This is my thirteenth day, each
dawn thickening my fear. Better to
besiege my mind with unknowns. I wonder
how many times Sarah has come to the gate and been turned away. What has she told the children? Has Anthony been expelled from Winchester
because of a father in disgrace? But
mostly, I try to fathom the silence of the Queen.
There have been passages beyond a
fortnight when she hasn’t sent for me.
But not this time of year.
Winter always brings her a catarrh and with her first spew of phlegm I
am summoned. Assuming it has happened,
what has she been told? That this time
it’s her elderly physician who’s indisposed?
Perhaps another has been dispatched in my place, much younger, more
recently schooled and modern in method.
I think of worse alternatives. They who have spun this evil web may have
convinced her that I’ve been justly snared.
But their minds could not equal hers and she is always quick to detect
the devious. She’d never believe I’d
intend her any harm. More possible is
that I underestimate her desire for Essex and my ethics have undone me.
No. I must keep faith with her.
Simple explanations are always best.
Hampton Court is the warmest of the palaces and her lungs may be more
resilient this year. She hasn’t yet
sent for me. But she will. Any day now she will. The bolt will slide open and Topcliffe or a
warder will appear with apologies and a royal decree for my release.
So far it has only been the Tom
O’Bedlam who enters. Having no tongue,
his attempts to speak produce a bubbling sound. But his hands have told me that my cell is larger than most, my
mattress softer, my desk a rarity and my window lets in more light than others
are granted. I’m grateful most for the
light. It is this writing which preserves my sanity. I feel slightly feverish today and must stop now. But there is more to tell.