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Скачать книгу Wolf Hall & Bring Up The Bodies: Two-Book Edition

Wolf Hall & Bring Up The Bodies: Two-Book Edition

Язык: Английский
Год издания: 2018 год

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‘Well,’ he says, ‘we all want the same thing. For your niece to be queen. Can we not work together?’

Norfolk grunts. There is something amiss, in his view, with that word ‘together’, but he cannot articulate what it is. ‘Do not forget your place.’

He bows. ‘I am mindful of your lordship’s continuing favour.’

‘Look here, Cromwell, I wish you would come down and see me at home at Kenninghall, and talk to my lady wife. She’s a woman of monstrous demands. She thinks I shouldn’t keep a woman in the house, for my pleasant usage, you know? I say, where else should she be? Do you want me to disturb myself on a winter’s night and venture out on the icy roads? I don’t seem to be able to express myself correctly to her; do you think you could come down and put my case?’ He says, hastily, ‘Not now, of course. No. More urgent … see my niece …’

‘How is she?’

‘In my view,’ Norfolk says, ‘Anne’s out for bloody murder. She wants the cardinal’s guts in a dish to feed her spaniels, and his limbs nailed over the city gates of York.’

It is a dark morning and your eyes naturally turn towards Anne, but something shadowy is bobbing about, on the fringes of the circle of light. Anne says, ‘Dr Cranmer is just back from Rome. He brings us no good news, of course.’

They know each other; Cranmer has worked from time to time for the cardinal, as indeed who has not? Now he is active in the king’s case. They embrace cautiously: Cambridge scholar, person from Putney.

He says, ‘Master, why would you not come to our college? To Cardinal College, I mean? His Grace was very sorry you would not. We would have made you comfortable.’

‘I think he wanted more permanence,’ Anne says, sneering.

‘But with respect, Lady Anne, the king has almost said to me that he will take over the Oxford foundation himself.’ He smiles. ‘Perhaps it can be called after you?’

This morning Anne wears a crucifix on a gold chain. Sometimes her fingers pull at it impatiently, and then she tucks her hands back in her sleeves. It is so much a habit with her that people say she has something to hide, a deformity; but he thinks she is a woman who doesn’t like to show her hand. ‘My uncle Norfolk says Wolsey goes about with eight hundred armed men at his back. They say he has letters from Katherine – is that true? They say Rome will issue a decree telling the king to separate from me.’

‘That would be a clear mistake on Rome’s part,’ Cranmer says.

‘Yes it would. Because he won’t be told. Is he some parish clerk, the King of England? Or some child? This would not happen in France; their king keeps his churchmen under his hand. Master Tyndale says, “One king, one law, is God’s ordinance in every realm.” I have read his book, The Obedience of a Christian Man. I myself have shown it to the king and marked the passages that touch on his authority. The subject must obey his king as he would his God; do I have the sense of it? The Pope will learn his place.’

Cranmer looks at her with a half-smile; she’s like a child who you’re teaching to read, who dazzles you by sudden aptitude.

‘Wait,’ she says, ‘I have something to show you.’ She darts a look. ‘Lady Carey …’

‘Oh, please,’ Mary says. ‘Do not give it currency.’

Anne snaps her fingers. Mary Boleyn moves forward into the light, a flash of blonde hair. ‘Give it,’ Anne says. It is a paper, which she unfolds. ‘I found this in my bed, would you believe? As it happened, it was a night when that sickly milk-faced creeper had turned down the sheet, and of course I could not get any sense out of her, she cries if you look at her sideways. So I cannot know who put it there.’

She unfolds a drawing. There are three figures. The central figure is the king. He is large and handsome, and to make sure you don’t miss him he is wearing a crown. On either side of him is a woman; the one on the left has no head. ‘That’s the queen,’ she says, ‘Katherine. And that’s me.’ She laughs. ‘Anne sans tête.’

Dr Cranmer holds out his hand for the paper. ‘Give it to me, I’ll destroy it.’

She crumples it in her fist. ‘I can destroy it myself. There is a prophecy that a queen of England will be burned. But a prophecy does not frighten me, and even if it is true, I will run the risk.’

Mary stands, like a statue, in the position where Anne left her; her hands are joined, as if the paper were still between them. Oh, Christ, he thinks, to see her out of here; to take her to somewhere she could forget she is a Boleyn. She asked me once. I failed her. If she asked me again, I would fail her again.

Anne turns against the light. Her cheeks are hollow – how thin she is now – her eyes are alight. ‘Ainsi sera,’ she says. ‘Never mind who grudges it, it will happen. I mean to have him.’

On their way out, he and Dr Cranmer do not speak, till they see the little pale girl coming towards them, the sickly milk-faced creeper, carrying folded linen.

‘I think this is the one who cries,’ he says. ‘So do not look at her sideways.’

‘Master Cromwell,’ she says, ‘this may be a long winter. Send us some more of your orange tarts.’

‘I haven’t seen you for so long … What have you been doing, where have you been?’

‘Sewing mostly.’ She considers each question separately. ‘Where I’m sent.’

‘And spying, I think.’

She nods. ‘I’m not very good at it.’

‘I don’t know. You’re very small and unnoticeable.’

He means it as a compliment; she blinks, in acknowledgement. ‘I don’t speak French. So don’t you, if you please. It gives me nothing to report.’

‘Who are you spying for?’

‘My brothers.’

‘Do you know Dr Cranmer?’

‘No,’ she says; she thinks it’s a real question.

‘Now,’ he instructs her, ‘you must say who you are.’

‘Oh. I see. I’m John Seymour’s daughter. From Wolf Hall.’

He is surprised. ‘I thought his daughters were with Queen Katherine.’

‘Yes. Sometimes. Not now. I told you. I go where I’m sent.’

‘But not where you are appreciated.’

‘I am, in the one way. You see, Lady Anne will not refuse any of the queen’s ladies who want to spend time with her.’ She raises her eyes, a pale momentary brightness. ‘Very few do.’

Every rising family needs information. With the king considering himself a bachelor, any little girl can hold the key to the future, and not all his money is on Anne. ‘Well, good luck,’ he says. ‘I’ll try to keep it in English.’

‘I would be obliged.’ She bows. ‘Dr Cranmer.’

He turns to watch her as she patters off in the direction of Anne Boleyn. A small suspicion enters his mind, about the paper in the bed. But no, he thinks. That is not possible.

Dr Cranmer says, smiling, ‘You have a wide acquaintance among the court ladies.’

‘Not very wide. I still don’t know which daughter that was, there are three at least. And I suppose Seymour’s sons are ambitious.’

‘I hardly know them.’

‘The cardinal brought Edward up. He’s sharp. And Tom Seymour is not such a fool as he pretends.’

‘The father?’

‘Stays in Wiltshire. We never see him.’

‘One could envy him,’ Dr Cranmer murmurs.

Country life. Rural felicity. A temptation he has never known. ‘How long were you at Cambridge, before the king called you up?’

Cranmer smiles. ‘Twenty-six years.’

They are both dressed for riding. ‘You are going back to Cambridge today?’

‘Not to stay. The family’ – the Boleyns, he means – ‘want to have me at hand. And you, Master Cromwell?’

‘A private client. I can’t make a living from Lady Anne’s black looks.’

Boys wait with their horses. From various folds of his garments Dr Cranmer produces objects wrapped in cloth. One of them is a carrot cut carefully lengthways, and another a wizened apple, quartered. As if he were a child, fair-minded with a treat, he gives him two slices of carrot and half the apple, to feed to his own horse; as he does so, he says, ‘You owe much to Anne Boleyn. More than perhaps you think. She has formed a good opinion of you. I’m not sure she cares to be your sister-in-law, mind …’

The beasts bend their necks, nibbling, their ears flicking in appreciation. It is a moment of peace, like a benediction. He says, ‘There are no secrets, are there?’

‘No. No. Absolutely none.’ The priest shakes his head. ‘You asked why I would not come to your college.’
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