Meghan’s Entry

Here is Meghan Pace-Podanovitch’s Entry, it is written from the executioner Jean Rombaud’s perspective:-

As seen through the eyes of a contract Killer

Although I am throughly exhausted from the taxing journey all the way from France, I find myself oddly alert. As I await the queen’s arrival, standing stock still with my hands folded in front of me, my sword cleverly hidden under a pile of straw nearby, I notice small insignificant details that would normally escape my attention. I notice the patterns in the grain of the wood of the scaffold. I notice the silence of the small crowd gathered to witness the death of a queen. I notice the slight breeze that ruffles my hood. This inventory of detail disturbs me, as I am usually quite skilled at detaching myself from everything other than the sole reason I am ever present at these occasions. To end lives.

It is my profession, my means of survival, to execute. To punish sinners and heretics. To send the worst of humankind to their rightful place with the devil. Only this time it’s different. I feel as if what I am about to do is wrong, and I do now fear for my place in heaven. To murder a queen. A queen, who from what I have gathered from the endless stories and gossip both in my home country of France and as well here in England, has been falsely accused by a tyrant king who wishes to replace her with a minimum of difficulty. I will soon be paid handsomely for my part in the King’s selfishness, and his burning desire for a son and heir.

I am awoken from my grief and startled into the here and now, as I see the Queen Anne being led out of her prison in the tower by the constable, and followed closely by two of her ladies, both of which are trying mightily to control their sorrow at this day, and failing greatly, with tears streaming down their faces, muffling their sobs as best they can. The constable looks grim, but determined to do his job, as I must now do as well.

The Queen herself embodies the very being of a woman resigned to her fate, determined to die with dignity. She walks toward me with her head held high, her shoulders straight, and her stride confident. As she mounts the few small steps to the scaffold, she lifts the hem of her grey gown, and I see the Scarlett red of her petticoats beneath. She comes to a stop next to me on my right, and in front of the block. She faces the crowd, and speaks in a strong, calm voice:

“Good Christian people, I am come hither to die, for according to the law, and by the law I am judged to die, and therefore I will speak nothing against it. I am come hither to accuse no man, nor to speak anything of that, whereof I am accused and condemned to die, but I pray God save the king and send him long to reign over you, for a gentler nor a more merciful prince was there never: and to me he was ever a good, a gentle and sovereign lord. And if any person will meddle of my cause, I require them to judge the best. And thus I take my leave of the world and of you all, and I heartily desire you all to pray for me. O Lord have mercy on me, to God I commend my soul.”

The queen then turns to me, and hands me the heavy velvet purse that is my due for the act I must now commit, and I am thankful for the disguise of my hood, for it hides the tears that I am unable to hold back any longer. I say to her;
“Madam, I beg your gracious forgiveness for what I have been contracted to do.” Queen Anne then simply says “Of course I forgive you good sir, God bless you.”

Her two ladies come forward then, to remove her hood and her jewelry, revealing crow black hair, tightly wound up under a plain white bonnet. I can’t help but notice that she is discreetly looking around for the sword that is to bring her end, and cannot locate it. She then kneels down in front of the block, and begins to pray… “To Jesus Christ I commend my soul; Lord Jesus receive my soul.” I try to steady myself as she is praying, and to further that cause, I holler “My sword, where is my sword?” The Queen looks automatically toward where I have shouted, and as quick as a snake strike, I retrieve my hidden sword from the straw at my feet, and I have her beautiful, innocent head off her body in one smooth stroke.
I walk away then, not caring to see what is to become of her earthly body, so shaken am I by what I have just done. I hear the chink of the coins in my pocket, and I wonder If I am listening to the price of my soul.


10 thoughts on “Meghan’s Entry”

  1. Cathy Pace says:

    Wonderful !! Great writing.

    1. mammabear says:

      lol, thanks Mom!!

  2. Ali.S says:

    That was great. I wonder what that executioner really had in his head on that fateful day? I think you might be somewhere very near the truth.

  3. Katherine says:

    And I am wondering if I am listening to the price of my soul….

    Loved that line. Very chilling!!!

  4. John says:

    There was no block used here. A block was only used with an axe. I am doubtful if Anne gave him money on the scaffold as was usual. She had already paid him 23 pounds out of her own money for the contract. Henry did not transact the matter other than permitting it.

  5. Gregory says:

    John, there may have been a block to hold on to, but almost certainly Anne did pass Rombaud 20 pounds of silver at the scaffold. But in addition to this, Henry had paid Rombaud 100 Crowns for his service.

    1. John says:

      Hi Gregory, Thanks for the info. I was not aware of Henry’s payment. Of doubt I think was Anne;s transaction on the scaffold. The details of the execution are well documentated and I just cannot find a reference to this detail.

  6. Sojourner says:

    In recent times, I have found that the identy of the assistant executioner to be somewhat of more interest. Rombaud did not bring hs own regular assistant from France and the assistant on that day was not French speaking and he had to be instructed on his role beforehand. It was almost certainly Cratwell who would have been the headsman otherwise and I suspect that he had an element of resentment for Rombaud which momentarly threatened a botching of the proceedure, a snag whigh only Rombaud’s expertise coped with. This incident is actually noted in the execution sceen of the 1969 film “Anne of a Thousand Days.”

  7. Esther says:

    If the assistant was indeed Thomas Cratwell then he also came to a sticky end two years later when he himself was executed as a felon. (Indeed a somewhat stickier end!).

  8. Jehanne says:

    Esther, English executioners were often criminals themselves under sentence of death who were kept alive on condition that they would carry out executions. It was almost the only way to recruit an executioner. It was a dangerous occupation as they were sometimes the target of vengeful relatives.

    An ironic sidekick for the Earl of Essex, Robert Deveraux when he was executed in 1601 under Elizabeth, was that his executioner was Thomas Derrick, a rapist condemned to death but reprieved by the Earl himself on condition that he functioned in the office of executioner!

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