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FRANCIS LANCELOTT, ESQ. Queens of England. Vol.1.

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FRANCIS LANCELOTT, ESQ.
Queens of England. Vol.1.
page 375



ιίϋΰ SIMJUrtiJ UUlïLrt VX lllirtliï XJ1H JUUllilJL. sealed by the marriage of Henry's sister. Mary, to the King of France, Anne Boleyn was made one of Mary's four maids of honour. Anne was present when the Princess Mary was married by proxy to Louis the Twelfth, in the Grey Friars Church, Greenwich, in August 1515 ; and she accompanied her to Dover in the subsequent month as one of her retinae. Foul weather detained Mary at Dover till the second of October, when bidding adieu to Henry and Katherine, who had accompanied her thither, she embarked with her train at four o'clock. Although quitting the home and the friends of her childhood, Anne Boleyn was accompanied on the voyage by her uncle the Earl of Surrey, her grandfather the Duke of Norfolk, and her father Sir Thomas Boleyn, to whom, with other nobles, was delegated the honour of delivering the Princess Mary to the French King. The voyage, though brief, was rough and perilous ; a tempest scattered the little fleet, and the vessel in which Anne and the royal bride sailed, alone made the harbour of Boulogne ; where, on Hearing land she struck the ground with force, and shortly afterwards filled and went down. The timely arrival of boats prevented a loss of life; but scarcely had the terrified ladies set their feet on terra firma, when, although wet and exhausted, they were forced to answer, with smiles and expressions of complacency, the congratulations of the French princes and nobles, who were waiting on the beach to do homage to Mary as their future queen. After recruiting themselves at Boulogne, the fair travellers proceeded with becoming pomp to Abbeville,where, on Monday, the ninth of October, Anne assisted at the marriage of her royal mistress to Louis the Twelfth. " When the masse was done," says Hall, " there was a great banket and fest, and the ladyesof England were highly entreteyned." But on the morrow the scene was suddenly changed. To the sorrow of Mary, and to the mortification of her retinue, all the English party, with the exception of Anne Boleyn and two other ladies, were, by command of the French king, suddenly dismissed, and ordered to return home. Anne, therefore, witnessed the pageants and jousts which took place in honour of the nuptials, and to which all the English nobility, who had not commenced theii homeward journey, were freely invited. After the death of Louis the Twelfth, Anne Boleyn, by the mediation of her former mistress, who returned to England as the bride of the man of lier choice, Charles Brandon,lukc of Suffolk, was transferred to the service of the consort of Francis the First—the virtuous Claude, a queen eminent for piety and moral rectitude. Never was the court of France more chaste than at this period. The maids of honour were prohibited the society of gentlemen, and when not attending the queen at mass, or on public occasions, their attention was wholly directed to embroidery, weaving, serious literature, the offices of religion, or other worthy pursuits. At such a court, Anne Boleyn bad little temptation to step out of the right way ; but as she had ueen treated from the hour of her birth with extraordinary distinction, and was naturally gay, giddy, selfwilled and aspiring, it is a matter of surprise that we hear no complaints of her conduct at this period. That she was the most beautiful, witty and accomplished maid at court appears probable. Count de Chatcaubriant, a courtier of Francis the First, says she was a talented poetess, a graceful dancer, a bewitching songstress, a skilful performer on the lute, flute, and rebec, and in dress her taste was matchless, and the model of the court. As remarked in the previous memoir, Anne doubtless was present at the Field of the Cloth of Gold. Many of her nearest relatives were there, in particular her father and mother, her father's younger brother and his wife, Sir Edward and Lady Boleyn, her maternal uncle the Lord Edmund Howard, and indeed all her relations of the Howard line ; so that it is but reasonable to conclude that she was included in the number of Queen Claud's female attendants. However she was at this period too young to have attracted the notice of Henry the Eighth, and the bright star-fire from her eyes was doubtless only darted at


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