The Tower Of London by W. Harrison Ainsworth

The vast area of Tower Hill was filled with spectators. The crowds who had witnessed her entrance into the city had now flocked thither, and every avenue had poured in its thousands, till there was not a square inch of ground unoccupied. Many were pushed into the moat, and it required the utmost exertion of the guards, who were drawn out in lines of two deep, to keep the road which had been railed and barred from the end of Tower Street to the gates of the fortress clear for the queen. As Mary’s eye ranged over this sea of heads, as she listened to their stunning vociferations, and to the loud roar of the cannon which broke from every battlement in the Tower, her heart swelled with exultation. It was an animating spectacle. The day, it has been said, was bright and beautiful. The sun poured down its rays upon the ancient fortress, which had so lately opened its gates to an usurper, but which now like a heartless rake had cast off one mistress to take another. The whole line of ramparts on the west was filled with armed men. On the summit of the White Tower floated her standard, while bombard and culverin kept up a continual roar from every lesser tower.

After gazing for a few moments in the direction of the lofty citadel, now enveloped in the clouds of smoke issuing from the ordnance, and, excepting its four tall turrets and its standard, entirely hidden from view, her eyes followed the immense cavalcade, which, like a swollen current, was pouring its glittering tide beneath the arch of the Bulwark Gate; and as troop after troop disappeared, and she gradually approached the fortress, she thought she had never beheld a sight so grand and inspiriting. Flourishes of trumpets, almost lost in the stunning acclamations of the multitude, and the thunder of artillery, greeted her arrival at the Tower. Her entrance was conducted with much ceremony. Proceeding through closely-serried ranks of archers and arquebusiers, she passed beneath the Middle Gate and across the bridge. At the By-ward Tower she was received by Lord Clinton and a train of nobles. On either side of the gate stood Gog and Magog. Both giants made a profound obeisance as she passed. A few steps further, her course was checked by Og and Xit. Prostrating himself before her, the elder giant assisted his diminutive companion to clamber upon his back, and as soon as he had gained this position, the dwarf knelt down and offered the keys of the fortress to the queen. Mary was much diverted at the incident, nor was she less surprised at the vast size of Og and his brethren than at the resemblance they presented to her royal father. Guessing what was passing through her mind, and regardless of consequences as of decorum, Xit remarked—

“Your majesty, I perceive, is struck with the likeness of my worthy friend Og to your late sire King Henry the Eighth, of high and renowned memory. You will not, therefore, be surprised, when I inform you that he is his—”

Before another word could be uttered, Og, who had been greatly alarmed at the preamble, arose with such suddenness, that Xit was precipitated to the ground.

“Pardon me, your majesty,” cried the giant, in great confusion, “it is true what the accursed imp says. I have the honour to be indirectly related to your highness. God’s death, sirrah, I have half a mind to set my foot upon thee and crush thee. Thou art ever in mischief.”

The look and gesture, which accompanied this exclamation, were so indescribably like their royal parent, that neither the queen nor the Princess Elizabeth could forbear laughing.

As to Xit, the occurrence gained him a new friend in the person of Jane the Fool, who ran up as he was limping off with a crestfallen look, and begged her majesty’s permission to take charge of him. This was granted, and the dwarf proceeded with the royal cortège. On learning the name of his protectress, Xit observed—

“You are wrongfully designated, sweetheart. Jane the Queen was Jane the Fool—you are Jane the Wise.”

While this was passing, Mary had given some instructions in an under tone to Lord Clinton, and he immediately departed to fulfil them. The cavalcade next passed beneath the arch of the Bloody Tower, and the whole retinue drew up on the Green. A wide circle was formed round the queen, amid which, at intervals, might be seen the towering figures of the giants, and next to the elder of them, Xit, who having been obliged to quit his new friend had returned to Og and was standing on his tip-toes to obtain a peep at what was passing. No sooner had Mary taken up her position, than Lord Clinton re-appeared, and brought with him several illustrious persons who, having suffered imprisonment in the fortress for their zeal for the religion of Rome, were now liberated by her command. As the first of the group, a venerable nobleman, approached her and bent the knee before her, Mary’s eyes filled with tears, and she exclaimed, in a voice of much emotion—

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