Chapter 5

Written by: Suraya Dewing

Castleroy sent Queen Katherine a sly wink.  Her sideways glance told Castleroy all he needed to know.

“I understand the Ash tree is best at four o'clock…,” he casually observed.

She sent a quick look at the sun dial in the garden. Ten in the morning.

Lord Castleroy fussily smoothed away a small ruffle in his white lace-edged collar that was displaced when Queen Katherine surreptitiously touched his cheek. The touch had been enough to send his blood roaring through his veins.

He left the King’s room to get some fresh air.

As he was leaving Lord Meredith clapped a hand on his shoulder. “My good fellow why are you skulking around the halls? Surely you are needed in the King’s Library.”

Lord Castleroy winked. As a Catholic, he enjoyed infiltrating the Protestant’s sanctuary and disturbing the scholars who were translating the Catholic Bible at King James’ behest. Lord Castleroy spent much time arguing there. He chuckled. All that dreadful moralising about sin and punishment.

Leviticus invariably set the room buzzing.

The scholar stood, quill quivering indignantly. “My Lord,” he said, “we have its intention correctly interpreted."

“Well,” Castleroy declared, “that should cause great consternation throughout the realm…far more than the King’s plans to invade Spain.”

He winked at the scholar who returned grimly to his seat, “Leviticus causes great troubles, my Lord and much debate,” he said.

Lord Castleroy rubbed his hands with unadulterated delight thinking, 'for generations, I expect.'

The scholar bowed, "Sir, I overstep my humble station."

Lord Castleroy swept the apology aside with a flick of his manicured hand.

'If only the scholar knew about the troubles hitting parliament that day,' Lord Castleroy thought.

The explosion of physical powder versus the clash of minds? Which was the most powerful? As if reading his thoughts, the scholar spoke, “There is much to be said for sound debate.”

The scholar longed for the day when philosophers spent days debating small points of theology.

He put the feathers of his quill to his mouth and adopted a thoughtful pose. “Do you believe there is life after death,” he asked Lord Castleroy.

Lord Castleroy threw his head back and laughed loudly. “My good man, do you think I will care either way.”

The scholar then winked at him. “You may, if the King finds out what you do for entertainment.”

Lord Castleroy looked deeply into the man’s eyes. ‘What did he know?’

With a lilt in his voice the scholar said, “My work awaits me.”

Somewhat bemused by the scholar’s cryptic words Lord Castleroy made his way to the Ash tree where Queen Katherine awaited him.

She sat on a wooden seat, looking sulky. “You are late, very, very late,” she chided.

“I apologise my dear.” He  bowed then frowned as he looked towards the scholars’ library. “I have just had the queerest conversation one could imagine.”

“Oh,” she giggled. “Those with their noses stuck in books are the queerest men I have ever known.”