- Henry does this sometimes; drops
Wolsey’s name into conversation, as if it were not he, but some
other monarch, who had hounded the cardinal to death.
- Full bellies breed gentle manners. The pinch of famine makes monsters.
- When Wolsey fell, you might have thought that as Wolsey’s servant he was
ruined. When his wife and daughters died, you might have thought his
loss would kill him. But Henry has turned to him; Henry has sworn him
in; Henry has put his time at his disposal and said, come, Master Cromwell, take my arm: through courtyards and throne rooms, his path
in life is now made smooth and clear.
- All the same: in village alehouses up and down England, they are blaming the
king and Anne Boleyn for the weather: the concubine, the great whore.
If the king would take back his lawful wife Katherine, the rain would
stop. And indeed, who can doubt that everything would be different
and better, if only England were ruled by village idiots and their
- But Anne is not good at hiding her feelings; she is the king’s quicksilver darling, slipping and sliding from anger to laughter.
- But look, never mind all this. Queens come and go. So recent history has shown us.
Let us think about how to pay for England, her king’s great
charges, the cost of charity and the cost of justice, the cost of
keeping her enemies beyond her shores.
- What if their fathers before them were bawds, pickpockets or highway robbers?
That signifies nothing. Look at him. Is he Walter Cromwell? In a
generation everything can change.
- Darker reports come in. He, Cromwell, says to his visitors, just tell them this, and
tell them loud: to each monk, one bed: to each bed, one monk. Is that so hard for them? The world-weary tell him, these sins are sure to happen, if you shut up men without recourse to women they will prey on the younger and weaker novices, they are men and it is only a man’s nature. But aren’t they supposed to rise above nature?
What’s the point of all the prayer and fasting, if it leaves them insufficient when the devil comes to tempt them?
- London,where we believe anything.
- There are books these days on all sorts of subjects. Books that advise you how to be
a good prince, or a bad one. Poetry books and volumes that tell you how to keep accounts, books of phrases for use abroad, dictionaries, books that tell you how to wipe your sins clean and books that tell you how to preserve fish.
- Your heart could break for her, he thinks: if it were not proof against breaking.
- He remembers what Gregory said: Anne is all elbows and points. You could
not comfort her; even a hand extended, she would regard as a presumption, or a threat. Katherine is right. A queen is alone, whether in the loss of her husband, her spaniel or her child.
- He waits. Does she know how the French now see her? They no longer believe she can influence Henry. They think she is a spent force. And though the whole of England has taken an oath to uphold her children, no one abroad believes that, if she fails to give Henry a son, the little Elizabeth can reign. As the French ambassador said to him (the last time he let him in): if the choice is between two females, why
not prefer the elder? If Mary’s blood is Spanish, at least it is royal. And at least she can walk straight and has control of her bowels.
- ‘Since my coronation there is a new England. It cannot subsist without me.’
Not so, madam, he thinks. If need be, I can separate you from history.
- She snaps, ‘Your comfort is not my concern. You must study your advantage, Master Secretary. Those who are made can be unmade.’
- You should not desire, he knows, the death of any human creature. Death is your
prince, you are not his patron; when you think he is engaged elsewhere, he will batter down your door, walk in and wipe his boots on you.
- What is the nature of the border between truth and lies? It is permeable and blurred because it is planted thick with rumour, confabulation, misunderstandings and twisted tales. Truth can break the gates down, truth can howl in the street; unless truth is pleasing, personable and easy to like, she is condemned to stay whimpering at the back door.
- He says to Rafe, ‘Who can understand the lives of women?’
‘Or their deaths,’ Rafe says.
- ‘If a king cannot have a son, if he cannot do that, it matters not what else he can do. The victories, the spoils of victory, the just laws he makes, the famous courts he holds, these are as nothing.’ It is true. To maintain the stability of the realm: this is the compact a king makes with his people. If he cannot have a son of his own, he must find an heir, name him before his country falls into doubt and confusion, faction and conspiracy
- His past lies about him like a burnt house. He has been building, building, but it
has taken him years to sweep up the mess.
- You can be merry with the king, you can share a joke with him. But as Thomas
More used to say, it’s like sporting with a tamed lion. You tousle its mane and pull its ears, but all the time you’re thinking, those claws, those claws, those claws.
- The things you think are the disasters in your life are not the disasters really. Almost anything can be turned around: out of every ditch, a path, if you can only see it.
- In truth you cannot separate them, your public being and your private self.
- Did Anne, he will wonder later, understand what was coming?
- He believes he understands Anne, as Wriothesley does not. When she said
the queen’s lodgings were too good for her, she did not mean to admit her guilt, but to say this truth: I am not worthy, and I am not worthy because I have failed. One thing she set out to do, this side of salvation: get Henry and keep him. She has lost him to Jane Seymour, and no court of law will judge her more harshly than she
judges herself. Since Henry rode away from her yesterday, she has been an impostor, like a child or a court fool, dressed in the costumes of a queen and now ordered to live in the queen’s rooms. She knows adultery is a sin and treason a crime, but to be on the losing side is a greater fault than these.
- ‘No one need contrive at her ruin. No one is guilty of it. She ruined herself. You cannot do what Anne Boleyn did, and live to be old.’
- Edward Seymour says, ‘You should have been a bishop, Cromwell.’
‘Edward,’ he says, ‘I should have been Pope.’
- He once thought it himself, that he might die of grief: for his wife, his daughters,
his sisters, his father and master the cardinal. But the pulse, obdurate, keeps its rhythm. You think you cannot keep breathing, but your ribcage has other ideas, rising and falling, emitting sighs. You must thrive in spite of yourself; and so that you may do it, God takes out your heart of flesh, and gives you a heart of stone.
- George says: ‘Henry killed his father’s councillors. He killed the Duke of Buckingham. He destroyed the cardinal and harried him to his death, and struck the head off one of Europe’s great scholars. Now he plans to kill his wife and her family and Norris who has been his closest friend. What makes you think it will be different with you,
that are not the equal of any of these men?’
- She steps back, puts her hands around her throat: like a strangler she closes
them around her own flesh. ‘I have only a little neck,’ she says.
‘It will be the work of a moment.’
- Look, he says: once you have exhausted the process of negotiation and compromise, once you have fixed on the destruction of an enemy, that destruction must be swift and it must be perfect. Before you even glance in his direction, you
should have his name on a warrant, the ports blocked, his wife and friends bought, his heir under your protection, his money in your strong room and his dog running to your whistle. Before he wakes in the morning, you should have the axe in your hand.
- ‘I hear Henry wants an annulment too. To kill her and be divorced from her, all in one day. That is how she is, you see. Everything is ruled by extremes. She would not be his mistress, she must be queen of England; so there is breaking of faith and making of laws, so the country is set in an uproar. If he had such trouble to get her, what must it cost him to be rid? Even after she is dead, he had better make sure to nail her
- The order goes to the Tower, ‘Bring up the bodies.’ Deliver, that is, the accused men, by name Weston, Brereton, Smeaton and Norris, to Westminster Hall for trial.
- She makes jokes, saying that she will be known hereafter as Anne the Headless, Anne sans Tête.
- He has conferred with the Seymour brothers on the motto Jane should adopt as queen. They settle on, ‘Bound to Obey and Serve’.
Verlag: Fourth Estate
Erscheinungsdatum: Mai 2012