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This is his third attempt to convict her

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Dołączył: 10 Paź 2011
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 PostWysłany: Pią 14:18, 14 Paź 2011    Temat postu: This is his third attempt to convict her Back to top

“You have been summoned for nothing but to order the death of Mary Queen of Scots,” Thomas Howard hisses in my ear as he catches up with me in a gallery at Hampton Court. They have closed the shutters for cleaning and the place is shadowy in the early-evening dusk. The portraits on the walls seem to show pale-faced listeners leaning forward to hear as Howard takes my arm to warn me of dangers that I already fear. “We are to throw suspicion on her. Nothing else. Don’t deceive yourself. Cecil decided that this queen was a threat to the kingdom, from the moment of her birth. She may think that she has escaped her enemies in Scotland to sanctuary in England, but she has just exchanged one danger for another. Cecil has decided that she must die. This is his third attempt to convict her. We are to be his hangmen, without opinions of our own.” I look down at Howard; he is a small man, well dressed and neat with a well-trimmed black beard and bright dark eyes. Today he is almost dancing with fury at the queen’s minister. We all resent Cecil, all us old lords, but it rubs Howard worse than any other. He is the queen’s cousin, the head of the Howard family, he is the Duke of Norfolk, he would expect to be her chief advisor but she depends on Cecil and always has done. “I have been appointed by the queen herself to inquire into the conduct of her cousin the Queen of Scots. I am no hangman,” I say with quiet dignity. A man goes past, and hesitates as if to listen to our conversation. Howard shakes his dark head at my naivety. “Elizabeth may want the Queen of Scots’ name cleared. But William Cecil is not notorious for his soft heart. He wants the Protestant faith to rule Scotland as England, and the Catholic queen to lie in jail, or in her coffin. Either suits him equally well. He will never agree that she is guilty of nothing and must be restored to her throne.” I cannot argue against Howard’s irritable righteousness. I know that he is speaking only the truth. But he is speaking it too loud and too clear for my liking. Anyone could be behind the tapestry screens, and though the stranger has strolled on, he must have heard some of this. “Hush,” I say and draw him to a seat so that we can whisper. At once we look like conspirators, but the whole court looks like conspirators or spies these days.

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