The secret interview.
Between the third of July, when he first came, and the fifteenth of September, when he last departed, the king went and came several times. During his last visit a remarkable interview took place between him and his host, the particulars of which are circumstantially given by Dr. Bayly in the little book he calls Certamen Religiosum: to me it falls to recount after him some of the said particulars, because, although Dorothy was brought but one little step within the sphere of the interview, certain results were which bore a large influence upon her history.
‘Though money came from him,’ that is, the marquis, ’like drops of blood,’ says Dr. Bayly, ’yet was he contented that every drop within his body should be let out,’ if only he might be the instrument of bringing his majesty back to the bosom of the catholic church—a bosom which no doubt the marquis found as soft as it was capacious, but which the king regarded as a good deal resembling that of a careless nurse rather than mother—frized with pins, and here and there a cruel needle. Therefore, expecting every hour that the king would apply to him for more money, the marquis had resolved that, at such time as he should do so, he would make an attempt to lead the stray sheep within the fold—for the marquis was not one of those who regarded a protestant as necessarily a goat.
But the king shrank from making the request in person, and having learned that the marquis had been at one point in his history under the deepest obligation to Dr. Bayly, who having then preserved both his lordship’s life and a large sum of money he carried with him, by ’concealing both for the space that the moon useth to be twice in riding of her circuit,’ had thereafter become a member of his family and a sharer in his deepest confidence, greatly desired that the doctor should take the office of mediator between him and the marquis.
The king’s will having been already conveyed to the doctor, in the king’s presence colonel Lingen came up to him and said,
’Dr. Bayly, the king, much wishing your aid in this matter, saith he delights not to be a beggar, and yet is constrained thereunto.’
‘I am at his majesty’s disposal,’ returned the doctor, ’although I confess myself somewhat loath to be the beetle-head that must drive this wedge.’
‘Nay,’ said the colonel, ’they tell me that no man can make a divorce between the Babylonish garment and the wedge of gold sooner than thyself, good doctor.’
The end was that he undertook the business, though with reluctance—unwilling to be ’made an instrument to let the same horse bleed whom the king himself had found so free’—and sought the marquis in his study.
‘My lord,’ he said, ’the thing that I feared is now fallen upon me. I am made the unwelcome messenger of bad news: the king wants money.’