In Chapter 12, how does the author ridicule the love affair of Henry VIII?

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teachsuccess eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The author ridicules Henry VIII's love affair by sarcastically comparing the king's indiscreet actions to the typically exasperating behavior manifested by modern-day lovers.

Jerome continues by suggesting that Henry VIII's bold indiscretions led to the lack of public areas the English people could frequent without stumbling upon embarrassing scenes involving the king and his young lover.

There are the ruins of an old priory in the grounds of Ankerwyke House, which is close to Picnic Point, and it was round about the grounds of this old priory that Henry VIII is said to have waited for and met Anne Boleyn.  He also used to meet her at Hever Castle in Kent, and also somewhere near St. Albans. It must have been difficult for the people of England in those days to have found a spot where these thoughtless young folk were not spooning.

He reiterates his sympathy for Henry's English subjects by further explaining that their frustration must have equaled that experienced by anyone who has had to stay in a house where a young couple is courting. Jerome explains that a person in this situation often finds himself being an unwitting nuisance to the courting couple. After all, it always seems to appear that no matter which room one decides to walk into, one is sure to come upon the couple engaged in some sort of intimate discourse. To make matters worse, courting couples never fail to imagine that they are being followed and their actions monitored by busybodies. Jerome intimates that one would have to become 'pirates' to avoid all the 'billing and cooing' everywhere.

“Why don’t they have a special room for this sort of thing, and make people keep to it?

It must have been much like this when that foolish boy Henry VIII was courting his little Anne.  People in Buckinghamshire would have come upon them unexpectedly when they were mooning round Windsor and Wraysbury...

And they would go to Kent, and the first thing they would see in Kent, when they got there, would be Henry and Anne fooling round Hever Castle.

“Oh, drat this!” they would have said.  “Here, let’s go away.  I can’t stand any more of it.  Let’s go to St. Albans—nice quiet place, St. Albans.” And when they reached St. Albans, there would be that wretched couple, kissing under the Abbey walls.  Then these folks would go and be pirates until the marriage was over.

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