Wyat bowed.

"You have saved your head, gossip," whispered Will Sommers in the knight's ear. "A visit to Francis the First is better than a visit to the Tower."

"Retire, my lords," said Henry to the assemblage; "we owe some apology to the Lady Anne for our intrusion, and desire an opportunity to make it."

Upon this the chamber was instantly cleared of its occupants, and the Earl of Surrey was conducted, under a guard, to the Round Tower.

Henry, however, did not find it an easy matter to make peace with the Lady Anne. Conscious of the advantage she had gained, she determined not to relinquish it, and, after half an hour's vain suing, her royal lover proposed a turn in the long gallery, upon which her apartments opened. Here they continued conversing -- Henry pleading in the most passionate manner, and Anne maintaining a show of offended pride.

At last she exhibited some signs of relenting, and Henry led her into a recess in the gallery, lighted by a window filled with magnificent stained glass. In this recess was a seat and a small table, on which stood a vase filled with flowers, arranged by Anne's own hand; and here the monarch hoped to adjust his differences with her.

Meanwhile, word having reached Wolsey and Campeggio of the new cause of jealousy which the king had received, it was instantly resolved that the former should present to him, while in his present favourable mood, a despatch received that morning from Catherine of Arragon.

Armed with the letter, Wolsey repaired to the king's closet. Not finding him there, and being given to understand by an usher that he was in the great gallery, he proceeded thither. As he walked softly along the polished oak floor, he heard voices in one of the recesses, and distinguished the tones of Henry and Anne Boleyn.

Henry was clasping the snowy fingers of his favourite, and gazing passionately at her, as the cardinal approached.

"Your majesty shall not detain my hand," said Anne, "unless you swear to me, by your crown, that you will not again be jealous without cause."

"I swear it," replied Henry.

"Were your majesty as devoted to me as you would have me believe, you would soon bring this matter of the divorce to an issue," said Anne.

"I would fain do so, sweetheart," rejoined Henry; "but these cardinals perplex me sorely."

"I am told by one who overheard him, that Wolsey has declared the divorce shall not be settled these two years," said Anne; "in which case it had better not be settled at all; for I care not to avow I cannot brook so much delay. The warmth of my affection will grow icy cold by that time."

"It were enough to try the patience of the most forbearing," rejoined the king, smiling -- " but it shall not be so -- by this lily hand it shall not! And now, sweetheart, are we entirely reconciled?

"Not yet," replied Anne. "I shall claim a boon from your majesty before I accord my entire forgiveness."

"Name it," said the king, still clasping her hand tenderly, and intoxicated by the witchery of her glance.

"I ask an important favour," said Anne, "but as it is one which will benefit your majesty as much as myself, I have the less scruple in requesting it. I ask the dismissal of one who has abused your favour, who, by his extortion and rapacity, has in some degree alienated the affections of your subjects from you, and who solely opposes your divorce from Catherine of Arragon because he fears my influence may be prejudicial to him."

"You cannot mean Wolsey?" said Henry uneasily.

"Your majesty has guessed aright," replied Anne.

"Wolsey has incurred my displeasure oft of late," said Henry; "and yet his fidelity -- "

"Be not deceived, my liege," said Anne; "he is faithful to you only so far as serves his turn. He thinks he rules you."

Before Henry could reply, the cardinal stepped forward.

"I bring your majesty a despatch, just received from the queen," he said.

"And you have been listening to our discourse? " rejoined Henry sternly. "You have overheard -- "

"Enough to convince me, if I had previously doubted it, that the Lady Anne Boleyn is my mortal foe," replied Wolsey.

"Foe though I am, I will make terms with your eminence," said Anne. "Expedite the divorce -- you can do so if you will -- and I am your fast friend."

"I know too well the value of your friendship, noble lady, not to do all in my power to gain it," replied Wolsey. "I will further the matter, if possible. But it rests chiefly in the hands of his holiness Pope Clement the Seventh."

"If his majesty will listen to my counsel, he will throw off the pope's yoke altogether," rejoined Anne. "Nay, your eminence may frown at me if you will. Such, I repeat, shall be my counsel. If the divorce is speedily obtained, I am your friend: if not -- look to yourself."

"Do not appeal to me, Wolsey," said Henry, smiling approval at Anne; "I shall uphold her."

"Will it please your majesty to peruse this despatch? "said Wolsey, again offering Catherine's letter.

"Take it to my closet," replied the king; " I will join you there. And now at last we are good friends, sweetheart."

"Excellent friends, my dear liege," replied Anne; "but I shall never be your queen while Wolsey holds his place."

"Then, indeed, he shall lose it," replied Henry.

"She is a bitter enemy, certes," muttered Wolsey as he walked away. "I must overthrow her quickly, or she will overthrow me. A rival must be found -- ay, a rival -- but where? I was told that Henry cast eyes on a comely forester's daughter at the chase this morning. She may do for the nonce."