You go Triple T- JC Aka Triple Threat by Brian The Hammer Jackson
It's been a long week, I just interviewed a great guest on Thurs. Fri
morning came 6 AM PST, My mind wonders how can I give JC a great
interview, I say that because I consider JC family which makes me just
wanna have fun and your glad they came. The problem with that is you
might miss an opportunity for JC to promote something, so you go in as
if he is someone you don’t know and try to find out what’s he doing. You
take away JC good looks, quick wit, Talent, what you have left? you
still have one special dude with a will to make things better. 7A.M is
here fri morning it’s showtime, JC comes in the studio and you can feel
the energy fill the studio up. ( My coffee even says: Damn I wish I had
that energy) JC came on like a pro, He promoted his songs,tours,
merchandise which is cool.
JC aka Triple Threat
But I wanted to go deeper, His fears his wants his flaws, JC came in
with another Agenda, a passion he connected himself with, A charity to
help stop bullying, I tried to bait him by talking about I think
bullying is a good thing, JC didn’t waver ignored my dumb ass and gave a
true heartfelt answer. You can listen to the podcast by hitting the
link Hammer & Ellen in the morning Triple Threat in The House. JC
came in as a professional & left as family. What does he have when
you take away his Good Looks Wit, & Talent? You got parents like
Lady T Mr T and you still got one special dude. Lady T (JC MOM) she is a
shark, Sure she is sweet,looking all fashion model Ms Thang. She is a
no nonsense business woman and she will let you know it if you step out
of line. She also one of the most beautiful lady inside and out you will
meet. What about (Mr.T) Now we are talking. I ask Mr T have you seen
the bad side of Lady T? He thought for a moment and said back in the
90’s ( I’m thinking you are a brave man and I will remember you at your
funeral) He continued He said just i saw just a bit a little bit of
her halo slipped….. Oh man…
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Whereto should I express
My inward heaviness?
No mirth can make me fain
Till that we meet again.
From Where Should I
Bridget Littleton raised her face to the darkening sky. Stars sparkled
and shone, accentuating the soft feel of the salt-scented air. Leaning against
the rail of her father’s luxurious yacht, she gave herself up to the gentle
listing of the ship, enjoying the sound of the slap of the waves against the
yacht’s steel hull. To her left, a seagull flew – just at eye level, so close
that she could hear it pull the wind beneath its snowy wings. Intermittently,
the maritime bird would glide and soundlessly ride the air currents, like a
silent phantom above the blue-green waves of the sea. Flap, glide, dip and
climb, her airborne companion followed the yacht for a short time, then soared
off in the quest of an aquatic snack.
She’d brought an opened
bottle of red wine to the aft deck of the yacht. There comfortable chairs and
couches were placed for the ease of her father’s friends and clients. She still
wasn’t sure as to how she was able to convince her father to let her use his
yacht, but she was grateful. The Bridget, so named by her late mother,
was a large, well-appointed vessel, its primary use being for the entertainment
of her father’s business associates. Somehow she persuaded him to lend it.
Bridge preferred this part
of the large, luxurious yacht, preferred to see where she had been rather than
where she was going. Bridge’d always felt that way, felt the pull of a past she
couldn’t quite bring into focus.
Lifting a crystal goblet to her lips,
she drank of the Bordeaux she preferred, savoring the taste of black cherry on
her tongue. She held the wine there for a few seconds, savoring the taste, then
let it slip down her throat, enjoying the chocolate finish of the wine.
The evening was a little
cool, pleasantly so, and there was a slight wind carrying the scent of salt, a
briny perfume she found enticing, seducing. She loved the smell of the sea. To
her, it was a fragrance that called up phantoms of memories she could not quite
The wind began to pick up,
and as her hair lifted in response to its urging, she shook her head, reveling
in the feel of soft hair moving against her neck and shoulders. She delighted
in the wind in her hair – enjoyed the pull of it, the slight tug as hair and wind
became playmates, dancing around her neck and cheeks, then billowing upward
creating a silky parachute of silver and gold. Leaning her head back, she again
looked up into the vast dome of sky above her. She loved to be at sea. She felt
as if someone were calling to her; the pull of the sea was as strong and as
insistent as a lover.
Footsteps caused her to turn
from the rail. “Ah, Liam, good evening.” She smiled in greeting as one of her
guests approached her – a second bottle of wine in one hand and a shawl in the
“I was afraid that you may
catch a chill, Bridget. The wind is picking up.”
“Please, call me Bridge.
Thank you, Liam. That was kind.” Both turned to the rail and observed the wake
of the boat as it made its progress.
“Aren’t we in the Bermuda
Triangle?” Liam asked.
“Yes, we are. Not afraid are
you?” Bridge teased.
“Nah – not really.” Liam
chuckled but finally admitted, “Well, not too nervous anyway.
“Say, this is some yacht
your dad has here. Who named it The Bridget?”
“My mother did when I was
“I see. Not bad to have a
whole luxury yacht named after you.” They fell silent as both gave in to the
beauty of the night and the softness of the breeze. Bridge lifted her glass for
another sip and Liam noticed a ring on the middle finger of her left hand as
she raised it to her lips. The kiss of the moon’s ethereal rays made the stones
dance with light as if the ring were enchanted.
“Wow, Bridge, beautiful
“Thank you. It was my
mother’s. By tradition, it is given to the eldest daughter of the eldest son.
There is some kind of mystery to it. My ancestress through my mother, Bridget
Lyttleton, supposedly owned it. That is why I’m named Bridget, by the way. My
father’s name is John, and he is also a Littleton, but my parents are something
like seventh cousins. Anyway Bridget’s father-in-law was named John, as was her
husband, Sir John, actually, and my mother thought it would be nice to honor
her, especially since the ring originated with her. So Bridget I am, but of
course it got shortened to Bridge.”
“Well, it certainly is a
beautiful ring. The gold is exquisite and, those are rubies, right?”
“Yes. Actually, it’s a Tudor
For the second time that
evening she held up her hand. The moonlight again caressed the stones and they
seemed to come alive. Set in heavy gold, the center gem was a perfect four
grain (equivalent to a karat) pearl surrounded by five slightly smaller rubies
which shimmered in the moonlight. It was stunning, but Bridget measured its
value by the previous owner, her mother, who wore it on the same finger until
she died of cancer when Bridge was three.
“Yes, it’s a rather long
story, but basically, a rose bush bloomed with both red and white petals
signifying the union of two royal houses. Don’t get me started or I’ll talk for
hours about it. My hobby is Tudor history,” she laughed.
“Oh, this may interest you,”
Bridge said. Lifting the shawl she now wore and showing him an unusual brooch
which was pinned to her gown.
“Hey, that’s an interesting piece of
jewelry you have there.”
Bridget glanced down at the pin and
“Yes. Actually, it has an amusing story
“Upon hearing that I was intending a
cruise which necessitated my basically staying within the Bermuda Triangle, my
friend Cynthia became frightened. It is superstitious nonsense, of course, but
what can you do?
“So, she went to Tiffany’s and had it
made for me as a good luck talisman.”
“What is it? I can’t quite see.”
“It’s a sixteenth-century ship. She
knows of my love of Tudor history and this is a replica of one of Henry VIII
ships named the Mary Rose, after his favorite sister. Here, dangling from the
figurehead is a diamond. Supposedly representing the North Star. Here on the
back of the ship, on the quarter-deck, is a woman. I guess that’s supposed to
“These scrolls along the water line are
waves and represent that the ship is in a storm, but the woman will be safe
because she has the North Star to guide her. She calls it the ‘Storm Tossed
“Oh!” Bridge exclaimed as
the yacht lurched. The wind, heretofore a gentle breeze, was picking up, and
the sea was becoming choppy. The shawl which Liam brought to Bridge rose into
the air. She made an attempt to catch it, slipped and almost fell into the sea,
the goblet of wine crashing to the deck with a splintering sound of shattering
glass as red wine coursed down the planks in blood red streams.
The wind increased and began
“Bridge!” Liam yelled.
Grabbing her arm, he attempted to keep her from sliding over the rail as the
yacht tossed and pitched as though it were deliberately trying to throw her
overboard. Below her, Liam watched in horror as a whirlpool appeared starboard,
and like a tornado, began to draw Bridge into its depths. He held on
frantically, his eyes stretched wide as he looked into Bridge’s fear-filled
face. Slowly her arm began to slip from his hands until the whirlpool claimed
her and she was gone.
The storm quieted and the
ship ceased its tossing. Crashing to his knees, Liam covered his face with his
hands and cried out, “Bridge!”
I make you fast and
It is to me great pain
Thus longë to endure
Till that we meet again.
From Where Should I
rose from the bottom of a deep chasm. Slowly, slowly, darkness turned to mist,
and mist turned to light. She could hear voices, faint at first, but as she
drifted up through a veil of unconsciousness they became clearer, more
distinct. Something in her brain, or maybe it was her soul, whispered caution.
She waited, like a small animal, not sure if it should come out of its burrow.
As she floated gradually to the surface,
she listened. There was a clacking sound, which she decided was the sound of
wood on wood – perhaps clogs on a floor. Yes, the rhythm of the clacking was
definitely that of walking. Someone opened a window and a faint breeze wafted
into the room accompanied by an odor she couldn’t quite put a finger on. Her
nose twitched in an attempt to ascertain its identity: something earthy mixed
with the smell of rain. The clacking began again, moving closer until it
stopped near where she lay. Holding her breath, Bridge waited.
“It was a miracle, ‘tis what I say, him
just riding along and finding her there on the banks of the Avon. Why, she
could have drowned, poor poppet! And what a beauty! Imagine if some bad sort
come upon her first? Makes a body shudder.”
“And her shift. I ne’er seen cloth like
that, and what was that she was wearing….underneath?”
“Thee knows as well as I do. The poor
maid, and she but a girl not yet fifteen, I warrant. We shall bring her about,
Bessie; thee can be assured of that!”
The clacking started again, this time
moving away. There was another sound, like cloth on cloth, or the whisper made
by limbs moving over linen sheets.
Bridge was confused. Have I ended up
in some Amish home? She held her breath, and opened her eyes just enough to
peer through the merest slit. What she saw almost caused her to sit upright.
Two women were in the room, gathering
what seemed to be mounds of linen. They both wore what looked like corsets over
what appeared to be white linen blouses with full skirts falling to the tops of
their shoes, which were square of toe.
Aprons covered their skirts, presumably
from any dirt that could be transferred while performing their duties. On their
heads, they wore what resembled a stocking cap, but they were made out of some
kind of cloth: linen, she guessed. They appeared as though they existed within
a living Hans Holbein the Younger painting. Bridge’s confusion grew and a trill
of alarm began to course down her spine.
Closing her eyes and pretending to still
be unconscious, Bridge waited. I think I need to be careful here until I
know where the hell I am!
She had seen the room as well during her
undetected peek. Occupying one wall was a large fireplace. The furnishings were
simple, but the room wore a comfortable feel. The mattress upon which she lay
was undeniably stuffed with feathers, and beneath it felt as if there were a
second mattress which gave firmness to the bed. Were it not for the two women
in the room, she may have been tempted to curl up and enjoy the comfort. But something
here was strange. Where am I? she wondered, and how did I get here?
And where is here?
Avon, she said that I was found on the
shores of the river Avon. Avon? England? What happened to me?
Bridge tried to dredge up through the
mists what exactly had happened, but the memory would not come. She remembered
being on deck with Liam and showing him the pin. The wind picked up suddenly
and…and then…and then…what?
She remembered water! Somehow she was
surrounded by water and it kept spinning and spinning. It was hard to breathe
and a blackness fell over her, and then there was nothing.
The women left the room and she dared to
open her eyes to look around. Sitting up, she looked down at the bed and, her
ring! Her ring was gone! What happened? Calm down. They probably took it off
of you and put it somewhere.
Swinging her legs over the side of the
bed, she hopped to reach the floor. Only then did she see the three steps
leading up to the bed. “Wow, a new way to get high,” she remarked sotto voce.
She ventured deeper into the room. Passing the fireplace, the sound of wood
popping and cracking filled the now silent room, the fire within its recesses
casting a dancing glow on nearby benches and filling the room with the scent of
burning wood. Shafts of light cast through a mullioned window fell in pools
upon a solid, wood floor, covered by layers of carpets upon which was placed plain,
but solid, furniture…and no lamps. Not a single electric lamp. All she could
see was candles. Could this indeed be an Amish home? “Wow,” she said
aloud and immediately slapped her hand across her mouth.
Something tells me that I need to be
careful here until I know where I am and whose house I’m in.
It was then that she noticed that she
was wearing a shift of some kind. Made of snowy white linen, the garment
covered her from the collar bone to mid-shin. The voluminous sleeves were
gathered at the wrist by a blue ribbon threaded through sewn eyelets in the
cuff. A chill, like a bucket of ice water, washed down her spine a second time.
What is going on here?
footsteps drove her back into the bed. Diving in, she barely managed to get
under the covers and back into position before the door opened and the woman
named Kate, if she was remembering her voice correctly, walked in with another
“Here she is, Missus.”
“So, how does she?” a pleasant feminine
“I think she will awaken soon, Missus. I
have seen her move about a bit, natural like, so I do not think it will be
“Excellent, Kate.” So it was Kate.
“When doth Mister Lyttleton return,
“Any day now, Kate. Until then, we must
care for our guests. Mister John Lyttleton, my dear husband’s brother, will
tarry until yon maid is able to travel.”
Bridge could hear the rustle of clothing
as either the woman, whose name was obviously Missus Lyttleton, or the woman
named Kate, walked over to the bed where Bridge lay and pretended to still be
unconscious. A cool hand was laid upon her forehead.
“Her skin is cool to the touch. ‘Tis
certain she is noble. Regard her brow, her well-kept hair and hands – and her
beauty. ‘Tis not well that we offend by ill care, Kate. Perchance she is of
noble blood. We must take special care of the maid. Do you take my meaning?”
“Very well. Let me know of any change. I
shall return anon. And close yon window, one half is open allowing a breeze to
enter; the street reeks.”
There was the clacking sound again
followed by a creak as the door opened and closed.
Bridge slipped from beneath the covers and stepped out of bed, this time using
the small stair steps provided. Looking around, she tried to orient herself as
to where she was. Her last memory was of standing at the rail of her father’s
yacht with Liam, then a sudden storm, the whirlpool, and…nothing. How did she
Walking on tiptoe to the window, Bridge
gazed through one of the diamond-shaped panes which made up the aperture.
Discovering the latch, releasing it and hearing a slight click, she slowly
opened the window. The smell of dust mixed with mud, animals and another odor,
rotting vegetation and dung, she guessed, greeted her immediately. Gasping and
backing away, she closed the window, placing the latch back into position.
“What is going on here!” she exclaimed. “Where am I? WHEN am I?” The opening of
the door, heralded by a now familiar creak, alerted Bridge to the fact that she
was no longer alone. Swinging around and facing away from the window, her back
pressing against the sill, she beheld a man.
He stood approximately five-ten. Dark
hair framed a handsome face from which her own eyes, the color of orchids,
sparkled with intelligence. Smiling, he walked toward her slowly, gently, as if
approaching a wild animal that was in danger of bolting. Bowing he said,
“Hello, Mistress. I am called John
Lyttleton. I am he who found you on the banks of the Avon. I am glad to see
that you have come ‘round. I am here to help you.”
John Lyttleton! She looked at him
closely. He appeared to be in his early 40s. Is it possible? She
examined his clothes, the room, remembered what she had seen out of the window.
Have I lost my mind? The time…the street outside…the house…he has my eyes. Other
than my parents, I’ve never seen anyone with my eyes. I remember a John
Lyttleton from my research into my family roots. Is this my twenty-times great-grandfather?
This doesn’t make sense. What happened to me? Was it the Bermuda Triangle? It
can’t be; I don’t believe in that mumbo jumbo, but mumbo jumbo or not, I’m in a
room without electricity, in a city with people walking around in the mud in
Tudor dress with horses and carts and garbage in the street, and now here is
this man, claiming to be John Lyttleton, looking at me with my own eyes!
Bridge, because of her love of history,
and her inheritance of the Tudor Rose ring, had thoroughly traced her lineage,
and the name of John Lyttleton, later spelled Littleton, was found in her
family tree as early as the late 1400s to as late as the 1700s where Pharell,
grandson of Sir John Littleton, MP, appeared in Virginia as one of the
overseers on George Washington’s plantation. Amazed and confused, she backed
away slightly, fumbling for something on which to hold.
She could feel her heart slamming
against her ribcage and hear her breath as it escaped her lungs with a soft
wheezing sound. Sweat sprung out upon her brow as she fought to not lose
consciousness. This was unreal – this couldn’t be!
The little maid is frightened, John thought
with regret. Smiling, in an attempt to calm her, he said, “Good morrow.
Prithee, little one. Let us sit upon yon bench. I am sure you are confused, and
mayhap I can answer questions, which I am sure run rampant in your mind. Pray,
sit ye down. I will not harm you!” he said, chuckling and lowering himself onto
the bench. Sweeping his arm to the right, he indicated where she should sit.
Walking over to him slowly, Bridge
continued to stare into his eyes. He did appear to be kind, and she felt safe
with him. She sat down gingerly, yet still left some space between them. The
bench was cool beneath her sweaty palms and as she fought to quiet the beating
of her heart, she attempted to draw in a deep breath.
“You…you found me?”
“Aye, I am he what discovered you. I
found you awash in naught but a shift, a wondrous garment, but alas, worse for
the wear. How fair you?
“Sir, ummm … prithee … ummm … where am
“Ah! Aye! You would not know. As fate
will have it, you are now in Bristol, and here you shall abide in the house of
my good brother William until such time as I may take you thither to mine own
home in Worcester.”
Bristol, apparently somewhere back in
time. Bristol – once called Brigg Stow or meeting place at the bridge. Main
industry import and export…wine, wool. How did I end up here?
“Sir,” Don’t give away that you don’t
know what year it is. Think….your knowledge of Tudor history can help you
now…think…. “That is, kind, good sir. What is the latest news of Bristol?” There,
maybe that will help me hone in on when I am!
“Fancy you should ask! Why, Bristol is
right proud, for a new grammar school has been founded and all may now boast of
an education.” He beamed his joy, which began in his sparkling, orchid eyes and
slipped down to a surprisingly well-preserved smile.”
Oh, my God! Let me think…1532? Really?
1532? And if this is indeed my twenty-times great-grandfather, that would make
him….forty-two, maybe forty. John interrupted her thoughts,
“Mistress, where hail ye from, for I do
declare, you have mine eyes. Never have I beheld such as mine in another living
creature outside of mine own family. From whence hail ye? Are we perchance
Almost blurting out “Yeah, real distant
relatives, grandpa!” Bridge metaphorically bit her tongue. This was going too
fast. She needed time to think, needed time to assimilate all that was happening
to her, needed time to figure out how to speak without drawing attention to
herself or making everyone think she was looney tunes.
She had to admit that his language was
seeping into her brain and becoming more and more familiar. Her penchant for reading
letters from this era was turning out to be a godsend. More and more she was
hearing his language as if it were modern English. That is, she understood as
quickly and as intuitively as she did her own.
These were very dangerous times, and if
I am indeed in 1532 Tudor England, fascinating as it may be, I will have to
tread softly. There is the issue of allegiance to the Queen versus….oh, my!
Anne Boleyn! Religion!
“I…I…” Taking note of her confusion,
John immediately associated it with fatigue.
“By your leave, Mistress, I will leave
you now for you are quite wore out. Know this: I will take care of you. When
you are strong and able to travel, we shall journey to mine home where my good
wife Elizabeth will aid you in any particular of your wellbeing. I will be your
protector and friend; you need have no fear. Now, allow me to help you to your
bed. I will tell my sister-in law that you are in need of sustenance.”
“Thank you,” Bridge mumbled. She was
tired, overwhelmed, incredulous, unbelieving, half believing and just plain
frightened. Then she remembered.
“Pardon, good sir, where is my ring?”
“Why, Mistress, there was no ring, but
ah, aye, I have forgot me, I did manage to save this.” Reaching into his
pocket, he pulled out the brooch, the “Storm Tossed” pin; the diamond was still
John bowed and left the room. Walking to
one of the benches situated by the fireplace, Bridge sat. Cradling her face in
her hands, she wept. She felt horribly alone, extremely frightened and vulnerable.
To make matters worse, she somehow lost the one anchor she had to her old life
that she really cared about: her mother’s Tudor Rose ring.
And if any
person will meddle of my cause, I require them to judge the best.
The air smelled
of beeswax. Candles blazed, their light reflecting off of various jewels and
dancing within the eyes of beautiful women. The room was warm and filled with
the sounds of lutes and flutes, trumpets and drums.
The king sat at the main dais, the jewels
on his fingers, and adorning his gem encrusted hat, shot flashes of fire as
candlelight played within their facets. Henry sat watching the dancers, sipping
a goblet of Bordeaux and absentmindedly nibbling on a Deception, a relatively
new art form in which the cook in charge of all things sugar in the kitchen
created edible sweets and modeled them to look like castles, unicorns, even
goblets and bowls. Considered by many future scholars to be the ancestor of the
wedding cake, Deceptions were very popular in Henry’s court. Made of sugar
icing and formed to represent a mermaid, the confection was sweet, perhaps
overly so, and he decided that he’d eaten enough of the sugary treat. Besides,
he wanted the main form to remain intact as it was made to honor his guest, a
beauteous maiden by all reports, pulled from the edge of the river Avon.
Henry ate his main meal at eleven
o’clock that morning and had feasted on a saddle of spit-roasted lamb, roasted
gammon, carrots glazed with honey, a salad, roasted turkey, a new and
intriguing addition to his table, porpoise, a custard with berries and clotted
cream finished off with a tray of various cheeses.
The food was prepared in his own,
private kitchen, each employee required to take an oath of allegiance to the
king before being permitted to touch his food. Poisoning was a very real
“Where is the maid?” Henry demanded,
startling Archbishop Thomas Cranmer from a quite delicious doze. Cranmer was
finding it hard to stay awake on this warm candle scented evening.
“Your Grace, I am sure she will come anon.
She arrived but two hours ago and, as Your Highness well knoweth, it takes a
maid a good bit of time to make herself, shall we say, presentable?”
“God’s wounds, I am impatient to see the
girl!” Leaning toward Cranmer, he winked and added, “I hear she has the breasts
of a white dove and hair the color of moonlight,” Henry said, using the term
duckys instead of breasts.
“Aye, Sire, she is wondrous fair. I
think you will find that she is worth the wait.”
Bridge’s hair, Elizabeth Lyttleton lingered over the task. She never failed to
wonder at its texture, its color or its silkiness. It shone like the moonlight
it was often compared to, and from it rose a scent of – what? What could she
compare it to? Ah, the smell of a meadow when the wildflowers were in bloom, or
mayhap dew kissed roses.
As she was helping Bridge to dress
earlier, her thoughts turned to her husband John. She was sorry that he could
not be present to witness Bridge’s introduction to the king, but the invitation
summoned only Bridge and a “lady to wait upon her.”
Lizbeth, as her husband called her,
accompanied Bridge. Her love for the girl had grown in the few, short weeks
Bridge spent with them, and so, she made a gift of her best shift, given her as
a wedding present and never worn, but rather saved as a treasure. It was made
of fine linen as white and soft as a cloud. Along the hem and the gathered
wrists was the finest lace. The bodice too was trimmed in the same fragile
filigree cloth which formed a small ruffle below the neckline.
Fine woolen stockings held up with
garters made of ribbon came next, followed by a red, woolen petticoat, or
underskirt, a product of her own husband’s looms, over which was placed the
Removing the garment from a chest,
Lizbeth held it up for Bridge to admire. Across her arms lay a beautiful
underdress, the front a stunning brocade in saffron and gold, touched here and
there with small petals of the most tender sea green, a gift from the king,
which would match her sleeves. The back of the garment was a tawny silk. The
bodice was made of the same brocade as the front of the kirtle and was lined
with whalebone. Laced up the back, the fabric pushed the breasts upward, giving
them a pleasing “rise.” Lizbeth was proud of this raiment especially, sewn by
her own hands, and wondered at the king’s gift of the material which
accompanied the invitation, no the command, that Bridge come to court. Only
nobility was allowed to wear cloth of gold or cloth sewn with gold thread, and
even that was restricted as to how much. Next came the gown. The tawny silk
gleamed in the firelight. Lizbeth acquired it early on in her marriage and was
saving it for a special occasion. That occasion had arisen, but not in any
fashion she could have predicted.
As she placed the gown upon Bridge’s
shoulders, she marveled at the fact that she, Elizabeth Lyttleton, the wife of
a wool merchant, should come to court.
All because of this maid. I do fear for
her. Such beauty often brings disaster.
Lizbeth moved around to face Bridge,
adjusting the coat-like garment. Cut so that the front of the kirtle could be
seen, it covered the bodice except for the very top where a row of pearls and
rubies gleamed and sparkled in the firelight. She tied the bodice cover of the
gown and stepped back. The golden brown silk made Bridge’s eyes stand out, and
her hair glowed like a halo.
“Tawny is your color, Bridge,” she
Lizbeth added the fore sleeves, which
were tied to the main sleeve of the gown, made of the same tawny silk and lined
with the same brocade as the kirtle. Trimmed with fox fur, they added a
luxurious touch to the finished costume. A pair of square toed velvet slippers,
the exact color of the gown, finished her ensemble.
How do they wear all of this every day? Bridge
wondered. She turned and looked into a mirror and was stunned. Wow! Just
like in the movies. Like dress up, only this is for real. Turning a little to the side, Bridge once
again noticed the absence of her mother’s ring. How beautiful it would have
looked with this gown! she mourned, then decided to put the thought aside.
She needed to keep her wits about her and couldn’t be distracted by thoughts of
her past, or was it now her future?
Bridge turned to the left, then the
right, and rotated so that she could look over her shoulder. The gown was
stunning. She was amazed at the difference in how the clothing of this era
enhanced a person’s look in a way no modern dress, which was geared toward
comfort and not show, could make. Well, except for the paned slops, or pumpkin
pants, some of the men would be wearing by around mid-century. She thought they
looked like a baggy diaper and wondered how they walked in those stupid things.
In her past, in the future, she often had to suppress a giggle when attending a
Shakespeare play when she saw the actors strutting around in the, to her modern
mind, ridiculous garb, which made her think of the commercial showing the baby
walking in what the narrator called a “cowboy diaper.” She knew from her
reading that they weren’t popular yet, and the more attractive doublet and
upper and nether hose were the style at present. But fashion was headed that
way, and by the time Shakespeare came upon the scene, they would be de rigueur
in men’s wear. In the meantime, the men were handsome in their close-fitting
hose and finely wrought doublets. In fact, Bridge found the fashion quite
Fashion reflected the sensibilities of
the people in a designated era, and Bridge remembered from her studies that at
this point in time in Tudor England, a man liked to show off his calves. A
nice, large, substantial calf said “I can afford a lot of meat. I am
prosperous. I am a man of status, a man of means.” Ah, well, people don’t
change, not really, Bridge decided.
One thing that surprised her was that
the people in this century were exactly like the people she knew in her
past…her future. The future? Essentially the same. Whereas this period was more
immersed in religion and the journey of the soul to the rewards of heaven, as a
general rule not found in the twenty-first century, still and all there were
religious groups who still lived their lives completely for the salvation of
their souls or for personal afterlife rewards.
No, people haven’t changed much that I
can tell. Still, it is somewhat a relief not to see Wal-Mart fashion…
Her musings were interrupted by Lizbeth,
“You should not wear a hood for your
hair, methinks. It would be sinful to cover such glory. This cap will serve
nicely.” Lizbeth stood on tiptoe and placed a simple coif accented with pearls
and small rubies, another gift from the king, upon Bridge’s head.
“You are indeed beautiful, Sweeting,”
She had become very fond of the much
younger woman, and tonight her heart swelled with pride when she thought of the
reaction of the court when Bridge entered. On Bridge’s part, she was afraid.
No, she was terrified.
What if she slipped up and used words
like mind blowing or referred to something as a train wreck. Or what if she
made a pre-Shakespearean slip and said something like “Let’s party,” or “the
game is up,” or referred to someone going off half-cocked? What if I ask if a
couple is dating! My God, I have to remove all modernology from my brain!
I’m terrified. They behead people here! They burn them at the stake! Turning
to Lizbeth, she grabbed her hands and held them to her bosom,
“Lizbeth, I am afraid! I am so afraid.
You know what a monster he is!”
“Shhh, ‘tis treason to speak so!”
“But he is! What if he tries to…” Bridge
searched for a contemporary word, “What if he tries to woo me into his bed?
What shall I do?”
“Sweeting, stay calm and keep your head.
Oh, dear,” Lizbeth inadvertently slipped into a pun most ill-chosen. “I mean,
keep your head about you. Oh, you take my true meaning! I will await you here
and we will talk it over the night.” With that, Lizbeth kissed Bridge on the
cheek while smoothing her silky hair. A knock sounded on the door.
Here we go! Bridge began to
Lizbeth opened the door and a small,
very plain young woman stood within its entrance.
“I am come to take you to the great
hall. Follow me.” Bridge walked to her slowly and smiled.
“Thank you. And what is your name?”
“The hell you say,” Bridge said sotto
voce. Jane whipped around, “What say you?”
“Oh, I said…say…I hope the king is well
today.” Jane looked her up and down as if she’d discovered something foul. She
looks like she smells a skunk, Bridge thought. A skunk she’d like to
have carved up and served on toast.
Ah, now she understood the portraits of
Jane Seymour as queen, with her pursed lips and chinless face. Bridge often
regarded Jane’s portraits when in her studies and always wondered about it.
She knew that an artist paints what he
or she sees, and it goes beyond the surface. Perhaps Holbein felt like she was
smelling something foul as well, and had her chin tucked in as if to register
disgust. Or maybe he didn’t like her. Holbein reportedly fell in love with Anne
of Cleves when painting her, ergo the very complimentary portrait sent to Henry
when contemplating his fourth wife. Perhaps Holbein felt the exact opposite for
Jane as his subject. Maybe she turned him off. Bridge mentally gave her head a
shake, bringing herself back to the present. Jane finally answered,
“Please God, the king enjoys good
health. Follow me.” With that, Jane turned and began to walk down the long
nested in brackets along the wall and did a surprisingly good job of lighting
the hallway. Bridge followed meekly, terror half closing her throat. She
noticed the way Jane walked and corrected her own, fighting the desire to mimic
her guide in an exaggerated manner. Fear often brought out the clown in Bridge,
but she suppressed the impulse and mirrored Jane’s demeanor as precisely as she
could. Shoulders back, head high, hands folded in front, she walked slowly and
with as much dignity as she could muster under the terrifying circumstances.
Jane Seymour – destined to be the king’s
third wife, came to court to attend Catherine of Aragon and was now one of
Anne’s ladies. Talk about a front row seat! Bridge concluded. This
could turn into such a mess if I’m not careful! Knowing what she knew,
Bridge would have to walk on proverbial eggshells. One misstep and she could be
in serious trouble and possibly face the stake or the chopping block. She tried
to clear her mind and focus on what was happening at that exact moment.
Bridge decided to concentrate on the
sounds of the swish of silk fabric against brocade, the report of their wooden
heels against the floor, the play of light on the jewels of Jane’s cap.
Eventually, she heard music, very lively and accompanied by laughter. The
hallway brightened and she was there. Jane promptly deserted her.
She couldn’t believe her eyes! Here she
was, little Bridget Littleton, standing in the great hall of Hampton Court, and
there before her eyes was none other than Henry VIII. He was magnificent!
Resplendent in cloth of gold and ermine, jewels flashing as he moved his hands
to eat, drink or in conversation, the first thing she noticed was how extremely
handsome he was. He reminded her of someone, but in her present state of
agitation, she couldn’t bring to mind who it was. His portraits did not do him
justice. Perhaps the painter’s goal was to accentuate his stance, robes and
jewels. Or maybe his mouth was made to look smaller because he was supposed to
look stern, and his painted eyes, bereft of eyelashes and brows pencil thin,
made his face look rather plain and porcine-like. From where she stood, she
could see a well-formed mouth, the lips pink with health; she wondered what
they would feel like upon hers.
Shaking herself inwardly, appalled that
such a thought should speed through her mind like a bolt of electricity, she
failed to see that the king was looking at her.
Leaning forward and signaling to a tall
courtier with dark hair, he spoke to him abruptly. The young man turned,
pinpointed Bridge and strode over.
Watching him approach, Bridge felt a
moment of panic. Her heart bouncing against her rib cage like a captured bird
trying to escape made her feel giddy. Her breathing became labored, encased as
it was in stiffened cloth and whale bone, as the frantic organ’s beats hit her
esophagus, causing her to gasp and choke. Her blood, akin to a river of ice
water, ran through her veins as frantic fear settled upon her, and she was
suddenly very cold.
A dream-like quality settled over her,
like a mantle of thick cloth, muffling the music and laughter. The young
gentleman stepped before her. Offering his hand, he simply said,
“M’Lady, the king awaits.”
I find her so
bright and pleasant for her young age
that I am more
beholden to you for sending her to me than you are to me.
Margaret of Austria’s comment about Anne as a maid of honor in her household.
Taking one step
at a time, Bridge walked slowly in imitation of Jane Seymour’s earlier gait.
Overwhelmed with fear and trepidation, she concentrated on simply putting one
foot in front of the other. She knew that if she were to look toward Henry,
she’d bolt, so she stared straight ahead and fixed her gaze on a lute player at
the far end of the room. The courtier stopped, and confused at first, Bridge
looked at him questioningly. Nodding, he bowed and walked away.
“Well, what have we here?” Henry
bellowed, and leaning to his left said, “God’s teeth what a beauty. Have you
ever beheld such a glorious maiden, Cranmer?”
Cranmer! Oh, God save me!
“I do believe, Sire, that she is the
loveliest I have seen.”
“Well then, get up and let the maid sit
beside me. Get you gone, you should be shuffling some papers somewhere – be
gone!” Cranmer reluctantly stood and held the chair. Bridge walked around to
the end of the dais, ascended and sat beside the king.
She felt as if she were going to shake
apart. Visions of the tin man in The Wizard of Oz danced in her head.
Struggling to hide her trembling, Bridge bit the inside of her lip, hoping that
the consequent pain would steady her. It didn’t work.
I think I’m going to be sick.
She could feel him looking at her, feel
his eyes stripping away the layers of clothing in which Lizbeth had so
carefully dressed her. She felt a greater trembling rising up, beginning in her
“Wine! Bring the lady some wine!
“Madame,” he said, turning to her. “Are
you afraid of us? But there is no need. Come, let us be friends.” Henry handed
her a goblet of wine.
I don’t think I’ve ever been so happy to
be handed a drink in my life. Too bad it isn’t a bloody Mary….oh, good God! Are
the anachronisms going to keep popping into my mind? What’s next? “Hey, can I
have a Long Island Iced Tea? How about some Buffalo Wings with my drink. Got
any bar food? A slider would be nice.” She drank quickly, draining the cup. A
hand poured more wine into the vessel.
Henry must have decided to give her some
breathing room. His attention was on the dancers now. His left hand lay close
to hers and he tapped out in rhythm to the tune being played, the large jewels
on his fingers reflecting candlelight like multi-colored prisms. She recognized
the dance; she remembered viewing it on YouTube: the Volta, performed by Cate
Blanchett and Joseph Fiennes in the movie Elizabeth – The Golden Age,
the only dance in which partners embraced. As she watched, the couple appeared
to challenge each other. A lovely, young woman in shimmering yellow silk nodded
to her partner, a tall handsome young man in scarlet. He in turn bowed. The
dance progressed, the couple circling and appearing to taunt each other, slowly
moving closer together. The man stepped in, and encircling the girl’s waist,
lifted her into the air, whirling as he did so. He put her down, lifting her
again and again, her skirts swirling and gleaming in the soft light of the candles,
she gazing down into his face, then throwing her head back in a joyous laugh.
Bridge sipped her second glass of wine
and thanked it inwardly for its relaxing properties. It was sweeter than she
was used to, but she was grateful for it just the same. She needed the calming
effects of “wine that gladdens the heart,” and noticed, thankfully, that she
was no longer shaking. She began to look around.
The first thing she became aware of was,
contrary to what she’d heard, the room did not reek of sweat and urine. The
smell of candles and various perfumes and the aroma of fine spices filled the
hall. There was an underlying scent of warm bodies, but it was not offensive.
The smell of food also permeated the
hall, but she noticed that the king did not eat. Beside her sat a middle-aged
man whom she did not recognize from any portraits of the time. He was busy
eating a kind of meat, she guessed beef, some carrots and cheese with only a
knife, a spoon and his fingers. A white linen napkin lay on his left shoulder,
and he frequently wiped his fingers and his mouth with the snowy cloth which
soon became stained with brown juices. He was quite intent on the job, and she
felt her stomach give a little growl.
She gazed out into the room and noticed
a young man with a very large codpiece reach in and pull out a ring. Whew!
Shades of Chippendales! I thought I was going to get a little X-rated
entertainment here, she mused, and then with dawning insight said to
herself, So that’s why men call their genitals the family jewels! She
watched as he slipped the ring onto a finger of a young woman, probably with
the hopes of sharing said jewels.
Turning, she regarded the people on the
king’s right and was met by a pair of very dark, almost black, hostile eyes.
Oh, boy. Here we go.
She offered a timid smile which was not
returned. The owner looked away, giving Bridge the opportunity to study her
more closely. Anne Boleyn!
Oh those who described her were most
unkind. She is lovely. Her hair isn’t black, though, more a deep auburn and her
skin is like glowing cream.
Feeling Bridge’s regard, Lady Anne
turned and gave her another scathing look. Bridge once again offered a timid
She hates me because of the king, and I
don’t blame her. She is a beauty; I can see why the king is infatuated. Bridge nodded
toward the lady again. Jumping to her feet, Anne left the hall without a word
to Henry. The action caused him to turn back to Bridge.
“The lady is fatigued and has gone to
her bed.” He smiled and then asked, “And how is our new friend?”
“Your Grace, Sire, um, Your Highness…”
Henry laughed. “You have indeed managed
to address us most properly. Now, we do believe that we see a veil of fatigue
covering your most angelic visage. Go you to your chamber and we will send a
late supper. Would that please you?”
“Oh, Sire, yes! And for my friend,
Lizbeth as well?”
“Ah, Elizabeth. Many a woman has been
named for our dear mother. Of course, sweet lady. We will visit after you have
“Visit?” Bridge asked, inaudibly
“Visit,” the king repeated.
Snapping his fingers, he hailed the
young courtier who brought her to the dais earlier, gave him an order and bid
Bridge farewell. “I will come anon, Madam.”
eaten, Bridge paced the apartment appointed to her by the king. He said he was
coming – what was she going to do? Lizbeth offered to prepare her for bed, at
which she almost shouted “No!” God forefend, she thought to herself,
unconsciously slipping into the vernacular of the day.
She was thankful now for the layers of
clothes she was wearing, until she remembered that the Tudors didn’t wear
underwear. That could be an issue. What am I going to do? Oh my God, oh my
God. I’m stuck here with the lecher of the century, unprotected by family or
rank, and worse yet, no personal history. What am I going to do?
Her studies of the period taught her
enough to be aware of what she was possibly facing. According to the history
books, in about a year Cranmer would finally annul the king’s marriage to
Catherine of Aragon. Anne, in the early stages of pregnancy, would wed the king
at last and become England’s queen. This chain of events could not be messed
with or changed in any way! From this marriage would emerge what many people
considered England’s greatest monarch, Elizabeth I.
And what are they always talking about
in the movies? A paradox? What if I cause one and unbirth myself? What if I, in
turn, cancel out my own existence? Think, Bridge, think! She remembered
the movie Back In Time. Pretty sure that it was, to an extent, pure
farce, she didn’t want to worry about any paradoxes which could occur, but what
if, like the most devoted writers, the author of the screenplay actually
researched time travel and paradoxes did, indeed, exist? I could be screwed!
Bridge thought with panic. So I not only have to worry about surviving here,
but surviving then...and, well, later. God, this is messed up!
Pacing, hands twisting in anxiety, she
jumped when the door to her chamber opened. It was Henry.
Bridge, jolted into realizing what was
expected, curtsied. Taking a deep breath, she murmured, “Your Majesty.”
“Come sit, Bridge. You have no need to
fear us. We can tell by the way your heart beats within your bosom that you are
filled with affright.” As he spoke, he ran his fingers across her raised
breasts. Gritting her teeth, she forced herself not to jump or flinch.
“Come, Madame, sit and let us talk.”
Bridge acquiesced and took a chair at a
small table next to the fire.
“God’s blood, we are hungry. May we
sample some of your fare?”
“Of course, after all, it is your
food,” Bridge quipped. Henry chuckled in response.
“We do not eat in the great hall. The
opportunity to poison us is too great. The wine we drink after it is
poured into other goblets and is partaken of by others. Sometimes, this late at
night, we do feel some hunger.” He stopped, looked around and smiled. “Now is
this not quieting? Almost like old friends taking wine together. Do you not
“Well, yes, Sire, except we have just
met and I am unsure of why you have called me to court.”
“We have heard it reported that you were
found on the banks of the Avon. Is that true?”
“How came you there?”
“I do not know, Sire.”
“You know not?”
“No, Sire. I have no memory of it.”
“From whence did you come to the shore
of the river? Where came you from before?”
“I do not remember, Your Grace.”
“You remember naught?”
“Hmmmmm” Henry sat back and thought a
“I have heard of such a thing where
memory is lost after a blow to the head. Perhaps you struck your head on
“So, you know not who your family is or
where they bide? Most interesting.”
Henry leaned back and regarded her. He
appeared to be musing, trying to decide what to say – what he wanted to say.
The fire played on the gold strands
woven throughout his red-gold hair. Fine brows arched above deep blue eyes. She
noticed that his eye color changed with what he wore: they were an ocean green
in the great hall. When he arrived at her apartments, he was wearing a purple
robe and now his eyes were a dark blue, almost the color of a blueberry. His
nose was of a pleasing size and well formed, and once again she noticed is
firm, pink lips. Why, he is quite handsome. Now I know why he was called the
handsomest prince in Christendom. Amazingly enough, his eyes are quite kind and
he is extremely charming. Oh, my God! He is the image of Prince Harry! They are
both second sons. The resemblance, even to the color of skin and hair is
uncanny! Is it possible the he as well has somehow crossed the boundaries of
time? I’m confused! This is not the Henry of history. This is a completely
Henry leaned forward and took her hand,
“Sweeting, we are going to be honest
with you. Word reached us of your extraordinary beauty. We wanted to meet the
maid with hair like shimmering moonlight and eyes the color of orchids. Now we
have seen you, and we are smitten. We can think of nothing but you.”
“But you love the Lady Anne!” Bridge
said before she could think. Mentally biting her lip, she decided to let the
person existing in their proper time period do the talking.
Henry sighed, “Yes, we do love the lady.
But she torments us, Bridge. She will not give herself to us and we are a lusty
Henry leaned in closer, grabbing her
hand this time with both of his,
“Kind maiden, I beseech you, I am a man
in need! When mine eyes beheld you, I knew in an instant that I must have you.
I am but a simple man, with simple needs, and my heart is just as fragile as
any man’s. Please consider my plea.”
Bridge noticed that he dropped the royal
we in his excitement. She was confused. She was attracted to him, absolutely,
who wouldn’t be. Here was a strong and handsome man, just nearing his 41st
year: virile, powerful, and willing to give her anything she wanted. But there
was a trap hidden here. A trap that even he did not know about.
“Sire, what if I think it over?” Bridge
begged. She needed time to think!
“Call me not sire, for you are the queen
of my heart and I can see that I am not yet your king. Yes, Sweetheart, think
on it. I anxiously await your answer and,” Henry continued as he walked to the
door, “I have decided that you will attend the Lady Anne. You will join her
tomorrow in her chambers.”
“You have got to be kidding!” Bridge
cried. Realizing she had once again overstepped time and space, she held her
“What say you?” Henry asked, a look of
confusion on his face.
“Um, I said, Sire, I am pleased to do
He smiled, kissed his fingers, sent the
kiss to her, and left her chambers.
once again followed Jane Seymour through the corridors of the palace and again
repressed her desire to imitate the woman. Whodathunk that Jane Seymour
started out as a gofer? Shut up, Bridge!
Bridge’s thoughts kept bouncing back and
forth from where she was now and the future, and the ability to stop the
internal one liners gave her concern. What if she said them out loud? In
addition, she kept referencing everything to the future. She had to get to the
here and now. For instance, for some reason, the actress Jane Seymour popped
into her head. Bridge remembered how, when she first became aware of the
beautiful actress, she was amused that Jane Seymour had the same name as the
plain individual now leading her to Anne’s apartments. Bridge wondered for a
long time if it was really her name or if it was a stage name.
When Bridge learned that it was indeed a
stage name, she was amused again and wondered at the reasons for that
particular choice. They came to a carved door and Jane opened it.
The room was sumptuous, to say the
least. Thick carpets, one laid on top of the other, many tapestries and pillows
gave the room a warm and cozy feel. The day was somewhat cool, although
mid-June, and a small fire burned in the grate. Upon her entry, Lady Anne
jumped to her feet and in a shrill voice demanded,
“Leave me! All but you,” she said
through gritted teeth, pointing a finger at Bridge.
All of the ladies scurried from the
room, some with a look of fright on their faces – some, like Jane Seymour, with
Anne walked slowly toward Bridge, Like
a cat stalking a mouse, Bridge thought.
“Madame, by what misadventure do you presume
to enter my chambers?”
Bridge curtsied, “Lady, by order of His
Majesty the king.”
“So, he seeks to nest you in here with
me so that he can keep an eye on you!” Anne whipped around and began pacing the
floor. “Hah! That will be a move worth watching!” She ended with a laugh,
almost hysterical. So that is the famed laugh I’ve read about.
Bridge observed Anne. She looked thin,
even a little pale, and the stress of that which had been going on for the past
five years showed in the droop of her shoulders and a certain frantic casting
of her dark, beautiful eyes. Bridge observed her with compassion. She knew what
lay ahead for this poor lady, but could do nothing to stop it. History must
play out, but here she was, a paradox waiting to happen, dropped into the
roiling waters of Henrician politics and history. Her heart reached out to the
desperate woman before her. How can I possibly reach her?
“Madame, may I speak?”
Anne whipped around, facing Bridge. “And
why should I let you utter one word?”
“Because I want to help you.” That
laugh again. “Truly, please listen.”
Bridge walked toward Anne, her hands
held out, palms up in entreaty. “Thomas Moore has just resigned. This is the
first really good news since ‘The King’s Great Matter’, as they like to call
it. This is your time, but you need to proceed with caution.”
Bridge stood, facing the iconic woman
whom she’d studied for years. Bosom heaving, she prayed that Anne would listen.
“You are an intelligent woman, or you
would not have advanced this far. I truly believe that you love the king and
that he loves you, but you must judge your time wisely.”
“I can help you become queen. I know of
your reputation, and I know that you are a clever woman and also a better woman
than many report.”
“Chapuys!” Anne spat the word, referring
to the Spanish ambassador to the court who was devoted to Catherine of Aragon
and her cause.
“Indeed,” Bridge affirmed.
“Hold!” Anne demanded. “I thought your
memory was lost in the river. The king told me so this morning.”
“Lady Anne,” Bridge moved closer, and
giving a conspiratorial look questioned, “do you always tell the truth to a
Anne stared at Bridge with a look of
surprise, which changed to one of curiosity and finally amusement. She gave a
short laugh then offered, “Come, sit.”
They walked to an inlaid table by the
fire. Anne poured two goblets of wine and commanded, “Speak.”
“I have been up all night thinking about
this,” Bridge began.
“As I said, Moore has resigned. His days
are numbered. The king is close to having his way. I do believe he loves you, I
do with all of my heart, but I also believe that, even if his love is dead, he
will marry you just to show that he can!”
“That is a heartless way of putting it,
but I agree,” Anne granted.
“But, you have enemies.”
“Yes, I do,” Anne conceded.
“So you need an ally – a feminine ally –
an ally who likes to see women come out on top, and I do not mean on top on her
knees.” Anne barked a laugh, catching the sexual connotation.
“Now, you are not going to like this
part, and I do not blame you, but again, I have run this through my brain all
through the night. Do you want the king to take a mistress who is your enemy
and wants to snatch the crown for her own, or do you want a friend who can
control the situation?”
“This is nonsense! You merely wish to
bed the king and take my place. Do you think me a fool?”
“Lady, never. I want you to be queen! I
want you to give the king an heir!”
“And why should I trust you?”
“Because I believe that you, and only
you can lead the king to the true religion.”
Bridge had thought this out carefully
during the countless hours she had lain awake. No other reason would have
seemed plausible to a woman of this era. Religion was central to everything
within Tudor society, and the passage of one’s soul to eternal bliss was more
important than their earthly journey. Only through religion could Bridge
convince Anne to believe that Bridge’s quest to bed the king was solely to
accomplish Anne’s ascendancy to the throne and thereby bring the protestant
religion to England.
Anne continued her pacing. She looked at
Bridge periodically, as if to size her up, stopped, nodded her head, and turned
to face Bridge.
“How do I know you to be a true friend,
and how do I know that this can be accomplished?”
Bridge reached into a pocket hidden
within the depths of her skirt and withdrew the pin given to her by her friend
She’d gone over this too in her mind,
and had come up with a way to use the pin to help accomplish the culmination of
what she thought of in her mind as “Mission Elizabeth.” In addition, when
contemplating what to do, a chill began in the pit of her stomach and worked
its way up to her heart. She hadn’t remembered it when Cynthia gave her the
brooch, but the night before, when contemplating what to do, she remembered a
long forgotten bit of information she’d come across in a history book. Anne had
given Henry this exact pin! No mention was made of how it was acquired. Perhaps
it was because Bridge was destined to give it to her. It boggled the mind and made
Bridge question if this had all been a part of The Plan, but it also made her
realize that she was on the right track, and this was exactly what she should
do; what she was supposed to do; what she was born to do.
“Look,” she said, handing it to Anne.
“Exquisite! I have not seen gold wrought
with such artistry very often.”
“Look, see the woman on the quarterdeck?
That is you. The scrolls here along the hull are waves caused by a storm: storm
tossed.” Anne nodded and leaned forward to regard the pin more closely. Bridge
“The diamond hanging off of the
figurehead is the King, your North star. He will guide you through storm tossed
Anne look up and straight into Bridge’s
This is so unreal, Bridge thought
“And you would give me this priceless
jewel to give to the king as my gift?”
“Yes, I will.”
“Because I believe that you should be
“I accept the gift, and thank you,” Anne
said, standing to put the brooch in a secure place. “Wait!” Bridge said, grabbing
Anne’s wrist. Anne sat down.
“You must time the gift most carefully.”
“In October, you and the King will
journey to Calais.”
“How came you by this knowledge?”
“It is too hard to explain. You will
take me with you and I will tell you when to give the jewel to the King.”
Anne stood up and began pacing. Whirling
around, she challenged, “Why are you helping me?”
“I told you. I believe you should be
“And what will you gain?”
“Lady Anne, it has nothing to do with
any kind of reward or advancement. I simply believe that you should be queen.”
Anne looked at Bridge, trying to decide
whether or not to trust her.
She is the most beautiful woman I have
ever beheld. She could easily take the king away from me, yet she says she does
not want him for herself. How can I trust her?
Bridge sensed her wavering between
believing her and sending her back through the door with a few, good slaps to
send her on her way.
“I can control him.”
Anne swung around and looked at Bridge
with intensity. “What do you mean you can control him?”
“I know how to keep a man under my
control,” Bridge replied.
“Are you a virgin?”
“Ah! That does work in our favor.”
Bridge notice the change to the plural.
Anne already thought of herself as queen. She prayed that Anne could not see
that she was lying. She was running on pure bravado. She had stepped into this
world, whether invited or uninvited she did not know. She was either an
interloper, perhaps a dangerous one, or a tool of the universe created to
accomplish a specific goal. She needed to walk softly.
“And another thing,” Bridge half
“I will tell you when to give yourself
to the king.”
Mouth open, Anne regarded her with an
incredulous expression. “You will tell me what?”
“Listen, Lady Anne, please listen carefully.
Your position could be in jeopardy. You are going to need to firm up your place
in the king’s heart. In October you will go to Calais, you will give him the
pin and you will submit to him. When you are with child, your position will be
“Yes! If I give him a child. Then why
not submit now?”
“The time is not right. Please trust me,
the time is simply not right.”
“How do I know that you will not get
“Because I am barren.” No need to tell
her about the birth control shot. There was no way she could understand. Shots
had not been invented yet and birth control was hit or miss at best. In the
modern world, birth control, using the birth control shot for instance, was
ninety-nine percent effective. She’d gotten one the day before she left on the
yacht, and by her reckoning, had a good two months of safety ahead of her.
After that, she’d have to wing it. In fact, if she played her cards right, she
could get through this in plenty of time without getting pregnant. Once Anne
was with child and wed, she could try to disappear into obscurity where she
could reduce the risk of setting up some kind of time continuum fiasco.
Anne tented her index fingers, placing
them just below her lower lip. She tapped her chin with her fingers while she
“Let me comprehend. You will bed the
king. You will control him to save him for me?”
“You wish to go with me to Calais, a
journey of which I am not yet aware, will tell me when to give the king this
jewel you have given me, and when to bed him, thereby getting me with child,
and therefore wedded and crowned as queen. Is that correct.”
“Why do I believe you?”
“Because I speak without hope of
“Now there you have struck upon a
thought. What do you hope to get from this? To what end? To what
satisfaction do you do me this great favor?”
“Mayhap I like to have friends in high
places. Mayhap I want to marry well without getting into politics. Mayhap I
crave the life of a…say duchess…and glory in the country life.”
“Is that your price?”
“Sure. Why not? That is my price.”
“Mayhap I am losing my head, but so be
Bridge gave an inward shudder.
“By daily proof
you shall me find,
to be to you
both loving and kind.”
Anne Boleyn to
Henry VIII in her Book of Hours.
The scene was
set; Bridge was extremely nervous. So filled with apprehension was she, that
her hands shook and her stomach insisted on doing periodic flip flops. The king
was coming and she was going to submit. Her plan to play him for a little while,
remaining coy and demure, worked for over a month, but in the end, she decided
that she must rope him in. It was time.
Her hope was to completely enthrall him
until such time as Anne could give herself to him. Through the many books she
remembered studying about Henry, she recalled that he tended to tire of his
mistresses. Bridge was counting on that happening with her, but not before Anne
submitted and consequently became pregnant.
For now, she wanted him to feel as if
he’d fought hard for her and that she could at any time withdraw her favors.
She knew that she must keep him with her and stop him from straying to other
very willing ladies, like Jane Seymour, who was already trying to insinuate
herself into his favor and could possibly wrest the crown from Anne’s head
prematurely, or Margaret Shelton, a lady of likewise temperament. Bridge’s
insertion into the equation could cause any number of what was called the
“Butterfly Effect”: seemingly small changes which caused cataclysmic disruption
in the future, so she must tread carefully. As long as she kept history on the
correct path, she felt that all would be well.
Henry’s involvement with the two ladies
undoubtedly occurred after his marriage to Anne, so Bridge’s addition to the
cast should cause no issues as far as written history was concerned.
She also wanted to bargain. He would pay
a price to have her, a price that would assure her safety, Elizabeth’s birth,
and the uninterrupted unfolding of history as written in her time.
She remembered one movie she saw about
him: The Six Wives of Henry VIII,
in which Henry remarked on the way the crowds received Catherine of Aragon, and
Catherine replied that the people were always kind to her, and that it was
others who had been unkind. Henry promised that no one would be unkind to her
again, word of a king, and Catherine remarked that she’d rather have the word
of a Henry, to which he then vowed. Bridge knew that it was just a movie, and
those words were more than likely never spoken, but could she depend on “the
word of a Henry?” She doubted it, but she knew that he could be surprisingly
kind at times, and that is what she would have to count on right now.
Knowing what was going to happen – what
was supposed to happen, had its advantages at times, although she realized that
as time progressed, it would get to the point of being unbearable. Still, here
she was, and here she was most likely to remain.
As she prepared for the king’s arrival,
she once again played out in her mind the dire consequences should she cause a
paradox and change the course of history. Elizabeth was the key; her birth must
occur and her subsequent reign be assured.
My God, the ramifications, if I screw
up, could be cataclysmic! Elizabeth brought harmony and religious freedom to
England, and because of the relative peace of her reign, the arts flourished.
English became an important language – Shakespeare wrote his plays. Because of
her, America was formed as it is in my time, and its government built upon
Magna Carta: not Spanish, not French, but English law. She showed the world
that a woman could reign, could have a say in politics, could stand toe-to-toe
with a man. If I mess this up, the results could be disastrous. We may never
emerge from the Middle Ages; American could become a completely different
country; women may never rise out of the “pink ghetto” to the degree of
competing with men in business, medicine, the arts and politics, and who can
begin to guess the men and women of the future who are to improve our quality
of life through medicine, for one. If Elizabeth does not reign and stop the
mass executions, these people may never exist. Elizabeth must be born, and my
being here could well be the disruption in history which overturns what is
supposed to be. This cannot happen! I must not be that butterfly.
Bridge brushed her hair one more time
out of pure nervousness. She dismissed the woman Henry assigned to her upon
Lizbeth’s return to her home. She wanted total privacy. She needed to think, to
plan, to prepare herself for what was about to take place. One slip-up, just
one dip into modern language or thinking, and she could mess the whole thing
up; the results could be catastrophic. She was about to begin an affair, and
the intimacy inherent in an association where sex is involved could prove
disastrous, if I screw up, she said to herself. I feel like a
frickin’ double agent with all of this! Bridge thought with near panic, And
not only that – look at what is about to happen. I’m going to have sex with
Henry VIII! It’s mind blowing! Oh, God, and not only that, what if John and
Lizbeth find out? It will be all over court – everyone will know, and it will
get back to them. I’ll never be able to make them understand.
Lizbeth will be very disappointed in me.
She will not understand why I do this, and I couldn’t blame her for it. I’m
alone in this, and I must tread carefully.
was dressed in a soft robe that hung loose. The linen shift beneath was also
loosened and revealed gleaming, smooth shoulders. She’d reddened her lips with
the juice of pomegranates.
The table in her chamber was set in a
buffet style. Meats and vegetables, fruits and nuts, seeds and cheeses were
laid out for the king’s choosing.
A Deception, made from sugar icing, took
center stage. It was in the shape of a nude, reclining Lydia wrapped in the
wings of a swan. Henry would not miss the implications of the ancient Greek
allegory. There would be no servants to present the dishes. Nope. Tonight is
Were he in his private chambers, the
food would have been brought to him in courses, but his request was that they
remain unattended. He wanted to be alone.
She gave the table one, last look. Everything
looks good, but what I wouldn’t give for a pizza and a Coke, or a cold beer!
A knock on the door brought her back to
the task at hand. Her heart caught in her throat, the door opened, and the king
strode into her chamber.
lay beside the slumbering Henry. Unable to sleep, she relived the evening over
and over in her mind. Henry literally burst into her chambers, and upon seeing Bridge,
hair loose and shoulders exposed, rushed to her, lifting her in his arms and
carrying her to the bed. There was no time to protest, no chance to offer him
food and wine first. The wine, in particular, would have been appreciated, for
it would have given her courage.
There was no time to react, no time to
prepare, perhaps gird herself for what was to come. He was like a whirlwind,
and she was caught up in a surge of actions and emotions like she thought never
to experience again in her life.
His mouth and hands were everywhere, and
in spite of how she believed she would have reacted, she found herself carried
along on a tidal wave of passion. When the climax came, she was stunned. Now
I know why the French call it “le petite mort.” I felt surely I would
die from the pleasure of it.
After the king bid her to rise, and they
finally enjoyed the meal, Henry was in a high mood and insisted that she sit on
his lap. He fed her bits of meat and she fed him as well. As the wine flowed and
the hour deepened, he pulled her shift down and fondled, ten mouthed her
breasts. He poured wine from his goblet upon them, then slowly licked the
streams of the liquid from her skin, concentrating on her nipples. Henry once
again swept her up and returned her to the bed.
Ripping her gown from neck to hem, he
fell upon her with a cry of passion, sucking, licking and finally entering her.
They rested and he began again.
At some point in the night, he wept.
Near dawn, Henry pulled her again into
his arms. This time, his lovemaking was tender and thoughtful, as if his entire
intention was to please her.
“Sweetheart, you are as tender as a
dove. I vow to you my undying love. Take this small token and wear it for me,
my Bridge. And by the wearing of it, all of those knaves in court will know
that you are protected by me.”
She felt him slip a ring on the middle
finger of her left hand. They made love yet again.
Now she lay, watching light from the
rising sun slowly fill her chambers, and thought over all that had happened.
She had succumbed, and in doing so, hoped that she’d done her part to keep
history on its path.
Its path: many will die, the Holy
Catholic Church will be torn asunder, monasteries destroyed. And once Edward
VI, Henry’s only legitimate son, dies at age 15, Bloody Mary will reign for
five terror-filled years.
Poor Mary, she is such a skittish young
woman who suffers from debilitating pains in her face.I’ll bet
it’s from grinding her teeth at night. Her bite is probably off, Bridge
thought, thinking of Mary – Henry’s eldest child, the only child of Henry’s and
Catherine of Aragon’s marriage who survived.
Ah, sweetie, your fate is not a happy
one. You will love and not be loved and eventually die of what many now believe
was a tumor – and you will think it is a child.
Edward, not yet born, but a step in the
ladder toward what must be allowed to happen, kept alive and in great pain
until his conniving uncle can marry his 17-year-old daughter, Lady Jane Grey,
the granddaughter of Henry’s youngest sister Mary, to Lord Guilford Dudley.
Both mere children really. They will die to protect Mary’s reign.
So many will die, and I have it in my
power to mitigate the carnage to some degree. But I dare not; I dare not try to
change history. Elizabeth must be born and must reign.
Bridge brought her hands to her face and
sighed deeply. As she did so, she felt the ring on her middle finger. Holding
it up to her eyes, a shock ripped through her body. It was the Tudor Rose ring
she thought was lost in the sea.
sat within a deep windowsill of Anne’s chambers while her women worked on
various pieces of needlework, read or played the lute. Since Bridge never
learned these “womanly pursuits,” and had no desire to read at the moment, she
could not participate, and were it not for the heavy burden she carried, she
would be bored to tears.
Anne was making short, jerky stitches in
her embroidery. She was obviously quite agitated.
She probably knows that I’ve finally
succumbed to the king.
She looked around the room, and her
thoughts of early that morning began to run along the same line of thinking.
How odd it was – how completely surreal
to be sitting here in a chamber with women long dead in her time. Women whom
she’d only been introduced to through centuries-old portraits which, now that
she could see with her own eyes, really didn’t portray them truly.
Jane Seymour: she was plain, but did not
have quite the weak chin or pursed mouth illustrated in the sketches and
drawings she had seen. Actually, I think she may be rather dim. The lights
are on but nobody’s home.
Poor lady. You will marry the king and
will bear him his greatest desire: the only surviving legitimate son he will
ever have, and then you will obligingly die. Bridge sighed. Her eyes turned
to Lady Jane Rochford, Anne’s sister-in-law. Although she had seen her
portrayed in movies as a middle-aged woman, Lady Rochford appeared to be a few
years younger than Lady Anne. According to accounts, she was a bitter, nasty
piece of work. She got hers before all was said and done. She testified against
Anne in court saying that Anne was guilty of incest with her own brother – Lady
Rochford’s husband, and not many years later met her own bad end.
How jealous she must have been…are…will
be? Oh, this is maudlin, but I can’t help myself. You, Lady Jane, will confess
your perjury during your last confession. Why did you have to make your life so
Bridge turned her attention to Anne, who
was still making a mess of her needlework.
She’ll have to pick all of that out and
redo it. Bridge
Anne, they lied about you the most. Bridge continued
to regard the young woman and to wonder at the fact that, here she sat, on an
ancient windowsill, regarding people she’d only seen in portraits of cracked
paint and dimmed colors depicting pursed-mouthed lash less people on a flat
piece of canvas. Before her was the living breathing Anne Boleyn.
Her skin was not sallow, but was what
modern people would call “peaches and cream.” In the Tudor court, the English
Rose, or pink and white complexion, was preferred. Her mouth was full and
beautifully shaped, her brows clear cut and slightly arched, but her eyes. Oh,
her eyes! Large and luminous, now I know what they mean by limpid pools:
they sparkled with life and vitality. Framed in long, silky lashes, they were
the perfect foil to her lustrous, deep auburn hair.
I can see why some would say it is
black. In some lights, it does look quite dark.
Oh, my tragic lady. “Anne sans tête.” It
hurts me deep inside to know what you will go through, and to know that I
cannot intervene, she
thought as she recalled from her history studies the pamphlet Anne found with a
rendition of her shown without her head. This is so difficult…
“And just at whom are you staring?”
The barked inquiry pulled Bridge out of
her reverie with a shock.
“Oh, um, Lady Anne, I do beg your
pardon. I was wool gathering.”
“Mayhap it was of the king!” Anne threw
her sewing down and, jumping to her feet, began the frantic pacing Bridge had
come to know.
“Leave us!” she commanded, sweeping her
arm toward the other women in the room. Bridge noticed that as they left, Jane
Seymour looked frightened and Lady Rochford triumphant.
When the door shut, Bridge turned to
Anne, and placing her finger against her lips, Bridge indicated to Anne to be
silent. Running to the door, she opened it and peered down both ends of the
hall. No one was there.
Returning to Anne, she held her hands
forward in a gesture of friendship. There was a flash of ruby red and Anne saw
“Pretty trinket, and a Tudor Rose no
less! Are you now the property of the king?” Anne spat.
“I am the property of no man!” Bridge
Breast heaving, Anne bit her lip.
Anne was not being over emotional in her
anger at seeing the ring. The Tudor Rose was an emblem of the House of Tudor
and was displayed in various forms throughout Henry’s castles and palaces.
Upon the defeat of Richard III, Henry
Tudor claimed Elizabeth of York, a daughter of the house of York, as his bride,
thus cementing his claim to the throne, which was shaky as he was of the
illegitimate Plantagenet line. When a rose bush was seen to produce blooms with
both white and red petals, there was great rejoicing, and it was seen as a sign
of God’s blessing upon the marriage. From that day on, it was known as the
Tudor Rose: a rose displaying petals which were red on the outside and white on
the inside. The gift was obviously an emotional one, perchance a thank you for
submitting to his desires, and possibly a gift of protection. Henry was aware
of the perils a woman whom he took into his bed, and heart, faced.
Anne was furious, and Bridge could not
blame her. She noticed that, as reported, Anne’s skin color did not change. Any
other woman’s cheeks would be bright red now, but Anne’s remained all of the
color of peach-tinged cream. She is magnetic, Bridge thought, then shook
her head. She had to keep her thoughts on target. She made a snap decision and
sent up a prayer that she was doing the right thing.
“Lady Anne, are we safe here? That is,
can we talk and no one hear us?”
“And why should I care what people hear
from a friend who is no friend?”
“Lady, I seek only your safety.”
Casting a suspicious look toward Bridge,
Anne walked to the ornate door and opening it, looked down each side of the
hallway. Spotting a page, she called to him.
“Lad, come hither. Stand you here and
guard this door and see that no one enters. I will reward you well. No, don’t
stand there, move down the hall and keep watch. Good lad.” She closed the door
and turned to Bridge.
“I am listening.”
Bridge began pacing as she tried to
figure out the best way to reveal to Anne what she knew. How do I approach
it? Do I tell her the truth? No, I can’t do that. She’ll want more information
than I can safely give her. I have to win her confidence.
“Lady Anne, you know that I was found on
a river bank and claimed to have lost my memory.”
“Yes, I remember it well.”
“And you remember that I told you that
it was a lie, that I recall everything.”
“You hinted at such.”
“Lady Anne, I am going to ask for you to
take a leap of faith.”
“A leap of…what do you mean?”
“I am going to ask you to believe in
that which is unbelievable.”
Anne turned and walked to the table.
Pouring two goblets of wine, she handed one to Bridge and indicated for her to
sit. When they both were seated, Bridge placed her goblet on the window sill
and, leaning in, began her story.
“Lady Anne, I know things that are going
to happen.” At Anne’s start of disbelief, Bridge interjected, “Now, wait a
minute. You have met Leonardo DaVinci, right?” Bridge asked, referring to the
brilliant artist and inventor whom Anne met when serving in the French court as
Lady in Waiting to Queen Margaret, wife of King Francis I.”
“Yes…I do remember him.”
“He could predict some future events –
“So can I. Only a few, but I do know
some things that are going to happen. I will tell you one now, and when it transpires,
you will know that I speak the truth. I am here to make sure that you become
“Anne,” Bridge took the liberty of reaching
for one of Anne’s hands and dispensing with her title. Anne did not pull back.
“As I said, I am your friend. I believe in your true love for the king and his
for you, and wish to see it consummated in marriage. And let us not forget the
little favor I want,” Bridge said, ending with a chuckle in the hopes of
assuaging any of Anne’s misgivings. Anne would understand someone having an
ulterior motive, but she would never comprehend someone helping her out of
purely altruistic motives.
“This September, Henry is bestowing upon
you the patents of Marquis of Pembroke. He is preparing to marry you!”
“How do you know this? How do I not know
this?” Anne cried out, “The preparations must have been going on for some
“Be that as it may, I am sure he will be
telling you soon, but it is going to happen.”
Anne sat back, deep in thought. Who was
this woman, this stranger who entered court a couple of short months ago? She
says she is a friend, but do I really have any friends? And then, there is her
speech. Sometimes she sounds as normal as any of us, and then it changes, even
unto her accent. Her speech is foreign, and yet it is not. It matters not. I
must trust her. She is my only hope.
could not believe her eyes. Lizbeth rolled out the yards of beautiful silks and
brocades for Bridge to behold.
“Look, sweeting, such a lovely color of
emerald – what it will do for your eyes! Here,” Lizbeth said, draping the end
of the shimmering cloth over Bridge’s shoulder. Clapping her hands in satisfaction,
she beamed at her protégé.
“You are such a beauty and a credit to
mine own John.”
Lizbeth returned to Worcester shortly
before the beginning of Bridge’s affair with the king. Believing Bridge to
still be a virgin, Lizbeth held much hope that she could work a match between
Bridge and her son John, now 19. She discussed it with her husband. “Aye, and
what a match. He be at most but two years younger than she, and what is the
hurt of that? The king married Queen Catherine, and she six years older than he.
‘Tis true that women live longer than men. This would shorten her widowhood.”
John laughed at his wife’s logic. My
dear, sweet Lizbeth, she so loves the girl that she will make her a daughter
come what may.
“Aye, my love, we shall see,” he
Remembering her talk with her husband,
Lizbeth’s spirits rose even higher. “We must make a start on the gown. The Lady
Anne will be invested on the first day of September, a scarce two weeks away.
We must get to work.” Picking up the glimmering cloth, she turned to Bridge.
Taking her hand, with tears standing in her eyes, Lisbeth said “Thank you for
calling me back to court. I am quite out of breath from it, but by your leave,
I shall remember this to the end of my days!” With that, she gathered the
material and left the chamber to sort out patterns and gather the women
assigned to assist her in the making of the gown.
played on golden goblets and silver plate. Tapestries in vibrant blues, reds,
yellows and greens shimmered in the candle light. Gold and silver threads,
woven throughout, let off a sparkling display that reminded Bridge of
fireflies. A feeling of homesickness shot a wave of longing through her.
This was indeed an adventure, one she
could have never anticipated that she would participate in, but her task for
the moment, she hoped, was almost completed, and she wished she could go home.
She missed coffee. Oh, what I
wouldn’t give for a cup of coffee and an apricot Danish in the morning instead
of a glass of insipid beer, a slice of beef and the upper half of a loaf of
bread. It tastes and looks like the top half of a hamburger bun. She was
thinking of the bread called manchet. It does taste good, kind of sweet.
Well, at least now I know where the term “upper crust” came from. Indeed,
the top half of the manchet roll was served only to the nobility. The lower
half was reserved for the servants, thus coining the adage “upper crust.”
She walked slowly around the table. This
time, servants would be allowed to enter and serve the meal in courses. It was
almost eleven o’clock in the morning and the king’s main meal would soon be
served here in his chambers. She had been invited: a rare privilege.
Bridge knew that her time with Henry was
running out. Soon Anne would give herself to him, she would become pregnant and
they would marry. What surprised Bridge somewhat was how bereft she felt.
Something had happened that she had not counted on: she’d fallen in love with
What a ride this has been. Here I am, in
the court of Henry VIII, meeting the people whose lives I have studied for
years, a decade really, and walked with persons long dead in my lifetime – the
lifetime before. I’ve been with Henry VIII and met Anne Boleyn, and who knows
who else I will meet, talk with and get to know. And the ride isn’t over. My
job is not half done.
know what is coming for them, but I wonder – what is coming for me?
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