|Chapter Number||VOL II XXVI-(Continued)|
|Newspaper Title||The Queenslander (Brisbane, Qld. : 1866 - 1939)|
|Trove Title||Her Majesty's Tower|
Her Majesty's Tower.
CHAPTER XXVI —(Continued).
BY WILLIAM HEPWORTH DIXON.
WHEN Arabella heard from Seymour at all, it was through Smith, a servant, who told her that he had been ill. Then Rosalind snatched a pen and wrote, with her delicate banter, to her
bridegroom in the Tower : " I am exceedingly sorry to hear you have not been welL I pray you let me know truly how you do, and what was the cause of it, for 1 am not satisfied with the reason Smith gives for it. If it be a cold I will impute it to some sympathy betwixt us, having myself gotten a swollen oheek at the same time with a cold. For God's sake let not your grief of mind work upon your body. ... In what state Boever you are, it suf ficeth me you are mine. . . . You see when I am troubled, I trouble you with too tedious kind* ness ; for bo I think you will account so long a letter, yourself uot having written to me for this good while so much as how you do. But, sweet sir, I speak not this to trouble you with writing but when you please. Be well, and I shall account myself happy in being your faithful, loving wife." Seymour was too busy for such tender and unprofitable humor; the winter pawed and the summer came again without much writing to his wife. He was looking to himself, to his present comforts in the Tower, to his future rank and place at the royal court. He was writing to the lords of the Council, praying to be restored in grace, asserting that his health was ruined, and begging to be allowed the full liberties of his prison. All the love, and nearly all th* daring, were on the lady's side. Growing bolder as the days went by, Bhe got into a barge, dropped down the river, and paid a visit to her husband, with whom she may have spoken through his grated window on the wharf. Such facts were sure to become known at court; this daring visit was reported at Whitehall; when the King gave orders that a dozen counties should be put between his romantic cousin and his impudent prisoner in the Tower. Arabella was to be placed in charge of William James, Bishop of Durham, with orders to repair forthwith into the north, and there await his Majesty's pleasure, while Seymour was to be watched in St Thomas' tower with a sharper eye. And now came a strife between Solomon's craft and Rosalind's wit; a comedy in its course of deception and surprise; a tragedy in its con* elusion of insanity and death. Early in June (1611) the Court was fluttered by a message from Sir William Monson, dated from a tavern at Blackwall. This tough old sailor, taking boat for Billingsgate, on his own affairs, was told by his watermen that a swift barge, having some of Seymour's friends on board, had dropped down the river on the pre vious night The barge had been lying oft St Katharine's Wharf. A boat was in attendance at the Tower stairs ; a bundle of clothes had been thrown into this boat; at nightfall a man in a black wig and a carter's dress had come alongside ; a parley had taken place between the carter and a young gentleman in the boat; the carter had gone away, and the young gentleman had told the watermen to pull for the barge. Some of the men engaged in the business were known to be Seymour's kinsfolk. Who could say whether Seymour himself might not have been that carter in the black wig ? Monson, a friend of Lady Suffolk, a partisan of the house of Howard, suspected that an escape was being attempted from the Tower, the defeat of which would be likely to make his fortune. Instead, therefore, of landing at Bil lingsgate, as he had meant to do, he bade his men pull lustilyfor Blackwall, where he jumped on shore, ran into the river-side tavern, and learned from the man who kept it that a young gentle man, or one who by his dress and figure wished to pass for a young gentleman, had come on the previous evening to his house on horseback, in company with a lady of middle age, and after staying in a private room for two or three hours had at last taken oars for Graveaend. He also learned that Lady Grey, a daughter of the Earl of Shrewsbury, had come down to Blackwall, from which Bhe was pulled across to Greenwich. This Lady Orey was a cousin of Lady Arabella. Every word he caught was full of mischief. Pressing his host still further, he learned, that late on the previous evening, two gentlemen, dressed in the same sort of clothes, from rosette to plume, had come to Blackwall, one of them by land, the second by water ; that they seemed to be looking for some one who was not there ; that the youth who came by water had mounted a hone and ridden away, while the one who came by land had taken oars and put off from the wharf, as though he were following the young gentleman and the lady of middle age. While Monson was extracting this news from his landlord, men from a vessel in the river stepped cm ahore. They had come up the Thames that day, and in reply to the Admiral's questions, they could tell him that a French barque, then lying in Leigh Roads, had takeu a
* The right of rupuhlistiing "Her M»je*t/» Tower" has been purchased by the proprietoi* of Tht VHujulamUr.
strange party on board and Bailed at daybreak ma the course for Calais. Sure that an escape was being made, and also pretty sure that Seymour was on board the French barque, he saw what » golden chance was thrown into his path. Of late he had been falling back. A reign of peace was not a reign in which men of bis trade could thrive; and Monson had been vainly striving to obtain at court the prices he could no longer obtain at sea. If Seymour had broken prisom, the man who captured and brought him bank would do a striking service, not only to tft* Howards, but to the King. Familiar with the winds and currents of the> Straits, he knew that the French barque, sailing from Leigh Roads at dawn, could not have passed the Foreland. The wind was high, and the water rough. The barque would then be rolling in the chops beyond Margate Sands. If the wind should keep in the same quarter, that barque would not be able to make the port of Calais before Bet of sun. Quick in action as though he were on his quarter-deck, the brisk old sailor took his course. Throwing a few men into an oyster-boat, he pushed them down the Thames. Mounting a good rider, he sent off a message to the admiral commanding in the Downs. Writing a letter to Cecil, he informed the Secretary of hu news; and then pulled over to Greenwich, where he asked for the use of a royal ship. His high rank in the navy made his wish in these matters a command ; bo that in leas than an hour after his coming to the inn-door at Blackwall, he had opened the chase of bil unknown fugitive by water and by land.
Chapter XXVIL THI XBOAP& Arabella had done her part, as women always do, with singular and Bueoeasful art. Before the was carried away from Lambeth she had procured the liberation of her servant, Hugh Crompton, from the Marahalsea. Among her many merits, this royal lady had the grace of making all her people love her. By nature soft and kind, she made companions of her attend ants, from whom Bhe could not bear to part, still less to see them suffer on her account. When Beeves and Crompton were in prison, she> sent to the Marshalsea almost every day to learn how they were doing, and wrote most pressing letters for them to the Council and to the Queen. She seemed to suffer more pain for her people than for herself. The Council was hard of heart, for the Howard party was anxious that the King's oousin should never more regain her old as cendancy at court; but when the plague broke out in the Marshalsea, her prayers became so urgent that they could not be denied ; and when she was ordered into the north country, Crompton, as the man most used to her ways, was suffered to share what was understood by Lady Suffolk as her banishment from the English court. Before going north, the lady made one last appeal to the Lord Chief Justice of the King's Bench and the Lord Chief Justice of the Common Fleas. In marrying, as every woman was free to do, she conceived that she had done no wrong ;, but if others thought so, she demanded to be tried for her offence, and punished according to the law. "If your lordships," she wrote, " maj. not, or will not, of yourselves grant me the ordinary relief of a distressed subject, then I beseech you to become humble intercessors to his Majesty that I may receive such benefit of justice as both his Majesty by his oath (those of his blood not exoepted) hath promised, and the laws of this realm afford to all others." She added, with equal modesty and dignity, " And though, unfortunate woman that I am, I should obtain neither, yet I beseech your lordships retain me in your good opinion, and judge me charitably, till I be proved to have committed any offence either against God or his Majesty, deserving so long restraint or separation from my lawful husband." The Lord Chief Justices to whom she wrote were Sir Thomas Fleming and Sir Edward Coke, courtiers and creatures of the Howards; her prayer remained unheard; and warrants were issued by the Council for Sir Thomas Parry to bring her " person" to Whitehall She protested against this seizure, and had to be removed by force. Rightly or wrongly, the lady conceived the idea that she, a free woman of the blood royal, was being treated with lawless violence by a faction in her cousin's court, against whom it would be fair in her to use whatever stratagems her wit could devise. The courtiers, reading her prayers and protests, and fearing to place her at the Council table, where some sudden burst of feeling might touch the King and cause him to change their plans, requested the Bishop of Durham to go in person to Vauxhall, and there receive her into charge. The lady in no mood to submit in silence to this change. The Bishop produced his letters. She refused to stir. With tender art, for the Bishop was a godly man, he tried to soothe her rage, by telling her the story of patient saints, and of prisoners far less happy than herself. She wept, she raved, she fainted on the floor. At length they picked her up, placed her in a coach, and carried her to the Thames, and so through the town to Highgate Hill. Scant preparation had been made for her reception on the road. A cold March wind was blowing in her teetb. The inns were mean and full of people, and her escort was instructed to hurry her along. She had to be carried in a litter, in which she fainted thrice before they reached the Hill. Moundford, her physician, gave her cordials to restore her strength, but late in the afternoon he began to fear she would not live, and in a fainting state Bhe was put to bed. A rider was sent back to court, where Suffolk, Buspecting that her sick* ness was put on, sent Sir James Croft, a court physician, to see her. Sir James reported that her sicknesß was not feigned. Still force was tried to make her go. Sergeant Mynors, one of her escort, lifted her out of bed into the coach, and bore her to Barnet, where Moundford de« < lared that she could not travel, and to carry her farther would be murder. Mynors himself was frightened when he saw her lying on the floor, her face like death, and her tunic stained with blood. The good Buhop wrote from Barnet to the lorda, describing her sickness, and asking for
orders what to do. The doctors and parsons who came to see her told but one story. She was unfit to travel; and when the King perceived that he could not drive her on without the risk of killing her on the road, he gave an order for her to rest a month and theu go forward towards the north. A cottage was hired for her from Thomas Conyers, at East Barnet, near Hampstead Heath, in the fresh air of which her spirits suddenly revived. She kept her counsel well, so that only her trusty maid, and her faithful Crompton, knew how she really was in health. The Bishop went north to prepare her chamber, leaving her in the charge of Croft. Moundford rode back ward and forward between the Heath and Charing Cross, where the Council pressed him to compel her to go on. He begged for another month, but the lords refused her another day. As Croft and Moundford seemed to them too yielding, they sent for Mynors, who told them the lady was not fit to travel; but they cut the keeper Bhort by saying it was the King's abso lute will that she should go at onoe to Durham, even if she rode no more than a mile a-day. She wrote to the King and Queen. She made a friend of Mrs. Adams, the wife of a clergyman who came to see her. She wrote to her aunt Mary, Countess of Shrewsbury, who espoused her cause to the peril of her freedom and estate. Her uncle Shrewsbury was a member of the Council; but his brain was too weak for influ ence on a board at which Cecil and Northampton Mb In her distress of mind for her niece, Lady Shrewsbury appealed to the new favorite, Robert Carr, now Viscount Rochester; but the young minion of royal grace was in love—in most dis loyal love—with Suffolk's beautiful daughter, Lady Essex, and therefore was a slave to that powerful peer. Taking his cue from Northamp ton, the Nestor of his lady's house, Carr answered the Countess of Shrewsbury that he could not solicit the King in a matter which was unfit-for her to ask and for the King to grant. North ampton wrote an account of this "faithful and sound refusal" to the King. But Mary, Countess of Shrewsbury, was not a woman to yield at once. She knew how near the throne her kinswoman stood, and she hoped that Seymour and Arabella would leave a son to inherit their claim, and perhaps to wear the crown. By fair means, if it might be, by foul means, if it must be, she resolved that the young man and his wife should come together in some country beyond the reach of James. Sending for Hugh Crompton, she told him of her hopes, her means, and her designs. She hoped to unite the husband to his wife. She had plenty of money; and sue fancied that, on ?pending gold enough, she could buy the means for their escape into France. Crompton listened to her Bpeech. With wit and money anything might be done; servants corrupted, disguises bought, confederates paid, and vessels uired for flight. Crompton went to East Barnet, and told his mistress all that Lady Shrewsbury had opened her mind to say. The lady leapt to her offer, aud with ready wit suggested the particu lars of a plan for their joint escape into France ; ?he from her keeperß at- Couyers' house, aud Seymour f«-ow his lodgings in the Tower. Her servant, seeing the way hid out, engaged to prepare disguises, to arrange- for horse*, and to hire a skipper in the Thames. They only wanted money, and money the Countess undertook to find. Great sums—not less than twenty thousand pounds in all—were quickly raised and poured into Arabella's lap, "to pay her debts." Jewels were bought; a cloak and hat, a rapier, and a pair of cavalier's boote, were carried iv secret to Conyers' house. In her private room, the faithful Hugh instructed his lady how to wear her hat and sword. Money was sent to Seymour in the Tower, with details of a plan for his own escape. Young Rodney entered with all his soul into Crompton's scheme. Two suits of clothes, exactly alike from rosette to plume, were made ; for the cousins were of an age and size to match; and these two suits were to be used on the day of flight. A second disguise was got for Seymour, in the shape of a carter's frock and whip. Batten, liis barber, made him a great black wig. One Monsieur Corv6, a French skipper, was hired to lie in the Leigh Roads, and wait for certain parties, who would give him a pass-word, and come on board his barque. Croft now told his patient she must resume her journey towards the north, where the Bishop of Durham was waiting to receive her into his charge. Everyone about Conyers' cottage pitied her, even thorn who had to answer for her; and on the physician's plea, a second month was given her to recruit her strength. That month Was May; a month of rare delight on the breezy Hampstead heights. She seemed to be winning back her health. At once playful and meek, she lulled suspicion; and Croft, believing that his patient wisdom had prevailed over her fretful ?pint, advised the Council that she was now re signed to the. King. When, late in May, he pressed her, in the King's name, to resume her journey towards the north, she named Monday, the third day of June, as the day on which she would be ready to set forth. About four o'clock on Sunday afternoon, dressing herself in cloak and hat, drawing on a a pair of cavalier's boots, slinging a sword by her side, and putting her jewels into her pocket, Rosalind came out of Conyers' cottage with Mrs. Bradshawe, the daughter of a gentleman of East Barnet, followed by William Markham, one of the gentlemen of her suite. A walk of half-an hour brought them to a lonely inn, where Crompton was waiting with horses ready saddled for their flight. Sick with hope aud fear, poor Rosalind gave her band to a groom, who helped her to mount; and as the party pricked away towards London, this lad turned round to his fellow-groom and said, " Poor young gentleman I he will hardly reach London alive." A quick ride brought the blood into her cheek ; but on reaching the inn by the river a* Blackwall, where she expected to find her husband safe and well, she almost fainted from her horse. It was six o'clock, and Seymour was not come. Boats were hired for Woolwich; the luggage was put on board ; the men got ready to start; but Rosalind would not stir from the Blackwall inn until Orlando came. A precious hour was lost ; the village clock struck seven. Mrs. Bradshawe urgad her to go on board, as the pursuers would
be soon upon their track. The oarsmen grew impatient, for night was coming on. Still she would not Btir from the little parlor of the water- Bide inn. What to her was liberty unless her husband was at her side ? A few minuteß more might give him his only chance. When the church clock chimed eight, the watermen told her she must either go at once or wait until another day. They could hardly now make Woolwich Reach before dark, and they did not care to be out on the Thames all night. With a heavy heart she stepped on board, and the boat pushed off from the Blackwall stair. [TO BE COHTINUBD ]