From This World to the Next
Henry Fielding

Part 3 out of 3


"My life was but short; for I soon pined myself to death with the
vice I just now mentioned. Minos told me I was infinitely too
bad for Elysium; and as for the other place, the devil had sworn
he would never entertain a poet for Orpheus's sake: so I was
forced to return again to the place from whence I came."


Julian performs the parts of a knight and a dancing-master.

"I now mounted the stage in Sicily, and became a knight-templar;
but, as my adventures differ so little from those I have
recounted you in the character of a common soldier, I shall not
tire you with repetition. The soldier and the captain differ in
reality so little from one another, that it requires an accurate
judgment to distinguish them; the latter wears finer clothes, and
in times of success lives somewhat more delicately; but as to
everything else, they very nearly resemble one another.

"My next step was into France, where fortune assigned me the part
of a dancing-master. I was so expert in my profession that I was
brought to court in my youth, and had the heels of Philip de
Valois, who afterwards succeeded Charles the Fair, committed to
my direction.

"I do not remember that in any of the characters in which I
appeared on earth I ever assumed to myself a greater dignity, or
thought myself of more real importance, than now. I looked on
dancing as the greatest excellence of human nature, and on myself
as the greatest proficient in it. And, indeed, this seemed to be
the general opinion of the whole court; for I was the chief
instructor of the youth of both sexes, whose merit was almost
entirely defined by the advances they made in that science which
I had the honor to profess. As to myself, I was so fully
persuaded of this truth, that I not only slighted and despised
those who were ignorant of dancing, but I thought the highest
character I could give any man was that he made a graceful bow:
for want of which accomplishment I had a sovereign contempt for
most persons of learning; nay, for some officers in the army, and
a few even of the courtiers themselves.

"Though so little of my youth had been thrown away in what they
call literature that I could hardly write and read, yet I
composed a treatise on education; the first rudiments of which,
as I taught, were to instruct a child in the science of coming
handsomely into a room. In this I corrected many faults of my
predecessors, particularly that of being too much in a hurry, and
instituting a child in the sublimer parts of dancing before they
are capable of making their honors.

"But as I have not now the same high opinion of my profession
which I had then, I shall not entertain you with a long history
of a life which consisted of borees and coupees. Let it suffice
that I lived to a very old age and followed my business as long
as I could crawl. At length I revisited my old friend Minos, who
treated me with very little respect and bade me dance back again
to earth.

"I did so, and was now once more born an Englishman, bred up to
the church, and at length arrived to the station of a bishop.

"Nothing was so remarkable in this character as my always

[10] Here part of the manuscript is lost, and that a very
considerable one, as appears by the number of the next book
and chapter, which contains, I find, the history of Anna Boleyn;
but as to the manner in which it was introduced, or to whom the
narrative is told, we are totally left in the dark. I have only
to remark, that this chapter is, in the original, writ in a
woman's hand: and, though the observations in it are, I think,
as excellent as any in the whole volume, there seems to be a
difference in style between this and the preceding chapters;
and, as it is the character of a woman which is related, I am
inclined to fancy it was really written by one of that sex.



Wherein Anna Boleyn relates the history of her life.

"I am going now truly to recount a life which from the time of
its ceasing has been, in the other world, the continual subject
of the cavils of contending parties; the one making me as black
as hell, the other as pure and innocent as the inhabitants of
this blessed place; the mist of prejudice blinding their eyes,
and zeal for what they themselves profess, making everything
appear in that light which they think most conduces to its honor.

"My infancy was spent in my father's house, in those childish
plays which are most suitable to that state, and I think this was
one of the happiest parts of my life; for my parents were not
among the number of those who look upon their children as so many
objects of a tyrannic power, but I was regarded as the dear
pledge of a virtuous love, and all my little pleasures were
thought from their indulgence their greatest delight. At seven
years old I was carried into France with the king's sister, who
was married to the French king, where I lived with a person of
quality, who was an acquaintance of my father's. I spent my time
in learning those things necessary to give young persons of
fashion a polite education, and did neither good nor evil, but
day passed after day in the same easy way till I was fourteen;
then began my anxiety, my vanity grew strong, and my heart
fluttered with joy at every compliment paid to my beauty: and as
the lady with whom I lived was of a gay, cheerful disposition,
she kept a great deal of company, and my youth and charms made me
the continual object of their admiration. I passed some little
time in those exulting raptures which are felt by every woman
perfectly satisfied with herself and with the behavior of others
towards her: I was, when very young, promoted to be maid of
honor to her majesty. The court was frequented by a young
nobleman whose beauty was the chief subject of conversation in
all assemblies of ladies. The delicacy of his person, added to a
great softness in his manner, gave everything he said and did
such an air of tenderness, that every woman he spoke to flattered
herself with being the object of his love. I was one of those
who was vain enough of my own charms to hope to make a conquest
of him whom the whole court sighed for. I now thought every
other object below my notice; yet the only pleasure I proposed to
myself in this design was, the triumphing over that heart which I
plainly saw all the ladies of the highest quality and the
greatest beauty would have been proud of possessing. I was yet
too young to be very artful; but nature, without any assistance,
soon discovers to a man who is used to gallantry a woman's desire
to be liked by him, whether that desire arises from any
particular choice she makes of him, or only from vanity. He soon
perceived my thoughts, and gratified my utmost wishes by
constantly preferring me before all other women, and exerting his
utmost gallantry and address to engage my affections. This
sudden happiness, which I then thought the greatest I could have
had, appeared visible in all my actions; I grew so gay and so
full of vivacity that it made my person appear still to a better
advantage, all my acquaintance pretending to be fonder of me than
ever: though, young as I was, I plainly saw it was but pretense,
for through all their endeavors to the contrary envy would often
break forth in sly insinuations and malicious sneers, which gave
me fresh matter of triumph, and frequent opportunities of
insulting them, which I never let slip, for now first my female
heart grew sensible of the spiteful pleasure of seeing another
languish for what I enjoyed. Whilst I was in the height of my
happiness her majesty fell ill of a languishing distemper, which
obliged her to go into the country for the change of air: my
place made it necessary for me to attend her, and which way he
brought it about I can't imagine, but my young hero found means
to be one of that small train that waited on my royal mistress,
although she went as privately as possible. Hitherto all the
interviews I had ever had with him were in public, and I only
looked on him as the fitter object to feed that pride which had
no other view but to show its power; but now the scene was quite
changed. My rivals, were all at a distance: the place we went
to was as charming as the most agreeable natural situation,
assisted by the greatest art, could make it; the pleasant
solitary walks the singing of birds, the thousand pretty romantic
scenes this delightful place afforded, gave a sudden turn to my
mind; my whole soul was melted into softness, and all my vanity
was fled. My spark was too much used to affairs of this nature
not to perceive this change; at first the profuse transports of
his joy made me believe him wholly mine, and this belief gave me
such happiness that no language affords words to express it, and
can be only known to those who have felt it. But this was of a
very short duration, for I soon found I had to do with one of
those men whose only end in the pursuit of a woman is to make her
fall a victim to an insatiable desire to be admired. His designs
had succeeded, and now he every day grew colder, and, as if by
infatuation, my passion every day increased; and, notwithstanding
all my resolutions and endeavors to the contrary, my rage at the
disappointment at once both of my love and pride, and at the
finding a passion fixed in my breast I knew not how to conquer,
broke out into that inconsistent behavior which must always be
the consequence of violent passions. One moment I reproached
him, the next I grew to tenderness and blamed myself, and thought
I fancied what was not true: he saw my struggle and triumphed in
it; but, as he had not witnesses enough there of his victory to
give him the full enjoyment of it, he grew weary of the country
and returned to Paris, and left me in a condition it is utterly
impossible to describe. My mind was like a city up in arms, all
confusion; and every new thought was a fresh disturber of my
peace. Sleep quite forsook me, and the anxiety I suffered threw
me into a fever which had like to have cost me my life. With
great care I recovered, but the violence of the distemper left
such a weakness on my body that the disturbance of my mind was
greatly assuaged; and now I began to comfort myself in the
reflection that this gentleman's being a finished coquette was
very likely the only thing could have preserved me; for he was
the only man from whom I was ever in any danger. By that time I
was got tolerably well we returned to Paris; and I confess I both
wished and feared to see this cause of all my pain: however, I
hoped, by the help of my resentment, to be able to meet him with
indifference. This employed my thoughts till our arrival. The
next day there was a very full court to congratulate the queen on
her recovery; and amongst the rest my love appeared dressed and
adorned as if he designed some new conquest. Instead of seeing a
woman he despised and slighted, he approached me with that
assured air which is common to successful coxcombs. At the same
time I perceived I was surrounded by all those ladies who were on
his account my greatest enemies, and, in revenge, wished for
nothing more than to see me make a ridiculous figure. This
situation so perplexed my thoughts, that when he came near enough
to speak to me, I fainted away in his arms. Had I studied which
way I could gratify him most, it was impossible to have done
anything to have pleased him more. Some that stood by brought
smelling-bottles, and used means for my recovery; and I was
welcomed to returning life by all those repartees which women
enraged by envy are capable of venting. One cried 'Well, I never
thought my lord had anything so frightful in his person or so
fierce in his manner as to strike a young lady dead at the sight
of him.' 'No, no,' says another, 'some ladies' senses are more
apt to be hurried by agreeable than disagreeable objects.' With
many more such sort of speeches which showed more malice than
wit. This not being able to bear, trembling, and with but just
strength enough to move, I crawled to my coach and hurried home.
When I was alone, and thought on what had happened to me in a
public court, I was at first driven to the utmost despair; but
afterwards, when I came to reflect, I believe this accident
contributed more to my being cured of my passion than any other
could have done. I began to think the only method to pique the
man who had used me so barbarously, and to be revenged on my
spiteful rivals, was to recover that beauty which was then
languid and had lost its luster, to let them see I had still
charms enough to engage as many lovers as I could desire, and
that I could yet rival them who had thus cruelly insulted me.
These pleasing hopes revived my sinking spirits. and worked a
more effectual cure on me than all the philosophy and advice of
the wisest men could have done. I now employed all my time and
care in adorning my person, and studying the surest means of
engaging the affections of others, while I myself continued quite
indifferent; for I resolved for the future, if ever one soft
thought made its way to my heart, to fly the object of it, and by
new lovers to drive the image from my breast. I consulted my
glass every morning, and got such a command of my countenance
that I could suit it to the different tastes of variety of
lovers; and though I was young, for I was not yet above
seventeen, yet my public way of life gave me such continual
opportunities of conversing with men, and the strong desire I now
had of pleasing them led me to make such constant observations on
everything they said or did, that I soon found out the different
methods of dealing with them. I observed that most men generally
liked in women what was most opposite to their own characters;
therefore to the grave solid man of sense I endeavored to appear
sprightly and full of spirit; to the witty and gay, soft and
languishing; to the amorous (for they want no increase of their
passions), cold and reserved; to the fearful and backward, warm
and full of fire; and so of all the rest. As to beaux, and all
of those sort of men, whose desires are centered in the
satisfaction of their vanity, I had learned by sad experience the
only way to deal with them was to laugh at them and let their own
good opinion of themselves be the only support of their hopes. I
knew, while I could get other followers, I was sure of them; for
the only sign of modesty they ever give is that of not depending
on their own judgments, but following the opinions of the
greatest number. Thus furnished with maxims, and grown wise by
past errors, I in a manner began the world again: I appeared in
all public places handsomer and more lively than ever, to the
amazement of every one who saw me and had heard of the affair
between me and my lord. He himself was much surprised and vexed
at this sudden change, nor could he account how it was possible
for me so soon to shake off those chains he thought he had fixed
on me for life; nor was he willing to lose his conquest in this
manner. He endeavored by all means possible to talk to me again
of love, but I stood fixed to my resolution (in which I was
greatly assisted by the crowd of admirers that daily surrounded
me) never to let him explain himself: for, notwithstanding all
my pride, I found the first impression the heart receives of love
is so strong that it requires the most vigilant care to prevent
a relapse. Now I lived three years in a constant round of
diversions, and was made the perfect idol of all the men that
came to court of all ages and all characters. I had several good
matches offered me, but I thought none of them equal to my merit;
and one of my greatest pleasures was to see those women who had
pretended to rival me often glad to marry those whom I had
refused. Yet, notwithstanding this great success of my schemes,
I cannot say I was perfectly happy; for every woman that was
taken the least notice of, and every man that was insensible to
my arts, gave me as much pain as all the rest gave me pleasure;
and sometimes little underhand plots which were laid against my
designs would succeed in spite of my care: so that I really
began to grow weary of this manner of life, when my father,
returning from his embassy in France, took me home with him, and
carried me to a little pleasant country-house, where there was
nothing grand or superfluous, but everything neat and agreeable.
There I led a life perfectly solitary. At first the time hung
very heavy on my hands, and I wanted all kind of employment, and
I had very like to have fallen into the height of the vapors,
from no other reason but from want of knowing what to do with
myself. But when I had lived here a little time I found such a
calmness in my mind, and such a difference between this and the
restless anxieties I had experienced in a court, that I began to
share the tranquillity that visibly appeared in everything round
me. I set myself to do works of fancy, and to raise little
flower-gardens, with many such innocent rural amusements; which,
although they are not capable of affording any great pleasure,
yet they give that serene turn to the mind which I think much
preferable to anything else human nature is made susceptible of.
I now resolved to spend the rest of my days here, and that
nothing should allure me from that sweet retirement, to be again
tossed about with tempestuous passions of any kind. Whilst I was
in this situation, my lord Percy, the earl of Northumberland's
eldest son, by an accident of losing his way after a fox-chase,
was met by my father, about a mile from our house; he came home
with him, only with a design of dining with us, but was so taken
with me that he stayed three days. I had too much experience in
all affairs of this kind not to see presently the influence I had
on him; but I was at that time so entirely free from all
ambition, that even the prospect of being a countess had no
effect on me; and I then thought nothing in the world could have
bribed me to have changed my way of life. This young lord, who
was just in his bloom, found his passion so strong, he could not
endure a long absence, but returned again in a week, and
endeavored, by all the means he could think of, to engage me to
return his affection. He addressed me with that tenderness and
respect which women on earth think can flow from nothing but real
love; and very often told me that, unless he could be so happy as
by his assiduity and care to make himself agreeable to me,
although he knew my father would eagerly embrace any proposal
from him, yet he would suffer that last of miseries of never
seeing me more rather than owe his own happiness to anything that
might be the least contradiction to my inclinations. This manner
of proceeding had something in it so noble and generous, that by
degrees it raised a sensation in me which I know not how to
describe, nor by what name to call it: it was nothing like my
former passion: for there was no turbulence, no uneasy waking
nights attending it, but all I could with honor grant to oblige
him appeared to me to be justly due to his truth and love, and
more the effect of gratitude than of any desire of my own. The
character I had heard of him from my father at my first returning
to England, in discoursing of the young nobility, convinced me
that if I was his wife I should have the perpetual satisfaction
of knowing every action of his must be approved by all the
sensible part of mankind; so that very soon I began to have no
scruple left but that of leaving my little scene of quietness,
and venturing again into the world. But this, by his continual
application and submissive behavior, by degrees entirely
vanished, and I agreed he should take his own time to break it to
my father, whose consent he was not long in obtaining; for such a
match was by no means to be refused. There remained nothing now
to be done but to prevail with the earl of Northumberland to
comply with what his son so ardently desired; for which purpose
he set out immediately for London, and begged it as the greatest
favor that I would accompany my father, who was also to go
thither the week following. I could not refuse his request, and
as soon as we arrived in town he flew to me with the greatest
raptures to inform me his father was so good that, finding his
happiness depended on his answer, he had given him free leave to
act in this affair as would best please himself, and that he had
now no obstacle to prevent his wishes. It was then the beginning
of the winter, and the time for our marriage was fixed for the
latter end of March: the consent of all parties made his access
to me very easy, and we conversed together both with innocence
and pleasure. As his fondness was so great that he contrived all
the methods possible to keep me continually in his sight, he told
me one morning he was commanded by his father to attend him to
court that evening, and begged I would be so good as to meet him
there. I was now so used to act as he would have me that I made
no difficulty of complying with his desire. Two days after this,
I was very much surprised at perceiving such a melancholy in his
countenance, and alteration in his behavior, as I could no way
account for; but, by importunity, at last I got from him that
cardinal Wolsey, for what reason he knew not, had peremptorily
forbid him to think any more of me: and, when he urged that his
father was not displeased with it, the cardinal, in his imperious
manner, answered him, he should give his father such convincing
reasons why it would be attended with great inconveniences, that
he was sure he could bring him to be of his opinion. On which he
turned from him, and gave him no opportunity of replying. I
could not imagine what design the cardinal could have in
intermeddling in this match, and I was still more perplexed to
find that my father treated my lord Percy with much more coldness
than usual; he too saw it, and we both wondered what could
possibly be the cause of all this. But it was not long before
the mystery was all made clear by my father, who, sending for me
one day into his chamber, let me into a secret which was as
little wished for as expected. He began with the surprising
effects of youth and beauty, and the madness of letting go those
advantages they might procure us till it was too late, when we
might wish in vain to bring them back again. I stood amazed at
this beginning; he saw my confusion, and bid me sit down and
attend to what he was going to tell me, which was of the greatest
consequence; and he hoped I would be wise enough to take his
advice, and act as he should think best for my future welfare.
He then asked me if I should not be much pleased to be a queen?
I answered, with the greatest earnestness, that, so far from it,
I would not live in a court again to be the greatest queen in the
world; that I had a lover who was both desirous and able to raise
my station even beyond my wishes. I found this discourse was
very displeasing; my father frowned, and called me a romantic
fool, and said if I would hearken to him he could make me a
queen; for the cardinal had told him that the king, from the time
he saw me at court the other night, liked me, and intended to get
a divorce from his wife, and to put me in her place; and ordered
him to find some method to make me a maid of honor to her present
majesty, that in the meantime he might have an opportunity of
seeing me. It is impossible to express the astonishment these
words threw me into; and, notwithstanding that the moment before,
when it appeared at so great a distance, I was very sincere in my
declaration how much it was against my will to be raised so high,
yet now the prospect came nearer, I confess my heart fluttered,
and my eyes were dazzled with a view of being seated on a throne.

My imagination presented before me all the pomp, power and
greatness that attend a crown; and I was so perplexed I knew not
what to answer, but remained as silent as if I had lost the use
of my speech. My father, who guessed what it was that made me in
this condition, proceeded to bring all the arguments he thought
most likely to bend me to his will; at last I recovered from this
dream of grandeur, and begged him, by all the most endearing
names I could think of, not to urge me dishonorably to forsake
the man who I was convinced would raise me to an empire if in his
power, and who had enough in his power to give me all I desired.
But he was deaf to all I could say, and insisted that by next
week I should prepare myself to go to court: he bid me consider
of it, and not prefer a ridiculous notion of honor to the real
interest of my whole family; but, above all things, not to
disclose what he had trusted me with. On which he left me to my
own thoughts. When I was alone I reflected how little real
tenderness this behavior showed to me, whose happiness he did not
at all consult, but only looked on me as a ladder, on which he
could climb to the height of his own ambitious desires: and when
I thought on his fondness for me in my infancy I could impute it
to nothing but either the liking me as a plaything or the
gratification of his vanity in my beauty. But I was too much
divided between a crown and my engagement to lord Percy to spend
much time in thinking of anything else; and, although my father
had positively forbid me, yet, when he came next, I could not
help acquainting him with all that had passed, with the reserve
only of the struggle in my own mind on the first mention of being
a queen. I expected he would have received the news with the
greatest agonies; but he showed no vast emotion: however, he
could not help turning pale, and, taking me by the hand, looked
at me with an air of tenderness, and said, 'If being a queen
would make you happy, and it is in your power to be so, I would
not for the world prevent it, let me suffer what I will.' This
amazing greatness of mind had on me quite the contrary effect
from what it ought to have had; for, instead of increasing my
love for him it almost put an end to it, and I began to think, if
he could part with me, the matter was not much. And I am
convinced, when any man gives up the possession of a woman whose
consent he has once obtained, let his motive be ever so generous,
he will disoblige her. I could not help showing my
dissatisfaction, and told him I was very glad this affair sat so
easily on him. He had not power to answer, but was so suddenly
struck with this unexpected ill-natured turn I gave his behavior,
that he stood amazed for some time, and then bowed and left me.
Now I was again left to my own reflections; but to make anything
intelligible out of them is quite impossible: I wished to be a
queen, and wished I might not be one: I would have my lord Percy
happy without me; and yet I would not have the power of my charms
be so weak that he could bear the thought of life after being
disappointed in my love. But the result of all these confused
thoughts was a resolution to obey my father. I am afraid there
was not much duty in the case, though at that time I was glad to
take hold of that small shadow to save me from looking on my own
actions in the true light. When my lover came again I looked on
him with that coldness that he could not bear, on purpose to rid
myself of all importunity: for since I had resolved to use him
ill I regarded him as the monument of my shame, and his every
look appeared to me to upbraid me. My father soon carried me to
court; there I had no very hard part to act; for, with the
experience I had had of mankind, I could find no great difficulty
in managing a man who liked me, and for whom I not only did not
care but had an utter aversion to: but this aversion he believed
to be virtue; for how credulous is a man who has an inclination
to believe! And I took care sometimes to drop words of cottages
and love, and how happy the woman was who fixed her affections on
a man in such a station of life that she might show her love
without being suspected of hypocrisy or mercenary views. All
this was swallowed very easily by the amorous king, who pushed on
the divorce with the utmost impetuosity, although the affair
lasted a good while, and I remained most part of the time behind
the curtain. Whenever the king mentioned it to me I used such
arguments against it as I thought the most likely to make him the
more eager for it; begging that, unless his conscience was really
touched, he would not on my account give any grief to his
virtuous queen; for in being her handmaid I thought myself highly
honored; and that I would not only forego a crown, but even give
up the pleasure of ever seeing him more, rather than wrong my
royal mistress. This way of talking, joined to his eager desire
to possess my person, convinced the king so strongly of my
exalted merit, that he thought it a meritorious act to displace
the woman (whom he could not have so good an opinion of, because
he was tired of her), and to put me in her place. After about a
year's stay at court, as the king's love to me began to be talked
of, it was thought proper to remove me, that there might be no
umbrage given to the queen's party. I was forced to comply with
this, though greatly against my will; for I was very jealous that
absence might change the king's mind. I retired again with my
father to his country-seat, but it had no longer those charms for
me which I once enjoyed there; for my mind was now too much taken
up with ambition to make room for any other thoughts. During my
stay here, my royal lover often sent gentlemen to me with
messages and letters, which I always answered in the manner I
thought would best bring about my designs, which were to come
back again to court. In all the letters that passed between us
there was something so kingly and commanding in his, and so
deceitful and submissive in mine, that I sometimes could not help
reflecting on the difference betwixt this correspondence and that
with lord Percy; yet I was so pressed forward by the desire of a
crown, I could not think of turning back. In all I wrote I
continually praised his resolution of letting me be at a distance
from him, since at this time it conduced indeed to my honor; but,
what was of ten times more weight with me, I thought it was
necessary for his; and I would sooner suffer anything in the
world than be any means of hurt to him, either in his interest or
reputation. I always gave some hints of ill health, with some
reflections how necessary the peace of the mind was to that of
the body. By these means I brought him to recall me again by the
most absolute command, which I, for a little time, artfully
delayed (for I knew the impatience of his temper would not bear
any contradictions), till he made my father in a manner force me
to what I most wished, with the utmost appearance of reluctance
on my side. When I had gained this point I began to think which
way I could separate the king from the queen, for hitherto they
lived in the same house. The lady Mary, the queen's daughter,
being then about sixteen, I sought for emissaries of her own age
that I could confide in, to instill into her mind disrespectful
thoughts of her father, and make a jest of the tenderness of his
conscience about the divorce. I knew she had naturally strong
passions, and that young people of that age are apt to think
those that pretend to be their friends are really so, and only
speak their minds freely. I afterwards contrived to have every
word she spoke of him carried to the king, who took it all as I
could wish, and fancied those things did not come at first from
the young lady, but from her mother. He would often talk of it
to me, and I agreed with him in his sentiments; but then, as a
great proof of my goodness, I always endeavored to excuse her, by
saying a lady so long time used to be a royal queen might
naturally be a little exasperated with those she fancied would
throw her from that station she so justly deserved. By these
sort of plots I found the way to make the king angry with the
queen; for nothing is easier than to make a man angry with a
woman he wants to be rid of, and who stands in the way between
him and his pleasure; so that now the king, on the pretense of
the queen's obstinacy in a point where his conscience was so
tenderly concerned, parted with her. Everything was now plain
before me; I had nothing farther to do but to let the king alone
to his own desires; and I had no reason to fear, since they had
carried him so far, but that they would urge him on to do
everything I aimed at. I was created marchioness of Pembroke.
This dignity sat very easy on me; for the thoughts of a much
higher title took from me all feeling of this; and I looked upon
being a marchioness as a trifle, not that I saw the bauble in its
true light, but because it fell short of what I had figured to
myself I should soon obtain. The king's desires grew very
impatient, and it was not long before I was privately married to
him. I was no sooner his wife than I found all the queen come
upon me; I felt myself conscious of royalty, and even the faces
of my most intimate acquaintance seemed to me to be quite
strange. I hardly knew them: height had turned my head, and I
was like a man placed on a monument, to whose sight all creatures
at a great distance below him appear like so many little pigmies
crawling about on the earth; and the prospect so greatly
delighted me, that I did not presently consider that in both
cases descending a few steps erected by human hands would place
us in the number of those very pigmies who appeared so
despicable. Our marriage was kept private for some time, for it
was not thought proper to make it public (the affair of the
divorce not being finished) till the birth of my daughter
Elizabeth made it necessary. But all who saw me knew it; for my
manner of speaking and acting was so much changed with my
station, that all around me plainly perceived I was sure I was a
queen. While it was a secret I had yet something to wish for; I
could not be perfectly satisfied till all the world was
acquainted with my fortune: but when my coronation was over, and
I was raised to the height of my ambition, instead of finding
myself happy, I was in reality more miserable than ever; for,
besides that the aversion I had naturally to the king was much
more difficult to dissemble after marriage than before, and grew
into a perfect detestation, my imagination, which had thus warmly
pursued a crown, grew cool when I was in the possession of it,
and gave me time to reflect what mighty matter I had gained by
all this bustle; and I often used to think myself in the case of
the fox-hunter, who, when he has toiled and sweated all day in
the chase as if some unheard-of blessing was to crown his
success, finds at last all he has got by his labor is a stinking
nauseous animal. But my condition was yet worse than his; for he
leaves the loathsome wretch to be torn by his hounds, whilst I
was obliged to fondle mine, and meanly pretend him to be the
object of my love. For the whole time I was in this envied, this
exalted state, I led a continual life of hypocrisy, which I now
know nothing on earth can compensate. I had no companion but the
man I hated. I dared not disclose my sentiments to any person
about me, nor did any one presume to enter into any freedom of
conversation with me; but all who spoke to me talked to the
queen, and not to me; for they would have said just the same
things to a dressed-up puppet, if the king had taken a fancy to
call it his wife. And as I knew every woman in the court was my
enemy, from thinking she had much more right than I had to the
place I filled, I thought myself as unhappy as if I had been
placed in a wild wood, where there was no human creature for me
to speak to, in a continual fear of leaving any traces of my
footsteps, lest I should be found by some dreadful monster, or
stung by snakes and adders; for such are spiteful women to the
objects of their envy. In this worst of all situations I was
obliged to hide my melancholy and appear cheerful. This threw me
into an error the other way, and I sometimes fell into a levity
in my behavior that was afterwards made use of to my
disadvantage. I had a son deadborn, which I perceived abated
something of the king's ardor; for his temper could not brook the
least disappointment. This gave me no uneasiness; for, not
considering the consequences, I could not help being best pleased
when I had least of his company. Afterwards I found he had cast
his eyes on one of my maids of honor; and, whether it was owing
to any art of hers, or only to the king's violent passions, I was
in the end used even worse than my former mistress had been by my
means. The decay of the king's affection was presently seen by
all those court-sycophants who continually watch the motions of
royal eyes; and the moment they found they could be heard against
me they turned my most innocent actions and words, nay, even my
very looks, into proofs of the blackest crimes. The king, who
was impatient to enjoy his new love, lent a willing ear to all my
accusers, who found ways of making him jealous that I was false
to his bed. He would not so easily have believed anything
against me before, but he was now glad to flatter himself that he
had found a reason to do just what he had resolved upon without a
reason; and on some slight pretenses and hearsay evidence I was
sent to the Tower, where the lady who was my greatest enemy was
appointed to watch me and lie in the same chamber with me. This
was really as bad a punishment as my death, for she insulted me
with those keen reproaches and spiteful witticisms, which threw
me into such vapors and violent fits that I knew not what I
uttered in this condition. She pretended I had confessed talking
ridiculous stuff with a set of low fellows whom I had hardly ever
taken notice of, as could have imposed on none but such as were
resolved to believe. I was brought to my trial, and, to blacken
me the more, accused of conversing criminally with my own
brother, whom indeed I loved extremely well, but never looked on
him in any other light than as my friend. However, I was
condemned to be beheaded, or burnt, as the king pleased; and he
was graciously pleased, from the great remains of his love, to
choose the mildest sentence. I was much less shocked at this
manner of ending my life than I should have been in any other
station: but I had had so little enjoyment from the time I had
been a queen, that death was the less dreadful to me. The chief
things that lay on my conscience were the arts I made use of to
induce the king to part with the queen, my ill usage of lady
Mary, and my jilting lord Percy. However, I endeavored to calm
my mind as well as I could, and hoped these crimes would be
forgiven me; for in other respects I had led a very innocent
life, and always did all the good-natured actions I found any
opportunity of doing. From the time I had it in my power, I gave
a great deal of money amongst the poor; I prayed very devoutly,
and went to my execution very composedly. Thus I lost my life at
the age of twenty-nine, in which short time I believe I went
through more variety of scenes than many people who live to be
very old. I had lived in a court, where I spent my time in
coquetry and gayety; I had experienced what it was to have one of
those violent passions which makes the mind all turbulence and
anxiety; I had had a lover whom I esteemed and valued, and at the
latter part of my life I was raised to a station as high as the
vainest woman could wish. But in all these various changes I
never enjoyed any real satisfaction, unless in the little time I
lived retired in the country free from all noise and hurry, and
while I was conscious I was the object of the love and esteem of
a man of sense and honor."

On the conclusion of this history Minos paused for a small time,
and then ordered the gate to be thrown open for Anna Boleyn's
admittance on the consideration that whoever had suffered being
the queen for four years, and been sensible during all that time
of the real misery which attends that exalted station, ought to
be forgiven whatever she had done to obtain it.[11]

[11] Here ends this curious manuscript; the rest being destroyed
in rolling up pens, tobacco, &c. It is to be hoped heedless people
will henceforth be more cautious what they burn, or use to other
vile purposes; especially when they consider the fate which had
likely to have befallen the divine Milton, and that the works
of Homer were probably discovered in some chandlers shop in Greece.


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