Mary could not wait to reach Westhrope; if she ever returned to court it would not be with the ” Great Boleyn Whore ” there. She would happily ride for days till her entourage reached her beloved home. She had been riding away from court for some time feeling sick from the king threatening her children, all for Anne Boleyn. She did not notice what ran before her mare that spooked her and before she knew what happened she was thrown from her favorite horse. She had never been thrown from a horse her entire life. She tried to rise and felt the blood flowing down her face. She must have hit her head. Her groomsmen were speaking to her but she could barely make out what they were saying, all she could hear was “Wufhal”. When she awoke she was in an elegant bedroom being attended to by a girl who looked like an angel. She tried to speak but she felt woozy again and the angel made her lie back as she wiped her forehead with rosewater. She closed her eyes and heard the angel say her name was Jane. Mary whispered….Jane.
I kept a beside vigil beside the Duchess of Suffolk until the physician, and eventually myself, were satisfied that the Duchess would make a recovery. The Duchess’s servants had informed the Seymour staff that they were returning to Westhrope, after the King and his sister had their largest argument to date, all about the Queen. I felt a flush of nervousness if the Queen discovered I was delayed in my return to court to care for the King’s sister. But I could not leave her. She was kind to all about her… she had defied her brother for love, which I could not help but admire. When the Duchess had opened her eyes I promised to care for her till she made complete recovery, ordering the serving girl to fill the room with flowers to brighten the Duchess when she woke again next.
I hear humming and open my eyes, the angel named Jane is there again. I feel so parched, my throat stings and I feel as if dirt is in it. I cover my throat and Jane gives me a knowing look and gives me some light wine that instantly soothes my throat. I look around and have no idea how long I have been here. The room is filled with shiny, silver vessels filled with the most vibrant and fragrant flowers, the room smells sweet and feels nice and cool. I look and see that I have been changed into a beautiful, linen, night dress. Did Jane do all this? I thank her for the wine and do not recognize my own voice. I try to speak again and I croak out the words.” Lady Jane, thank you for your tender care. Can you tell me where I am and what has happened to me and my staff? My ladies?”
I sit beside the Lady Mary, forgetting myself and placing the back of my hand against her forehead to ensure that her temperature had not begin to rise again.
”Your Grace, it has been a few days since your horse threw you from your seat. You hit your head I am afraid, but the physician believes you will make a full recover,” I pause to smile and straighten the bed linen, ”And I believe he was correct. Does your Grace feel any pain?”
I continue to fuss to distract myself from the King’s sister who is now in our guest chamber.
”The majority of your travelling party has continued to Westhrope. We expect the Duke today.”
” I saw the care that you gave me. At first I thought you were an angel, you do have the face of one. ” I smile at her ” I could not have gotten better care if I had been at Westhrope or at court. I have seen another woman with you, she bears some resemblance, is she your sister? Please Lady Jane, have a seat and keep me company. How can I ever repay you for your care?”
Now that my head is not in as much pain and I am more alert, I look over Jane more closely. She is the antithesis of Anne Boleyn, sweet, loyal, pale and blonde. Her presence is soothing, she is soft spoken and comes from a gracious family, surely her family cannot be a nest of vipers of the like of the Boleyns.
I walk in and bring a flagon of our best claret to give to Jane for the queen of France……oops….. the Duchess of Suffolk. She may be a duchess yet England calls her the queen of France and her Majesty. But Jane is so clever calling her your Grace which is the proper title for both. Jane has been in charge of her care. I walk silently in the room to give Jane the wine and I see her sitting next to her Grace and conversing. I smile at her and curtesy.
” Your Grace, you are alert, you gave us all a freight. But here you are with your rosy cheeks again. You could not find a better care taker in all of England. Jane can heal anyone of what ails them.”
I pour 2 goblets of wine, one for Jane and one for her Grace and hand it to each of them. Who would believe that our Jane would end up in charge of his Majesty’s sister. This can only bode well for my beloved Jane. Surely it is a sign from God.
” If you can excuse me your Grace. I am needed somewhere else but you are in the best of hands. I shall come back later with a special herbal drink that Jane makes that brings relief to any pain you may still have. ”
I flush at my sister’s kind words, but peek a look at the King’s sister from beneath my lashes- she is so kind… to think she had the current queen serve her as a maid! If Queen Anne was not in her downward spiral I might think to ask for a place in her Grace’s household.
I turn to Elizabeth with a smile.
”I thank you sweet sister, you are kindness itself. Your Grace, your health is all I need to see. There is no repayment necessary. I have been blessed in my siblings as you see with Elizabeth here. Have you met our brothers Edward and Thomas Seymour at Court?”
I am surprised Edward has not rushed straight back to Wulf Hall with royal blood beneath our roof. The messenger must be waylaid.
Busy eyeing the coming and goings at court, a messenger comes up to Edward Seymour and informs him of the injured Duchess of Suffolk resting at Wulf Hall under the care of his sister, Jane for more than a few hours. Edward glared at the messenger for bringing the message so late. He hissed ”Fool!” as he pushed passed him and headed toward the stables.
Nearly killing his precious stallion, Edward rode with great speed to Wulf Hall at once. Once there, He rushed into the great hall and cried out, ”Jane?!…Jane!, Where are you?”
A maid rushes into the room, the Duchess raising a royal eyebrow, I give a disapproving look with a sharp word on the edge of my tongue as the maid drops into a flustered curtsey and quickly whispering that my brother has arrived.
I stand before her Grace who once was queen of France.
”Your Grace, I hope you will allow my brother Edward to pay his respects, he has freshly returned from court.”
” I think I have seen him at court before and your other brother too. It would be an honor to receive your brother. I must thank him for the good care you Seymours have given me. I want you to know that I will never forget your kindness and I am in your debt. Sit with me Jane and tell me about yourself. I want to know everything. If you are at court, who you serve and all your interests. ” I take her hand in mine, ” I know we are going to be very good friends. ”
I nod to my maid who scurries away to my brother to inform him our exulted guest will receive him.
”It pleases my heart that you have recovered, your Grace, I cannot bare to see someone in pain. I find joy in caring for others.”
I smile at the kind hearted lady before me. Will she continue to smile once she knows whom I serve?
I take a deep breath and continue.
”I have had the pleasure of serving the good Queen Katherine, and was selected to serve… the current Queen. She was good enough to dismiss me and return to Wulf Hall to visit my family. I am not one of her favourites, therefore she does not require my continued, undivided attention.”
I look down at my hands and smooth the bed covers to busy my hands
” Then we have much in common for I am not one of her favorites either. I grew up with Queen Katherine, she is more of a sister to me then Margaret was. I cannot simply stop loving her because the king has. Tell me Mistress Seymour, have you met the king? I know he would like someone with your kindness and virtue to be at court. He would not want you wasting your talents home here at Wufhall, though I would be more then honored to have my rescuer serve me as a good friend. The duke and I will want to reward you. But if you wish to be at court; the duke as much sway over the king. ”
As Edward enters the room slowly, his tilted head picks up on the Duchess of Suffolk’s last few words. A sly smirk is pinned on his lips but vanishes as he enters the presence of the Dowager Queen and his young sister. Bowing gracefully as always, he portrays a slight look of worry as he speaks.
”It is an honor to have, Your Grace, in our home, milady. I am sorry to hear of your unfortunate accident and more sorry to have arrived so late to aid you. Alas, I am thankful, my dear sister, Jane has nursed you back to health with her skillful hands.”
Edward nods to Jane approvingly as he continues, ”She is the prize of our house. I hope you are in good comfort, Your Grace?’
My heart pounds. I would like a secure place at court.
”I am of no significance to his Majesty your Grace. There are many at court who outshine the likes of me.” I smile shyly at the Duchess of Suffolk, the King’s own sister. I would be honoured to consider you are friend, I would be happy to assist you in any way.
I stand as my brothers enters the room, and I curtsey as he nods his pleasure with my care of the Dowager ,Queen of France
I take everything in when I see Jane’s brother enter the room and pay great attention as he speaks to me. I pull my blanket up and take another sip of wine while I try to figure out what type of man he may be. He is happy that I have befriended his sister, a man with ambition as I have heard the same about his brother Sir Thomas. If the Boleyns can rise so high with that harpy just think of the possibilities that could befall the Seymours with their dulcet Jane. I may be out of favor with Henry but Charles is not and could make sure that my brother notices the charming yet humble Jane. She is the perfect antidote to the shrew, whore that took Katherine’s place.
” Sir Edward, I cannot thank you enough for all the good care that I have received by the Seymours at Wufhall, especially by your sister Jane. It was a stroke of luck that my steed picked your manor to throw me at.” I laugh softly with Jane and Edward but I can see the light in his eyes. The Seymours will be more then happy to have their sister attain the attention of the king. ” I was telling Jane how grateful I am to her and that I must find a way to repay all the kindness I have been shown. At the very least his Grace must present Jane to his Majesty so he knows what loyal servants he has in the Seymours.” I think it may be more then luck that brought me to Wufhall.
Edward smiled graciously as the Dowager Queen spoke. What a good stroke of luck his sister had stumbled upon in his absence and he was proud of how well Jane had handled it. Yes. Now. with the King’s sisters support, Jane would do very well at court and soon the rest of the family would rise with her success.
”Yes. Your Grace. We are most glad that you have fallen into my sister’s healing hands.. We would be very grateful with your help in presenting our dear Jane to the court. In the meantime, I will go see to the whereabouts of his Grace though I believe he should have been informed by now. I leave you to your rest.”
Edward smiles warmly as he kissed the Princess’s hand, bowing deeply. He nodded to his sister once more, giving her an all knowing look to let the Princess rest once more and left the room.
In the hallway, he instructed a servant to send another missive to the Duke of Suffolk and one to his wife, Anne. With the latter, he also send a heavy purse and added a P.S that read: ”Buy whatever fashionable items you need, my dear for soon we must look as presentable as high as our positions will soon be. And then we will be rewarded with more than what we spend.”
Edward Seymour chuckled softly as he pressed his seal into the warm, red wax.
Written By: Mary Rose Tudor UK Z, Jane Seymour UK Z, Edward Seymour UK Z