|Chapter Number||VOL II XXX|
|Chapter Title||LADY FRANCES HOWARD.|
|Newspaper Title||The Queenslander (Brisbane, Qld. : 1866 - 1939)|
|Trove Title||Her Majesty's Tower|
Her Majesty's Tower.*
LADY FRANCES HOWARD.
BY WILLIAM HEPWORTH DIXON.
THE last and latest of the many tools by which Northampton worked his will at court was the beauty of his nephew's daughter, Lady Frances, the young wife of his ally, Robert Earl of Essex
In the long line of our female criminals there is hardly one more fascinating and more odious than Lady Frances Howard, the daughter of Lady Suffolk. When she was yet a child of thirten springs, she appeared at court in one of the parts of Ben Jonaon'B Masque of Hymen. A daughter of the house of Howard, she was chosen by Cecil and Northampton, as the first victim in a series of matches, by means of which they hoped to fuse into one great party four rival houses ; the other victims of their policy being her elder Bister, Lady Elizabeth, and her tiny ?iater, Lady Catharine. These girls were given in marriage by plotting graybeards to two boys and one old man ; Lady Frances to Robert Earl of Essex, Lady Catharine to William Lord Cran borne; boys no bigger than themselves ; whom they could neither love nor hate in that tender age; and Lady Elizabeth to William, Lord Knellys of Greys, a kinsman of the great Queen. The prize of this union of the four great houses of Cecil, Howard, Devereux, and Knollys was to be the control of king, court, and government for a dozen years. The King was thought to have made the match between Earl Robert and Lady Frances, and the wedding came off in a scene which was gay with all the gaiety of a. court. The King »nd Queen were present James, who gave away the bride, and heard Montagu bless the children, ran with them from the chapel to the masque, where they were dazed by the light* and company, by the ripple of Jonson's verte, by the surprise of Inigo Jones' sceneries, by the masquers' white plumes, and the ladies' ropes of pearL When the feast was eaten and the romps were danoed, the boy and girl, now man and wife according to the Church, were sent away to sohooL Lord Essex went abroad with his tutor, while his child-like bride went home to her mother's house. Reared in the court of France, living much in Huguenot homes, the Earl grew up into a grave and religious youth; while the Countess, his bride, being trained under, her mother's eye, Eiw up into a woman unspeakably venal and pure. A youth of parts and figure ; soft in bis ways, especially with the gentler sex ; quiok with fire and manhood; proud of his great name; inolined like the old warriors of his house to cleave his way, not by his wit but by his ?word; Earl Robert grew up into a perfect knight, armed at all points with the courtier's grace, no less than with the soldier's art Daring the five years which he spent abroad, he doe* not seem to have thought very much of that festive soene at the English court, and of that fair young face which had filled the galleries of Whitehall with light; and when he returned to London, after a long absence, to claim his wife, now grown into a lovely woman, he heard with equal surprise and pity that the fair young girl whom he had kissed and promised to love was thought by some of his family to have been led by her kinsmen into unwife-like ways. The girl was cursed with the rarest gifts of person. Tall and lithe, with oval face, small pouting lips, straight nose, and masses of shining hair, she would have taken captive every heart without the aid of her brilliant eyes. If those ?aid sooth who knew her best, those eyes were fired with a wondrous and wicked glow. They •et the poets raving, drove the painters to despair, and even when they shone in eclogues only, furnished critics with the theory of what Johnson calls the poetic propagation of light. living with her mother Lady Suffolk, with her sister Lady Knollys, both of whom made wreck of their repute, she learned, while yet a child, to see the value of such' gifts. A husband far away, of whom she heard as poring over strange books, as crossing swords with unknown ?parks, was not the man on whom her fancy loved to dwelL Though young and noble, she beard that he was grave and proud, averse to courts, contemptuous of pomp and ahow, a soldier more like Grey than a cavalier like Carr. Unhappily for the girl, no friend was at her aide in those perilous years who could have shown her a better way. Her mother had for many years been lost to all sense of shame. Of her elder sister, now the wife of a man old enough to be her grandfather, it is enough to say that ?he was (afterwards) that Countess of Banbury whose married life has been the subject of judicial enquiry ever since she died. From her father, and from the old man who was more to her than father, she had little more than venal counsels to expect During the dozen yean of the new reign, the Howards had driven a thriving trade in honors and estates, though the ducal coronet of their bouse had not yet been won. Henry, the Nestor of his family, was Baron Mamhill, Earl of Northampton, Constable of Dover Castle, Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports, Lord Privy Seal, High Steward of Oxford, Knight of the Garter, a Commissioner for the Office of Earl Marshal, and Keeper of Greenwich Park. Among manors and castles which he had begged from James, was Castle Rising in Nor* folk, the lordship of Ash in Suffolk, the manor of Buckland in Dorset, the manor of Clare in Salop, Wark Castle and the manor of Tyndale in Northumberland, the Chase of Baggeridge and Whites-wood in Stafford. Besides his official salaries, he got a personal pension of two hundred pounds a-year for life; one hundred pounds a-
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year of the surrendered pension of Lady Wai singham ; and a royalty on all the starch either made in England or imported from abroad. He had built a great palace at Charing Cross, which he called Northampton House, and a second great palace in the country which he called Audley End. • Thomas, his nephew and favorite, was Baron Howard of Walden, Earl of Suffolk, and Lord Chamberlain, with dearly as many pensions and perquisites as bis uncle. Since Cecil's death, no single courtier had been able to stand his ground against the Howards, whose high connections and unscru pulous talenta had made them every year more dangerous to the King. James loved them little, but he feared them much. He liked their supple knees and slimy tongues, but trembled when he thought of their riches, their experience, their ambition, and their greed. One thing about them gave him comfort—they were hated by his people ; so that he had little doubt, if ever he should have to turn against them, that he could do so with the nation at his back. Northampton asked for the White Staff, the wand then borne by the Lord High Treasurer; and the King, not daring to give him that staff, on account of his religion and his unpopularity, put the Treasury in commission for six months. Then commenced a new series of intrigues, through which the hoary and wasting Earl expected to win his place. He threw out lures and hints, and played a most curious game of give-and-take. He favored the reduction of Northumberland's fine, in order to catch the support of Lady Lucy's lover; and actively pursued his young crony, Lord Vaux, the nephew of Ann and Helen, until that pupil of Garnet was condemned to the loss of his estate and to imprisonment in the Fleet for life. He gratified the London mob by hanging Father Richards and Father Sahagun, two priests who returned to England without license ; at the same time, taking some pains to soften the surprise in Rome by sending his nephew Arundel to weep at the foot of the gallows on whioh the priests were hung. So well was his game played out, that the world began to talk'of Northampton's "Protestant zeal," and for this outbreak of English virtue he was rewarded by the Dons of Cambridge, who added to his many offices and honors that of Chancellor of the University—a step whioh brought him sensibly nearer to the Staff. Northampton, gasing on Lady Essex's lustrous eyes, began to dream of an alliance with the royal house ; and this old man, who should have been her guide and stay in the path of honor, - taught the poor child how to beam on the young prince, and blessed his stars when he observed hew the warm boy flushed and trembled beneath her gase. But Henry, though he liked to toy with the siren, never dreamt of asking her to be his wife. Too soon and easily he clipped her chains. Once, when she dropped her glove at his feet, a courtier drew his eye to the sign of favor; but he passed it by, saying, "No; it baa been stretched by another." The tale of Prinoe Henry and Lady Essex having been lacked in a room may not be true ; but Lady Suffolk and Lord Northampton had the sort of fame in the city wjiich left them open to suspicion of the vilest acts. In that down years, during which they reigned at court, the tone of life in the upper ranks had undergone a change. To those wh« had seen the stately and decent court of Gloriana, that of her successor on the throne appeared like a cock-pit and a bear-garden. Fulk GreviUe, in a ripe old age, whioh was certainly not penitential and severe, described for the amusement of after times the vices of great lords and ladies as he saw them ; a picture of courtly manners, to be mated only in the annals of some Cnsar in ancient Rome, some Regent in modern France. Lady Suffolk was no solitary queen of vice, nor was North ampton the only broker in his country's shame. All ranks seemed rotten; the finest ladies to wear their prices, so to speak, upon their sleeves. A royal closet, unclean with the litter and language of a kennel; galleries besieged by gamesters, pensioners, and Jades; ante-chambers choked by soroerers, poisoners, and pimps; a garden walked by bravoes, ready for any service, however foul and dark, that stood beyond the hangman's reach; with a bald and febrile man of middle age presiding over the dice and drink, the sale and cozenage ; scenes which were varied and disturbed by Lake's reports, by Montagu's divinity, and by Archie's broad grins:—such was the court in which the hoary and dying North ampton was seeking to obtain the Staff. Having failed in his hope of catching the Prince of Wales, he turned his face elsewhere, and having made his calculations, taught his pupil how to bend her beautiful, burning eyes on Carr.
Chapter XXXL BOBKBT CARR. Robkbt Cabr wu a Scottiah lad of handsome person, for whom Jamea had conceived a sudden and ridiculoiu whim. The King, who could not lire without having some youth about him ' whom he could pat and pinch, had cast his eyes in turn on Herbert and Hay, young fellows with flowing beards, pink cheeks, and empty skulls, who rarely troubled their braias with anything worse than a masque and a saraband. He kept his darling for a time, and then dethroned him for some newer and fairer face ; but the favorite of a day was seldom so unlucky as not to retire ennobled and enriched. Hume, Herbert, Hay, were all created Earls. Carr was the youngest of these curled and silken favorites. A page of Hume, he had spent some months in Paris, where he learned to dress and dance, to ride and run the ring. Coming to court he put on his best attire, and|walked into the Tilt-yard, when the King was present, in a scarlet frock, a foam of lace, and an embroidered shirt. Contriving to be knocked over in the game, he caught the King's eye by his fall; and when Jamea was told that the pretty boy was one of Hume's old pages, he carried him up into his room, put -him into bed, and nursed him with his own hands, until the strength of a roe returned to hia feet and the bloom of an apple to hia cheek. Thus began his fortunes. In a few months the King dubbed him Sir Bobert, paid bis debts, put jewels in his ears, and promised him the Lady Ann Clifford for a wife. Left to his own devices, Carr would have risen
like Herbert and Hay, to act like Montgomery and Carlisle. A coronet, a rioh wife, a house in town, a chase in the country, would have quenched his appetite for favor; but by the aide of Carr stood a young man, poor as himself in purae, but richer in the gifts of wit, of policy, and of Bpeech. This youth was Thomas Over* bury, a member of the House of Commons, a Puritan in morals and in thought, if not in opinion, a poet, a prose writer, a politician of consummate power. These lads had come to oourt in company. Something in Carr had taken the fancy of his more intellectual mate ; who, measuring James from head to heel, had seen his way to making me of Carr in his attempt to rise. Swearing a league of friend ship, the two young men had come to Whitehall with an understanding that, in seeking a fortune which they were to share and share alike, Carr was to find beauty of person, while Overbury waß to find strength of brain. They meant to make a figure in the world. In their first five years at court they rose very high; for Carr, who was to enjoy the pleasures, while Overbury was to exercise the powers, of the high station they might win, was lifted from the position of a private page to the state of an adviser, and the rank of a viscount. Overbury, careless of show, was satisfied with being dubbed a knight, and consulted in every affair of State. A man of subtle and commanding genius; equal to many kinds of work; with powers of mind which made him easy master of every craft, Overbury had raised Carr to the height on which he stood ; but neither King nor Court as yet knew the strength of Overbury and the emptineaa of Carr. While the new Viscount reigned at Court, Overbury was the actual minister of the Crown. " There was a time," said Bacon on the trial, " when Overbury knew more of the secrets of State than the whole council." What Bacon said afterwards other people knew at the time. In the City taverns, it was a pasquil that Carr ruled the King, and that Overbury ruled Carr. To the-outside world, the rise of this favorite was that of a shooting star. Who could tell where his flight would stop? He was now Viscount Rochester ; he had the promise of an earldom ; nay, aMarquisate of Orkney was likely to be his next birth-day gift In those years we had neither duke nor marquis in the country, and a Marquis of Orkney would be the highest person in James* court. There were hints of the King adopting him as a son. Here, then, was no passing favorite such as the world had seen in Herbert and Hay. These men were liked; but Rochester was all in all. After the death of Cecil, who had kept him in his. fitting place as a gentleman of the bed-chamber, Carr seemed to be the only man of whose presence and advice the King was never tired. Acting on Over bury's lessons, and speaking the words set down for him, the raw Scottish lad achieved a certain popularity, not only in the closet but in the street He had the name of a stanch Protestant, and the reputation of an enemy of Spain. If his life was not lovely, he was not more lax in morals than many who had leas than half his tempters to resist No man's name, no woman's fame, had yet been smirched by Carr. If men oould say that his rise had been swift, his accu mulation of riches sudden, they could add, with truth, that he had shown many of the virtues as well m some of the vices of a royal favorite. Even in temper, gracious in bearing, bountiful in disposition, he had gained admirers, even where he had* not secured friends. A man of Over bury's gifts oould not have worked with a fool. To the poets Carr was uniformly kind; both Jonson and Donne have written in his praise. Even Bacon, though he owed him nothing, was not unwilling to grace him with a masque. For the rest, his power to go wrong was checked by a feeble will. For two or three yean, this favorite had been watched and thwarted by Northampton, Knollys, and Suffolk, who saw that he was not as they were ; though they crossed him leas for his own sake than for that of Overbury, whose principles and talents-they equally feared and Bhunued. On Cecil's death, a scramble had taken place at oourt, not only for the White Staff, but for the important post of Secretary of State. The place of Secretary, though of lesser dignity than that of Treasurer, was of more importance, since the holder of it was in daily intercourse with the King; and a man of active genius would be sure to make it the centre of every movement in the realm. The inner circle of the Council was now oomposed of three great peers, allied in blood and marriage; Northampton, his nephew Suffolk, and that nephew's son-in-law, Knollys; and these three great peers, in seeking to gain these offices for their party, had the advantage of voting with a single voice. Northampton spoke, and the younger men obeyed. When they had got the staff put into commission, as the only thing that could then be done, they fought for the minor and nearer post of Secretary. Win wood, Wotton, Bacon, Lake, were mentioned, as men who could serve their country; but the King, though he did not like to say so in the outset, was resolved to have no other Secretary than Carr. Now Carr, in the King's closet, writing letters on public business, was, as Northampton felt, but another form of having Overbury for a master. Carr was Overbury's voice ; and Over bury was an enemy of Spain. If Overbury were to shape the policy of James, Northampton and Suffolk would hardly be worth their salt Lady Suffolk had already tried her arts on Carr ; but Overbury, whose morals were austere, though he hungered after power even more than his ally after flattery and female smiles, repelled her. Overbury had a difficult game to play ; for Carr, though popular at court, was far from popular in the town. The qualities which took the King—his dainty face, his splendid garb, and bis Lowland Scotch—provoked the people into scorn. The London crowd could not endure a Soot Poor in purse and quick in speech, his bold eye, his ready hand, his saucy tongue dis gusted men who either would not, or could not, see his nobler side. To them, his courage was the merit of a mant.ifF his abstinence the virtue of a fox, his loyalty the cringing of a slave. Even his religious ardor pained them, as a passion in excess; and no reproach appeared to them severe enough for the roaring, rieving callant, who aped the fashion of a court in the midst of filth aod rags. Now Carr, though
handsome, civil, and well dressed, wu still a Spot; and Northampton made tba King believe, that to give him Cecil'a post in the oloaet would provoke a rising in th« streets. Unable to have his way, the King declared that in the future he would ant as Secretary of State himself. Northampton was not deceived by James' move. He^saw that Carr was rising in the world; and hungering after posts which none but Carr could give him, he was base enough, not only to dream of gaining him over to their party through his lovely niece, but shameless enough to teach that girl how to lay her beauty in his path. The young lady did not need much training to go wrong. She knew the way too well. Only too early in her life she had found a priestess of indulgence in Ann Turner, the famous White Witch. Ann, who had been a lovely girl, was still« winsome woman ; white, graceful, Blender, looking like a lady of birth, a little faded from her prime. Even when she stood, yean later, at the bar of justice, the poets.could only sing— The rocea on her lovely cheek* were dead. Now, this White Witch professed, •among other arts, to understand how to preserve youth, to kindle love, and te chill desire. In the task which Northampton set her, Lady Essex had need of all her charms. From Ann Turner, the fair Countess got one philtre to chill the man she called her husband, another to warm the man she wished .to call her lover. When these philtres failed to work her ends, at least on Ebbcx, who truly loved his wife, Ann took her noble pupil to a great magioian living in a lonely house in Lambeth fields. This sorcerer was Simon Forman, a fellow known to be driving a brisk and profitable trade in potions, horoscopes, and charms. Forman had more to do with great ladies than Mayerne> himself; and, as he impudently set down in hi» diaries, he took his payment from these dupe* in variouß ways. This knave supplied the young Countess of Essex with enchanted papers, a few wax puppets, a scarf full of white orosses, and a piece of human skin. Later on, he adopted her as his "daughter" in the black art, permitting her to call him " father," and giving her a scroll on which he had noted for her use a list of the principal imps in helL Lady Essex had scant meed for magic Carr was only too soon in love with her bright eyes, and asking no aid from Forioan'B sorolls and fiends. Northampton played Old Pandarus to this guilty pair, just as he had done when Cecil was the Troilus, Lady Suffolk the Cressida of his play. He put the young wife in the young favorite's way, and even lent them his house to meet in. Often beneath the roof, sometimes in the sight of that old man, they kissed and swore to each other to be true. Suffolk, younger and less base than his uncle, forced his daughter to live in her husband's house. Essex, though grieving to see that his wife's heart was gone from him, sever dreamt that her honor was also gone ; and kind in temper as he was princely in gifts, he set himself to win once more the love which for the moment he saw that he had lost Bhe pouted, raved, and mocked him ; hoping he would flash into anger Mid turn her out of doors. Her husband bore with these humors, thinking they were but the ways of young married girls. His wife was dark to him as night Nor could two such natures as his and hen come nearer than they stood. He, pious and severe, rode to sermon ; she, profligate and superstitious, went to mass. He loved the country, while she adored the town. Masques, balls, processions, priests, dress, sports and triumphs, all the things to which her heart lay open, he would have shunned for himself and for the woman whbm he loved. Early hours, long rides through the summer woods, attention to the poor and sick, the duties of a country house* hold, all that round of love and usefulness which Essex craved as the purest work that he oould find on earth, his Countess flung at his feet in anger and contempt Ann Turner's service to her mistress did not end in the magician's study. She hired a house for her in the medical quarter of St Paul's, near Amen Corner, in which she might meet her lover, unseen by watchful critics of the court Carr was young and she was fair. No devil on Forman's list found more delight in doing wrong than Lady Essex. Yet, in the midst of all her profligacy she was careful to make her game. Lord Rochester being the most powerful man at Whitehall, she made up her mind to share his power; not for a season only, but for life. The obstacles in her path were vast She had a husband to get rid of ; Rochester, a friend to put away; and with these two men she was only too well aware that she would hare to conduct a duel to the death. [TO BE COirniTOKD,]
Hi is a great simpleton who imagines that the chief power of wealth is to supply wants. In ninety-nine cases oat of a hundred it creates, more wants than it supplies. Thi Lamas or priests of Ladak are only washed twice in their lives—once after they are born, and again before they are buried. Hondrids of our young doctors, it is rumoured, are applying for positions as surgeon* in the Turkish army. This is indeed, help for Russia from an unexpected source. Substitute for Handcuffs.—A French police man arrested three prisoners, and, not having the handcuffs to secure them, he just cut "off their suspender buttons. Their hands were thus occupied, and they couldn't run away, so they were marched safely to prison. Quxkn Victoria has just attained her fifty eighth birthday. Only twelve others of the reigning sovereigns of Christendom (out of thirty-eight in all) have attained to this age. The oldest on the list is the Pope, who wa» eighty-five on May 13. Of tempoial princes the German Emperor has seen the greatest number of years, his eightieth birthday having been reached a few weeks ago. The Caar is older than the Queen by about » year, having been born on April 29,1818. The King of Italy is some ten months younger than the Queen, th* date of his birth being March 14, 1820. The Emperor Francis Joseph is not yet forty-seven. He was born in the year of revolutions, 1830, and ascended the throne in the year of revolution*, 1848. The youngest reigning sovereign is Atfooto XII. of Spain, who w 004 yet twenty.