By Charles Matthews

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

10. "Wolf Hall," by Hilary Mantel, pp. 163-182

Part III, II, "Entirely Beloved Cromwell," Spring-December 1530, through "...But they are all good stories."
York Place is now Anne Boleyn's residence, and when he visits it he encounters the lute-player named Mark (i.e. Smeaton). As he enters the room where Anne and her sister and several other women are sitting, he is met by "a flurry of little dogs," and she is charmed because he seems to like them and they act "as if he were someone they had so much longed to meet." Anne, he notices is "so small. Her bones are so delicate, her waist so narrow; if two law students make one cardinal, two Annes make one Katherine." She seems to speak French better than English, and she pronounces Cromwell "Cremuel."

He asks her, "how much progress have you seen in your cause?" since Wolsey was ousted. She admits there has been none, and he tries to make a case for the cardinal, but with little evident effect. Mary Boleyn follows him out when he leaves, and he asks her about the rumor that Anne is pregnant. She says that she would know, and, "Besides, she can't, because they don't. They haven't." She assures him that Anne would tell her if they had been having sexual relations "out of spite!"

He then goes to Henry to plead for money so the cardinal can go to York. "At such moments, Henry expects you to fall to your knees -- duke, earl, commoner, light and heavy, old and young. He does it; scar tissue pulls; few of us, by our forties, are not carrying injuries." Henry admits, "Every day I miss the Cardinal of York," and grants him the money. But he commands him not to tell anyone, especially the Duke of Norfolk. He goes back to help the cardinal prepare for the journey north. "Wolsey gives him a package. Inside it is a small and hard object, a seal or ring." The cardinal tells him to open it when he's gone.

As the cardinal travels north, the Emperor's ambassador, Eustache Chapuys, comes to see Cromwell to say, "The Emperor, in defense of his aunt, may make war on England." The message, Cromwell knows, is meant for the cardinal. Rafe Sadler is entrusted with messages to the cardinal, who calls him "mine own entirely beloved Cromwell." Meanwhile, Henry is plotting to loot Wolsey's colleges of "their silver and gold plate, their libraries, their yearly revenues and the lande that produces the revenues." He tells Cromwell, "I could make good use of the money that flows yearly to Rome. King François is richer by far than I am. I do not have a tenth of his subjects. He taxes them as he pleases. For my part, I must call Parliament. If I do not, there are riots.... And riots if I do."

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