Hello everyone, this is Angel More with a new chapter.
Today's song is an instrumental piece called Comptine D'un Autre Été, by a French musical genius called Yann Tiersen. I would strongly advise to look it up on Youtube, since the whole effect of the chapter will be lost otherwise.
Mary Tudor sat on a stool below her window, supporting her head against the glass. The snow was falling nonstop since last night, so hard that she couldn't even go outside for a walk. She tried to read but her mind wouldn't focus on the words. Then she tried to play the lute, but her fingers wouldn't cooperate. Sighing deeply, there was no other option than watching the snow fall from her window. At least she was not in Hatfield anymore, where she once was lady-in-waiting to her sister Elizabeth. She had claimed to be sick in order to be removed from Elizabeth's household, which she did. Not that she didn't love Elizabeth - the poor child was only a few months old, who could blame her for her wretched mother's doing? - but that witch Anne Boleyn had destroyed everything that was good and safe in Mary's life. But that had been many years ago. Now Anne Boleyn's cold, headless corpse was lying below the stones of the St. Peter's Chapel, near the place of her execution.
His father had forgotten Anne Boleyn remarkably fast: ten days later, he had married the sweet Lady Jane Seymour, who, contrary to her predecessor, was a woman who shared the traditional views on religion and furthermore carried herself with more modesty and dignity. Mary was more than happy with the union: Lady Jane was a great supporter of her restoration, as well as a woman of great kindness and piety. Unfortunately, God had chosen to call Jane to His presence sooner than expected. She still remembered Jane's feverish nights after giving birth to Edward, her precious little brother and heir to the throne of England, until she departed from this world, leaving her heartbroken and Edward motherless. Mary had cried many sleepless nights, clutching the rosary that Jane had given her (it was once Katherine of Aragon's, Mary's mother and Queen) in her hands. Her father was also very saddened by Jane Seymour's death. He refused to marry anyone for three years, until he was pressured to marry a German duchess, Anne of Cleves.
Despite her initial resistance in meeting Anne, who was an heretic Protestant like Anne Boleyn had been, Mary soon discovered that Anne of Cleves wasn't anything like the former Anne. Her sweet and caring nature captivated both her stepdaughters. It was even considered that Mary would marry one of her cousins, Duke Philip of Bavaria. However, that was just another broken promise among countless others in Mary's life. Her father sent the Duke away with no explanations. Mary was deeply hurt at first, but then she managed to forget him. The marriage would have never been fit, due to their enormous differences regarding religion: Mary was a staunch Catholic, while Philip was protestant. It was better that way. She would never turn her back on her faith, not even for a man she loved.
Love… it was what Mary craved the most, and yet she did not know exactly what it was, since everyone she had once loved was dead or absent. However, she could tell what love was not. Love was not the reason behind her father's fifth marriage with that wench, Kitty Howard. She had Anne Boleyn's blood running in her veins. Maybe that was why they shared also the same fate: beheading on charges of treason and adultery.
Mary was not surprised when his father took another wife. A king should not be unmarried; she had learnt that a long time ago. When Katherine Parr was announced as his father's wife, Mary actually felt really pleased: Katherine had been her attending lady before, she was a kind and intelligent woman with great manners and great countenance. However, this happiness over her father's marriage was short lived. Soon Mary noticed a pair of Seymour's eyes on the Queen: Thomas Seymour, one of Jane's older brothers, seemed to be held high in the Queen's esteem. As much as she cherished Jane's memory, her brothers were very different from the late Queen. They had embraced the heretical ways of Protestantism, like many others, not because of their beliefs but in order to rise higher in the King's favour. Edward was the Seymour lifesaver, their guarantee for the future. If their father – God forbid – died early, their influence over Edward would be huge, since Edward Seymour, his uncle, had been nominated Lord Protector. Soon Edward would be an heretical like them, and all hopes Mary had about bringing England back to the true faith would be dead and gone.
Sometimes Mary did question her faith: wouldn't it be easier to submit to the King's will, like everyone else? But then the story of a great man came to her mind. She barely remembered him, but everyone used to talk about him with such respect that she felt like she had known him for all her life. Sir Thomas More was one of the most brilliant English thinkers, and also a fierce Catholic. He had refused to take the Oath of Supremacy, which declared the King to be the Head of the Church, instead of the Pope, and faced the ultimate penalty for its actions. Still, he faced the scaffold with bravery and dignity, saying he died the King's servant, but God's first. If only there were more people like him, England would never have been damned, as it seemed to be, beyond repair.
Unfortunately, Thomas More was long dead and Mary would have to fight on her own for her beliefs, now that another of her most trusted supporters and friends had departed from England to his hometown: Eustace Chapuys.
How could she make a retrospective of her life without mentioning him? He was her crusader, her friend, and actually… well, more than that. Mary's body still shivered when she remembered the first time they kissed, in the very same gardens which were now white as snow. Everything in Mary's life seemed to come and go so quickly, except their friendship, their… love. He had served as a messenger between her and her mother, Queen Katherine of Aragon, when they were both forbidden to see each other. He had been there to comfort her when her mother died, to sooth her tears. He had brought her the news of Anne's beheading, he had given her strength by being present when she acted as Queen Jane's chief mourner, he had arranged visits between her and the now discarded Lady Anne of Cleves, only to please her. He had advised her to make peace with Kitty Howard and to give a chance to Katherine Parr. He was the only thing who prevented her from sinking into a deep sea of sorrow.
And now he was gone too. Eustace had asked the Emperor to go back to his homeland, since his health was already failing. And although Mary was at first deeply saddened by his departure, but soon she realised that a relationship between them was never meant to be. However, that didn't stop her lips from meeting his, his hands to meet her body, his fingers and tongue to caress her like no man have done before, his manhood to claim her fully, body, mind and soul. When they parted, she knew he had left part of his heart behind. Well, actually, more than that, thought Mary, caressing her belly.
A few weeks before Eustace's departure, she found herself sick again and sent to Hunsdon. Once there, her suspicions confirmed themselves: she was with child. With Eustace's child. She was well aware of the risks of her condition being discovered, but she refused to tell her father. That's why she was secluded in Hunsdon with the baby was born. After that, she would say he or she was a child of some poor woman with no means to take care of her children. He had taken away everything she loved and cherished, and for once she would not allow her future son or daughter to have the same fate. Not this time. Eustace was gone, but he will live forevermore through his son or daughter. And those memories, no one – not even the King of England – had the right to deprive her of.