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Reign of Henry the Eighth. - (Continued) page 6


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On the fourth day Charles embarked at Sandwich for the Netherlands, less anxious regarding the approaching interview of Henry and Francis, for he had made an ardent impression on the king, and had put a strong hook into the nose of his great leviathan - the hope of the triple crown. Simultaneously with the departure of Charles, Henry, his queen, and court, embarked at Dover for Calais; and, on the 4th of June, Henry, with his queen, the Queen Dowager of France, and all his court, rode on to Guisnes, where 2,000 workmen, most of them clever artificers from Holland and Flanders, had been busily engaged for several months in erecting a palace of wood for their reception. Henry went, of course, in all the splendour and state that his realm could supply, and Francis and the French court came to their rendezvous in equal pomp of circumstance and luxury of apparel. In Henry's train, besides all his guards and servants, rode one cardinal, one archbishop, two dukes, one marquis, eight earls, and eighteen lords, with all their followers, besides multitudes of knights and gentlemen. The queen, besides the ladies, officers, and servants of her household, was attended by three bishops, one earl, three lords, thirty-three knights, one duchess, seven countesses, fifteen baronesses, nineteen ladies of knights, and many gentlewomen, with all their attendants.

The suite, or, as it might truly be termed, the court of the cardinal, was scarcely less numerous or dazzling than that of the king. Never had the Court of England displayed such magnificence, demonstrating in it the affluence of the country and the ostentation of the monarch.

The wooden palace which had been erected near the castle of Guisnes for the English Court was square, surrounding a court, and each side of the building was 328 feet in length. This building was covered on the outside with sail-cloth, so painted as to resemble squared stone. The walls and roof were adorned with a multitude of statues of warriors, each discharging some weapon as in defence. Over the great gateway stood the figure of a colossal savage, armed with a bow and arrow, and below it this inscription: "Cui adhaereo praest" (He to whom I adhere prevails). This motto was chosen by Henry, for Wolsey had the sole direction of all the preparations and the ordering of all the proceedings and pageants on this occasion, and the words were intended to intimate that the monarch who allied himself to Henry would be the one to gain the ascendancy in Europe: a truly acceptable assurance to Francis, could he rely upon it.

The palace within was lined with richest silks and tapestry of Arras. It was divided into halls, state-rooms, a most sumptuous chapel, and rooms for the accommodation of the royal family and principal guests. The ceilings were covered with silk, or richly painted, the floors-decorated with Turkey carpets, and the whole was furnished in the most regal style, and the tables were loaded with massive plate. The altar of the chapel blazed with real or imitative jewels, and its walls glowed with the most gorgeous embroidery. On each side of the gate, 011 one side, stood a fountain of embowered work, gilt with fine gold, from which flowed red and white wines and hippocras, on which stood a statue of Bacchus, having this inscription: "Faicte bonne ehere quy voudra" (Make merry who will). Contiguous to the palace were erected suitable lodges for all the great officers of the

household, and other buildings for the ewery, pantry, cellar, buttery, spicery, larder, poultry, and pitcher house; and in the plain around were pitched 2,800 tents, many of them large and magnificent, covered with cloth of gold or silk. But even yet we should form no adequate idea of the extent of the concourse of great people, or the magnificence of the spectacle, did we not take into the view the houses of the town of Guisnes decorated for the occasion, and so crowded by people of rank and fortune that many who lived in fine castles at home were obliged to lodge in barns and sleep on straw and hay.

To the people of the Continent it was a sight not every day to be had, to behold the King and Queen of England, and all its collected nobility in their highest grandeur; and foreign princes and princesses and nobility flocked thither from all parts as they flock now-a-days to the coronation of a Russian emperor, and either were entertained by the proud and prodigal English king, or swelled the crush in the little town of Guisnes. "During this triumph," says Hall, "much people of Picardy Flanders drew to Guisnes, to see the King of England and his honour, to whom victuals of the court were given In plenty, and the conduit of the gate ran wine always. There were vagabonds, ploughmen, labourers, wagoners, and beggars, that for drunkenness lay in routs and heaps; so great resort thither came, that both knights and ladies, that were come to see that nobleness, were fain to lye in hay and straw, and held them thereof highly pleased." Add to this the throngs of richly caparisoned horses, glittering with embroidery and jewels, and the gorgeous attire of both sexes, where nothing was to be seen but silks, velvets, cloth of gold, embroidery, gold chains, and precious stones, and you may have some idea of the enormous expense incurred by Henry and his chief subjects for this grand gala. "Many of the nobles," continues Hall, who was present on the occasion, "carried their castles, woods, and farms on their backs."

Francis had raised for himself an immense pavilion near the town of Ardres. This was supported by a tall mast in the centre, from which were stretched ropes, so that it presented the appearance of a gigantic dome. The outside was covered with cloth of gold, and the roof within represented the vault of heaven, the concave being of blue velvet, and the moon and stars of radiant gold. Unfortunately, a rude tempest of wind and rain assailed the proud pavilion, snapped the ropes, laid all this magnificence in the dirt, and compelled Francis to betake him to the castle of Ardres. As soon as the monarchs were respectively in visiting order, "Wolsey set out with a pompous train to wait on the King of France, and a deputation of French nobles made a like visit to the King of England. But the great display of state and the real business were attached to the person of Wolsey. He rode as not only cardinal and legate a latere, but as Henry's plenipotentiary, at the head of such a train of nobles, knights, and prelates, and in such a blaze of splendour, as utterly astonished all the spectators. The whole of this parade was depicted by French artists in books - the "Illustrated News" of the day - to preserve the memory of it. "These," says Hall, "showed the triumphant doings of the cardinal's royalty, as of the number of his gentlemen, knights, and lords, all in crimson velvet, with marvellous number of chains of gold; the multitude of horses, mules, coursers, and carriages, that went before him with sumpters and coffers; his great silver crosses and pillars, his embroidered cushions, and his host of servants, as yeomen and grooms, all clad in scarlet."

Francis, of course, received the great man with all honour and cordiality, and they spent two days together in arranging an additional treaty. Francis was already bound to pay a million of crowns within a certain period; and he now contracted to pay to Henry and his heirs 100,000 crowns annually, in the event of the marriage of the dauphin and the Princess Mary taking place, and their issue being seated on the English throne. It was, moreover, agreed that all matters in dispute regarding Scotland should be left to the determination of Wolsey and of Louisa, the mother of Francis.

The real business thus settled, the two kings prepared to meet. Henry set out dressed in a suit of cloth, of silver of damask, striped with cloth of gold; his horse, caparisoned in a most extravagant style with embroidery, and almost weighed down with solid gold bullion, and all his nobles in a similar magnificence. They were to meet in the valley of Ardres, where a tent was pitched for the purpose. But, amid all this show, there was on both sides the most extraordinary distrust, and each party was under the constant apprehension of being entrapped and carried off by the other: such is the friendship of kings. Every possible precaution was taken to prevent a surprise, and the way before them was diligently reconnoitred, to see that there was no lurking ambush. It was ordered that the kings should set out at the same moment, the signal being the firing of a cannon at Guisnes, and the answer of another from Ardres. The number of attendants on each king was to be precisely the same, and the road was to be guarded by the same number of troops of both nations. When the two kings had advanced a little way, each from his own place, Francis caught an alarm from some circumstance, halted, alighted from his horse, and remained in suspense till M. Morret told him there was no danger, when he re-mounted, and rode forward. Precisely a similar fear seized Henry, but the Earl of Shrewsbury said, "Sire, I have seen the Frenchmen; they be more in fear of you and your subjects than your subjects be of them; wherefore, if I were worthy to give counsel, your grace should march forward." "So we intend, my lord," said the king; on which the officers of arms cried, "On afore!"

At length these two monarchs, so brave and imposing in outward apparel and retinues, inwardly so dreadfully afraid of each other, met, and embraced each other on horseback, expressed their great regard for each other; then alighted, and walked arm-in-arm into the tent together, where they conversed familiarly, dined, and then separated for the time, no doubt each congratulating himself that he was safe. Hall, who took a close view of Francis, says, "He is a goodly prince, stately of countenance, and merry of cheer; brown-coloured, great eyes; high-nosed, big-lipped; fair breasted and shouldered; with small legs and long feet."

After this first interview, Francis rode over to Guisnes to visit the Queen Catherine, and Henry at the same time rode to Ardres to pay his respects to Queen Claude. The monarchs spent the day in dancing, and making themselves agreeable to the ladies of the opposite court; and thus their visits went on for some time, but all regulated exactly by the stiff etiquette prescribed by Wolsey. The two queens, amiable and serious women, from the first showed a far greater confidence in each other, which seemed to grow into a real regard. Ono incident of their mutual behaviour is worth all the reef, of this hollow show besides. One morning when Wolsey officiated at high mass before the assembled courts at Guisnes, Henry and Francis received the eucharist, as a pledge of the peace which all these doings were to perpetuate - with what effect a short time demonstrated. When the cardinal entered the separate oratory where the Queens Catherine and Claude were kneeling, side by side, these ladies, before they communicated, tenderly embraced and kissed each other, in token of mutual affection.

The cold formality and restraint of the affair, however, was not long in wearing out the patience of the more frank and generous Francis. One morning early he mounted his horse and rode off towards Guisnes, attended only by two gentlemen and a page. On reaching the temporary palace, a body of 200 English soldiers, who kept guard, were no little astonished to see him. ''Surrender your arms!" cried Francis, "you are all my prisoners; and now conduct me to my brother." He entered the room where Henry was fast asleep, and, drawing the curtains, exclaimed, "You are my prisoner!" Henry was for a moment confounded with astonishment at what he saw, but the next, springing from his bed, he clasped Francis in his arms, saying, "My brother, you have played me the most agreeable trick in the world, and have showed me the full confidence I may place in you. I surrender myself your prisoner from this moment." He took up a collar of pearls, worth 15,000 angels, and putting it on Francis, insisted that he should wear it for his sake. Francis returned the compliment, by fixing on Henry's wrist a bracelet of double the value of the collar. The jocund French king was in the merriest humour in the world. He insisted on helping-Henry to dress; he warmed his shirt, spread out his hose, and trussed his points for him; and having done this, he mounted his horse again, and rode back to Ardres. What a pity that monarchs and statesmen do not extend such moments into years! We admire the bonhommie, the confidence and good-heartedness of such sallies. Alas! that they are but sallies, and not the enduring conduct of potentates to one another. Were such things their practice and not their aberrations, what a different world they would make of it!

But this act of Francis, instead of being regarded by his ministers, as it seems to us, one of the most natural and sensible things on earth, was looked upon as a freak of excessive folly. Riding back towards Ardres, in the gaiety of his heart, he met a party of his courtiers in high alarm; and his faithful officer, Marshal Fleuranges, said bluntly, "Sire, I am right glad to see you back again; but let me tell you, my master, that you were a fool to do the thing you have done; and ill-luck betide those who advised you to it." "And that was nobody," said Francis, laughing; "the thought was all my own, and could have come from no other head." Henry was not the man to be outdone in a deed like that: of all things he delighted in such surprises, and therefore he speedily returned the visit in the same unceremonious manner; and the barriers of the cardinal's stately etiquette being broken down, the intercourse of the courts went on far more pleasantly.

The tournaments were such as had not been witnessed since the most chivalrous ages. Both Henry and Francis were ardently attached to all martial exercises, and therefore they had, months before this meeting, sent heralds into all the principal cities of Europe, to proclaim by sound of trumpet, the challenge of the kings of England and France, who, as brothers in arms, with fourteen companions, at tilts, tournaments, and barriers, would keep the field against all comers, and invited all valorous knights and gentlemen to come and accept the challenge. In this challenge the two kings showed themselves truer knights than Henry had done to Francis in a ludicrous

challenge of another kind, which was never to shave till they met - a challenge which Francis maintained, and appeared with a bushy beard, but Henry with a smooth face, asserting that the queen could not abide a shaggy chin.

These tournaments opened on the 11th of June and terminated on the 23rd. The enclosed arena was 900 feet long, and 320 feet wide, and surrounded by scaffolding and galleries for spectators. The two queens sat as umpires, loaded with silks, cloth of gold, and jewels, the very foot-cloth of Queen Catherine being covered with pearls. There were two tents near the entrance of the arena for the kings to array themselves in, and to rest after their contests, and wine flowed like water. In the centre of the field was raised a mound, on which were planted two artificial trees, the hawthorn for England and the raspberry for France, with their stems and branches lovingly intertwined. The shield of Henry, bearing the arms of England within a garter, hung upon one tree, and that of Francis, with the arms of France within a collar of his order of St. Michael, on the other. Henry was attended by his gallant brother-in-law, Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk, the Marquis of Dorset, Sir William Kingston, Sir Richard Jerningham, Sir Giles Capel, Nicholas Carew, and Anthony Neville; Francis, by the Lords Pol, Montmorency, Biron, and other gentlemen. Numbers of the bravest knights of different countries appeared in the lists to answer the challenges; and six days were spent in tilting with lances, two in fighting with broadswords on horseback, and two on foot at the barriers. There were five battles a day; and in all, such was the valour of the monarchs, or the skilful flattery of their opponents, they came off conquerors.

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Pictures for Reign of Henry the Eighth. - (Continued) page 6

Thomas Wolsey
Thomas Wolsey >>>>
Scotch Peers demanding the Children of Queen Margaret
Scotch Peers demanding the Children of Queen Margaret >>>>
Henry VIII.  Catherine of Arragon. Thomas Wolsey.
Henry VIII. Catherine of Arragon. Thomas Wolsey. >>>>
King Henry VIII
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Meeting of Henry VIII. and Francis I
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The Field of the Cloth of Gold
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Execution of the Duke of Buckingham
Execution of the Duke of Buckingham >>>>
The City of Bruges, - Palace of the Franks
The City of Bruges, - Palace of the Franks >>>>
Queen Catherine of Arragon
Queen Catherine of Arragon >>>>
Hampton Court Palace
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Erasmus and Sir Thomas More
Erasmus and Sir Thomas More >>>>
Windsor Castle
Windsor Castle >>>>

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