The incident above related gave new life to the adherents of Catherine of Arragon, while it filled those devoted to Anne Boleyn with alarm. Immediately on Anne's return to the castle Lord Rochford had a private interview with her, and bitterly reproached her for endangering her splendid prospects. Anne treated the matter very lightly -- said it was only a temporary gust of jealousy -- and added that the king would be at her feet again before the day was past.
"You are over-confident, mistress!" cried Rochford angrily. "Henry is not an ordinary gallant."
" It is you who are mistaken, father," replied Anne. "The king differs in no respect from any of his love-smitten subjects. I have him in my toils, and will not let him escape."
"You have a tiger in your toils, daughter, and take heed he breaks not forcibly through them," rejoined Rochford. "Henry is more wayward than you suppose him. Once let him take up a notion, and nothing can shake him from it. He has resolved upon the divorce as much from self- will as from any other consideration. If you regain your position with him, of which you seem so confident, do not consider yourself secure -- not even when you are crowned queen -- but be warned by Catherine of Arragon."
"Catherine has not the art to retain him," said Anne. "Henry will never divorce me."
"Take care he does not rid himself of you in a more summary manner, daughter," rejoined Rochford. "If you would stand well with him, you must study his lightest word, look, and action -- humour him in every whim -- and yield to every caprice. Above all, you must exhibit no jealousy."
"You are wrong in all but the last, father," returned Anne. "Henry is not to be pleased by such nice attention to his humours. It is because I have shown myself careless of them that I have captivated him. But I will take care not to exhibit jealousy, and, sooth to say, I do not think I shall have cause."
"Be not too sure of that," replied Rochford. "And at all events, let not the king have cause to be jealous of you. I trust Wyat will be banished from court. But if he is not, do not let him approach you more."
"Poor Sir Thomas!" sighed Anne. "He loved me very dearly."
"But what is his love compared to the king's?" cried Rochford. "Tut, tut, girl! think no more of him."
"I will not, my lord," she rejoined; "I see the prudence of your counsel, and will obey it. Leave me, I pray you. I will soon win back the affections of the king."
No sooner had Rochford quitted the chamber than the arras at the farther end was raised, and Wyat stepped from behind it. His first proceeding was to bar the door.
"What means this, Sir Thomas?" cried Anne in alarm. "How have you obtained admittance here?"
"Through the secret staircase," replied Wyat, bending the knee before her.
"Rise, sir!" cried Anne, in great alarm. "Return, I beseech you, as you came. You have greatly endangered me by coming here. If you are seen to leave this chamber, it will be in vain to assert my innocence to Henry. Oh, Sir Thomas! you cannot love me, or you would not have done this."
"Not love you, Anne!" he repeated bitterly; "not love you I Words cannot speak my devotion. I would lay down my head on the scaffold to prove it. But for my love for you, I would throw open that door, and walk forth so that all might see me -- so that Henry might experience some part of the anguish I now feel."
"But you will not do so, good Sir Thomas -- dear Sir Thomas," cried Anne Boleyn, in alarm.
"Have no fear," rejoined Wyat, with some contempt; "I will sacrifice even vengeance to love."
"Sir Thomas, I had tolerated this too long," said Anne. "Begone -- you terrify me."
"It is my last interview with you, Anne," said Wyat imploringly; "do not abridge it. Oh, bethink you of the happy hours we have passed together -- of the vows we have interchanged -- of the protestations you have listened to, and returned -- ay, returned, Anne. Are all these forgotten?"
"Not forgotten, Sir Thomas," replied Anne mournfully; "but they must not be recalled. I cannot listen to you longer. You must go. Heaven grant you may get hence in safety!"
"Anne," replied Wyat in a sombre tone, "the thought of Henry's happiness drives me mad. I feel that I am grown a traitor -- that I could slay him."
"Sir Thomas!" she exclaimed, in mingled fear and anger.
"I will not go," he continued, flinging himself into a seat. "Let them put what construction they will upon my presence. I shall at least wring Henry's heart. I shall see him suffer as I have suffered; and I shall be content."
This is not like you, Wyat," cried Anne, in great alarm. "You were wont to be noble, generous, kind. You will not act thus disloyally?
"Who has acted disloyally, Anne? " cried Wyat, springing to his feet, and fixing his dark eyes, blazing with jealous fury, upon her -- " you or I? Have you not sacrificed your old affections at the shrine of ambition? Are you not about to give yourself to one to whom -- unless you are foresworn -- you cannot give your heart? Better had you been the mistress of Allington Castle -- better the wife of a humble knight like myself, than the queen of the ruthless Henry."
"No more of this, Wyat," said Anne.
"Better far you should perish by his tyranny for a supposed fault now than hereafter," pursued Wyat fiercely. "Think not Henry will respect you more than her who had been eight-and-twenty years his wife. No; when he is tired of your charms -- when some other dame, fair as yourself, shall enslave his fancy, he will cast you off, or, as your father truly intimated, will seek a readier means of ridding himself of you. Then you will think of the different fate that might have been yours if you had adhered to your early love."
"Wyat! Wyat! I cannot bear this -- in mercy spare me!" cried Anne.
"I am glad to see you weep," said Wyat; "your tears make you look more like your former self."