England under Henry VIII — страница 3

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brothers in arms, each attended by 18 followers, would hold a tournament against all knights who might choose to come. Charles, a new Emperor of Germany (the old one being dead), wanted to prevent that aliance between the two sovereigns, and came over to Eng- land and secured Wolsey's interest by promising that his influence should make him Pope when the next vacancy occured. On the day when the Em- peror left England, the King and the Court went over to Calais, and thence to the place of meeting, commonly called the Field of the Cloth of Gold. There were sham castles, temporary chapels, fountains running wine, great cellars full of wine free as water to all comers, silk tents, gold lace and gilt lions, and such things without end. And, in the midst of all, the rich Cardinal

outshone and outglittered all the noblemen and gentlemen assembled. After a treaty had been made between the two Kings with as much solemnity as if they had intended to keep it, the lists - 900 feet long, and 320 broad - were opened for the tournament. Then, for ten days, the two sovereigns fought five combats every day, and always beat their polite adversaries. *** Of course, nothing came of all these fine doings but a speedy renewal of the war between England and France, in which the two Royal com-panions longed very earnestly to damage one another. But, before it broke out again, the Duke of Buckingham was shamefully executed on Tower Hill, on the evidence of a discharged servant - really for nothing, except the folly of having believed in a friar of the name of Hopkins, who

had pretended to be a prophet, and who had mumbled and jumbled out some nonsense about the Duke's son being destined to be very great in the land. It was believed that the unfortunate Duke had given offence to the great Cardinal by expressing his mind freely about the expense and absurdity of the whole business of the Field of the Cloth of Gold. The new war was a short one, though the Earl of Surrey invaded France again, and did some injury to that country. It ended in another treaty of peace between the two kingdoms, and the discovery that the Emperor of Germany was not such a good friend to England in reality, as he pretend-ed to be. Neither did he keep his promise to Wolsey to make him Pope, though the King urged him. So the Cardinal and King together found out that the

Emperor of Germany was not a man to keep faith with. They broke off a projected marriage between the King's daughter Mary, Prin-cess of Wales, and that sovereign, and began to consider whether it might not be well to marry the young lady, either to Francis himself, or to his eldest son. *** There now arose at Wittemberg****, in Germany, the great leader of the mighty change in England which is called The Reformation*****, and which set the people free from their slavery to the priests. This was a learned Doctor, named Martin Luther******, who knew all about them, for he had been a priest, and even a monk, himself. The preaching and writing of Wickliffe******* had set a number of men thinking on this subject, and Luther, finding one day to his great surprise, that there really was

a book called the New Testament which the priests did not allow to be read, and which contained truths that they suppressed, began to be very vigorous agains the whole body, from the Pope downward. It happened, while he was yet only beginning his work or awakening the nation, that a friar named Tetzel came into his neighbourhood selling what were called Indulgences, by wholesale, to raise money for beautifying the St. Peter's Cathidral at Rome. Those who bought an Indulgence of the Pope were supposed to buy themselves from the punishment of Heaven for their offences. Luther told the people that Indulgences were worthless bits of paper. The King and the Cardinal were mightly indignant at this presumption; and the King (with the help of Sir Thomas More********, a wise man, whom the

afterwards repaid by striking off his head) even wrote a book about it, with which the Pope was so well pleased that he gave the King the title of Defender of the Faith. The King and Cardinal also issued flaming warnings to the people not to read Luther's books, on pain of excommunica- tion. But they did read them for all that; and the rumour of what was in them spread far and wide. When this great change was thus going on, the King began to show himself in his truest and worst colours. Anne Boleyn, the pretty little girl who had gone abroad to France with her sister, was by this time grown up to be very beautiful, and was one of the ladies in attendance on Queen Catherine. Queen Catherine was no longer young or pretty, and it is likely that she was not particularly