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


Sir John Froissart's Chronicles of England, France, Spain and the Ajoining Countries from the latter part of the reign of Edward II to the coronation of Henry IV in 12 volumes 

Chronicles of Enguerrand De Monstrelet (Sir John Froissart's Chronicles continuation) in 13 volumes 

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Queens of England. Vol.1.
page 384

ATÎXÊ BOXETN. much as they be strangers and cannot apeak English, they have desired me to declare unto you that they having understanding of this your triumphant banquet, where was assembled such a number of excellent fair dames, could do no less, and under the supportation of your Grace, but to repair thither to view as well their incomparable beauty as for to accompany them at mumchaunce, and then after to dance with them, and to have of their acquaintance. And sir, furthermore they require of your grace licence to accomplish the same cause of their coming.' To whom tho Cardinal said he was very well content they should do so. Then went the maskers and first saluted all the dames, and then returned to the most worthiest, and then opened their great cup of gold,filled with crowns and other pieces of gold, to whom they set certain of the pieces of gold, to cast at those pursuing all the ladies and gentlewomen, to some they lost and of others they won ; and pursuing after this manner all the ladies, they returned to the Cardinal with great reverence, pouring down all the gold left in their cup, which was about two hundred crowns. Oh,' quoth the Cardinal, and so cast the dice and won them, whereof was made great noise and joy. Then quoth the Cardinal to my Lord Chamberlain, II pray you that you will show them that mescemeth there should be a nobleman amongst them who is more meet to occupy this seat and place than I am, to whom I would most gladly surrender the same if I knew him.' Then spake my Lord Chamberlain to them in Erench, declaring my Lord Cardinal's words, and they redounding him again in the ear, the Lord Chamberlain said to the Lord Cardinal, ' Sir, they confess that amongst them there is such a noble personage, whom if your grace will point out from the rest, ho is content to disclose himself and to take and accept your place most worthily.' " With that tbe Cardinal taking a good advertisement amongst them, at thj last quoth he, ' Mescemeth the gentleman in the black beard shall be even he,' and with that he rose out of his chair, and offered the same to the gentleman in the black beard with his cap in his hand. The person to whom he offered then his chair rais Sir Edward Neville, a comely knight, of a goodly personage, that much more resembled the King's person in that mask than any other. The King hearing, and perceiving the Cardinal was deceived, could not forbear laughing, but pulled down his visor, and Master Neville's also, and dashed out such a pleasant countenance and cheer that all the noblest estates there assembled, perceiving the King to be there amongst them, rejoiced very much. ' ' The Cardinal eftsoons desired His Highness to take the place of estate, when the King answered, that he would go first and shift his apparel, and so departed, and went straight into my Lord Cardinal's bed chamber, where was a great fire prepared for him, and new apparelled himself with rich and princely garments, And in the time of the King's absence the dishes of the banquet wero clean taken up, and the table spread again with new and clean perfumed cloaths, every man sitting still until the King's majesty with all his maskers came in amongst them, again every man new apparelled. Then the King took his seat under the cloth of estate, commanding every person to sit still as they did before. In came a new banquette before the King's majesty, and to all tbe rest throughout the tables, wltereïn I suppose were served two hundred dishes of wondrous costly devices and subtleties. Thus passed they forth the night in banquetting, dancing, and other triumphant devices, to the great comfort of the King, and pleasant regard of tbe nobility there assembled." At these gorgeous fetes, Henry invariably chose Anno Boleyn for his partner ; and at the splendid farewell entertainment given to the French ambassadors at Greenwich, on the fifth of May, 1527, he publicly exhibited his preference for Anne, by dancing with her in the mask which concluded the midnight ball. About this period the question oi Henry's divorce * excited the attention of his courtiers, and shortly afterwards * See the Life of Katherine of Arragon for the particulars of the divorce.

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