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The King's Book - I. The Letter

While this happy land and whole monarchy flourished in a most happy and plentiful peace, as well at home as abroad; sustained and conducted by these two main good pillars of all good government, piety and justice, no foreign grudge, nor inward of discontentment any way appearing: the King being upon his return from his hunting exercise at Royston, upon occasion of the drawing near of the Parliament-time, which had been twice prorogued already, partly in regard of the season of the year, and partly of the term: as the winds are ever stillest immediately before a storm; and as the sun bleaks often hottest to foretell a following shower; so, at that time of greatest calm, did this secretly hatched thunder begin to cast forth the first flashes and flaming lightnings of the approaching tempest. For, the Saturday week immediately preceeding the King’s return, which was upon a Thursday, being but ten days before the Parliament, the Lord Mounteagle, son and heir to the Lord Morley, being in his own lodgings, ready to go to supper at seven of the clock at night, one of his footmen, whom he had sent of an errand over the street, was met by a man of a reasonable tall personage, who delivered him a letter, charging him to put it in my Lord his master’s hands; which my Lord no sooner perceived, but that having broken it up, and perceiving the same to be of an unknown and somewhat unlegible hand, and without either date or superscription, did call one of his men unto him, for helping him read it. But no sooner did he conceive the strange contents thereof, although he was somewhat perplexed what construction to make of it, as whether a matter of consequence, as indeed it was, or whether some foolish devised pasquil by some of his enemies to scare him from his attendance at the Parliament, yet did he, as a most dutiful and loyal subject, conclude not to conceal it, whatever might come of it.

Whereupon, notwithstanding the lateness and darkness of the night in that season of the year, he presently repaired to his Majesty’s palace at Whitehall, and there delivered the same to the Earl of Salisbury, his Majesty’s principal Secretary.

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