Chapter 19763837

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Chapter NumberVOL II XXXIII-(Continued)
Chapter Title
Chapter Urlhttp://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article19763837
Full Date1878-01-05
Page Number10
Corrections0
Word Count3142
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 XXXIII— (Continued).

BY WILLIAM HEPWORTH DIXON.

AT court the conflict of opposing forces raged with fury, for the Howards and their kinsfolk were a party in the State, with nearly half the public offices in their hands. Suffolk had got

the Staff for wbioh his uncle pined. Among them the Howards had the Mint, the Treasury, tbe Admiralty, the Army, the Household, the Cinque Ports, and the Channel Fleet; and as Lord Lieutenants tbey commanded tbe nine counties of Berks, Oxon, Cambridge* Norfolk, Suffolk, Surrey, Corset, Herts, and Kent Op posed to this gnat family were the Puritans and patriots' 6¥^'aW^ l-*^*M't -««n B0 ?«ri°»B *** opinion and accomplishment as Pembroke and Bacon, Winwood and Raleigh. Villiers and Southampton. Clever aa the? courtiers *e**e in guessing, they could not say which aide would, prove the stronger. Writing his Golden Age for. a Christmas masque, Ben Jonaon trimmed hia verse to tbe uncertain winds; but nobler poets than Jonson spoke the indignant passions of the time. Ford, with fearless chivalry, com posed a history of Overbury's Life and Death. He also wrote some verses on The Wife: as did a stronger and wiser pen than tbat of Ford. In the massive measure and volcanic heat of tbe lines by W. S. (prefixed to the seventh edition, and published in the exciting days between the arrest and trial), some critics see the last public service done by Shakespeare. It is certain tbat bis patrons, Pembroke and Southampton, took a leading part in bringing the poet's murderers to account The King's heart melted towards his minion, but he dared not free him from the Tower until his innocence had been proved in an open court The town was full of Overbury, and books of which he was the hero were on every stall in Cheape and Fleet-street A ninth edition of The Wife appeared, and a companion poem called The Husband was brought out Overbury was known to have been a Protestant, an enemy of Spain ; so tbat patriotic passion entered deeply into the cry for justice on his murderers, and the King was borne upon a stream wbioh he could neither stem nor turn. When the Commissioners closed their labors, and fixed the day of Lady Somerset's trial (May 24, 1616), the arraignment was considered by the country as a national solemnity. All private business was suspended for a time. The shops wero closed, the parks deserted. Everyone who could afford to spend five double angels bought a seat in Westminster Hall; and the thousands wbo could not press inside the Hall choked up the avenues of Palace Yard, in order to catch tbe first newß that the weak Earl and his bad Countess had been convicted of murder and condemned to die. The Countess h«*ld up her hand, in answer to her name. A warder stood beaide her with the axe. Attired in a gown of black tammel, a cypress chaperon, and a large lawn ruff, looking as penitent as she was beautiful, she bent her pale face to her judges, pleading guilty to her crime. Bacon, as the Attorney-general, apoke without harehnesa to the fallen Countess ; Elles mere, as Lord Chancellor, pronounced her sen tence ; and the warder, as executioner of the court, turned towards her the gleaming steel She shed abundant tears, and begged the lords to intercede for mercy with the King. That night Sir George More was alone with Somerset in hia room. The prisoner was morose and threatening, though he knew that his wife had pleaded guilty and been condemned to die. He defied the judges and the peers. He said he would not anawer to his name. More hinted that the King waa anxious that he Bhould con fess hia crime, accept a verdict, and trust his bounty for the rest. But Somerset would not yield. For aix or seven daya there had been much negotiation between the Crown and the prisoner. Lord Hay had been chosen on the part of James. Sir George had been authorised to mako Carr a Bpecific promise, that on pleading guilty and evading proof, the life of Lady Somer set ahould be spared and his own honor aa a peer should be Bayed. He rejected every ofler. He Bftid he would not plead. In look and tone, if not in words, he dared the court to bring him him before his peers. Late in the evening, More took horse for * The right of republishing "Her Mnjesty's Tower" haa been purohaied by the proprietors of The Queenslander.

Greenwich, and after a midnight interview with ths King rode hack to tbe Tower. Early in the May morning, More waa at the door of Somerset's room. The Earl waa already dresaed—in blaok, as if in mourning for hia wife. He wore a plain blaok satin auit, laid with two satin laoea in a seam ; a gown of velvet, lined with unshorn; the sleeves trimmed with lace, and the gloves adorned with satin tops. He had the George about his neck. His hair was neatly curled, and his beard fell richly on his chest. More noticed that hia eyes were sunk in his head, and that his faoe was very pale. A moment before he stood up in court, the Lieutenant whispered in hia ear that if he said one word against the King he should be dragged down, sentenced in his absence, and immediately put to death. To show his prisoner that he meant what he was saying, he placed two strong fellows close to him, each with a cloak on his arm, with orders to watoh his lips, and on a word being dropped about the King, to throw their cloaks over his face, pull him down, and hurry him away on the ground that he was mad. Somerset denied the charge, and put hia accusers to the proof. That part of the evidence whioh concerned Mayerne, Lobel, and his boy Beeve, had been suppressed; and the court could not prove his guilt unless that evidence were produced. Bacon was very skilful; but his proofs were vague and incomplete. The long May day wore out in speeches which divided and perplexed the public ; and when the torchmeu entered with their lights, the darkness in the street was not more evident than the darkness in the ball of justice. Ellesmere asked for a verdiot, and broke his staff; but wben Somerset went back to the Tower that night, no one could say that he was guilty of the murder, though everyone knew that he had been condemned to die. The Earl and Countess of Somerset came near together onoe agaio, but not aa man and wife who love and truat each other. The doors of the Bloody tower and of the Garden house were left ajar, and they were sometimes overheard in angry talk. If Overbury'a ghost oould have visited them, either by day or night, the mur dered man might bave felt avenged by a misery so complete. Their dream of state was gone ; their hope of rest not come. The last years of their lives were to be spent in poverty, in loneliness, in mutual scorn. In time, on a pardon being vouchsafed them by the king, they left tbe Bloody tower and Garden house together; going away, men aaid, to live in some oountry place, in a small house which bad been left to them. There they dwelt under a common roof for a good many years to come; living apart; nursing a blue eyed girl, who had been born to them whilst they lay under the charge of murder; but other wiae groaning ia a state of misery whioh was not untruly described as bell upon earth. But out of **f^neij^not,w|s^p t by a higher law than neu <*t*ti**hion*. a hfa-mpimcjlnaait to redeem it. Bvea as a. lttj Mft -tod grows out of dust and ashes, that blue-eyed girl, we child of so much sin was to grow up in that secluded bouse, ignorant of her mother's shame, into one of the purest and proudest mothers in a land illustrious for her noble women. Lady Ann Carr was the only child of the guilty pair; and this daughter of a murderess lived to beoome the mother of that Lord William Russell who was to lay his hsad upon the block in the vary same cause for which Raleigh died. [end or you IL]

Vol. 111. Chapteb L A FAVORITI. Ik the crowd which pressed round the block in Palace Yard to see Raleigh die, no man took more of tbe saored fire tban John Eliot, of Port Eliot, on Lynher Creek. Eliot was then a man of untried power and silent tongue; an idler of the Park, the cock-pit, and the bowling alley; spending much of his time, and laying up most of bis hope, in Buckingham's ante-rooms. A few years later he was to grow renowned, in a land of orators and fighting-men, for gift of speech and pride of spirit; to link his name witb that of English liberty; to pine and perish in Raleigh's cell. The story of his passage from Palace Yard to the Bloody tower is tbat of the drama which, from scene to scene, and year by year, gave Suffolk, Arundel, Bacon, Coke, and Williams to the Tower; Buckingham to the knife; and Wentworth, Laud, and Charles to the heads man's axe. When Eliot stood in Palace Yard to see Raleigh die, his friend George Villiers was at his best; and such a youth as Villiers at his best is rarely to be seen in this nether world. In form, the man was like a god. Spare, tall, and straight, his frame combined a rare degree of strength with lines of perfect grace. Few men could ride so fast, could leap so high, could dance so long as he ; and no man iv the court could ride, aud leap, and dance with Bueh un studied ease. Hiß hand was small and white ; a lady's hand, with taper fingers, ending in filbert nails; and yet hia grip on Bword and rein was close and tight His head was finely formed and firmly set Young women were afraid to look at him, and painters sighed, and said they could not paint his face. A sly, unconscious gaiety flowed about him. In the galleries of White Hall he played his part of light comedian in a way to have made ma fortune at the Globe. He was the geniua and embodiment of Youth. By dress, by speech, by way of life, this fair outside was framed like a work of art. Composed of richest silk and velvet pile, his clothes were all but bidden under ropes of pearl. The buttons on his coat were precious stones. He wore a diamond cockade, with diamonds sewn into hia belt and bands. His sword, his spun, hiß plumeß, were all alight with gema. One auit of unshorn, cloak and jacket, cost no less than eighty thousand pounds. Nearly all his wealth, when he was one of the richest men at court, was heaped upon his back. To wit and learning he had no pretence ; ami yet his talk had charms, not only for the pagea and courtiers who were bound to listen, but for men who were the lords of human speech. Bacon loved to ace him ; Abbott lent him an attentive ear. He knew the light things of the world ; his heart was gay; his voice was winning ; and his talk was bright with prank and jest A umilo Bat on his lace. His words were always smooth,

his manners always soft. He hated to say No, and he could never say that word to one be loved. When he waa spoken to, he flushed into a girl-like pink; and well-worn sinners said, when first they saw him, that he waa too good a ohild to thrive in courts. King James had Been this prodigal of nature once without being struck ; for James was dull of sight; and like a fish, he needed to be dazzled and excited by the bait. The seoond time, his eye was taken and his heart secured. The scene was Cambridge, and {the bait a play; that maca ronic comedy by George Buggies, called ?* Igno ramus," in which the lawyers are put to shame, while wits and scholars bear away tbe bell; a piece of humor which pleased the King and drove the lawyers mad; which Ellesmere stooped to notice at the Council board, and Selden to refute in his work on Tithes. James thought this play a compliment to himself ; he being tbe first of scholars and the beat of wits! He saw it many times, for he disliked the Inns of Court, and loved to hear his lawyers well abused ; but never had comedy made bo great a hit aB " Igno ramus" made that night While James was rolling in his chair, aud clapping hands, and laughing till the tews ran down hia cheeks, the young comedian came upon the stage, all blush ing like a rose. " What think you of him ?" he turned and asked. " Too bashful for a court," replied Lord Arundel. James called the actor to his closet, patted bim on the cheek, and asked him who his father was, and where that father lived. The lad had nothing much to boast beyond bis shining face and his comic powers. George Villiers was the younger son of a country knight and a lady'B maid ; the country knight, Sir George Villiers, of Brooksby, near Melton Mowbray; the lady's maid, Mary Beau mont, of no place in particular; though in after times, wben she had peerages and pensions to give away, no end of people claimed her as their kin. She was an old man's fancy, and his second wife. Some people say she was a scullery wench, until the amorous knight induced his wife to lift her from the kitchen to an upper room, to drees her in more decent garb, and give her the atation of a lady's maid. When Lady Villiers died, her pretty maid was quickly in her shoes. Old crones had told her ''fortune," and a wonderful fortune it proved to be. A seoond brood was soon about the old man's knee; John, George, Kit, Susan ; and he saw but dimly bow these darlings could be fed. His bouse and land were settled on William, his eldest son ; and when his house aud land were gone, the little left would hardly have kept his widow from the street. The old man laid in the earth, she bad to front the world with her lovely face, her four small children, and her couple of hundred pounds a-year. She was a Parent, with a duty to perform. The ohildren must have bread, and how was she to buy them bread ? Was not ber beauty worth ita price ? Had not the crones in whom she trusted, told her that many would go mad for her? Sbe put her beauty up for salo One Rayner bid for it; an old man, rich in money and frail in health. Bhe took him at hiq word ; but he was not so rich as she had hoped, and when he fell asleep she looked more warily for a richer mate. [TO BB CONTINUED.]

Mb. Marcus Clarke haa recently published a pamphlet entitled "The Future Australian Race," in which he Bums up as the prob able characteristics of "Our Children" as follows :—" There is plenty of oxygen in Aus tralian air, and our Australasians will have capacious chests, also, casteris paribus, laree nos trils. The climate ia unfavorable to the de velopment of a strumous diathesis ; therefore we cannot expect men of genius unless we beget them by freqaent intermarriage. . . . For their faces. The sun beating on the faces closes the eyes, puckers the cheeks, and contracts the muscles of the orbit Our children will hsve deep Bet eyes with over-hanging brows; the lower eyelid will not melt into the cheek, but will stand out en profile, dear and well defined. This, though it may add to character, takes away from beauty. There will be necessarily a strong development of the Une leading from nostril to mouth. The curve between the cen tre of the upper lip and the angle of the mouth will be intensified ; henoe, the upper lip will be shortened, and' the' whole mouth made fleshy and sensual. The custom of meat-eating will square the jaw and render the hair coarse but plentiful. The Aus-. tralasian will be a square-headed, masterful man, with full temples, plenty of beard, a keen eye, a stern and yet sensual mouth. Hiß teeth will be bad, and his lungs good. He will Buffer from liver disease, and become prematurely bald; average duration of life in the unmarried, fifty nine ; in the married, sixty-five and a decimal. The conclusion of this is, therefore, that in another hundred yeara the average Australasian will be a tall, coarse, strong-jawed, greedy, push ing, talented man, excelling in awiaiming and horsemanBhip. His religion will be a form of Presbyterianism ; hia national polioy a Demo cracy tempered by the rate of exchange. His wife will be a thin narrow woman, very fond of dress and idleness, caring little for her children, but without sufficient brain power to sin with seat In five hundred yeara—unlesß recruited from foreign nations—the breed will be wholly ex tinct ; but in that five hundred years it will have changed the face of nature and swallowed up all our contemporary civilisation." "Why," asked Plato of Socrates, as they languidly rose from the symposium and walked up the Appian way, " why iB a lazy dog like a sheet of paper ?" Socrates thoughtfully rubbed his ear and Baid, "Seems to me I've heard that before somewhere." "Well, old anthropos, guess it, Uie respondit, quickly." Socrates made seven futile attempts, turning the pun on the words "tale," "writo," " canis," &c, when Plato ( be came impatient and told him, " Because it'a a alow pup." " Yes," enid Soc., " I've heard it before, but I don't tumble to it now, some way. How's a sheet of paper a slow pup ?" Socrates smiled aDd remarked, "You'd better swap off that old punkin head of youra ; a Bheet of paper iB an inklined plane, isn't it?—and an inclined plane iB a slopo up, porhapß you see!" Then thoy walked slowly to tho Kollor, and Socrates remarked in a penwve tone, " Swei I"— Graphic.