Hello, my lovelies! Welcome to part 3 of The Lost Tudor! If you would like to read from the beginning (i.e. part 1) click right here! If you missed part 2, but have read part 1, click here! Lastly, if you are just here for part 3 … stay exactly where you are … because … here. we. go!
This was not money. It was not made of silver, gold, copper or pewter—it was some curious type of parchment! The penmanship was exquisite; the likeness captured upon its surface, depicted a Queen Elizabeth, though showed no resemblance to his daughter.
Twenty pounds was more than what could be earned by a soldier in a year. Of course such money could purchase a bed! It would probably be enough for at least five beds. But, obviously, this must have been a mistake made by the child—they know not of the worth of materials—to be sure, her mother wanted to save her the embarrassment of pointing out such an omission.
He knew that, even in a blasphemous and horrifying world such as this, he needed to relieve himself of his nightshirt and adorn himself in finery. It spoke of sloppiness to wear a nightshirt in public—a king should not be seen clothed in this manner, let alone the rightful Tudor King of England.
He didn’t have to hobble very far before he noticed a shop window displaying the wares of a tailor. He entered the brightly lit store and was astonished to find that the interior was as big as the ballroom of the palace at Whitehall. Never had he seen such a prolific tailor. People were wandering between the examples of the tailor’s work hanging on moulded pieces of wire.
‘Can I help you, sir?’ a young man of about eighteen addressed him.
‘I wish to commission the tailor to create a kingly ensemble,’ Henry said slowly, still surveying the curious set up.
‘Well, I don’t know about a tailor,’ the young man laughed, ‘but I am sure we have something that will make you look like a king. A suit, perhaps?’
Finally someone was talking sense.
‘If you’ll follow me, I’ll show you our collection of suits.’
The king duly followed the young man to the back of the store where about ten “suits” hung from the shaped wire. They were all of dull colours—grey, black and a dark blue. These were not kingly suits.
‘Where is the gold?’ Henry turned to the young man.
‘The gold? Suits, kingly suits, require gold patterns, piping and beadwork. Where is the beadwork?’ The king’s eyes welled with frustration.
‘Sir, our suits are regular suits fit for business and high-end events. A suit, as you describe, would only be good for a fancy dress party—designed to be laughed at.’
‘You mean to tell me that this,’ he gestured toward the offending articles, ‘is the fashion in this strange England?’
The young man looked upon the middle aged king with pity, ‘Yes, sir. That’s the fashion. Would you still like to try a suit on?’
Henry considered his alternative—to continue to parade around in his nightshirt and robe. He needed something.
‘Yes, young man. How much would such a thing cost to purchase?’
‘Let’s see,’ he replied grabbing the closest suit, ‘this one is two hundred and seventy-three pounds.’
‘Christ!’ Henry’s eyes abruptly widened and he quickly crossed himself, ‘Lord, forgive me. I’m sorry, I must have misheard you.’
‘Two hundred and seventy-three pounds,’ the boy repeated.
‘That wasn’t any less distressing the second time.’ Henry put a hand out to steady himself, ‘That suit is worth nearly twenty years’ worth of one soldier’s wages! It doesn’t even have gold!’
‘All due respect, sir. But that is rather cheap for a suit.’
Henry, now leaning on the rail holding the hanging clothing, took a deep breath and nodded solemnly. He grasped the twenty pound note in his hand and displayed it before the young man.
‘I have twenty pounds. What can I get for that?’
So much for five beds.