Dressed all in black, the lady held back tears as she told the crowd about the death of her father, Saint Thomas Moore.
“After the axe parted my father’s head from his shoulders, they boiled his head, impaled it on a spike and hung it on London Bridge —”
I was jolted out of the past and thrown into the 21st century, as Maggie, dazed from the heat, fainted clean away.
Luckily, Stephan was able to grab her head before she hit the cobblestones and Caitlin had water in her purse. Within minutes, Maggie was sitting up and joking how the graphic details of the story were too much for her to handle.
And the graphic tales of the tower! It was hard to believe the decapitation of James Scott, the lost princes’ disappearance and the death of two queens took place in this complex filled with teasing guards (known as Beefeaters) and bright blue sky.
But the messages carved into the walls by the condemned prisoners anchored the tales the tour guides spoke of and anchored it to the present. It really happened.
To shake off the chills, we finished our tour of the Tower of London with a look at the crown jewels. The crowns were beautiful, the rings pretty and the biggest diamond in the world breathtaking, but the item that made the biggest impression was the solid gold punch bowl.
I could have taken a bath in it.
I held up the line for a good five minutes staring at the bowl. I spotted a lobster, unicorn, children, stag and cherub in the mess of gold figurines.
To be frank, it wasn’t very pretty.
So the irony of the tower continued: extreme beauty and elegance housed next to things that are gaudy eyesores.
But I wouldn’t mind owning anything that expensive, no matter how unattractive. It would pay for the rest of my trip, my college education and the construction of my mansion.