JOSEPHINE TEY, THE DAUGHTER OF TIME (1951)
Alan Grant, Scotland Yard Inspector (a character who also appears in five other novels by the same author) is confined to bed in hospital with a broken leg. Bored and of restless mind, he becomes intrigued by a reproduction of a portrait of King Richard III brought to him by a friend. He prides himself on being able to read a person's character from his appearance, and King Richard seems to him a gentle and kind and wise man. Why is everyone so sure that he was a cruel murderer? With the help of friends and acquaintances, Alan Grant investigates the case of the Princes in the Tower. Grant spends weeks pondering historical information and documents with the help of an American researcher for the British Museum. Using his detective's logic, he comes to the conclusion that the claim of Richard being a murderer is a fabrication of Tudor propaganda, as is the popular image of the King as a monstrous hunchback.
Further, the book explores how history is constructed, and how certain versions of events come to be widely accepted as the truth, despite a lack of evidence. "The Daughter of Time" of the title is from a quote by Sir Francis Bacon: "Truth is the daughter of time, not of authority." Grant comes to understand the ways that great myths are constructed, and how in this case, the victorious Tudors saw to it that their version of history prevailed.
Read the following passage from the book then answer the questions below
(chapter 8, pp. 105-107)
'About that murder--' the boy said; and paused.
'About the murder the murder of those two boys--isn't it odd that no one
talks of it?'
'How do you mean: no one talks of it?'
'These last three days I've been going through contemporary papers:
letters and what not. And no one mentions them at all.'
'Perhaps they were afraid to. It was a time when it paid to be discreet.'
'Yes: but I'll tell you something even odder. You know that Henry brought
a Bill of Attainder against Richard, after Bosworth. Before Parliament. I
mean. Well, he accuses Richard of cruelty and tyranny but doesn't even mention the murder.'
'What!' said Grant, startled.
'Yes, you may look startled.'
'Are you sure?'
'But Henry got possession of the Tower immediately on his arrival in London after Bosworth. If the boys were missing it is incredible that he
should not publish the fact immediately. It was the trump card in his hand.' He lay in surprised silence for a little, The sparrows on the window-sill quarrelled loudly. 'I can't make sense of it.' he said. 'What
possible explanation can there be for his omission to make capital out of
the fact that the boys were missing?'
Brent shifted his long legs to a more comfortable position. 'There is only one explanation,' he said. 'And that is that the boys weren't missing.'
There was a still longer silence this time, while they stared at each other.
'Oh, no, it's nonsense,' Grant said. 'There must be some obvious explanation that we are failing to see.'
'As what, for instance?'
'I don't know. I haven't had time to think.'
'I've had nearly three days to think, and I still haven't thought up a reason that will fit. _Nothing_ will fit the facts except the conclusion
that the boys were alive when Henry took over the Tower. It was a completely unscrupulous Act of Attainder; it accused Richard's followers--the loyal followers of an anointed King fighting against an invader--of treason. Every accusation that Henry could possibly make with any hope of getting away with it was put into that Bill. And the very worst he could accuse Richard of was the usual cruelty and tyranny. The boys aren't even mentioned.'
'It's unbelievable. But it is fact.'
'What it means is that there was _no contemporary accusation at all_.'
'That's about it.'
'But… but wait a minute. Tyrrel was hanged for the murder. He actually confessed to it before he died. Wait a minute.' He reached for Oliphant
and sped through the pages looking for the place. 'There's a full account
of it here somewhere. There was no mystery about it. Even the Statue of
Liberty knew about it.'
'The nurse you met in the corridor. It was Tyrrel who committed the murder and he was found guilty and confessed before his death.'
Was that when Henry took over in London, then?'
'Wait a moment. Here it is.' He skimmed down the paragraph. 'No, it was
in 1502.' He realised all of a sudden what he had just said, and repeated
in a new, bewildered tone: 'In--1502.'
'But--but--but that was--'
'Yes. Nearly twenty years afterwards.'
Brent fumbled for his cigarette case, took it out, and then put it hastily away again.
'Smoke if you like,' Grant said. 'It's a good stiff drink I need. I don't think my brain can be working very well. I feel the way I used to feel as
a child when I was blindfolded and whirled round before beginning a blindman's-buff game.'
'Yes,' said Carradine. He took out a cigarette and lighted it.
'Completely in the dark, and more than a little dizzy.'
He sat staring at the sparrows.
'Forty million schoolbooks can't be wrong,' Grant said after a little.
'Well, can they!'
'I used to think so, but I'm not so sure nowadays.'
- Who is Alan Grant?
- What is he investigating on? Why?
- Who is he talking to in the passage above?
- What are the two men discussing?
- What is unbelievable?
- What does Grant mean saying: “Forty million schoolbooks can’t be wrong”?