A lie is no less a lie because it is a thousand years old. Your undivided church has liked nothing better than persecuting its own members, burning them and hacking them apart when they stood by their own conscience, slashing their bellies open and feeding their guts to dogs.
In his family the dead were much discussed. He absorbed the content of these conversations and transmuted them into what passed for memory. This serves the purpose. The dead don't come back, to quibble or correct.
Once they were young men of esprit, young men of élan. A quarter of a century has passed and they are grey or balding, flabby or paunchy, gone in the fetlock or missing some fingers, but still as arrogant as satraps and with the mental refinement of a gatepost.
Children's lives start long before birth, long before conception, and if they are aborted or miscarried or simply fail to materialise at all, they become ghosts in our lives...The unborn, whether they're named or not, whether or not they're acknowledged, have a way of insisting: a way of making their presence felt.
He is struck by her overview of his situation. It is as if she has understood his life. He is taken by an impulse to clasp her hand and ask her to marry him; even if they did not get on in bed, she seems to have a gift for précis that eludes most of his clerks.
When narratives fracture, when words fail, I take consolation from the part of my life that always works: the stationery order. The mail-order stationery people supply every need from royal blue Quink to a dazzling variety of portable hard drives.
To gentle pressure, King Henry capitulated; the White Rose, aged twenty-four, was taken out into God's light and air, in order to have his head cut off. But there is always another White Rose; the Plantagenets breed, though not unsupervised. There will always.
He did not relish the topic; he sensed in Jane Rochford's tone the peculiar cruelty of women. They fight with the poor weapons God has bestowed – spite, guile, skill in deceit – and it is likely that in conversations between themselves they trespass in places where a man would never trust his footing.
Cravats grow higher, as if they mean to protect the throat. The highest cravats in public life will be worn by Citizen Antoine Saint-Just, of the National Convention and the Committee of Public Safety. In the dark and harrowing days of '94, an obscene feminine inversion will appear: a thin crimson ribbon, worn round a bare white neck.
The cardinal used to say, Cromewll will do in a week what will take another man a year, it is not worth your while to block him or oppose him. If you reach out to grip him he will not be there, he will have ridden twenty miles while you are pulling your boots on.
If all the old stories are to be believed, and some people, let us remember, do believe them, then our king is one part bastard archer, one part hidden serpent, one part Welsh, and all of him in debt to the Italian banks.
This visit has compacted the court's quarrels and intrigues, trapped them in the small space within the town's walls. The travelers have become as intimate with each other as cards in a pack: contiguous, but their paper eyes blind.
Richard goes with a bob of the head but without another word. It seems he interprets 'don't tell anybody' as 'don't tell anybody but Rafe', because ten minutes later Rafe comes in, and stands looking at him, with his eyebrows raised. Red-headed people can look quite strained when they are raising eyebrows that aren't really there.
Suppose she denied him then but favored him some other time? Women are weak and easily conquered by flattery. Especially when men write verses to them, and there are some who sat that Wyatt writes better verses than me, though I am the King.
Henry stirs into life. Do I retain you for what is easy? Jesus pity my simplicity, I have promoted you to a place in this kingdom that no one, no one of your breeding has ever held in the whole of the history of this realm.
If he's not watering his ale, he's running illegal beasts on the common, if he's not despoiling the common he's assaulting an officer of the peace, if he's not drunk he's dead drunk, and if he's not dead before his time there's no justice in this world.
Cardinal Campeggio has implored Katherine to bow to the king's will, accept that her marriage is invalid and retire to a convent. Certainly, she says sweetly, she will become a nun: if the king will become a monk.