Mary Tudor, Queen of France by Mary Croom Brown - Read online
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ANYONE who writes the life of Mary Tudor, daughter of Henry VII., must owe a debt of gratitude to Mrs Everett Green, who first drove a wedge through the mass of documents dealing with the subject. Since that date, however, new evidence has come to light and fresh readings of mutilated documents have been possible. Here and there a detail has been verified, nothing in itself, but when fitted in suggesting a new meaning to the whole; for this romantic history, dealing as it does with personal detail, is a very jig-saw puzzle. The date of the princess's birth, now at last definitely ascertained, is one of these details; the fact that in France she was twice married to Charles Brandon is another; and, to give a third instance, the detailed evidence shows that in the question of the dismissal of her English train from the French Court, Mary was as much sinner as sinned against. But after all is said, the difference between a book written fifty years ago, and one of to-day lies not so much in the matter newly discovered, as in the method of handling the same documents, and in the present incorrigible habit of valuing personality above ceremony, in this case looking for the woman in the princess and finding her. So while fifty years ago Princess Mary "penned many epistles," now she writes letters; then "she was advanced to maternal honours," now her first child is born. It all means the same thing set to differing measures. We jig along: they walked solemnly.
My thanks are due in no small measure to Miss A. M. Allen and to Mr P. C. Allen for their careful and friendly help, and to the Librarian of Exeter College and the officials of the Record Office for their courtesy.
L. and P. H. VII. and R. III.
= Letters and Papers, Henry VII. and Richard III.
L. and P. H. VIII.
= Calendar of Letters and Papers, Foreign and Domestic, of the Reign of Henry VIII.
C. S. P. Venice
= Calendar of Venetian State Papers.
C. S. P. Spain
= Calendar of Spanish State Papers.
= Cottonian MSS., Caligula B.M.
= " " Galba, B.M.
= " " Vitellius, B.M.
= " " Vespasian, B.M.
= Public Record Office.
TO write the full life of Mary Tudor, second daughter of Henry VII., is to attempt the impossible, for the term usually implies a consecutive story from the gate of birth to that of death. We do know now the dates written over both these gates, but while her early days are shrouded by lack of information, her later years are equally indistinct. For less than a couple of years Mary Tudor lives and moves before us, and only this watch and vision is clear. From October 1514 to May 1516 she reveals herself, and fortunately with greater distinctness than she could possibly have done in a chronicle of orderly days with their circling duties and small joys and sorrows. To most ordinary men and women there comes one great moment in life, the third act of the play, to which all the previous scenes have been leading, and it is during Mary's great moment, when her nature was keyed to its highest pitch, that we are able to see her clearest. Before it arrives and after it has passed one desires, and desires in vain, the chronicle of those smaller joys and sorrows, but it is not to be found, and as we cannot have the life let us make the most of the episode.
The date of Mary's birth has at last been fixed as the 18th March 1495. The day and the month have hitherto been a matter of uncertain conjecture, and the year has been given as 1496 on the strength of a privy seal of Henry VII. which runs as follows: "de Termino Paschæ anno xi. regis nunc: Anne Skeron nutrici dominæ Mariæ ls. pro quarterio unius anni finiti ad festum Sancti Johannis Baptistsæ ultim.; Johannæ Colyng, Fredeswidæ Puttenham, Marjeriæ Gower, Johannæ Cace, Avisæ Skidmore et Alicæ Bywymble cuilibet earum xxxiijs. iiijd, pro attendenciis suis nutrici ducis Eboracencis et sororum suarum per medium annum ad finem predictum." So that Anne Skeron had only completed three months' service at midsummer when the other nurses and attendants had completed six. Now the xi. year of Henry VII. lies between August 22, 1495, and August 21, 1496, so that this midsummer falls before Easter 1496, the date of the document, for it is "ad festum Sancti Johannis Baptistæultim." Hence the quarter's wage then due must have begun in March 1495, not in March 1496 as Mrs Green and, following her, Dr Gairdner argues. That it was 1495 is supported, in a somewhat weak-kneed fashion, by the fact that in the beginning of 1499 Henry refused to give his daughter in marriage to the Duke of Milan because she was only three years old, and by her brother's statement in his letter to Leo X. announcing the repudiation of the Castilian marriage contract in 1514, that she was married in December 1508 at the age of about thirteen (cum vix annum tertium decimum attigisset). Henry VII.'s love of accuracy makes his statement that Mary was three years old and not four at the beginning of 1499 worth having, and, as Dr Gairdner says, his son had no reason to deceive the Pope in 1514. His sister had then been safely married to an old man, and there was no necessity to keep up a fiction about her age. But evidence of unassailable authority is to be found in the Calendar prefixed to Queen Elizabeth of York's Psalter in the Library of Exeter College, Oxford, where the date of Mary's birth is given as 18th March 1495. The only question which now arises is, Did the writer who inserted the dates for the Queen in the Calendar use the January or the March year? But remembering the date of the privy seal already quoted, and the fact that the new fashion of reckoning the year as beginning in January was already in use in private documents, it is only reasonable to conclude that the writer, whoever he may have been, had adopted the modern calendar.
The difficulty of determining the age of the princess is partly due to the fact that when Mary was growing up and developing rapidly into a young woman, Charles of Castile, nearly five years younger, remained a child in appearance. The Flemish Council said she was too old for him, and sought to break off the match, and in 1514, to answer the gibe that Charles wanted a wife and not a mother, her age seems to have been officially announced as sixteen, while as a matter of fact she was nineteen. No wonder in these days of early marriages (her sister Margaret was packed off to Scotland when she was just over fifteen, and her father had been born before her grandmother's fourteenth birthday) she felt as though she had coiffé Ste Catherine, and the fiction of her age grew easily.
ELIZABETH OF YORK
FROM THE PAINTING IN THE NATIONAL PORTRAIT GALLERY (FLEMISH SCHOOL)
The childhood of Mary passed in obscurity; new frocks, a few doctor's bills, a papal pardon, are the few indications of her existence. Once only do we see her, as a child of four, in the winter of 1499, playing in the great hall at Eltham, when Lord Mountjoy brought Erasmus to see Prince Henry there. When she emerges into clearer light, she shows herself to be of little mental originality but of strong passions, and it will be interesting to describe, so far as is possible, the qualities she may have inherited from her father and her mother. Henry VIII., Queen Margaret of Scotland, Queen Mary of France, all had these violent qualities which are miscalled Tudor, for they really belong to the house of York.
Her mother, Elizabeth of York, daughter of Edward IV., had been rescued from the arms of her uncle, Richard III., to be thrust into those of Henry of Richmond. She was a rather short woman, inclined to embonpoint, with deep breasts. She possessed a happy, pleasure-loving temperament, was very charitable, deeply attached to her sisters, Katharine, Countess of Devon, and the lady Bridget of York; religious in the outward sense of the word. That is to say, that while she took many journeys for pleasure in the summer, she did her pilgrimages vicariously by means of her servants. Her portrait in the National Portrait Gallery is not that of an intellectual woman, it is, rather, a childish face with great comeliness. She had ruddy hair and brown eyes, which she bequeathed to none of her surviving children, who all had the pale blue eyes, looking grey in certain lights, of their father. She was beloved by the Londoners because she was the daughter of her father, and no doubt this means that she had his easy manner, and possibly, like him, was "among mean persons more familiar than his degree, dignity or majesty required." She had no influence in Court nor with her husband. All the feminine influence there was centred in her mother-in-law, the Lady Margaret, Countess of Richmond, with whose orderly, ceremony-loving nature Elizabeth must ever have been secretly at feud. Henry believed there was no woman to equal his mother, and the "King's lady mother" regulated the whole Court in personal matters with a despotic hand. Ceremony was to her the breath of her nostrils, and, where she was, nothing moved but to slow and stately music. Elizabeth, on the other hand, loved flowers and gardens, music and disguisings and picnics, and she passed on her delight in these things to her children, while she did not "like" her position of subjection; but that there was open revolt we cannot tell. There is a pathetic hearsay picture of her as the comforter of her husband on the death of Prince Arthur in 1502, which shows her gentle nature and soft, comforting manner. (Again, these were passed on to Queen Mary and Henry VIII.) Henry was absolutely broken down by the news, and she hid her own sorrow at the sight of his grief till the first agony of his was passed. But when she went back to her own room, "natural and motherly remembrance of that great loss smote her so sorrowful to the heart, that those that were about her were fain to send for the King to comfort her." This account the writer acknowledges to be at second hand, but whether her reported words be the self-same that she uttered or not, yet the fact remains that in spite of Lady Margaret, Henry turned to his wife for comfort in his great grief. Possibly Lady Margaret grudged the Queen her easy popularity, for she was as beloved as Henry was disliked. "She is a very noble woman," writes the Spanish agent, and suggests that his master and mistress should show her a little love.
Henry's picture has been drawn by Hall. "He was a man of body but leane and spare, albeit mighty and strong therewith, of personage and stature somewhat higher than the mean sort of men be, of a wonderful beauty and fair complexion, of countenance merry and smiling, especially in his communication, his eyes grey, his teeth single and hair thin, of wit in all things quick and prompt, of a princely stomach and haute courage. In great perils, doubtful affairs and matters of weighty importance, supernatural and in manner divine, for such things as he went about he did them advisedly and not without great deliberation and breathing.... Besides this, he was sober, moderate, honest, affable, courteous, bounteous, so much abhoring pride and arrogancy that he was ever sharp and quick to them which were noted and spotted with the crime.... Although his mother were never so wise (as she was both witty and wise), yet her will was bridled and her doynges restrayned. And this regiment he said he kept to thentent yt he worthely might be called a King, whose office is to rule and not to be ruled of other."
De Puebla, the Spanish ambassador, found that when he was angry Henry's speech was full of venom, and that the words came from his mouth like vipers and he indulged in every kind of passion. Add to this another Spaniard's estimate of the King. In 1498 Pedro d'Ayala wrote to Ferdinand of Aragon. Henry "is disliked, but the Queen is beloved because she is powerless. They [the people] love the Prince as much as themselves, because he is the grandchild of his grandfather.... The King looks old for his years, but young for the sorrowful life he has led. One of the reasons why he leads a good (i.e. sober) life is that he has been brought up abroad. He would like to govern England in the French fashion, but he cannot. He is subject to his Council, but has already shaken off some and has got rid of some part of this subjection. Those who have received the greatest favours from him are the most discontented. He knows all that. The King has the greatest desire to employ foreigners in his service. He cannot do so, for the envy of the English is diabolical, and I think without equal. He likes to be much spoken of and to be highly appreciated by the whole world. He fails in this, because he is not a great man. Although he professes many virtues, his love of money is too great. He spends all the time he is not in public or in his council in writing the accounts of his expenses with his own hand.... The King is much influenced by his mother and his followers in affairs of personal interest and in others. The Queen, as is generally the case, does not like it." The same writer puts down the fact that Henry was more intelligent than his courtiers to his not being a pure Englishman.
From another source Henry's impatience with unsupported accusations is emphasized. "Ye would be ware how that ye brake to him in such matters, for he would take it to be said of envy, ill-will and malice," and he would send "sharp writing again that he would have proof of this matter." Further, the King was superstitious, and d'Ayala hints that this is his Welsh blood: "in Wales there are many who tell fortunes." In 1499 he was warned by a priest that his life would be in great danger for a year, and he aged in consequence twenty years in two weeks, and grew "very devout and heard a sermon every day during Lent, and has continued his devotions for the rest of the day."
The whole Court was devout in the same sense, and while one Spaniard says that "when one sees and knows the manners and the way of life of this people in this island, we cannot deny the grave inconveniences of the Princess's (Katharine) coming to England before she is of age ... before she has learnt to appreciate fully our habits of life," another complains that it is impossible in Lent to get a piece of meat in the Court kitchen. And the two complaints illustrate well what was and what was not to be found in the Court.
The nursery of the royal children was at Eltham, and there Mary probably remained till she was of fit age to appear in public. During her first two years the "Norcery" was under the care of Mistress Elizabeth Denton, of whom Henry and Mary were genuinely fond, and when she became one of the Queen's gentlewomen, her place was taken by Mistress Anne Crowmer. The children consisted of Henry, Duke of York, the ladies Margaret and Mary, and later on of Lord Edmund, who died a baby in 1500. Arthur, Prince of Wales, who was nine years older than Mary, had been emancipated from women's care, and had his own household. Babyhood in these days was not prolonged, and before Mary was two years old she was dressed like a woman of twenty in kirtles of black silk and velvet edged with ermine and mink, and provided with ribbons for lacing and for girdles, while next spring (8th April 1497) she was playing about in black velvet edged with tawny tinsel, or in black satin edged with velvet and a kirtle of black damask; the gowns, poor child, already stiff with buckram. Her smocks were made of fine linen. The usual channel by which Mary got all her clothes was an order to the keeper of the Great Wardrobe at the Tower minutely describing the articles to be delivered, signed at the top by her father. The same year (16th November 1497) she was given 3 pairs of hosen, 8 pairs single soled shoes and 4 pairs of double. In July 1499 she was put into colours, and presented with a green velvet gown edged with purple tinsel satin, and a blue velvet gown edged with crimson velvet, both stiffened with buckram, a kirtle of tawny satin edged with black velvet lined with blue cloth in the upper body, and another of black satin lined with black cloth in the upper body, 2 pairs knit hosen and linen smocks. Sheets, blankets, carpets, stools, basins, all chamber furnishings came from the Great Wardrobe, and were not to be had without a personal order from the King. No doubt her grandmother ordered such clothing for her grandchildren as she considered proper, and only once is there evidence that Queen Elizabeth took any interest in Mary's clothes: that was when she paid for the making of a black gown for her just after the death of Prince Arthur. What emotions may underlie that bare entry in the Queen's private accounts we can only conjecture.
The education necessary for a young lady was to learn to sing and to dance, to play the lute and other instruments, and to order her discourse wisely. Very much what it was fifty years ago. Henry admired French manners more than any other, and wanted his children to be conversant with them. So with Mary he placed Mademoiselle Jane Popincourt, a child of about her own age, and we may conjecture that the large wardrobe provided in March 1498 for "a French maiden" was for her. She had almost the same clothes as the princess, and was called her attendant, and Mary herself says they were brought up together. If Henry's idea was that his daughter should learn to speak French in her childhood, he was disappointed. Probably Jane learnt to speak English, but when Mary's marriage drew near in 1512, she had to have a special schoolmaster to coach her in the language, and this in spite of the fact that in Henry VII.'s court French was the usual tongue. Beyond reading and writing (spelling, alas for the record searcher, was not taught), singing, dancing, and embroidering, Mary's education did not go, and we have only to look at the portrait of her father to realize that he was one of those men who pray, "d'une mule qui brait et d'une fille qui parle latin, délivrez-nous, seigneur." His mother's benefactions to learning at the universities go no way to prove that she believed in it for women, as in fact she did not, and the result was that neither Mary nor her elder sister attained to the intellectual poise which is so remarkable in their descendants, Lady Jane Grey and Queen Mary Stuart.
So the two girls lived at Eltham, made habitable by their grandfather, and went in and out under his device (the rose en soleil) on the doorway, and afterwards at Baynard's Castle, Westminster Palace, Richmond, Windsor, Greenwich, wherever the Court was, going from one place to another by river in the Queen's great barge with its white and green awnings and 21 rowers in livery, and taking two days to get from Greenwich to Richmond. Once out of the nursery they were with their mother's ladies, and with their aunts, the Lady Katharine Courteney, Countess of Devon, and the Lady Bridget of York, who, after the Queen's death, became a nun. They knew Lady Katharine Gordon, the unfortunate widow of Perkin Warbeck, whose position at Court must have been a curious one; she was one of the Queen's ladies. Among the others were Lady Anne Howard, Lady Elizabeth Stafford, Lady Alyanore Verney, daughter of Sir Geoffrey Pole, whose husband, Sir Rauf, became chamberlain to Mary as Princess of Castile, and whose daughter-in-law, Dorothy, was one of her ladies. Dame Joan Guildford, sister of Sir Nicholas Vaux of Calais, and protégé of the Countess of Richmond, whose husband was controller of the household; Anne Weston, of the same Westons as Francis, who came to so tragic an end in the Boleyn catastrophe; Anne Browne, who went through so much misery before Charles Brandon married her; Eleanor Jones represented Wales, beloved of Henry and his mother; and the two Baptistes, Elizabeth and Françoise, were French waiting-maids.
When Mary was six years old her father attained his ambition, and the alliance with Spain, for which he had wrought so hard since 1488, constantly handicapped by conspiracies and rebellions, was affirmed by the marriage, in November 1501, of Katharine of Aragon and Arthur of Wales. Mary and her sister had new gowns for the occasion. Margaret, because she was six years older than Mary, and was about to be betrothed to James IV. of Scotland, and had to look her best in the presence of the Scots Commissioners, had her first gown of cloth of gold: "tawnay cloth of gold tissue trimmed with ermine backs and furred within with ermine wombes." She had another of purple velvet, made very long, with tabard sleeves furred with the same, two new hoods made in the French fashion, one of crimson and one of black velvet, two kirtles, one of tawny, one of russet satin, two pairs of sleeves, one of crimson satin and one of white cloth of gold of damask lined with blue sarcenet. Margaret's joy can be easily read in the light of her later open pleasure in fine clothes, for when in Scotland, despoiled of all by the Duke of Albany, and too ill to move, she had the new gowns sent by her brother brought in to her room time and again, so that she might admire them. Mary had no cloth of gold. She had two gowns, one of russet velvet trimmed with ermine backs and furred within with miniver, and another of crimson velvet with tabard sleeves trimmed with the same; a kirtle of tawny satin with a pair of green satin sleeves. The whole Court got new clothes, and on the day of the marriage the King's henchmen in their crimson cloaks, bordered with black satin, the Duke of York's followers in yellow and blue, with the guard in the King's own livery of white and green, and the minstrels and "trompettes" with their banner-hung instruments also dressed in the King's colours, the King and the Queen and their children in cloth of gold or tawny satin and ermine, must have made a fine sight as the procession passed along the blue cloth laid down from the bishop's palace to the cathedral door.
FROM THE PAINTING IN THE NATIONAL PORTRAIT GALLERY (FLEMISH SCHOOL)
But in a few months cloth of gold was exchanged for black satin, for Arthur died in Wales on 2nd April 1502, though in November, when Mary received her half-yearly supply of clothes, she was given a crimson velvet kirtle, possibly in anticipation of Margaret's marriage with the King of Scots on 25th January 1503. At the same time Elizabeth Langton, wardrobe maid, received linen for smocks, rails (nightgowns) and night kerchiefs for the princess and for Jane Popincourt. This is the first time rails are mentioned in the list. Did small children go to their "naked bed'? The Queen was going to have another child, and about three weeks after Margaret's marriage she died in child-birth in the Tower (11th February). Her French nurse had not been a success after all. She is reported to have comforted Henry on Arthur's death with the promise of more children, saying God had given them so many "and we are both young enough, and God is where he was." Her child was a daughter, named Catherine, who only lived a few days.
At once the atmosphere of the Court changed, and from now on it lived in a bustle of match-making, for father, son and daughter were all in the market. First there was Katharine of Aragon, whose destiny was so uncertain. The Spanish alliance brought Henry the European position that he coveted, and he neither wanted to risk losing it by restoring the Princess to her parents, or to lose the chance of widening his sphere of influence by binding Henry of York to marry her. However, the main thing for the moment was to hold on to Spain, so in July 1503 a dispensation for Katharine's marriage with her husband's brother was applied for. It only arrived in Spain in November 1504, when Isabella of Castile lay on her death-bed. It comforted the Queen, who had been horrified at Henry's interim proposal to marry the Princess himself. The death of Isabella (who is always called Elizabeth in England) and the question of the succession to Castile opened wider plans to Henry's imagination. Already, in 1500, Henry had had an interview with Philip of Burgundy in St Peter's Church, outside Calais, and Mary's marriage with Philip's son, Charles, Duke of Luxemburg, then four months old, had been mooted, as well as the Duke of York's to a Flemish princess. Then, in 1505, Henry thought of marrying Margaret of Angoulême, or her mother, Louise of Savoy, and suggested that Mary should marry the Dauphin. Henry, in his underhand way, also said she was asked in marriage by the son of the King of Portugal, but this is doubtful. But the King in 1506 finally concentrated his ambitions on Flanders and Castile, and in 1506 fortune came to him from the sea. Philip of Burgundy and his wife Joanna, now King and Queen of Castile, were on their way to take possession of their new kingdom to Ferdinand of Aragon's despite, when they were storm-driven into Weymouth harbour. Hall says that Philip had been so battered about and seasick that he insisted on landing, though his councillors warned him that if he once put his foot on shore, courtesy and perhaps force would demand a longer visit. And so it turned out, for Henry sent him a cordial invitation to visit him at Windsor, and thither went Philip, followed later by Joanna, who showed no haste to meet her sister Katharine. This is the occasion on which we see the Princess Mary dancing and playing the lute before Philip in the King's dining-room at Windsor. "And when the King heard that the King of Castile was coming [from his appartments in the Castle] he went to the door of the great chamber and there received him.... And so both together went through that chamber, the King's dining chamber, and from thence to an inner chamber where was my lady Princess and my lady Mary, the King's daughter, and divers other ladies. And after the King of Castile had kissed them and communed with them, and communed a while with the King and ladies all, they came into the King's dining chamber, where danced my lady Princess and a Spanish lady with her in Spanish array, and after she had danced two or three dances she left; and then danced my lady Mary and an English lady with her: and ever and anon the lady Princess desired the King of Castile to dance, which, after he had excused himself once or twice, answered that he was a mariner; but yet,' said he, 'you would cause me to dance,' and so he danced not, but communed still with the King. And after that my lady Mary had danced two or three dances, she went and sat by my lady Princess on the end of the carpet which was under the cloth of estate and near where the King and the King of Castile stood. And then danced one of the strange lords and a lady of England. That done, my Lady Mary played on the lute, and after upon the claregulls, who played very well, and she was of all folks there greatly praised that in her youth in everything she behaved herself so very well."
The upshot of this visit was a contract of marriage between Mary and Charles, and between Henry VII. and Philip's sister, the Duchess of Savoy, not long a widow for the second time, provided the lady consented. The lady would not consent, and Jehan le Sauvage, President of Flanders, wrote to Maximilian, her father, the King of the Romans, that though he had laboured daily with her for a full month, she still decidedly refused. Again and again Maximilian, in need of money and help against the Duke of Gueldres, pressed his daughter to consent, if only to amuse the King of England with promises, but she always answered "that although an obedient daughter she will never agree to so unreasonable a marriage." So Henry was fain in the end to be content with the marriage of Philip's son Charles, Duke of Luxemburg, to his daughter Mary.
September 1506 saw Henry's horizon suddenly widen. Philip of Castile died in that month. Henry would marry his widow Joanna and control Castile. Fortune this time favoured Ferdinand, who had been none too well pleased by the marriage projects; Joanna went mad, and though Henry said he did not mind that, seeing that she could still bear children, it gave Ferdinand an excuse for delaying negotiations. Mad or sane, Henry wanted to marry her, and de Puebla, the Spanish agent in England, suggested that marriage with such a man as Henry would restore her to sanity. Margaret of Savoy had obeyed her father in "amusing" Henry, and the King played off one marriage against the other, telling Ferdinand that he must decide soon about Joanna, for Margaret of Savoy was waiting to marry him, while to Margaret he said that there were so many other great and honourable matches daily offered to him on all sides that he could hardly choose which to have. It is true Margaret of Savoy had come to the Netherlands, but not as the prospective wife of the King of England waiting to cross the channel at his nod. She had been appointed Governess of the Netherlands and guardian to her nephew Charles, Prince of Castile. By her means a treaty was concluded in 1507 with England, and the marriage of the children was to have taken place at once, but Henry's illness prevented it. France, Spain and Austria were to meet at Cambrai in December 1508 for the adjustment of their claims in Italy, and Henry, in pursuance of his policy, tried hard, by means of Wolsey, to get the Bishop of Gurk, Maximilian's secretary, to help him to weaken Aragon by detaching France from him, so that Ferdinand, who was maintaining himself in a usurped Castile by French support, would find it impossible to continue to hold the kingdom. Henry's desires had no weight at Cambrai, and England, having no stake in Italy, was ignored. But on December 16, 1508, the marriage between Charles of Castile and Mary of England was celebrated at Richmond.
While these events were passing, Mary, to judge by her clothes, was growing up. They became more elaborate. Her mourning for her mother did not last long, for in June 1503 (three months after Elizabeth's death) she was wearing a gown of blue cloth edged with black velvet, and another of the same colour lined with miniver and edged with ermine. Her kirtle was of blue damask bordered with black velvet, and her bonnets were of "ermines powdered" and black velvet. She tied her hair with tawny silk ribbon. Her stockings were white, and she was now allowed 300 pins. Jane Popincourt's allowance was practically the same; she, too, had a blue gown edged with black velvet, white stockings, shoes, gloves, and pins. In the autumn Mary had 1000 pins. Her allowance comes to two gowns, kirtles, bonnets, etc., in the half year—not excessive for a princess.
Henry VII. did not go in for unnecessary magnificence, and Mary's trousseau, seeing she was to remain in her father's court at his charge, was a very modest one. Her wedding gown was of tawny cloth of gold of tissue with wide sleeves, lined with ermine, and trimmed with the same down the front and round the foot, and with an ermine collar. Henry ordered for her 1600 powderings from his own store—that is, the little black tails which turn miniver into ermine. Her other gowns were of purple tinsel furred with black shanks (coarse sheep's skin), of black damask furred with the same, of crimson velvet "purfled with purfull" (border) of crimson cloth of gold of damask, and lined with black sarcenet, two kirtles, a scarlet petticoat, two pairs of slippers, six pairs of hose and a pair of night-buskins (bed-socks); "a chamber stool of tymber," a basin of tin to wash her head in, a new bowl of "tre" to make lye in and baskets to carry the said basins in. All which details indicate that she was to have a separate establishment. Thriftiness comes in, and she was given a pair of sheets to cover up her gowns with.
She was a pretty, fair-haired child, with her father's beautiful complexion, small for her age and looking younger than she was. She had good manners and moved gracefully. By December 17 she was word-perfect in her part of the ceremony, which was more than the Prince's proxy was, and had been thoroughly well coached in her demeanour. The marriage was to take place at Richmond, in what had been Queen Elizabeth's room, called Mary's for the moment. There on that Sunday morning the Flemish ambassador, Lord de Berghes, who was to be Charles' proxy, the Governor of Bresse, Dr Sploncke, and Jehan le Sauvage, President of Flanders, with the Flemish nobles who had come to see the show, met the English Court. They waited, first for the King, who soon came in from the next room and engaged the ambassadors in pleasant and courteous conversation, and then for Mary, who did not keep them waiting long. Preceded by the Princess of Wales and her ladies, she entered and went to the high place prepared for her, and there stood alone under the golden cloth of estate. The ceremony began by speeches from the Archbishop of Canterbury and the President of Flanders, and these ended, with "due reverence in most humble maner shewed and doon by the said Lord Barges with most effectuous recommendacion made on the behalf of the Prynce of Castile, he then, takynge my sayd lady by the hande and eftsones declaryng thauctoritie geven unto him to contract matrymony with hir for and in the name of the sayde yonge Prynce, rehersed and uttred at the informacion of the sayd president the wordes of parfect matrymonye per verba de presenti whiche were before substantially devysed, put in writyng, and by the said lorde Barges then spoken and uttred, lyke as the said president redde theym to hym. And that doon, the hands withdrawen and dysclosed as the maner is, the Kynge's sayd daughter, eftsones takyng the sayd Lord Barges by the hande, with mooste sadde and pryncely countenance, havynge noo maner of persone to reherse the wordes of matrymonye to hir uttred, spake parfittely and distinctly in the frensche tonge by a long circumstance the wordes of matrymonye for hir partie, which by reason of the rehersall of his commission were veraye longe. Howbeit she spake the same without any basshing of countenance, stoppe or interrupcion therin in any behalfe; which thynge caused dyverse and many, as wel nobles as other, then beying present and herynge the same, not oonly to mervayle but also in suche wyse to rejoyse that for extreme contente and gladnes the terys passed out of theyr ies.
"After prolacion and utterance of which wordes ye sayd lord Barges, as procuratour to the sayde yonge Prynce, for corroboracion and confirmation of the sayde contract, not oonly subscrybed wrytyng conteignynge the wordes of matrymonye by hym uttred, lyke as my forsayed ladye dyde also for her partie, but also the sayd lorde in reverent maner kyssed the sayd ladye Marye and put a Ryng of Gold on hir finger, and in wyttenesse and testymonye of the sayd contract there were two notaries there beynge present requyred on both parties to make instruments upon the same. And all the lordes, ladyes and nobles heryng and seying the premysses then and there were desyred to bere wytnesse thereunto." The ambassadors brought with them jewels for Mary; one from Emperor Maximilian containing an orient ruby and a large and fair diamond garnished with large pearls; another from the young prince, a K for Karolus garnished with diamonds and pearls engraved with these words,—"Maria optimam partem elegit quae non auferetur ab ea": and a third from the Duchess of Savoy, a goodly balas (ruby) garnished with pearls. The ambassadors also carried a prim little letter from Charles to his "wife" with the date left blank, and on December 18, it was sent to Mary.
"Ma bonne campaigne, Le plus cordialement que je puis a vo[tre] bonne grace me recommander. J'ai charge le sre de Bergh[es] et autres mes ambassadeurs ordonnez pardeca vous deviser [la] disposition de ma personne et de mes affaires, vous priant l[es] vouloir croire et par eux me faire savoir de votre sante [et] bonnes nouvelles qui est la chose que plus je desire [que] sect le benoit filz de dieu auquel je prie ma bonne comp[aigne] vous donner par sa grace ce que desirez.
"A Malines xviii [in a different hand] jour de decembre.
Vre bon mary,
The marriage was regarded by the Burgundian party in Flanders as a bulwark against France, and an enthusiastic poet sang—
Reveillez vous cueurs endormis
Qui des Anglois estes amys
Chantons Dame Maria.
La Thoisan d'or et les pourpris
Des Chasteaulx, Aigles et des litz
Joyra Dame Maria.
Marie fille du vray litz
Henry septiesme Roy de pris
Prince sur tous les Princes,
Delyvreia de grans ennuys
Tout Flandres de ses ennemys,
Remontant les Eglises.
And so on through eight stanzas, the chorus being the opening one.
Henry did not long enjoy his triumph, and the last months of his life, secure now in the marriage with Castile, he spent in increasing the discomfort and misery in which he had kept the Princess of Wales for the last six years. He again postponed her marriage with Henry, and Katharine wrote in despair to her father that "it was impossible for her to endure any longer what she has gone through and is still suffering from the unkindness of Henry, especially since he has disposed of his daughter in marriage to the Prince of Castile, and therefore imagines he has no longer any need of" Ferdinand. Henry died on April 21, 1509, and by his will, dated at Canterbury, April 10, Mary is provided for as follows: "And whereas we for the dot and marriage of our said daughter, over and above the cost of her traduction into the parties of Flanders, and furnishing of plate, and other her arrayments for her person, jewels and garnishings for her chamber, which will extend to no little sum nor charge, must pay and content to the said prince of Spain the sum of fifty thousand pounds in ready money at certain dates expressed in the said treaty.... And in case it so fortune, as God defend, that the said marriage by the death of the said Prince of Castile, or by any other chance or fortune whatsoever it be, take not effect, but utterly dissolve and break, or that our said daughter be not married by us in our life, nor after the same have sufficient provision for her dot and marriage by the said three Estates, we then wol that our said daughter may have for her marriage fifty thousand pounds payable of our goods.... So and in none otherwise that in her said marriage she be ruled and ordered by the advice and consent of our said son the Prince, his council and our said Executors; and so that she be married to some noble Prince out of this our Realm."
After her father's death Mary's life went on in much the same way as before, only to a faster note, for her brother was young, and her grandmother, the only check on the new fashions, died within a year of Henry. As the time fixed for the consummation of her marriage approached she was given a schoolmaster in the French tongue. It is to be presumed that it was only in the year 1512 that John Palsgrave became her master, for up to that date there is no mention of a schoolmaster in the accounts. Moreover, Palsgrave, in his book 'Lesclarcissement de la lange Francoyse,' says that it was Henry VIII. who commissioned him "to instruct the right excellent princess your most dear and entirely beloved sister, queen Mary dowager of France, in the French tongue." Palsgrave writes himself down as "Natyf de Londres and gradue de Paris," and he produced in 1530 the first French grammar for Englishmen. Henry had had as French master Giles Du Wys, called his luter in 1501, and he had a "clear and perfect sight" in the language, but Mary had only had Jane Popincourt. Still, she must have known a little French, for, as has been seen, she had been able to recite her marriage contract in that language without a stammer. But much was to happen before Mary crossed the sea to speak the French she learnt from Master John Palsgrave.
HENRY VII. on his death-bed saw clearly that his policy of thwarting Ferdinand and seizing the government of Castile in favour of his son-in-law was not one which could be followed out by an inexperienced prince, and much as he distrusted Aragon, he knew it would be better that his son should have him for a friend at the outset than be entangled at once in his rancorous schemes. The prince must buy his own experience, and Henry's advice to him was to marry Katharine with all convenient speed, for naturally she could not remain a hostage in the young King's hands as she had in those of his father. With the King's death dropped the policy of peace at any price, for his son was of the new age, eager to join in the battles of Europe and rich enough to afford himself the gratification of military glory. More than once his father, distrusting all men, had fought for peace with his back to the wall, but Henry VIII., who dreamed of entering Paris at the head of a victorious army, regarded distrust of Spain as a mere maggot in the paternal brain, and, with the wealth of the greatest pawnbroker in Europe at his back, was eager to take the offensive against France.
For the first three years of his reign the King, new-married and happily, was guided by his father-in-law, and was merely a tool in his hands, and in spite of John Stile's warning from Valladolid, Henry did not doubt his goodwill. In order to understand Ferdinand's policy it must be borne in mind that he was influenced by a fear which overhung all his dealings with his allies and his enemies—the fear that Castile would rise against him in favour of its prince. Philip's order to void the country within twenty days was never forgotten, and he lived in hope that Charles might never emerge from a sickly boyhood, for though his daughter, Philip's widow, was a negligible quantity, his grandson, alas, was not. The greater part of Ferdinand's revenues were said to be derived from Castile. He made war and carried his arms into Italy, Africa and France at her expense, but legally his only status there was that of regent for his daughter, Queen Joanna, who existed at Tordesillas, watching there for the resurrection in ten years of her dead husband, Philip, and was, "of no sadness nor wisdom more than a young child and very feeble." Her hysteria had been allowed to develop into clear craziness. Ferdinand trusted none of the Castilian nobles, who feared that his amity with Henry and the latter's marriage with Katharine would deprive them of English help for their prince. After the ratification of the marriage between Mary and Charles, he took into his own hands as precaution all the castles of Galicia, for many of the nobles, like Gonsalvo the great captain, had offered their services secretly to the Emperor for their prince, and Ferdinand feared that Maximilian's success in Northern Italy might preface the revolt of Naples and Sicily to the Prince of Castile. England had been ruled out of the Treaty of Cambrai as not having a stake in Italy, and now Ferdinand wanted to keep her neutral till it suited his convenience. So he proclaimed himself Henry's faithful friend, brother and ally, and said that he accounted all causes belonging to Henry, and himself, and the Queen's grace and the Lady Mary, his noble sister, and the Prince of Castile, as one thing and cause without variance, and that he governed Castile solely for the weal of the prince, "the whych ys and schalbe hys eyre of all hys landys after hys decesse." It was to be a nice little family party, with Ferdinand as paternal despot. He had not the faintest idea in the world of making Charles, whom he hated, his universal heir, but in the wisdom of John Stile, the English agent in Spain, "wordes maye be spoken wythe dyssymulacyon." There was, however, discord in the family. Ferdinand declared that though there was no open breach between him and the Emperor, there was "a little grudge and variance for the governacyon of the realm of Castile," in which the Emperor was unreasonable, and he trusted Maximilian would soon be reformed with reason. At this moment he was working for some modus vivendi with him concerning this "governacyon," and that once arranged, he intended to make common cause with him against France, whose Italian conquests were causing Spain great uneasiness. He made all his dealings with the Low Countries depend on this settlement, and refused to pay Lady Margaret's jointure, long in arrears, and other pensions owing to Flemish subjects, till that was settled. If the Emperor's future was unprosperous in Italy, Margaret was to have a slack answer, but if Maximilian sped prosperously, then Margaret might have her jointure on condition that she negotiated the amity between the Emperor and Aragon.
With France, as may be seen, Ferdinand did not mean to break till it served his purpose. In John Stile's words:—"as touching to the French King that he [Ferdinand] also intendeth for to continue in amity with him, as long as that your highness and your good-father shall think standeth with the honours and profits of your highnesses, and no longer nor otherwise; the King your good-father being joyous and glad that your highness is in amity and good peace with all Christian princes, and his majesty not counselling nor advising your highness as yet for to move any war unto any outward prince, unless that great causes should move your highness there unto." Verily a treaty solemnly sworn to on the Gospels and in sight of the Host was but a cloak to hide new sins against the amity! In his great desire to keep his son-in-law entirely in his own pocket, and to forward this present policy, he had great difficulty in finding an ambassador to send to the English court: a natural Castilian was openly for the prince, an Aragonese for the French, and he ended by sending Luis Carroz, who was well tarred with his master's stick.
After the contract at Cambrai the French, with their usual quick resoluteness, were first in the field in Italy, but their successes, culminating in the battle of Agnadello, 14th May 1509, and the capture of the Venetian general d'Alviano, delighted no one but Maximilian, who hoped to find his opportunity in the weakness of the Venetians, and besieged Padua. The other members of the League, Ferdinand and the Pope, feared both French and Emperor, and the one tore his beard and secretly received at Rome the Venetian envoys asking for help, while the other, who already saw Maximilian holding Naples for his grandson, allowed the Venetians to use his ships, and sent provisions from Naples to Venice, to revictual Padua. "Il cherchait tenir toujours l'Empereur si bas qu'il ne pourroit lever la tête," grumbled Gattinare to Margaret, but all the same to break with "ce marrano" would draw in its train trouble with Gueldres and difficulty in getting payment of the duchess's jointure, so those on the gangway between the Empire and France had to sit quietly waiting on opportunity. At this moment Maximilian was the only member of the League who was pursuing a single aim. He wanted to crush the Venetians. Ferdinand, while ostensibly trying to bring about an understanding with Maximilian, was secretly practising against him, and Louis XII., at whose court Imperial, Burgundian and Spanish ambassadors were squabbling over their masters' affairs, was supposed to be furthering this amity between Ferdinand and Maximilian, but all the while was secretly moving against it. He said, for Maximilian had been rebuffed before Padua, that it was not a fair moment to treat, for "un homme reculé ne fait jamais appointtement à son profite, et que si l'on veult faire bon appointtement il la fault faire la lance sur la cuisse." Just what Maximilian could not do. "Je ne scay quel Diable fait ses affairs si malheureux," said the exasperated Burgundian agent De Burgo. However, by December 24 an understanding had been arranged between the grandparents of Charles, and amity concluded. Naples was secured to Aragon, so far as Maximilian was concerned, and Ferdinand began to weave his web round France.
He begged Henry, but secretly, for fear of the French getting wind of it (for the Spanish ambassador in France said that the French had their spies in England, and nothing was spoken in London but straightway it was known in Paris), to try and conclude a league between England, the Emperor, Spain, Flanders; Portugal would join, and Spain would be secure, no stab in the back for her. Henry must write to Julius II. and ask him to join, "so that the said amity and lyage may be made and established before the French King shall have knowledge of the same." For, he lisped to John Stile through his lost front tooth, such a noble league came by the great power and mercy of Almighty God, as did the accord and amity between the Emperor and himself, so that the French King should not attain unto his cruel purpose to destroy and subdue all the countries of Italy. Under such high patronage he foresaw no difficulty in reconciling the Venetians and the Emperor, for simultaneous inspired advice from England, Spain and Rome was to make the Venetians restore to the Emperor all that they had of his, and Louis was to find himself alone and at bay before the kings of Europe. In order to bring Henry's interests into the ring, Ferdinand emphasized the subtle policy of France, for, victorious in North Italy, she would turn her arms against the South, and wrest Naples from the crown of Castile and Aragon. All the same, till the establishment of this great league he ordered Henry to pass the time with the French King in goodly terms—in fact, to do as did his father-in-law, and always lean to the best advantage. So the English ambassadors at Rome were hand in glove with the Venetians, and daily plotted with them and the Aragonese to the great prejudice of the league of Cambrai.
Time now revealed the weak point in Ferdinand's calculations. Maximilian would not be won over, and in spite of English and Aragonese practices Venice would not give up her conquests. So that the rotten rags of the league of Cambrai had to be patched together, and Ferdinand told Henry that he must give all aid to the kings of the league to destroy the Venetians. But whatever you do, live in peace with France, is the chorus of all his letters. How to do this while the Duchess of Savoy was asking persistently for help against the Duke of Gueldres, and the Scots were buying guns in the Netherlands? France was backing Gueldres as usual with men and money, and in reply to the complaints of the Flemish agents, Louis XII. only shook his head over "ce mauvais sujet" of a duke and wished the devil might fly away with him for a disturber of the peace. Margaret must make what terms she could, so she turned to England. Henry was arming and preparing for events. He bought forty-eight guns from Hans Popenruyter, the gunfounder at Malines, and was to have them as cheap as the prince, said Margaret, who seized those bought by the Scots and resold them to Henry. She said distinctly, however, that she would neither be party to the league with Aragon against France nor persuade her father thereto unless Henry promised help against Gueldres. To defend the Flemish border against Gueldres was a left-handed way of making war on France, and Ferdinand would not approve. So Henry followed his "good-father's" advice and imitated him, and in April accepted the Golden Rose from Julius II., while two months later he confirmed the treaty made with France in March 1510. If Henry was Ferdinand in miniature, "Julius was Julius indeed," and in August a letter from him to Henry was intercepted by the French. Its contents were forwarded to Henry by Maximilian, who denied the truth of the Pope's statement that he and Ferdinand had entered into a league with the Papacy against France. This was only the Pope's evil plan to assist the Venetians "au contraire de la ligue de nous tous rois car les dits Veniciens ont gagné ses mignons et privez conseillers." Louis XII. now wrote to James IV. of Scotland to remind him of the ancient league between their countries. Henry, still passing the time with all parties, told the Pope he would join the league when Maximilian and Ferdinand did: then he wrote to the Council of the Cardinals at Milan, supporters of and supported by France and Maximilian, promising assistance in settling the perplexities of the Church; and almost in the same breath he promised Ferdinand one thousand archers. Hence Sir Robert Wingfield, ambassador to the Emperor, was taken aback and perplexed by the demand that Henry should countenance the General Council at Pisa and the articles devised against the Pope which were set forward in the name of the Emperor and the French King, and he told the bishop of Gurk that the King would gladly have known the Emperor's mind before the imperial foot had been so far in the bushel. The crux of the situation was Maximilian's attitude towards the Venetians, whose terms of peace he refused. Neither would he have aught to do with Pope or Aragon against France. Margaret, however, came to the rescue, for peace negotiations with Gueldres on the basis of the Duke's marriage with the Archduchess Isabeau, sister to the Prince of Castile, had come to nothing, as they were meant to. She was still anxious for Henry's support in Flanders, and as the price he exacted was the alliance, she threw into that scale her influence with her father. So long, however, as the rumour ran that Ferdinand intended to put the crown of Naples on the head of the bastard of the Archbishop of Saragossa, to the prejudice of the Prince of Castile, Maximilian refused to have anything to do with him, and Margaret wrote that until this suspicion was weeded from her father's mind, the League of the Holy Trinity, symbolized by the three princes, would never take place. Ferdinand's answer was to send the bastard to Malines as hostage. In the naïve blasphemy of the age Ferdinand and Henry were the father and son, so that the Third Person was the one symbolized by Maximilian. Louis XII. was watching Margaret, and, thanks to the French party in the Flemish Council and French merchants married to Englishwomen as spies in England, he lacked no news. He warned her that he had been told of her league, but affected not to believe the gossip. However, by July he knew the truth, for Margaret's efforts had borne fruit for her gathering, and Henry, as hansel-money for the future league, sent Sir Edward Ponynges and 1500 archers into the Low Countries to help Castile against Gueldres. "Je suis adverty," said Louis XII. to Andreas de Burgo, "que ma cousine m'a fort piqué en Angleterre," and added one to the score against his former playmate. Matters moved secretly till October, when the Holy League against France between the Pope, Aragon and Venice was published, by which Ferdinand was to find the men and the other two the money for chasing the French from Lombardy. England joined it [November 1511], and now France had but one ally, whom she was exceedingly nervous about losing, and tried to steady by the offer of a marriage between Renée of France and the Archduke Ferdinand, brother to Charles. Maximilian coquetted with the league, and by the end of the year rumour had it that his ambassador, the ubiquitous Gurk, had already taken his lodging in Venice at St Paul's, and that Louis might make mince-meat of his duchy.
At the French Court nothing was talked of but the possibility of an English invasion: 25,000 men said spies, "prêts à monter en mer" and invade by Calais at any moment: and Louis was so irritable and depressed that the whole Court was profoundly discouraged, for Aragon and England were like to be two prongs in the back of the country. True, Gueldres could be loosed again on Flanders and the Scots on England, but the adage then as now was true, and vicarious warfare was seldom satisfactory. The old weapon of supporting a pretender to the English throne, blunt, rusty, and out of date as it had so rapidly become, reappeared, and Richard de la Pole, Captain of Almains, was styled and treated as King of England in France. A lean, blackavised French priest with a crooked eyebrow, Louis' faithful spy, carried the correspondence between Pole and his family, which eventually led to the execution of Earl Edmund in the Tower. The taking of Brescia by the Duke of Nemours [February 1512] cheered up the French Court, and by April, when the English King-at-arms arrived with Henry's defiance, "not in his coat but clad like a gentleman," the English scarce had almost become vieux jeu, and the country had regained its poise. Henry said he had no choice but to make war in aid of his allies, the Pope and Aragon, and Louis replied if that was all, he did it with little reason. Still, the French King hoped to keep Margaret and the Emperor out of the alliance, while the English agents in Flanders were working hard to bring them within it, and to keep them to the old amity. The Governess of the Netherlands had one idea all through, the crushing of Gueldres, whose thieving raids and besieging excursions kept the eastern border in a state of harried poverty.
MAXIMILIAN, EMPEROR OF GERMANY
FROM THE PAINTING BY ALBRECHT DÜRER AT VIENNA
The duke claimed sovereign rights which Flanders did not recognize, and France had always found it paid to support him. In consequence of the dual suzerainty, Imperial and French, to the Burgundian provinces, there were always two parties in the Flemish Council, the French and the Burgundian, or, as it was now, the English. The Burgundian was Margaret's party, and she over-rode the opposition of the French sympathizers, but she could not prevent their clogging the execution of her purposes by secret intrigues with France. Louis gave up all hope of detaching her from the English. Maximilian, on the other hand, was, in his fickleness, surer game than his daughter, for though in June  he dismissed the French ambassadors from Brussels, telling them that if they would not go when they could, they should not when they would, in October he was practising with Louis at Cologne.
Between these months much happened to the unfortunate English ambassadors who were attempting to finish the negotiations begun with the Emperor in May. First Maximilian dismissed the French ambassadors. That looked hopeful. Then he refused to allow the gentlemen of Flanders to serve in Henry's army. Next he demanded 100,000 crowns of gold down on declaring war with France, and said that the Pope or Aragon would willingly give him as much. He knew his worth to the league! Then he departed suddenly, saying the whole business was safe in his daughter's hands. Now began endless delays. Margaret had no formal commission: she did not think her father would be pleased to find himself in the same boat as the Venetians [the veriest abc of dealing with Maximilian]; and the real reason was that by means of Duke George of Saxony, Gueldres had proposed a truce with the Emperor which Margaret was willing to accept. So the Governor of Bresse and the Count de Berghes, both Margaret's adherents in the council, fought shy of Sir Edward Ponynges and Sir Thomas Boleyn, and the stomach of the English was much diminished by waiting. Margaret, "a perfect friend to England," suggested, after a couple of months' waiting, that they should fee the Emperor's secretaries to keep her commission in his memory, and a fortnight later she asked Sir Thomas if he would lay a wager on its soon coming. Gladly, said he, and they shook hands on it; a courser of Spain to an English hobby. The Emperor's secretaries wanted to know the form the commission was to take. The English said the same as at Cambrai; that is, full powers to treat, and no doubt Margaret wanted that too, for when it did come in restricted form, at the beginning of September (though it was dated August 2 at Cologne) for a whole day she was so cross that the ambassadors could not see her. On September 4 they discussed the treaty, which was confined to Henry and Maximilian; Flanders was to be neutral. The English said the Imperial alliance alone was dear at 150,000 ducats, and Henry refused to treat save on the previous understanding, which included Flanders.
All this time the English army, sent to Guienne to invade France according to the treaty of the Holy League of November 1511, had been idly kicking its heels and waiting for Ferdinand to co-operate for the recovery of the province. But Ferdinand did nothing, and the men, wearied with idleness and worn by lack of victuals in a disorderly camp, mutinied and returned home ingloriously in the Autumn. In October, however, there came rumours from the Bishop of Liège, the centre of French influence in the Low Countries, of the defeat of the French in the south, and Maximilian broke off negotiations with Louis and turned to the English, with the result that Gueldres broke again across the Maas, with "good effect, for the inhabitants were in a manner fast asleep and are now awake." The Duke's French reinforcements had an encounter with the Liegéois, and Maximilian himself was nearly kidnapped on his way from Cologne by the Duke's men, disguised as Burgundians. But news of the impotence of the English excursion into Guienne soon became public property, and their undisciplined and disgraceful retreat was the joke of Court and camp. Margaret was annoyed for two reasons: the first that Gueldres was very active and that French negotiations had been broken off, and the second that the rich English were but reeds to lean on. So when in October Henry refused to pay 50,000 crowns for entertaining the Swiss against the French, and asked that the Emperor's subjects (in the Low Countries) should be prevented from serving the French, the President of Bresse replied that Maximilian had prevented one thousand Swiss from taking French service, "which answer was so colorably made that a man might savour the color of it all the chamber." Then my Lady Margaret spoke "with a qualm of a little melancholy about her stomach" [Ponynges' way of saying she was in a great rage], "if ye be disposed to delay it [the treaty] we shall defer it as well as you," saying besides, that "Englishmen had so long abstained from war that they lacked experience from disuse and it was reported that they were now weary of it." She wrote to her father in this mood and caused more delays, and when the ambassadors remonstrated, she said openly to them, "Where had we been now if this confederation had been concluded between your master and us?" All fair promises and sweet words, but no deeds, were to be found at Malines. From Scotland came the gibe that the English soldiers could not easily be induced to invade France or Gueldres after their Biscayan experience, and though Henry declared that the return of the army was sanctioned by the King of Aragon and himself because of the constant rains in Guienne, and "the intolerable pains of the soldiers of our said army, which in the barren country had perseverantly lain in the fields," no one believed his report. The joke of the thing is, that, as a matter of fact, from September to January there reigned superb weather in Biscay that year. Ferdinand said he believed that Henry had given secret orders for the return. But the supreme insult came from Maximilian, who proposed that the command of the English army in France should be handed over to him while Henry remained in England. The Emperor counselled the King not to stir out of his country, but to keep the people in awe and bridle the Scots. He would take command for 100,000 crowns. Nothing more was needed to increase Henry's war fever. He had a bull from Julius II. granting indulgence to those who served in the holy war against France; his agents were already in Italy buying armour, for the Frescobaldi had made a corner of it in Milan; in Zeeland, collecting ships for the passage, where they bid against the French; in Flanders, buying horses and feeing men. At home Wolsey was busy with military organization and his schemes for a more efficient commissariat and transport, while Henry and Admiral Howard, following the admiral's advice, "for no cost sparyng, let provision be maad: for it is a weel-spent peny that saveth the pownd," were working to bring the navy up to some sort of fighting standard. And into this busy Court, full of young men dreaming of loot and military glory, and enthusiastic old men like Sir Gilbert Talbot, who, having served Henry's father and grandfather, was now "minded so sore and purposed to have served the King's grace and in this journey, that I almost forgot God and set my heart on none other thing, but only how I might best serve his grace at this time," came Maximilian's proposal. Gueldres saved the situation. His activity, veiled by renewed offers of truce, inclined Margaret to the English as a poor prop, but her only one, and many Flemish nobles offered their services to Henry.
The final ruin to Henry's faith in his allies was to come very soon, and of it he was warned by John Stile from Valladolid. Ferdinand made a truce with the French for one year. It came about this way. The Emperor and the Pope, despairing of accommodation with the Swiss, had made a league together to the great displeasure of Aragon, who, oddly enough, in view of what followed, resented that any league should be made suddenly without his consent or England's. He also feared that such league would cause the Venetians to adjoin themselves to the French, and of a likelihood with the Turks, so that Louis would be stronger than ever. Anne of Brittany, the French Queen, was anxious for a Cisalpine peace, and as a means to this end wanted to ignore English rights and marry the Princess Renée to Charles of Castile, with the duchy of Brittany as dowry. Ferdinand told Stile a fisher's tale about his having dispatched the Provincial of the Grey Friars to England by way of France to be Queen Katharine's confessor, and that on his way he had been taken prisoner and carried to Blois, and that Anne had had him released and sent him back to Spain, carrying a letter of peace to the Queen of Aragon. All which tale was but nutshells, for the return of the Provincial with the letter was preached in open pulpit by a friar of his own order, who admonished the people to pray for peace. Ferdinand grasped at the proposed truce as a moment in which to gain strength to carry out his original plan for the complete isolation of France and the annexation of Navarre. So in devious pursuit of this plan, on March 16, 1513, new articles to the treaty with Aragon were signed in London, and Henry was again bled, and at Malines the Aragonese ambassador attempted to rid the Flemish council of Chièvres and the French party and replace them with people more agreeable to his master, while at Valladolid John Stile was told positively that the truce between France and Aragon was accomplished. All fair writing and slack deeds in Spain also, "for the Spaniards," said Stile, "are by nature so hasty and envious to all strangers that they despise every man."
Ferdinand did not succeed in ousting the French party at Malines, and it continued to grumble at the English in Zeeland, where it said they only made war on the Flemish and were so dull that they let French vessels pass unchallenged. Lord Chièvres, the head of it, made tremendous capital out of a carack belonging to one Andreas Scarella, the Sta Maria de Loretto, which had been sold in Zeeland to the French, but the English got wind of the transaction and lifted her, cargo and all. The council said this interference was grossly impertinent, and were hot and intemperate over the matter, and not at all repentant for their "seditious" ways in favouring the French King, which made it impossible to conserve their ports and havens as Henry would have liked. They said they could do that well enough for themselves without troubling the English. Henry had laid an embargo on all trade between the Low Countries and France, and he now offered if this matter were dropped to allow them to resume their trade under "letters testimonials," English captains to have the right of search. However, in spite of the strength of the French party, on March 16 Maximilian, with a final haggle over the rate of exchange, signed the treaty with Henry, who steadily refused to have any Swiss in his pay, saying that his army was so powerful that he hoped to lead it to Paris, "especially our father of Aragon making war against our said enemy." Next month, April, Henry knew of his father-in-law's perfidy, but he passed the time in Spanish fashion, and went the length of forcing Ferdinand's ambassador to sign the treaty of the Holy League, concluded at Malines on April 5, by which the Pope was to invade Dauphiny; the Emperor, the trans-Alpine provinces; Henry, Picardy, Normandy and Aquitane; Ferdinand, Béarne and Languedoc. Luis Carroz swore to it publicly in St Paul's on April 25, and then wrote to Spain that in spite of Ferdinand's secret orders he had been forced to do so for fear of the consequences of refusal.
As was to be expected, the Emperor, who quivered to every wind, again wavered at news of this Franco-Spanish truce. The news had reached him spiced (by Ferdinand) with the lie that Henry was privy to it, and though Wingfield indignantly told him that Henry was not "so light or of so little resolution to arm him at all pieces and then call for a pillow," he said that if Henry entered the truce he would also. However, in the end, stiffened by resentment and by the English attitude, he definitely ordered his subjects in the Low Countries to serve Henry, and the Count de Ligny and others took service.
All this time the English had been skirmishing with the French in the Calais Pale and the Welshmen of the garrison had done some damage. Sampson Norton, the head of the arsenal, had been taken prisoner, and the French party at Malines tried to prevent his exchange. The English fleet had been exercising in the channel in March, a brave show, and now letter packets need not be dropped overboard to save them from French hands. In April the organization of the land forces was approaching something like order, and the fleet was sailing along the coast of Brittany, which Howard hoped to make a desert for many a year, looking for the enemy. Never was such a navy seen, and Préjan and his French fleet dare not hove in sight, so the gallant admiral went to find them and his death. But if French ships were not in evidence in the channel, French agents were thick in Flanders. The Count de Ligny was balked in raising troops for England by a "lord bearing a French order," who warned the towns against him as a favourer of the English, and Louis told the Ghentois they would rue any help they gave. Sir Robert Wingfield, carrying the treaty from Brussels to the Emperor at Trier for ratification, found that "French crowns fly far," and twice on his journey he barely escaped ambuscades. The second one was laid by the son of Robert de la Marck, who a week before had taken four Englishmen to his father's castle at Hesdin. The Franco-Spanish truce was soon common property, and Margaret had an anxious moment, but she was relieved when the English ambassadors told her of the noble deeds at sea of their countrymen
against the French, and "she took a letter out of her purse wherein the tidings were written concerning the bruit and common rumour of the truce between the King of Aragon and the French King, and brake the said letter, casting it on the ground saying these words, 'Let the universal bruit and vulgar opinion give place to the truth.'"
Ferdinand was furious at the English attitude, for he felt his golden goose had passed out of his hand, and he was not calmed by the news of the victory at Brest and the burning of the French ships. He raked up all the old grievances against the marriage of Mary and Charles, pointed by the fact that Charles was now riper in years, and would soon be of age. In May the dreaded league between France and Venice was known at Valladolid, and it weighed greatly on his stomach that the shrewd turn he had hoped to play France was likely to recoil on his own head, for Maximilian and Henry were sure to remain allied. He was right, but it was touch and go with Maximilian. The Emperor said roundly to Wingfield, who came up with him at Augsburg, that if France were to regain Milan he would have enough to do there without actually invading France, though Louis were "the most worthy vitupere of any prince living." However, a couple of days later, in Augsburg Cathedral, after mass sung by his own chapel with exquisite organs, with his hand on the Gospels and Canon he swore to the treaty with Henry. There seemed some chance of his holding to his oath this time, for his words appeared "to pass more roundly than they were wont to do." Alas for hopes! Two days had hardly passed [17th May 1513] ere a wind from the south veered him round. The Venetians and the French were allied, and he told Wingfield that had he been advertised of these news he would never have sworn, and now it was as impossible for him to send an army to France as it was for a man who had promised to run a furlong to do so if he broke his leg. But he said he would do his best to run out the remainder on a stilt. Poor Wingfield! "The French," he groaned, "are so subtle that they can blind and corrupt the whole world." Margaret, however, was steadfast and impervious to French corruption, and said she felt herself safe from France behind English arrows, but the French party in her council left few stones unturned in their efforts to avert war. Charles' Spanish secretary was sent secretly into France to try and break the treaty of marriage between Mary and the prince, and to practise a negotiation between Louis XII. and the Emperor. Louis said that Margaret and Lord Berghes had assisted the English against the opinion of the council, and he kept for them a pensée. It took the familiar form of Gueldres at this moment. Ferdinand, said spies at Blois, was called a traitor in France, and so he was, for at Malines he posed as Henry's friend, and rated Margaret for not giving him adequate assistance. He begged her to ask the King of England to use his counsel, and promised to assent to anything that would advance the amity with England, and also re-assented to the marriage treaty. "A very wise prince," said Margaret, "in whose subtle understanding is comprised many profound matters: his mind and intent are good."
The defeat of the French at Novarro set all Rome daily expectant to hear of their extermination by the English in Picardy, while experts in Germany shook their heads over such a possibility.
They said that the advantage lost last year in Guienne would not be easily recovered. Wingfield expressed the English feeling of confidence when he wrote "but such is God and better which only is the head of your enterprise, and hath given the noble courage and hardiness to elect of yourself the cost, travell and jeopardy, to attain the honour and glory that must needs follow."
THE musters of the mercenaries had been fixed for Dunkirk on May 20, and the captain of the vanguard, the Earl of Shrewsbury, was to be at Calais on the 16th, but, as is so often the case, paper plans drawn by able clerks did not develop rapidly into accomplished facts, and by the 19th nothing was ready. What a muddle it all reads, and the marvel is that any men were ever shipped at all! First all the shipping had to be pressed or borrowed, and the hoys had to be hired in the Low Countries or along the English coast and towed to the embarking or loading ports. Then the victuallers had to be loaded in the Thames and at Sandwich, and brought round to the ports where were the hoys or ships. There was hardly a man in England but was pressed for the King's service and wore his coat; the very carters of Kent and Sussex sported the white and green as they cracked their whips by their horses' sides on their way to Sandwich, while all the able-bodied men south of Trent were on their way to Dover or Southampton with journey money in their pockets and the King's coat on their backs. As company after company arrived they had to be housed till transport was found for them, and for two days' journey inland round Southampton the country was swarming with men waiting to be embarked. Fox, bishop of Winchester, was worrying through with the business of transport there; Lord Mountjoy had been sent in a hurry to superintend the Cinque Ports, and the victuallers, while Wolsey, the King's almoner, was worn to a shadow in London in the endeavour to deliver into life his admirably sketched plans for organization. Human nature is not passive pen and ink, and then as now what is called the English lower middle class was absolutely undisciplined. If you doubt it, think of the Biscay performance in 1512, and more recent muddles since. Waste, leakage and unpunctuality were the opening notes of the proceedings, but it is only fair to add that during the whole campaign there was no lack of wholesome victual and in consequence no epidemic. Fox, appalled at the sight of the undisciplined army of brewers, bakers, coopers, smiths, horsekeepers, millers, etc., invading the port, and overwhelmed at the thought of the oxen from Lincoln and Holland, the ling, the cod, bacon, beer, biscuit, to say nothing of the tankards, platters, and cauldrons needed to feed the host, longed for the arrival of Charles Brandon and Lord Howard. But Sir Charles was court-bound having just been made Lord Lisle by his adoring King, and Lord Howard, admiral of the Fleet in the room of his late brother, whose gallant death a month ago at Brest had retrieved the honour of the English nation, was wind-bound at Plymouth, and could do nothing either by way of scouring the narrow seas to ensure the safe passage of the hoys and men, or in assisting to bring order out of chaos. He was waiting impatiently for the next wind to bring him round to the Wight, refused all leave to his men and raised a gallows at the water-edge as a grim gloss upon his order. The victuallers' ships had not come from Sandwich and transport from the west was wind-bound with the fleet, but Fox muddled on, sure that once Howard came with Lord Lisle things would hum to the right tune. They evidently did, and Henry himself came down privately with Lisle to see the vanguard's departure. Lisle's large retinue went with it, chaplains, fifers, Blind Dick the minstrel and all, but Brandon himself remained behind to cross with the King on a hypothetical June 15.
On June 13 the vanguard, "all picked men armed with corselets, bracelets, sallets and gorgets and over their armour a coat of white and green, the King's colours," set out for the object of attack, the town of Therouenne. This frontier fortress, so important that it was called "La chambre du Roy" barred the way to the attack of the towns on the Somme, for the French had retired into the towns and castles and meant to wear out the invaders by a prolonged series of sieges. Louis XII. was at Amiens and the French army was under the command of the Duke of Bourbon and the Duke of Angoulême, while the army of Picardy, which was in force at Boulogne and Montreuil, was under the Sieur de Piennes. Five miles a day was an average march for the English army, but it was not till twelve days after their departure from Calais that Bluemantle summoned the town. "Verily, my lord, it was a stronghold; the ditches on the outside were so deep that a man walking and looking into them feared for falling to come nigh to the banks; gaily wooded upon the banks and bushed with quick-set every corner, and wide walls and other full of great bulwarks, and beside the walls in the inside mightily fortified with great trenches, many bulwarks made with timber and earth, and in certain places of the said trenches sundry deep pits for to have made fumigations, to the intent that men upon the assaulting of the same should have been poisoned and stopped." Thus it was described by an eloquent Welshman, and before this stronghold the English vanguard sat themselves down, awaiting the main ordinance which was to come with the King. They could not secure their line of communication with the Calais Pale, and on the 27th they tasted French tactics when the garrisons from Boulogne and Montreuil cut in near Ardres, and carried off 100 wagons of victuals escorted by 500 men. Two hundred green and white coats lay on the field, but the only dead French things were twenty horses. The Flemish governor of Bethune gave the English a poor character; they made "but easy their skultwachis" and the Welshmen amongst them did great hurt to the Prince's subjects.
On June 30, the day after a terrible storm which wrecked the shipping and ruined much victual, the watchmen on the Tour du Guet at Calais saw the King's fleet approaching before the north wind, a sight such as Neptune had never seen before, and at once there was such a firing of guns from ships and walls and ringing of bells from the towers that "you would have thought the world was coming to an end." From the deck of his beloved Mary Rose, the fastest sailer in the fleet, Henry passed by the Lanternegate through the streets of Calais in procession, headed by the bishops and priests, to the church of St. Nicholas to give thanks for his safe crossing, and returned to his lodging at the Staple to give the unpopular order for the burning of "little Whitesand," whose villagers had the day before plundered an English ship driven ashore in the storm. The soldiers were ashamed to do the work. For the next three weeks Henry amused himself well at Calais, practising archery with his guard and beating them all, holding revels and receiving embassies from Flanders, the Duke of Brunswick and the Emperor. Maximilian suggested that as conquest was their object, they should cut into the heart of the matter at once, and Henry should meet him at Rheims, to be there sacred King of France, a suggestion which did not appear as absurd to Henry "King of France" as it does to us. But Henry had come out to fight, and now with his army swelled by 8000 German mercenaries, "who did not respect churches," the host set out led by Maximilian's guides in leisurely disorder, all along the line the baggage, drawn by English horses, muddled with the ordnance and its Flemish mares. The first night in camp it simply poured and the tents were hardly protection, but Henry was up all night, no doubt boyishly pleased at tasting at last the hardships of real war, and rode about the camp at three in the morning to visit the watch and comfort them with a "Well, comrades, a bad beginning means a good ending, God willing." The low-lying country drained by broad ditches which served the folk as water-ways, was deep in mud, and the tracks were almost impassable. One of the guns called the "twelve apostles," cast in Flanders, was lost in a pond and the Frenchmen hanging invisible on the flank of the army, cut to pieces the party sent back to extricate it. De Piennes now threw himself across the King's line of march, and next morning Henry in person drew up the army in a fog so dense that nothing could be seen. When it cleared away there were the French, who challenged any Englishman to single combat, and many encounters took place, "a pleasant sight if a man's skin had not been in hazard." Afterwards the engagement became general, and the Welsh put the French to flight, and yet another apostle fell into the enemy's hands. Not till August 1, was the royal camp pitched before Therouenne, and what a camp! "Peter Corse, merchant of Florens" did his best with his 578 men at 6d. a day to make it notable with canvas, blue buckram, whited Normandy cloth, Brussels' saye, green saye and red saye, with signs and fringes and ribbons. The King's retinue had forty-six halls or tents varying from 24 × 12 ft. to 15 × 15 ft., each flying its sign of the Red Rose, the Red Rose and White, the Flower de Lyce, the Moon, the Red, the Blue, the Green, the White, the Gold, and the Black Shield, and so on. Sir Thomas Windham, the Treasurer, flew the Annewe of Gold, the Yellow Face was kept for strange ambassadors, while in the Chalice the chaplains sang mass openly for the host, and there was one provided with beds "for the surgeons to dress men." The King's own lodging was a veritable canvas house, the different rooms connected by passages 10 ft. wide. "The King, for himself, had a house of timber with a chimney of iron, for his other lodgings he had great and goodly tents of blue water-work garnished with yellow and white, divers rooms within the same for all offices necessary; on the top of the pavilions stood the King's beasts holding fanes, as the Lion, the Dragon, the Greyhound, the Antelope, the Dun Cow; within, all the lodging was painted full of suns rising." Little doubt Queen Katharine had insisted on the wooden sleeping house (and with surprising thriftiness the hut used in the Court revels was sent over), for her letters attest her almost maternal anxiety for his health and life, with these "nothing can come amiss to him." The field was gay with banners, ensigns and flags of every description: every gentleman from knight to earl flew his own, but the weather was very foul, and it rained night and day, and everything gorgeous was ruined.
The ordnance was planted as soon as it lumbered in from the muddy ways, bombards, apostles, curtews, culverins, Nurembergs, lizards, minions and port-guns, and the houses inside the town were "very sore beaten with guns, and such importunate and continual shot made with guns into the same, that no person might stir in the streets." The besieged were not idle, however, and not a day passed without victims in the English camp to a certain turf-covered rampart on the walls, where were the most deadly guns, and daily the garrison sallied forth and did damage, and messengers covered by the sally even rode through the English camp and away. The French light horse, stradiots and others, hovered round the camp cutting off stragglers, attacking convoys, and never coming to a decisive engagement, nor exposing themselves unnecessarily. They had opportunity to exercise their tactics for the camp, ruled by "deux opiniâtres," Lisle and Wolsey, who were as new to the business as Henry himself, was badly kept, and the soldiers were so mad against the French, and so eager that they often ventured too hardily. Henry was the keenest of the whole army, too keen for his wife's peace of mind, and Wolsey had to write and reassure her.
Since Henry's arrival the Emperor had been at Oudenarde, but at last feeling sure that the English King was wasting both time and treasure at Therouenne for lack of expert advice, and moreover to justify his wages, after a farewell supper with the Archduchess at Sotenghien, he set out for Aire, while the Lady Margaret by easy stages made for St Omer with her whole council, who were scared to death at this near approach to the field. Henry rode to Aire to meet Maximilian on August 10, eager for his first sight of l'ami. It poured torrents, and the interview was short. The contrast must have been striking between the rather shabby looking man of medium height clad in black velvet, white-faced, wide-nosed, grey-bearded, a frank shrewd glance and amiable manner, but with an indescribable carriage of dignity which marked him above all; and the auburn-haired, blue-eyed, ruddy young giant towering above him, clad no doubt in his favourite cloth of gold, and boyishly frank in his greeting. Everyone seems to have felt the charm of Henry's bluff unsuspicious manner, and Maximilian was no exception, "for during the whole journey the Emperor showed the greatest condescension, declaring publicly that he came to be of use to the King of England, and calling the King at one time his son, at another his King, and at another his brother." Maximilian had a well developed dramatic sense, and he enjoyed playing the part of hired captain and chief military adviser to the splendid young King whose magnificence and extravagance, only equalled by his naïve inexperience, impressed the frugal and penniless Emperor. So "the King's highness and the Emperor be together and have every other's counsel with the most amiable loving wise that can be thought."
From the moment the Emperor came into the camp on August 12, to visit the trenches, things began to march. The evening before Ross Herald had brought the defiance of the King of Scots, and for all reply from Henry had got, "Let him do it in God's name!" for the Scottish march was well guarded. Two days afterwards Henry, anxious in spite of his impatient bravado, was très joyeux at the news sent by the Swiss that they were on the point of entering France. 'Twas a good answer to Ross, and increased the ardour of the captains for the assault of Therouenne. Maximilian was averse to the attempt, but Henry and his council had set their hearts on it, saying they could hardly raise the siege without loss of prestige, and every man said in his heart, Remember Guyenne. A few days before Captain de Fonterailles had managed to throw men into the town, and at last the Emperor gave way and, preparatory to the assault, ordered the camp to be moved across the stream towards Guingate. This was hardly accomplished at dawn, when the alarm was given that the French were approaching. It was a convoy of provisions and they sent forward a large company to draw off the English, as they had done once before. The accounts of the battle are as usual confusing. It would seem from the French account that having thrown in the victuals they were returning in careless disorder, hawking in the fields, their leaders riding without helmets on small horses and mules, when the English fell on them from an ambuscade. The English account says Henry followed the French all day and then attacked. What probably happened was that the Emperor who refused to have his standard spread, saying he was the servant of the King and St George, "with 2000 men kept them at bay until 4 P.M.," by which time Henry having turned their position at a place called Bomye (the camp was Guingate), attacked them unexpectedly, utterly routed them, and took many prisoners of great price. This was on Tuesday, August 16. Henry was mad with joy, especially at the number and quality of the prisoners to whom he gave good greeting on their arrival at camp. Louis d'Orléans, Duc de Longueville and Marquis de Rothelin, was the most important, and him Henry clad in a gown of cloth of gold, and on going to table caused him to be served with water for his hands and to dine with him. The Duke said, "Sir, I will not." The King rejoined, "you are my prisoner and must do so," and displayed great graciousness. After Longueville came in importance M. de Boissi, nephew of the late Cardinal of Rouen, who was taken but concealed against the laws of honour by Lord Walham, son of Lord Berghes, for use in treating with Gueldres. Prisoners of condition were expected to pay 4000 ducats, but the King always reduced it to 2000 saying to the captor, "I'll pay the rest." A common soldier was worth 20 ducats, and if he had this on him he was merely stripped and set at liberty, but in spite of all Henry's care there were the usual quarrels between Almains and English over their captures. All the more important prisoners were sent to Aire on the way to England, and Katharine was rather upset at having to provide lodgings for Longueville in the midst of her preparations to meet the Scots. She sent him to the Tower till she had more leisure.
The battle of the Spurs decided the fate of Therouenne, and on the 22nd Pontdormi, captain of the garrison, demanded a parley, at which terms of surrender were agreed on with the Earl of Shrewsbury, and on St Bartholomew's Eve, August 23, the garrison marched out through the camp in the sight of the Emperor and Henry, with banners flying, helmets on their heads and lances on their thighs, 4000 as fine soldiers as any prince would wish to have, having prudently destroyed their guns before leaving. Next day, St Bartholomew's, their majesties entered the city. Maximilian effaced himself with his usual politic good-nature, and Henry rode through the gates unlocked by the Earl of Shrewsbury, a veritable St George clad in gilt and graven armour, his coat of silver damask and white satin, his horse's trappings the same, with red crosses. Close behind him came Lord Lisle also in silver and white, and after him "a goodly company of estates, men-at-arms, henchmen all richly apparelled" in green velvet and cloth of silver. At the gate he was met by Maximilian, dressed in black velvet with only six henchmen as sombrely clad, who came as a private person (though the town was claimed as Burgundian) and together they entered the city. The streets were filled with people and along the way to the Cathedral, where again the Emperor yielded the place of honour, they pressed about Henry crying, "Welcome, most merciful King." After an anthem to Our Lady and another to St George sung in the King's Chapel of the Cathedral, the procession returned to the gates where their majesties separated, Maximilian returning to Aire and Henry to his camp. In spite of Henry's promise to treat the inhabitants as his own subjects, the city was claimed by the Burgundians and handed over to them. They destroyed it with fire, and then Henry set 800 labourers to blow up and pull down the fortifications so that one stone did not rest on another, and only the Cathedral remained. From Aire Maximilian retired to Lille, leaving Henry at Guinegate, for he made war with ceremony, and the spirit of the middle ages lingered in his camp, so that by the law of arms, "for in case any man should bid battle for the besieging and getting of any city or town, then the winner to give battle and to abide for certain days," he was compelled to remain on the field awaiting the pleasure of the enemy. But though he remained a week at Guingate the French did not seek him out, and he followed the Emperor to Lille.
Henry and Maximilian had dined, and drank, and amused each other like brothers, and Maximilian had fallen in love with Mary's picture and said he would like to have her for himself now that he was again in the marriage market. He had also dangled the imperial crown before Henry's eyes so that the King not only dreamed of entering Paris in triumph, but saw himself Emperor of Germany. But Maximilian was not there for a picnic only, and he and Wolsey had also come to understand each other. In fact Maximilian for the moment "was taken for another man than he was before thought," and the negotiations for the near marriage of Mary and Charles went on satisfactorily. Margaret offered to come and join the conference at Aire, but the Emperor's servants were more satisfied with her room than her presence for they could rule him more easily without her, so she sent Lord Berghes to represent her and to know the Emperor's pleasure when she should meet the King. The Spanish agents were hovering about, and Margaret desired to prevent Henry's resentment coming to open rupture with Ferdinand, so she wrote sharp letters to her father telling him not to whet the edge of Henry's anger, and to Henry's agent she said that she was satisfied that all the default lay with the Spaniards "but she is always of opinion that your grace should dissemble and cherish them if any other way cannot be found." So sharp were her letters that Maximilian said if she wrote like that again he would take the government out of her hands. By September 5, the preliminaries were satisfactorily arranged; a treaty of alliance had been signed by Maximilian, Henry and Ferdinand; Maximilian had been paid in full for his services under St George; and Henry set out for Lille where he was to meet Margaret. On the 11th the town rising like an island out of the marsh was reached. The English encamped at a short distance from it, and when things were in order thither came the Lord Ravenstein "which after his humble reverence done, showed the King that the young Prince of Castile, Charles, and the Lady Margaret, governess of the said Prince, most heartily desired him for his pastime after his long travail to come and repose in his town of Lille and to see his brother the prince and the ladies of the court of Burgundy, saying that it became not ladies to visit him in his martial camp which to them was terrible." Indeed Margaret told her father that nothing would induce her to "troter et aller visiter les camps pour le plaisir." The King "gentelly" accepted the invitation, and "mounted on a courser his apparel and barde were cloth of silver of small quadrant cuttes traversed and edged with cut cloth of gold, the border set full of red roses, his arms fresh and set with jewels," he set out accompanied by the faithful Lisle and followed by Sir Harry Guildford and the henchmen. They were convoyed by Ravenstein and many noblemen. About a mile out of the town they met the burgesses of Lille who presented Henry with the keys of the town, which Henry graciously returned saying he trusted them no less than his own subjects. After this came the nobles of Flanders, Brabant, Holland and Hainault to salute him, and further on Count Frederic of the Palatinate. In fact such a crowd was on the road that it was a wonder any were left in the town, girls offered crowns and sceptres and garlands, while outlaws and malefactors with white wands in their hands besought pardon. At last through the throng the gates were reached, where stood the captain of the town with the well-appointed garrison, and the procession headed by Henry's sword and mace-bearers pressed through the narrow street of the city set, though it was broad day, on each side with burning torches, so that there was scarce room for the riders to pass to the palace. Gay tapestries hung from the houses and at frequent intervals there were divers goodly pageants of the histories of the Old and New Testaments and of the poets. At the door of the Gothic palace built by Jean Sans Peur were waiting the Emperor, Lady Margaret and the Prince of Castile, "who humbly saluted him, and then for reverence of the Emperor the King caused his sword to be put up and his maces to be laid down, and then the King and all other nobles lodged and feasted."
But their travail was not yet ended, for the city of Tournay was to be reduced to submission. The Tournois were a double-faced folk, the nobles were for Burgundy, the merchants and people for France, and the city had not made submission on the death of Charles the Bold but had claimed freedom under French protection. They had been thick with the French while assuring Burgundy of their loyalty, and now they were to take their punishment at the hands of Burgundy's magnificent ally. On the 15th, after the Lille meeting, when Henry and his favourite captured Margaret's heart, the English camp was pitched under the walls of Tournay, a city whose beauty "no one can conceive who has not seen it," what with its bridges over the Schalde, its water-mills, its splendid buildings. From out its three miles circumference rose ninety towers and it was second only to Paris in population. Guns were sent by water from Lille, to batter down its stone towers and iron gates, and the Emperor ordered his to come from Malines, and Taylor, whose diary for this whole journey is invaluable, makes no mention of Henry's being mock ones, as the legend runs. Contemporary chronicles are also silent on what would have become a world-known jest, and the wooden guns in the Tower must have some other origin. It may be true that the Tournois were terrified at the sight of the artillery, and yielded, but certainly not before the city had been much battered, and Lisle had rushed and occupied one of the gates, carrying away as trophies two of the images from its niches; but it is much more probable that the news of Flodden Field, brought by Rougecroix on the 16th, in Katharine's exultant letters, was the true cause. All was rejoicing in the English camp. Mass was celebrated in the state pavilion of purple and gold, and the Te Deum sung for the victory. The bishop of St Asaph preached, and one can imagine the gist of the sermon, for if the Queen attributed the victories of the English armies wholly to Henry's piety what argument would a Tudor bishop be likely to follow! Henry and Brandon rode off to Lille to carry the news to Margaret, and the King sat in her lodging singing and playing the cyther and the flute, and then danced with her ladies and drew the bow with her gentlemen. His spirits were so high that all the way back he raced and played with his escort. A few days later came John Glyn with the pathetic confirmation of the death of James IV.—his plaid embroidered with the arms of Scotland, now all bloody. And Katharine with feminine ferocity wrote, "in this your Grace shall see how I can keep my promise, sending you for your banners a king's coat." Henry was exultant, St George had indeed granted his servant victories! And next day the keys of Tournay were handed over. Thus a second time within a month the King made a triumphal entry into a captured town, and on Sunday, September 25, the Council of the city met him, again clad as St George, at the Porte Ste. Fontaine, "their horses and mules having the English arms painted on paper before them." The King there passed under a canopy of gold and silk prepared by the inhabitants in great haste, and carried by the principal burgesses, and thence along the high street St. Jacques, the citizens all bearing wax torches, and down the rue Notre Dame to the Cathedral, "where he saluted God and St Mary," and then, as he stood under his banner in the church he made many knights. He went to his lodging to the sound of bells, for every one in the city was rung, and to shouts of "vive le roi." Henry exacted 50,000 crowns from the city as fine, and cleared the surrounding bailliage of the French, who went away so fast that they could not be pursued.
On the following day, Monday, the Emperor and the Lady Margaret, with a splendid suite of ladies in chariots and gentlemen on horseback, came into the city by torchlight, and negotiations for the marriage were reopened in earnest. Henry and Lisle had both been as eager to see Margaret as she to see them.
MARGARET, DUCHESS OF SAVOY
FROM THE WINDOW IN THE CHAPEL OF THE VIRGIN IN THE CHURCH OF BROU (ABOUT 1528)
The day after the battle of the Spurs her maître d'hôtel Philippe de Brégilles, whom she had sent to the camp at Therouenne, had written to her: "Madame, le roi ce soir a fort pressé l'Empereur de vous haster de venir, toutefois devant votre arrivée je vous dirai aucunes choses que le roi m'a dit desquelles me députe de vous écrire. Madame, le Grand-Ecuyer, milord Lyle, est venu à moi me prier que de lui vousise faire ses très humbles recommandations et que de bon cœur désirrait de vous faire service. Je croy que savez assez que c'est le second roi, et me semble que ne serait que bon de lui écrire une bonne lettre, car c'est lui qui fait et deffait." No doubt the "bonne lettre" was written, and Margaret, having seen Lisle at Lille and approved, came to Tournay with the idea in her mind of using Brandon, "cet opiniâtre," who did and undid all, to further her plans for the reduction of Gueldres and the protection of the Burgundian frontiers against France by English means. If she had approved at Lille, on further acquaintance both Henry and Brandon pleased her immensely; Henry because of the irresistible charm of his youthful frankness, courtesy and good-nature, "entirely good and thinketh no evil," and Lisle "because of the virtue and grace of his person, the which me seemed that I had not much seen gentleman to approach it; also considering the desire he always showed me that he had to do me service." Her task seemed an easy one, and while Wolsey and Fox debated with Berghes and Hans Reynner the terms of the marriage treaty, she was flirting diplomatically with Lord Lisle, and beguiling the King, who even promised to settle the succession on his sister in case of his having no heirs of his body. But before the time came for her departure from Tournay, probably before the coming of Prince Charles on October 10, she was conscious that feelings other than political had been brought into play. The fact was that neither Henry nor Brandon had ever met a young woman who made her own life and governed others, and they misinterpreted Margaret's evident pleasure in Lisle's society and her courteous treatment of him as proceeding not from cool diplomacy but from her interest in the man. "I have always forced me to do him all honour and pleasure," she said, "the which to me seemed to be well agreeable unto the King, his good master." This certainly was Margaret's first attitude, but force seems later to have passed into desire. The change from the ceremonious tranquillity of the Court at Malines, with its environment of old regrets, to the stirring atmosphere of the youthful Court with its insular unconventionality, made Margaret no doubt feel young again, and as she flirted with Lisle, the idea of a match between the two was mooted, either by the King or favourite. She must have looked most attractive, with her fair hair, brown eyes and clear colour, her face lighting up in conversation, and her gay laugh. Margaret knew neither English nor Flemish, and the Earl knew, or pretended to know, no French, her usual tongue, but evidently a few Flemish words, so that the King was "trwchman," or interpreter, and Margaret hints that his translations might have been warmer than the original warranted, "because of the love which he beareth him." One night—she herself relates the incident—at Tournay, after a banquet, a trwchman was needed. Brandon, on his knees before her playing with her hands, drew from her finger a ring she had long been accustomed to wear, and put it on his own. "Larron," she called him, laughing, and said she had not "thought the King had with him led thieves out of his country. This word larron he could not understand: wherefore I was constrained to ask how one said larron in Flemish. And afterwards I said to him in Flemish dieffe, and I prayed him many times to give it to me again, for that it was too much known." But Brandon kept his loot till next day, when Margaret spoke to Henry and said she would give one of the bracelets she always wore to have it back again, for it was too well known. So Lisle returned it and got the bracelet. Then Henry, either just before or after this incident, astonished her by asking whether she would stretch her goodwill towards Lisle to a promise of marriage, as was the fashion of the ladies of his country. It needed all Margaret's tact to answer graciously, for she said, "I knew well that it came to him of great love to speak so far forth as of marriage. And of another prince I had not so well taken it as of him, for I hold him all good and that he thinketh none evil, wherefore I have not willed to displeasure him." Therefore she answered vaguely at first that it was not the custom in this country, and that if she did it she would be dishonoured and held as a fool and light, also she feared her father. What, indeed, would the Weiss König have said had his daughter mated with a squire of England, a jerry-built viscount, after refusing its King! Still, now that Henry had shown his whole hand Margaret knew what tricks would fall to her, and had she not been épriseof Lisle, she would certainly in all prudence have drawn back and at least considered the situation. It is a comment on the personal quality of political relations that Margaret says she dared not say openly that she would have none of Lisle for a husband for fear of offending the King. So she temporized, and probably her more than sub-conscious reason was her growing attachment to the Grand-Ecuyer. There's not the shadow of a doubt that Margaret was taken with Brandon, but that she ever intended to marry is another matter. To Henry's vicarious wooing she says she answered that she herself was willing, but she durst not do so, and hinted that she would go away and "it would be to me too much displeasure to lose so good company." So "he passed the thing into his departing." But when the time for Margaret's return to Lille drew nigh, in her room late at night he returned to the charge, saying that he knew well "she would be pressed for to marry her, and that she was too young to abide as she was: and that the ladies of his country did remarry at fifty and three-score years." She sighed and said she had been too unhappy in husbands to marry again. Henry brushed this aside with, "I know well, Madame, and am sure that my fellow shall be to you a true servant, and that he is altogether yours, but we fear that ye shall not do likewise, for one shall force you to be again married: and that you shall not be found (save) out of the country at my return." So she gave what she says was an easily given promise not to marry till she saw him again, for she had made up her mind, "not again to put me where I have had so much unhappiness and misfortune," and Lisle swore on his part, standing with her hand in his, "to be true to her, to take no lady nor mistress, but to continue all his life her humble servant, which was enough honour for him."
By this time Wolsey and Fox had settled the treaties, and Prince Charles had arrived, "a boy of great promise," whose conversation delighted Henry. He only stayed two days, long enough to see how the land lay with his aunt for all her protestations of diplomatic pastime, and was present at a grand tournament held in the public place amid torrents of rain, where the King and Lisle challenged all comers and kept the barriers, and the King excelled all in agility as in person, and broke more spears than any other.
Two days later the army left Tournay, where the soldiers had remained too long in idleness, contracting very heavy expenses, and Henry went to Lille to sign his sister's marriage treaty. There Margaret was determined that her entertainment should not be ruined by the rain, and held her tournament in a large room raised above the ground many steps and paved with black stones like marble. The horses, to prevent their slipping and to deaden the noise of their hoofs, had their shoes covered with felt. The tournament over, the lords and ladies danced, and Lisle renewed his suit to Margaret. Again he was on his knees before her, playing with her hands, and again he took possession of her diamond ring, but this time all Margaret's entreaties could not get it back, and Henry, when appealed to, failed to see her point that it was its notoriety and not its value that urged her. He carelessly promised her another better, and next day, before setting out, Brandon brought her "one fair point of diamonds and a table ruby and showed me that it was for the other ring: wherefore I durst no more speak of it, if not to beseech him that it should not be showed to any person." Brandon gave the promise, which was ill-kept, and went away with the ring and bracelet and troth renewed between them in the little ante-room the night before. Margaret had undertaken the education at her Court at Malines of his little daughter Anne, whom he now left with her under the care of his cousin, William Sidney.
Two treaties were signed at Tournay, one between Henry and the Emperor against France and for the marriage of Mary and Charles, and the other between Margaret, in the name of Maximilian, and Henry, allowing the latter to return into England after leaving a sufficient garrison in Tournay, on condition of contributing 200,000 crowns of gold for the Emperor's expenses in supporting 4000 horse and 6000 foot, in Artois and Hainault. In her hands Margaret held a promise, "en parole de roi," written by Wolsey's hand, and signed by the King, never to make nor conclude peace or truce with the common enemy, the French, without the knowledge of his "bonne sœur and cousine," on condition that she did the like."
HENRY had arranged with Margaret that the marriage of Mary and the Prince should take place at Calais in six months' time, on May 15, and for that purpose he began making arrangements on his usual splendid scale on his return from Flanders. What Mary had been doing during the months of her brother's absence can only be conjectured. Probably she had been busy like Queen Katharine, sewing banners and ensigns for the army to be sent against the Scots. She did not accompany her sister-in-law when she moved further North, just before Flodden. There is hardly a mention of her in any of the few letters of the year. Once she wrote to Margaret of Savoy thanking the duchess for some patterns of Flemish gowns, and once she received a formal letter from the Prince. On Twelfth Night (1514) at Richmond there was the usual disguising and play, and a lady called Beauty, and one called Venus, clad in surcoat and mantle of yellow sarcenet, with hearts and wings of silver, delighted the Court. The piece was, as usual, allegorical, and possibly the ladies represented the Duchess of Savoy and the Lady Mary. There is no mention of the Princess by name, but, following her custom and that of her brother, they were both probably among the mummers.
Mary had now reached her full height, and was short for a Tudor, though the English head-dress added about three inches to her stature, and plump like her mother. Gerard de Pleine, writing to his mistress at Malines, describes her as one of the prettiest girls he had ever seen or hoped to see. "She has the most gracious and elegant carriage in conversation, dancing, or anything else that it is possible to have, and is not a bit melancholy, but lively. I am convinced that if you had once seen her you would not cease till you had her near you. I assure you she has been well brought up, and she must always have heard Monsieur well spoken of, for by her words and manner, and also from those who surround her, it seems to me she loves him wonderfully.
MARGARET, COUNTESS OF RICHMOND
PAINTER UNKNOWN. NATIONAL PORTRAIT GALLERY
She has a picture of him, very badly done, but there is no day in the world but they tell me she wishes to see him ten times a day, and if you want to please her, you must talk of the prince. I should have thought she had been tall and well developed, but she will be only of medium height, and seems to me much better suited both in age and person for Monsieur than I had heard tell before I saw her, and better than any princess that I know of in Christendom. She is quite young, and in two years she will hardly be as ripe as Likerke or Fontaine. I can only say again that in good-nature, beauty and age, the like does not exist in Christendom." For five years she had been Princess of Castile in England, and now was approaching the hour when she was to become a reigning princess, with the probability of far greater honours.
This year was to be the critical one in her life, and in January occurred the event which first altered its course. Anne of Brittany, wife of Louis XII., died, "underly lamented," sneered a spy, and was laid beside her former husband at St Denis. The English Court swarmed with French prisoners, and their friends and retainers. French manners had always prevailed in the Court of Henry VII., and the French tongue had been the usual one of the King; he preferred foreign household servants, and his son, fierce as he was against the French, kept a French cook. Henry VIII.'s Court had always been gay, and in the reaction from the frigid etiquette prescribed by the Countess of Richmond, manners had become as free as in the time of his grandfather, Edward IV. Bessie Blount, afterwards mother of Henry's son, the little Duke of Richmond, young Mistress Carew, wife of Sir Nicholas Carew, Mistress Jane Popincourt, added to the gay flutterings, and Louis de Longueville was amongst the most careless, as he played with the King for his ransom, and won the greater part. His intrigue with Jane Popincourt was fairly notorious, and she was, as has been related, one of the circle of the Princess of Castile, having been brought up with her. Mary said, many years afterwards, that she regarded her as one of her own relatives, but her reputation was such that Louis XII. refused on hearsay to have her at his Court, and said he would rather she were burnt for her wickedness. There seem to have been changes in Mary's entourage about this time, but her ladies and the Queen's, including the five Elizabeths, up to now had been of the old school, and some had served her mother, while Mother Guildford, as Lady Joan Guildford was familiarly called, her Governess, was the very epitome of the Richmond school of propriety and etiquette. She had but lately retired on pension from the service of the Princess, whom no doubt she had done her best to guide through the dangerous ways of the Court of a young and lusty King. With such surroundings one can hardly expect the little Princess to have been that paragon of womanly virtues described by Mrs Green. She had laughed and danced and sung her life through, sometimes ill and under her physician's care, and, as has already been said, save in the French language, and music and dancing, she does not seem to have received any education, but her manners were perfect, thanks to her grandmother and Mother Guildford. The grandmother of Lady Jane Grey, that marvel of youthful scholarship and virtue, was just now a charming little butterfly, "sy mennuet et sy douset" that she took all men's hearts by storm in public or private. The learning of the Renaissance had not touched her, indeed, never did, and she was ignorant of the intellectual refinements of continental courts. If she had not all the sterner virtues, nor a reasoned imagination, she had the kindest heart in the world and the most faithful, with a high courage to fight a losing game. Like Margaret of Savoy, she would have melted her most precious pearls to make a potion for her dying husband, and probably, as no doubt did Margaret, killed him by the heroic self-sacrifice. She was pious in the colourless sense of the word, and had been brought up to observe strictly all fasts and feasts of the Church, and, like most women, was influenced by her confessor. She believed in astrology and witchcraft, and had the normal mental outlook of her century. No doubt, latterly, she had been influenced by her sister-in-law, Katharine, who, however much she may have adapted herself to English customs and relaxed her prejudices in her love for her husband, never quite forgot the tradition of the dignified etiquette of her Spanish girlhood.
After her brother's return Mary was ill for some time, and in the doctor's hands for ten weeks. Whatever the cause, she probably had enough resemblance to her sister Margaret of Scotland to find great consolation, if not an impetus towards health, in the new gowns of her trousseau, and all its attendant magnificence. It was a marvellous affair. Seven hundred and ninety three pounds and nine pence (Tudor value) were paid at one fell swoop for pieces of cloth of gold for her gowns and furniture, and later comes another thousand pounds worth and more of silks, velvets of divers colours, green and white, silver, damask, and more cloth of gold. It dazzles the eyes to read. Florentine looms were busy, and the Italian merchants in England were doing a thriving trade. All these were to be made up in the Flemish fashion, and the Lady Margaret was asked to give her advice about the cutting of them and the style of the garments.
Marriages were in the air, and gossip early said three would take place at Calais—Mary to the Prince, Margaret of Scotland to Maximilian, and Margaret of Austria to Lisle, whom, on February 1, Henry created Duke of Suffolk.
Before things got that length, however, much had happened, and the Duchess of Savoy had been passing through the most wretched period of her existence, for her pride had been sorely torn by the gossip which her council took care should reach her ears and those of the Emperor, and which gave Chièvres and the French party a pretext for attempting to break off the English match. Her Flemish entourage had been considerably annoyed at the intimacy between Lisle and the Governess of the Netherlands, though Margaret assured them again and again that "that which she had said and done was for not to annoy the King"; but what they felt while they watched the exchange of vows at Lille, "at the cupboard-head," was nothing to their sensations later on when the thing became the gossip of Europe. That Margaret could for one moment have imagined that such determined wooing would pass unnoticed is incredible, but her distress at finding herself gossiped about in every country is a proof of her belief in its secrecy. Protest her innocent intentions as she would, the thing reached the Emperor; the King of Aragon wrote to ask if it were true; the Venetian ambassador sent the news home; it was the common bruit of the staples, and the merchants were betting on the marriage. Chièvres must have exulted that his adversary had been delivered into his hand, for as early as November Margaret was pleading with her father for her honour, following "the custom of her house," as she once said, and not mentioning the real matter, but indicating it obliquely. At Henry's request changes had been made in her Privy Council to outweigh the French element, and this had been misliked. Floris d'Egmont, Lord Isselstein, one of its members, drew a pension from England, so probably did Berghes and Hormistorffe and possibly Nassau, but Chièvres and St Py and their following intrigued ceaselessly with France. They regarded Margaret as an English agent, for letters which she had written to Brandon had been ill kept, and her secret informations to Henry had filtered through to the Spanish ambassador, and were none the clearer for the filtering. She felt abashed and disgraced before her own Court and Council, and she finds "the publishing of the thing the most strange in the world." Her distress was increased when on inquiry she found that the gossip had an English origin, and it is the strongest proof that she really loved Brandon, this sorrow, not anger, of hers at finding him careless of her honour in these matters. "I have been constrained," she writes, "as well by the counsel of my servants as of the Lord Berghes and others, to make enquiry whereof it came, and as well by information as writing, always I have found that it proceeded from England. Whereof I have had a marvellous sorrow. And I have letters of the self hand of an English merchant, the which hath been the first that hath made the wagers, as Brégilles knoweth well."
The ink was scarcely dry on the treaties signed at Lille before the intrigues with the French began to bear fruit. The frontier was ill-guarded, and Margaret herself is said to have commanded the garrisons to abstain from attacking the French; at the same time the charges of the army were not diminished, and many of the gens d'armes drew their pay for active service while comfortably seated at home. Ferdinand, in spite of the treaty signed before Therouenne, to which Henry had been persuaded by Margaret to admit him, was renewing his peace with France, who was to give his second daughter to Don Ferdinand of Austria, the Prince's brother, with Milan for dowry; to the Emperor money and forces to recover the duchy, and to the Queen of Aragon the Conté de Foix; further, he was to abandon Navarre to Ferdinand and leave the Scots a prey to England. "Habes totam hanc perfidiam." Pedro Quintana, Bishop of Catania, Ferdinand's secretary, had been sent across France to the Emperor, and after conferring with him in open secrecy, the English ambassador, Sir Robert Wingfield, being kept entirely in the dark, had returned by the same way, so that when on February 8 a truce was signed between France and Aragon, it was conjectured to be a mere matter of time till the Emperor also joined it. Margaret, who was Henry's firm friend, and devoted to the English cause and marriage, implored her father to remember that Aragon was the only one who had already pulled his chestnuts from the fire, and that no profit would come to the Emperor. She reminded him that the only bulwark of Burgundy against "la grande et invétérée inimitié que les Francais portent à cette maison" is amity with her enemies, for between France and Aragon are the mountains and England has the sea, and Henry now was so powerful that he could make a separate and better peace if he liked. His preparations for the new campaign, like those for the wedding, were such as had never been made within the memory of man, and this was the hour or never to overtop the enemy of Burgundy at the expense of England. "I know, sir, that he has not the faintest thought of making a truce, and that up to now he has not had, I am sure. But I am sure that if he sees or suspects that you want to change the treaty concluded with him, that will make him think what before he never thought, and the thing is very dangerous, for he could always have a good treaty and ample, and if he wanted to do it alone, it is clear he could do it better than anyone else." "As for me, sir, I wish for peace as much as any living person, provided it be good and sure; but otherwise it will be to the loss and destruction of this house in the future, which God forbid." Then she comes to the main point of her relations with Lisle: "Sir, I know there are many people who desire nothing so much as to break this friendship with England, and to do this, not knowing any other means, have contrived certain tales 'de maulvaises paroles et langaiges' which touch my honour, to put trouble between you, the said King and myself; but, sir, be assured they are all lies, and that I would rather have died a thousand times if it were possible than to have thought of it, and only speak of it to take away this trouble between us." But in spite of all that Margaret could do or write, the French party was in the ascendant, and she was discredited, for the Emperor was backing Chièvres, who now practically ruled Charles, though the "people about the Prince do not care much for the Emperor." The Council were already, in February, expecting information of the treaty with France, "putting no doubt in the deliverance at this time of the French King's daughter into their hands for the prince," and they hoped, as the price of the marriage, that France would surrender Burgundy. The "English" party were told there was no other way to live in peace, "and that before the perfect age of the said daughter, the Prince shall be of better experience and able to command and rule himself." The Emperor and the King of Aragon misliked this independent policy, but it seemed likely to take effect, and Nassau, now openly French, thought that they should have "the good deeds of the French and the others the good words." Margaret had still to fight for her prestige with her father as well as with the Council, for Chièvres began to think he could do anything with the Emperor, who in December had accepted his daughter's "excuse" for her behaviour towards Lisle and Henry. But her further letters to Henry and Lisle, and her "secret advertisements," had been spied upon and told to her father, so that again she was "in fear" and could not get into touch with him. Henry did not doubt her, and she was probably one of the three channels by which he knew all the Spanish secret practices. But the atmosphere of her Court was unbearable. She was regarded with suspicion by all her Council and spied upon, and she could not speak openly to Sir William Sidney, whereof she was more displeased than at anything else. "He himself perceiveth well that everyone beholdeth him of the other side. As to the descent of the King, it shall behove me to speak as soberly as I may me constrain, for it is the thing that I desire as much as his coming. And the same for my Lady Mary, as God knoweth. The heart me breaketh when it behoveth me to dissemble not in this, but in many others. And it seemeth to me that I may not so well serve the King, being in this fear, as before, so when the King shall descend that I shall always be in this pain, and I fear me I shall not dare speak or show good semblance to the said personage (Lisle)." Her frank nature, which loved outside diplomatic dealing, to see and to say things as they were suffered acutely. So she sent Brégilles to England. In February, Henry had been ill with the measles, and had been entertained during his convalescence by Maximilian's offer of the Imperial Crown, presumably to dazzle him into blindness to the Spanish intrigues, but, like the sacring at Rheims, it was all nutshells. Brégilles went ostensibly to inquire for Henry's health, but really to explain that something must be done "to avoid the bruit," which was having such a disastrous effect on the policy of Flanders. Margaret said the only possible way, in her opinion, was for Suffolk to marry the Lady Lisle, a child of nine years old, Suffolk's ward, and the daughter and heiress of John Grey, late Lord Lisle. This penance both Henry and Suffolk said was too much, for it was not fair to bind the man to a contract which the child could repudiate on coming of age; anything else but not that. So Henry wrote to the Emperor expressing his astonishment that rumour had arisen of a possible marriage between the Duchess of Savoy and the Duke of Suffolk, his "tres leal cousin et conseiller." He could not think how it came about save as a device of certain "mauvais esprits de mettre quelque scrupule entre vous et nous." He would search out the gossips on his side and punish them. He did, and of course found them. They were examined in presence of Brégilles by Wolsey and Suffolk, and it was proved beyond doubt that the original letter was written by the nameless English merchant while Henry was still at Tournay! So much for Margaret's ostrich-like secrecy. Henry and Suffolk wanted to punish the unfortunate gossips with death there and then, but Brégilles interposed. "Je leur ai bien dit que votre volonté n'estoit point si vindicative et qu'ils ne fissent nulle punition aux dits marchands quant au corps, sans avoir nouvelles de vous: vous en manderez s'il vous plaît votre bon plaisir." Suffolk offered to bring home his daughter, whose presence at Malines might help to keep gossip alive, but Brégilles said his mistress did not desire it, and would not think of such a thing. Henry and Mary and Katharine all made so much of Brégilles that he was almost ashamed to take the gifts showered upon him.
The Emperor still sulked, and his daughter could make no headway with the English marriage, and the Flemings sold guns and harness to the Scots, and so openly favoured them as friends of France that Thomas Spinelly, English agent at Brussels, suggested that a ship should be secretly freighted in Zeeland with onions and apples to Scotland, with some shrewd fellows on board to spy in the Scottish ports. On March 31 the Council of Flanders had their way, and a treaty between France and the Prince of Castile was signed while the Emperor was still deep in "confusse dealing." This was practically the deathblow to the Anglo-Castilian marriage. The French had won in spite of Margaret and the Spanish ambassador, between whom and the Council had grown many words. The same month the English embassy to Brussels for the arranging of the details of the marriage had been sent off, and Margaret had made it very clear that whoever should go on that embassy it was not to be Suffolk. "I know that I may not show towards the personage the weal and honour which I desire to do as before. For as yet I dare not write unto him when I have anything to do towards the King, nor I dare not only speak of him. And I am constrained to entreat him in all things like a stranger, at the least before folks, the which doth me so much displeasure that I cannot write it seeing that I take him so much for my good friend and servant." Further on she says: "I shall not dare to behold him with a good eye which displeasure shall be the same to him as to me." Only on his marriage with the child Lady Lisle was he to be allowed to come into her presence. Suffolk had prepared a vast and gorgeous equipage for the journey, and Henry said it would really cause more gossip in England if he did not go, for it would need to be explained publicly in Parliament, but Margaret had her way, and Suffolk's cousin, Sir Richard Wingfield, Deputy of Calais, was sent with long instructions. He was to learn for the information of Richard Gibson, then in Calais arranging the camp and houses, what personages would attend on the Lady Margaret and the Prince of Castile at Calais. He was to obtain numbers and names in writing, and also what etiquette was to be observed. The King would provide all things for the Emperor, the Prince, and my Lady, except beds, "which it is thought they will for their better ease bring with them." Henry consulted Margaret in the smallest detail, everything was to be as she desired, and sent a book containing the provision of the Princess's apparel, her chamber, office and stables. Cloth of every sort had been provided, "and my lady is to devise for the making thereof after such manner as shall best please her," and in queenly and honourable fashion. Above all, a definite answer about the place of the wedding was to be demanded.
Sir Richard and his companions found only Margaret on their side, for the Council would gladly hinder the Prince's marriage "with the Lady Mary, saying that he is a child and she a woman full grown." In fact, as the Venetian ambassador had said, "he wanted a wife and not a mother." They had it seems no doubt about Mary's real age. At the same time that gossip was carried to the English Court of the intrigue of the prince with Mdlle de Likerke, "a damsel of the court," at Malines, Mary was reported of so amorous a nature that it would be dangerous for Charles to marry her before he was full grown. Margaret had sent over to find out the truth of this last rumour, and her agent wrote: "Je vous ose bien dire que si ce n'était que toutes femmes sont assez fortes, que Monsieur viendra bien au bout de cette ci, car y n'est rien si mennuet ni si douset qu'elle est." If Monsieur could only speak to her privately a little while, it is certain that "Likerke tornera le rot au sort qu'il sera tout brulé," which rather obscure statement may mean that the Flamande would be eclipsed easily by her rival. The one "Englishman" on the Council denied Charles's interest in Likerke, and reported that the Prince had said that Mary had been always his only love, but, on the other hand, Charles had "spoken suspicious words," and he was young and surrounded by a young Council. The French ambassador was honourably received at Court, and there were many ill rumours spread against England, most of them coming from France, especially one which said the English could not hold Tournay for three months. The feast of St George's day was not observed in any point, any more than if the Prince did not belong to the Order. "The Archduchess is sorry, but cannot oppose it, as the authority of France increases. Unless the King looks to it, all these countries will be ruled by the French." Throughout the mission the English had no more courteous sympathizer than the Aragonese ambassador: "I promise your Grace he spareth not to answer your faithful servant. What they mean thereby God knoweth." Wingfield became more insistent, and refused to be put off longer with vague answers about the marriage, for it was now the end of April, and the ceremony was timed for May 15. Chièvres still had the Emperor's ear, he had bought it for 100,000 crowns, and Margaret wrote in vain that a definite answer could not be put off much longer, but Maximilian preferred as usual to drive the time and let someone else face the consequences. The English would accept no postponement, and said the wedding must be at Calais, and Margaret, at her wits' end to explain decently her father's variableness, "forged an excuse at Malines," and, turning in the track of gossip, said she feared that if the Prince married so young he might be disappointed of issue.
The French were now forward on the borders of the Pale, and said "they would look upon us at Guisnes," while Préjan, the admiral, was at Dieppe with his galleys, and at St Omer there were as many Mamelukes as good Frenchmen. Count de Ligny and all other captains in Henry's pay were ordered to draw to Calais and lodge about Gravelines, to co-operate with the force which was ready to cross the sea. At this moment grew a rumour of Margaret's marriage to Louis XII., but Henry denied it before his Council, and said, no matter who in the world said so he would not believe it, for he never doubted her for a moment, though he acknowledged her explanation of her use of English moneys and soldiers was rather "colorable." At last, in May, Margaret had comfortable letters from her father, and she definitely broke with Suffolk in the pathetic letters already quoted, which, "so that certain conclusion might be made," she wrote to Sir Richard Wingfield, but she could not undo the well-knit French policy. Suffolk's riposte was somewhat weak. At the jousts in May the King and the new duke defended the tilt against all comers, and on their black staves was written in white letters, "Who can hold what will away." Hall says, "This poesie was judged to be made for the Duke of Suffolk and the Duchess of Savoy," and as Henry's bore the same legend, it probably referred also to the Prince of Castile and the Princess Mary.
This was not, however, the open end. Negotiations dragged on. Sir Robert Wingfield, who had once before detached the Emperor from France, was trying to repeat the move, but with no success, for Aragon's ambassador, with his dealings "full of ficte and colored matter," was always there to balk him. He implored Henry to do nothing in haste, for "his majesty showeth himself at many times not easy to be led, and much worse to be driven, and therefore, Sir, for the love of God, have good consideration how ye handle this old practised Prince, which hath been but easily (i.e. superficially) known in time past, because many have sought to defame him and few to declare and show what manner of man he is." The Aragonese ambassador at Malines also gave himself such airs of importance that Margaret was exceedingly annoyed, and it was openly said that "if the said lord Prince will not be obeissant unto the King of Aragon (i.e. in the matter of marriage), or go into Spain against his will, he might be poisoned, as his father King Philip was." Gerard de Pleine, representing Flanders, and John Coller, the Emperor, were sent to England, and got very little comfort from either Henry or the Council, the former declaring roundly that if he wanted peace he need not send out of his kingdom for it, which the ambassadors took as an allusion to Louis de Longueville, who was a favourite in the court. Wolsey said the King would not make peace, but if he did it would ruin Flanders. The English themselves were in favour of war with France, and, like Lord Darcy, offered themselves and their sons with eagerness to serve the King there. The marriage of Mary with the Prince was taken for granted, so that the breaking of this traditional policy was a difficult matter, and had to be conducted to a full conclusion secretly. Hence, though in June the truce with France was assured, and on July 30 Mary, persuaded by her brother and Wolsey, formally renounced her compact of marriage with Charles, yet on August 2 Margaret was reading letters from Henry "with a glad countenance." A fortnight later the fashion thereof had changed, when she heard that her trust had been misplaced and played with, and she had to listen to Chièvres' sneers at English fidelity. The Council cried traitor to the English, and the whole country was exasperated. Englishmen were assaulted in Brussels, and the Captain of Tournay found victualling a difficult matter, for it depended on the goodwill of the surrounding people, and the Anglo-French alliance put the fear of God upon them. Margaret was the only one who refused to believe the report, and "took great thought and displeasure therewith in so much that some fear she shall take hurt thereby"; and indeed she did fall ill in the autumn from vexation at the failure of her plans and from grief, "for the penance was too great for their offence." The Duchess made one more attempt to reknit the bonds between England and Flanders, and threatened to publish Henry's promise, signed at Tournay, not to enter into any truce without the knowledge of his ally, the Prince, but Henry retorted that if she did this, which, after all, would do him no harm, he would publish secret letters of hers which he held, and so again Margaret ran up against the Suffolk affair. Do what she might it was not forgotten, for "the bruit is so imprinted in the fantasies of the people," and as late as September 1515 she was asking Wolsey for the return of her letters.
Charles is said to have used strong language on hearing that he had been jilted. "It was said that when the Prince of Castile heard that his promised bride had been given to France, he went immediately into his council chamber and said to his Councillors, "Well, am I to have my wife as you promised me," with other words to that effect; whereupon his Councillors answered him: "You are young, but the King of France is the first King in Christendom, and, having no wife, it rests with him to take for his queen any woman he pleases." Thus did they seek to excuse themselves. During this conversation Duke Charles, looking out of the window, saw a man with a hawk on his fist, and calling one of his Councillors, who was his chief friend, said to him, "I prithee go buy me that hawk." The Councillor replied, "I know that hawk: he is a young bird and does not yet know how to quarry: he is not a bird for your lordship."
CHARLES, PRINCE OF CASTILE
FROM THE PAINTING IN THE LOUVRE (FLEMISH SCHOOL)
The Prince again said, "I prithee go and buy it." The Councillor, still seeking to excuse himself, the Duke at length exclaimed, "Come with me." So he bought it himself and put it on his fist. Then, having returned to the council chamber, he seated himself and began plucking the hawk, the Councillor meanwhile inquiring, "Sir! what are you doing?" The Duke still continued plucking the bird, and when he had done so to his heart's content, made answer: "Thou askest me why I plucked this hawk! he is young you see, and has not yet been trained, and because he is young he is held in small account, and because he is young he squeaked not when I plucked him. Thus have you done by me: I am young, you have plucked me at your good pleasure, and because I was young I knew not how to complain, but bear in mind that for the future I shall pluck you." This tale is regarded as apocryphal, or at least impossible, but the date is September 24, about six weeks after the publication in London of the treaty with France, and indifference to suffering in animals is not unheard-of in the sixteenth century. Maximilian sorrowed too at the thought that the original of the picture he had admired at Therouenne, "the fair and virtuous princess, should come to an impotent, indisposed and so malicious a prince as is the French King," and, like St George, his favourite saint, would have liked to rescue the maiden from the dragon.
THOUGH Louis de Longueville has always had the credit of arranging the match between the Princess Mary and Louis XII. of France, there was another who claimed openly the initiation of the idea. Margaret of Savoy said that the Pope had been to her knowledge the promoter of the whole business, and Leo X. claimed that he had been the first to propose it to France and England. It had been discussed secretly in Rome by the Bishop of Marseilles and the Bishop of Worcester, who met frequently together in the city and in "vynes and garthynges" without it. The Medici had always been favourers of the French, and there is no doubt that Leo X. and "il magnifico Juliano" used their influence to make the peace, but equally doubtless, had not Longueville been on the spot "et mena tellement l'affaire de poste en poste," matters would not have progressed so rapidly. The Frenchman was not only moved by desire for the national safety, he had also a private crow to pick with Burgundy, for the Prince's officers had seized on certain lands of his, and in return the Duke rejoiced at the opportunity of wiping his neighbour's eye. His position at the English Court gave him every chance of doing so. Henry had intended from the first that he should be in the household, but Katharine had been forced to lodge him in the Tower for the first three weeks after his arrival. On the King's return he was lodged in the Court, and became Henry's daily companion. He was witness to the King's anger against Ferdinand of Aragon, and his annoyance at the variableness of the Emperor, and no doubt, secrets being ill-kept, he knew all about the Savoy-Suffolk affair. As early as March Wolsey was half gained to France, and the general of Normandy, Thomas Bohier, in England ostensibly to confer with Longueville at Sittingbourne about his ransom, was on friendly terms with the new Bishop of Lincoln, and Louis XII. desired his mediation. Henry however, was too sure that France was at his feet to treat at once, and it was not till his allies had definitely left him that he listened to French proposals. The Bishop of Lincoln's attitude was complicated by his claim on Tournay, of which See he was bishop, but was there opposed by the French bishop-elect, who had easily collected the revenues with the collusion of the Flemish, who wanted no English bishop and mobbed his vicar in Ghent and Bruges. It probably was in Wolsey's mind that if he did the Pope's pleasure in the matter of peace with France, there was more likelihood of his enjoying the fruits of the See. The bait held out to him by Louis was a cardinal's hat, and the French King over and over again promised to use his influence with Leo X. to get this for him. In March the marriage was talked about in Rome, in April in Paris, while in England the only subject of conversation was the coming war, and in May, when the Castile marriage openly hung fire, the General of Normandy was again in England. He sent a herald to Calais for a safe-conduct and also to arrange a truce, but this was not granted, "so he came here with a cartel to know the ransom required for the Duke de Longueville, which, being generally known, he was answered that not having brought the ransom with him, and should he have nothing else to say, he was to depart in God's name." Unabashed by this brusque reception, which may have been one of Wolsey's carefully arranged "pageants," the Duke, "who is in great favour, making himself most amiable," stepped in, and by his mediation the General was allowed to open his mission for some agreement between the two crowns. Henry demanded a million and a half ducats and three towns—Therouenne, Boulogne and St Quentin. The General answered suavely this could hardly be called an agreement, but his master was prepared to make peace and give the usual tribute. King Henry then rejoined, "Well, if he chooses to marry my sister, the widow of the King of Scots, the agreement shall be made." The General was allowed to write to his master, and he was invited to the sacring of the new ship, the "Harry Grace à Dieu," the King's newest toy, "which has no equal in bulk and has an incredible array of guns." There, in a brilliant company, he saw the Queen and the Princess Mary, surrounded by the bishops, nobles and ambassadors, and he witnessed the reception of the ambassadors from the Duchess of Savoy and the Emperor, whom Henry took over the seven tiers of the ship, pointing out her novelties and merits. All the French negotiations had to be conducted with the greatest secrecy, for the war was popular in England, where the nobles and gentlemen had already prepared their equipages at great expense, but abroad the matter was talked of openly, and the lady mentioned was not the impossible Margaret, but Mary. Henry refused to be drawn by the Emperor's ambassador, and said nothing beyond that he had peace under his hand if he wanted it; but they said roundly to the Council that the General "was well known to the Emperor as one accustomed to handle more difficult matters than the ransom of the Duke de Longueville." The great difficulty was Tournay, and that question was finally waived for later settlement, and a treaty of peace for the lives of the two kings and one year after was concluded on a basis of tribute paying, and all arrears from France, dating from 1444, were to be gradually paid up at a fixed rate. Henry wanted to give his sister without a dowry, in clear contravention of his father's will, but eventually it was arranged that Mary's trousseau, jewels, and furniture, valued at 200,000 crowns, were to be regarded as such.
Late in the evening of July 29 the General of Normandy came again to London, to a very different reception. "He had come to seal the articles, having been met by four hundred of the chief lords on horseback to do him honour." Next day, at Wanstead Manor, Mary made the formal renunciation of her compact of marriage with Charles, Prince of Castile, in the presence of the Dukes of Norfolk and Suffolk, the Earl of Worcester, the Bishops of Lincoln, Winchester and Durham, and Sir Rauf Verney, her chamberlain. On August 7 the preliminaries were concluded and the contract signed. On the 11th peace was proclaimed in London, with none of the usual pomp, by two men on horseback "in a public street; neither trumpet nor any other instrument was sounded, and but few persons heard the proclamation, neither were bonfires burnt or any other demonstration made for this peace." Two days later the wedding took place at Greenwich, and early in the morning of that Sunday, wrote the Venetian ambassador's secretary, a lord came in his barge in quest of Messer Andreas Badoer, "on behalf of the King that he might go to the Court to be present at the wedding." So he went to where his Majesty was, at a place called Greenwich, on a fine river, and proceeded upstairs, where the other lords were awaiting the King in the apartment where the ceremony was to be performed. It had the appearance of a large chamber, the walls around being covered with cloth of gold surmounted by an embroidered frieze with the royal arms. There were many lords present, clad in cloth of gold and some in silk, all wearing chains, who came to meet the ambassador, saying, "Thou art as welcome as if thou wert our father and of our own blood," for which he thanked them much, and he gave them good greeting. And he remained thus, talking, first with one and then with another, for three hours, till at length the King came and was immediately followed by the Queen, his sister the bride, and a number of ladies. The Duke de Longueville, with two French ambassadors, represented the King of France. The Primate delivered a Latin sermon, saying that they had been brought to that place to celebrate "a holy marriage, the contracting parties being the sister of the King of England and the King of France, whose majesty was represented by the Duke de Longueville." Then John de Selva, President of Normandy, spoke, and said that the King of France was willing to take the Princess Mary to wife, and the Bishop of Durham read the French letters patent. When these discourses were ended, the Duke de Longueville, representing the person of the French King, taking the Princess by the right hand, read the marriage contract in French ; after which the Princess, taking the Duke's right hand in hers, read her contract in the same tongue. The Duke then signed the "schedule," and after him the Princess signed "Mary," and that done, Longueville delivered to her a golden ring which she placed on the fourth finger of her right hand. By this time it was nearly mid-day, and the King went to Mass in procession headed by the lords walking two and two, and clad in silk gowns of their own fashion with gold collars as massive as chains, "two dukes of the realm walked together clad in gowns of cloth of gold," and last came the Venetian ambassador next the King as a mark of honour, and paired with the Archbishop of Canterbury. Henry wore a gown of cloth of gold and ash-colour satin in chequers, with certain jewelled embroidery, after his usual fashion, of beaten gold appliqué to the brocade, and a most costly collar round his neck. With him, nearly in a line but slightly behind, walked the Duke de Longueville, wearing a gown of cloth of gold and purple satin in chequers, and a most beautiful collar. After the King came the Queen, who was pregnant, also in ash-colour satin with chains and jewels, and on her head a cap of cloth of gold covering the ears in the Venetian fashion, and beside her walked the bride in a petticoat of ash-colour satin, and a gown of purple satin and cloth of gold in chequers. She also had a Venetian cap and many chains and jewels, and was accompanied by many ladies. After Mass came a banquet, followed by a return to the same room where the ceremony had taken place, and there, to the harmonious sounds of flute, harp, pipe, and violetta, they danced for two hours, the King and the Duke of Buckingham dancing in their doublets, and the tunes were so merry that Badoer, old as he was, felt tempted to throw off his gown and follow Henry's example. Whether it was before, after, or during the dance, at some moment the marriage was formally concluded per verba de præsenti, and the bride, in the presence of many witnesses, undressed and went to bed. "The Marquis of Rothelin (the Duke de Longueville), in his doublet with a pair of red hose, but with one leg naked, went into bed and touched the Princess with his naked leg, and the marriage was declared consummated." After the dance, refreshments were served, and the King and Queen departed, and the Archbishop of York [Wolsey], the Duke de Longueville, Badoer, the lord of St John's [i.e. the prior of St John of Jerusalem in England], and other noblemen went to the house given by the King to the Duke, a good bowshot from the palace, but within the park walls. There the legal instrument was signed and mutually ratified. Then wines were served, and the Venetian ambassador, and the nobleman who had fetched him in the morning, with the lord of St John's, took their leave and returned home by barge, "making good cheer by the way."
What were Mary's feelings? In spite of the Flemish agent's report, it is not necessary to believe that she had been deeply wounded by the breaking off of the Flemish marriage, or that she had ever been in love with the Prince. But it is well known that she gave a reluctant consent to the French marriage, and that her reluctance was said to have its root in her attachment to the Duke of Suffolk, who three months ago had been still a suitor for the hand of Margaret of Savoy. Did the two deserted ones console each the other? It is not at all impossible that mutual sympathy brought them into greater intimacy, and that Mary fell in love with the Duke then, for where the experienced duchess fell, what hope was there for the young princess! That Suffolk wanted to marry her there can be no doubt, but his career and experience made it impossible that he should plunge into love with Mary's enthusiasm. He had already had two wives, of whom one was still living, and, put down in black and white, the story of his marriages is hardly respectable. When he was Sir Charles Brandon he made a contract of marriage "with a gentlewoman, Mistress Anne Browne, and before any solemnization of that marriage not only had a daughter by her, which after was married to the Lord Powes, but also brake promise with her and married the Lady Mortimer, which marriage the said Anne Browne judicially accused to be unlawful, for that the said Sir Charles Brandon had made a pre-contract with her and carnally known her. Which being duly proved, sentence of divorce was given, and he married solemnly the said Mistress Anne Browne; at which marriage all the nobility were present and did honour it; and afterwards had by her another daughter, who was married to the Lord Mounteagle. After this the said Mrs Anne Browne continued with him all her life as his wife, and died his wife, without impeachment of that marriage." But these matters would not influence Mary, for, besides the fact that the English were notoriously loose about marriage, she was in love, and that hid everything. When Henry, at the last moment (and it can be taken for granted that as secrecy was necessary Mary knew little till then), told her of her destiny, he had the greatest difficulty in persuading her to it. She rebelled vehemently against marriage with an "old, feeble, and pocky" man of fifty-six, for her ladies would not mince their words with niceness when it came to descriptions. But Henry showed her that it could not be for long; Louis had been ill for years now (grisly reasoning for a girl of eighteen), and once a widow she would be free to marry whom she would, if she would only do his pleasure this once. Longueville painted the delights of the French Court, the centre of all light and fashion, and the honour of being queen of it, while her pride, wounded by the Flemish treatment, was glad to be able to return so speedy a Roland for their Oliver. Once she had allowed herself to be dazzled into consenting, things were hurried on, and she had not a chance for reflection; there was nothing but dancing, banquets, and feasts from the day of her marriage to that of her departure, varied by visits from Jehan de Paris, painter and designer of frocks, and from Marigny, her husband's maître d'hôtel, with presents and letters from the King. One day he arrived at the Court preceded by a white horse laden with two coffers both full of gifts for her, and she was soon reconciled to her lot, and was "so pleased to be Queen of France that she did not care that the French King was an old man and gouty." She was not going to France "en dame de petite étoffe," and if her first trousseau was to have been in all things queenly and honourable, this one eclipsed it, in measure as the dignity of a queen of France eclipsed that of a princess of Castile.
ENGRAVED BY A. BERTHOLD FROM HIS TOMB IN THE ABBEY OF ST. DENIS
The greater number of her gowns were made in the French fashion, but six were Milanese and eight were English, with tight sleeves. Her jewels were magnificent, and justified her father's reputation of having harvested those of many impecunious princes. Diamonds, caboché and cut, "tables and points," pearls, balas rubies sparkled in bracelets, pendants, baldrics, rings. Her device of four roses set with diamonds appeared in various forms, and the fleur de lys was not absent, and her frontlets were of pearls. Her bejewelled plate, her hangings, her bedroom and her chapel appointments, were of the costliest, and the glitter of the fashionable cloth of gold was over all. Small wonder that the excitement of the preparations and the pleasure of possessions reconciled Mary to her fate, as her chosen "word" might indicate, "La volonté de Dieu me suffit." Besides the jewels of the trousseau, Mary received many marriage presents from France, and Louis sent her, amongst other things, a marvellous diamond pendant, which roused to admiration the jewellers of the Row, to whom it was unknown even by reputation.
A few days after the marriage ceremony the French ambassadors set out for France to carry the news of their successful mission. They did not go empty-handed. The General and his son had been well rewarded, and Longueville, no longer a prisoner, had an order on Cavalcanti, the Italian merchant and banker, for £2000, Henry's present on the occasion of the marriage, when he also gave him his embroidered gown. From Canterbury Mary received what was probably her first letter as Queen of France. "Aujourd'hui," wrote Longueville, "M. le général et moi avons eu des lettres du roi qu'il nous écrit que le plus grand désire qu'il a c'est de savoir de vos nouvelles, et qu'il trouve merveilleusement bon le lieu d'Abbeville pour vous trouver ensemble ainsi qu'il a été accordé, et que là sans point de faute vous le trouverez délibéré de vous bien recevoir. Et ferai, Madame, la plus grande diligence qu'il me sera possible d'aller divers lui pour lui dé[livrer] de vos nouvelles. Et toujours ainsi que j'en saurai des siennes vous en advertirai ainsi que vous m'avez commandé, vous suppliant très humblement, Madame, qu'il vous plaise me commander toujours vos bons plaisirs pour les accomplir comme celui qui désire vous faire service. Madame, il y a un marchant nommé Jehan Cavalcanty, dem[eurant] à Londres lequel à mon affaire m'a fait service. Il a quelque affaire envers le roi votre frère. Je vous supplie qu'il vous [plaise], Madame, lui être aidant envers le dit et l'avoir pour [ ... ]. Madame je prie à notre Seigneur qu'il vous donne très bonne v[ie]." Bohier also wrote. On their arrival at Estampes, where was the King, their description of Mary, "the prettiest girl in Europe," and probably also the difficulty about Tournay, moved Louis to write to ask for her speedy delivery into his hands. "Faîtes mes recommandations," he wrote to Wolsey, "au roi mon frère, votre maître, et lui dites que je lui prie m'envoyer sa sœur le plus tôt que faire se pourra, et qu'il me fera en ce faisant singulier plaisir." The same day Longueville wrote to Mary, "Que le roi s'ennuie de ce que ne lui écrites de vos nouvelles et aussi que votre cas ne se dépêche pas par delà si tôt qu'il voudrait bien, pourquoi, Madame, je vous supplie très humblement que lui veuillez écrire et tout faire par delà que le plus tôt que pourrez vous en puisse venir, car plus grand plaisir ne lui saurez faire en ce monde. Et en surplus, Madame, votre plaisir sera me mander et commander vos bons plaisirs pour les accomplir. Madame je prie à Dieu qu'il vous donne très bonne vie et longue." So Mary, with the help of John Palsgrave, wrote a formal little letter in French, of which this is a translation:—
"Sir, very humbly I recommend me unto your grace. I have received the letters which it has pleased you to write to me with your own hand, and heard what my cousin the Duke de Longueville has told me from you, in which I take great joy, felicity, and pleasure, for which and for the honour which it has pleased you to do to me I hold myself ever indebted and obliged to you, and thank you as cordially as I can. And because by my cousin you will hear how all things have taken their end and conclusion, and the very singular desire that I have to see you, I forbear to write to you a longer letter. For the rest, Sir, praying our Creator to give you health and long life,—By the hand of your humble companion,
On September 14, in the church of the Celestines at Paris, after Mass, Louis went through the marriage ceremony with Mary's proctor, the Earl of Worcester. The Dauphin, Longueville, John Stuart, Duke of Albany, Robertet, the treasurer, were there, with many others, and the next day, in Les Tournelles, in the faubourg St Antoine, the King appeared before the Bishop of Paris and bound himself to the payment of a million gold ducats to Henry VIII., and in default to be excommunicated. That was the last of the formalities; all had now been complied with, and Louis was eager to see the wife he had heard so much about. So he wrote to Wolsey again urging that she should be sent over as soon as possible, for to have her across the sea was all his desire, and thanking Wolsey for all the trouble that had been taken with "l'appareil et les choses," which he understood were exquisitely beautiful. He enclosed a letter to Mary, who replied: "Monseigneur, Bien humblement a votre bonne grace, je me recommende. Monseigneur j'ai par Monseigneur l'evêque de Lincoln reçu les très affectueuses lettres qu'il vous a plu naguères m'écrire, qui m'ont été a très grant joye et confort, vous assurant, Monseigneur, qu'il n'y a rien que tant je désire que de vous voir. Et le Roi, Monseigneur et frère, fait tout extrème diligence pour mon allée delà la mer, qui au plaisir de Dieu sera brière. Vous suppléant, Monseigneur, me vouloir cependant pour ma très singulière consolation souvent faire savoir de vos nouvelles, ensemble vos bons et agréables plaisirs pour vous y obéir et complaire, aidant notre Créateur qui vous donne, Monseigneur, bonne vie et longuement bien prosperer. De la main de vre bien humble compaigne.
What kind of a man was Mary to be consigned to? A recent French writer gives the following description of his character drawn from contemporary sources:—"D'esprit médiocre, pas eloquent ni savant, mais plein de bons sens, c'était comme le grandgouzier de Rabelais, un type de 'bon raillard,' aimant à boire et à rire, orné des vertues bourgeoises et pratiques, dont il ne lui manquait pas une, même la fidélité à sa femme, et pour le reste, plein de bonté, de loyauté, d'amabilité, de rondeur; point de rancune, la gaîté cordiale, les goûts charitables, les sentiments serieusement chrétiens, sans ostentation, ni tendance au merveilleux: homme tout cœur qui ne pensait qu'à son peuple." He knew and admired Italian art and writers, and welcomed them at his Court, but with no frenzied admiration. He was, above all things, reasonable, normal, and commonplace. To his first wife Jeanne he had been forcibly married by her father, Louis XI. She is said to have been a crippled angel, and the first thing Louis did on his accession was to obtain a divorce from her from Alexander VI., "l'argent entra en ligne," and all was easy with the Borgia; and then to marry Anne of Brittany, the widow of his cousin and predecessor, Charles VIII. She was a not unusual mixture of piety and arrogance, and a thousand times more Duchess of Brittany than she was Queen of France to the day of her death. Like Katharine of England, time and again, in spite of prayers, promises, and pilgrimages, her hopes of a male heir were dashed, and she only left two daughters to survive her, the elder of whom, Claude, after having been grudgingly betrothed to Francis d'Angoulême, who was in open antagonism to Anne, was married to him a few months after her mother's death. Renée, the younger, the child of many prayers, called for St René, to whom her father had vowed his child, was the princess who had so often been en concurrence with Mary in Flanders. Since his wife's death and his own continued illness Louis had allowed the Dauphin, as Francis d'Angoulême was now called, to meddle in affairs of state, for, after all, vain-glorious and incapable of viewing things from any but an absolutely personal vantage as he was, the young man was more than likely to become King of France, and must serve his apprenticeship, and now nothing was done without his advice. He was furious with Longueville for his part in bringing about the English marriage, "il en sceut bien mauvais gré," but made up his mind to carry the thing off well, "et voullust bien montrer qu'il n'estoit pas mal content de ce marriage," and threw himself heartily into the preparations for Mary's reception, confident that his position was saved by the senile condition of the King's bodily powers, and frankly interested in his favourite occupation of organizing gorgeous spectacles. The Court Mary was about to enter was no harmonious one, for Louise de Savoie and her son were centres of disaffection, and Claude de France and her father were eclipsed by the magnificence of the hôtel d'Angoulême, the treasurer of France, Robertet, pandering to the Dauphin's boyish extravagance in clothes and advancing money to pay his colossal tailor bills. Mary would find herself the centre of all kinds of intrigue, from which the kindly nature of her husband could hardly protect her, though, as Worcester wrote, "he hath a marvellous mind to content and please the Queen." He awaited her coming in great good humour with seven coffers of jewels and other treasures beside him, and "au logic du roy il ne feust plus question de deuil." Worcester wrote that "there is nothing that can displease him, and he hath provided jewels and goodly gear for her. There was in his chamber the Archbishop of Paris, Robertet, and the General and I, where he showed me the goodliest and richest sight of jewels that ever I saw. I would not have believed it if I had not seen it." All things were for her, said the King, "but merrily laughing, 'my wife shall not have all at once, but at divers times, for he would have many and at divers times kisses and thanks for them.' I assure you he thinketh every hour a day till he seeth her. He is never well but when he heareth speak of her. I make no doubt she will have a good life with him by the grace of God."
And on the other side of the channel poor Mary would willingly have made every hour a day before her departure. Two or three days before she left London "all the merchants of every nation went to Court. The Queen desired to see them all and gave her hand to each of them. She wore a gown in the French fashion of woven gold, very costly; she is very beautiful and has not her match in England, is a young woman sixteen years old, tall, fair, and of light complexion with a colour, and most affable and graceful. On her neck was a jewelled diamond as large and as broad as a full-sized finger, with a pear-shaped pearl beneath it, the size of a pigeon's egg, which jewel had been sent her as a present by the King of France.... And the jewellers of the Row, whom the King desired to value it, estimated its worth at 60,000 crowns. It was marvellous that the existence of this diamond and pearl should never have been known; it was believed that they belonged to the late King of France, or to the Duke of Brittany, the father of the late Queen." "On bidding farewell to the merchants she made them many offers, speaking a few words in French and delighting everybody. The whole Court now speaks French and English, as in the time of the late King."
Mary's ladies had been chosen from among her companions by Wolsey, and on August 7, when the marriage treaty was signed, the ladies had been arranged for also. The paper was evidently taken to France for the King's signature, for it is in the British Museum signed "Loys," and dated, in a contemporary English hand, August 8, 1514. Their names are: Mademoiselle Grey, sister of the Marquis [of Dorset], Mademoiselle Mary Fenes, daughter of Lord Dacres [of Hurst Monceaux], Mademoiselle Elizabeth, sister of Lord Grey [de Wilton?], Mademoiselle Boleyne [Anne, not Mary, in spite of Dr Brewer], Mistress Anne Jerningham, femme de chambre, Jean Barnes, chamberière. These were the ladies "contracted for." But later on more were added without reference to Louis' pleasure: old Lady Guildford, Elizabeth Ferrers, Anne Devereux, M. Wotton, Anne Denys, and evidently others. Dr Denton, her old friend, went as her almoner, and John Palsgrave as her secretary. "Mother" Guildford came from her retirement to go with her former charge as lady of honour, for she spoke French well, and would be able, as Henry told Mary, to advise the jeune mariée in the perplexing situations which might arise. At the suit of Longueville Louis suggested that Jane Popincourt should be among his wife's ladies, for he understood that "the Queen loveth and trusteth her above all the gentlewomen about her," but on Worcester telling him of her evil life he said that "if the King made her to be brent, it should be a good deed," and Longueville's scheme fell through. Louis said there should be never man nor woman about his wife but such as should be at her contentation, but later on he judged their fitness by another standard. As the Duke of Suffolk could not go with her, the Duke of Norfolk was to present Mary to her husband, and with him were many nobles and ladies; notably the Marquis of Dorset and his four brethren, Lord de la Warr, Lord Mounteagle, the Bishop of Durham, with many bannerets and esquires. The Duchess of Norfolk and the Countess of Oxford were with the Duke, and the Marchioness of Dorset and Lady Mounteagle accompanied their husbands. The company was chosen by Wolsey, and several of Suffolk's friends were included. Thomas Wriothesley, Garter King at Arms, with Richmond Herald, went to see that all things were in order, and fifty officers of the King's household were transferred to his sister's.
On September 19 all these "gros princes et dames et gros personages" set out for Dover, accompanied by what remained of the Court to the water's edge. "There would be about a thousand palfreys, and a hundred women's carriages," wrote Lorenzo Pasqualigo, merchant of Venice in London, to his brother. "There were so many gowns of woven gold, and with gold grounds, housings for the horses and palfreys of the same material, and chains and jewels, that they were worth a vast amount of treasure; and some of the noblemen in this company, to do themselves honour, had spent as much as 200,000 crowns each. Many of the merchants proposed going to Dover to see this fine sight." The Court rode in leisurely fashion to the coast at Dover. Mary was expected in France, where no business save rejoicings for the wedding was attended to, on the 29th, and John Heron had pressed the ships for her crossing by that date, and the fleet had scoured the channel to east and west, but it was not till October 2 that she set sail for Boulogne. Henry had meant to have gone ten miles out to sea with her in the "Harry Grace à Dieu, but the weather was too threatening, so he bade his sister good-bye at the water-edge, his last words being a renewal of his promise about her second marriage, and hers a passionate reminder. The fleet set sail, and had not gone far before the fulfilment of her first marriage became for the moment problematic, for they "had not sailed a quarter of their voyage in the sea but that the wind rose and severed the ships, driving some of them to Calais, some into Flanders, and her ship and three others with great difficulty were brought to Boulogne, not without great jeopardy at the entering of the haven, for the master ran the ship hard on shore. But the boats were ready and received the lady out of the ship, and Sir Christopher Garnish ['strong, sturdy stallion, so sterne and so stowsty'] strode into the water, and took her in his arms and bare her to land, where the Duke of Vendôme, and a cardinal with many other great estates, received her with great honour." At least one ship of the fleet was lost, "The Great Elizabeth," at Sandgate, close to Calais, and Sir Weston Browne, the captain, and not a hundred men escaped out of a company of five hundred.
The useful Marigny at once sent notice to Louis at Abbeville of the Queen's arrival, and thither, after a short interval of rest, long enough to squeeze the sea water from her clothes, went Mary, accompanied all the way by Longueville, who "made her good cheer," Lautrec, the Bishop of Bayeux, and a large company, and joined on the way by the Duke d'Angoulême, whom the English annoyed by calling "M. le duc," instead of "Monsieur" tout court. On the 8th the company was within a few miles of Abbeville, and at St Nicholas d'Essarts the princes left Mary to rest and change and put herself in order, while they rode on to Abbeville to announce her coming to the King. Louis was curious to see her, but etiquette forbade his going to meet her, so he sent back the Dauphin to meet her a mile or so out of the town, with MM. d'Alençon, de Longueville, de Lautrec, de la Tremouille, saying that he intended to happen along the road hawking with his falcons, and would accidentally meet the Queen at such and such a place, and Mary was to know nothing of his intention. At the place appointed, a wide plain a little over a mile away, the Dauphin met Mary riding a white palfrey, and wearing a dress of cloth of gold on crimson, her shaggy hat of crimson silk cocked over her left eye, and detained her there talking till some horsemen came in sight. They were the King, the Cardinals of Auch and Bayeux, M. de Vendôme, the Duke of Albany, Count Galeazzo di San Severino, the master of horse, and others. Louis wore a short riding dress of the same stuff as the Queen's, a sure sign that the meeting had really been pre-arranged, for at this time it was the fashion when Kings and Queens appeared together in public that their garments should always be made of the same material. He rode as jauntily as he could a beautiful Spanish horse, whose barb was of cloth of gold and black satin in chequers. As he came up he gallantly kissed his hand to Mary and expressed his surprise at this chance meeting, and Mary doffed her hat when told who this was, and kissed her hand to the King, who then brought his horse close up to her palfrey and "threw his arm round her neck and kissed her as kindly as if he had been five and twenty." After a few words with her he greeted the princes and gentlemen of her company, and then, saying that he would continue his hunting, he departed and returned home by another way. He looked exceedingly ill, and Mary seems to have found him worse than she had imagined. After Louis had gone the procession was formed. It led off with fifty of Mary's esquires dressed in silks of several sorts, all wearing the inevitable gold collar or chain. Next came the Duke of Norfolk, with the ambassadors and noblemen two and two, all wearing enormous gold chains (some cost as much as £600), some doubling and trebling them round their necks, others wearing them "prisoner fashion," and all having velvet bonnets of different colours. Garter King at Arms and Richmond Herald in their tabards followed, with eight trumpeters in crimson damask, and macers with gilt maces surmounted by a royal crown; then two grooms in short doublets of cloth of gold and black velvet, with velvet caps, each leading a palfrey, and after these, two other palfreys ridden by pages. Then came the Queen on her white palfrey, with the Dauphin always at her side, and at her stirrup her running footmen, followed immediately by her litter of cloth of gold, embroidered with gold lilies in wrought gold. On the back and front of it were the French lilies and the parti-coloured roses of York and Lancaster, while on the sides above and below were dolphins and more red and white roses. This was borne by two large horses trapped to match the litter and ridden by two pages in livery. Next followed the ladies: first a party riding, gay in silks and gold brocades, and then four in a carriage covered with gold brocade patterned in large flowers, and drawn by six horses trapped to match. Then more ladies on palfreys, and another carriage, and after that more palfreys, all decked and trapped in gold brocade and murrey velvet, with running footmen, and then ten palfreys more in the same stuffs with pale blue and white fringe. Last of all came 200 English archers marching two and two in three divisions; the first were in doublets of green satin and surcoats and belts of black velvet, with shaggy red and white hats; the second wore black doublets and shaggy white hats; the third black with grey hats. But this was not all. About half a mile out of the town the chief men of Abbeville met the Queen with 150 men, archers, musketeers, and arbalestmen, all in red and yellow, and with them the captain of the town and thirty men in his own livery. These fell in at the head of the procession, which had swelled to considerable dimensions before it reached the suburbs. At Nôtre Dame de la Chapelle without the walls there seems to have been a short halt to allow Mary to make final preparations for her entry, and here she was met by the clergy. It was now about four o'clock, and a sharp shower fell, drenching them all, especially the ladies, and, indeed, "of water from heaven there was no lack until the evening, which caused some regret." The procession again formed up. "First went a good number of archers, musketeers and arbalestmen of the town, all in their livery of red and yellow; next the Prévôt de l'Hôtel with his archers; then the 400 archers of the Guard (on foot) with their captains, followed by the Grand Seneschal of Normandy, with the gentlemen about eighty in number, including the princes and grandees, who might amount to as many as twenty-five, in gallant trim of various sorts and many in gold brocade." The Queen came next, riding under a canopy of white satin embroidered above and around with roses, and supported by two porcupines which the clergy had prepared for her, and which was borne by the officers of the town. Her dress was now "of gold brocade with a white gown," made in English fashion with tight sleeves, "very costly both in jewels and goldsmith work." She held in her hand a sceptre of white wood, and all round her under the canopy were her running footmen, while the Scots Guards made a second circle just outside the canopy. The Dauphin rode just beyond the edge of her canopy, and they laughed and talked together, for "une si belle personne tout or et diamants plut fort au duc de Valois." The reality of all this magnificence far exceeded the description, wrote the Venetian ambassador, "to the great glory of the Queen." Abbeville welcomed her with enthusiasm, and trumpets, clarions, bells and artillery all vied in making the noise without which jubilation is impossible. The people were delighted with her, and admired her fair beauty and gentle manners, for they were not all so critical as the Venetian ambassador, who at once spotted what he called the weak point in her face, its light eyebrows and eyelashes. Under clangour of bells and blare of trumpets, and amid the press of her new subjects, Mary, still a little pale from her recent fatigues and stormy crossing, rode through the Porte Marcade down the wet chaussée, all hung with tapestries now damp with rain, meeting Mysteries and Moralities at every corner, till she came to the Church of St Wolfran, Abbeville's patron saint, where she dismounted to give thanks. On the Place where was Mary's lodging her most trying ordeal was before her, for there awaited her Madame Claude, who had been "slightly indisposed and unable to go out of the town to meet her." Mary was of those who thinketh little evil, and her kind heart was moved at the sight of that white, plain face, with its sweet expression, and she met her then, as later, "with the utmost courtesy and honour and very lovingly." The Venetians, who delighted in spectacles, give no account of Mary's formal presentation to her husband, and for that reason I inclined to the belief that Gaguin's account is apocryphal, and that Mary was allowed to sup in peace and rest before the ball given by the Duke and Duchess of Brittany (as François and Claude were called by the English) in the evening. Neither do their letters mention the homage to St Wolfran, but to give thanks at the parish church was usual on such occasions and not likely to have been omitted. What a day for a girl of nineteen to have passed through! No wonder she looked a little pale and weary, but her spirits never flagged nor her amazing energy, and she showed her usual zest in dancing and listening to songs and music. Her people said she cared for nothing in the world so much as dancing and singing, and that night she danced and smiled her way into the hearts of the whole Court, "for she conducts herself with so much grace and has such good manners." The enthusiastic Venetian exclaimed, "She is a paradise!" and envied the King. The ball must have been a sumptuous affair. English and French noblemen vied with one another in magnificence, and their ladies, too, were glittering with jewels and brocades, but in this trial by glory San Severino was easily the handsomest in his gown of cloth of gold lined with superb sables. The stuff for it, ordered specially from Florence, had only arrived the day before, to the despair of the tailors, who had had to work all night to have it ready for Sunday's doings.
While one end of the town was dancing and singing, in the poorer quarter across the river men were fighting flames for their lives and homes. Fire had seized the wooden hovels, and no help was to be expected from the King's men, for the tocsin was not allowed to disturb the King's amusements. Thickly curtained windows shut out the sight of the flames from the court, while the Italians in the house of the Venetian ambassador watched their progress with vehement prayers for deliverance. The high wind fanned them, and many of the houses were burnt down before the sounds of royal merriment ceased; but God was merciful to the Italians, and the flames were got under before they leapt the river. Thus by shipwreck and by fire was Mary's new life ushered in.
MARY'S lodging is said to have been "at the corner of the street leading from the Castle of Ponthieu to the rue St Giles," and this, according to "Le Roi des Ribauds," was connected by a temporary gallery with the Hotel Gruthuse, the King's house, from which it was distanced a short stone's throw. But the gardens adjoined, and it was by this way, the morning being fine, that the marriage procession passed about eight o'clock on Monday, October 9, for the wedding was to take place an hour later. First walked twenty-six knights two and two, then followed trumpeters and all sorts of musicians and macers. Mary came next, escorted by the Duke of Norfolk and the Marquis of Dorset. She wore a gown of stiff gold brocade trimmed and lined with ermine, her headgear was in the English fashion, and her jewels were of very great price, but she was still pale and showed traces of fatigue, and, according to the usual tradition, did not look her best as a bride, for millinery turns its back on emotions. She was surrounded by her other noblemen, all cap in hand, and more sumptuously dressed than for the entry, for they all wore gowns of some kind of cloth of gold lined with most beautiful sables, or other kind of fine fur, and their gold chains were wearisome to look at, so burdensome did they appear in their massiveness. After the noblemen followed the Queen's gentlewomen and maidens in gold brocade, one after the other, walking between two gentlemen cap in hand. Slowly this streak of moving gold passed from the garden gate to the door of the hall where the ceremony was to take place, by a way lined by the gentlemen of the Scots Guards with their maces in their hands, and by the archers of the Guard. The crush at the door was very great, and within the dim hall, lighted by windows representing the deeds of St Wolfran, was Louis, dressed, like his wife, in cloth of gold and ermine and seated on a chair near the altar. When Mary appeared "the King doffed his bonnet and the Queen curtseyed to the ground," then he kissed her, and she was seated by his side on the chair waiting for her under a canopy held by the princes of France. The treasurer, Robertet, now handed the King a necklace in which was set "a great pointed diamond with a ruby almost two inches long without foil," and Louis put it round Mary's neck. Mass then began, and the Dauphin served the King, while Madame, "with a marvellous sorrow," served Mary, as she had been wont to do her mother: the candles were held by princes of France. The Cardinal of Bayeux married them and then sung Mass, and when he gave the wafer, one half to the King and the other to the Queen, Louis, after he had kissed and received his, turned and kissed his wife. Then Mary again curtseyed to the ground, and departed to her own rooms to dine with the French princesses, when she was waited on by French officers and the Duke of Albany. The English ambassadors dined with the Duke of Brittany and the rest of the company in the large chamber of the King's palace where open house was kept for all comers during three days. After dinner they all danced in the hall till evening, and the glitter of the company can hardly be imagined—jewels, cloths of gold and silver, brocades, and brilliant silks; beautiful women and fine men, French and English, it was impossible to say which were the most richly clad, only an Englishman was always known by his heavy gold chain. In the evening Louis had Mary dressed in French fashion and they gave a ball, and there was more dancing, good cheer, and banqueting when Mary was served for the last time by Englishmen, who, clad in cloth of gold, knelt the whole time. Some thought the French fashion did not become her so well as the English, others thought she had never looked better in her life; but whichever may be correct, Louis at any rate could not bear her to leave his side. She must have chattered away to him a kind of mixture of her own desires and vague remembrances of her brother's wishes, for she asked him to undertake a new Italian expedition, and told him she longed above all things to go to Venice, and Louis promised that they would go together. The evening passed, "and at the eighth hour before midnight, the Queen was taken away from the entertainment by Madame to go and sleep with the King," and "the next morning, the 10th, the King seemed very jovial and gay and in love by his countenance."
But alas! it was not for long. "Ces amoureuses nopces" were too much for him, "antique and debile" as he was, and the same day the gout gripped him again. Perhaps it was this that made him take such a profound dislike to old Lady Guildford and insist on her returning home. Louis was determined to abide by the original contract, and said his wife's foreign train was too large. Lady Guildford distrusted Louis as profoundly as he disliked her and had an aversion not inexplicable to leaving her pupil in the hands of such a feeble old man. She went so far, however, as to refuse to leave them alone and when Louis would have been "merry" she was always there with her forbidding look. Still she was Mary's one stay in the circumstances of her marriage, and it was hard, much probably as the Queen resented her assumed airs of authority, to part from her. But go she had to, though Mary wept and said she had never expected such treatment, said she would write to her brother, and told her to wait at Boulogne till the answer arrived, for she would reinstate her. Norfolk refused to meddle with the arrangement out of pique, for the suite was of Wolsey's choosing, not his. Here is Mary's indignant and peremptory letter:—
"My good Brother, as heartily as I can I recommend me unto your Grace, marvelling much that I never heard from you since our departing, so often as I have sent and written unto you. And now am I left post alone in effect, for on the morn after marriage my chamberlain and all other men servants were discharged, and in like wise my mother Guildford with other my women and maidens, except such as never had experience nor knowledge how to advertise or give me counsel in any time of need, which is to be feared more shortly than your grace thought at the time of my departing, as my mother Guildford can more plainly shew your grace than I can write, to whom I beseech you to give credence. And if it may be by any mean possible I humbly require you to cause my said mother Guildford to repair hither once again. For else if any chance hap other than weal I shall not know where nor by whom to ask any good counsel to your pleasure nor yet to mine own profit. I marvel much that my lord of Norfolk would at all times so lightly grant everything at their requests here. I am well assured that when ye know the truth of everything as my mother Guildford can shew you, ye would full little have thought I should have been thus intreated; that would God my lord of York had come with me in the room of Norfolk; for then I am sure I should have been left much more at my heartsease than I am now. And thus I bid your grace farewell with [mutilated] as ever had Prince: and more heartsease than I have now.
[I beseech] give credence to my mother Guildford.
By your loving sister,
MARY, Queen of France."
Not content with this, on the same date, the day before Lady Guildford and the rejected suite returned to England, she wrote to Wolsey: "I recommend me unto you as heartily as I can, and as showeth [be not] intreated as the King and you thought I should have been, for the morn after the marriage all my servants, both men and women, were discharged. Insomuch that my mother Guildford was also discharged, whom as you know the King and you willed me in anywise to be counselled. But for anything I might do in no wise might I have any grant for her abode here, which I assure you, my lord, is much to my discomfort, besides many other discomforts, that ye would full little have thought. I have not yet seen in France any lady or gentlewoman so necessary for me as she is, nor yet so meet to do the King my brother service as she is. And for my part, my lord, as you love the King, my brother, and me, find the means that she may in all haste come hither again, for I had as lief lose the winning I shall have in France to lose her counsel when I shall lack it, which is not like long to be required as I am sure the noblemen and gentlemen can shew you more than becometh me to write in this matter. I pray you my lord give credence to my mother Guildford in everything concerning this matter. And albeit my lord of Norfolk hath neither dealt with me nor yet with her at this time, yet I pray you to be a good lord unto her. And would to God my [...] had been so good to have had you with me hither when I had my lord of Norfolk. And thus fare ye well, my lord. My lord, I pray you give credence to my [mother Guild]ford in my sorrows she have delyre.[?]
From your own while I live,
MARY, Queen of France."
Poor Mary, she was already paying dear, she thought, for her jewels, and was little consoled that day by her husband's new gifts of rubies and diamonds and pearls. But Louis had a story of his own to tell, for Henry and Wolsey both wrote on the subject, the bishop as follows: —"Since the King, my sovereign lord and master, your good brother had ordered on account of the true, perfect, and entire confidence which he had in Mistress Guildford that she should be with the Queen, his sister, your wife, on account of the good manners and experience which he knew her to have, and also because she speaks the language well: in order also that the said Queen, his sister, might be better advised, and taught by her how she ought to conduct herself towards you under all circumstances, considering, moreover, that the Queen, his said good sister, is a young lady and that she should be abroad, not understanding the language perfectly, and having no acquaintance with any of the ladies there, to whom she might disclose such feelings as women are given to, and that she had no one of her acquaintance to whom she could familiarly tell and disclose her mind, that she might find herself desolate as it were, and might thereby entertain regret and displeasure, which peradventure might cause her to have some sickness and her bodily health to be impaired, which God forbid, and should such an accident happen, I believe, Sir, that you would be most grieved and displeased. And whereas, Sir, I have known and understood that the said Mistress Guildford is at Boulogne on her return here, and that she was entirely discharged, doubting lest the King, my master, should he know it, might think it somewhat strange, I have ventured to write to the said lady to tarry awhile in the said town of Boulogne until I had written to you my poor and simple opinion on this subject, which Sir, I now do. And, by your leave, Sir, it seems to me that you should retain her for some time in the service of the Queen, your wife, and not discharge her so suddenly, seeing and considering that the King, your said good brother, has taken her from a solitary place which she had never intended to quit, to place her in the service of the Queen, his good sister. And I have no doubt, Sir, that when you know her well you will find her a wise, honourable, and confidential lady, very desirous and earnest to follow out in all things possible to her, your wish or pleasure in all that you may order or command, whatever report has been or may be made to the contrary." Gerard Danet had been sent on with letters to Wolsey, while the good lady planted herself at Boulogne to await the development of events which she expected would make for her restoration, and on his way to Canterbury had fallen in with Suffolk. The Duke wrote at once to Wolsey of the affair in which he saw the hands of the Howards, "fader and son," and asked Wolsey to see that something was done, for if Mary was not well treated they would be blamed. But Louis would have none of her. First he remarked dryly to the English agent that "his wife and he be in good and perfect love as ever two creatures can be, and both of age to rule themself, and not to have servants that should look to rule him or her. If his wife have need of counsel or to be ruled he is able to do it, but he was sure it was never the Queen's mind or desire to have her again, for as soon as she came aland, and also when he was married, she began to take upon her not only to rule the Queen but also that she should not come to him but that she should be with her, nor that no lady nor lord should speak with her but she should hear it, and began to set a murmur and a banding among the ladies of the court." "And then he swore that there was never man that better loved his wife than he did, but or he would have such a woman about her he had liefer be without her." He was sure that when Henry knew all, he would be satisfied. "For in nowise he would not have her about his wife, also he said that he is a sickly body and not at all times that [he would] be merry with his wife to have any strange wo[man there] but one that he is well acquainted with [and before whom he] durst be merry, and that he is sure [the Queen his] wife is content withal for he hath set [about her neither] lady or gentle-woman to be with her for her [mistress but her] servants and to obey her commandments." But poor Lady Guildford's unkindest cut was to come from her young mistress, for three weeks after those impassioned letters Mary calmly assured the Earl of Worcester that "she loved my Lady Guildford well, but she is content that she come not, for she is in that case that she may well be without her, for she may do what she will," and Worcester adds rather doubtfully, "I pray God that so it may continue to his pleasure."
The dismissing of the sheep dog was done by Louis but the rest of the suite, save those in the original contract, was got rid of in a much more ceremonious fashion by means of the Council. Francis d'Angoulême was at the bottom of it, for he did and undid all in the court, and with him just now the English ambassadors had to reckon. He was cordiality itself, and sent florid messages to Henry, desiring Worcester "that sithens the Duke of Angoulême might not come to your presence, to bear the Earl of Angoulême's heart to you," and many "other good and hearty words." He had cause for contentment if any man of his upbringing, ambitions and temperament ever had, for his chances of a near throne were increased rather than diminished by Louis' marriage, which had so enfeebled the King that he could not leave his bed "and maketh semblance as he would depart every day, but yet he lieth still ever excusing him by his gout." And his dutiful son-in-law gaily retailed to his friend Fleuranges the greatest joy he had ever had in his whole life of twenty years; "Je suis sure, ou on m'a bien fort menti, qu'il est impossible que le Roi et la Reine puissent avoir enfants." Hence partly his cordiality to the king, who had sent "une hacquenée pour le [Louis] porter plus vite et plus doucement en Enfer ou au Paradis."
On Friday, October, 13, the English departed laden with presents of plate, and with them Mary's rejected household, leaving Lady Elizabeth Grey, Mary Fenes, Anne Boleyn, Elizabeth Grey [of Wilton], and Anne Jerningham, most of them young and inexperienced. She retained in all thirteen men, including Dr Denton, her almoner, and Maître Guillaume, her physician, and six women, with Jean Barnes, "the chamberière." Mary's eight trumpeters went away with their pockets full of gold from the King, Monsieur, Madame, and the whole court, while the French court musicians and singers were far from content, for the King had forbidden them at the peril of their lives to go to play or sing as wandering minstrels for money in the lodgings of the English. The Court continued at Abbeville till after the 20th, and Mary was continually by the bedside of her husband, who, she told the ambassadors, "maketh as much of her as it is possible for any man to make of a lady." She played to him on her lute and sang, and he was never happy but in her presence, and emptied his seven coffers of jewels slowly into her lap. The Dauphin and Longueville were her very good friends, and both asked her to use her influence with Henry for the deliverance at a reduced ransom of French prisoners in whom they were interested, and she wrote twice on the subject to her brother. There is little doubt that Mary found Francis an amusing companion, and she probably flirted with her son-in-law, for, after all, she was but nineteen and he but twenty, and now she was allowed to do as she liked. Henry did not write to her, but did to his brother-in-law, who had written to him to tell of his joy in the prospect of having an heir. Henry replied that he hoped the rather capricious nature of his sister would not upset these conjugal felicities, "et ainsi lui donnâmes avisement et conseil avant son département, et ne faisons aucun doute l'un jour plus que l'autre ne la trouvez telle que doit être envers vous et faire toutes choses qui vous peuvent venir à gré, plaisir ou contentement."
Before the departure of the English from Abbeville the Dauphin had caused a joust to be proclaimed which was considered of extraordinary character. In November, after the entry of the Queen into Paris he, with nine aides, would answer at the barrier all comers that were gentlemen of name and arms, on horseback and on foot. "The laws of horseback were that with sharp speares they should run five courses at Tilt and five more at Randon, being well armed and covered with pieces of advantage for their best defence. After this to fight twelve strokes with sharpe swords. This being done, he and his aides offered to fight at Barriers with the same persons with a hand spear and a sword." The French herald had carried the proclamation of the jousts to England, and "the Duke of Suffolk, the Marquis of Dorset, and his four brethren, the Lord Clinton, Sir Edward Nevile, Sir Giles Capell, Thomas Cheyne, and others got licence of the King to go over to this challenge." When Suffolk met Dannet at Canterbury he was on his way to Boulogne, where he landed on October 20, and after, no doubt, visiting Lady Guildford with what comfort he could, he set out with the Marquis and his brothers, who were all awaiting him "in grey coats and hoods because they would not be known." The Duke was eager to "stryke wyet the Frynche King," and his one dread was that the Council, i.e. the Duke of Norfolk and his son, the Earl of Surrey, would insist on his returning home before this was accomplished, "Wherefore, my lord," he wrote to Wolsey, "I beseech you hold your hand fast that I be not sent for back." It was Suffolk's first visit to France, and his idea of distance was insular, not continental, for he expected to be in Paris the day after his landing at Boulogne, but travelling rapidly and passing by Abbeville to Beauvais, they came up with the Court there on the 25th. On hearing of their arrival Louis sent for Suffolk at once to come to him alone, and the Duke was brought straight into the King's room, where he was in bed, with the Queen sitting beside him. Suffolk did his "rywarynes and knyelled down by his bed sede; [the nobleman's own spelling] and soo he brassed me in hes armes and held me a good wyell, and said I was hartylle wyecoum and axsed me, How dows men esspysseal good brodar whom I am so moche bounden to lowf abouf hall the warld?" Suffolk assured Louis of Henry's goodwill and thanks for the honour and love showed to his sister. "And upon that his Grace said that there should [be nothing] that he will spare to do your grace's pleasure a service, with as hearty manner as ever I saw a man: and, Sir, I said unto him that your Grace would do unto him in like case; and he said, I doubt it not, for I know well the nobleness, and trust so much in your master that I reckon I have of him the greatest jewel that ever one prince had of another." At this appropriate moment Suffolk rose from his knees and made his reverence unto the Queen. He gave her her brother's messages and Queen Katharine's, and was more than relieved to see that Mary could control her feelings and order herself wisely and honourably, "the which I assure your Grace rejoiced me not a little; your Grace knows why." Then he goes on, "for I think there was never queen in France that hath demeaned herself more honourably or wiselier, and so says all the noble men in France that have seen her demeanour, the which letted not to speak of it; and as for the King [there was] never a man that set his mind more upon [woman] than he does on her, because she demeans herself so winning unto him, the which I am sure [will be no] little comfort unto your Grace." The conversation turned upon the coming jousts, and the Duke said it would be little honour to win, seeing there were two or three hundred answerers, and Louis said that he would introduce him and the Marquis to the Dauphin to be his aides, and sent for Francis. He came showing himself all regard and courtesy, and in his exaggerated way declared them not aides only but brothers, and carried Suffolk off to supper. There again the conversation was all of jousting and the King of England's prowess, and Francis, with great tact, would talk of nothing but his admiration for Henry's skill. During this interview there is no mention of the "trwcheman" in the French language which last year Suffolk had found necessary, so that he must have taken lessons since his Flemish courtship.
With Suffolk's coming to the Court Mary's difficulties increased, for it was noticed that she gave him many marks of her friendship, but the Duke, according to the testimony of the Marquis of Dorset, behaved himself well and wisely in all matters, and the Dauphin's jealous precautions (he insisted that his wife should never leave the Queen alone for a single minute by day, and that Madame d'Aumont should sleep in her room at night) seemed absolutely unnecessary to any who had not been brought up by Louise de Savoie.
The Queen had the pleasure of seeing Suffolk for one day only at Beauvais, and the day after the interview the English departed with Francis for Paris, hunting the boar by the way, when Suffolk and Dorset both killed, and on the 28th they came to Paris to "commune" about the jousts and to see about armour and trappings. The Court came on behind more slowly, and did not arrive at St Denis till the 30th, where, during the feasts of All Hallows and All Souls, they remained quietly in the Abbey. On Friday, November 3, about ten o'clock, the English ambassadors for the Coronation, the Duke of Suffolk, the Marquis of Dorset, the Earl of Worcester, the Lord of St Johns [i.e. the prior of the English langue of the Order of St John of Jerusalem in England], and Dr West, were sent for, and the ceremony was announced for the following Sunday. After this official visit, Suffolk was commanded to the King's lodging to see the two princesses. When he came in, the King "mad me to kyes hys dawttares," and they conversed for some time about Wolsey's affairs. These were going smoothly, for at Abbeville Louis had ordered the French bishop-elect to retire from the contest and had told Robertet to compensate him, and now Longueville said that everything possible was being done about the Cardinalate. The immediate question to be settled with the ambassadors was the meeting of the two kings, and there was an amicable haggle over the place. While the King was entertaining the Duke, Mary had received a very important visitor, Louise de Savoie, mother of the Dauphin. She arrived in Paris at eleven o'clock on the 3rd, "et celui mesme jour sans me reposer je feus conseillée d'aller saluer la reine Marie à St Denys: et sortis de la ville de Paris à trois heures après midy avec grand nombre de gentishommes." It is very regrettable that she did not record in her diary her opinion of the Queen, but, on the other hand, it proves that there was nothing to be said against Mary, for in that case it would certainly have been her pleasure to write it.
On Sunday, November 5, the Queen was crowned. The English were brought to the church by M. de Montmorency, and an hour after Mary came in with a great company of noblemen and ladies. The Dauphin led her, and before her went the Dukes of Alençon, Bourbon, Longueville, Albany, the Count of Vendôme, and the Count of St Pol, with many others. The Queen kneeled before the altar, and was anointed by the Cardinal of Brie, who delivered to her the sceptre and the vierge of justice, put a ring upon her finger, and lastly set the crown upon her head, "which done the Duke of Brittany (i.e. the Dauphin) led her to a stage made on the left side of the altar, where she was set in a chair, under a c[loth of State], and the said Duke stood behind her holding th[e crown] from her head to ease her by the weight thereo[f. And] then the High Mass sungen by the said Cardinal, whereat the Queen departed. After Agnus she [was] houseld. Mass done, she departed to the p[alace] and we to our lodgings to our dinners." Louis had watched the ceremony privately, and next day he left the abbey about seven in the morning for Paris, and Mary followed about nine to make her solemn entry. After dinner at the Chapelle St Denis began the wearisome ceremonial, a repetition on a more grandiose scale of the entry into Abbeville. The city sent deputations to greet her, the law and the merchants likewise, and as Mary's French was not equal to the burden of replying to their welcome, the Archbishop of Paris had to be her spokesman. This was just outside the barriers, where the procession was formed, a replica of that at Abbeville. There were the same guards, the mingling of the French and English heralds, royal and noble, the Princes of the blood, the Queen's courser and palfrey, and then Mary, this time seated in her litter of state, wearing her crown, glittering with jewels worn on her gown of cloth of gold and in her hair. The Dauphin, "lui aussi tout or et diamants," again rode by her side, and they frequently spoke together. Then followed as before the ladies, the French princesses, and the State carriages of the Queen with her ladies and damsels. At the Porte St Denis the trades were waiting with a canopy of cloth of gold embroidered with roses and lilies, and this they bore over the Queen, but, once inside the gate, another halt had to be made to allow a second canopy borne by the merchants and burgesses to be placed over that of the trades. At this point was an allegorical display on a tapestry-covered scaffold of the arms of the city of Paris, a galley under sail with the four winds blowing with bursting cheeks upon it. On the deck were Ceres and Bacchus, while Paris held the tiller. Sailors manned the yards and chanted,
"Noble dame bien soit venue en France:
Par toi vivons en plaisir et en joye,
Francoys, Angloys vivent à leur plaisance:
Louange à Dieu du bien qu'il nous envoye."
Mary's courteous grace in acknowledging the acclamation with which she was greeted as usual pleased the people, and she passed on down the tapestry-hung streets, and through the crowds of cheering people, passed the Fontaine du Ponceau, where the water was scattered over two plants, a lily and a rose; passed the convent of the Holy Trinity, where she saw herself presenting the Pax to her husband, passed the Porte au Peintres, the Holy Innocents, and then on by the Chatelet, where Justice and Truth met together, and she herself, labelled "Stella Maris," was in the foreground, to the Palais Royale, where the angel Gabriel was greeting Mary in the field of France, and they sang,
"Comme la paise entre Dieu et les hommes
Par le moyen de la vierge Marie
Fut jadis faicte, ainsy à présent somme
Bourgoys Francoys deschargez de nos sommes
Car Marie avecque nous se marie."
But this was not the end, though the afternoon was wearing on. The procession now proceeded to Notre Dame de Paris, where all the learned in theology, law and medicine met her in their furred gowns, and outside the church she was harangued by a venerable doctor. Through the open doors of the Cathedral could be seen dimly the group of great ecclesiastics waiting to welcome her. Mary got out of her litter and entered the doors, and at once the bells rang out, and the organs sounded, while the whole clergy chanted the Te Deum, as they turned and led the procession to the high altar. There the whole company adored the Mass, and then the Archbishop of Paris bade the Queen welcome. Back again in her litter to the Palais Royale (and it was now six o'clock) went the Queen with no chance of rest, for the gargantuan part of her day's work remained, and she had to sup in public at the celebrated marble table, the centre of the government of France. In the Grande Salle the doric pillars were all surrounded by sideboards laden with gold and silver plate, the walls were hung with tapestry, and the air was so melodious with clarion and trumpet, that it seemed paradise rather than a room in an earthly palace. Mary had Madame Louise de Savoie, and her daughter the Duchess of Alençon, with the Duchess of Nevers, at her table, while her ladies, English and French, dined near by. There were many wonderful dishes of the four and twenty blackbirds type; a phœnix beating its wings till fire consumed it; a cock and a hare jousting; a St George on horseback leading La Pucelle against the English. The heralds and musicians cried "Largesse," and Mary gave to them a ship of silver, and at last, after being rejoiced by a few more pastimes and diversions, she was at liberty to take her leave. Next day after Mass she rode to the Hôtel des Tournelles (which Suffolk calls Turnells tout court), and there she found her husband awaiting her. The remainder of the week was filled by ceremonies incident to the presentations of gifts by the guilds and merchants of the city of Paris, but Mary found time to write to Wolsey for temporary help till her estate was settled for her whilom French master, John Palsgrave, who had not returned to England with the rest of her rejected train, but had made his way to Paris, evidently encouraged by his mistress, in order to study.
ON Monday, September 28, before the marriage, Montjoye, the French Herald, had carried the French challenge to England, and the jousts had been proclaimed at Canterbury by the Garter King at Arms. The date now had been definitely fixed for November 13, and nothing else was talked of in Paris, while the Dauphin was and had been so busy with the arrangements that he had not attended any councils, nor taken part in any of the deliberations with the English ambassadors. The Earl of Dorset had no very exalted opinion of him as a jouster, and he told Wolsey that "we found him and his company not like as they have been named; for though they do run trimly and handle themself well [enough] with their small and light staves, they could not well trim themselves in their harn[ess but] be content to have our poor advices." But if he knew little about harness he took delight in organizing the ceremonies of the occasion, and erected an arch triumphant at Les Tournelles, in the rue St Antoine, on which four shields were to be placed, and the rules were "that he who would touch any of them must first enter his name and arms. That he who touched the first which was silver should run at tilt according to the articles, who touched the golden should run at Randon as above mentioned. He that touched the black shield should fight on foot with hand spears or swords for the one hand: six foynes with the hand spear, and then eight strokes to the most advantage (if the spear so long held), and after that twelve strokes with the sword. He that touched the tawny shield should cast a spear on foot with a target on his arm and after fight with a two-handed sword." The weather made the preparations difficult. It poured constantly, and the floor of the lists was every day a serious question, for the sand strewn upon it was daily washed away. Francis was determined that the tourney should outshine in all things the tales he had heard of English magnificence, and money flowed like water, "une véritable débauche d'or et d'argent." Armourers, painters and tailors were all reaping a golden harvest, and he borrowed and bought horses wherever he could. It was all for a woman's eyes too, for the Dauphin's passion for his mother-in-law was becoming notorious, and the story goes that he had even arranged to surprise Mary one night in her room, but was prevented by a friend of his own, whose reasoning was too forcible to be disregarded. His mother also remonstrated, and it was possibly at this time that Suffolk had "words" with him. Francis had to content himself with outdoing his rival in millinery, for it was absurd that he should have even hoped to overcome him in the lists, and for this he had no opportunity, though Suffolk had hoped and longed to come to strokes with the French King, and, failing him, with Francis. Suffolk and Dorset rode with the Dauphin's other aides, and wore, like the rest, cloth of gold covered with cloth of silver with trappings of cloth of gold and crimson satin for their horses. The officers of the lists, the musicians, and all connected with the fête were glittering in the same stuffs. At last the longed-for Monday arrived. Louis was so feeble that he was carried in a litter and lay on a couch in the royal stand, while Mary sat beside him. She was received, as usual, with acclamation. From the very opening of the jousts the English champions were the heroes of the crowd, especially Suffolk, whose prowess easily placed him first. All the chivalry of France was there: Bourbon, Lorraine, St Pol, Aragon [the bastard], Lautrec, Bayard, Bonnivet, Montmorency; and the Marquis of Dorset modestly described the English fortunes to Wolsey. On Monday, the 13th inst., the jousts began, and continued three days. The Duke of Suffolk and he ran three days and lost nothing. One Frenchman was slain at the tilt and divers horses. "On Saturday, the 18th, the tourney and course in the field began as roughly as ever I saw, for there were divers times both horse and man overthrown, horses slain and one French man hurt that he is not like to live. My lord of Suffolk and I ran the first day thereat, but put our aides thereto because there was no nobleman to be put unto us; but poor men of arms and Scots, many of them, were hurt on both sides, but no great hurt, and of our Englishmen none overthrown nor greatly hurt but a little of their hands." On Tuesday, the 21st, the fighting on foot began, "to the which they brought an Almayn that never came into the field before and put him to my lord of Suffolk to have us put to shame, but advantage they gat none of us, but rather the contrary. I forbear to write more of our chances because I am party therein. I ended without any manner hurt. My lord of Suffolk is a little hurt in his hand." The overwhelming superiority of his rival roused all that was meanest in Francis. He had been slightly wounded in the hand, a mere nothing, which sent his mother into convulsions, and therefore not being present, he, as Dorset said above, "brought a man secretly which in all the court of France was the tallest and strongest man; and he was an Almayn; and put him in the place of another person to have had the Duke of Suffolk rebuked. The same great Almayn came to the bars fiercely with face hid, because he would not be known, and bare his spear to the Duke of Suffolk with all his strength, and the Duke him received, and for all his strength put him by strong strokes from the barriers, and with the butt end of the spear strake the Almayn that he staggered; but for all that the Almayn strake strongly and hardly at the Duke, and the judges suffered many more strokes to be foughten than were appointed; but when they saw the Almayn reel and stagger then they let fall the rail between them." "Then they took some breath and returned to fight again; when the Duke so pommelled the Almayn about the head that blood gushed from his nose, which being done the Almayn was conveyed away secretly." And so Francis was hoist with his own petard, and gained neither fight nor mistress, for Mary's feelings, national and personal, were roused to scorn by this attempt to steal her lover's glory. She had already complained to the English ambassadors of his attentions as would seem by Suffolk's letter of November 18, when he said the Queen had disclosed to him and to Dorset divers things which they felt they could not wholly repeat to their fellow ambassadors or write safely in a letter, but which made them anxious to leave her in the hands of good friends. Louis, in his love for his wife, his hatred of his successor, and his honest appreciation of a good fight, was entirely in sympathy with his wife, and told her, she repeated exultingly to the Englishmen, that they had shamed all France and that they would carry the prize into England. Francis was for the moment eclipsed, and Louis consulted him no more, but transacted business in his bedroom with Mary by his side. But the Dauphin was of that enviable band who never feel the shame of defeat and never allow mere personal feelings to interfere with their future, and he gave up for the moment his pursuit of his mother-in-law and threw himself just as ardently into his intrigue with Madame de Châteaubriant.
The Earl of Dorset and the other ambassadors, all pensioners of the French treasury, were to return to England on the 27th or 28th, but Suffolk, who had received a large sum of money and also a pension, remained to transact some secret business for the recovery of Navarre. The departure of the English marked practically the close of the marriage festivities, for with the exception of another "repas pantagruélique" at the Hotel de Ville, given by the city to the Queen and Court, followed by a florid oration from a deputation from the University, Mary lived quietly with her husband at St Germains-en-Laye, whither the Court had retired on the 23rd.
FROM THE PAINTING IN THE LOUVRE (FRENCH SCHOOL)
The French chroniclers, who suggest that Mary's one idea was to have a son, and to give an heir to France, go certain lengths in their inferences which are not borne out by such contemporary papers as are to be found. Above all, they presuppose that the Queen was capable of a subtle policy to supplant the Dauphin with his own bastard, or failing that with Suffolk's. Against the first possibility has to be put the fact that she was in love with Suffolk, and that this constantly overlay her attitude to Francis, for she was always more woman than queen; against the second, that Suffolk's career depended entirely on his master's pleasure and his happiness on the famous water-side promise, so that it would have been sheer madness in him to have risked either, when before his eyes Death was preparing to do his part in his future felicity. Why should he be the lover of his master's sister and heir, when a few months might see him her husband? He was also ambitious. The judgment of French writers falls short of the events, and is bound up with the sentiment of Francis' couplet,
"Souvent femme varie
bien fol qui s'y fie.—"
Above all, Mary had no political genius, and one suspects her of being mentally incapable of either conceiving or carrying out such a plan.
The second week in December saw Suffolk depart, carrying with him the good wishes of Louis, who said he had seldom seen a man he liked better, and wrote to Henry that his "virtues, manners, politeness, and good condition" deserved the greatest honours. The secret business had been dispatched. Henry, to revenge himself on Spain and Flanders, revived his father's policy, and wanted to claim the throne of Castile in the right of his wife, and he asked Louis to co-operate in Navarre. On this subject the King and the Duke mutually groped at one another with pleasant words, till they arrived at the conclusion that Louis was willing to join Henry, but in return pressed his own claims on Milan, and asked for help towards the recovery of that duchy. Suffolk also bore the news that the King of France was desperately ill, for it was easily seen that the doctors had been right and that Louis would never recover the strength shattered by his marriage. The change from methodical sobriety to fêtes and late hours; he used to go to bed at six, and now it was generally midnight; the constant excitement and movement were too much for his feeble health, and, as has been seen, he had spent much of the time since his marriage in bed or on a couch. Fleurange's contemporary account of these last days is worth quoting: "Le roi partit du palais (S. Germain-en-Laye) et s'en vint loger aux Tournelles à Paris parce-que le lieu est en meilleur air, et aussi ne se sentait pas fort bien, car il avait voulu faire du gentil compagnon avec sa femme; mais il s'abusait, car il n'était pas homme pour ce faire: car de longtemps il était fort malade et spécialement des gouttes, et avoir déjà cinq ou six ans qu'il en avait cuidé mourir, car il fut abandonné par les médecins et vivait d'un merveilleusement grand régime lequel il rompit quand il fut avec sa femme; et lui disaient bien les médecins que s'il continuait il en mourrait pour se jouir. Ceux de la basoche à Paris disaient que le roi d'Angleterre avait envoyé une hacquenée au roi de France pour le porter bientôt et plus doucement en enfer ou au paradis. Toutefois lui étant malade envoya quérir Monsieur d'Angoulême, et lui dit qu'il se trouvait fort mal et que jamais n'en échaperait; de laquelle chose le dit sieur le reconfortait à son pouvoir, et qu'il faisait ce qu'il pouvait. Et fit le dit seigneur Roi à sa mort tout plein de mines; Nonobstant quand il se fut bien défendu contre la mort il mourut par un premier jour de l'an, sur lequel jour fit le plus horrible temps que jamais on vit."
The traditional picture of Mary during these days shows her at his bedside, amusing him by singing and playing, and the last letter of Louis XII., written a few days before his death to Henry VIII., is in praise of his wife, "who has hitherto conducted herself, and still does every day towards me in such a manner that I cannot but be delighted with her, and love and honour her more and more each day." Tradition also says that she was kept in ignorance of her husband's hopeless condition, and that on the night of his death she had gone off to bed as usual, believing that this was only a rather worse attack. But the young Queen had eyes in her head and could use them, and that she was expecting the event and that Suffolk had gone home prepared for it is seen by Wolsey's letter of the last days of December, or the early days of January, wherein he offers his consolation in the danger, and perhaps death, of the King, for "in likelihood or this time he is departed to the mercy of God," and though she was not there at midnight when the long struggle ended, her representatives were.
Thus, on New Year's Day, 1515, the Dauphin's lucky day, Francis I. began to reign at Paris, while the same day Brussels saw her Prince also take up the reins of government.
TRADITION says that Mary fainted on being told of the death of her husband, and in spite of the covert sneers of his countrymen, the thing is not impossible, for her situation, difficult as it had been, became now a hundred times more so, and for the moment she might easily fall under its weight. For the moment there were ceremonies to be gone through, and the King had to be carried away from the palace to the melancholy sound of the tinkling "campanes" and cries of "le bon roi Louis, père du peuple, est mort," to lie in state in the church of Notre Dame, and afterwards through the mud to St Denis for burial, while his widow had to flit from Les Tournelles to the Clugny Palace by the river, where la Reine Blanche, as the widow of the French King was always called, was expected to mourn for six weeks. There, clad in white, the Queen was supposed to keep her bed for that time, with curtained windows and by candle light, secluded from the world and surrounded by her women. Francis showed himself very sympathetic, and Mary kept the same state there as though she had been Queen, while every evening he visited her and comforted her according to his views. The Venetian ambassador says that Mary at once said that the Dauphin could call himself King, for she was not going to have a child, but, as was the custom, he had to wait three weeks before etiquette allowed him to assume the title.
News was at once sent by Mary to England, and she awaited letters which would tell her that her brother was going to keep the promise he had given at the water-side at Dover. For there had been, she herself confessed it, at some time or other stolen meetings between her and Suffolk, and sweet words, and with the short memory of youth she had already cast the disagreeable past behind her and was looking into the future. The first letter which reached her was the one from Wolsey already quoted, written before the news of Louis's death had reached England. He offered his consolation and advice "how your Grace shall demean [yourself] being in this heaviness and among strangers far from [your] most loving brother, and other your assumed friends and servants. Touching your consolation, I most heartily beseech your Grace with thanksgiving to God to take wisely and patiently such visitation of Almighty God, against whose ordinance no earthly creature may be, and not by extremity of sorrow to hurt your noble person." He assured her that Henry will not forsake her, and begs her for the old service the writer has done her to do nothing without the advice of his Grace, however she should be persuaded to the contrary, and to let nothing pass her mouth, "whereby any person in these parts may have [you] at any advantage. And if any motions of marriage or other fortune to be made unto you in no wise give hearing to them. And thus doing, ye shall not fail to have the King fast and loving to you, to attain to your desire [and come] home again into England with as much honour as [Queen ever] had. And for my part to the effusion of my [blood and spen]ding of my goods I shall never forsake nor leav[e you.]" Henry sent her his surgeon, Master John, with letters of comfort, telling her to make ready to return to England, but for all that her letter to him shows she was in very low spirits, with fits of hysterical crying and toothache.
As was to be expected, the party opposed to Suffolk and Wolsey in the Council, led by Norfolk, used all means to prevent the marriage, and attacked Mary herself through her confessor, Father Langley, who came to her one day to ask her to be shriven. But she said no, she had no mind for confession, and would say nothing of what was in her mind. "And then the said friar shewed her that he had the same day said mass, and he sware by the Lord he had that day consecrated and that under benedicite he would shew her divers things that were of truth, and of which he had perfect knowledge, desiring her to give him hearing and to keep the same to herself." Then he went on to tell her of the bruit in England that she was to be married to Suffolk, and advised her to beware of him, for he and Wolsey meddled with the devil, and by his puissance they kept their master subject to them, especially Suffolk, who had caused the disease in Sir William Compton's leg. This Father Langley knew for a fact, she need have no doubt of its truth, and the only thing to be done to save her soul was to hinder Suffolk's "voyage." [There seems to have been a second friar in the plot, but the letter is burnt and mutilated, and it is impossible to get the exact sense.] It was a tactless, useless move on Norfolk's part, for Mary, being a woman in love, gave the friar "small comfort," and from the interview merely gathered what fed her desire, that the people in England were openly speaking of her coming marriage with Suffolk. In his daily visits, Francis had hinted at other marriages, and suggested as husbands the Duke of Savoy and the Duke of Lorraine, or else that she should not marry, but remain in France and hold her Court at Blois, of which country he offered her the revenues, and then made suit unto her, "not according with mine honor," as she wrote. He played his best card, however, when he told her that Suffolk's coming to fetch her home was only a blind, for under secret promise of marriage she was to be decoyed back into England and then married to the Prince of Castile. There can be little doubt that the King played with the helpless creature, and renewed his love-making in the newly darkened mourning room to her "extreme pain and annoyance." No wonder she had fits of "the mother," and wept piteously and exclaimed passionately that rather than go to England, to be married again to any strange prince, she would live and die in a convent, and thus she wrote to her brother. "I would be very glad to hear that your Grace were in good health and p[eace], the which should be a great comfort to me, and that it would please your Grace to send more oft time to me than you do, for as now I am all out of comfort saving that all my trust is in your Grace and so shall be during my life. Sir, I pray your Grace will send hither as soon as you may possibly hither to me. Sir, I beseech your Grace that you will keep all the promises that you promised me when I took my leave of you by the w[ater s]ide. Sir, your Grace knoweth well, that I did marry for your p[leasure a]t this time, and now I trust that you will suffer me to [marry as] me l[iketh fo]r to do ... for I assure your Grace that [my mi]nd is not there where they would have me, and I trust [your Grace] will not do so to me that has always been so glad to fulfil your mind as I have been. Wherefore, I beseech your Grace for to be good lord and brother to me, for, sir, an if your Grace will have gran[ted] me married in any place sav[ing] whereas my mind is, I will be there whereas your Grace nor no other shall have any joy of me, for I promise your Grace you shall hear that I will be in some religious house, the which I think your Grace would be very sorry of, and all your realm. Also, sir, I know well that the King that is [my s]on will send unto your Grace by his uncle the Duke of [Savoy] for to marry me here.... [I sha]ll never be merry at my heart (for an ever that I d[o marr]y while I live), I trow your Grace knoweth as well as I do, and did before I came hither, and so I trust your Grace will be contented, unless I would never marry while I live, but be there where never man nor woman shall have joy of me. Wherefore I beseech your Grace to be good lord to him and to me both, for I know well that he hath [...] to your Grace of him and me both. Wherefore an your Grace be good lord to us both, I will not care for all the world else, but beseech your Grace to be good lord and brother to me, as you have been here aforetime f[or in you] is all the trust that I have in this world after God. No m[ore from m]e at this [time]. God send your Grace [long life an]d your heart's de[sires].
By your humble and loving sister, MARY, Queen of France.
To the King my brother, this
to be delivered in haste."
All her fears seemed at first for nothing. Henry was quite willing she should marry his favourite, and had she but kept her mental poise she would have carried her love to a triumphant open marriage. But six weeks in a darkened room, with Francis, "who looked like the devil," her visitor every evening, her mouth closed by command of her brother and her adviser Wolsey, her nerves racked by whispers of false dealing at home and by the senseless suspicions that attack all lovers, had wrought her to no state of cool reasonableness by the time Suffolk and his fellow-ambassadors arrived.
There is absolutely no doubt that Henry meant to keep his famous "water-side" promise, and immediately on receiving official notice, on January 14, of the death of the French King, sent the Duke of Suffolk, Sir Richard Wingfield, and Dr Nicholas West, to condole with Francis and to congratulate him. Their credentials also were for the arranging of the return of the Queen and her dowry. At Suffolk's last interview with Henry at Eltham, before he set out, the King disclosed to him his mind about his sister, but made him promise on oath that he would be nothing to her save the ambassador of the King of England till he had brought her safe out of France. Henry knew his sister's impulsive nature and trusted his friend absolutely. Suffolk gave the oath, and said he would rather be torn by wild horses than break it. They clasped hands upon it, and the Duke set out for his undoing by a woman's tears.
PAINTER UNKNOWN. NATIONAL PORTRAIT GALLERY
Mary had in the meantime replied to Wolsey's letter much in the same tone as she wrote to her brother, "and whereas you advise me that I should make no promise [of marriage] my lord, I trust the King my brother and you will not reckon in me such childhood." It passed her knowledge how Wolsey and Henry could for one moment imagine she would have anything to do with a foreign marriage, and when Francis continued to assure her that he knew from the state of affairs in Flanders that Suffolk's coming was only a blind to entice her home, "for if she went to England she should go to Flanders" as wife of the Prince, she wept bitterly; and on the King pressing his own suit as a means of escape from such fortune she wiped her tears and said, "Sir, I beseech you that you will let me alone and speak no more to me of the matter, and if you will promise me by your faith and truth and as you are a true prince that you will keep it counsel and help me, I will tell you all my whole mind." For she feared, remembering that Francis and Suffolk had had words about her, that ill might fortune to the Duke. Francis, possibly seeing in this one way of getting within her guard, gave her his faith in her hand that he would keep what she told him secret and help her to the best of his power. So the tangled creature cast herself on his mercy and told him all her mind and all that had passed between her and Suffolk down to some secret "ware" word they had used, and no doubt grew happier in the telling. She ended by saying that she feared her brother's displeasure, and implored Francis to write to him to get his consent. This the King promised to do on the understanding that his hunting of her should never be disclosed to Henry, for it would not tally well with the filial attitude he had assumed in his letters. He felt he had done a good evening's work, for he was not one to play a losing game, and he now had Suffolk in his hands for as the price of his marriage he could exact the Duke's help in gaining Tournay from Henry, while after all Mary as the richest marriage in Europe would hardly have been allowed to remain quietly at Blois.
On Saturday, the 27th January, Suffolk arrived at Senlis, and there, hearing that Francis was at Rheims, "where he was sacred on S. Paul's day," he sent a message asking for an audience. Francis sent word that he was glad of their coming, and he would either come to them on Candelmas Eve or else they might come to him straightway. For convenience' sake, on the advice of the Admiral Bonnivet, the embassy decided to wait till Thursday, and on that day their old friend Longueville appeared at their lodging to take them out of the town, about a mile, to meet the King and to make his entry with him. "He received them heartily, asking for the health of the King and the Queen's grace, and conversed with them as lovingly and familiarly as ever he did, expressing his pleasure for the renewal of the peace between the two countries, and also touching the Queen's grace your sister's affairs." That afternoon, at 2 o'clock, Suffolk had his state audience for condolence and congratulation and renewal of the amity. He also thanked Francis in the King's name, "for the singular comfort he had given the Queen in this her heaviness, reciting how lovingly he had written to your Grace by his last letters, that he would neither do her wrong nor suffer her to take wrong of any other person, but be to her as a loving son should be to his mother, praying him of continuance. Whereunto he answered that he might do no less with his honour, seeing that she was your sister, a noble princess and married to his predecessor. And h[ow] lovingly he had behaved him to her, he said, he trusted that she should make report herself to [you], and that that he did, he did with good heart, and n[ot grudingly] and much the rather for your Grace's sake." They then asked for licence to condole with Mary, and he answered he was well content. Thus far all was ceremony. Later in the afternoon the real encounter took place and Suffolk had to cry touché. Francis sent for him to his bedroom, and without preface said, "My lord of Suffolk, so it is that there is a bruit in this my realm, that you are come to marry the Queen, your master's sister." Suffolk stood his ground and remembered his promise. "I trust your grace," he replied, "would not reckon so great folly in me to come into a strange realm to marry the Queen of the realm without your knowledge and without authority from my master, and that I have not, nor was it ever intended on my master's part nor on mine." But Francis answered, "Not so," and "for then," goes on Suffolk's letter, "[as], I would not be plain with him, he would be plain with me, and showed me that the Queen had broken her mind unto him, and that he had promised her his faith and truth, and of the truth of a King, that he would help her and d[o what was possi]ble in him to help her to obtain [her heart's desi]re. 'And because' [, went on Francis], 'that you shall not th[ink that I do] bear you in this hand and that [she has not spo]ke her mind, I will s[hew you some wor]ds that you had to her, and so showed me a ware word, the which none alive could tell them but she; and when that then I was abashed and he saw that, and said, 'because for you shall say that you have found a kind prince and a loving, and because you shall not think m[e other], here I give you in your hand my faith and truth by the word of a King, that I shall never fail unto you but to help and advance this matter betwixt her and you with as good a will as [I] would for mine[self].' And when he had done this I could do none less than thank his Grace for the great goodness that his Grace intended to show unto the Queen and me, and by it I showed his Grace that I was like to be undone if this matter came to the knowledge of the King my master. And then he said, 'Let me alone for that; I and the Queen shall so instance your master that I trust he would be content, and because I would gladly put your heart at rest I will when I come to Paris speak with the Queen, and she and I both will write letters to the King your master, with our own hands in the best manner that can be devised.'" Suffolk was overjoyed, "bounden to God," but cautious. The man he most feared as an obstacle was "contented to be the doer of the act himself and to instance the King my master in the same." #xa0;This would also improve Henry's position towards the anti-Suffolk party in the Council, for if he allowed the marriage at the express desire of the French King, "his Grace shall be marvellously discharged against his Council as all the other noblemen of his realm." Still Suffolk's experience had been that Francis was not without guile and he would not act, he said, till he had heard from Wolsey, whom he prayed "with all the haste possible send me your best [counsel what yo]u shall think best that I shall [do in this mat]ter; and if you shall think good [to advertise hi]s Grace of this letter I pray you [to give mi]ne assurances to his Highness that I had [rather an I dared, have written] unto him myself." This was written ten leagues from Paris on February 3rd. The following day, Sunday, the embassy reached Paris, and the impatient Queen could not wait till Monday, but sent for Suffolk at once. Then all her emotion burst forth, and she poured out to his willing ears all the worries and distresses of her mind, and told him imperiously that she wanted none other husband but he, "if I would be ordered by her, she would never have none but me." She said that unless he married her before they went to England she would neither marry him nor go to England, and she wept. He asked her what she meant by that, "and," Suffolk's letter goes on, "she said the best in France had said unto her that and she went to England she should go to Flanders. To the which she said she had rather to be torn in pieces than ever she should come there, and with that wept. Sir, I never saw woman so weep. And when I saw [that] I showed unto her Grace that there was none such thing [upon] my faith with the best words I could, but in none ways I could make her to believe it. And when I saw that, I showed her Grace that and her Grace would be content to write unto your Grace and to obtain your good will I would be content, or else I durst not because I had made unto your Grace such a promise." Her lover's caution angered Mary, for having thrown herself with abandon into the situation, she resented his thinking of a mere promise to a third person where she was concerned, so she reasoned and threatened: "if the King my brother is content and the French King both, the tone by his letters and the tother by his words that I should have you, I will have the time after my desire, or else I may well think that the words of [them] in these parts and of them in England [be] true, and that is that you are come to tyes me home [to the in]tent that I may be married into Fland[ers] which I never will, to die for it, and so [I posse]ssed the French King and you came; and th[at of] you will not be content to follow [my] end look never after this d[ay to have] the proffer again." Here was a cruel dilemma; to lose either his master's favour or his mistress's love! Had Francis not spoken Suffolk might possibly have held out, for there was his promise, but now things seemed in train to a happy issue and rather "than to lose all" he promised to marry her before they went to England. Mary was not content with that, and said if he did not marry her within four days he would never have her, and to this also he consented. Were Sir Richard Wingfield and Dean West to know of their decision? No, decided Mary, for they would only give "mo counsel to the contrary," and Suffolk knew this to be true as the least devoir of sensible men, so they were left in the dark. The next day Wingfield and West came to visit her, "and according to our instructions made overtures to her at length of your grace's mind and pleasure as well touching that she shall not consent to any motion of marriage in these parts, as also she shall not determine her mind to make her abode there, but to apply herself to follow your mind and pleasure in that behalf." She thanked them, "like a wise, substantial, and Christian princess," for the King for sending my Lord of Suffolk to comfort her in her heaviness and to obtain her dower. "She said she were an unkind sister if she should not follow your mind and pleasure in every behalf, for there was never princess so much beholden to her sovereign and brother as she is to your Grace, and therefore, as touching consent to any marriage in these parts, she trusteth that your Grace knoweth her mind therein, and albeit she has been sore pressed in that matter by the King [that now is] as other, yet she never consented, nor never would do [but rather] suffer the extremity of death. And as touching her [stay] here, she never was nor is minded there to, for she [counts] every day a hundred till she may see your Grace." The ambassadors added that the report was that "la Royne Blanche" was to be married to the Duke of Lorraine. The next day Wingfield and West supped with Mary's ladies, and no doubt gossipped about possibilities, while Suffolk supped with the Queen, and she amplified her former confidences. They decided to tell Wolsey openly of the difficulties of her position, but to say nothing of the secret marriage, and by the same post to write to the King.
To Henry Suffolk wrote, and after telling how he had delivered the letters to Mary, who was not a little glad and bounden to God, who had given her so loving a brother, both father and brother to her, and how she prayed that she might live no longer than that she might do that thing that should be to his contentation [this is the Duke's paraphrase, no doubt], he goes on, "So when I had been there awhile I was in hand with her Grace, and asked her how the French King did with her Grace and how she found him. And she said at the beginning he was in hand with her of many matters, but after he heard say that I was come, he said unto her Grace that he would trouble her no more with no such matter, but be glad to do for her as he would do for his own mother, and prayed [her that] she would not be a known of none thing that he had spoken to her, neither to your Grace nor me, for because your Grace should take no unkindness there in. [And further] he said that wheresoever her mind was [for to mar]ry he would be glad to help her there[to with all] his heart, and so since he never me[ddled other]wise, but as he would be to her as [to his m]other. And so, Sir, I perceive that he had [regard to] your Grace, for I think he [would not] to do anything that should discontent [your Grace or your] Grace should think any unkindness, in w[hich I assure] your Grace that I think that you will find him [either] a fast prince or else I will say that he is the most [untrue] man that lies. And not he only but all the [noble]men of France, for I cannot devise to have [any] speak better than they do, nor to your honour." Then he tells Henry sporting news of the jousts for the coronation of Francis and how they are to run and that the King himself is to be one of the aides of the Duke of Alençon. To Wolsey he tells out bluntly what has already been described of the clearing interview between Mary and Francis, after which they understood each other, and beseeches his good offices as all his trust is in him, and an answer with all possible haste. In a postscript he again begs to hear from him with all possible haste, and desires him to ask from the King a loan of £2000, "and Sir Oliver shall bring to your hands plate sufficient there. For, my lord, all my money is gone and the Queen and I both must make friends, and they will not be gotten without money. And also I am fain to buy new array, for the King will have us at his coronation, and as far as I know to bring him in at his entry, the which shall not be a little charge. My lord, I beseech you that this may be done in all haste possible and delivered to Sir Oliver." The next day Mary, who knew her brother, drew up the following: "Be it known to all persons that I, Mary Queen of France, sister unto the King of England Henry the VIIIth, freely give unto the said King my brother such plate and vessel of clean gold as the late King Loys of France the XIIth of that name gave unto me the said Mary his wife; and also by these presents I do freely give unto my said brother, King of England, the choice of such special jewels as my said late husband King of France gave me; to the performation whereof I bind me by this my bill whereto with mine own hand and signed with my name and to the same have set my seal the ixth day of February, the year of our lord fifteen hundred and fourteen. By your loving sister Mary Queen of France."
Mary had dismissed her French dame de compagnie, the Comtesse of Nevers, and the French servants left with her by Francis when he went to Rheims, and on the news of the arrival of Suffolk had recalled her English ladies and servants. Francis is said to have been much annoyed, and possibly his sister, the Duchess d'Alençon, told Suffolk how impolitic a move this was, for on the return of the ambassadors from paying their respects to Queen Claude and to her, they communed with Mary of her household, and she showed herself conformable to the advice of Suffolk and the rest. At this interview things were put on a good business footing, and the ambassadors were to write for copies of the inventories of her wardrobe from Master Windsor, of her jewels from Master Wyatt, one from the master of the horse for the stable and another of the costs and charges of her traduction. But nothing could be done till the King came to Paris. Francis made his entry on the 13th, so that the English had scant time for their preparations; but Lent was fast approaching (it began on the 21st) and haste was necessary if the jousts and tourney were to be carried through in time. Mary was present at the King's entrance, which Mercurin de Gattinare described to Margaret of Austria as "belle et gorgiaise," and saw the Duke in the procession with twenty horsemen in grey damask, talking to the Duchess de Longueville, who rode in a habit of cloth of gold.
On Monday, the 12th, the day before the state entry, Suffolk was sent for by the French King to watch him and five others running at the tilt against the Duke of Lorraine and five with him, "for a banket, and I insure your Grace there was good running." Francis won, and after the "banket" Suffolk had an interview with him, when the King showed himself very heartily England's friend, and especially good towards Suffolk and Wolsey: "as for the French King, I cannot wish him in better mind towards the King's Grace than I hear him speak it ... and as for you and me I trow that next the King our master we had never such a friend which you shall perceive hereafter." A few days before Suffolk had received cheering letters from Wolsey in England, wherein he was advertised what pain Wolsey took "daily for my cause and how good lord you are to me, for the which and all the goodness that I find in you I heartily thank you as he that shall never fail you during my life." He felt his affairs were going on as well as possible in France, for the King was ready to write to Henry in whatever form he thought best. Suffolk's only uneasiness was the ominous silence of all his friends at home, or else he imagined it was ominous, and he reproached them in his letter to the King. "I beseech your Grace that I might hear from your Grace some time, for it should be to my great comfort. Sir, I beseech your Grace that I may be most humbly recommended unto the [Queen's] Grace and to all mine old fellows, both men and women, and tell them that I think it no little unkindness in them all that I never heard from none of them since I departed from you, but I think the fault has been in the weather (?) and not in them. Sir, I beseech your Grace that I be not forgotten amongst you ar ..., for though my body be here my heart is with you and you wot where." He had great hopes of returning very soon, for Francis said that once La Guiche, the French agent to England, returned, a couple of days would easily settle all English affairs. The evening of the day after his entry Francis went to see Mary, and it was arranged between them that he should write to her brother at once, while the same post would take a letter from her explaining her request for the help of Francis. Suffolk had had the presence of mind at Compiègne not to betray Henry, and the French King therefore did not realize that his news would come a day after the fair, for he evidently thought at the beginning of the affair that he was to be the deus ex machina. So he wrote that he had been to visit the queen his belle-mère, as he used to do, to know if he could show her any attention. On his asking her whether she contemplated a second marriage, she confessed the great esteem she had for the Duke of Suffolk, "que davant t[out] autre ele desyreroyt avecque[s] bonne voulonte et lamye [...] maryage dele et de luy se fy," and prayed him not only to give his own consent thereto, but to write to Henry in Suffolk's favour which he now does. Mary's letter also ignores her confession before Suffolk's arrival—"Pleaseth it your Grace, the French King on Tuesday night last [past] came to visit me, and [had] with me many divers [discours]ing, among the which he demanded me whether I had [ever] made any promise of marriage in any place, assuring me upon his honour, upon the word of a prince, that in case I would be plain [with] him in that affair that he would do for me therein to the best of his power, whether it were in his realm or out of the same. Whereunto I answered that I would disclose unto him the [secr]et of my heart in hu[mility] as unto the prince of the world after your Grace in which I had m[ost trust], and so decla[red unto him] the good mind [which] for divers consi[derations I] bear to my lord of Suffolk, asking him not only [to grant] me his favour and consent thereunto, but [also] that he would of his [own] hand write unto your Grace and to pray you to bear your like favour unto me, and to be content with the same. The which he granted me to do, and so hath done, according as shall appear unto your Grace by his said [letters]. And, Sir, I most humbly beseech you to take this answer (?) which I have [made u]nto the French King in good part, the which I [did] only to be discharg[ed of th]e extreme pain and annoyance I was in [by reason] of such suit as [the French Ki]ng made unt[o me not accord]ing with mine honour, [the whi]ch he hath clearly left [off]. Also, Sir, I feared greatly [lest in] case that I had kept the matter from his knowledge that he might have not well entreated my said lord of Suffolk, and the rather [for] to have returned to his [former] malfantasy and suits. Wherefore, Sir, [sin]ce it hath pleased the said King to desire and pray you of your favour and consent, I most humbly and heartily beseech you that it may like your Grace to bear your favour and consent to the same and to advertise the said King by your writing of your own hand your pleasure, [and] in that he hath a[cted after] mine opinion [in his] letter of request, it shall be to your great honour ... to content w[ith all] your Council and [with] all the other no[bles of the] realm, and agree thereto for your Grace and for all the world. And therefore I eftsoon require you for all the love that it liked your Grace to bear to me, that you do not refuse but grant me your favour and consent in form (?) before rehearsed, the which if you shall deny me I am well assured to [lead] as desolate a life as ever had creature, the which I know well shall be mine end. Always praying your Grace to have compassion on me, my most loving sovereign lord and brother, whereunto I have entreated you, beseeching God always to preserve your royal estate." The postscript is: "I most humbly beseech your Grace to consider in case you make difficulty to condescend to the promise [as I] wish, the French King will take courage to renew his suits unto me, assuring you that I had rather to be out of the world than it should so happen, and how he shall entreat my lord of Suffolk God knoweth, with many other inconvenience which might ensue of the same, the which I pray our Lord that [I] may never have life to see.
By your loving sister and true servant,
MARY, Queen of France."
The postscript is an echo of Suffolk's letter of the same date, where he says, in case Henry does not give consent at Francis' request, that he will "be at his liberty and again at his former suits, the which your sister, the Queen, had rather be out of the world, to abide, and as for me your Grace ... I had rather be out of the world to see her in this case." Suffolk had found that the King's mother, Louise de Savoie, was also on his side, and she promised him to forward his matter, and also told him he could put all confidence in her son's promises, which the Duke evidently did. Louise charmed Suffolk, "She is the best spoken princess I have ever seen and has great influence"; "it is she that rules all, and so may she well, for I never saw woman like her." All things seemed going smoothly, and it must have been at this date, or just before these letters, that the first marriage took place, the most secret one, which was hidden from Francis as his attentions were probably its cause. About a week after these letters, that is, about February 21st or 22nd, Suffolk received an answer from Wolsey to the letter he had sent on the way from Senlis to Paris telling of his first private interview with Francis, which raised his spirits even higher, for a near open marriage seemed in prospect.
"My lord," wrote the Archbishop, "in my most hearty manner I recommend me unto your good lordship and have received your letter, written with your own hands, dated at Paris the 3rd day of this month, and as joyous I am as any creature living to hear as well of your honourable entertainment with the French King and of his loving mind towards you for your marriage with the French Queen, our master's sister, as also of his kind offer made to you, that both he and the said French Queen shall effectually write unto the King's Grace, for the obtaining of his good will and favour unto the same. The contents of which your letter I have at good leisure declared unto the King's Highness and his Grace marvellously rejoiced to hear of your good speed in the same, and how substantially and discreetly ye ordered and handled yourself in your words and communication with the French King when he first secretly brake with you of the said marriage. And therefore, my lord, the King and I think it good that you procure and solicit the speedy sending unto his Grace of the letters from the French King touching this matter, assuring you that the King continueth firmly in his good mind and purpose towards you for the accomplishment of the said marriage, albeit that there be daily on every side practices made to let the same which I have withstanded hitherto, and doubt not to do so till you have achieved your intended purpose, and ye shall say by that time that ye know all that ye have had of me a fast friend.
"The King's Grace sends unto you at this time not only his especial letters of thanks unto the French King for the loving and kind entertainment of you and the other ambassadors with you, and for his favourable audience given unto you and them, but also other letters of thanks to the Queen his wife, and to other personages specified in your letter, jointly sent with the other ambassadors to the King's Grace. And his highness is of no less mind and affection than the French King is for the continuance of good peace and amity betwixt them....
"The lady of Suffolk is departed out of this present life and over this, my lord, the King's Grace hath given unto you all such lands as be come into his hand by the decease of the said lady of Suffolk, and also by my pursuit hath given unto you the lordship of Claxton, which his highness had of my Lord Admiral for 1000 marks which he did owe his Grace.
"Finally, my lord, whereas ye desired at your departing to have an harness made for you, the King's Grace hath willed me to write unto you, that he saith it is impossible to make a perfect head-piece for you, unless that the manner of your making your sight were assuredly known....
"And whereas ye write that the French King is of no less good will towards me than his predecessor was, I pray you to thank his Grace for the same and to offer him my poor service, which next my master shall have mine heart for the good will and mind which he beareth to you, beseeching you to have my affairs recommended that I may have some end in the same one way or other...."
The letter contained both good and bad news, at least Mary seems to have thought so, for while Suffolk no doubt was confident that Wolsey would over-ride all the practices of the Howard family to hinder the marriage, and took the grant of the lands of the Lady Margaret de la Pole, Countess of Suffolk, as earnest of the continued favour of his master and his desire for his advancement, Mary's brain only took in the phrase "there be daily on every side practices made to the let of the same," and connected this with the silence of her husband's friends at Court. She had already insisted on marriage within four days or not at all, and Suffolk had yielded to her reasoning—my brother is content, more than content, and the King of France desires our marriage, why should we wait and run the risk of some chance which might separate us—reluctantly, however, because of his promise to Henry. From the secret nature of the marriage it is impossible to fix the date save by inference. There are two dates given in two different documents, one the 3rd of March, given in a French chronicle in the Fontanieu Portefeuille, and quoted by Mrs Green, the other the 31st of the same month, given by Louise de Savoie in her diary. It is possible, too, that 3rd is a mistake for 31st, but that is as may be, and the point to emphasize is this, that these dates do not refer to the secret marriage confessed to by Suffolk on March 5, but to some other and semi-public affair which took place at a later date before the Court of France in Lent. No one was privy to this first marriage save servants, and it must have taken place about the second week of February, for, writing on March 5 to Wolsey, Suffolk says he fears Mary is with child, and he urges the necessity for an open marriage before the French Court, adding that the season need be no bar, for marriages take place in Lent with consent of a bishop. This open marriage was to be later the sum of their desires, for the secret one was illegal and could easily be quashed, and the child of it, the heir to the English crown, would be born out of wedlock, but in the early days of February Mary was ready to mettre le tout par le tout, to do anything to gain her end of marriage with Suffolk. The place of the February marriage would probably be the chapel of the Clugny Hotel, but that and who actually married them is unknown. A later document says a simple priest of no authority, which is not unlikely, though that document, to be quoted in full later, does not pretend to strict accuracy, for its facts were arranged by Suffolk and Wolsey to produce a certain impression. So Wolsey's letter found Mary married to her lover, in ill-health, nervous and suspicious (her head was never still and she was constantly turning it from side to side), sucking terror out of every phrase, and sensible that delay in the return home, or, failing that, in a near open marriage, might publicly pierce the secret of her union with Brandon. Her husband's mind was tranquil as yet, and to him the Archbishop's letters "came as graciously as rosewater and vinegar to him that is fallen in a sowne or a litargie."
THE commission of the Duke of Suffolk, Sir Richard Wingfield, and Dr West was for the renewing of the peace with France which had been concluded with Louis XII. for the lives of the two Kings and one year after, and for the settling of the Dowager-Queen's affairs and the conveying of her out of the realm. "They were to demand restitution as well of such jewels, precious stones, plate, apparel and other things that her Grace brought with her, as also of the charge of her traduction, which the French King received for the value of 200,000 crowns." They would also have to take possession of the lands of the Queen's dowry. Francis would have made the renewing of the amity depend on the giving up of Tournay if he had dared, and, as it was, he was very friendly with the ambassadors of Flanders, the Lord Nassau and the Count de St Py, who were come to Paris to ask for the long-desired marriage with a daughter of France. Margaret de Savoie with the English alliance had gone by the wall, and she said, almost weeping, to Spinelly, "that God knoweth the faithful mind she had borne to England and what had ensued unto her thereof, and how the Emperor without her knowledge had handled the putting out of tutela of the Prince to the great prejudice of her honor." She was compelled to let Chièvres have his way, and that way was the French marriage; though Maximilian was eager now to have Mary for his grandson, and sent Henry grave warning of the difficulty of getting princesses returned out of France, and said that it might come to retrieving her at the sword's point. But Flanders wanted no English princess, and put all their hope in alliance with France, and if a piece of wood had come out of France it would have been received for an ambassador. There was still an English party at Brussels, and Margaret, speaking of Mary's possible marriages, said "that she knew no prince in Christendom that would gladly have her except one, which, were it not for his Council, peradventure would condescend thereto," which, adds Spinelly, "I suppose would be the Prince." Francis, though he sent the Prince of Castile a cool letter on his accession, saw in the Flemish alliance a way towards realizing his desire to drive the English back to Calais, for between two allied hostile countries their position on the Flemish border would be easily made untenable. M. de la Guiche had been sent to England to announce his accession, and until his return nothing definite could be concluded, but Francis' great point in his negotiations with Suffolk was the recovery of Tournay. The Duke declined at first to meddle with this, for it was not in his commission, but by the advice of Wingfield and West he told the King of the matter privately. Louise de Savoie, who did everything and looked younger than she had done for years, also spoke to Suffolk of the "great desire the King her son had to recover the city of Tournay." Suffolk was not well pleased at this complication in his amicable proceedings at the French Court, and would gladly have had nothing to do with it. But Spinelly at Brussels had got hold of a French letter to Chièvres containing details of a definite Franco-Flemish alliance, and this Wolsey sent on to Suffolk in Paris, asking him to demand an explanation, and, unwilling as the Duke was to court unpleasant relations at this moment, speak of it he must. So he dissembled and showed it to Francis as having been sent direct to him out of Flanders. The King had just tilted successfully and was in great good humour when given the letter. He denied the treaty, but said that he could hardly refuse to receive the Flemish ambassadors, though he would conclude nothing with them till he had concluded with Henry. They had merely made fair promises for the future and excuses for the past, and he had given them very little comfort. And, besides, matters between Henry and himself were in such an amicable way that a couple of days would easily dispatch them. So he talked to Suffolk, who seems to have been lulled by flattery, for Francis also said that in all matters between him and Henry he would make Suffolk judge. The position was tangled enough: on the one hand was the Duke, bound by a promise which he had already secretly broken, and commissioned to get the uttermost farthing out of the French King, on whose help he was supposed to be relying; on the other was Francis, who, while ostensibly helping Suffolk in his ambitions (already secretly consummated without his help) out of mere good nature, was really going to use him as a tool he had bargained for and bought. He was in ignorance that his offer of help had been made known to Henry, and also, whatever he may have suspected, he was not sure of how much royal backing there was behind the Duke. He was sure, however, that his help was worth something to Suffolk, and, like the young Queen, he meant to have the price when and how he desired it. But Suffolk felt himself a match for any Frenchman, the subtlety of the nation having long been the despair of English diplomatists notwithstanding.
Every day now Francis called on Suffolk to know what was doing in the matter of Tournay, and the ambassadors were troubled, for they knew how Henry clung to his conquest and the pains and expense he was at to keep it. So did Francis, and he offered a good sum for its honourable restitution, and urged Suffolk to devise some means for this. Again and again the King said he desired nothing but peace with the King of England, and on Suffolk's reminding him significantly that he also wanted Tournay, he said yes, for it had anciently appertained to France. The ambassadors said, it would be best for him first to renew the last amity and the obligation for the payment of the money still owing to England, and in the meantime they would write for instructions. "My lords," they wrote to the Council, "we took this way because we thought it not honourable for the King our master to restore Tournay by any article comprised in the treaty of peace; for under whatsoever condition it was restored, the bruit should be made in France that the King our master was fain to deliver Tournay to have peace." Then they suggested that if the restoration were contemplated, it should be done secretly and first published at the meeting of the two Kings now under discussion. Francis was not to be put off by the cautious bearing of the English. He left nothing unsaid that might bring him the town. Wolsey was particularly interested in the question. For over a year now he had been trying to get himself recognized as its bishop de facto without success, in spite of Louis XI.'s honest help. Now Suffolk told Francis that the Archbishop was the only man who "might do most pleasure for him for the obtaining of his mind in the premises," and he would do well to write to him. The French Council offered to secure the bishopric to Wolsey if the town were surrendered, and Francis said that he might "not only have that, but the best in France, if he would take it," and he promised to Suffolk, "on his faith in my hand," that he would make the French bishop-elect give it up to the Archbishop in all haste, and declared he would not stick with Wolsey for ten of the best bishoprics in France. But Wolsey knew, as he said, that probatio amoris est exhibitio operis, and from Ghent came news of French perfidy, for Wolsey's agent, Sampson, wrote that Francis had written in favour of the French bishop-elect, and there was nothing to be done on the spot, for he was in power, and the Lady Margaret, well-disposed as she was, could do nothing.
The condition of affairs at Tournay itself was pithily summed up by the new Lieutenant, Lord Mountjoy. "The city cannot be kept without ready money. There are many strangers, much weapon, many cankered stomachs, some stark traitors within it: the soldiers rude and not to be trusted, poor and cannot put up with slack payment." In fact, the garrison was in open mutiny, and the country round about was none too friendly, and had to be scoured and kept clear of thieves. The arrival of the new Lieutenant was a signal for an outbreak, for the soldiers' pay was in arrears and they were asked to serve another month before they got their wages. The most mutinous were threatened with dismissal, but they got hold of the keys of the gates and said no gates should be opened till the men were paid in full. If pay was not forthcoming they would spoil the town and then depart and leave it. They shouted "money, money, money," and when they were paid ungratefully threatened to hang their marshal; "down with Sir Sampson!" "To satisfy them the Lieutenant suffered a trumpeter to blow to cause him to avoid the town." No doubt French treason was seen in this scene characteristic of all garrisons of that age, where the only discipline was the gibbet and the purse; and because of these difficulties the place became dearer than ever to Henry. It was a useless expense, it gave a rallying-point for Burgundians and French, but still Henry had taken it and he meant to show that he could keep it. Wolsey knew Henry's feelings if any did, and to pass the time he advised Suffolk to inquire as though from himself what lands would be given in exchange for it. Little but the Tournay question was talked of at the French Court, and Suffolk, though he said he would find it hard to get any land at the French King's hand, did as he was told. So he spoke privately with M. de Boissi, who, after Louise de Savoie, had the King's ear. De Boissi said that "the King his master was marvellous desirous to recover it, and that he would think it a marvellous kindness in the King, my master, if he would be content to let him have it for so reasonable a sum to be paid in years." Suffolk remarked that in his own opinion the county of Guisnes might be taken in exchange. On this Boissi asked him to dinner next day, and in the interval communed with the King and his mother, who were both willing to treat on those terms. "Nevertheless the King knew well," said Boissi, "that there should be a [great] clamor on the side of the King for the delivery [of the] subjects of the said country: for he said they were the best Frenchmen in France. Whereunto [I] replied that the King, my master, should have no less clamor for the delivery of the city of Tournay and Tornassen, and so [I begged] him to advertise you to the intent that you [might] break with the King in it." Suffolk was very pleased with the way the negotiation was going, and desired Wolsey to get him a formal commission to treat, and in his inimitable spelling proceeds, "I dowth not bout yt yow and I schall [do] the Kyng howar mastar byttar sarwyes [than] anne man lywyng in thys mattar and hall [hi]s oddar afyrres in these parttes." He would like to have such a commission to show Francis what trust his master had in him, so that the French King shall be "more gladder to be good to me in all [other] affairs." Poor Suffolk! he never got very far away from his obsession.
By the end of February the embassy had to report that the Flemish negotiations were proceeding merrily with the French Court, but by the middle of March Peter de la Guiche and John de Selva were again sent to England to sign the treaty for peace and intercourse, and also to renew the league of London, and arrange for the payments promised by Louis XII.
During these two months the Norfolk party in the English Council, that of the "old" nobles (who as well as Suffolk's adherents had drawn French pensions), had tried consistently to prevent the renewal of the French treaty. They desired a return to the traditional policy of amity with the enemies of France, and an edge was given to their opposition by the marriage project which they knew was in the air. There were hindrances on all sides, and it was openly said that Suffolk was no match for the lady, still direct heir to the throne, who might have fulfilled the destiny of a princess, and been a useful bond in some friendship abroad. They made great capital out of Spinelly's news from the Low Countries of Chièvres' difficulties with France, of Margaret's desire for the English marriage, and of the report that the Prince's fancy was for Mary and England. With Flanders lay English trade interests, and Maximilian, in spite of his having sold his tutelage for 100,000 crowns, was said to be eager for the marriage; in fact, would marry her himself, rather than let her remain in French hands. Then came rumours about a marriage with Suffolk, and the Flemish gossip galled the King, and was rubbed in, no doubt, by his Council, and did Suffolk no good with either party. The Lady Margaret, report said, could not believe it, and said it was false gossip to the Queen's dishonour. Henry was said to have asked Francis "to be pleased" with the marriage, and Francis withheld his consent, and the Court at Ghent were laying wagers about it. Suffolk's friends in the Court knew not what to do; his star for the moment seemed waning, and they prudently held little communication with him. The restitution of Tournay was desired by many in the Council, but when the news of the secret marriage reached England, authenticated by the Duke's own hand, at once suspicion gave tongue that Suffolk had played the King false, and pledged himself to the restitution of the city in return for support in his marriage venture. It is just probable that this was tacitly so, for though Suffolk had seemed so open about the Tournay business, and had told Henry that Francis had asked him to be the arbiter in the matter, and that he had consented because he thought it more to the King's honour and profit to be judged by his own subject, yet it would be ridiculous to suppose that he was uninfluenced by his personal feelings and by his difficult situation. Suffolk wrote that the matter had "never passed my mouth but once to your Grace. There be but few of your Council but has been in hand with me and [think] it best that you should depart with it, so you might depart with it honourably. Yet, Sir, I insure your Grace that I have not put the French King in none hope of it; insomuch [that I have] caused him to leave it out of his instructions given to his ambassadors to the inte[nt that] he should not do manner anything that should not be to your contentation, but to refer it [to your] pleasure." Suffolk probably thought he was honestly serving his King, but self-advancement had become his habit of mind, and while up to this moment he had advanced evenly by the simple means of Henry's friendship, now at the meeting place of cross currents he knew not how to steer, and thought he was safely hugging the bank while the current was carrying him into danger. It was impossible in this complex situation that it should be otherwise, for he can never be considered other than a man of mediocre intelligence of men and things. His charm of person and manner, his good-natured appreciation of others, his lack of affectation, these were his greatest virtues, the virtues of a good digestion, and none are of great value in diplomacy without a penetrating and directing intelligence.
No doubt it was Norfolk who helped to straighten Henry's face over the question of the dowry, and suggested his demand for "both the stuff and the money," which drew a remonstrance from the ambassadors to Wolsey: "we received from the King's Grace and from your good lordsh[ip] other writings concerning the Queen's dot. A[nd] as in the King's letters it is mentioned that w[e should] make composition for the Queen's traduction s[o as] we take no less sum than is contained in y[our letter], we think that no composition but an extremity. Moreover, seeing that she shall have all her stuff r[eturned?], we think it not reasonable to demand such [sums] as have been laid out by the King's officers f[or] provision of the same, for she may not have both [the] money and the stuff. And sithens it is likely that [we] shall commune with reasonable men, we would be r[ather] loth to demand anything out of reason. Wher[efore] we heartily pray you to know the King's pleasure and further mind in this matter, and by the next post we shall certify you of everything more at large." Wolsey said, however, that the question of gold plate and jewels was the measure of Henry's interest in the affair, and one feels bound to accept the strange spectacle of the King loving and trusting his subject and sister, but unable to resist the chance of making money out of their distressful circumstances. Henry VII. had been called avaricious and he was, not from any Silas Marner-like quality, but to bottom firmly his family and the state. His son had inherited the habit without the occasion, and joined to it the pleasure-loving, self-indulgent nature of his maternal grandfather, and the result was a having temperament and a hollow hand. Now, however, before more could be written on the vexed question of the dot, the fabric of Suffolk's politic handling was dashed to the ground, and he himself was in grave danger.
As we have seen, Suffolk had consented to Mary's tearful importunities and married her secretly, and as the first few weeks passed he had been emboldened in his disobedience by letters from Wolsey containing news of Henry's friendly steadfastness in the matter of the marriage, and by the favour of Francis and of his mother, who craftily pushed the affair to prevent a rapprochement between Flanders and England. These good news he weighed against the advice he had of the many hindrances set about the marriage by the Council and Court in England, and took good heart and cloaked his fault under expressions of devotion. He wrote to the King that he prays he may live no longer should he do "that shall be otherwise to your honour," and thanked Wolsey in another letter for his friendship, which he says he shall never forget "to me dyyng day." It must have been about a week after the writing of these letters, on February 26, that Suffolk first began to realize that his position was not so secure as in his less jovial moments he had imagined. Henry had, on February 12, written from Greenwich to Francis thanking him for his kind treatment of his sister, but nothing further. On the 14th Francis wrote to England at Mary's dictation, and the lovers were expecting the answer with confidence. It came through Wolsey, probably in the first days of March. The King, said Wolsey, was, by the advice of his Council, writing to Suffolk and the other ambassadors plain answers of his mind and pleasure upon those things contained in their letters, dated Paris, February 18, and therefore he would make no mention of the same. But the King had last Sunday, after he had communed with his Council and determined the making of the said answers, called Wolsey apart and willed him to write to Suffolk and show him, as he knew right well, that the King would have the French King's plate of gold and jewels for his benevolent mind to the Queen and him for the accomplishment of their desires. He charged Suffolk to "substantially stick" to this business, and said that though he would gladly give him permission to return home with the Queen, he cannot do this till "ye have perfected and established" the question of the dot. "Wherefore, my lord, I require and advise you, inasmuch as the King's Grace hath great mind to the King's plate of gold and jewels, substantially to handle that matter and to stick thereunto, for I assure you the hope that the King hath to obtain the said plate and jewels is the thing that most stayeth his Grace constantly to assent that ye should marry his sister, the lack whereof I fear me might make him cold and remiss and cause some alteration, whereof all men here except his Grace and myself would be right glad. Howbeit I shall for my part always put to my hand both in word and deed to bring your desire to good effect to the uttermost of my mind and powers. And because the thing toucheth so greatly the [accomplishing] of your intended pleasure, me thinketh I can no less do than to advertise you of the same. Trusting that you will endeavour yourself for the satisfaction of the King's mind in this behalf, whereof I shall be as joyous as any man living. And I send unto you herein closed the copy of the letter the King has written at this time with his own hand to the French King, and by no manner persuasion or means I could induce his Grace to write other wise therein for this reason, for his Grace thinketh that if he should make plain answer at the first instance of the French King, he would think that his Grace was agreed to the said marriage afore your coming hither and [acquaint thereto], and that the French King might think that ye had not been plain with him. Further more as touching the French King's desire for the meeting and interview between the King's Grace and him, ye may show unto him that the King's Highness is of semblable affection and desirous to have the same come shortly to pass." The letter is sharper in tone than the former ones and goes plainly and roundly to the matter. It suggests that Suffolk had made little progress in his initial commission, though he had already written that the Queen was to be liberally treated, and, in fact, had Doctor West instead of the Duke of Suffolk been the correspondent, Wolsey probably would have told him "not to muse so much on the moon but go straightly and wisely to the matter," and "not to be moved by every wind and frivolous report." But apart from this slight asperity of the one-eyed to the blind, the letter is hardly one to have moved Suffolk to confession. The Duke had not wit enough to carry through a plot; he was a plain man, and, like such, lived from day to day with no clear course before him, and could not bend circumstance to his plans. "Every wind and frivolous report" were wrought into the fabric of his days without selection, for he had never cultivated the mental clearness of conception and vision which gives poise to projected plans and desires. His political life had always been covered by Wolsey's shadow, and when, about the beginning of March, Mary told him she feared she was with child, Suffolk could think of nothing better to do than to write to the Archbishop and confess all, and in the face of the difficulties of Wolsey's last letter it was the best course. "My lord of York, I re[commend] me unto you, and so it [is that I know] well that you have been the chief man [before al]l that has been the helper of me to that I am [now] next God and my master, and therefore I will never hide none thing from you, trusting that you will help me now as you have always done. My lord, so it is that when I came to Paris, I heard many things which put me in great fear, and so did the Queen both. And the Queen would never let me be in rest till I had granted her to be married. And so, to be plain with you, I have married her heartily" and have lyen with her, in so much that I fear me lest she be with child. My lord, I am not in a little sorrow lest the King should know it, and that his Grace should be displeased with me, for I assure you that I had rather have died than he should be miscontent. And therefore, my own good lord, since you have brought me hitherto let me not be undone now, the which I fear me I shall be, without the special help of you. My lord, think not that ever you shall make any that shall be more [forwa]rd to you, and therefore, mine own good lord, give me help. My lord, as methinks th[ere is no] remedy in this matter but that I m[ay obtain] another letter from the French K[ing, and a let]ter from the French Queen, and a [letter from the King's] mother to the King my [sovereign lord], desiring his Grace that the ... her by them, the which should be m[ade known] to all France, and that his Grace should thereby perceive that they would be glad to see it [done] most honourably that could be, and m[ight now] specially because all the noblemen of France be here. My lord, I doubt not b[ut that] they will write this for me or how ye shall think best they should write.... For I beseech you to instruct me in all haste possible. My lord, they marry as well in Lent as out of Lent with licence of any bishop. Now, my lord, you know all, and in you is all my trust, beseeching you of your assured help, and that I may have answer from you of this or all my other writings as shortly as it may be possible, for I ensure you I have as heavy a heart as any man living, and shall have till I may hear good tidings from you." In a much mutilated postscript he says he had written to the King saying nothing to him of this matter, for "I would not for all the good in the world he should know of it but as you shall think best." The same evening he wrote again to Wolsey with a certain reserve, for his cousin, Sir Richard Wingfield, addressed the letter: "My lord, for to induce the Queen's matter and mine unto the King's grace, I think best for your first entry you should deliver unto him a diamond with a great pearl, which you shall receive with this from the Queen, his sister, and require him to take it worth, assuring his Grace that whensoever she shall have the possession of the residue, that he shall have the choice of them according unto her former writing. My lord, she and I remit this matter wholly to your discretion, trusting that in all haste possible we shall hear from you some good tidings touching our affairs, wherewith I require you to despatch this bearer and that he tarry for no other cause." Next day Mary wrote to her brother a non-committal little letter: "My most kind and loving brother, I humbly commend me unto your Grace, thanking you entirely of your comfortable letters, beseeching your Grace most humbly now so to continue toward me and my friends, as our special trust is in your Grace, and that it may like you with all convenient diligence to send for me that I may shortly see your Grace, which is the thing that I most desire in the world, and I and all mine is at your Grace's commandment and pleasure.
By your loving sister, MARY."
Now came a fortnight's painful waiting "in this town of Paris," which Suffolk said irritably "is like a stinking prison," and finding inaction under suspense unbearable, the Duke set his plan in action for the publishing of the marriage to all France without waiting for Wolsey's reply. First he told Francis. Robert de la Marck, a contemporary chronicler, gives an account of his interview with Francis. The King sent for the Duke of Suffolk, and thus addressed him: "I am advertised of this thing: I did not think you had been so base, and if I chose to do my duty I should this very hour take your head from off your shoulders, for you have failed of your faith, and trusting to your faith I have not had watch kept over you. You have secretly, without my knowledge, married Queen Mary. "Whereunto the said Duke of Suffolk, being much afraid and in great terror, answered and said, "Sir, may it please you to pardon me. I confess I have done ill, but, Sir, I implore you to consider the love which made me so do. I throw myself entirely on your compassion, praying you to have mercy upon me." Whereon the King told him that he would not have mercy on him, but would keep him fast till he should have advertised the King of England thereof; and if it pleased him then he too would be content." On March 12 Louise de Savoie wrote to Henry, asking him to allow the Duke of Suffolk's marriage to take effect and assuring him of Suffolk's devotion to his service, and Francis may have also written, though the only letter to be found belongs to the beginning of April [dated March in the Calendar of State Papers].
PAINTER UNKNOWN. NATIONAL PORTRAIT GALLERY
If he did not at this moment, it is probably to be accounted for by the fact that within a few days he discovered that the jewel which the crown most prized, the Mirror of Naples, had been sent to England. Queen Claude asked for it as belonging of right to the queens of France, and it was not forthcoming. Francis was furious, and Suffolk had to write to Wolsey in all haste for its immediate return, "for it is the same that is said should never go from the queens of France." He took occasion again to urge an open marriage in France, "my lord at the reverence of God help that I be married as I go out of France openly for many things which I will avert you in my next letters," and asks his advice whether the King and the King's mother should write again "for this open marriage, seeing that this privy marriage is done and that I think none other wise than that she is with child." If Francis was sulking both about the way he had been deceived in the secret marriage and about the loss of the jewel, then no wonder Paris was as a stinking prison to Suffolk.
No doubt the Duke expected a reprimand, and a sharp one, and the question, whether Wolsey would tell the King or conceal the first and suggest a second marriage, must have been often discussed with Mary, but when the reply to his letter of March 5 was received, he suddenly saw plainly that he had mistaken both Henry and Wolsey, and he felt that not only his world was tottering about his ears, but his very life was for the moment in danger. "My lord," wrote Wolsey, "with sorrowful heart I write unto you signifying unto the same that I have to my no little discomfort and inward heaviness perceived by your letters, dated at Paris the 5th day of this instant month, how that you be secretly married unto the King's sister and has accompanied together as man and wife. And albeit you by your said letters desired me in no wise to disclose the same to the King's Grace, yet seeing the same toucheth not only his honour, your promise made to his Grace, and also my truth towards the same, I could no less do, but incontinent upon the sight of your said letters declare and shew the contents therof to his Highness, which at the first hearing could scantly believe the same to be true. But after that I had showed to his Grace, that by your own writing I had knowledge thereof, his Grace giving credence thereunto took the same grievously and displeasantly, not only for that you durst presume to marry his sister without his knowledge, but also for the breaking of your promise made to his Grace in his hand, I being present at Eltham. Having also such assured affiance in your truth that for all the world, and to have been torn with wild horses, you would not have broken your oath, promise and assurance made to his Grace. Which he doth well perceive that he is deceived of the constant and assured trust that he thought to have found in you. And for my part no man can be more sorry than I am that you have so done. And so his Grace would that I should expressly write unto you, being so incholered therewith that I cannot devise nor study for the remedy thereof considering that you have failed to him which hath brought you up of low degree to be of this great honour, and that you were the man in all the world he loved and trusted best, and was content that with good order and saving his honour you should have in marriage his said sister. Cursed be the blind affection and counsel that hath brought ye hereunto, fearing that such sudden and unavised dealing shall have sudden repentance!
"Nevertheless, in this great perplexity I see no other remedy but first to move your humble pursuits by your own writing, causing also the French King and the Queen and other your friends to write, with this also that shall follow—which I assure you I write unto you of my own head without knowledge of any person living, being in great doubt whether the same shall make your peace or no—notwithstanding if any remedy be it shall be by that way. It shall be well done that with all diligence possible you and the Queen bind yourselves by obligation to pay yearly to the King during the Queen's life £4000 of her dower, and so you and she shall have remaining of the said dower £6000 and above to live withal yearly. Over and besides this you must bind yourselves to give unto the King the plate of gold and jewels which the late French King had. And whereas the Queen shall have full restitution of her dot, you shall not only give entirely the said dot to the King, but also cause the French King to be bound to pay to the King the 200,000 crowns which his Grace is bound to pay to the Queen, in full contentation of the said dot, de novissimis denariis, and the said French King to acquit the King for the payment thereof, like as the King hath more at large declared his pleasure to you by his letters sent unto you. This is the way to make your peace, whereat if you deeply consider what danger you be and shall be in, having the King's displeasure, I doubt not both the Queen and you will not stick, but with all effectual diligence endeavour yourselves to recover the King's favour as well by this means as by other substantial true ways which by mine advice you shall use and none other towards his Grace, whom by colorable drifts and ways you cannot abuse. Now I have told you mine opinion hardily. Follow the same and trust not too much to your own wit, nor follow not the counsel of them that hath not more deeply considered the dangers of this matter than they have hitherto done.
"And as touching the overtures made by the French King for Tournay, and also for a new confederation with the King and him like as I have lately written unto you, I would not advise you to wade any further in these matters, for it be thought that the French King intendeth to make his hand by favouring you in the attaining to the said marriage. Which when he shall perceive that by your means he cannot get such things as he desireth, peradventure he shall show some change and alteration in the Queen's affairs whereof great inconvenience might ensue. Look wisely therefore upon the same, and consider you have enough to do in redressing your own causes, and think it shall be hard to induce the King to give you a commission of trust which hath so lightly regarded the same towards his Grace.
"Thus I have as a friend declared my mind unto you, and never trust to use me nor have me in anything contrary to truth, my master's honours, profits, wealth and surety, to the advancement and furtherance whereof no creature living is more bounden, as our Lord knoweth who send your Grace to look well and deeply upon your acts and doings, for you put yourself in the greatest danger that ever man was."
It was a masterly letter and put Suffolk out of conceit with his own wits and Mary with her counsel, and joined them in one desire to make plain the utter intolerableness of their situation to Henry. Wolsey warned them to be truthful and frank, for one part of the secret of his influence with the King's suspicious nature was his own love for plain dealing. So they wrote. Mary—bringing in the incident of the Friars' report to her as though it had recently happened, though from earlier letters of Suffolk's they were in hand with her before the arrival of the embassy—took all the blame on her shoulders and was ready to face the consequences. The best of her shows in admirable light in the following letter:—"Please it your Grace, to the greatest discomfort, sorrow and disconsolation but lately I have been advertised of the great and high displeasure which your highness beareth unto me and my lord of Suffolk for the marriage between us. Sir, I will not in anywise deny but that I have offended your Grace, for the which I do put myself most humbly in your clemency and mercy. Nevertheless to the intent that your highness should not think that I had simply, carnally or of any sensual appetite done the same, I having no re[gar]d to fall in your Grace's displeasure, I assure your Grace that I had never done [without your] ordinance and consent, but by the r[eason of the grea]t despair w[herein I was put] by the two fr[iars ...], which hath certified me in case I come [to] En[gland], your Council would never consent to the marriage between the said lord and me, with [ma]ny other sayings concerni[ng] the same promise, so that I verily [thought] that the said friar[s] would never have offered to have made me like over[ture] unless they might have had charge from some of your Council, the which put me in such consternation, fear and doubt of the obtaining of the thing which I desired most in this world, that I rather chose to put me in your mercy [by] accomplishing the marriage, than to put me in the order of your Council [knowing th]em to be otherways minded. Whereupon, Sir, I put [my lord of Su]ffolk in choice w[hether he woul]d accomplish th[e marriag]e within f[our days or else that he should never have] enjoyed me. Whereby I know well that I constrained him to break such promises as he made your Grace, as well for fear of losing me as also that I ascertained him that by their consent I would never come in to England. And now that your Grace knoweth the both offences of the which I have been the only occasion, I most humbly and as your most [sorrow]ful sister requiring you to have compassion upon us both and to pardon our offences, and that it will please your Grace to write to me and to my lord of Suffolk some [comfort]able words, for it sh[all be] greatest comfort for u[s both]. By your loving and most humble sister,
Then she wrote to Wolsey: "My very good lord, in most hearty manner I commend me unto you, letting you the same to understand that my lord of Suffolk hath sent me your letters which lately he received by Cooke, by which I perceive the faithful good mind which you do bear unto us both, and how that you be determined not to leave us in our extreme trouble, for the which your most fast and loving dealing I most entirely thank you, requiring you to continue towards us as you have been, which shall never be forgotten in any of our behalfs, but to the uttermost of our power we shall be always ready to shew [you all] faithful kindness [as knowe]th our Lord who [send you long] life. My lord, I require you that I may have me comfortable letters from the King my brother and from you, for I trow there was never woman that had more need. By your loving friend,
MARY, Queen of France."
But for all Mary's generosity the onus of the explanation fell on Suffolk, for he was on trial before the Council as well as before the King, and in spite of Wolsey's warning he insisted on attempting to explain the dealings with Francis which had laid him open to their suspicions. "Alas, Sir," he wrote, "as I understand it should be thought that I should incline too much to the French King's mind. Sir, if I ever inclined to him in thought or deed otherwise than might stand with your honour [let] me die for it." And he goes on to give his opinion of how the amity should be brought about. Then he attacks the main question. "Sir, one thing I insure your Grace, that it shall never be said that ever I did offend [you]r Grace in word, deed or thought, but for this [matter] touching the Queen, your sister, the which I can no longer nor will not hide from your Grace." Then he describes as far as he can word for word his interview with Mary on the night of his arrival at Paris, and begs the King to forgive him and defend him against his enemies who will think to put him out of favour. He begs some word of comfort from Henry, "for I promise your Grace that I was never a day whole since I parted from your Grace. And, Sir, at the writing of this I'm not very well." Another letter from Wolsey on his danger from the suspicions of the Council drew a more passionate appeal from him, and it is characteristic that his greatest sorrow is Henry's loss of confidence in him, the fault of his marriage with the Queen is as nothing in his eyes with the breaking of his promise, for that had moved Henry's anger more than the other. Thus he kneels before the King.
"[Most dread]est sovereign lord, with the most sorrowful and [heavy] heart I your most poor subject beseech you, most [dear]est lord, of forgiveness of mine offences now made un[to you], and for this said marriage, the which I have [done great]ly amiss. Where[fore], Sir, for the passion of God let it not be in your heart against me, but punish me rather with prison or other wise, as may be your pleasure. Sir, rather than you should have me in mistrust in your [he]art that I should not be true to you as there may be accusing [str]ike off my head and let me not live. Alas, Sir, my lord of York hath written to me two letters that it should be thought that the French King would make [h]is hand with your Grace, and that a would occupy me as [a]n instrument there unto. Alas, Sir, that ever it should be thought or said that I should be so, for, Sir, your Grace not offended, I will make good against all the world to die for it, that ever I thought any such thing or did thing, saving the love and [ma]rriage of the Queen, that should be to your displeasure, I pray God let me die as shameful a death as ever did man. Alas, that I ever did this, for afore this done I might have said that there was never man that had such a loving and kind master, nor there was never master that ever had a truer servant than your Grace has had of me, and ever shall have, whatsoever your Grace shall think of me, or any man else. And thus I make an end with the most sorrowful heart that ever had man, and not without cause, seeing mine unhap to use myself so [ill unto] so noble and gracious a master, whose favour [for long time] I had so sure and so largely that and I had been master of ten realms I should never have deserved, as k[nows God, who] send your Grace long life with much h[onour and your heart's] desire."
Surely this was penitent enough, but the offering of a merely contrite heart was not enough for Henry: it had to be gilded.
THEY turned to the question of money. Henry had already, at the instance of his Council perhaps, told Suffolk that he was not quite content with his handling of the dower question, and wrote to him about the end of February that had he done his devoir, or would do his devoir, the Queen would obtain all her stuff and jewels. Suffolk replied, "as touching that, and if I have not done the best therein and will do the best therein, never be good lord to me, and that I report [i.e. refer] me to my fellows. Alas, Sir, if I should not do the best it were pity [that I] lived, for I find you so good lord to me that there is none thing that grieves me but that she and I have no more to content your Grace. But, Sir, as she has written to you by her own hand, she is content to give you all that her Grace shall have by the right of her husband, and if it come not so much as your Grace thought, she is content to give to your Grace what sum you shall be content to ask, to be paid as her jointure, and all that she has in the world." Mary's letter confirmed this. "[Please it y]our Grace to understand [that wh]ereas I wrote unto your Grace touching my jewels and plate which I promised your [Gr]ace, such as I have shall be at [yo]ur commandments ever while [I live]. Howbeit 'tis not so well [as] I would it had been, for there is much sticking thereat. Howbeit I doubt not but I [s]hall have it at the link with the good help [of] your Grace and your [Coun]cil that be here. Sir, I think my lord of Suffolk will wr[ite m]ore plainlier to your Gra[ce tha]n I do of these matters. Then when you and the[y be] agreed with your Gr[ace, and] I have them, I will [give] you my part of th[em]. Sir, the French King speaks many ki[nd word]s unto me, a[nd doth affirm] that he ha[th a] special mind to ha[ve] peace with your Gra[ce be]fore any prince in Christendom, and, Sir, I would beseech your Grace that it may be so, if it [might] stand with your favour [and] pleasure, for by the means and favour of your Gr[ace] I have obtained as much honour in this realm as was possible to any woman to have, which causes me to write to your Grace in this matter. Over and ab[ove] this I most humbly beseech your Grace to write to th[e Fr]ench King and all [yo]ur ambassadors here [that they] make all sp[eed] possible that I m[ay come] to your Gra[ce, for my] singular des[ire] and [co]mfort [is to see] your Grace, above [all thi]ngs in this world. As knoweth our Lord, who [ev]er preserve your Grace.
By your loving sister, MARY."
Francis on his accession had secured Mary's dower to her, and there was no trouble about her actual jointure, but on the question of movables the dispute arose. On October 13, 1514, Louis XII. had signed letters of acquittance on the delivery of his wife, with her jewels, furniture, etc., representing the 400,000 golden crowns promised as her dowry, provided that in case of restitution the King and his heirs should only be bound to restore what she brought with her into France, with the expenses of her passage. The Queen-dowager was, according to the marriage contract, to have the use of plate and furniture, presumably that belonging to the late King, but Francis said it was unreasonable to expect him to allow this if the Queen left the kingdom. However, Mary's chief contention was that all the jewels which Louis had laid in her lap from out those seven coffers at Abbeville and elsewhere, and the gold plate which she had used, were to be considered by her as her own, independent of her position as Queen, and that she could do with them as she liked. This was distinctly contrary to the legal instrument, but both Mary and Henry were keen on that point, and the haggle, called negotiations, dragged on. Francis, on the other hand, contended that by law all the property of the late King should go to pay his debts, and said that if she kept the property she must take the debts too, and pay them, for she had no right to the movables. Suffolk was all desire to content his master, but the legalities of the matter were beyond his disentangling, "as touching whether she have right or no, I cannot tell, for it is past my learning." He made the best friends he could about Francis, "to persuade him, if so it were that she had none right, that he on his honour might depart with her so that the King [Henry] might see that he dealt not to the extremity." And so, my lord," he wrote to Wolsey, "in conclusion I am assuredly advertised that he will be content to give her the one half of the plate of gold, the which is valued 50,000 crowns—for the whole is but 100,000 crowns—and also he will be content to give her in jewels to the sum of 50,000 crowns, the which, by as far as I can perceive, shall be the one half of the jewels. My lord, this he will do upon the condition that the King's Grace and all his Council shall see that she has no right, and that he does it of his own good will, and for the love of the King's Grace and for hers, for he will not that it should be thought and she had right but that she should have all." If division were to be made, then all the jewels would need to be shown, and Suffolk, as already seen, had to ask for the return of the jewel sent as a peace-offering to Henry. But Henry would not send back the famous "Miroir de Naples" and it remained in England, grudged by the French King. Mary's acknowledgment of the jewels she received from Francis includes a large diamond called "le Miroir de Naples" with a large pearl attached; 20 diamonds "enchassez et mis en œuvre en une bordeur d'or," to serve as a head-dress; 8 large pearls as buttons for the sleeves; 8 others for a carcanet; a large emerald; a large ruby and 2 large diamonds set in 4 "chatons d'or": all of which belonged to her late lord and husband, Louis XII. The jewel and the promise of many more, and also of two-fifths of her jointure, seems to have pacified her brother, for he sent letters of recall almost at once, and wrote to Francis desiring him to allow the return of the Queen to England. As things were it would be just as well to get the pair home and let them be married openly in England, but before that, Suffolk's request that he might be married before leaving France was acceded to, and a semi-private ceremony took place on the last Saturday in March, the 30th, and in Lent. Louise de Savoie's diary is the authority for this date, though probably she was not present, for she had been ill. "Samedi dernier jour de mars le duc de Suffort, homme de basse condition lequel Henry VIII de ce nom avait envoyé ambassadeur devers le roi, épousa Marie." On April 4 definite news of the marriage arrived at Ghent. It seems fairly probable—but with mutilated and undated documents it is flying in the face of criticism to be dogmatic—that it was at this time that Suffolk's cousin, Sir William Sidney, arrived with letters and a "credence" which brought the duke "great ease and comfort." He caused Wingfield to write to Wolsey that the archbishop "had bound him and all his to be yours during their lives." At this date, too, Henry did his best to silence gossip, and wrote to Margaret of Austria asking her to contradict all reports in the Prince's court of a secret marriage.
Henry's anger was short-lived after all. He was genuinely attached to Suffolk, who had done his business as well as could be expected, and the King knew what to expect from Francis in the matter of straight dealing, so the Duke was overjoyed to receive, as a mark of partially renewed confidence, orders to treat with Francis for the final clauses of the peace. Wolsey was truly a friend worth having, prodigal of tact and unwearying in effort. The Duke and the Queen were to come home as soon as the peace was concluded, and the hitch in the proceedings arose from Francis' refusal to prevent the departure of the Duke of Albany into Scotland, for the Scots were to be comprehended in the peace only on the distinct understanding that the old Franco-Scottish alliance was broken. Francis, however, said he had no mind to withdraw his protection and amity from Scotland. By the marriage treaty now concluded he had detached Flanders from England, and knew that Henry without its aid and with an hostile "friend" across the border would have small power against him, but he gave his word as a gentleman, with his hand on his heart, that his ambitions were entirely Italian. All the same there was talk of Guelders besieging Tournay, and Francis boasted that he could have it any day. However, stop Albany he would not, "though he swore he would jeopard his head and bind him by the censures of the Church that if the Duke did not bring peace to Scotland in four months he would bring him home again." And Albany set out to take ship at St Malo, "mawgre all the ships now in the sea" to stop him. The English had a great day with the King for his keeping. Francis suggested that if he stopped Albany for three months then Suffolk should remain the same time in France as hostage for Henry's behaviour towards the Scots. The ambassadors promptly said No, they had no authority to do this and would not if they had, and if the Duke were to help the one party in Scotland, Henry would certainly send aid to his sister, Queen Margaret. Francis was too impatient to be off towards Italy to stand long on the order of his treating, and the same day, April 5, Holy Thursday, while the Queen and Suffolk were in the church of the Maturins, "adjoining fast to her Grace's lodging, the French King came in to take pardon and spake not past two or three words with [the] Queen, but came over to my lord and showed him [as far] as he could understand, as my lord showed unto us, that he had stopped the said Duke of Albany's going [into] Scotland, and that he would send another ambassador that should come through England and s[how the King and his] Council his instructions." The upshot was that Francis gave the Scots three months to come into the amity, "so that it might [seem to] his friends there that he forsook them not," and peace was signed in London on Easter Monday, March 9. The only bit of public business now remaining was the Tournay question, but Suffolk had been bitten and would not again treat of the matter, and referred it for settlement to the meeting of the Kings. So Tournay remained to the English.
Francis had promised that Mary should be allowed to depart as soon as "le tans se trouvera convenable," and now gave her liberty to depart the Saturday next after Quasimodo Geniti (Low Sunday, April 15). The date being settled, Wingfield and West were more than ever anxious to get her affairs definitely settled. The costs of her "traduction" made the Chancellor hold up his hands in horror that all that money should have been spent in seven or eight days, but the King, he said, was willing to make a composition without asking for particulars. They replied that the hiring and manning of the ships had occupied a much longer time than that, and that it had been necessary to scour the seas both east and west beforehand that no enemy might impeach her passage. As to the question of composition, there could be none in truth, for the costs were included by an article in the treaty and they had no other basis for treating. However, if the King would tell them what sum he had decided on they would either take it or refer it to Henry. No sum had been decided on, and the answer was deferred till the next day. Francis told the Chancellor to make an end of the matter and offer 30,000 francs. Wingfield and West haggled for 20,000 crowns of the sun, equal to 39,000 francs, which, after consulting together, they agreed to take, "considering we could bring him to no greater sum, and in what necessity the Queen was, not having one penny towards her charges, seeing also the exclamation of the merchants and other victuallers, and her servants for their wages, especially by them that be now warned out of (service), we were by force driven to consent to the said offer, and could not otherwise make shift to furnish her charges, which be exceeding great as you shall know hereafter, to your no little marvel." Thus far everything was adjusted but the question of the jewels and plate, the offer of half of which had been favourably entertained by Henry. Francis offered 30,000 crowns for the "Miroir de Naples," and was exceeding wroth when he found the jewel had passed the sea beyond recall, and no doubt his wrath accounts for his scant courtesy to Mary in church on Holy Thursday. Mary must have made "a good Pask," for England and home were in sight at last, but it needed another eight days to conclude matters. On Saturday, April 14, in the Clugny Abbey, Mary signed a receipt for 200,000 gold crowns, including 20,000 paid for her travelling expenses, returned as moiety of her dowry that had been already paid. And on the same day Suffolk authorized his wife to receive and give receipt for jewels, etc., which formed part of her dowry. This authorization may have been demanded by Francis to strengthen his point that Mary did not receive the jewels as right but as a gift from him. On the following Monday Mary gave the required receipt, and set out at once for home, glad to get out of her prison, where she had not known a day's health, and to leave Paris with its mud and smells and innumerable horses. The gold plate was left behind, with the marriage present which the prudent Venetian ambassador, who arrived after Louis XII.'s death, had thriftily suppressed, though Mary had asked for it. Dean West was to try and extract the plate from the King at the signing of the treaty, and, failing that, Suffolk said he would give its value to Henry. The impulsive dispatch of the jewel had spoiled the negotiations, and Francis still was so incensed that he had "done nothing about the present which he had promised the Queen by the Grand-master and Bonnivet," and had only given her at her departing "four baagues of no great value." With the present he sent the message that she could have the movables if she paid the debts. West did his best at Montargys, where the treaty of peace with England was signed, to get more out of the King. On the Dean breaking roundly with him on the subject, Francis "studied a little," and said he would give him an answer next day. West then said that the interview desired by the two Kings depended on Henry's side on the answer he got about the jewels and plate, and if "he dealt not well with the Queen's Grace, your sister, in that matter, your Grace would take it so unkindly that there would be great difficulty to bring it to pass." Next day, after the ceremony of subscribing the treaty at the high altar, "the King desired him to repeat in the presence of the Chancellor what he had said the day before touching the Queen's moveables," and when he had done so, the Chancellor requested West to withdraw. On being recalled, West was told by the Chancellor at the King's desire that "if the King under[stood] that the Queen had any right to the said m[oveables] he would have given her altogether. And [upon this] as I said she had received no part, the Chancellor replied that she had the jewel of Naples, for which the King offered 30,000 crowns, and 18 pearls valued at 10,000 crowns; but the King trusted to see Henry shortly and they would settle the matter together." No other answer was to be had, and West sent Mary's useless seal after her by Suffolk's servant. Suffolk's commonsense spoke truth when he said they could not compel Francis to "gyf soo moche wyet howth (without) he lyst."
The Queen was now (April 16) on her way to Calais with Suffolk. Francis had gone with her almost to St Denis, and Monsieur and many of the personages kept her company to Boulogne. The day she left peace was proclaimed, fires were made at night, and on the morrow there was a holiday. On the 22nd they came to Montreuil, and there Suffolk's uneasiness at Wolsey's silence for the past fortnight ("one in his position was glad of tidings") found vent in a letter to Henry beseeching pardon and forgiveness.
"Most Gracious Sovereign Lord.—So it is that I am informed divers ways that all your whole Council, my lord of York excepted, with many others are clearly determined to tempt your Grace that I may either be put to death or be put in prison and so to be destroyed. Alas, Sir, I may say that I have a hard fortune, seeing that there was never none of them in trouble but I was glad to help them in my power, and that your Grace knows best. And now that I am in this none little trouble and sorrow now they are ready to help and destroy me. But, Sir, I can no more but God forgive them whatsoever comes to me, for I am determined. For, Sir, your Grace is he that is my sovereign lord and master, and he that has brought me up out of nought, and I am your subject and servant and he that has offended your Grace in breaking my promise that I made your Grace touching the Queen, your sister. For the which, with most humble heart, I will yield myself unto your Grace's hands to do with my poor body your gracious pleasure, not fearing the malice of them, for I know your Grace of such nature that it cannot lie in their powers to cause you to destroy me for their malice. But what punishment I have I shall thank God and your Grace of it, and think that I have well deserved it, both to God and your Grace. As knows our Lord, who send your Grace your most honorable heart's desire with long life, and me, most sorrowful wretch, your gracious favour, what sorrows soever I endure therefor.
At Mottryll, the 22nd day of April, by your most humble subject and servant, CHARLES SUFFOLK."
The letter Mary sent by the same messenger, Sir William Sidney, had been already submitted to Wolsey, for the draft of it in his secretary's hand altered in the archbishop's, is extant in the Public Record Office.
"My most dear and entirely beloved brother. In most humble manner I recommend me to your Grace.
"Dearest brother, I doubt not that you have in your good remembrance that whereas, for the good of peace and for the furtherance of your affairs, you moved me to marry with my lord and late husband, King Louis of France, whose soul God pardon. Though I understood that he was very aged and sickly, yet for the advancement of the said peace and for the furtherance of your causes, I was contented to conform myself to your said motion, so that if I should fortune to survive the said late King I might with your good will marry myself at my liberty without your displeasure. Whereunto, good brother, you condescended and granted, as you well know, promising unto me that in such case you would never provoke nor move me but as mine own heart and mind should be best pleased, and that wheresoever I should dispose myself you would wholly be content with the same. And upon that your good comfort and faithful promise I assented to the said marriage, else I would never have granted to, as at the same time I showed unto you more at large. Now that God hath called my said late husband to his mercy, and I am at my liberty, dearest brother, remembering the great virtues which I have seen and perceived heretofore in my lord of Suffolk, to whom I have always been of good mind, as ye well know, I have affixed and clearly determined myself to marry him, and the same I assure you hath proceeded only of mine own mind, without any request or labour of my lord of Suffolk or of any other person. And to be plain with your Grace, I have so bound myself unto him that for no cause earthly I will or may vary or change from the same. Wherefore my good and most kind brother, I now beseech your Grace to take this matter in good part, and to give unto me and to my said lord of Suffolk your good will herein, ascertaining you that upon the trust and comfort which I have for that you have always honourably regarded your promise, I am comen out of the realm of France and have put myself within your jurisdiction in this your town of Calais, where I intend to remain till such time as I shall have answer from you of your good and loving mind herein, which I would not have done, but upon the faithful trust that I have in your said promise. Humbly beseeching your Grace for the great and tender love which ever hath been and shall be between you and me to bare your gracious mind and show yourself agreeable hereunto, and to certify me by your most loving letters of the same. Till which time I will make mine abode here and no further enter your realms.
"And to the intent it may please you, the rather to condescend to this my most hearty desire, I am contented and expressly promise, and bind me to you by these presents to give you all the whole dot which was delivered with me, and also all such plate of gold and jewels as I shall have of my said late husband's. Over and besides this I shall, rather than fail, give you as much yearly part of my dower to as great a sum as shall stand with your will and pleasure. And of all the premises I promise upon knowledge of your good mind to make unto you sufficient bonds. Trusting verily that in fulfilling your said promise to me made, you will show your brotherly love, affection and good mind to me in this behalf, which to hear of I abide with most desire, and not to be miscontented with my said lord of Suffolk, whom of mine inward good mind and affection to him I have in manner enforced to be agreeable to the same, without any request of him made. As knoweth our Lord, whom I beseech to have your Grace in his merciful governance."
Both letters harped on a "promise," and Mary's argument was all the stronger that the King's anger was because of Suffolk's broken word, and Henry was just the man to feel that in these circumstances the royal word must remain intact. Besides, he was getting his full price. The argument was very likely Wolsey's, who no doubt was rather weary of hearing about Suffolk's default. In uncertainty, however, the Queen and Suffolk went on to Calais, only to find the town inflamed against the Duke, and it is said he had to keep within the King of England's house for fear of the people. For nearly a month, in expectation of the Queen's arrival, the deputation from the town to Henry on important local business had been put off by command of the Deputy, Sir Richard Wingfield, "for the town would have been left bare at the arrival of the Queen," and possibly this sharpened local exasperation. Stowe says that Mary crossed on May 2, and the official account says she did not stay long at Calais, "but within a few short days, the time being fine, good and suitable, took her passage and arrived at Dover, which is the place from whence she set sail when she went abroad. At which place she was met by many honourable personages, as well lords as ladies, and by them conducted and accompanied to a place called Saint Saulve (Sauveur?) de Grace (sic), and about two leagues from the said county of the said saint, she was met and received by my lord the Archbishop of York, and from thence also accompanied he conveyed her, taking the way to Barking, which is a fine manor, where was our said lord the King. And before she arrived at the said place of Barking, the King, accompanied by many great princes and lords of this kingdom, in good and great number met her a mile from the said place of Barking, and bid her welcome as cordially and affectionately as he possibly could, rejoicing greatly in her honourable return and great prosperity. And from the place of the said meeting his highness conveyed her to the said manor of Barking, at which place it was appointed that the King and she should stay all the day next ensuing."
What was her real and private reception, and how Suffolk came into his master's presence, we have no means of knowing. The document given hereafter in full says that explanations took place in the evening of their arrival at Barking. By a deed dated May 11th, the day after their arrival, the final conditions of marriage and forgiveness were settled, and Mary and Suffolk bound themselves to pay to Henry for expenses over and above her dowry £24,000 in yearly instalments of £1000, and to resign to the King's use her dot of £200,000 and her plate and jewels. On Suffolk's part he resigned the wardship of Lady Lisle. Two days after this the marriage was openly celebrated at Greenwich, on May 13, in the presence of the whole Court, where the Norfolk faction gloomed in defeat, for while the Court bulletin sent abroad said that "all the estates and others of this realm be very glad and well pleased," Hall was nearer the mark when he wrote that "many men grudged."
Now that all was en règle, the only thing that remained to be done was to cover up entirely the traces of the first and most irregular marriage, and to acknowledge and ask for the concealment of the one on March 31, to which Francis was privy. So Sir William Sidney was sent back to Francis with a document containing a neat set of events, arranged to hide improprieties and to guard against future questions. It is really a safeguard of the legitimacy of the children of the then heir to the throne. There are two documents, one in Paris and one in London. Sir William Sidney is told therein (by Wolsey and Suffolk) to represent to Francis that "the same evening that the said Queen arrived at the said place of Barking, after many communications and devices had between the King and her touching her affairs, she among other things made overture and declaration to the King, our said lord, that the marriage, for which the King, her son-in-law, had before written very earnestly by letters of his own hand to the King, our said lord, for the marriage between her and the Duke of Suffolk, was not only concluded and determined but was secretly perfected, finished and solemnized in the Kingdom of France in Lent last past, to the doing of which the King, her son-in-law, was alone privy, desiring, therefore, with the greatest possible humility the King, our said lord, to take and accept it in good part, and to be well content at it and not to object nor lay any blame on the said Duke of Suffolk, since this proceeded entirely on her own wish and the singular love that she bore him, and that it proceeded not all from his procuration or pursuit.
"Which overture and declaration was at first strange and very displeasing to the King, nevertheless, recalling the very urgent prayer and request that the King, his said good brother and cousin, had heretofore made him upon this by his said letters written with his hand for the accomplishing of the said marriage, with the very humble mediation and good aid of my lord of York, the anger of the King was appeased and somewhat modified. And considering that the said marriage had been contracted in the prohibited time and season, and without banns asked, and celebrated by a priest not having authority from the ordinary therefor, also to avoid the danger which might ensue from the illegitimation of such children as might be procreated between them two, and in part guard the King's honour and hers, and also accomplish and comply with the desire of his said good brother and cousin, the King—although the King might well have shown more displeasure, which might have been for his own dignity and that of his kingdom—nevertheless, for the causes and considerations above declared and that his said good brother, the King, might assuredly know and understand that the King would incline and be conformable to all his reasonable desires, his highness not only consented, but it seemed to him to be good and expedient—to avoid all danger and to establish the thing more perfectly—that the said marriage should be openly solemnized in England and performed in due form and manner with the publication of banns and all other ceremonies herein requisite and expedient, according to what has been and is accustomed to be done in such case.
[English draft begins here.] "Wherefore after all preparations made for that purpose and the banns openly asked, the said marriage between the said Queen and Duke was solemnized at Greenwich in presence of the King, the Queen, and such other nobles and estates of this realm as then were attending in the Court, on Sunday the 13th day of this instant month of May, and with the same all the said estates and others of this realm be very glad and well pleased. And considering that there be no mo privy to the said secret marriage made between them in France, but only the said French King and none privy here unto but the King, to whom the said French King and Duke disclosed the same, the said Sir William Sidney shall say that the King's Grace desireth and perfectly trusteth that for the honour of the said French Queen and for avoiding of all evil bruits which may ensue thereof, he will reserve and keep the same at all times hereafter secret to himself without making any creature privy thereunto, like as the King shall do for his part. And at this point the said Sir William Sidney shall pause, noting and marking substantially what answer the said French King shall make hereunto to the intent he may certify the said Archbishop of York and the Duke of Suffolk thereof accordingly."
Thus Suffolk and Wolsey laboured to repair the damage, but with little effect; secrecy had become impossible, the news was over Europe.
Here ends the via dolorosa to their open marriage, and now, after this hour in a fierce light which revealed the very beating of her heart, Mary sinks back into the cloud of obscurity which covers the lives of people neither politically nor criminally important. Occasionally, as will be seen hereafter, the cloud lifts, only to close down again almost immediately. Of her married life little can be found, and if the well-known stanza written on their portrait indicates anything, it is a certain loving tolerance on the part of Suffolk for his capricious, warm-hearted wife.
"Cloth of gold do not despise,
Though thou be matched with cloth of frize:
Cloth of frize be not too bold,
Though thou be matched with cloth of gold."
SO far as consecutive dated documents go, Mary's history comes to an end with her open marriage, for this last chapter is largely made up of odds and ends of information, undated letters, dated scraps, as tantalizing in their laconic information as the fuller undated letters in their vagueness. When possible from internal evidence, the letters have been dated, but generally this is not so, and they are chiefly valuable as accentuating that pleasant trait in Mary's character, already noticed in her history, her readiness to use her influence to help her dependents. The letters are with few exceptions addressed to Wolsey, and they show in their language, which one cannot help but believe to be the expression of genuine feeling, that she never forgot his help in her time of trouble. With one exception, the question of the divorce of Katharine, we have absolutely no data to show what was her attitude towards the circling events of the ensuing eighteen years, and this chapter is found to bear the same relation to the foregoing ones as the stick does to the rocket.
Suffolk and Wolsey were busy for months over the marriage question, but one of the first things the Duke found time to do was to retrieve his daughter Anne from the care of Lady Margaret of Savoy. He wrote to her on May 30, 1515, thanking her for her care of the child, whom he had intended to have left permanently in her charge, but as the French Queen desired her presence, he was sending Sir Edward Guildford to bring her home.
So far as the jewels and plate were concerned, Sir Wm. Sidney had no success in his mission to Francis. Neither jewels nor plate were forthcoming, so Sir Richard Wingfield, who knew all the intricacies of the affair, was commissioned to go to the French King. Sir Richard was very unwilling to undertake the journey to Lyons, where was Francis; "nevertheless, if my voyage shall proceed, I trust it is not the King's highness mind that I should jeopard my life with him, for if I had one hundred lives I lever jeopard them with my prince than one with any other prince." Henry desired no jeoparding of his life, and his instructions were to thank the French King for his consolation of the King's sister; and then, other matters relating to the continuation of the amity having been presented, he was to show to Francis the right of the Queen-dowager of France to the jewels and plate of gold of her late husband, and so on through the whole argument again, dwelling on the fact that the Mirror of Naples is but a small thing, and her own by right, and using all wisdom, policy, and sober persuasions that he can to this effect. It was all to no purpose; gold plate and jewels Mary never saw again, and her income from her dowry was uncertain, and caused anxiety and weariness all her life. During this year and the next, while the matter was still fresh in the mind of Henry, he did not cease to urge the restitution of the jewels, always as a matter of right.
Mary and her husband had been forgiven and were in favour again, and at Court became quite naturally the centre of all those French influences and ideas which have always had such a vivid attraction to Englishmen. Wolsey's policy, however, was giving way to pressure, and was swinging back to the traditional one of enmity to France, so that the Suffolks watched events with some anxiety. They were in communication with the Duke of Albany, the head of the French party in Scotland: Mary to ask his protection for her sister, Queen Margaret, and her nephews, while Albany wrote in October to Suffolk to ask for his good offices with Henry for him. If Suffolk could only have kept out of the French circle it would have been safer for him, but he was nervous about the fulfilment of his marriage contract as it regarded the King, and desired to continue on friendly terms with Francis and Louise, so that his very fear of Henry's anger drove him into constant danger of incurring it. Thus, in 1515, when Bapaume, the French Ambassador, had been rudely received by Henry, who was annoyed by Francis' brilliant successes in Italy and by his help to the Scots, what must Suffolk do but go and smooth matters over. He was as civil as Henry had been the reverse, and rejoiced at the fitness of the French, and said no one was more obliged to their King than he was, and that, after Henry, he would serve him all his life. He reassured Bapaume, whose fears had been excited by the christening by the French Queen of the new galley, "The Virgin Mary," and said the ship had only been built to please Katharine and his wife. A copy of the ambassador's letter to Louise de Savoie, containing a circumstantial account of this interview with the Duke, and of one more cordial still with Wolsey, came into the hands of the Council, and was communicated to Henry (no doubt by Wolsey, for some reason unknown to us), for in January 1516 Suffolk's matters with the King were not in good order. The political evil was further tangled by the financial one, and by the beginning of the year his liabilities to Henry amounted to £12,000, and they were in the hands of Henry's bankers and debtors, the Italian merchants, the Frescobaldi, and the Cavalcanti, to whom the King very often deputed the task of collecting his debts. There was no prospect of money from France. Francis had taken no notice of an invitation sent by Suffolk to be godfather at the christening of the child which Katharine was expecting, and the union between the English and the Prince of Castile was affirmed by the looseness of that between Henry and Francis. Thus Suffolk, for the moment, had lost his master's favour, and his wife her income. Mary sent "certain jewels and other things" to Henry, to the amount of £1000, and that tided them over the first payment, but Suffolk begged Henry to have pity on them both.
Mary, however, at this moment had other things to think of, for on Tuesday, March 11, 1516, "between 10 and 11 o'clock in the night, was born at Bath Place (Wolsey's house) the son of Mary Queen of France and Charles Duke of Suffolk, whose christening was deferred unto the Thursday next following," so he was probably a weakly infant. Typical state was held at the christening, for, save the little Princess Mary, who had been born a month before to Katharine, he was the heir to the throne, and Queen Mary was not one to forget that. "From the nursery to the hall door was well gravelled, and above all well rushed of a meetly thickness, and railed round about from the nursery to the hall door, whereat was a goodly porch of timber work substantially builded, which porch was hanged without with cloth of arras, and within hanged with cloth of gold. And also the hall richly hanged with arras." Red and white roses were everywhere on cushions and hangings. The font had lukewarm water, and was in the charge of two esquires with aprons, and two more were there to see that the fire in the recess where the young lord was to be unarrayed did not smoke. Torches lined the way from the nursery to the hall, and there were twenty-four in the hall itself. Down the burning alleyway came the basin, the taper, the salt and the chrysom, all borne by members of the household; then Lady Anne Grey, with the young lord in her arms, supported by Lord Dacres, chamberlain to the French Queen, at the head, and Lord Edward Grey at the foot. The train was borne by Sir Humphrey Bannister, chamberlain to the Duke of Suffolk, and four torches were borne about the young lord by four esquires. The King, the Cardinal, and the old Lady Katharine, Countess of Devon, Mary's aunt, were sponsors at the font, while the Bishop of Durham was godfather at the bishoping [confirmation]. The Bishop of Rochester christened the child, and the King gave the name. Gifts were presented by the sponsors, the Lady Katharine's being two plain pots of silver and gilt, the King's a salt of gold and a cup of gold. Then the company went back to the nursery, where Mary was awaiting them, and presented the young lord to his mother. The baby's behaviour all through seems to have equalled that of his little cousin the Princess Mary, who, according to her father's boast, never cried. Henry's presence at the christening was probably due to his genuine affection for his sister, for he had by no means restored Suffolk to favour, and ordered him into the country till it was his pleasure to see him. The truth was, no doubt, that Wolsey, who was now "marvellous great" with Sir William Compton of the Norfolk party, was deep in the negotiations for the league between England and Flanders, to which Suffolk was naturally opposed, and his presence in opposition at Court was simply not to be tolerated. Suffolk spent nearly a whole year in exile from the Court, though in September, when Henry made a progress through Suffolk and came to the Duke's own house at Donyngton, he allowed Suffolk to come to him. Mary, who felt the exile more than her husband, wrote to her brother thanking him for his condescension.
My most dearest right entirely beloved lord and brother, —In my most humble wise I recommend me unto your Grace, showing unto your Grace that I do p[erceive] by my lord and husband that you are pleased and contented that he shall resort unto your presence, at such time as your Grace shall be at his manor of Donyngton, whereby I see well that he is marvellously rejoiced and much comforted that it hath liked your Grace so to be pleased, for the which your special goodness to him, showed in that behalf, and for sundry and many other your kindness, as well to me as to him, showed and given in divers causes, I most humbly thank your Grace, assuring you that for the same I account myself as much bounden unto your Grace as ever sister was to brother, and according thereunto I shall to the best of my power during my life endeavour myself as far as in me shall be possible, to do the thing that shall stand with your pleasure. And if it had been time convenient and your Grace had been therewith pleased I would most gladly have accompanied my said lord in this journey. But I trust that both I and my said lord shall see you, according as your Grace wrote in your last letters unto my said lord, which is the thing that I desire more to obtain than all the honour of the world. And thus I beseech our Lord to send unto you, my most dearest and entirely beloved brother and lord, long and prosperous life with the full accomplishment of all your honourable desires, most humbly praying your Grace that I may be humbly recommended unto my most dearest and best beloved sister, the Queen's Grace, and to the Queen of Scots, my well beloved sister, trusting that [I?] be ascertained from your Grace of the prosperous estate and health of my dearly beloved n[iece] the princess, to whom I pray God send long life.
"From Letheringham in Suffolk, the 9th day of September, by the hand of your loving sister,
MARIE, Queen of France."
Suffolk's banishment was not revoked, and on November 1 the league against France between Flanders, Spain, England, and the Swiss was concluded, of which, as Giustinian the Venetian said, the Cardinal of York was the beginning, middle and end. Wolsey had not forgotten Mary, and had tried to get a clause about her dowry inserted into the treaty, "that in case any prince should refuse to pay debts owing to England, as if France were to decline paying the dowry of the Lady Mary, the confederates should be bound to assist him." But the Flemish Council thought this unreasonable.
The new year, 1517, brought new demands for the King's payments, and the Earl of Shrewsbury had been dunning the Duke for certain smaller sums. In February Suffolk went to London to go into the state of his own and his wife's debts to the King with Wolsey (the Venetian Ambassador met him at the Cardinal's, very busy over them), and he afterwards wrote to Henry:—
"Sir, —In the most humble wise I commend me to your Grace. And, Sir, so was it at the last time I was with your Grace I went through with my lord Cardinal for such debts as the Queen your sister and I are in to your Grace, for the which it was thought by your Grace's Council learned that your sister and I both must confer divers things before your judges according unto the law. And, Sir, I beseech you that she may come up to the intent that she may do all such acts, according as be devised or shall be devised most for your Grace's surety, to the intent that whatsoever shall happen of me that your Grace may be in surety, and that it shall not be said but it is her deed and free will the which your Grace shall well perceive that it is done with good mind and heart. And, Sir, the coming up of her to see your Grace shall rejoice her more than the value of that if it should be given to her. Sir, it is so that I have heard by my lord Morley and others that your Grace intends to have some pastime this May and that your Grace's pleasure is that I shall give mine attendance on your Grace, the which I shall be as glad to do as any poor servant or subject that your Grace has living. Howbeit, Sir, I am somewhat unprovided of such things as belong to that business, wherefore if it may stand with your Grace's pleasure I would bring up the Queen, your sister, against Easter to both plays, and then remain till she and I may know your Grace's further pleasure, to the which she and I shall obey with humble heart, according to her duty and mine. As knows God, who preserve your Grace in long life with as much health and honour as your noble heart can desire, which is both her and my daily prayer.
"By your most humble subject and servant,
Shortly after having written this letter Suffolk was annoyed by an incident which might have embroiled him further with the King. It was all through the meddlesome match-making of Mistress Jerningham, who ought to have known better. In March Queen Katharine was going to Our Lady of Walsingham to pray for a son, and on the way she was to be entertained by the Suffolks. The Duke's letter to Wolsey explains the affair.
"My very good lord, —In my most heartiest manner I commend me unto your good lordship, ever more thanking you for the good mind that you have borne unto me, and beseeching your good continuance of the same. So it is, my lord, according to your advice I met the Queen my mistress on Friday last past at Pickenham Wood, and as my duty was, awaited upon her Grace to Walsingham, and also according to your advice the French Queen did meet with the said Queen my mistress at the next place that was convenient nigh unto our lodging, and such poor cheer as we could make her Grace we did, with as good heart and mind as her own servants according to our duties. Furthermore, my lord, as yesterday, Monday, the 16th day of March, Mistress Jerningham came to the French Queen my wife at dinner time, before the Queen my mistress coming hither, and after that she had been with the said Queen my wife, she took her daughter-in-law aside with her, and called young Berkeley [heir to Lord Berkeley] unto them, and there privately ensured [betrothed] the said Berkeley unto the Lady Anne Grey, one of the Queen my wife's ladies and mine. Which is no little displeasure unto me, seeing he is the King's ward, and that it pleased his Grace to put him to my rule and guiding. I had lever have spent a thousand pound than any such pageant should have been done within the Queen's house and mine. My Lord, I heartily desire and pray your good lordship that if any misinformations be made unto the King's Grace hereof that it will please you to shew his Grace hereof as I have written unto you, lest his Grace should give credence unto some other light informations herein, which I should abide by upon my honour, and that it will please you to stay the matter till my coming up to London. Also that it would please your lordship so to order this matter that it may be an example to all other, how they should make any such mysteries within any nobleman or woman's house hereafter, and in especially with one of the King's wards. And thus fare you well, my very good lord, I beseech Jesu to send you long life and good health. From the manor of Rising, the 17th day of March.
"By your assured
The betrothal was of course invalid, and Suffolk got no blame in the matter, but it is a great pity one cannot read what Wolsey said to forward Mistress Jerningham. Suffolk came to Court for St George's Day, was well received by the King and Wolsey, and in a few days returned to Suffolk to bring his wife to town, and they were spectators of the Cardinal's "pageant" when at the intercession of himself and the three queens, for the Queen of Scots was in London, the King pardoned the rioters of the Evil May Day. Mary saw the fine sight when each of the forty men in custody took the halter from his neck and threw it in the air, and jumped for joy at his escape from death. "It was a very fine spectacle and well arranged," said a cynical foreigner. In July they were present at the banquet and jousts given at Greenwich to the ambassadors of the Emperor and the King of Spain on the signing of the treaty of amity. Suffolk signed it, and with it lost, he probably thought, all chance of his wife's income. At Greenwich the sailors from the King's great galley set up the cables for the tilt, and the two queens, Katharine and Mary, watched their husbands joust under the windows of the palace, "like Hector and Achilles," Henry in black and white, the Duke in white, lozenged with crimson satin semé with the letters C.M., for Charles and Mary. Then came a banquet, when the French Queen sat at the head of the table beside her brother, and Suffolk was in the middle of one side opposite Norfolk and old Lady Guildford. During the dinner boys made the sweetest melody with their voices, flute, rebeck, and harpsichord, and after this there was dancing, when the King showed himself indefatigable, dancing all night after jousting all afternoon. The great feature in the whole series of entertainments was the playing of Fra Dionysius Memo, late organist at St Mark's, Venice, and now chief musician to Henry, and so sweet it was, and so enthralled was the King by it, that the Court had concerts lasting for four hours on end. Henry always led the applause vehemently. The Court resounded with song, and there was rivalry among the boy singers and the musicians. Small wonder that Mary, whose tastes were like her brother's, longed to be always at Court with such gay company, but Suffolk could not move without running up against his creditors, and again he had to refuse Lord Shrewsbury, who was pressing for his money, so that probably his enjoyment was not as whole-hearted as his Queen's.
MARGARET TUDOR, QUEEN OF SCOTS
FROM THE PAINTING IN THE STYLE OF BERNARD VAN ORLEY IN THE NATIONAL PORTRAIT GALLERY
Immediately the festivities were over, Mary went to Bishop's Hatfield, and there was delivered of a daughter who was called Frances, for she was born on St Francis' Day. The Queen and the Princess Mary were godmothers, for whom Lady Boleyn, Anne Boleyn's mother, and Lady Elizabeth Grey acted as deputies, and the Abbot of St Albans was godfather. There was great state at the christening, but nothing like that held for the young lord who might become King of England.
The financial arrangement which Suffolk had made with the Council was an indenture which showed that their debts to Henry amounted to £24,000 due by them at Calais, £600 for their diets in the King's house, and also £2300 for other things. Of this, £20,000 was the proper debt of the French Queen, and £6901 the debt of the Duke. Henry acknowledged having received from them in jewels £1666, 13s. 4d., and was to receive the remainder in instalments of 1000 marks at Michaelmas and at Easter, "if the French Queen so long live and the Duck togeders," and it probably was now that the clause was inserted by which the King waived his right to demand payment when by reason of war Mary's income was practically cancelled. Francis promised in February 1518 that the dowry of his belle-mère should be paid, and gave orders to the officers in Saintonge, and the other places of her dower-lands, to let her representatives receive the rents, and the result was that 14,610 crowns were paid to Henry's representative, Fowler, at Calais. The arrangement with the Suffolks seems to have been that the King's officer was to receive the amount paid by the French, and that he was to pay over to the Queen the proportion due to her after the King's debt was satisfied, and in July 1518 Humphrey Wingfield, the Duke's officer, gave receipt for £2722.
The Easter of 1518, the French Queen and her husband were ordered to the Court at Abingdon, whither Henry had fled from the sweating sickness, out of the region of the daily death-roll. Suffolk wrote to Wolsey to know how the French Queen was to be ordered in her coming to the King, "the which shall not fail to be followed." Mary was always delighted to be at Court, and by reason of her Henry allowed Suffolk to remain till St George's Day. This was an opportunity for the Duke by protestation to clear himself of the slur cast on him by his reported private dealings with the French, and after he had received the sacrament on Easter Day, he went to Sir Richard Pace, Wolsey's secretary with the King, and said he had been accused as untrue to the King's Grace as well in accepting a protection offered him by France, as in putting the French orators, on their being last in England, in comfort of the restitution of Tournay. It was all untrue. Pace listened and reported, but nothing happened, save that Suffolk remained at Court with his wife, and when Henry went to Woodstock Manor, they both went with him. Henry here indulged his passion for music to the extent of having the organs in the parish church repaired and taken to the manor house by two men had down from London for the purpose, and Dionysius Memo charmed the thoughts of the sickness out of his mind. Mary fell ill there and could not be moved, and her husband wrote to Wolsey to apologize for their over-staying their invitation. "The chief cause of my writing unto your Grace at this time is to advertise your Grace that the French Queen cannot depart the Court so soon as was appointed, for, Sir, it hath pleased God to visit her with an ague, the which has taken her Grace every third day four times very sharp, but by the grace of God she shall shortly recover. For, Sir, the King's Grace's physicians take marvellous good heed unto her Grace, and also especially his Grace comforts her so like a good and loving sovereign and brother that it takes away a great part of her pain." Before she was able to be moved, Suffolk again urged his cause on Wolsey, telling Pace of the most faithful love and servitude he intended to use towards the Cardinal's Grace during his life, and Wolsey evidently wrote to him a letter of comfort, promising to help him "to obtain his purpose to his reasonable desires." In October Mary, now quite recovered from her ague, was again in her element, for a brilliant party of French nobles came over for the signing of the general peace, against which was put the delivery to the French of Tournay, and for the marriage of the Princess Mary to the Dauphin of France. They were a constant pageant to the Londoners, for they changed their silken clothes, "the new fashion garment called a shemew," every day, and rode about the city on mules in companies, a thing no Englishman ever did. But then in Paris, the city of horses and mules, the mud and dirt was such that no man could walk, and the Parisians did not make their river their highway as did the people of London. Mary's old friend Bonnivet was at the head of the embassy, and with him "many young fresh gallants of the Court of France," who were not concerned in the treaty-making, but "danced and passed the time in the Queen's chamber with ladies and gentlewomen." On October 3 the general peace was declared in St Paul's, after Mass celebrated by Wolsey with extraordinary magnificence. The King invited the whole company to dine at the Bishop of London's house, and afterwards they all went to sup with the Cardinal at Durham House on the Strand, where was served a supper "the like of which was never given either by Cleopatra or Caligula, the whole banquetting hall being so decorated with huge vases of gold and silver that I [the Venetian Ambassador] fancied myself in the tower of Chosroes, where the monarch caused divine honour to be paid to him." Then Henry and Mary, and Suffolk and Anne Carew, and Bessie Blount and Sir Harry Guildford, with other lords and ladies, appeared as mummers dancing, and "after performing certain dances in their own fashion, they took off their visors: the two leaders were the King and Queen-dowager of France, and all the others were lords and ladies, who seated themselves apart from the tables and were served with countless dishes of confections and delicacies." Then dancing began for those who liked, and play for those who preferred that, "large bowls filled with ducats and dice being placed on the table for such as liked to gamble," and after all the company had departed Henry remained to play high with the Frenchmen. Two days after followed the wedding of the little Princess to the Dauphin at Greenwich, when in front of Katharine and the French Queen, beside the throne, stood the baby who never cried, clad in cloth of gold, with a cap of black velvet on her head adorned with many jewels. She wanted to kiss Bonnivet, for she thought he was the Dauphin when he wedded her for the other baby with a little ring set with a big diamond, juxta digitum puellæ.
The Court was now gayer than ever, for Henry seemed to do nothing but amuse with pageants and hunts the French hostages exacted for the keeping of the peace, and Mary took her part in all. She passed the winter months of 1519-20 at Court or at her husband's house in Southwark, and now the talk was all of the meeting of the English and the French kings. Henry had set his mind on it, had sworn he would wear his beard till they met, and Katharine, usually a silent spectator of political doings, had set hers on a meeting with her nephew Charles of Spain, now the Emperor Charles V. She found she could not prevent the interview with Francis, but she did persuade her husband, and possibly Mary here joined her importunities to hers, to shave his beard. The news was carried to Louise de Savoie, who had to console herself with the reflection that "the love of the kings was not in their beards but in their hearts." A good understanding with Francis meant to Mary an assured income, and on the question of the interview she may have been at variance with her sister-in-law. The Court moved to Croydon to Sir Nicholas Carew's place, in February, and Mary went with them, but here she was taken ill of her "old disease," and would not let her husband from her side, as he writes to Wolsey on March 16, 1520.
"Please it, your lordship, so it is that I have knowledge of your pleasure by my servant Lacy that I should ascertain your lordship of the number of such persons, as well men as women, as should give their attendance upon the French Queen at her giving her attendance upon the King's Grace in his coming to Calais. And also the number of the horses that should be requisite for the said French Queen and for her said servants. My lord, accordingly I have so avised you in the bill here enclosed the number as well of the said persons as of their horses. Wherefore the said French Queen and I doth most heartily desire your lordship to take the pain to order the same as you shall think shall stand most with the King's pleasure and her honour, and her Grace will be contented to follow the same. And, my lord, whereas I of a certain space have not given mine attendance upon your lordship in the King's Council according to my duty, I beseech your lordship to pardon me thereof. The cause why hath been that the said French Queen hath had, and yet hath, divers physicians with her for her old disease in her side, and as yet can not be perfectly restored to her health. And albeit I have been two times at London only to the intent to have waited on your lordship, yet her Grace at both times hath so sent for me that I might not otherwise do but return home betimes. Nevertheless her Grace is now in such good avancement that upon Tuesday or Wednesday next coming I intend, by God's grace, to wait upon your lordship. From Croydon, by your assured CHARLYS SUFFOKE."
This recurrence of the "old disease" may have been brought on by the birth of her third child, Eleanor, but there is no record of the date of this event. The doctors were successful, or else the prospect of excitement and gay doings worked a cure, for there is no doubt she was restored to her usual frail health when the meeting between the two kings was in near preparation. Mary "made great cost on the apparel" of her ladies and gentlewomen, and doubtless her own gowns were as magnificent as befitted the sister of Henry. But first Katharine was to have her desire, and Mary was to see the man whose name she had borne in her girlhood for six years. On his way back from Spain to be crowned at Aix-la-Chapelle, Charles V. had arranged to meet Henry before the latter crossed the Channel in May, but north-easterly winds kept him at Corunna for three weeks, and he could only snatch a hurried four days' visit to his aunt and uncle at Canterbury, where the English Court was on its way to Calais. There is a legend to the effect that Mary's beauty on this occasion so affected Charles that he was cast into melancholy at the thought of having lost her as his wife, but it is doubtful, to say the least, that he was moved by anything deeper than natural curiosity to see the woman who had jilted him in his youth. No doubt Mary emulated her brother's attitude when he was told that he had no chance of the imperial crown, for which he had been Charles' rival, and said now, as he did then, that she was better as she was. This pale-faced, silent, sombre young man, busy about the realities of government, was far less to her taste than her rubicund, good-natured husband, her lord and servant, over whom she could queen it in Tudor fashion when the occasion served. The maker of the legend knew more of the hearts of princesses than of emperors, and Mary, true to her upbringing, wore, no doubt, the pretty gowns she had had made for the meeting with the French Court, and would have been gratified had she seen the faintest desire in the eyes of her former suitor. It may have been there, but it found no accredited chronicler.
On June 1 the whole Court crossed the Channel, and four days afterwards rode from Calais to the camp at Guisnes, where the sun glittered on golden tents and roofs. There the King and Queen and Mary were lodged in the house built for them in the courtyard of the castle of Guisnes, under the roof painted and gilded by John Brown, King's painter, afterwards Alderman of London. Since the beginning of April Sir Nicholas Vaux and others had been busy restoring the castle to its former strength, and with the help of many artists, particularly of John Raslett, Clement Urmeston, and the said John Brown, had erected this palace of pleasure. "Mr Maynn, who dwelleth with the Bishop of Exeter, and Maister Barklye, the Black Monke and poet," were "to devise histoires and convenient raisons to florisshe the buildings and banquet house with all," and the Duke of Suffolk was asked to lend divers of the King's arms and beasts cast in moulds, and batons of Urmeston's making for the greater ease and furtherance of the business. The time for the erecting of the house was short and the workmen laboured at high pressure, but on June 5 it stood complete, a golden casket for the best in England. The windows glittered in golden mullions, the walls were hung with golden tapestry and green and white silk, the ceilings were studded "with the King's roses" (of which he had been so nearly disappointed by the late arrival of the artists), large and stately, set in a ground of fine gold, and between the windows were gilt bosses. The chapel, for the service of which the rich vestments given by Henry VII. to Westminster were borrowed, had a ceiling of blue and silver, but all other ornaments and furnishings were of cloth of gold or of gold metal. Jewels blazed everywhere, in vestments, vessels, hangings; neither was the red and white rose absent here. In the courtyard, claret, hypocras, and water flowed all day from a statue of Bacchus, and silver cups were lying by to drink from; but outside, between the gate and the courtyard, was a quiet, green bowery maze like "the garden of Morganna la Fée of the days of the knights errant." The Earl of Dorset had been sent over to superintend the building of the lists and the stands, galleries they were called, after Wolsey's "plat," but the churchman had to give way here to the jouster, and some of Wolsey's arrangements were declared to be dangerous, and were altered accordingly. The tree of honour, on which were to be hung the shields of the kings as challengers, was a hawthorn twined with a raspberry, and was made in England by nimble English fingers. Margaret Davy and her girls made 3000 hawthorn flowers and buds of silk, and the "framboser" had 1800 flowers and 2400 red satin fruits. "The body of this royal albypene or whitethorn was 22 feet long, wrapped in cloth of gold: the thirteen principal frambosers were also wrapped in fine green cloth of gold: also the roots wrapped after a kind in cloth of gold." Before this wonderful production Francis and Henry had the usual amicable dispute of precedence, and it ended in Henry's insisting on the French King's shield being hung on the right side, while his was hung at the same height on the left.
Before the jousts began on Monday, June 11, there were visits of ceremony, and on Sunday the 10th the two kings exchanged visits to each other's wives, and Francis was received in the most gracious manner possible by Katharine and Mary, while Claude was pleased and soothed by Henry's gentle manners. Francis was delighted with the glistening show at Guisnes, just as Henry at Ardres was pleased with Queen, ladies (in passing whom "il allait tout à son aise pour les voir à son plaisir)," dinner, everything, in short, down to the velvet carpet in the high room. Monday began the lists, and the queens, all three, met in the glazed galleries reserved for them and talked comfortably out of the roaring wind, while below their husbands did marvels, in spite of the blast, which would hardly let a lance be couched. Many of the ladies had no French and many no English, and those who knew both languages had to interpret for the others. On the following Sunday, Queen Mary dined with Queen Claude, who was in miserable health, while Henry, who had ridden over with her, dressed as Hercules, invited the Admiral of France and other noblemen to share his table in the French camp. After dinner there was the usual dancing and disguising, and it is marvellous what pleasure the Tudor Court got out of "dressing up." Now Henry dressed up as a lanzknecht, and, masked, he swaggered into Claude's presence as pleased as a child. There were musical rivalries too between the courts, but in this England easily bore the palm, for Henry's Court was notorious for its melody, and the Duke of Alençon could not give the King greater pleasure than to promise to send him his servant who played on the clavichord. On Saturday, the 23rd, the two kings, "all clinquant, all in gold," closed the lists, and in a semi-open chapel in the camp they and their Queens attended Mass, and such was their politeness that "when God was shown at the said Mass, which was with great honour, reverence and devotion," and the pax presented, neither would kiss it first. It remained unkissed, for the Queens, too, had the same difficulty, which they solved after many curtseys by kissing each other instead. Then came a dinner, and the sexes were divided—the Kings dined in one gallery, the Queens in their own. "Kings and Queens," remarks the chronicler, "always dined at home before coming to the banquets, and only conversed while admiring the service and the meats. The legates, cardinals and prelates dined in another room and drank and ate sans fiction." The next day the Kings met in the lists and reluctantly said good-bye, exchanging many presents, as did their Queens and nobles. A church, they decided, must be built on this auspicious spot, to be called "La chapelle de Nôtre Dame de la Paix," and the chronicler adds a doubtful prayer, "Dieu par sa Grace permette la paix être durable, Amen."
Then followed the meeting with Charles V. and the Lady Margaret of Savoy, and Mary saw for the first time the woman whose fortune had so often touched hers, for Margaret might have been her step-mother or her aunt, and had been in love with her husband. Suffolk seems to have lost his love for France by now, and, indeed, though French fashions were the order in the Court, and Henry went to the interview with the Emperor in a doublet and cloak given to him by Francis, the King's retinue were more at their ease in the Court of the King of Spain than they had been at Ardres. If servants' talk is any indication of their masters' opinions, then Suffolk must have been hot against the French alliance, for his servants could "not hold their tongues from speaking against France." If this be so, Suffolk was now definitely in opposition to Wolsey. The trial and death of the Duke of Buckingham, undoubtedly Wolsey's work, for wanting to make himself King, shocked the whole Court and increased this bitterness against the Cardinal, long felt by the older nobles. Buckingham had merely said what they all felt, that the King was surrounded by boys and that no place was given to men who had experience in counsel. But then Wolsey had a policy, and hated time wasted in opposition, and boys did not oppose. Henry was still a far cry from his final attitude when he tried, condemned and executed all in a breath, but even now the wrath of the King meant death. All chose rather dishonour, and Buckingham's peers to a man, and the Duke of Norfolk with bitter tears, condemned him on puerile evidence for a crime which in their hearts they had all committed. Buckingham was no favourite, a quick-tempered man with a bitter tongue, and Mary would be loyal to her family, and without doubt took her brother's view, and approved heartily Suffolk's "I say that he is guilty," for she was indignant at this attempt to wrest the crown from her family, and no other aspect of the case would be presented to her. Neither she nor her husband disdained to profit in the grants from the Duke's estates, which followed his execution and their confiscation.
The peace between England and France was of short duration, and by 1523 Henry was keenly interested in fishing for a crown in the waters of France troubled by the Bourbon rebellion. One reason for war given in the Parliament of 1523 was the injury done to the King's sister, the Queen-dowager of France, in withholding her dower. Mary was parted from Suffolk, who was made Earl Marshal and sent to command the English army in France, which, in conjunction with the Burgundians, was to march on Paris. Suffolk, by refusing to follow Henry's senseless plan of besieging Boulogne, and "by winning the passage of the Somme and unresisted entry into the bowels of France," encouraged the King to think there was likelihood of his obtaining his ancient right. But there was the usual difficulty of joint arms, and the Burgundians, unpaid by Margaret, refused to go beyond the Somme, "limoners" (transport horses) were unobtainable in the winter, and there were no provisions, so that the army "dissolved and skaled," and Suffolk came to Calais in December with small thanks. He was kept waiting there a long time with his captains "till their friends had sued to the King for their return," for Wolsey and the King had both wrung the uttermost penny from the country and the King's treasury to win the crown of France, and bitter was Henry's disappointment. "But at the last all things were taken in good part, and they well received and in great love, favor and familiaritie with the Kyng."
The life of Queen Mary when not at Court or at her husband's house in Southwark was spent chiefly in Suffolk and Norfolk, for when provisions at Westhorpe, their chief seat, gave out, she toured through the counties from house to house and from abbey to abbey, in imitation of the royal custom. Pic-nics and hunting parties were her diversions, and she evidently delighted in the kindly and courteous treatment she always received from the monks. Her household was a large one; in 1527 it consisted of two knights and one esquire, forty men, and seven gentlewomen, and this naturally did not include domestic servants. She had her chamberlain, her vice-chamberlain, treasurer, steward, and comptroller, while her husband had his officers and his council, and ruled county affairs. Mary was beloved by the country-folk and adored by her servants, in whose welfare she took the keenest interest, as is attested by the numerous letters written by her to Wolsey and others in their favour. She was not without domestic troubles, for her husband's former wife, Dame Margaret Mortimer, who owned Somerton in Suffolk, had had to appeal to the Duke for protection against her daughter Anne, whose second husband, Robert Browne, wanted to get hold of Lady Mortimer's possessions. The affair, which in some scenes was melodramatic enough, possibly led to questions about the validity of Mary's own marriage and the legitimacy of her children. This was in 1524, and next year the King openly acknowledged his illegitimate son by Mistress Bessie Blount, and made him premier Duke in the kingdom, with the title of Duke of Richmond. At the same time he created Lord Henry Brandon, Mary's son, Earl of Lincoln. Then came the "King's secret matter," to which her husband was privy, in the summer of 1527, and of which she was probably not ignorant. This was Henry's tardy consciousness of guilt at having married his brother's wife, which increased in intensity as his love and desire for Anne Boleyn grew stronger. What large issues were to hang on the fact that Anne was not as easy as the other ladies at Court. Had she but been a Bessie Blount! Mary was alarmed at this upsetment of all social status, and sent to Rome for a bull from Clement VII. to attest the legitimacy of her children's birth. It was exhibited before the Bishop of Norwich by Humphrey Wingfield, the Duke's cousin, on August 20, 1529. Scruples of conscience being fashionable, it rests on these the facts of the annulling of Suffolk's marriage with Lady Mortimer and his resumption of Anne Browne. Money matters, too, were a constant worry all her life long. Apart from the fact that payment to Mary might flow in peace and was dammed in war, the officials who farmed her dower lands in Saintonge and elsewhere did not pay over the proceeds as had been arranged, and she was continually hampered by lack of money, while her representatives in France during the wars were imprisoned and put to ransom. When the general peace was signed with France in 1518 Wolsey did not forget Mary's interests; in fact, he was not allowed to do so, for Dr Denton, the French Queen's almoner, daily waited on him to represent her interests. Once before they had been omitted "for lack of her book," and Denton was there to see that this did not happen again. Wolsey gave him all heed in the matter, and the dot was set forth by the English ambassadors in Paris. In 1525 the capture of Francis at Pavia left France without a king, and gave the English a chance to open profitable negotiations with Louise de Savoie, the Regent. The restitution of Mary's dowry, with payment of arrears, was made a necessary article in the truce. Wolsey even went the length of demanding the gold plate and jewels, but Louise was indignant, and repeated what had been so often said, that Mary had been married according to the customs of France, by which movables were the common property of man and wife, and descend to the survivor, but only on payment of debts, and Mary had repudiated her responsibility for these. Also "the miroir," the most excellent jewel in Christendom, had been sent to England, and the English might well be satisfied with this. However, Louise gave a satisfactory promise that Mary's dowry should be paid at Calais twice yearly in May and November, and that arrears should be paid up at the rate of £5000 per annum. There was a good deal of haggling about who should farm the dower lands; the French Court wanted to appoint the officers, but Mary demanded the right to do this, and it was conceded. She wrote to Wolsey on the matter, and, if words mean anything, the letter shows the kindly terms on which she was with the Cardinal.
"My lord, in my most hearty wise I recommend me unto you. So it is divers of my rights and duties concerning my dot in France have been of late time stent and restrained, in such case as I ne mine affairs may not have ne receive the same as they have done in times past being to my damages therein. And so thereat great trouble many ways, as my trusty servant George Hampton, this bearer, shall shew unto you, to whom I pray you to give credence in the same. And my lord in this and in all others I evermore have and do put mine only trust and confidence in you for the redress of the same. Entirely desiring you therefore that I may have the King's Grace's, my dearest brother's, letters unto France to such as my said servant shall desire. And by the same I trust my said causes shall be brought to such good conclusion and order now, that I shall from henceforth enjoy my estate there in as ample use as I have heretofore. And so it may stand with your pleasure, I would gladly my dearest brother's ambassadors being in France now, by your good means should have the delivery of the said letters with them, furthermore of the contents of the same to that they may do. And thus my lord I am evermore bold to put you to pains without any recompense unless my good mind and hearty prayers, whereof ye shall be assured during my life to the best of my power, as knoweth the Lord."
Suffolk's letter a month later is just as friendly. He says, "The said French Queen and I do not only put this matter in your hands, but at all times hereafter shall do in the same as shall be thought good by your Grace, as we be bounden to do, seeing the great kindness that your Grace doth daily shew unto the said French Queen and me by the which you bind us during our life to do your Grace such pleasures as shall lie in our powers." For the last few years of her life Mary's income was paid regularly, thanks largely to Wolsey, to whom she and her husband had cause to be grateful, as they both said.
But the Cardinal was upsetting the old order, and life in the county of Suffolk was not as pleasant as it had been. The people had banded and murmured against the subsidies for the French war. The master cloth-workers (Suffolk was the centre of the woollen trade) said if they paid the King they could not pay their hands; the work-folk said, No work, no paying of the subsidy; and they rioted. Suffolk, aided by the new Duke of Norfolk, no friend of his or of Wolsey's either, had to put down the insurrection. Then Wolsey was suppressing some of the smaller monasteries and founding Ipswich College. Some of Mary's friends among the clergy were suffering, notably the Abbot of St Benets, and she and her husband had to relinquish to the use of the new college their title deeds to the Priory of Snape, of Sayes Court (Deptford), and of Bickling. There were changes all round and Wolsey was blamed for all. Still, it seems almost incredible that the Duke who wrote so gratefully to the Cardinal in 1525 should be using in 1528 or earlier every art to poison the King's mind against him. Suffolk had the reputation of being grasping and avaricious, he never dropped a noble unless he took up a royal for it, and his gratitude and his dislike were perhaps both rooted in his pocket. The disaster of the divorce wrecked the frail ship of Tudor court morality. All through the year's struggle with Wolsey [1528-9] Suffolk sang treble to Norfolk's bass, and it was his incorrigible courtier habits which tuned his voice so harmoniously to Howard's, for the burden of their song was that the King's matrimonial wishes were being secretly frustrated by Wolsey. The Dukes used Mistress Anne, as she was generally called, as a lever to hoist their enemy out of office, and when Suffolk was sent on an embassy to France to prevent any rapprochement between Francis and Charles V. which would have heartened the Pope into refusing point blank a bull of divorce, the report was that by his conversations he had put Wolsey out of favour with the French King. Mary did not exile herself entirely from her brother's Court, where his mistress ruled, and a bastard took precedence of all nobles, and where her niece was disregarded, but one would like to think that she did not second her husband in his hunting of the Cardinal. However, there is no evidence one way or the other.
Once the great man down, and the seals of office in the hands of Norfolk, with Suffolk as his lieutenant, the heinousness of the proceedings against Queen Katharine struck both Dukes, and they agreed that "the time was come when all the world should strive to dismount the King from his folly." Suffolk withstood Henry at least once to his face, and he summed up the situation "in two words and said that the Queen was ready to obey him [Henry] in all matters, but there were two that she must first obey. The King, thinking he meant the Pope and your Majesty [Charles V.], inquired immediately who these two were. He replied that God was the first and her conscience the other, which she would not destroy for him or for any other." Henry turned away and made no answer. The same writer, Chapuys, the Imperial Ambassador, said that "Suffolk and his wife if they dared would offer all possible resistance to this marriage," and in an age when the Archbishop of Canterbury refused to give Queen Katharine advice because, he said, "ira principis mors est," how can one blame the Suffolks for not daring? Mary was beloved by the Londoners, who were heart and soul for Katharine, and her well-known sympathy with her sister-in-law and her niece is attested by that ridiculous figure which appeared in Lincolnshire after her death claiming to be the Princess Mary, and retailing conversations with her aunt the French Queen.
Mary's health had for long been far from good. This mysterious and recurring disease in her side constantly demanded physicians, with which the Court swarmed, for Henry was a great drug-master. In one letter [undated] she implores the King's permission, to come up to consult his physician, Master Peter, than whom no other in her opinion can give her relief, and her husband seconds her request in a letter in which he says she sits and weeps all day long, and is generally very ill as anyone can see. But here again the searcher draws a blank. There is no information, and one is suddenly confronted with a line in a letter of Chapuys' to his master, "the Duchess of Suffolk, late Queen of France, is dead," and he adds, touching the keynote to Mary's claim to publicity in her later life, "by which the French King will gain 30,000 crowns a year of dower." She died on Midsummer's Day, says Hall; on June 26, says the Heralds' College, at Westhorpe in Suffolk.
Her funeral was deferred for nearly a month to allow time for the representatives of France to be present, and finally took place at Bury St Edmunds on Tuesday, July 21. The strange thing about it is that not Mary's husband, nor her son the Earl of Lincoln, but her eldest daughter, Lady Frances, was the chief mourner, followed by her second daughter, Lady Eleanor, and, in fact, the cortège was chiefly made up of ladies. The abbey was draped in black, and, after the coffin had been lowered, the chief officers of her household brake their staves of office, and, weeping, cast them into the grave, and the French herald cried aloud, "Pray for the soul of the right high excellent princess and right Christian Queen, Mary, late French Queen, and for all Christian souls." Then they left her lying under the device which had blazed so gloriously in Abbeville and in Paris,
LA VOLONTÉ DE DIEU ME SUFFIT.
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