ccd-logo1.jpg (12597 bytes)Dwight Peck's lengthy tales


faith and doubt in the time of Queen Elizabeth I

Part 1. ENGLAND (1577-1583)



"Benedicite, what dreaméd I this night?
Methought the world was turnéd up so down;
The sun, the moon, had lost their force and light;
The sea also drowned both tower and town."

"Hey! Ballou’s up."

A great party of men, naked to the waist, charged over the meadow, most afoot but not a few on horseback, toward a similar party charging from the opposite direction. In the middle, a man on a grey mare held aloft a wooden ball that shone in the Whitsuntide sun.

The opposing sides approached, raising up a tempest of hurrahs and dust, which mounted and crested just as the centerman dropped the ball to the turf and tried to slap his horse away from the collision that impended. But it was not to be. At once he was caught up in the havoc, unhorsed and dimly to be seen pushing and hauling to come clear before he made an unheroic end beneath a thousand feet.

The mounted men on both sides were first to reach the ball, but they failed to strike it with their long cudgels and, wheeling their horses about, found themselves confronting their opponents instead, and fell to bashing one another while the ball was kicked about beneath them.

Then the forward runners reached the place. One fine young fellow, lithe as lass of Kent, scooped up the ball and ran laterally to the north, evading his pursuers with dips and ducks and seeking the cover of his friends. But a broad giant of a man caught the ballcarrier with a headbutt to the chest that sent him sprawling. The giant tore the ball from his grasp and stood erect, towering above everyone, to let the wave of attackers break upon him, and disappeared forthwith beneath the battle.

Now all was cries and curses and limbs in the air, as both lines converged upon the center. Through the melee, the ball was nowhere to be seen. The Walthamstow men seemed to be carrying the field, but still there was no ball.

Then from the rear of the battling hosts emerged a single Wanstead man, who darted away towards his home village with mad speed. The cry went up and all turned to the chase, the Walthamstow men earnest to bring him down, his teammates seeking to prevent them by any means whatever. Within four or five minutes, every man capable of running had passed over the low hill to the east. Those remaining were the men who had given their best fight before the game was well begun.

Lord Paget, from his place on the overlooking hill, let out a low whistle.

"What a devilish sort of game these men take up," he said, an immense grin wreathing his face.

"Would that the Spaniards were here to see our play in England," said Arundell. "Surely, they would be in bodily fear of our war."

They remounted their horses and paused to survey the bloody scene once more.

"I have my wager, gentlemen," Northumberland said. "Wanstead has it, friends, let there be no equivocation in the settlements."

"Oh, my lord," said Paget, "you shall have your bet when the ball has found a home. It has a right space to go before that time."

Northumberland laughed. Around them, other gentlemen were resettling themselves on their horses and starting off in twos and threes for London, with their servingmen about them.

"The Wanstead men are Leicester’s interest," Paget said. "I wonder he was not here to cheer them on."

"He is here, Tom," Arundell replied, nodding towards a rise in the land above them. They looked up. There sat the earl of Leicester with a troop of his friends, brilliant in full sunlight upon his bright colors, and, as it appeared from that distance, he was staring directly down upon them. Points of light flashed from his silver, and his rich blue jacket, as if absorbing the sun and radiating it forth once more, seemed to bring him nearer, almost to hover over them. Abruptly, the earl and his companions wheeled off towards the east, returning to Wanstead whence they had come.

"What a devil chill I feel whenever he looks upon me," said Northumberland. "He is like the bogeymen and bugbears that affrighted me in childhood."

The others made no reply, but all spurred off towards the city.

The road lay through Hackney Marshes, into Shoreditch and by Islington, south to the Bishopsgate, past the theater near Finsbury and the Bedlam against Moorfields. Once within the wall, they turned west towards the Guildhall, beyond which the earl and Lord Thomas and their servants rode off down Wood Street towards Cheapside, where lay their favorite ordinary, the Horsehead. Arundell carried on straight through Newgate to the Fleet prison without the wall again. Here reposed Lord Harry Howard, who had been imprisoned, in some irony, for an effort to ingratiate himself with the powers that heretofore had kept him in suspicion.

Prophecy was all the cry just now, causing consternation among the churchmen. Lord Harry, sensing his opportunity, had returned to Audley End, his nephew’s house in Norfolk, for the Christmas season, and had brought to completion his great attack on astrology, entitling it the Defensative Against the Poison of Supposed Prophecies, which he had then had printed in London with a flattering dedication to Walsingham. So far from being flattered by the book, or edified by its scrupulous orthodoxy, Mr. Secretary, or someone, had had it pored over for heretical doctrine, which some of its more opaque citations (despite Lord Harry’s care) seemed almost to confirm. He found himself remanded to the Fleet for what he hoped would this time be a short visit. A month had passed already.

Arundell left his horse near the stable behind the building and walked round to the public gate. There the porter summoned a guardsman who (for a sum) led him up the stone stairs to Harry’s room in the southern wall, overlooking Fleet Street and, beyond that, Bridewell and the Thames.

Lord Howard was half in sleep when Arundell entered, but hearing his name called he turned his head and blinked at his visitor several times.

"Christ’s blood," he cried out; "Carolus redivivus! Enter, my boy, my humble establishment. God, man, how good to see you now."

"And you, Harry. More treason, is it, what?"

"Treason! Charles, you will not well believe. It passes all description what meanings and constructions these Bible-eating preachers can wring a learned passage to. I wrote but a simple book, as free of any hurt as pudding. God, man, they have clapped me up for a Latin phrase the meaning of which I scarcely knew myself."

"Ha ha ha," laughed Arundell. "Why, no more do they, it is the very latinity which makes their scholars think you quote the pope."

"Well, there is the joke, Charles. The heresy they charge me with is clean the other kind. I grin to think of it. They peer into my lines because they suspect me of papistry, and lock me up for a line of the Family of Love or some Anabaptistical gibbering. Oh, God, they are too funny."

Arundell laughed with him again, but then grew serious.

"So you are charged, then?"

"Oh, no, no I am not charged; I spoke over-loosely. That makes twice. I shall learn to look to my words more straightly. No, only suspected, as they say. Unless this covers some deeper matter, which I think not, I shall be enlarged as soon as they find the man can check my sources. There is nothing to it this time, Charles, trust me for that; I think they repossess me only that my old rooms will not forget me and wax lonesome."

"Unless it is but a pretext."

"Unless it is but a pretext only, but I do not think it so. There is never a word of Jesuits, none of the queen of Scots, none of armies or wars or spials; only of some ancient passage about orbits of planets, be they free, be they fixed, and what not else, ha ha, some Babylonish mysteries of such pagan foolery."

"Well, so, then. I share your optimism gladly." Arundell walked over to the writing table and gazed idly at the books strewn across it. Lord Harry appeared to be at work upon something else even now.

"Well! Charles, where have you been this year and a half past? Here, stay a moment. Gage!"

Lord Harry’s man appeared from the dressing room beyond.

"Wine, please, Jack. Bring in some wine."

"Very good, my lord."

"Well, where have you been hiding out, Charles, with never word to a soul whether you are here on live or dead and watching from above?"

"Had I been dead, Lord Harry, how would you have had me to advertise you?"

Howard stiffened suddenly and stared about him wildly with bugging eyes. "Harry," he croaked vilely, "Har-r-ry. For the love of God, Harry. I have somewhat to speak you from the other kingdom."

"Ha," shouted Arundell. "Now, Harry, in good sadness. Do not jest too loudly of ‘other kingdom’ here, ha ha, or I shall have to share the room with you."

"But truly, then, Charles, where have you been? We have been very diligent of inquiring, but no news."

"Well, it makes no matter. I have lived with Sharrock’s people in Wales; never ask why."

"Right then. And now you are come to join us in our revelry."

"Indeed, it seems so."

"Very good. Matters have moved along since your going off, Charles, you know. Much of the speech we hear commonly at table now would startle you, I think."

"Oh?" Charles looked at him steadily. "How startle me?"

"There is much ado now of plots and tricks of a military character."

"Well," said Charles, accepting the wine that Gage proffered him. "Military plots are bad enough, Harry, but are there soldiers to accompany them?"

"Not that I may learn of. There was a great plan now a nine months or a year gone of the duke of Lennox by Scotland way, for bringing in from those parts a certain army of the duke of Guise and others. But all is whusht, Lennox is overthrown and fled to France whence he came, and the young king of Scotland lies in Protestant hands and never thinks of his poor mother now. For the rest, you will hear much, but nothing of substance at this time, I think."

"But no more talk of risings within the realm?"

"Oh, for that, of course there be our younger bloods who still maintain as an article of their creed that, were the word but given, the full-armed Catholics would rise up like dragon’s teeth. But there is nothing there, Charles, you know that." Lord Harry sat shaking his head in weary amusement. "No, there is nothing in that at all. We are not so many in the country, nor so strong, as once we were."

"So to what purpose all this plotting?"

"Well, you see," said Howard, staring from his high embrasure towards the river, "it’s a matter of keeping up one’s spirits. There are two sorts of plottings I do hear of. The one, of some midnight raid upon Sheffield or so, to free the queen of Scots and ride away in the darkness, no man knows whither; very fine stuff, just out of the old romances. The other, to seek out some foreign prince who will commit himself to a landing here. I have few hopes of either course at this time. One man there was, a black little fellow who offered that some must kill the earl of Leicester and all the Protestant lords upon the sudden, but the men beat him soundly and left him by the road in Berkshire; for, do you see, he was either a stark madman, as that man who shot upon Hatton some years past, or else, what is the more likely, he was an agent-provoker sent to stir us into somewhat for a hanging."

"Methinks you are already ripe for hanging, Harry." Charles looked at him soberly. "Between armies landing and assassins shooting there is little for an English jury to choose."

"That is true enough. But I cannot overwatch them all. They will speak what they list, you know. And they’re hot, Charles, yes they are hot--no, do not shake your head so; they are not all to blame. All have brother or father in prison or in some other straits."

"Well, Harry, thus much for the younger men," said Arundell wearily. "Tell me now, what does a lonely old scholar have to do with all these broils? I am told you are in something to your hangers, but no man tells me what it is."

"That is as I would have it, my friend," said Lord Harry. "But I shall tell you, for anyway I have need of your help now. It must pass no further, for discretion’s sake."

"I am told you are somewhat familiar with the ambassador of Spain."

"I am, I am. Charles, as he is a Spaniard he is an arrogant hidalgo whom I would not cross a narrow road to greet; but as he is a Catholic, you must know, he is a loyal man and a true one."

"From the sound of it, you spend a little of his master’s fortune."

"A bit of it, yes, a little bit. Nor am I the only pensioner in London, never think so. A glance about the Council board might show one or two more of them. In return for which I pass to Don Bernardino whatever little informations come to me, matters at court, matters in the country--what the Catholics do, what Leicester and his fautors make to, similar toys--any small bit of news one hears from the ladies our friends or from whatsoever other mouth."

"A small matter of spying for pay, is it?"

"It is, but no consequence, really, for I no longer hear the best news. And do remember, Charles, I say it to my partial exculpation, that in this paradoxical time Don Bernardino is a truer Englishman than are many of our greatest councillors. For you know, he serves his master zealously. Now, observe: his master wants no war with England, nor should we with him; he wants no helps to the rebel part in Flanders, no more should we; he wants no harm to threaten the good queen in prison, no more do we. In all of these, must we with the Spaniard prevent the Leicestrian Bear, who if he goes unchecked and unmuzzled will ere long bring all Europe into conflagration. To be true Englishman, Charles, is now to aid the Spaniard."

"You are a casuistical rogue, my lord."

"Oh, I daresay I am that, but do you see the truth of it?"

"I see much truth in it."

"Well, Charles, always we have sought, you and I, to limit and restrain the earl of Leicester’s port and sway in the court. But there is no flying without wings, as Paget says; Leicester has beaten us, alone we may make nothing against him. The French have proved to us but weak reeds, and spoke us fair for as long as we served their turns, but now it is the Spaniards who must aid us, and I will tell you, Charles, they will stand more steady."

"I hearken to your words, Harry, but remain in some part unconvinced."

"In what part? God’s blood, man, do you think things can continue as they are? Matters are daily approaching rage and desperation, Charles. In not long time, if nothing intervenes, we shall have a mighty war with Spain, if not here then in the Netherlandish fens, and when it comes, Charles, here at home we shall see such papist blood to flow as will not be believable. There is but one way out of it--to induce her majesty to name Queen Mary her successor, as in right and law she is, at which time this persecuting of her favorers must cease upon the hour, and our continental foes become our friends again. But hardly will the queen be brought to like of this while Leicester and his canting companions do spoon in her ear this stew of plots and treasons. We must overcome the earl by any means before this realm can be made safe."

"Spooning stew in her ear."

"All right, all right. But I speak in earnest."

"I cannot deny you phrase it well. But consider, though you oppose this traitor Leicester, yet you oppose a many-friended councillor. If taken in this, you may find a room of peers less easily persuaded."

"We do what we must for God and England, Charles, we take a risk or two if we must, so only this venture will succeed."


Lord Harry rose from his pallet and went to his table. He found a sheet of paper among his books and, dipping his quill, wrote briefly upon it.

"Charles, this will introduce you to Don Bernardino. He will remember you from the night of our resort to him."

On the sheet, Charles read, in Lord Harry’s distinctive Italic hand, the words, "Love him as myself."

"You entangle me, Harry."

"We have need. Charles, the passage of the Scottish queen’s letters is a crucial matter for us. The French house is watched, and by that way we send but letters of love and greeting, such as may be patently seen. Otherwise, chiefly we use Don Bernardino’s pouches, which is a means as yet all unsuspected. Now, mark me, two of us specially are in touch with the Spaniard, myself and Mr. Throgmorton, whom you know."

Arundell shook his head.

"Francis Throgmorton. He is a little man from Chester, his father was a justice there, but ruined by Leicester’s craft and brought thereby to his grave, as is thought. He is a faithful man, but heady, Charles, too young for discretion’s requirements. But a very loyal man."

Lord Howard took the paper and folded it several times over, then tucked it into Arundell’s bosom.

"You must occupy my place for me, until I come free, lest our chain be broken. Letters from the queen of Scots and from Curle and Nau her men, out of Sheffield or Tutbury Castle by covert means, will come to you by two men in special, one Foljambe and one Ardington, both excellent men and as Catholic as a cardinal; trust them, therefore."

"Lord Harry, letters are letters, and I would do for our lady what in reason can be done. But I will plot no plots, nor carry them. You hurry on before me, and I cannot keep your pace."

"No plots, none at all. Be assured. Though I would not minimize the peril to your body, whatever benefit your soul may reap from this charitable service."

"Peril, I daresay."

"Yes, I cannot tell how great. We have been imperilled before, but here, I think, we may be further out of help than heretofore. There may be no earl of Sussex to love us well if hard constructions should be used of us."

"My lord, perhaps you do not know. My lord of Sussex is vastly ill. He is retired to his house in Bermondsey, and it is thought he hardly will emerge from it."

"Ah, me. And thus my month in prison here."

"Yes, I saw him but this morning, and he lamented much he could not rise to speak for you."

"Well, howsoever be it. The peril is here, Charles, and I would not tell it you in candied terms."

"Well, Harry. What else have we, eh? Two lonely old men."

"Not so very old, Charles."

"No, not so old; but we have neither wives nor heirs, nor fathers alive to fret for us, nor, for me, much lands to lose. I will take up this peril."

"Yes. I knew you were my man as ever."

Arundell started towards the door, but paused.

"Do you know, Paget tells me he has given thought to going over for his conscience. I had thought I might go with him."

"What, wife and all?"

"He has no more wife, having just returned from placing her in ground, with sadly little sorrow, I’m afraid. Sure she will be happier in the earth than she ever was upon it. His brother awaits him in Paris, and sings him a fine song of his entertainment there."

"As you will, Charles. But we have need of you here."

"Yes, all right."

"And what of Paget’s sister? Has he not a sister whom you were somewhat familiar withal? I might have thought you would marry, after so many years a gentleman of the court, and go into the country for the quiet life."

Arundell stiffened.

"Mistress Lee is married already."

"But we have other dames."

"Not for me, Harry. What, will I keep my wife like Diogenes living in a tub? Little lands, less coin, a patrimony such as the cat left on the malt heap. Now I am closed from employment in the court. I will never regain my living, I fear me, as long as Leicester lives."

"Doubtless not. Well, Charles, you are the man for the desperate act. Penury urges us to heroism, oftentimes, have you observed? Well, goodbye. I little doubt I shall meet you soon on freer ground. Where do you stay?"

"At the Horsehead."

"Well, come into one of the Howard houses if you wish to. As you will."

"Right, then. God be with ye, my lord."

"Fare well, Charles."

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Arundell stepped out into the dark corridor. The low stone ceiling weighed upon him, and he felt the pressure of this oppressive house with its unhappy tenants and its silent guards. Lord Harry bore it up admirably, but he had the money to live more tolerably here, floors above the dark basement wardrooms where the poorer sort were thrown in together and left till someone at court chanced to remember them, or till some bailiff summoned them forth to trial or the gallows, or till some kinsman in the country raised the money for their fines or, at least, for their food.

The place chilled him. He feared it more than death, feared that in such a place as this he would end his days, starved and forgotten. His ride in from the west country had seemed like a protracted march up Calvary. Something called him to London, some clouded hope of change, some half-understood conception of offering himself to some still less understood cause--some notion of sacrifice--but he feared what might transpire. He sensed the final act beginning, in which he, though merely a supernumerary upon the great stage, must participate in the tragic dénouement. He almost believed he was being drawn, both unwillingly and, at the same time, willingly, to his destruction.

He threw off this growing depression. This black mood came of his perplexity and helplessness. God watched. It was enough.

Having retrieved his horse, Arundell rode north towards outlying Clerkenwell, where lived his brother Sir Matthew. The day continued fine, and the ride was a pleasant one. In the bosom of his shirt he kept Lord Harry’s missive to the Spaniard, but forced himself to think of other more congenial matters. It was something better left for tomorrow.

In Smithfield the horse-coursers were busy. Their strings of horses, led north and south along the road and back and forth across it to pens on either side, made the going difficult and slow. Cries of trade filled the air, as Arundell rode into the cluster of houses and stables and inns that made up this bustling suburb in the shadow of the London wall. In the chief building, a tavern, which fronted on the wide Farringdon Road, the westering sun glanced off the windows and made them seem afire with blinding white light. Arundell guided his horse through the press of people and animals, past the tavern’s open door with its jovial sounds splashing out into the street. He held his bonnet over his eyes and beheld the windows, some sixteen or twenty panes of glass blank and shining with an unearthly blast. Abruptly, he passed the angle of reflection and found himself peering deep into the main room.

In the nearest window was a face, a blank, repulsive face, with one useless, milk-white eye staring hard at nothing and a good eye staring hard at him.

A cold panic swept over him. He slapped up his horse and plunged through the crowd, rounding the corner opposite the tavern and galloping out westward into open country towards St. Giles. He never looked back. Soon well away from the good eye’s field of vision, he believed nonetheless that the blank eye, wherever he might travel to, would follow him.

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To his honor, Mr. Secretary Walsingham, at Barn Elms, or one of his special trusted, give these.

Sir, after my hearty comm’ns, etc. I have advertised you of mine intent to hold to our present course. The hoped for event is so far delayed. Myself remaining in the bootmaker’s at Shoe Lane bottom, where at the 10 [French] house none have come these four or five days, saving only, again in the night, my lord the bishop of Hereford’s son Sylvanus, who may bear watching in particular, and also once or twice 75 [Fran. Throgmorton]. My man Adrastus informs me from within that house that 75 brought nothing with him neither in nor out of the house, which consorts with my own observation from without. Mr. Parthenopaeus is of like opinion, who has been as flea upon dog with him and informs me 75 has neither seen friend nor received message, saving one thought to be from his brother Tho. over the sea, which could not by any means be got, for this entire week. Mr. Parth. means at my bidding to follow his quarry close upon him till he yields us better game.

Adrastus furthermore offers his copies of other correspondences of that house, all which I enclose, as namely three several letters from the man of 10 [France] extraordinary now in 14 [Scotland], to the effect that you see, of changes wrought by the late escape of 107 [king of Scotland]. As also one of 5 [Lord Treasurer Burghley], which may bear your careful reading, to 11’s [the French ambassador’s] self, in cipher as it seems.

Amphiarus is upon 76 [my lo. H. Howard] since his late releasing out of durance, but reports no doings, for 76 has never approached them of 10 not once, which gave me much surprise, to say truly; for he dwells now in Arun. House upon the river, which is hard by. One time this week only he has gone out, for company’s sake it seems, for he crossed river and called short time at the Spanish house and at the house of 28 [Lord Montague], returning then to his bed by the water without passing them of 10 at all. What entertainment he may have had among the Spaniards may bear looking into. He is visited on Monday by 33 [Ch. Arundell], later by 62 [the e. of Northumberland] and 36 [my L. Paget] together, and on Tuesday by one Foljambe. Mr. Capaneus is presently away from town, for on Tuesday early 62 rode out from town, and from him I have not heard since that time, though by arrangement I shall if he has matter.

36 [Paget], besides this visit to 76, dwells at home, but goes out often, but never to the 10 house, only twice to tennis and many times to take the benefit of the air, with never stopping for any speech. My Hippomedon is with him at all times. This Mr. Hipp. is an excellent man whom your honor has never seen, for he is but newly arrived and joins me with a great will to do your honor good. He is my sister’s only son, and will do much, for which great promise that I see in him I recommend him heartily to your honorable notice, for what time he does some better service you may think well to reward him. I pay him at the wonted rate by the day. Visits his man has had in several, specially from 33 [Arundell], at least once daily, also by Mr. Fagot a Frenchman residing in the 10 house, who I think is one of yours, also by Mr. Gifford a notorious papist lately a prisoner.

Letters which 36 [Lord Paget] receives this week are some from the country of no matter saving money matters and children’s toys, and but one from over seas, brought to him by a man unknown to us, but as is thought it is from his brother 20 [Charles Paget]. We could not come to any sight of it, and it was burnt. One Walklate who is his man is thought to yield soon to the argument of angels, which if he does his greed shall speak in torrents to us. Hippomedon is persuaded his man is very deep in all, but I think otherwise, and think him but an idle fellow and sequacious companion.

Tydeus I have kept close upon 33 [Arundell], notwithstanding he is known by sight unto him, for the respect of your honor’s trust in him oftentimes expressed, as well for the knowledge I have also of his excellent skill. 33 was at the house of Sp. on two occasions these three or four days past, and Tydeus is of opinion he breeds something there but cannot tell what. God grant he receive little welcome there if true. Also once to 76 [Howard], once with Foljambe walking in Paul’s Yard and again in East Cheap, once by horse to my lord of Sussex’s widow, for causes of consolation it should seem. 33 lies still at the Horsehead.

This week past we have neither sight nor smell of any of 100’s [the queen of Scots’s] letters in any place we come to or are led unto, neither at the 10 house, so I believe and will maintain it, nor with any of those we cleave to. Unless there were some other avenue in use, I think this week has gone with nothing in or out. Your honor may know better from the other side the sea, but we hold on as erst we have begun and find no hint of actionable matters or matters of suspicion here. As you command me, so I perform it, begging only that my account, which your honor may remember I sent to you with my last, may be paid me straightaway; for truly, your honor, though if I could (and would God that I could) I would serve you only for the honest love I bear you, yet my poor men do somewhat starve, and I pay them as I can from my own little purse, which were a threadbare service to so great a queen.

Never doubt, your honor, that we shall have our traitors and our proofs, and that when this unhappy correspondence is revived we shall soon know all, well beforehand with the perfidious proditors who seek the shame and dishonor of this realm by lewd, unruly means. God be praised for your care of our merciful queen. Remembering me and my small purse to your honor’s charity, I remain before the 10 house ever diligent to justify your trust in my poor self, commending you to God, who cares for you as one of his best, this 27. of June 1583.

Polyneices, chief of your honor’s "Seven Against Thebes."

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Hance’s, or The Hance, lay in Westminster west of the Old Palace, some way north of Chelsea Reach. In this quiet corner, more than a mile and a half from the court at Whitehall, Edward Stafford kept his ancient house, regranted to him from the huge, dispersed patrimony of the Stafford dukes of Buckingham. The establishment itself was not a large one, but comfortably appointed and conveniently placed, and he preferred it to his home in Grafton, Northants, for here he enjoyed the pleasures of the country without sacrificing his proximity to affairs of the court. For some years, he had served as a diplomatic Johannes Factotum, employed first in minor and then in increasingly responsible missions principally involving France, in the affairs of which nation he was coming to be regarded as an expert.

Stafford’s rise at court may be credited to his abilities and honesty, but not to his delicacy, of which he demonstrated not a trace. He was an abrasive man, and an outspoken one. Having come to notice first by his mother’s influence, who was Mistress of the Queen’s Wardrobe, he had had the timely wisdom to link up with the Lord Treasurer at the beginning of the Anjou marriage talks, when Leicester might have hurt him more than ever his mother could have helped. He had soon become known as Burghley’s man. This patronage, despite his vociferous support of Monsieur’s cause at that time, had afforded him a certain immunity from Leicester’s attack. Fiercely loyal to the queen and to the England he saw misled into peril, he had never concealed his hatred for the Bear and Ursine brood, nor held his tongue in denouncing the earl’s motives in everything. So far Leicester could do little, for as long as Stafford sheltered under Burghley and continued irreproachably loyal in all his doings, he might say almost what he pleased.

What nature prompted him to in his disdain of the earl, his marriage perfected in him, for late in 1579 he had taken up and made respectable the Lady Douglass Sheffield, Leicester’s cast-off mistress, who vied with her husband who should vilify Leicester more in private speech. Lady Douglass was a Howard and like many of her clan she was secretly a Catholic, a persuasion that sorted well enough, if not with Stafford’s theology, which could not be said really to exist, at least with his aristocratic pride and inbred scorn for the new men and their new ways. Between them Stafford and his wife made a pretty pair of bitter birds, cooing lovebirds as often as otherwise, but screaming jays when Leicester’s name arose in conversation.

As it arose now, over dinner, in the great hall that dominated the house in Hance’s. Douglass, a tall, imperious woman who had nonetheless, despite her Howard nose and strict features, been reckoned a famous beauty not so long ago, sat simmering with familiar rage as her husband rehearsed once again the tale of her poisoning.

"For, gentlemen," he said, "it is a thing well known and spread over all the court how my lady, having observed and noted divers most abominable disorders and enormities of this good earl, and doubting in her heart--did you not, my lady?" (she nodded primly)--"that if speedy redress were not had thereof all the world would cry out of it to the great slander and reproach of all the court, complained one day to the queen, of which this good lord, being advertised very speedily and imagining belike in his mind that this complaint proceeded of the abundance of some melancholic humor in her, and moved with a brotherly charity, judged that this humor offending should be well purged, and to this end gave in charge to one George Vaux, his yeoman of the bottles, to provide with all diligence that some drugs might be had fit for such operation. Who belike, not taking good heed to the confection of the potion, instead of elleborum or good sentuary took a quantity of red arsenic, and the less to offend the weak and delicate stomach of my lady, he espied an opportunity and a fit commodious hour for her to take it all unwittingly. For spying her one day passing by the place where my lord’s bottles stood that were in his charge, he presented her with a cup of my lord’s wine under a color of courtesy, which my good wife, not dreaming of any malice, refused not but took a good draught, which was the dearest draught that ever she drank; for she had no sooner swallowed down this good wine of my lord of Leicester’s but she was immediately after swollen and as it were leprous, in such sort that albeit by the great goodness of God she escaped death, yet notwithstanding, all the world might easily see that she had been poisoned. Yet notwithstanding, this ill which happened to my lady brought both to herself and others this good, to take better heed hereafter how they come to such bargains to come so near my lord’s bottles or to taste of his lordship’s wine anymore."

Stafford’s friends laughed politely with him, genuinely to the extent that his last jest and heavy irony merited, and somewhat more to make up the difference, for the often hearing of the tale had diminished its effect. Lady Stafford let them laugh but put on the martyr’s face, as befitted her dignity. But when the moment of mirth had passed, she ventured (as she always did) to correct certain misinformations in the telling, and reminded her husband that he had got right the doing of the act, but erred in the fullness of the earl’s motives, which in point of truth came most of all of her refusal to renounce her legal marriage to him, which certainly she would have done, she said, having come to a better knowledge of his lordship’s character, but that in so doing she would have made her son a bastard. Stafford apologized (as he always did) for having got it wrong, and the others (as always) professed wonder and admiration at the earl’s unconscionable treatment of a loving wife. No one in England believed she had really been married to the earl of Leicester, with the possible exception of herself.

Drury then set about, in the spirit of the occasion, to tell the tale of Leicester’s unworthy acts against Simier, how he would have practiced with one Fervaques to assault him in the open street as he was going to the Royal Exchange under pretense of an old quarrel that was between them; "and to this end, my friends," he said, "my lord of Leicester promised him the aid and assistance of all his hewsters and murderers, of which he entertains no small number to serve him at all assays."

Here he smiled at his wife, as if to ask her pardon for speaking of such violent affairs. His friends listened patiently, with frequent signs of interest, to this tale, which also they had heard many times before. As always, everything was in the telling of it, for this and the rest of the Leicestrian saga they all had well to heart.

"But God (that by his providence overthrows the purposes of the wicked)"--Drury glanced quickly to the ceiling--"suffered this to come to the knowledge of the queen, who calling Leicester to her in presence of divers of her Council made him there a knight of a new order for this his newest practice, giving him goodly titles of Murderer, Traitor, and Villain, and protesting of her honor that if Simier should lose one drop of his blood his lordship should be hanged like a knave as he was, which words did so cool and abate the courage of this brave knight that that which he had so wickedly plotted passed no farther, although the stay was not in himself, whose wicked meaning was sufficiently declared in this matter long before."

"Indeed," cried Lady Douglass, "this rebuke so quelled my lord of Leicester that his feigned humility was long after one of his best virtues, nay his only."

"Alas, brother, what will restrain this over-violent skellum when the queen is no longer on the earth to somewhat modify his rages?"

Stafford’s eyes were merry. He was at home in the rhetoric of Leicestrian slanders, but having never felt the earl’s whip upon his own unprotected back, though his hatred of the man was real he rather played at fearing Leicester as a game than lived it as a career. Arundell said nothing.

Drury’s talk progressed to recent news of the Flanders wars, and then to the perilous state of Scotland’s affairs, where the friendliness of the young king to English interest was in great doubt and much discussed in London. The councillors feared that James, with the wrong advisers, would drift to the Catholic part, and Sir William Drury shared this concern. The talk was going round the corridors of the court that the English Council had offered to send his mother back to him if James would share his throne with her, but the king was responding coolly to the suggestion.

Stafford’s sister Bess Drury, somewhat younger than her brother, a Catholic but an unassuming one, had no head for heavy talk of state, and seemed on the point of drifting impolitely into sleep. Drury roused her and, with apologies all round, together they ascended to their chamber.

"Well, for my part, I will benefit from this example," said the Lady Douglass. "Forgive us for rushing you off, Charles; always welcome here, you know, do come again."

Arundell rose from the table and began to take his leave.

"One moment, Charles," said Stafford. "Please go on, sweet, and I shall join ye shortly. Charles and I must have a word more ere he leaves us."

"As you wish," she replied. She called her woman to her, and together they went up to her rooms for her undressing.

Arundell sat back down.

"Charles, as is not unknown to you, I am in the way of learning much by piecemeal that passes at the court, what with overhearing this and deducing that from antecedent words and gestures, and wi’ the odd remarks my Lord Treasurer lets fall within my hearing."

He paused, and Arundell thought a nod appropriate, still doubtful as to what was next to come.

"Well. These few words heard and some signs seen do give me cause for worry now, for, letting alone the great causes of kingdoms always ready to trouble us sorely, lately I hear of somewhat nearer home, which nearly concerns my friends and, if permitted, I may say my kinsmen."

"I am flattered by that designation," Arundell murmured, "if I am one of those you mean."

"You are. Long time my friends, certainly my wife’s near kinsmen, if mine more distantly; and so the objects of all my care and watchfulness."

"For which I greatly thank you."

"I am glad. I would not speak unwelcome to ye, or meddle in affairs of others where my care was hateful to any. Know that what I speak, I speak it to your health, Charles."

"Of course."

"Well then. The cause of my present grief is the suggestion which I hear that y’rself and others are lately suspected of some disaffection." Stafford held up his hand to prevent reply. "Now, understand me, it is not to be thought that we must lay down our heads and let these warlike, canting councillors carry us to ruin. But there is more in this, do you see, and also my Lord Burghley has let pass some monitory word or two, I think in the hope I shall speak to you as now I do."

"Well, speak on then."

"And so I shall. The burden of all is this. I understand by these means just mentioned that you are set upon and watched, as likewise Harry is and my Lord Tom Paget, with some others whom I know not even by their names. I understand further that the reason for this constant watching is twofold. For one, it is thought that all amongst you y’do participate in the passing of the queen in prison’s secret correspondence, which were enough, in these troubled times. But far worse is next, that in this correspondence and other which it is thought you keep there is the plotting of foreign landings and other military matters, which truly, Charles, would merit harsh dealing if true, as I will never believe it is."

"Then why do you mention it, to trouble my dreams with talk of treasons?"

"I mention it to the end that, howsoever false it be, ye may look to yourselves and keep free from all matter of like suspicions. You may think no treason in your deep heart, Charles, but confess it, something in your present carriage is bringing this suspicion down upon you."

"I cannot think what I have done to merit such---."

Stafford cut him off.

"Come, my friend, I am no spymaster or inquisitor. Speak plainly. To begin withal, you know that both my Lord Paget and this new friend of yours called Throgmorton have brothers over the seas whose actions are none of the most loyal to this realm. These boutefeux, these far-ranging Englishmen in France and Spanish Flanders you know are much cried out upon here. Now, every letter passed secretly from these men to their brothers, however innocent it may be, nonetheless it cannot but breed the worst interpretations if overseen by other eyes. Northumberland, too, with whom I observe you spend much time, is not his son Percy over seas? I am informed that the Catholics there do spread their nets to keep the boy, and letters are taken which reveal their attempt to win the earl’s consent thereto. This cannot fail to excite Mr. Secretary’s rage. If Harry Percy joins the Jesuits’ part, mark me, his father shall suffer for it here. And for yourself, will you tell me you work nothing at all for the queen of Scotland’s aid and succor?"

"I have never had in my life any traitorous intent," said Arundell firmly.

"So far am I as the sun above the earth from thinking treason in you or any of my kinsmen. But this I will say. One, I cannot say as much for some others you are seen to keep company with daily, and two, I cannot swear that some of these present dealings will not be forced and drawn and strained to treason-seeming intents by those who are not your kinsmen nor never wish to be. Mark me well in this, I speak it for your safety. Something grows to boiling very soon, Charles, and I would not for any sum of money have you to be in the pot at that time."

"Well, Edward, I thank you for your careful words. I shall look to myself and speak also to my friends; but meanwhile, I dare assure you, you shall never have cause of shame in us. If some mild aids to the Scottish queen do cross my mind from time to time, yet I have never dealt in plots or attempts of any kind, nor will I. But these times do grow to desperation, and I cannot promise the peace of this realm for much longer if present courses hold. No man may think evil of his lawful queen, but neither must he, for respect of that specious loyalty we are enjoined to by bad counsellors, lie down before the monstrous men who hurry our Christian land to godless, bloody ruin. Marry, I . . ."

"Enough. So far I agree with all my heart. But yet I fear me much that you and I shall come to different reckonings, both born of the same belief but pursued in the end by different ways. Look very well to yourself, Charles, for I tell you again, justly or unjustly, and it skills little which, you are watched over and sought after. And so I would say also to your friends, for you have no Sussex alive now to speak for you to her majesty."

Arundell sat gazing into his cup. Here were his own suspicions, here his nightmares of the man with the all-seeing blind eye; he was abashed to learn he was so much marked and spoken of.

"I will inform my friends of your fears for us," he said at last.

"And you will moderate your courses."

"In what I can."

"Then I have my wish." Stafford yawned and stretched himself. "It grows late, Charles; I must offer you a bed."

"No, no, many thanks, but I must ride back tonight, for I am expected."

"Ah, I see; another wench, perhaps?"

"No, truly."

"You must marry, Charles, and look to your old age, when a man alone will grow cheerless in an empty bed."

"Certainly I must, Edward. One day perhaps."

"Of course, of course. Why not Drury’s sister now, newly widowed, or Mistress Pierrepoint, or any of a hundred lovely dames all richly suited? Why keep you always to these inelegant rooms with some old tavern matron who cares nothing for any but your purse?"

"No more. We muddle on in our best way. Good night, then, Ned, and many thanks for your wine."

"No guts I’d rather put it in than yours. Fare well, friend. Have a great care now, will you not? Forewarned is fore-armed."

"None more careful."

Arundell departed to the road, where Sharrock had prepared his horse for him. He affected something like insouciance at parting, but his heart misgave him, filled as it was with a slow fear, not first lit, but fanned to flame, by Stafford’s warning. He and his man rode back into the city through the darkness, peering behind to see whether they were followed. They saw no one.

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To Master Phelippes, at the court, in case of Mr. Secretary’s absence, give these.

Master Phelippes, greeting. I am informed here of Mr. Secretary’s continuance in Scotland, wherefore again I make my accustomed report to yourself, trusting well you will inform his honor of any herein requiring haste or his perusal. Notwithstanding, this my report, though I might (if I would) so ornament its outside with tales of comings and goings and pregnant speeches overheard, yet it would remain hollow within. Mr. Adrastus informs me, who lies within the 10 [French] house, of the bad 100’s [queen of Scots’s] correspondence these two parcels sent this past week out and but one only in, which are all of health wished and love forever offered, with only (to be noted) one message from a great prince overseas offering in shrouded terms an everlasting promise of helps, but nothing more harder than "someday" and "let me never fail you." It is enough, Mr. Phelippes, I assure you, to make my teeth ache, for however vigilant we maintain ourselves, still we get nothing this way (alas) but charitable drivel and good wishes, knowing full well nevertheless that some great matter is on foot that yet we understand not fully of. 100’s correspondents out in these two parcels have been, 39, 14, 17, 3, 104, and 6 of Savoy; whereas in have been 3, 104 also, the Lord 42, and her own friends in 10 [France], 22 [Tho. Morgan], 20 [Ch. Paget], and the b. of Ross, and one unsigned.

Fearing lest Adrastus is secretly discovered and the weightier matters by art kept from him, I have asked him so much, but he swears he is as greatly in the true confidence of his countrymen as ever he was before he answered to our wishes. Notwithstanding I believe in his fidelity, I have employed another, whom I call Littlewit, who is English and now has his place in the 10 kitchens, where he may observe both Adrastus and those others of that house towards Adrastus. This Littlewit, my cousin’s son, is but a boy, and works upon promises at no expense to me. Which is a very fortunate thing, for I have naught but promises to give him.

In despite of these thwartings at the house of 10, yet do I believe very earnestly that matters draw on more perilously. Certain I am that 75 [Throgmorton] is in the thick of all, for, I assure you, sir, his house is become the very Royal Exchange for goings in and out and congress of people, mostly men suspected, with more selling of secrets there, I think, than horses in Smithfield. Mr. Parthenopaeus still watches by his house, and observes the visiting of many men this week or so past, as once 76 [Henry Howard] and another close behind, who in truth, sir, (here I shall make you smile) was our own Amphiarus, unknown to Mr. Parth.; also visited by one Foljambe, one Ardington twice, and one Tunstead, all of whom ride daily in and out of the town to all parts of the country, it should seem, precisely we know not whither, but certainly upon some furious business of states, as likewise one Meredith, who is 75’s man. Also there came a man a fortnight ago, of whom I advertised Mr. Secretary at that time, a man I thought to be and think still to have been 75’s brother Tho., whom I was assured dwelt in Paris or Rouen or some other foreign part, and accordingly I did then require Mr. Secretary’s leave to attach and take him up, but received no reply of him, and so the man is gone, doubtless (if it was he) over the seas again, busy busy in work of plotting.

36 [L. Paget] has remained much at home, as heretofore likewise has 33 [Arundell] in his tavern room, going out but seldom, but here is news of moment. This morning early 33 rode out somewhat towards Nonesuch or thereabouts, but by ill luck saw my man Tydeus and by artful tricks gave him the slip and rode away. Tydeus is with me as I write, angry at himself for this puny’s bumble in a man so long expert, but I must console him and tell him that any man once knowing he is followed may elude the best follower alive. But also this morning rode out 36, whose follower my nephew Hippomedon sent word of his departure but not whither, so that I must linger for his news.

The sum and effect of all this riding out, in mine opinion, is something comes on now more worthy of our diligence. I understand by rumor’s mouth of a base man taken lately and clapped in ward and taken upon him certain papers of invasion by some one of the pope’s minions, which if true, sir, I beg you tell us of it, Mr. Secretary would do as much I know, for without such knowledge we cannot tell how best to lead our searches here. We hear also of ships on the 10 coast in preparation, which by her majesty’s commandment at Greenwich to 11 [the French ambassador] are lately stayed by 12 [the king of France], which if true, I tell you we must be informed of these and suchlike matters. We intelligencers must not always be the last to learn of things.

Sir, I know well you be not one of us poor humble servants, unworthy to touch Mr. Secretary’s hem or tread upon his floor, yet do not despise us, for like us you love and serve him zealously, and so I presume unforgivably upon this common bond we have to beg you speak for us to his honor when he returns. For, you know, Mr. Phelippes, so far arrears has our payment become as almost we must feed ourselves on the scraps thrown out by common housewives and sculleries in the street, indeed not these four or five months has a shilling been given me for disbursement amongst the rest, already is my own poor living gone to keep them above the earth which yawns to claim their starving corpses, and believe me, sir, heartily would you weep to see these loyal men who pass such trials in her majesty’s service, all for the love of Mr. Secretary, go ragged and scrawny through the town, following the traitors they are charged to follow but unable almost to keep up with them for the faintness of hunger they feel. For God’s sake, Mr. Phelippes, do speak for us, and keep life in us, which if you do doubt not we shall soon have our felons in the noose. Remaining here, where you know how to reach me, this 11. of Sep. 1583, your ready servant who calls himself for the present,


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From a journey of more than fourteen hours, Shipmaster Haller made Arundel Haven not long after the sun had set. Lying in Dieppe quays a week earlier, he had been approached by a military gentleman named Watts (whom nonetheless he had once seen in priestly dress coming from the Jesuit house in Rouen), who had settled with him for seven pounds to carry over another gentleman and his man on the 7th of September. On the morning of that day, the gentleman had appeared, a small dark fellow indifferently clad, who had introduced himself as Mope. Again the seaman had been given pause, for this same Mope too he had seen not long since in Rouen, and his name then had been, not Mope, but Nauris.

But inquisitiveness was not one of the master’s vices: a measure of common avarice, sometimes, but not excessive curiosity. He had greeted his passenger dutifully as Mr. Mope and set to sea at once. Mope, whatever his true name, was as sick at sea as any human creature he had ever seen. Now, having come ashore in the haven, after a quick meal at a house he knew there, he led his men up into the hills surrounding and walked with them to Mr. William Davies’s house at Patching a few miles inland.

There, at two in the morning of the 8th, they went to rest. The next day, Haller left them, and Mope and his companion rode onward, a half day’s journey to Petworth, the earl of Northumberland’s manor in Sussex. They left Mr. Davies’s horses in the courtyard and entered the first hall, where Wycliffe, his lordship’s new secretary, came to meet them. Robotham, the companion, introduced himself to Wycliffe, whom he had never met, for though he was another of the earl’s secretaries he had been abroad as travelling fellow of the young Lord Percy. Wycliffe brought Mope into the long gallery to meet the countess and pass the interval until the earl’s return, for his lordship, he said, having been to church in the morning, had ridden out not long before to pay respects among his tenants.

The countess greeted Mope somewhat stiffly. She had seen him at Petworth before, but never met him; aside from his furtive looks, which did not inspire trust, the very fact that her husband had never thought good to present him to her linked him in her mind to a part of the earl’s life she wished not to think about. Mope did his best to charm her with his conversation, but increasingly she found him graceless and overeager and, excusing herself at last, she went off to the children, where she felt more at ease. Mope sat dejectedly staring at the books of his lordship’s library. Idly, he turned the globe that rested near him, trying to find upon it the distant lands whose names he had learned in fable and report.

At length he heard a clatter of hooves in the court below and rose to watch from the windows. The earl of Northumberland he saw dismounting, with Robotham and some of his auditors and other servants with him. Mope strode to a burnished shield, emblazoned with the cognizance of Percy, hanging upon the wall, and in its reflection he adjusted his doublet and the bright scarf he wore rakishly in the new fashion of Savoy. Presently Northumberland burst into the room.

"God, Paget," he cried out cordially, "here you catch us all unexpecting. Good to see you. How fare our friends?"

"All well, milord."

"Well, well, it is bountiful of God to give you to us. ‘Mope’, is it now, eh? Ha ha. A novelty. Here, you must know Captain Pullen."

A sturdy dark-haired man in officer’s undress stepped forward and bowed stiffly.

"Give you good day, Mr. Paget."

"With all my heart, Captain," said the visitor. "We miss you in Paris and wonder at your stay."

"He is here on business of my lord my boy," the earl said. "But, you see, Charles, his coming over was learned of, and we feared to send him back upon the sea whilst the watch was set."

"Oh, bosh," said Paget, addressing himself to Pullen. "I come and go as I please, and so may you do."

"I am very glad to hear it." Pullen maintained, as always, a certain taciturnity tinged now with surliness.

"Yes, yes, never fear. A great lot of blind gropers these watchers are, your lordship, wandering about in Stygian night. Never fear them, Captain, never, I say."

"Well, we shall not, then," said Northumberland. "Robotham tells me you come upon some errand here, Charles. But let us keep mum until you have well rested and drunk some of our ale for but a day or two, then to errands. We shall have some hunting for you. Eh, some hunting, eh?"

"With all my heart, your lordship," Paget replied. "But first I beg you to summon to this place some of our friends, for I do have messages which in time I must convey."

"Quite so, indubitably so. Do but give me their names and dwellings and we shall make them welcome all. Wycliffe, rouse some men to ride tomorrow." Northumberland grew expansive. "It will be a country party as in happy former times. Oh, indeed, the more the merrier we shall be."

His lordship, rubbing his hands together, led his new guest and the taconic captain in to dinner, where for an hour’s time the countess fidgeted and ate very little of her meal.

On the morning of the 11th, Mr. William Shelley rode in from his house not far off, and a few hours after him, Mr. John Gage came from Firle, accompanied by his son and his brother, Edward, Mr. Shelley’s brother-in-law. The others expressed great pleasure at seeing Mr. Gage pater, having thought him still in prison, as until a few days earlier he had been. He hastened to explain (lest they surmise he had recanted) that he had been given a certain time to see to business, after which he must return to jail. "They would not kill this golden goose," he said, referring to the fines that monthly he paid into the Exchequer.

Shortly after noon, William More rode over from Loseley Hall, but having greeted the other men warmly, he drew up when he came to Charles Paget, and soon after made rather lame farewells and rode away again. Towards evening the Lord Paget arrived with Walklate and Twinyho his men, and between him and his brother there was a hearty reunion after a year’s separation. Soon after Charles Arundell rode up, with Sharrock his servant. Northumberland led the growing party out into the fields nearby and pointed out to them some of the innovations he was trying out with the help of his tenants.

The countess kept well out of the way, understanding correctly that her presence was not required. By ten in the evening, three sheets to the wind and still roaring with laughter, the gentlemen slapped one another’s backs and retired loudly to their rooms.

The next day another group came in, Lord Harry Howard and Gage his man, Francis Throgmorton and John Meredith, and Godfrey Foljambe. They had thought themselves followed, they explained, and had ridden by circuitous ways throughout the night to preclude any chase. Arundell replied that he too suspected he had been followed at a distance, and had taken pains near Croydon to elude pursuit. Lord Paget was quite certain he had not been similarly attended. Lord Harry’s party retired to the rooms assigned them, while the others spent the afternoon at falconry. The last arrival was a Frenchman named Martelli, who likewise turned straight into his bed.

In the evening, they congregated in the gallery, and the earl of Northumberland called out for everyone’s advertence to their visitor and his matter. Charles Paget assumed an air of gravity and seated himself upon the table before them all, the better to command his audience.

"Gentlemen, my appreciation of these few days of bonhomie runs far too deep within me for words. What a great joy it is to one who labors long in stranger lands to spend a time with his old countrymen in sport and gentle conversation. Nevertheless, we cannot dwell here overlong like careless lotus eaters while events take hold of us unawares. For, my friends, a great moment has come in the history of Christendom, like unto which the crusaders’ conquest of the Holy Land will seem as a baronial feud to future generations."

He paused to wet his throat.

"I come to you," he continued, "from conference with that renowned warrior and defender of the holy church his grace the duke of Guise, who is pleased to trust me as his own. Throughout this summer past, we have sat in high counsel, diligent to devise amongst us some good means by which we might succor the queen of Scots and relieve our brethren the Catholics of this realm.

"To us in that place came all the great heads of Europe, or nearly all, all anxious to deliver you from this unholy heretical persecution under which now you labor, among whom I may mention not only Mr. Morgan and myself and Dr. Allen and two Jesuits his friends, Fr. Parsons and Fr. Crichton, but also his noble lord his grace the duke of Guise, Monsignor Castelli the pope’s nuncio in that realm, and John Baptist de Tassis the great Spaniard lying there, and the archbishop of Glasgow, the queen of Scots’s most trusted agent in that kingdom. And also Mr. Martelli, who sits among us now."

The others looked at the stranger with new eyes.

"Now, at last we have our mundane salvation, and you must know that my whole mission is to inform you of this present determination, and to learn from you how far able you are to lend your support to this great enterprise."

Paget gazed round the room. He had at least the complete attention of everyone present.

"What is this present plan?" inquired Howard.

"Only this. Observe me now. James the king of Scotland, as you know, even now divests himself of his English faction, more daily. The Spanish force, which is the main, will land at Leith or thereabout, with his consent, and descend by Berwick to York. His grace the duke of Guise will at that time strike upon the Sussex coast, as a man might jab with his left hand before his right is launched with all his strength. In the meantime, certain gentlemen will descend upon Wingfield in the night season and bring forth the queen of Scots to our friends in Wales before anyone is the wiser. Then, if you are with us, my lord of Northumberland shall lead an English force to join the other two and take possession of the court."

"Stay, Paget," interjected Lord Harry. "What if her majesty in prison will not accompany you, as not knowing your intentions or authority?"

"That, I believe, has been M. Martelli’s task."

The Frenchman rose and bowed to Lord Howard.

"M. Morgan is correct. I have been again to visit with her majesty and tells her of this plan of the duke of Guise to free her noble person, which now she expects her liberator soon to come."

"I am Paget; Morgan is in Paris."

"Please excuse me. You of course are M. Paget. I am befuddled again."

"I come lately from the queen," said Mr. Foljambe from the shadows, "and her man who gave her letters out to me asked me particularly in her name whether I knew of any such attempt which a M. La Rue had told her of."

"What was your reply to him, Godfrey?"

"I told him that I had not heard of it, but should inquire upon my return to you."

"Pray, then, who is this La Rue?"

"He is certainly myself," Martelli said with a pleasant smile.

"Yes, very good. So you see, my lord, she will be ready." Paget dismissed this aspect of the problem and turned to another. "Now, gentlemen, I turn me to the second part of my commission from the duke, which is to tell you in the duke’s name and especially in the name of the king of Spain that no conquest of this realm is intended by any person, in proof whereof you see it is a combined force of Spanish and French, with no bond between them save their Catholic zeal to do us good. Their whole interest is to liberate the queen of Scots our virtuous lady and to set her upon this throne, which in right is hers already, and to return this realm to the holy Catholic faith of our many generations of forefathers. There shall be no loss of life to any saving to those who resist these sacred purposes. In proof whereof, I show you my instructions signed by the duke’s hand and seal dated the 28. of August past."

Paget drew from his bosom a folded sheet of paper and passed it to Northumberland, who glanced it over and handed it on to Lord Howard.

"We have heard many times before of the king of Spain’s invasions," said Arundell. "It is well said that if death came from Spain we should all live a long time. What if he has no more soldiers now than formerly for this enterprise?"

"Then there shall be no enterprise," said Paget. "Not this year in any case. We rise or fall by his aid, which though it is not yet a thing decided, yet I believe we shall have it."

Arundell put in another point. "The game of guessing where the king of Scots will play is an old one everywhere pursued."

"If we may not land in Scotland, then we shall land elsewhere." Paget spoke almost flippantly. "I have spoken for Wales from the first, in Snowdonia or Denbighshire. Others hold for Lancashire coasts. It skills not where we land."

They sat silently for some moments, some perusing the duke’s commission, others staring at the floor.

Lord Harry asked Paget why Don Bernardino de Mendoza had never alluded to this latest plan in his own presence, if the Spanish were so nearly along to leading it.

"Belike he knows not of it yet," said the little emissary. "I will not suggest he trusts your lordship too imperfectly for such news. No, this is fresh from the press, gentlemen, and you are its readers of proof. It will not rest long, I doubt not, before Señor Mendoza will receive his instructions from home, for jump upon my departure for this coast, Señor Tassis sent to Lisbon with our news. Now, as you know, though his Catholic majesty is ever true and faithful where the cause of God does call him, he does not always promptly answer. Answer he must, believe it, but we must allow him his own time, for he is a great monarch."

"Well, Mr. Paget," spoke up the elder Mr. Gage. "What would you have of us?"

"Well asked, Mr. Gage, well asked indeed. I am now to embark upon the third part of my commission you see before you. Gentlemen, I must now enlist your aid in this great enterprise of England."

Paget strode over to the brown globe resting in its cradle near the window. Taking it up in both hands, he returned with it to the candlelight and held it out before him.

"See, gentlemen, one round earth upon which God would have us live in Catholic unity. We do not have that unity, and why not? We have not that unity for two causes in chief. One is ignorance and the other is the evil of men. Now long time, gentlemen, we lived in that unity so far as we knew, except as the ignorance of the paynims kept them in the awful schism of their damnable prophet Mahomet. Now newly we learn of new lands, thronged with benighted savages, and now the furious wills of ignorant heretics, now the devious policy of scheming atheists, pare us away and away, and God’s Church--here you see, gentlemen; in this little corner of this ball--God’s Church dwindles almost to nothing.

"But see, how the spirit of the Holy Ghost entering into brave and pious men can bring this earth within a halo once again. The king of Spain, in his late victories over the Turk, weakens their great sway in Africa and the Orient. The Anabaptists and the minions of Calvin in the Low Countries will soon be chastised. Polonia is daily more reclaimed. The Jesuits convert the Indies, by their holy sacrifices and truly Christian zeal--I do not hold with priestly meddling in our affairs of state, but for missionaries to the heathen lands, by God, the angels could do no better. What is left, gentlemen? I ask you, look upon this ball, what is left? England only is left! This is your great opportunity, and think not God is not attending to your choice. Gentlemen, will you throw yourselves to this holy cause?"

Everyone stared at him.

"Gentlemen, will you?" Paget cried. "God is waiting for your answer!"

Everyone stared.

At last Arundell broke the silence.

"With all eternity to wait in, he can wait a little longer for mine."

"But the duke must know what he may expect of you."

"Oh, the duke must know! I thought you had said God."

"What, Paget," asked Shelley querulously, "must we reply at once? These are weighty matters, man, you shall not have me down with no respect of reason and thought."

"Well, let me not unduly hurry you," said Paget. He seemed to recognize that his precipitousness might rather alienate his hearers than propel them.

"I for my part am well inclined to this bold scheme," Northumberland said, "and find myself more than half inclined to say aye."

"And I to say nay," said Arundell. "My lord, there is a vasty difference to be made between resisting a usurpation or so at court and joining up as rebels our very selves. Gentlemen, my friends, do not count on me for anything."

"In fact, Mr. Arundell, we do not. But some of our more substantial and perhaps more zealous friends here might contribute much. You gentlemen are powers in your countries, and your tenants await your lead. And all the younger bloods, Babington and his legion of companions, throughout the realm, will follow your examples. Mr. Arundell, with his one servingman, may come along if he likes."

"All right, brother," said Lord Paget. "Enough is said for one night. Let us have less of acrimony, and more of amity now. We shall sleep upon these hot words of yours, and reconvene on the morrow. But I will say you surprise me, Charles, with these great matters, so little do I know you anymore."

"Well, you are my brother still," said Paget, "but no longer perhaps my tutelary angel."

The party began ill-naturedly to go their ways in twos and threes to bed, muttering among themselves. Shortly the corridor without the gallery looked like a night processional in a jubilee year, pairs of candles’ pinpoints marching slowly, in near silence, to the wings of the darkened house. Within a quarter of an hour, the house was utterly still.

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Arundell shared a small chamber with Lord Harry, who drifted uneasily into sleep in an uncomfortable bed he’d been given near the door. Gage slept on a pallet near his feet, and alongside him lay Sharrock. Arundell sat long by the casement gazing dolefully upon the meadows behind the house, thinking of nothing very coherently but mulling over his powerful sense of uneasiness at the sort of talk he had been hearing. The image of Tydeus at the cliff of the Sphinx came back to him, and briefly he saw himself raised up in military triumph over all his foes, but hard upon that came the face of the blank-eyed man, the black squinting face with the blind, all-seeing eye that seemed to haunt him everywhere and peer into his thoughts to root out only his graceless ones.

Charles started. Below in the shadow of the house there had been a movement. The slim moon threw a faint luminosity over everything, and, in a moment, into that pale light a figure darkly ran. What a murrain made a man out in the middle of the night, furtively running to the trees across the field. From that wood, Arundell thought he saw another shape stand forth. The two seemed to meet before the tree-line, lost in those shadows but surely somewhere there. Of the one figure, in any case, he was certain, for presently he saw it come scurrying back to the house. A face seemed to glance up toward the black windows. Arundell strained his eyes to recognize the man. He was almost sure, in the last second before the figure passed into the darkness beneath him, that he had seen the face of Charles Paget.

"What’s amiss?"

Lord Howard sat in his bedclothes watching his companion. Arundell hadn’t realized how alarmed, indeed how ridiculous, he must have looked, dressed only in his smalls, leaning over the casement sills long after there was no more to be seen.

"An assignation, as should seem," Arundell whispered back, "amongst yonder trees."

"Who was it?"

"I thought it was our great friend Mope," said Charles. "I am less certain as I try to recollect his face now."

"Good Lord," said Harry. "What, is it more treachery?"

"It may not have been him. Indeed, it may have been anyone--a servingman, perhaps, selling off the cutlery as a nightly sort of thing."

"Well, I should scarcely be surprised to find Paget engaged in something lewd." Harry rose and stepped quietly to the window. "What think you of his speeches, Charles?"

"Oh, my lord, do not ask. I am in a great quandary. It is as if we stood in a deep hole, all inky darkness around us, and we must learn where to climb out, with never knowing if there really be a way of climbing out, and never able to see it anyway, and furthermore unsure whether we can climb out if with God’s help we should find it."

"Well," said Lord Harry in a low voice, "this talk of landings and rebellion ever chills me, but long enough I have awaited some remedy, and now I am half prepared to eat my proper fears and dash ahead."

"I understand you," Arundell answered. "But Harry, you know I am not a heroic man, yet I will fight a field if I must. That is not that which so much troubles my heart. Rather it is that there is more to everything than ever I can see. Look me now--Paget bids us all openly to take arms against the queen, then slips out and bids I know not whom to do I know not what in the darkness whilst we sleep. This Monsieur Martelli; this La Rue, whatever he prefers now; well, he is neither. Whether he means us well or ill, I have seen him before, a long time since, in Paris, and at that time his name was Samerie, and he was then a Jesuit. Now I say nothing against the man at this time; only I wish to say that if I must talk hanging talk with any man, I mean to know his name."

"You are right in that."

"Well, consider further. Here we mean to do ourselves some good and help God likewise by combining for the pope to put aside our queen. So far, good. The pope is Christ’s vicar, the queen is a heretic. Good. But who is this pope, Harry? I have never seen him. If I were to see him, would he look upon my face half so graciously as this queen was wont to do?"

"It may be he would, if you ever saw him."

"It may be he would. But I have seen this queen, and known her friendliness."

"My cousin, in good sadness, let me advise you just a little." Lord Harry spoke solemnly, looking down at his hands which shone palely in the window’s soft glow. "Charles, give up this business, will you not? Whether this be right or wrong I leave to Almighty God to judge of. But as I listen to your speeches, I cannot think that any decision you may come to will hold good for you. You may stick your course, indeed I know you will; but I know you, Charles, you will never cease to doubt of it. Get you free of this, therefore, for if once you enter this full in, you must never look behind."

"But if it is right, Harry, and what I should have done, where will I be not having done it?"

"Where you should always have been, in Cornwall or hiding out in Wales. Charles, these great deeds, these great jars of nations and creeds, these are for kings and queens and dukes to worry one another over, like snarling dogs about a joint, not for such as you and me."

"What make you here then?"

"Well, ha ha, you know, I am a busy meddler born, I cannot keep me from it. I sometimes think, Charles, tell no one of it--I sometimes think that if this realm were now a Catholic realm, perhaps I should be meddling on the other side. Damn me for giving voice to such a godless thought. Bless me now! But I never rest, you see, but meddle always. And to say the very truth, the same is the case of half these busy plotters, and this lesser Paget is not the least among them. He will never rest until either he is lord of his own little nation or dies seeking the same, which will happen first I leave to your judgment." Harry gazed out at the pallid moon and sighed quietly. "Give it over, Charles, this is not for you, with your doubts and second thoughts and maybes and maybe nots."

"Well, it may be you are right."

"Ha! And maybe not!" Lord Harry laughed. "Come, old rogue, to sleep now. Tomorrow we shall talk again."

And when they had retired finally, the great manor house was absolutely still. Occasionally from the kennels, the sound of a dog’s restless barking broke the silence, but that was all.

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Sharrock left his master to his snoring and descended to the Petworth kitchens. The gentlemen were breaking fast in the main room, but in the back the aggregation of servingmen and women, those attending to the present business and others awaiting a momentary call, was overwhelming in its noise and bustle.

Arundell came down late. Some of the gentlemen had already departed for their homes. No decisions had been arrived at. Though Paget’s plots were given an encouraging response for transmission back across the Channel, he had no firm reply. The consensus of the gentlemen’s opinions, it seemed, was that they first must see some firmer assurance of both capability and good intentions from the invading princes before they would commit themselves to support of any kind. Charles Paget suggested that these men might never be prepared to do themselves this good, and more than a few of them murmured that he might well be right in that.

Lord Paget spent the early afternoon walking with his brother near the house. Howard and Arundell accompanied them for a time, listening as the expatriate described his entertainment and estate in France. Though vast sums passed daily through his hands, he said, of the queen of Scots’s money, meant for her special friends and favorers, he had none of that for himself, but was well provided for out of a special pension given him by that queen for his careful service. But failing that, he insisted, he might live equally well, indeed far better, out of any one of the allowances pressed upon him by other great princes. "Ma foi," he said again and again, "a good and clever man would never want for a living while such Christian princes remain on earth."

Lord Thomas had several times all but made up his mind to carry himself over to join the Catholics in exile. Now, his age coming upon him, sick of the gout, his wife dead, he was toying with the opinion that nothing mattered so much as the freedom of his conscience. In good part he still hoped for some change in England, some change of heart in this government or change of government in this realm, which would permit him to worship in the Roman manner with no more fear. But increasingly he complained that such an alteration would hardly come within his lifetime, and increasingly he thought of giving it all up and retiring to meditation in some continental haven. So far he had not had the courage to make the break. Always, in brief time, his natural optimism intervened, and he would give a laugh, and shake his head as if clearing it of muddle, and return forgetfully to the daily round of his affairs. He could not so easily part with the familiar.

Arundell, too, had entertained such thoughts. But he knew better the precarious life of a penniless Englishman in foreign parts, especially one perhaps too old to begin a military career and perhaps too proud to dog the steps of clerks and secretaries begging some small hospitality. For the great lords with great pouches jingling full of gold and silver coin, travel might be all the cry, but we ordinary men, we impecunious mortals, have need of some more circumspection.

Nothing, in any case, was to be decided now. Charles Paget was to remain a week or two more at Petworth and Michelgrove, and then he would return to the duke of Guise with his report. The others, the gentlemen of the country, the city kinsmen, the servants, set out for their houses or for London, travelling in small parties by separate ways, lest they attract the attention upon the road of any suspicious man. Rain was falling all over England.

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To Mr. Principal Secretary, at the court at Oatlands, give these.

Sir, my hearty commendations, saving your honor, etc. It grieves me more than I can tell your honor I cannot bring you that which you desire, for as yet, though we have everyone of the small fry secure within our nets, we have not got our big fish. Daily more and more we see who are the main actors in all, viz.: 75 [Throgmorton] who receives these correspondences from some (whom yet we know not, but by sight) and 76 [Howard] to whom he passes some of them. In my conscience I believe that my Adrastus has seen everything that has gone by the 10 house, and if as I understand by certain mouths that Mr. Fagot of that house is also one of yours, then we be doubly sure. Some way our big fish nibbles at this bait, but we cannot tell how; here is my poor opinion, that if any longer we must wait, we may lose fish and hook and pole and boat and all. For, your honor, if any letters pass by devilish arts or howsoever and we ignorant of their contents, why we can never guess at what new sleights and shifts daily they may devise. I speak it for her majesty’s safety.

My Hippomedon, who is my nephew and was the man who brought to your honor your message from this Mope, is of opinion his man 36 [Lord Paget] makes nothing more in any of this business, and on this account in part and for some other respects he thinks your honor must not believe this message sent to you from this Mope.

I beg your honor to teach us whether this Mope be one of yours or no. But whether or not he is I do not see how any of his informations will serve your honor’s turn better than ours will; for consider, I beg you, we have the men (if not yet the matter), and these men once given a little taste of the rack will give us all, I warrant you. Arrest them now, I urge you, sir. Not until that is done, perhaps, will your honor and the noble lords of the Council truly believe me how deep this stratagem will be seen to run.

Sir, craving your pardon, my men and I are starving still for want of any sustenance, for these many months have my accounts to your honor gone unpaid or only in so little as keeps us enough alive to starve the more. I beg your honor therefore....

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Tuesday morning, the 5th, dawned bright and clear. Arundell was in his old rooms in the Blackfriars Priory, and the Thames, glimpsed from the windows in the corridor without, flowed cold and crisp beneath the small November sun. Arundell spent an early hour answering his correspondence, and then rolled Sharrock from his bed and bid him come abroad.

Together they walked leisurely towards the river. The broad expanse of glaucous water, smoothly rolling through the city towards the sea, calmed one, made one think of pleasure journeys and river trips on holiday in warmer times. Near Paul’s Wharf, they turned aside, intending to step in and knock up Throgmorton, whose late rising had grown to be a jest amongst his friends.

Out of Throgmorton’s door came a white-jacketed gentleman of the court, followed by Throgmorton himself and then another gentleman. Arundell stopped in his steps. The three men turned down towards the river stairs at the end of the street, hurrying along in an absurd little jog which should have been comical but for the sick pallor of Throgmorton’s face. He was held firmly by both his arms.

For a moment Arundell stood and trembled. All his nightmare visions these seven years of dungeons and racks flooded into his mind at once. It seemed unwise to him to be seen upon the streets, and he felt irrationally that he would be safer at home in the Priory, where accordingly he flew now, with Sharrock close behind him.

Tregian, taken before his eyes years ago. Troops of priests, crying out abjectly or grinning with some crazy inner triumph, gone to the rope and disembowelling knife, for the saying of a mass. Arundell expected a hand upon his shoulder round every corner.

Once at home, he sent Sharrock running on to Arundel House to bring the news to Lord Harry, then sat numbly staring at his fire, remonstrating with himself that now when action was most required of him he could think of nothing to be done.

Sharrock returned with the message that Lord Harry too was taken. Arundell was beside himself. His first thought was to gain his horse and turn its head towards Cornwall or some other wild place, where between friends and uninhabited parts he might elude his pursuers for who knew how long. But he reconsidered. It was only by lucky accident that he knew of these arrests; there were others to be warned.

He rode for Paget’s house, a matter of ten minutes’ pushing through the crowds in the market lanes and watching everywhere for the queen’s men. Lord Paget, by the grace of God or a piece of luck, was in, but soon in panic, incapable of any counsel. Arundell scrawled out hasty notes to as many friends as might be threatened by this unhappy chance, and employed his lordship’s servants to post them on their ways. Then, no better plan forthcoming, they did nothing, and waited.

There were no more arrests. For the next week, Lord Paget, Arundell, and now Northumberland as well, and Shelley and several others, kept together and listened for what news could be obtained from surreptitious sources anywhere. Everyone spoke, not only of these late arrests, but also of the recent indictments against Mr. Arden, their friend from the country, a worthy Catholic gentleman. For the murderous ravings of the lunatic Somerville, who by the worst luck happened to be his son-in-law, Arden had been brought up and charged with an attempt upon the queen’s life. This, with everything else, was taken to signify the beginning of a general massacre of Catholics throughout the realm, a pogrom, no less. But still, a few days passed, and there were no more arrests.

The first tidings, discounting those mad rumors that subsequently came to nothing, were that Foljambe had fled the realm successfully, but his colleague Ardington had been taken on the coast. There was yet no word of Howard; Francis Throgmorton and his brother George were said to be lodged in the Tower of London and threatened daily with the rack. Gradually Arundell began to understand what had happened: Walsingham had fixed upon that small correspondence of the Scottish queen that travelled by the embassy of France, in which Lord Harry and Throgmorton had been forward. Since none had been clapped up but those involved in that part of the whole, it was easily to be inferred that the rest was yet unknown, in which case, for as long as these men kept their silence, the others had some respite.

The great questions then were how long Throgmorton might hold out before divulging all he knew, and how far privy to any other matters were Ardington and, now, Tunstead, who had been seen by some prisoners being led into Newgate prison. The general opinion was that Throgmorton could not stick above three or four good rackings.

On the 15th, more than a week after the first arrests, arrived a message from Mendoza, to the effect that Throgmorton’s man Meredith had come to the embassy bearing a green velvet-covered casket in which his master had kept his special papers. The casket, however, once prised open, had been empty. Whatever were these papers, they were hidden elsewhere in Throgmorton’s dwellings, either at Paul’s Wharf or in his house at Lewisham, and would not long escape detection.

In a postscript, Mendoza added a piece of political news: his master the king had important affairs in hand and (this stated in the most circumlocutory terms) could not be expected to afford any aid to anyone to any purpose whatever. Thus, no invasion.

Clearly, something had to be done. Northumberland was of opinion that for most of it, no treasons actually committed, they might bear it out, especially, whatever became of the lesser actors, might the earls and barons be left with their knuckles rapped and a little time instructed to keep to their houses. But only, he thought, two things in chief he would not answer for if they were to come out, which were, first, Charles Paget’s dealings for invasion, and second, whatever frequenting of the Spanish house had gone on in addition to Harry Howard’s.

Here, he said, sucking on a comfit for his breath, was the crux of all. But for these two fatal facts, the rest of them might come cleanly away, whatever Throgmorton was constrained to sign to on the strappado. And this must be a paramount concern, he affirmed, stoutly. For as the duke of Guise’s plots served to illustrate, a man such as himself, Northumberland, was too vital to the success of the Catholic cause to be sacrificed without need. Thus it was imperative that every link in the chain of suspicion to himself must needs be severed without delay.

Arundell asked, somewhat drily, what that meant in practical terms. Only this, his lordship replied, looking slowly round the room, that Lord Paget, the brother of this tainted messenger, must promptly flee the realm, and he spoke this the less reluctantly seeing that Lord Thomas had often said that he meant to do the same of his own inclination anyway. (Lord Thomas began to frown and look alarmed.) Furthermore, any who might have been seen at the Spanish house, or who might be alleged to have been there, must likewise flee forthwith.

You mean me, said Arundell. As it turned out, when the activities of all the men present had been somewhat inquired into, that was who was meant. Whatever had been done or not done, that made nothing to the matter; that Arundell had visited that house regularly might suffice to have him attached, after which there was no guessing what might be wrested from him all unwilling.

And so it was concluded. Northumberland’s reasoning was sound enough; the earl was, still, an earl, and could presume some distance upon his rank alone. But Lord Paget had been found troublesome in the past, and for Arundell, what Leicester might do to him now, having him thus at utter disadvantage, did not bear contemplation. Of so much he might be sure: Arundell needed no guilt--a charge or two would suffice to deliver him up to Leicester’s mercy, which his lordship had in no abundance.

Accordingly, Arundell made ready. Northumberland, indeed all those of the Howard party, he implored to fly with him. But the others intended resolutely to brave it through. As the earl of Arundel said, there was great hope that the queen would never allow the Bear to bear them all away, for she must have them still as her old counterpoise to his power.

Paget, too, set about completing what already he had begun, collecting as much ready money as his solicitors could set their hands upon and placing his affairs hastily in order. Shelley was charged with bespeaking a craft to carry them across. At last, when word was brought of still another racking of the miserable Throgmorton, and when no man could be expected to hold out through a third, on the evening of the 23rd of November, Thomas Lord Paget, Charles Arundell, and a few of their servingmen, accompanied by William Shelley, rode north out of Moorgate to mislead any watchers, then galloped round and crossed the Thames beyond Chelsea Reach, and made for the southern coast.

And only just in time. On that same day, Throgmorton, merely shown the rack and scarcely roughly handled, broke utterly. On the morning of the 24th, a squadron of pursuivants and some of the officers from the court ran through Lord Paget’s house and found him gone. The chase was made through town for Charles Arundell. Northumberland, against his expectations, was arrested, with all of his principal servants, and lodged with a man of the court, and a day or two later removed to the Tower of London; Wycliffe and Robotham and the others went to the Fleet. Men were likewise sent to Shelley’s house off Chancery Lane and, finding him out, settled down to await his return. The earl of Arundel was commanded to keep his house, and then, like Northumberland, transported to the Tower, though he had had no greater part in these affairs than a mass or two at intervals and a certain affection for his uncle Harry. The examiners began the work of sorting out what evidence they had to hand and obtaining what they had not, and the Protestants breathed a hearty sigh of relief that the realm continued safe and the queen in good health.

Meanwhile, as Lord Harry paced his long familiar rooms in the Fleet, as Throgmorton shivered in the Tower, Arundell and Lord Paget, in the care of shipmaster Clynsall, rode the night waves and the channel breeze towards France, in some concern about what awaited them on the other side.

"After the day there cometh the dark night;
For though the day be never so long,
At last the bells ringeth to evensong."

goback.gif (2185 bytes)Go back to the Preface and Table of Contents
gonext.gif (2192 bytes)Go ahead to Part II. The Continent (1583-1587)

bookpen.gif (2870 bytes)Please 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 10 June 2001.


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