Just think, she said to herself. I could be living on the Right Bank. I could be married to a senior clerk at the Treasury. I could be sitting with my feet up, embroidering a linen handkerchief with a rambling-rose design. Instead I'm on the rue des Cordeliers in pursuit of a baguette, with a three-inch blade for comfort.
All that evening he talked to the Candle of Arras, in a low confidential tone. When you get down to it, he thought, there's not much difference between politics and sex; it's all aboutpower. He didn't suppose he was the first person in the world to make this observation. It's a question of seduction, and how fast and cheap you can effect it: if Camille, he thought, approximates to one of those little milliners who can't make ends meet - in other words, an absolute pushover - then Robespierre is a Carmelite, mind set on becoming Mother Superior. You can't corrupt her; you can wave your cock under her nose, and she's neither shocked nor interested: why should she be, when she hasn't the remotest ideawhat it's for?
Rumours crop in the short summer nights. Dawn finds them like mushroomsin the damp grass. Members of Thomas Cromwell's household have been seeking a midwife in the small hours of the morning. He is hiding a woman at some country house of his, a foreign woman who has given him a daughter. Whatever you do, he says to Rafe, don't defend my honour. I have women like that all over the place. They will believe it, Rafe says. The word in the city is that Thomas Cromwell has a prodigiousMemory, he says. I have a very large ledger. A huge filing system, in which are recorded (under their name, and also under their offence) the details of people who have cut across me.