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Where London's Tower its turrets show, 

So stately hy the Thames's side, 
Fair Arabella, child of woe, 

For many a day had sat and sighed. 
And as she heard the waves arise, 

And as she heard the bleak winds roar, 
As fast did heave her heartfelt sighs, 

And still so fast her tears did pour. 

Old Ballad, supposed by Mickle. 





The little cousin of Elizabeth Henry VIII's will Heirs to the 
Throne and their claims The Scottish branch Margaret Douglas 
Her love-affair with Thomas Howard She is married to the Earl of 
Lennox Her son Darnley marries Mary of Scotland Elizabeth's 
displeasure Darnley's murder Margaret in favour again Her 
younger son Charles She renews a secret friendship with Mary 
Bess of Hard wick Plot to marry Elizabeth Cavendish to Charles of 
Lennox Its fulfilment Elizabeth's anger Partial forgiveness 
Birth of Arbella Stuart. 


Great hopes Death of Charles of Lennox Kefusal of the Scottish 
Regent to grant Arbella her father's title and estates Her first 
portrait A pet of Mary of Scotland Death of Margaret of Lennox 
Jewels left by her to her granddaughter Elizabeth seizes Arbella's 
English estates Conflicting wills and rights Burghley and Leicester 
intercede Allowance settled on Arbella and her mother Death of 
her mother Grief of the Countess of Shrewsbury Her petition for 
an allowance for the education of her granddaughter. 

A HOUSE OF STRIFE (1582-7) 34 

Arbella as a child "My little Lady Favour" Quarrels in the 
Shrewsbury family Project" to marry Arbella to the little Earl of 
Denbigh The Earl of Leicester The Denbigh scheme is discovered 
Death of Denbigh Quarrels between Mary of Scotland and Bess of 
Hardwick Elizabeth's own love-affairs The Earl of Shrewsbury 
separates from his wife and gives up his charge of Queen Mary The 
Babington conspiracy Trial and execution of Mary Her legacy to 





ARBELLA AT COURT (1587-90) . . . . . . 46 

The Gilbert Talbots take Arbella to London Her presentation to the 
Queen A favourable impression Elizabeth's adorers The question 
of the succession Arbella's first letter The Spanish Armada 
Death of Leicester Arbella's accomplishments She comes of age at 
fourteen Lawsuits concerning her possessions Disappearance of her 
grandmother's jewels Death of the Earl of Shrewsbury More family 
quarrels Bess makes her will. 


PLOTS (1590-5) , 57 

Danger around Arbella The foresight of old Lord Shrewsbury The 
Pope wishes her to become a Roman Catholic and marry the Prince of 
Parma A network of plots Arbella's personal appearance James 
of Scotland fears that Elizabeth will name her as successor He 
suggests a husband for her And is snubbed by Elizabeth He 
corresponds with Arbella Her retiring nature More Roman Catholic 
plots to carry her abroad Morley the tutor Lady Shrewsbury's 
anxious letter The Stanhope feuds Elizabeth distrusts Arbella 
Parson's Book on the Succession Stanley's determination to kidnap 
Arbella Her interest in learning and literature. 


MORE PLOTS (1596-1601) ...... -. 75 

Rumours of a marriage between Arbella and Henri IV of France 
James of Scotland grows anxious The Alien Act Waning brilliance 
of Elizabeth's Court Death of Burghley Death of Philip of Spain 
Letter from the Cardinal d'Ossat The diplomacy of Cecil Arbella's 
New Year's gift to the Queen Arbella falls in love The Earl of 
Essex His rudeness to the Queen Rumour that Arbella has become 
a Roman Catholic Letter from James Essex goes to Ireland His 
failure and disgrace His execution The decline of Elizabeth. 


MYSTERY (1601-2) . . . . . . - . " . 89 

Arbella at Hardwick Her strict keeping there Her desire to escape 
Starkey the chaplain Story of the Earl of Hertford and Katherine 
Grey Their children and grandchildren Arbella decides to escape to 
the Earl of Hertford, and marry his grandson She sends Dodderidge 
with a message Panic and treachery of Hertford He divulges all to 
Elizabeth Sir John Brounker is sent to Hardwick He questions 
Arbella Her wild, confused letters Violent quarrels with her grand- 
mother She hints at a secret lover Agitation of Lady Shrewsbury 
Arbella declares she has matters to reveal to the Queen. 





Suicide of Starkey Tyranny of Lady Shrewsbury, and indignation 
of Arbella Letters to the Queen and her Council Arbella falls ill 
Brounker returns and interrogates her "The King of Scots" 
Despair of Lady Shrewsbury Wild letters from Arbella She is 
deprived of her books The Ash "Wednesday letter Failing health 
of Elizabeth Preparations for Arbella's escape Henry Cavendish 
helps his niece The muster at Hucknall Arbella cannot come 
Henry Cavendish goes to Hardwick to fetch her Violent scene at 
the gate Brounker returns He advocates Arbella's removal, and 
she is sent to Wrest Rumours in town Elizabeth grows worse She 
refuses to name her successor Her death and burial. 


THE NEW COURT (1603) 140 

An old prophecy Youth and character of James I His wife and 
family He arrives in England His unpopularity Arbella's inter- 
view with Cecil She is presented to James A mutual liking An 
allowance is settled on her Arrival of Queen Anne and her children 
Her character She is charmed with Arbella Coronation and 
festivities Arbella is happy at Court Letters to her uncle and 
aunt Her allowance for diet The plague The discomforts of 
Woodstock A budget of gossip. 

FORTUNE'S WHEEL (1603-4) 158 

The Cobham Plot Trial of Raleigh Arbella is cleared of suspicion 
Child games at Winchester Fowler's admiration of Arbella Her 
delicate health Letters to the Shrewsburys Court festivities The 
trouble of New Year's gifts A merry Christmas Thirty- three 
masques Anne of Denmark coquets with Rome. 



The Shrewsburys are reconciled with the Henry Cavendishes 
Arbella desires also a general reconciliation with her grandmother 
Money troubles intervene Letter from Shrewsbury's steward con- 
cerning Arbella's influence with the King She uses it in favour of 
her uncles She is given a great place in the Royal Progress Queen 
Anne appoints her Carver to Herself Jealousies at Court William 
Cavendish asks her to obtain a Barony for him "Everlasting 


Hunting " at Royston All but the King weary of it Jowler's 
Petition Arbella represented in a lawsuit "Good red-deer pies" 
from Sheffield Arbella has many suitors, but James will not let her 
marry She has measles Jonson's Masque of Blackness at Court 
Birth of Princess Mary Arbella is named godmother Serious illness 
of old Lady Shrewsbury Arbella visits her at Hardwick State 
christening of Princess Mary William Cavendish obtains his Barony. 

FRIENDS AND LOVERS (1605-7) 193 

Arbella's friendship with Prince Henry Anecdote of his youth 
Strong feeling against Roman Catholic priests after discovery of the 
Gunpowder Plot Birth and death of Princess Sophia Visit of 
Christian IV of Denmark Wild orgies of the two kings at Theobalds' 
Christian's friendship with Arbella He offends Lady Nottingham, 
and asks Arbella to make his peace Her correspondence with him, 
his Queen, and Sir Andrew Sinclair Through Queen Anne and Prince 
Henry he asks for the gift of her favourite lute-player, Cutting 
Whom she sends reluctantly She stays at Sheffield The Shrewsburys 
are reconciled to the old Countess Death of Princess Mary, Arbella's 
godchild The King hunts still, but not so constantly A cold 
winter Much extravagance at Court. 

A CLOUDY SKY (1608-9) . . ... . . 208 

Death of Bess of Hardwick Her character Rapacious conduct of 
her son William Will and funeral of the old Countess Horace 
Walpole's epitaph on her Marriage of Lord Cavendish's son Arbella 
is pressed for money Her petition for the monoply on oats Francis 
Bacon's note on her request Letter to Lord Shrewsbury She has 
smallpox Acts in the Masque of Queens Applies for a licence to 
export hides and also to sell wines in Ireland Her favour at Court 
declines She makes a State progress through England Her 
steward Hugh Crompton's account of it From Whitehall to St. 
Albans Toddington Northampton Mansfield With Lady Bowes 
at Walton Hall. Chesterfield On to Sheffield, where she is received in 
State A rough journey to Melwood Worksop Aston Chatsworth 
Buxton Back to Sheffield Her coach breaks down A pilgrimage 
to Rufford Wingfield Derby Market Harborough Welling- 
borough Wrest Park St. Albans Broad Street Her character 
changes, and she longs for a home More money troubles Salisbury 
helps her in her suit for the Irish wines Letter from Lady Bowes 
concerning qcountry. 'houses Arbella suddenly announces her desire 
for a settled allowance Retirement, and a certain mysterious favour. 





Arbella is arrested Scandalous gossip She loves William Seymour 
secretly, and wishes to marry him James fears a foreign alliance, but 
she promises never to marry any but a British subject Is released 
and restored to favour Seymour's character and career Supposing 
themselves to have the King's permission, he and Arbella plight their 
troth Both are again arrested Seymour denies the contract, and 
pleads for pardon Arbella's defence of his attitude They are 
released Seymour wishes to break the engagement, but Arbella 
refuses Constant rumours about her Seymour gains the help of his 
cousin Rodney Prince Henry's investiture as Prince of Wales 
Magnificent rejoicings Masque of Tethy's Festival Arbella's 
beautiful gown for it The Court moves to Greenwich Arbella and 
Seymour are married in Arbella's chamber. 

PRISON (JULY 1610-MARCH 1611) 243 

The secret is out Arrested once more Arbella is sent to Sir Thomas 
Parry's house at Lambeth, and Seymour to the Tower His quarrels 
with the Lieutenant, Sir William Waad The furniture of his room 
Melville's Latin motto for his reception Arbella's unselfish thought 
for her servants Her pathetic letters to the King, Queen, and 
Council Her letter to Seymour Her petitions are all ignored Lady 
Jane Drummond stands her friend, but can do little Devotion of 
her own servants Story of Margaret Byron The Shrewsburys and 
Francis Seymour do what they can A gloomy Christmas William 
Seymour applies for the liberty of the Tower, on the ground of 
ill-health, and obtains it He manages to visit Arbella Her plight 
is little known Verses dedicated to her in the Salve Deus James 
learns that the lovers have met, and resolves to separate them 

ON THE NORTH ROAD (MARCH-JUNE, 1611) . . .263 

The Bishop of Durham is ordered to convey Arbella to the North of 
England at a day's notice She demands a trial, but too late She is 
distracted Implores the Bishop not to take her, but he must She is 
carried to Highgate for the night Her doctor declares her too ill to 
move next day Seymour visits her at Highgate for the last time 
The Council grants her a week's respite, after which she is carried 
half dead to Barnet Again she is too ill to move Shrewsbury writes 
anxious letters to her doctor, Moundford She writes herself to implore 
mercy from the Council Which grants her a month's rest at Barnet 
with Sir James Croft James sends his own doctor, Hammond, to see 
if she is really ill He befriends her She receives vague promises of 
comfort, but distrusts them. 




ESCAPE (JUNE 1611) . . ,- - . . . . ,' 279 

The Oountess of Shrewsbury plots for Arbella's escape from England 
She collects money and lays plans But Seymour must escape at the 
same time Arbella disguises herself in man's dress Goes out with 
Crompton and Markham for a walk Horses wait them, and they ride 
to Blackwall Anne Bradshaw meets them with baggage, but Seymour 
and Rodney have not come A French ship waits for them at Leigh 
But Arbella will not start without Seymour At eight, she is forced 
to go, but it is now dark They reach the ship next morning, but still 
Arbella begs for delay Meanwhile Seymour, in the Tower, feigns 
illness Disguises himself as a carter, and slips out behind a waggon 
Joins Rodney and rides to Blackwall, where Arbella has just left 
They hail a collier, who agrees to take them across, and reach Ostend 
safely But Rodney leaves an explanatory letter for Francis Seymour 
Francis loses his head, hurries to the Tower, and betrays all James is 
terrified The fugitives are at once pursued Arbella's ship is sighted, 
and she is taken and brought back. 

THE TOWER (1611-12) 296 

Arbella and her aunt, Lady Shrewsbury, are sent to the Tower and 
examined before the Council Lady Shrewsbury's indignation, and 
complaints Many arrests Arbella is given the Lennox's rooms, but 
denied her own servants Valuation of her jewels and money 
Seymour reaches Bruges, and is protected by the Archdukes He pro- 
ceeds to Paris, where Rodney joins him Letters from old Hertford 
Quarrels between Seymour and Waad Arbella's lonely days Her 
failing health and reason Touching letters Death of Salisbury 
Further trial of Lady Shrewsbury Bacon's speech to her Her 

"FAIR ARABELLA, CHILD OF WOE" (1612-15) . . .' 313 

Betrothal of Princess Elizabeth to the Elector Palatine Grave illness 
of Prince Henry Raleigh's cordial The Prince dies Marriage of 
Princess Elizabeth She promises Arbella to beg for her release 
Arbella orders wedding garments The King refuses his daughter's 
request Seymour's life in Paris Dismissal of Waad Crompton is 
released, and conveys letters and money from Arbella to Seymour 
He attempts to rescue her, but in vain Her last letter Her lonely 
death and hasty burial Rumours that she had left a child They 
are untrue Seymour's return and pardon His second marriage He 
becomes Earl of Hertford His subsequent career as a distinguished 
Royalist His death Portraits of Arbella Bishop Corbet's epitaph 
on her. 


To face page 

ARBBLLA STUART Frontispiece 


JAMES I, BY PAUL VAN SOMERS . . . . . .144 


WICK" 208 






ONE evening in August 1587, a few months after the 
execution of Mary Queen of Scots, and just a year before 
the defeat of the Spanish Armada, Queen Elizabeth gave 
a great supper-party to all her brilliant Court. A certain 
fair-haired little girl was seated close beside the Queen 
at the royal table and treated with singular honour, and 
in the course of the evening Elizabeth pointed this child 
out to Madame d'Aubespine de Chateauneuf, wife of the 
French Ambassador, with an evident desire for approval. 

" She is very sweet and charming, your Grace," said the 
Ambassadress, " and speaks French exceedingly well." 

" But I think more of her than that," replied the Queen. 
" One day she will be a woman to rule, and mistress here 
even as I am; I recognize much of myself in her. But," 
she added, with the indomitable Tudor pride, " I shall 
have been before her." 

Yet Elizabeth proved no true prophet ; for of all her loved 
and luckless House, perhaps Arbella Stuart's life was 
destined to be the most cruelly frustrated, and her death 
the most forlorn. Little ambitious herself for aught but 
love and a sheltered home, these always were denied her, 
and her innocent name as constantly made the centre 
for every disloyal and treasonable plot. It was no happi- 
ness in Tudor days to be born to royal blood; and since 
for seventy years after the death of Edward VI flaws were 
to be found in the title of every claimant to the throne, 
Arbella's name stood many times in perilous prominence as 


a possible Queen of England. Indeed, had she chosen to 
take the smallest steps towards substantiating her claim, 
and, above all, had she yielded to the strong persuasion 
constantly exercised upon her to embrace the Roman 
Catholic faith, there is little doubt that her party, backed 
by powerful Continental influence, might easily have 
held its own against that of her Scottish cousin, James I. 
But her story does not begin here, and the complicated 
motives which so ruthlessly shaped and governed the events 
of her career were set in training many years before. It 
is necessary as shortly as possible to recapitulate these, 
in order to explain how she came to be placed in so 
prominent a position. 

In the thirty -fifth year of the reign of Henry VIII, a 
statute was passed by which the King was allowed to 
dispose of the succession to his crown according to his 
pleasure. Acting upon this, in his last will, made four 
weeks before his death, he left his crown to his son Edward 
and that son's children, or in default of such to his " own 
heirs lawfully begotten of his entirely beloved wife Queen 
Catherine (Catherine Parr) or any other wife he might 
hereafter marry." " For lack of such issue and heirs " it 
was to descend to the Lady Mary and her heirs, and 
after her to Elizabeth and her heirs, on condition that 
both married with the consent of their brother or of the 
Council provided for his guardianship. If Henry's own 
descendants all failed, the family of his elder sister Margaret, 
Queen of Scotland, was to be passed over, and the right 
of succession to devolve upon his younger sister Mary, 
once Queen of France, and since then wife to Charles 
Brandon, Duke of Suffolk. Edward VI, as history knows, 
died unmarried, and immediately eight claimants were 
put forward to demand the crown. Curiously enough, in 
a country where no queen in her own right had ever 
reigned before, all but one of these were women, the 
exception being Philip II of Spain, who based his claim 
on a direct descent from John of Gaunt, whose daughter 
Catherine by his second wife had married Henry III of 
Castille. John of Gaunt being an older son of Edward III 


than Edmund of Langley, through whom the Tudor house 
descended, Philip claimed that his right stood paramount ; 
while the seven female claimants were 

The Princess Mary; 

The Princess Elizabeth; 

Frances, Duchess of Suffolk, eldest daughter of King 
Henry's youngest sister Mary, now dead ; 

Lady Jane Grey, eldest daughter of Frances, in whose 
favour she had in fact renounced her own rights ; 

Catherine Pole, great-granddaughter of George, Duke of 
Clarence ; 

Mary, Queen of Scots, only child of James V, son of 
King Henry's elder sister Margaret, Queen of Scotland 
(Mary was at this time a child of eight) ; and, 

Lady Margaret Douglas, daughter of the same Margaret, 
Queen of Scotland, by a second marriage, but born in 
England, and therefore more eligible to succeed than her 
Scottish niece. 

By Henry's will the princess Mary was the only rightful 
heir, but the King had long before pronounced her illegiti- 
mate at the time when he divorced her mother, a judgment 
which had never yet been set aside. To many people 
she was obnoxious in consequence of her religion, and 
these clung to her illegitimacy, and declared that therefore 
she could not inherit; while the same objection applied 
to Elizabeth, whom her father had also publicly disowned 
and never formally reinstated in her birthright. Those, 
therefore, who turned to Lady Jane Grey, eldest daughter 
of Frances, eldest daughter of Mary, Duchess of Suffolk, 
were only acting in accordance with what they considered 
the true interpretation of King Henry's will. Yet the 
other claimants, holding that the will could not be regarded 
as anything but a private expression of preference, con- 
sidered their rights equally valid. Catherine Pole, it is true, 
had no very powerful party to support her ; but the two 
ladies of the Scottish branch, which Henry in vain 
attempted to disregard, appeared likely to become more 
formidable rivals. All these different lines are somewhat 
confusing to follow, but it is important to disentangle them 
B 2 


in the beginning, and the accompanying table may serve 
to render them somewhat clearer. 

If common-sense had not been triumphant in placing 
Henry's own two daughters successively upon the throne, 
certainly the descendants of his elder sister Margaret held 
the best claim. This Margaret had married James IV 
of Scotland, and borne him a son, afterwards James V, 
whose only child was that Mary, Queen of Scots, who 
shares with Helen of Troy and Cleopatra of Egypt the 
distinction of being the most enigmatic woman of her 
time. James IV fell at Flodden in 1513, and his young 
widow. Margaret of England, almost immediately afterwards 
married handsome Archibald Douglas, sixth Earl of Angus, 
by whom she had a daughter Margaret, born within the 
English border, who could therefore claim to be an English 
princess. The marriage quickly proved a miserable one, 
and was dissolved after twelve years of wretchedness at 
the Queen's desire ; but the Pope inserted a special clause 
in the annulment to the effect that the daughter born of 
it was fully legitimate, the marriage being one de facto 
and bona fide. Cause for dissolving it was not far to seek, 
Angus having had a wife living at the time he wedded 
the Queen, while it is also asserted that she had contracted 
another marriage between the death of King James and 
her union with the Border Earl. This, however, was a not 
uncommon condition of things at the time. Should a 
Tudor lady choose to marry any noble, his previous matri- 
monial arrangements mattered not at all to her, and seem 
very seldom to have been considered any bar to the legality 
of her union. Indeed scarcely any royal or noble marriage 
of the period was without some similar flaw. Immediately 
on the annulment of her marriage with Angus, Queen 
Margaret married young Henry Stewart, whom she per- 
suaded her son the King to create Lord Methven, and whom 
ten years later she also wished to divorce. This was not 
so easy to accomplish, however, and she herself died first. 
It is rather remarkable to note that Henry VIII and his 
two sisters made eleven marriages between them, and 
each left a partner young enough to marry again; while 






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Henry, who lived to be the oldest of the three, was only 
fifty-six when he died. 

It will be seen, therefore, that the position of little 
Lady Margaret Douglas was not unassailable, and though, 
through all the unhappy bickerings of her childhood, she 
clung to her father's side and therefore earned the cordial 
dislike of her mother, that mother was glad enough to 
see the child at the age of fourteen made welcome at the 
court of her brother King Henry and sent to reside with 
her sister Mary, Duchess of Suffolk. After the Duchess 
Mary's death, Margaret was transferred to her cousin 
the Princess Mary at Beaulieu; till with the divorce of 
Katherine of Aragon, the disinheriting of Mary, and the 
rise of Anne Boleyn, the autocratic King sent for her to 
Court again, and granted her the post of first lady of honour 
to his infant daughter Elizabeth. A few years later 
Elizabeth too was branded as illegitimate; and then 
for a short time, until the birth of Prince Edward, Margaret 
Douglas was actually heiress presumptive to the throne, 
her half-brother James V being apparently debarred by 
the Alien Act, which forbade any child of whatsoever 
rank born outside the realm to succeed to any lands or 
property within it. Hot-blooded and quick of fancy like 
all the Tudors, Margaret chose this inauspicious moment 
to fall in love with Lord Thomas Howard, brother of the 
Duke of Norfolk, and a near relative to Anne Boleyn. It 
is almost certain that Anne herself, and so long as she 
was in favour King Henry also, had encouraged Howard to 
aspire to Margaret's hand ; but now that the Queen and all 
her house had so fatally fallen into disgrace, and Margaret's 
own importance had risen so vastly in the scheme of 
English politics, no such inconsiderable match could be 
permitted, and the King's anger descended upon the 
lovers like a thunderbolt. Both were promptly despatched 
to the Tower, and an Act of Attainder passed upon Lord 
Thomas, who, it was asserted, " being led and seduced by 
the Devil," had " contemptuously and traitorously con- 
tracted himself by crafty, fair and flattering words to and 
with the Lady Margaret Douglas," by which, she being 


daughter to the Queen of Scots, eldest sister to the King, 
it was suspected that he " might aspire by her to the 
Dignity of the Imperial Crown of this realm." The 
Act particularly points out the delinquent's " firm hope 
and trust that the subjects of this realm would incline 
and bear affection to the said Lady Margaret, being born 
in this realm, and not to the King of Scots her brother, 
to whom this realm hath nor ever had any affection, 
but would resist his attempt to the Crown of this realm 
to the uttermost of their powers," thus plainly showing 
the very strong feeling of the period against any foreign 
dynasty, even though, strictly speaking, nearer in blood. 
Finally, runs the Act, the unfortunate Lord Thomas 
" for his said offence, shall be attainted of high treason, 
and shall have and suffer such pains and execution of 
death to all intents and purposes as in cases of high 
treason " ; and, further, " any man of what estate, degree 
or condition soever he be, who shall hereafter take upon 
him to espouse, marry, or take to his wife " any lady of 
the royal family without the King's consent under his 
great seal, shall be held guilty of high treason, and " the 
woman so offending " equally so, and subject to the same 
punishment. This is the earliest known Royal Marriage 
Act, and especially important here, since it was by it that 
Lady Margaret's grandchild, the unfortunate subject of 
this Memoir, came to her doom. 

It was in the summer of 1536 that Margaret and Howard 
were sent to prison, and they never met again. It was 
never supposed that the extreme penalty of high treason 
would be inflicted upon either of them, but the Tower 
held other dangers than the axe. In a very short time 
both fell seriously ill of the low fever which hung about 
the insanitary rooms in which they were confined ; and by 
November the King for very shame was obliged to permit 
his niece's removal to more nominal durance at Sion 
Convent on the Thames ; whence, after the birth of his 
son Edward had considerably reduced her political import- 
ance, she was altogether released and restored to favour. 
Howard however remained in the Tower, and died of fever 


in October of the following year. Margaret seems to have 
been genuinely fond of him, but like most ladies of her 
period was not inconsolable, and more than one later 
attachment is hinted at while she remained at Court. 
Another Howard, nephew of Lord Thomas, fell deeply 
in love with her, and Henry found it necessary to send 
Archbishop Cranmer to remonstrate with her, but experi- 
ence had taught her prudence, and she made no more 
attempts at marriage or betrothal till, in 1544, when in 
her thirtieth year, the King bestowed her in marriage 
upon Matthew Stuart, fourth Earl of Lennox. Lennox 
was a Scottish noble of high lineage and related to the 
royal family, and it was partly in the hope of attaching 
him to the interests of England that Henry arranged 
the marriage, James V being now dead, and his infant 
daughter Mary Queen of Scotland. The married life of 
the pair proved a happy one ; Lennox calls Margaret his 
" sweet Mage " in letters, and she bore him eight children, 
of whom only two survived. These were the second, 
Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley, and the youngest, Charles 
Stuart. Margaret remained a rigid Roman Catholic all 
her life, and consequently with the accession of Elizabeth 
fell somewhat out of favour; but although she never 
pushed her own claim to the throne, she never forgot 
her rights, and nursed in secret high ambitions for her 

Mary Stuart, whose father had died when she was a 
week old, and who therefore reigned a queen from her 
cradle, had been married to the Dauphin of France at an 
early age, and became a widow in 1560 when only eighteen. 
She returned to her kingdom, and henceforth was the 
desired bride of every prince in Europe, no less on account 
of her personal fascination than because she was actually 
Queen of Scotland and next heir, as many considered, to 
Elizabeth of England, although Elizabeth herself would 
in no case admit this. The Earl and Countess of Lennox 
very early determined if possible to secure her for their 
eldest son Henry, Lord Darnley, who was some three 
years younger than Mary and a great fop, but a " hand- 


some lang lad." The advantage of such a marriage would 
be that the two Scottish lines would thus be united, with 
a rival the less for each; and in spite of older and more 
attractive suitors, Mary seemed to smile upon her young 
cousin. Elizabeth however clung tenaciously to her 
privilege of allowing or disallowing the marriages of her 
subjects, and on receiving information of the projected 
alliance, sternly forbade it, clapped Lennox in the Tower, 
and sent his wife and two younger children to the custody 
of Sir Richard and Lady Sackville at Sheen. From here 
Margaret wrote to her cousin, humbling herself in the 
dust, and vowing solemnly that neither she nor her husband 
would ever permit their son to marry the Scottish Queen. 
In time Elizabeth forgave her, convinced of her sincerity, 
and released her husband from the Tower, but still refused 
to receive the couple at Court; and shortly after they 
retired to their estates at Settrington in Yorkshire. A 
year or two later, Lennox besought Burghley for per- 
mission to travel to Scotland with his eldest son to attend 
to some family affairs for which Darnley's signature was 
a necessity, and the great minister seems to have imagined 
no secret motive hidden behind the suggestion, and not 
only readily obtained the Queen's consent, but made use 
of the Earl as an agent to convey money, promises and 
jewels to persons at the Scottish Court. Margaret and 
her only remaining child, little Charles, now aged nine, 
stayed behind. 

A rumour soon got abroad that Darnley was again in 
high favour with the Queen of Scots, and Elizabeth in 
alarm ordered the immediate return of Lennox and his 
son; but they were too wary to re-enter the trap. The 
ill-omened wedding of Mary and Darnley was solemnized 
in July 1565 ; and while Holyrood hummed with festivity 
the bridegroom's mother, the only scapegoat in Elizabeth's 
power, was hurried back to the Tower once more, and all 
her husband's property was confiscated. Personally the 
Queen seems to have felt some sympathy with her cousin, 
though obliged to keep her as a hostage. Margaret was 
never physically ill-treated; she was provided with well- 


furnished rooms in the Lieutenant's house, and allowed 
two ladies, a maid, a gentleman and a yeoman to wait 
upon her ; but her suspense and anxiety were great. From 
her husband and eldest son she heard little or nothing; 
they appeared to have forgotten her; and little Charles, 
always a sickly child, was left alone at Settrington. On 
the 23rd June the Archbishop of York writes to the Queen 
concerning the inquiries she had bade him make as to 
the Lennox estate; and adds that as Mr. Secretary had 
wished him not to take away Charles, the younger son, 
because he is sickly, he had stayed that point. " Here 
he is in health and at Settrington, where he has thirty 
servants; but some of them have been selling corn and 
sheep, etc., so it is uncertain how long they intend to stay. 
The house is in the open country, ten or twelve miles 
from the sea, where the Earl or Sir Richard Chamberlain 
have boats, by which Charles could easily be carried to 
Scotland, so this is not the place to keep him safely." 
On the 23rd August Sir Thomas Gargrave wrote to the 
Lord Treasurer concerning the inventory of the Lennox 
goods that the plate had been divided, and half sent to 
the Earl in Scotland and the rest was either with Lady 
Lennox or " here at Settrington, where Mr. Charles, the 
Earl's son lives, and the house is kept for him by the 
servants ; but it is only a little salt, two bowls, and certain 
spoons." If this is to be seized, he asks what should 
become of Mr. Charles and the housekeeper ; and probably 
in reply to this, by the beginning of September Elizabeth 
ordered Charles Vaughan and his wife Lady Knevet to go 
to Settrington and make themselves responsible for the 
boy's health and safety, " he being of tender years." 

In June 1566 a son, afterwards James I of England, 
was born to Mary and Darnley, and Elizabeth sent such 
cheering information as she might to Margaret, to whom 
she bore no personal grudge. When, in the following 
February, Darnley came to his tragic death, his unhappy 
mother was immediately released. Lennox hurried back to 
his wife, and both were loud in their cries to Elizabeth 
to avenge them upon Mary, whom they held guilty of 


their son's murder. The Queen was far too prudent to 
do anything of the kind ; and even when, two years later, 
defeated and forsaken by her own people, Mary crossed 
the border and threw herself upon the mercy of her rival, 
Elizabeth did but place her in the polite but strict custody 
of the Earl of Shrewsbury, averring that there was in- 
sufficient evidence to prove her guilty of the crime. Never- 
theless it pleased her that the Lennoxes should now stand 
so violently at enmity with the Queen of Scots ; and they 
were quickly taken back into her favour, Margaret being 
appointed her chief lady, while Lennox was made regent 
for little James, now since his mother's abdication King 
of Scotland. In the end of 1571 however, Lennox was 
murdered at Stirling, with his last breath gasping out 
his " love to wife Meg, and God comfort her." Hence- 
forth the unfortunate Margaret's sole interest in life was 
centred upon her last remaining child Charles. 

In April 1572 the new Regent, the Earl of Mar, in 
King James's name conferred his father's earldom of Lennox 
unconditionally upon Charles Stuart and his heirs, and 
was officially thanked by Queen Elizabeth for so doing. If 
the title had not already been hereditary, therefore, this 
grant undoubtedly made it so, a matter to which it will be 
necessary to refer again later. Charles's education had been 
conducted in so unsettled a manner that it is scarcely 
surprising that at fifteen his mother declared she found 
him by no means easy to manage. Elizabeth commanded 
that he should be brought up as a Protestant, a command 
there was no gainsaying, although Margaret had clung so 
firmly to the religion of her youth that she found it a sore 
trial. She was however far too alive by now to the advan- 
tages of royal favour to cross the Queen's wish; and as a 
matter of fact Malliet, the Swiss tutor chosen for the 
young man, seems to have understood his character very 
well and guided him wisely and with discretion. Margaret's 
chief hope had been to have him taken into the household 
and under the protection of some powerful statesman, and 
she was anxious to place him thus with Lord Burghley, 
writing pathetic letters to this^old friend to " bewraye a 


special grief which long time and chiefly of late hath grown 
upon me through the bringing up of my only son Charles." 
She sighs that he is her " greatest dolour," and that 
through the absence of " that help of the father's company 
that his brother had . . . he is somewhat unfurnished 
of qualities needful, and I, being now a lone woman, am 
less able to have him well reformed at home than before." 
Malliet, however, who describes him as " the Earl of 
Lennox, brother to the King of Scots who was murdered, 
and uncle to the present one," says that " the youth is just 
entering on his sixteenth year, and gives great promise of 
hope for the future." He speaks with much confidence 
of him as " sole successor by hereditary right to the crown 
of Scotland, should his nephew die," and adds that " also 
no one is more nearly allied to the royal blood of England, 
after the death of the present Queen, than his mother, 
to whom her only son is heir " a statement which demon- 
strates rather more the light in which the matter was 
regarded by the Lennox household than any public 
recognition of Charles's right. For more than two years 
mother, son and tutor lived quietly enough, however, at 
Margaret's old house at Hackney. 

Her grandson the baby King of Scotland being beyond 
her guardianship, all Lady Lennox's hopes and ambitions 
lay now in forming an influential marriage for her youngest 
and last -left son. Elizabeth had always hated her cousin's 
connection with Mary of Scotland, had rejoiced in its 
violent termination, and though it is rather difficult to 
understand why, had always feared its renewal. Mary had 
been a state prisoner now since 1568 in the various houses 
of George Talbot, Earl of Shrewsbury, and his wife, the 
redoubtable Bess of Hard wick. In the summer of 1570 
she made an appeal to the mother of her husband Darnley 
to believe her innocent of his murder, but Margaret refused 
to listen, and spoke openly of her indignation at Mary's 
conduct. Yet it is certain that two years later some secret 
understanding obtained between these two women. When 
Margaret died in 1578, Mary wrote evidently in all good 
faith to her adviser the Archbishop of Glasgow that 


" The Countess of Lennox, my mother-in-law, died about 
a month ago . . . This good lady was, thank God, in 
very good correspondence with me these five or six years 
bygone, and has confessed to me by sundry letters under 
her hand which I carefully preserve the injury she did 
me by the unjust pursuits which she allowed to go against 
me in her name, through bad information, but principally, 
she said, through the express orders of the Queen of 
England and the persons of her council, who took much 
solicitude that we might never come to a good under- 
standing together. But as soon as she came to know of my 
innocence, she desisted from any further suit against me." 

After the hard experiences life had brought her, one 
realises that Margaret would never have risked so much 
as she certainly did in the dangers of such a reconciliation 
without some very good reason. Elizabeth was in poor 
health at the time, and it appeared not improbable that at 
any moment Mary might rise from captive to queen, when 
all those who had befriended her in trouble would receive 
due reward of favour and consideration. Charles, Earl of 
Lennox, her own brother-in-law, might become a person 
of great importance at her Court, favoured all the more 
in order to disprove the ugly stories concerning Darnley's 
death. James VI was a puny child too, and it was not 
improbable that he might never grow up. Great possi- 
bilities stretched before Charles Stuart, and there is no 
doubt his mother reckoned it worth staking her all upon 
this renewed friendship, secret though it must be kept. 
She herself, old, poor and with few friends, could never 
hope now for recognition of her own rights, unless through 
alliance with her more powerful niece. But correspondence 
with Mary was perilous in the extreme, and some means 
must be found of maintaining it in an apparently innocent 
manner. Shrewsbury's wife, the great Bess, had her own 
schemes and ambitions, and being for the moment upon 
extremely friendly terms with her captive guest, her plans 
fell in appositely enough with those of Lady Lennox. 

One of the women who rise by sheer force of character 
from an insignificant position to stamp a name on history, 


Elizabeth of Shrewsbury, " Bess of Hard wick," demands 
here some words of introduction to herself. The daughter 
of a simple country gentleman, with little dower but her 
own personality, handsome, capable and immensely 
energetic, she had been four times married to wealthy 
husbands who adored her and could refuse her nothing. 
The first, Mr. Robert Barlow, left her a widow at sixteen ; 
by the second and best loved, Sir William Cavendish, she 
had ten children, of whom eight survived to make their 
advancement the one pressing object of her life ; the third 
was Sir William Saintlow or St. Loe, Captain of the Guard 
to Queen Elizabeth and Grand Butler of England, as wife 
to whom she was much at Court, and was made confidant to 
the unhappy love affair between the Earl of Hertford and 
Lady Katherine Grey, sister of the Days' Queen. 
Finally, at the age of fifty, she wedded the powerful Earl 
of Shrewsbury, and so dominated him by her will that he 
most unjustly disinherited his own children by a former 
marriage in favour of hers by Cavendish. Not content 
with this, she determined that her Cavendish brood should 
share yet more intimately in the glories of her fourth 
marriage, and insisted that her eldest son Henry should 
marry Lady Grace Talbot, Shrewsbury's daughter ; while 
her own daughter Mary, a clever, shrewd girl much of the 
mother's type, was united to Gilbert Talbot, the Earl's 
second son and ultimately his successor. Another daughter, 
Frances Cavendish, was married to Sir Henry Pierrepoint, 
but the youngest, Elizabeth, still remained at home when 
Mary of Scotland became the guest of the Shrewsburys; 
and this girl, a gentle, docile creature, swiftly (like many 
another) fell beneath the spell of that enchanting Queen. 
She protested herself ready to serve her lady in any way 
she might desire, and Mary in consequence loved and 
petted the girl and kept her constantly about her. Should 
Charles Stuart marry Elizabeth Cavendish, therefore, a 
simple and irreproachable means of communication 
between Mary and Margaret would be furnished ; and after 
a lengthy correspondence on Mary's part with the Bishop 
of Ross, De Guaras, the Portuguese Minister Foga9a, 


and other influential Catholics, it was decided that the 
marriage should take place. The young people themselves 
do not seem to have been much consulted, but it is easy 
to see what each of the plotting parties hoped to gain by 
it. Mary, the elimination of a possible claimant for her 
throne as well as documentary evidence of Margaret's 
friendship, necessarily implying her belief in the Queen's 
innocence ; Margaret of Lennox, a safe and simple means 
of communication with all the great Catholic intrigues, 
and recognition of her own and her son's rights to the 
succession, together with the powerful support of the 
Shrewsburys; Lady Shrewsbury herself, a daughter 
married to a near heir of both English and Scottish thrones, 
and grandchildren of indubitably royal blood. It was 
asserted afterwards that the Eail of Shrewsbury was also 
in the plot, that he had sworn to Mary he would himself 
place the crown upon her head when Elizabeth died, 
and that Mary in return had promised never to leave his 
roof except as Queen of England : but it seems little 
likely that any truth lay in this. Shrewsbury was an 
honest man and on the whole steered very straightly a 
difficult course between loyalty to his Queen and courtesy 
to his dangerous guest, complicated as that course was by 
the various intrigues known, unknown or suspected of 
his clever and restless wife. 

It is evident that Lady Lennox regarded Elizabeth 
Cavendish as the merest pawn, useful for the moment 
and easily to be got rid of when opportunity offered 
for Charles to make a more splendid marriage; but she 
was careful that the girl's mother should not suspect 
this. Experience had made Margaret crafty, and it is 
probable that in her Bess of Hardwick had at last met 
her match. But Vhomme propose et Dieu dispose. For 
the present the difficulty was to accomplish this marriage 
as though it were a spontaneous love affair, carried through 
upon the spur of the moment against the wishes and better 
judgment of parents and guardians ; and so cleverly was 
this contrived that through all the centuries since the 
mating of this pair has been almost universally looked 


upon as one of the few genuine idylls of history. As a 
first step, Lady Lennox asked and obtained permission 
to travel with her son to their estate of Settrington in 
Yorkshire, and thence perhaps to Scotland, to visit her 
grandson, little King James. Elizabeth agreed to this, 
but on Margaret hinting that she might be invited to 
meet her friend Katherine, Lady Suffolk, at Chatsworth, 
where Mary Stuart was at that time living, " I perceived 
Her Majesty misliked of it " ; she wrote afterwards to 
the Earl of Leicester ..." and she prayed me not, lest 
it be thought I should agree with the Queen of Scots. 
And I asked Her Majesty if she could think so, for I 
was made of flesh and blood and could never forget the 
murder of my child. And she said, ' Marry by her faith 
she could not think so, that ever I could forget it, for if 
I would I were a devil.' ' Obviously Elizabeth did not 
altogether trust her cousin, and, as we have seen, with 
good cause. 

Chatsworth, however, was not necessary to the plot, 
and the name was probably only thrown out as a feeler by 
Margaret to see how the Queen would take it. On the 
9th October, 1574, Lady Lennox and the young Earl 
started north, and stayed a few days on their way at 
Huntingdon with the above-mentioned Lady Suffolk, 
whom Charles Brandon had married three months after 
the death of his royal wife the Duchess Mary. Katherine 
Willoughby had been his ward for four years before, and 
it was probably whilst Margaret Douglas was also spending 
her youth at her aunt's house that the two became friends. 
Charles Brandon himself had died in 1545, and Katherine 
had afterwards married Mr. Bertie, to whose son Bess 
of Hardwick had already unsuccessfully tried to wed 
her daughter Elizabeth. The Shrewsburys had another 
country house at Rufford, no great distance away, 
where the Countess took care to be staying with her 
pretty daughter; and when the Lennox party left Hunt- 
ingdon, she met them on their way to Sheffield, and begged 
them so hospitably to stop a night with her first that, 
as Margaret wrote in the same letter to Leicester, Rufford 


being " not one mile out of my way, yea, and a much 
fairer way, as is well to be proved, and my lady meeting 
me herself upon the way, I could not refuse it, being 
near thirty miles from Sheffield." 

Arrived at Rufford, old Lady Lennox was taken con- 
veniently ill, and remained shut up in her room for five 
days, that being the least time in which the young couple 
could be presumed to form a lasting attachment. There 
is no reason to suppose that Charles and Elizabeth were 
indifferent to one another, and they seem, indeed, to have 
become very genuinely attached; but at the same time 
undoubted evidence proves the whole affair to have been 
arranged beforehand : and the way in which the marriage 
was now hurried on shows the anxiety of all parties that 
the Queen should hear no word of it till prevention was 
too late. Certainly they were wedded by the beginning 
of November, and on the 17th of that month the regal 
thunderbolt fell. Peremptory orders arrived that all 
parties to the marriage should return at once to London 
and answer to Elizabeth for taking so important a step 
without her knowledge and consent. 

A shower of letters of excuse and explanation was 
immediately rained upon the Queen and her chief advisers, 
Lord Burghley and Lord Leicester, by all concerned. 
From that of Lady Lennox to Leicester we have already 
quoted; the Earl of Shrewsbury, who had probably been 
quite as well hoodwinked as everybody else, wrote early 
in November that " The Lady Lennox, being as I heard 
sickly, rested her at Rufford five days, and kept most 
her bedchamber. And in that time the young man her 
son fell into liking with my wife's daughter before intended, 
and such liking was between them as my wife tells me she 
makes no doubt of a match, and hath so tied themselves 
upon their own liking as cannot part. My wife hath 
sent him to my lady, and the young man is so far in 
love that belike he is sick without her. This taking effect, 
I shall be well at quiet, for there is few noblemen's sons 
in England that she hath not prayed me to deal for at 
one time or other, for my Lord Wharton and sundry 


others. And now this comes unlooked-for without thanks 
to me." To Elizabeth herself Shrewsbury wrote, " May 
it please your Majesty, I understand of late your Majesty's 
displeasure is set gainst my wife, for marriage of her 
daughter to my Lady Lennox son. I must confess to 
your Majesty, as true it is, that it was dealt in suddenly, 
and without my knowledge ; but as I dare undertake and 
insure to your Majesty, for my wife, she finding her 
daughter disappointed of young Bart, where she hoped, 
and that other young gentleman was inclined to love 
with a few days' acquaintance, did her best to further 
her daughter to this match, without having therein any 
other intent or respect than with reverent duty towards 
your Majesty she ought. . . . But as I have always found 
your Majesty my good and gracious sovereign, so do I 
comfort myself that your wisdom can find out right well 
what causes move them thereunto, and therefore I am 
not afraid of any doubtful opinion or displeasure to 
remain with your Majesty of me, or of my wife, whom 
your highness and your council have many ways tried 
in times of most danger. We never had thought or respect 
but as your Majesty's most true and faithful servants, and so 
do truly serve and faithfully love and honour your Majesty." 
This is the language of an honest man, and no doubt 
Shrewsbury believed every word he wrote, but the Queen 
had less trust of her sex. Meanwhile bride and groom, 
with their respective mothers, trembling but triumphant, 
journeyed slowly and with difficulty to London. The 
floods were out, and it was the 10th December before 
the Lennox party reached the house at Hackney, where 
they remained under arrest till after Christmas, while 
Lady Shrewsbury was ordered to her husband's town 
house under the same conditions. Elizabeth left the 
young people contemptuously alone, but immediately 
after Christmas the two arch-plotters were ordered to the 
Tower : a new sensation for Lady Shrewsbury, but no 
novelty to the aged Margaret. "Thrice have I been 
cast into prison," she exclaimed as she once more passed 
those dismal gates, " not for matters of treason, but for 
love matters. First, when Thomas Howard, son to Thomas, 


first Duke of Norfolk, was in love with myself; then for 
the love of Henry Darnley, my son, to Queen Mary of 
Scotland ; and lastly, for the love of Charles, my younger 
son, to Elizabeth Cavendish." 

An official inquiry into the whole matter was ordered 
under the Earl of Huntingdon, greatly to the disgust of 
all concerned, since both Shrewsbury and Mary hated 
Huntingdon, who was always likely to supersede Shrews- 
bury in his office as Mary's gaoler. A rigid examination 
of the Lennox household, however, and particularly of 
the Countess's trusted steward, Thomas Fowler, elicited no 
evidence of a prearranged plot, and the secret was well 
kept. La Mothe Fenelon, the Spanish Ambassador, writes 
at the time that he feared this marriage might estrange 
Mary from the Shrewsburys, and was surprised to find 
the contrary happen, from which it is evident that nothing 
had been made known to him; and by March the two 
Countesses were acquitted of " large treasons " and per- 
mitted to return to their homes. Lady Shrewsbury went to 
Sheffield and thence to Buxton to recover from the effects 
of her imprisonment; while Margaret Lennox returned to 
the old house at Hackney, where her son and his wife 
awaited her, and where the little party, very poor and out 
of favour, still distrusted and ignored by the Court, dwelt 
quietly till well on into the summer Gilbert Talbot, 
writing to his father about this time, mentions a friend, 
one Mr. Tyndall, who " was at Hackney, where he found 
them there well. And I trust very shortly that the dregs 
of all misconstruction will be wiped away, that their 
abode there after this sort will be altered." 

Certainly pretty, gentle Elizabeth Cavendish had gained 
little yet by her semi-royal marriage : but she was sister- 
in-law to her adored Queen, and the birth of her child, 
perhaps destined to wear two crowns, was expected in 

I the early autumn. For her confinement she returned to 
Chatsworth in order to be in her mother's care; and here 
(probably some time in September, though the exact 
date is not known), in the year 1575, that long-looked -for 
child of promise, heir to the house of Lennox, was born. 
And the child was a girl, 
c 2 



THE baby was christened Arbella, and her name is 
always spelt thus ; though in the days of her Court life 
under her cousin James she herself changed her signature 
from Arbella Stewart to the more romantic form of Arbella 
Stuart. Her baptism most probably took place at the 
small parish church of Edensor, where all such family 
ceremonies of the Cavendishes were performed, although no 
record of it remains ; and her two chief sponsors were her 
uncle and aunt, Gilbert and Mary Talbot, always henceforth 
her good friends and guardians throughout life. History 
does not relate if the two familes were disappointed at the 
sex of the infant, and possibly they quickly realized that 
while this was no bar to her inheritance, a girl was easier 
to educate in seeming obscurity than a boy. Besides, 
Arbella might have a troop of brothers yet. So on the 
whole the child of many hopes born at Chatsworth that 
autumn of 1575 received a warm welcome, and great 
things were prophesied for her future. 

By the 10th of November the young Countess and her 
baby were back at Hackney, for on that date we have 
a letter from her mother-in-law Margaret to Queen Mary, 
evidently in reply to some kind message, which, short 
though it is, breathes triumph and satisfaction in every 
line. She closes 

" And now must I yield your Majesty most humble 
thanks for your good remembrance and bounty to our little 
daughter here, who some day may serve your highness. 
Almighty God grant unto your Majesty an happy life. 
Hackney, this 10th of November. 

" Your Majesty's most humble and loving mother and 
aunt, "M. L." 



To this the adoring little Countess Elizabeth adds 

" I most humbly thank your Majesty that it pleased your 
highness to remember me, your poor servant, both with a 
token and in my lady's gracious letter, which is not little 
to my comfort. I can but wish and pray God for your 
Majesty's long and happy estate till time I may do 
your Majesty better service, which I think long to do, 
and shall always be as ready thereto as any servant 
your Majesty hath, according as by duty I am bound. 
I beseech your highness pardon these rude lines, and accept 
the good heart of the writer, who loves and honours your 
Majesty unfeignedly. 

" Your Majesty's most humble and lowly servant 
during life, " E. LENNOX." 

But the ill-luck of the Stuarts was never more evidenced 
than in this matter of the Lennox marriage. There were 
no more children; and in April 1576, when Arbella was 
some eighteen months old, her young father Charles died 
of a rapid consumption. A few months earlier Mary, 
Queen of Scots, who always regarded her abdication as 
forced upon her and herself still as reigning Queen, had 
drafted a will by which she named for her successor to 
the crowns of England and Scotland either Charles Lennox 
or Lord Claud Hamilton, " whichever should serve her 
most faithfully and be most constant in religion, should her 
son James persist in his heresy," while at the same time 
she restored to old Lady Lennox all rights in her father's 
earldom of Angus. Her legal power to do this might be 
disputed, but many held to it staunchly, and at least her 
will and approval counted for much. Now all seemed 
wasted ; but, indomitably ambitious still, the aged Mar- 
garet built for the future all her hopes upon her infant 
grandchild; and only a few days after her son's death 
wrote with her own hand to Lord Ruthven to request that 
the administration of the Lennox estates be placed in her 
hands during Arbella's minority. It will be remembered 
that in 1572 the earldom had been settled upon Charles 
and his heirs for ever, without restriction, by the Regent 


Mar and the Council of Scotland, ratified by an Act of 
Parliament : but not only was Lady Lennox's petition 
now refused, but the child's own claim to the title called 
in question. Objections were raised and prevarications 
made; it was stated that the heiress being a minor, the 
gift fell back into the King's hands until she should be 
eighteen years of age, and furthermore that " The same 
gift of the earldom, made by the Earl of Mar, then Regent, 
under the great seal of Scotland, and also by Act of Parlia- 
ment, may by the King be revoked at any time, either 
within age or at full age." The looked -for revoking 
followed quickly enough upon this announcement, and it 
was known to all that James and his advisers intended to 
bestow the earldom upon his handsome cousin Esme 
Stuart, Lord D'Aubigny, to whom, as some mild com- 
pensation, it was suggested that Arbella, when of due age, 
might be married. It was in the highest degree improbable 
that Elizabeth would permit any such marriage, and the 
whole scheme was distinctly nebulous; but meanwhile, 
D'Aubigny being still in France, the earldom was granted 
to the aged and childless Bishop of Caithness, kinsman of 
Arbella's father, on the distinct understanding that he 
should renounce it whenever the King wished. This 
happened in 1581, when D'Aubigny, as expected, received 
it. The Queen of England professed herself mightily 
indignant at this disinheriting of Charles Stuart's baby 
daughter; but at the same time she herself lost no time 
in seizing the estates her father, Henry VI 1 1, had conferred 
upon Margaret of Lennox's husband and children. The 
Lennox family was now in extremest poverty, and the old 
Countess, as ever, overburdened with debt. Countess 
Elizabeth and her daughter seem chiefly to have lived with 
her at the old house at Hackney ; but probably paid also 
long and frequent visits to some of the great Shrewsbury 
houses, where they must have enjoyed the wealth and 
luxury surrounding Elizabeth's mother and her family. 
Here, too, the Queen of Scots grew to love and take much 
pleasure in her baby niece. Arbella was a very pretty 
child, a good deal prettier than when she grew up : and 

Aged nearly Two years 


she had always very engaging manners. A delightful 
portrait was painted of her just before she was two, and 
it hangs still in Hardwick House. The solemn little baby 
face with hair coiffed grown-up fashion under a Marie 
Stuart cap banded with jewels, the clear blue eyes and 
golden-red hair, the childish figure tucked into the 
voluminous brocaded dress of the period, the great jewel 
hung round her neck showing the device of a heart, a 
coronet, and the motto " Pour Parvenir J'Endure," all 
present a rather pathetic contrast to what is evidently 
the real interest of the occasion to Arbella. She had 
refused to be parted from her doll, a stiff lady in full 
Elizabethan garb, and she comes down to us through the 
centuries, clutching that cherished possession, a silent 
dogged little figure, patiently enduring all the squabbles 
and intrigues that surged about her childhood and girlhood, 
and unspoiled still by the petting and flattery of all her 
complicated aunts and uncles of the house of Shrewsbury. 
Her two grandmothers still looked upon her, in spite of all 
opposing circumstances, as the future queen of two realms ; 
and no efforts were spared by them to restore to her both 
the English and Scottish titles and estates of which she 
had been so unjustly dispossessed. 

The Earl of Leicester was a particular friend of both 
Lady Lennox and Lady Shrewsbury, and to him they made 
constant appeals for help. High in favour with the Queen 
as he stood, however, he found it wise to move cautiously 
in this matter. Elizabeth was ready enough to blame 
James and his advisers for their action with regard to the 
Lennox earldom, but she was equally resolved never to 
give up the English estates, urging that even if she did so, 
James would have a better right to them than Arbella, 
he being the only child of Lady Lennox's elder son, and 
Arbella the only child of the younger. Here, however, 
the Act forbidding those born without the realm to inherit 
lands within it might reasonably have been supposed to 
take effect, and the energy with which Elizabeth refused 
on this particular occasion to give ear to it wakes a doubt 
of her sincerity in the matter. She told James that it 


was his business to pay his grandmother's debts and take 
charge of his infant cousin, and that he could well afford 
to do it out of the Lennox estates : but to this statement 
James would pay no attention whatever. 

In the height of the discussion old Lady Lennox died 
suddenly at Hackney. Leicester went down to talk over 
business affairs with her one day in the first week of March 
1578; he stopped to dine, and immediately after dinner 
she was taken gravely ill. Two days later her troubled 
life was over. " She was a matron of singular piety, 
patience and modesty," says Camden : and to her faults 
posterity must be lenient, recognizing the difficulties of 
her position and of her age. She died deeply in debt, 
possessing nothing but some jewels, which she left to 
Arbella : while Elizabeth for very shame paid for a magnifi- 
cent funeral and a handsome monument to her cousin in 
Westminster Abbey. Charles Stuart had been buried in 
the same vault two years before ; and he and his brother 
Darnley, the latter with a crown above his head, are repre- 
sented kneeling in armour beside the alabaster effigy of 
their mother. The crown has long since been broken 
away, but amongst the claims to renown set forth upon her 
tomb Margaret of Lennox is mentioned as " having to son 
Henry I of Scotland," by which title few will recognize 
the brief-lived and somewhat inglorious Darnley. Small 
figures of her other children, all of whom died young, kneel 
behind Henry and Charles upon the monument. 

With respect to Arbella's legacy, the State Papers 

" My Lady Margaret's Grace committed her casket 
with jewels into the hands of Mr. Thomas Fowler, to be 
delivered to the Lady Arbella at the age of fourteen. 

1. A jewel set with a fair table diamond, a table ruby, 
and an emerald with a fair great pearl. 

2. A cross all set with fair table diamonds, with a square 
linked chain. 

8. A jewel set with a ballast, and a fair table diamond set 
beneath it. 

4. A H of gold set with rock ruby. 


5. A burrish set with a fair diamond. 

6. A rose set with fair diamonds. 

7. A carcanet set with table diamonds. 

8. A girdle set with table diamonds. 

9. A border set with table diamonds. 

10. A border set with table rubies. 

11. A border set with rock emeralds. 

12. A table, the head of gold set with diamonds. 

13. A fair pearl chain. 

14. A chain set with rock rubies, pillar-wise. 

15. A chain of small turquoise set upon a three -square 

16. A clock set in crystal, with a wolf of gold upon it. 

17. Buttons of rock rubies to set a gown. 

18. Table diamonds to set upon sleeves. 

19. Two tablets of gold, the one with two agates, with 
divers small turquoises the other. 

20. Enamelled the form of a globe. 

21. Bracelets two pair : one of agate, and the other of 
plain gold, with other things that be not yet in memory." 

Arbella never seems to have received these jewels. 
Thomas Fowler was left sole executor to the will, and should 
she die before the age of fourteen, they were to go to James. 
Mary Stuart, however, seems to have regarded herself as 
capable of overriding all wills and wishes; and in Sep- 
tember of the year following Margaret of Lennox's death, 
she issued the following warrant : "To all people be it 
knowne that we Marie, be the grace of God Queene of 
Scotland, dowagier of France, doo will and require Thomas 
Fowler, soole executor to our dearest mother -in-la we and 
aunt, the lady Margaret, countess of Lennox deceased, to 
deliver into the hands and cowstody of our right well 
belowed cousin Elizabeth, contess of Shrewsbury, all and 
every such juells as the said Lady Margaret before her 
death delivered and committed in charge to the said 
Thomas Fowler for the use of the lady Arbella Stewart, 
her graund chyld, if God send her lyf till fourteen years of 
age ; if not then, for the use of our deare and only sonne the 
prince of Scotland. In witness that this is owre will and 


desire to th e said Fowler we have gewen the present under 
our own hand at Sheffield Manor, the XIX of September, 
the year of our Lord MD threescore and nyneteenth, and 
of our reyne the thretty sixth." The poor lady's wishes 
counted in effect for very little, but in the tedium of her 
imprisonment and failing health, her passion for intrigue 
could spend itself only thus in phantom gifts and visionary 
commands. She was constantly issuing peremptory orders 
about matters that concerned her not in the least, and in 
the present case she had of course no power whatever to 
upset the provisions of her aunt's will, and Fowler naturally 
paid not the slightest attention to her warrant. Imme- 
diately on his mistress's death he travelled straight to 
Scotland, where he became a trusted servant of James, to 
whom, being very rich, he constantly lent money. One 
day a party of marauders, headed by the Earl of Bothwell, 
broke into his house and stole the jewels. Hue and cry 
was raised and all were recovered, together with the 
inventory, and given over to the young King for safety. 
Twelve months later the Jews had the whole ; that at least 
is how the story goes; but Arbella having no claim to 
them at present, the whole matter fell into abeyance for 
some years. 

With regard to the child's own rights Queen Mary seems 
to have thought the Lennox estates due to her, but that 
her own son James should have the English ones. She 
had signed a will in 1577 in which she distinctly states 
that " Je faitz don a Ar belle ma niepce du comte de 
Lennox, tenu par feu son pere, et commande a mon filz 
comme mon heritier et successeur d'obeyr en cest endroit 
a ma volonte." Immediately on Lady Lennox's death 
Queen Elizabeth announced her intention of taking Arbella 
into her own wardship, a statement apparently well received 
by the child's relatives. Mary herself wrote to Monsieur 
de Glasgow, " The Countess of Lennox, my mother-in- 
law, d.ed about a month ago, and the Queen of England 
has taken into her care her ladyship's granddaughter. I 
desire those who are about my son to make instances in 
his name for this succession, not for any desire I have that 


he should actually succeed to it, but rather to testify that 
neither he nor I ought to be reputed or treated as foreigners 
in England who are both born within the same isle." 
This was making a test case of the matter, and it is one 
of the few in which James and his mother were fully at 
accord. In July 1578, four months after Lady Lennox's 
death, the Abbot of Dunfermline was sent to the English 
Court to demand for the King of Scots the English estates 
of his grandmother ; and Elizabeth, as was expected, made 
great play with the Alien Act. The estates were left to 
Charles and his heirs male, she said, therefore Arbella 
could not have them : but equally, James being born across 
the border, he could not inherit them either : therefore 
they reverted to the crown. These particular estates were 
of no especial consequence, but the real point at issue was 
James's right to the succession of the English crown, should 
Elizabeth never marry ; a right which would be affected by 
precisely the same considerations. It was left, as Eliza- 
beth intended it should be, entirely vague : but mean- 
while she professed herself extremely indignant at the 
Lennox title and estates being snatched thus from their 
rightful inheritress. Burghley was appealed to by Arbella's 
mother, and did his utmost for her, but without avail. 
Her artless little letter of thanks to the great Lord Treasurer 
is very touching 

" I can but yield your lordship most hearty thanks for 
your continual goodness towards me and my little one, 
and specially for your lordship's late good dealing with the 
Scots ambassador for my poor child's right, for which, as 
also sundry other ways, we are for ever bound to your 
lordship, whom I beseech still to further that cause as to 
your lordship may seem best. I can assure your lordship 
the Earldom of Lennox was granted by Act of Parliament 
to my lord, my late husband, and the heirs of his body, so 
that they should offer great wrong in seeking to take it 
from Arbella ; which I trust by your lordship's good means 
will be prevented, being of your mere goodness for justice 
sake so well disposed thereunto. For all which your 


lordship's goodness (as I am bound) I rest in heart more 
thankful than I can anyways express. I take my leave 
of your lordship, whom I pray God long to preserve. At 
Newgate Street, the XV of August, 

4 Your lordship, as I am bounden, 

" E. LENNOX." 

" Upon my advertisement to my lady, my mother, of 
the infection at Chelsey (from whence I would at the first 
have removed if I had known any fit place), though the 
danger was not great, she hath commanded me presently 
to come hither for want of a more convenient house." 

The Earl of Shrewsbury also wrote to Leicester to beg 
his persuasion with the Queen for further remonstrance : 
" Unless the Queen will write in most earnest sort to the 
King of Scots in her little ward's behalf," he says, . . . 
" we cannot but be in some despair. . . . The Bishop of 
Caithness is an old, sickly man without a child ; and I think 
it is done that D'Aubigny, being in France and the next 
heir male, should succeed him. My wife says that the old 
Lady Lennox told her long ago of D'Aubigny's seeking to 
prevent the infant." But neither Burghley, Leicester nor 
Elizabeth herself were successful in wresting recognition 
from the Scottish Court. There is something almost 
comic in the rival sovereigns thus tearing the unfortunate 
little girl's property to pieces between them, and each 
seizing a share with plausible explanations, while calling 
Christendom to execrate the rapacity of the other. When 
it became quite evident that a checkmate had been 
arrived at, however, Elizabeth had the grace to unbend to a 
certain extent. She had avowed her intention of protect- 
ing Arbella, and she could not allow the child to starve, 
or even, being in fact a princess of the house of Tudor, to 
remain dependent upon the private charity of her mother's 
family. It is probable that the Queen already foresaw in 
Arbella a useful rival to James for her crown, and deter- 
mined to keep her well within her power. At any rate, 
while still denying her right to the estates, she settled a 
pension of 400 a year upon the young Countess of Lennox 


during her lifetime, and 200 a year upon her child. 
This provision, while not princely, was yet at that period 
a very comfortable allowance, and since Elizabeth and 
Arbella lived quietly with the Shrewsbury family, it 
furnished ample for their needs. Gilbert Talbot, the Earl's 
second son, Arbella's godfather, and ever a great courtier, 
reports to his father and stepmother that " On May Day 
I told the Queen that you both thought yourselves most 
bounden to her for her most gracious dealing toward your 
daughter, my Lady of Lennox; and that you assuredly 
trusted in the continuance of her favourable goodness to 
her and her daughter. And she answered that she always 
found you more thankful than she gave cause." 

Old Lord Shrewsbury seems to have thought, however, 

that the Queen might do more, and probably instigated by 

his wife, wrote to implore that his stepdaughter might 

have " in farm " the estates of her late mother-in-law, 

paying rent to the Crown, and making the best she could 

of the timber, pastures, etc., of the parks. But on the 21st 

January, 1582, after a very short illness, gentle Elizabeth 

Lennox passed away from the troubles of this world, and 

Arbella, with all her dangerous heritage of blood and 

temperament, was left an orphan at seven years old. The 

young Countess was buried at Sheffield, where she died; 

and her stepfather, who, like all who knew her, was tenderly 

attached to her, wrote the sad news at once to the Lords 

Burghley and Leicester. " My very good Lords, it hath 

pleased God to call to His mercy, out of this transitory world, 

my daughter Lennox, this present Sunday, being the 21st 

of January, about three of the clock in the morning. Both 

towards God and the world she made a most godly and good 

end, and was in most perfect memory all the time of her 

sickness, even to this last hour. Sundry times did she 

make her most earnest and humble prayer to the Almighty 

for her Majesty's most happy estate, and the long and 

prosperous continuance thereof, and, as one most infinitely 

bound to her highness, humbly and lowly beseeched her 

Majesty to have pity upon her poor orphan, Arbella 

Stuart, and, as at all times heretofore, both the mother and 


poor daughter was most infinitely bound to her Highness, 
so her assured trust was that her Majesty would continue 
the same accustomed goodness and bounty to her child 
she left. ... I thought it my part to signify to both your 
lordships in what sort God hath called her to His mercy, 
which I beseech you make known to her Majesty, and thus, 
with my very hearty commendations to both your good 
lordships, I cease." 

He wrote the same news to Sir Francis Walsingham, 
adding that, " To you, my daughter in her life, and her 
infant, the Lady Arbella Stuart, hath been very much 
bound. I pray you so now, like a good friend, after her 
death, be you a mean to her Majesty, to present my daughter 
Lennox's humble and lowly thanks to her Majesty, with 
her prayer for the long and happy estate of her Majesty. 
And for her Majesty's goodness at all times extended 
towards her and her poor orphan, who now is left altogether 
destitute, which might have greatly increased my daughter's 
grief if she had not had a most assured trust of her Majesty's 
most bountiful goodness and great compassion to all who 
stand in need of help and comfort. The poor mother, my 
wife, takes my daughter's death so grievously and so 
mourneth and lamenteth that she cannot think of aught 
but tears, and therefore the rather I thought good to signify 
thus much unto you, and request your favour in this sort." 

Orphaned thus early, and robbed of her rights on every 
hand, Arbella Stuart counted yet a powerful protector 
in her maternal grandmother. Bess of Hardwick was 
tenderly attached to all her children; it was the one real 
passion of her life, and she mourned her gentle Elizabeth 
deeply and sincerely; but nevertheless one realises the 
thrill with which she found herself now sole guardian and 
arbiter of destiny to the future Queen of England. There 
was never any question in the Shrewsbury household that 
Arbella was rightful heir to the kingdom ; and though far 
too wary to press the point unduly, the redoubtable 
Countess hints pretty broadly at it in the letters she wrote 
to Burghley and Walsingham one short week only after 
her daughter's death. To Burghley her letter runs 



" Your lordship hath heard by my Lord how it 
hath pleased God to visit me ; but in what sort soever His 
pleasure is to lay His heavy hand on us we must take it 
thankfully. It is good reason His holy will should be 
obeyed. My honourable good Lord, I shall not need here 
to make long recital to your Lordship how that in all my 
greatest matters I have been singly bound to your Lord- 
ship for your Lordship's good and especial favour to me; 
and how much your Lordship did bind me, the poor woman 
that is gone, and my sweet jewel, Arbella, at our last being 
at Court, neither the mother during her life nor I can ever 
forget, but most thankfully acknowledge it; and so I am 
well assured will the young babe when her riper years will 
suffer her to know her best friends. And now my good 
Lord, I hope her Majesty upon my most humble suit will 
let that portion which her Majesty bestowed upon my 
daughter and jewel Arbella remain wholly to the child 
for her better education. Her servants that are to look 
to her, her masters that are to train her up in all good 
learning and virtue, will require no small charges, wherefore 
my earnest request to your Lordship is so to recommend this 
my humble suit to her Majesty as it may soonest and easliest 
take effect, and I beseech your Lordship to give my son, 
William Cavendish, leave to attend on your Lordship about 
this matter. And so referring myself, my sweet jewel 
Arbella, and the whole matter to your honourable and 
friendly consideration, I take my leave of your Lordship, 
beseeching your Lordship pardon me that I am not able 
to write to you with my own hand. 

4 Your Lordship's most assured loving friend, 


To Walsingham she wrote very similarly. The 400 
a year allowed as a life pension to Elizabeth Lennox 
lapsed of course with her death, and Lady Shrewsbury 
was anxious to obtain a promise of its continuance for 
the better education of Arbella, whose own 200 would not 
go very far now that she was approaching an age when the 


best masters for all manner of accomplishments should 
be furnished for her. A clever and well-educated young 
lady in good society at this period was expected to be not 
only extremely well read, and conversant with all the 
ancient philosophers, but also to speak several modern 
tongues, to sing, play, dance, ride, and even to compose 
and write verses herself. Since little Arbella already gave 
evidence of an intelligence above the average, it would have 
been cruel to deprive her of any possible advantage. 
Bess did not mean to do it, but she would make the Queen 
pay for it if she could, and no satisfactory answer being 
returned to her appeals, she wrote again a few months 
later, in May, to Walsingham, begging him " to prefer 
my humble suit into the Queen's Majesty in the behalf of 
a poor infant, my jewel Arbella, who is to depend wholly 
upon her Majesty's bounty and goodness, being in her 
tender age deprived of her parents, whose late mother in 
her extreme sickness, and even at the approaching of 
her end (which I cannot without great grief remember), 
did most earnestly sundry times recommend to her 
Majesty's gracious goodness and favour that poor infant 
her only care." 

To Burghley, writing in the same strain, she continues : 
44 1 assuredly trust to her Majesty's most gracious goodness, 
who never denied me any suit, but by her most bountiful 
and gracious favours every way hath so much bound me, 
as I can never think myself able to discharge my duty in 
all faithful service to her Majesty. I wish not to live after 
I shall willingly fail in any point thereof to the best of my 
power. And as I know your Lordship hath especial care 
for the ordering of her Majesty's revenues and of her 
estate every way, so trust I you will consider of the poor 
infant's case, who under her Majesty is to appeal only to 
your Lordship for succour in all her distresses; who, I 
trust, cannot dislike of this my suit in her behalf, consider- 
ing the charges incident to her bringing up. For although 
she were everywhere her mother was during her life, yet can 
I not now like she should be here or in anyplace else where 
I may not sometimes see her and daily hear of her, and 


therefore charged with keeping house where she must be 
with such as is fit for her calling, of whom I have special 
care, not only such as a natural mother hath of her best 
beloved child, but much more greater in respect how she is 
in blood to her Majestic, albeit one of the poorest, as 
depending wholly of her Majesty's gracious bounty and 
goodness, and being now upon VI yeres and very apt to 
learn and able to conceive what shall be taught her. The 
charge will so increase as I doubt not her Majesty will 
conceive the nyne hondred pounds yearly to be little 
enough, which as your L. knoweth is but as so much in 
money, for that the lands be in lease, and no further 
commodity to be looked for during the few years of the 
child's minority. All which I trust your L. will consider 
and say to her Majesty what you shall think thereof ; and 
so most heartily wish your good Lordship well to do." 

But the Queen's interest in the child had dwindled for 
the moment, and, knowing the private wealth of the 
Shrewsburys, she considered the 200 was quite sufficient. 
There was a certain estate named Smallwood, which had 
belonged to Margaret of Lennox, of which Arbella seems 
to have retained possession, since lawsuits concerning 
it are mentioned several times during her life; but this, 
together with the small allowance and her vague expecta- 
tions, were all with which the little girl started her in- 
dependent career in life. The revenue from Smallwood 
was probably reckoned in the " nyne hondred pounds " for 
which her grandmother hoped. Lady Shrewsbury still 
insisted, however, that the child should be styled and treated 
as Countess of Lennox; and the inscription "Arbella 
Stuarta Comtissa Leoniae " appears upon a portrait 
painted of her when she was in her fourteenth year. It 
was a barren pretension, for the estates were never returned 
to her, and in the very year this picture was painted 
Elizabeth finally gave up attempting to force James to 
recognize his cousin's title. 



DURING the first seven years of her life one gets but 
fleeting glimpses of Arbella ; but once settled at Hardwick 
and completely in the hands of her grandmother, it is 
possible to form a fairly clear idea of her surroundings and 
education. Lady Shrewsbury never allowed her house- 
hold to lose sight of the respect due to Arbella's royal 
blood; and not only her numerous aunts and uncles, but 
the captive Queen of Scots herself, ostentatiously made 
much of the pretty child, who seems yet to have been 
singularly unspoiled by all this attention. Queen Mary 
was in waning health now, and as hope after hope flitted 
from her, spent much of her time in a darkened chamber, 
where often the little niece with her pretty childish ways 
and games brought the rare and only brightness unhappy 
Mary knew. Robert Beale, Clerk of the Privy Council 
and a friend of Lord Shrewsbury, sent down to interview 
the Queen on some business, alludes pleasantly to Arbella 
as " my little Lady Favour " ; and one catches other such 
glimpses of her in letters of the period. The Shrewsbury 
family was one of intrinsic importance, beyond that 
conferred by the Earl's guardianship of the Scottish 
Queen; and the house was constantly visited by men of 
weight and distinction, to whom it is interesting to note, 
young though she was, Arbella was always presented as 
a person of consequence. Certainly Lady Shrewsbury 
must have seen well to her education, for only a year after 
her mother's death Sir Walter Mildmay, writing to 
Walsingham from Hardwick on the 17th June, 1583, adds 
this postscript 

" Sir, After the closing up of my other letter to you, 
I received this little inclosed paper written with the hand 



of Lady Arbella, daughter of the late Earl of Lennox. 
She is about seven years old and learned this Christmas 
last, a very proper child, and to my thinking will be like 
her grandmother, my old Lady Lennox. She wrote this 
at my request, and I meant to have showed the same to 
her Majesty, and withal to have presented her humble 
duty to her Majesty, with her daily prayer for her Majesty, 
for so the little lady desired me. And now, by reason 
of my not coming at this time to her Majesty's presence, 
I shall pray you to do this which I should have done." 

Arbella's own little note is not extant, but it is easy to 
see her grandmother's instigation in the tactful message 
to Elizabeth, whose good graces she was to be at pains 
to deserve, even while still remaining the pet of Mary 
Stuart. This same year, 1583, died Francis Talbot, 
eldest son of the Earl of Shrewsbury; whose second son, 
Gilbert, married to Bess's daughter Mary, thus became 
heir to the earldom. Gilbert and Mary proved firm and 
faithful, if not always very discreet, friends to Arbella 
throughout her life; and it is from her constant corre- 
spondence with them later on that one gathers many 
interesting details of her life. Lady Shrewsbury's house- 
hold, however, can never have been a very tranquil one. 
It is perhaps surprising only that her own family and that 
of her husband, intermarried as they were, continued 
upon speaking terms at all; and the oddest fact about 
it all is that in the inevitable family disputes some of 
her children sided with the Earl and some of his with 
her. Shrewsbury was a peace-loving man and one must 
therefore suppose most of the friction to have been applied 
from his wife's side : she was, indeed, an incorrigible 
intriguer, and a trial to her husband politically as well 
as socially. History will never, for instance, entirely 
elucidate her real relations with Mary, Queen of Scots, 
with whom she was at one time bosom friends and shortly 
afterwards at desperate enmity. Amongst the Domestic 
Series of State Papers there is an extract from a secret 
letter of Charles Cavendish to his mother in July 1582, 
D 2 


suggesting that " the Queen there " (Mary) should write 
a letter on his behalf with reference to some post he wished 
to obtain; and a reply from Mary to Lady Shrewsbury, 
evidently at this time not in the same house with her, 
professing herself " glad to hear of her and her little niece," 
but saying that " though in this case, full of compassion, 
she would do all the good she might, she fears her writing 
a letter about her son would be hazardous." Of Lady 
Shrewsbury's three sons, the eldest, Henry, married 
to Lady Grace Talbot, somewhat resembled his sister 
Elizabeth, and was gentle, slow, and easily outwitted by 
his younger and less scrupulous brothers William and 
Charles. These young gentlemen were their mother's 
sons to the core, and ready to aid and abet her in every 
clever and outrageous scheme, while Henry stood by his 
stepfather; and Shrewsbury's own son, Gilbert, took the 
part of his wife and his wife's mother. 

The Shrewsbury squabbles became an absolute scandal 
at last, and were discussed through all England, till the 
Earl feared Elizabeth's wrath and his own consequent 
disgrace. The Queen was much too shrewd, however, to 
dismiss so faithful a servant, and spoke kindly of him at 
Court ; and in one of his letters to her he sends thanks for 
her " gracious message by my son Gylbard among others, 
that I should not credit bruits, but you would be careful 
of me." In the same letter, written shortly before his 
stepdaughter's death, he thanks the Queen too for her 
message to " his daughter Lynox and her child " ; by which 
one observes that from the beginning Elizabeth kept a 
careful eye upon the little girl whose destiny might one 
day lead her to succeed herself. 

Arbella was so accustomed from her earliest days to 
domestic quarrels that they probably disturbed her very 
little. She was undoubtedly intelligent above the average, 
and took full advantage of the excellent education with 
which her grandmother provided her ; indeed, throughout 
her life books were an unfailing source of comfort and 
delight in even her darkest days, such as they could never 
be to one who did not truly love learning for its own sake 


She herself was a fruitful source of contention in the 
family, and, indeed, her future proved the rock upo n which 
finally split the precarious friendship between her captive 
aunt and her indomitable grandmother. Spite of her royal 
blood, outside the house of Shrewsbury Arbella had few 
or no friends of any power, and the old Countess's first 
desire was to form a great alliance for her by marriage. 
It would be impossible of course this time to carry such 
a project through without the Queen's consent, but the 
child was young yet, and at any rate negotiations might 
be opened and a contract made. Vague suggestions for 
wedding her to her cousin the King of Scots or to Esme 
Stuart, the usurper of her title, were disregarded by Bess, 
who meant to make the most possible of her grandchild's 
birthright as an Englishwoman, and secure for her the 
powerful influence of some great English noble. The 
Earl of Leicester, always her very good friend, here came 
forward with the suggestion of his son, little Lord Denbigh, 
aged, it is true, only two years to Arbella's eight, but this 
was no remarkable discrepancy for a royal or semi -royal pair, 
and Bess was well satisfied with the idea. A secret under- 
standing, if not betrothal, was accordingly entered into on 
the part of the children and their portraits were exchanged. 
Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, could look back upon 
a career curiously full of vicissitudes. Born in 1532, 
fifth son of the Duke of Northumberland, he with his 
father and brothers were all imprisoned in the Tower 
on account of his elder brother Guildford's marriage to 
the unfortunate Lady Jane Grey. Some of Robert's 
carvings on the stone walls of his prison may be seen still 
in the Beauchamp Tower, and for more than a year he 
too lay in danger of the axe which swept away his father 
and brother. He was released, however, in 1555. Some 
years before he had married Amy Robsart; but when in 
1558 Elizabeth ascended the throne and quickly singled 
him out for her especial favour, he soon tired of his wife, 
and the unhappy Amy died mysteriously in 1560. History 
has always credited Leicester with a hand in her death, 
and it certainly suited his plans miraculously well. In 


1563 he was created Earl of Leicester. For eleven years 
he remained a widower, and then contracted himself to 
Douglas Sheffield (daughter of Lord Howard of Emngham 
and widow of John, second Baron Sheffield), whom in 
May 1573 he secretly and hurriedly married, two days 
before the birth of their son Robert. Apparently it was 
with great reluctance that he allowed himself to be rushed 
into this union, for he never owned his son as an heir, 
and the boy was in consequence never received at Court, 
and ultimately retired to Florence, where he lived and died 
in warm friendship with Duke Cosimo II. Soon anxious 
to wriggle out of the relationship, Leicester offered his 
unacknowledged wife 700 to ignore the ceremony and 
set him free; and when she refused, he is suspected of 
attempting to poison her. She found her hair and nails 
falling out, and, terrified of worse to follow, she at last 
agreed to his offer. He now felt himself safe, and stood 
indeed at the zenith of his favour. In 1575 he gave his 
historic entertainment to Queen Elizabeth at Kenilworth 
Castle ; but he was already deeply in love again with the 
lovely Lettice Knollys, wife to Walter Devereux, first 
Earl of Essex. The following year Essex died suddenly 
at Dublin, and again it was whispered that Leicester was 
responsible : in any case he married Lettice as soon as 
possible, though she was prudent enough to insist that 
this ceremony should take place in the presence of all her 
relatives. At the same time the unfortunate Douglas 
Sheffield married Sir Edward Stafford of Grafton, and it 
seems to have been tacitly understood that these two 
marriages cancelled the first; but so many irregularities 
are to be found in almost every marriage of the period 
that legitimacy was continually being contested, and 
whether a son should be recognized or not seems to have 
remained very much a matter for the parents to decide, 
always presupposing the Queen's consent and favour. 
In 1580 a child was born to Leicester and Lettice, and it 
was this Robert Dudley, Baron of Denbigh, who was first 
fixed upon as a bridegroom for Arbella Stuart. 

It was imperative that if the affair was to arrive at any 


satisfactory conclusion it should be kept a profound secret ; 
but spite of her native shrewdness, Lady Shrewsbury could 
be violently indiscreet at times; and in an expansive 
moment divulged the whole scheme to the child's aunt, 
Queen Mary. Then one day later she lost [her temper 
and told Mary with unnecessary rudeness that neither she 
nor her son James could ever inherit England, both being 
foreigners, and that Arbella was the only rightful heir. 
Ill, faded, tired and captive, it was never safe to cross 
the path of Mary Stuart ; and she promptly wrote the whole 
story to Mauvissiere, the French Ambassador, bidding 
him inform Elizabeth of all that was on foot, with the 
rather hypocritical comment that nothing had alienated 
her more from Lady Shrewsbury than this " vain hope 
which she has conceived of setting the crown of England 
on the head of her little girl Arbelle, and this by means of 
marrying her to a son of the Earl of Leicester." Mary's 
letter is dated the 21st March, 1583, but Elizabeth was 
well served in the matter of information, and had been 
warned of the affair before. On the 4th of the same month 
Lord Paget wrote to the Earl of Northumberland that " a 
friend in office is very desirous that the Queen should have 
light given her of the practice between Leycester and the 
Countess for Arbella, for it comes on very lustily, insomuch 
as the said Earl hath sent down the picture of his babie." 
Leicester had to suffer some disfavour at Court on 
account of his share in the plan, but otherwise, since little 
Denbigh died almost immediately, the whole matter would 
be scarcely worth mentioning were it not for the torch it 
set to the long-smouldering resentment between Lady 
Shrewsbury and the Queen of Scots. Bess was furious at 
Mary's interference, and when her unfortunate husband 
endeavoured to make peace between the two angry women 
accused him of immoral relations with the Scotch Queen, 
and declaring that she would not suffer her innocent Arbell 
to remain under the same roof with such wickedness, 
carried her off in a rage to Shrewsbury. Not contented 
with these wild assertions in a moment of temper, she 
and her sons William and Charles Cavendish deliberately 


spread scandalous tales about the countryside, thus render- 
ing themselves liable to legal penalties. Mary saw and 
seized her advantage. She demanded satisfaction and 
apology, and Bess and her sons were called before the 
Queen and Council to explain and justify their words. 
According to Mary's own account they were forced to 
retract all accusations upon their knees, and solemnly to 
declare that " the Queen of Scots since she hath been in 
England hath never deported herself otherwise in honour 
and chastity than became a Queen and a princess of her 
quality." Mary herself, however, was not present at 
this scene, and her heated imagination seems a little to 
have outrun the cooler facts of the case. Lady Shrewsbury 
simply denied having made any of the statements ascribed 
to her, admitted there was no foundation for them, and 
there the matter rested. But, as will be guessed, the 
episode did not conduce to more peace in the Shrewsbury 

The understanding arranged for Arbella and the little 
Earl of Denbigh can scarcely be called a betrothal, but it 
was the first of many such talked-of possible marriages, 
of which the daughter of Charles Stuart and Elizabeth 
Cavendish was destined to be the heroine ; and it is strange 
to notice how from her very earliest days misfortune fell 
upon all in any way associated with Arbella. In herself 
good, gentle, clever and charming, some evil spell seemed 
inextricably interwoven with her friendship, and all those 
with whom she would have entered into pleasant or loving 
relations invariably had cause to rue her interest. In the 
end she herself succumbed to the most melancholy fate 
of all, but not before many others had become involved 
in her own catastrophe. Little Denbigh was buried in 
the Beauchamp Chapel at Warwick, where an inscription 
states that " Here resteth the body of the noble imp 
Robert Dudley, Baron of Denbigh, a child of great hope 
and towardness, taken from this transitory life unto the 
everlasting life, and in this place laid up among his 
ancestors, in assured hope of the general resurrection." 

The mere fact of all the talk about this betrothal drew 


attention once more to the rather anomalous position in 
which Arbella stood ; and it was realized that her marriage 
must inevitably become a question of much intrigue in 
a few years' time. Elizabeth decided either that she must 
be kept unmarried altogether, since without a powerful 
husband to press her rights they counted for very little; 
or else married to her only serious rival, her cousin James 
of Scotland. In 1584 Walsingham wrote to Mr. Wotton 
on the Queen's behalf, bidding him press the young King 
to choose a wife, and recommending to his notice either 
Arbella or a daughter of the King of Denmark : there were 
not, in fact, many Protestant princesses at this time in 
Europe from which to choose. James would have acted 
wisely to accept Arbella and merge her claim in his, after 
which, unless Elizabeth produced children of her own, 
nobody could have contested their joint right to the 
English throne : but he had a stubborn fit at the moment, 
did not wish to be rushed into matrimony, and refused 
to decide anything. Henceforth, Elizabeth used the 
cousins to terrorize one another, and when she wished to 
frighten James, made much of Arbella; whilst, if angry 
with Arbella and the Shrewsburys, she spoke openly of 
James as her successor. It was a game she loved to play 
and any fresh combination brought zest to her : while 
this girl of the house of Stuart was useful in other ways 
too. Elizabeth was over fifty now, and her people began 
to realize that in spite of the suitors she kept dangling so 
cleverly, she never meant to marry after all. Friendship 
with France was important to her, and for ten years she 
had played at a ridiculous love affair with the Due 
d' Alencon, the dwarfed and ugly brother of Henri III, much 
to the disgust of her honest English subjects. The matter 
went as far as the drawing up of a treaty of marriage, for 
the breach of which 200,000 crowns had to be paid : and 
the Queen welcomed Alenon on a semi-secret visit to 
England, and when he left, wrote that " she would give a 
million if her dear Frog were swimming in the Thames 
and not in the marshes of the Low Countries." Yet this 
same year there were whispers in the Council of substituting 


Arbella Stuart for Elizabeth as bride to the ugly little 
Frenchman. They came to nothing; and Alencon died 
in 1585, when the Queen, writes the French Ambassador, 
" is in appearance full of tears and regrets, saying she 
is a widow who has lost her husband " : while one can 
almost hear the sigh of relief with which she saw circum- 
stances releasing her from an almost impossible situation. 

Yet another matrimonial project was diligently though 
very secretly discussed for Arbella about this time, the 
bridegroom being one whom Elizabeth would never have 
countenanced for a moment. He was a son of the Duke 
of Parma, and was put forward by Philip of Spain : both 
princes, in fact, claiming through descent from John of 
Gaunt some remote connection with the royal line of 
England. Possibly Arbella herself never heard of all 
these projects; and in any case they can have affected 
her far less than the disturbing atmosphere of domestic 
unrest in which she dwelt. The differences between the 
Earl and Countess of Shrewsbury are said to have originated 
in a trivial dispute about some tapestries, but Bess found 
plenty of fuel to feed her flame, and not only drove her 
husband to distraction herself, but set all his children at 
variance with him too. She was constantly flouncing away 
from the house where he happened to be, and settling 
herself down in another, generally carrying her " jewel 
Arbell " with her. When she married Shrewsbury she 
had two great houses of her own, Hardwick and Chats- 
worth ; whilst he had eight, Wingfield, Sheffield, Tutbury, 
Bolsover, Rufford, Welbeck, Worksop and Handsworth; 
but since in the heat of his infatuation she had made him 
settle almost all his property upon herself and her children, 
the poor good " Talbot dogge " now found himself out- 
witted, and bitterly disappointed in his handsome shrew. 
Passionately he besought the Queen for permission to 
divorce her ; but Elizabeth would have no scandals among 
her nobility if she could avoid it, and she used all her 
powers to induce peace between the wrangling pair. An 
armed neutrality was the best she could achieve, and Earl 
and Countess were never entirely reconciled Shrewsbury, 


to whom the sympathy of his fellows was ever dear, 
appealed for help and counsel to many friends, but got 
never much more than such cold comfort as the Bishop 
of Lichfield and Coventry wrote him : " Indeed, my Lord, 
I have heard some say your Countess is a sharp and bitter 
shrew, but if shrewdness or sharpness may be a just cause 
of separation between a man and wife, I think few men in 
England would keep their wives long." 

Finally, losing heart, and weary of the constant respon- 
sibilities of his life, the kindly old Earl persuaded Elizabeth 
to relieve him of his onerous charge the Queen of Scots, 
and Sir Ralph Sadler was sent down to keep temporary 
guard over " that daughter of debate." Shrewsbury was 
given an appointment in Lancashire, removed alike from 
the troublesome vicinity of Mary and his own wife; and 
it is reported that he kissed Elizabeth's hands when he 
heard of it, and thanked her heartily for " delivering him 
from two devils." Mary, indeed, grew too great a respon- 
sibility for any but the sternest gaoler, and as such 
Shrewsbury could never be described. She had become 
almost hopeless of ever escaping from her prison, and in 
a wild impatience was ready to cast aside all scruples as 
to the means by which she would accomplish it. Many 
attempts had lately been made upon Elizabeth's life, and 
it was well known that these were by Mary's consent, if 
not by her active instigation. Others, too, were projected, 
but through the difficulty of circumstances came to nothing. 
In July 1584 William the Silent, Prince of Orange, was 
foully assassinated; and immediately in alarm lest this 
should but prove the forerunner to another tragedy, all 
the nobility and gentry in England formed themselves 
into a Bond of Association to protect the Queen; while 
as soon as possible an Act of Parliament was passed 
forfeiting all claim to the crown by any who could be 
proved to have attempted the assassination of the 
sovereign. It was no easy matter to protect Elizabeth, 
who refused, she said, to be " put in custody," and would 
have no special measures taken to guard her. Her personal 
intrepidity was fine, but it made matters very difficult 


for her Ministers : for should she die suddenly and Mary 
succeed her, their position would be anything but a 
pleasant one. But Sir Ralph Sadler, an elderly man and 
easily worried, clamoured to be delivered of his charge, 
and in April 1585 Mary was handed on to Sir Amyas 
Paulet, Governor of Jersey, a stern and upright man whom 
she could neither cajole nor corrupt. He took her to the 
fortress of Tutbury, and her last hope was gone. 

Still she conspired, almost reckless now of discovery, 
and all her correspondence was intercepted, copied for Sir 
Francis Walsingham, and sent quietly on its way. The 
Babington Conspiracy was allowed to grow till Mary's 
share in it was proved a hundred times over, and she was 
then brought to trial. There could be but one end to 
that : she was pronounced guilty and condemned to death, 
but neither she nor any of her adherents believed seriously 
that the sentence would be put into execution. After 
much delay and persuasion Elizabeth signed the warrant : 
she could in fact do no other, for after what had passed, 
the menace of Mary was too great for England to keep 
her alive. Shrewsbury had parted with the Scots Queen 
on terms of comparative friendship three years before; 
and when he next saw her, in February 1587, it was as 
one of the deputation sent down to acquaint her with the 
imminence of her death. She was unprepared, and the 
scene was a painful one; but she calmed herself quickly 
and made a good end. She was only forty-five when 
she died, an imposing woman, over six feet high and 
largely built; and her last appearance upon the scaffold, 
robed in vivid crimson from head to foot, must have been 
striking in the extreme. In her last will she disinherited 
her son James, leaving her rights in the English crown to 
Philip of Spain; and amongst other small legacies to her 
ladies and other personal friends she left her illuminated 
" Book of Hours " to her niece Arbella Stuart. This book, 
now in St. Petersburg, is written in French, and evidently 
belonged originally to Mary in her happy days in France, 
for she has written in it herself, '' Ce livre est amoy, Marie 
Reyne, 1554"; but it was during the weary eighteen 


years of her captivity that she seems most constantly 
to have used it, both as a kind of autograph book for 
friends, and to inscribe poems in it herself. It was 
therefore a very personal relic, and Arbella seems to have 
valued it accordingly. She also in after years filled it 
with the signatures of her friends; and the words in her 
own handwriting, " Your most unfortunate Arbella 
Seymour," and the fact of the book having been sent to 
France after her marriage, make it almost certain that 
she made use of it as a last token to her husband. During 
the French Revolution the book was bought by a Russian 
and is now in the Musee de 1'Ermitage at St. Petersburg. 



BESS OF HARD WICK was never so happy as when she had a 
dozen irons in the fire, and through all the excitements, annoy- 
ances and triumphs of her quarrel with her husband, she 
never lost sight of the main object of her life the careful 
guardianship and education of her royal grandchild. To 
her own daughter Mary alone, and to Mary's husband, 
Gilbert Talbot, son and heir but no friend to Shrewsbury, 
would she trust the precious charge for rare visits to 
London, where once or twice in letters we hear of her, 
but always diligently at work with lessons and masters. 
The gay young uncles, Charles and William Cavendish, 
visited her sometimes, and wrote with great satisfaction of 
her progress, taking, as was but natural, the keenest interest 
in the welfare of one to whose favour their futures might 
owe much. But it was not till the summer of 1587, a 
few months after the death of her aunt, the unhappy 
Queen of Scots, that Arbella made her first appearance at 
Court, and it was a momentous occasion for her and all 
her relatives. 

Perhaps Lady Shrewsbury considered the time had 
arrived when the child's claims should be pushed into 
greater prominence; perhaps the Queen herself, anxious 
to make James uneasy, sent for her; in any case it seems 
evident that Elizabeth and this possible successor to her 
kingdom had never met before. Bess of Hard wick did 
not herself present Arbella at Court, being probably too 
much out of favour with the Queen, who fiercely disap- 
proved of her matrimonial squabbles; and this honour 
was therefore delegated to her daughter Mary and her son 
Charles. Arbella was well coached for her presentation, 
which must have appeared very formidable to her, for she 



was only twelve, and Elizabeth, a singularly accomplished 
woman herself, was wont to catechize somewhat severely 
the young ladies of quality who were presented to her. The 
affair went off, however, with pronounced success. Charles 
Cavendish writes that " Her Majesty spake unto her, but 
not long, and examined her nothing touching her book " ; 
but he adds with satisfaction : "It is wonderful how she 
profiteth in her book, and I believe she will dance with 
exceeding good grace, and can behave herself with great 
proportion to every one in their degree." Lord Burghley, 
the old friend of all her family, had probably smoothed 
the way for her at Court, and at once took her under his 
protection, seeing to it that she should meet the right 
people, for Charles goes on to explain that " She dined in 
the presence, but my lord-treasurer bade her to supper; 
and at dinner, I dining with her, and sitting over against 
him, he asked me whether I came with my niece or no ? 
I said I came with her. Then he spake openly, and directed 
his speech to Sir Walter Rawley, greatly in her commenda- 
tion, as that she had the French, the Italian, played of 
instruments, danced, wrought (needlework), and writ very 
fair; wished she were fifteen years old; and with that 
rounded Mr. Rawley in the ear, who answered him it would 
be a happy thing. At supper he made exceeding much of 
her ; so did he the afternoon in his great chamber publicly, 
and of Mall, and Bess, and George, and since he hath asked 
when she shall come again to Court." 

Lady Shrewsbury must have been hugely pleased at her 
grandchild's success, though no one can have been better 
aware than herself how fleeting the favour of Elizabeth 
might prove. The great Queen was at this moment 
practically at the zenith of her autocratic greatness, never 
more vigorous in mind and body, surrounded by public 
and private foes, standing herself in the centre of a mesh 
of intrigue, and yet enjoying life and her opportunities for 
tyranny to the full. Pope Sixtus V is said to have remarked 
it was a pity he could not marry Elizabeth, as their children 
would be able to master the world; and the same idea 
seems to have struck Amurath III, Sultan of Turkey, 


who pointed out the suitability of such a match the Pope 
being an old bachelor and the Queen an old maid. 
Scarcely a prince in Christendom had not at some time 
been put forward as a suitor for her hand, but though she 
never meant to accept one of them, she kept all dancing 
attendance, till the passage of events forced an appar- 
ently reluctant refusal from her. Being certain that she 
could never now bear children, she knew very well that 
with marriage she would lose more than half her power, 
and preferred to play Gloriana to her Court of gallant 
adventurers, guarding jealously her privilege of absorbing 
all their homage. The strongest men and women have 
their weak side, and almost anything could be obtained 
from Elizabeth by flattery. She would swallow it greedily, 
even of the grossest description, and, as strangely often 
happens, preferred praise for the feminine qualities she 
did not possess rather than for the fine courage and steady 
foresight which saved England many a time from invasion 
and disaster. But though in later years her vanity made 
her often ridiculous, there can be no question of the warm 
adoration felt for the great Queen by her own people, 
nor of the respect and even fear in which her own Court 
and the contemporary nobles and ambassadors of other 
lands held her. 

The death of Mary Stuart brought the question of 
succession to the crown rather more prominently forward 
than before. Though several foreign princes claimed 
rights in it, in England the matter narrowed itself down to 
the two descendants of Margaret of Lennox James of 
Scotland and his cousin Arbella. James, never on par- 
ticularly good terms with his mother during her lifetime, 
had yet the grace to profess indignation at her death; 
and Elizabeth, who would brook no criticism of her actions, 
for this very reason took pains to make much of the little 
Stuart girl, and, knowing full well that James' spies 
watched her every word and action, allowed it to be very 
distinctly understood that she contemplated making Arbella 
her heir. The child was even invited to sit at the Queen's 
own table, an honour for which many a great prince and 


noble had sighed in vain, and which showed more than any 
other privilege the high position in which Elizabeth intended 
her to be placed. It was on one of these occasions that 
the Queen spoke of her to Madame d'Aubespine de Chat- 
eauneuf in the words quoted in the first chapter of this book ; 
and the French Ambassador, writing of the incident to 
his master, adds that Arbella had much intelligence, spoke 
good French, Italian and Latin, was of a pleasing appear- 
ance, and would undoubtedly be lawful heiress to the 
crown if James of Scotland were excluded as a foreigner. 
Everywhere she seems to have behaved very prettily, 
charmed every one with her gentleness and grace, and 
done great credit to her bringing-up. 

Her grandmother, aunts and uncles were intensely 
pleased, but the capricious nature of Elizabeth's favour 
was well known, and all this might lead to nothing; it 
was at best a good beginning. If the Queen did but take 
a personal liking to the child, much would be attained; 
and there seemed every favourable indication that this 
was taking place. All through the summer Gilbert and 
Mary Talbot and Charles Cavendish kept their niece well 
in view at Court; and even as late as October Arbella 
appears to have been still in town. Her aunt had left her 
for a short time in the charge of certain attendant ladies 
at the house of Sir Henry Goodere in Newgate Street, as 
appears from a letter of Goodere's, dated the 10th of Octo- 
ber, 1587, and mentioning that " My Lady Arbella (thanks 
be to God) is well and in health with all the rest of the 
ladies, and have been so ever since your ladyship saw them." 
The main part of this letter is taken up in explaining, as 
apparently Lady Talbot had requested the writer to do, 
exactly how much it cost him to feed and keep the young 
lady and her train; and while assuring her that he was 
most desirous she should not suppose him anxious to make 
any gain out of the Lady Arbella's " diet," he adds, " I 
have called myself a straight reckoning, and find by my 
attempt that my housekeeping doth stand me in five 
marks every week now more than I spent before the ladies 
came to Newgate Street, which I will leave to your own 


honourable consideration." We are not told of how many 
Arbella's party consisted, but this does not appear an 
excessive charge. The letter is addressed to " The Right 
Honourable, my very good Lady the Lady Talbot, at 
the Court " ; so aunt and niece were not far separated, 
and shortly after this the Talbots returned to the country. 
Lady Shrewsbury seems to have been wisely content 
that her precious grandchild should remain now a good 
deal with this daughter and stepson, they being in high 
favour with the Queen; and the very first specimen we 
have of Arbella's handwriting is a little note written by her 
early in the following year to her grandmother from 
Fines, where she was evidently staying with the Talbots. 
The letter, which is dated February 8th and addressed on 
the back " To the Right Honourable my very good Lady 
and Grandmother the Countess of Shrewsbury," runs 
rather artlessly 


" I have sent your ladyship the endes of my heare, 
which were cut the sixt day of the moone on Saturday 
last, and with them a pott of gelly which my servant 
made. I pray God you finde it good. My aunte Caven- 
disshe was here on Monday last; she certified me of your 
ladyship's good health and dispositione, which I pray God 
longe to continue. I am in good health. My cousin 
Mary hath had three little fittes of an agew, but now she 
is well and merry. This with my humble duty unto 
your ladyship, and humble thankes for the letter you 
sent me laste, and craveing your dayly blessinge I humbly 
cease. Your ladyship's humble and obedient childe, 


Arbella's first London season having proved so successful, 
her aunt and uncle took her to town again the following 
spring, when she was once more warmly received, and 
treated with much distinction at Court and by all the 
great nobles. These were anxious days for England, 
however, and no great festivities were given, and not 


much time spared for the entertaining of the little Stuart 
princess. With the death of Mary of Scotland, the Pope 
saw England slipping from his grasp Elizabeth, James 
and Arbella being all staunch Protestants -and he therefore 
formally pronounced the kingdom rightfully to belong to 
Philip of Spain, and not only gave that most Catholic 
King leave, but pressed him urgently to take immediate 
possession of it. Philip replied by fitting out the " Invinc- 
ible Armada," a fleet consisting of 129 vessels 65 of 
them over 700 tons manned by 8000 sailors and con- 
veying 19,000 Spanish and Portuguese soldiers, over 
2000 cannon, and sufficient provisions for 40,000 
mouths during six months. In addition to this, 30,000 
men waited in Flanders, under the Duke of Parma, 
to cross and reinforce the army directly the Armada had 
conquered the channel and landed her forces. England 
could beat up only a squadron of eighty ships, of which 
thirty alone weie ships of the line; and though her seamen 
were far hardier and possessed immense confidence in 
themselves and their cause, it is not difficult to realize the 
overwhelming anxiety with which such an invasion was 
regarded throughout England, and the little stomach 
men had for gay parties and extravagant entertainments. 
The Talbots and their niece did not stay long in London, 
and left for the country again early in July. We do not 
hear if Elizabeth took any notice of her young kinswoman 
during this visit, but Lord Burghley continued, so far as 
time and opportunity would permit him, to be a good 
friend to her ; and to her aunt and uncle's letter of farewell 
to the Lord Treasurer, dated " from our pore lodging in 
Collman Street, this XIII July, 1588," Arbella added a 
little note in French : " Je prierai Dieu, Monsr vous 
donner en parfaicte et entiere sante, tout heureux, et bon 
succes, et seray tou jours preste a vous faire tout honneur 
et service. Arbella Stewart." 

By the end of July the Armada was sighted off the 
Lizard seven miles of ships in a great half -moon, and we 
all know how that story ended. But though, possessing 
the sequel, it is easy enough now to cast the imagination 



back and paint an England fearless and daring, without 
a qualm as to the defeat of Spain, it is unquestionable 
that, in spite of the undoubted superiority of the English 
sailors, if wind and waves had not fought for us, the mere 
difference in numbers alone must have had a crushing 
effect. As it happened, the victory was only less marvel- 
lous than the prestige it brought ; the Queen became more 
popular than ever, and England's dominion over the seas 
was never afterwards seriously disputed. But if this were 
the year of Elizabeth's greatest glory, changes in her Court 
and entourage were gathering fast about her, and notably one 
well-known figure vanished now from her side. The Earl 
of Leicester died suddenly in the beginning of September, 
aged fifty-six, and the sinister rumours which followed him 
all his life hint that his death was caused by poison intended 
for his wife. In any case the beautiful Lettice almost im- 
mediately after married Sir Christopher Blount. Leicester 
had been in no great favour with Elizabeth during the last 
few years, her fancy being now taken by his stepson, the 
handsome young Earl of Essex ; and spite of the power 
and influence wielded by him during a great part of his 
life, his had been a singularly ineffectual career. Some 
rough verses called " Leicester's Ghost," sung about the 
streets while he yet lived, make mocking allusion to his 
defeated hopes, and since it is evident that his designs 
upon little Arbella were not only public property, but 
were regarded as the supreme height of his ambition, 
it may be worth while to quote a few lines 

1 ' First I assayed Queene Elizabeth to wed, 
Whom divers princes courted, but in vaine ; 
When in the course unluckily I sped, 
I sought the Scots' Queene's mariage to obtaine ; 
But when I reapt no profit for my paine, 
I sought to match Denbigh, my tender childe, 
To Dame Arbella, but I was beguiled. 

If Death awhile yong Denbigh's life had spared, 
The grandame, uncle, and the father-in-law, 
Might thus have brought all England under awe." 

There is no reason to suppose Arbella any less exultant 


than the rest of England at the great victory of 1588; but 
the only mention we get of her this autumn is concerned with 
her private life. After all the painfully correct behaviour 
reported of her, it is refreshing to find a glimpse of self- 
will and naughtiness in a letter from one Nicholas Kyn- 
nersley, apparently a tutor of hers, to her grandmother, 
in November of this year. Arbella was at Wingfield, in 
Derbyshire, and Kynnersley writes that " My lady Arbella, 
at eight of the clock this night, was merry, and eats her meat 
well, but she went not to the school these six days, there- 
fore I would be glad of your ladyship's coming, if there 
were no other reason." Through the thick walls of the 
Shrewsbury castles the child's flesh and blood begins to 
assert itself at last, and we see something of the real self 
soon to emerge. Usually docile and sweet-tempered, 
Arbella was wilful on occasions throughout her life, and 
almost invariably at the particular moment when she 
would have been wiser to repress her emotions. The 
visits to London had developed her a good deal, and there 
is no doubt that her Aunt Mary was a more lenient guardian 
than her grandmother. It had been borne in upon her 
too that that grandmother's iron will counted for far less 
in the great world than in her own small domain, and 
henceforth the grim old Countess's power over Arbella 
was never quite so absolute as before. But Bess of Hard- 
wick did her duty staunchly, so far as she saw it, by this 
grandchild for whom she had sacrificed so much; and 
it must have been this very year that Sir John Harington 
spoke of Arbella " at Wingfield when being thirteen years 
old, she did read French out of Italian and English out 
of both, much better than I could, or than I expected." 
He praises, too, and says all others praised, " her virtuous 
disposition, her choice education, her rare skill in languages, 
her good judgment and sight of music, and a mind to all 
these free from pride, vanity and affectation, and the 
greatest sobriety in her fashion of apparel and behaviour 
as may be, of all of which I have been myself an eyewitness, 
having seen her several times at Hardwick, and at Chelsea, 
where she made me read the tale of Drusilla in Orlando 


unto her, and censured it with a gravity beyond her 
years." Her careful education, it may be seen, was already 
bearing fruit. 

It is not certain whether Arbella visited London the 
next year, 1589, but she was not forgotten by the Queen, 
for Gilbert Talbot writes to his stepmother in July : 
" The Queen asked me very carefully the last day I saw 
her for my Lady Arbella. . . . Our prayer is to God 
to prosper my Lady Arbella, and to bless our little ones, 
and to reward your ladyship for your great care and 
goodness to them " ; and again later, " God bless her with 
all His blessings." Gilbert and his wife were sincerely 
fond of Arbella, but no doubt they also saw in her advance- 
ment their own, and anxiously used all their power to 
promote it. Lady Shrewsbury was pleased at Elizabeth's 
notice, but she felt it also full time that something more 
tangible should be done for her grandchild. In the autumn 
of this year Arbella would complete her fourteenth year, 
which seems in her case to have been regarded as a coming 
of age. The question of her rather mythical estates 
was again revived, and early in February Burghley and 
Walsingham entered into correspondence with Thomas 
Fowler regarding the effects of her paternal grandmother, 
Margaret of Lennox. The Manor of Small wood , in Cheshire , 
was all Arbella ever obtained of these, and this was let 
on her behalf to a tenant named Egerton, and does not 
seem to have brought her in any very large revenue. 
Elizabeth, who till now had posed as demanding her 
rightful property in Scotland for her young kinswoman, 
finally gave up the claim in April of this year ; and though 
Lady Shrewsbury declared herself still unsatisfied, this 
was regarded more in the nature of a protest than as 
any serious intention still to contest the matter. Her 
only further action concerning it was to have Arbella 
painted full length in white satin and pearls, and at the 
foot of the picture to have inscribed : " Arbella Stuarta, 
Comtissa Leoninice. ^Etatis 13 et J. Anno Dni., 1589." 

Margaret of Lennox had died so poor that her grand- 
child could not hope to inherit much from her, but to her 


jewels Arbella had an undoubted claim. Fowler, it will 
be remembered, was to keep these for her till she was 
fourteen ; but Fowler had already once been robbed of them, 
and had then made them over to the keeping of King James, 
from whom it would not be easy to obtain them. Lord 
Burghley interested himself in the matter, and the question 
dragged on for over a year, in the midst of which Fowler 
himself died. He having been primarily responsible for 
their safe keeping, and the debt devolving upon his son 
William, William tried his hardest to make James disgorge 
the spoil, but with no success. Sir Robert Bowes, writing 
to Burghley early in June 1590, remarks : " Sundrie 
times I have moved the King that the Jewels appertaining 
to the Lady Arbella might be restored to her. Never- 
theless I am still deferred that upon sight of the Lady 
Margaret's will the King will take order in all these things." 
It is not probable that Arbella ever received any of the 
ornaments. It is true that she was in after-life possessed 
of much very valuable jewellery, and in particular of a 
magnificent rope of pearls which she wears in many of 
her portraits, and which may possibly have been the 
44 fair pearl chain " mentioned in Lady Lennox's inventory ; 
but it is at least as likely that her royal aunt, Queen Mary, 
who is known to have had many rare pearls, may have 
given it to her. 

Lady Shrewsbury remained at bitter variance with her 
husband until the old Earl died in November of this year. 
The declining years of good George Talbot had not been 
happy ones, and he was little sorry to leave a world where 
all his sterling qualities, kind heart, and staunch honesty 
had brought him nothing but deceit and ingratitude from 
those he had most loved and benefited. Passing over 
his eldest son Gilbert, who succeeded him in the title, 
but who had taken part against him in the family disputes, 
Lord Shrewsbury made his two younger sons his executors. 
These two declined to act, and Bess seized the office, to 
find herself this time at variance with Gilbert, who, now 
head of his house, would endure her arrogance no longer. 
Each member of the family took a part against the others. 


Edward Talbot was accused of attempting to murder his 
brother with a pair of poisoned gloves, and the battle 
over money and lands raged furiously for months. So 
far as Arbella was able to share in it, her sympathies 
were chiefly with the new Earl and Countess, perhaps 
naturally. They had been very kind to her, and associa- 
tion with them had led to indulgence and gaiety, whilst 
her grandmother's authority was always despotic and often 
harsh. Nevertheless, according to her lights, Bess had 
been a good friend to the girl, and fought stoutly on her 
behalf, besides doing her best to gain the royal favour for 
her. In a will made shortly after this time, Lady Shrews- 
bury entreated her Majesty that she " would accept the 
poor widow's mite of a cup worth 200, and that she 
would fulfil all her Majesty had most graciously oft-times 
said she would and be good to the orphan Arbella ; that she 
would receive Arbella to wait on herself as the greatest 
comfort to that poor desolate orphan now left only to de- 
pend on her gracious providence, whose most faithful 
loyalty and careful willing service unto her Majesty in 
all true allegiance I dare and do answer for as for myself." 
Continuing, the old Countess left " To my very loving 
grandchild Arbella Stuart my christal Glass framed with 
silver and guilt and set with Lapis Lazarus and Agget ; 
and one Sable the Head being of Gold set with Stone, 
and a white Ermin Sable the Head being of Gold Enamelled 
and all my Pearls and Jewels which I shall have at my 
decease except such as shall be otherwise bequeathed, 
and I give to her a thousand pounds in money." 

But Lady Shrewsbury lived for many years after this, 
and when at last she died, she had quarrelled so bitterly 
with Arbella that her final will was couched in very 
different terms. 


PLOTS (1590-95) 

ARBELLA was now fifteen, and it might be supposed that 
after so fortunate an entry into Court life she had hence- 
forth but to enjoy all the luxury and prestige her position 
could afford her. But a hundred tiny indications show 
that she was suddenly in no such great favour with the 
Queen as formerly. It was a nice matter for her aunt 
and uncle, accomplished courtiers as they were, to treat 
her with respect sufficient for her royal blood and yet 
not seem to take too much for granted her presumptive 
heirship to the crown. A hairbreadth too much either way 
would offend Elizabeth, and it seems that on her last 
visit a thought too much insistence had been laid upon 
her royal birth. Old Lord Shrewsbury had seen this, 
though his family thought him blind and stupid, and he 
spoke of it to a favourite servant of his, who later wrote 
down what he could remember of the conversation 

i4 What speeches the Earl of Shrewsbury, my lord and 
master, used to me at my being with him the 24th of 
September, being Thursday, 1590, at his house at Hanworth, 
in his chamber (account of talk that he had about my 
lady his wife), with almost tears in his eyes, that he feared 
the Lady Arrabell would bring much trouble in his house by 
his wife and her daughter's devises, and therewithall he 
clapt his hand sundry times upon his breast, saying, ' Here 
it lies; here it lies. Do you not know one Dr. Browne,' 
said he, ' a cunning fellow ? He is a great man with 
my daughter Talbot and the Cavendishes ? ' I answered, 
4 1 know him not.' 'Well,' said he, 'that same Browne 
is a masker in this house, and my wife and her daughter 
have great affairs with him, and are dealing with some 



of the heralds about matters which must be kept from me 
(for at this time I am a great block in their way). I know 
Gilbert Talbot will be too much ruled by those for 
they do with him what they list, and so I have told his 
friends, but all will not help. If God give me any ability 
and health, I will go to the Queene this next spring, though 
I go but two miles a day. And I know that the Queene 
affecteth not Gilbert Talbot, both for those matters he 
took part in with my wife against me, and for this Lady 
Arrabell. She was wont to have the upper hand [i.e. to 
be treated as a superior] of my wife and her daughter 
Talbot, but now it is otherwise, as it is told me, for that 
they have been advised by some of their friends at the Court 
that it was misliked. My daughter Talbot persuaded her 
husband how he is bound by all laws, both divine and others, 
that he ought not to keep any secrets from her being his 
wife, whatsoever it be that he knoweth or thinketh.' ' 

Arbella seems to have divided her time between an 
exciting but anxious life at Court with the young Shrews- 
burys, and sundry visits of long dreary months in the 
country, under the dragon eye of her grandmother. Bess 
herself went no more to town. But the chief crime and 
danger of the girl in the eyes both of Elizabeth and James 
was that she was of marriageable age, and that all the 
Roman Catholics in Europe were seeking to convert or 
kidnap her their object being to marry her to one of those 
numerous Catholic princes who held some remote claim 
to the English throne, which a union with Arbella would 
very materially strengthen. Chief among these were the 
two sons of Alexander Farnese, Prince of Parma, who 
derived their claim through a daughter of John of Gaunt. 
The elder son, Rainutio, was already married, and the 
younger a Cardinal ; but the Pope, quite sensible that after 
the episode of the Spanish Armada Philip of Spain would 
never be acceptable even to the English Catholics, and 
realizing the advantages to himself of the Parma marriage, 
professed himself quite prepared to absolve the young 
Cardinal of his vows if the matter could thus be arranged. 


It had already been hinted at some four years earlier, but 
now it was openly discussed, and though there is no 
evidence that Arbella gave it the least encouragement, or 
was indeed ever officially approached concerning it, the 
bare contemplation of such a marriage made Elizabeth 
furiously angry. From this time for many years Arbella 
became, quite innocently, the centre of so elaborate an 
intricacy of plot and counterplot that no succeeding 
generations, working patiently through masses of State 
and Private Papers in every variety of code and cipher, 
have been able entirely to unravel it. The girl herself, 
not strikingly lovely, but pleasant looking, seems to have 
owed such personal charm as she possessed more to her 
expression than to the regularity of her features. Her 
eyes, usually painted as blue, are sometimes described 
as hazel ; her hair was fair, her figure good, her hands white 
and beautiful, and the brightness and intelligence of her 
smile particularly attractive. But it was seldom or 
never for herself that poor Arbella was desired -merely as 
a pawn in the great and endless game of king- and queen- 

In the year of Lord Shrewsbury's death, 1590, hints are 
to be found in various State and Private Papers of a pro- 
jected marriage between Arbella and young Henry Percy, 
ninth Earl of Northumberland, rumour in one case going 
so far as to assert that they had been privately wedded ; 
but there was absolutely no truth in this, and Elizabeth 
would never have permitted such a match. It was, 
however, taken for granted at this time that Arbella would 
marry shortly, and conjecture was universal as to the 
bridegroom chosen for her. But Elizabeth seems in this 
case to have played the part of dog in the manger. She 
herself had never married, she was growing old now, and 
therefore nobody else should marry. The girl was a use- 
ful weapon, too, against James, should he presume upon 
his position. Probably by now the Queen had realized 
that James was of necessity her natural successor, but she 
would not have him reckon upon it, and kept all in the 
greatest uncertainty. If he had married his cousin three 


years earlier there could have been no further question 
about the matter, but he had let that chance slip, and 
allied himself instead with the Princess Anne of Denmark. 
Therefore uneasy fears possessed him now lest Arbella, 
a young and pretty girl, whose head might easily be turned 
by flattery and persuasion, should yield to the determined 
campaign of the Jesuits, return to the old faith, and lead 
a Catholic party in or against England. Powerful support 
from abroad would be hers should she follow this course, 
and his own claim would stand in the greatest jeopardy. 
He therefore again determined to bind her interests to 
his own, and, since he could no longer marry her himself, 
once more suggested his favourite, Esme Stuart, Duke 
of Lennox, the usurper of her title, who, he assured Burgh- 
ley, " longeth after Arbella." He promised, should she 
wed Lennox, to make him his heir, a promise he had no 
possible power to fulfil; and when Elizabeth, "with 
harsh words and much comtempt," refused to listen to 
the suggestion, he proposed another favourite, the Earl 
of Arran, only to be as ruthlessly refused as before. 
Snubbed and disheartened, he fell back upon correspond- 
ence with his cousin herself, to whom his first letter is 
dated from Holyrood House, the 23rd of December, 1591, 
and signed, " Your loving and affectionate cousin, James 
R." In it he apologizes for " having so long keeped 
silence till the fame and report of so good parts in you have 
interpelled me " ; and continues, rather patronizingly, to 
remark that his heart rejoices, " so can I not forbeare 
to signify to you hereby, what contentment I have received 
hearing of your so virtuous behaviour, wherein I pray 
you most heartily to continue . . . that you may be 
the more encouraged to proceed in your virtuous demean- 
our, reaping the fruit of so honest estimation, the increase 
of your honour and joy, and your kindly affected friends, 
specially of me, whom it pleaseth most to see so virtuous 
and honourable scions arise of that race whereof we have 
both our descent. Now," he adds, and this is the real 
object of the letter, " hearing more certain notice of the 
place of your abode, I will the more frequently visit you 


by my letters, which I would be glad to do in person, 
expecting also to know from time to time of your estate 
by your own hand, which I look you will not weary to do, 
being first summoned by me, knowing how far I shall be 
pleased thereby. In the meanwhile, and next occasion of 
further knowledge of your estate, after my heartiest com- 
mendation, I wish you, my dear cousin, of God all honour 
and hearty contentment." 

It is probable that Arbella acceded to her cousin's 
request to correspond with him, although no other of his 
letters are extant, nor any at all of hers; but it would 
have been quite in keeping with her character and tem- 
perament to do so. There was a singular simplicity 
about this girl, and she was ever ready to turn eagerly 
to any proffered affection; nor were her relatives so 
many that she could afford to deny their claims. Never 
a politician even in the fevered atmosphere of Court, all 
bids for her ambition left her cold. She had no wish 
to be a Queen. Those about her could not understand this 
attitude, and imagined it a pose to hide some deep-laid 
scheme, but in truth it is doubtful if Arbella ever heard 
one quarter of the plots in which her name played the 
most prominent part. Those which did come to her ears 
she disregarded. She longed rather wistfully for dis- 
interested love and a kind home, and if any had been 
cunning enough to bait their snare with these, she might 
very easily have walked into their trap. But it was 
all ambition, power, wealth, they offered her, and for 
these she cared not a snap of the fingers. It is rather 
curious, looking back upon this period, to notice how 
steadfastly she remained a Protestant. Excepting for 
those of a strongly religious turn of mind (and we have 
no evidence that Arbella was one of them), the question 
of submitting to the old or the reformed religion was 
largely a matter of expediency ; many of the great nobles 
of Elizabeth's Court still remained Roman Catholics; 
Henri of Navarre bought his kingdom of France by a 
Mass; and even Elizabeth, James, and Mary of Scotland, 
each regarded by posterity as the staunch upholder of 


their particular faith, have been proved by later-discovered 
letters to have dallied with the advantages of adopting 
its reverse. In Arbella's case there is no question of the 
importance it would have given her in Europe had she 
chosen to submit herself to the Pope, nor was there any- 
thing in her upbringing to make it particularly distasteful 
to her. Her father, it is true, had by Elizabeth's wish been 
educated as a Protestant from his sixteenth year, but he 
had died in her infancy; her grandmother, Margaret of 
Lennox, had been a bigoted Catholic; her other grand- 
mother, Lady Shrewsbury, held no particular prejudices; 
whilst her favourite aunt, the new Lady Shrewsbury, 
with whom she now spent most of her time, was an ardent 
adherent of the Pope. In Mary Talbot the foreign con- 
spirators indeed placed great hopes for moulding the plastic 
mind of the young girl; but though this lady no doubt 
did her best (and at one time great disturbance was caused 
by rumours that she had had Mass said in Arbella's 
apartment), her influence in this particular seems never to 
have carried any weight with her niece. 

The immense activity of plot and treason centring 
about this innocent and unconscious girl for the next 
thirteen years of her life is almost incredible. The Pope's 
emissaries quickly found that she herself was not easily 
to be got at, nor, this once accomplished, could she be moved 
by any appeals to her ambition. Nevertheless it was 
necessary to their schemes to obtain possession of her 
person, as a mere rallying-point if for no other purpose; 
and while she herself in the first flush of youth was enjoying, 
so far as the frowns and suspicions of the old Queen would 
permit, the attention paid her, merely for the surface- 
pleasure of its novelty and excitement, with no thought 
of the sinister depths such a little way below ; quite endless 
were the devices resorted to for attempting to kidnap her 
and carry her abroad. In the State and Secret Papers 
of the day, hardly a week passes without mention of some 
fresh plot concerning the Lady Arbella. As early as 
May 1589, Thomas Barnes, a Catholic spy, reported that 
his friends " can trust none in England, as all platforms 


fell to the ground on the death of the Queen of Scots. 
Their next design will be built on other ground than 
religion, and they harp much on Lady Arbella, despairing 
of the King of Scots, whom Father Holt calls the cunningest 
young man ever bred." Instructions given to Barnes by 
his Jesuit employers at this time were " To learn why the 
King of Scots was not established heir-apparent to the 
crown according to promise, and how he takes the non- 
performance of this. What conceit the Queen and Council 
have of his marriage with Denmark; who of the Court 
favour him, and on whom he relies for settling the crown." 
Also " what party Arbella and her favourers adhere to, 
and how they mean to bestow her in marriage, seeing 
Leicester's intent to match his bastard with her is by his 
death made frustrate." Barnes's answers to these questions 
were to the effect that he could find no promise given to 
James to declare him heir, that the Queen did not like the 
Denmark marriage, but that there was no faction in England 
formally against James, " only impediments from the 
hardy old Queen"; but James was canny, stuck to his 
religion, and Walsingham and Hunsdon were for him. 
44 He needs not Arbella's marriage to further his title, 
though he has been scared with her to keep him in order. 
It has been required that she should not be married without 
his consent. ... It is thought the Lady Arbella's friends 
are unlikely to take part in any new opinion not counten- 
anced by the State." In January 1590 came comment : 
44 No speech of the Lady Arbella's marriage "; and after 
this the scheme for uniting her with Parma seems to have 
been diligently pushed in every possible quarter. 

In August 1591, Sir Robert Cecil, son of old Lord 
Burghley, learned from a correspondent that a certain 
spy was 44 busy in getting a picture of Arbella to carry to 
the Duke of Parma, and has Mr. U.'s letter to aid him 
therein to Hildyard. He was very desirous to get an 
agent here for those on the other side " ; and Cecil shall 
be informed when he finds one. Hildyard was a well- 
known miniature painter of the day, and did, in fact, paint 
two pictures of Arbella about this period, one of which 


may quite possibly have been used for the purpose named. 
Both are much alike, and represent her in a white-and- 
gold dress, wearing a big ruff, and a coronet on her hair, 
which is somewhat stiffly dressed in Elizabeth's own 
style. A year later, in April 1592, Cecil learned from 
another spy that " Michael Moody, Sir Edward Stafford's 
servant, is employed from beyond sea to practise with 
Arbella about a marriage between her and the Duke of 
Parma's son ; that he was sent once before for her picture, 
and has been thrice in England this year." And about 
the same time Barnes wrote to a friend, Charles Paget, 
that he had had to absent himself, as he was wanted for 
plots as a practiser in the marriage between Arbella and 
the Duke of Parma's son, which had been given out also 
as Paget's errand to England, and that he marvelled not 
to have heard of this from him. "It is true Morley the 
singing man employs himself in that kind of service, and 
has brought divers into danger." 

Nevertheless, and in spite of the scorn with which 
Morley is here mentioned, he came nearer to accomplishing 
his purpose than any of the other plotters, since he actually 
gained the confidence of old Lady Shrewsbury, and became 
reader in her house for three-and-a-half years. Under 
these circumstances he must have been constantly in 
Arbella's company and upon fairly confidential terms, 
and it is surprising only that he should not much earlier 
in that period have endeavoured to press the matter with 
which he was charged. But all these conspirators, so 
reckless on the Continent, seem to have been over-cautious, 
not to say faint-hearted, when any real risk arose; and 
Morley quickly saw that Arbella was little likely to listen 
to his persuasions. A plot of this description, if it failed, 
came perilously near to be counted as treason, and the 
punishment for treason was peculiarly horrible. In the 
hope of events playing into his hands, therefore, Morley 
said nothing and lingered on ; or perhaps in this comfort- 
able life which had fallen to him, he thought less of his 
former purpose; but through all that time shrewd Bess 
had no suspicion of him, till quite suddenly they quarrelled 


over his salary, and she dismissed him. Almost immedi- 
ately after, Burghley wrote to warn her of spies lurking 
near her grandchild in the most innocent dress, and begged 
her to be most careful in guarding the precious Arbella. 
Her reply, agitated at such close danger and anxious to 
exonerate herself from all accusations of carelessness, gives 
so clear a picture of the almost prison strictness in which 
poor Arbella lived at Hardwick that it must be quoted 


" I received your Lordship's letter on Wednesday 
towards night, being the 20th of this September, by a 
servant of Mr. John Talbot's, of Ireland. My good Lord, 
I was at the first much troubled to think that so wicked 
and mischievous practises should be devised to entrap my 
poor Arbell and me, but I put my trust in the Almighty, 
and will use such diligent care as I doubt not to prevent 
whatsoever shall be attempted by any wicked persons 
against the poor child. I am most bound to her Majesty 
that it pleased her to appoint your Lordship to give me 
knowledge of this wicked practice, and I humbly thank 
your Lordship for advertising it ; if any such like be here- 
after discovered, I beseech your Lordship I may be fore- 
warned. I will not have any unknown or suspected person 
to come to my house. Upon the least suspicion that may 
happen here, anyway, I shall give advertisement to your 
Lordship. I have little resort to me; my house is 
furnished with sufficient company. Arbell walks not late ; 
at such time as she shall take the air, it shall be near the 
house and well attended on; she goeth not to anybody's 
house at all ; I see her almost every hour in the day ; she 
lieth in my bedchamber. If I can be more precise than I 
have been, I will be. I am bound in nature to be careful 
for Arbell; I find her loving and dutiful to me, nor more 
by me regarded than to accomplish her Majesty's pleasure, 
and that which I think will be for her service. I would 
rather wish many deaths than to see this, or any such like 
wicked attempt, to prevail. 


" About a year since, there was one Harrison, a seminary, 
that lay at his brother's house about a mile from Hardwick, 
whom I thought then to have caused to been apprehended, 
and to have sent him up, but found he had license for a 
time. Notwithstanding, the seminary soon after went 
from his brother's, finding how much discontent I was with 
his lying so near me. Since my coming now into the 
country, I had some intelligence that the same seminary 
was come again to his brother's house, my son William 
Cavendish went thither of a sudden to make search for 
him, but could not find him. I write thus much to your 
Lordship, that if any such traitorous and naughty persons 
(through her Majesty's clemency) be suffered to go abroad, 
that they may not harbour near my houses, Wingfield, 
Hardwick, nor Chatsworth in Derbyshire; they are the 
likest instruments to put a bad matter in execution. 

" One Morley, who hath attended on Arbell and read 
to her for the space of three years and a half, showed to be 
much discontented since my return into the country, in 
saying he had lived in hope to have some annuity granted 
him by Arbell out of her land during his life, or some lease 
of ground to the value of forty pound a year, alleging that 
he was so much damnified by leaving of the University, 
and now saw that if she were willing, yet not of ability, 
to make him any such assurance. I, understanding by 
divers that Morley was so much discontented, and withal 
of late having some cause to be doubtful of his forwardness 
in religion (though I cannot charge him with Papistry), 
took occasion to part with him. After he was gone from 
my house, and all his stuff carried from him, the next day 
he returned again, very importunate to serve without stand- 
ing upon any recompense, which made me more suspicious, 
and the more willing to part with him. I have another 
in my house, who will supply Morley's place very well for 
the time. I will have those that will be sufficient in learn- 
ing, honest and well-disposed, so near as I can. I am 
enforced to use the hand of my son, William Cavendish, 
not being able to write so much myself, for fear of bringing 
yet great pain to my head. He only is privy to your Lord- 


ship's letter, and neither Arbell, nor any other living, nor 
shall be. 

" I beseech your Lordship, I may be directed from you 
as occasion shall fall out. To the uttermost of my under- 
standing, I have been and will be careful. I beseech the 
Almighty to send your Lordship a long and happy life, 
and so I will commit your Lordship to His protection. 
From my house at Hardwick the 21st of September, 1592. 
Your Lordship's as I am bound, 


It is easy to see how glad Arbella must have been to 
exchange this close keeping for the comparative liberty 
and excitement of London and Court life. She cannot, it 
is true, have failed to know of the Queen's dislike, for 
Elizabeth made that plain enough, casting the shadow of 
her displeasure equally upon the girl's aunt and uncle. 
Lady Shrewsbury's religion in especial made her an object 
of suspicion, yet, though many things were rumoured of 
her, nothing was proved, and Earl Gilbert himself declared 
his own soul to be " as clear as crystal " in the matter. 
Both lived as cautiously as circumstances and their own 
hot tempers would allow, but this did not prevent frequent 
brushes between all the Cavendishes and their sworn foes 
the Stanhopes a feud of years, in which Arbella herself 
often used such influence as she had to make peace. That 
this interference was not always to her own interest is 
shown in a letter from London, dated 1593, where it is 
remarked that " The Queen here daily bears more and 
more a bad conceit of the Earl of Shrewsbury and his 
Countess for the sake of the Lady Arbella, which has been 
evidenced in a late quarrel between his Lordship and the 
Stanhopes." The quarrel began between the ladies of the 
respective families, and was taken up by their lords. The 
Cavendishes cut the stirrup leathers of the Stanhopes, and 
were never afterwards forgiven; as late as 1599 Charles 
Cavendish was set upon in the street by Sir John Stan- 
hope's servants and severely wounded, but not before he 
had killed two men himself. After this an order came 
F 2 


from the Privy Council that "the like must not happen 

Regarding the matter dispassionately, one cannot 
altogether blame Elizabeth's attitude to Arbella. The girl 
was, as we know, not only innocent of all complicity in the 
plots woven about her name, but also supremely un- 
interested in them ; yet this seemed more than improbable 
to her contemporaries. Nobody would have been in the 
least surprised had she suddenly changed her religion, 
escaped to Spain or France, married a Catholic prince, and 
laid her undoubted claim to inherit the throne in the hands 
of those who were only too eager to press it. She appeared 
simple and innocent enough, but still waters run deep, and 
this might be merely a mask to hide Jesuitical cunning. 
Elizabeth watched her closely, and she would have been a 
fool if she had not. It is true that to keep a pretty girl 
in her teens constantly about herself, and that self, as she 
very well knew, growing every day more faded, sallow, lined 
and old, could not have made the Queen feel any more 
tenderly towards Arbella; but the least vain of women 
would probably have chafed at such a situation. There 
was no lack of vanity in Elizabeth, and on the whole she 
treated her young rival with greater consideration than at 
that period most sovereigns would have bestowed upon her. 
Many women, and men too, would have surrendered to 
their fears, and sent the girl to the Tower for life, or at least 
to a strict captivity in some remote country house; that 
Elizabeth invited Arbella constantly to Court, though 
possibly partially to annoy James, must be counted to 
her for courage and for grace. 

Meanwhile plots continued to be formed, but their 
objective to a certain extent changed. In 1592 the Duke 
of Parma died, his son Rainutio was not so keenly set 
upon the marriage, and soon after this the Jesuits seem to 
have despaired of converting Arbella, and set themselves, 
on the contrary, to belittle her rights Even James 
appeared an easier prey for their persuasions ; or, failing 
him, there was always Philip of Spain upon whom to call. 
A prisoner examined in the Tower confessed to Cecil that 

By Marcus Gheeraedts 

oto, Emery Walker 


"It is intended to prove bastardy against Arbella. . . . 
The King of Spain said he would invade royally or not at 
all, even though it cost him a year's revenues of his Indies. 
James of Scotland must be made a Catholic, and then 
would the Pope help him." Attorney- General Coke wrote 
notes afterwards upon this and the " disabling of Arbella." 
The bar sinister intended to be proved against her was, in 
fact, somewhat remote, and concerned the birth of her 
grandmother, Margaret of Lennox. The old scandalous 
tales about Queen Margaret of Scotland's marriage with 
the Earl of Angus, the fact of his wife being alive at the 
time, and the tradition of her intermediate marriage with 
the Lord of Annandale, were all raked up and discussed 
again. And in 1594 a great stir was caused by the publi- 
cation of a book upon the Succession, ostensibly written 
by one Richard Dolman, but really, as all well knew, by a 
particularly brilliant English Jesuit Father Parsons. 

In this book Parsons writes not only of James, Arbella, 
Philip and the House of Parma, but also of all members of 
the English nobility in whose veins any drop of royal blood 
yet ran. Since for generations past the royal family had 
constantly intermarried with the great nobles, these were 
still many ; but in one case only was the union recent enough 
to count as a real relationship, this being the Earl of Hert- 
ford. Of him and of his descendants more will be said 
later. " For and against the Lady Arbella," Parsons re- 
marks merely ; " For Arbella, is alleged her being a young 
Ladie and thereby fit to procure affections : and that by 
her marriage she may joyne some other title with her own 
and thereby make friends. Against her, her being nothing 
at all Allied with the Nobilitie of England; her Title as 
doubtful as the rest, if not more. Her Religion can be no 
great motive either for or against her : for by all likelihood 
it is as tender yet, as green and flexible, as is her age and 
sex. . . . She is a woman, and it were perhaps a great 
inconvenience that three of the weak sex should succeed 
one another. Also all her Kindred by her Father is meer 
Scotish. In England she hath none but by her Mother 
the Candishes; a mean Familie and Kindred for a 


Princess." A more disparaging notice could scarcely be 
imagined, and the whole trend of the book was to prove 
the paramount claims of Philip ; yet the mere mention of 
Arbella's name as a possible heiress woke the old resentment 
in Elizabeth. 

But meanwhile, whether Arbella was or was not to 
become the puppet queen of the Catholics, it became more 
than ever imperative that they should have her in their 
hands, since else she might be used against them. Plots 
to capture and carry her abroad grew more numerous than 
ever, and the ringleader in almost all of these was Sir 
William Stanley, a renegade Englishman who had once 
fought gallantly for his country in Ireland, where he had 
been severely wounded ; but on finding that the lands with 
which he had hoped to be rewarded were bestowed instead 
upon Sir Walter Raleigh (the favourite of the hour), whilst 
he himself was sent unrecognized to Flanders, he had 
thrown off his allegiance to Elizabeth, and had become the 
most reckless and daring secret agent of Philip of Spain. 
Rumour declared that Philip allowed him three hundred 
crowns a month, and probably considered his services well 
worth the sum. A Jesuit priest named John Yong, alias 
George Dingley, on being examined in the Tower in August 
1592, made full confession before the Lord Keeper Pucker- 
ing, Lord Buckhurst, and Mr. Fortescue, Chancellor of the 
Exchequer, of all he knew of Stanley's designs. There were 
great preparations, he said, in all parts of Spain against 
England. Thirty ships were ready now, and twelve great 
ships of Biscay, named after the Twelve Apostles, still in 
preparation. Sir William Stanley was the overseer and 
director for cutting portholes, and Yong once heard him 
say "he must begone to do service with a Lady." The 
narrative continues : " When Roulston departed back 
again, he came to Stanley, who said, ' Thou art welcome, 
I hope. Thou shalt be employed in as good service for 
the Lady of which we have often talked.' At which time 
he said no more. Yet, being demanded after by one Dr. 
Stillington what the Lady was, ' Oh ! ' saith he, ' if we had 
her, the most of our fears were past, for any one that could 


hinder us in England. It is ArbellaS saith he, ' who keepeth 
with the Earl of Shrewsbury, whom most certainly they 
will proclaim Queen if their mistress should now happen 
to die. And the rather they will do it, for that in a woman's 
government they may still rule after their own design- 
ments. But here is Symple,' saith he, ' and Roulston, who, 
like cunning fellows, have promised to convey her by 
stealth out of England into Flanders, which if it be done, 
I promise unto you she shall shortly after visit Spain, and 
as I judge, they will prove men of their word.' ' 

This conversation, Yong reported, took place at Valla- 
dolid, and shortly after, Symple and Roulston were sent to 
Flanders and never heard of again. A careful copy of the 
Confession was made and sent to Lord Burghley, who showed 
it to the Queen. Since it was a very long document and 
he was an old man, she bade him let his son, Sir Robert Cecil, 
read it aloud to her, but at its close she looked very grave, 
and bade neither father nor son speak of it to any one, nor 
tell any other member of the Council about it. Another 
priest, Thomas Christopher, also confessed to Burghley 
about this time, first, that he only saw Sir William Stanley 
twice on going and returning to Rome, when he used the 
speeches reported about Lady Arbella; but on being 
pressed further, that " Sir William Stanley, on his last 
coming from Rome, being entertained with great courtesy 
by My Lord the Bishop of Montefiascou at supper, dis- 
coursed largely of the state of England. Among other 
things, saying ; that one young Lady, as yet unmarried, 
was the greatest fear they had, lest she should be proclaimed 
Queen if it should so happen that her Majesty should die.' 
Yet there was hope that some will be found to hinder the 
matter. So he would not name the Lady, his man being 
there in presence. Yet, at my coming to Paris, and talking 
with one Mr. Robert Tempest, I repeated again these words, 
demanding if he did know anything concerning this young 
Lady. He answered that very shortly he trusted to God 
to meet with her here at Brussels. For that one Symple, 
a Scot, and one Roulston had undertaken to convey her 
out of England. The Lady doth abide with an Earl whose 


name I do not remember. And she is allied to the Queen of 

In July 1594, in a letter from one Thomas North, at 
Munich, to the Earl of Essex, mention is made of some 
words the Spanish Legate had used concerning the 
" beauteous and virtuous " Lady Arbella. " They seem 
to study how some plot may be laid for her being conveyed 
out of England," he concludes. Another letter of about 
a year later, from a captive in the Tower to Sir Edward 
Coke, was evidently sent in the hope of gaining liberty by 
divulging all the writer knew or had gathered of continental 
feeling on the subject. A perfect web of deceit, self-interest 
and double-dealing is unveiled in it. The Duke of Brignola 
and the Prince of Parma, who held claims through Edward 
Crookback, were ready to offer Elizabeth their alliance 
against Spain, whom they were supposed to support, if she 
would let one of them marry Arbella and merge her claim 
in his ; but, this once accomplished, they would of course 
be no enemies to Philip, but allow him to enjoy Portugal 
and the Low Countries in peace. Another plan was that 
Philip should marry his own son to Arbella ; yet another 
that her father should be proved a bastard, and she elimin- 
ated from the succession altogether. The fears of James of 
Scotland were also touched upon, and it was remarked 
that Arbella's relatives, the Shrewsburys, were acting very 
poorly for her interests in quarrelling with the Queen's 
favourite ministers, who would, in consequence, certainly 
not support her claims, since if she came to the throne 
they would lose their office. Another letter, intercepted 
a little later, from the Catholics in Lyons, begs to know 
" when the fleet will be ready, as they prayed for the day 
when good Philip of Spain might be placed in England and 
married to the gentlewoman there, that they might go and 
end their lives in that country." 

For all the ingenuity displayed in these schemes, none of 
them would appear to have been very practical, for in spite 
of all the talk, no serious attempt was ever made to carry 
Arbella off. Probably Elizabeth knew a great deal more 
about them than the girl herself; but she could not be 


Aged about Seventeen 


sure of that, and the gulf of distrust widened between them. 
An absurd intercepted letter from a Captain North at this 
time says that he " had commission from Arbella to treat 
with foreign princes," that she wished to go to Spain, and 
" her common speech was that she thought no match in 
England good enough for her." Every agent for this task 
tried to make his principals believe that he had the Lady's 
ear ; but Elizabeth was too shrewd to believe all that came 
to her knowledge. Nevertheless, it all makes a strange, 
dark background to Arbella's Court life, and it seems 
wonderful how much pleasure she managed to distil from 
existence, quite heedless of the web of treason woven about 
her name. Her joys were by no means always frivolous 
ones; she had always loved literature, and in the latter 
end of the golden age of Queen Bess she might have her fill 
of that. Shakespeare himself acted at Court in 1594; his 
plays were constantly given, together with those of many 
others of the great Elizabethans ; Spenser was in London 
in 1595 and 1596, and the Faerie Queen just given to 
the world ; Sidney's Arcadia and Astrophel, Montaigne's 
Essays, Lyly's Euphues, Tasso's Gerusalemme Liberate, 
were all recent works; while in 1596 Raleigh wrote the 
Discovery of Guiana, and a year later Bacon published the 
first edition of his Essays. Here was much mental food 
for the studious mind of the eager girl, and Arbella enjoyed 
it all to the full; it was not only masques and banquets 
that made London a desirable city to her, and she delighted, 
too, in the company of famous men and brilliant women. 
The opening -up of a whole new continent too, beyond the 
western ocean, must have held immense potentialities for 
her; these were the days of lavish speech and large ac- 
complishment : when the Queen bestowed upon Philip 
Sidney a grant of thirty million acres, " in certain parts of 
America not yet discovered," and gave a royal patent to 
Sir Humphrey Gilbert to " discover and occupy remote 
heathen lands not actually possessed by any Christian 
prince or people." Always books and knowledge appealed 
to Arbella, and she even wrote a little poetry herself, as 
indeed most well-educated people did at this time. Ten 


years later she was known as " the most noble and learned 
Lady Arbella," and the title seems to have pleased her; 
whilst in Evelyn's Numismata her name occurs in the 
" List of Learned Women" ; and Phillips, the son-in-law of 
Milton, mentions her among "Modern Poetesses" in his 
Theatrum Poetarum. Already we see her growing just a 
little emancipated from the Shrewsburys and their set. 


MORE PLOTS (1596-1601) 

IN 1596 a strong rumour was current that Elizabeth 
had offered Arbella in marriage to Henri IV of France, 
if he could contrive to divorce his own childless wife, 
Marguerite of Valois. 

Henri of Navarre had succeeded to the throne of France 
on the death of his cousin Henri III in 1589. He was a 
Huguenot, and his accession was hailed with joy by his co- 
religionists, who hoped now that an era of peace had 
dawned for them. Much against her will, Elizabeth, 
posing as the champion of the Protestant Faith in Europe, 
sent over a small force to aid him in subduing his Catholic 
subjects ; but even with this assistance he found the task 
too great. Paris was worth a Mass, he said in the careless 
phrase that stains him through the centuries, and he 
returned once more to the ancient faith; but all was not 
to be so easily forgiven, and for a long time the Pope and 
Spain refused to recognize him. In 1595 he formed an 
alliance with England ; and a year later the Duke of Sessa 
wrote to Philip that the Pope believed the real object of 
this treaty to be that Henri should repudiate Marguerite 
and marry Arbella. 

Whether Elizabeth ever contemplated such a matter or 
not, it is certain that Henri himself discussed the 
advantages of the alliance with his Minister Sully. " He 
began to consider with me," says Sully, " what princess 
of Europe he should choose for his wife, in case his marriage 
with Marguerite of Valois were dissolved. ' I should have 
no objection (said he) to the Infanta of Spain, provided 
that with her I could marry the Low Countries; neither 
would I refuse the Princess Arbella of England, if, since it 
is publicly said the crown of England really belongs to her, 



she were only declared presumptive heiress of it. But there 
is no reason to expect that either of these things will 
happen.' ' The King's own sentiment about the affair 
seems to have been cool enough; but all the same the 
rumour died hardly. Even four years later, an intercepted 
letter tells that " An English priest from Rome writes that 
the Spanish Ambassador has heard from France that the 
Queen will give Arbella in marriage to the French King 
and declare him her successor; but the French here say 
the King has taken another mistress, Mademoiselle 
d'Entragues, and promised to marry her if she have a son. 
Rumours fly that the King of Scotland prepares war against 
England, and that his brother-in-law has broken the ice 
already. Earl Bothwell has gone to Antwerp to be cured ; 
all his designs fell to the ground, but the Scots are a false 
nation, and would sell their King and country for ' siller ', as 
they call it." Later, the same person writes : " The news 
I told you before, sent in cipher in great secrecy, is now in 
the Roman Gazeteer : viz. that the marriage treaty be- 
tween the French King and the Grand Duke (Tuscany) 
cools ; for the Queen of England has promised him a near 
cousin of her own, whom she loves much, and intends to 
make her heir and successor." 

This letter tells us two things: that whatever her 
feelings, Elizabeth managed to hide her distrust of Arbella 
under an apparent liking, and that James was by no 
means sure yet of his succession to the English throne. 
It does not necessarily imply any matrimonial overtures 
on Elizabeth's part to the King of France ; her intention 
was emphatically to keep Arbella single a bugbear to 
frighten James with; but she was quite clever enough to 
take advantage of the rumour, and in any case she did 
not contradict it. James grew more than frightened when 
he heard of it; he lost his head altogether, and for so 
astute a young man proved himself entirely the fool that 
Sully thought him. Nobody in their senses could have 
supposed Elizabeth likely to resign England to her old 
enemy France, and as a matter of fact there was never 
any question but that James himself was her nearest heir 


and must in due time succeed her, but for two obstacles 
in the way. Neither of these was really sufficient to bar 
him, but Elizabeth encouraged him to think so, and all 
his fears were based on them. The first was the famous 
Statute of the 25th year of the reign of Edward III, re- 
inforcing an even older law, by which no person born out- 
side the realm could inherit land within it; but this was 
never really intended to apply to heirs to the crown, since 
Edward's own grandson, Richard II, was born at Bordeaux, 
and yet became King of England with no opposition. It 
was meant, in fact, to enforce the residence of the great 
nobles, who otherwise were apt to travel for years, neglect- 
ing their property, and even to marry abroad and return 
with so-called heirs, the legitimacy of whose birth could 
never be proved. The presumptive heirs at home often 
hotly contested these claims, and much family dissension 
was avoided by insisting that English birth was a necessity 
for succession to English lands. The other law, of the 27th 
year of Elizabeth's own reign, had been, it is true, devised 
on purpose to debar James if his mother continued in her 
malpractices. It provided that the crown of England could 
not be inherited by any person or the heirs of any person 
who should be proved to have conspired against the life 
of the reigning sovereign. Mary had been convicted of 
doing just this, and had been executed for the crime ; but 
nobody could accuse James of complicity in his mother's 
act, and it was well understood that the law had been 
passed merely in the hopes that her son's welfare would 
deter her from conspiring further. Very few people thought 
much or even knew much of this Act, yet James had the 
incredible foolishness to write to Philip pointing it out 
to him, complaining bitterly of the injustice of it, and 
offering to ally himself with Spain and make war on 
Elizabeth if Philip would only promise to support his 
claims to the throne. In rather whining fashion he went 
on to complain that Elizabeth had " three or four times 
taken him into custody," supposing her to have instigated 
plots for his kidnapping, a matter never proved, and that 
she had always refused to give him his father's estate in 


England, " nor would she deliver up to him Arbella his 
uncle's daughter, to be married to the Duke of Lennox in 
Scotland, at the time when he, having no issue, intended 
to make the said Duke his successor, heir to the crown of 
Scotland, at which time the Queen uttered very harsh 
words and of much contempt against him." 

Philip paid no attention to this very undignified appeal, 
and James's brother-in-law, the King of Denmark, hurriedly 
pacified this odd young man, inducing him to remain quiet 
till Elizabeth's death, an event which could not now be 
very long delayed. Nevertheless, when in 1599 a rumour 
was spread that Arbella was to marry the Duke Matthias, 
he agonizedly assured Elizabeth that he " did not mistrust 
Her Majesty's meaning on that point towards him, Her 
Majesty having promised never to do anything to his hurt." 
There was, of course, no more truth in this rumour than in 
any of the rest. 

The Court of Elizabeth changed a good deal during the 
last decade of her reign. It was no longer so brilliant; 
Leicester the magnificent was dead; merry Christopher 
Hatton died in 1591 ; Walsingham a year earlier, so poor 
and out of favour after all the years he had served his 
Queen and country that he was buried at night to save the 
expenses of a costly funeral. Sidney, " lord of the stainless 
sword," had spoken his last memorable words at Zutphen 
in 1586 ; gallant Walter Raleigh, in disgrace for his intrigue 
with pretty Bessie Throgmorton, the Queen's maid-of- 
honour, was sent first to the Tower in 1592, and then, after 
his marriage, to exile in the country till, in 1595, he sailed 
once more for the Golden West. Francis Drake died in 
1596 he of whom it was said that " the narrow seas were a 
prison for so large a spirit, born for greater undertakings " ; 
and although Drake was no courtier, one cannot but notice 
how with one accord the great names vanish together. 
In one year, 1598, Elizabeth lost alike her oldest friend and 
her oldest enemy. Lord Burghley was seventy-eight when 
he died, the most faithful of her servants, and the Queen, 
who has often been accused of heartlessness, wept bitter 
tears at his loss. His second son, Sir Robert Cecil, after- 


wards first Earl of Salisbury, was already a trusted minister, 
and in him she confided much, but he never filled his father's 
place to her, and with good reason. She represented now 
the setting sun, and Cecil's allegiance was divided between 
her and her successor. For the last three years of her reign 
he maintained a secret correspondence with James, while 
at the same time many accused him of a design to marry 
Arbella himself, and proclaim her Queen immediately upon 
Elizabeth's death. 

Burghley died in August, and just a month later Philip 
of Spain followed him to the grave. Philip had been 
married four times, and though succeeded in Spain by his 
son Philip III, left his English rights to his daughter, the 
Infanta Eugenia Isabella Clara Cecilia, on whom he doted, 
and for whom he had long hoped to obtain the crown of 
France, her mother, his third wife, having been Isabella 
of France, the only sister of Henri III, who left no children. 
The Salic Law efficiently preventing this, he formed various 
schemes for her marriage, one preposterous one being that 
he should obtain a dispensation from the Pope and marry 
her himself. Finally she was married only a few months 
before her father's death to the Cardinal Archduke Albert 
(dispensed of his vows), the son of the Emperor Maximilian 
II. She and her husband were always known as " the 
Archdukes," and to them Philip left the Sovereign Govern- 
ment of the Spanish Netherlands, and his rights of succes- 
sion to the English throne. 

A masterly letter, written from Rome by the Cardinal 
d'Ossat in November 1601 to the King of France, whose 
Plenipotentiary he was, shows very plainly how the Pope 
regarded the rival claims of Spain and Parma to the English 
throne . Parma is still and always his favourite . 4 ' The Pope, ' ' 
writes the Cardinal, " is of opinion that the King of Spain, 
finding himself unable to do anything either for himself or 
his sister (and as it is thought by most it will be impossible 
for him), will easily be persuaded to employ his mighty 
forces and all that the late King his father hath left unto 
him either of intelligences or interests . . . for the advanc- 
ing one of the princes of the house of Parma, who are his 


cousins-german once removed and professed servants. . . . 
The Pope first thought of the Duke of Parma, as the elder 
brother and his ally, and will do this the first and it only, 
if His Highness perceives the kingdom of England can be 
obtained without Arbella. But if, after the Queen's 
decease, Arbella should raise a strong party in England, 
and that for the easier conquest of the kingdom, it were 
necessary to join his forces with Arbella's; then in this 
case, because he cannot treat of a marriage betwixt Arbella 
and the Duke of Parma already married, the Pope intends 
instead of the Duke of Parma to bring in the Cardinal his 
brother, who might marry the said Arbella, and by these 
means they, both joining their forces, would sooner and 
easier compass their designs. . . . Your Majesty will be 
easily persuaded that he (the Pope) wishes them (the Parma 
brothers) that greatness, because of their alliance with him, 
and besides that they are strong Catholics and held to be 
good moderate princes, and in it His Holiness would 
think he did a work well pleasing to God and profitable to 
the Catholic religion. . . . And I can assure your Majesty 
that His Holiness hath of late sent three briefs to the 
Nuncio whom he keeps in the Low Countries, which are to 
be concealed till he hath news of the Queen's death, and 
then to be sent over into England, the one to the clergy, 
the second to the nobility, and the third to the canons, 
according to the several directions of the said brief, by 
which the three estates of England are admonished and 
exhorted to stand united together for the receiving a 
Catholic King whom His Holiness will name unto them." 
This letter was supposed to be a friendly and private 
expression of opinion from the Cardinal to Henri of France, 
but that it was inspired in every line is very plainly 
evidenced by certain scarcely veiled threats against the 
encouragement of Spain or Scotland, with which it closes. 
Arbella seems by now to count for very little in the 
foreign schemes, but she could not yet be altogether dis- 
regarded. In 1600 there is a careless mention of her in a 
letter of the period, to the effect that her claims to be an 
Englishwoman consist in her being born this side of the 


Tweed only, otherwise she is in descent Scottish. As to 
her rights, these are " in a female, fit enough to make a 
Queen Jane of, but she has not yet been thought of for 
such a purpose, I dare say, on this side." The writer 
can have known very little of the secret history of the 
day. A few months later, a spy named Kendall confessed 
to Secretary Cecil that he was told by Father Lewknor 
that the ruin of England was sure, that the government 
was all in the hands of one man, a professed enemy to the 
Catholics (Cecil himself), that Sir Robert Cecil intended 
to be King by marrying Arbella, and now lacked only the 
name ; also that " Lord Shrewsbury, who can remove the 
stumbling-blocks to the marriage, is for him, thinking he 
cannot better establish his house; but that the Infanta 
is against him, and has great spirit, and could wrest the 
sceptre from Cecil." Whether Cecil ever contemplated 
such a marriage is extremely doubtful, and not long after, 
in his secret correspondence with James, we find a message 
from him to the effect that " My lord of Shrewsbury, of 
whose idol's sublimation, or at the least of a purpose to 
make her higher by as many steps as ascend to the scaffold, 
if she follow some men's counsels, hath been desperately 
sick." A few months later again comes the rumour that 
" Middle ton, a priest, and Hill, a pensioner of the King of 
France, were employed by the King to make his bastard 
King of England, and marry him to Arbella, but the King 
of Spain would oppose it " : a proposition thought by some 
to be favourably regarded by Elizabeth, though Sir John 
Harington writes : " In my soul I do not think that the 
Queen, even if she listen to these French suggestions out 
of policy, ever will agree that a goodly young lady, aged 
about twenty-four years, should be so disparaged as to be 
matched with a bastard of France under fourteen, and 
made a new Helena to burn our Troy dormant, and run 
away by the light." Further information also reached 
Cecil from the Bishop of London, who gathered it from the 
confession of a young man, lately come from the College 
at Douai. This youth declared that he had heard Father 
Parsons say, in the English College at Rome and elsewhere, 


that all the priests made in the English seminaries beyond 
seas were sworn by a Jesuit before coming into England to 
be true to the Archduke and the Infanta. " As to the 
King of Scots, it is his right, but he is not capable of 
governing, and of no religion. That Lady Arbella is a 
notable Puritan, and they hold the Turk more worthy of 
place than she. That after Her Majesty's death they (the 
English Catholics) will either massacre or be massacred, 
and that the Popa and the King of Spain have promised 
to help them what they can." 

Towards the close of the century, perhaps in consequence 
of her lessening likelihood to be used politically against 
the Queen, a faint gleam of favour seems once more to have 
been bestowed upon Arbella. It was customary at the 
New Year for the ladies of the Court to send gifts to their 
sovereign through her attendants, and, in 1600, Arbella' s 
met with a particularly gracious reception. Her aunt, 
Lady Shrewsbury, sent " a gowne of white satin layed on 
with pasmane of golde, the vernewyse lyned with strawe- 
collored Jarceonet delivered to Rauf Hoope " : while 
that of the " Barrones Arbella " is described as " one 
skarfe or head-vaile of lawne cut-worke, florished with 
silver and silke of sondry colors delivered to Mrs. Lucy 
Hide." Arbella's income was very small for her circum- 
stances, and she could not afford so handsome a present 
as her aunt; but both were presented to the Queen by 
Lady Dorothy Stafford, a good and charming woman, 
who had been left a widow at twenty-seven, and was for 
forty years after the favourite lady-in-waiting of Elizabeth. 
In Lady Dorothy's case royal blood seems to have been no 
bar to royal favour, since her mother Ursula was daughter 
to the Countess of Salisbury, only daughter of George, 
Duke of Clarence; but she never had a thought for any 
one but her Queen, and Elizabeth loved and trusted her 
accordingly. Lady Dorothy's reply to Lady Shrewsbury 
is as follows 

" I have, according to the purport of your 


honourable letters, presented your Ladyship's New Year's 
gift together with my Lady Arbella's, to the Queen's 
Majesty, who hath very graciously accepted thereof, and 
taken an especial liking to my Lady Arbella's. It pleased 
Her Majesty to tell me that, whereas, in former letters of 
your Ladyship's, your desire was that Her Majesty would 
have that respect of my Lady Arbella, that she might be 
carefully bestowed to Her Majesty's good liking; that, 
according to the contents of those letters, Her Majesty 
told me, that she would be careful of her, and withal re- 
turned a token to my Lady Arbella, which is not so good as 
I could wish it, nor so good as her Ladyship deserveth, in 
respect of the rareness of that which she sent unto Her 
Majesty. But I beseech you, good Madam, seeing it please 
Her Majesty to say so much unto me touching her care of 
my Lady Arbella, that your Ladyship will vouchsafe me 
so much favour as to keep it to yourself, not making any 
other acquainted with it, but rather repose the trust in 
me for to take my opportunity for putting Her Majesty 
in mind thereof, I will do as carefully as I can." 

The " token " accompanying the letter is officially de- 
scribed as, " To Baroness Arbella, gilt plate, 19 oz., 3 gr." 

At first sight it seems strange that Arbella, who in 
1600 reached her twenty-fifth year, should never, in spite 
of the constant rumours of her marriage, have yet evinced 
any personal liking for any of the men about her. But 
in early youth she had discovered for herself that there was 
no one in whom she could really trust ; all who were kind 
to her were so for a purpose ; even the favourite aunt and 
uncle meant to make use of her : her imperious old grand- 
mother treated her as a slave or a hostage. The Queen 
frowned, and the Queen's ministers dared not smile upon 
her. In short, a more friendless being was scarcely at that 
time to be found in all the kingdom. The emotional side 
of her nature, repressed in youth, developed slowly, yet, 
being in blood a Tudor, it was surely there. And when 
at last an infatuation did seize upon Arbella, the intensity 
of her passion threatened to overwhelm her. 



Robert Devereux, second Earl of Essex, when all the 
greater names have vanished from Elizabeth's Court, stands 
out as the handsomest, the most romantic, and the most 
profligate figure in what was growing to be a deeply profli- 
gate age. His mother, Lettice Knollys, was one of the 
wickedest women of her day. There is little doubt that 
she helped Leicester to poison her first husband, Walter, 
Earl of Essex, in order that she might marry him; nor 
afterwards, during Leicester's lifetime, that she carried on 
an intrigue with Sir Christopher Blount, whom she later 
wedded ; while her two daughters, Dorothy and Penelope, 
the notorious Lady Rich, rivalled her in shamelessness and 
license. Young Essex was born in 1567, and, under the 
auspices of his stepfather, the Earl of Leicester, fought 
valiantly in the Low Countries, and when brought to Court 
quickly gained the " singular countenance " of Elizabeth. 
This he jeopardized by a secret marriage with Frances 
Walsingham, the widow of Philip Sidney, but was soon 
forgiven, and in 1591 sent in command of the English forces 
to help Henri IV of France. His most brilliant exploit 
was his share in the capture of Cadiz, in 1596, and in 1597 
he was made Earl Marshal, and a year later Chancellor of 
Cambridge. Envious and vain as any woman, he was 
bitterly jealous of all praise bestowed on other leaders, 
and in especial hated Raleigh as his chief rival in renown. He 
would sulk for days, like a schoolgirl, at any favour shown 
to another, and would use such language to Elizabeth as 
none other had ever dared. Of this, however, he made a 
principle, and Bacon, then his friend, writes : " He had a 
sort of settled opinion that the Queen should be brought 
to nothing but by a kind of necessity or authority; and 
I well remember when by violent courses at any time he 
had got his will, he would ask me, 4 Now Sir, whose principles 
be true ? ' and I would say to him, ' My Lord, these courses 
be like to hot water, they will help at a pang, but if you 
use them you shall spoil the stomach : and you shall be 
fain still to make them stronger and stronger, and yet in 
the end they will lose their operation.' " The mere audacity 
of his method certainly won Essex immunity for a time, 


and, indeed, to this graceful, graceless boy, remotely by her 
mother's side kin to herself, it seemed the gaunt old Queen 
could deny nothing and would forgive all. She herself 
was over seventy now, and though Essex, as every other 
noble at Court, paid her at times extravagant and vividly 
worded compliments, it is hardly possible to believe that 
she can seriously have supposed him in love with her, or 
have permitted herself to fall in love with him. She 
treated him as a spoilt child rather; but would most 
certainly have been furiously angry had she for one moment 
suspected that his allegiance had ever wavered from her. 
For his wife he soon ceased to care, but his intrigues 
with the other women of the Court were common know- 
ledge to all but the Queen. And this was the man 
to whom the unhappy Arbella Stuart at last lost her 

From the first it was evident that the affair could come 
to no happy issue, and, since Arbella was a good and pure 
woman, to no shameful one. This must have been a new 
experience for Essex, who did not usually find his wooing 
hard, but probably to him it hardly counted as a love- 
affair at all, while to her at the time it stood supreme. A 
passionate gratitude is shown in her every mention of him : 
" I may well say I never had nor never shall have the like 
friend " ; she cried after his death : " And were not I 
unthankfully forgetful if I should not remember my noble 
friend, who graced me, by Her Majesty's command disgraced 
orphan, unfound ward, unproved prisoner, undeserved 
exile, in his greatest and happy fortunes, to the adventure 
of eclipsing Her Majesty's favours from him, which were so 
dear, so welcome to him ? " Their meetings were, of 
necessity, very secret : " None other dare visit me in my 
distress," she says; ". . . . and the Earl of Essex, then 
in highest favour, durst scarcely steal a salute in the privy 
chamber." But, cautious though they were, whispers did 
get abroad, though the mention of such in contemporary 
memoirs is very rare. Sir John Harington, in his Tract on 
the Succession to the Crown, written somewhere between 
1601 and 1602, says : " My Lady Arbella also now began 


to be spoken of and much commended, as she is well worthy 
for many noble parts, and the Earl of Essex, in some 
glancing speeches, gave occasion to have both himself and 
her honourable friends to be suspected of that which I 
suppose was no part of their meaning " ; whilst rumours 
also reached the greedy ear of James, well served by his 
spies at the English Court. Coupled with the talk of an 
intrigue came the alarm that Arbella had at last succumbed 
to the persuasions of the Jesuits and joined the Church 
of Rome, a story accounted for by the fact that Essex, 
who had at first hated his mother's third husband, 
Christopher Blount, now held him high in friendship; 
that Blount, who was a violent Papist, had introduced 
many of his co-religionists to the young man, and that 
it was popularly believed that Essex had secretly become 
a Catholic himself. From this to his conversion of Arbella 
was but a step in speculation, and though the whole tale 
was an entire fabrication, James, perhaps judging others 
by himself, immediately believed it true, and wrote he 
of whom the Catholics themselves said that " he had no 
religion " in a strain of grieved remonstrance to Lord 
Henry Howard 

44 1 am from my heart sorry for this accident fallen to 
Arbell, but as nature enforceth me to love her as the 
creature nearest of kin to me next my own children, so 
would I, for her own weal, that such order were taken 
as she might be preserved from evil company, and that 
evil inclined persons might not have access unto her to 
supplant, abusing of the frailty of her youth and sex ; for 
if it be true, as I am credibly informed, that she is lately 
moved by the persuasion of the Jesuits to change her 
religion and declare herself Catholic, it may easily be 
judged that she hath been very evil attended on by them 
that should have had greater care of her, when persons so 
odious, not only to all good Englishmen, but to all the rest 
of the world, Spain only excepted, should have access to 
have conferred with her at such leisure as to have disputed 
and moved her in matters of religion." 


This covert hit at the Shrewsburys fell harmlessly to 
the ground, and indeed one guesses that Arbella spoke 
little to her aunt of her friendship with Essex, and that 
they were scarcely upon so good terms as usual at this 
time. Lord Henry Howard writes to Scotland that "the 
league is very strong between Sir Walter Raleigh and my 
Lady of Shrewsbury and Sir Walter Raleigh's wife. She is 
a most dangerous woman, and full of her father's inven- 
tions." The last sentence more probably refers to Lady 
Raleigh than to Lady Shrewsbury, of whom it is usually 
quoted; but the mention shows that the Shrewsburys 
were upon intimate terms with the chief enemies of Essex. 
In a Court full of spies and scandal, where Essex was the 
most admired hero, and Arbella herself might any day 
become Queen, it is amazing how the secret of their friend- 
ship was so closely kept ; for although it certainly reached 
Scotland, there is hardly a reference to it in any English 
letters of the day. Not less surprising is it that Essex 
should have taken no advantage of a liking so difficult to 
obtain and so gratifying to all his ambitions ; but for the 
moment he cared only for the command in Ireland, and 
teased Elizabeth every hour of the day to give it him. She 
knew too well that he was not the man to deal with so 
difficult a problem, and steadfastly refused, till at last one 
day his language became even more violent than usual, 
and turning his back upon her, he raged that " her condition 
was as crooked as her carcase." An outspoken woman 
herself all her life, Elizabeth had never been addressed like 
this before, and springing from her seat, she gave him a box 
on the ears and told him to " Go and be hanged." They 
were never again entirely reconciled, but Essex got his Irish 
appointment, and poor Arbella, thoughtless of herself, 
rejoiced that he should have it. 

Her romance was destined to rush hurriedly to a tragic 
close, and the tragedy was the darker in that none knew it 
for hers. Her name never appeared, and through all the 
sickening anxieties of Essex's rebellion, trial and death, 
she had to suffer in silence. Elizabeth had, of course, been 
right, and the Earl proved useless in Ireland. In six 


months his army was reduced to a quarter of its strength ; 
without authority he made truce with the Irish chiefs, left 
his post, and hurried home to London, where he burst into 
the Queen's bedroom, stained and muddy with travel. 
She does not seem much to have resented this, but he was 
immediately after imprisoned for criminal negligence in 
his command, and deprived of all his dignities. Once 
released, he declared that Elizabeth's advisers were his 
enemies, and that he would raise London to destroy them 
and seize her person. On Sunday, the 8th of February, 

1601, while the Queen sat at meat, he made his attempt; 
but when they told her what was happening, she proudly 
said : " He who placed me in this seat will preserve me in it " ; 
and went calmly on with her dinner. On the 19th of February 
Essex was found guilty of high treason by his peers, and on 
Ash Wednesday, the 25th, he was beheaded in the Tower. 

The story of the Countess of Nottingham and the ring 
which she failed to deliver to the Queen seems purely 
apocryphal ; but there is no doubt that Elizabeth felt the 
death of Essex deeply, and was never the same woman after 
it. She had no more favourites; and although she made 
great show of physical health and cheerful spirits, her 
health failed steadily from this day. A year later, in March 

1602, Father Anthony Rivers, writing to Father Parsons 
abroad, reports that " The ache of the Queen's arm hath 
fallen into her side, but she is still, thanks to God, frolicky 
and merry, only her face sheweth some decay, which to 
conceal, when she cometh in public she putteth many fine 
cloths into her mouth to bear out her cheeks, and sometimes 
as she is walking she will put off her petticoat, as seeming 
too hot when others shake with cold." In the summer 
news came that the ache in the Queen's side " increaseth 
and the like beginneth also in her thigh " ; in July she 
" hunted with great show of vigour and ability " ; in 
September Cecil writes that " The Queen our sovereign 
was never so gallant for many years nor so set upon 
jollity " ; and yet another on the same date notes that she 
" refused help to enter her barge, whereby stumbling, she 
bruised herjshins." 


MYSTERY (1601-2) 

EITHER Arbella was not so good an actress as Elizabeth, 
or else she did not forget so easily. After the death of 
Essex, she was very wretched for some time, and in the 
autumn left London to return to her grandmother at 
Hardwick. This may have been because Elizabeth had 
become aware of her infatuation for Essex, and in a rage 
at her presumption had sent her home; or perhaps she 
herself, finding the Court intolerable in her sorrow, hoped 
to find peace and tranquillity in the solitudes of the 
country. If the latter were the case, she was bitterly 
disappointed. Old Lady Shrewsbury apparently regarded 
her as a prisoner under the Queen's displeasure, and in 
any case still treated her always as a child, made her keep 
the strictest hours, rated her soundly for her every inde- 
pendent word and action, and never permitted her to be 
left alone. Such company made of Hardwick a dungeon, 
and the unhappy woman of seven-and -twenty felt herself 
driven slowly mad by it. Her only longing now was to 
escape, but this was not easy. Eyes watched her on every 
side : if she chafed at restrictions she was accused of 
ingratitude. She seems to have quarrelled with Gilbert 
and Mary, probably over the Essex affair, for they never 
came to see her. She submitted herself as long as possible 
to her grandmother's autocracy, but there is always a 
breaking-point even for the most patient; and if parents 
and guardians will be tyrants, their children must prove 
either slaves or rebels. Arbella had borne slavery long 
enough. Always at the will of others, she ached now 
only for silence and privacy in which to nurse her wounded 
heart, far from the cruel jibes of the fierce old woman 
who had no mercy for woes too tender to confide. Lady 



Shrewsbury was angry that Arbella had now a grief she 
could not tell, and her anger made her more cruel than she 
can have known. The younger woman felt desperately 
that in flight lay her only hope. 

" The truth is," says her chaplain, John Star key, " that 
she, seeming to be discontented, told me about Easter that 
she thought of all the means she could to get from home, 
by reason she was hardly used (as she said) in despiteful 
and disgraceful words, and her most plagued withal, which 
she could not endure; and this seemed not feigned, for 
often-times, being at her book, she would break forth into 
tears. Whereupon," he continues, eager evidently to 
feather his own nest, and make some use of his Lady's 
misfortunes, " I promised that, if it would please her to 
use my service, I would deliver her letters or messages 
while I stayed in town, and told her that I was resolved 
not to stay in the country any longer, and acquainted her 
ladyship with the cause, for that I was weary of the servi- 
tude and homage wherein I have lived more than ten 
years, having taught one of Mr. William Cavendish's sons 
six or seven years without any consideration for my gains, 
and being then enjoined to teach another his ABC ; and, 
besides, my living, which was given me, being indirectly 
detained from me by Mr. Cavendish, who had kept the 
same in his hands seven or eight years, whereas his faithful 
promise to me was that I should be restored to it in very 
short time." 

Arbella, friendless and alone, caught eagerly at the 
offer of this rather vague assistance, and promised Starkey, 
if ever her own mistress, to procure a good living for him, 
and retain him always as her chaplain. Her position 
was cruelly hampered by being kept very short of money, 
her grandmother having even " threatened to take away 
her jewels, but she had prevented her by sending them 
away into Yorkshire," says Starkey. She was obliged, 
therefore, to borrow from the chaplain, and had in all 
279 2s. 2d. from him, of which she had paid back 199 
in the following year ; but it is doubtful if she would have 
indebted herself to him at all had she known how broken 


a reed he was destined to prove to her. Later, when the 
storm broke, and he was accused of aiding her escape, he 
could only exclaim helplessly that " I am persuaded there 
was no such matter, and if there had been, her ladyship 
knoweth well that I supported her rather to endure her 
grief and discontent patiently, than by an inconvenient 
course to prejudice herself." He complained that the 
world had been led to " believe that I was very desirous 
and forward to gain her removal from her lady grand- 
mother," and that " She told me she had good friends, 
and more than all the world knew of, but I forbear to set 
down greater matters which she in her conscience doth 
know are true, being sorry that such a one should be made 
an instrument of the bad practices of others, whose device 
was to turn me out of my living and to deprive me of my 
life, the Lord forgive them all. God grant the Queen's 
Majesty's most gracious reign long to continue over this 

These statements are contained in a confession written 
by Starkey a year later, when Arbella's affairs were in 
very serious confusion indeed ; but his chief and avowed 
object in it was not to help her, but to exonerate his own 
conduct. " My friends and kinsfolk I protest are blame- 
less and without fault, being unacquainted with this 
matter. . . . For my own part, I was busied about the 
recovery of my parsonage." At the moment, however, 
Arbella seems to have trusted him considerably, and when 
he left Hardwick, according to his wish, that summer. 
44 At my coming away the Lady Arbella told me she thought 
her grandmother would stay my book, and therefore 
advised me, if I had anything of worth, to lock it up, and 
she would be as careful of it as if it had been her own. . . ." 
She also " sent the key of her coffer by me to search for 
a pearl of 20 which she doubted she had lost, but this 
was only a device." He sent her presents from London, 
apparently rather injudicious ones : a Bible of his own, 
with his initials, J.A.S., upon it, afterwards supposed by 
some to have been a love-gift, and the letters meant for 
John and Arbella Stuart or Starkey ; and also a book with, 


as he says himself, " an unfit print upon the cover, which 
unadvisedly was given Lady Arbella by me, for which 
gross error committed by me, though unwittingly, to the 
impairing of her ladyship's fame and good name, I am so 
inwardly vexed that if I had a thousand lives I would 
willingly spend them all to redeem the least part of her 
reputation. Such is her virtuous disposition, and so 
excellent are those ornaments with which her honour's 
mind is adorned, as that they may be the rather admired 
than imitated. Most unfortunate then, was I in com- 
mitting such a fault, although I protest upon my salvation 
I never intended any such matter as from this might un- 
justly be gathered; the meanest reason I do think could 
only imagine that : and this is the cause, that her honour in 
just reading hath been made an instrument." 

Anxious though he may have been to help, Starkey 
could be of little real assistance to Arbella, and it was of 
no use for her to think of flight unless she had friends 
who were prepared to receive her. Could some of the 
foreign plotters have reached her now, they might have 
met with a more kindly reception, but while she was thus 
at her wits' end in the country, none knew of her extremity ; 
and the same vague rumours of marriage played around 
her name in London. Father Rivers writes in March 
that " The arrival of the Duke of Nevers is daily expected. 

. . The general opinion is that he cometh of curiosity 
to see the Court and country, but in special I hear he de- 
sireth secretly a sight of the Lady Arbella : for that some 
great person here, bearing the French in hand that it 
shall be in his power to dispose of the succession after 
Her Majesty's death, by preferring whom he please to 
match with the said lady; this duke, albeit a married 
man, being a great favourite, is fed in hope thereof for 
himself (if his wife die) or some friend, and thereupon, 
under colour of some other embassy, undertaketh this 
voyage. How probable this may be I leave to your con- 
sideration, only this much I can assure you, that a house 
is here preparing privately in London, where the good lady, 
with those with whom she liveth, are expected after 


Easter." The assurance, followed a few days later by 
the announcement that " Arbella is shortly to come 
to town," was about as trustworthy as the news of 
Nevers's visit at all, since he had no intention of visiting 
England, and came no farther than the Netherlands; 
but Rivers was considerably nearer the truth at the end 
of July, when he wrote : " I hear some have an intention 
to marry the Earl of Hertford's second son with Arbella, 
and to carry it that way, but these supra nos nihil ad 

This is the first occasion upon which we find allusion to 
any possible alliance between Arbella and the House of 
Hertford, and it is therefore important to point out here 
the reasons which, to the Queen, would make such a 
proposal the most hated and objectionable that could 
be conceived. Briefly they are these : Lord Hertford's 
son held a claim to the crown second only in England to 
Arbella's own, and he derived it in this manner : Lady 
Jane Grey had two younger sisters, Katherine and Mary, 
and when in 1553 Jane was married to Guildford Dudley, 
Katherine at the same time became the bride of Henry, 
Lord Herbert, eldest son of the Earl of Pembroke. Both 
these marriages were entered into for purely political 
reasons, and at a time when the Greys appeared likely to 
become the royal family of England; and immediately 
after the downfall and death of the Nine Days' Queen 
and her father, Herbert denied his marriage and divorced 
his wife Katherine, still only a child of fifteen. Grudgingly 
allowed at Court during Mary's reign, Katherine, a timid, 
gentle girl, whom the misfortunes of her family had fright- 
ened into self-effacement, formed a deep friendship with 
Lady Jane Seymour, daughter of the late Protector 
Somerset, who, though younger than herself, and extremely 
delicate, was of a far more energetic character. With 
the Queen's permission, Katherine stayed a month or so 
at her friend's home, where she can, it is true, have had 
little in sympathy with Jane's mother, Anne, Duchess 
of Somerset, that " mannish or rather devilish woman, for 
many imperfectibilities intolerable, but for pride monstrous, 


exceeding subtle and violent " (so says Sir John Hayward) ; 
but where she very quickly fell in love with Jane's brother, 
Edward Seymour, later Earl of Hertford, an amiable 
youth, who lavished upon Katherine all the adoration 
of a weak but loving nature. Sister Jane alone being in 
the secret, the lovers plighted their troth; and when in 
1558 Queen Mary died, it was hoped that Elizabeth would 
be gracious to the idea of their marriage. The death of 
Katherine's mother, however, delayed matters a little, 
and by the time she had ceased mourning her, it was 
already plain that the victorious Elizabeth intended to 
be a harder taskmistress to her young cousin than ever 
the sad and faded Mary had been. If Henry VIII's 
will were to be followed and the Scottish branch dis- 
regarded, Katherine stood undoubtedly next heir to the 
throne, and she was, in consequence, as suspiciously watched 
and arrogantly treated as Arbella Stuart a generation later ; 
many indeed are the historical parallels drawn between 
these two unfortunate princesses. The very suggestion 
of marriage in connection with Katherine would have been 
regarded by Elizabeth as high treason, and, at last, the 
young couple determined to wait no longer on fortune, 
but to marry privately. Perhaps, both being so timid, it 
needed Jane Seymour to stir them to the act, but in any 
case she undertook all the necessary arrangements, and 
one day, when the Queen and Court were absent hunting, 
she produced a Lutheran priest, and stood sole witness 
to the ceremony which made her brother and Katherine 
Grey man and wife. So agitated were bride and groom 
that they never even inquired or knew the name of the 
priest nor whence he came, but, satisfied that they were 
truly married, contrived henceforth to meet secretly as 
often as they could. 

Very shortly after this Jane Seymour died suddenly; 
and when a few months later it became evident that 
Katherine was about to become a mother, great was the 
scandal at the Court. A singular incident is that in her 
first terror she should have turned for a confidante to 
" Madame Saintlow," Bess of Hard wick, then married to 


her third husband and in a good place at Court ; but Bess, 
determined to involve herself in no affair that smacked of 
treason, met her with little sympathy and helped her not 
at all. Katherine and Hertford were hurried to the Tower 
and strictly examined; but both boldly avowed their 
marriage and told all they knew of the circumstances, 
though neither was able to produce the priest who had 
married them, and death had already claimed the only 
witness who could have proved the truth of their words. 
In the Tower Katherine's son, the future Lord Beauchamp, 
was born; and after prolonged discussion the Bishop of 
London's Court pronounced that there had been no 
marriage and that the child was illegitimate. Much 
indignation was caused by this pronouncement, and since 
the gentle young pair were still kept strictly in the Tower, 
the compassionate gaolers saw to it that they met as 
frequently as possible still. A second son, Thomas, was 
born a year later, and this so infuriated the Queen that 
she determined they should never meet again. They 
never did. Hertford was sent to the strict keeping of 
his mother, and Katherine to the house of her uncle, 
Lord John Grey, in Essex. With two changes of prison, 
in wretched health and broken spirits, she sank slowly 
to death, and expired early in 1568, aged only twenty- 
nine. Hertford remained a prisoner for some years more, 
but was released at last, and later married twice again. 
Nevertheless, and although his character, naturally timid, 
had through grief and long captivity been broken almost 
to an abject fear of Elizabeth, he yet never ceased his 
endeavours to prove the legitimacy of his children, braving 
even further imprisonment and a heavy fine in the attempt. 
Hot-tempered always, Elizabeth could yet on occasion 
be mollified, but the Earl of Hertford she never forgave, 
and he passed all his days in mortal terror of her displeasure. 
His two sons, accepted everywhere as Lord Beauchamp 
and Lord Thomas Seymour, won no recognition from her, 
and, indeed, so virulent was her hatred of the entire 
family that Margaret of Lennox's granddaughter might 
more easily have won forgiveness for an intrigue with 


Spain itself than for the least hint at friendship with any 
descendant of Katherine Grey. 

In 1602, at the time when Arbella Stuart was sighing 
her heart out in a desperate longing for freedom at Hard- 
wick Hall, Lord Thomas Seymour had been dead two 
years, but Lord Beauchamp had three sons, Edward, 
William, and Francis Seymour, aged respectively sixteen, 
fourteen and twelve years, and was himself a widower, his 
wife, Honora Rogers, having lately died; there were 
therefore, at least three eligible husbands in the family, 
to any one of whom Father Rivers's vague rumour might 
apply. The odd thing is that though Elizabeth had 
plenty of spies, and Cecil more, no whisper of such a matter 
should have reached them till some months later. The 
rumour itself might easily be dismissed, together with 
the fifty other baseless ones to which some passing 
allusions have been made, but that on this particular 
occasion it does seem to have had a certain amount 
of foundation, or at least Arbella herself believed so. 
She had now come to the conclusion that her only hope of 
escape lay in marriage; and since her heart lay buried in 
the grave of Essex, she cared only to find some good man 
who would receive, marry and protect her. In this state 
of mind she discovered, so she says, that some time during 
the summer Lord Hertford had bidden his lawyer, Mr. 
Kirton, go to an old servant of Lady Shrewsbury's in 
Wales, a man named Owen Tydder (who had been twenty 
years at Hardwick, and whose son was page to Arbella 
herself), and sound him on the subject of moving " my 
Lady of Shrewsbury about the marriage betwixt his 
lordship's grandchild, the Lord Beauchamp's eldest son, 
and the Lady Arbella." Lady Shrewsbury thought very 
ill of the plan, being well aware how angry the Queen 
would be did she hear of it ; she consequently refused to 
have anything to do with Hertford, upon which no more 
was said. This circumstance does not seem to have reached 
Arbella's ears till late in the autumn, but it held out hopes 
of a possible rescue to her, and she thereupon determined 
to enter into correspondence herself upon the subject. 


It seems that her uncles, Henry and William Cavendish, 
were more or less in her confidence, though, being extremely 
cautious, they would take no open action on her behalf, 
for all knew of the Queen's fury should a whisper of such 
a plot escape. 

Early in December she asked John Dodderidge, a servant 
of the house, if he would " go a little way for her," and on 
his replying in the affirmative (for the servants were all 
devoted to her), she explained she needed him to travel 
a hundred miles. He demurred at this, fearing to lose 
his situation by becoming involved in some important 
matter, but she argued away his fears, assured him he 
would find friends, and bade him go to Amesbury, ask 
for the above-mentioned Mr. Kirton, remind him of his 
overtures in the summer, and inform him that if his master 
were " desirous of the same still, he must take some other 
course." Before Dodderidge could start, however, Arbella 
bethought her that a more direct way would be to get her 
faithful Starkey, then in London, to go straight to the 
Earl of Hertford and deliver her message to himself in 
person; and on Starkey nervously wriggling out of any- 
such responsibility, she decided that Dodderidge should 
do this instead of treating with Kirton first. On Christmas 
Day therefore, immediately after dinner, Henry Cavendish, 
who had only arrived at Hardwick the night before, went 
out of the gates, and, calling Dodderidge to him, showed 
him a place at a little distance from the house where he 
had prepared a horse for him ; and the good fellow accord- 
ingly mounted and set out for Tottenham, where the old 
Earl of Hertford lived. Arbella had already given him 
a careful paper of instructions, directing him to deliver 
his message to the Earl alone, and to inform him that 
14 the matter hath been thoroughly considered by some of 
Lady Arbella's friends; for they think your lordship did 
not take an ordinary course in your proceedings, for it 
was thought fitter that my Lady Arbella should have been 
first moved in the matter, and that the parties might have 
had sight the one of the other, to see how they would 
like. For that if his lordship were desirous of this still, 


he might send his grandchild, guarded with whom his 
lordship thought fit, and he could come and go easily at 
his own pleasure either to tarry or depart." 

She adds careful warnings, however, as to the precautions 
necessary in case of such a visit. " If they come to me 
themselves, they shall be shut out at the gates; if locked 
up, my grandmother will be the first shall advertise and 
complain to the Queen. If dismissed, they must fully 
prove themselves to be no sycophants to me. For the 
first, let them make some offer to sell land, and Mr. Hand- 
cock and Mr. Proctor are good patterns to follow, so that 
they shall have whom they will to tarry in the house, 
and be welcome for a longer time than shall need. I 
desire this may be some ancient grave man; the younger 
may come as his son or nephew, and tarry or go away as 
we shall then think good. For the second, I protest your 
witness, either by word or writing, shall fully satisfy me. 
But it will be counted discretion in you, and confirm their 
good opinion of me, if you require them to bring all the 
testimonies they can, as some picture or handwriting of 
the Lady Jane Grey, whose hand I know, and she sent her 
sister a book at her death, which were the very best they 
could bring, or of the Lady Katherine, or Queen Jane 
Seymour, or any of that family, which we know they, and 
none but they, have. And let some of the company be 
of my Uncle Henry's acquaintance, who yet must not come 
to the house because of my Aunt Grace and his servants, 
but shall meet him at some other place. Their care is no 
more but to come speedily and secretly to Mansfield, or 
some place near and after you, and such intelligence as 
you have in the house will provide for the rest. You know 
none can better advise than John Good, whom I pray you 
acquaint with no more, but that it greatly concerns me, 
and he will, without any inquisitiveness, do his best, 
and perchance take them for northern rather than western 
men, and that were their best way both for to him or 
anybody else. No mention of the E. of Hertford in any 
case, nor of that county ; if they can, Cornish and Devon- 
shire men, and generally out of all parts of England, referred 


to Sir John Biron's, therefore let them be wary, the short- 
ness of time will help to keep counsel." This paper is 
endorsed : " This is the note which my Lady Arbella writ 
and gave me for my instruction to deal in this business, 
in witness whereof I have put to my hand. John 
Dodderidge." " John Good " is thought to have been 
an alias for Dodderidge himself. 

It is interesting to note Arbella's entire unconcern as to 
the personality of her bridegroom, so long as he was a 
member of the House of Hertford, especially in connection 
with the fact that eight years later she actually made a 
genuine love-match with William Seymour, Lord Beau- 
champ's second son, at this time a boy of fourteen. She 
can, however, at this early stage have known but little 
of the character of the old Earl, who received her message 
with scarcely veiled consternation. His own experience 
of Elizabeth's displeasure had bitten so deeply into his 
spirit that his chief dread now was lest any child or grand- 
child of his should suffer as he had done : and though he 
never actually denied the proposal said to have been made 
by Kirton on his behalf, it is almost certain that if he 
did indeed initiate it, he intended, should it have been 
graciously met, to leave to the Shrewsbury family all the 
smoothing down of difficulties such an alliance would 
have required. He was at dinner, on Monday the 30th of 
December, when Dodderidge arrived at three o'clock in 
the afternoon, and rather tactlessly insisted upon a private 
interview immediately. After some remonstrance a semi- 
private one was granted the rest of the household rising 
from their seats and standing apart, while Dodderidge 
fell upon his knees before the Earl and poured forth his 
message by rote. As soon as he discovered its bearing, 
Hertford, " looking very much moved and disturbed," 
interrupted the man, angrily declared that the whole 
affair was strongly against his wishes, that Dodderidge 
must set down what he had to say in writing, and the 
matter should then be referred to the Privy Council and 
so with many harsh words and much contempt hustled 
Arbella's unfortunate messenger away and locked him 



up in a room by himself. The same evening he was 
fetched out and examined again, but could, of course, tell 
no more than he knew, and it is doubtful which of the two 
men passed the more agitated and miserable night. 
Dodderidge's fears took the form of a pathetic letter to 
Arbella herself, begging her to write some assurance that 
she had really sent him, as the Earl would not believe 
but that he was involved in some plot, and she perhaps 
in danger ; while Hertford, thinking best at least for himself 
and his own family to lay all before the Council, went 
straight to Sir Robert Cecil with his tale and his prisoner 
the following day. So now Elizabeth knew all, and the 
unhappy Arbella was betrayed. 

The Queen, advised by Cecil, acted really with remark- 
able restraint. This might have been a serious plot; in 
any case it concerned the two people who, next to James, 
were her nearest heirs and, consequently, whom she hated 
most; and in earlier life she would have clapped both 
straight into prison. Instead, she now dispatched Sir 
Henry Brounker to Hardwick, where he arrived on the 
3rd of January, 1603, with instructions thoroughly to sift 
the whole affair to the bottom. It was no easy matter, 
and had first, of course, to be explained to old Lady 
Shrewsbury, whose natural indignation at her grand- 
child's " deception " may easily be imagined. Brounker 
found her with her son William and with Arbella herself, 
pacing up and down the great gallery, and holding one 
of those surface conversations known to all of us at certain 
critical hours of life. It was now nine days since Dod- 
deridge had left, and as his miserable note from Tottenham 
does not seem to have reached her, Arbella was more than 
anxious to know how he had fared. William Cavendish 
was also in the secret. Any sudden event must mean 
news, and here was Brounker straight from the Court. 

He began diplomatically, with compliments to Lady 
Shrewsbury from the Queen, and, having walked to the 
end of the gallery alone with her, handed her the letter 
Elizabeth had sent, demanding an explanation of the 
late extraordinary happenings at Hardwick. Watching 


her face, he immediately realized that she knew nothing, 
and, hastening to reassure her of the Queen's continued 
favour, he turned to deal with Arbella. Her he first 
thanked in the Queen's name for her last New Year's gift, 
informed her that her Majesty had been well pleased with 
her of late in consequence of her dutiful and retired 
behaviour, and then, having somewhat lulled her fears, 
sprang upon her the accusation of concernment in the 
Hertford plot. Arbella's first instinct and let it be 
forgiven her was to deny everything. She had not 
spoken with Dodderidge since some days before Christmas, 
knew nothing of his doings, believed him now with his 
friends. Sternly Brounker drew from his pouch the 
incriminating papers, Dodderidge's own confession, and 
her instructions to him, and held them before her. She 
was terrified, and knew not what to say, but it is scarcely 
strange that a bitter anger against Hertford and his conduct 
chiefly possessed her mind. However, Brounker could 
get very little out of her. She spoke again of Hertford's 
original proposal through the lawyer, confessed that she 
had at one time bidden Dodderidge go to him, but declared 
that she afterwards thought better of it and told him to 
stay. All this was related with such hesitation and 
embarrassment that Brounker saw he was only frightening 
her, and he therefore requested her to go to her own room 
and write out an account of the whole affair at leisure. 

The next day she sent him a " confused, obscure, and, 
in truth, ridiculous paper," which he refused to accept; 
whereupon she produced another, equally involved and 
unreasonable. Between terror of the Queen and terror 
of her grandmother, the unhappy lady was in truth literally 
at her wits' end, and her wild and hysterical letters and 
speeches at this period are but a precursor of her condition 
many years later, when her mind really became unhinged. 
Brounker remained a week at Hardwick and then, finding 
it impossible to obtain any lucid statement from Arbella, 
returned to London to ask for further instructions, bearing 
with him letters from both the ladies at Hardwick to the 
Queen. Arbella's, which in spite of Brounker's description 


of her excited state is singularly well expressed, runs as 

" May it please your most excellent Majesty, Sir Henry 
Brounker hath charged me with many things in your 
Majesty's name, the most whereof I acknowledge to be 
true, and am heartily sorry that I have given your Majesty 
the least cause of offence. The particulars and the manner 
of handling I have, to avoid your Majesty trouble, 
delivered to Sir H. Brounker. I humbly prostrate myself 
at your Majesty's feet, craving pardon for what is past, 
and of your princely clemency to signify your Majesty's 
most gracious remission to me by your Highness's letter 
to my lady my grandmother, whose discomfort I shall be 
till then. The Almighty increase and for ever continue 
your Majesty's divine virtues and prosperity, wherewith 
you blessed, bless us all. Your Majesty's most humble 
and dutiful handmaid, 


Old Lady Shrewsbury, while thanking Elizabeth for 
her kindness, indignantly denied all knowledge of Arbella's 
plots, and only begged that the Queen would remove her 
grandchild from beneath her roof, since, after such lack 
of consideration, she no longer wished to live with her; 
" and after that it may please your Majesty either to accept 
of her service about your Majesty's most royal person, or 
to bestow her in marriage." Brounker himself was not 
proof against accepting a purse of gold from the old lady 
and promising his best endeavours to further her desires ; 
but for some days after he left nothing more was heard 
of him. 

On reaching Lambeth on the 13th of January, Brounker 
learned that the Queen was too ill to see him. He therefore 
wrote a full account of his visit to her and her Council, 
and at the same time, through Sir Richard Bulkeley, 
conducted some inquiry into the character and doings of 
Owen Tydder. Tydder admitted that there had been 
some talk between himself and another Owen concerning 


such a marriage, but declared that he knew nothing of 
Kirton, and was, besides, hazy about the date; thought 
it all took place three or four years before. Little light 
was thrown on the affair by this ; but as by now the Queen 
and her advisers began to think the whole thing had been 
largely exaggerated, and as all had been so far kept very 
quiet and no outside scandalmonger had gained so much 
as a hint of it, there seemed no reason why it should not 
now be entirely hushed up and all go on as before. Un- 
fortunately, however, Elizabeth had not reckoned with 
the absolutely intolerable situation at Hardwick, and 
thought to punish Arbella by taking no notice of her for 
some weeks, either in letters direct to herself or through 
her grandmother. Arbella had complained of strait 
keeping before, but she was now shut up in her room, and 
treated actually as a prisoner. She had, as ever, devoted 
servants ; and her waiting-women, Anne Bradshaw and 
Bridget Sherland, did what they could for her. She also 
bethought herself of the many kind actions for which she 
had been indebted in the past to her aunt, Mary Talbot, 
of whom she had seen little of late, and whom she had 
apparently so deeply offended that she did not dare to 
write to her direct. She wrote instead, however, to 
Hacker, a confidential servant of Lady Shrewsbury's, and 
begged him to tell her aunt of her distress and implore 
her to come at once " with the like speed she would do if 
my lady my grandmother were in extremity . . . for the 
matter I would impart to her, and will neither for love 
nor fear impart to any other till I have talked with her, 
it imports us all, and especially her and me, more than the 
death of any one of us ; and yet she hath no cause to doubt, 
much less to fear, that any harm how little soever should 
happen to any of us so she come in time, that I be not 
constrained to take the counsel and help of others who 
would make their own special advantage without that 
respect of any but themselves that I know she would have. 
It is not for fear of a chiding, but some other reason . . . 
that I beseech her not to take notice of my sending for 
her, and she shall be bound by promise to keep my counsel 


no longer than it please her after she know it; for else it 
is such as I dare and mean to trust a mere stranger withal, 
and will win her Majesty's good opinion of whoever is 
employed in it." Poor Arbella seems still very excited 
and rambling in this letter, and her aunt gave it no notice 
perhaps it never reached her. Bridget Sherland then 
wrote herself to Hacker, asking him to meet her at Sutton, 
near Hardwick, and mentioning her young mistress's 
imprisoned state; but Hacker replied that he dared not 
come. In despair, Arbella wrote to Brounker himself, and 
Anne Bradshaw got her husband to carry the letter; but 
to this also no answer was vouchsafed. 

Old Lady Shrewsbury found the situation quite as 

hateful as her granddaughter, and at the end of January 

she wrote again to Elizabeth concerning " this unadvised 

young woman." Arbella, irritated beyond bearing by 

the constant scolding for her " underhand behaviour," 

and cruelly mortified by the contemptuous manner in 

which her overtures for marriage had been received, to 

salve her wounded feelings now began romancing and 

weaving mysteries about herself. She believed that Essex, 

had he lived, would have been a friend to her ; she thought 

her cousin James might yet prove one; and between the 

two she constructed a series of cryptic remarks concerning 

some imaginary lover " against whose love she had long 

stopt her ears, though he never requested anything, but 

was more for her good than his own," who was " famous 

for his secrecy and had more virtues than any subject 

or foreign prince . . . and had done many things at her 

command, and promised to procure her remove from the 

Countess of Shrewsbury's custody." All these and a great 

many more wild speeches served to harass and bewilder 

her already indignant grandmother, who, tired of the 

responsibility of her anxious charge, again besought the 

Queen to let the girl marry; she would "not care how 

meanly soever she were bestowed, so as it were not offensive 

to your Highness." 

Bess was right, and marriage would have been the 
wisest cure for poor Arbella's far-fetched mysteries, but 


it was one to which Elizabeth would never consent. Cecil, 
and Sir John Stanhope, Vice -Chamber lain, wrote for her 
in reply to Lady Shrewsbury, stating that a great deal 
of unnecessary fuss had been made about the whole 
affair, and that the Queen was prepared to forgive Arbella 
fully and give no further thought to it, on condition that 
she entered into no more negotiations without the royal 
consent. Her Majesty quite understood that her young 
cousin had been misled and deceived by foolish companions ; 
but she now wished her to be freed from restraint, and to 
take her usual position in the household, lest the neigh- 
bourhood should begin to talk. Some responsible gentle- 
woman might accompany her whenever she rode or walked 
abroad, but otherwise life at Hardwick was to continue 
as before, and there was to be no escape from one another 
for either of the angry women. Arbella wrote as grateful 
a reply as she could for the Queen's clemency; and she 
might indeed, under the circumstances, consider herself 
very leniently treated. She protested that her only 
desire had been to be near her Majesty, that her grand- 
mother would not let her go, and that all her plots and 
schemes had been to this effect. A few complaints at 
her hard usage she could not resist. " I have not dealt 
rashly in so important a matter, but, taking the advice 
of all the friends I have how I might attain your Majesty's 
presence, and trying all the means I could possibly make 
or they devise and none succeeding, I resolved to crave my 
grandmother's leave to present my service and myself 
unto your Majesty, and if I could not obtain that (for 
even that small and ordinary liberty I despaired to obtain 
of her, otherwise my most kind and natural parent), I 
determined that should be the first and, I protest, last 
disobedience that I would willingly offend her with. For 
though I have done very many things without her know- 
ledge, yet I call the Judge of all hearts to witness they have 
been such as (if she had not been stricter than any child, 
how good, discreet and dutiful soever, would willingly 
obey), she should have had more reason to wink at than 
to punish so severely as she hath done. . . . And if it 


please your Majesty to examine the whole course of my 
life, your Majesty shall find God's grace hath so mightily 
wrought in me, poor silly infant and wretch, that howso- 
ever others have taken wiser ways, I have had as great 
care and have with more, and in truth mere innocence, 
preserved your Majesty's most royal lineage from any 
blot, as any whosoever. And I should have adjudged 
myself unworthy of life if I had degenerated from the most 
renowned stock, whereof it is my greatest honour to be 
a branch." This last is plainly intended for an allusion 
to Arbella's unhappy prototype, the Lady Katherine 
Grey, whose love-story had not passed without scandal. 
One notes the bitterness against Hertford and all his 
family underlying most of her letters at this period, and 
it was not, perhaps, unnatural. 

It seemed now as though Lady Shrewsbury would resume 
her autocratic sway over the household, and her grand- 
daughter would be reduced to her old and hopeless sub- 
mission. But Arbella had discovered a means of annoying 
and alarming the old lady, of which she meant to make 
full use in the future. She promptly wrote her a long 
and mysterious letter, full of allusions to dear and powerful 
friends of whom her grandmother knew nothing who 
might, of course, prove persons of consequence, with 
whom the girl had become acquainted at Court, but whom 
Bess shrewdly suspected to exist only in her imagina- 
tion. "These," declared Arbella, " upon whose opinion I 
have laid the foundation of all the rest of my life," did 
not think so seriously of her offence ; " Pardon me there- 
fore, I beseech your ladyship, if ... I set down the true 
reasons of this my proceeding." The Hertford marriage, 
she goes on to say, was " propounded seriously, and by 
some desired, by others not misliked, but utterly neglected 
and rejected by myself from the first hour I heard of it 
till the last, and not more now than at first, for all my 
Lord of Hertford's discourteous dealing with me, who 
hath deserved better at his hands." After this preamble, 
her excuses for what she actually had done seem strangely 
inadequate. Acting on her friends' advice, she says, she 


" determined to play the fool in good earnest," and sent 
" base and unworthy persons " on the mission in order to 
show the Queen and the world how poorly she thought of 
it ; and " I thank God it fell out better than I and my 
dearest and best trusted, whatsoever he be, could have 
devised or imagined, though we have beat our brains 
about it these three years." Bitterly feeling herself 
deserted by the world, she has sarcastic comment for all 
she names. " Herein your ladyship's wisdom and fidelity 
hath been at least comparable with my Lord of Hertford's, 
so I have good witnesses, and more than for their own 
sakes I would I had had"; " With my Lord of Hert- 
ford I have dealt so precisely that it hath neither been 
in his power to do me more hurt than reveal all he knew 
by me, nor should have cause or colour to take anything 
so kindly, and keep my counsel. When I writ I wept, 
and I marvel it was not perceived, for I could neither for- 
bear weeping at meal-times nor in truth day or night." 
Of James she says : " All the injuries he could he hath 
done me, and his credit being, as he right well deserves, 
great with Her Majesty and his friends, marry I impute 
even all my wrongs to him, and freely forgive all them 
who have been his, unwitting I am sure, perchance un- 
willing instruments." Nevertheless, again and again she 
asserts herself to have been acting upon the advice of 
some unknown and mysterious friend, whom she after- 
wards, when formally examined, declared to be James 
himself; and since James, as we know, had proposed a 
correspondence to her two or three years before, it is 
quite possible that there is some foundation for her state- 
ments; she may have complained of her position to him; 
he may have vaguely and indiscreetly sympathized, and 
she with her vivid imagination have wrung an encourage- 
ment to rebellion from his words. " He taught me, by 
the example of Samuel, that one might plead one errand 
and deliver another with a safe conscience. By the 
example of Samson that one might (and if they be not too 
foolish to live in this world, must) speak riddles to their 
friends and try the truth of offered love and unsuspected 


friends in some matter wherein, if they doubt unfavourably, 
it shall but make their ridiculous malice appear to their 
own discredit and no manner of hurt to others. He assured 
me Her Majesty's offence would be converted into 
laughter. ... So we first did deliberately consult and 
after speedily execute that which we knew for a short 
time would be offensive to Her Majesty, your ladyship, 
the Earl of Hertford, and divers others, and work an 
effect which I am most assured will be most acceptable 
to Her Majesty, and it is even the best service that ever 
lady did her sovereign and mistress." 

After more such protestations, Arbella demanded that 
the Queen should allow her the space of one month in 
which to clear herself, and liberty to send to any Privy 
Councillor, announcing, " I will be accountable to Her 
Majesty, but not to your ladyship, for all that ever I did 
in my life, or ever will do. And I will reveal some secrets 
of love concerning myself, and some others which will be 
delightful to Her Majesty to understand. I will send some 
to complain of themselves. I will inform Her Majesty 
of some matters whereof Her Majesty hath yet no manner 
of suspicion. I will offend none but my uncle of Shrews- 
bury, my aunt, and my Uncle Charles, and them it will 
anger as much as ever they angered me, and make myself 
as merry at them as the last Lent they did at their own 
pleasant device, for so I take it, of the gentleman with 
the revenges. And if they will, as they might in duty, 
reconcile themselves to your ladyship, your ladyship shall 
command me to forget all injuries they have done me, 
one only excepted, and that is the wrongs they have done 
this most worthy gentleman, for whom I have already 
forsaken parents, kin, and all the world, Her Majesty only 

Here it is plain she alludes to Essex, and continues with 
much rambling talk of love shared between herself and 
the Queen; but seems to return to James when she adds 
that she can entirely exonerate all her friends, and " I 
trust her Highness will with a smile deride their follies, 
and at one of their hands accept a poor present I am in 


hand with for Her Majesty, and give another leave to 
deliver a letter or message to her sacred Majesty from me, 
her then fully absolved handmaid, and give us all leave to 
impart our joy of Her Majesty's pardon to us all one to 
another, and devise the best manner how to represent 
to Her Majesty the joy we conceive thereof. And make 
ourselves merry . . . and Her Majesty more merry if it 
please Her Highness but to keep our counsel; and I will 
instruct them and send them to Her Majesty one after 
another, and none living shall understand my drift but 
Her Majesty, the noble gentleman whose name I conceal, 
and whom it pleaseth them two to acquaint without 
limitation. One only suit will I make to Her Majesty . . . 
that it may please Her Majesty to suspend her Highness's 
judgment of me till Her Majesty see the end, which cannot 
be so soon as I could wish for. . . . These dark speeches 
I will never reveal but to Her Majesty . . . but I trust 
I have fully satisfied your ladyship that I am neither so 
disobedient nor so inconsiderate as your ladyship might 
think me." 

Lady Shrewsbury did not know what to make of this 
letter, and sent it straight to the Queen, as indeed Arbella 
probably intended her to do, though she afterwards 
complained that the " first-fruits of her scribbled follies " 
had thus been forwarded " before I could either point or 
correct any error therein, great or little." 



So far the world had heard nothing of the doings at 
Hard wick, and all might still have been kept quiet had 
not the wretched Starkey chosen this very inopportune 
moment to commit suicide. Disappointed of the prefer- 
ment for which he had hoped, and terrified by the strict 
interrogations to which by now his rather half-hearted 
dealings with Arbella had led, he hanged himself, leaving 
behind him the lengthy written confession from which 
passages have already been quoted ; and since such a matter 
could not easily be hushed up, almost immediately veiled 
hints and rumours began to appear in the correspondence 
of the day, with the result that very quickly the curiosity 
of Europe was again attracted to Arbella and her difficulties. 
Nothing was known for certain ; but all manner of stories 
were rife, and several came strangely near the truth, 
though a favourite one concerned possible love-passages 
between Arbella and the dead chaplain. Henri IV of 
France was particularly anxious for information, and his 
Ambassador, De Beaumont, wrote him frequently upon 
the subject. Elizabeth's health failed more every day, 
though this fact was not allowed to penetrate beyond the 
Court, and Arbella herself knew not why, in reply to all her 
passionate epistles, the Queen answered only through her 
ministers. The long-vexed question of the succession 
promised shortly to become acute ; and it was all in keeping 
with the traditional ill-luck of the Stuarts that so un- 
fortunate a moment should have been chosen by Arbella 
after her long patience, not only to involve herself in a 
foolish and ill-considered marriage scheme, but, pardon 
for this having been pronounced, to continue besieging the 



Queen's ears with absurd stories, when she had done far 
better to have let her very existence lie forgotten for a time. 
But Arbella was not wise, and she had now reached a pitch 
of excitement demanding the most careful treatment; 
while old Lady Shrewsbury's native shrewdness seems for 
once to have deserted her, and the two women rasped 
one another's nerves unbearably. 

In spite of the Queen's commands, the aged Countess 
relaxed no jot of the severity with which her grandchild 
had been lately treated, and on the 6th February Arbella 
sat down in a towering rage, and wrote to Cecil and Stan- 
hope, demanding " forasmuch as my lady my grandmother 
doth interpret the letter ... in other sense than I, 
to whom it was Her Majesty's pleasure it should be im- 
parted, do understand it. ... Whether it be Her Majesty's 
pleasure I shall have free choice of my own servants, to 
take, keep, and put away whom I think good, either telling 
or not telling the reason ? And whether I may send for 
whom I think good, or talk with any that shall voluntarily 
or upon business come to me, in private if they or I shall so 
desire, without yielding account to any but Her Majesty, 
if her Highness require it ? And whether it be not Her 
Majesty's pleasure I should as well have the company of 
some young lady or gentleman for my recreation, and 
scholars ? Music, hunting, hawking, variety of any 
lawful disport, I can procure or my friends will afford me, 
as well as the attendance of grave overseers, for which I 
think myself most bound to Her Majesty, for it is the 
best way to avoid all jealousies. Whether if the running 
on of years be not discerned in me only, yet it be not Her 
Highness's pleasure to allow me that liberty (being the 6th 
of this February twenty-seven years old), which many 
infants have to choose their own guardians, as I desire 
to do my place of abode ? Finally, whether it pleaseth 
Her Majesty I should be bound within straiter bonds than 
the duties of a most dutiful subject, and servant, to a most 
gracious sovereign and mistress; of an obedient child or 
faithful friend according to the laws of God and man in the 
strictest sort, without claiming at all to infringe or abuse 


Christian liberty ? . . . And to set down the time how 
long and without ambiguity to prescribe me the rules, 
whereby it pleaseth Her Majesty to try my obedience." 

Having spent something of her anger thus, Arbella 
returns to the desire expressed in her letter to her grand- 
mother that she might make certain revelations to the 
Queen in person ; only that now, demanding less, she re- 
quires merely that some worthy gentleman, Sir Henry 
Brounker for choice, shall be sent down to Hardwick, bound 
to the strictest secrecy, to receive her communications 
and deliver them to the Queen himself. " And if I might 
receive Her Majesty's promise, under two lines of her 
Highness 's own hand, that it would please her Majesty to 
keep my counsel, I should, with greater alacrity, deliver 
my mind in what sort it should please Her Majesty to 
command; and think myself happier of those two lines 
than of a patent of greater value than ever prince granted 
under the Great Seal of England. . . . And I beseech you 
let Sir H. Brounker be the happy and swift messenger." 

A fortnight passed, bringing no reply to this letter, and 
Arbella became literally sick with hope deferred. It is 
somewhat difficult to discover what part the young Earl 
and Countess of Shrewsbury were at this time playing in 
the game, since they remained ostentatiously close friends 
with Mr. Secretary Cecil. De Beaumont speaks of " the 
great familiarity and ordinary communication of Mr. Cecil 
with the Earl of Shrewsbury, uncle of Madam Arbella " ; 
and Father Rivers mentions a little later how "It is 
observed that the Secretary and the Earl of Shrewsbury 
and his lady are grown very inward and great friends, and 
many secret meetings are made between them, where, 
after secret consults, they despatch messengers and packets 
of letters, and this sometimes twice in a week." It is quite 
possible that they were working all this time on Arbella's 
behalf, though it was considered politic that they should 
still appear on unfriendly terms with her ; but it is certain 
that she held no direct communication with them. It 
seems, however, that their daughter, Mary Talbot, was 
with her cousin at Hardwick, either now or very shortly 


after, and that Arbella corresponded also with her young 
uncle, Edward Talbot, at the Court ; for, ten days after 
her letter to Cecil and Stanhope, in despair of receiving 
any reply, she wrote a curious letter to Edward, whom she 
addressed as " Noble gentleman," and, assuring him that 
the Queen had dealt very graciously with her, requested 
him earnestly to come to Hard wick " in great haste," and 
deliver a message she would give him of the greatest import- 
ance to the Queen's own ear. Writing apparently in 
calmer spirit, she concludes by begging him " in kindest 
manner commend me to my Lady Ogle " (his wife, and 
sister to the wife of Charles Cavendish), " and sweet Mrs. 
Talbot, whom I am very desirous to see : and entreat her 
to hasten you hither, for the sooner you leave the better for 
us all. ... I doubt not but you would bestow a journey 
hither, and so to the Court for my sake. Your father's love 
and your faithful friend, Arbella Stuart." 

Edward also did not reply, and Arbella, who had now 
been really ill for more than a week with severe pains in her 
side, grew rapidly worse, physically and mentally, and 
alarmed her wretched grandmother to such an extent that 
on the 21st February she herself wrote a frantic note to 
Cecil, imploring him to send Brounker or somebody down 
immediately, for " I see her mind is the cause of all. She 
saith that if she might speak with Sir Henry Brounker or 
some other sent from Her Majesty, she should be well. . . . She 
hath had a doctor of physic with her for a fortnight together, 
and enforced to take much physic this unseasonable time, 
but finds little ease. . . . Good Mr. Secretary, my most 
earnest suit is that it will please you to be a mean to her 
sacred Majesty for the speedy sending down of Sir Henry 
Brounker or some other, to whom Arbella is desirous to 
declare sundry things which she saith she will utter to none 
but one sent from Her Majesty. ... I am wearied of my 
life, and therefore humbly beseech Her Majesty to have 
compassion on me. And I earnestly pray you to send Sir 
Henry Brounker hither." In a postscript the poor old 
lady tells, almost with tears, how that " Arbella is so wilfully 
bent that she hath made a vow not to eat or drink in this 


house at Hardwick, or where I am, till she may hear from 
Her Majesty " : and that in consequence she had been 
obliged to send her to Oldcotes or Owlcotes, a house she 
had lately built some two miles distant. Things at the 
worst will mend, however, and the very day this letter was 
written, Brounker set out for Hardwick with a letter from 
Cecil and Stanhope, addressed to the old Countess, and 
remarking that, " Seeing by the young lady's letters it is 
almost impossible to make judgment whom or what she 
meaneth," her Majesty desired that she should be fully 
interrogated by Brounker, and an end made to the whole 
business, after which " Her Majesty would have you only 
to use her according to our last letter, except when you 
shall discover that her actions tend to any dishonourable 
practices, lest the world should think she were to be used 
as a prisoner. Considering that your ladyship keepeth a 
house so full of discreet servants, both men and women, 
and having also Mr. William Cavendish, who, being her 
uncle and a wise gentleman, cannot but be an excellent 
companion for her, as well as an observer when any matter 
more than ordinary is travelling in her mind or put in 
practice." One has doubts as to whether William Caven- 
dish was so entirely trustworthy as Cecil seems to think; 
but since we know Cecil himself to have been playing a 
double game, it is possible that he felt it to his interest to 
see that Arbella was not left utterly friendless. 

Back came Brounker, therefore, and sorely he must have 
hated the houseful of excited women with whom he had 
to deal; whilst Arbella herself had no sooner arrived at 
Oldcotes than she learned her request was granted, and 
she must return to Hardwick to deliver the secret message 
at which she had hinted for so long. Her interrogation 
took place on the 2nd March. Now whether all her former 
stories had been pure invention, whether at the last her 
heart failed her and she found it impossible to speak, or 
whether the whole had been some frantic effort to " shuffle 
the cards " and escape from her intolerable position even 
at the cost of a public scandal, it is certain that when pinned 
down to give some intelligent explanation of all her wild 


words, Arbella had none to offer. Asked as to the mys- 
terious revelation, she declared that " she could not perform 
this promise till her friends had free access unto her again, 
which as yet they dared not take " : but to every other 
inquiry she had but one reply " The King of Scots." 
Who was it " against whose love she had so long stopped 
her ears, though he never requested anything, but was 
more for her good and honour than his own " ? The 
King of Scots. Who had been " so worthily favoured by 
Her Majesty and had done her so much wrong," and 
wherein ? The King of Scots. Who was " so famous 
for his secrecy and had more virtues than any subject or 
foreign prince " ? Who had " tried her by all means, and 
knew her too stout to request a favour since she might 
command it " ? Who had " done many things at her 
command," and promised to remove her from Lady 
Shrewsbury's custody ? Whom had she " loved so well 
ever since she could love as she could never hide any thought 
from him, unless it were to awe him a little and make him 
weary of his jealousy " ? With whom had she dealt " so 
unkindly, shrewdly, and proudly, and tried as gold in the 
fire, and had already accepted him, and confirmed it, and 
would neither repent nor deny it, whatsoever befell her " ? 
Who was the noble gentleman who had taught her to 
speak riddles to her friends and to try the truth of offered 
love ? Who was it that " would forsake her rather than 
offend Her Majesty ever so little " ? Whose council had 
she " kept these many years and would do whilst she lived 
if the disclosure be hurtful to him and his " ? Whom did 
she desire her Majesty to " grace and win his heart from 
her " ? To whom did she " desire liberty to send, and then 
would be content that her grandmother should see all his 
letters and reveal them to all the world " ? What gentle- 
man was it " by whose love she was so much honoured that 
she could not be ashamed of her choice nor would stick 
to reveal him if she durst without his consent " ? To 
every one of these questions her answer was " The King 
of Scots." 

Brounker plainly thought her a hysterical idiot, for he 

I 2 


was at no pains to argue the matter with her, but simply 
wrote down her reply to each interrogation, made her sign 
the paper, and returned to town next day. Nobody ever 
supposed for a moment that James was actually concerned 
in any of Arbella's schemes ; it was taken for granted that 
she merely mocked at him, and no attention was to be paid 
to her ravings. There can be little doubt, in the light of 
her after life, that this poor lady's mind was very easily 
thrown into disorder ; and at this time, never having fully 
recovered from the shock of Essex's death, the suspicions, 
the petty restraint, the utter lack of sympathy, and the 
constant treacheries with which she was surrounded, had 
worked her up into a morbid condition in which she was 
not responsible for her statements. Her conscience was 
clear enough as regarded all attempts upon the throne; 
she wanted nothing less, and it was cruel to accuse her of it. 
Her declaration of independence ran closely upon the lines 
of one more recent ; and " Liberty, and the pursuit of 
happiness," were all she asked. These she was never to 

Perhaps the person most disappointed at the result of 
Brounker's visit was old Lady Shrewsbury. She should 
have known her grandchild best; but so positive had 
Arbella been concerning the magnitude of the revelation 
she had to make and the certainty of her own peace of 
mind once she had made it that the old lady, against her 
own better judgment, had brought herself to believe in it. 
The day after the interrogation she wrote again to Cecil 
and Stanhope, of that " which to my infinite grief I find. 
It is not unknown to you what earnest and importunate 
suit my unfortunate Arbella hath made for Sir H. Brounker's 
coming down. I was in hope she would have discovered 
somewhat worth his travel, but now she will neither name 
the party to whom she hath showed to be so affectionate, 
nor declare to Sir H. Brounker any matter of moment, 
spending the time in idle and impertinent discourses. 
And though Sir H. Brounker hath left nothing undone that 
might bring her to conformity, he could not in any sort 
prevail with her, though she put him in hope from time to 


time that she would name the party. . . . This is the 
fruit of them that have laboured to withdraw her natural 
affection from me, and to persuade her to all these vanities. 
They little respected her undoing so they might overthrow 
me with grief. Soon after Sir H. Brounker's departure 
hence, I look she will fall into some such extremity of 
making wilful vows as she did lately. She said before 
Sir H. Brounker that if she had not been suffered then to 
remove hence, she would have performed her vow, and the 
like I daily doubt she may do upon any toy she will take 
discontentment at. And therefore I most earnestly 
beseech you both to be a means to her gracious Majesty 
for her speedy remove ; it may be the change of place will 
work some alteration in her. Sir H. Brounker can testify 
how careful I am to keep her quiet till I may understand 
further Her Majesty's pleasure. She most vainly hath 
prefixed a day to Sir H. Brounker for her remove. Both 
he and myself advised her not to stand on days or times. 
She is so wilfully bent, and there is so little reason in most 
of her doings, that I cannot tell what to make of it. A few 
more weeks as I have suffered of late will make an end of 
me. I have had over-great trial, now that she is brought 
to this extremity, that her remaining here is like to breed 
over-great inconveniences, which will not lie in my power 
to prevent." 

Arbella herself, intensely overwrought by her interroga- 
tion before Brounker, went straight to her room after 
leaving him, and wrote out a paper which, blotted with 
her tears, may still be seen among the Cecil papers at 
Hatfield. Solemnly she begins : " I take Almighty God to 
witness, I am free from promise, contract, marriage, or 
intention to marry, and so mean to be whilst I live ; and 
nothing whatsoever shall make me alter my long-settled 
determination, but the continuance of these disgraces and 
miseries, and the peril of the King of Scots his life, and if 
Her Majesty continue her hard opinion of me, and I 
continue in my lady my grandmother's hands; then, 
whatsoever befall, I have determined of a course which, 
if it please Her Majesty to like of, will be for Her Majesty's 


honour, and best to my liking. But yet so far from my 
liking is it to marry at all, that I take God to witness I 
should think myself a great deal happier of the sentence of 
death, than of Her Majesty's choice, or allowance of my 
choice, suppose I might (as I am far unworthy and am not 
so unwise as to think) have my choice of all Europe, and 
loved and liked them better than ever I did or shall do 
any. ... I am resolved to end my life in tears and solitari- 
ness or else to possess Her Majesty's gracious opinion of 
my innocence and upright dealing as I have deserved." 
She declares again her only explanation of the Hertford 
affair to be that " Experience had taught me there was 
no other way to draw down a messenger of such worth 
from Her Majesty, but by incurring some suspicion; and 
having no ground whereon to work but this, and this 
being love." 

She offers, however, as satisfaction and expiation that : 
" First, I will never trouble Her Majesty with any suit 
hereafter, but forget my long desired land, and confine 
myself to close prison, or as little liberty as it shall please 
Her Majesty in the severest rules of wisdom and policy to 
allot me; and think it the highest favour I can possibly 
obtain, for I perceive daily more and more, to my increasing 
grief, I am and ever hereafter shall be more unfortunate 
than I lately thought I could possibly have been. Secondly 
I will make a vow ... I will never marry whilst I live, 
nor entertain thought, nor conceal any such or other 
matter whatsoever from Her Majesty. . . . And if this 
be not sufficient reason to prove my dealing faultless, or at 
least pardonable, or this be not amends sufficient, I must 
confess myself void of sense and careless of anything in 
this world can happen to me, for my cause cannot be made 
worse any manner of way. In Her Majesty's hand it is 
to mend it, and make me think myself as happy as I can 
be (and will never be absolutely I perceive, such treacherous 
dealing have I found in this matter), and in God's time to 
end my sorrows with death, which only can make me 
absolutely and eternally happy." 

For Arbella, this letter was decidedly lucid, far more 


than another very long one which she wrote to Brounker 
himself the very day he left Hardwick, and sent hurriedly 
after him. In this she complains bitterly of her own 
insignificance " Alas ! what a dwarf am I thought at 
Court ! " and of being held accountable for " idle words, 
which is much, and idle conceits, which is more " ; and 
after several long vague sentences containing neither sense 
nor meaning, she gives a somewhat more coherent and 
rather interesting description of what happened after his 
departure. She and her cousin, Mary Talbot, she says, 
spent a little time talking and crying together, as young 
women will, and then, " We walked in the great chamber, 
for fear of wearing the mats in the gallery (reserved for 
you courtiers), as sullenly as if our hearts had been too 
great to give one another a good word, and so to dinner. 
After dinner I went in reverent sort to crave my lady my 
grandmother's blessing. Which done, . . . after I had 
with the armour of patience, borne of a volley of most 
bitter and injurious words, at last, wounded to the heart 
with false epithets and an unlooked-for word, only defend- 
ing myself with a negative (which was all the words I said, 
but not that I could have said in my defence), I made a 
retreat to my chamber, which I hoped by your charter 
should have been a sanctuary . . . but I knew by what 
was past what would be, and provided thereafter. I stand 
greatly upon my reputation, and therefore, resolutely 
leaving my weary standing, went away (but did not run 
away, nor ever meant it, I assure you), a good sober pace, 
and though my ears were battered on one side with a 
contemned, and in truth contemptible storm of threaten- 
ings, with which my lady my grandmother thought to 
have won my resolved heart (as my little love hath done), 
and on the other side summoned to a parley with my uncle 
William, I ... went my way without so much as looking 
behind me (for fear of Eurydice's relapse). And, vowing I 
would never answer to those names by which I was called 
and recalled and cried out upon (for if I should my love 
might be ashamed of me, as now he may well be of himself), 
I took my way down with a heavy heart, and, being 


followed by them it might better have become us both I 
should have followed, I was fain to set a good face on bad 
fortune, and there we had another skirmish, where you and 
I sat scribbling till twelve of the clock at night. But I, 
finding myself scarce able to stand on my feet, what for 
my side and what for my head, yet with a commanding 
voice called a troop of such viragoes as Virgil's Camilla, 
that stood at the receipt in the next chamber, and, never 
entreating them to take or give blows for my sake, was 
content to send you the first news of this conflict. 

" But I set me down in patience and fell a-scribbling, 
my lady my grandmother and my uncle little knew what or 
to whom, though they looked on, till, having written what 
I thought good, whilst they talked what they thought 
good, I was not only content to let them know it was to 
you, but to read it to them ; and immediately leaving the 
disadvantageous chamber, where nobody could hear me 
or durst come at me, I went down a little lower, not pressed 
down with one abject thought of yielding, but because I 
thought there to have found some of my regiment. And 
so I did, for there was Key talking with a gentlewoman 
(what they said I never examined), and there I made a 
stand, bethinking myself whom to send, because they 
received such rude entertainment that it were enough to 
make me destitute of messengers, if it stood upon the loss 
of my life to send to my love. But, raising my spirits, . . . 
I went up to the great chamber, and there I found a troop 
of, for my sake, malcontents, taking advantage of the fire 
to warm them by, and amongst them one that I little 
thought had been there : who was that, Sir Henry ? My 
sudden apparition coming alone through the hall, and coming 
in at that door where they least looked I should, made a 
sudden alteration and wonderment amongst them, for 
they that stood shrunk back as if they had been afraid of 
me, and with a general putting off of hats, to the end I 
should not doubt they would stop their ears against me, 
perchance expected I should have yielded them a reason 
of my going out at one door and coming in at another. 
But I, without ceremony, directing my speech to the 


unnamed young man [Chaworth] who stood with his hat 
in his hand and my glove in his hat, said, as this bearer 
can witness, and so for brevity's sake leaving that to this 
bearer's report, my undaunted and most trusty servant. 
What happened after were tedious to write, for you care 
not what becomes of me, nor I neither greatly." And with 
that she bursts into a few more wild and bitter complaints, 
and so breaks off in the middle of one of them without 
either signature or date. A short and offended note, sent 
with it, reproaches Sir Henry bitterly for promising better 
than he can perform, and declares : " Fairer means might 
have laden you home with that treasure you came for 
without a quittance; but now I have no more to say 
to you, but I will say no more, think, say, or do what you 
list." The unfulfilled promise seems concerned with 
removing her from Lady Shrewsbury's care, but we may 
be sure, pestered on both sides for this, that the wretched 
Commissioner would have willingly done it had he been 
able. Both these papers were taken after Brounker 
to Lambeth by a certain Mr. George Chaworth, the young 
man wearing her glove in his cap whom Arbella mentions 
in the first of them. 

Having once entered upon a correspondence with Sir 
Henry, Arbella did not intend to let it drop. It seemed 
impossible to communicate with the Queen ; but Brounker 
might always help her, and two days later she sent him 
another short note about nothing in particular. It was 
Sunday, but " This day of rest doth not privilege my 
travelling mind from employing my restless pen." Appar- 
ently she regretted her former anger, for she closes, " Al- 
mighty God be with you, most worthy knight. Your poor 
friend, Arbella Stuart." The next day she was vexed 
again, and with some reason, for Lady Shrewsbury, cruelly 
exceeding the Queen's instructions, had refused her 
permission to enter her study, or even to send her page to 
fetch certain books she required. Poor Arbella, often wild 
and wayward, writes to Brounker with almost tragic 
indignation of this, to her, crowning injustice. She loved 
her books, and now was not even suffered to " receive the 


comfort and good counsel of my dead counsellors and 
comforters. If you think to make me weary of my life 
and to conclude it according to Mr. Starkey's tragical 
example, you are deceived; if you mean to shorten the 
time for your friend's sake, you are deceived in that too, 
for such means prevail not with me. If you think it Her 
Majesty's pleasure . . . sure I am it is neither for Her 
Majesty's honour nor your credit I should be thus dealt 
withal. Your will be done. I recommend my innocent 
cause to God's holy protection, to whom only be ascribed 
all honour, praise and glory, for now and ever. Amen. For 
all men are liars. There is no trust in man, whose breath 
is in his nostrils. And the day will come when they that 
judge shall be judged, and he that now keepeth their 
counsel and seemeth to wink at iniquity, and suffer it to 
prosper like the green bay tree, will root out deep-rooted 
pride and malice, and make his righteousness shine like 
the noonday. I was half a Puritan before, and Mr. 
Holford, who is one whatsoever I be, hath shortened your 
letter, and will shorten the time more than you all, as he 
hath already driven me from my lady my grandmother's 
presence with laughter, which, upon just cause, you owe 
me good witness I cannot forbear. Farewell, good knight." 
The Mr. Holford mentioned here was a semi-official 
messenger of Cecil's, sent backwards and forwards to 
Hardwick to keep the Secretary advertised of all that 
passed there. Arbella hated him bitterly, and with little 
wonder. He seems indeed to have had offensively familiar 
manners, and to have presumed beyond his station in 
discharging the duties allotted to him. 

This letter was written on the 7th March, and on the 9th 
that year fell Ash Wednesday, a day of bitter memories 
for Arbella and the Queen alike. Two years before, upon 
that day, Essex fell. No doubt had he lived he too would 
have disappointed her, but being dead, Arbella could clothe 
him with visionary virtues to her heart's content; and 
shutting herself into her own room, she deliberately fixed 
her thoughts upon him and upon all that had happened to 
her since his tragic execution. All day she must have 


written, for the result of her meditations is a letter of many 
sheets, addressed again to Brounker, and opening with the 
statement that " As a private person I found all humanity 
and courtesy from you, and whilst I live will thankfully 
acknowledge it. ... As a private person I would trust 
you as soon as any gentleman I know, upon so small 
acquaintance. . . . But do not deceive yourself so much 
as to think I either have or will confess my pure and 
innocent self guilty of love till you deserve that extra- 
ordinary trust . . . for why should I speak, unless you 
will believe ? How shall I believe any good till I see 
it ? ... Admit I had been in love, and would have 
declared his name, I assure you on my faith I would have 
delivered it you in writing, and by my good will have seen 
you no more after till I had been out of fear of blushing, 
which, though I did not as I think while you were here, I 
should have done, or at least did, within few days after you 
were gone. . . . And you would have me trust you, before 
I be sure you will believe what I say, or have tried, or at 
least found, your friendship in some points, before I may 
in discretion trust you any further. . . . But hitherto 
you have dealt like a commissioner, your words have been 
questions and objections and promises and threatenings, 
but none of your own . . . but now I thank God your 
commission is at an end, and let me see what you will or 
can do." 

She explains that " Being allowed no companion to 
my liking, and finding this the best excuse to avoid the 
tedious conversation I am bound to, I think the time best 
spent in tiring you with the idle conceits of my travelling 
mind, till it make you ashamed to see into what a scribbling 
melancholy (which is a kind of madness, and there are 
several kinds of it) you have brought me and leave me." 
" I assure you," she says elsewhere, " if you will come and 
beg the licence of my transportation, it will requite your, 
as you count it, lost labour and great pains with profit 
(which otherwise I think I must die indebted to you for, 
for gold and silver have I none, neither would you generous 
and rarely faithful courtiers take it)." Plainly she had 


knowledge of that purse of gold Brounker had had from 
her grandmother ; but for the most part she seems anxious 
to stand on good terms with him, and condescends to 
elaborate explanations, which yet are no explanations, of 
her absurd insistence upon the King of Scots' name in all 
her answers to the questions he had asked her. She might 
of course have corresponded with James, but all the world 
knew of his jealousy, and the little love lost between them ; 
and she could not have supposed any astute courtier likely 
to have been impressed by her rather sententious remark 
that, " Because you know not the power of Divine and 
Christian love at Court so generally well, as for Her 
Majesty's honour and of the place, I would you did you 
cannot believe one can come so near [as I] God's precept, 
who commandeth us to love our neighbour like ourself, as 
to love an unkind but otherwise worthy kinsman so well 
as nobody else (it seems to your knowledge) doth any but 
their paramours; which, if you can make him [James] 
believe, it will be an excellent requittal for his unprincely 
and unchristian giving ear to the slanderous and unlikely 
surmise of the Earl of Essex and me." 

Here we have direct allusion to the gossip connecting 
Arbella with Essex, and indeed she can scarcely now turn 
a page without mention of his name : " out of the full 
heart the mouth speaketh." " This fatal day, Ash Wednes- 
day," she cries ; " and the new dropping tears of some, 
might make you remember, if it were possible you could 
forget. . . . And were not I unthankfully forgetful, if 
I should not remember my noble friend, who graced me, 
by Her Majesty's commandment disgraced orphan, un- 
found ward, unproved prisoner, undeserved exile, in his 
greatest and happy fortunes, to the adventure of eclipsing 
part of Her Majesty's favours from him, which were so dear, 
so welcome to him ? Shall not I, I say, now I have lost 
all I can lose or almost care to lose, now I am constrained 
to renew these melancholy thoughts by the smarting feeling 
of my great loss ; who may well say I never had nor never 
shall have the like friend, nor the like time to this to need 
a friend in court, spend thus much, or rather thus little 


time, ink, and labour, without incurring the opinion of 
writing much to little purpose ? I do it not . . . that my 
troubled wits cannot well discern how unlocked for, how 
subject to interpretation, how offensive almost every word 
will be even to you. ... I voluntarily confine myself to 
tears, silence and solitariness, and . . . determined to 
spend this day in sending you the ill-favoured picture of 
my grief. . . . They are dead whom I loved; they have 
forsaken me in whom I trusted; I am dangerous to my 
guiltless friends. ... I have conquered my affections; 
I have cast away my hopes ; I have forsaken all comforts ; 
I have submitted my body and fortune to more subjection 
than could be commanded. I have disposed of my liberty. 
I have cut off all means of your attaining what you seek 
till you seek it of me by such means as I tell you. What 
harm can all the world do me now ? Even as much as 
it would do me good to follow your counsel that is, none. 
My servants shall be taken from me, then shall I be no 
more troubled with their troublesome importunity and 
inquisitiveness. I shall but hear of my friend's trouble, 
as Mr. Holford's, and by comparison of my own think it 
nothing. . . . Had the Earl of Essex the favour to die 
unbound because he was a prince, and shall my hands be 
bound from helping myself in this distress, before I confess 
some fault which I never committed ? . . . What fair 
words have I had of courtiers and councillors, and so they 
are vanished into smoke ! . . . When all is done I must 
shape my own coat according to my cloth, but it shall not 
be after your opinion of this world, God willing, but fit for 
me, and every way becoming of that virtue in me, whether 
it be a native property of that blood I come of, or an 
infective virtue of the Earl of Essex, who could go neither 
friend nor foe knew whither, till he arrived amongst his 
unwitting enemies, from whom he ever returned with 
honour, and was received home with joy." 

She speaks of " the despair the hard measure I have 
received drove innocent, discreet, learned and godly Mr. 
Starkey into : will you be guilty of more blood ? You saw 
what misconceits you bred in him after twelve years 


experience of me in such sort that he did not believe my 
true grief, whereof he was an eyewitness, and suspected 
me of a monstrous fault, which by his own testimony he 
had no reason for, but what somebody told him some 
untruth of me." This is not her only threat at suicide; 
but most of all her wrath is poured out upon the " two 
councillors " and the Earl of Hertford. She cannot 
understand not knowing how near Elizabeth was then to 
death why her royal kinswoman does not write herself, 
instead of sending her commands through Cecil and 
Stanhope, the latter being it will be remembered the chief 
enemy of the Shrewsburys; and she bitterly resents the 
supposition that Hertford and his son have been taken 
into favour again at her expense. " Doth Her Majesty 
favour the Lady Katherine's husband," she cries, " more 
than the Earl of Essex's friend ? Are the Stanhopes and 
Cecils able to hinder or diminish the good reputation of a 
Stuart, Her Majesty being judge ? Have I stained Her 
Majesty's blood by unworthy or doubtful marriage ? 
Have I claimed my land these eleven years, though I had 
Her Majesty's promise I should have it ? And hath my 
Lord of Hertford regarded Her Majesty's express com- 
mand ? . . . Doth it please Her Majesty to command me 
by her letter, in Mr. Secretary's hand to my grandmother, 
to be suddenly examined for avoiding excuses, and will it 
not please her, by a letter of her own hand, to command 
that which Her Majesty cannot command as my sovereign, 
but as my most honoured, loved and trusted kinswoman ? 
Shall I many weeks expect that I most earnestly begged and 
longed for ? ... It seems Her Majesty careth not for 
knowing anything concerning me but to break my just 
desires. . . . Howsoever it pleaseth Her Majesty I should 
be disgraced in the presence at Greenwich ; and discouraged 
in the lobby at Whitehall, it pleased Her Majesty to give 
me leave to gaze on her, and by trial pronounce me an 
eaglet of her own kind, worthy even yet to carry her 
thunderbolt, and prostrate myself at her feet the Earl of 
Essex's fatal, ill-sought, and unobtained desire." Sadly 
she speaks of the dead Burghley, " A noble and unentreated 


mediator, who now holdeth his peace," but who once 
delivered his opinion of her treatment, and caused the Queen 
to regard her " most bitter tears of discontent. I may 
hope Her Highness may do so hereafter. . . . But I am 
grown a woman, and therefore, by Her Majesty's own say- 
ing, am not allowed the liberty of granting lawful favours 
to princely suitors. ... I confess I have been deceived 
by them I have best trusted, and I would they had all 
been foreigners and strangers that have deceived and 
wronged me." 

Gradually she works herself up into a state of defiance 
against Brounker, Hertford, the Councillors, and even the 
Queen, " me, who am so unjustly under two councillor's 
hands, by Her Majesty's silent assent " ; and through it 
all, poor girl, breaks the dreadful fear that sometimes her 
wits wander, or that if driven much further, she may shortly 
lose them and destroy her own life. " I can assure you," 
she rages, " all that are of my counsel are out of all possi- 
bility of danger, and out of your reach. Neither doth Her 
Majesty's commandment prevail so far, though her fame 
and entreaty be everywhere glorious and powerful. And 
for myself, I will rather spit my tongue in my examiner 
or torturer's face than it shall be said, to the dishonour of 
Her Majesty's abused authority and blood, an extorted 
truth came out of my lips. . . . Yet I shall be as well able 
to pay the uttermost farthing Her Majesty shall impose 
upon me, as my Lord of Hertford. Neither will I first fly 
and then endure my punishment, but first endure my 
punishment, and then I trust Her Majesty will give me 
leave to leave all my troubles behind me, and go into a 
better place than Her Majesty hath provided for me, these 
twenty-seven years wherein I have had experience what 
it would please Her Majesty, all my friends, yea, all 
England, to do for me, that did nothing for myself, no 
not so much as utter one word which had been better 
uttered for me many a year ago ; and shall never be spoken 
to English man nor woman, whatsoever it is. . . There- 
fore lay the axe to the root of the tree in time, and let me 
lose my head, which for less cause and upon no ground, but 


my friends' faults, Her Majesty hath threatened to take, 
as I told you, whilst nobody will hinder it; and I shall 
joyfully and thankfully receive death as God receive my 
soul. I have recommended myself to the Lord of Hosts, 
whose angels have lifted my soul from my afflicted body, 
higher than they are able to reach that exceed Her Majesty's 
commission, and torture the condemned to exile with 
expectation." She demands almost fiercely to "be used 
like myself, with as great honour and respect and kindness 
as is every way due to me, who am not ignorant either of 
my birth or descent, nor senseless of wrong, nor hopeless of 
redress, which, as it is my duty first to beg as I have done, 
and after a while to expect from Her Majesty, so it is my 
duty to God to procure by all the lawful means with speed, 
because my weak body and travelling mind must be dis- 
burdened soon or I shall offend my God, and I were better 
offend my prince, and I shall be guilty of my own mis- 

If Brounker read this long and rambling letter fully 
through the merest extracts from its more coherent 
passages are given here he must have groaned when he 
came to the last page and saw : " Now that I have spent 
this day in portraying my melancholy innocence in the 
undeceiving black and white you see ; after my rude man- 
ner I must tell you true I think it will not yet be your 
fortune to understand my meaning, for it is not my meaning 
you should. . . . Almighty God be with you, I will not 
excuse my prolixity. . . . God forgive my excess and your 
defects in love and charity. From Hardwick this Ash 
Wednesday. Your poor friend, Arbella Stuart." 

One wonders if Arbella really wished this letter to be 
shown to the Queen. Apparently she did, yet she must 
have known how much of it would rouse the fury of the 
dying woman. But by now Elizabeth lay far too ill to 
be reached by any but the shortest summary of news, and 
affairs in Ireland were besides of much more urgent 
importance than poor Arbella's lengthy outpourings. 
Nevertheless the newsmongers of London were busy with 
her name; and where no one knew anything for certain, 


many were the stories told and invented concerning her. 
On the very day of her Ash Wednesday letter, Henry Garnet 
the Jesuit wrote to a friend, that the Queen was " said to 
be very sick, and Arbella diversely reported of, and likely 
to be sent up for shortly to be guarded." Another story 
was that " The Lady Arbella is already under guard, and 
some have bruited that she is married to the Earl of 
Hertford's grandson, which is most false. In course, they 
give out that she is mad, and hath written to Her Majesty 
that she is contracted to one near about the Queen, and 
in good favour with her, and offering, if he may be par- 
doned, to name him. Whereon some deem Mr. Secretary 
to be the man, others Lord Mount joy, some forsooth 
Grivell (F. Greville), some one, some another. And now 
Brounker is again sent unto her, and as it is thought will 
bring her to Woodstock, where she shall be kept. What 
the design may be cannot yet be discovered." Anthony 
Rivers wrote on the same date to a friend at Venice that, 
" The rumours of Arbella much afflict the Queen ; she 
has not been well since the Countess of Nottingham's 
death, rests ill at nights, forbears to use the air in the day, 
and abstains more than usual from her meat, resisting 
physic, and suspicious of some about her as ill-affected " : 
while another letter states that " The Queen's sickness 
continues, and every man's head is full of proclamations 
and of what shall come of us after. She raves of Tyrone 
and of Arbella, and is infinitely discontented : it is feared 
she will not last long." 

All this was the merest gossip ; and De Beaumont, the 
French Ambassador, who should have been more correctly 
informed, is not always very trustworthy. In his letters 
to his master he was, however, chary of crediting reports. 
Just before poor Arbella's fall from favour, he had declared 
that James had lately made himself extremely unpopular 
in England, and everybody was ready to extol Arbella's 
virtues in his dispraise : but now naturally all this was 
changed. Many people did actually believe her to have 
married some member of the Hertford family, but De 
Beaumont never thought there was anything in this story, 


and as early as the 26th February wrote to Villeroi : 
' What I have written to His Majesty concerning the 
marriage of Madame Arbella is confirmed by the judgment 
of the wisest and most penetrating. People are only 
astonished that the Queen has lost her repose for some days 
about it. And fearing that there is something greater 
than is known, since she shows herself to be so strongly 
moved about it. I think that this inquietude is natural 
and pardonable at her age without a subject dangerous 
enough to be dealt with, though it must only be attribut- 
able to her humour." Whilst to Henri himself, the 
Ambassador declared his belief that the whole affair had 
been raked up by " someone who has a desire to get the 
Earl of Hertford, who is rich and envied, into trouble." 
Here he was in error as we know ; but old Lady Shrewsbury 
had thrown a great deal of unnecessary publicity upon the 
matter by the violent measures she had taken in guarding 
her house and imprisoning Arbella ; whilst to most people, 
the affair was magnified into greater importance than it 
would otherwise have held by its deplorable effect upon 
the Queen. Filtered through the stiff despatches of her 
ministers, her attitude seemed strangely lenient towards 
the wayward and misguided girl, but to those around her 
the restless fever and " extraordinary melancholy " by 
which she was beset were all attributed to Arbella's actions. 
The Venetian Ambassador went so far as to term Arbella 
" Omicida della Regina." 

Meanwhile the Ash Wednesday letter, since it could not 
of course be shown to the Queen, passed instead into the 
hands of " the two councillors," who may have been inter- 
ested by its frequent allusions to themselves. Five days 
later, on the 14th March, they sent severe instructions to 
old Lady Shrewsbury (by the hand of the hated Mr. 
Holford), beginning, " Madam, we are very sorry to find 
by the strange style of Lady Arbella's letters, that she 
hath her thoughts no better quieted " ; and suggesting that, 
since the Queen will not hear of her removal from Hard- 
wick, " you will deal as mildly with her in words as you 
can. . . . and that, as much as may be, her sending up 


and down such strange letters may be forborne." Mr. 
Holford is described as " of good religion and much inter- 
ested in her," and therefore " we should be very glad that 
your ladyship should suffer him to have access unto her, 
if it is thought fit, as often as she shall desire him." This 
was not likely to be frequent. Since Lady Shrewsbury 
herself does not seem to have any control over her grand- 
child, the writers suggest that Mr. William Cavendish, 
44 Who is a gentleman that can please her, and advise her 
in due proportion," should be informed, " that Her 
Majesty and my lord do expect at his hands that he should 
interpose himself more decently towards the discourtesy 
of her meaning by these vain letters than he doth." He is 
to " ease your ladyship of that continual care which we see 
you take, the same being a great trouble to yourself and 
more proper for him, whose company is more agreeable unto 
her. And these directions we have thought fit to give 
forth, because the dispersing of her letters abroad of such 
strange subjects as she writes is inconvenient in many 
respects, and in our opinion disgraceful to herself, which 
maketh us the rather wonder that her uncles there are no 
more sensible of it." 

But Arbella had not waited to see if her last letter would 
meet with any better fortune than the rest ; she intended 
at all costs to escape from Hardwick, and her plan, in 
which her uncle Henry Cavendish and a Roman Catholic 
gentleman named Stapleton were concerned, must have 
been fully matured even before she wrote it. Cavendish 
and Stapleton with a band of about forty men had been 
for some days hidden in small detachments about the 
countryside, one of them having " a little pillion behind his 
saddle, which he hid with his cloak." The arrangement 
was that Arbella was to send them word when she could 
get away ; but naturally such a large body of men lingering 
in the neighbourhood soon roused some talk. Cavendish 
and Stapleton lodged at an inn at Mansfield, a few miles 
from Hardwick; and John Chambers the innkeeper, who 
was evidently half in the secret, meeting one day with the 
Vicar of Hucknall, could not forbear hinting mysteriously 
K 2 


that he had " guests at home." Mr. Christopher Chapman 
the Vicar, asked, as he was evidently intended to do, who 
they were. " Why," said Chambers, " such as you little 
hope for " : and named the distinguished pair. Chapman 
asked what they did there, and received the reply, " No 
matter what they do, but there they are." He then went 
home again, but this was not the last he was to hear of 
the affair. Hucknall, where he lived, was only about half 
a mile from Hard wick itself. 

On the evening of Ash Wednesday, the 9th March, 
Arbella, having presumably just finished her letter to 
Brounker, sent her page Owen and another servant named 
Henry Dove to the inn at Mansfield to inform her uncle 
that she would endeavour to escape to him at Hucknall the 
following day. Owen then returnee} to her, but Dove 
remained with the party at the inn, and early on Thursday 
morning they all left together : as Cavendish and Stapleton 
went, they told Chambers that " Lady Arbella would thank 
him for their good entertainment." By ten o'clock they 
had arrived at the house of a Mr. Facton at Hucknall, 
having by this time a hundred serving men with them ; and 
John Stark, a servant of Mr. Facton's, declared that besides 
these he saw several more hiding in various companies 
behind hedges and in dells in the neighbourhood, all 
within half a mile of one another. He heard his master's 
daughter ask Dove what these men were there for, and he 
answered plainly, " To take my Lady Arbella away." 
" What ! " said she, " being no more company ? " " Yes," 
said he; " there are not far off thirty or forty more." 

Arbella was expected to come on foot, so Stark was told 
to walk the horses up and down out of sight of Hardwick 
House, " for fear my lady should see them and be offended " ; 
but ultimately he got tired of this, and put them all in 
the stable. Cavendish and Stapleton rode across to the 
Vicarage, where they told Mr. Chapman they were 
" desirous to speak with Lady Arbella for her good, and 
they desired to have the key of the steeple, to see if my 
lady Arbella did come to them." Mrs. Chapman, who was 
standing by, exclaimed, " If you had been here on Saturday 


last, you might have seen her, for she was at the church." 
On which Stapleton in great annoyance rose in his saddle, 
threw down his hat, and cried, " Why, what is this ? It 
was long of my wife : she sent me word to the contrary ! " 
meaning apparently that Arbella had said she could not 
come that week, and so he had gone riding with his wife 

The gentlemen sat down in the Vicarage, but before the 
key of the steeple could be produced, Owen the page and 
Freak, Arbella's " imbrederer " (embroiderer), appeared 
with a letter from her, stating that she had endeavoured 
to go for her walk at noon that day, but her grandmother 
had prevented her. Orders were given to the men to take 
out their horses again, and one of them said to another, 
" We cannot now come to our purpose, but about a fort- 
night hence we must come again when these blunders are 
past, but we must not come so many so near the house." 
Henry Dove said to Mr. Facton's daughter, " She cannot 
come out this day; " and Cavendish and Stapleton rode 
straight to Hard wick, and demanded to see Arbella herself. 

Old Bess was in a pretty rage by now. She had quarrelled 
with Stapleton years before, and would not suffer him to 
pass her gates; but she could not deny her own son, and 
Henry was reluctantly admitted. He took Arbella's 
hand, bade her come with him, and led her back to the 
gate. The old lady commanded that no one should open 
it, and a furious scene followed in the courtyard. A crowd 
had gathered outside, which grew greater every moment, 
and Arbella, losing all control in her passion, concealed 
nothing of her feelings, but cried aloud that she was a 
prisoner and cruelly used ; and if never there was a scandal 
at Hardwick before, there was one now. Calling to 
Stapleton through the gate, she begged him to return to 
Mansfield and wait for news of her, which he promised to 
do, and so went. After his departure, things grew calmer, 
although the old Countess would not permit her son to 
arrange any future meetings with his niece, and so at last 
he too went away. Arbella suggested taking a walk by 
herself, and was of course bidden to remain at home ; and 


Lady Shrewsbury thereupon wrote to Cecil, declaring that 
it was quite impossible for her to answer for Arbella's safe- 
keeping any longer. 

Back came Brounker. He arrived on the 17th, pretend- 
ing to have returned from his own personal desire for 
Arbella's welfare, but she very quickly saw through that 
subterfuge, and learned the truth. During the next two 
days he interrogated every one concerned in the affair, 
except Stapleton, who had managed to escape to London ; 
but Henry Cavendish was ordered to go before the Council 
for judgment. Ill-advised as his action may have been, 
one has to confess some respect for Henry, as the only one 
of Arbella's friends who risked anything openly to help her. 
She herself, Brounker wrote to Cecil, had " neither altered 
her speech nor behaviour, but desireth liberty." He 
declared that he had tried to persuade her to patience and 
conformity, but since she still asked only for " removal 
from her grandmother," and since the old lady pressed with 
equal urgency for the same thing, while William Cavendish 
seemed quite unable to control his niece, he seriously 
recommended that she should be sent somewhere else, as 
the best course for all parties. His advice was followed, 
and within a fortnight of her wild scheme, Arbella was 
installed at Wrest House near Bedford, the residence of 
her cousin Elizabeth, Earl Gilbert's eldest daughter, who 
was married to Sir Henry Grey, sixth Earl of Kent. Here 
she immediately became tranquil and happy, and gave no 
one any more trouble while she remained. 

Unquestionably Arbella's removal was the best and 
indeed the only course to pursue, not only for her own and 
her grandmother's peace of mind, but also for sound 
political reasons. The great Queen was passing swiftly 
away ; there was still much uncertainty as to what might 
happen after her death, since she stedfastly refused to 
name her successor ; and it was important that one of the 
chief claimants for that honour should be safely bestowed 
where she could be guarded by responsible persons, and 
reached on emergency without difficulty. Cecil and the 
rest of Elizabeth's ministers had determined by now that 


their next sovereign was to be James ; but so honeycombed 
was all society with plots and counterplots that no one 
knew what surprises might be sprung upon them at the 
crucial moment. It may therefore be imagined how 
distracting Arbella's singular behaviour of late had been to 
them, and with what thankfulness they knew her in safe 
keeping at last. 

De Beaumont, writing to the King of France in answer 
to an anxious query as to whether Arbella had really 
turned Catholic, remarked : "I have never heard that the 
said lady was of any other religion than that of this king- 
dom " ; and on the 13th March he reports that she had 
been brought from Hardwick in order to be declared the 
old Queen's successor. Here he was of course wrong, and 
two days later he wrote to Villeroi, " Whether Madame 
Arbella will be brought to this town and there made to live 
in prison or at liberty, I cannot yet tell you, such is the 
diversity of opinion and judgment ; but I think rather the 
last than the first. Some call the affair a comedy, others 
a tragi-comedy. For myself I confess to you that I cannot 
yet see clearly enough to give any name. Still I always 
keep to my first and strongest opinion that I have sent you 
that I see no great cause for alarm." 

In the middle of January Elizabeth had removed to 
Richmond Palace, terming it, " the warm winter box to 
shelter her old age," and here she now lay in mortal illness. 
On the 17th March, Northumberland, writing secretly 
to James, confessed that for the past month she had been 
far worse than was generally supposed. Both he and De 
Beaumont agree that her illness was chiefly due to old age 
and general breakdown, but he adds that the death of her 
old friend the Countess of Nottingham (no allusion to the 
story of Essex's ring), the troubles in Ireland, and the 
strange and wilful conduct of Arbella had all combined 
to depress her so that she seemed to have no spirit left 
to fight against disease. " She sleeps little, will take no 
physic, is very dull, weak and lethargic." On the 19th 
her condition became very serious, and De Beaumont 
wrote, " All agree that she is worse. She shows an extra- 


ordinary melancholy in her countenance and actions. . . . 
She has an insupportable fire in the stomach and a continual 
thirst in the mouth, which constrains her every minute to 
moisten it, in order that the hot dry phlegm with which she 
is pressed may not choke her. Some attribute the cause 
of her illness to the extreme displeasure that she has 
conceived in her mind about what has passed concerning 
Madame Arbella; others about the affairs of Ireland, in 
which she was forced by those of her Council, against her 
nature and courage, to give the pardon she had so long 
refused to the Earl of Tyrone. Many also declare that she 
is seized in her heart with remorse for the death of the Earl 
of Essex, who was beheaded just two years ago." So silent 
was she for hours together that one of the Council asked if 
she would tell them what troubled her, upon which the 
indomitable old woman broke out that " she knew nothing 
in the world worthy to trouble her." She added, however, 
that she wished to live no longer and desired death; and 
then fell into a cold sweat and lay without speaking for 
three days, till her attendants hardly knew whether she 
still lived or not. Strange tales are told of her spirit form 
being seen to pace restlessly about the corridors of her 
palace, encountered by terrified ladies, who, hurrying back 
to the room where they had left her lying, found her body 
there still, silent and motionless, but yet alive. 

On the 22nd, the Lords of the Council decided to close 
all the ports ; but the same day a small ulcer burst in the 
Queen's throat, and this seemed to bring her relief; but 
the improvement did not last. She refused now to go 
to bed, and lay upon cushions on the floor for ten days, 
" her finger almost always in her mouth, her eyes open and 
on the ground." Her physicians gave her up; and the 
ministers, headed by Cecil, came to her in solemn deputa- 
tion to ask whom she would name as her successor. It 
must have been a strange sad spectacle, this company of 
grave lords stooping over the shrunken, red-wigged little 
figure on the floor. For some time she refused to speak, 
and they, wondering if she were still conscious, asked if she 
would have the King of France for heir. She gave no 


reply to this, nor yet when the King of Scots was proposed. 
They then named Lord Beauchamp, son of Katherine Grey 
and the Earl of Hertford; and with all her early hate 
aroused once more, the dying Queen hissed out, " I will 
have no rascal's son in my seat ! " and so turned on her side 
and never spoke again. De Beaumont writes, " The 
Lords of the Council have already begun to call together the 
earls and barons of the kingdom who are in the city, and 
have sent for the greater number of those absent." 

About midnight Elizabeth died. Among her very few 
living relatives were her cousin, Sir Robert Carey and his 
sister Lady Scrope, and these two were commissioned by 
James to send him the earliest possible news of her longed- 
for death. He had given Lady Scrope a sapphire ring ; and 
the moment the Queen had breathed her last, this lady 
dropped the ring out of the palace window to her brother, 
who had been waiting on horseback below to start at full 
speed for Scotland so soon as he had the sign. Having 
arranged frequent relays of horses on the road, he reached 
Holyrood in two days : and contrary to all expectation 
no opposition was raised in any quarter to the accession of 
James. Neither Arbella nor Beauchamp had ever desired 
the sovereignty; and all the Roman Catholic plots in 
favour of foreign princes seem to have begun and ended in 
talk. The nobles of England, including the Earl of Hert- 
ford and his son, signed the proclamation of the new King ; 
and De Beaumont declares all was done so quietly and 
peacefully that " there appeared no sort of alteration or 
division no more than if the reign had not changed, every 
man having returned to his trade or business, and the Lords 
of the Council to assemble and dispense justice as before." 
Arbella willingly wrote that she " desired no other position 
than the King allowed her " ; and though invited to play 
the part of chief mourner at the Queen's funeral a month 
later, replied with some dignity that " Sith her access to 
the Queen in her lifetime might not be permitted, she would 
not after her death be brought upon the stage for a public 
spectacle " : and so remained quietly at Wrest House till 
she should know the new King's pleasure concerning her. 


Queen Elizabeth was buried on the 28th April in West- 
minster Abbey, and for all the magnificence of her funeral 
procession through the streets of London, the nearest 
relative who could be found to mourn her was her step -aunt 
by marriage, the Marchioness of Northampton. In the 
Harleian Miscellany a curious old paper named " Petowe's 
April Drops or Eliza's Funeral," gives the order of the 
procession, of which the few lines describing the chief part 
of the spectacle may here be quoted. After a long list of 
troops and dignitaries came 

" The lively picture of Her Majesty's whole body, in her 

parliament robes, with a crowne on her head and 

a sceptre in her hand, lying on the corpes 

inshrined in leade, and balmed, covered 

with purple velvet ; borne in a 

charriot, drawne by foure 

horses, trapt in 

blacke velvet. 

Gentlemen ushers, with white roddes. 
A canopie over the corpes, borne by six knightes. 

Six earles, assistants unto the bodye. 

On each side the corpes six bannerols caryed by 

twelve noblemen. 

The Earle of Worcester, maister of the horse, 

leading the palfrey of honor. 

Two esquires and a groome to attend and lead him away . . . 

The lady Marquess of Northampton, chief mourner ; 

Assisted by the Lord Treasurer and the Lord Admiral, 

Her train caryed by two countesses, and 
Sir John Stanhope, master Vice- Chamber lain. 

Two earles, assistant unto her, 
Fourteen countesses assistant," etc. 

The waxwork figure of Elizabeth used on this occasion, 
that " lively picture of Her Majesty's whole body," may 
still be seen in the Islip Chapel at Westminster Abbey; 
and after three hundred years it shows a face of weariness 


and " infinite discontent " such as makes the very heart 
ache for the woman whose life, with all its marvellous 
opportunities and great accomplishments, had brought her 
only to this. A great Queen, a renowned statesman, a 
finished diplomatist, skilful, courageous, far-seeing, all 
this was Elizabeth, and England thanks her for it to this 
day ; but what of the woman's heart, the stifled nature in 
her, the self-love, the tyranny, and the bitter ruthlessness 
that drew such lines upon her anguished face ? God 
knows, not we. 



So the new King came to England, and there was a 
new Court, and new favourites, and new manners and 
customs. An ancient prophecy much quoted during the 
last few years of the Queen's reign, to the effect that 

" After Hempe is sowen and growen, 
Kings of England shall be none," 

was now held to have fulfilled itself, since the initials of 
Henry, Edward, Mary, Philip and Elizabeth spelt Hempe, 
and after them there were indeed no more Kings of 
England alone, but of all Great Britain. 

James was never a popular King, either in Scotland or 
England, where for a long time people spoke sneeringly 
of King Elizabeth and Queen James. Both narrow and 
coarse, he was yet, however, a good man according to 
his lights; though all the dignity of history cannot make 
him appear anything but a grotesque and shambling 
figure, with the mind of a pedant, the manners of a boor, 
and the superstitious terrors of a savage. One has, however, 
to remember his parentage and his upbringing, than which 
one more unfortunate can scarcely be conceived, and all 
this explains much of his after career. Born at Edin- 
burgh in 1566 of a selfish, vicious and dishonest mother, 
whose every tender feeling had been outraged during 
the last few months before his birth, he was given straight 
over into the hands of a drunken nurse, whose disgusting 
habits so affected the unfortunate babe that he remained 
a weakling all his life, and could not even stand alone till 
his sixth year. In 1567 his foolish, feckless father, Henry 
Darnley, was murdered by Earl Bothwell, and so convinced 
were the Scots that Queen Mary had instigated this horrible 



deed that they forced her to abdicate in favour of her son, 
who thus practically became King when little more than 
a year old. Few mothers' hearts can fail to melt to the 
story of the " bairn king " when, taken for the first time 
to open Parliament at four years old, and sitting obediently 
silent through lengthy speeches, he watched with inter- 
ested gaze a small rent in the shabby table-cover before 
him. Roused at the proper moment, he repeated very 
clearly the sentences taught him, and then added on his 
own account, " There is ane hole in this Parliament ! " 
to be met only with horror and dismay, for the child's 
words were regarded almost as a prophecy, to be fulfilled 
within a year by the murder of his grandfather and regent, 
the Earl of Lennox. Always solitary, and wrangled over 
by stern men, soldiers and clergy, the poor child led the 
loneliest of lives in Stirling Castle ; where he was educated 
by George Buchanan, who held a fierce contempt for his 
royal pupil, and ruled him with a rod of iron. Asked in 
later life why he had made a pedant of him, Buchanan 
sardonically replied that it was the best he could make : 
and long after James was King of England, he would 
wake sometimes in a fright at the dream that his tutor 
still frowned upon him. Nevertheless he loved books. 
Sully called him " the wisest fool in Christendom," and 
when he visited the Bodleian Library at Oxford he won 
all students' hearts by declaring that "if he were not a 
King he would be a University man : and if it were so that 
he must be a prisoner, if he might have his wish he would 
have no other prison than this library, and be chained 
together with these good authors." He was intensely 
superstitious, and laid great stress upon the fact that he 
was born on the 19th June, and first saw his wife on the 
19th November, that his son Henry was born on the 19th 
February, his daughter Elizabeth on the 19th August, 
and his younger son Charles on the 19th November. 

With such surroundings, and no kind woman to care for 
him in his youth, it is little surprising that James grew 
up to be a not very attractive personage. He had many 
favourites, Esme" Stuart, the usurper of Arbella's heritage, 


being the first; and at the time he came to England 
Robert Kerr or Carr was the latest. He had good brains, 
was very timid, unnaturally cautious, and often mean. 
The diplomacy of the day taught him to be deceitful in 
sheer self-defence; and here we can scarcely blame him, 
for he was no worse than any other sovereign. He cannot 
be expected to have cherished any very tender feelings 
for his mother, whom he could not remember, who had 
deserted him in earliest infancy, and who merely tried to 
make use of him for ever after. Nevertheless, in 1584, 
when James was eighteen, she sent M. Fontenay, the 
brother of her secretary Nau, to Scotland ; and Fontenay's 
report of James is worth quoting, if only to show the 
opinion he held of himself : " The King is for his age," 
runs the letter, " one of the most remarkable princes that 
ever lived. He has the three parts of the mind in per- 
fection : he apprehends readily, judges maturely, and 
concludes with reason. His memory is full and retentive. 
His questions are quick and piercing, his answers solid. 
Whatever is the subject of conversation, religious or other- 
wise, he maintains the views that appear to him true and 
just. ... In languages, science and affairs of State, he 
has more learning than any man in Scotland. In short, 
he is wonderfully clever, full of honourable ambition, and 
has an excellent opinion of himself. Owing to the terror- 
ism under which he has been brought up, he is timid with 
the great lords and seldom ventures to contradict them. 
Yet his especial anxiety is to be thought hardy and a 
man of courage. Nothing is too laborious for him. . . . 
He dislikes dances, music, amorous talk, curiosities of 
dress and courtly trivialities, and has an especial detesta- 
tion for earrings. His manners are rough and uncouth : 
he speaks, eats, dresses and plays like a boor, and is no 
better in the company of women. Is never still a moment, 
walks perpetually up and down the room, and his gait 
is sprawling and awkward. His voice is loud and his 
words sententious. He prefers hunting to all else, and 
will be six hours together on his horse, galloping. . . . His 
body is feeble but not delicate : a young old man. I 


observe three unfavourable points only. He does not 
understand his own insignificance, is prodigiously conceited 
and underrates other princes, and irritates his subjects 
by his indiscreet and violent attachments. He is idle, 
careless, too easy and given to pleasure, especially the 
chase, when he leaves his affairs to Arran, Montrose and 
his secretary. One must excuse this in one so young, 
but I fear the habit may grow. I hinted so to him, but 
he said that whatever seemed, he knew all of consequence 
that was going on ; that he could afford to hunt, for when 
he attended to business he could do more in an hour than 
others in a day. He could do five things at once; and 
the lords could attempt nothing without his knowledge. 
He had his spies at their chamber doors evening and 
morning, who brought him word of all they were about. 
He said he was his mother's son in many ways. His 
body was weak and he could not work long consecutively, 
but when he did work he was worth any other six put 
together. Sometimes he tried to force himself to his desk 
for a week at a time, but was always ill after. Like a 
Spanish gennet he could run one course well, but could 
not hold out. These are his own words." 

Fontenay may have flattered the young King's intellect 
a little, but all are agreed that his understanding was good, 
and certainly none of his personal failings are here glossed 
over. His appearance and habits were not pleasing. 
Hunting was his great passion, and Scaliger says that 
" He was always merciful except at the chase, where he 
was cruel and very angry when he could not catch the 
stag : ' God,' he said, ' is enraged against me,' and when 
he caught him, he would put his arm entirely into the 
belly and entrails of the beast." His doctor, Sir Theodore 
Mayerne, who attended him for many years after he came 
to England, says that he was then of middle stature, 
moderately fat, with a thin beard, and large and rolling 
eyes. As a consequence of the neglect of his early years, 
his legs were weak, and his movements clumsy and shamb- 
ling. His tongue was too large for his mouth, so he " drank 
unseemly " and coughed much. He had soft hands and 


never washed them, but rubbed them sometimes with a 
damp cloth. He ate well and had a strong head for wine, 
but slept badly ; was never sick at sea. He hated medicine, 
and would never take any till late in life : perhaps he feared 
poison, as he certainly did the dagger, for he always wore 
a thickly quilted doublet, which made him appear stouter 
than he really was. But he was very thrifty with his 
clothes, and wore them till they fell to rags; though his 
taste in colours was flamboyant. An unsympathetic 
witness of his first progress as King of England describes 
him as wearing garments " as greene as the grasse he 
trod on, with a feather on his cap, and a home instead of 
a sword by his side, how suitable to his age, calling, or 
person I leave to others to judge from pictures." He 
was at this time thirty-seven. On the day of his accession 
a lioness whelped in the Tower, and when this was told 
him, he regarded it as a good omen and was vastly pleased. 
In 1589 he had married Anne, younger sister of King 
Christian IV of Denmark, and had now three children 
living : Henry, aged ten ; Elizabeth, seven ; and Charles, 
two and a half. Bidding his family follow him as soon 
as convenient, James set out at once to take possession 
of his long-coveted new kingdom in the south. He 
travelled slowly, for, starting on the 5th April, he did not 
reach Whitehall till the llth May; but by that time he 
had been entertained at almost every great house on the 
way, and every person of consequence in the kingdom 
had ridden out to meet him. Many are the anecdotes 
related of him during this journey, and almost all are 
rude and uncouth. The one amongst his new subjects 
whom he disliked most was Sir Walter Raleigh, almost 
the last left of the great Elizabethans ; one who had never 
" trimmed " like Cecil, Bacon, Lord Henry Howard and 
most of the new politicians, who kept his old hate of 
Spain till his dying day, and could never adjust himself 
to mean compromises. Him James greeted with the 
atrocious pun, " Why mon, I hae heard but rawly o } 
thee," and so bade him and many others who had come 
out only to show loyalty to their new sovereign to "go 


home again unless they had special business with him " ; 
since the great crowds pressing to see him made provisions 
dear in the country and would be bad for the people. 
A frugal monarch this : Elizabeth had never discouraged 
her loving lieges from gazing on her for any such scruple, 
and the more that came the better she was pleased. But 
James had to pay no bills himself on this progress, for he 
was lavishly entertained wherever he pleased to stay; 
and the great nobles of England vied with one another in 
the magnificence of the fare they provided for him. Gilbert, 
Earl of Shrewsbury, was honoured with a stay of one night 
at Worksop, where, well tutored in the King's tastes, he 
offered him first a chase after game in the park, and then 
" so nobly received him with superfluitie of all things, 
that still every entertainment seemed to exceed the other." 
James knighted thirteen of Gilbert's friends next morning, 
and the young Earl must have breathed more freely when 
he left; for although the night's lodging had landed him 
heavily in debt, he had been given to understand that he 
was regarded with favour, and till then there had been a 
certain amount of doubt how the new King meant to 
treat his cousin Arbella and her friends and kinsfolk. 

To Arbella herself, waiting quietly at Wrest House, it 
seemed as though a curtain had suddenly been lifted and 
all her difficulties had rolled away. Cecil was able to put 
off the mask, and she realized that, though he had never 
striven to make her Queen and she would have thanked 
him little for it if he had, yet he was no such bitter foe as 
she had pictured him in those last cruel days at Hardwick. 
Indeed she little knew the difficulties with which, during 
all that time, he had had to contend, nor how much harder 
she, with her foolish mysteries, had made it for him to 
stand her unobtrusive friend; but all this was now ex- 
plained to her. Early in May the secretary had her sent 
up to London from Wrest, and in a long and serious con- 
versation with her, explained the exact position. He 
seems to have found her reasonable, and apparently 
no more was said about the secret love affair. Her rela- 
tions with her aunt and uncle too, perhaps through the 



intervention of Gilbert's daughter, her hostess at Wrest, 
returned once more and immediately to the old friendly 

Very soon after the new King was established at White- 
hall, Cecil spoke to him of Arbella, and persuaded him to 
grant her an audience, at which the two cousins met for 
the first time. One gathers that Arbella was by far the 
more self-possessed of the two, for poor James was shy, 
ill at ease, and still doubtful of the real feelings of this 
graceful, finished Court lady ; but Cecil had coached both 
in what they were to say, and the interview ran very much 
upon the lines he had laid down. After it James, evidently 
still a little nervous of her, told Cecil that he thought she 
had better go back to Wrest, at any rate for the present ; 
but the diplomatic secretary, well aware that she would 
consider this tantamount to permanent banishment, sug- 
gested that it would be a graceful act for the King to appear 
at least to leave her the choice of a dwelling-place, and that 
he would see to it that she should choose to join the 
Marchioness of Northampton at Sheen. James's vanity 
was flattered when Cecil begged him to " deal more tenderly 
with her," and explained that " now she had spoken with 
his Majesty, if she had not given him satisfaction, she 
might conceive that she should never be able to give him 
satisfaction, and so it would redouble her grief and affliction 
of mind, wherewith she had been too long already tor- 
mented " : adding also that he " feared she would not like 
to go to any place as commanded thereto, for so she might 
think that she were still under a kind of restraint." So 
the King agreed that she should go to Sheen, and thither 
she travelled straight from London. The Marchioness of 
Northampton, her guardian for the time being, was a 
Swedish lady, and had been the third wife of Thomas Parr, 
Marquis of Northampton, brother to Queen Katherine 
Parr. Her husband had died many years earlier, leaving 
no children, and the title was shortly after this bestowed 
upon Lord Henry Howard, one who had always set his 
face against Arbella's interests, and who lived to work 
real havoc in her affairs. 


Since she was henceforth to be an independent lady, 
and no longer under the charge of the Shrewsburys, young 
or old, but to live within limits where she chose, it 
was important and in fact necessary that some income 
should now be settled upon Arbella. She had absolutely 
nothing but the tiny pittance from her little property at 
Small wood, since the 200 a year allowed her since infancy 
lapsed with the Queen's death; and before she left town 
Cecil promised, though doubtfully, to get something 
arranged for her as soon as possible. Her claim, however, 
was not the only or the most pressing one to be dealt with 
at this time of clamorous demands from every quarter of 
two kingdoms; there were all the hungry Scots, and in 
particular the King's own favourites, eager to grab at 
some of the fat English lands; there was the new Court 
to arrange in preparation for the arrival of Queen Anne, 
already on her way from Scotland; all the Court officials 
to appoint, and their duties and salaries to settle; and so 
for some weeks Arbella's needs were overlooked. On the 
14th June she wrote to remind Cecil of her wishes ; and he, 
harassed, seems to have replied that the King could decide 
nothing for the present; for on the 22nd-23rd she writes 
again, assuring him that she " would rather make hard 
shift for the present than be too troublesome to His 
Highness," but begging that her " present wants may 
be supplied by some sum of money which need not be 
annual. ... If I should name two thousand pounds for 
my present occasions it would not exceed my necessity, 
but I dare not presume to crave any certain sum." The 
whole tone of these letters is one of the most cordial 
respect; Arbella addressing Cecil as " My honourable good 
friend," and acknowledging herself " greatly bounden " 
to him. It seems that after all, however, Cecil managed 
her affair sooner than he had himself expected, for three 
days later she sent him her " humble thanks ... for 
procuring and hastening the King's liberality towards " 
her, and on the 30th June acknowledges having " received 
his Majesty's liberality by your lordship's means " ; and 
adds again her " thankfulness to you, whose good opinion 



and favour I highly esteem." All these notes are very 
carefully written, but very short, although Arbella 
apologizes for trespassing on the secretary's "patience in 
reading these needless lines," a restraint for which Sir 
Henry Brounker would have been glad enough a few 
months earlier. But much had happened between March 
and June. 

As in the following September a warrant was issued to 
pay the Lady Arbella 800 per annum, this is apparently 
the sum James proposed to settle upon her; but though 
a great advance on what she had received before, it did 
not long remain sufficient for her needs, nor did she gain 
possession of it for some time, and then only after repeated 
duns. A new, gay and very happy life now dawned for 
Arbella. Queen Anne and her children arrived at Windsor 
in the end of June, and the King's cousin seems almost 
immediately to have been sent for to meet them. Anne 
of Denmark was exactly the same age as Arbella; a 
foolish, amiable, empty-headed woman, but kindly enough 
when it suited her to be so, and she took at once a great 
liking for her new relative; and since her own little 
daughter Elizabeth was too young to remain in London 
and was sent away in October to the country, she insisted 
upon keeping Arbella constantly with her, and making of 
her both a personal friend and the first lady at her Court. 
James himself raised no objection, having now surmounted 
his shyness, and found nothing but goodwill towards 
himself in the breast of this terrible cousin, whose very 
existence had for so many years filled his soul with alarm. 
We therefore behold her lifted straight from the position 
of a troublesome child, scolded and scorned on every side, 
to that of the second greatest lady in England, a personage 
of much influence with the Queen and through her of the 
King, and one to be flattered and sought out by all. It 
has been insinuated that James feared his wife, and that 
she dominated him by her will; but, though often no 
doubt worried into consenting to her caprices, a very 
downright letter he wrote her not long after their marriage 
shows that he always meant to be master, and that the 


sooner she understood it the more peace would reign 
between them. She had been boasting of her kingly 
birth, and complained that her husband treated her with 
too great familiarity, to which he tersely replied, " King's 
or cook's daughter, ye must be alike to me, being ance 
my wife." Apparently after this she submitted to the 
position with as good a grace as she might, at any rate 
in public; for we find Francis Osborne, in his Traditional 
Memoirs, describing James's departure for his first royal 
progress in England thus : " He that evening parted from 
his Queene, and to show himselfe more uxorious before 
the people at his first coming than in private he was, he 
did at her coach side take his leave, by kissing her sufficiently 
to the middle of her shoulders, for so low she went bare 
all the dayes I had the fortune to know her, having a 
skinne far more amiable than the features it covered, 
though not the disposition, in which report rendered her 
very debonnaire." 

A MS. life of Elizabeth of Bohemia, lavishly quoted 
by both Miss Strickland and Miss Cooper, declares that 
Arbella went as far as Welbeck, the residence of her uncle, 
Charles Cavendish, to meet the Queen on her way into 
England ; and that she first encountered her on a hill by 
the roadside, where, dressed as Diana, she led a Masque 
of maidens, and in poetic numbers requested her Majesty 
to repose herself in their sylvan retreat. The impossi- 
bility of this romance is demonstrated by the dates of 
Arbella's own letters to Cecil, all of which are written 
from Sheen; while the story, on the same authority, that 
she was at once appointed State Governess to little 
Princess Elizabeth seems equally untrustworthy, and is 
nowhere else corroborated. The child's State Governess 
was already the Countess of Kildare; but there is little 
doubt that Arbella, who hitherto had never had much 
to do with children, became an instant favourite with these 
young cousins, and loved almost as much to be with 
them as they with her. It was, indeed, the first time 
in her life that she had been admitted into a big family 
on equal terms and actually as one of themselves; for at 


the Shrewburys she had been treated always as half 
prisoner and half princess. Little Prince Henry conceived 
a great admiration for his grown-up cousin. He was a 
handsome charming boy, already much resembling his 
good-looking grandfather, Henry Darnley, and so far he 
was to the English by far the, most popular member of 
their new royal family. Poor little " Baby Charles," the 
tragic " White King " of the future, was exceedingly 
delicate, and so particularly weak in the ankle-joints that 
it was feared, even if he grew up, he would never be able 
to walk. No lady of the Court would undertake the 
responsibility of his upbringing, till at last Lady Carey 
consented to do so, and with infinite care and solicitude 
made a healthy youth of him. 

Two days after the Queen's arrival, James held an 
Investiture of the Knights of the Garter, at which his son 
Henry, the Duke of Lennox, the Earl of Mar, Lord South- 
ampton and the Earl of Pembroke were all admitted to 
the most noble Order. The Queen, who hated the Earl 
of Mar, had a fit of temper and refused to be present; 
and tradition has it that to the Lady Arbella, therefore, 
fell the duty of chaperoning little Princess Elizabeth, 
and that the two royal princesses stood together in a 
recess in one of the windows at St. George's Hall to watch 
the ceremony. This may very well have been true. 
Afterwards Queen Anne had recovered her equanimity, 
and held a great reception at Windsor, at which Arbella 
and her aunt Mary were conspicuous for their " most 
sumptuous dresses and exceeding rich and glorious jewels." 
It must have been a brilliant sight, for James would allow 
no mourning to be worn for the late Queen Elizabeth ; an 
ungracious trait in him, which greatly scandalized the 
ambassadors from foreign countries, who arriving in 
sombre garments to present their condolences, were bidden 
put these off at once and make merry with the rest. On 
the 24th July the King and Queen were crowned, " it 
being then very bad weather and the pestilence mightily 
raging " ; and on this occasion Queen Anne, having already 
begun that " dalliance with Rome," which all her life 


caused her husband such intense annoyance, refused to 
communicate according to the Reformed Church. The 
incident caused much talk ; and all her life long her people 
were never quite sure whether Anne of Denmark were a 
secret Catholic or not. One of her bedchamber ladies, 
named Drummond, was a strong Papist and had a great 
influence with the Queen : it is only surprising that James 
permitted her to retain her post till her marriage ten years 
later. But Anne meant to choose her own friends, and 
did so, not always too judiciously; Lady Anne Clifford, 
one of them, remarks that the Queen " shewed no favoure 
to the elderly Ladies, but to my Lady Rich and such like 
companie." Anne Clifford herself was the daughter of 
the Earl of Cumberland, and only fourteen at this time : 
later she became successively Countess of Dorset, Pembroke 
and Montgomery. Another favourite of the new Queen's 
was Lucy, Countess of Bedford, the friend of Jonson, 
Donne and Daniel. 

After these first festivities, Arbella went home with her 
uncle and aunt for a short stay in the country, during 
which there was no doubt much to explain and re -ad just ; 
but all three soon after rejoined the Court, which in 
consequence of a plague scare, had now removed to Farn- 
ham. Earl Gilbert could not yet feel satisfied of his 
niece's discretion when left entirely on her own respon- 
sibility amongst these new relations ; and indeed his fears, 
taking into account her recent behaviour, were by no means 
surprising. Having himself been newly appointed Lord 
Justice in Eyre, north of the Trent, he was obliged to 
travel thither in August, accompanied by his wife; but 
he not only spoke seriously to Arbella, but gave her also 
a letter of introduction to the Lord Chamberlain, and 
begged him and her friend Sir William Stewart to watch 
her affairs and conduct, advise her if necessary, and 
report all that happened to himself. Gilbert need have 
had no anxiety however. Happiness was the making of 
Arbella, and she blossomed in it, for the first time in 
her life was able to act naturally, and became at once 
younger than she had ever been in her real youth. But 


she wrote him a grateful little note signed " Your disciple," 
from Farnham on the 14th August, in which she thanks 
him " for letting me understand your course, which though 
it bend directly northward, will not hinder you from think- 
ing and looking to the south, where you leave me to take 
my fortune in an unknown climate, without either art or 
instruction, but what I have from you, whose skilful 
directions I will observe as far forth as they are Puritan 
like. And though I be very frail, I must confess, you 
shall see in me the good effects of your prayer and 
your great glory for reforming my untowardly resolutions 
and mirth." From this we gather that it was high 
spirits now and not low from which her uncle feared her 

Henceforth, whenever parted from her uncle and aunt, 
Arbella maintained a regular weekly correspondence with 
them, from which much valuable information of the early 
days of James I's Court may be obtained. The Court did 
not remain long at Farnham, for on the 23rd August she 
wrote from Basing, begging the Earl to use his influence 
with Cecil to obtain her not only the promised pension, 
which had not yet reached her, but also an allowance for 
44 diet " such as was made to all great persons at the 
Court, and which consisted of a stated number of dishes 
every day for herself and her household. This letter was 
accompanied by a more intimate one to her aunt, explain- 
ing that the King wished her to have the diet, but Cecil 
and Lord Henry Howard had " crossed her intent." " I 
think that makes others deny me that the King granted, 
and makes even himself think anything enough, when the 
wise counsellors think it too much." She speaks warmly of 
James, however : " You know his inclination to be kind to 
all his kin and liberal to all below him, and you know his 
protestations of extraordinary affection to me. Therefore 
I am sure it is evil counsel that withholds him so long 
from doing for me in as liberal sort, or more, as he hath 
done for any." And for the Queen, " When she speaks 
of you, she speaks very, kindly and honourably of you." 
But she already seems a little disdainful of the behaviour 


of the Court ladies who had so lately flattered and fawned 
upon the dead Elizabeth, and now " Our great and gracious 
ladies leave no gesture or fault of the late Queen unremem- 
bered, as they say who are partakers of their talk, as I 
thank God I am not. ... I pray you let me hear of my 
faults from you when you will have me mend them, for 
I am sure you shall hear of them there, and I have neither 
those faults which are thought so here, nor those qualities 
good that are thought most gracious here. Now you are 
a bystander, you may guide and direct better than ever." 
She sends her love to her uncle Charles and his wife and 
all her cousins, mentions that " Mr. Elphinstone is my 
very good friend and yours much devoted," and that 
" Sir William Stuart commendeth himself to you and my 

The Court moved to Woodstock next, and from here 
Stuart wrote himself to Gilbert early in September that 
the King was " wonderfully well disposed " to grant his 
cousin's wishes, " seeing thereby one singularly well 
affected to him and his by the well-doing of that good 
turn as appertains," and begged him also to " continue in 
writing from time to time your wise and loving opinion to 
my lady, your honour's most tender and dearest niece, who I 
doubt not in time, with wisdom, patience and good govern- 
ment, shall both be blessed of God and win her process. 
For although her virtue and knowledge has been envied 
of to me, yet her ladyship has acquired many favourers, 
and sundry well-affected to her honour and good merits 
and good behaviour." As already noted, the pension 
was actually paid a few days after this, and a " mess of 
meat " from the King's table granted, followed later by 
an acceptable little " free gift " of 660 for her immediate 
needs. On the 17th September Cecil wrote to Lord 
Shrewsbury, " How my Lady Arbella is now satisfied I 
know not, but the King hath granted 800 yearly for her 
maintainance, and of it 200 beforehand, and she shall 
also have dishes of meat for her household " ; while Arbella 
herself wrote the day before to her aunt, giving her this 
news in high good humour, though adding, " And my 


Lord Cecil will despatch it, I trust, with all speed, for so 
his lordship promiseth." 

Earl Gilbert seems to have thought too constant a 
correspondence with his niece unwise, for she apologizes 
for sending him " one superfluous letter more " ; but at 
the same time assures her aunt that " You shall not 
fail to receive weekly letters, God willing, unless lack of 
health, or means, or some very great occasion hinder me." 
This letter is dated from Oxford, meaning Woodstock, but 
" The Queen is going hence to-morrow " : and only this 
careless allusion does Arbella make to the terrible plague 
which that year swept over England and caused the Court 
to forsake London during summer and autumn, and 
wander from place to place, scarcely daring to spend 
more than a week in the same quarters. Over 3000 
Londoners died in a week from this fearful disease, and 
since infection was one of James's many fears, he insisted 
on constant changes, making of the Court a veritable 
" camp volant, which every week dislodgeth." The 
dilapidated old palace at Woodstock, untenanted since 
Elizabeth had been a prisoner there during her sister's 
reign nearly fifty years before, suited James well enough; 
for there was good hunting to be had near, and, being 
accustomed to somewhat rough accommodation himself, 
he took the best there was, and saw nothing to complain 
of ; but the fine ladies and courtiers of England were bitterly 
disgusted at being obliged to make do with damp rooms, 
broken windows, and worn-out furniture, while some, not 
so fortunate even as this, had to live in tents on the wet 
grass. The weather was atrocious that year, and the 
rain continual. Cecil's description of their plight speaks 
volumes : " The place is unwholesome, all the house stand- 
ing upon springs. It is unsavoury, for there is no savour 
but of cows and pigs. It is uneaseful, for only the King 
and Queen, with the privy chamber ladies, and some three 
or four of the Scottish Council, are lodged in the house ; 
and neither Chamberlain, nor one English Councillor, 
have a room, which will be a sour sauce to some of your 
old friends that have been merry with you in a winter's 


night, from whence they have not removed to their bed 
in a snow-storm." Not so were the ministers of the great 
Elizabeth treated. 

Arbella's " one superfluous letter more " to her uncle 
is so full of Court gossip, and in spite of the half sarcastic 
way in which she writes it, so clearly shows her own new 
gaiety and amusement in the frivolous life that it may 
well be quoted entire. Queen Anne it will be observed 
still seems to her the only one of the new regime from 
whom any true dignity or courtesy was to be expected, 
and of her she always speaks in friendly and respectful 
terms. The Lord Admiral mentioned here was the Earl 
of Nottingham, better known by his earlier title of Lord 
Howard of Efnngham, the hero of the Armada. The death 
of his wife, the Countess of Nottingham, will be remem- 
bered as one of the incidents thought to be contributory 
to the final breakdown of her old friend Queen Elizabeth, 
whether or no any truth lay in the story of the Essex ring : 
but Nottingham himself was no longer inconsolable, and 
was now, at the age of sixty-eight, shortly to be married to 
Lady Margaret Stuart, a young kinswoman of Arbella's 
own. His daughter the Countess of Kildare, hitherto 
State Governess to Princess Elizabeth, had lately taken 
a second husband in Lord Cobham, who was already 
looked upon with suspicion at Court. " The Dutchkin " 
is Duke Ulric of Holstein, on a visit to his sister Queen 
Anne; Taxis was the Spanish Ambassador, and Count 
Aremberg the Austrian Ambassador. 

" At my return from Oxford," writes Arbella to her 
uncle ; " where I have spent this day, whilst my Lord Cecil 
amongst many more weighty affairs was dispatching some 
of mine, I found my Cousin Lacy had disburdened him- 
self at my chamber of the charge he had from you, and 
straight fell to prepare his fraught back, for hindering 
his back return to-morrow morning as he intendeth. 

" I writ to tell you of the reason of the delay of Taxis' 
audience; it remaineth to tell how jovially he behaveth 
himself in the interim. He hath brought great store of 
Spanish gloves, hawk's hoods, leather for jerkins, and, 


moreover, a perfumer; these delicacies he bestoweth 
among our ladies and lords, I will not say with a hope 
to effeminate the one sex, but certainly with a hope to 
grow gracious with the other, as he already is. The 
curiosity of our sex drew many ladies and gentlewomen 
to gaze at him betwixt his landing-place and Oxford, his 
abiding-place ; which he, desirous to satisfy (I will not say 
nourish that vice), made his coach stay, and took occasion, 
with petty gifts and courtesies, to win soon-won affections, 
who, comparing his manner with Monsieur de Rosney's, 
hold him their far welcomer guest. At Oxford he took 
some distaste about his lodging, and would needs lodge 
at an inn, because he had not all Christ's College to him- 
self, and was not received into the town by the Vice- 
Chancellor in pontificalibus, which they never used to do 
but to the King or Queen or Chancellor of the University 
as they say; but those scruples were soon digested, and 
he vouchsafeth to lodge in a piece of the College till his 
repair to the King at Winchester. Count Aremberg was 
here within these few days, and presented to the Queen 
the Archduke's and the Infanta's pictures excellently 
drawn. Yesterday the King and Queen dined at a lodge 
of Sir Henry Lee's, three miles hence, and were accom- 
panied by the French Ambassador and a Dutch Duke. 
I will not say we were merry at the Dutchkin, lest you com- 
plain of me for telling tales out of the Queen's coach; 
but I could find it in my heart to write unto you some of 
our yesterday's adventures, but that it groweth late, and 
by the shortness of your letter, I conjecture you would 
not have this honest gentleman overladen with such 
superfluous relations. 

" My Lord Admiral is returned from the Prince and 
Princess, and either is or will be my cousin before incredu- 
lous you will believe such incongruities in a counsellor, 
as love maketh no miracle in his subjects, of what degree 
or age whatsoever. His daughter of Kildare is discharged 
of her office, and as near a free woman as may be, and 
have a bad husband. The Dutch Lady my Lord Wotton 
spoke of at Basing proved a lady sent by the Duchess 


of Holstein to learn the English fashions. She lodgeth 
at Oxford, and hath been here twice, and thinketh every 
day long till she be at home, so well she liketh her enter- 
tainment, or loveth her own country; in truth, she is 
civil, and therefore cannot but look for the like which 
she brings out of a ruder country. But if ever there were 
such a virtue as courtesy at the Court, I marvel what is 
become of it, for I protest I see little or none of it but in 
the Queen, who, ever since her coming to Newbury, hath 
spoken to the people as she passeth, and receiveth their 
prayers with thanks, and thankful countenance, barefaced, 
to the great contentment of native and foreign people ; 
for I would not have you think the French Ambassador 
would leave that attractive virtue of our late Queen 
Elizabeth unremembered or uncommended, when he saw 
it imitated by our most gracious Queen, lest you should 
think we infect even our neighbours with incivility. But 
what a theme have rude I gotten unawares ! It is your 
own virtue I commend by the foil of the contrary vice ; and 
so, thinking on you, my pen accused myself before I was 
aware. Therefore I will put it to silence for this time, 
only adding a short but most hearty prayer for your 
prosperity in all kinds, and so humbly take my leave. 
" From Woodstock this 15th September, 

" Your lordship's niece, Arbella Stuart." 



IT was fortunate indeed for Arbella that the new King 
and Queen had taken so instant a liking for her, and made 
of her so personal a friend. Otherwise the Main and Bye 
Plots, which this autumn involved so many great English 
names in disaster, must and almost certainly would have 
caught her too in their toils. The Bye Plot was first spoken 
of as early as July; the Main or Spanish Treason not till 
September, but it is difficult, without entering into an 
elaboration of detail, to explain all the ramifications of 
either. The last at least had for its object the old scheme, 
to carry Arbella abroad, marry her to some Catholic prince, 
and set her up as an opposition sovereign to James ; but 
so many hundred times had this been discussed with no 
tangible result that had it not been for a strong under- 
current of discontent among the English nobles of the day, 
many of whom were whispered of as being amongst the 
conspirators, it is probable that no further notice would 
have been taken of it. 

Lord Cobham and his brother Lord George Brooke were 
held to be the chief culprits, together with Lord Grey of 
Wilton and Sir Griffin Markham : but Cobham was also 
the intimate friend of Sir Walter Raleigh, and if he could 
only be persuaded to implicate Raleigh in the treason, it 
would make matters very easy for James to have the latter 
put out of the way. The King bore a strange hatred to 
this man, for which it is altogether difficult to account. 
It is true James desired peace with Spain, and Spain would 
not even parley till Sir Walter, her most inveterate enemy, 
were muzzled, disgraced, dead, or imprisoned for life, but 
this very attitude of hers showed the absurdity of supposing 



Raleigh guilty of any share in a plot for which the co- 
operation of Spain was a necessity. Nevertheless, Raleigh, 
from whom all his great posts had already been stripped, 
must now be utterly ruined ; and Cobham was imprisoned 
in the Tower, and given to understand that his only hope 
of pardon lay in accusing his friend. A coward at heart, 
the prisoner stooped even to this baseness. Raleigh, also 
sent to the Tower, found means to correspond with him, 
and adjured him " for the love of God, his wife and children, 
to tell the truth in writing so it could be read in court." 
Cobham, unstrung and yet desirous of showing courage, 
replied with this paper : "To clear my conscience, satisfy 
the world, and free myself from the cry of your blood, I 
protest upon my soul and before God and His angels, I 
never had conference with you in any treason : nor was 
ever moved by you to the thing I heretofore accused you 
of. ... And so God deal with me, and have mercy on my 
soul as this is true." When this paper was produced at the 
trial, however, Cobham's heart failed him again, and he 
declared it false, and said it had been got from him by 
artifice. On which Raleigh commented aloud, " Now I 
wonder how many souls this man hath; he damns one 
in this letter, another in that ! " 

There seems unfortunately little doubt that Cecil busied 
himself to procure forged letters and faked evidence 
against Raleigh in order to please the King, and he even 
set about a report that the prisoner had attempted to 
commit suicide while in the Tower, a fact which, if true, 
would have told blackly against his innocence. But 
Raleigh was not the man to bungle an affair of that sort ; 
he knew a hundred ways to die if he had wished, and he 
kept a stout heart and a valiant spirit yet. The trial began 
at Winchester on the 17th November, the King being then 
established in that city; and all the Court flocked to 
witness it in order to titillate their frivolous minds with 
the spicy excitements of death and terror. To Arbella 
the excitement can have been scarcely pleasing ; her name 
was too closely mixed in all these tragic happenings, and 
though she herself was entirely cleared of all complicity 


in the plot, it must have been with strange emotions that 
she sat in a gallery with the Earl of Nottingham and 
listened to all that passed at the Trial. Cobham still 
declared that she had sought his friendship, but that his 
sole object in desiring an interview with her was to warn 
her that, " there were some about the King that laboured 
to disgrace her " : while his brother Brooke, a man and a 
gentleman, stated that he " never did move her as his 
brother desired." 

It was not easy to sift this evidence with due respect to 
the lady listening, and Arbella's name was dragged rudely 
forward at times. On one occasion, " My lord Admiral, 
the Earl of Nottingham, by whom she sat, rose in his 
gallery, and declared ' The lady here doth protest upon her 
salvation that she never dealt in any of these things, and 
so she willed me to tell the Court ' " ; while Sir Robert 
Cecil, a useful partisan, stated : " Here hath been a touch 
of the Lady Arbella Stuart, the King's nearest kinswoman. 
Let us not scandal the innocent by confusion of speech. 
She is as innocent of all these things as I or any man here ; 
only she received a letter from my Lord Cobham to prepare 
her, which she laughed at, and immediately sent it to the 
King." Cecil's own wife, Elizabeth Brooke, was Cobham's 
sister, while the Admiral's daughter, Lady Kildare, had 
lately become Cobham's wife; so that both Arbella's 
apologists were somewhat closely connected with the 
chief culprit. One Michael Hickes, writing to Earl Gilbert 
a few days later of the trial, says ; " They say the La 
Arbella's name came to be mentioned in the evidence ; but 
she was cleared in the opinion of all; and as I heard my 
Ld Cecil spoke very honourably in her behalf, but one 
that gave in evydence it is said spake very grossly and rudely 
concerning her La as I think yr Lordship hath hard or shall 
heare." Much of this evidence however was suppressed. 

Kingsley has stated that " But one thing comes clearly 
out of the infinite confusion and mystery of this dark 
Cobham plot, and that is Raleigh's innocence." His 
Arraignment constituted indeed the great day of the Trial. 
The prosecution was conducted by Attorney-General Sir 


Edward Coke with his customary brutality. He was 
assisted by Serjeant Hale, by whom the indictment was 
read, to the effect that Raleigh " had conference with 
Lord Cobham how to advance Arbella Steward to the 
Crowne and Royall Throne of this Kingdome; and that 
then and there it was agreed : that Cobham should treat 
with Aremberge, Ambassador from the Archduke of 
Austria, to obtain of him six hundred thousand crowns to 
bring to passe the intended Treasons : It was agreed 
that Cobham should go to Albert the Archduke, to procure 
him to advance the pretended title of Arbella; from 
thence, knowing that Albert had not sufficient meanes to 
maintaine his owne army in the Lowcountrys, Cobham 
should go into Spaine to procure the King to assist and 
further her pretended Title. It was also agreed the better 
to effect all these conspiracies, that Arbella should write 
three Letters, one to the Archduke, another to the King of 
Spain, and another to the Duke of Savoy, promising three 
things, first to establish firme Peace between England and 
Spain, secondly to tolerate the Romish and Popish Super- 
stition ; thirdly to be ruled by them for the contriving of 
her Marriage and for effecting of these trayterous pur- 
poses. . . . And after on the Thursday following Cobham 
and his brother Brook did trayterously speak these words 
That there would never be a good world in England till the 
King and his cubs (meaning his Royal Issue) were taken 
away . . . and on the llth June for the accomplishment 
of the said conference and by the trayterous instigations 
of Raleigh, Cobham did move Brook to incite Arbella to 
write the three foresaid letters to procure them to advance 
her Title, and that she, after she had obtained the Crowne, 
should perform these three things." 

" Master Serjeant Hale opened the matter, and delivered 
the effect of the indictment : In whose Speech this was 
observed, that he charged Sir Walter to have intended the 
Intitling of the Lady Arbella Steward to the Crown, who 
he said had no more title thereunto than he had himself : 
and further said after a little pause, that hee for his owne 
part did disclaim and renounce all part thereunto, whereat 


Sir Walter Raleigh smiled." Such an unguarded speech 
might indeed, under many circumstances have been 
sufficient to bring a man to the block. Cobham's con- 
fession was then read over to the prisoner, who was not, 
however, permitted to confront him in person. This was 
a very real injustice, and Raleigh protested strongly 
against it, but in vain. He then conducted his own defence 
and did it in as splendid fashion as all else he undertook ; 
from the dry pages of the book where the legal process is 
set down, his speech leaps out as with a living fire. " Prove 
these practices by one witness," he cried; "and I will 
confess myself guilty to the King in a thousand treasons. 
I stand not upon the Law, I defy the Law, if I have done 
these things I desire not to live, whether they be treason- 
able by law or no. Let me have my accuser brought to my 
face, and if he will maintaine it to my face I will confess 
my judgment. . . . What pawne had we to give the King 
of Spain ? What did we offer him ? Or how could we 
invent to offer him the letter of an Arbella, whom he could 
not chuse but know to be of no following : what a mockery 
is this ! What would I make myselfe ? A Cade ? A 
Kett ? A Jack Straw ? " 

Raleigh spoke at great length, but seems to have thought 
little of Arbella, whom later he mentioned as " a woman 
with whom he had no acquaintance, and one whom of all 
that he saw he never liked." He finally dismissed Cobham 
in contempt as " a poor silly base dishonourable soul " ; 
and was in his turn variously apostrophized by the Attorney- 
General as " Monster, viper, spider of hell, detestable 
atheist, rankest traitor in all England " : but mere in- 
vective counted for very little to the listeners, and it is 
safe to say that Raleigh was never more adored in England 
than at the close of the Trial which condemned him to 
death. Dudley Carleton, who was present, declared that 
when the Trial opened he would have gone a hundred miles 
to see Raleigh hanged, but ere its close a thousand to save 
his life. Chief Justice Gandy, one of the Judges of the 
Court, said long after, on his deathbed, that there were 
scenes at that Trial which degraded for ever the character 


of English justice. But the King required a verdict of 
death, and it was pronounced on all the prisoners. 

Only Brooke suffered. James conceived a plan of 
punishing the others which he thought crafty and dramatic, 
but which was really dictated by nothing but a clumsy 
brutality. Each separately was brought upon the scaffold, 
and at the last moment granted a reprieve, having thus 
tasted all the bitterness of death without its peace. After 
this they were all sent back to London, to pass weary 
months, and perhaps years, within the gloomy walls of 
the Tower. The Countess of Kildare, the Princess Eliza- 
beth's governess, having been married to Lord Cobham just 
before the discovery of the conspiracy, was obliged to 
resign her post, which was given to Lady Harington. 

The Court seems thoroughly to have enjoyed all these 
stimulating sights in the intervals of playing childish 
games and inventing spiteful gossip. In spite of her 
gratitude for the kindness of her new relations, Arbella 
could not help quickly tiring of their incredibly foolish 
amusements, nor could she approve the tone of much 
which passed at the Court. It did not seem to her yet 
openly vicious, but the Queen was silly and the King 
coarse, and their followers indulged in much rowdy horse- 
play which to those accustomed to the stately manners of 
the Tudor Queen was intensely distasteful. " Whilst we 
were at Winchester," she writes to her uncle ; " there were 
certain child- plays remembered by the fair ladies, viz. : 
4 1 pray, my lord, give me a course in your park ' ; ' Rise, 
pig, and go ' ; 4 One penny, follow me,' etc. And when I 
came to Court, they were as highly in request as ever 
cracking of nuts was. So I was by the mistress of the 
revels, not only compelled to play at I knew not what (for 
till that day I never heard of a play called ' Fire '), but even 
persuaded by the princely example I saw to play the child 
again. This exercise is most used from ten of the clock at 
night till two or three in the morning, but that day I made 
one it began at twilight and ended at supper-time." Little 
Anne Clifford, writing of the great Masque held at Win- 
chester, tells that " All the ladies about the Court had 
M 2 


gotten such ill names that it had grown a scandalous place, 
and the Queen herself was much fallen from her former 
greatness and reputation she had in the world." 

His undoubted erudition did not help James to surround 
himself with learned or brilliant intellects, and indeed he 
rather preferred to be himself the best of his company. 
Arbella came quickly to be looked upon as something of a 
blue-stocking, and though her studious habits won her the 
admiration of some, many rather resented her custom 
of shutting herself up to read for stated hours every day, 
and insisted on dragging her out by force to share their 
fooleries. A rather harassed note to her aunt of the 6th 
October, pictures her feelings clearly enough. " Madame, 
According to your commandment, I send your ladyship 
a few scribbled lines, though I be now going in great haste 
to give my attendance with some company that is come to 
fetch me. I am as diligently expected and as soon missed 
as they that perform the most acceptable service. And 
because I must return at an appointed time to go to my 
book, I must make the more haste thither. So praying 
for your happiness, I humbly take my leave." A hundred 
years ago Dr. Nathaniel Johnston speaks of having seen a 
Hebrew Bible in an embroidered cover, which belonged to 
Arbella and which she always used at church ; and this was 
not the only dead tongue in perusing which she found 
pleasure and distraction. Constant reading strained her 
eyes, however, and the trouble served as an excuse to her 
aunt's reproaches for not writing oftener. " My bad eyes 
crave truce till they may without their danger write a 
letter of a larger volume," she pleads; and again in 
November, " I dare not, for incurring your opinion of my 
relapse into some unkindness toward you, but send you a 
few lines. I will keep a note of the dates of my letters. . . . 
My eyes are extremely swollen, and yet I have not spared 
them when I have had occasion to employ them for your 
sake. Therefore now they may boldly crave a cessation 
for this time, only performing their office whilst I subscribe 
myself such as I am and ever will continue, that is your 
ladyship's niece to command, Arbella Stuart." 


With whatever doubts we may regard the attitude of 
the Earl and Countess of Shrewsbury to their niece during 
those black days at Hardwick, it is probable that their 
action in thus cutting off communication with her was 
intended for her good; for there was now no longer any 
question of crowning her Queen, yet their interest in her 
welfare remained constant and sincere. In addition to 
Arbella's own letters, the Earl had several correspondents 
at Court from whom he received news of her and her 
doings ; and of these one and all mention her with respect 
and admiration. Amongst her chief admirers was Sir 
William Fowler, Secretary and Master of Requests to the 
Queen, who may be remembered as the son of that Thomas 
Fowler, in whose charge Margaret of Lennox had left the 
jewels she wished her grandchild to inherit when she came 
of age. Thomas joined the Scottish Court after the old 
Countess' death, and died himself just before he should 
have delivered the jewels to Arbella ; but since they had 
long since been stolen from him, it fell to his son William 
to deal with the matter as he best might. We never learn 
that Arbella received them, though no blame for this 
attaches to William, who worked his hardest on her 
behalf, and now in the train of the Scots' Queen came to 
England, and became personally acquainted with the lady 
he had thus appeared to defraud. A quaint, pedantic, 
ridiculous creature, this Fowler, who promptly fell head 
over ears in humble love with her, and wrote long effusions 
to Earl Gilbert, praising both her personal beauty and the 
qualities of her character. " I fear I am too saucy and 
overbold to trouble your honours," runs his first letter 
from Woodstock in September; "yet I cannot forbear 
from giving you advertisement of my great and good 
fortune in obtaining the acquaintance of my Lady Arbella, 
who may be to the first seven, justly the eighth wonder 
of the world. If I durst I would write more plainly my 
opinion of things that fall out here among us, but I dare 
not without your lordship's warrant deal so. I send two 
sonnets unto my most virtuous and honourable lady, the 
expressers of my humour and the honour of her whose 


sufficiency and perfections merit more regard than this 
ungrateful and depressing age will afford or suffer." Later 
he tells the Earl that she always goes apart every day for 
a certain time for " lecture, reading, hearing of service and 
preaching, besides visiting the princesses " ; and also that 
she is " more fairer than fair, more beautiful than beauteous, 
truer than truth itself." A few lines from one of his 
sonnets will show their rather high-flown style, but there 
is no reason to suppose them dictated by anything but a 
genuine sentiment of admiration. 

' ' Thou godly nymph, possest with heavenly fear, 

Divine in soul, devout in life, and grave, 
Rapt from thy sense and sex, thy spirits doth steer 

Toys to avoid which reason doth bereave. 
O graces rare ! which time from shame shall save, 

Wherein thou breath'st (as in the seas doth fish, 
In salt not saltish) exempt from the grave, 
Of sad remorse, the lot of worldlings wish. 

O ornament both of thyself and sex, 

And mirror bright where virtues doth reflex ! " 

Sir William Stewart wrote to Gilbert about the same 
time : " I find my Lady Arbella both considerate and 
wise " ; and there seems little doubt that the scenes at the 
Winchester Trials sobered and saddened her very deeply, 
even though her alone of all the Court. She was, however, 
more nearly concerned in the matter tried, and had besides 
an additional anxiety in the fact that her uncle Henry 
Cavendish had been ordered, perhaps in consequence of 
his attempt to carry her off from Hardwick not many 
months before, to attend the Trial in case he might be 
found to be involved in the plot. His name was not 
mentioned, however, and at the close of the proceedings 
he was safely dismissed. From Winchester the Court 
moved to Foulston in Kent, and here Arbella seems to 
have been very unwell. To her uncle she writes a few 
lines to " return your lordship humble thanks for the letter 
I have received from you, and reserve the answer till I 
trust a few days will make me able to write without extreme 
pain of my head. Mr. Cooke can tell your lordship all the 
news that is here." Her aunt, too, who had sent her some 
simple remedies, is thanked for " your letters, pills, and 


hartshorn. I have taken, continued, and increased an 
extreme cold. I mean to sweat to-day for it. Mr. Cooke 
can tell you how the world goes here." These notes are 
dated the 28th November, and ten days later she writes 
again from the same place at greater length and in better 
spirits. When she chose Arbella could write charming 
letters, gay and thoughtful by turns, but it is noticeable 
that she sends all the lightest gossip to the Earl, and keeps 
any more serious matters for her aunt. Gilbert seems to 
have been alarmed at some of the tales he had heard con- 
cerning the Court ladies, for after a few opening sentences 
she breaks forth : " I pray you take not that pro concesso 
in general, which is only proper to some monsters of our 
sex. I cannot deny so apparent a truth as that wickedness 
prevaileth with some of our sex, because I daily see some, 
even of the fairest among us, misled, and willingly and 
wittingly ensnared by the prince of darkness. But yet 
ours shall still be the purer and more innocent kind. There 
went ten thousand virgins to heaven in one day. Look 
but in the almanac, and you shall find that glorious day. 
And if you think there are some, but not many, of us that 
shall prove saints, I hope you are deceived. But not many 
rich, not many noble, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven. 
So that riches and nobility are hindrances from heaven, 
as well as our nature's infirmity. You would think me 
very full of divinity, or desirous to show that little I have, 
in both which you should do me wrong, if you knew what 
business I have at Court, and yet preach to you. Pardon 
me, it is not my function. Now a little more to the 

" I have delivered your two patents, signed and sealed, 
to Mr. Hercy. If it be not an inexcusable presumption 
in me to tell you my mind unasked, as if I would advise you 
what to do, pardon me if I tell you I think your thanks will 
come very unseasonably so near New Year's-tide, especially 
those with which you send any gratuity. Therefore con- 
sider if it were not better to give your New Year's gift 
first to the Queen, and your thanks after, and keep Mr. 
Fowler's till after that good time. New Year's-tide will 


come every year, and be a yearly tribute to them you begin 
with. You may impute the slowness of your thankfulness 
to Mr. Hercy, or me that acquainted you no sooner with 
your own matter. 

" The Spanish Ambassador invited Mdme. de Beaumont 
(the French Ambassador's lady) to dinner, requesting her 
to bring some English ladies with her. She brought my 
Lady Bedford, Lady Rich, Lady Susan, and Lady Dorothy 
with her, and great cheer they had. A fortnight after he 
invited the Duke (of Lennox), the Earl of Mar, and divers 
of that nation, requesting them to bring the Scottish 
ladies, for he was desirous to see some natural beauties. 
My Lady Anne Hay and my cousin Drummond went, and, 
after the sumptuous dinner, were presented first with a pair 
of Spanish gloves apiece, and after my cousin Drummond 
had a diamond ring of the value of two hundred crowns 
given her, and my Lady Anne a gold chain of Spanish 
work near that value. My Lady Carey went with them, 
and had gloves there, and after a gold chain of little links 
twice about her neck sent her. 

" Yesterday the Spanish Ambassador, the Florentine, 
and Mdme. de Beaumont took their leave of the Queen till 
she come to Hampton Court. There is an ambassador 
come from Polonia, and fain would he be gone again, 
because of the freezing of their seas, but he hath not yet 
had audience. The Venetians lately sent two Ambassadors 
with letters both to the King and Queen. One of them is 
returned with a very honourable despatch ; but he, staying 
but few days, and the Queen not being well, he saw her not. 
The other stays here still. It is said the Turk hath sent a 
Chahu to the King. It is said the Pope will send a knight 
to the King in embassage. The Duke of Savoy's em- 
bassage is daily expected ... a confusion of embassages." 

In her letter to the Countess of Shrewsbury, Arbella 
seems to make some allusion to the Winchester Trials, 
when she says : " How defective soever my memory be 
in other ways, assure yourself I cannot forget even small 
matters concerning that great party, much less such great 
ones as, I thank God, I was acquainted withal. Therefore, 


when any great matter comes in question, rest secure, I 
beseech you, that I am not interested in it as an actor, how- 
soever the vanity of wicked men's vain designs have made 
my name pass through a gross and a subtle lawyer's lips 
of late, to the exercise and increase of my patience, and 
not their credit. I trust I have not lost so much of your 
good opinion as your pleasant postscript would make 
one that were suspicious of their assured friends (as I 
never was) believe. For if I should not prefer the reading 
of your kind and most welcome letters before all Court 
delights (admit I delighted as much in them as others do), 
it were a sign of extreme folly ; and liking Court sports no 
better than I do, and than I think, you think I do, I know 
you cannot think me so transformed as to esteem anything 
less than them. As your love and judgment together makes 
me hope you know I can like nor love anything better than 
the love and kindness of so honourable friends as you and 
my uncle. Wherefore I beseech you let me hear often of 
your love by the length and number of your letters. My 
own follies and ignorances will furnish you sufficient matter 
for as many and as long letters as you please, which, I 
beseech you, may be as many and as copious as may be 
without your trouble." 

One can scarcely doubt Arbella's affection for her aunt 
thus warmly declared, and again in the signature of 
4 Your ladyship's most affectionate niece to command " ; 
but the chief question upon which they now desired to 
consult one another was the difficult one of New Year's 
gifts for the King and Queen. These had been a great tax 
in Elizabeth's time, but the expense was now doubled, and 
it was not easy to know what might please the new- 
comers' taste. Already, in November, Arbella had written 
to her aunt, " I humbly thank you for your good advice 
against New Year's-tide. I think there will be no remedy 
but I must provide myself from London, though I be very 
loth to do so ": and she now seems to have discussed the 
subject with one of the Queen's own ladies, whose sugges- 
tion she thus sends on : "I have satisfied the honourable 
gentlewoman without raising any expectation in her to 


receive letters from you, which is a favour I desire only 
may be reserved still for myself, my good Lord Cecil, and 
your best esteemed friends. I asked her advice for a New 
Year's gift for the Queen, both for myself, who am alto- 
gether unprovided, and a great lady, a friend of mine, 
that was in my case for that matter ; and her answer was, 
that the Queen regarded not the value, but the device. 
The gentlewoman neither liked gown nor petticoat so well 
as some little bunch of rubies to hang in her ear, or some 
such daft toy. I mean to give Her Majesty two pair of 
silk stockings lined with plush, and two pair of gloves lined, 
if London afford me not some daft toy I like better, 
whereof I cannot bethink me. If I knew the value you 
would bestow, I think it were no hard matter to get her 
or Mrs. Hartshide to understand the Queen's mind without 
knowing who asked it. The time is short, and therefore 
you had need lose none of it. I am making the King a 
purse, and for all the world else I am unprovided. This 
time will manifest my poverty more than all the rest of the 
year. But why should I be ashamed of it when it is 
other's fault, and not mine ? My quarter's allowance 
will not defray this one charge, I believe." 

The 800 a year it seems was not likely to go far, and 
Arbella already found the expenses of Court life and of 
maintaining a household of her own considerably greater 
than she had anticipated. As Christmas approached, it 
became evident that the King and Queen meant to make 
a right merry festival of it, and Arbella paints a lively 
picture for her uncle of all the preparations. The Queen 
and her ladies arrived at Hampton Court on the 16th 
December; and two days later she writes : "I dare not 
write unto you how I do, for if I should say well, I were 
greatly to blame ; if ill, I trust you would not believe me, 
I am so merry. It is enough to change Heraclitus into 
Democritus to live in this most ridiculous world, and 
enough to change Democritus into Heraclitus to live in 
this most wicked world. If you will not allow reading of 
riddles for a Christmas sport, I know not whether you will 
take this philosophical folly of mine in good part this good 
time. I write to your lordship, by a messenger of Mr. 


Hercy's, an answer of yours I received by my cousin 
Lacy's man, of such news as then were news, as I think in 
the North, and now have I none to send but that the King 
will be here to-morrow. The Polonian ambassador shall 
have audience on Thursday next. The Queen intendeth 
to make a mask this Christmas, to which end My Lady of 
Suffolk and my Lady Walsingham have warrants to take 
of the late Queen's best apparel out of the Tower at their 
discretion. Certain noblemen (whom I may not yet name 
to you, because some of them hath made me of their 
counsel) intend another; certain gentlemen of good sort 
another. It is said there shall be thirty plays. The King 
will feast all the Ambassadors this Christmas. Sir John 
Hollis yesterday convoyed some new-come Ambassador to 
Richmond, and it was said, but uncertainly, to be a 
Muscovian ... I humbly thank you for your letter to 
my Lord Bishop of Winchester, which, if it be written (as 
I doubt not but it is) in that sort as may avail the recom- 
mended, is worth ten favours of greater value than you 
had been willing to grant." 

The Shrewsburys had sent her some venison from 
Sheffield as a present, which she says, " shall be right 
welcome to Hampton Court, and merrily eaten " ; and there 
is also allusion to the Henry Cavendishes, whom Gilbert 
and his wife had invited to spend Christmas with them, 
but of whose acceptance they were still doubtful. " The 
invitation," comments Arbella, " is very cold if the Christ- 
mas guests you write of accept it not, for they knew their 
welcome and entertainment in a worse place, and yet were 
so bold to invite themselves thither. I humbly thank you 
that for my sake they shall be the welcomer to you, who, 
in regard of their nearness of blood to yourself and my aunt, 
must needs be so very welcome that (if you had not 
written it) I should not have thought they could have been 
more welcome to you in any respect than that." Of 
Cecil she writes, " I am witness not only of the rare gift of 
speech which God hath given him, but of his excellent 
judgment in choosing most plausible and honourable 
themes, as the defending a wronged lady, the clearing an 
innocent knight, etc." And so she closes with, " I have 


reserved the best news for the last, and that is the King's 
pardon of life to the non-executed traitors. I dare not 
begin to tell of the royal and wise manner of the King's 
proceeding therein, lest I should find no end of extolling 
him for it, till I had written out a pair of bad eyes; and 
therefore praying for your lordship's happiness, I humbly 
and abruptly take my leave. From Hampton Court, the 
18th of December, 1603." 

But James was neither so generous nor so wise as Arbella 
believed him, and the " pardon for life " though promised, 
was never granted, while his after treatment of Raleigh 
and Grey is one of the darkest blots upon his reign. The 
Countess of Shrewsbury had a letter written three days 
later about an old servant named David, in which Arbella 
concludes, " The Polonian Ambassador had audience to- 
day. Other news there is none that I know, and therefore 
I beseech you make my excuse to my uncle that I write not 
to him in this busy time and scarcity of occurrence " : 
while Cecil wrote at the same time to the Earl, envying his 
peaceful Christmas at Sheffield, and grumbling that " We 
are now to feast seven Ambassadors, Spain, France, 
Poland, Florence and Savoy, besides Masques and much 
more, during which time I would with all my heart I were 
with that noble lady of yours by her turf fire." Neverthe- 
less Cecil was quite prepared to play his part. Amongst 
others Arbella sent him a small gift at the New Year, and 
a few days later wrote to her uncle in huge pleasure that, 
" My Lord Cecil has sent me a fair pair of bracelets this 
morning in requital of a trifle I presented him at New 
Year's-tide, which it pleased him to take as I meant it. 
I find him my very honourable friend in word and deed. 
I pray you give him such thanks for me as he many ways 
deserves, and especially for this extraordinary and un- 
expected favour, whereby I perceive his lordship reckoneth 
me in the number of his friends, for whom only such great 
persons as he reserve such favours." Poor Arbella could 
not yet believe her good fortune in being at last treated 
with the respect due to her birth, and was still and always 
grateful for any token of esteem. 

Christmas and New Year were celebrated with all the 


rowdy merriment dear to the first Stuart Court. There 
were three public Masques and thirty private ones, "be- 
sides two plays played before the Prince," who it is to be 
supposed was over-young yet to appreciate the broad 
humour of the rest. The two hundred magnificent gowns 
stored by Elizabeth in the Tower were dragged out, cut 
about, and worn as fancy dresses by the ladies of Anne of 
Denmark's household ; and Arbella, writing soon after to 
her uncle, excuses the brevity of her letter, " proceeding 
partly of the shortness of my wit, who at this instant 
remember no news but is either too great to be contained 
in my weak paper, or too vulgar, or such as without 
detriment but of your lordship's expectation may tarry 
the next messenger. I have here enclosed sent your 
lordship the Bishop of Winchester's letter in answer of 
yours. I beseech you let me know what you writ, and what 
he answers concerning the party in whose favour I craved 
your letter, that I may let the good Warden know as soon 
as may be. My Lady of Worcester commendeth her as 
kindly to your lordship, and not to my aunt, as you did 
yourself to her in her ladyship's letter, and is as desirous 
to raise jealousy betwixt you two as you are like to do 
betwixt them. ... I had almost tried whether your 
lordship would have performed a good office betwixt two 
friends undesired; for I had forgotten to beseech you to 
excuse me to my aunt for not writing to her at this time. 
I think I am asked every day of this New Year, seven 
times a day at least, when you come up, and I have nothing 
to say, but / cannot tell, which it is not their pleasure to 
believe, and therefore if you will not resolve them nor me 
of the truth, yet teach me what to answer them." 

Anne of Denmark pleased her husband by accompanying 
him to Church this Christmas, but it was the last time she 
did so. A week later Sir Anthony Standen, who had been 
on an embassy to Rome, openly brought her some relics 
as a present from Pope Clement VIII to a hopeful convert ; 
and James in a fury returned them at once, clapped 
Standen in the Tower, made some changes in the Queen's 
household, and set about framing a proclamation to banish 
all priests from England. 



THE Henry Cavendishes were doubly related to the 
Shrewsburys, since Countess Mary was Henry's sister, and 
Earl Gilbert's sister Lady Grace was Henry's wife : and 
in spite of recent disagreements, the Christmas party at 
Sheffield seems to have drawn together these two branches 
of that much entangled and usually quarrelsome family. 
Charles Cavendish and his wife Lady Ogle were already 
friends with both, but all were still at enmity with the old 
Countess, who, indeed, had by now quarrelled with almost 
every relative she possessed except her son William; and 
it was left for poor romantic Arbella to attempt the difficult 
task of making peace between them. Since her last 
sojourn at Hard wick, one has heard nothing of the relations 
between Arbella and her grandmother. They cannot have 
been of the smoothest, since both must have felt bitterly 
angry over what happened there; and though, no doubt, 
letters passed, these were all apparently destroyed. The 
first allusion we find is in a hasty note from Arbella at 
Hampton Court to her uncle the Earl, dated 2nd January, 
1604, in which she promises to " reserve all I have to write 
of to your lordship that is, some Hardwick news, and 
such vanities as this place and holy time afford me, till 
Emery's return, by whom I have received a large essay of 
your lordship's good cheer at Sheffield. I humbly thank 
you and my aunt for it." After this, she seems to have 
devoted herself to softening the stubborn heart of the old 
lady, and struggling again with the trouble in her eyes ; for 
with the exception of a very brief note to her aunt on the 
21st January, in which she begs " the sparing of my 
eyes till some other time, I beseech you ; let these lines 
serve to testify to you both my obedience in writing by 



every messenger though never so little " ; it is a full 
month later, on the 3rd February, before she next addresses 
her uncle on the subject, and then with some triumph. 

" Having sent away this bearer with a letter to my aunt 
and not your lordship, with an intention to write to you at 
length by Mr. Cooke, I found so good hope of my grand- 
mother's good inclination to a good and reasonable 
reconciliation betwixt herself and her divided family, 
that I could not forbear to impart to your lordship with all 
speed. Therefore, I beseech you put on such a Christian 
and honourable mind as best becometh you to bear to a 
lady so near to you and yours as my grandmother is. 
And think you cannot devise to do me a greater honour 
and contentment than to let me be the only mediator, 
moderator, and peacemaker betwixt you and her. You 
know I have cause only to be partial on your side, so many 
kindnesses and favours have I received from you, and so 
many unkindnesses and disgraces have I received from the 
other party. Yet will I not be restrained from chiding 
you (as great a lord as you are) if I find you either not 
willing to harken to this good motion, or to proceed in 
it as I shall think reasonable. Consider what power you 
will give me over you in this, and take as great over me 
as you give me over you in this in all matters but one, and 
in that your authority and persuasion shall as far exceed 
theirs as your kindness to me did in my trouble. If you 
think I have either discretion or good nature, you may be 
sure you may refer much to me. If I be not sufficient for 
this treaty, never think me such as can add strength or 
honour to your family. But Mr. Cooke persuades me you 
think otherwise than so abjectly of me ... I beseech 
you bring my uncle Henry and my aunt Grace up with 
you to London. They shall not long be troublesome to 
you, God willing ; but because I know my uncle hath some 
very great occasion to be about London for a little while, 
and is not well able to bear his own charges, nor I for him, 
as I would very willingly if I were able, to so good an end 
as I know he comes to now. And, therefore, I beseech you 
take that pains and trouble of bringing them up and 


keeping them awhile with you for my sake and our families' 
good. I have here enclosed sent you a letter to him, which 
if you grant him this favour I require of you, I beseech 
you send him; if you will not, return it to me, and let 
him not be so much discomforted to see I am not able to 
obtain so much of you for him. In truth, I am ashamed to 
trouble you with so many rude and (but for my sake, as 
you say) unwelcome requests; but if you be weary of me 
you may soon be despatched of me for ever (as I am told) 
in more honourable sort than you may deny this my very 
earnest request." 

This last is an allusion to one of the rather numerous 
proposals of marriage made for Arbella at this time, none 
of which seem to have been very seriously considered. 
But she was not so good a diplomat as she had imagined, 
and the hoped-for reconciliation did not immediately take 
place. Money troubles were at the root of the Shrewsbury 
quarrel, as they are at that of most, and Bess was a grasping 
and rapacious woman. She had persuaded her husband, 
in the days when he adored her, to leave her all the money 
that should have gone to his own sons ; and she now swore 
that the young Earl owed her 4,000, and that she would 
have it from him to the last farthing. With all his new 
Court expenses, Gilbert was heavily in debt, and could 
raise no such sum ; and many and bitter were the recrimina- 
tions between him, his brothers, and his stepmother. There 
is a long letter from Thomas Cooke or Coke, his steward, 
of the 12th February; in which, though speaking in high 
praise of Arbella, whom he evidently liked, Cooke gently 
insinuates that she had been " abused " in being " enter- 
tained with a motion of reconciliation, whilst in the very 
same instant a motion was secretly procured for proceeding 
in the matter of 4,000, as, indeed, it was and had been 
prejudicial if your honour's people that attend that busi- 
ness had not been careful to redress the same. But now 
the errors are (as I take it) allowed to be proceeded in, 
and so their advantage is where it was. My Lady Arbella 
but this answered : that my Lord should get more than 
this 4,000 of her that sueth ; and that your honour and the 


Lady Arbella should have business enough (perhaps) to 
keep them out of a worse place than that was, and where 
Mr. Ormeston visited Mr. Hamond, and what end this 
day's speech with her honour will sort, God knoweth, 
but surely she seemeth to have mastered them all that 
limited her before. She hath preferred her complaints 
to his Majesty's ear, that she can hardly think herself 
secure in case she may not have means to speak to his 
Majesty without such exceeding endeavour as she had now 
been constrained to use, whereupon Sir R. received (saith 
she, an extraordinary check), and her Ladyship hath 
mean hereafter to speak with him when she please." 

Arbella's influence ran high now with the King; but 
Cooke, a level-headed man, seems a little doubtful of its 
value, and not quite sure whether her love of romance 
did not lead her to some trifling exaggeration. " Although 
I must confess that this Lady permitteth me to treat her 
with much less awe than I find in myself when I attend some 
others, yet doth the respect due to such a person prevail 
with me so as that in many things which fall from her, 
good manners lead me rather to rest unsatisfied than to 
interrupt her unseasonably, which is the cause why I 
cannot ascertain, your honour, whether this motion were 
made by herself to his Majesty when she attendeth him, 
or by some other. For although by all the speech of this 
day there is nothing to the contrary, yet her Ladyship's 
former relation of her speeches with the King, though 
never so restrained, make me something to doubt. Only 
I doubt not at all that she is resolute to do her uttermost 
endeavour." Gilbert was at this time strenuously attempt- 
ing to raise a loan, in which Cooke was assisting him, and 
Arbella interested herself in the matter, while at the same 
time she worked her hardest to obtain a much coveted post 
for her uncle, Charles Cavendish. With regard to the loan, 
Cooke writes : " My good Lord Cecil seemeth little to 
approve the purchase. My Lady Arbella wished (at my 
last being with her) that your honour might lose the increas- 
ing of your debts by such a sum, but I having this day told 
her Ladyship that you have concluded for it, she saith she 


is heartily glad. I have this day attended her with your 
honour's letters (and directions, which her Ladyship hath 
seen me burn), and concerning that whole matter I have 
not found but that she hath been even from the beginning 
very nobly resolved for Sir Charles. It is true that as 
I marvelled somewhat at the fulness of the reconciliation, 
upon some ground of affection (which notwithstanding is 
now almost exhaled), so I much feared what issue the 
course which her Ladyship in this would have. For I 
observed that she wrestled extraordinarily with my Lord 
Duke, Sir George Hume, and Sir Richard Asheton for 
access to the King, and betwixt jest and earnest, rather 
extorted the same from them by fear, than obtained it 
by kindness, and having obtained speech with His Majesty, 
and I after attending her, her Ladyship reserved herself 
(for from the beginning her Ladyship hath refused to 
declare to any of them, or whether this or some greater 
matter were that which caused her desire to speak with 
the K.) in such sort as that all that she vouchsafed to 
intrust unto me, was that she was in the King's good 
favour and trusted by him, that she doubted not but you 
should all find the fruits thereof, but (to my remembrance) 
said she had not yet moved His Majesty in that point 
which most I desired should have been moved, though the 
hope of obtaining was not so likely, as the purpose to 
brauste their designs. But this day her Ladyship saith 
plainly that the K. hath been moved and yielded unto her 
desire, and that she hath entreated His Majesty that in 
case he shall think it more fit for himself to take the honours 
of nominating the party than to refer it to her, yet he will 
be pleased to take notice of her desire therein, which is 
absolutely for her uncle Charles, whereunto (she saith) 
his Majesty hath condescended, and she is to have the same 
specified under his royal hand at his return from Royston, 
which is thought will be about four days hence." 

This was certainly a niece worth having, and it is plain 
she did not mean to let her interest stop short at one favour 
apiece. Cooke concludes; "My Lady Arbella desireth 
that your hon. will be pleased that she may have a room 


here at Broadstreet, for although she be most resolute not 
to budge from the Court, yet may she have many occasions 
of such a room. I never saw her more cheerful than this 
day she is. Her Ladyship told me of some aiguilettes 
which she had bespoken for my Lady Mary for the Queen, 
which to my remembrance her Ladyship said if you mis- 
liked she would herself use them." 

The coronation of James and his wife had been a some- 
what hurried affair, since until that had been accomplished, 
his title might still be called in question ; but on the 15th 
March it was arranged that a Royal Progress should be 
made from Whitehall to the Tower. It was not quite the 
first but decidedly the most magnificent with which the 
new King had yet gladdened the eyes of his subjects; 
and in it Arbella was given second place to the Queen, by 
whom she rode on a horse decked with velvet, thus for 
ever settling the position her cousin intended she should 
occupy at Court. The Shrewsbury s were now in town, 
and the Countess rode three behind her niece, but there is 
no reason to suppose she grudged her the greater honour, 
though many of the Court ladies made no concealment of 
the furious jealousy they felt for one who had hitherto 
held a curiously anomalous position among them. Nor 
was it only in the King's favour that Arbella basked. 
Queen Anne appointed her to the post of carver to herself, 
one for which few people can have been less fitted, and 
which brought her besides a whole whirlwind of ill-will. 
She herself, always rather aloof from the rest of the Court, 
seems scarcely to have noticed this, and rather ruefully 
explains what happened in a letter to her uncle. " After 
I had once carved, the Queen never dined out of her 
bedchamber, nor was attended by any but her chamberers 
till my Lady of Bedford's return. I doubted my unhand- 
some carving had been the cause thereof, but Her Majesty 
took my endeavour in good part, and with better words 
than that beginning deserved put me out of that error. 
At length (for now I am called to the sermon I must hasten 
to an end) it fell out that the importunity of certain great 
ladies in that or some other suit of the like kind had done 



me this disgrace ; and whom should I hear named for one 
but my aunt of Shrewsbury, who, they say, at the same 
time stood to be the Queen's cupbearer. If I could have 
been persuaded to believe, or seem to believe that whereof 
I knew the contrary, I might have been threatened down 
to my face that I was of her counsel therein, that I deeply 
dissembled with my friends when I protested the contrary ; 
for I was heard to confer with her they say, to that purpose. 
But these people do little know how circumspect my aunt 
and your lordship are with me. I humbly thank you for 
the example." 

In spite of her disclaimer, however, there rings a faint 
note of anxiety in the letter : " My aunt findeth fault with 
my brevity, as I think by your lordship's commandment ; 
for I know she in her wisdom respecteth ceremony so little 
that she would not care in time of health for hearing from 
me every week that I am well and nothing else. And I 
know her likewise too wise to make that the cause of her 
offence, suppose in policy she should think good to seem or 
to be offended with me, whom perchance you now think 
good to shake off as weary of the alliance. But I conclude 
your lordship hath a quarrel to me, and maketh my aunt 
take it upon her, and that is (for other can you justly have 
none) that you have never a letter of mine since your going 
down, to make you merry at your few spare hours, which if 
it be so, your lordship may command me in plain terms 
and deserve it by doing the like, and I shall as willingly 
play the fool for your recreation as ever. I assure myself, 
my Lord Cecil, my Lord Pembroke, your honourable new 
ally, and divers of your old acquaintance, write your 
lordship all the news that is stirring, so that I will only 
impart trifles to your lordship at this time as concern 

She has not yet given up all hope of peace-making, and 
explains, " I humbly thank your lordship for sparing me 
never so few words in the time of your taking physic, which 
I would not should have been more for doing you harm in 
holding down your head at such a time ; but when you are 
well I hope to receive some Hardwick news, which, unless 


your lordship be a great deal briefer than that plentiful 
argument require th, will cost you a long letter." Her 
cousin, Mary Talbot, Gilbert's daughter, who had been 
with her during part of that miserable time at Hardwick, 
was now betrothed to William Herbert, third Earl of 
Pembroke, and was married to him not long after, in spite 
of rumours to which she alludes : "I hear the marriage 
betwixt my Lord of Pembroke is broken, whereat some time 
I laugh, otherwhiles am angry; sometimes answer soberly 
as though I thought it possible, according as it is spoken 
in simple earnest, scorn, policy, or howsoever at the least 
as I conceive it spoken. And your lordship's secrecy is 
the cause of this variety (whereby some conjecture I know 
something), because I have no certain direction what to 
say in that case. I was asked within these three days 
whether your lordship would be here within ten days ; unto 
which (to me) strange question I made so strange an 
answer as I am sure either your lordship or I are counted 
great dissemblers. I am none; quit yourself as you may. 
But I would be very glad you were here, that I need not 
chide you by letter, as I must needs do if I be chidden 
either for the shortness, rareness, or preciseness of my 
letters, which by your former rules I might think a fault, 
by your late example a wisdom. I pray you reconcile 
your deeds and words together, and I shall follow that 
course herein which your lordship best allows of. In the 
mean time, I have applied myself to your lordship's former 
liking and the plainness of my own disposition." 

The quarrels and jealousies at Court continued, and 
became bitterer and more spiteful every day. The old 
Earl of Worcester, writing to Shrewsbury, says : " Now 
having done with affairs of state I must a little touch the 
feminine commonwealth. . . . First you must know we 
have ladies of divers degrees of favour : some for the 
private chamber, some for the drawing chamber, some for 
the bed chamber, and some for neither certainly; and of 
this number is only my Lady Arbella and my wife." . . . 
As for the maids of honour, " The plotting and malice 
among them is such that I think envy and hatred hath 


tied an invisible snake about most of their necks, to sting 
one another to death. . . . For the present, there are 
now five maids, Carey, Middlemore, Woodhouse, Gar- 
greave and Roper ; the sixth determined but not come. 
God send them good fortune, for as yet they have no 
Mother." No wonder that Arbella's quieter and more 
contemplative character made her a restful companion 
even to so lightheaded a woman as Anne of Denmark. 

During this summer she busied herself to obtain a further 
favour for yet another uncle ; for on the 4th July William 
Cavendish writes to his mother that " His Majesty four 
days since hath been moved by my Lady Arbella for 
me, who promiseth, as afore, at the next call, which it 
is thought will be at Michaelmas time, at the next session 
of Parliament." In this Arbella was endeavouring to 
please her still angry old grandmother, for William, her 
second, was ever Bess's favourite son, and she dearly 
wished a Barony to be bestowed upon him. This was, 
however, a matter not to be done in an hour, and some 
months had yet to elapse before it was accomplished. 

The chief part of the summer was spent in the country, 
usually at Royston, the King's favourite hunting-box, 
where he could indulge in the sport he loved to his heart's 
content. Much though the rest of his Court disliked it, 
he insisted that all must accompany him; and the same 
Earl of Worcester probably only voiced the feelings of 
many when, writing from Royston, he complained that, 
" Since I have joined the Court here I have not had two 
hours of twenty -four of rest but Sundays; for in the 
morning we are on horseback by eight, and so continue from 
the death of one hare to another, until four at night, 
then, for the most part, we are five miles from home 
By that time I find at my lodgings sometimes one, most 
commonly two packets of letters, all which must be 
answered before I sleep, for here is none of the Counsel 
but myself, no, not a clerk of the Counsel nor privy signet ; 
so that an ordinary warrant for post-horses must pass my 
own hand, my own secretary being sick in London." 
It would be difficult to say whether the frivolous or the 


open-air life were most wearisome to Arbella, whose 
tastes were before all those of a student. She hated 
discomfort, and living in a cold damp house with in- 
sufficient accommodation made her wretched. A miserable 
little note to her aunt, undated, but probably written at 
this time, portrays her state of mind, even though she 
never forgets to be grateful for the Queen's kindness. 
" Madame (she writes), this everlasting hunting, the tooth- 
ache, and the continual means by my Lord Cecil to send 
to you, makes me only write these few lines to show I 
am not unmindful of your commandments, and reserve 
the rest I have to write, both to you and my uncle some 
few hours longer, till my pain assuage, and I have given 
my never -intermitted attendance on the Queen, who 
daily extendeth her favours more and more towards me. 
The Almighty send you and my uncle all prosperity, and 
keep me still, I beseech you, in your good opinion, who will 
ever remain, Your ladyship's niece to command, Arbella 

Nor did the peasantry of the neighbourhood enjoy this 
invasion of their peace, and a quaint tale is told of the 
means by which they endeavoured to be quit of it. " There 
was one of the King's special hounds," writes Lodge, 
" called Jowler, missing one day. The King was much 
displeased that he was wanted; notwithstanding, went 
a-hunting. The next day when they were on the field, 
Jowler came in amongst the rest of them; the King was 
told of him, and was very glad, and, looking on him, spied 
a paper about his neck, and in the paper was written : 
4 Good Mr. Jowler, we pray you speak to the King (for 
he hears you every day, and so doth he not us), that it 
will please His Majesty to go back to London, for else the 
country will be undone ; all our provision is spent already, 
and we are not able to entertain him longer.' ' When 
it came to a question of good hunting, however, James 
found himself able to overcome his scruples concerning 
the welfare of his subjects, for the petition met with no 
response but a hearty laugh. 

The King's real fondness for his cousin, and his interest 


in her affairs was evidenced again this autumn when she 
was engaged in a law-suit with her tenant at Smallwood. 
On the 25th September there is a note to the effect that 
the King had written to the Earl of Derby, Chamberlain 
of Cheshire, that he " understands a cause is to be heard 
at the next Assizes between Lady Arbella Stuart and 
Edward Egerton, defendant, concerning the Manor of 
Smallwood in the County Palatine, Chester : and that the 
King requests the Earl to be present in the Court, and with 
the advice of the Justice of Assize to take care that the 
Lady Arbella be not injured." This was subscribed by 
Chief Justice Popham with the opinion that " such a 
letter is very reasonable." 

Two rather stiff little letters written to her aunt and 
uncle in October of this year seem, after a long silence, 
to indicate that, whether caused by jealousy or not, some 
small disagreement had undoubtedly arisen between 
them and Arbella. Now, however, there is to be peace, 
and to the Countess she writes : "I was very glad to 
receive your letter and my Uncle's from that party which 
delivered them to me, with some news, which I am very 
glad of, and pray God to send your ladyship and my 
uncle as much joy thereof as yourselves desire. Mr. Cooke 
and your ladyship's red deer shall be very welcome, or 
any messenger or token whereby I may understand of 
your well being and the continuance of your affection " ; 
while a fortnight later the Earl has from her : " I humbly 
thank your lordship and my aunt for the six very good 
red deer pies I have received from your lordship by 
Mr. Hercy. My aunt's thanks, which I received for my 
plain dealing with Mr. Booth, and the few lines I received 
last from you and my aunt by Mr. Hercy, have relation to 
certain commissions and promises, as well on your lord- 
ship's part as mine, and therefore your lordship's confi- 
dence of my conditional promise resteth not in me only. 
I assure myself you are so honourable, and I so dear unto 
you, that you will respect as well what is convenient for 
me as what you earnestly desire, especially my estate 
being so uncertain and subject to injury, as it is. Your 


lordship shall find me constantly persevere in a desire to 
do that which may be acceptable to you and my aunt, 
not altogether neglecting myself. And so I humbly take 
my leave, praying for your happiness." 

Arbella was now in her thirtieth year, an accomplished, 
virtuous, and kind-hearted woman; if not actually beau- 
tiful in feature, yet " fairer than fair," says the faithful 
Fowler, in the sympathy and intelligence which animated 
her charming face. She was also an undisputed favourite 
with both King and Queen; and yet, although two sons 
and a daughter had rendered the succession of James's line 
perfectly secure, and nobody could ever suppose Arbella 
likely to contest it, the one point in which James still 
showed himself ill-natured towards her lay in his absolute 
refusal to entertain any idea of her marriage. Several 
suitors made offers for her hand during this year, and since 
there could be no longer any question of her laying claim 
to the throne, it must be supposed that these were more or 
less attracted by her personal qualities. It is true that 
she was reported to have turned a deaf ear to all : " She will 
not hear of marriage," writes Fowler; but this is an 
attitude ladies have been known to adopt before when other 
circumstances make marriage impossible. One of her 
suitors was the Queen's own brother, Duke Ulric of Hoi- 
stein, the " Dutchkin " of a former letter, who had been 
at the English Court since the preceding autumn, and 
must, therefore, have known Arbella well enough to desire 
her for herself. Lord Lumley says of him : "He is not 
very rich any way. He is said to be a comely man. He 
lodgeth in Court, in my Lord Treasurer's lodging, and his 
company in my Lord of Derby's house in Cannon Row. 
He hath twenty dishes of meat allowed every meal, and 
certain of the guard appointed to attend him forthwith." 
Fowler, who kept Earl Gilbert well informed of all con- 
cerning his niece, seems to have been asked to intercede 
for another royal suitor, and writes : " Indirectly there 
were speeches used in the recommendation of Count 
Maurice, who pretendeth to be Duke of Gueldres; but I 
dare not attempt her " : while yet another, Prince Anhalt, 


hoped to win her favour by learned letters, but Fowler 
again chronicles : " The Prince Anhalt has written to me, 
and albeit he toucheth nothing in his letters that concerns 
her, yet she nothing liketh his letters nor his Latin. Poland 
will insist, for his Marshal is upon his journey. God 
give her joy in the choice of her destiny ! " 

The last-mentioned suitor, the King of Poland, would 
indeed have been a good match for Arbella, and at one time 
it seems really to have been thought the marriage might 
take place. William Herbert, Earl of Pembroke, now the 
husband of Shrewsbury's daughter Mary, writes to his 
father-in-law early in October that " All the news is that 
a great Ambassador is coming from the King of Poland, 
and his chief errand is to demand my Lady Arbella in 
marriage for his master. So may our princess of the blood 
grow a great Queen, and then we shall be safe from the 
danger of mis-superscribing letters. I shall see your lord- 
ship myself ere it be many weeks, and, therefore, at this 
time I will humbly take my leave, remaining ever Your 
lordship's most affectionate son to serve you, Pembroke. 
You must pardon my short writing, for I am half drunk 
to-night." But still James returned a stern refusal, and 
Arbella remained unwed. Anxious, however, that she 
should not think him unkind, the King this winter increased 
her allowance from 800 to 1,000 a year for life, by a 
grant of the 8th December, of which she must have been 
extremely glad; for her expenses were considerable, and 
grew greater every day. 

Shortly after this, she paid a visit to her uncle and aunt 
at Sheffield Lodge, and was there attacked by measles, 
though fortunately not in a severe form; as we learn in 
a letter from Shrewsbury to Cecil of the 14th December. 
He and his wife thank God the measles have dealt so 
favourably with their niece, and that they have a 
" mistress " (nurse ?) who would not have been so care- 
less of them as the Queen that now is. Ten days later 
she was back at Whitehall, for a rather languid letter 
from her, enclosing a fuller one from Fowler, bears date 
the 24th December. " I have sent sooner than I had 


time to write to your lordship of anything here," says 
she ; " and yet not so soon but I am sure I am already 
condemned by your lordship and my aunt, either for 
slothful, or proud, or both, because I writ not by the very 
first who went down after I received your letters. So 
have I fully satisfied neither your lordship nor myself, 
and yet performed a due respect to a very honourable 
friend, whose honour and happiness I shall ever rejoice 
at, and think my own misfortunes the less if I may see 
my wishes for your lordship's and my aunt's permanent, 
happy, and great fortune take effect. . . . Though I 
have written your lordship no news, I have sent you here 
enclosed very good store from Mr. Secretary Fowler. 
My old good spy, Mr. James Mourray, desireth his service 
may be remembered to your lordship and my aunt ; but if 
I should write every tenth word of his, wherein he wisheth 
you more good than is to be expressed at Court on a 
Christmas Eve, you would rather think this scribbled 
paper a short text with a long comment underwritten, 
than a letter with a postscript." 

Christmas, 1604, was spent to the full as merrily as the 
last; but Arbella, still weak after her illness, took no 
personal part in the Court Masques and theatricals. On 
Twelfth Night little Prince Charles, Duke of Albany, 
was created Duke of York, and knighted, together with 
several other little boys. He was just five, but still too 
delicate to walk, and so was carried in the Lord Admiral's 
arms : and in the evening Jonson's " Masque of Black- 
ness " was given, and proved not altogether a success, 
since all the Court ladies had their faces blacked to resemble 
negresses, and cannot have presented a very engaging 
sight. Arbella must have been rather glad to have no 
place in it. There were, it is true, other and more beautiful 
pageants, in which Anne of Denmark delighted to appear, 
and people raved about her " seemely hayre downe 
trayling on her princely beaming shoulders " : but a few 
more sober courtiers began to think with Dudley Carleton 
that the kind of costume worn at these shows was " too 
light and curtezan-like for such great ones." Queen 


Anne was wildly extravagant, and could never have enough 
jewellery and expensive clothes, which very naturally 
raised the cost of living in her Court and made it increas- 
ingly difficult for those not too wealthily endowed to 
keep up with the lavish display expected of them. Many 
years later, when she died, she " left a world of brave 
jewels behind," and it was calculated that setting aside her 
personal expenditure, at least 60,000 a year was saved 
to the nation in the expenses of her household alone. 
Duke Ulric, her brother, was by now very popular with 
James, who bestowed on him 5,000 as a gift besides the 
Order of the Garter, and 100 a week for expenses. No 
wonder Ulric stayed on at his sister's Court. One great 
relief, however, must have been effected this year, in that 
no New Year's presents were given, and, says Dudley 
Carleton, " the exorbitant gifts that were wont to be used 
at that time are so far laid by that the accustomed present 
of the purse of gold was hard to be had without asking." 
This cut both ways of course, since presents were received 
as well as given ; but on the whole it meant the remitting 
of a considerable tax. 

From the Twelfth Night festivities the King went 
straight to hunt at Royston, whence he wrote to his Council, 
begging them to " foresee that he were not interrupted or 
troubled with too much business," since they were well 
aware that all the welfare of England was bound up in 
his health, and that could only be preserved by plenty of 
out-door amusement. After Royston he visited Thetford, 
liking it on the whole, though at first, writes Worcester : 
" He hath been but once abroad hunting since his coming 
hither, and that day he was driven out of the fields with 
press of company which came to see him ; but therein he 
took no great delight, therefore came home, and played at 
cards. Sir William Woodhouse, that is sole director of 
these parts, hath devised a proclamation that none shall 
presume to come to him on hunting days ; but those that 
come to see him, or prefer petitions, shall do it going forth 
or coming home." 

James does not this time seem to have carried the whole 


of his Court with him ; and many besides Arbella must have 
been glad that the delicate state of the Queen's health 
obliged her and her ladies to spend their early spring more 
quietly. On the 6th April, 1605, Anne gave birth to a 
daughter at Greenwich, and this being the first royal 
child born in England since Edward VI nearly seventy 
years before, it will easily be understood that it was made 
the occasion for very great rejoicing. The child was named 
Mary after the King's mother his elder daughter had 
already been named Elizabeth after that mother's chief 
rival and enemy and Arbella was asked to be one of the 
god-parents at the christening early in May. Old Lady 
Shrewsbury thought this a favourable moment to push the 
request for her son William's barony, as it was known that 
many honours were to be distributed on the occasion. 
The Dean of the Chapel Royal was in her pay as spy on 
all that passed at Court, a position he does not seem to 
have thought at all derogatory, for "I were much to 
blame," he writes ; "if I should neglect anything that 
concerned her, for I have not known her yet a year, and she 
has already bestowed on me above 3,000." Referring to 
this reverend gentleman Edward Lascelles wrote to the 
Earl of Shrewsbury : " Mr. Deane told me that the special 
matters contained in his letter to the old Countess was to 
advise her entreaty of His Majesty that in regard of her 
services to him it would please His Majesty to make her 
son Candish a Baron, which she would think a sufficient 
honour and reward for all. That he thought the King 
might be wrought to it at the christening of this child. . . . 
I have writ to my lady news of Her Majesty's safe delivery, 
the day, the hour, therefore I trouble not your lordship 
with the recital of that news." 

William Cavendish was not the eldest, but the favourite 
son; and by far the most selfish and grasping. He, too, 
left no stone unturned to obtain the wished-for honour, 
and besieged Arbella with requests that she should use 
her influence for him; but he was the one of her uncles 
whom she loved least, and she did not put herself to any 
great trouble concerning him. In a matter of this sort too, 


money must be freely spent, and William hated to part 
with his cash. Edward Lascelles says : " Mr. Candish 
is at London, comes to court, and waits hard on my Lady 
Arbella for his barony ; but I am confidently assured that 
he will not prevail, for I understand that my Lady Arbella 
is nothing forward in his business, although we be certainly 
informed that my lady hath a promise of the King for one 
of her uncles to be a baron ; but it is not likely to be Mr. 
William, for he is very sparing in his gratuity, as I hear, 
would be glad if it were done, but would be sorry to part 
with anything for the doing of it. . . . I was with 
Mr. Candish at my Lady Arbella's chamber, and he en- 
treated me to speak to my Lady Bedford to further him, 
and to solicit my Lady Arbella in his behalf, but spoke 
nothing of any thing that might move her to spend her 
breath for him, so that, by the grace of God, he is likely 
to come good speed." The Earl of Worcester, writing 
on the 27th April to Arbella's uncle Gilbert, speaks also 
of the new peers to be created at " this pretty young 
lady's " christening ; and mentions that the King had 
given his cousin a patent for whom she wished, with a blank 
for the name, "to be created either then, or hereafter to 
be named and created at her pleasure." 

It was not certain, however, that she would use it for 
William, and in the midst of these negotiations (perhaps 
in consequence of the suspense and anxiety they entailed), 
old Lady Shrewsbury was suddenly taken seriously ill. 
A report was at one time current that she had died ; but 
though this was untrue, it could not be expected that, at 
her advanced age, her life would be very long prolonged ; 
and Arbella, forgetting the harshness of her later years, 
remembered now only her grandmother's early kindness 
to her " jewel Arbell," and resolved to visit her in her 
sickness. To the King she admitted that she still felt 
timid of her reception, and he good-naturedly wrote a 
letter to the old Countess, begging her to receive her 
granddaughter kindly and " with her former bounty and 
love." This rather enraged Bess than otherwise, and she 
revenged herself by making Arbella a handsome present 


when she came, and writing a caustic letter to the Dean 
which he was instructed to read aloud to the King. 14 It 
was very strange to her," she said, " that my Lady Arbell 
should come to her with a recommendation as either 
doubting of her entertainment or desiring to come to her 
from whom she had desired so earnestly to come away. 
That for her part she thought she had sufficiently expressed 
her good meaning and kindness to her that had purchased 
her seven hundred pounds by year land of inheritance, 
and given her as much money as would buy a hundred 
pound by year more." (This is, of course, an allusion to 
the time when the old lady very effectively guarded her 
granddaughter's interests as a child.) " And though for 
her part she had done very well for her according to her 
poor ability, yet she should be always welcome to her, 
though she had divers grandchildren that stood more in 
need than she, and much the more welcome in respect of 
the King's recommendation ; she had bestowed on Arbella 
a cup of gold worth a hundred pounds, and three hundred 
pound in money which deserved thankfulness very well, 
considering her poor ability." She then stated what 
Arbella had done every hour since she came to Hardwick ; 
and the Dean reports that the King smiled when he heard 
the letter, a circumstance which did not tend to make her 
visitor any more welcome to the old lady. 

Arbella may have hoped by this visit to make peace 
between her grandmother and uncle, but Sir Francis Leek, 
writing to Gilbert this spring, says : " I did never hear that 
the Lady Arbella's coming into this country was by your 
lordship's means, neither do I yet hear any cause of her 
coming down, but to see my old lady, her right honourable 
grandmother. But to deliver my own opinion, I did in 
my heart rejoice at her coming, and trusted the same 
would have redounded to the appearing, or at least entrance 
to qualify such controversies and suits as yet depend 
unended betwixt your lordship and my old lady." 

Arbella cannot have remained long at Hardwick, for 
the royal christening was fixed for the 5th May, at Green- 
wich, and she had an important part to play at it. The 


other Godmother was the Countess of Northumberland, 
while the Godfathers were Duke Ulric of Holstein and the 
Duke of Lennox, both of whom had at one time or another 
been put forward as suitors for Arbella's hand. The cere- 
mony was performed in the greatest possible state. The 
baby princess was carried by the Countess of Derby under 
a canopy, held by eight barons, one of whom was the newly 
created Baron Cavendish, who thus had accomplished his 
own and his mother's dearest wish. The child's train was 
held by " two of the greatest countesses " ; before her 
walked the Earl of Northumberland with a gilt basin and 
the Countess of Worcester with a cushion covered with 
jewels; on either side of her came her two Godfathers, 
and immediately behind, her two Godmothers; after 
whom followed a train of nobles and their ladies. The 
Archbishop of Canterbury and the Deans of Greenwich and 
Canterbury received the procession at the entrance to the 
chapel, and led it into the midst of the choir, where the 
silver font stood under a canopy of cloth of gold; while 
the choir sang anthems of rejoicing. After the baby had 
been safely christened, the Lord Almoner, Bishop of 
Chichester, received the offerings of the Godparents; 
Garter King at Arms proclaimed the style of " the high 
and noble Lady Mary " ; wine and cakes were distributed, 
and the procession returned to the palace, six Earls carry- 
ing the christening gifts. 

On the fifteenth of September, 1607, not much more than 
two years later, little Princess Mary was buried quietly 
in Westminster Abbey, in what is known as " Innocents' 
Corner." She must have been a precocious little girl, for 
when dying, she raised herself to repeat the Lord's Prayer, 
cried " I go I go away I go ! " and so fell back dead. 
The figure on her tombstone represents her lying on one 
elbow, as if speaking these last words : but when we 
consider the fate of her brothers and sister, one cannot 
feel that Arbella's godchild was greatly to be pitied in 
her early death. 



PRINCE HENRY, the idol of England, was now in his 
thirteenth year, and growing a person of great importance 
at his father's Court. Suits were granted at his request, 
and since he had from the first shown a warm admiration 
for Arbella, it was not surprising that he should be de- 
lighted at the opportunity of rendering her any little favour. 
Birch, his biographer, writes : " The Lady Arbella Stuart 
was not less dear to Prince Henry for her near relation 
to him than for her accomplishments of mind, both natural 
and acquired; and, therefore, he took all occasions of 
obliging her. In consequence of this, and of the success 
of her recommendations of a kinsman of hers to his High- 
ness, she wrote him, on the 18th of October, the following 

' My intention to attend your Highness to-morrow, 
God willing, cannot stay me from acknowledging by these 
few lines how infinitely I am bound to your Highness for 
that your gracious disposition towards me, which faileth 
not to show itself upon every occasion, whether accidental 
or begged by me, as this late high favour and grace, it 
hath pleased your Highness to do my kinsman at my 
humble suit. I trust to-morrow to let your Highness 
understand such motives of that my presumption as shall 
make it excusable. For your Highness shall perceive I 
both understand with what extraordinary respect suits 
are to be presented to your Highness, and withal that your 
goodness doth so temper your greatness as it encourageth 
both me and many others to hope that we may taste the 
fruit of the one by means of the other. The Almighty 
make your Highness every way such as I, Mr. Newton, 
o 193 


and Sir David Murray (the only intercessors I have used 
in my suits, or will in any I shall present to your Highness), 
wish you, and then shall you be even such as you are, and 
your growth in virtue and grace with God and men shall 
be the only alteration we will pray for. And so in all 
humility I cease. From London, the 18th of October, 
1605. Your Highness' most humble and dutiful Arbella 
Stuart. 1 " 

The greatest hopes for England's future were placed in 
this young prince, who was understood also to be a fervid 
champion of the Reformed Faith. There was a prophecy 


<{ Henry VIII pulled down abbeys and cells, 

But Henry IX shall pull down bishops and bells ; " 

but it is not altogether certain that if Henry had lived to 
be King he would have fulfilled all that was expected of 
him. He was a clever boy, but one incident related of 
him when quite a child, though amusing, is scarcely 
loveable. He had been entertained, while travelling, at 
a house where a very frugal table was kept; and next 
morning, his hostess finding him looking at a picture book, 
he showed her a picture of some great banquet, and said 
solemnly, " I invite you, madam, to that feast." " What, 
your Highness," said the poor lady playfully, " to a painted 
feast ? " " No better, madam, is to be found in this 
house," replied the pert little prig. 

His nature was really generous, however, and one of 
his best known traits is his admiration for Sir Walter 
Raleigh, still a prisoner in the Tower, but allowed now a 
certain amount of indulgence. Lady Raleigh had joined 
him, and he was busy writing books and making chemical 
experiments, while he was permitted to receive visitors, 
and many learned and distinguished people came to see 
him. Queen Anne had always had a great sympathy 
for Raleigh, and Prince Henry and his mother were warm 
friends, and shared many tastes in common. Henry often 
visited Raleigh, and on one famous occasion permitted 
his feelings to master him, and exclaimed aloud, " No man 

By Paul van Somers 


but my father would keep such a bird in a cage." The 
sentence is illuminating, for there is little doubt that Henry 
and his father were not always on the very best of terms. 
James had written a book for his son, entitled The Basilicon 
Doron ; or His Majesty's instructions to his dearest son the 
Prince ; which was printed in 1699 and contained much 
worthy advice ; but, nevertheless, if truth is to be told, 
the most Christian King was just a little jealous of his 
son's popularity. Henry was young, handsome, easy- 
mannered, and the people adored him. He cared little 
for books, wished to be a soldier, and was interested in 
everything connected with the army; while his father 
had only two tastes, learning and the chase, in neither of 
which his subjects showed much interest. As Charles 
grew older and proved a studious little boy, his father took 
pleasure in pointing out to Henry how much better a 
scholar his younger brother was likely to become than 
himself. Henry asked his tutor if this were true, and it 
could not be denied. " Then," said the elder prince, 
" when I am King I'll make him Archbishop of Canter- 
bury " : and so dismissed the subject. 

No New Year's gifts are recorded either from or to Arbella 
this winter, though several other persons gave them, and 
of those presented to the King we have a few curious 
specimens. The Earl of Shrewsbury sent him 20 in gold 
and the Countess 10 ; while from other friends he received 
" a pot of green ginger," a " bottle of the water of hart- 
shorn," " one marchpane, and four boxes of dry con- 
fections," "a nightcap of tawny velvet embroidered with 
Venice gold and silk " ; and other strange offerings. 

Little is known of Arbella's doings this year, 1606, since 
her aunt and uncle were probably at Court all the time, 
and therefore she wrote few letters. She is mentioned, 
however, as present with several others at the trial of 
Father Garnet on the 2nd April. The King's proclama- 
tion against priests had been tardily put into execution the 
September before, and the discovery of the Gunpowder 
Plot almost immediately after had roused the most savage 
feelings against the Catholics. Garnet announced at his 
o 2 


trial that the Queen was " most regarded of the Pope " ; 
and James was so horrified at the words that he refused 
to allow this evidence to be published. Garnet was an 
Englishman, aged about fifty, and had been educated as 
a Protestant ; but for the last eighteen years had become 
one of the most active Jesuit priests in the country. There 
was little chance that he could escape, and he suffered for 
misprision of treason the following month ; Guido Fawkes 
having already been executed in January. No pity was 
wasted on the conspirators, for the plot they had concocted 
was a horrible one, and met with universal execration. 

On the 22nd June Queen Anne gave birth, at Greenwich, 
to another daughter, who was hastily christened Sophia, 
and died the same day. The Queen herself was very ill, 
and could not be moved for some weeks, which was un- 
fortunate, as her brother, the King of Denmark, arrived 
in July to pay her and her husband a visit. The two 
Kings, however, managed to make themselves very merry, 
and enjoyed many a tipsy revel together before the Queen 
and her Court were able to join them. They spent the 
time at Theobalds, witnessing Masques, playing games, 
and drinking heavily. Says Sir John Harington, " I have 
been well nigh overwhelmed with carousel and sport of 
all kinds. The sports began each day in such manner as 
had well nigh persuaded me of Mahomet's paradise. Our 
feasts were magnificent, and the two royal guests did most 
lovingly embrace each other at table. . . . The ladies 
abandon their sobriety, and are seen to roll about in 
intoxication." On one occasion it is said that a woman 
dressed to represent the Queen of Sheba in a Masque was 
herself so drunk that she flung the salver she carried at 
the King's head, and knocked him out of his seat. This 
tale was maliciously repeated as of " the Queen," a circum- 
stance which caused Anne of Denmark considerable annoy- 
ance. She and her ladies joined the two Kings in August, 
though it is probable that Christian IV had already visited 
his sister at Greenwich, where he first saw and admired 
Arbella Stuart. A frank and downright monarch, he 
spoke his thoughts freely, and Arbella liked him for it; 


but others were not so pleased, and considered his manners 
distinctly coarse. He knew no English, and when at last 
he had to bid his sister farewell, trying by signs to remind 
Lord Nottingham (in command of the royal ship) of the 
lateness of the hour, he succeeded only in mightily in- 
censing the admiral's young wife, who imagined him instead 
to be offering her a very vulgar insult. Neither she nor 
her husband could speak Danish, so it was impossible to 
explain their meaning to the King at the time ; but so soon 
as they reached home, Lady Nottingham wrote a violently 
abusive letter to Sir Andrew Sinclair, a Scotch gentleman 
in King Christian's service, which he was obliged to show 
his master ; and the bewildered Dane bade him appeal to 
Arbella to implore her services as peacemaker, she being 
a connection of the insulted lady. 

Sir Andrew accordingly wrote the following letter : 
" Madam, The King, my master, has commanded me 
to write his gracious commands to your Ladyship and to 
advertise your Ladyship that my Lady Nottingham has 
written to me this morning a letter, where her Ladyship 
has made the King my master notice of some speeches his 
Ma fcy should have spoken of her to her disadvantage, as 
your Ladyship may perceive by the Letter he has written to 
me, the which the King has sent to the Queen's Ma** 
his sister. So his Ma ty desires that your Ladyship 
will defend his Ma ty 's innocence in such things as his 
Ma ty is assured that he is unjustly accused of. The 
Queen's Ma ty will show your Ladyship the letter. 
Written in great haste. Andrew Sinclair." 

In equal haste Arbella returned the following cordial 
and generous note : " My honourable good Friend, I 
yield His Majesty most humble thanks that it pleaseth 
him to add that advertisement I received from you yester- 
night to the rest of the favours wherewith it hath pleased 
His Majesty to honour me; and I pray you assure His 
Majesty that next unto that I shall spend in prayers for 
His Majesty's prosperity, I shall think that breath of 
mine best bestowed which may add, if it be but a drop, 
to the sea of his honour. I have observed His Majesty's 


behaviour as diligently as any, and I may truly protest 
I never saw nor heard that deed or word of his which did 
not deserve high praise, whereof I shall bear witness, I 
doubt not with many more; for I assure you it is not 
possible for a Prince to leave a more honourable memory 
than His Majesty hath done here. And if any speak or 
understand it otherwise, it must proceed from their 
unworthiness, and be esteemed as a shadow of envy which 
infallibly accompanies the brightness of virtue. I spent 
yesterday in London, and have not yet seen the Queen's 
Majesty since her sorrowful returning hither, but I am 
assured myself her Majesty will perform all the offices of 
a kind sister to her most dear and worthy brother, in 
which cause I think myself happy to have a part. I 
beseech His Majesty this indiscretion of my Lady of 
Nottingham may not impair his good opinion of our sex, 
but that it will please him to retain the innocent in his 
wonted favour, and especially myself, who will not fail 
to pray for his safe and happy return with all other daily 
increasing felicities, and remaining Your assured, thankful 
friend, A. S." 

Christian then wrote to Arbella himself, and she replied 
again through Sir Andrew, sending a little gift of her work 
to the Danish Queen. " You having not only performed 
the kindness I required of you," she writes, " in delivering 
my letters to their Majesties, but returned me so great 
and unexpected a favour as His Majesty's letters, have 
doubly bound me to you, and I yield you, therefore, many 
great thanks, beseeching you to continue in preferring 
their Majesties favour to me, for which good office I most 
desire to become obliged to you, so worthy and reverent a 
person. It may please you now with most humble thanks 
to present this letter to His Majesty, which is so very a 
trifle, as I was ashamed to accompany it with a letter to 
Her Majesty, and if a piece of work of my own, which I 
was preparing, had been ready, I had prevented His 
Majesty's gracious, and your kind letter, in sending to 
you, but I was desirous not to omit Her Majesty in the 
acknowledgment of my duty to her royal husband, and 


therefore loth to stay the finishing of a greater, have sent 
this little piece of work, in accepting whereof Her Majesty's 
favour will be the greater. Thus, I am bold to trouble 
you even to these womanish toys, whose serious mind 
must have some relaxation, and this may be one to vouch- 
safe to descend to these petty offices for one that will ever 
wish your happiness increase, and continuance of honour." 

Sir Andrew's reply is that " It has pleased both their 
Majesties to command me to write their Majesties' gracious 
recommendations to your Ladyship, and to thank your 
Ladyship for the honest favours it has pleased your Lady- 
ship to bestow on both their Majesties, and especially the 
Queen esteems much of that present your Ladyship sent 
Her Majesty, and says Her Majesty will wear it for your 
Ladyship's sake. The King has commanded me to assure 
your Ladyship there is no honour, advancement, nor 
pleasure that His Majesty can do your Ladyship, but he 
shall do it, faithfully and willingly, as one of the best 
friends your Ladyship has in the world. Surely, I may 
confess with verity, I never heard no prince speak more 
worthily of a princess than His Majesty does of your Lady- 
ship's good qualities and rare virtues; while I say no 
more, but I shall be one faithful instructor to entertain 
in the holy friendship between His Majesty and your 
Ladyship. As touching my Lady Nottingham, the King 
is now very well content with her Ladyship, because her 
letter was written of a little choleric passion, grounded on 
a fickler report, for His Majesty did never think that her 
Ladyship had only offended him, but only this that was." 

So all was peace; and Arbella wrote again to Sinclair, 
and sent a pretty little note to the Queen, containing 
" most humble thanks for your gracious acceptation of 
that trifle, which, with blushing at the unworthiness 
thereof, I presumed to present unto your Majesty, only 
out of the confidence of the sympathy of your gracious 
disposition, to that I found in the most puissant and noble 
King, your husband " ; and hoping, too, that " It will 
please you, by wearing my handiwork, to continue me 
in your gracious favour and remembrance." A Latin 


letter from Arbella to Sir Andrew dated " Hampton Court, 
the 24th October," closes for a time the correspondence : 
and meanwhile her chief anxiety during this year had as 
usual been connected with money matters. Live as 
frugally as she might, her income was not half large enough 
to cope with the constant entertainments, Masques, and 
banquets, in a delirious round of which the Court moved, 
and most of which meant new raiment, not only for herself 
but for all her household. The King of Denmark's visit 
had, of course, brought extra expenses, and Arbella was 
at her wits' end how to meet them. She has been accused 
of rapacity and greed in asking for money, but it should be 
remembered that her private income was very small, and 
that she was almost entirely dependent upon her allowance 
from the King, and needed still to maintain her position 
in suitable state as second lady of the Court. In May she 
had written to Cecil (who the preceding year had been 
created Earl of Salisbury), " My good Lord, I lately moved 
His Majesty to grant me such fees as may arise out of his 
seal, which the bishops are by the law to use as I am in- 
formed. I am enforced to make some suit for my better 
support and maintenance, as heretofore I have found you, 
my good Lord, so I must earnestly entreat your lordship 
to further this my suit, and therein I shall rest much bound 
to you. Sir Walter Cope hath been requested to recom- 
mend this my suit to your lordship, for that I thought his 
mediation would be less troublesome to you than if I 
solicited your lordship myself, or by some other of my 
friends. I pray God grant your lordship long and happy 
life. Your lordship's much bound Arbella Stuart." 

On the 9th March next year we find record of a " Grant 
to Lady Arbella Stuart of all sums paid into the Exchequer 
from the lands of Thomas, Earl of Ormond." All these 
little extras helped; and it was evidently in connection 
with some other suit of hers that Lord Lisle wrote to her 
uncle Gilbert that " I have yet done little in the matter of 
my Lady Arbella. I fear the Queen's inclination, and the 
doubt that it will be an entrance to put the whole down. 
My lady shall command me and my best services, and 


much the more, seeing that your lordship doth make 
yourself a partner." 

Arbella was never strong, and her health suffered often 
during the winter. In the early spring of 1607 it is evident 
she was too ill to remain at Court, and rather to the 
vexation of the Queen she retired for a while to the Shrews- 
burys' house at Sheffield. Whilst here, the King of Den- 
mark besought his sister to gain Arbella' s consent to parting 
with her favourite lute-player, a man named Cutting, 
whose performance he had greatly admired the preceding 
summer, and whose services he was anxious to transfer 
to his own Court. This was scarcely an easy favour to 
ask, since Arbella could riot, of course, be so ungracious as 
to refuse it; and the Queen's rather cross little letter to 
her, accompanied by a small gift, shows at once her own 
embarrassment at the request, and her impatience for her 
friend's return. She hit, however, upon the happy thought 
of bidding her son, Prince Henry, to write too; and his 
warm and unconventional note must have been pleasant to 
receive. These are the letters. 

" Anne R. Well-beloved Cousin, We greet you heartily 
well. Udo Gall, our dear brother's, the King of Denmark's 
gentleman servant, hath insisted with us for the licensing 
of your servant, Thomas Cutting, to depart from you, but 
not without your permission, to our brother's service; 
and therefore we write these few lines unto you, being 
assured you will make no difficulty to satisfy our pleasure 
and our dear brother's desires, and so giving you the 
assurance of our constant favours, with our wishes for the 
continuance or convalescence of your health. Expecting 
your return, we commit you to the protection of God. 
From Whitehall, 9th March, 1607." 

" Madame, The Queen's Majesty hath commanded me 
to signify to your ladyship, that she would have Cutting, 
your ladyship's servant, to send to the King of Denmark, 
because he desired that she would send him one that could 
play upon the lute. I pray your ladyship to send him back 
with an answer as soon as your ladyship can. I desire 


you to commend me to my Lord and my Lady Shrewsbury ; 
and also not to think me anything the worse scrivener that 
I write so ill, but to suspend your judgment till you come 
hither, when you shall find me as I was ever, Your lady- 
ship's most loving cousin and assured friend, Henry. A 
Madame Arbelle, ma cousine." 

Arbella could not pretend to be other than very loth 
to lose her favourite musician, and while freely consenting 
to his departure, was at no pains in her replies to these 
letters to conceal her real feelings. She was on the whole, 
however, very good-natured about it, and even concludes 
with a little joke to the Prince. " May it please your most 
royal Majesty," she writes to the Queen ; "I have received 
your Majesty's most gracious and favourable token which 
you have been pleased to send me as an assurance both of 
your Majesty's pardon and of my remaining in your 
gracious good opinion, the which how great contentment 
it hath brought unto me I find no words to express. And 
therefore most humbly addressing myself to the answer 
of your Majesty's pleasure, signified in your letter touching 
my licensing my servant Cutting to depart from me for 
the service of his Majesty of Denmark, I shall beseech 
of His Majesty to conceive, that although I know well how 
far more easy it is for so great a prince to command the 
best musicians in the world than for me to recover one 
not inferior to this, yet do I most willingly embrace this 
occasion whereby I may in effect give some demonstration 
of my unfeigned disposition to apply myself ever unto all 
your royal pleasures. And therefore most willingly 
referring my said servant to your Majesty's good pleasure " ; 
she concludes. To the prince she writes : " May it please 
your Highness, I have received your Highness's letter, 
wherein I am let to understand that her Royal Majesty 
is pleased to command Cutting, my servant, for the King 
of Denmark, concerning the which your Highness requested 
my answer to Her Majesty, the which I have accordingly 
returned by this bearer, referring him to Her Majesty's 
good pleasure and disposition. And although I may have 


seen cause to be sorry to have lost the contentment of a 
good lute, yet must I confess that I am right glad to have 
found any occasion whereby to express to Her Majesty 
and your Highness the humble respect which I owe you, 
and the readiness of my disposition to be conformed to 
your good pleasures, wherein I have placed a great part 
of the satisfaction which my heart can receive. I have, 
according to your Highness's direction, signified unto my 
uncle and aunt of Shrewsbury your Highness's gracious 
vouchsafing to remember them, who with all duty present 
their most humble thanks, and say they will ever pray for 
your Highness's most happy prosperity. And yet my 
uncle saith he carrieth the same spleen in his heart towards 
your Highness that he hath ever done. And so praying 
the Almighty for your Highness's felicity, I humbly 


To King Christian himself Arbella sent a letter by 
Cutting, whom she dispatched as soon as possible; and 
since the Danish King could not speak English, her learning 
here stood her in good stead, for she wrote to him in Latin ; 
assuring him that " Since I have sought nothing with more 
diligence or eagerness than an occasion of expressing my 
zeal and devotion to your Majesty, I have most joyfully 
seized this, slight as it is, which at last opportunely offers 
itself. This man has been sent to the best masters, and 
trained in this art to my pleasure, and came to me with no 
slight recommendation for the excellence of his character 
as of his art. Him I commend no less (with your Majesty's 
permission), and send to your Majesty, to whom I would 
send, were it as possible, Orpheus or Apollo. I pray the 
most high God that all things, not only among your 
musicians and in the court, but also in your life and king- 
dom, may be in harmony with your Majesty's desires." 
If this Thomas Cotting or Cutting was, as is generally 
supposed, identical with the Mr. Francis Cuttinge, who was 
a famous musician of the period, he cannot have remained 
long in Denmark, for he is mentioned as a member of 
Prince Henry's own household in 1610. 

Arbella stayed some time at Sheffield, where she enjoyed 


the quiet life, and where her uncle and aunt were glad of 
her company; since their youngest daughter Alethea had 
a year before been married to the Earl of Arundel. Gilbert 
and Mary's two sons died young; and their two elder 
daughters, Mary, Countess of Pembroke, and Elizabeth, 
Countess of Kent, had no children. Alethea, the youngest 
of the family, seems to have been a very charming girl : 
a letter from Charles Cavendish to his sister mentions that 
" Alethea is often wished with your ladyship : she is so 
merry and talkative, and as pretty attired as any is." 
By July Arbella was back at Court in order to be present 
at the great christening party given for Alethea's first child ; 
the King and the Lord Chancellor being Godfathers, and 
Arbella standing proxy for her grandmother, the Dowager 
Countess, who was now too old to leave Hardwick. It is 
to be supposed that the reconciliation between these two 
ladies was sealed so far as it was ever likely to be by this 
act ; for after her hurried visit in the spring, Arbella never 
saw her grandmother again. The friendly meeting she 
had hoped to bring about between the old lady and Earl 
Gilbert took place in December, when the young Earl 
writes to Cecil that he and his wife and Charles Cavendish 
had been at Hardwick and seen there " a lady of great 
years, great wealth, and great wit which yet remaineth. 
She used me with all the kind respect and show of good 
affection that might be, stayed us there with her one day, 
and so in all kindness I returned without any repetition 
or so much as one word of any former suits or unkindnesses : 
neither was there any motion on either side, but only com- 
pliment, courtesy, and kindness." Henry Cavendish was 
the only one of her children towards whom the fierce old 
woman remained implacable to the last. He was her 
eldest son, and by far the most interesting of the Caven- 
dishes. In his youth he had travelled much in the East, 
had written an account of his travels, and was a far more 
romantic and disinterested character than his brothers 
though not so pushing a courtier : but the aged Countess 
spoke of him as her " bad son Henry," never forgave him 
his interference on Arbella's behalf in 1603; and imme- 


diately after that episode had added a codicil to her will 
to the effect that " Forasmuch as she had changed her 
mind touching her bequests and legacies to her grand- 
daughter Arbella Stuart and her son Henry Cavendish, and 
was fully determined that neither her said granddaughter 
nor the said Henry Cavendish shall have any benefit by 
any such gift or legacy, every gift or legacy that she had 
appointed for either shall be utterly frustrated, void, and 
of none effect." This codicil was never revoked. 

On the 6th September the Court was thrown into slight 
mourning, but very slight, by the death in her third year 
of little Princess Mary, Arbella's royal godchild. " The 
Queen takes this losse naturally," wrote Cecil at the time, 
" But I assure you, now it is irrevocable, she and the King 
both digest it very well and wisely." " The King," says 
another courtier, " takes her death as a wise prince 
should," ordered the interment to be performed as quietly 
as possible, " without any solemnitie nor funerall," and 
went off on a hunting party a week later. The Queen was 
almost as fond of these expeditions as her husband, and 
although the Court remained ostensibly at Whitehall 
through the winter, everybody was frequently swept into 
the country at the shortest possible notice to indulge their 
master and mistress in their favourite sport. Anne had 
a stand set up for her in the park, where she sat with a 
cross-bow, while deer were driven before her ; but she does 
not appear to have been a very expert markswoman, and 
one day the King's " special and favourite hound," Jewel 
or Jowler, of whom we have before heard, fell a victim to 
an ill-aimed arrow from her bow. Every one was terrified 
to tell James what had happened, but when it was at last 
explained to him, the incident shows him in the kindest 
light as a husband. He sent word to his wife " not to be 
concerned at the accident, for he should never love her 
worse " ; and with the message came a gift of jewels, worth 
2,000, as a legacy from the murdered favourite. 

Gradually, however, one notes in the letters of the day 
thankful intimations that the King's appetite for the chase 
was not quite so insatiable as of yore. " The King is 


indifferent well pleased with his hunting," writes Sir 
George Cha worth in the end of November ;...'* and is 
not so earnest without all intermission or respect of 
weather, be it hot or cold, dry or moist, to give to his hunting 
or hawking as he was. . . . He is more apt to take hold of 
a let, and a reasonable wind will blow him to and keep him 
at home all day " ; while at Christmas the Earl of Pembroke 
wrote to his father-in-law, Earl Gilbert, that " These 
holidays have brought us some rest, as welcome as to 
schoolboys, for till Christmas Eve we have been in per- 
petual motion ; and as soon as Twelfth Tide is passed, we 
shall begin our voyage again, I am afraid." In spite of 
all the hunting, however, and in spite of her allowance for 
" diet," Arbella, and many other people, too, was glad 
enough of the venison pasties from her uncle's good red 
deer, which he frequently sent to Court. On the 2nd 
December she writes to him from Whitehall, " very glad 
of the occasion of so good a messenger and so honourable 
and kind a letter as I received from your lordship by Mr. 
Parker to scribble unto you again, and that a great deal 
the rather because this short time and calm climate 
affording none, you have given me the best theme to write 
of, which is thanks for your not checking my importunity 
in begging venison, but endeavouring to satisfy it in better 
sort than I presumed of, for the worst hind of many, I 
am sure, in any of your grounds should be very welcome 
hither; and then if it be possible to have so good a one 
as your lordship wishes, you know what a delicate it will 
be to them that shall have it, and how welcome such a 
testimony of your love and favour shall be to me." The 
only other specimen we have of her correspondence this 
year is a note to Sir Roger Wilbraham of the 3rd November, 
commending to his favour a man named Richard Albourne, 
on whose behalf she had interested herself. 

The winter 1607-8 was one of extraordinary rigour, and 
the Thames was frozen into a solid road for three months, 
crossed by heavy wagons and all the traffic of the highway. 
To make up for poorer folks' privations, the Court became 
more extravagant than ever, and there was much gaming 


for high stakes : on Twelfth Night a " great golden play " 
was given, at which no one was permitted to play for less 
than 300. The following Sunday Jonson's " Masque of 
Beauty " was performed, concerning which and the 
marvellous costumes and jewels to be worn in it, gossip 
had been rife for weeks beforehand. Fifteen ladies took 
part in the Masque, the Queen, Arbella, and her cousin, 
the young Countess of Arundel, amongst them; and the 
whole, says Rowland Whyte, " was as well performed as 
any ever was." John Chamberlain wrote to Dudley 
Carleton that there was a great show of jewels. " One 
lady was furnished with more than a hundred thousand 
pounds worth . . . and the Lady Arbella exceeds her, 
and the Queen must not come behind." When all was 
over, the Spanish Ambassador invited the distinguished 
performers to sup with him, and bring what friends they 
chose, and we may be sure that a riotous evening followed. 
The King, however, grew quickly bored with all these 
festivities, and as soon as possible after their conclusion 
hurried off to Theobalds, which was now his own property ; 
he having persuaded Cecil to exchange it with him for the 
till then royal dwelling of Hatfield. 


A CLOUDY SKY (1608-9) 

FROM these gay scenes Arbella was called away by the 
scarcely unexpected news of the death of her grandmother. 
In her ninetieth year, rich, tyrannical, much feared and 
little loved, the Dowager Countess of Shrewsbury, having 
survived her four husbands, died at Hardwick Hall on 
the 13th February, 1608. Lodge describes her as "A 
woman of masculine understanding and conduct, proud, 
furious, selfish and unfeeling; she was a builder, a buyer 
and seller of estates, a moneylender, a farmer, a merchant 
of lead, coals, and timber " ; and a great deal more besides : 
but first and foremost will she always be remembered for 
her building mania. To excuse it, the tale is told of a 
gipsy warning long before to the effect that she would 
never die so long as she kept on building; and build she 
did her long life through until the great frost of this year, 
when for a time it became impossible to do so. Her work- 
men made their best endeavour, mixing hot ale with the 
mortar, at that time considered a sovereign specific; but 
all was of no avail, and operations had to cease for a time, 
whereupon the redoubtable lady died. She had been failing, 
however, for some weeks; and the month before, Gilbert 
had written to Henry Cavendish, " When I was at Hard- 
wick, she did eat very little and was not able to walk the 
length of the chamber between two, but grew so ill at it 
as you might plainly discern it." The Shrewsburys were 
with her at the end, and the day after her death Gilbert 
wrote to Cecil, informing him that she had " had the 
blessing of sense and memory to the last ; " and enclosing 
too a note to Arbella with the news. In her will the 
deceased lady had announced that " I will and appoint 


Photo, Emery Walker 

"Bess of Hardwick" 


that my family be kept together at my ordinary Expences 
until my body shall be buried " : but the breath was 
scarcely out of the hard old woman's body before all her 
children, stepchildren and grandchildren were squabbling 
over her property, and the most grasping and callous of 
them all was her favourite son William, the one person 
in the world to whom she had at times been weakly in- 
dulgent. She had appointed him her executor, and left 
him Chatsworth, Hardwick and Oldcotes, while Welbeck 
and other estates went to her third son Charles; her 
daughters were to have the portions settled upon them at 
marriage; a thousand pounds was to be divided among 
her servants; and to each inhabitant of the almshouses 
she had built at Derby twenty shillings and a mourning 
gown were to be given on the day of her funeral. 

Before the will was even opened, however, William had 
taken possession of Hardwick, seized all the sheep and 
cattle on the estate, and behaved in so rude and over- 
bearing a manner to his assembled relatives that the 
Shrewsbury s could suffer him no longer, and hastily re- 
turned, together with the Charles Cavendishes, to Sheffield, 
where a few days later Arbella joined them. On the 1st 
March Gilbert wrote to Salisbury that he knew nothing of 
William Cavendish or his doings, but that Arbella was 
" somewhat ill at ease." This can scarcely have been for fear 
William had seized any legacy belonging to herself, since 
she knew very well that both she and her uncle Henry had 
been disinherited; but although she did not like Lord 
Cavendish, Arbella hated to be on ill terms with any one ; 
and since he was in some sort beholden to her for his barony, 
he seems to have invited her shortly after to Hardwick. 
Her visit must have been a brief one, and possibly she only 
spent a night there, for her letter to Lady Shrewsbury is 
written on the eve of her departure. " Madame," she 
writes, "I humbly thank you for your letters. I deferred 
to write to you till I had taken my leave here, and then I 
intended to have sent one to your ladyship and my uncle, 
to deliver my humble thanks for so many kindnesses and 
favours as I have received at this time of my being here 


from you both, and to take a more mannerly farewell than 
I could at our parting ; but your ladyship hath prevented 
my intention in sending this bearer, by whom, in these few 
lines, I will perform that duty (not compliment) of acknow- 
ledging myself much bound to you for every particular 
kindness and bounty of yours at this time, which reviveth 
the memory of many more former ; and to assure you that 
none of my cousins, your daughters, shall be more ready 
to do you service than I. The money your ladyship sends 
my Lady Pembroke shall be safely and soon delivered her. 
And praying for your ladyship's happiness, honour and 
comfort in as great measure as yourself can wish, I humbly 
take my leave. From Hardwick, this Monday. Your 
ladyship's most affectionate niece to command, Arbella 
Stuart. I pray your ladyship commend me to my uncle 
Charles, my aunt, and my two pretty cousins. I think 
I shall many times wish myself set by my cousin Charles 
at meals." 

On the 23rd March, a letter from Gilbert to Lord 
Salisbury, asking for the living of Leadenham for his own 
chaplain, John Craven, mentions that Arbella has gone to 
town, and has had a drawing made of Chats worth, which 
she intends to present to him, Salisbury. In his first 
letter of condolence to Gilbert, Salisbury had remarked 
that he would be " very glad if your lordship could send 
me any rough draught of Hardwick " ; but apparently 
that was impossible, and this the best that could be pro- 
cured. Old Lady Shrewsbury had made careful arrange- 
ments for her own burial, which she wished to take place 
in All Hallows Church, Derby, " in decent and convenient 
order, fit for her estate and degree," but not " over 
sumptuous, with vain and idle charge." Although she 
had died early in February, and the date of interment 
inscribed upon her coffin lid is 16th February, she does not 
really seem to have been buried till towards the end of 
April, since Earl Gilbert, writing to Salisbury, begged to 
be excused from appearing at St. George's Feast on the 23rd 
of that month, as his mother-in-law's funeral was fixed for 
the same time ; and " you will be there so many besides 


as I shall not be missed, and I being able to do His Majesty 
no other service by my coming than a short march in a 
purple robe." It is possible that the phenomenal cold of 
this winter had delayed matters in some way, for the frost 
did not break up till April, and then very hot weather im- 
mediately set in. The following epitaph on Bess of Hard- 
wick, written in MS. by Horace Walpole on the margin 
of a copy of Arthur Collin's Historical Collections of the 
Noble Families of Cavendish at the British Museum is 
perhaps more illuminating than the ornate one she herself 
arranged for the magnificent monument beneath which 
she lies in the great church at Derby. 

" When Hardwick's towers shall how their head, 
Nor mass be more in Worksop said, 
When Bolsover's fair frame shall tend, 
Like Oldcotes to his destined end, 
When Chatsworth knows no Candish bounties, 
Let Fame forget this costly countess." 

William Cavendish did not even wait till his mother 
was laid in her grave to plunge into gay and ambitious 
schemes. On the 10th April all the Court was startled to 
learn of a hurried and secret marriage between his young 
son William and the daughter of Lord Kinloss, Master of 
the Rolls; an affair in which both the King and Arbella 
were supposed to have lent their assistance as matchmakers, 
although neither was actually present at the wedding, 
which was performed very quietly at eight in the morning 
in the Chapel of the Rolls. Immediately after it, Lord 
Cavendish went himself to Whitehall to invite Arbella and 
other friends and relatives to the marriage dinner ; and a 
letter written to Earl Gilbert by Henry Cavendish, who, 
in spite of all, seems to have remained on at least outwardly 
friendly terms with the brother who had usurped his 
birthright, gives a naive account of the affair and of the 
manner in which it was broken to him. " My most 
honoured lord," he wrote, " On Sunday last I wisht I 
could have sent your good lordship a dove with a letter 
under her wing to have advertised your lordship of such 
news as came very strange to me. About the hour of nine 
p 2 


in the morning, at which time my Lord Cavendish sent to 
me by his man Smith to excuse him that he had not made 
me privy to his son's marriage to the Lord of Kinloss's 
daughter. The reason was he had great enemies, and if 
it had been made public, he might have been crossed, and 
the reason he so married him was to strengthen himself 
against his adversaries. I wisht all might prove to their 
comforts. My Lady Arbella was there at the dinner, and 
my Lady Cavendish the Baroness, and so were they at 
supper, and both danced in rejoicing and honour of the 
wedding. The bride is meetly handsome as they say, of a 
red hair, and about twelve years of age. Alas ! poor 
Wylkin ! He desired and deserved a wife already grown, 
and may evil stay twelve weeks for a wife, much less twelve 
months. . . . The next day I waited on my Lady Arbella 
at Whitehall, and told her honour I thought it was she that 
made the match, which her ladyship denied, but not very 
earnestly, affirming she knew nothing of it till that morning 
the marriage was, and that was an invitation to the wedding 
dinner. I told her ladyship much my betters would think so, 
and ten thousand beside." Pomfret says the bride was 
" a pretty red-headed wench," with a " porcion of several 
thousand pownde " ; and as matters turned out, in spite 
of Henry's gloomy prognostications, the marriage was a 
very happy one. 

Expenses still increased every day, and from the 
prominent position she occupied at Court, and the great 
favour with which both King and Queen regarded her, 
nobody would believe that Arbella's income could be so 
small as it really was. We know from her Steward's book 
that the following year all she received from every source 
amounted to 2160. Besides the extravagances of fashion 
with which it was necessary for her to keep in touch, she 
had her household to maintain, and was besides always 
being asked for favours and charity. It was an age of 
bribery, and often she was at her wits' end to know how to 
meet her bills, and driven to all sorts of expedients to gain 
a little more money. In July she begged the King to grant 
her the monopolies on oats, and her uncle Shrewsbury wrote 


out for her a Proclamation, which she wished the King to 
sign, together with some reasons why he should accede 

" A Copy of that which the King's Majesty is to be 
moved to sign touching Oats. July 1608. 

" Our will and pleasure is, that there be given and 
granted unto our trusty and well-beloved cousin, the Lady 
Arbella Stuart, and unto her deputy or deputies, for and 
during the whole term of one-and-twenty years next after 
the date of our letters patent, sufficient power and authority 
under our great seal of England, for us, and in our name and 
right and to our use in all places within our realm of England 
and Wales, to take yearly a bond or recognizance of five 
pounds of every inn-holder or hostler, wherein the said inn- 
holder or hostler shall be bound not to take any more than 
sixpence gain, over and above the common price in the 
market, for and in every bushel of oats which he or they 
shall sell in gross or by retail, unto any passengers or 
travellers. The said bushel also, or any other measure, 
to be according to the ancient measure or standard of 
England, commonly called Winchester measure. And we 
will also, that our said well-beloved cousin, the Lady 
Arbella, or her deputy or deputies, shall take for every 
such bond or recognizance of every inn-holder or hostler 
the sum of 2s. 6d., whereof one full fifth part, our will is 
that she or her deputy or deputies shall retain to her or 
their own use, in consideration of pains and charges. And 
our further pleasure is, that our said cousin shall have full 
power and authority to depute any person or persons, 
during the said term, for the execution of the foresaid 
power, so given and granted unto her." 

" Reasons wherfore His Majesty may grant this suit 

" 1. Your Majesty's revenues shall be increased a 1000 
livres per annum, without any charge to your Majesty. 

"2. The inn-holder or hostler shall receive ten times 
more than ever any law heretofore allowed them. 

" 3. The travelling subjects of all sorts, as noblemen, 
judges, lawyers, gentlemen, linnen-men, woollen-men, hard- 
ware-men, and carriers, who are the upholders of all trades 


within this land, shall in their travel be much eased ; and 
thereby wares may be sold in the country the cheaper. 

" 4. The common measure of this land shall then be used, 
which now it is not, for the inn-holder and hostler doth by 
his hoslry make six pecks at the least of every bushel, and 
so thereby every one only quarter of oats sold by them, 
retailed weekly, amounteth at the least to forty-five pounds 
in the year or thereabouts, and they buy the same generally 
at ten shillings at the most. 

"5. In the last dear years, the inn-holders did raise the 
price of oats to sixpence their peck, which they sold before 
for threepence or fourpence at the most ; since which time 
they never abated the price of sixpence their peck." 

Arbella never seems to have received these monopolies, 
though on the 25th of July we find among Bacon's notes, 
" To remember to be ready for argumentation in my Lady 
Arbella's cause, before term, and to speak with my Lord of 
Salisbury about it, chiefly in point of profit, and the judges 
to be made and prepared (though my lady be otherwise 
remembered)." In October, Chamberlain has an extra- 
ordinary story that there is " the muttering of a bill put 
into the Exchequer or some other Court concerning much 
land, that by reason of pretended bastardy in Queen 
Elizabeth should descend to divers persons. The chief 
actors named in it are Lady Arbella, St. Leger of the West, 
and others. If there be any such thing, methinks the whole 
State should prevent such an indignity." The " if " was 
a great one, however, and since of this too one hears no 
more, it is probably as idle a rumour as much else concerning 

On the 8th December we have a letter from her to 
Shrewsbury, accompanied by a cheese and a salad as some 
return for the red-deer pies, in which, as usual, she begins 
with an apology : "I was much ashamed to be overtaken 
by your lordship's letter by Mr. Fowler, before I had 
answered your former, but I presume of your pardon for 
such peccadilloes. Good wishes can never come amiss, 
whether from amongst cups or beads, and therefore at all 


adventures I humbly thank your lordship. For want of a 
nunnery, I have for a while retired myself to the Friars, 
where I have found by experience this term how much 
worse they thrive who say, ' Go ye to the plough,' than 
4 Go we to the plough,' so that once more I am fettling 
myself to follow the lawyers most diligently. I pray God 
the cheese I herewith send your lordship prove as good as 
great (which few of you great lords are, by your leave), 
and truly I hope well of it, because the fellow of it which is 
tasted here is so. And as I have sent your lordship some 
of the stoppingest meat that is, so I have sent you some of 
the sharpest sallet that ever I eat. A great person loveth 
it well (as I told your lordship at my being with you), and 
that is all I can say in commendation of it. If you have 
of it in the country, I pray you let me know, that I may 
laugh at myself for being so busy to get this. ' God send 
you a good stomach and a good digestion,' shall be the motto 
to these two bodies of sallet and cheese, I hope with the 
good allowance of all the impresa-makers by North Trent. 
And so beseeching the Almighty to send you all honour 
and happiness I humbly cease. Your lordship's niece, 
Arbella Stuart. From Blackfriars the 8th December 

She must have been taken ill amost immediately after 
this, for on the 21st December, Sir John Harington, writing 
to a friend, remarks : "I hear now that my Lady Arbella 
is fallen sick of the small pox, and that my Lady Skinner 
attendeth her, and taketh great pains with her." She was 
evidently ill for some time, for it is not till the 2nd February 
1609, Candlemas Day, that we hear of her again. Ben 
Jonson's Masque of Queens was given then at White- 
hall, and Arbella as usual took part in it; but from this 
time on one begins to notice faint and almost imperceptible 
indications that she was scarcely in so great favour at Court 
as formerly. It is difficult to account for this save by re- 
membering that the royal smile is proverbially capricious ; 
but there is no doubt that she was increasingly involved 
in money difficulties, and it may be that her constant appli- 
cation for grants or monopolies annoyed the King, and 


courtiers are ever quick to notice any coolness in the 
supreme quarter. Early in February she had petitioned 
James to be allowed to bring Irish hides to market in this 
country, and for a licence " to export forty thousand hides 
yearly for thirty-one years, paying a poundage thereon and 
a rent of fifty per annum, with reasons in favour of her 
petition." A few months later, by Lord Salisbury's help, 
she attempted to obtain the power of nominating persons 
to sell wines and aqua vitae in Ireland, a patronage which 
might add a good deal to her income ; but the favours she 
requested were not always for herself. On the 17th 
June she writes to her uncle from his house in Broad 
Street, where she had apartments, begging him to bestow 
livings upon two proteges of hers. 

44 Because I know not that your lordship hath forsaken 
one recreation that you have liked heretofore, I presume 
to send you a few idle lines to read in your chair, after 
you have tired yourself either with affairs or any sport 
that bringeth weariness ; and, knowing you well advertised 
of all occurents in serious manner, I make it my end to 
make you merry, and show my desire to please you even 
in playing the fool, for no folly is greater, I trow, than to 
laugh when one smarteth; but that my aunt's divinity 
can tell you St. Lawrence, deriding his tormentors even 
upon the gridiron, bade them turn him on the other side, 
for that he lay on was sufficiently broiled, I should not 
know how to excuse myself from either insensibleness or 
contempt of injuries. I find if one rob a house and build 
a church with the money the wronged party may go pipe 
in an ivy leaf for any redress ; for money so well bestowed 
must not be taken from that holy work, though the right 
owner go a-begging. Unto you it is given to understand 
parables or to command comment; but if you be of this 
opinion of the Scribes and Pharisees, I condemn your lord- 
ship, by your leave, for an heretic, by the authority of Pope 
Joan, for there is a text saith, you must not do evil that 
good may come thereof. But now from doctrine to 
miracles. I assure you within these few days I saw a 
pair of virginals make good music without help of any 


hand, but of one that did nothing but warm, not move, a 
glass some five or six feet from them. And if I thought 
thus great folk, invisibly and far off, work in matters to 
tune them as they please, I pray your lordship forgive me, 
and I hope God will, to whose holy protection I humbly 
recommend your lordship. ... I humbly pray your lord- 
ship to bestow two of the next good parsonnages of yours 
shall fall on me ; not that I mean to convert them to my 
own benefit, for though I go rather for a good clerk than a 
worldly-wise woman, I aspire to no degree of Pope Joan, 
but some good ends, whereof this bearer will tell your lord- 
ship one. My boldness shows how honourably I believe 
of your disposing of such livings." 

In the end of June Earl Gilbert writes to Salisbury from 
Sheffield, mentioning that Lady Arbella Stuart had told 
him that the City of London desired to buy Houghton, 
which was part of the Queen's jointure, and lay within a 
mile of Pontefract Castle; but that he considered this 
would be "so great a prejudice to that fair and stately 
castle," that he would gladly buy the lands himself for his 
brother Charles Cavendish. Earlier this year we find a 
hint at some scandal in connection with Charles Cavendish's 
eldest son William in a note of Arbella's to one Charles 
Gosling, with whom she appears to be on very friendly terms. 
Only the signature and the postscript of this letter are in 
her own hand. "Charles Gosling" (it runs), . " Upon the 
good conceit I have of you for a just, well-meaning man and 
well-wishing to me, I have thought fit to write you this 
letter, desiring you to call to remembrance all you can, and 
take your son's help wherein he knoweth, or both or either 
of you think you can learn out anything of the contract 
between my cousin William Candish and Mrs. Marge tt 
Chaterton. That write to me so soon as you can, and if 
you can believe I have power to do you or your son good, 
expect my remembrance of what you do herein. And so 
I commit you to God. From the Court at Whitehall, 
this 28th of March, 1609. Your loving friend, Arbella 
Stuart. Remember the old buck of Sherland, and the 
roasted tench I and other good company eat so sauorly 


at your house, and if thou be still a good fellow and an 
honest man, show it now, or be hanged." 

The great event of 1609 to Arbella, however, was what 
amounted to a state progress she made during August 
and September through many of the English counties; 
and of this we can follow almost every step, thanks to the 
carefully kept account book of her steward, Mr. Hugh 
Crompton, a faithful servant of whom we shall hear much 
later. She left Whitehall on Tuesday, the 22nd August, 
and 35. Ad. were " given this daye at the garden gate at 
Whitehall to the poore as my Ladie tooke hir coache to 
come into the country " ; and she supped and slept the first 
night at St. Albans. Of her expenses here a quaint list 
is given : " Soper 2 Ss. 6d. ; breakfast 2 lls. lOd. ; horse 
mete for 20 horses 2 2s. 6d. ; hostelers 2s. Orf. ; musitions 
10s. ; poore at the gates 10s. ; ringers 10s. ; chamblens 5s. ; 
my La. Arrondale's (Arundel's) coatchman l ; a trompeter 
2s. 6d. ; the poore on the way back to St. Albans and 
Toddington 4s. lid." The next stop was at Lady Cheney's 
house at Toddington, near Dunstable, and here she had 
some clothes washed and gave 10s. to the " landy woman," 
besides over 7 to grooms, bakers, butlers, cooks, yeomen, 
porters, " boyes in the kitchen, Clerke of the kitchen, 
and a woman way ted on the chamber." Small wonder 
that money flew when one night's stay required such 
lavish reward, but Arbella was the King's kinswoman, 
and her position had to be maintained. On the 26th 
August she was at Northampton, the next night at Prest- 
wood, and so through Nottingham (where 4s. was spent on 
cake and ale at the alehouse), to Mansfield, where my 
Lady Bowes' "cocheman " came to meet her, and had 
l for his trouble, and Is. for " my Lady Bowes' coach- 
horses meat attending my La. coming there." The 
schoolmaster also presented her with some verses, and was 
rewarded with 6s. At Glapwell the " spring tree of the 
coach " had to be mended at a cost of 6d. ; and Arbella 
graciously spent the time in buying three and a half yards of 
crimson baize for a petticoat at 3s. 4d. a yard : and finally 
she reached Walton Hall, Chesterfield, the residence of her 
friend Lady Bowes, where she remained till the 2nd 


September. Several of her horses needed attention; Is. 
each was paid for shoeing " Bay Briton, Bay Fenton, the 
spotted nag, and the sumpter horses " ; while the " ould 
coach mare " stayed three days in Chesterfield to "be 
dressed of a foote she was pricked," and Is. 6d. was charged 
for her hay. While Arbella was at Walton Hall, my Lord 
of Rutland sent his " musitions " to amuse her, and she 
gave them l for their performance; and another pound 
to the Mayor and Brethren of Chesterfield, who brought her 
a present; while when she left she gave 2 to the poor of 
Chesterfield, and nearly 7 to Lady Bowes' Steward to be 
distributed in the house. 

From Walton Hall Arbella travelled to Sheffield, and 
here, since she came in state and not merely as the Earl's 
niece, great preparations had long been on foot to welcome 
her. On the 29th August Gilbert, being then at Tankyrsley, 
wrote to his Steward : " Harry Butler, Tell Richard the 
cook I would have him stay at Sheffield until I come 
thither, which shall be, God willing, to-morrow at night. 
Tell Moorhouse that my Lady Arbella will be at Sheffield 
some day this week, as I verily think. Fish enough must 
be watered : for there will be an extreme great number in 
the hall every day. Fat beef and fat muttons must be 
had, and the beef in time killed and powdered. Fat 
capons provided and reserved till then, and everything else 
that either Richard or Moorhouse can provide or think 
useful ; and Wyngfield's best advice to be had and followed. 
So in extreme haste I end. Send away this letter to be 
safely delivered to Leigh, speedily, wheresoever he be, for 
it requireth great haste. Send this other letter to Sir 
Charles this day also. . . . G. Sh." 

Whilst at Sheffield, Arbella wrote to Lord Salisbury to 
thank him for his promised influence in obtaining her the 
Irish monopolies she had requested, and at the same time 
her uncle wrote that " My Lady Arbella hath been pleased 
to impart unto me the honourable and favourable care that 
she hath found in your Lordship in her occasions, and 
particularly in that suit of hers touching the wines in 
Ireland, being so full of all due thankfulness for it, as I 
must need obey her commandment by presenting my best 


thanks to your Lordship from my poor self also for the 
same. I perceive her Ladyship doubteth that this same 
suit of hers for wines, and aqua vitae, and usquebagh, called 
also Irish wines, will receive some cross in Ireland, for that 
the same law of restraint of beer and ale are not there that 
are here, and therefore beseecheth that your Lordship will 
grant her furthermore for the King's Majesty's Letters, 
that by precedents from our laws here, prohibition by 
judgment of State may be made there, and this noble Lady 
to have the licensing, the brewing, and the sales of them ; 
as an addition to that good that is so honourably intended 
by your Lordship to her." 

To Sheffield also Sir Charles Cavendish sent over his 
" musition " to play before his niece, who rewarded the 
man with l ; and she gave 2 to Mr. Tuke " for a sermon 
he made by my Ladies command ; " and 305. to Sir Peter 
Fretchvile's keeper for a stag killed in Staveley Park, near 
Chesterfield, and sent after her. Money was given too to 
poor women who brought her fruit; and when she left 
Sheffield her departure was not final, as she meant to stay 
there again on her return journey. Her next destination 
was Melwood Park, the residence of Sir George St. Paul, 
but many difficulties had to be encountered before it was 
reached. Half a mile out of Stockwith the road was so 
broken that three men had to be sent for to mend it, before 
the coach could pass; and this took so long that it was 
almost dark before the party came anywhere near Melwood, 
and then nobody was sure of the road. " A man of Mr. 
Northe's came to guide the gentlewymen that night to 
Melwood," records Crompton; and he was paid 2s. 6d. for 
his trouble, while 3s. 6d. was given for " a boat to pass the 
stuff (baggage) in the coach from Beautrie (Bawtry) to 
Melwood by water in the night." Melwood was the furthest 
point of Arbella's progress, and she stayed there four days, 
and bought a coach horse from Sir Gervase Clifton for 20. 
Some letters had been sent to her by mistake at Welbeck, 
Charles Cavendish's place, and a man of Lord Shrews- 
bury's brought them over to her while she was at Melwood ; 
she had too a present of a stag brought by Sir Edward 


Swifte's keeper. All the time she was there, men were 
diligently at work mending the highway between Melwood 
and Stockwith, and she paid 135. for it ; but when the time 
came for her to return, she preferred after all to go by boat 
down the river at a cost of l. 

Arbella left Melwood on the 13th September for 
Worksop Priory, Notts, and distributed 15s. 6d. to poor 
people on the way. She had ordered some spices to be 
sent to her here, and " a mayde brought my La. a present 
from Sir Bryan Lassells " ; but she only stayed two nights, 
and then drove on to Aston near Sheffield, the seat of John, 
Lord Darcy, for one night more. To the servants and the 
poor at Aston she distributed considerably over 7 ; and 
her next journey, to Chats worth and Buxton, seems to 
have been a very difficult and expensive one. Crompton's 
account book has : " Given to a footman of the Lord 
Darsey's came to guide part of the way that day to Chats- 
worth, 105. 6d. To two guides more that same day on 
the moors to Chatsworth, 6s. To a Farier for bludding 
and drenching Freake's nagg sicke of the staggars, 3s. 
For mending the sompter saddle and long rein to lead him, 
2s. For the sompters and 6 men attending the same from 
Walton to Buxtone lying shorte one night. Their charges 
spent of themselves and their horses came to 9s. 6d." 
Sunday the 17th was spent at Chatsworth ; 6 5s. went in 
tips to the servants there, and next day Arbella proceeded 
to Buxton. She tried the waters here, gave l to " him 
that kept the well," 65. to his man, and another l to two 
women who attended her, besides 135. 4>d. to the poor on 
leaving : and so, on the 20th September she returned again 
to Sheffield. Lord Shrewsbury sent two guides to bring 
her across the moors from Buxton to Sheffield; but the 
going was so rough that her coach broke down, and she 
had to alight, and deigned to drink some ale while " certen 
laborers mended the wayes that day on the mores," and 
got 55. for it ; and IQd. was paid for " a roape the same time 
to bind the coatche." Fortunately Lord Pembroke's 
coach was available, and in this Arbella continued her 
journey, and was welcomed in passing through Sheffield 


by the pealing of the church bells. Her own coach followed 
ignominiously behind, tied up with rope, but she only 
afterwards paid 105. for mending it, and 2s. 6d. for the 
harness, which hardly sounds extravagant. 

Whilst here, Sir George St. Paul sent over another coach 
horse she had ordered from Melwood for 20, and she gave 
l to the man who brought it; while many other curious 
little expenses are noted too : 55. to the gardener for 
44 certen nosegaies he gave my La."; 55. to a piper, 55. 
to " a man of Mrs. Digbie's brought my La. certen pre- 
serves " ; 105. to " a poore woman gave my La. a petition 
in her coatche the day she came thence to Roughford " 
( Ruff or d) ; 55. to " a man brought and delivered my La. 
a pair of small sheeres the same time in her coatche." 
This expedition to Rufford, which Arbella made with her 
aunt Lady Shrewsbury on the 25th, was somewhat in the 
nature of a pious pilgrimage ; for it was at the church here 
that her unfortunate young parents had been married. 
She spent a night at the house of George Markham, Esq., 
gave 5 to the servants there, and went on to Wingfield, 
between Chesterfield and Derby, every inch of the ground 
here recalling the days of her early childhood. At Wing- 
field she stopped another night, and gave nearly 10 in 
tips, besides 105. to a servant of Sir Richard Harper's, 
who brought her " a letter and certen wry tings in a box." 
On the 28th September she drove through Derby, but 
did not stay there, and went for the night to Mr. Farn- 
ham's house, Quarndon, near Loughborough. A carrier 
named Taylor met her in Derby with letters for her from 
London, and she paid him 25. ; and gave besides over 5 
to " the poore of the towne of Derby as my La. passed 
that way," and another 5 to Mr. Farnham's servants. 
The next day she went on to Market Harborough, and 15. 
was paid " for ale my La. dranke " on the way ; 5 " for 
my La. and her companies one night at Harborow," and 
2 95. 7d. for " horsmet ther for 26 horses one night." 
Lord Shrewsbury had sent litter-men and horses to wait 
for her at Wellingborough, but she does not seem to have 
needed them there, but sent them 195. 6d. for waiting two 


nights and a day for her, with instructions to go on to 
Wrest. She stayed two nights at Sir Christopher Yelver- 
ton's house, Easton Manduit, near Wellingborough, dining 
one day at Sir Edmund Conquest's Lodge ; and Sir Chris- 
topher then lent her a man to guide her to Wrest Park, the 
Earl and Countess of Kent's house, where it will be re- 
membered she found a refuge after her disastrous quarrel 
with her grandmother in 1603. She had always been very 
fond of the Kents, and one of the first uses she had made 
of her favour with the new King had been to support the 
Earl's suit for his Ruthin estates in 1604 ; " for the which," 
wrote he ; "as for many her other most honourable favours 
I am and ever will be most thankful unto her for the same." 
Before arriving at Wrest on the 4th October, " the coatch- 
man had his legg broke," and was awarded 2 in compensa- 
tion ; and " the lytter men in reward for their paines " got 
3, besides 13s. 2d. " for their charge lying two nights at 
the towne at Wrest, as may appeare by their bill." From 
Wrest Arbella travelled through Toddington to St. Albans, 
where " soper and dyner " cost 8 155. 6d., and " horsmet 
for XXtie of my La. and X of Sir Henry Gray's " horses 
ran to 2 95. 4>d. : in addition to which 105. was given to a 
footman " who brought worde " that Lady Arundel, 
Arbella's young cousin Alethea, was " brought bedde of a 
son." On the 10th October Arbella was back again at 
Broad Street ; and this journey, which occupied less than 
two months and cost her about 350, marks a distinct 
turning point in her life. Hitherto, if often lonely and 
despised, and never permitted to make choice of her own 
way of life, Arbella had seldom experienced any very 
vivid desire to adopt another, and had been content enough 
to fill the rather colourless part assigned to her at the Courts 
of both Elizabeth and James. But after this journey, her 
mind seems to turn with a rather weary longing towards the 
tranquil joys of a home, however humble, of her own : she 
thought deeply upon the ways and means which could 
make such a dream possible, and in her changed and 
changing state of mind a new and great emotion suddenly 
assailed and mastered her with overwhelming force. 


Through the autumn her need of money grew more and 
more embarrassing. Salisbury had during the summer 
promised her his influence in her suit for the wine-selling 
in Ireland, which practically meant that she was certain 
to obtain it, but all these matters took time ; the King 
was much away, and she herself not so prominently in his 
eye or in his favour as before. On the 2nd November a 
letter appears in the Doquet Book from Sir Thomas Lake 
to the Lord Deputy of Ireland, bidding him " Cause a 
graunte under the great Seale of that Realme to be made 
to the Lady Arbella Stewart, her Deputyes and Assignees, 
wheareby they for 21 yeares shall have privilege to 
nominate such persons as shall sell wynes of any sorte, 
aqua vitae, or usquebagh within that kingdom. Accord- 
ing to a Mynute entered at Large in the private Signet 
booke, dated the 2nd of November "; but by the 17th of 
December this had not yet been confirmed. On that date 
Arbella wrote to Lord Salisbury in somewhat harassed 
manner : " My honourable good Lord, I having been a 
long suitor, as your lordship knows, whose honourable 
favour, I humbly thank you, I have found from time to 
time, I am now advised by some friends of mine, of good 
judgment and experience, to procure the Great Seal of 
England to my book. Both because it will be a furtherance 
to a speedier despatch of this suit in Ireland, and that this 
business must be done and executed by deputation, which 
cannot be done without the Great Seal were first obtained, 
with which also the book may receive alteration and a 
check there. Therefore I humbly beseech your lordship 
that by your favour, on which only I rely, I may obtain 
the Great Seal of England to the book herewith presented 
to your lordship. For whose honour and happiness I 
pray, and so humbly take my leave. From Puddle Wharf, 
the 17th December, 1609. Your lordship's much bounden 
poor friend, Arbella Stuart." 

The signature it will be noted has changed from the calm 

4 Your lordships much bounden and assured friend " of 

her August letter; and other indications are not wanting 

of an impatience, a loosening of interest in these sordid 


necessities, and a profound distaste for the foolish and 
extravagant Court life, together with a firm desire to pay 
all debts, retire from town, and pursue henceforth a quieter 
and more sober existence. It is evident she had been 
making inquiries on the subject of country residences, 
and had expressed something of her wish to her friend 
Isabel, Lady Bowes, with whom she had stayed at Walton 
Hall, near Chesterfield. There is a letter from Lady 
Bowes among the Harleian papers, hitherto unnoticed by 
biographers, dated the 5th December, 1609, and addressed 
" To the right noble and moste worthie Ladie, the Lady 
Arbella, these bee " ; in which allusion is plainly made to 
these inquiries, although it seems as if no immediate hurry 
were anticipated in settling the matter. " Excellent 
Lady," the letter runs, " I humbly thank you that you 
would bee pleased to remember me by your letter. I did 
hope I should have seen your Ladyship in that place before 
this tyme, but some occasion fell out to hinder my coming 
upp for a while : I would be glad to heare howe your 
Ladyship proceeds in your Irish suit, but I long more to 
heare how you keepe you health this wett winter. I did 
not forget to write to my brother St. Poole (St. Paul ?), 
to know what house, or when it shall bee fitted for your 
Ladyship, but I have received no certain answer yett, but 
I will not fail to bring your Ladyship one myself : for I 
hope ere it be long to wait on you there, if the days would 
grow a little longer for travell : in the mean tyme ever I 
cannot forget to pray for your Ladyship's health and happi- 
ness, acknowledging myself more bounde to your Ladyship 
and for your manifoulde favoures than to all the World 
besydes, and soe humbly take my leave, but will never leave 
to love and honour your Ladyship, and so ever reste Your 
honour's in all things, Isabell Bowes." 

Very shortly after Arbella's letter to Salisbury of the 
17th December, she had an interview with him, at which 
she suddenly stated that she had entirely changed her 
mind as to her wishes, and was now prepared to renounce 
the grant of the Irish wines if she might instead have all 
her debts paid. She also hinted that she would be grateful 


could the King increase her allowance to such a sum as 
would reasonably support her; and further that she 
would prefer a thousand a year in money to the " diet " 
allowance from the royal table. All this very plainly 
pointed to a drastic change in her arrangements, and 
Salisbury, considerably startled, begged her to set down 
her requests in writing, which she did thus : " Dec. 1609. 
Where your lordship willed me to set down a note of those 
three things wherein I lately moved you, they are these : 
The first, that I am willing to return back His Majesty's 
gracious grant to me of the wines in Ireland, so as your 
lordship will take order for the paying of my debts, when I 
shall upon my honour inform you truly what they are. 
The next, that His Majesty will be graciously pleased to 
augment my allowance in such sort as I may be able to 
live in such honour and countenance hereafter as may 
stand with His Majesty's honour and my own comfort. 
And lastly, that His Majesty doth now allow me a diet, 
that he will be pleased, instead thereof, to let me have one 
thousand pounds yearly. Some other things I will presume 
to entreat your lordship's like favour in that they may 
stand me in stead ; but, for that they are such as I trust 
your lordship will think His Majesty will easily grant, I 
will now forbear to set them down. Your lordship's poor 
friend, Arbella Stuart." 



(January- July, 1610) 

A FEW days later Arbella was suddenly arrested 9 and 
on the 30th December Chamberlain writes, " I can learn 
no more of the Lady Arbella, but that she is committed 
to the Lady Knyvett, and was yet again before the Lords. 
Her gentleman usher and her waiting-woman are close 
prisoners since her restraint." 

It may well be imagined how the tongues of the Court 
gossips wagged over Arbella's downfall. In her gentle 
way she had been always a little disdainful of their follies 
and frivolities, a little inclined to sit apart to read and 
dream, until they resentfully supposed her indifferent to 
their praise or blame; and now that she stood pilloried 
as a sinner, delicious was the excitement of speculating 
as to her sin. Many believed it a matter of phenomenal 
debts, and desperate and questionable measures to raise 
money : but many more felt certain it was a love affair, 
of course accompanied by disgraceful circumstances. 
The disgrace did not last long, for on the 13th February 
Chamberlain writes again : " The Lady Arbella's business, 
whatsoever it is, is ended, and she restored to her former 
state and grace. The King gave her a cupboard of plate 
better than 200 for a New Year's gift, and a thousand 
marks to pay her debts, besides some yearly addition to 
her income. Want being thought the chief est cause of 
her discontentment, though she be not altogether free 
from the suspicion of being collapsed." All this did not, 
however, put an end to the gossip about the unfortunate 
lady. " Collapsed " is a word that might be held to mean 
many things; that Arbella was thought to be mad, that 

Q 2 227 


she had become a Roman Catholic, or that she had surren- 
dered to a lover. The last guess was nearest the truth, 
but there was no dishonour in it. Judging from what we 
now know, there seems little doubt that in the end of 
1609 Arbella wished to marry. The rearrangement of her 
finances, the desire to renounce her " diet allowance " and 
her last grant in preference for a settled income and the 
payment of her debts, her inquiries through Lady Bowes 
concerning country houses, and most significant of all, 
her hint to Salisbury as to " some other things . . . but, 
for that they are such as I trust your lordship will think 
His Majesty will easily grant, I will now forbear to set 
them down " ; all point in the one direction. It was a 
very reasonable wish, and it is evident that she desired 
no great match, but merely to retire to the country with 
the man of her choice, and to spend the remainder of 
her life in the sympathetic companionship of one with 
whom she had almost every taste in common. In fact, 
tardily but irrevocably, the great romance of Arbella's 
life had dawned. 

She was now thirty-five, but under much repression 
had developed slowly; and in spite of her many suitors, 
her heart, with the exception of that brief and hopeless 
passion for Essex, had never yet been really touched. 
The man who had now won it was twelve years her junior, 
but old for his age and of a studious disposition; " loving 
his book above all other exercise ... of very good parts, 
conversant both in the Latin and Greek languages, and 
of a clear courage." It is easy to understand the appeal 
of such a nature to this woman already growing so deeply 
weary of the witless buffoonery which passed for gaiety 
at her cousin's Court. Strange enough too, the lover she 
had chosen was William Seymour, second son of Lord 
Beauchamp, and the very youth concerning marriage with 
whom she had in desperation written to his grandfather, 
old Lord Hertford, from Hard wick seven years before. 
William was then a schoolboy and the merest name to 
her ; social and political independence were all she needed. 
She considered, rightly enough, that Hertford had at 


that time betrayed her confidence, and she had been upon 
no friendly terms with him or with his son ever since, in 
spite of the fact that their position at the new Court was 
now a fully assured one. The old Earl's long endeavours 
to have the legitimacy of his son officially acknowledged 
would never have met with success in Elizabeth's time, 
but after her death he renewed his suit, which was granted 
by James in 1608, and Lord Beauchamp was pronounced 
his legitimate heir with entail to his eldest son Edward, 
and after him to his second son William. Both young 
men had been educated at Magdalen College, Oxford, and 
had taken their degrees of B.A. in December 1607, after 
which they joined their father at Court, where Arbella 
made their acquaintance. They were now aged twenty- 
five and twenty-three respectively; they had a younger 
brother Francis, and a sister Honora, afterwards married 
to Sir Ferdinand Dudley. Tradition has it that William, 
immersed in study, remained at Oxford, and that it was 
only when the Court came to Woodstock that he met 
Arbella; but though this is quite possible, we have no 
particular proof of it. In any case the lady's hatred for 
old Hertford was not extended to his grandson ; and though 
marriage had not yet been spoken of, a warm liking seems 
to have sprung up between them. She must have felt 
sufficiently sure of his regard for her in December 1609, 
when she asked Salisbury's help in all the changes she 
wished made in her affairs : but it is evident that when 
she began to tell the King of those " some other things " 
at which she had hinted to the great minister, James leapt 
to the conclusion that marriage for Arbella could only 
mean alliance with some European prince, and he instantly 
had her arrested, and forbade her to consider any such 

His reading of the situation and that of all his Court 
is probably well enough represented in the gossiping letter 
of La Boderie, the French Ambassador, to his master; in 
which it is distinctly stated that Arbella wished to marry 
the Prince of Moldavia, and that during the last four or 
five months she had turned from a strict Puritan to a 


high Catholic. She was arrested late in the evening, says 
La Broderie, examined for three hours before the Council, 
and then sent, strictly guarded, to her own apartments, 
where no one was allowed to visit her. Naturally he did 
not fail to deduce scandalous suggestions from these details, 
but the whole story serves only to show how very little 
was really known of Arbella's character by those amongst 
whom she spent her life. She herself, however, kept her 
head wonderfully at this juncture. Having named no 
names, and realizing her cousin's mistake, she hastened 
to use it to her own advantage, gave him her solemn 
promise never to marry a foreigner, and received in return 
his full permission to take as husband any man she pleased, 
so long as he was a loyal subject of the realm. She did 
not immediately tell him that her choice was already made, 
but she seems to have felt honestly assured of her liberty 
henceforth to make and announce it whensoever she chose. 
One subject family only would James have omitted had 
he thought of it, for the Hertford claim to the crown was 
as good as if not better than Arbella's own ; but she had 
always shown so great a dislike to Lord Hertford and all 
his family that this seemed quite unnecessary. She exerted 
herself to please the King at this interview, and was re- 
stored to greater favour than she had enjoyed for some 
time. It seemed wise, however, not to press now for the 
changes she had desired, but to accept gratefully the 
warrant for her diet, which was signed on the 20th January, 
an addition of 600 a year to her income, 200 worth of 
plate for a New Year's gift, and a thousand marks to pay 
her debts. This was generous treatment from James; 
and in addition to it the grant to sell wines in Ireland was 
still pushed diligently forward. A curious note from Sir 
Thomas Lake to Lord Salisbury concerning the signing 
of the above warrant shows how very vague were all the 
Court arrangements and favours, how easily the King 
might have been cheated into signing any grant twice 
over, and on the other hand, how entirely it was at his 
mercy at any time to refuse its renewal altogether. The 
note is also interesting as alluding to the manner in which 


Arbella had of late withdrawn herself as much as possible 
from society. 

" Royston, 20th January, 1609-10 ... At the signing 
of Lady Arbella's Warrant His Majestic was as nice as 
in ye matter of the powder, because your Lo. sayd in your 
letter it was an extraordinary, and wold not be perswaded 
but that she had a dyett before, or an allowance for dyett. 
My best answer was that I thought she had never had 
dyett but in the Queen's presence, and that because she 
had not frequented that it was suppressed long since. 
And that now, considering she had a chamber messe 
before of fowre dishes, this being an addition but of six, 
if then the present dyett was ceased (as I tooke it) His 
Majestic would save by it. Whether I reckon right or 
no, I cannot tell, but His Majestie pleased to signe it." 

Armed with, as they thought, the King's permission, 
Arbella and her young lover dared now to be more explicit 
with one another. On the 2nd February William Seymour 
entered his lady's room, and they spoke openly of their 
love, and seem to have gone through some ceremony of 
formal betrothal. Within the next few days they had 
two more meetings at the houses of friends, but believing 
James to have promised his consent to her union, Arbella 
made little secret of it at the Court, and suddenly both 
she and Seymour were again arrested and sent before 
the Privy Council. On the 15th February, Beaulieu, 
Sir Thomas Edmonde's secretary, writing to Trumbull, 
the British Resident at Brussels, says : " The Lady Arbella, 
who (as you know) was not long ago censured for having 
without the King's privity, entertained a motion of 
marriage, was again within these few days apprehended 
in the like treaty with the Lord of Beauch amp's second 
son, and both were called and examined yesterday at 
the Court about it. What the matter will prove I know 
not, but these affectations of marriage in her do give some 
advantage to the world of impairing the reputation of her 
constant and virtuous disposition." 

William Seymour presents a character of curious con- 


trasts, sometimes audacious to recklessness, at others 
actuated by a caution that was almost cowardly. The 
latter was no doubt natural in a descendant of Lord Hert- 
ford, while the former came through his inheritance of 
Tudor blood. He seems to have been genuinely attached 
to Arbella, and indeed there is no reason why he should 
not have been, for all agree in describing her as charming, 
graceful, good, clever, virtuous, and intelligent; it is true 
she was not rich, but she occupied an important position 
at Court, and many great princes had sued for her hand in 
vain. She was at no pains to conceal the warmth of her 
feeling for him, and it is in fact likely that no man had ever 
dared to speak openly of love to her before, and that the 
ardent outpouring of the young man's passion woke an 
answering fervour in herself; but whilst at her age love, 
once roused, will last for ever, at his it is more easily 
diverted by obstacles and cooled by circumstances. Arrest 
came somewhat as a shock to the young lover, and he was 
quickly persuaded that both for Arbella's sake and his 
own, his wisest course was to make his " submission " as 
soon as possible. On the 20th February, therefore, he 
signed the following letter : 

" To the Right Honourable my most singular good Lords, 
the Lords of His Majesty's most Honourable Privy Council. 
" May it please your good Lordships : Since it is your 
pleasure, which to me shall always stand for law, that I 
should truly relate under my hand those passages which 
have been between the noble Lady Arbella and myself, 
I do here, in these rugged lines, truly present the same to 
your Lordships' favourable censure, that thereby his most 
excellent Majesty may, by your Lordships, be fully satisfied 
of my duty and faithful allegiance (which shall ever be a 
spur to me to expose my life and all my fortunes to the 
extremest dangers for his Highness' service), and that I 
will never attempt anything which I shall have certain 
foreknowledge will be displeasing to him. 

" I do therefore humbly confess that when I conceived 
that noble lady might, with His Majesty's good favour, 


and no just offence, make her choice of any subject within 
this kingdom, which conceit was begotten in me upon a 
general report, after her ladyship last being called before 
your Lordships that it might be ; myself being a younger 
brother, and sensible of mine own good, unknown to the 
world, of mean estate, not born to challenge anything 
by my birthright, and therefore my fortunes to be raised 
by mine own endeavours, and she a lady of great honour 
and virtue, and, as I thought, of great means, I did plainly 
and honestly endeavour lawfully to gain her in marriage, 
which is God's ordinance common to all, assuming myself, 
if I could effect the same with His Majesty's most gracious 
favour and liking (without which I resolved never to pro- 
ceed), that thence would grow the first beginning of all 
my happiness; and therefore I boldly intruded myself 
into her ladyship's chamber in the court on Candlemas 
Day last, at what time I imparted my desire unto her; 
which was entertained, but with this caution on either 
part, that both of us resolved not to proceed to any final 
conclusion without His Majesty's most gracious favour 
and liking first obtained; and this was our first meeting. 
After that we had a second meeting at Mr. Bugg's his 
house, in Fleet Street ; and then a third at Mr. Baynton's ; 
at both which we had the like conference and resolution 
as before. And the next day save one after the last 
meeting, I was convented before your Lordships, when 
I did then deliver as much as now I have written; both 
then and now protesting before God, upon my duty and 
allegiance to his most excellent Majesty, and as I desire 
to be retained in your Lordships' good opinions, there is 
neither promise of marriage, contract, or any other engage- 
ment whatsoever between the lady and myself, nor ever 
was any marriage by me or her intended, unless His 
Majesty's gracious favour and approbation might have 
been first gained therein, which we resolved to obtain 
before we would proceed to any final conclusion, Whereof 
I humbly beseech your Lordships to inform His Majesty 
that by your good means, joined to the clearness of an 
unspotted conscience, and a loyal heart to his Highness, 


I may be acquitted in his just judgment from all opinion 
of any disposition in me to attempt anything distasteful 
or displeasing to His Majesty, as one well knowing that 
the just wrath and disfavour of my sovereign will be my 
confusion, whereas his gracious favour and goodness 
towards me may be the advancement of my poor fortunes. 
And thus, my Lords, according to your commands, I have 
made a true relation of what was required, humbly re- 
ferring the favourable construction thereof to your Lord- 
ships, having, for the further hastening of the truth, and 
ever to bind me thereunto, hereafter subscribed my name 
the 20th of February, 1609 (-10). 


At the same time Arbella wrote to the King begging for 
her release, and accompanied the petition with a letter to 
the Lords of the Council, requesting their intercession for 
her. It is noticeable that in neither of these did she 
deny anything of the solemnity of her compact, but whether 
she may have been hurt or not by Seymour's attitude, her 
indignant rebuke when later he was accused of faithless- 
ness in her presence, should be remembered. " He did 
no more," said she, " than Abraham and Isaac, who both 
disclaimed their wives for a time." In after life Seymour 
showed himself a brave and gallant gentleman, one of 
the most faithful adherents of Charles I in his misfortunes, 
compelling admiration even from his enemies; and one 
would therefore gladly believe his overprudence in this 
matter to have been dictated by a sincere consideration 
for Arbella's welfare rather than a cowardly desire to 
save his own skin. For the time his protestations were 
successful. James was assured that no harm had been 
intended, and both offenders were set free. But Arbella 
meant that the marriage should still take place, and 
Seymour was doubtful as to its expediency. A curious 
letter, discovered by Canon Jackson among the Longleat 
papers, unsigned but addressed to Arbella, is very evidently 
an attempt on Seymour's part to induce her to break the 
engagement. " I am come," it runs, " with a message to 


your ladyship, which was delivered unto me in the presence 
of this gentleman your servant, and therefore your ladyship 
may be assured I will neither add nor diminish, but will 
truly relate unto you what he hath directed me to do, 
which is this. He hath seriously considered of the pro- 
ceedings between your ladyship and himself, and doth 
well perceive, if he should go on therein, it would not only 
prove exceedingly prejudicial to your contentment, but 
extreme dangerous to him, first in regard of the inequality 
of degrees between your ladyship and him, next the King's 
Majesty's pleasure and commandment to the contrary, 
which neither your ladyship nor himself did ever intend 
to neglect. He doth, therefore, humbly desire your lady- 
ship, since the proceeding that is past doth not tie him 
nor your ladyship to any necessity, but that you may 
freely commit each other to your best fortunes, that you 
would be pleased to desist from your intended resolution 
concerning him, who likewise resolveth not to trouble 
you any more in this kind, not doubting but your ladyship 
may have one more fitting for your degree (he having 
already presumed too high), and himself a meaner match 
with more security." 

The coldness and the avowal of mercenary motives in 
Seymour's letter to the Council might easily be explained 
by his anxiety to minimize the importance of the affair, 
to let the King suppose his cousin's feelings had not been 
really engaged, and then when all had blown over, perhaps 
to make a runaway match of it ; but Arbella could scarcely 
deceive herself as to the sentiments by which this private 
letter was inspired. Nevertheless, she seems to have done 
so. She believed Seymour was afraid of bringing disaster 
upon her, and she scorned such fears ; love was worth every 
risk, she held, and she never doubted his feelings to be 
a whit less true and ardent than her own. It would be 
wise certainly to do nothing for some time : James in 
some kindly moment might relent, agree to their desires, 
and keep his promise to her : at any rate he must be 
humoured out of his wrath for the present. If all else 
failed, they could marry secretly later on and take the 


consequences, which (for James had always been kind to 
her) she did not seriously believe would be very terrible. 
So for a time they settled to see but little of one another, 
and Arbella returned with what gay grace she might to 
the Court life she so hated. 

On the 31st March the grant for which she had so long 
wished, to sell wines and usquebagh in Ireland for the 
next twenty-one years, was passed, apparently by her 
wish, in favour of Sir George St. Paul, Kt., and Mr. Yelver- 
ton. These two gentlemen had applied for the permission 
at the same time as herself, and since they were friends of 
hers, and she had stayed in both their houses during her 
progress the preceding summer, it is probable that they 
had arranged the matter thus together, since she also was 
to reap some benefit from the arrangement. The allusions 
to her in the document are all in the highest praise. " A 
personage of extraordinarie ranke and estimation, as is 
the Lady Arbella Stuarte, neere in bloode, and in especialle 
grace and favoure with His Highnesse . . . this noble 
Lady." Evidently Arbella had played her cards well 
with the King, whose warmest favour she now once more 
enjoyed. James was not a far-sighted man, and he be- 
lieved the affair with young Seymour entirely at an end, 
but he was the only person at Court who did so. He had 
hoped that all was hushed up at the time, and that nobody 
had heard of it beyond himself and his Council, but quite 
sufficient had leaked out, and plenty of gossip and conjec- 
ture still obtained upon the subject. People wrote to ask 
Salisbury if it were true, and apparently by the King's 
instructions he denied everything. There is a letter to 
him from Lord Dunfermline at Edinburgh, dated the 31st 
March, thanking him for tidings of Arbella, and adding : 
" We have much talk of her business here, but indeed, 
amongst divers rumours of that matter . . . the most 
constant reporte we had here was of her intention to have 
married a younger son of Lord Beauchamp. This was 
written by sundry there, and by some who might have 
seemed to have responsible knowledge and intelligence of 
Arbella's affairs a great argument not to give trust to 


reports in matters of importance, for on light conjecture 
and weak ground strong assertions will be builded and go 
far ahead." 

The King having been thus lulled into believing all once 
more secure, the next move was for Seymour to make. 
After two or three months' consideration, his fit of unnatural 
caution had passed ; and, his admiration for the gracious 
princess who had deigned to stoop to him burning more 
ardently than ever, he was persuaded that his troth to 
her was of more serious importance than the promise wrung 
from him by the Council. He determined, therefore, at 
all costs, since she was still willing, to make her his wife. 
Seymour's point of view is not after all very difficult to 
understand. Brought up by his grandfather in an absolute 
terror of the royal displeasure, he had yet almost identically 
repeated that grandfather's fault; and when his action 
was instantly followed by arrest and examination before 
the Council, it must have seemed to him that he and 
Arbella were on the verge of suffering even such a miserable 
martyrdom as old Hertford and Katherine Grey. Sey- 
mour was only twenty-three, and a promising career lay 
before him. Naturally he did not relish the thought of 
spending the best years of his life eclipsed in the Tower; 
but he may also have been no less awake to Arbella's 
welfare, nor less anxious to avert from her so dreary a 
fortune as had been the unhappy Katherine's. These 
considerations were quite sufficient to give him pause at 
the first arrest, and even to inspire his letter to Arbella; 
but now, her courage still running so high, and the King's 
affection for her so lavishly displayed, it did not appear 
unreasonable to suppose that all might yet be well. Some- 
thing must be risked of course. James could not be ex- 
pected, after his first anger, so to contradict himself as 
to give open consent to the marriage ; but once it had taken 
place, remonstrance would soon blow over, and the couple 
would be allowed to retire, which was all they asked, to 
some quiet country spot. Seymour's spirits rose buoyantly 
once more. Adventure always attracts the young, and a 
secret marriage with a royal lady promised plenty of it. 


He had a cousin named Edward Rodney, a quick-witted 
youth much disliked by old Hertford, who considered him 
dangerous and subversive, but who to Seymour was the 
very man needed in this affair. Afterwards, when all 
came out and Rodney was examined in his share of the 
plot, he made a full declaration, of which he signed the 
following abstract, which explains with probably fair 
precision how far he had been trusted in it; but since he 
was naturally anxious to excuse himself as much as 
possible, it is likely that he considerably minimized the 
part he played. From what one gathers, he was a fairly 
unscrupulous young man, who would stick at little; and 
Seymour would hardly have asked his help had he been 
really the lamblike and innocent individual he here tries 
to represent himself. 

The Declaration runs as follows : " About Whitsuntide 
meeting with Mr. Seymour at Lambeth, amongst other 
speech which he used to me, it pleased him to acquaint 
me with his resolution concerning his marriage, but so 
sparingly and in such general terms, that he never spake 
unto me of the means, which he used in the reobtaining 
her love, nor once mentioned unto me either Letter, Token, 
Message or ought else which had passed between them, 
only that since it pleased her to entertain the matter, 
having the King's consent to make her own Choice without 
exception, and since he found himself bound in conscience 
by reason of a former pledging of his faith unto her, that 
he resolutely intended it, engaging me by Oath unto him 
that I should not reveal it, until he absolved me, and 
seeming to me to fear no other Lett or Obstacle than his 
grandfather my lord of Hertford. From that time till the 
marriage day, he used no more words to me concerning 
it, at what time he requested me to accompany him to her 
chamber at Greenwich, to be a witness of his marriage there 
to be solemnised, to which I consented, all this while 
nothing doubting of the King's Consent." 

The marriage, itself, however, could not take place for 
some time after Seymour first spoke of it to his cousin. 
Whitsuntide that year fell upon the 27th May, and in the 


beginning of June Arbella was required to take part in 
the magnificent festivities given to celebrate the creation 
of Prince Henry as Prince of Wales. Henry was now 
seventeen, and a greater favourite with the Court and 
people even than before; he was also still much attached 
to Arbella ; and since it was most important that she should 
retain the good graces of all who might stand her friends 
in adversity, it would have been highly unwise to risk 
marriage at this juncture, and perhaps disturb all the 
elaborate rejoicings devised for the occasion. A hundred 
years had passed since the creation of the last Prince of 
Wales, afterwards Henry VIII, whose son Edward VI 
had ascended the throne when only nine years old, and 
had never enjoyed the earlier honour; and nothing, 
therefore, was now spared that could possibly add signi- 
ficance and glory to so illustrious a pageant. The rejoicings 
began with the public entry of the young prince into London 
by water. He landed on May 31st at the Queen's private 
landing stage at Westminster, whence steps led straight 
to the royal apartments in the Palace, and to the Whitehall 
Chamber, at this time used as House of Lords. Here 
he was received by the royal family; but the Investiture 
proper did not take place till the 4th June. It is enthusi- 
astically described in a letter to Mr. Trumbull by John 
Finnett, who afterwards became Master of the Ceremonies 
at James' Court, and already showed great aptitude for 
the part. The ceremony at Westminster, he said, was a 
most stately one, and after it, all went by water to White- 
hall, where the King dined in private, but the Prince in 
the great Hall, and music was played throughout dinner. 
" Next day was given a most glorious Masque, which was 
double. In the first part came in the little Duke of York 
between two great sea-slaves, the chiefest of Neptune's 
servants, attended by twelve little ladies, all daughters 
of Earls or Barons." One slave made a speech to explain 
the Masque, the other handed York a sword worth twenty 
thousand crowns to give Prince Henry, which being done 
and he returned to the stage, " the little ladies danced 
to the amazement of the beholders considering the tender- 


ness of their years. These slight skirmishers having done 
their devoir, in came the princesses, first the Queen, then 
the Lady Elizabeth's Grace, then the Lady Arbella, and the 
Countesses " : and the children's Masque being over, one 
presumes they were sent to bed. Charles, Duke of York, 
though now ten years old, was still extremely delicate, 
but a charming and attractive little boy. William Sey- 
mour must almost certainly have been present at this 
performance, and one wonders if the memory of it came 
back to him that bitter February day in 1649, when he, 
one of the last faithful four, helped to carry the coffin of 
the White King up the snow-strewn steps of St. George's 
Chapel at Windsor. In spite of his weakness, " Baby 
Charles " had a fine spirit, loved sport and mischief, and 
adored his elder brother. A quaint little note he wrote 
to Henry from the country is given in Ellis 's Letters : 

" Sir, Pleas your H, I doe keepe your haires in breath 
(and I have very good sport) I doe wish the King and you 
might see it. So longing to see you, I kisse your hands 
and rest Yours to be commanded, York. 
" To his Hienesse." 

The great Masque was given later in the evening, and 
this, says Finnett, was a " glorious sight." It was called 
" Tethy's Festival or the Queen's Wake," and had been 
written by. Daniel, while the dresses for it were designed 
by Inigo Jones. So great was the crowd desirous of wit- 
nessing it that a rule had to be made permitting no lady 
in the audience to wear a hoop, by means of which a 
hundred extra seats became available. The Ambassadors 
of Spain, Venice and the Netherlands were all present. 
Arbella had played a part in many pageants, but this, 
her last, was perhaps the most magnificent, and surely 
the one in which her heart was least interested. The 
scene represented a wonderful sea-cave filled with glittering 
stalactites, all of which were composed of jewels, and in 
this cave reclined the Queen as Tethys, Queen of the 
Ocean. To her in procession came the nymphs of all the 
English rivers; Princess Elizabeth (who had now taken 


her place at Court) representing the Thames, and Arbella 
the Trent. Arbella's gown, which cost 100,000 and one 
wonders if she ever paid for it sounds extravagantly 
beautiful. " Her head tire was composed of shells and 
coral, and from a great murex shell in the form of the 
crest of an helm, hung a thin waving veil. The upper 
garments had the boddies of sky coloured taffataes, for 
lightness, all embroidered with maritime invention. Then 
had she a kind of half skirt of cloth of silver embroidered 
with gold, all of the ground work cut out for lightness, 
which hung down full, and cut in points. Underneath 
that came a base (of the same as was her body), beneath 
her knee. Her long skirt was wrought with lace, waved 
round about like a river, and on the banks sedge and 
seaweeds, all of gold. Her shoulders were all embroidered 
with the work of the short skirt of cloth of silver, and had 
cypress spangled, ruffed out, and fell in a ruff above the 
elbow. The under sleeves were all embroidered as the 
bodies. Her shoes were of satin, richly embroidered with 
the work of the short skirt " (Nichols). " By the time 
all was done," writes Finnett, " it was high time to go 
to bed, for within half an hour the sun was not setting 
but rising. Howbeit a further time was to be spent in 
viewing and scrambling at one of the most magnificent 
banquets I have ever seen." 

This Masque was given on the 5th June, and soon after 
it the Court moved to Greenwich. On the night of the 
21st, William Seymour and his friend Rodney followed 
in its train ; after which, further happenings may be set 
down in the words of Seymour's own confession, signed by 
him little more than a week later. 

"The Examination of Willy am Semar Esq, before the 
Lords of His Majesty's Privy Council, the 8th of July, 
1610. He confesseth that upon Friday was fortnight he 
was married unto the Lady Arbella at Greenwich, in the 
chamber of the said Lady Arbella there. That there was 
present one Blagew, son to the Dean of Rochester, who 
was the minister that married them ; there were also present 
one Edward Rodne; Crompton, gent, usher to the Lady 


Arbella; Edward Kyrton and Edward Reve; Mrs. Biron 
and Mrs. Bradshawe, two servants to the Lady Arbella. 
The marriage was on the Friday morning beforesaid, 
between four and five of the clock, but without any license, 
as he confesseth. He saith he came to Greenwich on the 
Thursday at night, about twelve of the clock, accompanied 
with the said Rodne and Kyrton, and did sit up in the 
Lady Arbella her chamber all the night until they were 

Had fortune smiled upon her birth, Arbella might have 
been Queen of England in her own right ; or by alliance, 
Duchess of Lennox, Duchess of Parma, Duchess of Hoi- 
stein, Princess of Nassau, Queen of Poland, Queen of 
Spain, Queen of France, or even (by marriage with her 
cousin James) Queen of Great Britain. All of these unions 
had been proposed for her and all had passed her by, 
without drawing so much as one sigh of regret from herself. 
But now, long past the romance time of her girlhood, she 
laid all the garnered sweetness of her warm and tender 
nature in the hands of the man whom she so truly loved, 
plain Mr. William Seymour. 



(July 1610-March 1611) 

FRIDAY is held an unlucky day for weddings, and the 
22nd June that year fell upon a Friday. But once man 
and wife, Arbella and Seymour both went quietly back to 
their duties at Court, and waited to see what fortune would 
bring them. It was not much. Their secret leaked out 
almost immediately, nobody knew exactly how, and perhaps 
the young couple themselves were not really very sorry. 
The storm had to be faced, and the sooner it was over the 

On the 8th July both were once more arrested; and as 
Carleton wrote to Win wood, " The great match which was 
lately stolen betwix the Lady Arbella and young Beau- 
champ provides them both of safe lodgings : the lady close 
prisoner at Sir Thomas Parry's house at Lambeth, and 
her husband in the Tower." In addition to this, Crompton 
and Reeves were committed to theMarshalsea in Southwark, 
Blague was sent to the Gate House in Westminster, and 
every one concerned was called up for examination before 
the Council. James was very angry, and no wonder, for 
he felt that he had been deceived. But Arbella and her 
husband had expected all this, and were ready to meet it 
with patience : after everything had been thoroughly 
sifted, and the King's rage had had time to cool, they hoped 
to win his pardon, and slip quietly away to the country life 
to which they had so looked forward. It was a hateful 
and disturbing means of earning their happiness, but it 
seemed the only way; and James, unlike Elizabeth, had 
never shown himself inimical to marriage in the abstract. 
So far as Arbella was concerned, she had never denied the 

E 2 243 


contract of Candlemas, which to her was so binding that the 
actual marriage ceremony merely clinched it, and she 
had held herself Seymour's wife before God from that day ; 
but Seymour had explicitly stated in writing that no such 
contract had taken place, holding perhaps all fair in love 
and war, and arguing also that if he had admitted the bond 
at that stage, it could still have been broken, but once the 
marriage ceremony was over, it could not. Nevertheless 
this double dealing had placed him in something of a dis- 
honourable position, and roused a very just indignation 
in the King; and James, like all weak men, could be 
obstinate as a mule if he imagined advantage to have been 
taken of his good nature. However, the culprits went 
obediently to prison, and did not really suppose their 
punishment would last for very long. 

Sir Thomas Parry, to whose safe keeping Arbella was 
committed, was Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, 
and his house was at Lambeth, described in Norden's 
Survey as, "A fair dwelling house, strongly built, of three 
stories high, and a fair staircase breaking out from it of 
nineteen feet square." It stood on the river Thames, and 
had a large garden, in which Arbella was permitted to walk : 
she also had her own set of apartments, was allowed certain 
of her own women to wait upon her, could correspond with 
her friends and have such books and amusements as she 
required ; and on the whole her lot seems to have been by 
no means rigorous. The warrant sent to Parry runs : 
" After our very hearty commendations. Whereas it is 
thought fit that the Lady Arbella should be restrained of 
her liberty, and choice is made of you to receive her and 
lodge her in your house ; These are therefore to give you 
notice thereof, and to require you to provide convenient 
lodging for her to remain under your charge and custody, 
with one or two of her women to attend her, without access 
of any other person unto her until His Majesty's pleasure 
be further known. And this shall be unto you a sufficient 
warrant." It is signed by six members of the Council. 

Seymour meanwhile went to the Tower, but he too was 
treated with no special severity. He was at first lodged 


with Sir William Waad in the Lieutenant's Tower till a 
suitable set of apartments was made ready for him in 
St. Thomas's Tower over Traitors' Gate, looking out upon 
Raleigh's Walk on the inner side, and upon the river on 
the outer. These were extremely handsome rooms, but 
they had no furniture or hangings, which prisoners were 
expected to supply for themselves, as well as to contribute 
an allowance for their food. Seymour had no money of his 
own, but though he did not really suppose he should stay 
very long in the Tower, no young man was ever more 
determined to be comfortable. He demanded an allowance 
from his grandfather, and with the King's consent (for 
Lord Hertford dared not move without it), 50 a quarter 
was provided for his maintenance. Seymour then ordered 
Waad with an arrogance more suitable in gaoler than 
prisoner to purchase hangings for him, and according to 
the Tower accounts Waad got five handsome pieces of 
tapestry at 10 a piece from an upholsterer named Jennings. 
One of these Seymour cut right across the middle to fit above 
a fireplace ; and as he had not yet paid for them, and in the 
end never did do so, Waad became furiously angry and 
refused to be responsible for any more purchases. " The 
Villain Waad," as Raleigh called him, who had been a cruel 
tyrant to many noble gentlemen imprisoned in the Tower 
under his Lieutenantship, seems to have met his match in 
William Seymour; who after this sent to Arbella's villa 
at Hackney and ordered everything he required silver, 
linen, candlesticks, trenchers, kitchen necessities, etc. to 
be sent up to him ; and probably by her orders they were 
immediately despatched. Having thus provided himself 
with every possible luxury, this audacious young man took 
leave of the angry Lieutenant and entered into possession 
of his own quarters. 

A great many famous and noble men were imprisoned 
in the Tower at this time, and Seymour no doubt came in 
contact with them all. But his thoughts seem only to 
have been for himself and his own comfort, and no warm 
fellowship of great souls in misfortune is recorded of him. 
A solitary anecdote, told of the Puritan minister Melville, 


who four years before had been sent to the Tower for 
speaking disrespectfully of the altar in the Chapel Royal, 
redounds more to the cheerful spirit of the poor Puritan 
than to the courtesy of Seymour, whose rejoinder is not 
given, if indeed he felt sufficient interest to make one. 
Melville received him with the quaint quip, 

"Communis tecum mihi causa est carceris ; Ara- 
Bella tibi causa est araque sacra mihi." 

which has been rendered into English as 

" From the same cause my woe proceeds as thine ; 
Thy altar lovely is, and sacred mine." 

Arbella meanwhile thought little of herself, much of her 
poor servants, and most of Seymour. She wrote many 
letters during her imprisonment, but since few of them are 
dated, their chronology can only be determined by their 
contents, and this is not always easy. Her plea to the 
King was probably the first she wrote, and in this it should 
be noticed that, rather than irritate him by mention of her 
married name, she signs her initials only, these being the 
same as before. An old saw has it that " Change the name 
and not the letter, change for the worse and not the 
better " ; and in poor Arbella's case this seems to have been 
true enough. Here is the letter 

44 1 do most heartily lament my hard fortune that I should 
offend your Majesty the least, especially in that whereby 
I have long desired to merit of your Majesty, as appeared 
before your Majesty was my Sovereign. And though your 
Majesty's neglect of me, my good liking (love) of this 
gentleman that is my husband, and my fortune drew me to 
a contract before I acquainted your Majesty, I humbly 
beseech your Majesty to consider how impossible it was 
for me to imagine it could be offensive unto your Majesty, 
having few days before given me your Royal consent to 
bestow myself on any subject of your Majestys (which 
likewise your Majesty had done long since). Besides, never 
having been either prohibited any or spoken to for any in 
this land by your Majesty these 7 years that I have 
lived in your Majesty's house, I could not conceive that 


your Majesty regarded my marriage at all; whereas if 
your Majesty had vouchsafed to tell me your mind and 
accept the freewill offering of my obedience, I could not have 
offended your Majesty, of whose gracious goodness I 
presume so much that if it were as convenient in a worldly 
respect as malice may make it seem to separate us whom 
God hath joined, your Majesty would not do evil that good 
might come thereof, nor make me, that have the honour 
to be so near your Majesty in blood, the first precedent 
that ever was, though our Princes may have left some as 
little imitable for so good and gracious a King as your 
Majesty, as David's dealing with Uriah. But I assure 
myself if it please your Majesty in your own wisdom to 
consider thoroughly of my cause, there will be no solid 
reason appear to debar me of justice and your princely 
favour, which I will endeavour to deserve whilst I breathe. 
And never ceasing to pray for your Majesty's felicity in 
all things, continue Your Majesty's A. S." 

Anne of Denmark seems to have tried, good-naturedly 
enough, to intercede with her husband for the prisoner, 
for on the 22nd July Arbella wrote her a grateful note : 
" May it please your most Excellent Majesty, -Since I am 
debarred the happiness of attending your Majesty or so 
much as to kiss your Royal hands, to pardon my presump- 
tion in presenting your Majesty in this rude form my most 
humble thanks for your Majesty's gracious favour and 
mediation to his Majesty for me. Which your Majesty's 
goodness (my greatest comfort and hope in this affliction) 
I most humbly beseech your Majesty to continue. So 
praying to the Almighty to reward your Majesty with all 
honour and felicity both in your Royal self and yours, in 
all humility I cease. From Lambeth, the 22nd of July, 
1610. Your Majesty's most humble and dutiful Subject 
and servant, Arbella Seymour." 

The following was probably sent at the same time, it 
also being dated July 1610 : "To the Right Honourable 
the Lords of his Majesty's most Honourable Privy Council. 
Right Honourable and my very good Lords, -I humbly 


beseech you give me leave to become an humble suitor 
to you to let his Majesty understand my hearty sorrow for 
his Majesty's displeasure. And that it will please your 
Honours to become intercessors to his Majesty for me, 
whose error I assuredly hope his Majesty of his own gracious 
disposition will, by your good means, rather pardon than 
any further expiate with imprisonment or other affliction. 
Which and more, if it were to do his Majesty service or 
honour, I should endure with alacrity; but this is very 
grievous, especially as a sign of his Majesty's displeasure, 
on whose favour all my worldly joy as well as fortune 
dependeth. Which if I may reobtain, all the course of 
my life hereafter shall testify my dutiful and humble 
thankfulness, Arbella Seymaure." Indorsed : " Lady 
Arbella to the Lords, that it will please them to be a means 
to his Majesty for her." 

On the 16th July, troubled concerning her servants and 
her debts, she wrote to her ever faithful friend and uncle, 
the Earl of Shrewsbury : " If it please your lordship, 
there are divers of my servants with whom I thought never 
to have parted whilst I lived, and none that I am willing 
to part with. But since I am taken from them, and know 
not how to maintain either myself or them, being utterly 
ignorant how it will please his Majesty to deal with me, I 
were better to put them away now than towards winter. 
Your lordship knows the greatness of my debts, and my 
unableness to do for them either now or at Michaelmas, 
I beseech your lordship let me know what hope you can 
give me of his Majesty's favour, without which I and all 
mine must live in great discomfort, and make me so much 
bound to you, as both yourself and by means of any that 
you take to be my friends or pity me, to labour the re- 
obtaining of his Majesty's favour to me. So humbly 
thanking your lordship for the care it pleaseth you to have 
of me and mine, and for your honourable offer, I humbly 
cease. From Lambeth, the 16th July, 1610. The poor 
prisoner, your niece, Arbella Seymaure. 

" P.S. The bay gelding and the rest are at your lord- 
ship's commandment." 


Shrewsbury seems to have done what he could for her, 
for she writes to him again on the 19th July : "I acknow- 
ledge myself much bound to your lordship for your care 
in disposing of my servants, but I cannot guess what to 
do with any of them till I know how his Majesty is inclined 
towards me. Therefore I again very humbly and earnestly 
beseech your lordship to move his Majesty on his return 
to be gracious to me. That according to his Majesty's 
answer and disposition towards me, I may take order for 
my servants or anything else concerning me. So with 
humble thanks I take my leave. 

" P.S. I pray your lordship remember me humbly to 
my aunt." 

Later it is evident that she had received disquieting 
news concerning Hugh Crompton, her faithful steward, 
one in whom she placed all her confidence, and in whose 
hands too lay most of her business affairs. Her uncle 
wrote to Salisbury that, " If Crompton should perish, the 
poor lady would be infinitely distressed, he being the man 
in whom she most reposed her trust touching her debts " ; 
while she herself in great dismay appealed to the Council 
on the 10th August : " Right Honourable and my very 
good Lords, I am constrained to trouble you rather than 
be guilty of the danger of life wherein Hugh Crompton and 
Edward Reeves, two of my servants, lately committed 
to the Marshalsea for my cause, remain. I am informed 
divers near that prison, and in it, are lately dead, and divers 
others sick of contagious and deadly diseases. Wherefore 
I humbly beseech your honours to commiserate their 
distress, and consider that they are servants, and account- 
able for divers debts and reckonings, which, if they should 
die, would be a great prejudice to me and others. And 
therefore I humbly beseech you to move unto his Majesty 
my most humble suit, and theirs, that it will please his 
Majesty they may be removed to some other healthful air. 
Arbella Seymaure." 

This letter is dated from Millbrook, showing that 
Arbella was not kept so closely to the house at Lambeth, 
but that during the hottest days of summer she might still 


enjoy some change of air. Nor was her imprisonment 
rigorously strict in other ways. She certainly corre- 
sponded with her husband through a servant, " Smyth," 
and one of her early letters to him is to be seen among the 
Harleian MSS., though unfortunately it is the only one, 
and none of his replies have been discovered. It is a 
loving and courageous little letter, and reading between 
the lines, it is easy to see that Seymour took his confine- 
ment hardly, grumbling at every little inconvenience, 
and considering himself ill-used even with all the latitude 
allowed him. There is a faint hint at reproach for neglect 
at the end of it, which may or may not have been deserved, 
since it is possible that all letters passing between the pair 
may not have been safely delivered. " Sir ," runs the 
letter, " I am exceeding sorry to hear you have not been 
well. I pray you let me know truly how you do, and what 
was the cause of it, for I am not satisfied with the reason 
Smith gives for it. But if it be a cold, I will impute it 
to some sympathy betwixt us, having myself gotten a 
swoln cheek at the same time with a cold. For God's 
sake, let not your grief of mind work upon your body. 
You may see by me what inconveniences it will bring one 
to. And no fortune, I assure you, daunts me so much as 
that weakness of body I find in myself, for si nous vivons 
Vdge (Tun veau, as Marot says, we may by God's grace be 
happier than we look for in being suffered to enjoy ourselves 
with his Majesty's favour. But if we be not able to live 
to it, I, for my part, shall think myself a pattern of mis- 
fortune in enjoying so great a blessing as you so little a 
while. No separation but that deprives me of the comfort 
of you, for wheresoever you be, or in what state soever you 
are, it sufnceth me you are mine. Rachel wept, and would 
not be comforted, because her children were no more ; and 
that indeed is the remediless sorrow, and none else. And 
therefore God bless us from that, and I will hope well of 
the rest, though I see no apparent hope. But I am sure 
God's book mentioneth many of His children in as great 
distress that have done well after, even in this world. I 
assure you, nothing the State can do with me can trouble 


me so much as this news of your being ill doth. And you 
see when I am troubled, I trouble you too with tedious 
kindness, for so I think you will account so long a letter, 
yourself not having written to me for this good while so 
much as how you do. But, sweet sir, I speak not this to 
trouble you with writing, but when you please. Be well, 
and I shall account myself happy in being your faithful, 
loving wife, Arbella." 

Although Arbella assiduously wrote to the King, Queen, 
Council, and all who might put forth any influence to help 
her, she did not really expect that anything could be done 
before the formal inquiry into her case. This seems to have 
been considerably delayed, and there is no record as to 
when it was actually concluded, though the examination 
of " Willyam Semar " is dated the 8th July. Possibly 
it took time to trace all the actors in the affair, Rodney 
at least having escaped, though he must have been pro- 
duced to make his " Declaration before the Council," 
quoted in the last chapter. At last, however, all deposi- 
tions had been made, and after waiting a reasonable time, 
Arbella addressed the following gentle reminder to the 
Council : "I humbly beseech your Lordships, now that by 
examination of all parties the error for which we suffer his 
Majesty's displeasure must needs appear neither greater 
nor less than it is, to give me leave to become an humble 
suitor to your Lordships with the relation thereof to testify 
unto his Majesty my hearty sorrow for his Majesty's 
displeasure. Restraint from liberty, comfort and counsel 
of friends, and all the effects of imprisonment, are in them- 
selves very grievous and inflicted as due punishments for 
greater offences than mine. But that which makes them 
most heavy to me is that they proceed from his Majesty's 
displeasure, whose favour was not only my stay and hope, 
but greatest joy. If our punishment were to do his 
Majesty service or honour, I should endure imprisonment 
and my affliction with patience and alacrity; but being 
inflicted as a sign of his Majesty's displeasure, it is very 
grievous for us, whose error we hope his Majesty, in his 
own gracious disposition will rather pardon than any 


further expiate with affliction. And by God's grace the 
whole course of our life hereafter shall testify our dutiful 
and humble thankfulness." 

No notice was taken of this petition, and as the autumn 

months dragged on Arbella realized that the punishment 

allotted her was oblivion. She was to be ignored by all. 

Not physically ill-treated, and with no tangible hardships 

of which to complain, she was to see or hear nothing of her 

husband James was unaware of their correspondence 

and to be treated as dead or banished by her royal relatives, 

by the King's Council, and by all the Court. To this she 

would not tamely submit. Misfortune is a stern test of 

friendship, but many had vowed attachment to her in 

prosperity who must now be put to the proof. First she 

endeavoured once more to gain the King's ear through his 

wife, and in October wrote again to Queen Anne, pointing 

out " the condition of my present estate and hard fortune. 

Now, to whom may I so fitly address myself with confidence 

of help and mediation as to your royal person (the mirror 

of our sex), and ... in a cause of this nature so full of 

pity and commiseration, I will wholly rely upon your 

princely goodness, whom I humbly beseech to vouchsafe 

to enter into a gracious consideration of the true estate of 

my case and fortune, and then I nothing doubt but that 

in the true nobleness of your royal mind your Majesty will 

be pleased to mediate for me in such sort as in your most 

princely wisdom and favour the same shall be moved." 

Grown bolder, and with a pride in misfortune, Arbella here 

signs her married name in full; and on the back of the 

letter are scribbled these three sentences. " The loss of thy 

late sister hath honoured thee with the service of my fair 

flower. J'ai perdu ta successeur mais non pas tu. La 

perte de ta soeur te portrait 1'honneur d'etre serviteur de 

ma belle fleur." She may herself have written them, and 

they may contain allusion to some secret between the two 

ladies by which she hoped to claim a warmer sympathy 

from her cousin's wife ; but it is also possible they may be 

part of some cipher which had no connection with her, or 

even of some game, for which the back of an old letter 

proved handy for the moment. 


Arbella took enormous pains with the composition of 
all the letters and petitions she wrote at this time : pro- 
bably she had little else with which to occupy her thoughts, 
but her literary taste was always good and not easily 
satisfied. She made several drafts of each letter before it 
was sent, and all are full of erasures, crossed-out words and 
sentences, and altered epithets. Her handwriting varies 
much with her state of mind, and it is curious to notice 
how, the more agitated her thoughts, the larger and more 
scrawling becomes her handwriting. The fair copies she 
finally sent, however, were almost invariably neat and 
carefully finished. The petition she enclosed to the Queen 
for James was probably the following, but since many were 
sent from Lambeth and none are dated, it is impossible 
now to be absolutely certain 


" The unfortunate estate where unto I am fallen by being 
deprived of your Majesty's presence (the greatest comfort 
to me on earth), together with the opinion of me conceived 
of your Majesty's displeasure towards me, hath brought 
as great affliction to my mind as can be imagined. Never- 
theless, touching the offence for which I am now punished, 
I most humbly beseech your Majesty (in your most princely 
wisdom and judgment) to consider in what a miserable 
state I had been if I had taken any other course than I 
did, for my own conscience witnessing before God that I 
was then the wife of him that now I am, I could never have 
matched with any other man, but to have lived all the 
days of my life as an harlot, which your Majesty would 
have abhorred in any, especially in one who hath the 
"honour (how otherwise unfortunate soever) to have any 
drop of your Majesty's blood in them. But I will trouble 
your Majesty no longer, but in all humility attending your 
Majesty's good pleasure for that liberty (the want whereof 
depriveth me of all health and all other worldly com- 
fort), I will never forget to pray for your Majesty's 
most happy prosperity for ever in all things, and so 

" Your Majesty's most faithful subject and servant." 


Queen Anne, a kind-hearted woman for all her foolish 
vanities, seems to have been genuinely sorry for her gentle 
cousin, and apparently replied to her through Lady Jane 
Drummond, for Arbella's next letter is addressed to that 
lady, and was either sent in duplicate, or by mistake she 
enclosed with it the rough copy. It runs : " Good Cousin, 
I pray you do me the kindness to present this letter of 
mine in all humility to her Majesty, and with all my most 
humble and dutiful thanks for the gracious commisera- 
tion it pleaseth her Majesty to have of me as I hear to my 
great comfort. I presume to make suit to her Majesty, 
because, if it please her Majesty to intercede for me, I 
cannot but hope to be restored to her Majesty's service 
and his Majesty's favour, whose just and gracious dis- 
position, I verily think, would have been moved to com- 
passion ere this by the consideration both of the cause, 
in itself honest and lamentable, and of the honour I have 
to be so near his Majesty and his in blood, but that it is 
God's will her Majesty should have a hand in so honourable 
and charitable a work as to reobtain his Majesty's favour 
to one that esteemeth it her greatest worldly comfort. 
So, wishing you all honour and happiness, I take leave, 
and remain, your very loving cousin, A. S." 

To this came the reply : " Madame, I received your 
ladyship's letter, and with it another paper which has just 
the same words that was in the letter, but your ladyship 
did not command me to do anything with it, so as I cannot 
imagine to what use you sent it, always I shall keep it till I 
know your ladyship's pleasure. Yesterday being Sunday, I 
could have little time to speak with her Majesty, but this 
day her Majesty hath seen your ladyship's letter. Her 
Majesty says that when she gave your ladyship's petition 
and letter to his Majesty, he did take it well enough, but 
gave no answer than that ye ' had eaten of the forbidden 
tree.' This was all her Majesty commanded me to say 
to your ladyship in this purpose, but withal did remember 
her kindly to your ladyship, and sent you this little token 
in notice of the continuation of her Majesty's favours to 
your ladyship. Now, where your ladyship desires me to 


deal openly and freely with you, I protest I can say nothing 
on knowledge, for I never spake to any of that purpose but 
to the Queen, but the wisdom of this state, with the 
example how some of your quality in the like cause has 
been used, makes me fear that ye shall not find so easy 
end to your troubles as ye expect or I wish. This is all I 
can say, and I should think myself happy if my notions 
could give better testimony of my truly being your lady- 
ship's affectionate friend to do you service, Jane 

The tone of this was gloomy and little encouraging, but 
Arbella was grateful for the Queen's favour, and refused 
to be intimidated. She believed that her cau'se had only 
to be fairly heard to be judged in her favour, and she 
replied at once, enclosing for the Queen a gift of the 
embroidery at which her slender fingers were always so 
skilful : " Good Cousin, I pray you present her Majesty 
my most humble thanks for the token of the continuance 
of her Majesty's favour towards me that I received in your 
letter, which hath so cheered me as I hope I shall be the 
better able to pass over my sorrow till it please God to move 
his Majesty's heart to compassion of me, whilst I may 
thereby assure myself I remain in her Majesty's favour, 
though all other worldly comforts be withdrawn from me ; 
and will not cease to pray to the Almighty to reward her 
Majesty for her gracious regard of me in this distress with 
all happiness to her royal self and hers. I pray you 
likewise present her Majesty this piece of my work, which 
I humbly beseech her Majesty to accept in remembrance 
of the poor prisoner, her Majesty's most humble servant, 
that wrought them, in hope those royal hands will vouch- 
safe to wear them, which till I have the honour to kiss, I 
shall live in a great deal of sorrow. I must also render you 
my kindest thanks for your so friendly and freely imparting 
your opinion of my suit. But whereas my good friends may 
doubt my said suit will be more long and difficult to obtain 
than they wish by reason of the wisdom of this state in 
dealing with others of my quality in the like cause, I say 
that I never heard nor read of anybody's case that might 


be truly and justly compared with this of mine, which, 
being truly considered, will be found so far differing as 
there can be no true resemblance made thereof to any 
others; and so I am assured that both their Majesties 
(when it shall please them duly to examine it in their 
princely wisdoms) will easily discern. And I do earnestly 
entreat you to move her Majesty to vouchsafe the con- 
tinuance of her so gracious a beginning on my behalf, and 
to persuade his Majesty to weigh my cause aright, and then 
I shall not doubt but speedily to receive that royal grace 
and favour that my own soul witnesseth I have ever de- 
served at his hands, and will ever endeavour to deserve 
of him and his whilst I have breath. And so, with many 
thanks to yourself for your kind offices, I take leave, and 
rest, your very loving cousin, Arbella Seymaure." 

But the optimistic mood passed; and after, it seems, 
a long pause none of these Drummond letters are dated 
follows the anxious little note : " Good Cousin, I think 
myself as much beholden to you as if my man had brought 
me assurance of his Majesty's favours by her Majesty's 
means, because I find your kindness in remembering me 
and preventing suspicions. But I cannot rest satisfied 
till I may know what disaster of mine hindreth his 
Majesty's goodness towards me, having such a mediatrix 
to plead so just and honest a cause as mine. Therefore 
I pray you with all earnestness let me know freely what hath 
been done concerning me. So, wishing you all honour and 
happiness, I take leave. Yours." This is indorsed, 
" Two letters by Smith now." 

Autumn passed into winter, and James took no notice 
of his erring cousin. Echoes of Court gaieties floated to 
her in the quiet house at Lambeth, and though she cared 
nothing for such doings, it must have hurt her more than 
a little to note how few who had flattered and paid fulsome 
attentions to her in brighter days seemed even to remember 
her existence now. Sometimes she bitterly thought herself 
forgotten of all, but this was scarcely true. A very Stuart, 
even in misfortune she held the power of inspiring the 
warmest devotion in those about her : Sir Thomas Parry, 


her so-called gaoler, made circumstances as easy and 
pleasant as he could for her, reading a leniency into his 
instructions they were never intended to bear : while from 
her former life came many an instance of unswerving 
faithfulness. Hugh Crompton, her steward, as we shall 
see, never ceased his efforts for her release ; Anne Bradshaw, 
her maid, would not leave her side ; and the most pathetic 
tale of all is told by Lucy, Mrs. Hutchinson, of her husband's 
mother, Margaret Byron. Arbella had taken a fancy to 
Margaret when she was only nine years old, had taken her 
to Court as her maid of honour, and her fondness for the 
girl, who was a poet and musician of no mean order, 
had wakened in return a passionate attachment. Mrs. 
Hutchinson says in her Memoirs : " She minded nothing 
but her lady, and grew up so intimate in all her councils 
that the princess was more delighted in her than in any 
other of the women about her ; but when she (the princess) 
was carried away from them to prison, my lady's brother, 
Sir John Byron, fetched her home to his house, and there, 
though his lady laboured to comfort her with all imaginable 
kindness, yet so constant was her friendship to the un- 
fortunate princess that I have heard her servants say even 
after her marriage she would steal many melancholy hours 
to sit and weep in remembrance of her." Margaret Byron 
married Sir Thomas Hutchinson, and was only twenty-six 
when she fell dead one day in the midst of a song. 

Arbella, however, had more powerful friends than these. 
It is scarcely likely that she omitted to beg for Salisbury's 
influence more personally than in her formal petitions to 
the Council, of which he was a member ; but though a 
much later letter of hers is supposed to have been intended 
for him, we have none of this date. No doubt, however, 
many letters have been lost, or may yet be discovered 
amongst old family papers. The Shrewsburys stood faith- 
fully by her, but they do not seem to have been able to 
accomplish much : indeed, Lady Shrewsbury's efforts 
seem to have been indiscreet, and to have led only to ill- 
feeling. She did not like Seymour, nor he her; but she 
would have done much for her old favourite Arbella. 


As to Seymour's own family, one member only, his younger 
brother Francis, seems to have been in any sympathy with 
the prisoners. Old Lord Hertford was too miserably 
fearful lest the King might think him concerned in his 
grandson's presumption ; and beyond exculpating himself, 
and begging for William's pardon, his only personal inter- 
course with the young man was in reference to the allowance 
William extracted from his reluctant pocket. Lord 
Beauchamp, the culprit's father, appears almost a cypher ; 
one never hears of his taking any action, kind or cruel, in 
this or any other affair; and with regard to his elder son 
Edward history is equally silent. But Francis must have 
openly showed kindness, for letters from both his brother 
and Arbella are extant, thanking him for his sympathy 
and goodwill ; and Arbella, who addresses, " To my 
honourable good brother Mr. Francis Seymour," speaks 
emphatically of her William's constancy, and hopes that 
" howsoever higher powers cross the greatest part of my 
happiness in depriving me for a time of your dear brother, 
my husband, I may not be altogether a stranger to your 
family, and yourself in particular, whose extraordinary 
kindness in this time shall be requited, God willing, with 
the redoubled love of so near alliance and obligation. I 
will endeavour to make my patience deserve excuse, if 
not consideration, at your hands ; but it is the virtue I wish 
may be best put to the proof in my friends, of all others." 
Seymour, whose letter is dated the 4th November, gives 
his brother thanks too, but spends most of his space 
grumbling at his grandfather, and at the conduct of Lady 
Shrewsbury. As for the latter, he says : " I can expect 
no good from her, since I am credibly informed that she 
doth more harm than good, as I can in some particulars 
evidently prove; but I am not deceived in her, since I 
never expected other from her." For a prisoner, Seymour 
seems to have been allowed a good deal of latitude from 
the outset, but it did not content him, and it was probably 
about this time that, declaring his health to have suffered 
seriously from the confinement, he addressed his first 
petition to the Council to request the " liberty of the 


Tower." Hitherto he had left all pleas and persuasions 
to his wife, his excuse for which seems more than a little 
lame. " May it please your Lordships," he writes now, 
44 Since his Majesty is so highly offended with me that I dare 
not as yet (fearing farther to incur his Majesty's disfavour) 
offer any manner of petition to his Princely hands, before 
the way be made more easy, I only address myself to your 
honourable Lordships, being now bereft of my nearest 
friends, through his Majesty's indignation, humbly be- 
seeching you to be intercessors to his Majesty, that it would 
please him of his gracious and accustomed bounty to 
restore me to his most wished for favour and my former 
liberty ; or if that may seem too large a suit, that it would 
please his Majesty in the meantime to grant me the liberty 
of this place, to the recovering of my former health, which 
through my long and close imprisonment is much decayed 
and will not easily, I fear me, be repaired, whereof the 
Lieutenant can well certify your Lordships. I must 
confess I have offended his Majesty, which is my greatest 
sorrow, yet I hope not in that measure that should deserve 
my utter ruin and destruction, since I protest my offence 
was committed before I knew it to be an offence. Where- 
fore I humbly beseech your Lordships, since the bottom of 
this wound is searched, to be a means that it may be 
healed. Thus relying on your Lordships' honourable 
dispositions, I humbly take my leave, resting all ways To 
be commanded by yr Lordships, W. S." 

It would seem that Seymour's prayer was granted, for 
after this it is almost certain that husband and wife not 
only corresponded, but were occasionally permitted stolen 
interviews. Neither was very strictly kept, and sympathy 
was great for both ; but if the King had known he would 
have been beside himself with rage. It was serious enough 
that they had married : his one desire now was to keep 
them apart. In this he was ungenerous, for neither had 
the least intention of laying claim to the throne, to which, 
indeed, his own succession was now so firmly established 
that any such claim would have been frankly absurd ; and 

he had known and liked Arbella so long that he must have 
s 2 


been aware how far any such intention was from her mind. 
But she had married, married secretly and without his 
consent, and married a man whose father's claim had been 
dreaded by James's predecessor even more than his own. 
Frankly James was afraid, and fear is the strongest 
thing in the world, stronger even than jealousy or habit. 
There was also the petty love of tyrannical punishment, a 
love which makes irresistible appeal to small mean minds. 
True, Arbella had been wrong; but frankly she had 
confessed her fault, and any man of heart must quickly 
have pardoned her. 

Christmas came, and again there were gay masques and 
brilliant pageants at Whitehall ; but she who had been the 
centre of them all was there no more. At this time Arbella 
wrote once again to the Queen : " May it please your most 
Excellent Majesty to consider how long I have lived a 
spectacle of his Majesty's displeasure, to my unspeakable 
grief, and out of that gracious disposition which moveth 
your Royal mind to compassion of the distress, may it 
please your Majesty to move his Majesty in my behalf. 
I have presumed to present your Majesty herewith the 
copy of my humble petition to his Majesty against this 
time, when the rather I am sure his Majesty forgiveth 
greater offences as freely as he desires to be forgiven by 
Him whose sacrament he is to receive, though your 
Majesty's intercession at any time I know were sufficient. 
Thus hath my long experience of your Majesty's gracious 
favour to me and all good causes encouraged me to presume 
to address myself unto your Majesty, and increased the 
obligation of my duty in praying continually unto the 
Almighty for your Majesty's felicity in all things. And 
in all humility I remain, Your Majesty's. To the Q." 

Neither this nor the petition it enclosed drew any 
response. On the 24th January we find recorded a 
Warrant to pay Sir Thomas Parry, Chancellor of the 
Duchy of Lancaster, 300 for the diet, lodging, and other 
necessities of the Lady Arbella Seymour and five of her 
servants during the seven months of her continuance with 
him. Some have regarded this as marking the date when 


she was taken from Parry's custody, but since that was 
done very suddenly, and she remained with him till the 
middle of March, this must certainly be an error. There 
is nothing remarkable in Parry receiving payment at the 
New Year, for his royal charge must have cost him a good 
deal. As for her, we hear of no more petitions for the 
present ; and probably she was more contented now, since 
she could see her husband almost whenever she wished, 
and a quiet life was never any deprivation to her. How 
these visits of Seymour were managed it is impossible to 
say, but there were probably many means of reaching the 
river from St. Thomas's Tower, and at Lambeth all was 
made easy. There is a tradition that on one occasion 
Arbella herself took a barge, dropped down the river by 
night, and spoke to her husband through a grated window 
on the Tower wharf. At any rate both had many friends. 
Arbella's correspondence was quite untrammelled, and 
we have an interesting letter to her dated the 7th March, 
from one Mrs. Alice Collingwood, whose husband Francis 
Collingwood had been imprisoned in the Tower for four 
years past on a charge of slandering the King. Alice 
thought Arbella, parted also from her husband, might 
sympathize with her and perhaps exert some influence to 
help her, little guessing, poor soul, how deaf were the 
King's ears to all the vain prayers of his once loved cousin. 
Nor is this letter the only proof that Arbella's plight was 
scarcely known to any beyond the Court circle, for there is 
a little book entitled Salve Deus, which was published this 
year and written by Mistress Emilia Lanyer, wife of 
Captain Alfonzo Lanyer, actually a member of the King's 
household, in which, after verses of dedication to " The 
Queen, Lady Elizabeth, and all vertuous Ladies in generall," 
some most complimentary lines are added to the Lady 

' ' Great learned Ladie, whom I long have knowne, 

And yet not knowne so much as I desired ; 
Rare Phoenix, whose fair feathers are your owne, 
With which you flie, and are so much admired ; 
True woman, whom true Fame hath so attired 


In glittering raiment, shining much more bright 
Than silver starres in the most frosty night ; 
Come, like the morning- sunne new out of bed, 
And cast your eyes upon this little Booke." 

Arbella herself probably never saw these verses, and in 
Prince Henry's own copy, now in the Victoria and Albert 
Museum, they are expressly cut out as if to emphasize 
her disgrace. But she must have cared little for such 
compliments now, since a fresh and appalling crisis was 
about to arise in her own life. James became suddenly 
aware of the lax manner in which his prisoners had been 
kept, and, overwhelmed with fury, he peremptorily com- 
manded Parry to deliver his charge up to the Bishop of 
Durham, who was ordered to convey her instantly to the 
north of England, far from all possibility of reunion with 
the man she loved. 



(March-June, 1611) 

THE Royal Warrant to William James, Bishop of 
Durham, was written from Royston on the 13th March, 
and runs substantially as follows : 


" Right Reverend Father in God, and Trusty and 
Well-beloved, We greet you well. Whereas our cousin 
the Lady Arbella hath highly offended us in seeking to 
marry herself without our knowledge (to whom she had the 
honour to be near in blood), and in proceeding afterwards 
to a full conclusion of a marriage with the selfsame person 
whom (for many just causes) we had expressly forbidden 
her to marry ; after he had in our presence, and before our 
Council, forsworn all interest concerning her, either past 
or present, with solemn protestations upon his allegiance, 
in her hearing, never to renew any such motion again. 
Forasmuch as it is more necessary for us to make some 
such demonstration now of the just sense and feeling we 
have, after so great an indignity offered unto us ... we 
have therefore thought good, out of trust in your fidelity 
and discretion, to remit to your care and custody the 
person of our said cousin, requiring and authorizing you 
hereby to carry her down in your company to any house 
of yours as unto you shall seem best and most convenient, 
there to remain in such sort as shall be set down to you by 
directions from the Council. . . . This being, as you see, 
the difference between us and her that whereas she hath 
abounded towards us in disobedience and ingratitude, we 
are (on the contrary) still apt to temper the severity of 



our justice with grace and favour towards her, as may well 
appear by the course we have taken to commit her only 
to your custody, in whose house she may be so well assured 
to receive all good usage, and see more fruit and exercise 
of religion and virtue than in many other places. For 
all which this shall be your sufficient warrant." 

Two days later the Lords of the Council issued a Warrant 
to Parry to deliver Arbella up to the Bishop, which was 
probably the first intimation he or his household had of 
the proposed change, and which came as a thunderclap 
upon the house at Lambeth. During the nine months of 
her stay, Arbella had endeared herself to Parry and all 
his people ; they would feel her loss deeply, and in addition, 
this command meant the displeasure of the King. But 
upon the unfortunate lady herself the blow fell heaviest. 
Well she knew its significance; she and her William were 
to be parted, imprisoned in different parts of England, 
never to meet more; it was exactly the same policy as 
had been employed in the case of Hertford and Katherine 
Grey. She knew that by the law of her country she could 
demand a trial, and might have demanded it long before ; 
but though the time granted her now was short, she would 
at least still make the attempt. She sat down and wrote 
a letter addressed jointly to Sir Thomas Fleming, Lord 
Chief Justice of England, and to Sir Edward Coke, Lord 
Chief Justice of the Common Pleas, a noble and dignified 
production, in which for the first time she broke away 
from the old pretence that the King's disfavour alone 
caused her misery, and spoke straightforwardly of her 
grief at being separated from her husband. 


4 Whereas I have been long restrained from my 
liberty, which is as much to be regarded as my life, and am 
appointed, as I understand, to be removed far from these 
courts of justice where I ought to be examined, tried, 
and then condemned or cleared, to remote parts, whose 
courts I hold unfitted for the trial of my offence : this is 
to beseech your Lordships to inquire by an Habeas Corpus 


or other usual form of law what is my fault ; and if, upon 
examination by your Lordships, I shall thereof be justly 
convicted, let me endure such punishment by your Lord- 
ships' sentence as is due to such an offender. And if your 
Lordships may not or will not of yourselves grant unto me 
the ordinary relief of a distressed subject, then I beseech 
you become humble intercessors to his Majesty that I 
may receive such benefit of justice as both his Majesty by 
his oath, those of his blood not excepted, hath promised, 
and the laws of this realm afford to all others. And though, 
unfortunate woman that I am, I should obtain neither, 
yet I beseech your Lordships, retain me in your good 
opinion, and judge charitably till I be proved to have 
committed any offence, either against God or his Majesty, 
deserving so long restraint or separation from my lawful 
husband. So, praying for your Lordships, I rest Your 
afflicted poor suppliant, 

" A. S." 

No answer came to this. It would not, of course, have 
been possible for her to receive one before leaving Lambeth^ 
which James commanded should be the following day; 
but both Coke and Fleming were creatures of the Earl 
of Northampton, who even as Lord Henry Howard before 
the King's accession, had always been the enemy of 
Arbella and the Shrewsburys ; and Northampton had long 
since resolved that she should never marry, or at least 
should never leave a child. The justice of England 
therefore was suborned to this resolve, the coronation 
oath of James was violated, and this unhappy and forlorn 
woman, his nearest relative beyond his immediate family, 
was driven out into the wilderness, the scapegoat of others' 

The Bishop of Durham arrived at Lambeth at eight 
o'clock in the morning of the 16th March, and found there 
a household of distraction and dismay. He was a kindly 
old man, and must have loathed the task the King had 
laid upon him : his letter to the Council gives a pitiful 
account of his reception. So short a time had been allowed 


for the necessary change that it was quite impossible to 
have everything packed and ready for a start that day; 
and Arbella, pale and almost swooning, " cold drops 
bursting from her forehead," implored the Bishop to 
postpone his departure, even till the morrow. This, 
under the King's command, it was not possible for him 
to do; and a terrible scene followed. The poor woman 
was almost distracted; she demanded to see the King's 
letters, which were shown her; not because she doubted 
the Bishop's credentials, but probably to gain time, even 
a few minutes. She would resist to the utmost this being 
dragged away into banishment. Sir Thomas Parry and 
her own doctor, Moundford (who had attended Essex on 
the scaffold, and had now been with her for many years), 
were present at this interview, during which the Bishop 
" used all his poor skill " to induce a resigned spirit in the 
unhappy victim. He told her tales of saints and martyrs, 
and of horrible sufferings and trials borne without a 
murmur, he extolled the virtues of patience and obedience, 
and finally, although all this can have signified very little 
to Arbella at the moment, she became calmer, and was 
persuaded to start upon her dreaded journey. Since her 
baggage was not all ready, the rest must follow. Barnet 
was, strictly speaking, the first stage, but since in Arbella's 
exhausted state it would not be possible to travel so far 
in a day, the Council issued a hasty Warrant to " Our 
loving friend, Sir William Bond, Knt, or in his absence, 
to the Lady his wife, at High Gate," bidding them, 
" Forasmuch as there is some occasion to make provision 
for one night's lodging for the Lady Arbella, in respect 
that she cannot conveniently recover Barnet, some things 
being wanting for her journey this afternoon, contrary to 
our expectations, we have thought good to entreat you 
not to refuse such a courtesy as the lending of a couple of 
chambers for her ladyship ; because we doubt the inns 
there are full of inconveniences. By doing whereof you 
shall give us cause to report well of you to his Majesty." 
Arbella was always of a fragile constitution, and the 
state of despair into which she was now thrown rendered 


her suddenly most alarmingly ill. She was carried in 
a litter to Highgate, which was reached between ten and 
eleven at night : three times on the way she fainted, 
and the party had to stop while De Moundford adminis- 
tered strong restoratives. She was finally lifted out more 
dead than alive, carried into the house and put to bed, 
where she lay unconscious for some time and then fell 
into a heavy and stupefied sleep. The poor Bishop, who 
had also spent an exhausting day, says that " being 
somewhat distempered myself," he could speak only a 
few fair words to his charge on arrival that night, but that 
Sir William Bond and his Lady received her " with es- 
pecial care both of her and such as were about her." 
Next morning, however, the good prelate went early to 
her bedside and spoke cheerfully of " the sweet day and 
air, and the duty of her journey " ; but he was received 
only with gloomy looks. Arbella declared herself quite 
incapable of proceeding a single step that day, and the 
Doctor, " who took careful and diligent pains about her," 
also pronounced it absolutely impossible. The Bishop 
then asked if she would like him to say prayers, and she 
replied yes, but since he wished to prepare a special 
sermon for her, this was necessarily postponed till he had 
despatched his letter to the Council, asking for further 
instructions. Dr. Moundford, who seems to have been 
genuinely attached to Arbella, wrote too, corroborating 
the grave anxiety of her condition ; and since under these 
circumstances it was impossible to insist upon her pro- 
ceeding immediately, King and Council grudgingly granted 
her a few days' rest at Highgate, until the 21st of the 
month. Her illness was undoubtedly chiefly nervous, 
yet those who have endured the like themselves will 
know how intense such suffering may be. A body always 
delicate is easily overthrown by only a few days of such 
shattering pain ; and though making, it is true, no attempt 
to conquer it, since she would almost have sacrificed her 
life to remain a few days within touch of London, Arbella's 
health most certainly broke down, suddenly and seriously, 
beneath the strain. 


When the 21st came she was even more loth to leave 
Highgate than Lambeth ; and a reason for this reluctance 
has been discovered in the fact that once certainly, and 
possibly oftener, her husband contrived to visit her here. 
Highgate after all was not very distant ; and " the liberty 
of the Tower " seems to have comprised liberty also out- 
side the Tower, with such facility does Seymour seem to 
have appeared at various places while ostensibly im- 
prisoned there. The additional rigour exercised upon his 
wife was never applied to him, either now or at any time 
during their joint imprisonment. It is difficult, never- 
theless, to understand how he can have managed this 
ubiquity, since he remained on very bad terms with Waad ; 
nor why, having got so far, he did not escape altogether ; 
but his parole was perhaps required before any such 
enlargement, or he may even have persuaded some other 
prisoner to personate him in his absence. The means 
by which we know of his meeting with Arbella is this. 
Her steward, Hugh Crompton, whose health had always 
suffered from his imprisonment, had at last been released 
from the Marshalsea, and was now permitted to accompany 
her on her journey to the north. All her business affairs 
had for some time rested in this man's hands, and 
through all the most gloomy viccissitudes of the next 
few years, he faithfully set down her accounts, received 
and disbursed her money as she wished, and kept the most 
careful note of all her possessions. But in the present 
desperate straits, unaware what the future might hold 
for any of them, whether it might be necessary or wise at 
some time to attempt escape, or even how soon even this 
faithful servant might be taken from her, Arbella decided 
to relieve Crompton of some of his responsibilities, and for 
this purpose she and her husband signed a paper " dis- 
charging him of all accounts, reckonings, receipts and de- 
mands whatsoever, whereby he may be charged by us or by 
either of us from the beginning of the world until the day 
of the date of this present." There is a recklessness in 
the wording here which is very significant. The document 
is the only one extant signed by both husband and wife 


jointly, and it is sealed by Arbella with the Lennox crest, 
a wolf rampant : the witnesses to it were Rodney and 
Kirton, who had both by now been released. The date 
given on it is 21st March 1610, evidently an error for 1611, 
since the pair were not married the year before ; but there 
are many errors in dates through all this confusing time. 
The 21st March was the day on which Arbella left Highgate 
and arrived at Barnet, and it is probable that Seymour 
spent the night with her, and they signed this paper just 
before they parted. If so, this must have been the last 
time they ever met. 

The King had ordered that if Arbella would not go to 
Barnet on the day named, she was to be taken there by 
force ; and this seems to have been necessary, for the Bishop 
with much reluctance, explains that he had been com- 
pelled to use " the means proscribed, which were employed 
with all decency and respect." She was lifted into her 
litter in tears, complaining of acute pains in the head, 
and though the journey to Barnet does not cover many 
miles, she suffered all the way from such violent attacks 
of sickness that several times the party had to stop while 
good Dr. Moundford's cordials were administered. It 
was only intended that the prisoner should remain one 
night at Barnet, but her condition when she arrived there 
was such that it would have been sheer brutality to drag 
her further the next day; so the Bishop was once more 
obliged to report delay to the Council. The Postmaster 
at Barnet, perhaps out of mistaken sympathy with Arbella, 
rudely refused to dispatch his letter, saying it was after 
hours, so the Bishop's own servant had to take it. The 
letter shows the poor prelate in a very worried state, and 
while offering no opinion himself as to Lady Arbella's 
powers, he adds that her doctor declares it impossible 
for her to proceed. He thanks the Council, however, 
for promising to send down Sir James Croft, to share with 
him the responsibility of his onerous charge. 

One feels a good deal of sympathy at this juncture 
with Gilbert, Earl of Shrewsbury. His affection for his 
niece was great and had been well proved; but he was a 


member of the Council, had to sign all the harsh decrees 
against her, and by his very relationship was regarded 
with suspicion, and less able to help her than almost any 
other man. The day after the sad little party had reached 
Barnet, he wrote to Moundford, thanking him for all his 
care of Arbella, stating that he had heard " how very 
hardly the few miles you travelled yesterday were over- 
come," and begging the good doctor to write his wife an 
account of the real state of her favourite niece's health. 
" For my part," adds the poor man, " I can doe her very 
small service more than by my prayers " ; for on applying 
to the King to have mercy on her really piteous condition, 
all the reply he got was that " It was enough to make any 
sound man sick to be carried in a bed in that manner she 
is ; much more for her whose impatient and unquiet spirits 
heapeth upon herself far greater indisposition of body." 

On the 24th March, Arbella herself wrote the following 
pathetic letter to the Lords of the Council. " May it 
please your Lordships : I protest I am in so weak case 
as I verily think it would be the cause of my death to be 
removed anywhither at this time, though it were to a 
place to my liking. My late discomfortable journey, 
which I have not yet recovered, had almost ended my 
days, and I have never since gone out of a few little and 
hot rooms, and am in many ways unfit to take the air. 
I trust your Lordships will not look I should be so un- 
Christian as to be the cause of my own death, and I leave 
it to your Lordships' wisdom to consider what the world 
should conceive if I should be violently enforced to do it. 
Therefore I beseech your Lordships to be humble suitors 
in my behalf that I may have some time given me to 
recover my strength, which I should the sooner do if I 
were not continually molested. And I will hope and 
pray that God will incline his Majesty's heart every way 
to more compassion towards me, who rest very humbly 
at your Lordships' command, A. S." 

Perhaps moved by pressure upon so many sides, it was 
at last decided that Arbella should be granted a month's 
rest, dating from the 25th March, in which to recover her 


strength ; and since the Bishop could not be expected any 
longer to neglect the cares of his diocese, he must proceed 
to Durham alone, leaving her in the charge of Sir James 
Croft, who was to bring her north so soon as she was strong 
enough to bear the journey. James, however, whose 
ancient kindness towards his cousin seemed now to have 
turned to gall, frankly declared that he believed her to be 
shamming, and sent Dr. Hammond, his sons' physician, 
down to see ; her own doctor and the Bishop, he thought, 
might easily be imposed upon. But if this were so, 
Arbella managed quickly to win over Dr. Hammond also. 
She had known him before at Court, and received him 
now with her old gentle grace, he having " access unto 
her," Moundford wrote to Shrewsbury, " before he spake 
with the lord bishop or did confer with me. She enter- 
tained him in respect of the persons from whom he said 
he was sent most respectfully; and in regard that he was 
not a stranger unto her, kindly. He felt her pulse, and 
entered into some discourse of her weakness and infirmities." 
He left Barnet again on the 28th March, having pre- 
scribed certain physic which Moundford, while promising 
to follow the royal doctor's advice "with all dewe respect," 
considered useless, " since by none of this he can warrant 
either amendment of her grief or contynuance of lyfe if 
some content of minde be not gained." He admits that 
constant restoratives were dangerous in the fevered state 
of the patient, but holds that exhaustion was still worse, 
and on the whole he preferred to " cherish her to life." 
In reply to this letter, Gilbert wrote the faithful doctor 
an account of Hammond's report upon his return. " I 
heartily thanke you (good Mr. Dr.) for your letter by Mr. 
Smyth, and am still very sorry that you cannot give us 
any better hope of the good estate of her La ps body than 
we can reade in your sayde letter. I was present yester- 
day morning when Mr. Dr. Hammond made report to 
the Lords in what state he found my Lady Arbella . . . 
assuredly very weak, her pulse dull and melancholy for 
the most part, yet sometimes uncertain . . . her counten- 
ance very heavy, pale and wan; nevertheless, she was 


free (he said) from any fever or any other actual sickness, 
but of his conscience he protested that she was in no case 
to travel until God restored her to some better strength 
both of body and mind. ... He attendeth on the princes 
(as always he doth) to Royston on Monday next, and then 
he is himself to relate the same to his Majesty, as he did 
to us; for at that time his Majesty was so extremely 
pestered with despatches upon his going away, as there 
could be no full report made unto him of any particulars, 
only he was told of her weakness. All her ladyship's 
friends in general are glad of the bishop's departing, and 
her stay for a time where she is to be, verily hoping that 
she will likewise receive great comfort therein; and how 
far soever her own melancholy thoughts (which have 
gotton the upperhand of her) have prevailed to lay nothing 
but despair before her eyes, yet the greatest, nearest and 
wisest about his Majesty that do speak with me, do per- 
suade themselves that her imprisonment (wheresoever it 
be) and his Majesty's disfavour to her, is not like to 
continue long; and therein I am bound to believe them, 
or else I must conceive they have neither honour nor 
conscience, for such is their protestations to me. God 
grant her ladyship may be of the same mind ; as then I 
should not much doubt of her speedy recovery, which 
heartily praying for, I will here take my hearty leave. 
Your very assured loving friend, Gilb. Shrewsbury." 

There is an optimistic note about this letter which looks 
as though the tide were turning at last, and poor Arbella 
might after all be restored to favour. Her month's 
respite, however, could not be spent at the " Inne " where 
she had been taken only for a night, and it was a few days 
before a house suitable for her occupation was found. 
This was a cottage at East Barnet, near Hampstead 
Heath, belonging to Mr. Thomas Conyers, in a remote 
but healthy situation, and it was hired for her at the price 
of twenty shillings a week. She seems to have been pleased 
at the idea; and on the 31st March, Sir James Croft, who 
had by this time arrived, wrote to Salisbury that Lady 
Arbella " had had a violent attack in the head, but had 


dressed herself as well as her extreme weakness would 
permit, and showed readiness to remove, but could not, 
because nothing was prepared for her at Mr. Conyers' 
house." Three days later he reports that she had been 
safely removed to Mr. Conyers's house, but had been 
extremely ill on the journey. Directly she arrived, how- 
ever, she penned the following grateful little note to the 
King. " May it please your most excellent Majesty : 
Graciously to accept my most humble thanks for these 
halcyon days it hath pleased your Majesty to grant me. 
And since it hath pleased your Majesty to give this testi- 
mony of willingness to have me live awhile, in all humility 
I beg the restitution of those comforts without which 
every hour of my life is discomfortable to me, the principal 
whereof is your Majesty's favour, which none that breathes 
can more highly esteem than I, who, whilst I live, will not 
cease to pray to the Almighty for your Majesty's pros- 
perity, and rest your Majesty's most humble and faithful, 
almost ruined subject and servant, Arbella S." 

The Bishop accompanied his charge to her new abode, 
and then, leaving her with Sir James and his cousin, a 
man named Minors, hurried north, stopping a few days at 
Royston on his way, to report to the King in what state 
he had left his prisoner. Writing to Croft and Moundford 
on the 17th April, he describes his interview, and he too 
seems hopeful as to the future. " I was no sooner come 
into the court," says he, " but I was presently brought 
to his Majesty, who asked me of the Lady Arbella, and 
where I left her. I told his Majesty of her estate in her 
three removes; of the grief which she conceived of his 
Majesty's indignation; of her hearty and zealous prayers 
for him and his; of her willingness, if it might so please 
him, even to sweep his chamber. Whereunto it pleased 
his Majesty to call the prince, who was then in the same 
room. I do not see but that his Majesty is well pleased 
with the time she hath to recover strength, and that he 
hath an especial care that she should be used and respected 
as a noble lady of her birth and nearness to him ; and time 
may work that which in this shortness cannot be effected. 


I pray you present my duty and service unto her, to pray 
her to remember what I oftentimes out of a true heart 
(as yourselves in my hearing have done) have said unto 
her. So shall she best please God by her obedience, 
satisfy his Majesty, comfort her own conscience, enable 
her good friends to speak for her, and stop the mouths 
(if any there be) who envy her restitution into his Majesty's 
favour. My poor opinion is that, if she wrong not her- 
self, God in time will move his Majesty's heart to have 
compassion upon her." 

It was easy enough for every one around her to preach 
patience; but Arbella herself was growing desperate. 
Her month of rest was nearly over, and then, as the Bishop 
rather tactlessly reminded her, " they should meet in the 
north " ; and every step towards the north meant a step 
further from Seymour and her love. She had almost 
ceased to hope now for intercession from her friends, 
and though many were still kindly disposed towards her, 
they were unable to benefit her in any way. From many 
slight hints one gathers that Prince Henry would have 
helped her if he could, and was always glad to have news 
of her, but all he actually accomplished was to send his 
favourite chaplain to minister to her whilst at East Barnet, 
as appears by an entry in the long list of accounts dealing 
with this dreary time. " To Mathias Melwarde, one of 
the Prince's chaplaynes for his paynes in attending the 
Ladye Arbella Seymour to preache and reade prayers 
during her abode at Estbarnett 5." The Bishop's 
letter, however, far from cheering, seems to have thrown 
Arbella into renewed depression. On the same date 
Croft wrote to the Council, asking for further instructions 
concerning her, and stating that, " She is somewhat better 
and lightsomer than heretofore, but that not otherwise 
than that she hath not yet walked as yet the length of 
her bedchamber, to my knowledge, neither do I find her 
at any time otherwise than in her naked bed, or in her 
clothes upon her bed. Concerning her ladyship's mind, 
it is so much dejected, as she apprehendeth nothing but 
fear and danger in their ugliest forms, conceiting always 


the worst, and much worse than any way can happen unto 
her, of danger. As to her going this journey, or that his 
Majesty should dispose of her at his pleasure, she doth 
not gainsay, but the horrors of her utter ruin and end, 
which hourly present themselves to her phantasy, oc- 
casioned (as she discovereth herself unto me) by the re- 
moteness of the place whereunto she must go, driveth her 
to utter despair to return, or to be able to live out one 
only year ; where otherwise, if she were left, as her ladyship 
saith, in some convenient place, not so clean out of the 
world as she termeth Durham to be, she would gather 
to herself some weak hopes of more gentle fortune in time 
to come. These and the like are the best and pleasingest 
discourses that I can any time have with her ladyship, 
whereunto whatsoever I can reply to the contrary giveth 
her no manner of satisfaction at all." 

Perhaps in consequence of this appeal, the prisoner was 
permitted to outstay her month, which would otherwise 
have been concluded on the 25th April; for on the 28th, 
Minors, whom Croft had sent to London to beg further 
indulgence for her, writes to his kinsman that when called 
before the Lords the preceding night, " I told my lady's 
weak estate, and afterwards they told me the king's 
absolute resolution, which is directly for Durham, for 
which she must prepare, although the journeys be never 
so little, to go on Monday next, which was the longest day 
I could get. I pray you let her know that some of the 
greatest of them did in solemn oaths protest that they 
find, by his Majesty's resolution, that there shall be no 
long abode for her there, but his Majesty intended her good 
in short time after, but that his Majesty kept that in his 
breast till he saw conformity; but if his Majesty be king, 
he says, he will not alter this resolution. Therefore I 
pray you use your best means to prepare her ladyship 
for the journey at that day, for there is no doubt it will 
follow for her honour's good." 

Too well did Arbella know all these smooth methods of 
shuffling the unfortunate out of sight with promises of 
vague benefits hereafter; she did not believe one word of 
T 2 


them, and would at least make no pretence of being 
deceived. To gain time was all she could hope, but time 
was now everything ; already it is certain a plot was being 
laid to free her; at Barnet she was in easy daily com- 
munication not only with Seymour but also with her Aunt 
Mary, a determined champion; and at all costs she must 
not now leave it. With infinite trouble and many re- 
writings she penned another and most moving applica- 
tion to the King, which seems at last to have touched 
even his stony heart. " May it please your excellent 
Majesty," she wrote; "though it hath pleased God to 
lay so many crosses upon me as I account myself the most 
miserable creature living, yet none is so grievous to me 
as the loss of your Majesty's favour, which appeareth, not 
so much to my unspeakable grief in any other effect . . . 
as in that your Majesty giveth credence, as I hear, to those 
sinister reports which impute that to my obstinacy which 
proceedeth merely out of necessity; not willing that I 
might be thought guilty of hastening my own death by 
any voluntary action of mine having first endeavoured, 
by all good means, to make my extreme weakness known to 
your Majesty. . . . But nothing availing me, certainly 
I had suddenly perished if your Majesty had not speedily 
had compassion of me in granting me this time of stay 
for my recovery ; to which, if it may please your Majesty 
of your gracious goodness to add three weeks more, Mr. 
Dr. Moundford hopes I may recover so much strength as 
may enable me to travel. And I shall ever be willing, 
whilst I breathe, to yield your Majesty most humble and 
dutiful obedience as to my sovereign, for whose felicity 
for ever in all things I cease not to pray, and in all fortunes 
rest Your Majesty's most humble and faithful subject 
and servant, A. S." 

Apparently Arbella understood well enough that for 
her to go to Durham was now become a matter of honour 
with the King's obstinacy a test of his will; he had said 
she should go, and therefore she must submit; for with 
this letter goes another paper, not written by her, and 
signed " J," in which it is noted that she has promised 


as a proof of obedience " to undergo the journey after this 
time expired without any resistance or refusal, to do such 
things as are fit for me to do to make my journey the less 
painful or perilous; being now assured that your Majesty 
hath no purpose to make my correction my ruin in any 
sort, as I will hope confidently when I have herein satisfied 
the duty." A marginal note, however, suggests that the 
obedience " without the journey is enough if the King 
desire but his honour saved." 

It is noticeable that wherever Arbella went, she quickly 
awoke the sympathy of all those about her, even when the 
expression of it might conflict with their highest worldly 
interests; and tears, swoons and renewed weakness now 
so worked upon Croft and Moundford that they themselves 
journeyed to London, and bore testimony to the King 
and Council that it would be gross cruelty to force her 
yet to face the hardships of the road. After many demurs, 
the King, writes Moundford to the Bishop, " In the hearing 
of the prince and the Lords of his Majesty's Council, did 
yield that one other month should be employed in her 
perfect cure, which new month began the llth of this 
present May. During our attendance on his Majesty he 
used not one unkind or wrathful word of her, but mildly 
taxed her obstinacy, the conceit whereof I find did spring 
from such accidents as befell upon our first removes, 
reported unto him very untruly, with terms of violence 
offered by my lady to such as were used in that service. 
His Majesty's resolution was that to Durham she should 
come, if he were king. We answered that we made no 
doubt of her obedience. Then he said, ' Obedience is 
that required ; which, being performed, I will do more for 
her than she expecteth.' . . . The premier reason which 
moved his Majesty to the grant of this second month was 
her submission in a letter to his Highness, with all due 
acknowledgments of her recovery from the grave by time 
most graciously granted her by him. This letter was 
penned by her in the best terms (as she can do right well), 
and accompanied with matter best befitting his Highness 
and her. It was often read without offence, nay, I may 


truly say even commended, by himself, with the applause 
of the prince and Council." The good doctor also says, 
" There is no fear among the Lords of any long stay with 
you, neither of her farther progress northward, but great 
assurance of the contrary." 

So till the llth June and not one day longer, had 
Arbella Seymour to work out her plans for love and liberty. 



(June 1611) 

MARY TALBOT, Countess of Shrewsbury, had her mother's 
ungovernable temper ; was in several ways an unscrupulous 
woman, and was cordially disliked by many people; but 
she had a staunch attachment to her sister Elizabeth's 
only child, and was prepared to endure courageously many 
hardships on her behalf. To her alone was due the initia- 
tive in arranging details of a plan of escape, in keeping 
all the various parties concerned in it in touch with every 
new development, and most important of all, in collecting 
and distributing the necessary funds. Arbella's servants 
had now been removed from about her, but " that trusty 
rogue " Crompton, and Anne Bradshaw her maid, undoubt- 
edly had easy access to her whenever they wished, and 
were kept busily travelling backwards and forwards to 
London upon their mistress's business. Indeed, she 
received very lenient treatment all the time she was at 
East Barnet, and in spite of the " tears, swoons and sick- 
ness " which she still kept carefully in the foreground, the 
fine air, renewed hope, and comparative liberty she 
enjoyed brought her back a large share of health and 
strength. Only she and her faithful maid knew this, 
however. Croft and Moundford, kind though they were, 
must still be deceived into believing her incapable of 
moving; else would they consider it their duty to hurry 
her north, and so all her hopes would perish. She seems 
to have been allowed to receive visits from ladies in the 
neighbourhood, and a kind letter is preserved from Lady 
Chandos to Dr. Moundford, dated Good Friday, 1611. 
Lady Chandos was a daughter of Lady Kennedy, who as 



the beautiful Elizabeth Bridges had been a favourite 
maid of honour with Queen Elizabeth, and a friend of 
Essex. She writes : " Doctor Moundford, I desire the 
widow's prayer, with my humble service, may by you be 
presented to the Lady Arbella, who I hope God will so 
fortify her mind, as she will take this cross with such 
patience as may be to His pleasing, who, as this day sig- 
nifies, took upon Him a good deal more for us ; and when 
He seeth time He will send comfort to the afflicted. I 
pray you if you want for the honourable lady what is in 
this house, you will send for it ; for most willingly the master 
and mistress of the house would have her ladyship 
command it. If the drink do like my lady, spare not 
to send. The knight and my daughter remember their 
kind commendations unto yourself. So I commit you to 
God, and rest as your friend, Francis Chandos. To my 
friend, Mr. Dr. Moundford, at Barnet." 

This letter, like so many others, preached resignation, 
and Arbella was not resigned. Before resorting to extreme 
measures, her aunt, Lady Shrewsbury, had made one last 
effort to gain the King's ear through his favourite Carr, 
now Lord Rochester ; but Rochester was in love with Lady 
Essex, the daughter of Lord Suffolk, who belonged to 
Northampton's party against Arbella; and so declared 
that " he would rather lose his life than deal in a matter 
so distasteful to his Majesty, and so cross to the duty and 
affection which he owed to the King more than to all the 
world." The sentiment was of course voiced only that 
it might reach the ear of James; and Northampton, who 
reported it, took care to add, " I protest to your Majesty 
that if it were possible for me to add one grain to that 
inestimable love which I bear him already, upon this 
demonstration of worth he should be sure of it." The words 
of both were told Arbella, who with a sigh confessed that 
" this uncomfortable answer from my Lord of Rochester 
moved her to think all labour lost in those ends which she 
affected for the satisfaction of her own mind in those 
matters." Henceforth there was no hope for her but in 
escape from England. 


A good deal of difficulty was added to the enterprise 
in the necessarily simultaneous rescue of both Arbella 
and Seymour ; since if one were left, he or she would be so 
straightly kept that no further attempts would be possible. 
Lady Shrewsbury, however, had a stout heart, and refused 
to be dismayed by any obstacles. She kept her plans very 
secret, since her own husband was on the King's Council, 
and had he obtained the slightest inkling of what was 
going on, would have felt it his duty to put a stop to all. 
But " My Lady of Shrewsbury," wrote Northampton to 
the King long after everything had been discovered, 
" was the only worker and contriver of the lady's Bed- 
lam opposition against your Majesty's direction, which, 
besides our own knowledge, Mr. Chancellor of the Duchy 
hath infallibly demonstrated by signs and operations. 
It doth now most manifestly appear that her purse hath 
been the only instrument of her audacity to undertake and 
ability to contrive the plot of her escape, which should 
have been the beginning, or rather the foundation, of all 
the plots that were to follow. But the mystery was 
managed with so great art as in my judgment we shall 
never be able to prove more than that my Lady of Shrews- 
bury had by her traffic for a penny some kind of penny, 
and although we shall be able to prove that at this very 
time of her preparing means for her escape, and chiefly 
since the time of the lady's going down when you were at 
Windsor, the great part of the money hath been paid." 

Money was in fact absolutely essential to success, and 
for those penurious times Arbella's intrepid aunt managed 
to scrape together a good round sum, which she conveyed 
to her niece through Crompton, who also took her a man's 
disguise. Crompton afterwards said that " his only part 
was the preparation of means and the receipt of monies, 
which in appearance were the pieces of such employ- 
ments " ; but he was useful in many other ways besides 
these. A gentleman attendant named Markham, who 
seems to have been given Arbella in place of Crompton, 
she had also won over as a friend ; as well as Mrs. Adam, 
the " minister's wife," who had replaced Mrs. Bradshaw. 


In all Lady Shrewsbury sent her niece 1400, 850 of which 
was ostensibly the price of some embroidery she possessed, 
worked by Mary, Queen of Scots, and " not worth an 
eighth part of it," contemptuously remarks Northampton ; 
while the rest was to pay her debts before leaving for 
Durham. If, indeed, she had debts, they must have been 
left unpaid, for by Crompton's help Arbella procured 
another 1400 of her own, and with this and a pocketful 
of rare jewels she seemed well equipped for all emergencies. 

The plotters looked no further forward than to effect a 
landing on the Continent, after which they must trust to 
Providence and hope to make friends for themselves; 
Arbella had never found this difficult. The fewer people let 
into the secret at this stage the better ; and it could hardly 
be expected that any foreign prince should encourage the 
adventure, however willing he might be to welcome the 
fugitives once they had reached his territory. Rodney 
was instructed in the part Seymour was to play, and left 
to manage it for him ; while Lady Shrewsbury herself 
undertook all details for her niece, though obliged to 
place the actual engineering of the escape in Crompton's 
hands, since it would have aroused suspicion for so great 
a lady to absent herself mysteriously at the time. 

On the 24th May the Bishop of Durham wrote from 
Bishop Auckland to Salisbury concerning the expenses 
of his late journey with his prisoner, adding with some 
chagrin that he " could have wished the moneys had been 
left in his hands for Lady Arbella's charges." In fact, 
the good Bishop was a little hurt and considerably annoyed 
over the whole affair ; and six months later wrote again to 
the Council to state stiffly that he was going to Bath to 
recruit after half a year's sickness and lameness, relics of 
his attendance upon her Ladyship. But at this time he 
certainly did not anticipate that his attendance was over ; 
and, indeed, towards the end of May Arbella professed 
herself better in health, and resigned to obey the King's 
will and journey to Durham : she even named the 5th of 
June, a few days earlier than was necessary, for the date 
of her departure. The day before this, a Monday after- 


noon, she confided to her attendant, Mrs. Adam, that she 
desired to bid a last farewell to her husband, who was in 
hiding not far away, that Mrs. Adam must help her to 
slip out in disguise, and that she would return in the 
morning. Fully believing this story, the woman yielded, 
promised to let no one enter her lady's chamber till she 
returned, and even helped her to assume the disguise 
which Crompton had brought some days before. Arbella 
drew " a pair of great French-fashioned hose over her 
petticoats, put on a man's doublet, a man-like peruke 
with long locks over her hair ; a black hat, a black cloak, 
russet boots with red tops, and a rapier by her side " : 
and thus attired, and having filled her pouch with money 
and jewels, she walked quietly out of the house in broad 
daylight, between three and four in the afternoon, attended 
by Markham, who was now quite as devoted to her as 
Crompton himself. 

The walk before them was only a mile and a half, but 
it was so long since Arbella had attempted any exercise 
that, even leaning heavily on Markham's arm, she was 
well-nigh exhausted by the time the " sorry Inne " was 
reached, where Crompton awaited her with saddle horses ; 
and here, indeed, she became " very sick and faint, so as 
the ostler that held their stirrups said : That gentleman 
would hardly hold out to London ; yet, being set on a good 
gelding, astride in unwonted fashion, the stirring of the 
horse brought blood enough into her face, and so she rode 
on towards Black wall." The river inn at Blackwall was 
reached by six o'clock, and she was lifted almost fainting 
from her horse. Here Seymour should have been waiting 
for her, but he had not arrived. The faithful Mrs. Brad- 
shaw, however, was there, with Edward Reeves, and all 
the baggage belonging to both the prisoners that Rodney 
had been able to collect ; and it was supposed that Seymour 
would appear at any moment. A French skipper named 
Corve had been hired to wait in the Leigh roads for a 
party who would arrive about nightfall and would give 
him a certain password; and the plan had been that 
Arbella, Seymour, Rodney, Crompton, Reeves, Markham 


and Mrs. Bradshaw should all meet together at Blackwall, 
and from thence take a boat down the river to Leigh. 
We have most of the particulars of this journey from a 
letter to Sir Ralph Winwood from Sir John More, his 
London agent ; but for certain incidents the testimony of 
the watermen at Blackwall seems more likely to be correct. 

For an hour and a half the party waited at the tavern 
without a sign of Seymour or Rodney, and it may be 
imagined, in her already agitated state, how slowly every 
moment must have passed to Arbella. She either changed 
into woman's clothes here, or left her hat and peruke 
behind, and threw on a dark cloak and hood, for the water- 
men describe her later as dressed thus. By half past 
seven the gentlemen of the party insisted that she must 
start, as it was growing dark, and it would already be 
difficult to hire a boat to take them so far : they had hoped 
all to be on board the French ship by nightfall. Arbella 
implored for half-an-hour's more grace, and reluctantly 
it was granted her She could not imagine what disaster 
could have happened to Seymour, and it broke her heart 
even to seem thus to desert him. In an agonized silence 
the minutes ticked away, and at eight o'clock she was 
compelled to go, unless she wished to wait till morning. 
The river was not well lighted, and rowing after dark was 
full of danger. With tears and misgivings therefore she 
yielded. Reeves and Crompton hired two boats, into one 
of which entered Arbella, her maid, Markham and them- 
selves : servants and baggage followed in the second. 
One man and another maid remained at the tavern to 
give word to Seymour in case he still came; and so the 
boats put off from shore. Five minutes after they started, 
the sun set, but there would be an hour of daylight yet. 

Woolwich was passed and Gravesend reached. It was 
now pitch dark, for there was no moon ; Leigh was a long 
way off yet, and the men refused to row further. Bribed 
with a double fare, they wavered, and finally proceeded 
as far as Tilbury, where they got something to drink, and 
this heartened them up, so that they did finally push on 
to Leigh, and got there about four on Tuesday morning. 


Corve's ship lay eight miles beyond Leigh, but for all 
they knew she might not have waited for them ; and 
seeing a brig close at hand, Crompton hailed her, and 
begged her master, John Bright, to convey them to 
Calais, offering him a large sum of money if he would 
consent. Bright was bound for Berwick, and said he could 
not disobey orders, but on being questioned as to whether 
any French vessel had been sighted near, replied that he 
knew not for certain, but a strange ship lay about two 
miles further on. They thanked him and pulled on, and 
when they neared the ship, found that she was flying the 
flag agreed upon as a signal, and was, indeed, Corve's 
vessel. At first Arbella hoped against hope that Seymour 
might have already arrived, but he was not there. 

So strange and mysterious a party naturally awoke 
some curiosity in John Bright, who watched them through 
his glasses as they reached the French vessel, and saw 
them all go on board. Afterwards, his evidence was 
taken, and he described Reeves as " a man about forty 
years, with a long flaxen beard, something corpulent, and, 
as he remembered, in a suit of grey cloth, with a rapier 
and a dagger gilt. The other (Crompton) was younger, 
with a little black beard, who was the man that most 
desired the master to receive them and carry them for 
Calais, with large proffers for the passage, who, as he 
remembered, was in black apparel. The third man he 
did not notice, and therefore could not describe him. Of 
the women, one was bare-faced, in a black riding safe- 
guard, with a black hat, having nothing on her head but 
a black hat and her hair. This last he took to be Moll 
Cutpurse, and thought that, if it were she, she had 
made some fault and was desirous of escape. The other 
woman sat close covered with a black veil or hood over 
her face and head so that he could not see her only that 
under her mantle she had a white attire, and that, on 
pulling off her glove, a marvellous fair white hand was 
revealed." That pretty hand was poor Arbella' s un- 

Crompton must have breathed more freely now that 


he had once got his mistress safely on the foreign ship. 
But with incredible imprudence, she still begged for delay 
and would not have the anchor raised lest her husband 
might even yet arrive. There was a high sea on, and the 
wind had been blowing east by south for four days past, 
so that it would in any case be difficult and take a long 
while to beat across to Calais. At last Crompton and Corve 
refused any longer to listen to her entreaties, the sails 
were hoisted, and Arbella was carried away from the 
shores of England. 

What now had happened to Seymour ? Some extra- 
ordinary blunder seems to have been made with regard 
to the time of meeting, for he did not even leave the Tower 
till 8 o'clock, the moment when Arbella, a prey to hideous 
anxiety, was after her two hours' waiting at last dragged 
away from Blackwall by her faithful attendants. Other- 
wise Rodney seems to have contrived everything very 
cunningly and well. It might be imagined, from the ease 
with which Seymour had frequently slipped away from 
prison to spend a few hours with his wife, that his escape 
would be extremely simple; but in this case it was com- 
plicated by the fact that he wished to carry a large part 
of his valuables and effects with him, and it was not so 
easy to get all this stuff out of the Tower without arousing 
suspicion. On Sunday the 3rd June, Rodney engaged 
a room by St. Mary Overy's, where he had often lodged 
before, and immediately after sent a French manservant 
there with " a cloke, a capp, a cabbynett, and a fardele, 
all lapt in a white sheete, to be laid in his chamber," and 
all very heavy. He did not return for the night, and next 
morning the servant came again, with a buckram bag 
" fulle of stuffe." The landlady thought all this rather 
singular, but it was not her business to interfere with the 
vagaries of young men of fashion, so she said nothing. 
This was Monday. A little later in the morning, a tall 
flaxen-haired gentleman (Reeves), wearing a green doublet, 
purple hose and a cloak lined with purple velvet, called 
and explained to her that Mr. Rodney had taken the 
room, not for himself, but for "a gentlewoman of fashion, 


by whom Mr. Rodney might receive much good " ; after 
which he went away and came back with a gentlewoman 
(Anne Bradshaw) whom the landlady describes as " tall 
of person, not richly apparelled, and very pale : having 
a wart on her face upon the cheek under the eye." A 
waterman was then called in, who took all the things 
deposited there to St. Tooley's Stairs, and this being all 
finished by two o'clock, the gentleman and his companion, 
after looking cautiously down the street to make sure they 
were not watched, slipped quietly away. The landlady's 
servant, of course, followed them to see what happened 
next, and reported that they had gone to Pickleherring 
by the Tower, and there taken a boat. We know that 
they were already at Blackwall with the baggage when 
Arbella arrived there at six o'clock. 

So far so good. Seymour alone had now to be extricated. 
Rodney told no one of his plans, although it was with some 
compunction that he deceived his young cousin Francis, 
William Seymour's younger brother, who was known to 
be friendly with the prisoners, and who was actually 
lodging in the same house with himself. But Francis 
might be frightened at the magnitude of the responsibility 
if he knew, and perhaps even think it his duty to inform 
his grandfather, who would most certainly report the 
whole matter to the Council. Rodney meant to take no 
risks, so he kept his arrangements to himself, but left a 
letter of explanation for Francis, to be delivered on the 
Tuesday morning, when they both hoped to be far beyond 
pursuit. He contrived to send Seymour as disguise a 
carter's frock and whip, and a wig and beard of heavy 
dark hair; and late on Monday afternoon, a cart full 
of billets of wood was driven into the Tower and up to the 
Watergate, where it stopped for some time while the driver 
went in to speak to the officials. Seymour had taken to 
his bed the last two days, saying he was ill with a violent 
toothache ; but he now jumped up, informed his valet or 
barber, just as Arbella had done her maid, that he had a 
chance of seeing his wife ; and persuaded him to let no one 
into his room till his return, on the pretext that he was 


still sick and must not be disturbed. He then put on the 
carter's disguise, and just as the driver went back to his 
cart, walked boldly into the street, and followed it down 
Water Lane and through the Byward Gate, where he met 
Rodney, who was waiting for him with a horse and a boat 
at Tower Stairs. It was eight o'clock already, but neither 
seems to have realized how fatally late this would make 
them at the meeting-place. Seymour threw off his dis- 
guise in a convenient archway, jumped on the horse, and 
rode to Blackwall, while Rodney pulled down the river, 
and met him again there an hour later. Here they heard 
Arbella and her party had already left, so they took a boat 
and followed down to Leigh, but night having already 
fallen, they were considerably delayed, and the French 
vessel had disappeared by the time they should have 
reached her. Rodney's French servant and another man 
were with them. They sighted a collier bound for New- 
castle, and since their own boat was too small, they hired 
a little fishing boat for twenty shillings and sailed out to 
her, when Rodney demanded to see the master. The 
master was surprised at being accosted by this " gentleman 
in a full suit of red satin, laid with gold and silver lace," 
but, more accommodating than John Bright, he consented 
for the handsome sum of 40 to take the party across to 
Calais before continuing his voyage ; and so they all came 
aboard. Rodney gave his own name, but said his younger 
companion was William See, and that they had got into 
trouble over a quarrel, and so wished to leave England 
for a time. The wind, as we know, was not favourable for 
Calais, and on Tuesday night they had to put in at 
Harwich, where they at last determined to give up the 
idea of France, and make for Ostend instead. Here then 
at eight o'clock on Friday morning Seymour and Rodney 
landed, and learning that Arbella had not reached this 
port, they pushed on to Bruges, " sending a messenger 
along the coasts to hearken after the arrival of the lady." 
So their share of the escape was safely accomplished. 

But Rodney had made one blunder. The rare scruple 
of one usually unscrupulous worked fatally for the unhappy 


lady whom it was the desire of all to rescue. His letter 
to Francis Seymour was delivered as intended on the 
morning of Tuesday the 5th, and though it alluded only 
in veiled terms to the contemplated escape, the young 
man was able to grasp quickly enough at what had hap- 
pened. Now whether he was offended at not having been 
earlier trusted, or whether he had inherited his grand- 
father's caution pushed almost to the verge of cowardice, 
or whether he honestly thought his duty to the King 
demanded treachery to his brother it is impossible now 
to tell. Perhaps he merely lost his head. But in any 
case he acted almost exactly as old Lord Hertford had done 
eight years before, and promptly betrayed the trust 
reposed in him to the very persons from whom it should 
have been most strictly kept. 

He went first to the Tower to make sure that his brother 
had gone, and insisted, in spite of the servant's remon- 
strance, on pushing into the bed-chamber. The servant 
was then obliged to explain what had happened, and 
while he yet spoke Sir William Waad entered. Even now 
Francis might have saved the situation, but instead he 
showed the Lieutenant Rodney's letter, and together 
they hurried off with it to Greenwich, where the news was 
broken to Salisbury, the King, and the Privy Council. 
Great was the consternation with which it was received. 
Francis was strictly examined before the Council, it being 
considered not at all certain that he himself was not a 
party to the plot, a suspicion which left the foolish youth 
exceedingly aggrieved, since, as he wrote to his grandfather 
" I am as clear of their release, or of any of their practices, 
as is the child that was but yesterday borne." He 
described his examination as something thus : " Q. How 
did he come by the letter ? A. He had received it from 
Robert Stafford on Tuesday morning. Q. Why did he not 
instantly carry it to the Treasurer ? A. The letter did 
not directly say his brother was gone, though there was 
some presumption of it, and before he would be the reporter 
of an affair of that consequence, he would be sure of it, 
declaring that, had he not had proof with his own eyes, he 


never would have believed it. Q. Had not Rodney slept 
with him the night before ? and what conference had 
they ? A. Rodney had slept with him, but had not com- 
municated his intentions. They had often slept together, 
they were kinsmen. Q. Did he know where the fugitives 
were bound ? A. He had not any idea." After this he 
was told to consider himself under arrest at Hertford House, 
where in very ill-humour he employed his time describing 
all that had happened in a long letter to his grandfather, 
adding sententiously his surprise at the conduct of his 
brother and sister-in-law ; " knowing it would be their utter 
undoing, a grief unto their friends, and good to none, 
most hurt unto themselves." 

Panic is the only word to describe James's feelings at 
what he thought this ominous news. Long ago, before 
he came to the throne, he had distrusted Arbella; 
later, her gentleness and charm had lulled his fears ; 
but now it seemed to him that his earlier thoughts 
had been just. She and her husband had fled abroad to 
raise a party against him and his dynasty; separately, 
each had claims to the throne, united, they were doubly 
strong, and if a child were born of the union, that child's 
right would be stronger still. Of course, Arbella had 
become a secret Roman Catholic, her proselytizing aunt 
would see to that, and thus all the foreign powers would 
lend her their support. But the fugitives had only had 
a day's start yet, they might have met with delays, and 
there was a chance they could be recaptured still. A 
Proclamation was at once " first conceived in very bitter 
terms, but by my lord treasurer's moderation, seasoned at 
the print " writes More : and this was how it was finally 
given to the world. 

" June 4. 1611. Whereas we are given to understand 
that the Lady Arbella and William Seymour, second son 
to the Lord Beauchamp, being for divers great and heinous 
offences committed, the one to our Tower of London, and 
the other to a special guard, have found the means by the 
wicked practices of divers lewd persons, as, namely, 
Markham, Crompton, Rodney, and others, to break 


prison, and make escape on Monday, the third day of 
June, with an intent to transport themselves into foreign 
parts. We do hereby straitly charge and command all 
persons whatsoever, upon their allegiance and duty, not 
only to forbear to receive, harbour or assist them in their 
passage any way, as they will answer it at their perils ; but, 
upon the like charge and pain, to use the best means they 
can for their apprehension and keeping them in safe 
custody, which we will take as an acceptable service. 
Given at Greenwich, the fourth day of June. Per ipsum 

In addition to this, letters were at once dispatched in 
hot haste to the Governor of Calais bidding him stop the 
truants if they landed there; and Mr. Trumbull, British 
Ambassador to the Netherlands, was ordered to demand 
an immediate audience of the Archdukes (i.e. the Infanta 
Isabella and her husband), and deliver a letter from the 
King; while reminding them that his Majesty required, 
on their friendship, if Arbella and Seymour entered their 
country, " that both their persons and their company may 
be stayed, until, upon advertisement of it, they may 
further hear from his Majesty. Though you may conclude 
that, excepting the scorn and example of so great pride 
and animosity where his Majesty's only clemency hath 
vied his own offence, there is nothing in these persons 
relative to themselves to hold them other than contempt- 
ible creatures." Similar letters were sent to the King 
and the Queen Regent of France, " all written," continues 
More ; " with harsher ink than now if they were to do I 
presume they should be, especially that to the Archdukes, 
which did seem to presuppose their course to tend that 
way; and all three describing the offence in black colours, 
and pressing their sending back without delay. Indeed, 
the general belief was that they intended to settle 
themselves in Brabant, and that under the favour of the 
Popish faction : but now I rather think they will be most 
pitied by the puritans, and that their course did wholly 
tend to France. And though for the former I had only 
mine own corrigible imagination, yet for the latter many 
u 2 


potent reasons do concur : as that the ship that did attend 
them was French; the place that Mr. Seymour made for 
was Calais ; the man that made their perukes was a French 
clockmaker, who is fled with them, and in the ship is 
said to be found a French post with letters from the 
Ambassador. The proclamation for the oath is by divers 
found strange, for that it is so general, but where love is, 
loyalty will not be found wanting." 

Next, a large number of people were arrested. Lady 
Shrewsbury was sent to the Tower, and one can imagine 
the angry disappointment with which this news, the first 
she had of the discovery of her plot, reached her. Good 
Sir James Croft was sent to the Fleet ; Dr. Moundford and 
Mrs. Adam made " close prisoners in the Gatehouse," 
while Batten, William Seymour's barber-valet, being 
already in the Tower, was " committed to the dungeon " 
there. Other servants and watermen were seized on 
suspicion. Lord Shrewsbury was put under guard in 
his own house, and Lord Hertford sent for to appear 
before the Council. "If he be found healthful enough 
to travel, he must not delay his coming." This unhappy 
old man, on receiving the long letter sent him by his 
grandson Francis from Hertford House, promptly forwarded 
it to Salisbury to demonstrate his own innocence, explain- 
ing in a note that his hands had shaken so while reading 
it that he had dropped some hot wax from his candle upon 
the paper and burnt away a corner of it. The burn may 
still be seen. " My Lord," he writes ; " this last night, 
at xi of the clock, ready to go to bed, I received this letter 
from my stepson, Frank Seymour, which I send your 
Lordship here inclosed. A letter no less troublesome to 
me than strange to think I should, in these my last days, 
be grandfather of a child that, instead of patience and 
tarrying the Lord's leisure (lessons that I learned and 
prayed for when I was in the same place where our lewdly 
heir is now escaped), would not tarry for the good hour of 
favour to come from a gracious and merciful King, as I 
did, and enjoyed in the end (though long first) from a 
most worthy and noble Queen, but hath plunged himself 


further into his Highness's just displeasure. To whose 
Majesty I do by these lines earnestly pray your Lordship 
to signify most humbly from me how distasteful this his 
foolish and boyish action is unto me, and that as at the 
first upon his examination before your Lordships and his 
Majesty afterward, nothing was more offensive unto me, 
mistaking altogether the unfitness and inequality of the 
match, and the handling of it afterward worse, so do I 
condemn this as worst of all in them both. Thus, my 
Lord, with an unquiet mind, to think (as before) I should 
be grandfather to any child that hath so much forgotten 
his duty as he hath now done, and having slept never a 
wink this night (a bad medicine for one that is not fully 
recovered of a second great cold I took), I leave your Lord- 
ship with very loving commendations to the heavenly 
protection. From Letley, this Thursday morning, at 
4 of the clock, the 6th of June, 1611. Your Lordship's 
most assured loving friend, Hertford. 

44 Postsc. As I was reading my said stepson's letter 
my size took (as your Lordship may perceive) unto the 
bottom of the letter; but the word missing that is burnt 
was 4 Tower ' to acquaint." 

Meanwhile no attempt had so far been made to follow 
the culprits themselves, which one would have thought 
might have been the first step taken. The Earl of 
Northampton, Arbella's enemy of old, did all he could to 
inflame the King's mind against her, and add to his alarm ; 
but the old Admiral, Lord Nottingham, wrote to Salisbury 
that, the wind being east by south for some days past, 
the fugitives could not have got far, and were probably 
not yet past the Downs or Margate : but as a matter of fact, 
44 England will find no loss by their absence. . . . The 
best that I do think, as it f alleth out, is that it do not appear 
to the world that there is here any account made of them." 
Every one but the King himself saw how simple a matter 
the whole thing was, and how it had no political signifi- 
cance whatever, but he was terrified, and with him, alas, 
his son Prince Henry, who thus failed his fair cousin in 
her hour of direst need. 44 Our Scots and English," 


writes More, " differ much in opinion upon this point. 
These do hold that if this couple should have escaped, the 
danger was not like to have been very great, in regard that 
their pretensions are so many degrees removed, and they 
ungraceful [i.e. out of grace or favour] both in their 
Persons and their Houses : so as a hot Alarm taken in 
the Matter will make them more Illustrious in the World's 
Eye than now they are, or (being let alone) ever would have 
been. But the others aggravate their Offence in so strange 
a manner, as that it might be compared to the Powder 
Treason; and so tis said fill his Majestye with fearful 
Imaginations, and with him the Prince, who cannot easily 
be removed from any settled Opinion." 

By midnight on Tuesday, Phineas Pette, the King's 
shipwright, relates that a King's messenger came galloping 
up to bid him " to man the Light Horseman with twenty 
musqueteers, and to run out as low as the Nore head to 
search all shippes, barks, and other vessells, for the Lady 
Arbella." The order was obeyed, and not only ships, but 
every house in Leigh was ransacked in vain : on being 
assured of which Pette returned himself to Greenwich to 
acquaint the King. But Nottingham and Salisbury had 
already commissioned Admiral Sir William Monson to 
take the chase in hand, and Monson was no man to let 
the grass grow on his footsteps. He hastened himself 
to Blackwall, questioned the watermen there, and soon 
heard of the strange happenings at the tavern the night 
before, learning that one at least of frequent visitors 
during the last few days had been recognized as Lady Grey, 
Lady Shrewsbury's daughter and Arbella's cousin. Even 
while he listened to this tale, some men pulled ashore 
from a ship just come up the river, and related how a 
French barque in Leigh roads had taken a strange party 
on board at daybreak, and soon afterwards had sailed for 
Calais. Monson waited to hear no more. He sent a hasty 
message to Salisbury, and another to the Admiral com- 
manding in the Downs, put six men and some shot into 
an oyster boat and bade them pull down the Thames in 
pursuit as fast as they could go, rowed across to Greenwich, 


got a royal ship despatched to the Flanders coast, and 
went out himself in a little fishing boat to watch what 

To the Adventure, sent from the Downs, it was that the 
prize fell. " Under the South Sundhead," writes her 
captain, Griffin Cockett, to the Admiral ; " we saw a small 
sail, which we chased, and proving little wind, we sent 
our boat with shot and pikes, and half channel over our 
boat did overtake them." Corve's ship indeed it was, 
which " lay lingering for Mr. Seymour," says More, with the 
luckless Arbella and her company on board. The French 
skipper threw out all his sail, and made a gallant run for 
it, but the wind had dropped and his vessel hardly moved. 
Once overtaken, and thirteen shot fired straight into her, 
no further resistance was possible. Corve struck his flag, 
and Arbella stepped forward and surrendered herself a 
prisoner to the King. Demanded where was her husband, 
she replied that she knew not, but trusted he was safe, 
and in any case his escape entirely consoled her for her 
own misfortune. So, concludes More, " In this Barke 
was the Lady taken with her Followers, and brought back 
towards the Tower : Not so sorry for her own Restraynt, 
as she should be glad if Mr. Seimour might escape, whose 
Welfare she protesteth to affect much more than her 


THE TOWER (1611-12) 

SEYMOUR as we know did escape, though it is miraculous 
how he contrived to do so. He did not land at Ostend 
till Friday the 8th, so at the time of all this hue and cry 
must have been either in Harwich or at sea. But if one 
only of the culprits was to be seized, no doubt James 
preferred that it should be his cousin. When the Ad- 
venture returned with her prize, Monson would not allow 
any of the prisoners to leave the ship until he had learned 
" His Majesty's directions how to dispose of my lady, for 
that I am unwilling she should go ashore until I have further 
authority; but in the meantime, she shall not want any- 
thing the shore can afford, or any other honourable usage." 
James ordered her to be sent at once to the Tower, while 
Crompton, Markham, Reeves, Kirton, Corve and Anne 
Bradshaw, were committed to various prisons, until they 
could be examined, and the whole affair thoroughly 

Arbella and her aunt, Lady Shrewsbury, were examined 
together before the Privy Council, for the King was still 
anxious as far as possible to keep the affair private; but 
this very desire enraged the hot-tempered Countess 
beyond words. " On Saturday last," writes More, dating 
the 18th June, " the Countess of Shrewsbury was lodged 
in the Tower, where she is like long to rest as well as the 
Lady Arbella. The last-named Lady answered the Lords 
at her Examination with good judgment and discretion; 
but the other is said to be utterly without Reason, crying 
out that all is but tricks and giggs; that she will answer 
nothing in private, and yf she have offended the Lawe 
will answer it in publicke. She is said to have amassed 



a great Somme of Money to some ill use, 20,000 pounds 
are known to be in her Cash; and that she had made 
Provision for more Bills of Exchange to her Niece's use, 
than she had knowledge of. And though the Lady Arbella 
hath not yet been found inclinable to Popery, yet her Aunt 
made account belike that being beyond the Seas in the 
hands of Jesuits and Priests, either the Stroke of their 
Arguments or the Pinch of Poverty might force her to 
the other side." 

It must have been a strange meeting between aunt 
and niece; and in spite of all her faults, some cordial 
admiration is due to Mary Talbot for her firm partisanship 
for this unhappy kinswoman. It was a period when 
nearest and dearest, members of one family, and even 
husband and wife, would in a like case betray one another 
and believe they did service to the State; but Lady 
Shrewsbury deceived herself with no such cheap morality. 
She loved Arbella, and stood by her in her darkest hour; 
though Northampton, writing to the King, remarks that 
" Lady Arbella dares not clear her by oath, though she 
clears all foreign princes." Nevertheless, not much 
could be proved against her, and she had besides powerful 
friends : it was never supposed that she would be kept 
long in the Tower. She was given a few good rooms in 
the " Queen's House," the best quarter available, but 
grumbled greatly because she had no servants, and some 
of the windows were broken, ceilings cracked, and the 
furniture old and shabby. She complained to her 
husband, who wrote to Salisbury : "I beseech your 
Lordship to give order, in writing or otherwise as it pleaseth 
you, that there may presently be wainscot leaves set up 
for the nether window in those 2 rooms where my wife 
liveth and eateth, and so many partition boards to be 
set up before the doors as in all would make but one 
small portal, and a piece of a roof mended not half a yard 
broad and one yard long, at which now the skies may be 
seen. This is her request to me this morning, to be a 
suitor for to your Lordship ; if this may pass by immediate 
warrant I desire it, or else not." 


Northampton visited the Tower to see if what Lady 
Shrewsbury said was true, and behaved in a very insulting 
manner to her; but ultimately matters were improved. 
Her brother Sir Charles Cavendish was permitted to send 
her some verses of his own composition; and writing 
from Welbeck on the 19th June to one Henry Butler, 
who seems much attached to her, he says : " Good Henry 
Butler, I cannot blame you to be greatly grieved at this 
case, knowing how much she loves you for your trust 
and love to her; but my lord putteth me in hope that her 
abode there will not be long, and that shortly she shall 
have the liberty of friends and servants to come to her. 
She is appointed the Queen's lodgings, and hath three or 
four fair rooms to walk in. God send her well out of 
them, as I hope in God she shall. Commend me to Mr. 
Wingfield, and be you both of good cheer, for I understand 
she had not gone thither if she had answered the Lords, 
so for that contempt she suffereth." This optimistic 
view was shared by her husband, who, though not held 
responsible for her doings, was still under arrest in his 
house and unable to help her. Gilbert had been married 
to his Mary by her masterful mother when he was only 
fifteen, but on the whole they seem to have suited one 
another very well, and in spite of their difference in religion, 
were sincerely attached. He, writing also to Butler a few 
days later, says, " For my wife, as I wrote you in the P.S. 
of my second letter, so I assure you it is the worst of her 
estate. God grant her health and patience for a time, and 
then it will pass over, with God's help, as many greater 
things have done." By the 28th June, Charles Cavendish 
writes, that " The King hath granted six of my lady's 
servants to repair to her at all convenient time, and 
Mistress Anne to attend her continually there." But 
she remained defiant, and it was two years before she was 
set free to return to her husband. 

For the other prisoners, Crompton and Markham were 
put to the torture, but divulged very little; indeed, there 
was nothing to tell, since all their accomplices had been 
already seized, except Rodney and Seymour himself. 


Crompton was released two years later, in November 1613, 
and Markham probably earlier. Sir James Croft wrote 
a pathetic letter to Salisbury on the 13th June from the 
Fleet prison, " soliciting enlargement, protesting his 
entire innocence of Lady Arbella's escape, and hoping 
he might not lose the King's favour and the reward of his 
thirty-six years service." He, too, and Moundford, with 
all the rest were evidently shortly set free, since we hear 
no more of them as prisoners. 

But upon Arbella herself the Tower walls had closed for 
ever. It is doubtful whether she fully realized this at 
first, though she can have had but very little hope of 
release. Fear is a hard master, and fear drove James to 
persecute her ; there would be no more chances of escape. 
So long as Seymour remained free, she must be bound. 
She was glad, unselfishly glad, of his freedom; but she 
must often have looked back with longing upon the days 
when she had thought herself unhappy, at Sir Thomas 
Parry's house at Lambeth; but when, since her husband 
could come to her, joy was never very far away. Now 
the seas rolled between them, and they should never 
meet more. 

She was given the rooms in the Lieutenant's lodgings 
where her grandmother, Margaret of Lennox, had been 
imprisoned for the crime of her son Darnley's marriage 
with Mary of Scotland. They were not ill rooms, but 
dreary to hopelessness. When first sent there, she dis- 
patched a " Memorial to the Council," making certain 
requests concerning her household. 

44 The Lady Arbella desireth that her servants that are 
now in the Tower, or so many of them as shall be thought 
fit, to be allowed to her. That Peter, who attended Mr. 
Seymour, an ancient servant of hers, may be her bottle- 
man. To have herewith another servant, an embroiderer, 
whose name is Roger Fretwell. For a woman, she desireth 
the Lady Chaworth. Her desire is that Mr. Yelverton 
may receive her money and jewels. That Smyth, her 
servant, may have access unto her. There must of 


necessity be linen bought, both for her wearing, for sheets 
and table linen, whereof there is not any amongst her 
stuff. She hath xxxij servants, for which some order 
would be taken." 

This Memorial is undated, and some have supposed it 
to refer to Arbella's first imprisonment in Parry's house, 
but this seems unlikely, as she had all reasonable neces- 
saries there; while, as corroborative evidence, a letter 
from Waad to Salisbury of the llth June, repeats that 
Arbella particularly desires the company of Lady Cha worth, 
and adds that he awaits directions as to whether this is 
to be allowed. It was not ; and one only of her servants 
was later granted her. There had been too much fetching 
and carrying of devoted adherents, and henceforth she 
was to be surrounded by unsympathetic strangers. But 
some two years later the Council sent an order to Waad 
to the effect that " Whereas Samuell Smyth, servant unto 
the Lady Arbella, being employed by her ladyship in the 
managing of her private estate, hath been an humble 
suitor unto us that he might be suffered to have access 
unto her ladyship as well to give her an accompt of his 
proceedings therein as to receive her further directions 
for ordering the same. These are therefore to will and 
request you to suffer the said Samuell Smyth to repayre 
to the said Lady Arbella at convenient and seasonable 
tymes, to conferr with her about her sayd private affairs, 
so the same be doune in your presence and hearing, for 
which this shall be your warrant." 

When taken prisoner on the Adventure, Arbella had with 
her a very large sum of money and a quantity of valuable 
jewels, on learning which James hastily issued a Warrant 
to the Lords of the Council, directing " That they cause all 
such sums of money as are to be defrayed by his Majesty 
for the charges of apprehension of the Lady Arbella an< 
her company, and her bringing up, to be paid out of su< 
gold as hath been found upon her or in her company, 01 
which hereafter shall be found to have been upon her 01 
in her company at the time of her escape." The valuabl< 


were delivered to Sir William Bowyer, who was told to 
inventory the jewels, and " take them to the Tower, and 
there, in the company and presence of the Lieutenant, 
show the said gold and jewels to the Lady Arbella, and to 
inform yourself from her ladyship to whom all the said 
gold and jewels belong ; which, if she inform you they are 
hers, you are to detain them to her use, issuing and deliver- 
ing no part thereof upon any warrant from her ladyship 
until you first acquaint the chancellor of the exchequer ; 
and if the Lady Arbella says some is not hers, but belongs 
to her servants and other persons, we do require you to 
deliver them unto these persons, taking from them a 
sufficient acquit ance for your charge." There was 868 
in gold, but Arbella declared that several of the jewels were 
missing, and must have been stolen since they had been 
taken from her. Of these the following list was made : 

" A note of such jewels as my Lady Arbella affirmeth to 
be wanting, and desiereth they may be inquired after. 
Item A poignard diamond ring. Item A flower de luce 
set with diamonds, which she thinketh is in a little box 
of wood, and left amongst her jewels. Item In the same 
box was a ring wherein was set a little sea-water green 
stone called an emeryn. Item A little jewel like a horn, 
with a great yellow stone called a jacynth, with opals 
and rubies. Item A jewel like a star, set with opals. 
Item A piece of a chain of gold, set with rubies and pearls. 
Item Some four pearls set upon a cord, with eight other 
less pearls. Item A watch left in Mistress Bradshaw's 
trunk at Barnet. Item A little chest with wares." 

After this, Bowyer and Yelverton, whom Arbella wished 
to act for her, were directed to sell the goods at cost 
price, and use the money to pay her debts. 

Meanwhile, ever since her capture, great was the King's 
anxiety still to discover the whereabouts of her companion 
in disgrace. Many reports were spread, but it was at 
last ascertained that Seymour had reached Bruges, where 
the Archdukes had received him kindly, and even sent an 
Ambassador on his behalf to England, who, says More, 


" hath carried himself very strangely ever since his 
arrival. He hath had but one audience of his Majesty, and 
that private. He hath brought a letter from the Archduke 
in favour of Mr. Seymour, no less strange than the rest, 
that his Majesty would be pleased to pardon so small 
a fault as a clandestine marriage and to suffer his wife 
and him to live together." James was always much at 
the mercy of public opinion, and though he had no intention 
of relaxing poor Arbella's punishment, he thought it 
politic now to excuse his conduct to these foreign princes, 
who plainly thought him guilty of cruel exaggeration; so 
he made Salisbury write to Trumbull, bidding him now 
forbear " to urge and press this matter any further, but 
leave them to do therein what themselves shall best ad- 
vise ; this being a thing of no such consequence as that his 
Majesty will make any extraordinary contestation for it, but 
attend their own motions and judge accordingly." As to 
Seymour himself, Trumbull was to take no notice of him, 
except to " carry always a watchful eye to observe what 
entertainment he doth find there ; how he is respected ; to 
whom he most applies himself ; who especially resort unto 
him, and what course he purposeth to take either for his 
stay or his remove. And, as you can have any means, 
let him know thus much, that he will deceive himself if 
ever he thinks to find favour whilst he liveth under any 
of the territories of Spain, Rome, or of the Archdukes; 
all which places all that are ill-affected only find residence 
and favour." Having thus delivered the King's message, 
Salisbury very angrily adds on his own account that though 
he had pleaded Seymour's cause upon his first failing, 
" I am now neither willing to remember that I have done 
him any courtesies, neither mean to entertain any acknow- 
ledgment of them to me. And, therefore, if he hath any 
purpose to write hither to make his peace by the mediation 
of his friends, let him address his letters either to the 
Lords in general or else to those in whom he hath a 
particular interest, for you may assure him that for mine 
own part I am resolved not to receive any letters from him 
that are directed to me in particular." 


Seymour soon after left Bruges for Paris, and it was 
thought he intended to proceed to Venice; so Dudley 
Carleton, Ambassador there, was instructed to request 
the " Prince of Venice " to detain and deliver him up if 
he should enter his dominions. To this the prince readily 
agreed ; and, writes Carleton, " I thought it not amiss to 
add . . . that his Majesty's pursuit of this business was 
not for any extraordinary consequence or doubt of any 
danger that might proceed of this young man's person, 
but for just indignation that one of such disparity of years, 
blood and means, should presume, contrary both to word 
and oath, not only to steal a match with one so near his 
Majesty in blood, but likewise to break prison and fly 
away, whereas his restraint was in no way severe, but 
only (for such time as his Majesty should think fit) to cause 
a separation." Seymour, however, had no intention of 
going to Venice. He remained in Paris, where Rodney 
joined him, and where he received constant letters from 
his grandfather, full of weak expostulation and impotent 
anger, and written less, one cannot help feeling, for the 
edification of William than for the approval of Salisbury, 
to whom every one was humbly submitted before posting 
to the " disobedient, unfortunate grandchild." To Salis- 
bury himself Hertford confided, " I could wish young 
Rodney were removed away from him, being an unsettled 
vain youth, like to do much more hurt than good about 
him." And later, on the 3rd November, he writes : " I 
have heretofore moved your Lordship by my former 
letters, that young Rodney may be drawn away from my 
grandchild, not only for fear his looseness may do more 
hurt by his society than any care of other can do good, 
but for that I understand his friends give him no main- 
tenance, and by that means he is like to be so great a 
burthen for my grandchild's small means, and do therefore 
very earnestly pray your Lordship to take some speedy 
course he may be drawn from thence with this opportunity." 

Later came a rumour that Seymour had become a 
Roman Catholic, and this much agitated the old man, 
who felt that if it were true, his grandson's last hope of 


forgiveness was gone. In great haste he informed 
Salisbury that he was sending John Felling, his chaplain 
and Seymour's former tutor, out to Paris to " make him 
find his error before he should be confirmed or settled 
in the devilish bloody Jesuitical doctrine." But the 
rumour was untrue ; and by November Hertford remarks 
that his sorrow for his grandchild's loss " is, thanks be to 
God, almost overcome " ; and also that " sithence I find 
hope of good conformity in his carriage toward his most 
excellent Majesty and the State, who may in time restore 
him to grace, and that I understand his Majesty is pleased 
I should do so, I am content merely to encourage him in 
a good course so long as his behaviour shall be well ap- 
proved by his Majesty and the State, out of my poor 
decayed estate to allow him the same means his Majesty 
and your Lordship were pleased I should do when he was 
first committed to the Tower, which was 200 per annum." 
It seems, therefore, that some hope of pardon had been 
held out to Seymour; and in any case he had now a 
comfortable allowance, and counted so surely upon the 
King's favour, that in December he was bold enough to 
request that Sir William Waad should forward him the 
clothes and furniture he had left behind in the Tower. 

Waad writes to Salisbury in great indignation. Never, 
he declares, " had any serving in this place so troublesome 
and burdensome a charge as I have had in those few years 
I have served here, both for number of dangerous prisoners, 
and others of great quality. And I hope his excellent 
Majesty and your Lordship will not judge me unworthy 
of those benefits my predecessors have always enjoyed. 
For if Mr. Seymour had been by order discharged out of 
his place, or died here, he must have left all his stuff, 
plate, books and other things whatsoever behind him. 
And I hope it is not meant his escape (of which here I will 
say no more) shall be construed to his benefit and to my 
disadvantage." He then states that Seymour had with 
him nothing of his own or his " honourable grandfather's," 
but " either from the Lady Arbella, or bought by me, or 
yet unpaid for " ; and declares that the prisoner managed 


to sell most things of value before he went, and that the 
rest are due to himself as not nearly equal in value to the 
sums he had disbursed for Seymour, and never been re- 
paid. Probably Waad had already seized and sold every- 
thing he could lay hands on. But " For the books," he 
declares, " which are valued at 30, besides the worke of 
Zancheus, and an Italian and Spanish Bible, the rest are 
English books and pamphlets of no value." " No penny 
since Christmas last" had been paid for his diet; and 
again, " My wife laid out for Mr. Seymour 10 for him, 
whereof he never paid penny " ; while the apothecary's 
bill for the year came to 32 165., " whereof there are 
divers cordials, almond milks, juleps, electuaries, and other 
things very costly." Seymour, however, was not the 
only prisoner to accuse Waad of dishonesty, and as he 
was disliked by all, and ultimately discharged from the 
Lieutenantship of the Tower some eighteen months later 
on a charge of embezzling jewels from Arbella, one cannot 
accept his word alone to prove that the young man was 
extravagant and callous. 

Many have blamed Seymour for his extraordinary 
inaction in Paris while his wife remained so close a prisoner 
in the Tower ; but, indeed, it is not easy to see what else 
he could have wisely done. To return would not have 
helped Arbella, since he could never have come near 
enough to see her, and would merely have surrendered 
himself to another prison, sure now to be placed as far 
from her as possible; whilst so long as one of them re- 
mained at large it was always possible, if unlikely, that 
the other might elude the vigilance of her guards and join 
him. Another double escape could never have been 
contrived. And there is no doubt that so long as he was 
in Paris they managed occasionally to correspond. But 
argue as plausibly as we may, not one of us but in his 
heart feels Seymour's attitude to have been weak and 
cowardly. There are moments in life when caution and 
prudence should be thrown to the winds, when two hearts 
that truly love will dare all to come to one another ; and 
in this noble recklessness the Earl of Hertford's grandson 


failed miserably. He had never been worthy of Arbella; 
from the beginning she had had to make excuses for him, 
and though she would have died sooner than breathe it, 
the knowledge of his weakness, now that she was thus 
hopelessly shut away from him, must have preyed deeply 
upon her mind, and early reduced it to despair. 

Her second imprisonment was rigorous ; lightened by 
no friendly faces, warmed by no hope of love and freedom. 
She had been gravely ill, it will be remembered, at Bar net ; 
for weeks had never left her room, scarcely her bed, and 
the exertion, excitement and anxiety of her escape had 
sapped all the little strength left her. Physically ex- 
hausted and mentally bewildered, she was carried back to 
the Tower, where her servants were not allowed to attend 
her, no comforts and few necessaries were furnished her, 
and she wandered about her room or lay stupefied upon 
her bed for hours at a time, a prey to all the darkest 
visions imagination could call up. Struggling gallantly 
with her weakness, she wrote, during the first months of 
her imprisonment, letters to all her friends and many 
people of rank and influence whom she scarcely knew, 
imploring their intercession with the King on her behalf; 
at last only asking humbly for the merest creature comforts. 
To James himself she sent some more of the dainty needle- 
work at which her pretty fingers were so clever, pitiful 
reminder of a time when he not only loved, but admired 
his gentle cousin; but this time the gift was sternly re- 
turned. Of her letters the following have been preserved. 

Lady Arbella Seymaure to Lord (probably Lord 



" The nobleness of your nature and the good opinion 
it hath pleased your lordship to hold of me heretofore, 
emboldeneth me to beseech your lordship to enter into 
consideration of my distress, and to be touched with 
the misery I am in for want of his Majesty's favour, 
whose clemency is such that, if it would please ye to make 
my grief known, and how nearly it toucheth my heart 


that it hath been my hard fortune to offend his Majesty, 
I cannot doubt but it would gain me both mitigation 
of the hard doom, and mercy in some measure to yield 
comfort to my soul, overwhelmed with the extremity of 
grief which hath almost brought me to the brink of the 
grave. I beseech your lordship deal so with me as my 
prayer may gain you God's reward, for His sake, though 
it be but a cup of cold water. I mean any small hope of 
intercession of his Majesty's displeasure shall be most 
thankfully received by me. And I doubt not but, if it 
please your lordship to try your excellent gift of speech, 
his Majesty will lend a gracious ear to your lordship, and 
I shall rest ever bound to pray for your lordship's happi- 
ness, who now myself rest the most unfortunate and 
afflicted creature living, 

"A. S." 

Lady Arbella Seymaure to some unknown person. 

" SIR, 

" Though you be almost a stranger to me, but only 
by sight, yet the good opinion I generally hear to be held 
of your worth, together with the great interest you have 
in my Lord of Northampton's favour, makes me thus 
far presume of your willingness to do a poor afflicted 
gentlewoman a good office (if in no other respect, yet 
because I am a Christian) as to further me with your best 
endeavours to his lordship, that it will please him to help 
me out of this great distress and misery, and regain me 
his Majesty's favour, which is my chief est desire. Wherein 
his lordship may do a deed acceptable to God and honour- 
able to himself, and I shall be infinitely bound to his 
lordship and beholden to you, who now, till I receive some 
comfort from his Majesty, rest the most sorrowful creature 


Another to an unknown person. 

" MY Lo., 

" My extremity constraining me to labour to all my 
friends to become suitors to his Ma ty - for his pardon 
x 2 


of my fault, and my weakness not permitting me to write 
particularly, I have made choice of your Lo., humbly 
beseeching you to move as many as have any compassion 
of my affliction to join in humble mediation to his Ma ty - 
to forgive me the most penitent and sorrowful creature 
that breathes, 

Your distressed Cousin, 

" A. S." 

Lady Arbella Seymour to (probably) Viscount Fenton. 
This draft is full of erasures, and much crossed and altered. 


'' The long acquaintance betwixt us, and the good 
experience of your honourable dealing heretofore maketh 
me not only hope but be most assured, that if you knew 
my most discomfortable and distressed estate you would 
acquaint his Majesty withal and consequently procure 
my relief and redress as you have done othertimes. I 
have been sick even unto the death, from which it hath 
pleased God miraculously to deliver me for this present 
danger, but find myself so weak [by reason I have wanted 
those ordinary helps whereby most others in my case, 
be they never so poor or unfortunate soever, are pre- 
served alive at least for charity; that unless I may be 
suffered to have those about me that I may trust, this 
sentence that my lord treasurer pronounced after his 
Majesty's refusing that trifle of my work, by your per- 
suasion, as I take it, will prove the certain and apparent 
cause of my death. Whereof I then thought good to 
advertise you that you both may the better be prepared 
in case you, or either of you, have possessed the King 
with such opinions of me, as thereupon I shall be suspected 
and restrained till help come too late, and be assured that 
neither physician nor other but whom I think good shall 
come about me whilst I live till I have his Majesty's 
favour, without which I desire not to live. And if you 
remember of old I dare to die so I be not guilty of my 
own death, and oppress others with my ruin too, if there 
be no other way, as God forbid, to whom I commit you, 


and rest assuredly as heretofore, if you be the same to 

" Your lordship's faithful friend, 

44 A. S." 

" I can get neither clothes, nor posset ale, for example, 
nor anything but ordinary diet, nor complement fit for 
a sick body in my case, when I call for it, not so much as 
a glister, saving your reverence." 

The letter was finally sent as above, though Arbella 
first crossed out the words from " so weak " to the end, 
and intended instead to insert the following : " That 
unless it please his Majesty to show me mercy, and that 
I may receive from your lordship at least some hope of 
regaining his Majesty's favour, again, it will not be 
possible for me to undergo the great burden of his princely 
displeasure. Good my lord, consider, the fault cannot be 
uncommitted, neither can any more be required of any 
earthly creature but confession and most humble sub- 
mission, which, if it should please your lordship to present 
to his Majesty, I cannot doubt but his Majesty would be 
pleased to mitigate his displeasure, and let me receive 
comfort. I wish your lordship would in a few lines under- 
stand my misery, for my weakness is such that writing is 
very painful to me, and cannot be pleasant to any to read. 
From your hand, my lord, I received the first favour, 
which favour, if I may obtain from your lordship's hand 
in my greatest necessity, I shall ever acknowledge myself 
bound to you for it, and the rest of my life shall show 
how highly I esteem his Majesty's favour. The Almighty 
send to your lordship health, and make you His good 
means to help me out of this great grief. Your lordship's 
most distressed friend." 

This last paragraph was, however, omitted in the final 
copy. Already the unhappy lady was growing dis- 
tracted with her grief, and her clear brain was shaken 
and confused. It was a return in more marked form of 
the nerve storm at Hard wick in 1603, but this time her 


emotions were more deeply engaged and her health 
already undermined. Of the friends to whom she wrote, 
Salisbury might perhaps in time have helped her; but 
nothing could be done suddenly, and he himself died the 
following year, leaving her enemy, Northampton, in com- 
plete power at Court. Her Christmas letter to the Queen, 
quoted in Chapter XV, and undated, has by some been 
held to have been written this Christmas of 1611 instead 
of the preceding one. The matter is one that can never be 
finally decided, but the language of the letter, though 
officially abject enough, carries scarcely that ring of 
absolute and personal misery which is so noticeable in 
these last appeals. 

In January 1612, Seymour, urged by his grandfather, 
who had at last obtained a promise from the Council that 
he should be left unmolested so long as he remained 
abroad, wrote his thanks for this concession : " May it 
please your most honourable Lordships. It is no small 
comfort unto me in my hard misfortunes that I have 
now opportunity whereby I may shew mine obedience 
unto his sacred Majesty and the State. Were the things 
commanded me never so difficult (which I must needs 
confess proceeds all from his Majesty's most gracious 
clemency beyond my desert), God is my witness, I would 
obey and undergo them with as great alacrity as the things 
I most desire. I acknowledge myself beyond measure 
bound to your Lordships for the very mild proceedings 
which through your honourable mediations I have found, 
and this encourageth me farther to become an humble 
suitor unto your Lordships for procuring the increase of 
his most royal Majesty's goodness and benignity towards 
me, which, while I have breath, with my utmost endeavours 
I will duly study to deserve, and rest always, To be 
commanded by your Lordships in all things, William 

No doubt the writing of this letter was a wise step, but 
to Arbella in her loneliness, it must have seemed t< 
confirm her husband's growing resignation to his exile. 
Yet this, too, might be intended wilfully to mislead; 


perhaps he was coming to her soon, and still she trusted 
him. The unselfish words she had spoken on board the 
Adventure at her capture were true from her heart, and 
she rejoiced freely at his liberty ; yet often she must have 
longed for a word of tenderness, for the face or the touch 
of him for whom she had risked and lost her all. During 
this year Seymour's father, the colourless Lord Beauchamp, 
died, and his eldest brother Edward assumed the courtesy 

In the beginning of July, Lady Shrewsbury was again 
called before a select committee of the Privy Council at 
York House to answer for her " high and great contempt " 
in refusing to speak at her examination. There was little 
for her to say, since her share in her niece's escape had 
already been proved; but she still refused to explain or 
discuss the matter, first, because she had made a " rash 
vow " not to do so, and it was better to obey God than 
man, and second, because she stood upon her privilege 
of nobility and would answer only before her peers. Sir 
Francis Bacon, who, as Solicitor-General, presided at this 
trial, made a long speech, describing Arbella's iniquities 
which, though endeavouring to palliate James's cruel 
conduct from his own point of view, shows a weak enough 
case for the King. " How graciously and parent-like his 
Highness used the Lady Arbella before she gave him 
cause of indignation the world knoweth," exclaims this 
distinguished advocate, yet her crime consisted " in 
transacting the most weighty and binding part and action 
of her life, which is her marriage, without acquainting 
his Majesty, which had been a neglect even to a mean 
parent; but being to our sovereign, and standing so near 
his Majesty as she doth, and she then choosing such a 
condition as it pleased her to choose, all parties laid to- 
gether, how dangerous it was my lady might have read it; 
in the fortune of that house whereunto she is matched : 
for it is not unlike the case of Mr. Seymour's grandmother. 
The King, nevertheless, so remembered he was a king 
as he forgot not he was a kinsman, and placed her only 
sub libera custodia. But now did my lady accumulate 


and heap up the offence with a far greater than the former, 
by seeking to withdraw herself out of the King's power 
into foreign parts. That this flight or escape into foreign 
parts might have been seed of trouble to this state, is 
a matter whereof the conceit of a vulgar person is not 
incapable. For although my lady should have put on 
a mind to continue her loyalty, as nature and duty did 
bind her, yet, when she was in another sphere, she must 
have moved in the motion of that orb, and not of the 
planet itself, and God forbid the King's felicity should be 
so little as he should not have envy and enviers enough 
in foreign parts." As to Lady Shrewsbury herself, " a 
lady wise, and that ought to know what duty requireth," 
her behaviour was unfavourably contrasted with Arbella's 
own, and she was bidden, " Learn duty of the Lady Arbella 
herself, a lady of the blood, of a higher rank than yourself, 
who declining, and that by request neither, to declare of 
your fact, yieldeth ingenuously to be examined of her 


The final verdict of the Star Chamber upon the Countess 
was that she should pay a fine of 20,000 and be confined 
during the King's pleasure; but she refused to humble 
herself in any way, and returned proudly to her prison 
in the Tower. Their estates already crippled with debt, 
neither she nor her husband could possibly raise the money, 
and probably it was not really expected of them. Lady 
Shrewsbury's imprisonment had never been a rigorous 
one, and she was now allowed the " liberty of the Tower " ; 
while a few months later, her husband having been taken 
seriously ill, she was permitted to return home to nurse 

Only Arbella remained within those gloomy walls, prey 
to a melancholy which took on darker shades as each 
month passed. 



SORROW came to the royal palace that autumn, and 
trouble lay heavily upon James ; but it did not serve to 
soften his heart towards his unhappy cousin. He had 
lately busied himself in arranging marriages for his son 
and daughter, Henry and Elizabeth : he wished Henry 
to marry a Spanish princess, but the young prince, urged 
by Raleigh, whom he visited often in the Tower and in 
whose opinion he reposed the greatest confidence, disliked 
the idea, and for the present this matter lay in abeyance. 
Determined, however, to conciliate the Protestant as well 
as the Catholic princes, the King had promised his daughter 
to the head of the German Calvinists, Frederick V, Elector 
Palatine ; and it was settled that the wedding was to take 
place before Christmas. Queen Anne was annoyed that 
her daughter should not make a more illustrious match, 
wishing her to have married Philip III of Spain himself; 
and teased her, calling her " Goody Palsgrave," but 
Elizabeth, now sixteen and " Queen of Hearts " to be, had 
fallen in love with her German suitor, and was contented 
with her lot. Her adored brother Henry approved and 
liked Frederick, and that was sufficient for her. 

In September James had the body of his mother, Mary, 
Queen of Scots, removed from Peterborough, where she 
had been first buried, and placed beneath the magnificent 
monument he had designed for her in the south aisle of 
Henry VII's Chapel at Westminster Abbey. Old gossips 
shook their heads at this, and said it was ill-luck to open 
a grave, for another of the same family would fill it ere 
long. Strangely enough, from that day Prince Henry lost 
energy, developed a hacking cough, and rapidly grew very 



ill. He must always, one judges now, have been delicate 
and of a consumptive tendency ; and he grew much too 
fast, being over six feet by his seventeenth year. But he 
was no sluggard, struggled bravely with his weakness, and 
took his full share in entertaining his future brother-in- 
law when the Pfalzgraf arrived in October for his wedding. 
The same month, however, Henry was suddenly attacked 
by serious illness, and by the end of October lay in great 
danger in his rooms at St. James's Palace, watched con- 
stantly by his father, who, forgetting earlier differences, 
now devoted himself unremittingly to his first-born son; 
while Queen Anne, though always doting upon her hand- 
some boy, feared infection too abjectly to approach him. 
Nevertheless, she was in great agitation at his danger, and 
as a last resource, sent to Raleigh in the Tower, to ask for 
some of his famous Cordial. He sent her a bottle (the 
ingredients, among other things, comprised pearl, musk, 
hartshorn, bezoar stone, mint, borrage, gentian, mace, 
red rose, aloes, sugar, sassafras, and spirits of wine), and 
with it a message that it would cure all ills but poison. 
The young prince took it, rallied an hour or two, and died 
on the 5th November. He was buried in the very vault 
that had been opened not two months earlier to receive 
the body of his grandmother, Mary Stuart. 

Raleigh's words caused people to whisper that the Prince 
must have been poisoned; and there were not wanting 
some to accuse his father of the deed; an absurd accusa- 
tion, of course. Henry seems really to have died of 
typhoid, his delicacy rendering him peculiarly open to 
infection. The Cordial itself was never blamed, and was 
regarded as of sovereign power for many years after : 
Queen Anne, Charles I and Charles II all placed implicit 
faith in it. The death of Henry made " Baby Charles," 
now twelve, his father's heir, as he had always been his 
father's favourite; but Queen Anne had an unreasoning 
dislike for this weakly younger son of hers. On one 
occasion when he was very ill and refused to take his 
medicine, his attendants begged her to come and herself 
persuade him to it, upon which she petulantly declined. 


" But, Madam ! " cried they, " The Prince may die ! " 
" No indeed," replied his angry mother. " He will live 
to plague three kingdoms yet by his wilfulness." Charles 
himself had loved and adored his elder brother, and never 
forgot him. Walking from St. James's Palace to Whitehall 
on the morning of his execution nearly forty years later, 
he pointed out a certain tree to Bishop Juxon with the 
words, " That tree was planted by my brother Henry." 

Princess Elizabeth's wedding was of course postponed 
by the sad event of her brother's death ; but only for three 
months, and she was married at Whitehall on the 14th 
February, 1613 : Queen Anne appearing at the ceremony 
" all in white, but not very rich, saving in jewels," said 
Chamberlain; while another observer remarks that she 
caressed the Pfalzgraf " as if he were her own son." Eliza- 
beth was a gentle -natured girl, and it seems that though 
Henry had renounced the friendship of his unfortunate 
cousin Arbella, his sister felt for her still, and in the midst 
of her own happiness managed somehow to convey to her 
an assurance that on the occasion of her wedding she would 
endeavour to soften her father's heart and win a promise 
of release. Arbella was overjoyed; the gleam of hope 
brought youth and radiance to her again, and reckoning 
too much upon it, she took for granted she would be present 
at the wedding, and that all would be forgiven on so aus- 
picious an occasion. Certain of this, she commanded four 
new gowns, one of which cost 1,500; and awaited im- 
patiently the news of her pardon. But it never came. 
Elizabeth could not herself plead for the prisoner with her 
father, to whom none of his own family now dared mention 
her name : but she begged her bridegroom to do so, 
convinced that the King could not be so churlish as to 
refuse this slight boon to one whom he protested himself 
delighted to honour. But she had not yet learnt the 
tenacity of her father's hate. His reply to the petition 
was, " If Judas were alive again, and condemned for 
betraying Christ, some courtier would be found to beg 
his pardon." Frederick had also been asked to plead for 
the release of Lord Grey, who, with Raleigh, had been 


imprisoned in the Tower since the Cobham Plot of 1603 ; 
and to this second request the King added, " Son, when I 
come into Germany, I will promise you not to importune 
you for any of your prisoners." 

So Elizabeth could do no more, and sailed away to the 
Rhine with her German lover. 

Upon this desperate disappointment, Arbella fell into 
a fit of hysterical melancholy bordering nearly upon mad- 
ness. She had never fully recovered from her former 
illness, and now sank back into the convulsive fits from 
which she had suffered on her fatal journey towards the 
north. " The Lady Arbella," writes Chamberlain on March 
10th, " hath been dangerously sick of convulsions, and is 
now said to be distracted, which, it if be so, comes well 
to pass for somebody, whom they say she hath nearly 
touched." The somebody alluded to is certainly Lady 
Shrewsbury, of whom the same gossip had written in the 
end of January that in spite of her apparent freedom, she 
" is now restrained and kept more close upon somewhat 
discovered against her (as they say) by her niece the Lady 
Arbella." It is very unlikely that Arbella would have 
made any charge against her only friend, and Chamberlain 
was probably misinformed; his evidence is only hearsay 
and never very trustworthy. The Countess was, it is true, 
twice called to appear before the Lords this year, but since 
she still stedfastly refused to speak, this seems to have 
been a mere form periodically indulged in. The Elector's 
plea for Lord Grey meanwhile did him no good, and only 
led to stricter watching lest there might after all have been 
some truth in that old Cobham Plot ten years before, and 
he and Arbella be in some secret communication. In the 
end of April we hear that the Lord Grey had of late " been 
restrained and kept more strait, for having had conference 
with one of Lady Arbella's women, who, being strictly 
examined, was fain to confess that it was only matter of 
love and dalliance. The Lady Arbella is likewise restrained 
of late, though they say her brain continues still crackt, 
and the Countess of Shrewsbury more close than at any 
time before, and not without cause, as the voice goes." 


Grey died, still a prisoner in the Tower, a few months 

The news of his wife's state had evidently reached 
Seymour in Paris, for a letter from some unknown person 
about him, dated 26th May, 1613, relates that he had been 
much annoyed at the King's refusal to bestow his grace 
upon him or allow him and his lady to come together again, 
" so that she has become distracted in mind, whereby he 
hears she cannot live long." He was evidently deeply 
disappointed that his submission to the Council more than 
a year earlier had led to nothing more, and it is remarked 
that " He has therefore determined to take some other 
course " : but it does not appear that he ever carried out 
the threat. This same month of May, Sir William Waad 
was dismissed from his post at the Tower, " to the great 
contentment of the prisoners," on a charge of embezzling 
some of Arbella's jewels. This charge was never proved, 
but she certainly both sold and pawned jewels while in 
the Tower, for Sir Walter Raleigh bought some, and others 
she herself redeemed in the end of this year. With all his 
restrictions, James never stopped her allowance, and the 
l ,000 a year bestowed upon her in her days of zenith was 
still punctually paid to her account all the time she was in 
prison. In November Hugh Crompton, her faithful 
steward, was released from the Fleet, and immediately 
took charge of her affairs again : his account book for the 
following six months throws many interesting side-lights 
upon her life in the Tower. During that time she bought 
a diamond ring and other jewels, besides plate, clothes and 
furniture, and also redeemed " ten great pearls," that had 
been pawned for her. Crompton sent her the money for 
these " on a warrant from my lady " ; and it is recorded 
that 142 65. Id. was spent upon her diet during twelve 
weeks. Several sums of money were also by her direction 
sent to Seymour in Paris, and it was probably through 
Crompton that the precious " Book of Hours," left her 
by her aunt, Mary of Scotland, was conveyed as a last gift 
of love to her husband ; her signature, " Your Most 
unfortunate Arbella Seymour," having first been inscribed 


in it. This valuable book was purchased in Paris by a 
Russian named Dubrowski during the French Revolution, 
and is now in the Musee de 1'Ermitage at St. Petersburg. 
A print of Arbella in the British Museum bears a facsimile 
of her handwriting, " Sweet Brother, Every one forsakes 
me but those who cant helpe me, Your most unfortunate 
sister, Arbella Seymoure," and it is conjectured that these 
words were addressed by her about this same time to 
Francis Seymour, the only member of her husband's 
family who showed any desire, and that a poor one, to 
befriend her. Francis was knighted by the King at 
Royston in October of this year, so had evidently been 
restored to favour by now. 

Arbella had still, however, some faithful servants 
devoted to her interests. Crompton was no sooner free 
than he set about devising means of rescue for his beloved 
lady. His plan seems from the beginning to have been 
foredoomed to failure, and had probably not been entirely 
shaped before suspicion was aroused : we should never 
even have heard of it were it not for Northampton's letter 
of triumph at having nipped it in the bud. Lady Shrews- 
bury, though still nominally under surveillance, was now 
at home nursing her husband, and was naturally supposed 
to have devised the scheme : at the first breath of it she was 
peremptorily commanded to return to the Tower. On the 
23rd November, 1613, Northampton writes that he has 
sent the King's directions to the Earl of Shrewsbury by 
the Lieutenant, who was " to take home the prisoner " : 
and two days later he records that " the prisoner is sent 
back to Mr. Lieutenant, though a request for longer absence 
had been proposed ; but upon better advertisement " 
Lord Shrewsbury had decided to say nothing for the 
moment, but later to prefer a petition for more liberty 
for her. Some have supposed that the " prisoner " here 
mentioned was Arbella herself, and that she had been 
permitted to leave the Tower for her uncle's house; but 
official mention would certainly have been made of such 
an arrangement, and it is in the highest degree improbable. 
The new Lieutenant, Waad's successor, was Sir Gervase 


Helwys. Northampton continues, " With much ado, and 
withal by very good fortune, we have hit upon the place 
destined to the escape. It falls out to be under a study of 
Mr. Revenes [Ruthven ? Reeves ?] but of these things I 
shall have occasion before it be long to deal thoroughly. 
In the meantime his Majesty will be pleased to reserve this 
secret from all the world but yourself [Somerset], till we 
sound the bottom, for it hath thus far been carried with a 
great deal of art." 

Reeves, Seymour's old servant, and Dr. Palmer, Chaplain 
of the Tower, were certainly involved in the plot the 
sum of 20 to Dr. Palmer was entered by Crompton in 
Arbella's account book for this year but their share in 
it cannot have been discovered for some time afterwards, 
since it was not till the 7th July, 1614, that Chamberlain, 
writing to Dudley Carle ton, remarks that " One Dr. 
Palmer, a divine, and Crompton, a gentleman usher, were 
committed to the Tower last week for some business about 
the Lady Arbella, who, they say, is far out of frame this 
Midsummer moone " : while on the 6th August the Rev. 
Thomas Larkin, writing to Sir Thomas Puckering, mentions 
" The Tower, whither were committed about a fortnight 
since certain servants of the Lady Arbella's Crompton, 
Reeves, and Dr. Palmer, the cause whereof is said to be 
some new complot for her escape and delivery." It was 
the last attempt, and probably Arbella herself was the 
cause of its failure, for her fine intelligence was utterly 
wrecked, and she had no longer either the energy or the 
wits to profit by the desperate efforts of these her faithful 

The King of Denmark once more visited England this 
year, but he seems to have forgotten the " holy friendship " 
he had vowed to this unfortunate lady during his last 
visit, or perhaps he too found it impossible to intercede 
with James. Either Arbella herself had long ceased to 
write letters imploring help and mercy, or else these have 
not been preserved : we have but one fragment of this 
period, a draft of a letter to the King, written in a wild and 
shaking hand, and never finished or sent. In it she seems 


to touch the very bottom of despair; she had ceased to 
hope even in the husband for whom she had sacrificed so 
much, and there is no longer any reason why she should 
wish to live. The mention of Freak her " imbrederer " 
recalls the fact that he was one of those concerned in her 
attempted escape from Hardwick eleven years earlier, 
and shows, if proof were needed, how unswerving was the 
attachment Arbella always inspired in those who truly 
loved her. " In all humility in most humble wise the 
most wretched and unfortunate creature that ever lived, 
prostrates itself at the feet of the most merciful King that 
ever was, desiring nothing but mercy and favour, not 
being more afflicted for anything than for the loss of that 
which hath been this long time the only comfort it had 
in the world, and which if it were to do again, I would not 
adventure the loss of for any other worldly comfort. 
Mercy it is I desire, and that for God's sake. Let either 
Freake or " 

The last words are struck out, and the paper is torn 
across. Henceforth Arbella's voice is silent. 

As once before at Barnet, she took to her bed in despair, 
and would neither walk nor move, scarcely eat. Without 
actual self-murder, she had declared she " dared die," 
and now was prepared to prove it. The Council, learning 
that " The Lady Arbella, prisoner in the Tower, is of late 
fallen into some indisposition of body and mind," in 
September 1614 sent Dr. Fulton, " a person of gravity 
and learning, to comfort her as is expedient for a Christian 
in cases of weakness and infirmity, to visit her occasionally 
as the Lieutenant of the Tower thinketh wise, and to give 
her spiritual comfort and advice." But all was in vain : 
she listened no more to him than to the doctors, whose 
medicine she refused to take; and gradually her physical 
condition became more and more hopeless. She grew 
frightfully thin, suffered great pain, and at last died on the 
25th September, 1615. The actual cause of her death 
seems to have been liver trouble, aggravated of course 
by the confinement in which she had lived and her refusal 
to take any exercise. 


According to custom the Tower authorities next day 
requested the President of the College of Surgeons to send 
certain doctors to view the corpse, since the cry of poison 
was as usual certain to be raised, and it was thought 
advisable as "on like occasions when prisoners of great 
quality died in that place, her body should be viewed by 
persons of skill and trust and thereupon certainty be made 
of what disease she died, as their judgment might appear." 
The President himself, and Doctors William Paddy, 
Edward Lister, Richard Palmer, John Argent, and Matthew 
Gwyn, all Fellows of the College, accordingly met Arbella's 
own4)r. Moundford at eight o'clock on the 27th September 
in her dreary chamber at the Tower, reported that her body 
was "of an extreme leanness," and that she had died of 
a " chronic and long sickness " ; and so ordered her to be 
embalmed ; for which Dr. Primrose, one of the King's own 
surgeons, received the sum of 6 135. 4d. nearly a year later. 

Thrown hastily into a wretched coffin, the last remains 
of this " ill-fated and persecuted lady," as Nichols calls 
her, were conveyed by night from the Tower to West- 
minster Abbey, where for the third time was opened that 
vault already containing the bodies of Mary Stuart and 
Henry, Prince of Wales. With no ceremony, the Burial 
Service hurriedly muttered over her by the light of flick- 
ering torches, her coffin was pushed in here and left, and 
for many years not even a stone marked the place where 
Arbella Stuart lay. The plain inscription " Arabella Stuart, 
Born in 1575, died in 1615," is now cut into the pavement. 
Crull, who wrote a Guide to the Abbey in 1711, declares 
that he had entered the vault and seen her coffin " much 
shattered and broken, so that her skull and body may be 
seen : " and Bishop Goodman, endeavouring rather lamely 
to excuse King James's conduct to his cousin in his History 
of our own Times, remarks that " To have a great funeral 
for one dying out of the King's favour would have reflected 
upon the King's honour, and therefore it was omitted." 
But Arbella herself would have cared little, for on that 
cold September morning the prison doors had opened for 
her and she was free at last. 


Lady Shrewsbury, who does really seem to have 
mourned her niece, had been told on the night of the 23rd 
that she was dying, and then on the following morning 
that she was much better : the news of her death, therefore, 
came as a great shock, and she does not seem to have 
recovered from it for some time. A letter of hers to the 
Countess of Cumberland, dated the 8th December, speaks 
of her " heavy loss " and " hard fortune," says that 
Arbella " died a saint," and thanks the Countess for her 
sympathy, but states that her heart is still so full of sorrow 
she can think of little else. Her troubles in champion- 
ing her niece, however, were not yet quite over. In the 
following January rumours fled abroad that while in Sir 
Thomas Parry's house at Lambeth, Arbella had given birth 
to a child, that her subsequent ill-health had been caused 
by moving her too barbarously soon to Highgate, and that 
her son still lived and was being secretly brought up in the 
country to prove a later menace to James and his dynasty. 
There was nothing impossible in this story, and the King 
was seriously alarmed at it. He appointed four commis- 
sioners, Abbot, Suffolk, Winwood and Bacon, to inquire 
into its truth; no easy matter, for they had to produce 
proof which would finally convince a credulous world as 
well as themselves, and everybody who might have given 
information either refused to speak or declare he knew 
nothing. Seymour himself was appealed to and denied 
all knowledge of such a child; Sir John Keys and Dr. 
Moundford, Arbella's physicians, and Kirton and Reeves, 
her servants, said the same; Lady Shrewsbury, when 
called upon, followed her usual policy of an obstinate 
silence. The one person who must infallibly have known 
had Arbella really borne a child, was her faithful woman, 
Anne Bradshaw, who had witnessed her marriage, partici- 
pated in her escape, and never left her for years until torn 
from her side by the stern restrictions of her last imprison- 
ment. Mrs. Bradshaw had disappeared, and it was thought 
she might be in charge of the hypothetical infant, so all 
England was searched to find her ; and she was at last dis- 
covered, too ill to be moved, at Dufneld in Derbyshire. 


No, she said positively, her lady had never had a child. 
Sir Clement Edmondes, Clerk of the Privy Council, was sent 
down to Duffield to take her evidence on oath, and the 
tale seems never to have cropped up again. But Lady 
Shrewsbury's " contempt " was not yet punished. In 
May 1616 her husband Gilbert died, and leaving no 
sons, was succeeded as sixth Earl of Shrewsbury by his 
brother Edward : and as late as two years after, in June 
1618, his intrepid widow was once more called before the 
Star Chamber to explain her reticence concerning Arbella's 
" pretended child." She then owned she herself did not 
believe in the child, and so finally was let alone : but she 
had her revenge upon the cruelties of Northampton and 
Suffolk and all their house in that it was she, says John- 
stone, " who first set on foot the enquiry into the murder of 
Overbury by the Countess of Somerset (also a Howard) 
which in the result shook to its foundation and almost 
threw to the ground the House of Howard." 

Arbella left many jewels and valuable dresses at her 
death, some of the latter being quite new and never worn. 
The week after her death one Abraham Denderkin com- 
plained to the Council that he had delivered " pearls to 
the value of 400 or thereabouts a f or the use of Lady Arbella, 
now lately deceased, for the which he had received no 
satisfaction, that the pearls were embroidered on a gown 
now in the Tower, and if the gown should be conveyed 
away he were in danger to lose his pearls ; therefore," 
the Council commanded, " Mr. Lieutenant should take 
into his safe custodie as well the said gown as all other her 
Ladyship's apparrell and other goods, until order be given 
for disposing of them." A month later, on the 12th Octo- 
ber, the Lieutenant was authorized to deliver up the Lady 
Arbella's apparel, "saving the riche gown embroidered 
with Pearl, to whom they shall appertain." This was 
probably the dress she had ordered for the Princess 
Elizabeth's wedding. Many of her jewels seem to have 
been irregularly sold either before or after her death to 
other persons in the Tower ; for on the 14th October the 
Privy Council issued a warrant to Sir Walter Rawley, Kt., 

Y 2 


the Lady Helwyss (wife of the Lieutenant), Robert Bran- 
thwaite, and Katheren Croshoe, to deliver up to Samuell 
Smyth " all such goods of the Lady Arbella, lately deceased, 
as are in their hands and custodie." 

Seymour himself was still waiting on fortune in Paris 
when his wife died. Discontented as usual, he could 
not find the 200 a year allowed him by his grandfather 
sufficient for his wants, and constantly complained that 
it was impossible to avoid debt upon such a beggarly 
income. His claims to extract from Waad what he still 
declared to be his property were assiduously pushed by 
Smyth, who at last became such a nuisance that the ex- 
Lieutenant complained to the Council and got an " Order 
by general consent of their Lordships that stay should be 
made of all Suites whatsoever commenced against the 
said Sir William Waad in the name and behalf of the said 
Mr. Seymour untill such time as he should personally 
repair into this Kingdom and be answerable also unto such 
actions and matters as should be objected against him. 
Of which order the said Smyth is requested to take notice, 
and in case he shall notwithstanding contemptuously 
proceed in his said suit or actions against the said Sir 
William Waad, it is also further ordered that he should 
then be restrayned of his liberty and committed to prison." 
Apparently, however, the King and Council came to the 
conclusion about now that it was scarcely wise to drive 
Seymour to too great extremities; and learning that he 
had left Paris, ostensibly because the life there was too 
expensive for him, and had returned to the Netherlands, 
a conciliatory letter was penned to his grandfather, setting 
forth that their Lordships had heard that Mr. William 
Seymour had many debts in France, else that he would 
gladly return there from the Archduke's dominions ; " that 
he seemed desirous to behave himself abroad by such 
discreet and dutiful carriage as might merit and regain 
his Majesty's grace and favour, but so long as he remains 
in that place, which is a receptacle and retreat for priests, 
papists, and fugitives, he can hardly do so. That the 
King was reasonably angry . . . but so gracious is his 


Majesty's care of this poor gentleman, and so unwilling 
that he should add offence to offence by being corrupted 
in religion or allegiance or both, that he is content your 
lordship should give order for enabling him to return and 
remain in France." 

This was tantamount to commanding Lord Hertford 
to pay the young man's debts, but he does not seem imme- 
diately to have availed himself of the permission. Some- 
thing must have been done, however, for the letter from 
the Council is dated the 21st May, and by September 
Seymour was again in Paris. A further complaint of 
poverty to his brother Francis is endorsed as received on 
the 28th September, and Francis has added on the back, 
" The Lady Arbella died Tuesday night, being the 25th 
September, 1615." 

After this there was no particular reason why William 
Seymour should remain abroad, since his wife's wrongs 
do not appear to have touched him at all. The way paved 
for him by his grandfather, on the 1st January, 1616, this 
calculating young man wrote a letter of abject humility 
to the King. " Vouchsafe, dread sovereign, to cast your 
most merciful eyes upon the most humble and penitent 
wretch that youth and ignorance have thrown into trans- 
gression, and shut not up your mercy from him to whom 
time and riper years have given the true sense and feeling 
of his errors, and to whom nothing remains but hope of 
your princely mercy and forgiveness, and that not of merit, 
but out of your royal goodness, whereunto I most humbly 
appeal, acknowledging upon the knees of my heart the 
grievous offences of my youth, the which with the tribute 
of my life in your Majesty's service, I shall ever account 
most happily redeemed. Be therefore pleased, I most 
humbly beseech your most sacred Majesty, to take home 
a lost sheep of yours, whose exile hath been accompanied 
with many afflictions, besides the loss of your Majesty's 
most gracious favour, which hath given a most bitter 
feeling to all the rest. Thus beseeching the Almighty that 
rules the hearts of Kings, to move your Majesty to restore 
me, I most humbly prostrate myself at your princely feet, 


heartily praying for the long preservation of your Majesty 
and your most royal progeny, of whose end may the world 
never see an end till she feel her own. Your Majesty's 
most loyal subject and servant." 

This appeal was answered with almost indecent 
haste. James seems to have been ready now to promise 
anything which should draw his dreaded rival back from 
the influence of the Archdukes to his own country; and 
on the 5th January the council wrote in reply : " We have 
received a letter from you wherein we are very glad to 
observe that you acknowledge your fault and high offence 
unto his Majesty with a repentance as we hope unfeigned 
and sincere. We do therefore let you know that according 
to your humble request we have interceded for your return 
unto his Majesty, who is graciously pleased, upon this your 
sorrowful and humble submission, to extend his favour 
and mercy towards you, and is content that you may freely 
and safely come into your country again as soon as you 
think good, for which this letter shall be your warrant." 
On the 10th February, Winwood, writing to Lake, remarks 
that " Mr. William Seymour has returned, and is to see 
the King to-morrow." His restoration to favour must have 
been rapid, for in the following November, when Prince 
Charles was created Prince of Wales and several gentlemen 
were made Knights of the Bath, one of the first mentioned 
is " Mr. Seymour, that married the Lady Arbella." The 
following February Chamberlain writes to Carleton that 
" Sir William Seymour, that married the lady Arbella, is 
in some forwardness to marry the Earl of Essex' sister : " 
and shortly after he did indeed marry Frances Devereux, 
daughter of Robert, Earl of Essex, Arbella's early love. 
It seems, however, that he had not yet quite forgotten the 
royal lady who had died so tragically for love of him, for 
his first daughter, who died unmarried, was named Arbella. 

In 1618 Edward Seymour died, leaving no children, and 
William became Lord Beauchamp; while in 1621, at the 
death of his aged grandfather, the title of Earl of Hertford 
passed to him. James I himself died four years later, in 
March 1625, and Hertford remained ever a devoted ad- 


herent of the new King Charles. His staunch attachment 
to a hopeless cause during those dark days of revolution 
constitutes Hertford's highest claim to praise ; and in the 
light of his later courage and selflessness one is disposed 
to search more diligently for excuses to explain his strangely 
cold conduct to his first wife. In 1640 Charles created 
him Marquis of Hertford, and the following year made him 
Governor to the Prince of Wales, a post of peril and diffi- 
culty. His splendid conduct during the defence of Sher- 
borne Castle in 1642, and at the battle of Lansdowne in 
1643, deserves undying remembrance; while at the last 
dreadful scenes of the King's Trial in January 1649, he 
with the Duke of Richmond and the Earl of Southampton 
implored the Court to hold them responsible for advising 
the King's actions and to allow them to bear the penalty. 
Their plea was refused, and when at last the crime of 
regicide had been committed, these three gentlemen 
together with Lord Lindesay obtained permission to bury 
the body of the King in the Royal Chapel at Windsor. It 
was the 7th February, and a bitter winter's day, as the four 
faithful nobles held the pall over the coffin ; and so thickly 
fell the snow that before they had ascended the steps and 
entered the chapel the dark pall was covered with its 
flakes. " So went our King white to his grave." 

At the Restoration in May 1660, Hertford was one of 
the first to welcome Charles II at Dover. The Stuarts 
were not always forgetful of services done them, and four 
months later the new King revived in his favour the title 
of Duke of Somerset, last borne by Hertford's great- 
grandfather the Protector, who had forfeited it in April 
1552. He himself did not enjoy it for long, however, since 
he died the following month, on the 24th October, 1660, 
and was buried in the church of Great Bedwyn, with his 
daughter Arbella beside him. His eldest son had pre- 
deceased him, leaving a son who assumed the title, but he 
also left another son and two daughters. Hertford was 
described by Clarendon as "A man of great honour, 
interest and estate, of an universal esteem over the whole 
kingdom, as one who had carried himself with notable 


steadiness from the beginning of the Parliament in the 
support and defence of the King's power and dignity . . . 
not to be shaken in his affection to the government of the 
Church. . . . The party opposed to him carried themselves 
towards him with profound respect, not presuming to 
venture their own credit in endeavouring to lessen his. . . . 
It was thought no little honour and credit to the Court 
that so important and beloved a person should attach 
himself to it." Unfortunately the only portrait obtainable 
of William Seymour, Marquis of Hertford, shows him in 
later life, when the rather heavy face had lost all the 
enigmatic charm which had captured poor Arbella's 
romantic heart. 

Of Hugh Crompton we know only that he was Member 
of Parliament for Great Bedwyn for the year 1623-4, and 
that he died in August 1645; while Edward Kirton was 
Member for the same place in 1627 and died in 1654. 

Arbella's picture was many times painted, and though 
some of the miniatures supposed to represent her are 
doubtfully authentic, concerning the large majority there 
can be no question. The earliest is the baby portrait 
given in this volume; the latest, which I have not been 
able to trace, is reported to have shown her with dis- 
hevelled hair and ravaged face as she appeared during her 
last sad days in the Tower. It was bought at Christie's 
in 1827 by the Rev. M. Butt. A tiresome form of compli- 
menting the reigning Queen at this period was to paint 
the ladies of her Court as resembling her as much as 
possible, and this is why many of the pictures called by 
Arbella's name may as well be intended for Queen Eliza- 
beth or Anne of Denmark. She can generally be recog- 
nized by the thick rope of pearls which, as a family orna- 
ment, she almost invariably wore ; but for some of her best 
known portraits she chose other jewels. A pair of jet 
earrings in the form of tiny bows of' black ribbon was a 
favourite with her, and in perhaps the most charming 
of her pictures (see Frontispiece) she has hit upon the 
quaint notion of wearing a pearl in one ear and one of these 
in the other. Her hair is represented as light, fair, reddish 

First Marquis of Hertford 


or mouse-colour ; it was certainly not dark : and the same 
variety applies to her eyes. Mostly they are painted as 
blue, sometimes grey or hazel, and more rarely brown : but 
probably her charm lay chiefly in this variety, as it had 
done in the case of her aunt, Mary of Scotland, whose 
pictured face is not, according to our modern notions, 
strictly beautiful. The later portraits of Arbella are stiff 
and plain, but these are the least authentic : mostly she 
was painted before her cousin's accession, when her own 
future was full of golden possibilities. Her hands were 
white and beautiful. Bishop Goodman of Gloucester, the 
King's apologist, writes that, having sometimes displeased 
James in his life, " so give me leave to blame him a little 
after his death, especially in that business of the Lady 
Arbella, for her usage and her imprisonment only for her 
marrying the now Earl of Hertford, which marriage could 
be no disparagement to her nor to her royal kindred, but 
was every way a fit and convenient match. She was a very 
virtuous and a good-natured lady, and of great intellectuals, 
harmless, and gave no offence." 

Alone, as she had mainly lived, Arbella died : one of the 
most pathetically friendless figures in all history. Had 
not her name been arbitrarily dragged into the meshes of 
the Cobham Plot, and had not that Plot proved the down- 
fall of so famous a man as Walter Raleigh, she would 
probably by now have been unknown to all but students 
and delvers in the forgotten bypaths of historical research. 
Yet for almost thirty years she was held by many as the 
rightful heir to Queen Elizabeth, and a very slight inclina- 
tion on her part might have changed the face of English 
history and given us a third Queen regnant in place of the 
Scottish James. She was, too, a better woman and a 
woman of more character than many whose lives famous 
only through ill-fame have been written and re-written 
to tedium : one of whom it may be truly said that the 
better she was known the better loved; intelligent, kind, 
faithful and brave : yet doomed, like all her misfortunate 
race, to bring disaster on those who loved her and to place 
her own heart in careless and unworthy keeping. Although 



no epitaph was inscribed upon the spot where she was laid, 
one was written for her by a contemporary, Bishop Corbet 
of Norwich. Corbet was a courtier, had pronounced the 
funeral oration over Prince Henry, and was made a royal 
chaplain by James : it stands therefore all the more to 
his credit that he should so unhesitatingly have voiced the 
universal opinion of Arbella's misfortunes and cruel treat- 
ment. The words he w r rote for her are these : 

e( How do I thank thee, Death, and bless thy Power, 
That I have past the Guard and 'scaped the Tower ! 
And now my Pardon is my Epitaph, 
And a small Coffin my poor carcase hath ; 
For at thy charge both soul and body were 
Enlarged at last, secured from hope and fear, 
That among Saints, this amongst Kings is laid, 
And that my birth did claim, my death hath paid." 


SINCE constant reference to foot-notes in a work of this description is 
both teasing 1 to the eye and disturbing to the narrative,, I have thought 
it best to cite all authorities for the foregoing pages in one place together. 
The period is peculiarly rich in private correspondence, and every letter 
quoted will be found amongst either the Harleian, Sloane, Cotton, Lans- 
downe, Spence, Ashmolean, Talbot, Howard or Cecil MSS., and drafts often 
in two or more collections with slight or no differences. Many also appear 
in Sir Henry Ellis's Original Letters, and (especially in connection with 
Arbella's escape) in Sir Ralph Winwood's Memorials; while much valuable 
matter is to be gleaned from the State Papers, Domestic Series, of both 
Elizabeth and James I. Lodge's Illustrations of British History, and 
Portraits of Illustrious Persons, J. Nichol's Progresses of Queen Elizabeth and 
of James I, Robert Parsons's contemporary Treatise concerning the Broken 
Succession of the Croum of England, Sir John Haringtoii's Tract on the 
Succession to the Crown, are all full of interest : while other works that 
should be consulted on the period are the Secret Correspondence of Sir 
Robert Cecil with James VI King of Scotland, the Secret History of the Court 
of James I, Lucy Aiken's Memoirs of the Court of King James I, Mrs. 
Hutchinson's Memoirs of the Life of Colonel Hutchinson, Dr. Birch's Life 
of Henry, Prince of Wales, Spedding's Life of Bacon, The Arraignment and 
Conviction of Sir Walter Raleig h, Bishop Goodman's Court of King James I, 
Collins's Historical Collections of the Noble Families of Cavendish, Craik's 
Romance of the Peerage, and Hunter's History of Hallamshire. Mention 
should also be made of Inderwick's Side-lights on the Stuarts, Dr. Creigh ton's 
Queen Elizabeth, Froude's History of England, Hassall's European History, 
Mrs. Stepney Rawsoii's Bess of Hardwick and her Circle, and Miss 
Strickland's Lives of the Queens of England. 

Arbella's own story, with its strange interweaving of romance and 
tragedy, formerly aroused much interest, and has been treated, both as 
history and fiction, more than once ; the present writer claims no more 
than to have presented it to a new generation with, it is hoped, compassion 
and truth. Almost immediately after Arbella's death a rude Ballad was 
printed and sung about the streets, entitled "The True Lover's Knot 
Untied : Being the right Path whereby to advise Princely Virgins how to be- 
have themselves by the example of the Renowned Princess the Lady Arbella 
and the Second Son of the Lord Seymore, late Earl of Hertford." It is, 
as might be expected, full of inaccuracies. Another ballad, scarcely more 
correct but far more poetical, first appeared in Evans's Collection of Ballads 
in 1777, and is supposed by Disraeli to have been written by Mickle : a 
stanza from it appears upon the title page of this book. Mrs. Hemans 
also wrote a blank verse poem upon the unfortunate lady ; and in 1844 
G. P. R. James produced a novel entitled Arabella Stuart. From a more 
serious standpoint there is a short notice of Arbella in G. Ballard's 
Memoirs of British Ladies, published in 1775, an excellent article in Isaac 



Disraeli's Curiosities of Literature, 1791 ; and an extremely interesting life 
in Miss Costello's Memoirs of Eminent Englishwomen, 1844. A short life 
may be found in Lodge's Portraits, while Miss Strickland gives a brief 
and i oman tic,, if scarcely very correct, sketch in Lives of the Tudor and 
Stuart Princesses : and in 1866 Miss Cooper published her Life and Letters 
of Lady Arabella Stuart, by far the most sympathetic book on the subject ; 
though the author had not the advantage of consulting all the private 
MSS. so carefully and painstakingly dealt with by Mrs. Murray Smith in 
her Life of Arabella Stuart, published in 1889. So minutely and patiently 
has the last-named lady sifted and examined her evidence that after more 
than twenty years there is little to add to her discoveries ; though Comte 
de La Ferriere Percy's Deux Romans d'aventure du IGeme Siecle has been 

Siblished since, in 1898. The life of William Seymour, Marquis of 
ertford,has been fully treated by Lady Theresa Lewis in her Lives of the 
Friends and Contemporaries of Clarendon, and Lodge has also a short life 
of him in his Portraits. 


ADAM, Mrs., 281, 283, 292 

Aiken, Lucy, 331 

Albert, Cardinal Archduke, 79, 82, 
156, 161, 291, 301-2 

Albourne, Richard, 206 

Alencon, Due d', 41-2 

Amurath III, Sultan of Turkey, 47 

Angus, Earl of, Archibald Douglas, 4, 

Anhalt, Prince of, 185-6 

Annandale, Lord of, 69 

Anne Boleyn, 6 

Anne of Denmark, 5, 60, 144, 147-52, 
154-8, 163-5, 167-71, 173, 179-80, 
182-3, 185-9, 194-8, 200-3, 205, 
207, 212, 217, 239-40, 247, 251-6, 
260-1, 310, 313-15, 328 

Arbella Stuart, Lady, afterwards Sey- 
mour : at Elizabeth's Court, 1-2 ; 
descent, 5; birth, 19; christening, 
20; her father's death and her dis- 
inheriting, 21-2; first portrait, 23; 
her grandmother's death and legacy 
to her, 24-5, 55; disputes over her 
rights, 26-8; her mother's death, 
29-33; a favourite with Mary 
Queen of Scots, 34-5; family dis- 
putes about her, 36-7; betrothal 
to the Earl of Denbigh, 37-^0, 52 ; 
other marriage projects, 41-2; 
legacy from Queen Mary, 44-5; 
presented at Court, 46-9; at New- 
gate, 49; first letter to her grand- 
mother, 50; note to Burghley, 51; 
at Wingfield, 53 ; comes of age, 54 ; 
Lady Shrewsbury's will in her 
favour, 56; plots for her marriage 
and suspicions at Court, 57-60, 
62-82 ; first letter from James, 60-1 ; 
her staunch Protestantism, 61-2; 
Father Parsons on her claims, 69- 
70 ; her literary interests, 73-4 ; her 
new year's gift graciously received, 
82-3; falls in love with Essex, 
83-7 ; James thinks she has turned 
Catholic, 86; her grief at Essex's 
death, 89; wants to escape from 


Hardwick, 90-2 ; suggests marrying 
Lord Hertford's grandson, 93, 96- 
100 ; Brounker is sent to interrogate 
her, 101; her letters to him, Eliza- 
beth, and the Council on the sub- 
ject, 102-28; the Ash Wednesday 
letter, 122-8; attempt at escape 
from Hardwick, 131-4; is sent to 
Wrest, 134; rumours about her at 
Court, 128-30, 135-6; refuses to 
attend the Queen's funeral, 137; 
is sent for to Court, 145 ; first inter- 
view with James, 146; her allow- 
ance, 147-8; makes friends with 
her cousins, 149-50 ; stays with the 
young Shrewsburys, 151 ; her letters 
to them from the Court, 152-7, 
163-4, 166-76, 179-87, 206, 209- 
10, 214-17; mentioned in the Cob- 
ham and Raleigh trials, 158-62, 
168; child plays at Winchester, 
163-4; Fowler's admiration for her, 
165-6; choosing new year's gifts, 
169-70; Christmas at Court, 170-3 ; 
uses her influence with the King 
for her uncles, 175-9, 182; at State 
Progress, 179; appointed carver to 
the Queen, 179-80; marriage pro- 
posals, 176, 185-6; jealousies at 
Court, 180-2; hunting and tooth- 
ache, 183; suit with her tenant, 
184; her allowance raised, 186; 
has measles, 186; obtains a barony 
for her uncle William Cavendish, 
189-92; visits her grandmother at 
Hardwick, 190-1; is godmother to 
Princess Mary, 191-2; letter to 
Prince Henry, 193-4; at Garnet's 
trial, 195; friendship and corre- 
spondence with the King of Den- 
mark, 196-203; asks for more 
grants, 200 ; at Sheffield, 201, 204 ; 
is disinherited by her grandmother, 
205; in Masque of Beauty, 207; 
death and funeral of her grand- 
mother of Shrewsbury, 208-11; at 
Cavendish wedding, 211-12; asks 



for monopolies on oats, 212-14 ; and 
on hides and wines, 216, 219-20, 
224-6, 230, 236; has small-pox, 
215; letter to Charles Gosling, 217; 
her state progress through England, 
218-23; letter from Lady Bowes, 
225; wishes to leave Court, 226; 
is arrested and released, 227; 
rumours, 227-31, 236-7; faUs in 
love with William Seymour, 228- 
30; betroths herself to him, 231; 
his letters about and to her, 232-5 ; 
she is in favour again, 236; at 
Prince of Wales's Masque, 239-41 ; 
privately marries Seymour at Green- 
wich, 241-2; arrested again and 
sent to Sir Thomas Parry's house, 
243; Melville's pun on her name, 
246; petitions to the King, 246-7, 
253; to the Queen, 247, 252, 254-6, 
260 ; to the Council, 247-9, 251-2 ; 
letter to Shrewsbury, 248-9 ; letter 
to her husband, 250-1 ; to Francis 
Seymour, 258 ; to Lady Jane Drum- 
mond, 2546; devotion of her ser- 
vants and friends, 257, 261-2; her 
expenses, 260; sees her husband, 
261 ; verses addressed to her, 261-2 ; 
James orders her to go to Durham, 
262-4; her despair, 264-6; remon- 
strances to the Chief Justices, 
264-5; is carried to Highgate for a 
week, 266-9 ; iU there, 267 ; Seymour 
visits her, 268-9; she is taken to 
Barnet, 269-70; letter to the 
Council, 270; James sends his 
doctor to visit her, 271; she is 
allowed a month at Barnet, 273 ; 
letters to the King, 273, 276; is 
too ill to proceed, 274-7 ; is allowed 
another month, 277-8; her plans 
for escape, 279-82; her escape, 
283-6 ; proclamation for her arrest, 
290; her capture, 295; is sent to 
the Tower, 296; request for her 
servants, 299, 300; her jewels, 301 ; 
her letters from prison, 306-9; 
Bacon's opinion of her conduct, 
311-12 ; vain hopes of pardon, 315- 
16; becomes mad, 316-17; last gift 
to Seymour, 317; attempts to 
rescue her, 318-19; last letter and 
death, 320; burial, 321 ; rumours 
that she left a child, 322-3; her 
gowns, 323; her portraits, 328; 
character, 329; epitaph, 330 

Archdul-es, ^79, 82, 156, 291, 301-2, 
324, 326 

Aremberg, Count, 155-6, 161 

Argent, Dr. John, 321 

Arran, Earl of, 60, 143 

Arundel, Alethea Talbot, Countess of, 

204, 207, 218, 223 
Arundel, Earl of, 204 
Asheton, Sir Richard, 177-8 
d'Aubespine de Chateauneuf, M., 49 
d'Aupespine de Chateauneuf, Madame, 


Babington, Anthony, 44 

Bacon, Francis, 73, 84, 144, 214, 311- 

12, 322, 331 
Ballard, George, 331 
Barlow, Robert, 14 
Barnes, Thomas, 62-3 
Batten, Tom, 292 
Baynton, Mr., 233 
Beale, Robert, 34 , 
Beauchamp, Honora, Lady, 96 
Beauchamp, Edward Seymour, Lord, 

5, 93, 95-6, 126, 137, 228-9, 231, 

236, 258, 290, 311 
Beaulieu, 231 

Beaumont, de, 110, 112, 129-30,135-7 
Beaumont, Madame de, 168 
Bedford, Lucy, Countess of, 151, 168, 

179, 190 
Bertie, Mr., 16 
Bertie, Mr., junior, 16, 18 
Birch, Thomas, 193, 331 
Blague, Rev. Mr., 241, 243 
Blount, Sir Christopher, 52, 84, 86 
Bond, Sir William and Lady, 266-7 
Booth, Mr., 184 
Bothwell, Earl, 26, 76, 140 
Bowes, Isabel, Lady, 218-19, 225, 228 
Bowes, Sir Robert, 55 
Bowyer, Sir William, 301 
Bradshaw, Anne, 103-4, 242, 257, 

279, 281, 283-5, 287, 296, 301, 


Brandon, Charles. See Suffolk 
Branthwaite, Robert, 324 
Bridges, Elizabeth. See Kennedy 
Bright, John, 285, 288 
Brignola, Duke of, 72 
Brooke, Elizabeth, Lady Cecil, 160 
Brooke, Lord George, 158, 160-1, 163 
Brounker, Sir John, 100-2, 104, 112- 

29, 148 

Browne, Dr., 57 
Buchanan, George, 141 
Buckhurst, Lord, 70 
Bugg, Mr., 233 
Bulkeley, Sir Richard, 102 
Burghley, Lord, 9, 11, 17, 27-32, 

47, 51, 54-5, 60, 63, 65-6, 71, 

78-9, 126-7 

Butler, Harry, 219, 296 
Butt, Rev. M., 328 



Byron or Biron, Sir John, 99, 257 
Byron or Biron, Margaret, afterwards 
Lady Hutchinson, 242, 257 

Caithness, Bishop of, 22, 28 

Camden, 24 

Carey, Lady, 150, 168 

Carey, Sir Robert, 137 

Carleton, Dudley, 162, 187-8, 207, 
243, 303, 319, 326 

Carr, Robert, afterwards Lord Ro- 
chester, 142, 280 

Catherine Parr, 2 

Catherine Pole, 3 

Cavendish, Baroness, 212 

Cavendish, Sir Charles, 35-6, 39-4), 
46-7, 49, 67, 108, 113, 149, 153, 
174, 177-8, 204, 209-10, 217, 219- 
20, 298 

Cavendish, Elizabeth, Countess of 
Lennox. See Lennox 

Cavendish, Frances, 14 

Cavendish, Henry, 14, 36, 97-8, 131-4, 
166, 171, 174-6, 204-5, 208, 211-12 

Cavendish, Mary, Countess of Shrews- 
bury. See Shrewsbury 

Cavendish, Sir William, 14 

Cavendish, Sir William, first Baron 
Cavendish, 31, 36, 39-40, 46, 66, 
90, 97, 100, 114, 119, 131, 134, 174, 
182, 189-90, 192, 209, 211-12 

Cavendish, William, son of Baron 
Cavendish, 211-12 

Cavendish, William, son of Sir Charles, 

Cecil, Sir Robert, afterwards Earl of 
Salisbury, 63, 71, 78-9, 81, 88, 96, 
100, 105, 111-14, 116, 122, 126-7, 
129-30, 134, 136, 144-9, 152-5, 
159-60, 170-2, 177, 180, 183, 186, 
200, 204-5, 207-10, 214, 216-17, 
219-20, 224-6, 228-31, 236, 257, 
282, 289, 292^, 297, 300, 302-7, 
310 331 

Chamberlain, John, 207, 214, 227, 
315-16, 319, 326 

Chamberlain, Sir Richard, 10 

Chambers, John, 131-2 

Chandos, Lady, 279-80 

Chapman, Rev. Christopher and Mrs., 

Charles I, 5, 141, 144, 150, 187, 195, 
234, 239-40, 314-15, 326-7 

Charles II, 314, 327 

Chateauneuf. See Aubespine 

Chaterton, Mrs. Margett, 217 

Chaworth, Sir George, 120-1, 206 

Chaworth, Lady, 299-300 

Cheney, Lady, 218 

Christian IV. See Denmark 

Christopher, Thomas, 71 

Clarence, George, Duke of, 82 

Clarendon, Lord, 327 

Clifford, Lady Anne, 151, 163 

Clifton, Sir Gervase, 220 

Cobham, Lord, 155, 158-63, 316, 329 

Cockett, Griffin, 295 

Coke, Sir Edward, 69, 72, 161-2, 

Collingwood, Mrs. Alice and Francis, 


Collins, Arthur, 211, 331 
Conquest, Sir Edmund, 223 
Conyers, Mr. Thomas, 272-3 
Cooke, Mr., 166-7, 175-9, 184 
Cooper, Miss Elizabeth, 149, 332 
Cope, Sir Walter, 200 
Corbet, Bishop of Norwich, 330 
Corve, 283, 285-6, 295-6 
Cosimo III, Duke of Florence, 38 
Costello, Miss Louisa, 332 
Craik, G. L., 331 
Cranmer, Archbishop, 8 
Craven, John, 210 
Creighton, Bishop, 331 
Croft, Sir John, 269, 271-5, 277, 279, 

292 299 
Crompton, Hugh, 218-23, 241, 243, 

249, 257, 268, 279, 281-6, 290, 296, 

298-9, 317-19, 328 
Croshoe, Katheren, 324 
Crull, 321 
Cumberland, Countess of, 322 

Daniel, 151 

Darcy, John, Lord, 221 

Darnley, Henry Stuart, Lord, 8-13, 

19, 24, 140, 150, 299 
David, the servant, 172 
Denbigh, Earl of, 37-40, 52 
Denderkin, Abraham, 323 
Denmark, Christian IV, King of, 78, 

144, 196-203, 319 
Denmark, Queen of, 198-9 
Derby, Countess of, 192 
Derby, Earl of, 184-5 
Devereux, Frances, 326 
Disraeli, Isaac, 331-2 
Dodderidge, John, 97-101 
" Dolman, Richard," 69 
Donne, 151 
Dove, Henry, 132-3 
Drake, Francis, 78 

Drummond, Lady Jane, 151, 168, 
* 254-6 u 4 

Dudley, Sir Ferdinand, 229 ^ 
Dudley, Guildford, 5, 37, 93 
Dudley, Lady (Honora Seymour), 229 
Dunfermline, Abbot of, 27 
Dunfermline, Lord, 236 



Durham, William James, Bishop of, 
262-7, 269, 271, 273-4, 277-8, 282 

Edmondes, Sir Clement, 323 

Edmondes, Sir Thomas, 231 

Edmund of Langley, 3 

Edward III, 2, 77 

Edward VI, 1-2, 5-7, 140, 189, 239 

Egerton, 54, 184 

Elizabeth, Princess, 5, 141, 144, 148- 
50, 155, 163, 189, 240-1, 261, 313, 
315-16, 323 

Elizabeth, Queen, 1-3, 5-6, 8-18, 22- 
4, 26-33, 35-44, 46-52, 54, 56-68, 
70-3, 75-9, 81-5, 87-9, 91-115, 
117-18, 121-2, 124, 126-30, 134-40, 
145, 147, 150, 153-5, 157, 163, 169, 
171, 173, 189, 214, 223, 229, 243, 
280, 292, 328-9, 331 

Ellis, Sir Henry, 240, 331 

Elphinstone, Mr., 153 

Emery, 174 

Entragues, Mdlle. d', 76 

Essex, Lady, 280 

Essex, Lettice, Countess of (after- 
wards Countess of Leicester), 38, 
52, 84 

Essex, Robert Devereux, second Earl 
of, 52, 72, 84-9, 104, 108, 116, 122, 
124-6, 135-6, 155, 228, 266, 280, 326 

Essex, Walter Devereux, first Earl of, 

Evans, 331 

Evelyn, 74 

Facton, Mr., 132 
Farnham, Mr., 222 
Fawkes, Guido, 196 
Fenelon, La Mothe, 19 
Fenton, Viscount, 308 
Finnett, John, 239-41 
Fleming, Sir Thomas, 264-5 
Fogaca, 14 
Fontenay, 142-3 

Fortescue, Mr., Chancellor of Ex- 
chequer, 70 

Fowler, Thomas, 19, 24-6, 54-5, 165 
Fowler, WiUiam, 55, 165-7, 185-7, 214 
Freak, the embroiderer, 133, 221, 320 
Frederick V, Elector Palatine, 313-16 
Fretchville, Sir Peter, 220 
FretweU, Roger, 299 
Froude, J. A., 331 
Fulton, Dr., 320 

Gall, Udo, 201 
Gandy, Chief Justice, 162 
Gargrave, Sir Thomas, 10 
Garnet, Father Henry, 129, 195-6 
Gilbert, Sir Humphrey, 73 

Glasgow, Archbishop of, 12, 26 
Goodere, Sir Henry, 49-50 
Goodman, Bishop of Gloucester, 321. 

329, 331 

Gosling, Charles, 217 
Greville, Francis, 129 
Grey, Sir Henry. See Kent 
Grey, Lady Jane, 3, 5, 37, 81, 93, 98 
Grey, Lord John, 95 
Grey, Lady Katherine, 5, 14, 93-5, 

98, 106, 126, 137, 237, 264, 311 
Grey, Lady Mary, 5, 93 
Grey of Wilton, Lord, 158, 172, 315-17 
Gueldres, Count Maurice of, 185 
Gwyn, Dr. Matthew, 321 

Hacker, 103-4: 

Hale, Serjeant, 161 

Hamilton, Lord Claud, 21 

Hammond, Dr., 271-2 

Hamond, Mr., 177 

Handcock, 98 

Harington, Sir John, 53-4, 81, 85-6, 
196, 215, 331 

Harington, Lady, 163 

Harper, Sir Richard, 222 

Harrison, 66 

Hartshide, Mrs., 170 

Hassall, 331 

Hatton, Sir Christopher, 78 

Hay, Lady Anne, 168 

Hayward, Sir John, 94 

Helwys, Sir Gervase, 318-19, 323^1 

Helwys, Lady, 324 

Hemans, Mrs., 331 

Henri III of France, 41, 75, 79 

Henri IV of France, 61, 75-6, 79-81, 
84, 110, 129-30, 135-7 

Henry III, 2 

Henry VII, 5, 313 

Henry VIII, 2-8, 22, 94, 140, 194, 239 

Henry, Prince of Wales, 5, 141, 144, 
150, 173, 193-5, 201-3, 239-40, 
262, 274, 278, 293-4, 313-15, 321, 

Herbert, Henry, Lord, 93 

Hercy, Mr., 167-8, 171, 184 

Hertford, Earl of, 5, 14, 69, 93-101, 
106-8, 118, 126-7, 129-30, 137, 
228-30, 232, 237-8, 245, 258, 264, 
289-90, 292-3, 303-5, 311, 324-8 

Hertford, first Marquis of. See Sey- 
mour, William 

Hickes, Michael, 160 

Hide, Mrs. Lucy, 82 

Hildyard, 63 

Hill, 81 

Holford, Mr., 122, 125, 130-1 

Hollis, Sir John, 171 

Holstein, Duchess of, 156 



Holstein, Ulric, Duke of, 155-6, 185, 
188, 192 

Holt, Father, 63 

Hoope, Rauf, 82 

Howard of Effingham, Lord. See 
Nottingham, Earl of 

Howard, Lord Henry. See North- 
ampton, Earl of 

Howard, Lord Thomas, 6-8, 18 

Hume, Sir George, 178 

Hunsdon, Baron, 63 

Hunter, 331 

Huntingdon, Earl of, 19 

Inderwick, F. A., 331 

Isabella, Infanta of Spain, 75, 79, 156, 

291, 301 
Isabella of France, 79 

Jackson, Canon, 234 

James IV of Scotland, 4 

James V of Scotland, 3-6, 8 

James VI of Scotland and I of Eng- 
land, 2, 5, 10-13, 16, 20-8, 33, 37, 39, 
41, 44, 46, 48-9, 51, 55, 58-61, 63, 
68-9, 76-9, 81-2, 86, 100, 104, 107- 
8, 115-17, 124, 129, 135, 137, 140-54, 
156, 158-64, 168-73, 177-9, 182-6, 
188-91, 195-6, 200, 204-7, 211-16, 
220, 223-i, 226-39, 242-56, 258- 
67, 269-77, 280-2, 289-304, 306-22, 
324-5, 329, 331 

James, G. P. R., 331 

John of Gaunt, 2, 42, 58 

Johnston, Dr. Nathaniel, 164, 323 

Jones, Inigo, 240 

Jonson, Ben, 151, 187, 207, 215 

Jowler the dog, 183, 205 

Juxon, Bishop, 315 

Katherine of Arragon, 6 

Kendall, 81 

Kennedy, Lady (Elizabeth Bridges), 

Kent, Elizabeth Talbot, Countess of, 

134, 204, 233, 294 
Kent, Sir Henry Grey, Earl of, 134, 


Key, 120 

Keys, Sir John, 322 
Kildare, Countess of, 149, 155-6, 160, 


Kingsley, Charles, 160 
Kinloss, 211 
Kirton, Edward, 96-7, 99, 103, 242, 

269, 296, 322, 328 
Knevet, Lady, 10 
Knyvett, Lady, 227 
Kynnersley, Nicholas, 53 

La Boderie, 229-30 

Lacy, 155, 171 

La Ferriere Percy, Comte de, 332 

Lake, Sir Thomas, 224, 230, 326 

Lanyer, Captain Alfonso and Mistress 

Emilia, 261-2 
Larkin, Rev. Thomas, 319 
Lascelles, Edward, 190 
LasseUs, Sir Bryan, 221 
Lee, Sir Henry, 156 
Leek, Sir Francis, 191 
Leicester, Earl of, 16-17, 23-4, 28-9, 

37-9, 52, 63, 78, 84 
Leicester, Lettice, Countess of. See 

Lennox, Charles Stuart, Earl of, 5, 

9-24, 27, 222 

Lennox, Elizabeth Cavendish, Count- 
ess of, 5, 14-22, 27-32, 222 
Lennox, Esme Stuart, Duke of (first 

Lord D'Aubigny), 22, 28, 37, 60, 78, 

141, 150, 168, 192 
Lennox, Margaret Douglas, Countess 

of, 3-28, 33, 48, 54-5, 62, 69, 95, 

165, 299 
Lennox, Matthew Stuart, Earl of, 8- 

12, 141 

Lewis, Lady Theresa, 332 
Lewknor, Father, 81 
Lichfield, Bishop of, 43 
Lindesay, Lord, 327 
Lisle, Lord, 200 
Lister, Dr. Edward, 321 
Lodge, Edmund, 183, 208, 331-2 
Louis XIII of France, 291 
Lumley, Lord, 185 
Lyly, 73 

Malliet, 11-12 
Mar, Earl of, 11, 21-2, 150 
Margaret Douglas. See Lennox 
Margaret, Queen of Scotland, 2, 3-6, 

Marguerite de Valois, Queen of 

France, 75 

Markham, 281, 283-4, 290, 296, 298-9 
Markham, George, Esq., 222 
Markham, Sir Griffin, 158 
Mary, Princess, 189-92, 205 
Mary, Queen of England, 2-3, 5-6, 

93^, 140 
Mary, Queen of France and Duchess 

of Suffolk, 2-3, 5-6, 16 
Mary, Queen of Scots, 1, 3-5, 8-16, 19- 

22, 25-7, 34-6, 39-40, 43-6, 48, 51, 

55, 63, 72, 140-1, 189, 282, 299, 

313-14, 317, 321, 329 
Matthias, Duke, 78 
Mauvissiere, 39 
Maximilian, Emperor, 79 



Mayerne, Sir Theodore, 143-4 

Melville, the Puritan Minister, 245-G 

Melwarde, Matthias, 274 

Methuen, Henry Stuart, Lord, 4 

Mickle, 331 

Middleton, 81 

Mildmay, Sir Walter, 34 

Milton, 74 

Minors, 273, 275 

Moldavia, Prince of, 229 

Monson, Admiral Sir William, 294-6 

Montaigne, 73 

Montefiascou, Bishop of, 71 

Moody, Michael, 64 

More, Sir John, 284, 290-7, 301-2 

Morley, 64, 66 

Moundford, Dr. 266-7, 270-3, 276-80, 

292, 299, 321-2 
Mountjoy, Lord, 129 
Murray, Sir David, 194 
Murray, James, 187 

Nau, 142 

Nevers, Duke of, 92-3 

Newton, Mr., 220 

Nichols, John, 241, 321, 331 

Norfolk, Thomas, first Duke of, 6, 

North, Captain, 73 

North, Thomas, 72 

Northe, Mr., 220 

Northampton, Earl of (Lord Henry 
Howard), 86-7, 144, 146, 152, 265, 
280-2, 293, 297-8, 307, 310, 318-19 

Northampton, Marchioness of, 138, 

Northampton, Thomas Parr, Marquis 
of, 146 

Northumberland, Duke of, 37 

Northumberland, Earl of, 59, 135, 

Nottingham, Countess of, 88, 129, 135, 
138, 155 

Nottingham, Earl of (Lord Howard 
of Effingham and Lord Admiral), 
38, 155-6, 160, 187, 197, 293-4 

Nottingham, Margaret Stuart, Count- 
ess of, 155, 197-9 

Ogle, Lady, 113, 174 
Ormeston, Mr., 177 
Ormond, Thomas, Earl of, 200 
Osborne, Francis, 149 
Ossat, Cardinal d', 79-80 
Overbury, Sir Thomas, 323 
Owen, the page, 132-3 

Paddy, Dr. William, 321 
Paget, Charles, 64 

Palmer, Dr., 319, 321 

Parker, Mr., 206 

Parma, Alexander Farnese, Duke of, 

42, 51, 58, 63, 68 
Parma, Cardinal Earnese of, 58, 64 

Parma, Rainutio, Duke of, 58, 68, 

72, 79-80 

Parr, Queen Catherine, 2, 146 
Parr, Thomas. See Northampton, 

Marquis of 
Parry, Sir Thomas, 243-4, 256-7, 

260-2, 264-6, 299-300, 322 
Parsons, Father, 68, 81, 88, 331 
Paulet, Sir Amyas, 44 
Pembroke, Earl of, 150, 180-1, 186, 

206, 221 
Pembroke, Mary Talbot, Countess of, 

50, 112, 119, 181, 186, 204 
PeUing, John, 304 
Peter, the servant, 299 
Pette, Phineas, 294 
Philip II of Spain, 2-3, 42, 44, 51, 

68-70, 72, 77-9, 140 
Philip III of Spain, 79, 81-2, 161-2, 


Phillips, 74 

Pierrepoint, Sir Henry, 14 
Poland, King of, 186 
Pomfret, 212 

Clement VIII, 58, 62, 69, 75, 79-80, 
82, 173 

Sixtus V, 47-8, 51 
Popham, Chief Justice, 184 
Primrose, Dr., 321 
Puckering, Lord Keeper, 70 
Puckering, Sir Thomas, 319 

Raleigh, Lady (Bessie Throgmorton), 

78, 87, 194 
Raleigh, Sir Walter, 47, 70, 73, 78, 84, 

87, 144, 158-63, 172, 194-5, 245, 

313-15, 317, 323, 329, 331 
Rawson, Mrs. Stepney, 331 
Reeves, Edward, 242-3, 249, 283-6, 

296, 319, 322 

Rich, Penelope, Lady, 84, 168 
Richard II, 77 
Richmond, Duke of, 327 
Rivers, Father Anthony, 88, 92-3, 96, 

112, 129 

Robsart, Amy, 37 
Rochester, Lord. See Carr 
Rodney, Edward, 238, 241, 251, 269, 

283-4, 286-90, 298, 303 
Rosney, M. de, 156 
Ross, Bishop of, 14 
Roulston, 70-1 
Ruthven, Lord, 21 



Sackville, Sir Richard and Lady, 9 

Sadler, Sir Ralph, 43-4 

St. Leger, 214 

Saintlow, or St. Loe, Sir William, 14 

St. Paul, Sir George, 220, 222, 225, 

Salisbury, Earl of. See Cecil, Sir 

Savoy, Duke of, 161, 168 

Scaliger, 143 

Scrope, Lady, 137 

Sessa, Duke of, 75 

Seymour, Arbella, 326 

Seymour, Edward, 96, 229, 258, 311, 

Seymour, Francis, 96, 229, 258, 287, 
289-90, 292, 318, 325 

Seymour, Honora, Lady Dudley. See 

Seymour, Queen Jane, 98 

Seymour, Lady Jane, 93-4 

Seymour, Lord Thomas, 95-6 

Seymour, William, afterwards first 
Marquis of Hertford, 5, 96, 99, 
228-9, 231-8, 240-6, 250-3, 257-64, 
268-9, 274, 276, 281-96, 298-9, 
301-6, 310-11, 317, 322, 324-9, 

Shakespeare, William, 73 

Sheffield, Douglas, 38 

Sheffield, John, second Baron, 38 

Sherland, Bridget, 103-4 

Shrewsbury, Elizabeth, Countess of 
(Bess of Hardwick), 12-19, 23, 25, 
28-37, 39-43, 46-7, 49-50, 53-8, 62, 
64-7, 72, 89-91, 94-6, 98, 100-9. 
Ill, 113-17, 119-22, 124, 130-1, 133- 
4, 147, 174-6, 182, 189-91, 204-5, 
208-11, 331 

Shrewsbury, George, fourth Earl of, 
11-19, 28-30, 34-6, 39, 42-4, 46, 55, 

Shrewsbury, Gilbert, fifth Earl of, 14, 
20, 29, 46, 49, 51, 54-8, 67, 71-2, 
74, 81, 89, 108, 112, 145-7, 151-7, 
160, 163, 165-8, 170-81, 183-7, 189, 
191, 195, 200-4, 206, 208-17, 219- 
22, 248-9, 257, 265, 269-72, 281, 
292, 297-8, 312, 318, 323 

Shrewsbury,Mary Cavendish, Countess 
of, 14, 20, 46, 49-51, 53-4, 56-8, 
62, 67, 72, 74, 82-3, 87, 89, 103-4, 
108, 112, 145, 150-4, 164-75, 179- 
80, 183-7, 189, 195, 201-4, 208-10, 
216, 222, 249, 257-8, 276, 279-82, 
292, 294, 296-8, 311-12, 316, 318, 

Sidney, Sir Philip, 73, 78, 84 

Sinclair, Sir Andrew, 197-200 

Skinner, Lady, 215 

Smith, Mrs. Murray, 332 

Smyth or Smith, the servant, 250, 256, 
299-300, 324 

Somerset, Anne, Duchess of, 93 

Somerset, Countess of, 323 

Somerset, Duke of (the Protector), 93 

Somerset, Earl of, 319 

Southampton, Earl of, 150, 327 

Spedding, 331 

Spenser, Edmund, 73 

Stafford, Lady Dorothy, 82-3 

Stafford, Sir Edward, 38, 64 

Stafford, Robert, 289 

Standen, Sir Anthony, 173 

Stanley, Sir William, 70-1 

Stapleton, Mr., 131-4 

Stark, John, 132 

Starkey, John, 90-1, 97, 110, 122, 

Stewart, Sir William, 151, 153, 166 

Stillington, Dr., 70 

Strickland, Agnes, 149, 331-2 

Stuart, Esme. See Lennox, Duke of 

Stuart, Lady Margaret. See, Notting- 
ham, Countess of 

Suffolk, Charles Brandon, Duke of, 
2, 16 

Suffolk, Frances, Duchess of, 3, 5, 94 

Suffolk, Katherine, Duchess of, 16 

Suffolk, Mary, Duchess of. See Mary, 
Queen of France 

Sully, 75, 76 

Swifte, Sir Edward, 221 

Symple, 71 

Talbot, Edward, 55-6 

Talbot, Elizabeth. See Kent, 

Countess of. 
Talbot, Francis, 35 
Talbot, Gilbert. See Shrewsbury, 

Earl of 

Talbot, Grace, 14, 36, 98, 174-6 
Talbot, John, 65 
Talbot, Mary, Countess of Pembroke. 

See Pembroke 
Talbot, Mary, Countess of Shrewsbury, 

See Shrewsbury 
Tasso, 73 
Taxis, Spanish Ambassador, 155-6, 

168, 207 

Tempest, Mr. Robert, 71 
Throgmorton, Bessie. See Raleigh, 


Tuke, Rev. Mr., 220 
Tuscany, Grand Duke of, 76 
Tydder, Owen, 96, 102-3 
Tyndall, Mr., 19 
Tyrone, Earl of, 129, 136 

Ulric, Duke of Holstein, 155-6 

340 INDEX 

Vaughan, Charles, 10 Winchester, Bishop of, 171, 173 

Villeroi, 130, 135 Wingfield, Mr., 298 

Winwood, Sir Ralph, 243, 284, 322, 

Waad, Lady, 305 326, 331 

Waad, Sir William, 245, 268, 289, 300, Woodhouse, Sir William, 188 

304-5, 317-18, 324 Worcester, Countess of, 192 

Walpole, Horace, 211 Worcester, Earl of, 138, 181-2, 188, 

Walsingham, Frances, 84 190 

Walsingham, Sir Francis, 30-2, 34, 41, Wotton, Lord, 41, 156 

44, 54, 63, 78 
Walsingham, Lady, 171 

Wharton, Lord, 17 Yelverton, Sir Christopher, 223, 236, 

Whyte, Rowland, 207 299, 301 

Wilbraham, Sir Roger, 206 Yong, John, alias George Dingley, 

William the Silent, Prince of Orange, 70-1 

43 York, Archbishop of, 10 

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