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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 468



frowned, bit his lips, and exhibited other signs of perturbation. Perceiving his displeasure, she broached a more agreeable subject, and shortly afterwards left tho room. Immediately she was gone, Henry's suppressed anger burst forth. " Marvellous it is, indeed !" he exclaimed, addressing Gardiner, with vehemence ; " marvellous it is, when women become such learned clerks ! and I, the mightiest, the wisest of sovereigns, come to be instructed in my days of age and experience, in theology and the art of government, by my greatly too vain and forward wife." Gardiner, like a true politician, seized the auspicious moment to inflame the angry monarch against his gentle consort. He imputed to her Majesty acts of which the bare mention would, a few hours previously, have cost him his life, and at the same time commended the King's anxiety to preserve the orthodoxy of his subjects, and represented that the more elevated tbe person was who was chastised, and the more near to his person—the greater terror would the example strike into the heretics, the more glorious would the sacrifice appear to posterity. Lord Chancellor ΛΥΉοthcsley, and others of the King's privy chamber, seconded Gardiner in these murderous efforts, and ultimately prevailed upon the King to order articles of impeachment to be drawn up against his consort. AYriothcsley anxiously prepared the bill of articles against her, and brought it with the order of her arrest to the King to sign ; but on returning, the triumphing chancellor unconsciously dropped from his bosom tbe important papers, with the royal seal and signature affixed to them, in the long gallery at AVhitehall ; when, fortunately for Katherine, one of her attendants picked them up, and immediately carried them to her. On glancing at them, the unsuspecting Queen was struck dumb with terror. The fate of Anne Boleyn and Katherine Howard she instantly fancied must he hers. True, she had not been guilty of immorality; but as she had been Henry's wife three years, and was still childless, that alone, she felt assured, would, in his opinion, be a sufficient reason for adding her to his list of conjugal victims ;—a thought which so overcome her, that she fell into an agony of hysterics. And as the apartment she occupied was contagious to that of the sick King, her piercing shrieks, sobs and lamentations, which continued for several hours with but little intermission, so incommoded him, or excited bis pity, that ho sent his physician to console lier, and inquire the eauso of her trouble. Her physician, Dr.Wandy, informed the messenger, that distress of mind rendered the Queen dangerously ill. " Is it so !" exclaimed the invalid monarch, who already missed the tender care and skill of bis gentle wife and nurse, "then I will visit her myself this instant." Carried in a chair by three of his attendants, and with no little personal inconvenience, for every move gave him pain, he was with difficulty placed by her bed-side. The poor Queen, half dead with terror, received him with a flood of tears ; and as soon as her bursting heart gave reins to her tongue, thanked him, in the language of fervent gratitude, for his visit, and expressed a fear that, as she had not seen him so much of late, she had unintentionally, but deeply offended him. Henry soothed her with honeyed, and for once, it would appear, not deceitful words. He discovered that sho was more, far moro to him than had been the briefly-loved Anne Boloyn and Katherine Howard; they had been the idols of his love, and she, besides being this, was his constant, attentive, untiring nurse; indeed, he could not well afford to lose her ; and the reaction of his feelings so overcame him, that, in the excitement, he informed her physician of the plot against her life. This gentleman, being wise and discreet, acted as a mediator between the sovereign and bis consort, and materially assisted in securing the reconciliation. The evening following, after supper, she found herself sufficiently recovered to return the King's visit, in his bedchamber. She was attended only by Lady Herbert, her sister, and Lady Jane Grey—then a child nine years old.


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