By Charles Matthews

Friday, April 23, 2010

27: "Wolf Hall," by Hilary Mantel, pp. 459-474

Part VI, I, "Supremacy," 1534, concluded, from "When Fisher comes to his senses and asks pardon..."
Elizabeth Barton is sentenced to be hanged. The councillors plead with the king to remove Thomas More from the bill, and he agrees. "Anne is not present, or it might have gone otherwise."

Pope Clement rules that Henry's marriage to Katherine is valid.

Cromwell goes to More, to try to persuade him to sign the oath supporting the Act of Succession. He fails, and tells Cranmer, "I hate to be a part of this play, which is entirely devised by him.... And what I hate most of all is that Master More sits in the audience and sniggers when I trip over my lines, for he has written all the parts. And written them these many years." More persists in his refusal, saying that it goes against his conscience, even though he won't condemn anyone who does sign the oath -- which his own family does. When he evokes the angels and saints and the church, Cromwell is enraged:
"Oh, for Christ's sake!" he says. "A lie is no less a lie because it is a thousand years old. Your undivided church has liked nothing better than persecuting its own members, burning them and hacking them apart when they stood by their own conscience, slashing their bellies open and feeding their guts to dogs. You call history to your aid, but what is history to you? It is a mirror that flatters Thomas More." 
And he concludes by charging that More gives "comfort to every enemy of England." More retorts that Cromwell fought for the French and banked for the Italians: "No, I tell you what you are, Cromwell, you are an Italian through and through, and you have all their vices, all their passions."

Henry promotes Cromwell to Master Secretary. 

Rafe informs Cromwell that he has married Helen Barre, who is pregnant.

Anne miscarries.

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