The birds chirp, and I awaken, wrapped tight in our blankets, still holding tight to her pillows. My God, I am sweating profusely. Although temporary comfort it did provide, this is no way to sleep in June. Groggy, I rise and decide I must cleanse before I arrive at court as dirty as I am, so I throw on some clothes quickly and walk out to the Lily Pond. As I approach, my heart sinks. How can I be here alone without her? I gaze over to the soft grass, where we first made love – where Iris was conceived, and the memories flood my mind. She was exquisite… so anxious, so beautiful, so soft, so emotional, so yielding and so in tune with me – sweet memories, with a bitter after taste. I undress and jump into the pond for a swim, and the fresh clear water and scent of lilies in bloom feels of her, smells of her. I swim briskly to the center of the pond, turn around and swim on back. Rushed to insure I arrive at court as expected, I walk out of the pond, dry off, dress quickly, and return back to Theo and Thea’s. What a love she is. Thea must have heard me rise, as upon my return, she has breakfast waiting. Thea brings me a plate, kisses my head, and places it on the table. I look at her and nod in appreciation. After the stress and hurt of last night’s conversation, we remain silent… the emotions hanging plainly in the stillness. After eating swiftly, I return back to our bedroom to wash more thoroughly and dress in court attire. I look over to our dresser. My status chain lies next to a set of her crystals… how appropriate. Before leaving for court, I look around our room and drop to my knees in prayer, “Holy God, you know my heart, my soul, my mind. Give us the strength to endure this separation, and I beg you keep my Nicosa and our baby safe and comforted. Also, give me the wisdom to counsel His Majesty with loyalty and knowledge, and give me the perseverance to do what must be done, despite the risks and opposition. Amen.” Before leaving, I walk up to Thea, give her a gentle hug and whisper, and “Thank you, dear woman. I will send word when I hear anything. Please do the same. I don’t know when I can return, but I shall. I have to, Thea Nia. Being here with you makes me feel close to her.” As I pull away, she remains silent and nods, with a single tear running down her cheek. I simply wipe it dry, and quietly leave.
As I arrive at court, it is already bustling. Servants clean and attend their duties, and Lords and Ladies are scampering all over. As I pass each, I respectfully remove my hat and tip a nod. Though close to the King, I am a commoner still. I know my place within the etiquette of court, and respond accordingly. The power is within my quill, at Privy Council, at Parliament and within His Majesty’s inner chambers. The outward appearances matter not. I know it. The Lords know it. There is no need to belabor it. Upon entering my offices, Sir Thomas Wyatty is already attending to his duties. He looks up, and joyously says, “Welcome back, Mr. Secretary. We missed you. His Majesty has commanded that you seek him out this morning. He wishes to discuss the issues related to Sir Thomas Morey. I do hear he is none too happy.” I swallow hard. Morey, what am I going to do about him? The man is brilliant, pious, well loved by the people, and a huge thorn in my side. I swear that his actions speak to the desire of self-serving martyrdom. I desire to counsel His Majesty to ignore the man and his challenges to the supremacy we seek, but I am not hopeful. Morey needs to be careful not to push His Majesty too far, as if he does, it matters not his contributions of the past, His Majesty will cut him down… crop his head… and England will look poorly to the rest of Europe, most assuredly.
After being announced, I enter His Majesty’s inner chamber and bend a knee. There he sits, a God among men, with a glass of wine in one hand, and papers in the other. I bow deeply, and I am invited to sit with him and wine is served. As usual, only the finest of wines touch the King’s lips. Just as I approach, he unexpectedly rises and places his hand on my shoulder.
Henry Tudory: “Thomas, I do hope your two days away from court provided you with much needed respite. You worked hard on the coronation, and both Her Majesty and I are most pleased. I have your financial recommendations here, and although my Lords will be angered, I command you implement them immediately. Good work, Tom.” I sit at the table and motion he do likewise. “Boy, pour Thomas some wine.”
Thomas Cromwelly: I nod in appreciation and take a sip to buy a few seconds to collect my thoughts. “Thank you most humbly for the time of rest Majesty. I am quite pleased that both you and Her Majesty were satisfied with the coronation celebrations. They certainly were a noble testament to her rightfulness to be our reigning Queen. And yes… of course I will begin implementation. I will meet with Sir Richard Rich to set the strategies needed to implement the governmental reforms this afternoon.” I sip a little more wine, and decide to get to the topic of the day. “In you letter, Majesty, you mentioned your concern with the behavior of Sir Thomas Morey. How do you desire to have this issue addressed?”
Henry Tudory: At hearing Morey’s name, I become angry. That man, one of my closest friends of this world, betrayed me. I raise my voice, and bang my goblet down hard on the table. “Meet with him Thomas! Find out his excuse for not attending the coronation, and make it clear that I am displeased. Mince no words. I expect his full cooperation and support, and I will settle for nothing less.”
Thomas Cromwelly: “Yes, Majesty, of course.” I take a deep breath. “If I could be so bold, I would suggest we approach this situation as delicately as possible. Sir Thomas is beloved by the people and is respected by the Bishop of Rome. If you are viewed too punitive, that could impact your standing among the other European monarchs.”
Henry Tudory: I see the sense of what I am told, but I hold firm. I hit the table with my fist for emphasis. “He will yield to me Thomas. I am King, and Head of the Church. He must submit. He must. Go now. Leave for Chelsea, and meet with Sir Richard in the morning.” I wave my hand dismissively.
Thomas Cromwelly: “Yes, Majesty.” I rise from my chair, bow deeply and back out of the inner chamber.
Damn, I hate this barge ride. How Sir Thomas lives in Chelsea right on this river, I have not a clue. Flies and fleas abound. As we arrive at the dock at Morey’s home, I look around. I am told he has a wide collection of exotic animals. Why? What a waste of crowns, I think. The man is daft. Upon arriving to the front entrance, a servant answers and I introduce myself and request to be seen by Sir Thomas. If looks could have killed, I would be a dead man. “Wait right here,” she says curtly. “I will see if my Lord is available.” Well that was very telling. After a very rude wait of over 15 minutes, the woman comes for me. Abruptly she states, “He will see you. Follow me.” Heavens, Austin Friars this is not. Even the Imperial Ambassador is welcomed cheerfully at my home. I follow the maid, and look around. What is see is “worn opulent”, riches of more prosperous times. I follow her to the dining room, where More sits with one of his daughters. This must be Margaret, the favorite.
Thomas Morey: I look at Cromwelly and try to hold the disdain from my face. Here in my very home is a heretic. I motion him over to sit. “Welcome Mr. Secretary. Do join my daughter, Margaret and I.”
Thomas Cromwelly: I look over at Morey and am almost completely distracted by an enormous Holbein, taking nearly the whole wall. My God, the entire Morey family and God knows who else is depicted. What an ugly crew. I pull myself quickly together, remove my hat, and bow deeply. “Thank you for agreeing to meet with me, Your Grace.” Before sitting, I suggest, “Perhaps it would be best if we met privately.” As he is responding, I seat myself across from him.
Margaret Morey: So this is Thomas Cromwelly. The devil himself dressed black as ink is better looking than rumors told… just another tool from Satan to spin his evil web.
Thomas Morey: “That will not be necessary. Whatever you have to say, can be said in front of my daughter. I trust her all.”
Thomas Cromwelly: I look over at Morey, and state evenly, “Well I trust her not. We are discussing the King’s business.” I then peer over at his daughter. “Please leave now, Lady Margaret. His Majesty commands that I speak with your father, not you.”
Margaret Morey: Oh my, this man really is the devil. I look to my father, and he nods that I comply. I rise, stating nothing to the heretic. “Father, I will be in the den.” Just to annoy our company, I add, “When you are done, let’s do pray the rosaries together. I will have mine from Queen Catherine ready.” I leave the dining room, closing the door hard as I go.
Thomas Morey: I offer the man some ale, and he “politely declines”. Is not my ale good enough for this low-born? “Well, Mr. Secretary. I see you noticed my beautiful family portrait. Holbein outdid himself, would not you say?” I point out all my family members, awaiting his response.
Thomas Cromwelly: The man is observant, just as Audley warned. “Oh yes, Your Grace. One can’t help but scan the detail. Your family looks quite adoring towards you, your lovely wife in particular.” My God, that woman is homely. How does he ever bed her?
Thomas Morey: “You are a widower several years now, correct?” As he nods in agreement, I add pointedly, “Won’t any woman have you?”
Thomas Cromwelly: I can’t help it; I laugh a little and respond honestly. “Well, let’s just say none that you would approve of, Your Grace.” I become suddenly serious. “You know why I am here, and it’s not to discuss my private life. His Majesty is very concerned that you have not supported him or Her Majesty in their marriage, or her reign as Queen of England. He was highly offended that you chose not to attend the coronation.” I look over at him as say gently, “Look, he is only seeking that you acquiesce, Your Grace. No grand announcement need be made.”
Thomas Morey: I state with conviction, “Mr. Secretary, you were present when I resigned my position as Lord Chancellor. You know my opinions on the matter. I promised His Majesty that I would not speak of my views. I say no evil. I think no evil. I just desire to be left in peace so I may live my remaining days in prayerful reflection.”
Thomas Cromwelly: “Your silence speaks louder than a priest at the pulpit, Your Grace. I need tell you that soon I am presenting a Parliamentary Act to change the succession to the child in Her Majesty’ belly, and the other children they may have together. His Majesty will want your support. I ask plainly, will he have your support in the matter?”
Thomas Morey: My heart bleeds at the thought that Harry has turned away from the teachings we shared. I state matter-of-factly, “Despite my private opinions, I have no dispute of that. I accept that Anne Boleyn is now Queen of England, and much as it pains me. I will speak no more of it.”
Thomas Cromwelly: I nod my head in approval. “His Majesty will be very pleased to here that, Your Grace. I will be sure he is duly informed, albeit it may go a long way if your wrote to him or visited him at Whitehall. Her Majesty, I am sure, will also desire to be present.”
Thomas Morey: In resignation, I state simply, “I will consider your recommendation, Mr. Secretary.”
Thomas Cromwelly: “Your Grace, may I ask your opinions regarding the King’s supremacy?”
Thomas Morey: I look the bastard who turned Harry to sin in the eye and state, “I choose to remain silent on the matter. I will not speak one way or the other on it.”
Thomas Cromwelly: I hit a raw nerve, and I remain composed, and flatly speak. “Your Grace, His Majesty is master and supreme of all in this land, including the clergy. It will be law soon enough. I strongly suggest that you reconsider your position while His Majesty is in the like mind to accept it. Many speak one thing, but believe another. I suggest that this may be the best course for you. I wish you no harm. I say that most sincerely.”
Thomas Morey: This man must think I have the compromised morals he holds so dear. “As I said, I choose to remain silent on the matter. I will not speak one way or the other on it.”
Thomas Cromwelly: I swear this man has a death wish, and I pray on His Majesty’s behalf that he heeds my veiled warning. “So be it. I will inform His Majesty. He will decide what to make of it. He also desires to know your reasons for not attending the coronation. What shall I tell him?”
Thomas Morey: This heretic scares me not. I know he and that Edwardsy character he cavorts with were smuggling contraband Bibles. I almost had them, and if luck went my way, he’d been burned by now. “You may tell Harry, I mean His Majesty, that I was ill. And, Mr. Secretary, when you tell him the details of our meeting, please also relay that I remain his most faithful and humble servant.”
Thomas Cromwelly: I respond politely, “Of course, Your Grace,” and then add in a direct tone, “Since your daughter is waiting patiently to pray the rosary to the Virgin Mary and Bishop of Rome with you, I will take my leave now.” I rise, and bow respectfully, “Good afternoon, Your Grace. Should you desire to expand your prayerful reflections, I have a few books I would be willing to gift you.”
Thomas Morey: He is the devil incarnate, emissary of Satan, as Father Reginald Pole proclaims. “That will not be necessary, Mr. Secretary. Thank you for your gracious offer.”
I could not get out of Morey’s home quickly enough. His servants, rude; the home, adorned with relics. As I am “escorted” out by his rude servants, I feel dirty, like I have sinned against God just being there. As I walk towards His Majesty’s barge, an animal scampers by. What the hell was that? No matter, I am leaving, that is all that matters. Upon stepping on to the barge, I look at the tender and say honestly, “Get me the hell out of here. The flies and the fleas are offensive.” The tender paddles along, and I think through this situation and quickly realize that if this man digs his heels in and sticks to his convictions, I will have to take him down. His Majesty will expect no less. I need the fall out from that not, and more importantly, nor does England.