His investigation completed, he dispatched a sergeant of the guard to the castle to acquaint the king with what had occurred.
Disturbed by the events of the night, Henry obtained little sleep, and at an early hour summoned an attendant, and demanded whether there were any tidings from the forest The attendant replied that a sergeant of the guard was without, sent by Captain Bouchier with a message for his majesty. The sergeant was immediately admitted to the royal presence, and on the close of his marvellous story the king, who had worked himself into a tremendous fury during its relation, roared out, "What! foiled again? ha! But he shall not escape, if I have to root up half the trees in the forest. Bouchier and his fellows must be bewitched. Harkye, knaves: get together a dozen of the best woodmen and yeomen in the castle—instantly, as you value your lives; bid them bring axe and saw, pick and spade. D'ye mark me? ha! Stay, I have not done. I must have fagots and straw, for I will burn this tree to the ground—burn it to a char. Summon the Dukes of Suffolk and Norfolk—the rascal archer I dubbed the Duke of Shoreditch and his mates—the keepers of the forest and their hounds—summon them quickly, and bid a band of the yeomen of the guard get ready." And he sprang from his couch.
The king's commands were executed with such alacrity, that by the time he was fully attired the whole of the persons he had ordered to be summoned were assembled. Putting himself at their head, he rode forth to the home park, and found Bouchier and his followers grouped around the tree.
"We are still at fault, my liege," said Bouchier.
"So I see, Sir," replied the king angrily. "Hew down the tree instantly, knaves," he added to the woodmen. "Fall to—fall to."
Ropes were then fastened to the head of the tree, and the welkin resounded with the rapid strokes of the hatchets. It was a task of some difficulty, but such zeal and energy were displayed by the woodmen that ere long the giant trunk lay prostrate on the ground. Its hollows were now fully exposed to view, but they were empty.
"Set fire to the accursed piece of timber!" roared the king, "and burn it to dust, and scatter it to the wind!"
At these orders two yeomen of the guard advanced, and throwing down a heap of fagots, straw, and other combustibles on the roots of the tree, soon kindled a fierce fire.
Meanwhile a couple of woodmen, stripped of their jerkins, and with their brawny arms bared to the shoulder, mounted on the trunk, and strove to split it asunder. Some of the keepers likewise got into the branches, and peered into every crack and crevice, in the hope of making some discovery. Amongst the latter was Will Sommers, who had posted himself near a great arm of the tree, which he maintained when lopped off would be found to contain the demon.
Nor were other expedients neglected. A fierce hound had been sent into the hole near the roots of the tree by Gabriel Lapp, but after a short absence he returned howling and terrified, nor could all the efforts of Gabriel, seconded by a severe scourging with his heavy dog-whip, induce him to enter it again.
When the hound had come forth, a couple of yeomen advanced to enlarge the opening, while a third with a pick endeavoured to remove the root, which formed an impediment to their efforts.
"They may dig, but they'll never catch him," observed Shoreditch, who stood by, to his companions. "Hunting a spirit is not the same thing as training and raising a wolf, or earthing and digging out a badger."
"Not so loud, duke," said Islington; "his majesty may think thy jest irreverent."
"I have an arrow blessed by a priest," said Paddington, "which I shall let fly at the spirit if he appears."
"Here he is—here he is!" cried Will Sommers, as a great white horned owl, which had been concealed in some part of the tree, flew forth.
"It may be the demon in that form—shoot! shoot!" cried Shoreditch.
Paddington bent his bow. The arrow whistled through the air, and in another moment the owl fell fluttering to the ground completely transfixed; but it underwent no change, as was expected by the credulous archer.
Meanwhile the fire, being kept constantly supplied with fresh fagots, and stirred by the yeomen of the guard, burnt bravely. The lower part of the tree was already consumed, and the flames, roaring through the hollow within with a sound like that of a furnace, promised soon to reduce it to charcoal.
The mouth of the hole having now been widened, another keeper, who had brought forward a couple of lurchers, sent them into it; but in a few moments they returned, as the hound had done, howling and with scared looks. Without heeding their enraged master, they ran off, with their tails between their legs, towards the castle.
"I see how it is, Rufus," said Gabriel, patting his hound, who looked wistfully and half-reproachfully at him. "Thou wert not to blame, poor fellow! The best dog that ever was whelped cannot be expected to face the devil."
Though long ere this it had become the general opinion that it was useless to persevere further in the search, the king, with his characteristic obstinacy, would not give it up. In due time the whole of the trunk of the enormous tree was consumed, and its branches cast into the fire. The roots were rent from the ground, and a wide and deep trench digged around the spot. The course of the hole was traced for some distance, but it was never of any size, and was suddenly lost by the falling in of the earth.
At length, after five hours' close watching, Henry's patience was exhausted, and he ordered the pit to be filled up, and every crevice and fissure in the ground about to be carefully stopped.
"If we cannot unkennel the fox," he said, "we will at least earth him up.
"For all your care, gossip Henry," muttered Will Sommers, as he rode after his royal master to the castle, "the fox will work his way out."
THUS ENDS THE SECOND BOOK OF THE CHRONICLE OF WINDSOR CASTLE
BOOK III. THE HISTORY OF THE CASTLE
Comprising the First Two Epochs in the History of Windsor Castle.
Amid the gloom hovering over the early history of Windsor Castle appear the mighty phantoms of the renowned King Arthur and his knights, for whom it is said Merlin reared a magic fortress upon its heights, in a great hall whereof, decorated with trophies of war and of the chase, was placed the famous Round Table. But if the antique tale is now worn out, and no longer part of our faith, it is pleasant at least to record it, and surrendering ourselves for a while to the sway of fancy, to conjure up the old enchanted castle on the hill, to people its courts with warlike and lovely forms, its forests with fays and giants.
Windsor, or Wyndleshore, so called from the winding banks of the river flowing past it, was the abode of the ancient Saxon monarchs; and a legend is related by William of Malmesbury of a woodman named Wulwin, who being stricken with blindness, and having visited eighty-seven churches and vainly implored their tutelary saints for relief, was at last restored to sight by the touch of Edward the Confessor, who further enhanced the boon by making him keeper of his palace at Windsor. But though this story may be doubted, it is certain that the pious king above mentioned granted Windsor to the abbot and monks of Saint Peter at Westminster, "for the hope of eternal reward, the remission of his sins, the sins of his father, mother, and all his ancestors, and to the praise of Almighty God, as a perpetual endowment and inheritance."
But the royal donation did not long remain in the hands of the priesthood. Struck by the extreme beauty of the spot, "for that it seemed exceeding profitable and commodious, because situate so near the Thames, the wood fit for game, and many other particulars lying there, meet and necessary for kings—yea, a place very convenient for his reception," William the Conqueror prevailed upon Abbot Edwin to accept in exchange for it Wakendune and Feringes, in Essex, together with three other tenements in Colchester; and having obtained possession of the coveted hill, he forthwith began to erect a castle upon it—occupying a space of about half a hide of land. Around it he formed large parks, to enable him to pursue his favourite pastime of hunting; and he enacted and enforced severe laws for the preservation of the game.
As devoted to the chase as his father, William Rufus frequently hunted in the forests of Windsor, and solemnised some of the festivals of the Church in the castle.
In the succeeding reign—namely, that of Henry the First—the castle was entirely rebuilt and greatly enlarged—assuming somewhat of the character of a palatial residence, having before been little more than a strong hunting-seat. The structure then erected in all probability occupied the same site as the upper and lower wards of the present pile; but nothing remains of it except perhaps the keep, and of that little beyond its form and position. In 1109 Henry celebrated the feast of Pentecost with great state and magnificence within the castle. In 1122 he there espoused his second wife, Adelicia, daughter of Godfrey, Duke of Louvain; and failing in obtaining issue by her, assembled the barons at Windsor, and causing them, together with David, King of Scotland, his sister Adela, and her son Stephen, afterwards King of England, to do homage to his daughter Maud, widow of the Emperor Henry the Fifth.
Proof that Windsor Castle was regarded as the second fortress in the realm is afforded by the treaty of peace between the usurper Stephen and the Empress Maud, in which it is coupled with the Tower of London under the designation of Mota de Windsor. At the signing of the treaty it was committed to the custody of Richard de Lucy, who was continued in the office of keeper by Henry the Second.
In the reign of this monarch many repairs were made in the castle, to which a vineyard was attached—the cultivation of the grape being at this time extensively practised throughout England. Strange as the circumstance may now appear, Stow mentions that vines grew in abundance in the home park in the reign of Richard the Second, the wine made from them being consumed at the king's table, and even sold.
It is related by Fabian that Henry, stung by the disobedience and ingratitude of his sons, caused an allegorical picture to be painted, representing an old eagle assailed by four young ones, which he placed in one of the chambers of the castle. When asked the meaning of the device, he replied, "I am the old eagle, and the four eaglets are my sons, Who cease not to pursue my death. The youngest bird, who is tearing out its parent's eyes, is my son John, my youngest and best-loved son, and who yet is the most eager for my destruction."
On his departure for the holy wars Richard Coeur de Lion entrusted the government of the castle to Hugh de Pudsey, Bishop of Durham and Earl of Northumberland; but a fierce dispute arising between the warrior-prelate and his ambitious colleague, William Longchamp, Bishop of Ely, he was seized and imprisoned by the latter, and compelled to surrender the castle. After an extraordinary display of ostentation, Longchamp was ousted in his turn. On the arrival of the news of Richard's capture and imprisonment in Austria, the castle was seized by Prince John; but it was soon afterwards taken possession of in the king's behalf by the barons, and consigned to the custody of Eleanor, the queen-dowager.
In John's reign the castle became the scene of a foul and terrible event William de Braose, a powerful baron, having offended the king, his wife Maud was ordered to deliver up her son a hostage for her husband. But instead of complying with the injunction, she rashly returned for answer—"that she would not entrust her child to the person who could slay his own nephew." Upon which the ruthless king seized her and her son, and enclosing them in a recess in the wall of the castle, built them up within it.
Sorely pressed by the barons in 1215, John sought refuge within the castle, and in the same year signed the two charters, Magna Charta and Charta de Foresta, at Runnymede—a plain between Windsor and Staines. A curious account of his frantic demeanour, after divesting himself of so much power and extending so greatly the liberties of the subject, is given by Holinshed:—"Having acted so far contrary to his mind, the king was right sorrowful in heart, cursed his mother that bare him, and the hour in which he was born; wishing that he had received death by violence of sword or knife instead of natural nourishment. He whetted his teeth, and did bite now on one staff, now on another, as he walked, and oft brake the same in pieces when he had done, and with such disordered behaviour and furious gestures he uttered his grief, that the noblemen very well perceived the inclination of his inward affection concerning these things before the breaking-up of the council, and therefore sore lamented the state of the realm, guessing what would follow of his impatience, and displeasant taking of the matter." The faithless king made an attempt to regain his lost power, and war breaking out afresh in the following year, a numerous army, under the command of William de Nivernois, besieged the castle, which was stoutly defended by Inglehard de Achie and sixty knights. The barons, however, learning that John was marching through Norfolk and Suffolk, and ravaging the country, hastily raised the siege and advanced to meet him. But he avoided them, marched to Stamford and Lincoln, and from thence towards Wales. On his return from this expedition he was seized with the distemper of which he died.
Henry the Third was an ardent encourager of architecture, and his reign marks the second great epoch in the annals of the castle. In 1223 eight hundred marks were paid to Engelhard de Cygony, constable of the castle, John le Draper, and William the clerk of Windsor, masters of the works, and others, for repairs and works within the castle; the latter, it is conjectured, referring to the erection of a new great hall within the lower ward, there being already a hall of small dimensions in the upper court. The windows of the new building were filled with painted glass, and at the upper end, upon a raised dais, was a gilt throne sustaining a statue of the king in his robes. Within this vast and richly decorated chamber, in 1240, on the day of the Nativity, an infinite number of poor persons were collected and fed by the king's command.
During the greater part of Henry's long and eventful reign the works within the castle proceeded with unabated activity. Carpenters were maintained on the royal establishment; the ditch between the hall and the lower ward was repaired; a new kitchen was built; the bridges were repaired with timber procured from the neighbouring forests; certain breaches in the wall facing the garden were stopped; the fortifications were surveyed, and the battlements repaired. At the same time the queen's chamber was painted and wainscoted, and iron bars were placed before the windows of Prince Edward's chamber. In 1240 Henry commenced building an apartment for his own use near the wall of the castle, sixty feet long and twenty-eight high; another apartment for the queen contiguous to it; and a chapel, seventy feet long and twenty-eight feet wide, along the same wall, but with a grassy space between it and the royal apartments. The chapel, as appears from an order to Walter de Grey, Archbishop of York, had a Galilee and a cloister, a lofty wooden roof covered with lead, and a stone turret in front holding three or four bells. Withinside it was made to appear like stone-work with good ceiling and painting, and it contained four gilded images.
This structure is supposed to have been in existence, under the designation of the Old College Church, in the latter part of the reign of Henry the Seventh, by whom it was pulled down to make way for the tomb-house. Traces of its architecture have been discovered by diligent antiquarian research in the south ambulatory of the Dean's Cloister, and in the door behind the altar in St. George's Chapel, the latter of which is conceived to have formed the principal entrance to the older structure, and has been described as exhibiting "one of the most beautiful specimens which time and innovation have respected of the elaborate ornamental work of the period."
In 1241 Henry commenced operations upon the outworks of the castle, and the three towers on the western side of the lower ward—now known as the Curfew, the Garter, and the Salisbury Towers—were erected by him. He also continued the walls along the south side of the lower ward, traces of the architecture of the period being discoverable in the inner walls of the houses of the alms-knights as far as the tower now bearing his name. From thence it is concluded that the ramparts ran along the east side of the upper ward to a tower occupying the site of the Wykeham or Winchester Tower.
The three towers at the west end of the lower ward, though much dilapidated, present unquestionable features of the architecture of the thirteenth century. The lower storey of the Curfew Tower, which has been but little altered, consists of a large vaulted chamber, twenty-two feet wide, with walls of nearly thirteen feet in thickness, and having arched recesses terminated by loopholes. The walls are covered with the inscriptions of prisoners who have been confined within it. The Garter Tower, though in a most ruinous condition, exhibits high architectural beauty in its moulded arches and corbelled passages. The Salisbury Tower retains only externally, and on the side towards the town, its original aspect. The remains of a fourth tower are discernible in the Governor of the Alms-Knights' Tower; and Henry the Third's Tower, as before observed, completes what remains of the original chain of fortifications.
On the 24th of November 1244 Henry issued a writ enjoining "the clerks of the works at Windsor to work day and night to wainscot the high chamber upon the wall of the castle near our chapel in the upper bailey, so that it may be ready and properly wainscoted on Friday next [the 24th occurring on a Tuesday, only two days were allowed for the task], when we come there, with boards radiated and coloured, so that nothing be found reprehensible in that wainscot; and also to make at each gable of the said chamber one glass window, on the outside of the inner window of each gable, so that when the inner window shall be closed the glass windows may be seen outside."
The following year the works were suspended, but they were afterwards resumed and continued, with few interruptions; the keep was new constructed; a stone bench was fixed in the wall near the grass-plot by the king's chamber; a bridge was thrown across the ditch to the king's garden, which lay outside the walls; a barbican was erected, to which a portcullis was subsequently attached; the bridges were defended by strong iron chains; the old chambers in the upper ward were renovated; a conduit and lavatory were added; and a fountain was constructed in the garden.
In this reign, in all probability, the Norman Tower, which now forms a gateway between the middle and the upper ward, was erected. This tower, at present allotted to the house keeper of the castle, Lady Mary Fox, was used as a prison-lodging during the civil wars of Charles the First's time; and many noble and gallant captives have left mementoes of their loyalty and ill fate upon its walls.
In 1260 Henry received a visit to Windsor from his daughter Margaret, and her husband, Alexander the Third, King of Scotland. The queen gave birth to a daughter during her stay at the castle.
In 1264, during the contest between Henry and the barons, the valiant Prince Edward, his son, returning from a successful expedition into Wales, surprised the citizens of London, and carrying off their military chest, in which was much treasure, retired to Windsor Castle and strongly garrisoned it. The Queen Eleanor, his mother, would fain have joined him there, but she was driven back by the citizens at London Bridge, and compelled to take sanctuary in the palace of the Bishop of London, at St. Paul's.
Compelled at length to surrender the castle to the barons, and to depart from it with his consort, Eleanor of Castile, the brave prince soon afterwards recovered it, but was again forced to deliver it up to Simon de Montford, Earl of Leicester, who appointed Geoffrey de Langele governor. But though frequently wrested from him at this period, Windsor Castle was never long out of Henry's possession; and in 1265 the chief citizens of London were imprisoned till they had paid the heavy fine imposed upon them for their adherence to Simon de Montford, who had been just before slain at the battle of Evesham.
During this reign a terrific storm of wind and thunder occurred, which tore up several great trees in the park, shook the castle, and blew down a part of the building in which the queen and her family were lodged, but happily without doing them injury.
Four of the children of Edward the First, who was blessed with a numerous offspring, were born at Windsor; and as he frequently resided at the castle, the town began to increase in importance and consideration. By a charter granted in 1276 it was created a free borough, and various privileges were conferred on its inhabitants. Stow tells us that in 1295, on the last day of February, there suddenly arose such a fire in the castle of Windsor that many offices were therewith consumed, and many goodly images, made to beautify the buildings, defaced and deformed.
Edward the Second, and his beautiful but perfidious queen, Isabella of France, made Windsor Castle their frequent abode; and here, on the 13th day of November 1312 at forty minutes past five in the morning, was born a prince, over whose nativity the wizard Merlin must have presided. Baptized within the old chapel by the name of Edward, this prince became afterwards the third monarch of the name, and the greatest, and was also styled, from the place of his birth, EDWARD OF WINDSOR.
Comprising the Third Great Epoch in the History of the Castle—And showing how the Most Noble Order of the Garter was instituted.
Strongly attached to the place of his birth, Edward the Third, by his letters patent dated from Westminster, in the twenty-second year of his reign, now founded the ancient chapel established by Henry the First, and dedicated it to the Virgin, Saint George of Cappadocia, and Saint Edward the Confessor; ordaining that to the eight canons appointed by his predecessor there should be added one custos, fifteen more canons, and twenty-four alms-knights; the whole to be maintained out of the revenues with which the chapel was to be endowed. The institution was confirmed by Pope Clement the Sixth, by a bull issued at Avignon the 13th of November 1351.
In 1349, before the foundation of the college had been confirmed, as above related, Edward instituted the Order of the Garter. The origin of this illustrious Order has been much disputed. By some writers it has been ascribed to Richard Coeur de Lion, who is said to have girded a leathern band round the legs of his bravest knights in. Palestine. By others it has been asserted that it arose from the word "garter" having been used as a watchword by Edward at the battle of Cressy. Others again have stoutly maintained that its ringlike form bore mysterious reference to the Round Table. But the popular legend, to which, despite the doubts thrown upon it, credence still attaches, declares its origin to be as follows: Joan, Countess of Salisbury, a beautiful dame, of whom Edward was enamoured, while dancing at a high festival accidentally slipped her garter, of blue embroidered velvet. It was picked up by her royal partner, who, noticing the significant looks of his courtiers on the occasion, used the words to them which afterwards became the motto of the Order—"Honi soit qui mal y pense;" adding that "in a short time they should see that garter advanced to so high honour and estimation as to account themselves happy to wear it."
But whatever may have originated the Order, it unquestionably owes its establishment to motives of policy. Wise as valiant, and bent upon prosecuting his claim to the crown of France, Edward, as a means of accomplishing his object, resolved to collect beneath his standard the best knights in Europe, and to lend a colour to the design, he gave forth that he intended a restoration of King Arthur's Round Table, and accordingly commenced constructing within the castle a large circular building of two hundred feet in diameter, in which he placed a round table. On the completion of the work, he issued proclamations throughout England, Scotland, France, Burgundy, Flanders, Brabant, and the Empire, inviting all knights desirous of approving their valour to a solemn feast and jousts to be holden within the castle of Windsor on Saint George's Day, 1345. The scheme was completely successful. The flower of the chivalry of Europe—excepting that of Philip the Sixth of France, who, seeing through the design, interdicted the attendance of his knights-were present at the tournament, which was graced by Edward and his chief nobles, together with his queen and three hundred of her fairest dames, "adorned with all imaginable gallantry." At this chivalrous convocation the institution of the Order of the Garter was arranged; but before its final establishment Edward assembled his principal barons and knights, to determine upon the regulations, when it was decided that the number should be limited to twenty-six.
The first installation took place on the anniversary of Saint George, the patron of the Order, 1349, when the king, accompanied by the twenty-five knights'-companions, attired in gowns of russet, with mantles of fine blue woollen cloth, powdered with garters, and hearing the other insignia of the Order, marched bareheaded in solemn procession to the chapel of Saint George, then recently rebuilt, where mass was performed by William Edington, Bishop of Winchester, after which they partook of a magnificent banquet. The festivities were continued for several days. At the jousts held on this occasion, David, King of Scotland, the Lord Charles of Blois, and Ralph, Earl of Eu and Guisnes, and Constable of France, to whom the chief prize of the day was adjudged, with others, then prisoners, attended. The harness of the King of Scotland, embroidered with a pale of red velvet, and beneath it a red rose, was provided at Edward's own charge. This suit of armour was, until a few years back, preserved in the Round Tower, where the royal prisoner was confined. Edward's device was a white swan, gorged, or, with the "daring and inviting" motto—
Hay hay the wythe swan By God's soul I am thy man.
The insignia of the Order in the days of its founder were the garter, mantle, surcoat, and hood, the George and collar being added by Henry the Eighth. The mantle, as before intimated, was originally of fine blue woollen cloth; but velvet, lined with taffeta, was substituted by Henry the Sixth, the left shoulder being adorned with the arms of Saint George, embroidered within a garter. Little is known of the materials of which the early garter was composed; but it is supposed to have been adorned with gold, and fastened with a buckle of the same metal. The modern garter is of blue velvet, bordered with gold wire, and embroidered with the motto, "Honi soit qui mal y pense." It is worn on the left leg, a little below the knee. The most magnificent garter that ever graced a sovereign was that presented to Charles the First by Gustavus Adolphus, King of Sweden, each letter in the motto of which was composed of diamonds. The collar is formed of pieces of gold fashioned like garters, with a blue enamelled ground. The letters of the motto are in gold, with a rose enamelled red in the centre of each garter. From the collar hangs the George, an ornament enriched with precious stones, and displaying the figure of the saint encountering the dragon.
The officers of the Order are the prelate, represented by the Bishop of Winchester; the Chancellor, by the Bishop of Oxford; the registrar, dean, garter king-at-arms, and the usher of the black rod. Among the foreign potentates who have been invested with the Order are eight emperors of Germany, two of Russia, five kings of France, three of Spain, one of Arragon, seven of Portugal, one of Poland, two of Sweden, six of Denmark, two of Naples, one of Sicily and Jerusalem, one of Bohemia, two of Scotland, seven princes of Orange, and many of the most illustrious personages of different ages in Europe.
Truly hath the learned Selden written, "that the Order of the Garter hath not only precedency of antiquity before the eldest rank of honour of that kind anywhere established, but it exceeds in majesty, honour, and fame all chivalrous orders in the world." Well also hath glorious Dryden, in the "Flower and the Leaf," sung the praises of the illustrious Institution:—
"Behold an order yet of newer date, Doubling their number, equal in their state; Our England's ornament, the crown's defence, In battle brave, protectors of their prince: Unchanged by fortune, to their sovereign true, For which their manly legs are bound with blue. These of the Garter call'd, of faith unstain'd, In fighting fields the laurel have obtain'd, And well repaid the laurels which they gained."
In 1357 John, King of France, defeated at the battle of Poitiers by Edward the Black Prince, was brought captive to Windsor; and on the festival of Saint George in the following year; 1358, Edward outshone all his former splendid doings by a tournament which he gave in honour of his royal prisoner. Proclamation having been made as before, and letters of safe conduct issued, the nobles and knighthood of Almayne, Gascoigne, Scotland, and other countries, flocked to attend it, The Queen of Scotland, Edward's sister, was present at the jousts; and it is said that John, commenting upon the splendour of the spectacle, shrewdly observed "that he never saw or knew such royal shows and feastings without some after-reckoning." The same monarch replied to his kingly captor, who sought to rouse him from dejection, on another occasion—"Quomodo cantabimus canticum in terra aliena!"
That his works might not be retarded for want of hands, Edward in the twenty-fourth year of his reign appointed John de Sponlee master of the stonehewers, with a power not only "to take and keep, as well within the liberties as without, as many masons and other artificers as were necessary, and to convey them to Windsor, but to arrest and imprison such as should disobey or refuse; with a command to all sheriffs, mayors, bailiffs, etc., to assist him." These powers were fully acted upon at a later period, when some of the workmen, having left their employment, were thrown into Newgate; while the place of others, who had been carried off by a pestilence then raging in the castle, was supplied by impressment.
In 1356 WILLIAM OF WYKEHAM was constituted superintendent of the works, with the same powers as John de Sponlee, and his appointment marks an important era in the annals of the castle. Originally secretary to Edward the Third, this remarkable man became Bishop of Winchester and prelate of the Garter. When he solicited the bishopric, it is said that Edward told him he was neither a priest nor a scholar; to which he replied that he would soon be the one, and in regard to the other, he would make more scholars than all the bishops of England ever did. He made good his word by founding the collegiate school at Winchester, and erecting New College at Oxford. When the Winchester Tower was finished, he caused the words, HOC FECIT WYKEHAM, to be carved upon it; and the king, offended at his presumption, Wykeham turned away his displeasure by declaring that the inscription meant that the castle had made him, and not that he had made the castle. It is a curious coincidence that this tower, after a lapse of four centuries and a half, should become the residence of an architect possessing the genius of Wykeham, and who, like him, had rebuilt the kingly edifice—SIR JEFFRY WYATVILLE.
William of Wykeham retired from office, loaded with honours, in 1362, and was succeeded by William de Mulso. He was interred in the cathedral at Winchester. His arms were argent, two chevrons, sable, between three roses, gules, with the motto—"Manners maketh man."
In 1359 Holinshed relates that the king "set workmen in hand to take down much old buildings belonging to the castle, and caused divers other fine and sumptuous works to be set up in and about the same castle, so that almost all the masons and carpenters that were of any account in the land were sent for and employed about the same works." The old buildings here referred to were probably the remains of the palace and keep of Henry the First in the middle ward.
As the original chapel dedicated to Saint George was demolished by Edward the Fourth, its position and form cannot be clearly determined, But a conjecture has been hazarded that it occupied the same ground as the choir of the present chapel, and extended farther eastward.
"Upon the question of its style," says Mr. Poynter, from whose valuable account of the castle much information has been derived, "there is the evidence of two fragments discovered near this site, a corbel and a piscina, ornamented with foliage strongly characteristic of the Decorated English Gothic, and indicating, by the remains of colour on their surfaces, that they belonged to an edifice adorned in the polychromatic style, so elaborately developed in the chapel already built by Edward the Third at Westminster."
The royal lodgings, Saint George's Hall, the buildings on the east and north sides of the upper ward, the Round Tower, the canons' houses in the lower ward, and the whole circumference of the castle, exclusive of the towers erected in Henry the Third's reign, were now built. Among the earlier works in Edward's reign is the Dean's Cloister. The square of the upper ward, added by this monarch, occupied a space of four hundred and twenty feet, and encroached somewhat upon the middle ward. Externally the walls presented a grim, regular appearance, broken only by the buttresses, and offering no other apertures than the narrow loopholes and gateways. Some traces of the architecture of the period may still be discerned in the archway and machecoulis of the principal gateway adjoining the Round Tower; the basement chamber of the Devil Tower, or Edward the Third's Tower; and in the range of groined and four-centred vaulting, extending along the north side of the upper quadrangle, from the kitchen gateway to King John's Tower.
In 1359 Queen Philippa, consort of Edward the Third, breathed her last in Windsor Castle.
Richard the Second, grandson of Edward the Third, frequently kept his court at Windsor. Here, in 1382, it was determined by council that war should be declared against France; and here, sixteen years later, on a scaffold erected within the castle, the famous appeal for high treason was made by Henry of Lancaster, Duke of Hereford, against Thomas Mowbray, Duke of Norfolk, the latter of whom defied his accuser to mortal combat. The duel was stopped by the king, and the adversaries banished; but the Duke of Lancaster afterwards returned to depose his banisher. About the same time, the citizens of London having refused Richard a large loan, he summoned the lord mayor, sheriffs, aldermen, and twenty-four of the principal citizens, to his presence, and after rating them soundly, ordered them all into custody, imprisoning the lord mayor in the castle.
In this reign Geoffrey Chaucer, "the father of English poetry," was appointed clerk to the works of Saint George's Chapel, at a salary of two shillings per day (a sum equal to 657 pounds per annum of modern money), with the same arbitrary power as had been granted to previous surveyors to impress carpenters and masons. Chaucer did not retain his appointment more than twenty months, and was succeeded by John Gedney.
It was at Windsor that Henry the Fourth, scarcely assured of the crown he had seized, received intelligence of a conspiracy against his life from the traitorous Aumerle, who purchased his own safety at the expense of his confederates. The timely warning enabled the king to baffle the design. It was in Windsor also that the children of Mortimer, Earl of March, the rightful successor to the throne, were detained as hostages for their father. Liberated by the Countess-dowager of Gloucester, who contrived to open their prison door with false keys, the youthful captives escaped to the marshes of Wales, where, however, they were overtaken by the emissaries of Henry, and brought back to their former place of confinement.
A few years later another illustrious prisoner was brought to Windsor—namely, Prince James, the son of King Robert the Third, and afterwards James the First of Scotland. This prince remained a captive for upwards of eighteen years; not being released till 1424, in the second of Henry the Sixth, by the Duke of Bedford, then regent. James's captivity, and his love for Jane of Beaufort, daughter of the Duke of Somerset, and granddaughter to John of Gaunt, to whom he was united, have breathed a charm over the Round Tower, where he was confined; and his memory, like that of the chivalrous and poetical Surrey, whom he resembled in character and accomplishments, will be ever associated with it.
In the "King's Quair," the royal poet has left an exquisite picture of a garden nook, contrived within the dry moat of the dungeon.
"Now was there made, fast by the tower's wall, A garden faire, and in the corners set An arbour green with wandis long and small Railed about, and so with leaves beset Was all the place, and hawthorn hedges knet, That lyf was none, walking there forbye, That might within scarce any wight espy. So thick the branches and the leave's green Beshaded all the alleys that there were. And midst of every harbour might be seen The sharpe, green, sweet juniper, Growing so fair with branches here and there, That as it seemed to a lyf without The boughs did spread the arbour all about."
And he thus describes the first appearance of the lovely Jane, and the effect produced upon him by her charms:
"And therewith cast I down mine eye again, Where as I saw walking under the tower, Full secretly, new comyn her to plain, The fairest and the freshest younge flower That e'er I saw, methought, before that hour; For which sudden abate, anon did start The blood of all my body to my heart."
Henry the Fifth occasionally kept his court at Windsor, and in 1416 entertained with great magnificence the Emperor Sigismund, who brought with him an invaluable relic—the heart of Saint George—which he bestowed upon the chapter. The emperor was at the same time invested with the Order.
In 1421 the unfortunate Henry the Sixth was born within the castle, and in 1484 he was interred within it.
Comprising the Fourth Epoch in the History of the Castle— And showing how Saint George's Chapel was rebuilt by King Edward the Fourth.
Finding the foundation and walls of Saint George's Chapel much dilapidated and decayed, Edward the Fourth resolved to pull down the pile, and build a larger and statelier structure in its place. With this view, he constituted Richard Beauchamp, Bishop of Salisbury, surveyor of the works, from whose designs arose the present beautiful edifice. To enable the bishop to accomplish the work, power was given him to remove all obstructions, and to enlarge the space by the demolition of the three buildings then commonly called Clure's Tower, Berner's Tower, and the Almoner's Tower.
The zeal and assiduity with which Beauchamp prosecuted his task is adverted to in the patent of his appointment to the office of chancellor of the Garter, the preamble whereof recites, "that out of mere love towards the Order, he had given himself the leisure daily to attend the advancement and progress of this goodly fabric."
The chapel, however, was not completed in one reign, or by one architect. Sir Reginald Bray, prime minister of Henry the Seventh, succeeded Bishop Beauchamp as surveyor of the works, and it was by him that the matchless roof of the choir and other parts of the fabric were built. Indeed, the frequent appearance of Bray's arms, sometimes single, sometimes impaling his alliances, in many parts of the ceiling and windows, has led to the supposition that he himself contributed largely to the expense of the work. The groined ceiling of the chapel was not commenced till the twenty-seventh year of the reign of Henry the Seventh, when the pinnacles of the roof were decorated with vanes, supported by gilt figures of lions, antelopes, greyhounds, and dragons, the want of which is still a detriment to the external beauty of the structure.
"The main vaulting of St. George's Chapel," says Mr. Poynter, "is perhaps, without exception, the most beautiful specimen of the Gothic stone roof in existence; but it has been very improperly classed with those of the same architectural period in the chapels of King's College, Cambridge, and Henry the Seventh, at Westminster. The roofing of the aisle and the centre compartment of the body of the building are indeed in that style, but the vault of the nave and choir differ essentially from fan vaulting, both in drawing and construction. It is, in fact, a waggon-headed vault, broken by Welsh groins—that is to say, groins which cut into the main arch below the apex. It is not singular in the principle of its design, but it is unique in its proportions, in which the exact mean seems to be attained between the poverty and monotony of a waggon-headed ceiling and the ungraceful effect of a mere groined roof with a depressed roof or large span—to which may be added, that with a richness of effect scarcely, if at all, inferior to fan tracery, it is free from those abrupt junctions of the lines and other defects of drawing inevitable when the length and breadth of the compartments of fan vaulting differ very much, of which King's College Chapel exhibits some notable instances."
Supported by these exquisite ribs and groins, the ceiling is decorated with heraldic insignia, displaying the arms of Edward the Confessor, Edward the Third, Edward the Black Prince, Henry the Sixth, Edward the Fourth, Henry the Seventh, and Henry the Eighth; with the arms of England and France quartered, the holy cross, the shield or cross of Saint George, the rose, portcullis, lion rampant, unicorn, fleur-de-lis, dragon, and prince's feathers, together with the arms of a multitude of noble families. In the nave are emblazoned the arms of Henry the Eighth, and of several knights-companions, among which are those of Charles the Fifth, Francis the First, and Ferdinand, Infant of Spain. The extreme lightness and graceful proportions of the pillars lining the aisles contribute greatly to the effect of this part of the structure.
Beautiful, however, as is the body of the chapel, it is not comparable to the choir. Here, and on either side, are ranged the stalls of the knights, formerly twenty-six in number, but now increased to thirty-two, elaborately carved in black oak, and covered by canopies of the richest tabernacle-work, supported by slender pillars. On the pedestals is represented the history of the Saviour, and on the front of the stalls at the west end of the choir is carved the legend of Saint George; while on the outside of the upper seat is cut, in old Saxon characters, the twentieth Psalm in Latin. On the canopies of the stalls are placed the mantle, helmet, coat, and sword of the knights-companions; and above them are hung their emblazoned banners. On the back of each stall are fixed small enamelled plates, graven with the titles of the knights who have occupied it. The ancient stall of the sovereign was removed in 1788, and a new seat erected.
The altar was formerly adorned with costly hangings of crimson velvet and gold, but these, together with the consecrated vessels of great value, were seized by order of Parliament in 1642 amid the general plunder of the foundation. The service of the altar was replaced by Charles the Second.
The sovereign's stall is immediately on the right on the entrance to the choir, and the prince's on the left. The queen's closet is on the north side above the altar. Beneath it is the beautiful and elaborately-wrought framework of iron, representing a pair of gates between two Gothic towers, designed as a screen to the tomb of Edward the Fourth, and which, though popularly attributed to Quentin Matsys, has with more justice been assigned to Master John Tressilian.
One great blemish to the chapel exists in the window over the altar, the mullions and tracery of which have been removed to make way for dull colourless copies in painted glass of West's designs. Instead of —"blushing with the blood of kings, And twilight saints, and dim emblazonings"—steeping the altar in rich suffusion, chequering the walls and pavement with variegated hues, and filling the whole sacred spot with a warm and congenial glow, these panes produce a cold, cheerless, and most disagreeable effect.
The removal of this objectionable feature, and the restoration of framework and compartments in the style of the original, and enriched with ancient mellow-toned and many-hued glass in keeping with the place, are absolutely indispensable to the completeness and unity of character of the chapel. Two clerestory windows at the east end of the choir, adjoining the larger window, have been recently filled with stained glass in much better taste.
The objections above made may be urged with equal force against the east and west windows of the south aisle of the body of the fane, and the west window of the north aisle. The glorious west window, composed of eighty compartments, embellished with figures of kings, patriarchs, and bishops, together with the insignia of the Garter and the arms of the prelates—the wreck gathered from all the other windows—and streaming with the radiance of the setting sun upon the broad nave and graceful pillars of the aisles—this superb window, an admirable specimen of the architecture of the age in which it was designed, had well-nigh shared the fate of the others, and was only preserved from desecration by the circumstance of the death of the glass-painter. The mullions of this window being found much decayed, were carefully and consistently restored during the last year by Mr. Blore, and the ancient stained glass replaced.
Not only does Saint George's Chapel form a house of prayer and a temple of chivalry, but it is also the burial-place of kings. At the east end of the north aisle of the choir is a plain flag, bearing the words—
King Edward IIII. And his Queen Elizabeth Widville.
The coat of mail and surcoat, decorated with rubies and precious stones, together with other rich trophies once ornamenting this tomb, were carried off by the Parliamentary plunderers. Edward's queen, Elizabeth Woodville, it was thought, slept beside him; but when the royal tomb was opened in 1789, and the two coffins within it examined, the smaller one was found empty. The queen's body was subsequently discovered in a stone coffin by the workmen employed in excavating the vault for George the Third. Edward's coffin was seven feet long, and contained a perfect skeleton. On the opposite aisle, near the choir door, as already mentioned, rests the ill-fated Henry the Sixth, beneath an arch sumptuously embellished by Henry the Eighth, on the key-stone of which may still be seen his arms, supported by two antelopes connected by a golden chain. Henry's body was removed from Chertsey, where it was first interred, and reburied in 1484, with much solemnity, in this spot. Such was the opinion entertained of his sanctity that miracles were supposed to be wrought upon his tomb, and Henry the Seventh applied to have him canonised, but the demands of the Pope were too exorbitant. The proximity of Henry and Edward in death suggested the following lines to Pope—
"Here, o'er the martyr-king the marble weeps, And fast beside him once-fear'd Edward sleeps; The grave unites, where e'en the grave finds rest, And mingled here the oppressor and the opprest."
In the royal vault in the choir repose Henry the Eighth and his third queen Jane Seymour, together with the martyred Charles the First.
Space only permits the hasty enumeration of the different chapels and chantries adorning this splendid fane. These are Lincoln Chapel, near which Richard Beauchamp, Bishop of Salisbury, is buried; Oxenbridge Chapel; Aldworth Chapel; Bray Chapel, where rests the body of Sir Reginald de Bray, the architect of the pile; Beaufort Chapel, containing sumptuous monuments of the noble family of that name; Rutland Chapel; Hastings Chapel; and Urswick Chapel, in which is now placed the cenotaph of the Princess Charlotte, sculptured by Matthew Wyatt.
In a vault near the sovereign's stall lie the remains of the Duke of Gloucester, who died in 1805, and of his duchess, who died two years after him. And near the entrance of the south door is a slab of grey marble, beneath which lies one who in his day filled the highest offices of the realm, and was the brother of a king and the husband of a queen. It is inscribed with the great name of Charles Brandon.
At the east end of the north aisle is the chapter-house, in which is a portrait and the sword of state of Edward the Third.
Adjoining the chapel on the east stands the royal tombhouse. Commenced by Henry the Seventh as a mausoleum, but abandoned for the chapel in Westminster Abbey, this structure was granted by Henry the Eighth to Wolsey, who, intending it as a place of burial for himself, erected within it a sumptuous monument of black and white marble, with eight large brazen columns placed around it, and four others in the form of candlesticks.
At the time of the cardinal's disgrace, when the building reverted to the crown, the monument was far advanced towards completion—the vast sum of 4280 ducats having been paid to Benedetto, a Florentine sculptor, for work, and nearly four hundred pounds for gilding part of it. This tomb was stripped of its ornaments and destroyed by the Parliamentary rebels in 1646; but the black marble sarcophagus forming part of it, and intended as a receptacle for Wolsey's own remains, escaped destruction, and now covers the grave of Nelson in a crypt of Saint Paul's Cathedral.
Henry the Eighth was not interred in this mausoleum, but in Saint George's Chapel, as has just been mentioned, and as he himself directed, "midway between the state and the high altar." Full instructions were left by him for the erection of a monument which, if it had been completed, would have been truly magnificent. The pavement was to be of oriental stones, with two great steps upon it of the same material. The two pillars of the church between which the tomb was to be set were to be covered with bas-reliefs, representing the chief events of the Old Testament, angels with gilt garlands, fourteen images of the prophets, the apostles, the evangelists, and the four doctors of the Church, and at the foot of every image a little child with a basket full of red and white roses enamelled and gilt. Between these pillars, on a basement of white marble, the epitaphs of the king and queen were to be written in letters of gold.
On the same basement were to be two tombs of black touchstone supporting the images of the king and queen, not as dead, but sleeping, "to show," so runs the order, "that famous princes leaving behind them great fame do never die." On the right hand, at either corner of the tomb, was to be an angel holding the king's arms, with a great candlestick, and at the opposite corners two other angels hearing the queen's arms and candlesticks. Between the two black tombs was to rise a high basement, like a sepulchre, surmounted by a statue of the king on horseback, in armour—both figures to be "of the whole stature of a goodly man and a large horse." Over this statue was to be a canopy, like a triumphal arch, of white marble, garnished with oriental stones of divers colours, with the history of Saint John the Baptist wrought in gilt brass upon it, with a crowning group of the Father holding the soul of the king in his right hand and the soul of the queen in his left, and blessing them. The height of the monument was to be twenty-eight feet.
The number of statues was to be one hundred and thirty-four, with forty-four bas-reliefs. It would be matter of infinite regret that this great design was never executed, if its destruction by the Parliamentary plunderers would not in that case have been also matter of certainty.
Charles the First intended to fit up this structure as a royal mausoleum, but was diverted from the plan by the outbreak of the civil war. It was afterwards used as a chapel by James the Second, and mass was publicly performed in it. The ceiling was painted by Verrio, and the walls highly ornamented; but the decorations were greatly injured by the fury of an anti-Catholic mob, who assailed the building, and destroyed its windows, on the occasion of a banquet given to the Pope's nuncio by the king.
In this state it continued till the commencement of the present century, when the exterior was repaired by George the Third, and a vault, seventy feet in length, twenty-eight in width, and fourteen in depth, constructed within it, for the reception of the royal family. Catacombs, formed of massive octangular pillars, and supporting ranges of shelves, line the walls on either side.
At the eastern extremity there are five niches, and in the middle twelve low tombs. A subterranean passage leads from the vault beneath the choir of Saint George's altar to the sepulchre. Within it are deposited the bodies of George the Third and Queen Charlotte, the Princesses Amelia and Charlotte, the Dukes of Kent and York, and the last two sovereigns, George the Fourth and William the Fourth.
But to return to the reign of Edward the Fourth, from which the desire to bring down the history of Saint George's Chapel to the present time has led to the foregoing digression. About the same time that the chapel was built, habitations for the dean and canons were erected on the north-east of the fane, while another range of dwellings for the minor canons was built at its west end, disposed in the form of a fetterlock, one of the badges of Edward the Fourth, and since called the Horse-shoe Cloisters. The ambulatory of these cloisters once displayed a fine specimen of the timber architecture of Henry the Seventh's time, when they were repaired, but little of their original character can now be discerned.
In 1482 Edward, desirous of advancing his popularity with the citizens of London, invited the lord mayor and aldermen to Windsor, where he feasted them royally, and treated them to the pleasures of the chase, sending them back to their spouses loaded with game.
In 1484 Richard the Third kept the feast of Saint George at Windsor, and the building of the chapel was continued during his reign.
The picturesque portion of the castle on the north side of the upper ward, near the Norman Gateway, and which is one of the noblest Gothic features of the proud pile, was built by Henry the Seventh, whose name it still bears. The side of this building looking towards the terrace was originally decorated with two rich windows, but one of them has disappeared, and the other has suffered much damage.
In 1500 the deanery was rebuilt by Dean Urswick. At the lower end of the court, adjoining the canons' houses behind the Horse-shoe Cloisters, stands the Collegiate Library, the date of which is uncertain, though it may perhaps be referred to this period. The establishment was enriched in later times by a valuable library, bequeathed to it by the Earl of Ranelagh.
In 1506 Windsor was the scene of great festivity, in consequence of the unexpected arrival of Philip, King of Castile, and his queen, who had been driven by stress of weather into Weymouth. The royal visitors remained for several weeks at the castle, during which it continued a scene of revelry, intermixed with the sports of the chase. At the same time Philip was invested with the Order of the Garter, and installed in the chapel of St. George.
The great gateway to the lower ward was built in the commencement of the reign of Henry the Eighth; it is decorated with his arms and devices—the rose, portcullis, and fleur-de-lis, and with the bearings of Catherine of Arragon. In 1522 Charles the Fifth visited Windsor, and was installed I knight of the Garter.
During a period of dissension in the council, Edward the Sixth was removed for safety to Windsor by the Lord Protector Somerset, and here, at a later period, the youthful monarch received a letter from the council urging the dismissal of Somerset, with which, by the advice of the Arch-bishop of Canterbury, he complied.
In this reign an undertaking to convey water to the castle from Blackmore Park, near Wingfield, a distance of five miles, was commenced, though it was not till 1555, in the time of Mary, that the plan was accomplished, when a pipe was brought into the upper ward, "and there the water plenteously did rise thirteen feet high." In the middle of the court was erected a magnificent fountain, consisting of a canopy raised upon columns, gorgeously decorated with heraldic ornaments, and surmounted by a great vane, with the arms of Philip and Mary impaled upon it, and supported by a lion and an eagle, gilt and painted. The water was discharged by a great dragon, one of the supporters of the Tudor arms, into the cistern beneath, whence it was conveyed by pipes to every part of the castle.
Mary held her court at Windsor soon after her union with Philip of Spain. About this period the old habitations of the alms-knights on the south side of the lower quadrangle were taken down, and others erected in their stead.
Fewer additions were made to Windsor Castle by Elizabeth than might have been expected from her predilection for it as a place of residence. She extended and widened the north terrace, where, when lodging within the castle, she daily took exercise, whatever might be the weather. The terrace at this time, as it is described by Paul Hentzner, and as it appears in Norden's view, was a sort of balcony projecting beyond the scarp of the hill, and supported by great cantilevers of wood.
In 1576 the gallery still bearing her name, and lying between Henry the Seventh's buildings and the Norman Tower, was erected by Elizabeth. This portion of the castle had the good fortune to escape the alterations and modifications made in almost every other part of the upper ward after the restoration of Charles the Second. It now forms the library. A large garden was laid out by the same queen, and a small gateway on Castle Hill built by her—which afterwards became one of the greatest obstructions to the approach, and it was taken down by George the Fourth.
Elizabeth often hunted in the parks, and exhibited her skill in archery, which was by no means inconsiderable, at the butts. Her fondness for dramatic performances likewise induced her to erect a stage within the castle, on which plays and interludes were performed. And to her admiration of the character of Falstaff, and her love of the locality, the world is indebted for the "Merry Wives of Windsor."
James the First favoured Windsor as much as his predecessors; caroused within its halls, and chased the deer in its parks; Christian the Fourth of Denmark was sumptuously entertained by him at Windsor. In this reign a curious dispute occurred between the king and the dean and chapter respecting the repair of a breach in the wall, which was not brought to issue for three years, when, after much argument, it was decided in favour of the clergy.
Little was done at Windsor by Charles the First until the tenth year of his reign, when a banqueting-house erected by Elizabeth was taken down, and the magnificent fountain constructed by Queen Mary demolished. Two years after wards "a pyramid or lantern," with a clock, hell, and dial, was ordered to be set up in front of the castle, and a balcony was erected before the room where Henry the Sixth was born.
In the early part of the year 1642 Charles retired to Windsor to shield himself from the insults of the populace, and was followed by a committee of the House of Commons, who prevailed upon him to desist from the prosecution of the impeached members. On the 23rd of October in the same year, Captain Fogg, at the head of a Parliamentarian force, demanded the keys of the college treasury, and, not being able to obtain them, forced open the doors, and carried off the whole of the plate.
The plunder of the college was completed by Vane, the Parliamentary governor of the castle, who seized upon the whole of the furniture and decorations of the choir, rifled the tomb of Edward the Fourth, stripped off all the costly ornaments from Wolsey's tomb, defaced the emblazonings over Henry the Sixth's grave, broke the rich painted glass of the windows, and wantonly destroyed the exquisite woodwork of the choir.
Towards the close of the year 1648 the ill-fated Charles was brought a prisoner to Windsor, where he remained while preparations were made for the execrable tragedy soon afterwards enacted. After the slaughter of the martyr-monarch the castle became the prison of the Earl of Norwich, Lord Capel, and the Duke of Hamilton, and other royalists and cavaliers.
Cromwell frequently resided within the castle, and often took a moody and distrustful walk upon the terrace. It was during the Protectorate, in 1677, that the ugly buildings appropriated to the naval knights, and standing between the Garter Tower and Chancellor's Tower, were erected by Sir Francis Crane.
Containing the History of the Castle from the Reign of Charles the Second to that of George the Third—With a few Particulars concerning the Parks and the Forest. Windsor Castle.
ON the Restoration the castle resumed its splendour, and presented a striking contrast to the previous gloomy period. The terrace, with its festive groups, resembled a picture by Watteau, the courts resounded with laughter, and the velvet sod of the home park was as often pressed by the foot of frolic beauty as by that of the tripping deer.
Seventeen state apartments were erected by Sir Christopher Wren, under the direction of Sir John Denham. The ceilings were painted by Verrio, and the walls decorated with exquisite carvings by Grinling Gibbons. A grand staircase was added at the same time. Most of the chambers were hung with tapestry, and all adorned with pictures and costly furniture. The addition made to the castle by Charles was the part of the north front, then called the "Star Building," from the star of the Order of the Garter worked in colours in the front of it, but now denominated the "Stuart Building," extending eastward along the terrace from Henry the Seventh's building one hundred and seventy feet. In 1676 the ditch was filled up, and the terrace carried along the south and east fronts of the castle.
Meanwhile the original character of the castle was completely destroyed and Italianised. The beautiful and picturesque irregularities of the walls were removed, the towers shaved off, the windows transformed into commonplace circular-headed apertures. And so the castle remained for more than a century.
Edward the Third's Tower, indifferently called the Earl Marshal's Tower and the Devil Tower, and used as a place of confinement for state prisoners, was now allotted to the maids of honour. It was intended by Charles to erect a monument in honour of his martyred father on the site of the tomb-house, which he proposed to remove, and 70,000 pounds were voted by Parliament for this purpose. The design, however, was abandoned under the plea that the body could not be found, though it was perfectly well known where it lay. The real motive, probably, was that Charles had already spent the money.
In 1680 an equestrian statue of Charles the Second, executed by Strada, at the expense of Tobias Rustat, formerly housekeeper at Hampton Court, was placed in the centre of the upper ward. It now stands at the lower end of the same court. The sculptures on the pedestal were designed by Grinling Gibbons; and Horace Walpole pleasantly declared that the statue had no other merit than to attract attention to them.
In old times a road, forming a narrow irregular avenue, ran through the woods from the foot of the castle to Snow Hill but this road having been neglected during a long series of years, the branches of the trees and underwood had so much encroached upon it as to render it wholly impassable. A grand avenue, two hundred and forty feet wide, was planned by Charles in its place, and the magnificent approach called the Long Walk laid out and planted.
The only material incident connected with the castle during the reign of James the Second has been already related.
Windsor was not so much favoured as Hampton Court by William the Third, though he contemplated alterations within it during the latter part of his life which it may be matter of rejoicing were never accomplished.
Queen Anne's operations were chiefly directed towards the parks, in improving which nearly 40,000 pounds were expended. In 1707 the extensive avenue running almost parallel with the Long Walk, and called the "Queen's Walk," was planted by her; and three years afterwards a carriage road was formed through the Long Walk. A garden was also planned on the north side of the castle. In this reign Sir James Thornhill commenced painting Charles the Second's staircase with designs from Ovid's Metamorphoses, but did not complete his task till after the accession of George the First. This staircase was removed in 1800, to make way for the present Gothic entrance erected by the elder Wyatt.
The first two monarchs of the house of Hanover rarely used Windsor as a residence, preferring Hampton Court and Kensington; and even George the Third did not actually live in the castle, but in the Queen's Lodge—a large detached building, with no pretension to architectural beauty, which he himself erected opposite the south terrace, at a cost of nearly 44,000 pounds. With most praiseworthy zeal, and almost entirely at his own expense, this monarch undertook the restoration of Saint George's Chapel. The work was commenced in 1787, occupied three years, and was executed by Mr. Emlyn, a local architect. The whole building was repaved, a new altar-screen and organ added, and the carving restored.
In 1796 Mr. James Wyatt was appointed surveyor-general of the royal buildings, and effected many internal arrangements. Externally he restored Wren's round-headed windows to their original form, and at the same time gothicized a large portion of the north and south sides of the upper ward.
Before proceeding further, a word must be said about the parks. The home park, which lies on the east and north sides of the castle, is about four miles in circumference, and was enlarged and enclosed with a brick wall by William the Third. On the east, and nearly on the site of the present sunk garden, a bowling-green was laid out by Charles the Second. Below, on the north, were Queen Anne's gardens, since whose time the declivity of the hill has been planted with forest trees. At the east angle of the north terrace are the beautiful slopes, with a path skirting the north side of the home park and leading through charming plantations in the direction of the royal farm and dairy, the ranger's lodge, and the kennel for the queen's harriers. This park contains many noble trees; and the grove of elms in the south-east, near the spot where the scathed oak assigned to Herne stands, is traditionally asserted to have been a favourite walk of Queen Elizabeth. It still retains her name.
The great park is approached by the magnificent avenue called the Long Walk, laid out, as has been stated, by Charles the Second, and extending to the foot of Snow Hill, the summit of which is crowned by the colossal equestrian statue of George the Third, by Westmacott. Not far from this point stands Cumberland Lodge, which derives its name from William, Duke of Cumberland, to whom it was granted in 1744. According to Norden's survey, in 1607, this park contained 3050 acres; but when surveyed by George the Third it was found to consist of 3800 acres, of which 200 were covered with water. At that time the park was over grown with fern and rushes, and abounded in bogs and swamps, which in many places were dangerous and almost impassable. It contained about three thousand head of deer in bad condition. The park has since been thoroughly drained, smoothed, and new planted in parts; and two farms have been introduced upon it, under the direction of Mr. Kent, at which the Flemish and Norfolk modes of husbandry have been successfully practised.
Boasting every variety of forest scenery, and commanding from its knolls and acclivities magnificent views of the castle, the great park is traversed, in all directions, by green drives threading its long vistas, or crossing its open glades, laid out by George the Fourth. Amid the groves at the back of Spring Hill, in a charmingly sequestered situation, stands a small private chapel, built in the Gothic style, and which was used as a place of devotion by George the Fourth during the progress of the improvements at the castle, and is sometimes attended by the present queen.
Not the least of the attractions of the park is Virginia Water, with its bright and beautiful expanse, its cincture of green banks, soft and smooth as velvet, its screen of noble woods, its Chinese fishing-temple, its frigates, its ruins, its cascade, cave, and Druidical temple, its obelisk and bridges, with numberless beauties besides, which it would be superfluous to describe here. This artificial mere covers pretty nearly the same surface of ground as that occupied by the great lake of olden times.
Windsor forest once comprehended a circumference of a hundred and twenty miles, and comprised part of Buckinghamshire, a considerable portion of Surrey, and the whole south-east side of Berkshire, as far as Hungerford. On the Surrey side it included Chobham and Chertsey, and extended along the side of the Wey, which marked its limits as far as Guildford. In the reign of James the First, when it was surveyed by Norden, its circuit was estimated at seventy-seven miles and a half, exclusive of the liberties extending into Buckinghamshire. There were fifteen walks within it, each under the charge of a head keeper, and the whole contained upwards of three thousand head of deer. It is now almost wholly enclosed.
The Last Great Epoch in the History of the Castle.
A prince of consummate taste and fine conceptions, George the Fourth meditated, and, what is better, accomplished the restoration of the castle to more than its original grandeur. He was singularly fortunate in his architect. Sir Jeffry Wyatville was to him what William of Wykeham had been to Edward the Third. All the incongruities of successive reigns were removed: all, or nearly all, the injuries inflicted by time repaired; and when the work so well commenced was finished, the structure took its place as the noblest and most majestic palatial residence in existence.
To enter into a full detail of Wyatville's achievements is beyond the scope of the present work; but a brief survey may be taken of them. Never was lofty design more fully realised. View the castle on the north, with its grand terrace of nearly a thousand feet in length, and high embattled walls; its superb facade, comprehending the stately Brunswick Tower; the Cornwall Tower, with its gorgeous window; George the Fourth's Tower, including the great oriel window of the state drawing-room; the restored Stuart buildings, and those of Henry the Seventh and of Elizabeth; the renovated Norman Tower; the Powder Tower, with the line of walls as far as the Winchester Tower;—view this, and then turn to the east, and behold another front of marvellous beauty extending more than four hundred feet from north to south, and displaying the Prince of Wales's Tower, the Chester, Clarence, and Victoria Towers—all of which have been raised above their former level, and enriched by great projecting windows;—behold also the beautiful sunken garden, with its fountain and orangery, its flights of steps, and charming pentagonal terrace;—proceed to the south front, of which the Victoria Tower, with its machicolated battlements and oriel window, forms so superb a feature at the eastern corner, the magnificent gateway receiving its name from George the Fourth, flanked by the York and Lancaster Towers, and opening in a continued line from the Long Walk; look at Saint George's Gate, Edward the Third's renovated tower, and the octagon tower beyond it; look at all these, and if they fail to excite a due appreciation of the genius that conceived them, gaze at the triumph of the whole, and which lords over all the rest—the Round Tower—gaze at it, and not here alone, but from the heights of the great park, from the vistas of the home park, from the bowers of Eton, the meads of Clewer and Datchet, from the Brocas, the gardens of the naval knights—from a hundred points; view it at sunrise when the royal standard is hoisted, or at sunset when it is lowered, near or at a distance, and it will be admitted to be the work of a prodigious architect!
But Wyatville's alterations have not yet been fully considered. Pass through Saint George's Gateway, and enter the grand quadrangle to which it leads. Let your eye wander round it, beginning with the inner sides of Edward the Third's Tower and George the Fourth's Gateway, and proceeding to the beautiful private entrance to the sovereign's apartments, the grand range of windows of the eastern corridor, the proud towers of the gateway to the household, the tall pointed windows of Saint George's Hall, the state entrance tower, with its noble windows, until it finally rests upon the Stuart buildings and King John's Tower, at the angle of the pile.
Internally the alterations made by the architects have been of corresponding splendour and importance. Around the south and east sides of the court at which you are gazing, a spacious corridor has been constructed, five hundred and fifty feet in length, and connected with the different suites of apartments on these sides of the quadrangle; extensive alterations have been made in the domestic offices; the state apartments have been repaired and rearranged; Saint George's Hall has been enlarged by the addition of the private chapel (the only questionable change), and restored to the Gothic style; and the Waterloo Chamber built to contain George the Fourth's munificent gift to the nation of the splendid collection of portraits now occupying it.
"The first and most remarkable characteristic of operations of Sir Jeffry Wyatville on the exterior," observes Mr. Poynter, "is the judgment with which he has preserved the castle of Edward the Third. Some additions have been made to it, and with striking effect—as the Brunswick Tower, and the western tower of George the Fourth's Gate-way which so nobly terminates the approach from the great park. The more modern buildings on the north side have also been assimilated to the rest; but the architect has yielded to no temptation to substitute his own design for that of William of Wykeham, and no small difficulties have been combated and overcome for the sake of preserving the outline of the edifice, and maintaining the towers in their original position."
The Winchester Tower, originally inhabited by William of Wykeham, was bestowed upon Sir Jeffry Wyatville as a residence by George the Fourth; and, on the resignation of the distinguished architect, was continued to him for life by the present queen.
The works within the castle were continued during the reign of William the Fourth, and at its close the actual cost of the buildings had reached the sum of 771,000, pounds and it has been asserted that the general expenditure up to the present time has exceeded a million and a half of money.
The view from the summit of the Round Tower is beyond description magnificent, and commands twelve counties—namely, Middlesex, Essex, Hertford, Berks, Bucks, Oxford, Wilts, Hants, Surrey, Sussex, Kent, and Bedford; while on a clear day the dome of Saint Paul's may be distinguished from it. This tower was raised thirty-three feet by Sir Jeffry Wyatville, crowned with a machicolated battlement, and surmounted with a flag-tower.
The circumference of the castle is 4180 feet; the length from east to west, 1480 feet; and the area, exclusive of the terraces, about twelve acres.
For the present the works are suspended. But it is to be hoped that the design of Sir Jeffry Wyatville will be fully carried out in the lower ward, by the removal of such houses on the north as would lay Saint George's Chapel open to view from this side; by the demolition of the old incongruous buildings lying westward of the bastion near the Hundred Steps, by the opening out of the pointed roof of the library; the repair and reconstruction in their original style of the Curfew, the Garter, and the Salisbury Towers; and the erection of a lower terrace extending outside the castle, from the bastion above mentioned to the point of termination of the improvements, and accessible from the town; the construction of which terrace would necessitate the removal of the disfiguring and encroaching houses on the east side of Thames Street. This accomplished, Crane's ugly buildings removed, and the three western towers laid open to the court, the Horse-shoe Cloisters consistently repaired, Windsor Castle would indeed be complete. And fervently do we hope that this desirable event may be identified with the reign of VICTORIA.
THUS ENDS THE THIRD BOOK OF THE CHRONICLE OF WINDSOR CASTLE
BOOK IV. CARDINAL WOLSEY
Of the Interview between Henry and Catherine of Arragon in the Urswick Chapel—And how it was interrupted.
IT was now the joyous month of June; and where is June so joyous as within the courts and halls of peerless Windsor? Where does the summer sun shine so brightly as upon its stately gardens and broad terraces, its matchless parks, its silver belting river and its circumference of proud and regal towers? Nowhere in the world. At all seasons Windsor is magnificent: whether, in winter, she looks upon her garnitures of woods stripped of their foliage—her river covered with ice—or the wide expanse of country around her sheeted with snow—or, in autumn, gazes on the same scene—a world of golden-tinted leaves, brown meadows, or glowing cornfields. But summer is her season of beauty—June is the month when her woods are fullest and greenest; when her groves are shadiest; her avenues most delicious; when her river sparkles like a diamond zone; when town and village, mansion and cot, church and tower, hill and vale, the distant capital itself—all within view—are seen to the highest advantage. At such a season it is impossible to behold from afar the heights of Windsor, crowned, like the Phrygian goddess, by a castled diadem, and backed by lordly woods, and withhold a burst of enthusiasm and delight. And it is equally impossible, at such a season, to stand on the grand northern terrace, and gaze first at the proud pile enshrining the sovereign mistress of the land, and then gaze on the unequalled prospect spread out before it, embracing in its wide range every kind of beauty that the country can boast, and not be struck with the thought that the perfect and majestic castle—"In state as wholesome as in state 'tis fit Worthy the owner, and the owner it,"—together with the wide, and smiling, and populous district around it, form an apt representation of the British sovereign and her dominions. There stands the castle, dating back as far as the Conquest, and boasting since its foundation a succession of royal inmates, while at its foot lies a region of unequalled fertility and beauty-full of happy homes, and loving, loyal hearts—a miniature of the old country and its inhabitants. What though the smiling landscape may he darkened by a passing cloud!—what though a momentary gloom may gather round the august brow of the proud pile!—the cloud will speedily vanish, the gloom disperse, and the bright and sunny scene look yet brighter and sunnier from the contrast.
It was the chance of the writer of these lines upon one occasion to behold his sovereign under circumstances which he esteems singularly fortunate. She was taking rapid exercise with the prince upon the south side of the garden-terrace. All at once the royal pair paused at the summit of the ascent leading from George the Fourth's gateway. The prince disappeared along the eastern terrace, leaving the queen alone. And there she stood, her slight, faultless figure sharply defined against the clear sky. Nothing was wanting to complete the picture: the great bay-windows of the Victoria Tower on the one hand—the balustrade of the terrace on the other—the home park beyond. It was thrilling to feel that that small, solitary figure comprehended all the might and majesty of England—and a thousand kindling aspirations were awakened by the thought.
But it was, as has been said, the merry month of June, and Windsor Castle looked down in all its magnificence upon the pomp of woods, and upon the twelve fair and smiling counties lying within its ken. A joyous stir was within its courts—the gleam of arms and the fluttering of banners was seen upon its battlements and towers, and the ringing of bells, the beating of drums, and the fanfares of trumpets, mingled with the shouting of crowds and the discharge of ordnance.
Amidst this tumult a grave procession issued from the deanery, and took its way across the lower quadrangle, which was thronged with officers and men-at-arms, in the direction of the lower gate. Just as it arrived there a distant gun was heard, and an answering peal was instantly fired from the culverins of the Curfew Tower, while a broad standard, emblazoned with the arms of France and England within the garter, and having for supporters the English lion crowned and the red dragon sinister, was reared upon the keep. All these preparations betokened the approach of the king, who was returning to the castle after six weeks' absence.
Though information of the king's visit to the castle had only preceded him by a few hours, everything was ready for his reception, and the greatest exertions were used to give splendour to it.
In spite of his stubborn and tyrannical nature, Henry was a popular monarch, and never showed himself before his subjects but he gained their applauses; his love of pomp, his handsome person, and manly deportment, always winning him homage from the multitude. But at no period was he in a more critical position than the present. The meditated divorce from Catherine of Arragon was a step which found no sympathy from the better portion of his subjects, while the ill-assorted union of Anne Boleyn, an avowed Lutheran, which it was known would follow it, was equally objectionable. The seeds of discontent had been widely sown in the capital; and tumults had occurred which, though promptly checked, had nevertheless alarmed the king, coupled as they were with the disapprobation of his ministers, the sneering remonstrances of France, the menaces of the Papal See, and the open hostilities of Spain. But the characteristic obstinacy of his nature kept him firm to his point, and he resolved to carry it, be the consequences what they might.
All his efforts to win over Campeggio proved fruitless. The legate was deaf to his menaces or promises, well knowing that to aid Anne Boleyn would be to seriously affect the interests of the Church of Rome.
The affair, however, so long and so artfully delayed, was now drawing to a close. A court was appointed by the legates to be holden on the 18th of June, at Blackfriars, to try the question. Gardiner had been recalled from Rome to act as counsel for Henry; and the monarch, determining to appear by proxy at the trial, left his palace at Bridewell the day before it was to come on, and set out with Anne Boleyn and his chief attendants for Windsor Castle.
Whatever secret feelings might be entertained against him, Henry was received by the inhabitants of Windsor with every demonstration of loyalty and affection. Deafening shouts rent the air as he approached; blessings and good wishes were showered upon him; and hundreds of caps were flung into the air. But noticing that Anne Boleyn was received with evil looks and in stern silence, and construing this into an affront to himself, Henry not only made slight and haughty acknowledgment of the welcome given him, but looked out for some pretext to manifest his displeasure. Luckily none was afforded him, and he entered the castle in a sullen mood.
The day was spent in gentle exercise within the home park and on the terrace, and the king affected the utmost gaiety and indifference; but those acquainted with him could readily perceive he was ill at ease. In the evening he remained for some time alone in his closet penning despatches, and then summoning an attendant, ordered him to bring Captain Bouchier into his presence.
"Well, Bouchier," he said, as the officer made his appearance, "have you obeyed my instructions in regard to Mabel Lyndwood?"
"I have, my liege," replied Bouchier. "In obedience to your majesty's commands, immediately after your arrival at the castle I rode to the forester's hut, and ascertained that the damsel was still there."
"And looking as beautiful as ever, I'll be sworn!" said the king.
"It was the first time I had seen her, my liege," replied Bouchier; "but I do not think she could have ever looked more beautiful."
"I am well assured of it," replied Henry. "The pressure of affairs during my absence from the castle had banished her image from my mind; but now it returns as forcibly as before. And you have so arranged it that she will be brought hither to-morrow night?"
Bouchier replied in the affirmative.
"It is well," pursued Henry; "but what more?—for you look as if you had something further to declare."
"Your majesty will not have forgotten how you exterminated the band of Herne the Hunter?" said Bouchier.
"Mother of Heaven, no!" cried the king, starting up; "I have not forgotten it. What of them?—Ha! have they come to life again?—do they scour the parks once more? That were indeed a marvel!"
"What I have to relate is almost as great a marvel," returned Bouchier. "I have not heard of the resurrection of the band though for aught I know it may have occurred. But Herne has been seen again in the forest. Several of the keepers have been scared by him—travellers have been affrighted and plundered—and no one will now cross the great park after nightfall."
"Amazement!" cried Henry, again seating himself; "once let the divorce be settled, and I will effectually check the career of this lawless and mysterious being."
"Pray heaven your majesty may be able to do so!" replied Bouchier. "But I have always been of opinion that the only way to get rid of the demon would be by the aid of the Church. He is unassailable by mortal weapons."
"It would almost seem so," said the king. "And yet I do not like to yield to the notion."
"I shrewdly suspect that old Tristram Lyndwood, the grandsire of the damsel upon whom your majesty has deigned to cast your regards, is in some way or other leagued with Herne," said Bouchier. "At all events, I saw him with a tall hideous-looking personage, whose name I understand to be Valentine Hagthorne, and who, I feel persuaded, must be one of the remnants of the demon hunter's band."
"Why did you not arrest him?" inquired Henry.
"I did not like to do so without your majesty's authority," replied Bouchier. "Besides, I could scarcely arrest Hagthorne without at the same time securing the old forester, which might have alarmed the damsel. But I am ready to execute your injunctions now."
"Let a party of men go in search of Hagthorne to-night," replied Henry; "and while Mabel is brought to the castle to-morrow, do you arrest old Tristram, and keep him in custody till I have leisure to examine him."
"It shall be done as you desire, my liege," replied Bouchier, bowing and departing.
Shortly after this Henry, accompanied by Anne Boleyn, proceeded with his attendants to Saint George's Chapel, and heard vespers performed. Just as he was about to return, an usher advanced towards him, and making a profound reverence, said that a masked dame, whose habiliments proclaimed her of the highest rank, craved a moment's audience of him.
"Where is she?" demanded Henry.
"In the north aisle, an't please your majesty," replied the usher, "near the Urswick Chapel. I told her that this was not the place for an audience of your majesty, nor the time; but she would not be said nay, and therefore, at the risk of incurring your sovereign displeasure, I have ventured to proffer her request."
The usher omitted to state that his chief inducement to incur the risk was a valuable ring, given him by the lady.
"Well, I will go to her," said the king. "I pray you, excuse me for a short space, fair mistress," he added to Anne Boleyn.
And quitting the choir, he entered the northern aisle, and casting his eyes down the line of noble columns by which it is flanked, and seeing no one, he concluded that the lady must have retired into the Urswick Chapel. And so it proved; for on reaching this exquisite little shrine he perceived a tall masked dame within it, clad in robes of the richest black velvet. As he entered the chapel, the lady advanced towards him, and throwing herself on her knees, removed her mask—disclosing features stamped with sorrow and suffering, but still retaining an expression of the greatest dignity. They were those of Catherine of Arragon.
Uttering an angry exclamation, Henry turned on his heel and would have left her, but she clung to the skirts of his robe.
"Hear me a moment, Henry—my king—my husband—one single moment—hear me!" cried Catherine, in tones of such passionate anguish that he could not resist the appeal.
"Be brief, then, Kate," he rejoined, taking her hand to raise her.
"Blessings on you for the word!" cried the queen, covering his hand with kisses. "I am indeed your own true Kate—your faithful, loving, lawful wife!"
"Rise, madam!" cried Henry coldly; "this posture beseems not Catherine of Arragon."
"I obey you now as I have ever done," she replied, rising; "though if I followed the prompting of my heart, I should not quit my knees till I had gained my suit."
"You have, done wrong in coming here, Catherine, at this juncture," said Henry, "and may compel me to some harsh measure which I would willingly have avoided."
"No one knows I am here," replied the queen, "except two faithful attendants, who are vowed to secrecy; and I shall depart as I came."
"I am glad you have taken these precautions," replied Henry. "Now speak freely, but again I must bid you be brief."
"I will be as brief as I can," replied the queen; "but I pray you bear with me, Henry, if I unhappily weary you. I am full of misery and affliction, and never was daughter and wife of king wretched as I am. Pity me, Henry—pity me! But that I restrain myself, I should pour forth my soul in tears before you. Oh, Henry, after twenty years' duty and to be brought to this unspeakable shame—to be cast from you with dishonour—to be supplanted by another—it is terrible!"
"If you have only come here to utter reproaches, madam, I must put an end to the interview," said Henry, frowning.
"I do not reproach you, Henry," replied Catherine meekly, "I only wish to show you the depth and extent of my affection. I only implore you to do me right and justice—not to bring shame upon me to cover your own wrongful action. Have compassion upon the princess our daughter—spare her, if you will not spare me!"
"You sue in vain, Catherine," replied Henry. "I lament your condition, but my eyes are fully opened to the sinful state in which I have so long lived, and I am resolved to abandon it."
"An unworthy prevarication," replied Catherine, "by which you seek to work my ruin, and accomplish your union with Anne Boleyn. And you will no doubt succeed; for what can I, a feeble woman, and a stranger in your country, do to prevent it? You will succeed, I say—you will divorce me and place her upon the throne. But mark my words, Henry, she will not long remain there."
The king smiled bitterly
"She will bring dishonour upon you," pursued Catherine. "The woman who has no regard for ties so sacred as those which bind us will not respect other obligations."
"No more of this!" cried Henry. "You suffer your resentment to carry you too far."
"Too far!" exclaimed Catherine. "Too far!—Is to warn you that you are about to take a wanton to your bed—and that you will bitterly repent your folly when too late, going too far? It is my duty, Henry, no less than my desire, thus to warn you ere the irrevocable step be taken."
"Have you said all you wish to say, madam?" demanded the king.
"No, my dear liege, not a hundredth part of what my heart prompts me to utter," replied Catherine. "I conjure you by my strong and tried affection—by the tenderness that has for years subsisted between us—by your hopes of temporal prosperity and spiritual welfare—by all you hold dear and sacred—to pause while there is yet time. Let the legates meet to-morrow—let them pronounce sentence against me and as surely as those fatal words are uttered, my heart will break."
"Tut, tut!" exclaimed Henry impatiently, "you will live many years in happy retirement."
"I will die as I have lived—a queen," replied Catherine; "but my life will not be long. Now, answer me truly—if Anne Boleyn plays you false—"
"She never will play me false!" interrupted Henry.
"I say if she does," pursued Catherine, "and you are satisfied of her guilt, will you be content with divorcing her as you divorce me?"
"No, by my father's head!" cried Henry fiercely. "If such a thing were to happen, which I hold impossible, she should expiate her offence on the scaffold."
"Give me your hand on that," said Catherine.
"I give you my hand upon it," he replied.
"Enough," said the queen: "if I cannot have right and justice I shall at least have vengeance, though it will come when I am in my tomb. But it will come, and that is sufficient."
"This is the frenzy of jealousy, Catherine," said Henry.
"No, Henry; it is not jealousy," replied the queen, with dignity. "The daughter of Ferdinand of Spain and Isabella of Castile, with the best blood of Europe in her veins, would despise herself if she could entertain so paltry a feeling towards one born so much beneath her as Anne Boleyn."
"As you will, madam," rejoined Henry. "It is time our interview terminated."
"Not yet, Henry—for the love of Heaven, not yet!" implored Catherine. "Oh, bethink you by whom we were joined together!—by your father, Henry the Seventh—one of the wisest princes that ever sat on a throne; and by the sanction of my own father, Ferdinand the Fifth, one of the justest. Would they have sanctioned the match if it had been unlawful? Were they destitute of good counsellors? Were they indifferent to the future?"
"You had better reserve these arguments for the legates' ears tomorrow, madam," said Henry sternly.
"I shall urge them there with all the force I can," replied Catherine, "for I will leave nought untried to hinder an event so fraught with misery. But I feel the struggle will be hopeless."
"Then why make it?" rejoined Henry.
"Because it is due to you—to myself—to the princess our daughter—to our illustrious progenitors—and to our people, to make it," replied Catherine. "I should be unworthy to be your consort if I acted otherwise—and I will never, in thought, word, or deed, do aught derogatory to that title. You may divorce me, but I will never assent to it; you may wed Anne Boleyn, but she will never be your lawful spouse; and you may cast me from your palace, but I will never go willingly."
"I know you to be contumacious, madam," replied Henry. "And now, I pray you, resume your mask, and withdraw. What I have said will convince you that your stay is useless."
"I perceive it," replied Catherine. "Farewell, Henry—farewell, loved husband of my heart—farewell for ever!"
"Your mask—your mask, madam!" cried Henry impatiently. "God's death! footsteps are approaching. Lot no one enter here!" he cried aloud.
"I will come in," said Anne Boleyn, stepping into the chapel just as Catherine had replaced her mask. "Ah! your majesty looks confused. I fear I have interrupted some amorous conference."
"Come with me, Anne," said Henry, taking her arm, and trying to draw her away—"come with me."
"Not till I learn who your lady—love is," replied Anne pettishly. "You affect to be jealous of me, my liege, but I have much more reason to be jealous of you. When you were last at Windsor, I heard you paid a secret visit to a fair maiden near the lake in the park, and now you are holding an interview with a masked dame here. Nay, I care not for your gestures of silence. I will speak."
"You are distraught, sweetheart," cried the king. "Come away."
"No," replied Anne. "Lot this dame be dismissed."
"I shall not go at your bidding, minion!" cried Catherine fiercely.
"Ah!" cried Anne, starting, "whom have we here?"
"One you had better have avoided," whispered Henry.
"The queen!" exclaimed Anne, with a look of dismay.
"Ay, the queen!" echoed Catherine, unmasking. "Henry, if you have any respect left for me, I pray you order this woman from my presence. Lot me depart in peace."