Chapter 19762509

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Chapter NumberVOL II XXVIII
Chapter TitlePURSUIT.
Chapter Urlhttp://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article19762509
Full Date1877-11-03
Page Number9
Corrections0
Word Count3532
IllustratedN
Last Corrected0000-00-00
Newspaper TitleThe Queenslander (Brisbane, Qld. : 1866 - 1939)
Trove TitleHer Majesty's Tower
article text

LITERATURE

The Storyteller.

Her Majesty's Tower.

VOL. II.

CHAPTER XXVIII.

PURSUIT.

BY WILLIAM HEPWORTH DIXON.

LADY ARABELLA and Mrs. Bradshawe were in the leading boat; Crompton and Markham, her gentlemen-in-waiting, in the second. They had with them a heap of diamonds, pearls, and

rabies, and a sum of three thousand pounds in gold. Five minutes after they left Blaokwall stair the sun went down; but they had still an hour of light; and when they were fairly in the stream she asked the men to carry her past Wool wich, and put her on shore at Gravesend, which they were willing enough to do for a purse of gold. At the second port she found a Bkipper, who agreed, for a high fee, to take her down the river to Leigh Roads, where Corve"s barque was to take them all on board. In the dark summer night they passed the bark without seeing her, and in Leigh Roads, found a ship at anchor, which they hailed. The master of this ship, John Bright, bound for Berwick, refused Arabella's offer of a large sum of money to carry her into Franoe. Bright told her that a ship was lying in the Roads about two miles up the river, which ship she fancied must be Captain Corve"s barque. Turning back in her search she, hailed the strange vessel; and finding her to be French she made herself known to Corv^ by the pass, and in a few seoonds her party was taken up on board. The wind was cross. For four days past it had been blowing east by south ; the sea was running high, and, with the best of fortune, the barque could hardly have passed the Foreland and cot her tack. But Corve* made no haste ; for his royal passenger begged him to hang below the Nor*, in the hope of picking up Seymour from some craft. Their plans were so well arranged, that she was sure her husband had left the Tower. Some accident had spoiled their meeting at the Blaekwall tavern; but she felt no duubt that he was somewhere tossing in his boat at sea. She lost some hours in reaching the narrows, and long before they got into open water in front of Calais, their happy chance was gone. A swift war-ship, the Adventure, had been sent from the Downs on Monson's order, to sweep the Straits. The Adventure appeared in sight The French coast was near, and the barque threw oat her sails ; but a boat was lowered from the Adventure to give chase. The prinoess wept; the captain fought his best; but after thirteen shots had been fired into him, Corve" struck his flag and gave up his freight Seymour had taken care of himself. By the help of Rodney, he procured his black wig and bis yellow frock. Feigning sickness, he kept his rpem in the Water gate. The Lieutenant had no conception that Seymour was such a deep and wily youth; and even when the bird had flown away from his cage, he was chiefly vexed sit finding that the fellow had cheated him of his perquisites by secretly sending away from his lodgings the best of Arabella's plate I On the Saturday night, when everything was ready at East Barnet for the lady's flight, Rodney went to a house near St Catharine's hospital, kept by a woman with whom he had formerly lodged, and hired a room, on the pretence that he felt himself a little unwell and wanted a change of air. He sent his man to this woman's house with a great bundle of clothes, whioh ware laid in his room. Early on Sunday morning the man came again, with a fresh bundle, and asked whether his master had yet arrived. Two strange persons called during the day, one of them a female, who stayed in the house until all the staff brought in by Rodney's man was carried to a boat at St Catharine's wharf. All that day, poor Seymour was thought to be lying ill in bed. Just at sun-down, a cart drove up to the Water gate, when Seymour, leaping out of bed, put on his carter's frock and wig, snatched up a whip, stopped out into the street, and drove the horses along Water-lane through the Byeward gate. Rodney was waiting for him with a horse and boat near Tower Stair. Seymour mounted the horse and rode away, while Rodney stepped on board and pulled for Blaekwall; where the two men met again about 0 o'clock. Seymour had changed his dress, and the landlord of the inn observed that the cousins were dressed alike from head to foot Seymour soon learnt that his wife had come and gone. The young men parted company; Rodney riding away to baffle pursuit; while his friend and cousin dropped down to Leigh. The French barque having sailed, Seymour made no effort to follow his wife, but finding a collier beating about the narrows, he bribed the master to take him on board and land him in Ostond. When the crew from the Adventure leaped on board Corves barque, Arabella came forward, made known her rank, and yielded herself a prisoner to the King. They usked her where Seymour was ; to which she answered, smiling, that she had not seen him, and could not tell them ; but she hoped he had got across into France; and s»id that her joy at his escape consoled her for own mishap. Passengers and crew being taken on board the Adventure, and brought into the Downs, Sir William Monson despatched a messenger with his news to court. The King was cross, and Northampton inflamed his passions; but Cecil, an advocate always for the middle term, pre vailed with James to adopt a more moderate coune than Northampton would have bad him take. Northampton tried to make the King believe that Arabella's flight was a deep political plot, and he drew a fauciful picture of a series "of plots that were to follow" her escape into •The right of repablishing "Her Majesty'! Tower" BMbMßiraictuwadb/UwpraprMU>notA<«M«(iu{aw(<r.

France. Cecil laughed {his nonsense out of court; yet the proceedings taken agaiiut the suspected persons were sharp enough. Even before Monson had brought his prisoners up the Thames, a number of men and women had been committed to the various gaols; the Countess of Shrewsbury to the Tower, Sir James Croft to the Fleet, Mr. Adams and Dr. Moundford to the Gate-house, the barber Batten to the Keep. When the captives arrived in town, the King gave orders that his fugitive cousin should be lodged in the Tower, and the apartments chosen for her were the chambers occupied by Margaret Douglas, the common grandmother of Arabella and the King. William Markham was sent to the Marshalsea, Hugh Crompton to the Fleet. Corve* was lodged in Newgate, then much used as a sailor's prison. Edward Rodney, seized near London, was put in the Gate house, questioned by Northampton, and committed to the Tower, Gilbert, Karl of Shrewsbury, and Edward, Earl of Hertford, were restrained to their several homes. The proceedings lasted long, and wore out many lives. One by one the mjnor agents in the escape either died in prison or gained their liberty by telling what they knew. Croft, who knew nothing, was discharged from the Fleet; while Dr. Moundford and Mr. Adam, who knew little more than Croft, were liberated from the Gate-house. As nothing could be learned from Rodney, he was suffered to go abroad, where he joined his cousin Seymour at the court of France. Crompton and Markham, the companions of Arabella's flight, were brought from the Fleet and Marshalsea to the Tower, and pressed by questions in the torture-chamber, until they told some part of what they knew. When niece and aunt were brought before the lords and questioned as to the escape, Arabella was gentle and yielding, while her aunt was haughty in manner and hot in speech. Why, asked the Countess of Shrewsbury, was she brought before that secret and unjust tribunal f Northampton bade her answer the questions put to her. She would not answer. She would not be tried in private. She appealed to the law. If they had evidence against her, let them produoe it in open court. Northampton sUnned upon her. Was that the way to deal with the King's council? Still prouder and more scornful, she demanded to know whether that was the way to treat a lady of her rank ? Lady Shrewsbury bound herself by a great oath never to reveal the particulars of her niece* flight. CHAFrSB XXIX. DEAD rjr THI TOWHL Whut Lady Arabella was taken on board the French barque, she had three thousand pounds in gold, and a great wealth of rings and bracelets in her trunks and on her person. This money and those jewels, the property of Lady Shrews* bury, had been seised by the King, and the money had been used for paying the cost of Arabella's capture. But a heap of gold and a case of jewels were the smallest parts of Lady Shrewsbury's loss. This wealth was Arabella's force; and the raising of so large a sum of money was proof of Lady Shrewsbury's share in her flight But neither niece nor aunt oould be drawn into confessing each other's guilt; and alter many oi Northampton's attempts to snare them had been foiled, the two ladies ware sent back to the care of Sir William Waad. Rich enough to buy herself every indulgence, Lady Shrewsbury procured a suite of rooms in the royal quarter, consisting of the Queen's old lodgings ; three or four chambers In whioh she could live and walk about; but worn by time, and bare of hangings, furniture, and wainscots ; the windows being broken, the doors unhung, the orilings open to the sky. Not a single servant of her own was suffered to be with her. Gilbert, her husband, wrote to Cecil, who ob tained for her some relaxation of the rules. But the lady would not help her friends; her stomach was said to be too high for a private person, even of her exalted birth. A servant was allowed, as an especial grace, to wait upon her. The ceiling of her room was mended, so as to keep out wind and rain. But the Countess was tormented in her prison by Northampton, who came to the Tower in the interest of his new tool and dupe, Sir Robert Oarr, now hungering for escheats and fines. Carr was eager to gat Sherborne Castle from Raleigh ; a part of the thirty thousand pounds from Percy; a case of Arabella's diamonds; a lump of Lady Shrewsbury's vast estate; and the hoary pander to this young man's passions came down to see the prisoners, one by one, to pry into their ways of life, and find some pretext for proceedings yet more harsh. Everyone in the Tower had cause to regret his coming. Raleigh and Percy were confined to their cells. Lady Shrewsbury was insulted in her apartments ; and the Lady Arabella suffered from the incivilities of Waad, an officer only too anxious to please his patrons at the court The darkening crimes and breaking strength of that bad old man were hurrying him to an end; but whether that end would be a felon's dungeon or a councillor's grave, the nimblest wit in London could not telL Lady Shrewsbury, saucy and silent with the lords, was brought before a Select Committee of the Privy Council, at Tcrk House, the residence of Ellesmere, to answer for not answering; an offence which Northampton said amounted to a contempt of the King. They told her that Crompton had confessed all she had done in the marriage and escape of her niece, and they wished her to supply information on certain points. She would not speak to these points. She pleaded her vow—she pleaded her peerage. If she were charged with an offence she claimed to be tried by her peers, according to the law, and in open court, not by a Committee of the Council, sitting in a private room. Four of the judges, consulted on her oase, sub scribed to a view of the actual law, which, on a sentence being passed in the Star Chamber, would have laid her open to a fine of twenty thousand pounds, and imprisonment during the King's pleasure. That a verdict could be gained against her in the Star Chamber, if promoted by the Council, who could doubt/ Yet the Countess was uot frightened into epeech. Seutbackto the Tower, who lived on, year by year, in her old defiant mood, until her enemy Northampton

died and the "Friends of Spain" were broken and dispersed. Seymour amused himself in Brussels and Paris, wrote abject latter* to King James, and squabbled with Waad about the plate and hangings he had left behind him in St. Thomas' tower. In less than six months he forgot his wile, and almost forgot his debts. Waad wrote to Cecil that the flown bird had left nothing behind him of his own, since the best things in his room* had been either fetched from the Lady Arabella's house or taken from the Lieutenant's store. A few thing's he had bought from tradesmen, but for these things he had never paid. In the chamber which her grandmother Margaret had ocoupied in the Tower, poor Rosa* lind, having lost her. all for love, remained a prisoner to her cousin five years. Some of her letters, written from the Tower to the King, have been preserved; tender and winsome letters, full of sad humor and wife-like grace. Her pleas were simple. When the King had told her to marry whom, she pleased, she thought herself free. Bhe allowed her heart to become engaged. Her lover pressed her, and she plighted him her troth. That act of plighting made them, in her conscience, man and wife. Before she learned that the King objected to her match, the deed was done. If she had given offence, it was because she had been driven to choose between the law of God and the law of man. "Most humbly I beseech your Majesty," she wrote, "to consider in what miserable state I should have been, if I had taken any other course ; for my own conscience witnessing before God that I was then the wife of him that now I am, I could never have matched with any other man." She signed her letters "A. 5.," which luckily answered to either Arabella Stuart or Arabella Seymour. But the King was dead to her sorrow. Trying him on every side; by turns gay and cheerful, sad and submissive ; she appealed to his pity, to his pride, to his affection ; and she tried him on every side in vain. When the "Queen of Hearts" was married to the Palsgraf of the Rhine, poor Rosalind hoped that her cousin's heart would open to her woes. " Mercy, mercy ! for God's sake, mercy 1" was the burthen of her daily prayer. The King was deaf. In her lonely chamber she plied her needle on a canvas which she meant to send as a remem brance to the King ; a dainty piece of labor, to have touched a kinsman's heart But James would not accept her present. Then she fell sick, and pined in her room, and wandered in her thoughts. The rules under which she lived in the Lieu* tenant's house were harsh, and even in her days of sickness they were not relaxed. Waad knew his masters, and guessed their minds. No news, he felt assured, could reach Northampton's ear so welcome as that of Arabella's death; and hence, when his functions gave him power to trouble his unpardoned captive, he pressed against her with all his weight He refused to let her servants wait upon her. He compelled her to eat the ordinary prison fare. She asked for posset, and for clothes befitting a sick room and a lady who kept her bed; but she asked for these indulgences in vain. In her search for help, she turned to her bitterest foe at court, and in a plaintive letter told Northampton of her misery in the Tower. " I have been siok," she wrote, " even unto the death; from which it hath pleased God miraculously to deliver me ; but find myself so weak, by reason I have wanted those ordinary helps whereby most others in my case, be they never so poor, are preserved alive—at least for charity." She had little hope from Northampton, and her note was more a menace than a prayer. In words direct enough, she told him that the privations under which she lay in prison would be not only "the certain," but "the apparent" cause of her death. She warned him, that if either he, or his nephew Suffolk, had " possessed the King with such opinions of her as should cause her to be restrained until help came too late," she knew her oourse. " I dare die," she added, " and oppress others with my ruin, if there be no other w»y." The strain was now too great for her feeble strength to bear. Her tender musings passed into fierce convulsions; and when her doctors had chased the agony away, her mind was found to be a wreck. Rosalind was become Ophelia! Days, months went by in hopeless waste of love and life. She lost all sense of passing thingi, and prattled in her madness like a child. The Lieutenancy of the Tower was changed ; a more unscrupulous tool of Lord Northampton coming to rule over her; but she took no heed of what was going on. Some friends she found, in the Tower and beyond the Tower ; men who Eitied her, and would have given their lives to elp her ; but these were not the great ones of the earth. Palmer, a divine of the English church, and Crompton, her faithful servant, put their heads together and, in the summer of 1614, in the third year of her imprisonment, contrived a plan for her escape. It was a wild design, which led to nothing, except their own arrest and imprisonment, a letter of congratula tion from Northampton to Carr, and a resolution on the part of James to guard her better in the time to come. The rumors of her proposed escape were use ful to Northampton ia drawing people's eyes and thoughts away from a frightful drama which had just been closed in the Bloody tower. She lived a year after Crompton's attempt had failed; tenderly dropping day by day ; always gentle, sometimes playful, never morose ; now plying her needle through the flowers, now touching her well-worn lute, and humming her evening song, until at length the weary woman fellasliep. In the dead hours of an autumn night her ashes were taken from the Tower, and laid in that Abbey which was the tomb of all her race ; laid beside all that remained of her grandmother, Margaret Douglas, and her great-aunt, Mary Queen of Scots ; with neither line nor stone to mark the spot in which she sleeps. Seymour lived abroad, keeping his eye on events, and hoping to come back, which he was now convinced he could never do while his consort was alive. He never wrote to her, never sent her token of his love. He beard that she was sick, he heard that she was crazed ; bat Paris was gay ; and nothing in her fortunes seemed to touch bis young and —Vmlnting

heart When he heard that the mi gone, he threw himaelf upon Junes' mercy, implored hU pardon, and obtained permission to return. Attaching himaelf to Charles, he became that prince's councillor and friend; fighting at his aide through the Civil War, and making at it« olose that theatrical offer of being put to death for his King, which is the best-remembered of his feats. But to make thing* safe whichever side should win, he took a seoond wife from the popular aide ; marrying Lady Frances Devereux, sister of Lord Essex, the great Parliamentary general Seymour kept his head and his estate, and when Charles the Second came back to London he reoeived the reward of his many virtues in his elevation to the rank oi Duke. It is not known that Seymour ever paid for the hangings supplied by Jenning at ten pounds a-pieoe for his comfort in St. Thomas' tower. Tet before the royal lady passed into her rest in the great Abbey, she heard that the hoary and wicked Earl, who had wrought her so much evil, was no more ; that in his later time he was a loathsome object in all men's eyes ; and that he was gone to his grave suspected of a hideous crime, for which, on proof and judg ment given against him, he would probably have been hung. [to m common).]