wherein he aflBrms, by his hopes of mercy from the Su-
494 THE TOWER OF LONDON.
preme Judge before whom he will shortly appear to
answer for his offences, that you encouraged his plans for
my dethronement, and sought to win the crown for your-
self, in order to bestow it with your hand upon your
Â« It is false," cried Elizabeth ; " false as the caitiff who
invented itâ€” false as the mischievous councillor who stands
beside you, and who trusts to work my ruin ; but, by our
father's soul, it shall go hard if I do not requite him !
Your Majesty has not a more loyal subject than myself,
nor has any of your subjects a more loving sister. This
wretched Wyat, whose condition would move my pity
were he not so heinous a traitor, may have written to
me, but, on my faith, I have never received his letters."
"Lord Russell's son declares that he delivered them
into your own hands," observed Mary.
Â« Another He, as false as the first," replied Elizabeth.
Â« It is a plot, your Highnessâ€” a contrivance of my enemy
Simon Renard. Where is Lord Russell's son ? Why is
he not here ? "
" You shall see him anon, since you desire it," replied
Mary. "Like yourself, he is a prisoner in the Tower.
But these assertions do not clear you."
Â« Your Highness says you have Wyat's confession," re-
joined Elizabeth. " What faith is to be attached to it ?
It has been wi'ung from him by the severity of the tor-
ture to which he has been subjected. Look at his shat-
tered frame, and say whether it is not likely he would
purchase relief from such suffering as he must have en-
dured at any cost. The sworn tormentors are here. Let
thetn declare how often they have stretched him on the
rack how often applied the thumbscrew â€” how often de-
livered him to the deadly embraces of the scavenger's
daughter, before this false charge was wrung from him.
Speak, fellows ! how often have you racked him ? "
But the tormentors did not dare to reply. A stifled
groan broke from Wyat, and a sharp convulsion passed
over his frame.
THE TOWER OF LONDON, 495
" The question has only extorted the truth," observed
" If the accusation so obtained be availing, the re-
traction must be equally so," replied Elizabeth, " Sir
Thomas Wyat," she exclaimed, in a loud and authorita-
tive tone, and stepping towards him, " if you would not
render your name for ever infamous, you will declare my
The sufferer gazed at her, as if he did not clearly com-
prehend what was said to him.
Elizabeth repeated the command, and in a more
" What have I declared against you ? " asked Wyat
" You have accused me of countenancing your trait-
orous practices against the Queen's Highness, who now
stands before you," rejoined Elizabeth, " You well know
it is false. Do not die with such a stain upon your
knighthood and your honor. The worst is over. Fur-
ther application of the rack would be fatal, and it will
not be resorted to, because you would thus escape the
scaffold. You can have therefore, no object in adhering to
this vile fabrication of my enemies. Retract your words,
I command you, and declare my innocence,"
" I do," replied Wyat in a firm tone. " I have falsely
accused you, and was induced to do so in the hope of
pardon. I unsay all I have said, and will die proclaim-
ing your innocence."
" It is well," replied Elizabeth, with a triumphant
glance at the Queen.
" Place me at the feet of the Princess," said Wyat to
his supporters. " Your pardon, madam," he added, as
the order was obeyed.
" You have it," replied Elizabeth, scarcely able to re-
press her emotion. " May God forgive you, as I do, "
" Then your former declaration was false, thou per-
jured traitor ? " cried Mary, in amazement,
"What I have said, I have said," rejoined Wyat j
496 THE TOWER OF LONDON.
" what I now say is the truth." And he motioned the
attendants to raise him, the pain of kneeling being too
exquisite for endurance.
" And you will adhere to your declaration ? " pursued
" To my last breath," gasped Wyat.
" At whose instigation were you induced to charge the
Princess with conspiring with you ? " demanded K-enard,
" At yours," returned Wyat, with a look of intense
hatred. " You who have deceived the Queen â€” deceived
me â€” and would deceive the devil, your master, if you
could â€” you urged me to it â€” you â€” ha ! ha ! " And with
a convulsive attempt at laughter, which communicated
a horrible expression to his features, he sank into the
arms of Wolfytt, and was conveyed to a cell at the back
of the chamber, the door of which was closed.
" My innocence is established," said Elizabeth, turning
to the Queen.
" Not entirely," answered Mary. " Wyat's first charge
was supported by Lord Russell's son."
" Take me to him, or send for him hither," rejoined
Elizabeth. " He has been suborned, like Wyat, by Re-
nard. I will stake my life that he denies it."
" I will not refute the idle charge brought against me,"
observed Renard, who had been for a moment con-
founded by Wyat's accusation. " Your Majesty will at
once discern its utter groundlessness."
" I ask no clemency for myself," interposed Courtenay,
speaking for the first time ; " but I beseech your Highness
not to let the words of that false and crafty Spaniard
weigh against your sister. From his perfidious counsels
all these disasters have originated."
" You would screen the Princess In the hope of obtain-
ing her hand, my lord," replied Mary. " I see through
your purpose, and will defeat it."
" So far from it," replied the Earl, " I here solemnly
renounce all pretensions to her."
THE TOWER OF LONDON. 497
" Courtenay ! " exclaimed Elizabeth, in a tone of an-
" Recent events have cured me of love and ambition,"
pursued the Earl, without regarding her. " All I desire
" And is it for one so unworthy that I have entertained
this regard ? " cried Elizabeth. " But I am rightly pun-
" You are so," replied Mary bitterly. Â« And you now
taste some of the pangs you inflicted upon me."
"Hear me, gracious madam," cried Courtenay, pros-
trating himself before the Queen. " I have avowed thus
much, that you may attach due credit to what I am about
to declare concerning Renard. My heart was yours, and
yours only, till I allowed myself to be influenced by him.
I knew not then his design, but it has since been fully
revealed. It was to disgust you with me that he might
accomplish the main object of his heart â€” the match with
the Prince of Spain. He succeeded too well. Utterly
inexperienced, I readily yielded to the allurements he
spread before me. My indiscretions were reported to
you. But failing in alienating me from your regard, he
tried a deeper game, and chose out as his tool the Prin-
" Ha ! " exclaimed Mary.
" He it was," pursued Courtenay, " who first attracted
my attention towards her, who drew invidious compar-
isons between her youthful charms and your Majesty's
more advanced age. He it was who hinted at the possi-
bility of an alliance between us, who led me on step
by step till I was completely enmeshed. I will own it,
I became desperately enamored of the Princess. I
thought no more of your Highness â€” of the brilliant pros-
pects lost to me ; and blinded by my passion, became
reckless of the perilous position in which I placed myself.
But now that I can look calmly behind me, I see where
and why I fell ; and I fully comprehend the tempter's
498 THE TOWER OF LONDON".
" What says your Excellency to this ? " demanded
"Much that the Earl of Devonshire has asserted is
true," replied Renard. " But in rescuing your Majesty,
at any cost, from so unworthy an alliance, I deserve your
thanks rather than your reprobation. And I shall ever
rejoice that I have succeeded."
" You have succeeded at my expense, and at the ex-
pense of many of my bravest and best subjects," replied
Mary severely. " But the die is cast, and cannot be re-
"True," replied Renard, with a smile of malignant
"Will your Highness pursue your investigations
further to-night ? " demanded Gardiner.
" No," replied the Queen, who appeared lost in thought.
" Let the Princess Elizabeth be taken back to the Bell
Tower, and Courtenay to his prison in the Bowyer Tower,
I will consider upon their sentence. Wyat is respited
for the present. I shall interrogate him further."
With this, she quitted the torture-chamber with her
train, and the prisoners were removed as she had directed.
HOW XIT DISCOVERED THE SECRET OP HIS BIRTH ; AND HOW
HE WAS KNIGHTED UNDER THE TITLE OP SIR NARCISSUS
Life is full of the saddest and the strongest contrasts.
The laugh of derision succeeds the groan of despair â€” the
revel follows the funeral â€” the moment that ushers the
new-born babe into existence, is the last, perchance, of
its parent â€” without the prison walls, all is sunshine and
happiness â€” within, gloom and despair. But throughout
the great city which it commanded, search where you
THE TOWER OF LONDON. 499
might, no stronger contrasts of rejoicing and despair
could be found than were now to be met with in the
Tower of London. While, on the one hand, every dun-
geon was crowded, and scarcely an hour passed that
some miserable sufferer did not expire under the hand of
the secret tormentor or the public executioner ; on the
other, there was mirth, revelry, and all the customary
celebrations of victory. As upon Mary's former triumph
over her enemies, a vast fh-e was lighted in the centre of
the Tower Green, and four oxen, roasted whole at it, were
distributed, together with a proportionate supply of bread,
and a measure of ale or mead, in rations, to every soldier
in the fortress : and as may be supposed, the utmost jo\'i-
ality prevailed. To each warder was allotted an angel of
gold, and a dish from the royal table, while to the three
giants were given the residue of a grand banquet, a butt
of Gascoign wine, and, in consideration of their valiant
conduct during the siege, their yearly fee, by the Queen's
command, was trebled. On the night of these festivities
a magnificent display of fireworks took place on the
Green, and an extraordinary illumination was effected by
means of a row of barrels filled mth pitch, ranged along
the battlements of the White Tower, which being
suddenly lighted, cast forth a glare that illumined the
whole fortress, and was seen at upwards of twenty miles'
Not unmindful of the Queen's promise, Xit, though un-
able to find a favorable opportunity of claimmg it, did not
fail to assume all the consequence of his anticipated
honors. He treated those with whom he associated with
the utmost haughtiness ; and though his arrogant demean-
or only excited the merriment of the giants, it drew
many a sharp retort, and not a few blows, from such as
were not disposed to put up with his insolence. The
subject that perpetually occupied his thoughts was the
title he ought to assume ; for he was thoroughly dissatis-
fied with his present appellation. " Base and contemptible
name ! " he exclaimed. " How I loathe it ! â€” and how did
500 THE TOWER OF LONDON.
1 acquire it ? It was bestowed upon me, I suppose, in my
infancy, by Og, to whose care I was committed. A mys-
tery hangs over my birth. I must unravel it. Let me
see : Two-and-twenty years ago (come Martinmas), I was
deposited at the door of the By- ward Tower in a piece of
blanket! â€” unworthy swaddling- cloth for so illustrious an
mfant â€” a circumstance which fully proves that my noble
parents were anxious for concealment. Stay ! I have
heard of changelings â€” of elfin children left by fairies in
the room of those they steal. Can I be such a one ? A
shudder crosses my frame at the bare idea. And yet my
activity, my daring, my high mental qualities, my un-
equalled symmetry of person, small though it be â€” all these
seem to warrant the supposition. Yes ! I am a changeling.
I am a fairy child. Yet hold ! this will not do. Though I
may entertain these notions in secret of my alliance with
the invisible world, they will not be accepted by the in-
credulous multitude. I must have some father, probable
or improbable. Who could he have been ? Or who might
he have been ? Let me see. Sir Thomas More was im-
prisoned in the Tower about the time of my birth. Could
I not be his son ? It is more than probable. So was the
Bishop of Rochester. But to claim descent from him would
bring scandal upon the Church. Besides, he was a Catho-
lic prelate. No, it must be Sir Thomas More. That will
account for my wit. Then about the same time there
were the Lord Darcy ; and Robert Salisbury, Abbot of
Vale Crucis ; the Prior of Doncaster ; Sir Thomas Percy ;
Sir Francis Bygate ; and Sir John Buhner, All these
were prisoners, so that I have plenty to choose from. I
will go and consult Og. I wonder whether he has kept
the piece of blanket in which I was wrapped. It Avill be
a gross omission if he has not."
The foregoing soliloquy occurred in one of the galleries
of the palace, where the vainglorious mannikin was lin-
gering in the hope of being admitted to the royal presence.
No sooner did the idea of consulting Og on the subject of
his birth occur to him, than he set off to the By- ward
THE TOWER OF LONDON. 501
Tower, where he found the two unmarried giants em-
ployed upon a huge smoking dish of baked meat, and not-
withstanding his importunity, neither of them appeared
willing to attend to him. Thus baffled, and his appetite
sharpened by the savory odor of the viands, Xit seized a
knife and fork, and began to ply them with great zeal.
The meal over, and two ponderous jugs that flanked the
board emptied of their contents, Og leaned his huge frame
against the wall, and in a drowsy tone informed the dwarf
that he was ready to listen to him.
" No sleeping, then my master," cried Xit, springing
upon his knee, and tweaking his nose. " I have a matter
of the utmost importance to consult you about. You must
be wide awake."
" What is it ? " replied the good-humored giant, yawn^
ing as if he would have swallowed the teasing mannikin.
" It relates to my origin," replied Xit. " Am I the son
of a nobleman ? "
" I should rather say you were the offspring of some
ape escaped from the menagerie," answered Og, bursting
into a roar of laughter, in which he was joined by Gog,
much to the discomfiture of the cause of their merriment.
" You have all the tricks of the species."
" Dare to repeat that insinuation, base Titan," cried Xit
furiously, and drawing his sword, " and I will be thy
death. I am as illustriously descended as thyself,
and on both sides too, whereas thy mother was a frowzy
fishwife. Know that I am the son of Sir Thomas
Â« Sir Thomas More ! " echoed both giants, laughing
more immoderately than ever. " What has put that no-
tion into thy addle pate ? "
" My better genius," replied Xit, " and unless you can
show me who was my father, I shall claim descent from
" You will only expose yourself to ridicule," returned
Og, patting the mannikin's shock head â€” a familiarity
which he resented, â€” "and though I and my brethren
502 THE TOWER OF LONDON.
laugh at you, and make a jest of you, we do not desire
others to do so."
" Once graced by knighthood, no man, be he of my stat-
ure or of yours, my overgrown master, shall make a jest
of me with impunity," replied Xit, proudly. " But since
you think I am not the son of Sir Thomas More, from
whom can I safely claim descent ? "
" I would willingly assist you to a father," replied Og,
smothering a laugh, " but on my faith, I can think of none
more probable than Hairun's pet monkey, or perhaps old
" Anger me not," shrieked Xit, in extremity of fury,
" or you will rue it. What has become of the blanket in
which I was wrapped ? "
" The blanket ! " exclaimed Og ; " why, it was a strip
scarcely bigger than my hand."
" Is it lost ? " demanded Xit eagerly.
" I fear so," replied Og. " Stay ! now I recollect, I
patched an old pair of hose with it."
" Patched a pair of hose with it ! " cried Xit. " You
deserve to go in tatters during the rest of your days.
You have destroyed the sole clue to my origin."
" Nay, if that blanket will guide you, I have taken the
best means of preserving it," rejoined Og, " for I think I
have the hose still."
" Where are they ? " inquired Xit. " Let me see them
" If they still exist, they are in a large chest in the
upper chamber," replied Og. " But be not too much
elated, for I fear we shall be disappointed."
" At all events, let us search without a moment's de-
lay," rejoined Xit, jumping down, and hurrying up the
He was followed somewhat more leisurely by the two
giants, and the trunk was found crammed under a heap
of lumber into an embrasure. The key was lost, but as
Xit's impatience would not allow him to wait to have it
unfastened by a smith, Og forced it open with the head
THE TOWER OF LONDON. 603
of a halbert. It contained a number of old buskins,
cloaks of all hues and fashions, doublets, pantouflles, caps,
buff-boots, and hose. Of the latter there were several
pairs, and though many were threadbare enough, it did
not appear that any were patched.
Xit, who had plunged into the trunk to examine each
article, was greatly disappointed.
" I fear they are lost," observed Og.
" It would seem so," replied Xit, " for there are only a
doublet and cloak left. Oh that a worshipful knight's
history should hang on so slight a tenure ! "
"Many a knight's history has hung on less," replied
Gog. " But what have we rolled up in that corner ? "
" As I live, a pair of watchet-colored hose," cried Xit.
" The very pair we are in quest of," rejoined Og. " Uuv
fold them, and you will find the piece of blanket in the
Xit obeyed, and mounting on the side of the box iield
out the huge garments, and there, undoubtedly iii the
region intimated by Og, was a piece of dirty flannel.
"And this, then, was my earliest covering," apostro-
phized Xit. " In this fragment of woollen cloth my tender
limbs were swathed ! "
" Truly were they," replied Og, laughing. " And when
I first beheld thee it was ample covering. But what light
does it throw upon thy origin ? "
" That remains to be seen," returned Xit. And un-
sheathing his dagger he began to unrig the piece of flannel
from the garment in which it was stitched.
The two giants watched his proceedings in silence, and
glanced significantly at each other. At length Xit tore
" It is a labor in vain," observed Og.
" Not so," replied Xit. " See you not that this corner
is doubled over. There is a name worked within it."
"The imp is right," cried Og. "How came I to over-
And he would have snatched the flannel from Xat, but
504: THE TOWER OF LONDON.
the dwarf darted away, crying, " No one shall have a hand
in the discovery but myself. Stand off."
Tremblmg with eagerness, he then cut open the corner,
and found, worked withinside, the words â€”
" NARCISSUS LE GRAND."
" Narcissus le Grand ! " exclaimed Xit triumphantly.
"That was my father's title. He must have been a
" If that was your father's name," returned Gog â€” " and
I begin to think you have stumbled upon the right person
at last â€” he was a Frenchman, and groom of the i^antry to
Queen Anne Boleyn."
Â« He was a dwarf like yourself," added Og, " and though
the ugliest being I ever beheld, had extraordinary personal
"In which respect he mightily resembled his son,"
laughed Gog ; " and since we have found out the father,
I think I can give a shrewd guess at the mother."
" I hope she was a person of distinction ? " cried Xit,
whose countenance had fallen at the knowledge he had
acquired of his paternity.
" She was a scullion," replied Gog â€” " by name Mab
Â« A scullion ! " ejaculated Xit indignantly. " I the son
of a scullion â€” and of one so basely named as Leather-
barrow â€” impossible ! "
" I am as sure of it as of my existence," replied Og.
" Your mother was not a jot taller, or more well favored
thtm your father ; and they both, I now remember, disap-
peared about the time you were found."
" Which name will you adopt â€” Le Grand, or Leather-
barrow ? " demanded Gog maliciously.
" This is an unlucky discovery," thought Xit. "I had
better have left my parentage alone. The son of a groom
of the pantry and a scullion. What a degrading conjunc
tion ! However, I will make the most of it, and not let
t-heni have the laugh against me. I shall assume my
THE TOWER OF LONDON. 505
father's name," he added aloudâ€”" Sir Narcissus le Grand ;
and a good, well-sounding title it is, as need be desired."
" It is to be hoped all will have forgotten the former
bearer of it," laughed Og.
Â« I care not who remembers it," replied Xit ; " the name
bespeaks noble descent. Call me in future Narcissus le
Grand. The title fits me exactly â€” Narcissus expressing
my personal accomplishments â€” Le Grand my majesty.
For the present you may put ' master ' to my name.
You will shortly have to use a more honorable style of
address. Farewell, sirs."
And thrusting the piece of flannel into his doublet, he
strutted to the door.
" Farewell, sweet Master Narcissus," cried Og.
" Farewell, Leatherbarrow," added Gog.
"Le Grand," corrected Xit, halting, with a dignified
air; "Le Grand, henceforth, is my name." And he
marched off with his head so erect that, unfortunately
missing his footing, he tumbled down the staircase.
Picking himself up before the giants, whose laughter en-
raged him, could reach him, he darted off, and did not
return till a late hour, when they had retired to rest.
Two days after this discovery â€” the Queen being then
at the Tower â€” as he was pacing the grand gallery of the
palace, according to custom, an usher tapped him on the
shoulder, and desired him to follow him. With a throb-
bing heart Xit obeyed, and putting all the dignity he could
command into his deportment, entered the presence-
chamber. On that very morning, as good luck would
have it, his tailor had brought him his new habiliments ;
and arrayed in a purple velvet mantle lined with carna-
tion-colored silk, a crimson doublet slashed with white,
orange-tawny hose, yellow buskins fringed with gold, and
a green velvet cap, decorated with a plume of ostrich
feathers, and looped with a diamond aigrette, he cut, in
his own opinion, no despicable figure.
If the dwarf had entertained any doubts as to why he
"was summoned, they would have been dispersed at once,
506 THE TOWER OF LONDON.
as he advanced, by observing that the three giants stood
at a little distance from the Queen, and that she was at-
tended only by a few dames of honor, her female jester,
and the vice-chamberlain, Sir John Gage, who held a crim-
son velvet cushion, on which was laid a richly-ornamented
sword. A smile crossed the Queen's countenance as Xit
drew nigh, and an irrepressible titter spread among the
dames of honor. Arrived within a few yards of the throne,
the mannikin prostrated himself as gracefully as he could.
But he was destined to mishaps. And in this the most
important moment of his life, his sword, which was of ex-
traordinary length got between his legs, and he was com-
pelled to remove it before his knee would touch the
" We have not forgotten our promise â€” rash though it
was," observed Mary, " and have summoned thy comrades
to be witness to the distinction we are about to confer up-
on thee. In the heat of the siege, we promised that whoso
would bring us Bret, alive or dead, should have his re-
quest, be it what it might. Thou wert his captor, and
thou askest "
" Knighthood at your Majesty's hands," supplied Xit.
" How shall we name thee ? " demanded Mary.
" Narcissus le Grand," replied the dwarf. " I am called
familiarly Xit ; but it is a designation by which I do not
desire to be longer distinguished."
Mary took the sword from Sir John Gage, and placing
it upon the dwarf's shoulder, said, " Arise, Sir Narcissus."
The new-made knight immediately obeyed, and making
a profound reverence to the Queen, was about to retire,
when she checked him.
" Tarry a moment. Sir Narcissus," she said. " I have
a further favor to bestow upon you."
" Indeed ! " cried the dwarf, out of his senses with de-
light. "I pray your Majesty to declare it."
" You will need a dame," returned the Queen.
" Of a truth," replied Sir Narcissus, tenderly ogling the