Boy's ideal, or, The story of a great life


Material Information

Boy's ideal, or, The story of a great life written for young people
Portion of title:
Story of a great life
Physical Description:
5, 101 p. : ill. ; 19 cm.
Cooke, Frances E
Swan Sonnenschein & Co ( Publisher )
Butler and Tanner ( Printer )
Selwood Printing Works ( Printer )
W. Swan Sonnenschein & Co.
Place of Publication:
Butler & Tanner ; Selwood Printing Works
Publication Date:


Subjects / Keywords:
Martyrs -- Biography -- Juvenile literature   ( lcsh )
Saints -- Biography -- Juvenile literature   ( lcsh )
History -- Juvenile literature -- Great Britain -- Henry VIII, 1509-1547   ( lcsh )
Biographies -- 1882   ( rbgenr )
Bldn -- 1882
Biographies   ( rbgenr )
individual biography   ( marcgt )
non-fiction   ( marcgt )
Spatial Coverage:
England -- London
England -- Frome


Statement of Responsibility:
by Frances E. Cooke ; illustrated.
Preservation and Access for American and British Children's Literature, 1870-1889 (NEH PA-50860-00).

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of Florida
Holding Location:
Baldwin Library of Historical Children's Literature in the Department of Special Collections and Area Studies, George A. Smathers Libraries, University of Florida
Rights Management:
All rights reserved, Board of Trustees of the University of Florida.
Resource Identifier:
aleph - 002224687
oclc - 51563121
notis - ALG4955
System ID:

This item is only available as the following downloads:

Full Text


The Baldwin Library


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Sir Thomas More taking his last leave of his daughter, Margaret.
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Butler & Tanner.
The Selwood Printing Woli s,
Frome, and London.


THE Story of a Great Life has been written
in response to the frequent demands made by
young people for stories that are true. Ex-
perience has taught the writer that the tale of
a real life with its adventures and changes is
as welcome to children, if told in an attractive
manner, as is a fictitious narrative.
Moreover, in this period of rapid progress,
when a critical spirit is rife in all minds, there
is no quality more to be desired in young or
old than reverence for what is really true and
good and worthy to be retained. To this end
a knowledge of the heroes and saints of past
and present time is helpful; and the wise
man's saying is not to be forgotten: Live
near the great and thou shalt grow like them."
F. E. C.


IN the year 1480, Sir John More, a lawyer,
lived in Milk Street, out of Cheapside, in
London. London was at that time a very
different place from the large busy city that
we know it to be now. Passengers along
Cheapside to-day can gain very little idea from
the sight they see there of the Cheapside
which was so well known to this London
lawyer four hundred years ago. The un-
lighted, ill-paved street was bordered with
wooden houses which had no glass in their
windows, and most of these houses had mud
floors with rushes strewed over them. At


night, Cheapside, like other parts of London,
was a dangerous place to walk along. Beggars
and thieves and idlers lurked in the dark
corners, ready to make a quarrel and to fight
with any one, or even to rob the man who
was foolish enough to carry about him any-
thing worth stealing.
At that time all England was in a bad
case. The famous Wars of the Roses," which
had lasted so long, were nearly over, and
idle soldiers, and servants discharged from
the great houses which the war had ruined,
were numerous. Beggary and crime were to
be found in all parts of the land. The
king, rich with the wealth of the barons whom
he had conquered, cared for little besides
extorting more money from his people.
Country places were no better off than the
city was. Just then a great market for wool
was opened with Flanders, and numbers of
English farmers were turned out of their old
homes by landlords who wanted to pasture
sheep on fields where corn had until then
been grown.
Few books were written in England in
those days, although the printer Caxton and


his printing press were at work in West-
minster Abbey. For the most part, the
thoughts of the English people, from the
king downwards, were bent upon gaining
wealth, and material goods of all kinds.
Yet scattered up and down the land were a
few men who longed for better days to come,
and had higher aims than their countrymen.
These men looked longingly away from Eng-
land toward the cities of Italy, where litera-
ture and learning had a home.
Into such a town as London was in the
year 1480, a baby was born in Sir John
More's house. Its mother, as she lay sleep-
ing, dreamed one night of a shining face
leaning over her little one. Dreams were
thought to have much meaning in those days.
This dream foretold, so the mother fancied,
that her boy would be guarded through his
life by angels, and would do great and good
deeds. And truly, the fond mother's fancy
proved a reality. Good influences, which
are like angels to us all, surrounded the boy
from his early years; for great and noble
men lived in his time and proved themselves
firm friends to him, as you will hear.


The little lad grew out of babyhood, and
by-and-by was sent to St. Anthony's School,
not very far from his home. This was a free
school, of which there were many in London
in those days, and boys of varied character
and of different positions in life met there to
learn in company. Such a school was a little
world in itself.
There were temptations to evil and en-
couragements to good on all sides. Some
boys idled away their time. They went to
school because they were sent, but learning
was no pleasure to them. They only longed
for the time to come when they should go
out into the great world to see real life.
Other boys spent their school days in fitting
themselves to enter that great world. They
made the most of the present time; and in
gaining good habits and working hard, they
forged the armour by which they would be
able afterwards to fight the battle of life.
Little More was one of those wiser workers.
Every day he trudged backwards and for-
wards along Cheapside, in wind and rain or
sunshine, as the case might be, with his small
mind bent on his business, and seeming so


full of energy that the passers-by might truly
say, as they looked at him: "That boy will
make the right sort of man some day."
At St. Anthony's School the lessons were
dull work. Schools were not then so well
taught and managed as they are now. Books
were few and badly written, and masters were
often rough and times were hard for small
scholars. Latin and arithmetic, and grammar
and geography, were taught in a very weari-
some way; and if boys who learned then
could come to life again now and study in
our schools, they would think times were
changed indeed.
But something wonderful the scholars heard
about the world they lived in that no books
of geography could tell them. Great news
came to England of a vast world just dis-
covered lying out in the far west beyond the
wide ocean. Tales of this newly found
America were on everybody's tongue. Men
talked much, also, of a fresh way to India
which the Spaniards had made known. All
these stories made the world seem much
vaster and more mysterious than before, even
to the schoolboys who were used to the poor


dull books of geography in St. Anthony's
About fifteen years passed in this way in
the life of Thomas More, and then a change
came. You have heard, no doubt, of the
wild, lawless times long gone by, when young
boys used to be sent from the rough, un-
couth surroundings of their father's homes to
the neighboring castle of some great chief
or baron. There the boys were brought up
as pages to the noble lady of the castle, and
were taught to hawk and hunt with the
baron and his followers. Such a life was
supposed to be more noble than any they
could follow in their own poorer homes, and
the change was looked upon as a great gain
for the boy.
Some such custom had continued even to
the time of Henry VII., when Thomas More
was living. Noblemen still adopted boys and
took them to their prosperous homes, as the
barons in old times had done. But instead
of teaching them to hawk and hunt and wait
upon a noble lady, they often gave the boys
chances of studying and of listening to the
talk of learned men, and they introduced them


in this way to a spirit of progress and learning
which they might not have met with at home.
Such a chance came for young More when
he was fifteen years of age. Up the river
Thames, on its southern bank, stood the old
Palace of Lambeth in the midst of its terraced
gardens, with green fields lying round it, and
in the distance the blue, sunny hills. The sun
cast leafy shadows on its ancient red brick
walls, the birds sang in the palace gardens,
and the blue waters of the Thames (not muddy
as they are now) sparkled and shone as
they floated in and out to sea. Here, in
the palace of the Archbishops of Canterbury,
lived Cardinal Morton, who was one of the few
men in those days who loved progress and
noble thoughts; and there he gathered round
him wise and earnest men.
The Cardinal loved wit and merry ways,
also,- and was attracted by the bright boy, son
of the Cheapside lawyer, whom he one day
chanced to see. This boy the Cardinal took
into his palace, that he might wait at table,
become used to the ways of noble and courtly
life, and be thrown into the society of learned


Christmas came, and then the old palace was
full of merriment and music. By that time
More was quite at home with his new friends.
Every one loved the boy, who was always
sunny and full of energy and work. He
helped to make the old place cheerful, and his
merry laugh was heard all over the house.
The Cardinal grew very fond of him, and
used to watch him at odd times as he sat at
his studies, or waited as a page at the great
man's table.
One night, when all the earth was wrapped
in wintry ice and snow, and all was cheerless
outside, the Cardinal sat in the great hall of
his palace, surrounded by his visitors, to watch
the actors who had rowed up the river from
London for the purpose of making Christmas
merriment at Lambeth. As the play went on,
suddenly a new, young actor appeared upon
the scene, and mingled with the figures on the
stage. With great cleverness, this new actor
contrived a part for himself, adding to the
merriment of the scene without causing any
confusion among the players. The Cardinal
recognized his favourite page at once, and
laughed with delight to see how cleverly he


acted and to hear his merry jests. Often after
that Christmas time, the Cardinal, when sitting
at table talking with his guests, used to speak
of his clever young page, and say: This
child, whosoever shall live to see it, will prove
a marvellous man."
But it was not only because the boy was
clever and witty that the Cardinal foretold a
great future for-him. He had a sunny, cheer-
ful nature which every one loved. But behind
that, people who knew him felt that the boy
had a firm will and a resolute conscience, and
a desire to do and be only what was true and
right. That was the best part of his nature,
and that the good Cardinal really cared for
most; and when two years had passed, he
began to think that perhaps this pleasant,
social life at the palace, so full of excitement
of many kinds, was not the best training that
young Thomas More could have. With this
idea, the Cardinal settled with the father of
his page that the boy should go as a student
to the University of Oxford, where he would
be able to give himself entirely to study. And
so the pleasant life in the old palace by the
river side ended for the boy, and the Cardinal


and his household missed his merry laugh and
sunny smile for many a long day.
But before our story of the palace ends, you
must hear how young More met with a new
friend there, a young man who was soon to be
famous in England, and who was the friend
who really helped him more than any one else,
both at Oxford and through much of his later



WHILE Thomas More was spending those
happy years of his boyhood in the arch-
bishop's palace at Lambeth, a young English-
man, named John Colet, was living far away
in the city of Florence, in Italy, whither he
had gone for the sake of books and studies
he could not have in England. John Colet's
father had been two or three times lord mayor
of London, and was always a man of great
influence in the city. So, when the youth
came back from Florence to his old home, his
return was welcomed by people of wealth and
renown, who were his father's friends. Among
these people was Cardinal Morton; and, before
he had been long back in England, John Colet
was invited to Lambeth to supper with the
great man in his palace.


That was probably the first time that John
Colet saw the boy to whom he was to be a
friend in after life; but, as he had a great love
for children, no doubt he noticed the Cardinal's
favourite page who was waiting on the guests at
supper, and observed also how he listened to
the talk that went on round the table as the host
and his friends spoke of John Colet's adven-
tures in that far-off, famous city of Florence.
The Cardinal had many questions to ask
about the studies that were being carried on
in the schools of Italy. John Colet told of the
rare old Greek books which had been lately
brought to light there, and of the Greek
professors and learned men who had fled
to Florence for refuge when their homes in
Constantinople were destroyed by war. He
told how he had spent his time in Florence
in studying the New Testament in Greek (the
language in which it had first been written),
and how the life of Christ and the teachings
of St. Paul had come out to him with a new,
clear light, such as all his studies at Oxford
had never given to them.
You must know that at that time in England
all knowledge of the Bible was gained from


dull Latin volumes, written years before by
learned men who were known as the school-
men." These schoolmen had written pages
of arguments on the meanings of Bible texts;
but had left the story of the loving Christ and
His followers, with their deeds and teach-
ings, quite untold. No wonder his studies in
Florence opened out a new light to John Colet.
Thus he told the story of his work in Florence
at the Cardinal's supper table; but he had
more still to tell.
Among the narrow, hilly streets of Florence,
he went on to say, stood the long low Convent
of St. Mark. Its quiet cloisters opened into
a garden bright in summer time with roses of
every hue. Compared with other buildings in
the beautiful city, this convent was, on the
outside, a plain, unpretending place. But at
that time it was more famous than any of
the splendid palaces or churches of Florence.
Crowds of people flocked to it daily in the
greatest excitement. They pressed up to the
borders of its convent garden, and struggled
for standing places where they might listen to
the wonderful preacher Savonarola, who was
then Prior of this Convent of St. Mark.


John Colet told how he had mingled with
the swaying, struggling crowd. How he had
also listened to the prior in the cathedral, and
watched the earnest, up-turned faces of the
people, excited by the preacher's words, as
they listened breathlessly to every sentence
that fell from his lips.
Such crowds were never to be seen in
English churches; and it is easy to believe
that the English cardinal and his guests would
want to know how the prior managed to rouse
and interest the careless, fickle minds of the
people of Florence. In reply, they heard just
the same kind of story they had heard before.
Savonarola, unlike the dreary old schoolmen,
with their disputes about texts, brought home
to his hearers the life and words of Jesus
Christ. He spoke to them of their sins and
follies, which Christ would have blamed, and
made them feel almost as if the Lord had
come back again to earth among them to
teach them the kind of lives they ought to
lead in their own homes.
Such talk as this we can fancy went on at
the palace supper party. We can fancy, too,
as night advanced, how the guests separated


and embarked in the barges which lay moored
by the terraced garden bank. We can fancy,
too, John Colet's thoughts, as he rowed home-
wards down the dark river, with no sound
about him but the splash of the oars in the
water, the hum of the rower's voices, and the
murmur of the wind in the rushes by the
river's side.
I think his thoughts would go back to
Savonarola among the listening crowds at
Florence, and he would long, in his own youth
and strength, to give to the English people
such living truths as the great prior-was giving
in the far-away Italian town. Such thoughts
often visited John Colet's mind at that time.
By-and-by you will hear how he changed
them into deeds.
Meanwhile the Cardinal's young page went
to the fresh scenes that awaited him at Oxford.
In his dull little lodging-room he must at
first have greatly missed the cheerful life in
the palace to which he had been used. The
college walls and narrow streets were poor ex-
change for the river with its gay barges, and
the pleasant gardens with their view of distant
hills. Life promised to be rather hard at


Oxford. He had very little money, scarcely
enough to pay for the mending of his clothes
or for buying the books he wanted for his
studies. It is said that his father feared for
him the temptations of college life, and hoped
to lessen them for him by giving him small
means and thus narrowing his pleasures. This
was all right, however, to the brave, cheerful
mind of the new student. It required some-
thing more than the mere want of money to
throw a cloud over the sunshine of his heart.
He kept strict accounts and put a check upon
his wishes, and tried to prove to his friends
at home that he was really worthy of all trust.
A great dispute was exciting Oxford at that
time, and students and professors were divided
into two parties. Gradually the new student
learned the cause of the strife. The titles of
" Greeks and Romans" were bandied about in
the colleges, and a warfare of words went on
over the new Greek studies which a band
of students (John Colet among the number)
had introduced from Florence. The Tro-
jans revered the Latin volumes of the
schoolmenn," and wished to defend their
spirit and teachings against the fresh thoughts


which the Greeks'" were bringing in to over-
throw them. So each student at Oxford had
to make up his mind on the great question
in dispute, and had to join one of the two
Young More had little time to feel lonely
in his new life. John Colet sought out the
boy he had seen at the Cardinal's palace, and
at once became to him an inspire and a
guide; and, seeing in the youth an earnest
purpose and a firm, true will, made him his
companion and friend, though his own age
was double that of the boy's.
About this time another new student came
to Oxford. He was a sad, weary looking
man of thirty years of age, and yet he came
to learn with the youngest of the learners.
His name was Erasmus, and as men watched
him gloomily going his lonely way, they
began to tell each other tales they had heard
of his past history. All these tales soon be-
came well known.
From early boyhood Erasmus had led a
sad and disappointed life. His parents, dying,
left him to the care of guardians, who proved
unfaithful, robbed him of the money he should


have inherited, and forced him into a convent.
There he was obliged to remain many weary
years. Then, when he managed to gain his
release, poor and almost friendless, he made
his way to Paris. In that city he studied and
taught pupils, and lived a gloomy, lonely life.
All the time one great wish filled his mind.
This wish was to go to Florence to study
Greek, as some English students were said
to have done. But he had no money for so
long a journey, and was obliged to put aside
his great hopes.
At last a chance came for him to go to
Oxford, where, as you have heard, the kind
of study he longed for had been set on foot.
There, with his life half gone, he began to
learn anew; and, used to loneliness, sought no
friends but his much-loved books. Happily,
however, one day the solitary man came across
Thomas More, and fell in love with the sunny,
happy nature so unlike his own. After that,
of course John Colet sought him out; and
when Erasmus had learned the hopes and aims
that filled the young man's thoughts, he valued
his friendship greatly, though he did not agree
with him in many of his views.

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Now you can picture Thomas More at
Oxford with his new friends. Other students
joined their little company by degrees; and
this handful of young men of differing natures,
but all with an earnest purpose in their lives,
strengthened each other in whatever was
good and true. They are known in history
by the name of "Oxford Reformers," for as
their influence widened they made great and
lasting changes in English thought beginning
at the University of Oxford. Yet, not one
of them dreamed in those early days, that by
being simply true to what he knew was right
he was making ready to become the leader
of his fellow men.
About two years passed, and then the
Oxford Reformers were parted. Thomas
More was called to London by his father,
that he might study law and fit himself to
follow his father's profession. Ah! how he
longed to stay at Oxford with John Colet, to
help him to spread a love of the new learning,"
as the Greek studies they loved so much were
called. Now he could listen no more to the
dear Master's lectures which made St. Paul's
teachings so clear and grand to all who would


come to hear. He wanted to enter the Church,
as John Colet had done. He shrank back
from the prospect of the dull Inns of Court
and the dreary law books and the settlement
of other men's disputes. But no wish of his
own could lead him to disappoint the hopes
of his old father; and, in some way, John
Colet's influence made him feel sure that
men can bring a good and noble spirit into
any kind of life work. So Thomas More
went to London, and settled down to his law
studies, and spread sunshine about him in the
old home in Milk Street, as he had spread it
a few years before in the Cardinal's palace on
the river's bank.
Erasmus also left Oxford at this time.
Good fortune came to him and opened the
way for him to go to Florence. Kind English
friends had collected for him a purse of golden
crowns. But before he left England, he went
to see his young favourite, Thomas More, in
London, and you must hear in the next chapter
about a pleasant little journey they made to-
gether one spring day.


SOME miles from London, at Eltham, in the
county of Kent, an.old pupil of Erasmus and
a friend of More, was living as guardian to
the young children of Henry VII. One day
he invited his two friends to come together to
visit him in his country house, and they agreed
to go before Erasmus went to Italy.
So, early one morning two horses stood
waiting before Sir John More's door in Milk
Street, and before long, side by side, the
travellers were riding through the narrow
streets of the city. Young More was merry
as usual, and enjoying the prospect of this rare
holiday. Even the care-worn face of Erasmus
brightened as they reached the open country,
and the fresh winds blew on them from the


wide commons over which they passed, and
the birds' songs greeted them on every side.
When they reached Eltham, a surprise
awaited them. They rode through flower-
gardens to the great door of the handsome
mansion (for many castles and country houses
were built even in those days), and in the hall
there saw an unexpected sight. There stood
the royal children, with Lord and Lady Mount-
joy, waiting to do honour to the learned men
who had come to visit them. Two little prin-
cesses, Margaret and Mary, were there, and
the royal baby in its nurse's arms, but before
all, Erasmus noticed a little prince of nine
years old. He stood between his sisters, and
with courteous ways spoke to the visitors and
seemed to wish to welcome them to his home.
This boy was the little Duke of York, the
King's second son, who, before many years
were over, was to be crowned Henry VIII.
Erasmus and More spent the day at Eltham,
and watched the brave little prince fearlessly
ride his fiery horse and hurl the javelin far-
ther than any of his pages could hurl it. They
heard him play, too, upon the viol, the lute, and
the horn, and before they left More gave him


a Latin poem of his own writing, which the
child treasured long afterwards. As they rode
home Erasmus could talk of little else than
the young prince. The prince, on his side,
did not soon forget the visit of the learned
Erasmus, of whom he had so often heard Lord
Mountjoy speak. A love of learning and a
respect for great scholars grew up within the
prince, nurtured by his wise tutor. By degrees,
learned men began to look to this young boy
with the hope that he would give them his
support in time to come.
Well, the day of pleasure was over. More
went back to the musty old books and the
gloomy law courts, and Erasmus set off for
Dover, on his way to Italy. Bad news came
back from Erasmus to his friends. While still
at Dover, and preparing to cross the Channel,
he had been robbed by the English custom-
house officers of all his golden crowns. There
was no redress for the poor scholar, because
the officers were supported in their unjust
deed by the covetous king.
How do you think John Colet and Thomas
More and all the other friends of Erasmus felt
when they heard the news ? What would you


have thought of the king, who should have
been like a father to his people, but who taxed
and robbed them instead ? England was in a
bad case indeed. There were no parliaments
called wherein the ill-used people might make
complaint. How could the "new learning"
prosper in such a stricken land ?
Did you ever stand in the early winter's
morning with the night sky above you and
darkness round about, and watch far away in
the east the first beams of the rising sun break-
ing through the distant clouds ? Just so the
friends of Erasmus seemed to stand in dark
England; and far away, a gleam of light shone
in Italy and Germany from whence they heard
of the deeds of Savonarola and the brave
Luther. These great men were reforming the
Church, opening the closed Bible to people,
and wakening in them a lost love of books
and learning.
England was a Roman Catholic country, and
these Oxford Reformers had no wish to change
the whole religion of the land, as Luther was
doing in Germany, but they did wish to make
men more Christian and make them lovers
of wise books and good thoughts; and how


could they do this with such a king upon the
throne ?
Meanwhile, poor Erasmus made his way to
Paris, to begin his former hard life again; and
John Colet, at Oxford, used every little chance
to spread a good spirit and wise thoughts
around him. But what could Thomas More
do, busy all day with the dull studies he did
not love, and with no fame save as a good
Greek scholar ? How could he help on a better
day, and work for the re-birth of religion and
learning in his own land ?
Like a wise youth, he just did the duty
nearest to him, knowing that fresh ways would
open in good time. He studied that he might
please his father and become a wise lawyer,
and he did something else for which the way
opened. But at this some of his friends shook
their timid heads, and told him he was rash
and foolish. You must now hear what this
deed was.
Twelve hundred years before Thomas More's
time, the great Empire of Rome, which then
ruled over most of the known world, had grown
corrupt and full of wickedness. Then a holy
man, known as Saint Augustine, rose up and


preached to the sinners in his own town about
the City of God," and taught them in these
sermons how Christian lives and Christian
faith might purify the world. As young More
walked to the law-courts through the London
streets, he thought of St. Augustine's work so
long ago, and felt that England in the time of
Henry VII. needed, no less than Rome had
done, the influence of the Christian life and faith.
So he resolved to lecture in London on those
sermons that St. Augustine had preached about
the "City of God" twelve hundred years before.
Soon after, in a quiet Church, this young
man began his lectures, uncertain whether his
words might not fall on empty benches. But he
had no lack of listeners. Grey-headed old men,
and priests, and youths like himself, gathered
together and Grocyn, the famous Greek profes-
sor from Oxford, came to hear how Christian
lives among her citizens might make even
London into a city of God. That quiet Church
was like a sheltered pool into which a stone
is dropped. Just as the widening ripples in
the pool spread out over the surface of the
water, so the influence of the young preacher's
words was carried beyond the boundaries of the


Church. John Colet heard of the lectures, and
was not surprised, for he knew the earnest
purpose which lay behind the buoyant and
sunny nature of Thomas More.
Sooner or later, we reap what we have sown,
and gather the fruit of our deeds. So Thomas
More, who had studied so hard to become a
clever lawyer, found himself one day called to
the bar, and a well-known man in his profession.
So well known was he that, while only twenty-
three years of age, he was chosen to fill a very
honourable post. You must know that in the
spring of the year 1503 an event took place by
which all England was greatly excited. That
year Henry VII. called a parliament together.
Seven years had passed since the last Parlia-
ment, and men who loved their country hoped
when this news came that it was a sign of
better times to come. Young More was elected
a member of the new Parliament. On the day
of assembly, he took his seat with the other
members in the Chapter House of Westminster
Abbey, where the Commons used to meet at
that time.
Every one felt that this was a great honour
for so young a man. He, however, was chiefly


pleased for the sake of his father's joy. As he
sat among the Commons, he felt very much as
he had felt long ago in his boyish days, when
among his schoolfellows; he was full of hope
and gladness, and ready to be friendly with all.
It was quite natural that he should be glad to
rise to power and influence. He did not for-
get, either, the importance of his first speech,
and hoped to satisfy those who had sent him
to Parliament that their choice was a wise one.
But when he learned in time the king's
reason for summoning a parliament, quite dif-
ferent thoughts filled his mind. The king had
no plans for mending grievances. He de-
manded from Parliament the grant of a large
sum of money as dowry for his daughter, a sum
for which the heavily-laden people would have
to be severely taxed, and for the claim of such
a grant the laws of England gave the king no
shadow of a pretence.
Perhaps you would expect that on this un-
just demand the honest thoughts of the mem-
bers would have been made known. Thomas
More, the youngest of them all, sat in his
place, and watched how the Speaker upheld
the king's demand, and how, one after another,


men older and more experienced than himself,
fearing the anger of the king, followed the
Speaker's example. Henry VII. had crushed
the great barons by his war against them, and
now the voice of the people feared to make
itself heard. Thomas More had reaped the
honour and learning for which he had striven.
Now he was going to reap something better
still, the fruit of the honesty and truthfulness
and earnestness to which he had been faithful all
his young life. Now, when the moment of trial
came, he proved himself, though so young, the
bravest, truest man in all that Parliament.
What did the anger of the king matter to him
now, and what did he care for the honour and
applause he might lose ? He knew the king's
demand was cruel and unjust, and he thought
of the poor hard-pressed people whose cause no
one upheld. The boyish-looking figure rose;
the young member was going to make his first
speech, and all eyes were turned upon him.
Two readings of the Bill had passed. This
was the last debate. Who could expect that
he would dare to oppose it now ? Forth came
his eloquent words in a stream of convincing
arguments; and history tells how the timid


men, who only wanted a brave leader to
encourage them, turned and followed the right
course to which the youth of twenty-three dared
to lead alone. The Bill was thrown out, and
the astonished king heard that "a beardless
boy had disappointed all his purpose.
You will not be surprised to hear that Henry
VII. was very angry with the bold young
member of the House of Commons. There
was no more chance for honoured public life
for one who had provoked the anger of the
king. He must hide himself for the present
from the royal displeasure, and all his hopes
must fall to the ground. Not only so, his friends
must be made to suffer too. Sir John More,
who was to have been one of the collectors of
the new tax, was heavily fined and imprisoned
till the fine was paid. Still, I think the old
lawyer lying in the gloomy Tower, should have
been prouder of his son who had fallen under
the king's wrath, than he was when his old
heart was made glad by the great honours that
the youth had gained.

-. -


IN that part of London known as Smithfield,
there was in the time of Henry VII. a famous
monastery, known as the Charter House Mon-
astery. Round its ancient walls the busy
world had built their houses and noisy streets,
and people who lived and worked in them had
learned to think of the great cells wherein the
monks dwelt as refuges of peace and holi-
ness. Morning and evening, passers-by heard
the sound of solemn convent hymns rising with-
in the monastery, and as they stood to listen
outside the walls, it seemed to them that a
great gulf lay between their own toiling, busy
lives and the lives of the holy brethren who,
as they thought, were called by God to live
apart from the ways of men.


In a little lodging beneath the shadow of
these reverent walls, Thomas More had sought
shelter from the king's anger and his own fallen
fortunes. It was a bare, desolate room that he
lived in. At night he lay upon the boards with
a log for his pillow, and by day he wore a sharp
shirt of hair, and fasted and scourged himself,
and performed the penances that the Roman
Catholic Church commanded.
A companion sometimes shared his cheer-
less room with him. This was a youth named
William Lilly, who had studied with him at
Oxford, and now looked forward, like himself,
to becoming a monk before long. This pros-
pect was a change indeed from the sort of life
which seemed to lie before Thomas More only
a little while ago, when he had charmed the
grave Erasmus by his joyous nature, and
brought cheerfulness wherever he went. The
fact was, he shared with many other people in
those days the belief that it was easier to lead
a religious life in the quiet convent than in the
busy world. Behind all his merriment there
had always lain an earnest love of duty and
holiness; and now he longed to hide himself
from a world where there was so little honest


speech and such a small chance of leading a
useful life.
At that time many men in Roman Catholic
England would have praised his new design,
and would have thought him nearer to the
Kingdom of Heaven than before. But others
(and of these his old friend John Colet was
one) would have said it was braver and truer
to try to mend an evil world, and show men,
as he had tried to do before this, how they
might make a city of God out of their own
sinful homes and ways.
He had not cast aside all his old pursuits.
Some Greek and Latin books were in his un-
furnished room, and on the wall hung the lute
he played upon. He found time, besides, to
write satires and poems scoffing at the unjust
king and his ministers, who were ruling the
land so badly.
You must know, too, that though William
Lilly was a frequent companion, More made for
himself in his lonely hours other companion-
ships of great men, who, though dead, still
seemed near him in their influence and in
the spirit of their lives, which he learned to
understand and love. Chief among these men


was a young prince, who had died in Florence
just before John Colet's visit to that city.
Prince Pico had been a disciple of the great
preacher Savonarola. Like Thomas More, he
had found himself suddenly checked when a
youth, in the course of life he had meant to
lead. From that time he gave up all wish for
the fame that had been so dear to him before,
and lived only to do the little duties that came
in his way to be done, with a fervent love for
God who sent them to him, and for every
human being who wanted help. One of his
favourite sayings was the following : "Take no
heed what many men may do; but what things
our Lord Himself showeth thee to be done."
This prince became a hero and a saint to
Thomas More. He wrote Prince Pico's life
and edited his writings, that other people might
also be helped by his influence. As he wrote
and thought about the prince, he longed more
and more to grow like him ; but still the best
way to do this, so it seemed to him, was to
enter the neighboring convent.
Meanwhile, John Colet had received pro-
motion, and been chosen Dean of St. Paul's
Cathedral, in London. So now, just when


Thomas More was waiting anxiously for the
day when he might be admitted into the
monastery, the new Dean came to London,
and the young man once more came under his
John Colet had all this time been working
quietly and patiently at Oxford, lecturing to
a few listeners. At last the time had come
when he could be of more use, and when his
voice might be heard by large numbers of
people. St. Paul's Cathedral, when he was
made its Dean, stood in the centre of the city.
The great nave of the church was known as
" St. Paul's Walk," and under the wide arches
the citizens of London used to meet. There
they paced up and down and talked of busi-
ness, or politics, or religion, or whatever subject
interested them most; and there Dean Colet
set on foot a new plan.
In his plain black gown, with none of the
gorgeous robes that former Deans used to
wear, he began to preach at certain times to the
crowds gathered together in St. Paul's Walk.
Dean Colet in London, like Savonarola in
Florence, told his hearers about the life of
Jesus Christ. Merchants and students, weary


men and women, and even little children heard
words in that quiet cathedral that helped them
to mend their daily lives. Thomas More was
always one of the Dean's listeners; and after
John Colet came to London, it began to dawn
upon More's mind that it was better to work
for God in the world than to pray to Him in a
convent cell, and nobler to fight against temp-
tations and trouble than to hide from them.
Sometimes he went to supper with the Dean,
and met at his table men of various stations
and characters. It was said in London that
although the new Dean gave no grand feasts
and entertainments, yet his guests went home
from his supper parties wiser and better men.
The fact was, Dean Colet saw in every man's
work, of whatever kind it might be, a holy
calling; and this thought made itself felt in
all he said and did.
Little by little, from one cause or another,
Thomas More ceased to wish to enter the
Charter-house Monastery. Gradually he went
back to his profession, and when the bright
summer days came he visited some friends of
Dean Colet's, who lived in a country house in
the county of Essex. By-and-by good news


gladdened the Dean's kind heart. In the
sunny meadows the last gloomy shadows had
faded from the young man's mind, and the
common ways of life in which God places men
seemed to him sacred and beautiful again. A
simple, loving country girl had promised to
become his wife; and together they planned to
make a perfect home, even though it was to be
in the midst of the busy dwellings of men and
among all the noise and traffic of the neigh-
bourhood of Cheapside.
In the year 1507 Thomas More married,
and early next year another event happened,
which not only made his own prospects
brighter, but also caused all English people
to rejoice. The old king, Henry VII., died.
One bright day in spring, armed heralds cried
through the city, God send the noble king,
Henry the Eighth, long life!" and on every
hand the citizens made merry and echoed the
loyal wish. All classes of people welcomed
the new king. Thomas More and the other
friends of the new learning" did so, because,
as you know, they had long ago fixed their
hopes on the promising young prince. After
his coronation, More presented him with a


Latin poem, as he had done some years before
at Lord Mountjoy's house. The poem was
full of praises of the young king, and written
in courtly language; but Henry the Eighth
knew well that the truthful young lawyer, who
had withstood the late king's unjust demands
so bravely, would never flatter nor support
himself if the acts of his own reign proved
to be unjust.
Erasmus came back to England a year or
two after the new king's reign had begun : for
he had a good post offered to him at Cam-
bridge University. But he reached London ill
and in need of rest, and went to More's house
to be nursed. There, partly to amuse himself
during his illness, he wrote a little book called
the Praise of Folly." In this book he turned
to ridicule many things that were wrong and
foolish in the world. He showed how wicked
the great wars were which the Pope and the
kings of Europe were fighting for their own
selfish ends. He described the evil lives the
monks and priests were too often leading
Above all, he pointed out the folly of studying
the books of the old schoolmen instead of the
Bible teachings, and of clinging to old worn-


out, mistaken ideas, instead of welcoming the
newer and truer thoughts which God gives to
men in every age as time advances.
Erasmus published this book, and it came
forth to the world like a loud voice calling on
men everywhere to reform, both their religion
and their daily lives. Dean Colet welcomed
the Praise of Folly." He had long urged
Erasmus to turn from his own studies to help
to make the world wiser and better. Now
Erasmus was ready to follow his friend's advice.
But a still better book remained for him to
write, and he set to work upon it as soon as
he reached Cambridge. This book was a
fresh Latin translation of the New Testament,
written side by side with the original Greek
words. He hoped that people would read this
new translation eagerly, and turn from the
schoolmen's writings that had hitherto filled
up so many of their studious hours. Erasmus,
like Dean Colet, believed that the best way to
mend the world would be to make each person
in it more like Jesus Christ; and he hoped that
in time every ignorant peasant by his own
fireside, would be able to read for himself, in
his own language, the words and deeds of


Christ. Meantime this Latin translation was
a great step in the right direction.
During this visit of Erasmus to London,
he and Thomas More often talked together of
Dean Colet, and of how much they owed to
his influence. They remembered how, long
ago at Oxford, John Colet had held firmly
to new modes of thought and teaching he
believed were right and true, while they were
scouted by almost every one else in the
University. They remembered, too, how he
had sought them both out in their loneliness;
and how he had been really the first of the
little band of men that had brought a new
life among the students there. How different
it would all have been, if John Colet had
returned from Florence only to do and think
just as other men did and thought. If he
had let the words of Savonarola pass from
him like an empty dream, instead of acting on
them and letting them rule his life. As for
Thomas More, John Colet had sought him
out and been his helper a second time.
Thanks to the good Dean, More was now
leading a useful life in the world, instead of
hiding himself in a convent cell. True to


Prince Pico's motto, he was taking heed to
the things the Lord showed him to be done";
but he was trying to become a good father,
husband, son, and citizen, instead of only a
good monk. People knew him as the honest
lawyer, who would take up no cause that was
not just and right, and accept no fee that a
poor client could not afford to pay.
No wonder that his old father was proud of
such a son. Past disappointment and the
dreary prison in the Tower were both forgotten
by the old man, for loving little grandchildren
made glad his heart, and even among the
crowds in Westminster Hall, his busy son,
meeting him, would stop to do him reverence
and kneel to ask his blessing or to kiss his

7 'u>



MEANWHILE, what had become of More's
faithful companion who had shared his lodging
near the Charter-house Monastery, and who
had also meant to turn monk ? Had God no
work for William Lilly in the world, where
good workers were so much needed ? or might
he alone forsake the world and not be missed ?
For him, too, there was work waiting, and for
him, also, Dean Colet was to lead the way.
More of this by-and-by. First you must
know that Dean Colet's father died and left
him a large fortune. Then the question arose,
how should he spend his money most worthily
and well ? To live in magnificence and give
costly feasts and entertainments would be to
waste it, so the new owner thought. In some


way he must make the world the better for it;
and soon he decided upon a plan.
Children were as dear to John Colet's kind
heart, now he was the busy Dean of Saint
Paul's Cathedral, as they had been years ago,
when, as a young man, he first noticed the
merry little page in the Cardinal's palace at
Lambeth. He often used to stand and watch
them at their play, and study their faces as
he came upon them in the London streets.
Having this great love for children, it was
no wonder that he wished to make their
schooldays happier for them, and to make
the ways of learning, which were so hard in
those days, easier for them. Moreover, he
looked upon children as the future workers,
who were to take his place and the places
of better men than he, when they were all
dead and gone; therefore he longed to train
these young workers to be ready for that time
to come.
Opposite to Saint Paul's Cathedral lay a
waste piece of ground, and at this time Dean
Colet was often seen to stand beside this piece
of ground, measuring it with his eye and plainly
planning something in his mind. By-and-by


workmen were seen about the place; and, by
degrees, a new building began to rise under
the shadow of the great Cathedral walls, and
to this day Saint Paul's School stands there
in memory of the good Dean and the love he
bore to children.
This school, built with Dean Colet's wealth,
was to be no common school. Boys were to
learn pure Greek and Latin, and to be trained
in all the riches of the new learning. There
were to be no dull schoolmen's books for his
scholars. He wrote a new and simple Latin
Grammar for them, and in the beginning of
the book the boys of Saint Paul's School read
these words from Dean Colet to themselves :-
"Wherefore I pray you little babes, all little
children, learn gladly this little treatise and
commend it diligently to your memories,
trusting of this beginning that ye shall proceed
and grow to perfect literature, and come at the
last to be great Clerks. And lift up your little
white hands for me which prayeth for you to
God, to whom be all imperial Majesty and
glory. Amen."
Now came the call to William Lilly. Would
he become the master of the new school?"


asked the Dean; and Lilly entered heart and
soul into the work, and there were no hard
blows nor dull, hopeless, useless tasks for the
little scholars in that school. It was a wonder-
ful change in the habits of those times. An
image of the Child Jesus, with outstretched
hands, stood above the master's chair, that the
thought of His perfect boyhood might always
enter into those restless little lives. And so
Dean Colet sowed his good seed, to spring up
and bear fruit when he had passed away from
All this time he continued to preach in
the Cathedral, when the city people met
for business in the broad "St. Paul's Walk."
Dean Colet did not think that a church was to
be used on Sundays only; he wanted to make
people religious in their daily lives, and to bring
the thought of God into their buying and
selling, and into all their businesses and cares.
By degrees, among the crowds, stray silent,
lonely-looking men began to mingle, on whom
the usual listeners looked askance, and for
whom they made way quickly, as if afraid
to hold any intercourse with them.
It was no fancy that these men were thus


shunned by the crowds in St. Paul's Walk.
Roman Catholic England looked upon them as
heretics, and called them by the contemptuous
name of Lollards, or Idle Babblers." They
were often cruelly persecuted for their belief;
and years before, when they had formed a
large party in the land, many of the despised
Lollards had actually been burnt alive. Yet
these men, who now made their way so timidly
into the cathedral, often led holier and better
lives than did those who were afraid to be
seen speaking with them. Dean Colet's simple
Bible teaching pleased them, and they thought
he was the right kind of preacher, for those
or any other days, who taught men to follow
Christ's example and to live loving lives of
duty in their homes.
Now, in order rightly to understand who
these Lollards were, we must go back two
hundred years from the time of this story, and
fancy ourselves in a quiet country village in
Leicestershire. This village was called Lut-
terworth, and it was the abode of farmers and
country people who lived simple, peaceful lives.
In their midst, like a father to his people, dwelt
a priest named John Wyclif. Wyclif was a


great scholar. But although he was so learned,
yet even the youngest children in his flock could
understand his sermons; for he spoke plain,
simple truths to the people, and did not ask
them to believe hard doctrines, but to listen
to the words of Christ and to live right lives.
Day by day, the worn-looking priest might
be seen bringing comfort and help to his
people. He cast aside in this village work all
thought of the fame that might await him in
the world as a learned man. Still, news came
into his quiet life from the busy outside world.
Wyclif heard how the Pope of Rome, calling
himself the Head of the Church, was demand-
ing unjustly tribute money from the English
people for his own selfish purposes. He heard,
too, how bishops and priests were leading
sinful, greedy lives, and that thus the Eng-
lish people generally, unlike his own people of
Lutterworth, were as sheep without shepherds.
Such a Pope and such priests could be neither
examples nor teachers.
When a young man studying at Oxford
University, Wyclif, from his knowledge of the
gospels, had gained the name of the gospel
doctor "; and now, as he wandered thoughtfully


through the meadows and lanes of Lutterworth,
with his mind bent on this bad news, he
pictured to himself a pattern Church, such as
our Lord would have formed in Palestine long
ago. In that Church there would be no covet-
ous Pope as Head; the pure teachings of Christ
must form its creed, and its priests must be
good men of simple, earnest lives. This good
priest of Lutterworth went about his work with
this thought ever in his mind : and at last he
determined, poor priest as he was, to begin the
work himself of reforming the English Church.
From that time he preached and wrote boldly
against the errors in the Church and against
the wicked lives of the priests, and he feared
no peril that might come upon himself from
doing so.
A number of followers joined him, and these
men, calling themselves poor" or simple
priests," wandered about preaching in barns
or on the hill-sides, or in busy market-places,
telling people of the teachings of Christ, just
as the disciples, the poor fishermen, had done
centuries before, when they left their nets to
follow Him."
Another thought came to Wyclif. This


thought was that men and women should learn
to think about religious matters for themselves,
and to pray their own prayers to God, not
trusting, as they then did, to the teachings and
prayers of the priests. To this end he trans-
lated the Bible into English from the Latin
edition, which was at that time in the hands
of the priests only. The art of printing had
not then been discovered; but willing hands
made copies of his book, and the "poor priests"
carried them with them as they went about
to preach, and scattered them in the homes
of the English people.
This is the story of the way in which the
good priest Wyclif sowed his seed. It sprang
up and bore fruit in the hearts of rich and
poor; and a longing for a purer and more holy
Church was born in England. Wyclif and his
priests underwent much ill-usage for their work.
They were stoned and mobbed and imprisoned
by the upholders of the doctrines and customs
they preached against. At length, the good
priest of Lutterworth died, worn out. He was
stricken with paralysis in the little village
church in the midst of the people among whom
he had lived and worked so long.


After his death, the Lollards, as his followers
were called, struggled bravely on to spread
his views. They sprang up in all parts of
the land, and fiercer persecutions than ever
before followed. The Lollards were fined and
whipped and burned alive. The Pope and the
king and the priests all raged against them.
But when the Civil Wars of the Roses broke
out, the thoughts of all the English people were
taken up by the dreadful contests round their
own hearths and homes, and it seemed, when
peace came again, as if the seed which Wyclif
sowed had been destroyed.
But no good work is ever lost. Copies of
Wyclif's English Bible lay safely hidden away
among the treasures of some English homes;
and Wyclifs written sermons and the memories
of his words had been handed down from
father to son, and were still living in the land.
Now, to go back to the time of our story,
this was the case when Dean Colet was daily
preaching in St. Paul's Cathedral. The new
learning" which he and Erasmus and Thomas
More had tried to bring into England from
its home in Italy, brought something to men
beside a wealth of Greek books and treasures


in science and art. It brought with it an in-
quiring spirit and a longing for truth of every
kind; and men began to ask on all hands for
truth in religion as well as in other matters.
Then Wyclif's buried seed sprang up again,
and the hidden Bibles were read in secret, and
the old name of Lollard was whispered about,
when people spoke against the idle, covetous
lives of the priests, or talked of a Church which
should have no Head in the Pope, but only in
God Himself.
At this time the Bishop of London woke up
to the fear of fresh heresy in the Church. It
came to his ears that the dangerous Lollards
were rising up again in London, and that they
were to be found even among Dean Colet's
congregation in the Cathedral. The Bishop
began to suspect that the Dean himself was
not quite sound in the Roman Catholic faith;
so, early in the year I515, he called together
an assembly of bishops and priests in St.
Paul's Cathedral, and invited Dean Colet to
preach to the assembly on the best way of
ridding the Church of heretics.
Now, a heretic did not mean the same thing
to the harsh, narrow-minded Bishop and to


the gentle, broad-minded Dean. Dean Colet
wished with all his heart to reform the daily lives
of the priests, and so far he was in sympathy
with the Lollards. And he did not think it
needful that all men should believe exactly alike,
as the Bishop thought. But he loved peace and
unity within the Church; and, while he wished
to make men pure and holy, and to allow them
a certain liberty of thought in their religious
views, no man, with his leave, should break the
Church up into parties and sects, or separate
her from the Pope, who had been her visible
head on earth so long. In this view Thomas
More and Erasmus agreed with Dean Colet.
The day of assembly arrived. Bishops and
priests gathered together in the great Cathe-
dral, and the Bishop of London was there also.
All were expecting to hear stern judgments
from the Dean against the Lollards, who were
beginning to disturb the peace of the Church
anew. But Dean Colet had no fear nor hard
thoughts of the timid Lollards, and he was
quite silent about them. Yet he had much
to say on the subject of heresy in the Church;
for he told his listeners that a priest who did
worldly, wicked deeds was a worse enemy to


th2 Church than any one of the flock whose
belief was not quite sound; and he spoke long
about the importance of right living, and of the
need to purify the Church from bad examples
in life rather than from differences in belief.
This was not the kind of sermon on heresy
that the Bishop wanted. His anger was so
greatly roused by it that the Dean's friends
found it no easy task to defend him from the
Bishop's penalties.


WIIIiLE Dean Colet was working in the Cathe-
dral and the school, Thomas More was spend-
ing no idle time. He had, as you have heard,
become a man well known in London, and
fresh offices and duties opened out to him each
year, and he was useful and honoured. I dare-
say there was no happier home in the whole
city than his, for there was a most loving,
gentle spirit in it. This happiness lasted for
five or six years. But at the end of that time,
in the year 1514, all was changed. In that
year you must fancy More far away from Eng-
land, among the quaint old streets and build-
ings of the city of Antwerp, in Flanders. Still
to English people he was known as Young
More "; but to the people of Antwerp, who
watched him day by day going in and out


among them, he seemed a careworn, saddened
man. And they were not mistaken in this
Time had brought great trouble to Thomas
More. His young wife was dead, and his
lonely home and four little motherless children
were ever in his thoughts. He had left three
little daughters, Margaret, Cicely, and Eliza-
beth, as well as a baby boy, in England. Of
these, Margaret, the eldest, was still only a
young child, but though so young she was
already showing signs of the tender, womanly
nature that made her in later years a pattern
for all English girls. Already she was an old-
fashioned, loving little guardian for her brothers
and sisters, only a little younger than herself.
The sad father, so far away from home, used to
think lovingly as he went about his business, of
the quaint sayings and gentle ways of his little
daughter Meg," and his troubled heart felt
lighter for the time as he thought of her.
But there were other cares beside his own
home sorrows weighing upon Thomas More.
These other cares had brought him to Ant-
werp, so far from home at that sad time, and
of these you must now hear.


During the six years that had passed since
his coronation, the young King Henry the
Eighth had changed much in character. The
hopes that Erasmus and other learned men had
formed of him were disappointed. The king's
wishes were now all turned towards conquest
and the gaining of new lands. There were
some pleasant domains in France that he
coveted, and, like the other kings and em-
perors of the time, he had begun to think of
little beside war and the vulgar fame of victory
in battle. His famous Prime Minister, Wolsey,
was coming into power in those days, and, like
his master the king, Wolsey had his own ends
to serve by foreign wars. But the people of
England felt the burdens and the taxes which
wars always bring, and they cared little for the
glory of conquests which were gained at their
Among other classes of people, the wool-
merchants of England suffered by the king's
quarrels. Their trade with Flanders was
stopped. English farms might be turned, as
you have heard was the case, into pasture land,
and the fat sheep might graze and give up their
soft white wool, but all was in vain if the wool


was to be stored up in English harbours, and
find no market in Antwerp or Bruges. Henry
VIII. was at last obliged to make up his
dispute with Flanders, and the English wool-
merchants sent up a petition to the king, that
the well-known London lawyer, Thomas More,
might go with the other royal messengers to
plead their cause in their great wool markets
of Antwerp and Bruges.
Such was the business that took More to
Antwerp, and kept him there for three or four
weary months, longing for his home, and think-
ing sadly of the prospects of England and of
all Europe in those quarrelsome times, for wars
and threatening of wars were widely spread.
Happily he had plenty of work to do. Before
hard work the gloomiest thoughts are driven
away; and, apart from this, Thomas More's
nature was not one to be always sad. When a
much younger man he had had visions in his
own mind of the beautiful city of God which
good Christian men might make of even the
evil-doing city of London; and you remember
how he told these visions to all who would
come to listen to him in the quiet city church.
Now, a sadder and older man in Antwerp,


he used to wander down to the blue waters of
the River Scheldt, or gaze over the wide sunny
plain from the cathedral tower, and picture to
himself a time when all lands and peoples-his
own among the rest-might live in peace, and
grow wiser and nobler thereby.
So it came to pass, when his work in Ant-
werp was over, he took home with him to
England this vision of a better state of things,
and never lost it, though the realities around
him were so sad and dreary. There was ter-
rible sickness raging in the ill-ventilated, clay-
floored houses about him. He heard each day
tales of starving labourers turned out from the
farms, of idle soldiers disabled by the war, and
of servants cast off by their ruined masters.
All these men were ready to turn to beggary
and theft; and so crime increased, and men
were hung in rows on wayside gallows, and un-
taught children were growing up to follow in
their steps. This was the kind of world that
Thomas More saw around him; and yet he did
not lose heart or hope, but kept his dream
of better days clear and true. Such a vision
as he treasured, we call an ideal; and each of
us, like Thomas More, has some sort of a


treasured ideal which acts upon his daily life.
Thus, a boy who means to be a prosperous
merchant, and sets the aim before him to be
rich, has an ideal in view; but it is a lower
ideal than that of this young lawyer, whose aim
was to help and raise his fellow men. Our
ideals may be great and noble, or they may be
poor and mean, and the lives we live will be of
the same kind. Thomas More's ideal ruled his
life. He not only had the vision of a better
England; but he determined to work to make
his vision a reality, and to gain helpers also in
his work. So, in the midst of the disease and
poverty and crime about him, among the nar-
row, dirty streets of Bucklersbury, where he
was living, he wrote a book to make his visions
known, and called his book Utopia."
Utopia," meaning nowhere," was the
fancied name of an imaginary island. In this
island, such' peace and prosperity as More
wished England to gain was supposed to
have been found by a sailor named Raphael
Hystaspes, who tells in the book the story of
his voyage. In the first edition of Utopia"
there is a strange old woodcut picturing three
men sitting together on a green bank in a


shady Antwerp garden. Two of these men
were meant for More and his friend Peter Giles,
of Antwerp. The third man was the sailor,
Raphael Hystaspes, a dark-skinned foreigner,
with a long cloak and beard. The story tells
that More and his friend, eager to hear all that
Raphael could tell them, sat thus with him from
early morning till dinner time, and then listened
again to the tale of his adventures till the red
sunset brightened the western sky and the
evening bells began to ring.
The tale they heard was, first of all, the
misery among the people of England, where
Raphael had spent some time. The sailor told
of the suffering caused there by the wars the
king waged in foreign lands, as well as by the
late civil war at home; of the heavy taxes; of
the wounded, idle soldiers; the farmers driven
out of their farms, the criminals, the public-
houses, and the untaught children in the streets.
Then, in contrast, came the story of the lovely
island, Utopia, which Raphael had discovered
on a later voyage. There the people always
lived in peace, there every child was well
taught, and there every one knew and followed
some useful trade.


The people of Utopia had no long, dreary
hours for work: but they were never idle.
Part of each day they spent in reading or de-
bating in large lecture halls. They loved music,
too, and cultivated flowers and vines; for every
house in the broad, well-paved streets had a
garden of its own, and every house was peace-
ful and in order. Utopia was certainly very
unlike England in Thomas More's time.
Raphael told that the Utopians had vast
temples in their towns, and that in these
temples they all met together to give thanks
to God for the joys He sent them. They
never tried to compel any one to believe any
special creed; but they prayed that all who
were in error might be led to God in the end.
This, too, was unlike England, where the poor
Lollards hardly dared to pray among the wor-
shippers in St. Paul's Cathedral.
Utopia" seemed a kind of fairy story to
the English people when they read it for the
first time. Men laughed in those days at
the visions of Thomas More; and I daresay he
feared himself that there was little chance they
could ever come to pass. But still he kept his
grand ideal in view; and the world grew better


silently and unobserved, for the true words
spoken by this earnest man.
The king read More's book. People thought
he would surely be angry with the bold young
lawyer who had made such heavy complaints
against his ill-government. But, though he did
not take More's lesson to heart at once, Henry
VIII. showed no signs of anger. He was
even more desirous than before to attach him
to the court and royal service. He offered
More a pension if he would consent to this;
but the king could not have his will in this
matter while Wolsey, with a high hand, was
forcing on the war with France, and suffering
no parliaments to be held. So More refused
all the king's honours and offices, and worked
on in his old way as an honest lawyer, serving
England with true words and good examples
whenever he found a chance.
Of one thing Thomas More felt very certain.
He was quite sure that it was worse than
useless for any man to spend time in wishing
the world were better and wiser, or in writing
books about perfect Utopias, if he did not do
his very best to mend the little corner of the
world in which he himself lived.


His wish to make a perfect pattern of an
English home was as strong as ever it had
been; and he thought it would go a long way
towards bringing on better days for England if
every home in the land were well ordered and
at peace. It was true that God had taken from
him the gentle wife whose loving influence
years before had helped to call him back from
the dreams of the convent to the busy work
of life; but there were still joys and duties for
him, and he saw the blessings left in his lot,
and made the most of them.
Three or four miles from London, up the
River Thames, among the meadows where
busy Chelsea now stands, More had bought
a piece of land; and, for some time, workmen
had been busy there building a large house
for him. He wanted his children to grow up
among sweet sights and sounds, that they might
learn to see God in all about them; and his
plan was to make his new house large enough
to hold, not only his children, but his children's
children, if he should be happy enough to see
them grow up around him.
At last the time came when the new house
was ready. You can fancy the joy of the


children when they left the city home and
found gardens awaiting them, and birds' songs
to waken them in the early morning, and pet
animals to be cared for and fed. People sail-
ing in their barges up and down the Thames
used to admire the garden terraces on the river
bank, with their gay flowers or avenues of
trees; and to notice how each year the ivy and
other climbing plants rose nearer and nearer to
the many windows along the front of the house;
while the bright moss and house-leek coloured
the gables and pent- houses which composed
the building's varied shape. Erasmus, Dean
Colet, and other old friends of More, used to
row up the river sometimes, and, landing at
the little wicket gate, walk up through the
meadows and pleasant gardens to the house,
sure of a kindly welcome from some of the
family, even if the master himself should be
away from home.
The household was a large one now. You
must know that in those dreary days after his
wife's death, while More still lived in Bucklers-
bury, a warm-hearted woman, Mistress Alice
Middleton by name, who had known losses and
trouble in her own life, felt her heart grow



tender towards the solitary man and his mother-
less children. By the time the new home was
ready he had found another helpmeet in her;
and her little daughter, for she was a widow,
had become to him like one of his own child-
ren. And this was not all the change that had
taken place. More adopted, also, an orphan
girl, named Margaret Giggs. But for him she
would have been cast homeless on the world:
and this second Margaret loved him as his
own Meg" did.
So all the children grew up together in one
united family; and More's home still seemed
to the solitary Erasmus, whenever he visited it,
as a peaceful haven.


r, j


LONG business journeys often took More away
from home; then, to the children's great joy,
a letter came at times, written as he rode on
horseback, and full of loving thoughts for them,
and merry jokes and wise advice. When at
home, he was often so closely occupied that he
had to snatch hours for work from time that
should have been given to sleep or meals. Yet
no home duties were neglected. He knew
all about the children's pets: their monkeys,
rabbits, and dormice. He made collections of
coins with the children; and, on clear nights,
found time to point out the different stars to
them. He taught them to love flowers, and to
learn their names and mode of growth.
Each person in the household had a little
plot of ground to cultivate, and both men and


maidservants were encouraged, in their leisure
hours, to read and sing, and play on the organ.
No idleness was ever to be seen in the large
house, even though all the needful work might
be done. At meal times some book was read
aloud or talked about; and, in their lesson
times, the children gave their whole hearts to
their hard work. William Gunnell, the tutor,
had not an idle pupil among the little Mores ; for
duty, and their father's wishes, and their own
delight in study, spurred and helped them on.
Yet they were always merry and sunny-hearted,
as their father had been when he was a boy;
and he said, with joy, that his girls knew how
to be merry and wise.
Now More valued both wisdom and merri-
ment, but he did not think that these qualities
would make a perfect character. Great talents
showed themselves among his children; and
Margaret, especially, gave signs of wonderful
powers of mind. But it was not enough that
she should be a learned woman. She must
be tender-hearted, and quick to sympathise as
well, and he taught her and her sisters to find
joy in helping people who were sick and poor.
Not far from his house he built a home for


aged men and women. Every day it was Mar-
garet's duty and pleasure to visit them and
take care that all their wants were supplied.
Into the midst of all these home interests,
More brought to his wife and children news
of the events which were taking place in the
world, of the wars being waged, and of the sin
and misery in less happy homes than their own.
The children learned to know the great heroes
of past time, whom their father loved; to rever-
ence the dead Prince Pico and Savonarola, and
the living Dean Colet and Erasmus, with the
other leaders of their father's youthful days.
And, above all, the thought of God within their
midst lay behind all the sunshine and industry
of that home, and made it what it was. So,
summer and winter, the days passed away,
almost unnoticed in their flight, as the silent
river floated past the garden banks; and sad
days to come still lay far away.
Meanwhile, Dean Colet was still preaching
to the citizens of London in St. Paul's Walk,"
and training children in his Model School.
But he was often wearied and perplexed by
the persecutions of the Bishop of London, who
looked on the Dean's way of Bible-teaching


and on his support of the new learning" as
heresies. It was true that Warham, the Arch-
bishop of Canterbury, who had succeeded
More's old patron, Cardinal Morton, was the
Dean's true friend ; but even he could not pre-
vent much pain and trouble arising from the
Bishop's violent words and deeds. Still, Dean
Colet was as brave in speech and as true of
heart as ever; and just as anxious as ever to be
a reformer such as Savonarola had been. And
when an opportunity came for him to speak
some bold words of censure to the king him-
self, even this, though feeble in body, he did
not shrink from doing.
Henry VIII. was glorying in the war against
the French, and full of hope for its results,
when one day Dean Colet was called upon to
preach a sermon before the king and Court.
The day was a Good Friday, and the Dean
chose for his subject the victory of Christ
and the Christian warfare, wherein good men
fight against temptation. "No Christian vic-
tory," said the preacher, was possible on an
earthly battle-field, where evil passions only
were awakened, and the devil's fight, not that
of God, was fought."


The courtiers, accustomed only to say what
royal ears liked to hear, looked askance at
each other. They wondered what the end
would be, when, after service was over, the
king summoned the preacher to walk with
him in a monastery garden near the palace.
The interview lasted a long time, and the
time-servers and place-seekers of the palace,
who only lived to flatter the king, thought
the Dean's doom was sealed. They told each
other he had preached in St. Paul's Cathedral
for the last time.
But Henry VIII. admired sincerity and
honesty when he met with them. He felt
the Dean was in earnest; and, perhaps, even
then, in the heat of his war-ardour, the in-
fluence of the truthful words was acting on
him. All that the waiting courtiers heard
from him afterwards about the Dean was as
follows: Let every one have his own doctor,
and every one favour his own; but this man
is the doctor for me."
With this sermon, however, Dean Colet's
work was nearly over. A severe illness
attacked him and left him weak and worn-
out, though still in years he was not an old


man. Very soon he was obliged to give up his
work; and for a short time he made a home
in the country with his mother, who was still
alive. Not long after, news came to his
friends in London that he was dead. But his
influence did not die in the places where his
work had laid. Erasmus wept at the news
and said, "For centuries we have not had
among us a more learned or more holy man";
and far back in More's memory lay the even-
ing at Lambeth, when he had first seen his
dear old friend as a young man full of energy
and hope.
Dean Colet was one of those noble souls
who keep true to the dream of their youth."
The hopes and aims which he had brought
back with him from his youthful life in
Florence, he had carried out in the work of
his later years. And now his work was done.
How many of those who read the story of his
life will be as "true to the dreams of their
youth as he was ?
Peace was made at length between England
and France. This was done partly from want
of funds wherewith to carry on the war, and
partly, perhaps, from the influence of peace-


loving men in England. Henry VIII. signed
a treaty with the French king, and Thomas
More was sent over to Calais as an ambas-
sador on this business. It was an office he
gladly undertook. After this he was knighted
by order of the king; and we must speak of
him for the future as Sir Thomas More.
Now at last, when peace was made, he was
willing to take office in the State, and agreed
to become Treasurer of the Exchequer; but
only on one condition: In all things," was
his notice to the king, "I must look first to
God, and after God to the king." I think
Henry VIII. was still unspoiled enough to
value his new Treasurer the more for this, and
to feel the more sure of his honesty when he
heard that the messengers found him praying
when they went to call him to the royal
Every month Sir Thomas More grew in the
royal favour. Often, after a council meeting,
he was summoned to take supper with the king
and queen, or to study the stars with them
from the leads of the royal palace. Some-
times the king himself came to More's house
at Chelsea, and walked in the garden with his


arm round More's neck. Sir Thomas thought
little of all the honours heaped upon him, and
even regretted the king's invitations to supper,
because they caused him to be so often absent
from home. At last he tried to make his
society less pleasant to the royal pair, hoping
by this means to be allowed to spend more time
with his family; and he well knew that the
favour of the king was by no means certain to
last. One day he spoke about it to a friend
thus :-" I thank the Lord I find His Grace
the king a very good lord indeed : and I
believe he doth as singularly favour me as any
subject within his realm. However, I may tell
thee I have no cause to be proud thereof, for
if my head could win him a castle in France,
it would not fail to go."
Meanwhile the home ways he loved so well
found no change. As he rose in power and
wealth, all simple pleasures were as dear to
him as ever; and the poor and suffering old
people in his children's care were the better
housed and fed. He still sang in the choir of
"Chelsea Church among the villagers. The
Duke of Norfolk coming to dine with him one
Sunday, found fault with him for making him-


self into a parish clerk when the king had
raised him to such power. In reply, he only
smiled and said: Nay, your Grace may not
think that your king and mine will be offended
with me for serving God, his Master, or there-
by think his office dishonoured."
It is a wise person who sees what is really
worth having and doing in life. Sir Thomas
More was always thus wise; but Dame Alice,
his wife, pained him sometimes by her foolish
glorying in his honours, and by her love for the
mere outside shows of the world. He loved
her dearly. She was warm-hearted, and would
have done anything she could to please him.
For his sake she learned to play the viol,
though she had no liking for music herself;
and she tried to take pleasure in those home
interests which were so dear to him. But she
was soon disquieted and vexed by little trials,
and her greatest happiness really lay in things
that were of small value to Sir Thomas More's
great soul.
One day, during his absence at Court, the
barns and hay-ricks lying behind the house
caught fire, and much harm was done. She,
poor woman, was naturally much distressed at


the loss of so many worldly goods, and sent
messengers to her husband telling him of her
agony of mind. The following loving letter
was his answer in the hope of quieting her
with the knowledge that the news had not
disturbed his peace of mind:-
I will come to thee as soon as I can. Per-
haps this loss may be of greater benefit of God
than the gain of so much would have been; for
He knoweth what is most expedient for us.
Be therefore of good courage, I pray thee; and
taking all our family with you, go to the church
and give God thanks as well for those things
He has given us as for those He has taken
away, and for all that which He hath left us,
which He can easily increase when He seeth it
best for us. And if He pleaseth to take more
from us, His blessed will be fulfilled. But let
it be diligently inquired what our neighbours
have lost, and desire them not to be sad for any
thing, for I will not see one of them endangered
by any mischance of my house, though I should
not leave myself so much as one spoon. I
pray thee be cheerful with all my children and
family. At my return to the king, I see things
going so as it is likely I shall stay with him


a good while: yet, because of this misfortune,
perhaps I shall get leave to come and see you
some time this next week, when we shall confer
more at leisure on these our household affairs."
Sir Thomas More's private life gave ex-
ample of faith and patience to all who knew
him, and from his public life all England might
learn the power of honesty and of moral
courage. In all things he remembered his vow
of looking to God first, and after God to the
king." No temptations nor threats ever led
him one hair's breadth from what he thought
was the right course. Cardinal Wolsey, the
Pope's Legate and the king's favourite, was
feared and flattered in those days. More made
an exception to the general rule; and, though
he owed much of his success with the king to
Wolsey's favour, he was not afraid to risk the
great man's anger by opposing him where he
thought he was in the wrong.
Thus, in the year 1523, when Sir Thomas
More was first made Speaker of the House of
Commons, the great Cardinal presented him-
self before Parliament to demand that for
purposes he had in view a heavy tax should be
levied on the people. Perhaps More's thoughts


went back to the day when, "a beardless boy,"
he had made his first speech in Parliament,
and had led the timid Commons to refuse
a like demand made by Henry VII. The
penalty for his boldness at that time had ruined
his prospects and made a prisoner of his old
father. Now he had still more at stake. Was
he as brave of heart and true of conscience
as in his early days? Again he was the
one brave man who led the way. The unjust
tax was refused, and the Cardinal withdrew
discomfited. This time, wonderful to tell,
nothing followed More's act beyond an angry
rebuke from Wolsey; but he had not expected
to escape so easily. No man could have done
so brave a deed who had not always been faith-
ful to conscience in little things, and thus
gained strength to stand firm when a great trial
So the years passed by, filled with honest
service to God, the king, and the English
people; and still, whether absent or present, in
the midst of all his public work his home joys
were the dearest to him, and his heart was
where his treasure lay. Trees grew up round
his house, and the stone walls became weather-


beaten, and the children found hopes beyond
the walls of home, and wandered in the sunny
meadows with those they learned to love, as
their father had done in years gone by. But
the birds in the garden came back to their old
nests, and Sir Thomas More's family clung to
him and their old home, and they married
and lived on happily there, and little grand-
children's merry voices made the place dearer
to its owner's heart than ever.



THERE are few events more famous in Henry
the Eighth's reign than his meeting with the
French king, Francis the First, on the Field
of the Cloth of Gold. Cardinal Wolsey, who
so dearly loved pomp and show, planned the
interview, and the splendour which gave to the
meeting-place its name and ruined so many
English nobles was due to him.
All through his life the Cardinal's aim was
to gain fame and power. People ceased to
remember that he was the son of a butcher
at Ipswich as they watched his growing influ-
ence in foreign lands and his state and power
at home. It would take a long time to tell of
all his planning and plots with the Pope and
with Germany, and Spain, and France. His


aims, unlike those of Sir Thomas More, were
not to help and save England and her people,
but to enrich himself.
While still a young man, the Pope made him
his Legate in England, and he was also Arch-
bishop of York, and Cardinal and Chancellor
of the kingdom. He had a huge income. His
train of one hundred servants contained nine or
ten lords, who had been beggared by the wars.
Even his cook wore silk and velvet, and a chain
of gold about his neck. Wolsey made no vow
"to look to God first, and after God to the
king." He worked for his own success in life,
and when, in course of time, his plans thwarted
those of the king, the favourite's fall was sure
to be the result.
Thus a day came when the king needed
Wolsey's influence with the Pope to gain sup-
port for a scheme he had in view. You must
know that Henry VIII. had then no heir to
the throne. Amid the plots and intrigue in
which he had taken part so long, gentle home
affections had no chance to grow, and history
tells us how eagerly the king sought the per-
mission of the Pope, as head of the Church,
to separate from Queen Catherine of Arragon,


and to marry in her stead Anne Boleyn, a
lady of the Court.
Wolsey failed to gain the Pope's sanction to
this plan. From that time Anne Boleyn and
the king sought his ruin. One by one his
honours were taken from him, till only the
Archbishopric of York remained. Flatterers
and friends turned away, and at last only two
men were faithful to him-his fool and his
secretary, Cromwell, a man rough and hard
to others, but tender to his old master in his
disgrace. This old servant stayed by Wolsey to
the end. He travelled with him when, broken
down and near death, he set out from York to
London to answer to the last charge of high
treason. On their way they rested at Leicester
Abbey. There the monks met them at the
gate, took the dying man in their arms, and
carried him to bed, from which he never rose
again. His whole course of life lay clearly in
his view then, and he saw it had been a failure.
His last famous words tell of sad memories:
" Had I but served God as diligently as I have
served the king, He would not have given me
over in my grey hairs."
Wolsey ceased to be Lord Chancellor in the


year 1530, and Sir Thomas More was called
to the post. Then came a time when Dean
Colet's longings were fulfilled, and a reform
among the clergy was begun. A Parliament
was summoned, and Sir Thomas More worked
hard for all measures that he thought would
purify the Church and help forward the cause
of the "new learning." But the question of
heresy came to the front again, and More was
troubled and perplexed because the peace he
loved was broken by the Lollards' outcry
against the Pope, and because the unity
of the Church was threatened by parties and
Now a dark stain fell upon More's tender
heart and gentle life. It came to his lot, as
Chancellor, to prosecute the heretics, and when
all his arguments failed to convert them, he
gave sentence that they should be burned at
the stake. May the Lord open the eyes of
Sir Thomas More," was often the prayer of
the dying martyrs; and like them, we must
believe that he failed in Christian charity
from want of light. His conscience was awake
but his judgment was at fault. Before many
months were over, he had passed out of earth's


darkness and perplexity and his whole nature
was wise and true.
For two years and a half he held the post
of Chancellor, and served the king faithfully.
In everything he was true to conscience and
honest in word and deed. All this time the
plots of Anne Boleyn and the king were ripen-
ing. But the Pope still stood in their way.
As a last resource the king resolved to make
himself the Supreme Head of the Church.
Thus he would rid himself of the last obstacle
to his will.
Perhaps it is hard for us now, in Protestant
England, to understand Sir Thomas More's
aversion to this act. He had always clung
fondly to the thought of one united Church,
with the Pope at its head as God's represen-
tative on earth. He had looked upon Luther
and the other German Reformers, who had
broken away from their allegiance to the
Pope, as mistaken and evil-doing men. Now
his own king, to whom the Pope had not long
before given the title of Defender of the
Faith," was acting like Luther, but from less
worthy motives. More's first act on hearing
the news of the king's intention, was to fall on


his knees before him, and resigning the great
seal of his office, to remind him of the vow
he had made "to look first to God, and after
God to the king." His kind heart was troubled,
too, for the poor queen, whom he had known
in her happier days, and he refused to listen to
the arguments of Henry, who would fain keep
his honest servant at his side.
Then came a less important question. Sir
Thomas More had told the king of his resig-
nation; how should he next tell his wife and
children of the great change that had fallen
on their life ? From being a rich man, he had
suddenly become very poor, and of his thou-
sands only an income of 61oo a year remained.
After much thought, he determined to go to
his wife with his usual cheerful manner and
break their troubles to her as a joke. So, next
morning, when the family went as usual to
prayers in Chelsea Church, instead of sending a
servant, as was his custom at the close of the
service, to say, My lord has left the choir," he
went to his wife himself, and bowing before
her, said with a smile, Madam, my lordship is
At first the poor lady, used to her husband's


merry ways, thought he was really only joking.
But when he sadly told her the truth, her
anger broke forth at what she thought was his
folly and weakness of mind. Conscience and
duty were only names to her, but power and
wealth were realities; and now these were
It was hard to keep a cheerful heart when
he called his family together to consult about
the future. William Roper, his daughter Mar-
garet's husband, afterwards wrote the story of
their troubles, and tells us that when More
saw his children and grandchildren sitting dis-
tressed and silent round him, he spoke merrily
to them thus:-
Well, I've been brought up at Oxford, at
an Inn of Chancery, at Lincoln's Inn, and also
in the king's court; from the lowest degree
to the highest. And yet, I have at present left
me little above a hundred pounds a year; so
that now, if we like to live together, we must
be content to be contributaries together. But
we must not fall to the lowest grade first. We
will begin with Lincoln's Inn diet, where many
right worshipful men of good years do live full
well; which, if we find not ourselves the first


year able to maintain, then we will the next
year go one step to Inn fare, wherewith many
an honest man is well contented. If that year
exceed our ability, we will the next year
descend to Oxford fare, wherewith many grave,
learned, and excellent fathers are continually
conversant. If our abilities stretch not to
maintain us any how, then may we go with
bag and wallet a begging together, hoping that
for pity some good folks will give us their
charity, and at every door to sing a salve
regina, whereby we shall keep company and
be merry together."
After this, Sir Thomas More summoned his
servants, and gently telling them that he could
not afford to keep them with him any longer,
he asked each of them what kind of life he
would prefer. With tears in their eyes, it is
said, they pressed up to him and told him that
they would rather serve him for nothing than
other men for a great deal. But this could
not be, and he busied himself for the next few
days in finding good places for them all; for
his house-servants, his fool, and his bargemen.
Then he and his family waited together for
what might next occur.


Now he had plenty of time to walk with
them in the garden, or sit by the river's bank
and listen to the waves rippling among the
reeds. Often his talk was then of the joys of
heaven, and of how honourable a thing it is to
suffer imprisonment for the love of Christ, or
to lose land and wealth and station, and even
life itself, in a good cause.
From the terrace walks they could see the
busy city lying in the distance. There, life
seemed to go on as usual without Sir Thomas
More. His part in the world's interests for
the time seemed gone, when one day royal
messengers landed from the river to announce
to the late Chancellor the news of the king's
approaching marriage with Anne Boleyn, and to
command his presence in Westminster Abbey
on her coronation day.
Of course he could not, with a good con-
science, obey the king's summons. From that
day he knew that he had quite lost the royal
favour. Soon he must expect to feel the
anger of the king, and he tried, in every
possible way, to prepare his wife and children
for the sudden shock which must come sooner
or later.


Then came the day when it was no longer
possible for them all still "to keep company
and be merry together." The old home circle
must be broken up, and the children go out
into the world to seek new homes and liveli-
hoods for themselves. But Margaret Roper
and her husband continued to live close at
hand. After these partings, though still brave
and full of faith, Sir Thomas More lost some-
what of his old sunny-heartedness and merri-
ment, and his wife knew that in the silence of
the night he often prayed and wept instead
of sleeping.

*' :.
a '':*