight years’ famine, we should not quite so readily cry out that the provisions are too abundant. An outcry for short sermons has always hitherto marked the spiritual decadence of a nation. “Behold, what a weariness is it!” There is another inscription on the reverse side of the seal. “I have no pleasure in you, saith the Lord of Hosts.”

The English service began with the following Easter. Confession—not yet abolished, yet so far relaxed as to be required of none who preferred to omit it—was made in English, and the Lord’s Supper was also celebrated in English at the King’s Chapel.

Isoult Avery began to think that she was to spend the year 1548 in visiting. She had not been long back from Crowe, when a letter reached her from her own home at Wynscote, inviting her to the wedding of her brother Hugh with Mrs Alice Wikes, which was to take place on the fourteenth of May. Jennifer Trevor shook her head in her most ominous style at the date. But Hugh, though a sailor, was nevertheless not at all superstitious, so far as concerned the point in question; and he had already sturdily declined to change the date selected by Alice, though half the gossips round Wynscote prophesied all manner of consequent evil. For a maiden of the sixteenth century, Alice also was remarkably free from the believing in omens and the observing of times: so Hugh and she were married on the fourteenth of May, and Isoult Avery was never able to discover that any harm had come of it.

On arrival at Wynscote, they found the house full and running over. Not only the family who ordinarily occupied it were there—namely, Mrs Barry, the widowed mother; Henry Barry, the head of the house, who was by calling a gentleman farmer, and by inclination the gentleman without the farmer; his wife Margaret, who would have made a better farmer than himself; and his three exceedingly noisy and mischievous boys, by name Michael, William, and Henry. But these, as I have said, were not by any means all. There was the bridegroom Hugh, who grumbled good-humouredly at being banished to Farmer Northcote’s for the night, for there was no room for him except in the day-time; there was Bessy Dennis, the eldest sister, and John Dennis her husband, and William, Nicholas, Anne, and Ellen, their children. No wonder that Isoult told her husband in confidence that she did not expect to lose her headache till she reached home. Will Barry was the incarnation of mischief, and Will Dennis, his cousin and namesake, followed him like his shadow. The discipline which ensued was of doubtful character, for Bessy’s two notions on the subject of rearing children were embodied in cakes or slaps, as they were respectively deserved, or rather, as she thought they were: while Mr Barry’s ideas of education lay in very oracular exhortations, stuffed with words of as many syllables as he had the good fortune to discover. His wife’s views were hardly better. Her interference consisted only in the invariable repetition of a formula—“Come, now, be good lads, do!”—which certainly did not err on the side of severity. But the grandmother, if possible, made matters worse. She had brought up her own children in abject terror and unanswering submission; and Nature, as usual, revenged herself by causing her never to cross the wills of her grandchildren on any consideration. Accordingly, when Will set fire to the barn, let the pony into the bean-field, and the cows into Farmer Northcote’s meadow, Grandmother only observed quietly that “Boys will be boys”—an assertion which certainly could not be contradicted—and went on spinning as before.

The amazement of Isoult Avery—who had not previously visited home for some time—was intense. Her childhood had been a scene of obedience, both active and passive; a birch-rod had hung behind the front door, and nobody had ever known Anne Barry hesitate to whip a child, if there were the slightest chance that he or she deserved it: the “benefit of the doubt” being commonly given on the side of the birch-rod. And now, to see these boys—wild men of the woods as they were—rush unreproached up to the inaccessible side of Grandmother, lay violent hands upon her inviolable hood, kiss her as if they were thinking of eating her, and never meet with any worse penalty than a fig-cake (the Devonshire name for a plum-cake)—this was the source of endless astonishment and reflection to Isoult. On the whole, she congratulated herself that she had left Kate and Walter at Bradmond.

The bride was a stranger to Isoult. She talked to Bessy about her, and found that lady rather looked down upon her. “She was all very well, but—”

Ah, these unended buts! what mischief they make in this world of ours!

Then Isoult talked to Hugh, and found that if his description were to be trusted, Alice Wikes would be no woman at all, but an angel from Heaven. Bessy offered to take her sister to visit the bride, and Isoult accepted the offer. Meanwhile, she sketched a mental portrait of Alice. She would be short, and round-faced, and merry: the colour of her hair and eyes Isoult discreetly left blank.

So, three days before the wedding, her future sisters-in-law called upon the bride.

They found Alice’s mother, Mrs Wikes, busy with her embroidery; and as soon as she saw who her guests were, she desired Mrs Alice to be summoned. After a little chat with Mrs Wikes upon things in general, the door opened to admit a girl the exact opposite of Isoult’s imaginary picture. Alice proved tall, oval-faced, and grave.

The wedding was three days later, and on Sunday. Blue was the colour of the bride’s costume, and favel-colour—a bright yellowish-brown—that of the bridesmaids. After the ceremony there was a banquet at Wynscote, and dancing, and a Maypole, and a soaped pig, and barley-break—an old athletic sport, to some extent resembling prisoner’s base. Then came supper, and the evening closed with hot cockles and blind-hoodman—the latter being blindman’s buff. And among all the company, to none but John and Isoult Avery did it ever occur that in these occupations there was the least incongruity with the Sabbath day. For they only were Gospellers; and at that time the Gospellers alone remembered to keep it holy. Rome strikes her pen through the third and fourth commandments, if less notoriously, yet quite as really, as through the second.

The Averys returned home about the 20th of May. They had left all well, and they found all well. And neither they nor any one else saw on the horizon a little cloud like a man’s hand, which was ere long to break in a deluge of hail and fire upon Devonshire and Cornwall.

One evening in the beginning of June, when John Avery sat at the table making professional notes from a legal folio before him, and Isoult, at work beside him, was beginning to wonder why Barbara had not brought the rear-supper, a knock came at the door. Then the latch was lifted, and Mr Anthony Tremayne walked in.

“Heard you the news in Bodmin?” was the question which followed close upon his greeting.

“No,” answered John. “I have not been in Bodmin for nigh a week, nor hath any thence been here.”

“One Master Boddy, the King’s Commissioner for Chantries,” saith he, “came hither o’ Friday; and the folk be all up at Bodmin, saying they will not have the chantries put down; and ’tis thought Father Giles is ahead of them. I much fear a riot, for the people are greatly aggrieved.”

“I pray God avert the same, if His will is!” exclaimed Isoult.

This was the beginning of the first riots in Cornwall and Devon. There were tumults elsewhere, but the religious riots were worst in these parts. They began about the chantries, the people disliking the visitation: and from that they went to clamouring for the re-enactment of the Bloody Statute. On the 4th of June there were riots at Bodmin and Truro; and Father Giles, then priest at Bodmin, and a “stout Papist,” helped them to the best of his ability. But on the 6th came the King’s troops to Bodmin, and took Father Giles and others of the rioters, whom they sent to London to be tried; and about the 8th they reached Truro, where Mr Boddy, the King’s Commissioner for the chantries, had been cruelly murdered five days before. For a little while after this, all was quiet in Bodmin; but the end was not come yet.

Father Giles, the priest of Bodmin, was hanged at London on the 7th of July for his share in the riots: and Government fondly imagined that the difficulty was at an end. How fond that imagination was, the events of the following year revealed.

Anthony Monke, the eldest child of Mr Monke and Lady Frances, was born in the summer of 1548 (date unknown). In June of that year, a civil message from the Protector reached Bishop Gardiner at Farnham, requesting him to preach at Court on the 29th, Saint Peter’s Day, following. This message perturbed Gardiner exceedingly. James Basset found him walking up and down his chamber, his hands clasped behind him, uttering incoherent words, indicative of apprehension; and this continued for some hours. On the 28th the Bishop reached London; on the 29th he preached before the King; and on the 30th he was in the Tower. Probably the wily prelate’s conscience, never very clear, had already whispered the cause before he quitted Farnham.

On the 8th of September, at Sudeley Castle, Gloucestershire, died the Lutheran Queen, Katherine Parr. She had taken a false step, and had lived to mourn it. Neglecting the command not to be unequally yoked together with unbelievers, she had married Sir Thomas Seymour very shortly after King Henry’s death. It can be no lack of charity to call a man an unbeliever, a practical Atheist at least, whose daily habit it was to swear and walk out of the house when the summons was issued for family prayers. Poor Katherine had all the piety on her own side, but she had not to bear the penalty she had brought on herself long. She left behind her a baby daughter, Mary Seymour, who was sent to the care of the Duchess of Suffolk; for very soon after the Queen’s death, Seymour was arrested and committed to the Tower. He died on Tower Hill, on the 20th of March following. That Seymour was a bad man there can be no question; whether he really were a traitor is much more doubtful. The Lutheran party accused his brother the Protector of having brought about his death. It might be so; yet any evidence beyond probability and declamation is lacking. “It was Somerset’s interest to get rid of his brother; therefore he is responsible for his death.” This may be assertion, but it surely is not argument.

Meanwhile in high places there was a leaven quietly working, unperceived as yet, which was ere long to pervade the whole mass. The government of Edward the Sixth had come into power under the colours of the Gospel. The Protector himself was an uncompromising Gospeller; and though many Lords of the Council were Lutherans, they followed at first in his wake. There was one member of the Council who never did so.

Nearly fifty years before that day, Henry the Seventh, whose “king-craft” was at least equal to that of James the First, had compelled the young heiress of Lisle, Elizabeth Grey, to bestow her hand upon his unworthy favourite, Edmund Dudley. It is doubtful whether she was not even then affianced to Sir Arthur Plantagenet (afterwards Lord Lisle), whose first wife she eventually became; but Henry Tudor would have violated all the traditions of his house, had he hesitated to degrade the estate, or grieve the heart, of a son of the House of York. This ill-matched pair—the covetous Edmund and the gentle Elizabeth—were the parents of four children: the first being John Dudley, who was born in 1502. It is of him I am about to speak.

His countenance, from a physiognomist’s point of view, might be held to announce his character. The thick, obstinate lips, the cruel, cold blue eyes, intimated with sufficient accuracy the disposition of the man. Like all men who succeed, Dudley set before him one single aim. In his case, it was to dethrone Somerset, and step into his place. He held, too, in practice if not in theory, the diabolical idea, that the end sanctifies the means. And to hold that view is to say, in another form, “I will be like the Most High.”

Such was John Dudley, and such the goal at which he aimed. And he just touched it. His hand was already stretched forth, to grasp the glittering thing which was in his eyes the crown imperial of his world, and then God’s hand fell on him out of Heaven, and “he was brought down to Hell, to the sides of the pit.”

We shall see how this man prospered, as the tale advances: how he said in his heart, “There is no God.” But to Isoult Avery it was a standing marvel, how John Dudley could be the brother of Frances Monke. And the distance between them was as wide as from Hell to Heaven; for it was the distance between a soul sold to the devil, and a temple of the Holy Ghost.

The first introduction of Kate Avery to the grave and decorous behaviour required in church, was made on the third of February, 1549. Suffice it to say, that Isoult was satisfied with the result of the experiment. The new priest’s name was Edmund Prideaux; and he was a Lutheran. Coming home from church, John and Isoult fell in with the Tremaynes; and were told by Mr Tremayne that all was now settled, and there was no fear of any further riots.

Some weeks later, Robin and Arbel Tremayne again rode over to Bradmond for four-hours. Arbel’s favourite was Walter, but Robin was fonder of Kate, who on her part was greatly attached to him. While they were there Dr Thorpe came in. When Robin and Arbel were gone home, the old man remarked in confidence to John Avery, that he did not by any means share Mr Tremayne’s opinion that all was settled at Bodmin. He thought rather that the present tranquillity was like the crust of a volcano, through which the fiery force might at any moment burst with little warning.

That which finally broke the crust seemed at first a very little matter. A proclamation came from the King, permitting land-owners to enclose the waste lands around, within certain limitations. And the old Socialist spirit which is inherent in man rose up in arms at this favour granted to the “bloated aristocrats”—this outrage upon “the rights of the people.” For the three famous tailors of Tooley Street, who began their memorial, “We, the people of England,” had many an ancestor and many a successor.

Mr Tremayne enclosed a piece of common behind his garden; John Avery enclosed nothing. The storm that fell swept away not only the guilty, but as is generally the case, the innocent suffered with them.

Chapter Three.

Going Forth.

“O Day of endless brightness, dawn o’er these darkened skies!
O Land of changeless beauty, break on these weary eyes!
O Home whence no outgoing shall blind us with our tears—
O rest and peace! O life and love! O summer of all years!”

The night of the fourth of July came hot and sultry, without a breath of wind. Isoult Avery had sunk to sleep after a weary day. The very warmth brought languor, and Walter had been naughty and peevish, needing all her patience; and Mr Tremayne had had a large party to supper, of which she had been one; and a multitude of little worries had pressed upon her—those worries which seem too insignificant to repeat or care about, yet form in the mass a large portion of our troubles. Hardly knowing it herself, her last thought before she slept had been a prayer for rest. But it was not rest that she really needed, and therefore it was not rest she was to have. Our Father giveth us often what we ask, but always what we need.

From a troubled dream Isoult was now aroused, by a sound which at first wove itself into her dream, and made her imagine herself in the great hall of the Palace of Westminster, where carpenters were busy pulling down the throne.

Knock, knock, knock!

Isoult hardly roused herself enough to recognise what the reality was which answered to her imaginary carpenters, and John Avery slept calmly.

The knocking was repeated more loudly.

“Jack!” said Isoult at last—much too faintly to arouse any but a very light sleeper.

Again came the knocking, and this time a voice with it. “Mr Avery!”

Isoult, thoroughly awake at last, sat up, and succeeded after a minute in bringing John to consciousness. The knocking went on. John sprang up, and threw open the window.

“Who are you, and what do you lack?” he called to the unseen visitant below.

“Let me in, and in haste, for God’s sake!” cried a voice in answer, which both the listeners immediately recognised as Robin Tremayne’s.

“There is somewhat gone wrong,” said John, and hurrying down, he unbarred the door, and let in Robin. Isoult followed as quickly as she could.

“Why, Robin, lad, what is the matter?” she cried in dismay. “What can ail thee? Is somewhat amiss at Tremayne?”

For Robin’s face was white with terror, and he trembled from head to foot, and his clothes were soiled and torn.

“All that can ail me in this world,” murmured the poor lad, dropping upon the settle. “There is no Tremayne. The enclosure men came thither yestereven, and burned every brick of it to the ground.”

“The rascals!” exclaimed Avery. “And what came of thy father, and mother, and sister, poor Robin?”

The lad looked up with tearless eyes. “I am all of us.”

Isoult was silent. This was a sorrow beyond human comforting. It had been mockery to bid him be of good cheer then.

“My father had enclosed, as you know,” resumed Robin in a low voice. “And these rioters would no enclosures.”

“Would to God he had let it alone!” murmured Avery under his breath.

“God would not, Mr Avery,” quietly answered Robin, “or he had let it alone.”

And dropping his head upon his hands, the poor boy rocked himself to and fro silently. He seemed very faint and weary, yet Isoult doubted if he could eat; but she fetched a jug of milk, and set it before him, bidding him drink if he could.

“It would choke me, Mrs Avery,” he answered. “But you are exceeding good unto me.”

“Poor child!” said Avery, pityingly. “Thou wilt be safe here at the least. I have not enclosed, I thank God.”

“I thought you would take me in for a few days,” said the lad, “until I may see my way afore me, and win some little heart to pursue it.”

“Thy way shall be my way, Robin,” replied Avery tenderly. “Twenty years and more gone, when I was a stripling about thy years, thy father helped me unto my calling with a gift of twenty pounds, which he never would give me leave to pay him. Under thy leave, I will pay it thee.”

“You are exceeding good,” he said again, not lifting his head.

“And how didst thou get away, poor Robin?” asked Isoult.

“I dropped from the window,” said he. “My chamber window was low built; and when I heard the horrid shouts and yells at the front of the house, I jumped out at the back, and hid me in the bushes beyond. And there, not daring to creep away till they were gone, lest they should discover me, I heard and saw all.”

“Then the bushes took not fire?” suggested Avery.

“Nay,” said he, “the fish-pond lieth atween them and the house, mind you.”

He was silent a little while. Then he said softly, under his breath—“Mr Avery, when I saw the fiends lay hold upon Mother and Arbel, I thought God must surely strike from Heaven for us. But when, ten minutes later, I saw the flames shooting up to the welkin, I thanked Him in mine heart that He had taken them to His rest ere that.”

“But, Robin, lad! didst thou not strike for them?” cried Avery, who could not bear anything that seemed like cowardice.

“Should I, think you?” he made answer, in that low, hopeless tone that goes to the heart. “There were seventy or more of the enclosure men. I could but have died with them. Maybe I ought to have done that. I think it had cost less.”

“Forgive me, Robin!” said John, laying his hand on the lad’s shoulder. “Poor heart! I meant not to reproach thee. I spake hastily, therefore unadvisedly.”

“Let me have thee abed, poor Robin,” said Isoult. “’Tis but one of the clock. Canst thou sleep, thinkest?”

“Sometime, I count I shall again,” he answered; “but an’ I were to judge by my feeling, I should think I never could any more.”

“Time healeth,” whispered Avery, rather to his wife than Robin; but the lad heard him.

“God doth, Mr Avery,” he said. “And they are with God.”

“Art thou less, Robin?” asked Avery tenderly.

“God is with me; that is the difference,” he replied.

Robin Tremayne had always been a quiet, thoughtful boy; and even when the first gush of his agony was over, there remained upon him a gentle, grave pensiveness which it appeared as if he would never lose.

The next day proved as uneventful as other days at Bradmond. No rioters came near them.

In the evening Dr Thorpe appeared. When the old man saw Robin, he cast up his hands, and thanked God.

“Lad,” said he, “I thought thou wert dead.”

“I count God hath somewhat for me to do,” answered Robin. “But if He hath not, I would I were.”

“Hush thee, Robin dear!” said Isoult, uneasily.

“What wouldst thou be, Robin?” inquired Kate, her eyes wide open.

“Dead and buried,” answered he.

“Then may I be dead and buried too?” she asked.

“Nay, Kate, not so!” cried Isoult, in dismay.

“It will not do, Robin,” said Dr Thorpe, smiling. And his face growing grave, he pursued, “Lad, God setteth never too hard a lesson, nor layeth on us more than we are able to bear.”

“Too hard for what?” answered Robin. “There have been that have had lessons set that they might not learn and live. Is that not too hard?”

“Nay, child!” Dr Thorpe answered. “If it be not too hard to learn, and keep hold on eternal life, the lesser life of this little world is of no matter.”

“Nor the happiness of it, I suppose?” said Robin, gloomily.

“The plant God careth to grow now in us is holiness,” he answered. “That other fair flower, happiness, He keepeth for us in His own garden above, where it is safer than in our keeping. ’Tis but stray fragments and single leaves thereof that find their way down hither.”

“I think so,” said Robin, bitterly.

“Lad, lad! kick not against the pricks!” exclaimed Dr Thorpe, more sternly. “God’s will is the best for us. His way is the safe way, and the only way.”

“Easy to say so,” answered Robin, slowly. “And it was easy to think so—yesterday morning.”

Dr Thorpe looked on him and did not reply.

“O Robin!” cried Kate, running to him from the door. “The sun is shining again. It was raining so fast all the morn; and now the sun is come, and all the little drops are so pretty in the sunshine. Come and see! They are so pretty shining on the roses.”

Robin rose to follow her, with the first smile (though a mournful one) that Isoult had seen flit across his face.

“Kate is the better comforter, Dr Thorpe, and hath learned the sweeter lesson,” he said. “At least she hath learned it me. You would have me count the chastening joyous, even at this present: God’s word pointeth to the joyousness to come. ‘Blessed are they that mourn,—for they shall be comforted.’”

And he went after Kate.

For a few days more after Robin’s coming all was quiet. No one came to inquire for him, and they began to hope the worst was over. But late on the Sunday evening, which was the seventh of July, suddenly there came a rapping on the door. And there, to the surprise of all, stood Dr Thorpe.

“Welcome, good friend!” said Avery; “but your occasion should be great to have you forth this even.”

“So it is,” said he. “Is it not bed-time, Mrs Avery?”

“In very deed, Doctor,” she answered. “We were going above but now.”

“Leave the lad and the maids go, then,” said he, “and you and Jack bide a space.”

So the maids and Robin departed.

“What is it, Doctor?” asked Avery, when they were gone.

“What it is, Jack,” said Dr Thorpe, who sat in the corner with his hands upon his knees, “is a great burning mountain that is at this moment quiet. What it may be, is a great rushing and overflowing of the fiery matter, that shall deal death all around. And what it will be—the Lord God knoweth, and He only.”

“You speak in parables, Doctor,” replied Avery.

“The safest matter to speak at this time,” answered he.

“You look for a new riot, an’ I take you rightly.”

“Hardly for a riot,” the other answered. “Is the door fast?”

“I bolted it after you,” said Avery.

Doctor Thorpe drew his chair closer, and spoke in a low, earnest voice. “Not a riot,” he said. “Say an uprising—a civil war—a mighty rebellion of all that be under, against all that be above. Men that will know no ruler, and bear no curb—little afraid to speak evil of dignities, or to do evil against them. ‘We are, and there is none beside us:’ yea, ‘we are the people, and wisdom shall die with us.’”

“There be such spirits alway,” answered Avery, “but, I thank God, rarely so many come together as shall do a mischief.”

“There shall be mischief enough done in Cornwall and Devon within the next month or twain,” said Dr Thorpe, gloomily. “I see more than you; and I am come to tell you of somewhat that nearly toucheth both you and me. A year gone or thereabout, I was a-riding from Bodmin on the Truro way, when I was aware of a little ragged lad that sat by the roadside, the tears a-rolling down his not over clean face. I drew bridle, and asked the lad what ailed him. He told me his mother did lie at death’s door, not far thence. ‘Hath she any doctor or apothecary?’ quoth I. ‘Nay,’ saith he, ‘neither the priest nor the apothecary would come without money, and father hath not a penny.’ Well, I ’light from mine horse, and throwing his bridle athwart mine arm, I bade the lad lead me to his mother, for I was a physician, and could maybe do her some good. I found her under an hedge, with nought save a ragged rug to cover her, twain other children beside clamouring for bread, and her husband, a rugged sullen-faced man, weaving of rushes for baskets. All they were dark-faced folk, and were, I take it, of that Egyptian (gipsy) crew that doth over-run all countries at times. I saw in a moment that though beyond their skill, her disorder was not (with God’s blessing) beyond mine; yet it did require speedy remedy to serve her. The physic that I fetched for her quickly gave her ease, and I was something astonied at the blessings which the husband did heap upon me when I departed from them. Methought, though he were rugged of face, yet he must be a man that had some power of affection. Well, the woman amended, and all they left that part. I heard no more of them sithence, until late last night, as I was a-riding home, very nigh the same place, all suddenly an hand was laid upon my bridle. An highwayman, thought I; and I remembered that I had little money upon me. But in the stead of easing me of my purse, mine highwayman put unto me a strange question.—‘What is your name, and where dwell you?’—‘Verily,’ said I, ‘I might ask the same of you. But sithence I am in no wise ashamed neither of my name nor my dwelling-place, know you, that the one is Stephen Thorpe, and the other is Bodmin. What more would you?’—‘Your calling?’—‘A physician.’—‘Enough,’ quoth my strange questioner. ‘I pray you to alight from your horse, and have no fear of me. I will do you no harm; I would not hurt you for a thousand pieces in good red gold. I want neither your money (howsoever much it be) nor your valuables that may be on you. Only, I pray you, let us two whisper together a season.’—‘In good sooth,’ said I, ‘I have nought to whisper unto you.’—‘But I have to you,’ saith he, ‘and what I say must not be spoken aloud. You would trust me if you knew what I would have.’—‘Well, friend,’ quoth I, ‘for a friend metrusteth you be, I will do as you bid me. All the money I have upon me is but some few shillings, and to them, if you lack, you are welcome. For valuable matter, I carry none; and I myself am an old man, no longer of much service unto any. If you desire me to ply my trade of healing, I am content; but I warn you that by murdering of me you should gain little beside an evil conscience.’—So with that I ’lighted down.—‘Throw the bridle on your arm,’ saith he, ‘and follow me.’—So, linking his arm in mine, he drew me (for it was pitch dark, and how he found his way I know not) aside from the road, unto a small forsaken and ruinated hut that stood on the common.—‘Stand where you be a moment,’ quoth he; and striking the tinder, he lit a rush candle. ‘Now, know you me?’ saith he. ‘Not a whit better than afore,’ quoth I.—He blew out the candle.—‘You have forgot my face,’ he saith. ‘Mind you a year gone, ministering unto a dying woman (as was thought), in this place, under an hedge, whereby you did recover her of her malady?’—‘I know you now,’ said I; ‘you are that woman’s husband.’ ‘Then you are aware,’ answereth he, ‘that I would do you no hurt.’—‘Say on,’ quoth I.—‘Suffer me,’ saith he, ‘to ask you certain questions.’—‘So be it,’ said I.—Then he,—‘Is your house in Bodmin your own?’—‘It is so,’ answered I, marvelling if he were about to ask me for mine house.—‘Sell it,’ quoth he, ‘and quickly.’—‘Wherefore?’ answered I.—‘I passed no word touching your questions,’ quoth he, grimly.—‘In good sooth,’ said I, ‘this is a strange matter, for a man to be bidden to sell his house, and not told wherefore.’—‘You shall see stranger things than that,’ he answered, ‘ere your head be hoarier by twain s’ennight from now.’—‘Well! say on,’ quoth I.—‘Have you,’ pursueth he, ‘any money lent unto any friend, or set out at usury? You were best to call it in, if you would see it at all.’—‘Friend,’ said I, ‘my money floweth not in so fast that my back lacketh it not so soon as it entereth my purse.’—‘The better,’ quo’ he.—‘Good lack!’ said I, ‘I alway thought it the worse.’—‘The worse afore, the better now,’ he answered. ‘But once more—have you any friend you would save from peril?’—And I,—‘Why, I would save any from peril that I saw like to fall therein.’—‘Then,’ quoth he, ‘give them privily the counsel that I now give you. If the sun find you at Bodmin,—yea, any whither in Cornwall or Devon—twain s’ennights hence, he shall not set on you alive. Speak not another word. Mount your horse, and go.’—I strave, however, to say another word unto him, but not one more would he hearken. ‘Go!’ he crieth again, so resolute and determinedly that I did go. Now, I fear greatly that this man did tell me but truth, and that some fearful rising of the commons is a-brewing. I shall surely take his counsel, and go hence. What say you, Jack? Shall we go together?”

There was dead silence for a minute. Isoult’s head was in a whirl.

At last her husband said slowly, “What sayest thou, Isoult?”

“Jack,” she replied, “whither thou art will I be.”

“And that shall be—whither?” asked Dr Thorpe. “It must be no whither within Cornwall or Devon.”

“But we have not enclosed,” objected Avery, answering rather his thoughts than his words.

“I doubt,” he answered, “whether they shall wait to ask that.”

“For me,” Avery resumed, “I have friends in London, and Isoult likewise; and if I thought it should be long ere we may turn again, thither should I look to go rather than otherwhere. But an’ it be for a few weeks, it should be unworth so long a journey.”

“Weeks!” cried Dr Thorpe. “Say months, Jack, or years. For my part, I look not to see Bodmin again. But there be thirty years betwixt thee and me.”

“In that case,” said he, “and methinks you have the right—I say, London, if Isoult agree therewith. There should be room in that great city, I account, for both you and me to ply our several callings.”

“Whither thou wilt, be it, Jack,” said his wife, softly. “But Mother, and Hugh, and Bessy! And Frances at Potheridge, and Mrs Philippa at Crowe—what is to come of them, and who shall warn them?”

Dr Thorpe shook his head.

“Little time for all that, Mrs Avery,” answered he. “Send, an’ you will, to the two places—Potheridge and Crowe; but leave Potheridge to warn Wynscote, and Wynscote to warn Matcott and Bindon.”

“Let Robin take the brown horse,” suggested Avery, “and ride post with a letter from thee to Mrs Philippa; and Tom the white nag, and I will send him likewise to Mr Monke. I might have gone myself to one of the twain, but—”

“Nay, Jack! bide thou with me,” entreated Isoult, fearfully.

“Well said,” answered Dr Thorpe.

“Well!” Avery replied, “there seemeth little time to choose or bowne (prepare) us; but as the Italians have it, ‘Che sarà, sarà.’ (‘What will be, will be.’) When set we forth, Doctor?”

“Now, if we could,” answered Dr Thorpe, significantly.

Preparations for the journey were made in haste, and without waiting for daylight. Robin and Tom were sent on horseback to Crowe and Potheridge, starting with the earliest gleam of dawn. Isoult summoned Jennifer, Barbara, and Ursula the cook, and asked whether they would cast in their lot with hers or remain in Cornwall. Jennifer answered that she feared the journey more than the commons, and the fourth of July was a very unlucky day on which to commence any undertaking: she would stay where she was. Ursula and Barbara, both of whom had been with their mistress ever since her marriage, replied that they would go with her now.

“Nor have I any of mine own that I may well go unto,” Ursula added. “Mine only brother dwelleth in Somerset, and he is but an husbandman, with little wages and a great sort of childre; and beside him I have no kin.”

“My mother is wed again,” Barbara explained, “and my father that now is should grudge to be troubled with me; and my sister, that is newly wedded, hath but one chamber in a poor man’s house. I will hie after you, Mistress, an’ you will have me.”

This question being settled, another arose. Who should be left at Bradmond? Tom was too necessary for the journey; besides which, he was ignorant of the arts of reading and writing, and would not be able to send word how matters went on after their departure. In this emergency, while Isoult and John were talking over the subject, Barbara presented herself with a deprecatory courtesy, or rather lout.

“Mistress,” said she, “if you and our master bethink not yourselves readily of any that should serve for to dwell here in your absence, I would you would think on Marian my sister, and her husband (fictitious persons). They should, I do know, be right willing to be set in charge; and Simon Pendexter (that is my brother) can right well read and write, for he hath been a schoolmaster; and is (though I say it) a sad and sober honest man, such as I do know you should be willing to use in this matter.”

This information settled the question. Barbara was despatched to ask Simon and Marian if they would be willing to come, and she returned with a reply that they were not only willing, but thankful for the offer, and had no fear of the rioters.

In such arrangements time passed on until the Friday evening, when Robin reached home from Crowe, bringing Philippa Basset with him. She expressed her gratitude for the warning sent, and said that she was ready to go to London.

“As for Crowe,” she said, “’tis Arthur his house, not mine; and to me all places be nigh alike. I set some seeds that I looked to see come up this next spring; but that is all I have to lose, save an old gown or twain, and the like. And,” added she, turning away her head, “they will not harm what alone I care for—my dead.”

On the Sunday morning came Dickon, Dr Thorpe’s man, with a message from his master, desiring that all should be ready to set out by five o’clock on the following morning. “Bodmin,” said he, “was plainly ill at ease: men gathered together in knots in the streets, and the like, with all manner of rumours and whisperings about; and if they were to go, go they must.”

“But Tom is not yet back,” said Isoult.

It was settled, however, that it would not do to wait for him; but to their relief, two or three hours before the time fixed for starting, Tom came. He brought letters from Mr Monke to John, and from Lady Frances to Isoult; but he arrived alone. Mr Monke thanked them heartily for their loving care, and would readily undertake to warn Wynscote and Combe; but he declined to join them. Potheridge was well fortified with walls and moat; and he had seven able-bodied men-servants, and double the number of tenants, who could be called within at a few minutes’ notice: the house was well provisioned, and his armoury equipped: and he ended his letter by saying,—“My trust is in God. You do well to go; yet methinks I do as well to abide.”

“Metrusteth all shall be well,” said Isoult, with a sigh; “yet if I might have known how it should be with them, I had gone with an heart the lighter.”

“A wilful man,” responded Philippa; “let him be.”

Lady Frances said in her letter, “Dear heart, God is not gone from Devon. Fear not for us, only pray; and wheresoever we be, and howsoever, let us abide in Him.”

At last the preparations were completed. Simon and Marian Pendexter had been installed in office, with orders to write in a month: three sumpter mules were laden with the family luggage: and the last farewells were taken. The party mounted their horses. First rode John Avery on Bayard, with his wife behind him on the pillion; then, on Blanche, a white mare, came Ursula, with Kate strapped before her; on the black farm mare, which had no particular name, rode Tom, with Barbara behind, and Walter before him; and lastly, on a wiry white nag, came Robin, with Philippa on the pillion. So they moved slowly away from the home which, for aught they knew, they might never see again.

It was a trial which cost Isoult Avery many tears. Barbara, too, wept; but no one else, only when Philippa spoke, it was in that short, constrained manner with which some people hide sorrow. Little Kate was in high glee, until she saw her mother weep; and then she looked grave and thoughtful—for about ten minutes.

When they reached the end of the lane which led into the high road from Bradmond, they found Dr Thorpe seated on his bay horse, awaiting them. Behind, on a brown nag, was Dickon, with a bundle strapped at his back.

“Come, friends mine!” cried Dr Thorpe. “If you urge on your horses no faster, we shall sleep on the common to-night.” Then as Bayard came up with him, he added in a lower tone, “It was too true, Jack. Fourteen houses were sacked in Bodmin last night.”

“Of them that had enclosed?”

“Mostly, but not all,” he answered. “They opened the cellars, and set the conduits a-flowing with wine; then, having well drunken, marched to the church, where they cast the new service-book into a bonfire (Note 1); and at after surrounded Father Prideaux (a fictitious person) his house, shouting and singing in uproarious wise, calling upon him to come forth and set himself at their head. (A fair body to be head of!) By God’s providence, he was not within; but it was full two hours ere they would depart, for all the handmaid’s telling of them that her master was from home. At long last they did go thence, and down the streets, shrieking and yelling like fiends.”

“And is it over, think you?” suggested Avery.

“Is it begun?” answered Dr Thorpe. “Tidings came yestre’en of riots in Somerset; and, Jack, the commons have taken Exeter.”

“Taken Exeter!” cried John and Isoult in a breath.

“Taken Exeter!” repeated he. “What think you now?”

“Lord, have mercy upon us!” said Isoult under her breath.

“A letter is come from the King,” pursued Dr Thorpe, “exhorting the commons to obedience and patience, and they shall receive redress of their griefs.”

Philippa and Robin now came ambling alongside, for here they could ride three abreast.

“But what profess the commons to be their griefs?” said Isoult; “for I did never yet rightly understand.”

“Firstly,” said Dr Thorpe, “they do allege the young age of the King, and the having a Protector over them.”

“What foolishness!” exclaimed Avery. “Would they have the King grow unto manhood in a day? or think they that he abideth a child of set purpose?”

“Then,” pursueth Dr Thorpe, “their second matter is, the ’stablishing of Lutheranism within the realm. They would fain see the mass set up again, and have the Six Articles back.”

“The Bloody Statute!” cried Isoult. “God forgive them!”

“And the third matter is the enclosures,” added he.

“Methinks men are not over weighted with religion, that be so ready to pull it down,” remarked Philippa.

“That hangeth on whether it be truth or error,” replied he.

“Nay,” said she, “you draw lines too fine for me. What I learnt in my youth is truth enough for me.”

“So do many think,” said Avery. “But there is yet an other question, Mrs Basset, which they shall some day have to front, though they will not now; and that is, whether it be truth enough for God?”

But to that she made no answer.

The fugitives journeyed as quietly as possible, yet as quickly as was safe, until the Saturday. And then, about four o’clock, as they gained the ridge of a hill, Dr Thorpe, who rode first, suddenly drew bridle.

“Back, all of you!” cried he. “Hide you behind the rocks yonder. An immense crowd of men is in the valley, advancing this way. If these be the commons, God be our help, for we can have none other.”

“We can sell our lives dearly, at least,” said Avery, looking to his matchlock.

“We that be men were best to light off our horses,” pursued Dr Thorpe, “and leave the women thereon, that they may fly the faster if need be. Set them and the childre behind, and thou, Jack, with me and Tom and Dickon, stand out afore.”

“They shall fly cruel slow on yon old black jade,” said Tom, grinning.

“Master,” inquired Dickon (who was a Somerset man), “if they catch I, what shall they do to I?”

“Hold your idle tongues!” answered Dr Thorpe sternly, “and see that your arms are in good order. Robin, shall we count thee a man, or as one of the childre?”

“You shall not count me to be guarded, but to guard,” said Robin, stoutly.

“Well said,” replied Dr Thorpe.

“Truly, good Doctor, on my word,” interposed Philippa, “but you shall not count me as a sely woman. I have handled a matchlock afore now, and I can knock down a man an’ I have hold of a poker. I stand to the front, an’ it like you.”

“Well said, brave heart!” answered he. “So do.”

So set, they awaited the death that might be at hand, and prayed to God to guard them. All were brave enough but Dickon, and he shivered like an aspen leaf.

“Thou white-livered (our ancestors believed literally that cowards had white livers) dolt!” cried Dr Thorpe sharply, and took the matchlock out of his hands. “Go behind for a child as thou art.”

“And give me his matchlock,” said Philippa.

“Take it,” he answered. “You are ten times over the man that he is.”

Slowly they heard the tramp of feet advancing nearer and nearer. All were silent now. The feet gained the ridge of the hill—they crossed it—they came forward on the road. All at once Avery, who was next that side, threw down his matchlock with a shout.

“Forward, friends!” cried he triumphantly. “These are no rebels—these are the King’s Majesty’s troops. See you not the royal lions flying at the van? God be with the armies of England!”

The revulsion was great from such terror to comfort, joy, and thankfulness. All came forward. The leader of the army looked at the group, stayed his horse, and lifted his visor. A cry of joy broke from Philippa and Isoult, for they saw beneath his helm a face that they had known well in the old Calais days.

“Mrs Philippa Basset!” exclaimed he in amazement; “at the least if mine eyes bewray me not. And Mrs Barry! God keep you both! How come you here? and do you lack aid?”

“Your eyes be true men, my Lord Grey de Wilton,” (Note 2) said Philippa, “and right glad are mine to light on no unfriendlier face. Truly at the first we took you for rebels, and had it not been for your coats and your standard, I had picked you off with my matchlock ere I wist who it were.”

Lord Grey laughed merrily.

“Nay,” said he, “we are marching against the rebels, by the King’s gracious commission. What may I do for you, my mistresses? Whither go you?”

“We be on our way to London,” answered Philippa, “if it like the saints to have us there.”

“It may like the troops, maybe, the better,” said Lord Grey. “Well, I will then send with you certain picked soldiers, good men and true, to see you safe on your way, if God permit.”

“We thank you heartily, and will accept of your goodness with a very good will,” she replied. “And what news, now?”

“Very ill news,” answered he. “The rebels be up all through Somerset, and Kent, and Essex, and Lincoln, and Norfolk, and Suffolk.”

“Thanks be to our Lady!” cried she; “none of those lie in our way to London.”

“Laud be to God therefor!” answered Lord Grey, gravely; “yet be wary. How soon may Dorset and Wilts be up likewise? My Lord of Northampton layeth siege to Norwich, and ere this, I trust, is my Lord Russell and his troops around Exeter. But our work is not yet done by many a day’s labour.”

“I pray you, noble sir,” asked Dr Thorpe, “if I may aventure myself to speak unto your Lordship, what think you of this rebellion? Shall it be a thing easily crushed, or a more graver matter?”

“I know not,” said Lord Grey, turning his head to the speaker. “It should seem a very grave matter—another Jack Cade’s rebellion. Yet it may be subdued readily. I know not. This only I know—that ‘unless the Lord keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain.’”

Lord Grey, turning, called to him one of his officers, and spoke quietly with him a moment. Then turning again to Philippa, he said, “Look you here, Mrs Basset, an’t like you. I will send with you twelve picked men, that shall be a guard unto you, and shall not leave you until (by God’s allowing), they have you safe in London. And there come,” pursued he to the captain of the men, “report yourself unto Sir Francis Jobson, and await his order. Stay—take with you a token.”

Lord Grey drew a ring from his finger, and gave it to that officer who seemed to be in authority as captain over the twelve men forming the guard. Then bowing low, he bade God keep them; and the troops marched forward at his giving the word.

The little group journeyed on towards Dorset, their guard marching before with their halberds in their hands. The captain (a fictitious person) had some talk with Dr Thorpe and Avery; he told them he was a London man, and that his mother—a widow—dwelt in the Minories; and both were Gospellers. So in due time they reached Dorchester; and thence Salisbury, both which they found quiet. And at Windsor they heard a rumour that Norwich had yielded; which on coming to London they found true. They heard further that Exeter was taken by Lord Russell; and that Lord Grey de Wilton had reached Cornwall.

The captain of their guard took them to his mother, Mistress Brent, (fictitious persons) whom they found a pleasant and pious woman. The next day they began looking for a house; and being inclined to settle in the Minories (Note 3), Mrs Brent told them of a comfortable house which was empty next door to her own. John and Isoult went to see it, liked it, and took it. Philippa went to her sister, Lady Elizabeth Jobson, in the Tower; and Dr Thorpe agreed to remain with the Averys until he should make up his mind what to do. Perhaps it was difficult to make up; for without any regular agreement on the subject, yet to everybody’s satisfaction, they formed one family thereafter.

Meantime there was sad work at Exeter.

The Lord Privy Seal (John Russell, afterwards first Earl of Bedford), who was sent there with his troops, finding his own forces fewer than the rebels, stayed at Honiton, while the rebels besieged Exeter: and right valiantly the men of Exeter kept their town. (King Edward, from whose Diary these details are taken, spells these names Honington and Outrie.) The rebels burnt the gates, but those within “kept them off by hot fire, till they had made a rampart; and when they were undermined, they drowned the mine and the powder with water.” The Lord Privy Seal, hearing of their bravery, endeavoured to go round a bye-way to reinforce them; but the rebels, having spies, discovered his movements, and cut down all the trees between Saint Mary Ottery and Exeter. Lord Russell then burnt the town, intending to return home. But the rebels held a bridge against him, forcing him with his small band to fall upon them; when he gained a great victory, killing some hundreds of them, and retreating homeward without any loss of his own men. Then Lord Grey came to his help, and together they raised the siege of Exeter.

At Bodmin, Sir Anthony Kingston, who was sent there, hanged the Mayor, a fervent Papist: and Father Prideaux would have fared ill at his hands, had not all the Lutherans and Gospellers in the town risen in his favour, and testified that he had not joined with other priests in the rising (for the priests urged and fomented all these risings), but was a good Protestant and faithful subject.

The fugitives were at first too busy to have much time for lamentation. But when the pressure of constant occupation was relaxed, and the furnishing and arranging of matters ended, they began to feel a little like ship-wrecked men, thrown upon a strange coast. Isoult Avery was astonished to find what a stranger she felt in London, where she had lived some years with Anne Basset and the Duchess of Suffolk. One afternoon in September she was peculiarly oppressed by this sense of solitude in a crowd—the most painful solitude of any—but was trying to bear up bravely. She sat at her work, with Kate at her hornbook beside her, when the door was unlatched, and Isoult heard her husband’s well-known voice say,—“Come in,—you shall see her now.”

Isoult rose to receive her unknown visitor.

He was a man of some fifty years or upwards, neither stout nor spare, but tall, and of an especially stately and majestic carriage. His face was bronzed as if with exposure to a southern sun; his hair and eyes were dark, and he had a long dark beard. Grave and deliberate in all his actions, his smile was exquisitely sweet, and his expression thoughtfully gentle.

“Isoult,” said her husband, “this is Mr Rose, an ancient friend of mine, and now parson of West Ham, nigh unto Richmond. He would be acquaint with thee, and so would his wife and daughter.”

Isoult rose and louted to the visitor, and gave him her hand; and to her surprise, Kate, who was commonly very shy with strangers, went up at once to Mr Rose, and suffered him to lift her upon his knee and kiss her.

“I knew not you were a man so much to childre’s liking,” said Avery; “methinks I never saw my little maid so friendly unto a stranger afore.”

“I love them dearly,” answered Mr Rose. “And I pray you, Mrs Avery, if it will please you to take the pain to visit my wife, that you bring this little maid withal.”

This was Isoult’s first introduction to one of the most remarkable men of the sixteenth century. Not so, perhaps, as the world sees eminence; but as God and His angels see it. Thomas Rose was a Devonshire man, and had begun to preach about the same time as Latimer. He was one of the earliest converts of the Reformation, and was constantly and consistently persecuted by the Papal party. Much of his life had been spent: abroad to escape their machinations. The entire history of this man was full of marvellous providences and hairbreadth escapes; and it was to be fuller yet. Weary of dealing in this manner, Rome had at length tried upon him those poisoned shafts which she launched at many a Gospeller—suborning false witnesses to accuse him of uncommitted crimes. Mr Rose stood the trial, and came unscathed out of it.

Isoult readily promised to visit Mrs Rose, though she was slightly dismayed on afterwards hearing from John that Mr Rose had married a foreigner.

“A Protestant, I trust?” she asked doubtfully, for she knew little of foreigners, and with the exception of a handful of Lutherans and Huguenots, thought they were all Papists—with a margin, of course, for Jews, Turks, heretics, and infidels.

John laughed as if the question amused him exceedingly. “Were it possible,” he responded, “that Thomas Rose’s wife should be any thing else?”

The train of visitors was only just beginning. When Isoult came in from the market, feeling very tired and overworked, on the following morning, she found Philippa Basset in her large chair, looking very much at home, while Kate, on her knee, was chattering away to her with the utmost freedom.

“Well, Isoult!” was Philippa’s greeting. “Thou dost well to go a-cheapening of carrots, and leave thy friends that come to visit thee to find none in the house that they know save this,” pointing to Kate. “How dost thou, dear heart?”

“The better to see you, Mrs Philippa,” said she. “I will not ask how you do, for you look rarely well. Verily, I left more in the house than Kate, or I had taken her withal.”

“Isoult, dost thou mean to call me mistress all the days of thy life?” she asked in answer.

“I mean to call you what it list you,” said Isoult, “but truly you never gave me leave to do other.”

“And truly you never asked for it,” replied she. “Howbeit, take it now, prithee, for ever henceforward.”

Isoult thanked her, and asked her “if any news were abroad.”

“Any news, quotha?” she answered. “But a yard or twain. Hast heard that my Lord Protector is not in very good case?”

“Nay!” cried Isoult. “My Lord Protector! what mean you, Mrs Philippa?”

“This, Mrs Avery,” answered she. “My Lord Protector, being no Lutheran, but a Gospeller, is not over well liked of some that be Lutherans, and no Gospellers: and as for us poor Catholics, we never (you know) held him for a saint. So this being the case (this in thine ear, Isoult—’tis under benedicite (under the seal of confession)), certain, if not all of the King’s Council, be resolved to be rid of my high and mighty Lord. And ere thou be ten days older, I count thou shalt hear somewhat thereof. I have so much from a good hand, that can be trusted; the name I utter not.”

“Then,” said Isoult, “be the Catholics and Lutherans conspiring together for this?”

“Truth,” answered she; “they that be least Christians of both.”

“You say well, Mrs Philippa,” replied Isoult.

“Do I so, Mrs Avery?” she answered.

“I cry you mercy!” said Isoult; “Philippa, then, if you will have it so.”

“Ay, I will have it so,” said she, laughing.

“But,” answered Isoult, “what saith the King’s Highness thereto?”

“The King!” exclaimed she. “The King marketh but his twelfth birthday this month, dear heart. What can he know? or an’ he spake, who would heed him?”

“But,” said Isoult, “we hear for ever of his Highness’ sageness and wisdom, such as ’tis said never had Prince afore him.”

“Did we not so of his father?” asked she, with a short laugh. “There be alway that will sing loud hymns to the rising or risen sun. Sageness and wisdom, forsooth! of a lad of twelve years! He may be as sage as he will, but he will not match Dr Stephen Gardiner yet awhile.”

A shudder ran through Isoult Avery at the name of the deviser of the Bloody Statute. But the danger of the Protector was too serious a question to every Gospeller not to be recurred to and prayed against.

“It doth seem to me, Jack,” said Isoult that evening, when the story had been told, “as though the cause of the Gospel should stand or fall with my Lord Protector. What thinkest thou?”

“Sweet wife,” he answered, “if my Lord Protector were the only prop of the Gospel, it had fallen long ago. The prop of the Gospel is not my Lord or thy Lord, but the Lord of the whole earth. His strength is enough to bear it up.”

“I know that, Jack,” she said. “Yet God worketh by means; and my Lord Protector gone, who else is there?”

“Nay, child!” answered Dr Thorpe. “Is God so lately become unable of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham? Shall He, by whose word a nation shall be born in a day, be too weak to strengthen the King, in despite of his tender years, or to raise up another man that shall follow in the wake of my Lord Protector?”

“I know God can do miracles,” said Isoult, somewhat despondingly.

“‘For all but me’—is that thy thought, sweeting?” asked Avery, smiling.

“But where is there a man?” cried Isoult.

“How know I?” said Dr Thorpe. “Some whither in the Indies, it may be. But the Lord shall surely fetch him thence when the time cometh. Prithee, Jack, bid thy friend the Hot Gospeller to dinner, and leave us see if he (that I gather from thy talk to be mighty busy in public matters) can find us a man for the time.”

Avery smiled, and said he would ask Mr Underhill to dinner. But Isoult shook her head, averring that neither Dr Thorpe nor even the Hot Gospeller could find a man for the time.

For some days, at her husband’s desire, Isoult had been on the look-out for a bower-woman to replace Jennifer. She inquired from Mrs Brent and other neighbours, but could nowhere hear of a satisfactory person. On the Sunday evening following Philippa’s visit, as they were coming home from Saint Botolph’s, the church which stood at the top of the Minories, Isoult heard her name softly called from the crowd of dispersing worshippers. She looked up into a pair of black, pensive eyes, which she knew to belong to an old friend—a converted Jewess, who had been one of her bridesmaids, but whom she had never met since that time. The friends halted and clasped hands.

“I knew not you were in this vicinage,” said Esther in her grave manner, “but methought that face could belong to none other.”

“We dwell at this present in the Minories,” said Isoult, “and are but now come hither, by reason of certain riots in the western parts. And where dwell you?”

“I am now abiding,” she replied, “with a friend, one Mistress Little, until I may find conveniency to meet with a service: for I have left the one, and am not yet fallen in with the other.”

“And I am but now looking for a bower-woman,” said Isoult.

“Have you covenanted with any?” asked she quickly.

“Nay,” was the answer, “I have not yet fallen in with any with whom to covenant.”

“Mrs Avery, will you take me?” she said, earnestly.

“Nay,” answered Isoult, “but will you come to me? I had thought you should look for a much better service than mine.”

“I could not have a better, methinks,” she responded, with a rather sorrowful smile. “I would right fain come to you, if that might be.”

“Then it may be, dear heart!” said Isoult, much moved by her urgency. “I would fainer have you than any which I do know, unless it were Annis Holland, that I have known from the cradle. But should it like you to follow me into Devon? for we do look to return thither when the troubles are past.”

“I will follow you any whither,” answered she. “I care nothing where I am, only this,—that I would liefer be out of London than in it.”

So Esther came, and took up her quarters at the sign of the Lamb. Every house in London had then its sign, which served the purpose of a number.

Meanwhile the clouds gathered more darkly over the only man in power (excepting the boy-King himself), who really cared more for the welfare of England than for his own personal aggrandisement. And it was not England which forsook and destroyed Somerset. It was the so-called Lutheran faction, to the majority of whom Lutheranism was only the cloak which hid their selfish political intrigues. There had been a time when Somerset was one of them, and had sought his own advancement as they now did theirs. And the deserted regiment never pardons the deserter. The faction complained that Somerset was proud and self-willed: he worked alone; he acted on his own responsibility; he did not consult his friends. This of course meant in the case of each member of the faction (as such complaints usually do), “He did not consult me.” Somerset might truthfully have pleaded in reply that he had not a friend to consult. The Court held no friend to him; and, worst of all, his own home held none. He had, unquestionably, a number of acquaintances, of that class which has been well and wittily defined as consisting of “intimate enemies;” and he had a wife, who loved dearly the high title he had given her, and the splendid fortune with which she kept it up. But neither she nor any one else loved him—except One, who was sitting above the Water-floods, watching His tried child’s life, and ready, when his extremity should have come, to whisper to that weary and sorrowful heart, “Come and rest with Me.”

But that time was not yet. The battle must be fought before the rest could come.

On Friday, the 5th of October, a private gathering of nineteen of the Council was held at Lord Warwick’s house in Holborn—that Lord Warwick of whom I have already spoken as John Dudley, the half-brother of Lady Frances Monke. No man on earth hated Somerset more heartily than Warwick, and perhaps only one other man hated him quite as much. While they were yet debating how to ruin Somerset, a letter came in the King’s name from Secretary Petre, inquiring for what cause they thus gathered together: if they wished to speak with the Protector they must come peaceably. This letter sealed the fate of the conference—and of Somerset. The victim, it was evident, was awake and watching. Ruin might have served the original purpose: now only one end would serve it—death. But Warwick was one of the few who know how to wait.

In this emergency—for he manifestly feared for his life—Somerset appealed to the only friends he had, the people of England. And England responded to the appeal. Hour after hour thickened the crowd which watched round Hampton Court, where the King and Protector were; and in the middle of Sunday night, when he thought it safe, Somerset hastened to take refuge with his royal nephew in the strong-hold of Windsor (Note 4), the crowd acting as guards and journeying with them.

It was a false move. The populace were with Somerset, but the army was with Warwick. The crowd melted away; the Lords held London; and on every gate of the city a list of the charges against the Protector was posted up. The bird, struggling vainly in the toils of the serpent, was only exhausting its own life.

These were the charges (in substance), which Isoult Avery found Dr Thorpe carefully reading when she came home from the market on Monday morning. The old man was making comments as he proceeded, not very complimentary to my Lord of Warwick and his colleagues.

“One. That he hath made inward divisions.

“Two. That he hath lost his Majesty’s pieces beyond the sea.

“Three. That he did enrich himself in the war, and left the King’s poor soldiers unpaid of their wages.

“Four. That he hath laboured to make himself strong in all countries.

“Five. That he hath subverted all law, justice, and good order, whereby he hath fearfully shaken the chair of the King’s seat.

“Six. That he hath little esteemed the grave advice of the King’s good and faithful councillors.

“Seven. That he hath little regarded the order appointed by King Henry, for the government of his son.

“Eight. That he hath laboured to sow dissension in the kingdom among the nobles, gentlemen, and commoners.

“Nine. That the King and kingdom hath suffered great loss by his wilful negligence.”

“‘Shaken the chair of the King’s seat!’” cried he. “If the men be not rebels that writ this paper, I have little wit to know what a rebel is. How dare they speak or think of shaking the King’s seat, which is in the hands of God, and is accountable unto none save Him?—‘Little esteemed the advice of the King’s faithful councillors’—to wit, the runagates that writ this paper. ‘Laboured to sow dissension betwixt the gentry and the commoners!’ ’Tis the enclosures they point at, I reckon. What! was he the only man that allowed them? and who could have thought the commons had been such dolts? Now let us see the names of these wise, good, and faithful councillors. ‘R. Rich, W. Saint John, W. Northampton, J. Warwick,’” (Note 5) and he paused a minute. “Isoult,” said he again, “methinks that Earl of Warwick is a knave.”

“I never thought him otherwise, Dr Thorpe,” said Isoult quietly.

Sir Anthony Wingfield was sent by the Lords of the Council to Windsor on the following Friday. He parted the Lord Protector from the King, and set a strong guard to watch him until the coming of the Lords. On the Saturday the Lord Chancellor and the Council rode to Windsor, and that night the Protector was set in ward in the Beauchamp Tower of Windsor Castle. And on the Monday afternoon was the Duke of Somerset (no longer Lord Protector) brought to the Tower of London, riding between the Earls of Southampton and Huntingdon, accompanied by many gentlemen, and three hundred horse. At his own desire, he came into London by way of Saint Giles in the Fields; and opposite Soper Lane were knights sitting on horseback, and all the officers with halberds. And so they led him from Holborn Bridge to Cheapside; where, with a loud voice, he cried to the bystanders, “Good people, I am as true a man to the King as any here.” In all the streets were Aldermen or their deputies, on horseback; and the householders, each man at his door, all standing with bills in their hands, as he passed. And so he was conducted to the Tower, where he remained.

“As true a man to the King!” Poor little Edward, bewildered and deceived! He did not know there was none other half so true.

Note 1. The enclosure riots had a more religious aspect in the West than in the East or the Midland Counties.

Note 2. William Lord Grey de Wilton was an eminent General, and a staunch Gospeller. He had been a member of the Council at Calais during the persecution, and his close friendship with Lord and Lady Lisle is shown by the fact that of his three children, two bore their names. Lord Grey died at Cheston, near Waltham, December 25, 1562.

Note 3. The Minories was then to all intents in the country. A single street, Whitechapel Bars, lay between it and the Spital Field on the north; in front (west) was the city wall, with its gardens; on the east lay Goodman’s Fields, and an open space to the south, bounded by the Tower enclosure and the Thames. It must have been a very pleasant suburb.

Note 4. Most historians say that the removal was against Edward’s will. The account given by himself shows no trace of any such feeling.

Note 5. At this era, peers did not use their titles only in signature, but added at least the initial of the Christian name.

Chapter Four.

Beneath Blue Sky.

“Ere suns and moons could wax and wane
Ere stars were thundergirt, or piled
The heavens, God thought on me His child,
Ordained a life for me, arrayed
Its circumstances every one
To the minutest; ay, God said
This head this hand should rest upon
Thus, ere He fashioned star or sun.”

Robert Browning.

The 24th of October brought the expected letter from Simon Pendexter to the master of Bradmond, and another from Marian to the mistress. Simon’s epistle was read first; but it proved to require both an English dictionary and a Latin lexicon. Simon wrote of “circumstances,” (then a new and affected word), of the “culpable dexterity” of the rebels who had visited Bradmond, of their “inflammatory promulgation,” of the “celerity” of his own actions in reply, and of his “debarring from dilation the aforesaid ignis.” He left them in a cloud of words, of which Dr Thorpe understood about half, and Isoult much less. John, being a little wiser, was called upon for a translation. “Hang me if I know what the fellow is a-writing about!” testily cried Dr Thorpe. “Jack, do thou put this foolery into decent English!”

“The enclosure men burnt your house, old friend,” said John. “Have there the English.”

“Plain enough at last, by my troth!” cried he.

A little more progress was made with Mr Pendexter’s missive, when Isoult interrupted it by exclaiming—

“Do tell me what he meaneth, Jack!”

“They set our house afire, dear heart, but he soon put it out,” translated John.

“It was likely afeard of his big ruffling words!” said Dr Thorpe.

The letter concluded thus:—“With the which considerations, I do commit your Honour to the tuition of God. Inscribed at Bodmin, die Veneris, the fourth in the month of October. By the hand of your Honour’s most undemeritous and obeisant paedagogus, Simon Pendexter.”

“This companion is clean out of his wits!” exclaimed Dr Thorpe.

“Isoult, read thy little letter,” said John. “Metrusteth it shall be more clear than Simon’s, and, at all charges, ’tis shorter.”

“Unto Mistress Avery, At the Minories in London.”

“Mistress,—This shall be to advertise you (my lowly duties first remembered), that the fourteenth of July come unto Bradmond the ill men you wot of, and after casting mine husband and me forth of the house with little gentleness, did spread themselves thereabout, drinking up the wine in the cellar, and otherwise making great bruit and disorder. And in the end they set fire thereto, and departed. God helping us, we shortly had the fire under, for it began to rain; but the whole house is ruinated, and a deal of mischief done. Mistress, all the hangings be burned or torn, and the furniture is but splinters; and the very walls so knocked about, and the garden all trampled and desolated, that I am well assured, were you this minute on the ground you should not find conveniency to enter and abide for many a long day yet. And in good sooth, ’twill lack a mint of money spent thereon ere the house be meet for any, let be a gentleman and gentlewoman of your honourableness. Mistress, they tare away all the shutters, and tare up the planks of some of the floors: and they left not a latch nor an andiron whole in all the house. Mine husband hath writ to Mr Avery. From Bodmin, this fourth day of October. Mistress, I do beseech you of your gentleness to give my poor sister to know that I do fare well, and trust so doth she likewise.

“By the rude hand of her that is your servant, Marian Pendexter.”

“Rude hand!” said John. “Commend me to Marian Pendexter for the writing of a letter. ’Tis one-half so long as Simon’s, and tells us twice so much as he; and her round letters be as clear as print, while his be all quips and flourishes. Well, I account we shall needs abide hither for some time, Isoult; but methinks I must ride home, and see how matters stand; and if the garden be truly desolated as for roses and the like, well, the ground may as well be set with carrots and cabbages, that can be sold. And on my return hither, I must set me, as fast as I may, unto the making of pecunia, as Simon hath it, in my calling. Metrusteth the house shall not need to be pulled down and built up again; for that should take, methinks, some years to raise. Howbeit, ’tis no good looking forward too far.”

Dr Thorpe said, when he had sat for a time in silence, “Ah, well! the will of the Lord be done! I trow they shall scantly burn mine other house, in that city which hath foundations.”

“Mr Edward Underhill, the Hot Gospeller.”

Isoult Avery looked up and rose when John made this announcement, to the evident amusement of the person introduced.

The Hot Gospeller’s age was thirty-seven; of his personal appearance we have no trustworthy account. It may safely be asserted that his feelings were strong, his affections warm, his partisanship fervent, and his organ of humour decidedly developed. I picture him lithe and quick, with ready tongue and brilliant eyes; but perhaps I am as much mistaken as Isoult was concerning Alice Wikes. If the mania “de faire son portrait” which was so much the fashion in France in the reign of Louis the Fourteenth had pervaded England in the sixteenth century, we might have obtained much curious information which is now lost to us.

When all the members of our little group were gathered round the dinner-table,—which was not until eleven a.m., for the Averys dined unusually late that day—Dr Thorpe laid the subject which had been discussed before Mr Underhill, and requested his opinion on the matter. Could he find a man for the time?

Isoult shook her head dubiously.

“With whom take you part?” said Dr Thorpe.

“With both of you,” answered Mr Underhill. “I lean to Mistress Avery’s thought that there is no man for the time; but I do partly share your opinion, in that methinks there may be a woman.”

“A woman, Mr Underhill?” cried Isoult, in amazement.

“What woman?” said Dr Thorpe. “My Lady Duchess of Suffolk, I ween. Nay, Master; she is good enough as may be, but her money-bags are a sight scantier than when my Lord Duke was in life.”

“My Lady of Suffolk! not she, forsooth,” replied he. “Nay, good Doctor; mine hopes are anchored (under God) on none other than the King’s ‘sweet sister Temperance’—my young Lady Elizabeth’s Grace.”

“The Lady Elizabeth!” repeated Dr Thorpe, in a voice which intimated his meaning. “A child at her book and needle, Master Underhill!”

“She will not alway be so,” answered he. “Nor shall she be such long.”

“And afore her standeth another,” continued the doctor.

“Afore her standeth another,” repeated Mr Underhill. “Nor shall any man alive ever see me to do evil that good may come. But I scantly signified all you would make me to say. I did but point to my Lady Elizabeth’s power with the King, not to her being one to stand in her own power, which God long defend!”

Dr Thorpe shook his head in turn, but did not further explain himself.

“You have friends at Court,” said John to Mr Underhill. “Which of these ladies is commonly thought to stand best with the King her brother?”

“The Lady Elizabeth, by many a mile,” answered he. “And to go by what I hear from her tutor Mr Ascham, a fair and ready wit enough she hath. The Lady Frances (Note 1) her daughters, likewise, be great with the King, and are young damsels of right sweet nature and good learning, so far as their young age may show the same.”

“What say men of the King’s wedding?” quoth Dr Thorpe. “Is it yet the Queen of Scots?”

“The friends of my Lord Protector say ’tis a Princess of France; and his foes will have it that had he not fallen too soon, it should have been—the Lady Jane Seymour.”

“What, my Lord Protector his daughter?” inquired Isoult.

“She,” said Mr Underhill.

“That hath an ill look, an’ it were so,” remarked John, thoughtfully.

“‘Less like than Paul’s steeple to a dagger sheath,’” quoted Dr Thorpe, who was rather fond of proverbs.

“Go to, Jack! we are all for ourselves in this world,” responded Mr Underhill philosophically. “As to like, it may be no more like than chalk to cheese, and yet be in every man’s mouth from Aldgate to the Barbican. My Lord Protector is neither better nor worse than other men. If you or I were in his shoes, we should do the like.”

“I trust not, friend,” said John, smiling.

“A rush for your trust!” laughed Mr Underhill. “I would not trust either of us.”

“But I would so!” said Isoult warmly. “Mr Underhill, you surely think not that if Jack were Lord Protector, he should strive and plot for the King to espouse our Kate?”

“Of course he would,” said Underhill coolly. “And so would you.”

“Never!” she cried.

“Well, I am sure I should. Think you I would not by my good will see my Nan a queen?” answered he.

“With a reasonable chance of Tower Hill?” suggested Avery. “You and I have seen queens come to that, Ned Underhill.”

“Well, there is better air at the Lime Hurst,” replied Underhill sententiously.

A long conference was held concerning the repairs at Bradmond. The resolution finally adopted was that John should ride home and ascertain what the state of affairs really was. Hitherto the family had been living on their rents, with little need for professional work on John’s part unless it pleased him. Slight repairs, however, would entail saving; and serious ones might keep them in London for years, until he had laid up sufficient money to defray them.

“’Tis all in the day’s work,” he said lightly, to cheer his wife. “I must have a factor to see unto the place, and for that Simon Pendexter shall serve, if he affright not the poor tenants with his long words; and I myself must needs set to work hard. ’Twill do me good, dear heart; (for he saw Isoult look sad) I have hitherto been lazy, and only have played at working.”

So John left London on the first of November, along with a convoy of travellers bound for Exeter; charging Isoult to make acquaintance in his absence with Mrs Rose and Mrs Underhill, with the object of giving her something to do.

“And think not, sweet wife,” said he, “that we be all going a-begging, because of what I said touching money. I cast no doubt to make more than enough thereof in my calling to keep all us, and that comfortably; only if there lack much outlay at Bodmin, it shall need time to gather wherewith to pay it. Above all, I would not with my good will have any stint in mine hospitality, specially unto them that be of the household of faith. Leave us not turn Christ our Master out at the doors, at the least unless we need go there ourselves with Him.”

A week after John’s departure, Isoult put his advice into action, rather because he had given it, than with any real hope of dispelling the intense loneliness she felt. Robin went with her, and Kate, all riding upon Bayard, to West Ham, where they were directed to a small house near the church as the residence of the parson. For in those days parson had not lost its original honourable meaning, whereby the clergyman was spoken of as par excellence “the person” in the parish. The trio alighted, and Isoult rapped at the door. A girl of fifteen answered the knock.

She was tall for her age, but slenderly built. Her hair was of the fairest shade of golden—the pale gold of our old poets—and her eyes were brown. Not a bright, shining brown; this brown was deep and misty, and its light was the light given back from a lake, not the light of a star. In her face there was no rose at all; it was pure and pale as a snowdrop; and her look, Isoult thought, was like the look of an angel. Her smile was embodied sweetness; her voice soft and low, clear as a silver bell. There are few such voices out of England, but the combination of fair hair with dark eyes is the Venetian style of beauty. Rare in any land, yet there are occasional instances in each. For such, in Italy, was Dante’s Beatrice; such, in Germany, was Louise of Stolberg, the wife of the last Stuart; and such, with ourselves, was “England’s Elizabeth.”

“Doth Mistress Rose here dwell, and may one have speech of her?” inquired Isoult of the vision before her.

“Will it please you to take the pain to come within?” answered the sweet voice. “I am Thekla Rose.”

Wondering at a name which she had never heard before, Isoult suffered Thekla to lead her into a small, pleasant parlour, where Mrs Rose sat spinning. She was a comely, comfortable-looking woman of middle height, round-faced and rosy, with fair hair like her daughter’s, but grey eyes. Isoult had forgotten her foreign origin till she heard her speak. Her English, however, was fluent and pleasant enough; and she told her visitors that she came from a town in Flanders, close to the German border.

“Where,” pursued Mrs Rose, “people are bred up in their common life to speak four tongues; which shall say, Flemish—that is the language of Flanders; and Spanish—the Spaniards do rule over us; and Low Dutch (German),—because we have much to do with the Low Dutch; and the better bred women also French. And I teach my Thekla all these tongues, saving the Flemish; for they speak not Flemish only in Flanders; it should do her not much good. But in all these four tongues have I kinsfolk; for my father was a true-born Fleming, and to him I alway spake Flemish; and my mother was a Spanish woman, and I spake Spanish with her; and my father’s brother was wedded unto a dame of Low Dutchland (for whom my daughter is named Thekla, which is a Low Dutch name); and his sister did marry a Frenchman. So you shall see I am akin to all this world!”

Mistress Rose entreated her guests to stay for four-hours, when she hoped Mr Rose would be at home; but Isoult was somewhat afraid of losing her way in the dark, and declined. So she called her maid, and bade her bring cakes and ale, and take Bayard to the shed where their nag was stabled, and give him a mess of oats; begging them at least to stay an hour or two. Then Robin came in, and talked to Thekla and Kate, while Isoult was occupied with Mrs Rose. Mr Rose they did not see; his wife said he was in his parish, visiting the people. So at two o’clock they departed, and reached home just as the dusk fell.

The next day Isoult rode to the Lime Hurst, to see Mrs Underhill. She found her a pleasant motherly woman, full of kindness and cordiality. As they sat and talked Mr Underhill came in, and joined the conversation; telling Isoult, among other matters, how he had once saved Lord Russell from drowning, the heir of the House of Bedford. The boy had been thrown into the Thames opposite his house, in a bitterly cold winter; and Underhill, springing in after him, rescued him, carried him to his own house, and nursed him back to life. Since that time the Earl of Bedford had been the attached friend of his child’s preserver. (Underhill’s Narrative, Harl. Ms. 425, folio 87, b.)

When Isoult returned home, she found a letter from Annis Holland awaiting her. It contained an urgent invitation from the Duchess of Suffolk to visit her at her little villa at Kingston-on-Thames. Isoult hesitated to accept the invitation, but Dr Thorpe, who thought she looked pale and tired, over-ruled her, chiefly by saying that he was sure John would prefer her going; so she wrote to accept the offer, and started with Robin on the following Monday.

Skirting the City wall, they passed through Smithfield and Holborn, and turned away from Saint Giles into the Reading road, the precursor of Piccadilly. The roads were good for the time of year, and they reached Kingston before dark. The next morning Robin returned home, with strict charges to fetch Isoult in a week, and sooner should either of the children fall ill.

After Robin’s departure, Isoult waited on the Duchess, whom she found sitting in a cedar chamber, the casement looking on the river and the terrace above it. As the friends sat and talked in came a small white dog, wagging its tail, but with very dirty paws.

“Get out, Doctor Gardiner!” cried her Grace, rising hastily, as the soiled paws endeavoured to jump upon her velvet dress. “I cannot abide such unclean paws. Go get you washed ere you come into my chamber!—Bertie!”

Mr Bertie came in from the antechamber at her Grace’s call; and smiling when he saw what she wanted, he lifted the dog and set it outside.

“Have Dr Gardiner washed, prithee!” said the Duchess. “I love a clean dog, but I cannot abide a foul one.”

Isoult could not help laughing when she heard her Grace call her dog by Bishop Gardiner’s name.

“He is easier cleansed than his namesake,” she resumed, shaking her head. “If my Lord of Winchester win again into power, I count I shall come ill off. As thou wist, Isoult, I have a wit that doth at times outrun my discretion; and when I was last in London, passing by the Tower, I did see Master Doctor Gardiner a-looking from, a little window. And ‘Good morrow, my Lord!’ quoth I, in more haste than wisdom; ‘’tis merry with the lambs, now the wolves be kept close!’ I count he will not forgive me therefor in sharp haste.”

Mr Bertie smiled and shook his head.

“Now, Bertie, leave thine head still!” said her Grace. “I know what thou wouldst say as well as if I had it set in print. I am all indiscreetness, and thou all prudence. He that should bray our souls together in a mortar should make an excellent wit of both.”

“Your Grace is too flattering, methinks,” said Mr Bertie, still smiling.

“Am I so, verily?” answered she. “Isoult, what thinkest thou? ’Twas not I that gave the dog his name; it was Bertie here (who should be ’shamed of his deed, and is not so at all) and I did but take up the name after him. And this last summer what thinkest yon silly maid Lucrece did? (one of the Duchess’s waiting-women, a fictitious person). Why, she set to work and made a rochet in little, and set it on the dog’s back. Heardst thou ever the like? And there was he, a-running about the house with his rochet on him, and all trailing in the mire. I know not whether Annis were wholly free of some knowledge thereof—nor Bertie neither. He said he knew not; I marvel whether he spake truth!”

“That did I, an’t like your Grace,” replied Mr Bertie, laughing. “I saw not the rochet, neither knew of it, afore yourself.”

“Well, I count I must e’en crede thee!” said she.

It struck Isoult that the Duchess and her gentleman usher were uncommonly good friends; rather more so than was usual at that time. She set it down to their mutual Lutheranism; but she might have found for it another and a more personal reason, which they had not yet thought proper to declare openly. The Duchess and Bertie were privately engaged, but they told no one till their marriage astonished the world.

Isoult reached home on the sixteenth of December; and on Twelfth Day, 1550, John returned from Cornwall. He brought word that the repairs needed were more extensive than any one had supposed from the Pendexter epistles. Part of the house required rebuilding; and he was determined not to begin before he could finish. The result was, that they would have to remain in London, probably, for five or six years more.

Shortly after John’s return, a gentleman called to see him. His name was Roger Holland, and he was a merchant tailor in the City, but of gentle birth, and related to the Earl of Derby. Isoult wished to know if he could be any connection of her friend Annis. John thought not: but “thereby hung a tale.”

“This gentleman,” said John Avery, “was in his young years bound apprentice unto one Master Kempton, of the Blade Boy in Watling Street: and in this time he (being young and unwary) did fall into evil company, which caused him to game with them, and he all unskilfully lost unto them not only his own money, but (every groat) thirty pounds which his master had entrusted unto him to receive for him of them that ought it (owed it). Moreover, at this time was he a stubborn Papist, in which way he had been bred. So he, coming unto his master’s house all despairing, thought to make up his bundle, and escape away out of his master’s house, (which was a stern man) and take refuge over seas, in France or Flanders. But afore he did this indiscreet thing, he was avised (he made up his mind) to tell all unto a certain ancient and discreet maid that was servant in this his master’s family, by name Elizabeth Lake, which had aforetime showed him kindness. So he gat up betimes of the morrow, and having called unto her, he saith—‘Elizabeth, I would I had followed thy gentle persuadings and friendly rebukes; which if I had done, I had never come to this shame and misery which I am now fallen into; for this night have I lost thirty pounds of my master’s money, which to pay him, and to make up mine accounts, I am not able. But this much I pray you, desire my mistress, that she would entreat my master to take this bill of my hand that I am this much indebted unto him; and if I be ever able, I will see him paid; desiring him that the matter may pass with silence, and that none of my kindred nor friends may ever understand this my lewd part; for if it should come unto my father’s ears, it would bring his grey hairs over-soon unto his grave.’

“And so would he have departed, like unto Sir Richard at the Lea, in the fair old ballad—

“‘Fare wel, frende, and have good daye—
It may noo better be.’

(From “A Litel Geste of Robyn Hode.”)

“But Elizabeth was as good unto him as ever Robin Hood unto the Knight of Lancashire; yea, and better, as shall be seen. ‘Stay,’ saith she, and away went she forth of the chamber. And afore he was well over his surprise thereat, back cometh she, and poured out of a purse before him on the table thirty pound in good red gold. This money she had by the death of a kinsman of hers, but then newly come unto her. Quoth she, ‘Roger, here is thus much money; I will let thee have it, and I will keep this bill. But since I do thus much for thee, to help thee, and to save thy honesty, thou shalt promise me to refuse all wild company, all swearing, and unseemly talk; and if ever I know thee to play one twelve-pence at either dice or cards, then will I show this thy bill unto my master. And furthermore, thou shalt promise me to resort every day to the lecture at All Hallows, and the sermon at Poules every Sunday, and to cast away all thy books of Papistry and vain ballads, and get thee the Testament and Book of Service, and read the Scriptures with reverence and fear, calling unto God still for His grace to direct thee in His truth. And pray unto God fervently, desiring Him to pardon thy former offences, and not to remember the sins of thy youth; and ever be afraid to break His laws, or offend His majesty. Then shall God keep thee, and send thee thy heart’s desire.’

“So Mr Holland took her money, and kept his obligations unto her. And in the space of one half-year, so mightily wrought God’s Spirit with him, that of a great Papist he became as fervent a Gospeller; and going into Lancashire unto his father, he took with him divers good books, and there bestowed them, so that his father and others began to taste of the gospel, and to leave their idolatry and superstition: and at last his father, seeing the good reformation wrought in this his son, gave him fifty pounds to begin the world withal, and sent him again to London, where he now driveth a fair trade.”

“And hath he met again with Mistress Lake,” said Isoult, “and restored unto her her thirty pounds?”

“That I cannot tell,” returned John.

A letter came before long from Mr Barry, written at Christmas, and informing his sister that matters were now settled and peaceable. Indeed, at Wynscote they had heard nothing of the rioters. But Potheridge had been surrounded, and in answer to the rebels’ summons to surrender, Mr Monke had sent them a dauntless message of defiance: upon which they had replied with threats of terrible vengeance, but had retired, discomfited at the first trial of strength, and never came near the place more.

Darker grew the clouds, meanwhile, over the prisoner in the Tower. His enemies drew up twenty-nine articles against him, and, going to him in his captivity, read them to him, and informed the world that he had humbly confessed them.

“Well,” said John Avery, “some of these be but matter for laughter. To wit, that the Duke did command multiplication (coining) and alcumistry, whereby the King’s coin was abated. As though my Lord of Somerset should take upon him to abate the King’s coin!”

“Nay, better men than he have dealt with alcumistry,” answered Dr Thorpe. “The former charge moveth my laughter rather,—That my said Lord hath done things too much by himself: to wit, without the knowledge and sage avisement of these my Lords of the King’s Council. Is there so much as one of them that would not do the same an’ he had the chance?”

“Why,” said Avery, “he had the chance, and therein lieth his offence. They had not, and therein lieth their virtue.”

From two poor innocent lambs cruelly pent up by the Protector, now that he was himself in durance, there came a great outcry for relief. These were the imprisoned prelates, Bonner and Gardiner. The latter said that “he had been in prison one year and a quarter and a month; and he lacked air to relieve his body, and books to relieve his mind, and good company (the only solace of this world), and lastly, a just cause why he should have come thither at all.” How well can the wolf counterfeit the lamb! Had none of his prisoners lacked air, and books? And had my Lord Bishop of Winchester been so careful to see to a just cause in the case of every man he sent to Tower or Fleet?

On the 27th of January the leaders of the Devon riots were hanged at Tyburn; the chief of whom was Humphrey Arundel. And on the 6th of February the Duke of Somerset was delivered from the Tower, and suffered to go home; but four days before a change had been made in the Council, the Earls of Arundel and Southampton being dismissed and ordered to keep their houses in London during the King’s pleasure.

Mrs Rose and Thekla came several times to visit Isoult, and she returned the compliment. And one day in February came Philippa Basset, who was about to go into Cheshire, to visit her sister, Lady Bridget Carden, with whom she passed nearly a year before Isoult saw her again. Lady Bridget really was not her sister at all, she being Lord Lisle’s daughter, and Philippa Lady Lisle’s; but they had been educated as sisters, and as sisters they loved. Not long afterwards, Sir Francis Jobson resigned his office at the Tower, and went home to his own estate of Monkwich, in Essex. His wife was the Lady Elizabeth, sister of Lady Bridget; and with her Philippa had lived ever since she came to London. When she came back, therefore, she was forced to look out for another home, for she did not wish to follow them into Essex: and she went to her own youngest brother, Mr James Basset, who had a house in London.

All this while the Reformation was quietly progressing. On the 19th of April, Bishop Ridley came to Saint Paul’s Cathedral, in communion-time, and received the sacrament, together with Dr May, the Dean, and Dr Barne; both the Dean and the Bishop took the consecrated bread in their hands, instead of holding out the tongue, for the priest to put the wafer upon it. And before the Bishop would come into the choir, he commanded all the lights that were on the Lord’s Table to be put out. The Dean, who was a Lutheran, was well pleased at all this; but not so other men who were more kindly disposed towards Popery; and there was much murmuring and disputing.

At this time the Princess Mary was hanging between life and death at Kenninghall. We know now how all things had been changed had she died. But God could not spare her who was to be (however unwittingly or unwillingly) the purifier of His Church, to show which was the dross, and which the gold.

Some turmoil was also made concerning Joan Boucher, an Anabaptist girl who had been condemned for heresy, and was burned in Smithfield on the 2nd of May. The Papal party, ever ready to throw stones at the Protestants, cried that “the old burning days were come again,” and that Archbishop Cranmer was just as much a persecutor as Bishop Gardiner. They saw no difference between a solitary victim of the one (if Joan Boucher can be called so), and the other’s piles of martyrs. Isoult, rather puzzled about the question, referred it to her husband—the manner in which she usually ended her perplexities.

“Dear heart,” said he, “there be so few that can keep the mean. When men take God’s sword in hand, is it any wonder that they handle it ill?”

“But wouldst thou leave such ill fawtors unchastened, Jack?” exclaimed Dr Thorpe rather indignantly.

“That were scantly the mean, I take it,” quietly returned he.

Mr Underhill was just then busied in presenting before the Archbishop of Canterbury his parish priest, Mr Albutt, Vicar of Stepney, for his unseemly behaviour to the Lutheran clergy who came, by order of the King and the Archbishop, to preach in his church. For he disturbed the preachers in his church (writes Underhill), “causing bells to be rung when they were at the sermon, and sometimes began to sing in the choir before the sermon were half done, and sometimes would challenge (publicly dispute his doctrines) the preacher in the pulpit; for he was a strong stout Popish prelate. But the Archbishop was too full of lenity; a little he rebuked him, and bade him do no more so.”

“My Lord,” said Mr Underhill, “I think you are too gentle unto so stout a Papist.”

“Well,” said he, “we have no law to punish them by.”

“No law, my Lord!” cried Mr Underhill; “If I had your authority, I would be so bold as to un-vicar him, or minister some sharp punishment unto him and such other. If ever it come to their turn, they will show you no such favour.”

“Well,” said the Archbishop in his gentle manner, “if God so provide, we must all bide it.”

“Surely,” answered Mr Underhill in his manner, which was blunt and fearless, “God shall never con you thanks (owe you thanks) for this, but rather take the sword from such as will not use it upon his enemies.” (Note 2.)

Mr and Mrs Rose, Thekla, and Mr Underhill, dined at the sign of the Lamb one day in June. Unfortunately, their conversation turned upon the succession: and owing to the warmth of the weather, or of Mr Edward Underhill, it became rather exciting. Mr Rose was unexpectedly found to hold what that gentleman considered heretical political views: namely, that if the King should die childless, it would be competent to the Gospellers to endeavour to hinder the succession of the Princess Mary in favour of the Princess Elizabeth. This, Underhill hotly protested, would be doing evil that good might come.

“And,” said he, “if it come to that pass, I myself, though I would a thousand times rather have my Lady Elizabeth to reign, yet would I gird on my sword over my buff jerkin, and fight for the Lady Mary!”

Mr Rose shook his head, but did not speak.

“Right is right, Thomas Rose!” cried Underhill, somewhat hotly.

“Truth, friend,” answered he, “and wrong is wrong. But which were the right, and which were the wrong, of these two afore God, perchance you and I might differ.”

“Differ, forsooth!” cried Underhill again. “Be two and two come to make five? or is there no variance in your eyes betwixt watchet (pale blue) and brasil (red)? The matter is as plain to be seen as Westminster Abbey, if a man shut not his eyes.”

“I have known men do such things,” said Mr Rose, with his quiet smile.

“I thank you, my master!” responded Underhill. “So have I.”

“Now, Ned Underhill, leave wrangling,” said Avery. “We be none of us neither prophets nor apostles.”

“‘Brethren, be ye all of one mind,’” repeated Dr Thorpe.

“I am ready enough to be of one mind with Rose,” said Underhill, “an’ he will listen to reason.”

“That is,” answered John, smiling, “an’ he will come over to you, and look through your spectacles.”

“Man o’ life! we can’t be both right!” cried Underhill, striking his hand heavily on the table.

“You may be both wrong, Ned,” gently suggested John.

“Come, Rose!” said Underhill, cooling as suddenly as he had heated, and holding out his hand. “We are but a pair of fools to quarrel. I forgive you.”

“I knew not that I quarrelled with you, friend,” said Mr Rose, with his quiet smile; “and I have nothing to forgive.”

But he put his hand in Underhill’s readily enough.

“You are a better Christian than I, methinks,” muttered Underhill, somewhat ashamed. “But you know what a hot fellow I am.”

“We will both essay to be as good Christians as we can,” quietly answered Mr Rose; “and that is, as like Christ as we can. Methinks He scantly gave hot words to Peter, whether the Emperor Tiberius Caesar should have reigned or no.”

“Ah!” said John, gravely, “he that should think first how Christ should answer, should rarely indeed be found in hot words, and in evil, never.”

“Well,” replied Mr Underhill, “I am of complexion somewhat like Peter. I could strike off the ear of Malchus an’ I caught him laying hands on my Master (yea, I know not if I should stay at the ear); and it had been much had I kept that sword off the High Priest himself. Ay, though I had been hanged the hour after.”

“The cause seemeth to lack such men at times,” said John, thoughtfully, “and then the Lord raiseth them up. But we should not forget, Ned, that ‘they which take the sword shall perish with the sword.’”

“Well!” cried Underhill, “I care not if I do perish with the sword, if I may first mow down a score or twain of the enemies of the Gospel.”

“Such men commonly do so,” said Mr Rose aside to Isoult, by whom he sat.

“Do what?” broke in Underhill, who heard it.

“Do perish with the sword,” answered he firmly, looking him full in the face.

“Amen!” cried the other. “I am abundantly ready—only, pray you, let me have a good tilt with the old mumpsimuses first.” (Note 3.)

“I would I were a little more like you, Underhill,” said Mr Rose. “I could suffer, as methinks, and perchance fly, an’ I had the opportunity; but resist or defend me, that could I not.”

“Call me to resist and defend you,” answered Underhill. “It were right in my fashion.”

“You may not be within call,” said Mr Rose somewhat gloomily. “But God will be so.”

“Mr Rose,” said Isoult, “look you for a further persecution, that you speak thus?”

Thekla’s eyes filled with tears.

“As Jack saith, Mrs Avery,” he answered, “I am neither prophet nor apostle. But methinks none of us is out of his place upon the watch-tower. There be black clouds in the sky—very black thunder-clouds. How know I whether they shall break or pass over? Only God knoweth; and He shall carry us all safe through them that have trusted ourselves to Him. That is a word full of signification—‘Some of you shall they cause to be put to death... Yet shall not an hair of your heads perish.’ Our Master may leave any of His servants to die or suffer; He will never allow so much as one of them to perish. O brethren! only let the thunder find us watching, praying always; and whether we escape or no, we are assured that we shall be ‘counted worthy to stand before the Son of Man.’ I would not like to ‘be ashamed before Him at His coming.’”

No one answered. All were too full of thought for words.

Note 1. The Lady Frances was the eldest daughter of Charles Duke of Suffolk by his fourth wife, the Princess Mary, and was therefore in the line of succession to the throne. Her daughters were the Ladies Jane, Katherine, and Mary Grey.

Note 2. Harl. Ms. 425, folio 93.—Underhill gives no date for this incident beyond saying “In King Edward’s time.”

Note 3. In the reign of Henry the Eighth, an old priest was found who for forty years had read the word sumpsimus in his breviary as mumpsimus. On being remonstrated with, he retorted that “He would not leave his old mumpsimus for their new sumpsimus.” This story was long popular with the Gospellers, who dubbed the Popish priests mumpsimuses.

Chapter Five.

Gathering Clouds.

“God lays His burden on each back;
But who
What is within the pack
May know?”

Half of the reign of Josiah, as his people loved to call him, was run out in the summer of 1550. The breathing-time of hope was nearly over.

A June morning in that summer found Isoult Avery seated by the window at work, and Robin Tremayne holding a book which he was not reading. His eyes were intently watching the light feathery clouds which floated across the blue space beyond, and his thoughts were equally intent on some subject not yet apparent. Except Walter, who was busy in the corner, manufacturing paper boats, there was no one else in the room.

Robin broke the silence, and rather suddenly.

“Mother,”—he had come to call her so,—“what think you of Mr Rose?”

“What think I of him, Robin?” repeated Isoult, looking up, while a faint expression of surprise crossed her gentle countenance. “Why, he liketh me very well!”

“And what think you of Mrs Rose, Mother?”

The surprise increased in Isoult’s look, and it was accompanied now by perplexity. But she only answered—

“She liketh me only less than her husband. I would she had been English-born, but that cannot she well help; and I have none other fault to find with her.”

“And what think you, Mother, of Mrs Thekla?”

Robin said this in a very low voice. Dr Thorpe was coming in as he spoke, and the old man turned and faced round on the lad.

“O ho!” cried the Doctor, “blows the wind from that quarter?”

Apparently it did so, for Robin coloured scarlet.

“Come, come, lad!” said he, “thou art but now out of thy swaddling-clothes, and what dost thou with such gear? Put it away, and go whip thy top, like a good lad!”

“Dr Thorpe!” said Robin in an aggrieved voice, and drawing himself to his utmost height, “I was nineteen years of age last Saint Agnes!” (January 21.)

“Thou art as many years of discretion as there be crowns o’ the sun (Note 1) in a halfpenny,” said he. “Nineteen, quotha! Why, thou idle hilding (youth), I have years sixty-nine, and I never thought of marrying yet.”

Isoult laughed, but Robin was grave as a bishop, and plainly deemed himself affronted.

“That is your affair, Dr Thorpe,” said he, demurely, “and this is mine, an’t like you.”

“A pretty plain hint to mind mine own business, whether it like me or no,” replied the old man, with a little merry laugh. “Well, Robin, hie after. Are ye agreed? and is the wedding-day fixed? Shall it be Midsummer Day? Give me a jolly piece of the cake, as what else thou dost; and Isoult! mind thou set it mighty thick with plums.”

“Dr Thorpe,” said Robin, his patience woefully tried, “I wish you would let me be. I was talking with my mother.”

“Say on!” answered he. “I will strive hard to set mine old legs a-dancing at thy wedding, though I promise not a galliardo (a dance wherein high leaps were taken, requiring great agility). My word on’t, it shall be a jovial sight! Hast seen the tailor touching thine attire? Purple satin, or cramoisie?” (Crimson velvet.)

Robin’s forbearance was plainly worn out. He rose and walked toward the door.

“Nay, lad, come!” called the old man. “I meant not in deed to grieve thee. Come back, Robin, and I will cease flouting thee, if it trouble thee. Come back, thou silly child!”

Robin turned back, after a moment’s thought, and sat down on the settle he had left.

“I take your word for it, Dr Thorpe,” he said, soberly. “But think you it not too grave a matter for jesting?”

“Grave!” cried Dr Thorpe. “What, wouldst thou have it spoken of like an execution?”

“I cry you mercy, Doctor,” said Isoult, now joining in; “but in this matter I do take part with Robin. It alway seemeth me that men (ay, and women too), do speak with too much jesting and lightness touching this matter, which should be right serious. A man’s choice of a wife is a choice for life, and is hardly to be talked of, meseemeth, in the same fashion with his choice of a partlet (neck ruff). I pray you, pardon me if in so speaking, I fail aught in the reverence due unto your years.”

“Why, dear child,” saith he, “thou wist more of the matter than I, which was never married; so talk away, and I will hold my peace, and trouble my master the bridegroom no further. Say on, Mr Robert Tremayne.”

“Methinks enough is said,” answered Robin, staidly. “I await my mother’s answer.”

“Which may scarce be given in a moment, Robin,” said Isoult, “nor without talk with mine husband thereupon. Moreover, Mr Rose shall have a word to say touching the matter.”

John was hardly allowed to speak on his return from the law courts, before he had heard Isoult’s story. He received the news at first as something irresistibly comic, but the next minute he grew grave, and evidently began to consider the matter seriously.

“I would fain hear thy thought hereon, Jack,” said his wife, “for methinks I do see in Robin his manner that this is no lad’s fantasy only, as Dr Thorpe did suppose, but a set purpose, that must be fairly faced, and said yea or nay to.”

“We must not forget, dear heart,” was John’s answer, “that though we are unto him in place of elders (parents), Robin is truly his own master, even afore he be of full age. He is not our ward in law, neither in articles nor apprenticeship; and he hath but himself to please. And even were we to let (hinder) him now (when I doubt not his natural kindly and obedient feeling for us should cause him to assent thereto), yet bethink thee that in a year and an half, when he cometh to his mature age, he shall be at liberty in every way. There be many husbands in the realm younger than he; and truly, I see no way but leaving him to his will, so soon only as we can be satisfied that it is no mere passing fantasy that swayeth him, but that his heart and mind are verily set and engaged therein. Remember, we have no right over him; and think yet again, that his choice (so far as I am able to judge) is a thorough good one. I see not what else may be done.”

“But he did refer him unto our judgment by asking me thereon,” said Isoult.

“Truth,” he answered; “wherein he showed his own judgment and wisdom, and himself to be a good and gentle lad, as he is alway. The more reason, sweet heart, that our judgment should be gracious, and should lean unto his wishes, so far as we may in right dealing and love unto himself consent thereto. And in good sooth, I see no cause for dissent.”

“Then,” said Isoult, somewhat surprised, though she scarcely knew why she should have expected any other decision, “thou wilt speak unto Mr Rose?”

“Certainly,” said he, “if Robin desire it.”

“And we really shall have a wedding!” said Isoult.

“I said not that, dear heart,” answered John, smiling.

“Mr Rose may refuse consent; or were he to give it, methinks I should allgates (at all events) move (wherein I would look for Rose to agree with me) that it should not be by and bye (immediately); but to wait until Robin be fairly settled in his calling.”

The calling which Robin had chosen was holy orders. He was studying divinity, and Bishop Ridley had already promised to ordain him when he should arrive at the proper age, if he were satisfied as to his fitness on examination. Mr Rose directed his reading—a fact which had caused him to be thrown rather more into Thekla’s society than he might otherwise have been, in his frequent visits to West Ham, and occasional waiting required when the Vicar happened to be absent. “But, Jack!” cried Isoult, with a sudden pang of fear, “supposing that the King were to die issueless (as God defend!) and the Lady Mary to come in, and set up again the mass, and—”

“And the Bloody Statute,” he answered, reading her thought. “Then we should have a second Walter Mallet.”

“And Thekla to be Grace!” murmured Isoult, her voice faltering. “O Jack, that were dreadful! Could we do nought to let it?”

“Yes,” he said in a constrained tone. “We might do two things to let it. Either to hinder their marriage, or to let Robin from receiving orders.”

“But thinkest thou we ought so?”

“I think, sweet wife,” answered he, tenderly, “that we ought to follow God’s leading. He can let either; and if He see it best, whether for Robin or for Thekla, that will He. But for myself, I do confess I am afeard of handling His rod. I dare not walk unless I see Him going afore. And here, beloved, I see not myself that He goeth afore, except to bid us leave things take their course. Dost thou?”

“I see nothing,” she answered; “I feel blind and in a maze touching it all.”

“Then,” said he, “let us ‘tarry the Lord’s leisure.’”

It was finally settled between John and Isoult that the former should see Mr Rose after the evening service on the following Sunday, when he was to preach at Bow Church, and speak to him on the subject of Robin and Thekla. So after the service they all returned home but John; and though no one told Robin why he stayed behind, Isoult fancied from the lad’s face that he guessed the cause. It was a long time before John’s return. Isoult dismissed Esther to bed, determining to wait herself; and with some indistinct observation about “young folk that could turn night into day,” Dr Thorpe took up his candle and trudged up-stairs also. Robin sat on; and Isoult had not the heart to say anything to him; for she saw that his thoughts were at Bow Church, not occupied with the copy of Latimer’s sermon on the Plough, which lay open before him.

At last John came, with a slow, even step, from which his wife augured ill before he entered the room. He smiled when he saw Robin still there.

“Ill news, Father!” said Robin. “You need not to tell me.”

“Thou art a sely prophet, lad,” answered John, kindly. “At this time I have no news at all for thee, neither good nor ill, only that Mr Rose giveth no absolute nay, and doth but undertake to think upon the matter, and discourse with Mrs Rose. Is that such ill news, trow?”

“Thank you,” answered Robin in a low voice. “You did your best, I know. Good-night.”

And he lifted his candle and departed. But Isoult thought the lad looked sad and disappointed; and she was sorry for him.

“Well, Jack, how spedst thou?” said she, when Robin was gone.

“Ah, grandmother Eva!” replied Jack, smiling. “Wouldst know all?”

“Now, Jack!” said she, “flout me not for my womanly curiosity, but tell me. I am but a woman.”

“Pure truth, dear heart,” answered he, yet smiling. “Well, I had to await a short space, for I found Thekla with her father, and I could not open the matter afore her. So at last I prayed her of leave (asked her to go) (seeing no other way to be rid of her), for I would speak with Mr Rose privily. Then went she presently away, and I brake Robin’s matter.”

“And what said he?”

“He looked more amazed than thou; and trust me that was no little.”

“But what said he?” repeated Isoult.

“He said he had never thought touching the marriage of Thekla, for he looked thereon until now as a thing afar off, like as we of Robin. But (quoth he) he did suppose in all likelihood she should leave him sometime, if God willed it thus; but it should be sore when it came. And the water stood in his eyes.”

“Looked he thereon kindly or no, thinkest?”

“I am somewhat doubtful,” and John dropped his voice, “though I would not say so much to Robin, whether or no he looketh kindly on her marrying at all. Thou wist, sweet heart, for thou heardst him to say so much,—that he hath some thought that there shall yet be great persecution in this land, and that Gospellers shall (in a worldly and temporal sense) come but ill off. And to have Thekla wife unto a priest—I might see it liked him very evil for her sake. Yet he dimitted it not lightly, but passed word to talk it over with his wife: but he said he would never urge Thekla to wed any, contrariwise unto her own fantasy.”

The Monday morning brought Mrs Rose. Isoult felt glad, when she saw her, that John had taken Robin with him to Westminster. The two ladies had a long private conference in Isoult’s closet or boudoir. Mrs Rose evidently was not going to stand in the way; she rather liked the proposed match. She had strongly urged her husband to tell Thekla, which, against his own judgment, he had at last consented to do. For Thekla’s mother regarded her as a marvel of wisdom and discretion, while her father, being himself a little wiser, thought less of her wonderful powers, though he admitted that she was very sensible—for her years.

“She is a good child—Thekla,” said Mrs Rose, in her foreign manner; “a good child—but she dreameth too much. She is not for the life, rather a dreamer. She would read a great book each day sooner than to spin. But she doth the right; she knoweth that she must to spin, and she spin. But she carrieth her thoughts up a great way off, into strange gear whither I cannot follow. See you, Mistress Avery, how I would say? I, I am a plain woman: I make the puddings, I work the spinning—and I love the work. Thekla, she only work the spinning and make the puddings, because she must to do it. She will do the right, alway, but she will not love the work.”

Isoult quite understood her, and so she told her.

“She do not come after me in her liking,” pursued she, “rather it is her father. And it is very good, very good to read the great books, and look at the stars, and to talk always of what the great people do, and of what mean the prophet by this, and the saint by that: but for me it is too much. I do not know what the great people should do. I make my puddings. The great people must go their own way. They not want my pudding, and I not want their great things. But Thekla and Mr Rose are both so good! Only, when they talk together, they sit both of them on the top of my head; I am down beneath, doing my spinning.”

Nothing more was heard until Wednesday. Then, before Isoult was down in the morning, having apparently risen at some unearthly hour, Mr Rose presented himself, and asked for John. The two went out of doors together, to Robin’s deep concern, and not much less to Isoult’s, for she had her full share of womanly curiosity in an innocent way.

At last she saw them come up the street, in earnest conversation. And as John turned in at the door (for Mr Rose would not follow) she heard him say almost mournfully, “Alack! then there is no likelihood thereof. Good morrow!”

“Not the least,” Mr Rose replied; and then away he went down the street.

“An augury of evil!” murmured Robin, under his breath.

“What dost thou with evil this morrow, Robin?” asked John, cheerily, coming into the room. “Be of good cheer, dear lad; the Lord sitteth above all auguries, and hath granted thee the desire of thine heart.”

Robin rose, and the light sprang to his eyes.

“Thekla Rose,” pursued John, “seeth no good cause why she should not change her name to Tremayne. But bide a minute, Robin, man; thou art not to be wed to-morrow morning. Mr Rose addeth a condition which I doubt not shall stick in thy throat.”

“What?” said Robin, turning round, for he was on his way to leave the room.

“But this,” said John, lightly, “that will soon be over. Ye are not to wed for three years.”

Robin’s face fell with a look as blank as though it had been thirty years.

“How now?” asked Dr Thorpe, coming in from the barber. “Sir Tristram looketh as woebegone as may lightly be. I am afeard the Princess Isoude hath been sore cruel.”

John told him the reason.

“And both be such ancient folk,” resumed he, “they are afeard to be dead and buried ere then. How now, Robin! take heart of grace, man! and make a virtue of necessity. Thou art neither seventy nor eighty, nor is Mistress Thekla within a month or twain of ninety. Good lack! a bit of a younker of nineteen, quotha, to be a-fretting and a-fuming to be let from wedding a smatchet of a lass of seventeen or so, until either have picked up from some whither a scrap of discretion on their green shoulders!”

“Thekla hath but sixteen years,” said John; “and Rose thinketh her too young to be wed yet.”

“So should any man with common sense,” replied Dr Thorpe. “Why, lad! what can a maid of such tender years do to rule an house? I warrant thee she should serve thy chicken at table with all the feathers on, and amend thy stockings wrong side afore!”

“Nay,” said Isoult, laughing; “her mother shall have learned her something better than that.”

“Get thee to thine accidence,” said Dr Thorpe to Robin. “Hic, haec, hoc, is a deal meeter for the like o’ thee than prinking of wedding doublets!”

“Dr Thorpe!” answered Robin, aggrievedly, “you alway treat me as though I were a babe.”

“So thou art! so thou art!” said the old man. “But now out of thy cradle, and not yet fit to run alone; for do but see what folly thou hadst run into if Jack and Mr Rose had not been wiser than thou!”

Robin’s lip trembled, and he walked slowly away. Isoult was sorry for the lad’s disappointment, for she saw that it was sore; yet she felt that John and Mr Rose were right, and even Dr Thorpe.

“Rose saith,” resumed John, “that he thinketh not his daughter to be as yet of ripe judgment enough to say more than shall serve for the time; and he will therefore have no troth plighted for this present. In good sooth, had not her mother much urged the consulting of her, methinks he should rather have said nought unto her of the matter. ‘But (quoth he) let three years pass, in the which time Robin shall have years twenty-two, and Thekla nineteen; and if then both be of like mind, why, I will say no further word against it.’”

“Bits o’ scraps o’ childre!” said Dr Thorpe, under his voice, in a tone of scorn and yet pity which would sorely have grieved Robin, had he not gone already.

“Be not too hard on the lad, old friend,” urged John, gently. “Many younger than he be wed daily, and I take it he hath had a disappointment in hearing my news. I thought best not to make too much thereof in the telling; but scorn not the lad’s trouble.”

“I want not to scorn neither the lad nor the trouble,” answered the Doctor. “I did but tell him it was folly; and so it is.”

After this, for a while, there were fewer visits exchanged between the Minories and West Ham; and Robin found himself quietly set to the study of larger books, which took longer to get up than heretofore, so that his appearances at the Vicarage were fewer also. When the families did meet, it was as cordially as ever. Manifestly, Mr Rose’s feelings were not a whit less kindly than before; but he thought it better for Robin that his affections should not be fed too freely.

“Jack,” said Isoult, suddenly, “what discoursedst thou with Mr Rose o’ Wednesday morn, whereof I heard thee to say there was no likelihood? Was it touching this matter of Robin?”

John had to search his memory before he could recall the incident.

“Dear heart, no!” he said, when he had done so; “it touched my Lord of Somerset.”

On the last day of July, Esther, going to the market, came in with news which stirred Isoult’s heart no little. Thomas Wriothesley, Earl of Southampton, had died on the previous day, at his house in London, to which he had been confined by order of the King.

“An ill man and an unkindly,” wrote Isoult in the diary she always kept, “specially unto them which loved the Gospel. But how those tidings taketh me back to the days that be over and gone! For the last time that ever I saw this man was that black third of March, the year of our Lord 1542, when the King that then was, sent him to bear his diamond and message unto my dear master (Lord Lisle) in the Tower. Can I ever forget that even?

“Of this Thomas Wriothesley I dare say nothing. I would think rather of him whose voice I did hear last after his, in the commending of his blessed and gentle spirit into the hands of God. How many times sithence that day have I thanked God for him! Ay, Lord, we thank Thee for Thy saints, and for Thy care and guidance of them. For the longer I do live, the surer am I that Thy way Home is not only the right way, but for each of Thine, the only way. I take it, we shall not think of the thorns that tare us, nor shall we be ready for tears over the sharp stones that wounded us, in that day when I and my dear-loved Lord may sing to Thee together—‘Thou hast redeemed us, O Lord God of truth!’”

Mrs Underhill walked into the Lamb, one warm afternoon in the beginning of August, and remained to four-hours. And of course the conversation turned before long upon the Protestant controversy with Rome. In the Hot Gospeller’s family, it rarely kept off that subject for many minutes together.

“Mother!” said Kate, when she was gone, “what meaneth Mistress Underhill by confession? She said it was bad. But it is not bad, is it, for me to tell you and Father when I have done wrong?”

“No, sweeting, neither to tell God,” answered Isoult. “Mrs Underhill meant not that, but spake only of confession unto a priest.”

“Thou must know, Kate,” explained Robin, “that some men will tell their sins unto any priest, in the stead of seeking forgiveness of God in their own chamber.”

“But what toucheth it the priest?” asked the child.

“Why, never a whit,” he answered.

“If the man have stole from the priest,” resumed she, “it were right he should tell him; like as I tell Father and Mother if I have done any wrong, because it is wrong to them. But if I had disobeyed Mother, what good were it that I should ask Mr Rose to forgive me? I should not have wronged him.”

“She hath a brave wit, methinks, our Kate,” observed Isoult to Robin, when the child had left the room.

Robin assented with a smile; but Dr Thorpe was so rude as to say, “All mothers’ geese be swans.”

The smile on Robin’s lips developed into laughter; Isoult answered, with as much indignant emphasis as her gentle nature could indulge in, “Were you no swan to yours, Dr Thorpe?”

Dr Thorpe’s reply disarmed all the enemy’s forces.

“Ah, child, I never knew her,” the old man said, sadly. “Maybe I had been a better man had I known a mother.”

It was not in Isoult Avery, at least, to respond angrily to such a speech as that.

Before mid-winter was reached, the swans were increased by one in the house in the Minories. On the 29th of November, a baby daughter was born to John and Isoult Avery; and on the 4th of December the child was christened at Saint Botolph’s, Mr Rose officiating. The name given her was Frances. The sponsors were the Duchess of Suffolk, for whom Mrs Rose stood proxy; and Lady Frances Monke, whose deputy was Mrs Underhill; and, last and greatest, the young King, by Sir Humphrey Ratcliffe, Captain of the Gentlemen Pensioners, and a Gospeller. The mania for asking persons of distinction to stand as sponsors was at its height during the reigns of the Tudor sovereigns. Every one of them was godfather or godmother to countless multitudes of his or her subjects, though they rarely, if ever, acted in person. We shall find on a later page, that even “the nine days’ queen,” Lady Jane Grey, was not without this distinction during her momentary reign.

During the illness of Isoult—for she was so ill that for some days Dr Thorpe considered her life in danger—the breach, if it may be called so, with West Ham was made up. Both Mr and Mrs Rose were in constant attendance at the Minories, and Thekla came with them several times, her charge being the children, so that Esther might be entirely free to wait on her sick mistress. The subject was not discussed again, but from this date, on both sides, it appeared to be quietly taken for granted that Robin and Thekla henceforward belonged to each other. The Underhills, too, were very kind, Mrs Underhill undertaking to sit up with her invalid friend for several nights.

On the 13th of February 1551, Dr Gardiner was fully deprived of his bishopric. The Gospellers hoped it was for ever, but it will shortly be seen how deceived they were.

And at Easter the holy table in Saint Paul’s Cathedral was carried down below the veil that had been hung up to hide from the non-communicants the consecration of the elements, and set north and south; for, as yet, the customary place of the table was east and west.

Strange tales were told this Lent of fearful and marvellous visions and sights seen by many persons. Beside Merton Abbey, and in other places, men in armour were seen in the air, who came down to the earth and faded; and in Sussex were three suns shining at once. John Avery made himself merry over these rumours, in which he had no faith. “The three suns,” said he, “were but some matter of optical philosophy, which could readily be expounded of such as were learned in it; and for the men in armour, when he saw them he would believe them.” Dr Thorpe considered the wonderful sights omens of coming ill, but from Esther they won very scant respect.

In May the party from the Lamb dined with Mr Holland, at whose house they met Mr Rose, and Mr and Mrs Underhill. The last-named gentleman could talk of nothing but the expected marriage of the young King with a Princess of France. This Princess was the hapless Elizabeth, afterwards affianced to Don Carlos, and eventually married to his father, the wretched Philip the Second. At this time she was just five years old.

“But,” said Isoult, “she shall be a Papist, trow?”

“She shall be a Papist of mighty few years old,” said Mr Underhill, laughing; “and we will quickly make a Protestant of her. I hear she is a mighty pretty child, her hair dark and shining, her eyes wondrous bright, and her smile exceeding sweet.”

“Sweeter than Thekla Rose’s?” asked Mrs Underhill, herself smiling.

“Scantly, methinks,” answered Mr Underhill. “How like to a man’s fantasy of an angel doth that maid look!”

Robin looked very unlike an angel, for he appeared extremely uncomfortable, but he said nothing.

From the King’s marriage they came to that of the Princess Mary; and Mr Underhill—who, being a Gentleman Pensioner, with friends at Court, was allowed to speak with authority—gave the name of her projected bridegroom as “the Lord Lewis of Portugal. Wherein,” pursued he, “Father Rose and I may amend our differences, seeing that she should first be called to renounce the succession.”

Mr Rose smiled, and said, “A happy ending of a troublous matter, if it were so.”

But, as the reader well knows, the troublous matter was not doomed to have so happy an end.

The next topic was the new Act to allow the marriage of priests. All the party being Gospellers, were, of course, unanimous upon this subject. But Mr Underhill, who was not in the family secrets, unfortunately took it into his head to clap Robin rather smartly on the back, and congratulate him that he might now be a priest without being necessarily a bachelor. Poor Robin looked unhappy again, but still wisely remained silent, not relishing the opening of the subject in Mr Rose’s presence. But Mr Rose only smiled, and quietly suggested that it would be well for Mr Underhill to satisfy himself that he was not making his friends sorrier instead of merrier, by coming down upon them with such personal assaults. John, by way of corollary, intimated in an aside to Isoult, that the gentleman in question “had a sore heavy hand when he was in right earnest.”

The night after this day was one not soon forgotten in London. In the still darkness came an earthquake—that most terrible of phenomena held in God’s hand, whereby He saith to poor, puny, arrogant man, “Be still, and know that I am God.” Isoult awoke to hear sounds on all sides of her—the bed creaking, and below the dishes and pans dancing with a noisy clatter. In the next chamber she heard Walter crying, and Kate asking if the end of all the world were come; but John would not permit her to rise and go to them. And she also heard Esther talking with them and comforting them in a low voice, so she was comparatively satisfied. The baby, Frances, slept peacefully through all.

The next morning Kate said,—“Mother, were you affrighted last night with the great rocking and noise?”

“A little afeard lest some of us should be hurt, sweet heart, if any thing should chance to fall down, or the like; but that was all.”

“I thought,” said she, “that the end of the world was come. What should have come unto us then, Mother?”

“Why, then,” replied Isoult, “we should have seen the Lord Jesus Christ coming in the clouds, with all the angels.”

“Well,” answered Kate, thoughtfully, “I would not have been afeard of Him, for He took up the little babes in His arms, and would not have them sent away. If it had been some of them that desired for to have them away, I might have been afeard.”

“Ay,” said Dr Thorpe, looking up from his book, “the servants are worse to deal withal than the Master. We be a sight harder upon one the other than He is with any of us.”

The Averys were visited, a day or two after the earthquake, by an old acquaintance of Isoult, the companion—“servant” he was called at that time—of Bishop Latimer. Augustine Bernher was by nation a German-Swiss, probably from Basle or its vicinity; and unless we are to take an expression in one of Bradford’s letters as figurative, he married the sister of John Bradford.

Like every one else just then, Bernher’s mind was running chiefly on the earthquake. He brought news that it had been felt at Croydon, Reigate, and nearly all over Kent; and the question on all lips was—What will come of it? For that it was a prognostic of some fearful calamity, no one thought of doubting.

Whether the earthquake were its forerunner or not, a fearful calamity did certainly follow. On the 7th of July the sweating sickness broke out in London. This terrible malady was almost peculiar to the sixteenth century. It was unknown before the Battle of Bosworth Field, in 1485, when it broke out in the ranks of the victorious army; and it has never been seen again since this, its last and most fatal epidemic, in 1551. It is said to have been of the character of rheumatic fever, but its virulence and rapidity were scarcely precedented. In some cases death ensued two hours only after the attack; and few fatal instances were prolonged to two days. On the tenth of July, the King was hurried away to Hampton Court, for one of his grooms and a gentleman of the chamber were already dead. The fury of the plague, for a veritable plague it was, began to abate in London on the 20th; and between the 7th and 20th died in the City alone, about nine hundred persons (Note 2). Nor was the disease confined to London. It broke out at Cambridge—in term time—decimating the University. The Duchess of Suffolk, who was residing there to be near her sons, both of whom were then at Saint John’s, hastily sent away her boys to Bugden, the Bishop of Lincoln’s Palace. But the destroying angel followed. The young Duke and his brother reached Bugden on the afternoon of July 13; and at noon on the following day, the Duchess was childless.

The suspense was dreadful to those who lived in and near London. Every day Isoult watched to see her children sicken—for children were the chief victims of the malady; and on the 15th, when Walter complained of his head, and shivered even in the July sun, she felt certain that the sword of the angel had reached to her. The revulsion of feeling, when Dr Thorpe pronounced the child’s complaint to be only measles, was intense. The baby, Frances, also suffered lightly, but Kate declined to be ill of any thing, to the great relief of her mother. So the fearful danger passed over. No name in the Avery family was inscribed on the tablet of death given to the angel.

John Avery was very indignant at the cant names given by the populace to the sweating sickness. “The new acquaintance”—“Stop-gallant”—“Stoop, knave, and know thy master”—so men termed it, jesting on the very brink of the grave.

“Truly,” said he, “’tis enough to provoke a heavier visitation at God’s hand, when His holy ears do hear the light and unseemly manner wherein men have received this one.”

“Nor is the one of them true,” replied Dr Thorpe. “This disorder is no new acquaintance, for we had it nigh all over one half of England in King Henry’s days. I know I had in Bodmin eight sick therewith at one time.”

When this terror was passing away, an event happened which rejoiced the Papists, and sorely grieved the Gospellers.

On the 5th of April previous, after the deprivation of Gardiner, Dr Poynet had been appointed Bishop of Winchester, and 2000 marks in land assigned for his maintenance. The new Bishop was married; and soon after his elevation, it transpired that his wife had a previous husband yet living. Whether the Bishop knew this at the time of his marriage does not appear; but we may in charity hope that he was ignorant. He was publicly divorced in Saint Paul’s Cathedral on the 28th of July; to the extreme delight of the Papists, in whose eyes a blot on the character of a Protestant Bishop was an oasis of supreme pleasure.

The Gospellers were downcast and distressed. Isoult Avery, coming in from the market, recounted with pain and indignation the remarks which she had heard on all sides. But John only smiled when she told him of them.

“It is but like,” said he. “The sin of one member tainteth the whole body, specially in their eyes that be not of the body. Rest thee, dear heart! The Judge of all the earth shall not blunder because they do, neither in Bishop Poynet’s case nor in our own.”

“But,” said Isoult, “we had no hand in marrying Bishop Poynet.”

“Little enough,” he answered. “He shall bear his own sin (how much or little it be) to his own Master. If he knew not that the woman was not free, it is lesser his sin than hers; and trust me, God shall not doom him for sin he did not. And if he knew, who are we, that we should cast stones at him, or say any thing unto him (confessing and amending) beyond ‘Go, and sin no more’?”

“Nay,” she said, “it is not we that flout him, but these Papistical knaves which do flout us for his sake.”

“Not for his sake,” replied John, solemnly; “for an Other’s sake. We know that the world hated Him before it hated us. Bishop Poynet is not the man they aim at; he is but a commodious handle, a pipe through which their venom may conveniently run. He whom they flout thus is an other Man, whom one day they as well as we shall see coming in the clouds of Heaven, coming to judge the earth. The question asked of Paul was not ‘Why persecutest thou these men and women at Damascus?’ It is not, methinks, only ‘Inasmuch as ye did’ this good, but likewise ‘Inasmuch as ye did’ this evil, ‘unto one of the least of these My brethren, ye did it unto Me.’”

The next thing which aggrieved the people was an order for the abatement of the coinage. Henceforward, the nine-penny piece was to pass for sixpence, the groat or four-penny piece for twopence, the two-penny piece for a penny, the penny for a halfpenny, and the halfpenny for a farthing. Yet notwithstanding this, or perhaps in consequence of it, the price of provisions rose instead of falling.

“Why,” said Dr Thorpe, “this is plainly putting an hand in a man’s pocket, and robbing him of half his money!”

“Softly, good friend!” interposed John. “You would not call the King’s Grace a robber?”

“The King’s Grace is the King’s Grace, and may do as it liketh him,” said Dr Thorpe, a little testily; “’tis yonder rascally Council whereof I speak, and in especial that cheating knave of Warwick. I would we had my Lord of Somerset back, for all he is not a Lutheran, but a Gospeller. He never thrust his hand into my pocket o’ this fashion.”

“Ah!” replied John, laughing, “touch a man’s pocket, and how he crieth apace!”

“A child newly burnt dreadeth the fire, Jack,” answered the old man. “This is not the first time we have had the King’s coin pulled down. I am as true a man to the King as any here; but I have taken no oath to that dotipole (blockhead) of Warwick; and if he play this game once too oft, he may find he hath fished and caught a frog.”

“I count,” suggested John, soberly, “that my Lord of Warwick’s testers shall not pass for any more than ours.”

“What matters that to him, lad,” cried Dr Thorpe, “when he can put his hand into the King’s treasury, and draw it out full of rose nobles? The scurvy rogue! I would he were hanged!”

John laid his hand very gently and lovingly on the old man’s shoulder.

“Would you truly that, friend?” said he, softly.

“A man meaneth not alway every thing he saith,” replied Dr Thorpe, somewhat ashamed. “Bring me not to bar, prithee, for every word, when I am heated.”

“Dear old friend,” John answered, softly, “we shall stand at one Bar for every word.”

“Then I shall look an old fool, as I do now,” said he. “Sit thee down, lad! and hold that soft tongue o’ thine. I can stand a fair flyting (scolding: still a Northern provincialism) or a fustigation (beating), but I never can one of those soft tongues like thine.”

John sat down, a little smile playing round his lips, and said no more.

One day in October, Mr Underhill dined at the Lamb. He brought news that at Hampton Court, that day, the Earl of Warwick was to be made Duke of Northumberland; the Marquis Dorset (Henry Grey, husband of the late Duke’s elder daughter), Duke of Suffolk; the Lord Treasurer (William Paulet, Lord Saint John), Marquis of Winchester; and Mr William Herbert, Earl of Pembroke.

“Duke of Northumberland!” cried Dr Thorpe, fairly roused at this news. “Duke of Blunderhead! Had the King made him Duke of Cumberland I had little marvelled. Wherefore did his Grace (saving the reverence due) not likewise make me Duke of Truro or Marquis of Bodmin? I have been a truer man unto his Highness than ever my Lord of Warwick, and have done the kingdom a sight less harm.”

“Less harm, quotha!” laughed Mr Underhill. “Why, friend, if all were made dukes and marquises that have done no harm to the kingdom, we should have the Minories choke-full of noble houses.”

“We should have mighty few of the Lords keeping their titles,” said Dr Thorpe, grimly.

A few days later, Dr Thorpe, having gone to the barber’s near Aldgate, returned with a budget of news, as was usual when he came from that quarter.

“What will you give me for my news?” cried he, as he came in. “Rare news! glorious news!—for all knaves, dolts, and runagates!”

John entered likewise just after him.

“I will give you nought, Doctor, at that rate,” said Isoult, laughing.

“I know it, friend,” replied John, so sadly that her mirth vanished in a moment. “It is a woeful blow to the Gospel. Isoult, the Duke of Somerset and my Lord Grey de Wilton are committed to the Tower.”

“The Duke of Somerset again!” she cried. “But my Lord Grey de Wilton!—what hath he done?”

“Served the King well in Cornwall,” answered John; “I know of nothing worse.”

“’Tis that idiot, knave, dolt, and dizard (fool) of a Northumberland,” cried Dr Thorpe in great indignation. “I would the whole Dudley race had never been born! Knavery runs in their blood—’twill not out of them!”

“There are a few honest men in England—but a few,” said John, mournfully, “and two of the foremost shall lie this night in the Tower of London. And for what? Is it because my Lord Grey hath many times shed his blood for England (the royal blood of England herself which runneth in his veins (Note 3)), that now England herself shall shed it on Tower Hill? Is it because my Lord of Somerset hath given her the best laws she had for many a day, that now she will needs strain her laws to condemn him? Shame upon England if it be so! She shall not be held guiltless for it either before God or men.”

“And yestereven,” continued Dr Thorpe, “was my Lady of Somerset sent also to the Tower, for the great crime, I take it, of being wife unto her husband. And with her a fair throng of gentlemen—what they have done I wis not. Maybe one of them sent the Duke a peacock, and another doffed his bonnet to the Lord Grey.”

“The Duchess, too!” exclaimed John, turning to him. “I heard not of her committal. What can they lay to her charge?”

“Marry, she must have trade on the tail (train) of my Lady of Northumberland last Garter day,” scornfully answered Dr Thorpe. “Were not this a crime well deserving of death?”

“Surely,” said Isoult, “my Lady of Warwick (Note 4) will plead for her own father and mother with her father of Northumberland?”

“Plead with the clouds that they rain not!” said he, “or with a falling rock that it crush you not. Their bosoms were easier to move than John Dudley’s heart of stone.”

“And what saith the King to it all, mewondereth?” said Isoult.

“Poor child!” answered Jack, “I am sorry for him. Either he pleadeth in vain, or else they have poured poison into his ears, persuading him that his uncle is his dire foe, and they his only friends (the last was the truth). God have pity on his gentle, childly heart, howsoever it be.”

“More news, Isoult!” said Dr Thorpe, coming home on the following Thursday. “’Tis my Lord Paget this time that hath had the great misfortune to turn his back upon King Northumberland, while the knave was looking his way. We shall have all the nobles of the realm accommodated in the Tower afore long.”

“Ah me!” said Isoult, with a shiver, “are those dreadful ’headings to begin again?”

“Most likely so,” answered he, sitting down. “And the King’s Grace hath given his manor of Ashridge unto his most dear sister the Lady Elizabeth. I marvel, by the way, which of those royal ladies shall ride the first unto Tower Hill. We are getting on, child! How the Devil must be a-rubbing his hands just now!”

In the midst of these troubles came the Queen Dowager of Scotland, Marie of Guise, to visit the King; upon which rumours instantly arose that the King should even yet marry the young Queen of Scots. But Mary Stuart was never to be the wife of Edward Tudor: and there came days when, looking back on this day, Isoult Avery marvelled that she could ever have thought such events troubles at all. The clouds were returning after the rain.

In came Dr Thorpe from evensong on the Sunday night.

“One bit more of tidings, Isoult!” said he in his caustic style. “’Tis only my Lord of Arundel—nothing but an Earl—let him be. Who shall be the next, trow?”

“Mean you,” said she, “that my Lord of Arundel is had to the Tower?”

“To the Tower,” replied he, “ay; the general meeting-place now o’ days.”

“I wonder how it is with my Lady of Arundel,” said Isoult.

“Why,” answered he, “if she would get in likewise after her lord, she hath but to tell my Lord of Northumberland to his face that he may well be ’shamed of himself (a truer word was never spoke!) and she shall find her there under an hour.”

During the following month came an invitation to dine at West Ham. There, beside the party from the Lamb, were Mr and Mrs Underhill and Mr Holland. The conversation turned on politics. It was the usual topic of that eventful decade of years.

Mr Rose said,—“I know one Master Ascham, now tutor unto my Lady Elizabeth’s Grace, which hath also learned the Lady Jane Grey, and hath told me how learned and studious a damsel is she; and can speak and read with all readiness not only French, and Spanish, and Italian, but also Latin and Greek: and yet is she only of the age of fourteen years. And so gentle and lovely a maid to boot, as is scantly to be found in the three kingdoms of the King’s Majesty.”

“How had she served for the King?” inquired John.

“Right well, I would say,” answered Mr Rose. “But men say she is destined otherwhere.”

“Whither, I pray you?” said Mr Holland.

“Unto a son of my Lord of Northumberland, as ’tis thought,” he answered.

Whereupon, hearing the name of his enemy, as though touched by a match, Dr Thorpe exploded.

“A son of my Lord of Northumberland, forsooth!” cried he. “Doth earth bear no men but such as be sons of my Lord of Northumberland? Would the rascal gather all the coronets of England on his head, and those of his sons and daughters? ’Tis my Lord of Northumberland here, and there, and everywhere—”

“Up-stairs and down-stairs, and in my Lady’s chamber,” sang Mr Underhill, in a fine bass voice; for even in that musical age, he was renowned for his proficiency in the art.

“In the King’s chamber, certes,” said Dr Thorpe. “I would with all mine heart he could be thence profligated.” (Driven out.)

“Methinks I can see one in the far distance that may do that,” said Mr Rose in his grave manner. “At the furthest, my Lord of Northumberland will not live for ever.”

“But how many sons hath he?” groaned Dr Thorpe. “‘Such apple-tree, such fruit’ If the leopard leave ten or a dozen cubs, we be little better for shooting him.”

“My Lord Henry, allgates, is no leopard cub,” said Mr Underhill. “I know the boy; and a brave, gallant lad he is.”

“Go on,” said Dr Thorpe. “The rest?”

“My Lord of Warwick,” pursued he, “is scarce the equal of his brother, yet is he undeserving of the name of a leopard cub; and my Lord Ambrose, as meseemeth, shall make a worthy honourable man. For what toucheth my Lord Guilford, I think he is not unkindly, but he hath not wit equal to his father; and as for Robin (the famous Earl of Leicester)—well, you shall call him a leopard cub an’ you will. He hath all his father’s wit and craft, and more than his father’s grace and favour; and he looketh to serve as a courtier.”

“He shall carry on, then, in his father’s place,” said Dr Thorpe, with a groan.

“Methinks he shall either make a right good man, or a right bad one,” answered Mr Underhill. “He hath wit for aught.”

“And who,” said Dr Thorpe, “ever heard of a Dudley a good man?”

“Is that the very gentleman,” asked Mrs Rose, “that did marry with the great heir, Mistress Robsart?”

“Ay,—Mrs Amie,” answered Mr Underhill; “and a gentle one she is. A deal too good for Robin Dudley.”

“Must we then look to my Lord Robert as the Cerberus of the future?” said Mr Rose, smiling.

“The Devil is not like to run short of servants,” answered Dr Thorpe, grimly. “If it be not he, it will be an other.”

The clouds returned after the rain; but they gathered softly. Unheralded by any suspicion on the part of England as to the fate which it bore, came that fatal first of December which was the beginning of the end.

Edward Seymour, Duke of Somerset, was arraigned that day in Westminster Hall. And round the doors England pressed, yet in more hope than fear. A mere farce, she thought: he must be acquitted, of course. She prepared to welcome him home in triumph.

With such feelings in her heart—for was she not a part of England?—Isoult Avery stood at her door about six o’clock that evening, waiting for John’s return from the trial which was the one occurrence of the day. Robin had gone with him; but Dr Thorpe remained at home. For a time there was nothing but silence. The usual hum of the City was stilled: everybody was at Westminster. From Goodman’s Fields the cows came lowing home; now and then a single person, intent on business with which nothing might interfere, passed quickly up the Minories; the soft chime of the bells of Saint Katherine floated past the Tower wall, for the ringers were practising after evensong; and one great gun rang out sharply from the Tower, to inform the world that it was six o’clock. Five minutes afterwards, a low sound, like the roll of distant thunder, came from the City side of Aldgate. It grew louder every moment. It became first a noise, then a roar. At last the sound was articulate and distinguishable.

“A Somerset! a Somerset!” (Note 5.)

But what had happened? Were they voices of Papists, or of Gospellers?

All at once they came pouring out of Aldgate. In front colours were flying and fifes screaming, and behind ran the crowd, their voices drowning the fifes. Isoult began to think of retreating and closing her door, when she caught sight of Gillian Brent (a fictitious person), her neighbour’s daughter, who was struggling frantically to reach her mother’s house, being nearly carried off her feet by the press of people. Gillian, with much difficulty, fought her way through, and reached Isoult, who had beckoned her to take refuge with her. She came in almost breathless, and sank upon the settle, completely worn out, before she had strength to speak. When she was a little recovered, Gillian said—

“My Lord Protector is quit (acquitted) of all ill, Mistress; and therefore the folk be thus glad.”

“In very deed!” said Isoult, “and therefore am I right glad. But, Gillian, are you certain thereof?”

“Nay,” said she; “I do know no more than that all the folk say so much.”

Two hours more passed before John came home.

“Well, Jack!” said Dr Thorpe, so soon as he heard his foot on the threshold, “so my Lord of Somerset is quit of all charges?”

“Who told you so much?” inquired John.

“All the folk say so,” answered Isoult.

“All the folk mistake, then,” answered he, sadly. “He is quit of high treason, but that only; and is cast for death (Note 6) of felony, and remitted again unto the Tower.”

“Cast for death!” cried Dr Thorpe and Isoult together.

Avery sat down with a weary air.

“I have been all this day in Westminster Hall,” said he, “for I saw there Mr Bertie, of my Lady of Suffolk’s house, and he gat space for me so soon as he saw me; and we stood together all the day to listen. My Lord of Somerset pleaded his own cause like a gentleman and a Christian, as he is: verily, I never heard man speak better.”

“Well!” said Isoult, “then wherefore, thinkest, fared he ill?”

“Ah, dear heart!” replied he, “afore a jury of wolves, a lamb should be convicted of the death of a lion.”

“Who tried him?” asked Dr Thorpe.

“My Lord of Northumberland himself hath been on the Bench,” said John, “and it is of the act of compassing and procuring his death that my Lord of Somerset is held guilty.”

“Knave! scoundrel! murderer!” cried Dr Thorpe, in no softened tone. “Jack, if I were that man’s physician, I were sore tempted to give him a dose that should end his days and this realm’s troubles!”

“Good friend,” said John, smiling sadly, “methinks his days shall be over before the troubles of this realm.”

“But is there an other such troubler in it?” asked he.

“Methinks I could name two,” said John; “the Devil and Dr Stephen Gardiner.”

“Dr Gardiner is safe shut up,” he answered.

“He may be out to-morrow,” said John. “And if not so, the Devil is not yet shut up, nor shall be till the angel be sent with the great chain to bind him.”

“Nay, Jack! the wise doctors say that was done under Constantine the Emperor, and we have enjoyed the same ever sithence,” answered he.

“Do they so?” replied John, somewhat drily. “We be enjoying it now, trow?—But the thousand years be over, and he is let out again. And if he were ever shut up, methinks all the little devils were left free scope. Nay, dear friend! before the Kingdom, the King. The holy Jerusalem must first come down from Heaven; and then ‘there shall be no more pain, neither sorrow, nor crying.’”

When the two were alone, John said to his wife—“Isoult, who thinkest thou is the chief witness against my Lord of Somerset, and he that showed this his supposed plot to the King and Council?”

“Tell me, Jack,” said she. “I cannot guess.” He said, “Sir Thomas Palmer, sometime of Calais.”

“God forgive that man!” cried Isoult, growing paler. “He did my dear master (Lord Lisle) to death,—will he do my Lord of Somerset also?”

“‘Ye shall be hated of all men for My name’s sake.’ They that are so shall have their names written in Heaven.” Avery spoke solemnly, and said no more.

Note 1. Crowns were coined with either a rose or a sun on the obverse; and were distinguished accordingly.

Note 2. 872 (Machyn’s Diary, page 8); 938 (News Letter, Harl. Ms. 353, folio 107).

Note 3. The line of Grey de Wilton is the youngest branch of the royal House of York.

Note 4. John Earl of Warwick, eldest son of Northumberland, had married Anne, eldest daughter of Somerset.

Note 5. This ancient English shout is always spelt thus; but there is reason to think that the first word was sounded ah.

Note 6. Convicted. The Duke was acquitted on the first count, of high treason; and the people, hearing the announcement, “Not Guilty,” supposed that the trial was ended, and the Duke completely acquitted.

Chapter Six.

A Crime which was a Blunder.

“We pass: the path that each man trod
Is dim, or shall be dim, with weeds.
What fame is left for human deeds
In endless age? It rests with God.”


No ill befel Lord Grey de Wilton. There was but little laid to his charge,—only a journey to the North, preceding the Duke of Somerset, to discover who were his friends. Perhaps the Council was ashamed to shed the blood of the man who had but lately put down the rising in Cornwall, and joined in raising the siege of Exeter. Whatever the cause were, he was quietly acquitted on the 19th of December, and suffered to go home.

In came Dr Thorpe, shortly before Christmas, carrying in his hand a new shilling.

“See thee!” said he, “Isoult, look well hereon. Seest it?”

“Well, what of it, Doctor?” said she. “I have seen many afore.”

“Dost mark it?” inquired he.

“Ay,” she answered, marvelling what he meant.

“Well,” pursued he, “thou art not to speak evil of it.”

“I am not like,” said she, innocently, “for these new shillings be lesser and neater than the broad shilling, and they like me the rather.”

“Well,” responded he, “take thou heed. ‘Forewarned is forearmed.’”

“But what mean you. Dr Thorpe?” asked the puzzled Isoult.

“Nay, nay, now!” answered the old man. “This dolt, my Lord of Northumberland—they must have missed rocking of him in his cradle!—this patch, look thou, hath taken offence at the canting name men have given to these new shillings.”

“Why,” said she, “what name gave they them?”

“Forsooth,” replied he, “‘ragged staffs;’ and thou wist what that meaneth.”

“What, a quip on my Lord of Northumberland’s arms?” answered Isoult.

“Yea, justly,” said he; “and this sweet companion loveth not to have his arms spoke about. So here is a proclamation—come out of the Court of Fools, as I live!—that no man henceforward shall speak evil of the new coin upon penalty. Didst ever hear such a piece of folly?”

“Ay,” interposed John, who sat reading in the chimney-corner, “and heard you how Master Latimer hath offended? Some time agone, preaching before the King, he chanced to repeat the device of the new shilling (that coming pat, I take it, to his matter) to wit, ‘Timor Domini fons vitae.’ And here quoth he, ‘We have now a pretty little shilling, in deed a very pretty one. I have but one, I think, in my purse; and the last day I had put it away almost for an old groat.’ And so plucked it out of his purse, and read the device to the people, with the signification thereof. Now (would you crede it?) there was murmuring against Mr Latimer of my Lord of Northumberland’s following, that he had reviled the new shilling, and contemned it for no better than an old groat.”

“I do protest!” cried Dr Thorpe, “the world is gone mad!”

“Saving you and me,” said John, gravely.

“I scantly know, Jack,” answered he, shaking his white head. “Methinks I shall not save you nor me long.”

One of the strangest things in this strange world is the contrasts perpetually to be found in it. While Somerset lay thus under sentence of death, the Lord of Misrule passed through London. He was George Ferris, an old friend of the Hot Gospeller, and a warm Protestant himself; yet it would be a tolerably safe guess to assert that Ferris was a Lutheran. Scarcely would a Gospeller have filled that position on that day.

Perhaps the relics of Dr Thorpe’s Lutheranism were to blame for his persistent determination to have Twelfth Day kept with all the honours. He insisted on cake and snap-dragon, and was rewarded for his urgency by drawing the king, while Kate was found to be his queen. Their mimic majesties were seated in two large chairs at one end of the parlour, the white-haired king laughing like a child, while the little queen was as grave as a judge. The snap-dragon followed, for which a summary abdication took place; and greatly amused was the old man to find Walter in abject fear of burning his fingers, while Kate plunged her hand into the blue flaming dish with sufficient courage for any knight in Christendom. The evening closed with hot cockles, after which Esther took possession of the children, declaring, with more earnestness than was her wont, that they must and should not stay up another minute.

“Verily,” said the old Doctor, when they were gone, “if the childre must be had away, then should I follow; for I do feel in myself as though I were a little child to-night.”

“So you have been, methinks,” responded Isoult, smiling on him, “for assuredly they had enjoyed far less mirth without you.”

And now the dark cloud closed over England, which was to be the one blot on the reign of our Josiah. Poor young King! he was but fourteen; how could he tell the depth of iniquity that was hidden in those cold blue eyes of the man who was hunting the hapless Duke of Somerset to death? Probably there was only one man who fully fathomed it, and that was the victim himself. And his voice was sterling in England no more.

Words fail in the attempt to describe what the Duke’s execution was to the Gospellers. There was not one of them, from the Tyne to the Land’s End, who for the country’s sake would not joyfully have given his life for the life of Somerset. He was only a man, and a sinful man too; yet such as he was, speaking after the manner of men, he was the hope of the Gospel cause. To every Gospeller it was as the last plague of Egypt; and to judge by the lamentations to be heard in all their houses, it might have been supposed that “there was not an house where there was not one dead.” It is not often that a whole land mourns like this. Among her sons England has not many darlings, but those that she has, she holds very dear.

The morning of the 22nd of January came.

“Know you, Mrs Avery,” asked Esther, “if the Duke of Somerset is like to be had afore the Council again, and when it shall be? I would like much to see that noble gentleman, if I might get a glimpse of him.”

Isoult referred the question to John, but he said he had heard nothing; he was going to Fleet Street, and would see if he could find out. But before he set out there came a rapping on the door, and when Ursula opened it, there stood Mr Rose.

“Welcome!” said John to him. “Come in and give us your news.”

“There shall be better welcome for me than them,” he said, in his sad grave manner. “Know you that even this day doth my Lord of Somerset suffer?”

“Is there no help for it?” said Dr Thorpe, sternly.

Mr Rose answered sadly,—“There is alway help from God; but His help is not alway to be seen of men. From men, in this matter, there is none help whatever, remembering that he who should give it is my Lord of Northumberland. You may ask the lion to have mercy on his new-caught prey, but not John Dudley upon Edward Seymour. There is but this one barrier betwixt him and—”

Mr Rose did not finish in words, but a slight motion of his hands over his head (Note 1) showed well enough what he meant.

“But you count not that he would aim—” began Dr Thorpe.

Another motion of Mr Rose checked his further utterance.

“He that hath the thing in deed, doth sometimes all the better without the name thereof,” he said quietly.

“Where dieth he?” saith John, in a low voice.

“Upon Tower Hill,” Mr Rose replied.

“I would like,” he answered, “to see him once more, and hear what he will say.”

“You cannot,” said Mr Rose. “There hath been commandment issued that all householders (except specially summoned) shall keep their houses, upon sore pain, betwixt six and eight of the clock this morrow, until all be over. List! there goeth six of the clock now. I thought to have gone somewhat further on my way, but now I must needs abide with you these two hours.”

So they sat down and talked, mournfully enough, until the clock struck seven; and then Mr Rose, rising from his chair, said, “Brethren, let us pray.” John drew the bolts, and the curtains over the windows, and all knelt down.

This morning England’s heart was throbbing with pain; to-morrow she would be mourning for her dead son. The only man whom England trusted was dying on Tower Hill! And this group—atoms of England, and parts of England’s heart—without such guards as these, they dared not pray for him.

Thus Mr Rose prayed:—

“O Lord, glorious in holiness, fearful in praises, doing wonders! whose way is in the sea, and whose path in the great waters, and whose footsteps are not known! We kneel before Thee this dread morrow, to beseech Thee on behalf of Edward Seymour, by Thy grace and providence Duke of Somerset. For causes unknown to us, but known to Thine unfathomable wisdom, Thou hast given leave to his enemies to triumph over him; and in Thy wise, and good, and just allowing and ordering of men’s ways, he is as this day cast for death. We know, O Lord, that Thy judgments are right, and that Thou in faithfulness dost afflict and chasten man, whether for sin, or for correction and instruction in righteousness. Therefore we would not beseech Thee to remove Thine hand from him—as, even at the last moment, Thou wert able to do—but rather so to order this Thy very awful providence, that he may be strengthened for death, and enabled to put his whole trust in Thy mercy, and in the alone merits of the bitter cross and passion of Thy Son our Lord. Suffer him not to depart from Thy fear, nor to lose his full and entire confidence in Thy mercy. Let not the malice of the Devil, neither the traitorousness and perfidiousness of his own evil heart, cause him to fall short of Thy heavenly calling. O Lord God most holy, O Lord God most mighty, O holy and merciful Saviour, suffer him not, in his last hour, for any pains of death, to fall from Thee!”

He paused a moment, and all responded—“Amen.” Yet he rose not. But while they knelt, from within the wall of the Tower enclosure came a sudden tumult, rushings to and fro, and shouts and cries of “Jesu, save us!” After a few minutes all was quiet.

And when all was quiet, Mr Rose went on.

“Lord, bow down Thine ear, and hear! Open, Lord, Thine eyes, and see! Reveal unto this dying man the glory of Thy kingdom, the beauty of Thyself, that so he may count all things but loss that he may win Christ. Open unto him the gates of pearl, which the righteous shall enter into—make him to shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of Thee, O Father. Grant him to endure this his cross for Thy love, and in Thy strength, and after to reign with Thee in glory evermore.”

He made another pause—a longer one; and again all responded, “Amen.” During his silence came another roar from Tower Hill; but all was again silent (Note 2). The minutes passed slowly to the kneeling group. It seemed a long time ere he spoke again.

“O Lord, shed Thy peace over the last moments of this our brother in the Gospel of Christ—in Thy kingdom and patience. Let Thy servant depart in peace. Suffer not Satan to harass and annoy him, nor the thought of his own sins to grieve and shake him. Fix his mind firmly upon Thee and on Thy Christ. O holy and merciful Saviour, suffer him not, at his last hour, for any pains of death, to fall from Thee!”

As Mr Rose uttered the last word, the Tower guns rang out, clear and sharp, on the frosty morning air. Few sounds ever thrilled so straight to the Gospellers’ hearts as that. None uttered another word while they knelt. Even the Amen was silent now. They might pray no more for Edward Duke of Somerset.

Slowly, one after another, all rose. All still, in silent mourning, they waited till the great clock of Saint Botolph’s rang out eight times. The next minute every door in the street was opened, and men were pouring out in a mass toward Aldgate. Then Mr Rose, with a heavy sigh, rose and held out his hand. That action unloosed the tongues of the party.

“Ah! God be his rest!” said Dr Thorpe, meditatively. “He did not alway the right, but—”

“Do you?” answered Mr Rose, pointedly enough, with a quick flash in his eyes.

“As said poor King Harry, ‘Kingdoms are but cares,’” said John (Note 3). “He hath found a better now.”

“He hath found a better, I am assured,” answered Mr Rose, “and is now singing the new song before the Throne. Methinks he doth not wish himself back now.”

“I marvel,” suggested Dr Thorpe, half sorrowfully, yet a little scornfully, “how he and the Queen Katherine shall get along the one with the other in Heaven?”

“I count, old friend,” answered John, “that the Lutheran Queen and the Gospelling Duke will each be taken up too much with the mercy that hath forgiven his sins, to have any leisure for counting up those of the other.”

“Well, they will lack something of the sort,” replied the old man.

“How can there be disagreement where each seeth clear?” said Mr Rose, “or how any disliking in the presence of the Mediator?”

Dr Thorpe made no answer, but he shook Mr Rose’s offered hand warmly; and when he was gone, he said, “That is a good man. I would I were a better.”

“Amen!” responded Avery, “for us all.”

About the middle of March came Annis Holland to pay her farewell visit to Isoult. She was a quiet, gentle-looking woman, rather short, and inclining to embonpoint, her hair black, and her eyes dark grey. She was to start for Spain on the 22nd of the same month, under the escort of Don Jeronymo, a Spanish gentleman in the household of the Duchess of Suffolk. The city to which she was bound was Tordesillas, and there (where the Queen resided) she was to await the orders of the Marquis of Denia, who was her Majesty’s Comptroller. Annis promised to write to her friend twice every year, while she remained abroad.

A few days after Annis’s departure, there was a dinner-party at the Lamb. The guests were Mr and Mrs Underhill, Mr and Mrs Rose, Thekla, and Mr Holland.

Mr Underhill brought bad news. The King had fallen ill of small-pox, and Parliament was likely to be prorogued, since he could no longer be present at the debates. The idea that the royal presence might overawe the members, and the consequent absence of the Sovereign from the House excepting for state ceremonies, are no older than the Restoration. The Plantagenet and Tudor Kings sat in their Parliaments as a matter of course.

After dinner, Mr Holland, who was fond of children, set Kate on his knee, and won her heart by permitting her to chatter as freely as she pleased. Robin and Thekla crept into a quiet corner by themselves; Mrs Underhill made Esther her especial companion; and the rest sat round the fire.

“What think you,” said Dr Thorpe to Mr Underhill, “should now hap, if (which God of His mercy defend!) this sickness of the King were to prove mortal?”

“How mean you?” Mr Underhill answered, “that the King should or should not provide his successor?”

“Why,” replied Dr Thorpe, “will he shut out his sisters?”

“There are that would right gladly have him to do so.”

“Whom aim you at there?”

“My Lord of Northumberland and other,” said he.

Dr Thorpe exploded, as was usual with him, at Northumberland’s name.

“What, the Duke of Blunderhead?” cried he. “Ay, I reckon he would like well to be John the Second. Metrusteth the day that setteth the fair crown of England on that worthless head of his, shall see me safe in Heaven, or it should go hard with me but I would pluck it thence!”

“I never can make out,” answered Mr Underhill, laughing, “how you can be a Lutheran, and yet such an enemy to my Lord of Northumberland, that is commonly counted head of the Lutheran party, at the least in the sense of public matters.”

“Nay, my word on’t!” exclaimed he, “but if I thought the Devil, by that his proxy, to be head of the Lutheran party, in any sense or signification whatsoever, I would turn Gospeller to-morrow!”

Mr Underhill roared with laughter. John said, aside to Mr Rose,—“He is not far from it now.”

“Come, you are over hard on Jack Dudley,” said Mr Underhill. “He is an old friend of mine.”

“Then I wish you joy of your friends,” replied Dr Thorpe, in a disgusted tone: adding after a minute, “I yet look for your answer to my question.”

“I am no prophet,” answered he, “neither a prophet’s son; but it needeth not much power of prophecy to see that a civil war, or something very like it, should follow.”

“In either case?” suggested Avery.

“In the case of the King making no appointment,” he said, “very likely: in the case of his so doing, almost certain.”

“Eh, my masters!” continued Dr Thorpe very sadly, “when I was born, seventy-one years gone, the Wars of the Roses were scantly over. I have heard my father tell what they were. Trust me, rather than go through such a time again, I would be on my knees to God to spare it unto us,—ay, night and day.”

“But in case no devise of the succession were made,” said John, “the Lady Mary’s Grace should follow without gainsaying, I take it.”

“Not without gainsaying,” answered Mr Rose. “My Lord of Northumberland knoweth full well that he could not reign under her as he hath done under King Edward. Remember, she is no child, but a woman; ay, and a woman taught by suffering also.”

“And every Lutheran in the kingdom would gather round him,” added Mr Underhill.

“Round John Dudley?” cried Dr Thorpe. “Hang me if I would!”

“Saving your mastership,” said Mr Underhill, laughing, and making him a low bow.

“And every Papist would go with the Lady Mary,” said John. “It were an hard choice for us. How think you? Which way should the Gospellers go?”

“Which way?” cried Mr Underhill, flaring up. “Why, the right way! With the right heir of England, and none other!”

“I asked not you, Ned Underhill,” answered John, smiling. “I know your horse, and how hard you ride him. I wished to question Rose and Holland.”

Mr Rose did not answer immediately. Mr Holland said, “It were an hard case; yet methinks Mr Underhill hath the right. Nothing can make right wrong, I take it, neither wrong to be right.”

“Truth: yet that is scarce the question,” responded Avery. “Rather is it, if the King made another devise of the crown, who should then be the right heir?”

“Ah! now you are out of my depth,” answered Mr Holland. “This little maid and I understand each other better. Do we not so, Kate?”

“Well, Rose?” inquired John.

“Prithee, get Mr Underhill out of the house first,” interposed Dr Thorpe, laughing.

“Or we shall have a pitched battle. I would like nothing better!” said Mr Underhill, rubbing his hands, and laughing in his turn.

“Brother,” said Mr Rose, turning to him, “the wisdom that cometh from above is peaceable.”

“But first, pure!” answered Mr Underhill, quickly.

“There were little of the one, if it should lack the other,” responded he.

“Come, give us your thought!” cried Mr Underhill. “I will endeavour myself to keep mine hands off you, and allgates, if I grow very warlike, Avery and Holland can let me from blood-shedding.”

“When I find myself in the difficulty, I will,” replied Mr Rose, with his quiet smile.

And no more could Mr Underhill obtain from him: but he said that he would demand an answer if the occasion arose.

The King had no sooner recovered from the small-pox than he took the measles; and the Parliament, seeing no hope of his speedy amendment, broke up on the 15th of April.

Mr Rose stepped into the Lamb that evening.

“There is a point of our last week’s matter, that I would like your thought upon,” said Avery to him. “Granted that the Gospellers should make a self party, and not join them with Lutherans ne with Papists, touching public matters, where, think you, look we for a leader?”

Mr Rose shook his head. “We have none,” said he.

“Not my Lord Archbishop?”

“Assuredly not; he is by far too gentle and timid. We lack a man that could stand firm,—not that should give up all short of God’s Throne for the sake of peace.”

“Nor my Lord of London?”

“Dr Ridley is a bolder man than his superior; a fine, brave follow in every way: yet methinks he hath in him scantly all the gear we lack; and had we a command for him, I misdoubt greatly if he should take it. He is a man of most keen feeling and delicate judgment.”

“My Lord of Sussex?”

“Gramercy, no! Nature never cut him out for a general.”

“Mr Latimer, quondam of Worcester?”

“As fiery as Ned Underhill,” answered Mr Rose, smiling; “indeed, somewhat too lacking in caution; but an old man, with too little strength or endurance of body—enough of soul.”

“Nay, then, I see but one more,” continued Avery, “and if you say nay to him also, I have done. What think you of my Lord’s Grace of Suffolk?”

“‘Unstable as water, thou shalt not excel,’” he answered. “A man weak as any child, and as easily led astray. If he be your head, Avery, I would say it were scarce worth to turn out for the cause. You would have an halter round your neck in a week.”

“Well,” responded John, “I cannot see any other.”

“I cannot see any,” was Mr Rose’s answer.

“Then we have no leader!” said Dr Thorpe, despondently.

Dr Thorpe was beginning to say “we” when he meant the Gospellers.

“We have no leader,” said Mr Rose. “We had one—an Heaven-born one—the only man to whose standard (saving a faction) all England should have mustered, the only man whose trumpet should have reached every heart. And but three months gone, his blood reddened the surfeited earth upon Tower Hill. Friends, men may come to look upon that loss as upon a loss never to be amended. Trust me, we have not seen the worst yet. If it should be as you guess—and that may well be—there shall yet be a bitterer wail of mourning, yet a cry of agony ringing to the Heaven, for the lack of Edward Seymour.”

“Ay, I am afeard the black clouds be not done opening themselves yet,” sadly replied John.

“I think they have scantly done gathering,” answered he. “The breaking, the tempest, cometh on apace. But it is not yet come.”

“When shall it come, think you?” said Dr Thorpe.

“Shortly,” he answered. “A word in your ear: the King is more grievous sick than men wot of. He may tide over this his malady; very like he will. But he hath no power within him to do battle with such disorders. His strength is worn out. He is scarce like to outlive an other.”

“Nay, my master! Worn out at fourteen!” cried Dr Thorpe.

“Men reckon time by days; God by endurance,” said Mr Rose, mournfully. “And this boy hath borne, these three years, more than you or I wot of. The sword is too sharp for the scabbard. It may be we have hardly known how to rate his true worth; or it may be that his work is over. Either way, it shall not be long now ere he enter into God’s rest and his. Ay, I know it is a woeful saying, yet again I say it: King Edward is worn out at fourteen. We may not seek to keep him; but this I am assured—the angel’s call to him shall be the signal for a fearful contest in the realm he leaveth. God defend the right! and God strengthen and comfort us, for I warn you we shall need it.”

“Alack! when shall all this end?” sighed Isoult.

“When Christ cometh again,” answered Mr Rose.

“No sooner?” she cried.

“No sooner,” said he. “There may be gleams of light before then; but there can be no full day ere the Sun arise. There may be long times of ease and exemption from persecution; but there can be no stable settlement, no lasting peace, till He appear who is our peace. He that is born after the flesh must persecute him that is born after the Spirit. ‘If ye were of the world, the world would love his own.’ It is because we are not of the world that the world hateth us. Sister, let us comfort ourselves and one another with these words. Christ will not fail us; see we that we fail not Him. We may yet be called to go with Him, both into prison and to death. It may be that ‘the Lord hath need of us’ after this manner. If it be so, let us march bravely in His martyr train. We must never allow His banner to fall unto the dust, nor tremble to give our worthless lives for Him that bought us with His own. If we can keep our eyes steady on the glory that shall follow, the black river will be easier to cross, the chariot of fire less hard to mount. And remember, He can carry us over in His arms, that the cold waters touch not so much as our feet.”

When Mr Rose was gone, John said, his voice a little broken,—“Will he be a martyr?”

“God avert it!” cried Isoult.

“Child!” said Dr Thorpe, solemnly, “’tis of such stuff as his that martyrs be made.”

But the King’s work was not yet quite finished. He recovered from his double illness.

The Londoners were terrified in the beginning of June by what they regarded as a fearful sign from Heaven—a shower of what is commonly known as “red rain.” In their eyes it was blood, and a presage of dreadful slaughter. The slaughter followed, whatever the shower might mean. The last year of rest was at hand.

“What say you to my Lord of Northampton?” suddenly inquired John Avery of Mr Rose, one morning when they met in the Strand.

It was an odd and abrupt beginning of conversation: but Mr Rose understood its meaning only too well. The thoughts of the Gospellers were running chiefly now on the dark future, and their own disorganised condition.

“What had Nehemiah said in the like accident to Sanballat?” was his suggestive answer.

The Papists, who were not disorganised, and had no reason to fear the future, were busy catching dolphins,—another portent—which made their appearance at London Bridge in August.

The new service-book, as its contemporaries called it—the second Prayer Book of Edward the Sixth, as we call it—was used for the first time in Saint Paul’s Cathedral, on All Saints’ Day, November 1, 1552. Bishop Ridley’s voice was the first that read it, and he took the whole duty himself; and preached in the choir, habited only in his rochet. In the afternoon he preached at the Cross,—what was then called a long sermon—about three hours. My Lord Mayor, who ought to have been present, was conspicuous by his absence. When remonstrated with, that dignitary observed that “Bishop Ridley’s sermons were alway so long, that he would be at no more, for he was aweary of so long standing.” Wherein my Lord Mayor anticipated the nineteenth century, though it sits out the sermon on cushions, and rarely is called upon to lend its ears for one-third of the time which he was expected to do. Dr Thorpe was not far wrong in the conclusion at which he arrived:—that “my Lord Mayor’s heart passed his legs for stiffness.”

The early winter of 1552 brought the first letter from Annis Holland.

“To the hands of my right worthy Mistress and most singular dear friend, Mistress Avery, dwelling at the sign of the Lamb in the Minories, without Aldgate, by London, give these.

“My right dearly beloved Isoult,—After my most loving commendations remembered, this shall be to advertise thee of my safe landing in the city of Santander, in Spain, and my coming unto the Queen’s Highness’ Court at Tordesillas. So much as to set down the names of all the towns I have passed, betwixt the two, will I not essay. It hath been a wearyful journey and a long, yet should have been a pleasant one, but for the lack of victual. The strangest land ever I did see, or think to see, is this. The poor men hereaway dwell in good houses, and lack meat: the rich dwell in yet fairer, and eat very trumpery. I saw not in all my life in England so much olive oil as in one week sithence I came into Spain. What I am for to live upon here I do marvel. Cheese they have, and onions by the cartload; but they eat not but little meat, and that all strings (a tender piece thereof have I not yet seen); and for ale they drink red wine. Such messes as they do make in their cooking like me very ill, but I trow I shall be seasoned thereto in due time.

“The first night we came to this city, which is sixteen days gone. Master Jeronymo (that hath showed me much courtesy, and had a very great care of me) brought me into the house of a gentleman his kinsman, whose name is Don Diego de Mendoza (fictitious person), (which is to say, Master James Mendoza). This Don Diego is a rare courtier, all bows, smiles, and courtesies; and Madam Isabel his wife (fictitious person) cometh not far behind. And (which I cannot away with), she is not called Doña Isabel de Mendoza, after the name of her husband but cleaveth to her own, as though she were yet a maid, and is called of all men Doña Isabel de Alameda. Methought this marvellous strange; but this (Master Jeronymo telleth me) is the custom of his country, and our fashion of names is to the full as strange to them. So when we came into the house (which is builded with pillars around the court, and a fountain in the midst, right fair to see) Master Jeronymo leadeth me forward, and courtesieth well-nigh down to the ground. Quoth he to Don Diego,—‘Señor and my cousin, I beseech the high favour of kissing your hand.’ And to Doña Isabel,—‘Señora and my cousin, I entreat you to bestow upon me the soles of your feet.’ (Note 5.) Verily, I marvelled at such words; but Doña Isabel in return louteth down to the earth, with—‘Señor, I am your entirely undeserving scullion. I beg of you the unspeakable honour to present me to the serenity of the most highly-born lady beside you.’ Marry (thought I) how shall I ever dwell in a land where they talk thus! But I was not yet at the end of mine amaze. Master Jeronymo answers,—‘Señora, this English damsel, which hath the great happiness to kiss your feet, is the most excellent Señora Doña Ines (Note 6) de Olanda (marry, I never thought to see my name cut up after such a fashion!) that shall have the weight of honour to be writer of the English tongue unto our most serene Lady the Queen Doña Juana.’ Then Madam Isabel louteth down again to the floor, saying,—‘Señora, I have the delightsomeness to be your most humble and lowly serving-maid. This your house is wholly at your disposal’—‘Master Jeronymo (quoth I in English), I pray you tell me what I must say?’—‘Say (answereth he) that you are the Señora’s highly favoured slave, and are not worthy to stand at the threshold of her door.’

“Eh, Isoult, dear heart, what a land is this!

“Master Jeronymo said unto me afterward that this his cousin would be very good unto me in her meaning; for the Spaniards say not that of their house being yours, without they mean much grace and kindness unto you.

“Well, after this, Madam Isabel took me away with her into an other chamber, where she gave me a cup of red wine and some cakes, that were not ill to take. And in this chamber were great cushions spread all about the floor, like unto the mattress of a bed; the cushions of velvet and verder (a species of tapestry), and the floor of marble. Upon these she desired me to repose me for a season; and (saith she) ‘At seven of the clock, mine excellent cousin Don Jeronymo and my lord Don Diego, and I your servant, shall take you up to the Castle, into the most ineffable presence of the most glorious Lord Marquis of Denia.’ O rare! (thought I.) If the Queen’s Comptroller be so glorious and of so ineffable a presence, what shall his mistress be? So when even came (my Señora Madam Isabel having meantime reposed and slumbered on the cushions), I shifted me into my best and richest apparel for to enter this ineffable presence, and went up unto the Castle, Don Diego leading me by the hand, and Madam Isabel coming after with Master Jeronymo. This was but across the court; for no sooner had I reached the door, than what should I see but two mules, richly-caparisoned, there standing. I was somewhat surprised, for the Castle is but a stone’s throw from the house; but Master Jeronymo, seeing my look, whispereth unto me that in Spain, ladies of any sort (ladies of rank) do ride when they go of a journey, be it but ten yards. Methought it scarce worth the trouble to mount the mule for to ’light off him again so soon: howbeit, I did as I was bid. Madam Isabel suffered her lord to lift her upon the other; and away hied we for the Castle, our cavaliers a-walking behind. When we ’light, and the portcullis was drawn up, Master Jeronymo prayeth the porter to send word unto the ineffable Lord Comptroller that the English damsel sent hither by the most noble Lady, Doña Catalina (so they call my Lady of Suffolk’s Grace) doth entreat for leave to kiss the dust under his feet. This is their country mode; but I do ensure thee I had been little gladded for leave to kiss the dust; and it doth yet tickle mine ears whensoever I hear it. So up the stairs went we, through a fair court bordered with orange-trees, into a brave chamber hung about with silk, and all over the floor a carpet of verder spread. Here we awaited a season; at the end whereof come in three or four gentlemen in brave array, before the foremost whereof all we bowed down to the ground. This was mine ineffable Lord Marquis. A tall, personable gentleman he is, something stiff and stately.

“‘Señora,’ saith he, inclining him unto us, ‘you are welcome as the light!’

“And raising him up, he called in a loud voice for the Señora Gomez. Come forth from the chamber beyond, a middle-aged dame, apparelled in black.

“‘Take this lady to her chamber,’ saith he. ‘Doña Ines is her name. And remember what I told you!’

“So I took my leave of Master Jeronymo, and of Don Diego and Doña Isabel, with many protestations and loutings; and again making low reverence unto my Lord Marquis, away hied I with Madam Gomez. She led me on by so many lobbies, one after the other, that methought we should never make an end and come to a chamber; but once, when I would have spoken, she checked me with a finger on the lip. At last she turned into a fair large chamber, well hung and garnished. She shut to the door, and then her lips unclosed.

“‘Here, Señora, is your chamber,’ saith she. ‘Two small alcoves for sleeping be on the right, for yourself and your bower-woman; you have been looked for of long time, and she awaiteth you. I will send her to you when I depart.’

“‘I thank you,’ quoth I. ‘May I pray you of her name?’

“‘Her name,’ she answered, ‘is Maria Porcina’ (the which should in English be Mary Little-pig. Methought it an unfair name). ‘It will please you,’ she went on, ‘to speak but lowly, seeing your chamber is nigh unto those of our Lady.’

“I thought that should please me but little. ‘Señora,’ quoth I, ‘shall I have the honour to see the Queen’s Grace at supper, think you?’

“The Señora Gomez looked at me; then she went to the door and drew the bolt, and let back the curtain that was over the door. This done, she came back and sat in the window.

“‘Señora,’ she saith, in a voice little above a whisper, ‘to the world outside we do not tell secrets. But unto a damsel so wise and discreet as your serenity, I will not fear to speak freely.’ (Much, methought, she knew of my discretion!) ‘You desire to know if you shall see our Lady this even. No; you will never see her.’

“‘But,’ said I, ‘I am come hither to read and write English for her Highness.’

“‘You are come to read and write for the Lord Marquis,’ she answered; ‘not for her.’

“‘Certes,’ said I, ‘that was not told me.’

“‘It is never told to any,’ she replied.

“‘But what is the secret, I pray your excellency?’ I asked. ‘Is the Queen’s Highness sick, that she is never seen?’

“‘She is mad,’ answered she.

“‘God have mercy on her!’ cried I.

“‘Y la Santisima!’ (And the most holy Virgin!) saith she. ‘That is what is said to the world. Be you ware, Doña Ines, that you gainsay it not.’

“‘Mean you that it is not true?’ cried I.

“‘I mean,’ quoth she, ‘that my Lord Marquis of Denia is master here, and is an ill one to offend. Say as he saith—that is our rule.’

“‘Then,’ said I, ‘there is somewhat behind, which men may not know.’

“‘Behind!’ she saith, with a low crafty laugh that it liked me not to hear. ‘Ay, there is Don Carlos the Emperor, son of our Lady, behind the Lord Marquis. Have a care what you do and say. Con el Rey y la Inquisicion, chiton! (which is a Spanish saw (proverb), meaning, Be silent touching the King and the Inquisition.) And if you speak unadvisedly of the one, you may find you within the walls of the other. I speak in kindness, Señora, and of what I know. This palace is not all bowers and gardens. There be dungeons beneath those bowers, deep and dark. Santa Maria defend us! You tread on mines—hold your peace!’

“‘I thank you, Señora, for your warning,’ answered I. ‘Go with God!’

“‘And rest with Him!’ she answered. (‘Vaya (or quede) usted con Dios.’) (In this fashion do the Spaniards take their leave.) Then she left me.

“Isoult, dear heart, I am well assured herefrom that this is an evil place, and my Lord of Denia an ill man. But there is yet more to tell thee.

“When I went down to supper, I there found my Lord and Lady of Denia; Fray Juan de Avila, confessor to her Highness; and her Grace’s bower-women, whose names be Doña Ximena de Lara (fictitious), a young damsel (I hear), of very high degree, that is stately and silent; Doña Catalina de la Moraleja (fictitious), a middle-aged dame, grave and sedate; Doña Leonor Gomez, of whom I have spoken; and Doña Rosada de Las Peñas (fictitious), a young maid of gentle and kindly look. And if thou wouldst have their names in English—Ximena, I cannot interpret therein, for it is a name particular unto these parts; but the others should be Katherine (Note 7) and Eleanor, and Rose. Doña Leonor Gomez, I do find, will be saddest of any when my Lord’s or the confessor’s eyes be upon her, but will talk away like very water let out when she hath one alone.

“It was some days ere I was called to any work. The Tuesday thereafter, my Lord Marquis sent for me, to read a letter come to him from England. ’Twas but filled with compliments and fair words—scarce worth the sending, methought. Very grave is this Lord Marquis, yet extreme courteous withal. As I stood a-reading come in Fray Juan.

“‘How fareth her Highness?’ asks my Lord.

“‘She requires you,’ answered the Friar.

“‘I go,’ his Lordship made answer. ‘Is it the premia?’

“The Friar shrugged up his shoulders, but said nought; and my Lord, so soon as I had made an end of reading, sent me away quickly (Note 8). Now I marvelled much what they meant, seeing that premia signifieth a reward or kindness done unto one; and wherefore that should be I knew not. When I was in my chamber, I asked Maria what premia meant. (This is a good, kindly, simple lass I have.) ‘Señora,’ said she, ‘it signifieth a reward.’ And she plainly knew of no other signification.

“But in the night, I was waked from my sleep by the dreadfullest sound ever I heard. Surely I was deceived, but it did seem to me like shrieks of some poor wretch in mortal pain. Maria awaked also, and sitting up in her bed, she cries under her breath, ‘All the saints preserve us!’

“‘What can it be?’ said I.

“‘Señora,’ quoth she, ‘may it please your serenity, I know not. I have heard it once afore, some time gone, but none would tell me the cause thereof. Methinks the Castle is haunted by goblins.’

“And she fell to crossing her and saying Ave Marys by the score.

“The screaming ceased not for some time, and then by degrees; but I slept not again.

“The morrow after came Doña Leonor into my chamber; and after some talk on things indifferent, she saith, ‘Did aught disturb you this night?’

“‘Doña Leonor, what was it?’ said I.

“‘What heard you, Doña Ines?’ quoth she.

“‘Why,’ said I, ‘horrible screaming, like unto the shrieks of a soul in Purgatory.’

“‘We hear them sometimes,’ she answered.

“‘But what is it?’ I repeated.

“‘Doña Ines,’ said she, ‘there are things not to be spoken about. But do not you fancy that the Castle is haunted by goblins.’

“And not an other word might I have from her. But I am assured there is some terrible matter afoot in this Palace; and I would I were safe thereout.

“I must close my letter somewhat shortly, for Doña Isabel de Alameda, that promised me to send it with one of hers that goeth to Cales (Cadiz), hath sent her brother’s son, Don Juan de Alameda (fictitious), to request the same, and I must not keep him awaiting. Be not thou disturbed, dear heart; God is as near to Tordesillas as to London, and He is stronger than all evil men and devils. Unto His keeping I commend thee. From Tordesillas, this Monday.

“Thine own to her little power, Annis Holland.

“I pray thee, make my commendations unto Mr Avery and all thine.”

When Christmas Day came, the Averys did what half London was doing: they walked down to Westminster, to the great pulpit set up in the King’s garden. Into the pulpit came a rather tall, spare old man, with a wrinkled face, a large Roman nose, shaggy eyebrows, and radiant, shining eyes. And before the sermon was over, the eyes had kindled with a live coal from the altar of the Lord, and the firm voice was ringing clearly to every corner of that vast gathering. The preacher was Hugh Latimer.

He was about to leave London the next morning for Grimsthorpe, where he had undertaken, at the request of the Duchess of Suffolk, to deliver to her and her household a series of lectures on the Lord’s Prayer. After the sermon, those quick bright eyes speedily found out Edward Underhill, and the old man came down from the pulpit and shook hands with him. Then he turned to Isoult Avery, who stood near. He remembered meeting her at Ampthill and Guildford, some ten years before; and he blessed her, and asked what family she had; and when she told him, “Three,” he said, “God bless them, and make them His childre.” Then he laid his hand upon little Kate’s head and blessed her; and then away, walking with a quick firm step, like a man whose work was but half done; with Augustine Bernher behind him, carrying the old man’s Bible.

This year Saint Nicholas “went not about.” The ceremony had previously taken place on his eve, December 5, when the priests carried his image round from house to house, and gave small presents to the children as from the saint. The modern American custom of “Santa Claus” is a relic of the old procession of Saint Nicholas; though the Dutch form of the name shows it to have been derived not from the English, but the Dutch, settlers. Kate’s Protestantism was not yet sufficiently intelligent to prevent her from regretting Saint Nicholas; but Dr Thorpe coaxed Esther to make a handful of sugar-plums, whereon he regaled his disappointed pet.

The close of the year brought treats for both parents and children. At Saint Paul’s, Bishop Ridley preached for five evenings together; and at Cheapside, with the new year, came the Lord of Misrule—again George Ferris—making his proclamations, and dining in state with the Lord Mayor. And at Shene, my Lord of Northumberland founded the first hot-house, and presented a nosegay of living flowers to the King on New Year’s Day.

So, in flowers and laughter, came in the awful year 1553—most awful year of all the century.

One morning in January, as Isoult stood waiting for John, to go with him to Latimer’s sermon, who should walk in but Philippa Basset, whose stay in Cheshire had been much longer than she anticipated. She brought many a scrap of Northern news, and Lady Bridget’s loving commendations to Isoult. And “Whither away?” asked she.

“Truly,” said Isoult, “to the King’s Garden, to hear Mr Latimer preach.”

“Marry,” said she, “I did never yet hear that mighty Gospeller. Have (I will go) with you, an’ you will take me.”

“With a very good will,” said Isoult.

So she went with them, and listened to Latimer’s sermon, wherein there were some things which Isoult felt would vex her; for the subject was praying to saints, and he said, “Invocation declareth an omnipotency.” But not a word could Isoult get from her when they came home (for she stayed and dined with them), which showed how she liked it. Only she would say, “The man speaketh well; he hath good choice of words,” and similar phrases; but on all points concerning his doctrine she kept silence.

As Isoult sat at her sewing the next morning, with Walter at his hornbook, and Kate at her arithmetic beside her, a rap on the door brought Ursula to open it. Isoult fancied she knew the voice which asked “if Mistress Avery there dwelt,” but she could not think all at once whose it was; yet the minute she came into the chamber, she well knew her old friend and colleague, Beatrice Vivian.

Beatrice was fair and rosy, and looked well and happy, as she said she was. So when the ladies had sat and talked a little, and Beatrice had kissed the children, and told Isoult that she had two, whose names were Muriel and Alice, and that Mr Vivian was well, and other details: she said—

“Isoult, I have news for thee, which by thy leave I will have thee to guess.”

“Is it good or bad?” said Isoult.

“Why, good, I hope,” said Beatrice. “’Tis a wedding, and both bride and bridegroom we know.”

“Dear heart,” sighed Isoult, “I am an ill guesser, as thou wist of old. Is it Mr Dynham?” (Fictitious person.)

“What, my brother Leonard?” said she. “Nay, sweet heart; he hath been wed these six years.”

“Is it over, or to come?”

“Over, this New Year, or should be,” answered Beatrice. “Dost thou lack help? what thinkest of my Lady of Suffolk her own self?” (The date is fictitious. It was probably about Christmas, 1552.)

“Beatrice, dear heart!” cried Isoult. “Thou meanest not that?”

“Ay, but I do,” said she, laughing. “And now, whom hath her Grace wedded?”

“I would guess,” said Isoult, “some gentleman of great riches and very high degree.”

“Well, as to riches,” she answered, “I fancy he hath hitherto earned every penny he hath spent; and in respect of degree, hath been used to the holding of his mistress’ stirrup. Canst thou guess now?”

“Mr Bertie!” cried Isoult, in amazement. “Surely no!”

“Surely so,” answered Beatrice, again laughing. “Her Grace of Suffolk and Mr Bertie be now man and wife. And for my poor opinion, methinks she hath chosen well for her own comfort.”

“I am rarely glad to hear it,” Isoult answered; “so think I likewise.”

But for all that, she was exceedingly surprised.

There was some murmuring in May. The Duke of Northumberland, in the King’s name, had ordered all the churches to furnish an account of their goods; and on the first day of that month, the treasuries were robbed of all the plate, money, jewels, and vestments, which were confiscated to the King’s use; and the very bells of the churches shared their fate. Dr Thorpe had been growling over the matter in April, when it was but a project; averring that “when he had caught a man’s hand in his own pocket, it little amazed him afterward to see it in his neighbour’s:” but now, when the project reached open burglary, his anger found vent in hotter words.

“Lo’ you now! this cut-purse hath got his hand into an other man’s pocket, even as I said. Will no man put this companion into the Tower? Can none clap him therein under any manner of warrant?”

Note 1. A gesture well understood at that time, when plain speech was often perilous—the half-clasped hands resting upon the head in the form of a crown. By this gesture, fifty years later, when past speech, Queen Elizabeth answered the question of Robert Cecil concerning her successor. She meant, and he understood her to mean—“Let it be a King.”

Note 2. The cause of the first tumult was a sudden panic, occasioned by the running of some of the guards who arrived late; the second was due to the appearance of Sir Anthony Browne, whom the people fancied had been sent with a reprieve.

Note 3.
“Kingdoms are but cares,
State is devoid of stay,
Riches are ready snares,
And hasten to decay.”

King Henry the Sixth.

Note 4. Don and Doña are prefixes restricted to the Christian name. An Englishman using Don with the surname (an error to which our countrymen are strangely prone) commits the very same blunder for which he laughs at the Frenchman who says “Sir Peel.”

Note 5. A common Spanish greeting, the absurdity of which makes us sympathise with Lope de Vega’s Diana, in her matter-of-fact reply,—“Están á los piés asidas” (They are fixed to my feet).

Note 6. Inez, the form more familiar to English readers, is the Portuguese spelling.

Note 7. Katherine is not really a translation of Catalina, but they were considered interchangeable at this time.

Note 8. Denia was at one time anxious to get rid of De Avila, because he was too gentle and lenient!

Chapter Seven.

How Hope Died with Edward.

“Alma real, dignissima d’impero,
Se non fossi fra noi scesa si tardo.”


Thus, to soft music, with sufficient minor chords to form a pleasant contrast to the glad notes of the grand chorus, glided in upon the stage of England the five awful years of the Marian persecution.

Never had there been five such years in England. The sanguinary struggles of the Roses, the grinding oppression of Henry the Seventh, the spasmodic cruelties of Henry the Eighth, were not to be compared with this time. Of all persecutors, none is, because none other can be, so coldly, mercilessly, hopelessly unrelenting, as he who believes himself to be doing God service.

And now the floods of the great waters came nigh the struggling Church. The storm fell upon her, as it never fell in this island before or since. The enemy had gathered his forces for one grand effort to crush the life out of her.

But the life was immortal. The waves beat powerlessly against the frail barque; for it held One who, though He seemed verily “asleep on a pillow,” was only waiting the moment to arise and say, “Peace, be still!”

The Lord sat above the water-floods; yea, the Lord sitteth a King for ever.

Yet the “rough wind was stayed in the day of the east wind.” When forty years are to be spent in the wilderness, then the shoes wax not old, nor does the strength, fail. But when the furnace is heated seven times hotter than its wont, then the pain is not for long, and the furnace holds a more visible Fourth, like to the Son of God. Only dying men see angels. The sweet soft light of the Master’s shining raiment, which we may pass by in the glaring sunshine, is not so easily left unperceived when it is the sole light of the martyr’s dungeon.

And God was with His Church, during those five sharp, short years of agony wherein so many of her members went to God.

And all opened with a flourish of silver trumpets. There were flashings of jewels, set where jewels should flash no more; white bridal robes, soon to be drenched in blood; ghostly crowns, glimmering for an instant over heads that should be laid upon the block ere one poor year were over. “Man proposed, and God disposed.” The incorruptible crown was the fairer and brighter.

The last brilliant day which England was to know before that tempest broke, dawned on the morning of the 21st of May, 1553. Early on that day all London was astir. Three noble marriages were to be celebrated at Durham House, in the King’s presence; and to Durham House London was crowding, to see the sight. Among the crowd were John Avery, Dr Thorpe, and Robin. Isoult had declined to run the risk of having the clothes torn off her back, or herself squeezed into a mummy; and it was agreed on all sides that there would be danger in taking the children: but nothing could keep Dr Thorpe at home—not even a sharp attack of rheumatism, from which he had been suffering more or less all the spring. Mr Underhill of course would be there, in his place as Gentleman Pensioner; and after a good deal of pressing from more than one of his friends, a dubious consent to go, if he could find time, had been wrung from Mr Rose.

The bridegrooms and brides were apportioned in the following order.

The Lady Jane Grey to Lord Guilford Dudley.

The Lady Katherine Grey to Lord Herbert of Pembroke.

The Lady Katherine Dudley to Lord Hastings. (Note 1.)

It was six o’clock before any of the birds flew home; and the first to come was John Avery, who said he had left Robin in charge of Dr Thorpe,—“or Dr Thorpe in charge of Robin, as it may please thee to take it. I know not when they will be back. In all my life did I never see a man so unweary and unwearyable as that our old friend.”

“And what hast thou seen, Jack?” said Isoult.

“Three very fine ladies and three very fine gentlemen,” answered he; “with a great many more ladies and gentlemen, not quite so fine.”

“What ware they?” asked Kate.

“Was the King there?” Isoult inquired.

“What ware they, Moppet?” said John, taking up Kate; “why, many a yard of cloth of gold, and satin, and velvet, and I cannot tell thee what else. They were as fine as ever the tailor could make them.—Ay, dear heart, the King was there.”

But his voice changed, so that Isoult could read in it a whole volume of bad news.

“Is he sick, then, as we heard?” she asked.

“Hardly,” he answered in a low voice, “say rather dying.”

“O Jack!” cried she.

“O Isoult, if thou hadst seen him!” said he, his voice quivering. “The fierce, unnatural radiance in those soft, meek grey eyes, as though there were a fire consuming him within; the sickly dead-white colour of his face, with burning red spots on the cheeks; the languor and disease of his manner, ever leaning his head upon his hand, as though he could scarce bear it up; and when he smiled—I might scantly endure to look on him. And above all this, the hollow cough that ever brake the silence, and seemed well-nigh to tear his delicate frame in twain—it was enough to make a strong man weep.”

“But tell me all about it!” cried Kate, laying her little hand upon her father’s face to make him turn round to her; “I want to know all about it. How old are these great ladies? and what are they like to? and what ware they? Was it blue, or red, or green?”

John turned to her with a smile, and his manner changed again.

“What a little queen art thou!” said he. “Well, I must needs strive to content thy majesty. How old are the ladies that were married? Well, the Lady Jane is the eldest, and she is, I take it, sixteen or seventeen years of age. She looketh something elder than her years, yet rather in her grave, quiet manner than in her face. Then her sister the Lady Katherine is nigh fourteen. And the years of my Lady Katherine Dudley I know not. Item, what are they like unto? That was the next question, methinks.”

“Ay,” replied Kate. “Which is the nicest?”

“Which thou shouldst think the nicest I cannot tell,” said John. “But in so far as mine opinion lieth, the Lady Jane’s face liked me the best. Maybe my Lady Kate Dudley should have stricken thy fancy the rather, for she ware a mighty brave blue satin gown, and her face was all smiles and mirth.”

“And what ware the other?”

“The Lady Jane and her sister were both donned in white velvet.”

“And what colour were their hoods?”

“My Lady Katherine Dudley’s amber-colour, set with sapphires; the other ruby velvet, and their jewels rubies.”

“And who married them, Jack?” asked Isoult.

“Bishop Ridley.”

“Body o’ me! who ever looked at Bishop Ridley, I would like to know!” cried Dr Thorpe, coming halting in as though he had hurt himself. “Isoult, if thou canst ever get my left shoe off, I will give thee a gold angelet (half-angel; in other words, a gold crown). Yonder dolt of a shoemaker hath pinched me like a pasty. But O the brave doings! ’Tis enough to make a man set off to church and be married himself!”

And the old man sat down in a great chair.

“I will strive to earn it, Doctor,” said Isoult, laughing, as she sat down on the hearth before him, and took his lame foot in her lap. “Art thou weary, Robin?”

“Not much,” said Robin, smiling. “The shoemaker did not pinch me.”

“Beshrew him for an owl that he did not!” answered Dr Thorpe, testily. “Thou hadst stood it the better. Eh, child, if thou hadst seen the—mind thy ways, Isoult!—the brave gear, and the jewels, and the gold chains, and the estate (Note 2), and the plumes a-nodding right down—Oh!”

His shoe hurt him in coming off, and he sat rubbing his foot.

“Was Mr Rose there?” said Isoult, when they had finished laughing.

“No,” said Robin.

“And Mr Underhill?”

“Ay, that was he, in the bravest and marvellousest velvet gown ever thou sawest in all thy days, and a doublet and slop (very wide breeches introduced from Holland) of satin, and a gold chain thick enough to tie up a dog with. And there, sweet heart, was my most gracious Lord of Northumberland—in a claret velvet gown sewed with gold braid—and for as many inches as could be found of the plain velvet in that gown, I will give any man so many nobles. There was not one! And the bonnet in ’s hand!—with a great ruby for a button!—and all set with seed-pearl!—and the jewels in the hilt of’s sword!—and great rubies in face of his shoes! The dolt and patch that he is!”

“I do believe Dr Thorpe had beheaded my Lord of Northumberland,” said John, laughing, “if that sword had been in his belt in lieu of the other.”

“I never saw him afore,” replied he, “and I never do desire to see him again. He looketh the rogue (then a stronger word than now) that he is.”

“And now, as a physician, what think you of the King?” asked John, sadly.

“I will give him three months to die in,” was Dr Thorpe’s short and woeful answer.

By the second of July, England knew that the King was dying. No longer could there be any question of the sorrowful truth. He was at Greenwich Palace, Archbishop Cranmer and Bishop Ridley in frequent waiting on him; and summons was sent to his sisters to come quickly. On the 3rd of July, which was Sunday, Dr Ridley preached at the Cross, where he dimly foreshadowed the disposition of the Crown that was coming. All who heard him were much astonished, for not a word had crept out before. It was plain from what he said that the King’s sisters were to be passed over (to the no little surprise of all who knew his love for the Princess Elizabeth); but it was not plain who was to come instead; and the rumour ran that it would be the Lady Frances, Duchess of Suffolk, the niece of King Henry, and mother of the Lady Jane Grey.

On the evening of the 6th of July, came a comforting rumour that the King was better, and a hope sprang up that he would yet recover. Those who knew the Duke of Northumberland might have guessed at treachery. In truth, the King died that day; but the Duke kept it secret, until he thought his plans secure for the Lady Jane’s succession.

On the morning of the 10th of July, came Dr Thorpe in great haste, from the barber’s.

“Isoult!” cried he, “tie thine hood and bring the childre!”

“What is now to do?” said she to herself; but she tied on her hood, and brought down the children with her.

“Where be Jack and Robin?” asked the old man.

“They went forth to Westminster together, half an hour gone,” said Isoult.

“They must shift for themselves, then,” said he. “Come away.”

“But whither, Doctor?” she wished to know.

“Down to the river side by Saint Katherine’s, with all the haste that may be,” answered he. “Isoult, the King is dead, and the Lady Jane Dudley proclaimed Queen of England, and she cometh apace from Shene to the Tower. We may chance to see her land, if we lose no time.”

“The King dead!”

Isoult said no more, but away they ran down the street, till they reached Saint Katherine by the Tower. A crowd of people were already there. They took up their places by the church, whence they could see the river; and they had not been there two minutes, ere they heard a sound of cheering from the watermen below; and presently the royal barge of England glided into sight. At the bow played the standard of the realm; and about the cloth of estate were several ladies and gentlemen, all clad in mourning, surrounding a lady who sat under the canopy. This was all that could be seen till the barge stopped at the Tower-stairs. Then from it (a blue cloth being first laid to the gate) came the Duke of Northumberland, robed in a long, black gown trimmed with fox, leading a fair, slender girl also in mourning, and Frances, Duchess of Suffolk (Note 3), bore her train. After them came the Duke of Suffolk, the Earl of Arundel, a slim comely youth unknown to the crowd, and Lord Grey de Wilton. And the minute after, from the crowd thronging the postern, Mr Ive, the High Constable (Mr Underhill’s friend and neighbour at the Lime Hurst), made his way to our little group.

“Ah! how do you?” said he. “You are in fair time to see our new Queen.”

“I pray you, Mr Ive,” said Isoult, “is yonder damsel her Highness, that my Lord’s Grace of Northumberland hath by the hand?”

“Even so,” replied he; “and yonder young gentleman that followeth is her husband, the Lord Guilford Dudley.”

Very earnestly they looked then on the face of their new Sovereign. A soft, gentle face, fair and clear complexion, brown hair, and meek, thoughtful brown eyes; and eyes that had shed tears but very lately. But Northumberland bore himself proudly, as though he felt himself a King already. And very few voices said “God save Queen Jane!” Isoult did hear a few, but few they were.

In the evening, throughout the City, and without the gates, was the new Queen proclaimed. It was now known that the King had died on the Thursday previous, and that Northumberland had kept the matter secret, until he thought Jane’s succession ensured. And by letters patent, dated the 21st of June, King Edward had bequeathed the realm to the heirs-male of his cousin the Lady Frances, Duchess of Suffolk; and should she have no heirs-male before his death, the reversion was to pass to her eldest daughter, the Lady Jane Dudley, now Queen; and for lack of her issue, to her cousin Lady Margaret Clifford. The sisters of Jane were passed over, and also the Princesses Mary and Elizabeth, sisters of the late King.

All the Queen’s officers, and her Council, were sworn to serve her on the 9th of July; and troops were sent to take the Lady Mary, who had already been proclaimed Queen at Kenninghall in Norfolk.

Every body was glad to see Mr Rose come in that evening.

“Well!” said he, “we are well into a new reign. Thank God for a Protestant Prince!”

“There Underhill shall run a tilt with you,” said John, smiling.

“My friend, had the Lady Mary not been exempted of the King her brother, I had bowed to her sceptre,” said Mr Rose. “But she is lawfully put forth; and Queen Jane as lawfully proclaimed.”

“Who talks treason here?” cried Mr Underhill’s voice behind, which all dreaded to hear. “What say you—‘God save Queen Jane?’ I say, God save Queen Mary! I serve not my Lord of Northumberland, for all the Papists nick (give me the nick-name) me his spy! I have not proclaimed King John—whereof, as all men do know, Queen Jane is but the feminine. I am a servant of the Queen’s Majesty that reigneth by right, and that Queen is Mary. God defend the right, as assuredly He will!”

Mr Rose looked quietly on him.

“You may live to forethink (regret) the setting of her up, if it were so,” was all he said.

“I may live to be sorry she was ever born,” answered Mr Underhill. “I know that, Father Rose! But right is right, and wrong is wrong; and I say this is a wrong, and I stand forth for the right.”

“God’s will is the right,” gently answered Mr Rose. “Let us not fight against God.”

“And be you ware you do not!” cried Mr Underhill in his ringing voice. “How look you to know what His will is herein?”

“We shall all know that ere it be long,” said Mr Rose, sadly.

On the 13th of July (exact date unrecorded) was born Guilford Underhill, Mr Underhill’s eldest son. He had already five daughters. The 19th was appointed for christening the child, and the sponsors were the Queen (that is to say, Lady Jane), her father the Duke of Suffolk, and the Earl of Pembroke. John Avery was greatly amused that Mr Underhill should believe the Lady Jane had no right to be Queen, and yet, because she was Queen, would have her his child’s sponsor. It was an instance of the consistent inconsistency inherent in human nature.

The 14th of July was a day of contrary rumours, and great trouble, and running to and fro in the streets of the city. From all sides news poured in that the Lady Mary was proclaimed Queen—at Kenninghall, and Framlingham, and Norwich, and in all the eastern parts. The Council would have sent the Duke of Suffolk against her; but Lady Jane his daughter entreated with tears that he might remain with her; and they then sent the Duke of Northumberland. He and Lord Grey de Wilton (who went unwillingly, being of Mr Underhill’s way of thinking) set forth on the 14th, with six hundred men. That evening came news that Mary was proclaimed in Buckinghamshire.

On the 16th, at seven o’clock at night, the gates of the Tower were suddenly locked, and the keys carried to Lady Jane. This was to secure the Lord Treasurer, (the Marquis of Winchester), who was considered of doubtful faith, and proved to be as he was considered.

As the party reached Saint Katherine’s on their way to the christening, the Lords of the Council were just riding out of the western gate of the Tower. These were the Earls of Pembroke, Shrewsbury, and Arundel, the Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports, the Lord Mayor, and sundry knights. The Duke of Suffolk was left behind. The truth was, that he would have been in the way. The Council said that it was going to give audience to the French Ambassador; but it was really bound on a very different errand. Lady Throgmorton was the Queen’s deputy at the christening, and named the child Guilford.

“Named for a Dudley!” whispered the irrepressible Dr Thorpe to Isoult. “He will not thrive, take my word for it—unless he turn out a rascal.”

Before the ceremony was ended, a great noise was heard in the City: shouting, singing, and roaring all together. The baptism over, Lady Throgmorton returned into the Tower; and the rest of the party went on to the Lamb, where they were all going to pass the afternoon. Mistress Helen Ive (a fictitious person), the High Constable’s daughter, carried the baby, and accompanied Isoult; but Mr Ive said he would go up to Aldgate, and see what all the tumult had been; so away he went, while the others rested and talked, and ate ale-brew (ale and bread, sometimes called aleberry) and spiced cake; and Kate was wonderfully pleased with the baby. All at once, as they sat thus, Mr Ive returned, his face showing that he brought strange tidings.

“They have proclaimed Queen Mary!” he cried breathlessly.

“Who have?” asked Mr Underhill, turning round.

“The Lords of the Council,” answered he.

“Robin Hood’s tales!” cried Mr Underhill.

“’Tis truth,” responded Mr Ive.

“The Council of Queen Jane to proclaim Queen Mary!” said Mr Underhill, scornfully. “Ive, you are mad as a March hare.”

“‘Bate me an ace, quoth Bolton,’” said Dr Thorpe, shrugging his shoulders.

“Bate your aces, and catch your March hares,” answered Mr Ive, who took all this banter very pleasantly; “but this is truth that I do tell you. An hour gone, we being in the church, when we heard that mighty bruit from the City, was Queen Mary proclaimed in Cheapside by the Council. Their audience to the French King’s Ambassador was but a feint, to get well and all together out of the Tower. And when they came to the Chepe, they called an halt; and my Lord of Arundel, stepping forwards, did there, in the hearing of all the people, proclaim—‘Mary, by the grace of God, of England, France, and Ireland, Queen’—and so forth. And no sooner said than every man in the street flung up his cap, and the people cheered as they had gone mad for joy. The Earl of Pembroke threw down in the street his cap full of angelets.”

“My word on’t, but I would Walter had been there, to run about and gather them up!” said Dr Thorpe. “We might have gleaned that comfort thence, at least.”

“And at the windows of many houses in the City,” continued Mr Ive, “money was thrown out; and bonfires all along the Chepe and Poultry be a-lighting, and at all the gates, and in Cornhill, and Fleet Street, and Aldersgate Street, and I know not where else; and (say they) such shouting, crying, and singing of the people, ringing of bells, playing of organs, tables of meal and drink setting forth in every street; and such racket and bruit, as a man might scantly hear his own voice. And after the proclamation in Cheapside, all the Council rade to Poules, and there was Te Deum to be sung at evensong.”

“But who be ‘they’?” cried Mr Underhill. “Who told you all this jolly tale?”

“The keeper of Aldgate, and your friend Mr Newman, and George Ferris, and divers other. I gat not all from one man.”

“Newman and Ferris! Then it is true,” murmured Mr Underhill, very gravely.

It was true. Before night they knew all concerning this deed of treachery.

And—last and worst of all—no sooner did the Duke of Suffolk, within the Tower, hear that the Council had proclaimed Queen Mary without, than out he came upon the hill, and saying “he was but one man, and would not withstand all the Council,” proclaimed Queen Mary on Tower Hill, to the ruin of his own daughter: and then went into London, leaving poor Lady Jane almost alone in the Tower,—for only Lord Guilford, and the Duchess of Northumberland, and Lady Throgmorton and her husband Sir Nicholas, and Sir John Bridges, were left with her. And when Lady Throgmorton returned from Saint Katherine’s to the Tower, she found the cloth of estate already taken down, and all changed; and when she would have quitted the Tower again, she was not permitted to do so.

That evening, there was a gathering at the Lamb. Mr Underhill stayed to rejoice; Mr Rose came to mourn; Philippa Basset came to rail; and Mr Holland came to pacify them. And no very soft nor sweet words were bestowed on Lord Sussex by Mr Holland (whose words were not all peace); nor on Lord Arundel by Mr Rose; nor on Lord Grey by Mr Underhill; nor on the Duke of Suffolk by any body; nor on any body by Philippa. Only to one no hard words were given by any; and that was the Lady Jane, whom all united to excuse and pity. But all agreed in calling Lord Arundel a traitor, and Suffolk a man too weak and pitiful to be blamed.

All hope of the Lady Jane’s success was now gone. The Duke of Northumberland himself proclaimed Queen Mary when he discovered it; but notwithstanding this feeble attempt to curry favour, on the 22nd he was apprehended at Cambridge. Lord Grey de Wilton and others who submitted themselves early were pardoned. Lady Jane, Lord Guilford, and those with them, were kept prisoners in the Tower.

Towards the end of July, Isoult and Esther were coming along the riverside by the Tower, when they saw a great crowd shouting and running towards them. Neither John nor Robin being with them, Isoult was rather frightened, and turned aside into the porch of Saint Katherine’s for safety. But when they came nearer, she saw that here were the prisoners borne under guard to the Tower. First rode the traitor Earl of Arundel, who had them in his guard; and had he received his deserts, he would have been among them. And after him, riding upon horses, their bridles tied to those of the guards, came the Duke of Northumberland, his sons, the Earl of Warwick, Lord Ambrose, and Lord Henry Dudley; Lord Huntingdon, Lord Hastings, Sir John Gates, and his brother Sir Henry, Sir Andrew Dudley (brother to the Duke), and Dr Sands, Chancellor of Cambridge. But when Isoult saw the face of the last prisoner, she was unspeakably startled. Esther asked if she were ill; “for (said she), you look ever so white and faint!” It was no wonder, when she looked up into the unforgotten face of Sir Thomas Palmer.

Thirteen years had passed since she saw him; but Isoult knew him in a moment. All the old Calais memories came flashing back on her like an overwhelming flood, drowning the newer evil he had done, as she saw this man, who had persecuted the saints of God, who had done the Duke of Somerset to death, who had been one of the four destroyers of her beloved master—led to his prison and to his suffering in turn.

Sir Thomas looked at Isoult as he passed, seeing her eyes fixed on him; but it was the look of a stranger to a stranger.

The storm broke now. Few days passed unmarked by fresh arrests. The phrase “the Queen” had almost insensibly passed from Jane to Mary. But for a little while yet the crisis was political, not religious. When the danger was over, and before Mary reached her metropolis, the scene was shifted, and the first Protestant arrest took place. And so sudden and unexpected was the blow, that it fell upon the Gospellers like a thunderbolt. Thirty hours had barely elapsed since her meeting with Sir Thomas Palmer, when Isoult, coming down into the parlour, heard her husband’s voice say sorrowfully—“Ay, this is the beginning of sorrows.”

“Is there any more news?” cried Isoult, fearfully; for fresh news then meant bad news.

“The worst we have had yet,” he said; “the Bishop of London is committed to the Tower.”

“And that all suddenly, with scantly a minute’s warning,” added Dr Thorpe.

“Woe worth the day!” she wailed. “Ay, thou mayest say so,” answered he. “God grant this be not the first step of a longer and dreader persecution than we have yet known.”

On Friday the Duke of Suffolk was brought to the Tower, where his hapless daughter remained a prisoner. But on the Monday following, Suffolk was released.

“To ease the Tower dungeons, which must now be choke-full,” suggested Dr Thorpe; “or it may be the Queen thought him a sely (harmless, simple) fellow, not worth the turning of an axe edge.”

The Queen’s grand entry into London took place on the 3rd of August. There was no need for any in the Minories to go far to see her, for she came to them, riding down Shoreditch and in at Aldgate. She was preceded by a guard of seven hundred and forty “velvet coats;” then rode that “honourable man” my Lord of Arundel, bearing in his hand the sword of state; then (after reaching Aldgate) the Lord Mayor; then the Queen, royally arrayed, riding by herself on a richly-caparisoned barb, Sir Anthony Browne bearing up her train. What were the thoughts of that long-persecuted woman, now in her turn to become a persecutor? Then followed her sister, the Lady Elizabeth. What, too, were her thoughts? After the royal sisters rode Elizabeth Stafford, wife of the imprisoned Duke of Norfolk, and Gertrude, Marchioness of Exeter, mother of the imprisoned Edward Courtenay. Ladies and gentlemen followed to the number of a hundred and eighty. Lastly came the guard, with a crowd of men from Northampton, Buckingham, and Oxford shires, all in armour, and the peers’ servants. The number of horsemen, we are assured, was about ten thousand.

And when the Queen came to the Tower, there, beside the gate, kneeling upon the Tower green, were the old prisoners of her father and brother, the old Duke of Norfolk, and Dr Stephen Gardiner, and the Duchess of Somerset, and the young Lord Courtenay, who had scarcely ever been out of the Tower in his life. They, kneeling there, saluted her; and no sooner had the Queen alighted, than she went to them and kissed them, and said, “These are my prisoners.”

The time-serving Earl of Pembroke had been ordered to wait upon the Queen, but was too terrified to obey. He felt himself too deeply compromised for pardon. One point, however, he was careful not to neglect. His son, Lord Herbert, was divorced in all haste and fear from Lady Katherine Grey, the hapless sister of the “nine days’ Queen.”

On Saturday night, Mr Underhill walked into the Lamb, and tacitly asked himself to supper. He was in feverish delight.

“The good cause hath triumphed! and Queen Mary being known to be of merciful complexion, I cast no doubt all shall be spared that can be.”

Deluded man! but he was quickly to be undeceived in a very personal manner.

“But meantime,” responded John Avery, “some are being spared that should not be—all them that have troubled the realm in King Edward’s time, or yet sooner. Bishop Day is delivered; and Bishop Bonner not only delivered, but restored to his see, and shall henceforth be Bishop of London in the stead of Dr Ridley. And what shall become of that our good Bishop no man knoweth. Moreover, Bishop Tunstal is delivered out of prison; and Dr Gardiner (woe worth the day!) was this morrow sworn of the Council. Howso merciful be the Queen, the Council shall be little that way inclined, if they have him amongst them.”

It was not yet dinner-time on the following morning, when Barbara came up-stairs to tell her mistress that Mrs Helen Ive wished to see her. Her first words were ominous.

“Mrs Avery, I come from the Lime Hurst, with rare ill tidings.”

“Alack!” said Isoult. “Is Mistress Underhill worser? or the little babe sick?”

“Neither,” said she; “but Mr Underhill is in Newgate.”

“Mr Underhill!” cried Isoult. “For what cause?”

“God knoweth, and they that have him,” said she; “for the rest, I wis not whether he know himself. But he was taken in the midst of the night, being ten of the clock, and after long trial by the Council, is now sent unto Newgate. The Sheriff of Middlesex come unto my father’s house thus late, and brake the matter to my father, whom he desired to go with him, as being Mr Underhill’s very friend; and my father did entreat him to leave him go and fetch his prisoner, for frightening of Mrs Underhill in her weakness. So my father, followed of the Sheriff and his men bearing bills and glaives, knocked on the door, and there came one to the door, unto whom he desired that he should ask Mr Underhill to come out. But upon this he heard Mr Underhill’s voice, calling to him to go within. So he went within, and found Mr Underhill in his bed; who demanding of him in his merry fashion what he did breaking into a man’s house at that hour of the night, my father answered him that the Sheriff, and with him a great company were come to fetch him. Upon which Mr Underhill rose, and made him ready; and willing not that Mistress Underhill should know anything of the matter, he would not go into her chamber for any other gear, but cast about him such as he had there, which was a brave satin gown that he had worn the even afore.”

“Ay,” said Isoult, “a tawny satin night-gown (evening costume) laced with green; he had it here at supper.”

“Well,” pursued Helen, “so out came he to the Sheriff, and demanded what he would. ‘Sir,’ said he, ‘I have commandment from the Council to apprehend you, and forthwith to bring you unto them.’—‘Why,’ answers Mr Underhill, ‘it is now ten of the clock in the night; you cannot now carry me unto them.’—‘No, Sir,’ said he; ‘ye shall go with me to my house to London, where ye shall have a bed; and to-morrow I shall bring you unto them at the Tower.’—‘In the Name of God!’ (Note 4) quoth Mr Underhill; and so went with the Sheriff. ‘Know you the cause?’ saith he also; who (the Sheriff) answered that he knew of none. Then said Mr Underhill, ‘This needed not; any one messenger might have fetched me unto them.’ So away went they, and my father turned home. And this morning went my father early unto the Tower, where the Council were sitting, and took his place at the gate, where was a great throng of people, that he might hear what should befall. It was a mighty long time ere Mr Underhill came forth; but at long last out came he, led betwixt two of the guard, and my father (with a great throng) followed to Mr Garret’s house, the Sheriff, in the Stock Market. There they took Mr Underhill in, and after a while, to my father’s great easement, came forth without him. Then, after some time, came forth Mr Underhill again, with two of the Sheriff’s men; but they had no bills with them, nor they led him not, but followed a pretty way behind. So he coming into the street, my father, seeing him have such liberty, and such distance between him and the officers, he stepped before them, and so went talking with him through Cheapside. And Mr Underhill told him that my Lord of Sussex would have ordered him to the Fleet, and Sir Richard Southwell cried out to have him to the Marshalsea: but neither should content Sir John Gage nor Secretary Bourne, and they made great ado that he were sent to Newgate, and prevailed. Arrived thither, Mr Underhill was delivered of the officers to Alisaunder the keeper (Note 5), who unlocked a door, and bade him go up-stairs into the hall. My father would not yet leave him, but went up with him, and there they sat down and had some talk one with the other. And Mr Underhill did require my father not to let Mrs Underhill know that he was sent to Newgate, but to the Counter, until such time as she were near her churching, and better to abide ill news; and that she should send him his night-gown, his Bible, and his lute. So my father took his leave; and meeting me at Aldgate on his way home, desired me to turn aside hither and tell you thereof; and to ask you that you would come and visit Mrs Underhill in her trouble, if it might stand with your conveniency.”

“That will I, assuredly,” said Isoult; “and it shall be the very first thing I do on the morrow.”

Isoult fulfilled her promise. She rode to the Lime Hurst, with Tom as escort; and found Mrs Underhill lying on the day-bed (the predecessor of the sofa), with Helen Ive sitting by her; while Anne, her eldest girl, was nursing her baby brother, and looked very much gratified to be trusted with him. Mrs Underhill burst into tears the moment her visitor approached. Taking the seat which Helen vacated for her, Isoult endeavoured to cheer her invalid friend. When she was able to speak, Mrs Underhill was found very resolute.

“So soon as ever my strength shall serve,” she said, “I will hie me to the Lords of the Council, to entreat them for Ned’s deliverance; and methinks my Lord of Bedford at the least shall hear me, for the good hap that we had to recover his son. And I will moreover get help of Jack Throgmorton, Master of the Quest, that is Ned’s countryman and kinsman.”

“But, dear heart,” cried Isoult, “you are not strong enough to bear so weary a burden.”

“I will be strong enough!” she answered, determinately. “And to that end I do mean to be churched this next Sunday. But to tell you the very truth, Mrs Avery, I do fear this shall not be all. Men do say Mr Rose shall be deprived ere many days; and it may be, set in ward likewise. Ah, well-a-day I we have need to take heed to our ways. My way lieth toward the Counter; if I might be there with Ned, I would not much lay to heart for what cause. Methinks when they take a man, they should seize both halves of him.”

Isoult smiled, but made no reply.

“And ’tis whispered about,” she pursued, “that my Lord Archbishop should forsake the Gospel, and be again a Lutheran, if not a Papist; and that the mass shall be again set up; and that proclamation shall be made to put forth from their cures all married priests. Mrs Avery, have a care of your Robin, that he either receive not orders, or wed not. When looked you for his being a priest?”

“Why,” said Isoult, “he had been ordained of Bishop Ridley this next Rogation-tide; but now I know not what shall fall, for no Popish Bishop will admit him, nor would we ask it if he would so do. May be, if Mr Rose would speak with him (Robin being Cornwall-born), Bishop Coverdale should grant him, an’ he knew the case.”

“Bishop Coverdale, and Mr Rose to boot,” said she, “shall shortly have enough to do to see to themselves. Mrs Rose is sorely distressed touching the forbiddance of wedded priests, which ’tis thought shall shortly be had. And ’twill be no gain to be Mr Rose his son when the storm come. An’ I were you and Mr Avery, I would put him off both his orders and his wedding.”

“We have no right over him, Mrs Underhill,” said Isoult.

“No right!” answered she. “Doth not every man that knoweth you and him know that you have but to whisper, and he shall run at your bidding? Mrs Avery, if you asked that lad for his head, I do very nigh believe he should cut it off for you.”

“I must talk with Jack of this matter,” responded Isoult, thoughtfully.

So, when she left the Lime Hurst, she came home to dinner, and after dinner rode on to West Ham. In the parlour there she found Thekla at her spinning; but Mrs Rose (a most unwonted thing for her), sat by the casement idle, with her hands lying before her.

“Hear you Mr Underhill is in prison?” were her first words.

“Ay,” said Isoult; “and that you, dear friend, are sore disquieted, for the which cause I come.”

“Disquieted!” she answered, the tears springing to her eyes. “Is it like I shall be quiet? How know I who shall be in prison to-morrow? They may burn mine husband and banish me before a month. And what is to come of Thekla?”

“Dear mother,” said Thekla, gently, “they will not put God in prison.”

“They may put there every servant that He hath,” said she, bitterly.

“I think you know, dear heart,” replied Isoult, “that so long as we have any shelter to offer unto her, Thekla shall not be without one.”

“But how long may be that?” she answered; and, burying her face in her handkerchief, she began sobbing.

Isoult hardly knew what to say, but she heard Mr Rose’s step, and awaited his coming. He greeted her kindly, and then turning at once to his wife, said, “Sweet heart, why weepest thou?”

“Mrs Rose feareth we may all be prisoned or execute afore a month be over,” said Isoult, for Mrs Rose was sobbing too heartily to speak.

“Truth,” he answered. “What then?”

“What then?” she cried through her tears. “Why, Tom, art thou mad? ‘What then,’ to such matter as the breaking of our hearts and the burning of our bodies? ‘What then!’”

“Then,” said he, gently, “thou art not ready (as Paul was) ‘not only to be bound, but also to die’ for the Lord Jesus? Is it so, my Marguerite?”

“I know not what I were ready to do myself,” she said, “but I am not ready to see thee nor Thekla to do so.”

“Well, sweet heart,” said he, “methinks I am ready. Ready—to be confessed before the angels of God, and the Father which is in Heaven: ready—to wear a martyr crown before all the world: ready—to reign with Christ a thousand years! Is that matter to be wept for, Marguerite?”

“There is something else to come first,” she said, shaking her head.

“There is so,” replied he. “To confess Christ, ere He confess us: to be envied of angels, that have no such means of showing forth His glory: to give a very little thing for the Redeemer who gave all He is, and all He hath, for us. Is that, also, matter for tears?”

“Ah, Tom!” said she, smiling through her tears, “thou turnest it all to the contrary. But thou knowest what I mean.”

“The brighter and better way,” he answered. “But I do know thy meaning, dear heart. And in truth, it is hard, and the flesh is weak. But remember, our Lord knoweth that as well as we. He hath not forgotten the days of His flesh, when He offered up prayer, with strong crying and tears, to Him that was able to save Him from death; though there were one thing (and that the worst thing) in His sorrow, that there can never be in ours. The way may be rough and stony—but, mind thou, it is only very short.”

“When it may last for all the life, Tom! Hard prison, and scant fare, and loneliness, and bitter mourning! Methinks the death were better than that.”

“Very short, still,” repeated he, “to the endless days of eternity. The days of the journey be few indeed, compared with the number of those to be spent in the Father’s House. And, sweet heart, even should we be forced to go that journey apart, we will strive to look forward to the glad meeting in the Home.”

“Apart!” she echoed drearily, and her tears came streaming back. “O Tom, Tom!”

“I meant not to make thee weep again,” he said, tenderly; “and yet there is no good in shutting our eyes on a sorrow that must come, though there be little use in grieving over such as may never come. It is not yet come; and when it so doth, it is only a little while. Only a little while, my Marguerite! ‘In the world ye shall have tribulation; but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world!’”

Thekla ceased her spinning, and coming forward to her mother, she passed her arm round her, and kissed her brow.

“Mother!” she said, sweetly, “it may be God will let us go to Him together. Need we mourn for the night ere it be dark! It will be so sweet to go to Him. Will it not help us to bear almost any thing, to know that presently thereafter we shall see Christ, and be with Him for ever?”

Mrs Rose was crying more quietly now, and Isoult rose to depart. Mr Rose said he would help her to mount, and she fancied that he wished to speak with her in private. And so she found it; for no sooner had he shut the door, than he said—

“Mrs Avery, what do you touching Robin’s orders?”

Isoult replied as she had done to Mrs Underhill, and added that she meant to talk the matter over with John, when she could do so quietly. “But, Mr Rose,” she said, “your three years be already gone.”

“Friend,” he answered, his lip quivering, “had I made it three hundred years, maybe it had been the better.”

“I pray you say not that you will not give her unto him!” cried Isoult—for she guessed what that would be to Robin, and perchance to Thekla.

“I will say no such thing,” he answered. “It should seem that Robin’s orders can now scarce be had; and if it were so, I tell you the truth, mine heart were the lighter. Thekla must choose for herself. She is now of ripe age to know what is for and against the same; and if she would have rather Robin and what may hap than to leave both, I will not gainsay her choice. But if she seeketh mine avisement—”

“You will say her nay?” asked Isoult, fearfully, as he hesitated.

“Can I say any thing else?” answered Mr Rose in a low voice. “Were it worse for Thekla to be let from wedding him, or to be roughly parted from him ere they had been wed a year—perchance a month? If Robin should choose not to endeavour himself for the priesthood, then of force is there no such difficulty. But can I look forward to the parting that must ere long come between my Marguerite and me, and lightly choose the same doom for our child?”

Mr Rose’s voice fell, and his face changed so painfully that the listener could scarcely bear to see it.

“Think you that must come?” she said in a voice hardly above a whisper.

“It must come, if the Queen continue as she hath begun,” answered he, in a low voice. “It may not be for long, if the Lord only try us, to humble us, and to prove us, whether we will keep His commandments or no: it may be for all this life. Beyond this life, it cannot be. The keys of Heaven and earth are in the hands of Jesus Christ, not in those of Mary Tudor!”

No more was said for that time. The friends clasped hands and parted.

But when Isoult and John had their quiet talk together, she found that he had already been thinking on the subject; and had conversed with Robin.

“I did somewhat marvel,” she admitted, “seeing the three years for the which Mr Rose did covenant were run out in June, that Robin made no motion thereunto. But verily I did think he should speak the first.”

“He hath spoken, dear heart,” said John, “and I did entreat him to await a season the upshot of this matter, till we should see who should succeed the King, and what manner of government we were like to fall under. And I pressed him with much of the same reasoning that (as I hear) Mr Rose hath given thee.”

“And what saith he touching his priesthood?”

“I think he hardly knew what to say.”

When all else had gone to bed, John and Isoult took Robin aside, and John told him what Mr Rose had said. Robin’s eyes filled with tears.

“Then,” said he, “it comes to this; I must either give up mine orders, or give up—”

He uttered not, nor did they need, the name of Thekla Rose.

“But one other point, Robin, leave not out of thine account,” said John. “It may be thou canst not receive orders.”

“Why, then,” replied he, “if I cannot, I cannot. But when shall I know that I cannot?”

“When all the Protestant Bishops are in prison, I take it,” said John, smiling.

“Were it not better, Robin,” suggested Isoult, “to fix thee a time, not unreasonable distant, whereat, if thou mayest not hap to receive orders afore, thou shalt resign that expectation, and be free to wed?”

“Good and wise counsel!” cried John. “Thou hast hit the nail on the head. Thinkest not so, Robin?”

Robin sat silent for a moment. Then he said,—“Ay—if Mr Rose agree thereto.”

“We will ask him that,” answered John, “so soon as we may.”

On the 11th of August, to borrow the expression of the Gospellers, the abominable thing was once more set up in England. For the first time for six years, an old priest sang the Latin mass in Saint Bartholomew’s Church, to the awakening of such burning indignation on the part of his hearers, that he was compelled to escape for his life by a side door.

The application to Mr Rose was made on the Sunday evening following, when John and Isoult, with Robin, rode over to the evening service at West Ham. Mr Rose’s sermon was a very solemn one, on the text, “I am now ready to be offered.”

Ready to be offered! how many of the Gospellers needed to be so, in that autumn of 1553!

After the sermon, they waited for Mr Rose, and he walked with them for one or two miles on their way home. Robin led the horses a short distance behind them. Mr Rose was quite satisfied with Isoult’s proposal to fix a time beyond which Robin should resign the hope of entering the ministry, and indeed seemed relieved by the suggestion. At his request, Robin was waited for, and when he came up with them, Mr Rose asked him what was the reason of his unwillingness to resign the hope of receiving holy orders.

Robin answered, that “having offered himself and his service unto God, he counted it not right to withdraw the same, unless it should be plain that this was not the way wherein God would have him to serve.”

And Mr Rose’s reply was,—“Then, Robin, wouldst thou give up rather Thekla than thine orders?”

“It were well-nigh giving up my life; yet I would do as God will have me,” said Robin, softly.

Mr Rose grasped his hand, and called him a brave lad, adding that “if God so would, he would be right glad of such a son.”

This speech made the tears no further from Robin’s eyes, but he smiled and thanked him. And he continued,—“Mr Rose, I would have you to know that I do desire only to know and do what is God’s will for me. If He will make me His minister, I will be thankful for so great an honour; for I do account the service of God higher than the dominion over men. Yet, if I can serve Him better as a door-porter or a scullion, I would have Him do His will with me.”

“Ah Robin, God bless thee!” answered Mr Rose, earnestly. “Thou hast learned a lesson which many a scholar of threescore and ten can yet hardly spell.”

Note 1. The two ladies first named were second cousins of the King, and stood in the line of the succession. The details here given are almost entirely fictitious (except such as concern Edward himself), for little is really known beyond the time, the place, and the King’s presence.

Note 2. The canopy over the throne was called the cloth of estate, often abbreviated into the estate.

Note 3. The Duchess Frances appears to have played a quiescent part in this drama, so soon to turn into tragedy. Otherwise she (from whom alone the title was derived) would scarcely have borne so meekly the train of her own daughter.

Note 4. This must not be mistaken for swearing. It was an expression used in the most reverential manner, and equivalent to “God’s will be done.”

Note 5. A man infamous for his cruelty, especially to the Protestant prisoners.

Chapter Eight.

The Tempest that Followed.

“O yet, in scorn of mean relief,
Let Sorrow bear her heavenly fruit!
Better the wildest hour of grief
Than the low pastime of the brute!
Better to weep, for He wept too,
Than laugh as every fool can do.”

Hon. Robert Lytton.

“Heard you the news, friends?” asked Mr Holland, coming into the Lamb, on the evening of the 14th of August.

“News!” cried Dr Thorpe. “I am aweary of the news. There is news every day. My Lord A. to the Tower, and my Lord B. delivered thence; and my Lord C. to the Marshalsea; and my Lord D. to the Fleet; and my Lord E., that yesterday carried the sword afore the Queen, to-day hath his head struck off; and my Lord F., that was condemned to die yestereven, shall bear the Queen’s sword this morrow. Pshaw! I am tired of it. ’Tis a game of tables (backgammon), with players that have no skill, and care for nought saving to rattle the dice.”

Mr Holland laughed a moment, but immediately grew grave.

“But heard you my news?” said he. “Do you know Father Rose is deprived?”

All cried out together. They had looked for this indeed, but not now. Six months thence, when the Protestant Bishops were all sequestered, and the Prebendaries in the Marshalsea, Bishop Gardiner might stoop to lesser game; but that one of the very first blows should be struck at Mr Rose, this they had not expected. It showed how formidable an enemy he was considered.

“Deprived!” cried all the voices together.

“Ay, ’tis too true,” said Mr Holland. “As a preacher, we shall hear his voice no more.”

“The lambs are like to fare ill,” growled Dr Thorpe, “when all the great wolves be let forth in a pack.”

“Ah, mine old friend!” answered John, “not many weeks gone, you said of my Lord of Northumberland, ‘Will none put this companion in the Tower?’ Methinks so many henceforward will scarce be over, ere you may say the like with tears of Stephen Gardiner. The fox is in the Tower; but the wolf is out.”

“You speak but truth,” said Mr Holland. “And now, my masters, after mine ill news, I fear you will scarcely take it well of me to bid you to a wedding; yet for that came I hither.”

“Is this a time for marrying and giving in marriage?” groaned Dr Thorpe.

“I think it is,” answered Mr Holland, stoutly. “The more disease (discomfort) a man hath abroad, the more comfort he lacketh at home.”

“But who is to be married?” asked John.

“I am,” answered Mr Holland. “Have you aught against it?”

“You!” cried Avery, in a voice of astonishment, which Mr Holland understood to imply the reverse of flattery.

“Upon my word, you are no losenger!” (flatterer) saith he. “Have I two heads, or four legs, that you think no maid should have me? or is my temper so hot that you count I shall lead her a dog’s life? or what see you in me, body or soul, to make you cry out in that fashion?”

“Nay, man,” replied John, laughing, “thou art a proper man enough, and as tall of thy hands as any in Aldersgate; and for thy temper, a dove were crabbed in comparison. I did but think thou wert wedded to thy cloths and thy napery.”

“You thought I took counsel of velvet, and solaced myself with broidery!” laughed Mr Holland. “Nay, friend; when I take a wife, I will not wed a piece of Lincoln green.”

“And who, pray you, is the bride?”

“Why, Avery, I had thought you should have guessed that without asking. Who should it be, but mine old and true friend, Bessy Lake?”

“Then I give you joy,” said John, “for you have chosen well.”

Mr Holland’s wedding took place at the Church of Saint Giles Cripplegate, in August (it was in the first year of Queen Mary; exact date unknown). Bessy Lake, the bride, proved a very gentle, amiable-looking woman, not pretty, but not unpleasing, and by at least ten years the senior of her bridegroom. After the ceremony, the wedding party repaired to Mr Holland’s house. Mr Rose was present, with his wife and Thekla; and Mr Ferris; and Mr Ive and Helen, who brought Mrs Underhill’s three elder little girls, Anne, Christian, and Eleanor. Augustine Bernher did not appear until after dinner. Mrs Rose and Isoult had a little quiet conversation; the former was still looking forward to further troubles, and plainly thought Mr Holland was courting sorrow.

“But thank God he is not a priest!” she said; and the tears rose to her eyes.

Meanwhile, John and Mr Rose were engaged in their private discourse. It was settled between them that the same day, two years later—August 20th, 1555—should be the date fixed, before which, if Robin should not have been ordained, he should give up the expectation of it, and marry Thekla. Mr Holland, being taken into confidence, not only expressed his sense of the wisdom of this arrangement, but at once offered, if Robin wished it, to receive him without premium. This part of the subject, however, was left for future decision.

Helen Ive brought word from Mrs Underhill, that Mr Throgmorton had readily promised to intercede for his cousin, as soon as he found a satisfactory opportunity; which meant, when certain members of the Council, adverse to Underhill, should be absent.

The persecution had begun in good earnest now. The imprisonment of Bishop Ridley and Mr Underhill, and the deprivation of Mr Rose, were only the beginning of sorrows. On the 16th of August, Mr John Bradford of Manchester was sent to the Tower; and Mr Prebendary Rogers confined to his own house, nor allowed to speak with any person out of it. And on Friday and Saturday, the 18th and 19th, were condemned to death in the high court at Westminster, the great Duke of Northumberland, who so many years had been all but a king in England; and the Marquis of Northampton, and the Earl of Warwick (son of the Duke), and Sir Andrew Dudley, the Duke’s brother, and Sir Thomas Palmer. The judges were the Lord Treasurer, and the old Duke of Norfolk, the last only just released from the Tower, where he had been a prisoner seven years.

“God’s mill grindeth slowly, but it grindeth small.” He sitteth at the disposing of the lots—there is no blind chance, for Him: and it was the Lord who had these sinners in derision, who sat above the water-floods, and stilled the raging of the people.

And if God’s earthly judgments, that come now and then, be so terrific, what shall be that last judgment of His Great White Throne, when every man shall receive the things done in the body?

The great traitors—Northumberland and Palmer—the lesser traitor, Northampton,—and the innocent Warwick, were tried and sentenced to death. On the following morning, mass was sung in the Tower; and the Duke, the Marquis of Northampton, Sir Andrew Dudley, Sir Harry Gates, and Sir Thomas Palmer, received the sacrament in one kind only. Then the Duke, turning to those present (who were many) said “he had been seduced these sixteen years by the false and erroneous doctrine of the new preachers (namely, the Gospel), but he was now assured and did believe that the Sacrament there present was our Saviour and Redeemer, Jesus Christ.” Then he knelt down and asked of all men forgiveness, and said he forgave all men. The Duke of Somerset’s sons were standing by (who had something to forgive that miserable sinner), and the Lady Jane saw the Duke pass by to the chapel from her window.

“Lo’ you now!” said John, “this was the chosen head of the Lutheran party!”

“He was never mine,” replied Dr Thorpe.

“How long is it sithence you were a Lutheran?” answered he.

“Go thy ways, Jack!” was all Dr Thorpe would say.

In the evening Mr Ive came in; who said he had been to Newgate to visit his friend, Mr Underhill.

“And poor Underhill,” said he, “is fallen sick of a burning ague in that loathsome gaol. He doth account the cause to be the evil savours and the unquietness of the lodging; as may be also the drinking of a strong draught wherein his fellow-prisoner would needs have him to pledge him. He can take no rest, desiring to change his lodging, and so hath he done from one to an other; but none can he abide, having so much noise of the prisoners and naughty savours. Now his wife hath leave to come unto him for to tend him in his sickness; but he is constrained to pay eightpence every meal, and as much for her.”

“And how is he treated of Alisaunder?” said John. “Not over well, I warrant you.”

“Nay, there you are out,” said Mr Ive; “for (as Underhill told me), the very first night that he went in, one of the prisoners took acquaintance of him, whose name was Bristo, and would have him to have a bed in his chamber. He had been with Sir Richard Cromwell in his journey to Landrecies, that Underhill also was in, and could play well on a rebeck, and was a Protestant, which yet he kept secret, or (saith he to Underhill), ‘I had never found such favour as I do at the keeper’s hand and his wife’s; for to such as love the Gospel they be very cruel.’—‘Well (saith Underhill), I have sent for my Bible, and, by God’s grace, therein shall be my daily exercise. I will not hide it from them.’—‘Sir (answered he), I am poor, but they will bear with you, for that they see your estate is to pay well; and I will show you the nature and manner of them, for I have been here a good while. They both do love music very well; wherefore you with your lute, and I with my rebeck, will please them greatly. He loveth to be merry and to drink wine, and she also; and if you will bestow upon them every dinner and supper a quart of wine and some music, you shall be their white son (favourite), and have all their favour that they can show you.’ And so, as Underhill told me, he found it come to pass.”

“And where is the babe?” said Isoult, pityingly.

“My Nell hath little Guilford,” answered Mr Ive, “and maketh as much ado of him, as she were his own mother. Concern you not for him; with God’s blessing, the child shall fare well.”

On Tower Hill, whither they had sent so many better than themselves, on the 22nd of August, Sir John Dudley, Duke of Northumberland, and Sir Thomas Palmer, ended their wretched and evil lives. With them died Sir John Gates.

The Duke rehearsed his confession, as he had made it in the chapel; avowing himself to be of the old learning, “and a Christian now, for these sixteen years I have been none.” Which last was the truth. And he said, “he would every man not to be covetous, for that had been a great part of his destruction.” And so he tied the handkerchief over his own eyes, and lay down on the block, and his head was struck off.

So ended this miserable man; for whom it had been a thousand times better that he had never been born, than to have destroyed himself and England together, and to have offended so bitterly Christ’s little ones.

After him came Sir John Gates, who said little, and would have no handkerchief over his eyes; and his head fell at the third blow.

Last came Sir Thomas Palmer, “nothing in whose life became him like the leaving it.” For when the people bade him good morrow, he said,—“I do not doubt but that I have a good morrow, and that I shall have a better good even.” And then he went on to tell them, “that he had been lawfully condemned, and that he did therein thank God for His mercy: for that sithence his coming into the Tower, he had seen himself, how utterly and verily vile his soul was—yea, he did not think any sin to be, that he had not plunged even into the midst of it (Note 1); I and he had moreover seen how infinite were God’s mercies, and how Jesus sitteth a Redeemer at the right hand of God, by whose means His people shall live eternally. For I have learned (said he) more in one little dark corner in yonder Tower, than ever I learned by any travail in so many places as I have been.” And he desired the people to pray for him, for he “did in no wise fear death.” So, taking the executioner by the hand, he said he forgave him heartily, but entreated him not to strike till he had said a few prayers, “and then he should have good leave.” And so he knelt down, and laid his head on the block, and prayed; then lifting his head again, once more asked all present to pray for him; and so again laid down his head, which was stricken from him at one stroke.

And that night Isoult Avery wrote in her diary—“Verily, I do know that the mercies of God are infinite; and I bless Him heartily therefor. But had I been to say any that I knew which was little like to come unto them, I had named this man. God be lauded if He hath shown him what is sin, and what is Christ, in his last hours, and hath so received him up to that His infinite mercy. I marvel what sort shall be the meeting betwixt my Lord, and George Bucker, and the Duke of Somerset, and him.”

At length Mr Throgmorton found his expected opportunity, and offered his petition for Mr Underhill’s release. This petition set forth “his extreme sickness and small cause to be committed unto so loathsome a gaol,” and besought that he might therefore be released, offering sureties to be forthcoming when called upon: these were to be himself and his brother-in-law John Speryn, a merchant of London, and a man “very zealous in the Lord.” Poor Underhill was still very seriously ill. “I was cast,” he tells us, “into an extreme burning ague, that I could take no rest; desiring to change my lodging, and so did from one to an other, but none I could abide, there was so much noise of prisoners and evil savours. The keeper and his wife offered me his own parlour, where he lay himself, which was furthest from noise, but it was near the kitchen, the savour whereof I could not abide. Then did she lodge me in a chamber wherein she said never no prisoner lay, which was her store-chamber, where she said all the plate and money lay, which was much.” (Harl. Ms. 425, folio 91, a.) Mr Ive reported that Mr Underhill could be no weaker than he was, and live. His friend Dr Record had been to see him in the prison, whom he describes as “Doctor of Physic, singularly seen (very skilful) in all the Seven Sciences (Grammar, Rhetoric, Logic, Arithmetic, Geometry, Music, and Astronomy), and a great devyne.” Mr Rose took his deprivation very quietly. Some of his friends thought he might be all the safer for it, if the persecutors had done all they cared about doing to him. He had hired three rooms for the present in a house in Leadenhall Street. Tidings of further persecution came now daily. “Robin’s orders do seem going further off than ever,” lamented Isoult. For Bishops Hooper of Gloucester and Coverdale of Exeter were cited before the Council; and the Archbishop, and the Dean of Saint Paul’s; and mass was now celebrated in many churches of London. A rumour went abroad of the lapsing of the Archbishop, and that he had sung mass before the Queen; but it proved false. Again the altar was set up in Saint Paul’s Cathedral; and when Bishop Bonner came from the Marshalsea, great rejoicing was made. Many by the way bade him welcome home, and “as many of the women as might kissed him.” No Gospeller would have kissed him for a King’s ransom. On the 5th of September came Mr Ive, with news of Mr Underhill at once good and bad. He was released from Newgate, but was so weak and ill that they were obliged to carry him home in a horse-litter, and the gaoler’s servant bore him down the stairs to the litter in his arms like a child; and for all this, those who accompanied him (Mrs Underhill, Mr Speryn, Mr Ive, and others) were afraid lest he should not live till he came home. They were compelled to go very gently, and frequently to halt; so that two hours were required to pass through the city, from Newgate to Aldgate, and night fell before he could get to his house: where he now remained in the same weak and deplorable state, and all the Gospellers were asked to pray for him.

To the great relief of all Protestants, the Archbishop published a letter in which he utterly denied that he had ever said or promised to say mass, to gain favour with the Queen.

“I could have told you so much,” said John. “My Lord Archbishop is not the man to curry Favelle.”

“Now, I had thought he rather were,” said Dr Thorpe.

“One of your Lutheran fantasies,” answered John.

Which rather annoyed the old man, who did not like to be reminded that he was or had been a Lutheran; and such reminders he occasionally received from Mr John Avery.

“Have you the news?” said Mr Rose, on the evening of the 14th of September.

“Which news?” asked John. “We know all, methinks, touching my Lord Archbishop, and the Bishops of Gloucester and Exeter, and that Mr Dean is cited. What more?”

“And that Mr Latimer is had to the Tower?”

“Alack, no!” cried Isoult. “Is it assuredly so?”

“I shake hands with him on his way, and saw him go in,” answered Mr Rose, sorrowfully.

“With what cheer?”

“As bright and merry as ever I did see him. The warder at the gate was Will Rutter, whom he knew of old; and quoth he to him, ‘What, my old friend! how do you? I am now come to be your neighbour again.’ And so went in smiling, and is lodged in the garden, in Sir Thomas Palmer’s lodging.”

“He is a marvellous man,” replied John.

“My Lord of Canterbury,” pursued Mr Rose, “likewise came into the Tower yesterday. He is lodged in the gate against the Water-gate, where my Lord of Northumberland lay.”

“To the same end, I count, for both?” said Dr Thorpe, bitterly.

“The Lord knoweth,” answered Mr Rose, “and ‘the Lord reigneth.’”

“And will they put down the service-book, think you?” said he.

“They will put down everything save God,” said Mr Rose, solemnly; “and Him also, could they but get at Him.”

Before September was over, John and Isoult rode to the Limehurst to visit Mr Underhill. They found him in very good spirits for an invalid in a very weak condition, and he said he was improving every day, and had a long tale to tell them when his strength would permit. Mrs Underhill had been compelled to present herself before the Council in order to procure his release, and had there to endure a severe scolding from Lord Winchester for the relationship in which little Guilford had been placed to Lady Jane Grey. She bore it quietly, and got for her reward a letter to the keeper of Newgate, signed by Winchester, Sussex, Bedford, Rochester, and Sir Edward Waldegrave, ordering the release of Mr Underhill, who was to be bound before a magistrate, in conjunction with her brother, Mr Speryn, to appear when summoned.

The progress of the Retrogression—for such it may be fairly termed—was swifter than that of the Reformation had been. “Facilis descensus Averni,”—this is the usual course. High mass was restored in Saint Paul’s Cathedral, and in very few London churches were Gospel sermons yet preached. With bitter irony, liberty was granted to Bishop Ridley—to hear mass in the Tower Chapel. Liberty to commit idolatry was not likely to be used by Nicholas Ridley. The French Protestants were driven out, except a few named by the Ambassador; Cranmer, Latimer, Hooper, Coverdale, were cited before the Council; and on the 28th of September, the Queen came to the Tower, in readiness for her coronation.

At one o’clock on the 30th, the royal procession set forth, fitly preceded by a crowd of knights, doctors, bishops, and peers. After them rode the Council; and then the new Knights of the Bath, to create whom it had been the custom, the day previous to the coronation. The seal and mace were carried next, between the Lord Chancellor (Bishop Gardiner) and the Lord Treasurer, William Paulet, Marquis of Winchester. The old Duke of Norfolk followed, with Lord Arundel on his right, and Lord Oxford on his left, bearing the swords of state. Sir Edward Hastings, on foot, led the Queen’s horse. She sat in a chariot of tissue, trapped with red velvet, and drawn by six horses. Mary was dressed in blue velvet, bordered with ermine, and on her head she carried not only a caul of tinsel set with gold and stones, but also a garland of goldsmith’s work, so massive that she was observed to “bear up her head with her hands.” She was subject to violent headaches, and in all probability was suffering from one now. A canopy was borne over her chariot. In the second chariot, which was “all white, and six horses trapped with the same,” sat the heiress presumptive of England, the Princess Elizabeth, “with her face forward, and the Lady Anne of Cleve, with her back forward:” both ladies were attired in crimson velvet. Then came “four ladies of estate riding upon horses”—the eccentric old Duchess of Norfolk; the Marchioness of Winchester; Gertrude, the long-tried Marchioness of Exeter; and Mary Countess of Arundel, niece of Lady Lisle. Both riders and horses were apparelled in crimson velvet. The third chariot, covered with cloth of gold, and the horses similarly caparisoned, while the peeresses within were clad in crimson velvet—two ladies on horseback, in crimson velvet—the fourth and fifth chariots, and more ladies on horseback, to the total number of forty-six, and all in crimson velvet—these followed one another in due course. Last came the Queen’s women, riding upon horses trapped in crimson satin, and attired in the same material. Among them, the third of the eight maids of honour, looked out the sweet face of Anne Basset, gentlest of “her Highness’ women.” (Note 2.)

And so closed this crimson pageant, meet inauguration of England’s bloodiest reign. Of other pageants there was no lack; but I pass them by, as also the airy gyrations of Peter the Dutchman on the weathercock of Saint Paul’s.

On the west side of the Cathedral was a sight which more amazed the party of sight-seers from the Lamb than any other with which they had met that day. This was the Hot Gospeller, who had literally risen from his bed to see the pageant. Mr Edward Underhill sat upon a horse—but he shall describe his own appearance, for it must have been remarkable. “Scant able to sit, girded in a long night-gown, with double kerchiefs about my head, a great hat upon them, my beard dubed hard too, my face so leane and pale that I was the very image of death, wondered at of all that did behold me, unknown to any. My wife and neighbours were toto (too-too, an archaism for very) sorry that I would needs go forth, thinking I would not return alive. Then went I forth, having of either side of me a man to stay me... When the Queen passed by, ... many of my fellows the Pensioners and divers of the Council beheld me, and none of them all knew me.” (Note 3.)

“Why, Ned!” cried John, “are you able to sit thus on an horse and mix in crowds?”

“No,” said he.

“Then,” he answered, “what brought you hither?”

“Marry, mine own obstinate resolvedness,” said Mr Underhill, laughing feebly, “that neither my Jane, nor Jack Speryn, nor Ive, could combat.”

John rode with his friend to the Limehurst, and saw him safe home, to the great relief of Mrs Underhill, who declared that she had not had a minute’s rest since he set out, expecting every hour to receive some terrible news concerning him.

Sunday, the 1st of October, was fixed for the coronation. That ceremony was almost invariably on the Lord’s Day. There was no service in the Cathedral; for none but unmarried Bishops or priests would the Queen permit to officiate before her; and there were very few of the first. Order was also issued that no married priest should minister again in any of the churches.

The Gospellers were reduced to stratagem. Since the churches were closed to them, they opened their own houses. By arrangement with Mr Rose, service was held in the Lamb on the evening of the Coronation Day, safety being secured by a preconcerted signal-tap. About forty persons gathered, exclusive of the families of the host and the minister. A small congregation; but a congregation of live souls, who were ready to yield life sooner than faith. The majority of congregations are hardly made of that material now. “If all the real Christians were gathered out of this church,” once said William Romaine to his flock, “there would not be enough to fill the vestry.” How frightfully uncharitable! cries the nineteenth century—and I dare say the flock at Saint Anne’s thought so too. But there is a charity towards men’s souls, and there is a charity towards men’s feelings. If one of the two must be dispensed with, we shall wish in the great day of account that it had been the latter. The two “keeping-rooms” of the Lamb—which they called the great and little chambers, but which we, their degenerate descendants, might term the dining-room and drawing-room—were filled with this living congregation; and Mr Rose read prayers from the now prohibited Service-Book, and preached the prohibited doctrines. Before all had dispersed, Mr George Ferris made his appearance, and supped at the Lamb, as did Mr Rose and Mr Holland, with their respective families.

After supper, Mr Ferris, leaning back in his chair, suddenly said,—“If you list to know the order of her Highness’ crowning, I am he that can tell you; for all this day have I been in Westminster Abbey and Hall.”

He was universally encouraged to proceed.

“The Queen,” said he, “came first by water to the old Palace, and there tarried she till about eleven of the clock. And thence went she afoot to the Abbey, upon blue cloth railed in on every side; and she ware the same array as she came in through London. Afore her went the Bishops (to wit, all the unwedded), their mitres on their heads and their crosiers borne afore them. She was led betwixt old Tunstal of Durham and an other Bishop, and right behind her came the Devil in the likeness of Stephen Gardiner, a-censing her and casting holy water upon her all the way, which must needs have spoiled her brave blue velvet gown ere she set foot in the Abbey. In the Abbey was the throne, covered with baudekyn; but I pray you, demand not of me a regular account of all that was done; for it was so many and sundry ceremonies that my weak head will not hold them. I know only there was kneeling and courtesying and bowing and censing, and holy water, and a deal more of the like trumpery, wherewith I am no wise compatient (the lost adjective of compassion); and going up unto the altar, and coming down from it; and five several times was she led thereto, once to offer there her pall of baudekyn and twenty shillings, and once, leaving her crimson velvet mantle behind the travers, she was laid down on a cushion afore the altar, while four knights held the pall over her; and anointed with tedious and endless ceremonies; and crowned with three crowns (Saint Edward’s, the imperial, and one made for her a-purpose) by the aforesaid Stephen Gardiner; and a ring of gold set on her finger; and a bracelet of precious stones and gold set upon her arm by the Master of the Jewel House; and the sceptre given her of my Lord of Arundel (the old time-server!) and the ball, of the Lord Treasurer; and the regal of gold, of the Bishop of Winchester; and the staff of Saint Edward, of my Lord of Bath; and the spurs, of my Lord of Pembroke. Come, pray you now, let me take breath!—Well, after all this, the Bishops and nobles did homage to her Highness; but the time would not serve for all, seeing the homage to the altar had taken so much away; so they knelt in groups, and had a spokesman to perform for them. My Right Reverend Lord Bishop of Winchester was for himself and all other Bishops; old Norfolk stood alone as a Duke (for all the other Dukes were in the Tower, either alive or dead); the Lord Marquis of Winchester was for his order; my Lord of Arundel for the Earls, my Lord of Hereford for the Viscounts, and my Lord of Burgavenny for the Barons. All these kissed her Highness’ left cheek; and all this time stood my Lord of Shrewsbury by her, aiding her to hold up the sceptre. Well then, believe it who will, my masters, but after all this came the mass. And no sooner begun, than the Bishop of Lincoln and the Bishop of Hereford marched straight out of the church, mitres and all. It was nigh four of the clock ere her Grace came from the Abbey; and she came in a gown of purple velvet, with the crown upon her head, and every noble and noble lady following in cramoisie, and on their heads crownets (the old form of the word coronet) of gold. Three swords were borne afore her, and a canopy over her, carried of the Wardens of the Cinque Ports: and in one hand she held a sceptre of gold, and in the other a ball of gold, which she twirled and turned in her hand as she came. And no sooner had she set foot in the Hall, than the people fell a-scrambling for the cloth and rails. Yea, they were not content with the waste meat cast out of the kitchen to them, but they pulled down and carried off the kitchen also.”

“Come, Ferris, be reasonable in your Romaunts,” said Mr Holland.

“Who did ever hear any man to be reasonable in a Romaunt?” asked he. “But this is not romance, ’tis truth. Why, the kitchen was but cast up of boards outside the Palace, for the time and occasion; and they made it a waste indeed. It was candle-light ere her Grace took barge.”

“But was there no pardon proclaimed?” said John.

“Lo’ you, now! I forgat that. Ay, afore the anointing, my gracious Lord Chancellor proclaimeth her Majesty’s goodly pardon unto all prisoners whatsoever and wheresoever—save and except an handful only, to wit, such as were in the Marshalsea, and the Fleet, and the Tower, and such as had order to keep their houses, and sixty-two more.”

“Why, that were to except them all!” cried Mr Holland.

“Nay, they excepted not them in Newgate, nor the Counter.”

“A goodly procession of pardoned men!” said John.

“Well,” said Dr Thorpe, after a short pause, “the Queen’s reign is now fairly established; what shall the end be?”

“Ask not me,” replied Mr Ferris.

“We know what it shall be,” answered Mr Rose, thoughtfully. “‘I will overturn, overturn, overturn, until He come whose right it is, and I will give it Him.’ Let as pray for His coming. And in the mean time have we a care that our loins be girded about, and our lamps burning; that when He cometh and knocketh, we may open unto Him immediately. We shall be unready to open immediately, if our hands be overfull of worldly matters. It were not well to have to say to Him, ‘Lord, let me lay down this high post, and that public work, and these velvet robes, and this sweet cup, and this bitter one—and then I will open unto Thee.’ I had rather mine hand were on the latch of the door, looking out for Him.”

“But, Father Rose, men must see to public matters, and wear velvet robes, and carry weights of all fashions—why, the world would stand still else!”

“Must men do these things, Master Ferris? yet be there two ways of doing them. Believe me, there is one other thing they must do—they must meet Christ.”

A jovial, merry, gallant gentleman was George Ferris; and a Protestant—of some sort. But he outlived the persecution. It was not of such stuff as his that martyrs were made. The gorgeous pageants were over, and the bitter suffering came back.

Parliament was opened on the 13th of November, with a solemn mass of the Holy Ghost, the Queen herself being present in her robes; but as soon as the mass began, the Archbishop of York, and the Bishops of Lincoln and Hereford, rose and attempted to walk out of the House. Hands were laid on the Bishop of Lincoln, and his Parliament robe taken from him; and upon confession of his faith, (which he made boldly) he was cited before the Council. The Archbishop and the Bishop of Hereford were suffered to depart for that time; but rumour ran that Hereford would soon be deprived, being a married priest. Perhaps he was not made of metal that would bear the furnace; for God took His child home, before the day of suffering came. The rough wind was stayed again in the day of the east wind. But on the 14th of November came a more woeful sight. For the prisoners in the Tower were led on foot to the Guild Hall, the axe carried before them, there to be judged. First walked the Archbishop of Canterbury, his face cast down, between two others. Then followed the Lord Guilford Dudley, also between two. After him came his wife, the Lady Jane, apparelled in black, a black velvet book hanging at her girdle, and another open in her hand. After her followed her two gentlewomen, and Lords Ambrose and Henry Dudley. The Archbishop was attainted for treason, although he had utterly refused to subscribe the King’s letters patent for the disinheriting of his sisters.

Late in the evening Mr Ive looked in, to say that he hath spent all the day at the Guild Hall, and brought the sad news that the gentle Lady Jane and all the Lords Dudley were condemned to death. It was expected, however, that the Queen would not suffer the sentence to be executed on her own cousin Lady Jane. The Archbishop, Mr Ive told them, came back to the Tower, looking as joyful as he had before been cast down. He was entirely acquitted of treason, and remanded to be tried for heresy; for which he blessed God in the hearing of the Court.

“One step more,” said Mr Rose to Avery, whom he met in Cheapside. “The old service-book of King Henry must now be used, and the new of King Edward put away; and in every church in London shall the mass be next Sunday or Monday. And Saint Katherine’s Eve shall be processions, and Saint Nicholas shall go about as aforetime.”

So, slowly and darkly, closed the black year, 1553.

Married priests forbidden to minister—the English Service-Book prohibited—orders issued for every parish church to provide cross, censer, vestments, and similar decorations of the House of Baal—mass for the soul of King Edward in all the churches of London. It was not six months since the boy had died, with that last touching prayer on his lips—“Lord God, preserve this realm from Papistry!” Was that prayer lost in the blue space it had to traverse, between that soul and the altar of incense in Heaven? We know now that it was not. But it seemed utterly lost then. O Lord, we know not what Thou doest now. Give us grace to wait patiently, to be content with Thy promise that we shall know hereafter!

There was one bright spot visible to the tear-dimmed eyes of the Gospellers, and only one. The Parliament had been prorogued, and the Bloody Statute was not yet re-enacted. All statutes of premunire were repealed, and all laws of King Edward in favour of reformation in the Church. But that first and worst of all the penalties remained as yet in the oblivion to which he had consigned it. But in recompense for this, there was a very black cloud darkening the horizon of 1554. The Queen had announced to her Parliament her intended marriage with Prince Philip of Spain. All the old insular prejudices against foreigners rose up to strengthen the Protestant horror of a Spanish and Popish King. The very children in the streets were heard to cry, “Down with the Pope and the Spaniards!” Elizabeth would have known how to deal with such an emergency. But Mary was blind and deaf. Disregarding this outbreak of popular feeling, she went on, in the way which led to her ruin and England’s. It was only one of the two which was irremediable. The one was followed by a summer day of glory; the other closed only in the night of death.

The first news which reached the Lamb in 1554, was the startling information—if any information can be called startling in that age of sudden and shocking events—that the night before, Mr Ive had been hastily apprehended and committed to the Marshalsea. He was soon released, unhurt; but this occurrence quickened Mr Underhill’s tardy movements. He had already made up his mind to remove from the Limehurst, where his abode was too well-known to the enemy; the arrest of his friend and neighbour determined him to go at once. He took “a little house in a secret corner at the nether end of Wood Street,” Cheapside. About Epiphany was born Susan Bertie, the only daughter of the Duchess of Suffolk. Shortly before this the Emperor’s Ambassadors came over to treat concerning the Queen’s marriage, and were pelted with snowballs by children in the streets of the City. The vacant sees were filled up by Popish divines; Cardinal Pole was invited to return to England (from which he had been so many years exiled), in the capacity of Legate; the Queen dissolved the Court of First Fruits, and commanded that the title of “Head of the Church in earth” should be omitted from the enumeration of her titles in all future documents. Permission granted to Lady Jane to walk in the Queen’s garden and on Tower Hill revived for a moment the hopes of the Protestants so far as concerned her. No harm would come to her, they sanguinely repeated, if the Queen were left to herself. Possibly they were fight. But what likelihood was there that Gardiner would so leave her? and—a question yet more ominous—what might Philip of Spain require in this matter? Men not yet sixty years of age could remember the time when, previous to the marriage of Katherine of Aragon, the Earl of Warwick, last surviving male of the House of York, had been beheaded on Tower Hill. Once before, the royal blood of England had been shed at the demand of Spain: might the precedent not be repeated now? The only difference being, that the victim then was a tercel gentle, and now it would be a white dove.

In the middle of January, before his removal from the Limehurst, and when he was sufficiently recovered to “walk to London an easy pace,” Mr Underhill made his appearance one afternoon in the Minories. He came with the evident intention of telling his own story.

“And would you,” said he, “hear the tale of my examination and imprisonment?”

“That would we, and with a right good will,” answered Dr Thorpe, speaking for all. “We do know even what Mr Ive could tell us, but nothing further.”

“Then what Ive could not tell you,” resumed he, “take from me (these incidents in Underhill’s life are given almost entirely in his own words). I guessed (and rightly so) what was the cause of mine arrest; to wit, a certain ballad that I had put forth against the Papists, and for that I was a Sacramentary. Well, when I came into the Tower, where the Council sat, they were already busied with Dr Coxe and the Lord Ferrers; wherefore I was to wait. So I and my two men went to an alehouse to dinner in the Tower, and after that repaired to the Council chamber door, to be the first taken, for I desired to know my lot. Then came Secretary Bourne to the door, looking as the wolf doth for a lamb; unto whom my two keepers delivered me, and he took me in greedily. The Earl of Bedford was chief judge, next the Earl of Sussex, and Sir Richard Southwell; and on the side next me sat the Earl of Arundel and Lord Paget. By them stood Sir John Gage, the Constable, the Earl of Bath, and Mr Mason; at the board’s end stood Sergeant Morgan and Secretary Bourne. And the Lord Wentworth stood in the bay window. Then my Lord of Bedford (who was my very friend, owing unto the chance that I had to recover his son, as I told you aforetime; yet would not now seem to be familiar with me, nor called me not by my name), said,—‘Did not you set a ballad of late in print?’—I kneeled down, saying, ‘Yes, truly, my Lord; is that the cause I am called before your Honours?’—‘Marry,’ said Secretary Bourne, ‘you have one of them about you, I am sure.’—‘Nay truly, have I not,’ said I.—Then took he one out of his bosom and read it over distinctly, the Council giving diligent ear. When he had ended,—‘I trust, my Lord,’ said I, ‘I have not offended the Queen’s Majesty in the ballad, nor spoken against her title, but maintained it.’—‘You have, sir,’ said Morgan. ‘Yes, I can divide your ballad, and make a distinction in it, and so prove at the least sedition in it.’—‘Yea,’ I said, ‘you men of law will make of a matter what ye list.’—‘Lo!’ said Sir Richard Southwell, ‘how he can give a taunt! You maintain the Queen’s title with the help of an arrant heretic, Tyndale.’—‘You speak of Papists there, sir,’ said Mr Mason. ‘I pray you, how define you a Papist?’—‘Why,’ said I, ‘it is not long since you could define a Papist better than I.’ With that some of them secretly smiled, as the Lord of Bedford, Arundel, Sussex, and Paget. In great haste Sir John Gage took the matter in hand. ‘Thou callest men Papists there,’ said he; ‘who be they thou judgest to be Papists?’—‘Sir,’ said I, ‘I do name no man, nor I am not hither to accuse any, nor none I will accuse; but your Honours do know that in this controversy that hath been, some be called Papists and some Protestants.’—‘But we will know whom thou judgest to be Papists, and that we command thee upon thine allegiance to declare.’—‘Sir,’ said I, ‘I think if you look among the priests in Poules, ye shall find some old mumpsimuses there.’—‘Mumpsimuses, knave!’ saith he, ‘mumpsimuses! thou art an heretic knave!’ and sware a great oath.—Says the Earl of Bath, ‘I warrant him an heretic knave, indeed.’—‘I beseech your Honours,’ said I (speaking to the Lords that sat at the table, for these other that stood by be not now of the Council), ‘be my good Lords. I have offended no laws, and I have served the Queen’s Majesty’s father and her brother long time, and in their service have spent and consumed part of my living, never having as yet any preferment or recompense, and the rest of my fellows likewise, to our utter undoing, unless the Queen’s Highness be good unto us; and for my part I went not forth against her Majesty, notwithstanding I was commanded, nor liked those doings.’—‘No, but with your writings you will set us together by the ears,’ saith the Earl of Arundel.—‘He hath spent his living wantonly,’ saith Bourne, ‘and now saith he hath spent it in the King’s service; which I am sorry for: he is come of a worshipful house in Worcestershire.’ (Note 4)—‘It is untruly said of you,’ said I, ‘that I have spent my living wantonly. I never consumed no part thereof until I came into the King’s service, which I do not repent, nor doubted of recompense if either of my two masters had lived. I perceive you are Bourne’s son of Worcester, who was beholden unto my uncle Wynter, and therefore you have no cause to be my enemy, nor you never knew me, nor I you, before now, which is too soon.’—‘I have heard enough of you,’ said he.—‘So have I of you,’ said I, ‘how that Mr Sheldone drave you out of Worcestershire for your behaviour.’—With that came Sir Edward Hastings from the Queen in great haste, saying, ‘My Lords, you must set all things apart, and come forthwith to the Queen.’—Then said the Earl of Sussex, ‘Have this gentleman unto the Fleet, until we may talk further with him.’ (Although I was knave before of Master Gage.)—‘To the Fleet?’ saith Master Southwell, ‘have him to the Marshalsea!’—‘Have the heretic knave to Newgate!’ saith Master Gage again.—‘Call a couple of the guard here,’ saith Bourne, ‘and there shall be a letter sent to the keeper how he shall use him, for we have other manner of matters with him than these.’—‘So had ye need,’ said I, ‘or else I care not for you.’—‘Deliver him to Mr Garret, the Sheriff,’ said he, ‘and bid him send him to Newgate.’—‘My Lord (said I unto my Lord of Arundel, for that he was next me, as they were rising) I trust you will not see me thus used to be sent to Newgate; I am neither thief nor traitor.’—‘Ye are a naughty fellow,’ said he; ‘ye were alway tuting in the Duke of Northumberland’s ear, that ye were.’—‘I would he had given better ear unto me,’ said I; ‘it had not been with him then as it is now.’—Mr Hastings pushing by me (mine old adversary, with whom I had been aforetime wont to reason touching the Sacrament), I thought good to prove him, although he threatened before now.—‘Sir,’ said I, ‘I pray you speak for me that I be not sent unto Newgate, but rather unto the Fleet, which was first named. I have not offended. I am a gentleman, as you know, and one of your fellows, when you were of this band of the Pensioners.’—Very quietly he said unto me, ‘I was not at the table, Mr Underhill, and therefore I can say nothing to it.’ But I think he was not content with the place I was appointed to. Well, I count Ive told you all he saw, touching my progress to Master Sheriff, and thence to Newgate. But while I waited in the Sheriff’s house, my Lord Russell heard my voice, and showed very sorry for me; and sent me on the morrow twenty shillings, and every week as much while I was in Newgate. I count Ive told you moreover of my sickness.”

“Ay, and of the ill savours and noise that you could not abide,” said Dr Thorpe; “and of your changing of your lodging; and how Dr Record did visit you, and divers other things.”

“Then he told you all,” said Mr Underhill. “And now (for ’tis past nine of the clock) this great knave, rogue, and heretic, must be on his way home.”

Mr Underhill left behind him a new ballad which he had lately published. Since it probably does not exist in print now, it shall be subjoined, and in the orthography of its author.

“Love God above all thyngs, and thy neyghboure as thy selffe;
Thatt this is Crist’s doctryne, no mane cane it denye;
Wyche litle is regarded in Yngland’s common wealthe,
Wherefore greate plags att hande be, the realme for to distroye.

“‘Do as thow woldest be done unto,’ no place here he cane have,
Off all he is remised, no mane wyll hym reseave;
Butt pryvate wealthe, thatt cursed wreche, and most vyle slave,
Over all he is imbraced, and ffast to hym they cleave.

“He thatt hathe this world’s goode, and seeth his neyghboure lake,
And off hym hathe no compassyone, nor showithe hym no love,
Nor relevithe his nesessite, butt suffers hym go to wrake,
God dwellithe nott in thatt mane, the Scriptures playnely prove.

“Example we have by Dyves, thatt dayntilye dide fare,
In worldely wealthe and ryches therein he dide excell,
Off poore Lazarous’ mesery he hadde theroff no care,
Therfore was sodenly taken and tormentide in Hell.”

(See Note 5 for explanations.)

Ten quiet days followed. For many a month afterwards, quietness was only to be remembered as a lost luxury.

“Have you the news?” inquired Mr Underhill, suddenly opening Avery’s door, and coming in hastily.

“I have heard you put that question five-and-twenty times,” responded Dr Thorpe.

“Well!” he answered, “you may hear it yet again so many. There is like to be some trouble.”

“Then that is good news,” said the doctor, sarcastically, “for during some time there hath been trouble, not there hath been like to be.”

“What is it, then, Ned?” inquired John.

“Why,” answered he, “the Lord Cobham and Tom Wyatt be up in Kent, and my Lord Warden of Dover, and many another, to resist the Queen’s marriage, and to remove certain councillors from her, which (as I take it) is another way of spelling Stephen Gardiner’s name: and my Lord of Suffolk, and his two brothers (John and Thomas Grey), are fled from Shene (on pretence of going to the Court), no man knows whither: and Rochester Bridge is taken of one set of rebels, and Exeter of them in Devon—”

“Alack the day!” cried Isoult, her Devon blood stirring.

“And five hundred harnessed men are called to take the field against Wyatt. We Pensioners go down to White Hall to guard the Queen.”

And Mr Underhill shut the door, and they saw no more of him.

There was some trouble. On the 30th of January, the old Duke of Norfolk and others marched against Sir Thomas Wyatt, but the same night they came back in disorder, flying over London Bridge with only a fourth part of their company. Mr Brent, the Lamb’s next neighbour, who was one of the little army, came home with his “coat turned, and all ruinated, and not a string to his bow.” They brought news that Wyatt was coming fast on Southwark.

On the 1st of February came the Queen herself to Guild Hall, her sceptre in her hand, which was a token of peace; and Bishop Gardiner attending her, which was a token of blood. She made an oration to the people, which she had learned without book; and when it was done,—“O how happy are we,” cried Bishop Gardiner, “to whom God hath given such a wise and learned Queen!” Which outcry Dr Thorpe said was “as good as proof that the Bishop himself writ the oration.”

Wyatt and his company entered Southwark on the eve of Quinquagesima Sunday, by four o’clock; and before five he had made a bulwark at the bridge-foot, and fortified himself; but the Queen’s men still held the bridge against him. The next morning, Mr Rose, with Mrs Rose and Thekla, came to the Lamb, read the service out of the Prayer Book, and preached: but they were afraid to sing. At nine o’clock on Tuesday morning Wyatt drew off his men, seeing that he could not take the bridge, and turned towards Kingston.

In the evening came in Mr Underhill, in armour, with his pole-axe in his hand, which he set down in a corner, and sat down and talked for an hour.

“So Wyatt is gone?” said Dr Thorpe.

“Gone about to strengthen himself,” answered Mr Underhill. “He is coming back, take my word for it. He said unto his soldiers that he would pay them the next time in Cheapside; and unto the men that held the bridge quoth he,—‘Twice have I knocked, and not been suffered to enter; if I knock the third time I will come in, by God’s grace!’”

“What did you at the Court?” said Dr Thorpe. “Is good watch kept?”

Mr Underhill laughed.

“Marry, I did nothing,” said he, “for I was not suffered. I put on mine harness, and went up into the Queen’s chamber of presence, where were all her women weeping and wringing their hands, like foolish fluttering birds, and crying they should all be destroyed that night. And then Mr Norris, the Queen’s chief usher, which was appointed to call the watch, read over the names from the book which Moore (the clerk of our check) gave him; but no sooner came he to my name than quoth he,—‘What! what doth he here?’—‘Sir,’ saith the clerk, ‘he is here ready to serve as the rest be.’—‘Nay!’ saith he, and sware a great oath, ‘that heretic shall not watch here! give me a pen.’ And so strake my name off the book. So Moore cometh to me, and ‘Mr Underhill,’ saith he, ‘you are not to watch; you may depart to your lodging.’—‘May I?’ said I; ‘I would be glad of that,’—thinking I had been favoured because I was not recovered of my sickness; but I did not well trust him, because he was also a Papist. ‘Marry, I depart indeed,’ said I; ‘will you be my discharge?’—‘I tell you true,’ said he, ‘Mr Norris hath stricken you out of the book, saying these words—That heretic shall not watch here: I tell you true what he said.’—‘Marry, I thank him,’ said I, ‘and you also; you could not do me a greater pleasure.’—‘Nay, burden not me withal,’ said he, ‘it is not my doing.’ So away went I, with my men and a link. And when I come to the Court gate, I fell in with Mr Clement Throgmorton (that was come post from Coventry to the Queen with tidings of the taking of the Duke of Suffolk) and George Ferris,—both my friends, and good Protestants. So away went we three to Ludgate, which was fast locked, for it was past eleven of the clock, and the watch set within, but none without. And lo’ you, for all our calling, and declaring of our names, and the like, would they not open the gate. Mr Throgmorton cried to them that he would go to his lodging within, and Mr Ferris said he was sent with weighty affairs to my Lord Will Howard within: but they did nought but laugh, and at long last said they had not the keys. ‘What shall I do?’ said Mr Throgmorton; ‘I am weary and faint, and I wax now cold. I am not acquainted hereabout, nor no man dare open his doors in this dangerous time, nor I am not able to go back again to the Court; I shall perish this night.’—‘Well,’ said I, ‘let us go to Newgate; I think I shall get in there.’—‘Tush!’ said he, ‘it is but in vain; we shall be answered there as we are here.’—‘Well,’ said I, ‘and the worst fall, I can lodge ye in Newgate: you know what acquaintance I have there, and the keeper’s door is without the gate.’—‘That were a bad shift!’ said he; ‘I had almost as lief die in the streets; yet I will rather wander again to the Court.’ Howbeit, I did persuade them to try at Newgate; and there found we my friend Newman to be constable of the watch, which saith, ‘Mr Underhill! what news, that you walk so late?’ So he let us through the gate with a good will, and at long last we reached each man to his lodging.”

At four o’clock on the morning of Ash Wednesday, London was awoke by drums beating all through the streets of the city. John and Robin rose hastily, and went out to ascertain the cause. They came in shortly, saying that the drums beat for all soldiers to arm and repair to Charing Cross, for that Wyatt was seeking to come in by Westminster, and had reached as far as Brentford. About one or two o’clock, Wyatt came, and marched past Charing Cross, without hindrance (except that as he passed Saint James’s the Earl of Pembroke fell upon his rear), and so marched along the Strand, and up Fleet Street, until he came before Ludgate. There they knocked to come in, falsely saying that the Queen had granted their request and pardoned them; but Lord William Howard was not to be thus deceived, as others had been on the way. His answer was a stern cry of “Avaunt, traitor! thou shalt not come in here.” For a little while Wyatt rested upon a seat at the Belle Sauvage gate; but at last, being weary of this pastime, he turned back on Charing Cross. When he reached Temple Bar the Queen’s horsemen met him, and the battle began. When he saw the fight going against him, Wyatt yielded. And so Sir Maurice Berkeley and others brought him and his chief captains to Court, and at five o’clock they were taken to the Tower by water. And as they passed in, Sir John Bridges, the Lieutenant, ungenerously upbraided the prisoner, saying that “if it were not that the law must justly pass upon him, he would strike him with his dagger.” To whom Wyatt answered, “with a grim and grievous look”—“It were no mastery now.” And so they passed on.

Thus was Wyatt’s rebellion quashed. The stars in their courses fought against him.

Note 1. In addition to his cruel persecution of the Gospellers, he had been a notorious libertine.

Note 2. Cott. Ms., Appendix, twenty-eight, folio 93, 94.—Miss Strickland says (Lives of the Queens, three, page 459), that this was Mary, wife of James Basset; but the Tallies Roll for 2-3 Philip et Mary distinctly names this lady as one of Queen Mary’s maids of honour, in recording the payment of her pension—“Anna Basset, virginis Reginae.”

Note 3. Harl. Ms. 425, folio 92, 93.

Note 4. Underhill is a Warwickshire family, but Anne Wynter, the mother of Edward Underhill, was a Worcestershire woman.

Note 5. Notes on this poem. See Harl. Ms. 424, folio 9. Plags means plagues. “Wealthe” means “personal interest.” “Wreche” means “wretch.” “Lake” means “lack.” “Wrake” means “wrack.”

Chapter Nine.

Who paid the Penalty.

“And make me die the thrall of Margaret’s curse—
Nor mother, wife, nor England’s counted Queen.”


Few hours had been tolled on the great clock of Saint Paul’s, or had rung across the water from the Tower guns, ere England knew what was the vengeance to be taken. Once more royal blood was shed upon Tower Hill; once more England stooped to commit murder at the dictation of a foreign power. The white dove was sacrificed.

About ten o’clock on the morning of the 12th of February, Lord Guilford Dudley was beheaded on Tower Hill. It is plain that he died a Protestant, seeing that no priest was present at his death. And like the fiends they were, his executioners brought him, both going to the scaffold, and his dead body in returning, past the windows of Partridge’s house, where his poor young wife had her lodging. They let her—that tender bird of seventeen short summers—from her chamber lattice see all the horror she could see, and feel all the agony she could feel; and then they brought her forth, to die also.

Calmly and quietly, as though she had been going to her forfeited throne, she came forth to her death. And she was going to her throne. For she was one of Christ’s martyrs, and sat upon His throne with Him.

She spoke very little on the scaffold; only saying that “though she had consented unto the setting up of herself against the Queen’s Highness, yet was she innocent of all procurement or desire thereof: and that she died a true Christian woman, looking for eternal life unto the passion of Jesus Christ only, and to none other; and she thanked God, that had given her space to repent; for when she was younger, and did know the word of God, she had neglected the same, and had loved her own self and the world.” And then she said to Dr Feckenham, “Shall I say this Psalm?”

Feckenham—a man of the Jesuitical type, renowned for the softness and sweetness of his manners—bowed assent. Then the victim prayed through the Fifty-first Psalm, and prepared herself for the sacrifice. The hangman knelt down and asked her forgiveness: she replied, “Most willingly,” and “I pray you, despatch me quickly. Will you take it off before I lay me down?” Poor child! The executioner was the one who dealt with her most gently and respectfully. He said, “No, Madam.” So she handed her gloves to one of her women, and her book to Sir John Bridges, and tied the handkerchief over her eyes. Feeling about with her hands for the block, she said,—“What shall I do? Where is it? Where is it?” One of the bystanders guided her hand to it. Then she laid down her head; and saying, “Lord, into Thy hands I commend my spirit!” her head fell with one stroke. She was out of Philip’s way now. And the angels of God, for whose company she exchanged a society somewhat less angelic, were not so likely to account her in their way.

A fearful day was that from dawn to dusk. Half an hour after the execution of Lady Jane, Lord Courtenay (but a few days before made Earl of Devon) was brought into the Tower; he would not declare the cause of his coming there, saying he could not tell; “but,” added he, “let the world judge.” All the evening the noise of hammers was going in the City, for the gallows were set up everywhere. There was one at every gate of the City, and at the bridge-foot one; four in Southwark, one at Leadenhall two in Cheapside, six or eight in Fleet Street and Charing Cross—nor were these all.

Throughout London all the prisons were so full that the less important prisoners were kept in the churches, by eighty in a group. Dr Thorpe said, “If they hang all the Queen’s subjects, there will be small fear of a new rebellion.” Men greeted each other fearfully, scarcely knowing if they should ever meet again. But the worst fears of all were awakened for the Archbishop, Bishop Ridley, and Mr Latimer, within the Tower, and for Mr Rose outside it. On the 15th of February, Isoult Avery wrote in her diary—

“In Southwark all this day were the gallows at work, till I am sick at heart for every sound I hear. The gallows at Aldgate, I thank God, cannot be seen from our windows, being hid by the gate. If it could, I scantly know what should come of us. I dare not go forth of the door, lest I meet some awful sight that I may not forget to my dying day.

“God Himself showeth His displeasure by fearful sights from Heaven. Two suns should this morrow be seen in the sky, and this even was a rainbow over London, turned the diverse way, the arch on the ground, and the points on high. I dare not think what shall come next, either on earth or in Heaven, unless Christ Himself (that scarce ever was more wanted) would rend the heavens and come down to save us. Yea, Amen, Lord Jesus, come Thou quickly!”

But no sign of the Son of Man flashed on that weary land. Not yet was accomplished the number of the elect; and until the last sheep was gathered into the fold, there could be no hastening of the kingdom.

The execution of Lady Jane’s father quickly followed her own. He died, as men of his stamp often do, better than he had lived. The “subjection to bondage from fear of death,” in which he had spent his trembling life, vanished before death came to him. Boldly and bravely this timid, shrinking soul stood forth at the last, telling all the world that he died in the faith of Christ, “trusting to be saved by His blood only, and by no other trumpery.” Strange words from one of the weakest men that ever lived!—yet it is the special characteristic of Christ’s strength that it is “made perfect in weakness.” It may be chiefly when His children come to die that they understand the full meaning of that passage, “He hath abolished death.” For our faith, as it has been said, is a religion of paradoxes. Strength, whose perfection lies in weakness,—life, which is founded upon a death—glory, which springs out of shame and suffering. When the Twelve heard that, to draw all men unto Him, the Master should be lifted up from the earth, it probably never dawned upon their minds that the scene of that exaltation was to be the cross. News that made men tremble came before the end of February. The Lady Elizabeth had been summoned to Court—was it for life or death?—and Bishop Bonner had issued a commission of inquiry concerning all in his diocese, with orders to present all persons who had failed to frequent auricular confession and the mass. Many fell away in this time of temptation—Sir William Cecil (afterwards Lord Burleigh) and his wife Mildred, amongst others. The Duchess of Suffolk held on her way unwavering. Annis Holland’s second letter, which had been delayed, reached Isoult Avery in the beginning of March.

“Unto my right entirely beloved friend, Mistress Avery, that dwelleth at the sign of the Lamb, in the Minories, next without Aldgate, beside London, be these delivered.

“My Very well beloved Isoult,—My most hearty and loving commendations remembered unto thee. Sithence my last writing have I made a most woeful discovery, the which I would almost I had not done. But thou shalt know the same.

“An even of late, I was alone in my chamber sewing, having sent Maria forth to buy certain gear I lacked. And being so alone, I began to sing lowly that hymn of Saint Bernard—‘Hic breve vivitur, hic breve plangitur,’ (Note 1) when of a sudden I was aroused from my singing by a sound like a groaning, and that very near. I hearkened, and heard it again. One was surely moaning in the next chamber. Thinking that one of the bower-women might be evil at ease and lack one to help her, I crept forth from my chamber, and, listening at the door of the next, heard plainly the moaning again. I laid mine hand on the latch, and entered.

“It was a large chamber, airy, but not light. All the windows were high up in the wall. There was a bed, divers chairs, and a table; and by the table sat a woman apparelled in black, her arms laid thereon, and her head upon them. Her face showed much pain. She lifted her head slowly as I came towards her, and then I saw that she had the face of a stranger. ‘Who is it?’ she said in a whispered voice. ‘My name, Señora, is Ines de Olanda,’ said I. ‘Meseemeth you lack ease. Could I in any wise bring it unto you?’ ‘Ay, I lack ease, muchacha’ (which is to say, maiden), quoth she. ‘I lack rest. But that lieth in—the grave.’ She spake slowly and uncertainly. ‘Whence comest thou?’ she said again. ‘Thy tone is not of these parts.’—‘Señora,’ said I, ‘I am a stranger from England.’—‘And how camest thou hither?’ quoth she. ‘As reader of English unto the Queen’s Highness,’ said I. ‘How much hast thou read unto the Queen?’ she asked, and smiled.

“Her smile lighted up her face marvellously. It was not a fair face. I misdoubt if it were ever such. Her hair is near white now; but though her complexion were good, and her eyes shining and dark grey, her features must have been alway something harsh and strong. ‘Nothing at all, Señora,’ then said I; ‘for it is now three months sithence my coming, and yet had I never the honour to see her Highness.’—‘Traitors!’ quoth she angrily; and her features grew harsher than ever. I stood in silence. ‘Thou art not a Lutheran?’ she said suddenly. ‘Methinks it should fare ill, Señora, with any that were so here,’ I made answer, desiring to be discreet. ‘Is that any answer to my question?’ she said, knitting her brows. ‘Señora,’ said I, trembling greatly, ‘I cannot tell a lie, even though you may betray me. I am a Lutheran.’—‘I betray thee!’ she said pitifully. ‘Poor child! whoso doth that, it will not be I. I am under the same ban.’—‘Señora!’ I cried, much astonied, ‘you are a Lutheran? here, in the Queen’s Palace.’—‘Doth that amaze thee?’ she answered with another smile. ‘Then a second thing I can tell thee will do so yet more:—I am the Queen.’

“I set myself upon my knees afore her Highness, so soon as my astonishment would give me leave. ‘They do not burn me,’ she said, in the slow uncertain way wherein she had spoken at first. ‘I think they scarce liked to do that. But I had suffered less; for then it had been over long ago. They say I am mad. And it doth seem sometimes as if somewhat in my head were lost,’ she saith, pressing her hands wearily upon her brow. ‘It was Doña Isabel, my mother. She used to give me the cuerda!’—‘Señora,’ I answered, ‘craving your Highness’ pardon, I, being a maid from strange parts, know not that word cuerda!’—‘Have they the thing in your land?’ answered the Queen heavily. ‘Did they try that on my poor sister, your Princess of Wales (Katherine of Aragon)? Ay de mi!’—‘I know not,’ said I, ‘under the gracious pleasure of your Highness, what the thing is.’—‘Look!’ she said, pointing with her thin, trembling hand.

“I looked whither she pointed, and in the further corner of the chamber I saw a frame of pulleys set in the ceiling. But it came not presently to my mind wherefore they were there. ‘They set those short sticks under my arms,’ the Queen said, speaking heavily as it were with sleep. ‘Then they jerk up the pulleys, and I have to go up with them. It hurts very much. I think I scream sometimes, and then he beats me for disturbing people. They alway do it at night. They say I need it, and I am mad. I marvel if they cure mad people so in England. And I think if they did it sometimes in the day, it would not disturb people so much. You see, I understand it not—at least they say so. But I fancy I understood better before the cuerda.’

“I was silent from very horror, as the fearful truth dawned slowly upon me. ‘Ay de mi!’ sighed the Queen again, leaving her head fall back upon her arms. ‘My father never used to do so. They say ’tis by his command. I marvel if they tell me the truth.’—‘Who dareth to do thus unto your Highness?’ I said at last. ‘Denia,’ she said, in the same dreamy fashion, ‘and them he bringeth with him. They want me to confess, and to hear mass. I think they make me go sometimes, when that thing in mine head is lost. But if I know it, I resist them.’

“Again she lifted her head, and her voice grew more resolute. ‘Muchacha, I have been here twenty-six years. All that time, in this chamber! They left me two of my children at the first. Then they took the Infant Don Fernando from me. And all my heart twined round my little maid,—my last-born, my Catalina! So they took her. I never knew why. I never did know wherefore they began at all, save for listening to some French friars that came to see me. And they told me very good things. God was good, they said, and loved me, and Jesus our Lord had taken away all my sins. And it was good to think so. So then they beat me, and set me in the cuerda; and they called me an heretic, and a Lutheran, and all the bad words they knew. I do not think the holy angels at the gates of Paradise will turn me away, nor call me an heretic, because I thought Jesus had taken away my sins. If this be Lutheranism, then I am a Lutheran—then I will be a Lutheran for ever! And those were good friars, that came from Paris. They say the Observants are the ones I should believe. The Queen Doña Isabel set Observants about me. But the Observants beat me, and put me in the cuerda; and the Good Men (Note 2)—the French friars—said Jesus our Lord loved me, and had taken away all my sins. That was the better Evangel of the two. That thing in my head goes wrong when they give me the cuerda. But when I can sit quiet like this, and they will let me alone a little while, I love to think of Jesus our Lord, and of His taking away all my sins. I know not wherefore I should be beaten for that. It is my head, thou seest.’

“Poor, poor lady! I felt great tears running down my face, and dropping on my gown as I knelt. ‘Ay Señora mia!’ I said, so well as I could falter it, ‘Jesus, our dear Lord, hath taken away all our sins that do believe in Him. He loveth your Highness, and if you will cling to Him, He will have you to dwell with Himself at the end of this life.’

“I felt I must use words easy to be received, for her understanding seemed gone, and like unto that of a little child. ‘Ay doncella mia!’ she sighed, ‘I shall be glad when the end of this life is come.’

“And she laid down her poor head so wearily. ‘When the Lord seeth good,’ I answered. ‘Sometimes,’ she said dreamily again, ‘I want so sorely to go forth. I long so much to breathe the sweet, cool air—to see the cork-trees and the olives. They never bring me so much as an orange flower. Then my head goes wrong, thou seest, when this longing cometh on me; and then—. And sometimes I feel sick, and cannot eat. Then they make me eat with the cuerda. I wish Jesus would make haste and help me. I used to understand it all better before I had the cuerda. But I had my husband then, and my children around me. Not one of them ever comes now; and there are six (Note 3). My husband is dead—I think he is; they say so (Note 4). I think they might have let one of them come, if only just to say “Mother” to me. I cannot understand it now; and it seems so long—so long! Ay de mi! if Jesus would come!’

“I could not utter another word ere Rosada brake in. ‘Ines!’ she cried in a loud whisper; ‘what do you here? Know you not, amiga, that the Lord Marquis will well-nigh kill you if he find you in this chamber? None of her Highness’ women are ever allowed to enter at will. Back, back, as fast as you can go!’

“Then, kneeling a moment, she said hastily, ‘Criada umilisima de Su Alteza!’ (‘The most humble servant of her Highness.’) and arising, pushed me forth of the chamber, and into mine own, almost before I knew what she had said or done. Five minutes later, my Lord of Denia his steps sounded in the corridor. ‘Thank the holy Virgin and all the saints!’ cried Rosada under her breath. ‘Amiga, you know not that man. He would not hesitate one minute to stab you if he found you there, and fancied any cause of suspicion against you. ’Tis forbidden ground—Maria sin pecado (without sin)! How came you in such peril? I knew her never before left alone even a moment.’—‘I did but hear her Highness moaning,’ I said bewilderedly, ‘and was moved to go to her.’—‘The Devil must have moved you!’ she saith breathlessly. ‘I think rather,’ I answered, ‘saving your presence, Rosada, and not intending you, it was the Devil pushed me forth hither.’—‘You mean my Lord Marquis?’ quoth she, taking me rightly. ‘The saints pardon her Highness! You know she is quite out of her mind. She saith all manner of evil of him.’

“I thought it better, perchance, to make no answer. But into my mind came a remembrance touching a way wherein the fools should not err; and I thought she should maybe come in at the gates of Heaven afore either Rosada or I.

“O Isoult! I would I were forth of this horrible country! It is peopled with devils. Leonor is not one, methinks; nor assuredly is Rosada, neither this my poor sely maiden Maria; but I should find it hard to write a fourth within this palace.

“I may not make my letter much longer. Prithee tell me some news of England, if any be; and shouldst thou hear ought of my gracious mistress (the Duchess of Suffolk), I would like much to know it.

“I do well-nigh wish I had not gone into that chamber! and yet, if I have in any wise comforted her, it is well. It hath maybe done her some little good to pour forth her sorrows to me for a minute. But now I never awake of a night but I listen for those fearful screams. I thank God, I have not heard them again as yet. Methinks her gossips did blunder in naming her Juana; they should have called her Dolores (sorrows).

“I pray thee, make mine hearty commendations to Mr Avery and all other that I know; and kiss thy little Kate for me. And so I commend thee to the tuition of God. From Tordesillas, this fourteenth of August.—Thine own assuredly,—

“Annis Holland.”

When we look back over the way which the Lord has led us these forty years in the wilderness, we sometimes find in retrospect the Marahs no sadder than the Elims. Nay, there are times when the Elims are the sadder.

    “A sorrow’s crown of sorrow
Is, remembering happier things.”

There was much sorrow of that class for the Gospellers at this time. Ease and liberty had gone already: they were followed by the cruel agony of parting. Within fourteen days of the 25th of February, every married priest in the diocese of London was commanded to be deprived and divorced. The first would have been a sufficiently bitter draught, without the added desolation of the second. On the table before Isoult Avery lay a sheet of paper, containing a few lines of uneven writing. They were blotted with tears, and were signed “Marguerite Rose.” Their purport was to ask for shelter at the Lamb, for a few weeks, until she could see her way more clearly. Thekla herself brought her mother’s letter. There were no tears from her, only her face was white, and worn, and weary.

“And you have not wept, Thekla?” said Isoult.

“There are tears enough elsewhere,” she said, and shook her head. “I cannot weep. It would ease me, perhaps, if I could.”

“These fiends of men!” cried Dr Thorpe, who was not renowned for weighing his words carefully when he was indignant. “Is it because they cannot drive nor persuade us into the sin and unbelief of Hell, that they be determined we shall lose none of the torment of it, so far as lieth in their hand to give us? Shall God see all this, and not move? Have they banished Him out of the realm, with other strangers?”

“Bitter words, Dr Thorpe!” answered Robin, softly. “‘Shall God cast away His people, whom He foreknew?’ From them that are lights in the world, shall He who is the Light of the World depart? Nay, ‘when we pass through the waters He will be with us.’”

“They are dark waters for some of us,” whispered Thekla under her voice.

“But not fathomless, dear Thekla,” replied Robin. “There are footsteps before us, though we may not see them; and at the dreariest, there is God above us.”

“I hope so,” responded Dr Thorpe. “I am afeard, Robin, thou shalt say I am an unbeliever and a fool; but it doth look mainly as if He had fallen asleep, and the Devil had stole the reins of the world out of His hands.”

“Not an unbeliever,” said Robin, in his gentle manner; “only a believer in the dark. ‘Lord, carest Thou not that we perish?’ They were not unbelievers that said that. But you well know the answer—‘How is it that ye have no faith?’”

“’Tis main hard to get hold of it, lad!” said Dr Thorpe, more quietly, but with some choking in his voice.

“’Tis harder to do without it,” answered Robin.

Dr Thorpe never twitted Robin with his youth now. On the contrary, he seemed to respect him, as one who with few years had amassed much wisdom.

There was only one unpleasant element in the grant of a refuge to Mrs Rose. It would lock the doors of the Lamb on the beloved pastor. Where she was, he must come no more. The chief element of comfort was Thekla. She could have free access to both her parents, so long as they remained at liberty; and Mr Rose might yet be heard to preach in the houses of other Gospellers.

“Isoult,” said Dr Thorpe, coming in, a few days after this woeful letter had been received and answered, “for all the late ’headings, there be fools left in the realm.”

“Troth,” said she, laughing, “I never cast doubt else.”

“Why,” pursued he, “if they hang up all the wise men, what else shall be left? But list the marvellous news. Yesterday, a parcel of lads did gather in a field by Saint James, for to have a game of childre’s play.”

“Is that such news?” said John.

“Hold thy peace till I have made an end,” said Dr Thorpe. “These childre in their playing (as childre will) did elect to follow their fathers in their late diversion; and one half of them should be the Queen’s men, and the other half Wyatt’s men. And so rough was their play, that the lad which stood for the Prince of Spain was caught of Wyatt’s side, and half strangled of them. But in the midst thereof, ere he were full hanged, come the watch, and took all the young rebels into custody, as well the one side as the other.”

“I take it they boxed their ears and let them go,” said John.

“Do you so?” answered Dr Thorpe. “Not by no manner of means, worthy Sir; but this day are the great and mighty rebels on their trial afore the Queen’s Council, and the statesmen of this realm do sit in sad debate what shall be done with them. I had counted that the lad which was half hanged should have been enough punished for his state crimes; but maybe they think not so, but shall hang him out. But saw you a copy of the Queen’s Majesty’s ordinances?”

“Nay,” replied John. “What be they?”

“It were well to know them,” he answered. “These be they:—

“First, all the statutes of King Henry touching religion shall be put in force. No Sacramentary shall be admitted to any benefice; all married priests shall be deprived, but more lenity shall be shown to them whose wives be dead (to wit, I take it, they shall not be divorced from their dead wives). If they shall part by consent, and shall promise to commit the crime of matrimony no further, they may be admitted again, at discretion of the Bishop, but in no case to the same benefice. No religious man shall be suffered to wed. Processions, Latin service, holy days, fasts, and all laudable and honest ceremonies, shall be observed. Homilies shall be set forth. Men shall go to their parish church only. Suspected schoolmasters shall be put forth, and Catholic men put instead. And lastly, touching such persons as were heretofore promoted to any orders, after the new fashion (hark to this, Robin!) considering they were not ordained in very deed, the Bishop of the diocese, finding otherwise sufficiency and ability in these men, may supply that thing which wanted in them before, and thus according to his discretion permit them to minister.”

“Now here is a knot to untie: how say you concerning the divorce of such men, not again ordained of the Bishops? If they be not priests, then they need not to be divorced: or, if they be divorced, then are they priests.”

“Friend,” said John, “there is no better man in this world than Dr Gardiner for getting round a corner; and where he may not come round the corner, he hath Alisaunder’s sword, to cut the knot with no more ado.”

The blow fell at last, and the home in Leadenhall Street was broken up. Mr Rose himself brought his wife and daughter to the Lamb on the evening of the 10th of March, which was the last allowed for all married priests to separate from their wives. Doubtless the parting was very painful; but it passed in private, and the Averys too much reverenced his sorrow to suffer him to depart otherwise than in silence. Only John walked with him to his desolate home, and he told Isoult that not a word was spoken by either, but the clasp of Mr Rose’s hand at parting was not to be lightly forgotten.

The lads who had mimicked the rebellion were whipped and imprisoned for three days, and then released, by the Queen’s own command. On the 12th of March, the Archbishop, Dr Ridley, and Mr Latimer, set out for Oxford, where they were—ostensibly, to maintain their theories in a public disputation; really, to be martyred. Dr Hooper went part of the way with them. He was going to Gloucester—to the same end. For a week, Thekla flitted backwards and forwards between her parents; generally spending her mornings with her father, and the evenings with her mother. Robin constituted himself her guard in all her journeyings.

Sunday was the day after his bereavement, and Mr Rose was silent; but the following Sunday he preached at Mr Holland’s house, where the Gospellers gathered to hear him. Thekla remained with her mother; she would not leave her alone with her sorrowful thoughts. It was a rainy morning, but in the days before umbrellas were invented, rain was less thought of than it has been since. John Avery and his wife, Dr Thorpe, Esther, and Robin, set forth, despite the rain. Before they had gone many yards, they overtook a crowd of people, all running riverwards; and Isoult, looking towards the water, fancied that she could see the standard of the royal barge.

“Whither away?” asked John of some of the crowd.

But no answer was vouchsafed, except a cry of “The Tower!” till suddenly Mr Underhill hove in sight, and was questioned at once.

“What, know you not what all London knoweth?” said he; “that the Lady Elizabeth’s Grace is this morrow a prisoner of the Tower? ’Tis very true, I warrant you: would it were less! This moment is the Queen’s barge at hand with her. Will you see?”

“Have with you,” said Dr Thorpe, who never missed a sight, if he could possibly help it.

The rest went on. Mr Rose looked older, they thought, and more worn than was his wont; but his voice was as gentle and his smile as sweet as ever. He came to them as soon as they came in, and wanted to know all they could tell him of Mrs Rose and Thekla, though his eyes asked rather than his lips; yet his first words were a query why Thekla was not with them. His sermon was on three words of David, “He shall live.” And first he showed that David spoke this of Christ, by prophecy: and then divided his subject into three heads—“He hath lived,” “He doth live,” “He shall live.” And under the first head, he pointed out how from all eternity Christ had lived with the Father, and was His delight, rejoicing alway before Him; and how then He had lived a little babe and a weary man upon this earth defiled with sin, amidst a people who knew Him not, and would not receive Him. Then coming to the next part, “He doth live,” he showed what he now does, standing before the throne of God, within the true veil and beside the better mercy-seat, presenting in Himself every one of His people, and pleading every moment for them. And lastly, “He shall live.” He shall come again; He shall reign over the earth; He shall live for ever. And “because He liveth, we shall live also.” If He could die again, then might we. But He dieth no more, having died once for us; and we that believe in Him, He having died in our stead, can never die the second death. He hath abolished death, as well for His Church as for Himself: He that is the Living One for evermore holdeth the keys of Hell and of death. And for this cause, even the natural death, not one can suffer except by His permission. Mr Rose bade his hearers not to fall into the blunder that evil men held their lives in their hands. “Christ hath the keys, not they. If they be suffered to take our lives away, it is because we have ended our work, and He calleth us home to Him. And what child ever went home from school that went not gladly, except indeed he had an ill home? Let us not bring up an evil report of that good Land, by unwillingness to go Home.” Coming back, they found Dr Thorpe returned, and talking with Thekla.

“She is the manliest woman ever I saw in all my life!” cried he.

Thekla made no answer, except a smile; but it disappeared as soon as she saw her friends, and coming forward, she began to talk in a low tone with Robin.

“There is small praise for somebody,” said John. “Who is it—my Lady Elizabeth’s Grace?”

“Even so,” replied Dr Thorpe.

“Well, and how went the matter?” said he.

“Why,” he answered, “they took her in at the drawbridge by the Traitor’s Gate. And, the barge arrived there, my Lord Treasurer sent my Lord of Sussex to desire her Grace to land. ‘Nay, that will I not,’ quo’ she. Nor could she, in very deed, unless she had gone into the water over her shoe. My Lord of Sussex then went back from her to my Lord Treasurer, and brought word that she would not come. Then said my Lord Treasurer roughly, ‘She shall not choose.’ And all this while sat she in the rain. So my Lord Treasurer stepped forward and did proffer his cloak for her to tread on. Then up rose my Lady Elizabeth, and put back my Lord Treasurer’s cloak with her hand, with a good dash. And setting her foot upon the stair, she saith stoutly, ‘Here landeth the truest subject, being a prisoner, that ever landed at these stairs.’ To whom my Lord Treasurer—‘So much the better for you, Madam.’ So in went she, as manly as ever did man; and Sir John Gage shut up the gates upon her. She hath the stoutest stomach ever I saw. If all the men were hanged through England, there should be yet one left in her.”

On Good Friday the Marquis of Northampton was released from the Tower. Dr Thorpe said, the Queen “played at see-saw with my Lord of Northampton, for he is in the Tower this day and out the next, and so over again.” In the afternoon of Easter Sunday, Esther and Mrs Rose went out together. When they returned, Mrs Rose went up quickly to her own chamber; and Esther drew her mistress aside.

“Why, Esther, what is the matter?” said Isoult.

“Methinks I had better tell you,” replied she. “I would I could have helped it; yet the Blessed saw not good. As we came back through Poules, there was set up on a board a long list of all the priests in this diocese which have been divorced from their wives by decree of my Lord of London; and them that had parted by consent were set by themselves. And in this list—”

“Good lack!” cried Isoult. “Saw you Mr Rose’s name?”

She saw it,” said Esther in a low voice, “though I did essay to turn her away therefrom by bidding her to observe the fair carving on the other side the way; but it was to no good. She caught the two names—‘Thomas Rose’ and ‘Margaret Van der Velde.’ And she brake forth when she saw them. I thank the All Merciful we two were alone in the cloister.”

“But what said she?”

“‘Margaret Van der Velde!’ she cried. ‘I am not Margaret Van der Velde! I am Marguerite Rose. I have borne his name for two and twenty years, and shall I cast it off now at the Bishop of London’s bidding? No, not if he were the Pope and the whole College of Cardinals!’ Then she fell into French and Spanish mixed together. And ‘Parted by consent!’ quoth she. ‘Ay Dios! que veut-on dire? what consent is there? They thrust us asunder with halberds, and then say we have parted by consent! God! art Thou in Heaven, and dost Thou see all this?’ she cried.”

“Poor soul! And what saidst thou, Esther?”

“I said little, only essayed to draw her away and to comfort her. It is hard work to bear such things, I know. But I think we be too apt to seek to be our King’s kings—to bring down the Holy One that inhabiteth eternity to the measure of our poor knowledge. ’Tis not alway when we think Israel at the lowest that Othniel is raised up to judge us. He will come at the right time, and in time to save us; but very often that is not the time we would choose.”

Poor Mrs Rose! Isoult could scarcely wonder at her words of indignation. But she had not seen nor borne the worst yet.

“Isoult!” said Dr Thorpe, coming in on the 8th of April, “there is a jolly sight in the Chepe. I take it, a piece of some Lutheran’s or Gospeller’s work, whose wit and zeal be on the thither side of his discretion. On the gallows in Cheapside is a cat hanged, arrayed in vestments, all proper, her head shaven, and her forefeet tied over her head with a round of paper betwixt them for a wafer. What say you to that for a new thing?”

“Poor cat!” said Robin; yet he laughed.

“Nay, I know not that they killed the cat o’ purpose,” said Dr Thorpe. “They may have taken a dead one.”

“But what say the folk thereto?” asked Isoult.

“Some laugh,” he answered, “and some rail, and some look mighty solemn. Underhill was jolly pleased therewith; it served his turn rightly. I met him on my way home, and he asked me first thing if I had seen Sir Cat.”

“I warrant you,” said John, “’tis a piece of his work, or else of George Ferris. Mind you not how he told us the tale of his (Underhill) stealing the copper pix from the altar at Stratford on the Bow? I will be bound one of those merry twain hath done it.”

“Little unlike,” said Dr Thorpe.

Proclamation was made of a reward of twenty nobles, increased afterward to twenty marks, to find the irreverent hanger up of the cat, but in vain. It was never discovered who did it. On Cantate Sunday—April 22—Mr Rose preached at Mr Sheerson’s house in Bow Churchyard. John and Isoult were there, with Esther, Thekla, and Robin. After service (for they were late, and it was beginning when they entered), Mr Rose came to them, and, after a few minutes’ conversation, asked if they had heard the news from Oxford.

“Nay,” said John, “is there so?”

“The sorest we might well have,” he answered. “My Lord Archbishop, Dr Ridley, and Mr Latimer, be all three cast for death.”

Such a cry broke from Isoult, that some turned to look at her, and Mrs Holland came up and asked if she was ill, or what was the matter.

“Are you assured thereof?” asked John.

“With little question,” answered he, “seeing Augustine Bernher came unto me with the news, and is lodged with me: who was himself present at the sentencing and all the whole disputation.”

“If Austin brought it, it is true,” said John, sorrowfully.

“But they will never burn Mr Latimer,” cried Isoult in anguish. “An aged man such as he is, that must die in a few years at the furthest!”

“And my Lord Archbishop, that is chiefest subject of the whole realm!” said John.

“There is an other before him now,” answered Mr Rose. “The chiefest subject of the realm is Cardinal Pole, that is looked for nigh every week.”

Austin Bernher, who had been talking with Mr Holland, now came up, and John begged him to tell them particulars of the trial.

“It was a right morris-dance,” said he, “all the examination. Mr Prolocutor Weston disputed with the beer-pot at his elbow, and forgot not his devoirs thereto in the course thereof. And (whether the said pot were in fault, I will not say, but) at opening he made a sorry blunder, for he said that the Court was called ‘to dispute the detestable heresy of the verity of the body of Christ in the Sacrament.’ There was much laughter in the Court thereupon. It was in the choir of Saint Mary the Virgin they held Court, and my Lord Archbishop was first examined. He denied all propositions advanced unto him, and spake very modestly, wittily (cleverly), and learnedly. So at the end of the day he was sent back to Bocardo, where they held him confined. Then the next day they had in Dr Ridley, who showed sharp, witty, and very earnest; and denied that (being Bishop of Rochester) he had ever preached in favour of transubstantiation. At one point, the people hissing at an answer he had given, Dr Ridley turned him around unto them, and—‘O my masters!’ saith he, ‘I take this for no judgment. I will stand to God’s judgment.’ The day thereafter called they up my master (Latimer); who, on his entering, escaped no hissings nor scornful laughter. He came in from the bailiff’s house, where he was lodged, having a kerchief and three or four caps on his head for the fear of cold, his staff in his hand, and his spectacles hanging at his breast by a string (Note 5). He earnestly desired to be allowed a seat, and also to speak in English; for (quoth he) ‘I am out of use with the Latin, and almost as meet to dispute as to be a captain of Calais.’ Moreover, he said his memory was weakened, and he very faint. Then they asked him if he would allow the verity of the body of Christ to be in the Sacrament. Quoth he, ‘I have read over the New Testament seven times, and yet could I never find the mass in it, neither the marrow-bones nor sinews of the same.’ You know his merry fashion. Then they asked him how long he had been of that opinion; and he said he had not been so long; that time had been when he said mass devoutly, for the which he craved God’s mercy now; and he had not been of this mind above seven years. Then they charged him that he was a Lutheran. ‘Nay,’ said he, ‘I was a Papist; for I never could perceive how Luther could defend his opinion, without transubstantiation.’ And they desired he should reason touching Luther’s opinion. ‘I do not take in hand to defend Luther’s sayings or doings,’ quoth my master. ‘If he were here, he would defend himself well enough.’ And so went they forward, my master answering readily, but calmly: yet he warmed up high enough once, when one spake of the priest offering of Christ. Quoth he, with some of the ancient fire that was wont to be in him, ‘He is too precious a thing for us to offer; He offereth Himself.’ Well, after his examination was over (and they took two days to it) Master Harpsfield disputed with my Lord Archbishop for his doctor’s gown. And the day thereafter (which was Friday) were they all three brought forth to be judged. Then were Dr Ridley and my master asked if they would turn; but they both answered, ‘Nay; I will stand to that I have said.’ So then sentence of burning was passed upon all of them for heresy. Then said my Lord Archbishop,—‘From your judgment and sentence I appeal to the just judgment of God Almighty; trusting to be present with Him in Heaven, for whose presence in the altar I am thus condemned.’ Dr Ridley’s answer was—‘Although I be not of your company, yet doubt I not but my name is written in an other place, whither this sentence shall send us sooner than we should by the course of nature have come.’ And quoth my master—‘I thank God most heartily that He hath prolonged my life to this end, that I may in this case glorify God by this kind of death.’ So they carried them away, each to his old lodging. And yester-morn, but an hour before I set out, there was mass, and procession down the High Street to Saint Mary’s. They caused my Lord to behold it from Bocardo, and Dr Ridley from the Sheriff’s house; but not going by the bailiff’s house, they fetched my master to see it. Who thought he was going to his burning, and saith unto the catchpole, ‘My master, I pray you, make a quick fire.’ But when he came to Carfax, lo, there came the procession in sight, Dr Weston carrying the host, and four other doctors supporting the canopy over him and his bread-god. Which no sooner had my master seen than he gathered up his heels, and away he ran, as fast as ever his old bones could carry him, into one Spencer’s shop, and would not so much as look toward it. And incontinent after that came I thence; so that I cannot tell any more.”

From May to July there was a respite in some respects. Were they waiting for Philip?

The Princess Elizabeth was released from the Tower, and sent to Richmond; Mr Bertie, summoned before Gardiner in Lent, took advantage of the temporary cessation of the persecution in the summer, and escaped to Germany. The gallows set up for Wyatt’s followers were taken down; the cross in Cheapside was regilded; and bonfires, bell-ringing, and Te Deums, were commanded throughout London, as soon as the news of Philip’s landing should be received.

“I marvel,” observed Mr Rose, one Sunday, “if we should not do better to sing Miserere mei, Deus.”

Philip came at last—too soon at any time—landing at Hampton on the 20th of July. He and the Queen were married in the Lady Chapel of Winchester Cathedral on the 25th, Mr Underhill being present, and receiving a venison pasty as his share of the spoil; and on the 19th of August, London went forth to welcome its new King. Dr Thorpe, of course, put on clean ruffles and trudged off to see the sight; so did John and Robin, though they contented themselves with strolling down to the riverside to watch the barge pass. Isoult declined, as she said, “to go see one of whom she feared so much.” John asked Mrs Rose and Thekla if they wished to go.

“What! to see the Prince of the Asturias?” (Note 6) cried Mrs Rose. “Think you we have seen too little of him in Flanders? I would as soon to see Satan.”

Thekla smiled and shook her head; and that was her answer. So when the three returned, they were desired to say, “what like were the King.”

“Not so high as Kate, nor any thing like so well favoured,” growled Dr Thorpe.

“Softly! softly!” said John, smiling.

“Call him a king!” said Dr Thorpe, who appeared somewhat put out. “On my word, I have seen many a mason and carpenter a deal fairer men, and vastly taller fellows of their hands. He should be ’shamed to be a king, and so slender and pitiful a fellow.”

Isoult could not help laughing, and so did Thekla.

“Now give us thine opinion, Jack,” said his wife.

“Well,” replied he, “methinks his Highness is somewhat taller than Kate; but truly he is under the common height of men. His limbs be well made and lithe, and his person of fair proportions. His hair is somewhat too deep to call it yellow, yet fair; his eyes grey, with a weak look thereabout, as though he might not bear overmuch light; his brow not ill-made for wit, yet drawing backward; his lips large, very red, and thick like all of his house (Note 7). He hath a fair beard and mustachio, and his complexion is fair, yet not clear, but rather of a Cain-colour.” (Note 8).

“Ah, the lip of the House of Austria—how well I know it! It maketh me to shudder to hear you,” said Mrs Rose. “Yet if his complexion be Cain-colour, he is changed from what he was. In his young years was it very fair and clear,—as fair as Walter.”

“He is mighty unlike Walter now,” said Dr Thorpe.

“And what is thy view, Robin?”

“I have not to add to what Father hath said,” replied he, “saving that I thought there was a gloomy and careworn look upon the King’s face. He is stately and majestical of his carriage; but his nether part of his face cometh forward in a fashion rather strong than seemly. It struck me he should be a man not easily turned from his purpose.”

Mr Underhill presented himself in the evening.

“Well,” said he, “saw you our goodly King Philip?”

“Nay,” said Dr Thorpe, “I saw a mighty ill-favoured.”

Mr Underhill laughed. “Verily,” said he, “I would be bond that I could match him for beauty with any the first man I should meet withal in the City. There were two swords carried afore him—”

“Ay,” said Dr Thorpe, “to cut off all heads withal that be left yet unmown.”

“I fear so much,” answered Mr Underhill, more gravely than was his wont. “Were you forth this even?”

“No,” said John; “we have all sat at home sithence my home-coming.”

“In the streets to-night,” said he, “I count I have met four Spaniards for every Englishman. If the King bring all Spain over hither, we shall be sweetly off. As I was coming hither, I protest unto you, I heard more Spanish talked than mine own tongue. I trust some of you have that tongue, or you shall find you in a foreign country—yea, even in the heart of London.”

“I have it,” said John, “and so hath Mrs Rose; but methinks we stand alone.”

“No, Mr Avery, you do not so,” quietly said Esther. (Note 9).

“Marry, I never learned any tongue save mine own, nor never repented thereof,” answered Dr Thorpe; “saving, of course, so much Latin as a physician must needs pick up withal. I count I could bray like a jackass an’ I tried, and that were good enough for any strange-born companion as ever cumbered the soil of merry England.”

Mr Underhill laughed, as did John and Robin.

“Dr Thorpe, you are exceedingly courteous, and I thank you heartily,” said Mrs Rose, smiling almost for the first time.

“Body o’ me! what is a man to do when he falleth into the ditch o’ this manner?” said he, with a comical look. “Mrs Rose, I am an ass by nature, and shall find little hardship in braying. I do beseech you of pardon, for that I meant not to offend you; and in very deed, I scarce ever do remember that you are not my countrywoman. You are good enough for an English woman, and I would you were—There! I am about to make yet again a fool of myself. Heed not, I pray you, an old man in his dotage.”

“My good friend, say not one other word,” answered Mrs Rose, kindly. “I do feel most delighted that you should say I am good enough for an English woman. I can see that is very much from you.”

Spaniards were everywhere. England had become a nation of Spaniards in her streets, as she was a province of Spain in her government. And Englishmen knew that Spain, like Rome, whose true daughter she was, never unloosed her hand from any thing she had once grasped. Isoult begged her husband to teach her Spanish; but Kate desired to know why they were all come.

“Is there no meat ne drink in their country, that they come to eat up ours?” she asked in her simplicity.

Her mother told her “they were come to wait on the King, which was a gentleman of their nation.”

“But wherefore so?” said she. “Could the Queen not marry an Englishman, that could have talked English? I am sure our Robin is good enough for any Queen that ever carried a crown on her head.”

A view of the subject which so greatly tickled Robin that he could not speak for laughing. He was, and always had been, very fond of Kate, and she of him.

A fresh rumour now ran that five thousand more Spaniards would shortly be brought over; and some of them preferred to the vacated benefices and sees.

On the 30th of September, Gardiner preached at the Cross, the Bishop of London bearing his crosier before him. All the Council were present who were then at Court. He spoke much of charity, which is commonly lauded by false teachers; and said that “great heresy had heretofore been preachen at that place, by preachers in King Edward’s time, which did preach no thing but voluptuousness and blasphemous lies.” Then he touched upon the Pharisees, who stood, said he, “for such men as will reason and dispute in the stead of obeying.” And lastly, he spoke of the King; praised his dominion and riches, and “willed all so obediently to order them that he might still tarry with them.”

“Well!” said Dr Thorpe, “I count I shall not need to order me for so long time as King Philip is like to tarry with us: but afore I do go on my marrow-bones to beg him tarry, I would fain know somewhat more of what he is like to do for us.”

Our friends at the Lamb were fearfully employed on the 5th of October. For during the previous fortnight there had been so severe a search for Lutheran books, and nearly sixty persons arrested who were found to possess them, that John determined to hide all his in a secret place: one that, he said, “with God’s grace these bloodhounds shall not lightly find, yet easy of access unto them that do know the way.” So he buried all the books at which offence could be taken, leaving only his own law-books, and Isoult’s “Romaunts” that she had when a girl, and Dr Thorpe’s “Game of the Chess,” and Robin’s “Song of the Lady Bessy,” and the “Little Gest of Robin Hood,” and similar works.

In the evening came Mr Underhill, whom they told what had been their occupation.

“Why,” said he, “but yesterday was I at the very same business. I sent for old Henry Daunce, the bricklayer of White Chapel (who used to preach the gospel in his garden every holiday, where I have seen a thousand persons), and got him to enclose my books in a brick wall by the chimney side in my chamber, where they shall be preserved from moulding or mice. Mine old enemies, the Papistical spies, John a Vales and Beard, have been threatening me; but I sent them a message by means of Master Luke, the physician of Coleman Street, to let them know that if they did attempt to take me, except they had a warrant signed with four or five of the Council’s hands, I would go further with them than Peter did, who strake off but the ear of Malchus, but I would surely strike off head and all.”

After which message Mr John Vales and Mr Beard never meddled further with the Hot Gospeller, doubtless knowing they might trust him to keep his word, and having no desire to risk their necks.

On the 3rd of November (see note in Appendix) was born Mr Underhill’s son Edward, at his house in Wood Street. This being no time to search for sponsors of rank, John Avery stood for the child, at the father’s request, with Mr Ive, and Mrs Elizabeth Lydiatt, Mr Underhill’s sister, who was staying with him at that time. And only a week later they were all at another christening, of Mr Holland’s child, baptised by Mr Rose; and the sponsors were Lord Strange, his kinsman (by deputy), Mr Underhill, and Thekla; the child was named after Lord Strange, Henry. (The sex and name of Roger Holland’s child are not recorded.) The all, however, did not include Mrs Rose; for she knew too well, poor soul! the dread penalty that would ensue if her husband “were taken in her company.”

The year ended better than the Gospellers feared. No harm had come to the Archbishop and his brother prisoners. Mr Underhill and Mr Rose were still at liberty. Cardinal Pole had returned to the fatherland whence he had been banished for many years; but from him they hardly looked for evil. The Princess Elizabeth was restored to favour. Roger Holland had left London for his own home in Lancashire, to prevent his child from being re-baptised after the Roman fashion. He meant to leave it with his father, and return himself to London. In the Gospellers’ houses, Mr Rose was still preaching: he was to administer the Sacrament on the night of New Year’s Day, at Mr Sheerson’s house in Bow Churchyard. And Philip had been King five months. Surely, the cloud had a silver lining! surely, they had feared more than there was need! So argued the more sanguine of the party. But it was only the dusk which hid the black clouds that had gathered; only the roar of men’s work which drowned the growl of the imminent storm. They were entering—though they knew it not—on the darkest hour of the night.

Note 1.

“Brief life is here our portion,
    Brief sorrow, short-lived care;
The life that knows no ending,
    The tearless life is There.”

Neale’s Translation.

Note 2. Boni-Homines—translated into various languages,—was the ancient title of the Waldensian Church and its offshoots.

Note 3. The best of them, and the only Lutheran—Isabel Queen of Denmark—died in 1525; but of course the imprisoned mother never knew it.

Note 4. The letters yet extant in the archives of Simancas, from Denia and others, give rise to strong suspicion that the story which the world has believed so long—Juana’s insane determination not to bury the coffin of her husband—was a pure invention of their own, intended to produce (as it has produced) a general belief in the insanity of the Queen.

Note 5. This sketch in words, given by Foxe, is one of the most graphic descriptions ever written.

Note 6. King Juan the Second of Castilla conferred this title on his heir in 1389, in imitation of that of the Prince of Wales, which he greatly admired.

Note 7. This well-known feature came into the House of Austria with the Massovian Princess Cimburgha, a strong-minded woman, who used to hammer the nails which confined her fruit-trees to the garden wall with her knuckles. She was the wife of Duke Ernest the Iron-handed, and apparently might have shared his epithet.

Note 8. In working the tapestry so much in vogue during the Middle Ages, certain persons were indicated by hair or complexion of a particular tint. To Cain was given a sallow complexion, not unlike Naples yellow, which was therefore known as Cain-colour; and Judas Iscariot being always represented with red hair, this came to be called Judas-colour.

Note 9. The English Jews, being Sephardim, spoke Spanish mostly among themselves at this time.

Chapter Ten.

The Darkest Hour of the Night.

“I falter where I firmly trod;
And falling with my weight of cares
Upon the world’s great altar-stairs
That slope through darkness up to God,
I stretch lame hands of faith.”


Twenty-two hours of the year 1555 had passed away. John Avery, Robin, and Esther had gone to the service held in Mr Sheerson’s house. The children had been put to bed before they went; Thekla was up-stairs with her mother, who had begged her to remain at home. Mrs Rose could give no reason for her request, except that she felt low and nervous, and had a fancy or a foreboding, which it might be, that it would be better for Thekla to absent herself. Dr Thorpe and Isoult sat alone in the little chamber of the Lamb. It was past ten o’clock—in the middle of the night, to their apprehension—but there could be no going to bed until they knew of the safety of the absent ones. At last, half-an-hour at least after they had expected it, John Avery’s hand was heard on the latch. He came in alone.

“Thou art very late, Jack,” said Isoult, when he entered. “Where leftest Robin and Esther?”

John, who had turned his back as soon as he came in, was very busy hanging up his cloak, which Isoult thought took longer than his wont. At last John came forward to the fire, and then his wife saw the look on his face, and knew that some terrible thing had happened.

“Dear heart,” he said, huskily, “the Lord doth all things well.”

“A sure sign,” murmured Dr Thorpe, “that something hath gone ill, when a man shall say that at his first home-coming. What is it, Jack? Hath Robin brake his leg in the frost?”

Suddenly the dread truth rushed on Isoult.

“O Jack, Jack! is Mr Rose taken?” she cried in terror.

John pointed above, where were two who must not hear that awful news unprepared.

“Mr Rose, and all his hearers saving two.”

“The good Lord have mercy upon them!”

So Dr Thorpe; but Isoult was silent. Tears would not come yet. “Who were the two, Jack? Is it Robin or Esther they have taken?” pursued Dr Thorpe, with his brows knit. “Both,” said he, shortly.

It was strange: but for the first moment Isoult had not remembered either Esther or Robin. Two thoughts alone were present to her; that Mr Rose was taken, and that John was safe. Now the full sorrow broke on her.

“O Jack, Jack! our Robin!—and Esther, too!”

“Beloved,” said he, his voice trembling, “both are safe with Him who having died for His own that are in the world, loveth them unto the end. There shall not an hair of their heads perish. ‘Of them that thou gavest Me have I lost none.’”

“Who was the other that ’scaped them?”

“A man whose name I knew not,” said John. “Both we stood close to a great closet in the wall, and slid therein noiselessly on the Sheriff’s entering; and by the good providence of God, it never came in their heads to open that door. So when they all were gone, and the street quiet, we could go softly down the stairs, and win thence.”

“And where were Robin and Esther?”

“Esther was on the further side of the chamber, by Mistress Sheerson, and Robin stood near Rose at the other end thereof.”

“Was the service over?”

“No. Rose was in the act of giving the bread of the Lord’s Supper.”

Dr Thorpe asked all these questions, and more; Isoult could ask only one. “How shall I tell them?”

The troubles of that night were so many that she could scarcely feel each to the full. She would have sorrowed more for Esther had there not been Robin; and perchance even more for Robin had Mrs Rose’s anguish and Thekla’s weighed less upon her.

“Thank God, Thekla was not there!” said John.

The last word had not fallen from his lips when, with no sound to herald her coming, Thekla herself stood before them. The light died away from her eyes like the sun under a cloud, and the colour left her lips; yet her voice was calm.

“Then they have taken my father?”

John bowed his head. Her sudden appearing choked his voice, and he could find no words to answer her.

“And Robin?” He bowed his head again.

“Perchance, had I been there, Mr Avery, I had thanked God rather.”

As she said this, one great sob escaped her and she, turned round and went back up the stairs without another word. No one made any motion to follow. Her voice would break the tidings best, and this was an agony which none could spare her. In dead silence they sat for nearly half an hour. No sound came from the chamber above, save the soft murmur of Thekla’s voice, which could just be heard when they listened for it. Her mother’s voice they did not hear at all.

At last Isoult rose, lighted a candle, and went gently up-stairs. She paused a moment at Mrs Rose’s door. Should she go in, or not? All she could hear was Thekla reading or repeating a verse of Scripture.

“‘In the world ye shall have tribulation; but be of good cheer: I have overcome the world.’”

Thekla opened the door while Isoult still stood there.

“Shall I come in, Thekla?”

“I think not, Mrs Avery, but I thank you,” she answered. “She hath not awoke to the full sorrow yet; it is rather a shock, a stun, than an agony. And who is dead to pain is alike dead to comfort. She will feel it more to-morrow, and then it may be an help unto her to talk with you.”

“And for thee, Thekla, poor child!” said Isoult, sympathisingly.

“For me?” said she, the ghost of a smile flickering a moment about her lips. “It may be I have scarce awoke either; but I dare not allow myself to think. I have my mother to comfort and support. If she can sleep at all, then will be my time.”

“And who is to support thee, poor Thekla?” whispered Isoult.

“Mrs Avery,” she answered, the light returning a moment to her eyes, “He that holdeth up heaven and earth can surely hold me up.”

Isoult said no more, but to bid her “good-night.” She wondered at her, but glided softly away.

The first thing in the morning, when Isoult rose and went into the nursery, she saw a woman bending over Walter’s crib, with black shining hair that she knew could be on no head but Esther’s.

“Esther, dear heart!” she cried, gladly, “I never was more fain to see a face than thine this morrow.”

She lifted her head and smiled. Ay, certainly it was Esther.

“But how earnest thou safe?” asked Isoult.

“‘Is any thing too hard for the Lord?’” she answered, in her soft, measured voice. “There were more prisoners than Sheriff’s men, and not enough rope to tie us all together; so they marched some of the women last, and untied. And while we went through a dark alley, I took mine opportunity to slip aside into a doorway, the door standing open, and there lay I hidden for some hours; and in the midst of the night, ere dawn brake, I crept thence, and gat me to the house of my friend Mistress Little, that I knew would be stirring, by reason that her son was sick: and I rapping on her door and calling to her, she knew my voice, and let me within. So there I abode till the gate was opened; and then coming home, Mrs Thekla saw me from her window, and opened to me, not many minutes since.”

“I thank God, that saved thee!” cried Isoult. “Now, Esther, is there any likelihood of Robin escaping likewise?”

“Yes,” she said quietly, “if it shall be good in the eyes of the Blessed to work a miracle to that end.”

“But no otherwise?” wailed Isoult.

“Not, I think, with aught less,” answered she. “They tied him and Mr Rose together, and marched them first, the Sheriff himself guarding them.”

Even in this agony there was cause for thankfulness. Mrs Holland was not there, nor Mr Underhill and his wife, nor Mr Ive and Helen, nor Mr Ferris.

When the evening came, Isoult went up to Mrs Rose. She found her, as Thekla said, awake now, and bemoaning herself bitterly. Yet the deepest part of her anguish seemed to be that she was left behind. She flung her arms around her friend’s neck, weeping aloud, and spoke to her in French (which, or Spanish, she used when her heart was moved), calling her “Isoude, chère soeur” and besought her to call her Marguerite.

“I am so alone now,” she sobbed; “it should make me to feel as though I had yet a sister.”

There was no change in Thekla, nor any tears from her. The next day, the Lord sent them comfort, in the person of Austin Bernher, who came straight from his good work, and told them that he had seen all the prisoners. Mr Rose, they heard with heavy hearts, was in the Tower; a sure omen that he was accounted a prisoner of importance, and he was the less likely to be released. Robin was in the Marshalsea: both sent from the Clink, where they were detained at first. Austin spoke somewhat hopefully of Robin, the only charge against him being that brought against all the prisoners, namely, absence from mass and confession, and presence at the service on New Year’s night; yet he did not hide his conviction that it would have been better for them all had that service been any other than the Lord’s Supper. Isoult asked Austin if he had any hope of Mr Rose.

“None whatever, as touching this life,” was his terrible answer.

Both sent a message by Austin.

“Robin’s was,—‘Tell my father and mother, Austin, that I am, it may be, less troubled than they; for I am ready to serve God in what way He will have me; and if this be the way, why, I will walk therein with a light heart and glad. That it hath pleased Him to exalt me to this calling, with all mine heart and soul, friend, I thank God! I can go unto the stake as I would to my bridal; and be assured of an happier and blesseder meeting therefor hereafter. Kiss the dear childre for me, and tell them God hath given me some physic that I need, after the which He promiseth me somewhat very sweet.’”

“And none other message, Tremayne?” said Austin, when he paused. “Ay,” resumed he, “one other. ‘Ye now therefore have sorrow; but I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice, and your joy no man taketh from you.’” Austin did not ask him to whom he should give this; but he showed how well he knew, by waiting till Thekla was present before he gave it.

Afterwards, he told them Mr Rose’s words. “Brethren, the Devil hath so great wrath, that he must needs know he hath but a short time. Yet for the elect’s sake the days shall be shortened. The trouble shall be very quickly over, and the joy shall be eternal. Our way may be rough; yet shall it not be painful, for we go to God. Jesus Christ hath wrought for us everlasting righteousness; He now waiteth to see of the travail of His soul and to be satisfied. He died for us, with the fearful weight of the wrath of God upon Him; we die for Him, with the sweet and certain hope of eternal life.”

So much was for all the Gospellers; but there were added a few special words for those at the Lamb.

“I ask not Avery and his wife to have a care of my beloved ones,” said he, “for I well know they will. Say only from me to those beloved, that the time is very short, and the glory of God is very near. There shall be no persecution, no death, no parting, in the presence of the Master, whereunto I go. Bid them come to me; I only pass on a few moments before them. We shall meet at Home.”

“God bless Austin Bernher! He is a Barnabas unto us all—the very son of consolation.” So wrote Isoult in her diary—and well she might. During the progress of the Marian persecution, no man was more blessed by the victims and mourners than Austin.

Austin came again, four days later, with yet further bad news. Bishop Bonner had sent his sumner to lay hands upon Mr Holland’s shop and goods, and Mrs Holland had suffered some ill usage, because she could not, or would not, tell where her husband was gone. They had not, however, apprehended her; and for Mr Holland, who was expected to return to London that week, Austin was on the look-out.

“Isoult,” said her husband to her that night, “when this befell, I was about to tell thee that methought I had now laid up a sufficiency of money for our returning to Bradmond. What sayest thou?”

“O Jack! how can we?” cried Isoult. “Could we leave Robin in prison? and could we either forsake Mrs Rose and Thekla in their extremity, or carry them with us into Cornwall? But what is thine own thought?”

“Truly, dear heart,” he answered, “my thought is that the Lord hath spoken to us reasonable plain, and hath said, ‘Tarry where ye are until I bring you word again.’”

“Yes,” said she after a pause; “I think we must.”

“And take for thy comfort, sweeting,” said he tenderly, “one word that hath been much laid upon mine heart of late: ‘I know where thou dwellest, even where Satan’s seat is.’ God’s letters be never wrong directed.”

On the 10th of January, Austin came again, and brought some notes of Mr Rose’s examination before Gardiner. It was plain that Mr Rose had stood forth boldly, and braved the Bishop to his face.

“I wonder, my Lord,” said he, “that I should be troubled for that which by the Word of God hath been established, and by the laws of this realm hath been allowed, and by your own writing, so notably in your book De Vera Obedientia, confirmed.”

“Ah sirrah, hast thou gotten that?” said the Bishop, who now could not bear to hear of his heretical work.

“Yea, my Lord,” calmly answered Mr Rose, “and do confess myself thereby confirmed.”

“But,” continued Austin, “have you heard that my Lady of Suffolk’s Grace is clean escaped?”

“O Austin!” cried Isoult, “tell us all you know touching her.”

“Why,” said he, “it should seem to have been agreed betwixt her Grace and Mr Bertie ere he left England, but none was told save one Master Robert Cranwell, an ancient gentleman of Mr Bertie’s acquaintance, in whom he had great trust. So last New Year, early in the morrow, afore any were stirring, her Grace took her little daughter, and seven of the meanest of her servants, and at four of the clock departed from the Barbican in silence. The Duchess, that was donned like a mean merchant’s wife, through much trouble, came safe to Lyon’s Quay, where (the morning being misty) the waterman was loth to launch out, yet her Grace persuaded him, and so away rowed they toward Gravesend. I have yet heard with no certainty whither she hath reached; but assuredly she is gone. The Lord keep her safe, and grant her good landing whither He shall see meet to provide the same!”

“Amen, with all mine heart!” said Isoult. “Good Austin, if you hear any further, I would earnestly pray you to do me to wit thereof.”

“That will I,” said he, “and with a very good will.”

The 29th of January was a painful day to the prisoners. Every one of them, from all the prisons, was brought up before the Bishop of Winchester, Dr Gardiner, in his house at Saint Mary Overy, and asked if he would recant. Mr Rose and Robin of course were amongst them. But all answered alike, that “they would stand to what they had believed and taught.” When he heard this, the Bishop raved and stormed, and commanded them to be committed to straiter prison than before.

The same day, in the general meeting of the Bishops assembled at Lambeth, Cardinal Pole reproved some for too much harshness, these doubtless being London and Winchester. Of Cardinal Pole himself people spoke diversely; some saying that he was the gentlest of all the Popish Bishops, and had been known to visit Bishop Bonner’s burnings ere the fire was lighted, and to free all of his own diocese: while others maintained that under the appearance of softness he masked great severity. Old Bishop Tunstal was perhaps the best to deal with; for he “barked the more that he might bite the less.” If a Protestant were brought before him, he would bluster and threaten, and end after all in fining the man a few nobles, or locking him up for three days, and similar slight penalties. Worst of all was Bonner: who scourged men, ay, and little children, with his own hands, and seemed to revel in the blood of the martyrs. Yet there came a time when even this monster cried out that he was weary of his work. As Bishop of London, said he, he was close under the eyes of the Court, and two there gave him no rest. For those two—King Philip and Dr Gardiner—were never weary. Drunk with the blood of the saints, they yet cried ceaselessly for more; they filled London and the whole land, as Manasseh did Jerusalem, with innocent blood, which the Lord would not pardon.

In the same month, by command of Bishop Bonner, Mr Prebendary Rogers was removed from the Marshalsea to Newgate, and there set among the common felons. At this time, the worst of all the prisons was Newgate (excepting the Bishop of London’s coal-hole, where Archdeacon Philpot and others were placed); somewhat better was the Marshalsea; still better the Fleet; and easiest of all the Counter, where untried prisoners were commonly kept to await their trial. Alexander, the keeper of Newgate, was wont to go to Bishop Bonner, crying, “Ease my prison! I am too much pestered with these heretics.” And then an easement of the prison was made, by the burning of the prisoners.

Men grow not into monsters all at once. It is a gradual proceeding, though they generally run the faster as they near the end. But the seeds of the very same sin lie in all human hearts, and the very same thing, by the withdrawal of God’s Spirit, would take place in all. God’s restraining grace is no less marvellous than His renewing grace. This world would be a den of wild beasts but for it.

On the same 29th of January—a black day in the Protestant calendar—Bishop Hooper was condemned to death, and also Mr Prebendary Rogers; but with the latter the Bishop said he would yet use charity. “Ay,” observed Mr Rogers to Austin Bernher, “such charity as the fox useth with the chickens.” And such charity it proved. Dr Rowland Taylor of Hadleigh, and Mr Bradford of Manchester, were also adjudged to death: both of whom, by God’s grace, stood firm. But Mr Cardmaker, who was brought to trial with them, and had been a very zealous preacher against Romanism, was overcome by the Tempter, recanted, and was led back to prison. Yet for all this he did not save himself. More than once during this persecution, he who loved his life was seen to lose it; and he that hated his life to keep it,—even the lower life of this world.

During this season of trial, Augustine Bernher was almost ubiquitous. On the 29th of January, he brought a letter of which he had been the bearer, from Bishop Hooper to Mr Rose and the others who were taken with him; Mr Rose having desired him to show the letter to his friends. The good Bishop wrote, “Remember what lookers-on you have, God and His angels.” Again, “Now ye be even in the field, and placed in the forefront of Christ’s battle.”

Mr Rose remained in the Tower very strictly guarded, yet Austin was allowed to see him at will.

“Austin,” said Isoult to him, “I marvel they never touch you.”

“In very deed, Mrs Avery, no more than I,” replied he; “but I do think God hath set me to this work, seeing He thus guardeth me.”

On January 27, Parliament broke up, having repealed all laws against the Pope enacted since 1528; and re-enacted three old statutes against heresy, the newest being of the reign of Henry the Fifth. And “all speaking against the King or Queen, or moving sedition,” was made treason; for the first offence one ear was to be cut off, or a hundred marks paid; and for the second both ears, or a fine of 100 pounds. The “writer, printer, or cipherer of the same,” was to lose his right hand. All evil prayers (namely, for the Queen’s death) were made treason. The Gospellers guessed readily that this shaft was aimed at Mr Rose, who was wont to pray before his sermon, “Lord, turn the heart of Queen Mary from idolatry; or if not so, then shorten her days.”

The Council now released the three sons of the Duke of Northumberland who were yet in the Tower; Lord Ambrose (now Earl of Warwick), Lord Henry, and Lord Robert Dudley; with several others, who had been concerned in Wyatt’s rebellion. Dr Thorpe said bitterly that they lacked room for the Gospellers. The Duchess of Northumberland, mother of these gentlemen, died a few days before their deliverance. Her imprisoned sons came forth for her burial.

And before they broke up, Parliament received the Cardinal’s blessing; only one of eight hundred speaking against it. This was Sir Ralph Bagenall, as Mr Underhill told his friends. Isoult asked him what sort of man he was, and if he were a true Gospeller.

“Gospeller! no, not he!” cried Mr Underhill. “Verily, I know not what religion he professeth; but this know I, that he beareth about in his heart and conversation never a spark of any. He and I were well acquaint once, in my blind days, ere I fell to reading the Scriptures, and following the preachers. I have sat many a night at the dice with him and Miles Partridge, and Busking Palmer—”

“Mr Underhill!” exclaimed Isoult, “knew you Sir Thomas Palmer?”

“Knew him?” said he; “yea, on my word, did I, and have lost many a broad shilling to him, and many a gold noble to boot. Ay,” he pursued, for him very sadly, “there were a parcel of losels (profligates) of us, that swallowed down iniquity like water, in that old time. And now—Partridge is dead, and Palmer is dead, and Bagenall is yet as he was then. And wherefore God should have touched the heart of one of the worst of those sinners, named Edward Underhill”—(and he rose, and lifted his cap from his head, as he looked on high)—“Lord, Thou hast mercy on whom Thou wilt have mercy!”

Isoult thought she had never heard Mr Underhill speak so solemnly before.

When Dr Thorpe came from the barber’s, on the 4th of February, he looked very thoughtful and pensive.

“What news abroad, Doctor?” inquired Isoult.

“The first drop of the thunder-shower, child,” he answered. “This morrow Mr Prebendary Rogers was burned in Smithfield.”

“Gramercy!” cried John. “I saw flame shoot up beyond the gate, and I thought there was some fire near Newgate. I never thought of that fire.”

In the evening came Austin, who had been last with the martyr. Isoult asked him if he suffered much.

“I would say, no,” replied he. “He died very quietly, washing his hands in the flame as it rose. His wife and his eleven childre (one born sithence he was put in prison) met him in his last journey.”

“God help them, poor souls!” cried Isoult.

“When Sheriff Woodroofe said he was an heretic,” pursued he, “he said, ‘That shall be known at the Day of Judgment.’ Then said he, ‘I will never pray for thee.’ ‘But I will pray for you,’ he answered. He sang Miserere by the way, and refused the pardon which was offered him.”

“Is it very fearful, Austin,” said Isoult, “to see any burn?”

“Only not so,” he answered, his face changing, “when you think of the Home whereto they are going, and of the glorious welcome which Christ the King shall give them.”

“And what think you?” said John. “Shall there be yet more burnings, or is this merely to strike terror, and shall stand alone?”

“I think,” replied he, “nor am I alone in my thought,—that it is the first drop of the thunder-storm.”

Isoult was struck by his use of the very words of Dr Thorpe.

“Ill times these,” remarked Mr Underhill, entering the Lamb, ten days later.

“Ill, in very sooth,” said Dr Thorpe. “It shall take us the rest of this month to get over the burning of Mr Rogers.”

“Marry, is that all you know!” said Mr Underhill, standing and looking round. “You live a marvellous quiet life; thank God for it.”

“What mean you?” cried Mrs Rose, springing to her feet.

“Sit down, Mrs Rose, sit down,” said he, gently. “I am sorry I frighted you—there was no need. But is it possible you know not, all, that Mr Lawrence Saunders of All Hallows hath been burned at Coventry, and Bishop Hooper at Gloucester?”

“Bishop Hooper!” cried all the voices together.

“Ay,” replied he, “or so was to be, five days gone; and this day is Bishop Ferrar departed toward Saint David’s, where he also shall die.”

They sat silent from very horror.

At last John said, “Methinks there shall be some stir among the angels at such a time.”

“Among the devils, I should think,” answered Mr Underhill. “There be no particular tidings yet; but when Austin cometh to London we shall hear all. They say, moreover, Mr Bradford shall die ere long; and, for all his turning, Mr Cardmaker.”

“The fiends!” cried Dr Thorpe. “If they will rob a man of Heaven, they might leave him earth!”

“Friend,” said John, softly, “they can rob the most of us of earth, but they must leave us Heaven.”

When the ladies retired, Isoult asked Mrs Rose why she was so pale and heavy-eyed. The tears sprang to her eyes.

“O Isoult!” cried she, “since the burning of Mr Rogers I have scarcely slept at all. And when I do sleep—” she shuddered, and turned away her head.

Hermana mia (my sister), I see him—and the fire.”

She did not mean Mr Rogers.

The party gathered on Ash Wednesday at Mr Underhill’s house in Wood Street, where Austin Bernher was come with news; and Mr Underhill desiring to know all, had asked his friends from the Lamb to come and hear also; yet he dared not ask more than those from one house, lest the bloodhounds should get scent of it, and mischief should ensue.

So Austin told all the horrible story; for a horrible story it was. He was not at Mr Saunders’ burning, but he had seen some one who told him particulars of it. To the Bishop of London, who degraded him, Saunders said, “I thank God I am none of your Church.” And when he came to the stake, he embraced and kissed it, saying, “Welcome the cross of Christ! Welcome everlasting life!” And so “being fastened to the stake, and fire put to him, full sweetly he slept in the Lord.” (Foxe, Acts and Monuments, Pratt’s Townshend’s edition, six, 428.)

But Austin himself was at Gloucester, where Bishop Hooper suffered his passion. “A passion indeed,” said he, “for I think never man was burned that had more pains of death. Afore he went into the fire, the gentle Bishop lift up his hands, and said, ‘Lord, I am Hell, but Thou art Heaven!’ And ‘Strengthen me, of Thy goodness, that in the fire I break not the rules of patience; or else assuage the terror of the pains, as shall seem most to Thy glory.’ And God did strengthen him, for he was patience herself, though the wood laid to him was all green, and the wind blew the fire away from him, so that he was long dying, and had an hard death. It was a lowering, cold morning, and the fire first kindled went out, having only touched his lower half. You have seen him, and know how high of stature he was. But he said only, in a mild voice, ‘O Jesus, Son of David! have mercy upon me, and receive my soul.’ Then they fetched fresh faggots, but that fire was spent also. He did but say softly, ‘For God’s love, good people, let me have more fire.’ This was the worst his agony could wring from him. The third fire kindled was more extreme, and reached at last the barrels of gunpowder. Then, when he saw the flame shoot up toward them, he cried, ‘Lord Jesus, have mercy upon me! Lord Jesus, receive my spirit!’ And so, bowing forward his head, he died at last as quietly as a child in his bed.” (Note 1.)

“O Austin, how frightful!” cried Isoult: and though she said no more, she wondered secretly if that would ever be the case with her.

“On his way to the stake,” resumed Austin, “they essayed to make him turn. Saith Sir Anthony Kingston unto him, ‘Life is sweet, and death bitter.’ ‘Truth, friend,’ quoth the Bishop; ‘yet is the death to come more bitter, and the life to come more sweet.’”

“He hath found it so ere now,” said John, softly.

“But have you,” pursued Austin, “heard of Dr Taylor’s burning?”

“Not of the inwards thereof,” answered Mr Underhill, “only of the act.”

“Well,” said Austin, “when Bishop Bonner came to degrade him, quoth the Bishop, ‘I wish you would remember yourself, and turn to your mother, holy Church.’ Then said Dr Taylor, ‘I wish you and your fellows would turn to Christ. As for me, I will not turn to Antichrist.’ And at the first, when he come afore my Lord Keeper (Bishop Gardiner), quoth he—‘Art thou come, thou villain? How darest thou look me in the face for shame? Knowest thou not who I am?’ with a great and big voice. Then said Dr Taylor, ‘Yes, I know who you are. Ye are Dr Stephen Gardiner, Bishop of Winchester, and Lord Chancellor; and yet but a mortal man, I trow. But if I should be afraid of your lordly looks, why fear you not God, the Lord of us all? How dare ye for shame look any Christian man in the face, seeing ye have forsaken the truth, denied our Saviour Christ and His Word, and done contrary to your own oath and writing?’ with more to the same end.”

“My word on’t,” saith Dr Thorpe, “but yonder is a jolly hearing. I am right glad my Lord Chancellor got so well swinged!”

“Suffered Dr Taylor much, Austin?” asked Isoult.

“I trow not,” answered he. “When he came nigh Hadleigh, the Sheriff asked him how he did. Quoth he, ‘Well, God be praised, good Master Sheriff, never better; for now I know I am almost at home. I lack not past two stiles to go over, and I am even at my Father’s house.’ He was a very tall and great man, with long snow-white beard and head; and he stood in the fire with his hands folded, and never moved nor spake, till one struck him on the head with a halberd (I know not whether it were in malice or in compassion) and he fell down dead into the midst of the fire.”

“Well!” said Dr Thorpe, “I will tell you a thing: I would my gossips had named me any thing but Stephen.”

“There was a Stephen the first martyr,” suggested Austin; “comfort you with that remembrance.”

“Verily,” answered he; “yet I love not to be called the name which Satan hath chose for himself on his incarnation.”

One thing strange to human, reason is worthy of note, as showing the good hand of our God upon those who suffered for Him. In the case of the majority of these martyrs, those who had the fear of physical suffering had not the suffering. Ridley and Hooper bore themselves bravely, and knew no terror; and they endured awful anguish at the last. But Archbishop Cranmer, who at first held back for fear, uttered no cry in the fire; Latimer, who did not hold back, yet trembled at what he had to pass through, died to all appearance without pain. Most marvellous of all was the case of Lawrence Saunders, the gentle Rector of All Hallows, a man of delicate feeling, who shrank from the bitter cup, yet drank it off bravely for Christ’s sake. And Christ failed him not, but carried him in His own arms over the dark river; for no sooner was he chained to the stake than a deep sleep from God fell upon him, and he never woke to feel the fire at all, but slept sweetly as a child while his body was consuming. “Is any thing too hard for the Lord?”

When Isoult and Thekla came in from the market one morning in March, Dr Thorpe, who sat in the chimney-corner, asked them to go up to Mrs Rose.

“Yon dolt Carter hath been hither,” said he, “and sat with her half an hour; and from what I heard since over mine head, I am afeard he gave her to wit some ill news, for she hath been sobbing ever since his departing. Go you and comfort her.”

Thekla was up the stairs in a moment; and Isoult followed. Mr Carter (a fictitious person) was the clergyman who had stepped into Mr Rose’s place of minister to the Gospellers’ gatherings, when they dared to hold them; a good man, but very cold and harsh.

“O Thekla! Isoult!” cried Mrs Rose when they came in. “Am I so very wicked as Mr Carter saith me to be?”

Poor soul! she had been weeping bitterly.

“Mother!” cried Thekla, in amazement, “what meanest thou?”

“If you be very wicked, dear Marguerite,” said Isoult, “you have hidden it from me hitherto. But what saith Mr Carter?”

“He saith that I love my husband too much, and it is idolatry, which God will punish; and (ay de mi!) I ought not to grieve for him, but rather rejoice that he is called unto the high honour of martyrdom. M’amie, c’est impossible! And he saith that by such sinful and extravagant grieving, I shall call down on me, and on him also, the great displeasure of God. He saith God alway taketh away idols, and will not suffer idolatry in His people. It is an abominable sin, which He hateth; and we ought to pray to be kept from loving overmuch. Ça peut-il être, ma soeur? Que digas, niña?” (What sayest thou, child?)

Isoult looked at Thekla in dismay; for this was a new doctrine to her, and a very unpleasant one. Thekla’s lip trembled, and her eyes flashed, but she did not speak; so Isoult answered herself: for poor Mrs Rose’s wailings in French and Spanish showed that she was sorely troubled.

“Well, dear Marguerite,” said she, “if it be thus, I fear I am to the full as guilty as thou. I never prayed in all my life to be kept from loving Jack or my childre overmuch. I thought in mine ignorance that I was bound to love them as much as ever I could. Doth not Scripture tell us to love our neighbour as ourself?”

“Ay,” answered Mrs Rose, sobbing again, “and so I said to Mr Carter; but he answered that I loved him more than myself, because I did say I would rather to have died than he; and that was wicked, and idolatry.”

Thekla knelt down, and passed her arm round her mother, drawing her to herself, till Mrs Rose’s head lay upon her bosom.

“Mother,” she said, “whatsoever Mr Carter or any other shall say, I dare say that this is not God’s Gospel. There is an whole book of Scripture written to bid us love; but I never yet fell in with any to bid us hate. Nay, Mother dear, the wrong is not, assuredly, that we love each other too much, but only that we love God too little.”

“Thekla, thou art God’s best gift to me!” said Mrs Rose, drying her eyes, and kissing her. “It made me so miserable, mi querida (my darling—literally, my sought-for one), to think that God should be displeased with him because I loved him too much.”

“I wish Mr Carter would keep away!” answered Thekla, her eyes flashing anew. “If he hath no better Gospel than this to preach to God’s tried servants, he might as well tarry at home.”

“But, hija mia (my daughter)! thou knowest God’s Word so well!—tell me an other, if there be, to say whether it is wrong to grieve and sorrow when one is troubled. I do not think God meaneth to bid us do what we cannot do; and I cannot help it.”

“Methinks, dear Mother,” said Thekla, more quietly, “that Mr Carter readeth his Bible upside down. He seemeth to read Saint Paul to say that no chastening for the present is grievous, but joyous. An unmortified will is one thing; an unfeeling heart an other. God loveth us not to try to shake off His rod like a wayward and froward child; but He forbiddeth us not to moan thereunder when the pain wringeth it from us. And it may be the moan soundeth unto other at times that which it is not. He knoweth. He shall not put our tears into the wrong bottle, nor set down the sum of our groans in the wrong column of His book. Hezekiah should scantly be told ‘I have seen thy tears,’ if he did very evil in shedding them; nor Moses twice over, ‘I have seen, I have seen the affliction of My people, and am come down to deliver them,’ if they had sinned in being afflicted. When God wipeth away all tears from our eyes, shall He do it as some do with childre—roughly, shaking the child, and bidding it have done? ‘Despise not thou the chastening of the Lord’ cometh before ‘faint not when thou art rebuked of Him.’”

“Of a truth, I never could abide to see any so use a child,” said Isoult, innocently; “but, Thekla, sweet heart, it should as little serve to run unto the further extremity, and give all that a babe should cry for.”

“Were that love at all?” said Thekla; “unless it were the mother’s love for herself, and her own ease.”

Isoult saw that Mrs Rose seemed comforted, and Thekla was well able to comfort, so she gently withdrew. But when she came down-stairs, John having now returned, she asked him and Dr Thorpe to tell her their opinions.

“My thought is,” replied Dr Thorpe, “that the fellow knoweth not his business. He must have cold blood in his veins, as a worm hath. I might search the Decalogue a great while ere I came to his two commandments—‘Thou shalt not sorrow,’ and ‘Thou shalt not love thy neighbour any better than thyself.’”

“I have little patience with such doctrines, and scantly with such men,” said John. “They would ‘make the heart of the righteous sad, whom God hath not made sad.’ They show our loving and merciful Father as an harsh, stern ruler, ‘an austere man,’ meting out to His servants no more joy nor comfort than He can help. For joy that is put on is not joy. If it arise not of itself, ’tis not worth having. Paul saith, ‘As sorrowful, yet alway rejoicing;’ but that joy showeth not alway in the face: and Father Carter hath forgot the first half. I do believe (as I have said to thee, dear heart, ere now) that God taketh more pleasure to see His people joyful than sorrowful; but He never taketh pleasure, sure am I, to see them make up an hypocrite’s face, and fall to dancing, when their hearts are like to break. Why, sweeting! thou lovest rather to see Frank happy than woeful; but dost thou therefore desire her to smother her tears, and force a smile, rather than come and lodge her little troubles with thee? Nay, rather do I believe that to do such were to insult God. I could tell thee of that I have seen, where I do verily believe that pride, and naught else—that abominable sin that God hateth—kept His afflicted child up, and smirking with a false smile over the breaking heart; and no sooner was that self-righteous pride subdued, and the child brake forth into open sobbing,—crying, ‘Father, Thy rod doth hurt, and I have been a fool!’—no sooner, I say, was this confession made, than God threw away His rod, and took His humbled child to His heart. Dear heart, when God taketh His rod in hand, He meaneth us to feel it. Methinks a man that can speak to one in such trouble as Mrs Rose, as Father Carter hath spoken, hath not himself known neither much love, neither much sorrow, neither much of God.”

Bishop Ferrar was burnt in Wales on the 30th of March. Soon after this, the Queen declared her intention of restoring all the suppressed lands to the Church; nor was she content with that, but plainly intimated that she desired her nobles to follow where she had paved the way. The old Earl of Bedford had but lately died—he who said that he held his sweet Abbey of Woburn worth more than all the fatherly counsels, that could come from Rome; but comparatively few of the Lords followed her Majesty in this matter.

On the 4th of April, the Queen took her chamber at Hampton Court. The Papists made great rejoicing over the young master for whom they hoped, but the Gospellers were very sorrowful, seeing that he would take precedence of the Lady Elizabeth, in whom after God was all their hope; and also that he would unquestionably be brought up a Papist. During the last evening in April came news that a Prince was born, and through all London there were ringing of bells and bonfires. But the next day came contrary tidings. God had written next upon the Crown of England the name of Queen Elizabeth, and no power less than His own could change that label.

Early in May, Isoult went alone to market, which was not her custom; and coming back along Cornhill, she suddenly heard a voice say,—“Is it not Mrs Barry?”

Wondering who could thus recognise her who was not also aware of her marriage, she looked up into the face of a handsome, courtly gentleman, splendidly apparelled.

“Sir,” said she, “I pray you of your pardon; I am Isoult Barry, but I am not so fortunate as to know your name.”

“Do you not so?” replied he, and he smiled.

And when he smiled, Isoult thought she knew him.

“Is it Mr James Basset?” said she.

“Truly so,” answered he; “and I am very glad of thus meeting you. I cry you mercy for wrongly naming you, but in very deed I have forgot your present name. Dwell you hereabout?”

Isoult told him her name, and that she lived near London, yet not in the City; but she did not give her exact address.

“I trust we may be better acquainted,” said he, “and that I may find in you (as I cast no doubt) a woman faithful unto God and the Queen’s Grace.”

The terrible peril in which she stood stared her all at once in the face. James Basset was a gentleman of the chamber, and “a stout Papist.”

“Sir,” said she, “I would be right sorry to be less.”

“Of that I am well assured,” replied he. “Saw you of late my sister?”

Isoult answered that she had not seen Philippa lately; and he, bowing low, bade our Lady keep her, and departed. Isoult came home trembling like an aspen leaf. She knew well that, did his faith come into question, ties of friendship would have little weight with James Basset.

The next morning brought Philippa Basset.

“Well,” said she, “Isoult, so thou fellest in with my brother James yesterday?”

“I did so,” answered Isoult, rather shortly.

“He told me so much,” pursued she; “and said he had forgot to ask where thou dwelledst. So I told him.”

Isoult drew her breath hard.

“I know not whether to thank you for that, Mrs Basset,” observed John.

Philippa began to laugh.

“Do you take me for a fool, both of you?” said she. “Or for worse—a traitor? If I be a Catholic, yet am I a woman, not a stone. I told him you dwelt on the thither side of Lambeth. You have nought to fear from me. If all the Gospellers in the world were wrapped up in thy single person, Isoult, none should ever lay hand on an hair of thine head by means of Philippa Basset. Yea, though mine own life were the forfeit,—’tis not worth much to any now.”

“I thank thee dearly for thy love, sweet Philippa,” said Isoult, “but I hardly know how to thank thee for lying.

“’Twere a venial sin, I am assured,” said she, lightly. “Why, dear heart! James would burn thee in Smithfield as soon as eat his dinner!”

About a fortnight passed uneventfully—a rare occurrence in the year 1555. But as it was growing dusk on the 21st of May, there was a quick rap at the door, and Mr Underhill hastily entered.

“Coming from the light, I may scantly see who is here,” said he; “but I wish to speak quickly with Mrs Rose—Mrs Thekla, I mean.”

Mrs Rose and Isoult were sitting in the little chamber. The latter rose to call Thekla.

“What for Thekla?” asked her mother, earnestly. “Can you not tell me, Mr Underhill? Is there some evil news for me?”

“I knew not you were here till I heard you speak, Mrs Rose,” he answered, in the gentle manner in which he always spoke to her. “Well, I suppose you may as well know it first as last. Your husband is ordered to Norwich for examination, and shall set forth this even. He shall pass the postern in half an hour, and I came to tell Mrs Thekla, if she desired to speak with him, she should come at once with me.”

Thekla ran up-stairs to fetch her hood.

“To Norwich!” cried poor Mrs Rose, “what for to Norwich?”

“I know not,” said Mr Underhill; “is he Norfolk-born?”

“He was born at Exmouth,” she answered; “is Exmouth in Norfolk?”

“Nay, surely,” said Isoult; “’tis in Devon, as I well know.”

“Then what for Norwich?” she said again. “But, Mr Underhill! you take Thekla—and you take not me?”

“I cannot, Mrs Rose,” said he; “your peril—”

“What care I for my peril?” she cried, passionately.

“Doth he belong to them? or doth he belong only to Thekla? Let me go, Mr Underhill! He is mine—mine—mine! Mi alma, mi bien (my soul, my own)! I will go, if it be the last sight of him! Who shall let me?”

“Marry, I would, if I could,” said Mr Underhill, under his voice. “Mrs Avery, what am I to do?” and he looked helplessly at Isoult.

“Leave me to speak to her, Mr Underhill,” she answered. “Dear sister Marguerite, remember Mr Rose is not yet condemned: and there is the shadow of hope that he may not be so. But if they can prove him to have been in your company, that hope will perish. Will you go, knowing that?”

Mrs Rose had knelt down by the table, and buried her head in her hands upon it. She gave no answer save a low, deep moan of unutterable anguish.

Seigneur, pour combien de temps regarderas-tu cela?”

“Go, Mr Underhill,” said Isoult, softly. “If I know her, she will not follow.”

Mr Underhill hurried Thekla away.

It was an hour before they came back. Mrs Rose had gone up-stairs, and Isoult sat alone in the chimney-corner. She heard the latch lifted, and Mr Underhill’s voice bidding Thekla good-night. He was not returning with her. Then her soft step came forward. She paused as soon as she entered the chamber.

“Who is here?” she said, under her breath.

“It is I, Thekla,” answered Isoult. “Thy mother is above, dear heart; I am alone.”

“I am glad of that.”

And she came forward to the hearth, where suddenly she flung herself down on her knees, and buried her face in Isoult’s lap.

“I cannot see her just now!” she said in a choked voice. “I must be over mine own agony ere I can bear hers. O Mrs Avery! he is so white, and worn, and aged! I hardly knew him till he smiled on me!”

And laying down her head again, she broke forth into sobbing—such a very passion of woe, as Isoult had never heard before from the lips of Thekla Rose. Then in a little while—for she did not check her, only smoothed down her hair lovingly—Thekla lifted her head again, and her first gushing of pain seemed over.

“The Sheriff was good to me,” she whispered. “Mr Underhill said, ‘Would it please you of your gentleness, to stay your prisoner five minutes? Here is his daughter that would speak with him.’ And he stayed, and gave us leave to speak—more than five minutes.”

She dried her eyes, and smoothed back her hair.

“Now,” she said, “I can go to her.”

“God go with you, my poor child!” answered Isoult Thekla paused a moment before she set her foot on the stairs. “I feel,” she said, “as if I wanted Him very near to-night.”

On Thursday, the 30th of May, Cardmaker and Warne were burned in Smithfield. And on the 10th of June, in the same place, died John Bradford, saying he should have a merry supper with the Lord that night.

Four days afterwards came Austin Bernher.

“How do you all?” asked he.

“Marry, I shall do better when I know whence you come,” said poor Mrs Rose, lifting her heavy eyes.

“Then I come from Norwich,” saith he, “and, I hope, with good news. Mr Rose hath been examined twice afore the Bishop, the last day of this last month, and the seventh of this, but is not yet sentenced. He is kept in the Green Yard, next the Cathedral; and the charge against him is that he hath held and defended in public that in the Eucharist, or Sacrament of the Altar, the true, natural, and real body of Christ, and the true, natural, and real blood of Christ, under the espèce of bread and wine, be not in verity; but that after consecration, the substance of bread and wine remaineth; and that whoso shall adore that substance shall commit idolatry, and shall give Divine honour unto a creature of God. And then he was asked but one question, ‘Whether you will be obedient to the laws of the Catholic Church, whereof the Church of England is a member?’ This was in the indictment; but the Bishop talked with him no little, and saith unto him, ‘You have preached (quoth he) that the presence of Christ is not in the sacrament. What say you to that?’ ‘Verily, I say,’ Mr Rose answered, ‘that you are a bloody man, and seek to quench your thirst in the blood of an innocent. I have so preached,’ saith he, ‘yea, and I will so preach again.’”

“Gramercy!” cried Isoult.

“Ay, he was bold enough,” said Austin. “Well, after examination, afore I set forth, come to me my old Lord of Sussex, and that gentle knight Sir William Woodhouse, who told me they meant to see Mr Rose, and to do whatsoever they might in his behalf. And a word in your ear: the Queen is very, very grievous sick. My Lord of Sussex, and other likewise, have told me that the Bishops dare not sentence more heretics. They think Mr Rose shall have a lighter sentence than death—imprisonment it may be. But until they see how the Queen shall fare, they be sore afraid.”

“They were not afeard to burn Mr Bradford,” suggested Isoult.

“Truth,” he answered. “But he, you see, was already sentenced. Mrs Avery, there is one thing I must needs tell you, and I pray you, let me get the same out ere Mrs Thekla come in. I am sore diseased touching Mr Tremayne.”

“For Robin!” she cried. “Austin, have they sentenced him?”

“I know not what they have done unto him,” saith he, “and that is the very truth. He is no longer in the Marshalsea. They have carried him thence some whither, and I, which am alway rambling up and down the realm, have not yet discovered whither. Trust me, you shall know as soon as I.”

Early in the morning, six days afterwards, before all were down, and Isoult herself had but just descended the stairs, there came a hasty rap, and in ran Austin.

“Where is Mrs Rose?” said he. “I have good news for her.”

“O Austin! is Mr Rose sentenced?” said Isoult, when she had called Mrs Rose.

“Ay,” he answered, “but to no worse than imprisonment in his lodging. It is as I told you—the Bishops dare not act. And Sir William Woodhouse, being present, maketh offer (under the Bishop’s leave) to keep Mr Rose in his house, seeing he had no lodging in Norwich. Whereto the Bishop assents, but that he should come up when called for. Sir William therefore taketh him away, and at the very next day sendeth him thence. I cannot tell you where: Sir William will tell none. Only this I know; he is to be passed secretly from hand to hand, until means be had to convey him over seas. And now my Lord of Norwich is come to London, and shall not be back for nigh a month; in which time Mr Rose may win far enough ere he be bidden.—Why, Mrs Rose! is it matter for weeping?”

“I think it is for weeping, Austin, but not for sorrow,” said Isoult.

“One word, Augustine,” said Mrs Rose, drying her eyes. “Whither shall they take him over seas?”

“In your ear, then,” said he. “To Calais, to Mr Stevens, whence he shall be passed again through France, until he reach Geneva.”

“Then I go thither,” answered she.

“Softly, Mrs Rose!” said Austin, doubtfully. “You must not, methinks, stir out of the realm; a great mischief might ensue. They should guess presently that whither you went would he go.”

“But what can I do?” she said plaintively.

“‘Wait on the Lord,’” softly answered Isoult.

July brought a little respite to the horrible slaughter. In the beginning of August, came Austin, and with him Mr Underhill.

“There is somewhat merry news from Norwich,” cried Mr Underhill. “My Lord the Bishop, returned thither, summons Rose afore his saintly presence: who is no whither to be found. Whereupon my Lord sendeth for a wizard, and in his holiness biddeth him consult with the infernal powers touching the whereabout of the prisoner. Who answereth that Rose is gone over the water, and is in keeping of a woman. Wherein he spake sooth, though maybe he knew it not; for Rose at that very minute lay hidden in the mean cottage of a certain godly woman, and had to ford more rivers than one to win thither. So my Lord the Bishop, when he gets his answer of the Devil, flieth at the conclusion that Rose is gone over seas, and is safe in Germany, and giveth up all looking for him. Wherefore, for once in our lives, we may thank the Devil.”

“Nay, good Ned,” said Jack; “we will thank the living God (this phrase was another symbolum hereticorum), that did overrule both the Bishop and the Devil.”

“And what of Robin?” said Isoult.

“Mrs Avery, I am puzzled and bewildered as I never was before,” replied Austin. “I cannot find him.”

A week later, when the dusk had fallen, but John had not yet come home, and Dr Thorpe and Isoult sat alone in the chamber, a quick footstep approached the door.

“What he! is the door locked?” cried Mr Underhill’s voice outside.

Barbara ran and let him in.

“Where is Mrs Rose?” was his first question.

“Above,” said Isoult. “Is there news for her?”

“Good,” said he, without replying: “and Mrs Thekla?”

“Above likewise.”

“Let her stay there a moment. But tell her (whenas you can without her mother’s ears) that her father is in London again, in the keeping of Speryn, my wife’s brother; and there she may see him. Tell her to come to my house, and I or my wife shall go with her to the other. But she must not tarry in coming, for we hope to have him away to Calais on Tuesday night.”

And away he went.

Mrs Rose was not told a word; but Thekla saw her father before he left England. Then he was passed secretly across the Channel, and on Rysbank Mr Stevens met him, and took him to his house. The next day he was sent away to Boulogne, and so on to Paris, always in the keeping of Huguenots, and thence to Lyons, and so to Switzerland.

On the 26th of August, the King set out for Spain, the Queen going with him as far as Greenwich, where she remained, and the Princess Elizabeth with her.

The respite from the slaughter was short; and it was only the enemy’s breathing-time for a more terrible onslaught. The next entry in Isoult’s diary ran thus:—

“By Austin Bernher woeful news is come. My Lord Archbishop, that stood so firm for God’s truth—that was already doomed for his faithfulness—that all we have so loved, and honoured, and mourned—Thomas Cranmer, Archbishop of Canterbury, is fallen away from Christ, and hath recanted and rejected the truth by which he stood so firm. I knew never any thing that so cut me to the heart after this sort, sithence Sir Will Smith’s recanting at Calais. Surely, surely, Christ will rescue this His sheep from the jaws of the wolf whereinto he is fallen! Of them whom the Father hath given Him, can He lose this one?”

Mr Underhill came in on the 19th of October strangely sad and pensive for him.

“Have you the news this even?” said he.

“What news?” inquired John. “Is it death or life?”

“It is martyrdom,” he answered, solemnly. “Is that death, or life?”

His manner fairly frightened Isoult. She was afraid lest he should have come to give them dreadful tidings of Robin; or, it might be, that Mr Rose had been recaptured on his journey through France.

“O Mr Underhill!” she cried, tremblingly, “pray you, the name of the martyr?”

It was neither Mr Rose’s nor Robin’s. But no name, short of those two, would have thrilled to her heart straighter than the other two he gave.

He said, “Nicholas Ridley, and Hugh Latimer.”

Note 1. If the reader think this narrative horrible, let him know that all the worst details have been omitted. They are written in God’s book in letters of fire, and shall not be forgotten in the day when He maketh up His jewels.

Chapter Eleven.

Hope Deferred.

“Ah, would we but only leave
    All things to our Father!
Would we only cease to grieve,
    Wait His mercy rather!
Meek resigning childish choice,
    Graceless, thankless pressing—
Listen for His gentle voice,
    ‘Child, receive this blessing!’
Faithless, foolish hearts! see you
    Seeds’ earth-hidden growing?
What our God for us will do,
    He Himself is knowing.”

It was on the 4th of November 1555, that Annis Holland came home from Spain. Queen Juana was dead, and she had no longer any tie to a country in which she had certainly not been happy.

“Please it you, Mistress!” said Ursula’s voice at the chamber door, where Isoult sat sewing.

“Well, Ursula?” replied her mistress.

“Mistress Holland would have speech of you, Mistress,” said she.

Of course Isoult supposed her visitor to be Roger Holland’s wife, and thanked God in her heart that she was better off than Bessy; but she came down into the chamber—not to see Bessy. On another face her eyes lighted, and a cry of gladness broke from her.

“What, Annis!”

When the first welcomings were over, and they sat down again, Isoult thought she saw a grave, sad look on Annis’ face that was not wont to be there.

“I trusted to have seen thee home ere this, dear Annis,” she said, “for we heard that the Queen thy mistress was dead, and I thought thou wouldst not be like to tarry yonder.”

“Ay,” she said, sadly. “She is gone to God; and laud be to Him for it! No, Isoult, I had no mind to abide there.”

She shuddered, as with very horror, so that Isoult answered—“Methinks, sweet heart, thy Lord Marquis of Denia could be no worser than Bishop Gardiner.”

“There be eviller things in Spain than even he is,” said she, and shook her head.

“And where wilt thou go, Annis?” asked Isoult, “for my Lady’s Grace of Suffolk is out of this kingdom. I would have loved dearly to have thee hither till thou mightest fit thyself with a service, but verily all my chambers be full filled, and I would not lodge thee in the nursery, where be already Esther and the childre, except for a short space.”

A little smile played about the lips of Annis.

“Isoult,” she said, “after all I have said and writ touching Spain (and in good sooth may yet say and write), I fear thou shalt think me a marvellous contrarious maid, if I own to thee that I am about to wed a Spanish gentleman.”

“Well,” answered her friend, “that hangeth upon the Spanish gentleman’s particular.”

“Truth,” replied she; “and if I did not verily believe the grace of God to be in his heart, trust me, Isoult, I would never have him.”

“But wilt thou, then, go back to dwell in Spain?”

“God forbid!” cried she, heartily.

“I am afeard, sweet heart,” suggested Isoult, “thou shalt find this country little better. There be nigh every week burnings some whither.”

“O Isoult, Isoult!” cried she, vehemently. “There may be any thing of horrible and evil; but that all were not so much as worthy to be cast into the scale against the Inquisition!”

“Well,” said she, “I have not dwelt there as thou hast; but I have dwelt here these last three years, the which thou hast not. But who, prithee, is thy servant (suitor)? He is not in the King’s house, trow?”

“No, nor like to be,” said Annis. “It is Don Juan de Alameda, brother’s son to Doña Isabel, of whom I writ to thee.”

“Thou wrotest marvellous little to me, Annis,” said Isoult, smilingly.

“Nay, I writ twice in every year, as I promised,” answered she.

“Then know thou,” said Isoult, “that I never had those thy letters, saving two, which were (as I judge) the first thou didst write, and one other, two years gone or more, writ on the 14th day of August.”

“I writ thee three beside them,” answered she. “I suppose they were lost at sea, or maybe they lie in the coffers of the Inquisition. Any way, let them be now. I thank God I am come safe out of that land, where, if any whither, Satan hath his throne.”

“Then,” said Dr Thorpe, who had come in while she was speaking, “he must have two; for I am assured there is one set up at Westminster, nor is he oft away from it.”

Annis passed the rest of the day with Isoult, and Don Juan came in the evening to escort her to the inn where she was staying.

“I must needs allow Don Juan a very proper gentleman, and right fair in his ways; but I would Annis’ husband had been an Englishman. I feel not to trust any Spaniard at all,” said Isoult, after Annis was gone.

“Why,” said Marguerite Rose, “they are like us women. Some of the good ones may be very good; but all the bad ones be very bad indeed.”

Austin Bernher brought full news of the death of Ridley and Latimer. Isoult asked especially “if they had great suffering, and if they abode firm in the truth.”

“To the abiding firm,” said he, “yea, firm as the Mount Zion, that standeth fast for ever. For the suffering, it seemed me that my dear master suffered nothing at all, but with Dr Ridley (I sorrow to say it) it was far otherwise. But hearken, and you shall wit all.

“The night afore they suffered, Dr Ridley was very pleasant at supper, and bade them all that were at the table to his wedding; ‘for,’ saith he, ‘I must be married to-morrow. And though my breakfast be somewhat sharp and painful, yet I am sure my supper shall be more pleasant and sweet.’ Then saith Mr Shipside, his brother (Note 1), ‘I will bide with you this night.’ ‘Nay,’ answered he, ‘not so, for I mean to go to bed, and sleep as quietly as ever I did in my life.’

“The stake was made ready on the north side of the town, in the town-ditch, over against Balliol College; and my Lord Williams of Thame had the ordering thereof. As Dr Ridley passed Bocardo, he looked up, thinking to have seen my Lord Archbishop at the glass-window; but they had provided against that, by busying him in disputation with a Spanish friar. Then Dr Ridley, looking back, espied my master coming after. ‘Oh!’ saith he, ‘be you there?’—‘Yea,’ saith my master; ‘have after as fast as I can follow.’ So when they came to the stake, Dr Ridley embraced him, saying, ‘Brother, be of good heart, for God will either assuage the fury of the flame, or else strengthen us to abide it.’ Then they knelt and prayed; and after, talked a little to each other, but what they said none heard. Dr Smith (Robert Smith, a renegade from Lutheranism) preached the sermon, from ‘Though I give my body to be burned,’ and so forth, but his discourse lasted but a few minutes, and was nought save railing against heretics. Then Dr Ridley entreated of my Lord Williams leave of speech; which he would have given, but Mr Vice-Chancellor and the bailiffs would not suffer it, only that they might speak if they would recant, Dr Ridley cried then, ‘I will never deny my Lord Christ!’ and arising from his knees, he cried again with a loud voice, ‘Well, then, I commit our cause to Almighty God, who shall indifferently judge all.’ Whereto my master added his old posy (motto, maxim), ‘Well, there is nothing hid but it shall be opened.’ So that after they made them ready, and were fastened to the stake; and Mr Shipside brought two bags of gunpowder and tied around their necks. Then they brought a lighted faggot, and laid it at Dr Ridley’s feet. Then said my master, ‘Be of good comfort, Master Ridley, and play the man; we shall this day light such a candle, by God’s grace, in England, as I trust shall never be put out.’

“When Dr Ridley saw the fire flaming up towards him, he cried, with a wondrous loud voice, ‘Into Thy hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit!’ And oft afterwards, ‘Lord, Lord, receive my spirit!’ My master, on the other side, did as vehemently cry, ‘O Father of Heaven, receive my soul!’ Who (Latimer) received the flame as it were embracing it, and after he had stroked his face, and bathed his hands a little in the fire, soon died, to the sight of all present having no pain. Dr Ridley’s suffering, on the contrary side, was fearful, and only to compare with Bishop Hooper. Ask me not to say more touching it. But at last the flame reached the gunpowder, and after that he was seen to stir no more, only to fall down at Mr Latimer’s feet. I will but say more, that hundreds of them which saw the sight shed tears thereover.”

No one spoke when Austin ended.

At last, John said softly, “‘Never to be put out!’ Lord, grant this word of Thy martyr, and let that bright lamp lighted unto Thee give light for ever!”

Three hundred years have run out since that dread October day, when the candle was lighted at Oxford which should never be put out. And put out it has never been. Satan and all his angels may blow against it, but God holds it in the hollow of His hand, and there it is safe.

Yet there is a word of warning, as well as a word of hope. To the Church at Ephesus saith our Lord, “I know thy works,”—yea, “and thy labour,”—yea, “and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil; and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars; and hast borne, and hast patience, and for my name’s sake hast laboured, and hast not fainted.” Can more than this be said to our Church? Nay, can all this be said to her? God grant it. “Nevertheless”—nevertheless!—“I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love.” O Lord, how tenderly Thou dealest! Not “left thy love:” it was not so bad as that. Yet see how He notes the leaving of the first love! A little colder; a little deader; a little less ready to put on the coat, to defile the feet, to rise and open to the Beloved. Only a little; but how that little grieves His heart, who hath never left His first love. And what is the end? “I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.”

“O earth,” and O England, “hear the word of the Lord!” Art thou yet warm in thy first love? Has there been no looking back to Sodom, no longing for the flesh-pots of Egypt, no eyes wandering toward the house of Baal? God grant that thou mayest not lose thy candle! It was wrought of blood and in tears: is it a light thing that thou shouldst let it be put out?

One night in November came in Mr Underhill, and an hour after him, Mr Ferris.

“Welcome, George!” said Mr Underhill. “Any news abroad?”

“Have you heard none to-night?” said he.

“Not so much as would go by the eye of a needle,” he answered. “Is there tidings?”

“The Bishop of Winchester is dead.”

Mr Underhill sprang to his feet with a cry of exultation.

“‘Glory to God in the highest!’ yea, I might go further—‘on earth peace!’ Jack, let us sing the Te Deum.”

“Not in my house,” said John, quietly.

“Thou recreant faint-heart! What meanest?”

“I am ready enough to sing the Te Deum, Ned,” pursued John, “but not for so terrible a thing as the casting of that poor sinner, with the blood of God’s saints red upon his soul, into the lake that burneth with fire and brimstone.”

“How can you stay to think of it?” cried Mr Underhill in his ringing voice. “Is that blood even now not crying unto God? Are Rogers and Bradford, are Ridley and Latimer, yet avenged? Shall not the saints wash their feet in the blood of the ungodly? Yea, let them fall, and never rise up again! Shall we be thus slack to praise God for freedom?”

“Wait till we are free,” said John, drily.

“And moderate your voice, Ned Underhill,” added Mr Ferris, “if you would be free long.”

Mr Underhill laid his hands upon John’s shoulders.

“Look me in the face, John Avery,” answered he, “and tell me what you mean. Think you this great palace of cruelty and injustice built up by him shall not crumble to dust along with Stephen Gardiner?”

“I doubt it very greatly,” he replied.

“Assuredly not,” said Marguerite Rose, “so long as the King Philip is in this country, and the Bishop of London. It might ask Dr Gardiner to build the palace, but I think they shall be able to keep it standing.”

“But King Philip is not in this country,” said Mr Underhill.

“He is master of it,” said John.

“Alas for my Te Deum, then!” sighed Mr Underhill, shrugging his shoulders. “But I hope you may yet find you mistaken, Jack Avery.”

“Not more than I, Ned,” said John, sadly.

John Avery did not find himself mistaken; but it was not long ere Mr Underhill did so. He allowed that his Te Deum had been too soon, when on the 18th of December Archdeacon Philpot was burned. And the burnings in Smithfield were then not half over.

On the 12th of January, at Mr Underhill’s house in Wood Street, by Mr Carter, was christened little Anne Underhill, born on Epiphany Eve (see Note in Appendix). Her sponsors were Mr Ferris, Helen Ive, and Isoult Avery.

Ere this, a few days before Christmas, Mr Rose’s first letter had reached his wife’s hands. It brought the welcome tidings that he had arrived safely at Geneva, yet through such perils that he would not advise her to follow. When Isoult had read the letter, she remarked—

“I do see Mr Rose accounteth not himself to be lawfully divorced, for he maketh account of her as his wife all through the letter, and signeth himself at the end thereof, her loving and faithful husband.”

“Doth that astonish thee?” said John, laughing.

“Well, of a truth,” she answered, “I had thought the worse of him for any other dealing.”

Annis Holland came again in March to spend a day at the Lamb. On this occasion she told the rest of her story, or, it may rather be called, the story of Queen Juana. For many months after that first accidental meeting, she told them, she never again saw her royal mistress. But Doña Leonor Gomez, who was exceedingly loquacious when she had no fear of consequences, and sometimes when she had, told her that so long as she was in her right senses, nothing would ever induce the Queen to attend mass. To persuade her to do any thing else, they would tell her they acted under command of the King her father (who had in reality been dead many years); and she, loving him dearly, and not having sufficient acuteness left to guess the deceit practised upon her, would assent readily to all they wished, except that one thing. Even that influence failed to induce her to be present at mass.

“And one day,” said Annis, “about the Christmastide, two years gone, I was sitting and sewing in my chamber, Maria being forth, and I had been chanting to myself the hymn, ‘Christe Redemptor Omnium.’ When I had ended and was silent, thinking me alone, a voice from the further end of the chamber saith, ‘Sing again, Doña Ines.’ I looked up in very terror, for here was the Queen’s Highness herself. I marvelled how she should have come forth of her chamber, and what my Lord of Denia should say. ‘Señora,’ said I, ‘I kiss the soles of your feet. But allow me to entreat your Highness to return to your chamber.’—‘I will not return till you have sung to me,’ saith she. And she sat right down on the floor, and clasped her hands around her knees. So I had no choice but to sing my hymn over again. When I ended, she saith, ‘What means it, Doña Ines? Is it somewhat of our Lord?’—‘Ay, Señora,’ I made answer, ‘it is all touching Him,’—‘I understood the Church hymns once,’ she said; ‘but that was before the cuerda. Sing some more.’ Then I sang ‘Victimae Paschali!’ ‘Miserere!’ she repeated, dreamily, as if that word had woke some old echoes in her memory. ‘Ay de mi! child, I lack the mercy very sorely.’—‘He knoweth that, Señora,’ said I gently. ‘And His time is the best time.’ And she answered, as she had aforetime,—‘I would He would come!’ I knew scarce what to answer; but I had no time to answer at all, ere the door opened, which the Queen had closed behind her, and my dread Lord of Denia stood before me. ‘What is this, Señora?’ he said to her Highness. ‘Your Highness here!’ And turning to me, ‘Doña Ines,’ quoth he, ‘explain it if you can.’ I thought the wisest thing should be to speak very truth, as well as the right, and I told him even how matters stood with me. ‘I see,’ he answered. ‘You have not been to blame, except that you should have called immediately for help, and have put her back into her chamber. Rise, Señora!’ The Queen clasped her hands closer around her knees. ‘I am at ease here,’ she said. ‘And I want Doña Ines to sing.’ The Marquis took a step nearer her. ‘Alteza,’ he said, ‘I desire your Highness to rise. You should be ashamed—you, a Queen!’ She looked up on him with a look I had not seen in her eyes aforetime. ‘Am I a Queen?’ she said. ‘If so, a Queen captive in the enemy’s hands! If I be your Queen, obey me—depart from this chamber when you hear my “Yo la Reyna.” (Note 2.) Begone, señor Marques! Leave me in peace.’ ‘Señora!’ he answered, unmoving, ‘I am surprised. You are in your own Palace, where your father detains you; and you call it captivity! Rise at once, Señora, and return to your chamber.’ He spoke sternly and determinedly. The captive lioness heard the keeper’s voice, and obeyed. ‘My father—ay Don Fernando!’ she said only. And holding out both her hands to him, as a child should do, he led her away. After that, I saw her no more for many weary months. At times the terrible screams would arouse me from sleep, and then I prayed for her, that God would strengthen her, and ease the torment to her; but, above all, that God would take her. I trust it were not sin in me, Isoult. But if thou hadst seen her as I saw her!

“Well, I saw her no more until this last April. Then there came a night when the shrieks awoke me, more terrible than I had ever heard them yet. When Doña Leonor came into my chamber on the morrow, which was Good Friday, I asked if she knew the cause. She told me ay. Her Highness lay dying, and had refused to receive (that is, to receive the sacrament). Fray Domingo de Soto would not suffer her to depart without the host. While she yet talked with me, entered Doña Ximena de Lara, that had never been in my chamber afore, and alway seemed to hold her much above me. ‘Doña Ines,’ quoth she, ‘my Lord of Denia commands you to follow me quickly. The Queen is in a fearful frenzy, and sith she hath alway much loved music, and divers times hath desired you should be fetched to sing to her, my Lord Marquis would have you try whether that will serve to abate her rage.’

“‘And they gave her the cuerda?’ said I, as I followed Doña Ximena. ‘Ay, for two hours and more,’ saith she, ‘but alas! to no end. She refuseth yet to receive His Majesty.’ Know thou, Isoult, that these strange folk call the wafer ‘His Majesty’—a title that they give at once to God and the King. ‘They gave her the premia early last night,’ saith she, ‘but it was to no good; wherefore it was found needful to repeat the same, more severely, near dawn. Her screams must have been heard all over the town. A right woeful frenzy followed, wherein (she being ignorant of what she did) they caused her to swallow His Majesty. Whereupon, in the space of some few minutes, by the power of our Lord, she calmed; but the frenzy is now returned, and they think her very near her departing.’ In her Highness’ chamber a screen was drawn afore the bed, that I could not see her; but her struggles and her cries could too well be heard. My Lord of Denia stood without the screen, and I asked what it was his pleasure I should sing. He answered, what I would, but that it should be soft and soothing. And methought the Hymn for the Dead should be the best thing to sing for the dying.

“‘Rex tremendae majestatis,
Qui salvandos salvas gratis,
Salve me, Fons Pietatis!’

“I had sung but one verse when her crying ceased; and ere I had sung two, she saith with a deep sigh, ‘Ay Jesus!’ and lay quiet. Then, when I paused, she said, ‘Is it Doña Ines?’—‘Speak to her,’ quoth my Lord Marquis. ‘Señora,’ I answered, ‘I am your Highness’ servant Ines, that kisseth your feet.’—‘Come hither to me,’ the Queen said. ‘Child, God hath looked on long in silence, but He is come at last.’ My Lord of Denia made me a sign to pass within the screen. There lay she, her snow-white hair scattered over the pillow; her ladies standing or kneeling around the bed. ‘It is over!’ she said, speaking slowly, and with pauses. ‘I shall suffer no longer. I shall go to God.’—‘Señora,’ quoth my Lord Marquis, ‘I entreat your Highness to be silent. You have received His Majesty, and cannot be allowed to soil your soul by evil words, when Christ is within you.’—‘Ye forced me, did ye?’ she answered, a quick flash of anger breaking the calm of her face. ‘Ah! well, God knoweth. I did it not. God knoweth. And God will receive me. He witteth what I have been, and what ye.’ She lay silent a season; and then, slowly, as if it pained her, she drew her hands together, and folded them as if she prayed, Fray Domingo began a Latin prayer. ‘Silence!’ saith the Queen, royally. And for this once—the last time—her gaolers obeyed her. She fetched a long weary sigh, and laid her hands one over the other on her breast. Then, in low, calm, quiet tones, her last words were spoken. ‘Father, into Thine hands I commit my spirit. Jesus Christ, the Crucified, be with me! I thank God that my life is over.’ It was over, only a few minutes later. And I think He was with her through the valley of the shadow of death.” (Note 2.)

“Isoult,” said Annis, as she ended her woeful story, “thinkest thou this were martyrdom—this daily dying for six and twenty years? Was it any less, borne for our Lord’s love, than any of His martyrs? They that are burned or beheaded, they do but suffer once, and then no more. It must be easier, methinks, than to die piecemeal, as she did. And she knew so little! Isoult, dost thou think Christ will count her in the number of His martyrs?”

“It soundeth very like, Annis,” she answered.

“I do not fancy,” said John, “that the Lord is so ill off for martyrs’ crowns that He will have none to spare for her.”

“Well!” responded Dr Thorpe. “It should be no great wonder if they were used up, seeing how many must have been fetched within the last two years.”

“I could believe any thing of Don Carlos,” answered Marguerite Rose. “He that so ill used his aunt, that had been a mother unto him, the Lady Marguerite of Savoy, that was Governess of Flanders,—he should not have much love for his own mother.”

And Thekla said,—“I think the crown of the Queen Doña Juana must have been a very bright one. It is so hard to watch and wait.”

“My poor Thekla!” murmured Isoult, “thou hast had much thereof.”

“I!” she answered, with a smile. “I have done nothing. I have not been forsaken and ill dealt withal, as she was, of my best beloved, throughout many years. Compare me not with her! If I may sit down some whither in Heaven where I can but see her on the heights, that would be too good for me.”

“But art thou willing to see Christ only on the heights, Thekla?” said John.

“No,” she said, again with her sweet smile. “I should want to be close to Him. No, I could not be content to look on Him afar off.”

“In that case,” said John, “there is no fear that He shall ask it of thee.”

No, there is no fear of His keeping us afar off. It is we who follow afar off. “Father, I will that they also, whom Thou hast given Me, be with Me where I am; that they may behold My glory, which Thou hast given Me.” With our dear Master, it is never “Go, and do this hard thing, go and suffer this heavy sorrow, go and bear this weary waiting.” It is always “Come and do it;” or at least, “Let us go.”

And now there came another martyrdom: the highest, and in some sense, the sorest of them all; yet, by many, not the last. There was room for many souls under the Altar: ay, and on the Throne.

On the 22nd of March, with great pomp and splendour, “The Lord Raynald Pole, Cardinal Legate,” was consecrated Archbishop of Canterbury. It was therefore apparent that Dr Cranmer had been degraded. Isoult said so to Mr Underhill, whom she met at the service at Mr Ferris’ lodging, and his answer troubled her no little.

“Nay, Mrs Avery,” he replied; “’tis a sign that my Lord Archbishop is dead, for I do know by letter from Bernher, which is now at Oxford, that yesterday was appointed for his burning.”

And they had never heard one word after his recantation. Dead, without recanting it! Dead, denying Christ at his end, after confessing Him in his life! This was worse than many martyrdoms, for it was martyrdom of the soul. Was there no hope? Must this death be the second death? They knew that in the last hour, ay, even in the last minute, he might have repented unto life, and have again caught hold of Christ: but should they who had prayed so fervently for the lost brother, have no word to say so—no “this thy brother is alive again?” Must they never know whether to look for him on the right or the left hand of the King, till they should see him there in the last day?

“I told you too true, Mrs Avery; my Lord Archbishop is dead.”

These were the first words which Isoult heard, when she came down the stairs on the following morning.

“But how died he, Mr Underhill?” she cried anxiously.

“Gloriously! Like a martyr and a Prince of God’s Church, as he was, publicly repenting the recantation whereto he had set his hand from fear, and confessing Christ nobly before men, till at last they would not hear a word further—they haled and hurried him to the stake.”

“Thank God!” Her voice failed her; she could say no more.

“It was a foul and rainy day,” he went on; “so Austin told me. My Lord Archbishop was led from Bocardo to Saint Mary Church, betwixt two friars that mumbled certain Psalms, and at the church door they began the Nunc Dimittis. My Lord was ill-favouredly clad, in a bare and ragged gown, and an old square cap. Dr Cole preached, and more than twenty times during the sermon, the Archbishop was seen to have the water in his eyes. Then they did desire him to get up into the pulpit, and openly to retract his preaching, and show all the people that he was become a true Catholic.”

“And did he that?”

“‘Fair and softly go far in a day.’ Have a little patience, I pray you. Well, he spake a long season, first, against the world; item, unto obedience; item, to brotherly love; item, against money-love; and lastly, he said over the Creed. ‘And now (quoth he) I come to the great thing which so much troubleth my conscience.’ He said his hand had offended against God, in signing his recantation; and when he should come to the fire, it should be first burned. And so he spake bravely, renouncing the Pope as Antichrist, and Christ’s enemy and his, and that he utterly abhorred all his false doctrine. And touching the Sacrament, the doctrine ‘which (saith he) I have taught in my book is true, and will stand at the last day before the judgment of God, when the Papistical doctrine contrary thereto shall be ashamed to show her head.’

“Well, like Paul, they gave him audience unto this word, and then cried out, Away with such a fellow from the earth! They cried that he was false, and dissembled. ‘Ah, my masters!’ quoth our good Archbishop, ‘do you take it so? Always since I lived hitherto, I have been a hater of falsehood, and a lover of simplicity, and never before this time have I dissembled.’ The water stood in his eyes; and he would have spoken more against the Pope and the mass, but Cole crieth out, ‘Stop the heretic’s mouth! Take him away!’ Then the friars set upon him, and pulled him down out of the pulpit, and so hurried him away to the place where, five months before him, Dr Ridley had died.

“Then there he knelt and prayed, and made him, ready; and stood on the stones robed in his long white shirt, barefoot, and his head (whenas his cap were off) without one hair thereon, though his beard was long and thick. Then (he giving the hand to such as he knew about the stake), they bound the chain around him, and lit the fire. And until it was full burned, he held forth his right hand in the fire, crying ever and anon, ‘This unworthy right hand!’ At last he saith, ‘Lord Jesus, receive my spirit!’ And so he yielded it up to Him. But afterward, when his ashes were cold, amid the charred faggots his heart was found entire.

“So passed that great heart away from us, that perchance we knew not fully how to prize. Beshrew my weak eyes! I am but a fool; yet ’tis hard to think that we shall see his reverend countenance no more.”

And Mr Underhill dashed away the tears from his eyes, much like Philippa Basset. Isoult never had seen him thus affected before.

But on their knees in their chambers, the Gospellers thanked God from their hearts that day, for this pouring forth of His Spirit upon the dry ground; for His glory thus exalted in the awakening of that dear brother from sleep which seemed as though it might be death; for His strength, so gloriously shown forth in mortal weakness, that warmed and quickened the last beatings of the noble heart of Archbishop Cranmer.

“Jack,” said Isoult that night to her husband, “I would I had asked Mr Underhill if Austin had yet heard anything of Robin.”

“Ah!” said he.

“Thou art not used to answer so short,” she replied. “Hast thou heard any thing, Jack?”

“I have heard—nothing—certain,” he answered, hesitatingly.

“Jack, what hast thou heard?” she cried in terror.

“With any surety, dear heart, nothing whatever,” he said, lovingly; “only that Austin hath spoken to me touching him, and therefore I could not say I had heard nothing. And at most ’tis only a guess. I cry thee mercy not to have told thee, but seeing how unsure it were, I thought it more kindlier not to trouble thee. Well, sweeting, what Austin said was this: he hath made all search in every prison he hath visited, and spake unto divers prisoners, but no word of the dear lad may he have. And he is afeard, Isoult—it is but a guess, thou wist!—that all is over already.”

Before he had half finished, his meaning struck on her heart, like a passing bell. “All over!” she knew what that meant.

“O my God! wilt thou not give us one word that we may know? This watching and waiting is so hard to bear. I desire to be, to do, to suffer Thy will; but, Father, it is very weary work to wait! ‘If it be possible,’ send us some word of our lost darling! ‘Make no long tarrying, O my God!’”

It was not to John, and not aloud, that this was spoken.

It is not only children who are afraid of the dark. We all love to walk by sight. We are rarely content to see only the next step we must take; yet it is all we need see, and often all that God will show us. The darkness and the light are both alike to Him; and if only we would let Him see for us, we should act the part of wise children. It is easy, when the light comes, to cry out at our past foolishness in being afraid of the dark. We never think so while the darkness is upon us.

A few days later came Philippa Basset, full of Court news, which she had from her brother James.

“Yesterday,” said she, “came a letter or messenger from King Philip, denying his present return hither: whereupon the Queen fell into so great a chafe, that she commanded his picture borne out of the privy chamber. Thus far my brother; but Jack Throgmorton saith that she fetched a knife and scored the picture twice or thrice all the way down, and then kicked it out of the chamber. (Throgmorton denied having said this, when a judicial inquiry was held.) ‘Saint Mary worshipped might she be!’ said I to James, ‘is her Grace a woman like to do that?’ ‘Nay,’ saith he, ‘not half so like as thou shouldst be in her place.’” Whereat Philippa laughed merrily.

Isoult was in a mood for any thing rather than laughter. It was too near Easter for mirth. Easter, which should be the most blessed festival of the year, was now turned into an occasion of offence and of mourning to the servants of God.

In the evening all from the Lamb were at Mr Underhill’s farewell supper, at his house in Wood Street, whence he purposed to set out for Coventry the next day as soon as the gates were opened. He said he would not remain another Easter in London.

The last day of June came a letter to John Avery from Mr Underhill, saying that they had all arrived safely at Coventry, and he had taken a house a mile out of the city, “in a wood side,” where he trusted to keep quiet until the tyranny were overpast.

The darkness was growing thicker.

In that month of June began the procession in every church, at which the Bishop commanded the attendance of every child in London, bearing books or beads in hand, and of one adult from each house to take charge of them. “Ours are not like to go,” said Isoult, tenderly; “but ’tis harder work to set them in peril than to go therein one’s self.”

Sir John Gage died on the 18th of April, an old man full of years. It was he who had been on the Commission to Calais, and had brought Isoult to England after Lord Lisle’s arrest; and he had also endeavoured to have Mr Underhill sent to Newgate.

The search against Lutheran books was now very strict (and laughable enough in less sorrowful circumstances). Among these Lutheran books the most strictly forbidden were my Lord Chancellor’s book “De Vera Obedientia” and one written by the Queen herself when a girl, under the auspices of Katherine Parr,—a translation of a work of Erasmus.

Another letter came from Mr Rose in July, bringing good news of his welfare; and in August Annis Holland was married to Don Juan de Alameda.

Writing on the 21st of August, in her diary, Isoult said—

“Not one word more touching Robin. There be times when I feel as though I could bear it no longer, though what I could do to end it, soothly I cannot tell. I conceive well what David signified, when he saith he did roar through the very disquietness of his heart. I dare not tell this to Marguerite, for she is too nearly of the same complexion to give me any comfort; and to say a word to Esther is no good, for she silenceth me at once with some passage of Holy Writ as ‘Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?’ And what can I say to that but Amen? Jack is always loving and tender, but he can (I well perceive) see little comfort herein himself; and to do so much as name the thing to Thekla were wanton cruelty, though I do fancy she should be the best comforter. So I must wait on, and cry unto God. It may be that is the very thing He would have of me.”

Bad news came by Austin, early in 1557—the death of the Earl of Sussex (Note 4), Mr Rose’s chief friend in high places. Poor Marguerite was much downcast, saying they had now lost their best friend.

“No, Mother dear,” answered Thekla, “not our best Friend. He is in an higher place; and He dieth no more.”

Another Easter came and passed; and King Philip returned to England.

Every now and then Austin visited the Lamb; but he brought no news of Robin. Isoult thought she had never realised how dearly she loved the lad till now. It was hard to thank God for such a blank in the home as this; and yet deep in the inmost heart she knew, as every Christian knows, that the Father was doing all things well, and that “there was no must be without a needs be.” To wait on the Lord is no easy task to flesh and blood; but there is one thing yet harder, and that is to rest in the Lord while waiting.

And meanwhile Thekla drooped and faded, day by day. She never spoke now of Robin; but it was easy to see that she had not forgotten him. Slower and more languid grew her step, and her face whiter and graver, with an expression of sorrowful patience, which did not quit its hold upon the lips even when they smiled.

“She is worn to a shadow,” said Marguerite, bitterly. “Why cannot we go home to God? What profit is it to Him that we do suffer?”

And Isoult was silent; but she remembered Robin’s words about “believers in the dark.”

On the 7th of June, which was Whit Monday, there was a Passion Play at Court. Isoult, coming in from a call upon her neighbour, Mrs Brent, observed in a rather disgusted tone—

“Gillian Brent must needs go to see this mystery. For me, I might as easily or as willingly go to see a martyrdom. She saith ’tis right sweet and devotional, and maketh her to feel so good she cannot tell how much. ’Tis a sort of goodness I covet not. It were like murdering the Son of God over again, to see His blessed name taken upon himself of a sinful man, and His bitter passion set forth to divert men. Gillian saith none will see the thing as I do; but that cannot I help. Perchance He may, when He looketh down upon it.”

At her house at Chelsea, on the 16th of July, died Anna of Cleve, one of the two widows of Henry the Eighth. She came to England a Lutheran, and died a Papist. King Philip went to Flanders on the 5th of July; on the 14th of August came news of the great victory of Saint Quentin, which the King had won there; and the next day there were great thanksgivings and rejoicings over all the City. And on the 20th of October died Mary Countess of Arundel, at Arundel House; she was cousin of Philippa Basset, and when she was Countess of Sussex, Isoult had lived for some time in her house with Anne Basset.

A fortnight previous, London was requested to rejoice again, for peace was concluded with the Pope.

“Verily,” said Dr Thorpe, “this is a marvellous thing, to bid us rejoice, and to give us cause for mourning.”

“Marry,” responded Mr Ferris, “for me, when the war brake forth, I sang the Te Deum under my breath; now will I clothe me in sackcloth under my raiment, and so shall I have both sorrowed and rejoiced, and none can grudge against me.”

The year 1557 closed heavily. The burnings went on, but they were chiefly of poor men and women: sometimes, but not often, of children or girls. On the 12th of December a Gospellers’ meeting was dispersed, and many taken by the Sheriff; but no friends of the Averys. All this time Mr Holland, with his wife and child, were at his father’s house in Lancashire, and Mr Underhill with his household at Coventry. Isoult’s last entry in her diary for this year ran as follows:—

“Austin came yesterday, to tell us my Lady of Suffolk and Mr Bertie did quit Germany, where they had refuged, in April last, and be now safe in Poland, at a town called Crossen, and the King’s Grace of Poland hath set Mr Bertie over a province of his. I am glad to hear this. They had, nathless, many and great troubles in their journey, but sith ’tis all over, it is not worth grieving for.

“Ah, faithless heart and foolish! and will not all troubles be so, when the last mile of the journey cometh? Yea, may we not find we had most cause to thank God for the roughest parts of the way? So saith my sense and judgment: yet for all this will mine heart keep crying out, and will not be silent. O Robin, Robin! an other year!”

The Gospellers never entered on any year with heavier hearts than on the year 1558. The year of all the century! the year that was to close so gloriously—to go out with trumpets, and bells, and bonfires, and Te Deums, and all England in a wild ferment of delight and thanksgiving! And how often do we enter on a year of mourning with our hearts singing anthems?

It is well that it should be so. We have abundant cause to thank God that He has hidden the future from us. It is enough for us to know that all things work together for good to them that love Him, to them that are the called according to His purpose.

But very, very mournfully came this year in; for it opened with the loss of Calais. Isoult had dwelt there for two years with Lady Lisle; and there were few places nearer to her heart. Perhaps we can hardly picture to ourselves how nearly that loss touched every English heart. It was as if each man in the land had lost a piece of his estate. Calais belonged to every Englishman.

“Well, my friends in the monastery!” was the greeting of Mr Ferris, “that I promised Underhill I would look to by times. Hath your secluded ear been yet pierced with the tidings this morrow—that be making every man all over London to swear and curse, that loveth not his soul better than his anger?”

“What now?” said John. “Nay, the Courts be not yet opened again, so I have bidden at home.”

“And I am an old man, burdened with an access,” (a fit of the gout) said Dr Thorpe. “Come, out with your news! What platform (Note 5) toucheth it?”

“Every platform in the realm. Have it here—Calais is lost.”

“Calais!” They said no more.

But a vision rose before the eyes of Isoult—of George Bucker in the pulpit of the Lady Church, and Lord and Lady Lisle in the nave below: of the Market Place, where his voice had rung out true and clear: of the Lantern Gate whereon his head had been exposed: of the gallows near Saint Pierre whereon he had died. His voice came back to her, and Lord Lisle’s—both which she had heard last in the Tower, but both which were to her for ever bound up with Calais. Her eyes were swimming, and she could not speak. And before another word had been uttered by any one, the latch was lifted by Philippa Basset.

“There is not a man left in England!” she cried. “Calais had never been lost, had I been there to fire the culverins.”

“No, Madam,” said Mr Ferris (who did not know that she was a Papist). “They have all been burned or beheaded.”

“Upon my word, but I am coming to think so!” cried she. “Shame upon every coward of them! Were there not enough to fill the first breach with a wall of men’s bodies, rather than lose the fairest jewel of the Crown? Beshrew the recreants! but I had never come away from that breach alive! I would have died with Calais!”

“I am sorry you were not there, Madam,” said he, “for the sake of Calais. For your own sake, ’tis well.”

“I am sorry all over,” answered she. “The Queen taketh it most heavily of all. She said to her ladies that when she should be dead, they should find ‘Calais’ graved upon her heart.”

Hitherto the storm of persecution had not come inside the little walled circle of friends dear to the hearts of the Averys. It had raged around them, had broken fiercely upon men whom they reverenced and loved as afar off. But now it was to come within. One whose eyes had looked into theirs, whose lips had smiled on them, whose voice had bidden God bless them,—ay, upon whose knee the children had sat, and chattered to him in childish wise,—was summoned from the midst of them, to go up in the chariot of fire into the presence of the Lord.

Austin and Mr Underhill came together, both very pensive, on the night of the 6th of May.

“There is ill news with you, I fear,” said John.

“There is ill news, and that right heavy,” answered Mr Underhill. “Roger Holland is taken.”

“Where and how?” they asked.

“With six other, in a quiet close near Saint John’s Wood, where they were met to read God’s Word and pray together, this last May Day; and carried afore my Lord of London. He had better have tarried at his father’s in Lancashire, whence he was but newly come.”

“And Bessy?” said Isoult, compassionately.

“Roger left her and the child in Lancashire,” said he; “where, if she will take mine avisement, she will remain.”

Mr Holland was examined before Bishop Bonner, Lord Strange being present, with others of his Lancashire kinsmen. Austin reported that “he confessed Christ right nobly, and kept up the Bishop in a corner by his wise and gentle learning—such as I had not thought had been in him:” and at last, after much discussion, the Bishop lost his patience (a commodity of which he never carried much to market), called Mr Holland a blasphemous heretic, and sentenced him to be burned.

Mr Holland replied, as the gaoler was about to remove him,—“My Lord, I beseech you, suffer me to speak two words.”

“Nay!” cried he, “I will not hear thee: have him away!”

Lord Strange interfered, and begged that his cousin might be heard.

“Speak?” growled Bonner, “what hast thou to say?”

Mr Holland answered, “Even now I told you that your authority was from God, and by His sufferance; and now I tell you, God hath heard the prayer of His servants, which hath been poured forth with tears for His afflicted saints, whom you daily persecute, as now you do us. But this I dare be bold in God to say (by whose Spirit I am moved), that God will shorten your hand of cruelty, that for a time you shall not molest His Church. And this you shall in a short time well perceive, my dear brethren, to be most true. For after this day, in this place, there shall not be any by him put to the trial of fire and faggot.”

The Bishop replied that “he should yet live to burn, yea, and he would burn, for all this prattling:” and so went his way, and Mr Holland was taken back to Newgate.

But the Bishop, like many another, laid his plans without reference to Him who sat above the water-floods. Roger Holland had an unction from the Holy One, and his prescience was true. The commandment was gone forth from the presence of the King—“Hitherto shalt thou come, and no further.” After that once, by Bonner, and in Smithfield, there was never another “trial of fire and faggot.”

Yet for that once, the Devil and Edmund Bonner had their way. Waiting for Roger Holland were the white robe and the martyr’s palm; and with his name the muster-roll of soldiers slain in the great battle of England was closed in Heaven.

It is not entirely unedifying to note why this man was martyred. So long as he pursued the profligate course on which he had embarked in early youth, Rome had not a word to say to him. Sin does not come under her cognisance, except to be muffled up in absolution, and hidden from the eyes of the sinner—but not from the eyes of God. But the moment that Holland’s course was altered, and he began to try so to walk as to please God, that moment he came under the ban of her who dares to stand up in the face of the world, and with unblushing effrontery to call herself the Church of God.

Very late on the 28th of June, Augustine Bernher brought the news of the last martyrdom. His face told, before he spoke, that he came to say something terrible. The first thoughts of those at the Lamb, as usual, flew to Robin and Mr Rose; but Austin quickly turned them into a different channel.

“I am come,” he said, “from Roger Holland’s martyrdom.”

“Eh, Austin! is it over with Mr Holland?” cried Isoult.

“It is over with him, and he shall suffer no more pains of death for ever. He and the other six taken with him were burned to-day in Smithfield.”

“And how went it with him?”

“When he was come to the stake,” answered Austin, “he embraced it, and looking up unto Heaven, he saith:—‘Lord, I most humbly thank Thy Majesty that Thou hast called me from the state of death unto the light of Thy heavenly Word, and now unto the fellowship of Thy saints, that I may sing and say, Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God of Hosts. And, Lord, into Thy hands I commit my spirit. Lord, bless these Thy people, and save them from idolatry.’ And so, looking up unto Heaven, and praising God,—God stooped and took him.”

“Alas, poor Bessy!” said Isoult, after a while.

“I must write unto her,” said Austin. “I trust she is yet safe in Lancashire.”

Isoult did not forget her before God that night. It was easy for the mass of the Gospellers to think of Mr Holland as he now was, at Home, in the safe rest of the Father’s house, and to praise God for him. But his Bessy was not likely to do so as yet. When the night is very dark, we cannot always lift our heads to see how fair the light shines on the further side of the Jordan; and to us who are in the thickness of the darkness, it is at times no lighter for that knowledge. And the night was very dark now.

And yet some tell us—ay, some of us, Englishmen whose fathers passed through these dreadful scenes, leaving to their sons such awful memories,—they tell us it were better to leave those memories sleeping. “Why rake up such disagreeable reminiscences? They belong to past ages. Rome is different now, just as society is different. Is this charity, peace, forbearance?”

I reply, it is charity, and of the highest type. When a man sees his friend in the grasp of a tiger, he does not drop his levelled gun on the plea of charity to the tiger. And Rome is not different. She only looks so, because the wisdom of our fathers circumscribed her opportunities, just as the tiger looks harmless in a cage in the Zoological Gardens. Shall we therefore open the cage door?

And we, who are bent on pulling down as fast as we can those bars which our fathers forged in tears and blood,—let us be a little more consistent. Let us take away the locks from our doors, because for ten years there has been no attempt at burglary in that street. Let us pull down the hurdles which surround our sheep-pens, because for some time no lamb has been lost from that particular flock. We are not such fools as to do these things. Men’s bodies, and still more men’s property, are safely protected among us. But how is it about men’s souls? How will it be when the rulers of England shall stand at the Bar whence there is no appeal, and hear from the great Judge the awful requirement,—“Where is thy flock that was given thee, thy beautiful flock?” Shall we hear about “want of power”—which generally means want of will—about “the voice of the nation,” and “the spirit of the age,” and “respect to the opinions of others,” and the numberless little fictions with which men wile their souls to sleep, here and now? Will the Bishop who swore before God to “drive away all erroneous and strange doctrine contrary to His Word,” offer to the Judge then those convenient excuses with which he salves over his conscience now? Will the statesman who followed the multitude to do evil, instead of leading them to do good, urge in His presence who seeth in secret the platitudes about majorities and the national will which he finds satisfactory now? There is a very solemn passage in God’s neglected and despised Word, concerning him who knew his Lord’s will, and did it not.

Another Easter passed away, and left them safe. The summer was a season, not so much of suffering, as of fear and waiting. They were tarrying the Lord’s leisure. A few months later, Isoult Avery wrote in her diary—

“My birthday, and I am now forty-five years of age. It is not unmeet that I should tarry a while at the milestones, and look back on the way by which the Lord hath led me. This last year hath been very woeful and weary. What shall the next be?

“O Lord, Thou knowest. All the way is of Thine ordering, all guided by wisdom that never erreth, by love that never waxeth faint. I will trust Thy wisdom to devise, and Thy love to effect. Father in Heaven! let me not faint under Thy correction, neither let me despise Thy chastening. Be merciful unto me, O Lord, be merciful unto me! And Thou (not I) knowest best how and when I need Thy mercy. Hear (and if need be, forgive) the cry which echoes in mine heart for ever—‘If it be possible,’ give us back our darling!”

The great Emperor Charles the Fifth died on the 21st of September in this year, in the monastery of San Yuste, whither he went to “make his salvation” in his old age.

“I trust,” said Isoult, when she heard it, “that he repented him, among other sins, of his ill-using of his mother. There shall doubtless be many masses for him here.”

Il faut beaucoup prier!” said Marguerite Rose, drily.

The end was at hand now. The eventful November of 1558 had set in.

Philippa told Isoult that the Queen suffered fearfully. She sat many days on the floor of her chamber, her knees higher than her head. The pain in her head was dreadful; and people began to say that she, who was originally accounted merciful, had been merciful all through, for that others had given orders for the burnings, and she, even in sceptring the Acts, had scarcely known what she did. The last time that she went to the House of Lords, she was too ill to walk, but was borne by her gentlemen in waiting to the throne. James Basset told his sister, that “he counted all burned or beheaded in the Queen’s reign had not suffered so much, body nor soul, as she.”

James Basset, who had been ailing for some time, grew worse on the 16th, when the Queen and the Cardinal were both so ill, that it was thought doubtful which of them would die the sooner. All matters of state, and many of business, were held as it were in the air, waiting the Queen’s death. Many of the Council had already set forth for Hatfield. “That should not like me,” said Isoult, “were I either the dying sister or the living.” And she who lay in that palace of White Hall must have known (if she were not beyond knowing anything) that round her grave would be no mourners—that she had done little to cause England to weep for her, and much to cause rejoicing that she could harm England no more. Did she know that men without were naming the day Hope Wednesday, because every hour they expected news of her end?

“God save Queen Elizabeth! Long live the Queen! Yea, may the Queen live for ever!”

These were the first sounds which Isoult heard when she was awoke from sleep on the Friday morning. Indeed, there was far too much tumult for sleep. Great crowds of men were pouring through Aldgate; and as she looked from the window she saw men kissing, and embracing, and weeping, and laughing, and shouting, all at once, and all together. And but one was the burden of all—“The Queen is dead! The Lady Elizabeth is Queen! God save Queen Elizabeth!”

“Hurrah!” said Mr Ferris, an hour later, flinging up his cap to the ceiling as he came in. “Hurrah! now is come the Golden Age again! We may breathe now. Long life to the Queen of the Gospellers!”

“I thought she were rather the Queen of the Lutherans,” suggested John.

“All one,” answered he. “Lutherans burn not Gospellers, nor clap them into prison neither. What have Gospellers to fear from Queen Anne’s daughter?”

“They may have something from King Henry’s,” answered John.

“Jack, thou deservest—I cannot stay to tell thee what: and I have shouted and danced myself an hungered. Mrs Avery, have you to spare of that goodly round of beef?”

“Pray you, sit down with us, Mr Ferris,” said she; “we shall not lack a shive for you.”

“Ah, but if I lack half-a-dozen shives, how then?” said he.

“Sit down, man,” responded John. “Why, George Ferris! you are in a fever!”

“Pretty nigh,” answered he. “Is there any man in London out of one this morrow?—except you.”

“I am too thankful to be merry,” he replied. “But how goes it with Cardinal Pole?”

“His death is hourly looked for,” said Mr Ferris.

That afternoon, at the Cross and other places, was Queen Elizabeth proclaimed. Even by night men scarcely seemed to have cooled down: so glad was England of her Protestant Queen, so freely she breathed when the hand of the oppressor was withdrawn. In the afternoon of Friday died Cardinal Pole, outliving his cousin Queen Mary only twenty-four hours. John reported that the very faces he met in the streets looked freer and gladder, as if every man were now at his ease and king of himself. Now, he thought, or, at the farthest, when the Queen was crowned, would the prisons be opened. Who would come out of them?—was a very anxious question; and yet more, Who would not come? That day Marguerite wrote to Mr Rose, by Austin, who set out immediately to carry the news to the banished Gospellers; and they looked forward hopefully to seeing him ere long (Note 6). Might they look, with any thing like hope, to see another? Their judgment had given up hope long ago. But the heart will hope, even against all, until it knows assuredly that there can be hope no longer.

“Isoult,” said her husband, when he came home in the evening, “I have heard tidings that methinks shall make thee a little sorry.”

“What be they, Jack?” said she.

“The death of Mr James Basset,” he answered, “yestereven.”

Isoult wrote a little loving note to Philippa; but she heard nothing from her.

Again on the 28th was all London in a ferment of eager joy: for the Queen came to the Tower, in readiness for her coronation. She came from the Charter House, sitting in a rich chariot, arrayed in a riding-dress of purple velvet, and a scarf tied over her shoulder. All London Wall was hung with tapestry; and beside her rode Lord Robert Dudley, who had been made Master of the Horse.

“Lack-a-daisy!” said Dr Thorpe, “must we be ridden with Dudleys yet again? Is the quotidian ague throughout England all this autumn not plague enough, that my Lord Robin Dudley must needs bear the bell? A fig for all the Dudleys—nor are they worth that!”

On the 4th of December the Queen went through the City to Somerset House. Some trouble was feared concerning her coronation. The Archbishop of York and all the Popish Bishops refused to crown her; nor would they consecrate any not of their way of thinking. Thirteen Bishops had died of the pestilence; but not Dr Bonner, to whom (alone of all of them) Elizabeth refused her hand to kiss when they met her in progress. How differently this year had closed from the last! The Gospellers looked back, indeed, with trembling, yet with great thankfulness; and there was no need to look forward (but for one thing) save with hope. They must know soon now the fate of the missing one. At least the waiting and fearing would be over. The knowledge might leave their hearts sick; yet, even at the worst, it would be no longer with hope deferred.

Note 1. An interesting notice of George Shipside, husband of Alice Ridley, with an account of his Bible annotated by himself, will be found in the Sunday at Home, 1871, page 789 et seq.

Note 2. Spanish Sovereigns sign in a manner peculiar to themselves, not by the Christian name, but “I the King,” or “I the Queen.”

Note 3. With the exception of a few minor details, chiefly relating to others than herself, this account of Queen Juana’s gradual martyrdom is strictly true.

Note 4. He died February 15, 1557, at “Sir Harry Sydney’s house, Chanon Roo, Westminster” (Harl. Ms. 897, folio 79).

Note 5. This old English word for party we have so utterly lost, that we fancy it a new one recently introduced from America.

Note 6. It might have been expected that the banished or escaped Protestants would wait to see the line which Elizabeth’s policy would take before venturing to return: but no such misgivings troubled their minds. So perfect was their confidence in her, that they flocked home like doves to their windows.

Chapter Twelve.

Post Tenebras Lux.

“So,” prayed we, “when our feet draw near
The river dark with mortal fear,
And the night cometh, chill with dew,
O Father, let Thy light break through!
So let the hills of doubt divide—
So bridge with faith the sunless tide—
So let the eyes that fail on earth
On Thine eternal hills look forth;
And, in Thy beckoning angels, know
The dear ones whom we loved below.”


This eventful year closed with death. Not a martyr death; God’s martyr train was closed in England now, for the last to join it had been Roger Holland. Another kind of death was this. Softly, and tenderly, as He called to Samuel, the Lord came and stood and called her—her who was loved so dearly, whose going out made the world darker. With a “Talitha cumi”—a “Come up higher”—He summoned the beloved to the Home where His beloved dwell with Him. And what answer was left for her but “Lord, here am I”? So she spread the angel wings which had been folded, that they could not be seen; and as she soared gladly up into the heavenly light, the darkness of time and of earth thickened around those she left behind.

O Lord our Master! Thy voice is very sweet here below. Not only Thy staff, but even Thy rod comforteth; yea, it is with Thy rod that Thou dost feed Thy people. How much sweeter, when as one whom his mother comforteth, so dost Thou comfort us! And sweetest of all it must be, to arise and go to Thee.

Wherefore, then, are we so unwilling? What mean we continually to talk of being “spared”—spared from that happy journey, from that heavenly Home! They that are not journeying home are spared indeed: but how faithless, how loveless is it in us to bring up an evil report of the good Land, to show such fear and distance from the forgiving and welcoming Father!

“He that is washed needeth only to wash his feet.” But, O our Father! the feet of Thy children need a perpetual washing, an hourly dipping in the blessed waters of the Fountain which Thou hast opened for sin and for uncleanness.

This was the last entry in Isoult Avery’s diary for the year 1558:—

“The Minories, Saint Stephen.

“‘God knoweth best when His corn is ripe.’

“I have been told this to-day, and I need remember it this even. Otherwise, methinks a shower of tears should blot out my writing. I thought that sheaf could be no riper, years ago. The storms had beaten on it, but had not hurt it, and it was very fair; and now it lacked but a season of sunshine, and to that I looked forward in hope. How little did I know that the sunshine was but making it ready for the harvest, meet for Heaven, nearer God!

“O my love, my own darling Frances! shall I say it is hard to think of you in Heaven? Shall I say it is hard that, in the stead of your coming to me, I must now go to you? Shall I grieve in the first hour of my hope and England’s, that God saw it best to take you gently to Himself, ere that hope could do more than to throw the beam of his rising on your dying pillow?

“You have seen your beloved father, my dear master. And I do not think he told you that the Lord dealt ungently with him.”

Four hours earlier, as I was sewing in my chamber, Barbara came to me.

“Mistress,” said she, “below is Mrs Basset, and with her two ladies in doole.”

Methought these might perhaps be the Lady Elizabeth Jobson and Mr James Basset’s widow, whom she had brought with her; and down went I to greet Philippa. But I found the two ladies were strangers; at the least I knew not their faces. I greeted Philippa, and sat down, when I had louted to the others; but to mine amaze one of the ladies saith—

“Mrs Avery, have you forgot Kate Ashley?”

I rose in astonishment, and begged my Lady Ashley’s pardon, for of a surety I had not known her. So I took her by the hand and kissed her; and was about to sit down again, when, with a smile that I could scarce fail to know, the other stranger saith—

“And hath Isoult Barry forgot Anne Basset?”

“My darling Nan!” cried I, “that I should not have known thee.”

“Nay,” saith she, again with her own sweet smile, “’tis no marvel, dear heart, seeing thou hast not seen me for sixteen years.” For I had missed seeing her in the procession at Queen Mary’s coronation.

Then after we had embraced, Philippa said—

“I scantly know, Isoult, if thou wilt be glad to see us, considering the ill news we bring.”

“Why, Philippa, what ill news?” asked I. “I heard of thy brother’s death,—Mr James,—and writ to thee thereupon,”—for methought Philippa had not received my letter.

“Ay, I had thy letter, and I thank thee for it,” answered she. “But hast heard aught further?”

“No,” said I, fearfully. “What is it, Philippa?”

“Kate,” she pursued, “hath brought us woeful news from Potheridge—the death of Frances, twenty days ago.”

“Frances?” I well-nigh startled at mine own cry.

“An ill time,” addeth Philippa, “close on James’s death. We have hardly time to dry our eyes betwixt them.”

“The right time, dear heart,” said my Lady Ashley, gently. “God knoweth best when His corn is ripe.”

“Was she ever other, if thou mean ripe for heaven?” said she.

“Perhaps,” answered my Lady Ashley, “we could not see much difference, but He might.”

I begged her to tell me, if she were present, any particulars of the matter.

“Ay, I was there,” she said. “I went straight to Potheridge from Wimborne, on receiving of a letter from Mr Monke, who told me that Frank had brought him another daughter, and, he could not but fear, was not faring over well. I came to Potheridge upon the 4th of December, when I found her in her bed, very weak and white. Still I feared no instant peril then. On the 5th, methought she seemed somewhat better in the morning; but that even she grew worse, and thence she sank quickly until she died, at sunset on Wednesday, the 7th. She remembered you, Mrs Avery, and bade me give you her most hearty and loving commendations, and to say that she was but journeying Home a little while afore you, and that however long the time were to you, it would be short to her, ere you should meet again. And only an hour ere her death (she was in her sense to the last), came a messenger to Mr Monke with news of the Queen’s death, and that the Lady Elizabeth was proclaimed Queen. He brake the tidings gently to her. She smiled when she heard them, as I should think an angel might smile in Heaven, and she saith softly, ‘Lord, Thou hast seen, Thou hast seen the affliction of Thy people.’ I answered her, ‘Ay, God hath been very gracious to us.’ She said, ‘He hath been very good to me.’ Quoth I, ‘Thou dost not think He hath given thee too much thought (anxiety) and sorrow?’ And as fervently as her weakness did allow, she answered, ‘O no, no! I shall clasp them all to my heart to-night.’ In another minute she repeated softly, ‘And so shall we ever be with the Lord.’ I do not think she spoke again.”

“Did she die hardly?” I faltered amid my tears.

“As softly as a child falling asleep in his mother’s arms,” answered my Lady Ashley. “We could not tell the very moment. Her life went out like a star hidden behind a cloud. We only knew that it was gone.”

“Farewell, sister of mine heart, my fair-souled Frances! The world is darker now thou art thence; but thou shalt never see evil any more. The storms shall not rave above thine head, nor the winds beat around thee and chill thee. God hath removed thee, His beautiful lily, from this rude and barren moor, to that great garden of His Paradise, where thou shall bloom for ever. ‘There shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth—but they that are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.’”

So Isoult Avery wrote: but she did not hear until afterwards that Lady Frances had not passed through the Marian persecution without suffering. Her blood royal had not saved her. Only one child of her first marriage was left; and on the 10th of March 1554, men—not God—took that dearly-prized darling from her. The custody of the person and marriage of Arthur Basset was granted to James Basset, his Popish uncle (Rot. Parl., 1 Mary, part 7). This is sufficient to indicate that the Roman proclivities of Mr Monke and Lady Frances were at least doubtful. The double death—of the Queen and James Basset—freed Arthur; and by dint of hard riding night and day—he scarcely knew why—he reached Devon just in time to kneel and receive the last blessing of that beloved mother. She died two hours after her hand had rested on his head. If the Queen’s object had been to make Arthur Basset a Papist, she scarcely succeeded in her aim.

This was the last sad entry in that volume of Isoult’s diary. God did help the Gospellers when the morning appeared; and the morning was dawning now. There is a ringing of church-bells through all that was written in England, throughout that happy year, 1559. New Year’s Day was the gladdest Sunday since the persecution began. For at Bow Church Mr Carter ministered openly; and throughout London the Gospel and Epistle were read in English. After the evening service was over, the Averys received a visit from Annis and her husband; and before they had sat and talked for ten minutes, who should follow them but Mr Underhill, of whose return to London they had heard, but had not yet seen him.

“Is it not glorious?” were the first words he spoke. “We shall have the English service next Sunday, and the service-book restored ere February.”

“What a leaper art thou,” said John, laughing. “None that know thee need ask wherefore men call thee the Hot Gospeller!”

“But can there be any other?” answered he.

“Why,” said John, “wert thou King of England, by the name of Edward the Seventh, I reckon we had had all ere November were fairly run out. But the Queen is a little more prudent and wary than thou, and remember thou (as I bade Ferris, but he did little) that she is not a Gospeller.”

“A truce to thy wariness and prudence!” cried Mr Underhill.

“That shall be, assuredly, where thou art,” answered John.

“I have no patience,” said he, “with such faintheartedness (for I can call it by no better name). Who ever saw a Lutheran burn a Gospeller?”

“Ned Underhill,” said John, sadly, “hast thou forgot so soon that we have seen a Gospeller beheaded by Lutherans?”

“Whom point you at there?”

“The Duke of Somerset.”

“Come! go not back to the time afore the Flood,” exclaimed he. “Let bygones be bygones.”

“I have no objection,” said John, “if bygones will be bygones.”

“Jack Avery, hold thy peace, or we shall quarrel! I will not have cold water flung over my fair bonfire of rejoicing!”

“It should take much to put it out, methinks,” said Dr Thorpe.

“What say you, my master?” inquired Mr Underhill, turning with one of his quick motions to Don Juan.

“Marry,” answered Don Juan, smiling (he spoke English fairly), “I say, we shall all know more about it a year hence.”

“Gramercy! you are one of the wary ones,” grumbled Mr Underhill. “Come, let me see if I cannot find one of my way of thinking. Mrs Avery, are you only Jack in a gown, or have you a mind of your own?”

“Verily, Mr Underhill, I know not how things shall go,” said she, “and therefore I were wisest to hold my peace.”

“Alas!” answered he. “Dr Thorpe, you are Prudence herself, and a Lutheran to boot, wherefore—”

“Lutheran!” cried the old man, hastily. “I am no more a Lutheran than you!”

They all laughed at Dr Thorpe, thus brought to confession at last.

“Are you not so?” said Mr Underhill, laughing and bowing. “In good sooth, I am rejoiced to hear it.—Well! Mrs Rose, allow me to ask at you if you go with me or no?”

“Assuredly, Mr Underhill, no,” said she. “If I had ever any belief in the goodness of the world, it did fly away from me a long time ago; and I do not look to see the peace or the right all over it, as you seem to look. It may be that I answer rather your thoughts than your words; but it seemed me you had that thought.”

“But, Mrs Rose,” said he, “if you take us all for ill and wicked, you must find it hard work to love your neighbour as yourself. We are leaving our subject-matter, but let that pass.”

“Ah, Mr Underhill!” she answered, with a smile, “I am as bad as any one else; and I do not think we wait for people to become angels before we love them.”

“We do wait—for them to become angels, sometimes,” said Annis, softly, “before we know how well we love them.”

They sat silent for a while after this: even Mr Underhill seemed to be meditating; neither did he pursue his inquiry any further. Marguerite rose and went up-stairs, where Thekla was already; but the rest kept their places. And while they sat, there came a very soft rapping at the door. The party looked one on another in doubt, for the rapping was in the form of the old signal-tap which the Gospellers were wont to use when they assembled for prayer in each others’ houses. And there was no gathering at the Lamb to-night.

Barbara rose and went to the door. The minute she opened it, they heard her cry “Eh!” but no more. The person outside spoke, and Barbara answered, more than once, but too low for those within to hear words, or even whose voice it was; then Barbara stepped forward, and opened the door of the chamber. All felt some strange thing at hand, and they held their breath. And the next minute they were saluted by a voice which had been silent to them for four long, weary years.

“How do you all, dear friends?” said Mr Rose.

All gathered round him with joyful greeting, but Isoult. She never stayed to think, but she found herself at the head of the stairs before she had time to consider. Thekla was just closing the door of the chamber to come down.

“Thekla!” cried Isoult, seizing her by the arm.

“Who is come?” asked she. “I heard something.”

“Tell thy mother, darling,” said Isoult—“but canst thou bear glad news thyself?”

“I see them in your eyes,” she answered. “They are too glad but for one of two things. Is it my father?”

Ah! it was only one. Thekla prepared her mother, in the gentle way she knew, and then running below, was clasped in her father’s arms. She took him up-stairs, and no more was seen of any of them; for, anticipating that they would prefer to be alone, Isoult sent Esther above with a dish from the supper-table.

It was four years to a day since Mr Rose was taken. In his case, God had been very gracious to them. The four years were the same for Robin; but how should the end be? And—a thought at once joyous and yet terrible—the end could not be far-off now.

Isoult saw that Mr Rose had aged in those four years, when she had time to study his countenance. If such a thing were possible, she thought him even gentler and kinder than he used to be; yet even more grave and quiet. She asked him what he thought of Thekla, and was slightly comforted to hear him say that he found her better than he dared to hope.

“She hath suffered much, poor child!” said Isoult.

“Poor child!” he echoed. “It was not in her nature to do other.”

“And what think you,” she asked, “of the chances touching Robin?”

“Mrs Avery,” said he, “there are no chances in God’s government. And this is a matter wherein we cannot so much as guess what may have been His will. Yet if you would know what I think most likely in mere human reasoning, I confess I have little hope of his life.”

Isoult’s heart sank like lead: she felt now how much hope she had nursed, though she thought it so little. But her faith in Mr Rose’s forecast was great. And Lady Ashley’s words came back to her—“God knoweth best when His corn is ripe.” Ah! how afraid she was that that sheaf was ripe, and had been carried into the garner! Yet could she tell God that He had judged ill, or that He should have left His fair sheaf to the spoiling, for her pleasure?

When John came home one evening, he told them that he had met with Mr Underhill, who held by the hand his little Guilford. And coming through Cornhill, at the shop-door of a bowyer were bows and quivers of shafts; and Guilford, pulling his father’s hand, cried, “Father, Father, do buy me a bow and arrows!”—“Buy thee a bow and arrows, quotha!” answered Mr Underhill, “a shred and snip like thee!”

“What wouldst thou do an’ thou hadst a bow and arrows, Guilford?” said John. “Shoot all the Papists,” replied the child. “Thou bloodthirsty little ruffian!” cried Mr Underhill, yet laughing. “Nay,” said John to him, “blame not the child: he doth but take mightily after a certain father of his, that I know.” Whereat (said John) Mr Underhill laughed till the tears ran from his eyes.

Mr Rose preached his first sermon since coming home, in the pulpit of Bow Church, on the 8th of January. It was a glad day to the Gospellers. His text was, “When the Lord turned again the captivity of Zion, we were like them that dream.” He spoke highly of the Queen, saying that “she had suffered for the Gospel, and should know how to be compatient (sympathising) with other that had suffered.” Of himself he said little; but of Christ much.

And when he came out of the church, dozens and dozens of hands were held forth to welcome him, till the tears came into his eyes at such a greeting. One old Gospeller woman cried out, “Lord, now lettest Thou Thy servant depart in peace!”

“Nay, good Joan,” answered Mr Rose. “The reason wherefore the Lord hath kept us alive is, that we have not yet done all our work. At least so I take it. ’Tis somewhat too early to be singing the harvest-home afore all the corn be gathered in. Let us hasten to finish the reaping, and then we may sing.”

Then came Mr Underhill with great strides, and held out his hand. (John said aside to his wife, “I would Ned Underhill could learn, without any telling him, that a man’s hand, and yet more a woman’s, is not made of mill-stones. He hath given me some cruel gripes ere now: ’tis a painful form of love.”)

“Welcome home the second time!” cried Mr Underhill, cheerily. “Mrs Rose, your servant. But I say, man! do you not know you are divorced by process of law?”

“Nay,” answered Mr Rose, smiling; “I neither do nor will.”

“What an ungovernable piece of merchandise are you!” said Mr Underhill, laughing. “But in good sooth, I have not talked with one of our ministers that holdeth not the same view.”

“Men parted us,” said Marguerite, her voice trembling a little; “but I think God never did. At any rate, He hath undone it now.”

Mr Rose talked with the Averys about his future, and they entreated him to stay with them a little longer. It was expected that the Queen would present the deprived ministers to such benefices as would now be left vacant by the Papists’ deprivations; and at least, they urged, it would be well to do nothing rashly. And though they said little to each other, all were waiting to see what would happen on the Coronation Day. This was fixed for the ensuing Sunday, the Queen having consulted Dr Dee, and heard from him that Sunday would be a fortunate day. All were now preparing for the Coronation. Isoult had cloths ready to hang out, and Kate and Frances were as busy as they could be, sewing green leaves upon white linen, to form the Queen’s name—Elizabeth.

Frances said “it was well her Highness had so long a name, for the work should not be by the half so handsome were she called Jane or Anne.” But Thekla’s work was by far the most beautiful. She was skilled at making wax-flowers, and had wreathed a garland of white roses, which, set upon a green ground, was to encircle the name with which Kate and Frances were busied (green and white were the Queen’s colours). It was intended to be a magnificent piece of work; and the only grief was that the Queen would never see it, for she was going from the Tower.

Mr Underhill had ordered a new velvet coat, wherein (said his wife) he should be as fine as my Lord High Treasurer. Moreover, Dr Thorpe would needs have a new doublet.

“Why, dear child, my Sunday doublet hath a patch on it,” said he; “and if the Queen’s Highness’ gracious eyes should chance to alight on me, thou wouldst not have them to light on a patch.” (Dr Thorpe might have spared his concern; for Queen Elizabeth was much too near-sighted to detect the patch.)

“Maybe they should take little hurt,” said John. “But, Doctor, if you have a new doublet, I must needs have a new coat; and then Isoult shall want a new gown; and we shall have Walter clamouring for a gaberdine, and Kate for an hood. Certes, but the Coronation shall be as chargeable unto her Highness’ lieges as to herself!”

“Nay, Father, I lack no new hood,” said Kate, laughing; “I want only to see the Queen’s Grace, and I can do that as well in an old hood as a new.”

“Ay, sweet heart,” answered he; “but Dr Thorpe would have one thing more, to wit, that the Queen’s Grace should see him.”

Sir Henry and Lady Ashley came on the 12th to bid their friends farewell, for they were about to leave town early on the morning after the Coronation, and they expected to have little time at liberty. They advised the Averys not to take their stand in Bow Churchyard, as they intended to do, but to beg the loan of some friend’s window. Mr Underhill had too many customers to help them; but Annis, whose lodging was in Saint Paul’s Churchyard, was very glad to be of service.

In the afternoon they went down early to the waterside, to see the Queen come to the Tower from Westminster Palace. Her Majesty came about two o’clock, royally arrayed, in her state barge, and landed at the privy stairs. Little Frances was in the greatest glee, because she said she was most unfeignedly certain that the Queen looked on her. “And she walketh about the house,” said John, “a fair foot the higher in her own account, that she hath been seen of the Queen’s Majesty.”

The next day came Mr Underhill, bringing news that the Queen had dubbed many Knights of the Bath, and had also created Edward Seymour, eldest son of the late Duke of Somerset, Earl of Hertford.

“But which Edward?” said John, in his quiet way.

“Which?” replied Mr Underhill. “Why, my Lord had but one son of his own name.”

“No had?” said John. “I thought he had two.”

“What mean you, Jack Avery?” said Mr Underhill.

“I know well what he meaneth,” answered Mr Rose. “It was the worst blot on my Lord of Somerset’s life. I trust he did repent thereof ere God called him.”

“I was thinking,” said John, in a low voice, “of one Katherine Folliott, an humble violet plucked from her mossy bed, and after, flung withering away to reach a peony.”

“A black-thorn rather, if you would picture her complexion,” suggested Dr Thorpe.

“What, the Duke’s first wife?” answered Mr Underhill. “Why, man! the whole world hath forgot her!”

“So did himself,” responded John.

“I see,” said Mr Underhill. “You think, all, that my Lord did wickedly in divorcing of her, in order to wed the great heir of the Stanhopes. Well, it may be so: but, my word for it! he had leisure for repentance. I would not lightly have been my Lady Duchess her lackey, much less her lord.”

“Well!” answered John, “I meant not to speak ill of the dead; surely not of one whom I do hope and believe that God hath pardoned and taken to Himself. I did but signify the very thing I did ask—to wit, which of the Edwards had been create Earl of Herts.”

“The son of the Lady Anne Stanhope, of course!” said Mr Underhill.

“It might have been more just and righteous,” pursued John, “had it been the son of Katherine Folliott. It may be that his last thought in this world, just ere the axe slid down, was of that woeful wrong he never could right more. Alas for men’s hearts in this wicked world! and yet rather, alas for men’s consciences! Well, God forgive us all!”

At two o’clock on the morning of the 14th, forth sallied all, and trudged amongst a moving crush of men and women to Annis’ lodging, where she and Don Juan willingly gave them standing-room with themselves at their two windows. John lifted Frances on his shoulder, where, said he, she should have the best sight of all; and Walter was perched upon a high chair in the window. Kate stood below, in front of her father. Her Majesty sat in a rich chariot, covered with crimson velvet, splendidly attired, and a canopy was borne over her head by knights. Many pageants and gifts were offered to her; but one must not be left untold, which is that a copy of the English Bible was given to her at the Little Conduit in Cheapside, and she, receiving it let down into her chariot by a silken string, in both hands, kissed it, clasped it to her bosom, and thanked the City for it, “the which,” said she, “I do esteem above all other, and will diligently read therein.” Mr George Ferris and Mr Underhill were in the procession. (Strange to say, hardly any details are preserved of the procession and coronation of Elizabeth.) The Bishop of Carlisle (Dr Oglethorpe) had at last been prevailed upon to crown the Queen, but that so lately, that vestments were not ready for him, and they had to be borrowed of Bishop Bonner. He was the only Bishop to meet her Majesty at Westminster Abbey. The day following was the Coronation Day of Queen Elizabeth.

First thing in the morning, Barbara and Ursula hung out the garland and name that Kate and Thekla had made, which had been taken in over-night, after the Queen’s procession. Then the party breakfasted; and, there being no service anywhere, Mr Rose read the Common Prayer to the assembled household, and gave them a short discourse on a passage from the Psalms,—“With joy and gladness shall they be brought, and shall enter into the King’s Palace.” He could hardly be said to preach, for he only sat on a chair in the midst of the group. He spoke of the Coronation Day; bidding them not to forget “that other fairer day of the more glorious Coronation, when Christ shall see of the travail of His soul, and shall be satisfied: when all His people shall be gathered together, a full and perfected Church, the Lamb’s Bride: when He shall take unto Him His great power and reign.”

The afternoon was spent quietly, no one looking in upon them; and when the dark began to fall, and the candles were lighted, Mr Rose read the Evening Prayers, and spoke again, this time on a text in the Revelation,—“They are without fault before the Throne of God.” “Because,” said he, “betwixt them and that Throne standeth Christ to present (represent) them before God; and while all faults be in them, in Him is no fault; and He covereth them with the fair white robe of His own righteousness, that God’s justice cannot see them apart from it and Him that gave and wrought it.”

When Evensong was over, John and Mr Rose went out for a half-hour’s walk: and there were left in the chamber Dr Thorpe, Esther, Isoult and the children, and Thekla. Isoult called to Barbara for candles, for those they had were burning low in the socket; and while she was gone to fetch them, came a low gentle tapping at the door.

“May I open it, Mother?” said Kate; and leave being given, away she ran.

Nothing was audible at the door, but Kate, coming back, said—

“Mother, ’tis a gentleman that would have speech of Father. Will you speak with him?”

Isoult lifted her eyes, and saw behind Kate a gentleman, it seemed to her, of some thirty years or more, tall and spare, indeed, very thin and worn, hollow-cheeked and sunken-eyed, with long dark brown hair, a long beard lying low upon his breast, and a moustache curling round his upper lip. A stranger—at least, she knew neither his face nor his name.

“Sir,” she said, “I am sorry mine husband is not within at this present; but if it should please you to wait a little season, I am assured—”

“That he shall not be long,” she was about to say: but she never got any further. Her speech was cut in two by a sharp, sudden cry from behind her, that must have rung through every room in the house, and that broke from the lips of Thekla Rose.

“Robin! Robin! Robin!”

It seemed to Isoult for a moment as though her very heart stood still. Was it thus that God had given her its desire? Was this white, worn, bearded man verily “our Robin,” who had passed away from them so very different? She seemed neither to know nor to see any thing, till she felt two arms clasped around her, and a voice, that no time nor prison could wholly alter, called her to herself, with—“Mother, I think you have not forgot me?” And then she awoke, and her heart was loosed, and her eyes with it. She bowed her head down upon Robin’s breast, and wept passionately. Verily God had visited them! God had heard their cry, and had given them back their darling.

What followed was confusion. Thekla’s cry brought her mother down in haste. Kate and Walter ran to the new-comer, hailing him as “Dear Brother Robin!” while little Frances hung back shyly, and had to be coaxed to come. Dr Thorpe said he would never have known him, had he not been helped; but Robin answered that “he was then the better off of the two, for he knew him the minute he stepped within.” Esther said she thought she could have guessed at him with a little time and consideration.

“I am very glad to see you, Mrs Esther,” said he, “for I did never look again to see any that were bound with me that night.”

“Then thou lookest not,” answered Isoult, “to see Mr Rose, which I trust shall be in some few minutes.”

“I did not, in good sooth,” said he, “only I dared not to ask.”

While he spoke, they heard John’s hand upon the latch.

Kate instantly rushed upon him, crying, “Father, come and see!”

“Come and see what, sweeting?” said he.

“Come and see!” she answered, pulling him after her into the room.

Mr Rose followed more quietly. John, come into the room, stood gazing at Robin as though he knew not what to make of it. Mr Rose passed him and came forward.

“Robin Tremayne!” said he. “I scarce dared to hope it.”

So when all the glad greetings were over, they sat down, and drew their chairs round the fire. Barbara came in with the supper-board, and stared when Robin said, “Good even, Barbara.”

“Sir!” queried she, looking at him in amazement. “Nay, sure! ’tis never Master Robin come back? Well, I be cruel glad!”

“And now, Robin,” said John, “we want thine history, writ fair in a great book.”

“Then, Father,” he answered, and smiled, “you must tarry the writing. But I count I take you. Mine history is not very long, for there was but little change in it.”

“But, Robin,” said Isoult, “where hast thou been, dear lad? Austin Bernher hath searched all the prisons for thee, yea, over and over, for months past, and asked at many prisoners; yet could never bring us tidings.”

“I trow, Mother,” answered Robin, again smiling, “he searched every whither but the right. And few prisoners should have known anything of me, seeing I was kept alone.”

“Did they count thee a prisoner of import?” said John, in an astonished tone.

“From what I heard them say,” answered Robin, looking at Mr Rose, “I may thank you for that. Taking me with you, and standing close by you, they counted me a very pestilent heretic, and treated me as such.”

“Ah! see what it is to fall into bad company!” said Mr Rose, smiling.

“Well, Robin,” said Isoult, “thou shalt tell us all after supper, an’ thou wilt. But now all is ready, an’t please you.”

So they gathered round the supper-table, and Mr Rose had only just said grace, when the latch was lifted, and Mr Underhill’s cheery voice cried—

“May an heretic come in?”

“Come forward, Ned!” shouted John in return.

And forward he came.

“I am weary as a dog!” said he. “And I see yonder some eggs and butter (‘Buttered eggs’ survive north of the Trent) that doth make my mouth water; and a warden-pie (the warden was a very late pear, used chiefly for pies), if mine eyes bewray me not. Mrs Avery—” but here, his eye catching Robin, he broke off short. “Do you bid ghosts to supper? If those be not Robin Tremayne’s eyes, they are the fairest copies ever mine saw!”

“Robin Tremayne’s eyes are very glad to see you, Mr Underhill,” said he, laughingly: and Mr Underhill wrung his hand till Robin’s fingers must have tingled no little.

“Draw a chair and fall to, man,” said John.

“Go to!” replied Mr Underhill; and did so with much apparent gusto.

“Well, so your work is over,” said John. “How passed all? and where is the Queen?”

“In her bed, I hope,” answered Mr Underhill, “unless she be somewhat more than other women. Marry, but she must be aweary to-night! ’Twas a splendrous matter, and worth seeing; but as cold as charity. And when ’tis January other where, ’tis not August in Westminster Abbey. We heretics fared uncommon well; George Ferris and I got a red deer pie betwixt us, and we made it look ashamed of himself ere we had done, I warrant you.”

“Ned Underhill!” said John, “’tis a standing marvel to me that Austin Bernher and thou should have come out of Queen Mary’s persecution alive.”

“’Tis a greater marvel to me that thou shouldst,” replied Mr Underhill, a second time attacking the buttered eggs. “Mrs Avery, I hope you have more eggs in the house?—With all thy prudence, and cautiousness, and wariness, sweet Jack, thou earnest not off a whit better than thy rash and foolish neighbour.”

“Nay,” answered John, “I came off thus much better, that I never yet saw the inside of Newgate.”

“Tush! that was for a ballad I writ,” said he. “But thou canst not say I fared the worse, saving that.”

“I cannot,” answered John, “and thereat I marvel no little.”

“O wise and sagacious Jack! didst ever pluck a nettle?”

“I have done such a thing,” replied he.

“Then thou wist that the gentler ’tis handled, the more it stingeth. Now for my moral: take Queen Mary as the nettle, and thou seest my way of dealing.”

“Your pardon, friend Underhill!” said Mr Rose, “but I can in no wise allow that either of you were saved by your way of dealing. Let Him have all the glory unto whom it belongeth.”

“Amen!” responded Mr Underhill. “Jack, may we sing the Te Deum in thine house to-night, an’t like thy squeamishness?”

“With a very good will, Ned,” answered John. When supper was over, Mr Underhill (who, for all his weariness, seemed in no haste to be at home) drew up his chair to the fire, in the midst of the group, and said—

“Now, Tremayne,—your first sermon!”

Thus bidden, Robin began his story.

“When Mr Rose and I were parted, I was sent first to the Marshalsea. Here I abode a full year, during the which I several times saw Austin Bernher. But afore I had been there a month, I was had up afore my Lord of London. So soon as he saw me, he put on a very big and ruffling air, and quoth he,—‘Come hither, thou wicked heretic! what canst thou say for thyself?’—‘Nothing, my Lord,’ said I, ‘save that though I be sinful, yet am I no heretic,’—‘Ha! sayest thou so?’ quoth my Lord. ‘I will soon see whether thou be an heretic or no. Tell me, dost thou hold the very presence of Christ’s body and blood to be in the sacrament of the altar?’ To whom I—‘My Lord, I do believe verily, as Christ hath said, that where two or three be gathered together in His name, there is He in the midst of them.’—‘Ho, thou crafty varlet!’ quoth he, ‘wouldst turn the corner after that manner? By Saint Mary her kirtle, but it shall not serve thy turn. Tell me now, thou pestilent companion; when the priest layeth the bread and wine upon the altar, afore the consecration, what then is there?’ Then said I,—‘Bread and wine, my Lord.’—‘Well said,’ quoth he. ‘And after the words of consecration be spoken, what then is there?’—‘Bread and wine, my Lord,’ I answered again.—‘Ha!’ saith he, ‘I thought I could catch thee, thou lither (wicked, abandoned) heretic. Dost not then believe that after consecration done, there in the body and blood of Christ, verily and alone, nor any more the substance of bread and wine remaining?’—‘My Lord,’ said I, ‘my sense doth assure me that the wine is yet wine, and the bread, bread; mine understanding doth assure me that the body of our Lord is a true natural human body, and cannot therefore be on an hundred altars at one and the same time; and I am therein confirmed of Saint Paul, which saith, that so oft as we do eat this bread, we do show forth the death of the Lord.’—‘Ha, thou runagate!’ he roareth out; ‘wilt thou quote from Scripture in English? Hast thou no Latin? I have a whip that shall make thee speak Latin.’—‘My Lord,’ said I, ‘I can quote from the Scripture in Latin, if that like your Lordship the better; and likewise in Greek, the which (being the tongue wherein they were written at the first) should be all the surer; but I, being an Englishman born (for the which I thank God), do more naturally read the Scripture in English.’—‘I will not have thee to speak Greek!’ crieth he. ‘’Tis the Devil that did invent Greek of late years, to beguile unwary men. And I do thee to wit that the Scripture was not writ in Greek, thou lying varlet! but in the holy tongue, Latin.’—‘It would ill become me to gainsay your Lordship,’ said I.—‘I will have thee back,’ saith he, ‘to the first matter. And I bid thee answer me without any cunning or evasion: Dost thou believe that our Lord’s body was eaten of the blessed Apostles, or no?’—‘My Lord,’ I answered, ‘with all reverence unto your Lordship’s chair and office, seeing the Lord’s body was crucified on the Friday, I do not believe, nor cannot, that it was eaten of the Apostles the even afore.’ Then he arose up out of his seat, and gnashed his teeth, and railed on me with great abuse; crying, ‘Ha, thou heretic! thou lither knave! (and worser words than these) I have thee! I have outwitted thee! Thou art fairly beat and put down.—Have the heretic knave away, and keep him close.’ And so I was carried back to the Marshalsea.”

“Marry,” said Mr Underhill, “but I think it was Edmund Bonner that was put down. I never knew what a witty fellow thou wert.”

“Robin,” said Isoult, “it should have aggrieved me sorely to be so unjustly handled. To hear him say that he had beat thee, when it was thou that hadst beat him! It should have gone mightily against the grain with me.”

“The old story,” answered Mr Rose. “‘Is not that He whose high places and whose altars Hezekiah hath taken away?’ Methinks that should rankle sore in Hezekiah’s mind, and in the hearts of them that lovest him. Bishop Bonner is somewhat coarser and less subtle, yet ’tis the same thing in both cases.”

“Well,” said Robin, with a smile to those who had spoken, “after that I was not called up again. When at last I was brought out from the Marshalsea, I counted it would be surely either for an other examination or for burning. But, to my surprise, they set me on an horse, that was tied to the horse of one of the Sheriff’s men, and I (with some twelve other prisoners likewise bound) was taken a long journey of many days. I could see by the sun that we were going west; but whither I wist not, and the man to whom I was bound refused to tell me. At the last we entered into a great city, walled and moated. Here we were brought afore a priest, that demanded of each of us what was the cause of our sentence; to whom I answered, ‘Sir, I have not yet been sentenced, but I believe the cause of my prison to be that I do put faith in Saint Paul’s words, that when we do show forth the Lord’s death in the Sacrament of His Supper, it is bread the which we do eat.’ Whereat he smiled somewhat, but after scowled, and bade an officer have me thence. Of whom I was taken down into a cell or little dungeon, and there set by myself. I asked of the officer where I was; and he laughed, and at first would not tell me. But after he said, ‘Well, you are in Exeter, but say not unto any that I told it you.’ In the prison at Exeter (where I was alone) I lay methinks over two years. Ah!” pursued Robin, dropping his voice, “it was hard work lying there! Men had forgotten me, I thought; I began to marvel whether God had. I saw none but my gaoler, that brought me meat (then the generic term for food) morning and evening, but scarce ever spake to me: and I fell at times to talking with myself, that I should not forget mine own tongue, nor be affrighted at the sound of mine own voice. At last, just as the warm days of Spring were coming, I was brought out, and again set on an horse. We went north this time; and one even, after passing by certain monastical buildings, we stayed at the door of a stately palace. Here I was bidden to ’light, for that we should go no further. They carried me away through many lobbies, and down stairs, and at length we came unto a chamber where was a gaoler sitting, with his keys at his girdle. He and my guide spake together, and he then bare me unto a cell, wherein I was locked. I asked again where I was, but to no end beyond being bidden to hold my peace, and stricken on the head with his keys. Here I passed not many days, ere one even the gaoler came unto me, and bade me to follow him. He led me down further stairs, and at the very bottom opened a heavy door. I could see nothing within. ‘Go in,’ said he, gruffly, ‘and fall no further than you can help. You were best to slide down.’ I marvelled whither I were going; but I took his avisement, and grasping the door-sill with mine hands, I slid down into the darkness. At length my feet found firm ground, though I were a little bruised in the descent; but I lighted on no floor, but a point only—all the walls sloping away around me. ‘Are you there?’ growls the gaoler—but his voice sounded far above me. ‘I am some whither,’ said I, ‘but I can find no floor.’ He laughed a rough laugh, and saith ‘You can find as much as there is. There is little ease yonder.’ And he shut to the door and left me. All at once it flashed on me where I was: and so terrible was the knowledge, that a cold sweat brake forth all over me. I had heard of the horrible prison in the Bishop of Lincoln’s Palace of Woburn, called Little Ease (Note 1), which tapered down to a point, wherein a man might neither stand, nor sit, nor lie. Somewhat like despair came over me. Were they about to leave me to lie here and die of hunger? I shouted, and my voice came back to me with a mocking echo. I held my breath to listen, and I heard no sound. I was an outcast, a dead man out of mind; ‘the earth with her bars was about me for ever.’ I had borne all easily (so to speak) save this. But now I covered my face with mine hands, and wept like a child.”

“My poor Robin!” said Isoult. “Tell me when this was.”

“It was at the beginning of the hot weather,” he answered. “I fancy it might be about June. I thanked God heartily that it was not winter.”

“Ay,” said she, “thou wouldst have more light.”

“Light!” he said, and smiled. “No light ever came into Little Ease. I never knew day from night all the while I was there. Once in three days my gaoler unlocked the door, and let down to me a rope, at the end whereof was a loaf of bread, and after a tin pitcher of water; and I had to fasten thereto the empty pitcher. Such thirst was on me that I commonly drank the water off, first thing.”

“But how didst thou go to bed?” asked Walter.

Robin smiled, and told the child there was no bed to go to.

“And did the gaoler never forget thee?” Kate wished to know.

“Twice he did,” answered Robin, “for a day. But that would not kill me, thou wist. I became very weak ere I came forth. But to continue:—I wept long and bitterly, but it gave me no comfort. I felt as if nothing ever would give me comfort again. The Devil was very near me. It was all folly, he whispered. I had hoped a vision, and had believed a lie. God was dead, if there ever were any God; He never came into Little Ease. None would ever know where and what I was become. I should die here, and if fifty years hence my whitened bones were found, none would know whose they had been. Your dear faces rose around me, and I could have wept again, to think I should never see you any more. But the fountain of my tears was dried now. Mine heart seemed to be freezing into rock than which the walls of Little Ease were no harder. I sat or lay, call it what you will, thinking gloomily and drearily, until at last nature could bear no more, and I slept, even there.”

“Well, Robin!” said Kate, “if thine heart were frozen, methinks it thawed again afore thou earnest hither.”

“It did so, sweet heart,” said he, smiling on her. “Even as I awoke, a text of Scripture darted into my memory, well-nigh as though one had spoken it to me. A strange text, you will say,—yet it was the one for me then:—‘Then Jonah prayed unto the Lord his God out of the fish’s belly.’ Well, I was no worse off than Jonah. It seemed yet more unlike, his coming forth of that fish’s belly, than did my coming forth of Little Ease. Methought I, so near in Jonah’s case, would try Jonah’s remedy. To have knelt I could not; no more, I fancy, could Jonah. But I could pray as well as he. That was the first gleam of inward light; and after that it grew. Ay—grew till I was no more alone, because God companied with me; till I was no more an hungred, because God fed me; till I thirsted no more, because God led me unto living fountains of waters; till I wept no more, because God wiped away all tears from mine eyes. Ere I came forth, I would not have changed Little Ease for the fairest chamber of the Queen’s Palace, if thereby I had left Him behind. It gained on me, till my will grew into God’s will—till I was absolutely content to die or live, as He would; to be burned in Smithfield, or to come home and clasp you all to mine heart—as should be most to His glory. The heats of summer, I thought, must be come; but on the hottest summer day, there was but cold and damp in Little Ease. The summer, methought, must be passing; and then, it must be past. I had left hoping for change. I only thought how very fair and sweet the House of the Father would be to me after this. So the hours rolled away, until one morrow, out of the wonted order, I heard the door unlocked. ‘Are you there?’ calls the gaoler in his gruff voice. ‘Ay,’ said I. ‘Feel about for a rope,’ quoth he, ‘and set the noose under your arms; you are to come forth.’ Was this God calling to me? I did not think of the pains of death; I only remembered the after-joy of seeing Him. I found the rope, and the loop thereof, which I set under mine arms. ‘Cry out when you are ready,’ saith he. I cried, and he slung me up. Can I tell you what pain it was? The light—the sweet summer light of heaven—was become torture; and I could neither stand nor walk. ‘Ha!’ saith he, when he saw this, ‘you have not grown stronger. How liked you Little Ease?’—‘I like what God liketh for me,’ I made answer. He looked on me somewhat scornfully. ‘Methinks you be but half rocked yet,’ saith he. ‘Maybe you shall come back. Matt!’ At the shout an under-gaoler came forth of a door. ‘Take thou this fellow by the arm,’ saith he. ‘We shall be like to bear him.’ Himself took mine other arm, and so, more borne than walking, I reached the hall of the Palace. Here they took me into a little light chamber, suffered me to wash, and gave me clean garments, to my great ease. Then they sat me down at a table, and set before me a mess of sodden meat, with bread and drink, and bade me to eat well. I thought I was going afore the Bishop for sentence. But, to my surprise, they let me alone; locked me into the chamber, and there left me. This chamber had a barred window, looking out on the Palace court, in the midst whereof was a round of green grass. I cannot set in words the exquisite delight that window gave me. The green grass and the blue sky—I could never tire of them. Here they fed me well three times in the day; and at night I lay on a mattress, which was softer to me then than I ever felt afore a bed of down. When at last I was strong enough to ride, I was set on an horse, and his bridle tied to the horse of the Sheriff’s man. So we rade away from Woburn, twenty or more in company. This time I saw we went south. At the last (I will not essay to tell you with what feelings), I knew we were nearing London. I wonder where were you, beloved, that even that I rade in at Aldgate? I looked longingly down the Minories, but I could see no familiar face.”

“Why, Robin dear, what even was it?” said Isoult.

“How shall I tell thee, sweet mother, when I know not yet what even is this?” said he, and smiled. “It was fifteen weeks from to-day, saving three days.”

“There is a sum!” said Mr Underhill. “Jack, whether can thou or I do it? Fifteen—two thirty-ones and a thirty—saving three—the 5th of October, I make it.”

“I think so,” assented John.

“October!” said Robin, still smiling. “I fancied it earlier. It is January, then, now? I thought we were not past Christmas. Well, through the City went we, and into Newgate, where, as afore, I was lodged alone.”

“Newgate!” cried Mr Underhill. “And how doth mine old friend Alisaunder, and my most gentlest mistress his wife?”

“I saw not her,” replied Robin; “but to judge from his face, I should say he doth rarely well. Here, then, in Newgate, I lay, marvelling that I was never sentenced and burned; but I knew nothing of the cause nor of what passed, until this even all the doors were unlocked, and we prisoners all were bidden to go forth, whither we would, for Queen Elizabeth reigned, and this was her Coronation Day. How strange it was to be free!”

“I marvelled what thou wert suffering, Robin dear,” said Isoult, “but we never thought of Little Ease. We took thee for dead.”

“So I thought you would,” said he. “And now that I am returned to men’s life again, tell me, I pray you, what day is this—of the month and week?”

“’Tis the 15th of January,” said she, “and Sunday.”

“And the year,” he resumed, pausing, “I suppose, is Fifteen Hundred and Fifty-Eight?” (By the old reckoning from Easter to Easter.)

“It is so, dear heart,” answered Isoult.

“It seemeth me,” said Robin, “a little picture of the resurrection.”

“Come, friends!” cried Mr Underhill, springing up, “I must be going, and I will not be balked of my Te Deum. Jack, thou promisedst it me.”

“So I did,” answered he, smiling. “Strike up, and we will all follow.”

He struck up the chant, in his fine deep voice, and all joined in. Then Mr Underhill took his leave, and went home; after which the rest sat a little while in silence. Mr Rose was the first to break it.

“Robin, hast thou still a purpose to receive orders?”

“More than ever!” cried Robin, eagerly. “I never could before have told the people one-half of what I can tell now. I knew that God was sufficient for some things, but now I see Him all-sufficient and for all. I knew He could lift man up to Him, like a mother learning a child day by day; but I scantly knew how He could come down to man, like the same mother bending her sense down to the stature of her child, entering into his difficulties, feeling his troubles, making her a child for him. ‘I, even I, am He that comforteth you;’ ‘I will comfort you, and ye shall be comforted;’ yea, ‘as one whom his mother comforteth, so will I comfort you.’”

“I think thou art right,” said Mr Rose, softly.

Again they sat in silence till the clock struck eight—the hour at which they commonly parted for the night. Before any one moved, Mr Rose called Thekla to him. When she obeyed, he took her hand, and laid it in Robin’s.

“The Lord bless you, and keep you!” he said tenderly. “My son, thou hast been in sorrow, and God hath been with thee: see thou leave Him not out of thy joy. May Jesus, who was the chief guest at the wedding in Cana of Galilee, be with you also, and turn the water of earthly hope into the best wine of heavenly peace. We have asked Him to the match; Lord, make One at the marriage!”

There was no voice silent in the Amen.

And then, as if the very act of lifting up his heart to God had borne him above earth, and he had forgotten the thing that caused it, Mr Rose went on:—

“‘For Thou only art holy, Thou only art the Lord! Thou only, O Christ, with the Holy Ghost, art most high in the glory of God the Father!’”

Note 1. There were several prisons which bore this name, one of them in London. The most horrible of all was that at Woburn, and was, I believe, the only one constructed on this cruel principle.

Chapter Thirteen.


Historical Notes.

Bernher, Augustine.

By birth a German-Swiss, probably from the neighbourhood of Basle. In contemporary notices often called Latimer’s servant; but if the meaning of the word at that time be borne in mind, and the kind of service noted, it will be seen that he was only a servant in the sense of being in receipt of a salary from his employer. He was ordained in or before the reign of Edward the Sixth; and during the persecution under Mary, no man was more fervid and fearless than he. At many martyrdoms we find him consoling the martyr; visiting the condemned prisoners, and forming the recognised means of communication between them. His safety through all can only be attributed to the direct interposition of his Almighty Master. “Mine own good Augustine,” wrote Bradford, “the Lord of mercy bless thee, my dear brother, for ever... The keeper telleth me that it is death for any to speak with me, but yet I trust that I shall speak with you.” (Foxe’s Acts and Monuments, eight 262). At the commencement of the persecution, Bernher lived at Baxterley, near Mancetter; but for a time during its height, he was minister of a small London congregation, which assembled secretly, sometimes in very curious places, and often on board some vessel in the Thames. Bernher was a married man. After the accession of Elizabeth, this Christian hero was presented by the Crown to the rectory of Southam, county Warwick (Richings’ Narrative of Sufferings of Glover, etcetera, pages 10-12). But only for a very few years did Bernher survive the persecution. The scaffolding had served its purpose, and was taken down; the servant of God had done his work in aiding the brethren at risk of life, and the summons was issued to himself, “Come up higher.” On April 19, 1566, Bartholomew Greene was presented to the rectory of Southam, “vacant by the death of Augustine Barnehere.” (Dugdale’s Warwickshire, page 339).

Bonner, Bishop Edmund.

This coarsest and most cruel persecutor of the Protestants, whose anger was particularly rife against married priests, was himself the illegitimate son of a priest, George Savage, the illegitimate son of Sir John Savage of Cheshire. His father was parson of Dunham; and during his earlier years he was known indiscriminately as Edmund Savage or Bonner, which last appears to have been his mother’s name. The only punishment which this monster received at the hands of men lay in the refusal of Elizabeth to permit him to kiss her hand when the Bishops met her on her coronation progress, and the restriction of his residence for the remainder of his life. Probably he might even have been spared the last penalty, had he not had the cool effrontery to take his seat in the House of Lords as Bishop of London in Elizabeth’s first Parliament. This provocation was too much for the patience of that determined Princess, and Bonner speedily found himself in the Marshalsea, where he was not uncomfortably accommodated until his death.

Elected Bishop of Hereford, December 17, 1539, but translated to London before consecration; consecrated Bishop of London, in the Bishop of London’s Palace, by Stephen Gardiner of Winchester, Richard Sampson of Chichester, and John (? William) Skippe of Hereford, April 2, 1540; deprived, October 1, 1549; restored, August 5, 1553; re-deprived, May 29, 1559; died September 5, 1569; buried in the churchyard of Saint George, Southwark.

Ferris, George.

This worthy is sometimes called George Ferrers. He was born at or near Saint Albans, educated at Oxford, studied at Lincoln’s Inn, wrote poems much admired in his day, and translated Magna Charta from French into Latin. He was patronised by Cromwell, and was “Master of the Revels in the King’s house” in 1552 and 1553. Ferris died at Flamstead, in Hertfordshire, in 1579.

Grey, Lady Jane.

The opinion which her contemporaries formed of this lady, and which is to a great extent shared by their posterity, was not the true view of her character. She was by no means the meek, gentle, spiritless being whom novelists, and even historians, have usually depicted under her name. On the contrary, she was a woman with a very decided will of her own, and with far more character than her husband, who had set his weak mind on being proclaimed King. This Jane bluntly refused, though she was willing to create him a Duke. Through all her letters now extant there runs a complaining, querulous strain which rather interferes with the admiration that would otherwise be excited by her talents, character, and fate. My business in the story is to paint Lady Jane as the Protestants of her day believed her to be; but it is hardly just not to add that they believed her to be made of softer and more malleable material than she really was. The fact of her having been persuaded, or rather forced, to accept the Crown, has given this erroneous impression of her disposition. It was the only point on which she was ever influenced against her own judgment; the instigator being Lord Guilford, who in his turn was urged by his ambitious, unprincipled father, and his equally ambitious and unprincipled mother, in whose hands his weak, affectionate, yielding temperament rendered him an easy tool. The probability is, that had Jane been firmly established as Queen, she would have shown a character more akin to that of Elizabeth than is commonly supposed, though undoubtedly her personal piety was much more marked than that of her cousin. It seems rather strange that the child of parents, morally speaking, so weak as Dorset and Frances, should have displayed so strong and resolved a character as did Lady Jane Grey.

Born at Bradgate, 1536-7; married at Durham House, London, May 21, 1553; beheaded on Tower Hill, February 12, 1554.

Holland, Roger.

As much as is known of the history of this last of the Smithfield martyrs will be found in Foxe’s Acts and Monuments, eight, 473-479. There is much difficulty, however, in deciding from what branch of the great Holland family the martyr came. All accounts tell us that he was a Holland of Lancashire; yet his name does not appear in any pedigree of the numerous Lancastrian lines. All these families are descended from Sir Robert de Holand, who died in 1328, and his wife Maude, heiress of La Zouche. Nor is it any easier to trace the relationship between Roger Holland and Lord Strange, or Mr Eccleston, both of whom Foxe calls his kinsmen. More than one branch of Holland married into Eccleston; and the Derby connection has eluded all my researches. Roger’s wife was named Elizabeth, but her surname does not appear: they were married in “the first year of Queen Mary,” 1553-4, and had issue one child, sex and name unknown. His martyrdom took place on the 27th of June 1558, or “about” that time; Foxe speaks doubtfully as to the exact day. Nothing further is known of his wife and child.

Monke, Thomas.

Son of Anthony Monke of Potheridge and Elizabeth Woode of London; born in 1516. He was twice married after the death of Lady Frances,—first, to Elizabeth Powell of Stroud, and lastly, to Katherine Hawkes. The third wife was childless; by the second he had one daughter, Dorothy. The male line of Monke failed in Christopher, only son of George Monk, Duke of Albemarle. In the female line the blood of the Plantagenets descended to many very obscure families. The wife of Colonel Pride, who conducted King Charles the First to his trial, was Elizabeth Monke of Potheridge, the eventual representative of the family. (Ancient Compotuses of Exchequer, Devon, 37-8 H. eight; Harl. Mss. 1538, folio 213; 3288, folio 50.)

Northumberland, John Dudley, Duke.

In some respects, this was the most remarkable man of his age. He may be said to have risen from nothing, for though his mother was Elizabeth, eleventh Viscountess Lisle in her own right, his father was Edmund Dudley, the mean and avaricious favourite of Henry the Seventh. The marriage of Dudley and Elizabeth was apparently forced upon the Viscountess, then a mere girl of some twenty years of age or under; and when she was left free, she re-married Sir Arthur Plantagenet (Viscount Lisle), to whom it seems probable that she had been originally betrothed. John Dudley was the eldest child of this ill-matched pair, and was born in 1502. The solitary object of his love was John Dudley, and the one aim of his existence was to advance that gentleman’s fortunes. From a worldly point of view, he succeeded remarkably well. He passed gradually through the several gradations of Knight, Viscount Lisle (March 12, 1542), Lord High Admiral (1544), Governor of Calais (about 1545), Earl of Warwick, (February 17, 1547), Duke of Northumberland (October 11, 1551). The last title placed him at the very summit of his ambition. There were only two other Dukes in England, Norfolk and Suffolk: and had he been proclaimed King, his power could scarcely have been any greater than it was. “Yet all this availed Haman nothing, so long as he saw Mordecai the Jew sitting at the King’s gate;” and so long as Edward Seymour drew the breath of life, there was bitterness in all the honours of John Dudley. He stooped to the lowest and vilest means of destroying his rival, and he effected his purpose; himself to be destroyed in his turn by the accession of Mary, not two years later. His attempt to make his daughter-in-law Queen was his last and most aspiring effort at his own aggrandisement. When that failed, all failed; and he sank “down as low as high he soared.” Through life he was the acknowledged head of the Lutheran party; but in respect of personal religion he was a By-ends, adopting the creed which he thought would best advance his interests; his own proclivity being towards Popery, as he showed in the last days of his life,—unless it be thought that this, his latest act, worthy of the life which had preceded it, was a mere attempt to curry favour with Queen Mary. Bad as the man was, I do not like to think that his dying act was a lie. He suffered on Tower Hill, August 22, 1553. Northumberland was but once married, though he left a large family. His wife was Jane, daughter of Sir Edmund Guilford; a fitting wife for such a husband, being as ambitious and unscrupulous as himself. His children were thirteen in number, of whom only two left issue—the famous Earl of Leicester, and Lady Mary Sidney. The entire Dudley race is now extinct, except in the female line.

Palmer, Sir Thomas.

In early life a great gamester and a notorious libertine, known as Long Palmer, on account of his height, and Busking Palmer—a term about equivalent to the modern “dandy.” He generally signs his name as above, but upon one occasion, “Thomas de Palmer.” He was at one time in the service of the Lord Privy Seal, Cromwell; and was one of the “gentlemen ushers daily wayters” at Court, before 1522; for three years he was knight porter at Calais. The part he took against the Gospellers during the Calais persecution is alluded to by Foxe (A. and M., five, 497, 505, 506, 520), and will be found fully detailed in my previous volume, “Isoult Barry of Wynscote.” At the sorrowful time of Lord Lisle’s arrest, his friend Palmer was jousting at Court. Edward Underhill names him as one of those “companions” with whom he was “conversant a while, until I fell to reading the Scriptures and following the preachers.” In the army of Boulogne, 1544, Palmer was one of the captains of the infantry, and was taken prisoner by the French. We meet with him next, October 7, 1551, when “Sir Thomas Paulmer” writes Edward the Sixth (and another hand has interlined, “Hating the Duke and hated of him”), “came to the Duke of Northumberland to deliver him his cheine... whereupon, in my Lord’s garden, he declared a conspiracy,” evolved out of his inner consciousness, of which Somerset was the supposed inventor and real victim. On the 16th, conspirators and informer were impartially arrested, Palmer “on the terrace walking there.” To Somerset, Palmer had denied every word he had uttered, when the Duke sent for him and charged him with the uttering: on the trial he was the principal witness, though the Duke denied his accusation, and “declared all the ill he could devise of Palmer.” It was not necessary to “devise” much. It was soon plain that Palmer’s arrest was a mere farce. He was not only released, but was appointed, March 4, 1552, one of the commissioners to treat with Scotland. In 1553 he proved true to his friend Northumberland, and shared his fate. Two versions of his dying speech are given, in the Chronicle of Queen Jane and Queen Mary, pages 22-24.

Lisle Papers, two, 125; nine, 10; seventeen, 94;—Cott. Ms., Nero, c. ten, 40, 41, 44-46, 51;—Harl. Mss., 69, folio 50; 283, folio 3; 425, folio 93;—Rutland Papers, page 102.


The story will be scarcely intelligible without some elucidation of the pedigrees of the three families whose members are constantly meeting the reader—Barry, Basset, and Lisle. I have tried to put them into a form at once as short and as easy of reference as possible.

Barry of Wynscote.—Richard Barry, descended from the Lords Barry of Ireland, died June 2, 1462. His son:—John, died September 16, 1510. His son;—John, born 1473, died July 25, 1538: married Anne, daughter of Patrick Bellewe of Aldervescot, and Anne Dennis of Oxleigh, county Devon (and half-sister of Anne and Margery Basset. See below). His issue:—1. Henry, born 1514, died 1566; married Margaret, daughter of Nicholas Specott (she died March 14, 1580) 2. Hugh, of Bindon, married Alice, daughter and co-heir of Richard Wikes. 3. Elizabeth, married John Dennis of Matcott (branch of D. of Oxleigh). 4. Isoult, married John Avery of Bradmond, Badmond, or Bodmin, county Cornwall. Issue of Henry Barry:—1. Michael, married 1566, Jane, daughter of George Pollard of Langlough (issue, Thomasine, born January 5, 1570). 2. William. 3. Henry. 4. Lawrence. 5. Anne. Issue of Hugh Barry:—1. Alexander, died S.P. 2. Giles, married—(issue, Eleanor and Giles). 3. John, married Grace, daughter of Richard Oliver of Barnstable (issue, John, born 1604; Levi, born 1607; John, born 1610; Patience, born 1613; Philip, born 1615). 4. Margaret. 5. Anne. Issue of Elizabeth Dennis:—1. William, married Lucy, daughter of John Cloberie, and left issue. 2. Nicholas. 3. Ellen. 4. Anne. 5. Henry. 6. Giles. 7. Robert. 8. Philip. Issue of Isoult Avery unknown; but the following, who appear in the Bodmin Registers, may have been her sons:—Edward Avery (son baptised, 1562); Thomas (ibidem. 1563); Walter (children baptised, 1585, 1595); Michael, buried September 28, 1569.

Basset of Umberleigh.—Sir John Basset, died January 31, 1528; married (a) Anne, daughter of John Dennis of Oxleigh, and Eleanor Gifford; widow of Patrick Bellewe of Aldervescot; (b) Jane, daughter of Thomas Beaumont of Devon; (c) Elizabeth, family unknown; (a) Honor, daughter of Sir Thomas Grenville of Stow, and Isabel Gilbert; born circa 1498, married circa 1515, died circa 1548. (See Lisle, below.) His issue:—a. 1. Anne, married Sir James Courtenay (issue unknown). 2. Margery, married Sir John Marres of Cornwall (issue, Margaret, married George Rolle). b or c (uncertain). 3. Jane, apparently died unmarried: born circa 1505. 4. Thomasine, born circa 1512; died unmarried, March 19, 1535. (d) 5. Philippa, born circa 1516, apparently died unmarried. 6. Katherine, born circa 1518, married Sir Henry Ashley, of Ashley and Wimborne (Shaftesbury family: issue, Henry and Edward, both S.P.) 7. John, born October 26, 1519; died at Crowe, April 3, 1545; married Frances, eldest daughter of Arthur Lord Lisle (see Lisle, below). 8. Anne, born circa 1520, married after 1554 Francis Hungerford (issue unknown). 9. George, born circa 1522; died in London, 1580: married Jaquit, daughter and heir of John Coffyn of Portledge, county Devon (she re-married Henry Jones, and died November 25, 1588). 10. Mary, born circa 1525, married John Wollacombe of Combe, county Devon (issue, John, Thomas, and Honor). 11. James, born 1527, servant of Bishop Gardiner, and afterwards Gentleman of the Chamber to Queen Mary; died November 1558; buried Black Friars’ Church, London: married Mary, daughter of William Roper. Issue of John Basset:—1. Honor, born at Calais, 1539, apparently died young. 2. Sir Arthur, born 1540, probably at Calais; married Eleanor, daughter of John Chichester of Rawley:—issue, 1. Anne, 2. Robert, who claimed the Crown as lineal descendant of Edward the Fourth, in 1603, and was compelled to fly to France; he married, at London, November 21, 1591, Elizabeth, daughter and co-heir of Sir William Perjam:—issue, 1. Arthur, died young; 2. Arthur, born circa 1597, died January 7, 1672; married—Leigh: 3. William, born March 28, 1602: 4. Anne, married Jonathan Rashley of Fox: 5. Ellen, married George Yeo of Hushe: 6. Eleanor. 7. Mary. Issue of George Basset:—1. James, born 1565, died at Illogan, February 8, 1604; married Jane, daughter of Francis Godolphin: left issue. 2. Katherine: 3. Blanche. Issue of James Basset:—Philip, married — Verney, and left female issue; died after October 1, 1583.

Lisle.—Sir Arthur Plantagenet, son of Edward the Fourth and Elizabeth Lucy, born at Lille, circa 1462, created Viscount Lisle at Bridewell Palace, April 26, 1523; Governor of Calais, March 24, 1533; arrested May 17, 1540; died in the Tower, March 3, 1542; buried in the Tower. Married (1) Elizabeth, eleventh Viscountess Lisle, eldest daughter of Elizabeth Talbot, eighth Viscountess, and Sir Edward Grey of Groby; born circa 1480, married circa 1515, died 1527:—(2) Honor, youngest daughter of Sir Thomas Grenville of Stow, and Isabel Gilbert; born circa 1498, married circa 1530, died circa 1548. (See Basset, above.) His issue:—a. 1. Frances, born circa 1516, married (1) at Calais, February 17-22, 1538, John Basset of Umberleigh; (2) circa 1547, Thomas Monke of Potheridge; died circa 1560. Issue: (1) see Basset, above; (2) 1. Anthony, died May 9, 1620, married Mary, daughter of Richard Arscott, and left issue; 2. Katherine, married Jeremy Meo of Borrington; 3. Margaret, died unmarried; 4. John; 5. Francis or Frances; 6. Mary, (died unmarried). 2. Elizabeth, born circa 1518, married Sir Francis Jobson, of Monkwich, county Essex, who died June 11, 1573; she was living in 1560 (issue, 1. John, married Ellen, daughter of Sir Richard Pepsall, and left female issue; 2. Edward, of West Doniland, married Mary Boade, and left female issue; 3. Henry; 4. Thomas; 5. Mary). 3. Bridget, born circa 1520, married Sir William Carden, of Cawarden, Cheshire; living January 1, 1558 (issue, 1. Thomas, who left issue; 2. John), (b) 4. Infant, still-born or died soon after birth, at Calais, September 1537.


The Protestants in England, as on the Continent, were early divided into two great parties, known as Lutherans and Gospellers, or Consubstantiaries and Sacramentaries. These were nearly equivalent to the modern High Church (not Ritualistic) and Evangelical parties. There was yet a further division, at a later period, by the formation of a third sect known as Hot Gospellers, the direct ancestors of the Puritans. Without bearing these facts in mind, it is scarcely possible to enter into the politics of the period. Many who began as Lutherans ended as Gospellers: e.g., Cranmer, Somerset, Katherine Duchess of Suffolk. Some remained Lutherans for life, e.g., Queen Katherine Parr, Queen Elizabeth. And there were a few who never were Lutherans at all, of whom the representative is Latimer. The enmity between Somerset and Northumberland had a religious origin, Somerset being a Gospeller, and Northumberland professedly a Lutheran. It may be added that the Gospellers were as a rule Calvinists, the Lutherans Arminians.

Rose, Reverend Thomas.

I do not think it needful to recapitulate the history of Rose, which may be found at length in Foxe’s Acts and Monuments, eight, 581 et seq; and I only propose to add a few particulars and explanations which are not to be found in Foxe. It is only probable, not certain, that Mrs Rose was a foreigner, her name not being on record; and the age and existence of their only child are the sole historical data for the character of Thekla. I must in honesty own that it is not even proved that Rose’s wife and child were living at the time of his arrest; but the contrary is not proved either. The accusation brought against him is extant among Foxe’s Mss. (Harl. Ms. 421, folio 188); from which we find that he was detained at the Cross, in the Green Yard, near the Cathedral, Norwich; and that he was accused of having publicly held and taught “that in the eucharist, or sacrament of the altar, the true, natural, and real body and blood of Christ, under the forms of bread and wine, are not; but that after consecration the substance of bread and wine remaineth; and that whosoever shall adore that substance committeth idolatry, and giveth divine honour to a creature.” (Foxe’s Mss., Harl. Ms. 421, folio 188.) “Sir Thomas Rose, clerk, saith that he hath so preached, and will so preach” (Ibidem folio 146). On the 12th of May 1555, “Mr Thomas Rosse, preacher, was by the counsailles letters delyvered from the tower to the shrief of Norfolk, to be convayed and delyvered to the Bishop of Norwiche, and he either to reduce hym to recante or elles to precede against hym accordinge the lawe.” (Diary of the Council’s Proceedings, ibidem, Harl. Ms. 419, page 153.) And four days later,—“16 May. A letter to the Lord Treasourer, signifyinge what the 11 (Lords) had done for Rosse, and that order should be given according his Ls (Lordship’s) request for letters to the Busshopps.” (ibidem) Rose is by many of his contemporaries called Ross or Rosse, but he appears to have spelt his own name Rose. I say appears, because his autograph has been searched for in vain; the narrative of his sufferings, written by himself, and printed in the Acts and Monuments, is not extant among Foxe’s papers. When Rose returned to England after the accession of Elizabeth, he took possession again of his old vicarage, West Ham; but resigned it when he was presented by the Crown to the vicarage of Luton in Bedfordshire. This was on November 4, 1562; and the living was vacant by the death of the Reverend — Mason. It formed a quiet retreat for the old age of the persecuted preacher. At Luton he spent nearly thirteen years, dying there in 1574; for on the 18th of June in that year, William Home was presented to the vacant living. (Rot. Parl. 5 Elizabeth, part 4; 16 Elizabeth; Bibl. Topogr. British Antiquities, volume four.) Foxe, therefore, was apparently mistaken when he spoke of Rose as still living, in his edition of 1576; he had in all probability not yet heard of his death. As Rose was born at Exmouth in or about 1500, his age was about seventy-four when he died—probably rather more than less. For such further details of his life as can be found in Foxe’s volumes, I must refer my readers to his familiar and accessible work.

Somerset, Edward Seymour, Duke.

This very eminent man was the second son of Sir John Seymour of Wolf Hall, and Margaret Wentworth of Nettlestead, and owed his first rise to notice entirely to the elevation of his sister, Queen Jane Seymour. He married, at some period previous to this, Katherine, daughter and co-heir of Sir William Folliott, whom he repudiated when he reached a rather higher position, in order to marry Anne Stanhope, a great heiress. This was probably in 1537. On the 6th of June in that year he was created Viscount Beauchamp, and on the 18th of October following was advanced to the dignity of Earl of Hertford. So late as the accession of Edward the Sixth, he was still a Lutheran; for had he been then a Gospeller, we should not have found his signature to a letter written to the Council recommending a pardon at the Coronation, because “the late King, being in Heaven, has no need of the merit of it.” He was created by his royal nephew, February 16, 1547, Duke of Somerset, and Lord Protector of England during the King’s minority. It was very soon after this that he became a Gospeller; and immediately the Lords of the Council, headed by Northumberland, conspired to ruin him. The fullest, and the saddest, account of the plot against Somerset will be found in that Diary of Edward the Sixth, which records only facts, not opinions, much less feelings. Edward never enters anything in his Diary but events; and he did not see that the affair was a plot. Among Somerset’s judges were his rival Northumberland, his daughter-in-law’s father Suffolk, the Gospeller Sussex, his enemy Pembroke, and his cousin Wentworth. The Duke was acquitted of high treason, and condemned to death for felony, i.e., for devising the death of Northumberland. Somerset rose and owned honestly so much of the accusation as was true. He had considered whether it were advisable to impeach Northumberland and others; and had decided not to do so. He might have added that for his rival, a simple member of the Council, to depose and afterwards to impeach the Lord Protector, was at last as felonious or treasonable as any act of his. But words were vain, however true or eloquent. Northumberland had resolved upon his death, and thirsted for his blood. Somerset died upon Tower Hill, January 22, 1552. His Duchess survived him, but she was not released from the Tower until the accession of Mary. He left behind him twelve children; three by Katherine Folliott, nine by Anne Stanhope. The present Duke of Somerset is the representative of the former; the Duke of Northumberland, by the female line, of the latter. Lady Jane, the proposed Queen of Edward the Sixth, was afterwards Maid of Honour to Queen Elizabeth, and died unmarried, March 19, 1560, aged only nineteen. Somerset’s failings were pride and ambition; and he suffered in having married a woman whose faults were similar to his own. The character delineated in the text is not that attributed to him by modern historians. I must beg my readers to remember, that the necessities of the story oblige me to paint the historical persons who enter into it, not as modern writers regard them, nor indeed as I myself regard them, but as they were regarded by the Gospellers of their day. And the feelings of the Gospellers towards Somerset were those of deep tenderness and veneration. Whether the Gospellers or the historians were in the right, is one of those questions on which men will probably differ to the end of the world. I believe that his last days, the worst from a worldly point of view, were the best from a religious one, and that he was chastened of the Lord that he should not be condemned with the world.


But a very short time had elapsed, at the date of this story, since the titles of Lord and Lady had been restricted to members of the Royal Family alone, when used with the Christian name only. A great deal of this feeling was still left; and it will be commonly found (I do not say universally) that when persons of the sixteenth century used the definite article instead of the possessive pronoun, before a title and a Christian name, they meant to indicate that they regarded him of whom they spoke as a royal person. Let me instance Lord Guilford Dudley. Those who called him “the Lord Guilford” were partisans of Lady Jane Grey: those from whose lips he was “my Lord Guilford Dudley” were against her. This is perhaps still more remarkable in the case of Arthur Lord Lisle, whom many persons looked upon as the legitimate son of Edward the Fourth. As a Viscount, his daughters of course had no claim to the title of Lady; those who gave it regarded him as a Prince. Oddly enough, his friends generally give the higher title, his servants the lower. From his agent Husee it is always Mrs Frances, never Lady; but from Sir Francis Lovell her sister is the “Lady Elyzabeth Plantagenet.”

Underhill, Edward.

The “Hot Gospeller,” most prominent of his party, was the eldest son of Thomas Underhill of Wolverhampton and Anne Wynter of Huddington. He is known in the pedigrees of his family as Edward Underhill of Honingham. He was born in 1512, and at the age of eight succeeded to the family inheritance on the death of his grandfather, having previously lost his father (Harl. Ms. 759, folio 149). Underhill married, in 1545, Jane, daughter of a London tradesman, whom the pedigrees call Thomas Price or Perrins (Harl. Ms. 1100, folio 16; 1167, folio 10); but as Underhill himself calls his brother-in-law John Speryn, I have preferred his spelling of the name. The narrative of “the examynacione and Impresonmentt off Edwarde Underehyll” (from August 5 to September 5, 1553) is extant in his own hand—tall, upright, legible writing—in Harl. Mss. 424, folio 9, and 425, folios 86-98. Nearly the whole narrative, so far as it refers to Underhill himself, has been worked into the present story. Two short extracts have been printed from it, in the Chronicle of Queen Jane and Queen Mary (pages 128, 170); and Strype has made use of it also. The ballad given in chapter eight is evidently not the one on account of which the author was imprisoned. Underhill had eleven children;—1. Anne, born December 27, 1548 (query 1546). 2. Christian, born September 16, 1548. 3. Eleanor, born November 10, 1549. 4. Rachel, born February 4, 1552 (query 1551). 5. Unica, or Eunice, born April 10, 1552. 6. Guilford, born at the Limehurst, July 13, 1553, to whom Lady Jane Grey stood sponsor as her last regnal act; died before 1562. 7. Anne, born in Wood Street, Cheapside, January 4, 1555. 8. Edward, born in Wood Street, February 10, 1556; the eventual representative of the family. 9. John, born at Baginton, about December, and died infant, 1556. 10. Prudence, born 1559, died young. 11. Henry, born September 6, 1561, living 1563. Some writers speak of a twelfth child, Francis; but this seems to require confirmation. Underhill removed to Baginton, near Coventry, about Easter, 1556. He appears to have lost his wife in 1562, if she were the “Mistress Hunderell” buried in Saint Botolph’s on the 14th of April. He was living himself in 1569 (Rot. Pat., 10 Elizabeth, Part two); nothing has been ascertained concerning him subsequent to that date, but according to one of the Heralds’ Visitations he returned to Honyngham. Notices of his descendants are very meagre; Lord Leicester’s “servant Underhill,” in 1585, is reported to have been one of his two surviving sons, Edward and Henry; and Captain John Underhill, the Antinomian, who figures in the early history of America, is said to have been the grandson of the Hot Gospeller. The Ms. which has chiefly supplied the dates given above was not found until too late to correct the text. The dates of birth, therefore, of Anne and Edward, as given in the story, are inaccurate. Underhill lent his “Narrative” to Foxe, who is said to have returned it without making use of it. That he made no use of it is certain, beyond recording the day of Underhill’s committal to Newgate: but whether he ever returned it is not so certain; for it is bound with Foxe’s papers at this day, to which fact we probably owe its preservation. In Ainsworth’s “Tower of London,” a fancy portrait of Underhill is given, precisely the opposite of that which I should sketch. “He was a tall, thin man, with sandy hair, and a scanty beard of the same colour. His eyes were blear and glassy, with pink lids utterly devoid of lashes; and he had a long lantern-shaped visage” (page 43). Mr Ainsworth (who evidently regards him as a grim ascetic) proceeds, with due poetical justice, to burn our friend on Tower Green, in 1554. I imagine that the dry humour for which Underhill was remarkable, would have been keenly evoked by perusal of the adventures there mapped out for him. For many of these details I am indebted to a distant relative of the Hot Gospeller.

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