Peck's lengthy tales
and doubt in the time of Queen Elizabeth I
2. THE CONTINENT (1583-1587)
XXI. "MY LUTE, BE STILL"
1: The Death of Charles Arundell
Edward Stafford to Principal Secretary Sir Francis Walsingham,
1587 (15 December English style)
Records Office, State Papers 15/30/53.
from the above:
I stayed this bearer [delayed the messenger]
hoping still to recover into
my hand certain papers and ciphers [codes] that have been taken in Gilbert Giffords
chamber, after he had been taken with an English queane . . . and with them also
was taken one Cotton and that sayeth he belongeth to my Lord of Essex, and sayeth
he came over with your passport...
was done upon Friday last, and I had warning of it by Charles Arundell that day,
and that there are letters that Phelippes writ to him and a notable cipher that
Phelippes sent him, and certain letters which they have intercepted any time this
month or six weeks which he writ to Mr Phelippes, which they have deciphered with
the cipher. It is told me that things [have been] discovered of the death of the
Q. of Scots and the apprehension of the gentlemen that were executed, and through
which they think to make their profit greatly of, to her Majestys dishonour.
have done what I can to have them into my hands and Arundell labored to get all,
and assured [me] upon Friday I should have them the next day or it should cost
him his life. Upon Saturday morning he fell suddenly sick with that extremity
that I never saw, so that I think this knave Paget and his companions have poisoned
him or given him some mischief, for you never saw man in that extremity, presently
in a raving and a burning. . . .
was with him even now, the physicians have given him over but only a very honest
learned man, a physician that serveth my house, yet he hath no great hope of him
to the same diplomatic letter:
is even now dead. I would I had bought him again in this time for a good deal
of money, for her Majestys service sake. He never saw me nor none of mine
come in but had still in his mouth that the Q[ueen] should know he was an honest
man; and [it] was the last word he spake as he was yielding the ghost, seeing
one of mine. Though he raved, some think that raving words insisted upon express[ing]
somewhat that one hath most in his mind. I will make you one day know perfectly
that it was true, and that I have a great loss of him.
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do not reproduce this text in any form for commercial purposes. Historical references
for events recreated in this story can be found in D. C. Peck, Leicester's
Commonwealth: The Copy of a Letter Written by a Master of Art of Cambridge (1584)
and Related Documents (Athens: Ohio University Press, 1985). Feedback and
suggestions are welcome, .
Written 1973-1989, posted on this site 20 June 2001.