it became apparent that some altercation had arisen among
But no sleep came to his eyes that night, and his soul was restless and full of fierce torment. He was angry with himself, and accused himself of treachery and perfidy; and then again, full of proud haughtiness, he still tried to excuse himself and to silence his conscience, which was sitting in judgment on him.
"I love her--her only!" said he to himself. "Catharine possesses my heart, my soul; I am ready to devote my whole life to her. Yes, I love her! I have this day so sworn to her; and she is mine for all eternity!"
"And Elizabeth?" asked his conscience. "Have you not sworn truth and love to her also?"
"No!" said he. "I have only received her oath; I have not given her mine in return. And when I vowed never to marry the Duchess of Richmond; when I swore this 'by my love,' then I thought only of Catharine--of that proud, beautiful, charming woman, at once maidenly and voluptuous; but not of this young, inexperienced, wild child--of this unattractive little princess!"
"But the princess may one day become a queen," whispered his ambition.
"That, however, is very doubtful," replied he to himself. "But it is certain that Catharine will one day be the regent, and if I am at that time her husband, then I am Regent of England."
This was the secret of his duplicity and his double treachery. Thomas Seymour loved nothing but himself, nothing but his ambition. He was capable of risking his life for a woman; but for renown and greatness he would have gladly sacrificed this woman.
For him there was only one aim, one struggle: to be come great and powerful above all the nobles of the kingdom--to be the first man in England. And to reach this aim, he would be afraid of no means; he would shrink from no treachery and no sin.
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