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colourless, her delicate hands clasped together, as in apathy. “If it were not for leaving Meta, I should be glad to die."
“Hush, Maria! Rather say you are glad to live for her sake. George may, by some means or other, become prosperous again, and you may once more have a happy home. You are young, I
say; you must bear up against this weakness.”
“If I could but pay all we owe; our personal debts!" she whispered, unconsciously giving utterance to the vain longing that was everwork ing in her heart." Papa's nine thousand pounds—and Mrs. Bond's ten pounds—and the Jekyls-and the tradespeople!"
“If I could but have paid !” he rejoined, in a voice broken by emotion. “If I could—if I could—I should have gone easier to the grave. Maria, we have a God, remember, who sees all our pangs, all our bitter sorrow: but for Him, and my trust in Him, I should have died long ago of the pain. Things have latterly been soothed to me in a most wonderful manner. I seem to feel that I can leave all the sorrow I have caused to Him, trusting to Him to shed down the recompense. We never know until our need of it comes, what His
Maria covered her face with her hand. Thomas rose. “ You are not going?” she exclaimed.
Yes, for I must hasten home. This has been a morning of exertion, and I find there's no strength left in me. God bless
you, Maria." “Are we never to meet again ?” she asked, as he held her thin hands in his, and she looked up at him through her blinding tears.
“I hope we shall meet again, Maria, and be together for ever and for ever. The threshold of the next world is opening to me: this is closing. Fare you well, child; fare you well.”
Bexley came to him as he opened the parlour door. Thomas asked for Margery: he would have said a kind word to her. But Margery had gone out.
Maria stood at the window, and watched him with her wet eyes as he walked down the path to the fly, supported by Bexley. The old man closed the door on his master and took his seat by the driver. Thomas looked forth as they drove away, and smiled a last farewell.
A farewell in the deepest sense of the word. It was the last look, the last smile, that Maria would receive in this life from Thomas Godolphin.
LADY JANE GREY,
BY SIR NATHANIEL.
THERE is a Latin epistle extant, of Roger Ascham’s to Lady Jane Grey-who, by-the-by, wrote to him in Greek-in which, alluding to his last interview with her (that memorable one, namely, when the good Cantab found her reading Plato, in her chamber alone, while the duke and duchess, her parents, with all the household gentlemen and gentlewomen, were hunting in the park), Roger declares her to be happier in her love of good books, than in her descent from kings and queens. No doubt he spoke sincerely, is Hartley Coleridge's remark; but he knew not then how truly: her studious quietude of spirit was Jane's indefeasible blessing, while her royal pedigree was like an hereditary curse, afflicting her humility with unwilling greatness, and her innocence with unmerited distress.
What that royal pedigree was, is succinctly stated in that same “gentle book with a blustering title," as Uncle Southey called the Biographia Borealis--in which the too true truism is apologetically propounded (by way of preface to the pedigree in question), that genealogical tables are not at everybody's finger's end, and are, indeed, the most troublesome part of modern history. Thus stands the Grey line of descent, then : Lady Jane was the daughter of Frances Brandon, the daughter of Mary, Queen-Dowager of France, and sister of Henry VIII., by Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk. Her father was Henry Grey, Marquis of Dorset, descended from Elizabeth, queen to Edward Iv., by her former marriage, through her son, Thomas Grey, who married the king's niece. The father of Lady Jane was created Duke of Suffolk, on the failure of the male line of the Brandons. He had divorced his first Lady, the daughter of Fitzalan, Earl of Arundel, on the ground of barrenness, in order to marry Frances Brandon. Thus among the other conformities between the Lady Jane and Edward VI., it may be observed that both were children of divorced fathers.*
The elective as well as other affinities between Edward and Jane, might well seem to warrant and promise an auspicious conjunction of the distinguished cousins. Our Northern Biographer himself suggests—in his sympathy with, and admiration for the youthful pair (never to be paired, though,)—that when Jane Grey was surprised with Plato in her hand, a sober hope might have conjectured, that if ever there was a marriage made in Heaven, if ever earthly pair was predestined to bless each other and their country, such a couple were Jane Grey and her cousin Edward. Roger Ascham was sober enough, and, in the case of either cousin, loyally and affectionately hopeful; and well may we assume that such a sober hope” possessed his soul in peace, when he saw the noble girl over her Phædo that sumnier day-even
Her, most gentle, most unfortunate, Crown'd but to die, who in her chamber sate
* Biographia Borealis : Roger Ascham.
Musing with Plato, though the horn was blown,
And all in green were chasing down the sun!* How stood, as Ascham's biographer states them, the relative qualifications and attractions of the gentle dual ? Of one blood, and companionable age,t their studies, talents, virtues, faith the same; seemed a "fair divided excellence,” to be perfected in holy union. “He, the gentle offspring of a most ungentle sire; she the meek daughter of the haughtiest of women ; both the elect exceptions of their races, as if the saintly Margaret of Lancaster, cutting off the intermediate line of Tudors, had entailed her nature on these her distant progeny.
" But it was not to be so. Their fortunes were never ordained to meet, but ever to run parallel. Each bore awhile the royal title, while others exercised the sovereign power. Both gave forced assent to deeds done in their name, which their hearts approved not. Both lived to see their kindred dragged, not guiltless, to the scaffold, though Jane was spared the agony of consenting to the execution. In fine, they both died young, but who can say that they either died untimely ? Rather be it thought, that they had done their work; they had fitted themselves for immortality : and as for the work of the world, what God purposes, God will do, using indifferently the agencies of good and evil, as of day and night, sunshine and storm. Nor let it be supposed that He whose name is Merciful, was less merciful in calling Jane to himself by the swift stroke of an axe, than in conducting Edward homewards by the slow declivity of a consumption. This at least is certain, that she was favoured in the defeat of the party which usurped her name. For what was the death she died, what had been the life in death of an inquisitorial dungeon, to what she must have undergone, if the wicked Dudleys had deflowered her conscience ? forcing her to things which, in her simplicity, she could not distinguislı
Whether she suffered or she did, I but which would have left her, like Lucretia, impure in her own eyes, though stainless before the universal reason?"
There is a well-known Imaginary Conversation between Ascham and Lady Jane, in which the former professes already to see perils on perils which the fair young bride does not see, “albeit wiser than her poor master;" and in which he says that, having once persuaded her to reflect much, he would now on the eve of her marriage--persuade her to avoid the habitude of reflection, to lay aside books, and to gaze carefully and steadfastly on what is under and before her. As for the bridegroom, “ Gentle is he," testifies the Mentor—“gentle and virtuous : but time will harden him : time must harden even thee, sweet Jane! Do thou,
* Rogers, Human Life.
† “ Jane Grey, eldest daughter of the Duke of Suffolk, was nearly of the same age with Edward. Edward had been precocious to a disease; the activity of his mind had been a symptom, or a cause, of the weakness of his body. Jane Grey's accomplishments were as extensive as Edward's," &c.-Froude, Hist. of England, vol. vi. p. 6.
† S. T. Coleridge: The Pains of Sleep.
complacently and indirectly, lead him from ambition." Jane intimates, in modest reply, that her Guilford is avowedly contented with her and with home. "But, “ Ah, Jane ! Jane!” rejoins Master Roger, “men of high estate grow tired of contentedness.” Then she relates how Guilford has told her he never likes books unless she reads them to him; so she will read them to him every evening-will open new worlds to him richer than those discovered by the Spaniard—will conduct him to treasures, O what treasures ! on which he may sleep in innocence and peace. But Ascham would have her rather walk with her unbookish husband, and ride with him, play with him, be his faery, his page, his everything that love and poetry have invented; yet, “ watch him well; sport with his fancies; turn them about like the ringlets round his cheek, and if ever he meditate on power,” adds Roger, proleptically, " go toss up thy baby to his brow, and bring back his thoughts into his heart by the music of thy discourse."* In fine, the sage would have her teach" Dudley to live unto God and unto her, and so discover that women, like the plants in woods, derive their softness and tenderness from the shade.
That time must harden even thee, sweet Jane ! as the trustful scholar cannot but distrustfully foresee,
'Tis true, 'tis pity, pity 'tis 'tis true. But did it so harden her as to justify the almost antipathy with which some writers regard her—the stringent severity with which they pronounce sentence on her brief career as wife and queen ? Even a censor so pervadingly gentle and generous as Leigh Hunt—whose general bias rather was to laxity of indulgence and over-kindness in judgment—even this mild optimist appears to have a spite against Lady Jane. In several of his miscellaneous writings he acts the iconoclast by this fair image. He is no believer either in her, or in her cousin Edward. He has no tenderness whether for the boy-king of a few years, or for the girl-queen of a few days. In his essay on the Female Sovereigns of England he remarks of "Queen Jane,” that she did but reign long enough (ten or eleven days) to undo the romance of her character and quarrel with her husband. The world, he says, has been in the habit, “ with an honourable credulity," of taking Lady Jane Grey and Lord Guilford Dudley for a pair of mere innocent lovers and victims. “ Victims they were, but not without a weakness little amiable on one side, if not on both.”+ In another work the same author complains that “Even poor Lady Jane Grey's character does not improve upon inspection.” The Tudor blood, he says, manifested itself in her by her sudden love of supremacy the moment she felt a crown on her head, and her preferring to squabble with her husband and his relations, “who got it her,” rather than let him partake her throne. “ She insisted he should be only a duke, and suspected that his family had given her poison for it. This undoes the usual romance of 'Lady Jane Grey and Lord Guilford Dudley;'-and thus it is that the possession of too much power spoils almost every human being, practical or theoretical. Lady Jane came out of the elegancies and tranquillities of the schools, and of her Greek and Latin,
* Landor, Imaginary Conversations: Roger Ascham and Lady Jane Grey.
† Leigh Hunt, Female Sovereigns of England.
to find her Platonisms vanish before a dream of royalty. She rediscovered them, however, when it was over, and that is something. She was brought up a slave, and therefore bred to be despotic in her turn; but habit, vanity, and good sense alike contributed to restore her to the better part of herself at the last moment."
These Leontine estimates are certainly calculated to "undo the romance” of Jane's brief royalty, and disenchant her admirers in general of their particular admiration. Such a reading of her character and disposition is incompatible with the ideal one cherishes of her, as of the “emperour's doughter” in Chaucer
In hire is hye bewtè, withoutè pryde;
Hir hond mynistre of fredom and almesse.t But, as Leigh Hunt, in vivacious historical essay, so Sharon Turner and others, in heavy-paced history, with all its diguity and all its gravity, have sought to disillusionise us of our weakness for Jane. Turner, for instance, says, that, mild and modest and young, as she unquestionably was, the spirit of royalty and power had within twenty-four hours gained such an ascendancy in her studious mind, that she heard the intimation of her husband being elevated to the same dignity as herself with vexation and displeasure. “ As soon as she was left alone with him, she remonstrated against this measure; and after much dispute, he agreed to wait till she herself should make him king, and by one act of parliament. But even this concession, to take this dignity as a boon from her, did not satisfy the sudden expansion of her new-born ambition."! And so on. For a fair and free account of these domestic differences—so far as the rationale of Jane's remonstrancy is concerned—we cannot do better than consult the graphic historian of England under the Tudors.
When the Marquis of Winchester came into Lady Jane's apartment, to wish her joy, he brought the crown with him, we are told, which she had not sent for, but which he desired her to put on, and see if it required any alteration. She said it would do very well as it was. He then told her, continues Mr. Froude, that, before her coronation, another crown was to be made for her husband; whereupon Lady Jane started, and the dreary suspicion seems for the first time to have crossed her mind that she was, after all, but the puppet of the ambition of the duke to raise his family to the throne. 6 Winchester retired, and she sate indignants till Guilford Dudley appeared, when she told him that, young as she was, she knew that the crown of England was not a thing to be trifled with. There was no Dudley in Edward's will, and, before he could be crowned, the consent of parliament must be first asked and obtained.” Then we read how the boy-husband went whining to his mother, while Jane sent
* The Town, vol. ii.
History of the Reigns of Edward VI., Mary, and Elizabeth. By Sharon Turner. Vol. iv. p. 219.
§ Le quale parole io senti con mio gran dispiacere.—Baoardo.