And here's what they say to each other...
Astley leans forward. “She wishes him to return. From whatever exile he has chosen.”
“Ah,” Cranmer says. “I wondered if we might face this. I will tell you two things. I do not know where he is, and I would counsel you to leave him be.”
“For Elizabeth’s sake?” Ascham asks, a note of tenderness clear in his voice.
“No. For his own sake. If Elizabeth asks for him, he will come. Without a moment’s hesitation, he will come. Because he is desperately, hopelessly in love with her. And his strength to keep himself away from her comes only from the fear that he will condemn her.”
“But,” Astley says, “she is without hope. The light is gone from her eyes.”
“As I said to this young man of whom you speak, time and faith will heal.”
“It has been six months since last she saw him,” Astley answers, “and she has not got any better. I have never known anyone be more certain about her love.”
“My Lady,” Cranmer says, “Elizabeth is sixteen. A girl. A princess, indeed. She has her whole life before her.”
Ascham frowns at this. “She is as clever as any man I know. And wise beyond her years.”
“Do you mean, Master Ascham,” Cranmer says, “that we should indulge this fantasy? I did not know that you were sentimental.”
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When to the sessions of sweet silent thought