Part Two: The Gardens
Title: Tales of the Most Happy
Author: Anne-Marie Boleyn
"Aimee, look! It's Anna de Boullans, she's returned from the hearing," Hilarie whispered to me, her soft blue eyes shining. I followed her gaze to see Anne Boleyn, walking briskly, her head held high through the gardens. Cardinal Wolsey had discovered the relationship between Lady Anne Boleyn and the young Lord Henry Percy. Twas sad to see it end like this, they were so sweet together, the blush of first love. You could see no trace of disappointment or the need to wallow in her sadness; instead, her eyes were burning with challenge and revenge. I knew then, being a mere nine years old, that no one had seen the last of Anne Boleyn.
"Yes, but, come along now Hilarie, mass starts soon." I gently pulled my sister by her sleeve out of the gardens.
"Aimee, I don't want to go," she pouted, rather loudly in fact. Quite loud, that Lady Anne paused in her passing and stared at us.
"You are the French twins, are you not?" she asked, her black eyes now filled with reminiscence; I'm sure of times in France in the King's court as a fille d'honor to Queen Maude.
"Yes, mademoiselle; I am Hilarie and this is Aimee. I am the older one, of course." I rolled my eyes dramatically, but nodded nonetheless.
"France, I miss it well. The court was refined and elegant; quite unlike the English court, full of overindulgence and pompous cardinals," She spoke the last words with venom.
"Tis true, milady," I agreed. "Wolsey is deeply loathed by all people with a right mind. Then again, even the king is…" I trailed off, feeling the stares of Anne and Hilarie on me.
"Sshh Aimee, tis treason you speak," she commanded, while Anne simply smirked.
"Not treason, but truth," corrected the raven-haired Boleyn. "I must bid you good bye now, little French girls. To Hever, is where the Fates have sentenced me."
"Exile?" murmured Hilarie, her mouth gaping.
"Twas a foolish wish, to dream of marrying for love. For that, I must pay." Without another word, she strode away, her graceful back erect.
"The Fates," I paused, wondering if I should continue. Against my own conscience, I did continue, "More like the tyrant we call King. We are to see worse, I am sure."
"Aimee!" She exclaimed, appalled at my words. The church bells chimed in the distance, signaling the end of mass. A look passed between us. I am sure the queen will be very upset, that our presence was not there.
"Come along Hilarie, stop your dallying." I instructed, picking up my skirts to run to the church. My sister huffed, but followed quickly. We did not go far when we saw Queen Catherine approaching us, a look of calm upon her face. She seemed to be in a good mood, as she usually was after an hour of prayer. Naturally, we curtsied low to the ground. I could feel her eyes, blue as the eyes of faraway Aegean Sea, on us.
"I missed you at mass, Young Aimee and Hilarie." Feeling satisfied, she left us, her chattering ladies behind her. I rose from my curtsy after Hilarie, who was staring at a male, I knew to be Henry Percy. Unlike his love, Anne, his demeanor was one of a man defeated, a man who lost everything. He passed us without a word. Hilarie stared after him, a small smile forming.
"He's to be married to Lady Talbot, too, too much dramatics."
"Tis the courtly life."
And soon, four years passed and Anne Boleyn was back at court. Older and wiser it seemed than before.
A few weeks after her arrival, twas the May festival, always my birthday, along with Hilarie's of course. We were turning 13; quite a year for us. Hilarie was already attracting admirers of the young pages and squires. Twins or not, she was always the better looking one. Her hair was always neat, her cheeks always flushed, her eyes always bright. As for myself, I was always in the background.
But Anne, she returned vibrant and alive; free of her solitude at Hever. It wasn't long before the king was captivated by her enchanting eyes.
It was early morning on a cool spring morning, when I awoke, quietly, lest I disturb Hilarie. I tiptoed over towards the wardrobe to pull out my dress. Wincing as it squeaked, I was quite relieved to find that my dear twin remained in her deep slumber. It was then I minded that the tub had been filled with ht water to bathe in; which I took the opportunity to do.
Slowly, I slid into the silver tub, glad for the warmth. The water was fragranced with rose petals, creating a wonderful aroma. After washing myself and my hair, I stepped out and pulled on my undergarments.
Today, my frock was a dark blue in colour, almost as dark as the night sky. As one could expect from me, it was a French gown. I preferred the simpler cut to the audacious English gowns. I allowed my hair to dry before I brushed it until it was presentable and quickly put on my French hood, encased with tiny pearls. As soft as possible, I slipped my feet into my matching slippers and departed from my bedchamber. Almost none of the ladies were up, as I expected. I slinked through the corridors until I came upon a door leading out into the gardens.
Free at last.
The gardens never changed much in all the years I served in court. I inhaled deeply the mingling scents of the court's flowers; especially the Tudor roses. The day was rather warm for this time of year and the sun was already shining brightly. To my great joy, not one single miserable cloud was present in the wonderfully blue sky. I never much cared for clouds.
I believed I had an hour or two before I would be needed and resigned myself to have a peaceful walk in the large gardens.
I passed by a stable hand who bowed politely to me, before continuing on his way. It was then my thoughts began to wander.
Anne had a sister, Mary, who was the king's mistress before he even noticed her. Mary Boleyn was also known for her affair with the French king Francis. And so, Mary bedded with the best kings in Europe. As expected, she was a rather pretty girl with little to no intelligence as would be proved later on. Strange as it may be, she would be the last of the Boleyn siblings.
Tis a strange fate some are led too; that I can attest to.