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The rage of the bluff king may be easily imagined; but he did not think it befitting his royal dignity, to make any observation, but pushed forward his friend and brother-in-law as his spokesman.
“ Then stept forthe the duke of Suffolke from the king, by his commaundement, and spake with an hault countenaunce these wordes, ' It was never merry in England,' quoth he,' while we had any cardinalls amongst us:' which wordes were set forthe both with countenaunce and vehemency, that all men marvailed what he intended; to whome no man made aunswer. Then the duke spake againe in great despight. To the which my lord cardinal, perceiving his vehemency, soberly made aunswer, and saide, “Sir, of all men within this realme, ye have least cause to dispraise cardinalls : for, if I, poor cardinall, had not bine, you should have had at this present no head upon your shoulders, wherewith you might make any such bragge, in despight of us, who intend you no manner of damage; neither have we given you any cause, to be with such despight offended. I would you knew it, my lord, I and my brother here intend the king and this realme, as much honor, wealthe, and quietness, as you or any other, of what degree soever he be, within this realme; and would as gladly accomplish his lawful desire. Sir, I pray you my lord, shew me what you would doe in case you were the king's commissioner in a forraine country, having a very weighty matter to treat on: and upon the doubtful conclusion thereof, would you not advertise the king's majesty or ere ye went through with the same? Yes, I doubt not. Therefore put your hasty malice and despight away, and consider that we be but commissioners for a time, and cannot, ne may not, by virtue of our commission procede to judgement, without the knowledge and consent of the head of our authority, and licence of him obtained; which is the pope. Therefore we doe peither more nor lesse than our warrant will beare us; and if any man will be offended with us therefore, he is an unwise man. Therefore hold your peace, my lord, and pacify yourselfe, and speake like a man of honor and wisdome, and speak not so quickly or reproachfully to your friends; for you know best what friendship I have shewed you, which I never yet revealed to any person alive before nowe, neither to my glory, nor to your dishonour. And therewith the duke gave over the matter, without any further wordes or aunswer, and went his way.”
The enemies of the Cardinal seem now at last to have got the advantage over him. Anne Boleyn was an invulnerable shield. The minister so long, at the same time, the slave and the tyrant of his master, was at length tottering to his fall. Until this juncture, Henry does not appear to have even thought it possible to part with the ready instrument of his will. And it appears to have been not without considerable difficulty, that he withdrew himself from his old habits of reliance and confidence, nor without frequent relapses of tenderness, which struck the enemies of the falling favorite with con
sternation. The first pointed insult offered to Wolsey, was, when with his brother cardinal they followed the king to Grafton, in Northamptonshire, where the cardinal was told there was no room in the house for him. Nevertheless, the king received him with all his accustomed shew of kindness, and thus decided the numerous wagers which the lords and courtiers had laid on the issue of his reception.
“ Then to behold the countenaunce of the noblemen and others, that had made their wagers, it would have made you smile; and specially of those that laid their money, that the king would not speake with him. Thus were they deceived. The king was in earnest and long communication with him, in so much as I might heare the king say, “How can that be ; is not this your owne hand? and pulled a letter or writing out of his bosome, and shewed the same to my lord; and as I perceived my lord aunswered the saine, that the king had no more to say; but said to him, 'My lord goe to dinner, and call my lordes here to keepe you company; and after dinner I will come to vou againe, and then we will commune further with you;' and so departed, and dined himselfe that day with Mrs. Anne Bullen in her chamber."
At dinner, further indications of a speedy change are given. Lords begin to speak now, who, a short time before, would have paid the price of their heads for an insinuation.
“ Then was there set up in the chamber of presence a table for my lord, and other lordes of the counsell, where they dined together, sitting at dinner and communing of divers matters. The king should do well,' quoth my lord cardinall, to send his bishops and chapleines home to their cures and benefices.' " Yea, Mary,' quoth my lord of Norfolke, and so it were mete for you to do also. I should be well content therewith,' quoth my lord, if it were the king's pleasure to licence me, with his grace's favor, to goe to my benefice at Winchester.' Nay,' quoth my lord of Norfolke, 'to your benefice at Yorke, whereas is your greatest honor and charge.' Even as it shall please the king,' quoth my lord cardinall, and so fell into other matters. For the lordes were lothe he should be so neare the king as to continue at Winchester. Immediately after dinner they fell to counsell untill the waiters had dined.
Anne Boleyn, during her tête-à-tête with the king, follows ap the game.
“ And as I heard it reported by them that waited on the king at dinner, Mistress Anne Bullen was much offended, as farre as she durst, that the king did so gently entertaine my lord cardinall, saying as she sat with the king at dinner, in communication of my lord, * Sir,' quoth she, 'is it not a marvellous thing to see, what debt and danger he hath brought you in with all your subjects ?' How soe sweethearte ? quoth the king. Forsothe,' quoth she, there is not a man within all your realme, worth five pounds, but he hath indebted you to him :' (meaning a loane which the king had of his subjects) . Well,' quoth the king, .as for that, there was in him no blame; for I know that matter better than you, or any other.' 'Nay Sir,' quoth she, besides that, what things hath he wrought within this realme to your great slander? There is never a nobleman, but if he had done half so much as he hath done, he were well worthy to lose his heade. Yea, if my lorde of Norfolke, my lord of Suffolke, my lord my father, or any other nobleman within your realme, had done much lesse than he bath done, they should have lost their heades ere this.'
“'Then I perceive,' quoth the king, you are not the cardinall's friende !' Why sir,' saith she, “I have no cause, nor any that loveth you: no more have your grace, if ye consider well his doings.'
“ By that time the waiters toke up the table, and so ended their communication.”
After another long consultation, protracted till a late hour of the night, the cardinal left the king, and Cavendish was compelled to go and seek him a lodging, which he found about three miles off. He was appointed to meet the king next morning, and continue their deliberations : tut mistress Anne Bullaine, it seems, had been too successful in the interim, and when my lord cardinal arrived at Grafton next morning, he found the king ready to ride, who bid him return again with the other cardinal, “ but the king departed amyably with him in the sight of all men."
The King and Mrs. Anne rode out to a place, where Cavendish says, she had provided a dinner for him, “ fearing his returne, ere the Cardinalls were gone;" while the Cardinal Campeggio proceeded on his way to Rome, not, however, without having a special messenger sent after him, to search his baggage," as it was reported to the King by the counsell, that cardinal Campeigne was departed, and carried with him great treasures of my Lord Cardinall's of England, to be conveied in great sommes to Rome, whither they surmised he would secretly repaire.”
At length the die was cast—when, in the Michaelmas term following, Wolsey began to discharge his duty of Chancellor, he was visited by the dukes of Suffolk and Norfolk, who came to demand the Great Seal, which, after “ much debate and many great and heinous words, all which he took in patience," was delivered up in a second interview.
In this decline of his fortunes, Wolsey appears to have acted with consummate policy and thorough knowledge of the King's temper. He was aware that resistance was always fuel to his passion; and also, that a greedy desire of wealth was very frequently a strong secondary cause, which confirmed and inflamed his previously conceived disgusts. During the whole of the time when Wolsey's disgrace was doubtful, or his recal probable, he submitted with the utmost patience and devotedness to the pleasure of the King; and now, that the first decided step in his dishonour was taken, he instantly proceeded to amass his wealth, and present it to the King, with words the most soothing in the ears of a tyrant, which confessed himself but as the creature of his monarch's pleasure, and incapable of possessions independent of his will.—Thus he contrived for a time to stay the fury of Henry's displeasure, who was never before or after, as now, slow to anger. Never did this bold, bad man, then, indeed, only commencing the most brutal part of his reign, experience so many relapses and relentings-never did he cast back so many lingering looks at a fallen favorite, or remain so long deaf to the suggestions of enmity, whispered in the hour of amorous dalliance, as in his final separation from the counsels of his faithful Wolsey.
The Cardinal had no sooner surrendered the Seal, than he set about taking an inventory of his property, for the purpose already mentioned ; and so gorgeous is the description of his wealth, and so illustrative of the interior economy of a nobleman's house of those times, that we cannot omit it.
“Then went my lord cardinall, and called his officers before him, and toke account of them for all suche stuffe and things whereof they had charge. And in his gallery were set divers tables, whereupon lay a great number of goodly riche stuffes; as whole pieces of silke of all coulores, velvet, satten, damask, tufted taffeta, grograine, sarcenet, and other things, now not in remembrance ; also there lay on these tables a thousand pieces of fine holland clothe, whereof as he reported after, there was five hundred of the said pieces of clothe stolne, and conveied away from the king and him; yet there was laide upon every table, bokes, made in manner of inventories, reporting the number and contents of the same. And even so there were bokes made in manner of inventories of all things here after rehearsed, wherein he toke great paines to set all things in order against the king's comming. Also he hanged all the walls of the gallery on the one side, with clothe of golde, clothe of tyssewe, clothe of silver, and with riche clothe of bodkin, of divers colours. Also on the other side were hanged the richest suite of copes of his owne provision (made for his colledges of Oxenforde and Ipswiche) that ever I sawe in Englande. Then had he two chambers adjoyning to the gallery, the one called most commonly the gilt chamber, and the other the counsell chamber, wherein were set up two broade and long tables, upon tressles, whereupon was set suche a number of plate of all sortes, as was almost incredible. In the gilt chamber were set out upon the table nothing but gilt plate; and upon a cupboarde and in a windowe was set no plate, but all gold very riche. And in the counsell chamber was all white and parcell gilt plate ; and under the table in baskets was all
olde broken silver plate, not esteemed worthy to be occupied as plate, but as broken silver; and bokes set bye them, purporting every kinde of plate, and every parcell, with the content of the ounces thereof. Thus was all things furnished and prepared, giving the charge of all the saide stuffe, with all other things remaining in every office, to be delivered to the king, as well unto diverse persons, in whom he put his trust, as to one in especiall of his officers, in every office of his house, to make aunswer to their charge, charged in their indenture of the parcells; for the order was suche, that every officer was charged with the receipt of the stuffe belonging to their office by indenture.
He then determines to retreat to his house at Esher.
“ Then all things being ordered as it is before rehearsed, my lord prepared him to departe by water. And before his going, Sir William Gascoigne, being his treasurer, came unto him, to whom he gave, among other, the charge of the delivery of the saide goods, to be delivered unto the king, who saide unto the cardinall, then being his lord and master, “Sir,' quoth he, 'I am sorry for your grace, for ye shall go straightway to the Tower, as I heard say. “Is this the goode coupsell and comforte,' quoth my lord cardinall unto him, ' that you can give your master in adversity? It hath alwaies been your naturall inclination to be very lighte of credite; and much more lighter of reporting lies. I would you should knowe, Sir William, and all these reporters, that it is untrue; for I never deserved to come there, although it hath pleased the king to take my house ready furnished for his pleasure at this time. I would all the world knewe that I have nothing, but it is his of right; for by him, and of him, I have received all that I have; therefore it is of convenience and reason, that I render unto bis majesty the same againe, with all my harte. Therefore goe your waies, and attend well to your charge. And therewithall he made him ready to ride: and then with his traine of gentlemen and yeomen, whiche was no small number, he toke his barge at his privy staires, and so went by water unto Putney. At the taking whereof, there was walking up and downe on the Thames, boates filled with people of London, expecting the cardinall's departing by water, supposing that he should have gone to the Tower, whereat they joyed very much."
He had not gone far from Putney on his mule, when
“ Riding not paste a paire of butt lengths, he espied a gentleman come riding in poste downe the hill, in the towne of Putney, and demanding of his gentlemen aboute him, what he was, that came riding downe so faste, Forsoothe sir,' quoth they, “it is Mr. Norris, as it seemeth to us. And by and by he came to my lord saluting him, and sayd, “Sir, the king's majesty commendeth him unto you, and commaunded me to shewe you, that you be as muche in his favor as ever you were, and so shall be. Therefore he would that you should be of good cheere, and take no thought, for ye shall not lacke. And