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A short story by Kate Dickinson Sweetser

Lady Jane Grey: The Nine Days Queen

Title:     Lady Jane Grey: The Nine Days Queen
Author: Kate Dickinson Sweetser [More Titles by Sweetser]

IN all England there was no more picturesquely beautiful estate than that at Bradgate in Leicestershire, belonging to Henry, Marquis of Dorset, the father of Lady Jane Grey. There Lady Jane was born in 1537, in the great brick house on a hill, called Bradgate Manor, which overlooked acres of rolling lawns, long stretches of woodland and extensive gardens, making a vast playground, and one which might well have contented a less resourceful person than Lady Jane.

As it was, she was utterly unlike her two sisters, Mary and Katherine, being a precocious child, fonder of books than of play, and doubtless was less rugged in after years than if she had romped through meadow and marsh as they did, or waded in the clear brook that babbled its way through the woodland depths of Bradgate forests. Instead, while the other girls ran races, or played some boisterous game of childhood, we have glimpses of demure little Jane, even then as pretty as a doll in her quaint dress, fashioned on the model of that worn by her own mother, either sitting quietly in the house, so absorbed in her book that friend or foe might have approached unnoticed, or on the velvety lawn surrounding the Manor House, intent on some dry treatise, far above the understanding of an ordinary child, looking up now and then to glance off at the wonderful view spread out below her--a view so extensive that it overlooked seven counties of England.

There, at beautiful Bradgate, Lady Jane spent the first seven years of her life, busy with the endless resources at her command, and studying with her sisters under the instruction of the Reverend Mr. Harding, who was the chaplain of Bradgate--after the custom of those days--and it was he who laid the firm foundation of that devotion to the Protestant religion which was so strongly marked in Lady Jane's after life.

Until Jane was seven years old she did not accompany her parents on their many visits to relatives of noble blood, or when they went to Court, for she was considered too small for that until she was eight years old, when she was occasionally taken with her family to London or elsewhere. Lady Frances Dorset, Jane's mother, was a niece of King Henry the Eighth, and so the Dorsets belonged to the brilliantly extravagant court circle of the famously extravagant Henry, and in her ninth year Lady Jane began to visit frequently her royal great-uncle, who was said to be as fond of children as he was of pastry, and doubtless enjoyed having Jane, an exceptionally bright, pretty girl, to divert his thoughts when the pains in his gouty limbs were unusually severe. And Queen Katherine, too, was a deeply affectionate aunt, and as soon as it was allowed, kept Jane constantly with her, directing the child's studies herself, and giving her the freedom of the Queen's own private apartments, where keen-eyed, quick-witted little Jane must have seen and heard much by which a more stupid child would not have benefited, but which Jane stored up for future reference,--especially the discussions between the Queen and those learned theologians with whom she so often talked, and many a scene of which Lady Jane was witness has been recorded in history.

The Queen frequently disputed with the King on religious matters, and one day when he was especially out of humour, she remonstrated with him about a proclamation forbidding the use of a translation of the Bible. This made him very angry, and as soon as the Queen left the room, Gardiner, one of the King's councillors who was no friend of the Queen, fanned the King's anger into such a fury by his remarks against her, and by complimenting the King on his wisdom, that susceptible King Henry allowed himself to draw up an accusation against Queen Katherine, which would lead to her being beheaded--as two of his queens had been before. The document having been drawn up, all preparations for carrying out its directions were made, when one of the King's councillors dropped it, and an attendant of Queen Katherine fortunately picked it up, and took it at once to the Queen. One glance showed the danger she was in, and she fell into such convulsions of fright that her shrieks reached the private room of the King, whose heart softened at the sound, and also at the realisation that no one would ever care for him with the tenderness and tact of Katherine. Calling his attendants, he was carried to Katherine, who revived at once, and received him graciously, showing no fear of him, which was a great point in her favour, and the next morning, having thought out her plan of action, she visited the King's room, taking her sister and Lady Jane Grey with her. The King received them pleasantly, but soon brought up the religious discussion of the previous day. This time, however, Katherine was ready for him, and with a sweet smile and downcast eyes, as before her lord and master, she acknowledged that she "being only a woman" was of course not so well versed in such matters as His Majesty, that thereafter she would learn of him! This delighted the King so much that when Katherine added the confession that she had many times argued with him simply to pass away the weary hours of his pain more quickly, he exclaimed, "And is it so, sweetheart? Then we are perfect friends!" and kissing her, bade her depart, and for the moment the Queen knew that her head was safe. But the next day when she and Lady Jane Grey and several others were in the garden with the King, the Lord-chancellor with forty of the King's guards came to arrest Her Majesty, and not having been told that Henry's mood had changed was naturally much astonished at Henry's exclamation, "Beast! fool! knave--avaunt from my presence!"--in fact so discomforted was the Lord-chancellor that tender-hearted Katherine begged that he be excused, as she deemed "his fault was occasioned by a mistake," and so charming was she as she pleaded, that her husband showed his admiration for her.

"Ah, poor soul," said Henry, "thou little knowest, Kate, how evil he deserveth this grace at thy hands!" and then he lavished a profusion of caresses on her, when she at last dared to draw a long breath, knowing only too well from what she had been delivered.

This was only one of the experiences which Lady Jane, still a mere child, saw and lived through with her beloved Queen Katherine.

On the 27th of January, 1547, Lady Jane's life completely changed. King Henry the Eighth died, and his will made Jane heir to the throne after his daughters Mary and Elizabeth, and from having been before merely the attractive great-niece of the King and eldest daughter of the Marquis of Dorset, she suddenly became a prominent factor in the political intrigues of the day, almost as important in the matter of succession as either Mary or Elizabeth, for Mary, on account of her religion, could easily be set aside by a faction with a powerful leader, and Elizabeth also, because of the question as to whether she was the legitimate daughter of the King.

This being so, almost before the King was buried, poor little Lady Jane became a puppet in the hands of unscrupulous statesmen, whose only thought was their own advancement, and so began the series of events which was to end in that hideous tragedy of which one of the noblest girls of history was the victim.

Soon after the death of King Henry, it occurred to Sir Thomas Seymour, the Lord Admiral, that it would be a wise move to obtain the guardianship of so valuable a personage as Lady Jane Grey, and he at once sent a messenger to ask the Marquis of Dorset for the transfer of the girl to his care, sending word that this would be a great chance for Lady Jane, who being, so said Seymour, "the handsomest lady in England," could then doubtless be married to the young King Edward Sixth, through the Admiral's influence. This suggestion naturally pleased the ambitious parents of Lady Jane, and she was sent to Seymour Place--Thomas Seymour's London residence, which was presided over by his mother, the Dowager Lady Seymour, and we cannot doubt that Lady Jane enjoyed leaving quiet Bradgate, where she had been since the death of her uncle, King Henry, and where she was a victim of extraordinary severity from her parents, even in that age when children were often so severely disciplined.

Not alone did she go to Seymour Place, but with a governess, and a number of waiting women, as befitted her rank, and was received with due courtesy. But though it seemed such a diplomatic move to allow her this chance to make a brilliant match, it was really most unfortunate, for Edward Seymour, the Duke of Somerset, who was Protector of the realm and brother of the admiral, had determined that if another plan then on foot for the marriage of King Edward, should fail, then should Edward marry Somerset's youngest daughter--and when he found that his brother had conceived the same plan, with Lady Jane Grey for its central figure, and actually had her in his own house in pursuance of that plan, he was very angry and determined to spoil his brother's scheme if possible.

At this time, the Duke of Northumberland, a powerful and unpopular nobleman who had won many victories by land and sea, had come to be Somerset's greatest rival in the affection of King Edward. This same powerful Duke of Northumberland knowing that young Edward had not long to live, and that he was devoted to the Protestant faith, also that he knew the Princess Mary's deep interest in the Catholic religion, determined to so influence the young King that he would break his father's will, and leave the crown to Lady Jane Grey. He also determined that, during the time necessary to ripen his scheme, he would marry his son, Guilford Dudley, to Lady Jane Grey, in which event he would be the father to a Queen of England, and if she did as he wished, to a Prince Consort as well, which would exactly suit his ambition. So in different ways the tangled threads of cruel circumstance were fast winding around an innocent young victim, who was ignorant of them all as yet.

Several months after the death of King Henry, Thomas Seymour, whose ward Lady Jane Grey now was, won the Dowager Queen Katherine's affections--having been her lover before she married King Henry--and they were privately wedded, after which Lady Jane Grey went to live with them at Hanworth, in Middlesex, and it was her great joy to be once more with the friend whom she so dearly loved, and to resume lessons under her care. Princess Elizabeth was living there too, and the contrast between these two young women was indeed striking. Both were fond of books and were staunch Protestants and both were very young, Elizabeth being then sixteen, and Jane four years younger, but while Elizabeth was bold and free in her behaviour, Jane was the exact reverse, being so modestly reserved in manner and pure in thought that she won golden praise from all who knew her well.

In a short time Katherine died, Lady Jane having been with her through hours and days entirely too sad for such a young girl to have witnessed, but as Katherine clung to Jane, the loving girl gave no heed to her own grief or pain. The loss of his wife seemed a terrible blow to Thomas Seymour who at once decided to break up his household, and to send Lady Jane back to her father, but suddenly reconsidering, he wrote, begging that after all he might keep her with him, saying, "My lady, my mother shall and will, I doubt not, be as dear unto her as though she were her own daughter, and for my own part, I shall continue her half-father, or more. . . ."

But the Marquis was unwilling to agree to this proposition, and Lady Jane who was now extremely pretty, went with her parents to Dorset House, their London residence. Here Seymour visited the Marquis and urged that Lady Jane be left in his care, repeating that he would try to make a brilliant marriage for her with the King, but when he found that her father would not consent, he made a practical offer of two thousand pounds, five hundred of it to be paid at once, for which sum he was again to become Jane's guardian. At that time, the Dorsets, never wealthy, were deeply in debt, and this amount of money would do much to mend their affairs, so the offer was accepted. But at the same time the Marquis wrote to the Duke of Somerset and spoke of some negotiations he was conducting for the marriage of Lady Jane with Somerset's eldest son, showing that he felt it wise to have more than one string to his bow, and in some way to marry Lady Jane to his own advantage. Dear little Lady Jane, fate surely did its worst for you, and never a nobler soul was born than you--poor little nine days Queen!

But to go on with our story. As a result of fierce quarrels between the Admiral and his brother, the Lord Protector, Somerset caused the arrest of the Admiral, who was imprisoned and died on the scaffold, a victim of his brother's treachery. At that time, Lady Jane was still at Seymour Place, but at the arrest of Seymour, returned to Bradgate, but her parents' ambition for her had not been quenched and at once they began to have her cultivated to occupy the high position which they were determined she should some day fill. From that time her education was entrusted to the celebrated Aylmer, who was not only famous for his learning, but in close touch with the master minds of the century, and through him Jane became acquainted with several of the most learned men of the day. She was soon a fine scholar in science, Greek, Hebrew, and Latin, as well as various modern languages, and praise of her keen young mind and brilliant conversation was expressed by all who talked with her.

Late in the autumn of 1549, six months after Lady Jane had returned to Bradgate, the celebrated scholar, Roger Ascham, in passing through the neighbourhood, being an acquaintance of the Dorsets, stopped to call at the Manor House, but met all the family except Lady Jane, going to the hunt. After a brief chat with them he inquired for Lady Jane, and being told that she was at home, asked if he might pay his respects to her, which request being readily granted, he went on to the house. Standing outside the open casement of Lady Jane's own sitting-room for a moment, he watched her as she sat in the window seat, so deeply engaged with her book that he could look over her shoulder unnoticed and to his astonishment saw that she was reading the Phaedon of Plato in Greek!

He spoke, and Jane looked up. At once he asked her why she relinquished such pastime as was then going on in the park for the sake of study?

With a smile Jane answered, "I think all their sport in the park is but a shadow to the pleasure I find in Plato!"

Interested and delighted, Ascham pursued the subject. "And how attained you," he asked, "to this true knowledge of pleasure? And what did chiefly allure you to it, seeing that few women and not many men have arrived at it?"

"I will tell you," replied Lady Jane. "And tell you a truth which perchance you may marvel at. One of the greatest benefits that God ever gave me is that He sent me, with sharp severe parents, so gentle a schoolmaster (Aylmer). When I am in presence of either father or mother, whether I speak, keep silent, sit, stand or go, or drink, be merry or sad, be sewing, playing or dancing or doing anything else, I must do it as it were in such measure weight and number, even as perfectly as God made the earth, or else I am so sharply taunted, so cruelly threatened, yea, presently sometimes with pinches, nips and bobs, and other things (which T will not name for the honour I bear them), that I think myself in Hell 'till the time comes when I must go with Mr. Alymer who teacheth me so gently, so pleasantly, that I think nothing of all the time whilst I am with him, and when I am called from him I fall to weeping because whatever I do else but learning is full of great trouble, fear and wholesome misliking unto me."

Poor lonely little fourteen-year-old Lady Jane, what a clear light this throws on the treatment her parents gave the responsive, sensitive child, and how it shows up the mental forcing process of that day! Down through the ages comes to us this picture of a sweet young girl sitting alone poring over a Greek classic--thankful for that resource which saved her for the moment from reproaches and taunts, "nips, bobs and pinches."

From that time Roger Ascham was one of Lady Jane's closest friends, and doubtless the comradeship was a real stimulus to the brilliant girl, as letters from her to him show.

On October the eleventh, in 1551, Lady Jane's father was raised to the peerage, which gave to him and his wife the new titles of the Duke and Duchess of Suffolk. The family now went to London, to occupy Sheen Abbey, and Lady Jane was presented at Court, taking her first prominent part in Court festivities, when she attended the entry into London of the Scottish Queen Regent, Mary of Guise, who had come on a visit to King Edward.

When King Edward and Mary met first at Westminster Palace, Mary rode in her chariot from the city to Whitehall, and with her rode many noble ladies, among them Lady Jane, to whom the brilliant pageant must have been a great diversion, after the seclusion of Bradgate.

Lady Jane took part too in all the other festivities connected with this state visit of the Scottish Queen, but when that was over went back to quiet Bradgate and her studies again, and remained there until the middle of November, when she went with her family to Tylsey, an estate belonging to her father's young cousins and wards, the Willoughbys. From there the Greys went to pay one of their many visits to Princess Mary at her town house, and that they were in high favour then is shown by an old account book of Princess Mary's in which is set down these items:

"Given to my cousin Frances a rosary of black and white mounted in gold. To my cousin, Jane Grey, a necklace of gold, set with pearls and small rubies."

In return Jane gave Mary a pair of gloves!

Although the other members of her family left London for Tylsey during the following week, Lady Jane evidently remained with the Princess until the 16th of December, when she too returned to Tylsey, where the whole party had a merry Christmas. The house was thrown open to all such of the country gentry as cared to accept its hospitality, and those who accepted were royally entertained, as a company of players came from London for the occasion, also a wonderful boy who is said to have sung like a nightingale; also a tumbler, a juggler, and another band of players who acted several pieces, with great applause. Open house was kept until the 20th of January when the party broke up and went on to make another visit, returning to Tylsey for another week, all of which journeying about must have been too hard for delicate Lady Jane, as travelling was not the easy matter that it is in our day, and in February we hear that she had had a dangerous sickness but had fully recovered.

Some months later we find her making another visit to Princess Mary at Newhall, Mary's country seat. Giving presents being one of Mary's strong points, she presented Lady Jane with a very handsome new gown, and with delicious Puritan simplicity Jane asked Mary what she was to do with it. "Marry," exclaimed the Princess, "wear it, to be sure!"

Another incident of that visit of Lady Jane's at Newhall shows how much at variance the two cousins were on vital issues. Lady Wharton, a devout Catholic, crossing the chapel with Lady Jane when service was not being said, made her obeisance to the Host as they passed the altar. Lady Jane, looking up, asked if "the Princess were present in the chapel?" Lady Wharton answered that she was not.

"Then why do you curtsey?" demanded Jane.

"I curtsey to Him who made me," replied Lady Wharton.

"Nay," retorted Lady Jane, "but did not the baker make him?" which remark shows a depth of thought and a cleverness of retort rarely found in one so young, and the remark being repeated to the Princess Mary, to whom it was a sacrilege, she was never again as fond of Lady Jane as before--but it seems doubtful whether her affection for the staunch little Puritan could ever have been more than skin-deep at any time.

Lady Jane was now sixteen years old and truly one of the most beautiful young women in all England, with a type of beauty somewhat rare in that age, as it was connected with the most exquisite loveliness of character, and she was very popular throughout England.

At that time, the young King was rapidly nearing his end, and the Duke of Northumberland, whose city home was directly opposite the residence of the Duke of Suffolk, realising this, saw that the time had come to carry out his daring scheme of snatching the crown away from the Princess Mary, whose it would lawfully be on the death of Edward, and to gain it for his own family by marrying his son, Lord Guilford Dudley, to Lady Jane Grey. It was not customary in those days for parents to consult a child in regard to a matrimonial project, and probably this scheme was entirely arranged by the Dukes of Suffolk and Northumberland. Nor does history give any evidence that Lady Jane loved the tall handsome youth chosen for her, but she made no objection to the marriage,--and so prospered one part of Northumberland's plan.

For the other part, Edward was in such a feeble state of mind and body that he was completely dominated by Northumberland, who diplomatically forced the dying man to do his bidding, but carefully concealed his intentions in regard to the crown from Lady Jane, whose proud and innocent nature he knew would revolt from such treachery to her cousin, and so he did his work in secret. If only his popularity and talent had equalled his ambition, he might have carried out his plans, for the cause of the Reformation, for which Lady Jane stood, was dear to a large part of the people, and she herself was beloved everywhere.

The marriage of Lady Jane and Guilford Dudley took place in the last week in May at Durham House, London, and the young King was so much pleased with the match that he ordered the master of the wardrobe to give the bride much wedding finery as well as many jewels, and the wedding was exceptionally magnificent in every detail. We are told that Lady Jane's headdress on the morning of her marriage was of green velvet set round with precious stones. She wore a gown of cloth of gold, and a mantle of silver tissue, and her hair hung down her back, combed and plaited in a curious fashion of her own devising. She was led to the altar by two handsome pages with bride lace and rosemary tied to their sleeves, and sixteen young girls dressed in pure white preceded her to the altar, while a profusion of flowers were scattered along the bridal route; the church bells rang, and the poor received beef, bread and ale enough for a three days' feast.

Especially beaming and resplendent at the ceremony were Northumberland and his family, but almost as soon as it was over the bride's life seems to have begun to be unhappy, for she says, "The Duchess of Northumberland disregarded the promise she had made at our betrothal, that I might live at home with my mother, but, my husband being present observed to the Duke of Northumberland, that 'I ought not to leave her house, for when it pleased God to call King Edward to his mercy, I ought to hold myself in readiness, as I might be required to go to the Tower, since his Majesty had made me heir to his dominions.'" Poor little Jane adds, "These words told me offhanded and without preparation agitated my soul within me." On further thought she decided that the statement was hasty, and not important enough to keep her from her mother. The Duchess, however, became so enraged that the young bride dared not disobey her, but remained with her four or five days, then obtained leave to go to Chelsea House, a country seat of the Dudleys', which Jane reached just before falling into an acute sickness from which she barely escaped with her life, and where she was evidently without her husband.

Northumberland, meanwhile, was indifferent as to where his new daughter-in-law resided,--she was his son's wife, which was all he wanted for the present. He saw that the young King was at the point of death, and his immediate efforts must be turned in another direction. So artfully did he lay before the sick monarch all the reasons for setting aside the claims of Mary and Elizabeth, that Edward was induced to sketch with his feeble hand a will, setting aside the rights of Mary and Elizabeth and leaving the succession to Lady Jane Grey.

Of course there were some who refused to sign this will at all, and others--among them Archbishop Cranmer--who for a long time refused, but finally yielded on the urgent petition of the King, who was now as eager as even Northumberland could wish.

Then on the 6th of July, 1553, King Edward died, and the tragedy of Lady Jane's life began in earnest. No sooner was his death a fact than Northumberland, concealing this, sent a crafty letter to the Princess Mary saying that her brother was at the point of death, and wished to see her. He did so knowing that Mary would hasten to London, and was prepared to seize her on the road to the city, and take her a prisoner to the Tower, while Lady Jane should be proclaimed Queen. As he had supposed, Mary hurried towards the city, but being met on the way and warned of the plot against her, instantly left the London road and galloped towards her own Manor House of Kenninghall, which she reached after a hard two days' trip, and found that the report of the King's death was true, whereupon she at once sent to the Council a confirmation of her own right to the throne, and so Northumberland's first move in his game of chance was blocked.

Lady Jane meanwhile remained at Chelsea until Northumberland's daughter arrived to escort her to Sion House, where she was to appear before the Council in order to hear what the King had ordained for her. One can imagine the flutter of heart with which Jane made ready for the journey, and her still greater excitement when on her arrival the noblemen present began to make her complimentary speeches, bending the knee before her, "their example," says Lady Jane in her own account of the scene, "being followed by several noble ladies, all of which ceremony made me blush. My distress was still further increased when my mother and mother-in-law entered and paid me the same homage."

Poor little Queen-to-be, this was her first intimation of the plan for her future greatness, and on discovering it, and hearing that for her sake the rights of her cousins were to be set aside, Lady Jane firmly refused to accept the crown. Northumberland, who had expected this refusal, then insisted that the crown was rightfully hers and her father begged her to take it. To these appeals the young husband added his, and Jane says: "On hearing all this I remained stunned and out of myself. I call on those present to bear witness, who saw me fall to the ground, weeping piteously, and dolefully lamenting not only my own insufficiency, but the death of the King. I swooned indeed . . . but when brought to myself, I raised myself on my knees and prayed to God that if to succeed to the throne was my duty and my right, that He would aid me to govern the Realm to His Glory. The following day, as everyone knows, I was conducted to the Tower."

According to the state ceremonials governing such matters, the custom had always been for a new sovereign to spend the first few days of a reign at the Tower, and Lady Jane proceeded at once to Westminster by water, and from there by the state barge to the Tower, and this description of the scene has been preserved in a letter written on the 10th of July by an Italian nobleman. He says:

"I saw Donna Jana Groia walking in a grand procession to the Tower. She is now called Queen, but is not popular, for the hearts of the people are with Mary. This Jane is very short and thin, but prettily shaped and graceful. She has small features and a well-made nose, the mouth flexible and the lips red. The eyebrows are arched and darker than her hair which is nearly red. Her eyes are sparkling and a sort of light hazel often noticed with red hair. I stood so long near Her Grace that I noticed her colour was good, but freckled. When she smiled, she showed her teeth, which are large and sharp. In all a gracious and animated person. She wore a dress of green velvet stamped with gold and with large sleeves. Her headdress was a coif with many jewels. She walked under a canopy, her mother carrying her train and her husband walking by her, dressed all in white and gold, a very tall strong boy with light hair, who paid her much attention. The new Queen was mounted on very high heels to make her look much taller. Many ladies followed, with noblemen, but this lady is very much of a heretic and has never heard mass, and some very great people did not come into the procession for that reason."

At the Tower Queen Jane was properly received by its Lieutenant and Deputy Lieutenant, and walked in procession from the landing-place to the Great Hall, a crowd of spectators lining the way and kneeling as the new Queen passed, and so began the great drama of which Jane was the central figure.

As soon as the new Queen entered the royal apartments at the Tower, the heralds trumpeted, and a few minutes later four of them read her proclamation, which was an unfortunate, dull, long-winded document, dealing with the claims of Elizabeth and Mary in such a brutal way as might well have offended them and the Catholic party as well, and although Lady Jane was innocent of the document, nevertheless it bore her signature, and so for that as for the many other deeds done in her name, the fair young victim was obliged to pay the bitter penalty.

While the young Queen was occupied with her first state duties in the Tower, Mary and her following were busy inciting the people to remain loyal to the rightful heir. In several counties the great mass of citizens detested the Duke of Northumberland and knew that Lady Jane would be a tool in his hands, so when Mary announced that as Queen she would make no change in the religion or laws of the land, they at once pledged themselves to support her cause.

On the twelfth of July, Jane's second day in the Tower, there were delivered to her unwilling Majesty, besides the Crown jewels, a curious collection of miscellaneous articles of jewellery, the contents of various boxes and baskets found at the Jewel House in the Tower, which had belonged to Henry's six queens. By this time Jane's loneliness and anxiety over a situation which she knew to be dangerous, had brought on an attack of sickness, and she must have been wretched in mind and body, yet being still little more than a child, she must have had some small degree of pleasure in examining her new treasures, which included among the many articles:

"A fish of gold, being a toothpick.

"One dewberry of gold. A like pendant having one great and three little pearls. A tablet of gold with one white sapphire and one blue one. A pair of beads of white porcelain with eight gauds of gold and a tassel of Venice gold. Buttons of gold with crimson work. A pair of bracelets of flagon pattern. Thirty turquoises of little worth. Thirteen small diamonds set in collets of gold, etc. etc.," through a long list.

There is also an inventory of the personal belongings of Lady Jane at this time, which gives a good idea of the contents of her wardrobe. The following are only a few of its details:

"Item, a hat of purple velvet embroidered with many pearls.

"Item, a muffler of purple velvet embroidered with pearls of damask gold garnished with small stones of sundry sorts and tied with white satin.

"Item, a muffler of sable skin with a head of gold, with four clasps set with five pearls, four turquoises, six rubies, two diamonds and five pearls, the four feet of the sable being of gold set with turquoises and the head having a tongue made of a ruby.

"Item, Eighteen buttons of rubies.

"Item, Three pairs of gold garters having buckles and pendants of gold.

"Item, Three shirts, one of velvet, the other of black silk embroidered with gold, the third of gold stitched with silver and red silk," etc., etc., etc.

From even these bits of the inventory it is evident that the Lady Jane was not lacking in goods and chattels, but they gave her little comfort, poor child, with her swift approaching destiny!

On that same night of the twelfth of July, there were taken to the Tower a large number of fire-arms and a quantity of ammunition as well as an army of soldiers who were ready to march against Mary's followers. And the preparations were made just in time, for on the very next day came news that the rival Queen was at Kenninghall and that her loyal subjects were hurrying from all parts of the kingdom to support her cause. In fact the inmates of the Tower at once discovered that throughout the kingdom the people were against Queen Jane and for Queen Mary, and a sad discovery it was!

At once the Council was called together, and a proposal was made that the Duke of Suffolk should take command of troops to quell the insurrection, but Jane was insistent that she could not be left in the Tower without her father for protection, and as his health was not good, it was finally decided that the Duke of Northumberland himself should go out to resist the rival forces. But before the Duke went, he gave Her Majesty into the charge of the Council, and swore with a big oath that when he returned "Mary should no longer be in England, for he would take care to drive her into France."

Then with a passionate embrace of his son, Guilford, Northumberland went to finish his preparations for the resisting of Mary's claim, and on Friday, the fourteenth, he and his followers rode proudly forth with a train of guns, and six hundred men, some of them the greatest in the land. As they passed through the city, they could not but notice the sullenness and lack of enthusiasm in the great crowds everywhere gathered to watch them pass, and grew more and more fearful of the probable defeat of the Duke's project.

Meanwhile Queen Jane, in the Tower, passed the weary hours as best she could, and executed several minor duties of her royal office, but grew hourly more depressed with a nameless dread, and at evening came the news of a great rising in favour of Queen Mary. Still worse tidings came on Saturday, the sixth day of Jane's disastrous reign. Queen Mary had already been proclaimed at Framlington and Norwich, and Northumberland had sent to London for fresh troops, and was speeding as fast as horse could gallop towards Cambridge, which he reached at midnight, but in vain! Jane's cause collapsed so completely and so rapidly everywhere that even such precautions as had been taken for the defence of her party ended by serving her rivals, and the miserable Duke returned to the Tower and its comparative safety, a prisoner, in a pathetic plight brought about by his own wretched ambition.

On the seventh day of Queen Jane's reign, throughout the length and breadth of England there were again risings for Queen Mary. In all the streets there were cheering and rioting, and bonfires were lighted, around which crowds of rough men and women circled, shouting, "Queen Mary! Queen Mary!" while in the churches the rival queens and rival creeds were the one subject of discourse.

On the eighth day of Jane's reign there was a violent scene in the early morning between her mother and mother-in-law concerning the kingship of Guilford, as Jane's husband. Poor Jane cried herself sick over the distasteful affair, and tried to calm and reason with the two disputants, looking more dead than alive as she did so. By this time as a result of suspense and discouraging news all the occupants of the Tower were at sixes and sevens, and the general feeling was that a worse situation was still to come. Again bad news, the peasants, notwithstanding the threats of their lords, had refused to take up arms against Mary, and were drawing very near London; also all over the country the nobility were arming, and marching in the defence of the rightful queen's person and title, while poor Queen Jane's name was now only spoken to be scoffed at.

On Tuesday, the eighteenth, it was evident to all that the tragi-comedy was drawing to a close. Of all Queen Jane's Council only two men, Archbishop Cranmer and her own father, remained true to her--all the others having decided to save their own heads by betraying the cause of that girl to whom nine days before they had pledged undying loyalty. On Wednesday, the nineteenth, the short reign ended. "Jane the Queen" became "Jana non Regina," and although that morning there was a slight flicker of interest shown in her cause, yet the conspirators against her, that evening proclaimed Mary queen in Cheapside, at the very hour at which only nine days before Jane's accession had been proclaimed!

The people now realised that they had nothing to fear from Jane or her Council, whose power was broken, and at once gave public vent to their enthusiasm for Mary, indulging in one of those attacks of frenzied excitement which sometimes seizes a nation,--and everywhere there were merry-makings and rejoicings for her Catholic Majesty--except within the Tower, where the stillness of death reigned.

Northumberland's plan had failed, and of those councillors who had pledged their support to Jane's cause, but one remained loyal besides her own father!

Archbishop Cranmer was the last of Jane's Council then living in the Tower to leave it, and the leave-taking was a sad one on both sides, for it left Lady Jane alone to meet the sad events then coming thick and fast, with what courage she could summon.

Presently a messenger came to Suffolk, from Baynard's Castle, to tell him that the nobles gathered together there required him to deliver up the Tower and go to the Castle to sign Mary's proclamation, and without a moment's hesitation the wretched man gave up the unequal struggle, and did as he was commanded. Then he returned to the Tower to tell Jane that her queenship was a thing of the past, although there was little need to report so evident a fact.

With nervous excitement he rushed into the Council chamber, where he found Jane alone, seated in forlorn dejection under the canopy of State.

"Come down from that, my child," he said. "That is no place for you," and then more gently than he had ever spoken to her before, he told her all. For a moment there was silence while daughter and father stood clasped in each other's arms in the deserted hall, through the open windows of which could be heard, borne on the summer air, shouts of "Long live Queen Mary!" There was a long silence, then Jane looked up into her father's eyes and there was a gleam of hope in her own as she asked, wistfully, "Can I go home?"

Poor little victim of the plots of over-ambitious men, never was a more sublimely pathetic sentence uttered, and oh, the world of longing in that simple, never-to-be-gratified request!

No sooner had Queen Mary's proclamation been heralded, than everything was changed for Lady Jane, who was even deserted by her mother and the Duchess of Northumberland. A few hours before, the Tower guards and officials had treated her with extreme deference, but now showed a marked degree of scorn for her whose sovereignty had come to an end. The tears of her women, their whispered talk, the ominous silence of the palace, broken only by the distant shouts of the revellers, all combined to add to the poor girl's misery, and it would not be strange if on that evening of July 19th, when she was removed from the State apartments, to another Tower, and declared a prisoner, she had felt that the calmness even of despair was preferable to the atmosphere of uncertainty of the last few days of her struggle for a crown.

In her new quarters she was allowed several attendants of good birth, as well as two serving maids and a lad, and though a prisoner, she was not in solitude nor in discomfort of any kind, being allowed to walk daily in the Queen's gardens, and "on the hill without the Tower precincts"--her meals were those of a most luxurious captivity, and it must be clearly understood that she was never formally arrested. She was simply detained at the Tower, to prevent a repetition of the project to place her on the throne. During the nine days' reign, Guilford, her husband, seems to have sulked because she had refused to make him King, or else Northumberland had advised him to keep out of the way, that he might not be included in any blame for the usurpation of the crown. However that may have been, we hear nothing of him until after Mary's proclamation, when he too was imprisoned, but not in that part of the Tower with Lady Jane.

Even in her secluded apartment, Jane must have heard some gossip of the great outer world in which she no longer played a part, and doubtless knew that Princess Elizabeth had joined her sister Mary, and was to ride into London with her, showing that whatever difference of opinion she had on other matters, she wished the nation to know that she upheld Mary's succession to the throne. And too, Jane must have heard of the flaunting decorations of the city to celebrate the royal entrance, and of the wild enthusiasm everywhere shown for Queen Mary.

But harder still to bear must have been the visit of the Constable of the Tower, who on the first of August visited the prisoners, and read the solemn indictment against them in the Queen's name, charging Lady Jane and Guilford Dudley, her husband, of treason for having seized the Tower, for having sought to depose their rightful sovereign, Queen Mary, and for having proclaimed Jane Dudley, Queen of England. For those charges was Lady Jane to be brought to trial, and yet, not for one of them could she be held responsible.

This was on the first of August, and two days later at twilight the booming of cannon, the flare of lights, the tramp of ambassadors and sentinels coming and going, told the State prisoners in the Tower of the arrival of Queen Mary and the Princess Elizabeth, and leaden-hearted Lady Jane from her windows doubtless watched the gay scene, noting how many of those now paying homage to their new Queen had only nine days before sworn loyalty to her.

The Queen and Elizabeth had come for the Protestant State funeral service of King Edward, which took place on the 8th of August, and there was also a service according to the ritual of the Church of Rome celebrated at Mary's command, in the Royal Chapel of the Tower, where Mary had now taken up her residence. One of her first acts as Queen was to free a number of prisoners in the Tower, but she never lifted a finger to the liberation of Lady Jane, her kinswoman.

On the eighteenth of August, the Duke of Northumberland was tried for treason, and throughout his trial acted in the basest manner possible; then seeing that whatever he might say would not save him, he confessed his crime and begged the pardon of the judges, showing one spark of manhood when he asserted that whatever might be his own deserts, Lady Jane not only had not wished the crown, but was forced to accept it. For himself he only asked the death usually accorded noblemen, and some degree of favour for his children. On hearing that Northumberland had been condemned, the people showed great joy, as they felt it was a just desert for his treason, and their sentiment was clearly shown by the crowds lining the street when he was taken from the court to his prison in the Tower. On the next day he received news of his intended execution which was carried out on the 22nd of August.

Meanwhile Lady Jane and her husband were still prisoners, and Jane's conduct will forever place her name among the heroes and martyrs of the Reformation, so calm and courageous was she during every circumstance of her confinement, never uttering a word of complaint, but seeming wholly concerned for the sufferings of her father and husband, and though she must have indeed had bitter thoughts, yet she never voiced them, but was always calm and sweet.

Through the whole month of August there were memorable struggles between the Catholics and Protestants, each struggling for supremacy, and at last all doubt was at an end. Queen Mary was determined to distinguish herself as a persecutor of the Protestants.

During the last week of August she was busily preparing for her coronation, which was to be celebrated on the first day of October, and was marked with the usual pomp and splendour of such pageants, and still sweet Lady Jane was in prison, separated from her husband and from her friends. A few days after Mary's queendom was officially confirmed her first Parliament was opened, and one of its first acts was to pass a bill of attainder upon Lady Jane Grey and her husband,--and so destiny swept the innocent usurper with its swift current.

The trial on a charge of high treason took place at the Guildhall on November 13th. In all the year England has no sadder month than November, by reason of its dull skies and heavy fogs, and in a mood not unlike the sombre day, Lady Jane and Lord Guilford were led out from the place where they had been for so long imprisoned. They were surrounded by a guard of four hundred soldiers, and there was great noise and confusion along their line of march, but Lady Jane was calmness personified, both then and through the whole trial.

She pleaded guilty of the charge against her, poor innocent little Queen, and presently her sentence was pronounced. She was to be burned alive on Tower Hill, or beheaded, at the Queen's pleasure.

Notwithstanding their desire to have Mary for queen, in place of Jane, the people on hearing this terrible sentence, burst forth in groans, and many sobbed and bewailed her fate to such a degree that Jane turned, and said calmly to them:

"Oh, faithful companions of my sorrows, why do you thus afflict me with your plaints. Are we not born into life to suffer adversity and even disgrace if necessary? When has the time been that the innocent were not exposed to violence and oppression?" and from the example of her brave cheerfulness, they ceased their moaning.

At that time it was generally supposed that Queen Mary would pardon Lady Jane and Lord Guilford, and there is no doubt that this was her intention then, and she ordered gentle treatment of them both, which must have made their hearts beat high with hope of some time being free. From the day of the trial Queen Mary showed an intense desire to win Jane over to the Catholic faith, and sent a devout Catholic priest to visit her in the Tower, with this in view; but it was utterly useless to attempt to turn the firm little Protestant from her belief, even though the change might have saved her head.

While Lady Jane was resisting the attempts to change her creed, Queen Mary was deciding to make sure of a Catholic succession to the throne, and presently announced her engagement to Philip of Spain, the son of the Emperor Charles, which engagement when made public produced marked discontent through the whole country, for it was feared that with a Spanish prince for the husband of their Queen, England would become merely a vassal to Spain, and both Protestants and Catholics were firmly opposed to the match.

Again a chance for Lady Jane's cause! In less than a week Queen Mary's court were alarmed by the news that the Duke of Suffolk with his two brothers, had again organised a rebellion in several counties for the restoration of Lady Jane to the throne. There were also at that time two other insurrections in the kingdom, aiming at one end--the prevention of the Queen's marriage; but of the three the most dangerous was that of the Duke of Suffolk, and he knew that even if it should succeed, Lady Jane would never accept the throne unless forced. A more fool-hardy course he could not have pursued, but passing through Leicestershire, he proclaimed Lady Jane Queen in every town through which he passed, and seemed to sincerely believe that the people who such a short time before had stood for the arrest and the uncrowning of his daughter, would now stand in solid support of her claim.

With all the conflicts and intrigues of all the three insurrections there was the noise of battle throughout the country, but every one of them ended in defeat, and only one came anywhere near to victory, that, the one in favour of the crowning of Lady Jane Grey. And because of this, Mary the Queen felt that Jane was too dangerous a menace to the safety of the nation, and to her own sovereignty, to remain alive, and so the moment had come when Jane, so young and so full of the joy of living, must reap what others had sown.

On the eighth of February, the news was carried to the prisoner. She received her doom with dry-eyed dignity, but pleaded for mercy for her husband, who she said was innocent, and had only obeyed his father in all things, but the plea was disregarded and when the news was taken to Guilford, unlike Lady Jane he thought only of himself, and wept and begged and prayed for forgiveness,--but in vain!

It was originally intended that Jane and Guilford should be executed together on Tower Hill, but this was not carried out, probably because Lady Jane, being of blood royal, could be executed inside the precincts of the Tower, where two queens of Henry the Eighth had been beheaded, while Guilford, being of plebeian origin, was obliged to perish outside the Tower walls.

While awaiting the fatal day, Jane occupied herself in writing a letter to her father, in which she held him responsible for her death, and then probably spent Sunday the 10th of February, in prayer and meditation, and on the following day she wrote a beautiful letter to her sister Katherine, of whose terrible grief on her account she had been told. The letter was written on the blank leaves of a Greek testament, which has fortunately been preserved, and can be seen to-day in the British Museum.

Lord Guilford Dudley begged for an interview with his wife before their death, but this Lady Jane declined, saying that it would unnerve them both for the supreme moment, although she sent a message to her husband, and on the day of the execution, at the time when he was to pass her window on his way to the scaffold, she stood and waved her hand to him, as he passed, in the strength of his youth and manhood, to the horrible grave dug for him by his own father's hand, facing death bravely at the end.

Then a ghastly accident occurred. Either by accident or by design, Jane caught a glimpse of her husband's body as it was being carried from the scaffold to the Tower for burial, and for a time it seemed as if her frail young frame could not resist the strain of that agony of sorrow and fear which overcame her; but at last Lady Jane was on her way to meet her doom.

The bells of the churches tolled as the dread procession wound its way slowly to the foot of the scaffold, and the young prisoner was dressed as on the day of her trial, in a black cloth dress edged with black velvet, a Marie Stuart cap of black velvet on her head, with a veil of black cloth hanging to her waist and a white wimple concealing her throat, her sleeves edged with lawn, neatly plaited around her wrists.

Before ascending the steps leading to the scaffold the Lady Jane bade farewell to her sobbing ladies, then mounting, advanced to the edge of the platform and spoke in a clear sweet voice, of her innocence of treason, and begging them to bear witness that she died a true Christian woman. Then after a pause, and wiping her eyes, she added, "Now, good people, Jane Dudley bids you all a long farewell. And may the Almighty preserve you from ever meeting the terrible death which awaits her in a few minutes."

At these words, seeing the towering figure of the executioner in his scarlet robe, she threw herself into the arms of her old nurse, who was by her side, and sobbed and shivered with terror. Then growing calmer she knelt while a psalm was said and prayer offered, then she said farewell to those who had been with her to the end, and gave her prayer book as a memento to one who had asked this favour.

The supreme moment had come. Unloosening her gown without the aid of her attendants, who were overcome with emotion, she cast aside the handkerchief with which she was expected to bandage her eyes, and then with a swift glance at the executioner, she said simply:

"I pray you despatch me quickly," then kneeling down she asked, "Will you take it off before I lay me down?"

Without any apparent emotion Lady Jane then tied the handkerchief over her eyes. She was now blindfolded and, trying to feel for the block, asked, "What shall I do? Where is it?"

A person near her, on the scaffold, guided her to the block, and she instantly laid her head upon it, rested in silence for a moment, then exclaimed:

"Lord, into thy hands I commend my spirit," and a moment later the agony was over.

The noblest, most courageous girl who was ever the victim of relentless ambition, was gone, sacrificed to a game of chance in which she was the royal pawn! History offers no sadder, no more thrilling story than that of Lady Jane, the girl of seventeen, who was a "Nine Days Queen!"

[The end]
Kate Dickinson Sweetser's short story: Lady Jane Grey: The Nine Days Queen