The Queens and the Hive

The Queens and the Hive

The Queens and the Hive

The Queens and the Hive


The clangour of mailed footsteps, sounding like a storm of hail in the passages of the Tower of London, died away; and now a black frost of silence sealed the world from all life.

The outer dead. The memorials of King Henry's vengeance, the eternal smiles, the unheard laughter fixed to the turrets of Tower, did not relax their soundless merriment at the though -- visiting, perhaps, the heads from which the brain had long since disappeared -- that the daughter of the woman for whose sake they had reached this show of gaiety might soon be going to join her.

Round that laughter, black rags (of cloud? of some remnants left of their humanity? of the wings of birds of prey?) flapped lazily.

The young girl with me lion-coloured hair and the great golden haunting eyes who had just entered the Tower by the Traitor's Gate sat, quite quietly, looking at the door of her prison, as if she waited for someone.

And still there was no sound, save that of distant weeping.

The tears of Mrs. Ashley, the governess of this twenty- year-old girl waiting for death, if this could be encompassed by the Council and her sister's lawyers, fell from a heart that knew the nobility, the Christian love and forgiveness of that elder sister's soul and heart, before these were poisoned, when she became Queen, against the forlorn being she had befriended. Black bitterness, a slow, sure poison had been skilfully instilled into that noble heart, assured at last of Elizabeth's treachery towards her -- indeed that she had connived at the plot of the traitor Sir Thomas Wyatt, son of the poet, to seize . . .

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