By Charles Matthews

Monday, April 12, 2010

16. "Wolf Hall," by Hilary Mantel, pp. 264-276

Part IV, I, "Arrange Your Face," 1531, concluded, from "October: Monsieur Chapuys, the Emperor's ambassador, comes to Austin Friars...."
Dining at Austin Friars, "Chapuys praises the food, the music, the furnishings. One can see his brain turning, hear the little clicks, like the gins of an elaborate lock, as he encodes his opinions for his dispatches to his master the Emperor."

Sir Henry Wyatt visits them in November and tells stories of his imprisonment by Richard III and how his son, the courtier-poet Thomas Wyatt, was nearly killed by a lion they thought they had tamed. Cromwell thinks, "Tom Wyatt. He can tame lions." Rumor has it that Anne Boleyn "has done Thomas Wyatt all the favors a man might reasonably ask, even in a brothel." Henry Wyatt asks Cromwell to keep an eye on Thomas.

Cromwell visits Anne: "She has made pets of the king's friends, the gentlemen of his privy chamber: Henry Norris, William Brereton, those people, and her brother, of course, Lord Rochford. ... A bigger set of fools you would go far to seek." Norris observes that Cromwell doesn't understand why the king is so infatuated with Anne, and asks whom Cromwell would choose for the king. He replies, "A woman I could love, would be a woman in whom the king has no interest at all." Norris says, "If that is a piece of advice, tell it to your friend Wyatt's son." He says that Francis Weston is jealous of everyone Anne sees, including "a boy she brings in to sing for us some nights." (A reference to Mark Smeaton?) And "Every time she looks at you, he keeps count, he says, there, there, do you see, she is looking at that fat butcher, she looked at him fifteen times in two hours." Cromwell says, "It was the cardinal who was the fat butcher." Norris replies, "To Francis, one tradesman's the same as the next." This provokes Cromwell to thoughts that other trades are worthless without the skill of the blacksmith and to memories of his father.

On New Year's Day he's awakened by Gregory with the news that Thomas Wyatt has been arrested for disturbing the peace. He engineers his release along with the others, including Francis Weston and Francis Bryan.

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