Monday, April 14, 2008

The Other Boleyn Girl

Winter 1533.

For her New Year’s present to the king Anne commissioned a most extravagant gift. The goldsmiths brought it to the great hall and spent the morning setting it up. When they came to the queen’s apartments to tell her that she might come and see it Anne beckoned to George and to me and said we might come too.
We ran down the stairs to the great hall, Anne ahead of us, so that she could fling open the doors and see our faces. It was a most astounding sight: a fountain made of gold inlaid with diamonds and rubies. At the foot of the fountain were three naked women, also wrought of gold, and from their teats sprouted springs of more water.
‘My God,’ said George, truly awed. ‘How much did it cost you?’
‘Don’t ask,’ Anne said. ‘It is very grand, isn’t it?’
‘Grand.’ I didn’t add: ‘But vilely ugly,’ though I could tell from George’s stunned expression that he thought the same.

Philippa Gregory in ‘The Other Boleyn Girl’ (www.harpercollins.co.uk)

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