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forth that the Lord Stanley, who was afterward earl of Derby, wisely mistrusted it, and said unto the Lord Hastings, that he much misliked these two several councils. • For while we,' quoth he, o talk of one matter in the one place, little wot we whereof they talk in the other place.'
• My lord,' quoth the Lord Hastings, ' on my life never doubt you. For, while one man is there, who is never thence, never can there be thing once minded that should sound amiss toward me, but it should be in my ears ere it were well out of their mouths.'
This meant he by Catesby, who was of his near secret counsels, and whom he very familiarly used, and in his most weighty matters put no man in so special trust, reckoning himself to no man so lief. Since he well wist, there was no man to him so much beholden as was this Catesby; who was a man well learned in the laws of this land, and, by the special favour of the lord-chamberlain, in good authority, and much rule bare in all the county of Leicester, where the lord-chamberlain's power chiefly lay. But surely great pity was it, that he had not had either more truth or }ess wit ; for his dissimulation only kept all that mischief up. In whom, if the Lord Hastings had not put so special trust, the Lord Stanley and he had departed with divers other lords, and broken all the dance, for many ill signs that he saw, which he now construes all to the best; so surely thought he that there could be none harm toward him in that council intended, where Catesby was.
And of truth the protector and the duke of Buckingham made very good semblance unto the Lord Hastings, and kept him much in company. And undoubtedly the protector loved him well, and loath was to have lost him, saving for fear lest his life should have quailed their purpose. For which cause he moved Catesby to prove, with some words cast-out a far off, whether he could think it possible to win the Lord Hastings into their party. But Catesby, whether he assayed him or assayed him not, reported unto them, that he found him so fast, and heard him speak so terrible words, that he durst no farther break. And of truth the lord-chamberlain, of very trust, shewed unto Catesby the mistrust that others began to have in the matter. And therefore, he fearing lest their motions might with the Lord Hastings minish his credence, whereunto only all the matter leaned, procured the protector hastily to rid him. And much the rather, for that he trusted by his death, to obtain much of the rule which the Lord Hastings bare in his country ; the only desire whereof, was the elective which induced him to be partner and one special contriver of all this horrible treason.
Whereupon soon after, that is, to-wit, on the Friday the
day of many lords assembled in the Tower, and there sat in council, devising the honourable solemnity of the king's coronation, of which the time appointed then so near approached, that the pageants and subtelties were in making day and night at Westminster, and much victual killed therefore that afterward was cast away. These lords
so sitting together, communing of this matter, the protector came in among them, first about nine of the clock, saluting them courteously, and excusing himself that he had been from them so long, saying merrily that he had been asleep that day. And after a little talking with them, he said unto the bishop of Ely, my lord you have very good strawberries at your garden in Holborn, I require you let us have a mess of them. Gladly my lord, quoth he, would God I had some better thing as ready to your pleasure as that; and therewith in all haste he sent his servant for a mess of straw. berries.
The protector set the lords fast in communing, and thereupon praying them to spare him for a little while, departed thence. And soon after one hour, between 10 and 11, he returned into the chamber among them, all changed, with a wonderful sour, angry countenance, knitting the brows, frowning and frothing and gnawing on his lips; and so sat him down in his place, all the lords much dismayed and sore marvelling of this manner of sudden change, and what thing should him ail.
Then, when he had sitten still a while, thus he began ; what were they worthy to have, that compass and imagine the destruction of me, being so near of blood unto the king, and protector of his royal person and his realm? At this question all the lords sat sore astonished, musing much by whom this question should be meant, of which every man wist himself clear. Then the lord-chamberlain, as he Vol. II.
who for the love between them thought he might be boldest with him, answered, and said that they were worthy to be punished as heinous traitors whoever they were. And all the others affirmed the same. That is (quoth he) yonder sorceress, my brother's wife, and another with her, meaning the queen.
At these words, many of the other lords were greatly abashed who favoured her. But the Lord Hastings was in his mind better content, that it was moved by her, than by any other whom he loved better. Albeit his heart somewhat grudged, that he was not before made of counsel in this matter, as he was of the taking of her kindred and of their putting to death ; who were, by his assent before, devised to be beheaded at Pomfret this self same day, on which he was not aware that it was by others devised, that himself should the same day be beheaded at London.
Then said the protector, ye shall all see in what wise that sorceress, and that other witch of her counsel, Shore's wife, with their affinity, have by their sorcery and witchcraft wasted my body. And therewith he plucked-up his doubletsleeve to his elbow, upon his left arm, where he shewed a werish withered arm and small, as it was never other. And thereupon every man's mind sore misgave him, well perceiving that this matter was but a quarrel. For well they wist, that the queen was too wise to go about any such folly. And also, if she would, yet would she, of all folk, least make Shore’s wife of counsel, whom of all women she most hated, as that concubine whom the king her husband had most loved. And also no man was there present but well knew, that his arm was ever such since his birth.
Nevertheless the lord-chamberlain (who from the death of King Edward kept Shore's wife, on whom he somewhat doted in the king's life, saving, as it is said, he that while forbare her of reverence toward his king, or else of a certain kind of fidelity to his friend), answered, and said, certainly my lord, if they have so heinously done, they be worthy heinous punishment.
What, quoth the protector, thou servest me I ween with ifs and with ands; I tell thee they have so done, and that I will make good on thy body, traitor. And therewith, as in a great anger, he clapped his fist upon the board a great rap; at which token given, one cried treason without the chamber. Therewith a door clapped, and in came there rushing, men in harness as many as the chamber might hold. And anon the protector said to the Lord Hastings, I arrest thee traitor. What me my lord ? quoth he. Yea thee traitor, quoth the protector. And another let fy at the Lord Stanley, who shrunk at the stroke and fell under the table, or else his head had been cleft to the teeth ; for, as shortly as he shrank, yet ran the blood about his ears.
Then were they all quickly bestowed in divers chambers; except the lord-chamberlain, whom the protector bad speed and shrive him apace, for by St. Paul, quoth he, I will not