At this moment Anne's eyes were fixed with some tenderness upon one of the supporters of her canopy on the right -- a very handsome young man, attired in a doublet and hose of black tylsent, paned and cut, and whose tall, well-proportioned figure was seen to the greatest advantage, inasmuch as he had divested himself of his mantle, for his better convenience in walking.

"I fear me you will fatigue yourself, Sir Thomas Wyat," said Anne Boleyn, in tones of musical sweetness, which made the heart beat and the colour mount to the cheeks of him she addressed. "You had better allow Sir Thomas Arundel or Sir John Hulstone to relieve you."

"I can feel no fatigue when near you, madam," replied Wyat, in a low tone.

A slight blush overspread Anne's features, and she raised her embroidered kerchief to her lips.

"If I had that kerchief I would wear it at the next lists, and defy all comers," said Wyat.

"You shall have it, then," rejoined Anne. "I love all chivalrous exploits, and will do my best to encourage them."

"Take heed, Sir Thomas," said Sir Francis Weston, the knight who held the staff on the other side," or we shall have the canopy down. Let Sir Thomas Arundel relieve you."

"No," rejoined Wyat, recovering himself; "I will not rest till we come to the bridge."

"You are in no haste to possess the kerchief," said Anne petulantly.

"There you wrong me, madam! "cried Sir Thomas eagerly.

"What ho, good fellows!" he shouted to the attendants at the palfreys' heads, "your lady desires you to stop."

And I desire them to go on -- I, Will Sommers, jester to the high and mighty King Harry the Eighth!" cried a voice of mock authority behind the knight. "What if Sir Thomas Wyat has undertaken to carry the canopy farther than any of his companions, is that a reason he should be relieved? Of a surety not -- go on, I say!"

The person who thus spoke then stepped forward, and threw a glance so full of significance at Anne Boleyn that she did not care to dispute the order, but, on the contrary, laughingly acquiesced in it.

Will Sommers -- the king's jester, as he described himself -- was a small middle-aged personage, with a physiognomy in which good nature and malice, folly and shrewdness, were so oddly blended, that it was difficult to say which predominated. His look was cunning and sarcastic, but it was tempered by great drollery and oddity of manner, and he laughed so heartily at his own jests and jibes, that it was scarcely possible to help joining him. His attire consisted of a long loose gown of spotted crimson silk, with the royal cipher woven in front in gold; hose of blue cloth, guarded with red and black cloth; and red cordovan buskins. A sash tied round his waist served him instead of a girdle, and he wore a trencher-shaped velvet cap on his head, with a white tufted feather in it. In his hand he carried a small horn. He was generally attended by a monkey, habited in a crimson doublet and hood, which sat upon his shoulder, and played very diverting tricks, but the animal was not with him on the present occasion.

Will Sommers was a great favourite with the king, and ventured upon familiarities which no one else dared to use with him. The favour in which he stood with his royal master procured him admittance to his presence at all hours and at all seasons, and his influence, though seldom exerted, was very great. He was especially serviceable in turning aside the edge of the king's displeasure, and more frequently exerted himself to allay the storm than to raise it. His principal hostility was directed against Wolsey, whose arrogance and grasping practices were the constant subjects of his railing. It was seldom, such was his privileged character, and the protection he enjoyed from the sovereign, that any of the courtiers resented his remarks; but Sir Thomas Wyat's feelings being now deeply interested, he turned sharply round, and said, "How now, thou meddling varlet, what business hast thou to interfere?"

"I interfere to prove my authority, gossip Wyat," replied Sommers, " and to show that, varlet as I am, I am as powerful as Mistress Anne Boleyn -- nay, that I am yet more powerful, because I am obeyed, while she is not."

"Were I at liberty," said Sir Thomas angrily, "I would make thee repent thine insolence."

"But thou art not at liberty, good gossip," replied the jester, screaming with laughter; " thou art tied like a slave to the oar, and cannot free thyself from it -- ha! ha!" Having enjoyed the knight's discomposure for a few seconds, he advanced towards him, and whispered in his ear, "Don't mistake me, gossip. I have done thee good service in preventing thee from taking that kerchief. Hadst thou received it in the presence of these witnesses, thou wouldst have been lodged in the Round Tower of Windsor Castle to-morrow, instead of feasting with the knights- companions in Saint George's Hall."

"I believe thou art right, gossip,"said Wyat in the same tone.

Rest assured I am," replied Sommers; "and I further more counsel thee to decline this dangerous gift altogether, and to think no more of the fair profferer, or if thou must think of her, let it be as of one beyond thy reach. Cross not the lion's path; take a friendly hint from the jackal."

And without waiting for a reply, he darted away, and mingled with the cavalcade in the rear.

Immediately behind Anne Boleyn's litter rode a company of henchmen of the royal household, armed with gilt partisans. Next succeeded a chariot covered with red cloth of gold, and drawn by four horses richly caparisoned, containing the old Duchess of Norfolk and the old Marchioness of Dorset. Then came the king's natural son, the Duke of Richmond -- a young man formed on the same large scale, and distinguished by the same haughty port, and the same bluff manner, as his royal sire. The duke's mother was the Lady Talboys, esteemed one of the most beautiful women of the age, and who had for a long time held the capricious monarch captive. Henry was warmly attached to his son, showered favours without number upon him, and might have done yet more if fate had not snatched him away at an early age.