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Title: Clare Avery - A Story of the Spanish Armada
Author: Holt, Emily Sarah, 1836-1893
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Clare Avery - A Story of the Spanish Armada" ***

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Clare Avery, by Emily Sarah Holt.
________________________________________________________________________
This book, one of Emily Holt's many historical novels, is set in the
reign of Elizabeth, around the time of the Armada, which has a chapter
to itself.  The story revolves round a moderately well-off family, who
really did exist, many details of the family being given in the last
chapter, or Appendix.  In order to make the story realistic there are a
number of fictitious persons, but there is always a note to that effect
when the person first appears.  In general these fictitious persons are
no more than minor characters.

There is an interesting passage in which Jack, one of the youths of the
family, obtains a place at Court, but finds he needs to spend enormous
amounts on apparel to keep up with the other young men he meets.  By no
means does the family have the resources to pay his trade-debts, and it
turns out that his gambling debts, known as "debts of honour" are even
greater.  They had to tell him to go away and sort it out for himself.

But it must be said that a great deal of the book is taken up with
religious discussions, mostly centring on the perceived imperfections
of the Papist religion, as opposed to the Protestant.  If you are not
interested in this it does tend to make the going a bit heavy at times.
But if you are interested, well then, it makes good reading.

As ever with this author there are many words and phrases used which
are now outdated.  When they first appear a note of the current meaning
is given, for instance "popinjay [parrot]".  On the whole this is not
confusing except where a word has changed or even reversed its meaning.
We do not recommend learning by heart from a sort of vocab list, the
words in use in Elizabethan times, unless you are studying that
period in depth.
________________________________________________________________________
CLARE AVERY, BY EMILY SARAH HOLT.


CHAPTER ONE.

LITTLE CLARE'S FIRST HOME.

  "The mossy marbles rest
  On the lips he hath pressed
  In their bloom,
  And the names he loved to hear
  Have been carved for many a year
  On the tomb."

  _Oliver Wendell Holmes_.

"Cold!" said the carrier, blowing on his fingers to keep them warm.

"Cold, bully Penmore!" ejaculated Hal Dockett,--farrier, horse-leech,
and cow-doctor in ordinary to the town of Bodmin and its
neighbourhood...  "Lack-a-daisy! thou that hast been carrier these
thirty years, and thy father afore thee, and his father afore him, ever
sith `old Dick Boar' days, shouldst be as hard as a milestone by this
time.  'Tis the end of March, fellow!"

Be it known that "old Dick Boar" was Mr Dockett's extremely irreverent
style of allusion to His Majesty King Richard the Third.

"'Tis the end of as bitter a March as hath been in Cornwall these
hundred years," said the carrier.  "Whither away now, lad?"

"Truly, unto Bradmond, whither I am bidden to see unto the black cow."

"Is it sooth, lad, that the master is failing yonder?"

"Folk saith so," replied Hal, his jocund face clouding over.  "It shall
be an evil day for Bodmin, _that_!"

"Ay so!" echoed the carrier.  "Well! we must all be laid in earth one
day.  God be wi' thee, lad!"

And with a crack of his whip, the waggon lumbered slowly forward upon
the Truro road, while Dockett went on his way towards a house standing a
little distance on the left, in a few acres of garden, with a paddock
behind.

About the cold there was no question.  The ground, which had been white
with snow for many days, was now a mixture of black and white, under the
influence of a thaw; while a bitterly cold wind, which made everybody
shiver, rose now and then to a wild whirl, slammed the doors, and
groaned through the wood-work.  A fragment of cloud, rather less dim and
gloomy than the rest of the heavy grey sky, was as much as could be seen
of the sun.

Nor was the political atmosphere much more cheerful than the physical.
All over England,--and it might be said, all over Europe,--men's hearts
were failing them for fear,--by no means for the first time in that
century.  In Holland the Spaniards, vanquished not by men, but by winds
and waves from God, had abandoned the siege of Leyden; and the
sovereignty of the Netherlands had been offered to Elizabeth of England,
but after some consideration was refused.  In France, the Massacre of
Saint Bartholomew, nearly three years before, had been followed by the
siege of La Rochelle, the death of the miserable Charles the Ninth, and
the alliance in favour of Popery, which styled itself the Holy League.
At home, gardeners were busy introducing the wallflower, the hollyhock,
basil, and sweet marjoram; the first licence for public plays was
granted to Burbage and his company, among whom was a young man from
Warwickshire, a butcher's son, with a turn for making verses, whose name
was William Shakspere; the Queen had issued a decree forbidding costly
apparel (not including her own); and the last trace of feudal serfdom
had just disappeared, by the abolition of "villenage" upon the Crown
manors.  As concerned other countries, except when active hostilities
were going on, Englishmen were not generally much interested, unless it
were in that far-off New World which Columbus had discovered not a
hundred years before,--or in that unknown land, far away also, beyond
the white North Cape, whither adventurers every now and then set out
with the hope of discovering a north-west passage to China,--the
north-west passage which, though sought now with a different object, no
one has discovered yet.

It may be as well to recall the state of knowledge in English society at
this period.  The time had gone by when the burning of coal was
prohibited, as prejudicial to health; but the limits of London, beyond
which building might not extend, were soon after this fixed at three
miles from the city gates; the introduction of private carriages was
long opposed, lest it should lead to luxury; [Note 1] and sumptuary
laws, regulating, according to rank, the materials for dress and the
details of trimmings, were issued every few years.  Needles were
treasures beyond reach of the poor; yeast, starch, glass bottles, woven
stockings, fans, muffs, tulips, marigolds,--had all been invented or
introduced within thirty years: the peach and the potato were alike
luxuries known to few: forks, sedan or Bath chairs, coffee, tea, gas,
telescopes, newspapers, shawls, muslin,--not to include railways and
telegraphs,--were ideas that had not yet occurred to any one.  Nobody
had ever heard of the circulation of the blood.  A doctor was a _rara
avis_: medical advice was mainly given in the towns by apothecaries, and
in the country by herbalists and "wise women."  There were no
Dissenters--except the few who remained Romanists; and perhaps there
were not likely to be many, when the fine for non-attendance at the
parish church was twenty pounds per month.  Parochial relief was
unknown, and any old woman obnoxious to her neighbours was likely to be
drowned as a witch.  Lastly, by the Bull of excommunication of Pope Pius
the Fifth, issued in April, 1569, Queen Elizabeth had been solemnly "cut
off from the unity of Christ's Body," and "deprived of her pretended
right to the Crown of England," while all who obeyed or upheld her were
placed under a terrible curse.  [Note 2.]

Nineteen years had passed since that triumphant 17th of November which
had seen all England in a frenzy of joy on the accession of Elizabeth
Tudor.  They were at most very young men and women who could not
remember the terrible days of Mary, and the glad welcome given to her
sister.  Still warm at the heart of England lay the memory of the Marian
martyrs; still deep and strong in her was hatred of every shadow of
Popery.  The petition had not yet been erased from the Litany--why
should it ever have been?--"From the Bishop of Rome and all his
enormities, good Lord, deliver us!"

On the particular afternoon whereon the story opens, one of the
dreariest points of the landscape was the house towards which Hal
Dockett's steps were bent.  It was of moderate size, and might have been
very comfortable if somebody had taken pains to make it so.  But it
looked as if the pains had not been taken.  Half the windows were
covered by shutters; the wainscot was sadly in want of a fresh coat of
paint; the woodbine, which should have been trained up beside the porch,
hung wearily down, as if it were tired of trying to climb when nobody
helped it; the very ivy was ragged and dusty.  The doors shut with that
hollow sound peculiar to empty uncurtained rooms, and groaned, as they
opened, over the scarcity of oil.  And if the spectator had passed
inside, he would have seen that out of the whole house, only four rooms
were inhabited beside the kitchen and its dependencies.  In all the
rest, the dusty furniture was falling to pieces from long neglect, and
the spiders carried on their factories at their own pleasure.

One of these four rooms, a long, narrow chamber, on the upper floor,
gave signs of having been inhabited very recently.  On the square table
lay a quantity of coarse needlework, which somebody seemed to have
bundled together and left hastily; and on one of the hard,
straight-backed chairs was a sorely-disabled wooden doll, of the
earliest Dutch order, with mere rudiments, of arms and legs, and
deprived by accidents of a great portion of these.  The needlework said
plainly that there must be a woman in the dreary house, and the doll,
staring at the ceiling with black expressionless eyes, spoke as
distinctly for the existence of a child.

Suddenly the door of this room opened with a plaintive creak, and a
little woman, on the elderly side of middle life, put in her head.

A bright, energetic, active little woman she seemed,--not the sort of
person who might be expected to put up meekly with dim windows and dusty
floors.

"Marry La'kin!"  [a corruption of "Mary, little Lady!"] she said aloud.
"Of a truth, what a charge be these childre!"

The cause of this remark was hardly apparent, since no child was to be
seen; but the little woman came further into the room, her gestures soon
showing that she was looking for a child who ought to have been visible.

"Well!  I've searched every chamber in this house save the Master's
closet.  Where can yon little popinjay [parrot] have hid her?  Marry
La'kin!"

This expletive was certainly not appreciated by her who used it.
Nothing could much more have astonished or shocked Barbara Polwhele [a
fictitious person]--than whom no more uncompromising Protestant breathed
between John o' Groat's and the Land's End--than to discover that since
she came into the room, she had twice invoked the assistance of Saint
Mary the Virgin.

Barbara's search soon brought her to the conclusion that the child she
sought was not in that quarter.  She shut the door, and came out into a
narrow gallery, from one side of which a wooden staircase ran down into
the hall.  It was a wide hall of vaulted stone, hung with faded
tapestry, old and wanting repair, like everything else in its vicinity.
Across the hall Barbara trotted with short, quick steps, and opening a
door at the further end, went into the one pleasant room in all the
house.  This was a very small turret-chamber, hexagonal in shape, three
of its six sides being filled with a large bay-window, in the middle
compartment of which were several coats of arms in stained glass.  A
table, which groaned under a mass of books and papers, nearly filled the
room; and writing at it sat a venerable-looking, white-haired man, who,
seeing Barbara, laid down his pen, wiped his spectacles, and placidly
inquired what she wanted.  He will be an old friend to some readers: for
he was John Avery of Bradmond.

"Master, an't like you, have you seen Mrs Clare of late?"

"How late, Barbara?"

"Marry, not the fourth part of an hour gone, I left the child in the
nursery a-playing with her puppet, when I went down to let in Hal
Dockett, and carry him to see what ailed the black cow; and now I be
back, no sign of the child is any whither.  I have been in every
chamber, and looked in the nursery thrice."

"Where should she be?" quietly demanded Mr Avery.

"Marry, where but in the nursery, without you had fetched her away."

"And where should she not be?"

"Why, any other whither but here and there,--more specially in the
garden."

"Nay, then, reach me my staff, Barbara, and we will go look in the
garden.  If that be whither our little maid should specially not be,
'tis there we be bound to find her."

"Marry, but that is sooth!" said Barbara heartily, bringing the
walking-stick.  "Never in all my life saw I child that gat into more
mischievousness, nor gave more trouble to them that had her in charge."

"Thy memory is something short, Barbara," returned her master with a dry
smile, "'Tis but little over a score of years sithence thou wert used to
say the very same of her father."

"Eh, Master!--nay, not Master Walter!" said Barbara, deprecatingly.

"Well, trouble and sorrow be ever biggest in the present tense,"
answered he.  "And I wot well thou hast a great charge on thine hands."

"I reckon you should think so, an' you had the doing of it," said
Barbara complacently.  "Up ere the lark, and abed after the nightingale!
What with scouring, and washing, and dressing meat, and making the
beds, and baking, and brewing, and sewing, and mending, and Mrs Clare
and you atop of it all--"

"Nay, prithee, let me drop off the top, so thou lame me not, for the
rest is enough for one woman's shoulders."

"In good sooth, Master, but you lack as much looking after, in your way,
as Mrs Clare doth; for verily your head is so lapped in your books and
your learning, that I do think, an' I tended you not, you should break
your fast toward eventide, and bethink you but to-morrow at noon that
you had not supped overnight."

"Very like, Barbara,--very like!" answered the old man with a meek
smile.  "Thou hast been a right true maid unto me and mine,--as saith
Solomon of the wise woman, thou hast done us good and not evil, all the
days of thy life.  The Lord apay thee for it!--Now go thou forward, and
search for our little maid, and I will abide hither until thou bring
her.  If I mistake not much, thou shalt find her within a stone's throw
of the fishpond."

"The fishpond?--eh, Master!"

And Barbara quickened her steps to a run, while John Avery sat down
slowly upon a stone seat on the terrace, leaning both hands on his
staff, as if he could go no farther.  Was he very tired?  No.  He was
only very, very near Home.

Close to the fishpond, peering intently into it between the gaps of the
stone balustrade, Barbara at length found what she sought, in the shape
of a little girl of six years old.  The child was spoiling her frock to
the best of her ability, by lying on the snow-sprinkled grass; but she
was so intent upon something which she saw, or wanted to see, that her
captor's approach was unheard, and Barbara pounced on her in triumph
without any attempt at flight.

"Now, Mrs Clare, [a fictitious character] come you hither with me!"
said Barbara, seizing the culprit.  "Is this to be a good child, think
you, when you were bidden abide in the nursery?"

"O Bab!" said the child, half sobbingly.  "I wanted to see the fishes."

"You have seen enough of the fishes for one morrow," returned Barbara
relentlessly; "and if the fishes could see you, they should cry shame
upon you for ruinating of your raiment by the damp grass."

"But the fishes be damp, Bab!" remonstrated Clare.  Barbara professed
not to hear the last remark, and lifting the small student of natural
history, bore her, pouting and reluctant, to her grandfather on the
terrace.

"So here comes my little maid," said he, pleasantly.  "Why didst not
abide in the nursery, as thou wert bid, little Clare?"

"I wanted to see the fishes," returned Clare, still pouting.

"We cannot alway have what we want," answered he.

"You can!" objected Clare.

"Nay, my child, I cannot," gravely replied her grandfather.  "An' I
could, I would have alway a good, obedient little grand-daughter."

Clare played with Mr Avery's stick, and was silent.

"Leave her with me, good Barbara, and go look after thy mighty charges,"
said her master, smiling.  "I will bring her within ere long."

Barbara trotted off, and Clare, relieved from the fear of her duenna,
went back to her previous subject.

"Gaffer, what do the fishes?"

"What do they?  Why, swim about in the water, and shake their tails, and
catch flies for their dinner."

"What think they on, Gaffer?"

"Nay, thou art beyond me there.  I never was a fish.  How can I tell
thee?"

"Would they bite me?" demanded Clare solemnly.

"Nay, I reckon not."

"What, not a wild fish?" said Clare, opening her dark blue eyes.

Mr Avery laughed, and shook his head.

"But I would fain know--And, O Gaffer!" exclaimed the child, suddenly
interrupting herself, "do tell me, why did Tom kill the pig?"

"Kill the pig?  Why, for that my Clare should have somewhat to eat at
her dinner and her supper."

"Killed him to eat him?" wonderingly asked Clare, who had never
associated live pigs with roast pork.

"For sure," replied her grandfather.

"Then he had not done somewhat naughty?"

"Nay, not he."

"I would, Gaffer," said Clare, very gravely, "that Tom had not smothered
the pig ere he began to lay eggs.  [The genuine speech of a child of
Clare's age.] I would so have liked a _little_ pig!"

The suggestion of pig's eggs was too much for Mr Avery's gravity.  "And
what hadst done with a little pig, my maid."

"I would have washed it, and donned it, and put it abed," said Clare.

"Methinks he should soon have marred his raiment.  And maybe he should
have loved cold water not more dearly than a certain little maid that I
could put a name to."

Clare adroitly turned from this perilous topic, with an unreasoning
dread of being washed there and then; though in truth it was not
cleanliness to which she objected, but wet chills and rough friction.

"Gaffer, may I go with Bab to four-hours unto Mistress Pendexter?"

"An' thou wilt, my little floweret."

Mr Avery rose slowly, and taking Clare by the hand, went back to the
house.  He returned to his turret-study, but Clare scampered upstairs,
possessed herself of her doll, and ran in and out of the inhabited rooms
until she discovered Barbara in the kitchen, beating up eggs for a
pudding.

"Bab, I may go with thee!"

"Go with me?" repeated Barbara, looking up with some surprise.  "Marry,
Mrs Clare, I hope you may."

"To Mistress Pendexter!" shouted Clare ecstatically.

"Oh ay!" assented Barbara.  "Saith the master so?"

Clare nodded.  "And, Bab, shall I take Doll?"

This contraction for Dorothy must have been the favourite name with the
little ladies of the time for the plaything on which it is now
inalienably fixed.

"I will sew up yon hole in her gown, then, first," said Barbara, taking
the doll by its head in what Clare thought a very disrespectful manner.
"Mrs Clare, this little gown is cruel ragged; if I could but see time,
I had need make you another."

"Oh, do, Bab!" cried Clare in high delight.

"Well, some day," replied Barbara discreetly.

A few hours later, Barbara and Clare were standing at the door of a
small, neat cottage in a country lane, where dwelt Barbara's sister,
Marian Pendexter, [a fictitious person] widow of the village
schoolmaster.  The door was opened by Marian herself, a woman some five
years the senior of her sister, to whom she bore a good deal of
likeness, but Marian was the quieter mannered and the more silent of the
two.

"Marry, little Mistress Clare!" was her smiling welcome.  "Come in,
prithee, little Mistress, and thou shalt have a buttered cake to thy
four-hours.  Give thee good even, Bab."

A snowy white cloth covered the little round table in the cottage, and
on it were laid a loaf of bread a piece of butter, and a jug of milk.
In honour of her guests, Marian went to her cupboard, and brought out a
mould of damson cheese, a bowl of syllabub, and a round tea-cake, which
she set before the fire to toast.

"And how fareth good Master Avery?" asked Marian, as she closed the
cupboard door, and came back.

Barbara shook her head ominously.

"But ill, forsooth?" pursued her sister.

"Marry, an' you ask at him, he is alway well; but--I carry mine eyes,
Marian."

Barbara's theory of educating children was to keep them entirely
ignorant of the affairs of their elders.  To secure this end, she
adopted a vague, misty style of language, of which she fondly imagined
that Clare did not understand a word.  The result was unfortunate, as it
usually is.  Clare understood detached bits of her nurse's conversation,
over which she brooded silently in her own little mind, until she
evolved a whole story--a long way off the truth.  It would have done
much less harm to tell her the whole truth at once; for the fact of a
mystery being made provoked her curiosity, and her imaginations were far
more extreme than the facts.

"Ah, he feeleth the lack of my mistress his wife, I reckon," said Marian
pityingly.  "She must be soothly a sad miss every whither."

"Thou mayest well say so," assented Barbara.  "Dear heart! 'tis nigh
upon five good years now, and I have not grown used to the lack of her
even yet.  Thou seest, moreover, he hath had sorrow upon sorrow.  'Twas
but the year afore that Master Walter [a fictitious person] and Mistress
Frances did depart [die]; and then, two years gone, Mistress Kate, [a
fictitious person].  Ah, well-a-day! we be all mortal."

"Thank we God therefore, good Bab," said Marian quietly.  "For we shall
see them again the sooner.  But if so be, Bab, that aught befel the
Master, what should come of yonder rosebud?"

And Marian cast a significant look at Clare, who sat apparently
engrossed with a mug full of syllabub.

"Humph! an' I had the reins, I had driven my nag down another road,"
returned Barbara.  "Who but Master Robin [a fictitious person] and
Mistress Thekla [a fictitious person] were meetest, trow?  But lo! you!
what doth Mistress Walter but indite a letter unto the Master, to note
that whereas she hath never set eyes on the jewel--and whose fault was
that, prithee?--so, an' it liked Him above to do the thing thou wottest,
she must needs have the floweret sent thither.  And a cruel deal of fair
words, how she loved and pined to see her, and more foolery belike.
Marry La'kin! ere I had given her her will, I had seen her alongside of
King Pharaoh at bottom o' the Red Sea.  But the Master, what did he, but
write back and say that it should be even as she would.  Happy woman be
her dole, say I!"

And Barbara set down the milk-jug with a rough determinate air that must
have hurt its feelings, had it possessed any.

"Mistress Walter! that is, the Lady--" [Note 3.]

"Ay--she," said Barbara hastily, before the name could follow.

"Well, Bab, after all, methinks 'tis but like she should ask it.  And if
Master Robin be parson of that very same parish wherein she dwelleth, of
a surety ye could never send the little one to him, away from her own
mother?"

"Poor little soul! she is well mothered!" said Barbara ironically.
"Never to set eyes on the child for six long years; and then, when
Mistress Avery, dear heart! writ unto her how sweet and _debonnaire_
[pretty, pleasing] the lily-bud grew, to mewl forth that it was so great
a way, and her health so pitiful, that she must needs endure to bereave
her of the happiness to come and see the same.  Marry La'kin! call yon a
mother!"

"But it is a great way, Bab."

"Wherefore went she so far off, then?" returned Barbara quickly enough.
"And lo! you! she can journey thence all the way to York or Chester when
she would get her the new fashions,--over land, too!--yet cannot she
take boat to Bideford, which were less travail by half.  An' yonder
jewel had been mine, Marian, I would not have left it lie in the case
for six years, trow!"

"Maybe not, Bab," answered Marian in her quiet way.  "Yet 'tis ill
judging of our neighbour.  And if the lady's health be in very deed so
pitiful--"

"Neighbour! she is no neighbour of mine, dwelling up by Marton Moss!"
interrupted Barbara, as satirically as before.  "And in regard to her
pitiful health--why, Marian, I have dwelt in the same house with her for
a year and a half, and I never knew yet her evil health let [hinder] her
from a junketing.  Good lack! it stood alway in the road when somewhat
was in hand the which misliked her.  Go to church in the rain,--nay, by
'r Lady!--and 'twas too cold in the winter to help string the apples,
and too hot in the summer to help conserve the fruits: to be sure!  But
let there be an even's revelling at Sir Christopher Marres his house,
and she bidden,--why, it might rain enough to drench you, but her cloak
was thick then, and her boots were strong enough, and her cough was not
to any hurt--bless her!"

The tone of Barbara's exclamation somewhat belied the words.

"Have a care, Bab, lest--" and Marian's glance at Clare explained her
meaning.

"Not she!" returned Barbara, looking in her turn at the child, whose
attention was apparently concentrated on one of Marian's kittens, which
she was stroking on her lap, while the mother cat walked uneasily round
and round her chair.  "I have alway a care to speak above yon head."

"Is there not a little sister?" asked Marian in a low tone.

"Ay," said Barbara, dropping her voice.  "Blanche, the babe's name is [a
fictitious character.] Like Mrs Walter--never content with plain Nell
and Nan.  Her childre must have names like so many queens.  And I dare
say the maid shall be bred up like one."

The conversation gradually passed to other topics, and the subject was
not again touched upon by either sister.

How much of it had Clare heard, and how much of that did she understand?

A good deal more of either than Barbara imagined.  She knew that Walter
had been her father's name, and she was well aware that "Mistress
Walter" from Barbara's lips, indicated her mother.  She knew that her
mother had married again, and that she lived a long way off.  She knew
also that this mother of hers was no favourite with Barbara.  And from
this conversation she gathered, that in the event of something
happening--but what that was she did not realise--she was to go and live
with her mother.  Clare was an imaginative child, and the topic of all
her dreams was this mysterious mother whom she had never seen.  Many a
time, when Barbara only saw that she was quietly dressing or hushing her
doll, Clare's mind was at work, puzzling over the incomprehensible
reason of Barbara's evident dislike to her absent mother.  What shocking
thing could she have done, thought Clare, to make Bab angry with her?
Had she poisoned her sister, or drowned the cat, or stolen the big crown
off the Queen's head?  For the romance of a little child is always
incongruous and sensational.

In truth, there was nothing sensational, and little that was not
commonplace, about the character and history of little Clare's mother,
whose maiden name was Orige Williams.  She had been the spoilt child of
a wealthy old Cornish gentleman,--the pretty pet on whom he lavished all
his love and bounty, never crossing her will from the cradle.  And she
repaid him, as children thus trained often do, by crossing his will in
the only matter concerning which he much cared.  He had set his heart on
her marrying a rich knight whose estate lay contiguous to his own: while
she, entirely self-centred, chose to make a runaway match with young
Lieutenant Avery, whose whole year's income was about equal to one week
of her father's rent-roll.  Bitterly disappointed, Mr Williams declared
that "As she had made her bed, so she should lie on it;" for not one
penny would he ever bestow on her while he lived, and he would bequeath
the bulk of his property to his nephew.  In consequence of this threat,
which reached, her ears, Orige, romantic and high-flown, fancied herself
at once a heroine and a martyr, when there was not in her the capacity
for either.  In the sort of language in which she delighted, she spoke
of herself as a friendless orphan, a sacrifice to love, truth, and
honour.  It never seemed to occur to her that in deceiving her father--
for she had led him to believe until the last moment that she intended
to conform to his wishes--she had acted both untruthfully and
dishonourably; while as to love, she was callous to every shape of it
except love of self.

For about eighteen months Walter and Orige Avery lived at Bradmond,
during which time Clare was born.  She was only a few weeks old when the
summons came for her father to rejoin his ship.  He had been gone two
months, when news reached Bradmond of a naval skirmish with the
Spaniards off the Scilly Isles, in which great havoc had been made among
the Queen's forces, and in the list of the dead was Lieutenant Walter
Avery.

Now Orige's romance took a new turn.  She pictured herself as a widowed
nightingale, love-lorn and desolate, leaning her bleeding breast upon a
thorn, and moaning forth her melancholy lay.  As others have done since,
she fancied herself poetical when she was only silly.  And Barbara took
grim notice that her handkerchief was perpetually going up to tearless
eyes, and that she was not a whit less particular than usual to know
what there was for supper.

For six whole months this state of things lasted.  Orige arrayed herself
in the deepest sables; she spoke of herself as a wretched widow who
could never taste hope again; and of her baby as a poor hapless orphan,
as yet unwitting of its misery.  She declined to see any visitors, and
persisted in being miserable and disconsolate, and in taking lonely
walks to brood over her wretchedness.  And at the end of that time she
electrified her husband's family--all but one--by the announcement that
she was about to marry again.  Not for love this time, of course; no,
indeed!--but she thought it was her duty.  Sir Thomas Enville--a widower
with three children--had been very kind; and he would make such a good
father for Clare.  He had a beautiful estate in the North.  It would be
a thousand pities to let the opportunity slip.  Once for all, she
thought it her duty; and she begged that no one would worry her with
opposition, as everything was already settled.

Kate Avery, Walter's elder and only surviving sister, was exceedingly
indignant.  Her gentle, unsuspicious mother was astonished and puzzled.
But Mr Avery, after a momentary look of surprise, only smiled.

"Nay, but this passeth!"  [surpasses belief] cried Kate.

"Even as I looked for it," quietly said her father.  "I did but think it
should maybe have been somewhat later of coming."

"Her duty!" broke out indignant Kate.  "Her duty to whom?"

"To herself, I take it," said he.  "To Clare, as she counteth.  Methinks
she is one of those deceivers that do begin with deceiving of
themselves."

"To Clare!" repeated Kate.  "But, Father, she riddeth her of Clare.  The
babe is to 'bide here until such time as it may please my good Lady to
send for her."

"So much the better for Clare," quietly returned Mr Avery.

And thus it happened that Clare was six years old, and her mother was
still an utter stranger to her.

The family at Bradmond, however, were not without tidings of Lady
Enville.  It so happened that Mr Avery's adopted son, Robert Tremayne,
was Rector of the very parish in which Sir Thomas Enville lived; and a
close correspondence--for Elizabethan days--was kept up between Bradmond
and the Rectory.  In this manner they came to know, as time went on,
that Clare had a little sister, whose name was Blanche; that Lady
Enville was apparently quite happy; that Sir Thomas was very kind to
her, after his fashion, though that was not the devoted fashion of
Walter Avery.  Sir Thomas liked to adorn his pretty plaything with fine
dresses and rich jewellery; he surrounded her with every comfort; he
allowed her to go to every party within ten miles, and to spend as much
money as she pleased.  And this was precisely Orige's beau ideal of
happiness.  Her small cup seemed full--but evidently Clare was no
necessary ingredient in the compound.

If any one had taken the trouble to weigh, sort, and label the
prejudices of Barbara Polwhele, it would have been found that the
heaviest of all had for its object "Papistry,"--the second, dirt,--and
the third, "Mistress Walter."  Lieutenant Avery had been Barbara's
darling from his cradle, and she considered that his widow had outraged
his memory, by marrying again so short a time after his death.  For
this, above all her other provocations, Barbara never heartily forgave
her.  And a great struggle it was to her to keep her own feelings as
much as possible in the background, from the conscientious motive that
she ought not to instil into Clare's baby mind the faintest feeling of
aversion towards her mother.  The idea of the child being permanently
sent to Enville Court was intensely distasteful to her.  Yet wherever
Clare went, Barbara must go also.

She had promised Mrs Avery, Clare's grandmother, on her dying bed,
never to leave the child by her own free will so long as her childhood
lasted, and rather than break her word, she would have gone to Siberia--
or to Enville Court.  In Barbara's eyes, there would have been very
little choice between the two places.  Enville Court lay on the
sea-coast, and Barbara abhorred the sea, on which her only brother and
Walter Avery had died: it was in Lancashire, which she looked upon as a
den of witches, and an arid desert bare of all the comforts of life; it
was a long way from any large town, and Barbara had been used to live
within an easy walk of one; she felt, in short, as though she were being
sent into banishment.

And there was no help for it.  Within the last few weeks, a letter had
come from Lady Enville,--not very considerately worded--requesting that
if what she had heard was true, that Mr Avery's health was feeble, and
he was not likely to live long--in the event of his death, Clare should
be sent to her.

In fact, there was nowhere else to send her.  Walter's two sisters, Kate
and Frances, were both dead,--Kate unmarried, Frances van Barnevelt
leaving a daughter, but far away in Holland.  The only other person who
could reasonably have claimed the child was Mr Tremayne; and with what
show of justice could he do so, when his house lay only a stone's throw
from the park gates of Enville Court?  Fate seemed to determine that
Clare should go to her mother.  But while John Avery lived, there was to
be a respite.

It was a respite shorter than any one anticipated--except, perhaps, the
old man himself.  There came an evening three weeks after these events,
when Barbara noticed that her master, contrary to his usual custom,
instead of returning to his turret-chamber after supper, sat still by
the hall fire, shading his eyes from the lamp, and almost entirely
silent.  When Clare's bed-time came, and she lifted her little face for
a good-night kiss, John Avery, after giving it, laid his hands upon her
head and blessed her.

"The God that fed me all my life long, the Angel that redeemed me from
all evil, bless the maid!  The peace of God, which passeth all
understanding, keep thy heart and mind, through Jesus Christ our Lord;
and the blessing of God Almighty,--the Father, the Son, and the Holy
Ghost--be upon thee, and remain with thee always!"

So he "let her depart with this blessing."  Let her depart--to walk the
thorny path of which he had reached the end, to climb the painful steeps
of which he stood at the summit, to labour along the weary road which he
would tread no more.  Let her depart!  The God who had fed him had manna
in store for her,--the Angel who had redeemed him was strong, enough,
and tender enough, to carry this lamb in His bosom.

Barbara noted that his step was slower even than had been usual with him
of late.  It struck her, too, that his hair was whiter than she had ever
noticed it before.

"Be you aweary this even, Master?"

"Something, good maid," he answered with a smile.  "Even as a traveller
may well be that hath but another furlong of his journey."

Another furlong!  Was it more than another step?  Barbara went upstairs
with him, to relieve him of the light burden of the candle.

"Good night, Master!  Metrusteth your sleep shall give you good
refreshing."

"Good night, my maid," said he.  "I wish thee the like.  There shall be
good rest up yonder."

Her eyes filled with tears as she turned away.  Was it selfish that her
wish was half a prayer,--that he might be kept a little longer from
_that_ rest?

She waited longer than usual before she tapped at his door the next
morning.  It was seven o'clock--a very late hour for rising in the
sixteenth century--when, receiving no answer, Barbara went softly into
the room and unfastened the shutters as quietly as she could.  No need
for the care and the silence!  There was good rest up yonder.

The shutters were drawn back, and the April sunlight streamed brightly
in upon a still, dead face.

Deep indeed was the mourning: but it was for themselves, not for him.
He was safe in the Golden Land, with his children and his Isoult--all
gone before him to that good rest.  What cause could there be for grief
that the battle was won, and that the tired soldier had laid aside his
armour?

But there was need enough for grief as concerned the two survivors,--for
Barbara and little Clare, left alone in the cold, wide world, with
nothing before them but a mournful and wearisome journey, and Enville
Court the dreaded end of it.

------------------------------------------------------------------------

Note 1.  So lately as 1601, an Act of Parliament forbade men to ride in
coaches, as an effeminate practice.

Note 2.  This was "His Holiness' sentence," of which the Armada was "in
execution."  See note, p.

Note 3.  The names, and date of marriage, of Walter Avery and Orige
Williams, are taken from the Bodmin Register.  In every other respect
they are fictitious characters.



CHAPTER TWO.

ON THE BORDER OF MARTON MERE.

  "Thou too must tread, as we trod, a way
  Thorny, and bitter, and cold, and grey."

  _Miss Muloch_.

It was drawing towards the dusk of a bright day early in May.  The
landscape was not attractive, at least to a tired traveller.  It was a
dreary waste of sandhills, diversified by patches of rough grass, and a
few stunted bushes, all leaning away from the sea, as though they wanted
to get as far from it as their small opportunities allowed; on one side
foamed the said grey-green expanse of sea; on the other lay a little
lakelet, shining in the setting sun: in front, at some distance, a
rivulet ran from the lake to the sea.  On the nearer side of the brook
lay a little village; while on the further bank was a large, well-kept
park, in which stood a grey quadrangular mansion.  Beyond the park,
nearly as far as the eye could reach, stretched a wide, dreary swamp,
bounded only by the sea on the one hand and the lake on the other.  The
only pretty or pleasant features in the landscape were the village and
park; and little could be seen of those for intervening sandhills.

The lake was Marton Mere; the swamp was Marton Moss; and the district
was the Fylde of Lancashire.  The County Palatine was renowned, at that
time, in the eyes of the Londoners, for its air, which was "subtile and
piercing," without any "gross vapours nor foggie mists;" for the
abundance and excellence of its cattle, which were sent even then to the
metropolis; for the plentiful variety of its provisions; for its
magnificent woods, "preserved by gentlemen for beauty," to such an
extent that no wood was used for fuel, and its place was supplied by
"sea-coal" and turf; for its numerous churches, "in no part of the land
more in proportion to the inhabitants."  But the good qualities of the
County Palatine were not likely to be appreciated by our weary
travellers.

The travellers were three in number:--a short, thick-set man, in a coat
of frieze as rough as his surroundings; a woman, and a child; lastly
came a pack-horse, bearing a quantity of luggage.

"Eh me!" ejaculated Barbara Polwhele, with a weary sigh.  "Master, doth
any man live hereaway?"

"Eh?" queried the man, not looking back.

Barbara repeated her question.

"Ay," said he in a rough voice.

"By 'r Lady!" exclaimed Barbara, pityingly.  "What manner of folk be
they, I marvel?"

"Me an' th' rest," said the man.

"Eh? what, you never--Be we anear Enville Court now?"

"O'er yon," replied the man, pointing straight forward with his whip,
and then giving it a sharp crack, as a reminder to the galloways.

"What, in the midst of yonder marsh?" cried poor Barbara.

Dick gave a hoarse chuckle, but made no other reply.  Barbara's
sensations were coming very near despair.

"What call men your name, Master?" she demanded, after some minutes'
gloomy meditation.

"Name?" echoed the stolid individual before her.

"Ay," said she.

"Dick o' Will's o' Mally's o' Robin's o' Joan's o' owd Dick's,"
responded he, in a breath.

"Marry La'kin!" exclaimed Barbara, relieving her feelings by recourse to
her favourite epithet.  She took the whole pedigree to be a polysyllabic
name.  "Dear heart, to think of a country where the folk have names as
long as a cart-rope!"

"Bab, I am aweary!" said little Clare, rousing up from a nap which she
had taken leaning against Barbara.

"And well thou mayest, poor chick!" returned Barbara compassionately;
adding in an undertone,--"Could she ne'er have come so far as Kirkham!"

They toiled wearily on after this, until presently Dick o' Will's--I
drop the rest of the genealogy--drew bridle, and looking back, pointed
with his whip to the village which now lay close before them.

"See thee!" said he.  "Yon's th' fold."

"Yon's what?" demanded Barbara.

The word was unintelligible to her, as Dick pronounced it "fowd;" but
had she understood it, she would have been little wiser.  Fold meant to
her a place to pen sheep in, while it signified to Dick an enclosure
surrounded by houses.

"What is 't?" responded Dick.  "Why, it's th' fowd."

"But what is `fowd'?" asked bewildered Barbara.

"Open thy een, wilt thou?" answered Dick cynically.

Barbara resigned the attempt to comprehend him, and, unwittingly
obeying, looked at the landscape.

Just the village itself was pretty enough.  It was surrounded with
trees, through which white houses peeped out, clustered together on the
bank of the little brook.  The spire of the village church towered up
through the foliage, close to the narrow footbridge; and beside it stood
the parsonage,--a long, low, stone house, embowered in ivy.

"Is yonder Enville Court?" asked Barbara, referring to the house in the
park.

"Ay," said Dick.

"And where dwelleth Master Tremayne?"

"Eh?"

"Master Tremayne--the parson--where dwelleth he?"

"Th' parson?  Why, i' th' parsonage, for sure," said Dick, conclusively.
"Where else would thou have him?"

"Ay, in sooth, but which is the parsonage?"

"Close by th' church--where would thou have it?"

"What, yonder green house, all o'er ivy?"

"For sure."

They slowly filed into the village, rode past the church and
parsonage,--at which latter Barbara looked lovingly, as to a haven of
comfort--forded the brook, and turned in at the gates of Enville Court.
When they came up to the house, and saw it free of hindering foliage,
she found that it was a stately quadrangle of grey stone, with a stone
terrace round three sides of it, a garden laid out in grim, Dutch square
order, away from the sea; and two or three cottages, with farm-buildings
and stables, grouped behind.  The horses drew up at a side door.

"Now!" lethargically said Dick, lumbering off his horse.  "Con ye get
off by yoursen?"

"I'll try," grunted the rather indignant Barbara, who considered that
her precious charge, Clare, was being very neglectfully received.  She
sprang down more readily than Dick, and standing on the horse-block,
lifted down little Clare.

"Hallo!" said Dick, by way of ringing the bell.

A slight stir was heard through the open door, and a young woman
appeared, fresh-looking and smiling-faced.

"Mistress Polwhele, I reckon?" she asked.  "An' is this t' little lass?
Eh, God bless thee, little lass!  Come in--thou'rt bound to be aweary."

Clare looked up into the girl's pleasant face, and sliding her hand
confidingly into hers, said demurely,--"I'll come."

"Dick 'll see to th' gear, Mistress," said the girl.

"Thou'd better call Sim, Dick.--I reckon you'd best come wi' me."

"What is your name?" asked Barbara, following her guide.

"Jennet," said the smiling girl.

"Well, Jennet, you are the best thing I have yet seen up hither,"
announced Barbara cynically.

"Eh, you've none seen nought yet!" said Jennet, laughing.  "There's
better things here nor me, I'se warrant you."

"Humph!" returned Barbara meditatively.  She doubted it very much.

Jennet paused at a door, and rapped.  There was no answer; perhaps her
appeal was not heard by those within.  She pushed the door a little
open, saying to Barbara, "There! you'd best go in, happen."

So Barbara, putting little Clare before her, went in.

It was a large, square, low room, sweet with the perfume of dried roses.
There were four occupants,--two ladies, and two girls.  One of the
ladies sat with her back to the door, trying to catch the last ray of
daylight for her work; the other had dropped asleep.  Evidently neither
had heard Jennet's knock.

It was rather an awkward state of things.  Little Clare went a few feet
into the room, stopped, and looked up at Barbara for direction.  At the
same moment the elder girl turned her head and saw them.

"Madam!" said Barbara stiffly.

"Aunt Rachel!"  [Note 1] said the girl.

The lady who sat by the window looked round, and rose.  She was young--
certainly under thirty; but rather stiff and prim, very upright, and not
free from angularity.  She gave the impression that she must have been
born just as she was, in her black satin skirt, dark blue serge kirtle,
unbending buckram cap, whitest and most unruffled of starched frills,--
and have been kept ever since under a glass case.

"You are Barbara Polwhele?" she said.

Barbara dropped a courtesy, and replied affirmatively.

"Sister!" said Mistress Rachel, appealing to the sleeper.

No greater difference between two young women could well be imagined,
than that which existed in this instance.  Lady Enville--for she was the
taker of the siesta--was as free from any appearance of angularity or
primness as possible.  Everything about her was soft, delicate, and
graceful.  She was fair in complexion, and very pretty.  She had been
engaged in fancy-work, and it lay upon her lap, held lightly by one
hand, just as it had dropped when she fell asleep.

"Sister!" said Rachel again.

Lady Enville stirred, sighed, and half opened her eyes.

"Here is thy little maid, Sister."

Lady Enville opened her blue eyes fully, dropped her work on the floor,
and springing up, caught Clare to her bosom with the most exalted
expressions of delight.

"Fragrance of my heart!  My rose of spring!  My gem of beauty!  Art thou
come to me at last, my soul's darling?"

Barbara looked on with a grim smile.  Clare sat in perfect silence on
her mother's knee, suffering her caresses, but making no response.

"She is not like thee, Sister," observed Rachel.

"No, she is like her father," replied Lady Enville, stroking the child's
hair, and kissing her again.  "Medoubteth if she will ever be as
lovesome as I.  I was much better favoured at her years.--Art thou
aweary, sweeting?"

At last Clare spoke; but only in an affirmative monosyllable.  Clare's
thoughts were mixed ones.  It was rather nice to sit on that soft velvet
lap, and be petted: but "Bab didn't like her."  And why did not Bab like
her?

"Thou hast not called me Mother, my floweret."

Clare was too shy for that.  The suggestion distressed her.  To move the
house seemed as near possibility as to frame her lips to say that short
word.  Fortunately for her, Lady Enville's mind never dwelt on a subject
for many seconds at once.  She turned to Barbara.

"And how goes it with thee, Barbara?"

"Well, and I thank you, Mistress--my Lady, I would say."

"Ah!" said Lady Enville, laughing softly.  "I shall alway be Mistress
Walter with thee, I am well assured.  So my father Avery is dead, I
count, or ye had not come?"

The question was put in a tone as light and airy as possible.  Clare
listened in surprised vexation.  What did "she" mean by talking of
"Gaffer," in that strange way?--was she not sorry that he was gone away?
Bab was--thought Clare.

Barbara's answer was in a very constrained tone.

"Ah, well, 'tis to no good fretting," returned Lady Enville, gently
smoothing Clare's hair.  "I cannot abide doole [mourning] and gloomy
faces.  I would have all about me fresh and bright while I am so."

This was rather above Clare's comprehension; but looking up at Barbara,
the child saw tears in her eyes.  Her little heart revolted in a moment
from the caressing lady in velvet.  What did she mean by making Bab cry?

It was rather a misfortune that at this moment it pleased Lady Enville
to kiss Clare's forehead, and to say--

"Art thou ready to love us all, darling?  Thou must know thy sisters,
and ye can play you together, when their tasks be adone.--Margaret!"

"Ay, Madam."

The elder girl laid down her work, and came to Lady Enville's side.

"And thou too, Lucrece.--These be they, sweeting.  Kiss them.  Thou
shalt see Blanche ere it be long."

But then Clare's stored-up anger broke out.  The limit of her endurance
had been reached, and shyness was extinguished by vexation.

"Get away!" she said, as Margaret bent down to kiss her.  "You are not
my sisters!  I won't kiss you!  I won't call you sisters.  Blanche is my
sister, but not you.  Get away, both of you!"

Lady Enville's eyes opened--for her--extremely wide.

"Why, what can the child mean?" she exclaimed.  "I can never govern
childre.  Rachel, do--"

Barbara was astonished and terrified.  She laid a correcting hand upon
Clare's shoulder.

"Mrs Clare, I'm ashamed of you!  Cruel 'shamed, I am!  The ladies will
account that I ne'er learned you behaviour.  Kiss the young damsels
presently [immediately], like a sweet little maid, as you use to be, and
not like a wild blackamoor that ne'er saw governance!"

But the matter was taken out of Barbara's hands, as Mistress Rachel
responded to the appeal made to her--not in words, but in solid deed.
She quietly grasped Clare, lifted her from her mother's knee, and,
carrying her to a large closet at one end of the room, shut her inside,
and sat down again with judicial imperturbability.

"There you 'bide, child," announced Rachel, from her chair, "until such
time as you shall be sorry for your fault, and desire pardon.--Meg and
Lucrece, come and fold your sewing.  'Tis too dark to make an end
thereof this even."

"Good Mistress," entreated poor Barbara in deep dismay, "I beseech you,
leave my little maid come out thence.  She was never thus dealt withal
in all her life afore!"

"No was she, [was she not], good wife?" returned Rachel unconcernedly.
"Then the sooner she makes beginning thereof, the better for her.  Ease
your mind; I will keep her in yonder no longer than shall stand with her
good.  Is she oft-times thus trying?"

"Never afore knew I no such a thing!" said Barbara emphatically.

"Only a little waywardness then, maybe," answered Rachel.  "So much the
better."

"Marry, sweet Mistress, the child is hungered and aweary.  Pray you,
forgive her this once!"

"Good lack!" plaintively exclaimed Lady Enville.  "I hate discords
around me.  Call Jennet, and bid her take Barbara into the hall, for it
must be nigh rear-supper."

Go and sit down comfortably to supper, with her darling shut in a dark
closet!  Barbara would as soon have thought of flying.

"Leave her come forth, Rachel," said the child's mother.

"I love peace as well as thou, Sister; but I love right better,"
answered Rachel unmovedly.  But she rose and went to the closet.
"Child! art thou yet penitent?"

"Am I what?" demanded Clare from within, in a voice which was not
promising for much penitence.

"Art thou sorry for thy fault?"

"No."

"Wilt thou ask pardon?"

"No," said Clare sturdily.

"Thou seest, Sister, I cannot let her out," decided Rachel, looking
back.

In utter despair Barbara appealed to Lady Enville.

"Mistress Walter, sure you have never the heart to keep the little maid
shut up in yon hole?  She is cruel weary, the sweeting!--and an-hungered
to boot.  Cause her to come forth, I pray you of your gentleness!"

Ah, Barbara!  Appearances were illusive.  There was no heart under the
soft exterior of the one woman, and there was a very tender one, covered
by a crust of rule and propriety, latent in the breast of the other.

"Gramercy, Barbara!" said Lady Enville pettishly, with a shrug of her
shoulders.  "I never can deal with childre."

"Leave her come forth, and I will deal withal," retorted Barbara
bluntly.

"Dear heart!  Rachel, couldst thou not leave her come?  Never mind
waiting till she is sorry.  I shall have never any peace."

Rachel laid her hand doubtfully on the latch of the closet door, and
stood considering the matter.

Just then another door was softly pushed open, and a little child of
three years old came into the room:--a much prettier child than Clare,
having sky-blue eyes, shining fair hair, a complexion of exquisite
delicacy, pretty regular features, and eyebrows of the surprised type.
She ran up straight to Rachel, and grasped the blue serge kirtle in her
small chubby hand.

"Come see my sis'er," was the abrupt announcement.

That this little bit of prettiness was queen at Enville Court, might be
seen in Rachel's complacent smile.  She opened the closet door about an
inch.

"Art thou yet sorry?"

"No," said Clare stubbornly.

There was a little pull at the blue kirtle.

"Want see my sis'er!" pleaded the baby voice, in tones of some
impatience.

"Wilt be a good maid if thou come forth?" demanded Rachel of the culprit
within.

"That is as may be," returned Clare insubordinately.

"If I leave thee come forth, 'tis not for any thy goodness, but I would
not be hard on thee in the first minute of thy home-coming, and I make
allowance for thy coldness and weariness, that may cause thee to be
pettish."

Another little pull warned Rachel to cut short her lecture.

"Now, be a good maid!  Come forth, then.  Here is Blanche awaiting
thee."

Out came Clare, looking very far from penitent.  But when Blanche
toddled up, put her fat arms round her sister as far as they would go,
and pouted up her little lips for a kiss,--to the astonishment of every
one, Clare burst into tears.  Nobody quite knew why, and perhaps Clare
could hardly have said herself.  Barbara interposed, by coming forward
and taking possession of her, with the apologetic remark--

"Fair cruel worn-out she is, poor heart!"

And Rachel condoned the affair, with--"Give her her supper, good wife,
and put her abed.  Jennet will show thee all needful."

So Clare signalised her first entrance into her new home by rebellion
and penalty.

The next morning rose brightly.  Barbara and Jennet came to dress the
four little girls, who all slept in one room; and took them out at once
into the garden.  Clare seemed to have forgotten the episode of the
previous evening, and no one cared to remind her of it.  Margaret had
brought a ball with her, and the children set to work at play, with an
amount of activity and interest which they would scarcely have bestowed
upon work.  Barbara and Jennet sat down on a wooden seat which ran round
the trunk of a large ash-tree, and Jennet, pulling from her pocket a
pair of knitting-needles and a ball of worsted, began to ply the former
too quickly for the eye to follow.

"Of a truth, I would I had some matter of work likewise," observed
Barbara; "I have been used to work hard, early and late, nor it liketh
me not to sit with mine hands idle.  Needs must that I pray my Lady of
some task belike."

"Do but say the like unto Mistress Rachel," said Jennet, laughing, "and
I warrant thee thou'lt have work enough."

"Mistress Rachel o'erseeth the maids work?"

"There's nought here but hoo [she] does o'ersee," replied Jennet.

"She keepeth house, marry, by my Lady's direction?"

"Hoo does not get much direction, I reckon," said Jennet.

"What, my Lady neither makes nor meddles?"

Jennet laughed.  "I ne'er saw her make yet so much as an apple turno'er.
As for tapestry work, and such, hoo makes belike.  But I'll just tell
thee:--Sir Thomas is our master, see thou.  Well, his wife's his
mistress.  And Mistress Rachel's her mistress.  And Mistress Blanche is
Mistress Rachel's mistress.  Now then, thou knowest somewhat thou didn't
afore."

"And who is Mistress Blanche's mistress or master belike?" demanded
Barbara, laughing in her turn.

"Nay, I've getten to th' top," said Jennet.  "I can go no fur'."

"There'll be a master some of these days, I cast no doubt," observed
Barbara, drily.

"Happen," returned Jennet.  "But 'tis a bit too soon yet, I reckon.--
Mrs Meg, yon's the breakfast bell."

Margaret caught the ball from Clare, and pocketed it, and the whole
party went into the hall for breakfast.  Here the entire family
assembled, down to the meanest scullion-lad.  Jennet took Clare's hand,
and led her up to the high table, at which Mistress Rachel had already
taken her seat, while Sir Thomas and Lady Enville were just entering
from the door behind it.

"Ha! who cometh here?" asked Sir Thomas, cheerily.  "My new daughter, I
warrant.  Come hither, little maid!"

Clare obeyed rather shyly.  Her step-father set her on his knee, kissed
her, stroked her hair with a rather heavy hand, and bade her "be a good
lass and serve God well, and he would be good father to her."  Clare was
not sorry when the ordeal was over, and she found herself seated between
Margaret and Barbara.  Sir Thomas glanced round the table, where an
empty place was left on the form, just opposite Clare.

"Where is Jack?" he inquired.

"Truly, I know not," said Lady Enville languidly.

"I bade him arise at four of the clock," observed Rachel briskly.

"And saw him do it?" asked Sir Thomas, with an amused expression.

"Nay, in very deed,--I had other fish to fry."

"Then, if Jack be not yet abed, I am no prophet."

"Thou art no prophet, brother Tom, whether or no," declared Rachel.  "I
pray thee of some of that herring."

While Rachel was being helped to the herring, a slight noise was audible
at the door behind, and the next minute, tumbling into his place with a
somersault, a boy of eleven suddenly appeared in the hitherto vacant
space between Rachel and Lucrece.

"Ah Jack, Jack!" reprimanded Sir Thomas.

"Salt, Sir?" suggested Jack, demurely.

"What hour of the clock did thine Aunt bid thee rise, Jack?"

"Well, Sir," responded Jack, screwing up one eye, as if the effort of
memory were painful, "as near as I may remember, 'twas about one hundred
and eighty minutes to seven of the clock."

"Thou wilt come to ill, Jack, as sure as sure," denounced Aunt Rachel,
solemnly.

"I am come to breakfast, Aunt, and I shall come to dinner," remarked
Jack: "that is as sure as sure."

Sir Thomas leaned back in his chair and laughed heartily, bidding Jack
help himself; while Rachel shook her head ominously over Jack's future.
Jack stood up, surveyed the table, and proceeded to make a wide gash in
an enormous pie.  Just as he was laying down knife and spoon, and
retiring with his spoils, he caught a glimpse of Clare, who sat studying
him in some trepidation and much curiosity.

"Hallo! who are you?" was Jack's unceremonious greeting.

"Wilt thou ne'er learn to behave thyself, lad?" corrected Rachel.

"You see, Aunt, none never learned me yet," returned Jack coolly;
looking at Clare in a manner which said, "I await your answer."

Sir Thomas good-naturedly replied for her.

"'Tis thy new sister, my lad,--little Clare Avery.  Play none of thy
tricks on her, Jack."

"My tricks, Sir?" demanded Jack with an air of innocent astonishment.

"I know thee, lad!" said Sir Thomas shortly, but good humouredly.

Jack proceeded to make short work of the pie, but kept his eyes on
Clare.

"Now, little maids," said Rachel, when they rose from the table, "I will
hear, you your tasks in an hour hence.  Till the clock strike, ye may go
into the garden."

"May we have some cakes with us, Aunt Rachel?" inquired Jack demurely.

"Cake!" echoed Blanche, clapping her little fat hands.

"Thou!" said Rachel.  "Art thou a maid?  I have nought to do with thy
tasks.  Be they ready for Master Tremayne?"

Jack turned up the whites of his eyes, and turned down the corners of
his mouth, in a style which exhibited a very emphatic No.

"Go and study them, then, this minute," said his Aunt.

The party separated, Jack putting on a look which was the embodiment of
despair; but Sir Thomas, calling Margaret back, put into her hands the
plate of small cakes; bidding her take them to the garden and divide
them among the children.

"Brother, Brother!" remonstrated Rachel.

"Tut! the cakes will do them no harm," said he carelessly.  "There are
but a dozen or the like."

Margaret went first towards the garden, carrying the plate, Clare and
Blanche following.  As they reached the terrace, Lucrece overtook them,
going on about a yard in advance of Margaret.  When the latter turned
her head to call Blanche to "come on," Clare, to her utter amazement,
saw Lucrece stop, and, as Margaret passed her, silently and deftly dip
her hand into the plate, and transfer two of the little cakes to her
pocket.  The action was so promptly and delicately performed, leaving
Margaret entirely unconscious of it, that in all probability it was not
the first of its kind.

Clare was intensely shocked.  Was Lucrece a thief?

Margaret sat down on a grassy bank, and counted out the cakes.  There
were eleven.

"How is this?" she asked, looking perplexed.  "There were thirteen of
these, I am well assured, for I counted them o'er as I came out of hall.
Who has taken two?"

"Not I," said Clare shortly.

Blanche shook her curly head; Lucrece, silently but calmly, held out
empty hands.  So, thought Clare, she is a liar as well, as a thief.

"They must be some whither," said Margaret, quietly; "and I know where
it is like: Lucrece, I do verily believe they are in thy pocket."

"Dost thou count me a thief, Meg?" retorted Lucrece.

"By no manner of means, without thou hast the chance," answered Margaret
satirically, but still quietly.  "Very well,--thou hast chosen thy
share,--take it.  Three for each of us three, and two over.  Shall we
give them to Jack?  What say ye?"

"Jack!" cried Blanche, dancing about on the grass.

Clare assented shyly, and she and Blanche received their three cakes
each.

"Must I have none, Meg?" demanded Lucrece in an injured tone.

"Oh ay! keep what thou hast," said Margaret, calmly munching the first
of her own three cakes.

"Who said I had any?"

"I said it.  I know thee, as Father saith to Jack.  Thou hast made thy
bed,--go lie thereon."

Lucrece marched slowly away, looking highly indignant; but before she
was quite out of sight, the others saw her slip her hand into her
pocket, bring out one of the little cakes, and bite it in two.  Margaret
laughed when she saw Clare's look of shocked solemnity.

"I said she had them,--the sly-boots!" was her only comment.

Clare finished her cakes, and ran off to Barbara, who, seated under the
ash-tree, had witnessed the whole scene.

"Bab, I will not play me with yonder Lucrece.  She tells lies, and is a
thief."

"Marry La'kin, my poor lamb!" sighed Barbara.  "My mind sorely misgiveth
me that I have brought thee into a den of thieves.  Eh me, if the good
Master had but lived a while longer!  Of a truth, the Lord's ways be
passing strange."

Clare had run off again to Margaret, and the last sentence was not
spoken to her.  But it was answered by somebody.

"Which of the Lord's ways, Barbara Polwhele?"

"Sir?" exclaimed Barbara, looking up surprisedly into the grave, though
kindly face of a tall, dark-haired man in clerical garb.  "I was but--
eh, but yon eyes!  'Tis never Master Robin?"

Mr Tremayne's smile replied sufficiently that it was.

"And is yonder little Clare Avery?" he asked, with a tender inflection
in his voice.  "Walter's child,--my brother Walter!"

"Ay, Master Robin, yon is Mistress Clare; and you being shepherd of this
flock hereaway, I do adjure you, look well to this little lamb, for I am
sore afeard she is here fallen amongst wolves."

"I am not the Shepherd, good friend,--only one of the Shepherd's
herd-lads.  But I will look to the lamb as He shall speed me.  And which
of the Lord's ways is so strange unto thee, Barbara?"

"Why, to think that our dear, good Master should die but now, and leave
the little lamb to be cast in all this peril."

"Then--`Some of the paths of the Lord are mercy and truth'--doth the
verse run thus in thy Bible, Barbara?"

"Nay, not so: but can you understand the same Master Robin?"

"By no means.  Wherefore should I?"

Barbara made no answer beyond an appealing look.

"`He knoweth the way that I take.'  If I know not so much as one step
thereof, what matter?  I shall have light to see the next step ere I
must set down my foot.  That is enough, Barbara, for `such as keep His
covenant,' and I have ever counted thee amongst them."

"Eh, Master Robin, but 'twere easier done to walk in darkness one's
self, than to see yon little pet lamb--"

And Barbara's voice faltered.

"Hath somewhat troubled thee specially at this time?"

In answer, she told him what she had just seen.

"And I do trust, Master Robin, I have not ill done to say this unto you,
but of a truth I am diseased [uneasy, anxious] touching my jewel, lest
she fall into the like evil courses, being to dwell here."

"Thou hast not ill done, friend; nor will I neglect the warning, trust
me."

"I thank you much, Master.  And how doth good Mistress Thekla?  Verily I
am but evil-mannered to be thus long ere I ask it."

"She is well, and desiring much to see thee."

"And your childre, Master Robin,--have you not?"

"I have five childre, Barbara, two sons and three daughters; but of them
Christ hath housen four in His garner, and hath left but one in my
sight.  And that seemed unto us a very strange way; yet was it mercy and
truth."

"Eh, but I could ne'er repine at a babe's dying!" said Barbara, shaking
her head.  "Do but think what they 'scape of this weary world's
troubles, Master Robin."

"Ah, Barbara, 'tis plain thou never hadst a child," said Mr Tremayne,
sighing.  "I grant all thou hast said.  And yet, when it cometh to the
pass, the most I can do is to lift mine head and hold my peace, `because
God did it.'  God witteth best how to try us all."

"Nay, if He would but not try yon little lambkin!"

"An unhappy prayer, Barbara; for, that granted, she should never come
forth as gold.--But I must be on my way to give Jack his Latin lesson.
When thou canst find thy way to my dwelling, all we shall be full fain
to see thee.  Good morrow."

When Clare was undergoing her ordeal in the schoolroom, an hour later,
Barbara set out on her visit to the parsonage.  But she missed her way
through the park, and instead of coming out of the great gates, near the
foot-bridge, she found herself at a little gate, opening on the road,
from which neither church nor village could be seen as landmarks.  There
was no cottage in sight at which to ask the road to the parsonage.
While Barbara stood and looked round her, considering the matter, she
perceived a boy of about twelve years old slowly approaching her from
the right hand,--evidently a gentleman's son, from his dress, which,
though very simple, was of materials indicative of good birth.  He had
long dark brown hair, which curled over his shoulders, and almost hid
his face, bent down over a large book, for he was reading as he walked.
Barbara waited until he came up to her.

"Give you good morrow, Master!  I be loth to come betwixt you and your
studies, but my need presseth me to pray of you the way unto Master
Tremayne's house the parson?"

The lad started on hearing a voice, hastily closed his book, and lifted
a pair of large, dreamy brown eyes to Barbara's face.  But he seemed
quite at a loss to recall what he had been asked to do.

"You would know?"--he said inquiringly.

"I would know, young Master," returned Barbara boldly, "if your name be
not Tremayne?"

"Ay so," assented the boy, with a rather surprised look.  "My name is
Arthur Tremayne."  [A fictitious person.]

"And you be son unto Master Tremayne the parson?"

"Truly."

"Verily I guessed so much, for his eyes be in your head," said Barbara
quaintly.  "But your mouth and nose be Mrs Thekla's.  Eh, dear heart,
what changes life bringeth!  Why, it seemeth me but yestre'en that your
father was no bigger than you.  And every whit as much given to his
book, I warrant you.  Pray you, is my mistress your mother at home?"

"Ay, you shall find her there now," said the boy, as he tucked the big
book under his arm, and began to walk on in Barbara's company.  "I count
you be our old friend, Barbara Polwhele, that is come with little
Mistress Clare?  My mother will be fain to see you."

Barbara was highly gratified to find that Arthur Tremayne had heard of
her already.  The two trudged onwards together, and in a few minutes
reached the ivy-covered parsonage, standing in its pretty flower-garden.
Arthur preceded Barbara into the house, laid down his book on the hall
window-seat, and opening a door which led to the back part of the house,
appealed to an unseen person within.

"Mother! here is Mistress Barbara Polwhele."

"Barbara Polwhele!" said a voice in reply,--a voice which Barbara had
not heard for nineteen years, yet which time had so little altered that
she recognised at once the Thekla Rose of old.  And in another moment
Mrs Tremayne stood before her.

Her aspect was more changed than her voice.  The five terrible years of
the Marian persecution had swept over her head in early youth, and their
bitter anxieties and forebodings left her, at the age of nineteen, a
white, wan, slender, delicate girl.  But now a like number of years,
spent in calm, happy work, had left their traces also, and Mrs Tremayne
looked what she was, a gentle, contented woman of thirty-eight, with
more bloom on her cheek than she had ever worn in youth, and the piteous
expression of distressed suspense entirely gone from her eyes.

"Eh, Mistress Thekla!" was Barbara's greeting.

"I be cruel glad to see you.  Methinks you be gone so many years younger
as you must needs be elder."

"Nay, truly, for I were then but a babe in the cradle," was the laughing
answer.  "Thou art a losenger [flatterer], Barbara."

"In very deed," returned Barbara inconsistently, "I could have known you
any whither."

"And me also?" demanded another voice, as a little lively old lady
trotted out of the room which Mrs Tremayne had just left.  "Shouldst
thou have known me any whither, Barbara Polwhele?"

"Marry La'kin! if 'tis not Mistress Rose!"  [Name fact, character
fictitious.]

"Who but myself?  I dwell with Thekla since I am widow.  And I make the
cakes, as Arthur knows," added Mrs Rose, cheerily, patting her
grandson's head; "but if I should go hence, there should be a famine,
_ma foi_!"

"A famine of _pain d'epices_" assented Mrs Tremayne, smiling.  "Ah,
Mother dear, thou spoilest the lad."

"Who ever knew a grandame to do other?" observed Barbara.  "More
specially the only one."

"The only one!" echoed his mother, softly, stroking his long hair.
"There be four other, Barbara,--not lost, but waiting."

"Now, Barbara, come in hither," said Mrs Rose, bustling back into the
room, apparently desirous of checking any sad thoughts on the part of
her daughter; "sit thou down, and tell us all about the little Clare,
and the dear Master Avery, and all.  I listen and mix my cake, all one."

Barbara followed her, and found herself in the kitchen.  She had not
done wondering at the change--not in Mrs Tremayne, but in her mother.
Nineteen years before, Barbara had known Marguerite Rose, a crushed,
suffering woman, with no shadow of mirth about her.  It seemed unnatural
and improper to hear her laugh.  But Mrs Rose's nature was that of a
child,--simple and versatile: she lived in the present, whether for joy
or pain.

Mrs Rose finished gathering her materials, and proceeded to mix her
_pain d'epices_, or Flemish gingerbread, while Mrs Tremayne made
Barbara sit down in a large chair furnished with soft cushions.  Arthur
came too, having picked up his big book, and seated himself in the
window-seat with it, his long hair falling over his face as he bent down
over it but whether he were reading or listening was known only to
himself.

The full account of John Avery's end was given to these his dearest
friends, and there was a good deal of conversation about other members
of the family: and Barbara heard, to her surprise, that a cousin of
Clare, a child rather older than herself, was shortly coming to live at
the parsonage.  Lysken van Barnevelt [a fictitious person], like Clare,
was an only child and an orphan; and Mr Tremayne purposed to pay his
debt to the Averys by the adoption of Frances Avery's child.  But
Barbara was rather dismayed when she heard that Lysken would not at
first be able to talk to her cousin, since her English was of the most
fragmentary description.

"She will soon learn," said Mrs Tremayne.

"And until she shall learn, I only can talk to her," added Mrs Rose,
laughing.  "_Ay de mi_!  I must pull up my Flemish out of my brains.  It
is so deep down, I do wonder if it will come.  It is--let me see!--
forty, fifty--_ma foi_! 'tis nigh sixty years since I talk Flemish with
my father!"

"And now, tell us, what manner of child is Clare?" asked Mrs Tremayne.

"The sweetest little maid in all the world, and of full good conditions
[disposition], saving only that she lacketh breeding [education]
somewhat."

"The which Mistress Rachel shall well furnish her withal.  She is a
throughly good teacher.  But I will go and see the sweeting, so soon as
I may."

"Now, Mrs Thekla, of your goodness, do me to wit what manner of folk be
these that we be fallen in withal?  It were easier for me to govern both
Mrs Clare and mine own self, if I might but, know somewhat thereof
aforetime."

"Truly, good friend, they be nowise ill folk," said Mrs Tremayne, with
a quiet smile.  "Sir Thomas is like to be a good father unto the child,
for he hath a kindly nature.  Only, for godliness, I fear I may not say
over much.  But he is an upright man, and a worthy, as men go in this
world.  And for my Lady his wife, you know her as well as I."

"Marry La'kin, and if you do love her no better!--"

"She is but young," said Mrs Tremayne, excusingly.

"What heard I?" inquired Mrs Rose, looking up from her cookery.  "I did
think thou hadst been a Christian woman, Barbara Polwhele."

"Nay, verily, Mistress Rose!--what mean you?" demanded the astonished
Barbara.

"_Bon_!--Is it not the second part of the duty of a Christian woman to
love her neighbour as herself?"

"Good lack! 'tis not in human nature," said Barbara, bluntly.  "If we be
no Christians short of that, there be right few Christians in all the
world, Mistress mine."

"So there be," was the reply.  "Is it not?"

"Truly, good friend, this is not in nature," said Mrs Tremayne, gently.
"It is only in grace."

"Then in case it so be, is there no grace?" asked Barbara in a slightly
annoyed tone.

"Who am I, that I should judge?" was the meek answer.  "Yet methinks
there must be less grace than nature."

"Well!--and of Mistress Rachel, what say you?"

"Have you a care that you judge her not too harshly.  She is, I know,
somewhat forbidding on the outside, yet she hath a soft heart, Barbara."

"I am thankful to hear the same, for I had not so judged," was Barbara's
somewhat acrid answer.

"Ah, she showeth the worst on the outside."

"And for the childre?  I love not yon Lucrece.--Now, Mistress Rose, have
a care your cakes be well mingled, and snub not me."

"Ah! there spake the conscience," said Mrs Rose, laughing.

"I never did rightly understand Lucrece," answered her daughter.  "For
Margaret, she is plain and open enough; a straightforward, truthful
maiden, that men may trust.  But for Lucrece--I never felt as though I
knew her.  There is that in her--be it pride, be it shamefacedness, call
it as you will--that is as a wall in the way."

"I call it deceitfulness, Thekla," said her mother decidedly.

"I trust not so, Mother! yet I have feared--"

"Time will show," said Mrs Rose, filling her moulds with the compound
which was to turn out _pain d'epices_.

"Mistress Blanche, belike, showeth not what her conditions shall be,"
remarked Barbara.

"She is a lovesome little maid as yet," said Mrs Tremayne.  "Mefeareth
she shall be spoiled as she groweth toward womanhood, both with praising
of her beauty and too much indulging of her fantasies."

"And now, what say you to Master Jack?" demanded Barbara in some
trepidation.  "Is he like to play ugsome [ugly, disagreeable] tricks on
Mrs Clare, think you?"

"Jack--ah, poor Jack!" replied Mrs Tremayne.

Barbara looked up in some surprise.  Jack seemed to her a most unlikely
subject for the compassionate ejaculation.

"And dost thou marvel that I say, `Poor Jack'?  It is because I have
known men of his conditions aforetime, and I have ever noted that either
they do go fast to wrack, or else they be set in the hottest furnace of
God's disciplining.  I know not which shall be the way with Jack.  But
how so,--poor Jack!"

"But what deem you his conditions, in very deed?"

"Why, there is not a soul in all the village that loveth not Jack, and I
might well-nigh say, not one that hath not holpen him at some pinch,
whereto his reckless ways have brought him.  If the lacings of satin
ribbon be gone from Mistress Rachel's best gown, and the cat be found
with them tied all delicately around her paws and neck, and her very
tail,--'tis Jack hath done it.  If Margaret go about with a paper pinned
to the tail of her gown, importing that she is a thief and a traitor to
the Queen's Highness,--'tis Jack hath pinned it on when she saw him not.
If some rare book from Sir Thomas his library be found all open on the
garden walk, wet and ruinated,--'tis Jack.  If Mistress Rachel be
astepping into her bed, and find the sheets and blankets all awry, so
that she cannot compass it till all is pulled in pieces and turned
aright, she hath no doubt to say, 'tis Jack.  And yet once I say, Poor
Jack!  If he be to come unto good, mefeareth the furnace must needs be
heated fiercely.  Yet after all, what am I, that I should say it?  God
hath a thousand ways to fetch His lost sheep home."

"But is he verily ill-natured?"

"Nay, in no wise.  He hath as tender a heart as any lad ever I saw.  I
have known him to weep bitterly over aught that hath touched his heart.
Trust me, while I cast no doubt he shall play many a trick on little
Clare, yet no sooner shall he see her truly sorrowful thereat, than Jack
shall turn comforter, nor go not an inch further."

Barbara was beginning another question, of which she had plenty more to
ask, when she saw that the clock pointed to a quarter to eleven, which
was dinner-time at Enville Court.  There was barely time to reach the
house, and she took leave hastily, declining Mrs Tremayne's invitation
to stay and dine at the parsonage.

When she entered the hall, she found the household already assembled,
and the sewers bringing in a smoking baron of beef.  At the upper end
Lady Enville was delicately arranging the folds of her crimson satin
dress; the little girls were already seated; and Mistress Rachel, with
brown holland apron and cuffs, stood with a formidable carving-knife in
her hand, ready to begin an attack upon the beef.  The carving was
properly Lady Enville's prerogative; but as with all things which gave
her trouble, she preferred to delegate it to her sister-in-law.

Sir Thomas came in late, and said grace hastily.  The Elizabethan grace
was not limited to half-a-dozen words.  It took about as long as family
prayers usually do now.  Jack, in his usual style, came scampering in
just when grace was finished.

"Good sooth!  I have had such discourse with Master Tremayne," said Sir
Thomas.  "He hath the strangest fantasies.  Only look you--"

"A shive of beef, Sister?" interpolated Rachel, who had no notion of
allowing the theoretical to take precedence of the practical.

Lady Enville languidly declined anything so gross as beef.  She would
take a little--very little--of the venison pasty.

"I'll have beef, Aunt!" put in unseasonable Jack.

"Wilt thou have manners?" severely returned Rachel.

"Where shall I find them, Aunt?" coolly inquired Jack, letting his eyes
rove about among the dishes.  "May I help you likewise?"

"Behave thyself, Jack!" said his father, laughing.

The rebuke was neutralised by the laughter.  Rachel went on carving in
dignified silence.

"Would you think it?" resumed Sir Thomas, when everybody was helped, and
conversation free to flow.  "Master Tremayne doth conceive that we
Christian folk be meant to learn somewhat from those ancient Jews that
did wander about with Moses in the wilderness.  Ne'er heard I no such a
fantasy.  To conceive that we can win knowledge from the rotten old
observances of those Jew rascals!  Verily, this passeth!"

"Beats the Dutch, Sir!" said incorrigible Jack.

------------------------------------------------------------------------

Note 1.  All members of the Enville family and household are fictitious
persons.



CHAPTER THREE.

BREAKERS AHEAD.

  "Our treasures moth and rust corrupt:
  Or thieves break through and steal; or they
  Make themselves wings and fly away.
  One man made merry as he supped,
  Nor guessed how, when that night grew dim,
  His soul should be required of him."

  _Ellen Alleyn_.

Eleven years had passed away since the events of the previous chapters,
and in the room where we first saw her, Rachel Enville sat with the four
girls around her.  Little girls no longer,--young ladies now; for the
youngest, Blanche, was not far from her fifteenth birthday.  Margaret--
now a young woman of four-and-twenty, and only not married because her
betrothed was serving with the army of occupation in the Netherlands--
was very busily spinning; Lucrece--a graceful maiden of twenty-two, not
strictly handsome, but possessed of an indescribable fascination which
charmed all who saw her--sat with her eyes bent down on her embroidery;
Clare--seventeen, gentle, and unobtrusive--was engaged in plain sewing;
and Blanche,--well, what was Blanche doing?  She sat in the deep
window-seat, her lap full of spring flowers, idly taking up now one, and
now another,--weaving a few together as if she meant to make a wreath,--
then suddenly abandoning the idea and gathering them into a nosegay,--
then throwing that aside and dreamily plunging both hands into the
fragrant mass.  Blanche had developed into a very pretty picture,--
lovelier than Lady Enville, whom she resembled in feature.

"Blanche!" said her aunt suddenly.

Blanche looked up as if startled.  Rachel had changed little.  Time had
stiffened, not softened, both her grogram and her prejudices.

"What dost thou?" she demanded.

"Oh!  I--well--I know not what I did, Aunt Rachel.  I was thinking, I
reckon."

"And where were thy thoughts?" was the next searching query.

Blanche smelt at her flowers, coloured, laughed, and ended by saying
lightly, "I scantly know, Aunt."

"Then the sooner thou callest them to order, the better.  She must needs
be an idle jade that wits not whereof she thinketh."

"Well, if you must needs know, Aunt Rachel," said Blanche, laughing
again, and just a trifle saucily, "I thought about--being wed."

"Fie for shame!" was the prompt comment on this confession.  "What hast
thou to do withal, till thy father and mother bid thee?"

"Why, that is even what I thought, Aunt Rachel," said Blanche coolly,
"and I would I had more to do withal.  I would fain choose mine own
servant."  [Suitor.]

"Thou!--Poor babe!" was the contemptuous rejoinder.

"Well, Aunt Rachel, you wot a woman must be wed."

"That's a man's notion!" said Rachel in her severest manner.  "Blanche,
I do marvel greatly that thou hast not more womanfulness than so.  A
woman must be wed, quotha!  Who saith it?  Some selfish man, I warrant,
that thought women were create into the world for none other cause but
to be his serving-maids!"

"I am sure I know not wherefore we were create," muttered Blanche, loud
enough for her sisters to hear but not her Aunt.

Rachel stopped her carding.  She saw a first-rate opening for a lecture,
and on her own special pet topic.

"Maidens, I would fain have you all list me heedfully.  Prithee, take
not up, none of you, with men's notions.  To wit, that a woman must
needs be wed, and that otherwise she is but half a woman, and the like
foolery.  Nay, verily; for when she is wed she is no more at all a
woman, but only the half of a man, and is shorn of all her glory.  Wit
ye all what marriage truly meaneth?  It is to be a slave, and serve a
man at his beck, all the days of thy life.  A maid is her own queen, and
may do as it like her--"

"Would I might!" said Blanche under her breath.

"But a wife must needs search out her lord's pleasure."

"Or make him search out hers," boldly interposed Blanche.

"Child, lay thou down forthwith that foolish fantasy," returned Rachel
with great solemnity.  "So long time as that thing man is not sure of
thee, he is the meekest mannered beast under the sun.  He will promise
thee all thy desire whatsoever.  But once give leave unto thy finger to
be rounded by that golden ring the which he holdeth out to thee, and
where be all his promises?  Marry, thou mayest whistle for them,--ay,
and weep."

Rachel surely had no intention of bringing her lecture to a close so
early; but at this point it was unfortunately--or, as Blanche thought,
fortunately--interrupted.  A girl of nineteen came noiselessly into the
room, carrying a small basket of early cherries.  She made no attempt to
announce herself; she was too much at home at Enville Court to stand on
ceremony.  Coming up to Rachel, she stooped down and kissed her, setting
the basket on a small table by her side.

"Ah, Lysken Barnevelt!  Thou art welcome.  What hast brought yonder,
child?"

"Only cherries, Mistress Rachel:--our early white-hearts, which my Lady
loveth, and Aunt Thekla sent me hither with the first ripe."

"Wherefore many thanks and hearty, to her and thee.  Sit thee down,
Lysken: thou art in good time for four-hours.  Hast brought thy work?"

Lysken pulled out of her pocket a little roll of brown holland, which,
when unrolled, proved to be a child's pinafore, destined for the help of
some poverty-stricken mother; and in another minute she was seated at
work like the rest.  And while Lysken works, let us look at her.

A calm, still-faced girl is this, with smooth brown hair, dark eyes, a
complexion nearly colourless, a voice low, clear, but seldom heard, and
small delicate hands, at once quick and quiet.  A girl that has nothing
to say for herself,--is the verdict of most surface observers who see
her: a girl who has nothing in her,--say a few who consider themselves
penetrating judges of character.  Nearly all think that the Reverend
Robert Tremayne's partiality has outrun his judgment, for he says that
his adopted daughter thinks more than is physically good for her.  A
girl who can never forget the siege of Leyden: never forget the dead
mother, whose latest act was to push the last fragment of malt-cake
towards her starving child; never forget the martyr-father burnt at
Ghent by the Regent Alva, who boasted to his master, Philip of Spain,
that during his short regency he had executed eighteen thousand
persons,--of course, heretics.  Quiet, thoughtful, silent,--how could
Lysken Barnevelt be anything else?

A rap came at the door.

"Mistress Rachel, here's old Lot's wife.  You'll happen come and see
her?" inquired Jennet, putting only her head in at the door.

"I will come to the hall, Jennet."

Jennet's head nodded and retreated.  Rachel followed her.

"How doth Aunt Rachel snub us maids!" said Blanche lazily, clasping her
hands behind her head.  "She never had no man to make suit unto her, so
she accounteth we may pass us [do without] belike."

"Who told thee so much?" asked Margaret bluntly.

"I lacked no telling," rejoined Blanche.  "But I say, maids!--whom were
ye all fainest to wed?--What manner of man, I mean."

"I am bounden already," said Margaret calmly.  "An' mine husband leave
me but plenty of work to do, he may order him otherwise according to his
liking."

"Work! thou art alway for work!" remonstrated ease-loving Blanche.

"For sure.  What were men and women made for, if not work?"

"Nay, that Aunt Rachel asked of me, and I have not yet solute [solved]
the same.--Clare, what for thee?"

"I have no thought thereanent, Blanche.  God will dispose of me."

"Why, so might a nun say.--Lysken, and thou?"

Lysken showed rather surprised eyes when she lifted her head.  "What
questions dost thou ask, Blanche!  How wit I if I shall ever marry?  I
rather account nay."

"Ye be a pair of nuns, both of you!" said Blanche, laughing, yet in a
slightly annoyed tone.  "Now, Lucrece, thou art of the world, I am well
assured.  Answer me roundly,--not after the manner of these holy
sisters,--whom wert thou fainest to wed?"

"A gentleman of high degree," returned Lucrece, readily.

"Say a king, while thou goest about it," suggested her eldest sister.

"Well, so much the better," was Lucrece's cool admission.

"So much the worse, to my thinking," said Margaret.  "Would I by my
good-will be a queen, and sit all day with my hands in my lap, a-toying
with the virginals, and fluttering of my fan,--and my heaviest
concernment whether I will wear on the morrow my white velvet gown
guarded with sables, or my black satin furred with minever?  By my
troth, nay!"

"Is that thy fantasy of a queen, Meg?" asked Clare, laughing.  "Truly, I
had thought the poor lady should have heavier concernments than so."

"Well!" said Blanche, in a confidential whisper, "I am never like to be
a queen; but I will show you one thing,--I would right dearly love to be
presented in the Queen's Majesty's Court."

"Dear heart!--Presented, quotha!" exclaimed Margaret.  "Prithee, take
not me withal."

"Nay, I will take these holy sisters," said Blanche, merrily.  "What say
ye, Clare and Lysken?"

"I have no care to be in the Court, I thank thee," quietly replied
Clare.

"I shall be, some day," observed Lysken, calmly, without lifting her
head.

"Thou!--presented in the Court!" cried Blanche.

For of all the five, girls, Lysken was much the most unlikely ever to
attain that eminence.

"Even so," she said, unmoved.

"Hast thou had promise thereof?"

"I have had promise thereof," repeated Lysken, in a tone which was lost
upon Blanche, but Clare thought she began to understand her.

"Who hath promised thee?" asked Blanche, intensely interested.

"The King!" replied Lysken, with deep feeling.  "And I shall be the
King's daughter!"

"Lysken Barnevelt!" cried Blanche, dropping many of her flowers in her
excitement, "art thou gone clean wood [mad], or what meanest thou?"

Lysken looked up with a smile full of meaning.

"`Now unto Him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you
faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy,--to the
only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty.'--Do but think,--
faultless! and, before His glory!"

Lysken's eyes were alight in a manner very rare with her.  She was less
shy with her friends at Enville Court than with most people.

"So that is what thou wert thinking on!" said Blanche, in a most
deprecatory manner.

Lysken did not reply; but Clare whispered to her, "I would we might all
be presented there, Lysken."

While the young ladies were thus engaged in debate, and Rachel was
listening to the complaints of old Lot's wife from the village, and
gravely considering whether the said Lot's rheumatism would be the
better for a basin of viper broth,--Sir Thomas Enville, who was
strolling in the garden, perceived two riders coming up to the house.
They were evidently a gentleman and his attendant serving-man, and as
soon as they approached near enough for recognition, Sir Thomas hurried
quickly to meet them.  The Lord Strange, heir of Lathom and Knowsley,
must not be kept waiting.

Only about thirty years had passed over the head of Ferdinand Stanley,
Lord Strange, yet his handsome features wore an expression of the
deepest melancholy.  People who were given to signs and auguries said
that it presaged an early and violent death.  And when, eight years
later, after only one year's tenancy of the earldom of Derby, he died of
a rapid, terrible, and mysterious disease, strange to all the physicians
who saw him, the augurs, though a little disappointed that he was not
beheaded, found their consolation in the conviction that he had been
undoubtedly bewitched.  His father, Earl Henry, seems to have been a
cool, crafty time-server, who had helped to do the Duke of Somerset to
death, more than thirty years before, and one of whose few good actions
was his intercession with Bishop Bonner in favour of his kinsman, the
martyr Roger Holland.  His mother was the great heiress Margaret
Clifford, who had inherited, before she was fifteen years of age,
one-third of the estates of Duke Charles of Suffolk, the wealthiest man
in England.

"'Save you, my good Lord!" was Sir Thomas's greeting.  "You be right
heartily welcome unto my poor house."

"I have seen poorer," replied Lord Strange with a smile.

"Pray your Lordship, go within."

After a few more amenities, in the rather ponderous style of the
sixteenth century, Sir Thomas ceremoniously conducted his guest to Lady
Enville's boudoir.  She sat, resplendent in blue satin slashed with
yellow, turning over some ribbons which Barbara Polwhele was displaying
for her inspection.  The ribbons were at once dismissed when the noble
visitor appeared, and Barbara was desired to "do the thing she wot of in
the little chamber."

The little chamber was a large, light closet, opening out of the
boudoir, with a window looking on the garden; and the doorway between
the rooms was filled by a green curtain.  Barbara's work was to make up
into shoulder-knots certain lengths of ribbon already put aside for that
purpose.  While the speakers, therefore, were to her invisible, their
conversation was as audible as if she had been in the boudoir.

"And what news abroad, my good Lord?" asked Sir Thomas, when the usual
formal civilities were over.

"Very ill news," said Lord Strange, sadly.

"Pray your Lordship, what so?  We hear none here, lying so far from the
Queen's highway."

"What heard you the last?"

"Well, methinks it were some strange matter touching the Scottish Queen,
as though she should be set to trial on charge of some matter of
knowledge of Babington's treason."

Sir Thomas's latest news, therefore, was about seven months old.  There
were no daily papers and Reuter's telegrams in his day.

"Good Sir Thomas, you have much to hear," replied his guest.  "For the
Scottish Queen, she is dead and buried,--beheaden at Fotheringay Castle,
in Yorkshire, these three months gone."

"Gramercy!"

"'Tis very true, I do ensure you.  And would God that were the worst
news I could tell you!"

"Pray your Lordship, speak quickly."

"There be afloat strange things of private import:--to wit, of my
kinsman the Earl of Arundel, who, as 'tis rumoured, shall this next
month be tried by the Star Chamber, and, as is thought, if he 'scape
with life, shall be heavily charged in goods [Note 1]: or the Black
Assize at Exeter this last year, whereby, through certain Portugals that
were prisoners on trial, the ill smells did so infect the Court, [Note
2] that many died thereof--of the common people very many, and divers
men of worship,--among other Sir John Chichester of Raleigh, that you
and I were wont to know, and Sir Arthur Basset of Umberleigh--"

Barbara Polwhele heard no more for a while.  The name that had been last
mentioned meant, to Lord Strange and Sir Thomas, the head of a county
family of Devonshire, a gentleman of first-class blood.  But to her it
meant not only the great-grandson of Edward the Fourth, and the heir of
the ruined House of Lisle,--but the bright-faced boy who, twenty-seven
years before, used to flash in and out of John Avery's house in the
Minories,--bringing "Aunt Philippa's loving commendations," or news that
"Aunt Bridget looketh this next week to be in the town, and will be rare
fain to see Mistress Avery:"--the boy who had first seen the light at
Calais, on the very threshold of the family woe--and who, to the Averys,
and to Barbara, as their retainer, was the breathing representative of
all the dead Plantagenets.  As to the Tudors,--the Queen's Grace, of
course, was all that was right and proper, a brave lady and true
Protestant; and long might God send her to rule over England!--but the
Tudors, apart from Elizabeth personally, were--Hush! in 1587 it was
perilous to say all one thought.  So for some minutes Lord Strange's
further news was unheard in the little chamber.  A pathetic vision
filled it, of a night in which there would be dole at Umberleigh, when
the coffin of Sir Arthur Basset was borne to the sepulchre of his
fathers in Atherington Church.  [Note 3.] He was not yet forty-six.
"God save and comfort Mistress Philippa!"

For, eldest-born and last-surviving of her generation, in a green old
age, Philippa Basset was living still.  Time had swept away all the
gallant brothers and fair sisters who had once been her companions at
Umberleigh: the last to die, seven years before, being the eloquent
orator, George.  Yet Philippa lived on,--an old maiden lady, with heart
as warm, and it must be confessed, with tongue as sharp, as in the days
of her girlhood.  Time had mellowed her slightly, but had changed
nothing in her but one--for many years had passed now since Philippa was
heard to sneer at Protestantism.  She never confessed to any alteration
in her views; perhaps she was hardly conscious of it, so gradually had
it grown upon her.  Only those perceived it who saw her seldom: and the
signs were very minute.  A passing admission that "may-be folk need not
all be Catholics to get safe up yonder"--meaning, of course, to Heaven;
an absence of the set lips and knitted brows which had formerly attended
the reading of the English Scriptures in church; a courteous reception
of the Protestant Rector; a capability of praying morning and evening
without crucifix or rosary; a quiet dropping of crossings and holy
water, oaths by our Lady's merits and Saint Peter's hosen: a general
calm acquiescence in the new order of things.  But how much did it mean?
Only that her eyes were becoming accustomed to the light?--or that age
had weakened her prejudices?--or that God had touched her heart?

Some such thoughts were passing through Barbara's mind, when Lord
Strange's voice reached her understanding again.

"I ensure you 'tis said in the Court that his grief for the beheading of
the Scots Queen is but a blind, [Note 4] and that these two years gone
and more hath King Philip been making ready his galleons for to invade
the Queen's Majesty's dominions.  And now they say that we may look for
his setting forth this next year.  Sir Francis Drake is gone by Her
Highness' command to the Spanish main, there to keep watch and bring
word; and he saith he will singe the Don's whiskers ere he turn again.
Yet he may come, for all belike."

The singeing of the Don's whiskers was effected soon after, by the
burning of a hundred ships of war in the harbour of Cadiz.

"Why, not a man in England but would turn out to defend the Queen and
country!" exclaimed Sir Thomas.

"Here is one that so will, Sir, by your leave," said another voice.

We may peep behind the green curtain, though Barbara did not.  That
elegant young man with such finished manners--surely he can never be our
old and irrepressible friend Jack?  Ay, Jack and no other; more courtly,
but as irrepressible as ever.

"We'll be ready for him!" said Sir Thomas grimly.

"Amen!" was Jack's contribution, precisely in the treble tones of the
parish clerk.  The imitation was so perfect that even the grave Lord
Strange could not suppress a smile.

"Shall I get thee a company, Jack Enville?"

"Pray do so, my good Lord.  I thank your Lordship heartily."

"Arthur Tremayne is set on going, if it come to hot water--as seemeth
like enough."

"Arthur Tremayne is a milksop, my Lord!  I marvel what he means to do.
His brains are but addled eggs--all stuffed with Latin and Greek."

Jack, of course, like the average country gentleman of his time, was a
profound ignoramus.  What knowledge had been drilled into him in
boyhood, he had since taken pains to forget.  He was familiar with the
punctilio of duelling, the code of regulations for fencing, the rules of
athletic sports, and the intricacies of the gaming-table; but anything
which he dubbed contemptuously "book-learning," he considered as far
beneath him as it really was above.

"He will be as good for the Spaniards to shoot at as any other,"
jocularly observed Sir Thomas.

"Then pray you, let Lysken Barnevelt go!" said Jack soberly.  "I warrant
you she'll stand fire, and never so much as ruffle her hair."

"Well, I heard say Dame Mary Cholmondeley of Vale Royal, that an' the
men beat not back the Spaniards, the women should fight them with their
bodkins; wherewith Her Highness was so well pleased that she dubbed the
dame a knight then and there.  My wife saith, an' it come to that, she
will be colonel of a company of archers of Lancashire.  We will have
Mistress Barnevelt a lieutenant in her company."

"My sister Margaret would make a good lieutenant, my Lord," suggested
Jack.  "We'll send Aunt Rachel to the front, with a major's commission,
and Clare shall be her adjutant.  As for Blanche, she may stand behind
the baggage and screech.  She is good for nought else, but she'll do
that right well."

"For shame, lad!" said Sir Thomas, laughing.

"I heard her yesterday, Sir,--the occasion, a spider but half the size
of a pin head."

"What place hast thou for me?" inquired Lady Enville, delicately
applying a scented handkerchief to her fastidious hose.

"My dear Madam!" said Jack, bowing low, "you shall be the trumpeter sent
to give challenge unto the Spanish commandant.  If he strike not his
colours in hot haste upon sight of you, then is he no gentleman."

Lady Enville sat fanning herself in smiling complacency, No flattery
could be too transparent to please her.

"I pray your Lordship, is any news come touching Sir Richard Grenville,
and the plantation which he strave to make in the Queen's Highness'
country of Virginia?" asked Sir Thomas.

Barbara listened again with interest.  Sir Richard Grenville was a
Devonshire knight, and a kinsman of Sir Arthur Basset.

"Ay,--Roanoke, he called it, after the Indian name.  Why, it did well
but for a time, and then went to wrack.  But I do hear that he purposeth
for to go forth yet again, trusting this time to speed better."

"What good in making plantations in Virginia?" demanded Jack, loftily.
"A wild waste, undwelt in save by savages, and many weeks' voyage from
this country,--what gentleman would ever go to dwell there?"

"May-be," said Lord Strange thoughtfully, "when the husbandmen that
shall go first have made it somewhat less rough, gentlemen may be found
to go and dwell there."

"Why, Jack, lad!  This country is not all the world," observed his
father.

"'Tis all of it worth anything, Sir," returned insular Jack.

"Thy broom sweepeth clean, Jack," responded Lord Strange.  "What, is
nought worth in France, nor in Holland,--let be the Emperor's dominions,
and Spain, and Italy?"

"They be all foreigners, my Lord.  And what better are foreigners than
savages?  They be all Papists, to boot."

"Not in Almayne, Jack,--nor in Holland."

"Well, they speak no English," said prejudiced Jack.

"That is a woeful lack," gravely replied Lord Strange.  "Specially when
you do consider that English was the tongue that Noah spake afore the
flood, and the confusion of tongues at Babel."

Jack knew just enough to have a dim perception that Lord Strange was
laughing at him.  He got out of the difficulty by turning the
conversation.

"Well, thus much say I: let the King of Spain come when he will, and
where, at every point of the coast there shall be an Englishman
awaiting--and we will drive him home thrice faster than he came at the
first."

------------------------------------------------------------------------

Note 1.  He was fined 10,000 pounds for contempt of court.  What his
real offences were remains doubtful, beyond the fact that he was a
Papist, and had married against the will of the Queen.

Note 2.  The state of the gaols at this time, and for long afterwards,
until John Howard effected his reformation of them, was simply horrible.
The Black Assize at Exeter was by no means the only instance of its
land.

Note 3.  I stated in _Robin Tremayne_ that I had not been able to
discover the burial-place of Honor Viscountess Lisle.  Since that time,
owing to the kindness of correspondents, personally unknown to me, I
have ascertained that she was probably buried at Atherington, with her
first husband, Sir John Basset.  In that church his brass still
remains--a knight between two ladies--the coats of arms plainly showing
that the latter are Anne Dennis of Oxleigh and Honor Granville of Stow.
But the Register contains no entry of burial previous to 1570.

Note 4.  In the custody of the (Popish) Bishop of Southwark is a quarto
volume, containing, under date of Rome, April 28, 1588,--"An admonition
to the nobility and people of England and Ireland, concerning the
present warres made _for the execution of His Holiness' sentence_, by
the highe and mightie King Catholicke of Spaine: by the Cardinal of
England."  [Cardinal Allen.]--(Third Report of Royal Commission of
Historical Manuscripts, page 233).



CHAPTER FOUR.

THE INVINCIBLE ARMADA.

"His power secured thee, when presumptuous Spain Baptised her fleet
Invincible in vain; Her gloomy monarch, doubtful and resigned To every
pang that racks an anxious mind, Asked of the waves that broke upon his
coast, `What tidings?'--and the surge replied,--`All lost!'"

_Cowper_.

King Philip of Spain was coming at last.  Every Englishman--ay, and
every woman and child in England--knew that now.

When Drake returned home from "singeing the Don's whiskers," he told his
royal mistress that he believed the Spaniards would attempt serious
invasion ere long.  But Elizabeth then laughed the idea to scorn.

"They are not so ill-advised.  But if they do come"--and Her Majesty
added her favourite oath--"I and my people will send them packing!"

The Queen took measures to prepare her subjects accordingly, whether she
thought the invasion likely or not.  All the clergy in the kingdom were
ordered to "manifest unto their congregations the furious purpose of the
Spanish King."  There was abundant tinder ready for this match: for the
commonalty were wider awake to the danger than either Queen or Council.
The danger is equal now, and more insidious--from Rome, though not from
Spain--but alas! the commonalty are sleeping.

Lord Henry Seymour was sent off to guard the seas, and to intercept
intercourse between Spain and her Flemish ports.  The Earl of Leicester
was appointed honorary commander-in-chief, with an army of 23,000 foot
and 2352 horse, for the defence of the royal person: Lord Hunsdon, with
11,000 foot more, and 15,000 horse, was sent to keep guard over the
metropolis; and Charles Lord Howard of Effingham, Lord High Admiral of
England, was appointed to conduct the naval defence.

It is the popular belief that Lord Howard was a Papist.  He certainly
was a Protestant at a later period of his life; and though it is
doubtful whether positive evidence can be found to show his religious
views at the time of the invasion, yet there is reason to believe that
the popular idea is supported only by tradition.  [See Appendix.]

Tilbury, on the Thames, was chosen as the rendezvous for the land
forces.  The Queen removed to Havering, which lay midway between her two
armies.  It was almost, if not quite, the last time that an English
sovereign ever inhabited the old Saxon palace of Havering-atte-Bower.

The ground around Tilbury was surveyed, trenches cut, Gravesend
fortified, and (taking pattern from Antwerp) a bridge of boats was laid
across the Thames, to stop the passage of the river.  Calculations were
made as to the amount requisite to meet the Armada, and five thousand
men, with fifteen ships, were demanded from the city of London.  The
Lord Mayor asked two days for consideration, and then requested that the
Queen would accept ten thousand men and thirty ships.  The Dutch came
into the Thames with sixty sail--generous friends, who forgot in
England's hour of need that she had, only sixteen years before, refused
even bread and shelter in her harbours to their "Beggars of the Sea."
Noblemen joined the army and navy as volunteers, and in the ranks there
were no pressed men.  There was one heart in all the land, from Berwick
to the Lizard.

Lastly, a prayer was issued, to be used in all churches throughout the
kingdom, every Wednesday and Friday.  But ecclesiastical dignitaries
were not called upon to write it.  The Defender of the Faith herself
drew up the form, in a plain, decided style, which shows that she could
write lucidly when she liked it.  This was Elizabeth's prayer.

"We do instantly beseech Thee of Thy gracious goodness to be merciful to
the Church militant here upon earth, and at this time compassed about
with most strong and subtle adversaries.  Oh let Thine enemies know that
Thou hast received England, which they most of all for Thy Gospel's sake
do malign, into Thine own protection.  Set a wall about it, O Lord, and
evermore mightily defend it.  Let it be a comfort to the afflicted, a
help to the oppressed, and a defence to Thy Church and people,
persecuted abroad.  And forasmuch as this cause is new in hand, direct
and go before our armies both by sea and land.  Bless them, and prosper
them, and grant unto them Thine honourable success and victory.  Thou
art our help and shield.  Oh give good and prosperous success to all
those that fight this battle against the enemies of Thy Gospel."
[Strype.]

So England was ready.

But Philip was ready too.  He also, in his fashion, had been preparing
his subjects for work.  Still maintaining an outward appearance of
friendship with Elizabeth, he quietly spread among his own people copies
of his pedigree, wherein he represented himself as the true heir to the
crown of England, by descent from his ancestresses Philippa and
Katherine of Lancaster: ignoring the facts--that, though the heir
general of Katherine, he was not so of her elder sister Philippa; and
that if he had been, the law which would have made these two sisters
heiresses presumptive had been altered while they were children.  Beyond
this piece of subtlety, Philip allied himself with the Duke of Parma in
Italy, and the Duke of Guise [Note 1] in France; the plot being that the
Duke of Medina Sidonia, Commander-in-chief of the Armada, was to sail
first for Flanders, and take his orders from Parma: Guise was to land in
the west of England: some other leader, with 12,000 men, in Yorkshire:
while Philip himself, under shelter of the Armada, was to effect his
landing in Kent or Essex.  Ireland was looked upon as certain to revolt
and assist.  Parma harangued the troops destined to join the invading
force from Flanders, informing them that the current coin in England was
gold, only the very poorest using silver; the houses were full of money,
plate, jewellery, and wealth in all shapes.

It is well to remember that England was no strange, unexplored land, at
least to the higher officers of the Armada.  Philip himself had been
King of England for four years: the courtiers in his suite had lived
there for months together.  Their exclamation on first journeying from
the coast to Winchester, twenty-three years before, had been that "the
poor of this land dwelt in hovels, and fared like princes!"  They had
not forgotten it now.

Lord Howard took up his station at Plymouth, whence he purposed to
intercept the Armada as it came; Sir Francis Drake was sent to the west
with sixty-five vessels.  But time passed on, and no Armada came.  The
English grew secure and careless.  Many ships left the fleet, some
making for the Irish coast, some harbouring in Wales.  The Queen
herself, annoyed at the needless cost, sent word to Lord Howard to
disband four of the largest vessels of the royal navy.  The Admiral
disobeyed, and paid the expenses out of his own purse.  England ought to
bless the memory of Charles Howard of Effingham.

It was almost a shock when--suddenly, at last--Philip's ultimatum came.
Spain demanded three points from England: and if her demands were not
complied with, there was no resource but war.

1.  The Queen must promise to withdraw all aid from the Protestants in
the Netherlands.

2.  She must give back the treasure seized, by Drake the year before.

3.  She must restore the Roman Catholic religion throughout England, as
it had been before the Reformation.

The first and second clauses would have been of little import in
Elizabeth's eye's, except as they implied her yielding to dictation; the
real sting lay in the last.  And the last was the one which Philip would
be most loth to yield.  With a touch of grim humour, His Catholic
Majesty sent his ultimatum in Latin verse.

The royal lioness of England rose from her throne to return her answer,
with a fiery Plantagenet flash in her eyes.  She could play at Latin
verse quite as well as Philip; rather better, indeed,--for his question
required some dozen lines, and one was sufficient for her answer.

"Ad Graecas, [Note 2] bone Rex, fient mandata kalendas!" was the prompt
reply of England's Elizabeth.

Which may be rendered--preserving the fun--

  "Great King, thy command shall be done right soon,
  On the thirty-first day of the coming June."

Some knowledge of the terrible magnitude of Philip's preparations is
necessary, in order to see what it was which England escaped in 1588.
The Armada consisted of 134 ships, and, reckoning soldiers, sailors, and
galley-slaves, carried about 32,000 men.  [The exact figures are much
disputed, hardly two accounts being alike.] The cost of sustenance per
day was thirty thousand ducats.  The cannon and field-pieces were
unnumbered: the halberts were ten thousand, the muskets seven thousand.
Bread, biscuits, and wine, were laid in for six months, with twelve
thousand pipes of fresh water.  The cargo--among many other items--
consisted of whips and knives, for the conversion of the English; and
doubtless Don Martin Alorcon, Vicar-General of the Inquisition, with one
hundred monks and Jesuits in his train may be classed under the same
head.  Heresy was to be destroyed throughout England: Sir Francis Drake
was singled out for special vengeance.  The Queen was to be taken alive,
at all costs: she was to be sent prisoner over the Alps to Rome, there
to make her humble petition to the Pope, barefoot and prostrate, that
England might be re-admitted to communion with the Holy See.  Did Philip
imagine that any amount of humiliation or coercion would have wrung such
words as these from the lips of Elizabeth Tudor?

On the 19th of May, the Invincible Armada, as the Spaniards proudly
termed it, sailed from Lisbon for Corufia.

The English Fleet lay in the harbour at Plymouth.  The Admiral's ship
was the "Ark Royal;" Drake commanded the "Revenge:" the other principal
vessels were named the "Lion," the "Bear," the "Elizabeth Jonas," the
"Galleon Leicester," and the "Victory."  They lay still in port waiting
for the first north wind, which did not come until the eighth of July.
Then Lord Howard set sail and went southwards for some distance; but the
wind changed to the south, the fleet was composed entirely of sailing
vessels, and the Admiral was afraid to go too far, lest the Armada
should slip past him in the night, between England and her wooden walls.
So he put back to Plymouth.

If he had only known the state of affairs, he would not have done so.
He had been almost within sight of the Armada, which was at that moment
broken and scattered, having met with a terrific storm in the Bay of
Biscay.  Eight ships were driven to a distance, three galleys cast away
on the French coast; where the galley-slaves rebelled, headed by a Welsh
prisoner named David Gwyn.  Medina regained Coruna with some difficulty,
gathered his shattered vessels, repaired damages, and put to sea again
on the eleventh of July.  They made haste this time.  Eight days' hard
rowing brought them within sight of England.

A blazing sun, and a strong south-west gale, inaugurated the morning of
the nineteenth of July.  The fleet lay peacefully moored in Plymouth
Sound, all unconscious and unprophetic of what the day was to bring
forth: some of the officers engaged in calculating chances of future
battle, some eagerly debating home politics, some idly playing cards or
backgammon.  These last averred that they had nothing to do.  They were
not destined to make that complaint much longer.

At one end of the quarter-deck of Drake's ship, the "Revenge," was a
group of three young officers, of whom two at least were not much more
profitably employed than those who were playing cards in the "Ark
Royal."  They were all volunteers, and the eldest of the three was but
two-and-twenty.  One was seated on the deck, leaning back and apparently
dozing; the second stood, less sleepily, but quite as idly, beside him:
the last, with folded arms, was gazing out to sea, yet discerning
nothing, for his thoughts were evidently elsewhere.  The second of the
trio appeared to be in a musical humour, for snatches of different songs
kept coming from his lips.

  "`We be three poor mariners,
  Newly come fro' th' seas:
  We spend our lives in jeopardy,
  Whilst others live at ease.'"

"Be we?" laughed the youth who was seated on the deck, half-opening his
eyes.  "How much of thy life hast spent in jeopardy, Jack Enville?"

"How much?  Did not I once fall into the sea from a rock?--and was
well-nigh drowned ere I could be fished out.  More of my life than
thine, Master Robert Basset."

In something like the sense of Thekla Tremayne's "Poor Jack!"  I pause
to say, Poor Robert Basset!  He was the eldest son of the deceased Sir
Arthur.  He had inherited the impulsive, generous heart, and the
sensitive, nervous temperament, of his ancestor Lord Lisle, unchecked by
the accompanying good sense and sober judgment which had balanced those
qualities in the latter.  Hot-headed, warm-hearted, liberal to
extravagance, fervent to fanaticism, unable to say No to any whom he
loved, loving and detesting with passionate intensity, constantly
betrayed into rash acts which he regretted bitterly the next hour,
possibly the next minute--this was Robert Basset.  Not the same
character as Jack Enville, but one just as likely to go to wreck
early,--to dash itself wildly on the breakers, and be broken.

"Thou art alive enough now," said Basset.  "But how knowest that I never
fell from a rock into the sea?"

Jack answered by a graceful flourish of his hands, and a stave of
another song.

  "`There's never a maid in all this town
  But she knows that malt's come down, -
  Malt's come down,--malt's come down,
  From an old angel to a French crown.'"

"I would it were," said Basset, folding his arms beneath his head.  "I
am as dry as a hornblower."

"That is with blowing of thine own trumpet," responded Jack.  "I say,
Tremayne!  Give us thy thoughts for a silver penny."

"Give me the penny first," answered the meditative officer.

"Haven't an obolus," [halfpenny] confessed Jack.

  "`The cramp is in my purse full sore,
  No money will bide therein--'"

"Another time," observed Arthur Tremayne, "chaffer [deal in trade] not
till thou hast wherewith to pay for the goods."

"I am a gentleman, not a chapman," [a retail tradesman] said Jack,
superciliously.

"Could a man not be both?"

"'Tis not possible," returned Jack, with an astonished look.  "How
should a chapman bear coat armour?"

"I reckon, though, he had fathers afore him," said Basset, with his eyes
shut.

"Nought but common men," said Jack, with sovereign contempt.

"And ours were uncommon men--there is all the difference," retorted
Basset.

"Yours were, in very deed," said Jack obsequiously.

This was, in truth, the entire cause of Jack's desire for Basset's
friendship.  The latter, poor fellow! imagined that he was influenced by
personal regard.

"Didst think I had forgot it?" replied Basset, smiling.

"Ah! if I had but thy lineage!" answered Jack.

"Thine own is good enough, I cast no doubt.  And I dare say Tremayne's
is worth something, if we could but win him to open his mouth thereon."

Jack's look was one of complete incredulity.

Arthur neither moved nor spoke.

"Hold thou thy peace, Jack Enville," said Basset, answering the look,
for Jack had not uttered a word.  "What should a Lancashire lad know of
the Tremaynes of Tremayne?  I know somewhat thereanent.--Are you not of
that line?" he asked, turning his head towards Arthur.

"Ay, the last of the line," said the latter quietly.

"I thought so much.  Then you must be somewhat akin unto Sir Richard
Grenville of Stow?"

"Somewhat--not over near," answered Arthur, modestly.

"Forty-seventh cousin," suggested Jack, not over civilly.

"And to Courtenay of Powderham,--what?"

"Courtenay!" broke in Jack.  "What! he that, but for the attainder,
should be Earl of Devon?"

"He," responded Basset, a little mischievously, "that cometh in a right
line from the Kings of France, and (through women) from the Emperors of
Constantinople."

"What kin art thou to him?" demanded Jack, surveying his old playmate
from head to foot, with a sensation of respect which he had never felt
for him before.

"My father's mother and his mother were sisters, I take it," said
Arthur.

"Arthur Tremayne, how cometh it I never heard this afore?"

"I cannot tell, Jack: thou didst never set me on recounting of my
pedigree, as I remember."

"But wherefore not tell the same?"

"What matter?" quietly responded Arthur.

"`What matter'--whether I looked on thee as a mere parson's son, with
nought in thine head better than Greek and Latin, or as near kinsman of
one with very purple blood in him,--one that should be well-nigh Premier
Earl of England, but for an attainder?"

Arthur passed by the slight offered alike to his father's profession and
to the classics, merely replying with a smile,--"I am glad if it give
thee pleasure to know it."

"But tell me, prithee, with such alliance, what on earth caused Master
Tremayne to take to parsonry?"

The contempt in which the clergy were held, for more than a hundred
years after this date, was due in all probability to two causes.  The
first was the natural reaction from the overweening reverence anciently
felt for the sacerdotal order: when the _sacerdos_ was found to be but a
presbyter, his charm was gone.  But the second was the disgrace which
had been brought upon their profession at large, by the evil lives of
the old priests.

"I believe," said Arthur, gravely, "it was because he accounted the
household service of God higher preferment than the nobility of men."

"Yet surely he knew how men would account of him?"

"I misdoubt if he cared for that, any more than I do, Jack Enville."

"Nor is thy mother any more than a parson's daughter."

"My father, and my mother's father," said Arthur, his eyes flashing,
"were all but martyrs; for it was only the death of Queen Mary that
saved either from the martyr's stake.  That is my lineage, Jack
Enville,--higher than Courtenay of Powderham."

"Thou must be clean wood, Arthur!" said Jack, laughing.  "Why, there
were poor chapmen and sely [simple] serving-maids among them that were
burnt in Queen Mary's days; weavers, bricklayers, and all manner of
common folk.  There were rare few of any sort."  [Of any consequence.]

"They be kings now, whatso they were," answered Arthur.

"There was a bishop or twain, Jack, if I mistake not," put in Basset,
yawning; "and a Primate of all England, without I dreamed it."

"Go to, Jack!" pursued Arthur.  "I can tell thee of divers craftsmen
that were very common folk--one Peter, a fisherman, and one Paul, a
tent-maker, and an handful belike--whose names shall ring down all the
ages, long after men have forgotten that there ever were Courtenays or
Envilles.  I set the matter on thine own ground to say this."

"Stand and deliver, Jack Enville!  That last word hath worsted thee,"
said Basset.

"I am not an orator," returned Jack, loftily.  "I am a gentleman."

"Well, so am I, as I suppose, but I make not such ado thereof as thou,"
answered Basset.

The last word had only just escaped his lips, when Arthur Tremayne
stepped suddenly to the side of the vessel.

"The Don ahead?" inquired Basset, with sleepy sarcasm.

"I cannot tell what is ahead yet," said Arthur, concentrating his gaze
in an easterly direction.  "But there is somewhat approaching us."

"A sea-gull," was the suggestion of Basset, with shut eyes.

"Scantly," said Arthur good-humouredly.

Half idly, half curiously, jack brought his powers to bear on the
approaching object.  Basset was not sufficiently interested to move.

The object ere long revealed itself as a small vessel, rowing in all
haste, and evidently anxious to reach the fleet without losing an hour.
The "Revenge" stood out furthest of all the ships to eastward, and was
therefore likely to receive the little vessel's news before any other.
Almost before she came within speaking distance, at Arthur's request,
Jack hailed her--that young gentleman being in possession of more
stentorian lungs than his friend.

The captain, who replied, was gifted with vocal powers of an equally
amazing order.  He announced his vessel as the "Falcon," [Note 3]
himself as Thomas Fleming; and his news--enough to make every ear in the
fleet tingle--that "the Spaniard" had been sighted that morning off the
Lizard.  Arthur darted away that instant in search of Drake: Jack and
Basset (both wide awake now) stayed to hear the details,--the latter
excited, the former sceptical.

"'Tis all but deceiving!" sneered the incredulous Jack.  "Thomas
Fleming! why, who wist not that Thomas Fleming is more pirate than
sea-captain, and that the `Falcon' is well enough known for no honest
craft?"

"`Fair and soft go far in a day,'" returned Basset.  "What if he be a
pirate?  He is an Englishman.  Even a known liar may speak truth."

"As if the like of him should sight the Spaniard!" retorted Jack
magnificently, "when the whole fleet have scoured the seas in vain!"

"The whole fleet were not scouring the seas at three of the clock this
morrow!" cried Basset, impatiently.  "Hold thine idle tongue, and leave
us hear the news."  And he shouted with all the power of his
lungs,--"What strength is he of?"

"The strength of the very devil!"  Fleming roared back.  "Great wooden
castles, the Lord wot how many, and coming as fast as a bird flieth."

"Pish!" said Jack.

Basset was on the point of shouting another question, when Sir Francis
Drake's voice came, clear and sonorous, from no great distance.

"What time shall the Don be hither?"

"By to-morrow breaketh, as like as not," was Fleming's answer.

"Now, my lads, we have work afore us," said Sir Francis, addressing his
young friends.  "Lieutenant Enville, see that all hands know at once,--
every man to his post!  Tremayne, you shall have the honour to bear the
news to the Lord Admiral: and Basset, you shall fight by my side.  I
would fain promote you all, an' I have the chance; allgates, I give you
the means to win honour, an' you wot how to use them."

All the young men expressed their acknowledgment--Jack rather fulsomely,
Basset and Tremayne in a few quiet words.  It was a decided advantage to
Jack and Arthur to have the chance of distinguishing themselves by "a
fair field and no favour."  But was it any special preferment for the
great-grandson of Edward the Fourth?  What glory would be added to his
name by "honourable mention" in Lord Howard's despatches, or maybe an
additional grade in naval rank?

Did Robert Basset fail to see that?

By no means.  But he was biding his time.  The chivalrous generosity,
which was one of the legacies of his Plantagenet forefathers, imposed
silence on him for a season.

Elizabeth Tudor had shown much kindness to her kinsman, Sir Arthur
Basset, and while Elizabeth lived, no Basset of Umberleigh would lift a
hand against her.  But no such halo surrounded her successor--whoever
that yet doubtful individual might prove to be.  So Robert Basset
waited, and bore his humiliation calmly--all the more calmly for the
very pride of blood that was in him: for no slight, no oppression, no
lack of recognition, could make him other than the heir of the
Plantagenets.  He would be ready when the hour struck.  But meanwhile he
was waiting.

Fleming's news had taken everybody by surprise except one person.  But
that one was the Lord High Admiral.

Lord Howard quickly gathered his fleet together, and inquired into its
condition.  Many of the ships were poorly victualled; munition ran very
short; not a vessel was to be compared for size with the "great wooden
castles" which Fleming had described.  The wind was south-west, and
blowing hard; the very wind most favourable to the invaders.

Sir Edward Hoby, brother-in-law of the Admiral, was sent off to the
Queen with urgent letters, begging that she would send more aid to the
fleet, and put her land forces in immediate readiness, for "the
Spaniard" was coming at last, and as fast as the wind could bring him.

Sir Edward reached Tilbury on the very day chosen by Elizabeth to review
her land forces.  He left the fleet making signals of distress; he found
the army in triumphant excitement.

The Queen rode in from Havering on a stately charger--tradition says a
white one--bearing a marshal's staff in her hand, and attired in a
costume which was a singular mixture of warrior and woman,--a corslet of
polished steel over an enormous farthingale.  As she came near the
outskirts of her army, she commanded all her retinue to fall back, only
excepting Lord Ormonde, who bore the sword of state before her, and the
solitary page who carried her white-plumed helmet.  Coming forward to
the front of Leicester's tent--the Earl himself leading her horse,
bare-headed--the Queen took up her position, and, with a wave of her
white-gloved hand for silence, she harangued her army.

"My loving people,"--thus spoke England's Elizabeth,--"we have been
persuaded, by some that are careful of our safety, to take heed how we
commit ourself to armed multitudes, for fear of treachery.  But I do
assure you, I do not desire to live to distrust my faithful and loving
people.  Let tyrants fear.  I have alway so behaved myself, that under
God I have placed my chiefest strength and safeguard in the loyal hearts
and good-will of my subjects: and therefore I am come amongst you, as
you see, at this time, not for my recreation and disport, but being
resolved in the midst and heat of the battle to live or die amongst you
all,--to lay down, for my God, and for my kingdoms, and for my people,
mine honour and my blood even in the dust.  I know I have the body of a
weak, feeble woman; but I have the heart and stomach of a king, and of a
King of England too; and think foul scorn that Parma, or Spain, or any
prince of Europe, should dare to invade the borders of my realm: to
which, rather than any dishonour should grow by me, I myself will take
up arms,--I myself will be your general, judge, and rewarder of every
one of your virtues in the field.  I know already for your forwardness
ye have deserved rewards and crowns: and we do assure you, on the word
of a prince, they shall, be duly paid you.  For the meantime, my
Lieutenant General [Leicester] shall be in my stead, than whom never
prince commanded a more noble nor worthy subject.  Not doubting but, by
your obedience to my General, by your concord in the camp, and your
valour in the field, we shall shortly have a famous victory over these
enemies of my God, and of my kingdoms, and of my people."

We are told that the soldiers responded unanimously--

"Is it possible that any Englishman can abandon such a glorious cause,
or refuse to lay down his life in defence of this heroic Princess?"

The sentiment may be authentic, but the expression of it is modern.

The speech over, Leicester reverently held the gilt stirrup, and
Elizabeth alighted from her white charger, and went into his pavilion to
dinner.

Before the repast was over, Sir Edward Hoby arrived from Lord Howard.
He was taken at once to the tent, that the first freshness of his news
might be for the Queen's own ears.  It had taken him three weeks to
reach Tilbury from Plymouth.  Kneeling before the Queen, he reported
that he had been sent in all haste to entreat for "more aid sent to the
sea," for Medina was known to be coming, and that quickly.

"Let him come!" was the general cry of the troops outside.

"_Buenas horas, Senor_!" said the royal lady within, wishing good speed
to her adversary in his own tongue.

And both meant the same thing,--"We are ready."

It was England against the world.  She had no ally, except the sixty
Dutch ships.  And except, too, One who was invisible, but whom the winds
and the sea obeyed.

The aid required by Lord Howard came: not from Elizabeth, but from
England.  Volunteers poured in from every shire,--men in velvet gowns
and gold chains, men in frieze jackets and leather jerkins.  The
"delicate-handed, dilettante" Earl of Oxford; the "Wizard" Earl of
Northumberland, just come to his title; the eccentric Earl George of
Cumberland; Sir Thomas Cecil, elder son of the Lord High Treasurer
Burleigh,--weak-headed, but true-hearted; Sir Robert Cecil, his younger
brother,--strong-headed and false-hearted; and lastly, a host in
himself, Sir Walter Raleigh, whose fine head and, great heart few of his
contemporaries appreciated at their true value,--and perhaps least of
all the royal lady whom he served.  These men came in one by one.

But the leather jerkins flocked in by hundreds; the men who were of no
account, whose names nobody cared to preserve, whose deeds nobody
thought of recording; yet who, after all, were England, and without whom
their betters would have made very poor head against the Armada.  They
came, leaving their farms untilled, their forges cold, their axes and
hammers still.  All that could wait till afterwards.  Just now, England
must be saved.

From all the coast around, provisions were sent in, both of food and
munition: here a stand of arms from the squire's armoury, there a batch
of new bread from the yeoman's farm: those who could send but a chicken
or a cabbage did not hold them back; there were some who had nothing to
give but themselves--and that they gave.  Every atom was accepted: they
all counted for something in the little isle's struggle to keep free.

It is the little things, after all, of which great things are made.  Not
only the men who lined the decks of the "Ark Royal," but the women
ashore who baked their bread, and the children who gathered wood in the
forest for the ovens, were helping to save England.

Even some Recusants--which meant Romanists--came in with offerings of
food, arms, and service: men who, in being Romanists, had not forgotten
that they were Englishmen.

About noon on the twentieth of July, the Armada was first sighted from
Plymouth.  She was supposed at first to be making direct, for that town.
But she passed it, and bore on eastward.  It was evident now that she
meant to make for the Channel,--probably meant to use as a basis of
operations, Calais--England's own Calais, for the loss of which her
heart was sore yet.

Lord Howard followed as closely as was consistent with policy.  And now
appeared the disadvantage of the immense vessels which formed the bulk
of the Armada.  The English ships, being smaller, were quicker; they
could glide in and out with ease, where the "great wooden castles" found
bare standing-room.  Before the Armada could reach Calais Roads, early
on the 21st of July, Lord Howard was upon her.

When she saw her pursuers, she spread forth in a crescent form, in which
she was seven miles in length.  Trumpets were sounded, drums beaten--
everything was done to strike terror into the little English fleet.

"_Santiago de Compostella_!" was the cry from the Armada.

"God and Saint George for merry England!" came back from the "Ark
Royal."

Both navies struggled hard to get to windward.  But the Spanish ships
were too slow and heavy.  The English won the coveted position.  The
"Revenge" was posted as light-bearer, for night was coming on, and the
"Ark Royal," followed by the rest of the fleet, dashed into the midst of
the Armada.

Sir Francis Drake made a terrible blunder.  Instead of keeping to the
simple duty allotted to him, he went off after five large vessels, which
he saw standing apart, and gave them chase for some distance.  Finding
them innocent Easterlings, or merchantmen of the Hanse Towns, he ran
hastily back, to discover that in his absence Lord Howard had most
narrowly escaped capture, having mistaken the Spanish light for the
English.

"'Tis beyond any living patience!" cried Robert Basset fierily to Arthur
Tremayne.  "Here all we might have hit some good hard blows at the
Spaniard, and to be set to chase a covey of miserable Easterlings!"

"'Twas a misfortunate blunder," responded Arthur more quietly.

After two hours' hard fighting, the Admiral, finding his vessels too
much scattered, called them together, tacked, and lay at anchor until
morning.  It certainly was enough to disappoint men who were longing for
"good hard blows," when the "Revenge" rejoined the fleet only just in
time to hear the order for retreat.  Fresh reinforcements came in during
the night.  When day broke on the 22nd, Lord Howard divided his fleet
into four squadrons.  He himself commanded the first, Drake the second,
Hawkins the third, and Frobisher the fourth.  The wind was now north.

The Armada went slowly forward; and except for the capture of one large
Venetian ship, nothing was done until the 25th.  Then came a calm,
favourable to the Spaniards, who were rowing, while the English trusted
to their sails.  When the Armada came opposite the Isle of Wight, Lord
Howard again gave battle.

This time the "Revenge" was engaged, and in the van.  While the battle
went on, none knew who might be falling: but when the fleet was at last
called to anchor--after a terrible encounter--Basset and Tremayne met
and clasped hands in congratulation.

"Where is Enville?" asked the former.

Arthur had seen nothing of him.  Had he fallen?

The day passed on--account was taken of the officers and crew--but
nothing was to be heard of Jack Enville.

About half an hour later, Arthur, who had considerably distinguished
himself in the engagement, was resting on deck, looking rather sadly out
to sea, and thinking of Jack, when Basset came up to him, evidently
struggling to suppress laughter.

"Prithee, Tremayne, come below with me one minute."

Arthur complied, and Basset led him to the little cabin which the three
young officers occupied together.

"Behold!" said Basset grandiloquently, with a flourish of his hand
towards the berths.  "Behold, I beseech you, him that hath alone routed
the Spaniard, swept the seas, saved England, and covered him with glory!
He it is whose name shall live in the chronicles of the time!  He shall
have a statue--of gingerbread--in the court of Her Majesty's Palace of
Westminster, and his name shall be set up--wrought in white goose
feathers--on the forefront of Paul's!  Hail to the valiant and
unconquerable Jack Enville, the deliverer of England from Pope and
Spaniard!"

To the great astonishment of Arthur, there lay the valiant Jack, rolled
in a blanket, apparently very much at his ease: but when Basset's
peroration was drawing to a close, he unrolled himself, looking rather
red in the face, and returned to ordinary life by standing on the floor
in full uniform.

"Hold thy blatant tongue for an ass as thou art!" was his civil reply to
Basset's lyric on his valour.  "If I did meet a wound in the first flush
of the fray, and came down hither to tend the same, what blame lieth
therein?"

"Wert thou wounded, Jack?" asked Arthur.

"Too modest belike to show it," observed Basset.  "Where is it, trow?
Is thy boot-toe abrased, or hast had five hairs o' thine head carried
away?"

"'Tis in my left wrist," said Jack, replying to Arthur, not Basset.

"Prithee, allow us to feast our eyes on so glorious a sign of thy
valiantness!" said Basset.

Jack was extremely reluctant to show his boasted wound; but being
pressed to do so by both his friends (from different motives) he
exhibited something which looked like a severe scratch from a cat.

"Why, 'tis not much!" said Arthur, who could have shown several worse
indications of battle on himself, which he had not thought worth notice.

"Oh, is it not?" muttered Jack morosely.  "I can tell thee, 'tis as
sore--"

"Nay, now, wound not yet again the great soul of the hero!" put in
Basset with grim irony.  "If he lie abed i' th' day for a wound to his
wrist, what shall he do for a stab to his feelings?  You shall drive him
to drown him in salt water; and that were cruelty unheard-of, for it
should make his eyes smart.  I tell thee what, Jack Enville--there is
_one_ ass aboard the fleet, and his name is neither Arthur Tremayne
nor--saving your presence--Robin Basset.  Farewell!  I go to win a
laurel crown from Sir Francis by bearing news unto him of thy heroical
deeds."

And away marched Basset, much to the relief of Jack.

The encounter of that day had been fearful.  But when Lord Howard drew
off to recruit himself, the Armada gathered her forces together, went
forward, and cast anchor on the 27th in Calais Roads.

Here fresh orders reached her from Parma.  Instead of skirmishing in the
Channel, she was to assume the offensive at once.  Within three days
Medina must land in England.  King Philip appears to have resigned his
original intention of making the attack in person.

The Armada prepared for the final struggle.  The young gentlemen on
board meantime amused themselves by shouting sundry derisive songs, one
of which was specially chosen when the "Revenge" was sufficiently near
to be aggrieved by it: and Arthur, who had learned enough Spanish from
his mother to act as translator, rendered the ditty into plain English
prose for the benefit of Jack and Basset.  The former received it with
lofty scorn,--the latter with fiery vaticinations concerning his
intentions when the ships should meet: and looking at the figure-head of
the nearest vessel whence the song was shouted, he singled out "La
Dolorida" for his special vengeance.  A translation of the lyric in
question is appended.  [Note 4.] The speaker, it will be seen, is
supposed to be a young Spanish lady.

  "My brother Don John
  To England is gone,
  To kill the Drake,
  And the Queen to take,
  And the heretics all to destroy;
  And he has promised
  To bring to me
  A Lutheran boy
  With a chain round his neck:
  And Grandmamma
  From his share shall have
  A Lutheran maid
  To be her slave."

The prospect was agreeable.  One thing was plain--that "the Don" had
acquired a wholesome fear of "the Drake."

Sunday was the 28th: and on that morning it became evident that Medina
meant mischief.  The seven-mile crescent was slowly, but surely, closing
in round Dover.  The Spaniard was about to land.  Lord Howard called a
council of war: and a hasty resolution was taken.  Eight gunboats were
cleared out; their holds filled with combustible matter; they were set
on fire, and sent into the advancing Armada.  The terror of the
Spaniards was immense.  They fancied it Greek fire, such as had wrought
fearful havoc among them at the siege of Antwerp.  With shrieks of "The
fire of Antwerp!--The fire of Antwerp!"--the Armada fell into disorder,
and the vessels dispersed on all sides in the wildest confusion.  Lord
Howard followed in chase of Medina.

Even yet the Armada might have rallied and renewed the attack.  But now
the wind began to blow violently from the south.  The galleys could make
no head against it.  Row as they would, they were hurried northward, the
English giving chase hotly.  The Spanish ships were driven hither and
thither, pursued alike by the winds and the foe.  One of the largest
galleons ran ashore at Calais--from which the spoil taken was fifty
thousand ducats--one at Ostend, several in different parts of Holland.
Don Antonio de Matigues escaped from the one which ran aground at
Calais, and carried back to Philip, like the messengers of Job, the news
that he only had escaped to tell the total loss of the Invincible
Armada.  But the loss was not quite so complete.  Medina was still
driving northward before the gale, with many of his vessels, chased by
the "Ark Royal" and her subordinates.  He tried hard to cast anchor at
Gravelines; but Lord Howard forced him away.  Past Dunquerque ran the
shattered Armada, with her foe in hot pursuit.  There was one danger
left, and until that peril was past, Lord Howard would not turn back.
If Medina had succeeded in landing in Scotland,--which the Admiral fully
expected him to attempt--the numerous Romanists left in that country,
and the "Queensmen," the partisans of the beheaded Queen, would have
received him with open arms.  This would have rendered the young King's
[James the Sixth, of Scotland] tenure of power very uncertain, and might
not improbably have ended in an invasion of the border by a
Scoto-Spanish army.  But Lord Howard did not know that no thought of
victory now animated Medina.  The one faint hope within him was to reach
home.

Internal dissensions were now added to the outward troubles of the
Spaniards.  Seven hundred English prisoners banded themselves under
command of Sir William Stanley, and turned upon their gaolers.  The
Armada spread her sails, and let herself drive faster still.
Northwards, ever northwards!  It was the only way left open to Spain.

For four days the "Ark Royal" kept chase of the miserable relics of this
once-grand Armada.  When the Orkneys were safely passed, Lord Howard
drew off, leaving scouts to follow Medina, and report where he went.  If
he had gone on for two days longer, he would not have had a charge of
powder left.

Five thousand Spaniards had been killed; a much larger number lay
wounded or ill; twelve of the most important ships were lost; provisions
failed them; the fresh water was nearly all spent.  One of the galleons
ran aground at Fair Isle, in the Shetlands, where relics are still kept,
and the dark complexions of the natives show traces of Spanish blood.
The "Florida" was wrecked on the coast of Morven--where her shattered
hulk lies yet.  Medina made his way between the Faroe Isles and Iceland,
fled out to the high seas, and toiled past Ireland home.  The rest of
the fleet tried to reach Cape Clear.  Forty-one were lost off the coast
of Ireland: many driven by the strong west wind into the English
Channel, where they were taken, some by the English, some by the
Rochellois: a few gained Neubourg in Normandy.  Out of 134 ships, above
eighty were total wrecks.

So ended the Invincible Armada.

England fought well.  But it was not England who was the conqueror,
[Note 5] but the south wind and the west wind of God.

------------------------------------------------------------------------

Note 1.  This was the same Duke of Guise who took an active part in the
Massacre of Saint Bartholomew.  He was assassinated at Blois, December
23, 1588--less than six months after the invasion of the Armada.

Note 2.  The Greeks did not reckon by kalends.  The Romans, who did,
when they meant to refuse a request good-humouredly, said jokingly that
it should be granted "in the Greek kalends."

Note 3.  The name of Fleming's vessel does not appear.

Note 4.  I am not responsible for this translation, nor have I met with
the original.

Note 5.  No one was more thoroughly persuaded of this than Elizabeth
herself.  Thirteen years afterwards, at the opening of her last
Parliament, the Speaker thought proper to remark that England had been
defended from all dangers that had attacked her by "the mighty arm of
our dread and sacred Queen."  An unexpected voice from the throne
rebuked him.  "No, Mr Speaker: by the mighty hand of God."



CHAPTER FIVE.

THE WRECK OF THE "DOLORIDA."

  "And therefore unto this poor child of Eve
  The thing forbidden was the one thing wanting,
  Without which all the rest were dust and ashes."

"Heardst ever the like of the gale this night, Barbara?" asked Blanche,
as she stood twisting up her hair before the mirror, one morning towards
the close of August.

"'Twas a cruel rough night, in sooth," was the answer.  "Yet the wind is
westerly.  God help the poor souls that were on the sea this night!
They must have lacked the same."

"'Twas ill for the Spaniard, I reckon," said Blanche lightly.

"'Twas ill for life, Mistress Blanche," returned Barbara, gravely.
"There be English on the wild waters, beside Spaniards.  The Lord avert
evil from them!"

"Nay, I go not about to pray that ill be avoided from those companions,"
retorted Blanche in scorn.  "They may drown, every man of them, for
aught I care."

"They be some woman's childre, every man," was Barbara's reply.

"O Blanche!" interposed Clare, reproachfully.  "Do but think of their
childre at home: and the poor mothers that are watching in the villages
of Spain for their lads to come back to them!  How canst thou wish them
hurt?"

"How touching a picture!" said Blanche in the same tone.

"In very deed, I would not by my good-will do them none ill," responded
Barbara; "I would but pray and endeavour myself that they should do none
ill to me."

"How should they do thee ill, an' they were drowned?" laughed Blanche.

The girl was not speaking her real sentiments.  She was neither cruel
nor flinty-hearted, but was arguing and opposing, as she often did,
sheerly from a spirit of contradiction, and a desire to astonish her
little world; Blanche's vanity was of the Erostratus character.  While
she longed to be liked and admired, she would have preferred that people
should think her disagreeable, rather than not think of her at all.

"But, Blanche," deprecated Clare, who did not enter into this
peculiarity of her sister, "do but fancy, if one of these very men did
seek thy gate, all wet and weary and hungered, and it might be maimed in
the storm, without so much as one penny in his pocket for to buy him
fire and meat--thou wouldst not shut the door in his face?"

"Nay, truly, for I would take a stout cudgel and drive him thence."

"O Blanche!"

"O Clare!" said Blanche mockingly.

"I could never do no such a thing," added Clare, in a low tone.

"What, thou wouldst lodge and feed him?"

"Most surely."

"Then shouldst thou harbour the Queen's enemy."

"I should harbour mine own enemy," said Clare.  "And thou wist who bade
us, `If thine enemy hunger, feed him.'"

"Our Lord said that to His disciples."

"And are not we His disciples?"

"Gramercy, maiden!  Peter, and John, and Andrew, and the like.  'Twas
never meant for folk in these days?"

"Marry La'kin!  What say you, Mistress Blanche?--that God's Word was not
meant for folk now o' days?"

"Oh ay,--some portion thereof."

"Well-a-day! what will this world come to?  I was used to hear say, in
Queen Mary's days, that the great Council to London were busy undoing
what had been done in King Harry's and King Edward's time: but I ne'er
heard that the Lord had ta'en His Word in pieces, and laid up an handful
thereof as done withal."

"Barbara, thou hast the strangest sayings!"

"I cry you mercy, Mistress mine,--'tis you that speak strangely."

"Come hither, and help me set this edge of pearl.  Prithee, let such
gear a-be.  We be no doctors of the schools, thou nor I."

"We have souls to be saved, Mistress Blanche."

"Very well: and we have heads to be dressed likewise.  Tell me if this
cap sit well behind; I am but ill pleased withal."

Heavy rapid steps came down the corridor, and with a hasty knock, Jennet
put her head in at the door.

"Mrs Blanche!  Mrs Clare!  If you 'll none miss th' biggest sight ever
you saw, make haste and busk [dress] you, and come down to hall.
There's th' biggest ship ever were i' these parts drove ashore o' Penny
Bank.  Th' Master, and Dick, and Sim, and Abel 's all gone down to th'
shore, long sin'."

"What manner of ship, Jennet?" asked both the girls at once.

"I'm none fur learnt i' ships," said Jennet, shaking her head.  "Sim
said 'twere a Spaniard, and Dick said 'twere an Englishman; and Abel
bade 'em both hold their peace for a pair o' gaumless [stupid] noodles."

"But what saith my father?" cried excited Blanche, who had forgotten all
about the fit of her cap.

"Eh, bless you!--he's no noodle: Why, he said he'd see 't afore he told
anybody what 't were."

"Barbara, be quick, dear heart, an' thou lovest me.  Let the cap be;
only set my ruff.--Jennet! can we see it hence?"

"You'll see 't off th' end o' th' terrace, right plain afore ye," said
Jennet, and summarily departed.

There was no loitering after that.  In a very few minutes the two girls
were dressed, Blanche's ruff being satisfactory in a shorter time than
Barbara could ever remember it before.  Clare stayed for her prayers,
but Blanche dashed off without them, and made her way to the end of the
terrace, where her sister presently joined her.

"She is a Spaniard!" cried Blanche, in high excitement.  "Do but look on
her build, Clare.  She is not English-built, as sure as this is Venice
ribbon."

Clare disclaimed, with a clear conscience, all acquaintance with
shipbuilding, and declined even to hazard a guess as to the nationality
of the ill-fated vessel.  But Blanche was one of those who must be (or
seem to be; either will do) conversant with every subject under
discussion.  So she chattered on, making as many blunders as assertions,
until at last, just at the close of a particularly absurd mistake, she
heard a loud laugh behind her.

"Well done, Blanche!" said her father's voice.  "I will get thee a ship,
my lass.  Thou art as fit to be a sea-captain, and come through a storm
in the Bay of Biscay, as--thy popinjay."  [Parrot.]

"O Father, be there men aboard yonder ship?" said Clare, earnestly.

"Ay, my lass," he replied, more gravely.  "An hundred and seventy
souls--there were, last night, Clare."

"And what?"--Clare's face finished the question.

"There be nine come ashore," he added in the same tone.

"And the rest, Father?" asked Clare piteously.

"Drowned, my lass, every soul, in last night's storm."

"O Father, Father!" cried Clare's tender heart.

"Good lack!" said Blanche.  "Is she English, Father?"

"The Dolorida, of Cales, [Cadiz] my maid."

"Spanish!" exclaimed Blanche, her excitement returning.  "And what be
these nine men, Father?"

"There be two of them poor galley-slaves; two sailors; and four
soldiers, of the common sort.  No officers; but one young gentleman, of
a good house in Spain, that was come abroad for his diversion, and to
see the sight."

"Who is this gentleman, Father?--What manner of man is he?"

Sir Thomas was a little amused by the eagerness of his daughter's
questions.

"His name is Don John de Las Rojas, [a fictitious person] Mistress
Blanche,--of a great house and ancient, as he saith, in Andalusia: and
as to what manner of man,--why, he hath two ears, and two eyes, and one
nose, and I wis not how many teeth--"

"Now prithee, Father, mock me not!  Where is her--"

"What shouldest say, were I to answer, In a chamber of Enville Court?"

"Here, Father?--verily, here?  Shall I see him?"

"That hangeth on whether thine eyes be shut or open.  Thou must tarry
till he is at ease."

"At ease!--what aileth him?"

Sir Thomas laughed.  "Dost think coming through a storm at sea as small
matter as coming through a gate on land?  He hath 'scaped rarely well;
there is little ails him save a broken arm, and a dozen or so of hard
bruises; but I reckon a day or twain will pass ere it shall be to his
conveniency to appear in thy royal presence, my Lady Blanche."

"But what chamber hath he?--and who is with him?--Do tell me all
thereabout."

"Verily, curiosity is great part of Eve's legacy to her daughters.
Well, an' thou must needs know, he is in the blue chamber; and thine
aunt and Jennet be with him; and I have sent Abel to Bispham after the
leech.  [Doctor.] What more, an't like the Lady Blanche?"

"Oh, what like is he?--and how old?--and is he well-favoured?--and--"

"Nay, let me have them by threes at the most.  He is like a young man
with black hair and a right wan face.--How old?  Well, I would guess,
an' he were English, something over twenty years; but being Spanish,
belike he is younger than so.--Well-favoured?  That a man should look
well-favoured, my Lady Blanche, but now come off a shipwreck, and his
arm brake, and after fasting some forty hours,--methinks he should be a
rare goodly one.  Maybe a week's dieting and good rest shall better his
beauty."

"Hath he any English?"

"But a little, and that somewhat droll: yet enough to make one conceive
his wants.  His father and mother both, he told me, were of the Court
when King Philip dwelt here, and they have learned him some English for
this his journey."

"Doth his father live?"

"Woe worth the day!  I asked him not.  I knew not your Grace should
desire to wit it."

"And his mother?  Hath he sisters?"

"Good lack! ask at him when thou seest him.  Alack, poor lad!--his work
is cut out, I see."

"But you have not told me what shall come of them."

"I told thee not!  I have been answering thy questions thicker than any
blackberries.  My tongue fair acheth; I spake not so much this week
past."

"How do you mock me, Father!"

"I will be sad as a dumpling, my lass.  I reckon, Mistress, all they
shall be sent up to London unto the Council, without there come command
that the justices shall deal with them."

"And what shall be done to them?"

"Marry, an' I had my way, they should be well whipped all round, and
packed off to Spain.  Only the galley-slaves, poor lads!--they could not
help themselves."

"Here 's the leech come, Master," said Jennet, behind them.

Sir Thomas hastened back into the house, and the two sisters followed
more slowly.

"Oh, behold Aunt Rachel!" said Blanche.  "She will tell us somewhat."

Now, only on the previous evening, Rachel had been asserting, in her
strongest and sternest manner, that nothing,--no, nothing on earth!--
should ever make her harbour a Spaniard.  They were one and all "evil
companions;" they were wicked Papists; they were perturbators of the
peace of our Sovereign Lady the Queen; hanging was a luxury beyond their
deserts.  It might therefore have been reasonably expected that Rachel,
when called upon to serve one of these very obnoxious persons, would
scornfully refuse assistance, and retire to her own chamber in the
capacity of an outraged Briton.  But Rachel, when she spoke in this way,
spoke in the abstract, with a want of realisation.  When the
objectionable specimen of the obnoxious mass lifted a pair of suffering
human eyes to her face, the ice thawed in a surprisingly sudden manner
from the surface of her flinty heart, and the set lips relaxed into an
astonishingly pitying expression.

Blanche, outwardly decorous, but with her eyes full of mischief, walked
up to Rachel, and desired to know how it fared with the Spanish
gentleman.

"Poor lad! he is in woeful case!" answered the representative of the
enraged British Lion.  "What with soul and body, he must have borne
well-nigh the pangs of martyrdom this night.  'Tis enough to make one's
heart bleed but to look on him.  And to hear him moan to himself of his
mother, poor heart! when he thinks him alone--at least thus I take his
words: I would, rather than forty shillings, she were nigh to tend him."

From which speech it will be seen that when Rachel did "turn coat," she
turned it inside out entirely.

"Good lack, Aunt Rachel! what is he but an evil companion?" demanded
irreverent Blanche, with her usual want of respect for the opinions of
her elders.

"If he were the worsest companion on earth, child, yet the lad may lack
his wounds dressed," said Rachel, indignantly.

"And a Papist!"

"So much the rather should we show him the betterness of our Protestant
faith, by Christian-wise tending of him."

"And an enemy!" pursued Blanche, proceeding with the list.

"Hold thy peace, maid!  Be we not bidden in God's Word to do good unto
our enemies?"

"And a perturbator of the Queen's peace, Aunt Rachel!"

"This young lad hath not much perturbed the Queen's peace, I warrant,"
said Rachel, uneasily,--a dim apprehension of her niece's intentions
crossing her mind at last.

"Nay, but hanging is far too good for him!" argued Blanche, quoting the
final item.

"Thou idle prating hussy!" cried Rachel, turning hastily round to face
her,--vexed, and yet laughing.  "And if I have said such things in mine
heat, what call hast thou to throw them about mine ears?  Go get thee
about thy business."

"I have no business, at this present, Aunt Rachel."

"Lack-a-daisy! that a cousin [then used in the general sense of
relative] of mine should say such a word!  No business, when a barrelful
of wool waiteth the carding, and there is many a yard of flax, to be
spun, and cordial waters to distil, and a full set of shirts to make for
thy father, and Jack's gown to guard [trim] anew with lace, and thy
mother's new stomacher--"

"Oh, mercy, Aunt Rachel!" cried lazy Blanche, putting her hands over her
ears.

But Mistress Rachel was merciless--towards Blanche.

"No business, quotha!" resumed that astonished lady.  "And Margaret's
winter's gown should, have been cut down ere now into a kirtle, and
Lucrece lacketh both a hood and a napron, and thine own partlets have
not yet so much as the first stitch set in them.  No business!  Prithee,
stand out of my way, Madam Idlesse, for I have no time to spend in
twirling of my thumbs.  And when thou find thy partlets rags, burden not
me withal.  No business, by my troth!"

Muttering which, Rachel stalked away, while Blanche, instead of fetching
needle and thread, and setting to work on her new ruffs, fled into the
garden, and ensconcing herself at the foot of the ash-tree, gazed up at
the windows of the blue chamber, and erected magnificent castles in the
air.  Meanwhile, Clare, who had heard Rachel's list of things waiting to
be done, and had just finished setting the lace upon Jack's gown,
quietly possessed herself of a piece of fine lawn, measured off the
proper length, and was far advanced in one of Blanche's neglected ruffs
before that young lady sauntered in, when summoned by the
breakfast-bell.

The leech thought well of the young Spaniard's case.  The broken arm was
not a severe fracture--"right easy to heal," said he in a rather
disappointed manner; the bruises were nothing but what would disappear
with time and one of Rachel's herbal lotions.  In a few weeks, the young
man might expect to be fully recovered.  And until that happened, said
Sir Thomas, he should remain at Enville Court.

But the other survivors of the shipwreck did not come off so easily.  On
the day after it, one of the soldiers and one of the galley-slaves died.
The remaining galley-slave, a Moorish prisoner, very grave and silent,
and speaking little Spanish; the two sailors, of whom one was an
Italian; and one of the soldiers, were quartered in the glebe barn--the
rest in one of Sir Thomas Enville's barns.  Two of the soldiers were
Pyrenees men, and spoke French.  All of them, except the Moor and the
Italian, were possessed by abject terror, expecting to be immediately
killed, if not eaten.  The Italian, who was no stranger to English
people, and into whose versatile mind nothing sank deep, was the only
blithe and cheerful man in the group.  The Moor kept his feelings and
opinions to himself.  But the others could utter nothing but
lamentations, "_Ay de mi_!"  [alas for me] and "_Soy muerto_!"
[literally, "I am dead"--a common lamentation in Spain.] with mournful
vaticinations that their last hour was at hand, and that they would
never see Spain again.  Sir Thomas Enville could just manage to make
himself understood by the Italian, and Mr Tremayne by the two
Pyreneans.  No one else at Enville Court spoke any language but English.
But Mrs Rose, a Spanish lady's daughter, who had been accustomed to
speak Spanish for the first twenty years of her life; and Mrs Tremayne,
who had learned it from her; and Lysken Barnevelt, who had spoken it in
her childhood, and had kept herself in practice with Mrs Rose's help--
these three went in and out among the prisoners, interpreted for the
doctor, dressed the wounds, cheered the down-hearted men, and at last
persuaded them that Englishmen were not cannibals, and that it was not
certain they would all be hung immediately.

There was one person at Enville Court who would have given much to be a
fourth in the band of helpers.  Clare was strongly disposed to envy her
friend Lysken, and to chafe against the bonds of conventionalism which
bound her own actions.  She longed to be of some use in the world; to
till some corner of the vineyard marked out specially for her; to find
some one for whom, or something for which she was really wanted.  Of
course, making and mending, carding and spinning, distilling and
preserving, were all of use: somebody must do them.  But somebody, in
this case, meant anybody.  It was not Clare who was necessary.  And
Lysken, thought Clare, had deeper and higher work.  She had to deal with
human hearts, while Clare dealt only with woollen and linen.  Was there
no possibility that some other person could see to the woollen and
linen, and that Clare might be permitted to work with Lysken, and help
the human hearts as well?

But Clare forgot one essential point--that a special training is needed
for work of this kind.  Cut a piece of cambric wrongly, and after all
you do but lose the cambric: but deal wrongly with a human heart, and
terrible mischief may ensue.  And this special training Lysken had
received, and Clare had never had.  Early privation and sorrow had been
Lysken's lesson-book.

Clare found no sympathy in her aspirations.  She had once timidly
ventured a few words, and discovered quickly that she would meet with no
help at home.  Lady Enville was shocked at such notions; they were both
unmaidenly and communistic: had Clare no sense of what was becoming in a
knight's step-daughter?  Of course Lysken Barnevelt was nobody; it did
not matter what she did.  Rachel bade her be thankful that she was so
well guarded from this evil world, which was full of men, and that was
another term for wild beasts and venomous serpents.  Margaret could not
imagine what Clare wanted; was there not enough to do at home?  Lucrece
was demurely thankful to Providence that she was content with her
station and circumstances.  Blanche was half amused, and half disgusted,
at the idea of having anything to do with those dirty stupid people.

So Clare quietly locked up her little day-dream in her own heart, and
wished vainly that she had been a clergyman's daughter.  Before her eyes
there rose a sunny vision of imaginary life at the parsonage, with Mr
and Mrs Tremayne for her parents, Arthur and Lysken for her brother and
sister, and the whole village for her family.  The story never got far
enough for any of them to marry; in fact, that would have spoilt it.
Beyond the one change of place, there were to be no further changes.  No
going away; no growing old; "no cares to break the still repose," except
those of the villagers, who were to be petted and soothed and helped
into being all good and happy.  Beyond that point, Clare's dream did not
go.

Let her dream on a little longer,--poor Clare!  She was destined to be
rudely awakened before long.



CHAPTER SIX.

COSITAS DE ESPANA.

  "On earth no word is said, I ween,
  But's registered in Heaven:
  What's here a jest, is there a sin
  Which may never be forgiven."

Blanche Enville sat on the terrace, on a warm September afternoon, with
a half-finished square of wool-work in her hand, into which she was
putting a few stitches every now and then.  She chose to imagine herself
hard at work; but it would have fatigued nobody to count the number of
rows which she had accomplished since she came upon the terrace.  The
work which Blanche was really attending to was the staple occupation of
her life,--building castles in the air.  At various times she had played
all manner of parts, from a captive queen, a persecuted princess, or a
duchess in disguise, down to a fisherman's daughter saving a vessel in
danger by the light in her cottage window.  No one who knows how to
erect the elegant edifices above referred to, will require to be told
that whatever might be her temporary position, Blanche always acquitted
herself to perfection: and that any of the airy _dramatis personae_ who
failed to detect her consummate superiority was either compassionately
undeceived, or summarily crushed, at the close of the drama.

Are not these fantasies one of the many indications that all along
life's pathway, the old serpent is ever whispering to us his first
lie,--"Ye shall be as gods?"

At the close of a particularly sensational scene, when Blanche had just
succeeded in escaping from a convent prison wherein the wicked.  Queen
her sister had confined her, the idea suddenly flashed upon the
oppressed Princess that Aunt Rachel would hardly be satisfied with the
state of the kettle-holder; and coming down in an instant from air to
earth, she determinately and compunctiously set to work again.  The
second row of stitches was growing under her hands when, by that subtle
psychological process which makes us aware of the presence of another
person, though we may have heard and seen nothing, Blanche became
conscious that she was no longer alone.  She looked up quickly, into the
face of a stranger; but no great penetration was needed to guess that
the young man before her was the shipwrecked Spaniard.

Blanche's first idea on seeing him, was a feeling of wonder that her
father should have thought him otherwise than "well-favoured."  He was
handsome enough, she thought, to be the hero of any number of dramas.

The worthy Knight's ideas as to beauty by no means coincided with those
of his daughter.  Sir Thomas thought that to look well, a man must not
be--to use his own phrase--"lass-like and finnicking."  It was all very
well for a woman to have a soft voice, a pretty face, or a graceful
mien: but let a man be tall, stout, well-developed, and tolerably rough.
So that the finely arched eyebrows, the languishing liquid eyes, the
soft delicate features, and the black silky moustache, which were the
characteristics of Don Juan's face, found no favour with Sir Thomas, but
were absolute perfection in the captivated eyes of Blanche.  When those
dark eyes looked admiringly at her, she could see no fault in them; and
when a voice addressed her in flattering terms, she could readily enough
overlook wrong accents and foreign idioms.

"Most beautiful lady!" said Don Juan, addressing himself to Blanche, and
translating literally into English the usual style of his native land.

The epithet gave Blanche a little thrill of delight.  No one--except the
mythical inhabitants of the airy castles--had ever spoken to her in this
manner before.  And undoubtedly there was a zest in the living voice of
another human being, which was unfortunately lacking in the denizens of
Fairy Land.  Blanche had never sunk so low in her own opinion as she did
when she tried to frame an answer.  She was utterly at a loss for words.
Instead of the exquisitely appropriate language which would have risen
to her lips at once if she had not addressed a human being, she could
only manage to stammer out, in most prosaic fashion, a hope that he was
better.  But her consciousness of inferiority deepened, when Don Juan
replied promptly, with a low bow, and the application of his left hand
to the place where his heart was supposed to be, that the sight of her
face had effected a full and immediate cure of all his ills.

Oh, for knowledge what to say to him, with due grace and effect!  Why
was she not born a Spanish lady?  And what would he think of her, with
such plebeian work as this in her hand!  "How he must despise me!"
thought silly Blanche.  "Why, I have not even a fan to flutter."

Don Juan was quite at his ease.  Shyness and timidity were evidently not
in the list of his failings.

"I think me fortunate, fair lady," sighed he, with another bow, "that
this the misfortune me has made acquainted with your Grace.  In my
country, we say to the ladies; Grant me the soles of your foots.  But
here the gentlemen humble not themselves so low.  I beseech your Grace,
therefore, the favour to kiss you the hand."

Blanche wondered if all Spanish ladies were addressed as "your Grace."
[Note 1.] How delightful!  She held out her hand like a queen, and Don
Juan paid his homage.

"Your Grace see me much happinessed.  When I am again in my Andalusia, I
count it the gloriousest hour of my life that I see your sweet country
and the beautifullest of his ladies."

How far either Don Juan or Blanche might ultimately have gone in making
themselves ridiculous cannot be stated, because at this moment
Margaret--prosaic, literal Margaret--appeared on the terrace.

"Blanche!  Aunt Rachel seeketh thee.--Your servant, Master!  I trust you
are now well amended?"

Don Juan was a very quick reader of character.  He instantly realised
the difference between the sisters, and replied to Margaret's inquiry in
a calm matter-of-fact style.  Blanche moved slowly away.  She felt as if
she were leaving the sunshine behind her.

"Well, of all the lazy jades!" was Rachel's deserved greeting.  "Three
rows and an half, betwixt twelve of the clock and four!  Why, 'tis not a
full row for the hour!  Child, art thou 'shamed of thyself?"

"Well, just middling, Aunt Rachel," said Blanche, pouting a little.

"Blanche," returned her Aunt very gravely, "I do sorely pity thine
husband--when such a silly thing may win one--without he spend an
hundred pound by the day, and keep a pack of serving-maids a-louting at
thy heels."

"I hope he may, Aunt Rachel," said Blanche coolly.

"Eh, child, child!"  And Rachel's head was ominously shaken.

From that time Don Juan joined the family circle at meals.  Of course he
was a prisoner, but a prisoner on parole, very generously treated, and
with little fear for the future.  He was merely a spectator, having
taken no part in the war; there were old friends of his parents among
the English nobility: no great harm was likely to come to him.  So he
felt free to divert himself; and here was a toy ready to his hand.

The family circle were amused with the names which he gave them.  Sir
Thomas became "Don Tomas;" Lady Enville was "the grand Senora."
Margaret and Lucrece gave him some trouble; they were not Spanish names.
He took refuge in "Dona Mariquita" (really a diminutive of Maria), and
"Dona Lucia."  But there was no difficulty about "Dona Clara" and "Dona
Blanca," which dropped from his lips (thought Blanche) like music.
Rachel's name, however, proved impracticable.  He contented himself with
"_Senora mia_" when he spoke to her, and, "Your Lady Aunt" when he spoke
of her.

He was ready enough to give some account of himself.  His father, Don
Gonsalvo, Marquis de Las Rojas, was a grandee of the first class, and a
Lord in Waiting to King Philip; his mother, Dona Leonor de Torrejano,
had been in attendance on Queen Mary.  He had two sisters, whose names
were Antonia and Florela; and a younger brother, Don Hernando.  [All
fictitious persons.]

It flattered Blanche all the more that in the presence of others he was
distantly ceremonious; but whenever they were alone, he was continually,
though very delicately, hinting his admiration of her, and pouring soft
speeches into her entranced ears.  So Blanche, poor silly child I played
the part of the moth, and got her wings well singed in the candle.

Whatever Blanche was, Don Juan himself was perfectly heart-whole.  Of
course no grandee of Spain could ever descend so low as really to
contemplate marriage with a mere _caballero's_ daughter, and of a
heretic country; that was out of the question.  Moreover, there was a
family understanding that, a dispensation being obtained, he was to
marry his third cousin, Dona Lisarda de Villena, [A fictitious person] a
lady of moderate beauty and fabulous fortune.  This arrangement had been
made while both were little children, nor had Don Juan the least
intention of rendering it void.  He was merely amusing himself.

It often happens that such amusements destroy another's happiness.  And
it sometimes happens that they lead to the destruction of another's
soul.

Don Juan won golden opinions from Sir Thomas and Lady Enville.  He was
not wanting in sense, said the former (to whom the sensible side of him
had been shown); and, he was right well-favoured, and so courtly! said
Lady Enville--who had seen the courtly aspect.

"Well-favoured!" laughed Sir Thomas.  "Calleth a woman yonder lad
well-favoured?  Why, his face is the worst part of him: 'tis all satin
and simpers!"

Rachel had not the heart to speak ill of the invalid whom she had
nursed, while she admitted frankly that there were points about him
which she did not like: but these, no doubt, arose mainly from his being
a foreigner and a Papist.  Margaret said little, but in her heart she
despised him.  And presently Jack came home, when the volunteers were
disbanded, and, after a passage of arms, became the sworn brother of the
young prisoner.  He was such a gentleman! said Master Jack.  So there
was not much likelihood of Blanche's speedy disenchantment.

"Marry, what think you of the lad, Mistress Thekla?" demanded Barbara
one day, when she was at "four-hours" at the parsonage.

"He is very young," answered Mrs Tremayne, who always excused everybody
as long as it was possible.  "He will amend with time, we may well
hope."

"Which is to say, I admire him not," suggested Mrs Rose, now a very old
woman, on whom time had brought few bodily infirmities, and no, mental
ones.

"Who doth admire him, Barbara, at the Court?" asked Mr Tremayne.

"Marry La'kin! every soul, as methinks, save Mistress Meg, and Sim, and
Jennet.  Mistress Meg--I misdoubt if she doth; and Sim says he is a
nincompoop; [silly fellow] and Jennet saith, he is as like as two peas
to the old fox that they nailed up on the barn door when she was a
little maid.  But Sir Thomas, and my Lady, and Master Jack, be mighty
taken with him; and Mistress Rachel but little less: and as to Mistress
Blanche, she hath eyes for nought else."

"Poor Blanche!" said Thekla.

"Blanche shall be a mouse in a trap, if she have not a care," said Mrs
Rose, with a wise shake of her head.

"Good lack, Mistress! she is in the trap already, but she wot it not."

"When we wot us to be in a trap, we be near the outcoming," remarked the
Rector.

"Of a truth I cannot tell," thoughtfully resumed Barbara, "whether this
young gentleman be rare deep, or rare shallow.  He is well-nigh as ill
to fathom as Mistress Lucrece herself.  Lo' you, o' Sunday morrow, Sir
Thomas told him that the law of the land was for every man and woman in
the Queen's dominions to attend the parish church twice of the Sunday,
under twenty pound charge by the month if they tarried at home, not
being let by sickness: and I had heard him say himself that he looked
Don John should kick thereat.  But what doth Don John but to take up his
hat, and walk off to the church, handing of Mistress Rachel, as smiling
as any man; and who as devote as he when he was there?--Spake the Amen,
and sang in the Psalm, and all the rest belike.  Good lack!  I had
thought the Papists counted it sinful for to join in a Protestant
service."

"Not alway," said Mr Tremayne.  "Maybe he hath the priest's licence in
his pocket."

"I wis not what he hath," responded Barbara, sturdily, "save and except
my good will; and that he hath not, nor is not like to have,--in
especial with Mistress Blanche, poor sely young maiden! that wot not
what she doth."

"He may have it, then, in regard to Clare?" suggested Mrs Rose
mischievously.

"Marry La'kin!" retorted Barbara in her fiercest manner.  "But if I
thought yon fox was in any manner of fashion of way a-making up to my
jewel,--I could find it in my heart to put rats-bane in his pottage!"

Sir Thomas transmitted to London the news of the wreck of the Dolorida,
requesting orders concerning the seven survivors: at the same time
kindly writing to two or three persons in high places, old acquaintances
of the young man's parents, to ask their intercession on behalf of Don
Juan.  But the weeks passed away, and as yet no answer came.  The Queen
and Council were too busy to give their attention to a small knot of
prisoners.

On the fourth of September in the Armada year, 1588, died Robert Dudley,
the famous Earl of Leicester, who had commanded the army of defence at
Tilbury.  This one man--and there was only one such--Elizabeth had never
ceased to honour.  He retained her favour unimpaired for thirty years,
through good report--of which there was very little; and evil report--of
which there was a great deal.  He saw rival after rival rise and
flourish and fall: but to the end of his life, he stood alone as the one
whose brilliant day was unmarred by storm,--the King of England, because
the King of her Queen.  What was the occult power of this man, the last
of the Dudleys of Northumberland, over the proud spirit of Elizabeth?
It was not that she had any affection for him: she showed that plainly
enough at his death, when her whole demeanour was not that of mourning,
but of release.  He was a man of extremely bad character,--a fact patent
to all the world: yet Elizabeth kept him at her side, and admitted him
to her closest friendship,--though she knew well that the rumours which
blackened his name did not spare her own.  He never cleared himself of
the suspected murder of his first wife; he never tried to clear himself
of the attempted murder of the second, whom he alternately asserted and
denied to be his lawful wife, until no one knew which story to believe.
But the third proved his match.  There was strong cause for suspicion
that twelve years before, Robert Earl of Leicester had given a lesson in
poisoning to Lettice Countess of Essex: and now the same Lettice,
Countess of Leicester, had not forgotten her lesson.  Leicester was
tired of her; perhaps, too, he was a little afraid of what she knew.
The deft and practised poisoner administered a dose to his wife.  But
Lettice survived, and poisoned him in return.  And so the last of the
Dudleys passed to his awful account.

His death made no difference in the public rejoicing for the defeat of
the Armada.  Two days afterwards, the Spanish banners were exhibited
from Paul's Cross, and the next morning were hung on London Bridge.  The
nineteenth of November was a holiday throughout the kingdom.  On Sunday
the 24th, the Queen made her famous thanksgiving progress to Saint
Paul's, seated in a chariot built in the form of a throne, with four
pillars, and a crowned canopy overhead.  The Privy Council and the House
of Lords attended her.  Bishop Pierce of Salisbury preached the sermon,
from the very appropriate text, afterwards engraved on the memorial
medals,--"He blew with His wind, and they were scattered."

All this time no word came to decide the fate of Don Juan.  It was not
expected now before spring.  A winter journey from Lancashire to London
was then a very serious matter.

"So you count it not ill to attend our Protestant churches, Master?"
asked Blanche of Don Juan, as she sat in the window-seat, needlework in
hand.  It was a silk purse, not a kettle-holder, this time.

"How could I think aught ill, Dona Blanca, which I see your Grace do?"
was the courtly reply of Don Juan.

"But what should your confessor say, did he hear thereof?" asked
Blanche, provokingly.

"Is a confessor a monster in your eyes, fair lady?" said Don Juan, with
that smile which Blanche held in deep though secret admiration.

"I thought they were rarely severe," she said, bending her eyes on her
work.

"Ah, Senora, our faith differs from yours much less than you think.
What is a confessor, but a priest--a minister?  The Senor Tremayne is a
confessor, when one of his people shall wish his advice.  Where lieth
the difference?"

Blanche was too ignorant to know where it lay.

"I accounted there to be mighty difference," she said, hesitatingly.

"_Valgame los santos_!  [The saints defend me!]--but a shade or two of
colour.  Hold we not the same creeds as you?  Your Book of Common
Prayer--what is it but the translation of ours?  We worship the same
God; we honour the same persons, as you.  Where, then, is the
difference?  Our priests wed not; yours may.  We receive the Holy
Eucharist in one kind; you, in both.  We are absolved in private, and
make confession thus; you, in public.  Be these such mighty
differences?"

If Don Juan had thrown a little less dust in her eyes, perhaps Blanche
might have had sense enough to ask him where the Church of Rome had
found her authority for her half of these differences, since it
certainly was not in Holy Scripture: and also, whether that communion
held such men as Cranmer, Latimer, Calvin, and Luther, in very high
esteem?  But the dust was much too thick to allow any stronger reply
from Blanche than a feeble inquiry whether these really were all the
points of difference.

"What other matter offendeth your Grace?  Doubtless I can expound the
same."

"Why, I have heard," said Blanche faintly, selecting one of the smaller
charges first, "that the Papists do hold Mary, the blessed Virgin, to
have been without sin."

"Some Catholics have that fantasy," replied Don Juan lightly.  "It is
only a few.  The Church binds it not on the conscience of any.  You take
it--you leave it--as you will."

"Likewise you hold obedience due to the Bishop of Rome, instead of only
unto your own Prince, as with us," objected Blanche, growing a shade
bolder.

"That, again, is but in matters ecclesiastical.  In secular matters, I
do assure your Grace, the Pope interfereth not."

Blanche, who had no answers to these subtle explainings away of the
facts, felt as if all her outworks were being taken, one by one.

"Yet," she said, bringing her artillery to bear on a new point, "you
have images in your churches, Don John, and do worship unto them?"

The word worship has changed its meaning since the days of Queen
Elizabeth.  To do worship, and to do honour, were then interchangeable
terms.

Don Juan smiled.  "Have you no pictures in your books, Dona Blanca?
These images are but as pictures for the teaching of the vulgar, that
cannot read.  How else should we learn them?  If some of the ignorant
make blunder, and bestow to these images better honour than the Church
did mean them, the mistake is theirs.  No man really doth worship unto
these, only the vulgar."

"But do not you pray unto the saints?"

"We entreat the saints to pray for us; that is all."

"Then, in the Lord's Supper--the mass, you call it,"--said Blanche,
bringing up at last her strongest battering-ram, "you do hold, as I have
been taught, Don John, that the bread and wine be changed into the very
self body and blood of our Saviour Christ, that it is no more bread and
wine at all.  Now how can you believe a matter so plainly confuted by
your very senses?"

"Ah, if I had but your learning and wisdom, Senora!" sighed Don Juan,
apparently from the bottom of his heart.

Blanche felt flattered; but she was not thrown off the scent, as her
admirer intended her to be.  She still looked up for the answer; and Don
Juan saw that he must give it.

"Sweetest lady!  I am no doctor of the schools, nor have I studied for
the priesthood, that I should be able to expound all matters unto one of
your Grace's marvellous judgment and learning.  Yet, not to leave so
fair a questioner without answer--suffer that I ask, your gracious leave
accorded--did not our Lord say thus unto the holy Apostles,--`_Hoc est
corpus mens_,' to wit, `This is My Body?'"

Blanche assented.

"In what manner, then, was it thus?"

"Only as a memorial or representation thereof, we do hold, Don John."

"Good: as the child doth present [represent] the father, being of the
like substance, no less than appearance,--as saith the blessed Saint
Augustine, and also the blessed Jeronymo, and others of the holy Fathers
of the Church, right from the time of our Lord and His Apostles."

Don Juan had never read a line of the works of Jerome or Augustine.
Fortunately for him, neither had Blanche,--a chance on which he safely
calculated.  Blanche was completely puzzled.  She sat looking out of the
window, and thinking with little power, and to small purpose.  She had
not an idea when Augustine lived, nor whether he read the service in his
own tongue in a surplice, or celebrated the Latin mass in full
pontificals.  And if it were true that all the Fathers, down from the
Apostles, had held the Roman view--for poor ignorant Blanche had not the
least idea whether it were true or false--it was a very awkward thing.
Don Juan stood and watched her face for an instant.  His diplomatic
instinct told him that the subject had better be dropped.  All that was
needed to effect this end was a few well-turned compliments, which his
ingenuity readily suggested.  In five minutes more the theological
discussion was forgotten, at least by Blanche, as Don Juan was assuring
her that in all Andalusia there were not eyes comparable to hers.

Mr Tremayne and Arthur came in to supper that evening.  The former
quietly watched the state of affairs without appearing to notice
anything.  He saw that Don Juan, who sat by Lucrece, paid her the most
courteous attention; that Lucrece received it with a thinly-veiled air
of triumph; that Blanche's eyes constantly followed, the young Spaniard:
and he came to the conclusion that the affair was more complicated than
he had originally supposed.

He waited, however, till Arthur and Lysken were both away, until he said
anything at home.  When those young persons were safely despatched to
bed, Mr and Mrs Tremayne and Mrs Rose drew together before the fire,
and discussed the state of affairs at Enville Court.

"Now, what thinkest, Robin?" inquired Mrs Rose.  "Is Blanche, _la
pauvrette_! as fully taken with Don Juan as Barbara did suppose?"

"I am afeared, fully."

"And Don Juan?"

"If I mistake not, is likewise taken with Blanche: but I doubt somewhat
if he be therein as wholehearted as she."

"And what say the elders?" asked Mrs Tremayne.

"Look on with _eyes_ which see nought.  But, nathless, there be one pair
of eyes that see; and Blanche's path is not like to run o'er smooth."

"What, Mistress Rachel?"

"Nay, she is blind as the rest.  I mean Lucrece."

"Lucrece!  Thinkest she will ope the eyes of the other?"

"I think she casteth about to turn Don Juan's her way."

"Alack, poor Blanche!" said Mrs Tremayne.  "Howso the matter shall go,
mefeareth she shall not 'scape suffering."

"She is no match for Lucrece," observed Mrs Rose.

"Truth: but I am in no wise assured Don Juan is not," answered Mr
Tremayne with a slightly amused look.  "As for Blanche, she is like to
suffer; and I had well-nigh added, she demeriteth the same: but it will
do her good, Thekla.  At the least, if the Lord bless it unto her--be
assured I meant not to leave out that."

"The furnace purifieth the gold," said Mrs Tremayne sadly: "yet the
heat is none the less fierce for that, Robin."

"Dear heart, whether wouldst thou miss the suffering rather, and the
purifying, or take both together?"

"It is soon over, Thekla," said her mother, quietly.

During the fierce heat of the Marian persecution, those words had once
been said to Marguerite Rose.  She had failed to realise them then.  The
lesson was learned now--thirty-five years later.

"Soon over, to look back, dear Mother," replied Mrs Tremayne.  "Yet it
never seems short to them that be in the furnace."

Mrs Rose turned rather suddenly to her son-in-law.

"Robin, tell me, if thou couldst have seen thy life laid out before thee
on a map, and it had been put to thy choice to bear the Little Ease, or
to leave go,--tell me what thou hadst chosen?"

For Mr Tremayne had spent several months in that horrible funnel-shaped
prison, aptly termed Little Ease, and had but just escaped from it with
life.  He paused a moment, and his face grew very thoughtful.

"I think, Mother," he said at length, "that I had chosen to go through
with it.  I learned lessons in Little Ease that, if I had lacked now, I
had been sorely wanting to my people; and--speaking as a man--that
perchance I could have learned nowhere else."

"Childre," responded the aged mother, "it seemeth me, that of all matter
we have need to learn, the last and hardest is to give God leave to
choose for us.  At least, thus it hath been with me; it may be I mistake
to say it is for all.  Yet I am sure he is the happy man that learneth
it soon.  It hath taken me well-nigh eighty years.  Thou art better,
Robin, to have learned it in fifty."

"I count, Mother, we learn not all lessons in the same order," said the
Rector, smiling, "though there be many lessons we must all learn.  'Tis
not like to be my last,--without I should die to-morrow--if I have
learned it thoroughly now.  And 'tis easier to leave in God's hands,
some choices than other."

Mrs Rose did not ask of what he was thinking, but she could guess
pretty well.  It would be harder to lose his Thekla now, than if he had
come out of Little Ease and had found her dead: harder to lose Arthur in
his early manhood, than to have seen him coffined with his baby brother
and sisters, years ago.  Mrs Tremayne drew a long sigh, as if she had
guessed it too.

"It would be easier to leave all things to God's choice," she said, "if
only we dwelt nearer God."

------------------------------------------------------------------------

Note 1.  "Vuesa merced," the epithet of ordinary courtesy, is literally
"Your Grace."



CHAPTER SEVEN.

A SPOKE IN THE WHEEL.

  "All the foolish work
  Of fancy, and the bitter close of all."

  _Tennyson_.

A few weeks after that conversation, Lucrece Enville sat alone in the
bedroom which she shared with her sister Margaret.  She was not shedding
tears--it was not her way to weep: but her mortification was bitter
enough for any amount of weeping.

Lucrece was as selfish as her step-mother, or rather a shade more so.
Lady Enville's selfishness was pure love of ease; there was no
deliberate malice in it.  Any person who stood in her way might be
ruthlessly swept out of it; but those who did not interfere with her
pleasure, were free to pursue their own.

The selfishness of Lucrece lay deeper.  She not only sought her own
enjoyment and aggrandisement; but she could not bear to see anything--
even if she did not want it--in the possession of some one else.  That
was sufficient to make Lucrece long for it and plot to acquire it,
though she had no liking for the article in itself, and would not know
what to do with it when she got it.

But in this particular instance she had wanted the article: and she had
missed it.  True, the value which she set upon it was rather for its
adjuncts than for itself; but whatever its value, one thought was
uppermost, and was bitterest--she had missed it.

The article was Don Juan.  His charm was twofold: first, he would one
day be a rich man and a noble; and secondly, Blanche was in possession.
Lucrece tried her utmost efforts to detach him from her sister, and to
attach him to herself.  And Don Juan proved himself to be her match,
both in perseverance and in strategy.

Blanche had not the faintest suspicion that anything of the sort had
been going on.  Don Juan himself had very quickly perceived the
counterplot, and had found it a most amusing episode in the little drama
with which he was beguiling the time during his forced stay in England.

But nobody else saw either plot or counterplot, until one morning, when
a low soft voice arrested Sir Thomas as he was passing out of the garden
door.

"Father, may I have a minute's speech of you?"

"Ay so, Lucrece?  I was about to take a turn or twain in the garden;
come with me, lass."

"So better, Father, for that I must say lacketh no other ears."

"What now?" demanded Sir Thomas, laughing.  "Wouldst have money for a
new chain, or leave to go to a merry-making?  Thou art welcome to
either, my lass."

"I thank you, Father," said Lucrece gravely, as they paced slowly down
one of the straight, trim garden walks: "but not so,--my words are of
sadder import."

Sir Thomas turned and looked at her.  Never until this moment, in all
her four-and-twenty years, had his second daughter given him an iota of
her confidence.

"Nay, what now?" he said, in a perplexed tone.

"I pray you, Father, be not wroth with me, for my reasons be strong, if
I am so bold as to ask at you if you have yet received any order from
the Queen's Majesty's Council, touching the disposing of Don John?"

"Art thou turning states-woman, my lass?  Nay, not I--not so much as a
line."

"Might I take on me, saving your presence, Father, to say so much as--I
would you would yet again desire the same?"

"Why, my lass, hath Don John offenced thee, that thou wouldst fain be
rid of him?  I would like him to tarry a while longer.  What aileth
thee?"

"Would you like him to marry Blanche, Father?"

"Blanche!--marry Blanche!  What is come over thee, child?  Marry
Blanche!"

Sir Thomas's tone was totally incredulous.  He almost laughed in his
contemptuous unbelief.

"You crede it not, Father," said Lucrece's voice--always even, and soft,
and low.  "Yet it may be true, for all that."

"In good sooth, my lass: so it may.  But what cause hast, that thou
shouldst harbour such a thought?"

"Nought more than words overheard, Father,--and divers gifts seen--
and--"

"Gifts!  The child showed us none."

"She would scantly show _you_, Father, a pair of beads of coral, with a
cross of enamel thereto--"

"Lucrece, dost thou _know_ this?"

Her father's tone was very grave and stern now.

"I do know it, of a surety.  And if you suffer me, Father, to post you
in a certain place that I wot of, behind the tapestry, you shall ere
long know it too."

Lucrece's triumphant malice had carried her a step too far.  Her
father's open, upright, honest mind was shocked at this suggestion.

"God forbid, girl!" he replied, hastily.  "I will not play the
eavesdropper on my own child.  Hast thou done this, Lucrece?"

Lucrece saw that she must make her retreat from that position, and she
did so "in excellent order."

"Oh no, Father! how could I so?  One day, I sat in the arbour yonder,
and they two walked by, discoursing: and another day, when I sat in a
window-seat in the hall, they came in a-talking, and saw me not.  I
could never do such a thing as listen unknown, Father!"

"Right, my lass: but it troubled me to hear thee name it."

Sir Thomas walked on, lost in deep thought.  Lucrece was silent until he
resumed the conversation.

"Beads, and a cross!"  He spoke to himself.

"I could tell you of other gear, Father," said the low voice of the
avenger.  "As, a little image of Mary and John, which she keepeth in her
jewel-closet; and a book wherein be prayers unto the angels and the
saints.  These he hath given her."

Lucrece was making the worst of a matter in which Don Juan was
undoubtedly to blame, but Blanche was much more innocent than her sister
chose to represent her.  On the rosary Blanche looked as a long
necklace, such as were in fashion at the time; and while the elaborate
enamelled pendant certainly was a cross, it had never appeared to her
otherwise than a mere pendant.  The little image was so extremely small,
that she kept it in her jewel-closet lest it should be lost.  The book,
Don Juan's private breviary, was in Latin, in which language studious
Lucrece was a proficient, whilst idle Blanche could not have declined a
single noun.  The giver had informed her that he bestowed this breviary
on her, his best beloved, because he held it dearest of all his
treasures; and Blanche valued it on that account.  Lucrece knew all
this: for she had come upon Blanche in an unguarded moment, with the
book in her hand and the rosary round her neck, and had to some extent
forced her confidence--the more readily given, since Blanche never
suspected treachery.

"I can ensure you, Father," pursued the traitress, with an assumption of
the utmost meekness, "it hath cost me much sorrow ere I set me to speak
unto you."

"Hast spoken to Blanche aforetime?"

"Not much, Father," replied Lucrece, in a voice of apparent trouble.  "I
counted it fitter to refer the same unto your better wisdom; nor, I
think, was she like to list me."

"God have mercy!" moaned the distressed father, thoroughly awake now to
the gravity of the case.

"Maybe, Father, you shall think I have left it pass too far," pursued
Lucrece, with well-simulated grief: "yet can you guess that I would not
by my goodwill seem to carry complaint of Blanche."

"Thou hast well done, dear heart, and I thank thee," answered her
deceived father.  "But leave me now, my lass; I must think all this gear
over.  My poor darling!"

Lucrece glided away as softly as the serpent which she resembled in her
heart.

In half-an-hour Sir Thomas came back into the house, and sent Jennet to
tell his sister that he wished to speak with her in the library.  It was
characteristic, not of himself, but of his wife, that in his sorrows and
perplexities he turned instinctively to Rachel, not to her.  When
Lucrece's intelligence was laid before Rachel, though perhaps she
grieved less, she was even more shocked than her brother.  That Blanche
should think of quitting the happy and honourable estate of maidenhood,
for the slavery of marriage, was in itself a misdemeanour of the first
magnitude: but that she should have made her own choice, have received
secret gifts, and held clandestine interviews--this was an awful
instance of what human depravity could reach.

"Now, what is to be done?" asked Sir Thomas wearily.  "First with Don
John, and next with Blanche."

"Him?--the viper!  Pack him out of the house, bag and baggage!" cried
the wrathful spinster.  "The crocodile, to conspire against the peace of
the house which hath received him in his need!  Yet what better might
you look for in a man and a Papist?"

"Nay, Rachel; I cannot pack him out: he is my prisoner, think thou.  I
am set in charge of him until released by the Queen's Majesty's mandate.
All the greater need is there to keep him and Blanche apart.  In good
sooth, I wis not what to do for the best--with Blanche, most of all."

"Blanche hath had too much leisure time allowed her, and too much of her
own way," said Rachel oracularly.  "Hand her o'er to me--I will set her
a-work.  She shall not have an idle hour.  'Tis the only means to keep
silly heads in order."

"Maybe, Rachel,--maybe," said Sir Thomas with a sigh.  "Yet I fear
sorely that we must have Blanche hence.  It were constant temptation,
were she and Don John left in the same house; and though she might not
break charge--would not, I trust--yet he might.  I can rest no faith on
him well!  I must first speak to Blanche, methinks, and then--"

"Speak to her!--whip her well!  By my troth, but I would mark her!"
cried Rachel, in a passion.

"Nay, Rachel, that wouldst thou not," answered her brother, smiling
sadly.  "Did the child but whimper, thy fingers would leave go the rod.
Thy bark is right fearful, good Sister; but some men's sweet words be no
softer than thy bite."

"There is charity in all things, of course," said Rachel, cooling down.

"There is a deal in thee," returned Sir Thomas, "for them that know
where to seek it.  Well, come with me to Orige; she must be told, I
reckon: and then we will send for Blanche."

Rachel opened her lips, but suddenly shut them without speaking, and
kept them drawn close.  Perhaps, had she not thought better of it, what
might have been spoken was not altogether complimentary to Lady Enville.

That very comfortable dame sat in her cushioned chair in the boudoir--
there were no easy-chairs then, except as rendered so by cushions; and
plenty of soft thick cushions were a very necessary part of the
furniture of a good house.  Her Ladyship was dressed in the pink of the
fashion, so far as it had reached her tailor at Kirkham; and she was
turning over the leaves of a new play, entitled "The Comedie of
Errour"--one of the earliest productions of the young Warwickshire
actor, William Shakspere by name.  She put her book down with a yawn
when her husband and his sister came in.

"How much colder 'tis grown this last hour or twain!" said she.
"Prithee, Sir Thomas, call for more wood."

Sir Thomas shouted as desired--the quickest way of settling matters--and
when Jennet had come and gone with the fuel, he glanced into the little
chamber to see if it were vacant.  Finding no one there, he drew the
bolt and sat down.

"Gramercy, Sir Thomas! be we all prisoners?" demanded his wife with a
little laugh.

"Orige," replied Sir Thomas, "Rachel and I have a thing to show thee."

"I thought you looked both mighty sad," remarked the lady calmly.

"Dost know where is Blanche?"

"Good lack, no!  I never wis where Blanche is."

"Orige, wouldst like to have Blanche wed?"

"Blanche!--to whom?"

"To Don John de Las Rojas."

"Gramercy!  Sir Thomas, you never mean it?"

"He and Blanche mean it, whate'er I may."

"Good lack, how fortunate!  Why, he will be a Marquis one day--and hath
great store of goods and money.  I never looked for such luck.  Have you
struck hands with him, Sir Thomas?"

Sir Thomas pressed his lips together, and glanced at his sister with an
air of helpless vexation.  Had it just occurred to him that the pretty
doll whom he had chosen to be the partner of his life was a little
wanting in the departments of head and heart?

"What, Orige--an enemy?" he said.

"Don John is not an enemy," returned Lady Enville, with a musical little
laugh.  "We have all made a friend of him."

"Ay--and have been fools, perchance, to do it.  'Tis ill toying with a
snake.  But yet once--a Papist?"

"Good lack! some Papists will get to Heaven, trow."

"May God grant it!" replied Sir Thomas seriously.  "But surely, Orige,
surely thou wouldst never have our own child a Papist?"

"I trust Blanche has too much good sense for such foolery, Sir Thomas,"
said the lady.  "But if no--well, 'tis an old religion, at the least,
and a splendrous.  You would never let such a chance slip through your
fingers, for the sake of Papistry?"

"No, Sister--for the sake of the Gospel," said Rachel grimly.

"Thou wist my meaning, Rachel," pursued Lady Enville.  "Well, in very
deed, Sir Thomas, I do think it were ill done to let such a chance go by
us.  'Tis like throwing back the gifts of Providence.  Do but see, how
marvellously this young man was brought hither!  And now, if he hath
made suit for Blanche, I pray you, never say him nay!  I would call it
wicked to do the same.  Really wicked, Sir Thomas!"

Lady Enville pinched the top cushion into a different position, with
what was energy for her.  There was silence for a minute.  Rachel sat
looking grimly into the fire, the personification of determined
immobility.  Sir Thomas was shading his eyes with his hand.  He was
drinking just then a very bitter cup: and it was none the sweeter for
the recollection that he had mixed it himself.  His favourite child--for
Blanche was that--seemed to be going headlong to her ruin: and her
mother not only refused to aid in saving her, but was incapable of
seeing any need that she should be saved.

"Well, Orige," he said at last, "thou takest it other than I looked for.
I had meant for to bid thee speak with Blanche.  Her own mother surely
were the fittest to do the same.  But since this is so, I see no help
but that we have her here, before us three.  It shall be harder for the
child, and I would fain have spared her.  But if it must be,--why, it
must."

"She demeriteth [merits] no sparing," said Rachel sternly.

"Truly, Sir Thomas," responded his wife, "if I am to speak my mind, I
shall bid Blanche God speed therein.  So, if you desire to let [hinder]
the same--but I think it pity a thousand-fold you should--you were
better to see her without me."

"Nay, Orige!  Shall I tell the child to her face that her father and her
mother cannot agree touching her disposal?"

"She will see it if she come hither," was the answer.

"But cannot we persuade thee, Orige?"

"Certes, nay!" replied she, with the obstinacy of feeble minds.  "Truly,
I blame not Rachel, for she alway opposeth her to marriage, howso it
come.  She stood out against Meg her trothing.  But for you, Sir
Thomas,--I am verily astonied that you would deny Blanche such good
fortune."

"I would deny the maid nought that were for her good, Orige," said the
father, sadly.

"`Good,' in sweet sooth!--as though it should be ill for her to wear a
coronet on her head, and carry her pocket brimful of ducats!  Where be
your eyes, Sir Thomas?"

"Thine be dazed, methinks, with the ducats and the coronet, Sister," put
in Rachel.

"Well, have your way," said Lady Enville, spreading out her hands, as if
she were letting Blanche's good fortune drop from them: "have your way!
You will have it, I count, as whatso I may say.  I pray God the poor
child be not heart-broken.  Howbeit, _I_ had better loved her than to do
thus."

Sir Thomas was silent, not because he did not feel the taunt, but
because he did feel it too bitterly to trust himself with speech.  But
Rachel rose from her chair, deeply stung, and spoke very plain words
indeed.

"Orige Enville," she said, "thou art a born fool!"

"Gramercy, Rachel!" ejaculated her sister-in-law, as much moved out of
her graceful ease of manner as it lay in her torpid nature to be.

"You can deal with the maid betwixt you two," pursued the spinster.  "I
will not bear a hand in the child's undoing."

And she marched out of the room, and slammed the door behind her.

"Good lack!" was Lady Enville's comment.

Without resuming the subject, Sir Thomas walked to the other door and
opened it.

"Blanche!" he said, in that hard, constrained tone which denotes not
want of feeling, but the endeavour to hide it.

"Blanche is in the garden, Father," said Margaret, coming out of the
hall.  "Shall I seek her for you?"

"Ay, bid her come, my lass," said he quietly.

Margaret looked up inquiringly, in consequence of her father's unusual
tone; but he gave her no explanation, and she went to call Blanche.

That young lady was engaged at the moment in a deeply interesting
conversation with Don Juan upon the terrace.  They had been exchanging
locks of hair, and vows of eternal fidelity.  Margaret's approaching
step was heard just in time to resume an appearance of courteous
composure; and Don Juan, who was possessed of remarkable versatility,
observed as she came up to them--

"The clouds be a-gathering, Dona Blanca.  Methinks there shall be rain
ere it be long."

"How now, Meg?--whither away?" asked Blanche, with as much calmness as
she could assume; but she was by no means so clever an actor as her
companion.

"Father calleth thee, Blanche, from Mother's bower."

"How provoking!" said Blanche to herself.  Aloud she answered, "Good; I
thank thee, Meg."

Blanche sauntered slowly into the boudoir.  Lady Enville reclined in her
chair, engaged again with her comedy, as though she had said all that
could be said on the subject under discussion.  Sir Thomas stood leaning
against the jamb of the chimney-piece, gazing sadly into the fire.

"Meg saith you seek me, Father."

"I do, my child."

His grave tone chilled Blanche's highly-wrought feelings with a vague
anticipation of coming evil.  He set a chair for her, with a courtesy
which he always showed to a woman, not excluding his daughters.

"Sit, Blanche: we desire to know somewhat of thee."

The leaves of the play in Lady Enville's hand fluttered; but she had
just sense enough not to speak.

"Blanche, look me in the face, and answer truly:--Hath there been any
passage of love betwixt Don John and thee?"

Blanche's heart gave a great leap into her throat,--not perhaps
anatomically, but so far as her sensations were concerned.  She played
for a minute with her gold chain in silence.  But the way in which the
question was put roused all her better feelings; and when the first
unpleasant thrill was past, her eyes looked up honestly into his.

"I cannot say nay, Father, and tell truth."

"Well said, my lass, and bravely.  How far hath it gone, Blanche?"

Blanche's chain came into requisition again.  She was silent.

"Hath he spoken plainly of wedding thee?"

"I think so," said Blanche faintly.

"Didst give him any encouragement thereto?" was the next question--
gravely, but not angrily asked.

If Blanche had spoken the simple truth, she would have said "Plenty."
But she dared not.  She looked intently at the floor, and murmured
something about "perhaps" and "a little."

Her father sighed.  Her mother appeared engrossed with the play.

"And yet once tell me, Blanche--hath he at all endeavoured himself to
persuade thee to accordance with his religion?  Hath he given thee any
gifts, such as a cross, or a relic-case, or the like?"

Blanche would have given a good deal to run away.  But there was no
chance of it.  She must stand her ground; and not only that, but she
must reply to this exceedingly awkward question.

Don Juan had given her one or two little things, she faltered, leaving
the more important points untouched.  Was her father annoyed at her
accepting them?  She had no intention of vexing him.

"Thou hast not vexed me, my child," he said kindly.  "But I am
troubled--grievously troubled and sorrowful.  And the heavier part of my
question, Blanche, thou hast not dealt withal."

"Which part, Father?"

She knew well enough.  She only wanted to gain time.

"Hath this young man tampered with thy faith?"

"He hath once and again spoken thereof," she allowed.

"Spoken what, my maid?"

Blanche's words, it was evident, came very unwillingly.

"He hath shown me divers matters wherein the difference is but little,"
she contrived to say.

Sir Thomas groaned audibly.

"God help and pardon me, to have left my lamb thus unguarded!" he
murmured to himself.  "O Blanche, Blanche!"

"What is it, Father?" she said, looking up in some trepidation.

"Tell me, my daughter,--should it give thee very great sorrow, if thou
wert never to see this young man again?"

"What, Father?--O Father!"

"My poor child!" he sighed.  "My poor, straying, unguarded child!"

Blanche was almost frightened.  Her father seemed to her to be coming
out in entirely a new character.  At this juncture Lady Enville laid
down the comedy, and thought proper to interpose.

"Doth Don John love thee, Blanche?"

Blanche felt quite sure of that, and she intimated as much, but in a
very low voice.

"And thou lovest him?"

With a good many knots and twists of the gold chain, Blanche confessed
this also.

"Now really, Sir Thomas, what would you?" suggested his wife, re-opening
the discussion.  "Could there be a better establishing for the maiden
than so?  'Twere easy to lay down rule, and win his promise, that he
should not seek to disturb her faith in no wise.  Many have done the
like--"

"And suffered bitterly by reason thereof."

"Nay, now!--why so?  You see the child's heart is set thereon.  Be ruled
by me, I pray you, and leave your fantastical objections, and go seek
Don John.  Make him to grant you oath, on the honour of a Spanish
gentleman, that Blanche shall be allowed the free using of her own
faith--and what more would you?"

"If thou send me to seek him, Orige, I shall measure swords with him."

Blanche uttered a little scream.  Lady Enville laughed her soft, musical
laugh--the first thing which had originally attracted her husband's
fancy to her, eighteen years before.

"I marvel wherefore!" she said, laying down the play, and taking up her
pomander--a ball of scented drugs, enclosed in a golden network, which
hung from her girdle by a gold chain.

"Wherefore?" repeated Sir Thomas more warmly.  "For plucking my fairest
flower, when I had granted unto him but shelter in my garden-house!"

"He has not plucked it yet," said Lady Enville, handling the pomander
delicately, so that too much scent should not escape at once.

"He hath done as ill," replied Sir Thomas shortly.

Lady Enville calmly inhaled the fragrance, as if nothing more serious
than itself were on her mind.  Blanche sat still, playing with her
chain, but looking troubled and afraid, and casting furtive glances at
her father, who was pacing slowly up and down the room.

"Orige," he said suddenly, "can Blanche make her ready to leave home?--
and how soon?"

Blanche looked up fearfully.

"What wis I, Sir Thomas?" languidly answered the lady.  "I reckon she
could be ready in a month or so.  Where would you have her go?"

"A month!  I mean to-night."

"To-night, Sir Thomas!  'Tis not possible.  Why, she hath scantly a gown
fit to show."

"She must go, nathless, Orige.  And it shall be to the parsonage.  They
will do it, I know.  And Clare must go with her."

"The parsonage!" said Lady Enville contemptuously.  "Oh ay, she can go
there any hour.  They should scantly know whether she wear satin or
grogram.  Call for Clare, if you so desire it--she must see to the
gear."

"Canst not thou, Orige?"

"I, Sir Thomas!--with my feeble health!"

And Lady Enville looked doubly languid as she let her head sink back
among the cushions.  Sir Thomas looked at her for a minute, sighed
again, and then, opening the door, called out two or three names.
Barbara answered, and he bade her "Send hither Mistress Clare."

Clare was rather startled when she presented herself at the boudoir
door.  Blanche, she saw, was in trouble of some kind; Lady Enville
looked annoyed, after her languid fashion; and the grave, sad look of
Sir Thomas was an expression as new to Clare as it had been to the
others.

"Clare," said her step-father, "I am about to entrust thee with a
weighty matter.  Are thy shoulders strong enough to bear such burden?"

"I will do my best, Father," answered Clare, whose eyes bespoke both
sympathy and readiness for service.

"I think thou wilt, my good lass.  Go to, then:--choose thou, out of
thine own and Blanche's gear, such matter as ye may need for a month or
so.  Have Barbara to aid thee.  I would fain ye were hence ere
supper-time, so haste all thou canst.  I will go and speak with Master
Tremayne, but I am well assured he shall receive you."

A month at the parsonage!  How delightful!--thought Clare.  Yet
something by no means delightful had evidently led to it.

"Clare!" her mother called to her as she was leaving the room,--"Clare!
have a care thou put up Blanche's blue kersey.  I would not have her in
rags, even yonder; and that brown woolsey shall not be well for another
month.  And,--Blanche, child, go thou with Clare; see thou have ruffs
enow; and take thy pearl chain withal."

Blanche was relieved by being told to accompany her sister.  She had
been afraid that she was about to be put in the dark closet like a
naughty child, with no permission to exercise her own will about
anything.  And just now, the parsonage looked to her a dark closet
indeed.

But Sir Thomas turned quickly on hearing this, with--"Orige, I desire
Blanche to abide here.  If there be aught she would have withal, she can
tell Clare of it."

And, closing the door, he left the three together.

"Oh!--very well," said Lady Enville, rather crossly.  Blanche sat down
again.

"What shall I put for thee, Blanche?" asked Clare gently.

"What thou wilt," muttered Blanche sulkily.

"I will lay out what I think shall like thee best," was her sister's
kind reply.

"I would like my green sleeves, [Note 1] and my tawny kirtle," said
Blanche in a slightly mollified tone.

"Very well," replied Clare, and hastened away to execute her commission,
calling Barbara as she went.

"What ado doth Sir Thomas make of this matter!" said Lady Enville,
applying again to the pomander.  "If he would have been ruled by me--
Blanche, child, hast any other edge of pearl?"  [Note 2.]

"Ay, Mother," said Blanche absently.

"Metrusteth 'tis not so narrow as that thou wearest.  It becometh thee
not.  And the guarding of that gown is ill done--who set it on?"

Blanche did not remember--and, just then, she did not care.

"Whoso it were, she hath need be ashamed thereof.  Come hither, child."

Blanche obeyed, and while her mother gave a pull here, and smoothed down
a fold there, she stood patiently enough in show, but most unquietly in
heart.

"Nought would amend it, save to pick it off and set it on again," said
Lady Enville, resigning her endeavours.  "Now, Blanche, if thou art to
abide at the parsonage, where I cannot have an eye upon thee, I pray
thee remember thyself, who thou art, and take no fantasies in thine head
touching Arthur Tremayne."

Arthur Tremayne!  What did Blanche care for Arthur Tremayne?

"I am sore afeard, Blanche, lest thou shouldst forget thee.  It will not
matter for Clare.  If he be a parson's son, yet is he a Tremayne of
Tremayne,--quite good enough for Clare, if no better hap should chance
unto her.  But thou art of better degree by thy father's side, and we
look to have thee well matched, according thereto.  Thy father will not
hear of Don John, because he is a Papist, and a Spaniard to boot:
elsewise I had seen no reason to gainsay thee, poor child!  But of
course he must have his way.  Only have a care, Blanche, and take not up
with none too mean for thy degree,--specially now, while thou art out of
our wardship."

There was no answer from Blanche.

"Mistress Tremayne will have a care of thee, maybe," pursued her mother,
unfurling her fan--merely as a plaything, for the weather did not by any
means require it.  "Yet 'tis but nature she should work to have Arthur
well matched, and she wot, of course, that thou shouldst be a rare catch
for him.  So do thou have a care, Blanche."

And Lady Enville, leaning back among her cushions, furled and unfurled
her handsome fan, alike unconscious and uncaring that she had been
guilty of the greatest injustice to poor Thekla Tremayne.

There was a rap at the door, and enter Rachel, looking as if she had
imbibed an additional pound of starch since leaving the room.

"Sister, would you have Blanche's tartaryn gown withal, or no?"

"The crimson?  Let me see," said Lady Enville reflectively.  "Ay,
Rachel,--she may as well have it.  I would not have thee wear it but for
Sundays and holy days, Blanche.  For common days, _there_, thy blue
kersey is full good enough."

Without any answer, and deliberately ignoring the presence of Blanche,
Rachel stalked away.

It was a weary interval until Sir Thomas, returned.  Now and then Clare
flitted in and out, to ask her mother's wishes concerning different
things: Jennet came in with fresh wood for the fire; Lady Enville
continued to give cautions and charges, as they occurred to her, now
regarding conduct and now costume: but a miserable time Blanche found
it.  She felt herself, and she fancied every one else considered her, in
dire disgrace.  Yet beneath all the mortification, the humiliation, and
the grief over which she was brooding, there was a conviction in the
depth of Blanche's heart, resist it as she might, that the father who
was crossing her will was a wiser and truer friend to her than the
mother who would have granted it.

Sir Thomas came at last.  He wore a very tired look, and seemed as if he
had grown several years older in that day.

"Well, all is at a point, Orige," he said.  "Master Tremayne hath right
kindly given consent to receive both the maids into his house, for so
long a time as we may desire it; but Mistress Tremayne would have
Barbara come withal, if it may stand with thy conveniency.  She hath but
one serving-maid, as thou wist; and it should be more comfortable to the
childre to have her, beside the saving of some pain [trouble, labour]
unto Mistress Tremayne."

"They can have her well enough, trow," answered Lady Enville.  "I seldom
make use of her.  Jennet doth all my matters."

"But how for Meg and Lucrece?"

Barbara's position in the household was what we should term the young
ladies' maid; but maids in those days were on very familiar and
confidential terms with their ladies.

"Oh, they will serve them some other way," said Lady Enville carelessly.

The convenience of other people was of very slight account in her
Ladyship's eyes, so long as there was no interference with her own.

"Cannot Kate or Doll serve?" asked Sir Thomas--referring to the two
chambermaids.

"Of course they can, if they must," returned their nominal mistress.
"Good lack, Sir Thomas!--ask Rachel; I wis nought about the house gear."

Sir Thomas walked off, and said no more.

With great difficulty and much hurrying, the two girls contrived to
leave the house just before supper.  Sir Thomas was determined that
there should be no further interview between Blanche and Don Juan.  Nor
would he have one himself, until he had time to consider his course more
fully.  He supped in his own chamber.  Lady Enville presented herself in
the hall, and was particularly gracious; Rachel uncommonly stiff;
Margaret still and meditative; Lucrece outwardly demure, secretly
triumphant.

Supper at the parsonage was deferred for an hour that evening, until the
guests should arrive.  Mrs Tremayne received both with a motherly kiss.
Foolish as she thought Blanche, she looked upon her as being almost as
much a victim of others' folly as a sufferer for her own: and Thekla
Tremayne knew well that the knowledge that we have ourselves to thank
for our suffering does not lessen the pain, but increases it.

The kindness with which Blanche was received--rather as an honoured
guest than as a naughty child sent to Coventry--was soothing to her
ruffled feelings.  Still she had a great deal to, bear.  She was deeply
grieved to be suddenly and completely parted from Don Juan; and she
imagined that he would be as much distressed as herself.  But the idea
of rebelling against her father's decree never entered her head; neither
did the least suspicion of Lucrece's share in the matter.

Blanche was rather curious to ascertain how much Clare knew of her
proceedings, and what she thought of them.  Now it so happened that in
the haste of the departure, Clare had been told next to nothing.  The
reason of this hasty flight to the parsonage was all darkness to her,
except for the impression which she gathered from various items that the
step thus taken had reference not to herself, but to Blanche.  What her
sister had done, was doing, or was expected to do, which required such
summary stoppage, Clare could not even guess.  Barbara was quite as
ignorant.  The interviews between Blanche and Don Juan had been so
secret, and so little suspected, that the idea of connecting him with
the affair did not occur to either.

One precious relic Blanche had brought with her--the lock of hair
received from Don Juan on that afternoon which was so short a time back,
and felt so terribly long--past and gone, part of another epoch
altogether.  Indeed, she had not had any opportunity of parting with it,
except by yielding it to her father; and for this she saw no necessity,
since he had laid no orders on her concerning Don Juan's gifts.  While
Clare knelt at her prayers, and Barbara was out of the room, Blanche
took the opportunity to indulge in another look at her treasure.  It was
silky black, smooth and glossy; tied with a fragment of blue ribbon,
which Don Juan had assured her was the colour of truth.

"Is he looking at the ringlet of fair hair which I gave him?" thought
she fondly.  "He will be true to me.  Whate'er betide, I know he will be
true!"

Poor little Blanche!

------------------------------------------------------------------------

Note 1.  Sleeves were then separate from the dress, and were fastened
into it when put on, according to the fancy of the wearer.

Note 2.  Apparently the plaited border worn under the French cap.



CHAPTER EIGHT.

THEKLA COMES TO THE RESCUE.

  "It were a well-spent journey,
  Though seven deaths lay between."

  _A.R. Cousins_.

"Lysken, didst thou ever love any one very much?"

Blanche spoke dreamily, as she stood leaning against the side of the
window in the parsonage parlour, and with busy idleness tied knots in
her gold chain, which at once untied themselves by their own weight.

"Most truly," said Lysken, looking up with an expression of surprise.
"I love all here--very much."

"Ah! but--not here?"

"Certes.  I loved Mayken Floriszoon, who died at Leyden, the day after
help came.  And I loved Aunt Jacobine; and Vrouw Van Vliet, who took
care of me before I came hither.  And I loved--O Blanche, how dearly!--
my father and my mother."

Blanche's ideas were running in one grove, and Lysken's in quite a
different one.

"Ay, but I mean, Lysken--another sort of love."

"Another sort!" said Lysken, looking up again from the stocking which
she was darning.  "Is there any sort but one?"

"Oh ay!" responded Blanche, feeling her experience immeasurably past
that of Lysken.

"Thou art out of my depth, Blanche, methinks," said Lysken, re-threading
her needle in a practical unromantic way.  "Love is love, for me.  It
differeth, of course, in degree; we love not all alike.  But, methinks,
even a man's love for God, though it be needs deeper and higher far,
must yet be the same manner of love that he hath for his father, or his
childre, or his friends.  I see not how it can be otherwise."

Blanche was shocked at the business-like style in which Lysken darned
while she talked.  Had such a question been asked of herself, the
stocking would have stood still till it was settled.  She doubted
whether to pursue the subject.  What was the use of talking upon
thrilling topics to a girl who could darn stockings while she calmly
analysed love?  Still, she wanted somebody's opinion; and she had an
instinctive suspicion that Clare would be no improvement upon her
cousin.

"Well, but," she said hesitatingly, "there is another fashion of love,
Lysken.  The sort that a woman hath toward her husband."

"That is deeper, I guess, than she hath for her father and mother, else
would she not leave them to go with him," said Lysken quietly; "but I
see not wherein it should be another sort."

"'Tis plain thou didst never feel the same, Lysken," returned Blanche
sentimentally.

"How could I, when I never had an husband?" answered Lysken, darning
away tranquilly.

"But didst thou never come across any that--that thou shouldst fain--"

"Shouldst fain--what?" said Lysken, as Blanche paused.

"Shouldst have liked to wed," said Blanche, plunging into the matter.

"Gramercy, nay!" replied Lysken, turning the stocking to look at the
other side.  "And I should have thought shame if I had."

Blanche felt this speech a reflection on herself.

"Lysken!" she cried pettishly.

Lysken put down the stocking, and looked at Blanche.

"What meanest thou?" she inquired, in a plain matter-of-fact style which
was extremely aggravating to that young lady.

"Oh, 'tis to no good to tell thee," returned Blanche loftily.  "Thou
wist nought at all thereabout."

"_What_ about?" demanded Lysken, to whom Blanche was unintelligible.

"About nought.  Let be!"

"I cannot tell wherefore thou art vexed, Blanche," said Lysken, resuming
her darning, in that calm style which is eminently provoking to any one
in a passion.

"Thou seest not every matter in the world," retorted Blanche, with an
air of superiority.  "And touching this matter, 'tis plain thou wist
nothing.  Verily, thou hast gain therein; for he that hath bettered
knowledge--as saith Solomon--hath but increased sorrow."

"Blanche, I do not know whereof thou art talking!  Did I put thee out by
saying I had thought shame to have cared to wed with any, or what was
it?  Why, wouldst not thou?"

This final affront was as the last straw to the camel.  Deigning no
answer, which she felt would be an angry one, Blanche marched away like
an offended queen, and sat down on a chair in the hall as if she were
enthroning herself upon a pedestal.  Mrs Tremayne was in the hall, and
the door into the parlour being open, she had heard the conversation.
She made no allusion to it at the time, but tried to turn the girl's
thoughts to another topic.  Gathering from it, however, the tone of
Blanche's mind, she resolved to give her a lesson which should not eject
her roughly from her imaginary pedestal--but make her come down from it
of her own accord.

"Poor foolish child!" said Mrs Tremayne to herself.  "She has mistaken
a rushlight for the sun, and she thinks her horizon wider than that of
any one else.  She is despising Lysken, at this moment, as a shallow,
prosaic character, who cannot enter into the depth of her feelings, and
has not attained the height of her experience.  And there are heights
and depths in Lysken that Blanche will never reach."

Mrs Tremayne found her opportunity the next evening.  She was alone
with Blanche in the parlour; and knowing pretty well what every one was
doing, she anticipated a quiet half-hour.

Of all the persons to whom Blanche was known, there was not one so well
fitted to deal with her in this crisis as the friend in whose hands she
had been placed for safety.  Thirty years before, Thekla Tremayne had
experienced a very dark trial,--had become miserably familiar with the
heart-sickness of hope deferred,--during four years when the best
beloved of Robin Tremayne had known no certainty whether he was living
or dead, but had every reason rather to fear the latter.  Compared with
a deep, long-tried love like hers, this sentimental fancy over which
Blanche was making herself cross and unhappy was almost trivial.  But
Mrs Tremayne knew that trouble is trouble, if it be based on folly; she
thought that she recognised in Blanche, silly though she was in some
points, a nobler nature than that of the vain, selfish, indolent mother
from whom the daughter derived many of the surface features of her
character: and she longed to see that nobler nature rouse itself to
work, and sweep away the outward vanity and giddiness.  It might be that
even this would show her the real hollowness of the gilded world; that
this one hour's journey over the weary land would help to drive her for
shelter to the shadow of the great Rock.

Blanche sat on a low stool at Mrs Tremayne's feet, gazing earnestly
into the fire.  Neither had spoken for some time, during which the only
sounds were the slight movements of Mrs Tremayne as she sat at work,
and now and then a heavy sigh from Blanche.  When the fifth of these was
drawn, the lady gently laid her hand on the girl's head.

"Apothecaries say, Blanche, that sighing shorteneth life."

Blanche looked up.  "I reckon you count me but a fool, Mistress
Tremayne, as do all other."

"Blanche," said her friend, "I will tell thee a story, and after that
thou shall judge for thyself what account I make of thee."

Blanche looked interested, and altered her position so as to watch Mrs
Tremayne's face while she was speaking.

"Once upon a time, Blanche,--in the days of Queen Mary,--there was a
priest that had a daughter of thine own age--sixteen years.  In those
days, as I cast no doubt thou hast heard, all wedded priests were laid
under ban, and at the last a day was set whereon all they must needs
part from their wives.  Though my story take root ere this, yet I pray
thee bear it in mind, for we shall come thereto anon.  Well, this
damsel, with assent of her father, was troth-plight unto a young man
whom she loved very dearly; but seeing her youth, their wedding was yet
some way off.  In good sooth, her father had given assent under bond
that they should not wed for three years; and the three years should be
run out in June, 1553."

"Three years!" said Blanche, under her breath.

"This young man was endeavouring himself for the priesthood.  During the
time of King Edward, thou wist, there was no displeasure taken at
married priests; and so far as all they might see when the three years
began to run, all was like to go smooth enough.  But when they were run
out, all England was trembling with fear, and men took much thought
[felt much anxiety] for the future.  King Edward lay on his dying bed;
and there was good reason--ah! more reason than any man then knew!--to
fear that the fair estate of such as loved the Gospel should die with
him.  For a maid then to wed a priest, or for a wedded man to receive
orders, was like to a man casting him among wild beasts: there was but a
chance that he might not be devoured.  So it stood, that if this young
man would save his life, he must give up one of two things,--either the
service which for many months back he had in his own heart offered to
God, or the maiden whom, for a time well-nigh as long, he had hoped
should be his wife.  What, thinkest thou, should he have done, Blanche?"

"I wis not, in very deed, Mistress Tremayne," said Blanche, shaking her
head.  "I guess he should have given up rather her,--but I know not.
Methinks it had been sore hard to give up either.  And they were
troth-plight."

"Well,--I will tell thee what they did.  They did appoint a set time, at
the end whereof, should he not then have received orders (it being not
possible, all the Protestant Bishops being prisoners), he should then
resign the hope thereof, and they twain be wed.  The three years, thou
wist, were then gone.  They fixed the time two years more beyond,--to
run out in August, 1555--which should make five years' waiting in all."

"And were they wed then?" said Blanche, drawing a long breath.

"When the two further years were run out, Blanche--"

Blanche was a little startled to hear how Mrs Tremayne's voice
trembled.  She was evidently telling "an owre true tale."

"The maid's father, and he that should have been her husband, were taken
in one day.  When those two years were run out, her father lay hidden
away, having 'scaped from prison, until he might safely be holpen out of
the country over seas: and the young man was a captive in Exeter Castle,
and in daily expectation of death."

"Good lack!"

"And two years thereafter, the young man was had away from Exeter unto
Woburn, and there set in the dread prison called Little Ease, shaped
like to a funnel, wherein a man might neither stand, nor sit, nor lie,
nor kneel."

"O Mistress Tremayne!  Heard any ever the like!  And what came of the
maiden, poor soul?"

The needlework in Mrs Tremayne's hand was still now; and if any one had
been present who had known her thirty years before, he would have said
that a shadow of her old look at that terrible time had come back to her
deep sweet eyes.

"My child, God allowed her to be brought very low.  At the first, she
was upheld mightily by His consolations: and they that saw her said how
well she bare it.  But 'tis not alway the first blush of a sorrow that
trieth the heart most sorely.  And there came after this a time--when it
was an old tale to them that knew her, and their comforting was given
over,--a day came when all failed her.  Nay, I should have said rather,
all seemed to fail her.  God failed her not; but her eyes were holden,
and she saw Him not beside her.  It was darkness, an horror of great
darkness, that fell upon her.  The Devil came close enough; he was very
busy with her.  Was there any hope? quoth he.  Nay, none, or but very
little.  Then of what worth were God's promises to hear and deliver?  He
had passed His word, and He kept it not.  Was God able to help?--was He
true to His promise?--go to, was there any God in Heaven at all?  And
so, Blanche, she was tossed to and fro on the swelling billows, now up,
seeing a faint ray of light, now down, in the depth of the darkness:
yet, through all, with an half-palsied grasp, so to speak, upon the hem
of Christ's garment, a groping after Him with numb hands that scarce
felt whether they held or no.  O Blanche, it was like the plague in the
land of Egypt--it was darkness that might be felt!"

Blanche listened in awed interest.

"Dear heart, the Lord hath passed word to help His people in their need;
but He saith not any where that He will alway help them right as they
would have it.  We be prone to think there is but one fashion of help,
and that if we be not holpen after our own manner, we be not holpen at
all.  Yet, if thou take a penny from a poor beggar, and give him in the
stead thereof an angel [half-sovereign], thou hast given him alms,
though he have lost the penny.  Alas, for us poor beggars! we fall to
weeping o'er our penny till our eyes be too dim with tears to see the
gold of God's alms.  Dear Blanche, I would not have thee miss the gold."

"I scantly conceive your meaning, dear Mistress."

"We will come back to that anon.  I will first tell thee what befel her
of whom I spake."

"Ay, I would fain hear the rest."

"Well, there were nigh four years of that fearful darkness.  She
well-nigh forgat that God might have some better thing in store for her,
to the which He was leading her all the time, along this weary road.
She thought He dealt hardly with her.  At times, when the darkness was
at the thickest, she fancied that all might be a delusion: that there
was no God at all, or none that had any compassion upon men.  But it was
not His meaning, to leave one of His own in that black pit of despair.
He lifted one end of the dark veil.  When the four years were over,--
that is, when Queen Elizabeth, that now is, happily succeeded to her
evil sister,--God gave the maiden back her father safe."

Blanche uttered a glad "Oh!"

"And He gave her more than that, Blanche.  He sent her therewith a
message direct from Himself.  Thou lookest on me somewhat doubtfully,
dear heart, as though thou shouldst say, Angels bring no wolds from
Heaven now o' days.  Well, in very sooth, I wis not whether they do or
no.  We see them not: can we speak more boldly than to say this?  Yet
one thing I know, Blanche: God can send messages to His childre in their
hearts, howso they may come.  And what was this word? say thine eyes.
Well, sweeting, it was the softest of all the chidings that we hear Him
to have laid on His disciples,--`O thou of little faith, wherefore didst
thou doubt?'  As though He should say,--`Thou mightest have doubted of
the fulfilling of thy special hope; yet wherefore doubt _Me_?  Would I
have taken pleasure in bereaving thee of aught that was not hurtful?
Could I not have given thee much more than this?  Because I made thine
heart void, that I might fill it with Myself,--child, did I love thee
less, or more?'"

Mrs Tremayne paused so long, that Blanche asked timidly--"And did he
come again at last, or no?"

A slight, sudden movement of her friend's head showed that her thoughts
were far away, and that she came back to the present with something like
an effort.

"Methinks, dear heart," Mrs Tremayne said lovingly, "there was a
special point whereto God did desire to bring this maiden;--a point
whereat He oft-times aimeth in the training of His childre.  It is, to
be satisfied with His will.  Not only to submit thereto.  Thou mayest
submit unto all outward seeming, and yet be sore dissatisfied."

Was not this Blanche's position at that moment?

"But to be satisfied with His ordering--to receive it as the best thing,
dearer unto thee than thine own will and way; as the one thing which
thou wouldst have done, at the cost, if need be, of all other:--ah,
Blanche, 'tis no light nor easy thing, this!  And unto this God led her
of whom I have been telling thee.  He led her, till she could look up to
Him, and say, with a true, honest heart--`Father, lead where Thou wilt.
If in the dark, well: so Thou hold me, I am content I am Thine, body,
and soul, and spirit: it shall be well and blessed for me, if but Thy
will be done.'  And then, Blanche,--when she could look up and say this
in sincerity--then He laid down His rod, and gave all back into her
bosom."

Blanche drew a deep sigh,--partly of relief, but not altogether.

"You knew this maiden your own self, Mrs Tremayne?"

"Wouldst thou fain know whom the maid were, Blanche?  Her name was--
Thekla Rose."

"Mistress Tremayne!--yourself?"

"Myself, dear heart.  And I should not have gone back over this story
now, but that I thought it might serve thee to hear it.  I love not to
look back to that time, though it were to mine own good.  'Tis like an
ill wound which is healed, and thou hast no further suffering thereof:
yet the scar is there for evermore.  And yet, dear Blanche, if it were
given me to choose, now, whether I would have that dark and weary time
part of my life, or no--reckoning what I should have lost without it--I
would say once again, Ay.  They that know the sweetness of close walking
with God will rather grope, step by step, at His side through the
darkness, than walk smoothly in the full glare of the sun without Him:
and very street was my walk, when I had won back the felt holding of His
hand."

"But is He not with them in the sunlight?" asked Blanche shyly.

"He is alway with them, dear heart: but we see his light clearest when
other lights are out.  And we be so prone to walk further off in the
daylight!--we see so many things beside Him.  We would fain be running
off after birds and butterflies; fain be filling our hands with bright
flowers by the way: and we picture not rightly to ourselves that these
things are but to cheer us on as we step bravely forward, for there will
be flowers enough when we reach Home."

Blanche looked earnestly into the red embers, and was silent.

"Seest thou now, Blanche, what I meant in saying, I would not have thee
miss the gold?"

"I reckon you mean that God hath somewhat to give, better than what He
taketh away."

"Right, dear heart.  Ah, how much better!  Yet misconceive me not, my
child.  We do not buy Heaven with afflictions; never think that,
Blanche.  There be many that have made that blunder.  Nay! the beggar
buyeth not thy gold with his penny piece.  Christ hath bought Heaven for
His chosen: it is the purchase of His blood; and nothing else in all the
world could have paid for it.  But they that shall see His glory yonder,
must be fitted for it here below; and oft-times God employeth sorrows
and cares to this end.--And now, Blanche, canst answer thine own
question, and tell me what I think of thee?"

Blanche blushed scarlet.

"I am afeared," she said, hanging down her head, "you must think me but
a right silly child."

Mrs Tremayne stroked Blanche's hair, with a little laugh.

"I think nothing very ill of thee, dear child.  But I do think thou hast
made a blunder or twain."

"What be they?"  Blanche wished to know, more humbly than she would have
done that morning.

"Well, dear Blanche--firstly, I think thou hast mistaken fancy for love.
There be many that so do.  Many think they love another, when in truth
all they do love is themselves and their own pleasures, or the
flattering of their own vain conceits.  Ask thine own heart what thou
lovest in thy lover: is it him, or his liking for thyself?  If it be but
the latter, that is not love, Blanche.  'Tis but fancy, which is to love
as the waxen image to the living man.  Love would have him it loveth
bettered at her own cost: it would fain see him higher and nobler--I
mean not higher in men's eyes, but nearer Heaven and God--whatever were
the price to herself.  True love will go with us into Heaven, Blanche:
it can never die, nor be forgotten.  Remember the word of John the
Apostle, that `he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in
him.'  And wouldst thou dare to apply that holy and heavenly name unto
some vain fancy that shall be as though it had never been six months
thereafter?  My child, we men and women be verily guilty concerning this
matter.  We take the name of that which is the very essence of God, and
set it lightly on a thing of earth and time, the which shall perish in
the using.  Well, and there is another mistake, sweet, which I fear thou
mayest have made.  It may be thou art thinking wrongfully of thine
earthly father, as I did of my heavenly One.  He dealeth with thee
hardly, countest thou?  Well, it may be so; yet it is to save thee from
that which should be much harder.  Think no ill of the father who loveth
thee and would fain save thee.  And, O Blanche! howsoever He may deal
with thee, never, never do thou think hardly of that heavenly Father,
who loveth thee far dearer than he, and would save thee from far
bitterer woe."

Blanche had looked very awe-struck when Mrs Tremayne spoke so solemnly
of the real nature of love; and now she raised tearful eyes to her
friend's face.

"I thought none ill of my father, Mistress Tremayne.  I wis well he
loveth me."

"That is well, dear heart.  I am fain it should be so."

And there the subject dropped rather abruptly, as first Clare, and then
Arthur, came into the room.

Don Juan did not appear to: miss Blanche, after the first day.  When he
found that she and her father and sister were absent from the
supper-table, he looked round with some surprise and a little
perplexity; but he asked no question, and no one volunteered an
explanation.  He very soon found a new diversion, in the shape of
Lucrece, to whom he proceeded to address his flowery language with even
less sincerity than he had done to Blanche.  But no sooner did Sir
Thomas perceive this turn of affairs than he took the earliest
opportunity of sternly demanding of his troublesome prisoner "what he
meant?"

Don Juan professed entire ignorance of the purport of this question.
Sir Thomas angrily explained.

"Nay, Senor, what would you?" inquired the young Spaniard, with an air
of injured innocence.  "An Andalusian gentleman, wheresoever he may be,
and in what conditions, must always show respect to the ladies."

"Respect!" cried the enraged squire.  "Do Spanish gentlemen call such
manner of talk showing respect?  Thank Heaven that I was born in
England!  Sir, when an English gentleman carries himself toward a young
maiden as you have done, he either designs to win her in honourable
wedlock, or he is a villain.  Which are you?"

"If we were in Spain, Senor," answered Don Juan, fire flashing from his
dark eyes, "you would answer those words with your sword.  But since I
am your prisoner, and have no such remedy, I must be content with a
reply in speech.  The customs of your land are different from ours.  I
will even condescend to say that I am, and for divers years have so
been, affianced to a lady of mine own country.  Towards the _senoritas_
your daughters, I have shown but common courtesy, as it is understood in
Spain."

In saying which, Don Juan stated what was delicately termed by Swift's
Houynhnms, "the thing which is not."  Of what consequence was it in his
eyes, when the Council of Constance had definitively decreed that "no
faith was to be kept with heretics"?

Sir Thomas Enville was less given to the use of profane language than
most gentlemen of his day, but in answer to this speech he swore
roundly, and--though a staunch Protestant--thanked all the saints and
angels that he never was in Spain, and, the Queen's Highness' commands
excepted, never would be.  As to his daughters, he would prefer turning
them all into Nebuchadnezzar's fiery furnace to allowing one of them to
set foot on the soil of that highly objectionable country.  These
sentiments were couched in the most peppery language of which the
Squire's lips were well capable; and having thus delivered himself, he
turned on his heel and left Don Juan to his own meditations.

That _caballero_ speedily discovered that he had addressed his last
compliment to any of the young ladies at Enville Court.  Henceforward he
only saw them at meals, and then he found himself, much to his
discomfiture, placed between Jack and Mistress Rachel.  To pay delicate
attentions to the latter was sheer waste of frankincense: yet it was so
much in his nature, when speaking to a woman, that he began to tell her
that she talked like an angel.  Mistress Rachel looked him full in the
face.

"Don John," said she, in the most unmoved manner, "if I believed you
true, I should call on my brother to put you forth of the hall.  As I
believe you false, I do it not."

After that day, Don Juan directed all his conversation to Jack.

He was not very sorry to leave Enville Court, which had become no longer
an amusing, but an uncomfortable place.  In his eyes, it was perfectly
monstrous that any man should object to his daughters being honoured by
the condescending notice of an Andalusian gentleman, who would one day
be a grandee of the first class; utterly preposterous!  But since this
unreasonable man was so absurd as to object to the distinction,
conferred upon his house, it was as well that an Andalusian gentleman
should be out of his sphere.  So Don Juan went willingly to London.
Friends of his parents made suit for him, and Elizabeth herself
remembered his mother, as one who had done her several little
kindnesses, such as a Lady-in-Waiting on the Queen could do for a
Princess under a cloud; and Don Juan received a free pardon, and leave
to return home when and as he would.  He only broke one more heart while
he remained in England; and that was beneath any regret on his part,
being only a poor, insignificant grocer's daughter.  And then he sailed
for Spain; and then he married Dona Lisarda; and then he became a
Lord-in-Waiting; and then he lived a wealthy, gorgeous, prosperous life;
and then all men spoke well of him, seeing how much good he had done to
himself; and then he grew old,--a highly respected, highly
self-satisfied man.

And then his soul was required of him.  Did God say to him,--"Thou
fool"?



CHAPTER NINE.

TOO ABSTRUSE FOR BLANCHE.

  "Hear the just law, the judgment of the skies!
  He that hates truth shall be the dupe of lies;
  And he that _will_ be cheated to the last,
  Delusions strong as Hell shall bind him fast."

  _Cowper_.

"I did conceive, Mistress Blanche," said Mr Tremayne one morning, as
the party rose from the breakfast-table, "that you would with a good
will see the picture of Clare's grandsire, the which hangeth in my
study-chamber?"

"Oh ay, an' it like you," responded Blanche eagerly.

Clare had seen the portrait, but not Blanche.  Mr Tremayne led the way
to his study, allowed her to examine the likeness at her leisure, and
answered all her questions about John Avery.  Entrapped Blanche did not
realise that he was catching her with the same sort of guile which Saint
Paul used towards the Corinthians.  [2 Corinthians 12, 16] Mrs Tremayne
came in, and sat down quietly with her work, before the inspection was
over.  When her curiosity was at length satisfied, Blanche thanked Mr
Tremayne, and would have left the room with a courtesy: but such was by
no means the intention of her pastor.

"I have heard, say, Mistress Blanche," said he quietly, "that your mind
hath been somewhat unsettled touching the difference, or the lack of
difference, betwixt us and the Papists.  If so be, pray you sit down,
and give us leave to talk the same over."

Blanche felt caught at last.  It must be Sir Thomas, of course, who had
told the Rector, for there was no one else who could have done it.  And
it may be added, though Blanche did not know it, that her father had
specially begged Mr Tremayne to examine into the matter, and to set
Blanche right on any points whereon she might have gone wrong.

Thus brought to a stand and forced to action, it was Blanche's nature to
behave after the manner of a mule in the same predicament, and to affect
stronger contrary convictions than she really felt.  It was true, she
said rather bluntly: she did think there was very little, if any,
difference between many doctrines held by the rival Churches.

"There is all the difference that is betwixt Heaven and earth," answered
Mr Tremayne.  "Nay, I had well-nigh said, betwixt Heaven and Hell: for
I do believe the Devil to have been the perverter of truth with those
corruptions that are in Papistry.  But I pray you, of your gentleness,
to tell me of one matter wherein, as you account, no difference lieth?"

With what power of intellect she had--which was not much--Blanche
mentally ran over the list, and selected the item on which she thought
Mr Tremayne would find least to say.

"It seemeth me you be too rude [harsh, severe] to charge the Papists
with idolatry," she said.  "They be no more idolaters than we."

"No be they?  How so, I pray you?"

"Why, the images in their churches be but for the teaching of such as
cannot read, nor do they any worship unto the image, but only unto him
that is signified thereby.  Moreover, they pray not unto the saints, as
you would have it; they do but ask the saints' prayers for them.  Surely
I may ask my father to pray for me, and you would not say that I prayed
unto him!"

"I pray you, pull bridle there, Mistress Blanche," said Mr Tremayne,
smiling; "for you have raised already four weighty points, the which may
not be expounded in a moment.  I take them, an' it like you, not justly
in your order, but rather in the order wherein they do affect each
other.  And first, under your good pleasure,--what is prayer?"

Blanche was about to reply at once, when it struck her that the question
involved more than she supposed.  She would have answered,--"Why, saying
my prayers:" but the idea came to her, _Was_ that prayer?  And she felt
instinctively that, necessarily, it was not.  She thought a moment, and
then answered slowly;--

"I would say that it is to ask somewhat with full desire to obtain the
same."

"Is that all?" replied Mr Tremayne.

Blanche thought so.

"Methinks there is more therein than so.  For it implieth, beyond this,
full belief that he whom you shall ask,--firstly, can hear you;
secondly, is able to grant you; thirdly, is willing to grant you."

"Surely the saints be willing to pray for us!"

"How know you they can hear us?"

Blanche thought, and thought, and could find no reason for supposing it.

"Again, how know you they can grant us?"

"But they pray!"

"They praise, and they hold communion: I know not whether they offer
petitions or no."

Blanche sat meditating.

"You see, therefore, there is no certainty on the first and most weighty
of all these points.  We know not that any saint can hear us.  But pass
that--grant, for our talk's sake, that they have knowledge of what
passeth on earth, and can hear when we do speak to them.  How then?
Here is Saint Mary, our Lord's mother, sitting in Heaven; and upon earth
there be petitions a-coming up unto her, at one time, from Loretto in
Italy, and from Nuremburg in Germany, and from Seville in Spain, and
from Bruges in Flanders, and from Paris in France, and from Bideford in
Devon, and from Kirkham in Lancashire.  Mistress Blanche, if she can
hear and make distinction betwixt all these at the self-same moment,
then is she no woman like to you.  Your brain should be mazed with the
din, and spent with the labour.  Invocation declareth omnipotency.  And
there is none almighty save One,--that is, God."

"But," urged Blanche, "the body may be one whither, and the spirit
another.  And Saint Mary is a spirit."

"Truly so.  Yet the spirit can scantly be in ten places at one time--how
much less a thousand?"

Blanche was silent.

"The next thing, I take it, is that they pray not unto the saints, but
do ask the saints only to pray for them.  If the saints hear them not,
the one is as futile as the other.  But I deny that they do not pray
unto the saints."

Mr Tremayne went to his bookcase, and came back with a volume in his
hand.

"Listen here, I pray you--`Blessed Virgin, Mother of God, and after Him
mine only hope, pray for me, and guard me during this night'--`Give me
power to fight against thine enemies'--`Great God, who by the
resurrection of Thy Son Jesus Christ hast rejoiced the world, we pray
Thee, grant that by His blessed mother the Virgin Mary we may obtain the
bliss of eternal life'--`Make mine heart to burn with love for Jesus
Christ,--make me to feel the death of Jesus Christ in mine heart,--cause
to be given unto us the joys of Paradise--O Jesu!  O Mary! cause me to
be truly troubled for my sins.'  These, Mistress Blanche, be from the
book that is the Common Prayer of the Papistical Church: and all these
words be spoken unto Mary.  As you well see, I cast no doubt, they do
ascribe unto her divinity.  For none can effectually work upon man's
heart--save the Holy Ghost only.  None other can cause his heart to be
`truly troubled for sin;' none other can make his heart to burn.  Now
what think you of this, Mistress Blanche?  Is it praying unto the
saints, or no?"

What Blanche thought, she did not say; but if it could be guessed from
the expression of her face, she was both shocked and astonished.

"Now come we to the third point: to wit, that images be as pictures for
the teaching of such as have no learning.  Methinks, Mistress Blanche,
that God is like to be wiser than all men.  There must needs have been
many Israelites in the wilderness that had no learning: yet His command
unto them, as unto us, is, `Ye shall not make unto you _any_ graven
image.'  I take it that the small good that might thereby be done
(supposing any such to be) should be utterly overborne of the companying
evil.  Moreover, when you do learn the vulgar, you would, I hope, learn
them that which is true.  Is it true, I pray you, that Mary was borne
into Heaven of angels, like as Christ did Himself ascend?--or that being
thus carried thither, she was crowned of God, as a queen?  Dear maid, we
have the Master's word touching all such, pourtrayments.  `The graven
images of _their_ gods shall ye burn with fire.--Thou shalt utterly
detest it, and thou shalt utterly abhor it; for it is a cursed thing.'"
[Deuteronomy twelve, verses 25, 26.]

"O Mr Tremayne!" said Blanche, with a horrified look.  "You would
surely ne'er call a picture or an image of our Lord's own mother a thing
accursed?"

"But I would, my maid," he answered very gravely, "that instant moment
that there should be given thereunto the honour and worship and glory
that be only due to Him.  `My glory will I not give to another, neither
My praise to graven images.'  Nay, I would call an image of Christ
Himself a thing accursed, if it stood in His place in the hearts of men.
Mark you, King Hezekiah utterly destroyed the serpent of brass that was
God's own appointed likeness of Christ, that moment that the children of
Israel did begin to burn incense unto it, thereby making it an idol."

"But in the Papistical Church they be no idols, Master Tremayne!"
interposed Blanche eagerly.  "Therein lieth the difference betwixt
Popery and Paganism."

"What should you say, Mistress Blanche, if you wist that therein lieth
_no_ difference betwixt Popery and Paganism?  The old Pagans were wont
to say the same thing.  [Note 1.] They should have laughed in your face
if you had charged them with worshipping wood and stone, and have
answered that they worshipped only the thing signified.  So much is it
thus, that amongst some Pagan nations, they do hold that their god
cometh down in his proper person into the image for a season (like as
the Papists into the wafer of the sacrament), and when they account him
gone, they cast the image away as no more worth.  Yet hark you how God
Himself accounteth of this their worship.  `He maketh a god, even his
graven image: he falleth down unto IT, and worshippeth IT, and prayeth
unto IT, and saith, Deliver me, for thou art my god.'  And list also how
He expoundeth the same:--`A deceived heart hath turned him aside, that
he cannot deliver his soul, nor say, Is there not a lie in my right
hand?'  [Isaiah 44, verses 17, 20.] There should be little idolatry in
this world if there were no deceived hearts."

Blanche twisted her handkerchief about, in the manner of a person who is
determined not to be convinced, yet can find nothing to say in answer.

"Tell me, Mistress Blanche,--for I think too well of your good sense to
doubt the same,--you cannot believe that Christ Himself is in a piece of
bread?"

In her inmost heart she certainly believed no such thing.  But it would
never do to retreat from her position.  In Blanche's eyes, disgrace lay
not in being mistaken, but in being shown the mistake.

"Wherefore may it not be so?" she murmured.  "'Tis matter of faith, in
like manner as is our Lord's resurrection."

"In like manner?  I cry you mercy.  You believe the resurrection on the
witness of them that knew it--that saw the sepulchre void; that saw
Christ, and spake with Him, and did eat and drink with Him, and knew Him
to be the very same Jesus that had died.  You can bear no witness either
way, for you were not there.  But in this matter of the bread, here are
you; and you see it for yourself not to be as you be told.  Your eyes
tell you that they behold bread; your hands tell you that they handle
bread; your tongue tells you that it tasteth bread.  The witness of your
senses is in question: and these three do agree that the matter is bread
only."

"The senses may be deceived, I reckon?"

"The senses may be deceived; and, as meseemeth, after two fashions:
firstly, when the senses themselves be not in full healthfulness and
vigour.  Thus, if a man have some malady in his eyes, that he know
himself to see things mistakenly, from the relation of other around him,
then may he doubt what his eyes see with regard to this matter.
Secondly, a man must not lean on his senses touching matters that come
not within the discerning of sense.  Now in regard to this bread, the
Papists do overreach themselves.  Did they but tell us that the change
made was mystical and of faith,--not within the discernment of sense--we
might then find it harder work to deal withal, and we must seek unto the
Word of God only, and not unto our sense in any wise.  But they go
farther: they tell us the change is such, that there is _no more the
substance of bread left at all_.  [Note 2.] This therefore is matter
within the discerning of sense.  If it be thus, then this change is
needs one that I can see, can taste, can handle.  I know, at my own
table, whether I eat flesh or bread; how then should I be unable to know
the same at the table of the Lord?  Make it matter of sense, and I must
needs submit it to the judgment of my senses.  But now to take the other
matter,--to wit, of faith.  Christ said unto the Jews, `The bread which
I will give is My flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.'
They took Him right as the Papists do.  They `strave among themselves,
saying, How shall this man give us his flesh to eat?'  Now mark you our
Lord's answer.  Doth He say, `Ye do ill to question this matter; 'tis a
mystery of the Church; try it not by sense, but believe?'  Nay, He
openeth the door somewhat wider, and letteth in another ray of light
upon the signification of His words.  He saith to them,--`Except ye eat
the flesh of the Son of Man, and drink His blood, ye have _no life_ in
you.'  I pray you, what manner of life?  Surely not the common life of
nature, for that may be sustained by other food.  The life, then, is a
spiritual life; and how shall spiritual life be sustained by natural
meat?  The meat must be spiritual, if the life be so.  Again He
saith,--`He that eateth My flesh, and drinketh My blood, dwelleth in Me,
and I in him.'  Now, if the eating be after a literal manner, so also
must be the dwelling.  Our bodies, therefore, must be withinside the
body of Christ in Heaven, and His body must be withinside every one of
ours on earth.  That this is impossible and ridiculous alike, I need not
to tell you.  Mistress Blanche, faith is not to believe whatsoever any
shall tell you.  It is less to believe a thing than to trust a man.  And
I can only trust a man on due testimony that he is worthy trust."

"But this is to trust Christ our Lord," said Blanche.

"Ay so, my maid?  Or is it rather to trust our own fantasy of what
Christ would say?"

Blanche was silent for a moment; then she answered,--"But He did say,
`This is My body.'"

"Will you go further, an' it like you?"

"How, Master Tremayne?"

"`This is My body, which is broken for you.'  Was the bread that He held
in His hand the body that was broken?  Did that morsel of bread take
away the sin of the world?  Look you, right in so far as the bread was
the body, in so far also was the breaking of that bread the death of
that body,--and no further.  Now, Mistress Blanche, was the breaking of
the bread the death of the body?  Think thereon, and answer me."

"It was an emblem or representation thereof, no doubt," she said slowly.

"Good.  Then, inasmuch as the breaking did set forth the death, in so
much did the bread set forth the body.  If the one be an emblem, so must
be the other."

"That may be, perchance," said Blanche, sheering off from the subject,
as she found it passing beyond her, and requiring the troublesome effort
of thought: "but, Master Tremayne, there is one other matter whereon the
speech of you Gospellers verily offendeth me no little."

"Pray you, tell me what it is, Mistress Blanche."

"It is the little honour, or I might well say the dishonour, that you do
put upon Saint Mary the blessed Virgin.  Surely, of all that He knew and
loved on this earth, she must have been the dearest unto our Lord.  Why
then thus scrimp and scant the reverence due unto her?  Verily, in this
matter, the Papists do more meetly than you."

"`More meetly'--wherewith, Mistress Blanche?  With the truth of Holy
Scripture, or with the fantasies of human nature?"

"I would say," repeated Blanche rather warmly, "that her honour must be
very dear to her blessed Son."

"There is one honour ten thousand-fold dearer unto His heart, my maid,
and that is the honour of God His eternal Father.  All honour, that
toucheth not this, I am ready to pay to her.  But tell me wherefore you
think she must be His dearest?"

"Because it must needs be thus," replied illogical Blanche.

"I would ask you to remember, Mistress Blanche, that He hath told us the
clean contrary."

Blanche looked up with an astonished expression.

"`Whosoever shall do the will of My Father which is in Heaven, the same
is My brother, and sister, and mother.'  Equally honourable, equally
dear, with that mother of His flesh whom you would fain upraise above
all other women.  And I am likewise disposed to think that word of
Paul,--`Yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now
henceforth know we Him no more'--I say, I am disposed to think this may
have his reverse side.  Though He hath known us after the flesh, yet
thus, now that He is exalted to the right hand of God, He knoweth us no
more.  And if so, then Mary is now unto Him but one of a multitude of
saved souls, all equally fair and dear and precious in the eyes of Him
that died for them."

"O Master Tremayne!"

"What would you say, Mistress Blanche?"

"That is truly--it sounds so cold!" said Blanche, disparagingly.

"Doth it so?" asked the Rector, smiling.  "Cold, that all should be
beloved of His heart?  Dear maid, 'tis not that He loveth her the less,
but that He loveth the other more."

As Blanche made no response, Mr Tremayne went on.

"There is another side to this matter, Mistress Blanche, that I daresay
you have ne'er looked upon: and it toucheth at once the matter of
images, and the reverence due unto Saint Mary.  Know you that great part
of the images held in worship for her by the Papists, be no images of
her at all?  All the most ancient--and many be very ancient--were ne'er
made for Mary.  The marvel-working black Virgins--our Lady of
Einsiedeln, our Lady of Loretto, and all such--be in very truth old
idols, of a certain Tuscan or Etruscan goddess, elder than the days of
the Romans.  [Note 3.] Again, all they that are of fair complexion--such
as have grey eyes [blue eyes were then called grey] and yellow hair--
these be not Mary the Jewess.  We can cast no doubt she was dark.
Whence then come all these fair-complexioned pictures?  We might take
it, in all likelihood, from the fancy of the painters, that did account
a fair woman to be of better favour than a dark.  But search you into
past history, and you shall find it not thus.  These fair-favoured
pictures be all of another than Mary; to wit, of that ancient goddess,
in her original of the Babylonians, that was worshipped under divers
names all over the world,--in Egypt as Isis; in Greece, as Athene,
Artemis, and Aphrodite; in Rome as Juno, Diana, and Venus: truly, every
goddess was but a diversity of this one.  [Note 4.] These, then, be no
pictures of the Maid of Nazareth.  And 'tis the like of other images,--
they be christened idols.  The famed Saint Peter, in his church at Rome
is but a christened Jupiter.  Wit you how Paganism was got rid of?  It
was by receiving of it into the very bosom of the Roman Church.  The
ceremonies of the Pagans were but turned,--from Ceres, Cybele, Isis, or
Aphrodite, unto Mary--from Apollo, Bacchus, Osiris, Tammuz, unto Christ.
Thus, when these Pagans found that they did in very deed worship the
same god, and with the same observances, as of old--for the change was
in nothing save the name only--they became Christians by handfuls;--yea,
by cityfuls.  What marvel, I pray you?  But how shall we call this
Church of Rome, that thus bewrayed her trust, and sold her Lord again
like Judas?  An idolatrous Christianity--nay, rather a baptised
idolatry!  God hath writ her name, Mistress Blanche, on the last page of
His Word; and it is, Babylon, Mother of all Abominations."

"I do marvel, Master Tremayne," said Blanche a little indignantly,
though in a constrained voice, "how you dare bring such ill charges
against the Papistical Church.  Do they not set great store by holiness,
I pray you?  Yea, have they not monks and nuns, and a celibate
priesthood, consecrate to greater holiness than other?  How can you
charge them with wickedness and abomination?"

"Poor child!" murmured the Rector, as if to himself,--"she little wist
what manner of life idolaters term holiness!  Mistress Blanche, yonder
cloak of professed holiness hideth worser matter than you can so much as
think on.  'Tis not I that set that name on the Papistical Church.  It
was God Himself.  Will you tell me, moreover, an' it like you,--What is
holiness?"

"Goodness--right-doing."

"Those be unclear words, methinks.  They may mean well-nigh aught.  For
me, I would say, Holiness is walking with God, and according to the will
of God."

"Well!  Is not God pleased with the doing of good?"

"God is pleased with nothing but Christ.  He is not pleased with you
because of your deeds.  He must first accept _you_, and that not for any
your deserving, but for the sake of the alone merits of His Son; and
then He shall be pleased with your deeds, since they shall be such as
His Spirit shall work in you.  But nothing can please God except that
which cometh from God.  Your works, apart from Him, be dead works.  And
you cannot serve the living God with dead works."

Blanche's half-unconscious shrug of the shoulders conveyed the
information that this doctrine was not agreeable to her.

"Surely God will be pleased with us if we do out best!" she muttered.

"By no means," said Mr Tremayne quietly.  "Your best is not good enough
for God.  He likeneth that best of yours to filthy rags.  What should
you say to one that brought you a present of filthy rags, so foul that
you could not so much as touch them?"

Blanche, who was extremely dainty as to what she touched, quite
appreciated this simile.  She found an answer, nevertheless.

"God is merciful, Mr Tremayne.  You picture Him as hard and unpitiful."

"Verily, Mistress Blanche, God is merciful: more than you nor I may
conceive.  But God hath no mercies outside of Christ.  Come to Him
bringing aught in your hand save Christ, and He hath nought to say to
you.  And be you ware that you cannot come and bring nothing.  If you
bring not Christ, assuredly you shall bring somewhat else,--your own
works, or your own sufferings, or in some manner your own deservings.
And for him that cometh with his own demerits in hand, God hath nought
saving the one thing he hath indeed demerited,--which is--Hell."

Mr Tremayne spoke so solemnly that Blanche felt awed.  But she did not
relish the doctrine which he preached any better on that account.

"How have I demerited that?" she asked.

"God Himself shall answer you.  `He that hath not the Son of God hath
not life.'  `He that believeth not is condemned already.'"

"But I do believe--all Christians believe!" urged Blanche.

"What believe you?"

"I believe unfeignedly all that the creed saith touching our Lord."

"And I believe as unfeignedly all that the Commentaries of Caesar say
touching that same Julius Caesar."

"What mean you, Master Tremayne?"

"What did Julius Caesar for me, Mistress Blanche?"

"Marry, nought at all," said Blanche, laughing, "without his invading of
England should have procured unto us some civility which else we had
lacked."

Civility, at that time, meant civilisation.  When, according to the
wondrous dreamer of Bedford Gaol, Mr Worldly Wiseman referred
Christian, if he should not find Mr Legality at home, to the pretty
young man called Civility, whom he had to his son, and who could take
off a burden as well as the old gentleman himself,--he meant, not what
we call civility, but what we call civilisation.  That pretty young man
is at present the most popular physician of the day; and he still goes
to the town of Morality to church.  The road to his house is crowded
more than ever, though the warning has been standing for two hundred
years, that "notwithstanding his simpering looks, he is but a
hypocrite,"--as well as another warning far older,--"Behold, the fear of
the Lord, that is wisdom."  [Job twenty-eight verse 28.]

"But now," said the Rector, with an answering smile, "tell me, what did
Jesus Christ for me?"

"He is the Saviour," she said in a low voice.

"Of whom, dear maid?"

Blanche felt rather vague on that point, and the feeling was combined
with a conviction that she ought not to be so.  She tried to give an
answer which could not be contradicted.

"Of them that believe."

"Certes," said Mr Tremayne, suppressing a smile, for he saw both
Blanche's difficulty and her attempt to evade it.  "But that, look you,
landeth us on the self place where we were at aforetime: who be they
that believe?"

Blanche wisely determined to commit herself no further.

"Would it please you to tell me, Sir?"

"Dear child, if you heard me to say, touching some man that we both were
acquaint withal,--`I believe in John'--what should you conceive that I
did signify?"

"I would account," said Blanche readily, thinking this question easy to
answer, "that you did mean, `I account of him as a true man; I trust
him; I hold him well worthy of affiance.'"

"Good.  And if, after thus saying, you should see me loth to trust an
half-angel into his hands to spend for me,--should you think that mine
act did go with my words, or no?"

"Assuredly, nay."

"Then look you, Mistress Blanche, that it is greater matter than you
maybe made account, when a man shall say, `I believe in Jesus Christ.'
For it signifieth not only that I believe He was born, and lived, and
suffered, and arose, and ascended.  Nay, but it is, I account of Him as
a true man; I trust Him, with body and soul, with friends and goods: I
hold Him worthy of all affiance, and I will hold back nothing, neither
myself nor my having, from His keeping and disposing.  (Ah, my maid!
which of us can say so much as this, at all times, and of all matters?)
But above all, in the relation whereof we have spoken, it is to say, I
trust Christ with my soul.  I lean it wholly upon Him.  I have no hope
in myself; He is mine hope.  I have no righteousness of myself; He is my
righteousness.  I have no standing before God,--I demerit nought but
hell; but Christ standeth before God for me: His blood hath washed me
clean from all sin, and His pleading with God availeth to hold me up in
His ways.  And unless or until you can from your heart thus speak I pray
you say not again that you believe in Jesus Christ."

"But, Master, every man cannot thus believe."

"No man can thus believe until God have taught him."

Blanche thought, but was not bold enough to say, that she did not see
why anybody should believe such disagreeable things about himself.  She
did not feel this low opinion of her own merits.  Hers was the natural
religion of professing Christians--that she must do the best she could,
and Christ would make up the remainder.  Mr Tremayne knew what was
passing in her mind as well as if she had spoken it.

"You think that is hard?" said he.

"_I_ think it--Mr Tremayne, I could not thus account of myself."

"You could not, dear maid.  I am assured of that."

"Then wherein lieth my fault?" demanded Blanche.

"In that you will not."

Blanche felt stung; and she spoke out now, with one of those bursts of
confidence which came from her now and then.

"That is sooth, Master.  I will not.  I have not committed such sins as
have many men and women.  I ne'er stole, nor murdered, nor used profane
swearing, nor worshipped idols, nor did many another ill matter: and I
cannot believe but that God shall be more merciful to such than to the
evil fawtors [factors, doers] that be in the world.  Where were His
justice, if no?"

"Mistress Blanche, you wit neither what is God, neither what is sin.
The pure and holy law of God is like to a golden ring.  You account,
that because you have not broken it on this side, nor on that side, you
have not broken it at all.  But if you break it on any side, it is
broken; and you it is that have broken it."

"Wherein have I broken it?" she asked defiantly.

"`All unrighteousness is sin.'  Have you alway done rightly, all your
life long?  If not, then you are a sinner."

"Oh, of course, we be all sinners," said Blanche, as if that were a very
slight admission.

"Good.  And a sinner is a condemned criminal.  He is not come into this
world to see if he may perchance do well, and stand: he is already
fallen; he is already under condemnation of law."

"Then 'tis even as I said,--there is no fault in any of us," maintained
Blanche, sturdily clinging to her point.

"`This is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men
loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.'"

"Nay, Master Tremayne, you be now too hard on me.  I love not darkness
rather than light."

"God saith you so do, dear maid.  And He knoweth--ay, better than
yourself.  But look not only on that side of the matter.  If a man
believe that and no more, 'tis fit to drive him unto desperation.  Look
up unto the writing which is over the gate into God's narrow way--the
gate and the way likewise being His Son Jesus Christ--and read His
message of peace sent unto these sinners.  `Whosoever will, let him take
the water of life freely.'  It is God's ordering, that whosoever _will_,
he can."

"You said but this last Sunday, Master Tremayne, that 'twas not possible
for any man to come to Christ without God did draw him thereto."

"_I_ said, my maid?  My Master it was which said that.  Well--what so?"

"Then we can have nought to answer for; for without God do draw us, we
cannot come."

"And without we be willing to be thus drawn, God will not do it."

"Nay, but you said, moreover, that the very will must come from God."

"Therein I spake truth."

Blanche thought she had now driven her pastor into a corner.

"Then you do allow," she asked triumphantly, "that if I should not will
the same, I am clean of all fault, sith the very will must needs come
from God?"

Mr Tremayne understood the drift of his catechumen.

"An' it like you, Mistress Blanche, we will leave a moment to make
inquiry into that point, till we shall have settled another, of more
import to you and me."

"What is it, Master?"

"Are you willing?"

"Willing that I should be saved eternally?  Most assuredly."

"Then--willing that all the will of God shall be done, in you and by
you?"

"The one followeth not the other."

"I cry you mercy.  The King of kings, like other princes, dealeth with
His rebels on his own terms."

Blanche was silent, and, very uncomfortable.

"'Tis time for me to be about my duties.  When you shall have fully
settled that point of your willingness, Mistress Blanche, and shall have
determined that you are thus willing--which God grant!--then, an' it
like you, we will go into the other matter."

And Mr Tremayne left the room with a bow, very well knowing that as
soon as the first point was satisfactorily settled, the second would be
left quiescent.

Mrs Tremayne had never opened her lips; and leaving her in the study,
Blanche wandered into the parlour, where Clare and Lysken were seated at
work.

"I marvel what Master Tremayne would have!" said Blanche, sitting down
in the window, and idly pulling the dead leaves from the plant which
stood there.  "He saith 'tis our own fault that we will not to be saved,
and yet in the self breath he addeth that the will so to be must needs
be given us of God."

Lysken looked up.

"Methinks we are all willing enow to be saved from punishment," she
said.  "What we be unwilling to be saved from is sin."

"`Sin'--alway sin!" muttered Blanche.  "Ye be both of a story.  Sin is
wickedness.  I am not wicked."

"Sin is the disobeying of God," replied Lysken.  "And saving thy
presence, Blanche, thou art wicked."

"Then so art thou!" retorted Blanche.

"So I am," said Lysken.  "But I am willing to be saved therefrom."

"Prithee, Mistress Elizabeth Barnevelt, from what sin am I not willing
to be saved?"

"Dost truly wish to know?" asked Lysken in her coolest manner.

"Certes!"

"Then--pride."

"Pride is no sin!"

"I love not gainsaying, Blanche.  But I dare in no wise gainsay the
Lord.  And He saith of pride, that it is an abomination unto Him, and He
hateth it."  [Proverbs six, verse 16; and sixteen verse 5.]

"But that is ill and sinful pride," urged Blanche.  "There is proper
pride."

"It seemeth to my poor wits," said Lysken, "that a thing which the Lord
hateth must be all of it improper."

"Why, Lysken!  Thus saying, thou shouldst condemn all high spirit and
noble bearing!"

"`Blessed are the poor in spirit.'  There was no pride in Christ,
Blanche.  And thou wilt scarce say that He bare Him not nobly."

"Why, then, we might as well all be peasants!"

"I suppose we might, if we were," said Lysken.

"Lysken, it should be a right strange world, where thou hadst the
governance!"

"Very like," was Lysken's calm rejoinder, as she set the pin a little
further in her seam.

"What good is it, prithee, to set thee up against all men's opinion?
[What are now termed `views' were then called `opinions.'] Thou shalt
but win scorn for thine."

"Were it only mine, Blanche, it should be to no good.  But when it is
God's command wherewith mine opinion runneth,--why then, the good shall
be to hear Christ say, `Well done, faithful servant.'  The scorn I bare
here shall be light weight then."

"But wherefore not go smoothly through the world?"

"Because it should cost too much."

"Nay, what now?" remonstrated Blanche.

"I have two lives, Blanche: and I cannot have my best things in both.
The one is short and passing; the other is unchangeable, and shall stand
for ever.  Now then, I would like my treasures for the second of these
two lives: and if I miss any good thing in the first, it shall be no
great matter."

"Thou art a right Puritan!" said Blanche disgustedly.

"Call not names, Blanche," gently interposed Clare.

"Dear Clare, it makes he difference," said Lysken.  "If any call me a
Papist, 'twill not make me one."

"Lysken Barnevelt, is there aught in this world would move thee?"

"`In this world?'  Well, but little, methinks.  But--there will be some
things in the other."

"What things?" bluntly demanded Blanche.

"To see His Face!" said Lysken, the light breaking over her own.  "And
to hear Him say, `Come!'  And to sit down at the marriage-supper of the
Lamb,--with the outer door closed for ever, and the woes, and the
wolves, and the winter, all left on the outside.  If none of these
earthly things move me, Blanche, it is because those heavenly things
will."

And after that, Blanche was silent.

------------------------------------------------------------------------

Note 1.  The Gentiles (saith Saint Augustine), which seem to be of the
purer religion, say, We worship not the images, but by the corporal
image we do behold the signs of the things which we ought to worship.
And Lactantius saith, The Gentiles say, We fear not the images, but them
after whose likeness the images be made, and to whose names they be
consecrated.  And Clemens saith, That serpent the Devil uttereth these
words by the mouth of certain men: We, to the honour of the invisible
God, worship visible images.--(Third Part of the Homily on Peril of
Idolatry: references in margin to Augustine Ps. 135; Lactantius l. 2.
Inst.; Clem., L.  S ad Jacob.)  Here are the "Fathers" condemning as
Pagan the reasoning of modern Papists.

Note 2.  "Credit et defendit que in eucharistia sive altaris sacramento
verum et naturalem Christi corpus ac verus et naturalis Christi sanguis
sub speciebus panis et vini vere non est; et quod _ibi est materialis
panis et materiale vinum_ tantum absque veritati et presentia corporis
et sanguinis Christi."--Indictment of Reverend Lawrence Saunders,
January 30, 1555; Harl.  MS. 421, folio 44.

"Tenes et defendes in prout quod in eucharistia sive sacramento altaris
verum naturalem et realem Christi corpus ac verus naturalis et realis
Christi sanguis sub speciebus panis et vini vere non est, sed _post
consecratione remanet substantia panis et vini_."--Indictment of
Reverend Thomas Rose, May 31, 1555; Harl.  MS. 421, folio 188.

Note 3.  There is the initial M on the pedestal of one or more of these
black Virgins, which of course the priests interpret as Mary.  This is
certainly not the case.  It has been suggested that it stands for Maia,
a name of the Tuscan goddess.  May it not be the initial of Mylitta,
"the Mediatrix," one of the favourite names of the great original
goddess?

Note 4.  See Hislop's _Two Babylons_, pages 22, 122, 491, et aliis; and
Shepheard's _Traditions of Eden_, page 117, note (where many references
are given), and page 188.



CHAPTER TEN.

COUNSEL'S OPINION.

  "A cross of gold, of silver, or of wood,
  Or of mean straw, hid in each shape of life;
  Some trial working for eternal good,
  Found in our outward state or inward strife."

"Bab!  Art thou yonder?"

"Is it Jennet?"

"Ay.  There's a gentlewoman i' th' bower to see thee."

"Nay,--a gentlewoman!  Who can it be?"

"I've told thee all I know.  Hoo [she] wanted Mistress Clare; and I said
hoo were down at th' parsonage; then hoo said, `Is Barbara Polwhele
here?'  And I said, `Ay, hoo's come o'er to fot [fetch] somewhat for th'
young mistresses.'  So hoo said, `Then I'll speak wi' her.'  So I took
her to my Lady, for I see hoo were a gentlewoman; and hoo's i' th'
bower."

"I wis nought of her," said Barbara.  "I never looked to see none here
that I know."

"Well, thou'd best go to her," decided Jennet Barbara hurried down, and
found an old silver-haired lady sitting with Lady Enville, and addressed
by her with marked deference.

"Well, Bab!" said the old lady, who was brisk enough for her years;
"thou dost not seem no younger since I saw thee in Cornwall, and the
mirror yonder saith neither am I."

"Marry La'kin! but if I thought it metely possible, I would say it were
surely Mistress Philippa Basset!"

"I will not confute thee, Bab, though it be but metely possible," said
the lively old lady, laughing.  "I came to see the child Clare; but
hearing she was hence, I then demanded thee.  I will go down to the
parsonage anon.  I would like well to see Robin, and Thekla likewise."

"Eh, Mistress Philippa! but there be great and sore changes sithence you
were used to come unto the Lamb to see Mistress Avery!"

"Go to, Barbara!  Hast dwelt sixty years, more or less, in this world,
and but now found out that all things therein be changeable?  What be
thy changes to mine?  Child, there is not a soul that I loved in those
days when Isoult dwelt in the Minories, that is not now with God in
Heaven.  Not a soul!  Fifty years gone, brethren and sisters, there were
seven of us.  All gone, save me!--a dry old bough, that sticketh yet
upon the tree whence all the fair green shoots have been lopped away.
And I the eldest of all!  The ways of God's Providence be strange."

"I said so much once unto Master Robin," responded Barbara with a smile;
"but he answered, 'twas no matter we apprehended not the same, for the
Lord knew all, and ordered the end from the beginning."

"He hath ordered me a lonely journey, and a long," said Philippa sadly.
"Well! even a Devon lane hath its turning."

"And what brought you thus far north, Mistress Philippa, an' I make not
too bold?"

"Why, I came to see Bridget's childre.  I have bidden these four months
gone with Jack Carden.  And being so nigh ye all, I thought I would
never turn home without seeing you."

Lady Bridget Carden was the daughter of Philippa Basset's step-father.
They were not really related; but they had been brought up as sisters
from their girlhood.

"Nigh, Mistress Philippa!" exclaimed Barbara in surprise.  "What, from
Cheshire hither!"

Philippa laughed merrily.  "Marry come up, Bab! thou hast not dwelt
seven years in Calais, as I have, and every yard of lawn for thy
partlets to be fetched from London, and every stone of thy meat to boot.
Why, thou earnest thine own self as far as from Cornwall."

"Eh, marry La'kin!  Never came I that way but once, and if God be
served, [if it be His will] I never look to turn again."

Philippa turned to Lady Enville, who had sat, or rather reclined,
playing with a hand-screen, while she listened to the preceding
conversation.  "And how goeth it with the child, tell me, Orige?  She is
not yet wed, trow?"

"Not yet," replied Lady Enville, with her soft smile.  "I shall ne'er be
astonied if she wed with Arthur Tremayne.  'Twere a very fair match, and
he is good enough for Clare."

"A good stock, and an old; and a good lad, I trust.  Thou must have a
care, Orige, not to cast the child away on one that will not deal well
and truly by her."

"Oh, Arthur would deal well," said Lady Enville carelessly.  "He is a
mighty sobersides, and so is Clare.  They were cut out for one another."

"Poor child!" said Philippa.

"`Poor child'--and wherefore, Mrs Basset, say you so?"

"Because, Orige, it seemeth me she hath no mother."

"Nay, Mistress Basset, what signify you?"

"No mother, Orige--or as good as none.  An' Clare had been my child, I
had never handed her o'er, to Arthur Tremayne nor any other, with no
more heed than a napron-full of sticks."

"Well, in very deed, I do take the better care of the twain for Blanche
to be well matched.  Lo' you, Mistress Basset, Blanche is of good
lineage; and she is rare lovesome--well-nigh as fair as I was at her
years--so that I would not have her to cast herself away, in no wise:
but for Clare--which hath small beauty, and is of little sort--it maketh
not much matter whom she may wed."

"Good lack, Orige Enville, is a maid's heart no matter?--is a maid's
life no matter?  Why, woman! thou lackest stirring up with a poker!  I
marvel if I were sent hither to do it."

"Gramercy, Mistress Basset!" cried Lady Enville in horror.  "That
stirring up is it which I can in no wise abide."

"The which shows how much thou lackest it.  But I am afeard thou art too
far gone for any good.  Well, I will look after the child; and I will
set Thekla on to do it.  And if I find Arthur to be a good man and true,
and Clare reasonable well affected unto him,--trust me, I will not
interfere.  But if not,--Orige, I will not see Walter's child cast away,
if thou wilt."

"Nay, good lack, Mrs Basset, what would you do?"

Lady Enville knew the energy and determination of the old lady's
character, and that if she set her mind upon a course of action, she was
pretty sure to carry it through, and to make other people do as she
wished.

"I will do _that_" said Philippa decidedly.  "I will judge whether the
lot thou hast chalked out for Clare be fit for her."

"But in case you judge it not so, what then?"

"Then I will have the child away."

"I could ne'er allow that, Mistress Basset," said Lady Enville with
unusual decision.

"I shall ne'er ask thee, Orige," returned Philippa, with a slightly
contemptuous stress upon the pronoun.  "I will talk with thine husband;
I trust he will hear reason, though thou mayest not.  And I could find
good places enow for Clare; I have many friends in the Court.  My Lady
Dowager of Kent [Susan Bertie, the only daughter of Katherine Duchess of
Suffolk] would work, I know, for Isoult Barry's granddaughter; and so
would Beatrice Vivian [a fictitious person], Isoult's old comrade, that
hath a daughter and a niece to boot in the Queen's chamber.  And I dare
say my Lady Scrope [Note 1] would do somewhat for me.  Any way, I would
assay it."

"What, to have Clare in the Queen's Majesty's Court?" demanded Lady
Enville, her eyes sparkling with interest and pleasure.  "O Mistress
Basset, could you not compass the same for Blanche?"

"In the Court!  By my troth, nay!" said Philippa heartily.  "I would
never set maid that I cared a pin for in Queen Bess's Court.  Soothly,
there _be_ good women there, but--And as for Blanche,--I will see her,
Orige, ere I say aught.  Blanche hath stole all thine heart, methinks--
so much as there was to steal."

"But what meant you touching Clare, Mistress Basset?"

"What meant I?  Why, to have her with some worthy and well-conditioned
dame of good degree, that should see her well bestowed.  I would trust
my Lady Dowager of Kent, forsooth, or my Lady Scrope--she is a good
woman and a pleasant--or maybe--"

"And my Lady Scrope is herself in the Court, I take it," said Lady
Enville, pursuing her own train of thought, independent of that of
Philippa.

"Ay, and were therefore the less fitting," said Philippa coolly.  "Take
no thought thereabout, Orige; I will do nought till I have seen the
maidens."

"But, Mistress Basset! you would ne'er count that mine husband's word,
that is not in very deed her father, should weigh against mine, that am
her true and natural mother?" urged Lady Enville in an injured tone.

"Thou art her natural mother, Orige, 'tis sooth," was the uncompromising
answer: "but whether true or no, that will I not say.  I rather think
nay than yea.  And if thine husband be better father unto the child than
thou mother, he is the fitter to say what shall come of the maid.  And I
can alway reason with a man easilier than a woman.  Women be geese,
mostly!"

With which reasonably plain indication of her sentiments, the old lady
rose and took her leave.  She would have no escort to the parsonage.
She would come back and be introduced to Sir Thomas when she had seen
the girls.  And away she trudged, leaving Lady Enville in the
undesirable situation of one who feels that a stronger will than his own
is moulding his fate, and running counter to his inclinations.

Open doors were kept at the parsonage, as was generally the case in
Elizabethan days.  It was therefore no surprise to Mrs Tremayne, who
was occupied in the kitchen, with her one servant Alison acting under
her orders, to hear a smart rap on the door which shut off the kitchen
from the hall.

"Come within!" she called in answer, expecting some parishioner in want
of advice or alms.

But in marched an upright, brisk old lady, with silver hair, and a stout
staff in her hand.

"I am come to see Thekla Rose," said she.

Mrs Tremayne was surprised now.  It was thirty years since that name
had belonged to her.

"And Thekla Rose has forgot me," added the visitor.

"There is a difference betwixt forgetting and not knowing," replied Mrs
Tremayne with a smile.

"There is so," returned the old lady.  "Therefore to make me known,
which I see I am not,--my name is Philippa Basset."

The exclamation of delighted recognition which broke from the Rector's
wife must have shown Philippa that she was by no means forgotten.  Mrs
Tremayne took her visitor into the parlour, just then unoccupied,--
seated her in a comfortable cushioned chair, and, leaving Alison to bake
or burn the cakes and pie in the oven as she found it convenient, had
thenceforward no eyes and ears but for Philippa Basset.  Certainly the
latter had no cause to doubt herself welcome.

"I spake truth, Thekla, child, when I said I was come to see thee.  Yet
it was but the half of truth, for I am come likewise to see Robin: and I
would fain acquaint me with yonder childre.  Be they now within doors?"

"They be not all forth, or I mistake," said Mrs Tremayne; and she went
to the door and called them--all four in turn.  Blanche answered from
the head of the stairs, but avowed herself ignorant of the whereabouts
of any one else; and Mrs Tremayne begged her to look for and bring such
as she could find to the parlour, to see an old friend of Clare's
family.

In a few minutes Blanche and Lysken presented themselves.  Arthur and
Clare were not to be found.  Philippa's keen, quick eyes surveyed the
two girls as they entered, and mentally took stock of both.

"A vain, giddy goose!" was her rapid estimate of Blanche; wherein, if
she did Blanche a little injustice, there was some element of truth.
"Calm and deep, like a river," she said to herself of Lysken: and there
she judged rightly enough.

Before any conversation beyond the mere introductions could occur, in
trotted Mrs Rose.

"Mistress Philippa, you be the fairest ointment for the eyen that I have
seen these many days!" said the lively little Flemish lady.  "_Ma foi_!
I do feel myself run back, the half of my life, but to look on you.  I
am a young woman once again."

"Old friend, we be both of us aged women," said Philippa.

"And it is true!" said Mrs Rose.  "That will say, the joints be stiff,
and the legs be weakened, and the fatigue is more and quicker: but I
find not that thing within me, that men call my soul, to grow stiff nor
weak.  I laugh, I weep, I am astonied,--just all same as fifty years
since.  See you?"

"Ah! you have kept much of the childly heart," answered Philippa
smiling.  "But for me, the main thing with me that is not stiff nor weak
in me is anger and grief.  Men be such flat fools--and women worser, if
worse can be."

Blanche opened her eyes in amazement Lysken looked amused.

"Ah, good Mistress Philippa, I am one of the fools," said Mrs Rose with
great simplicity.  "I alway have so been."

"Nay, _flog_ me with a discipline if you are!" returned Philippa
heartily.  "I meant not you, old friend.  You are not by one-tenth part
so much as--" Her eye fell on Blanche.  "Come, I name none.--And thou
art Frank Avery's daughter?" she added, turning suddenly to Lysken.
"Come hither, Frances, and leave me look on thee."

"My name is not Frances, good Mistress," replied Lysken, coming forward
with a smile.

"Isoult, then?  It should be one or the other."

"Nay--it is Elizabeth," said Lysken, with a shake of her head.

"More shame for thee," retorted Philippa jokingly.  "What business had
any to call thee Elizabeth?"

"My father's mother was Lysken Klaas."

"Good.--Well, Thekla, I have looked this face o'er, and I can read no
Avery therein."

"'Tis all deep down in the heart," said Mrs Tremayne.

"The best place for it," replied Philippa.  "Thou wilt do, child, as
methinks.  I would say it were easier to break thy heart than to beguile
thy conscience.  A right good thing--for the conscience.  Is this
Clare?" she asked, breaking off suddenly as Clare came in, with a tone
which showed that she felt most interest in her of the three.  She took
both Clare's hands and studied her face intently.

"Walter's eyes," she said.  "Isoult Barry's eyes!  The maid could have
none better.  And John Avery's mouth.  Truth and love in the eyes;
honour and good learning on the lips.  Thou wilt do, child, and that
rarely well."

"Mistress Philippa Basset is a right old friend of thy dear grandame,
Clare," said Mrs Tremayne in explanation.  "Thou canst not remember
her, but this worthy gentlewoman doth well so, and can tell thee much of
her when they were young maids together, and thy grandmother was
gentlewoman unto Mistress Philippa her mother, my sometime Lady
Viscountess Lisle."

Clare looked interested, but she did not say much.

Mr Tremayne and Arthur came in together, only just in time for
four-hours.

"God save thee, Robin dear!" was Philippa's greeting.  "Art rested from
Little Ease?  I saw thee but slightly sithence, mind thou, and never had
no good talk with thee."

Mr Tremayne laughed more merrily than was usual with him.

"Good Mistress Philippa, if thirty years were not enough to rest a man,
in very deed he were sore aweary."

"Now, Arthur," said Philippa, turning to him bluntly, "come and let me
look thee o'er."

Arthur obeyed, with grave lips, but amused eyes.

"Robin's eyes--Thekla's mouth--Father Rose's brow--Custance Tremayne's
chin," she said, enumerating them rapidly.  "If the inward answer the
outward, lad, thou shouldst be a rare good one."

"Then I fear it doth not so," said Arthur soberly, "Humbleness will do
thee no hurt, lad.--Now, Thekla, let us have our four-hours.  I could
eat a baken brick wall.  Ay me! dost mind thee of the junkets, in old
days, at the Lamb?"

"Thekla, I told thee afore, and I do it yet again,--women be flat fools.
The biggest I know is Orige Enville.  And in good sooth, that is much
to say!  She is past old Doll, at Crowe, that threw her kerchief over
the candle to put it out.  Blanche may be a step the better; methinks
she is.  But for all that, she is Orige Enville's daughter.  I would as
soon fetch my bodkin and pierce that child to the heart, as I would send
her to the Court, where her blind bat of a mother would fain have her.
'Twere the kindlier deed of the twain.  Lack-a-daisy! she would make
shipwreck of life and soul in a month.  Well, for Clare, then--I give
thee to wit, Thekla, thou art that child's mother.  Orige is not.  She
never was worth her salt.  And she never will be.  So the sooner thou
win the maid hither, the better for her."

"She doth abide hither, Mistress Philippa, even now."

"Tush, child!  I mean the sooner she weds with Arthur."

"Weds with Arthur!"

It was manifest that the idea had never entered Mrs Tremayne's head
until Philippa put it there.

"Prithee, wherefore no?" demanded the old lady coolly.  "Orige means it.
Mercy on us, Thekla Rose! art thou gone wood?"

"Mrs Philippa!  Who e'er told you my Lady Enville meant any such
thing?"

"The goose told me herself," said Philippa bluntly, with a short laugh.
"'Twas not in a civil fashion, Thekla.  She said Arthur was good enough
for Clare; it recked not whom Clare wedded withal.  Marry come up! if I
had not let mine head govern mine hands, I had fetched her a good crack
on the crown with my staff.  It could ne'er have hurt her brain--she has
none.  What were such women born for, do all the saints wit?--without it
were to learn other folk patience."

Thekla Tremayne was a woman, and a mother.  She would have been more
than human if she had not felt hurt for this insult to her boy.  Was
Clare, or anything else in the world, too good for her one darling?

"Come,--swallow it, Thekla, and have done," said Philippa.  "And by way
of a morsel of sugar at after the wormwood, I will tell thee I do not
think Clare hates him.  I studied her face."

"Mistress Philippa, you read faces so rarely, I would you could read
Lucrece Enville.  Margaret, which is eldest of the three, is plain
reading; I conceive her conditions [understand her disposition] well.
But Lucrece hath posed me ever since I knew her."

"I will lay thee a broad shilling, child, I read her off like thou
shouldst a hornbook when I see her.  Ay, I have some skill touching
faces: I have been seventy years at the work."

That evening, just before supper, the indefatigable old lady marched
into the hall at Enville Court.  Lady Enville introduced her to Sir
Thomas and Mistress Rachel, and presented her step-daughters and Jack.
Philippa made her private comments on each.

"A worthy, honest man--not too sharp-sighted," she said of Sir Thomas to
herself.  "And a good, sound-hearted woman"--of Mistress Rachel.  "There
is a pickie, or I mistake," greeted Jack.  "This is Margaret, is it?
Clear as crystal: not deep, but clear.  But this face"--as Lucrece came
before her--"is deep enough.  Not deep like a river, but like a snake.
I could do well enough with your plain, honest sister; but I love you
not, Mistress Lucrece.  Enville.  Your graceful ways do not captivate
me.  Ah! it takes a woman to know a woman.  And the men, poor silly
things! fancy they know us better than we do each other."

If Philippa had spoken that last sentiment audibly, she would have won
the fee-simple of Rachel Enville's heart.

"Sir Thomas," said Philippa, when they rose from supper, "when it may
stand with your conveniency, I would fain have an half-hour's talk with
you."

Sir Thomas was ready enough to confer with the old lady, whom he liked,
and he led her courteously to his wife's boudoir.  Lady Enville sat down
in her cushioned chair, and made a screen of her fan.

"Sir Thomas," began Philippa bluntly, "I would fain wit what you and
Orige mean to do with Clare?  Forgive my asking; I love the child for
her grandame's sake."

"Good Mistress, you be full welcome to ask the same.  But for me, I know
not how to answer, for I never took any thought thereupon.  Hadst thou
thought thereon, Orige?"

"I counted her most like to wed with Arthur Tremayne," said Lady Enville
carelessly.

"I ne'er thought of him," remarked Sir Thomas.

"If it be so, good," said Philippa.  "I have looked the lad o'er, and I
am satisfied with him.  And now, I pray you, take one more word from an
old woman, of your gentleness.  What do you with Blanche?"

In answer to this question--for Philippa was well known to Sir Thomas by
repute, and he was prepared to trust her thoroughly--the whole story of
Don Juan came out.  Philippa sat for a minute, looking thoughtfully into
the fire.

"Have a care of yonder maid," she said.

"But what fashion of care, Mistress Basset?  An' you grant it me, I
would value your thought thereupon."

Philippa turned to Sir Thomas.

"Have you not," she said, "made somewhat too much of this matter?  Not
that it was other than grave, in good sooth; yet methinks it had been
better had you not let Blanche see that you counted it of so much
import.  I fear she shall now go about to count herself of mighty
importance.  Childre do, when you make much of their deeds; and Blanche
is but a child yet, and will so be for another year or twain.  Now this
young man is safe hence, I would say, Fetch her home.  And let none ever
name the matter afore her again; let bygones be bygones.  Only give her
to see that you account of her as a silly child for the past, but yet
that you have hope she shall be wiser in the future."

"Well, herein I see not with you," said Lady Enville.  "I had thought it
rare good fortune for Blanche to wed with Don John."

Sir Thomas moved uneasily, but did not answer.  Philippa turned and
looked at the speaker.

"That was like," she said quietly.  But neither of her hearers knew how
much meaning lay beneath the words.

"And what think you touching Lucrece?" asked Mrs Tremayne the next day,
when Philippa was again at the parsonage.

"I ne'er had a fancy for snakes, Thekla."

"Then you count her deceitful?  That is it which I have feared."

"Have a care," said Philippa.  "But what is to fear?  A care of what?"

"Nay, what feareth any from a snake?  That he should sting, I take it.
He may do it while you be looking.  But he is far more like to do it
when you be not."

The evening before the two sisters were to return to Enville Court, Mrs
Tremayne and Clare were sitting alone in the parlour.  Clare had
manoeuvred to this end, for she wanted to ask her friend a question; and
she knew there was a particular period of the evening when Mr Tremayne
and Arthur were generally out, and Lysken was occupied elsewhere.  Mrs
Rose and Blanche remained to be disposed of; but the former relieved
Clare's mind by trotting away with a little basket of creature comforts
to see a sick woman in the village; and it was easy to ask Blanche to
leave her private packing until that period.  But now that Clare had got
Mrs Tremayne to herself, she was rather shy in beginning her inquiries.
She framed her first question in a dozen different ways, rejected all
for various reasons, and finally--feeling that her opportunity was
sliding away--came out with that one which she had most frequently cast
aside.

"Mistress Tremayne, account you it alway sinful to harbour discontent?"

"I could much better answer thee, dear maid, if I knew the fountain
whence thy question springeth."

This was just the point which Clare was most shy of revealing.  But she
really wanted Mrs Tremayne's opinion; and with an effort she conquered
her shyness.

"Well,--suppose it had pleased God to cast my lot some whither, that the
daily work I had to do was mighty dislikeful to me; and some other
maiden that I knew, had that to do withal which I would have loved
dearly:--were it ill for me to wish that my business had been like
hers?"

"Whom enviest thou, my child?" asked Mrs Tremayne very gently.

Clare blushed, and laughed.

"Well, I had not meant to say the same; but in very deed I do envy
Lysken."

"And wherefore, dear heart?"

"Because her work is so much higher and better than mine."

Mrs Tremayne did not answer for a moment.  Then she said,--"Tell me,
Clare,--suppose thy father's serving-men and maids should begin to
dispute amongst themselves,--if Sim were to say, `I will no longer serve
in the hall, because 'tis nobler work to ride my master's horses:' or
Kate were to say, `I will no longer sweep the chambers, sith 'tis higher
matter to dress my master's meat:' and Nell,--`I will no longer dress
the meat, sith it were a greater thing to wait upon my mistress in her
chamber,'--tell me, should the work of the house be done better, or
worser?"

"Worser, no doubt."

"Well, dear heart, and if so, why should God's servants grudge to do the
differing works of their Master?  If thou art of them, thy Master, hath
set thee thy work.  He saw what thou wert fit to do, and what was fit to
be done of thee; and the like of Lysken.  He hath set thee where thou
art; and such work as thou hast to do there is His work for thee.  Alway
remembering,--if thou art His servant."

Clare did not quite like that recurring conjunction.  It sounded as if
Mrs Tremayne doubted the fact.

"You think me not so?" she asked in a low voice.

"I hope thou art, dear Clare.  But thou shouldst know," was the
searching answer.

There was silence after that, till Clare said, with a sigh, "Then you
reckon I ought not to wish for different work?"

"I think not, my maid, that wishing and discontent be alway one and the
same.  I may carry a burden right willingly and cheerfully, and yet feel
it press hard, and be glad to lay it down.  Surely there is no ill that
thou shouldest say to thy Father, `If it be Thy will, Father, I would
fain have this or that.'  Only be content with His ordering, if He
should answer, `Child, thou hast asked an evil thing.'"

There was another pause, during which Clare was thinking.

"Am I the first to whom thou hast opened thine heart hereon, dear
Clare?"

"Well, I did let fall a word or twain at home," said Clare smiling; "but
I found no like feeling in response thereto."

"Not even from Margaret?"

"Meg thought there was work enough at home," replied Clare laughing,
"and bade me go look in the mending-chest and see how much lacked
doing."

"Nor Mistress Rachel?"

"Nay, Aunt Rachel said I might well be thankful that I was safe guarded
at home, and had not need to go about this wicked world."

"Well, there is reason in that.  It is a wicked world."

"Yet, surely, we need try to make it better, Mistress Tremayne: and--any
woman could stitch and cut as well as I."

Clare spoke earnestly.  Mrs Tremayne considered a little before she
answered.

"Well, dear heart, it may be the Lord doth design thee to be a worker in
His vineyard.  I cannot say it is not thus.  But if so, Clare, it
seemeth me that in this very cutting and stitching, which thou so much
mislikest, He is setting thee to school to be made ready.  Ere we be fit
for such work as thou wouldst have, we need learn much: and one lesson
we have to learn is patience.  It may be that even now, if the Lord mean
to use thee thus, He is giving thee thy lesson of patience.  `Let
patience have her perfect work.'  'Tis an ill messenger that is so eager
to be about his errand, that he will needs run ere he be sent.  The
great Teacher will set thee the right lessons; see thou that they be
well learned: and leave it to Him to call thee to work when He seeth
thee ripe for it."

"I thank you," said Clare meekly; "maybe I am too impatient."

"'Tis a rare grace, dear heart,--true patience: but mind thou, that is
not idleness nor backwardness.  Some make that blunder, and think they
be patiently waiting for work when work waiteth for them, and they be
too lazy to put hand thereto.  We need have a care on both sides."

But though Mrs Tremayne gave this caution, in her own mind she thought
it much more likely that Blanche would need it than Clare.

"And why should I press back her eagerness, if the Lord hath need of
her?  Truly"--and Thekla Tremayne sighed as she said this to
herself--"`the labourers are few.'"

------------------------------------------------------------------------

Note 1.  Philadelphia Carey, a kinswoman of Queen Elizabeth through her
mother, Anne Boleyn.



CHAPTER ELEVEN.

CATCHING MOTHS.

  "For my soul's sake, Maid Marjorie,
  And yet for my soul's sake, -
  I know no wrong I've done to thee,
  Nor why thy heart should break."

Rather late on the same evening, Sir Thomas walked into the parsonage,
and rapped with his silver-hilted staff at the parlour door.  Clare had
gone up-stairs, and Mrs Tremayne was at that moment alone.  She offered
to send for her young guests, but he declined; he wished first to speak
with her apart.  He told her that Don Juan had gone to London; and that
before leaving him, that estimable young gentleman had frankly
communicated the interesting fact that he was bound by an engagement to
a lady of his own country.

"Now what think you?  Were it better, or worser, that Blanche should
know the same?"

"Better far--by all manner of means," said the Rector's wife decidedly.

"I thought even so," replied Sir Thomas.  "I had come sooner, but my
wife was contrary thereto."

Mrs Tremayne could not feel astonished to hear of any amount of
unwisdom on the part of Lady Enville, but she merely repeated that she
thought it much better that Blanche should know.

"It should help to open her eyes.  Though in sooth I do think they be
scantly so close shut as at the first."

"Then you will tell the child, good Mistress?"

"If you so desire, assuredly: but wherefore not give her to wit
yourself?"

Sir Thomas evidently shrank from the idea.

"For Blanche's sake, I do think it should be better, Sir Thomas.  You
speak as he that hath heard this right from Don Juan himself; for me, I
have but heard it from you."

"Well, if needs must--for Blanche's sake, then," said her father,
sighing.  "Pray you, send the child hither."

In another minute Blanche came in, with a warm welcome for her father in
eyes and voice.

"So thou comest home to-morrow, my skylark!" he said.  "Art thou glad,
or sorry, Blanche?"

"Oh, glad, Father!"

"And all we be glad likewise.--Blanche, Don John is gone to London."

"Yes, I guessed so much," she answered, in a rather constrained tone.

"And ere he went, my darling, he said somewhat unto me which I reckon it
best thou shouldst hear likewise."

Blanche looked up, surprised and expectant,--perhaps with a shade of
fear.  Sir Thomas passed his arm round her, and drew her close to him.
He anticipated a burst of tears, and was ready to console her.

"He told me, dear heart, that he is, and for divers years hath so been,
troth-plight unto a maiden of his own land, with whom he shall wed when
he is gone home."

There was no light in the room but from the fire, and Blanche's head was
bent low, so that her father could not see her face.  But no tears
answered him.  No answer came at all.  Sir Thomas was astonished.

"Doth it grieve thee, my Blanche?" he asked tenderly, when he had waited
a moment.

He waited still another.  Then the reply came.

"I suppose it was better I should know it," she said in a cold, hard
voice.

"So thou seest, dear child, he meant not his fair words."

"No," she said, in the same tone.  "He meant it not."

Sir Thomas let her go.  He thought she bore it uncommonly well.  She did
not care much about it, thank Heaven!  He was one of those numerous
surface observers who think that a woman cannot be startled if she does
not scream, nor be unhappy if she does not weep.

Blanche went quietly enough out of the room, saying that she would send
Clare.  Her father did not see that in the middle of the stairs she
paused, with a tight grasp on the banister, till the deadly faintness
should pass off which seemed to make the staircase go spinning round
her.  Clare noticed nothing peculiar when Blanche came into their
bedroom, and told her that Sir Thomas was below.  But as soon as her
sister was gone, Blanche knelt down by the bed, and buried her face in
the counterpane.

This, then, was the end.  The shrine was not only deserted--it was
destroyed: the idol was not only dethroned--it was broken, and shown to
be nothing but stone.  Don Juan was not true.  Nay, worse--he never had
been true.  His vow of eternal fidelity was empty breath; his reiterated
protestations of single and unalterable love were worth just nothing.
He had only been amusing himself.  He had known all the while, that in
exchange for the solid gold of her young heart, he was offering her the
veriest pinchbeck.

Blanche had been half awake before, and she was wide awake now.  Yet the
awakening, for all that, was very bitter.  Naturally enough, her first
thought was that all men were of this stamp, and that there was no truth
in any of them.  Aunt Rachel was right:--they were a miserable, false,
deceiving race, created for the delusion and suffering of woman: she
would never believe another of them as long as she lived.  There might
be here and there an exception to the rule, such as her father or Mr
Tremayne; she could not believe such evil of them: but that was the
rule.  And Blanche, being not quite seventeen, declared to herself that
after this vast and varied experience of the world, she would never--not
if she lived to be a hundred--_never_ trust man again.

She slipped quietly down-stairs, and caught Sir Thomas just as he was
leaving the house.

"Father!" she whispered, sliding into his hand the little packet of Don
Juan's hair, "maybe I ought to have given you this aforetime.  Allgates
now take it; it is nought to me any more--sith he is hot."

Sir Thomas transferred the little parcel to his pocket.

"'Give thee good night, my jewel!  We shall all be fain to have thee
home again to-morrow."

Blanche returned the greeting, but glided away again, and was seen very
little that night.  But Mrs Tremayne guessed the state of the girl's
mind more truly than Sir Thomas had done.

The next day they went home.

"Bless thee, my precious Blanche!" was Lady Enville's greeting.  "And
thee too, Clare.  Good lack, how faded is yon camlet!  'Tis well ye were
but at the parsonage, for it should have shamed thee any other whither."

"Well, child!" said Aunt Rachel.  "I trust thou hast come home to work
like a decent lass, and not sit moaning with thine hands afore thee like
a cushat dove.  What man ever trod middle earth that was worth a moan?"

"I will essay to give you content, Aunt Rachel," said Blanche quietly.

"Clare, my good lass, I have lacked thee sorely.  I scarce wis what to
do without thee."

Clare looked pleased.  "Well, Aunt Rachel, I am come to work, and that
with a will," she answered cheerily.

"I am thankful to hear it.  Now, if Heaven's will it be, all things
shall go on as usual once again."

But nothing was to go on as usual any more.

Not for Margaret, for Harry Travis had returned from the Netherlands,
and her marriage was to be that day six weeks.  Not for Lucrece, who was
elated with what she considered her triumph over Blanche, and was on the
look-out for fresh laurels.  Not for Blanche, as the reader knows: nor
for Clare, as he soon will know: nor even for Rachel herself--

  "Though only the sorrow of others
  Threw its shadow over her."

There was but one person to whom matters went on at all as usual, and
that was Lady Enville.  As usual, to her, meant a handsome dress, a
cushioned chair, a good dinner, and an occasional junketing: and since
recent events had not interfered with any of these, Lady Enville went on
much as usual.  Yet even she never ceased to regret Blanche's lost
coronet, which no revelation of Don Juan's duplicity would ever persuade
her had not been lying at her daughter's feet, ready to be taken up and
worn.  She was one of those persons who will not believe anything which
they do not wish to be true; and on them vouchers and verifications are
always thrown away.

The first point different from usual was that Arthur Tremayne began to
drop in continually at Enville Court.  Lady Enville was gratified, for
she thought her neat little arrangement was taking effect; and it would
be a comfort, she said to herself, to have Clare off her hands.  She
said this one day to Rachel: but though, she knew that worthy spinster's
opinion of matrimony, yet she was hardly prepared for the diatribe which
she received in answer.  Rachel had lately, and with much annoyance,
began to perceive--what she had never seen so clearly before--that Lady
Enville cared very little for her elder daughter.  And of all the four
girls, Clare was Rachel's darling.  She was prepared to do battle in her
cause to a greater extent than she herself knew.  So, having received
this hint, Rachel set herself to watch Arthur, and see that he behaved
properly.

It was not easy to guess Arthur's motive in coming.  He usually sat
between Clare and Blanche when he was present at supper; and just now
that was pretty often.  But either of the two might be the attraction.
In other respects, his courtesies were evenly divided among the four,
and were not pointed to any.

Meanwhile, Clare was honestly trying to do the work set her well, and to
be contented with it.  She often carried her troubles to Mrs Tremayne,
and sought advice or cheering at her hands: nor was she ever sent away
unsatisfied.  Rachel was delighted with Clare's steady and cheerful
help, and complacently thought that the parsonage had done her good.

So the summer drew on, and Margaret was married to Harry Travis, and
went to live in another part of the county.

On a late afternoon in autumn, Clare stood in the arbour, tying up
bouquets.  An old friend of Sir Thomas was expected on a visit, and was
likely to arrive that evening.  This was Sir Piers Feversham,
[fictitious person] a Norfolk knight, of Lancashire extraction on his
mother's side, who had not seen Sir Thomas Enville since both had been
young squires together in the household of the Earl of Derby.  His
nephew and heir presumptive, John Feversham, [fictitious person] was
coming with him.  There was little presumption, to all appearance, about
the heirship, for Sir Piers bore the character of a confirmed old
bachelor, and was now upwards of sixty.

Clare's bouquets were nearly all tied up, and ready to be carried to the
hall, which was to be decorated in honour of the guests.  She was tying
the last but one, when she heard slow footsteps and low voices passing
on the outside of the arbour.  Not too low, however, for two sentences
to be audible inside,--words which blanched Clare's cheek, and made her
trembling fingers loose their hold, till the gathered flowers slid away
one by one, and lay a fragrant mass on the ground at her feet.

The remarks which she overheard were limited to a fervent appeal and a
low reply.  The appeal--which was a declaration of love--was uttered in
the familiar accents of Arthur Tremayne; and the answer--a vague
disclaimer of merit which sounded like a shy affirmative--came in the
low, soft voice of Lucrece Enville.

Clare was totally ignorant of the fate which her mother had designed for
her; nor had she ever realised until that evening that she cared more
for Arthur than she did for Jack.  They were both like brothers to her:
but now she suddenly felt that if it had been Jack whose voice she had
heard uttering similar words, it would have mattered little or nothing
to her.

The hardest thought of all was that of resigning him to Lucrece.
Fourteen years had elapsed since that day of their childhood on which
Clare had witnessed the first instance of Lucrece's duplicity; but she
had never been able to forget it, and it had infused a sort of vague
discomfort and constraint into all their intercourse.

"Oh, if it had been Lysken!" said Clare to her own heart.  "I could have
borne it better."

And it had to be borne, and in utter silence.  _This_ trouble could not
be carried to Mrs Tremayne; and the idea of betraying Lucrece, as that
young lady had herself betrayed Blanche, would have seemed black
treachery to Clare.  No, things must take their course: and let them
take it, so long as that would make Arthur happy, and would be for his
good.  In her inmost heart Clare was sorely doubtful about both items.
Well, she could ask God to grant them.

It was half an hour later than she had expected when Clare carried her
nosegays into the hall.  She went on mechanically putting them in order,
and finding, when she had finished, that there was one more than was
needed, she carried it to her mother's boudoir.

"How late thou art, Clare!" said Lady Enville, looking up from Sir
Philip Sidney's Arcadia, which she was lazily reading.  "Sir Piers may
come now at any minute.  Hast made an end in the hall?"

"Ay, Madam."

"Hast one posy left o'er?  Set it here, by my chair, child.  Dost know
where is Blanche?"

"No, Madam."

"And Lucrece?"

"No, Madam."

Clare's conscience smote her as soon as she had given this answer.
Certainly she did not know where Lucrece was; but she could very well
guess.

"I would thou wert not fully thus bashful, Clare; hast nought but `Ay'
and `No'?--I would fain have thee seek Lucrece: I desire speech of her."

Clare did not reply at all this time.  She had disposed of her flowers,
and she left the room.

Seek Lucrece!  Clare had never had a harder task.  If the same burden
had been laid on them, Lucrece would have left the commission
unfulfilled, and Blanche would have sent somebody else.  But such
alternatives did not even suggest themselves to Clare's conscientious
mind.  She went through the hall towards the garden door in search of
Lucrece.

"Child, what aileth thee?" asked a voice suddenly, as Clare was opening
the garden door.

"I?" said Clare absently.  "Lucrece--my mother would have me seek her."

"Sit thee down, and I will send her to thy mother," said Rachel.

Away she went; and Clare sat down by the fire, feeling just then as if
she could do little else.  Lucrece glided through the hall with her
smooth, silent step, but did not appear to see Clare; and Rachel
followed in a minute.

"I have sent Lucrece to thy mother," she said.  "Now, child, what aileth
thee?"

"Oh--nothing, Aunt Rachel."

"When I was a small maid, Clare, my mother told me that 'twas not well
to lie."

"I did not--Aunt Rachel, I cry you mercy--I meant not--"

"Thou meantest not to tell me what ailed thee.  I know that.  But I mean
to hear it, Clare."

"'Tis nought, in very deed, Aunt--of any moment."

"Nought of any moment to thee?"

"Nay, to--Oh, pray you, ask me not, Aunt Rachel!  It makes no matter."

"Ha!  When a maid saith that,--a maid of thy years, Clare,--I know
metely well what she signifieth.  Thou art a good child.  Get thee
up-stairs and pin on thy carnation knots."

Clare went up the wide hall staircase with a slow, tired step, and
without making any answer beyond a faint attempt at a smile.

"Ha!" said Rachel again, to herself.  "Providence doth provide all
things.  Methinks, though, at times, 'tis by the means of men and women,
the which He maketh into little providences.  I could find it in mine
heart to fall to yonder game but now.  Only I will bide quiet, methinks,
till to-morrow.  Well-a-day! if yon grandmother Eve of ours had ne'er
ate yon apple!  Yet Master Tremayne will have it that I did eat it mine
own self.  Had I so done, Adam might have whistled for a quarter.  The
blind, stumbling moles men are!  Set a pearl and a pebble afore them,
and my new shoes to an old shoeing-horn, but they shall pick up the
pebble, and courtesy unto you for your grace.  And set your mind on a
lad that you do count to have more sense than the rest, and beshrew me
if he show you not in fair colours ere the week be out that he is as
great a dunce as any.  I reckon Jack shall be the next.  Well, well!--
let the world wag.  'Twill all be o'er an hundred years hence.  They
shall be doing it o'er again by then.  Howbeit, 'tis ill work to weep
o'er spilt milk."

Sir Piers Feversham and his nephew arrived late that evening.  The
former was a little older than Sir Thomas Enville, and had mixed more in
general society;--a talkative, good-natured man, full of anecdote; and
Blanche at least found him very entertaining.

John Feversham, the nephew, was almost the antipodes of his uncle.  He
was not handsome, but there was an open, honest look in his grey eyes
which bore the impress of sincerity.  All his movements were slow and
deliberate, his manners very quiet and calm, his speech grave and
sedate.  Nothing in the shape of repartee could be expected from him;
and with him Blanche was fairly disgusted.

"As sober as a judge, and as heavy as a leaden seal!" said that young
lady,--who had been his next neighbour at the supper-table,--when she
was giving in her report to Clare while they were undressing.  "He hath
but an owl's eye for beauty, of whatever fashion.  Thou mindest how fair
was the sunset this even?  Lo' thou, he could see nought but a deal of
water in the sea, and divers coloured clouds in the sky.  Stupid old
companion!"

"And prithee, Mistress Blanche, who ever did see aught in the sea saving
a cruel great parcel of water?"

"Good lack, Bab!--thou art as ill as he.  Clare, what seest thou in the
sea?"

Clare tried to bring her thoughts down to the subject.

"I scantly know, Blanche.  'Tis rarely beautiful, in some ways.  Yet it
soundeth to me alway very sorrowful."

"Ay so, Mistress Clare!" returned Barbara.  "It may belike to thee, poor
sweet heart, whose father was killed thereon,--and to me, that had a
brother which died far away on the Spanish main."

"I suppose," answered Clare sighing, "matters sound unto us according as
we are disposed."

"Marry, and if so, some folks' voices should sound mighty discordant,"
retorted Barbara.

Blanche was soon asleep; but there was little sleep for Clare that
night.  Nor was there much for Rachel.  Since Margaret's marriage,
Lucrece had shared her aunt's chamber; for it would have been thought
preposterous in the Elizabethan era to give a young girl a bedroom to
herself.  Rachel watched her niece narrowly; but Lucrece neither said
nor did anything from which the least information could be gleaned.  She
was neither elated nor depressed, but just as usual,--demure, slippery,
and unaccountable.

Rachel kept her eye also, like an amateur detective, upon Arthur.  He
came frequently, and generally managed to get a walk with Lucrece in the
garden.  On two occasions the detective, seated at her own window, which
overlooked the garden, saw that Arthur was entreating or urging
something, to which Lucrece would not consent.

The month of Sir Piers Feversham's stay was drawing to a close, and
still Rachel had not spoken to her brother about Lucrece.  She felt
considerably puzzled as to what it would be either right or wise to do.
Lucrece was no foolish, romantic, inexperienced child like Blanche, but
a woman of considerable worldly wisdom and strong self-reliance.  It was
no treachery to interfere with her, in her aunt's eyes, since Lucrece
herself had been the traitor; and for Clare's sake Rachel longed to
rescue Arthur, whom she considered infatuated and misled.

Before Rachel had been able to make up her mind on this point, one
Saturday afternoon Sir Thomas sought her, and asked her to come to the
library.

"Rachel," he said, "I would fain have thy counsel.  Sir Piers
Feversham--much to mine amazing--hath made me offer of service
[courtship] for Lucrece.  What thinkest thereon?"

"Brother, leave her go!"

"He is by three years elder than I, Rachel."

"Ne'er mind thou."

"Methinks he should make the maid a good husband?" remarked Sir Thomas
interrogatively.

"Better than she shall make him a wife," said Rachel grimly.

"Rachel!"

"Brother, I have ne'er said this to thee aforetime; but my true
conviction is that Lucrece is a mischief-maker, and until she be hence,
there is like to be little peace for any.  I saw not all things at the
first; but I can tell thee now that she hath won Arthur Tremayne into
her toils, and methinks she tried hard to compass Don Juan.  If she will
wed with Sir Piers (and he dare venture on her!) let it be so: he is old
enough to have a care of himself; and she is less like to wreck his life
than she should be with a younger man.  In good sooth, there is all the
less of it to wreck."

"Yet, Rachel, if the maid be entangled with Arthur--"

"Make thy mind easy, Tom.  'Tis Arthur is entangled, not she.  Trust her
for that!  She hath good enough scissors for the cutting of a like
knot."

"Arthur ne'er spake word to me," said Sir Thomas, with a perplexed,
meditative air.

"That is it which I would know, Tom.  Ne'er spake word, quotha?  So much
the better.  Well!  I reckon thou shalt be like to tell Orige; but leave
her not persuade thee to the contrary course.  Yet I think she is scarce
like.  A knighthood and Feversham Hall shall go down very sweetly with
her."

"But there is yet another matter, Rachel.  Sir Piers maketh offer to set
Jack in good place about the Court, for the which he saith he hath
power.  What sayest to that, trow?"

"I say that Jack is safe to go to wrack some whither, and may be 'twere
as well hence as hither."

"It shall be mighty chargeable, I fear," said Sir Thomas thoughtfully.

"Jack shall be that any whither."

"Wouldst have me, then, say Ay to both offers?"

"Nay, think well touching Jack first.  I meant not that.  Good sooth!  I
sorely misdoubt--"

"Well, I will see what saith Orige unto both, and Jack and Lucrece to
either."

"If I be a prophet," answered Rachel, "one and all shall say, Ay."

If that were the criterion, Rachel proved a prophet One and all did say
ay.  Lady Enville was enchanted with both schemes.  Jack averred that
life at home was a very humdrum kind of thing, and life might be worth
having in London, and at Court.  And Lucrece, in her demure style,
softly declared that she was thankful for Sir Piers' goodness, and would
gladly accept his offer, though she felt that her merits were not equal
to the kind estimate which he had formed of her.

"But, Lucrece," said her father gravely, "one told me that Arthur
Tremayne had made suit unto thee."

If he expected the mask to drop for an instant from the soft, regular
features of Lucrece, he was sadly disappointed.  Not a look, nor a
gesture, showed that she felt either surprised or disconcerted.

"'Tis true, Father.  The poor lad did say some like words unto me.  But
I gave him no encouragement to seek you."

"Thou wouldst have me to conceive, then, that thou art wholly free from
any plight whatsoe'er unto Arthur?"

"Wholly free, Father.  I ne'er gave him to wit otherwise."

Sir Thomas believed her; Rachel did not.  The next thing, in the
squire's honest eyes, was to let Arthur know that Lucrece was about to
marry Sir Piers,--not directly, since Arthur himself had made no open
declaration; but he proposed to go down to the parsonage, and mention
the fact, as if incidentally, in Arthur's presence.  He found Lucrece
rather averse to this scheme.

"It should but trouble the poor lad," she said.  "Why not leave him
discover the same as matters shall unfold them?"

"Tom!" said Rachel to her brother apart, "go thou down, and tell Arthur
the news.  I am afeared Lucrece hath some cause, not over good, for
wishing silence kept."

"Good lack!" cried the worried Squire.  "Wellnigh would I that every one
of my childre had been a lad!  These maidens be such changeable and
chargeable gear, I verily wis not what to do withal."

"Bide a while, Tom, till Jack hath been in the Court a year or twain;
maybe then I shall hear thee to wish that all had been maids."

Down to the parsonage trudged the puzzled and unhappy man, and found
that Arthur was at home.  He chatted for a short time with the family in
general, and then told the ladies, as a piece of news which he expected
to interest them, that his daughter Lucrece was about to be married.
Had he not intentionally kept his eyes from Arthur while he spoke, he
would have seen that the young man went white to the lips.

"Eh, _ma foi_!" said Mrs Rose.

"With whom shall she wed?" asked Mrs Tremayne.

"Sir Thomas, is that true?" was the last remark--in hoarse accents, from
Arthur.

"It is true, my lad.  Have I heard truly, that you would not have it
so?"

Mrs Tremayne looked at her son in a mixture of astonishment and dismay.
It had never occurred to her guileless, unsuspicious mind that the
object of his frequent visits to Enville Court could be any one but
Clare.

"Sir, I cry you mercy," said Arthur with some dignity.  "I do readily
acknowledge that I ought not to have left you in the dark.  But to speak
truth, it was she, not I, that would not you should be told."

"That would not have me told what, Arthur?"

"That I loved her," said Arthur, his voice slightly tremulous.  "And--
she _said_ she loved me."

"She told me that she had given thee no encouragement to speak to me."

"To speak with you--truth.  Whene'er I did approach that matter, she
alway deterred me from the same.  But if she hath told you, Sir, that
she gave me no encouragement to love and serve her, nor no hope of
wedding with her in due time,--why, then, she hath played you false as
well as me."

It was manifest that Arthur was not only much distressed, but also very
angry.

"And thou never spakest word to me, my son!" came in gentle tones of
rebuke from his mother.

"Ah, the young folks make not the confessor of the father nor the
mother," said Mrs Rose smiling, and shaking her head.  "It were the
better that they did it, Arthur."

"Mother, it was not my fault," pleaded Arthur earnestly.  "I would have
spoken both to you and to Sir Thomas here, if she had suffered me.  Only
the very last time I urged it on her--and that no further back than this
last week--she threatened me to have no further dealing with me, an' I
spake to either of you."

"Often-times," observed Mrs Rose thoughtfully, "the maidens love not
like the mothers, _mon cheri_."

"God have mercy!" groaned poor Sir Thomas, who was not least to be
pitied of the group.  "I am afeared Rachel hath the right.  Lucrece hath
not been true in this matter."

"There is no truth in her!" cried Arthur bitterly.  "And for the matter
of that, there is none in woman!"

"_Le beau compliment_!" said his grandmother, laughing.

His mother looked reproachfully at him, but did not speak.

"And Rachel saith there is none in man," returned Sir Thomas with grim
humour.  "Well-a-day! what will the world come to?"

These little pebbles in her path did not seem to trouble the easy
smoothness of Lucrece's way.  She prepared her trousseau with her
customary placidity; debated measures and trimmings with her aunt as if
entirely deaf to that lady's frequent interpolations of wrath; consulted
Blanche on the style of her jewellery, and Clare on the embroidery of
her ruffs, as calmly as if there were not a shadow on her conscience nor
her heart.  Perhaps there was not.

Sir Piers took Jack down to London, and settled him in his post of
deputy gentleman usher to the Queen; and at the end of six months, he
returned to Enville Court for his marriage.  Everything went off with
the most absolute propriety.  Lucrece's costume was irreproachable; her
manners, ditto.  The festivities were prolonged over a week, and on
their close, Sir Piers and Lady Feversham set out, for their home in
Norfolk.  No sign of annoyance was shown from the parsonage, except that
Arthur was not at home when the wedding took place; and that Lysken,
whom Lucrece graciously requested to be one of her bridesmaids,
declined, with a quiet keenness of manner which any one but Lucrece
would have felt.

"If it should like thee to have me for thy bridesmaid, Lucrece," she
said, looking her calmly in the face, "it should not like me."  [In
modern phraseology,--I should not like it.]

The bride accepted the rebuke with unruffled suavity.

Of course there were the ceremonies then usual at weddings, and a shower
of old slippers greeted bride and bridegroom as they rode away.

"Aunt Rachel, you hit her on the head!" cried Blanche, looking
astonished.

"I took metely good aim," assented Rachel, with grim satisfaction.  "A
good riddance of--Blanche, child, if thou wouldst have those flowers to
live, thou wert best put them in water."



CHAPTER TWELVE.

A GLIMPSE OF THE HOT GOSPELLER.

  "In service which Thy love appoints
  There are no bonds for me;
  My secret heart has learned the truth
  Which makes Thy children free:
  A life of self-renouncing love
  Is a life of liberty."

  _Anna L. Waring_.

"I hold not with you there, Parson!"

The suddenness of this appeal would have startled any one less calm and
self-controlled than the Reverend Robert Tremayne, who was taking off
his surplice in the vestry after morning prayers one Wednesday, when
this unexpected announcement reached him through the partially open
door.  But it was not the Rector's habit to show much emotion of any
kind, whatever he might feel.

"Pray you, come forward," he said quietly, in answer to the challenge.

The door, pushed wide open by the person without, revealed a handsome
old man, lithe and upright still,--whose hair was pure white, and his
brown eyes quick and radiant.  He marched in and seated himself upon the
settle, grasping a stout oaken stick in both hands, and gazing up into
the Rector's face.  His dress, no less than his manners, showed that
notwithstanding the blunt and eccentric nature of his greeting, he was
by birth a gentleman.

"And wherein hold you not with me, Sir, I pray you?" inquired Mr
Tremayne with some amusement.

"In your tolerating of evil opinion."

"I cry you mercy.  What evil opinion have I tolerated?"

"If you will tolerate men which hold evil opinions, you must needs
tolerate evil opinion."

"I scantly see that."

"Maybe you see this?" demanded the stranger, pulling a well-worn Bible
from a capacious pocket.

"My sight is sharp enough for so much," returned Mr Tremayne
good-naturedly.

"Well, and I tell you," said the stranger, poising the open Bible
between his hands, "there is no such word as toleration betwixt the two
backs of this book!"

The two backs of the book were brought together, by way of emphasising
the assertion, with a bang which might almost have been heard to the
parsonage.

"There is no such _word_, I grant you."

"No, Sir!--and there is no such thing."

"That hangeth, I take it, on what the word is held to signify."

"Shall I tell you what it signifieth?"

"Pray you, so do."

"Faint-heartedness, Sir!--weakness--recreancy--cowardliness--shamedness
of the truth!"

"An ill-sounding list of names," said Mr Tremayne quietly.  "And one of
none whereof I would by my good-will be guilty.--Pray you, whom have I
the honour to discourse withal?"

"A very pestilent heretic, that Queen Mary should have burned, and
forgat."

"She did not that with many," was the significant answer.

"She did rare like to it with a lad that I knew in King Edward's days,
whose name was Robin Tremayne."

"Master Underhill, my dear old friend!" cried the Rector, grasping his
visitor's hand warmly.  "I began these two minutes back to think I
should know those brown eyes, but I might not set a name thereto all at
once."

"Ha! the `pestilent heretic' helped thee to it, I reckon!" replied the
guest laughing.  "Ay, Robin, this is he thou knewest of old time.  We
will fight out our duello another time, lad.  I am rare glad to see thee
so well-looking."

"From what star dropped you, Master Underhill? or what fair wind blew
you hither?"

"I am dropped out of Warwickshire, lad, if that be a star; and I came
hither of a galloway's back (but if he were the wind, 'twas on the
stillest night of the year!)  And how goes it with Mrs Thekla?  I saw
her last in her bride's gear."

"She will be rarely glad to see you, old friend; and so, I warrant you,
will our mother, Mistress Rose.  Will you take the pain to go with me to
mine house?--where I will ensure you of a good bed and a rare welcome."

"Wilt thou ensure me of twain, lad?" asked the old man, with a comic
twinkle in his eyes.

"Twain!  What, which of all my small ancient friends be with you?--Ay,
and that as hearty as to yourself.--Is it Hal or Ned?"

"Thou art an ill guesser, Robin: 'tis neither Ned nor Hal.  Thy _small_
friends, old lad, be every man and woman of them higher than their
father.  Come, let us seek the child.  I left her a-poring and posing
over one of the tombs in the church.--What, Eunice!--I might as well
have left my staff behind as leave her."

It was plainly to be perceived, by the loud call which resounded through
the sacred edifice, that Mr Underhill was not fettered by any
superstitious reverence for places.  A comely woman answered the call,--
in years about thirty-seven, in face particularly bright and pleasant.
The last time that Mr Tremayne had seen her, Eunice Underhill was about
as high as the table.

"And doth Mistress Rose yet live?" said her father, as they went towards
the parsonage.  "She must be a mighty old grandame now.  And all else be
gone, as I have heard, that were of old time in the Lamb?"

"All else, saving Barbara Polwhele,--you mind Barbara, the chamber--
maiden?--and Walter's daughter, Clare, which is now a maid of twenty
years."

"Ah, I would fain see yon lass of little Walter's.  What manner of wife
did the lad wed?"

"See her--ask not me," said the Rector smiling.

"Now, how read I that?  Which of the Seven Sciences hath she lost her
way in?"

"In no one of them all."

"Come, I will ask Mrs Thekla."

Mr Tremayne laughed.

"You were best see her for yourself, as I cast no doubt you soon will.
How long time may we hope to keep you?"

"Shall you weary of us under a month?"

Mr Underhill was warmly enough assured that there was no fear of any
such calamity.

Most prominent of his party--which was Puritan of the Puritans--was
Edward Underhill of Honyngham, the Hot Gospeller.  His history was a
singular one.  Left an heir and an orphan at a very early age, he had
begun life as a riotous reveller.  Soon after he reached manhood, God
touched his heart--by what agency is not recorded.  Then he "fell to
reading the Scriptures and following the preachers,"--throwing his whole
soul into the service of Christ, as he had done before into that of
Satan.  Had any person acquainted with the religious world of that day
been asked, on the outbreak of Queen Mary's persecution, to name the
first ten men who would suffer, it is not improbable that Edward
Underhill's name would have been found somewhere on the list.  But, to
the astonishment of all who knew his decided views, and equally decided
character, he had survived the persecution, with no worse suffering than
a month spent in Newgate, and a tedious illness as the result.  Nor was
this because he had either hidden his colours, or had struck them.
Rather he kept his standard flying to the breeze, and defied the foe.
No reason can be given for his safety, save that still the God of Daniel
could send His angel and shut the lions' mouths, that they should do His
prophets no hurt.

On the accession of Elizabeth, Underhill returned for a short time to
his London home in Wood Street, Cheapside; but die soon went back to the
family seat in Warwickshire, where he had since lived as a country
squire.  [Note 1.]

"Yet these last few months gone have I spent in London," said he, "for
my Hal [name true, character imaginary] would needs have me.  Now,
Robin, do thou guess what yon lad hath gat in his head.  I will give
thee ten shots."

"No easy task, seeing I ne'er had the good fortune to behold him.  What
manner of lad is he?"

"Eunice?" said her father, referring the question to her.

Eunice laughed.  "Hal is mighty like his father, Master Tremayne.  He
hath a stout will of his own, nor should you quickly turn him thence."

"Lo you, now, what conditions doth this jade give me!" laughed
Underhill.  "A stubborn old brute, that will hear no reason!"

"Hal will not hear o'ermuch, when he is set on aught," said Eunice.

"Well," said Mr Tremayne thoughtfully, "so being, I would guess that he
had set his heart, to be Archbishop of Canterbury, or else Lord Privy
Seal."

"_Ma foi_!" interposed Mrs Rose, "but I would guess that no son of Mr
Underhill should tarry short of a king.  Mind you not, _hermano_, that I
did once hear you to say that you would not trust your own self, had you
the chance to make your Annette a queen?"

"Dear heart, Mistress Rose!  I would the lad had stayed him at nought
worser.  Nay, he is not for going up the ladder, but down.  Conceive
you, nought will serve him but a journey o'er seas, and to set him up a
home in the Queen's Majesty's country of Virginia--yea, away in the
plantations, amongst all the savages and wild beasts, and men worser
than either, that have been of late carried thither from this land, for
to be rid of them.  `Come, lad,' said I to him, `content thee with
eating of batatas [the Spanish word of which _potato_ is a corruption]
and drinking of tobacco [smoking tobacco was originally termed
_drinking_ it], and leave alone this mad fantasy.'  But not he, in good
sooth!  Verily, for to go thither as a preacher and teacher, with hope
to reform the ill men,--that had been matter of sore peril, and well to
be thought on; yet would I not have said him nay, had the Lord called
him to it;--but to make his _home_!"

And Mr Underhill stopped short, as if words were too weak adequately to
convey his feelings.

"Maybe the Lord hath called him to that, old friend," said the Rector.
"His eyes be on Virginia, no less than England."

"God forbid I should deny it!  Yet there is such gear as tempting the
Lord.  For my part,--but la!  I am an old man, and the old be less
venturesome than the young,--yet for me, I see not what should move a
man to dwell any whither out of his own country, without he must needs
fly to save his life."

"Had all men been of your mind," observed Mr Tremayne with a smile,
"there had ne'er been any country inhabited save one, until men were
fairly pushed thence by lack of room."

"Well!--and wherefore should any quit home until he be pushed out?"

"Ask at Hal," said the Rector laughing.

"No have I so?  Yea, twenty times twice told: but all I may win from the
young ne'er-do-well is wise saws that the world must be peopled (why so,
I marvel?),--and that there is pleasure in aventure (a deal more, I
reckon, in keeping of one's carcase safe and sound!)--and that some men
must needs dwell in strange lands, and the like.  Well-a-day! wherefore
should they so?  Tell me that, Robin Tremayne."

"I will, old friend, when mine amaze is o'er at hearing of such words
from one Ned Underhill."

"Amaze!--what need, trow?"

"But little need, when one doth call to mind that the most uncommon of
all things is consistency.  Only when one hath been used for forty years
and more to see a man (I name him not) ever foremost in all perilous
aventure, and thrusting him forward into whatsoever danger there were as
into a bath of rosewater, 'tis some little surprise that taketh one to
hear from the self-same party that 'tis never so much sweeter to keep
safe and sound at home."

Mr Underhill threw his head back, and indulged in a hearty peal of
laughter.

"On my word, Robin, thou ticklest me sore!  But what, lad!--may a man
not grow prudent in his old age?"

"By all manner of means, or in his youth no less; but this will I say,
that the last prudent man I looked to set eyes on should bear the name
of Underhill."

"Well-a-day!  Here is Eunice made up of prudence."

"She taketh after her mother, trow," replied the Rector dryly.

"Come, I'll give o'er, while I have some bones left whole.--And what
thinkest, lad, of the outlook of matters public at this time?"

"Nay, what think you, that have been of late in London?"

"Robin," said Mr Underhill gravely, "dost mind, long years gone, when
King Edward his reign was well-nigh o'er, the ferment men's minds gat in
touching the succession?"

"_Eh, la belle journee_!" said Mrs Rose waggishly.  "I do well mind the
ferment _you_ were in, Mr Underhill, and how you did push your Queen
Mary down all the throats of your friends: likewise how sweetly she did
repay you, bidding you for a month's visit to her palace of Newgate!
Pray you, shall it be the same again, _hermano_?"

"Dear heart!  What a memory have you, Mistress Rose!" said Mr
Underhill, with another hearty laugh.  "It shall scantly be Newgate
again, metrusteth: the rather, since there is no Queen Mary to thrust
adown your throats--thank the Lord for that and all other His mercies.
He that we may speak of is no Papist, whatso else; but I mistake
greatly, Robin, if somewhat the same matter shall not come o'er again,
should it please God to do a certain thing."

Mr Underhill spoke thus vaguely, having no wish to finish his days on
the gallows; as men had done ere now, for little more than a hint that
the reigning Sovereign might not live for ever.

"And when the ferment come, under what flag must we look for you, Mr
Underhill?" asked.  Mrs Tremayne.

"Well," said he, "Harry Eighth left a lad and two lasses, and we have
had them all.  But Harry Seventh left likewise a lad and two lasses; and
we have had the lad, but ne'er a one of the lasses."

"Both these lasses be dead," responded the Rector.

"They be so.  But the first left a lad and a lass; and that lad left a
lass, and that lass left a lad--which is alive and jolly."

This meant, that Queen Margaret of Scotland, elder sister of Henry the
Eighth, had issue King James the Fifth, whose daughter was Mary Queen of
Scots, and her son was James the Sixth, then living.

"You count the right lieth there?" queried Mr Tremayne.

Mr Underhill nodded his head decidedly.

"And is--yonder party--well or ill affected unto the Gospellers?--how
hear you?"

"Lutheran to the back-bone--with no love for Puritans, as men do now
begin to call us Hot Gospellers."

"Thus is the Queen, mecounteth: and we have thriven well under her, and
have full good cause to thank God for her."

"Fifty years gone, Robin--when she was but a smatchet [a very young
person]--I said that lass would do well.  There is a touch of old Hal in
her--not too much, but enough to put life and will into her."

"There shall scantly be that in him."

"Nay, I'll not say so much.  Meg had a touch of Hal, too.  'Twas ill
turning her down one road an' she took the bit betwixt her teeth, and
had a mind to go the other.  There was less of it in Mall, I grant you.
And as to yon poor luckless loon, Mall's heir,--if he wit his own mind,
I reckon 'tis as much as a man may bargain for.  England ne'er loveth
such at her helm--mark you that, Robin.  She may bear with them, but she
layeth no affiance in them."

Mr Underhill's hearers knew that by the poor luckless loon, he meant
Edward Seymour, Lord Beauchamp, the representative of the Princess Mary,
younger sister of Henry the Eighth.  He was heir of England under
Henry's will, and might, if he had chosen it, have been a very
formidable opponent of King James.

"There was trial made, in King Harry's days," said the Rector
thoughtfully, "to join the two Crowns of England and Scotland, by
marrying of King Edward, that then was Prince, with their young Queen
Mary."

"Well-a-day!--what changes had been, had that matter come to
perfection!"

"It were a mighty great book, friend, that should be writ, were all set
down that might have happened if things had run other than they have
done.  But I pray you, what outlook is now for the Gospellers--or
Puritans, if they be so called--these next few years?  Apart from the
Court--be they in good odour in London, or how?"

"Be they in good odour in Heaven, you were better to ask.  What is any
great town but a sink of wickedness?  And when did ill men hold good men
in esteem?"

"Ah, Mr Underhill, but there is difficulty beside that," said Mrs
Rose, shaking her head.  "Wherefore, will you tell me, cannot the good
men be content to think all the same thing, and not go quarrel, quarrel,
like the little boys at play?"

"So they should, Mistress Rose!--so they should!" said Mr Underhill
uncompromisingly.  "What with these fantasies and sectaries and
follies--well-a-day! were I at the helm, there should be ne'er an
opinion save one."

"That is the very thing Queen Mary thought," said Mr Tremayne, looking
amused.

"Dear heart! what will the lad say next?" demanded Mr Underhill in a
surprised tone.

"'Tis truth, old friend.  See you not that to keep men of one opinion,
the only way is to slay them that be of the contrary?  Living men must
differ.  Only the dead ne'er wrangle touching aught."

"Eh, Robin, man!  `Live peaceably with all men.'"

"`As much as lieth in you.'  Paul was wiser than you, saving your
presence."

"But, Robin, my son," said Mrs Rose, "I would not say only, for such
matters as men may differ in good reason.  They cannot agree on the
greater things, _mon cheri_,--nay, nor on the little, littles no more.--
Look you, Mr Underhill, we have in this parish a man that call himself
a Brownist--I count he think the brown the only colour that is right; if
he had made the world, all the flowers should be brown, and the leaves
black: eh, _ma foi_! what of a beautiful world to live in!--_Bien_! this
last May Day, Sir Thomas Enville set up the maypole on the green.
`Come, Master,' he said to the Brownist, `you dance round the
maypole?'--`Nay, nay,' saith he, `it savoureth of Popery.'  `Well,'
quoth he, `then you come to prayer in the church!  There is nothing
against that, I trow?'--`Good lack, nay!' saith he, `'tis an idle form.
I cannot pray without the Spirit aid me; and the Spirit will not be
bounden down unto dead forms.'  And so, Mr Underhill, they fall to
wrangling.  Now, is it not sad?  Not only they will not take their
pleasure together, but they will not say their prayers together no more.
Yet they all look to meet in Heaven.  They will not wrangle and quarrel
there, I trow?  Then why can they not be at peace these few days the
sooner?"

This was a long speech for Mrs Rose.

"Well, to speak truth," said Mr Underhill, "I could find in mine heart
to cry `Hail, fellow!' to your Brownist over the maypole: though I see
not wherein it savoureth of Popery, but rather of Paganism.  Howbeit, as
I well know, Popery and Paganism be sisters, and dwell but over the way
the one from the other.  But as to the Common Prayer being but a form,
and that dead,--why, I pray you, what maketh it a dead form save the
dead heart of him that useth the same?  The very Word of God is but a
dead thing, if the soul of him that readeth it be dead."

A certain section of the laity are earnestly petitioning the clergy for
"a hearty service."  Could they make a more absurd request?  The heart
is in the worshipper, not in the service.  And who can bring his heart
to it but himself?

"_Ma foi_!" said Mrs Rose, with a comical little grimace, "but indeed I
did think, when we were set at rest from the Queen Mary and her
burnings, that we could have lived at peace the ones with the others."

"Then which counted you to be rid of, Mistress Rose--the childre of God
or the childre of the devil?.  So long as both be in the world, I reckon
there'll not be o'er much peace," bluntly replied Underhill.

"Mind you what my dear father was used to say," asked Mr
Tremayne,--"`Afore the kingdom must come the King'?  Ah, dear friends,
we have all too little of Christ.  `We shall be satisfied,' and we shall
be of one mind in all things, only when we wake up `after His
likeness.'"

------------------------------------------------------------------------

Clare Avery and Eunice Underhill struck up a warm friendship.  Eunice
[name and dates true, character imaginary] was one of the few women who
keep "the dew of their youth," and in freshness, innocence, and
ignorance of this evil world, she was younger than many girls not half
her age.  Her simplicity put Clare at ease, while her experience of life
awoke respect.  Clare seized her opportunity one day, while taking a
long walk with Eunice, to obtain the opinion of the latter on the point
which still interested her, and compare it with that of Mrs Tremayne.
Why it was easier to talk to Eunice than to those at home, Clare could
not decide.  Perhaps, had she discovered the reason, she might not have
found it very flattering to her self-love.

"Mistress Eunice, think you it easy to be content with small gear?"

"You would say with lack of goods?" asked Eunice.

"Nay; but with the having to deal with petty, passing matter, in the
stead of some noble deed that should be worthy the doing."

"I take you now, Mistress Clare.  And I can feel for your perplexity,
seeing I have known the same myself."

"Oh, you have so?" responded Clare eagerly.

"Ay, I have felt as though the work set me to do were sheer waste of
such power and knowledge as God had given unto me; and have marvelled (I
would speak it with reverence) what the Lord would be at, that He thus
dealt with me.  Petty things--mean things--little passing matter, as you
said, that none shall be the better for to-morrow; wherefore must I do
these?  I have made a pudding, maybe; I have shaken up a bed; I have cut
an old gown into a kirtle.  And to-morrow the pudding shall be eaten,
and the bed shall lack fresh straw, and ere long the gown shall be worn
to rags.  But I shall live for ever.  Wherefore should a soul be set to
such work which shall live for ever?"

"Ay,--you know!" said Clare, drawing a deep breath of satisfaction.
"Now tell me, Mistress Eunice, what answer find you to this question?
Shall it be with you, as with other, that these be my tasks at school?"

"That is verily sooth, Mistress Clare; yet there is another light
wherein I love the better to look thereat.  And it is this: that in this
world be no little things."

"What would you say, Mistress Eunice?  In good sooth, it seemeth me the
rather, there be few great."

"I cry you mercy," said Eunice, with her bright smile.  "Lo' you,--'tis
after this fashion.  The pudding I have made a man shall eat, and
thereby be kept alive.  This man shall drop a word to another, which one
passing by shall o'erhear,--on the goodness and desirableness of
learning, I will say.  Well, this last shall turn it o'er in his mind,
and shall determine to send his lad to school, and have him well
learned.  Time being gone, this lad shall write a book, or shall preach
a sermon, whereby, through the working of God's Spirit, many men's
hearts shall be touched, and led to consider the things that belong unto
their peace.  Look you, here is a chain; and in this great chain one
little link is the pudding which I made, twenty years gone."

"But the man could have eaten somewhat else."

"Soothly; but he did not, you see."

"Or another than you could have made the pudding."

"Soothly, again: but I was to make it."

Clare considered this view of the case.

"All things in this world, Mistress Clare, be links in some chain.  In
Dutchland [Germany], many years gone now, a young man that studied in an
university there was caught in an heavy thunderstorm.  He grew sore
affrighted; all his sins came to his mind: and he prayed Saint Anne to
dispel the storm, promising that he would straightway become a monk.
The storm rolled away, and he suffered no harm.  But he was mindful of
his vow, and he became a monk.  Well, some time after, having a spare
half-hour, he went to the library to get him a book.  As God would have
it, he reached down a Latin Bible, the like whereof he had ne'er seen
aforetime.  Through the reading of this book--for I am well assured you
know that I speak of Luther--came about the full Reformation of religion
which, thanks be to God! is now spread abroad.  And all this cometh--to
speak after the manner of men--in that one Martin was at one time
affrighted with the thunder; and, at another time, reached him down a
book.  Nay, Mistress Clare--in God's world be no little things!"

"Mistress Eunice, in so saying, you make life to look a mighty terrible
thing, and full of care."

"And is life not a most terrible thing to them that use it not aright?
But for them that do trust them unto God's guidance, and search His Word
to see what He would have them do, and seek alway and above all things
but to do His will,--it may be life is matter for meditation, yea, and
watchfulness; but methinks none for care.  God will see to the chain:
'tis He, not we, that is weaver thereof.  We need but to be careful,
each of his little link."

"My links be wearyful ones!" said Clare with a little sigh.  "'Tis to
cut, and snip, and fit, and sew, and guard, and mend.  My cousin Lysken
dealeth with men and women, I with linen and woollen.  Think you it
strange that her work should seem to me not only the nobler, but the
sweeter belike?"

"Methinks I have seen Mistress Lysken to deal pretty closely with linen
and woollen, sithence Father and I came hither," said Eunice smiling.
"But in very deed, Mistress Clare, 'tis but nature that it so should
seem unto you.  Yet did it ever come into your mind, I pray you, that we
be poor judges of that which is high and noble?  I marvel if any save
Christ and Gabriel e'er called John Baptist a great man.  Yet he was
great in the sight of the Lord.  Yea, that word, `more than a prophet'
was the very accolade of the King of the whole world.  You know,
Mistress Clare, that if the Queen's Majesty should call a man `Sir
Robert,' though it were but a mistake, and he no knight, that very word
from her should make him one.  And the King of Heaven can make no
mistake; His great men be great men indeed.  Now whether would you
rather, to be great with men, or with God?"

"Oh, with God, undoubtedly!" said Clare shyly.

"It seemeth me," said Eunice, knitting her brows a little, "there be
three questions the which your heart may ask himself touching your work.
_Wherefore_ do I this?  You will very like say, Because you be bidden.
Good.  But then--_How_ do I this?--is it in the most excellent way I
can?  And yet again, _For whom_ do I this?  That last lieth deepest of
all."

"Why, I do it for my mother and Aunt Rachel," said Clare innocently.

"Good.  But wherefore not, henceforward, do it for God?"

"For God, Mistress Eunice!"

"'Tis the true touchstone of greatness.  Nought can be little that a man
doth for God; like as nought can be great that a man doth but for
himself."

"Lysken can work for God," said Clare thoughtfully; "but I, who do but
draw needles in and out--"

"Cannot draw them for God?  Nay, but Paul thought not so.  He biddeth
you `whether ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do _all_ to the
glory of God.'  But mind you, only the very best work is to His glory:
that is to say, only _your_ very best.  He measures not Mall's work by
Jane's, but he looketh at the power of both, and judgeth if they have
wrought their best or no.  Jane may have finished the better piece of
work, but if Mall have wrought to her utmost, and Jane not so, then
Mall's work shall take first rank, and Jane's must fall behind."

"That is a new thought unto me, Mistress Eunice--that I can do such work
for God.  I did indeed account that I could be patient under the same,
for to please Him: and I could have thought that the saving of a child
from drowning, or the leading of a ship to battle, and so forth, might
be done as unto God: but to cut and sew and measure!"

"I would 'twere not a new thought to many another," answered Eunice.
"But I guess we can sew well or ill; and we can cut carefully or
carelessly; and we can measure truly or untruly.  Truth is no little
matter, Mistress Clare; neither is diligence; nor yet a real, honest,
hearty endeavouring of one's self to please the Lord, who hath given us
our work, in every little thing.  Moreover, give me leave to tell you,--
you may be set a great work, and you may fail to see the greatness
thereof.  I mind me, when I was something younger than you be, and my
brother Hal was but a little child, he fell into sore danger, and should
belike have been killed, had none stretched out hand to save him.  Well,
as the Lord in His mercy would have it, I saw his peril, and I ran and
snatched up the child in the very nick of time.  There was but an
half-minute to do it.  And at afterward, men praised me, and said I had
done a great thing.  But think you it bare the face of a great thing to
me, as I was in the doing thereof?  Never a whit.  I ne'er tarried to
think if it were a great thing or a small: I thought neither of me nor
of my doing, but alonely of our Hal, and how to set him in safety.  They
said it was a great matter, sith I had risked mine own life.  But, dear
heart!  I knew not that I risked aught--I ne'er thought once thereon.
Had I known it, I would have done the same, God helping me: but I knew
it not.  Now, whether was this a great thing or a small?"

"I have no doubt to say, a great."

"Maybe, Mistress Clare, when you and I shall stand--as I pray God we
may!--among the sheep at the right hand of Christ our Saviour,--when the
books be opened, and the dead judged according to that which is written
of them,--He may pick out some little petty deed (to our eyes), and may
say thereof, This was a great thing in My sight.  And it may be, too,
that the deeds we counted great He shall pass by without any mention.
Dear heart, let us do the small deeds to our utmost, and the great are
sure to follow.  `He that is faithful in that which is least, is
faithful also in much.'  And you know what He saith touching that poor
cup of cold water, which assuredly is but a right small thing to give.
Think you, if the Queen's Highness were passing here but now, and should
drop her glove, and you picked up the same and offered it to Her
Grace,--should you e'er forget it?  I trow not.  Yet what a petty
matter--to pick up a dropped glove!  `Ah, but,' say you, `It was the
Queen's glove--that wrought the difference.'  Verily so.  Then set the
like gilding upon your petty deeds.  It is the King's work.  You have
wrought for the King.  Your guerdon is His smile--is it not enough?--and
your home shall be within His house for ever."

"Ay!" said Clare, drawing a long sigh--not of care: "it is enough,
Mistress Eunice."

"And He hath no lack of our work," added Eunice softly.  "It is _given_
to us to do, like as it was given unto Peter and John to suffer.
Methinks he were neither a good child nor a thankful, that should refuse
to stretch forth hand for his Father's gift."

------------------------------------------------------------------------

Note 1.  I have not been able to ascertain the true date of Underhill's
death, but he was living on the 6th of March 1568.  (Rot. Pat., 10
Elizabeth, Part Two.)



CHAPTER THIRTEEN.

GENTLEMAN JACK.

  "He is transformed, And grown a gallant of the last edition."

  _Massinger_.

Jack's letters from London were exuberant.  He was delighted with his
new phase of existence.  He had made some most advantageous friendships,
and was in hopes of obtaining a monopoly, which would bring him in about
a hundred a year.  In the meantime, he begged that his father would
remember that life at Court was a very costly affair; and perhaps he
would be so good as to send him a little more money.  Half-a-dozen
letters of this description passed, and Jack was liberally supplied with
such an amount as his father anticipated that he might reasonably want.
But at the end of about two years came a much more urgent epistle.  Jack
was sorry to say that he had been unavoidably compelled to go into debt.
No blame was to be attached to him in the matter.  He had not incurred
the obligation of a penny for anything beyond the barest necessaries; he
hoped his father would not imagine that he had been living
extravagantly.  But he wished Sir Thomas to understand that he really
had not a suspicion of the inevitable expenses of Court life.  The sums
which he had been so good as to remit were a mere drop in the ocean of
Jack's necessities.

Sir Thomas replied, without any expression of displeasure, that if his
son could get leave of absence sufficient to pay a visit to Lancashire,
he would be glad to see him at home, and he desired that he would bring
all his bills with him.

The answer to this letter was Jack himself, who came home on an autumn
evening, most elaborately attired, and brimful of news.

A fresh punishment had been devised for felony--transportation to the
colonies among the savages.  The Spaniards were finally and completely
expelled from the Dutch provinces.  A Dutchman had made the
extraordinary discovery that by an ingenious arrangement of pieces of
glass, of certain shapes, at particular distances, objects far off could
be made to seem nearer and larger.  The Queen was about to send out a
commercial expedition to India--the first--from which great things were
expected.  There was a new proclamation against Jesuits and "seminary
priests."  All these matters naturally enough, with Jack's personal
adventures, occupied the first evening.

The next morning, Sir Thomas asked to see the bills.  Jack brought out a
tolerably large package of documents, which he presented to his father
with a graceful reverence.

"I do ensure you, Sir, that I have involved me for nought beyond the
barest necessities of a gentleman."

His father opened and perused the first bill.

"`One dozen of shirts at four pound the piece.'  Be those, my lad, among
the barest necessities?"

"Of a gentleman, Sir," said Jack.

"Four pound, Brother!  Thou must mean four shillings," cried Rachel.

"'Tis writ four pound," calmly returned Sir Thomas.

"Good lack Jack!" said Rachel, turning to her nephew.  "Were there
angels for buttons all the way down?"

"The broidery, Aunt--the broidery!" returned Jack.  "Four pound is a
reasonable charge enough.  Marry, I do ensure you, my sometime Lord of
Leicester was wont to pay ten pound the piece for his shirts."

"I would I had been his shirt-maker!" said Rachel.  "'Twould have built
up my fortune."

"What wist thou touching broidery, Jack?" demanded Lady Enville, with
her silvery laugh.

"Go to!" said Sir Thomas, taking up the next bill.  "`Five score of silk
stockings, broidered, with golden clocks [Note 1], twenty-six and
eight-pence the pair.'--Those be necessaries, belike, Jack?"

"Assuredly, Sir.  White, look you--a pair the day, or maybe two."

"Ha!" said his father.  "`Item, one short coat, guarded with budge
[lambskin], and broidered in gold thread, 45 pounds.--Item, one long
gown of tawny velvet, furred with pampilion [an unknown species of fur],
and guarded with white lace, 66 pounds, 13 shillings, 4 pence.'--
Necessaries, Jack?"

"Mercy preserve us!" ejaculated Rachel.

"Good lack, Sir Thomas!--the lad must have gear!" urged his step-mother.

Sir Thomas laid down the bills.

"Be so good, Jack, as to tell me the full figures of these counts?"

"Good sooth, Sir!  I have not added them," replied Jack in a
contemptuous tone.  "A gentleman is ne'er good at reckoning."

"He seems to be reasonable good at spending," said his father.  "But how
much, Jack, dost guess they may all come to?"

"Really, Sir, I cannot say."

"Go to--give a guess."

"Marry--somewhere about five thousand pound, it may be."

According to the equivalent value of money in the present day, Jack's
debts amounted to about seventy-five thousand pounds.  His father's
yearly income was equal to about six thousand.

"How lookest thou to pay this money, Jack?" asked Sir Thomas, in a tone
of preternatural calmness which argued rather despair than lack of
annoyance.

"Well, Sir, there be two or three fashions of payment," returned Jack,
airily.  "If you cannot find the money--"

"I cannot, in very deed, lad."

"Good," answered Jack quite complacently.  "Then--if I win not the
monopoly--"

"The monopoly would not pay thy debts under fifty years, Jack; not if
thou gavest every penny thereof thereto, and hadst none fresh to pay.
How about that, lad?"

"Of course I must live like a gentleman, Sir," said Jack loftily.  "Then
the next way is to win the grant of a wardship."

This way of acquiring money is so entirely obsolete that it needs
explanation.  The grant of a wardship meant that some orphan heir of a
large inheritance was placed in the care of the grantee, who was obliged
to defray out of the heir's estate the necessary expenses of his
sustenance and education, but was free to apply all the surplus to his
own use until the heir was of age.  When the inheritance was large,
therefore, the grant was a considerable boon to the guardian.

"And supposing that fail thee?"

"Well, then--if the worst come to the worst--I can but wed an heir,"
remarked Jack with serenity.

"Wed an estate, thou meanest, Jack."

"Of course, Sir.  The woman must come with it, I reckon.  That I cannot
help."

"Marry come up!" exclaimed Rachel.  "Thou art a very man.  Those be
right the man's ways.  `The woman must come with it,' forsooth!  Jack,
my fingers be itching to thrash thee."

"Such matters be done every day, Aunt," observed Jack, smiling
graciously,--not with reference to the suggested reward of his misdeeds.

"Black sin is done every day, lad.  I wis that without thy telling.  But
that is no cause why thou shouldst be the doer of it."

"Nay, Aunt Rachel!" retorted Jack, in the same manner.  "'Tis no sin to
wed an heir."

"It was a sin, when I was a child, to tell lies.  Maybe that is altered
now," said Rachel dryly.

"What lies, Aunt Rachel?" asked Jack laughing.

"Is it no lie, Jack, to lead a woman into believing that thou lovest
_her_, when, if she plucked her purse out of her pocket and gave it
thee, thou wert fully content, and shouldst ask no more?"

"You have old-fashioned notions, Aunt Rachel," said Jack, still
laughing.

"Jack!  I do trust thou wilt not wed with any but one of good degree.
Let her be a knight's daughter, at the least--a lord's were all the
better," said his step-mother.

"But touching these debts, Jack," resumed his father.  "Suppose thou
shouldst fail to wed thine heir,--how then?"

"Then, Sir, I shall trust to redeem the money at play."

Every man of substance--not a Puritan--was at that time a gamester.

"And how, if that fail?"

"They can't all fail, Sir!" said Jack lightly.

"My lad!" replied His father earnestly, "I did an ill deed when I sent
thee to London."

"Dear heart, Sir!" exclaimed Jack, just suppressing a much stronger
ejaculation, "I do ensure you, you never did a wiser thing."

"Then my life hath been one of sore folly," answered his father.

"I alway told thee thou shouldst come to wrack," added his aunt.

"Nay, now, what wrack have I come to?" returned Jack with a graceful
flourish of his hands.  "Call you it wrack to have a good post in the
Queen's Majesty's house, with hope of a better, maybe, when it please
God?--or, to be well [stand well, be on good terms] with many honourable
gentlemen, and heirs of good houses, throughout all England?--or, to
have the pick of their sisters and cousins, when it liketh me to wed?"

"They shall have a jolly picking that pick out thee!" growled Aunt
Rachel.

"Or to have open door of full many honourable houses,--and good credit,
that there is not a craftsman in London that should not count it honour
to serve me with such goods as I might choose?" pursued Jack.

"A mighty barren honour, Jack, on thine own showing."

"Jack!" interposed Sir Thomas, who had seemed deep in thought for a
minute, "tell me honestly,--of this five thousand pound, if so be, how
much was lost at the dice?"

"Why, Sir!--you did not count I should reckon my debts of honour?"

Sir Thomas groaned within himself.

"Debts of honour!" cried Rachel.  "What, be there a parcel more?"

"These be trade-debts, Aunt!" said Jack, with an injured air,--"debts
that I can defray or leave, as it may stand with conveniency.  My debts
of honour must be paid, of course!--I looked to your bounty, Sir, for
that.  They be not much--but a light thousand or twelve hundred pound, I
take it."

That is to say, about 15,000 pounds to 18,000 pounds.

"Jack!" said his father, "dost remember thou hast two sisters yet
unwed?"

"One, Sir, under your good pleasure," replied Jack suavely.

"Two," gravely repeated Sir Thomas.  "I will set no difference betwixt
Blanche and Clare.  And they be to portion, lad; and we have all to
live.  I cannot pay thy debts of honour and see to these likewise.  And,
Jack, the trade-debts, as thou callest them, must come first."

"Sir!" exclaimed Jack aghast.

"I say, the trade-debts must stand first," repeated his father firmly.

"A gentleman never puts his trade-debts before his debts of honour,
Sir!" cried Jack in a tone of intense disgust mixed with amazement.

"I know not what you gentlemen of the Court may account honour nor
honesty, Sir," replied Sir Thomas, now sternly; "but I am a plain honest
man, that knows nought of Court fashions, for the which His good
providence I thank God.  And if it be honest to heap up debt that thou
hast no means of paying to thy certain knowledge, then I know not the
signification of honesty."

"But I must play, Sir!" replied Jack--in the tone with which he might
have said, "I must breathe."

"Then thou must pay," said Sir Thomas shortly.

"Must play, quotha!" interjected Rachel.  "Thou must be a decent lad,--
that is all the must I see."

"Come, be not too hard on the lad!" pleaded Lady Enville, fanning
herself elegantly.  "Of course he must live as other young men."

"That is it, Madam!" responded Jack eagerly, turning to his welcome
ally.  "I cannot affect singularity--'tis not possible."

"Of course not," said Lady Enville, who quite agreed with Jack's
sentiments, as women of her type generally do.

"Thou canst affect honesty, trow," retorted Rachel.

"Sir," said Jack, earnestly addressing his father, "I do entreat you,
look on this matter in a reasonable fashion."

"That is it which I would fain do, Jack."

"Well, Sir,--were I to put my trade-debts before my debts of honour, all
whom I know should stamp me as no gentleman.  They should reckon me some
craftsman's son that had crept in amongst them peradventure."

"Good lack!" said his step-mother and aunt together,--the former in
dismay, the latter in satire.

"I am willing that any should count me no gentleman, if he find me not
one," answered his father; "but one thing will I never do, and that is,
give cause to any man to reckon me a knave."

"But, Sir, these be nought save a parcel of beggarly craftsmen."

"Which thou shouldst have been, had it so pleased God," put in Aunt
Rachel.

"Aunt," said Jack loftily, "I was born a gentleman; and under your good
leaves, a gentleman I do mean to live and die."

"Thou hast my full good leave to live and die a gentleman, my lad," said
his father; "and that is, a man of honour, truth, and probity."

"And 'tis no true man, nor an honourable, that payeth not his just
debts," added Rachel.

"I cry thee mercy, Rachel; a gentleman never troubleth him touching
debts," observed Lady Enville.

"In especial unto such like low companions as these," echoed Jack.

"Well!--honesty is gone out of fashion, I reckon," said Rachel.

"Only this will I say, Sir," resumed Jack with an air of settling
matters: "that if you will needs have my trade-debts defrayed before my
debts of honour, you must, an't like you, take them on yourself.  I will
be no party to such base infringement of the laws of honour."

"Good lack, lad!  Thou talkest as though thy father had run into debt,
and was looking unto thee to defray the charges!  'Tis tother way about,
Jack.  Call thy wits together!" exclaimed his aunt.

"Well, Aunt Rachel, you seem determined to use me hardly," said Jack,
with an air of reluctant martyrdom; "but you will find I harbour no
malice for your evil conception of mine intents."

To see this Jack, who had done all the mischief and made everybody
uncomfortable, mount on his pedestal and magnanimously forgive them, was
too much for Rachel's equanimity.

"Of all the born fools that e'er gat me in a passion, Jack, thou art
very king and captain!  I would give my best gown this minute thou wert
six in the stead of six-and-twenty--my word, but I would leather thee!
I would whip thee till I was dog-weary, whatever thou shouldst be.  The
born patch [fool]!--the dolt [dunce]!--the lither loon [idle,
good-for-nothing fellow]!--that shall harbour no malice against me
because--he is both a fool and a knave!  If thou e'er hadst any sense,
Jack (the which I doubt), thou forgattest to pack it up when thou
earnest from London.  Of all the long-eared asses ever I saw--"

Mistress Rachel's diatribe came to a sudden close, certainly not from
the exhaustion of her feelings, but from the want of suitable words
wherein to express them.

"Aunt!" said Jack, still in an injured tone, "would you have me to
govern myself by rule and measure, like a craftsman?"

"Words be cast away on thee, Jack: I will hold my peace.  When thy
brains be come home from the journey they be now gone, thou canst give
me to wit, an' it like thee."

"I marvel," murmured Sir Thomas absently, "what Master Tremayne should
say to all this."

"He!" returned Jack with sovereign scorn.  "He is a Puritan!"

"He is a good man, Jack.  And I doubt--so he keep out of ill company--
whether Arthur shall give him the like care," said his father sighing.

"Arthur!  A sely milksop, Sir, that cannot look a goose in the face!"

"Good lack! how shall he ever win through this world, that is choke-full
of geese?" asked Rachel cuttingly.

"Suffer me to say, Sir, that Puritans be of no account in the Court."

"Of earth, or Heaven?" dryly inquired Sir Thomas.

"The Court of England, I mean, Sir.  They be universally derided and
held of low esteem.  All these Sectaries--Puritans, Gospellers,
Anabaptists, and what not--no gentleman would be seen in their company."

"Dear heart!" growled the still acetic Rachel.  "The angels must be
mighty busy a-building chambers for the gentry, that they mix not in
Heaven with the poor common saints."

"'Tis the general thought, Aunt, among men of account.--and doth commend
itself for truth,--that 't will take more ill-doing to damn a gentleman
than a common man."  [Note 2.]

"Good lack!  I had thought it should be the other way about," said
Rachel satirically.

"No doubt," echoed Lady Enville--in approbation of Jack's sentiment, not
Rachel's.

"Why, Aunt!--think you no account is taken of birth and blood in
Heaven?"

"Nay, I'll e'en let it be," said Rachel, rising and opening the door.
"Only look thou, Jack,--there is another place than Heaven; and I don't
reckon there be separate chambers there.  Do but think what it were, if
it _should_ chance to a gentleman to be shut up yonder along with the
poor sinners of the peasantry!"

And leaving this Parthian dart, Rachel went her way.

"I will talk with thee again, Jack: in the mean while, I will, keep
these," said his father, taking up the bills.

"As it like you, Sir," responded Jack airily.  "I care not though I
never see them again."

"What ado is here!" said Lady Enville, as her husband departed.  "I am
sore afeared thou wilt have some trouble hereabout, Jack.  Both thy
father and aunt be of such ancient notions."

Jack bent low, with a courtier's grace, to kiss his step-mother's hand.

"Trouble, Madam," he said--and spoke truly--"trouble bideth no longer on
me than water on a duck's back."

"And now tell me, Tremayne, what shall I do with this lad?"

"I am afeared, Sir Thomas, you shall find it hard matter to deal with
him."

"Good lack, these lads and lasses!" groaned poor Sir Thomas.  "They do
wear a man's purse--ay, and his heart.  Marry, but I do trust I gave no
such thought and sorrow to my father!  Yet in very deed my care for the
future passeth it for the past.  If Jack go on thus, what shall the end
be?"

Mr Tremayne shook his head.

"Can you help me to any argument that shall touch the lad's heart?"

"Argument ne'er touched a man's heart yet," said the Rector.  "That is
but for the head.  There is but one thing that will touch the heart to
any lasting purpose; and that is, the quickening grace of God the Holy
Ghost."

"Nay, all they seem to drift further away from Him," sighed the father
sadly.

"My good friend, it may seem so to you, mainly because yourself are
coming nearer."

Sir Thomas shook his head sorrowfully.

"Nay, for I ne'er saw me to be such a sinner as of late I have.  You
call not that coming nearer God?"

"Ay, but it is!" said Mr Tremayne.  "Think you, friend; you _were_ such
a sinner all your life long, though it be only now that, thanks to God,
you see it.  And I do in very deed hope and trust that you have this
true sight of yourself because the Lord hath touched your eyes with the
ointment of His grace.  Maybe you are somewhat like as yet unto him
whose eyen Christ touched, that at first he could not tell betwixt men
and trees.  The Lord is not like to leave His miracle but half wrought.
He will perfect that which He hath begun."

"God grant it!" said Sir Thomas feelingly.  "But tell me, what can I do
for Jack?  I would I had listed you and Rachel, and had not sent him to
London.  Sir Piers, and Orige, and the lad himself, o'er-persuaded me.
I rue it bitterly; but howbeit, what is done is done.  The matter is,
what to do now?"

"The better way, methinks, should be that you left him to smart for it
himself, an' you so could."

"Jack will ne'er smart for aught," said his father.  "Were I to stay his
allowance, he should but run into further debt, ne'er doubting to pay
the same somewhen and somehow.  The way and the time he should leave to
chance.  I see nought but ruin before the lad.  He hath learned over ill
lessons in the Court,--of honour which is clean contrary to common
honesty, and courtesy which standeth not with plain truth."

"Ay, the Devil can well glose," [flatter, deceive] said Mr Tremayne
sadly.

"The lad hath no conscience!" added Sir Thomas.  "With all this, he
laugheth and singeth as though nought were on his mind.  Good lack! but
if I had done as he, I had been miserable thereafter.  I conceive not
such conditions."

"I conceive them, for I have seen them aforetime.  But I would not have
such a conscience for the worth of the Queen's Mint."

Indeed, Jack did seem perfectly happy.  His appetite, sleep, and
spirits, were totally unaffected by his circumstances.  Clare, to whom
this anomaly seemed preposterous, one day asked him if he were happy.

"Happy?" repeated Jack.  "For sure!  Wherefore no?"

Clare did not tell him.

------------------------------------------------------------------------

One evening in the week of Jack's return, to the surprise of all, in
walked Mr John Feversham.  He did not seem to have much to say, except
that Uncle Piers and Aunt Lucrece were well.  In fact, he never had much
to say.  Nor did he think it necessary to state what had brought him to
Lancashire.  He was asked to remain, of course, to which he assented,
and slipped into his place with a quiet ponderosity which seemed to
belong to him.

"An oaken yule-log had as much sense, and were quicker!"  [livelier]
said Jack aside to Blanche.

"Nay, he wanteth not for sense, I take it," returned his sister, "but of
a truth he is solid matter."

"I marvel if he ever gat into debt," observed Clare quietly from the
other side of Jack.

"He!" sneered that young gentleman.  "He is the fashion of man that
should pay all his trade-debts and ne'er ask for a rebate."

"Well! methinks that were no very ill deed," said Clare.

"A deed whereof no gentleman of spirit should be guilty!"

"There be divers sorts of spirits, Jack."

"There is but one manner of spirit," returned Jack sharply, "and I ne'er
saw a spark thereof in yon bale of woollen goods labelled Jack
Feversham."

"May be thou wilt, some day," answered Clare.

"That will be when the Ribble runneth up instead of down.  He is a
coward,--mine head to yon apple thereon."

"Be not so sure thereof."

"But I am sure thereof--as sure as a culverin shot."

Clare dropped the subject.

Rather late on the following evening, with his usual quiet,
business-like air, John Feversham asked for a few words with Sir Thomas.
Then--to the astonishment of that gentleman--the purport of his visit
came out.  He wanted Blanche.

Sir Thomas was quite taken by surprise.  It had never occurred to him
that silent John Feversham had the faintest design upon any one.  And
what could this calm, undemonstrative man have seen in the butterfly
Blanche, which had captivated him, of all people?  He promised an answer
the next day; and, feeling as if another straw had been added to his
burden, he went to consult the ladies.

Lady Enville disapproved of the proposal.  So unlike Don Juan!--so
totally inferior, in every respect!  And would it not be desirable to
wait and see whether John were really likely to succeed to his uncle's
inheritance within any reasonable time? she calmly urged.  Sir Piers
might live twenty years yet, or he might have a family of his own, and
then where would John Feversham be?  In present circumstances, concluded
her Ladyship, enjoying the scent of her pomander, she thought this a
most undesirable match for Blanche, who could not do much worse, and
might do much better.

Rachel, as might be expected, took the contrary view.  Unlike Don
Juan!--yes, she hoped so, indeed!  This was a sensible young man, who,
it might be trusted, would keep Blanche in order, which she was likely
enough to need as long as she lived.  How should the girl do better?  By
all means take advantage of the offer.

"Well, should Blanche know?  That is, before acceptance."

"Oh, ay!" said Lady Enville.

"Oh, no!" said Rachel.

In Rachel's eyes, the new-fangled plan of giving the young lady a voice
in the question was fraught with danger.  But Lady Enville prevailed.
Blanche was summoned, and asked what she thought of John Feversham.

It did not appear that Blanche had thought much about him at all.  She
was rather inclined to laugh at and despise him.

Well, had she any disposition to marry him?

Blanche's shrinking--"Oh no, an' it liked you, Father!"--decided the
matter.

To all outward appearance, John Feversham took his rejection very
quietly.  Sir Thomas couched it in language as kind as possible.  John
said little in answer, and exhibited no sign of vexation.  But Rachel,
who was still pursuing her career of amateur detective, thought that he
felt more distress than he showed.

------------------------------------------------------------------------

Note 1.  The embroidery about the heel and ankle, which showed above the
low shoes then fashionable.

Note 2.  Lest the reader should think this idea too preposterous to have
been seriously entertained, I refer him to words actually uttered (and
approved by the hearers) on the death of Philippe, Duke of Orleans,
brother of Louis the Fourteenth:--"I can assure you, God thinks twice
before He damns a person of the Prince's quality."--(_Memoires de
Dangeau_).



CHAPTER FOURTEEN.

WHICH WAS THE COWARD?

  "Je crains Dieu, cher Abner, et n'ai point
  d'autre crainte."

  _Racine_.

"There shall be a bull baited to-morrow at Rosso Hall," [now Rossall]
said Jack one evening at rear-supper.  "I shall be there, without fail;
who goeth withal?"

Lady Enville was doubtful of the weather, but she expressed no
compassion for the bull.  Clare declined without giving her reason.
Blanche looked as if she did not know whether or not to ask permission
to accompany her brother.  Sir Thomas said he had too much to think
about; and if not, it was an amusement for which he had no fancy.

"And thou, Feversham?"

"No!  I thank you."

"No!--and wherefore?"

"Because I count it not right."

"Puritan!" cried Jack in accents of the deepest scorn.  Feversham
continued his supper with great unconcern.

"Art thou no Puritan?"

"What is a Puritan?" calmly returned John.

"One that reckoneth a laugh sin."

"Then, if so be, I am no Puritan."

"Jack!" reproved his father.

"Sir, of all things in this world, there is nought I do loathe and
despise like to a Puritan!"

"There is a worse thing than reckoning a laugh to be sin, Jack," said
Sir Thomas gravely; "and that is, reckoning sin a thing to laugh at."

"And wherefore dost loathe a Puritan, quotha?" demanded Rachel.  "Be
they so much better than thou?"

"There be no gentlemen amongst them, Aunt Rachel," suggested Blanche
mischievously.

"They set them up for having overmuch goodness," answered Jack in a
disgusted tone.

"Prithee, Jack, how much goodness is that?" his Aunt Rachel wished to
know.

"Over Jack's goodness," whispered Blanche.

"There is not one that is not a coward," resumed Jack, ignoring the
query.  "As for Feversham yonder, I can tell why he would not go."

"Why?" said Feversham, looking up.

"Because," returned Jack with lofty scorn, "thou art afeared lest the
bull should break loose."

Blanche was curious to hear what John Feversham would say to this
accusation--one which to her mind was a most insulting one.  Surely this
would rouse him, if anything could.

"That is not all I am afeared of," said John quietly.

"Art thou base enough to confess fear?" cried Jack, as if he could
hardly believe his ears.

John Feversham looked him steadily in the face.

"Ay, Jack Enville," he said, unmoved by the taunt.  "I am afeared of
God."

"Well said, my brave lad!" muttered Sir Thomas.

Jack turned, and left the hall without answering.  But after that
evening, his whole conduct towards Feversham evinced the uttermost
contempt.  He rarely spoke to him, but was continually speaking at him,
in terms which classed him with "ancient wives" and "coward loons"--
insinuations so worded that it was impossible to reply, and yet no one
could doubt what was meant by them.  Unless Feversham were extremely
careless of the opinion of his fellows, he must have found this very
galling; but he showed no indication of annoyance, beyond an occasional
flush and quiver of the lip.  Sir Thomas had at once exhibited his
displeasure when he heard this, so that Jack restricted his
manifestations to times when his father was absent; but the amusement
sometimes visible in Blanche's face was not likely to be pleasant to the
man whom Blanche had refused to marry.

------------------------------------------------------------------------

"Well, Sir?" queried Jack one Saturday evening, as the family sat round
the hall fire after rear-supper.  "My leave, an' I remember rightly,
shall end this week next but one.  I must look shortly to be on my way
to London.  What say you touching these little matters?"

"What little matters, Jack?" inquired his father.

"These bills, Sir."

"I cry thee mercy," said Sir Thomas dryly.  "I counted those great
matters."

"Forsooth, no, Sir!  There be few gentlemen in the Court that do owe so
little as I."

"The Court must be a rare ill place, belike."

"My good Sir!" said Jack condescendingly, "suffer me to say that you,
dwelling hereaway in the country, really can form no fantasy of the
manner of dwellers in the town.  Of course, aught should serve here that
were decent and comely.  But in the Court 'tis right needful that
fashion be observed.  Go to!--these chairs we sit on, I dare say, have
been here these fifty years or more?"

"As long as I mind, Jack," said his father; "and that is somewhat over
fifty years."

"Truly, Sir.  Now, no such a thing could not be done in the Court.  A
chair that is ten years old is there fit for nought; a glass of five
years may not be set on board; and a gown you have worn one year must be
cast aside, whether it be done or no.  The fashion choppeth and changeth
all one with the moon; nor can a gentleman wear aught that is not the
newest of his sort.  Sir, the Queen's Highness carrieth ne'er a gown two
seasons, nor never rippeth--all hang by the walls."

It was the custom at that time to pull handsome dresses in pieces, and
use the materials for something else; but if a dress were not worth the
unpicking, it was hung up and left to its fate.  Queen Elizabeth kept
all hers "by the walls;" she never gave a dress, and never took one in
pieces.

"Gentility, son--at least thy gentility--is costly matter," remarked Sir
Thomas.

"Good lack, Sir!  You speak as though I had been an ill husband!"  [an
extravagant man] cried Jack in an injured tone.  "Look you, a gentleman
must have his raiment decent--"

"Three cloth suits, six shirts, and six pair of stockings should serve
for that, Jack, nor cost above twenty pound the year, and that free
reckoned," [a very handsome allowance] put in Aunt Rachel.

"Six shirts, my dear Aunt!--and six pair of stockings!" laughed Jack.
"Why, 'twere not one the day."

"Two a-week is enow for any man--without he be a chimney-sweep," said
Aunt Rachel oracularly.

This idea evidently amused Jack greatly.

"'Tis in very deed as I said but now: you have no fantasy hereaway of
the necessities of a man that is in the Court.  He must needs have his
broidered shirts, his Italian ruff, well-set, broidered, and starched;
his long-breasted French doublet, well bombasted [padded]; his hose,--
either French, Gally, or Venetian; his corked Flemish shoes of white
leather; his paned [slashed and puffed with another colour or material]
velvet breeches, guarded with golden lace; his satin cloak, well
broidered and laced; his coats of fine cloth, some forty shillings the
yard; his long, furred gown of Lukes' [Lucca] velvet; his muff, Spanish
hat, Toledo rapier; his golden and jewelled ear-rings; his stays--"

A few ejaculations, such as "Good lack!" and "Well-a-day!" had been
audible from Aunt Rachel as the list proceeded; but Sir Thomas kept
silence until the mention of this last article, which was in his eyes a
purely feminine item of apparel.

"Nay, Jack, nay, now!  Be the men turning women in the Court?"

"And the women turning men, belike," added Rachel.  "The twain do
oft-times go together."

"My good Sir!" returned Jack, with amused condescension.  "How shall a
gentleman go about a sorry figure, more than a gentlewoman?"

"Marry come up!" interposed Rachel.  "If the gentleman thou hast scarce
finished busking be not a sorry figure, I ne'er did see the like."

"Stays, ear-rings, muffs!" repeated Sir Thomas under his breath.
"Belike a fan, too, Jack?--and a pomander?--and masks?--and gloves?"

"Gloves, without doubt, sir; and they of fair white Spanish leather,
wrought with silk.  Masks, but rarely; nor neither fans nor pomanders."

"Not yet, I reckon.  Dear heart! what will the idle young gallants be
a-running after the next?  We shall have them twisting rats' tails in
their hair, or riding in coaches."

"I ensure you, Sir, many gentlemen do even now ride in coaches.  'Tis
said the Queen somewhat misliketh the same."

"Dear heart!" said Sir Thomas again.

"And now, Sir, you can well see all these must needs be had--"

"Beshrew me, Jack, if I see aught of the sort!"

"All I see," retorted Rachel, "is, if they be had, they must be paid
for."

"Nay, worry not the lad thus!" was softly breathed from Lady Enville's
corner.  "If other gentlemen wear such gear, Jack must needs have the
same also.  You would not have him mean and sorry?"  [shabby.]

"Thou wouldst have him a scarlet and yellow popinjay!" said Rachel.

"I would not have him mean, Orige," replied Sir Thomas significantly.

"Well, Sir,--all said, we come to this," resumed Jack in his airy
manner.  "If these bills must needs be paid--and so seem you to say--how
shall it be?  Must I essay for the monopoly?--or for a wardship?--or for
an heir?--or shall I rather trust to my luck at the dice?"

"Buy aught but a living woman!" said Rachel, with much disgust.

"The woman is nought, Aunt.  'Tis her fortune."

"Very good.  I reckon she will say, `The man is naught.'  And she'll
speak truth."

Rachel was playing, as many did in her day, on the similarity of sound
between "nought," nothing, and "naught," good-for-nothing.

"Like enough," said Jack placidly.

"I will spare thee what money I can, Jack," said his father sighing.
"But I do thee to wit that 'twill not pay thy debt--no, or the half
thereof.  For the rest, I must leave thee to find thine own means: but,
Jack!--let them be such means that an honest man and true need not be
'shamed thereof."

"Oh!--of course, sir," said Jack lightly.

"Jack Feversham!" asked Sir Thomas, turning suddenly to his young
visitor, "supposing this debt were thine, how shouldst thou pay it?"

"God forbid it were!" answered Feversham gravely.  "But an' it were,
sir, I would pay the same."

"At the dice?" grimly inquired Rachel.

"I never game, my mistress."

"A monopoly?" pursued she.

"I am little like to win one," said Feversham laughingly.

"Or by wedding of an heir?"

"For the sake of her money?  Nay, I would think I did her lesser ill of
the twain to put my hand in her pocket and steal it."

"Then, whereby?" asked Sir Thomas, anxious to draw John out.

"By honest work, Sir, whatso I might win: yea, though it were the
meanest that is, and should take my life to the work."

"Making of bricks?" sneered Jack.

"I would not choose that," replied Feversham quietly.  "But if I could
earn money in no daintier fashion, I would do it."

"I despise mean-spirited loons!" muttered Jack, addressing himself to
the fire.

"So doth not God, my son," said his father quietly.

Blanche felt uncertain whether she did or not.  In fact, the state of
Blanche's mind just then was chaos.  She thought sometimes there must be
two of her, each intent upon pursuing a direction opposite to that of
the other.  Blanche was in the state termed in the Hebrew Old Testament,
"an heart and an heart."  She wished to serve God, but she also wanted
to please herself.  She was under the impression--(how many share it
with her!)--that religion meant just two things--giving up everything
that one liked, and doing everything that one disliked.  She did not
realise that what it really does mean is a change in the liking.  But at
present she was ready to accept Christ's salvation from punishment, if
only she might dispense with the good works which God had prepared for
her to walk in.

And when the heart is thus divided between God and self, it will be
found as a rule that, in all perplexities which have to be decided, self
carries the day.

The only result of the struggle in Blanche's mind which was apparent to
those around her was that she was very cross and disagreeable.  He who
is dissatisfied with himself can never be pleased with other people.

Ah, how little we all know--how little we can know, as regards one
another--of the working of that internal kingdom which is in every man's
breast!  A woman's heart may be crushed to death within her, and those
who habitually talk and eat and dwell with her may only suppose that she
has a headache.

And those around Blanche entirely misunderstood her.  Lady Enville
thought she was fretting over her crossed love, and lavished endless
pity and petting upon her.  Clare only saw, in a vague kind of way, that
something was the matter with her sister which she could not understand,
and let her alone.  Her Aunt Rachel treated her to divers acidulated
lectures upon the ingratitude of her behaviour, and the intensity with
which she ought to be ashamed of herself.  None of these courses of
treatment was exactly what Blanche needed; but perhaps the nipping north
wind of Aunt Rachel was better than the dead calm of Clare, and far
superior to the soft summer breeze of Lady Enville.

It was a bright, crisp, winter day.  The pond in the grounds at Enville
Court was frozen over, and Jack, declaring that no consideration should
baulk him of a slide, had gone down to it for that purpose.  John
Feversham followed more deliberately; and a little later, Clare and
Blanche sauntered down in the same direction.  They found the two Johns
sliding on the pond, and old Abel, the head gardener, earnestly adjuring
Master Jack to keep off the south end of it.

"Th' ice is good enough at this end; but 'tis a deal too thin o'er yon.
You'd best have a care, of you'll be in ere you know aught about it."

"Thou go learn thy gra'mmer!"  [teach thy grandmother] said Jack
scornfully.  "Hallo, maids!  Come on the ice--'tis as jolly as a play."

Clare smilingly declined, but Blanche stepped on the ice, aided by
Jack's hand, and was soon sliding away as lithely and merrily as
himself.

"Ay me! yonder goeth the dinner bell," said Blanche at last.  "Help me
back on the bank, Jack; I must away."

"Butter the dinner bell!" responded Jack.  "Once more--one grand slide,
Snowdrop."

This had been Jack's pet name for his youngest sister in childhood, and
he used it now when he was in a particularly good temper.

"Master!  Master! yo're comin' too near th' thin!" shouted old Abel.

Jack and Blanche, executing their final and most superb slide, heard or
cared not.  They came flying along the pond,--when all at once there was
a shriek of horror, and Jack--who was not able to stop himself--finished
the slide alone.  Blanche had disappeared.  Near the south end of the
great pond was a round jagged hole in the ice, showing where she had
gone down.

"Hold her up, Master, quick!" cried old Abel.  "Dunnot let her be sucked
under, as what happens!  Creep along to th' edge, and lay you down; and
when hoo comes to th' top, catch her by her gown, or her hure [hair], or
aught as 'll hold.  I'll get ye help as soon as I can;" and as fast as
his limbs would carry him, Abel hurried away.

Jack did not move.

"I shall be drowned!  I can't swim!" he murmured, with white lips, "I
would sure go in likewise."

Neither he nor Clare saw in the first moment of shocked excitement that
somebody else had been quicker and braver than they.

"I have her!" said John Feversham's voice, just a little less calm than
usual.  "I think I can keep her head above water till help cometh.  Jack
Enville, fetch a rope or a plank--quick!"

They saw then that Feversham was lying on his face on the ice, and
holding firmly to Blanche by her fair hair, thus bringing her face above
the water.

"O Jack, Jack!" cried Clare in an agony.  "Where is a rope or plank?"

Even in that moment, Jack was pre-eminently a gentleman--in his own
sense of the term.

"How should I know?  I am no serving-man."

Clare dashed off towards the house without another word.  She met Sir
Thomas at the garden gate, hastening out to ascertain the meaning of the
screams which had been heard.

"Father!--a rope--a plank!" she panted breathlessly.  "Oh, help!
Blanche is drowning!"

Before Clare's sentence was gasped out, Sim and Dick ran past, the one
with a plank, the other with a coil of rope, sent by Abel to the rescue.
Sir Thomas followed them at his utmost speed.

The sight which met his eyes at the pond, had it been less serious,
would have been ludicrous.  Feversham still lay on the ice, grasping
Blanche, who was white and motionless; while Jack, standing in perfect
safety on the bank, was favouring the hero with sundry scraps of cheap
advice.

"Hasten!" said Feversham in a low, constrained voice, when he heard help
coming.  "I am wellnigh spent."

Sir Thomas was really angry with his son.  A few words of withering
scorn made that young gentleman--afraid of his father for the first
time--assist with his own courtly hands in pushing the plank across the
ice.

The relief reached those endangered just in time.

Blanche was carried home in her father's arms, and delivered to Rachel
to be nursed; while Feversham, the moment that he recognised himself to
be no longer responsible for her safety, fainted where he lay.  He was
borne to the house by Sim and Dick--Master Jack following in a leisurely
manner, with his gentlemanly hands in his pockets.

When all was safely over, Sir Thomas put his hand on Jack's shoulder.
For the first time that the father could remember, the son looked
slightly abashed.

"Jack, which was the coward?"

And Jack failed to answer.

------------------------------------------------------------------------

John Feversham joined the party again at supper.  He looked very pale,
but otherwise maintained his usual imperturbable demeanour, though
scarcely seeming to like the expressions of admiration which were
showered upon him.

"Metrusteth, Jack," said Rachel cuttingly to her nephew, "next time thou
wilt do thy best not to mistake a hero for a coward.  I should not
marvel, trow, if the child's going on yon ice were some mischievous work
of thine."

"'Twas a gallant deed, in very sooth, Master Feversham,--without you can
swim," said Lady Enville faintly.  She had gone into hysterics on
hearing of the accident, and considered herself deserving of the deepest
commiseration for her sufferings.  "I am thankful Blanche wear but her
camlet."

"Canst thou swim, lad?" asked Sir Thomas of John.

"No," he answered quietly.

"Were you not afeared, Master Feversham?" said Rachel.

"Ay, a little--lest I should be full spent ere help could come.  But for
that I trusted God.  For aught else--nay: it was no time to think
thereof."

"Methinks, Jack Feversham," said Sir Thomas affectionately, "none shall
call thee a coward any more."

Feversham smiled back in answer.

"Sir Thomas," he said, "I fear God, and I love her.  This was God's
work, and her great peril.  How could I have held back?"

Sir Thomas glanced at his son; but Jack was twirling his moustache, and
intently contemplating one of the stags' heads which decorated the hall.

After that day, there was a great change in Blanche Enville.  She had
come so near death, and that so suddenly, that she was sobered and
softened.  God in His mercy opened her eyes, and she began to ask
herself,--What is the world worth?  What, after all, is anything worth,
except to please God, and win His blessing, and inherit His glory?

Her opinion was changed, too, as it respected John Feversham.  There was
no possibility of mistaking him for a coward any longer.  And whatever
he had been, she could scarcely have failed to cherish some kindly
feeling towards the man who had risked his life for hers.

The two Johns left Enville Court together on the following Tuesday.  And
after reaching London, Jack began to write letters home pretty
regularly, for that time,--always gay, airy, and sanguine.

Jack's first letter conveyed the information that he was absolutely
certain of obtaining the monopoly.  Sir Christopher Hatton and Sir
Walter Raleigh had both promised their interest, and any thought of
failure after that was quite out of the question.

The second letter brought the news that Sir Christopher was very
ill--(in fact, he was dying)--and that, by some unfortunate mistake
(with Jack, any want of capacity to see his immense value, was always a
mistake), the monopoly had been granted to young Philip Hoby.  But there
was no reason for disappointment.  Jack had had an unusual run of good
luck that week at the gaming-table.  It was quite Providential.  For
Jack, like some other gentlemen of his day, dealt largely in religious
phrases, and did not trouble himself about religion in any other way.

The third letter stated that Jack had not been able to obtain the grant
of a wardship.  That was another unfortunate mistake.  But his good luck
as a gamester still kept up, and my Lord of 'Bergavenny was his very
good lord.  These items, also, were most Providential.

The fourth letter informed his father that all his difficulties were at
last surmounted.  Providence had rewarded his merits as they deserved.
He was on the eve of marriage.

"To whom?" asked Lady Enville, with languid curiosity.

"To seven thousand pounds," said Sir Thomas dryly; "that is as much as I
can make out of the lad's letter."

The fifth epistle condescended to rather mere detail.  Jack's _fiancee_
was the daughter of an Earl, and the niece by marriage of a Viscount.
She had a fortune of seven thousand pounds--that was the cream and
chorus of the whole.  But still it did not apparently occur to Jack that
his friends at home might be interested to know the name of his beloved.

"What must we call her?" asked Blanche.  "We know not her name."

"And we cannot say `Mistress Jack,' sith she hath a title," added Sir
Thomas.

"`My Lady Jack,'" laughingly suggested Rachel.

And "Lady Jack" the bride was dubbed from that day forth.

The sixth letter was longer in coming.  But when it came it was short
and sweet.  Jack's nuptials were to be solemnised on the following day,
and he and his bride would start three days later for Enville Court.
There was a general flutter through the family.

"Dear heart! how was Jack donned?  I would give a broad shilling to
know!" said Rachel satirically.  "In white satin, trow, at the very
least, with a mighty great F on his back, wrought in rubies."

"F, Aunt Rachel!" repeated Blanche innocently.  "You mean E, surely.
What should F spell?"

"Thou canst spell aught thou wilt therewith, child," said Rachel coolly,
as she left the room.

"Sir Thomas, I pray you of money," said Lady Enville, rousing up.  "We
have nought fit to show."

Sir Thomas glanced at his wife's flowing satin dress, trimmed with
costly lace, and, like an unreasonable man, opined that it was quite
good enough for anything; "This!" exclaimed Lady Enville.  "Surely you
cannot mean it, Sir Thomas.  This gown is all rags, and hath been made
these four years."

Sir Thomas contemplated the dress again, with a rather puzzled face.

"I see not a patch thereon, Orige.  Prithee, be all thy gowns rags?--and
be Clare and Blanche in rags likewise?"

"Of course--not fit to show," said the lady.

"It seemeth me, Orige, thou shouldst have had money aforetime.  Yet I
cannot wholly conceive it,--we went not to church in rags this last
Sunday, without somewhat ail mine eyes.  If we be going thus the next,
prithee lay out in time to avoid the same."

"Gramercy, Sir Thomas!--how do you talk!"

"Rachel," said her brother, as she entered, "how many new gowns dost
thou need to show my Lady Jack?"

"I lack no new gowns, I thank thee, Tom.  I set a new dowlas lining in
my camlet but this last week.  I would be glad of an hood, 'tis true,
for mine is well worn; but that is all I need, and a mark [13 shillings
and 4 pence] shall serve me."

"Then thy charges be less than Orige, for she ensureth me that all her
gowns be but rags, and so be Clare's, and the like by Blanche."

"Lack-a-daisy!" cried Rachel.  "Call me an Anabaptist, if she hath not
in her coffers two velvet gowns, and a satin, and a kersey, and three
camlets--to say nought of velvet kirtles and other habiliments!"

"My dear Rachel!--not one made this year!"

"My satin gown was made six years gone, Orige; and this that I bear
seven; and my camlet--well-a-day!--it may be ten."

"They be not fit to sweep the house in."

"Marry come up!--Prithee, Tom, set Orige up in tinsel.  But for Clare
and Blanche, leave me see to them.  Clare hath one gown was made this
year--"

"A beggarly say!"  [a coarse kind of silk, often used for curtains and
covering furniture] put in Lady Enville.

"And Blanche hath one a-making."

"A sorry kersey of twenty pence the yard!"

"Orige, prithee talk no liker a fool than thou canst help.  Our gowns be
right and--decent, according to our degree.  We be but common folks,
woman!  For me, I go not about to prink [make smart and showy] me in
cloth of gold,--not though Jack should wed all the countesses in
England.  If she love not me by reason of my gowns, she may hold me off
with the andirons.  I can do without her."

And away marched Rachel in high dudgeon.  "It is too bad of Rachel!"
moaned Lady Enville, lifting her handkerchief to tearless eyes.  "I
would have nought but to be decent and fit for our degree, and not to
shame us in the eyes of her that hath been in the Court.  I was ne'er
one to cast money right and left.  If I had but a new velvet gown, and a
fair kirtle of laced satin, and a good kersey for every day, and an
hood, and a partlet or twain of broidered work, and two or three other
small matters, I would ask no more.  Rachel would fain don us all like
scullery-maids!"

Sir Thomas hated to see a woman weep; and above all, his wife--whom he
still loved, though he could no longer esteem her.

"Come, Orige,--dry thine eyes," he said pityingly.

He did not know, poor victim! that they required no drying.

"Thou shalt have what thou wouldst.  Tell me the sum thou lackest, and I
will spare it, though I cut timber therefor."

Which was equivalent, in his eyes, to the very last and worst of all
honest resources for raising money.

Lady Enville made a rapid calculation (with her handkerchief still at
her eyes), which ran much in this fashion:--

+========================================+======+
ÝVelvet dress - at least 40; say         Ý45 0 0Ý
+----------------------------------------+------+
ÝSatin kirtle - about                    Ý20 0 0Ý
+----------------------------------------+------+
ÝKersey dress                            Ý3 10 0Ý
+----------------------------------------+------+
ÝHood, best                              Ý 1 6 8Ý
+----------------------------------------+------+
ÝHood, second-rate                       Ý  13 4Ý
+----------------------------------------+------+
ÝFrontlet                                Ý   4 4Ý
+----------------------------------------+------+
ÝLawn for ruffs (embroidered at home) sayÝ   2 6Ý
+----------------------------------------+------+
ÝGloves, one dozen pairs, best quality   Ý   2 6Ý
+----------------------------------------+------+
ÝRibbon, 40 yards, various colours       Ý  13 4Ý
+----------------------------------------+------+
ÝMiscellaneous items, a good margin, say Ý 9 7 4Ý
+----------------------------------------+------+
ÝWhich makes a total of                  Ý80 0 0Ý
+========================================+======+

Without removing the signal of distress, her Ladyship announced that the
small sum of 80 pounds would satisfy her need: a sum equivalent to about
1200 pounds in our day.  Sir Thomas held his breath.  But he knew that
unless he had courage authoritatively to deny the fair petitioner,
argument and entreaty would alike be thrown away upon her.  And that
courage he was conscious he had not.

"Very well, Orige," he said quietly; "thou shalt have it."

But he ordered four fine oaks to be felled that evening.

"Clare, what lackest thou in the matter of raiment?" he asked when he
met her alone.

"If it liked your goodness to bestow on me a crown-piece, Father, I
would be very thankful," said Clare, blushing as if she thought herself
extravagant.  "I do lack gloves and kerchiefs."

"And what for thee, Blanche?" he asked in similar circumstances.

Before Blanche's eyes for a moment floated the vision of a new satin
dress and velvet hood.  The old Blanche would have asked for them
without scruple.  But the new Blanche glanced at her father's face, and
saw that he looked grave and worried.

"I thank you much, Father," she said.  "There is nought I do really
lack, without it were three yards of blue ribbon for a girdle."

This would cost about a shilling.  Sir Thomas smiled, blessed her, and
put a crown-piece in her hand; and Blanche danced down-stairs in her
delight,--evoked less by the crown-piece than by the little victory over
herself.  It was to her that for which a despot is recorded to have
longed in vain--a new pleasure.



CHAPTER FIFTEEN.

AFTER ALL.

  "For perhaps the dreaded future
  Has less bitter than I think;
  The Lord may sweeten the waters
  Before I stoop to drink;
  Or if Marah must be Marah,
  He will stand beside the brink."

All was ready for the reception of the newcomers.  The hall at Enville
Court was gay with spring flowers, and fresh rushes were strewn over the
floor.  Sir Thomas and Dick had gone so far as Kirkham to meet the
visitors.  Lady Enville, attired in her new kersey, which had cost the
extravagant price of five shillings per yard, [Note 1] sat by the hall
fire.  Rachel, in the objectionable camlet, which had been declared too
shabby to sweep the house in, stood near the door; while Clare and
Blanche, dressed in their Sunday costume, were moving about the hall,
giving little finishing touches to things as they saw them needed.

"There be the horses!" said Blanche excitedly.

She was very curious to see her new sister.

In about ten minutes Sir Thomas entered, leading a masked lady by the
hand.  Jack came lounging behind, his hands in his pockets, after his
usual fashion.

"Our new daughter,--the Lady Gertrude Enville."  [A fictitious person.]

One glance, and Lady Enville almost fainted from pique.  Lady Gertrude's
travelling costume was grander than her own very best new velvet.
Violet velvet, of the finest quality, slashed in all directions, and the
slashes filled with puffings of rich pale buff satin; yards upon yards
of the costliest white lace, literally strewn upon the dress: rich
embroidery upon the most delicate lawn, edged with deep lace, forming
the ruff; a hood of black velvet, decorated with pearls and gold
passementerie; white leather shoes, wrought with gold; long worked
gloves of thick white kid,--muff, fan, mask--all complete.  As the bride
came up the hall, she removed her mask, and showed a long pale face,
with an unpleasant expression.  Her apparent age was about thirty.

"Give you good even, Madam!" she said, in a high shrill voice--not one
of those which are proverbially "an excellent thing in woman."

"These be your waiting gentlewomen?"

"These are my daughters," said Lady Enville--stiffly, for her; the
mistake had decidedly annoyed her.

"Ah!"  And the bride kissed them.  Then turning to Rachel,--"This, I
account, is the lady mistress?"

("That camlet!" said Lady Enville to herself, deeply vexed.)

Sir Thomas introduced her gravely,--"My sister."

Lady Gertrude's bold dark eyes scanned Rachel with an air of contempt.
Rachel, on her part, quite reciprocated the feeling.

"You see, Niece, we keep our velvets for Sundays hereaway," she said in
her dry way.

The bride answered by an affected little laugh, a kiss, and a
declaration that travelling ruined everything, and that she was not fit
to be seen.  At a glance from Lady Enville, Clare offered to show
Gertrude to her chamber, and they went up-stairs together.  Jack
strolled out towards the stable.

"Not fit to be seen!" gasped poor Lady Enville.  "Sir Thomas, what can
we do?  In the stead of eighty pound, I should have laid out eight
hundred, to match her!"

"Bear it, I reckon, my dear," said he quietly.

"Make thy mind easy, Orige," scornfully answered Rachel.  "I will lay my
new hood that her father made his fortune in some manner of craft, and
hath not been an Earl above these two years.  Very ladies should not
deal as she doth."

Meanwhile, above their heads, the bride was putting Clare through her
catechism.

"One of you maidens is not in very deed Sir John's sister.  Which is
it?"

"_Sir_ John?" repeated Clare in surprise.

"Of course.  Think you I would have wedded a plain Master?  I caused my
father to knight him first.--Which is it?"

"That am I," said Clare.

"Oh, you?  Well, you be not o'er like him.  But you look all like unto
common country folk that had never been in good company."

Though Clare might be a common country girl, yet she was shocked by
Gertrude's rudeness.  She had been brought up by Rachel to believe that
the quality of her dress was of less consequence than that of her
manners.  Clare thought that if Gertrude were a fair sample of "good
company," she did not wish to mix in it.

"I have been alway bred up in the Court," Gertrude went on, removing her
hood.  "I never was away thence afore.  Of course I do conceive that I
am descended to a lower point than heretofore--you have no coach, I dare
wager? yet I looked not to find my new kin donned in sorry camlet and
mean dowlas.  Have you any waiting-maid?--or is that piece of civility
[civilisation] not yet crept up into this far corner of the world?"

Clare summoned Jennet, and took her own seat in the further window.  The
vulgar, purse-proud tone of Gertrude's remarks disgusted her
exceedingly.  She did not enter into all of them.  Simple Clare could
not see what keeping a carriage had to do with gentlemanliness.

Jennet came in, and dropped a "lout" to the bride, whom she was disposed
to regard with great reverence as a real lady.  At that time, "lady" was
restricted to women of title, the general designation being
"gentlewoman."

"Here, woman!" was Gertrude's peremptory order.  "Untwist my hair, and
dress it o'er again."

Jennet quickly untwisted the hair, which was elaborately curled and
frizzed; and when it was reduced to smoothness, asked,--"What mun [must]
I do wi' 't?"

"Eh?" said Gertrude.

"I'm ill set [I find it difficult] to make thore twirls and twists,"
explained Jennet.  "Mun I curl 't, or ye'll ha' 't bred?"  [Braided,
plaited.]

"What means the jade?" demanded Gertrude with an oath.

Clare was horrified.  She had heard men swear when they were in a
passion, and one or two when they were not; but that a woman should
deliberately preface her words with oaths was something new and shocking
to her.  Lady Enville's strongest adjurations were mild little
asseverations "by this fair daylight," or words no nearer profanity.
However, startled as she was, Clare came out of her corner to mediate.

"How should it like you dressed?"

"Oh! with the crisping-pins.  'Twill take as short time as any way."

"Wi' whatten a thingcum?"  [with what sort of a thing] stared Jennet.

"I am afeared, Sister, we have no crisping-pins," said Clare.

"No crisping-pins!" cried Gertrude, with another oath.  "Verily, I might
have come to Barbary!  Are you well assured?"

"Be there any manner of irons, Jennet, for crisping or curling the
hair?"

"Nay, Mistress Clare, we're Christians here," said Jennet in her coolest
manner, which was very cool indeed.  "We known nought about French ways,
nor foreigners nother.  [In Lancashire, strangers to the locality, if
only from the next county, are termed foreigners.] There's been no such
gear i' this house sin' I come--and that's eighteen year come Lady Day."

"Good sonties!  [Little saints!] do't as thou wilt," sneered Gertrude.
"I would I had brought all my gear withal.  Whate'er possessed yon jade
Audrey to fall sick, that I was like to leave her behind at Chester!--
Truly, I knew not what idiots I was coming amongst--very savages, that
wist not the usages of decent folk!"

"Bi' th' mass!"  [not yet obsolete] cried Jennet in burning wrath,
resorting to her strongest language, "but I'm no more an idiot nor thee,
my well-spoken dame,--nay, nor a savage nother.  And afore I set up to
dress thy hure again, thou may ask me o' thy bended knees--nor I'll none
do't then, I warrant thee!"

And setting down the brush with no light hand, away stalked Miss Jennet,
bristling with indignation.  Gertrude called her back angrily in vain,
looked after her for a moment with parted lips, and then broke forth
into a torrent of mingled wrath and profanity.  She averred that if one
of her fathers servants had thus spoken, she would have had her
horsewhipped within an inch of her life.  Clare let her run on until she
cooled down a little, and then quietly answered that in that part of the
world the people were very independent; but if Gertrude would allow her,
she would try to dress her hair as well as she could.  That it would be
of no use to ask Jennet again, Clare well knew; and she shrank from
exposing her dear old Barbara to the insolent vulgarity of Gertrude.

"You may as well," said Gertrude coolly, and without a word of thanks.
"You be meet for little else, I dare say."

And reseating herself before the mirror, she submitted her hair to
Clare's inexperienced handling.  For a first attempt, however, the
result was tolerably satisfactory, though Clare had never before dressed
any hair but her own; and Gertrude showed her gratitude by merely
asserting, without anger or swearing, that she was right thankful no
ladies nor gentlemen should behold her thus disfigured, as she would not
for all the treasures of the Indies that they should.  With this
delicate compliment to her new relatives, she rustled down into the
hall, Clare following meekly.  Gertrude had not changed her dress;
perhaps she did not think it worth while to honour people who dressed in
say and camlet.  Sir Thomas received her with scrupulous deference, set
her on his right hand, and paid all kindly attention to her comfort.
For some time, however, it appeared doubtful whether anything on the
supper-table was good enough for the exacting young lady.  Those around
her came at last to the conclusion that Gertrude's protestations
required considerable discount; since, after declaring that she "had no
stomach," and "could not pick a lark's bones," she finished by eating
more than Clare and Blanche put together.  Jack, meanwhile, was
attending to his own personal wants, and took no notice of his bride,
beyond a cynical remark now and then, to which Gertrude returned a sharp
answer.  It was evident that no love was lost between them.

As soon as supper was over, the bride went up to her own room, declaring
as she went that "if yon savage creature had the handling of her
gowns"--by which epithet Clare guessed that she meant Jennet--"there
would not be a rag left meet to put on"--and commanding, rather than
requesting, that Clare and Blanche would come and help her.  Sir Thomas
looked surprised.

"Be these the manners of the great?" said he, too low for Jack to hear.

"Oh ay!" responded his wife, who was prepared to fall down at the feet
of her daughter-in-law, because she was _Lady_ Gertrude.  "So commanding
is she!--as a very queen, I do protest.  She hath no doubt been used to
great store of serving-maidens."

"That maketh not our daughters serving-maids," said Sir Thomas in an
annoyed tone.

"I would have thought her mother should have kept her in order," said
Rachel with acerbity.  "If that woman were my daughter, she had need
look out."

Rachel did not know that Gertrude had no mother, and had been allowed to
do just as she pleased ever since she was ten years old.

Meanwhile, up-stairs, from trunk after trunk, under Gertrude's
directions--she did not help personally--Clare and Blanche were lifting
dresses in such quantities that Blanche wondered what they could have
cost, and innocent Clare imagined that their owner must have brought all
she expected to want for the term of her natural life.

"There!" said Gertrude, when the last trunk which held dresses was
emptied.  "How many be they?  Count.  Seventeen--only seventeen?  What
hath yon lither hilding [wicked girl] Audrey been about?  There should
be nineteen; twenty, counting that I bear.  I would I might be hanged if
she hath not left out, my cramoisie!  [crimson velvet!] the fairest gown
I have!  And"--with an oath--"if she hath put in my blue taffata,
broidered with seed-pearl, I would I might serve as a kitchener!"

Rachel walked in while Gertrude was speaking.

"Surely you lack no more!" said Blanche.  "Here be seven velvet gowns,
and four of satin!"

"Enow for you, belike!" answered Gertrude, with a sneer.

"Enow for any Christian woman, Niece, and at the least ten too many,"
said Rachel severely.

"Lack-a-daisy!--you have dwelt so long hereaway in this wilderness, you
wit not what lacketh for decency in apparel," returned Gertrude
irreverently, greatly scandalising both her sisters-in-law by her
disrespect to Aunt Rachel.  "How should I make seventeen gowns serve for
a month?"

"If you don a new every second day," said Rachel, "there shall be two
left over at the end thereof."

Gertrude stared at her for a moment, then broke into loud laughter.

"Good heart, if she think not they be all of a sort!  Why, look you
here--this is a riding gown, and this a junketing gown, and this a
night-gown [evening dress].  Two left over, quotha!"

"I would fain, Niece," said Rachel gravely, "you had paid as much note
unto the adorning of your soul as you have to that of your body.  You
know 'tis writ--but may be 'tis not the fashion to read God's Word now
o' days?"

"In church, of course," replied Gertrude.  "Only Puritans read it out of
church."

"You be no Puritan, trow?"

"Gramercy!  God defend me therefrom!"

"Good lack! 'tis the first time I heard ever a woman--without she were a
black Papist--pray God defend her from reading of His Word.  Well,
Niece, may be He will hear you.  Howbeit, 'tis writ yonder that a meek
spirit and a quiet is of much worth in His sight.  I count you left that
behind at Chester, with Audrey and the two gowns that lack?"  [That are
wanting.]

"I would you did not call me Niece!" responded Gertrude in a querulous
tone.  "'Tis too-too [exceedingly] ancient.  No parties of any sort do
now call as of old [Note 2],--`Sister,' or `Daughter,' or `Niece'."

"Dear heart!  Pray you, what would your Ladyship by your good-will be
called?"

"Oh, Gertrude, for sure.  'Tis a decent name--not an ugsome [ugly]
old-fashioned, such as be Margaret, or Cicely, or Anne."

"'Tis not old-fashioned, in good sooth," said Rachel satirically; "I
ne'er heard it afore, nor know I from what tongue it cometh.  Then--as I
pick out of your talk--decent things be new-fangled?"

"I want no mouldy old stuff!--There!  Put the yellow silk on the lowest
shelf."

"'Tis old-fashioned, I warrant you, to say to your sister, `An' it
please you'?"

"And the murrey right above.--Oh, stuff!"

The first half of the sentence was for Clare; the second for Rachel.

"'Tis not ill stuff, Niece," said the latter coolly, as she left the
room.

"And what thinkest of Gertrude?" inquired Sir Thomas of his sister, when
she rejoined him and Lady Enville.

"Marry!" said Rachel in her dryest manner, "I think the goods be mighty
dear at the price."

"I count," returned her brother, "that when Gertrude's gowns be paid
for, there shall not be much left over for Jack's debts."

"Dear heart! you should have thought so, had you been above but now.  To
see her Grace (for she carrieth her like a queen) a-counting of her
gowns, and a-cursing of her poor maid Audrey that two were left behind,
when seventeen be yet in her coffers!"

"Seventeen!" repeated the Squire, in whose eyes that number was enough
to stock any reasonable woman for at least half her life.

"Go to--seventeen!" echoed Rachel.

"Well-a-day!  What can the lass do with them all?" wondered Sir Thomas.

"Dear hearts!  Ye would not see an earl's daughter low and mean?"
interposed Lady Enville.

"If this Gertrude be not so, Orige,--at the least in her heart,--then is
Jennet a false speaker, and mine ears have bewrayed me, belike.
Methinks a woman of good breeding might leave swearing and foul talk to
the men, and be none the worse for the same: nor see I good cause
wherefore she should order her sisters like so many Barbary slaves."

"Ay so!--that marketh her high degree," said Lady Enville.

"I wis not, Orige, how Gertrude gat her degree, nor her father afore
her," answered Rachel: "but this I will tell thee--that if one of the
`beggarly craftsmen' that Jack loveth to snort at, should allow him,
before me, in such talk as I have heard of her, I would call on Sim to
put him forth with no more ado.  Take my word for it, she cometh of no
old nor honourable stock, but is of low degree in very truth, if the
truth were known."

Rachel's instinct was right.  Lady Gertrude's father was a _parvenu_, of
very mean extraction.  Her great-uncle had made the family fortune,
partly in trade, but mostly by petty peculations; and her father, who
had attracted the Queen's eye when a young lawyer, had been rapidly
promoted through the minor grades of nobility, until he had reached his
present standing.  Gertrude was not noble in respect of anything but her
title.

Lady Enville, with a smile which was half amusement and half contempt,
rose and retired to her boudoir.  Sir Thomas and Rachel sat still by the
hall fire, both deeply meditating: the former with his head thrown back,
gazing--without seeing them--at the shields painted on the ceiling;
while the latter leaned forward towards the fire, resting her chin on
both hands.

"What saidst, Tom?" asked Rachel in a dreamy voice.

"I spake not to know it, good Sister: but have what I said, an' thou so
wilt.  I was thinking on that word of Paul--`Not many noble are called.'
I thought, Rachel, how far it were better to be amongst the called of
God, than to be of the noble."

"'Tis not the first, time that I have thanked the Lord I am not noble,"
said Rachel without changing her attitude.  "'Tis some comfort to know
me not so high up that any shall be like to take thought to cut my head
off.  And if Gertrude be noble--not to say"--Rachel's voice died away.
"Tom," she said in a moment later, "we have made some blunders in our
lives, thou and I."

"I have, dear Rachel," said Sir Thomas sighing: "what thine may be I wis
not."

"God knoweth!" she replied in a low voice.  "And I know of one--the
grandest of all blunders.  Thou settedst out for Heaven these few months
gone, Tom.  May be thou shalt find more company on the road than thou
wert looking for."

"Dear Rachel!"

"Clare must be metely well on by this time," she continued in the dry
tone with which she often veiled her deepest feelings, "and Blanche is
tripping in at the gate, or I mistake.  I would not by my goodwill have
thee lonely in the road, Tom: and I suppose--there shall be room for
more than two a-breast, no' will?"  [Will there not?]

------------------------------------------------------------------------

During all this time, the once close intercourse between the Court and
the parsonage had been somewhat broken off.  Arthur had never been in
the Squire's house since the day when Lucrece jilted him; and Clare was
shy of showing herself in his vicinity.  Blanche visited Mrs Tremayne
occasionally, and sometimes Lysken paid a return visit; but very much
less was seen of all than in old times.  When, therefore, it became
known at Enville Court that Arthur had received holy orders at the
Bishop's last ordination, the whole family as it were woke with a start
to the recollection that Arthur had almost passed out of their sphere.
He was to be his father's curate for the present--the future was
doubtful; but in an age when there were more livings than clergy to fill
them, no difficulty need be expected in the way of obtaining promotion.

Just after Jack and Gertrude had returned to London (to the great relief
of every one, themselves not excepted), in his usual unannounced style,
Mr John Feversham made his appearance at Enville Court.  Blanche
greeted him with a deep blush, for she felt ashamed of her former
unworthy estimate of his character.  John brought one interesting piece
of news--that his uncle and aunt were well, and Lucrece was now the
mother of a little boy.

Lady Enville looked up quickly.  Then John was no longer the heir of
Feversham Hall.  It might therefore be necessary--if he yet had any
foolish hopes--to put an extinguisher upon him.  She rapidly decided
that she must issue private instructions to Sir Thomas.  That gentleman,
she said to herself, really was so foolish--particularly of late, since
he had fallen into the pit of Puritanism--that if she did not look
sharply after him, he might actually dream of resigning his last and
fairest daughter to a penniless and prospectless suitor.  If any such
idea existed in the mind of Sir Thomas, of John Feversham, or of
Blanche,--and since John had saved Blanche's life, it was not at all
unlikely,--it must be nipped in the bud.

Accordingly, on the first opportunity, Lady Enville began.

"Of course you see now, Sir Thomas, how ill a match Master John
Feversham should have been for Blanche."

"Wherefore?" was the short answer.

"Sith he is no longer the heir."  [Sith and since are both contractions
of sithence.]

"Oh!--ah!" said Sir Thomas, as unpromisingly as before.

"Why, surely you would ne'er dream of so monstrous a thing?"

Sir Thomas, who had been looking out of the window, came across to the
fire, and took up the master's position before it--standing just in the
middle of the hearth with his back to the fire.

"Better wait, Orige, and see whereof John and Blanche be dreaming," said
he calmly.

"What reckoneth he to do now, meet for livelihood?"

It would be difficult to estimate the number of degrees by which poor
John had fallen in her Ladyship's thermometer, since he had ceased to be
the expected heir of Feversham Hall.

"He looketh," said Sir Thomas absently, as if he were thinking of
something else, "to receive--if God's good pleasure be--holy orders."

"A parson!" shrieked Lady Enville, in her languid style.

"A parson, Orige.  Hast aught against the same?"

"Oh no!--so he come not anear Blanche."

"Wilt hold him off with the fire-fork?"

"Sir Thomas, I do beseech you, consider this matter in sober sadness.
Only think, if Blanche were to take in hand any fantasy for him, after
his saving of her!"

"Well, Orige--what if so?"

"I cannot bring you to a right mind, Sir Thomas!" said his wife
pettishly.  "Blanche,--our fairest bud and last!--to be cast away on a
poor parson--she who might wed with a prince, and do him no disgrace!
It were horrible!"

"Were it?" was the dry response.

"I tell you," said Lady Enville, sitting up in her chair--always with
her a mark of agitation--"I would as soon see the child in her coffin!"

"Hush, Orige, hush thee!" replied her husband, very seriously now.

"It were as little grief, Sir Thomas!  I would not for the world--nay,
not for the whole world--that Blanche should be thus lost.  Why, she
might as well wed a fisherman at once!"

"Well, the first Christian parsons were fishermen; and I dare be bound
they made not ill husbands.  Yet methinks, Orige, if thou keptest thy
grief until the matter came to pass, it were less waste of power than
so."

"`Forewarned is forearmed,' Sir Thomas.  And I am marvellous afeared
lest you should be a fool."

"Marry guep!"  [probably a corruption of _go up_] ejaculated Rachel,
coming in.  "`Satan rebuketh sin,' I have heard say, but I ne'er listed
him do it afore."

After all, Lady Enville proved a true prophet.  Mr John Feversham was
so obtuse, so unreasonable, so unpardonably preposterous, as to imagine
it possible that Blanche Enville might yet marry him, though he had the
prospect of a curacy, and had not the prospect of Feversham Hall.

"I told you, Sir Thomas!" said the prophetess, in the tone with which
she might have greeted an earthquake.  "Oh that you had listed me, and
gat him away hence ere more mischief were done!"

"I see no mischief done, Orige," replied her husband quietly.  "We will
call the child, and see what she saith."

"I do beseech you, Sir Thomas, commit not this folly!  Give your own
answer, and let it be, Nay.  Why, Blanche may be no wiser than to say
him ay."

"She no may," [she may not] said Sir Thomas dryly.

But he was determined to tell her, despite the earnest protestations of
his wife, who dimly suspected that Blanche's opinion of John was not
what it had been, and was afraid that she would be so wanting in worldly
wisdom as to accept his offer.  Lady Enville took her usual resource--an
injured tone and a handkerchief--while Sir Thomas sent for Blanche.

Blanche, put on her trial, faltered--coloured--and, to her mother's deep
disgust, pleaded guilty of loving John Feversham at last.  Lady Enville
shed some real tears over the demoralisation of her daughter's taste.

"There is no manner of likeness, Blanche, betwixt this creature and Don
John," she urged.

"Ay, mother, there is _no_ likeness," said Blanche calmly.

"I thank Heaven for that mercy!" muttered Rachel.

"Likeness!" repeated Sir Thomas.  "Jack Feversham is worth fifty Don
Johns."

"Dear heart! how is the child changed for the worser!" sobbed her
disappointed mother, who saw the coronet and fortune, on which she had
long set her heart for Blanche, fading away like a dissolving view.

"Orige, be not a fool!" growled Rachel suddenly.  "But, dear heart!  I
am a fool to ask thee."

There was a family tempest.  But at last the minority succumbed; and
Blanche became the betrothed of John Feversham.

From the day of Jack's departure from Enville Court with Gertrude, Sir
Thomas never heard another word of his debts.  Whether Jack paid them,
or compounded for them, or let them alone, or how the matter was
settled, remained unknown at Enville Court.  They only heard the most
flourishing accounts of everything connected with Jack and Gertrude.
They were always well; Jack was always prospering, and on the point of
promotion to a higher step of the social ladder.  Sir Thomas declared
drily, that his only wonder was that Jack was not a duke by this time,
considering how many steps he must have advanced.  But Lady Gertrude
never paid another visit to Enville Court; and nobody regretted it
except Jack's step-mother.  Jack's own visits were few, and made at long
intervals.  His language was always magniloquent and sanguine: but he
grew more and more reserved about his private affairs, he aged fast, and
his hair was grey at a time of life when his father's had been without a
silver thread.  Sir Thomas was by no means satisfied with his son's
career: but Jack suavely evaded all inquiries, and he came to the
sorrowful conclusion that nothing could be done except to pray for him.

It was late in the autumn, and the evening of Blanche's departure from
home after her marriage.  John Feversham's clerical labours were to lie
in the north of Cheshire, so Blanche would not be far away, and might be
expected to visit at the Court more frequently than Lucrece or Jack.  By
the bride's especial request, the whole family from the parsonage were
present at the ceremony, and Lysken was one of the bridesmaids.

The guests had been dancing in the hall; they were now resting, standing
or sitting in small groups, and conversing,--when Clare stole out of the
garden-door, and made her way to the arbour.

She could not exactly tell why she felt so sad.  Of course, she was
sorry to lose Blanche.  Such an occasion did not seem to Clare at all
proper for mirth and feasting: on the contrary, it felt the thing next
saddest to a funeral.  They would see Blanche now and then, no doubt;
but she was lost to them on the whole: she would never again be, what
she had always been till now, one of themselves, an integral part of the
home.  And they were growing fewer; only four left now, where there had
once been a household of eight.  And Clare felt a little of the
sadness--felt much more deeply by some than others--of being, though
loved by several, yet first with none.  Well, God had fixed her lot: and
it was a good one, she whispered to herself, as if to repel the sadness
gathering at her heart--it was a good one.  She would always live at
home; she would grow old, ministering to father and mother and aunt--
wanted and looked for by all three; not useless--far from it.  And that
was a great deal.  What if the Lord had not thought her meet for work in
His outer vineyard?--was not this little home-corner in His vineyard
still?--She was not a foundation-stone, not a cornice, not a pillar, in
the Church of God.  Nay, she thought herself not even one of the stones
in the wall: only a bit of mortar, filling up a crevice.  But the bit of
mortar was wanted, and was in its right place, because the Builder had
put it there.  That was a great deal--oh yes, it was everything.

"And yet," said Clare's heart,--"and yet!--"

For this was not an unlabelled sorrow.  Arthur Tremayne's name was
written all over it.  And Clare had to keep her heart stayed on two
passages of Scripture, which she took as specially for her and those in
her position.  It is true, they were written of men: but did not the
grammar say that the masculine included the feminine?  If so, what right
had any one to suppose (as Lady Enville had once said flippantly) that
"there were no promises in the Bible to old maids?"

Were there not these glorious two?--the one promise of the Old Covenant,
the one promise of the New.

"Even unto them will I give in Mine house and within My walls a place
and a name better than of sons and of daughters; I will give them an
everlasting name, that shall not be cut off."  [Isaiah sixteen verse 5.]

"These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever He goeth.  These
were redeemed from among men, being the first-fruits unto God and to the
Lamb.  And in their mouth was found no guile; for they are without fault
before the throne of God."  [Revelations fourteen verses 4, 5.]

So Clare was content.  Yet it was a sorrowful sort of content, after
all--for Clare was human, too.

She was absently pulling off some dead leaves from the arbour, and the
sudden jump which she gave showed how much she was startled.

"May I come in, Clare?" asked a voice at the entrance.

"Oh, ay--come in," said Clare, in a flutter, and trembling all over.

"I did not mean to fright you," said Arthur, with a smile, as he came
inside and sat down.  "I desired speech of you, on a matter whereof I
could not well touch save in private.  Clare,--may I speak,--dear
Clare?"

But of course, dear reader, you know all about it.

So Clare was first with somebody, after all.

------------------------------------------------------------------------

Note 1.  A price which, about sixty years before, a vice-queen had
thought sufficient in presenting a new year's gift to Queen Anne Boleyn.
John Husee writes to his mistress, Honour Viscountess Lisle, in 1534,
that he has obtained the kersey for her gift to the Queen, eleven and a
quarter yards at 5 shillings the yard, "very fine and very white."
(Lisle Papers, twelve 90.)  A few weeks later he writes, "The Queen's
grace liketh your kersey specially well."  (Lisle Papers, eleven 112.)

Note 2.  The disuse of this custom in England really dates from a rather
later period.  `Sister' has somewhat resumed its position, but
`Daughter' and `Niece,' in the vocative, are never heard amongst us now.



CHAPTER SIXTEEN.

"DIEU LA VOULU."

  "Over himself and his own heart's complaining
  Victorious still."

The bells were pealing merrily for the marriage of Clare Avery--I beg
her pardon--of Clare Tremayne; and the wedding party were seated at
breakfast in the great hall at Enville Court.

"The bridesmaids be well-looking," said Lady Enville, behind her fan, to
Sir Piers Feversham, who was her next neighbour,--for Sir Piers and
Lucrece had come to the wedding--"and I do hear Mistress Penelope
Travis--she of them that is nearest--is like to be the next bride of our
vicinage."

"Say you so?" responded Sir Piers.  "I do desire all happiness be with
her.  But there is one of yonder maids for whom in very deed I feel
compassion, and it is Mistress Lysken Barnevelt.  Her May is well-nigh
over, and no bells be ringing for her.  Poor maiden!"

"Go to, now, what dolts be men!" quoth Mistress Rachel Enville,
addressing herself, to all appearance, to the dish of flummery which
stood before her.  "They think, poor misconceiving companions! that we
be all a-dying for them.  That's a man's notion.  Moreover, they take it
that 'tis the one end and aim of every woman in the world to be wed.
That's a man's notion, again.  And belike they fancy, poor patches! that
when she striketh thirty years on the bell, any woman will wed any man
that will but take compassion to ask her.  That caps all their notions.
(Thou shalt right seldom hear a woman to make no such a blunder.  They
know better.)  Poor blockheads!--as if we could not be useful nor happy
without _them_!  Lysken Barnevelt and Rachel Enville, at the least, be
not fools enough to think it."

"Neither is the Queen's Majesty, my mistress," observed Sir Piers,
greatly amused.

"Who e'er said the Queen's Majesty were a fool?" demanded Rachel
bluntly.  "She is a woman, and no man--Heaven be praised for all His
mercies!"

"Yet if no man were," pursued Sir Piers, "methinks you gentlewomen
should be but ill bestead."

"Oh, should we so?" retorted Rachel.  "Look you, women make no wars, nor
serve therein: nor women be no lawyers, to set folk by the ears: nor
women write not great tomes of controversy, wherein they curse the one
the other because Nell loveth a white gown, and Bess would have a black.
Is the Devil a woman?  Answer me that, I pray you."

"Do women make no wars?" laughed Sir Piers.  "What! with Helen of Troy,
and--"

"Good lack, my master!--and what ill had Helen's fair face wrought in
all this world, had there been no dolts of men to be beguilen thereby?"
was Rachel's instant response.

Sir Piers made a hasty retreat from that part of the field.

"But, my mistress, though the Devil be no woman, yet was the woman the
first to be deceived by him."

"Like enough!" snapped Rachel.  "She sinned not open-eyed, as did Adam.
She trusted a man-devil, like too many of her daughters sithence, and
she and they alike have found bitter cause to rue the day they did it."

Sir Piers prudently discovered that Lady Enville was asking him a
question, and let Rachel alone thereafter.

Ay, Lysken Barnevelt adopted from choice the life to which Clare had
been only willing to resign herself because she thought it was the
Father's will.  It amused Lysken to hear people pity her as one who had
failed to win the woman's aim in life.  To have failed to obtain what
she had never sought, and did not want, was in Lysken's eyes an easily
endurable affliction.  The world was her home, while she passed through
it on her journey to the better Home: and all God's family were her
brethren or her children.  The two sisters from Enville Court were both
happy and useful in their corners of the great harvest-field; but she
was the happiest, and the best loved, and when God called her the most
missed of all--this solitary Lysken.  Distinguished by no unusual habit,
fettered by no unnatural vow, she went her quiet, peaceful, blessed
way--a nun of the Order of Providence, for ever.

And what was the fate of Lady Enville?

Just what is generally the fate of women of her type.  They pass through
life making themselves vastly comfortable, and those around them vastly
uncomfortable, and then "depart without being desired."  They are never
missed--otherwise than as a piece of furniture might be missed.  To such
women the whole world is but a platform for the exhibition and
glorification of the Great Me: and the persons in it are units with whom
the Great Me deigns--or does not deign--to associate.  Happy are those
few of them who awake, on this side of the dread tribunal, to the
knowledge that in reality this Great Me is a very little me indeed, yet
a soul that can be saved, and that may be lost.

And Rachel?--Ah, Rachel was missed when she went on the inevitable
journey.  The house was not the same without her.  She had been like a
fresh breeze blowing through it,--perhaps a little sharp at times, but
always wholesome.  Those among whom she had dwelt never realised all she
had been to them, nor all the love they had borne to her, until they
could tell her of it no more.

The winter of 1602 had come, and on the ground in Devonshire the snow
lay deep.  The trees, thickly planted all round Umberleigh, drooped with
the white weight; and a keen North wind groaned among the branches.  All
was gloomy and chill outside.

And inside, all was gloomy and mournful too, for a soul was in
departing.  The ripe fruit that had tarried so late on the old tree, was
shaken down at last.  Softly and tenderly, the Lady Elizabeth, the young
wife of Sir Robert Basset, was ministering to the last earthly needs of
Philippa the aged, the sister of her husband's grandfather.  [Note 1.]

"'Tis high time, Bess, child!" whispered the dying woman, true to her
character to the last.  "I must have been due on the roll of Death these
thirty years.  I began to marvel if he had forgot me.  And I am going
Home, child.  Thank God, I am going Home!

"They are are all safe yonder, Bess--Arthur, and Nell [Wife of Sir
Arthur Basset], and little Honor, and thy little lad [Arthur, who died
in infancy], and Jack, and Frances--my darling sister!--and George, and
Kate, and Nan.  I am assured of them, all.  There be James and Mall,--
well, I am not so sure of them.  Would God I were!  He knoweth.

"But I do hope I shall see my mother.  And, O Bess!  I shall see him--my
blessed, beloved father--I _shall_ see him!

"And they'll be glad, child.  They'll all be glad when they see poor
blundering old Philippa come stumbling in at the gate.  I misdoubt if
they look for it.  They'll be glad!

"Bess, I do hope thou wilt ne'er turn thy back upon God so many years as
I have done.  And I had never turned to Him at last, if He had not
stooped and turned me.

"Tell Robin, with my blessing, to be a whole man for God.  A whole man
and a true!  He is too rash--and yet not bold [true] enough.  He cares
too much what other folk think.  (Thank God, I ne'er fell in that trap!
'Tis an ill one to find the way out.)  Do thou keep him steadfast, Bess.
He'll ask some keeping.  There's work afore thee yet, child; 'tis work
worthy an angel--to keep one man steadfast for God.  Thou must walk
close to God thyself to do it.  And after all, 'twill be none of thy
doing, but of His that wrought by thee.--

"And God bless the childre!  I count there's the making of a true man in
little Arthur.  Thou mayest oft-times tell what a child is like to be
when he is but four years old.  God bless him, and make him another
Arthur!  (Nay, I stay me not at Robin's father, as thou dost.  Another
Arthur,--like that dear father of ours, whom we so loved!  He is _the_
Arthur for me.)  I can give the lad no better blessing.

"Wilt draw the curtain, Bess?  I feel as though I might sleep.  Bless
thee, dear heart, for all thy tender ministering.  And if I wake not
again, but go to God in sleep,--farewell, and Christ be with thee!"

So she slept--and woke not again.

Three months after the death of Philippa Basset, came another death--
like hers, of an old woman full of years.  The last of the Tudors passed
away from earth.  Sir Robert Basset was free.  To Stuart, or Seymour, or
Clifford, he "owed no subscription."  King of England he would be _de
facto_, as _de jure_ he believed himself in his heart.

And but for two obstacles in his way, it might have been Robert Basset
who seated himself on the seat of England's Elizabeth.  For England was
much exercised as to who had really the right to her vacant throne.

It was no longer a question of Salic law--a dispute whether a woman
could reign.  That point, long undetermined, had been finally settled
fifty years before.

Nor was it any longer a doubtful matter concerning the old law of
non-representation,--to which through centuries the English clung
tenaciously,--the law which asserted that if a son of the sovereign
predeceased his father, leaving issue, that issue was barred from the
succession, because the link which bound them to the throne was lost.
This had been "the custom of England" for at least three hundred years.
But, originally altered by the mere will of Edward the Third, the change
had now been confirmed by inevitable necessity, for when the Wars of the
Roses closed, links were lost in _all_ directions, and the custom of
England could no longer be upheld.

The two obstacles in Robert Basset's way were the apathy of the
majority, and the strong contrary determination of the few who took an
interest in the question.

The long reign of Elizabeth, and her personal popularity, had combined
to produce that apathy.  Those who even dimly remembered the Wars of the
Roses, and whose sympathies were fervid for White or Red, had been long
dead when Elizabeth was gathered to her fathers.  And to the new
generation, White and Red were alike; the popular interest in the
question was dead and buried also.

But there was a little knot of men and women whose interest was alive,
and whose energies were awake.  And all these sided with one candidate.
Sir Robert Cecil, the clever, wily son of the sagacious Burleigh,--Lord
Rich and his wife Penelope sister of the beheaded Earl of Essex,--Robert
Carey, a distant cousin of Queen Elizabeth through her mother,--his
sister, Lady Scrope, one of the Queen's suite--and a few more, were all
active in the interest of James the Sixth of Scotland, who was
undoubtedly the true heir, if that true heir were not Sir Robert Basset.

In their way, too, there was an obstacle.  And they were all intent on
getting rid of it.

King Henry the Eighth had introduced into the complicated question of
the succession one further complication, which several of his
predecessors had tried to introduce in vain.  The success of all, before
him, had been at best only temporary.  It took a Tudor will to do the
deed, and it took an obsequious Tudor age to accept it.

This new element was the pure will of the sovereign.  Richard the First
had willed his crown to a nephew shut out by the law of
non-representation, and the attempt had failed to change the order of
succession.  Edward the Third had in his life demanded the consent of
his nobility to a scheme exactly similar on behalf of his grandson, and
his plan had taken effect for twenty-three years, mainly on account of
the fact that the dispossessed heir, a protesting party in the first
case, had been a consenting party in the second.  But one great element
in the success of Henry the Fourth was the return of the succession to
the old and beloved order.

The principle on which Henry the Eighth had governed for nearly forty
years was his own despotic will.  And it would appear that England liked
his strong hand upon the rein.  He had little claim beyond his strong
hand and (so much as he had of) his "Right Divine."  Having become
accustomed to obey this man's will for thirty-eight years, when that
will altered the order of succession after the deaths of his own
children, England placidly submitted to the prospective change.

His son, Edward the Sixth, followed his father's example, and again
tried to alter the succession by will.  But he had inherited only a
portion of his father's prestige.  The party which would have followed
him was just the party which was not likely to struggle for its rights.
The order set up by Henry the Eighth prevailed over the change made by
Edward the Sixth.

But when Elizabeth came to die, the prestige of Henry the Eighth had
faded, and it was to her personal decision that England looked for the
settlement of the long-vexed question.  The little knot of persons who
wished to secure the King of Scots' accession, therefore, were intensely
anxious to obtain her assent to their project.

The Delphic oracle remained obstinately silent.  Neither grave
representations of necessity, nor coaxing, could induce her to open her
lips upon the subject; and as no living creature had ever taken
Elizabeth off her guard, there was no hope in that direction.  The old
woman remembered too well the winter day, forty-five years before, when
the time-serving courtiers left the dying sister at Westminster, to pay
court to the living sister at Hatfield; and with the mixture of weakness
and shrewdness which characterised her, she refused to run the risk of
its repetition by any choice of a successor from the candidates for the
throne.

There were five living persons who could set up a reasonable claim, of
whom four were descendants of Henry the Seventh.  They were all a long
way from the starting-point.

The first was the King of Scotland, son of Mary Queen of Scots, daughter
of James the Fifth, son of Princess Margaret of England, eldest daughter
of Henry the Seventh.

The second was the Lady Arbella Stuart, the only child of Lord Charles
Stuart, son of Lady Margaret Douglas, daughter of the same Princess
Margaret.

The third was Edward Seymour, son of Lady Katherine Grey, daughter of
Lady Frances Brandon, eldest daughter of Princess Mary, youngest
daughter of Henry the Seventh.

The fourth was Lady Anne Stanley, eldest daughter of Ferdinand Earl of
Derby, son of Lady Margaret Clifford, only daughter of Lady Eleanor
Brandon, second daughter of the same Princess Mary.

And the fifth was Sir Robert Basset of Umberleigh, son of Sir Arthur
Basset, son of Lady Frances Plantagenet, eldest daughter of Arthur Lord
Lisle, son of Edward the Fourth.

Of these five, the one who would have inherited the Crown, under the
will of Henry the Eighth, was unquestionably Edward Seymour; and, Mary
and Elizabeth being both now dead, the reversion fell to him also under
that of Edward the Sixth.  But, strange to say, he was not a formidable
opponent of James of Scotland.  Queen Elizabeth had been so deeply
offended with his mother (Lady Katherine Grey, sister of the beheaded
Lady Jane) for making a love-match without her royal licence, that she
had immured both bride and bridegroom in the Tower for years.  Perhaps
the prestige of Elizabeth's will remained potent, even after Elizabeth
was dead; perhaps Edward Seymour had no wish to occupy such a thorny
seat as the throne of England.  Neither he nor Lady Anne Stanley set up
the faintest claim to the succession; though Seymour, at least, might
have done so with a decided show of justice, as the law of succession
then stood.  By the two royal wills, King James of Scotland, and his
cousin, Lady Arbella Stuart, were entirely dispossessed; their claim had
to be made under the law as it had stood unaltered by the will of Henry
the Eighth.

But there was one prior question, which, had it been settled in the
affirmative, would have finally disposed of all these four claims at
once.  If the contract between Edward the Fourth and Elizabeth Lucy were
to be regarded as a legal marriage, then there could be no doubt who was
the true heir.  Better than any claim of Stuart or Tudor, of Seymour or
Stanley, was then that of the Devonshire knight, Sir Robert Basset.  For
fifteen hundred years, a contract had been held as legal marriage.  The
vast estates of the Plantagenets of Kent had passed to the Holands on
the validity of a contract no better, and perhaps worse, than that of
Elizabeth Lucy.  [Note 2.] Why was this contract to be set aside?

Had England at large been less apathetic, or had the little knot of
agitators been less politic, a civil war might have been reasonably
anticipated.  But the intriguers were determined that James of Scotland
should succeed; and James himself, aware of the flaw in his title, was
busily working with them to the same end.  Cecil, Lady Rich, Lady
Scrope, and Carey, were all pledged to let him know the exact moment of
the Queen's, decease, that he might set out for England at once.

All was gloom and suspense in the chamber of Richmond Palace, where the
great Queen of England lay dying.  Her ladies and courtiers urged her to
take more nourishment,--she refused.  They urged her to go to bed,--she
refused.  She would be a queen to her last breath.  No failure of bodily
strength could chill or tame the lion heart of Elizabeth.

At last, very delicately, Cecil attempted to sound the dying Queen on
that subject of the succession, always hitherto forbidden.  Her throat
was painful, and she spoke with difficulty: Cecil, as spokesman for her
Council, asked her to declare "whom she would have for King," offering
to name sundry persons, and requesting that.  Her Majesty would hold up
her finger when he came to the name which satisfied her.  To test the
vigour of her mind, he first named the King of France.

Elizabeth did not stir.

"The King's Majesty of Scotland?"

There was no sign still.

"My Lord Beauchamp?"--Edward Seymour, the heir according to the wills of
her father and brother.

Then the royal lioness was roused.

"I tell you," she said angrily, "I will have no rascal's son in my seat,
but a king's son."

There was no king's son among the candidates but one, and that was James
of Scotland.

Once more, when she was past speech, Elizabeth was asked if she wished
James to succeed her.  She indicated her pleasure in a manner which some
modern writers have questioned, but which was well understood in her own
day.  Lifting her clasped hands to her head, the dying Elizabeth made
them assume the form of a crown; and once more those around her knew
that she desired her successor to be a king.

Tradition says that as soon as Elizabeth was dead, Lady Scrope dropped a
sapphire ring from the window--a preconcerted signal--to her brother,
Robert Carey, who was waiting below.  Carey states that he was told in a
more matter-of-fact way--by a sentinel, whom he had previously requested
to bring him the news.

That hour Carey set out: and except for one night's rest at Carlisle, he
spurred night and day till he stood before King James.  There was a
sudden intimation--a hurried action taken--and the Stuarts were Kings of
England.

The claims of the Lady Arabella were disposed of by making her a
companion to the new Queen, until she had the presumption to marry, and,
of all people, to marry the heir under King Henry the Eighth's will.
This was too much.  She was imprisoned for life, and she died in her
prison, simply because she was her father's daughter and her husband's
wife.

The claims of Lord Beauchamp and Lady Anne Stanley needed no disposal,
since they had both remained perfectly quiescent, and had put forth no
claim.

But Robert Basset was not so easily managed.  James knew that he was
capable of making the throne a very uncomfortable seat.  And Basset,
with his usual rashness, had on the Queen's death dashed into the arena
and boldly asserted his right as the heir of Edward the Fourth.  The
only way to dispose of him was by making him realise that the crown was
beyond his grasp; and that if he persevered, he would find the scaffold
and the axe within it.  This was accordingly done so effectually that
weak, impulsive Basset quailed before the storm, and fled to France to
save his own life.  He survived the accession of James the First for
seventeen years at least [Note 3]; but no more was heard of his right to
the throne of England.

Forty years after the death of Elizabeth, the son of James of Scotland
was struggling for his crown, with half England against him.  Five years
later, there was a scaffold set up at Whitehall, and the blood royal was
poured out.  There were comparatively few who stood by King Charles to
the last.  But there was one--who had headed charges at Marston Moor
"for God, and King, and Country"--who had bled under his banner at
Edgehill--who lived to welcome back his most unworthy son and successor,
and to see the monarchy re-established in the Stuart line.  His name was
Arthur Basset.  [He died January 7, 1672.  See Prince's Worthies of
Devon.]

Ay, there had been "the making of a true man" in Colonel Arthur Basset.
The fit representative of that earlier Arthur, he had adopted in his
life the motto which, a hundred and fifty years before, the son of
Edward the Fourth had embroidered on his banner--"_Dieu l'a voulu_."

God had not written the name of Arthur Basset on the roll of the Kings
of England.  And Arthur Basset bowed his noble head to the decree, and
fell back to the ranks like a hero--no king, but a true man.

------------------------------------------------------------------------

Note 1.  The date is fictitious.  The Atherington register has been
vainly searched for the burial of Philippa Basset, and the Heanton
register is marked in the return "illegible."

Note 2.  The evidence in the earlier case (of Joan Plantagenet) seems to
have rested entirely on the oaths of husband and wife; in the latter (of
Elizabeth Lucy) the contract was known to the entire family of the
bridegroom.

Note 3.  Prince states that "in consequence of his pretensions to the
Crown, and of his extravagance," Sir Robert was obliged to sell Heanton
and Whitechapel, which last was the old seat of his family.  If he did
sell Heanton, his son must have bought it back; for it was the family
residence in the year after Colonel Basset's death.  Umberleigh had been
deserted for Heanton on account of the low, damp situation of the
former, and the thick trees which crowded round the house.



APPENDIX.

THE ARMADA.

The strength of the Spanish fleet is differently represented by various
writers, whose accounts disagree to the wide extent of--ships, from 128
to 176; men, from fourteen to twenty-nine thousand.  I append the
tabulated statement given by Speed, which is neither the highest nor the
lowest, and is the carefully-prepared account of a generally accurate
compiler.

Vessels:--Galliasses and gallions, 72; ships and hulkes, 47; pinnases
and carviles, 11:--130.

Men:--Soldiers, 18,658; sailors, 8094; galley-slaves, 2088:--28,840.

Munition:--Great ordnance, 2843; bullets, 220,000; powder, 4200
quintals, each one hundredweight; lead for bullets, 1000 quintals,
ditto; matches, 1200 quintals; muskets and calivers, 7000; partizans and
halberts, 10,000; cannon and field pieces unnumbered.

Provision:--Bread, biscuit, and wine laid in for six months; bacon, 6500
quintals; cheese, 3000 quintals; fresh water, 12,000 pipes; flesh, rice,
beans, peas, oil, and vinegar, unestimated.

General items:--Torches, lanterns, lamps, canvas, hides, lead to stop
leaks, whips, and knives.

Army 32,000 strong, and cost 30,000 ducats every day; 124 noblemen on
board as volunteers.

_Speed's Chronicle_, page 885.

BASSET OF UMBERLEIGH.

I think the following account of the Basset family will be more
convenient for reference than a number of explanatory notes interspersed
throughout the narrative, and will also avoid frequent repetition.
Owing to further research, it will be found fuller and more accurate
than the corresponding notes in _Isoult Barry_ and _Robin Tremayne_.

Sir John Basset of Umberleigh, son of Sir John Basset and Joan Beaumont,
died January 31, 1528 (Inq. 20 Henry Eight 20).  The "Heralds'
Visitations" appear to be mistaken in giving Sir John four wives.  Jane
Beaumont, whom they call his second wife, was his mother: while
Elizabeth, the third wife, seems to be an imaginary person altogether.
He married:--

A.  Anne, daughter of John Dennis of Oxleigh and Eleanor Giffard; widow
of Patrick Bellewe of Aldervescot; buried with husband in Atherington
Church, Devon.

B.  Honor, daughter of Sir Thomas Grenville of Stow and Isabel Gilbert;
born about 1498, married about 1515, died probably about 1548.  Buried
in Atherington Church.  [The burial register of this church previous to
1570 has perished.] She married, secondly, Arthur Plantagenet, Viscount
Lisle, son of Edward the Fourth and Elizabeth Lucy.

Issue of Sir John Basset

(A) by Anne Dennis:--

1.  A son, whose only memorial is on the sepulchral brass of his parents
at Atherington probably died young.

2.  Anne, married Sir James Courtenay of Powderham.  (Issue,--James, and
John.)

3.  Margery, (Harl.  Ms. 1149, folio 13, b.) married Edward Marrays of
Marrays, Cornwall.  (Issue,--Margaret, married George Rolle, Lady
Lisle's solicitor.)

4.  Jane, born about 1505; apparently died unmarried.

5.  Thomasine, born about 1512, died unmarried, March 19, 1535--(Lisle
Papers, Three 1.)

(B) By Honor Grenville:--

6.  Philippa, born about 1516; probably died unmarried.

7.  Katherine, born about 1518; married, after 1542, Sir Henry Ashley of
Ashley and Wimborne Saint Giles (Shaftesbury family); date of death not
known.  (Issue,--Henry, and Edward, who probably died young.--Harl.  Ms.
888, folio 40, b.)

8.  John, born October 26, 1519 (Inq. 20 Henry Eight 20); died Apr. 3,
1545 (Inq. 2 Philip and Mary, 10).  Married Frances, eldest daughter of
Arthur Plantagenet, Viscount Lisle, by his first wife Elizabeth Grey;
married at Calais, February 17 to 22, 1538 (Lisle Papers, Eleven 40,
41); died about 1560.  She married, secondly, Thomas Monke of
Potheridge, county Devon.

9.  Anne, born about 1520; Maid of Honour from 1537 (Lisle Papers,
Eleven 110) to 1554 (Tallies Roll, 2-3 Philip and Mary); married,
probably between July 7 and October 27, 1555, Sir Walter Hungerford of
Farleigh Castle, son of the last Lord Hungerford of Heytesbury; died
childless, probably in 1558-9.  (Hungerford family papers).

10.  George, born about 1522, died in London, 1579.  (Harl.  Mss., 757,
folio 214; 760, folio 322.)  Married Jaquit, daughter and heir of John
Coffyn of Portledge, county Devon.  She married, secondly, Henry Jones.

11.  Mary, born about 1525, married at Atherington, June 9, 1557
(Register), John Wollacombe of Combe, county Devon.  (Issue,--John,
Thomas, and Honor.--Harl.  Ms. 3288, folio 49.)

12.  James, born 1527 (Foxe's Acts and Monuments, Pratt's Townsend's
ed., Six 231), proctor of Bishop Gardiner, 1543 to 1555; Gentleman of
Chamber to Queen Mary, about 1556-8; died November 1558; buried Black
Friars' Church, London.  ("Machyn's Diary," page 179.)  Married Mary,
daughter of William Roper and Margaret his wife, daughter of Sir Thomas
More.

Issue of John Basset and Frances Plantagenet:--

1.  Honor, born at Calais, about May 10, 1539 (Lisle Papers, One 72;
Eleven 97; Twelve 85), probably died young.

2.  Sir Arthur, born 1540 (Inq. 1 March--2 Philip and Mary, 10),
probably at Calais; died of gaol fever, caught at the Black Assize,
Exeter (Stow's "Chronicle," page 719), April 2, 1586 (Epitaph); buried
at Atherington, April 7 (Register).  Married Eleanor, daughter of John
Chichester of Raleigh, county Devon, and Gertrude Courtenay of
Powderham; buried at Atherington, July 8, 1585 (Register).

Issue of Sir Arthur Basset and Eleanor Chichester:--

1.  Sir Robert, born 1574 (Matriculation Books, Queen's College,
Oxford); living 1620 (Anderson's.  "Royal Genealogies," page 745).
Claimed the Crown on death of Queen Elizabeth, as legal descendant of
Edward the Fourth.  He married Elizabeth, daughter and coh. of Sir
William Periam, Judge of the King's Bench; married November 21, 1591
(Register of Saint Dunstan in the West, London); died 1633.

2.  Anne, married after 1585 Sir John Chichester of Hall, county Devon;
died 1665; buried at Marwood.  (Left issue.)

3.  Margaret, under ten years old in 1585 (Will of Sir A. Basset).

4.  Arthur, under fourteen years old in 1585 (Will of Sir A. Basset).

5.  William, born 1583 (Matriculation Books, University College,
Oxford).

6.  Francis, baptised at Atherington, May 8, 1584 (Register).

7.  John, baptised at Atherington June 1, 1585 (Register).

Issue of Sir Robert Basset and Elizabeth Feriam:--

1.  Arthur, baptised June 6, 1593 (Register of Saint Dunstan in the
West, London); buried February 3, 1595 (Register of Saint Bartholemew
the Less, London).

2.  Anne, baptised October 16, 1594 (Register of Saint Bartholemew the
Less, London); married Jonathan Rashley of Fox (Harl.  Mss. 1091, folio
122; 1538, folio 280).

3.  Ellen, married George Yeo of Hushe (Harl.  Mss. 1091, folio 122;
1538, folio 280).

4.  Arthur, born at Heanton (Prince's "Worthies of Devon," page 113),
1598 (ibidem, Harl.  Ms. 1080, folio 343, b.); Colonel in King Charles's
army; died January 7, 1672; buried at Heanton (Prince, page 116).
Married Anne, daughter of William Leigh of Burrow, county Devon.

5.  Eleanor (Harl.  Ms. 1091, folio 122).

6.  Mary (Harl.  Ms. 1091, folio 122).

7.  William, born March 28, 1602-3 (Harl.  Ms. 1080, folio 343, b.;
Matriculation Books, Exeter College, Oxford).

Issue of Colonel Basset and Anne:--

1.  John, of Heanton, living [?] 1673.  Married Susannah, daughter of
(unknown).

2.  Arthur, entered at Oriel College, Oxford, 1652, (Matriculation
Books.)

3.  Francis, entered at Oriel College, Oxford, 1652 (Matriculation
Books.)

Issue of John Basset and Susannah:--

1.  John, born February 26, 1653 (Atherington Register).

2.  Arthur, born 1656 (Matriculation Books, Exeter College, Oxford).

3.  Francis, born April 13, 1657 (Atherington Register).  Married
(unknown), daughter of (unknown).

Issue of Francis Basset and (unknown):--

John, born 1688 (Matriculation Books, Exeter College, Oxford).

The male line of the Basset family died out with Francis Basset,
Esquire, in 1802; but the family estates remain in the hands of the
descendants of his eldest sister Eustachia, who married (Unknown) Davie
of Orleigh, and her posterity bear the name of Davie-Bassett.

The Younger Branches of the Family:--

Issue of George Basset and Jaquit Coffyn:--

1.  Mary, baptised December 11, 1558 (Atherington Register); probably
died young.

2.  John, baptised February 8, 1559 (Atherington Register), probably
died young.

3.  Katherine, baptised January 11, 1560 (Atherington Register).

4.  Blanche (Harl.  Ms. 1080, folio 344).

5.  James (Harl.  Ms. 1080, folio 344).  Married Jane, daughter of Sir
Francis Godolphin and Margaret Killigrew (ibidem).

Issue of James Basset and Jane Godolphin:--

1.  Thomas (Harl.  Ms. 1080, folio 344).

2.  Sir Francis, of Tehiddy, Cornwall; born 1594 (Matriculation Books,
Exeter College, Oxford); knighted 1620 (Harl.  Ms. 1080, folio 344).
Married Anne, daughter of Jonathan Trelawney of Trelawney.

3.  Arthur (Harl, Ms. 1080, folio 344).

4.  Nicholas (Harl, Ms. 1080, folio 344).

5.  James, born 1602 (Matriculation Books, Exeter College, Oxford).

6.  Margery (Harl.  Ms. 1080, folio 344).

7.  Jane, married William Courtenay (Harl.  Ms. 1080, folio 344).

8.  Grace (Harl.  Ms. 1080, folio 344).

9.  Margaret (Harl.  Ms. 1080, folio 344).

Issue of James Basset and Mary Roper:--

Philip, appointed Receiver of Revenues in Suffolk and Cambridgeshire,
October 1, 1584 (Rot.  Pat. 25 Elizabeth, Part 7).  Married (unknown),
daughter of (unknown) Verney (Harl.  Ms. 1091, folio 122).

Issue:--

Two daughters, names and alliances unknown (Harl Ms. 1080, folio 344).

I owe especial thanks to various persons who have most kindly helped me
in the elucidation of the above pedigree: in particular to Colonel
Chester, the Reverend G. Whitehead of Atherington, and Charles
Chichester, Esquire, of Hall.

HOWARD OF EFFINGHAM, CHARLES, LORD HIGH ADMIRAL.

The extracts which follow will show the reasons for the belief that Lord
Howard was a Protestant, possibly at the time of the Armada, and
certainly at a later period.

1559.  December 17.--He was an invited guest at the consecration of
Matthew Parker at Lambeth, as Archbishop of Canterbury, "and many years
after, by his testimony, confuted those lewd and loud lies which the
Papists tell of the Nag's Head in Cheapside."--(Fuller's "Worthies,"
quoted in Notes and Queries, 1st S.  Three, 244.)

1604.  February.--He was "at the head of a commission to discover and
expel all Catholic priests."--(Memorials of the Howard Family, quoted
ibidem, Three 309.--The quoter adds that Howard "was certainly a
Protestant in the reign of Queen Elizabeth.")

1604.  May [?] "Only we forewarn you that in the performance of these
ceremonies [ratification by King of Spain of treaty of peace with
England], which is likely to be done in the King's Chapel, you have
especial care that it be not done in the forenoon, in the time of Mass,
to the scandal of our religion, but rather in the afternoon, at what
time their service is more free from note of superstition."--(King James
the First to Lord Howard, then Earl of Nottingham and Ambassador to
Spain.  Biographies Brit, page 2679; quoted in Notes and Queries, 1st
S., Three 244.)

1604.  "On Friday, the last of this Month, His Catholick Majesty
ratified the Peace upon Oath in a great chamber of the Palace...  It was
pretended that the Clergy would not suffer this to be done in a Church
or Chapel where neglect of reverence of the Holy Sacrament should give
scandal."--(Collins' Peerage, Four 272, quoted ibidem.)

[It may be urged that Lord Howard, as Ambassador of a Protestant King,
would feel himself obliged to act on behalf of his master, showing no
more nor less reverence than James would have done himself.  But is it
at all likely that, had such been his wish, James would have selected
for this office a man who could not act according to the belief of his
master without committing sacrilege according to his own?  The want of
reverence must have been expected from Lord Nottingham or his suite, for
there was no one else present who was not a devout Romanist].

1605.  When Lord Monteagle delivered the anonymous letter winch revealed
the Gunpowder Plot to Lord Salisbury, the second person to whom the
latter confided the transaction was Lord Nottingham.--(Baker's
"Chronicle," page 508.)

1605.  He sat as one of the Commissioners for the trial of Garnet and
other conspirators, after the discovery of the Gunpowder
Plot--(Archaeologia, volume fifteen.)

1613.  He stood sponsor for the Countess of Salisbury's daughter.
(Calendar of State Papers, Domestic, 1611-1618, page 170; quoted in
Notes and Queries, 2nd S., Seven 364.)

1623.  May 20.--"John, son of Sir William Monson, is a dangerous Papist;
neither Garnet, Constable, nor Tobie Mathew is comparable to him.  He
asserts openly that the King is a Papist at heart ... and delights in
striving to pervert people...  Thinks it his duty, as Lieutenant of the
Shire, to inform against him."--(Lord Nottingham to Archbishop of
Canterbury, Calend.  State Papers, Domestic, James the First; quoted
ibidem, Seven 405.)

He married two Protestants; the first, a daughter of Henry Carey, Lord
Hunsdon; the second, of the "Bonnie" Earl of Moray.

THE END.





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