The Valet's Tragedy and Other Stories
Part 3 out of 5
Some one else unknown.
In one variant, a clock and a preternatural light are thrown in,
with a sermon which it were superfluous to quote. In another we
have the derangement of clocks and watches. Lord Lyttelton's
stepmother believed in the dove. Lady Lyttelton did without a dove,
but admitted a fluttering sound.
For causes of death we have--heart disease (a newspaper), breaking
of a blood-vessel (Mason), suicide (Coulton), and 'a suffocating
fit' (Pitt Place document). The balance is in favour of a
suffocating fit, and is against suicide. On the whole, if we follow
the Pitt Place Anonymous (writing some time after the event, for he
calls Mr. Fortescue 'Lord Fortescue'), we may conclude that Lord
Lyttelton had been ill for some time. The making of his will
suggests a natural apprehension on his part, rather than a purpose
of suicide. There was a lively impression of coming death on his
mind, but how it was made--whether by a dream, an hallucination, or
what not--there is no good evidence to show.
There is every reason to believe, on the Pitt Place evidence,
combined with the making of his will, that Lord Lyttelton had
really, for some time, suffered from alarming attacks of
breathlessness, due to what cause physicians may conjecture. Any
one of these fits, probably, might cause death, if the obvious
precaution of freeing the head and throat from encumbrances were
neglected; and the Pitt Place document asserts that the frightened
valet DID neglect it. Again, that persons under the strong
conviction of approaching death will actually die is proved by many
examples. Even Dr. Hibbert says that 'no reasonable doubt can be
placed on the authenticity of the narrative' of Miss Lee's death,
'as it was drawn up by the Bishop of Gloucester' (Dr. William
Nicholson) 'from the recital of the young lady's father,' Sir
Charles Lee. Every one knows the tale. In a preternatural light,
in a midnight chamber, Miss Lee saw a woman, who proclaimed herself
Miss Lee's dead mother, 'and that by twelve o'clock of the day she
should be with her.' So Miss Lee died in her chair next day, on the
stroke of noon, and Dr. Hibbert rather heartlessly calls this 'a
The Rev. Mr. Fison, in 'Kamilaroi and Kurnai,' gives, from his own
experience, similar tales of death following alleged ghostly
warnings, among Fijians and Australian blacks. Lord Lyttelton's
uneasiness and apprehension are conspicuous in all versions; his
dreams had long been troubled, his health had caused him anxiety,
the 'warning' (whatever it may have been) clinched the matter, and
he died a perfectly natural death.
Mr. Coulton, omitting Walpole's statement that he 'looked ill,' and
never alluding to the Pitt Place description of his very alarming
symptoms, but clinging fondly to his theory of Junius, perorates
thus: 'Not Dante, or Milton, or Shakespeare himself, could have
struck forth a finer conception than Junius, in the pride of rank,
wealth, and dignities, raised to the Council table of the sovereign
he had so foully slandered--yet sick at heart and deeply stained
with every profligacy--terminating his career by deliberate self-
murder, with every accompaniment of audacious charlatanry that could
conceal the crime.'
It is magnificent, it is worthy of Dante, or Shakespeare himself--
but the conception is Mr. Coulton's.
We do not think that we have provided what Dr. Johnson 'liked,'
'evidence for the spiritual world.' Nor have we any evidence
explanatory of the precise nature of Lord Lyttelton's hallucination.
The problem of the authorship of the 'Junius Letters' is a malstrom
into which we decline to be drawn.
But it is fair to observe that all the discrepancies in the story of
the 'warning' are not more numerous, nor more at variance with each
other, than remote hearsay reports of any ordinary occurrence are
apt to be. And we think it is plain that, if Lord Lyttelton WAS
Junius, Mr. Coulton had no right to allege that Junius went and
hanged himself, or, in any other way, was guilty of self-murder.
VI. THE MYSTERY OF AMY ROBSART
1. HISTORICAL CONFUSIONS AS TO EVENTS BEFORE AMY'S DEATH
Let him who would weep over the tribulations of the historical
inquirer attend to the tale of the Mystery of Amy Robsart!
The student must dismiss from his memory all that he recollects of
Scott's 'Kenilworth.' Sir Walter's chivalrous motto was 'No scandal
about Queen Elizabeth,' 'tis blazoned on his title-page. To avoid
scandal, he calmly cast his narrative at a date some fifteen years
after Amy Robsart's death, brought Amy alive, and represented Queen
Elizabeth as ignorant of her very existence. He might, had he
chosen, have proved to his readers that, as regards Amy Robsart and
her death, Elizabeth was in a position almost as equivocal as was
Mary Stuart in regard to the murder of Darnley. Before the murder
of Darnley we do not hear one word to suggest that Mary was in love
with Bothwell. For many months before the death of Amy (Lady Robert
Dudley), we hear constant reports that Elizabeth has a love affair
with Lord Robert, and that Amy is to be divorced or murdered. When
Darnley is killed, a mock investigation acquits Bothwell, and Mary
loads him with honours and rewards. When Amy dies mysteriously, a
coroner's inquest, deep in the country, is held, and no records of
its proceedings can be found. Its verdict is unknown. After a
brief tiff, Elizabeth restores Lord Robert to favour.
After Darnley's murder, Mary's ambassador in France implores her to
investigate the matter with all diligence. After Amy's death,
Elizabeth's ambassador in France implores her to investigate the
matter with all diligence. Neither lady listens to her loyal
servant, indeed Mary could not have pursued the inquiry, however
innocent she might have been. Elizabeth could! In three months
after Darnley's murder, Mary married Bothwell. In two months after
Amy's death Cecil told (apparently) the Spanish ambassador that
Elizabeth had married Lord Robert Dudley. But this point, we shall
see, is dubious.
There the parallel ceases, for, in all probability, Lord Robert was
not art and part in Amy's death, and, whatever Elizabeth may have
done in private, she certainly did not publicly espouse Lord Robert.
A Scot as patriotic as, but less chivalrous than, Sir Walter might,
however, have given us a romance of Cumnor Place in which Mary would
have been avenged on 'her sister and her foe.' He abstained, but
wove a tale so full of conscious anachronisms that we must dismiss
it from our minds.
Amy Robsart was the only daughter of Sir John Robsart and his wife
Elizabeth, nee Scot, and widow of Roger Appleyard, a man of good old
Norfolk family. This Roger Appleyard, dying on June 8, 1528, left a
son and heir, John, aged less than two years. His widow, Elizabeth,
had the life interest in his four manors, and, as we saw, she
married Sir John Robsart, and by him became the mother of Amy, who
had also a brother on the paternal side, Arthur Robsart, whether
legitimately born or not.* Both these brothers play a part in the
sequel of the mystery. Lord Robert Dudley, son of John, Duke of
Northumberland, and grandson of the Dudley who, with Empson, was so
unpopular under Henry VII., was about seventeen or eighteen when he
married Amy Robsart--herself perhaps a year older--on June 4, 1550.
At that time his father was Earl of Warwick; the wedding is
chronicled in the diary of the child king, Edward VI.**
*Mr. Walter Rye in The Murder of Amy Robsart, Norwich and London,
1885, makes Arthur a bastard. Mr. Pettigrew, in An Inquiry into the
Particulars connected with the Death of Amy Robsart (London, 1859),
represents Arthur as legitimate.
**Mr. Rye dates the marriage in 1550. Rye, pp. 5, 36, cf. Edward
VI.'s Diary, Clarendon Society. Mr. Froude cites the date, June 4,
1549, from Burnet's Collectanea, Froude, vi. p. 422, note 2 (1898),
being misled by Old Style; Edward VI. notes the close of 1549 on
Amy, as the daughter of a rich knight, was (at least if we regard
her brother Arthur as a bastard) a considerable heiress. Robert
Dudley was a younger son. Probably the match was a family
arrangement, but Mr. Froude says 'it was a love match.' His reason
for this assertion seems to rest on a misunderstanding. In 1566-67,
six years after Amy's death, Cecil drew up a list of the merits and
demerits of Dudley (by that time Earl of Leicester) and of the
Archduke Charles, as possible husbands of Elizabeth. Among other
points is noted by Cecil, 'Likelihood to Love his Wife.' As to the
Archduke, Cecil takes a line through his father, who 'hath been
blessed with multitude of children.' As to Leicester, Cecil writes
'Nuptiae carnales a laetitia incipiunt, et in luctu terminantur'--
'Weddings of passion begin in joy and end in grief.' This is not a
reference, as Mr. Froude thought, to the marriage of Amy and Dudley,
it is merely a general maxim, applicable to a marriage between
Elizabeth and Leicester. The Queen, according to accounts from all
quarters, had a physical passion or caprice for Leicester. The
marriage, if it occurred, would be nuptiae carnales, and as such, in
Cecil's view, likely to end badly, while the Queen and the Archduke
(the alternative suitor) had never seen each other and could not be
*Froude, ut supra, note 3.
We do not know, in short, whether Dudley and Amy were in love with
each other or not. Their marriage, Cecil says, was childless.
Concerning the married life of Dudley and Amy very little is known.
When he was a prisoner in the Tower under Mary Tudor, Amy was
allowed to visit him. She lost her father, Sir John, in 1553. Two
undated letters of Amy's exist: one shows that she was trusted by
her husband in the management of his affairs (1556-57) and that both
he and she were anxious to act honourably by some poor persons to
whom money was due.* The other is to a woman's tailor, and, though
merely concerned with gowns and collars, is written in a style of
courteous friendliness.** Both letters, in orthography and
sentiment, do credit to Amy's education and character. There is
certainly nothing vague or morbid or indicative of an unbalanced
mind in these poor epistles.
*Pettigrew, 14, note 1.
**Jackson, Nineteenth Century, March 1882, A Longleat MS.
When Elizabeth came to the throne (1558) she at once made Dudley
Master of the Horse, a Privy Councillor, and a Knight of the Garter.
His office necessarily caused him to be in constant attendance on
the royal person, and the Knighthood of the Garter proves that he
stood in the highest degree of favour.
For whatever reason, whether from distaste for Court life, or
because of the confessed jealousy with which the Queen regarded the
wives of her favourites--of all men, indeed--Amy did not come to
Court. About 1558-59 she lived mainly at the country house of the
Hydes of Detchworth, not far from Abingdon. Dudley seems to have
paid several visits to the Hydes, his connections; this is proved by
entries in his household books of sums of money for card-playing
there.* It is also certain that Amy at that date, down to the end
of 1559, travelled about freely, to London and many other places;
that she had twelve horses at her service; and that, as late as
March 1560 (when resident with Dudley's comptroller, Forster, at
Cumnor Place) she was buying a velvet hat and shoes. In brief,
though she can have seen but little of her husband, she was
obviously at liberty, lived till 1560 among honourable people, her
connections, and, in things material, wanted for nothing.** Yet Amy
cannot but have been miserable by 1560. The extraordinary favour in
which Elizabeth held her lord caused the lewdest stories to spread
among all classes, from the circle of the Court to the tattle of
country folk in Essex and Devonshire.***
*Jackson, ut supra.
**For details see Canon Jackson's 'Amy Robsart,' Nineteenth Century,
vol. xi. Canon Jackson used documents in the possession of the
Marquis of Bath, at Longleat.
***Cal. Dom. Eliz. p. 157, August 13, 1560; also Hatfield Calendar.
News of this kind is certain to reach the persons concerned.
Our chief authority for the gossip about Elizabeth and Dudley is to
be found in the despatches of the Spanish ambassadors to their
master, Philip of Spain. The fortunes of Western Europe, perhaps of
the Church herself, hung on Elizabeth's marriage and on the
succession to the English throne. The ambassadors, whatever their
other failings, were undoubtedly loyal to Philip and to the Church,
and they were not men to be deceived by the gossip of every
gobemouche. The command of money gave them good intelligence, they
were fair judges of evidence, and what they told Philip was what
they regarded as well worthy of his attention. They certainly were
not deceiving Philip.
The evidence of the Spanish ambassadors, as men concerned to find
out the truth and to tell it, is therefore of the highest
importance. They are not writing mere amusing chroniques
scandaleuses of the court to which they are accredited, as
ambassadors have often done, and what they hear is sometimes so bad
that they decline to put it on paper. They are serious and wary men
of the world. Unhappily their valuable despatches, now in 'the
Castilian village of Simancas,' reach English inquirers in the most
mangled and garbled condition. Major Martin Hume, editor of the
Spanish Calendar (1892), tells us in the Introduction to the first
volume of this official publication how the land lies. Not to speak
of the partial English translation (1865) of Gonzales's partial
summary of the despatches (Madrid, 1832) we have the fruits of the
labours of Mr. Froude. He visited Simancas, consulted the original
documents, and 'had a large number of copies and extracts made.'
These extracts and transcripts Mr. Froude deposited in the British
Museum. These transcripts, compared with the portions translated in
Mr. Froude's great book, enable us to understand the causes of
certain confusions in Amy Robsart's mystery. Mr. Froude practically
aimed at giving the gist, as he conceived it, of the original papers
of the period, which he rendered with freedom, and in his
captivating style--foreign to the perplexed prolixity of the actual
writers. But, in this process, points of importance might be
omitted; and, in certain cases, words from letters of other dates
appear to have been inserted by Mr. Froude, to clear up the
situation. The result is not always satisfactory.
Next, from 1886 onwards, the Spanish Government published five
volumes of the correspondence of Philip with his ambassadors at the
English Court.* These papers Major Hume was to condense and edit
for our official publication, the Spanish State Papers, in the
series of the Master of the Rolls. But Major Hume found the papers
in the Spanish official publication in a deplorably unedited state.
Copyists and compositors 'seem to have had a free hand.' Major Hume
therefore compared the printed Spanish texts, where he could, with
Mr. Froude's transcripts of the same documents in the Museum, and
the most important letter in this dark affair, in our Spanish
Calendar, follows incorrectly Mr. Froude's transcript, NOT the
original document, which is not printed in 'Documentos Ineditos.'**
Thus, Major Hume's translation differs from Mr. Froude's
translation, which, again, differs from Mr. Gairdner's translation
of the original text as published by the Baron Kervyn de
*Documentos Ineditos para la Historia de Espana. Ginesta, Madrid,
**Spanish Calendar, vol. i. p. iv. Mr. Gairdner says, 'Major Hume
in preparing his first volume, he informs me, took transcripts from
Simancas of all the direct English correspondence,' but for letters
between England and Flanders used Mr. Froude's transcripts.
Gairdner, English Historical Review, January 1898, note 1.
***Relations Politiques des Pays-Bas et de l'Anqleterre sous le
Regne de Philippe II. vol. ii. pp. 529-533. Brussels, 1883.
The amateur of truth, being now fully apprised of the 'hazards'
which add variety to the links of history, turns to the Spanish
Calendar for the reports of the ambassadors. He reaches April 18,
1559, when de Feria says: 'Lord Robert has come so much into favour
that he does whatever he likes with affairs, and it is even said
that her Majesty visits him in his chamber day and night. People
talk of this so freely that they go so far as to say that his wife
has a malady in one of her breasts and the Queen is only waiting for
her to die to marry Lord Robert.'
De Feria therefore suggests that Philip might come to terms with
Lord Robert. Again, on April 29, 1559, de Feria writes (according
to the Calendar): 'Sometimes she' (Elizabeth) 'appears to want to
marry him' (Archduke Ferdinand) 'and speaks like a woman who will
only accept a great prince, and then they say she is in love with
Lord Robert, and never lets him leave her.' De Feria has reason to
believe that 'she will never bear children'*
Sp. Cal. i. pp. 57, 58, 63; Doc. Ineditos, 87, 171, 180.
Mr. Froude combines these two passages in one quotation, putting the
second part (of April 29) first, thus: 'They tell me that she is
enamoured of my Lord Robert Dudley, and will never let him leave her
side. HE OFFERS ME HIS SERVICES IN BEHALF OF THE ARCH DUKE, BUT I
DOUBT WHETHER IT WILL BE WELL TO USE THEM. He is in such favour
that people say she visits him in his chamber day and night. Nay,
it is even reported that his wife has a cancer on her breast, and
that the Queen waits only till she die to marry him.'*
*Froude, vi. p. 199. De Feria to Philip, April 28 and April 29.
MS. Simancas, cf. Documentos Ineditos, pp. 87, 171, 180, ut supra.
The sentence printed in capitals cannot be found by me in either of
de Feria's letters quoted by Mr. Froude, but the sense of it occurs
in a letter written at another date. Mr. Froude has placed, in his
quotation, first a sentence of the letter of April 29, then a
sentence not in either letter (as far as the Calendar and printed
Spanish documents show), then sentences from the letter of April 18.
He goes on to remark that the marriage of Amy and Dudley 'was a love
match of a doubtful kind,' about which we have, as has been shown,
no information whatever. Such are the pitfalls which strew the path
One thing is plain, a year and a half before her death Amy was
regarded as a person who would be 'better dead,' and Elizabeth was
said to love Dudley, on whom she showered honours and gifts.
De Feria, in the summer of 1559, was succeeded as ambassador by de
Quadra, bishop of Aquila. Dudley and his sister, Lady Sidney
(mother of Sir Philip Sidney), now seemed to favour Spanish
projects, but (November 13) de Quadra writes: 'I heard from a
certain person who is accustomed to give veracious news that Lord
Robert has sent to poison his wife. Certainly all the Queen has
done with us and with the Swede, and will do with the rest in the
matter of her marriage, is only keeping Lord Robert's enemies and
the country engaged with words until this wicked deed of killing his
wife is consummated.' The enemies of Dudley included the Duke of
Norfolk, and most of the nation. There was talk of a plot to
destroy both Dudley and the Queen. 'The Duke and the rest of them
cannot put up with Lord Robert's being king.'* Further, and later,
on January 16, 1560 (Amy being now probably at Cumnor), de Quadra
writes to de Feria that Baron Preyner, a German diplomatist, will
tell him what he knows of the poison for the wife of Milort Robert
(Dudley), 'an important story and necessary to be known.'** Thus
between November 1559 and January 1560, the talk is that Amy shall
be poisoned, and this tale runs round the Courts of Europe.
*Sp. Cal. i. pp. 112-114.
**Relations Politiques, Lettenhove, ii. p. 187.
Mr. Froude gives, what the Calendar does not, a letter of de Quadra
to de Feria and the Bishop of Arras (January 15, 1560). 'In Lord
Robert it is easy to recognise the king that is to be. . . There is
not a man who does not cry out on him and her with indignation.'*
'She will marry none but the favoured Robert.'** On March 7, 1560,
de Quadra tells de Feria: 'Not a man in this country but cries out
that this fellow' (Dudley) 'is ruining the country with his
vanity.'*** 'Is ruining the country AND THE QUEEN,' is in the
*Froude, vi. p. 311.
**Relations Politiques, ii. 87, 183, 184.
***Sp. Cal. i. p. 133. Major Hume translates the text of Mr.
Froude's transcript in the British Museum. It is a mere fragment;
in 1883 the whole despatch was printed by Baron Kervyn de
On March 28 (Calendar), on March 27 (Froude) de Quadra wrote to
Philip--(Calendar)--,'I have understood Lord Robert told somebody,
who has not kept silence, that if he live another year he will be in
a very different position from now. He is laying in a good stock of
arms, and is assuming every day a more masterful part in affairs.
They say that he thinks of divorcing his wife.'* So the Calendar.
Mr. Froude condenses his Spanish author THUS:** 'Lord Robert says
that if he lives a year he will be in another position from that
which he at present holds. Every day he presumes more and more, and
it is now said that he means to divorce his wife.' From the
evidence of the Spanish ambassadors, it is clear that an insurance
office would only have accepted Amy Robsart's life, however
excellent her health, at a very high premium. Her situation was
much like that of Darnley in the winter of 1566-67, when 'every one
in Scotland who had the smallest judgment' knew that 'he could not
long continue,' that his doom was dight.
*Sp. Cal. i, p. 141.
**Froude, vi. p. 340.
Meanwhile, through the winter, spring, and early summer of 1560,
diplomatists and politicians were more concerned about the war of
the Congregation against Mary of Guise in Scotland, with the English
alliance with the Scottish Protestant rebels, with the siege of
Leith, and with Cecil's negotiations resulting in the treaty of
Edinburgh, than even with Elizabeth's marriage, and her dalliance
All this time, Amy was living at Cumnor Place, about three miles
from Oxford. Precisely at what date she took up her abode there is
not certain, probably about the time when de Quadra heard that Lord
Robert had sent to poison his wife, the November of 1559. Others
say in March 1560. The house was rented from a Dr. Owen by Anthony
Forster. This gentleman was of an old and good family, well known
since the time of Edward I.; his wife also, Ann Williams, daughter
of Reginald Williams of Burghfield, Berks, was a lady of excellent
social position. Forster himself had estates in several counties,
and obtained many grants of land after Amy's death. He died in
1572, leaving a very equitable distribution of his properties;
Cumnor he bought from Dr. Owen soon after the death of Amy. In his
bequests he did not forget the Master, Fellows, and Scholars of
Balliol.* There is nothing suspicious about Forster, who was
treasurer or comptroller of Leicester's household expenses: in
writing, Leicester signs himself 'your loving Master.' At Cumnor
Place also lived Mrs. Owen, wife of Dr. Owen, the owner of the
house, and physician to the Queen. There was, too, a Mrs.
Oddingsell, of respectable family, one of the Hydes of Denchworth.
That any or all of these persons should be concerned in abetting or
shielding a murder seems in the highest degree improbable. Cumnor
Place was in no respect like Kirk o' Field, as regards the character
of its inhabitants. It was, however, a lonely house, and, on the
day of Amy's death, her own servants (apparently by her own desire)
were absent. And Amy, like Darnley, was found dead on a Sunday
night, no man to this day knowing the actual cause of death in
*Pettigrew, pp. 19-22.
Here it may be well to consider the version of the tragedy as
printed, twenty-four years after the event, by the deadly enemies of
Lord Robert, now Earl of Leicester. This is the version which, many
years later, aided by local tradition, was used in Ashmole's account
in his 'History and Antiquities of Berkshire,' while Sir Walter
employed Ashmole's account as the basis of his romance. We find the
PRINTED copy of the book usually known as 'Leicester's Commonwealth'
dated 1584, but probably it had been earlier circulated in
manuscript copies, of which several exist.* It purports to be a
letter written by a M.A. of Cambridge to a friend in London,
containing 'some talk passed of late' about Leicester. Doubtless it
DOES represent the talk against Leicester that had been passing, at
home and abroad, ever since 1560. Such talk, after twenty years,
could not be accurate. The point of the writer is that Leicester is
lucky in the deaths of inconvenient people. Thus, when he was 'in
full hope to marry' the Queen 'he did but send his wife aside, to
the house of his servant, Forster of Cumnor, by Oxford, where
shortly after she had the chance to fall from a pair of stairs, and
so to break her neck, but yet without hurting of her hood, that
stood upon her head.' Except for the hood, of which we know
nothing, all this is correct. In the next sentence we read: 'But
Sir Richard Verney, who, by commandment, remained with her that day
alone, with one man only, and had sent away perforce all her
servants from her, to a market two miles off, he, I say, with his
man, can tell how she died.' The man was privily killed in prison,
where he lay for another offence, because he 'offered to publish'
the fact; and Verney, about the same time, died in London, after
raving about devils 'to a gentleman of worship of mine
acquaintance.' 'The wife also of Bald Buttler, kinsman to my Lord,
gave out the whole fact a little before her death.'
*Pettigrew, pp. 9, 10.
Verney, and the man, are never mentioned in contemporary papers:
two Mrs. Buttelars were mourners at Amy's funeral. Verney is
obscure: Canon Jackson argues that he was of the Warwickshire
Verneys; Mr. Rye holds that he was of the Bucks and Herts Verneys,
connections of the Dudleys. But, finding a Richard Verney made
sheriff of Warwick and Leicester in 1562, Mr. Rye absurdly says:
'The former county being that in which the murder was committed,' he
'was placed in the position to suppress any unpleasant rumours.'*
Amy died, of course, in Berkshire, not in Warwickshire. A Richard
Verney, not the Warwickshire Sir Richard, according to Mr. Rye, on
July 30, 1572, became Marshal of the Marshalsea, 'when John
Appleyard, Amy's half-brother, was turned out.' This Verney died
before November 15, 1575.
*Rye, p. 55.
Of Appleyard we shall hear plenty: Leicester had favoured him (he
was Leicester's brother-in-law), and he turned against his patron on
the matter of Amy's death. Probably the Richard Verney who died in
1575 was the Verney aimed at in 'Leicester's Commonwealth.' He was a
kind of retainer of Dudley, otherwise he would not have been
selected by the author of the libel. But we know nothing to prove
that he was at Cumnor on September 8, 1560.
The most remarkable point in the libel avers that Leicester's first
idea was to poison Amy. This had been asserted by de Quadra as
early as November 1559. The libel avers that the conspirators,
'seeing the good lady sad and heavy,' asked Dr. Bayly, of Oxford,
for a potion, which they 'would fetch from Oxford upon his
prescription, meaning to have added also somewhat of their own for
her comfort.' Bayly was a Fellow of New College; in 1558 was one of
the proctors; in 1561 was Queen's Professor of Physic, and was a
highly reputable man.* He died in 1592. Thus Bayly, if he chose,
could have contradicted the printed libel of 1584, which avers that
he refused to prescribe for Amy, 'misdoubting (as he after reported)
lest if they poisoned her under the name of his potion, he might
after have been hanged for a cover of their sin.'
*Pettigrew, p. 17, citing Wood's Ath. Ox. i. P. 586 (Bliss).
Nothing was more natural and innocent than that Bayly should be
asked to prescribe, if Amy was ill. Nothing could be more audacious
than to print this tale about him, while he lived to contradict it.
But it seems far from improbable that Bayly did, for the reasons
given, refuse to prescribe for Amy, seeing (as the libel says) 'the
small need which the good lady had of physic.'
FOR THIS VERY REFUSAL BY BAYLY WOULD ACCOUNT FOR THE INFORMATION
GIVEN BY CECIL TO DE QUADRA ON THE DAY OF AMY'S DEATH. AND IT IS
NOT EASY TO EXPLAIN THE SOURCE OF CECIL'S INFORMATION IN ANY OTHER
We now reach the crucial point at which historical blunders and
confusions have been most maddeningly prevalent. Mr. Pettigrew,
writing in 1859, had no knowledge of Cecil's corroboration of the
story of the libel--Amy in no need of physic, and the intention to
poison her. Mr. Froude, however, published in his History a
somewhat erroneous version of de Quadra's letter about Cecil's
revelations, and Mr. Rye (1885) accused Dudley on the basis of Mr.
*Froude, vi. pp. 417-421.
Mr. Froude, then, presents a letter from de Quadra of September 11,
1560, to the Duchess of Parma, governing the Netherlands from
Brussels, 'this being the nearest point from which he could receive
instructions. The despatches were then forwarded to Philip.' He
dates de Quadra's letter at the top, 'London, September 1l.' The
real date is, at the foot of the last page, 'Windsor, September 11.'
Omitting the first portion of the letter, except the first sentence
(which says that fresh and important events have occurred since the
writer's last letter), Mr. Froude makes de Quadra write: 'On the
third of THIS month' (September 1560) 'the Queen spoke to me about
her marriage with the Arch Duke. She said she had made up her mind
to marry and that the Arch Duke was to be the man. She has just now
told me drily that she does not intend to marry, and that it cannot
When, we ask, is 'just now'?
Mr. Froude goes on: 'After my conversation with the Queen, I met
the Secretary, Cecil, whom I knew to be in disgrace. Lord Robert, I
was aware, was endeavouring to deprive him of his place.' Briefly,
Cecil said to de Quadra that he thought of retiring, that ruin was
coming on the Queen 'through her intimacy with Lord Robert. The
Lord Robert had made himself master of the business of the State and
of the person of the Queen, to the extreme injury of the realm, with
the intention of marrying her, and she herself was shutting herself
up in the palace to the peril of her health and life.' Cecil begged
de Quadra to remonstrate with the Queen. After speaking of her
finances, Cecil went on, in Mr. Froude's version: 'Last of all he
said they were thinking of destroying Lord Robert's wife. THEY HAD
GIVEN OUT THAT SHE WAS ILL; BUT SHE WAS NOT ILL AT ALL; SHE WAS VERY
WELL, AND WAS TAKING CARE NOT TO BE POISONED . . . .' [The capitals
This is the very state of things reported in 'Leicester's
Commonwealth.' Cecil may easily have known the circumstances, if,
as stated in that libel, Bayly had been consulted, had found Amy 'in
no need of physic,' and had refused to prescribe. Bayly would blab,
and Cecil had spies everywhere to carry the report: the extent and
precision of his secret service are well known. Cecil added some
pious remarks. God would not permit the crime. Mr. Froude goes on:
'The day after this conversation, the Queen on her return from
hunting told me that Lord Robert's wife was dead or nearly so, and
begged me to say nothing about it.' After some political
speculations, the letter, in Froude, ends, 'Since this was written
the death of Lord Robert's wife has been given out publicly. The
Queen said in Italian "Que si ha rotto il collo" ["that she has
broken her neck"]. It appears that she fell down a staircase.'
Mr. Froude, after disposing of the ideas that de Quadra lied, or
that Cecil spoke 'in mere practice or diplomatic trickery,' remarks:
'Certain it is that on September 8, at the time, or within a day of
the time, when Cecil told the Spanish ambassador that there was a
plot to kill her, Anne Dudley [Anne or Amy] was found dead at the
foot of a staircase.' This must be true, for the Queen told de
Quadra, PRIVATELY, 'on the day after' Cecil unbosomed himself. The
fatal news, we know, reached Windsor on September 9, we do not know
at what hour. The Queen told de Quadra probably on September 9. If
the news arrived late (and Dudley's first letter on the subject is
'IN THE EVENING' of September 9), Elizabeth may have told de Quadra
on the morning of September 10.
The inferences were drawn (by myself and others) that Elizabeth had
told de Quadra, on September 3, 'the third of THIS month' (as Mr.
Froude, by a slip of the pen, translates 'a tres del passado'), that
she would marry the Arch Duke; that Cecil spoke to de Quadra on the
same day, and that 'the day after this conversation' (September 4)
the Queen told de Quadra that Amy 'was dead or nearly so.' The
presumption would be that the Queen spoke of Amy's death FOUR DAYS
BEFORE IT OCCURRED, and a very awkward position, in that case, would
be the Queen's. Guilty foreknowledge would be attributed to her.
This is like the real situation if Dr. Ernst Bekker is right.* Dr.
Bekker, knowing from the portion of de Quadra's letter omitted by
Mr. Froude, that he reached the Court at Windsor on September 6,
1560, supposes that he had interviews with Elizabeth and Cecil on
that day, and that Elizabeth, prematurely, announced to him Amy's
death, next day, on September 7. But Mr. Gairdner has proved that
this scheme of dates is highly improbable.
*Elizabeth and Leicester, Giesener Studien auf dem Gebiet der
Geschichte, v p.48. Giesen, 1890.
In the 'English Historical Review,'* Mr. Gairdner, examining the
question, used Mr. Froude's transcripts in the British Museum, and
made some slight corrections in his translation, but omitted to note
the crucial error of the 'third of THIS month ' for 'the third of
LAST month.' This was in 1886. Mr. Gairdner's arguments as to
dates were unconvincing, in this his first article. But in 1892 the
letter of de Quadra was retranslated from Mr. Froude's transcript,
in the Spanish Calendar (i. pp. 174-176). The translation was again
erroneous, 'THE QUEEN HAD PROMISED ME AN ANSWER ABOUT THE SPANISH
MARRIAGE BY THE THIRD INSTANT' (September 3), 'but now she coolly
tells me she cannot make up her mind, and will not marry.' This is
all unlike Mr. Froude's 'On the third of this month the Queen spoke
to me about her marriage WITH THE ARCH DUKE. SHE SAID THAT SHE HAD
MADE UP HER MIND TO MARRY AND THAT THE ARCH DUKE WAS TO BE THE MAN.'
There is, in fact, in Mr. Froude's copy of the original Spanish, not
a word about the Arch Duke, nor is there in Baron Lettenhove's text.
The remark has crept in from an earlier letter of de Quadra, of
August 4, 1560.** But neither is there anything about 'promising an
answer by the third instant,' as in the Calendar; and there is
nothing at all about 'the third instant,' or (as in Mr. Froude) 'the
third of this month.'
*No. 2, April 1886, pp. 235-259.
**Spanish Calendar, i. pp. 171-174.
The Queen's character has thus suffered, and the whole controversy
has been embroiled. In 1883, three years before the appearance of
Mr. Gairdner's article of 1886, nine years before the Calendar
appeared, the correct version of de Quadra's letter of September 11,
1560, had been published by Baron Kervyn de Lettenhove in his
'Relations Politiques des Pays-Bas et de l'Angleterre sous le Regne
de Philippe II' (vol. ii. pp. 529, 533). In 1897, Mr. Gairdner's
attention was called to the state of affairs by the article, already
cited, of Dr. Ernst Bekker. Mr. Gairdner then translated the
Belgian printed copy of de Quadra's letter, with comments.*
*English Historical Review, January 1898, pp. 83-90.
Matters now became clear. Mr. Froude's transcript and translation
had omitted all the first long paragraph of the letter, which proved
that de Quadra went to Windsor, to the Court, on September 6. Next,
the passage about 'the third of THIS month' really runs 'I showed
her much dissatisfaction about her marriage, in [on?] which on the
third of LAST month [August] she had told me she was already
resolved and that she assuredly meant to marry. Now she has coolly
told me that she cannot make up her mind, and that she does not
intend to marry.' (Mr. Gairdner's translation, 1898.) So the blot
on the Queen's scutcheon as to her foreknowledge and too previous
announcement of Amy's death disappears. But how did Mr. Gairdner,
in 1886, using Mr. Froude's transcript of the original Spanish, fail
to see that it contained no Arch Duke, and no 'third of the month'?
Mr. Froude's transcript of the original Spanish, but not his
translation thereof, was correct.*
*As to Verney, Appleyard, and Foster (see pages commencing:-- 'Here
it may be well to consider'), Cecil, in April 1566, names Foster and
Appleyard, but not Verney, among the 'particular friends' whom
Leicester, if he marries the Queen, 'will study to enhanss to welth,
to Offices, and Lands.' Bartlett, Cumnor Place, p. 73, London 1850.
2. AMY'S DEATH AND WHAT FOLLOWED
So far the case against Dudley, or servants of Dudley, has looked
very black. There are the scandals, too dark for ambassadors to
write, but mouthed aloud among the common people, about Dudley and
the Queen. There is de Quadra's talk of a purpose to poison Amy, in
November-January, 1559-1560. There is the explicit statement of
Cecil, as to the intended poisoning (probably derived from Dr.
Bayly), and as to Dudley's 'possession of the Queen's person,' the
result of his own observation. There is the coincidence of Amy's
violent death with Cecil's words to de Quadra (September 8 or 9,
But here the case takes a new turn. Documents appear, letters from
and to Dudley at the time of the event, which are totally
inconsistent with guilt on his part. These documents (in the Pepys
MSS. at Cambridge) are COPIES of letters between Dudley and Thomas
Blount, a gentleman of good family, whom he addresses as 'Cousin.'
Blount, long after, in May 1567, was examined on the affair before
the Privy Council, and Mr. Froude very plausibly suggests that
Blount produced the copies in the course of the inquiry. But why
COPIES? We can only say that the originals may also have been
shown, and the copies made for the convenience of the members of the
Council. It is really incredible that the letters were forged,
after date, to prove Dudley's innocence.
In the usual blundering way, Mr. Pettigrew dates one letter of
Dudley's 'September 27.' If that date were right, it would suggest
that TWO coroner's inquests were held, one after Amy's burial (on
September 22), but Mr. Gairdner says that the real date of the
letter is September 12.* So the date is given by Bartlett, in his
'History of Cumnor Place,' and by Adlard (1870), following Bartlett,
and Craik (1848).
*English Historical Review, No. 2, p. 243, note.
The first letter, from Dudley, at Windsor 'this 9th day of September
in the evening,' proves that Blount, early on September 9, the day
after Amy's death, went from Leicester, at Windsor, towards
Berkshire. He had not long gone when Bowes (a retainer of
Leicester, of Forster, or of Amy) brought to Dudley the fatal news.
'By him I do understand that my wife is dead and, as he saith, by a
fall from a pair of stairs. Little other understanding can I have
from him.' Throughout the correspondence Leicester does not utter
one word of sorrow for Amy, as, had the letters been written for
exhibition, he would almost certainly have done. The fear of his
own danger and disgrace alone inspires him, and he takes every
measure to secure a full, free, and minute examination. 'Have no
respect to any living person.' A coroner's jury is to be called,
the body is to be examined; Appleyard and others of Amy's kin have
already been sent for to go to Cumnor.
From Cumnor, Blount replied on September 11. He only knew that 'my
lady is dead, and, as it seemeth, with a fall, but yet how, or which
way, I cannot learn.' Not even at Cumnor could Blount discover the
manner of the accident. On the night of the ninth he had lain at
Abingdon, the landlord of the inn could tell him no more than Dudley
already knew. Amy's servants had been at 'the fair' at Abingdon:
she herself was said to have insisted on their going thither very
early in the day; among them Bowes went, as he told Blount, who met
him on the road, as he rode to see Dudley. He said that Amy 'was
very angry' with any who stayed, and with Mrs. Oddingsell, who
refused to go. Pinto (probably Amy's maid), 'who doth love her
dearly,' confirmed Bowes. She believed the death to be 'a very
accident.' She had heard Amy 'divers times pray to God to deliver
her from desperation,' but entirely disbelieved in suicide, which no
one would attempt, perhaps, by falling down two flights of stairs.
Before Blount arrived at Cumnor on September 10, the coroner's jury
had been chosen, sensible men, but some of them hostile to Forster.
By September 12 (NOT 27) Dudley had retired from Court and was at
Kew, but had received Blount's letter. He bade Blount tell the jury
to inquire faithfully and find an honest verdict. On the thirteenth
Blount again wrote from Cumnor, meaning to join Dudley next day: 'I
I have ALMOST NOTHING that can make me so much [as?] to think that
any man can be the doer of it. . . the circumstances and the many
things which I can learn doth persuade me that only misfortune hath
done it and nothing else.' There is another letter by Dudley from
Windsor, without date. He has had a reassuring letter from Smythe,
foreman of the jury. He wishes them to examine 'as long as they
lawfully may,' and that a fresh jury should try the case again. He
wishes Sir Richard Blount to help. Appleyard and Arthur Robsart
have been present. He means to have no more dealings with the jury;
his only 'dealings' seem to have been his repeated requests that
they would be diligent and honest. 'I am right glad they be all
strangers to me.'*
*Pettigrew, pp. 28-32.
These letters are wholly inconsistent with guilt, in the faintest
degree, on the side of Dudley. But people were not satisfied.
There is a letter to Cecil, of September 17, from Lever, a minister
at Coventry, saying that the country was full of mutterings and
dangerous suspicions, and that there must be earnest searching and
trying of the truth.*
*Burghley Papers, Haynes, 362.
Suspicion was inevitable, but what could a jury do, more than,
according to Blount, the jury had done? Yet there is dense
obscurity as to the finding of the jury. We have seen that
Appleyard, Amy's half-brother, was at Cumnor during the inquest.
Yet, in 1567, he did not know, or pretended not to know, what the
verdict had been. 'Leicester's Commonwealth' says 'she was found
murdered (as all men said) by the crowner's inquest,' as if the
verdict was not published, but was a mere matter of rumour--'as all
men said.' Appleyard's behaviour need not detain us long, as he was
such a shuffling knave that his statements, on either side, were
just what he found expedient in varying circumstances. Dudley,
after Amy's death, obtained for him various profitable billets; in
1564 he was made keeper of the Marshalsea, had a commission under
the Great Seal to seize concealed prizes at sea without legal
proceedings, had the Portership of Berwick, and the Sheriffship of
Norfolk and Suffolk, while Leicester stood guarantor of a debt of
his for 400 pounds. These facts he admitted before the Privy
Council in 1567.* But Leicester might naturally do what he could
for his dead wife's brother: we cannot argue that the jobs done for
Appleyard were hush-money, enormous as these jobs were. Yet in this
light Appleyard chose to consider them. He seems to have thought
that Leicester did not treat him well enough, and wanted to get rid
of him in Ireland or France, and he began, about 1566-67, to blab of
what he could say an' he would. He 'let fall words of anger, and
said that for Dudley's sake he had covered the murder of his
*Rye, pp. 60-62. Hatfield MSS., Calendar, i. 345-352, May 1567.
Mr. Froude has here misconceived the situation, as Mr. Gairdner
shows. Mr. Froude's words are 'being examined by Cecil, he admitted
the investigation at Cumnor had after all been inadequately
conducted.'* In fact, Appleyard admitted that he had SAID this, and
much more, in private talk among his associates. Before the Council
he subsequently withdrew what he admitted having said in private
talk. It does not signify what he said, or what he withdrew, but
Mr. Froude unluckily did not observe a document which proved that
Appleyard finally ate his words, and he concludes that 'although
Dudley was innocent of a direct association with the crime, the
unhappy lady was sacrificed to his ambition. Dudley himself. . .
used private means, notwithstanding his affectation of sincerity, to
prevent the search from being pressed inconveniently far'--that is,
'if Appleyard spoke the truth.' But Appleyard denied that he had
spoken the truth, a fact overlooked by Mr. Froude.**
*Froude, vi. p. 430.
**Ibid. vi. pp 430, 431.
The truth stood thus: in 1566-67 there was, or had been, some idea
that Leicester might, after all, marry the Queen. Appleyard told
Thomas Blount that he was being offered large sums by great persons
to reopen the Cumnor affair. Blount was examined by the Council,
and gave to Leicester a written account of what he told them. One
Huggon, Appleyard's 'brother,' had informed Leicester that courtiers
were practising on Appleyard, 'to search the manner of his sister's
death.' Leicester sent Blount to examine Appleyard as to who the
courtiers were. Appleyard was evasive, but at last told Blount a
long tale of mysterious attempts to seduce him into stirring up the
old story. He promised to meet Leicester, but did not: his
brother, Huggon, named Norfolk, Sussex, and others as the
'practisers.' Later, by Leicester's command, Blount brought
Appleyard to him at Greenwich. What speeches passed Blount did not
know, but Leicester was very angry, and bade Appleyard begone, 'with
great words of defiance.' It is clear that, with or without
grounds, Appleyard was trying to blackmail Leicester.
Before the Council (May 1567) Appleyard confessed that he had said
to people that he had often moved the Earl to let him pursue the
murderers of Amy, 'showing certain circumstances which led him to
think surely that she was murdered.' He had said that Leicester, on
the other hand, cited the verdict of the jury, but he himself
declared that the jury, in fact, 'had not as yet given up their
verdict.' After these confessions Appleyard lay in the Fleet
prison, destitute, and scarce able to buy a meal. On May 30, 1567,
he wrote an abject letter to the Council. He had been offered every
opportunity of accusing those whom he suspected, and he asked for 'a
copy of the verdict presented by the jury, whereby I may see what
the jury have found,' after which he would take counsel's advice.
He got a copy of the verdict (?) (would that we had the copy!) and,
naturally, as he was starving, professed himself amply satisfied by
'proofs testified under the oaths of fifteen persons,' that Amy's
death was accidental. 'I have not money left to find me two meals.'
In such a posture, Appleyard would, of course, say anything to get
himself out of prison. Two days later he confessed that for three
years he had been, in fact, trying to blackmail Leicester on several
counts, Amy's murder and two political charges.*
*See the full reports, Gairdner, English Historical Review, April
1886, 249-259, and Hatfield Calendar for the date May 1567.
The man was a rogue, however we take him, and the sole tangible fact
is that a report of the evidence given at the inquest did exist, and
that the verdict may have been 'Accidental Death.' We do not know
but that an open verdict was given. Appleyard professes to have
been convinced by the evidence, not by the verdict.
When 'Leicester's Apology' appeared (1584-85) Sir Philip Sidney,
Leicester's nephew, wrote a reply. It was easy for him to answer
the libeller's 'she was found murdered (as all men suppose) by the
crowner's inquest'--by producing the actual verdict of the jury. He
did not; he merely vapoured, and challenged the libeller to the
duel.* Appleyard's statement among his intimates, that no verdict
had yet been given, seems to point to an open verdict.
*Sidney's reply is given in Adlard's Amye Robsart and the Earl of
Leicester. London, 1870.
The subject is alluded to by Elizabeth herself, who puts the final
touch of darkness on the mystery. Just as Archbishop Beaton, Mary's
ambassador in Paris, vainly adjured her to pursue the inquiry into
Darnley's murder, being urged by the talk in France, so Throgmorton,
Elizabeth's ambassador to the French Court, was heartbroken by what
he heard. Clearly no satisfactory verdict ever reached him. He
finally sent Jones, his secretary, with a verbal message to
Elizabeth. Jones boldly put the question of the Cumnor affair. She
said that 'the matter had been tried in the country, AND FOUND TO
THE CONTRARY OF THAT WAS REPORTED.'
What 'was reported'? Clearly that Leicester and retainers of his
had been the murderers of Amy. For the Queen went on, 'Lord Robert
was in the Court, AND NONE OF HIS AT THE ATTEMPT AT HIS WIFE'S
HOUSE.' So Verney was not there. So Jones wrote to Throgmorton on
November 30, 1560.* We shall return to Throgmorton.
*Hardwicke Papers, i. 165.
If Jones correctly reported Elizabeth's words, there had been an
'attempt at' Cumnor Place, of which we hear nothing from any other
source. How black is the obscurity through which Blount, at Cumnor,
two days after Amy's death, could discern--nothing! 'A fall, yet
how, or which way, I cannot learn.' By September 17, nine days
after the death, Lever, at Coventry, an easy day's ride from Cumnor,
knew nothing (as we saw) of a verdict, or, at least, of a
satisfactory verdict. It is true that the Earl of Huntingdon, at
Leicester, only heard of Amy's death on September 17, nine days
after date.* Given 'an attempt,' Amy might perhaps break her neck
down a spiral staircase, when running away in terror. A cord
stretched across the top step would have done all that was needed.
*Nineteenth Century, vol. ii. p. 431. Huntingdon to Leicester,
Longleat MSS. I repose on Canon Jackson's date of the manuscript
We next find confusion worse confounded, by our previous deliverer
from error, Baron Kervyn Lettenhove! What happened at Court
immediately after Amy's death? The Baron says: 'A fragment of a
despatch of de la Quadra, of the same period, reports Dudley to have
said that his marriage had been celebrated in presence of his
brother, and of two of the Queen's ladies.' For this, according to
the Baron, Mr. Froude cites a letter of the Bishop of Aquila (de
Quadra) of September 11.* Mr. Froude does nothing of the sort! He
does cite 'an abstract of de Quadra's letters, MS. Simancas,'
without any date at all. 'The design of Cecil and of those heretics
to convey the kingdom to the Earl of Huntingdon is most certain, for
at last Cecil has yielded to Lord Robert, who, he says, has married
the Queen in presence of his brother and two ladies of her
bedchamber.' So Mr. Gairdner translates from Mr. Froude's
transcript, and he gives the date (November 20) which Mr. Froude
does not give. Major Hume translates, 'who, THEY say, was
married.'** O History! According to Baron Kervyn de Lettenhove,
DUDLEY says he has married the Queen; according to Mr. Gairdner,
CECIL says so; according to Major Hume, 'they' say so!***
*Relations Politiques des Pays-Bas, etc., xlii., note 4.
**Span. Cal. i. p. 178.
***The Spanish of this perplexing sentence is given by Froude, vi.
p. 433, note 1. 'Cecil se ha rendido a Milord Roberto el qual dice
que se hay casado con la Reyna. . . .'
The point is of crucial importance to Mrs. Gallup and the believers
in the cipher wherein Bacon maintains that he is the legal son of a
wedding between Dudley and the Queen. Was there such a marriage or
even betrothal? Froude cautiously says that this was averted
'SEEMINGLY on Lord Robert's authority;' the Baron says that Lord
Robert makes the assertion; Mr. Gairdner says that Cecil is the
authority, and Major Hume declares that it is a mere on-dit--'who,
they say.' It is heart-breaking.*
*For Mr. Gairdner, English Historical Review, No. 2, p. 246.
To deepen the darkness and distress, the official, printed, Spanish
Documentos Ineditos do not give this abstract of November 20 at all.
Major Hume translates it in full, from Mr. Froude's transcript.
Again, Mr. Froude inserts his undated quotation, really of November
20, before he comes to tell of Amy Robsart's funeral (September 22,
1560), and the Baron, as we saw, implies that Mr. Froude dates it
September 11, the day on which the Queen publicly announced Amy's
We now have an undated letter, endorsed by Cecil 'Sept. 1560,'
wherein Dudley, not at Court, and in tribulation, implores Cecil's
advice and aid. 'I am sorry so sudden a chance should breed me so
great a change.' He may have written from Kew, where Elizabeth had
given him a house, and where he was on September 12 (not 27). On
October 13 (Froude), or 14 ('Documentos Ineditos,' 88, p. 310), or
15 (Spanish Calendar, i. p. 176)--for dates are strange things--de
Quadra wrote a letter of which there is only an abstract at
Simancas. This abstract we quote: 'The contents of the letter of
Bishop Quadra to his Majesty written on the 15th' (though headed the
14th) 'of October, and received on the 16th of November, 1560. It
relates the way in which the wife of Lord Robert came to her death,
the respect (reverencia) paid him immediately by the members of the
Council and others, and the dissimulation of the Queen. That he had
heard that they were engaged in an affair of great importance for
the confirmation of their heresies, and wished to make the Earl of
Huntingdon king, should the Queen die without children, and that
Cecil had told him that the heritage was his as a descendant of the
House of York. . . . That Cecil had told him that the Queen was
resolved not to marry Lord Robert, as he had learned from herself;
it seemed that the Arch Duke might be proposed.' In mid-October,
then, Elizabeth was apparently disinclined to wed the so recently
widowed Lord Robert, though, shortly after Amy's death, the Privy
Council began to court Dudley as future king.
Mr. Froude writes--still before he comes to September 22--'the
Bishop of Aquila reported that there were anxious meetings of the
Council, the courtiers paid a partial homage to Dudley.'* This
appears to be a refraction from the abstract of the letter of
October 13 or 14: 'he relates the manner in which the wife of Lord
Robert came to her death, the respect (reverencia) paid to him
immediately by members of the Council and others.'
*Froude, vi. p. 432.
Next we come, in Mr. Froude, to Amy's funeral (September 22), and to
Elizabeth's resolve not to marry Leicester (October 13, 14, 15?),
and to Throgmorton's interference in October-November.
Throgmorton's wails over the Queen's danger and dishonour were
addressed to Cecil and the Marquis of Northampton, from Poissy, on
October 10, when he also condoled with Dudley on the death of his
wife! 'Thanks him for his present of a nag!'* On the same date,
October 10, Harry Killigrew, from London, wrote to answer
Throgmorton's inquiries about Amy's death. Certainly Throgmorton
had heard of Amy's death before October 10: he might have heard by
September 16. What he heard comforted him not. By October 10 he
should have had news of a satisfactory verdict. But Killigrew
merely said 'she brake her neck. . . only by the hand of God, to my
knowledge.'** On October 17, Killigrew writes to Throgmorton
'rumours. . . have been very rife, BUT THE QUEEN SAYS SHE WILL MAKE
THEM FALSE. . . . Leaves to his judgment what he will not write.
Has therefore sent by Jones and Summers' (verbally) 'what account he
wished him to make of my Lord R.' (Dudley).
*For. Cal. Eliz., 1560, pp. 347-349.
**Ibid., 1560, p. 350.
Then (October 28) Throgmorton tells Cecil plainly that, till he
knows what Cecil thinks, he sees no reason to advise the Queen in
the matter 'of marrying Dudley.' Begs him 'TO SIGNIFY PLAINLY WHAT
HAS BEEN DONE,' and implores him, 'in the bowels of Christ '. . .
'to hinder that matter.'* He writes 'with tears and sighs,' and--he
declines to return Cecil's letters on the subject. 'They be as safe
in my hands as in your own, and more safe in mine than in any
*For. Cal. Eliz., 1560, p. 376.
On October 29, Throgmorton sets forth his troubles to Chamberlain.
'Chamberlain as a wise man can conceive how much it imports the
Queen's honour and her realm to have the same' (reports as to Amy's
death) 'ceased.' 'He is withal brought to be weary of his life.'*
*For. Cal. Eliz., 1560, p. 376.
On November 7, Throgmorton writes to the Marquis of Northampton and
to Lord Pembroke about 'the bruits lately risen from England. . .
set so full with great horror,' and never disproved, despite
Throgmorton's prayers for satisfaction.
Finally Throgmorton, as we saw, had the boldness to send his
secretary, Jones, direct to Elizabeth. All the comfort he got from
her was her statement that neither Dudley nor his retainers were at
the attempt at Cumnor Place. Francis I. died in France, people had
something fresh to talk about, and the Cumnor scandal dropped out of
notice. Throgmorton, however, persevered till, in January 1561,
Cecil plainly told him to cease to meddle. Throgmorton endorsed the
letter 'A warning not to be too busy about the matters between the
Queen and Lord Robert.'*
*For. Cal. Eliz., 1560, p. 498.
It is not necessary, perhaps, to pursue further the attempts of
Dudley to marry the Queen. On January 22 he sent to de Quadra his
brother-in-law, Sir Henry, father of Sir Philip Sidney, offering to
help to restore the Church if Philip II. would back the marriage.
Sidney professed to believe, after full inquiry, that Amy died by
accident. But he admitted 'that no one believed it;' that 'the
preachers harped on it in a manner prejudicial to the honour and
service of the Queen, which had caused her to move for the remedy of
the disorders of this kingdom in religion,' and so on.* De Quadra
and the preachers had no belief in Amy's death by accident. Nobody
had, except Dudley's relations. A year after Amy's death, on
September 13, 1561, de Quadra wrote: 'The Earl of Arundel and
others are drawing up copies of the testimony given in the inquiry
respecting the death of Lord Robert's wife. Robert is now doing his
best to repair matters' (as to a quarrel with Arundel, it seems),
'as it appears that more is being discovered in that matter than he
wished.'** People were not so easily satisfied with the evidence as
was the imprisoned and starving Appleyard.
*Documentos Ineditos, 88, p. 314; Span. Cal., i. p. 179; Froude, vi.
p. 453. The translations vary: I give my own. The Spanish has
**Span. Cal., i. p. 213; Documentos Ineditos, 88, p. 367.
So the mystery stands. The letters of Blount and Dudley (September
9-12, 1560) entirely clear Dudley's character, and can only be got
rid of on the wild theory that they were composed, later, to that
very end. But the precise nature of the Cumnor jury's verdict is
unknown, and Elizabeth's words about 'the attempt at her house'
prove that something concealed from us did occur. It might be a
mere half-sportive attempt by rustics to enter a house known to be,
at the moment, untenanted by the servants, and may have caused to
Amy an alarm, so that, rushing downstairs in terror, she fell and
broke her neck. The coincidence of her death with the words of
Cecil would thus be purely fortuitous, and coincidences as
extraordinary have occurred. Or a partisan of Dudley's, finding
poison difficult or impossible, may have, in his zeal, murdered Amy,
under the disguise of an accident. The theory of suicide would be
plausible, if it were conceivable that a person would commit suicide
by throwing herself downstairs.
We can have no certainty, but, at least, we show how Elizabeth came
to be erroneously accused of reporting Amy's death before it
*For a wild Italian legend of Amy's murder, written in 1577, see the
Hatfield Calendar, ii. 165-170.
VII. THE VOICES OF JEANNE D'ARC
Some of our old English historians write of Jeanne d'Arc, the
Pucelle, as 'the Puzel.' The author of the 'First Part of Henry
VI.,' whether he was Shakespeare or not, has a pun on the word:
'Pucelle or puzzel, dolphin or dogfish,'
the word 'Puzzel' carrying an unsavoury sense. (Act I. Scene 4.) A
puzzle, in the usual meaning of the word, the Maid was to the
dramatist. I shall not enter into the dispute as to whether
Shakespeare was the author, or part author, of this perplexed drama.
But certainly the role of the Pucelle is either by two different
hands, or the one author was 'in two minds' about the heroine. Now
she appears as la ribaulde of Glasdale's taunt, which made her weep,
as the 'bold strumpet' of Talbot's insult in the play. The author
adopts or even exaggerates the falsehoods of Anglo-Burgundian
legend. The personal purity of Jeanne was not denied by her judges.
On the other hand the dramatist makes his 'bold strumpet' a paladin
of courage and a perfect patriot, reconciling Burgundy to the
national cause by a moving speech on 'the great pity that was in
France.' How could a ribaulde, a leaguer-lass, a witch, a
sacrificer of blood to devils, display the valour, the absolute
self-sacrifice, the eloquent and tender love of native land
attributed to the Pucelle of the play? Are there two authors, and
is Shakespeare one of them, with his understanding of the human
heart? Or is there one puzzled author producing an impossible and
The dramatist has a curious knowledge of minute points in Jeanne's
career: he knows and mocks at the sword with five crosses which she
found, apparently by clairvoyance, at Fierbois, but his history is
distorted and dislocated almost beyond recognition. Jeanne
proclaims herself to the Dauphin as the daughter of a shepherd, and
as a pure maid. Later she disclaims both her father and her
maidenhood. She avers that she was first inspired by a vision of
the Virgin (which she never did in fact), and she is haunted by
'fiends,' who represent her St. Michael, St. Catherine, and St.
Margaret. After the relief of Orleans the Dauphin exclaims:
'No longer on Saint Denis will we cry,
But Joan la Pucelle shall be France's saint,'
a prophecy which may yet be accomplished. Already accomplished is
'We'll set thy statue in some holy place.'
To the Duke of Burgundy, the Pucelle of the play speaks as the Maid
might have spoken:
'Look on thy country, look on fertile France,
And see the cities and the towns defaced
By wasting ruin of the cruel foe!
As looks the mother on her lowly babe,
When death doth close his tender dying eyes,
See, see, the pining malady of France;
Behold the wounds, the most unnatural wounds,
Which thou thyself hast given her woful breast!
O turn thy edged sword another way;
Strike those that hurt, and hurt not those that help!
One drop of blood drawn from thy country's bosom
Should grieve thee more than streams of foreign gore;
Return thee, therefore, with a flood of tears,
And wash away thy country's stained spots.'
Patriotism could find no better words, and how can the dramatist
represent the speaker as a 'strumpet' inspired by 'fiends'? To her
fiends when they desert her, the Pucelle of the play cries:
'Cannot my body, nor blood sacrifice,
Entreat you to your wonted furtherance?
Then take my soul; my body, soul, and all,
Before that England give the French the foil.'
She is willing to give body and soul for France, and this, in the
eyes of the dramatist, appears to be her crime. For a French girl
to bear a French heart is to stamp her as the tool of devils. It is
an odd theology, and not in the spirit of Shakespeare. Indeed the
Pucelle, while disowning her father and her maidenhood, again speaks
to the English as Jeanne might have spoken:
'I never had to do with wicked spirits:
But you, that are polluted with your lusts,
Stained with the guiltless blood of innocents,
Corrupt and tainted with a thousand vices,
Because you want the grace that others have,
You judge it straight a thing impossible
To compass wonders but by help of devils.
No, misconceiv'd! Joan of Arc hath been
A virgin from her tender infancy,
Chaste and immaculate in very thought;
Whose maiden blood, thus rigorously effus'd,
Will cry for vengeance at the gates of heaven.'
The vengeance was not long delayed. 'The French and my countrymen,'
writes Patrick Abercromby, 'drove the English from province to
province, and from town to town' of France, while on England fell
the Wars of the Roses. But how can the dramatist make the dealer
with fiends speak as the Maid, in effect, did speak at her trial?
He adds the most ribald of insults; the Pucelle exclaiming:
'It was Alencon that enjoyed my love!'
The author of the play thus speaks with two voices: in one Jeanne
acts and talks as she might have done (had she been given to
oratory); in the other she is the termagant of Anglo-Burgundian
legend or myth.
Much of this perplexity still haunts the histories of the Maid. Her
courage, purity, patriotism, and clear-sighted military and
political common-sense; the marvellous wisdom of her replies to her
judges--as of her own St. Catherine before the fifty philosophers of
her legend--are universally acknowledged. This girl of seventeen,
in fact, alone of the French folk, understood the political and
military situation. To restore the confidence of France it was
necessary that the Dauphin should penetrate the English lines to
Rheims, and there be crowned. She broke the lines, she led him to
Rheims, and crowned him. England was besieging his last hold in the
north and centre, Orleans, on a military policy of pure 'bluff.'
The city was at no time really invested. The besieging force, as
English official documents prove, was utterly inadequate to its
task, except so far as prestige and confidence gave power. Jeanne
simply destroyed and reversed the prestige, and, after a brilliant
campaign on the Loire, opened the way to Rheims. The next step was
to take Paris, and Paris she certainly would have taken, but the
long delays of politicians enabled Beaufort to secure peace with
Scotland, under James I., and to throw into Paris the English troops
collected for a crusade against the Hussites.* The Maid,
unsupported, if not actually betrayed, failed and was wounded before
Paris, and prestige returned for a while to the English party. She
won minor victories, was taken at Compiegne (May 1430), and a year
later crowned her career by martyrdom. But she had turned the tide,
and within the six years of her prophecy Paris returned to the
national cause. The English lost, in losing Paris, 'a greater gage
*The Scottish immobility was secured in May-June 1429, the months of
the Maid's Loire campaign. Exchequer Rolls, iv. ciii. 466. Bain,
Calendar, iv. 212, Foedera, x. 428,1704-1717.
So much is universally acknowledged, but how did the Maid accomplish
her marvels? Brave as she certainly was, wise as she certainly was,
beautiful as she is said to have been, she would neither have risked
her unparalleled adventure, nor been followed, but for her strange
visions and 'voices.' She left her village and began her mission,
as she said, in contradiction to the strong common-sense of her
normal character. She resisted for long the advice that came to her
in the apparent shape of audible external voices and external
visions of saint and angel. By a statement of actual facts which
she could not possibly have learned in any normal way, she overcame,
it is said, the resistance of the Governor of Vaucouleurs, and
obtained an escort to convey her to the King at Chinon.* She
conquered the doubts of the Dauphin by a similar display of
supernormal knowledge. She satisfied, at Poictiers, the divines of
the national party after a prolonged examination, of which the
record, 'The Book of Poictiers,' has disappeared. In these ways she
inspired the confidence which, in the real feebleness of the
invading army, was all that was needed to ensure the relief of
Orleans, while, as Dunois attested, she shook the confidence which
was the strength of England. About these facts the historical
evidence is as good as for any other events of the war.
*Refer to paragraph commencing "The 'Journal du Siege d'Orleans'"
The essence, then, of the marvels wrought by Jeanne d'Arc lay in
what she called her 'Voices,' the mysterious monitions, to her
audible, and associated with visions of the heavenly speakers.
Brave, pure, wise, and probably beautiful as she was, the King of
France would not have trusted a peasant lass, and men disheartened
by frequent disaster would not have followed her, but for her
The science or theology of the age had three possible ways of
explaining these experiences:
1. The Maid actually was inspired by Michael, Margaret, and
Catherine. From them she learned secrets of the future, of words
unspoken save in the King's private prayer, and of events distant in
space, like the defeat of the French and Scots at Rouvray, which she
announced, on the day of the occurrence, to Baudricourt, hundreds of
leagues away, at Vaucouleurs.
2. The monitions came from 'fiends.' This was the view of the
prosecutors in general at her trial, and of the author of 'Henry
VI., Part I.'
3. One of her judges, Beaupere, was a man of some courage and
consistency. He maintained, at the trial of Rouen, and at the trial
of Rehabilitation (1452-1456), that the voices were mere illusions
of a girl who fasted much. In her fasts she would construe natural
sounds, as of church bells, or perhaps of the wind among woods, into
audible words, as Red Indian seers do to this day.
This third solution must and does neglect, or explain by chance
occurrence, or deny, the coincidences between facts not normally
knowable, and the monitions of the Voices, accepted as genuine,
though inexplicable, by M. Quicherat, the great palaeographer and
historian of Jeanne.* He by no means held a brief for the Church;
Father Ayroles continually quarrels with Quicherat, as a
Freethinker. He certainly was a free thinker in the sense that he
was the first historian who did not accept the theory of direct
inspiration by saints (still less by fiends), and yet took liberty
to admit that the Maid possessed knowledge not normally acquired.
Other 'freethinking' sympathisers with the heroine have shuffled,
have skated adroitly past and round the facts, as Father Ayroles
amusingly demonstrates in his many passages of arms with Michelet,
Simeon Luce, Henri Martin, Fabre, and his other opponents. M.
Quicherat merely says that, if we are not to accept the marvels as
genuine, we must abandon the whole of the rest of the evidence as to
Jeanne d'Arc, and there he leaves the matter.
*Quicherat's five volumes of documents, the Proces, is now
accessible, as far as records of the two trials go, in the English
version edited by Mr. Douglas Murray.
Can we not carry the question further? Has the psychological
research of the last half-century added nothing to our means of
dealing with the problem? Negatively, at least, something is
gained. Science no longer avers, with M. Lelut in his book on the
Daemon of Socrates, that every one who has experience of
hallucinations, of impressions of the senses not produced by
objective causes, is mad. It is admitted that sane and healthy
persons may have hallucinations of lights, of voices, of visual
appearances. The researches of Mr. Galton, of M. Richet, of Brierre
du Boismont, of Mr. Gurney, and an army of other psychologists, have
secured this position.
Maniacs have hallucinations, especially of voices, but all who have
hallucinations are not maniacs. Jeanne d'Arc, so subject to 'airy
tongues,' was beyond all doubt a girl of extraordinary physical
strength and endurance, of the highest natural lucidity and common-
sense, and of health which neither wounds, nor fatigue, nor cruel
treatment, could seriously impair. Wounded again and again, she
continued to animate the troops by her voice, and was in arms
undaunted next day. Her leap of sixty feet from the battlements of
Beaurevoir stunned but did not long incapacitate her. Hunger,
bonds, and the protracted weariness of months of cross-examination
produced an illness but left her intellect as keen, her courage as
unabated, her humour as vivacious, her memory as minutely accurate
as ever. There never was a more sane and healthy human being. We
never hear that, in the moments of her strange experiences, she was
'entranced,' or even dissociated from the actual occurrences of the
hour. She heard her voices, though not distinctly, in the uproar of
the brawling court which tried her at Rouen; she saw her visions in
the imminent deadly breach, when she rallied her men to victory. In
this alertness she is a contrast to a modern seeress, subject, like
her, to monitions of an hallucinatory kind, but subject during
intervals of somnambulisme. To her case, which has been carefully,
humorously, and sceptically studied, we shall return.
Meantime let us take voices and visions on the lowest, most
prevalent, and least startling level. A large proportion of people,
including the writer, are familiar with the momentary visions beheld
with shut eyes between waking and sleeping (illusions
hypnagogiques). The waking self is alert enough to contemplate
these processions of figures and faces, these landscapes too, which
(in my own case) it is incapable of purposefully calling up.
Thus, in a form of experience which is almost as common as ordinary
dreaming, we see that the semi-somnolent self possesses a faculty
not always given to the waking self. Compared with my own waking
self, for instance, my half-asleep self is almost a personality of
genius. He can create visions that the waking self can remember,
but cannot originate, and cannot trace to any memory of waking
impressions. These apparently trivial things thus point to the
existence of almost wholly submerged potentialities in a mind so
everyday, commonplace, and, so to speak, superficial as mine. This
fact suggests that people who own such minds, the vast majority of
mankind, ought not to make themselves the measure of the
potentialities of minds of a rarer class, say that of Jeanne d'Arc.
The secret of natures like hers cannot be discovered, so long as
scientific men incapable even of ordinary 'visualising' (as Mr.
Galton found) make themselves the canon or measure of human nature.
Let us, for the sake of argument, suppose that some sane persons are
capable of hallucinatory impressions akin to but less transient than
illusions hypnagogiques, when, as far as they or others can
perceive, they are wide awake. Of such sane persons Goethe and
Herschel were examples. In this way we can most easily envisage, or
make thinkable by ourselves, the nature of the experiences of Jeanne
d'Arc and other seers.
In the other state of semi-somnolence, while still alert enough to
watch and reason on the phenomena, we occasionally, though less
commonly, hear what may be called 'inner voices.' That is to say,
we do not suppose that any one from without is speaking to us, but
we hear, as it were, a voice within us making some remark, usually
disjointed enough, and not suggested by any traceable train of
thought of which we are conscious at the time. This experience
partly enables us to understand the cases of sane persons who, when
to all appearance wide awake, occasionally hear voices which appear
to be objective and caused by actual vibrations of the atmosphere.
I am acquainted with at least four persons, all of them healthy, and
normal enough, who have had such experiences. In all four cases,
the apparent voice (though the listeners have no superstitious
belief on the subject) has communicated intelligence which proved to
be correct. But in only one instance, I think, was the information
thus communicated beyond the reach of conjecture, based perhaps on
some observation unconsciously made or so little attended to when
made that it could not be recalled by the ordinary memory.
We are to suppose, then, that in such cases the person concerned
being to all appearance fully awake, his or her mind has presented a
thought, not as a thought, but in the shape of words that seemed to
be externally audible. One hearer, in fact, at the moment wondered
that the apparent speaker indicated by the voice and words should be
shouting so loud in an hotel. The apparent speaker was actually not
in the hotel, but at a considerable distance, well out of earshot,
and, though in a nervous crisis, was not shouting at all. We know
that, between sleeping and waking, our minds can present to us a
thought in the apparent form of articulate words, internally
audible. The hearers, when fully awake, of words that seem to be
externally audible, probably do but carry the semi-vigilant
experience to a higher degree, as do the beholders of visual
hallucinations, when wide awake. In this way, at least, we can most
nearly attain to understanding their experiences. To a relatively
small proportion of people, in wakeful existence, experiences occur
with distinctness, which to a large proportion of persons occur but
'On the margin grey
'Twixt the soul's night and day.'
Let us put it, then, that Jeanne d'Arc's was an advanced case of the
mental and bodily constitution exemplified by the relatively small
proportion of people, the sane seers of visual hallucinations and
hearers of unreal voices. Her thoughts--let us say the thoughts of
the deepest region of her being--presented themselves in visual
forms, taking the shapes of favourite saints--familiar to her in
works of sacred art--attended by an hallucinatory brightness of
light ('a photism'), and apparently uttering words of advice which
was in conflict with Jeanne's great natural shrewdness and strong
sense of duty to her parents. 'She MUST go into France,' and for
two or three years she pleaded her ignorance and incompetence. She
declined to go. She COULD resist her voices. In prison at
Beaurevoir, they forbade her to leap from the tower. But her
natural impatience and hopefulness prevailed, and she leaped. 'I
would rather trust my soul to God than my body to the English.'
This she confessed to as sinful, though not, she hoped, of the
nature of deadly sin. Her inmost and her superficial nature were in
It is now desirable to give, as briefly as possible, Jeanne's own
account of the nature of her experiences, as recorded in the book of
her trial at Rouen, with other secondhand accounts, offered on oath,
at her trial of Rehabilitation, by witnesses to whom she had spoken
on the subject. She was always reticent on the theme.
The period when Jeanne supposed herself to see her first visions was
physiologically critical. She was either between thirteen and
fourteen, or between twelve and thirteen. M. Simeon Luce, in his
'Jeanne d'Arc a Domremy,' held that she was of the more advanced
age, and his date (1425) fitted in with some public events, which,
in his opinion, were probably the occasions of the experiences.
Pere Ayroles prefers the earlier period (1424) when the aforesaid
public events had not yet occurred. After examining the evidence on
both sides, I am disposed to think, or rather I am certain, that
Pere Ayroles is in the right. In either case Jeanne was at a
critical age, when, as I understand, female children are
occasionally subject to illusions. Speaking then as a non-
scientific student, I submit that on the side of ordinary causes for
the visions and voices we have:
1. The period in Jeanne's life when they began.
2. Her habits of fasting and prayer.
3. Her intense patriotic enthusiasm, which may, for all that we
know, have been her mood before the voices announced to her the
Let us then examine the evidence as to the origin and nature of the
I shall begin with the letter of the Senechal de Berry, Perceval de
Boulainvilliers, to the Duke of Milan.* The date is June 21st,
1429, six weeks after the relief of Orleans. After a few such tales
as that the cocks crowed when Jeanne was born, and that her flock
was lucky, he dates her first vision peractis aetatis suae duodecim
annis, 'after she was twelve.' Briefly, the tale is that, in a
rustic race for flowers, one of the other children cried, 'Joanna,
video te volantem juxta terrain,' 'Joan, I see you flying near the
ground.' This is the one solitary hint of 'levitation' (so common
in hagiology and witchcraft) which occurs in the career of the Maid.
This kind of story is so persistent that I knew it must have been
told in connection with the Irvingite movement in Scotland. And it
was! There is, perhaps, just one trace that flying was believed to
be an accomplishment of Jeanne's. When Frere Richard came to her at
Troyes, he made, she says, the sign of the cross.** She answered,
'Approchez hardiment, je ne m'envouleray pas.' Now the contemporary
St. Colette was not infrequently 'levitated'!
*Proces, v. 115.
**Proces, i. 100.
To return to the Voices. After her race, Jeanne was quasi rapta et
a sensibus alienata ('dissociated'), then juxta eam affuit juvenis
quidam, a youth stood by her who bade her 'go home, for her mother
'Thinking that it was her brother or a neighbour' (apparently she
only heard the voice, and did not see the speaker), she hurried
home, and found that she had not been sent for. Next, as she was on
the point of returning to her friends, 'a very bright cloud appeared
to her, and out of the cloud came a voice,' bidding her take up her
mission. She was merely puzzled, but the experiences were often
renewed. This letter, being contemporary, represents current
belief, based either on Jeanne's own statements before the clergy at
Poictiers (April 1429) or on the gossip of Domremy. It should be
observed that till Jeanne told her own tale at Rouen (1431) we hear
not one word about saints or angels. She merely spoke of 'my
voices,' 'my counsel,' 'my Master.' If she was more explicit at
Poictiers, her confessions did not find their way into surviving
letters and journals, not even into the journal of the hostile
Bourgeois de Paris. We may glance at examples.
The 'Journal du Siege d'Orleans' is in parts a late document, in
parts 'evidently copied from a journal kept in presence of the
actual events.'* The 'Journal,' in February 1429, vaguely says
that, 'about this time' our Lord used to appear to a maid, as she
was guarding her flock, or 'cousant et filant.' A St. Victor MS.
has courant et saillant (running and jumping), which curiously
agrees with Boulainvilliers. The 'Journal,' after telling of the
Battle of the Herrings (February 12th, 1429), in which the Scots and
French were cut up in an attack on an English convoy, declares that
Jeanne 'knew of it by grace divine,' and that her vue a distance
induced Baudricourt to send her to the Dauphin.** This was attested
by Baudricourt's letters.***
*Quicherat. In Proces, iv. 95.
**Proces, iv. 125.
***Proces, iv. 125.
All this may have been written as late as 1468, but a vague
reference to an apparition of our Lord rather suggests contemporary
hearsay, before Jeanne came to Orleans. Jeanne never claimed any
such visions of our Lord. The story of the clairvoyance as to the
Battle of the Herrings is also given in the 'Chronique de la
Pucelle.'* M. Quicherat thinks that the passage is amplified from
the 'Journal du Siege.' On the other hand, M. Vallet (de Viriville)
attributes with assurance the 'Chronique de la Pucelle' to Cousinot
de Montreuil, who was the Dauphin's secretary at Poictiers, when the
Maid was examined there in April 1429.** If Cousinot was the
author, he certainly did not write his chronicle till long after
date. However, he avers that the story of clairvoyance was current
in the spring of 1429. The dates exactly harmonise; that is to say,
between the day of the battle, February 12th, and the setting forth
of the Maid from Vaucouleurs, there is just time for the bad news
from Rouvray to arrive, confirming her statement, and for a day or
two of preparation. But perhaps, after the arrival of the bad news,
Baudricourt may have sent Jeanne to the King in a kind of despair.
Things could not be worse. If she could do no good, she could do no
*Proces, iv. 206.
**Histoire de Charles VII., ii. 62.
The documents, whether contemporary or written later by
contemporaries, contain none of the references to visions of St.
Margaret, St. Catherine, and St. Michael, which we find in Jeanne's
own replies at Rouen. For this omission it is not easy to account,
even if we suppose that, except when giving evidence on oath, the
Maid was extremely reticent. That she was reticent, we shall prove
from evidence of d'Aulon and Dunois. Turning to the Maid's own
evidence in court (1431) we must remember that she was most averse
to speaking at all, that she often asked leave to wait for advice
and permission from her voices before replying, that on one point
she constantly declared that, if compelled to speak, she would not
speak the truth. This point was the King's secret. There is
absolutely contemporary evidence, from Alain Chartier, that, before
she was accepted, she told Charles SOMETHING which filled him with
surprise, joy, and belief.* The secret was connected with Charles's
doubts of his own legitimacy, and Jeanne at her trial was driven to
obscure the truth in a mist of allegory, as, indeed, she confessed.
Jeanne's extreme reluctance to adopt even this loyal and laudable
evasion is the measure of her truthfulness in general. Still, she
did say some words which, as they stand, it is difficult to believe,
to explain, or to account for. From any other prisoner, so unjustly
menaced with a doom so dreadful, from Mary Stuart, for example, at
Fotheringay, we do not expect the whole truth and nothing but the
truth. The Maid is a witness of another kind, and where we cannot
understand her, we must say, like herself, passez outre!
*Proces, v. 131. Letter of July 1429. See supra, 'The False
When she was 'about thirteen,' this is her own account, she had a
voice from God, to aid her in governing herself. 'And the first
time she was in great fear. And it came, that voice, about noonday,
in summer, in her father's garden' (where other girls of old France
hear the birds sing, 'Marry, maidens, marry!') 'and Jeanne had NOT
fasted on the day before.* She heard the voice from the right side,
towards the church, and seldom heard it without seeing a bright
light. The light was not in front, but at the side whence the voice
came. If she were in a wood' (as distinguished from the noise of
the crowded and tumultuous court) 'she could well hear the voices
coming to her.' Asked what sign for her soul's health the voice
gave, she said it bade her behave well, and go to church, and used
to tell her to go into France on her mission. (I do not know why
the advice about going to church is generally said to have been
given FIRST.) Jeanne kept objecting that she was a poor girl who
could not ride, or lead in war. She resisted the voice with all her
energy. She asserted that she knew the Dauphin, on their first
meeting, by aid of her voices.** She declared that the Dauphin
himself 'multas habuit revelationes et apparitiones pulchras.' In
its literal sense, there is no evidence for this, but rather the
reverse. She may mean 'revelations' through herself, or may refer
to some circumstance unknown. 'Those of my party saw and knew that
voice,' she said, but later would only accept them as witnesses if
they were allowed to come and see her.***
*The reading is NEC not ET, as in Quicherat, Proces, i. 52, compare
**Proces, i. 56.
***Proces, i. 57.
This is the most puzzling point in Jeanne's confession. She had no
motive for telling an untruth, unless she hoped that these remarks
would establish the objectivity of her visions. Of course, one of
her strange experiences may have occurred in the presence of Charles
and his court, and she may have believed that they shared in it.
The point is one which French writers appear to avoid as a rule.
She said that she heard the voice daily in prison, 'and stood in
sore need of it.' The voice bade her remain at St. Denis (after the
repulse from Paris in September 1429), but she was not allowed to
On the next day (the third of the trial) she told Beaupere that she
was fasting since yesterday afternoon. Beaupere, as we saw,
conceived that her experiences were mere subjective hallucinations,
caused by fasting, by the sound of church-bells, and so on. As to
the noise of bells, Coleridge writes that their music fell on his
ears, 'MOST LIKE ARTICULATE SOUNDS OF THINGS TO COME.' Beaupere's
sober common-sense did not avail to help the Maid, but at the
Rehabilitation (1456) he still maintained his old opinion.
'Yesterday she had heard the voices in the morning, at vespers, and
at the late ringing for Ave Maria, and she heard them much more
frequently than she mentioned.' 'Yesterday she had been asleep when
the voice aroused her. She sat up and clasped her hands, and the
voice bade her answer boldly. Other words she half heard before she
was quite awake, but failed to understand.'*
*Proces, i. 62.
She denied that the voices ever contradicted themselves. On this
occasion, as not having received leave from her voices, she refused
to say anything as to her visions.
At the next meeting she admitted having heard the voices in court,
but in court she could not distinguish the words, owing to the
tumult. She had now, however, leave to speak more fully. The
voices were those of St. Catherine and St. Margaret. Later she was
asked if St. Margaret 'spoke English.' Apparently the querist
thought that the English Margaret, wife of Malcolm of Scotland, was
intended. They were crowned with fair crowns, as she had said at
Poictiers two years before. She now appealed to the record of her
examination there, but it was not in court, nor was it used in the
trial of Rehabilitation. It has never been recovered. A witness
who had examined her at Poictiers threw no light (twenty years
later) on the saints and voices. Seven years ago (that is, when she
was twelve) she first saw the saints. On the attire of the saints
she had not leave to speak. They were preceded by St. Michael 'with
the angels of heaven.' 'I saw them as clearly as I see you, and I
used to weep when they departed, and would fain that they should
have taken me with them.'
As to the famous sword at Fierbois, she averred that she had been in
the church there, on her way to Chinon, that the voices later bade
her use a sword which was hidden under earth--she thinks behind, but
possibly in front of the altar--at Fierbois. A man unknown to her
was sent from Tours to fetch the sword, which after search was
found, and she wore it.
Asked whether she had prophesied her wound by an arrow at Orleans,
and her recovery, she said 'Yes.'
This prediction is singular in that it was recorded before the
event. The record was copied into the registre of Brabant, from a
letter written on April 22nd, 1429, by a Flemish diplomatist, De
Rotselaer, then at Lyons.* De Rotselaer had the prophecy from an
officer of the court of the Dauphin. The prediction was thus noted
on April 22nd; the event, the arrow-wound in the shoulder, occurred
on May 7th. On the fifth day of the trial Jeanne announced that,
before seven years were gone, the English 'shall lose a dearer gage
than Orleans; this I know by revelation, and am wroth that it is to
be so long deferred.' Mr. Myers observes that 'the prediction of a
great victory over the English within seven years was not fulfilled
in any exact way.' The words of the Maid are 'Angli demittent majus
vadium quam fecerunt coram Aurelianis,' and, as prophecies go, their
loss of Paris (1436) corresponds very well to the Maid's
announcement. She went on, indeed, to say that the English 'will
have greater loss than ever they had, through a great French
victory,' but this reads like a gloss on her original prediction.
'She knew it as well as that we were there.'** 'You shall not have
the exact year, but well I wish it might be before the St. John;'
however, she had already expressed her sorrow that this was NOT to
be. Asked, on March 1st, whether her liberation was promised, she
said, 'Ask me in three months, and I will tell you.' In three
months exactly, her stainless soul was free.
*Proces, iv. 425.
**Proces, i. 84.
On the appearance, garb, and so on of her saints, she declined to
She had once disobeyed her voices, when they forbade her to leap
from the tower of Beaurevoir. She leaped, but they forgave her, and
told her that Compiegne (where she was captured on May 23rd, 1430)
would be relieved 'before Martinmas.' It was relieved on October
26th, after a siege of five months. On March 10th an effort was
made to prove that her voices had lied to her, and that she had lied
about her voices. The enemy maintained that on May 23rd, 1430, she
announced a promised victory to the people of Compiegne, vowing that
St. Margaret and St. Catherine had revealed it to her. Two hostile
priests of Compiegne were at Rouen, and may have carried this tale,
which is reported by two Burgundian chroniclers, but NOT by
Monstrelet, who was with the besieging army.* In court she said
n'eust autre commandement de yssir: she had no command from her
voices to make her fatal sally. She was not asked whether she had
pretended to have received such an order. She told the touching
story of how, at Melun, in April 1430, the voices had warned her
that she would be taken prisoner before midsummer; how she had
prayed for death, or for tidings as to the day and hour. But no
tidings were given to her, and her old belief, often expressed, that
she 'should last but one year or little more,' was confirmed. The
Duc d'Alencon had heard her say this several times; for the prophecy
at Melun we have only her own word.
*I have examined the evidence in Macmillan's Magazine for May 1894,
and, to myself, it seems inadequate.
She was now led into the allegory intended to veil the King's
secret, the allegory about the Angel (herself) and the Crown (the
coronation at Rheims). This allegory was fatal, but does not bear
on her real belief about her experiences. She averred, returning to
genuine confessions, that her voices often came spontaneously; if
they did not, she summoned them by a simple prayer to God. She had
seen the angelic figures moving, invisible save to her, among men.
The voices HAD promised her the release of Charles d'Orleans, but
time had failed her. This was as near a confession of failure as
she ever made, till the day of her burning, if she really made one
then.* But here, as always, she had predicted that she would do
this or that if she were sans empeschement. She had no revelation
bidding her attack Paris when she did, and after the day at Melun
she submitted to the advice of the other captains. As to her
release, she was only bidden 'to bear all cheerfully; be not vexed
with thy martyrdom, thence shalt thou come at last into the kingdom
*As to her 'abjuration' and alleged doubts, see L'Abjuration du
Cimetiere Saint-Ouen, by Abbe Ph. H. Dunard; Poussielgue, Paris,
To us, this is explicit enough, but the poor child explained to her
judges that by martire she understood the pains of prison, and she
referred it to her Lord, whether there were more to bear. In this
passage the original French exists, as well as the Latin
translation. The French is better.
'Ne te chaille de ton martire, tu t'en vendras enfin en royaulme de
'Non cures de martyrio tuo: tu venies finaliter in regnum
The word hinc is omitted in the bad Latin. Unluckily we have only a
fragment of the original French, as taken down in court. The Latin
version, by Courcelles, one of the prosecutors, is in places
inaccurate, in others is actually garbled to the disadvantage of the
This passage, with some others, may perhaps be regarded as
indicating that the contents of the communications received by
Jeanne were not always intelligible to her.
That her saints could be, and were, touched physically by her, she
admitted.* Here I am inclined to think that she had touched with
her ring (as the custom was) a RELIC of St. Catherine at Fierbois.
Such relics, brought from the monastery of Sinai, lay at Fierbois,
and we know that women loved to rub their rings on the ring of
Jeanne, in spite of her laughing remonstrances. But apart from this
conjecture, she regarded her saints as tangible by her. She had
embraced both St. Margaret and St. Catherine.**
*Proces, i. 185.
**Proces, i. 186.
For the rest, Jeanne recanted her so-called recantation, averring
that she was unaware of the contents or full significance of the
document, which certainly is not the very brief writing to which she
set her mark. Her voices recalled her to her duty, for them she
went to the stake, and if there was a moment of wavering on the day
of her doom, her belief in the objective reality of the phenomena
remained firm, and she recovered her faith in the agony of her
Of EXTERNAL evidence as to her accounts of these experiences, the
best is probably that of d'Aulon, the maitre d'Hotel of the Maid,
and her companion through her career. He and she were reposing in
the same room at Orleans, her hostess being in the chamber (May
1429), and d'Aulon had just fallen asleep, when the Maid awoke him
with a cry. Her voices bade her go against the English, but in what
direction she knew not. In fact, the French leaders had begun,
without her knowledge, an attack on St. Loup, whither she galloped
and took the fort.* It is, of course, conceivable that the din of
onset, which presently became audible, had vaguely reached the
senses of the sleeping Maid. Her page confirms d'Aulon's testimony.
*Proces, iii. 212.
D'Aulon states that when the Maid had any martial adventure in
prospect, she told him that her 'counsel' had given her this or that
advice. He questioned her as to the nature of this 'counsel.' She
said 'she had three councillors, of whom one was always with her, a
second went and came to her, and the third was he with whom the
others deliberated.' D'Aulon 'was not worthy to see this counsel.'
From the moment when he heard this, d'Aulon asked no more questions.
Dunois also gave some evidence as to the 'counsel.' At Loches, when
Jeanne was urging the journey to Rheims, Harcourt asked her, before
the King, what the nature (modus) of the council was; HOW it
communicated with her. She replied that when she was met with
incredulity, she went apart and prayed to God. Then she heard a
voice say, Fille De, va, va, va, je serai a ton aide, va! 'And when
she heard that voice she was right glad, and would fain be ever in
that state.' 'As she spoke thus, ipsa miro modo exsultabat, levando
suos oculos ad coelum.'* (She seemed wondrous glad, raising her
eyes to heaven.) Finally, that Jeanne maintained her belief to the
moment of her death, we learn from the priest, Martin Ladvenu, who
was with her to the last.** There is no sign anywhere that at the
moment of an 'experience' the Maid's aspect seemed that of one
'dissociated,' or uncanny, or abnormal, in the eyes of those who
were in her company.
*Proces, iii. 12.
**Proces, iii. 170.
These depositions were given twenty years later (1452-56), and, of
course, allowance must be made for weakness of memory and desire to
glorify the Maid. But there is really nothing of a suspicious
character about them. In fact, the 'growth of legend' was very
slight, and is mainly confined to the events of the martyrdom, the
White Dove, the name of Christ blazoned in flame, and so forth.* It
should also have been mentioned that at the taking of St. Pierre de
Moustier (November 1429) Jeanne, when deserted by her forces,
declared to d'Aulon that she was 'not alone, but surrounded by fifty
thousand of her own.' The men therefore rallied and stormed the
This is the sum of the external evidence as to the phenomena.
*For German fables see Lefevre-Pontalis, Les Sources Allemandes,
Paris, 1903. They are scanty, and, in some cases, are distortions
of real events.
As to the contents of the communications to Jeanne, they were
certainly sane, judicious, and heroic. M. Quicherat (Apercus
Nouveaux, p. 61) distinguishes three classes of abnormally conveyed
knowledge, all on unimpeachable evidence.
(1.) THOUGHT-READING, as in the case of the King's secret; she
repeated to him the words of a prayer which he had made mentally in
(2.) CLAIRVOYANCE, as exhibited in the affair of the sword of
(3.) PRESCIENCE, as in the prophecy of her arrow-wound at Orleans.
According to her confessor, Pasquerel, she repeated the prophecy and
indicated the spot in which she would be wounded (under the right
shoulder) on the night of May 6. But this is later evidence given
in the trial of Rehabilitation. Neither Pasquerel nor any other of
the Maid's party was heard at the trial of 1431.
To these we might add the view, from Vaucouleurs, a hundred leagues
away, of the defeat at Rouvray; the prophecy that she 'would last
but a year or little more;' the prophecy, at Melun, of her capture;
the prophecy of the relief of Compiegne; and the strange affair of
the bon conduit at the battle of Pathay.* For several of these
predictions we have only the Maid's word, but to be plain, we can
scarcely have more unimpeachable testimony.
*Proces, iv. 371, 372. Here the authority is Monstrelet, a
Here the compiler leaves his task: the inferences may be drawn by
experts. The old theory of imposture, the Voltairean theory of a
'poor idiot,' the vague charge of 'hysteria,' are untenable. The
honesty and the genius of Jeanne are no longer denied. If hysteria
be named, it is plain that we must argue that, because hysteria is
accompanied by visionary symptoms, all visions are proofs of
hysteria. Michelet holds by hallucinations which were unconsciously
externalised by the mind of Jeanne. That mind must have been a very
peculiar intellect, and the modus is precisely the difficulty.
Henri Martin believes in some kind of manifestation revealed to the
individual mind by the Absolute: perhaps this word is here
equivalent to 'the subliminal self' of Mr. Myers. Many Catholics,
as yet unauthorised, I conceive, by the Church, accept the theory of
Jeanne herself; her saints were true saints from Paradise. On the
other hand it is manifest that visions of a bright light and
'auditions' of voices are common enough phenomena in madness, and in
the experiences of very uninspired sane men and women. From the
sensations of these people Jeanne's phenomena are only
differentiated by their number, by their persistence through seven
years of an almost abnormally healthy life, by their importance,
orderliness, and veracity, as well as by their heroic character.
Mr. Myers has justly compared the case of Jeanne with that of
Socrates. A much humbler parallel, curiously close in one respect,
may be cited from M. Janet's article, 'Les Actes Inconscients dans
le Somnambulisme' ('Revue Philosophique,' March 1888).
The case is that of Madame B., a peasant woman near Cherbourg. She
has her common work-a-day personality, called, for convenience,
'Leonie.' There is also her hypnotic personality, 'Leontine.' Now
Leontine (that is, Madame B. in a somnambulistic state) was one day
hysterical and troublesome. Suddenly she exclaimed in terror that
she heard A VOICE ON THE LEFT, crying, 'Enough, be quiet, you are a
nuisance.' She hunted in vain for the speaker, who, of course, was
inaudible to M. Janet, though he was present. This sagacious
speaker (a faculty of Madame B.'s own nature) is 'brought out' by
repeated passes, and when this moral and sensible phase of her
character is thus evoked, Madame B. is 'Leonore.' Madame B. now
sometimes assumes an expression of beatitude, smiling and looking
upwards. As Dunois said of Jeanne when she was recalling her
visions, 'miro modo exsultabat, levando suos oculos ad coelum.'
This ecstasy Madame B. (as Leonie) dimly remembers, averring that
'she has been dazzled BY A LIGHT ON THE LEFT SIDE.' Here apparently
we have the best aspect of poor Madame B. revealing itself in a
mixture of hysterics and hypnotism, and associating itself with an
audible sagacious voice and a dazzling light on the left, both
The coincidence (not observed by M. Janet) with Jeanne's earliest
experience is most curious. Audivit vocem a dextero latere. . . .
claritas est ab eodem latere in quo vox auditur, sed ibi communiter
est magna claritas. (She heard a voice from the right. There is
usually a bright light on the same side as the voice.) Like Madame
B., Jeanne was at first alarmed by these sensations.
The parallel, so far, is perfectly complete (except that 'Leonore'
merely talks common sense, while Jeanne's voices gave information
not normally acquired). But in Jeanne's case I have found no hint
of temporary unconsciousness or 'dissociation.' When strung up to
the most intense mental eagerness in court, she still heard her
voices, though, because of the tumult of the assembly, she heard
them indistinctly. Thus her experiences are not associated with
insanity, partial unconsciousness, or any physical disturbance (as
in some tales of second sight), while the sagacity of the
communications and their veracity distinguish them from the
hallucinations of mad people. As far as the affair of Rouvray, the
prophecy of the instant death of an insolent soldier at Chinon
(evidence of Pasquerel, her confessor), and such things go, we have,
of course, many alleged parallels in the predictions of Mr. Peden
and other seers of the Covenant. But Mr. Peden's political
predictions are still unfulfilled, whereas concerning the 'dear
gage' which the English should lose in France within seven years,
Jeanne may be called successful.
On the whole, if we explain Jeanne's experiences as the expressions
of her higher self (as Leonore is Madame B.'s higher self), we are
compelled to ask what is the nature of that self?
Another parallel, on a low level, to what may be called the
mechanism of Jeanne's voices and visions is found in Professor
Flournoy's patient, 'Helene Smith.'* Miss 'Smith,' a hardworking
shopwoman in Geneva, had, as a child, been dull but dreamy. At
about twelve years of age she began to see, and hear, a visionary
being named Leopold, who, in life, had been Cagliostro. His
appearance was probably suggested by an illustration in the Joseph
Balsamo of Alexandre Dumas. The saints of Jeanne, in the same way,
may have been suggested by works of sacred art in statues and church
windows. To Miss Smith, Leopold played the part of Jeanne's saints.
He appeared and warned her not to take such or such a street when
walking, not to try to lift a parcel which seemed light, but was
very heavy, and in other ways displayed knowledge not present to her
ordinary workaday self.
*See Flournoy, Des Indes a la Planete Mars. Alcan, Paris, 1900.
There was no real Leopold, and Jeanne's St. Catherine cannot be
shown to have ever been a real historical personage.* These
figures, in fact, are more or less akin to the 'invisible playmates'
familiar to many children.** They are not objective personalities,
but part of the mechanism of a certain class of mind. The mind may
be that of a person devoid of genius, like Miss Smith, or of a
genius like Goethe, Shelley, or Jeanne d'Arc, or Socrates with his
'Daemon,' and its warnings. In the case of Jeanne d'Arc, as of
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