Chapter 19762123

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Chapter NumberVOL II XXV
Chapter TitleA REAL ARABELLA PLOT.
Chapter Urlhttp://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article19762123
Full Date1877-10-13
Page Number9
Corrections0
Word Count2978
IllustratedN
Last Corrected0000-00-00
Newspaper TitleThe Queenslander (Brisbane, Qld. : 1866 - 1939)
Trove TitleHer Majesty's Tower
article text

Her Majesty's Tower.*

VOL. II.

CHAPTER XXV.

A REAL ARABELLA PLOT.

BY WILLIAM HEPWORTH DIXON.

AT length the young lady, in whose name so many gallant men had been accused of treason and committed to the Tower, was herself an offender against the King, and a prisoner in the

dungeon of her race. For Lady Arabella Stuart had the presumption to fall in love and marry her lover, without the King's consent; an act of disobedience in one so near the throne to bring her within the penalties of that law which had been passed to punish her starless grandmother, Margaret Douglas, the sister of James the Fourth. No passage in the story of our royal house has a more pathetic comedy than the tale of Arabella Stuart's love for her young and graceless kins man. William Seymour ; of her secret marriage to that cold and calculating paladin ; of her sudden arrest and long imprisonment; of her romantic effort* to escape from London ; of her final separation from her lord ; and the train of evils which that escape aid separation brought upon the adoring wife. This pair of lovers were descended from Henry the Seventh, and had the turbulent Tudor blood careering in their veins. Seymour was a grand son of Catharine Grey, whose grandmother was Mary Tudor, Queen of France; Arabella was a granddaughter of Margaret Douglas, whose mother, Margaret Tudor, was the Queen of Scots. Each of these personages stood too near the throne for safety; and many of the keenest critics of the Court imagined that the young lady would be one day Queen. " Some time," Elisabeth had been heard to say, when speaking with the French ambassador's wife, " this child will be lady-mistress here, even as I am." When James the First came in, his cousin, a fair young woman of twenty*eight summers, with round blue eyes, soft oval face, arched brows, and ripples of curling hair, was the Rosalind of a dull court; tender in spirit, young in wit, lightsome in manner, full of prank and jest. Without being much of a beauty, she had not the less been thought, in her younger time, a most engaging and attractive girl. A good talker, a fine musician, she was the delight of every house in which she lived. As a princess of the royal blood, she had been pursued by adorers. Princes had sought her from north and south; the King of Poland, the Duke of Parma; nay, Henri the Great, had dreamed of her blue eyes and ripples of curling hair. " I should not refuse the Princess Arabella of England," he remarked to Sully, "if she were onoe declared heiress presumptive." The stern necessities of the Crown had doomed this royal lady to live an unwedded life. Arabella had always been an object of specu lation in foreign courts. She was a favorite in Rome and Madrid ; and her religious views were thought to be rather Catholic in their bent. Philip regarded her as a friend of Spain. This tendency on the part of foreign kings to busy themselves with her affairs, was one chief cause of her being watched with unsleeping care by Cecil; and, now that Cecil was growing faint, by Suffolk and Northampton, with in creasing fear. Lady Suffolk was anxious to have no rival in Philip's cabinet, which a royal princess, married and having issue, could not fail to be, whether she wished it to be so or not A king's cousin, growing old in her single state, might be a person of the court, but she would not be a public power. Enriched by the gold of Spain, Lady Suffolk had nearly as strong an interest as the King himself in compelling the Lady Arabella to live and die in her unwedded bliss. When Arabella had passed her thirty-fifth year, the King, who had come to regard her settlement as a standing jest, was rude enough

* The right of mpubliihinf "H«r Majcstj'i Town"

to tell her she whs now free to marry anybody who would have her. Bhe took him at hit word. Rosalind had Men Orlando in the person of her young kiruman, William; a youth of twenty* three ; a man of, book* and theorems ; cold, sedate, and clever; given over-much to pondering on his birth, his poverty, and his family wrongs. For the Seymours, grandsons of Catharine Grey. sister and heiress of Queen Jane, inherited all the rights of that popular idol; so that after the King's issue, and the lady Arabella, William and his brother Edward, Lord Beauchamp, were the nearest claimants to the crown. That Seymour could be moved by noble passion his after life in the Civil War, through which, as Marquis of Hertford, he fought on the side of Charles the First, abundantly made known. His offer to be put to death instead of the King, has covered his name with such romantic light and color, that the harsh and calculating lover of Arabella Stuart appears in the story like a different man. But Seymour's childhood had been spent in a bitter school. His family, one of the proudest in England, was a wreck. His father was a child of the Tower. His grandmother, Lady Catharine, died under the brand of an illegal union. Nearly all his kinsmen for a hundred years had fallen to the axe. No man in the realm, not even of the Percy and the Howard families, could claim so large a share in the noble dust of St Peter's Church. Under the flags of that darksome pile lay the ashes of his kindred by the male and by the female lines; of Edward, Duke of Somerset, Lord Protector of England; of Thomas, Lord Seymour of Sudeley, Lord High Admiral; of Henry, Duke of Suffolk; of Lord Thomas Grey; of the Nine-days' Queen ; to all of whom he and his brother Edward were immediate heirs. His grandfather, the aged Earl of Hertford, had been ruined by a monstrous fine. His father had been tainted in his birth, and been compelled to fight in the courts of law for more than thirty years, in order to establish his mother's fame. That father had passed away, worn out by rage and sorrow, leaving his sons to the care of a feeble old man, whose spirit had been broken more than forty years. William, the younger son, with his fortunes all to seek, could not foresee that his brother would die without issue and leave him heir. He was poor, and wanted to be rich; obscure, and wanted to be great He looked around him in the world, and saw no way in which a younger son could rise so quickly as by marrying a royal bride. When the court was at Woodstock, Seymour was at Magdalen College, and in the leafy groves of that royal park Rosalind and Orlando rambled unobserved, their ages and their kinship covering them from the malice of prying eyes and whisper ing tongues. The lady thought she was free to love, and Seymour was sedate beyond the warrant of bis years. At thirty-six a lively woman, who has lived among poets and adorers, is pretty sure to be quick in feeling and suscep tible to fire. When Arabella rambled in the park of Woodstock, she was in the mood for love; and the youth of twenty-three summers, seeing where the woman of thirty-six was weak, found his way into her room, threw himself at her feet, and made her an offer of his heart Such words had not been heard by her of late. The poets praised her beauty, the courtiers extolled her wit; but no one dared to speak to her of love, since it had been always said at court that James would never allow his cousin to enjoy the consolations of a wedded life. She bent her round blue eyes upon him, and raised the enamoured youth into her arms. Informed by spies of what was going on in Lady Arabella s room, Northampton caused her gentleman-usher and her lady-in-waiting to be seised and committed close prisoners (March, 1610); while he placed the lady herself in charge of Lord Knyvet, the man who had arrested Fawkes in Parliament-place. Nothing could be proved against her, for nothing illegal had as yet been done; and in some respects the rumors which had got abroad came back to her in grace. The King bethought him of her state ; a woman debarred the privilege of her sex; a royal princess, with a scant provision and a load of debts. He sent her a box of plate, he gave her a thousand marks to pay her people, and he settled on hera pension of sixteen hundred pounds. But she was now in love, and money would not stay the beatings of her heart On Candle mas-day—seven weeks after her first arrest—she received William Seymour in her private room at court, and pledged him her troth in a way which, in her own opinion, made her his lawful wife. When the news of what they had done came out, and Seymour was called before the Council to answer for the outrage of betrothing himself to the King's cousin without the King's consent, he treated the affair with cool and provoking scorn. He was poor, he said, and wanted means. He was a younger brother, he said, and wanted rank. He knew that the lady he loved was great, and from her style of living he thought she must be rich. As a young man, having his way in the world to make, he felt justified in trying to win her. But he did not mean to offend the King. He fancied that she had her sovereign's leave to marry; if his Majesty raised objections, he would proceed no farther in the match. No contract had been made between them, such as binds betrothed persons to each other; nor had either the lady or himself ever dreamed of proceeding to betrothal without the King's consent The King was pleased with words so frank and loyal; and on Seymour promising to forego his suit, the scandal died away. When quizzed about her youthful adorer, the lady took the jest with a laughing grace, and seemed to be more intent on masques than marriage. On the creation of Henry as Prince of Wales, a gallant masque was offered by the Queen, in which Arabella, dress ad in shells and corals, played a nymph of the Trent She was an admirable artist, and the court was giddy with her praise. The young Prince loved her; the Queen was always at her side ; and, but for Northampton and Lady Suffolk, the King himself would hardly have treated her like a brute. So far as money could soothe her grief she had no reason to cry out, for, in addition to his previous gifts, the King made overto her a license to sell wines and usquebaugh in Ireland for a term of on«-

and-twenty year*—a pririlege worth not less than a hundred thousand pound*. The young diaMmbler hold his tongue. Throe or four months slipped by without muoh trouble to the pair, when Seymour, who was vainly expecting the King to yield, took hii sharp cousin, Edward Rodney, into his con fidence ; telling him of his secret contract, and of his resolution to marry the King's cousin, cost her what it might. He made Rodney swear to keep his counsel, and to help him by his suit and service when the time of action should arrive. A month after Lady Arabella had been tickling the court gossips by her garb of shells and corals, Seymour called on his cousin Rodney, to tell him of his plans and to seek his help. The two young men dropped down to Greenwich, where they found a poor priest, John Blague, who was willing to perform the rite ; and early next day (July 9, 1610) the young fellows went up into the lady's chamber in the palace, where the nuptial knot was tied by Blague, in the presence of her two gentlemen, Hugh Crompton and Edward Reeves, beyond the power of kings and councils to untie. Here, then, at length, a genuine Arabella Plot had risen to perplex the court When the secret came out the King was furious with the Seymours, feeling that he had been oozened and deceived, as well as outraged and defied. The aged Earl, who had ruined himself by marrying Catharine Grey, was thought by James to have urged this new and more dangerous suit, so as to bring the family of Seymour ene step nearer to the throne than they already stood. But the abject protests of the broken man appeased him. Orders were given to arreßt the con spirators, of whom Rodney alone escaped pursuit and capture. Blague, the priest who had married them for a fee, was committed to the Gate-house in Westminster; Crompton and Reeves, the gentlemen who stood by as witnesses, were sent to the Marshalsea 1b Southwark. The bride was given in custody to Sir Thomas Parry, who lodged her in a line house on the Thames near Vauxhall; while Seymour was placed in the house of Sir William Waad, Lieutenant of the Tower, until fitting apartments oould be got ready for a nun of his rank and taste.

CIUPTm XXVL WILLIAM aiTMOUB. Thb bride and bridegroom, parted in the first hours of their honeymoon, took the blow in their several ways. Seymour lost bis temper, and nil partner broke her heart Seymour* chief trouble was the want of money, of which he had none, and his wife not much. Bine eyes would not pay his weekly bills, and Seymour's weekly bills were likely to be large. He wrote to his grandfather for an allowance; and, with the King's content, Lord Hertford oonsented to allow him fifty pounds a quarter for his miint— sa?s im the Tower. The rooms assigned to Seymour for his future home were the handsome chambers in St. Thomas' tower, in front of Raleigh's Walk ; but Seymour thought these .chambers were cold and bare, newdiMpp th anas, plate, and furniture to give them eTtheery look; so that while Rosalind was crying in Parry's fine house, refusing to be oom forted in her grief, Orlando was wrangling with Waad about hangings and cupt, about presaes and stools. Tapestries were bought for him, and the chambers opening on the Thames were brightened with serge, with silver, and with books. To Waad's surprise, however, this prinos with a thousand wants had not a single pistole in his pouch to pay for the things he ordered; and much to the Lieutenant's wonder, when he came to think of it in after times, this husband of a royal princess got into his debt. Sir William was not a man to pay for other people; and once he set his teeth, eren in the tradesfolk's presence, against his haughty and exacting guest. Seymour, who wanted new tapestries for his sitting-room, induced Waad to order fire pieces for him from Jenning the upholsterer, at ten pounds a-pieoe. One of these pieces Seymour cut across, so as to make it fit his fire-place ; by which he destroyed it as an artiole of furniture for use in any other room. Waad, who had pledged himself thus far, declared that .he would give his name no more. Seymour was not nice in the art of helping himself to what he needed. The princess, now his wife, bad a villa of her own at Hackney, and to this Till* he sent for such things as he could not get from Waad ; kitchen-stuff, linen, silver trencher*, candlesticks, drinking-cupe ; and when his rooms had been duly brightened up (on credit), he took jaunty leave of the Lieutenant's house, and went to five in hia chambers over Traitor's gate. Those comforts of the flesh which Seymour prized so much had no great hold upon his wife. The bride was not closely kept; she was served by her own people ; she had a garden to walk in ; and no restraint was put on her use of books and pens. Her servants could come and go ; her table was well supplied ; she was in correspond* ence with her friends. But she felt no comfort in her freedom, since her soul was in the chamber on the wharf, where her husband, as she dreamt, was pining out his soul for love. She wrote to him in tender and moving tones, to which the young bridegroom answered her not a word. In fact, he saw that his marriage was a mistake of means. His wife was not rich; nor could she help him to beoome great He had vexed the King to please her; and—she was thirty>seven years old. [to v ooitrannro ]

" What's the use of making such a fuw about a little water r said a Judge before whom motion after motion had come in a ease where a ?mall spring was the objection of contention. " The parties are both milkmen." "Oh ! I see," ?aid the Judge. Air English traveller arrived at one of those comfortable inns in the north of Scotland, and told the landlord he felt unwell, at which the latter expressed his regret "What medical officer have you here ?" said he. " Medical officer, did ye say, sir ?" " I wish to see a physician." " Whaten kind o' man in he V " Confound it ! I want some medicine." " Weel, sir, we've only two medicines in this pairt o* the country—tar for the ontside o* the aheep, and whvaky for Urn maid* o* onxwls."