Thomas Cromwell Uk: My office. It’s a mess, filled with merchant bills, loan inquiries, and legal correspondences. Finally, I have a few days to catch up. I love the Cardinal, but he is dominating much of my time and my other obligations are suffering. I begin reading my mail. Don’t any of these Lords have money? I am always bailing them out, and they are slow to repay. As I begin writing a letter to call in a loan from Percy, I am startled by my wife’s voice. ”Thomas, you have a message. It has the Cardinal’s seal. Does not this man give you any peace?” Elizabeth, a wonderful mother to Gregory and the girls, but shrill. ”Just pass it over, dear,” I say with a soft voice to avoid her nagging. I open the seal and read. Well piss off, Pace is in The Tower and His Eminence desires to meet with me at Hampton Court. Well at least the wine is fine. I get up, grab my cape and head on my way. Elizabeth will need to keep her place and wait. After the freedom I enjoyed in Europe, why did I ever agree to an arranged marriage? Oh yes, the crowns and family business.
Thomas Wolsey Uk: I am seated at my large, oak, office desk. My eyes scroll down the parchment page, illuminated by the sunlight streaming through the window at my back. My young Secretary, Mr. Percy enters. ”Yes, Mr. Percy?”. ”Eminence” he says, nearly out of breath from his brisk walk down the palace hall. ”Mr. Cromwell has arrived.” ”Very well then, show him in”. ”Eminence” Percy adds, and bows, backing out of the room.
Thomas Cromwell Uk: I remove my hat and bow respectfully. ”Sir Percy, here’s your bill. Please bring me to the Cardinal. He beckons yet again.” As Percy brings me to the office of His Eminence, I look around at the opulence of his palace. I have to admit, his taste in flawless, the tapestries exquisite. After Percy announces me, I walk in, bow deeply, and rise with a wide smile. The Cardinal is a task master, but I do love the man. ”Good afternoon, Your Eminence. I am sorry to hear about poor Pace. How may I be of assistance until the poor soul is released?”
Thomas Wolsey Uk: I raise my girth off my chair with a deep breath and wave my hand toward the chair opposite me. ”Good afternoon, Master Cromwell. Please have a seat…” I settle back into my chair and shuffle the parchments on my desk with furrowed brow, speaking as I search for the right one. ”Master Cromwell… You may, or may not know that my previous Secretary, Mr. Pace, was arrested on charges of high treason. For acts of espionage… Ah, here it is. But he lacked a, how shall I put it? A ‘moral compass’. He forgot where his loyalties lie. I tell you this, because I seek a new secretary. A man worthy to serve not only my office, but indirectly, His Majesty, as well. I have asked you here today, Mr. Cromwell, with an offer to charge you with the office of secretary. You would be more than that title suggests, sir. You would be a servant of God and the King. Well, what say you, sir?”
Thomas Cromwell Uk: I take a seat and tip a nod as I do. As His Eminence speaks, I am stunned. The poor man is getting older, as I think he’s gone mad. A commoner his secretary? I respond in a composed and respectful manner. ”Your Eminence, you humble me with your very gracious offer. I must be honest, however. By my observation, many a servant of the court falls victim to high treason by the whim of his master or the king. Also, I am my own boss. Why would I defer control to another? The offer is tempting, but I need the crowns not.” I ignore his mention or ”serving God”. The poor man would suffer palsy if he knew how I served mine.
Thomas Wolsey Uk: Willful, petulant young man!, I think. He’ll do very well. His ambition will keep him true to his charge, as will his devotion to his own neck!… ”Mr. Cromwell, I am offering you more than just an opportunity here. This office is a pathway to higher ambition. Surely, you wish for that?” I lift the parchment up and lower my head, burrowing my fingertips into my left temple and scanning the page, my jowels waving as I move my head right and left. “As a young man you fought with the French in Italy in the Milan campaign. As a mercenery! ” I look impressed. ”It says you spent time in Florence, studying under Niccolo Machiavelli.” I smile and roll my pale blue eyes up to look at you. ”I gather you learned much in Italy”. Let’s see, member of the house of commons, before that body was dissolved, of course. And a member of the honourable Gray’s Inn society. Outstanding… 100 pounds per annum. How does that sound?”
Thomas Cromwell Uk: His Eminence; he is the master. Do you want someone to do your bidding? Either insure he owes you big or layer on the flattery. I respond flatly. ”You’re too kind, Your Eminence. I was a mercenery for France because I was young, stupid and had no other way to legally earn my keep. In Italy, I actually learned most from Francesco Frescobaldi. I am the man I am only because of him.” I would be stupid not to see the potential this position has, as well as the risks. I quickly weigh out both. I look the Cardinal in the eye. ”Your Eminence, if I accept this position, I will lose income from my law practice and banking. I will accept this illustrious opportunity, but can’t do so for less than 200 pounds per annum. I hope we can come to an agreement. If not, I would be happy to continue consulting for you as always.” There, rook takes knight. Let’s see his next move.
Thomas Wolsey Uk: I smile broadly and laugh heartily. Letting the parchment drop from my fingers onto the desk. Pushing my chair back, I heave myself up and take a step to the window, turning toward it and gazing at the splendor of the Palace garden whilst folding my hands behind my back. ”We have so much in common, Master Cromwell. Both of us, born of humble birth. In this realm, we are like broken branches flowing down the stream. Determined to move ahead, but at the mercy of the current.” I turn and bore into this insolent young man with my gaze. ”Very well, Master Cromwell. You shall have your 200 pounds per annum.” I lean over the desk, into him. ”On the condition that your loyalty to this office and to me personally be unequivocal. I was humiliated once by that churlish drigger rotting away in the tower, and by god sir, for 200 pounds annum, I expect more. MUCH MORE!” I fall back into my seat and take a deep breath, trying to cool the red from my face. ”So now, Mr. Cromwell, what say you, sir?”
Thomas Cromwell Uk: I look at the Cardinal and state with all sincerity. ”Your Eminence. We have worked together in one way or another for quite some time. I have never given you any reason not to trust me. My loyalty is to you, His Majesty, and this realm.” I smile broadly and cross my fingers across my neck is a sweeping motion, ”I need also say I prefer your good graces rather than the inevitable alternative. I like my head on my shoulders just fine. I even closed those monasteries, didn’t I? My heavens, you would have thought I had a death wish. One way or another, I am a marked man it seems.” We begin laughing, and I add in a jovial tone, but also desiring the Cardinal’s wise counsel, ”And so how do I best accomplish that with His Majesty?”
Thomas Wolsey Uk: I cross my hands atop the desk, and look Master Cromwell in the eye and smile.”You must grab the lion by the tail to get his attention. Keep him fed hearty, and no matter what. NEVER EVER let it go. For that is when he shall turn on you”. I get up once again and step over to the table near my desk. Atop the fine lace doile is a silver flagon of wine and two silver cups. I pour the wine, a rich port, into both cups and turn and hand one to Cromwell. ”Do you see what I mean?”
Thomas Cromwell Uk: I nod in thanks at the wine, and hold my cup in a toast like gesture, then sip. Exquisite. It’s rich and full. I see managing His Majesty is not all that different than managing my dear mentor. ”Yes, Your Eminence. I do. I also have concerns with the Lords. As you know, I am not a top their popularity list. Before I start on this venture, Norfolk already would trip me up at the first opportunity… your man Gardiner, also. How through the years have you kept the Lords at bay?”
Thomas Wolsey Uk: Seated back at my desk, taking a deep sip, and a deep breath afterwards. I lie the cup down and cross my fingers again. ”Your loyalty to me and your office will insure your ‘popularity’. Do you think they would not just as soon put my head on the block as well, given the chance? So long as I have a firm grasp on that lion’s tail, I shall keep them all at bay. That is what you must do to insure your survival at his majesty’s court. There is wealth, power and influence to be had. Also terrible consequences for those who don’t hold on. I saw your history Master Cromwell. I could see you’re not a man who backs down from a challenge. Rather like myself, you relish the sport… So sir. I put it to you again. Will you accept the charge I have offered?”
Thomas Cromwell Uk: I look at the Cardinal and smile. ”Give me a week to get things on my end at Austin Friars tied up, and I will accept this death wish of yours. You are right. I love a challenge. And to be honest, I want my hands in government in a more meaningful way that at Parliament where all we so is talk much and accomplish nothing. Thank you for your trust in me, Your Eminence. Do tell me now, what is the story with Boleyn? He rises far prostituting his daughters, does he not? That man needs close watching, Eminence. Watch your back there.”
Thomas Wolsey Uk: The wide smile of satisfaction inflates my rosy cheeks and puts a glint in my eyes. ”Splendid. I knew you were a man of action, Mr. Cromwell. This career suits you and you it. Soon, if you fullfill the duties of this office as I believe you can. you shall not have to suffer the likes of Thomas Boleyn or any other filching cur waiting for his master to drop a scrap of meat on the floor for his repast. No. You shall be in his majesty’s good graces. WE shall be in his majesty’s good graces. And woe to those who are left empty-handed”. I pick up my cup and gesture towards Cromwell. ”To your new office”.
Thomas Cromwell Uk: I raise my glass and state earnestly, ”“My prayer is that God give me no longer life than I shall be glad to use mine office in edification and not in destruction.”
~~~~~~~~~~ Fade To Black ~~~~~~~~~~