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´╗┐Title: It Might Have Been - The Story of the Gunpowder Plot
Author: Holt, Emily Sarah, 1836-1893
Language: English
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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 "It Might Have Been - The Story of the Gunpowder Plot" ***

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It might have been, by Emily Sarah Holt.

_______________________________________________________________________
This book is mainly about the treasonable plot to blow up Parliament, by
mining through to its lowest floor, or basement, from an adjacent house.
This plot was hatched by a number of Catholic gentlemen, and was quite
ingenious.  These people came from a wide area of England, and numbered
about thirty.  One point of interest to your reviewer is that one of the
places where they met, or retreated to when not personally involved in
mining, was a house called White Webbs, just on what is now the northern
limit of London.  This house is now in use as a very nice and popular
restaurant, well known to me.  It was at the time a disused hunting
lodge in Enfield Chase.

The discovery of the plot, and the execution of its participants is
celebrated every year in Britain, with great displays of fireworks, on a
day (5th November) named after one of the plotters, Guy Fawkes.  It is
interesting to learn so much more about the background of this plot.

Emily Holt wrote a large number of books with a historical background.
This book is the third of a series involving a family from Derwent-water
in the north of England.  The link with the Gunpowder plot is rather
weak, but worth reading if you enjoyed the first two books of the
series.  On the other hand the majority of the book deals with the plot,
and is very well researched, and told in a very plausible manner.

As usual with this author you will find that there are a good many
footnotes, which we have done our best to make available but not
intrusive.  There is a great deal of conversation in Elizabethan
English, but this will not bother you if you are used to reading the
plays of Shakespeare.  Finally, there are a few short extracts from
contemporary letters, in which the spelling would not pass muster these
days, but there were no real standards of spelling in those times.  In
a very few cases in these letters we have adjusted the spelling to give
you, the reader, greater ease in comprehending them.

You may care to make this book into an audiobook, in which case it will
take about 12.5 hours to play.  We hope you will do this because it will
make it much easier for you to enjoy the book.

________________________________________________________________________
IT MIGHT HAVE BEEN, BY EMILY SARAH HOLT.



PREFACE.

"There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are
the ways of death."  That is one of the main lessons to be learned from
the strange story of the Gunpowder Plot.

The narrative here given, so far as its historical portion is concerned,
is taken chiefly from original and contemporaneous documents.  It has
been carefully kept to facts--in themselves more interesting than any
fiction--and scarcely a speech or an incident has been admitted, however
small, for which authority could not be adduced.

Those of my Readers who have made the acquaintance of _Lettice Eden_,
and _Joyce Morrell's Harvest_, will meet some old friends in this tale.



CHAPTER ONE.

THE LAST NIGHT IN THE OLD HOME.

  "Which speaks the truth--fair Hope or ghastly Fear?
          God knoweth, and not I.
  Only, o'er both, Love holds her torch aloft,
          And will, until I die."

"Fiddle-de-dee!  Do give over snuffing and snivelling and sobbing, and
tell me if you want your warm petticoat in the saddle-bag.  You'd make a
saint for to swear!"  More sobs, and one or two disjointed words, were
all that came in answer.  The sobbing sister, who was the younger of the
pair, wore widow's mourning, and was seated in a rocking-chair near the
window of a small, but very comfortable parlour.  Her complexion was
pale and sallow, her person rather slightly formed, and her whole
appearance that of a frail, weak little woman, who required perpetual
care and shielding.  The word require has two senses, and it is here
used in both.  She needed it, and she exacted it.

The elder sister, who stood at the parlour door, was about as unlike the
younger as could well be.  She was quite a head taller, rosy-cheeked,
sturdily-built, and very brisk in her motions.  Disjointed though her
sister's words were, she took them up at once.

"You'll have your thrum hat, did you say?  [Note 1.]  Where's the good
of crying over it?  You've got ne'er a thing to cry for."

Another little rush of sobs replied, amid which a quick ear could detect
the words "unfeeling" and "me a poor widow."

"Unfeeling, marry!" said the elder sister.  "I'm feeling a whole warm
petticoat for you.  And tears won't ward off either cramp or rheumatism,
my dear--don't think it; but a warm petticoat may.  Will you have it, or
no?"

"Oh, as you please!" was the answer, in a tone which might have suited
arrangements for the speaker's funeral.

"Then I please to put it in the saddle-bag," cheerily responded the
elder.  "Lettice, come with me, maid.  I can find thee work above in the
chamber."

A slight sound behind the screen, at the farther end of the parlour,
which sheltered the widow from any draught proceeding from the window,
was followed by the appearance of a young girl not hitherto visible.
She was just eighteen years of age, and resembled neither of the elder
ladies, being handsomer than either of them had ever been, yet not
sufficiently so to be termed beautiful.  A clear complexion, rosy but
not florid, golden-brown hair and plenty of it, dark grey eyes shaded by
dark lashes, and a pleasing, good-humoured, not self-conscious
expression--this was Lettice, who said in a clear musical voice, "Yes,
Aunt," and stood ready for further orders.

As the door shut upon the aunt and niece, the former said, as if to the
sister left behind in the parlour--

"A poor widow!  Ay, forsooth, poor soul, that you are! for you have made
of your widowhood so black a pall that you cannot see God's blue sky
through it.  Dear heart, but why ever they called her Faith, and me
Temperance!  I've well-nigh as little temperance as she has faith, and
neither of them would break a cat's back."

By this time they were up in the bedchamber; and Lettice was kept busy
folding, pinning, tying up, and smoothing out one garment after another,
until at last her aunt said--

"Now, Lettice, bring thine own gear, such as thou wilt need till we
light at Minster Lovel, for there can we shift our baggage.  Thy black
beaver hat thou wert best to journey in, for though it be good, 'tis
well worn; and thy grey kirtle and red gown.  Bring the blue gown, and
the tawny kirtle with the silver aglets [tags, spangles] pendant, and
thy lawn rebatoes, [turn-over collar] and a couple of kerchiefs, and thy
satin hat Thou wert best leave out a warm kerchief for the journey."

"And my velvet hood, Aunt, and the green kirtle?"

"Nay, I have packed them, not to be fetched out till we reach London.
Thou mayest have thy crimson sleeves withal, an' it list thee."

Lettice fetched the things, and her aunt packed them in one of the great
leather trunks, with beautiful neatness.  As she smoothed out the blue
kirtle, she asked--"Lettice, art thou sorry to be gone?"

"Truly, Aunt, I scarce know," was the answer.  "I am sorry to leave Aunt
Milisent and my cousins, and Aunt Frances,"--but Aunt Frances was an
evident after-thought--"and I dare say I shall be sorry to leave all the
places I know, when the time comes.  But then so many of us are going,--
you, and Grandmother, and Aunt Edith, and Cousin Aubrey, and Aunt
Faith--and there are so many new places to see, that on the whole I
don't think I am very sorry."

"No, very like not, child."

"Not now," said a third voice, softly, and Lettice looked up at another
aunt whose presence she had not previously noticed.  This was certainly
no sister of the two plain women whose acquaintance we have just made.
Temperance Murthwaite had outlived her small share of good looks, and
Faith's had long since been washed away in tears; but Edith Louvaine had
been extremely beautiful, and yet was so notwithstanding her forty
years.  Her hair was dark brown, with a golden gleam when the sun caught
it, and her eyes a deep blue, almost violet.  Her voice was sweet and
quiet--of that type of quietness which hides behind it a reserve of
power and feeling.  "At eighteen, Lettice, we are not commonly sorry to
leave home.  Much sorrier at thirty-eight: and at eighty, I think, there
is little to leave but graves."

"Ay, but they're not all dug by the sexton," remarked Temperance,
patting the blue kirtle to make it lie in the hole she had left for it.
"At any rate, the sorest epitaphs are oft invisible save to them that
have eyes to see them."

Edith did not answer, and the work went on.  At length, suddenly, the
question was asked--

"Whence came you, Edith?"

"From Mere Lea, whither I have been with Mother and Aubrey, to say
farewell."

"And for why came you hither?  Not to say farewell, I reckon."

"Nay," replied Edith, smiling.  "I thought I might somewhat help you,
Temperance.  We must all try to spare poor Faith."

"Spare poor Faith!" repeated Temperance, in a sarcastic tone.  "Tell you
what, Edith Louvaine,--if you'd think a bit less of sparing her, and
she'd think a bit more of sparing you, it would be a sight better for
poor Faith and poor Edith too."

"I?  I don't want to be spared," answered Edith.

"No, you don't, and that's just it.  And Faith does.  And she oughtn't.
And you oughtn't."

"Nay, Temperance.  Remember, she is a widow."

"Small chance of my forgetting it.  Doesn't she tell me so six dozen
times a day?  Ask Faith to do any thing she loveth not, and she's always
a widow.  I've had my thoughts whether I could not be an orphan when I'm
wanted to do something disagreeable.  What think you?"

"I think your bark is worse than your bite, Temperance," said Edith,
smiling.

"I'm about weary of barking," answered Temperance, laying smooth a piece
of cobweb lawn.  "I think I'll bite, one of these days.  Deary me, but
there are widows of divers sorts!  If ever there were what Paul calls `a
widow indeed,' it is my Lady Lettice; and she doesn't make a screen of
it, as Faith does, against all the east winds that blow.  Well, well!
Give me that pin-case, Lettice, and the black girdle yonder; I lack
somewhat to fill up this corner.  What hour must we be at Selwick,
Edith?"

"At five o' the clock the horses are bidden."

"Very good.  You'll bide to supper?"

"Nay, not without I can help you."

"You'll not help me without you'll tell Faith she's a snivelling
lazy-bones, and that you'll not, I know.  Go and get your beauty-sleep--
and comfort Lady Lettice all you can."

When Edith had departed, and the packing was finished, the aunt and
niece went down to supper.  It consisted of Polony sausages, sweetmeats,
and an egg-pie--a Lancashire dainty, which Rachel the cook occasionally
sent up, for she was a native of that county.  During the entire meal,
Faith kept up a slow rain of lamentations, for her widowhood, the sad
necessity of leaving her home, and the entire absence of sympathy which
she experienced in all around her: till at last her sister inquired--

"Faith, will you have any more pie?"

"N-o," said Faith with a sob, having eaten nearly half of it.

"Nor any more sausage?"

"Oh no!" she answered, heaving a weary sigh.

"Nor sucketts [sweetmeats; subsequently spelt _succadet_] neither?"

Faith shook her head dolefully.

"Then I'll help you to a little of one other thing, which you need
sorely; and that's a bit of advice."

Faith moaned behind her handkerchief.

"As to quitting home, that's your own choice; so don't go and pretend to
fret over it.  And as to sparing you, you've been spared a deal too
much, and I've been a fool to do it.  And just bethink you, Faith, that
if we are now to make one family with my Lady Lettice and Edith, you'd
best be thinking how you can spare them.  My Lady Lettice is a deal
newer widow than you, and she's over seventy years on her back, and
you've but forty--"

"Thirty-nine," corrected Faith in a choked voice.

"And she's leaving her home not from choice, but because she has no
choice; and she has spent over fifty years in it, and is like an old oak
which can ill bear uprooting.  I only trust those Newcastle Louvaines
will get what they deserve.  I say it's a burning shame, never to come
forward nor claim aught for fifty years, until Sir Aubrey and both his
sons were gone, and then down they pounce like vultures on the widow and
her orphan grandson, and set up a claim, forsooth, to the estate--after
all these years!  I don't believe they have any right--or at any rate,
they've no business to have it: and if my Lady Lettice had been of my
mind, she'd have had a fight for it, instead of giving in to them; and
if Aubrey Banaster had had a scrap of gumption, he'd have seen to it.
He is the eldest man of the family, and they're pretty nigh all lads but
him.  Howbeit, let that pass.  Only I want you, Faith, to think of it,
and not go treating my Lady Lettice to a dish of tears every meal she
sits down to, or she'll be sorry you're her daughter-in-law, if she
isn't now; and if her name were Temperance Murthwaite it's much if she
wouldn't be."

"Oh, you can say what you like--you always do--"

"Beg your pardon, Faith; I very generally don't."

"You haven't a bit of feeling for a poor widow.  I hope you may never be
a widow--"

"Thank you; I'll have a care of that.  Now, Lettice! jump up, maid, and
don your hat and mantle, and I will run down with you to Selwick while
there's a bit of light.  My Lady Lettice thought you'd best be there
to-night, so you could be up early and of some use to your Aunt Edith."

It was not Temperance Murthwaite's custom to let the grass grow under
her feet, and the three miles which lay between the little house at
Keswick and Selwick Hall were put behind her and Lettice when another
hour was over.

Selwick Hall stood on the bank of Derwentwater, and was the residence of
Lettice's grandmother, the widowed Lady Louvaine, her daughter Edith,
her grandson Aubrey, and Hans Floriszoon, the orphan nephew of an old
friend, Mynheer Stuyvesant, who had been adopted into the family when a
little child.  It was also theoretically the abode of Lettice's Aunt
Faith, who was Aubrey's mother, and who practically flitted from the one
house to the other at her rather capricious will.  It had become her
habit to depart to Keswick whenever her feelings were outraged at
Selwick; and as Faith's feelings were of that order which any thing
might outrage, and nobody knew of it till they were outraged, her abode
during the last six years had been mainly with the sister who never
petted her, but from whom she would stand ten times more than from the
tenderer hearts at Selwick.

Lettice's hand was on the door when it opened, and there stood her
Cousin Aubrey.

"Good even, Aunt Temperance," said he.  "You are right in time for
supper."

"Thank you, Master Aubrey Late-hours," replied she; "'tis a bit too late
for my supper, and Lettice's likewise, without she can eat two of a
night.  How is it with my Lady Lettice?  I hope, lad, you help and
comfort her all you can."

Aubrey looked rather astonished.

"Comfort her?" he said.  "She's all right."

"How old are you, Aubrey?"

"Why, Aunt Temperance, you know I was twenty last month."

"One makes blunders betimes, lad.  That speech of thine sounded about
ten."

"What mean you, Aunt Temperance?"

"Nay, lad, if God have not given thee eyes and brains, I shall be
ill-set to do it.--Run in, Lettice.  _No_, I'm not coming--not while
to-morrow morning.  Remember to be up early, and help all you can--both
of you.  Good even."

Temperance shut the door, and they heard her quick foot tread sharply
down the gravel walk.

"I say, 'tis jolly moving house, isn't it?" said Aubrey.

"I can't think why Aunt Temperance supposes that Grandmother or any body
should want comforting."

"Well, we are young, and she is old," replied Lettice; "I suppose old
folks care more about those things, perhaps."

"Oh, 'tis but because they are lazy and have the rheumatism," said
Aubrey, laughing.  "Beside, Grandmother cares not about things like
Mother.  Mother's for ever fretting, but Grandmother's always cheery."

The cousins left the deep whitewashed porch and the oak-panelled hall,
and went forward into the chief sitting-room of the house, known as the
great parlour.  The word "withdrawing-room" was still restricted to
palaces and palatial mansions, and had not descended so low as to a
country gentleman's house like Selwick Hall.  The great parlour was a
large room with a floor of polished oak, hung with tapestry in which the
prevailing colour was red, and the chairs held cushions of red velvet.
On the tiled hearth a comfortable fire burned softly away, and in a
large chair of dark carved wood beside it, propped up with cushions of
red velvet, sat an old lady of seventy-six, looking the very picture of
comfort and sweetness.  And though "her golden hairs time had to silver
turned," and she was now a widow indeed, and desolate, some of my
readers may recognise their old friend Lettice Eden.  Her eyes, though a
little sunken, kept their clear blue, and her complexion was still fair
and peach-like, with a soft, faint rose-colour, like a painting on
china.  She had a loving smile for every one, and a gentle, soothing
voice, which the children said half cured the little troubles wherein
they always ran to Grandmother.  Aunt Faith was usually too deep in her
own troubles, and Aunt Edith, though always kind, was also invariably
busy; while there was considerable hesitation in making an appeal to
Aunt Temperance, who might answer it with a box on the ear instead of a
comforting kiss, or at best had an awkward way of turning the tables on
the plaintiff by making him out to be the offender instead of the
defendant.  But nobody ever hesitated to appeal to Grandmother, whose
very rebukes fell as softly as rose-leaves, and were always so justly
deserved that they had twice the effect of those which came from
perpetual fault-finders.  Aubrey had grown up in this atmosphere, but it
was much newer to his cousin Lettice, the daughter of Dudley Murthwaite
and Helen Louvaine.  Until she was twelve years old, Lettice had dwelt
with her father at Skiddaw Force, her Aunt Temperance having supplied
the place of the dead mother who had faded from her child's memory, for
Helen passed away when her daughter was only two years old.  It had not
been exactly Dudley's choice which had placed Temperance in that
position.  He would have preferred his wife's youngest sister, Edith, to
fill the vacant place of mother to his little girl; but Edith firmly
though kindly declined to make her home away from Selwick Hall.  The
natural explanation of course was that she, being the only unmarried
daughter of the house, preferred to remain with her parents.  Edith said
so, and all her friends repeated it, and thought it very natural and
proper.  And no one knew, except God and Edith, that the reason given
was only half the truth, and that the last place in this world which
Edith Louvaine could take was the place of that dead sister Helen who
had so unconsciously taken the one thing which Edith coveted for
herself.  Thus thrown back on one of his own sisters, Dudley tried next
to persuade Faith to make her home with him.  It might have been better
for Faith if she had done so.  But she liked the more luxurious life of
Selwick Hall, where she had only to represent herself as tired or poorly
to have any exertion taken for her by some one else; and she was one of
those unconscious impostors who begin by imposing on themselves.
Whatever she wished to do, she was always capable of persuading herself
that she ought to do.  Faith therefore declined to remove to her
brother's house.  The last resource was Temperance, who, when appealed
to, averred herself perfectly ready to go wherever she was most wanted.
One baggage-horse would be enough for her luggage, she thanked goodness;
she had two gowns for winter and two for summer, and no reasonable woman
ought to have any more.  As to ruffs and puffs, cuffs and muffs, she
troubled herself with none of those ridiculous vanities.  A plain laced
bodice and skirt were good enough to work in, and a pair of stout shoes
to keep her out of the mire, with a hat and kerchief for outdoor wear,
and a warm cloak for cold weather.  Her miscellaneous possessions were
limited to a big work-basket, two silver spoons and a goblet, and three
books--namely, a copy of the four Gospels, a Prayer-book, and Luther on
the Lord's Prayer.  Packing and unpacking were small matters.  In these
circumstances, and Temperance's change of residence was the affair of an
afternoon.  Six years afterwards her brother Dudley died; and
Temperance, taking into consideration the facts that Skiddaw Force was a
very lonely place, having no house within some miles save a few isolated
cottages of charcoal-burners and shepherds; that a small house at
Keswick belonged to Lettice; and that the child's grand-parents on the
mother's side were desirous to have her near them, let the house at
Skiddaw Force, and came to live at Keswick.

The family at Selwick Hall had once been much larger than now.  All were
gone but these few--Milisent to another home; Anstace, Walter, and Helen
lay in the churchyard, and Ned, the father of young Aubrey, under the
waves of the North Atlantic; and then Mynheer Stuyvesant, the old Dutch
gentleman who had been driven from his own land for the faith's sake,
and having been the boys' tutor, had stayed for love after necessity was
over, took his last journey to the better country; and dear, honest,
simple Cousin Bess Wolvercot, friend and helper of all, went to receive
her reward, with--

  "Nothing to leave but a worn-out frame,
          And a name without a stain;
  Nothing to leave but an empty place,
          That nothing could fill again--"

And after that, Lady Lettice felt herself growing old.  The evening
shadows crept further, and her right hand in household affairs was gone;
but with the constant love and aid of Edith, she held on her way, until
the sorest blow of all fell on her, and the husband who had been ever
counsellor and comforter and stay, left her side for the continuing
City.  Since then, Lettice Louvaine had been simply waiting for the day
when she should join him again, and in the interim trying through
growing infirmities to "do the next thing,"--remembering the words
uttered so long ago by his beloved cousin Anstace, that some day the
next step would be the last step.

When Sir Aubrey Louvaine died, at the age of seventy-nine, two years
before the story opens, Aubrey, his grandson and namesake, became the
owner of Selwick Hall: but being under age, every thing was left in the
hands of his grandmother.

The pang of Lady Louvaine's bereavement was still fresh when another
blow fell on her.  Her husband had inherited Selwick from a distant
cousin, known in the neighbourhood as the Old Squire.  The Old Squire's
two sons, Nicholas and Hugh, had predeceased him, Sir Aubrey had taken
peaceable possession of the estate, and no one ever doubted his title
for fifty years, himself least of all.  Three months after his death,
Lady Louvaine was astounded to receive a lawyer's letter, claiming the
Selwick lands on behalf of one Oswald Louvaine of Newcastle, a young man
who asserted himself to be the grandson of the long-deceased Hugh.  His
documentary proofs were all in order, his witnesses were numerous and
positive, and Lady Louvaine possessed no counter-proof of any kind to
rebut this unheard-of claim.  After a vain search among her husband's
papers, and a consultation with such of her friends and relatives as she
judged suitable, she decided not to carry the matter into a court of
law, but to yield peaceable possession to young Oswald, on consideration
of his giving her a writ of immunity from paying back dues of any kind,
which indeed it would have been quite out of her power to discharge.
Sir Aubrey's income was comfortably sufficient for the family wants, but
there was little to spare when both ends had met.  Mr Oswald accepted
the terms as an immense favour on his part; and at the age of
seventy-six Lady Louvaine was deprived of the home wherein she had dwelt
for fifty-six years, and summoned like Abraham to go forth into the land
which God would show her.

Where to go was the next question.  Her daughter Milisent, with her
husband Robert Lewthwaite, would gladly have received her, and implored
her to come to them; but nine children, a full house, and a small
income, barred the way in that direction.  No offer of a home came from
Red Banks, where the children of her eldest daughter Anstace lived, and
where the income was twice as large as at Mere Lea, while the family did
not amount to half the number.  Temperance Murthwaite trudged up to
Selwick to offer the tiny house which was part of Lettice's little
patrimony, actually proposing herself to go to service, and leave
Lettice in her grandmother's care.  This Faith regarded as a cruel
injury, and Lady Louvaine would not hear of it.  From her
daughter-in-law.  Mrs Walter Louvaine, at Kendal, came a
sweetly-perfumed and sweetly-worded letter, wherein the writer offered--
a thousand apologies, and a dozen excuses for not receiving her dear and
revered mother.  Her grief in having so to write, she assured them, was
incalculable and inconsolable.  She begged that it might be taken into
consideration that Diana was shortly to be married, and would require a
trousseau--which, she did not add, comprised a pound of gold lace, and
six pairs of silk stockings at two guineas the pair: that Montague,
being in a nobleman's household, was an appalling expense to her; that
the younger boys were growing up and would require situations found for
them, while Jane and Frances would some day need portioning: all which
facts were so many heavy burdens,--and had not the Apostle said that he
who neglected to provide for his own was worse than an infidel?  Lady
Louvaine received this letter with a slight sigh, a gentle smile, and
"Poor Frances!"  But the usually calm, sunny temper of Edith was not
proof against it.  She tore the letter in two and flung the fragments
into the fire.

"Edith, my dear daughter!" ejaculated her astonished mother.

"Mother, I can't stand it!" was the response.  "I must either do this or
something worse.  And to drag in the Apostle Paul as a prop for such
hypoc--I'll just go and churn, and perhaps I can talk like a Christian
when I come back!"

Such things as these did not move Lady Louvaine.  But there were two
things which did move her, even to tears.  The first was when Hans
brought her a little box in which lay five silver pieces, entreating her
to accept them, such as they were--and she found after close
cross-examination that part of the money was the boy's savings to buy
cherished books, and part the result of the sale of his solitary
valuable possession, a pair of silver buckles.  The other took place
when notice was given to all the servants.  Each received his or her
wages, and a little token of remembrance, with bow or courtesy, and an
expression of regret on leaving so kind a mistress, mingled with good
wishes for her future welfare: all but one.  That one was Charity, the
under-housemaid from Pendle.  Charity rolled up her arms in her apron,
and said curtly--"Nay!"

"But, Charity, I _owe_ you this," responded her mistress in some
surprise.

"If you're bound to reckon up, my Lady, betwixt you and me, there mun be
somewhat set down o' tother side o' th' book," announced Charity
sturdily.  "Yo' mun mind you 'at yo' took me ba'at [without] a
commendation, because nob'ry [nobody] 'd have me at after Mistress
Watson charged me wi' stealing her lace fall, 'at she found at after
amongst her kerchiefs; that's a hundred pound to th' good.  And yo'
nursed me through th' fever--that's another.  And yo' held me back fro'
wedding wi' yon wastrel [scoundrel] Nym Thistlethwaite, till I'd seen a
bit better what manner of lad he were, and so saved me fro' being a
poor, bruised, heart-broke thing like their Margery is now, 'at he did
wed wi'--and that counts for five hundred at least.  That's seven
hundred pound, Madam, and I've nobut twelve i' th' world--I'm bankrupt.
So, if you please, we'll have no reckonings, or I shall come off warst.
And would you please to tell me when you look to be i' London town, and
where you'll 'light first?"

"My good Charity! they named thee not ill," answered Lady Louvaine.  "I
trust to be in London the end of March--nigh on Lady Day; and I light at
the White Bear, in the King's Street, Westminster."

"Pray you, Madam, how many miles is it hence?"

"'Tis about two hundred miles, Charity."

For a moment Charity was silent.  Then she said, "An't like you, Madam,
I'd fain go the first o' March."

Lady Louvaine was a little surprised, for she had given her servants a
month's notice, which would expire on the fifteenth of March.  However,
if Charity preferred to be paid in time instead of money, that was her
own affair.  She assented, and Charity, dropping another courtesy, left
the room.

Lady Louvaine's house in London had been obtained through the Earl of
Oxford, a distant cousin of her husband, in whose household her son
Walter had long before taken unwholesome lessons in fashion and
extravagance.  The Earl, now in his grand climacteric, had outlived his
youthful frivolity, and though he had become a hard and austere man, was
yet willing to do a kindness to his kinsman's widow by engaging a house
for her, and offering for her grandson a squire's place which happened
to be vacant in his household.  She would have preferred some less showy
and more solid means of livelihood for Aubrey, whose character was yet
unfixed, and whose disposition was lighter than she liked to see it: but
no other offered, and she accepted this.

A few days before the time for departure, up trudged Temperance
Murthwaite again.

"Madam," said she, "I'm something 'feared I'm as welcome as water into a
ship, for I dare guess you've enough to do with the hours, but truth to
tell, I'm driven to it.  Here's Faith set to go after you to London."

"Poor child! let her come."

"I can get as far as `poor,' Madam, but I can go no further with you,"
answered Temperance grimly.  "Somebody's poor enough, I cast no doubt,
but I don't think it's Faith.  But you have not yet beheld all your
calamities.  If Faith goes, I must go too--and if I go, and she, then
must Lettice."

"Dear Temperance, I shall be verily glad."

"Lady Lettice, you're too good for this world!--and there aren't ten
folks in it to whom I ever said that.  Howbeit, you shall not lose by
me, for I purpose to take Rachel withal and she and I can do the
housework betwixt us, and so set Edith free to wait on you.  Were you
thinking to carry servants, or find them there?"

"I thought to find one there.  More than one, methinks, we can scarce
afford."

"Well then for that shall Rachel serve: and I'll work the cost of my
keep and more, you shall see.  I can spin with the best, and weave too;
you'll never come short of linen nor linsey while I'm with you--and
Lettice can run about and save steps to us all.  What think you?--said I
well?"

"Very well indeed, my dear: I were fain to have you."

"Then you'll look for us.  Good-morrow!"  The last evening was a busy
one for all parties, and there was little time to spare for indulgence
in remembrance or regret.  It was two hours later than usual, when
Lettice at last lay down to sleep and even then, sleep seemed long in
coming.  She heard her Aunt Edith's soft movements in the neighbouring
gallery, where she was putting final touches to the packing, and
presently they slid unconsciously into the sound of the waterfall at
Skiddaw Force, by the side of which Lettice was climbing up to the Tower
of London.  She knew nothing of the tender, cheerful "Good-night, Mother
dear!" given to Lady Louvaine--of the long, pathetic gaze at the moonlit
landscape--of the silently-sobbed prayer, and the passionate rain of
tears--such different tears from those of Faith!--which left a wet stain
upon Edith's coverlet.  It was hard to leave the old home--hard to leave
the new graves.  But the next thing the young niece heard was
only--"Time to rise, Lettice!" spoken in the usual bright manner--and,
looking up, she saw Aunt Edith fully dressed.

Lettice sprang up in a fright, and scrambled into her clothes with all
the haste possible.  She, who was to have helped Aunt Edith, to be fast
asleep in bed when she was ready!  It was not many minutes before
Lettice was dressed, but her morning prayer had in it sundry things
which were not prayers.

Breakfast was nearly over when a curious rolling sound was heard,
followed by the tramp of horses: and Aubrey jumped up to look, for it
was half-an-hour too soon for the baggage-horses to be brought.  He had
to run into the porch-chamber to see what it was, and before he returned
came old Roger the serving-man, with a letter in his hand, which he gave
to his mistress.  She opened the letter, but finding it somewhat
difficult for dim eyes to make out, she gave it back to Roger, desiring
him to read it.  [Note 2.]  So Roger read:--

  "Madam,--Since I need be in London this next weekend, where I look to
  tarry some time, and am offered a seat in my good Lord of
  Northumberland's caroche, it were pity that my caroche should go
  thither empty, in especial when so good and old a friend is likewise
  on her journey.  May I therefore beg that your Ladyship will so far
  favour me as to use the caroche as your own, from this day until
  Friday week, when, if it serve your convenience, it may return to me
  at Radcliffe House?  My servants have orders to obey your Ladyship's
  directions, and to serve you in all regards as myself.

  "I kiss the hands of fair Mistress Edith, and beg my best compliments
  to your young gentlemen, and am, Madam, yours to my little power,
  Dilston."

Aubrey had come back whilst Roger was reading, and scarcely gave him
leave to make an end of the letter.

"Madam, 'tis my Lord Dilston's caroche, with six great Flanders horses,
and three serving-men, all as fine as fiddlers, and never a soul in the
caroche--"

"Truly, this is of the Lord's goodness," said Lady Louvaine.  "I did
indeed fear the journey on horseback, but there seemed none other
means."

"The like did I for you, dear Mother," added Edith.  "I am most thankful
for my Lord Dilston's kindly proffer.  It shall ease the journey to you
more than all we could do."

Lady Louvaine bade Edith write an answer, and ordered Roger to take back
to Mere Lea the three saddle-horses lent her by Mr Lewthwaite,
explaining why they were no longer needed.  It was then settled that the
four ladies and Lettice should travel in the coach, Aubrey, Hans, and
Rachel going on horseback.

Hans had gone out, and they saw him talking in the front with Lord
Dilston's postillion.  Now he came back.  "Well, Hans, what wormed you
out of the postillion?" inquired Aubrey.

"His master's goodness," said Hans.  "Have you a bit left for me? or do
you want it all for yourself?"

"It is all for my Lady.  My Lord Dilston was meaning to have gone to
Town himself in his own caroche, till he heard of your Ladyship's
trouble, and then he cast about to know of some friend that was going,
so he might leave it for you.  Then he heard of my Lord of
Northumberland, and he begged a seat in his caroche; and Madam Penelope
stuffed the caroche with all the cushions that were in the house, and a
hamper of baked meats, and wine, and a great fur mantle to lap your
Ladyship in; and my Lord bade the postillion to drive very soft, that
you should not be shaken, without you told him to go fast, and the
footmen were to have a care of you and save you all that they could.
Said I not well, his goodness?"

"Truly, Hans, you did so," answered Edith; "and right thankful should we
all be, first to the Lord, and then to my Lord Dilston, that my dear
mother can now journey in safety and comfort."

Lady Louvaine said, softly, "Bless the Lord! and may He bless this kind
friend!  Truly, I marvel wherefore it is that every one is so good to
me.  It must be, surely, for my dead Aubrey's sake."

"Oh, of course," said young Aubrey, laughing; "they all hate _you_,
Madam, you may be sure."

His grandmother smiled on him, for she understood him.

Now came the Murthwaite sisters trudging up the path, Temperance
carrying a heavy basket, and Faith bearing no greater weight than her
handkerchief, behind which, as usual, she was weeping.

"Good-morrow, Madam," said Aunt Temperance as she came in.  "A fine day
for our journey."

"You're to ride in a caroche, Aunt Temperance!" cried Aubrey.

"Who--me?  No, I thank you, my young Master.  I never set foot in such a
thing in my life, nor never will by my good will.  I like the feel of a
horse under me well enough; but that finicky gingerbread thing, all o'er
gilding--I'd as soon go on a broomstick.  Whose is it?"

"'Tis my Lord Dilston's, that hath most kindly proffered it to Mother
for the journey," replied Edith.  "We had settled that we four, with
Lettice, should journey therein; but if you would rather be on
horseback, Temperance--"

"That would I, by ten mile," said she.  "I hate being cooped up in a
four-post bed, with all the curtains drawn; and that lumbering thing's
no better.  Faith'll go, I don't doubt; any thing that's a bit smart and
showy!! take her: and Lettice may please herself.  I dare say the child
will have a fantasy to ride in a caroche for once in her life."

"Indeed, Aunt, I would like it," answered Lettice, "for very like I may
never have such another chance while I live."

"Truly, that's little like," retorted Temperance with a laugh.  "So have
thy ride, child, if thou wilt.--Dear heart!  Lady Lettice, I ask your
pardon."

"For what, Temperance, my dear?"

"Taking your place, Madam, instead of my own.  Here am I, deciding what
Lettice shall do or not do, when you being in presence, it belongs to
you to judge."

Lady Louvaine gave her gentle smile.

"Nay, if we must stand upon our rights, you, Temperance, as her father's
sister, have the right to choose."

"Then I choose to obey you, Lady Lettice," said Temperance with a
courtesy.

"Madam," now announced Hans from the door, "the baggage is packed, and
the caroche awaiteth your Ladyship."

Edith helped her mother to rise from, her chair.  She stood one moment,
her hand on Edith's arm; and a look came into her eyes such as a
drowning man might give to the white cliffs whereon his home stood,
where his wife and his little children were waiting for him.  So she
stood and looked slowly round the chamber, her eyes travelling from one
thing to another, till she had gone all over it.  And then she said, in
a low, pathetic voice--

"`Get thee out of thy country, and from thy father's house, unto the
land that I will show thee.'  Once before I had that call, and it led me
to him who was the stay and blessing of my life.  Yet again I go forth:
O my Father, let it lead to Thee, unto Thy holy hill, and to Thy
tabernacle!  Remember Thy word unto Thy servant, wherein Thou hast
caused me to hope--`Certainly I will be with thee,'--`I will not fail
thee, nor forsake thee,'--`Fear not, for I have redeemed thee: I have
called thee by thy name; thou art Mine.'  Lord, keep Thine own!--Now, my
children, let us go hence with God."

In something like a procession they went forth from Selwick Hall.  Lady
Louvaine first, leaning on Edith and Hans, to whom Aubrey was always
ready to resign troublesome duties; then Faith, Temperance, Aubrey, and
Lettice.

At the door stood the great coach, painted in dark mulberry-colour and
picked out with gilding, the lining and cushions of blue: and harnessed
to it were the six great horses, dark roan, with cream-coloured manes,
knotted likewise in blue.  The servants wore mulberry-coloured livery,
corded with blue.

Lady Louvaine took her place on the right hand of the coach, facing the
horses, Faith being at her side.  Opposite sat Edith, and Lettice by the
door.

"Aunt Temperance!" called out Aubrey from the doorstep, "you shall have
my horse, if you will; I am going in the caroche."

"You are _what_, Sirrah?" demanded Aunt Temperance, with the severity of
at least one Lord Chief-Justice.

"I shall ride in the caroche," repeated Aubrey calmly.

"Northumberland, Cumberland, Westmoreland, and Durham!" was the awful
answer.

The young people knew what that meant.  When Temperance said "Dear
heart!" she was just a little surprised or put out; when it was
"Lancaster and Derby!" she was very much astonished or provoked; but
when she supplicated the help of "Northumberland, Cumberland,
Westmoreland, and Durham!" it meant from Aunt Temperance what swearing
would from any one else.

"I should like to know, if you please, Mr Aubrey Louvaine, whether you
are a king, a sick woman, or a baby?"

"Well, Aunt, I don't think I am any of them at present."

"Then you have no business to ride in a caroche till you are.  I never
heard of such a thing in my life.  A man to ride in a caroche!  We shall
have them hemming handkerchiefs to-morrow."

"You won't have me," said Aubrey.

"I won't have you in there," retorted Temperance bluntly, "without my
Lady Lettice call you in, and that she won't.  Will you, Madam?"

"Certainly not, my dear, after your decision," she replied.  "Indeed, I
do think it too effeminate for men, persons of high honour except, or
them that are sick and infirm."

"That rascal's not sick, any more than he's a person of honour.--Thee
bestride thy horse, lad--without thou canst find an ass, which would
suit with thee better.--Now, Hans, come and help me to mount."

When all were mounted, the six great horses tugged and strained at the
big coach, and with a good push from the four farm-servants, it moved
forwards, at first slowly, then faster.  The farm-servants stood
bareheaded, to see the family depart, crying, "God bless you, my Lady,
and bring you home in peace!"

Faith sank back sobbing into the corner, and there were tears in Edith's
eyes which she would not let fall.

"Farewell!" said Lady Louvaine, leaning forward.  "Farewell, my good,
kind old friends--Thomas, William, Isaac, and Gideon--I wish you God's
blessing, and a better head than I."

"Nay, nay, that'll ne'er be, nor couldn't, no wise!" cried old Gideon,
and the rest all echoed his "Nay, nay!"

"Farewell!" said his mistress again, somewhat faintly, as she sank back
into the corner.  "Friends, God will bless me, and He shall bring me
home in peace."

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

Note 1.  The thrum is the fringed end of a weaver's web; a thrum hat was
made of very coarse tufted woollen cloth.

Note 2.  This was quite a common occurrence at that time, when
men-servants were usually better educated, and ladies and gentlemen much
less so, than now.



CHAPTER TWO.

THE JOURNEY TO LONDON.

  "And yet, I do remember, some dim sense
          Of vague presentiment
  Swept o'er me, as beyond the gates we turned
          To make the long descent."

At the bridge-end, as they came up, were Milisent and her husband, with
seven of their nine children,--even little Fortune, but five years old,
whom Milisent lifted into the coach and set on her Aunt Edith's knee,
saying "she should say all her life that she had sat in my Lord
Dilston's earache."  Then Milisent came in herself and sat down for a
moment between her mother and Faith, whilst her husband talked with
Aubrey, and all the children crowded about Hans, always a favourite with
children.  After a few minutes' conversation, Robert came up to the
coach-door with--"Time to go, Milly.  We must not tarry Mother on her
journey, for she is like to be weary enough ere she come to its end."

Then Milisent broke down, and threw her arms around her mother, and
cried,--"O Mother, Mother, how shall I do without you?  Must I never see
you again?"

"My Milisent," said Lady Louvaine, "I shall not carry God from thee.
And thou wilt surely see me again, sweet heart, where we shall part no
more for ever."

For a few minutes Milisent wept as if her heart would break; then she
wiped her eyes, and kissed them all round, only breaking down a little
again when she came to her sister Edith.

"O Edith, darling sister, I never loved thee half well enough!"

Edith was calm now.  "Send me the other half in thy letters, Milly," she
replied, "and I will return it to thee."

"Ay, we can write betimes," said Milisent, looking a little comforted.
Then to her niece,--"Now, Lettice, I look to thee for all the news.  The
first day of every month shall we begin to look out for a letter at Mere
Lea; and if my sister cannot write, then must thou.  Have a care!"

"So I will, Aunt," said Lettice.

Milisent alighted with a rather brighter look--she was not wont to look
any thing but bright--Robert took his leave and then came all the
cousins pouring in to say good-bye.  So the farewells were spoken, and
they went on their journey; but as far as they could see until hidden by
the hill round which they drove, Milisent's handkerchief was waving
after them.

Lady Louvaine bore the journey better than her daughters had feared; and
our friends deemed themselves very happy that during the whole of it,
they were not once overturned, and only four times stuck in the mud.  At
the end of the fourth day, which was Friday, they came up to the door of
the Hill House at Minster Lovel.  And as they lumbered round the sweep
with their six horses, Edith cried joyously,--"Oh, there's old Rebecca!"

To Edith Louvaine, a visit to the Hill House was in a sense coming home,
for its owner, her father's cousin, Joyce Morrell, had been to her
almost a second mother.  When people paid distant visits in the
sixteenth century, it was not for a week's stay, but for half a year, or
at least a quarter.  During many years it had been the custom that
visits of this length should be exchanged between Selwick Hall and the
Hill House at Minster Lovel alternately, at the close of every two
years.  But Edith, who was Aunt Joyce's special favourite, had paid now
and then a visit between-times; and when, as years and infirmities
increased, the meetings were obliged to cease for the elders, Edith's
yearly stay of three or four months with the old and lonely cousin had
become an institution instead of them.  Her feeling, therefore, was much
like that of a daughter of the house introducing her relatives to her
own home; for Lady Louvaine was the only other of the party to whom the
Hill House had been familiar in old times.

Its owner, the once active and energetic old lady, now confined to her
couch by partial paralysis, had been called Aunt Joyce by the Louvaines
of the second generation ever since their remembrance lasted.  To the
younger ones, however, she was a stranger; and they watched with curious
eyes their Aunt Edith's affectionate greeting of the old servant
Rebecca, who had guarded and amused her as a baby, and loved her as a
girl.  Rebecca, on her part, was equally glad to see her.

"Run you in, Mrs Edith, my dear," said she; "you'll find the mistress
in the Credence Chamber.  Eh, she has wearied for you!--Good evening,
Madam, and I'm fain to see your Ladyship again.  Would you please to
allow of my help in 'lighting?"

While Rebecca and Hans assisted her mother to descend, Edith ran into
the house with as light and fleet a step as if she were fourteen instead
of forty, and entered a large, low chamber, hung with dark leather
hangings, stamped in gold, where a bright lamp burned on a little table,
and on a low couch beside it lay an old lady, covered over with a fur
coverlet.  She had a pleasant, kindly old face, with fresh rose-colour
in her cheeks, and snow-white hair; and her face lighted up when she saw
Edith, like a candle set in a dark window.  Edith ran to her, and cast
her arms about her, and she said, "My Edith, mine own dear child!" as
tenderly as if she had been her own mother.

Lady Louvaine followed her daughter, leaning on Hans and Rebecca, who
took her up to the couch, and set her down in a large chair furnished
with soft cushions, which stood close beside, as if it were there on
purpose.  She laid her hand upon Joyce's, who fondled it in both hers.
Then Joyce gave a little laugh.

"Lettice, dost thou wonder to hear me laugh?" asked she.  "I seemed like
as if I saw, all at once, that sunshine afternoon when thou earnest
first over from the Manor House, sent of my Lady Norris to make friends
with us.  Dost remember?"

"And thou earnest tripping lightly down the stairs, clad of a russet
gown, and leddest me up to see Anstace.  `Do I remember it!'  Ah, Joyce,
my sister, there be sore changes since that day!"

"Be there so?" said Joyce, and smiled brightly enough.  "A good number
of miles nearer Home, Lettice, and a good number of treasures laid up
for both of us, where neither moth nor rust shall hurt them.  My
treasures are all there which are not likewise thine.  And now let me
see the new gems in thy jewel-box.  Who art thou, my maid?"

"I am Lettice Murthwaite, Madam, if you please."

"My dear heart, I do not please to be called Madam.  I am thine Aunt
Joyce.  Come here and kiss me, if thou wilt."

Lettice knelt down by the couch, and kissed the old lady.

"There is not much of Nell here, Lettice," said Joyce to Lady Louvaine.
"'Tis her father the child is like.  Now then, which of these two lads
is Aubrey--he with the thinking brow, or he with the restless eyes?"

Lady Louvaine called Aubrey, and he came up.

"Why, thou art like nobody," said Aunt Joyce.  "Neither Ned nor Faith,
nor any of Ned's elders.  Lettice, where is Faith? hast not brought her
withal?"

Faith was in the hall, listening to a lecture from Temperance,
embellished by such elegancies as "Stuff and nonsense!" and "Listen to
reason!" which ended up at last with "Lancaster and Derby!" and Faith
came slowly in, with her everlasting handkerchief at her eyes.

"Nay, Faith, sweet heart, no tears!" cried the old lady.  "Sure there's
nought to weep for this even, without thou art so dog-weary that thou
canst not keep them back."

"Mistress Morrell, I wish you good even," said Temperance, coming in
after her sister.  "If you'll but learn Faith to keep that handkerchief
of hers in her pocket, you'll have done the best work ever you did since
we saw you last in Derwent-dale.  She's for ever and the day after
a-fretting and a-petting, for why she'd better tell you, for I'm a
Dutchman if I can make out."

Aunt Joyce looked from one to the other.

"So unfeeling!" came Faith's set form, from behind the handkerchief.
"And me a poor widow!"

The old lady's face went very grave, and all the cheeriness passed out
of it.

"Faith, you are not the only widow in the chamber," she said gently.
"Temperance, my dear, she is weary, maybe."

"She hasn't got a bit of call," rejoined Temperance.  "Sat all day long
in my Lord Dilston's smart caroche, lolling back in the corner, just
like a feather-bed.  Mistress Joyce, 'tis half ill-temper and half
folly--that's what it is."

"Well, well, my dear, we need not judge our neighbours.--Edith, my
child, thou knowest the house as well as I; wilt thou carry thy friends
above?  Rebecca hath made ready My Lady's Chamber for my Lady,"--with a
smile at her old friend--"and the Fetterlock Chamber for Faith and
Temperance.  The Old Wardrobe is for thee and Lettice, and the lads
shall lie in the Nursery."

Names to every room, after this fashion, were customary in old houses.
The party were to stay at Minster Lovel for four days, from Friday to
Tuesday, and then to pursue their journey to London.

In the Old Wardrobe, a pleasant bedchamber on the upper floor, Lettice
washed off the dust of the journey, and changed her clothes when the
little trunk came up which held the necessaries for the night.  Then she
tried to find her way to the Credence Chamber, and--as was not very
surprising--lost it, coming out into a long picture-gallery where she
was at once struck and entranced by a picture that hung there.  It
represented a young girl about her own age, laid on a white couch, and
dressed in white, but with such a face as she had never seen on any
woman in this life.  It was as white as the garments, with large dark
eyes, wherein it seemed to Lettice as if her very soul had been melted;
a soul that had gone down into some dreadful deep, and having come up
safe, was ever afterwards anxiously ready to help other souls out of
trouble.  She would have thought the painter meant it for an angel, but
that angels are not wont to be invalids and lie on couches.  Beside this
picture hung another, which reminded her of her Grandfather Louvaine;
but this was of a young man, not much older than Aubrey, yet it had her
grandfather's eyes, which she had seen in none else save her Aunt Edith.
Now Lettice began to wonder where she was, and how she should find her
way; and hearing footsteps, she waited till they came up, when she saw
old Rebecca.

"Why, my dear heart, what do you here?" said she kindly.

"Truly, I know not," the youthful visitor answered.  "I set forth to go
down the stairs, and missed the right turning, as I guess.  But pray
you, Rebecca, ere you set me in the way, tell me of whom are these two
pictures?"

"Why," said she, "can you not guess?  The one is of your own
grandfather, Sir Aubrey Louvaine."

"Oh, then it is Grandfather when he was young.  But who is this,
Rebecca?  It looks like an angel, but angels are never sick, and she
seems to be lying sick."

"There be angels not yet in Heaven, Mistress Lettice," softly answered
the old servant.  "And if you were to live to the age of Methuselah,
you'd never see a portrait of one nearer the angels than this.  'Tis a
picture that old Squire--Mistress Joyce's father--would have taken, nigh
sixty years since, of our angel, our Mistress Anstace, when she was none
so many weeks off the golden gate.  They set forth with her in a litter
for London town, and what came back was her coffin, and that picture."

"Was she like that?" asked Lettice, scarcely above her breath, for she
felt as if she could not speak aloud, any more than in church.

"She was, and she was not," said old Rebecca.  "Them that knew her might
be minded of her.  She was like nothing in this world.  But, my dear
heart, I hear Mrs Edith calling for you.  Here be the stairs, and the
Credence Chamber, where supper is laid, is the first door on your left
after you reach the foot."

On the Saturday evening, as they sat round the fire in the Credence
Chamber, Edith asked Aunt Joyce if old Dr Cox were still parson of
Minster Lovel.

"Nay," said she; "I would he were.  We have a new lord and new laws, the
which do commonly go together."

"What manner of lord?" inquired Edith.

"And what make of laws?" said Temperance.

"Bad, the pair of them," said the old lady.

"Why, is he a gamester or drunkard?" asked Lady Louvaine.

"Or a dumb dog that cannot bark?" suggested Temperance.

"Well, I'd fain have him a bit dumber," was Aunt Joyce's answer.  "At
least, I wish he'd dance a bit less."

"Dance!" cried Edith.

"Well!" said Aunt Joyce, "what else can you call it, when a man measures
his steps, goes two steps up and bows, then two steps down and bows,
then up again one step, with a great courtesy, and holds up his hands as
if he were astonished--when there's nothing in the world to astonish him
except his own foolish antics?"

"But where doth he this?" said Lady Louvaine: "here in the chamber, or
out of door?"

"Dear heart! in the church."

"But for why?"

"Prithee ask at him, for I can ne'er tell thee."

"Did you ne'er ask him, Aunt?" said Edith.

"For sure did I, and gat no answer that I could make aught of: only some
folly touching Catholic practice, and the like.  And, `Master Twinham,'
said I, `I know not well what you would be at, but I can tell you, I
lived through the days of Queen Mary, and, if that be what you mean by
Catholic practices, they are practices we don't want back again.'  Well,
he mumbled somewhat about being true to the Church, and such like: but
if he be an honest man, my shoes be made of Shrewsbury sweet bread.  We
tumbled all such practices out of the Church, above forty years gone;
and what's more, we'll not stand to have them brought in again, though
there be some may try."

"They will not bring any such folly in while the Queen liveth, I guess,"
answered Edith.

"Amen! but the Queen, God bless her! is seventy this year."

"Would you have her live for ever, Aunt Joyce?" asked Aubrey.

"Would she could!" she answered.  "As to this fellow, I know not what
he'll be at next.  He told me to my face that a Papist was better than a
Puritan.  `Well, Mr Twinham,' said I, `you may be a Papist, but I am a
Puritan, and there I tarry till I find somewhat better.'"

"Why, Joyce!" said Lady Louvaine, smiling, "thou wert not wont to call
thyself a Puritan, in the old days when thou and Bess Wolvercot used to
pick a crow betwixt you over Dr Meade's surplice at Keswick."

"No, I wasn't," said she.  "But I tell you, Lettice, there be things
human nature cannot bear.  A clean white surplice and Christ's Gospel is
one thing, and a purple vestment and an other Gospel is another.  And if
I'm to swallow the purple vestment along with the white surplice, I'll
have neither.  As to old Bess, dear blessed soul! she's in her right
place, where she belongs; and if I may creep in at a corner of Heaven's
door and clean her golden sandals, I shall be thankful enough, the Lord
knows."

"But, Mrs Morrell! sure you never mean to say that surplices be giving
place to purple vestments down this road!" cried Temperance in much
horror.

"Children," said the old lady very solemnly, "we two, in God's mercy,
shall not live to see what is coming, but very like you will.  And I
tell you, all is coming back which our fathers cast forth into the
Valley of Hinnom, and afore you--Temperance, Faith, and Edith--be old
women, it will be set up in the court of the Temple.  Ay, much if it
creep not into the Holy of Holies ere those three young folks have a
silver hair.  The Devil is coming, children: he's safe to be first; and
in his train are the priests and the Pope.  They are all coming: and
you'll have to turn them out again, as your grandfathers did.  And don't
you fancy that shall be an easy task.  It'll be the hardest whereto you
ever set your shoulders.  God grant you win through it!  There are two
dangers afore you, and when I say that, I mean not the torture-chamber
and the stake.  Nay, I am thinking of worser dangers than those--snares
wherein feet are more easily trapped, a deal.  List to me, for ere many
years be over, you will find that I speak truth.  The lesser danger is
if the Devil come to you in his black robes, and offer to buy you with
that which he guesseth to be your price--and that shall not be the same
for all: a golden necklace may tempt one, and a place at Court another,
and a Barbary mare a third.  But worse, far worse, is the danger when
the Devil comes in his robes of light; when he gilds his _lie_ with a
cover of outside truth; when he quotes Scripture for his purpose,
twisting it so subtilely that if the Spirit of God give you not the
answer, you know not how to answer him.  Remember, all you young ones,
and Aubrey in especial, that no man can touch pitch and not be denied.
`Evil communications corrupt good manners:' and they corrupt them worst
and quickest when you see not that they be evil.  If you think the
scales be falling from your eyes, make very sure that they are not
growing on them.  And you can do that only by keeping very close to
God's footstool and to God's Word.  Be sure of this: whatsoever leads
you away from that Book leads you wrong.  I care not what it be--King or
Pope, priest or layman, blind faith or blind reason,--he that neglects
and sets aside the Word of God, for whatever cause, and whatever thing
he would put in his place--children, his ways incline unto Hell, and his
paths unto the dead.  Go not after him, nor follow him.  Mark my words,
and see, twenty and yet more forty years hence, if they come not true."

Aubrey whispered to Lettice, "What made her pick out me in `especial,'
trow?  I'm not about to handle no pitch."

But Hans said, with his gravest face, "I thank you, Madam," and seemed
to be thinking hard about something all the rest of the evening.

On the Sunday morning, all went to church except the two old ladies, who
could honestly plead infirmity.

When they came out, Lettice, who was burning to speak her mind,
exclaimed,--"Saw you ever a parson so use himself, Aubrey?  Truly I know
not how to specify it--turning, and twisting, and bowing, and casting up
of his hands and eyes--it well-nigh made me for to laugh!"

"Like a merry Andrew or a cheap Jack," laughed Aubrey.

"I thought his sermon stranger yet," said Hans, "nor could I see what it
had to do with his text."

"What was his text?" inquired heedless Aubrey.

"`Thou shalt love the Lord thy God,'" repeated Hans.

"Ay, and all he did, the hour through," cried Lettice, "was to bid us
obey the Church, and hear the Church, and not run astray after no
novelties in religion.  And the Church is not the Lord our God, neither
is religion, so far as I see."

"I mind Sir Aubrey once saying," added Hans, "that when a bride talked
ever of herself, and nothing of her bridegroom, it was a very ill augury
of the state of her heart."

"But saw you those two great candlesticks on the holy table?--what for
be they?" said Lettice.

"Oh, they be but ornaments of the church," answered Aubrey, carelessly.

"But we have none such in Keswick Church: and what is the good of
candlesticks without candles?"

"The candles will come," quietly replied Hans.

"Ah! you're thinking of what the old gentlewoman said last night--
confess, Master Sobersides!" said Aubrey.

"I have thought much on it," answered Hans, who walked along, carrying
the ladies' prayer-books; for the road being dirty, they had enough to
do in holding up their gowns.  "And I think she hath the right."

"Hans, I marvel how old thou wert when thou wert born!" said Aubrey.

"I think, very like, about as old as you were," said Hans.

"Well, Mr Louvaine, you are a complete young gentleman!" cried his Aunt
Temperance, looking back at him.  "To suffer three elder gentlewomen to
trudge in the mire, and never so much as offer to hand one of them!
Those were not good manners, my master, when I was a young maid--but
seeing how things be changed now o' days, maybe that has gone along with
them.  Come hither at once, thou vagrant, and give thine hand to thy
mother, like a dutiful son as thou shouldest be, and art not."

"Oh, never mind me!" sighed Faith.  "I have given over expecting such a
thing.  I am only a poor widow."

"Madam," apologised Hans, very red in the face, "I do truly feel ashamed
that I have no better done my duty, and I entreat you not--"

"I was not faulting thee, lad," said Temperance.  "We have already laden
thee with books; and it were too much to look for thee to do thine own
duty and other folks' too.  It's this lazy lad I want.  I dare be bound
he loveth better to crack jests with his cousins than to be dutiful to
his old mother and aunts."

"Temperance, I am only thirty-nine," said Faith in an injured voice.  "I
am the youngest of us three."

"Oh deary me!  I ask your pardon," cried Temperance, with a queer set of
her lips.  "Yes, Madam, you are; Edith is an old woman of forty, and I a
decrepit creature of forty-five; but you are a giddy young thing of
thirty-nine.  I'll try to mind it, at least till your next birthday."

Lettice laughed, and Aunt Temperance did not look angry, though she
pulled a face at her.  Edith smiled, and said pleasantly--

"Come, Aubrey, hand thy mother on my side; I will walk with Lettice and
Hans."

"Aunt Edith," said Lettice, "pray you, why be those candlesticks on the
holy table, with never a candle in them?"

"I cannot tell, Lettice," replied she; "I fear, if the parson dared,
there would be candles in them, and belike will, ere long."

"Think you Aunt Joyce is right in what she said last night?"

"I fear so, Lettice," she answered very gravely.  "We have not yet seen
the last, I doubt, of Satan and his Roman legion."

The same afternoon, Lettice had a talk with old Rebecca, which almost
frightened her.  She went up to the gallery for another look at the two
pictures, and Rebecca passing by, Lettice begged that if she were not
very busy, she would tell her something about them.  In reply she heard
a long story, which increased her reverential love for the dead
grandfather, and made her think that "Cousin Anstace" must have been an
angel indeed.  Rebecca had lived in the Hill House for sixty years, and
she well remembered her mistress's sister.

"Mind you Queen Mary's days, Rebecca?" asked Lettice.

"Eh, sweet heart!" said the old servant.  "They could ne'er be forgot by
any that lived in them."

"Saw you any of the dreadful burnings?"

"Ay, did I, Mrs Lettice," said she,--"even the head and chief of them
all, of my Lord's Grace of Canterbury.  I saw him hold forth his right
hand in the flame, that had signed his recantation: and after all was
over, and the fire out, I drew nigh with the crowd, and beheld his heart
entire, uncharred amongst the ashes.  Ah my mistress! if once you saw
such a sight as that, you could never forget it, your whole life
thereafter."

"It must have been dreadful, Rebecca!" said Lettice.

"Well, it was, in one way," she answered: "and yet, in another, it was
right strengthening.  I never felt so strong in the faith as that hour,
and for some while after.  It was like as if Heaven had been opened to
me, and I had a glimpse of the pearly portals, and the golden street,
and the white waving wings of the angels as he went in."

"Saw you the Bishops burned, Rebecca--Dr Ridley and Dr Latimer?"

"I did not, Mrs Lettice; yet have I seen them both, prisoners, led
through Oxford streets.  Dr Ridley was a man with a look so grave that
it was well-nigh severe: but Dr Latimer could break a jest with any
man, and did, yea, with his very judges."

"Were you ever in any danger, Rebecca?--or Mrs Morrell?"

"I never was, Mrs Lettice; but my good mistress was once well-nigh
taken of the catchpoll [constable].  You ask her to tell you the story,
how she came at him with the red-hot poker.  And after that full quickly
she packed her male, and away to Selwick to Sir Aubrey and her Ladyship,
where she tarried hid until Queen Elizabeth came in."

"Think you there shall ever be such doings in England again?"

"The Lord knoweth," and old Rebecca shook her white head.  "There's not
a bit of trust to be put in them snakes of priests and Jesuits and such
like: not a bit!  Let them get the upper hand again, and we shall have
the like times.  Good Lord, deliver us from them all!"

Lettice went down, intending to ask Aunt Joyce to tell her the story of
the red-hot poker; but she never thought of it again, so absorbed was
she with what the two old ladies were saying as she came in.  They did
not hear her enter: and the first word she heard made her so desirous of
more, that she crept as softly as she could to a seat.  Curiosity was
her besetting sin.

"She used not to be thus," said Lady Louvaine.  "Truly, I know not what
hath thus sorrowfully changed the poor child; but I would some means
might be found to undo the same.  Even for some years after Ned's death,
I mind not this change; it came on right slowly and by degrees."

Lettice felt pretty sure that "she" was Aunt Faith.

"'Tis weakness, I suppose," said Lady Louvaine, in a questioning tone.

"Ay, we are all weak some whither," replied Aunt Joyce; "and Faith's
weakness is a sort to show.  She is somewhat too ready to nurse her
weaknesses, and make pets of them.  'Tis bad enough for a woman to pet
her own virtues; but when she pets her vices, 'tis a hard thing to
better her.  But, Lettice, there is a strong soul among you--a rare
soul, in good sooth; and there is one other, of whose weakness, and what
are like to be its consequences, I am far more in fear than of Faith's."

"Nay, who mean you?" asked Lady Louvaine in a perplexed voice.

"I mean the two lads--Hans and Aubrey."

"Hans is a good lad, truly."

"Hans has more goodness in him than you have seen the end of, by many a
mile.  But Aubrey!"

"You reckon not Aubrey an ill one, I hope?"

"By which you mean, one that purposes ill?  Oh no, by no means.  He is a
far commoner character--one that hath no purpose, and so being, doth
more real ill than he that sets forth to do it of malicious intent."

"Are you assured you wrong not the lad, Joyce, in so saying?"

"If I do, you shall full shortly know it.  I trust it may be so.  But he
seems to me to have a deal more of Walter in him than Ned, and to be
right the opposite of our Aubrey in all main conditions."

"Ah," sighed the widow, in a very tender tone, "there can be no two of
him!"  Then after a little pause, "And what sayest thou to Lettice--my
little Lettice?"

The concealed listener pricked up both her ears.

Aunt Joyce gave a little laugh.  "Not so very unlike an other Lettice
that once I knew," said she.  "Something less like to fall in the same
trap, methinks, and rather more like to fall in an other."

"Now, tell me what other?"

"I mean, dear heart, less conceit of her favour [beauty], and more of
her wisdom.  A little over-curious and ready to meddle in matters that
concern her not.  A good temper, methinks, and more patience than either
of her aunts on the father's side: as to humility--well, we have none of
us too much of that."

"Joyce, wouldst thou like to have us leave Lettice a while with thee?
She could wait on thee and read to thee, and be like a daughter to thee.
I will, if thou wouldst wish it."

"Nay, that would I not, Lettice, for the child's own sake.  It were far
better for her to go with you.  There is an offer thou couldst make me,
of that fashion, that my self-denial were not equal to refuse.  So see
thou make it not."

"What, now?  Not Hans, trow?"

"Edith."

"O Joyce!"

"Ay, dear heart, I know.  Nay, fear not.  I'll not take the last bud off
the old tree.  But, thyself saved, Lettice, there is none left in all
the world that I love as I love her.  Perchance she will find it out one
day."

"Joyce, my dear sister--"

"Hold thy peace, Lettice.  I'll not have her, save now and again on a
visit.  And not that now.  Thou shouldst miss her sorely, in settling
down in thy new home.  Where shall it be?"

"In the King's Street of Westminster.  My good Lord Oxford hath made
earnest with a gentleman, a friend of his, that hath there an estate, to
let us on long lease an house and garden he hath, that now be standing
empty."

"Ay, that is a pleasant, airy place, nigh the fields.  At what rent?"

"Twenty-four shillings the quarter.  Houses be dearer there than up in
Holborn, yet not so costly as in the City; and it shall not be far for
Aubrey, being during the day in the Court with his Lord."

"Lettice, you shall need to pray for that boy."

"What shall I ask for him, Joyce?"

"`That he may both perceive and know what things he ought to do, and
also may have grace and power faithfully to fulfil the same.'  Don't let
him rule you.  He is very like to try it, the only man in a family of
women--for he shall make little account of Hans Moriszoon, though there
is more sense in Hans's little finger than in all Aubrey's brains.  If I
can see into the future, Aubrey is not unlike to push you o'er, and Hans
to pick you up again.  Have a care, Lettice.  You remember when Walter
was in Court, with my Lord Oxford?"

"O Joyce!"

Lettice wondered what they meant, for she had never heard of her Uncle
Walter being with Lord Oxford.  She had never much liked Uncle Walter.
He was always rather stiff and stern, and he used to come down sharply
on niece or nephew if they did any thing wrong, yet not like her
Grandfather Murthwaite, who was slow and solemn, and seemed to mourn
over their evil deeds; but Uncle Walter was quick and sharp, and he
snapped at them.  They were under the impression that he never could
have done a naughty thing in the whole course of his life, because he
always seemed so angry and astonished to see the children do so.
Lettice, therefore, was curious to hear about Uncle Walter.

"Well," said Aunt Joyce, "not exactly the same, yet too like.  He'll
take the colour of his company, like Walter: and he shall be evenly
free-handed with his money--"

Lettice stared, though there was nothing to stare at but Aunt Joyce's
big grey cat, curled up in the window-seat Uncle Walter a spendthrift!
she could not even imagine it.  Did she not remember her Cousin Jane's
surprise when her father gave her a shilling for a birthday present?
When Lettice listened again, Aunt Joyce was saying--

"He's no standing-ground.  Whatso be the fantasy of the moment, after it
he goes; and never stays him to think what is like to come thereof, far
less what might come.  But that which causes me fear more for him than
Walter, is the matter of friends.  Walter was not one to run after
folks; he was frighted of lowering himself in the eyes of them he knew,
but methinks he ran not after them as Aubrey doth.  Hast ever watched a
dog make friends of other dogs? for Aubrey hath right the dog's way.
After every dog he goes, and gives a sniff at him; and if the savour
suit, he's Hail, fellow, well met! with him the next minute.  Beware
that Aubrey makes no friend he bringeth not home, so far as you can: and
yet, Beware whom he bringeth, for Lettice' sake.  'Tis hard matter:
`good for the head is evil for the neck and shoulders.'  To govern that
lad shall ask no little wisdom; and if thou have it not, thou knowest
where to ask.  I would his mother had more, or that his father had
lived.  Well! that's evil wishing; God wist better than I.  But the lad
'll be a sore care to thee, and an heavy."

"I fear so much, indeed," said Lady Louvaine, and she sighed.

Then Edith came in, and exclaimed, "What, all in the dark?" and Aunt
Joyce bade her call Rebecca to bring light.  So the naughty Lettice
slipped out, and in five minutes more came boldly in, and no one knew
what she had heard.

As they sat round the fire that evening, Aunt Joyce asked suddenly,
"Tell me, you three young folks, what be your ambitions?  What desire
you most of all things to be, do, or have?--Lettice?"

"Why, Aunt, I can scarce tell," said Lettice, "for I never thought
thereupon."

"She should choose to be beautiful, of course," suggested Aubrey.  "All
women do."

"Marry come up, my young Master!" cried his Aunt Temperance.

"Oh, let him be, Temperance," answered Aunt Joyce.  "He knows a deal
more about women than thou and I; 'tis so much shorter a time since he
was one."

Temperance laughed merrily, and Aubrey looked disconcerted.

"I think I care not much to be beautiful, Aunt, nor rich," said Lettice:
"only sufficient to be not uncomely nor tried of poverty.  But so far as
I myself can tell what I do most desire is to know things--all things
that ever there be to know.  I would like that, I think, above all."

"To know God and all good things were a very good and wise wish,
Lettice," was Aunt Joyce's answer; "but to know evil things, this was
the very blunder that our mother Eve made in Eden.  Prithee, repeat it
not.  Now, Aubrey, what is thy wish?"

"I would like to be a rich king," said he.  "Were I a fairy queen,
Aubrey, I would not give thee thy wish: for thou couldst scarce make a
worser.  `They that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare,' and
they that seek power be little behind them.  `Godliness is great
riches,' lad, `if a man be content with that he hath.'"

"Methinks, Aunt, that is one of your favourite texts," remarked Edith.

"Ay," said she, "it is.  `Enough is as good as a feast.'  Hans, 'tis thy
turn."

Hans had sat gravely looking into the fire while the others talked.  Now
he looked up, and answered--

"Madam, I am ambitious more than a little.  I desire to do God's will,
and to be content therewith."

"Angels could win no further," answered Aunt Joyce, with much feeling in
her voice.  "Ay, lad; thou hast flown at highest game of all."

"Why, Aunt!" said Aubrey, "never heard I a meaner wish.  Any man could
do that."

"Prithee do it, then," replied Aunt Joyce, "and I for one shall be full
fain to see thee."

"No man ever yet fulfilled that wish," added Edith, "save only Christ
our Lord."

Lady Louvaine sighed somewhat heavily; and Joyce asked, "What is it,
dear heart?"

"Ah!" said she, "thy question, Joyce, and the children's answers, send
me back a weary way, nigh sixty years gone, to the time when I dwelt
bowerwoman with my Lady of Surrey, when one even the Lady of Richmond
willed us all to tell our desires after this manner.  I mind not well
all the answers, but I know one would see a coronation, and an other
fair sights in strange lands: and I, being then young and very foolish,
wished for a set of diamond, and my Lady of Richmond herself to be a
queen.  But my Aubrey's wish was something like Hans's, for he said he
desired to be an angel.  Ah me! nigh sixty years!"

"He hath his wish," responded Aunt Joyce softly.  "And methinks Hans is
like to have his also, so far as mortal man may compass it.  There be
some wishes, children, that fulfil themselves: and aspirations after God
be of that sort.  `He meeteth them that remember Him.'  Lettice, I trust
thou mayest have thy wish to a reasonable length, so far as is good for
thee: and, Aubrey, I can but desire the disappointment of thine, for it
were very evil for thee.  But thou, Hans Floriszoon, `go in peace; and
the God of Israel grant thee thy petition that thou hast asked of Him.'"

It was hard work for those two old friends to part, each knowing that it
was almost certain they would never again meet until they clasped hands
in the Paradise of God.  When it came to the farewell, Lady Louvaine
knelt down, though with difficulty--for Joyce could not raise herself--
and the adopted sisters exchanged one long fervent embrace.

"O Joyce, my friend, my sister! my one treasure left to me from long
ago!  We shall never kiss again till--"

Lettice Louvaine's voice was lost in sobs.

"Maybe, dear heart--maybe not.  Neither thou nor I can know the purposes
of God.  If so, farewell till the Golden City!--and if thou win in afore
me at the pearly portals, give them all my true love, and say I shall
soon be at home."

"Farewell, love!  There is none to call me Lettice but thee, left now."

"Nay, sweet heart, not so.  `I have called thee by thy name.'  There
will be One left to call thee `Lettice,' until He summon thee by that
familiar name to enter the Holy City."

So they journeyed on towards London.  It was on the afternoon of the
twenty-fourth of March that they sighted the metropolis at last from the
summit of Notting Hill.  They drove down the Oxford road, bounded on
either side by green hedges, with here and there a house--the busy
Oxford Street of our day--turned down the Hay Market to Charing Cross,
and passed by Essex Gate and its companion portal, the Court Gate,
through "the Court," now known as Whitehall, emerging upon "the King's
Street."  There was no Parliament Street in those days.

As they turned into King Street, it struck the elders of the party that
there seemed to be an unusual stir of some kind.  The streets were more
crowded than usual, men stood in little knots to converse, and the talk
was manifestly of a serious kind.  Lady Louvaine bade Edith look out and
call Aubrey, whom she desired to inquire of some responsible person the
meaning of this apparent commotion.  Aubrey reined in his horse
accordingly, as he passed a gentleman in clerical attire, which at that
date implied a cassock, bands, and black stockings.  Had Aubrey known
it, the narrowness of the bands, the tall hat, the pointed shoes, and
the short garters, also indicated that the clergyman in question was a
Puritan.

"Pray you, Sir, is there news of import come?" inquired the youth: "or
what means this ado?"

The clergyman stopped suddenly, and looked up at his questioner.

"What means it?" he said sadly.  "Friend, the great bell of Paul's was
rung this morrow."

"I cry you mercy, Sir.  Being a countryman, I take not your meaning."

"The great bell of Paul's," explained the stranger, "tolls never but for
one thing, and hath been silent for over forty years."

"Good lack! not the plague, I trust?" cried Aubrey.

"Would it were no worse!  Nay, this means that we are sheep without a
shepherd--that she who hath led us for three-and-forty years, who under
God saved us from Pope and Spaniard, can lead us no more for ever.  Lad,
no worser news could come to Englishmen than this.  Queen Elizabeth hath
passed away."

So, under the shadow of that dread sorrow, and that perilous uncertain
future, they entered their new home.



CHAPTER THREE.

HOW IT FIRST BEGAN.

                  "O Conspiracy!
  Sham'st thou to show thy dangerous brow by night,
  When evils are most free?  Oh, then, by day,
  Where wilt thou find a cavern dark enough
  To mask thy monstrous visage?"

  _Shakespeare_.

The new home was the midmost of three contiguous houses, standing on the
western side of King Street, and nearly opposite to what is now the
entrance to New Palace Yard.  They were a little larger and more
pretentious than most of the houses in this street, and a goodsized
garden ran backwards from each towards Saint James's Park.  As every
house had then its name and a signboard to exhibit it--numbers being not
yet applied to houses--these were no exception to the rule.  That one of
the trio nearest to the Abbey displayed a golden fish upon its
signboard; the middle one hung out a white bear; while from the
northernmost swung a panel representing an extremely stiff and angular
creature apparently intended to suggest an angel.  The young people made
merry over their sign, Aubrey insisting that Hans was the White Bear,
and Lettice retorting that it was Aubrey himself.

Hans and Aubrey sprang from their horses at the door; and while the
latter rang the bell, the former busied himself in helping the ladies to
alight.  Whether any one would be inside the house was a problem
requiring solution; and they thought it worth while to ascertain this
before going further.  In a moment, quick steps were heard approaching,
and the door was opened by a woman who hardly showed herself behind it.

Lady Louvaine came in first, leaning on Hans.

"Good evening," she said to the portress.  "It was good of my Lord
Oxford to provide--nay!  Charity!"

"Ay, Madam, it's me," said the familiar voice of the old servant, whom
her mistress believed she had left behind in Cumberland.

"Why, old friend! when earnest thou hither?"

"You'd best sit you down afore you hear folks their catechisms," said
Charity, coolly, leading the way to a pleasant parlour hung and
upholstered in green, where a fire was burning on the hearth, and a
large cushioned chair stood beside it.  "When did I come?  Well, let's
see?--it was o' Tuesday last."

"But how?" queried her mistress, in a tone which was a mixture of
astonishment and perplexity.

"Same how as I get to most places, Madam--on my feet."

"You walked to London, Charity?"

"Ay, I did.  I'm good for fifteen miles at a stretch."

"And whence gat you the money for your lodging?"

Charity laughed.  "I never paid a halfpenny for lodging nobut [Note 1]
once, and that was th' last night afore I got here.  Some nights I lay
in a barn upo' th' hay: but most on 'em I got took in at a farm-house,
and did an hour or two's work for 'em i' th' morn to pay for my lodging
and breakfast.  But some on 'em gave it me right out for nought--just
for company like.  I bought my victuals, of course: but I should ha'
wanted them wherever I'd been."

"And what led you to wish for life in London, Charity?"

"Eh! bless you, I want none to live i' London.  It's a great, smoky,
dirty place."

"Then what did you want?"

"I wanted yo'," said Charity, with a nod at her mistress.  "Lady
Lettice, yo'll not turn me away?  If things is so bad you cannot afford
to keep me, you shalln't: I can earn enough by my spinning half th' day,
and serve you i' t' other half.  But yo'll want two: I'm sure Rachel can
ne'er do all th' work, and you'd best have me, for nob'ry else 'll put
so much heart into 't as I shall.  Do let me stop, for I cannot abear to
leave you."

It was a moment before Lady Louvaine could speak.  Then she held out her
hand to Charity.

"My faithful Charity, I will not turn thee away!  So long as I have two
loaves of bread, thou mayest be sure of one."

"Thank God, that's all right!" said Charity with a sigh of evident
relief.  "We's [we shall] get on famous, Rachel and me, and nother on us
'll feel as if we'd been cast away of a desert island, as I've been
feeling afore yo' come.  Eh, but it is a town, is this!"

"Charity, I wonder how you won in the house," said Edith.  "My Lord
Oxford--"

"I've got a bit more gumption, Mrs Edith, than you credit me with.  I
brought a letter to my Lord, or I should ne'er ha' looked to get in
else."

"A letter!--from whom?"

"Fro' Mrs Joyce Morrell, to tell him who I were, and a bit more, I
reckon."

"I asked my Lord Oxford of his goodness to speak to some upholder
[upholsterer] to send in a little necessary furnishing," said Lady
Louvaine, looking round, "such as were strictly needful, and should last
us till we could turn us about: but methinks he hath done somewhat more
than that."

"You'll turn you round middling easy, Madam," answered Charity.  "Th'
upholder were bidden to put th' house to rights all through, and send
the bill to Mistress Joyce.  She gave me lodging fro' Setterday to
Monday, and bade me see to 't that yo' had all things comfortable.
`Don't split sixpences,' she saith; `the bigger the charges the better,
so long as they be for true comfort and not for gimcracks.'  So, Madam,
I hope we've hit your Ladyship's liking, for me and Mrs Joyce, we tried
hard--me at choosing, and she at paying.  So that's how it were."

And dropping a quick courtesy, Charity departed with too much alacrity
for thanks.

Lady Louvaine's eyes followed her.

"The lines are fallen unto us in pleasant places," quoted Edith, softly.

"Ay," answered her mother.  "And the pillar of the cloud hath gone
before."

Charity found Rachel in the kitchen, carrying a carpet-bag and a great
bundle, and gazing round her with a bewildered air.

"Well, lass, what's ta'en thee?" was her greeting.

"Eh, Charity Ashworth, is that thee?  Where art thou fro'?"

"Where are we both come to?  That's more to th' purpose."

"I'm banished my country, that's all I know," said Rachel, blankly.
"I'm glad to see thee, schuzheaw."  [Note 2.]

"Dost thou mean to carry yon for th' rest o' thy life?" demanded
Charity, laying hands on the carpet-bag.  "Come, wake up, lass, and look
sharp, for there'll be some supper wanted."

A very expressive shake of Rachel's head was the response.  But she set
down the bundle, and began to unfasten her sleeves for work.  Sleeves
were not then stitched to the gown, but merely hooked or buttoned in,
and were therefore easily laid aside when needful.

"What's the price o' eggs this road on?" asked she.

"Nought.  We 'n getten th' hens to lay 'em.  Down i' th' market they're
four a penny."

"Eggs--four a penny!" ejaculated the horrified cook.

"Ay--they're a bonnie price, aren't they?  Ten to a dozen the penny at
Keswick.  Chickens be twopence and threepence apiece."

Rachel turned and faced her colleague with a solemn air.  "Charity
Ashworth, wilt thou tell me what we've come here for?"

"`To do our duty in that state of life to which it shall please God to
call us,'" said Charity, sturdily.  "There's twenty hens i' yon yard at
th' end o' th' garden, and two cows i' th' shippen, and three black pigs
i' th' sty,--Mistress Joyce ordered 'em--and two pairs o' hands, and two
brains, and two hearts, and the grace o' God: and if thou wants aught
more, thou'lt have to ask Him for it.  So now let's be sharp and see to
th' supper."

As they sat at breakfast the next morning, which was Lady Day and
Sunday, Lady Louvaine said--

"I would fain know what manner of neighbours we shall have here, whether
pleasant or displeasant; for some of our comfort shall hang thereon."

"Oh, there's a capital fellow at the Golden Fish," cried Aubrey.  "His
name is Tom Rookwood, and his sister Dorothy is the prettiest girl I
have seen this month.  I know nought of the Angel."

"Ah!" said Hans, and shook his head, "I have seen the Angel."

"And is he angelic?" responded Aubrey.

"There be angels good and ill," Hans made answer.  "Madam, I were best
forewarn you--there's a tongue dwelleth there."

"What manner of tongue, Hans?" said Lady Louvaine, smiling.

"One that goes like a beggar's clap-dish," said he; "leastwise, it did
all the while I was in the garden this morning.  She greeted me o'er the
wall, and would know who we were, and every one of our names, and what
kin we were one to the other, and whence we came, and wherefore, and how
long we looked to tarry--she should have asked me what we had to our
breakfast, if I had not come in."

"And how much toldest her?" inquired Temperance.

"Not a word that I could help," answered Hans.  "Indeed, that is the
only comfort of her--that she asks questions so fast you can scarce
slide in an answer.  She was free enough with her information as well--
told me her name, and how many children she had, and that she paid
three-and-fourpence the yard for her perpetuance gown."

"And what is her name?" asked Faith.

"Silence Abbott," said he.

"She scarce answers to it, seemingly," replied Temperance.

"Where made you acquaintance with your Tom Rookwood, Aubrey?" said his
grandmother.

"At the door," said he.  "His father is a gentleman of Suffolk, a
younger son of Rookwood of Coldham Hall.  He has three sisters,--I saw
not the other two; but I say, that Dorothy's a beauty!"

"Well!" replied Temperance.  "Folks say, `As mute as a fish'; but it
seems to me the Golden Fish is well-nigh as talkative as the Angel.
Mind thy ways, Aubrey, and get not thyself into no tanglements with no
Dorothys.  It shall be time enough for thee to wed ten years hence."

"And have a care that Mr Rookwood be himself an upright and God-fearing
man," added his Aunt Edith.

"Oh, he's all right!" answered Aubrey, letting Dorothy go by.  "He saith
he can hit a swallow flying at eighty paces."

"More shame for him!" cried Edith.  "What for should he hit a swallow?"

"He has promised to show me all sorts of things," added Aubrey.

"Have a care," said Lady Louvaine, "that he lead thee not into the
briars, my boy, and there leave thee."

The Monday morning brought a visitor--Mrs Abbott, from the Angel, after
whose stay Edith declared that a day's hard work would have fatigued her
less of the two inflictions.  This lady's freedom in asking questions,
without the remotest sense of delicacy, was only to be paralleled by her
readiness to impart information.  The party at the White Bear knew
before she went home, that she had recently had her parlour newly hung
with arras, representing the twelve labours of Hercules: that she
intended to have roast veal to supper: that her worsted under-stockings
had cost her four-and-sixpence the pair: that her husband was a very
trying man, and her eldest son the cleverest youth in Westminster.

"Worsted stockings four-and-sixpence!" cried Temperance.  "What a sinful
price to pay!  And I declare if they ask not three shillings and
fourpence for a quarter of veal!  Why, I mind the time when in Keswick
it was but sixteen pence.  Truly, if things wax higher in price than now
they are, it shall be an hard matter to live.  This very morrow was I
asked a shilling for a calf's head of the butcher, and eightpence for a
lemon of the costard-monger, whereat I promise you I fumed a bit; but
when it came to threepence apiece for chickens,--Lancaster and Derby!
It shall cost us here ever so much more to live."

"It shall not," said Hans.  "There be five acres of garden, and save for
foreign fruits and spices, you shall ask little of the costard-monger
shortly."

"But who is to dig and dress it?" moaned Faith.  "Aubrey cannot, all the
day with his Lord, even if he were not away o' nights: and Charity shall
have too much to do."

"I have two hands, Madam," answered Hans, "and will very quickly have a
spade in them: and ere I do aught else will I set the garden a-going,
that Rachel and Charity can keep it in good order, with a little
overlooking from you."

"Me!" cried Faith, with a gasp of horror.

"Right good for you!" said her sister.  "I'll not help at that work; I
shall leave it for you.  As to foreign fruits and spices, we'll have
none of them, save now and then a lemon for the Lady Lettice--she loves
the flavour, and we'll not have her go short of comforts--but for all
else, I make no 'count of your foreign spice.  Rosemary, thyme, mint,
savoury, fennel, and carraway be spice enough for any man, and a deal
better than all your far-fetched maces, and nutmegs, and peppers, that
be fetched over here but to fetch the money out of folks' pockets: and
wormwood and currant wine are every bit as good, and a deal wholesomer,
than all your sherris-sack and Portingale rubbish.  Hans, lad, let's
have a currant-bush or two in that garden; I can make currant wine with
any, though I say it, and gooseberry too.  I make no count of your
foreign frumps and fiddlements.  What's all your Champagne but just
gooseberry with a French name to it? and how can that make it any
sweeter?  I'll be bounden half of it is made of gooseberries, if folks
might but know.  And as to your Rhenish and claret, and such stuff, I
would not give a penny for the lot--I'd as soon have a quart of alegar.
Nay, nay! we are honest English men and women, and let us live like it."

"But, Temperance, my dear," suggested Lady Louvaine, with a smile, "if
no foreign fruits had ever been brought to England, nor planted here,
our table should be somewhat scanty.  In truth, we should have but
little, I believe, save acorns and beech-nuts."

"Nay, come!" responded Temperance; "wouldn't you let us have a bit of
parsley, or a barberry or twain?"

"Parsley!" said Lady Louvaine, smiling again.  "Why, Temperance, that
came first into England from Italy the year Anstace was born--the second
of King Edward."  [Note 3.]

"Dear heart, did it so?" quoth she.  "And must not we have so much as a
cabbage or a sprig of sweet marjoram?"

"Sweet marjoram came in when thou wert a babe, Temperance; and I have
heard my mother say that cabbages were brought hither from Flanders the
year my sister Edith was born.  She was five years elder than I, and
died in the cradle."

"Well!" concluded Temperance, "then I'll hold my peace and munch my
acorns.  But I reckon I may have a little salt to them."

"Ay, that mayest thou, and honey too."

The next day, the Golden Fish swam in at the door; and it came in the
form of Mistress Rookwood and her daughter Gertrude, who seemed
pleasanter people than Mrs Abbott.  A few days afterwards came the
Rector, Mr Marshall, with his wife and daughter; and though--or perhaps
because--Agnes Marshall was very quiet, they liked her best of any woman
they had yet seen.  Before they had stayed long, the Rector asked if
Lady Louvaine had made acquaintance with any of her neighbours.  She
answered, only with two houses, the one on either side.

Mr Marshall smiled.  "Well, Mistress Abbott means no ill, methinks,
though her tongue goeth too fast to say she doth none.  Yet is her talk
the worst thing about her.  Tell her no secrets, I pray you.  But I
would warn you somewhat to have a care of the Rookwoods."

"Pray you, Sir, after what fashion?" asked Lady Louvaine.  "If I know
from what quarter the arrow is like to come, it shall be easier to hold
up the shield against it."

"Well," said he, "they come to church, and communicate, and pay all
their dues; they may be honest folks: but this can I tell you, Mr
Rookwood is brother to a Papist, and is hand in glove with divers Popish
perverts.  Wherefore, my Lady Louvaine, I would not have you suffer your
young folks to be too intimate with theire; for though these Rookwoods
may be safe and true--I trust they are--yet have they near kinsmen which
assuredly are not, who should very like be met at their house.  So let
me advise you to have a care."

"That will I, most surely," said she: "and I thank you, Sir, for putting
me on my guard."

In May the King arrived from Scotland, and in June the Queen, with the
Prince, Prince Charles, and the Lady Elizabeth.  "Princess" at this time
indicated the Princess of Wales alone, and the first of our King's
daughters to whom the term was applied, except as heiress of England,
were the daughters of Charles the First.  Henry Prince of Wales was a
boy of nine years old, his sister a child of seven, and the little
Charles only three.  The youthful Princess was placed in the charge of
Lord Harrington, at Combe Abbey, near Coventry--a fact to which there
will be occasion to refer again.  The Princes remained with their
parents, to the great satisfaction of the Queen, who had struggled as
ceaselessly as vainly against the rigid Scottish custom of educating the
heir-apparent away from Court Queen Anne of Denmark was a graceful,
elegant woman, with extremely fair complexion and abundant fair hair.
The King was plain even to ungainliness--a strange thing for the son of
one of the most beautiful women that ever lived.  The wisdom of James
the First has been by different writers highly extolled and
contemptuously derided.  It seems to me to have partaken, like
everything else, of the uncertainty of its author.  He did give
utterance to some apothegms of unquestionable wisdom, and also to some
speeches of egregious folly.  His subjects did not err far when they
nicknamed their Scottish master and their "dear dead Queen," his
predecessor, "King Elizabeth and Queen James."  Yet justice requires the
admission that the chief root of James's many failings was his intense,
unreasoning, constitutional timidity, which would have been ludicrous if
it had been less pitiful.  He could not see a drawn sword without
shuddering, even if drawn for his own defence; and when knighting a man,
it was necessary for the Lord Chamberlain to come to his Majesty's help,
and guide the blade, lest the recipient of the honour should be wounded
by the unsteadiness of the King's hand under the strong shuddering which
seized him.  So afraid was he of possible assassins that he always wore
a thickly-padded cotton garment under his clothes, to turn aside bullet
or dagger.

Lord Oxford came to Town in May, and Aubrey at once began his duties as
a squire in his household.  During June and July, he ran into the White
Bear some half-dozen times in an evening, he said, to assure them that
he was still alive.  In August and September he was more remiss: and
after October had set in, they scarcely saw him once a month.  It was
noticeable, when he did come, that the young gentleman was becoming more
fashionable and courtly than of old.  Lettice asked him once if he had
bidden the tailor to make his garments of snips, since the brown suit
which had been his Sunday best was breaking out all over into slashes
whence puffs of pink were visible.  Aubrey drew himself up with a laugh,
and told his cousin that she knew nothing of the fashions.  Lettice
fancied she caught the gleam of a gold chain beneath his doublet, but it
was carefully buttoned inside so as not to show.

Meanwhile, Hans--whose brown suit did not break out like Aubrey's--was
very busy in the garden, which he diligently dug and stocked.  When this
was done, he applied to a neighbouring notary, and brought home bundles
of copying, at which he worked industriously in an evening.  In the
afternoon he was generally from home; what he did with himself on these
occasions he did not say, and he was so commonly and thoroughly trusted
that no one thought it necessary to ask him.

Edith and Temperance, coming in together one evening, were informed that
Mrs Rookwood had called during their absence, bringing with her
Dorothy, Aubrey's beauty.

"And didst thou think her beauteous, Lettice?" asked her Aunt Edith,
with an amused smile.

"Truly, Aunt Edith, I marvel what Aubrey would be at.  His fancies must
be very diverse from mine.  I would liever a deal have our Rachel."

Temperance laughed, for Rachel had few claims of this nature.

"What like is she, Lettice?"

"She hath jet-black hair, Aunt, and thick black brows, with great
shining eyes--black likewise; and a big nose-end, and pouting big red
lips."

"Humph!  I reckon folks see beauty with differing eyes," said
Temperance.

The coronation did not take place before July.  It was followed by
severe pestilence, supposed to arise from the numbers who crowded into
Town to witness the ceremony.  Temperance kept fires of sweet herbs
burning in the garden, and insisted on every body swallowing liberal
doses of brick and wormwood, fasting, in the morning--her sovereign
remedy against infection.  Mrs Abbott said that her doctor ordered her
powder of bezoar stone for the same purpose, while the Rookwoods held
firmly by a mixture of unicorn's horn and salt of gold.  In consequence
or in spite of these invaluable applications, no one suffered in the
three houses in King Street.  His Majesty was terribly afraid of the
pestilence; all officials not on duty were ordered home, and all
suitors--namely, petitioners--were commanded to avoid the Court till
winter.  A solemn fast for this visitation was held in August; the
statutes against vagabonds and "masterless men" were confirmed, whereat
Temperance greatly rejoiced; and "dangerous rogues" were to be banished.

This last item was variously understood, some supposing it aimed at the
Jesuits, and some at the Puritans.  It was popularly reported that the
King "loved no Puritans," as it was now usual to term those Churchmen
who declined to walk in the Ritualistic ways of the High Church party.
To restrict the term Puritan to Nonconformists is a modern mistake.
When, therefore, James began his reign by large remittances of fines to
his Romish subjects, issued a declaration against toleration, revived
the Star Chamber, and appointed Lord Henry Howard, a Roman Catholic, to
the Privy Council, the Papists were encouraged, and the Puritans took
alarm.  The latter prepared to emigrate on a large scale to the American
plantations, where no man could control them in religious matters; the
former raised their heads and ventured on greater liberties than they
had dared to take during the reign of the dead Queen.  The French
Ambassador, however, curled his lip contemptuously, and informed his
master that James was a hypocrite.

The position of the English Roman Catholics at this time was peculiar
and not agreeable.  But in order to understand it, we must go back for
thirty-five years--to the close of that halcyon period, the earliest ten
years of Elizabeth, when the few Romanists then left in England
generally came to church like other good citizens, and if they chose to
practise the rites of their own faith in private, no notice was taken of
it.  It was not the Protestant Government, but the Papal See, which was
responsible for the violent ending of this satisfactory state of things,
when it was perceived at Rome that the Reformation was so thoroughly
settled, and the nation so completely severed from Latin control, that
(in the words of one of those who attempted the Queen's life) "unless
Mistress Elizabeth were suddenly taken away, all the devils in Hell
should not be able to shake it."  In 1568, therefore, Pope Pius the
Fifth put forth a Bull which excommunicated Queen Elizabeth, deposed
her, absolved her subjects from their allegiance, and solemnly cursed
them if they continued to obey her.  To her Protestant subjects, of
course, this act of usurpation was mere waste paper--the private spleen
of an Italian priest who had no jurisdiction in this realm of England.
But to the Romanists it was the solemn decree of Christ by His appointed
Vicar, to be obeyed at the peril of their salvation.  The first visible
effect of the Bull was that they all "did forthwith refrain the church,"
and joined no more with their fellow-subjects in public prayer.  The
Queen contented herself in answer with forbidding the bringing in of
Bulls--which was no more than Edward the First had done before her.  Had
the Pope and the Jesuits been then content to let matters rest, no
difficulty might have arisen: but they would not.  First Mayne, then
Campion, the first Jesuit who entered England, were sent to "move
sedition," and to "make a party in execution of the former Bull."  To
this followed an influx of treasonable books.  It had now become evident
that the Papal Bull was to be no mere _brutum fulmen_ which might be
safely left alone to die out, but a deliberate attempt to stir up
rebellion against the Queen.  For the Government to have kept silence
would have been practically to throw their influence into the scale
against the reign and the life of their Sovereign Lady.

It is now fashionable with a certain section to stigmatise Elizabeth as
a persecutor, and to represent the penal laws against the Papists
enacted in her reign as cruel oppressions of innocent and harmless
persons, enforced simply because they believed certain religious
doctrines.  Those who will carefully follow the facts can hardly avoid
seeing that the disloyalty preceded the coercion, and that if the
Romanists were maddened into plotting against the Government by
oppressive laws, those laws were not due to groundless fear or malice,
but were simply the just reward of their own deeds.  During the five
years of Queen Mary, three hundred men, women, and children, were put to
death for their religious opinions only.  During the forty-four years of
Queen Elizabeth, less than thirty priests, and five harbourers of
priests, were executed, not for their opinions nor their religion, but
for distinctly treasonable practices.  [Note 4.]

When matters had come to this pass, in 1580, the first penal laws were
issued, against recusancy and seditious publications.  The penalty for
recusancy--by which was meant a legal conviction for absence from public
worship on religious grounds--"was not loss of life or limb, or whole
estate, but only a pecuniary mulct and penalty; and that also only until
they would submit and conform themselves and again come to church, as
they had done for ten years before the Pope's Bull."  Twenty pounds per
lunar month was the fine imposed; but this referred only to adult males,
"not being let by sickness."  Compared with the laws of Queen Mary, and
even of her predecessors, this penalty was gentleness itself; and those
modern writers who see in it cruelty and rigour must have little
knowledge of comparative history.  Yet so far was this from stopping the
flow of treason, that a Jesuit mission entered England with the special
purpose of teaching the people that under the Bull of Pope Pius the
Queen stood excommunicated, and that it was a positive sin to obey her.
Their success was only too manifest.  Men of all sorts and conditions,
from peers to peasants, were "reconciled" in numbers by their teaching.
If this were to go on, not only would Elizabeth's life be the forfeit,
but the Reformation settlement would be uprooted and undone, and the
blood of the Marian martyrs would have been shed for nought.

The laws were now made more stringent.  By the Act of 1580 it had been
provided that every priest saying mass should be liable to a fine of two
hundred marks (133 pounds), with half that sum for every hearer, and
both to imprisonment for a year, or in the priest's case until the fine
was paid.  Now, all Jesuits and priests ordained since the Queen's
accession were banished the kingdom, being allowed forty days after the
close of the session; and none were to enter it, on penalty of death.
All persons receiving or assisting such priests were held guilty of
felony.  Recusants were to be imprisoned until they should conform, and
if they remained obstinate for three months, they must be banished.

These penal laws, however, were rarely enforced.  They were kept as a
sword of Damocles, suspended over the heads of the unhappy Romanists,
and capable of being brought down on them at any moment.  In the hands
of an unscrupulous Minister of the Crown they might be made an agency of
considerable vexation: yet no reasonable remonstrance could be offered
to the reminder that these penalties were inflicted by law, and it was
only of the Queen's clemency that they had not been earlier exacted.  It
must also be admitted that the penal laws bore in reality much harder on
the Romanists than they seem to do in Protestant eyes.  To deprive a
Protestant of the services of a clergyman is at most to incommode him;
to deprive a Papist of his priest is equivalent in his eyes to depriving
him of his salvation.  To them, therefore, it was a matter of life and
death.  And yet, it must not be forgotten, they had brought it on
themselves.

With the death of Elizabeth came a serious change.  Revile her as they
might, under her the Romanists had been on the whole gently and justly
used.  But it was in reality, though they could not see it, after her
the deluge.

Who was to be Elizabeth's successor had been for years at once a serious
and an unsettled question.  There were three persons living when she
died, each of whom could have put forward a claim to the Crown on
various grounds.

Humanly speaking, the decision was made by two groups of persons--the
Careys and Cecils, and the Romanists of England--both of whom were
determined that James of Scotland should succeed.  The latter had been
working for some time past, and had secured promises from James that he
would extend special toleration to them.  He was expected to look kindly
on the party which had adhered to his mother--it would be difficult to
say why, since in Scotland his adherents had always been at war with
hers--and it was remembered that he had been born and baptised in the
Church of Rome.  The Roman party, therefore, wrought earnestly in his
favour.  Sir Thomas Tresham proclaimed him at Northampton, at
considerable personal risk; his sons and Lord Monteagle assisted the
Earl of Southampton to hold the Tower for James.  The Pope, Clement the
Eighth, was entirely on James's side, of whose conversion he entertained
the warmest hopes.  To the French Ambassador, Monsieur de Beaumont,
James asserted that "he was no heretic, that is, refusing to recognise
the truth; neither was he a Puritan, nor separated from the Church: he
held episcopacy as necessary, and the Pope as the chief bishop, namely,
the president and moderator of councils, but not the head nor superior."

We in this nineteenth century, accustomed to ideas of complete and
perpetual toleration, and alas! also to Gallio-like apathy and
indifference, can scarcely form a conception of what was at that time
the popular estimate of a Papist.  A fair view of it is given by the
following sarcastic description, written on the fly-leaf of a volume of
manuscript sermons of this date.

"The Blazon of a Papist [`priest' is erased] contrived prettily by som
Herault of Armes in ye compasse of Armoury.

"First.  There is papist Rampant, a furious beast: 'tis written that the
Diuell goes about like a roaring Lion, but the Diuell himselfe is not
more fierce and rigorous then is papist where [he] is of force and
ability to shew his tyranny: wittnes ye murthers, ye massacres, ye
slaughters, ye poysoning, ye stabbing, ye burning, ye broyling, ye
torturing, ye tormenting, ye persecuting, with other their bloody
executions, euery [sic] fresh in example, infinite to be told, and
horrible to be rememberd.

"Second.  A papist Passant: he's an instrument of sedition, of
insurrection, of treason, of Rebellion, a priest, a Jesuite, a seminary,
and such other as find so many friends in England and Ireland both to
receaue and harbour them, that it is to be feard we shall smart for it
one day.

"Third.  A papist Volant; of all the rest, these I take to do the least
harme: yet they will say they fly for their consciences, when its
apparently known they both practice and conspire.

"Fourth.  A papist Regardant; he obserus times, occasions, places, and
persons, and though he be one of the Popes intelligencers, yet he walks
with such circumspection and heed, that he is not known but to his own
faction.

"Fifth.  A papist Dormant: he's a sly companion, subtill as a fox: he
sleeps with open eyes, yet somtymes seeming to winke, he looks and pries
into opportunity, still feeding himselfe with those hopes that I am in
hope shall never do him good.

"Sixth.  A papist Couchant: this is a daungerous fellow, and much to be
feard; he creeps into the bosom of ye state, and will not stick to look
into ye Court, nay, if he can, into Court counsells: he will shew
himselfe tractable to ye co[mm]on wealthe prescriptions, and with this
shew of obedience to Law, he doth ye Pope more service then 20 others
that are more resisting.

"Seventh.  A papist Pendant: indeed a papist pendant is in his prime
p'fection: a papist pendant is so fitting a piece of Armoury for ye time
present, as all Herauds in England are not able better to display him: a
papist is then in chiefe when he is a Pendant, and he neuer comes to so
high p'ferment, but by ye Popes especiall blessing."  [Note 5.]

James's first act, when his succession was peaceably ensured, was to
remit the fines for recusancy.  For the first and second years of his
reign, they were not enforced at all.  The sum paid into the Exchequer
on this account, in the last year of Elizabeth, was 10,333 pounds; in
the first and second years of James it was about 300 and 200 pounds
respectively.  But in his third year, the fines were suddenly revived,
and the Romanists took alarm.  The King was evidently playing them
false.  He had been heard to say that "the Pope was the true
Antichrist," that "he would lose his crown and his life before he would
alter religion;" that "he never had any thought of granting toleration
to the Catholics, and that if he thought that his son would condescend
to any such course, he would wish the kingdom translated to his
daughter;" and lastly, that "he had given them a year of probation, to
conform themselves, which, seeing it had not wrought that effect, he had
fortified all the laws against them, and commanded them to be put in
execution to the uttermost."

Early in 1604, all Jesuits and seminary priests were banished; the
recusancy fines and arrears were soon after stringently exacted, and
many Roman Catholic families almost reduced to beggary.  Sudden
domiciliary visits were made in search of concealed priests, usually in
the dead of night: empty beds were examined, walls struck with mallets,
rapiers thrust into the chinks of wainscots.  The Jesuit missionaries
were in especial danger; they went about disguised, hid themselves under
secular callings and travelled from one house to another, using a
different name at each, to avoid discovery.  One priest, named Moatford,
passed as the footman of Lord Sandys' daughter, wore his livery, and
said mass in secret when it seemed safe to do so.  Serious difficulties
were thrown in the way of educating children; if they were sent abroad,
the parents were subject to a fine of 100 pounds; if taught at home by a
recusant tutor, both he and his employer were mulcted in forty shillings
per day.

It was in these circumstances that the Gunpowder Plot originated,--not
from some sudden ebullition of groundless malice: and it was due, not to
the Romanists at large, but to that section of them only which
constituted the Jesuit party.

It is not generally understood that the Roman Church, which boasts so
loudly of her perfect unity, is really divided in two parties, one
siding with, and the other against, that powerful and mysterious body
calling itself the Society of Jesus.  It is with this body, "the power
behind the Pope,"--which Popes have ere this striven to put down, and
have only fallen a sacrifice themselves--that political plots have most
commonly originated, and the Gunpowder Plot was no exception to the
general rule.  It was entirely got up by the Jesuit faction, the
ordinary Roman Catholics not merely having nothing to do with it, but
placing themselves, when interrogated, in positive opposition to it.

There are certain peculiarities concerning the conspirators which
distinguish this enterprise from others of its class.  They were mostly
young men; they _were_ nearly all connected by ties of blood or
marriage; two-thirds of them, if not more, were perverts from
Protestantism; and so far from being the vulgar, brutal miscreants
usually supposed, they were--with one exception--gentlemen of name and
family, and some of good fortune; educated and accomplished men, who
honestly believed themselves to be doing God service.  It is instructive
to read their profound conviction that they were saving their country's
honour, furthering their own salvation, and promoting the glory of God.
The slaughter of the innocents which necessarily attended their project
was lamentable indeed, but inevitable, and gave rise to as little real
compunction as the eating of beef and mutton.  These men were by no
means heartless; they were only blind from ignorance of Scripture, and
excess of zeal in a false cause.

The original propounder of the plot was unquestionably Robert Catesby,
of Ashby Saint Ledgers, a Northamptonshire gentleman of ancient ancestry
and fair estate.  He first whispered it in secret to John Wright, a
Lincolnshire squire, and soon afterwards to Thomas Winter, a younger
brother of the owner of Huddington Hall in Worcestershire, and a distant
cousin of an old friend of some of my readers--Edward Underhill, the
"Hot Gospeller."  Thomas Winter communicated it in Flanders to Guy
Fawkes, a young officer of Yorkshire birth, and these four met with a
fifth, Thomas Percy, cousin and steward of the Earl of Northumberland.
The object of the meeting was to consider the condition of the Roman
Catholics, with a view to taking action for its relief.  There was also
a priest in the company, but who he was did not transpire, though it is
almost certain to have been one of the three Jesuits chiefly concerned
in the plot--John Gerard, Oswald Greenway, or Henry Garnet.  Percy,
usually fertile in imagination and eager in action, was ready with a
proposition at once.  He said--

"The only way left for us is to kill the King; and that will I undertake
to do.  From him we looked for bread, and have received nought save
stones.  Let him be prayed to visit my Lord Mordaunt at Turvey, where a
masque may be had for him; and he once there, in the house of one of us
(though my Lord be not known so to be), he is at our mercy.  How say
you, gentlemen?"

"Nay, my son," replied the priest.  "There is a better course in hand--
even to cut up the very roots, and remove all impediments whatsoever."

"That were to run great risk and accomplish little," added Catesby.
"No, Tom: thou shalt not adventure thyself to so small purpose.  If thou
wilt be a traitor, I have in mine head a much further design than
that,--to greater advantage, and that can never be discovered."

Every body wished to know his meaning.

"I have bethought me," continued Catesby, "of a way at one instant to
deliver us from all our bonds, and without any foreign help to replant
again the Catholic religion.  In a word, it is to blow up the Parliament
House with gunpowder, for in that place have they done us all the
mischief, and perchance God hath designed that place for their
punishment."

"Truly, a strange proposal!" said Thomas Winter.  "The scandal would be
so great that the Catholic religion might sustain thereby."

"The nature of the disease requires so sharp a remedy," was Catesby's
reply.

"But were it lawful?" objected John Wright.  "Ask your ghostly father,"
said Catesby, who was pretty sure of the answer in that case.

"But remember," said Winter, "there are many of our friends and Catholic
brethren amongst the Lords: shall we destroy them with the rest?"

Catesby's answer was in principle that of Caiaphas.  "Ay: 'tis expedient
the few die for the good of the many."

The next step was to obtain a house convenient for their operations,--
namely, so close to the Houses of Parliament that they could carry a
mine from its cellar right under the House.  Percy was deputed to attend
to this matter, as his circumstances offered an excuse for his seeking
such a house.  He was one of the band of gentlemen pensioners, whose
duty it was to be in daily attendance on the King; a position into which
he had been smuggled by his cousin Lord Northumberland, without having
taken the oath requisite for _it_.  This oath Percy could not
conscientiously have taken, since by it he renounced the authority of
the Pope.  A little study of the topography induced him to fix on two
contiguous houses, which stood close to the House of Lords.  On
investigation, it was found that these two houses belonged to the
Parliament, and were held by Mr Wyniard, Keeper of the King's Wardrobe,
"an ancient and honest servant of Queen Elizabeth."  Both, however, had
been sub-let by him--the nearer to Mr Henry Ferris; the further to
Gideon Gibbons, a public porter, subsequently utilised by the plotters,
to his danger and discomfort.  Percy, therefore, in March, 1604, "began
to labour earnestly" with Mr Wyniard and his wife to obtain these
houses.  Mrs Wyniard seems chiefly to have attended to this business;
her husband was not improbably incapacitated by age or ill-health.
Percy's efforts proved successful.  He was accepted as tenant by the
Wyniards at a rent of 12 pounds per annum, Mr Ferris being bought out
with 30 pounds for his good-will and 5 pounds more "in consideration of
the charges of the house."  The agreement was signed on the 24th of May.

The next united act of these five exemplary gentlemen was to meet at a
house "in the fields behind Saint Clement's Church, near the arch, near
the well called Saint Clement's Well."  This seems to have been the
residence of the Jesuit priest Gerard; but it is uncertain whether it
was identical with that of Percy, or with that of Mrs Herbert, where
Fawkes had apartments, both which are also described as "beyond Saint
Clement's."  Gerard, who was in the company, was with delicate
consideration left in an upper room, where he was provided with all
necessaries for the celebration of mass, while the conspirators
proceeded to business alone in the lower apartment.  Taking a primer in
his hand, Catesby administered to his four accomplices this oath, which
he also took himself:--

"You swear by the blessed Trinity, and by the Sacrament which you now
propose to receive, never to disclose directly or indirectly, by word or
circumstance, the matter that shall be proposed to you to keep secret,
nor desist from the execution thereof till the rest shall give you
leave."

Then they passed into the upper room, where Gerard stood ready robed,
and received the host from his hands--with what "intention" being
unknown to him, if the assertion of the conspirators may be believed.

I have gone rather too far, chronologically speaking, in order to tell
this part of the story straight through; and now we must go back a
little.  About four months before this oath was taken, in January, 1604,
was held the famous conference of bishops at Hampton Court.  The King,
who, though baptised a Roman Catholic, had been educated as a
Presbyterian, propounded various queries to the hierarchy concerning
practices which puzzled him in the Church of England, of which he was
now the supreme head upon earth.  In the first place, he desired to know
the meaning of the rite of confirmation: "if they held the sacrament of
baptism invalidous without it, then was it in his judgment blasphemous;
yet if it were only that children might themselves profess and be
blessed, then very good."  The absolution of the Church he had heard
compared to the Pope's pardons.  Private baptism, he would have
administered only by a lawful minister; and concerning excommunications
he had also something to say.  On all these points the bishops fully
satisfied his Majesty, "whose exquisite expositions did breed wonder and
astonishment in that learned and noble audience."  Modern readers of the
proceedings have been much less inclined to astonishment, except indeed
that the bishops should have been so easily astonished.  On the second
day, a deputation was received from the Puritan ministers, who
petitioned for four points--which had they gained, the nineteenth
century would have found its burdens considerably lightened.  They
requested that the doctrine of the Church might be preserved pure,
according to God's Word; that good pastors might be planted in all
churches, to preach in the same; that the Book of Common Prayer might be
fitted to more increase of piety; and that Church government might be
sincerely ministered according to God's Word.

King James made the deputation explain themselves; and after a day's
debate, he angrily told them that they were aiming at a Scottish
presbytery, which agreed with monarchy as well as God and the Devil.
"No bishop, no king!" added his Majesty.  Some few members of the
Conference maintained that the Puritans had been crushed and insulted;
but Chancellor Egerton said he had never seen king and priest so fully
united in one person as in that of his sacred Majesty, and Bancroft
(afterwards Archbishop) fell upon his knees, unctuously exclaiming that
his heart melted for joy to think that England was blessed with such a
ruler.  The bishops and privy-councillors then conferred alone, altered
a few expressions in the Liturgy, and summoned the Puritans to hear
their decision.  Dr Raynolds, the Puritan spokesman, entreated that the
use of the surplice and the sign of the cross in baptism might be laid
aside, or at least not made compulsory, but the King sternly told him
that they preferred the credit of a few private men to the peace of the
Church; that he would have none of this arguing; "wherefore let them
conform, and quickly too, or they shall hear of it."  By this
short-sighted policy, the opportunity for really securing peace to the
Church was lost for sixty years, and many of the troubles of the next
reign were sown.  The next step was to arrest ten of the Puritan
leaders; and then to eject from their benefices three hundred clergy of
that school.  Among these was Mr Marshall, the pastor of our friends.
Lady Louvaine was sorely troubled.  She said they were now as sheep
without a shepherd, and were but too likely to have a shepherd set over
them who would fleece and devour the sheep.  Of these clergy some joined
the Presbyterians, some the Brownists--whom people now began to call
Independents: others remained in the Church, ceasing to minister, and
following such callings as they deemed not unbecoming the position of a
Christian minister--chiefly tutorship and literature.  Mr Marshall was
in the last class.  He said better times might come, and he could not
see his way to desert the Church, though her ways to him at this present
were somewhat step-motherly.

"But how, Mr Marshall, if the Church cast you forth?" asked Temperance.

"Then must I needs go," he answered with a smile.  "But that, look you,
were not my deed, nor should I be responsible for it before God.  So
long as I break not her laws, she hath no right to eject me; and so long
as she abideth in the truth, I have no right to desert her."

"But the bishops abide not in the truth, as I take it."

"The bishops be not the Church," replied he.  "Let the Articles and
Homilies be changed, with evil tendency, and then that is to change the
Church.  I go forth of her then at once; for she should be no longer the
Church of my faith, to which I sware obedience, and she hath not that
right over me to require me to change with her.  But so long as these
are left unaltered, what matter though bishops change?  They are not
immortal: and very sure am I they are not infallible."

"What think you, Mother?" said Edith.

"Children," replied Lady Louvaine, laying down her knitting in her lap,
"I can get no further at this present than one line of Saint John: `He
Himself knew what He would do.'  I do not know what He will do.  It may
be, as it then was, something that none of all His disciples can guess.
One step at a time is all He allows us to see, and all He bids us take.
`He calleth His own sheep by name, and leadeth them out'; but also, `He
goeth before them.'  At times He leads them, I think, outside the fold;
and if He is outside, and we hear His voice, we must needs go to Him.
Yet is this rare, and we should make very sure that it is from without
we hear the familiar voice, and not rush forth in haste when He may be
calling from within.  Let us know that He is on the road before us, and
then we need have no fear to run fast, no doubt whither the road will
lead.  There be some sheep in such haste to run that they must needs go
past the Shepherd; and then have they no longer a leader, and are very
like to miss the right way."

"You have the right, Lady Louvaine," said Mr Marshall.  "`He that
believeth shall not make haste.'  Yet there be sheep--to follow your
imagery, or truly that of our Lord--that will lag behind, and never keep
pace with the Shepherd."

"Ay," she answered: "and I know not if that be not the commoner fault of
the twain.  He calls, and calls, and they come not; and such sheep find
many a sharp tap from the rod ere they will walk, never say run.  Our
Shepherd is human, therefore He can feel for us; He is Divine, therefore
can He have patience with us.  Let us thank God for both."

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

Note 1.  Except, only.  This, now a Northern provincialism, is an
archaism at least as old as the fourteenth century.

Note 2.  Nevertheless.  This strictly Lancastrian provincialism is
supposed to be a corruption of "choose how."  Its exact pronunciation
can hardly be put into English letters.

Note 3.  This was a revival; for "persille" is found on the Rolls of
Edward II.

Note 4.  This is the computation of Sir Edward Coke in his opening
speech at the trial of the Gunpowder conspirators.

Note 5.  The little manuscript volume wherein this is inscribed, which
is in my own possession, consists of sermons--not very legible, and
mostly very dry by the Rev. Thomas Stone, their dates ranging from 1622
to 1666, with a few occasional memoranda interspersed.



CHAPTER FOUR.

WE GET INTO BAD COMPANY.

  "Will you walk into my parlour?" said the Spider to the fly:
  "'Tis the prettiest little parlour that ever you did spy."

One afternoon during that winter, as Lettice was coming down-stairs, her
sense of smell was all at once saluted by a strange odour, which did not
strike her as having any probable connection with Araby the blest, mixed
with slight curls of smoke suggestive of the idea that something was on
fire.  But before she had done more than wonder what might be the
matter, a sound reached her from below, arguing equal astonishment and
disapproval on the part of Aunt Temperance.

"Northumberland, Cumberland, Westmoreland, and Durham!" was the
ejaculation of that lady.  "Lad, art thou afire, or what ails thee?"

The answering laugh was in Aubrey's voice.  "Why, Aunt!" said he, "is
this the first time you did ever see a man to drink Uppowoc?"

"`Drink up a work!'" exclaimed she.  "What on earth--"

"Picielt," said he.

"Lettice, is that thou?" inquired Aunt Temperance.  "Call Charity
quickly, and bid her run for the apothecary: this boy's gone mad."

A ringing peal of laughter from Aubrey was the answer.  Lettice had come
far enough to see him now, and there he stood in the hall (his coat more
slashed and puffed than ever), and in his hand a long narrow tube of
silver, with a little bowl at the end, in which was something that sent
forth a great smoke and smell.

"Come, Aunt Temperance!" cried he.  "Every gentleman in the land,
well-nigh, doth now drink the Indian weed.  'Tis called uppovoc,
picielt, petum [whence comes petunia], or tobago, and is sold for its
weight in silver; men pick out their biggest shillings to lay against
it, and 'tis held a favour for a gentlewoman to fill the pipe for her
servant [suitor].  I have heard say some will spend three or four
hundred a year after this manner, drinking it even at the table; and
they that refuse be thought peevish and ill company."

"And whither must we flee to get quit of it?" quoth she grimly.

"That cannot I say, Aunt.  In France they have it, calling it Nicotine,
from one Nicot, that did first fetch it thither; 'twas one Ralph Lane
that brought it to England.  Why, what think you? there are over six
thousand shops in and about London, where they deal in it now."

"Six thousand shops for that stinking stuff!"

"Oh, not for this alone.  The apothecaries, grocers, and chandlers have
it, and in every tavern you shall find the pipe handed round, even
where, as in the meaner sort, it be made but of a walnut shell and a
straw.  Why, Aunt, 'tis wondrous wholesome and healing for divers
diseases."

"Let's hear which of them."

"Well--migraines [headaches], colics, toothache, ague, colds,
obstructions through wind, and fits of the mother [hysterics]; gout,
epilepsy, and hydropsy [dropsy].  The brain, look you, being naturally
cold and wet, all hot and dry things must be good for it."

"I'd as soon have any of those divers distempers as _that_," solemnly
announced Aunt Temperance.  "`Brain cold and wet!' when didst thou
handle thy brains, that thou shouldst know whether they be cold or not?"

"I do ensure you, Aunt, thus saith Dr Barclay, one of the first
physicians in London town, which useth this tobago for all these
diseases.  He only saith 'tis not to be touched with food, or after it,
but must be took fasting.  Moreover, it helps the digestion."

"It'll not help mine.  And prithee, Mr Aubrey Louvaine, which of all
this list of disorders hast thou?"

"I, Aunt?  Oh, I'm well enough."

"Dear heart!  When I am well enough, I warrant you, I take no physic."

"Oh, but, Aunt, 'tis not physic only.  'Tis rare comforting and
soothing."

Aunt Temperance's face was a sight to see.  She looked Aubrey over from
the crown of his head to his boots, till his face flushed red, though he
tried to laugh it away.

"Soothing!" said she in a long-drawn indescribable tone.  "Lettice,
prithee tell me what year we be now in?"

"In the year of our Lord 1603, Aunt," said Lettice, trying not to laugh.

"Nay," answered she, "that cannot be: for my nephew, Aubrey Louvaine,
was born in the year of our Lord 1583, and he is yet, poor babe, in the
cradle, and needs rocking and hushing a-by-bye.  S-o-o-t-h-i-n-g!" and
Aunt Temperance drew out the word in a long cry, for all the world like
a whining baby.  "Lad, if you desire not the finest thrashing ever you
had yet, cast down that drivelling folly of a silver toy, and turn up
your sleeves and go to work like a man!  When you lie abed ill of the
smallpox you may say you want soothing, and no sooner: and if I hear
such another word out of your mouth, I'll leather you while I can stand
over you."

Aunt Temperance marched to the parlour door, and flung it wide open.

"Madam," said she, "give me leave to introduce to your Ladyship the King
of Fools.  I go forth to buy a cradle for him, and Edith, prithee run to
the kitchen and dress him some pap.  He lacks soothing, Madam; and
having been brought so low as to seek it, poor fool, at the hands of the
evillest-smelling weed ever was plucked off a dunghill, I am moved to
crave your Ladyship's kindliness for him.  Here's his rattle,"--and Aunt
Temperance held forth the silver pipe,--"which lacks but the bells to be
as rare a fool's staff as I have seen of a summer day.--Get thee in,
thou poor dizard dolt!  [Note 1] to think that I should have to call
such a patch my cousin!"

Lady Louvaine sat, looking first at Aubrey and then at Temperance, as
though she marvelled what it all meant.  Edith said, laughingly--

"Why, Aubrey, what hast thou done, my boy, so to vex thine aunt?" and
Faith, throwing down her work, rose and came to Aubrey.

"My darling! my poor little boy!" she cried, as a nurse might to a
child; but Faith's blandishment was real, while Temperance's was
mockery.

All Aunt Temperance's mocking, nevertheless, provoked Aubrey less than
his mother's reality.  He flushed red again, and looked ready to weep,
had it been less unmanly.  Temperance took care not to lose her chance.

"Ay, poor little boy!" said she.  "Prithee, Faith, take him on thy lap
and cuddle him, and dandle him well, and sing him a song o' sixpence.
Oh, my little rogue, my pretty bird! well, then, it shall have a new
coral, it shall--Now, Madam, pray you look on this piece of wastry!
(Dear heart, but a fool and his money be soon parted!)  What think you
'tis like?"

"Truly, my dear, that cannot I say," replied Lady Louvaine, looking at
the pipe as Temperance held it out: "but either that or somewhat else,
it strikes me, hath a marvellous ill savour."

"Ill savour, Madam!" cried Temperance.  "Would you even such mean scents
as roses and lilies to this celestial odour?  Truly, this must it be the
angels put in their pouncet-boxes.  I am informed of my Lord of Tobago
here that all the gentlemen of the Court do use to perfume their velvets
with it."

"Well, I can tell you of two which so do," said Aubrey in a nettled
fashion--"my Lord of Northumberland and Sir Walter Raleigh: and you'll
not call them fools, Aunt Temperance."

"I'll give you a bit of advice, Mr Louvaine: and that is, not to lay
your week's wages out in wagers what I shall do.  I call any man fool
that is given to folly: and as to this filthy business, I should scarce
stick at the King's Majesty himself."

"Nay, the King is clean contrary thereto," saith Aubrey, with a rather
unwilling air: "I hear of my Lord that he saith it soils the inward
parts of men with oily soot, and is loathsome to the eye, hateful to the
nose, harmful to the brain, dangerous to the lungs, counted effeminate
among the Indians themselves, and by the Spanish slaves called sauce for
Lutheran curs."

"Well, on my word!" cried Aunt Temperance.  "And knowing this, thou
Lutheran cur, thou wilt yet soil thine inward parts with this oily
soot?"

"Oh, Aunt, every one so doth."

Lady Louvaine and Edith exchanged sorrowful looks, and the former said--

"Aubrey, my boy, no true man accounts that a worthy reason for his
deeds.  It was true of the Israelites when they fell to worship the
golden calf, and of the scribes and priests when they cried, `Crucify
Him!'  Hadst thou been in that crowd before Pontius Pilate, wouldst thou
have joined that cry?"

Edith went up to her mother, and said in a low voice, "May I tell him?"

Evidently it cost Lady Louvaine some pain to say "Yes," yet she said it.
Edith went back to her seat.

"Aubrey," she said, "four-and-twenty years gone, thine uncle, my brother
Walter, was what thou art now, in the very same office and household.
His wages were then sixteen pound by the year--"

"But mine are thirty-five, Aunt," responded Aubrey quickly, as though he
guessed what she was about to say.

"In order to be like every one else, Aubrey, and not come in bad odour
with his fellows, he spent well-nigh four hundred pound by the year,
and--"

"Uncle Walter!" cried Aubrey in amazement, and Lettice could have been
his echo.

"Ay!" said Edith, sadly.  "And for over ten years thereafter was my
father so crippled with his debts, that I mind it being a fine treat
when I and my sisters had a new gown apiece, though of the commonest
serge, and all but bare necessaries were cut off from our board.  Walter
laid it so to heart that of a spendthrift he became a miser.  I would
not have thee so to do, but I bid thee mind that we have very little to
live on, owing all we yet have, and have brought withal, to the goodness
of my dear Aunt Joyce; and if thou fall in such ways, Aubrey--"

"Dear heart, Aunt!  Think you I have no wit?"

"Thou hast not an ill wit, my lad," said Aunt Temperance, "if a wise man
had the keeping of it."

"Temperance, you are so unfeeling!" exclaimed Faith.  "Must I needs
stand up for my fatherless boy?"

"You'd ruin any lad you were mother to," answered her sister.

Hans now coming in, she set on him.

"Look here, Hans Floriszoon!  Didst ever see any thing like this?"

Hans smiled.  "Oh ay, Mistress Murthwaite, I have seen men to use them."

"Hast one of these fiddle-faddles thyself? or dost thou desire to have
one?"

"Neither, in good sooth," was his reply.

"There, Mr Louvaine! hearken, prithee."

"Hans is only a boy; I am a man," said Aubrey, loftily: though Hans was
but a year younger than himself.

"Lancaster and Derby! and are you then content, my Lord Man, that a
contemptible boy should have better wit than your magnifical self?
Truly, I think Hans was a man before thou hadst ended sucking of thy
thumb."

Just then Charity brought in the Rector.

"See you here, Mr Marshall!" cried Temperance, brandishing her pipe.
"Be you wont to solace your studies with this trumpery?"

Mr Marshall smiled.  "Truly, nay, Mistress Murthwaite; 'tis accounted
scandalous for divines to use that tobago, not to name the high cost
thereof."

"Pray you, how many pence by the ounce hath any man the face to ask for
this stinking stuff?"

"Three shillings or more, and that the poorest sort."

"Mercy me!  And can you tell me how folks use it that account it
physical?"

"Ay, I have heard tell that the manner of using it as physic is to fill
the patient's mouth with a ball of the leaves, when he must incline the
face downward, and keep his mouth open, not moving his tongue: then doth
it draw a flood of water from all parts of the body.  Some physicians
will not use it, saying it causeth over-quick digestion, and fills the
stomach full of crudities.  For a cold or headache the fumes of the pipe
only are taken.  His Majesty greatly loathes this new fashion, saying
that the smoke thereof resembles nothing so much as the Stygian fume of
the bottomless pit, and likewise that 'tis a branch of drunkenness,
which he terms the root of all sins."

Aubrey laughed rather significantly.

"Why," asked his mother, "is the King's Majesty somewhat given that
way?"

"Well, I have heard it said that when the King of Denmark was here,
their two Majesties went not to bed sober every night of the week:
marry, 'tis whispered all the Court ladies kept not so steady feet as
they might have done."

"Alack the day! not the Queen, I hope?"

"Nay, I heard no word touching her."

"Ah, friends!" said Mr Marshall with a sigh, "let me ensure you that
England's mourning is not yet over for Queen Elizabeth, and we may live
to lament our loss of her far sorer than now we do.  Folks say she was
something stingy with money, loving not to part with it sooner than she
saw good reason: but some folks will fling their money right and left
with no reason at all.  The present Court much affecteth masques, plays,
and such like, so that now there be twenty where her late Majesty would
see one."

"Mr Marshall," asked Edith, "is it true, as I have heard say, that King
James is somewhat Papistically given?"

"Ay and no," said he.  "He is not at all thus, in the signification of
obeying the Pope, or suffering himself to be ridden of priests: in no
wise.  But he hates a Puritan worse than a Papist.  Mind you not that in
his speech when he opened his first Parliament, he said that he did
acknowledge the Roman Church to be our mother Church, though defiled
with some infirmities and corruptions?"

"Yet he said also, if I err not, that he sucked in God's truth with his
nurse's milk."

"Ay.  But what one calls God's truth is not what an other doth.  All the
Papistry in the world is not in the Roman Church; and assuredly she is
in no sense our mother."

"Truly, I thought Saint Austin brought the Gospel hither from Rome."

"Saint Austin brought a deal from Rome beside the Gospel, and he was not
the first to bring that.  The Gallican Church had before him brought it
to Kent; and long ere that time had the ancient British Church been
evangelised from no sister Church at all, but right from the Holy Land
itself, and as her own unchanging voice did assert, by the beloved
Apostle Saint John."

"That heard I never afore," said Lady Louvaine, who seemed greatly
interested.  "Pray you, Mr Marshall, is this true?"

"I do ensure you it is," replied he; "that is, so far as the wit of man
at this distance of time may discern the same."

"Was the French Church, then, lesser corrupted than that of Rome?"
queried Edith.

"Certainly so," he said: "and it hath resisted the Pope's usurpations
nigh as much as our own Church of England.  I mean not in respect of the
Reformation, but rather the time before the Reformation, when our kings
were ever striving with the Pope concerning his right to appoint unto
dignities and livings.  Yet the Reformation itself began first in
France, and had they in authority been willing to aid it as in England,
France had been a Protestant country at this day."

That evening, as they sat round the fire, Hans astonished them all.

"Lady Lettice," said he, "were you willing that I should embark in
trade?"

"Hans, my dear boy!" was the astonished response.

"I will not do it without your good-will thereto," said he; "nor would I
at all have done it, could I have seen any better way.  But I feel that
I ought to be a-work on some matter, and not tarry a burden on your
hands: and all this time have I been essaying two matters--to look out
for a service, and to make a little money for you.  The second I have in
some sense accomplished, though not to the extent I did desire, and here
be the proceeds,"--and rising from his seat, Hans opened his purse, and
poured several gold pieces into his friend's lap.  "The former, howbeit,
is not--"

He was interrupted by a little cry from Lady Louvaine.

"Hans! thou surely thinkest not, dear lad, that I shall strip thee of
thy first earnings, won by hard work?"

"You will, Lady Lettice, without you mean to disappoint and dishearten
me very sore," he answered.

"But all this!" she exclaimed.

"'Tis much less than I would have had it; and it hath taken me
three-quarters of a year to scrape so much together.  But--nay, Lady
Lettice, forgive me, but never a penny will I take back.  You sure
forget that I owe all unto you.  What should have come of me but for you
and Sir Aubrey?  But I was about to say, I have essayed in every
direction to take service with a gentleman, and cannot compass it in any
wise.  So I see no other way but to go into trade."

"But, Hans, thou art a gentleman's son!"

"I am a King's son, Madam," said Hans with feeling: "and if I tarnish
not the escocheon of my heavenly birth by honest craft, then shall I
have no fear for that of mine earthly father."

"Yet if so were, dear lad--though I should be verily sorry to see thee
come down so low--yet bethink thee, thine apprenticeship may not be
compassed without a good payment in money."

"Your pardon, Madam.  There is one craftsman in London that is willing
to receive me without a penny.  Truly, I did nothing to demerit it,
since I did but catch up his little maid of two years, that could scarce
toddle, from being run over by an horse that had brake loose from the
rein.  Howbeit, it pleaseth him to think him under an obligation to me,
and his good wife likewise.  And having made inquiries diligently, I
find him to be a man of good repute, one that feareth God and dealeth
justly and kindly by men: also of his wife the neighbours speak well.
Seeing, then, all doors shut upon me save this one, whereat I may freely
enter, it seems to me, under your Ladyship's leave, that this is the way
which God hath prepared for me to walk in: yet if you refuse permission,
then I shall know that I have erred therein."

"Hans, I would give my best rebate Aubrey had one half thy wit and
goodness!" cried Temperance.

"I thank you for the compliment, Mistress Murthwaite," said Hans,
laughingly.  "But truly, as for my wit, I should be very ill-set to
spare half of it; and as for my goodness, I wish him far more of his
own."

"Where dwells this friend of thine, Hans?" inquired Lady Louvaine.
"What is his name? and what craft doth he follow?"

"He dwells near, Madam, in Broad Saint Giles'; his name, Andrew Leigh,
and is a silkman."

"We shall miss thee, my boy," said Edith.

"Mrs Edith, that was the only one point that made me to doubt if I
should take Master Leigh's offer or no.  If my personal service be of
more value to you than my maintenance is a burden, I pray you tell it
me: but if not--"

"We never yet reckoned thy maintenance a burden, my dear," answered Lady
Louvaine, lovingly.  "And indeed we shall miss thee more than a little.
Nevertheless, Hans, I think thou hast wisely judged.  There is thine own
future to look to: and though, in very deed, I am sorry that life offer
thee no fairer opening, yet the Lord wot best that which shall be best
for thee.  Ay, Hans: thou wilt do well to take the offer."

But there were tears in her eyes as she spoke.

The old feudal estimate was still strong in men's minds, by which the
most honourable of all callings was held to be domestic service; then,
trade and handicraft; and, lowest and meanest of all, those occupations
by which men were not fed, clothed, nor instructed, but merely amused.
Musicians, painters, poetasters, and above all, actors, were looked on
as the very dregs of mankind.  The views of the old Lollards, who held
that art, not having existed in Paradise, was a product of the serpent,
had descended to the Puritans in a modified form.  Was it surprising,
when on every side they saw the serpent pressing the arts and sciences
into his service?  It was only in the general chaos of the Restoration
that this estimate was reversed.  The view of the world at present is
exactly opposite: and the view taken by the Church is too often that of
the world.  Surely the dignity of labour is lost when men labour to
produce folly, and call it work.  There can be no greater waste either
of time, money, or toil, than to expend them on that which satisfieth
not.

When Hans came home, a day or two afterwards, he went straight to Lady
Louvaine and kissed her hand.

"Madam," said he, in a low voice of much satisfaction, "I bring good
news.  I have covenanted with Mr Leigh, who has most nobly granted me,
at my request, a rare favour unto a 'prentice--leave to come home when
the shop is closed, and to lie here, so long as I am every morrow at my
work by six of the clock.  I can yet do many little things that may save
you pain and toil, and I shall hear every even of your welfare."

"My dear lad, God bless thee!" replied Lady Louvaine, and laid her hand
upon his head.

Somewhat later in the evening came Aubrey, to whom all this concerning
Hans was news.

"Master Floriszoon, silkman, at the Black Boy in Holborn!" cried he,
laughingly.  "Pray you, my worthy Master, how much is the best velvet by
the yard? and is green stamyn now in fashion?  Whereto cometh galowne
lace the ounce?  Let us hear thee cry, `What do you lack?' that we, may
see if thou hast the true tone.  Hans Floriszoon, I thought thou hadst
more of the feeling of a gentleman in thee."

The blood flushed to Hans' forehead, yet he answered quietly enough.

"Can a gentleman not measure velvet? and what harm shall it work him to
know the cost of it?"

"That is a quibble," answered Aubrey, loftily.  "For any gentleman to
soil his fingers with craft is a blot on his escocheon, and that you
know as well as I."

"For any man, gentle or simple, to soil his fingers with sin, or his
tongue with falsehood, is a foul blot on his escocheon," replied Hans,
looking Aubrey in the face.

Once more the blood mounted to Aubrey's brow, and he answered with some
warmth, "What mean you?"

"I did but respond to your words.  Be mine other than truth?"

"Be not scurrilous, boy!" said Aubrey, angrily.

"Hans, I am astonished at you!" said Faith.  "I know not how it is, but
since we came to London, you are for ever picking quarrels with Aubrey,
and seeking occasion against him.  Are you envious of his better
fortune, or what is it moves you?"

It was a minute before Hans answered, and when he did so, his voice was
very quiet and low.

"I am sorry to have vexed you, Mrs Louvaine.  If I know myself, I do
not envy Aubrey at all; and indeed I desire to pick no quarrel with any
man, and him least of any."

Then, turning to Aubrey, he held out his hand.  "Forgive me, if I said
aught I should not."

Aubrey took the offered hand, much in the manner of an insulted monarch
to a penitent rebel.  Lettice glanced just then at her Aunt Edith, and
saw her gazing from one to the other of the two, with a perplexed and
possibly displeased look on her face, but whether it were with Aubrey or
with Hans, Lettice could not tell.  What made Aubrey so angry did not
appear.

Lettice's eyes went to her grandmother.  On her face was a very
sorrowful look, as if she perceived and recognised some miserable
possibility which she had known in the past, and now saw advancing with
distress.  But she did not speak either to Hans or Aubrey.

The full moon of a spring evening, almost as mild as summer, lighted up
the Strand, throwing into bold relief the figure of a young man,
fashionably dressed, who stood at the private door of a tailor's shop,
the signboard of which exhibited a very wild-looking object of human
species, clad in a loose frock, with bare legs and streaming hair, known
to the initiated as the sign of the Irish Boy.

Fashionably dressed meant a good deal at that date.  It implied a
doublet of velvet or satin, puffed and slashed exceedingly, and often
covered with costly embroidery or gold lace; trunk hose, padded to an
enormous width, matching the doublet in cost, and often in pattern;
light-coloured silk stockings, broad-toed shoes, with extremely high
heels, and silver buckles, or gold-edged shoe-strings; garters of broad
silk ribbons, often spangled with gold, and almost thick enough for
sashes; a low hat with a feather and silk hatband, the latter sometimes
studded with precious stones; a suspicion of stays in the region of the
waist, but too likely to be justified by fact; fringed and perfumed
gloves of thick white Spanish leather; lace ruffs about the neck and
wrists, the open ones of immense size, the small ones closer than in the
previous reign; ear-rings and love-locks: and over all, a gaudy cloak,
or rather cape, reaching little below the elbow.  In the youth's hand
was an article of the first necessity in the estimation of a gentleman
of fashion,--namely, a tobacco-box, in this instance of chased silver,
with a mirror in the lid, whereby its owner might assure himself that
his ruff sat correctly, and that his love-locks were not out of curl.  A
long slender cane was in the other hand, which the youth twirled with
busy idleness, as he carelessly hummed a song.

  "Let's cast away care, and merrily sing,
  For there's a time for every thing:
  He that plays at his work, and works at his play,
  Doth neither keep working nor holy day."

A second youth came down the street westwards, walking not with an air
of haste, but of one whose time was too valuable to be thrown away.  He
was rather shorter and younger than the first, and was very differently
attired.  He wore a fustian doublet, without either lace or embroidery;
a pair of unstuffed cloth hose, dark worsted stockings, shoes with
narrow toes and plain shoe-strings of black ribbon; a flat cap; cloth
gloves, unadorned and unscented, and a cloak of black cloth, of a more
rational length than the other.  As he came to the tailor's shop he
halted suddenly.

"Aubrey!"  The tone was one of surprise and pain.

"Spy!" was the angry response.

"I am no spy, and you know it.  But I would ask what you do here and
now?"

"Are you my gaoler, that I must needs give account to you?"

"I am your brother, Aubrey; and I, as well as you, am my brother's
keeper in so far as concerns his welfare.  It is over a month since you
visited us, and your mother and Lady Lettice believe you to be with your
Lord in Essex.  How come you hither, so late at night, and at another
door than your own?"

"No business of yours!  May a man not call to see his tailor?"

"Men do not commonly go to their tailors after shops be shut."

"Oh, of course, you wot all touching shop matters.  Be off to your
grograne and cambric!  I'm not your apprentice."

"My master's shop is shut with the rest.  Aubrey, I saw you last night--
though till now I tried to persuade myself it was not you--in Holborn,
leaving the door of the Green Dragon.  What do you there?"

The answer came blazing with wrath.

"You saw--you mean, sneaking, blackguardly traitor of a Dutch
shopkeeper!  I'll have no rascal spies dogging my steps, and--"

"Aubrey," said the quiet voice that made reply, "you know me better than
that.  I never played the spy on you yet, and I trust you will never
give me cause.  Yet what am I to think when as I pass along the street I
behold you standing at the door of a Pa--"

"Hold your tongue!"

The closing word was cut sharply in two by that fierce response.  It
might be a pavior, a pear-monger, or a Papist.  Hans was silent until
Aubrey had again spoken, which he did in a hard, constrained tone.

"I shall go where I please, without asking your leave or any body's
else!  I am of age, and I have been tied quite long enough to the
apron-strings of a parcel of women: but I mean not to cut myself loose
from them, only to pass under guidance of a silly lad that hath never a
spark of spirit in him, and would make an old woman of me if I gave him
leave."  Then, in a voice more like his own, he added, "Get you in to
your knitting, old Mistress Floriszoon, and tie your cap well o'er your
ears, lest the cold wind give you a rheum."

"I will go in when you come with me," said Hans calmly.

"I will not."

"To-night, Aubrey--only just to-night!"

"And what for to-night, prithee?  I have other business afloat.
To-morrow I will maybe look in."

Perhaps Aubrey was growing a little ashamed of his warmth, for his voice
had cooled down.

"We can never do right either to-morrow or yesterday," answered Hans.
"To-night is all we have at this present."

"I tell you I will not!"  The anger mounted again.  "I will not be at
the beck and call of a beggarly tradesfellow!"

"You love better to be at Satan's?"

"Take that for your impudence!"

There was the sound of a sharp, heavy blow--so heavy that the recipient
almost staggered under it.  Then came an instant's dead silence: and
then a voice, very low, very sorrowful, yet with no anger in it--

"Good-night, Aubrey.  I hope you will come to-morrow."

And Hans's steps died away in the distance.

Left to himself, Aubrey's feelings were far from enviable.  He was
compelled to recognise the folly of his conduct, as more calculated to
fan than deter suspicion; and it sorely nettled him also to perceive
that Hans, shopkeeper though he might be, had shown himself much the
truer gentleman of the two.  But little time was left him to indulge in
these unpleasant reflections, for the door behind him was opened by a
girl.

"Mr Catesby at home?"

"Ay, Sir, and Mr Winter is here.  Pray you, walk up."

Aubrey did as he was requested, adding an unnecessary compliment on the
good looks of the portress, to which she responded by a simper of
gratified vanity--thereby showing that neither belonged to the wisest
class of mankind--and he was ushered upstairs, into a small but pleasant
parlour, where three gentlemen sat conversing.  A decanter stood on the
table, half full of wine, and each gentleman was furnished with a glass.
The long silver pipe was passing round from one to another, and its
smoker looked up as Aubrey was announced.

"Ah! welcome, Mr Louvaine.  Mr Winter, you know this gentleman.  Sir,
this is my very good friend Mr Darcy,"--indicating the third person by
a motion of the hand.  "Mr Darcy, suffer me to make you acquainted with
Mr Louvaine, my good Lord Oxford's gentleman and a right pleasant
companion.--Pray you, help yourself to Rhenish, and take a pipe."

Aubrey accepted the double invitation, and was soon puffing at the pipe
which Catesby handed to him.

He had not taken much notice of the stranger, and none at all of a
gesture on the part of Mr Catesby as he introduced him--a momentary
stroking upwards of his forehead, intended as a sign not to Aubrey, but
to the other.  The stranger, however, perfectly understood it.  To him
it said, "Here is a simpleton: mind what you say."

Mr Catesby, the occupant of the furnished apartments, was a man of
unusually lofty height, being over six feet, and of slender build,
though well-proportioned; he had a handsome and expressive face, and,
while not eloquent, was possessed of the most fascinating and attractive
manners by which man ever dragged his fellow-man to evil.  Mr Winter,
on the other hand, was as short as his friend was tall.  His rather
handsome features were of the Grecian type, and he had the power of
infusing into them at will a look of the most touching child-like
innocence.  He spoke five, languages, and was a well-read man for his
time.

The stranger, to whom Aubrey had been introduced as Mr Darcy, was an
older man than either of the others.  Mr Catesby was aged thirty-two,
and Mr Winter about thirty-five; but Mr Darcy was at least fifty.  He
was a well-proportioned man, and dressed with studied plainness.  A
long, narrow face, with very large, heavy eyelids, and a long but not
hooked nose, were relieved by a moustache, and a beard square and
slightly forked in the midst.  This moustache hid a mouth which was the
characteristic feature of the face.  No physiognomist would have placed
the slightest confidence in the owner of that mouth.  It was at once
sanctimonious and unstable.  The manners of its possessor might be suave
or severe; his reputation might be excellent or execrable; but with that
mouth, a Pharisee and a hypocrite at heart he must be.  This gentleman
found it convenient not to be too invariably known by a single name, and
that whereby he had been introduced to Aubrey was one of five aliases--
his real one making a sixth.  Different persons, in various parts of the
country, were acquainted with him as Mr Mease, Mr Phillips, Mr
Farmer, and--his best-known alias--Mr Walley.  But his real name was
Henry Garnet, and he was a Jesuit priest.

To do justice to Aubrey Louvaine, who, though weak and foolish, being
mainly led astray by his own self-sufficiency, was far from being
deliberately wicked, it must be added that he entertained not the least
idea of the real characters of his new friends.  At the house of Mr
Thomas Rookwood, whither he was attracted by the fair Dorothy--who, had
he but known it, regarded him with cleverly concealed contempt--he had
made the acquaintance of Mr Ambrose Rookwood, the elder of the
brothers, and the owner of Coldham Hall.  This gentleman, to Aubrey's
taste, was not attractive; but by him he was introduced to Mr Percy,
and later, to Mr Thomas Winter, in whose society the foolish youth took
great pleasure.  For Mr Catesby he did not so much care; the fact being
that he was too clever to suit Aubrey's fancy.

Neither had Aubrey any conception of the use which was being made of him
by his new friends.  He was very useful; he had just brains enough, and
not too much, to serve their purpose.  It delighted Aubrey to air his
familiarity with the Court and nobility, and it was convenient to them
to know some one whom they could pump without his ever suspecting that
he was being pumped.  They often required information concerning the
movements and present whereabouts of various eminent persons; and
nothing was easier than to obtain it from Aubrey as they sat and smoked.
A few glasses of Rhenish wine, and a few ounces of tobacco, were well
worth expending for the purpose.

Aubrey's anger with Hans, therefore, was not based on any fear of
discovery, arising from suspicion of his associates.  He was only aiming
at independence, combined with a little secret unwillingness to
acknowledge his close connection with Mr Leigh's apprentice.  Of the
real end of the road on which he was journeying, he had not the least
idea.  Satan held out to him with a smile a fruit pleasant to the eyes
and good for food, saying, "Thou shalt be as a god," and Aubrey liked
the prospect, and accepted the apple.

Having enjoyed himself for about an hour in this manner, and--quite
unconsciously on his part--given some valuable information to his
associates, he bade them good evening, and returned to Lord Oxford's
mansion, in a state of the most delicately-balanced uncertainty whether
to appear or not at the White Bear on the following evening.  If only he
could know how much Hans would tell the ladies!

In the room which he had left, he formed for some minutes the subject of
conversation.

"Where picked you up that jewel?" asked Garnet of Winter.

"He lives--or rather his friends do--next door to Tom Rookwood,"
answered Winter.

"A pigeon worth plucking?" was the next question.

"As poor as a church-mouse, but he knows things we need to know, and in
point of wits he is a very pigeon.  He no more guesseth what time of day
it is with us than my Lord Secretary doth."

The trio laughed complacently, but a rather doubtful expression
succeeded that of amusement in Garnet's face.

"Now, good gentlemen, be quiet," said he, piously.  Was there a faint
twinkle in his eyes?  "God will do all for the best.  We must get it by
prayer at God's hands, in whose hands are the hearts of princes."

"You pray, by all means, and we'll work," said Catesby, removing the
pipe from his lips for an instant.

At that moment the door opened, and a fourth gentleman made his
appearance.  He was as tall and as handsome as Catesby; but the
considerable amount of white in his dark hair, and more slightly in his
broad beard, made him look older than his real age, which was forty-six.
He stooped a little in the shoulders.  His manners were usually gentle
and grave; but a pair of large and very lively eyes and an occasional
impulsive eagerness of speech, wherein he was ready and fluent at all
times, showed that there was more fire and life in his character than
appeared on the surface.  Those who knew him well were aware that his
temper was impetuous and precipitate, and on given occasions might be
termed quarrelsome without calumny.

"Shall we always talk, gentlemen, and never do anything?" demanded the
newcomer, without previous greeting.

"Come in, Mr Percy, and with a right good welcome!  The talk is
well-nigh at an end, and the doing beginneth."

"Our Lady be thanked!" was Percy's response.  "We have dallied and
delayed long enough.  This morning have I been with Mr Fawkes over the
house; and I tell you, the mining through that wall shall be no child's
play."

Winter lifted his eyebrows and pursed his lips.  Catesby only remarked,
"We must buy strong pickaxes, then," and resumed his puffing in the
calmest manner.

"The seventh of February, is it not, Parliament meets?"

"Ay.  I trust the Bulls will come from Rome before that."

"They will be here in time," said Garnet, rising.  "Well, I wish you
good-night, gentlemen.  'Tis time I was on my way to Wandsworth.  I lie
to-night at Mrs Anne's, whither she looks for her cousin Tresham to
come."

"My commendations to my cousins," said Catesby.  "Good-night.  We meet
at White Webbs on Tuesday."

"_Pax vobiscum_," said Garnet softly, as he left the room.

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

Note 1.  All these are old terms signifying a fool or idiot.  Patch was
the favourite jester of Henry the Eighth, whose name was used as
synonymous with fool.



CHAPTER FIVE.

BEGINS WITH TEMPERANCE, AND ENDS WITH TREACHERY.

  "Whate'er we do, we all are doing this--
  Reaping the harvest of our yesterdays,
  Sowing for our to-morrows."

  S.V. Partridge.

On the following evening, Aubrey put in an appearance at the White Bear.
As soon as he entered, he gave a quick, troubled look round the
parlour, before he went up to kiss his grandmother's hand.  His Aunt
Temperance greeted him with, "Give you good even, my Lord Chamberlain!
Lancaster and Derby! do but look on him!  Blue feather in his hat--lace
ruff and ruffles--doublet of white satin with gold aglets--trunk hose o'
blue velvet, paned with silver taffeta--garters of blue and white silk--
and I vow, a pair o' white silken hose, and shoes o' Spanish leather.
Pray you, my Lord, is your allowance from the King's Majesty five
hundred pounds or a thousand by the year?"

"Now, Aunt, you know," said Aubrey, laughing.  "That thou art a
spendthrift?" answered she.  "Ay, I do: and if thou run not into debt
this side o' Christmas, my name is not Temperance Murthwaite."

"I'm not in debt a penny," retorted he.

"Then somebody must have given thee thy pantofles," replied she.  "Be
they a cast-off pair of his Majesty's, or did my Lord Oxford so much
alms to thee?"

Aubrey laughed again, as merrily as if he had not a care nor a fault in
the world.

"They cost not so much as you reckon," he said.

"Four yards of velvet," calculated Aunt Temperance--"you'll not do it
under, stuffed that wise of bombast, nor buy that quality, neither,
under eighteen shillings the yard--let's see,--that is three pounds
twelve shillings: silver taffeta, a yard and an half, twenty-two and
sixpence--that's four pounds fourteen and six; then the lining, dowlas,
I suppose, at fourteen pence--"

"They are lined with perpetuana, Aunt," answered Aubrey, who seemed
greatly amused by this reckoning.

"Perpetuana--_lining_?  Thou reckless knave!  Three-and-fourpence the
yard at the least--well, we'll say ten shillings--five pounds four and
six: and the lace, at four shillings by the ounce, and there'll be two
ounces there, good: five pounds twelve shillings and sixpence, as I'm a
living woman!  'Tis sinful waste, lad: that's what it is.  Your father
never wore such Babylonian raiment, nor your grandfather neither, and
there was ten times the wisdom and manliness in either of them that
there'll ever be in you, except you mean to turn your coat ere you are a
month elder."

As Aubrey turned to reply, his eyes fell on Hans, coming home from the
mercer's.  His face changed in a minute: but Hans came forward with his
hand held out as cordially as usual, and a look of real pleasure in his
eyes.

"Good even, Aubrey; I am glad to see you," said he.

"Ay, see him, do!" cried Temperance, before Aubrey could answer; and he
only gave his hand in silence.  "Look at him, Hans!  Didst ever behold
such a pair of pantofles?  Five pounds twelve shillings and sixpence!
How much cost thine?"

"Mine be not so brave as these," replied Hans, smiling.  "My Lord
Oxford's squire must needs wear better raiment than a silkman's
apprentice, Mrs Murthwaite."

"Five pounds twelve shillings and sixpence!" persisted she.

"Come, now, Aunt Temperance!  They cost not the half," said Aubrey.

"Who didst thou cheat out of them, then?" asked she.

"I bought them," he answered, laughing, "of a young noble that had borne
them but twice, and was ill content with the cut and colour of them."

"He'll come to no good," sternly pronounced Aunt Temperance.

"You made a good bargain," said Hans.  "That velvet cost full a pound
the yard, I should say."

"Aubrey," inquired Temperance, "I do marvel, and I would fain know, what
thou dost all the day long?  Doth thy Lord keep thee standing by his
chair, first o' one leg, and then o' tother, while he hath an errand for
thee?"

"Why, no, Aunt!  I am not an errand-lad," said Aubrey, and laughed more
merrily than ever.  "Of late is his Lordship greatly incommoded, and
hath kept his chamber during many days of this last month; but when he
hath his health, I will specify unto you what I do."

"Prithee specify, and I shall be fain to hearken."

"Well, of a morning I aid his Lordship at his _lever_, and after
breakfast I commonly ride with him, if it be my turn: then will he read
an hour or twain in the law, without the Parliament be sitting, when he
is much busied, being not only a morning man, but at committees also; in
the afternoon he is often at Court, or practising of music--just now he
exerciseth himself in broken music [the use of stringed instruments] and
brachigraphy [shorthand]: then in the evening we join my Lady and her
gentlewomen in the withdrawing chamber, and divers gestes and conceits
be used--such as singing, making of anagrams, guessing of riddles, and
so forth.  There is my day."

"Forsooth, and a useless one it is," commented she.  "The law-books and
the Parliament business seem the only decent things in it."

"Ah, 'tis full little changed," remarked Lady Louvaine, "these sixty
years since I dwelt at Surrey Place."  And she sighed.

"Temperance, I am astonished at you," interposed Faith.  "You do nought
save fault-find poor Aubrey."

"Poor Aubrey! ay, that he is," returned his Aunt, "and like to be a
sight poorer, for all that I can see.  If you'll fault-find him a bit
more, Faith, there'll not be so much left for me to do."

"What is the matter?" asked Edith, coming softly in.

"There's a pair of velvet pantofles and an other of silken hose the
matter, my dear," answered Temperance, "and a beaver hat with a brave
blue feather in it.  I trust you admire them as they deserve, and him
likewise that weareth them."

"They are brave, indeed," said Edith, in her quiet voice.  "I would fain
hope it is as fair within as without, my boy."

She looked up in his face as she spoke with yearning love in her eyes;
and as Aubrey bent his head to kiss her, he said, in the softest tone
which he had yet employed since his entrance, "I am afraid not, Aunt
Edith."

And Edith answered, in that low, tender voice--

"`Thy beauty was perfect through My comeliness which I had put upon
thee.'  Dear Aubrey, let us seek that."

Aubrey made no answer beyond a smile, and quickly turned the
conversation, on his mother asking if he brought any news.

"But little," said he.  "There be new laws against witchcraft, which is
grown greater and more used than of old, and the King is mightily set
against it--folks say he is afraid of it.  None should think, I ensure
you, how easily frightened is his Majesty, and of matters that should
never fright any save a child."

"But that is not news, Aubrey," said his mother plaintively.  "I want to
hear something new."

"There isn't an artichoke in the market this morrow," suddenly remarked
her sister.

"Temperance, what do you mean?"

"Why, that's news, isn't it?  I am sure you did not know it, till I told
you."

Mrs Louvaine closed her eyes with an air of deeply-tried forbearance.

"Come, lad, out with thy news," added Temperance.  "Wherewith hath my
Lady guarded her new spring gowns?  That shall serve, I reckon."

Aubrey laughed.  "I have not seen them yet, Aunt.  But I heard say of
one of the young gentlewomen that silk is now for the first to be woven
in England, so 'tis like to be cheaper than of old."

"There's a comfort!" said Mrs Louvaine, rather less languidly than
usual.

"I heard tell likewise of a fresh colewort, from Cyprus in the East--
they call it broccoli or kale-flower.  Methinks there is nought else,
without you would hear of a new fashion of building of churches, late
come up--but his Lordship saith 'tis a right ancient fashion, wherein
the old Greeks were wont to build their houses and temples."

"Methinks it scarce meet to go to the heathen for the pattern of a
church," said Lady Louvaine; "are not our old churches fair enough, and
suitable for their purpose?"

"In this new fashion he no chancels," said Aubrey.

"Well, and I should hold with that," cried Temperance: "they give rise
to vain superstitions.  If there be no mass, what lack we of a chancel?"

"If men list, my dear, to bring in the superstitions," quietly remarked
Lady Louvaine, "they shall scarce stick at the want of a chancel."

"True, Madam: yet would I fain make it as hard to bring them as ever I
could."

Aubrey left his friends about six o'clock, and Hans followed him to the
door.  On the steps there was a short, low-toned conversation.

"Hans, after all, thou art a good lad.  Did I hurt thee?"

"'Tis all o'er now, Aubrey: no matter."

"Then I did.  Well, I am sorry.  Shall I give thee a silver chain to
make up, old comrade?"

"All is made up.  Prithee, give me nothing--save--my brother Aubrey."

Aubrey's tone was glib and light, though with a slight sub-accent of
regret.  Hans's voice was more hesitating and husky.  It cost Hans much
to allow any one a glimpse into his heart; it cost Aubrey nothing.  But,
as is often the case, the guarded chamber contained rare treasure, while
in the open one there was nothing to guard.

"Thou art a good lad!" said Aubrey again, in a slightly ashamed tone, as
he took the offered hand.  "Truly, Hans, I was after none ill, only--
well, I hate to be watched and dogged, or aught like thereto."

"Who does not?" replied Hans.  "And in truth likewise, I was but coming
home, and spake my astonishment at seeing you."

"We are friends, then?"

"God forbid we should ever be any thing else!  Good-night, and God keep
you in His way!"

Not many days afterwards, an event happened, of some consequence to our
friends at the White Bear.  Their one powerful friend, Edward de Vere,
Earl of Oxford, died in June, 1604.

A strange study for a student of human nature is this Earl of Oxford--a
curious compound, like his late royal lady, of greatness and littleness.
He began life as a youthful exquisite.  His costumes were more
extravagant, his perfumes more choice, his Italian more pure and fluent,
than those of the other dilettante nobles of his time.  He was a minor
poet of some note in his day, and was esteemed to be the first writer of
comedy then living--though Shakespeare was living too.  In middle life
he blossomed out into a military patriot.  He ended his days as a hard,
cold, morose old man.  His life-lamp was used up: it had been made so to
flare in early youth, that there was no oil left to light him at the
end, when light and warmth were most needed.  Having quarrelled with his
father-in-law, the great Earl of Burleigh, he registered a savage and
senseless vow to "ruin his daughter," which he could do only by ruining
himself.  In pursuance of this insane resolution, he spent right and
left, until his estate was wrecked, and the innocent Countess Anne was
hunted into her grave.

The son who succeeded to his father's title, and to the few acres which
this mad folly had not flung away, was a mere boy of twelve years old.
It became a serious question in Lady Louvaine's mind whether Aubrey
should remain in the household after the decease of the old Earl.  She
found, however, that the widowed Countess Elizabeth kept a very orderly
house, and a strict hand over her son and his youthful companions, so
that Lady Louvaine, who saw no other door open, thought it best to leave
Aubrey where he was.  The Countess, who had been Maid of Honour to Queen
Elizabeth, had been well drilled by that redoubtable lady into proper
and submissive behaviour; and she now required similar good conduct from
her dependants, with excellent reasons for absence or dereliction from
duty.  That she was never deceived would be too much to say.

Meanwhile, matters progressed busily in the house by the river-side.
The conspirators took in a sixth accomplice--Christopher Wright, the
younger brother of John--and the six began their mine, about the
eleventh of December, 1604.

The wall of the House of Lords was three yards in thickness; the cellar
of Percy's house was extremely damp, being close to the river, and the
water continually oozed through into the mine.  Finding their task more
difficult than they had anticipated, a seventh was now taken into the
number--a pervert, Robert Keyes, the son of a Protestant clergyman in
Derbyshire.  A second house was hired at Lambeth, of which Keyes was
placed in charge, while to Fawkes was committed the chief business of
laying in the combustibles, first in the Lambeth house, and afterwards
of removing them to that at Westminster.  Fawkes went cautiously about
his business, purchasing his materials in various parts of the City, so
as not to excite suspicion.  He provided in all, three thousand billets
of wood, five hundred faggots, thirty-six barrels of gunpowder, with
stones and bars of iron, in order that the explosion might be more
destructive.  From the Bankside, or south bank of the Thames, where it
lay in hampers, twenty barrels of the powder was first brought in boats,
by night, to the house at Westminster, where it was stored in the cellar
to await the finishing of the mine.  By Christmas they had penetrated
the wall of Percy's house, and had reached that of the House of Lords.
They thought it desirable now to rest for the Christmas holidays; Keyes
was left in charge of the house at Lambeth, and the others departed in
various directions.

"Well, upon my word!  Prithee, good my master, who's your tailor?"

The speaker was Temperance Murthwaite, who was clad in the plainest of
brownish drab serges, without an unnecessary tag or scrap of fringe, and
carried on her arm an unmistakable market-basket, from which protruded
the legs of a couple of chickens and sundry fish-tails, notwithstanding
the clean cloth which should have hidden such ignoble articles from
public view.  The person addressed was Mr Aubrey Louvaine, and his
costume was a marvel of art and a feast of colour.

"My tailor is Adrian Sewell, Aunt, in Thieving Lane--"

"Like enough!" was the response.  "Well, Gentleman?"

"Shall I--" The words died on Aubrey's lips.  His aunt, who read his
thoughts exactly, stood wickedly enjoying the situation.

"Shall you carry the basket?  By all means, if it please your Highness.
Have a care, though, lest the tails of those whitings sully yon brave
crimson velvet, and see the fowls thrust not their talons into that
Spanish lace.  Methinks, Master Aubrey, considering your bravery of
array, you were best pocket your civility this morrow.  It'll be lesser
like to harm the lace and velvet than the chicks' legs and the
fish-tails.  You may keep me company an' you will, if I be good enough
to trudge alongside so fine a Whitsuntide show as you are.  That's two
of 'em."

"Of what, Aunt?" said Aubrey, feeling about as unhappy as a mixture of
humiliation and apprehension could make him.  If they were to meet one
of Lord Oxford's gentlemen, or one of his wealthy acquaintances, he felt
as though he should want the earth to open and swallow him.

"Suits, Gentleman," was the reply.  "Blue and white the first; crimson
and silver the second.  Haven't seen the green and gold yet, nor the
yellow, nor purple.  Suppose they're in the wardrobe.  Rather early
times, to be thus bedizened, or seems so to working folks--the Abbey
clock went eight but a few minutes since.  But quality is donned early,
I know."

As Mistress Temperance emitted this tingling small-shot of words, she
was marching with some rapidity up Old Palace Yard and the Abbey Close,
her magnificent nephew keeping pace with her, right sore against his
will.  At last Aubrey could bear no longer.  The windows of the Golden
Fish were in sight, and his soul was perturbed by a vision of the fair
Dorothy, who might be looking out, and whose eyes might light on the
jewel of himself in this extremely incongruous setting of Aunt
Temperance and the fish-tails.

"Aunt Temperance, couldn't--" Aubrey's words did not come so readily as
usual, that morning.

"Couldn't I walk slower?" suggested the aggravating person who was the
cause of his misery.  "Well, belike I could.--There's Mrs Gertrude up
at the window yonder--without 'tis Mrs Dorothy.--There's no hurry in
especial, only I hate to waste time."

And suiting the action to the word, Aunt Temperance checked her steps,
so as to give the young lady, whether it were Gertrude or Dorothy, a
more leisurely view of the fish-tails.

"Couldn't Rachel go marketing instead of you?" sputtered out Aubrey.

"Rachel has her own work; and so has Charity.  And so have I, Mr
Louvaine.  I suppose you haven't, as you seem to be gallivanting about
Westminster in crimson and silver at eight o'clock of a morning.  Now
then--"

"Aunt, 'tis not my turn this morrow to wait on my Lord's _lever_.  I
shall be at his _coucher_ this even."

"You may open the door, my master, if it demean not so fine a
gentleman.--Good maid!  Take my basket, Rachel.  The fish for dinner,
and the chicken for to-morrow."

"There's nobut four whitings here, Mistress: shouldn't there be five?"

"Hush thee, good maid.  They're twopence apiece."

"Eh, yo' never sen [say] so!"

"Ay, but I do.  Let be; I'll have a bit of green stuff, or something."

And as Rachel, looking but half satisfied, went off with the basket,
Temperance threw open the parlour door.

"Madam, suffer me to announce the Duke of Damask, the Prince of Plush,
the Viscount of Velvet, and the Baron of Bombast.  Pray you, look not
for four nobles; there is but one."

"Aubrey!" was the response, in diverse tones, from the three ladies.

The object of this attention did not look happy; but he walked in and
offered due greeting to his relatives.  Temperance sat down, untied her
plain black hood, and laid it aside.

"And whither might your Lordship be going when I captivated you?" asked
she.  "Not to this house, for you had passed it by."

"In good sooth, Aunt, I did not--I meant, indeed--I should maybe have
looked in," stammered the young man.

"Tell no lies, my lad, for thou dost it very ill," was Aunt Temperance's
most inconsiderate reply.

"You might come to see us oftener, I'm sure, Aubrey, if you would," said
his mother in a plaintive voice.  "It is hard, when I have only one
child, that he should never care to come.  I wish you had been a girl
like Lettice, and then we could have had some comfort out of you."

"My dear," said Aunt Temperance, "he is devoutly thankful he's not.  He
doesn't want to be tied at the aprons of a parcel of women, trust me.
Have you had your pipe of open-work, or what you are pleased to call it,
Gentleman, this morrow?  Only think of hanging that filthy stench about
those velvet fal-lals!  With whom spent you last even, lad?"

The question came so suddenly that Aubrey was startled into truth.
"With some friends of mine in the Strand, Aunt."  The next instant he
was sorry.

"Let's have their names," said Aunt Temperance.

"Well, Tom Rookwood was one."

"Folks generally put the best atop.  Hope _he_ wasn't the best.  Who
else?"

"Some gentlemen to whom Rookwood introduced me."

"I want their names," said the female examiner.

"Well--one of them is a Mr Winter."  Aubrey spoke with great
reluctance, as his aunt saw well.  He selected Winter's name as being
least uncommon of the group.  But he soon found that Destiny, in the
person of Aunt Temperance, did not mean to let him off so lightly as
this.

"What sort of an icicle is he?"

"He isn't an icicle at all, Aunt, but a very good fellow and right
pleasant company."

"Prithee bring him to see us.  Where lodgeth he?--is he a London man?"

"He is a Worcestershire gentleman, on a visit hither."

"Pass him.  Who else?"

"Well--a man named Darcy."

"A man, and _not_ a gentleman?  Whence comes he?"

"I don't know.  Scarcely a gentleman, seeing he deals in horses."

"Horses are good fellows enough, mostly: but folks who deal in horses
are apt to be worser,--why, can I never tell.  Is the horse-dealer
pleasant company belike?"

"Not so much to my liking as Mr Winter."

"I'm fain to hear it.  Who else?"

"There is a Mr Percy, kin to my Lord Northumberland."

Aunt Temperance drew in her breath with an inverted whistle.  "Lo, you
now, we are in select society!"

But Edith turned suddenly round.  "Aubrey, is he a true Protestant?"
She knew that Lord Northumberland was reckoned "the head of the
recusants."

"I really don't know, Aunt," replied Aubrey, to whom the idea had never
before occurred.  "I never heard him say aught whence I could guess it.
He is a very agreeable man."

"The more agreeable, maybe, the more dangerous.  My boy, do have a care!
`He that is not with Me is against Me.'"

"Oh, he's all right, I am sure," said Aubrey, carelessly.

"You seem sure on small grounds," said Aunt Temperance.  "Well, have we
made an end?--is he the last?"

"No, there is one other--Mr Catesby."

Aubrey had deliberately left Catesby to the last, yet he could not have
explained for what reason.  Lady Louvaine spoke for the first time.

"Catesby?--a Catesby of Ashby Ledgers?"

"I have not heard, further than that his home is in Northamptonshire,
and his mother the Lady Anne Catesby."

"I think it is.  They are a Popish family, or were, not many years ago.
Aubrey, come here."

The young man obeyed, in some surprise.  His gentle grandmother was not
wont to speak in tones of such stern determination as these.

"My boy!" she said, "I charge thee on my benison, and by the dear memory
of him from whom thou hast thy name, that thou endeavour thyself to
thine utmost to discover whether these men be Papists or no.  Ask not of
themselves--they may deceive thee; and a Papist oft counts deceit no
wrong when it is done in the interests of his Church.  Make my
compliments to my cousin, my Lady Oxford, and give her the names of
these gentlemen, and where they lodge; saying also that I do most
earnestly beseech that she will make inquiry by her chaplain, and give
me to know, how they stand concerned in this matter.  Aubrey, you know
not the danger of such friendship: I do.  Obey me, at your peril."

Never in his life had Aubrey heard such words from the usually soft,
sweet lips of the Lady Lettice.  He was thoroughly frightened, all the
more because the dangers to be feared were so vague and unknown.  A few
minutes before, he had been feeling vexed with his Aunt Temperance for
catechising him so strictly about his friends.  Now, this sensation had
quite given way before astonishment and vague apprehension.

"Yes, Madam, I will," he answered gravely.

And he meant it.  But--

What a number of excellent people, and what a multiplicity of good
deeds, there would be in this naughty world, if only that little
conjunction could be left out!

Aubrey quitted the White Bear with the full intention of carrying out
his grandmother's behest.  But not just now.  He must do it, of course,
before he saw her again.  Lady Oxford might take it into her head to pay
a visit to Lady Louvaine, in which case it would surely be discovered if
the question had not been passed on.  Of course it must be done: only,
not just now.  He might surely spend a few more pleasant evenings at
Winter's lodgings, before he set on foot those disagreeable inquiries
which might end in his being deprived of the pleasure.  Lady Oxford,
therefore, was not troubled that evening,--nor the next, nor indeed for
a goodly number to follow.  But within a week of his visit to the White
Bear, when the sharp edge of his grandmother's words had been a little
blunted by time, and the cares of other things had entered in, Aubrey
again made his way to the lodgings occupied by Winter at the sign of the
Duck, in the Strand, "hard by Temple Bar."

There were various reasons for this action.  In the first place, Aubrey
was entirely convinced that the judgment of a man of twenty-one was to
be preferred before that of a woman of seventy-seven.  Secondly, he
enjoyed Winter's society.  Thirdly, he liked Winter's tobacco.
Fourthly, he admired Betty, who usually let him in, and who, being even
more foolish than himself, was not at all averse to a few empty
compliments and a little frothy banter, which he was very ready to
bestow.  For Aubrey was not of that sterling metal of which his
grandfather had been made, "who loved one only and who clave to her,"
and to whom it would have been a moral impossibility to flirt with one
woman while he was making serious love to another.  Lastly, the society
of his friends had acquired an added zest by the probability of its
being a dangerous luxury.  He loved dearly to poise himself on the edge
of peril, though of course, like all who do so, he had not the slightest
intention of falling in.

On the evening in question, Betty made no appearance, and Aubrey was let
in by her mistress, a plain-featured middle-aged woman, on whom he had
no temptation to waste his perfumes.  He made his way up the stairs to
Winter's door, and his hand was on the latch when he heard Percy's
voice.

"Through by the seventh of February!  You'll be nothing of the sort."

"I cry you mercy.  I think we shall," answered Catesby.

Aubrey lifted the latch, and entered.

Four gentlemen sat round the fire--Winter and Catesby; Percy, whom
Aubrey knew, and in whose hand was the pipe; and a fourth, a tall, dark,
and rather fine-looking man, with brown hair, auburn beard, and a
moustache the ends of which curled upwards.

"Ha!  Mr Louvaine?  You are right welcome," said Winter, rising to
greet his young friend, while Percy took his pipe from his lips, and
offered it to the latter.  Nobody introduced the stranger, and Aubrey
took but little notice of him, especially as thenceforth he sat in
silence.  He might have paid more if he could have known that after
three hundred years had rolled by, and the names of all then known as
eminent men should have faded from common knowledge, the name of that
man should be fresh in the memory of every Englishman, and deeply
interesting to every English boy.  He was in the company of Guy Fawkes.

To appear as a nameless stranger, and indeed to appear at all as little
as possible, was Fawkes's policy at this moment.  He was just about to
present himself on the stage as John Johnson, "Mr Percy's man," and for
any persons in London to know him by his own name would be a serious
drawback, for it was to a great extent because he was unknown in Town
that he had been selected to play this part.  Yet matters were not quite
ready for the assumption of his new character.  He therefore sat silent,
and was not introduced.

They smoked, sipped Rhenish wine, and chatted on indifferent subjects,
for an hour or more; discussed the "sleeping preacher," Richard Haydock,
then just rising into notoriety--who professed to deliver his sermons in
his sleep, and was afterwards discovered to be an imposter; the last
benefaction in the parish church, for two poor Irish gentlewomen on
their journey home, recommended by letters from the Council; the last
new ballad.

"But have you beheld," asked Winter, when these topics were exhausted,
"the King's new caroche of the German fashion, with a roof to fall
asunder at his Majesty's pleasure?"

"I have," said Catesby; "and methinks it shall take with many,
gentlewomen more in especial."

"Wherefore, now?" inquired Percy, laughing.  "Think you gentlewomen lack
air rather than gentlemen, or that they shall think better to show their
dainty array and their fair faces?"

"A little of both," was the answer.

"There is truly great increase in coaches of late years," remarked
Winter.

"Why, the saddlers are crying out they are like to be ruined," said
Percy; "the roads are cloyed and pestered, and the horses lamed."

"Ay, and that is not the worst of it," added Catesby.  "Evil-disposed
persons, who dare not show themselves openly for fear of correction,
shadow and securely convey themselves in coaches, and so are not to be
distinguished from persons of honour."

The whole company agreed that this was extremely shocking, and piously
denounced all evil-disposed persons in a style which Aubrey thought most
edifying.  As he walked back later, he meditated whether he should make
those inquiries of Lady Oxford that night, and decided not to do so.  No
real Papist or traitor, thought the innocent youth, would be likely to
denounce evil-disposed persons!  The airs they had been singing, before
parting, recurred to his mind, and he hummed fragments of them as he
went along.  "Row well, ye mariners", "All in a garden green", "Phillida
flouts me," and the catch of "Whoop, Barnaby!" finishing up with
"Greensleeves" and one or two madrigals--these had been their evening
entertainment: but madrigals were becoming unfashionable, and were not
heard now so often as formerly.  The music of Elizabeth's day, which was
mainly harmony with little melody, containing "scarcely any tune that
the uncultivated ear could carry away," was giving way to a less learned
but more melodious style.  Along with this, there was a rapid increase
in the cultivation of instrumental music, while vocal music continued to
be exceedingly popular.  It was usual enough for tradesmen and artisans
to take part in autiphons, glees, and part-songs of all kinds, while
ballads were in such general favour that ballad-mongers could earn
twenty shillings a day.  A bass viol generally hung in a drawing-room
for the visitors to play; but the few ladies who used this instrument
were thought masculine.  The education of girls at this time admitted of
scarcely any accomplishment but music: they were taught to read, write,
sew, and cook, to play the virginals, lute, and cithern, and to read
prick-song at sight,--namely, to sing from the score, without
accompaniment.  Those who were acquainted with any language beside their
own were the few and highly-cultured; and a girl who knew French or
Italian was still more certain to have learned Latin, if not Greek.
German and Spanish were scarcely ever taught; indeed, the former was
regarded as quite outside the list of learnable tongues.

It was a sore trouble to Aubrey that the White Bear and the Golden Fish
were next door to each other.  Had he had the ordering of their
topography, they would have been so situated that he could have dropped
into the latter, to sun himself in the eyes of the fair Dorothy, without
the least fear of being seen from the former.  He stood in wholesome
fear of his Aunt Temperance's sharp speeches, and had a less wholesome,
because more selfish, dislike of his mother's ceaseless complaints.
Moreover, Aunt Edith was wont to disturb his equanimity by a few quiet
occasional words which would ring in his ears for days afterwards, and
make him very uncomfortable.  Her speeches were never long, but they
were often weighty, and were adapted to make their hearers consider
their ways, and think what they would do in the end thereof--a style of
consideration always unwelcome to Aubrey, and especially so since his
view of the world had been enlarged by coming to London.

He was just now in an awkward position, and the centre and knot of the
awkwardness was Dorothy Rookwood.  He was making no way with Dorothy.
Her brother he met frequently at Winter's rooms, but if he wished to see
her, he must go to her home.  If he went there, he must call at the
White Bear.  If he did that, he must first deliver his grandmother's
message to Lady Oxford.  And only suppose that Lady Oxford's inquiries
should lead to discoveries which would end in a rupture between the
Golden Fish and the White Bear--in Aubrey's receiving an order to drop
all acquaintance with the Rookwoods!  For Aubrey's training, while very
kindly conducted, had been one of decided piety; and unchanged as was
his heart, the habits and tone of eighteen years were not readily shaken
off.  He could not feel easy in doing many things that he saw others do;
he could not take upon his lips with impunity words which he heard
freely used around him.  His conscience was unseared as yet, and it
tormented him sorely.  The result of these reflections was that Aubrey
turned into Oxford House, without visiting King Street at all, and
sought his bed without making any attempt to convey the message.

Before the conspirators resumed their work after the Christmas holidays,
they took two more into their number.  These were Robert Winter of
Huddington, the elder brother of Thomas, and John Grant of Norbrook, who
had married Dorothy, sister of the Wrights.  Catesby and Thomas Winter
went down to the Catherine Wheel at Oxford, whence they sent for their
friends to come to them, and having first pledged them to secrecy, they
were then initiated into the plot.

It was about this Christmas that Catesby also took into his confidence
the only one of the conspirators who was not a gentleman--his own
servant, Thomas Bates, partly because he had "great opinion of him for
his long-tried fidelity," and partly also because, having been employed
in carrying messages, he suspected that he had some inkling of the
secret, and wished that, like the rest, he should be bound to keep it by
oath.  Bates is described as a yeoman, and "a man of mean station, who
had been much persecuted on account of religion."  Having been desired
to confirm his oath by receiving the Sacrament "with intention," and as
a pre-requisite of this was confession, Bates went to Greenway, whom he
acquainted with the particulars, "which he was not desirous to hear,"
and asked if he might lawfully join in such work.  Greenway directed him
to keep the secret, "because it was for a good cause," and forbade him
to name the subject to any other priest.  This is Bates's account;
Greenway asserts that Bates never named the subject to him, either in or
out of confession; but the Jesuit code of morality required his denial,
if he had heard it in confession only.  Poor Bates was the most innocent
of the conspirators, and the most truly penitent: he was rather a tool
and a victim than a miscreant.  He lost his life through neglect of a
much-forgotten precept--"If sinners entice thee, consent thou not."

The conspirators now set to work again on their mine, and wrought till
Candlemas Day, by which time they were half through the wall of the
House.  Fawkes was on all occasions the sentinel.  They had provided
themselves with "baktmeats," pasties, and hard-boiled eggs, sufficient
for twenty days, in order to avoid exciting the suspicions of their
neighbours by constantly bringing fresh provisions to a house supposed
to be occupied by one person alone.  The labour was very severe,
especially to Catesby and Percy, on account of their unusual height.
The oozing in of the water was a perpetual annoyance.  But one day,
something terrible occurred.

As the amateur miners plied their picks with diligence, the toll of a
bell was suddenly heard.  John Wright, who was furthest in the mine,
stopped with uplifted tool.

"Blessed saints! what can that be?"

Work was unanimously suspended.

"It comes from the very midst of the wall!" said Catesby, growing a
shade paler.

"_Refugium peccatorum, ora pro nobis_!" piously entreated Percy,
crossing himself.

"Call Mr Fawkes," suggested Christopher.

Mr Fawkes was summoned, by his official name of Johnson; and coming
down into the cellar, declared that he also distinctly heard the uncanny
sound.

"'Tis the Devil that seeketh to make stay of our work," pronounced
Percy--a most improbable suggestion, for Satan surely had no cause to
interfere with his servants when engaged in his own business.

"Have we here any holy water?" asked Catesby.

"Ay, there is in the bedchamber," said Fawkes.

"Pray you, fetch it quickly."

The holy water was at once brought, and the wall was sprinkled with it.
At that moment the tolling ceased.

"Blessed be our Lady! the holy water hath stayed it," said Percy.

After a few minutes' pause, the work was recommenced: but it had gone on
for barely an hour when again the unearthly bell began its work.  Once
more the benitier was brought, and the wall sprinkled; whereupon the
diabolical noise stopped at once.  For several days these processes were
repeated, the bell invariably being silenced by the sprinkling of the
blessed element.  At least, so said the conspirators.

About the second of February, there was another scare.  A strange
rushing noise was heard on the other side of the wall, from what cause
was unknown; and Catesby, as usual the chief director, whispered to
Fawkes to go out and ascertain what it was.

Fawkes accordingly went upstairs, and out into the street.  A waggon
stood before the door of the House of Lords, and men were busy carrying
sacks and tubs from the cellar to the waggon.  Charcoal only was then
sold by the sack; sea-coal being disposed of in tubs.

"Good-morrow, Master," said Roger Neck, the servant who was
superintending the transaction, as Fawkes paused a moment, apparently to
look on, after the fashion of an idle man.  Roger had seen him more than
once, passing in and out of Percy's house; but he was the only one of
the plotters ever visible in the daytime.

"Good-morrow, friend.  Selling your coals off?"

"Ay, we're doing a middling stroke of business this morrow."

"How much a load?  We shall want some ere long."

"Charcoal, fourteen shillings; cannel, sixpence to ninepence, according
to quality."

Fawkes walked down the street, to avoid suspicion, into King Street,
where he turned into the first shop to which he came.  It happened to be
a cutler's, and he bought the first thing he saw--a dozen knives of
Sheffield make.  Had they been London-made, they would have cost four
times as much as the modest shilling demanded for them.  He then
returned to Percy's house, carrying the knives in his hand.  Fawkes had
now fully blossomed out in his new role of "Mr Percy's man," and was
clad in blue camlet accordingly, blue being then the usual wear of
servants out of livery.

"What is it, Johnson?" asked Percy, addressing Fawkes by his assumed
name, when he came down into the cellar.

"It is a dozen of Sheffield knives, Master," replied Fawkes a little
drily: "and by the same token, our next neighbour is selling his coals,
and looks not unlike to clear out his cellar."

"Is that all?"

"That is all."

Two of the conspirators looked at each other.

"If you could hire the cellar--" suggested Catesby.

"Done!" said Percy.  "It should save us a peck of trouble."

"Who owns it?--or who hath it?" asked Catesby.

"Why, for who owns it, I guess the Parliament House," answered Fawkes;
"but for who hath it, that must we discover."

"Pray you, make haste and discover it, then."

Fawkes went out again to make inquiries.  He found without difficulty
that the cellar, like the houses adjoining, was held by the Wyniards,
and it was agreed that Percy should call on them and endeavour to obtain
it.

He accordingly went to see his landlady, to whom he represented that he
wished to bring his wife up to live with him in London--she was in the
country at present, and he missed her sorely--but if that were done, he
must have more stowage for wood and coals.

Mrs Wyniard's interest was aroused at once in a man who cared for his
wife, and felt a want of her society.

"Well, now, I am sorry!" said she.  "You see, we've let that vault to
Mrs Skinner--leastwise, Mrs Bright, she is now--o' King Street, to
store her coals.  Her new husband's a coal-seller, see you.  You should
have had it, as sure as can be, if I hadn't."

"It were very much to my commodity," said Percy, truthfully this time,
"if I could hire that cellar, and,"--the second half of the sentence was
a falsehood--"I have already been to Mrs Skinner, and hold her
consent."

"Well, now, but that's a bit mean o' Skinner's wife," said Mrs Wyniard
in a vexed tone; "she shouldn't ha' done that and ne'er ha' let me know.
I wouldn't ha' thought that of Ellen Skinner--no, I wouldn't."

"But," suggested Percy, insinuatingly, "if I gave you twenty shillings
over for your good-will, and prayed you to say nought to Mrs Skinner,
and I will likewise content her?"

"Well, you know how to drive a bargain, forsooth," answered Mrs
Wyniard, laughing.  "Come, I'll let Widow Skinner be--Mistress Bright, I
mean.  You shall have the vault for four pounds a quarter, if so be
she's content."

Percy's next visit was to the coal-seller and his bride.  Mr Bright was
not at home, but Mrs Bright was; and though she could not write her
name [Note 1], she could use her tongue to some purpose.

"To be sure we hold the cellar.  Sixteen pound by the year, and that's
plenty.  Takes a many loads of coals to make that, I warrant you."

"I wondered," said Percy in a careless manner, as though he did not much
care whether he got it or not, "whether you might let me the cellar for
the same purpose?  I think to lay in wood and coals for the winter, and
my own cellar is scarce large enough, for I am a Northern man, and love
a good fire.  This cellar of yours, being so close by, should be greatly
to my convenience, if you were willing."

"Well, to be sure, and it would so!" assented innocent Mrs Bright.
"You see, I can't speak certain till my master comes in, but I'm sure
you may take it as good: he mostly does as I bid him.  So we'll say, if
Mrs Wyniard be content to accept the rent from you, you shall have it
at four pound by the quarter, and give me forty shillings in my hand."
[Note 2.]

"Done," said Percy, "if your husband consent."

"I'll see to it he doth," she answered with a capable nod.

The bargain was struck: Andrew Bright did as he was told, and Percy was
to become the occupant of the cellar without delay.

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

Note 1.  She signed her deposition by a mark, while her servant Roger
Neck, wrote his name.

Note 2.  Examination of Ellen Bright, Gunpowder Plot Book, article 24.



CHAPTER SIX.

WAIT A MONTH.

  "Alas, long-suffering and most patient God!
  Thou needst be surelier God to bear with us
  Than even to have made us."

  Elizabeth Barrett Browning.

The conspirators had just concluded their bargain, and decided that the
cellar must be stored with materials in all haste, to be ready for the
meeting of Parliament on the seventh of February, when like a bomb-shell
in their midst fell a royal proclamation, proroguing Parliament again
until the third of October.  To go on now, especially in haste, was
plainly a useless proceeding.

A short consultation was held, which ended in the decision that they
should part and scatter themselves in different places.  Fawkes
particularly was enjoined to keep out of the way, since he was wanted to
appear as a stranger when the moment arrived for action; he therefore
determined to go abroad.

The rest dispersed in various directions: Percy was left alone at the
house in Westminster, where he beguiled his leisure by having a door
made through the wall, where the mine had been, so as to give him easier
access to the vault under the House, and better opportunities of
carrying in the combustibles unseen.  They agreed to meet again, ready
for work, on the second of September; and before parting, one other was
admitted to their fellowship, to whom was confided the task of aiding
Fawkes to accumulate the store of powder.  This was Mr Ambrose
Rookwood, of Coldham Hall, Suffolk.

Before Fawkes left England, he accomplished one important piece of
business, by carrying into the vault beneath the House all the wood and
coals hitherto stored in Percy's cellar.  Among it was carefully hidden
the gunpowder also in waiting, billets of wood being heaped upon the
barrels.  The door was then locked, and Fawkes took the key, marking the
door on the inside in such a manner that its having been opened could be
detected thereafter.  The wife of the porter, Gideon Gibbons, the next
door neighbour, was placed in charge of Percy's house, in which no
tell-tale combustibles had now been left.  Keyes was made again
custodian of the house at Lambeth.

These arrangements being complete, Percy went to see his wife, whom he
had left in the country, and Fawkes, embarking at Dover, took his
journey to Brussels, where he resumed his own name.

When Aubrey applied next at the door of Winter's lodgings, he was
informed that the gentlemen were gone into the country.  He turned back
disappointed--after a little frothy banter with Betty, which it would be
a sad waste of paper and ink to detail--and began to consider what he
should do next.  A sensation of extreme relief came to his mind, as the
idea occurred to him that there could be no need at all to make any
inquiries during the absence of his friends.  He might visit the fair
Dorothy, and even venture into the jaws of the White Bear, without fear
of any thing unpleasant.  Merely to say that his friends had left Town,
and he was not now cultivating their society, would surely satisfy his
grandmother: and as for any thing else,--why, let fate take care of the
future.  Being usually the creature of impulse, no sooner was this said,
or rather thought, than it was done.  Aubrey turned away from the Duck,
and retraced his steps to Charing Cross, left Whitehall behind him, and
came out into King Street.

Now came the tug of war.  Would he meet Aunt Temperance? or would that
formidable and irresistible individual pounce upon him from the door?
But all was still, and he reached the Golden Fish without any mishap.

Another disappointment!  He was shown into the parlour, where Gertrude
rose to meet him, and Mrs Rookwood came in a few minutes later.  Tom
was spending the evening with friends, and Anne was with him.  Aubrey
cared nothing about Anne, whom he mentally dubbed a stupid idiot; for
Tom's absence he was more sorry.  But what was Dorothy doing that she
did not shine on her worshipper?

"Had you honoured us with a visit last Tuesday, Mr Louvaine," said
Gertrude, glancing at him, as she was wont to do, out of the corners of
her dark eyes, "we had enjoyed the happiness of bringing you acquainted
with our uncle Rookwood of Coldham Hall.  He left us, o' Wednesday in
the morning, for his place in Suffolk."

"Doll is gone with him," placidly added Mrs Rookwood.

The bright colours of Gertrude's embroidery took a sudden tarnish in the
eyes of the visitor.

"Ay, for a month or two," said Gertrude, lightly.  "She shall find a
merry house at Coldham, you may be sure.  Our cousins, and all the
Burgesses, and the Collinsons--ever so many young gentlemen and
gentlewomen--and," with a slight, significant laugh, "Mr Roland Burgess
in particular."

Aubrey felt as if he should exceedingly have enjoyed despatching Mr
Roland Burgess to the Caucasus, or Cochin-China, or any other
inconceivably remote locality.  He did not stay long after that.  There
was nothing to keep him.  Bows and courtesies were exchanged, and
Aubrey, feeling as if life were flat and unsatisfying, turned into the
White Bear.

It was nearly dusk, and he could not see whom he met by the parlour
door.

"Is that your Lordship?" greeted him, in the voice of Aunt Temperance.
"Blue or yellow this even?  Truly, we scarce looked for so much honour
as two visits in the twelvemonth.  Why, without I err, 'tis not yet
three months since we had leave to see your Lordship's crimson and
silver.  Pray you, walk in--you are as welcome as flowers in May, as
wise as Waltom's calf, and as safe to mend as sour ale in summer."

"You are full of compliments, Aunt Temperance," said Aubrey, half vexed
and half laughing.

"I'm like, with strangers, Gentleman."

Aubrey went past her into the parlour, to receive a warmer and less
sarcastic welcome from the rest of his relatives--his mother excepted,
who reminded him, in her usual plaintive tones, that she was a poor
widow, and it was very hard if she might never see her only child.

"Well, I am here, Mother."

"Ay, but you scarce ever come.  'Tis ever so long that we have not seen
you.  'Tis cruel of my Lord Oxford thus to keep you away from your poor
mother."

"My Lord Oxford has less to do with it, my dear, than Mr Aubrey
Louvaine," said her sister.  "Young men don't commonly reckon their
mothers' company the sweetest.  They never know on which side their
bread's buttered."

"No butter will stick on my bread, Aunt," said Aubrey, answering one
proverb by another.

Instead of replying, Aunt Temperance lighted a candle and calmly looked
her nephew over.

"Well!" said she, as the result of her inspection, "if I were donned in
grass-green velvet, guarded o' black, with silver tags, and a
silver-bossed girdle, and gloves o' Spanish leather, I should fancy I'd
got a bit o' butter on my bread.  Maybe your honour likes it thick?
Promotes effusing of bile, that doth.  Pray you, how fare your
Papistical friends this even?"

Lady Louvaine looked up and listened for the answer.

"You set it down they be Papistical somewhat too soon, Aunt," said
Aubrey a little irritably.  "Mr Winter and his friends, if they be whom
you hit at, be gone away into the country, and I have not seen them this
some time."

The next question put to him was the one that Aubrey was expecting, with
an expectation which caused his irritability.

"What said my Lady Oxford to the matter, Aubrey?"

"Truly, Madam, I have not yet made the inquiration.  My Lady is at this
time full of business, and seeing my friends were away, I thought you
should not require haste."

Aubrey's conscience stirred a little uneasily, and he said to it, "Be
quiet!  I have not told any falsehood."

"I would not have you to chafe your Lady, if she have no time to
listen," said Lady Louvaine, with a disappointed look: "but indeed,
Aubrey, the matter must be seen to, and not done by halves, moreover."

A rap at the door preceded Charity, who came to announce Mrs Abbott--a
ceremony always used at the White Bear, but entirely unnecessary in the
eyes of the lady of the Angel.

"Well, what think you?" she began, before her greetings were well over;
for Mistress Abbott was a genuine Athenian, who spent all her leisure
hours, and some hours when she should not have been at leisure, in first
gathering information, and then retailing it, not having any special
care to ascertain its accuracy.  "Well, what think you?  Here be three
of our neighbours to be presented by the street wardens--Lewce, the
baker, for that they cannot keep his pigs out of the King's Street; Joan
Cotton the silkwoman as a sower of strife amongst her neighbours; and
Adrian Sewell for unlawfully following the trade of a tailor."

"Why, that is thy tailor, Aubrey!" exclaimed Aunt Temperance.  "I trust
thou art not deep in his books?"

"Never a whit, Aunt; I owe him ne'er a penny," said Aubrey, flushing,
and not adding that Mr William Patrick's books were separate volumes,
nor that those of Nathan Cohen, in Knightriders' Street, were not
entirely guiltless of his name.

"Ay, that's the way," said Mrs Abbott, nodding her head.  "Pay as you
go, and keep from small scores.  Truly I would, Mr Louvaine, our
Stephen were as wise as you.  Such a bill as came in this week past from
a silkman in Paternoster Row!  White satin collars at eight and ten
shillings the piece, and a doublet of the same at two pound; curled
feathers, and velvet doublets, and perfumed gloves at twenty pence or
more.  His father's in a heavy taking, I can tell you, and saith he
shall be ruined.  Look you, we've four lads, and here's Stephen a-going
this path--and if Seth and Caleb and Ben just go along after Stephen,
it'll be a fine kettle o' fish, I can tell you.  Oh dear, but you've a
deal to be thankful for, and only one to trouble you!  The bicker those
lads do make!"

"We have all something wherefore we may be thankful, friend," said Lady
Louvaine gently, when Mrs Abbott stopped to breathe.

"Well, then, there's the maids--Mall, and Silence, and Prissy, and
Dorcas, and Hester--and I can promise you, they make such a racket
amongst 'em, I'm very nigh worn to a shadow."

Aubrey and Lettice were giving funny glances at each other, and doing
their utmost not to disgrace the family by laughing.  If Mrs Abbott
were worn to a shadow, shadows were very portly and substantial
articles.

"I declare, that Prissy! she's such a rattle as never you saw! no
getting a word in for her.  I tell her many a time, I wonder her tongue
does not ache, such a chatterbox as she is.  I'm no talker, you see;
nobody can say such a thing of me, but as to her--"

A curious sound in Aubrey's direction was rapidly followed by a cough.

"Eh now, don't you say you've a spring cough!" ejaculated Mrs Abbott,
turning her artillery on that young gentleman.  "Horehound, and mallow,
and coltsfoot, they're the best herbs; and put honey to 'em, and take it
fasting of a morrow.  There be that saith this new stuff of late come
up--tobago, or what they call it--my husband says he never heard of
aught with so many names.  Talking o' names, have you seen that young
maid, daughter of the baker new set up at back here?  Whatever on earth
possessed him to call her Penelope?  Dear heart, but they say there's a
jolly brunt betwixt my Lord Rich and his Lady--she that was my Lady
Penelope Devereux, you know.  My Lord he is a great Puritan, and a
favourer of that way; and my Lady, she likes a pretty gown and a gay
dance as well as e'er a one; so the wars have fallen out betwixt 'em--"

"If it like you, Mistress Abbott," said Charity, opening the door
immediately after a knock, "here's your Ben, that says your master wants
you."

"Ay," shouted Ben from the door in no dulcet tones, "and he said if you
didn't come, he'd fetch you.  You were safe to be gossiping somewhere,
he said, and says he--"

"Take that for your imperence, Sir!" was his mother's answer, hurrying
to the door, with a gesture suited to the words.  "Well, I do vow, if
ever I come forth to have half a word with a neighbour, that man o'
mine's sure for to call it gossiping.--Get away wi' thee!  I'm coming in
a wink.--Well, but you do look cheery and peaceful!  I would I could ha'
tarried a bit.  Mrs Lettice, my dear, you take warning by me, and don't
you marry a man as gives you no liberty.  Stand up for your rights, my
dear, and get 'em--that's what I say.  Good even!  There's no end to the
imperence of lads, and no more to the masterfulness of men.  Don't you
have nought to do with 'em!  Good-night."

"I could not have stood it another minute!" said Aubrey as soon as she
was out of hearing, while he and Lettice made the walls echo.

On a calm June evening, three men met at a house in Thames Street, where
Garnet lodged.  They were Robert Catesby, the Reverend Oswald Greenway,
and the Reverend Henry Garnet.  They met to consult and decide on the
last uncertainties, and as it were to finish off the scheme of the plot.
The conclusions ended, Garnet let out his friends, who with hats drawn
low down, and faces muffled in their cloaks, glided softly and darkly
away.

As the month of August ran out, the conspirators gradually returned to
London, with some exceptions, who joined their ghostly father, Garnet,
in a pious pilgrimage to Saint Winifred's Well, better known as
Holywell, in Flintshire.  The party numbered about thirty, and comprised
Lady Digby, two daughters of Lord Vaux, Rookwood, and his wife.  Thomas
Winter wrote to Grant that "friends" would reach Norbrook on the second
or third of September, begging him to "void his house of Morgan and his
she-mate," as otherwise it "would hardly bear all the company."  The
route taken was from Goathurst, the home and inheritance of Lady Digby,
by Daventry, Norbrook, the residence of Grant, Huddington, the house of
Robert Winter, and Shrewsbury, to Holt, in Flintshire.  In some uneasy
nightmare during that pilgrimage, did a faint prescience of that which
was to come ever flit before the eyes of Ambrose Rookwood, as to the
circumstances wherein he should journey that road again?  From Holt the
ladies walked barefoot to the "holy well," which, according to
tradition, had sprung up on the place where Saint Winifred's head had
rolled on being cut off: they remained at the well for the night.  They
returned the same way, mass being said by Garnet at Huddington and
Norbrook.  It is difficult to believe that those who went on this
pilgrimage could be wholly innocent of "intention" respecting the plot
so soon to be executed.

Fawkes arrived from abroad on the first of September, staying the first
night at an inn outside Aldgate.  The next day, he went down to the
Tower Wharf, hailed a boat, and was ferried to Westminster, where, under
his alias of John Johnson, and Percy's servant, he relieved Mrs Gibbons
of her charge, took possession of his master's house, and of the cellar
where was stored his master's stock of winter fuel.  A careful
examination of the door of the vault showed that it had not been
tampered with during the absence of the conspirators.

Winter now returned to London, taking up his abode in his old quarters
at the Duck, where Keyes, Rookwood, and Christopher Wright, had
apartments also.  Catesby and Percy did not return till later.  The
latter had gone to Bath, where he found Lord Monteagle; and the two sent
to Catesby, entreating "the dear Robin" to join them.  Catesby obeyed,
and came.

The Bath, as it was then usual to call the ancient city of hot springs,
was a very different town from that which we now know.  Like all of
Roman origin, its design was cruciform, with four gates, and as usual a
church at every gate.  The only one of these churches now standing--and
that has been rebuilt--is Saint James's, at South Gate.  The modern
fashionable part of Bath, including Milsom Street, the Circus, and the
Crescent, lies outside the walls of the ancient Aqua Solis.

Mr Catesby found his friends in Cheap Street, which ran from Stawles
Church, in the midst of the city, to East Gate, Here he vegetated for a
week, resting after his toil, and applying himself to the business which
had apparently brought him, by diligent attendance at the King's Bath,
on the site of the present Pump-room.  Here, at this time, ladies and
gentlemen, in elaborate costumes and adorned by wonderful hair-dressing,
bathed together under the eyes of the public, which contributed its
quota of amusement and interest by pelting the bathers with dead dogs,
cats, and pigs--a state of things not considered disgusting, but
laughable.

On the morning after the arrival of Catesby, he and Percy went down to
the East Gate, hailed a boat, which ferried them across the Avon, where
Laura Place now stands, and leaving Bathwick Mill on the left hand, they
began to ascend the hill on whose summit once stood the yet older
British city of Caer Badon.

"Mr Percy," said Catesby, as they walked slowly upwards, "since I have
tarried here, I have had some time for thought; and I can tell you, I am
nigh beat out of heart touching our matter."

"You, Mr Catesby!  Truly, I never thought to see you struck into your
dumps.  But what now, I beseech you?"

Gentlemen did not, at that time, speak to each other without the
respectful prefix of "Mister," though they might now and then speak of
an acquaintance without it.  When intimacy was so great as to warrant
laying it aside, the Christian name took its place.

"Well, look you here," said Catesby.  "We are all men of birth, but not
one of us is a man of money.  You, 'tis true, have my Lord
Northumberland behind you, but how long time may he tarry?  Were he to
die, or to take pepper in the nose, where then are we?  All is naught
with us at once, being all but mean men of estate."

"My cousin of Northumberland is not like to play that prank, or I err,"
answered Percy, who well knew that Lord Northumberland was not in all
cases cognisant of the use made of his name by this very worthy cousin:
"as to death, of course that may hap,--we are all prone to be tumbled
out of the world at short notice.  But what then is your project? for
without you have some motion in your mind, good Mr Catesby, I read you
not aright."

"To be sure I have," said Catesby with a smile.  "But first--if I
remember rightly, your friend young Louvaine is not he that can aid us
in this juncture?"

"Hasn't a penny to bless himself with," replied Percy, "save his wage
from my Lord Oxford, and that were but a drop in the sea for us.  His
old grandmother can do but little for him--so much have I picked out of
his prattle.  But, surely, Mr Catesby, you would not think to take into
our number a green lad such as he, and a simpleton, and a Protestant to
boot?"

"Take into our number!" cried Catesby.  "Good Mr Percy, you miss the
cushion [make a mistake].  A good tale, well tinkered, should serve that
companion, and draw silver from his pockets any day.  What we lack is
two or three men of good estate, and of fit conditions and discreet
years, that may safely be sworn--and I think I know where to find them."

"I'll lay my crown to pawn you do!" exclaimed Percy admiringly.  "Pray
you, who be they?"

"Sir Everard Digby, of Tilton, in Rutland; and my cousin, Frank Tresham
of Rushton."

"Good men and true?  Both are strange to me."

"Ay; Digby is a staunch Catholic, but may lack some persuasion to join
us.  Tresham--well, I count he may be trusted.  His money-bags be heavy,
though his character is but light.  I will make certain that he will not
blab nor tattle--that is the thing most to be feared.  Know you not
Frank Tresham?--my cousin, and my Lord Monteagle's wife's brother."

"Oh ay!  I have met him," said Percy.  "I wist not it was he you meant."

"I had hope once that Mr Fawkes should bring grist to our mill," said
Gatesby, thoughtfully: "but I see that is but a Will-o'-the-Wisp."

"Mr Fawkes?  Oh no!  His father was but a younger son--Mr Edward
Fawkes of Farnley, a notary at York, and Registrar of the Consistory
Court there.  He left him but a farm of some thirty pound by the year,
and Guy ran through it like a herring through the water.  The only hope
by his means would be the borrowing of money from his step-father, Mr
Foster, and methinks he hath a larger heart than purse."

They walked on for a few minutes in silence, when Percy said, "How will
you get hold of these men?"

"Send Tom Winter to Sir Everard, and I will tackle Tresham.  Then, when
I return, will we go forth with the mine."

"Done!" said Percy.

And the pair of conspirators came down the hill.

Instead of returning direct to London, Catesby went to visit Robert
Winter at Huddington, Percy going to his own house at the upper end of
Holborn.  Catesby remained for three days with Robert Winter, whom he
induced to send for Stephen Littleton of Holbeach and his cousin
Humphrey Littleton.  These gentlemen were not, however, initiated into
the plot, but only desired to lend their assistance to "a matter of
weight, and for the especial good of all Catholics."

The Christmas holidays being over, the mining was resumed, the
conspirators having now added to their number Francis Tresham and Sir
Everard Digby.  It was not done without some difficulty.  The oath was
administered to both; but when they learned to what they had bound
themselves, they recoiled in horror.  Sir Everard was disposed of with
comparative ease.  His own good sense led him to demur, but no sooner
was he told that three priests had approved of the scheme than, as in
duty bound, the poor weak creature laid his good sense aside, told his
conscience to be quiet, and united cordially and thoroughly in the
project, finding horses, arms, and money, to the amount of 1500 pounds.
If the Church approved, "the prerogative of the laity was to listen and
to obey."  Francis Tresham proved less pliable.  He at once inquired if
the Roman Catholic peers were to be warned, so as to keep away from
Parliament on the doomed day.

"Generally, only," said Catesby.  "We have let them understand that
strict laws are to be passed against the Catholics, which they cannot
prevent, and therefore they had best tarry away."

"My Lord Arundel, though he be not of age, is very desirous to be
present," said Percy.

"My Lord Montague, on the contrary part, would fain be thence," returned
Catesby, "and I have told him he can do no good there."

"I asked my Lord Mordaunt if he meant to come," said Winter, laughing,
"and quoth he, `Nay, for I was too much disgusted at the former session,
being forced to sit there with my robes on, all the time the King was in
church.'"  [Note 1.]

"But surely," cried Tresham, looking from one to another, "you will take
some further means to save our brethren than only these?  Mr Percy, you
never will suffer your cousin the Earl of Northumberland to perish?"

"Indeed, Mr Tresham, I should be loth so to do, because I am bounden to
him."

"Gentlemen," said the voice of Fawkes, who had hitherto been silent in
the conclave, "what we must principally respect is our own safety, and
we will pray for the Catholic Lords."

"And how shall we set ourselves right with the Catholic commons?"
demanded Keyes.

"Oh, we will satisfy the Catholics at large that the act is done for the
restitution of religion," answered Catesby; "and the heretics, that it
was to prevent the Union sought to be established at this Parliament."

"Sirs, I cannot brook this!"  Tresham broke in eagerly.  "My Lords
Monteagle and Stourton, as you know, have wedded my sisters.  I implore
you to warn them: at the least, I do beseech you, save my Lord
Monteagle!"

"What, to tell him what shall hap?" cried Catesby.  "Never!"

"Impossible, Mr Tresham!" replied Percy.  "I regret it as much as you."

"They _shall_ be warned!" cried Tresham vehemently.

"Remember your oath!" answered Catesby sternly.

"I shall not forget it.  But something must be done to save my Lord
Monteagle.  I am beholden to him, and I love him dear."

"Well, well!" suggested Winter, making an endeavour to cast oil upon the
troubled waters, "can you not be earnest with him to do something on
that day, which shall carry him out of the way?"

"I am afraid not!" said Tresham, shaking his head.  "He will reckon it
his duty to be there, or I err."

"Time enough betwixt now and October," said Fawkes.

"Ay, time enough, indeed," echoed Winter.  "My Lord Monteagle may be
abroad, or what not, when the Parliament opens.  Pray you, Mr Tresham,
trouble not yourself.  I doubt not all shall go well."

Tresham murmured something to the effect that things left to drift as
they would did not invariably drift into the right harbour: but he
dropped the topic for the moment.

Hitherto the secret meetings of the conspirators had been in the house
beyond Clement's Inn: but it was now deemed necessary to have a more
secluded and secure retreat.

In the forest depths of Enfield Chase was an old hunting-lodge, named
White Webbs, never used except occasionally by sportsmen.  This was
selected as a non-suspicious place of meeting.  The conspirators were
now nearly ready: a few days would make them quite so.  Satan was also
ready, and probably required no time for preparation.  And God was ready
too.

They met at White Webbs on the 21st of September, just a fortnight
before the day appointed for the meeting of Parliament: Catesby, the
Winters, the Wrights, Digby, Keyes, Grant, and Bates.  Tresham was not
there; he had ceased to attend the meetings, and said, if Lord Monteagle
at least might not be saved he would neither find the money he had
promised, nor assist any further with the plot.

They had not sat many minutes, when Percy and Fawkes joined them, the
former impetuous person being in an evident state of suppressed
excitement, while the latter very cool individual showed no trace of
emotion.

"Now, what think you?" cried Percy.  "The Parliament is prorogued yet
again."

"Sure, they have never wind of our project?" suggested one of the
brothers Wright.

"Till when?" demanded Catesby, knitting his brows.

"For another month--till the fifth of November."

Catesby pondered for a moment in silence.

"Is there any stir thereabouts?--any search made of the house or the
vault?"

"No--no semblance thereof."

"Then I think they have not got wind of it.  But if so--Mr Fawkes, is
all the powder now in the cellar?"

"No, Mr Catesby; there are five or six barrels to come, which I meant
to move thither on Monday night next."

"Wait a little.  You had best make sure that all is safe.  Tarry for
another fortnight, and move them then.  Is this not your minds,
gentlemen?"

The rest of the group, as usual, deferred to their leader.

There was now another point requiring discussion, and it was introduced
by Catesby.

"'Tis time, methinks, gentlemen, that we took thought on a question
whereof we have not yet spoken.  After the thing you wot of is done,
what then shall follow?  If not the King alone be present there, but the
Queen also, and maybe the Prince--"

"If they be, we will not save them," interjected Fawkes.

"We need not," coolly responded Catesby: "but if all be gone, who then
shall be published or elected king?"

"Why, we have never entered into that consideration," said Grant,
dubiously.

"Had we not best enter into it?  Our plans must be ready at once, when
the time comes, not all hanging betwixt the eyelids."  [i.e. in
uncertainty.]

"The Queen and Prince are safe to be there," said Percy.  "And in any
case, the Prince were best away; for if all be true that is said, or the
half thereof, he were like to do us more mischief than his father.  He
is not of the King's humour, but more like old Bess--hath a will of his
own, and was bred up strictly Protestant."

"Bad, that!" said Catesby.  "Then the Prince must go."

"'Tis pity, though," observed Robert Winter.  "A bright little lad."

Catesby laughed scornfully.  "Come now, Robin, no sensibility
[susceptibility, sentimentality], I beg!  We cannot afford to be
punctual [particular] in this affair.  There are bright lads by the
dozen everywhere, as cheap as blackberries.  Now, what of the little
Duke?"

The man who spoke thus was himself the father of two boys.

"He'll not be much of aught at five years old," said Winter.  "Mr
Percy, you were the most like of any of us to win him into your hands."

Percy, as one of the band of gentleman pensioners, whose duty it was to
wait on the King, had opportunities of access to the little Prince,
beyond any of his accomplices.

"I will undertake that," said Percy eagerly.

"Do we concur, then, to elect him King?" asked Catesby.

"Hold, good gentlemen! by your leave, we go something too fast," said
Fawkes.  "How if Mr Percy be unable--as may be--to win Duke Charles
into his hands?"

"Why, then comes the Lady Elizabeth," said Winter.

"What say you to the only English-born of the royal issue--the Lady
Mary?  She, at least, is uninfect with heresy."

There was a laugh at this suggestion: for the Princess Mary was not
quite five months old.

"Very well, if we could win her," answered Catesby: "but she would be
hard to come by.  No--the one easiest had, and as likely as any to serve
our turn, is the young lady at Combe.  Let the memory of Elizabeth the
heretic, so dear to the hearts of Englishmen, be extinguished in the
brighter glories of Elizabeth the Catholic.  Bring her up in the
Catholic faith, and wed her to a Catholic Prince, and I will lay mine
head to pawn that she shall make a right royal queen, and the star of
England's glory shall suffer no tarnish in her hands.  I have seen the
little maid, and a bright, brave, bonnie lass she is."

"How old?" asked Robert Winter.

"Nine years.  Just the right age.  Old enough to queen it, and take a
pleasure therein; and not old enough to have drunk in much heresy--no
more than Fathers Garnet and Gerard can soon distil out again."

"Nay!  Too old, Mr Catesby," said Thomas Winter.  "At five years, the
little Duke might be so: but not his sister at nine.  She'll have
learned heresy enough by then; and women are more perverse than men.
They ever hold error tighter, and truth likewise."

"Well, have the little Duke, if you can win him," replied Catesby.  "I
doubt thereof."

"Trust me for that," cried Percy.

"I'll trust you to break your neck in the attempt," said Catesby with a
grim smile.

"But how look you to secure the Lady Elizabeth?  My Lord Harrington's an
old fox, and none so easy to beguile.  He shall smell a rat, be sure,
before you have half your words out, and then you may whistle for the
rest of your hopes--and are like enough to do it in the Fleet or
Newgate."

"Kit Wright," said Percy, addressing the last speaker, who was his
wife's brother, "all the wit in the world is sure not in thine head.
Thinkest we shall march up to the door at Combe, and sweetly demand of
my Lord Harrington that he give us up the Lady Elizabeth?  Why, man, we
must compass the matter that he shall wit nought till all be done."

"You might make a hunting-party," suggested Fawkes.

"Say you so, Mr Fawkes?  You have eyes in your head.  We'll send Sir
Everard Digby down to see to that business."

"How went your business, Mr Catesby?" asked Grant.

"Why, right well, Mr Grant.  I gathered together a goodly number of
friends to assist the Archduke Albert in Flanders: bought horses, and
laid in powder.  All shall be ready when the Archduke hath need of
them."

The laugh went round.

"That was a jolly fantasy of yours, to levy troops for the Archduke,"
said Robert Winter.  "Truly, these heretics are easy to beguile.  Not
one, methinks, hath the least suspicion."

"It were soon up with us if they had," added his brother.

"Look out for yourself, Tom, and smoke not too many pipes with externs,"
responded Robert.  "That young Louvaine that you affect--I scarce trust
him."

"That affects me, you mean.  Trust him!  I never do.  He's only a
simpleton at best."

"Have you never heard of simpletons carrying tidings?" said Fawkes.
"Mind you drop not any chance words, Mr Winter, that might do
mischief."

"Let me alone for that," was the answer.

"Gentlemen," said Catesby, who had been in a brown study for some
minutes, "methinks Mr Fawkes's proposal to seize the Lady Elizabeth
under cover of a hunting-party is good.  Sir Everard, will you undertake
this?"

"Willingly.  Where must they be gathered?"

"Gather them at Dunchurch," said Catesby, "for a hunt on Dunsmoor Heath,
and for the day of the Parliament's meeting: you shall have notice of
the blow struck, as quick as a horseman can reach you.  As soon as you
hear it, then away to Combe, and carry off the young lady to my mother's
at Ashby.  Proclaim her Queen, and bring her next day to London,
proclaiming her in all the towns on your way."

"May there not be some awkwardness in the matter, if her brothers be
alive?" suggested the most cautious of the party, Robert Winter.

"Pooh!" ejaculated the impetuous Percy.  "`Nothing venture, nothing
have.'"

"`Faint heart never won fair lady' were more pertinent to the occasion,"
said Thomas Winter, raising a general laugh.

"We must see to that," grimly responded Catesby.

The conspirators then separated.  Sir Everard Digby set out for
Warwickshire, Percy went to see Lord Northumberland at Syon, Keyes
returned to Lambeth, and Fawkes resumed his duties at the house on the
riverbank.  Mr Marshall, on his way to call at the White Bear little
guessed that the apparently respectable, busy man-servant in blue
camlet, who met him as he went down King Street, was engaged in an evil
work which would hand down his name to everlasting infamy.

Mrs Abbott was standing at her door as he went past.

"Well to be sure! so 'tis you, Parson?  How's Mrs Agnes this even?  I
reckoned I saw her t'other day, a-passing through the Strand, but she
saw not me--in a green perpetuance gown, and a black camlet hood.  I
trust it'll wear better than mine, for if ever a camlet was no worth,
'tis that Dear heart, the roguery of wool-drapers, and mercers beside!
I do hope Master Floriszoon 'll not learn none of their tricks.  If I
see my Lady Lettice this next day or twain, I'll drop a word to her.
Don't you think she's looking a bit pale and poorly this last week or
so?  But mayhap you have not seen her, not of late."

"I have not, but I am now on my way," answered Mr Marshall, turning
into the White Bear, in the hope of escaping Silence's tongue.  It was
the first word he had been able to cast into the stream she poured
forth.

"Well, maybe you'll drop a word to her touching Master Floriszoon?  Dear
heart, what queer names them foreign folks do get!  I never could abide
no foreigners, and if I--Bless us, the man's off--there's no having a
word with him.  I say, Charity, I don't believe them eggs you had of
that--"

"You'll excuse me, Mistress Abbott, but I've no time to waste i' talk.
`The talk of the lips tendeth only to penury,'--and if you'll go in and
look for that i' th' Good Book, it'll happen do you a bit o' good--more
than talking.  Good even."

And Charity shut the door uncompromisingly.

Mr Marshall was too much at home in the White Bear to need
announcement.  He tapped softly at the parlour door, and opened it.
"Mrs Gertrude, I don't care who saith it! it's a wicked heresy!" were
the first words he heard, in the blunt tones of Temperance Murthwaite.
"And it's not true to say we Puritans teach any such thing.  It's a
calumny and a heresy both.--Mr Marshall, I'm fain to see you.  Do, pray
you, tell this young gentlewoman we hold not that if a man but believe
in the merits of Christ, he may live as he list, and look for Heaven in
the end.  'Tis a calumny, I say--a wicked calumny!"

"A calumny as old as the Apostle James, Mrs Murthwaite," answered Mr
Marshall, as he turned from greeting Lady Louvaine.  "Some in those days
had, it should seem, been abusing Paul's doctrine of justification by
faith, and said that a man need but believe, and not live according
thereto."

"Why, Mr Marshall, I have heard you to say a man may believe and be
saved!" cried Gertrude, who sat on a velvet-covered stool beside Lady
Louvaine, having run in from the next door without hood or scarf.

"That I doubt not, Mrs Gertrude, and yet may, since you have heard
Paul, and John, and the Lord Himself, to say it in the Word.  But,
believe what?  Believe that a man once lived whose name was Jesus, and
who was marvellous good, and wrought many great works?  That faith shall
not save you,--no more than believing in King James's Majesty should.
It is a living faith you must have, and that is a dead."

"Mr Marshall, I thought Puritans made much of the doctrine of imputed
righteousness?"

"You thought truth, Mrs Gertrude."

"Well, but what is that save believing that Christ hath wrought all
goodness for me, and I need not work any goodness for mine own
salvation?  Look you, there is no need, if all be done."

"No need of what?  No need that you should attempt to do what you never
can do, or no need that you should show your love to Him that did it for
you at the cost of His own life?"

"Well!" said Gertrude in a slow, deprecating tone, "but--"

"Mrs Gertrude, you mix up two things which be utterly separate, and
which cannot mix, no more than oil and water.  The man whom Christ hath
saved, it is most true, hath no need to save himself.  But hath he no
need to save others? hath he no need to honour Christ? hath he no need
to show forth to angels and to men his unity with Christ, the oneness of
his will with His, the love wherewith Christ's love constraineth him?
You mix up justification and sanctification, as though they were but
one.  Justification is the washing of the soul from sin; sanctification
is the dressing of the soul for Heaven.  Sanctification is not a thing
you do for God; 'tis a thing God doth in you.  There is need for it, not
that it should justify you before His tribunal, but that it should make
you meet for His presence-chamber.  It were not fit that you should
enter the King's presence, though cleansed, yet dressed in your old
soiled clothes.  But you make a third minglement of things separate,
when you bring in imputed righteousness.  The righteousness of Christ
imputed unto us justifieth us before the bar of God.  It payeth our
debt, it washeth our stains, it unlocketh our fetters.  But this is not
sanctification.  Justification was wrought by Christ for us;
sanctification is wrought by the Holy Ghost in us.  Justification was
completed on Calvary; sanctification is not finished so long as we be in
this life, Justification is quick and lively; the moment my faith
toucheth the work of Christ for me, that moment am I fully justified,
and for ever.  Sanctification is slow, and groweth like a plant.  I am
as entirely justified as I ever shall be, but I am not as sanctified as
I ever shall be.  I look to be more and more sanctified--`to grow up
unto Him in all things,' to be like Him, to be purified even as He is
pure.  I pray you make no mingle-mangle of things that do so differ in
themselves, though 'tis true they come all of one source--the union and
the unity of Christ and the believer."

Gertrude was yawning behind her hand before the clergyman was half
through his explanation.

"I thank you, Mr Marshall," said Temperance, who had listened
attentively.  "Methinks I had some apprehension of the difference in
myself, but I could not have expounded it thus clearly."

"To know it in yourself, my sister, is a far greater thing, and a
better, than being able to expound it.--And how is it with you, Lady
Lettice?"

"Well, Mr Marshall," she said with her soft smile.  "At times I think
that a few more pins of the tabernacle are taken down, and then the
passing wind causeth the curtains to shake.  But at worst it shall be
only the moving of the pillar of cloud--the `Come up higher' into the
very presence of the King."

"And in the interim `the Lord sitteth between the cherubim, be the
people never so unquiet.'  And how is it, dear Sister, with your two
young men?"

Lady Louvaine paused to accept Gertrude's offered hand and bid her
good-night.  That young woman did not enjoy Mr Marshall's conversation,
and suddenly discovered that it was time for her return home.

"Hans is all I could desire," said the old lady, returning to the
subject: "he is a dear, good, sober-minded lad as need be.  But I will
not disguise from you, Mr Marshall, that I am in some disease of mind
touching Aubrey."

"May I ask wherefore?"

"You may ask, indeed, yet can I scarce tell.  That is no wise-sounding
thing to say: yet one may have cause for fear where he hath no evidence
for demonstration."

"He may so, indeed.  Then you reckon there is good cause for fear?"

"Mr Marshall, you told us some time back that our neighbour Mr
Rookwood was brother to a Papist.  Know you aught of a friend of his,
one Mr Winter, that is in London at times, and hath his lodging in the
Strand?"

"A friend of this Mr Rookwood, your neighbour?"

"I reckon so.  At least, a friend of his son."

"Sons do at times make friends apart from their fathers," said Mr
Marshall with a smile.  "I cannot say, Lady Lettice, that the name is
quite unknown to me; yet cannot I, like you, lay a finger on any special
thing I may have heard thereabout."

"What were the other names, Edith?  I cannot call them to mind."

"Mr Catesby, Mother, and Mr Percy, and Mr Darcy: those, I think, were
what Aubrey told us."

"Mr Percy!--what Percy is he?"

"I know not: some kin to my Lord Northumberland."

"Where dwells he?"

"That know I not."

"At the Green Dragon in Upper Holborn, in Saint Giles's parish," said
another voice.

"Ha!" echoed Mr Marshall, turning to his new informant.  "A recusant,
Madam, and a dangerous fellow.  And if this Mr Catesby you name be Mr
Robert Catesby of Ashby Ledgers, he also is a recusant, and if I know
him, a worser man than the other."

"Hans, art thou sure of this Mr Percy?--that he whom Aubrey wist is the
same man of whom Mr Marshall speaks?"

"I have seen Aubrey leave his house, Madam."

Lady Louvaine looked very uneasy.

"And Mr Darcy?" said Edith.

"Him I know not," answered Mr Marshall: which was not surprising, since
he knew him only as Mr Walley.

"Hans, how much dost thou know?"

Hans knelt down by the large cushioned chair, and kissed the thin,
blue-veined hand.

"Dear Lady Lettice, I know very little: and Aubrey would account me a
sneak and a spy, were I to tell you what I do know.  But I would not
care for that if it might save him."

"I do hope Mr Louvaine is not drawn in among them," said Mr Marshall,
thoughtfully.

"They have been away of late," replied Hans, "and he hath not been there
so often."

"Are they away now?"

"No, lately returned."

"I would I could win Aubrey for a talk," said Edith.

"Shall I call at my Lord Oxford's and leave a message that you would
have him call here?"

"Truly, Mr Marshall, you should do me a great kindness."

"Then I so will.  Good-night."

Aubrey was playing billiards with his young master and several of the
younger gentlemen of his household, when he was told that Mr Marshall
requested a word with him.  The information alarmed him, for he thought
it meant bad news.  Having obtained the young Earl's leave to go and
ascertain why he was wanted, Aubrey ran hastily down the stairs, and
found Mr Marshall awaiting him in the hall.

"Good even, Mr Louvaine," said he, rising: "I had the honour this
evening to wait on my Lady your grandmother, and was desired to drop a
word to you as I went home, to the effect that your friends have a mind
to speak with you on some matter of import.  Her Ladyship bids you, the
first opportunity you can make, to visit the White Bear."

"I will do so," said Aubrey, recovering from his alarm.  "I cry you
mercy for my short greeting, but truly I was afraid, not knowing if you
had ill news for me."

"That I have not at this time, God be thanked!  Yet if I may, I would
fain ask you, Mr Louvaine, whether some time hath not run since you saw
your friends in King Street?"

"Oh no! not very long--at least not more than common--only about--"
Aubrey hesitated and flushed, as he realised that it was now the middle
of October, and his last visit had been paid early in June.  "You see,
Sir, I am close tied by my duties here," he added in haste.

"So close tied that you may not even be away for an hour?  Well, you
know your own duty; do it, and all shall be well.  But I would beseech
you not to neglect this call any longer than till your earliest
opportunity shall give leave."

Mr Marshall bowed, and with an official "May God bless you!" passed out
of the hall door.  Aubrey returned to his urgent duties in the
billiard-room.

"Who is your visitor, Louvaine?" asked the youthful Earl.

"If it please your Lordship, 'tis but a messenger from my grandmother."

"What would the ancient dame?" inquired one of the irreverent young
gentlemen-in-waiting.

"She would have me go and wait on her: what else I know not.  I shall
find out, I reckon, when I go."

"When saw you her Ladyship, Mr Louvaine?" said an unexpected voice
behind him, and Aubrey turned to meet the Countess.

"Madam, in June last, under your Ladyship's pleasure."

"It scarcely is to my pleasure.  Son Henry, cannot you allow this young
gentlemen to visit his friends more often?"

"Under your leave, Madam, he can visit them every day if he will.  I
tarry him not."

"Then how comes it, Mr Louvaine, that you have not waited on my Lady
Lettice for four months?"

Aubrey mentally wished Mr Marshall in America, and himself anywhere but
in Oxford House.  There was no escape.  The wise Countess added no
unnecessary words to help him out, but having put her question in plain
terms, quietly awaited his reply.  He muttered something not very
intelligible, in which "business" was the chiefly audible word.

"Methinks your duty to your mother and Lady Lettice should be your first
business after God," said the Countess gravely.  "I pray you, Mr
Louvaine, that you wait on her Ladyship to-morrow even.  The Earl will
give you leave."

Aubrey bowed, and as the Countess took her departure, for she had merely
paused in passing through the room, gave a vicious blow to the nearest
billiard ball.

"You are in for it now, Louvaine!" said his next neighbour.

"Poor lad! will his gra'mmer beat him?" suggested another in mock
compassion.

"He's been stealing apples, and the parson has told of him," added a
third.

"Will you hold your stupid tongues?" said Aubrey, stung beyond
endurance.

"Take a pinch of sneezing tobago," said one of his companions, holding
out his snuff-box.  "Never mind it, lad! put on a bold face, and use
ruffling language, and you'll get over this brunt."

Aubrey flung down his cue and escaped, pursued by his companions'
laughter.

"We were somewhere near the truth," said the young Earl.

"He looks for a scolding, take my word for it."

Very like it Aubrey felt, as he went down King Street on the following
evening.  He, too, met a man, not in blue camlet, but in a porter's
frock, trundling a truck with two or three barrels on it, in whom he did
not in the least recognise the dark, tall stranger to whom he had not
been introduced in Catesby's rooms.  He received a warm welcome at the
White Bear.

"Aubrey, hast thou of late seen thine acquaintance Mr Percy?"

"Not since his return out of the country, Madam."

He had seen Winter, but he did not think it necessary to mention it.

"Nor Mr Catesby?"

"Nay, save to meet him in the street, Madam."

"My son, should it give thee great compunction [grief, annoyance] if I
bade thee have no more ado with either of these gentlemen?"

"What mean you, Madam?"

"I mean not that if thou meet them in the street thou shalt not give
them greeting; but no more to visit them in their lodgings.  My boy, Mr
Percy is a Popish recusant, and there is much fear of Mr Catesby
likewise."

"Not all recusants are bad men, I hope," answered Aubrey evasively, as
if he were unwilling to respond by a direct promise to that effect.

"I hope likewise: but some are, as we know.  And when innocent men be
drawn in with bad men, 'tis often found that the bad slip forth unhurt,
and leave the innocent to abide the hazard.  Promise me, Aubrey, that
thou wilt haunt [visit] these men's company no longer."

"Truly, Madam, I know not what I should say to my friends.  Bethink you
also, I pray, that I am of age."

"Of what age?" demanded his Aunt Temperance in her usual style.  "Not of
the age of discretion, I being witness."

"Of the age at which a man commonly takes care of himself," answered
Aubrey, loftily.

"`Bate me an ace, quoth Bolton.'  At the age at which a man commonly
takes no care of himself, nor of any other belike.  Nor you are not the
wisest man of your age in this world, my master: don't go for to think
it.  You don't need to look at me in that way, my fine young gentleman:
you'll not get sugar-plums from Temperance Murthwaite when you need
rhubarb."

"I know that, Aunt Temperance," said Aubrey, trying to laugh.

"And you may as well open your mouth and take your physic with a good
grace.  If not, there'll be another dose to follow."

"What?" demanded Aubrey with drawn brows, and a flash in his eyes.

"`Three can keep a secret if twain be away,'" was the enigmatical
answer.  "Now then, answer Lady Lettice."

"He has no mind to promise--that can I see," said Lady Louvaine,
sorrowfully.

"He shall, afore he go," was the cool reply of Temperance.

"Aunt Temperance, I am not a babe!" exclaimed Aubrey rather angrily.

"That you are, and in sore need of leading-strings."

"Aubrey here?" asked his mother, coming in.  "Well now, I do think one
of you might have told me.  But you never think of me.  Why, Aubrey, it
must be six months since we saw you!"

"Four, Mother, under your pleasure."

"I am sure 'tis six.  Why come you no oftener?"

"I have my duties," said Aubrey in a rather constrained voice.

"Closer than to thy mother, my boy?" asked Edith softly.

"Prithee harry not him," retorted Aunt Temperance.  "Hast thou not
heard, he hath his duties?  To hold skeins of silk whilst my Lady winds
them, maybe, and to ride the great horse, and play tennis and
shuttlecock with his Lord, and to make up his mind to which of all his
Lady's damsels he'll make love o' the lightest make."

"Aubrey, I do hope you are ne'er thinking of marriage!" said his
mother's querulous voice.  "Thou shouldst be put out of thine office,
most like, and not a penny to keep her, and she saddled upon us that--"

"That'll kick and throw her, as like as not," said Aunt Temperance by
way of interjection.

"I ensure you, Mother, I have no expectations of the kind.  'Tis but
Aunt Temperance that--that--"

"That sometimes hits the white, Sir, if she do now and then shoot aside
o' the mark.  Howbeit, hold thou there.  And if thou want leave to carry
on thine acquaintance with these gentlemen, bring them to see us.  I'll
lay mine head to an orange I see in ten minutes if they be true men or
no."

"What business have they?" asked Edith.

Aubrey hesitated.  He knew of none except Garnet's pretended profession
of horse-dealing.

"Is there any woman amongst them?" said Temperance.

"I never saw one."

"Not even at Mr Percy's house?"

"I went there but once, to ask for him.  I have heard that he hath a
wife, but she lives very privately, and teaches children.  He dwelleth
not with her, but hath his lodging at my Lord Northumberland's.  I never
saw her."

"That's an ill hearing.  'Tis meet for men to come together by
themselves for business: but to dwell in their own homes, and never a
woman with them, wife, mother, sister, nor daughter,--that means
mischief, lad.  It means some business of an evil sort, that they don't
want a woman to see through.  If there had been one, I went about to
say, take me with thee some even to visit her.  I'd have known all about
it under an hour, trust me."

"You should have seen nought, Aunt."

"Tell that to the cowcumbers.  You see nought, very like."

Lady Louvaine laid her hand on her grandson's.

"Aubrey, promise me at least this: that for a month to come thou wilt
not visit any of these gentlemen."

After an instant's pause, Aubrey replied, "Very well, Madam; I am ready
to promise that."

"That's not much to promise," commented Temperance.

"It is enough," said Lady Louvaine, quietly.

An hour later, when Aubrey was gone, Faith asked rather complainingly
what had induced Lady Louvaine to limit the promise to a month.

"I cannot tell thee, Faith," was the answer.  "Something seemed to
whisper within me that if the lad would promise that, he would be safe.
It may be no more than an old woman's fantasy; and even so, no harm is
done.  Or it might be that God spake to me--and if thus, let us obey His
voice.  He knows what He will do, and what men will do."

"I've as great a mind as ever I had to eat--"

"What to do, Temperance?"

"Get to see those fellows, somehow."

"Wait the month, Temperance," suggested Edith, quietly.

"Wait! you're always for waiting.  I want to work."

"Waiting is often the hardest work," said Edith.

The middle of the month was nearly come.  The six last barrels of powder
were in the vault; the whole thirty-six were covered with stones and
iron bars: Gideon Gibbons, the porter, was delivering at the door three
thousand billets and five hundred faggots of wood and another man in a
porter's frock was stacking the wood in the vault.

"There, that's the last lot!" said Gibbons, throwing in a packet of
tied-up billets.  "Count right, Johnson?"

"All right, Gibbons."

"Your master likes a good fire, I should say," observed Gibbons, with a
grin of amusement, as he looked into the vault.  "There's fuel there to
last most folks a couple of winters."

"Ay, he doth so: he's a northern man, you see--comes from where
sea-coal's cheaper than here, and they are wont to pile their fires
big."

"Shouldn't ha' thought them billets wouldn't hardly ha' taken all that
there room," said Gibbons, looking into the vault, while he scratched
his head with one hand, and hitched up his porter's frock to put the
other in his pocket.

"Oh, I didn't stack 'em so tight," said Mr Percy's man, carelessly,
tying up a bit of string which he picked from the floor.

"Ah! well, but tight or loose, shouldn't hardly ha' thought it.  Master
coming soon, eh?"

"Haven't heard what day.  Afore long, very like."

"Has he e'er a wife that he'll bring?"

"She's in the country," said the disguised man-servant, who knew that
she was then at the Green Dragon, teaching sundry little girls the
mysteries of felling and whipping cambric.

"Well, 'tis dry work.  Come and have a pint at the Maid's Head."

"No, thank you, I don't care for it.  There's a penny for yours."

As this was the price of a quart of the best ale, Mr Gibbons pocketed
the penny with satisfaction, and forbore to remark censoriously on what
he deemed the very singular taste of Mr Percy's man.  He shambled
awkwardly off with his waggon, meaning first to put up his horses, and
then go and expend his penny in the beverage wherein his soul delighted.
His companion gave a low laugh as he turned the key in the door of the
cellar.

"No, thank you, Gideon Gibbons," said he to himself.  "It may suit you
to sit boozing at the Maid's Head, telling all you know and guessing
much that you don't: here's wishing your early muddlement before you get
on the subject of this wood!  But it won't do for Guy Fawkes, my fine
fellow!"

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

Note 1.  Lord Mordaunt was a trimmer, afraid of being known to be a
Papist, and, like most half-hearted people, a great sufferer from the
struggle between the conscience and the flesh.



CHAPTER SEVEN.

AN APPLE-CAST AND A LETTER.

  "Better the blind faith of our youth
  Than doubt, which all truth braves;
  Better to die, God's children dear,
  Than live, the Devil's slaves."

  Dinah Mulock.

"Good-morrow, Lady Lettice!  I am come to ask a favour."

"Ask it, I pray you, Mrs Rookwood."

"Will you suffer Mrs Lettice to come to our apple-cast on Tuesday next?
We shall have divers young folks of our neighbours--Mrs Abbott's Mary,
Dorcas, and Hester, Mrs Townsend's Rebecca, my Lady Woodward's Dulcibel
and Grissel, and such like; and our Doll, I am in hopes, shall be back
from Suffolk, and maybe her cousin Bessy with her.  I have asked Mr
Louvaine to come, and twain more of my Lord Oxford's gentlemen; and Mr
Manners, Mr Stone, and our Tom, shall be there.  What say you?"

Lady Louvaine looked with a smile at her granddaughter, who sat in the
window with a book.  She was not altogether satisfied with the
Rookwoods, yet less from anything they said or did than from what they
omitted to say and do.  They came regularly to church, they attended the
Sacrament, they asked the Vicar to their dinner-parties, they were very
affable and friendly to their neighbours.  There was absolutely nothing
on which it was possible to lay a reproving finger, and say, This is
what I do not like.  And yet, while she could no more give a reason for
distrusting them than the schoolboy for objecting to the famous Dr
Fell, she did instinctively distrust them.  Still, Lettice was a good
girl, on the whole a discreet girl; she had very few pleasures,
especially such as took her outside her home, and gave her the
companionship of girls of her own age.  Lettice had been taught, as all
Puritan maidens were, that "life is, to do the will of God," and that
pleasure was not to be sought at all, and scarcely to be accepted except
in its simplest forms, and as coming naturally along with the duties of
life.  An admirable lesson--a lesson which girls sadly need to learn
now, if only for the lowest reason--that pleasures thus taken are
infinitely more pleasing than when sought, and the taste for them is
keener and more enduring.  To the moral taste, no less than the
physical, plain fare with a good appetite is incomparably more enjoyable
than the finest dainties with none: and the moral appetite can cloy and
pall at least as soon as the physical.  Lettice's healthy moral nature
had been content with the plain fare, and had never cried out for
dainties.  But, like all young folks, she liked a pleasant change, and
her grandmother, who had thought her looking pale and somewhat languid
with the summer heat in town, was glad that she should have the
enjoyment.  She knew she might trust her.

Not even to herself did Lady Louvaine confess her deepest reason for
allowing Lettice to go to the apple-cast--an assembly resembling in its
nature the American "bee," and having an apple-gathering and storing for
its object.  It was derived from the fact that Aubrey had been invited.
It occurred to her that something might transpire in Lettice's free and
innocent narrative of her enjoyment, which would be of service in the
difficult business of dealing with Aubrey at this juncture.

Lettice, as beseemed a maiden of her years, was silent, though her eyes
said, "Please!" in very distinct language.

"I thank you, Mrs Rookwood; Lettice may go."

Lettice's eyes lighted up.

"Then, Mrs Lettice, will you step in about nine o'clock?  My maids'll
be fain to see you.  And if any of you gentlewomen should have a liking
to look in--"

"Nay, the girls should count us spoil-sports," said Edith, laughingly.

"Now come, Mrs Edith! 'tis not so long since you were a young maid."

"Twelve good years, Mrs Rookwood: as long, pretty nigh, as Hester
Abbott has been in the world."

"Eh, but years don't go for much, not with some folks."

"Not with them that keep the dew of their youth," said Lady Louvaine
with a smile.  "But to do that, friend, a woman should dwell very near
to Him who only hath immortality."

It was something so unusual for one of this sober household to go out to
a party, that a flutter arose, when Mrs Rookwood had departed,
concerning Lettice's costume.

"She had best go in a washing gown," was the decision of her practical
Aunt Temperance.  "If she's to be any good with the apples, she must not
wear her Sunday best."

Lettice's Sunday best was not of an extravagant character, being a dark
green perpetuana gown, trimmed with silver lace, a mantle of
plum-coloured cloth, and a plum-coloured hood lined with dark green.

"But a washing gown, Temperance!  It should look so mean," objected Mrs
Louvaine.

"Her best gown'll look meaner, if all the lace be hung with cobwebs, and
all the frilling lined with apple-parings," said Temperance.

"She'll take better care of it than so, I hope," said Edith.  "And a
lawn gown should be cold for this season."

"Well, let the child wear her brown kersey.  That'll not spoil so much
as some."

In her heart Lettice hoped she would not have to wear the brown kersey.
Brown was such an ugly colour! and the kersey, already worn two seasons,
was getting shabby--far too shabby to wear at a party.  She would have
liked to put on her best.  But no girl of twenty, unmarried, at that
date decided such matters for herself.

"Oh, never that ugly thing!" said Mrs Louvaine.  "I mean her to wear my
pearls, and that brown stuff--"

Wear Aunt Faith's pearls!  Lettice's heart beat.

"Faith, my dear, I would not have the child use ornaments," said Lady
Louvaine quietly.  "You wot, those of our way of thinking do commonly
discard them.  Let us not give occasion for scandal.  I would have
Lettice go neat and cleanly, and not under her station, but no more."

The palpitations of Lettice's heart sobered down.  Of course she could
not expect to wear pearls and such worldly vanities.  Grandmother was
always right.

"I can tell you, Mrs Gertrude and Mrs Anne shall not be in brown
kersey," said Mrs Louvaine, in her usual petulant tone.  "And if Aubrey
don him not in satin and velvet, my name is not Faith."

"It shouldn't have been, my dear, for it isn't your nature," was her
sister's comment.

"We need not follow a multitude to do evil," quietly responded Lady
Louvaine, as she sat and knitted peacefully.

"Well, Madam, what comes that to--the brown kersey, trow?  Edith saith
truth, lawn is cold this weather."

"I think, my dear, the green perpetuana were not too good, with clean
apron, ruff, and cuffs, and a silver lace: but I would have nought
more."

So Lettice made her appearance at the apple-cast in her Sunday gown, but
decked with no pearls, and her own brown hair turned soberly back under
her hood.  She put no hat on over it, as she had only to slip into the
next house.  In the hall Tom Rookwood met her, and bowing, requested the
honour of conducting her into the garden, where his sisters and cousin
were already busy with the day's duties.

On the short ladder which rested against one of the apple-trees stood
Dorothy, the tallest of the Rookwoods, clad in a long apron of white
lawn edged with lace, over a dress of rich dark blue silk, gathering
apples, and passing them to Anne at the foot of the ladder, by whom they
were delivered to Gertrude, who packed them in sundry crates ready for
the purpose.  By Gertrude's side stood a dark, rosy, merry-looking child
of six, whom she introduced to Lettice as her cousin Bessy.  Lettice,
who had expected Bessy to be much older, was disappointed, for she was
curious to know what kind of a creature a female Papist might be.

"Now, Tom, do your duty!" cried Dorothy, as Tom was about to retire.  "I
am weary of gathering, and you having the longest legs and arms amongst
us, should take my place.  Here come Mr Montague and Rebecca Townsend;
I'm coming down.  Up with you!"

Tom pulled a face and obeyed: but showing a disposition to pelt Dorothy
and Bessy, instead of carefully delivering the apples unbruised to Anne,
he was screamed at and set upon at once, Gertrude leading the
opposition.

"Tom, you wicked wretch!  Come down this minute, or else behave
properly.  I shall--"

The--accidental?--descent of an enormous apple on the bridge of
Gertrude's nose put her announcement of her intentions to speedy flight:
and in laughing over the _fracas_, the ice rapidly melted between the
young strangers.

The apple-gathering proceeded merrily, relieved by a few scenes of this
sort, until the trees were stripped, the apples laid carefully in the
crates for transportation to the garrets, and on their arrival, as
carefully taken out and spread on sheets of grey paper on the floor.
When all was done, the girls were marshalled into Gertrude's room to
tidy themselves: after which they went down to the dining-room.  Mrs
Rookwood had provided an excellent dinner for her youthful guests,
including geese, venison, and pheasants, various pies and puddings,
Muscadel and Canary wines.  After dinner they played games in the hall
and dining-room, hood-man blind, and hunt the slipper, and when tired of
these, separated into little groups or formed _tete-a-tetes_ for
conversation.  Lettice, who could not quite get rid of an outside
feeling, as if she did not belong to the world in which she found
herself, was taken possession of by her oldest acquaintance, Gertrude,
and drawn into a window-seat for what that young lady termed "a proper
chat."

"I thought my cousin was to be here," said Lettice, glancing over the
company.

"Ay, Tom asked him, I believe," said Gertrude.  "Maybe his Lord could
not spare him.  Do you miss him?"

"I would like to have seen him," said Lettice innocently.

"Tom would not love to hear you say so much, I can tell you," laughed
Gertrude.  "He admires you very much, Lettice.  Oh, do let us drop the
`Mistress'--it is so stiff and sober--I hate it."

"Me!" was all that it occurred to Lettice to answer.

"You.  Don't you like men to admire you?"

"I don't know; they never did."

Gertrude went off into a soft explosion of silvery laughter.

"O Lettice, you are good!  You have been brought up with all those
sober, starched old gentlewomen, till you don't know what life is--why,
my dear, you might as well be a nun!"

"Don't I know what life is?" said Lettice.  "I've had twenty years of
it."

"You haven't had twenty days of it--not _life_.  You've been ruled like
a copy-book ever since you were born.  I have pitied you, poor little
victim, you cannot guess how much!  I begged Mother to try and win you
for to-day.  She said she did not believe Starch and Knitting-Pins would
suffer it, but she would try.  Wasn't I astonished when I heard you
really were to come!"

"What do you mean by Starch and Knitting-Pins?" asked the bewildered
Lettice.

"Oh, that awful aunt of yours who looks as if she had just come out of
the wash, and your sweet-smiling grandmother who is always fiddling with
knitting-pins--"

Gertrude stopped suddenly.  She understood, better than Lettice did
herself, the involuntary, unpremeditated gesture which put a greater
distance between them on the window-seat, and knew in a moment that she
had scandalised her guest.

"My dear creature!" she said with one of her soft laughs, "if you
worship your starchy aunt, I won't say another word!  And as to my Lady
Louvaine, I am sure I never meant the least disrespect to her.  Of
course she is very sweet and good, and all that: but dear me! have you
been bred up to think you must not label people with funny names?
Everybody does, my dear--no offence meant at all, I assure you."

"I beg your pardon!" said Lettice stiffly--more so, indeed, than she
knew or meant.  "If that be what you call `life,' I am afraid I know
little about it."

"And wish for no more!" said Gertrude, laughing.  "Well, if I offended
you, I ought to beg pardon.  I did not intend it, I am sure.  But, my
dear, what a pity you do not crisp your hair, or curl it!  That
old-fashioned roll back is as ancient as my grandmother.  And a partlet,
I declare!  They really ought to let you be a _little_ more properly
dressed.  You never see girls with turned-back hair now."

Lettice did not know whether to blush for her deficiencies, or to be
angry with Gertrude for pointing them out.  She felt more inclined to
the latter.

"Now, if I had you to dress," said Gertrude complacently, "I should just
put you in a decent, neat corset, with a white satin gown, puffed with
crimson velvet, a velvet hood lined with white satin, a girdle of gold
and pearls, crimson stockings, white satin slippers, a lace rebato, and
a pearl necklace.  Oh, how charming you would look!  You would not know
yourself.  Then I should put a gold bodkin in your hair, and a head-drop
of pearls set round a diamond, and bracelets instead of these lawn
cuffs, and a fan; and wash your face in distilled waters, and
odoriferous oils for your hands."

"But I should not like my hands oily!" said Lettice in amazement.

Gertrude laughed.  "Oh yes, you would, when you were accustomed to it.
And then just the least touch on your forehead and cheeks, and--O
Lettice, my dear, you would have half London at your feet!"

"The `least touch' of what?" inquired Lettice.

"Oh, just to show the blue veins, you know."

"`Show the blue veins!'  What can you show them with?"

"Oh, just a touch of blue," said Gertrude, who began to fear she had
gone further than Lettice would follow, and did not want to be too
explicit.

"You never, surely, mean--_paint_?" asked Lettice in tones of horror.

"My dear little Puritan, be not so shocked!  I do, really, mean paint;
but not all over your face--nothing of the sort: only a touch here and
there."

"I'll take care it does not touch me," said Lettice decidedly.  "I don't
want to get accustomed to such abominable things.  And as to having half
London at my feet, there isn't room for it, and I am sure I should not
like it if there were."

"O Lettice, Lettice!" cried Gertrude amidst her laughter.  "I never saw
such a maid.  Why, you are old before you are young."

"I have heard say," answered Lettice, laughing herself, "that such as so
be are young when they are old."

"Oh, don't talk of being old--'tis horrid to think on.  But, my dear,
you should really have a little fine breeding, and not be bred up a
musty, humdrum Puritan.  I do hate those she-precise hypocrites, that go
about in close stomachers and ruffles of Geneva print, and cannot so
much as cudgel their maids without a Scripture to back them.  Nobody
likes them, you know.  Don't grow into one of them.  You'll never be
married if you do."

Lettice was silent, but she sat with slightly raised eyebrows, and a
puzzled expression about her lips.

"Well, why don't you speak?" said Gertrude briskly.

"Because I don't know what to say.  I can't tell what you expect me to
say: and you give such queer reasons for not doing things."

"Do I so?" said Gertrude, looking amused.  "Why, what queer reasons have
I given?"

"That nobody will like me, and I shall never be married!"

"Well! aren't they very good reasons?"

"They don't seem to me to be reasons at all.  I may never be married,
whether I do it or not; and that will be as God sees best for me, so why
trouble myself about it?  And as to people not liking me because I am a
Puritan, don't you remember the Lord's words, `If the world hate you, ye
know that it hated Me before it hated you'?"

"Oh, you sucked in the Bible with your mother's milk, I suppose," said
Gertrude pettishly, "and have had it knitted into you ever since by your
grandmother's needles.  I did not expect you to be a spoil-sport,
Lettice.  I thought you would be only too happy to come out of your
convent for a few hours."

"Thank you, I don't want to be a spoil-sport, and I do not think the
Bible is, unless the sports are bad ones, and they might as well be
spoiled, might they not?"

"There's Mr Stone!" cried Gertrude inconsequently, and in a relieved
tone, for Lettice was leading in a direction whither she had no wish to
follow.  "Look! isn't he a fine young man?  What a shame to have
christened so comely a man by so ugly a name as Jeremy!"

"Do you think so?  It is a beautiful name; it means `him whom God hath
appointed,'--Aunt Edith says so."

"Think you I care what it _means_!" was the answer, in a rather vexed
tone, though it was accompanied by a laugh.  "'Tis ugly and
old-fashioned, child.  Now your cousin, Mr Louvaine, has a charming
name.  But fancy having a name with a sermon wrapped up in it!"

"I do not understand!" said Lettice a little blankly.  "You seem to
think little of those things whereof I have been taught to think much;
and to think much of those things whereof I have been led to think
little.  It puzzles me.  Excuse me."

Gertrude laughed more good-naturedly.

"My dear little innocence!" said she.  "I am sorry to let the cold,
garish daylight in upon your pretty little stained-glass creed: it is
never pleasant to have scales taken from your eyes.  But really, you
look on things in such false colours, that needs must.  Why, my child,
if you were to go out into the world, you would find all those fancies
laughed to scorn.  'Tis only Puritans love sermons and Bibles and such
things.  No doubt they are all right, and good, and all that; quite
proper for Sunday, and sick-beds, and so on.  I am not an infidel, of
course.  But then--well?"

Lettice's face of utter amazement arrested the flow of words on
Gertrude's lips.

"Would your mother think you loved her, Gertrude, if you told her you
never wanted to see her except on Sundays and when you were sick?  And
if God hears all we say, is it not as good as telling Him that?  You
puzzle me more and more.  I have been taught that the world is the enemy
of God, and refuses to guide its ways by His Word: but you speak as if
it were something good, that we ought to look up to, and hearken what it
bids us.  It cannot be both.  And what God says about it _must_ be
true."

"Lettice, whatever one says, you always come back to your Puritan stuff.
I wish you would be natural, like other maids.  See, I am about to turn
you over to Dorothy.  Let us see if she can make something of you--I
cannot.--Here, Doll! come and sit here, and talk with Lettice.  I want
to go and speak to Grissel yonder."

Dorothy sat down obediently in the window-seat.

"I thought Mr Louvaine was to be here to-day," she said.

"So did I likewise.  I cannot tell why he comes not."

"Have you seen him lately?"

"No, not in some time.  I suppose he is busy."

Dorothy looked amused.  "What think you he doth all the day long?"

Lettice had not been present when Aubrey detailed his day's occupations,
and she was under the impression that he led a busy life, with few idle
hours.

"Truly, I know not what," she answered; "but the Earl, no doubt, hath
his duties, and 'tis Aubrey's to wait on him."

"The Earl, belike, reads an hour or two with his tutor, seeing he is but
a child: and the rest of the time is there music and dancing, riding the
great horse, playing at billiards, tennis, bowls, and such like.  That
is your cousin's business, Mrs Lettice."

"Only that?--but I reckon he cannot be let go, but must come after his
master's heels?"

"He is on duty but three days of every week, save at the _lever_ and
_coucher_, and may go whither he list on the other four."

"Then I marvel he comes not oftener to visit us," said innocent Lettice.

"Do you so?  I don't," answered Dorothy, with a little laugh.

"Why?"

"How old are you, Mrs Lettice?"

The notion of discourtesy connected with this query is modern.

"I was twenty last June," said Lettice.

"Dear heart!  I should have supposed you were about two," said Dorothy,
with a little curl of her lip.

"But my grandmother thinks so likewise, and she is near eighty," said
Lettice.

"Ah!  Extremes meet," answered Dorothy, biting her lip.

Lettice tried to think out this obscure remark, but had not made much
progress, when at the other end of the room she caught a glimpse of
Aubrey.  Though he stood with his back to her, she felt sure it was
Aubrey.  She knew him by the poise of his head and the soft golden gloss
on his hair; and a moment later, his voice reached her ear.  He came up
towards them, stopping every minute to speak with some acquaintance, so
that it took him a little time to reach them.

"There is Cousin Aubrey," said Lettice.

Dorothy answered by a nod.  "You admire your cousin?"

"Yes, I think he looks very well," replied Lettice, in her simplicity.

Dorothy bit her lip again.  "He is not so well-favoured as Mr Jeremy
Stone," said she, "though he hath the better name, and comes of an elder
line by much."

By this time Aubrey had come up.  "Ah, Lettice!" said he, kissing her.
"Mrs Dorothy, your most obedient, humble servant."

"Are you?" responded she.

"Surely I am.  Lay your commands on me."

"Then bring Mr Stone to speak with me."

Aubrey gave a little shrug of his shoulders, a laugh, and turned away as
if to seek Mr Stone: while Dorothy, the moment his back was turned, put
her finger on her lip, and slipped out of sight behind a screen, with
her black eyes full of mischievous fun.

"Why, my dear," said a voice beside Lettice, "is none with you?  I
thought I saw Doll by your side but now."

"She was, Gentlewoman," answered Lettice, looking up at Mrs Rookwood,
and beginning to wish herself at home again.  Might she slip away?  "May
I pray you of the time?"

Mrs Rookwood was neither of wealth nor rank to carry a watch, so she
went to look at the clock before replying, and Aubrey came up with Mr
Stone.

"Why, where is gone Mrs Dorothy?" asked the former, knitting his brows.

"All the beauty has not departed with her," responded Mr Stone
gallantly, bowing low to Lettice, who felt more and more uncomfortable
every minute.

"'Tis on the stroke of four, my dear," said Mrs Rookwood, returning:
"but I beg you will not hurry away."

"Oh, but I must, if you please!" answered Lettice, feeling a sensation
of instant and intense relief.  "Grandmother bade me not tarry beyond
four o'clock.  I thank you very much, Gentlewoman, and I wish you
farewell.--Aubrey, you will come with me?"

Aubrey looked extremely indisposed to do so, and Lettice wondered for
what reason he could possibly wish to stay: but Mrs Rookwood, hearing
of Lady Louvaine's order, made no further attempt to delay her young
guest.  She called her daughters to take their leave, and in another
minute the Golden Fish was left behind, and Lettice ran into the door of
the White Bear.  She went straight upstairs, and in the chamber which
they shared found her Aunt Edith.

Lettice had no idea how uneasy Edith had been all that day.  She had a
vague, general idea that she was rather a favourite with Aunt Edith--
perhaps the one of her nieces whom on the whole she liked best: but of
the deep pure well of mother-like love in Edith's heart for Dudley
Murthwaite's daughter, Lettice had scarcely even a faint conception.
She rather fancied herself preferred because, as she supposed, her
mother had very likely been Aunt Edith's favourite sister.  Little
notion therefore had Lettice of the network of feeling behind the
earnest, wistful eyes, as the aunt laid a hand on each shoulder of the
niece, and said--

"Well, Lettice?"

"Aunt Edith," was the answer, "if that is the world I have been in
to-day, I hope I shall never go again!"

"Thank God!" spoke Edith's heart in its innermost depths; but her voice
only said, quietly enough, "Ay so, dear heart? and what misliked thee?"

"It is all so queer!  Aunt Edith, they think the world is something
good.  And they want me to paint my face.  And they call Aunt Temperance
`Starch.'  And they say I am only two years old.  And they purse up
their faces, and look as if it were something strange, if I quote the
Bible.  And they talk about being married as if it must happen, whether
you would or not, and as if it were the only thing worth thinking about.
And they seemed to think it was quite delightful to have a lot of
gentlemen bowing at yon, and saying all sorts of silly things, and I
thought it was horrid.  And altogether, I didn't like it a bit, and I
wanted to get home."

"Lettice, I prayed God to keep thee, and I think He has kept thee.  My
dear heart, mayest thou ever so look on the world which is His enemy,
and His contrary!"

Edith's voice was not quite under her control--a most unusual thing with
her.

"Aunt Edith, I did think at first--when Mrs Rookwood came--that I
should like it very well.  I felt as if it would be such a pleasant
change, you know, and--sometimes I have fancied for a minute that I
should like to know how other maids did, and to taste their life, as it
were, for a little while; because, you see, I knew we were so quiet, and
other people seemed to have more brightness and merriment, and--well, I
wanted to see what it was like."

"Very natural, sweet heart, at thy years.  I can well believe it."

"And so, when Mrs Rookwood asked, I so hoped Grandmother would let me
go.  And I did enjoy the apple-gathering in the garden, and the games
afterward in the hall.  But when we sat down, and girls came up and
talked to me, and I saw what they had inside their hearts--for if it had
not been in their hearts, it would not have come on their tongues--Aunt
Edith, I hope I shall never, never, _never_ have anything more to do
with the world!  I'd rather peel onions and scrub tiles every day of my
life than live with people, and perhaps get like them, who could call my
dear old Grandmother `Knitting-pins' in scorn, and tell God Himself that
they only wanted to think of Him on Sundays.  That world's another
world, and I don't belong to it, and please, I'll keep out of it!"

"Amen, and Amen!" said Aunt Edith.  "My Lettice, let us abide in the
world where God is King and Father, and Sun, and Water of Life.  May
that other world where Satan rules ever be another and a strange world
to thee, wherein thou shalt feel thyself a traveller and a stranger.  My
child, there is very much merriment which hath nought to do with
happiness, and very much happiness which hath nought to do with mirth.
'Tis one thing to shut ourselves from God's world which He made, and
quite another to keep our feet away from Satan's world which he hath
ruined.  When God saith, `Love not the world,' He means not, Love not
flowers, and song-birds, and bright colours, and sunset skies, and the
innocent laughter of little children.  Those belong to His world; and
'tis only as we take them out thereof, and hand them unto Satan, and
they get into the Devil's world, that they become evil and hurtful unto
us.  Satan hath ruined, and will yet, so far as he may, all the good
things of God; and beware of the most innocent-seeming thing so soon as
thou shalt see his touch, upon it.  Thank God, my darling, that He
suffered thee not to shut thine eyes thereto!  Was Aubrey there,
Lettice?"

"He came but late, Aunt, and therefore it was, I suppose, that as it
seemed, he had no list to come with me.  He said he might look in,
perchance, at after."

"And Mr Tom Rookwood?"

"Ay, he was there, though I saw scarce anything of him but just at
first."

Edith was privately glad to hear it.  She had been a little afraid of
designs upon Lettice from that quarter.

"Aunt, was it not rude to give nicknames?"

"Very rude, and very uncomely, Lettice."

"I thought it was horrid!" said Lettice.

"Louvaine," Tom Rookwood was saying, next door, "I met Mr Tom Winter
this afternoon, and he asked me if you had gone to the Low Countries to
take service under the Archduke.  He hath seen nought of you, saith he,
these three weeks."

"I know it," said Aubrey, sulkily.

"Well, he told me to bid you to supper with him o' Thursday even next.
I shall be there, and Sir Josceline Percy, Sir Edward Bushell, and Mr
Kit Wright."

"I can't.  Wish I could."

"Why, what's to hinder?"

"Oh, I'm--ah--promised beforehand," said Aubrey, clumsily.

"Can't you get off?"

"_No_.  But I've as great a mind to go--"

"You come, and never mind the other fellows.  You'll find us much
jollier grigs of the twain."

"I know that.  Hang it, Tom, I'll go!"

"There's a brave lad!  Four o'clock sharp, at the Duck.  I'll meet you
there."

"Done!"

"Where was he promised, I marvel?" asked Dorothy in a whisper, with a
yawn behind her hand.

"Oh, didn't you see how he flushed and stammered?" said Gertrude,
laughing.  "I vow, I do believe old Knitting-pins had made him swear on
her big Bible that he wouldn't speak another word to Mr Winter.  Had it
been but another merry-making, he should never have looked thus."

There was no visit from Aubrey at the White Bear that evening.  He felt
as if he could not meet his grandmother's eyes.  He was not yet
sufficiently hardened in sin to be easy under an intention of deliberate
disobedience and violation of a solemn promise; yet the sin was too
sweet to give up.  This once, he said to himself: only this once!--and
then, no more till the month was over.

When the Saturday evening arrived, Aubrey made a very careful toilet,
and set forth for the Strand.  It was a long walk, for the Earl of
Oxford lived in the City, near Bishopsgate.  Aubrey was rather elated at
the idea of making the acquaintance of Sir Josceline Percy and Sir
Edward Bushell.  He was concerned at the family disgrace, as he
foolishly considered it, of Hans's connection with the mercer, and
extremely desirous to attain knighthood for himself.  The way to do
that, he thought, was to get into society.  Here was an opening which
might conduct him to those Elysian fields--and at the gate stood his
grandmother, trying to wave him away.  He would not be deprived of his
privileges by the foolish fancies of an old woman.  What did old women
know of the world?  Aubrey was not aware that sixty years before, that
very grandmother, then young Lettice Eden, had thought exactly the same
thing of those who stood in her way to the same visionary Paradise.

Temple Bar was just left behind him, and the Duck was near, when to
Aubrey's surprise, and not by any means to his satisfaction, a hand was
laid upon his shoulder.

"Hans! you here?"

"Truly so.  Where look you I should be an half-hour after closing time?"

This was a most awkward contretemps.  How should Hans be got rid of
before the Duck was reached?

"You are on your way to the White Bear," said Hans, in the tone of one
who states an incontrovertible fact, "Have with you."

Aubrey privately wished Hans in the Arctic Sea or the torrid zone, or
anywhere out of the Strand for that afternoon.  And as if to render his
discomfiture more complete, here came Mr Winter and Tom Rookwood, arm
in arm, just as they reached Mrs More's door.  What on earth was to be
done?

Mr Thomas Rookwood, whose brain was as sharp as a needle, guessed the
situation in a moment, and with much amusement, from a glance at
Aubrey's face.  He, of course, at once recognised Hans, and was at least
as well aware as either that Hans represented the forces of law and
order, and subordination to lawful authority, while Aubrey stood as the
representative of the grand principle that every man should do what is
right in his own eyes.  A few low-toned words to Mr Winter preceded a
doffing of both the plumed hats, and the greeting from Tom Rookwood as
they passed, of--

"Good even to you both.  Charming weather!"

A scarcely perceptible wink of Tom's left eye was designed to show
Aubrey that his position was understood, and action taken upon it.
Aubrey saw and comprehended the gesture.  Hans saw it also, but did not
comprehend it except as a sign of some private understanding between the
two.  They walked on together, Aubrey engaged in vexed meditation as to
how he was to get rid of Hans.  But Hans had no intention of allowing
himself to be dismissed.  He began to talk, and Aubrey had to answer,
and could not satisfy himself what course to pursue, till he found
himself at the door of the White Bear.

Charity was at the door, doing what every housemaid was then compelled
to do, namely, pouring her slops into the gutter.

"Eh, Mestur Aubrey, is that yo'?" said she.  "'Tis a month o' Sundays
sin' we've seen you.  You might come a bit oftener, I reckon, if you'd a
mind.  Stand out o' th' way a minute, do, while I teem these here slops
out.  There's no end to folks' idleness down this road.  Here's Marg'et
Rumboll, at th' back, been bidden by th' third-borough to get hersen
into service presently, under pain of a whipping, and Mary Quinton, up
yon, to do th' same within a month, at her peril.  [Note 1.]  I reckon,
if I know aught of either Mall or Marg'et, they'll both look for a place
where th' work's put forth.  Dun ye know o' any such, Mestur Aubrey, up
City way?"

Aubrey was not sufficiently sharp to notice the faint twinkle in
Charity's eyes, and the slight accent of sarcasm in her tone.  Hans
perceived both.

"I do not, Charity, but I dare be bound there are plenty," said Aubrey,
stepping delicately over the puddle which Charity had just created, so
as to cause as little detriment as possible to his Spanish leather shoes
and crimson silk stockings.

"Ay, very like there will.  They'll none suit you, Mestur 'Ans; you're
not one of yon sort.  Have a care o' th' puddle, Mestur Aubrey, or
you'll mire your brave hose, and there'll be wark for somebody."

With which Parthian dart, Charity bore off her pail, and Aubrey and Hans
went forward into the parlour, "Good even, my gracious Lord!" was the
greeting with which the former was received.  "Your Lordship's visits be
scarcer than the sun's, and he has not shown his face none wist when.
Marry, but I do believe I've seen that suit afore!"

"Of course you have, Aunt Temperance," answered the nettled Aubrey.  He
was exceedingly put out.  His evening was spoiled; he was deprived of
his liberty, of his friends' company, of a good dinner--for Mr Winter
gave delightful little dinners, and Mrs Elizabeth More, the housewife
at the Duck, was an unusually good cook.  Moreover, he was tied down to
what he contemptuously designated in his lofty mind "a parcel of women,"
with the unacceptable and very unflattering sarcasms of Aunt Temperance
by way of seasoning.  It really was extraordinary, thought Mr Aubrey,
that when women passed their fortieth milestone or thereabouts, they
seemed to lose their respect for the nobler sex, and actually presumed
to criticise them, especially the younger specimens of that interesting
genus.  Such women ought to be kept in their places, and (theoretically)
he would see that they were.  But when he came in contact with the
obnoxious article in the person of Aunt Temperance, in some inscrutable
manner, the young lord of creation never saw it.  At the Duck, the
company were making merry over Tom Rookwood's satirical account of
Aubrey's discomfiture.  For his company they cared little, and the only
object they had for cultivating it was the consideration that he might
be useful some day.  Their conversation was all the freer without him,
since all the rest were Papists.

Something, at that moment, was taking place elsewhere, with which the
company at the Duck, and even Aubrey Louvaine, were not unconcerned.
Lord Monteagle was entertaining friends to supper at his house at
Hoxton, where he had not resided for some time previously.  Just before
the company sat down to table, a young footman left the house on an
errand, returning a few minutes later.  As he passed towards his
master's door, a man of "indifferent stature," muffled in a cloak, and
his face hidden by a slouched hat drawn down over the brow, suddenly
presented himself from amongst the trees.

"Is your Lord within, and may a man have speech of him?" asked the
apparition.

"His Lordship is now sitting down to supper," was the answer.

The stranger held out a letter.

"I pray you, deliver this into your Lord's own hand," said he, "seeing
it holdeth matter of import."

The young man took the letter, and returned to the house.  Lord
Monteagle was just crossing the hall to the dining-room, when his
servant delivered the letter.  Grace having been said, and the business
of supper begun, he unfolded the missive.  His Lordship found it
difficult to read, which implies that his education was not of the most
perfect order, for the writing is not at all hard to make out.  But
gentlemen were much less versed in the three R's at that date than at
the present time [Note 2], and Lord Monteagle, calling one of his
servants, named Thomas Ward, desired him to read the letter.

Now, Mr Thomas Ward was in the confidence of the conspirators,--a fact
of which there is no doubt: and that Lord Monteagle was the same may not
inaptly be described as a fact of which there is doubt--an extremely
strong probability, which has been called in question without any
disproof [see Appendix].  Both these gentlemen, however, conducted
themselves with perfect decorum, and as if the subject were entirely new
to them.

This was what Mr Ward read:--

"My Lord out of the loue i beare you [this word was crossed out, and
instead of it was written] some of youere trends i haue a caer of youer
preseruacion.  Therfor i would aduyse yowe as yowe tender youer lyf to
deuyse some exscuse to shift of youer attendance at this parleament.
For god and man hathe concurred to punishe the wickednes of this tyme
and thinke not slightlye of this aduertisment but retire youer self into
youre contri wheare yowe maye expect the euent in safti for thowghe
theare be no apparance of anni stir yet i saye they shall receyue a
terrible blowe this Parleament and yet they shall not seie who hurts
them This councel is not to be acontemned because it maye do yowe good
and can do yowe no harm for the dangere is passed as soon as yowe have
burnt the letter and I hope god will giue yowe the grace to mak good use
of it to whose holy proteccion I commend yowe."

The writing was tall, cramped, and angular.  There was neither signature
nor date.

The hearers gazed on each other in perplexed astonishment, not unmixed
with fear.

"What can it mean?" asked one of the guests.

"Some fool's prating," replied Lord Monteagle.  "How else could the
danger be past so soon as I had burnt the letter?"

This question no one could answer.  Lord Monteagle took the letter from
the reader, pocketed it, and turned the conversation to other topics.
The thoughts of the company soon passed from the singular warning; and
occupied by their own fancies and amusements, they did not notice that
their host quitted them as soon as they left the dining-room.

With the letter in his pocket, Lord Monteagle slipped out of his garden
gate, mounted his horse, and rode to his house in the Strand.  Leaving
the horse here, he went down to the water-side, where he hailed a boat,
and was rowed to Westminster Stairs.  To hail a boat was as natural and
common an incident to a Londoner of that day as it is now to call a cab
or stop an omnibus.  Lord Monteagle stepped lightly ashore, made his way
to the Palace of Whitehall, and asked to speak at once with the Earl of
Salisbury, Lord High Treasurer of England.

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

Note 1.  These exemplary women really resided at Southampton, a few
years later.

Note 2.  A letter of Lord Chief-Justice Popham would be a suitable
subject for a competitive examination.



CHAPTER EIGHT.

THE FIFTH OF NOVEMBER.

  "Better to have dwelt unlooked for in some forest's shadows dun,
  Where the leaves are pierced in triumph by the javelins of the sun!
  Better to be born and die in some calm nest, howe'er obscure,
  With a vine about the casements, and a fig-tree at the door!"

The Earl of Salisbury sat in his private cabinet in Whitehall Palace.
He was Robert Cecil, younger son of the great Earl of Burleigh, and he
had inherited his father's brains without his father's conscientiousness
and integrity.  The dead Queen had never trusted him thoroughly: she
considered him, as he was, a schemer--a schemer who might pay to virtue
the tribute of outward propriety, but would pursue the scheme no less.
Yet if Robert Cecil cared for any thing on earth which was not Robert
Cecil, that thing was the Protestant religion and the liberties of
England.  [Note 1.]  The present Sovereign was under pre-eminent
obligation to him, for had he not cast his great weight into the scale
in his favour, the chances were that James might very possibly, if not
probably, have been James the Sixth of Scotland still.  Lord Salisbury
was in person insignificant-looking.  When she wished to put him down,
his late mistress had been accustomed to address him as "Little man,"
and his present master termed him "my little beagle."  His face was
small, with wizened features, moustache, and pointed beard; and though
only forty-five years of age, there were decided silver threads among
the brown.

He looked up in surprise at the announcement that Lord Monteagle
requested permission to speak with him quickly.  What could this young
Roman Catholic nobleman want with him at nine o'clock in the evening--a
time which to his apprehension was much what midnight is to ours?
Perhaps it was better to see him at once, and have done with the matter.
He would take care to dismiss him quickly.

"Show my Lord Monteagle this way."

In another moment Lord Monteagle stood by the table where Salisbury was
seated, his plumed hat in his hand.

"My Lord," said he, "I entreat your Lordship's pardon for my late
coming, and knowing your weighty causes, will be as brief as I may.  A
letter has been sent me which, in truth, to my apprehension is but the
prating of some fool; yet seeing that things are not alway what they
seem, and that there may be more in it than appeareth, I crave your
Lordship's leave to lay it before you, that your better judgment may
pronounce thereupon.  Truly, I am not able to understand it myself."

And the nameless, undated letter, on which the fate of King and
Parliament hung, was laid down before Salisbury.

The Lord High Treasurer read it carefully through; scanned it, back and
front, as if to discover any trace of origin: then leaned back in his
chair, and thoughtfully stroked his moustache.

"Pray you, be seated, my Lord.  Whence had you this?"

Lord Monteagle gave such details as he knew.

"You have no guess from whom it could come?"

"Never a whit."

"Nor you know not the writing?"

"It resembleth none hand of any that I know."

There was another short pause, broken by Lord Monteagle's query, "Thinks
your Lordship this of any moment?"

"That were not easy to answer.  It may be of serious import; or it may
be but a foolish jest."

"Truly, at first I thought it the latter; for how could the danger be
past as soon as the letter were burnt?"

"Ah, that might be but--My Lord, I pray you leave this letter with me.
I will consider of it, and if I see cause, may lay it before the King.
Any way, you have well done to bring it hither.  If it be a foolish
jest, there is but a lost half-hour: and if, as might be, it is an
honest warning of some real peril that threatens us, you will then have
merited well of your King and country.  I may tell you that I have
already received divers advices from beyond seas to the same effect."

"I thank your Lordship heartily, and I commend you to God."  So saying,
Lord Monteagle took his leave.

The Sunday passed peacefully.  Thomas Winter, in his chamber at the sign
of the Duck, laid down a volume of the writings of Thomas Aquinas, and
began to think about going to bed; when a hasty rap on the door, and the
sound of some one being let in, was succeeded by rapid steps on the
stairs.  The next moment, Thomas Ward entered the room.

"What is the matter?" said Winter, the moment he saw his face.

"The saints wot!  A warning letter is sent to my Lord Monteagle, and
whereto it may grow--Hie you to White Webbs when morning breaketh, with
all the speed you may, and tell Mr Catesby of this.  I fear--I very
much fear all shall be discovered."

"It's that rascal Tresham!" cried Winter.  "He was earnest to have his
sister's husband warned, and said he would not pluck forth not another
stiver without our promise so to do."

"Be it who it may, it may be the ruin of us."

"God forbid!  I will be at White Webbs with the dawn, or soon after."

Before it was light the next morning Winter was on horseback, and was
soon galloping through the country villages of Islington, Holloway, and
Hornsey, on his way to Enfield Chase.  In the depths of that lonely
forest land stood the solitary hunting-lodge, named White Webbs, which
belonged to Dr Hewick, and was let in the shooting season to sportsmen.
This house had been taken by "Mr Meaze" (who was Garnet) as a very
quiet locality, where mass might be said without being overheard by
Protestant ears, and no inconvenient neighbours were likely to gossip
about the inmates.  In London, Garnet was a horse-dealer; at White Webbs
he was a gentleman farmer and a sportsman.  Here he established himself
and somebody eke, who has not yet appeared on the scene, and whom it is
time to introduce.  And I introduce her with no feeling save one of
intense pity, as one more sinned against than sinning--a frail,
passion-swayed, impulsive woman, one of the thousands of women whose
lives Rome has blighted by making that sin which was no sin, and so in
many instances leading up to that which was sin--poor, loving, unhappy
Anne Vaux.

The Hon. Anne Vaux was a younger daughter of William Lord Vaux of
Harrowden, and Elizabeth Beaumont, his first wife.  Like many another,
she "loved one only, and she clave to him," whose happy and honourable
wife she might have been, had he been a Protestant clergyman instead of
a Jesuit priest.  That Anne Vaux's passionate love for Garnet was for
the man and not the priest, her own letters are sufficient witness, and
Garnet returned the love.  She took a solemn vow of obedience to the
Superior of the Jesuit Mission in England, in order that she might be
with him where he was, might follow his steps like a faithful dog, that
his people should be her people, and his God her God.  But where he died
she could not die.  To "live without the vanished light" was her sadder
destiny.

At White Webbs, she passed as Mrs Perkins or Parkyns, a widow lady, and
the sister of Mr Mease.  She received numerous visitors, beside Mr
Mease himself,--Catesby, who does not appear to have assumed any alias,
Mr and Mrs Brooksby (the latter of whom was Anne's sister Eleanor),
Tresham, the Winters, and two dubious individuals, who passed under the
names of Robert Skinner and Mr Perkins.  The former was accompanied by
his wife, real or professed; the latter professed to be a brother-in-law
of "Mrs Perkins," and is described as "of middle stature, long visage,
and somewhat lean, of a brown hair, and his beard inclining to
yellow,"--a description which suits none of the conspirators whose
personal appearance is known.

At White Webbs, accordingly, Thomas Winter alighted, and broke in on the
party there assembled, with the startling news that--

"All is discovered!  There is a letter sent to my Lord Monteagle, and
our action is known."

The party consisted of Anne Vaux, Fawkes, the Brooksbys, and Catesby,
who had presented himself there a few days before, with the avowed
object of joining the royal hunting-party at Royston the next day, but
in the morning resolving to "stay and be merry with his friends," he
settled down comfortably, sent his man for venison, and took his ease.

The ease and comfort were broken up by this sudden and startling news.

"Pray you, flee, Mr Catesby, while you have time!" said Winter,
anxiously.

"Nay, I will be further as yet," was the resolute answer.

"What shall we now do?  How say you?"

"Make sure how much is truth.  Go you to Town, Mr Fawkes, to-morrow, as
soon as may be, and bring us word what time of day it shall be with us.
Try the uttermost; for if the part belonged to myself I would try the
same adventure."

Fawkes obeyed, on the Wednesday, returning at night, to the great relief
of the conspirators, with reassuring news.  There was no appearance of
any attempt to meddle with the cellar; all seemed quiet in London: no
excitement among the people, no signs of special precaution by the
authorities.  They might safely go on with the work.

On the following day, Thomas Winter returned to London, and Fawkes
followed in the evening, arriving at the Chequers, in Holborn, just
before it grew dark.  He did not stay here, but proceeded to the house
next to the House of Lords, where he slept that night in its solitary
bed, turning out his supposed master, as the one bed would not
accommodate both, and "when Mr Percy lay there, his man lay abroad."

Percy, meanwhile, had not been idle.  His vocation as gentleman
pensioner gave him easy access to any part of the Palace; and the
previous day had seen him making himself very agreeable in the
apartments of the young Prince, playing with the child, and chatting in
a very affable manner with his nurse.

The youthful Prince's nurse, happily for him, was a shrewd Scotchwoman,
and Percy took little by his motion, "Pray you, Mrs Fordun, whither
leads that door?"

"Out o' the chalmer, Sir," said Agnes Fordun.

"What time doth his Highness ride forth commonly?"

"When it likes the King's Majesty."

"How is his Highness attended?"

"Atweel, 'tis maistly by them that gang wi' him."

"Is his Highness a brisk, lively child, or no?"

"He's what a Prince suld be," stiffly said Agnes.

Percy gave her up as impracticable, and reported to his colleagues at
White Webbs that the Duke could not be compassed.

"Comes the Prince, then, to the Parliament?" asked Catesby.

Percy and Winter agreed that on this head rumour was assuming a negative
aspect.

"Then must we have our horses beyond the water," said Catesby, "and more
horses and company to surprise the Prince, and let the Duke alone."

The King returned from Royston on the 31st of October.  The next
morning, Salisbury requested a private audience, and in the Long Gallery
of Whitehall Palace, laid before his Majesty the mysterious letter.  The
astute Salisbury, and also the Lord Chamberlain, had already fathomed
the meaning of the "terrible blow," and the means by which it was to be
effected; but the former would scarcely have been a Cecil had he not
also read his royal master.  His Majesty must have the matter so
communicated to him that he should be able to believe that his own
supernatural sagacity had solved a mystery impenetrable to the
commonplace brains of the Lords of the Council.  It might be reasonably
anticipated that such a warning should be no mystery to the son of Lord
Darnley--that his thoughts would fly rapidly to that house in the Kirk
o' Field, where his own father had received his death-blow, and had not
seen who hurt him.  That the one word "Gunpowder!" should drop from
white, stern lips was to be expected.  But do people ever do what is
expected of them by others?  In this case, at any rate, nothing half so
dramatic took place.

"His Majesty made a short reply,"--which it may be was then thought
such, but which now would assuredly be set down as long, wordy, and
sententious.

"The incertainty of the writer, and the generality of the
advertisement," began the royal orator, "besides the small likelihood of
any such conspiracy on the general body of any realm, gives me less
cause to apprehend it as a thing certain to be put in execution.
Considering that all conspiracies commonly distinguish of men and
persons, yet seeing the words do rather seem (as far as they are to be
regarded) to presage danger to the whole Court of Parliament (over whom
my care is greater than over mine own life), and because the words
describe such a form of doing as can be no otherwise interpreted than by
some stratagem of fire and powder,--I wish that there may be special
consideration had of the nature of all places yielding commodity for
those kinds of attempts: and I will then deliver my further judgment."

The man who could deliver his judgment in this stilted style of pompous
word-building, in such circumstances as were then existing, would have
required a powdered footman in spotless plush to precede him out of a
house on fire.  I must confess to a little misgiving as to the
authenticity of this speech.  It looks much more likely to have been
deliberately penned by my Lord Salisbury in the calm of his official
study, when the smoke had cleared away from the battlefield, than to
have been fired off by King James in haste and trepidation--which he was
sure to feel--at the moment when the letter was laid before him.  The
evidence that the Government account of the circumstances was drawn up
with due regard to what they might and should have been to produce the
proper effect on the docile public, and not very much as to what they
were, is irresistible.  But as no other narrative exists, we can but
have recourse to the stained-glass article before us.

His Sacred Majesty having thus exhibited his incomparable wisdom, and
been properly complimented and adored on account thereof, my Lord
Salisbury left the gallery with a grave face, and hastily summoning the
Lords of the Council, went through the farce of laying the letter before
them.

"Sire," said he, when he returned to the King, "the Lords of the
Council, subject to your Majesty's gracious pleasure, advise that my
Lord Chamberlain shall straitly view the Parliament House, and my Lord
Monteagle beseecheth leave to be with him."

"Gude!" said his Majesty, who to the day of his death never lost his
Scottish accent.  "I wad ha'e ye likewise, my Lord Salisbury, ta'e note
o' such as wad without apparent necessity seek absence frae the
Parliament, because 'tis improbable that among a' the nobles, this
warning should be only gi'en to ane."

"Sire, your Majesty's command shall be obeyed."

"Atweel, let the search be made, and report to me," said the King, as he
left the gallery.

The following Monday, which was the day before the opening of
Parliament, was appointed for the search.

On the Friday, Catesby, Thomas Winter, and Tresham met at Barnet, when
Catesby angrily accused Tresham of having sent the warning to Lord
Monteagle, and Tresham vehemently denied it.

"Marry, it must be you!" said Catesby.  "The only ones that harried us
touching the saving of persons were you and Mr Keyes, who would fain
have saved his master, my Lord Mordaunt; all other were consenting to
the general issue that the Catholic Lords should be counselled to tarry
away on account of the new statutes."

"I never writ nor sent that letter, on my honour!" cried Tresham.

Did he speak the truth?  No man knows to this day.

On the Saturday, the conspirators had another scare.  In Lincoln's Inn
Walks, Thomas Winter met Tresham, who told him in a terrified whisper
that Lord Salisbury had been to the King, and, there was grave reason to
fear, had shown him the fatal letter.  Winter hastened away to Catesby,
to whom he communicated the news.  For the first time Gatesby's heart
failed him.

"I will be gone!" said he.  "Yet--nay, I will stay till Mr Percy come,
without whose consent will I do nothing."

But money was wanted; and one of the moneyed men, who had been drawn
into the conspiracy for that purpose, could alone supply it.  Tresham,
that one who was at hand, took Winter to his apartments in Clerkenwell
[Note 2], where he counted out a hundred pounds.

The same night a letter was brought to Salisbury which had been found
dropped in the street.  A few words of it were in cipher.  It purported
to be written by E.F. Mak to Richard Bankes: and in it these words
occurred:--"The gallery with the passage thereto yieldeth the best of
assurance, and a safety of the actors themselves."

"I hope to behold the tyrannous heretic defeated in his cruel
pleasures."  These mysterious hints, coming so quickly after the
Monteagle letter, still further alarmed and excited the Council.

The conspirators gathered on Sunday night in the house behind Saint
Clement's--Fawkes, Catesby, Thomas Winter, and the two Wrights.  They
were shortly joined by Percy.  It was late when they parted--parted, to
meet all together in this world never any more.  Catesby had made up his
mind to go down into the country the next day; Percy and the Wrights
were preparing to follow; all were ready to escape the moment the
necessity should arise, except Fawkes, who was to fire the powder, and
Thomas Winter, who said he would tarry and see the end.  Some had
already departed--Sir Everard Digby to Coughton, the house of Mr
Throckmorton, which he had borrowed--where Garnet already was.

Percy spent the Monday in a visit to the Earl of Northumberland at Syon;
Christopher Wright and Thomas Winter in buying articles needful for the
coming journey.  In the morning Rookwood accidentally met Catesby, whose
spirits had risen.  There was no need to fear things would go on well.

Three o'clock in the afternoon saw Lord Suffolk, the Lord Chamberlain of
the Household, accompanied by Lord Monteagle, descending into the vaults
of the House of Lords.  They glanced into different parts, and coming to
the cellar immediately under the House, the Lord Chamberlain noticed
that it was apparently filled with stacked faggots.

"Whose are all these?" said he.

A tall, dark man, who had unlocked the cellar for their Lordships'
entrance, and was now standing by with the key in his hand, gave the
answer, with an air of rustic simplicity.

"An't like your Lordships, 'tis my master's provision for the winter."

"Who is your master?" asked the Lord Chamberlain.

"An't please you, Mr Percy, one of his Majesty's pensioners, that hath
his lodging this next door."

"I thought none dwelt next door.  How long hath your master had the
house?"

"Under your Lordships' leave, about a year and an half; but hath
deferred his lying there by reason of some occasions which caused him to
be absent."

"Well, he has laid in a good stock of fuel," said the Chamberlain, as if
carelessly; and their Lordships turned and remounted the stairs.

Arrived at a place where they might speak unheard, the noble searchers
looked each into the other's face with the same question on the lips of
both.

"What thinks your Lordship of all this stock of fuel below?"

"Nay, what think you, my Lord?"

"Truly, I am very suspicious thereof."

"My Lord, the more I do observe the letter," said Lord Monteagle,
earnestly, "and meditate on the words thereof, the more jealous am I of
the matter, and of this place.  Look you, this Mr Percy the pensioner
and I had great dearness of friendship between us at one time; he is a
near relative of my Lord Northumberland, and a Catholic.  Were I you,
that cellar should be thoroughly overhauled."

"Well, let us go to the King."

It was between five and six o'clock, and the short November daylight was
over, when the searchers brought back their report to his Majesty,
recounted their suspicions, and asked what they were to do.

"Gi'e me a man wi' his heid on his shoulders," said his Majesty, "and ye
ha' that, my Lord Monteagle.  Noo, I'll just tell ye, I ay held ane
maxim, to wit, Either do naething, or do that quhilk shall make a' sure.
So ye'll just gang your ways, and ha'e a glint ahint thae faggots in
the bit cellar."

"If it please your Highness, is there no fear that so we may give room
for murmurings and evil rumours?  If we search this cellar and find
nothing, may not men say the Government is unduly suspicious?"

"And, under your Highness' leave, shall it not place my Lord
Northumberland in jeopardy?--he being akin to Mr Percy, and his great
friend."

"Ay, is there twa heids weel screwit on?  I jalouse, my Lord Monteagle,
ye're saying ae word for my Lord Northumberland and twa for yoursel'.
Be it sae: a man hath but ane life.  My Lord Chamberlain, can ye no
raise a bit rumour that a wheen o' the hangings are missing that suld
ha'e been in the Wardrobe in Wyniard's keeping?  Then gang your ways,
and turn out the faggots."

"And, if it might please your Majesty," suggested the Lord Chamberlain,
"were it not best some other made the search--one of the gentlemen of
your privy chamber,--so as to rouse less suspicion?"

"Ay, gang your ways, and send auld Knevet down, wi' a pair or twa o'
younger hands to toss the faggots."

"Might it not be well also, Sire, to extend the search to the houses
adjoining the Parliament House, and so make examination of the lodging
where Mr Percy lieth?"

"Do sae, do sae," responded the King.  "I affy me in you: only heed
this, What you do, do throughly."

Just as the Abbey clock struck eleven, Fawkes came out of Percy's rooms,
and went down into the vault by the door which had been made the
previous Easter.  He carried in one hand a dark lantern, lighted, and in
the other a piece of touchwood, and a match eight or nine inches in
length.  As he set the lantern down in the corner of the vault, he felt
a touch upon his shoulder, and looked up in alarm until he met the eyes
of Robert Keyes.

"Mr Fawkes, take this watch, which Mr Percy sends you, that you may
the better know when to fire the train."

Keyes spoke in a very low tone, so that he might not be heard outside.
Fawkes took the watch, and secreted it carefully.  Watches were rare and
precious things, not carried by every gentleman even when wealthy; and
Percy had bought this one for its special purpose.

Keyes departed, and Fawkes opened the door of the vault for a breath of
fresh air.  He had scarcely come out, and closed it behind him, when
another hand grasped his shoulder, not with the light touch of his
confederate.

"Who are you?" asked the voice of an old man.

"My name is John Johnson, my master; I am Mr Percy's man."

"Make stay of him," said the voice; "and you, come after me into the
vault."

Into the vault went Sir Thomas Knevet, and with his men began a search
among the carefully-stacked wood.  It did not take long to lay bare the
six-and-thirty barrels, and by drilling a small hole into two of them to
make sure of the nature of their contents.  Spread before them, in the
full magnitude of its horror, lay the "gunpowder treason and plot,"
which through the coming ages of English history, should "never be
forgot."

A slight noise overhead alarmed the searchers, who feared lest "Mr
Percy's man" might be endeavouring to escape.  Sir Thomas sent up one of
his men, named Doubleday, to make sure of him till his return.  Fawkes,
however, was still in the hands of the watchman, but on Doubleday's
appearance, he requested permission to go to his own room in the
adjoining house.  This Doubleday allowed, posting himself as watchmen at
the door.  No sooner was Fawkes alone than he took the opportunity to
rid himself of the chief evidences against him, by flinging the match
and tinder out of his window, which overlooked the river.  In another
minute Sir Thomas Knevet and his men entered the chamber.

"Know you what we have found in your master's cellar?"

"You have found what was there, I suppose," was the cool reply.

"Search the man," was Sir Thomas Knevet's order.  But this indignity
Fawkes resented, and opposed with all his strength.  The struggle was
severe, but short.  He was overpowered, and bound with his own garters.
They found on him the watch which Keyes had brought from Percy.

"How could you have put fire to the gunpowder," asked Knevet, "without
danger to yourself?"

"I meant to fire it by a match, eight or nine inches long; as soon as I
had set it I should have fled for mine own safety.  If I had been in the
cellar when you took me, I would at once have blown up all."

"Keep a strong guard on this caitiff," said Sir Thomas, "and you,
Doubleday, see to the cellar.  I will to his Majesty."

As he left Percy's house, midnight tolled out on the clock of the Abbey.
The fifth of November had begun.

Sir Thomas Knevet left his prisoner under guard, and returned to the
King.  Late as it was, his Majesty had not retired.  The members of the
Council who were at hand--for some always slept in the Palace--were
called in, the gates secured, a cordon of troops set across King Street,
and another at Charing Cross.  The remainder of the Council in Town had
been sent for, and as soon as they arrived, about one o'clock a.m., the
King sat at their head in his bedchamber, and Fawkes was brought in and
placed before them.

Nothing quelled the spirit of Guy Fawkes.  The councillors were eager,
impatient, vehement: he was calm as a summer eve, cool as the midnight
snow.  To their hurried queries he returned straightforward, unabashed,
imperturbable answers, still keeping up his character of an ignorant
rustic.

"Tell us, fellow, why that store of gunpowder was laid in?"

"To blow up the Parliament House," said Fawkes.  "When should it have
been executed?"

"To-morrow, when the King had come, and the Upper House was sitting."

"Of whom?"

"Of myself."

"How knew you that the King would come?"

"Only by report, and the making ready his barge."

"And for what cause?"

"For the advancement of the Catholic religion."

"You are a Papist?"

"Ay."

"And wherefore would you be a party to the destruction of so many of
your own religion?"

"We meant principally to have respected our own safety, and would have
prayed for them."

"Your name and calling?"

"John Johnson, and Mr Percy's man."

"Was your master a party to this treason?"

"You can ask him when you see him."

"Who were your accomplices?"

Then the dark eyes shot forth fire.

"You would have me betray my friends!" said Guy Fawkes.  "The giving
warning to one hath overthrown us all."

It was found impossible to obtain any further information from Fawkes.
Neither fear nor coaxing would induce him to name his accomplices.  He
was sent to the Tower, which he entered by Traitor's Gate.

"Well, to be sure!  Whatten a thingcum's [what sort of a thing] this?
Has summat happened sin' we went to bed?  Rachel!  I say, Rachel, lass!
come here."

Rachel heard the exclamation when Charity opened the front door, and
came running with a wooden spoon in her hand.

"See thou, lass! dost thou see all them soldiers drawn right across th'
street?  Look, they're turning folks back 'at goes up, and willn't let
'em pass.  There's summat up, for sure!  What is it, thinkst thou?"

"Thou'd best ask somebry [somebody] as comes down from 'em," suggested
Rachel: "or send in next door.  Eh, Mistress Abbott will be some mad
[greatly vexed], to think hoo's missed th' news by lying abed."

"Ah, hoo will.  Here--I say, Master!  What's up, can you tell us?"

The man addressed stopped.  He had been up to the cordon, and had been
turned back by them.

"Why, there's a plot discovered," he answered: "one of the worst ever
was heard.  The Parliament House should have been blown up this very
morning, and you should have been in danger of your lives."

"Lord, have mercy!" cried Rachel.

"Thanks be, that 'tis found out!" said Charity.  "Be the rogues catched,
think you?"

"One of 'em--he that should have fired the mine.  They have learned
nought of the rest as yet."

"Well, for sure!  Happen [perhaps] he'll tell o' t'others."

"They'll make him, never fear," said the man, as he passed on.

"Why, my maids! are you both so warm this November morrow, that you
stand at the street door?" said Edith's voice behind them.  "Prithee
shut it, Charity; my mother comes anon."

Charity obeyed, while Rachel hastily poured the astonishing news into
Edith's ears.  The latter grew a shade paler.

"What be these traitors?" she said.

"They're Papists, for sure!" said Rachel, decidedly.  "Nobry else'd
think of nought so wicked."

"Ah, I reckon they are," added Charity, clinching the nail.  "They're
right naught [Note 3], the whole boilin' of 'em."

The news was broken to Lady Louvaine more gently than it had been to
Edith; but she clasped her hands with a faint cry of--"Aubrey!  If these
be they with whom he hath consorted, God keep the lad!"

"I trust, Mother dear, God will keep him," responded Edith, softly.
"Would you have him hither?"

"Truly, I know not what to say, daughter.  Maybe he is the safest with
my Lady of Oxford.  Nay, I think not."

Now came Temperance with her market-basket, and she had to be told.  Her
first thought was of a practical nature, but it was not Aubrey.

"Dear heart, you say not so?  How ever am I to get to market?  Lancaster
and Derby! but I would those Papist companions were swept clean away out
of the realm.  I don't believe there's a loyal man amongst 'em!"

"Nay, Temperance, we know not yet if they be Papists."

"Know not if they be!  Why, of course they are!" was the immediate
decision of Temperance.  "What else can they be?  There's none other
sort ill enough to hammer such naughty work out of their fantasy.
`Don't know,' indeed! don't tell _me_!"

And Temperance and her basket marched away in dudgeon.

The previous evening had been spent by Christopher Wright, Rookwood, and
Keyes at the Duck; and they were the first among the conspirators to
hear of the discovery and arrest.  At five o'clock in the morning,
Christopher Wright made a sudden appearance in Thomas Winter's chamber,
where that worthy was sleeping, certainly not the sleep of the just.

"Rise up, Mr Winter!" he cried excitedly.  "Rise and come along to
Essex House, for I am going to call upon my Lord Northumberland.  The
matter is discovered, by a letter to my Lord Monteagle."

Thomas Winter sat up in his bed.

"Go back, Mr Wright," said he, "and learn what you can about Essex
Gate."

Off dashed Christopher, and Winter dressed hastily.  He was scarcely
ready when his friend returned.

"Surely, all is lost!" cried Wright, "for Leyton is got on horseback at
Essex door, and as he 'parted, he asked if their Lordships would have
any more with him, and being answered `No,' is rode as fast up Fleet
Street as he can ride."

"Go you, then, to Mr Percy," urged Winter, "for sure it is for him they
seek, and bid him be gone.  I will stay and see the uttermost."

Away went Wright again, and Winter followed more slowly.  He found the
Court gates "straitly guarded," so that he was not allowed to enter.
Then he turned and went down towards the Houses of Parliament, and in
the middle of King Street he found the guard standing, who would not let
him pass.  As Winter passed up King Street again, Silence Abbott came
out of her door, having just published herself for the day, and accosted
Rachel, who was busy with the doorsteps.

"Why, whatever's all this to-do?" said she, in considerable dismay.  Had
she been wasting daylight and precious material for gossip, by lying in
bed half-an-hour longer than usual?

"Why, there's a treason discovered," said Rachel, wringing out her
flannel.

"Lack-a-day! what manner of treason?"

"Biggest ever was heard on.  The King and all th' Lords o' th'
Parliament to be blown up."

Winter hesitated no more.  Evidently all was known.  To save himself--if
it might be--was the only thing now possible.  He went straight to the
livery-stable where he kept his horse, mounted, and set forth for
Dunchurch, where the hunting-party was to meet.  If all were lost in
London, it was not certain that something might not be retrieved in the
country.

It was a grievous blunder, and grievously they answered it.  Had they
instantly gone on board the vessel which lay moored in the river, ready
to carry Fawkes away when the mine was fired, and set sail for Flanders,
every one of them might have fulfilled the number of his days.  It seems
almost as if their eyes were holden, that they should go up and fall at
the place appointed.

The first to fly had been Catesby and John Wright.  Keyes followed at
eight o'clock, going straight to Turvey; Rookwood at eleven, overtaking
Keyes three miles beyond Highgate, and Catesby and Wright at Brickhill.
As they rode together, Wright "cast their cloaks into a hedge to ride
more speedily."

Percy had spent the night in the City, but Christopher Wright soon found
him, and they galloped after their colleagues.  At Hockliffe Percy's
servant Story met them with fresh horses, and overtaking the others
further on, they at last reached Ashby Saint Ledgers in safety.

Robert Winter, the elder brother of Thomas, was then at Grafton, the
residence of his father-in-law, stalwart old John Talbot, whither he and
his wife had ridden on the last day of October.  He was among the more
innocent of the plotters, and had taken no active part in anything but
the mining.  Riding from Grafton, on the 4th, he spent the night at the
Bull Inn, Coventry, and next day reached the Hall at Ashby Saint
Ledgers, where the widowed Lady Catesby held her solitary state.  Lady
Catesby (_nee_ Anne Throckmorton) and her worthy son were not on the
best terms, having found it necessary or amusing to sue one another in
his Majesty's Law Courts; and shortly before this, Lady Catesby had been
to Huddington to request Robert Winter's assistance in making peace with
her son.  He was now on his way to advise her, and had heard nothing of
the proceedings in London.  But soon after his arrival at the Hall, four
weary, bemired men arrived also.  These were Percy, the Wrights, and
Rookwood, Keyes having left them on the way.

"Lost, lost!" cried impetuous Percy, as he came, booted, spurred, and
covered with mud, into the very neat drawing-room where Lady Catesby and
her young daughter Elizabeth were engaged on their embroidery.  "All is
lost! the whole plot discovered.  I cast no doubt proclamations shall be
out by morning light to seize us all, with a full relation how short or
how long we be."

Lady Catesby exerted herself to provide for the refreshment and comfort
other very unexpected guests, and they were soon on their way across the
hall to supper, when one of the servants came up with a message that
"one at the base door prayed speech of Mr Winter."  Robert Winter
excused himself to his hostess, and going to the back-door, he there
found Martha Bates, wife of the Bates who was his fellow--conspirator
and Catesby's servant.

"Pray you, Sir," said Martha with a bob of deprecation mingled with
deference, "to come into the fields by the town's end, where is one
would speak quickly with you."

"Who is it?"

Martha glanced round, as if afraid of the chestnuts overhearing her.

"Well, Sir, to tell truth, 'tis Mr Catesby; but I pray you, let not my
Lady Anne know of his being here."

Robert Winter took his way to the place appointed, and found a group of
some twelve horsemen awaiting him.

"Good even!  Well, what news?"

"The worst could be.  Mr Fawkes is taken, and the whole plot
discovered."

"Ay, you have heard it, then?  Here are come but now my cousins Wright,
with Mr Percy and Mr Rookwood, bringing the same news.  What now do
we?"

"What say you?"

"Well, it seems to me best that each should submit himself."

"We've not yet come to that.  Bid them every one follow me to Dunchurch
without loss of time.  Only--mind you let not my mother know of my being
here."

"To Dunchurch--what, afore supper?  We were but just come into the
dining-chamber, and I smell somewhat uncommon good."

"You may tarry for jugged hare," said Catesby contemptuously.  "I shall
ride quickly to Dunchurch, and there consult."

"Well--if you must, have with you."

"Bring some pies in your pocket, Robin, and then you'll not fall to
cannibalism on the way," called Catesby after him.  "And--hark! ask if
any wist the road to Dunchurch, for I know it not."

The question was put in vain to all the party.  It appeared, when they
came up with Catesby, that nobody knew the road to Dunchurch.
Guide-posts were a mystery of the future.

"We must needs have a guide," said Catesby; "but I am fain at this
moment not to show myself in Ashby.  Robin, wilt thou win us one?  Go
thou to Leeson, the smith, at the entering in of the village as thou
comest from Ravensthorpe--"

"Ay, I know."

"Ask him if he will guide us to Dunchurch, and he shall be well paid for
it.  He is safe, being a Catholic.  We will follow anon."

Bennet Leeson, the blacksmith at Ashby Saint Ledgers, had given up work
for the day, and having gone through some extensive ablutions and the
subsequent supper, now stood at his cottage door, looking out on the
green and taking his rest.  He was not enjoying a pipe, for that was as
yet a vice of the city, which had not penetrated to rustic and primitive
places such as Ashby Saint Ledgers.  A horseman came trotting up the
street, and drew bridle at his door.

"Give thee good den, smith!  Dost know the road to Dunchurch?"

Bennet Leeson took off his leather cap, and scratched his head, as if it
were necessary to clear a path to his brains before the question could
penetrate so far.

"Well, I reckon I do, when 'tis wanted.  What o' that?"

"Wilt guide me thither?"

"What, this even?"

"Ay, now."

Bennet's cap came off again, and he repeated the clearing process on the
other side of his head.

"I will content thee well for it," said the stranger: "but make up thy
mind, for time presseth."

A dulcet vision of silver shillings--of which no great number usually
came his way--floated before the charmed eyes of the blacksmith.

"Well, I shouldn't mind if I did.  Tarry while I get my horse."

The stranger waited, though rather impatiently, till Bennet reappeared,
leading a rough Dunsmoor pony, with a horsecloth tied round it, on which
he mounted without saddle.

"Now then, my master.  Nay, not that way!  You're turning your back on
Dunchurch so."

The horseman checked his hasty, start with a smile, and followed his
guide.  As they reached the other end of the village, and came out into
the open, Catesby and his companions emerged from the trees, and joined
Robert Winter.

"Him's growed!" said Bennet Leeson to himself, as he glanced round at
the increased sound of horses' hoofs.  "First time I ever see one man
split his self into thirteen.  The beast's split his self too.  Wonder
if them'll ha' come to six-and-twenty by the time us gets at Dunchurch!"

The company, however, grew no further, and Bennet led them up to the
door of the Lion at Dunchurch without any more marvels.  It was now
about "seven or eight o'clock in the night."  Catesby, the only one whom
he knew by sight, said to the smith as he dismounted--

"Here, smith, wilt walk the horses a few moments?  It shall not be
forgot in the reckoning."

The whole party then went into the Lion, where Sir Everard Digby and
others awaited them.  A hurried, eager discussion of future plans took
place here.  The drawer was called to bring bottles of sack and glasses,
and before he was well out of hearing, impetuous Percy cried, "We are
all betrayed!"

"Softly, an't like you!" responded the cooler Catesby.

"We must go on now," cried Percy: "we shall die for it else."

"But what must we now do?" asked Rookwood.  "Go, even yet, to Combe
Abbey, and seize on the Lady Elizabeth?"

"We wait for you, Mr Catesby," said Sir Everard.  "You have been our
leader from the beginning, and we of your following will not forsake you
now."

"Too late for anything of that sort," was Catesby's decision.  "There
are scarce enough of us, and word will sure be sent to my Lord
Harrington, quicker than we could reach the place.  Remember, they will
go direct, and we have come round.  Nay, our only way is to gather all
our friends together, and see what manner of stand we can make.  In
numbers is our safety."

"Every Catholic in the realm will rally to us," said Sir Everard.

"And many Protestants belike," suggested Robert Winter.

"Marry, we shall have brave following, ere we be twelve hours older,"
said Percy.  "But which way go we now?"

"Let us first cross over to Grant's; we shall maybe increase our numbers
there: then go we to Coughton, pressing such as will join us on the
way."

"Done!" said Percy, always the first to agree to anything which was
action, and not waiting for events.

Outside, in the meantime, Bennet Leeson was walking the horses, as he
had been requested.

"Tarry a bit, Leeson: thou hast not yet handled all thou mayest gain
this night," said a voice the smith knew.

"Why, whence came you, Tom Bates?"

"You've good eyes, Bennet.  I've been behind you ever since we left
Ashby."

"By the same token, but I never saw you."

"Well, let be seeing me or no--wilt guide me to Rugby and back here for
another shilling?"

Bates and Leeson accordingly rode away to "a little town called Rugby,"
where at the bailiffs house they found nine more worthies, who had
finished their supper, and were playing cards.  One of these gentry was
John Winter--the half-brother of Robert and Thomas,--whose mother was
the daughter of Queen Mary's redoubtable Secretary, Sir John Bourne
[Note 4].  He was either very simple or very clever, and at this
distance of time it is not easy to say which.

Bates delivered the message with which he was charged, that "the
gentlemen at Dunchurch desired their company to be merry," and the nine
card-players accordingly returned with him to that place.  Having paid
the promised shilling to Leeson, Bates took his new convoy into the inn,
whence the whole party emerged in about a quarter of an hour.

"That is for thy pains, smith, and I thank thee," said Catesby, stooping
from his saddle to put two shillings in the hand of his guide.

The whole party now rode away in the direction of Coventry.

"Well, that's a queer start!" said the blacksmith to himself, looking
first after the horsemen, and then down at the money in his hand.  "If
it hadn't a-been Muster Catesby, now, and Tom Bates, might ha' thought
us 'd been out wi' the fairies this even.  You're good silver, aren't
you?  Let we see.  Ay--an Edward shovelboard [Note 5], and a new
shilling o' King James, and three groats o' Queen Bess--that's not fairy
silver, I 'count.  Come along, Yethard!"  [Note 6] as he scrambled on
the back of his shaggy friend.  "Thee and me'll go home now.  Us has
done a good night's work.  They shillings 'll please she, if her's not
in a tantrum.  Gee up wi' thee!"

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

Note 1.  Sicklemore, one of the priests, said with a sigh, "The Divell
is in that Lord of Salisbury!  All our undoing is his doing, and the
execution of Garnet is his only deed."  (Additional Manuscript 6178,
folio 165.)

Note 2.  Clerkenwell was a suburb wherein many Roman Catholics dwelt.
"There were divers houses of recusants in Saint John's Street," among
them those of Sir Henry James and Thomas Sleep, at the last of which
Fawkes was a frequent visitor.  Mrs Wyniard bore witness that when
Fawkes paid her the last quarter's rent, on Sunday, November 3rd, he had
"good store of gould in his pocket."

Note 3.  Modern writers are apt to confuse nought and naught.  At this
time they were quite distinct, the former signifying _nothing_, and the
latter (whence naughty is derived) _wickedness_.

Note 4.  This is the gentleman described by the Hot Gospeller as coming
to the door of the council-chamber, "looking as the wolf doth for a
lamb; unto whom my two keepers delivered me," and "he took me in
greedily."  (Narrative of Edward Underhill, Harl.  Manuscript 424, folio
87, b.)

Note 5.  The shilling of Edward the Sixth acquired this popular name
from being so large and flat, that it was found convenient for use in
the game of shovelboard.

Note 6.  The Northamptonshire pronunciation of Edward.



CHAPTER NINE.

ON THE WEARY WAY TO HOLBEACH.

  "And thou hast fashioned idols of thine own--
  Idols of gold, of silver, and of stone:
  To them hast bowed the knee, and breathed the breath,
  And they must help thee in the hour of death."

  Sir Edwin Arnold.

While the discomfited conspirators were thus speeding on their weary
way, in hope of yet gathering recruits enough to raise the standard of
rebellion in the interests of that Church on whose behalf they counted
everything lawful, Lord Harrington, at Combe Abbey, heard the news, and
hurried the little Princess off to Coventry, as a safer place than his
own house, for Coventry was determinately Protestant and loyal.
Elizabeth, afterwards well known as the Queen of Bohemia, was deeply
impressed and horrified with the terrible discovery.

"What sort of a queen should I have been," said the true-hearted child,
"when I had won to my throne through the blood of my father and my
brothers?  Thanked be God that it was not so!"

The metropolis was passing through a ferment of delight, amazement, and
activity.  Everywhere in the streets bonfires were blazing,--the first
of those Gunpowder Plot bonfires which every fifth of November has seen
after them.

A watch was set on Percy's house in Holborn, and his wife was guarded.
A priest named Roberts was taken in the house.  Mrs Martha Percy
appears to have been a fitting mate for a conspirator.  She put on an
affectation of the sublimest innocence.  How should she know anything?
she who lived so quietly, and was entirely occupied in teaching her own
and other children.  As to her husband, she had not seen him since
Midsummer.  He was attendant on my Lord of Northumberland, and lodged,
as she supposed, in his house.  Having thus lulled to sleep the
suspicions of those set to watch her, the next morning Mrs Percy was
not to be found.  Whether she slipped through a door, or climbed out of
a window, or went up the chimney on a broomstick, there was no evidence
to show; but three days later she made her appearance at Norbrook House
in Warwickshire, the residence of her eldest brother, John Wright, and
was affectionately received by her sister-in-law.

At Westminster, Lord Chief-Justice Popham and Sir Edward Coke sat in
judicial ermine, and summoned before them two prisoners--Gideon Gibbons
the porter, and the clever gentleman who called himself John Johnson,
and whose real name was Guy Fawkes.

Gibbons was soon disposed of, for he was as innocent as he seemed to be.
All that he could say was that he had been hired, in his usual way of
business, with two other porters, to carry three thousand billets of
wood to the Parliament House, and that Mr Percy's servant Johnson had
stacked them in the cellar.  The key of the house next door had been at
times left in charge of his wife.  So much he knew, and no more.

The examination of "John Johnson" was another matter.  The King himself
had drawn up a paper containing questions to be put to him, and he
answered these and all others with an appearance of perfect frankness
and wish to conceal nothing.  His replies were in reality a mixture of
truth and falsehood, which was afterwards proved.

The catechism began as usual, "What is your name?"

"John Johnson."  To this he adhered through two more examinations.

"How old are you?"

"Thirty-six."  This was true.

"Where were you born?"

"In Netherdale, in the county of York."

"How have you lived hitherto?"

"By a farm of thirty pounds a year."

"How came those wounds in your breast?"

"They are scars from the healing of a pleurisy."

The treatment of pleurisy in the seventeenth century was apparently
rather severe.

Fawkes went on to reply to the articles demanded, that he had never
served any man but Percy--though he had been in the service of Anthony
Browne, Lord Montague, a few months before: that he obtained Percy's
service "only by his own means, being a Yorkshire man"; that he had
learned French in England, and increased it when abroad; that he was
born a Papist, and not perverted--which was false.

Being asked why he was addressed as "Mr Fauks" in a letter (as he
alleged) from Mrs Colonel Bostock, which was found in his pocket, Mr
"Johnson" replied with the coolest effrontery, that it was because he
had called himself so in Flanders, where Mrs Bostock resided.  This
letter was subsequently discovered to come from Anne Vaux.

Thus far went King James's queries: in respect of which the King desired
"if he will no other ways confesse, the gentle tortours to be first used
unto him, _et sic per gradus ad ima tenditur_; and so God speede your
good work!"

It was not, however, necessary to urge a confession: Mr Percy's man
seemed anxious to make a clean breast of it, and promised to tell
everything.  He proceeded accordingly to lead his examiners astray by a
little truth and a good deal of falsehood.  He gave a tolerably accurate
account of the hiring of the house and the cellar, the bringing in of
the powder, etcetera, except that he refrained from implicating any one
but himself.  There was, at first, a certain air of nobility about
Fawkes, and he sternly refused to become an informer.  He declined to
admit his summer journey abroad, and would not allow that the spring
excursion had any other object than "to see the country and pass away
the time."

"What would you have done," asked the examiners, "with the Queen and the
royal issue?"

"If they had been there, I would not have helped them."

"If all had gone, who would have been published or elected King?"

"We never entered into that consideration."

"What form of government should have succeeded?"

"We were too few to enter into the consideration.  The people themselves
would have drawn to a head."  All this was untrue, as Fawkes
subsequently allowed.  A number of arrests were made, mostly of innocent
persons.  All in whose houses the conspirators had lodged.  Mrs
Herbert, Mrs More, the tailor Patrick; Mrs Wyniard, Mrs Bright, and
their respective servants; Lord Northumberland's gentlemen, and the Earl
himself, were put under lock and key.  The poor Earl bemoaned himself
bitterly, and entreated that Percy might be searched for--"who alone
could show him clear as the day, or dark as the night."  He asserted
that Percy had obtained money from him by falsehood: and seeing how
exquisitely little value most of these worthy gentlemen seem to have set
upon truth, it was not at all unlikely.  Lady Northumberland wrote an
impulsive letter to Lord Salisbury, entreating him to stand her friend
by "salving" her husband's reputation, "much wounded in the opinion of
the world by this wretched cousin": but the only result of the appeal
was to make the Lord Treasurer angry, and give rise to an intercession
in her behalf from her lord and master, who begs Salisbury to "bear with
her because she is a woman," and therefore "not able with fortitude to
bear out the crosses of the world as men are: and," adds the Earl
humorously, "she will sometimes have her own ways, let me do what I can,
which is not unknown to you."  [Note 1.]

The prisoners were remanded, and the great metropolis slept: but there
was no sleep for those bemired and weary horsemen who pressed on that
night journey to Norbrook.  Where Grant joined them is not recorded, but
Humphrey Littleton had left them at Dunchurch.  His share in the plot
had been insignificant, but we shall hear of him again.  Catesby, John
Wright, and Percy, who rode in front, beguiled their journey by a
discussion as to how they could procure fresh horses.  They were
approaching Warwick, and it was proposed that Grant and some of the
servants should be sent on in front, with instructions to make a raid on
a livery-stable in the town, kept by a man named Bennock, and seize as
many horses as they could get.

Robert Winter, riding behind, saw the men sent on, and pressing forward
to the front, inquired the meaning of it.  When told the intention, he
combated it strongly, and did his best to dissuade Catesby from it.  The
man who had swallowed the camel of the Gunpowder Plot was scandalised at
the idea of horse-stealing!  [Note 2.]

"I pray you, no more of this!" said Robert Winter.  "It will but further
increase the wrath of the King."

"Some of us may not look back," said Catesby.

Robert replied with some spirit, for he knew himself to be among the
less guilty of the plotters.  "Yet others, I hope, may; and therefore, I
beg you, let this alone."

Catesby looked up with a faint, sad smile, and tired sleepless eyes.
"What, hast thou any hope, Robin?  I assure thee, there is none that
knoweth of this action but shall perish."

When the body of the conspirators reached Warwick, about 3 a.m., the
horses were almost ready for them to mount.  Ten were seized at the the
livery-stable, and a few more were either stolen or borrowed from the
Castle.  Thus provided, and now about eighty in number, they rode on to
Grant's house at Norbrook.  On arrival here, they despatched Bates to
Coughton, with a letter to Garnet from Digby.  This letter was read by
Garnet to Greenway, both of whom are represented by Bates as spotlessly
ignorant of the plot until that moment.  Greenway returned with Bates,
at his earnest request, attired in "coulored satten done with gould
lace," and was met by Catesby with the exclamation--

"Here is a gentleman who will live and die with us!"

From Norbrook Robert Winter despatched a servant in advance, summarily
ordering his wife to "go forth of the house, and take the children with
her," which the obedient Gertrude did.  About two o'clock on the
afternoon of the sixth, thirty-six worn-out men arrived at Huddington,
to be re-armed from Robert Winter's armoury; after which, finding
himself rather at a loss in the housekeeping department, the master of
the house recalled his Gertrude to minister to the comfort of himself
and his guests.

That submissive lady did her duty, and leaving the children with the
neighbour at whose house she had taken refuge, returned to her own
kitchen to superintend a hastily-prepared supper for the weary
travellers.  Before this was ready, Catesby and John Wright took Robert
Winter aside, and tried hard to induce him to write to his
father-in-law, attempting to draw him into the now almost hopeless
rebellion.

"There is no remedy, Robin," said John Wright, "but thou must write a
letter to thy father Talbot, to see if thou canst therewith draw him
unto us."

"Nay, that will I not," was the determined answer.

"Robin, you must," said Catesby.

"My masters, ye know not my father Talbot so well as I," replied Robin
Winter.  "All the world cannot draw him from his allegiance.  Neither
would I if I could, in this case.  What friends hath my poor wife and
children but he?  And therefore, satisfy yourselves; I will not."

"Well, then," suggested Wright, "write as we shall say unto thee to
Master Smallpiece, that serves thy father Talbot."

Robert Winter, who liked an easy life, suffered himself to be persuaded
on this point; and wrote the letter, of which all that now remains is a
few half-burnt lines, written in great haste, and barely legible:

"Good Cousin, I fear it will not seem strange to you that--a good number
of resolved Catholics so perform matters of such... will set their most
strength, or hang all those that ever... use your best endeavour to stir
up my father Talbot... which I hold much more honourable than to be
hanged after...  Cousin, pray for me, I pray you, and send me all such
friends... haste, I commend you.  From Huddington, this 6th of
November."

"R..."

Having written this letter, Mr Robert Winter proceeded, not to forward,
but to pocket it, and declined to give it up until the next morning,
when he resigned it, "to stop a peace withal."

Late in the evening of the 6th, the conspirators were joined by Stephen
Littleton and Thomas Winter, the latter of whom had not been able to
overtake them any sooner.  Before daybreak on the following morning,
they assembled in the private chapel of Huddington House, where mass was
sung by the family confessor, Mr Hammond, and the Sacrament was
administered to all present after due confession.  Then, leaving
Huddington about sunrise, they recommenced their weary flight.

They were now "armed at all points in open rebellion," yet with daggers
and guns only.  Instead of continuing their course, as hitherto,
directly westward, they turned towards the north, and made for Hewell
Grange, the residence of Lord Windsor, where they plundered the armoury.
The company had much decreased: one and another every now and then
dropped off stealthily, doubtful of what was coming, though Catesby and
Sir Everard rode pistol in hand, warning them that all who sought to
steal away would be shot without quarter.  Percy, Grant, John Wright,
and Morgan, were placed behind for the same purpose.  As the party rode
towards Hewell Grange, they asked all whom they met to join them.  The
usual response was--

"We are for King James; if you go for him, then will we have with you."

To this the conspirators were wont to reply--"We go for God and the
country."

But the shrewd Worcestershire peasants declined to commit themselves to
anything so vague as this.

At last they came to an old countryman, to whom they addressed their
customary appeal.  The old man planted his staff firmly in front of him,
and set his back against a wall.

"I am for King James," he said, "for whom I will live and die."

Upon this the disloyalty of the company was plainly manifested by shouts
of "Kill him! kill him!"  But there was no time to stop for that, which
probably saved the brave old loyalist's life.

Upon leaving Hewell, the conspirators rode up to the houses of all the
Roman Catholic gentry in the neighbourhood, and summoned their owners to
join them for God and the Church.  But sore disappointments met them on
every side.  From door after door they were driven with horror and
contumely--were openly told that "they had brought ruin on the Catholic
cause."

"Not one man came to take our part," is their lament, "though we had
expected so many."  To add to their misery, the rain began to pour down
in torrents; one after another deserted them as they fled: and when at
last in the darkness the heath was passed, and Holbeach House was
reached, instead of the gallant company of eighty well-accoutred troops
who had left Norbrook the morning before, there crept into the
court-yard only eighteen wet and weary men, who had lost all, including
honour.

Holbeach House was about two miles from Stourbridge, and was the home of
Stephen Littleton, one of the latest to join the plot.  Here the
worn-out men slept--the last sleep for some of them.

So weary and worn-out were they, that they sank to sleep just as they
were, in the dining-room--some pillowing their heads on the table,
others casting themselves on the floor.  At this very unsuitable moment,
it seemed good to Mr John Winter to inquire of Percy what he meant to
do.  [Note 3.]

Percy, in extremely somnolent tones, answered that he intended to go on.

"Ay, but how and whither?" responded Thomas Winter, as wide awake as he
usually was in all senses.

"If you have e'er a plan in your head, out with it," replied Percy.
"Just now, I've no head to put one in."

"If you will hearken to me," said Thomas, "you will now despatch Robin's
letter to my cousin Smallpiece."

"What to do?"

"`What to do'!--to win his aid.  He is as true a Catholic as any of us."

"Ay, he's Catholic, but he is very timorous.  He has no mind to be
hanged, trust me."

"Have you?"

"I should stand to it better than he.  Then you'll meet old Master
Talbot, who shall kick you forth ere you have time to say, `An't please
you.'"

"I'll have a care of that.  Steenie, wilt have with me?"

Mr Stephen Littleton had to be awoke before he could answer the
question.  As soon as he understood what was demanded of him, he
professed his readiness to accompany anybody anywhere in the future, so
long as he might be let alone to finish his nap at the present.  Before
another sentence had been uttered, he reverted to an unconscious state.

Suddenly Sir Everard sprang up.

"Mr Catesby, methinks I shall best serve you if I go to hasten the
succours.  What think you?"

"If you will," said Catesby, for once a little doubtfully.

Ten minutes later, one of the least wearied horses in the group carried
him away.

There were troops on their way to Holbeach, but it was not for succour.
Sir Richard Walsh, the Sheriff, Sir John Folliott, a few gentlemen, and
a party of the King's troops, with all the force of the county, were on
the track of the wretched fugitives.  They had chased them from
Northamptonshire into Warwickshire, from Warwickshire into
Worcestershire, and now they were approaching their last refuge in
Staffordshire.

It was still dark on the Friday morning, when Thomas Winter and Stephen
Littleton rode to Pepperhill, where old Mr Talbot was at that time.
Robert declined to accompany them, and Bates excused himself.  To obtain
sight of Mr Smallpiece, without being seen by Mr Talbot, was the
delicate business on which they were bent.  Leonard Smallpiece seems to
have been an agent or bailiff of Mr Talbot, and a relative of the
Winters; he was "exceeding popishe, but very timorous."  [Note 4.]  The
pair of worthies settled that Stephen should remain outside in charge of
the horses, while Winter tried to effect safe entrance.  They rode up to
the yard door, and having dismounted, were about to investigate
possibilities, when without any warning the doors were flung open, and
the sturdy old loyalist owner appeared behind them.

"How dare you come hither?" was his fierce greeting to the unwelcome
visitors, "considering what speech there is of your tumultuous rising."

"Sir," answered Winter, deprecatingly, "my meaning was not to speak with
you, but with one in your house; and I am very sorry I have met with
you."

"So am I, too!" said John Talbot.  "Your coming may be as much as my
life is worth.  It is very fit you should be taken."

"I shall not easily be taken," was the reply.

"Fare you well!  Get you away!" answered Talbot, as he slammed the gate
in Winter's face.

They came to the conclusion that discretion would be the better part of
valour, and retraced their steps to Holbeach.  Here Stephen went into
the house, leaving Winter outside.  The former found his friends very
busily engaged in making preparations for resistance, for they had now
determined that at Holbeach their last stand should be made.  Their
gunpowder, like themselves, had been soaked in the rain, the Stour being
extremely high, and the cart which they had stolen from Hewell Grange a
very low one.  Catesby, Rookwood, and Grant, applied themselves to the
drying of the powder.  They laid about sixteen pounds of it in a linen
bag on the floor, and heaping about two pounds on a platter, placed it
in the chimney-corner to dry by the fire.  A servant entering to put
fresh logs on the fire, was not sufficiently careful of the platter.  A
spark flew out, lighted on the powder, and it exploded.  Part of the
roof was blown off, the linen bag was carried through the hole thus
made, and afterwards taken up uninjured in the court-yard: but the three
powder-dryers, with Henry Morgan, were severely injured both in face and
body.  In the same pit that they had dug privily, was their own foot
taken.

When the conspirators thus beheld themselves "hoist with their own
petard," the first feeling among them was less fear for their safety
than awe at the just judgment of God.  The most guilty among them were
also the most horrified.  For a moment those nearest the powder were
supposed to be killed.  John Wright lost his head, flung himself on what
he believed to be the corpse of his leader, with a wild cry--

"Woe worth the time that we have seen this day!  Bring me the powder!
bring me the powder, that I may set it afire, and blow up ourselves and
this house together!"

Rookwood rushed to a picture of the Virgin, and throwing himself on his
knees, confessed "that the act was so bloody that he desired God to
forgive him;" in which prayer he was joined by some of the others.
Catesby himself lost his firmness, and on recovering himself, gasped out
his fear that God disapproved of their project.  Robert Winter and
Greenway fled in terror--so far that they never came back.  Stephen
Littleton went off also, but he waited long enough to send a message to
Thomas Winter, who had not yet come in.

"Tell him to fly," said the valiant Stephen, "and so will I."

Whatever else Thomas Winter was, he was loyal to his oath and to his
friends.

  "His honour rooted in dishonour stood,
  And faith unfaithful kept him falsely true."

He supposed the news to mean that Catesby was killed.

"Nay," said he; "I will first see the body of my friend and bury him,
whatsoever befall me."

Returning to the house, Winter found his friends decidedly alive and
"reasonable well."

"What resolve you to do?" he asked them.

"We mean here to die," was the answer.

"Well!" replied Winter, "I will take such part as you do."

And John Wright said, "I will live and die among you."

Not long afterwards, about noon, the Sheriff and his troops surrounded
Holbeach House.  After several ineffectual summonses to surrender, and
the reading of a proclamation in the King's name bidding the rebels to
submit themselves, which met only with blunt refusals, the Sheriff fired
the house, and led an attack upon the gates.  The conspirators who were
left showed no lack of courage.  They walked out into the court-yard,
set the gate open, and took up their stand in front of it, Catesby in
the middle, with Percy and Thomas Winter on either side.  At the first
assault, an arrow from a cross-bow had struck Winter in the shoulder,
and rendered his right arm useless.  The second shot struck John Wright,
the third Christopher Wright, the fourth Rookwood.  The two Wrights
fell, and were supposed to be dead.

"Stand by me, Tom," said Catesby to Winter, "and we will die together."

"Sir," was the answer, "I have lost the use of my right arm, and I fear
that will cause _me_ to be taken."

They were the last words of Robert Catesby.  The next bullet passed
clean through his body, and lodged in that of Percy at his side.
Catesby fell, mortally wounded.  He had just strength to crawl on his
hands and knees into the vestibule of the house, where stood an image of
the Virgin: and clasping it in his arms, he died.

Percy sank down, also wounded to death; he expired the following day.
John Wright, recovering somewhat from his wound, called to Bates, and
delivered him a bag of money, entreating him to fly and take it to Mrs
Wright at Norbrook.  Winter was seized; Grant, Rookwood, and Morgan,
yielded themselves to the Sheriff: but the exasperated mob, rushing in,
while the Sheriff's men were lifting one of the wounded, seized upon the
others, stripped and ill-used them, until wounds which might possibly
have been healed were past cure.  John and Christopher Wright died in
two or three days.

One or two fugitives were brought into Holbeach later; five were
arrested at Stourbridge, Sir Everard Digby at Dudley.  Bates succeeded
in making good his escape with the bag, and reached Wolverhampton in the
night.  His wife Martha, who lived at Ashby, hearing a false rumour of
his capture and imprisonment in Shrewsbury Gaol, went to see him, and
both stayed for the night in the same inn at Wolverhampton, neither of
them knowing the nearness of the other.  Bates, finding himself unable
to reach Lapworth, and with no hope of escaping finally, delivered the
bag of money to a friend to convey to Martha, and departed, not wishing
to endanger his friend.  He then went to Oldfield, in Shropshire, to the
house of his cousin, Richard Bates, by whom having been betrayed, he was
apprehended, and brought to London.  By his confession on his
examination, Garnet and Greenway were implicated, though Bates tried his
best to prove them innocent.

Sir Richard Walsh conveyed his prisoners to Worcester, where he occupied
himself in taking their examinations, and sending the information
obtained to the Lords of the Council.  Sir Richard Verney was sent to
scour the country on the recent track of the fugitives, and to arrest
the relatives and servants of every one of them.  John Winter, Gertrude
Winter at Huddington, Ludovic Grant at Dudley, Dorothy Grant at
Norbrook, and at Lapworth John Wright's wife Dorothy, and Christopher's
wife Margaret; Ambrose Rookwood's wife, and her sister; and Thomas
Rookwood of Claxton, at Bidford, were all gradually added to the group.
Mrs Dorothy Grant, whether from fright or loquacity, proved very candid
in answering questions, and from her they learned that the missing
Martha Percy was "not far off."  Sir Richard Verney, however, found it
no easy matter to keep his prisoners when he had got them.  Twice his
house was set on fire, evidently by design; but he held stoutly to the
lively ladies in his care, and delivered them all safely in London in
due time.

We must now, for a short time, follow the two conspirators who had
escaped in company, and whose wanderings are not devoid of interest.
Robert Winter and Stephen Littleton got safely away from Holbeach, thus
evading the miserable fate of their fellow-conspirators.  They succeeded
in reaching the house of a certain Christopher White, a servant of
Stephen's cousin, Humphrey Littleton, who lived in the village of King's
Rowley.  This man they bribed to allow them to remain in his barn until
the search for the fugitives should have ceased, when they promised to
give him a substantial reward, and no longer to endanger him by their
presence.  "There they abode a great while, but with very poor and
slender fare, such as otherwise had been too coarse and out of fashion
for them."  A proclamation was meanwhile set forth by Government for
their discovery, wherein Robert Winter was described as "of mean
stature, rather low than otherwise; brown hair and beard, not much
beard, short hair; somewhat stooping, square made, near forty."  Stephen
Littleton was "a very tall man; swarthy complexion, no beard or little,
brown coloured hair; about thirty."  A neighbour of White's, named
Smart, and apparently smart by nature as well as name, noticed the
unusual evidences of prosperity in his neighbour's dwelling, and
shrewdly surmised the reason.  Upon due consideration of the subject,
Mr Smart, like a good many people both before and after him, came to
the conclusion that it was highly unreasonable that his neighbour should
be mounting the social ladder when he remained at the bottom.  He
therefore applied himself to the matter, discovered the refugees in the
barn, and strongly recommended his barn as far preferable to White's.
The fugitives were persuaded to change their hiding-place.  This was no
sooner done, than another neighbour, named Hollyhead, set his wits also
to work, and dulcetly represented that Smart's barn was a much less safe
and attractive locality than his house: each of these worthy individuals
being of course moved by respect to the pecuniary reward for which he
hoped.  On the departure of his guests, White took fright and fled:
which caused "much rumour to be blabbed abroad" concerning the vain
search and the probable vicinity of the fugitives.  Humphrey Littleton,
who was in the secret, began to be alarmed, and removed his friends from
Hollyhead's house to that of a man named John Perks, in the village of
Hagley, close to Hagley Park, the residence of his widowed
sister-in-law.  It was before dawn on New Year's Day that they reached
the cottage of Perks, a warrener or gamekeeper, who had been dismissed
from Mrs Littleton's service for dishonesty.  The wearied men knocked
at his door; and when Perks came forth, said they were friends, and
begged him to help them to food and shelter.

"Ye be Mr Stephen Littleton, and Mr Winter," said Perks.

"We are so," they admitted.  "Pray you, Goodman, grant us meat and
lodging till we be fit for journeying; and when we can travel, then
shall you bring us to London, and have a great reward from the King for
taking us, we being willing to die, and not live any longer in so
miserable a condition."

If Mr Perks's eyes glistened as this distant prospect of a great reward
was held out to him, they grew yet more radiant when Humphrey Littleton
counted into his hand thirty golden sovereigns, twenty into that of his
man, and seventeen to his sister.  Perks led the way to his barn, where
mounting on a barley mow, he formed a large hole in its midst, and here
the unhappy gentlemen were secreted, food being brought to them by Perks
as occasion served, by his sister Margaret, or at times by his man,
Thomas Burford.  Here they might have remained in safety for a
considerable time without fear of discovery, had not Mr Perks
entertained rather too close an affection for barley in another form
than heaped up in a barn--namely, in company with hops and water.  Mr
Perks had a friend, named Poynter, who liked beer and rabbits quite as
well as himself; and one winter night, nine days after the fugitives had
been hidden in the mow, these worthies set forth on a poaching
expedition.  Returning home somewhat late, and "well tippled in drink,"
it occurred to Mr Poynter that it would save him a walk home if his
friend Perks were to lodge him for the night.  The latter, however, did
not see the circumstance in that light, and a tipsy altercation
followed, which was ended by Perks "shaking off" Poynter, and staggering
home by himself.  The night was cold and wet, and Mr Poynter's temper
was scarcely so cool as the atmosphere.  He was tipsily resolved that he
would have a lodging at Perks's expense, whether that gentleman would or
not; and bethinking himself that if Perks's house were locked against
him, his barn was not, he took thither his unsteady way, and scrambling
up the barley mow, to his own unfeigned astonishment dropped into the
hole on the top of the sleeping conspirators.

Thus roused suddenly in the dead of night, and naturally concluding that
their enemies were upon them, Winter and Littleton sprang up to defend
themselves, and to sell their lives dearly.  Poynter, who was quite as
much amazed and terrified as they could be, as naturally fought for his
own safety, and a desperate struggle ensued.  It ended in the two
overcoming the one, and insisting on his remaining with them, so that
they could be certain of his telling no tales.  For four days Poynter
remained on the mow, professing resignation and contentment, and
lamenting the sore pain which he suffered from a wound in the leg,
received in the pursuit of his vocation as a rabbit-stealer.  When
Margaret Perks came with food, and afterwards Burford, Poynter pretended
to be in mortal anguish, and besought them earnestly to bring him some
salve, without which he was quite certain he should die.  The salve was
brought, and the wily Poynter then discovered that lying in the hole he
had not sufficient light to apply it.  He was suffered to creep up on
the top of the mow, which he professed to do with the greatest
difficulty.  But even there the light was scarcely sufficient: might he
drag himself a little nearer the door?  Being now quite deceived by Mr
Poynter's excellent acting, and believing that he was much too suffering
and disabled to escape, they permitted him to crawl quite to the edge of
the mow nearest to the light, and of course next to the door.  The
moment this point was reached, the disabled cripple slipped down from
the mow, and the next instant was out of the door and far away, running
with a fleetness which made it hopeless to think of following him.

There was still, however, some room for that hope which springs eternal
in the human breast.  Poynter's friendship for Perks, and the
expectation that Perks could bribe him to secrecy, weighed with the
fugitives, who had not sufficiently learned that the friendship of an
unprincipled man is worth nothing.

Poynter, on the other hand, considered his chances superior in the
opposite direction.  He made at once for Hagley Hall, intending to tell
his story there; but on the way he met with Perks, who was ignorant of
Poynter's recent adventure; and that gentleman suggesting a joint visit
to the nearest tavern, Poynter easily suffered his steps to be diverted
in that attractive direction.  The precious pair of friends drank
together, and departed to their respective homes.

Now, Mistress Littleton, the lady of Hagley Park, was a Protestant, and
a gentlewoman of extreme discretion; and the day on which Poynter thus
made his escape from the hay-mow had been chosen by her to commence a
journey to London.  Before her departure, she summoned her steward, Mr
Hazelwood, and desired him to be circumspect during her absence, "owing
to the mischances happening in the county."

Mistress Littleton having ridden forth on her journey, her worthy
brother, Mr Humphrey, commonly called Red Humphrey, who certainly did
not share the discretion of his sister, determined to play the mouse
during the absence of his cat, and to convey his traitor-friends into
his own chamber at Hagley Park.  There is reason to think that Mistress
Littleton was not only a sagacious but also a somewhat managing dame,
who rode Red Humphrey with a tighter curb than that reckless individual
approved.  Accordingly, having heard of Poynter's escape, and taking one
person only into his confidence, he repaired to the barn about eleven
o'clock that night, and smuggled his cousin and friend away from the
barley mow into the pleasanter shelter of his own room in Hagley Park.
The one person thus selected as Humphrey's confidant, was John Fynwood
or Fynes, alias "Jobber," also known as John Cook, from the office which
he bore in the household.  Humphrey had brought him up, and when come to
suitable age, had induced his sister-in-law to engage him as cook: he
therefore expected this man, being thus beholden to him, to remain
faithful to his interests.  But there was another person whose interests
were considerably dearer to John Cook, and that was himself.

The trio reached Master Humphrey's chamber in safety, aided by John
Cook.  Robert Winter turned round as he entered, and grasped the cook's
hand.

"Ah, Jack!" said he, "little wots thy mistress what guests are now in
her house, that in so long a space did never so much as look upon a
fire!"

"Welcome, heartily!" answered Humphrey, motioning to his guests to
approach nearer to the cheerful hearth.  "Jack, lad, the time being thus
late, canst kill some hen or chickens about the house, to serve and fit
the present occasion withal?  I will recompense it to thee afterward."

Jack readily undertook the commission, and brought up a very appetising
dish with great diligence and promptness.

"Master," said he, "you shall need drink, and the butler is in bed; to
call on him for the key might rouse suspicion.  Pray you, shall I run in
the town to my mother, and fetch you drink from thence?"

"So do, honest Jack, and hie thee back quickly.  See, here is a tester
for thee."

Honest Jack picked up the tester, and disappeared.

It does seem strange, considering the danger which was thus run, that
the fugitives should not have been satisfied to drink water with their
supper, since even thus they would have fared much better than they had
done for some time past.  But in truth, the very idea of drinking water
was foreign to men's minds in those days, except in the light of a very
cruel hardship, and about the last strait to which a starving man could
be reduced.

The mother of Jack kept a small tavern in the village.  Thither he ran
to fill his jug, and to pour into the ears of the hostess the
interesting fact that the traitors then sought for by the King's
proclamation were at that moment entertained in Master Humphrey's
chamber at Hagley Park.

"Pray you, Mother," he added, "when morning breaketh, raise the town to
take them, for I fear lest I may not, unsuspected, get forth again to do
it."

Having made which little arrangement, honest Jack and his jug returned
to the Park, where the trio of traitors finished their supper, and
proceeded to sleep three in a bed.

To make assurance doubly sure, Jack rapped at Mr Hazelwood's door, and
bestowed upon him the same interesting information already given to Mrs
Fynwood.

The morning being come, the cook paid another visit to his prisoners,
whom he found nearly dressed, and looking out of the window to see the
meaning of the noise they heard, which was in fact the arrival of the
Sheriff's officer and his men.  Even then, so complete was their
confidence in Jack, that they never imagined themselves betrayed, and
Humphrey, having stowed his friends for more complete security in a
closet-room opening out of his chamber, went down into the hall--and met
the officer of the law.

"Sir, I understand there be in this house certain traitors, so charged
by proclamation of his sacred Majesty, whom you have in keeping."

"Never an one, my master, I do ensure you," answered Humphrey, as
lightly as if he spoke the truth: and he cut a large slice from the loaf
standing on the table.  "Pray you, sit down and break your fast; you are
full welcome, as I am sure my good sister should tell you were she at
home.  After that ye have eaten, ye shall search the house an' ye
will.--See here, Jack Cook! make a good toast for these worthy masters;
and thou, David Butler, go up to my chamber for my cup--thou shalt find
it on the window-ledge, I think."

Outside, Mr Hazelwood was giving directions for the search, hints being
constantly supplied to him by the cook as to what transpired within.
The butler, David Bate, went to fetch his master's cup, and of course
found the room empty.  As he came to the foot of the back-stair, Master
Humphrey met him.

"Good David, help me to the key of the back-door into the cellar," he
said in a hurried whisper.  "As ever thou wilt do anything for me, stick
now to me, and help save my life."

"Sir, I have not the key," answered the astonished butler.  "The brewer
hath it."

The brewer was hastily summoned, delivered the key, and was as hurriedly
dismissed.  Then Humphrey ran up to his closet, brought down his
concealed guests, and conducted them through the buttery towards the
cellar.  The butler slipped away from them, and told the officers.  The
situation was now desperate.  Inside the house the officers were
pursuing them; outside, a crowd, in league with the authorities, was
shouting itself hoarse in execration of them.  The wretched men made one
last frantic dash around the house, and Robert Winter and Stephen
Littleton were arrested in the stable-yard, and prevented from reaching
the neighbouring wood.

But what had become of Red Humphrey?  The instant he saw the game was
up, he hurriedly mounted his horse, and eluded his pursuers.  But he was
not to escape much longer.  The searching party which Poynter had led to
the barn, disappointed there, scoured the neighbourhood; and at
Prestwood the fugitive was taken, and committed to safe custody in
Stafford Gaol.  Even after they were secured, it was no easy matter to
carry the other prisoners to Worcester.  While they were "refreshing
themselves" in an alehouse at Hagley--probably the tavern kept by Mrs
Fynwood--a tumult arose among the people outside which almost led to
their rescue; and a few miles from Hagley, Sir Thomas Undirhood and his
company overtook the Sheriff, and vainly attempted to gain possession of
them to take them back to Staffordshire.  The Worcestershire men,
however, held on grimly to their prize, and at last triumphantly lodged
their prisoners in the gaol at Worcester.

The examinations of the culprits in London went on.  They were mainly
characterised by Mr Fawkes's contradictions on every occasion of
something which he had previously said; by the addition of a little
information each time; and by the very small amount of light that could
be obtained from any outsiders.  On his third examination, Mr "John
Johnson" owned that his name was Guy Fawkes; that he was born at York,
the son of Edward Fawkes, a younger brother, who had left him "but small
living," which he ran through with equally small delay.  He denied on
his conscience that he was in orders, "major or minor, regular or
secular": on which occasion he told the truth.  Fawkes added that he did
not now desire to destroy the King.

"It is past," he said, "and I am now sorry for it, for that I now
perceive that God did not concur with it."

He admitted also the design on the Lady Elizabeth, but he still declined
to name his accomplices, and proved obdurate to all attempts--and the
attempts were basely made--to persuade him to accuse the prisoners in
the Tower, of whom the chief was Sir Walter Raleigh.  The utmost he
could be induced to admit concerning this point was that it had been
"under consultation that the prisoners in the Tower should have
intelligence" of the intended plot, and that Raleigh and several others
had been named in this connection.

"We should have been glad to have drawn any, of what religion soever,
unto us," he said: "we meant to have made use of all the discontented
people of England."

But he would not allow, even to the last, that any communication had
actually been made.

In his fourth examination Fawkes gave the names of those who had been
"made privy afterwards," but he still refused to reveal those of the
original traitors.  He was accordingly put to the torture.  Gentle or
ungentle, this worked its office: and on the ninth of November, after
half-an-hour on the rack, Fawkes recounted the names of all his
accomplices.  He made also an admission which proved of considerable
importance--he mentioned a house in Enfield Chase, "where Walley
[Garnet] doth lie."

Every examination is signed by the prisoner.  To the first he signs
"Guido Faukes" in a free, elegant Italian hand, the hand of an educated
man.  But it is pitiful to see the few faint strokes which sign the
fifth, even the "Guido" being left unfinished.  He is supposed to have
fainted before the word could be written.  The subsequent reports are
fully signed, and in a firmer hand; but the old free elegant signature
never comes again.

That night an unheard-of event occurred at the White Bear.  Hans
Floriszoon was two hours late in coming home.

"My lad!" said Edith, meeting him in the hall, "we feared some ill had
befallen thee."

"It hath not befallen _me_, Mrs Edith," was the answer; "and may God
avert it from us all!  But these men that Aubrey was wont to visit--Mr
Catesby, Mr Winter, and the rest--are now confessed by the caitiff in
the Tower to have an hand in the plot."

"Aubrey?"  The word was only just breathed from Edith's lips.

"I went thither at once, and spake with Aubrey, whom I found to have
heard nought, and to be very sore troubled touching Mr Winter, whose
friendship I can see hath been right dear unto him.  I besought him to
lie very close,--not to come forth at all, and if he would communicate
with us these next few days, to send a messenger to me at Mr Leigh's,
and not here, for it seemed to me there was need of caution.  After a
time, if all blow over, there may be less need.  Will you tell my Lady
Lettice, or no?"

"Dear Hans, thou art ever thoughtful and good.  Thou hast done very
well.  But I think my mother must be told.  Better softly now, than
roughly after--as it may be if it be let alone."

Lady Louvaine sat silent for a few minutes after that gentle
communication had been made.  Then she said--

"`The floods lift up themselves, and rage mightily: but yet the Lord,
who dwelleth on high, is mightier.'  'Tis strange that it should be so
much harder to trust Him with the body than with the soul!  O father,
keep my boy from evil!--what is evil, Thou knowest: `undertake for us!'"

On the 23rd of November, one of the prisoners in the Tower escaped the
sentence of the law, by an inevitable summons to the higher tribunal of
God Almighty.  Francis Tresham died in his prison cell, retracting with
his last breath, and "upon his salvation," the previous confession by
which he had implicated Garnet in the Spanish negotiations.  It has been
suggested that he was poisoned by Government because he knew too much;
but there is no foundation for the charge except the possibility that
his death might have been convenient to the Government, and the fact
that they allowed his wife and servant to be with him in his last
illness goes far to disprove this improbable accusation.

The authorities were now engaged in lively pursuit of the new track
which Fawkes had indicated to them.  A house in Enfield Chase where
Garnet was or might be found, was too appetising a dainty to be lightly
resigned.  On the 23rd, they obtained a full confession from Thomas
Winter, and the actual name of White Webbs.  From this moment White
Webbs became their Ultima Thule of hope and expectation.

A poor and mean revenge was taken on the dead Catesby and Percy.  Their
bodies were exhumed, and beheaded, and their heads set on the pinnacles
of the Houses of Parliament.  The spectators noticed with superstitious
terror that blood flowed from Percy's wound.  The authorities seem to
have regarded Percy as the head and front of the conspiracy; they term
him "the arch-traitor."  But by the testimony of both Fawkes and Winter,
Catesby was the original deviser of the Gunpowder Plot.

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

Note 1.  Excerpts from Burghley Papers, Additional Manuscript 6178,
folios 58, 184.--Lady Northumberland was Dorothy Devereux, daughter of
Walter Earl of Essex and Lettice Knolles, and sister of the famous
Robert Earl of Essex, in whose rebellion so many Romanists took part.
Poor Lord Northumberland, if innocent, paid dearly for his relationship
to his "wretched cousin," being fined 30,000 pounds, which in 1613 was
commuted to 11,000 pounds.  He borrowed 12,000 pounds from Peter Vanlore
to discharge the fine, and repaid half of it within a year.

Note 2.  The most comical item of this assumption of virtue is the
reason, as given by himself, for Mr Rookwood's riding on in advance at
this juncture.  "Seeing that he was so well horsed as he was--he having
fifteen or sixteen good bourses--he meant not to adventure himself in
stealing of any!"

Note 3.  "At Holbeach, I demanded of Mr Percy and the rest, _being most
of them asleep_, what they meant to do."  (Letter of John Winter,
Gunpowder Plot Book, article 110.)

Note 5.  For this shot one of the Sheriff's men, named John Streete,
received 2 shillings per day up to 1627.



CHAPTER TEN.

THE CHAIN OF OUR SINS.

  "When on the problems of the past
  A flood of light has come;
  When we see the evil that we did,
  And the good we might have done."

  Cyrus Thornton.

On the 27th of January, Robert and Thomas Winter, Guy Fawkes, John
Grant, Ambrose Rookwood, Robert Keyes, and Thomas Bates were placed upon
their trial at Westminster.

Grant and Bates were really guilty of very little beyond knowing of the
plot and keeping silence.  But they all received the same sentence--to
be hung, drawn, and quartered.  Sir Everard Digby was tried separately,
but to the same end.  He alone pleaded guilty; his principal anxiety
seemed to be to save the priests--a wish wherein all the conspirators
agreed.  On leaving the dock, Sir Everard, "bowing himself towards the
Lords, said, `If I may but hear any of your Lordships say, you forgive
me, I shall go more cheerfully to the gallows.'  Whereupon the Lords
said, `God forgive you, and we do.'"

Of all the conspirators, Sir Everard won the greatest sympathy, from his
rank, his youth, his accomplishments, and especially his fine person--
which last drew expressions of pity from the Queen, who was afflicted
with that fatal worship of beauty which was the bane of the Stuart race.

Three days later, the scaffold was set up at the west end of Saint
Paul's Cathedral, and four of the traitors were brought forth to die.
They were the four least guilty of the group--Sir Everard Digby, Robert
Winter, John Grant, and Thomas Bates.

As the prisoners were being drawn to the scaffold upon hurdles, a
pathetic incident took place.  Martha Bates had followed her husband to
London, and as the procession passed by, she rushed from the crowd of
spectators, and flung herself upon the hurdle in an agony.  Bates then
told her of the money entrusted to him by Wright, which he wished her to
keep for her own relief, and it was afterwards granted to her by the
Crown.

Arrived at the place of execution, Sir Everard was the first to ascend
the ladder.  Very pale, yet very self-controlled, he spoke to the
people, saying that his conscience had led him into this offence, which
in respect of religion he held to be no sin at all, but in respect of
the law he confessed that he had done wrong; and he asked forgiveness of
God, the King, and the kingdom.  He declined the ministrations of the
clergy, and after a few Latin prayers, crossed himself, and so "made an
end of his wicked days in this world,"--an example for all time how
little education and accomplishments can do to keep man from sin, a
martyr to a priest-ridden conscience unenlightened by the Word of God.

Robert Winter followed next.  He scarcely spoke, asked no forgiveness,
but after a few silent prayers, passed calmly into the Silent Land.

The next was John Grant.  This grave, melancholy man went smiling to his
death.  When he was entreated to seek for pardon for his crimes, his
reply was, in a triumphant tone, "I am satisfied that our project was so
far from being sinful, that I rely entirely upon my merits in bearing a
part of that noble action, as an abundant satisfaction and expiation for
all sins committed by me during the rest of my life!"  He died thus with
a lie in his right hand, and went to present the filthy rags of his own
righteousness before His eyes in whose sight the heavens are not pure,
and whose command is "Thou shalt do no murder."

Last came poor Bates, who "seemed sorry for his offence," and said that
only his love for his dead master had drawn him to forget his duty to
God, his King and country.  And "thus ended that day's business."

In Old Palace Yard, "over against the Parliament House,"--namely, where
now stands the statue of Godfrey de Bouillon--the second scaffold was
erected on the following day.  The four prisoners who were now to suffer
were, the priests excepted, the most guilty of those left alive.  They
were drawn from the Tower on hurdles, as was usual.  As they passed
along the Strand, from an open window the beautiful Elizabeth Rookwood
called to her husband--

"Ambrose, be of good courage!  Thou art to suffer for a great and noble
cause."

Raising himself from the hurdle as well as he could, Rookwood answered,
"My dear, pray for me."

"I will, I will!" she cried.  "And do you offer yourself with a good
heart to God and your Creator.  I yield you to Him, with as full an
assurance that you will be accepted of Him as when He gave you to me."
And so the procession passed on.

The first to suffer of these was Thomas Winter.  He was extremely pale,
and seemed sorry for his offence "after a sort;" but he spoke little,
merely protesting that he died "a true Catholic."

Rookwood, who came next, made a long speech.  He said that he asked
forgiveness of God, whom he had offended in seeking to shed blood, of
the King, and of the people.  He prayed for the King and Royal Family,
entreating that the King might become a "Catholic:" [Note 1] and he
besought the King's goodness to his Elizabeth and her children.  He was
spared the worst, for he drew his last breath ere it began.

The next to follow was Keyes.  He had said on the trial that his
fortunes being desperate, his fate was "as good now as another time, and
for this cause rather than another."  In this hardened, reckless spirit,
he flung himself from the ladder, with such force as to break the
halter.

Last came "the great devil of all," Guy Fawkes, who, "being weak with
torture and sickness, was scarce able to go up the ladder."  He made no
long speech, but "after a sort, seemed to be sorry" and asked
forgiveness: and "with his crosses and his idle ceremonies" was
cast-off, dying instantaneously.

So ended the awful scenes which were the reward of the Gunpowder Plot.

But not yet had justice overtaken all the perpetrators of this villainy.
Three important traitors were yet at large, and they were all Jesuit
priests.  Greenway, who had fled from Holbeach with Robert Winter, had
not continued in his company.  For ten days he hid in barns and cottages
in Worcestershire; but when the proclamation was made for his arrest,
thinking it safest to be lost in a crowd in the metropolis, he came to
London.  Here he was one day seized by a man, as they stood among others
reading the proclamation for his arrest.  Greenway, with artful
composure, denied the identity, but went quietly with his captor till
they reached an unfrequented street, when the priest, who was a very
powerful man, suddenly set upon his companion, and escaping from him,
after a few days' concealment fled to the coast, whence he safely
crossed to the Continent.  He afterwards wrote for his superiors a
narrative of the plot, wherein all the conspirators are impeccable
heroes of the romantic novel type, and the plot--which during its
existence he upheld and fervently encouraged--is condemned as a "rash,
desperate, and wicked" piece of business.  He succeeded so well in
deceiving his superiors (or else they were equally hypocritical with
himself), that he was appointed Penitentiary to the Pope, and ended his
life in the full favour of that potentate.

Gerard, also, who had originally assisted the plotters in taking their
oath of secrecy, had now disappeared.  So excellent an opinion had the
Roman Catholics of him, that many refused to believe "that holy, good
man" could have had any share in the conspiracy.  The description of
this worthy, as given in the proclamation for his arrest, is curious in
its detail, and the better worth quoting since it has apparently not
been printed:--

"John Gerrarde the Jesuit is about thirty years old, of a good stature,
something higher than Sir Thomas Leighton [this name is crossed out, and
replaced by the word] ordinary, and upright in his pace and countenance;
somewhat staring in his looke and Eyes, curled headed by Nature, and
blackish, and not apt to have much hair on his beard.  His Nose somewhat
wide, and turning up; blebberd lipped [thick-lipped], turning outward,
especially the upper lip, upward toward the Nose.  Curious in speech, if
he do continue his custom, and in his speech he flewreth [Note 2] and
smiles much, and a faltering, lisping, or doubling of his tongue in his
speech."  [Note 3.]  What a picture of a Jesuit!  This is the type of
man who practises an art which I never saw to such perfection as once in
the Principal of a Jesuit College--that of:

  "Washing the hands with invisible soap
              In imperceptible water."

Lastly, what had become of Garnet?  He had not escaped nor left England,
yet he seemed in some inscrutable manner to have vanished from the face
of the earth, as completely as a morning mist.

The next step was to secure White Webbs.  Commissioners were sent down
to Enfield Chase, with directions to search for that undiscoverable
house, to make thorough investigation of it, and to take into custody
every individual therein.  They found the place--an old rambling house
in the heart of the Chase, full of trap-doors, passages, unexpected
steps up or down, holes, corners, and cupboards at every turn.  But it
had no inhabitants save servants, and they could tell little.  Their
mistress was Mrs Perkins, the widowed sister of Mr Mease, a Berkshire
farmer.  It was quite true they were Catholics, all allowed; and
Elizabeth Shepherd admitted that mass had been performed in the house.
But what connection could there be between the Gunpowder Plot and worthy
Mr Mease the faimer, or innocent Mrs Perkins the widow?

Many persons would have resigned the search: but not so Sir William
Wade.  Sir William Wade, the Keeper of the Tower, had an uncommonly keen
scent for a heretic which term was in his eyes the equivalent of a
Jesuit.  He could see much further than any one else through a
millstone, and detected a Jesuit where no less acute person suspected
anything but a farmer or a horse-dealer.  Not only was a Jesuit capable
of every crime that man could commit, but every criminal was pretty
nearly certain to turn out a Jesuit.  Moreover, Sir William loved a joke
only less than he bated a Jesuit; and apathy in any pursuit was not one
of his failings who wrote that "he thanked God on the knees of his soul"
for the discovery of the Gunpowder Plot.

Mr Mease was not to escape Sir William's penetration.  He was anxious
to see a little more of Mr Mease, and of Mrs Perkins also.

For the moment, however, he was doomed to disappointment.  Sturdy James
Johnson, Mrs Perkins' servant, would not betray his employers, even
when put to the rack, until he had suffered appallingly.  Half-an-hour
had been sufficient to exhaust Guy Fawkes' endurance, but James Johnson
bore three hours.  Even then he could tell little.  For his mistress's
brother he knew no name but Mease, except that he had heard him
addressed as "Farmer:" but he did know, and had known for two years,
that the real name of his mistress was Anne Vaux.  He could also say
that she had been visited by a Mr and Mrs Skinner, a Mr and Mrs
Thomas Jennings, a Mr Catesby, and a little gentleman whom the latter
called Tom, and whose name he said was Winter.  As to himself, Johnson
asserted that he was "a Romishe Catholic," and "never was at church nor
yet at mass in his life."  Frightened little Jane Robinson, aged
fourteen, admitted that mass had been said in the house, but when asked
what vestments the priest wore, could only answer that "he was
apparelled like a gentleman."

Sir William Wade went down once more upon the knees of his soul, when
his ears were refreshed by these delightful names.  At Harrowden, the
seat of Lord Vaux, the family had already been questioned to no purpose.
Mrs Vaux, the mother of the young Lord, and the sister-in-law of Anne,
was astonished that anybody should suspect her of a guilty knowledge of
the plot.  Having previously denied that she knew any such person as
Gerard, she subsequently confessed that Gerard and Garnet had been
frequently at her house, and that she had a vague suspicion that
"something was going to happen."  Harrowden must be further
investigated; and admissions were wrung from the servants at White Webbs
which satisfied the commission that the relations between Anne Vaux and
Garnet had been of an intimate character.  Sir William Wade was now on
the track of a Jesuit, and might be trusted to pursue that enticing path
with eager and untiring accuracy.

The watch set at Harrowden was removed just too soon.  Had it lasted two
days longer, Gerard would have been starved out, for he lay concealed in
the priest's hiding-place.  As soon as the watching party took their
leave, he emerged from his refuge, and succeeded through multifarious
difficulties in safely escaping over seas.

About this time--from what source is uncertain--a hint reached the
Government to the effect that Gerard might possibly, and Hall would
probably, be found in one of the priest's hiding-places at Hendlip Hall
in Worcestershire, the residence of Mr Thomas Abington.  Edward Hall,
alias Oldcorne, [Note 4] was Mr Abington's private chaplain; and though
there is little evidence extant to connect him with the plot, the
Government appear to have been extremely suspicious of him.  When,
therefore, the suggestion reached them that they might as well inspect
the curiosities of Hendlip Hall, the authorities lost no time in sending
down Sir Henry Bromley, of Holt Castle, at the head of a searching
party, for that purpose.

Until 1825 or thereabouts, Hendlip Hall remained standing, on the
highest ground in the neighbourhood between Droitwich and Worcester, and
rather nearer to the latter.  A most curious, cunningly-planned,
perplexing house it was--a house of houses wherein to secrete a
political refugee or a Jesuit priest--full of surprises, unexpected
turnings, sliding panels, and inconceivable closets without apparent
entrances.  "There is scarcely an apartment," wrote a spectator shortly
before its destruction, "that has not secret ways of going in or going
out; some have back staircases concealed in the walls; others have
places of retreat in their chimneys; some have trap-doors, and all
present a picture of gloom, insecurity, and suspicion."  On one side was
a high tower, from which the approach of any enemy could be easily
observed.  The house had been built in 1572, by John Abington, cofferer
to Queen Elizabeth; but his son Thomas, the owner in 1605, had added the
hiding-places.  Such concealed chambers were very common in houses
belonging to Roman Catholic families; and in the safest of all those at
Hendlip Hall, two priests were at that moment in close confinement.  The
Government had been so far truly informed.  Hall, too, was one of them:
but Gerard was not the other.  Sir William Wade would have danced in
delight, could he have known that his colleagues were on the track of
the great Provincial of the Jesuit Mission to this heathen country of
England, the chief of all the conspirators yet left at large.

About two months before this, Garnet had come to the conclusion that he
was no longer safe at Coughton, which, as the property of Mr
Throckmorton, and lately in the occupation of Sir Everard Digby, would
be likely to obtain a thorough overhauling.  From Mr Hall he had
received a pressing invitation to Hendlip for himself and his
confidential servant, Nicholas Owen, who went by the name of "Little
John."  The latter was an old acquaintance at Hendlip, for it was his
ingenuity that had devised the numerous hiding-places which had been
added to the Hall by its present owner.  To Hendlip accordingly Garnet
removed from Coughton,--accompanied by Anne Vaux and the Brooksbys,--
about the 16th of December, and for some weeks resided with the family
without concealment.  But on Monday, the 20th of January, as the day
broke, Sir Henry Bromley and his troops marched up to and invested
Hendlip Hall.

The Hon.  Mrs Abington was a sister of Lord Monteagle, and was quite as
good an actress as her brother was an actor.  She possessed the power of
assuming the most complete outward composure, as if nothing whatever
were the matter, however adversely things might be going to her wishes.
She had also a very quiet, very firm, very unmanageable will.  Mr
Abington was not at home; but that signified little, for the grey mare
was unquestionably the superior creature of the pair.

If the information imparted to her so early on that morning had been
that the cat had mewed, or that a hen had dropped a feather, the lady of
Hendlip could scarcely have received it with more repose of manner.

"That is what we might look for," said she.  "If it please you, holy
Fathers, it might be as well that you should repair to one of your
chambers for a while.--Bid Edward come to me."

Edward, a white-headed confidential servant with an aspect of appalling
respectability, presented himself at once in response to his mistress's
summons.

"Edward," said Mrs Abington, "I would have you, quickly, take up these
holy Fathers to the hole in your chamber, and set Little John and
Chambers in the next safest.  There are enemies approaching."

Edward bowed his dignified head, and obeyed.

He led Garnet and Hall up the chief staircase, and into the bedroom
occupied by Edward himself, which stood behind that of his master.

Garnet cast his eyes round the chamber.

"Truly, good Edward," said he, "I scarce see means to hide so much as a
mouse in this chamber, other than in yonder closet, which is as plain as
the door or the window."

Edward replied by an amused smile.

"You've a deal of book-learning, Father Garnet," said he, "but under
your leave, there's a few things you don't know in this world."

He walked into the chimney-corner.

Chimneys, be it remembered, were much wider in the seventeenth century
than they have been since the invention of grates.  There was room in
every chimney-corner, not only for the fire, but for one or two chairs
and settles, where people could sit when they wished to warm themselves;
and as there was no fire on Edward's hearth, moving about on it was as
easy as in a closet.

"Are we to fly up the chimney on a pair of broomsticks?" laughed Hall.

Edward only smiled again, and after a moment's feeling with his hand
among the bricks at the side of the chimney, they heard a sound as of
the pushing back of bolts.  Slowly, as if it moved with some difficulty,
a square door opened in the chimney, so cleverly concealed that it
required a skilful detective indeed to guess its existence.  The door
was of wood, "curiously covered over with brick, mortared and made fast"
to it, "and coloured black like the other parts of the chimney, that
very diligent inquiry might well have past by."  Behind it was a very
small square recess, large enough to hold the two, though not
sufficiently high for them to stand upright.  A narrow tunnel, in
outward appearance like a chimney, led up to the top of the house,
designed for the admission of light and air to the hiding-place, but
capable of conveying no great quantity of either.  Having fetched a
short ladder, Edward placed it in position, so that the priests could
climb up into the chamber.

"It had been more to your comfort, Fathers, could we have cast forth
some of this furniture," he said, looking round it: "but it were scarce
wise to defer the matter, the house being already invested."

"Let be, we will serve ourselves of it as it is, and well."

The priests mounted into the tiny hiding-place.

"See you, holy Fathers," Edward asked, "a vessel of tin, standing below
a little hole in the wall?  Have a care that you move it not without you
first stop the hole, for it runneth through into my mistress's chamber,
and by a quill or reed therein laid can she minister warm drinks unto
you, as broths and caudle.  She can likewise speak to you through the
hole, and be heard: but if you hear the noise of feet or strange voices
in that chamber, have a care to lie as squat [quiet] and close as ever
you can.  So may you safely hover [lie concealed]; for the cleverest
soldier of them all shall be hard put to it to find you here, if it
please God."

Would it please God?  Did no memory come to either of those well-read
priestly refugees of a familiar question--"Shall the throne of iniquity
have fellowship with Thee?"

"A tight fit this, for two!" said Hall.

"Ay, it is.  There hath not been above one here aforetime.  But it is
the safest hilling [hiding-place] in the house.  Good-day, holy Fathers,
and God keep you safe!"

While these scenes were enacting in one part of the house, in another
Sir Henry Bromley was introducing himself to the lady of Hendlip Hall,
and, with plumed hat in hand, apologising for his intrusion, and civilly
requesting her permission to examine the house.  A kindly,
tender-hearted man was the commander of this searching party, but at the
same time a conscientious one, and a determined Protestant.

If anything could be more considerate and cordial than Sir Henry's
appeal, it was to all appearances the spirit wherein it was received.
Mrs Abington begged her visitor not to speak of intrusion.  His Majesty
the King had no subjects more loyal than every man and woman in that
house.  It was really a source of pleasure to her that her abode should
be scrutinised in the most critical manner, and her perfect innocence
and submission to law thus made manifest.  The lady at once delivered
her keys--she did not say that a few of them were on a separate bunch--
and requested that no quarter might be given.  Appearances were so
charming, and innocence apparently so clear, that they might have
deluded a more astute man than Sir Henry Bromley.

Sir Henry, however, had come to do his duty, and he did it in spite of
appearances.  Lord Salisbury had furnished him with minute instructions,
which pointed decidedly to probable need of caution in this respect.  He
was to search for a suspected vault at the east end of the dining-room;
for a similar erection beneath the cellars; for ingenious closets
squeezed in between the walls of upper rooms; for possible holes in
corners and chimneys, wainscots which could be pierced by gimlets,
double lofts, and concealed chambers in the rafters.  Sir Henry set to
work.  "Madam," said he to Mrs Abington, "were it not more to the
conveniency of yourself and these gentlewomen your friends, that you
should take occasion to pay some visit forth of the house?  I fear the
noise made by my men, not to speak of the turning about of your chambers
by taking up of boards and trying of wainscots, shall greatly incommode
you if you tarry."

Sir Henry wanted sadly to get the ladies away.  But Mrs Abington was
quite as sagacious as himself, and more determined.  She assured him
that the noise was nothing, and the little novelties of holes in her
dining-room floor and broken wainscots in her drawing-room would be
rather amusing than otherwise.  Poor Sir Henry, baffled by this clever
woman, laments to Lord Salisbury,--"I did never hear so impudent liars
as I find here--all recusants, and all resolved to confess nothing, what
danger soever they incur.--I could by no means persuade the gentlewoman
of the house to depart the house, without I should have carried her,
which I held uncivil, as being so nobly born; as I have and do undergo
the greater difficulties thereby."

The Monday night brought home the master of the house.  He answered the
queries of the gentlemen in possession with as much apparent frankness
as his wife, but assured Sir Henry that the persons for whom he was
searching were absolute strangers to him; he had never seen any of them
save Gerard, and him only some five and twenty years before.  For
suspecting him of harbouring priests, not to speak of traitors, there
was not a shadow of reason!

Sir Henry went on searching, though he was out of hope.  In the first
place, he discovered some parcels of "books and writing," which showed
at that time that "some scholars" must have used them; an ordinary
country gentleman was not expected to have any books, except Bible and
prayer-books, one or two on law, needed in his capacity as a magistrate,
a book on etiquette, and a few dog's-eared plays.  On the Wednesday a
discovery of more importance was made, for in three or four places where
boards were uplifted, a quantity of "Popish trash" was brought to light.
Thus encouraged, the searchers resolved to continue their work, which
they were on the point of giving up.  Mr Abington continued to protest
his supreme innocence of all knowledge or connivance.  The books were
none of his; the "Popish stuff" astonished him as much as it did the
searchers.  This assumption of exquisite stainlessness lasted until one
day a hiding-place was discovered, which contained his family muniments
and the title-deeds of his estate.  After that, Mr Abington protested
no more; and it was needless, for he would not have been believed had he
done so.  Sir Henry at once despatched him to Worcester to be taken care
of by a magistrate; and "being much wearied," on Wednesday night
returned to his own house to take rest, leaving his brother Sir Edward
in charge.

On the Thursday morning, when he returned to Hendlip, he was met by two
wan, gaunt men, whose countenances showed privation and suffering.  They
gave their names as William Andrews and George Chambers.

By some unexplained want of care or foresight, these two unfortunate men
had been suffered to secrete themselves without provisions, and had
nothing but one apple between them from Monday to Thursday.

Sir Henry was delighted, for at first he thought he had secured Greenway
and Hall.  A little further examination, however, showed him that his
captives were only the priests' servants; yet he shrewdly surmised that
the servants being there, the masters in all probability were not far
away.

For four days more the search was pursued in vain: but on the 27th news
came that not only was Hall certainly concealed in the house, but that
the most important of all the implicated Jesuits, Garnet, would probably
be found by a diligent continuance of the search.  It came from an
unexpected quarter--no other than Red Humphrey Littleton.

Justice had not been slow in overtaking the harbourers of Robert Winter
and Stephen Littleton.  White and his brothers had got clear away; but
Smart, Hollyhead, Perks, and Burford, suffered the last penalty of the
law.  Margaret Perks was pardoned, though condemned to death.  Humphrey
Littleton received the torture; and when apparently at the point of
death, entreated permission to confess important facts, which he
promised to do if his life might be spared.  His appeal was granted, and
he then told the authorities that the most important criminal still at
large would be found in the priest's hiding-place at Hendlip Hall.

Fortified by this encouraging news, though the prisoners already taken
denied all knowledge of any others being hidden in the house, Sir Henry
pushed on his search; and at last, on the 28th, eight days after his
arrival, one of his men broke into the cunningly contrived hiding-place
in the chimney of Edward's room.  This brave discoverer was so terrified
by his own success that he ran away lest the priests should shoot him;
but others coming rapidly to his assistance, the priests offered to come
out if they might do so with quietude.  "So they helped us out," says
Garnet, "very charitably."

Garnet's account of their experiences in "the hoale," as he terms it, is
not suggestive of an inviting place.  "We were in the hoale seven days
and seven nights and some hours, and were well wearied;" the place was
so encumbered with books and furniture that they "could not find place
for their legs" even when seated; and the cramped positions which they
were compelled to assume caused their legs to swell greatly.  Garnet
seems to have suffered more of the two.  Yet he adds that they were
"very merry and content," and could have stayed three months, though
when they came out at last, "we appeared like two ghosts."

Sir Henry Bromley at once recognised the Provincial of the Jesuit
Mission; but which of his various aliases really belonged to him puzzled
his captor not a little, and Garnet declined to enlighten him.

"Call me as you will," said he; "I refer all to my meeting with my Lord
of Salisbury, and he will know me.  In truth, I say not thus for any
discourtesy, but that I will not, in the places we are, be made an
obloquy: but when I come to London, I will not be ashamed of my name."

Sir Henry now marshalled his prisoners for transport to Worcester.  He
described them to the authorities as "Humphrey Phillips alias Henry
Garnet; John Vincent alias Hall; Thomas Abington, Esquire; William
Androwes alias Nicholas Owen, either a priest or servant to Garnet;
George Chambers, servant of Hall; Edward Jarrett, servant of Mrs
Dorathie Abington; William Glandishe, servant of Mr Abington."  [Note
5.]  Mr Abington and the priests were taken to Worcester in Sir Henry's
coach.  The mind of that gentleman was somewhat exercised as to what he
was to do with them when he got them there.  Before leaving Hendlip he
had promised to place them in the house of some bailiff or citizen; but
as they were driving into Worcester, he said uneasily--

"My masters, I cannot do for you as I would; I must needs send you to
the gaol."

"In God's name!"  [Note 6] responded Garnet.  "But I hope you will
provide we have not irons, for we are lame already, and shall not be
able to ride after, to London."

Sir Henry's tender heart was touched at once.

"Well," said he, "I will think of it."

He thought of it to such purpose, that when they reached the inn, he
placed Garnet in a private room, with a guard--his Reverence says, "to
avoid the people's gazing;" Sir Henry would probably have added that it
was also in order to prevent the prisoner's disappearance.  After
despatching his business he ordered his coach, and took his prisoners
home with him to Holt Castle.  Here, on their own testimony, they were
"exceeding well used, and dined and supped with him and his every
day,"--not without some apprehension on the part of their kindly gaoler
that they might reward him by perverting his young daughters from the
Protestant faith.

When Candlemas Day came, Sir Henry "made a great dinner to end
Christmas," and sent for wine to drink the King's health.  It was then
customary for gentlemen always to dine with their hats on, and to
uncover when a royal toast was proposed.  The hats were doffed
accordingly.  The wine came in, and with it a wax candle, lighted--a
blessed candle taken at Hendlip, among the "Popish trash," and destined
for use on the services of that very day, having "Jesus" painted on one
side of it, and "Maria" on the other.  Garnet's heart leaped at the
familiar sight, and he begged leave to take the candle in his hand.
Passing it to Mr Hall, he said, half joyfully, half sadly--

"I am glad yet, that I have carried a holy candle on Candlemas Day."

Restoring the holy wax to the unholy candlestick, the priests drank the
King's health in what Mr Garnet is kind enough to tell us was "a
reasonable glass"--a piece of information the more valuable, since this
adjective was not always applicable to his Reverence's glasses.

When they came to leave Worcester, the parting between Garnet and the
ladies was almost affectionate.  The priest was evidently possessed of
that strong personal magnetism which some men and women have, and which
is oftener exercised for the purposes of Satan than in the service of
God.

"Madam," he said to Lady Bromley, "I desire you all to think well of me
till you see whether I can justify myself in this cause."

The journey to London took longer than would otherwise have been needed,
on account of the condition of the prisoners.  Garnet, whose sufferings
had been the more severe, was also the one in whom their results lasted
longest; and on the 5th of February, Sir Henry wrote that he was "but a
weak and wearisome traveller."  He was, however, "passing well used at
the King's charge, and that by express orders from my Lord Salisbury,"
and "had always the best horse in the company."  Garnet adds, "I had
sorde bickering with ministers by the way.  Two very good scholars, and
courteous, Mr Abbott and Mr Barlow, met us at an inn; but two other
rude fellows met us on the way, whose discourtesy I rewarded with plain
words, and so adieu."  The Jesuit Superior apparently rather enjoyed a
little brisk brushing of wits with well-educated gentlemanly clerics,
but felt some disgust of abuse which passed for argument with others.
On the evening of the 6th of February they reached London, where they
were lodged in the Gate-house, and Garnet was "very sick the first two
nights with ill lodging."  It was not until the 13th that the first
examination took place before the Privy Council at Whitehall.

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

Note 1.  To which the reporter adds, "otherwise a Papist, which God for
His mercy ever forbid!"

Note 2.  To flewer or fleer is to smile in that grinning manner which
shows all the teeth.  Our forefathers considered it a mark of a
sneering, envious man.

Note 3.  Domestic State Papers, James the First, volume eighteen,
article 20.

Note 4.  This most untruthful gentleman asserted that "his true name was
Oldcorne;" but Garnet and Anne Vaux both call him Hall in writing to
each other.

Note 5.  Domestic State Papers, James the First, volume 18, article 64.
Mrs Dorathie Abington was Mr Abington's maiden sister, who lived at
Hendlip Hall, and had a priest of her own, a Jesuit, named Butler or
Lyster.  He does not appear in this narrative, and was very likely
absent.

Note 6.  This was not meant profanely, but was simply equivalent to
saying, "God's will be done!"



CHAPTER ELEVEN.

ACCORDING TO THAT BEGINNING.

  "Carry him forth and bury him.  Death's peace
  Rest on his memory!  Mercy by his bier
  Sits silent, or says only these few words--
  Let him who is without sin 'mongst ye all
  Cast the first stone."

  Dinah Mulock.

A great crowd had assembled near Whitehall, and was lining Charing Cross
and the Tiltyard below, on the morning of that 13th of February, when
Sir Henry Bromley and his guard, with the prisoners in their midst,
marched down the street to the Palace.  Among them were Temperance
Murthwaite and Rachel, and near them was Mrs Abbott.  The crowd was
deeply interested in the prisoners, especially the two priests.

"There is a Provincial!" said a respectable-looking man who stood next
to Rachel.

"Ay, and there goeth a young Pope!" returned Temperance, grimly, in
allusion to Hall.

"They bear a good brag, most of 'em," said the man.  "Would we were rid
of 'em all, neck and crop!" said another.

"Pack 'em off to the American plantations!" suggested a third.

"If I dwelt there, I shouldn't give you thanks," replied the first.

"Find some land where nought dwelleth save baboons and snakes, and send
'em all there in a lump," was the response.

"What think you, Rachel?" demanded Mrs Abbott, who was not often silent
for so long at once.

"Why, they're men, just like other folks!" was Rachel's contribution.

"Did you think they'd have horns and tails?" said Temperance.

"Well, nay, not justly that," answered Rachel: "but I reckoned they'd
ha' looked a bit more like wastrels [scoundrels].  Yon lad's none so
bad-looking as many a man you may meet i' th' street.  And th' owd un's
meterly [middling], too.  Happen [perhaps] they aren't any o' the
worst."

"Why, maid," said the man who had first spoken, "that's Father Garnet,
the head of all the Jesuits in this country; there isn't a craftier fox
in all England than he."

"Well, I shouldn't ha' thought it," saith Rachel.

"Faces tell not alway truth," said Temperance.

"He's good eyes, though," remarked Mrs Abbott, "though they be a bit
heavy, as though he'd had a poor night's rest."

"He's one o' them long, narrow faces," said the man; "I never trust
such.  And a long nose, too--just like a fox."

"Ay, I'll be bound he's a fause [cunning] un," commented Rachel.

"His mouth's the worst thing about him," said Temperance.

"It's a little un," observed Rachel.

"Little or big, it's a false one," answered Temperance.  "There's a
prim, fixed, sanctimonious look about it that I wouldn't trust with
anything I cared to see safe."

"Eh, I'd none trust one o' them--not to sell a pound o' butter," said
Rachel.  "And by th' same token, Mrs Temperance, I mun be home to skim
th' cream, or Charity'll take it off like a gaumless [stupid] lass as
hoo [she] is.  Hoo can do some things, well enough, but hoo cannot skim
cream!"

"Go, good maid, if thou canst win out of this crowd, but methinks thou
shalt have thy work cut out to do so."

"Eh, she will," said Mrs Abbott.  "And mind you, Rachel! if you pull
yourself forth, you'll find your gown in rags by the time you're at
home.  I do hope, neighbour, you deal not with Simpkinson, in the
Strand; that rogue sold me ten ells of green stamyn, and charged me
thirty shillings the ell, and I vow it was scarce made up ere it began
a-coming to bits.  I'll give it him when I can catch him! and if I serve
not our Seth out for dinting in the blackjack last night, I'm a Dutch
woman, and no mistake!  Black jacks are half-a-crown apiece, and so I
told him; but I'll give him a bit more afore I've done with him; trust
me.  There is no keeping lads in order.  The mischievousness of 'em's
past count.  My husband, he says, `Lads will be lads,'--he's that easy,
if a mouse ran away with his supper from under his nose, he'd only call
after it, `Much good may it do thee.'  Do you ever hear mice in your
house, Mrs Murthwaite!  I'm for ever and the day after plagued wi'
them, and I do wish those lads 'ud make theirselves a bit useful and
catch 'em, instead o' dinting in black jacks.  But, dear heart, you'll
as soon catch the mice as catch them at aught that's useful.  They'll--"

"My mistress," said Mrs Abbott's next neighbour, "may I ask if your
husband be a very silent man?"

"I'm sure o' that," said the man who followed him.

"Eh, bless you, they all talk and chatter at our house while I can't
slip a word in," was the lady's answer.

"That's why she has so many to let go out o' door," remarked the last
speaker.

"I thought so," observed the neighbour, "because I have marked that men
and women do mostly wed with their contraries."

"Why, what mean you?" inquired Mrs Abbott, turning round to look him in
the face.

"That my way lieth down this by-street," said he, working himself out of
the crush into Channon Row, "and so I bid you all good-morrow."

Temperance Murthwaite laughed to herself, as she let herself in at the
door of the White Bear, while Mrs Abbott hurried into the Angel with a
box on the ear to Dorcas and Hester, who leaned upon the gate watching
the crowd.

"Get you in to your business!" said she.  "Chatter, chatter, chatter!
One might as well live in a cage o' magpies at once, and ha' done with
it.  Be off with the pair of ye!"

Garnet's admissions in answer to the questions put to him were few and
cautious.  He allowed that for twenty years he had been the Superior of
the English Jesuits, but denied any knowledge of the negotiations with
Spain, carried on before the death of Queen Elizabeth.  As to Fawkes, he
had never seen him but once in his life, at the previous Easter.
Questioned about White Webbs, he flatly denied that he ever was there,
or anywhere near Enfield Chase "since Bartholomewtide."  He was not in
London or the suburbs in November.  The Attorney-General was very kind
to the prisoner, and promised "to make the best construction that he
could" of his answers to the King; but Sir William Wade was not the man
to accept the word of a Jesuit, unless it should be the word "Guilty."
He accused Garnet of wholesale violation of the Decalogue in the
plainest English, and coolly told him that he could not believe him on
his oath, since the Pope could absolve him for any extent of lying or
equivocation.  It was plainly no easy matter to beguile Sir William
Wade.

The next day, February 14th, Garnet and Hall were removed to the Tower
of London, where the former found himself, to his satisfaction, lodged
in "a very fine chamber," next to that of his brother priest.  Here, as
he records in a letter to his friends, he received the best treatment,
being "allowed every meal a good draught of excellent claret wine," as
well as permitted to send for additional sack out of his own purse for
himself and the keeper: and he was suffered to vegetate as he thought
proper, with only one sorrow to vex his soul--Sir William Wade.

Sir William Wade, the Lieutenant of the Tower, constituted himself the
torment of poor Garnet's life.  He was perpetually passing through his
room, or at the furthest, loitering in the gallery beyond.  Sometimes he
treated the prisoner as beneath contempt, and would not utter a word to
him; at other times he sat down and regaled him with conversation of a
free and easy character.  The scornful silence was bad enough, but the
conversation was considerably worse.  Whatever else Garnet was, he was
an English gentleman, as his letters testify; and Sir William Wade was
not.  He was, on the contrary, one of those distressing people who pride
themselves on being outspoken, and calling a spade a spade, which they
do in the most vulgar and disagreeable manner.  He favoured the prisoner
with his unvarnished opinion of the Society to which he belonged, and
with unsavoury anecdotes of its members, mingled with the bitterest
abuse: and the worthy knight was not the man to spare his adjectives
when a sufficient seasoning of them would add zest to a dish of nouns.
At other times Sir William dipped his tongue in honey, and used the
sweetest language imaginable.  It is manifest from the manner in which
Garnet mentions him, that the smallest of his trials was not Sir William
Wade.

Mr Garnet's first act, on being inducted into these comfortable
quarters in his Majesty's Tower, was to bribe his keeper to wink at his
peccadilloes.  A few cups of that supernumerary sack, and an occasional
piece of silver, were worth expending on the safe carriage of his
letters and other necessities which might in time arise.  He made
affectionate inquiries as to the keeper's domestic relations, and
discovered that he was blessed with a wife and a mother.  To the wife he
despatched a little of that excellent sack, and secured permission for
his letters to be placed in the custody of the mother, who dwelt just
outside the walls.  But he was especially rejoiced when, a few days
after his incarceration, the keeper sidled up to him, with a finger on
his lips and a wink in his eye, and beckoned him to a particular part of
the room, where with great parade of care and silence he showed him a
concealed door between his own cell and that of Hall, intimating by
signs that secret communications might be held after this fashion, and
he, the keeper, would take care to be conveniently blind and deaf.

This was a comfort indeed, for the imprisoned priests could now mutually
forgive each others' sins.  There was a little cranny in the top of the
door, which might be utilised for a mere occasional whisper; but when a
regular confession was to be made, the door of communication could be
opened for an inch or two.  The one drawback was that the vexatious door
insisted on creaking, as if it were a Protestant door desirous of giving
warning of Popish practices.  But the Jesuits were equal to the
difficulty.  When the door was to be shut, the unemployed one either
fell to shovelling coals upon the fire, or was suddenly seized with a
severe bronchial cough, so that the ominous creak should not be heard
outside.  The comfort, therefore, remained; and heartily glad were the
imprisoned Jesuits to have found this means of communication by the kind
help of their tender-hearted keeper.

Alas, poor Jesuits!  They little knew that they were caught in their own
trap.  The treacherous keeper drank their sack, and pocketed their
angels, but their letters rarely went further than my Lord of
Salisbury's desk; and in a convenient closet unseen by them, close to
the creaking door, Mr Forset, a Justice of the Peace, and Mr
Locherson, Lord Salisbury's secretary, were listening with all their
ears to their confidential whispers, and taking thereby bad "coulds"
which they subsequently had to go home and nurse.  It was fox _versus_
fox.  As soon as the door was closed under cover of cough or coals, the
hidden spies came quickly forth, and in another chamber wrote down the
conversation just passed for the benefit of his Majesty's Judges.

Benighted Protestants were evidently Messrs. Forset and Locherson, for
the "Catholic practice" of auricular confession was to them a strange
and perplexing matter.  They innocently record that "the confession was
short, with a prayer in Latin before they did confess to each other, and
beating their hands on their breasts."  The Confiteor was succeeded by
the whispered confession, in such low tones that scarcely anything
reached the disappointed spies.  Hall made his confession first, and
Garnet followed.  The subsequent conversation was in louder tones,
though still whispered.  Garnet informed his fellow-conspirator that he
was suspicious of the good faith of some one whose name the spies failed
to hear--to which frailty he allowed that he was very subject; that he
had received a note from Thomas Rookwood, who told him of Greenway's
escape, and from Gerard, who therefore was evidently in safety, though
"he had been put to great plunges;" that he believed Mrs Anne was in
the Town, and would let them hear from their friends; that the keeper
had accepted an angel, and sundry cups of sack for himself and his wife,
and taken them very kindly,--recommending similar treatment on Hall's
part; that Garnet was very much afraid he should be driven to confess
White Webbs, but if so, he would say that he "was there, but knew
nothing of the matter."  Then Hall made a remark lost by the spies, to
which Garnet answered, with a profane invocation--too common in all
ranks at that day--"How did they know that!"  If he were pressed as to
his treasonable practices before the Queen's death, he would admit them,
seeing that he held a general pardon up to that time.  Garnet bemoaned
himself concerning Sir William Wade, and expressed his annoyance at the
persistent questioning of the Court touching White Webbs.

"I think it not convenient," said he, "to deny that we were at White
Webbs, they do so much insist upon that place.  Since I came out of
Essex I was there two times, and so I may say I was there; but they
press me to be there in October last, which I will by no means confess,
but I shall tell them I was not there since Bartholomewtide."

He expressed his apprehension lest the servants at White Webbs should be
examined and tortured, which might "make them yield to some confession;"
a fear which made him more resolute to admit nothing concerning the
place.  He was also very much afraid of being asked about certain
letters which Lord Monteagle had written.

"But in truth I am well persuaded," he concluded, "that I shall wind
myself out of that matter; and for any former business, I care not."

Just as Garnet whispered these words, footsteps were heard approaching
the chamber.

"Hark you, hark you, Mr Hall!" cried Garnet in haste; "whilst I shut
the door, make a hawking and a spitting."

Mr Hall obediently and energetically cleared his throat, under cover of
which Garnet closed the door, and presented himself the next moment to
the edified eyes of Sir William Wade in the pious aspect of a priest
telling his beads.

Another conference through the door was held on the 25th of February,
wherein Garnet was heard to lament to Hall that he "held not better
concurrence"--namely, that he did not use diligence to tell exactly the
arranged falsehoods on which the two had previously agreed.  The poor
spies found themselves in difficulties on this occasion through "a cock
crowing under the window of the room, and the cackling of a hen at the
very same instant."  Hall, however, was heard to undertake a better
adherence to his lesson.  It is more than once noted by the spies that
in these conferences the prisoners "used not one word of godliness or
religion, or recommending themselves or their cause to God; but all hath
been how to contrive safe answers."

During Garnet's imprisonment in the Tower, if his gaolers may be
trusted, his consumption of that extra sack was not regulated by the
rules of the Blue Ribbon Army.  They averred that he was "indulgent to
himself" in this particular, and "daily drank sack so liberally as if he
meant to drown sorrow."

On the 26th, Garnet knew that one of his apprehensions was verified,
when he was confronted with poor James Johnson, who had borne the
torture so bravely, and who now admitted that the prisoner thus shown to
him was the man whom he had known at White Webbs as Mr Mease, the
supposed brother of his mistress, Mrs Perkins.  He confessed that he
had seen him many times.  After this, it was useless to deny White Webbs
any longer.  Hall was examined on the same day; but being ignorant of
the evidence given by Johnson, he audaciously affirmed that he had not
visited White Webbs, and knew of no such place.

That evening, Garnet gave a shilling to his keeper, with a request to
have some oranges brought to him.  This fruit, first introduced into
England about 1568, was at that time very cheap and plentiful, about
eighteen-pence the hundred being the usual price.  Sir William Wade,
lounging about the gallery as usual, met the keeper as he came out of
the cell with the money in his hand.

"What would the old fox now?" demanded he.

"An 't please you, Sir, Mr Garnet asked for oranges."

"Oh, come! he may have an orange or two--he can't do any harm with them
without he choke himself, and that should spare the King the cost of a
rope to hang him," said shrewd Sir William.

But he was not quite shrewd enough, for it never occurred to his
non-Jesuitical mind that one of those innocent oranges was destined to
play the part of a traitorous inkstand by the Reverend Henry Garnet.

A large sheet of paper, folded letter-wise, came out of the prison in
the keeper's hand an hour later.  It was addressed to the Reverend
Thomas Rookwood, and contained only--in appearance--the following very
unobjectionable words.  They were written in ink, at the top of the
first page:--

"Let these spectacles be set in leather, and with a leather case, or let
the fould be fitter for the nose.--Yours for ever, Henry Garnett."

Who could think of detaining so innocent a missive, or prevent the poor
prisoner from obtaining a pair of comfortable spectacles?  But when the
sheet of paper was held to the fire, a very different letter started
out, in faint tracings of orange-juice:--

"This bearer knoweth that I write thus, but thinks it must be read with
water.  The papers sent with bisket-bread I was forced to burn, and did
not read.  I am sorry they have, without advise of friends, adventured
in so wicked an action.--I must needs acknowledge my being with the two
sisters, and that at White Webbs, as is trew, for they are so jealous of
White Webbs that I can no way else satisfy.  My names I all confesse but
that last...  I have acknowledged that I went from Sir Everard's to
Coughton...  Where is Mrs Anne?"

A few days later, on the 2nd of March, after a careful reconnoitre to
avoid the ubiquitous Sir William, Garnet applied his lips to the cranny
in the door.

"Hark you! is all well?  Let us go to confession first, if you will."

The spies, ensconced in secret, confess that they heard nothing of
Hall's confession, but that Garnet several times interrupted it with
"Well, well!"

Garnet then made his own confession, "very much more softlier than he
used to whisper in their interloqucions."  It was short, but unless the
spy was mistaken, "he confessed that he had drunk so extraordinarily
that he was forced to go two nights to bed betimes."  Then something was
said concerning Jesuits, to which Garnet added--

"That cannot be; I am Chancellor.  It might proceed of the malice of the
priests."

The conversation on this occasion was brought to a hasty close by
Garnet's departure to read or write a letter; Mr Hall being requested
to "make a noise with the shovel" while he was shutting the door.

The second letter to Mr Thomas Rookwood followed this interview.  It
was equally short in its ostensible length, and piously acknowledged the
receipt of two bands, two handkerchiefs, one pair of socks, and a Bible.
Beneath came the important postscript "Your last letter I could not
read; the pen did not cast incke.  Mr Catesby did me much wrong, and
hath confessed that he asked me the question in Queen Elizabeth's time
of the powder action, and I said it was lawfull: all which is most
untrew.  He did it to draw in others.  I see no advantage they have
against me for the powder action."  [Gunpowder Plot Book, article 242.]

Garnet added that his friend might communicate with him through letters
left in charge of the keeper's mother; but he begged him not to pay a
personal visit unless he could first make sure that the redoubtable Wade
was absent.

An answer from the Reverend Thomas consisted, to all appearance, of a
simple sheet of writing-paper, enclosing a pair of spectacles in their
case, and bearing the few words written outside--"I pray you prove
whether the spectacles do fit your sight."  Inside, in orange-juice, was
the real communication, from Anne Vaux, wherein she promised to come to
the garden, and begged Garnet to appoint a time when she might hope to
see him.  [Gunpowder Plot Book, article 243.]  This seems to show that
Garnet was sometimes allowed the liberty of the Tower garden.

On the 5th of March, Hall and Garnet were re-examined, when Hall
confessed the truth of the conversations through the door, and Garnet
denied them.  The same day, the latter wrote a long letter, addressed to
Mrs Anne Vaux or any of his friends, giving a full account of his
sufferings while in "the hoale" at Hendlip Hall, and of his present
condition in the Tower.  Remarking that he was permitted to purchase
sherry out of his own purse, Garnet adds--

"This is the greatest charge I shall be at, for fire will soon be
unnecessary, if I live so long, whereof I am very uncertain, and as
careless...  They say I was at White Webbs with the conspirators; I
said, if I was ever there after the 1st of September, I was guilty of
the powder action.  The time of my going to Coughton is a great
presumption, but all Catholics know it was necessary.  I thank God, I am
and have been _intrepidus_, wherein I marvail at myself, having had such
apprehension before; but it is God's grace."

On the third examination, which was on the 6th of March, both Garnet and
Hall confessed White Webbs at last,--the former, that he had hired the
house for the meetings of the conspirators, the latter that they had met
there twice in the year.  Garnet also allowed that Perkins was the alias
of the Hon.  Anne Vaux, to avoid whose indictment he afterwards said his
confession had been made.  It is evident, from several allusions in his
letters, that Garnet was terribly afraid of torture, and almost equally
averse to confronting witnesses.  The first was merely human nature; the
second speaks ill for his consciousness of that innocence which he
repeatedly asserts.

But not yet had the Gunpowder Plot secured its latest or its saddest
victim.  Soon after Sir Henry Bromley's departure from Hendlip, Mrs
Abington came to London, bringing Anne Vaux with her, and they took
lodgings in Fetter Lane, then a more aristocratic locality than now.
Here they remained for a few weeks, doing all that could be done to help
Garnet, and poor Anne continually haunting the neighbourhood of his
prison, and trying to catch glimpses of him, if not to obtain stolen
interviews, at the garden gate.  But on the 10th of March the
authorities interfered, and Anne Vaux was a prisoner of the Tower.
Examined on the following day, she deposed that she "kept the house at
White Webbs at her own charge;" that she was visited there by Catesby,
Thomas Winter, Tresham, and others, but said that she could not remember
dates nor further names.  She refused to admit that Garnet had been
there, but she allowed that she had been among the party of pilgrims to
Saint Winifred's Well, in company with Lady Digby and others whom she
declined to name.  Lastly, she persisted in saying that she had known
nothing of the plot.

She was told--not improbably by Sir William Wade, and if so, we may be
sure, not very tenderly--that Garnet had been one of the chief
criminals.  A few sorrowful lines remain showing the spirit in which she
heard it.  They were written on the 12th of March.

"I am most sore to here that Father Garnet shoulde be ane wease pryue to
this most wicked actione, as himselfe euer cauled it, for that hee made
to mee maney greate prostertations to the contrari diuers times sence.

"Anne Vaux."  [Gunpowder Plot Book, article 201.]

After this, Garnet gave up the fiction of his total ignorance of the
conspirators' object.  In his fourth examination, on the 13th of March,
he said that on the demise of Queen Elizabeth, he had received a letter
from the General of the Jesuits, stating that the new Pope Clement had
confirmed the order of his predecessor that no such plot should be set
on foot, and that Garnet had accordingly done what in him lay to turn
Catesby from the idea.  Catesby, however, thought himself authorised by
two briefs received by Garnet about twelve months earlier, commanding
the Roman Catholics of England not to consent to any successor of
Elizabeth who should refuse to submit to Rome.  These Garnet had shown
to Catesby before destroying them.  It is evident from these admissions,
not only that Garnet had been privy to the plot from the first, but also
that it was known at Rome, and controlled from the Vatican--forbidden
when success appeared unlikely, and smiled on as soon as it seemed
probable.

Shortly after this, a letter came from Anne Vaux--a letter which sadly
reveals the character of its writer, and shows how different life might
have been for this poor passionate-hearted woman, had she not been
crushed under the iron heel of Rome.

"To live without you," she writes to Garnet, "it is not life, but death!
Now I see my los.  I am and euer will be yours, and so I humbly beseche
you to account me.  O that I might see you!"

Her second examination took place a few days later, on the 24th of
March.  She now acknowledged that Tresham Catesby, and Garnet, used to
meet at her house at Wandsworth: and that Garnet was wont to say to
them, when they were engaged in discussion,--"Good gentlemen, be quiet;
God will do all for the best; and we must get it by prayer at God's
hands, in whose hands are the hearts of princes."  The confession was
carried to Garnet.  Poor frail, loving heart! she meant to save him, and
he knew it.  He wrote calmly underneath--

"I do acknowledge these meetings.--H. Garnett."  [Gunpowder Plot Book,
article 212.]

Even her very gaolers dealt pitifully with Anne Vaux.  "This
gentlewoman," said Lord Salisbury to Garnet, "hath harboured you these
twelve years last past, and seems to speak for you in her confessions; I
think she would sacrifice herself for you to do you good, and you
likewise for her."

Garnet made no answer.

Letters continued to pass between the cells.  A remarkable one was sent
to Anne on the 2nd of April, written principally in orange-juice, on the
question which she had submitted to Garnet as to her living abroad after
her release.

"Concerning the disposal of yourself, I give you leave to go over to
them.  The vow of obedience ceaseth, being made to the Superior of this
Mission: you may, upon deliberation, make it to some there.  If you like
to stay here, then I exempt you, till a Superior be appointed, whom you
may acquaint: but tell him that you made your vow yourself, and then
told me; and that I limited certain conditions, as that _you are not
bound to sin [Note 1] except you be commanded in virtute obedientiae_.
We may accept no vows, but men may make them as they list, and we after
give directions accordingly.  Mr Hall dreamed that the General...
provided two fair tabernacles or seats for us: and this he dreamed
twice."  [Gunpowder Plot Book, article 245.]

The sentence in italics is terrible.  No Protestant ever penned a darker
indictment against Popery.

Anne Vaux received this letter, for she answered it at once.  She speaks
of her "vow of poverty," and adds--

"Mr Haule his dreame had been a great cumfert, if at the fute of the
throne there had bin a place for me.  God and you know my unworthenes.--
Yours and not my own, Anne Vaux."  [Gunpowder Plot Book, article 246.]

On the following day, Garnet wrote again--eight closely covered pages,
in his own hand throughout.  I append a few extracts from this pathetic
letter.

"My very loving and most dear Sister,--I will say what I think it best
for you to do, when it please God to set you at liberty.  If you can
stay in England, and enjoy the use of the Sacraments as heretofore, it
would be best: and then I wish that you and your sister live as before
in a house of common repair of the Society, or where the Superior of the
Mission shall ordinarily remain: or if this cannot be, then make choice
of some one of the Society, as you shall like, which I am sure will be
granted you.  If you like to go over, stay at Saint Omer, and send for
Friar Baldwin, with whom consult where to live: but I think Saint Omer
less healthy than Brussels.  In respect of your weakness, I think it
better for you to live abroad, and not in a monastery.  Your vow of
obedience, being made to the Superior of the Mission here, when you are
over, ceaseth: and then may you consult how to make it again.  None of
the Society can accept a vow of obedience of any; but any one may vow as
he will, and then one of the Society may direct accordingly."

Garnet proceeds to say that the vow of poverty was to cease in like
manner, and might be similarly renewed.  "All that which is for
annuities" he had always meant to be hers, in the hope that she would
afterwards leave it to the Jesuit Mission: but she is at liberty, if she
wish it, to alienate a third of this, or if she should desire at any
time to "retire into religion,"--i.e., to become a nun--and require a
portion, she is to help herself freely.  He "thanks God most humbly that
in all his speeches and practices he has had a desire to do nothing
against the glory of God."  He was so much annoyed by having been
misunderstood by the two spies that he "thought it would make our
actions much more excusable to tell the truth, than to stand to the
torture, or trial by witnesses."  As to his acquaintance with the plot,
he sought to hinder it more than men can imagine, as the Pope can tell:
how could he have dissuaded the conspirators if he had absolutely known
nothing?  But he thought it not allowable to tell what he knew.  None of
them ever told him anything, though they used his name freely--he
implies, more freely than truth justified them in doing: "yet have I
hurt nobody."  He ordered the removal of certain books which he does not
further describe; if they be found, "you can challenge them as your own,
as in truth they are."  He will "die not as a victorious martyr, but as
a penitent thief:" but "let God work His will."  The most touching words
are the last.  Up to this point, the spiritual director has been
addressing his subject.  Now the priest disappears, and the man's heart
breaks out.

"Howsoever I shall die a thief, yet you may assure yourself your
innocence is such, that but if you die by reason of your imprisonment,
you shall die a martyr.  [From this point the letter is in Latin.]  `The
time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God.'  Farewell,
my ever beloved in Christ, and pray for me."  [Domestic State Papers,
James the First, volume 20, article 11.]

Yet a few words were to be written before the end.  The execution of
Hall, which took place at Worcester on the 7th of April, unnerved Garnet
as nothing else had done.  He wrote, a fortnight later, to her who was
his last and had always been his truest friend--a few hurried,
incoherent words, which betray the troubled state of his mind.

"It pleaseth God daily to multiply my crosses.  I beseech Him give me
patience and perseverance to the end.  I was, after a week's hiding,
taken in a friend's house, where our confessions and secret conferences
were heard, and my letters taken by some indiscretion abroad;--then the
taking of yourself;--after, my arraignment;--then the taking of Mr
Greenwell;--then the slander of us both abroad;--then the ransacking
anew of Erith and the other house;--then the execution of Mr Hall;--and
now, last of all, the apprehension of Richard and Robert: with a cipher,
I know not of whose, laid to my charge, and that which was a singular
oversight, a letter in cipher, together with the ciphers--which letter
may bring many into question.

"`The patience of Job ye have heard, and have seen the end of the
Lord,--that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy.'  Blessed be
the name of the Lord!  [These quotations are in Latin]--Yours,
eternally, as I hope, H.G."

"_21st April_--I thought verily my chamber in Thames Street had been
given over, and therefore I used it to save Erith; but I might have done
otherwise."

At the end of the letter is a symbolic sketch.  The mystic letters
I.H.S. within a circle, are surmounted by a cross, and beneath them is a
heart pierced by three nails.  Underneath is written, in Latin--"God is
[the strength] of my heart, and God is my portion for ever."

So end the last words which passed between the unhappy pair.

In his sixth examination, four days later, Garnet admitted that as often
as he and Greenway had met, he had asked concerning the plot, "being
careful of the matter;" and that "in general" he had inquired who was to
be chosen protector after the explosion; Greenway having answered that
this "was to be deferred until the blow was passed, and then the
protector to be chosen out of the noblemen that should be saved."  This
completely settles the question as to Garnet's guilty knowledge of the
plot before he received Digby's letter.  Greenway is here shown to be
Garnet's informant; whereas the letter was addressed to Garnet himself,
and the occasion on which he received it was the last time that he ever
saw Greenway!

A few days before his execution, the prisoner received a visit from
three Deans, who essayed to converse with him upon various points of
doctrine.  Garnet, however, declined any discussion, on the ground that
"it was unlawful for him."  He was asked whether he thought that he
should die a martyr.

"I a martyr!" exclaimed Garnet, with a deep sigh.  "Oh, what a martyr
should I be!  God forbid!  If, indeed, I were really about to suffer
death for the sake of the Catholic religion, and if I had never known of
this project except by the means of sacramental confession, I might
perhaps be accounted worthy of the honour of martyrdom, and might
deservedly be glorified in the opinion of the Church.  As it is, I
acknowledge myself to have sinned in this respects and deny not the
justice of the sentence passed upon me."  Then, after a moment's pause,
he added with apparent earnestness, "Would to God that I could recall
that which has been done!  Would to God that anything had happened
rather than that this stain of treason should hang upon my name!  I know
that my offence is most grievous, though I have confidence in Christ to
pardon me on my hearty penitence: but I would give the whole world, if I
possessed it, to be able to die without the weight of this sin upon my
soul."

The 1st of May had been originally fixed for the execution, but it was
delayed until the 3rd.  To the last moment, when he received notice of
it, which was on the 29th of April, Garnet fully expected a reprieve.
He "could hardly be persuaded to believe" in approaching death.  Yet
even then, on the very night before his execution--if we may believe the
testimony of his keepers--he drank so copiously that the gaoler thought
it necessary to inform the Lieutenant, who came to see for himself, and
was invited, in thick and incoherent accents, to join Garnet in his
potations.  Sir William Wade was not the man to allow such a fact to
rest in silence; and Garnet is neither the first nor the last whose
words have been better than his actions.

On the 3rd of May, he was drawn on a hurdle to the west end of Saint
Paul's Churchyard, where the first conspirators had suffered, and where
the scaffold was again set up.  His conduct on the scaffold was
certainly not that of a martyr, nor that of a penitent thief: the
impenitent thief appeared rather to be his model.  Advised by the
attendant Deans of Saint Paul's and Winchester to "prepare and settle
himself for another world, and to commence his reconciliation with God
by a sincere and saving repentance," Garnet answered that he had already
done so.  He showed himself very unwilling to address the people; but
being strongly urged by the Recorder, he uttered a few sentences, the
purport of which was that he considered all treason detestable; that he
prayed the King's pardon for not revealing that of which he had a
general knowledge from Catesby, but not otherwise; that he never knew
anything of the design of blowing up the Parliament House.  The Dean of
Winchester reminded him that he had confessed that Greenway told him all
the circumstances in Essex.  "That was in secret confession," said
Garnet, "which I could by no means reveal."  The Dean having reminded
him that he had already allowed the contrary, the Recorder was about to
read his written confessions to the people--a course commanded by the
King if Garnet should deny his guilt upon the scaffold: but Garnet
stopped this conviction from his own mouth, by telling the Recorder that
he might spare himself that trouble; he would stand to the confessions
he had signed, and acknowledge himself justly condemned for not having
declared his general knowledge of the plot.  He then spoke of Anne Vaux,
and denounced as slander all the injurious reports concerning his
relations with her: then he asked what time would be permitted him for
prayer.  He was told that he should choose his own time, and should not
be interrupted.  Kneeling down at the foot of the ladder, Garnet
proceeded to his devotions in such a manner as to show that they were to
him the purest formalities: as the words fell from his lips, he was
gazing at the crowd, listening to the attendants, sometimes even
replying to remarks they made.  When he rose from his knees, he was
urged once more to confess his guilt in plain terms.  He answered that
he had no more to confess; his guilt had been exaggerated.  As he
undressed for execution, he said in a low voice to those nearest to him,
"There is no salvation for you, unless you hold the Catholic faith."
Their reply was that they were under the impression they did hold it.
"But the only Catholic faith," responded Garnet, "is that professed by
the Church of Rome."  Having ascended the ladder, he addressed the
people.  He expressed in these closing words his grief that he had
offended the King, and that he had not used more diligence in preventing
the execution of the plot; he was sorry that he had dissembled with the
Lords of the Council, and that he did not declare the truth until it was
proved against him: "but," he said, "I did not think they had such sure
proofs against me"!  He besought all men "not to allow the Catholics to
fare worse for his sake," and bade the latter keep out of sedition.
Then he crossed himself, and added--"Jesus Maria!  Mary, mother of
grace, mother of mercy!  Save me from mine enemies, and receive me in
the hour of death.  In Thine hands I commend my spirit: Thou hast
redeemed me, O Lord God of truth!"  Crossing himself once more, he
added--always in Latin--"By this sign of the cross, may all evil things
be dispersed.  Plant Thy cross, Lord, in mine heart!"  But his last
words were, "Jesus Maria!  Mary, mother of grace!"  Then the ladder was
drawn away, and Henry Garnet, the conspirator and liar, stood before
that Lord God of truth who will by no means clear the guilty.  By
express command of the King, the after-horrors of a traitor's death were
omitted.

Three months after that sad close of life, the Tower gates opened
again--this time to release a prisoner.  The Hon.  Anne Vaux was bidden
to go whither she would.  Whither she would!--what a mockery to her to
whom all the earth and the heavens had been made one vaulted grave--who
had no home left anywhere in the world, for her home had been in the
heart of that dead man.  To what part of that great wilderness of earth
she carried her bitter grief and her name of scorn, no record has been
left to tell us, except one.

Thirty years later, in 1635, a Jesuit school for "Catholic youths of the
nobility and gentry" was dispersed by authority.  It was at Stanley, a
small hamlet about six miles to the north-east of Derby, a short
distance from the Nottingham road.  The house was known as Stanley
Grange, and it was the residence of the Hon.  Anne Vaux.

So she passes out of our sight, old and full of days, true to the end to
the faith for which she had so sorely suffered, and to the memory of the
friend whom she had loved too well.

"O solitary love that was so strong!"

Let us leave her to the mercy of Him who died for men, and who only can
presume to sit in judgment on that faithful, passionate, broken heart.

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

Note 1.  This word is plainly _sin_, though Mr Lemon in his copy tried
to read it _him_--an interpretation which he was obliged to abandon.



CHAPTER TWELVE.

THE FRUIT OF HIS OWN WAY.

  "Say not, This brackish well I will not taste;
  Ere long thou may'st give thanks that even this
  Is left for thee in such a burning waste."

  Reverend Horatius Bonar.

"Tell Mr Louvaine that I desire speech of him."

The page who received this order looked up in apprehension.  So
exceedingly stern were Lady Oxford's tone, and _so frowning_ her aspect,
that he trembled for himself, apart from Aubrey.  Escaping from that
awful presence at the earliest moment possible, he carried the message
to Aubrey, who when he received it was lounging on a day-bed, or sofa,
with his arms crossed behind his head.

"And you'd best go soon, Sir," said the page, "for her Ladyship looks as
though she could swallow me in two bites."

"Then I rather count I'd best not," said Aubrey, looking very much
indisposed to stir.  "What on earth would she have of me?  There's no
end to the whims and conceits of women."

He unwreathed his arms and stood up, yawned, and very slowly went
upstairs to the gallery where he had learned that the Countess was
awaiting him.  Aubrey Louvaine was at that moment a most unhappy young
man.  The first sensation of amazement and horror at the discovery of
the treachery and wickedness of his chosen friends was past, but the
apprehensions for his own safety were not; and as the time went on, the
sense of loss, weariness, and disgust of life, rather grew than
lessened.  Worst of all, and beyond all, were two better feelings--the
honest affection which Aubrey had scarcely realised before that he
entertained for Thomas Winter, and the shock and pain of his miserable
fate: and even beyond this, a sense of humiliation, very wholesome yet
very distressing, at the folly of his course, and the wreck which he had
made of his life.  How complete a wreck it was he had not discovered
even now: but that he had been very foolish, he knew in his inmost
heart.  And when a man is just making that valuable discovery is not the
best time for other men to tell him of it.

That Fate was preparing for him not a sedative but a stimulant, he had
little doubt as he went slowly on his way to the gallery: but of the
astringent nature of that mixture he had equally small idea, until he
turned the last corner, and came in sight of the Countess's face.  There
was an aspect of the avenging angel about Lady Oxford, as she stood up,
tall and stately, in that corner of the gallery, and held out to Aubrey
what that indiscreet young gentleman recognised as a lost solitaire that
was wont to fasten the lace ruffles on his wrist.

"Is this yours, Mr Louvaine?"  Her voice said, "Guilty or not guilty?"
so plainly that he was almost ready to respond, "Of what?"

Aubrey gave the garnet solitaire a more prolonged examination than it
needed.  He felt no doubt of its identity.

"Yes, Madam, I think it is," he answered slowly.  "At the least, I have
lost one that resembles it."

"I think it is, too," said the Countess no less sternly.  "Do you know
where this was found, Mr Louvaine?"

Aubrey began to feel thoroughly alarmed.

"No, Madam," he faltered.

"In the chamber of Thomas Winter, the traitor and Papist, at the sign of
the Duck, in the Strand.  Perhaps you can tell me how it came thither?"

Aubrey was silent, from sheer terror.  A gulf seemed to yawn before his
feet, and the Countess appeared to him in the light of the minister of
wrath waiting to push him into it.  With the rapidity of lightning, his
whole life seemed to pass in sudden review before him--his happy
childhood and guarded youth at Selwick Hall, the changed circumstances
of his London experiences, his foolish ways and extravagant expenditure,
his friendship with Winter, the quiet home at the White Bear into which
his fall would bring such disgrace and sorrow, the possible prison and
scaffold as the close of all.  Was it to end thus?  He had meant so
little ill, had done so little wrong.  Yet how was he to convince any
one that he had not meant the one, or even that he had not done the
other?

In that moment, one circumstance of his early life stood out bright and
vivid as if touched with a sunbeam:--an act of childish folly, done
fifteen years before, for which his grandfather had made him learn the
text, "Thou God seest me."  It came flashing back upon him now.  Had God
seen him all this while?  Then He knew all his foolishness--ay, and his
innocence as well.  Could He--would He--help him in this emergency?
Aubrey Louvaine had never left off the outward habit of saying prayers;
but it was years since he had really prayed before that unheard cry went
up in the gallery of Oxford House--"Lord, save me, for my grandmother's
sake!"  He felt as if he dared not ask it for his own.

All these thoughts followed each other in so short a time that Lady
Oxford was conscious of little more than a momentary hesitation, before
Aubrey said--

"I suppose I can, Madam."

He had made up his mind to speak the plain, full truth.  Even that
slight touch of the hem of Christ's garment had given him strength.

"Then do so.  Have you visited this man?"

"I have, Madam."

"How many times?"

"Several times, Madam.  I could not say with certainty how many."

"How long knew you this Thomas Winter?"

"Almost as long as I have dwelt in your Ladyship's house--not fully that
time."

"Who made you acquaint with him?"

"Mr Percy."

"What, the arch-traitor?"  Percy was then supposed to be what Catesby
really was--the head and front of the offending.

"He, Madam.  I will not deceive your Ladyship."

"And pray who made you acquaint with him?" demanded the Countess,
grimly.  In her heart, as she looked into the eyes honestly raised to
hers, she was saying, "The lad is innocent of all ill meaning--a foolish
daw that these kites have plucked:" but she showed no sign of the
relenting she really felt.

"Madam, that was Mr Thomas Rookwood."

"He that dwells beside the Lady Lettice?"

"His son, Madam."

"Were you acquaint with any of their wicked designs?"

"Not one of them, Madam, nor I never imagined no such a thing of any of
those gentlemen."

"Who of them all have you seen?"

"Madam, I have seen divers of whom I knew no more than to see them,
whose names--but no more--I can specify if your Ladyship desire it.  But
those that I did really know and at all consort with were three only
beside Mr Tom Rookwood--to wit, Mr Percy, Mr Catesby, and Mr Thomas
Winter: and I saw but little save of the last."

"The boy's telling truth," said Lady Oxford to herself.  "He has been
exceedingly foolish, but no worse."  Then aloud she asked,--"Saw you
ever any priests there?"

"Not to know them for such, Madam."

"Tampered they with you in any wise as to religion?"

"Never, Madam."

"And you are yet at heart a true Protestant, and loyal to King James?"

"As much so as I ever was, Madam."

But as Aubrey spoke, the question arose in his conscience,--What had he
ever cared about either?  Not half as much as he had cared for Tom
Winter,--nay, not so much as he had cared for Tom Winter's tobacco.

"Mr Louvaine," said the Countess, suddenly, "have you discovered that
you are a very foolish young man?"

Aubrey flushed red, and remained silent.

"It seems to me," she continued, "that you speak truth, and that you
have been no worser than foolish.  Yet, so being, you must surely guess
that for your own sake, no less than for the Earl's, you must leave this
house, and that quickly."

He had not guessed it, and it came upon him like a bomb-shell.  Leave
Oxford House!  What was to become of him?

"And if you will take my advice, you will not essay to win into any
other service.  Tarry as still as you can some whither, till matters be
blown over, and men begin to forget the inwards of this affair: not in
Town.  Have you no friend in the country that would take you in for a
while?  'Tis for your own good, and for my Lady Lettice' sake, that I
give you this counsel."

"Lie hidden in the country!"  Aubrey's tones were perfectly aghast.
Such an expectation had never visited his least coherent dreams.

"Mr Louvaine," said Lady Oxford in a kinder voice, "I can see that you
have never reckoned till this moment whither your course should lead
you, nor what lay at the end of the road you traversed.  I am sorry for
you, rather than angered; for I believe you thought no ill: you simply
failed to think at all, as so many have done before you.  Yet is it the
truest kindness not to cover your path by a deluding mist, but to point
out to you plainly the end of the way you are going.  Trust me, if this
witness in mine hand were traced to you by them in power, they should
not take your testimony for truth so easily as I may.  I know you, and
the stock whence you come; to them, you were but one of a thousand,
without favour or distinction.  Maybe you think me hard; yet I ensure
you, you have no better friend, nor one that shall give you truer
counsel than this which I have given.  Go you into the country, the
further from London the better, and lie as quiet as you may, till the
whole matter be blown over, and maybe some time hence, it shall be
possible to sue you a pardon from his Majesty to cover all."

"Some time!" broke from Aubrey's lips.

"Ay, and be thankful it is no worse.  He that leaps into a volcano,
counting it but a puddle, shall not find it a puddle, but a volcano.
You have played with firebrands, Mr Louvaine, and must not marvel nor
grumble to feel the scorching of your fingers."

Aubrey's silence was the issue of sheer despair.

"You must leave this house to-day," said the Countess firmly, "and not
as though you went on a journey.  Go forth this afternoon, as for a walk
of pleasure, and carrying nothing save what you can put in your pockets.
When you have set a few miles betwixt yourself and the town, you may
then hire an horse, and ride quickly.  I would counsel you not to
journey too direct--if you go north or south, tack about somewhat to
east and west; one may ride with far more safety than many.  I am not,
as you know, over rich, yet I will, for my Lady Lettice' sake, lend you
a sufficiency to carry you an hundred miles--and if it fall out that you
are not able to return the loan, trouble yourself not thereabout.  I am
doing my best for you, Mr Louvaine, not my worst."

"I thank your Ladyship," faltered the unhappy youth.  "But--must I not
so much as visit my grandmother?"

It was no very long time since the White Bear had been to Aubrey a
troublesome nuisance.  Now it presented itself to his eyes in the
enticing form of a haven of peace.  He was loved there: and he began to
perceive that love, even when it crossed his wishes, was better worth
having than the due reward of his deeds.

"Too great a risk to run," said the Countess, gravely.  "If any
inquiration be made for you, and you not found here, the officers of
justice should go straight thither.  No: I will visit my Lady Lettice
myself, and soften the thing as best I may to her and to Mrs Louvaine.
The only thing," she paused a moment in thought.  "What other friends
have you in London?"

"Truly, none, Madam, save my cousin David--"

"Not a relative.  Is there no clergyman that knows you, who is of good
account, and a staunch Protestant?"

"There is truly Mr Marshall, a friend of my grandmother, and an ejected
Puritan."

"Where dwelleth he?"

"In Shoe Lane, Madam."

"Is he a wise and discreet man?"

"I think, Madam, my grandmother holds him for such."

"It is possible," said Lady Oxford, meditatively, "that you might be
safe in his house for a day or two, and your friends from the White Bear
could go as if to see him and his wife--hath he a wife?"

"He buried his wife this last summer, Madam: he hath a daughter that
keeps his house, of about mine own years."

"If you think it worth to run the risk, you might ask this good
gentleman to give you a day's shelter, so as to speak with your friends
ere you depart.  It were a risk: yet not, perchance, too great.  You
must judge for yourself.  If you choose this way, I will take it on
myself to let your friends know how it is with you."

It was a bitter pill to swallow.  Mr Marshall was about the last man in
his world to whom Aubrey felt any inclination to lay himself under an
obligation.  Both as a clergyman, a Puritan, and an ejected minister,
this undiscerning youth had looked down exceedingly upon his superior.
The popular estimate of the clergy was just then at the lowest ebb, and
it required some moral courage for any man to take holy orders, who was
neither very high up in rank, nor very low down.  This was the result
partly of the evil lives, and partly of the gross ignorance, of the
pre-Reformation priests; the lives were now greatly amended, but too
much of the ignorance, remained, and the time had not been sufficient to
remove the stigma.  A clergyman was expected to apprentice his children
to a trade, or at best to place them in domestic service; and he would
have been thought forward and impertinent if, when dining with laymen in
a good position, he had not spontaneously taken his departure before
dessert made its appearance.  To be indebted, therefore, for an
essential service to one of this lowly class, Aubrey was sufficiently
foolish to account a small degradation.

Happily for him, he had just enough sense left, and had been
sufficiently humiliated, to perceive that he could not escape the
necessity of devouring this unpalatable piece of humble pie, and that
the only choice left him was a choice of bitters.  The false manliness
which he had been diligently cultivating had vanished into thin air, and
something of the child's spirit, so long despised, was coming back to
him,--the longing for the sound of a familiar voice, and the touch of a
tender hand.  Even Aunt Temperance would have received, just then, a
welcome which might have astonished her.  But it showed the character of
the women of his family that in this emergency Aubrey's thoughts
scarcely touched his mother, and dwelt longingly on his grandmother and
his Aunt Edith.

The wise Countess waited quietly till Aubrey's meditations had taken
time to settle themselves into resolution.

"Madam, I thank your Ladyship," he said at last, as he looked up, with
an expression which had not dwelt for many a month in his eyes.  "I
think I perceive now how matters stand.  Suffer me to say that I never
knew, until now, how foolish I have been.  Under your Ladyship's leave,
I will take your kindly counsel, and seek aid of Mr Marshall.  I would
like to see them again."

His voice faltered as the last words were spoken.

"So will you do well," said the Countess, more kindly than before.  "All
is not yet lost, Mr Louvaine.  You have been foolish, but there is time
before you wherein you may be wise."

Aubrey bowed, took his leave, and went to his own room, where he filled
his pockets with a few immediate necessaries and what little money he
had.  It was hard to bear, this going forth into the wilderness, not at
God's call, but as the consequence of his own folly--Egypt left behind,
and no Canaan in prospect.  He must take leave of none save Lady
Oxford--must appear to none to be what he was--a homeless fugitive with
his life in his hand.  As he came down-stairs, he was met in the hall by
the same page who had previously summoned him.

"My Lady would speak a word with you in her cabinet ere you walk forth."

Aubrey found Lady Oxford at her desk, busied with household accounts,
and a little pile of gold beside her.  When she had reminded him that
she was not rich, she had spoken very truly.  That deceased husband of
hers, as wanting in reason in his age as in his youth, having reduced
the great Vere estates to almost nothing, his second wife, the Countess
Elizabeth, and her young son Earl Henry, had to sustain the dignity of
the House upon a very insufficient number of gold pieces.  Twenty months
had elapsed since the death of Earl Edward, and the excellent management
and strict economy of the widowed Countess had done something to
retrieve the ruined fortunes of the family, but much still remained to
do.

Lady Oxford glanced up at Aubrey as he entered.

"Mr Louvaine, I owe you your quarter's wages," she said; "at least, so
little time remains that it need not tarry, and 'tis to my conveniency
to reckon with you this afternoon."  This was said in a voice that the
page could hear.  Then, as Aubrey came up to her, with a significant
look, she laid another ten pounds in his hand, with a few words for his
private ear.  "Let me hear of you in time to come as a good man.  God go
with you!  Farewell."

Ten minutes later, Aubrey closed the door of Oxford House for the last
time, and went out, truly not knowing whither he went.  His primary
destination of course was Shoe Lane; but after that--whither?

Through back streets he made his way to Aldersgate, and passed through
it out of the City; over Snow Hill and Holborn Bridge, and down Shoe
Lane to the small house where Mr Marshall "had his lodging"--to use the
phrase of the time--in other words, where he and Agnes made their home
in three rooms, the kitchen being open to all the lodgers to cook for
themselves.  Two of the rooms were moderately large; these formed the
sitting-room, and the clergyman's bedroom and study, the bedroom end
being parted from the study end by a curtain between the two.  The
remaining room, a mere closet, was his daughter's bedchamber.
Pleasantest of the three was the sitting-room, the front half of which
was the general and public portion, while the back was reserved as
Agnes's boudoir, where her little work-table and stool were set by a
small window, looking out over the little garden towards Fetter Lane,
bounded on the right hand by the wall of Saint Andrew's Church.  The
door was opened by a rather slipshod girl, the landlady's daughter.

"Pray you, is Mr Marshall at home?"

"He's not, Sir; he's gone for a country walk."

"What time look you for him?"

"Well, about dark, I dare say.  Mrs Agnes, she's in."

"Thank you; I will come again about dusk."  Aubrey walked up the lane,
turned aimlessly to the left, and sauntered on towards Bloomsbury.  It
was no matter where he went--no matter to any one, himself least of all.
Passing Saint Giles's Church, he turned to the right, up a broad
country road lined by flowery banks, wherein the first primroses of
spring were just beginning to appear.  There are primroses there yet--in
flower-girls' baskets: they bloom now no otherwise in Tottenham Court
Road.

When he had gone some little distance, Aubrey grew tired.  It was a warm
day for the season; he sat down to rest on the flowery bank, and lost
himself in unhappy thought.

A mile further on, Mr Marshall was coming home down the same road, in a
more despondent mood than was usual with him.  Things were going badly
for the Puritans abroad, and for the Marshalls at home.  An ejected
minister was at all times an unfashionable person, and usually a very
poor man.  His income was small, was growing smaller, and was not at all
likely to take a turn and increase.  His wife was gone, and he felt her
loss rather more than less as time passed on; and Agnes had her private
trouble, for her affianced husband, a young tradesman to whom she had
been engaged for two years, had jilted her when he heard of her father's
ejectment.  Altogether, the prospect before the Marshalls was not
pleasant.  Rent was due, and clothes were needed, and money was
exceedingly scanty.

In the outside world, too, the sky was dull and gloomy.  The Puritans
were in no greater favour than they had been, though the Papists were at
the lowest ebb.  That there was any inconsistency in their conduct did
not apparently occur to the authorities, nor that the true way to
repress Popery was by cultivating Puritanism.  Believing the true
principles of the Church of England to be the golden mean between the
two, they acted under the pleasing illusion that when both halves were
cut off, the middle would be left intact, and all the better for the
operation.

As Mr Marshall walked on in the Tottenham road, he saw a figure seated
on the grassy bank at some distance before him.  When he came nearer, he
perceived that it was a young man, who sat with his head cast down, in
an attitude of meditation, and a light cane in his hand, with which now
and then he switched off the head of an unoffending dandelion.  Drawing
nearer still, the minister began to suspect that the youth's face was
not unfamiliar; and when he came close, instead of passing the sitter on
the bank, he stepped down, and took a seat beside him.

The youth had paid no apparent attention to his companion until that
moment.  His face was turned away northward, and only when Mr Marshall
sat down close to him did he seem to perceive that he was not alone.

"How goes the world with you this afternoon, Mr Louvaine?"

"Mr Marshall!  I ask your pardon.  I had not seen you."

"I thought not.  You have taken a long walk."

Aubrey made no reply.

"Now, how am I to get at this shut-up heart?" said Mr Marshall to
himself.  "To say the wrong thing just now may do considerable harm.
Yet what is the right one?"  Aloud he said only,--"I hope my Lady
Lettice is well?  I know not whether you or I saw her last."

"I have not seen her for months," said Aubrey, curtly.

"Then I am happier than you, for I saw her three weeks since.  I thought
her looking somewhat frail and feeble, even more so than her wont; yet
very ripe for Heaven, when as it shall please God to take her."

There was no answer again.  Aubrey's cane applied itself diligently to
making a plantain leaf lie to the right of its neighbour instead of the
_left_.

"Mr Louvaine, did you ever hear that my mother and your grandfather
were friends of old time?"

For the first time Aubrey turned his head fully, and looked at his
companion.  The face which Mr Marshall saw was not, as he had imagined
it might be, sullen and reluctant to converse.  It was only very, very
weary and sad, with heavy eyes as though they had slept little, or were
holding back unshed tears.

"No, never," was all he said.

"My mother," said Mr Marshall, "was an Oxfordshire woman, of Minster
Lovel by her birth, but she wedded a bookseller in Oxford town, where
she was in service to a lady.  I think you were not present when I told
this to my Lady Lettice.  But do you remember your old friend Mrs
Elizabeth Wolvercot, that she told me you were wont to call Cousin
Bess?"

"Remember Cousin Bess!  Of course I do," said Aubrey, a tone of interest
coming into his voice.  "What of her?"

"My mother was her sister Ellen."

"Why, Mr Marshall! are you my cousin?"

"If it please you to acknowledge me, Cousin Aubrey."

"That I will, indeed!" said Aubrey, clasping the hand of the ejected
minister.  Then, with a sudden and complete change of tone,--"But,
maybe, if you knew all I know, you were not over ready to acknowledge
me."

"You are in trouble, my friend," answered Mr Marshall sympathisingly.
"Can I help you thereout?  At least I can feel for you in it, if I may
do no more."

There was another minute of dead silence.  The next question came
suddenly and bluntly.

"Mr Marshall, did you ever in your life feel that you had been a grand
fool?"

"Yes," was the short, quiet answer.

"I am glad to hear it, though I should not have thought so.  I thought
you had always been a precisely proper person, and I did not suppose you
could feel for me a whit.  But I must tell my trouble to somebody, or I
shall grow desperate.  Look you, I have lost my place, and I can get
none other, and I have not twenty pounds in the world, and I owe an
hundred pounds, and I can't go home."

"Thank God!" was the strange answer.

"Well, to be sure,--Mr Marshall, what on earth are you thanking God
for?"

"That your husks have lost their flavour, my son.  So long as the
prodigal finds the husks sweet, there is little hope of him.  But let
him once discover that they are dry husks, and not sweet fruits, and
that his companions are swine, and not princes--then he is coming to
himself, and there is hope of making a man of him again.  I say
therefore, Thank God!"

"I shall never make anything better than a fool."

"A man commonly ceases to be a fool when he begins to reckon himself
one."

"You know not the worst yet.  But--Mr Marshall, if I tell it you, you
will not betray me, for my poor old grandmother's sake?  I never gave
her much cause to love me, but I know she doth, and it would grieve her
if I came to public hurt and shame."

"It would grieve me, my cousin, more than you know.  Fear not, but speak
freely."

"Well,--I know not if my grandmother told you that I was intimate with
some of these poor gentlemen that have paid the penalty of their treason
of late?"

"I know that you knew Percy and Winter--and, I dare say, Rookwood."

"I knew them all, and Catesby too.  And though I was not privy to the
plot--not quite so bad as that!--yet I would have followed Mr Tom
Winter almost anywhere,--ay, even into worse than I did."

"Surely, Aubrey Louvaine, you never dreamed of perversion!"

"Mr Marshall, I was ready to do anything Tom Winter bade me; but he
never meddled with my religion.  And--come, I may as well make a clean
breast, as I have begun--I loved Dorothy Rookwood, and if she had held
up a finger, I should have gone after.  You think the Rookwoods
Protestants, don't you?  They are not."

Mr Marshall sat in dismayed silence, for a moment.

"I doubted them somewhat," he said: "but I never knew so much as you
have told me.  Then Mrs Dorothy--"

"Oh, she would have none of me.  She told me I was a beggar and a fool
both, and she spake but the bitter truth.  Yet it was bitter when she
said it."

"My poor boy!" said Mr Marshall, compassionately.

"I thought Hans but a fool when he went and bound himself to yon
mercer--he, the son of a Dutch Baron!  But I see now--I was the fool,
not he.  Had I spent my days in selling silk stockings instead of
wearing them, and taken my wages home to my mother like a good little
boy, it had been better for me.  I see, now,--now that the doors are all
shut against me, and I dare not go home."

"Yet tell me, Aubrey, for I scarce understand it--why dare you not go
home?"

As Aubrey laid the matter before him from the point of view presented by
Lady Oxford, Mr Marshall's face grew graver every moment.  He began to
see that the circumstances were much more serious than he had
apprehended.  There was silence for a few minutes when Aubrey finished
his account.  Then the clergyman said--

"'Tis a tangle, and a tight one, my boy.  Yet, by God's blessing, we may
see our way out.  Let us take one point at a time.  These debts of
yours--will you tell me, are they `debts of honour,' falsely so-called?"

"Only twenty pounds.  The rest is due partly to Patrick the tailor and
others for goods, and partly to Tom Rookwood for money I borrowed of
him."

"How much to Tom Rookwood?"

"Twenty pounds."

"I will see what I can do with him," said Mr Marshall, thoughtfully.
"If these Rookwoods are in no wise dragged into the plot, so that they
have no land escheated, nor fines to pay, then I think he can afford to
wait for his money--better, very like, than the tradesfolk.  But,
Aubrey, you must get another place.  Bear with me if I ask you,--Could
you bring your pride down to serve in a shop?"

The young shapely head went up suddenly, as if in proud protest against
this most unacceptable proposal.  Then it dropped again, and the cane
toyed with the plantain.

"I thought my pride was down," he said in a low voice? "but I see it
might be lowered yet further.  Mr Marshall, I will try to humble myself
even to that, if it be needful."

Aubrey did not suspect that Mr Marshall had never come so near
respecting him as at that moment.

"Well," he said, quietly, "I will do what I can to help you.  I will see
Tom Rookwood; and I know a bookseller in Oxford town to whom I could
speak for you if you wish it.  The question for you at this moment is
not, What is easy and pleasant?--but, What is right?  `_Facilis
descensus Averni_'--you know--`_sed revocare gradum_!'  It is always
hard work turning back.  There is a bitter cup to be drunk; and if you
would win back your lost self-respect--if you would bring help and
comfort to your grandmother in her old age--if you would light up the
lamp of joy where hitherto you have wrought darkness--nay, if you would
win a smile from the blessed lips which said `Father, forgive them' _for
you_--then, Aubrey Louvaine, be a man, and drink off that bitter
draught.  You will find it sweeter afterwards than all the dainties you
have been searching after for so long."

Aubrey sat still and silent for some time, and his companion let him
alone to consider his ways.  Mr Marshall was a wise man; and never gave
more strokes to a nail than were needful to drive it in.  At last the
question came, in low, unsteady tones--

"Mr Marshall, did God send you up this road this afternoon?"

"I have no doubt He did, my friend, if anything I say or do can help you
to the right way.  You see, I knew not of your being here, and He did."

"When you came up," said the low voice, "I thought all was over, and my
mind was very near made up to enlist as a common soldier, and leave no
trace behind.  I see now, it should have been an ill deed to do."

"An ill deed in truth for your poor friends, if the only news they had
ever heard of you were your name in a list of the dead."

"Yes, I wished to be killed as soon as might be--get to the end as fast
as possible."

"Would that have been the end, Aubrey?"

The reply was barely audible.  "No, I suppose not."

"Take up your burden instead, my son, and bear it by God's grace.  He
does not refuse that, even when the burden is heaped and bound by our
own hands.  Unlike men, His compassion faileth never.  He has maybe
emptied thine heart, Aubrey, that He may fill it with Himself."

Aubrey made no reply, but Mr Marshall did not think that a bad sign.

"Well, come now," said he, rising from the bank, and in a more cheerful
tone.  "Let us go to Shoe Lane, and see if Agnes hath any supper for us.
The prodigal son was not more welcome to his old father than you shall
be to my poor lodging, for so long a time as may stand with your safety
and conveniency.  My Lady Oxford, you say, was to give my Lady Lettice
to know how things went with you? but methinks it shall do none ill if I
likewise visit her this evening.  `Two heads are better than one,' and
though 'tis said `o'er many cooks spoil the broth,' yet three may be
better than two."

The feeling of humiliation which grew and deepened in Aubrey's mind, was
one of the best things which could have come to him.  Vanity and
self-sufficiency had always been his chief failings; and he was now
finding, to his surprise, that while his chosen friends surrounded him
with difficulties, the people whom he had slighted and despised came
forward to help him out of them.  He had looked down on no one more than
on Mr Marshall, and Agnes had received a share of his contempt, partly
because of her father's calling and comparative poverty, partly because
she was not pretty, and partly because she showed no power of repartee
or spirit in conversation.  In Aubrey's eyes she had been "a dull,
humdrum thing," only fit to cook and sew, and utterly beneath the notice
of any one so elevated and _spirituel_ as himself.

During the last few hours, Aubrey's estimate of things in general had
sustained some rude shocks, and his hitherto unfaltering faith in his
own infallibility was considerably shaken.  It suffered an additional
blow when Mr Marshall led him into his quiet parlour, and he saw Agnes
seated at her work, the supper-table spread, and a cheerful fire blazing
upon a clean hearth.  An expression of slight surprise came into her
eyes as she rose to greet Aubrey.

"You see, daughter, I have brought home a guest," said her father.  "He
will tarry with us a little season."

Then, stepping across the room, he opened a closed door, and showed
Aubrey another chamber, the size of the first, across which a red
curtain was drawn.

"This is my chamber, and shall be also yours," said he: "I pray you use
it freely.  At this end is my study, and beyond the curtain my
bedchamber.  I somewhat fear my library may scarce be to your liking,"
he added, an amused smile playing round his lips; "but if you can find
therein anything to please you, I shall be glad.--Now, daughter, what
have we here?  We so rarely have guests to supper, I fear Mr Louvaine
may find our fare somewhat meagre: though `better is a dinner of herbs
where love is, than a stalled ox and hatred therewith.'"

"It is a dinner of herbs, Father," said Agnes, echoing the smile; "for
'tis a bit of gammon of bacon and spinach, with eggs in poach."

"How say you, my friend?" asked Mr Marshall of Aubrey.  "Can you make
your supper of so simple a dish?"

"Indeed I can, Sir, and thankfully," was the answer.

Agnes Marshall, though very quiet, was observant, and she perceived in a
moment that something was wrong with the magnificent youth who had
scarcely deigned to look at her when they had met on previous occasions.
She saw also that his manner had greatly changed, and very much for the
better.  He spoke to her now on terms of equality, and actually
addressed her father in a tone of respect.  Something must have
happened.

Aubrey, naturally the less observant of the two, was looking on just now
with quickened senses; and discovered, also to his surprise, that the
simple supper was served with as much dainty neatness as at Lord
Oxford's table; that Mr Marshall could talk intelligently and
interestingly on other than religious subjects; that Agnes really was
not dull, but quite able to respond to her father's remarks; that her
eyes were clear and bright, her complexion not at all bad, and her smile
decidedly pleasant: and lastly, that both his hosts, though take a thus
unawares, were exceedingly kind to him, and ready to put themselves to
any trouble or inconvenience in order to accommodate him.  He had
learned more, when he lay down to sleep that night, in twelve hours than
in any previous twelve months of his life, since his infancy.  The
lessons were of higher value, and they were not likely to be lost.

When supper was over, Mr Marshall repaired to the White Bear, and
Aubrey was left to Agnes as entertainer.  She was sewing a long seam,
and her needle went in and out with unfailing regularity.  For a few
minutes he watched her in silence, discovering a sunny gleam on her hair
that he had never before noticed.  Then he suddenly spoke out one of his
thoughts.

"Don't you find that exceeding wearisome?"

Agnes looked up with amused surprise.

"Truly," she said, "I never thought about it."

"I am sure I could not work at it ten minutes," replied Aubrey.

Agnes laughed--a low, soft, musical laugh, which struck pleasantly on
the ear.

"My father would be ill off for shirts if I could not," she answered.
"You see, Mr Louvaine, things have to be done.  'Tis to no good purpose
to be impatient with them.  It doth but weary more the worker, and
furthers not the work a whit."

"Would you not like to lead a different life?--such a life as other
young maids do--amid flowers, and sunshine, and jewels, and dancing, and
laughter, and all manner of jollity?"

He was curious to hear what she would say to the question.

Agnes answered by a rather wondering smile.  Then her eyes went out of
the window, to the steeple of Saint Andrew's, and the blue sky beyond
it.

"I might well enjoy some of them," she said slowly, as if the different
ideas were passing in review before her.  "I love sunshine, and flowers.
But there is one thing I love far better."

"And that is--?"

A light "that never was from sun nor moon" flooded the grave grey eyes
of Agnes Marshall.  Her voice was very low and subdued as she answered.

"That is, to do the will of God.  There is nothing upon earth that I
desire in comparison of Him."

"Is not that a gloomsome, dismal sort of thing?"

There was Divine compassion, mingled with human amusement, in the smile
which was on Agnes's lips as she looked up at him.

"Have you tried it, Mr Louvaine?"

Aubrey shook his head.  "I have tried a good many things, but not
Puritan piety.  It ever seemed to me a most weary and dreary matter,--an
eternal `Thou shalt not' carved o'er the gate of every garden of delight
that I would fain enter.  They may be angels that stand there, but they
bear flaming swords."

He spoke lightly, yet there was an accent in his voice which revealed to
Agnes a deep unfilled void in his heart.

"Don't try piety," she said quietly.  "Try Jesus Christ instead.  There
are no flaming swords in the way to Him, and the truest and deepest
satisfaction cannot be reached without Him."

"Have you found it thus, Mrs Agnes?"

"I have, Mr Louvaine."

"But, then,--you see,--you have not tried other fashions of pleasure,
maybe," said Aubrey, slowly.

"Have you?" said Agnes.

"Ay--a good many."

"And did you find them satisfying?  I say not, pleasant at the moment,
but satisfying?"

"Well, that is a large word," said Aubrey.

"It is a large word," was the reply, "yet Christ can fill it: and none
can do it but He.  Know you any thing or creature else that can?"

"I cannot say, for I have not needed it."

"That is, you have not been down yet into deep places, methinks, where
the floods have overflowed you.  I have not visited many, in truth; yet
have I been in one or two where I should have lost my footing, had not
my Lord held me up."

A very sorrowful look came into the gentle eyes.  Agnes was thinking of
the faithless Jonas Derwent, who had cast her off in the day of her
calamity.  Aubrey made no answer.  He was beginning to find out that
life was not, as he had always imagined it, a field of flowers, but a
very sore and real battlefield, wherein to lose the victory meant to
lose his very self, and to win it meant to reign for ever and ever.

And then Mr Marshall's voice said on the other side of the door,--"This
is the way,"--and another voice, dearly welcome to Aubrey, responded as
Aunt Edith came into the room--

"Mine own dear boy!  God be thanked that we see thee safe from harm!"

And again, for the twentieth time, Aubrey felt as he kissed her that he
had not deserved it.



CHAPTER THIRTEEN.

WHICH IS FULL OF SURPRISES.

  "Ah, who am I, that God hath saved
      Me from the doom I did desire,
  And crossed the lot myself had craved,
              To set me higher?"

  Jean Ingelow.

As Mr Marshall approached the White Bear that evening, he was
unexpectedly pounced upon by Silence Abbott.

"Eh, Parson, I declare it's you!  How fares Mrs Agnes this cold even?
Marry, I do believe we shall have snow ere the day break again.  The
White Bear'll be a bit whiter, I reckon, if he be well snowed o'er.  Are
you going in there?  You'll have some work to peace Mrs Louvaine; she's
lamenting and weeping, you never heard!--and all for her son as cometh
not home, and she is fair sure he'll be hung, because she saith he was
in with those rogues yonder."

"He was nothing of the sort," said Mr Marshall, breaking in sternly on
the flow of Silence's tide of words: "and let me tell you, Mrs Abbott,
if you spread such a lie, you may have a death at your door, as like as
not.  Mr Louvaine, I have no doubt, is safe and well, and had no more
ado with the Gunpowder Plot than you had: and I saw you with mine own
eyes talking with Fawkes, that rascal that called himself Johnson."

"Eh deary, Parson, but you'd never go to tell on a poor woman, and as
honest as any in Westminster, if I did pass the time o' day to a fellow,
that I never guessed to be a villain?  I do assure you, on my truth
as--"

"I hope you are an honest woman, Mrs Abbott; and so is Mr Louvaine an
honest man; and if you would have me keep my tongue off your doings, see
that you keep yours off his.  Now I have given you warning: that is a
bargain."

"Eh deary, deary! but I never heard Parson i' such a way afore!"
lamented Mrs Abbott to her daughter Mary, the only listener she had
left, for Mr Marshall had walked straight into the White Bear.  "I'll
say the lad's a Prince of the Blood, or an angel, or anything he's a
mind, if he'll but let me be.  Me talk to Guy Fawkes, indeed!  I never
said no worser to him than `Fine morning,' or `Wet, isn't it?' as it
might be: and to think o' me being had up afore the Lords of the Council
for just passing a word like that--and the parson, too!  Eh, deary me!
whatever must I say to content him, now?"

"I fancy, Mother," said Mary, who took after her quiet father, "he'll be
content if you'll hold your peace."

Mr Marshall found the ladies at the White Bear all assembled in the
parlour.  Mrs Louvaine had the ear of the House as he entered.

"So unfeeling as you are, Temperance, to a poor widow! and my only child
as good as lost, and never found again.  And officers and third-boroughs
and constables all going about, making all manner of inquirations,
trying to bring folks to justice, and Aubrey in with those wicked
people, and going to sup with them, and all--and nobody ever trying to
prevent him, and not a soul to care but me whether he went right or
wrong--I do believe you thought more of the price of herrings than you
ever did of the dear boy--and now, he's completely lost and nobody knows
what has become of him--"

Mr Marshall's quiet voice effected a diversion.

"Mrs Louvaine, pardon me.  Aubrey is at my house, safe and sound.
There is no need for your trouble."

"Of course!" responded Temperance.  "I told her so.  Might as well talk
to the fire-bricks, when she takes a fancy of this sort.  If the lad had
come to any harm, we should have heard it.  Faith never will think that
`no news is good news.'"

"I am glad Aubrey is with you, Mr Marshall," said the gentle voice of
Lady Louvaine.

"I met with him, Madam, in a walk this afternoon, and brought him so far
with me."

"And why not a bit further, trow?" asked Temperance.

"That am I come to say.  Madam,"--and he addressed himself to Lady
Louvaine,--"having told you that your grandson is well in body, and safe
at my lodging, I trust it shall not greatly touch you to learn that he
is in some trouble of mind."

"Didn't I tell you?" demanded Mrs Louvaine, in tones suited to
Cassandra amid the ruins of Troy.  "I said I was sure some harm had come
to the boy, and you laughed me to scorn, and not one of you went to
see--"

"Nobody laughed at you but me, my dear," said her sister: "and as to
going to see, when his mother did not reckon it worth while to budge, I
don't see why his aunts should not sit quiet."

"Why, you never looked for _me_ to go?" responded Mrs Louvaine, with a
faint scream of horror.  "Me, a poor widow, and with my feeble health!
When I haven't been out of the door except to church for nigh a month!"

"More's the pity!  If you knocked about a bit more, and went to market
of a morrow, and such like, maybe your health would not be so feeble."

"Temperance, you barbarous creature, how _can_ you?"

"Well, I know there are folks that can, Faith, and there are folks that
can't.  You never heard me ask my Lady Lettice why she didn't stir up
and go a-marketing.  She can't; she'd be only too glad if she could, and
would want no asking.  But you could if you would--it's true, my dear,
and you don't need to stare, as if you'd never seen me before this
evening.  As for looking for you to go, I didn't indeed; I never look
for aught but cumber, and so I'm not disappointed.--Mr Marshall, I ask
your pardon; I'm staying you from speaking."

Mr Marshall accepted the apology with a smile.

"Well, the upshot of the matter is this.  Mr Louvaine, though in truth,
as I do verily believe, innocent of all ill, is in danger to fall in
some suspicion through a certain jewel of his being found in the lodging
of one of the caitiffs lately execute.  He saith that he knew not where
he had lost it: no doubt it dropped out of his apparel when he was
there, as he allows he hath been divers times.  He never heard, saith
he, a word of any traitorous designs, nor did they tamper at all with
his religion.  But this jewel being carried to my Lady Oxford--truly,
whether by some suspicion that it should be Mr Louvaine's, or how, I
know not, nor am sure that he doth himself--she charged him withal, yet
kindly, and made haste to have him forth of the house, warning him that
he must in no wise tarry in the town, but must with all haste hie him
down into the country, and there lie squat until all suspicion had
passed.  She would not even have him come hither, where she said he
should be sought if any inquiry were made.  The utmost she would suffer
was that he should lie hid for a day or twain in my lodging, whither you
might come as if to speak with Agnes, and so might agree whither he
should go, and so forth.  My Lady paid him his wage, well-nigh nine
pound, and further counted ten pounds into his hand to help him on his
journey.  Truly, she gave him good counsel, and dealt well with him.
But the poor lad is very downcast, and knows not what to do; and he
tells me he hath debts that he cannot pay.  So I carried him to my
lodging, where he now lieth: and I wait your further wishes."

"I thank you right truly for that your goodness," said Lady Louvaine.

"There, now! didn't I say the boy was sure to run into debt?" moaned
Mrs Louvaine.

"How much be these debts, Mr Marshall?" asked the old lady.

"Twenty pounds borrowed from Mr Thomas Rookwood; twenty lost at play;
and about sixty owing to tailors, mercers, and the like."

"Ay, I reckoned that velvet would be over a penny the yard."

"I see, the lad hath disburdened himself to you," said Lady Louvaine,
with a sad smile.  "Truly, I am sorry to hear this, though little
astonied.  Mr Marshall, I have been much troubled at times, thinking
whether, in suffering Aubrey to enter my Lord Oxford's service, I had
done ill: and yet in very deed, at the time I could see nothing else to
do.  It seemed to be the way wherein God meant us to go--and yet--"

"Madam, the Lord's mercies are great enough to cover our mistakes along
with our sins.  And it may be you made none.  I have never seen Mr
Louvaine so softened and humbled as he now looks to be."

"May the Lord lead him forth by the right way!  What do you advise, true
friend?"

"I see two courses, Madam, which under your good leave I will lay before
you.  Mr Louvaine can either lie hid in the country with some friend of
yours,--or, what were maybe better, some friend of your friend: or, if
he would be doing at once towards the discharging of his debts, he can
take the part Mr Floriszoon hath chosen, and serve some tradesman in
his shop."

"Trade!  Aubrey!" shrieked Mrs Louvaine in horror.  "He never will!  My
boy hath so delicate a soul--"

"He said he would," answered Mr Marshall quietly, "and thereby won my
high respect."

"Nay, you never mean it!" exclaimed Temperance.  "Bless the lad!  I
ne'er gave him credit for half the sense."

"If Aubrey be brought down to that, he must have learned a good lesson,"
said his grandmother.  "Not that I could behold it myself entirely
without a pang."

Edith, who had hitherto been silent, now put in a suggestion.

"Our Charity is true as steel," she said.  "Why not let Aubrey lie close
with her kindred, where none should think to look for him?"

"In Pendle?--what, amid all the witches!" said Temperance.

"Edith, I'm amazed at you!  I could never lie quiet in my bed!" wailed
Mrs Louvaine.  "Only to think of the poor boy being bewitched by those
wicked creatures!  Why, they spend Sunday nights dancing round the
churchyard with the devil."

"And the place is choke-full of 'em, Charity says," added Temperance.
"She once met Mother Demdike her own self, muttering under her breath,
and she gave her the evillest look as she passed her that the maid ever
saw."

"Ay, saying the Lord's Prayer backwards, of course."

"Well, I can't say," said Temperance, dubiously: "it did not seem to do
Charity any ill.  I shouldn't wonder, truly--"

"For mercy's sake, stop her!" cried Mrs Louvaine.  "She's going to say
something wicked--I know she is!  She'll say there are no witches, or no
devil, or something horrible."

"Nay, I'll say nought o' the sort," responded Temperance.  "Whether
there be witches or no, the Lord knows, and there I leave it; but that
there is a devil I'm very sure, for he has tempted me over and over
again.  All I say is, if Charity could meet a witch, and get no ill, why
should not Aubrey too?"

"I won't have it!" cried Mrs Louvaine in an agony.  "My poor darling
boy!  I won't have it!  My fatherless child shall not go among snakes
and witches and demons--"

"Now, Faith, do be quiet, or you'll have a fit of the mother
[hysterics].  Nobody wants to send the lad amongst snakes--I don't know
that there's so much as an adder there.  As to devils, he'll find them
where'er he goeth, and some of them in men's and women's bodies, or I
mistake."

"If your Ladyship liked better," suggested Mr Marshall, quietly, "to
take the other road I named, I am acquaint with a bookseller in Oxford
town, that is a cousin of my sister's husband, a good honest man, and a
God-fearing, with whom, if you so pleased, he might be put.  'Tis a
clean trade, and a seemly, that need not disgrace any to handle: and
methinks there were no need to mention wherefore it were, save that the
place were sought for a young gentleman that had lost money through
disputes touching lands.  That is true, and it should be sufficient to
account for all that the master might otherwise note as strange in a
servant."

"My poor fatherless boy!" sobbed Mrs Louvaine, with her handkerchief at
her eyes.  "Servant to a tradesfellow!"

"We are all servants," answered Mr Marshall: "and we need think no
scorn thereof, since our Lord Himself took on Him the form of a servant.
Howbeit, for this even, the chief question is, Doth any of you
gentlewomen desire to return with me?--Mrs Louvaine?"

"I could not bear it!" came in a stifled voice from behind the
handkerchief.  "To see my poor child in his misery--it would break mine
heart outright.  'Tis enough to think of, and too-too [exceedingly]
great to brook, even so."

"Let her pass; she'll be ne'er a bit of good," said Temperance in a
contemptuous whisper.  Then raising her voice, she added,--"Now, Lady
Lettice, don't you think thereof.  There's no need, for Edith and I can
settle everything, and you'd just go and lay yourself by, that you
should have no good of your life for a month or more.  Be ruled by me,
and let Edith go back and talk matters o'er with Aubrey, and see whether
in her judgment it were better he lay hid or went to the bookseller.
She's as good a wit as any of us, yourself except.  Said I well?"

"If your Ladyship would suffer me to add a word," said the clergyman, "I
think Mrs Temperance has well spoken."

There was a moment's hesitation, as if Lady Louvaine were balancing
duties.  Mr Marshall noticed how her thin hand trembled, and how the
pink flush came and went on her delicate cheek.

"Well, children, have it as you will," said the old lady at last.  "It
costs me much to give it up; but were I to persist, maybe it should cost
more to you than I have a right to ask at your hands.  Let be: I will
tarry."

"Dearest Mother, you have a right to all that our hands can give you,"
answered Edith, tenderly: "but, I pray you, tarry until the morrow, and
then if need be, and your strength sufficient, you can ride to Shoe
Lane."

So Edith went with Mr Marshall alone.  Even after all she had heard,
Aubrey's condition was a delightful surprise.  Never before had she seen
him in so softened, humbled, grateful a mood as now.  They talked the
matter over, and in the end decided that, subject to Lady Louvaine's
approval, Aubrey should go to the bookseller.

When the White Bear was reached on her return, Edith found Lady Oxford
in the parlour.  The sternness with which the Countess had treated
Aubrey was quite laid aside.  To Lady Louvaine she showed a graceful and
grateful mixture of sympathy and respect, endeavoured to reassure her,
hoped there would be no search nor inquiry, thought it was almost too
late, highly approved of Edith's decision, promised to send over all
Aubrey's possessions to the White Bear, and bade them let her know if
she could do them any service.

"Will you suffer me to ask you one thing?" she said.  "If Mr Louvaine
go to Oxford, shall you tarry here, or no?"

"Would it be safe for us to follow him?"

"Follow him--no!  I did but think you might better love to be forth of
this smoky town."

"Amen, with all my heart!" said Temperance.  "But, Madam, and saving
your Ladyship's presence, crowns bloom not on our raspberry bushes, nor
may horses be bought for a groat apiece down this way."

Mrs Louvaine, behind the cambric, was heard to murmur something about a
sordid spirit, people whose minds never soared, and old maids who knew
nothing of the strength of maternal love.

"Strength o' fiddlesticks!" said Temperance, turning on her.  "Madam, I
ask your Ladyship's pardon."

"My dear lady, I cannot answer you as now," was Lady Louvaine's reply.
"The pillar of cloud hath not moved as yet; and so long as it tarrieth,
so long must I also.  It may be, as seemeth but like, that my next home
will be the churchyard vault, that let my Father judge.  If it had been
His will, that I might have laid my bones in mine own country, and by
the side of my beloved, it had been pleasant to flesh and blood: but I
know well that I go to meet him, wherever my dust may lie.  I am
well-nigh fourscore years old this day; and if the Lord say, `Go not
over this Jordan,' let Him do as seemeth Him good.  Methinks the glory
of the blessed City burst no less effulgent on the vision of Moses,
because he had seen the earthly Canaan but far off.  And what I love the
best is not here, but there."

Temperance and Edith accompanied Lady Oxford to her coach.  She paused a
moment before stepping in.

"Mrs Edith," she said, "methinks your good mother would fain see Mr
Louvaine ere he depart.  If so, she shall not be balked thereof.  I have
made inquiry touching Mr Marshall's house, and I find there is a little
gate from the garden thereof into Saint Andrew's churchyard.  I will
call for her as to-morrow in my coach, and carry her to take the air.
An ancient servant of mine, that is wedded to the clerk of Saint
Andrew's, dwelleth by the churchyard, and I will stay me there as though
to speak with her, sending away the coach upon another errand that I can
devise.  Then from her house my Lady may safely win to Mr Marshall's
lodging, and be back again ere the coach return."

"Your Ladyship is most good unto us," responded Edith, thankfully.  "I
am assured it should greatly comfort my dear mother."

Lady Oxford turned with a smile to Temperance.

"It seems to me, Mrs Temperance, that your words be something sharp."

"Well, Madam, to tell truth, folks do put me out now and again more than
a little.  Many's the time I long to give Faith a good shaking; and I
could have laid a stick on Aubrey's back middling often,--I'll not say I
couldn't: but if the lad sees his blunders and is sorry for 'em, I'll
put my stick in the corner."

"I think I would leave it tarry there for the present," said Lady
Oxford, with a soft little laugh.  "God grant you a good even!"

The coach had only just rolled away, and four youthful Abbotts, whom it
had glued to the window, were still flattening their noses against the
diamond panes, when a clear, strong, sweet voice rang out on the evening
air in the back road which led by the palings of Saint James's Park.
Both Edith and Temperance knew well whose voice it was.  They heard it
every night, lifted up in one of the Psalms of David, as Hans Floriszoon
came home from his work with the mercer.  Hans was no longer an
apprentice.  Mr Leigh had taken such a fancy to him, and entertained so
complete a trust both in his skill and honesty, that six months before
he had voluntarily cancelled his indentures, and made him his partner in
the business.  Nothing changed Hans Floriszoon.  He had sung as cheerily
in his humble apprenticeship, and would have done so had he been Lord
Mayor of London, as now when he came down the back road, lantern in
hand, every evening as regularly as the clock struck four, Mrs Abbott
declared that she set her clock by Hans whenever it stopped, which it
did frequently, for it was an ancient piece of goods, and suffered from
an asthmatic affection.

"There's Mestur 'Ans!" said Charity.  "See thee, Rachel, I'll teem them
eggs into th' pan; thou doesn't need to come."

Rachel sat by the window, trying to finish making a new apron before
supper.

"That's a good lass," she said.  "Eh, but it's a dark day; they'll none
see a white horse a mile off to-night."  [Note 1.]

"They'd have better e'en nor me to see it any night," said Charity,
breaking the eggs into the pan.

"Hearken to th' lad!" said Rachel.  "Eh, it's gradely [excellent,
exactly right] music, is that!"

"He sings well, does Mestur 'Ans."

The words were audible now, as the singer unlatched the gate, and turned
into the garden.

  "And in the presence of my foes
      My table Thou shalt spread:
  Thou shalt, O Lord, fill full my cup,
      And eke anoint mine head.

  "Through all my life Thy favour is
      So frankly showed to me,
  That in Thy house for evermore
      My dwelling-place shall be."

Hans lifted the latch and came into the kitchen.

"Here's a clean floor, Rachel!  Tarry a minute, while I pluck off my
shoes, and I will run across in my stocking-feet.  It shall be `February
Fill-dyke,' methinks, ere the day break."

"He's as good as my Lady and Mrs Edith, for not making work," said
Charity as Hans disappeared.

"I would we could set him i' th' garden, and have a crop on him,"
responded Rachel.  "He's th' only man I ever knew that 'd think for a
woman."

"Eh, lass, yo' never knew Sir Aubrey!" was Charity's grave comment.

There was a good deal for Hans to hear that evening, and he listened
silently while Edith told the tale, and Temperance now and then
interspersed sarcastic observations.  When at last the story was told,
Hans said quietly--

"Say you that you look to see Aubrey again to-orrow?"

"Lady Lettice doth, and Edith.  Not I," said Temperance.  "'Tis a case
wherein too many cooks might spoil the broth, and the lad shall be all
the easier in his mind for his old crusty Aunt Temperance to tarry at
home.  But I say, Edith, I would you had asked him for a schedule of his
debts.  `Tailors and silkmen' is scarce enough to go to market withal,
if we had the means to pay them."

"So did I, Temperance, and he told me--twenty pounds to Mr Tom
Rookwood, and forty to Patrick at the Irish Boy; fifteen to Cohen, of
the Three Tuns in Knightriders' Street; and about ten more to Bennett,
at the Bible in Paternoster Row."

"Lancaster and Derby!  Why, however many suits can the lad have in his
wardrobe?  It should fit me out for life, such a sum as that."

"Well!  I would we could discharge them," said Lady Louvaine with a
sigh.  "Twenty to Tom Rookwood, and forty to Patrick!"

"Make your mind easy, Madam," came in the quietest tones from Hans: "not
a penny is owing to either."

"What can you mean, Hans?"

"I am sure of it."

"Who told you so much?"

"Nay, ask Mr Rookwood, and see what he saith."

"I'll go this minute," said Temperance, rising, "I wis not what bee thou
hast in thy bonnet, but I don't believe thee, lad."

"Maybe you will when you come back," was the calm response.

Away flashed Temperance, and demanded an interview with Mr Thomas
Rookwood, if he were at home.  Mr Thomas was at home, and did not
express the surprise he felt at the demand.  But when the subject of
Aubrey's debt was introduced, Mr Thomas's eyebrows went up.

"Mr Louvaine owes me nothing, I do ensure you."

"I heard you had lent him twenty pounds?"

"I did; but it was repaid a month ago."

"By Aubrey?"

"So I suppose.  I understood so much," was the answer, in a slightly
puzzled tone.

"He repaid it not himself, then?"

"Himself, nay--he sent it to me; but I gave the quittance as to Mr
Louvaine."

"I thank you, Mr Rookwood.  Then that ends the matter."

Out of the Golden Fish, and into the White Bear, ran Temperance, with
drops of rain lying on her gown and hood.

"Madam," she announced in a stern voice, "I am that flabbergasted as
never was!  Here's Mr Tom Rookwood saith that Aubrey paid him his money
a month gone."

"Why, Aubrey told me this afternoon that he owed him twenty pounds,"
replied Edith in a tone of astonished perplexity.

"Hans, what meaneth this?"

"Methinks, Madam, it means merely that I told you the truth.  Mr
Rookwood, you see, bears me out."

"He saith Aubrey sent the money by a messenger, unto whom he gave the
quittance.  Dear heart, but if he lost it!"

"Yet Aubrey must have known, if he sent the money," said Edith in the
same tone as before.

"The messenger lost not the quittance," said Hans.  "It is quite safe."

He had been out of the room for a minute while Temperance was away, and
now, passing his hand into his pocket, he took out a slip of paper,
which he laid in the hand of Lady Louvaine.

She drew forth her gold spectacles, and was fitting them on, when Edith
impulsively sprang up, and read the paper over her mother's shoulder.

"Received of Mr Aubrey Louvaine, gent, the sum of twenty pounds, for
moneys heretofore lent by me, this fifteenth of January, the year of our
Lord God 1605, according to the computation of the Church of England.

"Thomas Rookwood."

"Northumberland, Cumberland, Westmoreland, and Durham!" was the comment
from Temperance.

"Hans!" said Edith, a light flashing on her, "wert thou the messenger?"

"I was not sent," was the placid answer.

"Hans, thou admirable rascal!" cried Temperance, laying her hands on his
shoulders, "I do believe thou didst pay this money.  If thou own not the
truth, I'll shake thee in twenty bits."

Hans looked up laughingly into her face.

"Methinks, Mrs Temperance, you should shake yourself in forty ere you
did it."

"Answer me this minute, thou wicked knave! didst thou pay this money, or
no?"

"I was there when it was paid."

"I'll wager my best boots thou wert!  Was any else there?"

"Certainly."

"Who beside?"

"The cat, I believe."

Temperance gave him a shake, which he stood with complete calm, only
looking a little amused, more about his eyes than his lips.

"Hans, tell me!" said Lady Louvaine.  "Is it possible these debts were
paid with thy money?  How shall I repay thee, my true and dear friend?"

Hans freed himself from Temperance's grasp, and knelt down beside Lady
Louvaine.

"Nay, Madam! do you forget that you paid me first--that I owe unto you
mine own self and my very life?  From the time we came hither I have
seen pretty clearly which way Aubrey was going; and having failed to
stay him, methought my next duty was to save all I could, that you
should not at some after-time be cumbered with his debts.  Mr
Rookwood's and Patrick's, whereof I knew, have I discharged; and the
other, for which I have a sufficiency, will I deal withal to-morrow, so
that you can tell Aubrey he is not a penny in debt--"

"Save to thee, my darling boy."

"There are no debts between brothers, Madam, or should not be."

"Hans, thou downright angel, do forgive me!" burst from Temperance.

"Dear Mrs Temperance, I should make a very poor angel; but I will
forgive you with all mine heart when I know wherefore I should do it."

"Why, lad, here have I been, like an old curmudgeon as I am, well-nigh
setting thee down as a penny-father, because I knew not what thou didst
with thy money.  It was plain as a pikestaff what Aubrey did with his,
for he set it all out on his back; but thy habit is alway plain and
decent, and whither thy crowns went could I never tell.  Eh, but I am
sorry I misjudged thee thus! 'tis a lesson for me, and shall be my life
long.  I do believe thou art the best lad ever trod shoe-leather."

"Well, 'tis a very proper deed, Hans, and I am glad to see in you so
right a feeling," said Mrs Louvaine.

"The Lord bless thee, my boy!" added Lady Louvaine, with emotion.  "But
how may I suffer thee to pay Aubrey's debts?"

"I scarce see how you shall set about to help it, Madam," said Hans with
a little laugh of pleasure.  "I thank God I have just enough to pay
all."

"And leave thyself bare, my boy?" said Edith.

"Of what, Mrs Edith?" asked Hans with a smile.  "`A man's life
consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth.'  I
am one of the richest men in England, I take it, and my wealth is not of
a sort that shall make it hard to enter into the Kingdom of God.  The
corn and wine and oil may be good things, and are such, being God's
gifts: yet the gladness which He giveth is a better, and will abide when
they are spent."

Lady Oxford kept her word, and his grandmother and Aunt Edith had a
farewell interview with Aubrey.  His face was a study for a painter when
the receipts were shown him.  Tom Rookwood had refused him a second loan
only a few weeks earlier, and had pressed him to repay the former: Hans
Floriszoon had paid his debts without even letting him know it.  Yet he
had lent many a gold piece to Tom Rookwood, while the memory of that
base, cruel blow given to Hans made his cheek burn with shame.  Had he
not been treasuring the pebble, and flinging away the pearl?

"Hans has paid my debts!" he said, in an exceedingly troubled voice.
"Hans! out of his own pocket?  May God forgive me!  Tell him,"--and
Aubrey's voice was almost choked--"tell him he hath heaped coals of fire
on mine head."

Edith asked no questions, but she gave a shrewd guess which was not far
off the truth, and she was confirmed in it by the fact that Hans
received the message with a smile, and expressed no doubt what it meant.

That night there were twenty-two miles between Aubrey and London: and
the next day he rode into Oxford, and delivered Mr Marshall's letter of
recommendation to the bookseller, Mr Whitstable, whose shop was
situated just inside the West Gate--namely, in close contiguity to that
aristocratic part of the city now known as Paradise Square.

Mr Whitstable was a white-haired man who seemed the essence of
respectability.  He stooped slightly in the shoulders, and looked Aubrey
through and over, with a pair of dark, brilliant, penetrating eyes, in a
way not exactly calculated to add to that young gentleman's comfort, nor
to restore that excellent opinion of his own virtues which had been
somewhat shaken of late.

"You are of kin to the writer of this letter, Mr Marshall?"

Aubrey admitted it.

"And you desire to learn my trade?"

"I am afeared I scarce do desire it, Master: but I am content, and needs
must."

"What have you hitherto done?"

"Master," said Aubrey, looking frankly at his questioner, "I fear I have
hitherto done nothing save to spend money and make a fool of myself.
That is no recommendation, I know."

"You have done one other thing, young man," said the old bookseller:
"you have told the truth.  That is a recommendation.  Mr Marshall tells
me not that, yet can I read betwixt the lines.  I shall ask you no
questions, and as you deal with me, so shall I with you.  Have you eaten
and drunk since you entered the city?  Good: take this cloth, and dust
that row of books.  I shall give you your diet, three pound by the year,
and a suit of livery."

And Mr Whitstable walked away into the back part of his shop, leaving
Aubrey to digest what he had just heard.

The idea of wearing livery was not in his eyes, what it would be in
ours, a part of his humiliation, for it was then customary for
gentlemen, as well as servants, to wear the livery of their employers.
Even ladies did it, when in the service of royal or noble mistresses.
This, therefore, was merely what he might expect in the circumstances:
and as his own meanest suit was not in keeping with his new position, it
was rather a relief than otherwise.  But he was slightly disconcerted to
find how accurately his master had read him in the first minute.  A
little wholesome reflection brought Aubrey to the conclusion that his
best plan--nay, his only plan in present circumstances--was to
accommodate himself to them, and to do his very best in his new calling.
Almost unconsciously, he set Hans before him as a suitable example, and
dusted the row of books under this influence in a creditable manner.

His experiences for the evening were new and strange.  Now an
undergraduate entered for the Epistles of Casaubon or the Paraphrases of
Erasmus; now a portly citizen demanded the Mirrour of Magistrates; a
labouring man asked for the Shepherd's Calendar; a schoolmaster required
a dozen horn-books, and a lady wanted a handsomely-bound Communion Book.
Psalters, at two shillings each; grammars, from sixpence to a shilling;
Speed's Chronicle at fifty shillings, a map of England at thirty, the
Life of Sir Philip Sidney at fourpence, a "paper book" at sixteen pence,
an Italian Dictionary at fifteen shillings--classics, song-books,
prayer-books, chronicles, law-books--Aubrey learned to handle them all,
and to repeat their prices glibly, in a style which astonished himself.
At the end of a week, Mr Whitstable told him, in his usual grave and
rather curt manner, that if he would go on as he had begun, he should be
satisfied with him.

The going on as he had begun was precisely the difficulty with Aubrey.
To do some magnificent deed by a sudden spurt of heroism, or behave
angelically for a day, might be possible to him; but that quiet daily
fulfilment of uninteresting duties--that patient continuance in
well-doing, which seemed as if it came naturally to Hans, was to Aubrey
Louvaine the hardest thing on earth.  Had the lesson been a little less
sharp, humanly speaking, he would have failed.  But Aubrey's conscience
had been startled into life, and he was beginning to see that it would
be too little profit to gain the whole world, if in so doing he lost his
own soul, which was himself.  Men are apt to look on their souls not as
themselves, but as a sort of sacred possession, a rich jewel to be worn
on Sundays, and carefully put up in cotton-wool for the rest of the
week--of immense value, theoretically, of course, yet not at all the
same thing as the "_me_" which is the centre of sensation to each one,
and for which every man will give all that he hath.  The mountain was
terribly steep, but Aubrey climbed it--only God knew with how much
inward suffering, and with how many fervent prayers.  The Aubrey who
sold Mr Whitstable's books that spring in the shop, at the West Gate of
Oxford, was a wholly different youth from my Lord Oxford's gentleman
only a few weeks before.

Three months had passed by, and no further apprehensions were
entertained at the White Bear of any Government inquiries.  If Lady
Oxford still felt any, she kept them to herself.

It was a summer evening; Hans had come home, and the little family party
were seated in the parlour, when a summons of Charity to the front door
was followed by her appearance before the ladies.

"Madam," said she, "here's one would have speech of your Ladyship, and
he'll not take a civil nay, neither.  I told him he might ha' come i'
daylight, and he said you'd be just as fain of him i' th' dark.  He's
none aila [bashful], for sure."

"Well, let him come in, Charity," said Lady Louvaine smiling.

Charity drew back, and admitted a man of about five-and-twenty years,
clad in respectable but not fashionable garments, and with an amused
look in his eyes.

"I do believe your maid thinks I've come to steal the spoons," said he.
"I could scarce win her to let me in.  Well, does nobody know me?  Don't
you, Grandmother?"

"Why, sure! 'tis never David Lewthwaite?" responded Lady Louvaine in
some excitement.

"'Tis David Lewthwaite, the son of your daughter Milisent," said he,
laughing.

"Why, who was to know you, my boy?" asked his Aunt Edith.  "We have not
seen you but once since we came, and you have changed mightily since
then."

"When last we saw you," said Temperance, "your chin was as smooth as the
hearthstone, and now you've got beard enough to fit out a flock of
goats."

"Ah!  I'd forgot my beard was new.  Well, I have been remiss, I own: but
I will expound another time the reasons why you saw us not oftener.
To-night, methinks, you'll have enough to do to hearken to the cause
which has brought me at last."

"No ill news, David, I trust?" asked his grandmother, growing a shade
paler.

"None, Madam.  And yet I come to bring news of death."

"Of whose death?"

"Of the death of Oswald Louvaine, of Selwick Hall."

There was a cry from Edith--"O David, can you possibly mean--is Selwick
come back to us?"

"Oswald Louvaine died unwedded, and hath left no will.  His heir-at-law
is my cousin Aubrey here."

"May the Lord help him to use it wisely!" said his grandmother, with
emotion.

"Amen!" said David, heartily.  "And now, Madam, as I have not stolen the
spoons, may I let somebody else in, that I left round the corner?--whom,
perchance, you may care rather to see than me."

"Prithee bring whom thou wilt, David; there shall be an hearty welcome
for him."

"Well, I rather guess there will be," said David, as he walked out of
the parlour.  "Dear heart, but who is talking fast enough to shame a
race-horse?"

"Well, now, you don't say so!" was what met David's ear as he unlatched
the gate of the White Bear.  "And you've come from Camberwell, you say?
Well, that's a good bit o' walking, and I dare be bound you're weary.
I'd--"

"I cry you mercy,--Cumberland," said a silvery voice in amused tones.

"Dear heart! why, that's a hundred mile off or more, isn't it?  And how
many days did it take you?--and how did you come--o' horseback?--and be
the roads very miry?--and how many of you be there?--and what kin are
you to my Lady Lettice, now? and how long look you to tarry with her?"

"My mistress," said David, doffing his hat, "an't like you, I am a
lawyer; and to-morrow morning, at nine o'clock, if you desire it, will I
be at your service in the witness-box, for two shillings the week and my
diet.  For to-night, I wish you good even."

"Lack-a-daisy!" was all that Mrs Abbott could utter, as David rescued
the owner of the silvery voice, and bore her off, laughing, to the White
Bear.

"Madam, and my mistresses," he said, as he threw open the door, "I have
the honour to announce the most excellent Mistress Milisent Lewthwaite."

Tears and laughter were mixed for more than one present, as Milisent
flew into her mother's arms, and then gave a fervent hug to her sister
Edith.

"I would come with Robin!" she cried.  "It feels like a whole age since
I saw one of you!"

"My dear heart, such a journey!" said her mother.  "And where is the
dear Robin, then?"

"Oh, he shall be here anon.  He tarried but to see to the horses, and
such like; and I set off with Davie--I felt as though I could not bear
another minute."

"Madam, I give you to wit," said David, with fun in his eyes, "this
mother of mine, that had not seen me for an whole year, spake but three
words to me--`How fare you, my boy?'  `Help me to 'light,' and `Now let
us be off to Westminster.'"

"Well, I had seen thee in a year," answered Milisent, echoing his laugh,
"and them not for three years, less a month."

A little soft echoing laugh came from Lady Louvaine.

"Shall I tell thee, my dear heart, what I think Aunt Joyce should say to
thee?  `Well done, Lettice Eden's daughter!'"

"Ah, Mother dear!" said Milisent, kissing her mother's hand, "I may be
like what you were as a young maid, but never shall I make by one-half
so blessed a saint in mine old age."

"That must you ask your grandchildren," said Temperance.

"Nay, I will ask somebody that can judge better," replied Milisent,
laughing.  "What sayest thou, Robin?"

Mr Lewthwaite had entered so quietly that only his wife's quick eyes
had detected his presence.  He came forward now, kissed Lady Louvaine's
hand, and then laying his hand on Milisent's bright head, he said
softly--

"`The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her; she will do him
good and not evil all the days of her life.  She openeth her mouth with
wisdom, and in her tongue is the law of kindness.  Her children arise up
and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her.'"

Whether he would have gone further was never to be known, for a sudden
rap at the door preceded Charity.

"Madam, here's Mistress Abbott, and hoo will come in.  I cannot keep her
out.  I've done my best."

And they were all feeling so happy, and yet, for various reasons, so
humble,--the two are very apt to go together,--that, as Edith observed
afterwards, there was charity enough and to spare even for Silence
Abbott.

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

Note 1.  "On Candlemas Day, you should see a white horse a mile off," is
a proverb in the North, and perhaps elsewhere.



CHAPTER FOURTEEN.

ENDS WITH JOYCE MORRELL.

  "Vanished is each bright illusion;
      They have faded one by one:
  Yet they gaze with happy faces,
      Westwards to the setting sun:--

  "Talking softly of the future,
      Looking o'er the golden sands,
  Towards a never-fading city,
      Builded not with earthly hands."

  Cyrus Thornton.

"Well, to be sure!  My man wouldn't let me come no sooner--'tis his
fault, not mine.  But I did want to know which of them lads o' ours told
his tale the Tightest.  Here's Seth will have it you've had a thousand
left you by the year, and Ben he saith young Master Floriszoon's to be a
lord."

"Dear!  I hope not," said Hans.

"Well! but they're a-saying so much all up and down the King's Street, I
can tell you."

"How could it have crept forth?" said Edith.  "Then 'tis true?  Eh, but
I'm as glad as if I'd had forty shillings left me,--I am, so!" cried
Mrs Abbott; and she was sincere, for a fresh subject for conversation
was worth quite that to her.  "And is it true, as our Seth said, that
you've a fine house and a park in Northamptonshire come to you, and
fifteen hundred head o' red deer and a lake to fish in?"

"Quite true," said Robert Lewthwaite, with a grave bow, "allowing, my
mistress, of four corrections: there is not a park, it is not in
Northamptonshire, there be no red deer, and the lake 'longeth not to the
house."

"And jewels worth ever so many thousands, as our Ben saith, for Mistress
Lettice, and ten Barbary horses o' th' best, and a caroche fine enough
for the King's Majesty?"

"Ah, I would that last were true," said Edith.

"My mistress, the Barbary horses be all there saving ten, and the
caroche is a-building in the air: as to the jewels, seeing they be
Mistress Lettice's, I leave her to reply."

Lettice was in no condition to do it, for she was suffering torments
from suppressed laughter.  Her Uncle Robert's preternatural gravity, and
Mrs Abbott's total incapacity to see the fun, were barely endurable.

"Eh, but you will be mortal fine!" said Mrs Abbott, turning her
artillery on the afflicted Lettice.  "I only wish our Mall had such a
chance.  If she--"

"Mrs Abbott, I cry you mercy, but here comes your Caleb," said Hans
calmly.  "I reckon he shall be after you."

"I reckon he shall, the caitiff!  That man o' mine, he's for ever and
the day after a-sending the childer after me."

"I rejoice to hear you have so loving an husband," Mr Lewthwaite was
sufficiently inconsiderate to respond.

"Eh, bless you, there's no love about it.  Just like them men! they'd
shut a woman's mouth up as tight as a fish, and never give her no leave
to speak a word, if they had their way.  But I'm not one of your meek
bag-puddings, that'll take any shape you pinch 'em,--not I, forsooth;
and he knows it.  I'll have my say, soon or late, and Prissy, she's a
downright chatterbox.  Not that I'm that, you know--not a bit of it: but
Prissy, she is; and I can tell you, when Prissy and Dorcas and Ben
they're all at it, the house isn't over quiet, for none on 'em hearkens
what t'others are saying, and their father whacks 'em by times--ay, he
doth!  Now, Caleb, what's to do?"

"Nothing particular, Mother," said slow, deliberate Caleb through the
open window: "only there's yon pedlar with the mercery, and he willn't
tarry only ten minutes more--"

"Thou lack-halter rascal, and ne'er told me while I asked thee!"

The parlour of the White Bear was free in another moment.

"There's a deliverance!" said Mr Lewthwaite.  "Blessed be the pedlar!--
Have you been much pestered by that gadfly?"

"There's been a bit of buzzing by times," replied Temperance.

"Now, Mother, darling," said Milisent, "how are we to carry you down
home?"

"My dear child!" was the response.  "Methinks, if you would do that, it
should be only in my coffin.  I have one journey to go soon, and it is
like to be the next."

"Mother, sweet heart, I won't have it!  You shall yet win to Selwick, if
I carry you every foot of the way."

"Nay, nay, my dear heart, I cannot hope that at fourscore."

"Fourscore! ay, or forty score!" cried Milisent.  "Why, old Mistress
Outhwaite journeyed right to the Border but just ere we came, and she's
four years over the fourscore--and on horseback belike.  Sure, you might
go in a waggon or a caroche!"

"Where is the caroche, Milly?"

"Well! but at any rate we might find a waggon."

"There is a travelling waggon," said Hans, "leaves the Chequers in
Holborn for York, once in the month--methinks 'tis the first Thursday in
every month."

"That is three weeks hence.  Why not?  Sure, your landlord would suffer
you to let this house, and you might leave some behind till it were off
your hands.  What saith Temperance?--or Hans?"

"That where my Lady goeth, I go," was the answer from Hans.

"Is it needful, Milly, to settle all our futures ere the clock strike?"
humorously inquired Mr Lewthwaite.  "Methinks we might leave that for
the morrow."

Milisent laughed, and let the subject drop.

Mr Lewthwaite and Temperance happened to be the last up that night.
When all the rest had departed, and Charity came with the turf to bank
up the parlour fire for the night, Temperance was saying--

"One thing can I promise you,--which is, if Aubrey return to Selwick as
lord and master, you may trust Faith to go withal.  As for me, I live
but in other lives, and where I am most needed, there will I be, if God
be served: but truly, I see not how we shall move my Lady Lettice.  I
would fain with all my heart have her back yonder, and so she would
herself,--of that am I right sure.  But to ride so far on an horse, at
her years, and with her often pains--how could she?  And though the
waggon were safer, it were too long and weary a journey.  Think you not
so?"

Charity, having now settled her peat-sod to her satisfaction, left the
room, with a hearty--"Good-night, Mrs Temperance!  Good-night, Mestur
Robin!"

"Truly, I think with you," said Mr Lewthwaite, when she was gone: "but
there is time to consider the matter.  Let us decide nothing in haste."

The next morning, for the first time for many weeks, Charity asked for a
holiday.  It was granted her, and she was out till twelve o'clock, when
she came home with a very satisfied face.

Ways and means were discussed that day, but to little practical purpose.
Of course Aubrey must be informed of the good fortune which had fallen
to him: and after some consideration, it was settled that if Hans could
make arrangements with Mr Leigh, he should be the messenger in this
direction, setting forth when Sunday was over.  People did not rush off
by the next train in those days, and scald their tongues with hot coffee
in order to be in time.

The Saturday evening came, and with it the calm quiet which most Puritan
families loved to have on the eve of the Lord's Day.  While it was not
necessary, it was nevertheless deemed becoming to lay aside secular
occupations, and to let worldly cares rest.  There was therefore some
astonishment in the parlour when a sudden rap came on the door, and
Charity's face and cap made their appearance.

"If you please, Madam, when'll you be wanting your coach, think you?"

"My coach, Charity!" said Lady Louvaine in amazement.

Everybody was staring at Charity.

"It's ready, Madam," said that damsel with much placidity.  "He's only
got to put the horses to, hasn't 'Zekiel, and they're at Tomkins' stable
yon, by th' Tilt Yard--Spring Gardens, I reckon they call it."

"Charity, lass, are you in your right senses, think you?" demanded
Temperance.

"Well, Mrs Temperance, I reckon you'll be best judge o' that," said
Charity coolly.  "Seems to me I am: but that scarce makes sure, I
count."

"But, Charity!--what Ezekiel?"

"'Zekiel Cavell, Mrs Edith.  He's i' th' kitchen: you can see him if
you've a mind."

"Ezekiel Cavell!  Aunt Joyce's coachman!  Where on earth has he come
from?"

"Well, I rather think it was somewhere on earth," answered the calm
Charity, "and I expect it was somewhere i' Oxfordshire.  Howbeit, here
he is, and so's th' coach, and so's th' horses: and he says to me,
`Charity,' says he, `will you ask my Lady when she'll be wanting th'
coach?'  So I come."

Everybody looked at everybody else.

"Is it possible?" cried Edith.  "Has dear Aunt Joyce sent her coach to
carry down Mother home?"

"Nay, it's none hers, it's my Lady's," said Charity, "and nobry else's;
and if she's a mind to bid me chop it up for firewood, I can, if Mestur
'Ans 'll help me.  We can eat th' horses too, if she likes; but they mun
be put in salt, for we's ne'er get through 'em else.  There's six on
'em.  Shall I tell Rachel to get th' brine ready?"

"Charity, what have you been doing?" said Hans, laughing.

"I've done nought, Mestur 'Ans, nobut carry a letter where it belonged,
and serve 'Zekiel his four-hours."

They began to see light dawning on the mystery.

"A letter to whom, Charity? and who writ it?"

"To Mestur Marshall: and Mrs Joyce Morrell writ it--leastwise her man
did, at her bidding."

"What said it?"

"I didn't read it, Sir," responded Charity, demurely.

"Come, I reckon you know what was in it," said Mr Lewthwaite.  "Out
with it, Charity."

"Come forward into the room, Charity, and tell your tale like a man,"
said Temperance.

"I amn't a man, Mrs Temperance," answered Charity, doing as she was
bid: "but I'll tell it like a woman.  Well, when I were with Mrs Joyce,
afore we came hither, hoo gave me a letter,--let's see! nay, it were two
letters, one lapped of a green paper, and one of a white.  And hoo said,
as soon as yo' geet [got] here, I were to ask my way to Shoe Lane, just
outside o' th' City gate, and gi'e th' letter i' th' white paper to
Mestur Marshall.  And th' green un I were to keep safe by me, till it
came--if it did come--that my Lady lacked a coach either to journey home
or to Minster Lovel, and when I heard that, I were to carry it to Mestur
Marshall too.  So I did as I were bid.  What were i' th' letters I
cannot tell you, but Mestur Marshall come to see you as soon as he geet
th' white un, and when he geet th' green un come 'Zekiel wi' th' coach
and th' tits.  Mrs Joyce, hoo said hoo were feared nobry'd tell her if
a coach were wanted, and that were why she gave me th' letter.  So now
you know as much as I know: and I hope you're weel pleased wi' it: and
if you please, what am I to say to 'Zekiel?"

"Dear Aunt Joyce!" said Edith under her breath.

"Make Ezekiel comfortable, Charity," said Lady Louvaine, as she drew off
her glasses and wiped them: "and on Monday we will talk over the matter
and come to some decision thereupon."

The decision unanimously come to on the Monday was that Hans should ride
down to Oxford and see Aubrey before anything else was settled.  Lady
Louvaine would have liked dearly to return home to Selwick, but Aubrey
was its master, and was of age, and he might be contemplating matrimony
when he could afford it.  If so, she would make a long visit--possibly a
life-long one--to her beloved Joyce at Minster Lovel, accompanied by
Edith.  Temperance and Lettice were to return to Keswick: Faith must
please herself.  That Faith would please herself, and would not much
trouble herself about the pleasing of any one else, they were tolerably
convinced: and of course Aubrey's own mother had a greater claim on him
than more distant relatives.  She would probably queen it at Selwick,
unless Aubrey provided the Hall with a younger queen in her place.

It was on a lovely summer afternoon that Hans rode into Oxford by the
Water Gate or Little Gate, from which a short street led up northwards
to Christ Church and Saint Aldate's.  Just beyond these, he passed
through the city portal of South Gate, and turning to the left down
Brewers' Street, he soon came to Mr Whitstable's shop under the shadow,
of West Gate.  Just on the eastern side was a livery-stable, where Hans
put up his horse: and then, wishing to see Aubrey before he should be
recognised, he walked straight into the shop.  At the further end,
Aubrey was showing some solid-looking tomes to two solid-looking dons,
while Mr Whitstable himself was just delivering a purchase to a
gentleman in canonicals.  Hans stepped up to the bookseller, and in a
low tone asked him for a Book of Articles.  This meant the famous
Thirty-Nine, then sold separate from the Prayer-Book at a cost of about
sixpence.

Mr Whitstable laid three copies on the counter, of which Hans selected
one, and then said, still speaking low--

"May I, with your good leave, tarry till my brother yonder is at
liberty, and have speech of him?  I have ridden from London to see him."

The keen eyes examined Hans critically.

"You--brothers?" was all the reply of the old bookseller.

"Not by blood," said Hans with a smile, "nor truly by nation: but we
were bred up as brothers from our cradles."

"You may tarry.  Pray you, sit."

Hans complied, and sat for a few minutes watching Aubrey.  He perceived
with satisfaction that his costume was simple and suitable, entirely
devoid of frippery and foppery; that his mind seemed to be taken up with
his employment; that he was looking well, and appeared to understand his
business.  At last the grave and reverend signors had made their choice;
Bullinger's Decades, at nine shillings, was selected, and Beza's New
Testament, at sixteen: Aubrey received the money, gave the change, and
delivered the books.  He was following his customers down the shop when
his eyes fell on Hans.  Whether on this occasion he was welcome or not,
Hans was not left to doubt.  Every feature of Aubrey's face, every
accent of his voice, spoke gratification in no measured tones.

"Hans, my dear brother!" he said as they clasped hands.  "When came you?
and have you had to eat since?  How left you all at home?"

Mr Whitstable was looking on, with eyes that saw.

"I came but now, and have left all well, God be thanked," said Hans.  "I
have not yet eaten, for I wished to see you first.  I will now go and
break bread, and we can meet in the evening, when you are at large."

There was a momentary look of extreme disappointment, and then Aubrey
said--

"That is right, as you alway are.  Where meet we? under West Gate?"

Mr Whitstable spoke.  "Methinks, Mr Louvaine, it were pity to snatch
the crust from an hungry man.  Go you now with your brother, until he
make an end of his supper; then return here in time to make up accounts
and close.  If this gentleman be the steady and sober man that his looks
and your words promise, you can bring him hither to your chamber for the
night."

"I thank you right heartily, Master.  He is sober as Mr
Vice-Chancellor, and good as an angel," said Aubrey.

Hans followed him, with an amused look, to the Golden Lion, where they
supped on chicken and Banbury cakes, and Aubrey heard all the news--the
one item excepted which Hans had come especially to tell.  The tongues
went fast, but no sooner had the hour rung out from the clock of Saint
Ebbe's than Aubrey sprang up and said he must return.

"Thou canst wander forth for an hour, only lose not thyself," he said to
Hans, "and when my work is done, I will join thee beneath the arch of
West Gate."

Hans obeyed with amused pleasure.  This was an altered Aubrey.  When had
he cared to keep promises and be in time for work?  They met presently
under West Gate, and Aubrey played cicerone until dusk set in, when he
took Hans to his own quiet little chamber at the bookseller's shop.  It
was very plainly furnished, and Hans quickly saw that on the drawers lay
a Bible which bore evidence of being used.

"Thou little wist," said Hans affectionately, when they were thus alone,
"how glad I am to see thee, Aubrey, and to perceive thy good welfare in
this place."

He did not add "good conduct," but he meant it.

"How much richer shouldst thou have been, Hans, if thou hadst never
beheld me?" was the answer.

"I should have been poorer, by the loss of the only brother I ever had."

There was more feeling in Aubrey's look than Hans was wont to see, and
an amount of tenderness in his tone which he had no idea how it
astonished Hans to hear.

"My brother," he said, "you have had your revenge, and it is terrible."

Hans looked, as he felt, honestly surprised.  It was his nature to
remember vividly benefits received, but to forget those which he
conferred.

"Dost thou not know?" said Aubrey, reading the look.  "After my unworthy
conduct toward thee, that thou shouldst take my debts upon thine own--"

"Prithee, shut thy mouth," answered Hans with a laugh, "and make me not
to blush by blowing the trumpet over that which but gave me a pleasure.
I ensure thee, my brother," he added more gravely, "that I had a
sufficiency to cover all was a true contentment unto me.  As to revenge,
no such thought ever crossed my mind for a moment."

"The revenge had been lesser if it were designed," was the reply.

"And how goeth it with thee here?" asked Hans, not sorry to change the
subject.  "Art thou content with thy work?--and doth Mr Whitstable
entreat thee well?"

"Mr Whitstable is the manner of master good for me," responded Aubrey
with a smile: "namely, not unkindly, but inflexibly firm and just.  I
know that from him, if I deserve commendation, I shall have it; and if I
demerit blame, I am evenly sure thereof: which is good for me.  As to
content--ay, I am content; but I can scarce go further, and say I find a
pleasure in my work.  That were more like thee than me."

"And if it so were, Aubrey, that the Lord spake unto thee and me,
saying, `Work thus no more, but return unto the old life as it was ere
ye came to London town,'--how shouldst thou regard that?"

The momentary light of imagination which sprang to Aubrey's eyes was
succeeded and quenched by one of wistful uncertainty.

"I cannot tell, Hans," said he.  "That I were glad is of course: that I
were wise to be glad is somewhat more doubtful.  I am afeared I might
but slip back into the old rut, and fall to pleasing of myself.  Riches
and liberty seem scarce to be good things for me; and I have of late,"--
a little hesitation accompanied this part of the sentence--"I have
thought it best to pray God to send me that which He seeth good, and not
to grant my foolish desires.  Truly, I seem to know better, well-nigh
every day, how foolish I have been, and how weak I yet am."

There was a second of silence before Hans said--

"Aubrey, what God sees good for thee, now, is the old home at Selwick
Hall.  May He bless it to thee, and fit thee for it!"

"What mean you?" asked the bewildered Aubrey.

A few minutes put him in possession of the facts.  Nothing which had
passed convinced Hans of a radical change in Aubrey's heart, so
completely as the first sentence with which he greeted the news of his
altered fortune.

"Then my dear old grandmother can go home!"

"Thou wilt be glad to hear," added Hans, quietly, "that Mrs Joyce
Morrell hath sent her a caroche and horses wherein to journey at her
ease.  Mrs Temperance and Lettice go back to Keswick."

"Not if I know it!" was the hearty response.  "I lack Aunt Temperance to
keep me straight.  Otherwise I should have nought save soft south-west
airs playing around me, and she is a cool north breeze that shall brace
me to my duty.  But how quick, Hans, canst thou get free of Mr Leigh?
for we must not tarry Grandmother at her years, and in this summer
weather when journeying were least weariful."

"Wilt thou have me, then, Aubrey?"

"Hans, that is the worst cut thou hast ever given me.  I have a mind to
say I will not turn back without thee."

Hans smiled.  "I thank thee, my dear brother.  I dare say that I can be
quit with Mr Leigh as soon as thou canst shake thee free of Mr
Whitstable."

Mr Whitstable smiled rather cynically when the matter was laid before
him.

"Well, young gentleman!" said he to Aubrey.  "Methinks you shall make a
better country squire than you should have done three months gone, and
maybe none the worse for your tarrying with the old bookseller."

"Mr Whitstable, I con you hearty thanks for your good and just
entreatment of me," said Aubrey, "and if ever your occasions call you
into Cumberland, I promise you a true welcome at Selwick Hall."

That night, Aubrey seemed to be in a brown study, and the sagacious Hans
let him alone till his thoughts should blossom forth into words of
themselves.  They came at last.

"Hans, thou wist it is customary for chaplains to be entertained in
great houses?"

"Ay," said Hans, smiling to himself.

"I desire not to ape the great: but--thinkest thou we might not have a
prophet's chamber in some corner at Selwick--the chamber over the east
porch, belike?"

"Truly, if the prophet were to hand," said Hans, looking as grave as if
he were not secretly amused.

"The prophet is to hand rather than the chamber," was the answer.
"Couldst thou not guess I meant Mr Marshall?"

Hans had guessed it some seconds back.

"A good thought, truly," he replied.

"That will I ask my grandmother," said Aubrey.

It was the evening after Aubrey's return to the White Bear when that
proposal was suggested to Lady Louvaine.  A light of gladness came to
the dim blue eyes.

"My dear lad, how blessed a thought!" said she.

"But what should come of Mrs Agnes, then?" suggested Temperance.

"Oh, she could easily be fitted with some service," answered Mrs
Louvaine, who for once was not in a complaining mood.  "Hans, you might
ask of Mr Leigh if he know of any such, or maybe of some apprenticeship
that should serve her.  She can well work with the needle, and is a
decent maid, that should not shame her mistress, were she not over high
in the world."

"Mother!"

The indignant tone of that one word brought the handkerchief instantly
out of Mrs Louvaine's pocket.

"Well, really, Aubrey, I do think it most unreasonable!  Such a way to
speak to your poor mother, and she a widow!  When I have but one child,
and he--"

"He is sorry, Mother, if he spake to you with disrespect," said Aubrey
in a different tone.  "But suffer me to say that if Mr Marshall come
with us, so must Mrs Agnes."

"Now, Faith, do be quiet!  I've been counting on Mrs Agnes to see to
things a bit, and save Edith,--run about for my Lady Lettice, see you,
and get our Lettice into her good ways."

"You don't say, to spare _me_," wailed Mrs Louvaine.

"No, my dear, I don't," replied Temperanoe, significantly.  "I'll spare
you when you need sparing; don't you fear."

Mr Marshall and Agnes were as glad as they were astonished--and that
was no little--to hear of the provision in store for them.  To pass from
those three rooms in Shoe Lane to the breezy hills and wide chambers of
Selwick Hall--to live no more from hand to mouth, with little in either,
but to be assured, as far as they could be so, among the changes and
chances of this mortal life, of bread to eat and raiment to put on--to
be treated as beloved and honoured friends instead of meeting with
scornful words and averted looks--this was glad news indeed.  Mr
Marshall rejoiced for his daughter, and Agnes for her father.  Hers was
a nature which could attain its full happiness only in serving God and
man.  To have shut herself up and occupied herself with her own
amusement would have been misery, not pleasure.  The idea of saving
trouble to Lady Louvaine and Edith, of filling in some slight degree the
empty place of that beloved friend whom Selwick Hall called "Cousin
Bess" and Agnes "Aunt Elizabeth"--this opened out to Agnes Marshall a
prospect of unadulterated enjoyment.  To her father, whose active days
were nearly over, and who was old rather with work, hardship, and
sorrow, than by the mere passage of time, the lot offered him seemed
equally happy.  The quiet rest, the absence of care, the plenitude of
books, the society of chosen friends who were his fellow-pilgrims,
Zionward,--to contemplate such things was almost happiness enough in
itself.  And if he smothered a sigh in remembering that his Eleanor
slept in that quiet churchyard whence she could never more be summoned
to rejoice with him, it was followed at once by the happier recollection
that she had seen a gladder sight than this, and that she was satisfied
with it.

It was but natural that the journey home should be of the most enjoyable
character.  The very season of the year added to its zest.  The five
ladies and two girls travelled in the coach--private carriages were much
more roomy then than now, and held eight if not ten persons with
comfort--Mr Lewthwaite, Aubrey, Hans, and the two maids, were on
horseback.  So they set forth from the White Bear.

"Farewell to thee!" said Charity to that stolid-looking animal, as she
rode under it for the last time.  "Rachel, what dost thou mean, lass?--
art thou crying to leave yon beast or Mistress Abbott?"

"Nay, nother on 'em, for sure!" said Rachel, wiping her eyes; "I've
nobut getten a fly into my eye."

Mrs Abbott, however, was not behindhand.  She came out to her gate to
see the cavalcade depart, followed by a train of youthful Abbotts, two
or three talking at once, as well as herself.  What reached the ears of
the ladies in the coach, therefore, was rather a mixture.

"Fare you well, Lady Louvaine, and all you young gentlewomen--and I hope
you'll have a safe journey, and a pleasant; I'm sure--"

"I'll write and tell you the new modes, Mrs Lettice," said Prissy;
"you'll have ne'er a chance to--"

"Be stuck in the mud ere you've gone a mile," came in Seth's voice.

"And where tarry you to-night, trow?" demanded Mrs Abbott.  "Is it to
be at Saint Albans or--"

"Up atop of yon tree," screamed Hester; "there she was with a kitten in
her mouth, and--"

"All the jewels you could think of," Dorcas was heard to utter.

The words on either side were lost, but nobody--except, perhaps, the
speakers--thought the loss a serious one.

Under way at last, the coach rumbled with dignity up King Street,
through the Court gates, past Charing Cross and along the Strand--a
place fraught with painful memories to one at least of the party--past
the Strand Cross, through Temple Bar, up Fetter Lane, over Holborn
Bridge and Snow Hill, up Aldersgate Street, along the Barbican, and by
the fields to Shoreditch, into the Saint Alban's Road.  As they came out
into the Shoreditch Road, a little above Bishopsgate, they were equally
surprised and gratified to find Lady Oxford's groom of the chambers
standing and waiting for their approach.  As he recognised the faces, he
stepped forward.  In his hand was a very handsome cloak of fine cloth,
of the shade of brown then called meal-colour, lined with crimson plush,
and trimmed with beaver fur.

"Madam, my Lady bids you right heartily farewell, and prays you accept
this cloak to lap you at night in your journey, with her loving
commendations: 'tis of her Ladyship's own wearing."

It was considered at that time to add zest to a gift, if it had been
used by the giver.

Lady Louvaine returned a message suited to the gratitude and pleasure
which she felt at this timely remembrance, and the coach rolled away,
leaving London behind.

"Weel, God be wi' thee and all thine!" said Charity, looking back at the
great metropolis: "and if I ne'er see thee again, it'll none break my
heart."

"Nay, nor mine nother!" added Rachel.  "I can tell thee, lass, I'm fair
fain to get out o' th' smoke and mire.  Th' devil mun dwell i' London, I
do think."

"I doubt it not," said Hans, who heard the remark, "but he has country
houses, Rachel."

"Well!" said that damsel, in a satisfied tone: "at any rate, we shalln't
find him at Selwick!"

"Maybe not, if the house be empty," was Hans's reply: "but he will come
in when we do, take my word for it."

"Yo're reet, Mestur 'Ans," said Charity, gravely.

Four days' travelling brought them to the door of the Hill House at
Minster Lovel.  They had had no opportunity of sending word of their
coming.

"How amazed Aunt Joyce will be, and Rebecca!" said Edith, with a happy
laugh.

"I reckon they'll have some work to pack us all in," answered
Temperance.

"Let be, children," was the response of Lady Louvaine.  "The Hill House
is great enough to hold every one of us, and Aunt Joyce's heart is yet
bigger."

For a coach and six to draw up before the door of a country house was
then an event which scarcely occurred so often as once a year.  It was
no great wonder, therefore, if old Rebecca looked almost dazed as she
opened the door to so large a party.

"We are going home, Rebecca!" cried Edith's bright, familiar voice.
"How fares my Aunt?"

"Eh, you don't mean it's you, mine own dear child?" cried the old
servant lovingly.  "And your Ladyship belike!  Well, here is a blessed
even!  It'll do the mistress all the good in the world.  Well, she's
very middling, my dear--very middling indeed: but I think 'tis rather
weariness than any true malady, and that'll flee afore the sight of you
like snow afore the warm sun.  Well, there's a smart few of you!--all
the better, my dear, all the better!"

"You can hang one or two of us up in a tree, if you can't find us room,"
said Aubrey as he sprang from his saddle.

"There's room enough for such good stuff, and plenty to spare," answered
old Rebecca.  "If you was some folks, now, I might be glad to have the
spare chambers full of somewhat else--I might!  Come in, every one of
you!"

"We'll help you to make ready, all we can," said Rachel, as she trudged
after Rebecca to the kitchen.

"Ay, we will," echoed Charity.

Warmer and tenderer yet was the welcome in the Credence Chamber, where
Aunt Joyce lay on her couch, looking as though not a day had passed
since she bade them farewell.  She greeted each of them lovingly until
Aubrey came to her.  Then she said, playfully yet meaningly,--"Who is
this?"

"Aunt Joyce," replied Aubrey, as he bent down to kiss her, "shall I say,
`A penitent fool?'"

"Nay, my lad," was the firm answer.  "A fool is never a penitent, nor a
penitent a fool.  The fool hath been: let the penitent abide."

"This is our dear, kind friend, Mr Marshall, Joyce," said Lady
Louvaine.  "He is so good as to come with us, and be our chaplain at
Selwick: and here is his daughter."

"I think Mrs Joyce can guess," said the clergyman, "that the true
meaning of those words is that her Lady ship hath been so good as to
allow of the same, to our much comfort."

"Very like you are neither of you over bad," said Aunt Joyce with her
kindly yet rather sarcastic smile.  "I am glad to see you, Mr Marshall;
hitherto we have known each other but on paper.  Is this your daughter?
Why, my maid, you have a look of the dearest and blessedest woman of all
your kin--dear old Cousin Bess, that we so loved.  May God make you like
her in the heart, no less than the face!"

"Indeed, Mistress, I would say Amen, with all mine heart," answered
Agnes, with a flush of pleasure.

There was a long discussion the next day upon ways and means, which
ended in the decision that Aubrey and Hans, Faith and Temperance, with
the two maids, should go forward to Selwick after a few days' rest, to
get things in order; Lady Louvaine, Edith, Lettice, Agnes, and Mr
Marshall, remaining at Minster Lovel for some weeks.

"And I'm as fain as I'd be of forty shillings," said old Rebecca to
Edith.  "Eh, but the mistress just opens out when you're here like a
flower in the sunlight!"

"Now, don't you go to want Faith to tarry behind," observed Temperance,
addressing the same person: "the dear old gentlewomen shall be a deal
happier without her and her handkerchief.  It shall do her good to
bustle about at Selwick, as she will if she's mistress for a bit, and
I'll try and see that she does no mischief, so far as I can."

Aunt Joyce, who was the only third person present, gave an amused little
laugh.

"How long shall she be mistress, Temperance?"

"Why, till my Lady Lettice comes," said Temperance, with a rather
perplexed look.

"For `Lady Lettice,' read `Mrs Agnes Marshall,'" was the answer of Aunt
Joyce.

"Aunt Joyce!" cried Edith.  "You never mean--"

"Don't I?  But I do, Mistress Bat's-Eyes."

"Well, I never so much as--"

"Never so much as saw a black cow a yard off, didst thou?  See if it
come not true.  Now, my maids, go not and meddle your fingers in the
pie, without you wish it not to come true.  Methinks Aubrey hath scarce
yet read his own heart, and Agnes is innocent as driven snow of all
imagination thereof: nevertheless, mark my words, that Agnes Marshall
shall be the next lady of Selwick Hall.  And I wouldn't spoil the pie,
were I you; it shall eat tasty enough if you'll but leave it to bake in
the oven.  It were a deal better so than for the lad to fetch home some
fine town madam that should trouble herself with his mother and
grandmother but as the cuckoo with the young hedge-sparrows in his
foster-mother's nest.  She's a downright good maid, Agnes, and she is
bounden to your mother and yon, and so is her father: and though, if
Selwick were to turn you forth, your home is at Minster Lovel, as my
child here knows,"--and Aunt Joyce laid her hand lovingly on that of
Edith--"yet while we be here in this short wilderness journey, 'tis best
not to fall out by the way.  Let things be, children: God can take
better care of His world and His Church than you or I can do it."

"Eh, I'll meddle with nought so good," responded Temperance, heartily.
"If the lad come to no worse than that, he shall fare uncommon well, and
better than he deserveth.  As for the maid, I'm not quite so sure: but
I'll hope for the best."

"The best thing you can do, my dear.  `We are saved by hope'--not as a
man is saved by the rope that pulleth him forth of the sea, but rather
as he is saved by the light that enableth him to see and grasp it.  He
may find the rope in the dark; yet shall he do it more quicklier and
with much better comfort in the light.  `Hope thou in God,' `Have faith
in God,' `Fear not,'--all those precepts be brethren; and one or other
of them cometh very oft in Scripture.  For a man cannot hope without
some faith, and he shall find it hard to hope along with fear.  Faith,
hope, love--these do abide for ever."

The party for Selwick had set off, with some stir, in the early morning,
and the quiet of evening found the friends left at the Hill House
feeling as those left behind usually do,--enjoying the calm, yet with a
sense of want.

Perhaps Mr Marshall was the least conscious of loss of any of the
party, for he was supremely happy in the library over the works of
Bishop Jewell.  In the gallery upstairs, Lettice and Agnes sat in front
of the two portraits which had so greatly interested the former on her
previous visit, and talked about "Aunt Anstace" and "Cousin Bess," and
the blessed sense of relief and thankfulness which pervaded Agnes's
heart.  And lastly, in the Credence Chamber, Aunt Joyce lay on her
couch, and Lady Louvaine sat beside her in the great cushioned chair,
while Edith, on a low stool at the foot of the couch, sat knitting
peacefully, and glancing lovingly from time to time at those whom she
called her two mothers.

"Joyce, dear," Lady Louvaine was saying, "'tis just sixty years since I
came over that sunshine afternoon from the Manor House, to make
acquaintance with thee and Anstace.  Sixty years! why, 'tis the lifetime
of an old man."

"And it looks but like sixty days, no doth it?" was the rejoinder.
"Thou and I, Lettice, by reason of strength have come to fourscore
years; yet is our life but a vapour that vanisheth away.  I marvel, at
times, how our Anstace hath passed her sixty years in Heaven.  What do
they there?"

"Dost thou mind, Joyce, Aubrey's once saying that we are told mainly
what they do _not_ there?  Out of that, I take it, we may pick what they
do.  There shall be no night--then there must be eternal light; no
curse--then must there be everlasting blessedness; no tears--then is
there everlasting peace; no toil--then is there perpetual rest and
comfort."

"Go on, Lettice--no sickness, therefore perfect health; no parting,
therefore everlasting company and eternal love."

"Ay.  What a blessed forecast!  Who would not give all that he hath, but
to be sure he should attain it?  And yet men will fling all away, but to
buy one poor hour's sinful pleasure, one pennyworth of foolish delight."

"And howsoe'er often they find the latter pall and cloy upon their
tongues, yet shall they turn to it again with never-resting eagerness,
as the sow to her wallowing in the mire.  There is a gentleman dwells a
matter of four miles hence, with whose wife and daughters I am acquaint,
and once or twice hath he come with them to visit me.  He hath got hold
of a fancy--how, judge you--that man is not a fallen creature;
indiscreet at times, maybe, and so forth, yet not wholly depraved.  How
man comes by this indiscretion, seeing God made him upright, he is
discreet enough not to reveal.  `Dear heart!' said I, `but how comes it,
if so be, that man shall sell his eternal birthright for a mess of sorry
pottage, as over and over again you and I have seen him do?  Call you
this but indiscretion?  Methinks you should scarce name it thus if Mrs
Aletheia yonder were to cast away a rich clasp of emeralds for a piece
of a broken bottle of green glass.  If you whipped her not well for such
indiscretion, I were something astonied.'  Well, see you, he cannot
perceive it."

"Man's perceptions be fallen, along with all else."

"Surely: and then shall this blind bat reckon, poor fool, that he could
devise out of his disordered imagination a better God than the real.
Wot you what this Mr Watkinson said to me once when we fell to talking
of the sacrifice of Isaac?  Oh, he could not allow that a loving and
perfect God could demand so horrible a sacrifice; and another time,
through Christ had we won the right notion of God.  `Why,' said I, `how
know you that?  Are you God, that you are able to judge what God should
be?  Through Christ, in very deed, have we won to know God; but that is
by reason of the knowledge and authority of Him that revealed Him, not
by the clear discernment and just judgment of us that received that
revelation.'  I do tell thee, Lettice--what with this man o' the one
side with his philosophical follies, and Parson Turnham on the other,
with his heathenish fooleries, I am at times well-nigh like old Elias,
ready to say, `Now then, O Lord, take me out of this wicked world, for I
cannot stand it any longer.'"

"He will take thee, dear Joyce, so soon as thou shalt come to the
further end of the last of those good works which He hath prepared for
thee to walk in."

"Well!--then must Edith do my good works for me.  When our Father calls
this child in out of the sun and wind, and bids her lie down and fall
asleep, must that child see to it that my garden-plots be kept trim, and
no evil insects suffered to prey upon the leaves.  Ay, my dear heart:
thou wilt be the lady of the Hill House, when old Aunt Joyce is laid
beneath the mould.  May God bless thee in it, and it to thee! but
whensoever the change come, I shall be the gainer by it, not thou."

"Not I, indeed!" said Edith in a husky voice.

"`As a watch in the night!'" said Joyce Morrell solemnly.  "`As a vapour
that vanisheth away!'  What time have we for idle fooleries?  Only time
to learn the letters that we shall spell hereafter--to form the strokes
and loops wherewith we shall write by and bye.  Here we know but the
alphabet of either faith or love."

"And how often are we turned back in the very alphabet of patience!"

"Ay, we think much to tarry five minutes for God, though He may have
waited fifty years for us.  I reckon it takes God to bear with this poor
thing, man, that even at his best times is ever starting aside like a
broken bow,--going astray like a lost sheep.  Thank God that He hath
laid on the only Man that could bear them the iniquities of us all, and
that He hath borne them into a land not inhabited, where the Lord
Himself can find them no more."

"And let us thank God likewise," said Lady Lettice, "that our blessed
duty is to abide in Him, and that when He shall appear, we may have
confidence, and not be ashamed before Him at His coming."



CHAPTER FIFTEEN.



APPENDIX.

ROBERT CATESBY.

He was a descendant of another infamous Catesby, Sir John, the
well-known Minister of Richard the Third, satirised in the distich--

  "The _Cat_, the Bat, and Lovel the Dog,
  Govern all England under the Hog."

This gentleman fought with his master at Bosworth, and was beheaded
three days after the battle.  His son George, who died in 1495-6, was
father of Sir Richard, who died in 1552, and who was succeeded by his
grandson Sir William, then aged six years, having been born at
Barcheston in 1546.  He was perverted by Campion in 1580, and developed
into a famous recusant; was cited before the Star Chamber in 1581,
chiefly on the confession of Campion, for being a harbourer of Jesuits
and a hearer of mass; married at Ashby, 9th June 1566, Anne, daughter of
Sir Robert Throckmorton of Coughton, Warwickshire; and died in 1598.
The eldest of his children (four sons and two daughters) was Robert
Catesby, the conspirator, born at Lapworth, Warwickshire, in 1573.  At
the age of thirteen--for boys went up to college then at a much earlier
age than now--he matriculated, October 27th, 1586, at Gloucester Hall
(now Worcester College), Oxford, a house "much suspected," many of its
undergraduates being privately Roman Catholics.  It was probably during
his residence in Oxford that he became a Protestant; and his change of
religion being evidently of no moral value, he also led a dissipated and
extravagant life.  In 1592 he married a Protestant wife, Katherine,
daughter of Sir Thomas Leigh of Stoneleigh Abbey, Warwickshire; she died
before 1602.  His talents were considerable, his will inflexible, and he
possessed that singular power of attraction inherent in some persons.  A
portrait reputed to be his exists at Brockhall, near Ashby.  "He was
very wise," writes Gerard, "and of great judgment, though his utterance
not so good.  Besides, he was so liberal and apt to help all sorts, as
it got him much love.  He was of person above two yards high, and though
slender, yet as well-proportioned to his height as any man one should
see."  Greenway adds that "his countenance was singularly noble and
expressive, his power of influencing others very great."

In 1593, on the death of his grandmother, he came into possession of
Chastleton, near Chipping Norton, county Oxford, where he resided until
1602, when, in consequence of foolishly joining (like many other
Romanists) the insurrection of Lord Essex, he sold Chastleton for 4000
pounds to pay the fine of 3000 pounds imposed on him for treason.  He
had in 1598 returned to his original faith, in defence of which he was
thenceforward very zealous.  Nine days before the death of Queen
Elizabeth, Catesby, undeterred by his past experiences, and
"hunger-starved for innovations," joined Sir Edward Baynham and the
Wrights in a second plot, for which he suffered imprisonment.  The
Gunpowder Plot was his third treasonable venture; and to him principally
is due the inception of this fearful project, though John Wright, and
afterwards Thomas Winter, joined him at a very early stage.  Until
Easter, 1605, Catesby himself "bore all the charge" of the mine.  During
the summer, he was very busy gathering volunteers, arms, and ammunition,
in the country, ostensibly for the service of the Archduke Albrecht in
Flanders, but in reality for the purpose of creating a general commotion
at the time of the intended explosion.  About September, 1605, he met
Percy at Bath, when they agreed to take into the plot two or three
moneyed men, as their own means were fast failing.  These were Digby and
Tresham; Robert Winter, Rookwood, and Grant followed a little later.
Catesby, however, never ceased to regret the admission of Tresham.  (See
Tresham.)  In London he had three lodgings: a chamber in Percy's house
in Holborn; apartments in the house of William Patrick, tailor, at the
"Herishe Boy" in the Strand; and also "in the house of one Powell, at
Paddle Wharf."

On the 26th of October, Catesby dined at the "Mighter" in Bread Street,
with Lord Mordaunt, Sir Josceline Percy, and others; the last-named was
a brother of Lord Northumberland, and a frequent visitor of Catesby.
After this he met his servant William Pettye, "in a field called the
common garden in London, by druerye lane."  The story of the flight to
Holbeach is given in the tale, and embraces many little details not
before in print.  Catesby was only thirty-three years of age at death.
He left two sons, William and Robert, the latter of whom was with his
father in London when the plot was discovered; they were subsequently
sent in Mrs Rookwood's coach, under charge of a lady not named, to
their grandmother at Ashby.  Robert alone lived to grow up, and married
one of Percy's daughters; but he left _no_ issue.  "His posterity was
cut off; and in the generation following, their name was blotted out."

SIR EVERARD DIGBY.

This weak and bigoted young man, who was only twenty-four at death, had
really little part in the Gunpowder Plot.  He was the son of Everard
Digby, of Drystoke, county Rutland, and Mary, daughter and co-heir of
Francis Nele, of Heythorpe, county Leicester.  He was born in 1581, and
lost his father, a Romanist, in 1592.  His mother married again (to
Sampson Erdeswick, of Landon, county Stafford, who was a Protestant),
and young Digby was brought up in a Protestant atmosphere.  Until his
majority, he was much at Court, where he was noted for "graceful manners
and rare parts," says Greenway and Gerard adds that "he was very little
lower [in height] than Mr Catesby, but of stronger making... skilful in
all things that belonged unto a gentleman, a good musician, and excelled
in all gifts of mind."  He is also described as "of goodly personage,
and of a manly aspect."  He was always strongly inclined to his father's
religion, but did not openly profess it until he reached manhood.  Sir
Everard married, in 1596, Mary, daughter and heir of William Mulsho of
Goathurst, county Buckingham, who survived him, and by whom he left a
son, the famous Sir Kenelm Digby, who was little more than two years old
at his father's death.  If her piteous letter to Lord Salisbury may be
believed, Lady Digby was treated with unnecessary harshness.  She
complains that the Sheriff has not left her "the worth of one peni
belonging to the grounds, house, or within the walls; nor so much as
great tables and standing chests that could not be removed without
cutting and sawing apeses.  He permitted the base people to ransack all,
so much as my closet, and left me not any trifle in _it_...  He will not
let me have so much as a suit of apparel for Mr Digby [the little
Kenelm], nor linens for my present wearing about my bodi."  She implores
to be allowed to retain Goathurst, her own inheritance, during the
imprisonment of her husband, for whose life she would give hers or would
beg during life.  (_Burghley Papers_, Additional Manuscript 6178, folio
94.)

GUY FAWKES.

Guy Fawkes, whom his horrified contemporaries termed "the great devil of
all" the conspirators, but who was simply a single-eyed fanatic, owes
his reputation chiefly to the fact that he was the one selected to set
file to the powder.  His responsibility was in reality less than that of
Catesby, Percy, or Thomas Winter.  His father, Edward Fawkes,--in all
probability a younger son of the old Yorkshire family of Fawkes of
Farnley,--was a notary at York, and Registrar of the Consistory Court of
the Minster.  He could not of course have filled such as office, unless
he had been a Protestant.  Edward Fawkes died in 1578, and was buried
January 17th in the Church of Saint Michael-le-Belfry, York.  His widow,
whose maiden name was Edith Jackson, is said by some to have
subsequently married a zealous Roman Catholic, Mr Denis Bainbridge, of
Scotton; but Sir W. Wade gives the name of her second husband as "one
Foster, within three miles of York."  She was living at the time of the
plot.  Guy, who was baptised in Saint Michael's Church, April 16th,
1570, and educated at the Free School in the Horse Fair, did not become
a professed Papist until he was about sixteen years of age.  He had a
step-brother of whom no more is known than that he belonged to one of
the Inns of Court in 1605.  Guy was not eight years old when he lost his
father, who left him no patrimony beyond a small farm worth about 30
pounds per annum; he soon ran through this, sold the estate, and at the
age of twenty-three went abroad, living in Flanders for eight years,
during which time he was present at the taking of Calais by the Archduke
Albrecht.  In 1601 he returned to England, with the reputation of one
"ready for any enterprise to further the faith."  He now entered, along
with the Winters and the Wrights, into negotiations with Spain for a
fresh invasion of England, which was put a stop to by Elizabeth's death,
since the King of Spain declined to take up arms against his old ally,
King James.  Fawkes's own statements in his examinations have been
proved to consist of such a mass of falsehood, that it is scarcely
possible to sift out the truth: and all that can be done is to accept as
fact such portions of his narrative as are either confirmed by other
witnesses, or seem likely to be true from circumstantial evidence.  His
contradictions of his own previous assertions were perpetual, and where
confirmation is accessible, it sometimes proves the original statement,
but sometimes, and more frequently, the contradiction.  This utter
disregard for truth prepares us to discount considerably the description
given of Fawkes by Greenway, as "a man of great piety, of exemplary
temperance, of mild and cheerful demeanour, an enemy of broils and
disputes, a faithful friend, and remarkable for his punctual attendance
upon religious observances."  So far as facts can be sifted from
fiction, they seem to be that Thomas Winter, who had known Fawkes from
childhood, came to him in Flanders to acquaint him with the plot, and
subsequently introduced him to Catesby and Percy; that Fawkes was in the
service of Anthony Browne, Lord Montague, about 1604; that in the summer
of that year, when the mine was stopped on account of the prorogation of
Parliament, he went to Flanders, returning about the 1st of September.
During the progress of the mine, he served as sentinel, passing by the
name of John Johnson, Mr Percy's man; and he was the only one of the
conspirators allowed to be seen about the house, his face being unknown
in London.  He said that he "prayed every day that he might perform that
which might be for the advancement of the Catholic faith, and the saving
of his own soul."  Fawkes provided the greater part of the gunpowder,
and stowed it in the cellar, as is described in the story.  His lodging
when in London was at the house of Mrs Herbert, a widow, at the back of
Saint Clement's Inn.  Mrs Herbert disliked Fawkes, suspecting him to be
a priest.  On his return from Flanders, he took up his quarters in the
house at Westminster, where the mine had been, and brought in the
remainder of the gunpowder.  At the end of October, he went to White
Webbs, whence he was sent to Town on the 30th, to make sure of the
safety of the cellar and its dangerous contents.  He returned at night
to report all safe, but came back to Town not later than the 3rd, when
he was present at the last meeting of the conspirators: but as to the
exact day he made three varying statements.  The circumstances of his
arrest are told in the story.  It is difficult, however, to reconcile
some of the details.  According to Greenway, Fawkes was taken as he
opened the door of the vault; according to the official report, he was
"newly come out of the vault;" while according to Fawkes himself, when
he heard the officers coming to apprehend him, he threw the match and
touchwood "out of the window in his chamber, near the Parliament House,
towards the water,"--which can only refer to the room in Percy's house.
The one certainty is that he was not apprehended inside the vault.  He
said himself that if this had been the case, he would at once have fired
the match, "and have blown up all."  The lantern (now in the Bodleian
Library) was found lighted behind the door; the watch which Percy had
sent by Keyes was upon the prisoner.  Fawkes originally assumed an
appearance of rustic stupidity; for Sir W. Wade writes to Lord Salisbury
a little later that he "appeareth to be of better understanding and
discourse than, before, either of us conceived him to be."  (Additional
Manuscript 6178, folio 56.)  That Fawkes was tortured there can be no
doubt, from the King's written command, and the tacit evidence of
Fawkes's handwriting.  Garnet says he was half-an-hour on the rack; Sir
Edward Hoby, that he "was never on the rack, but only suspended by his
arms upright."  Nothing could induce him to betray his companions until
he was satisfied that all was known: and with a base treachery and
falsehood only too common in the statecraft of that day, he was deceived
into believing them taken before they were discovered.  Lying is
wickedness in all circumstances; but the prisoner's falsehood was based
on a worthier motive than the lies which were told to him.  There was,
indeed, in the fearless courage and unflinching fidelity of Guy Fawkes,
the wreck of what might have been a noble man; and he certainly was far
from being the vulgar ruffian whom he is commonly supposed to have been.
In person he was tall and dark, with brown hair and auburn beard.

HENRY GARNET.

If Catesby be regarded as the most responsible of the Gunpowder
conspirators, and Fawkes as the most courageous, Garnet may fairly be
considered the most astute.  Like the majority of his companions, he was
a pervert.  His father, Brian Garnet, was a schoolmaster at Nottingham,
and his mother's maiden name was Alice Jay.  He was born in 1555,
educated at Winchester College, in the Protestant faith, and was to have
passed thence to New College, Oxford.  This intention was never carried
into effect: his Romish biographers say, because he had imbibed at
Winchester a distaste to the Protestant religion; adding that "he
obtained the rank of captain [of the school], and by his modesty and
urbanity, his natural abilities and quickness in learning, so
recommended himself to the superiors, that had he" entered at Oxford,
"he might safely have calculated on attaining the highest academical
honours.  But he resolved, by the grace of God, upon embracing the
Catholic faith, although his old Professors at Winchester, Stemp and
Johnson, themselves Catholic in heart, together with another named
Bilson, at first favourable, but afterwards hostile to Catholicity, made
every exertion to persuade him to remain."  Unhappily for this rosy
narrative, the "other named Bilson," afterwards Bishop of Worcester and
Winchester, has left on record his account of the matter: namely, that
Garnet when at Winchester was a youth of such incorrigible wickedness,
that the Warden dissuaded his going to the University, for the sake of
the young men who might there be corrupted by his evil example.  The
reader can accept which version he may see good.  On leaving school,
Garnet proceeded to London, where for about two years he was employed as
corrector of the press by the celebrated law-printer, Tottel.  At the
end of this time, he was received into the Church of Rome, and
subsequently travelled abroad, first to Spain, and afterwards to Rome,
where on 11th September, 1575, he entered the Society of Jesus.  In the
Jesuit College at Rome he studied diligently, under Bellarmine and
others: and he was before long made Professor of Hebrew, and licenced to
lecture on mathematics.  In 1586, on the recommendation of Parsons, he
was appointed to the Jesuit Mission to England, where he landed on July
7th.  It is said that he was so remarkably amiable and gentle that
Aquaviva, the General of the Jesuits, objected to his appointment on the
ground that the post required a man of sterner and more unyielding
character.  Bellarmine records that his sanctity of life was
incomparable; but Jesuits are apt to entertain peculiar notions of
sanctity.  As was then usual, Garnet on coming to his native country
adopted a string of aliases--Walley, Darcy, Mease, Roberts, Parmer, and
Phillips.  Walley, however, was the name by which he was best known.
Two years after he joined the Mission, he was promoted to be its
Superior.  For some years he lived in the neighbourhood of London,
following various occupations to disguise his real calling, but chiefly
that of a horse-dealer.  That he was implicated in the intrigues with
Spain before the death of Elizabeth, he never attempted to deny: but
during the lull in the penal legislation which followed the accession of
James, Garnet purchased a general pardon for all past political
offences.  He was frequently at Harrowden, the house of Lord Vaux, whose
daughter Anne travelled everywhere with him, passing as his sister, Mrs
Perkins.  About 1599, as "Mr Mease, a Berkshire man," he took the house
in Enfield Chase, named White Webbs, for the meetings of the Romanists,
after which he was "seldom absent from it for a quarter of a year
together."  (Examination of James Johnson, servant in charge of White
Webbs, _Gunpowder Plot Book_, article 188.)  This house was ostensibly
taken for Anne Vaux, and was maintained at her expense; her sister
Eleanor, with her husband Mr Brooksby (whose alias was Jennings, and
who is described as "of low stature, red beard, and bald head"), being
often with her.  Catesby was a frequent visitor.  Anne Vaux had also a
house at Wandsworth, where she and Garnet occasionally resided.

These details, gathered from the evidence of Anne Vaux herself, James
Johnson, and others, do not, however, agree with some statements of
Gerard.  He asserts that Mrs Brooksby was a widow, and was the real
mistress of the house; and he compares the two to the sisters of
Lazarus, "the two women who received our Lord"!  It is impossible to
avoid seeing the tacit further comparison as to Garnet.  When a Queen's
messenger arrived, Gerard writes, "rosaries, etcetera, all signs of
piety [!] are thrown into a cavern; the mistress is hidden away: on
these occasions the younger sister, the unmarried one, passed for the
mistress of the house."  (Gerard to Aquaviva, quoted by Foley, _Records
of the English Province of the Society of Jesus_, volume 4, page 36.)
All the evidence, apart from this, tends to show that Brooksby was
alive, and that he and Eleanor were only visitors--though very constant
ones--at White Webbs, where Anne was the real mistress.  In 1603, Garnet
was returned as living "with Mrs Brooksby, of Leicestershire, at
Arundell House.  He hath lodgings of his own in London."  (_Domestic
State Papers_, James the First, volume 8, article 50.)  These lodgings
were in Thames Street.  A large house at Erith was also a frequent
meeting-place of the recusants.

That Garnet was acquainted with the Gunpowder Plot from its very
beginning is a moral certainty, notwithstanding his earnest efforts to
show the contrary.  He not only made assertions which he afterwards
allowed to be false; but he set up at different times two lines of
defence which were inconsistent.  He had been told nothing: yet, he had
tried to dissuade Catesby and his colleagues from the execution of the
plot.  If the first allegation were true, the other must have been
false.  But Garnet's distinctly avowed opinions on the question of
equivocation make it impossible to accept any denial from him.  He
believed that while, "in the common intercourse of life, it is not
lawful to use equivocation," yet "where it becomes necessary to an
individual for his defence, or for avoiding any injustice or loss, or
for obtaining any important advantage, without danger or mischief to any
other person, there equivocation is lawful."  He held, as some do at the
present day, that "if the law be unjust, then is it, _ipso facto_, void
and of no force:" so that "the laws against recusants--are to be
esteemed as no laws by such as steadfastly believe these [Romish rites]
to be necessary observances of the true religion...  That is no treason
at all which is made treason by an unjust law."  In other words, the
subject is to be the judge of the justice of the law, and if in his eyes
it be unjust, he is released from the necessity of obeying it!  This is
simply to do away with all law at once; for probably no law was ever
made which did not appear unjust to somebody: and it lays down the grand
and ancient principle that every man shall do what is right in his own
eyes.  We have heard a good deal of this doctrine lately; it is of
Jesuit origin, and a distinct contradiction of that Book which teaches
that "the powers that be are ordained of God, and whosoever resisteth
the power, resisteth the ordinance of God."  Those who set up such
claims, however they may disavow it, really hold that Christ's kingdom
_is_ of this world, since they place it in rivalry to the secular
authority.  "If thou judge the law, thou art not a doer of the law, but
a judge."  One great distinction of the Antichrist is that he is _ho
anomos_, the Lawless One.  Even further than this, Garnet was prepared
to go, and did go at his last examination.  "In all cases," he said,
"where simple equivocation is allowable, it is lawful if necessary to
confirm it by an oath.  This I acknowledge to be according to my
opinion, and the opinion of the Schoolmen; and our reason is, for that
in cases of lawful equivocation, the speech by equivocation being saved
from a lie, the same speech may be without perjury confirmed by oath, or
by any other usual way, though it were by receiving the Sacrament, if
just necessity so require."  (_Domestic State Papers_, James the First,
volume 20, article 218.)  Garnet asserted that Catesby did him much
wrong, by saying that in Queen Elizabeth's time he had consulted him as
to the lawfulness of the "powder action," which was "most untrue;" but
after the preceding extracts, who could believe their writer on his
oath?  Poor Anne Vaux, who undoubtedly meant to excuse and save him,
urged that he used to say to the conspirators in her hearing, "Good
gentlemen, be quiet; God will do all for the best:" and Garnet's own
last confession admitted that "partly upon hope of prevention, partly
for that I would not betray my friend, I did not reveal the general
knowledge of Mr Catesby's intention which I had by him."  (_Domestic
State Paper_, volume 20, article 12.)  He allowed also that about a year
before the Queen's death, he had received two briefs from Rome, bidding
him not consent to the accession of any successor to her who would not
submit to the Pope: he had shown them to Catesby, and then burned them.
Catesby, said Garnet, considered himself authorised to act as he did by
these briefs; but he had tried vainly to dissuade him from so doing,
since the Pope had forbidden the action.  (_Ibidem_, volume 18, articles
41, 42.)  In September, 1605, Garnet led a pilgrimage of Roman Catholics
to Saint Winifred's Well, in returning from which, he and Anne Vaux
visited Rushton, the seat of Francis Tresham.  Sir Thomas, his father,
was then just dead, and the widowed Lady Tresham "kept her chamber"
accordingly.  They stayed but one night (Examination of Anne Vaux,
_Gunpowder Plot Book_, article 212), and then returned to Goathurst,
where they remained for some weeks, until on the 29th of October they
removed, with the Digbys and Brooksbys, to Coughton, the house of Mr
Thomas Throckmorton, which Sir Everard had borrowed, on account of its
convenient proximity to Dunchurch, the general rendezvous for the
conspirators after the execution of the plot.  This journey to Coughton
was considered strong evidence against Garnet; and his meaning has never
been solved, in writing that "all Catholics know it was necessary."
(_Domestic State Papers_, volume 19, article 11.)  At Coughton was the
Reverend Oswald Greenway, another Jesuit priest, who has left a
narrative of the whole account, wherein he describes the conspirators
and their doings with a pen dipped in honey.  In the night between
November 5th and 6th, Bates arrived at Coughton with Digby's letter,
which afterwards told heavily against Garnet.  Garnet remained at
Coughton until about the 16th of December, when at the instigation of
his friend Edward Hall (alias Oldcorne) he removed to Hendlip Hall.
Garnet and Hall made up between them an elaborate story describing their
arrival at Hendlip, and immediate hiding, on Sunday night, January 19th;
but this was afterwards confessed both by Hall and Owen to be false, and
Garnet was overheard to blame Hall for not having kept to the text of
his lesson in one detail.

Nicholas Owen, Garnet's friend and servant, committed suicide in the
Tower, on March 2nd, from fear of further torture.  Mr Abington, who
had "voluntarily offered to die at his own gate, if any such were to be
found in his house or in that sheire," was condemned to death, but
afterwards pardoned on condition of never again quitting the county.
Made wiser by adversity, he spent the rest of his life in innocent study
of the history and antiquities of Worcestershire.

The remainder of Garnet's story is given in the tale, and is almost pure
history as there detailed.  In his conferences with Hall, he made no
real profession of innocence, only perpetual assurances that he "trusted
to wind himself out" of the charges brought against him; and when Lord
Salisbury said--"Mr Garnet, give me but one argument that you were not
consenting to it [the plot], that can hold in any indifferent man's ear
or sense, besides your bare negative,"--Garnet made no answer.  He
persistently continued to deny any knowledge of White Webbs, until
confronted with Johnson; and all acquaintance with the plot before his
receipt of Digby's letter at Coughton, until shown the written
confession of Hall, and the testimony of Forset and Locherson concerning
his own whispered admissions.  When at last he was driven to admit the
facts previously denied with abundant oaths, he professed himself
astonished that the Council were scandalised at his reckless falsehoods.
"What should I have done?" he writes.  "Why was I to be denied every
lawful [!] means of escape?"  That the Government did not deal fairly
with Garnet--that, as is admitted by the impartial Dr Jardine, "few men
came to their trial under greater disadvantages," and that "he had been
literally surrounded by snares,"--may be allowed to the full; but when
all is said for him that honesty can say, no doubt remains that he was
early acquainted with and morally responsible for the Gunpowder Plot.
The evidence may be found in Jardine's Narrative of the Plot; to produce
it here would be to swell the volume far beyond its present dimensions.
One point, however, must not be omitted.  There have been two raids on
the Public Record Office, two acts of abstraction and knavery with
respect to these Gunpowder Plot papers; and it can be certainly stated,
from the extracts made from them by Dr Abbott and Archbishop Bancroft,
that the stolen papers were precisely those which proved Garnet's guilt
most conclusively.  A Manuscript letter from Dr Jardine to Mr Robert
Lemon, attached to the _Gunpowder Plot Book_, states that Mr Lemon's
father had "often observed to me that `those fellows the Jesuits, in the
time of the Powder Plot (not the Gunpowder Plot) had stolen away some of
the most damning proofs against Garnet.'  That thievery of some kind
abstracted such documents as the Treatise of Equivocation, with Garnet's
handwriting on it--the most important of the interlocutions between
Garnet and Hall in the Tower--and all the examinations of Garnet
respecting the Pope's Breves, is quite clear.  _The first thievery I
have proved to have been made by Archbishop Laud_; the others probably
occurred in the reigns of Charles the Second and James the Second, when
Jesuits and `Jesuited persons' had free access to the State Paper
Office."  An old proverb deprecates "showing the cat the way to the
cream;" but there is one folly still more reprehensible--placing the cat
in charge of the dairy.  Let us beware it is not done again.

JOHN GRANT.

Of this conspirator very little is known apart from the plot.  His
residence was at Norbrook, a few miles south of Warwick,--a walled and
moated house, of which nothing remains save a few fragments of massive
stone walls, and the line of the moat may be distinctly traced, while
"an ancient hall, of large dimensions, is also apparent among the
partitions of a modern farmer's kitchen."  Before May, 1602, he married
Dorothy Winter, the sister of two of the conspirators.  He had been
active in the Essex insurrection, for which he was fined; and with his
brother-in-law, Robert Winter, he was sent for by Catesby, in January,
1605, for the purpose of being initiated into the conspiracy: but he was
not sworn until March 31.  Greenway describes him as "a man of
accomplished manners, but of a melancholy and taciturn disposition;"
Gerard tells us that "he was as fierce as a lion, of a very undaunted
courage," which he was wont to exhibit "unto poursuivants and prowling
companions" when they came to ransack the house--by which dubious
expression is probably intended not burglars but officers of the law.
"He paid them so well for their labour, not with crowns of gold, but
with cracked crowns sometimes, and with dry blows instead of drink and
good cheer, that they durst not visit him any more, unless they brought
great store of help with them."  Mr Grant appears to have anticipated
some tactics of modern times.  All else that is known of him will be
found in the tale.  His wife Dorothy seems to have been a lady of a
cheerful and loquacious character, to judge by the accounts of Sir E.
Walsh and Sir R. Verney, who thought she had no knowledge of the
conspiracy.  (_Gunpowder Plot Book_, articles 75, 90.)  It is, however,
possible that Mrs Dorothy was as clever as her brothers, and contrived
to "wind herself out of" suspicion better than she deserved.

John Grant had at least two brothers, Walter and Francis, the latter of
whom was apprenticed to a silk-man; the relationship of Ludovic Grant is
less certain.  He had also two married sisters, Mrs Bosse, and Anne,
wife of his bailiff Robert Higgins.  (_Gunpowder Plot Book_, articles
34, 44, 68, 90.)  His mother, and (then unmarried) sister Mary were
living in 1603.

ROBERT KEYES.

This man, who appears to have been one of the most desperate and
unscrupulous of the conspirators, was the son of a Protestant clergyman
in Derbyshire, who is supposed to have been the Reverend Edward Kay of
Stavely, a younger son of John Kay of Woodsam, Yorkshire.  His name is
variously rendered as Keyes, Keis, and Kay; he himself signs Robert Key.
His mother was a daughter of Sir Robert Tyrwhitt of Kettleby, a very
opulent Roman Catholic gentleman of Lincolnshire, and through her he was
cousin of Mrs Rookwood.  The opulence of the grandfather did not
descend to his grandson, whose indigence was a great cause of his
desperate character.  He lived for a time at Glatton, in
Huntingdonshire, but afterwards entered the service of Lord Mordaunt as
keeper of his house at Turvey, his wife being the governess of his
Lordship's children.  He is described as "a young man with no hair on
his face."  (Additional Manuscript 6178, folio 808.)  It was about June,
1605, when Keyes was taken into the plot, and his chief work thereafter
was the charge of the house at Lambeth "sometimes called Catesby's,
afterwards Mr Terrett's, since Rookwood's," (_Ibidem_, folio 62), where
the powder was stored.  His only other service was the bringing of the
watch from Percy to Fawkes just before the discovery of the plot.  Keyes
left one son, Robert (Foley's _Records_, volume 1, page 510), who was
living about 1630, and was then a frequent visitor of his relatives the
Rookwoods (_Domestic State Papers_, Charles the First, 178, 43).

HUMPHREY AND STEPHEN LITTLETON.

These cousins belonged to the family of the present Baron.  Sir John
Littleton of Hagley had with other issue two sons, of whom Gilbert, the
eldest, was the father of Humphrey, while Sir George Littleton of
Holbeach, the third son, was the father of Stephen.  Humphrey was known
as Red Humphrey, to distinguish him from another of his name, and one of
these two was a University man, of Broadgate Hall, Oxford, where he took
his B.A. degree 29th January 1580, and his M.A., 2nd July, 1582.  His
cousin Stephen was born in 1575.  With the plot Humphrey at least was
but partially acquainted, for Catesby "writ to Mr Humphrey Littleton
[from Huddington] to meet him at Dunchurch, but he, being then destitute
of a horse, returned written answer that he could not then meet him, in
regard of his unfurnishment before remembered: whereupon Mr Robert
Winter sent a good gelding to Mr Humphrey Littleton, whereon he rode
away to Dunchurch, and (saith himself) demanding of the matter in hand,
and what it might be, Mr Catesby told him that it was a matter of
weight, but for the especial good of them all, which was all he would
then disclose to him."  (Harl.  Manuscript 360.)  The account given in
the text, from this volume, of the escape and wanderings of Robert
Winter and Stephen Littleton is somewhat varied by another narrative in
the same manuscript, according to which Humphrey "bade the officers
begone, or he would fetch that should send them packing."  He affirmed
in his confession, 26th January 1606, that he "had intention to
apprehend" the refugees, "in regard of the odiousness of their treasons
and the horribleness of the offence, which this partie in his heart
detested," and that he deferred doing so "out of love to his cousin and
affection to their religion," until he should be able to obtain counsel
of Hall.  (_Ibidem_.)  Mrs John Littleton, the lady of Hagley Park, was
Muriel, daughter of Sir Thomas Bromley, and a Protestant; though
renowned for her hospitality and benevolence, she contrived to pay off
9000 pounds of debt left by her father-in-law and husband.

WILLIAM PARKER, LORD MONTEAGLE.

Lord Monteagle was of very distinguished and ancient race, being the
eldest son of Edward third Baron Morley of his line (heir of a younger
branch of the Lovels of Tichmersh) and Elizabeth, only daughter and heir
of William Stanley, Lord Monteagle.  Born in 1574, he succeeded his
mother as Lord Monteagle, and his father in 1618 as Lord Morley.  His
wife was Elizabeth, daughter of Sir Thomas Tresham, and his sister Mary
was the wife of Mr Thomas Abington of Hendlip Hall.

The chief interest attaching to Lord Monteagle concerns the famous
letter: and the two questions requiring answer are--Who wrote it? and,
Was the recipient a party to the plot?

The second question, which may be first dealt with, must be answered
almost certainly in the affirmative.  Nay, more, Lord Monteagle was not
only a party to the Gunpowder Plot, but there is strong reason to
believe that in conjunction with Lord Salisbury and others, he got up a
counter-plot for its discovery.  The laying of the letter before Lord
Salisbury on the night of October 24th [Note 1], was probably not the
first intimation which Salisbury had received, and assuredly not the
first given to Lord Monteagle.  The whole catena of circumstances, when
carefully studied, shows that the episode of the letter was a
cleverly-devised countermarch, designed at once to inform the public and
at the same time to give a warning to the conspirators.  The party got
up at Hoxton, where Lord Monteagle was not living; the mysterious
delivery of the letter; the placing of it in the hands of Thomas Ward, a
known confidant of the conspirators: these and other circumstances all
tend to one conclusion--that Monteagle was acting a part throughout, and
that it was in reality he who gave warning to them, not they to him.  If
the conspirators had taken his warning, they might all have escaped with
their lives; for the vessel designed to bear Fawkes abroad as soon as he
should have fired the mine was lying in the river, and there was
abundant time for them all to have made good their escape, had they not
foolishly tried to retrieve their loss at Dunchurch.  This is made more
certain by the fact that the Government were, as Garnet remarked,
"determined to save Lord Monteagle," and that any reference in the
confessions of the prisoners which tended to implicate him was
diligently suppressed.  In one examination, the original words ran,
"Being demanded what other persons were privy [to the plot] beside _the
Lord Mounteagle_, Catesby," etcetera.  The three words in italics have
been rendered illegible, by a slip of paper being pasted over them, and
a memorandum in red ink made on the back.  Time, however, has faded the
red ink, and the words are again visible.  (Criminal Trials, page 67.)
Garnet, too, confessed that "Catesby showed the [Pope's] breves to my
Lord Mounteagle at the time when Mr Tresham was with him at White
Webbs."  (Additional Manuscript 6178, folio 161.)  These facts raise a
doubt whether the whole story of Tresham's anxiety to warn Lord
Monteagle was not false, and a mere blind to cover something else, which
perhaps is not now to be revealed.  It remains to inquire, Who wrote the
letter?  It has been ascribed to three persons beside Tresham: Percy,
Mrs Abington, and Anne Vaux.  If it really were a part of the
Government counterplot, as is very probable, it was not likely to be any
of them.  If not so, Tresham seems the most likely, though it is
customary to charge Mrs Abington with it.  Lord Monteagle would at once
have recognised his sister's writing, and perhaps that of her intimate
friend, his wife's cousin, Anne Vaux.  Why Percy should be supposed to
have written it is a mystery.  The handwriting is undoubtedly very like
that of Anne Vaux; indeed, for this reason I suspected her as the writer
on the first investigation, and before I knew that she had ever been
charged with it.  Dr Jardine votes decidedly in favour of Tresham.  The
real truth respecting this matter will in all probability never be known
in this world.

Lord Monteagle was in the Essex rebellion, for which he was fined and
imprisoned until the end of 1601; but he was in high favour with King
James, probably owing to his strenuous efforts to secure his succession.
He died in 1622, leaving three sons and three daughters.

A characteristic letter from this nobleman is yet extant, which shows
his style and tone, and has not, I believe, been printed.  It is that
summoning Catesby to Bath, and if it were written in 1605, rather
confirms the supposition that the writer was an accomplice.  Dr Jardine
and others suppose it, I know not why, to belong rather to 1602.  It
runs as follows:--

"To my loving kinsman, Rob Catesbye Esquire, give these.  Lipyeat.  If
all creatures born under the moons sphere cannot endure without the
elements of aier and fire In what languishment have we led our life
since we departed from the dear Robin whose conversation gave us such
warmth as we needed no other heat to maintain our healths: since
therefore it is proper to all to desire a remedy for their disease I do
by these bind the by the laws of charity to make thy present aparance
here at the bath and let no watery Nimpes divert you, who can better
live with[out] the air and better forbear the fire of your spirit and
Vigour then we who accumpts thy person the only sone that must ripen our
harvest.  And thus I rest.  Even fast tied to your friendshipp, William
Mounteagle."  (Cott.  Manuscript Titus, B. 2, folio 294.)

THOMAS PERCY.

The exact place of this conspirator in the Northumberland pedigree has
been the subject of much question.  He is commonly said to have been a
near relative of the Earl; but Gerard thinks that "he was not very near
in blood, although they called him cousin."  Among the various
suggestions offered, that appears to be the best-founded which
identifies him not with the Percys of Scotton, but as the son of Edward
Percy of Beverley, whose father, Joscelyn, was a younger son of the
fourth Earl.  The wife of Joscelyn was Margaret Frost; the wife of
Edward, and mother of the conspirator, was Elizabeth, daughter of Sir
Thomas Waterton of Walton, Yorkshire--of the family of the famous
naturalist, Charles Waterton, of whom it was said that he felt tenderly
towards every living thing but two--a poacher and a Protestant.  The
character of Percy, as sketched by one of the Jesuit narrators, is
scarcely consistent with that given by the other.  Greenway writes of
him, "He was about forty-six years of age, though from the whiteness of
his head, he appeared to be older; his figure was tall and handsome, his
eyes large and lively, and the expression of his countenance pleasing,
though grave; and notwithstanding the boldness of his mind, his manners
were gentle and quiet."  Gerard says, "He had been very wild in his
youth, more than ordinary, and much given to fighting--so much so that
it was noted in him and in Mr John Wright... that if they heard of any
man in the country more valiant than the others, one or other of them
would pick a quarrel to make trial of his valour...  He had a great wit,
and a very good delivery of his mind, and so was able to speak as well
as most in the things wherein he had experience.  He was tall, and of a
very comely face and fashion; of age near fifty, as I take it, for his
head and beard was much changed white."  The proclamation for his
apprehension describes him as "a tall man, with a great broad beard, a
good face, the colour of his beard and head mingled with white hairs,
but his head more white than his beard.  He stoupes somewhat in the
shoulders, well coloured in face, longe foted, smale legged."  Percy was
steward and receiver of rents to his kinsman the Earl, whose rents he
appropriated to the purposes of the plot--without the owner's knowledge,
if his earnest denial may be trusted.  Percy married Martha, sister of
John and Christopher Wright, by whom he had three children: Elizabeth,
who died young, and was buried at Alnwick, 2nd February 1602; a daughter
(name unknown), who married young Robert Catesby; and Robert Percy, of
Taunton, who married Emma Meade at Wivelscomb, 22nd October 1615, and
was the founder of the line of Percy of Cambridge.  Percy's widow lived
privately in London after his execution.

AMBROSE ROOKWOOD.

Second son of Robert Rookwood of Stanningfield, by his second wife
Dorothy, daughter of Sir William Drury of Hawkstead; he became
eventually the heir of his father.  Ambrose was born in 1578, and was
educated in Flanders as a Roman Catholic.  According to Greenway, he was
"beloved by all who knew him;" Gerard describes him as "very devout, of
great virtue and valour, and very secret; he was also of very good parts
as for wit and learning."  He was remarkable for his stud of fine
horses.  Coldham Hall, his family mansion, built by his father in 1574,
is still standing, and is a picturesque house, about four miles from
Bury Saint Edmunds.  Very reluctant at first to join the plot, (March
31st, 1605), when arrested he "denied all privity, on his soul and
conscience, and as he was a Catholic."  He was drawn into it by Catesby,
with whom he had long been acquainted, and whom he said that he "loved
and respected as his own life."  Objecting that "it was a matter of
conscience to take away so much blood," Catesby replied that he was
"resolved that in conscience it might be done," whereon Rookwood, "being
satisfied that in conscience he might do it, confessed it neither to any
ghostly father nor to any other."  (Exam, of Rookwood, _Gunpowder Plot
Book_, article 136.)  Sir William Wade writes that "Rookwood can procure
no succour from any of his friends in regard of the odiousness of his
actions," (Additional Manuscript 6178, folio 34).  He seems to have been
fond of fine clothes, for he not only had a "fair scarf" embroidered
with "ciphres," but "made a very fair Hungarian horseman's cote, lyned
all with velvet, and other apparel exceeding costly, not fyt for his
degree," (_Ibidem_, folio 86).  His wife, who was "very beautiful" and
"a virtuous Catholic," was the daughter of Robert Tyrwhitt, Esquire, of
Kettleby, county Lincoln.  They had three children: Sir Robert Rookwood,
who warmly espoused the cause of Charles the First, and was buried 10th
June, 1679; he married Mary, daughter of Sir Robert Townsend of Ludlow,
and left issue: Henry: and Elizabeth, wife of William Calverley,
Esquire.  The Rookwoods of the Golden Fish, in the story, are all
fictitious persons.  The real brother of Ambrose was the Reverend Thomas
Rookwood of Claxton, the correspondent of Garnet.

FRANCIS TRESHAM.

Sir Thomas Tresham, the father of Francis, had suffered much in the
cause of Rome.  Perverted by Campion in 1580, he was repeatedly
imprisoned for recusancy and harbouring Jesuits, but remained the more
resolutely devoted to the faith of which he speaks as "his beloved,
beautiful, and graceful Rachel," for whom his "direst adversity" seemed
"but a few days for the love he had to her."  By his wife Muriel,
daughter of Sir Robert Throckmorton, he had two sons, of whom Francis
was the elder.  He was educated at Gloucester Hall; and having been very
actively participant in the rebellion of Essex, was on his trial
extremely insolent to the Lord Chancellor.  His life was saved only by
the intercession of Lady Catherine Howard, whose services were purchased
apparently for 1500 pounds.  Catesby never ceased to regret the
admission of Tresham to the conspiracy: but if as is probable (see
_ante_, Monteagle), Lord Monteagle were himself a party to the plot, the
much-vaunted earnestness of Tresham to save him is in all probability a
fiction, and a mere piece of the machinery.  Gerard says that he was "of
great estate, esteemed to be worth 3000 pounds a year.  He had been wild
in his youth, and even till his end was not known to be of so good
example as the rest."  Jardine says, "He was known to be mean,
treacherous, and unprincipled."  He vehemently denied, however, the
charge of having sent the warning letter to Lord Monteagle, of which he
was always suspected by his brother conspirators.  Catesby and Thomas
Winter had determined to "poniard him on the spot" if he had shown any
hesitation in this denial.  He escaped the gallows by dying of illness
in the Tower on the 23rd of November.  Lord Salisbury has been accused
of poisoning Tresham because he knew too many State secrets.  But why
then did he not poison Lord Monteagle for the same reason?  The fact
that Tresham's wife and servant were admitted into his prison, and
allowed to nurse him till he died, is surely sufficient answer.  By his
wife, Anne, daughter of Sir John Tufton, Tresham left no issue.  He
"showed no remorse, but seemed to glory in it as a religious act, to the
minister that laboured with him to set his conscience straight at his
end: had his head chopped of and sent [to] be set up at Northampton, his
body being tumbled into a hole without so much ceremony as the
formalitye of a grave."  (_Domestic State Papers_, 17; 62.)

ROBERT, THOMAS, AND JOHN WINTER.

The Winters of Huddington are a family of old standing in
Worcestershire; and Anne Winter, sister of the great grandfather of
these brothers, was the mother of Edward Underhill, the "Hot Gospeller."
His grandson, George Winter of Huddington and Droitwich, was a
"recusant," yet was High Sheriff of his county in 1589.  He married,
first, Jane, daughter of Sir William Ingleby of Ripley, in Yorkshire,
and secondly, Elizabeth, daughter of Sir John Bourne.  By the first
marriage he had issue two sons--Robert and Thomas; by the second, John,
Dorothy, and Elizabeth.

Robert, the eldest son, was born in or soon after 1565.  Gerard
describes him as "a gentleman of good estate in Worcestershire, about a
thousand marks a year (666 pounds, 13 shillings 4 pence)--an earnest
Catholic, though not as yet generally known to be so.  He was a wise
man, and of grave and sober carriage, and very stout (i.e., courageous),
as all of that name have been esteemed."  He joined the conspirators,
March 31st, 1605; but he, like others, objected at first to the "scandal
to the Catholic cause," and was a half-hearted accomplice to the end.
He is said to have been terrified by a horrible dream on the night of
November 4th, which made him more willing to desert the cause.  He
married Gertrude, daughter of Sir John Talbot (of the Shrewsbury line)
and of Katherine Petre, by whom he had four children,--John, who died in
1622, leaving issue; Helen, of Cooksey, died 5th May 1670; Mary, a nun;
and Catherine, died before 1670.  All the daughters were unmarried.

Thomas Winter, one of the chief actors in the plot, was probably born
about 1570, and seems to have died a bachelor.  He may have been the
"Thomas or William Wynter," apparently of Bradgate Hall, Oxford, who
took his B.A. degree on 29th January 1589.  He had served in the Dutch
army against Spain, and quitted it on account of religious scruples, but
so long afterwards as 1605, he is spoken of as Captain Winter
(Additional Manuscript 6178, folio 62).  After this he was secretary to
Lord Monteagle.  He was, says Greenway, "an accomplished and able man,
familiarly conversant with several languages, the intimate friend and
companion of Catesby, and of great account with the Catholic party
generally, in consequence of his talents for intrigue, and his personal
acquaintance with ministers of influence in foreign Courts."  Gerard
adds that his "elder brother, and another younger, were also brought
into the action by his means.  He was a reasonable good scholar, and
able to talk in many matters of learning, but especially in philosophy
or histories, very well and judicially.  He could speak both Latin,
Italian, Spanish, and French.  He had been a soldier, both in Flanders,
France, and I think against the Turk, and could discourse exceeding well
of those matters; and was of such a wit, and so fine carriage, that he
was of so pleasing conversation, desired much of the better sort, but an
inseparable friend to Mr Robert Catesby.  He was of mean stature, but
strong and comely, and very valiant, about thirty-three years or more.
His means were not great, but he lived in good sort, and with the best.
He was very devout and zealous in his faith, and careful to come often
to the Sacraments, and of very grave and discreet carriage, offensive to
no man, and fit for any employment."  His "living was eight score pound
by the year, by report of his man," (_Gunpowder Plot Book_, article 41);
namely, his annual income was about 160 pounds.  Several letters of his
are still extant; three have been published in Notes and Queries (3rd
Series, one; 341), and are all addressed to Grant.  One written to
Catesby has not seen the light hitherto, and as it is characteristic, I
append it.  (Cott. Manuscript Titus, B. two; folio 292.)

"To my loving friend, Mr Robert Catesby.

"Though all you malefactors flock to London, as birds in winter to a
dunghill, yet do I, Honest man, freely possess the sweet country air:
and to say truth, would fain be amongst you, but cannot as yet get money
to come up.  I was at Asbye to have met you, but you were newly gone; my
business and your uncertain stay made me hunt no further.  I pray you
commend me to other friends.  And when occasion shall require, send down
to my brother's or Mr Talbott's; within this month I will be with you
at London.  So God keep you this 12th of October.  Your loving friend,
Thomas Wintour."

John Winter, the youngest brother, seems to have had very little share
in the plot, and most fervently denied any knowledge of it whatever.
Gerard (see _ante_) asserts that he was engaged in it, and Gertrude
Winter bore witness that he came to Huddington with the other
conspirators on November 7th.  His own amusing narrative is to the
effect that Grant asked him on the 4th of November, if he would go to a
horse-race, and he answered that he would if he were well; that on the
5th, he went to "a little town called Rugby," where he and others supped
and played cards; that a messenger came to them and said, "The gentlemen
were at Dunchurch, and desired their company to be merry;" that at
Holbeach he "demanded of Mr Percy and the rest, being most of them
asleep, what they meant to do," and they answered that they would go on
now; and shortly afterwards he left them.  (_Gunpowder Plot Book_,
article 110).  John Winter was imprisoned, but released.  There is no
evidence to show that he was married.

JOHN AND CHRISTOPHER WRIGHT.

Concerning the parentage of these brothers, I can find no more than that
they were of the family of Wright of Plowland, in Holderness, Yorkshire.
They were cousins of Robert Winter, perhaps through his mother; were
both schoolfellows of Guy Fawkes, and "neighbours' children."  John
Wright originally lived at Twigmore, in Lincolnshire, and removed to
Lapworth, in Warwickshire, when he became a party to the plot.  He was
the first layman whom Catesby took into his confidence, Thomas Winter
being the second, and Fawkes the third.  Like so many of the others, the
brothers were involved in Essex's rebellion.  They were perverts, and
since their perversion John had been "harassed with persecutions and
imprisonment."  Greenway says he was one of the best swordsmen of his
time.  Gerard describes him as "a gentleman of Yorkshire, not born to
any great fortune, but lived always in place and company of the better
sort.  In his youth, very wild and disposed to fighting...  He grew to
be staid and of good, sober carriage after he was Catholic, and kept
house in Lincolnshire, where he had priests come often, both for his
spiritual comfort and their own in corporal helps.  He was about forty
years old, a strong and a stout man, and of a very good wit, though slow
of speech: much loved by Mr Catesby for his valour and secrecy in
carriage of any business."  Of Christopher he says that "though he were
not like him [John] in face, as being fatter, and a lighter-coloured
hair, and taller of person, yet was he very like to the other in
conditions and qualities, and both esteemed and tried to be as stout a
man as England had, and withal a zealous Catholic, and trusty and secret
in any business as could be wished."  But little is known of the
relatives of these brothers.  John Wright's wife was named Dorothy, and
she was "sister-in-law of Marmaduke Ward of Newby, Yorkshire,
gentleman;" they had a daughter who was eight or nine years old in 1605,
and probably one or more sons, as descendants of John Wright are said
still to exist Christopher's wife was called Margaret, but nothing is
known of his children.  The brothers had two sisters,--Martha, the wife
of their co-traitor, Percy; and another who was the mother of a certain
William Ward, spoken of as Wright's nephew.  (_Gunpowder Plot Book_,
articles 44, 47, 52, 90.)

By Greenway, Gerard, or both, it is asserted of nearly every one of the
conspirators that they were very wild in youth, and became persons of
exemplary virtue after their perversion to Popery.

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

Note 1.  "Thursday, 24th October," (not 26th, as usually stated), is the
endorsement on the letter itself (_Gunpowder Plot Book_, article 2), and
also the date given in the official account (_Ibidem_, article 129).

THE END.





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