The execution of Anne Boleyn: take 2
He witnesses the execution. He, Cromwell, the instrument of her downfall. He serves the king and Henry VIII wills it. Get rid of her. Bring up the Bodies- bring them forth for execution, it’s a concluding scene.
He cannot walk away. It is a haunting, an execution. All those executions, He has been here before. A world-weariness possesses him.
Four veiled women, ghost-like, lift Anne’s remains into an arrow-chest. Cromwell has done away with Purgatory so where do souls go?
For Cardinal Wolsey, it’s Hell. A masque: four masked courtiers grasp the limbs of a flailing jester in a cardinal’s robe, carrying him off to Hell. He Cromwell witnesses from the shadows. He will not forget: George Boleyn, Henry Norris, Francis Weston, William Brereton. Executed May 1536.
An ante-type, it’s inspired.
Here the phone rings. They talk-over Mantel. How they read.
He: the room is in darkness. The only light comes from his Kindle.
She: a reading chair, the 900 page tome. She looks up, reflects. Sky-scape illuminates her reading. She has the first two copies locally. His downloads at mid-night. Ahead of her.
It is not a race to the finish. They confer, they mean to savour every word. How they read, when and where across Mantel's trilogy.