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´╗┐Title: Hayslope Grange - A Tale of the Civil War
Author: Leslie, Emma
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 "Hayslope Grange - A Tale of the Civil War" ***

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                            HAYSLOPE GRANGE

                        A TALE OF THE CIVIL WAR

                            BY EMMA LESLIE

AUTHOR OF "THE CAPTIVES," "CONSTANCIA'S HOUSEHOLD," "THE ORPHAN AND
FOUNDLING."

    LONDON:
    Sunday School Union.
    56, OLD BAILEY
    THOS. NELSON & SONS, 42, BLEECKER ST., NEW YORK

    THE GRESHAM PRESS
    LONDON & CHILWORTH

    UNWIN BROTHERS,
    PRINTERS BY WATER TOWER.



CONTENTS.


     CHAPTER I. THE DRURY FAMILY

    CHAPTER II. HARRY'S ANNOUNCEMENT

   CHAPTER III. TRAITOR OR HERO

    CHAPTER IV. CROMWELL'S IRONSIDES

     CHAPTER V. MAUD HARCOURT

    CHAPTER VI. THE HAYSLOPE

   CHAPTER VII. THE REVEL

  CHAPTER VIII. BESSIE'S DISTRESS

    CHAPTER IX. THE WOUNDED MESSENGER

     CHAPTER X. "ON, CAVALIER, ON!"

    CHAPTER XI. MYSTERIES

   CHAPTER XII. HARRY'S RETURN



CHAPTER I.

THE DRURY FAMILY.


It was a sweet spring day, soft and balmy as summer, and any one looking
across the green meadows and smiling uplands of Hayslope, now so full of
the promise of early fruitfulness, would have wondered what could make
the farm-labourers appear so gloomy, and the women-folk sigh instead of
singing at their work, if he knew nothing of what was going on a few
miles away.

It was the year 1644, and for two long years civil war had been raging
in England, and now two rival Parliaments were sitting, the one presided
over by the King meeting at Oxford, while that in London was engaged
upon the trial of Archbishop Laud, and levying war against the King, so
that it was not to be wondered at that men looked gloomy and sorrowful,
for they were dark, sad times for everybody.

Hayslope was a little village on the borders of Essex, but quite out of
the high road usually taken by travellers going from London northward,
so that when a young man came riding in towards the middle of the day,
everybody turned from their work to look at him. They did not make a
very close inspection before they raised their hats and cheered; but
this greeting, pleasant as it was, scarcely brought a smile to his lips
as he rode on up to the principal house in the place--Hayslope Grange.
This was a large, rambling, roomy building, half farm-house, half
mansion, standing in the midst of an old-fashioned garden, surrounded by
fields, and enclosed with a moat. The moat was dry now, and had been for
some years, and a permanent bridge of planks had been laid across,
leading to the village; Master Drury would not have it filled up. "It
might be useful yet," he would say, when his son Harry pressed him to
make the alteration.

As the traveller reached the old moss-grown bridge he paused for a
minute or two, and looked down at the broad deep trench. "God grant it
never may be wanted," he murmured; and then he threw back his long brown
curls that clustered round his head, and spurred his horse on at a
quicker pace. He was a fine, tall, handsome young man, about twenty-two,
with a thoughtful brow that would have made him look almost stern, but
for the genial smile that played around his mouth, and the kindly eyes
that looked as ready to cry as a girl's at a tale of suffering. Before
he was half-way across the fields he was met with the glad cry of,
"Harry, Harry, I am so glad you have come home!"

That he was a general favourite at home was evident enough, for his
younger sister and brother received him with screams of delight, and his
elder sister, Mary, forgot all her stateliness in the warmth of her
welcome. Only one of the group walking in the fields failed to run
forward to meet him--a fact Harry was not slow to notice.

"So Maud would not come to greet me," he said, holding out his hand when
he reached the spot where she was standing. He had sprung from his
horse, and left the animal to find his own way to the stable.

The young lady coloured and looked down as Harry stopped before her. "I
am very glad to see you," she said.

"But not quite so glad as my sisters here," said Harry.

"I am not your sister," said Maud, hardly knowing what to say.

"Oh, Maud," muttered little Bessie, "Harry is as much your brother as he
is mine. Why, you have lived with us all your life, and if your name
does happen to be Maud Harcourt instead of Maud Drury, it does not
matter. I'm sure you can love Harry just the same."

"Yes, so I can," said Maud, smiling, and feeling greatly relieved by
Bessie's little passionate outburst.

But Harry looked rather disappointed still.

"I am afraid my return is not very welcome to you, Maud," he said, as he
placed himself at her side to walk towards the house.

"Why?" she said, quickly, in a tone of pain.

"I don't know, only you don't seem glad to see me this time. You did not
come to meet me as the others did," replied Harry.

Maud looked down, but did not answer; and indeed there was no
opportunity to do so, for Bertram, thinking he had been neglected long
enough, pressed forward to his brother's side.

"Have you seen Prince Rupert, Harry?" he asked.

The young man's brow grew dark at the question. "Don't ask about Prince
Rupert, Bertie," he said.

"Why not?" exclaimed the boy. "He's a great soldier, come to fight the
King's battles against the wicked Parliament men. Do tell me about him?"
he added, coaxingly.

"Harry will tell us all by-and-by," said Mary. "You must remember, he
has not seen father yet. Let us make haste indoors," she added, turning
to Harry, who still kept close to Maud.

But Bertram was determined not to miss hearing of Prince Rupert's
valorous deeds, and fearing this account would be given to his father
alone, he took his brother's hand, resolving to keep close to him.
Prince Rupert's name, however, was not mentioned, and indeed Harry
seemed strangely reserved in speaking of public affairs; and, as soon as
he could get away, wandered off to a copse-like corner of the garden,
where he stayed until he was summoned to prayers, late in the evening.

He looked pale and agitated as he came in. The family were all
assembled--his father at the head of the table, with the Bible open
before him, and the maid-servants and serving-men at the other end of
the room; and Harry felt that every eye was upon him as he took his
accustomed place.

After the chapter was read they all knelt down, and then any one might
know how deeply and truly Master Drury loved his King, although he
rarely spoke of it at any other time. Now, however, the man's whole soul
was poured out before God in impassioned pleading for his royal master,
while his hatred of the Parliament and those who were leading the
rebellion could only find expression in the words of David against his
enemies. A deep "Amen" followed, uttered by every one in the room except
Harry,--an omission that was noticed by more than one present.

"Harry was asleep," whispered Bessie, who had had some difficulty in
keeping her own eyes open.

Maud, to whom this was confided, did not contradict the little girl, but
she knew it was not so, and she wondered why Harry had not responded to
what everybody must wish for, she thought--at least every true
Englishman. No one saw anything of Harry after he left the room that
night, and Maud did not see him until the following afternoon. She
thought he was offended with her, and that this was the reason he kept
away from everybody, and when she saw him leaning on the fence of the
farm-yard, she determined to go and speak to him.

"I'm very sorry, Harry, if I have offended you," she said, as she drew
near the spot.

Harry started. "Maud, Maud, what shall I do?" he said, impulsively,
turning towards her and taking her hand.

Maud was only a year younger than himself, but she could not help
feeling alarmed at his words.

"What is the matter?" she said. "Prithee, tell me all about what is
troubling you."

But Harry shook his head, and tried to smile away her fears. "I have
been wishing to be a chicken, and by my faith I do wish it too," he
said.

"Marry, that is an old wish of mine," said Maud, trying to smile, but
looking down as the colour stole into her cheeks.

"You wish to be a chicken!" uttered Harry in astonishment. "By my troth,
I did not think you were so foolish, Maud."

"And wherefore not, wise sir? since you would nathless enter
chickenhood."

But instead of replying in the same gay, bantering tone, Harry sighed
deeply, and, still holding her hand, drew her into the field.

"It is quite true, Maud," he said. "I was actually wishing to be a
chicken, or anything but what I am--Harry Drury, of Hayslope Grange."

"Prithee, now tell me wherefore you wished this," said Maud.

Harry had always told her his secrets since she first came, a little
delicate girl, to live at the Grange.

"Now, marry, I can scarcely do that. But life is such a puzzle--such a
tangle--men seem to be put in the wrong places."

"And you think you have one of the wrong places?" said Maud.

Harry nodded. "I am beginning to feel sure of it," he said, sadly.

"Then put yourself in the right place," said Maud, quickly, without in
the least knowing to what he referred.

"By my faith, I cannot," he said, huskily.

"Cannot?" she uttered. "Cannot do right? Be truthful and just--true to
yourself. Harry, you cannot mean you are afraid to do this?"

She thought she knew what was passing in his mind. He had been away from
home for several weeks, in London and in the North, and she thought he
longed to serve his King by taking up arms and joining actively in the
fray. Her spirit stirred and swelled within her, as she almost wished
that she, too, was a man, that she might follow him to the field and
fight by his side.

"Harry, you will do it," she said; "you will be brave and true, and tell
your father all that is passing in your mind."

Harry looked at her astonished, almost bewildered. "By my troth, Maud,
this is more wonderful than anything else," he said.

"Marry, that _I_ should tell you to be true to yourself and your own
conscience," said Maud, in a deeply injured tone.

"Nay, but I did not mean to grieve you, dearest Maud," said Harry; "but
I did not think--I dared not hope--you would see matters as I do."

"But I do see, that, whatever the cost may be----"

"Maud, the cost will not be half so great as I thought it half an hour
since. I have your sympathy," interrupted Harry.

"But is your father _sure_ to oppose your wishes in this?" said Maud.

Harry looked at her in some perplexity. "Can you ask it?" he said, "when
he----"

"Yes, I know he refuses to take any public part in----" At this moment
Maud was in her turn interrupted by Bessie rushing up to them with the
announcement that a visitor had just arrived from London who desired to
see Harry.

"It is a friend to whom I have spoken of the things we have been talking
about," he said in a lower tone, to Maud; and finding Bessie was
inclined to take his place by her side, he left them, and returned at
once to the house.

"Has Harry been telling you about Prince Rupert?" asked Bessie, when
they were left alone.

"No, dear," answered Maud; and then she relapsed into silence, for her
thoughts were busy about Harry, and she wondered why he could be so
afraid of mentioning his wish to become a soldier to his father.

Bessie waited a few minutes, and then she said,--"Has Harry told you
anything about Prince Rupert, to-day, Maud?"

Maud smiled. "We have so often talked about Prince Rupert, you know,
Bessie, that I think we have heard all Harry can tell us about his
winning the King's battles for him," she said.

"Marry, but we have not, though," said Bessie, earnestly. "Harry told
Bertie this morning that he was a fierce, cruel man, one of the greatest
robbers that ever lived; and that he justly deserved the title the
King's enemies had given him, 'Prince of Plunderers.'"

Maud looked down at the eager upturned face, feeling somewhat puzzled,
but she thought Harry might have heard something that seemed to him very
cruel--something that the great Prince had been obliged to do to save
the King, perhaps, which yet had roused Harry's anger, feeling so keenly
as he did for everybody's distress. At all events, Harry was right, and
Prince Rupert was right too, she had no doubt, if things could only be
explained; and in this way she contrived to silence Bessie, if she did
not convince her; and the little girl went to tell Bertie that Maud did
not think his soldier-hero a bad man after all; while Maud pursued her
walk through the fields, indulging in very happy thoughts, in spite of
the danger she was anticipating for Harry when he should join the King's
army.



CHAPTER II.

HARRY'S ANNOUNCEMENT.


Gilbert Clayton, Harry's friend, was a stranger to the rest of the
family; but Master Drury no sooner heard of his arrival than he invited
him to stay as long as he pleased, or as long as his business would
permit; and this was so warmly seconded by Harry, that young Clayton
could not but remain. He was the more willing to do this, as he had been
ordered by the doctors to leave London and reside in the country before
joining the army again, for he had received a dangerous wound the
previous summer in the battle of Chalgrove, where his kinsman, the brave
and pious John Hampden, was mortally wounded. It was by talking of John
Hampden that Harry first became acquainted with Gilbert Clayton, and now
he wanted to hear more of him and the gentle Sir Bevil Granville, who
had so bravely led on his pikemen at the battle of Lansdowne.

The talks about these heroes generally took place in the most quiet part
of the garden; for Gilbert Clayton, knowing his host's political
opinions differed from his own, was too courteous to bring forward the
subject before him and his family. Master Drury himself rarely talked of
public matters with any one, and loved his books and the quiet of his
study too well to take any active part in such affairs; and he said he
could help the King's cause more by his prayers than anything else; so
the two young men were left to amuse themselves as they pleased, and by
a sort of tacit understanding, these conversations were never carried on
in the presence of Mary or Maud.

Master Drury's household was managed by his sister, an elderly lady, who
looked after children and servants with the greatest watchfulness, lest
a moment of their time should be wasted. It was the rule of the
household that as soon as breakfast was over Mistress Mabel should take
her place in the high-backed chair at the head of the table in the
"keeping room," or general sitting-room, and with Bessie and Bertram on
each side of her, at their lessons, a huge basket of work was brought to
her side by one of the maids, and Mary and Maud were each set to work,
making or mending garments for the family. Fancy-work was never heard of
in those days, and Mistress Mabel would not have allowed any to be
brought forward in her presence, if it had been. Sometimes, as a rare
treat, when the lessons were well learned, a book was fetched from the
library, not a story-book--that would have been a waste of time,
according to this lady's rule--but a learned treatise on some abstruse
science, which generally set Bessie and Bertram yawning, so that the
reading was not much of a treat to them. Talking was not allowed from
any one until the children's lessons were learned, and not greatly
indulged in then. Later in the day, after the dairy had been visited and
the kitchen inspected, the spinning-wheels were brought out, and the
maids, who had finished their household and dairy work, were set down to
spin.

Harry had escaped from his aunt's dominion now, but his idle life was a
great eyesore to her, so that she took care no one else should share it.
Under these circumstances it is easy to understand that, without at all
intending it, a sort of suppression of what was really going on between
the two young men took place when they were with the rest of the family.
That Gilbert Clayton was as staunch a Cavalier as themselves was taken
for granted; while he thought they fully understood his principles and
the cause he was engaged in, and believed it was from refinement of
feeling that the matter was never referred to in his presence.

That he was helping his friend to see that the cause of the Parliament
was a just, honest cause, and one that must be espoused if civil and
religious liberty were ever to be secured for England, he knew full
well; but in doing this he believed he was only doing his duty, since
Harry had come to him first to talk about these matters.

So the days and weeks went quietly on at Hayslope Grange, and the pure
country air had so invigorated Gilbert Clayton that he began to talk of
returning to London, to make preparations for joining Lord Kimbolton's
army. Maud had heard that he was a soldier, and fully expected Harry
would speak to his father, and go to London with his friend.

She felt rather jealous of young Clayton, if the truth must be told, for
he quite monopolised Harry's society, so there had been no opportunity
of resuming the conversation that his arrival had interrupted, or she
might have discovered the mistake she had made. Hearing nothing of this,
and the day for Clayton's departure being fixed, she determined to seek
some opportunity of speaking to Harry. She was a noble, unselfish girl,
and though she knew his going would cost her the bitterest pang she had
ever felt, and be followed probably by weeks and months of anxious
suspense and dread, she would not hold him back--nay, she would urge him
to go at the call of duty, though all the sunshine of her life would
depart when he went; for months might pass before she heard of him
again, and he might be wounded, dying, or dead, and the tidings never
reach Hayslope Grange.

News travelled slowly in those days, and in the unsettled state of
affairs could not always be relied upon; but tidings reached Hayslope
just now that the Parliament had seized the Archbishop of Canterbury,
and his trial was now going on, the charges against him being that he
had tried to subvert civil and religious liberty in England, had been
the author of illegal and tyrannical proceedings in the court of Star
Chamber, and had suppressed godly ministers and godly preaching.

But to the family at Hayslope Grange these charges were as nothing
compared to the guilt the Parliament had incurred in seizing an anointed
prelate.

Master Drury lifted up his hands in silent horror when he heard it, and
Mistress Mabel burst into tears. The sight of their stern aunt crying
seemed to make more impression upon Bessie and Bertram than the fate of
the archbishop.

"Was he very wicked?" asked Bessie.

This was enough to drive back Mistress Mabel's tears. "Wicked!" she
repeated, in anger. "Never let me hear you ask such a question about one
of the Lord's anointed, Bessie, unless you would share in the sin of
those who have laid violent hands upon him."

"It is sacrilege," uttered Master Drury, slowly and solemnly.

Mistress Mabel, who did not often talk, found her tongue now, and used
it too, denouncing in the strongest terms the doings of the Parliament.
"What is to be the end of this evil generation, that worketh such
wickedness?" she said at last; and then, as if answering the query, went
on, "The land shall be desolate, and all the people perish." Bessie and
Bertram looked frightened. "What does that mean?" whispered the little
girl; "won't the people in the village have anything to eat, because
they are cruel to the archbishop?"

It was almost the first time any one at the Grange had thought of their
poor neighbours, and the burden they were silently bearing under these
great changes. Taxes were high, food was scarce, and many of the men had
joined the King's army; but none of the Drurys had thought of these
things except Harry, and it was the little scraps of news he heard in
the village that first led him to doubt whether the royal cause were the
just one.

He and Gilbert Clayton were absent when the news concerning the
archbishop first reached Hayslope; but when they returned in the evening
Harry knew that something had happened, by the look of anxious trouble
on his father's face, and the querulous restlessness of his aunt.

"What is the matter, Mary?" he asked, in an anxious whisper.

But Mary only held up her finger warningly. "The servants are coming
in," she murmured; and at the same moment Mistress Mabel placed the
Bible in front of the high-backed chair at the head of the table, and
Master Drury slowly took his seat.

Prayers for the King, Gilbert and Harry could both join in; for they
hoped God would change his heart, and teach him that it was most
unkingly to break his promises again and again, as he had done. But
to-night it seemed that Master Drury could think of nothing but of the
evil-doing of the Parliament in bringing the archbishop to trial; and he
prayed that all their plans might be frustrated, the King brought back
to his throne, and the archbishop restored to his charge; while those
who had troubled them might be visited with dire calamities and
afflictions.

His prayer was not concluded when Harry started from his knees and said,
in a hoarse voice, "Stop, my father, I pray you; you know not for what
you are asking."

All turned to look at him in silent, speechless wonder--all but Gilbert
Clayton, who rose from his knees and laid his hand upon Harry's
shoulder. "Come away," he whispered.

But Harry would not stir. "My father must not pray thus," he said, loud
enough for any one to hear.

Master Drury and the rest slowly rose from their knees.

"Harry, my boy, you are ill," said the gentleman, in a tone of
compassion.

"Prithee, now tell me where you have been racing all the day, to get
your head so disordered," said Mistress Mabel; and she despatched Mary
to her store closet for some herb tea for Harry to take at once.

"I don't want the herb tea, aunt," said Harry, in a clear, calm voice.
"I am quite well; the sun has not affected my head, and I know quite
well what I am about."

Aunt Mabel looked incredulous; but his father, losing the fear of
illness, sat down in his chair, a dim feeling of a sorer trouble than
this coming over him as he looked at Harry. "Sit down," he said, in a
tone of command to the rest, who stood just as they had risen from their
knees--"sit down and listen to the reason my son has to give for
interrupting our godly exercise this evening." And he looked towards
Harry as if waiting for his answer.

The young man instinctively drew a step nearer to Maud, as if mutely
asking her sympathy and support; but she was looking down upon the oaken
floor, utterly unable to comprehend what Harry could mean by this
strange proceeding.

Harry seemed to feel that he had acted unwisely in yielding to his
impulse; and he said, slowly, "Prithee, father, let me tell it to
yourself alone."

"By my faith, that cannot be now, Harry," said Master Drury,
energetically. "We have all been hindered in our devotions by your
froward speech, and each has an equal right to hear your reason for it."

The men and maid-servants gathered at the end of the room pitied poor
Harry in his confusion, and would have retreated, trusting to have their
curiosity gratified afterwards by the tell-tale tongue of Bessie or
Bertram; but Mistress Mabel's eye was upon them, and they knew they
dared not go away.

Harry's face changed from an ashy whiteness to crimson as his father
spoke, and then he went pale again as he said, "My father, do not force
me to speak out now; let me go to your study, and I will tell you all
that has been passing in my mind of late."

But Master Drury was inexorable when once he had made up his mind. "My
son, we are waiting," was all he said in reply to Harry's entreaty.

Harry drew himself up, and casting a hasty glance at Maud's bowed
figure, he said, "Father, I have resolved to cast in my lot with the
patriots who are striving to rescue this country from the grasp of
tyrants; they are not the evil-doers you think them. It is the King and
archbishop and their advisers who are traitors, not the Parliament, or
the brave, true men who are fighting for it."

He might have been hurried into saying much more, but at this moment
Maud fell to the ground with a piercing shriek; and at the same instant
Gilbert Clayton seized Harry's arm and dragged him from the room.

[Illustration: HARRY'S ANNOUNCEMENT.]



CHAPTER III.

TRAITOR OR HERO?


The confusion and dismay into which the orderly household of Hayslope
Grange was thrown by Harry's untimely and hasty confession baffles all
description. Fainting among young ladies was not so common in those
days, and the only orthodox remedy known to Mistress Mabel being burnt
feathers, these had to be fetched from the poultry-yard, and singed at
the kitchen fire, before anything else could be done for Maud, who still
lay unconscious on the floor; while Bessie and Bertram, thinking of
their aunt's words of the morning, cried and screamed, "Prithee, tell
them to let the archbishop go; poor Maud will die if you don't!"

Clayton had some difficulty in keeping Harry outside the house, whither
they had retreated when he heard that Maud was ill; but thinking that
his presence would only add to the confusion in the keeping-room if he
went in again, he prevailed upon him to remain where he was until Master
Drury came out and fetched them both into the study.

His face was white and rigid, with such a look of helpless woe about the
lines of his mouth that it touched Gilbert more deeply than the fiercest
expression of anger could have done. Harry's misery seemed complete when
he looked at his father's face in the dim light of the study lamp, and
falling on his knees, he exclaimed--

"Oh, my father, forgive me!"

But his father drew back hastily from the outstretched hands.

"Rise from your knees, Harry Drury!" he said, sternly, "and tell me what
you mean by the froward words you have this night spoken."

"My father, I spoke hastily and unadvisedly," said Harry, humbly. "I
should have come to you alone, and confessed that my opinions of the
King's doings had greatly changed of late, and begged your permission to
join the army now fighting for the Parliament."

"And do you think I would have given it, traitor-caitiff?" said Master
Drury, sternly.

"I have angered you," said Harry; "but, my father, you will suffer me to
speak to you of this to-morrow, and hear me when I say that Gilbert
Clayton here hath not sought to draw me to this way of thinking. I had
some converse upon it with Mistress Maud before his arrival."

Master Drury glanced at Clayton suspiciously; he had not noticed his
presence before.

"If you are clear of this thing, young man," he said, "you can abide
here until the morning; but Harry Drury departs from Hayslope Grange
this night."

[Illustration: HARRY DRIVEN FROM THE GRANGE.]

Harry started in blank astonishment.

"Marry then, where am I to tarry?" he said.

"That I know not; but traitors cannot abide under this honest roof, that
has never sheltered any but true and loyal men since it was raised by
Roger Drury ninety years ago."

"But, my father----"

"Call me not by that name," interrupted the old man, "unless you are
ready to return, and willing to do true and loyal service to your King
and country."

"My country I am willing to serve; but, my father, this King is trying
to enslave it," said Harry, earnestly.

"Prithee! what will you say next? But hold, I am not here to banter
words with you. Will you enter the King's service, and fight his battles
under Prince Rupert?" demanded Master Drury.

"Serve under that Prince of Plunderers?--never!" said Harry, in a
determined tone.

"It is enough," said his father. "I give you this purse, which contains
enough to keep you from starving for a few days, and for the rest you
must look to yourself. You have no further part or lot in Hayslope
Grange. I cast you off for ever."

But Harry did not attempt to touch the purse, which his father had
placed on the table beside him. Throwing himself again on his knees, he
begged his father to revoke the dreadful words he had just uttered.

"I will remain at home, and never again seek to serve the Parliament, if
you forbid it," he said.

Master Drury looked down at him, and his lips quivered with emotion.

"Say you will renounce these new opinions and serve the King, and you
are my son still," he said.

But Harry started back.

"Give up my principles! all that I have learned to see is just and true
and honest! My father, you cannot ask me to do this?" said Harry.

"I ask you to give up all traitorous friendships, and return to your
allegiance and duty to your King," said his father.

"But I should be a traitor to my conscience. I should sell my
convictions of right and duty for your favour. My father, you would not
have your son a slave?"

"I would that I had no son at all!" groaned the old man, covering his
eyes with his hands.

"Forgive me, oh, forgive me the pain I have caused you, my father; and
let me remain at home with you still; only don't ask me to be a traitor
to my conscience!" implored Harry.

"I _ask_ you nothing," said Master Drury. "I _command_ you to swear this
moment that you will enter the King's service without delay; and if you
do not obey me, you leave this house at once, and I have no son from
this night."

Harry slowly rose from his knees with bowed head.

"I cannot swear," he said. "I will serve my country, not sell her into
the power of tyrants," and he turned to leave the room. But at the door
he paused for a moment, and then turned back. "You will give me your
blessing once more, my father, before I depart?" he said; and he would
have knelt to receive it, but the old man waved him off.

"Leave me, leave me at once, lest I curse you!" he said, in a hoarse
voice; and Harry, without glancing at the purse, which still lay on the
table, retreated from that look of stern wrath which had settled on his
face.

The two young men walked straight out into the fields, and for some time
neither spoke; but at length Harry said,--

"What are we to do, Clayton?"

"We had better get round to the barn for to-night, and sleep there,"
replied Gilbert, "and then to-morrow you had better see your father
again."

But Harry shook his head sadly.

"Marry, it will be of no use," he said.

"By my troth, I would try, though you cannot marvel that he is angry,
speaking as you did," said Gilbert, warmly.

"Yes, I know I was wrong; but you do not know my father, Gilbert, or you
would not advise me to thrust myself into his presence again for a
while. No, no; I must go to London now, and seek my fortune there."

"But you will stay here to-night?" said his friend.

"Yes, to-night," sighed Harry; "for I must see Maud to-morrow."

Clayton hoped that Master Drury's anger might be somewhat appeased by
the next day, and he resolved to see him, if possible, when he went to
the house for his things, which in the hurry and confusion had been left
behind.

Anxiety kept Harry awake as much as his strange quarters that night; but
Clayton, who had many times slept out in the open field when upon the
march, did not feel much inconvenience from sleeping on the barn floor.
He awoke about the usual time, but would not stir, for fear of
disturbing Harry. At length, however, one of the men pushed open the
door, and not recognising the intruders, at once ordered them off in a
loud, rough voice.

Harry started to his feet, crying, "Maud, Maud, I will save you!" and
then rubbed his eyes to see if it was true that the man was staring and
Gilbert laughing at him.

"Marry, but you have been dreaming," said Clayton, rising and stretching
himself.

"Is it my young master?" uttered the man, slowly, as if scarcely able to
believe the evidence of his eyes.

"Yes, it is me; Harry Drury," said Harry. "Have you heard how Mistress
Maud is this morning?" he asked, anxiously.

"But sadly, I hear," said the man, shaking his head. "Marry, but 'tis a
bad business, this, Master Harry," he added.

"Will you go and tell one of the maids to ask Mistress Maud to come to
me?" said Harry, in a tone of impatience.

"Mistress Maud has not yet left her room," said the man. "I heard----"

"Then go and ask if I can see her in the painted gallery," interrupted
Harry. "Stop!" he cried, as the man was moving off; "you are not to go
to Mistress Mabel, but ask Jane, or one of the other maids."

The man gave a knowing nod, and departed on his errand, determined to
accomplish it too, for he had no doubt but that the visit to Maud was to
ask her to intercede with Master Drury; and Harry being a general
favourite with the servants, they had all felt sorry for his dilemma,
although they did not understand it.

He slowly followed the man round to a small entrance at the side of the
house, and presently the door opened and Jane beckoned him to enter. A
staircase close to the door led direct to one end of the painted
gallery, which was close to Maud's room, and here Harry sat down in the
broad window-seat to wait her coming. He did not have to wait long. In a
minute or two her chamber-door opened, and the young lady stepped into
the gallery, looking very pale and sad, but almost as stern as Master
Drury himself.

"Oh, Maud, forgive me!" burst forth Harry, starting forward when he saw
her.

But she coldly waved him off.

"I have nothing to forgive," she said.

Harry paused in amazement.

"Prithee, tell me what is the matter," he said; "are you ill, Maud?"

"Prithee, no," said Maud, lightly (which was not quite the truth).

Harry advanced a step nearer, and Maud drew further back.

"Do not seek to touch me," she said, proudly. "I give not my hand to
traitors."

"But I am not a traitor," said Harry. "I have followed your advice, and
told my father I must go on in----"

"Followed my advice!" repeated Maud. "By my faith, I never advised you!"

"Nay, nay, did you not understand me when I conversed with you?"

"I understand you now, Master Drury," interrupted Maud, "but I choose
not to hold converse with a traitor;" and with a haughty gesture she
turned and went into her own room, leaving Harry overwhelmed with
surprise and distress.

He went down-stairs, and out of the little unused door into the sunny
fields, without knowing where he was, and he wandered up and down,
trying to collect his bewildered thoughts, and think over what had
happened, until Gilbert Clayton overtook him.

He had collected the few belongings he brought with him to Hayslope
Grange, and now carried them in his hand, but he had utterly failed in
his mission to Master Drury. The old man was more bitter this morning
than he had been the previous evening, and vowed he would never own his
son again, unless he took service under King Charles.

"Let us get away from here as fast as we can," said Harry, as his friend
joined him.

"Have you seen Mistress Maud?" asked Gilbert, hoping that she at least
had spoken a word of comfort to him.

"Prithee, do not ask me," said Harry, in a hoarse voice. "I am an
outcast from my father's house; every one spurns me."

"Say not so, Harry," said Gilbert, in a gentle tone. "Remember the word
of the Lord, 'When my father and mother forsake me, then the Lord will
take me up.'"

"But I know not that I have the right to that promise," said Harry,
moodily.

"But you confess that you need it," said Gilbert.

"Yes, I need it," said Harry.

"Then Christ came to satisfy the needy, whatever their wants might be.
He came to show us the love of the Father that it was inexhaustible, not
like the love of earthly friends, which is often cold and changeful, but
ever full, free, and unchangeable."

Harry sighed.

"I feel utterly desolate and deserted," he said.

"Then will you not go to Him who is waiting to take you up and adopt you
into His family, and make you His son in Christ Jesus? He wishes to do
so. He is waiting to be gracious."

"Go on," said Harry, when Gilbert paused. "I am listening; your words
are like water to a thirsty soul;" and Gilbert went on until they
reached the village, where Gilbert bought a loaf of rye bread, and after
eating this, and drinking some water from the spring, they started on
their journey to London; for although Gilbert was not a poor man, they
had not much money with them, not enough to buy a horse, and
stage-coaches were unheard of in those days.



CHAPTER IV.

CROMWELL'S IRONSIDES.


Gilbert Clayton and Harry Drury kept on their weary tramp to London, and
at length reached the little village of Whitechapel, which was outside
the city walls. They had run some risks from highwaymen and footpads;
but now they thought all danger was over, for they had almost reached
their destination. But just as they were about to leave the village, a
party of the King's pikemen rode in, and at once seized upon the
travellers, to compel them to enter the King's service.

This was a dilemma neither of them had foreseen. To declare they were in
favour of the Parliament would be the signal for their arrest as
traitors to his Majesty; and to escape on any other pretext, without
telling an actual lie, seemed equally impossible. Gilbert was seized
first, and asked his name and condition. The latter was not easy to
comply with, as he had left the army on account of his wounds, and was
not at all sure that he should be received back again. He therefore gave
his former occupation--a mercer of the city of London. Harry gave his as
a farmer, for although he did not look much like one, he spoke of that
being his occupation. After a few more questions had been asked and
answered, they were marched off to the captain of the band, who began
his examination by asking Harry his name.

"Drury!" he repeated. "Are you one of the Hayslope Drurys?"

"My father lives at Hayslope Grange," said Harry.

"Ay, a right true and trusty servant of the King's is Master Drury. I
marvel that he has not sent you to do service for the King ere this,"
said the officer.

"My father meddleth not with public matters," said Harry, pondering what
would come next.

"I trow not, I trow not," said the soldier, shaking his head; "but I
must have a word with Master Drury on this same matter as I pass through
the village, and I doubt not he will bid you wield your arms for King
Charles after your visit to London. You may pursue your journey now,
young man; but nathless you will speed your return, for the King needs
trusty men to do him service in these troublous times. But we wish not
to force our friends too much in this matter, therefore will I suffer
you both to depart."

All the time he was speaking he eyed Gilbert most narrowly, as if trying
to recall where he had seen that face before, as in truth he had, for
they had met in the first battle fought between Charles and his
Parliament, at Edgehill, on the borders of Warwickshire.

Gilbert remembered Captain Stanhope quite well, for he had been his
prisoner for a little while, until an exchange of prisoners took place.
Long illness had, however, altered Gilbert far more than the two years'
campaign had altered the captain; and he rode away, thinking his eyes
had played him false for once. Perhaps his being in the company of one
whose family was known to be so strongly attached to the royal cause
helped his escape; for he could not think it possible that a Drury would
hold any intimacy with the Claytons.

"We have had a narrow escape, Harry, and we must not stay long in
London," said Gilbert, as they left the village, and saw the soldiers
ride out towards Essex; and then he told his companion of his former
acquaintance with Captain Stanhope.

Harry could not help laughing, in spite of his sorrow, and quite agreed
that their stay in London should be as short as possible. They would
only stay a few hours to rest, to replenish their purses, and ascertain
where Lieutenant Cromwell was now with his army, and then hasten to join
him. The long tramp from Essex to London in the heat and dust had
somewhat wearied Harry, unused to such exertion; but no sooner did he
hear that horses had been provided, than he was anxious to start again,
and they were soon on the great road leading to Yorkshire, where Lord
Kimbolton and his lieutenant, Cromwell, were mustering their forces.

It was sad to pass along the edge of uncultivated fields in this bright
summer weather; and yet, what encouragement was there for the farmer to
plant or sow, when crops might be trodden down by the feet of horses and
soldiers, or, if allowed to ripen, to see the grain cut down by that
lawless Prince Rupert and his band of soldier-robbers. Truly the land
might be said to mourn as well as the inhabitants, although as yet they
had not reached the scene of actual strife.

Gilbert was anxious to reach his kinsman Cromwell as soon as possible,
and so pressed on with all speed, making inquiries now and then at the
villages where they slept, or of people they met on the road, as to the
whereabouts of the two armies. It seems almost incredible in these days
of rapid communication that this necessary intelligence could not be
furnished in London, but that both forces lay somewhere in or near
Yorkshire was the utmost Gilbert could learn about them.

[Illustration: A RIDE TO THE NORTH.]

The farther they travelled northwards the more people did they meet, and
it soon became plain that these were many of them fugitives flying from
impending ruin. The tales they told were of course conflicting, and in
their fright and anxiety to escape and save their families, often
confused. But Gilbert was able to make out that the Scots army, which
had marched over the Border to the help of the Parliament, had been shut
up in Sunderland by the Royalists under the Earl of Newcastle; but the
Parliamentary forces under Fairfax coming to their relief, the Earl had
retired to York, and the English and Scotch together had now laid siege
to that city.

As they drew near to Yorkshire, evidence of the commotion became still
more apparent. The roads were strewed with beds and bedding, and various
articles of household furniture, which the fugitives had attempted to
take with them, but afterwards had thrown away; for the rumour had gone
abroad that Prince Rupert was coming, and enough had been heard of his
atrocities in Cheshire and Lancashire to make the people dread his
approach as they would the plague. At length, as they neared the
besieged city, they heard that Lord Kimbolton's army was in the
neighbourhood, and Gilbert was not long in discovering the encampment
and seeking out Lieutenant Cromwell.

He warmly welcomed his young kinsman, and at once accepted his services
and that of his companion. Harry Drury was not unused to arms. He had
been taught fencing as a part of his education, and would use the
singlestick, arquebus, and crossbow, while the fashion of every
gentleman wearing a sword had rendered it necessary that this weapon
should be handled skilfully. The necessary drill was therefore soon
learned by Harry, and he was admitted to serve in the same corps as his
friend.

Every addition to the army was welcome now, and the work of drilling the
recruits went on all day, and often far into the night too. The life of
a soldier here in Cromwell's camp was very different from the gay scene
of revel he had sometimes heard the Royalist troopers describe. There
was no rioting or drunkenness, no shouting or brawling, for these were
sober-minded earnest men, who felt they had a real work to do, and
sacrificed much in the doing of it. None had been forced to come here;
but they had left home, and wife, and little ones, of their own accord,
to fight their country's battles and set all England free. No wonder
that they were earnest when they thought of the dear ones far away. They
were not like the paid soldiers of the regular army; they could not
afford to trifle and lose their time in play when they might be at work
preparing for the battle; and so when not at drill, the cleaning of
armour and furbishing of arms went on ceaselessly, and the clatter of
this and the ring of the blacksmith's tools were broken only by the
singing of some pious hymn or the voice of one reading to his comrade
from the Word of Life. The day was begun and closed with prayer, and but
for the tramp of the sentry, when once the word of command had been
given that all work should cease, all the camp was as quiet and still,
as a sleeping village.

Harry joyfully took his share of the labour going forward; he was
willing to do anything, or bear any fatigue, to prepare himself to take
part in the expected action when Prince Rupert should show himself. July
was drawing near now, and they had almost reached the united armies
besieging York, and it was expected that when Prince Rupert came into
the field a battle would be fought. Scouts were sent out in all
directions to give timely notice of his approach, but they were able to
reach the forces of Fairfax before he came. But, however, only just in
time. On the second of July, Prince Rupert came upon them by way of
Marston Moor, but Kimbolton and his lieutenants were prepared for his
coming.

A desperate battle was fought, and for some time it seemed that the
Royalists must be victorious, for Prince Rupert fought with the most
desperate bravery, driving several generals from the field, and thus
disconcerting all their plans. He tried to do the same with Cromwell's
cavalry, but they kept together like an iron phalanx, and all Rupert's
dashing charges and feigned retreats failed to throw them into disorder.
They were rightly named the Ironsides, for they kept the field and
turned the tide of battle in favour of the Parliamentarians, and when
once the Royalists saw that the day was lost their rout was complete.
They retired from the field, leaving all their artillery, military
stores, and baggage to the enemy.

The battle of Marston Moor decided the Royalist cause in the north. That
was lost to Charles for ever, and there might well be hymns of rejoicing
and solemn thanksgiving for the victory, for the cause of the Parliament
had looked desperate enough only a short time before.

But in these rejoicings neither Gilbert nor Harry could take part.
Gilbert had again been seriously wounded, and Harry, fighting by his
side, had shared the same fate. The news was carried to Cromwell just as
he was giving the last instructions to the messenger who was to bear the
despatches to London giving information of the victory. "Clayton and
young Drury of Hayslope wounded!" he repeated. "I will come and see them
soon;" and then he went on giving instructions how Prince Rupert's
retreating troops should be avoided, by the messenger taking an easterly
course through Essex, instead of following the more direct road to
London at the risk of being robbed. Cromwell was as clever a man of
business as he was a soldier, and although the nominal head of the army
was Lord Kimbolton, it was well known that the actual direction of
affairs rested with his lieutenant, and all the men looked up to him as
their leader. Cromwell's Ironsides, as his troops were now called, were
everywhere spoken of as having gained the battle of Marston Moor, and he
was daily rising into greater prominence, and was more frequently
consulted as to the general direction of affairs.

But he did not forget his young kinsman lying sick and wounded.
Provision had been made for this beforehand. Medicaments--hospital
stores we should call them--had been secured, and now Cromwell went
round to see those who had been carried from that awful battle-field
where four thousand lay dead. Many an arm was raised when he was seen
approaching, and many a feeble voice attempted to cheer; but Gilbert lay
quiet and unconscious, while Harry was talking in the delirium of fever,
moaning out the one name, "Maud, Maud!" or imploring his father's
forgiveness.

Cromwell made particular inquiries into the case of each, and directed
the doctors to let the two friends be as near to each other as possible
when they were sensible, and this was the most he could do for them at
present. The doctors could give no opinion as to their recovery yet, for
they were both severely wounded; but Harry's case seemed the most
dangerous, from the fever running so high.



CHAPTER V.

MAUD HARCOURT.


Mistress Mabel, with all her sternness, had some difficulty in parrying
the children's questions about Harry, when they assembled in the keeping
room the morning of his departure. Mary, too, felt anxious about her
brother; but she dared not question her aunt as the children did; and
from her answers to them little could be gathered beyond this, that
Harry had disgraced himself through making unworthy friendships, and the
children at once jumped to the conclusion that it was Gilbert Clayton to
whom their aunt referred. Mary, however, indignantly repelled this
insinuation. She had had several conversations with Clayton, and had
learned to esteem him very highly, so that how Harry could have
disgraced himself while with him, or what the wild words he had uttered
the previous evening fully meant, she could not tell.

At dinner time Maud came down looking very pale but quite calm, until
Master Drury, noticing that Harry's chair had been placed at the table
as usual, ordered it to be carried away without mentioning his name, and
said, "That seat will not be wanted again." Then Maud trembled with
agitation, and Bertram asked quickly, "Where has brother Harry gone?"

"My boy, you have no brother," said Master Drury, coldly.

"Oh, Harry's dead!" screamed Bessie, pushing aside her pewter plate, and
laying her head on the table in a burst of uncontrollable anguish.

Maud, however, knew that he was not dead, but without noticing Bessie's
distress or Mary's look of mute agony, she rose from her seat, and
walking round to the side of Master Drury, she said, "You will tell me
where Harry has gone."

It was a demand rather than a question, and Mistress Mabel, as well as
her brother, opened her eyes wide with astonishment on hearing it. "He
has disgraced himself and all who bear his name," said the lady,
quickly.

"Prithee, Maud, go and sit down," said Master Drury, tenderly.

But Maud shook her head. "You will tell me where Harry is, first," she
said, still in the same quiet tone of command.

"I know not, unless he be travelling towards London with his false
friend, who has turned his head with his stories of the traitor
Parliament. He hath done this much; he confessed it to me this morning
ere they departed," added Master Drury.

He thought this would satisfy Maud, and all questioning would be at an
end now, but the young lady asked, "What did you mean, Master Drury, by
saying Bertram had no brother now?"

Mistress Mabel looked horrified at the impertinence of the question, but
Maud stood still and waited for an answer.

Calming his emotion with a violent effort, he turned to Maud and said,
"By my faith, you should be thankful this day that you are not a Drury,
to be disgraced by this traitor caitiff, who was my son. This must be
the last time he is ever spoken of in this house, for I have renounced
him--cast him off for ever; and you children must do the same," he said,
turning towards Bertram and Bessie.

The little girl had dried her tears, and both sat with white frightened
faces gazing at Maud and their father.

Maud staggered back to her seat and bowed her face in her hands, and the
dinner went on in silence among those who cared to eat. Maud and Mary
sat with their plates before them, but left the table without tasting
anything, and as soon as they could escape went up to their own room.

Here Maud's firmness quite forsook her, and laying her head on Mary's
shoulder, she burst into tears, moaning, "Oh, Mary, what shall I do? I
cast him off as well."

Mary could not understand her. "I think you ought to be very glad you
are not a Drury, to share in his disgrace," she said, with a sigh.

Maud lifted her face, her eyes flashing with indignation. "Glad!" she
said; "nay, nay, I wish I were a Drury, that I might go and seek him
now. Think of it, Mary; all have cast him off."

"He has disgraced us all," said Mary. "I have heard my father say it was
his proudest boast that the Drurys had ever been true to the king and
state, and never taken part with any riotous mob, and now Harry has
dragged our family honour to the very dust. Everybody will know it soon,
and every village wench will pity me because I am the sister of a
traitor. I shall never hold up my head again," and Mary burst into tears
at the picture of humiliation she had drawn.

[Illustration: "HE HAS DISGRACED US ALL!"]

Maud was quite incapable of understanding this self-pity, and seating
herself at the little table by the window, she indulged her own
self-reproachful thoughts on her conduct of the morning. She had no idea
then that his father had treated him so harshly, or she would have been
more tender, and her heart was sad as she thought of his words, that he
must be true to his conscience.

But her musing was broken in upon by Mary saying, "It is so wicked, so
wilful, to rebel against the King."

"But suppose he had to do this, or rebel against his conscience," said
Maud, giving some expression to her own thoughts.

Mary started. "What can you mean? prithee, it cannot be right for us to
rebel against the King?"

"Certainly not for us," said Maud. "But we are not to make ourselves a
conscience to other people; and if Harry sees that serving the King
would be wrong----"

"But it cannot be wrong," interrupted Mary. "God's Word says, 'Fear God,
honour the king.'"

"Yes, fearing God comes first," said Maud, but speaking more to herself
than to Mary; "and it seems to me that it is out of this fear Harry has
been led to adopt these new views. I can't see how they are right; but
then I suppose living here in this quiet village, and having everything
we want, we do not understand things as men do who go out into the world
and learn what Acts of Parliament mean."

"Maud, you are half a traitor yourself," interrupted Mary, indignantly.

"Nay, nay, Mary! I am not that," said Maud. "I love the King, from what
I have heard of his gentle courteous bearing and his loving care of his
children; but even Master Drury denies not that he has oft-times broken
his solemn promise, and 'tis said that his subsidies and exactions have
well nigh ruined the nation."

"Maud, Maud! said I not that you were a traitor; and by my troth you
must be, to speak thus of the King."

"Nay, I am no traitor. I would that I could speak to King Charles
myself, and tell him how sorely grieved many of his subjects are at his
want of truth and honest dealing," replied Maud, warmly.

"But the King cannot do evil," said Mary, in a tone of expostulation.

Maud put her hand to her forehead in some perplexity. "I know not what
to think, sometimes," she said. "I like not to think it possible that
the King can do wrong; but what am I to think when he breaks the Divine
laws of truth and uprightness. He is not above these, if he is above
those of the land, that he can make and unmake at his will."

"We have no business to think about such things at all," said Mary,
impatiently.

"Marry, you may be right," answered Maud; "for women-folk have but little
wit to the understanding of such weighty matters; but for men it is
different, and that is why so many are carried away to the defending
this rebellious Parliament, I trow."

"But they should not be carried away, now that they know how evil are
its doings, and how it has laid violent hands on the Archbishop; and
herein is Harry's sin the greater."

"Oh, say not so, Mary. Harry is right, I trow, although you and I see
not how that may be," said Maud.

At this moment there was a knock at the door, and Bessie's tearful face
appeared. Mistress Mabel had found it impossible to settle down to her
usual spinning to-day, and telling the children she must look after the
maids, to see they did not get gossiping about the family affairs, she
had dismissed them.

"Oh, Maud, I have no brother Harry now," sobbed the little girl,
throwing herself into her arms.

"But Harry is not dead," said Maud, smoothing back the tumbled hair from
her hot forehead. "He has only gone away from home, and you can love him
still."

"That's what Bertram says," sobbed the child; "but it isn't just the
same; he was my brother before--my very own, and now"--and she burst
into another passionate flood of tears.

"Prithee, now hush," said Maud. "Harry loves you all the same, I am
sure, and you can love him; so that it need make no difference to you,
Bessie."

"But it does make a difference," passionately exclaimed Bessie. "You
said it did a little while ago."

Maud had forgotten the circumstance to which the girl referred, until
she went on--"You said Harry was not your real brother, and now I am not
his real sister. Has Harry got another name?" she suddenly asked.

Maud smiled, but Mary shook her head sorrowfully. "No, his name is Drury
still," she said, "and he has disgraced it, Bessie--disgraced the good
old name that you and I bear."

Bessie looked at Maud. "Are you glad your name is not Drury?" she said.

Maud shook her head. "I wish it was," she said, "and then I could make
you understand better that I do not think Harry has disgraced it."

"Then it can be, can't it?" said Bessie, drying her tears.

"What, dear?"

"Drury. You can change your name, can't you?"

A momentary blush overspread Maud's pale face, but it quickly faded, and
a sadder look than ever came into her eyes as she shook her head and
said, "No, dear, I shall never change my name now." Then, seeing that
her sadness had brought back the tears to Bessie's eyes, she asked where
Bertram had gone.

"To look after Harry's horse," answered Bessie. "Aunt Mabel says it is
to be his, now; but Bertram says he will never ride it, for it will be
like robbing Harry."

"Suppose we go and look at Cavalier, too," said Maud. "He will miss his
master almost as much as you do, Bessie," she added, trying to speak
cheerfully.

They went through the painted gallery and out of the side door, as Harry
went in the morning, the little girl wondering why they went that way.
Bertram had sobbed out the first portion of his grief to his brother's
dumb favourite, and now stood stroking its silky chestnut coat; but as
Maud entered the paddock the noble creature pricked up its ears and gave
a pleased whining of recognition.

"It is not Harry, Cavalier," said Bertram, sadly.

"Prithee, Cavalier is almost as fond of Maud as he is of Harry," said
Bessie.

"Oh, Maud, then you have him," said Bertram, with a fresh burst of
tears. "He is mine now, Aunt Mabel says; but I shall never be able to
ride him, for thinking of Harry; but he'll like to have you on his back,
and Harry will like it too, I know."

That Harry would like it Maud knew full well, but the appropriation of
his things in this way she did not approve of at all; but Bertram's next
words settled the matter.

"Aunt Mabel says Cavalier shall be sold, and a pony bought for me, if I
don't like it; and I can't bear to part with Cavalier," sobbed the
little boy.

"We won't part with it, Bertie," said Maud. "I will have Cavalier, and
ride him every day, and I will buy you a pony instead, and you can ride
with me."

Mistress Maud Harcourt possessed the sole right to a large fortune, and
so she could do as she pleased in such a small matter as keeping a horse
for her individual use. Mistress Mabel grumbled a little when she heard
of this arrangement, but it did not alter matters, and in a few days
Bertram's pony arrived.



CHAPTER VI.

THE HAYSLOPE WITCH.


There had never been much communication between the villagers of
Hayslope and the family living at the Grange. Mistress Mabel believed
that the villagers existed solely for the convenience of the family, but
never troubled herself to consider their wants or necessities, and
brought up her niece Mary upon the same principle. Maud appeared to be
of a similar opinion; but sharing Harry's confidence in everything, she
knew he went about among his poorer neighbours, and began to take an
interest in them herself, although not very actively.

Now, however, she determined to follow Harry's example, and take up his
work; and, mounted on Cavalier, she went out the very next day to make
inquiries after an old woman whom she knew Harry had often befriended.
She inquired at the blacksmith's shed for Dame Coppins, but was
surprised by the man coming to the door, and instead of pointing out the
way to the cottage, saying, "We'll do it, Mistress Harcourt! We'll have
justice on the old witch that's done the mischief!"

"What mischief?" asked Maud, in some surprise, patting Cavalier to make
him stand still.

"What mischief should it be but sending away Master Harry Drury to the
Parliament wars, as though the king hadn't had enough of the lads from
Hayslope?"

"But this poor old woman did not send Harry away," said Maud, quickly.

"Marry, but she bewitched him. I see it with my own eyes," said the man.
"If I had but known it then I'd have ducked her in the horse-pond, and
broken the spell."

Maud shivered. The belief in witchcraft was universal then, and she
began to fear whether Harry had been under Satanic influence. At length
she said, "I should like to see this old woman, if she be a witch, and
ask her where Master Harry has gone."

"Prithee, be not so venturesome, lest she send thee after him," said the
blacksmith, in some consternation.

Maud thought this would not be so much of a calamity, perhaps, until the
man added, "Nobody will ever hear aught of Master Harry again, and if
thou dost go to the witch, thou wilt disappear too."

The young lady looked undecided when she heard this, but she could
hardly restrain Cavalier from turning down a narrow lane close by, which
the blacksmith observing, said, "Now, you may be sure mistress, that the
old witch has worked her spells; for Cavalier there is under them, and
is bidden by her to take thee to be bewitched too."

It seemed that the horse was determined to take her somewhere, whether
she would or no, and the next minute was trotting down the lane, Maud
scarcely knowing what to make of the proceeding. After trotting about
half a mile he paused, and then turned in at a broken-down gateway, and
walked up to the window of a cottage, where he stopped and looked round,
as if telling Maud to dismount.

"The horse certainly is bewitched," said Maud, half aloud, determined
not to move from her seat, and trying to turn Cavalier's head in the
opposite direction.

But Cavalier seemed obstinately bent on looking in at the window, and
would not move; and Maud's consternation was complete when the door
slowly opened, and an old woman, leaning on a crutched stick, came
hobbling out. She was in the presence of the witch herself, and, with a
cry of horror, Maud dropped the reins and covered her face with her
hands. Finding the witch did not attempt to drag her into the house, now
that she had her in her power, Maud ventured to look up in a minute or
two, and saw a venerable-looking old woman standing on the threshold,
looking very pale and ill, and quite as frightened as she herself did.

[Illustration: DAME COPPINS.]

But the old woman was the first to recover herself, and she said, "You
have come to tell me about Master Harry Drury? The Lord reward you for
your kindness to a poor old woman."

Maud hardly knew what to say. She felt ashamed of her fright now, and
yet an idea had entered her head that Cavalier could see Harry in the
cottage, and she said, "Nay, but I have come to ask _you_ about Harry."

The poor old woman trembled visibly when she heard this. "Prithee, but I
cannot tell you that," she said, speaking as calmly as she could. "I
have not seen him these three days," she went on, "and sorely have I
missed him, for not a word of the Book can I read now. He's been eyes to
me ever since my own boy went away to fight for the King."

"What book did he read to you?" asked Maud.

"Marry, and what should it be but God's word?" said Dame Coppins. "It's
been open at the place where he left off these three days, for it is
sore hard to believe I sha'n't hear his voice again." Tears choked the
old woman here, and Maud, quite forgetting her reputation as a witch,
jumped off her horse, saying, "Shall I read a chapter for you, as Harry
used?"

"Then it is true he's gone away?" said the old woman.

Maud nodded. The tears were in her eyes now. "We don't know where he has
gone," she said.

"Poor lamb, it is a sore trial for you; but it will be worse for me, I
trow," and the old woman sighed heavily.

"Why?" asked Maud, entering the cottage, where, on a little table lay a
Bible open at the Gospel of St. John. There was nothing remarkable in
this book, she knew, for she recognised it as an old one of Harry's,
which they had read from together many times, until she gave him a new
one on his birthday once, when the old one disappeared.

After she had read part of the sixth chapter, the old woman begged for a
few verses more about the "mansions," and Maud read part of the
fourteenth.

"I'll keep that in mind when the time comes," murmured the old woman;
"and if I never see you again, Mistress Harcourt----"

"But I will come and see you again," interrupted Maud.

The old woman shook her head. "It'll be all over soon; I couldn't bear
it again," she said.

"What will be all over?" asked Maud. "You are not ill, are--at least,
not very ill--not likely to die yet," she added, hastily.

"If I waited till the Lord called me by disease I'd may be wait a good
while yet, for I'm strong when I'm well; but the people hereabout say I
am a witch, and but for Master Harry I should have been tried before
last night."

"Last night!" uttered Maud. "What did they do to you?" for she had lost
all fear of her as a witch now.

The poor old creature looked round fearfully. "They did it," she said,
"tried me for a witch. They took me to the horse-pond and ducked me, but
there was not enough water to drown me. They'd have done it before if
Master Harry had not been my protector, but now he is gone nothing will
save me, for they say I've sent him away; as if I should want to lose my
best friend," and the old woman burst into tears again.

Maud was indignant. "Prithee, do not be afraid," she said. "I will
protect you, they shall not hurt you!"

For a minute the old woman looked up glad and grateful, but then she
shook her head sadly. "You can't do it, they are coming again to-night,"
she said, "and the ill-usage will kill me;" and she pushed up the sleeve
of her gown and showed how her arms were cut and bruised.

"You must be protected," said Maud, "it will be murder. I will go to
Master Drury at once and tell him about it," and without waiting another
minute, Maud mounted Cavalier and cantered up the lane.

At the top, clustered round the blacksmith's shed, were a group of
soldiers, who made way for her to pass, but the blacksmith sprang
forward and stopped her horse.

"These soldiers have seen Master Harry Drury Mistress Harcourt," he
said.

"Then you will not repeat the cowardly attack on Dame Coppins, I trow!"
said the young lady, burning with anger still.

The blacksmith drew back somewhat ashamed, and Maud, forgetting all
else, turned to the soldiers and said, "Tell me where you met Master
Harry Drury."

The man doffed his cap respectfully, for he could see Maud was a lady.
"It was near by the gate of London," he said. "Our leader, Captain
Stanhope, has now gone to the Grange, bearing tidings of it."

Maud urged Cavalier into a sharp canter when she left the soldiers, for
she wished to be in time to hear the Captain's account of his meeting
with Harry, which she was likely to lose for ever if not in time to hear
it given to Master Drury. Captain Stanhope and his troopers had been to
Hayslope before, and the Captain knowing the importance of his meeting
with Harry, would be most likely to speak of it at supper time, when
they were all assembled in the dining-hall.

Before supper, however, she wanted to consult Master Drury about
protecting Dame Coppins from the village mob, and as soon as Cavalier
had been left to Roger she went in search of that gentleman. But he was
not in the study or the keeping-room, and thinking he must have gone out
with Captain Stanhope, she went into the garden to watch for his return.

Walking noiselessly over the velvet turf, she was close to the
quaintly-cut leafy screen that sheltered the arbour from the garden,
when she heard voices close by, and some one say, "Then we are to arrest
him as a traitor, wherever he may be found?"

"Yes," faintly answered Master Drury's voice.

Maud felt as though she were rooted to the spot. Could it be Harry they
were talking of? All uncertainty about this was set aside by Master
Drury's next words. "He has disgraced the family name by this, and I
would you had taken him prisoner ere he entered London to finish his
rebellion."

"That might not be, Master Drury, seeing I knew not wherefore he was
journeying there," said Captain Stanhope.

Maud disdained to listen to what was not intended for her ears, and
rapidly walked away in a tumult of passion against her guardian for his
cruelty to his son.

When she entered the keeping-room Mistress Mabel and Mary looked up from
their work of spinning, but she did not heed the command to come and sit
down at her wheel with them. Passing up to her own room, she took out
some warm wraps, and then went round to the stable in search of Roger,
to whom she gave some directions about coming to the village with a
basket of provisions a little later in the evening.

She then set out on her walk back to Dame Coppins' cottage, determined
to stay there all night, and protect the old woman by her presence. She
was likewise anxious to tell her of this fresh danger threatening Harry,
for she was the only one to whom she could speak about it, and she knew
the old woman would sympathise with her in her sorrow.

The poor old woman could give more than sympathy, she found she could
give strength and comfort by her apt quotations from God's Word, for she
herself had tasted sorrow and learned their power. Then they fell into a
conversation about Harry, which lasted until Roger arrived with the
basket, and a message from Master Drury that he and Captain Stanhope
were coming to the cottage shortly.

Maud was not in a humour to thank either her guardian or the soldier for
anything they might do now, but when they arrived she told them what had
taken place the night before; and on the gentlemen promising to ride
back to the village and make inquiries into the matter, to prevent its
recurrence, she was obliged to promise to return to the Grange, upon
Roger being sent down as a guard for Dame Coppins for this night. But
she was very ungracious in her bearing towards the young soldier,
although it was evident that he greatly wished to please her.

It was Captain Stanhope's business just now to get fresh men to recruit
his Majesty's army, and he readily consented to Master Drury's
proposition that he should make Hayslope Grange his head-quarters for
the present. His men could be lodged in the village, and they could make
short expeditions into the surrounding country in search of recruits,
and thus business could be combined with pleasure on the part of the
Captain, while it would afford the Royalist leaders a proof that Master
Drury of the Grange was still a staunch Cavalier, should they hear of
the defection of his son; and thus the matter was settled to the
satisfaction of all parties--at least, all but Maud, and the arrangement
vexed her exceedingly.



CHAPTER VII.

THE REVEL.


May-day had not been kept with its usual festivity at Hayslope this
year, and so in this month of June it was proposed to have a junketing
on the village green in honour of Captain Stanhope and his soldiers.
Maud, and many another as sad-hearted as she, were in no humour for
revelry when their dear ones were away at the war, and Bertram was quite
indignant that Mary should wish it if Captain Stanhope did, and loudly
declared he would not join in the fun. The horns of ale passed freely
from hand to hand that day, and the soldiers kept up the excitement
among the villagers by occasionally giving them a fanfare from their
trumpets, drinking with them, and telling them stories of "glorious
war." It had the desired effect. Before the night closed in half-a-dozen
lads had enlisted, and among them Master Drury's trusty groom, Roger.

This was rather more than the gentleman had bargained for, and he was
very angry when he heard it, but he could not say much to Captain
Stanhope, lest the sincerity of his principles should be doubted. But it
seemed that Roger was not the only prize the young soldier coveted, for
the day following the revel he asked the hand of Mary Drury in marriage.
Master Drury knew not what to say to this, for all the household had
seen the marked attentions he paid to Maud--attentions which she
repelled with cold disdain.

It had been remarked by many in the village that Mistress Harcourt had
kept aloof as much as possible from the revelry. She had been obliged to
come down with the family, but instead of joining in the sport, she went
about among those who were on the outskirts of the crowd--the mothers
with babies in their arms, widows, whose lives this civil war had made
desolate, and sad-eyed maidens widowed already in heart and affection
through the intolerance of King Charles. Among these, Maud had already
made herself known, and now her rich robes of cherry-colour flowered
satin might be seen in close neighbourhood with the blue serge and
linsey-woolsey petticoats and linen jackets of her poorer neighbours.
The children liked to look at her pretty dress--that of itself was a
show to them--but the sad and sorrowful had began to love her for the
kindly words and sympathy she gave them.

From these she heard that it was whispered she was likely to become
Mistress Stanhope shortly--a rumour that annoyed her exceedingly.
Captain Stanhope, it seems, had heard the same. Some one had ventured to
remark that the bride-elect did not join the dancers, and he resolved to
speak to Maud that very night, and ask her to become his wife, although
he had received so little encouragement to hope for a favourable answer.

On his way back to the Grange, therefore, he contrived to join her, and
in a few words begged her to favour his suit. Maud hardly knew whether
to be angry or sorry, but she contrived to make him understand most
clearly that it was useless to press her on that subject, and begged him
not to allow any one else to know that he had asked her hand.

She need not have feared this. Captain Stanhope was too proud to let any
one know of his rejection, and his chief annoyance arose from the fact
that many had already seen and remarked his preference. Musing on this,
he saw Mary and Bertram at a little distance, and the idea at once
entered his head that this annoyance could be got over by at once
proposing to Mary, when it would be thought he was only playing with
Maud, while in reality he was attached to Mary. So he contrived to
dismiss Bertram from his sister's side, and in a gentle tone begged her
to walk in the garden with him; and then when they reached the arbour he
made the same proposal as he had made to Maud but a few minutes before.

Mary was surprised, but pleased; not that she loved the young soldier,
she had not thought of such a thing. But he was handsome, and could be a
pleasant companion; and then she had felt herself so disgraced since
Harry had gone away, that she would gladly exchange the name of Drury
for Stanhope. She did not tell her lover this, she only said something
about thinking he liked Maud best, on which he muttered that Maud was
too proud and cold for him, when she shyly said he must speak to her
father, when, if he gave his consent, she was willing to ratify it.

Master Drury hardly knew what to say when asked for his permission. In
reality he felt the loss of his son more than he chose to own even to
himself, and did not care to part with his eldest daughter just now, but
he resolved to let Mary decide the matter; and so, telling Captain
Stanhope that he should receive his answer in the evening, he sent for
Mary.

The young lady blushed as she entered her father's presence, for she
guessed what he wished to speak to her about.

"Prithee now, tell me truly Mary of this business with Captain Stanhope.
Dost thou wish to leave the old Grange, my child?" he asked.

"I wish to change my name, father," said Mary, with a deep blush.

"And wherefore art thou so anxious about this?"

"Canst thou ask, when it has been so deeply disgraced?" said Mary.

The old man bowed his head. Truly his family pride was bearing bitter
fruit, if he were to lose his children through it in this way. He saw
that his daughter did not love the man that had sought her hand in
marriage, and he did not believe that he loved her; but he was powerless
to withhold his consent if Mary wished it, which she evidently did. "It
will be better so, my father," she said. "The Stanhopes have ever been
true and loyal, I have heard you say, and this marriage may help to wipe
the traitor stain from our escutcheon."

"True, my daughter," said the old man, but it was said very sadly, for
he knew it was not thus he had chosen her mother, or been accepted by
her. But the matter seemed to have been settled by Mary without his
interference, and he yielded rather than gave his consent when Captain
Stanhope came again in the evening.

After leaving her father Mary went to inform Maud of what had taken
place. She had expected some surprise, but not the look of blank
astonishment with which her news was received.

"Mary, you cannot mean to do it," she uttered, as soon as she was able
to speak.

"By my troth, I know not what you mean, Maud," said Mary, indignantly.

"Prithee, tell me it is not true, dear; that it is all a fable about
your marrying Captain Stanhope," said Maud, soothingly.

"Marry, but it is true--true as that your name is Maud Harcourt,"
replied Mary.

Maud rose from her seat and paced up and down the room, and Mary,
looking at her, could only think that she was disappointed. "Tell me,
when did this take place?" said Maud, pausing in her walk and looking
earnestly in Mary's face.

"Marry, but I know not why you should ask this question," said Mary,
indignantly. "Did he propose to you?" she asked, in a tone of bitter
sarcasm.

Maud blushed crimson and turned away, but only for a minute. "Tell me
when he asked you this?" she cried. "Prithee, tell me, Mary. I wish not
to vex you, but this I would know."

"Marry, you may know, it was last night," said Mary, speaking calmly.

"As he walked from the village?" asked Maud.

"Nay, in the garden, after Bertram had left me," said Mary. "I saw him
walking with you from the village," she added.

"Then it must have been after I came indoors," said Maud.

Mary bowed her head. "Even so," she replied. Maud resumed her walk up
and down the room, and Mary sat gazing at her until Maud came and threw
herself on a cushion at her feet, and, forgetting the bitter words that
had been spoken only a minute or two before, she stooped and kissed
Mary's hands. This touched the proud girl's heart, and she said, "I hope
I have not offended you, Maud."

"Prithee, no," said Maud. "But I want you to tell me, Mary, do you love
this Captain Stanhope?" Mary drew back.

"Why do you ask this question?" she said.

"Marry, because I greatly fear he loves not you," said Maud, slowly.

"But tell me does he love you?" said Mary, in a tone of sarcasm.

Maud did not reply to this. She expected the young lady would be angry,
but she was determined to do what she believed to be her duty. "Mary,
sweetheart, we have been as sisters," she said, "and I would you knew
how much I loved you; and by my faith, it is because of this I would bid
you be not too hasty in binding yourself to this Captain Stanhope! It is
pride, not love, that has made him seek you."

"Marry, then we are even," said Mary, with a bitter laugh. "I thank you,
Mistress Maud, for telling me of this," she said, with a mock reverence,
"for you have removed the last scruple I had in accepting him." Whether
this was true, or whether the gay manner was only put on, Maud could not
tell, but it made her very unhappy, and instead of going down to the
keeping-room, to be watched by Mistress Mabel, she went to pay her usual
visit to Dame Coppins at once, instead of later on in the day.

As she reached the blacksmith's corner she saw a little crowd gathered
round, and heard the sound of women crying; and when she drew near she
found it was the soldiers leaving with the spoil of the previous day's
revel--the six men who had taken service for the King.

She had heard of it before she left home; but the thought that Roger
might meet and fight against the young master whom he loved almost
overcame her now, and she could hardly restrain her tears when the
downcast-looking man ventured to say farewell as she was passing.

"Farewell Roger, and Godspeed to you, and quickly bring this war to a
close, and you back to us. You will not forget to be kind to Master
Harry if ever he should need it," added Maud; for it might be that as a
royalist soldier Roger would have that power some day, she thought; and
then she rode on down the lane, while the poor fellows who were going
away bade wives and sisters cheer up and take example by Mistress Maud,
whose lover would soon have to go to the wars too, for the villagers had
quite settled the affair for Captain Stanhope to their own satisfaction.

As Maud went on to the cottage she wondered when the marriage was to
take place between Mary and Captain Stanhope. It could not be for some
time, she thought--not until this dreadful war was over, and then she
sighed as she thought of the misery this was causing.

When she reached the cottage she found the old woman looking very weak
and ill, and so feeble she could hardly speak. Maud was alarmed. "What
is the matter," she said; "are you ill?"

The poor old creature shook her head--"Not ill," she gasped, "but, oh,
so hungry." Maud ran to the cupboard; there was not a bit of anything in
the shape of food, but a little pile of halfpence in one corner.

Maud took these into her hand. "Why did you not buy yourself a rye
loaf?" she said. Dame Coppins shook her head. "They will not sell
anything to me," she said.

It was true enough; the villagers had determined to starve out the witch
if they could not drown her, and so every one had refused to supply her
with food, until the poor creature was brought to the verge of
starvation.

To remedy this, Maud now had either to bring the old woman's food from
the Grange, or make her purchases herself in the village, so that a day
seldom passed without her being seen near the blacksmith's shed.

One day when she was passing, a stranger rode up whose horse had lost a
shoe, and he was obliged to stop to get the damage repaired. The man
looked travel-stained and tired, and the blacksmith, with his usual love
of gossip, wanted him to drink a horn of ale before he shod the horse.

"Nay, that may not be, friend blacksmith, for I bear tidings of weighty
import. There has been a great battle in Yorkshire." Maud, pausing to
speak to a child close by, heard these words.

"A battle, sir traveller: can you tell me aught about it?" she asked.

"Marry, and I should be able, seeing I was in it, and fought with
Lieutenant Cromwell's Ironsides," said the man. "Is not this Hayslope?"
he asked.

[Illustration: THE STRANGER AT THE SMITHY.]

The blacksmith nodded. "But we be all King Charles's men here," he said.

"Marry, that may be, so all who are here," said the traveller. "But one
Harry Drury cometh from Hayslope, and he fought right bravely with the
Parliament men at Marston Moor, and now lieth sorely wounded and
grievously sick."



CHAPTER VIII.

BESSIE'S DISTRESS.


Maud did not wait to hear anything more that the messenger had to tell;
whether the Royalists had gained the victory or had to mourn defeat she
did not know, and hardly cared. This one fact was enough for her; Harry
was wounded--wounded and ill--perhaps dying among strangers. It might be
he was prisoner even, and then an ignominious traitor's death awaited
him. All the darkest possibilities of his fate rushed to her mind as she
walked down the lane to the cottage.

Here her grief was shared by Dame Coppins, who hardly knew what to say
to comfort her under such a trial, and could only point her to Him who,
having "borne our griefs and carried our sorrows," can sympathise and
comfort under the sorest trials.

On reaching the Grange, Maud found that the news had travelled thither
before her--news of humiliation, that had put Captain Stanhope quite out
of temper.

"By my faith, I cannot believe it!" he was saying, as Maud entered the
keeping-room. "Prince Rupert defeated by that son of a brewer and his
handful of sorry prentice lads? Master Drury, what think you is likely
to happen, forsooth?"

"This varlet messenger, may be, is mistelling the news," said Master
Drury, hoping it might be so, for he had thought the rebel troops well
nigh crushed out.

Maud wondered whether he had heard the news concerning Harry, and looked
across at Mistress Mabel, but that stern, impassive face told nothing,
and Mary's, in its proud resolve, no more; and she dared not utter the
forbidden name before so many, and so went in search of the children, to
ascertain from them what news had come.

She saw in a moment that they had heard both items, for Bessie was
sitting in a corner of the garden crying bitterly, while Bertram was
marching up and down, telling her what he would do to rescue Harry when
he was a man.

[Illustration: BESSIE'S GRIEF FOR HARRY.]

She sat down beside the little girl and tried to comfort her, but Bessie
would not be comforted. "It's very kind of you, Maud," she sobbed, "but
you are not Harry's sister--not a Drury, like Mary and I. If Mary would
only be a little sorry for him, I shouldn't cry so much, but now he's
only got me and Bertram to be sorry."

"Oh, Bessie, think you not that I am sorry, too?" said Maud.

"Yes, you are sorry, Maud, I know," said the little girl, hardly knowing
how to express herself; "but you know you are not his sister, and so he
won't expect you to cry for him."

"Marry, will he not," said Maud, scarce able to keep from laughing. "And
will he expect you to cry for him a great deal?" asked Maud, as the
tears broke out afresh.

"Mary won't," sobbed Bessie; and she seemed bent upon doing her sister's
share for her.

Maud could not help shedding a few tears in company, and Bessie threw
her arms round her neck and kissed her for them. At length Maud said,
"If Harry does not expect me to cry for him, there is something else he
will expect me to do, and that is to comfort his little sister;" and she
took the little girl in her arms, and laid the hot tear-stained cheek
against hers, and whispered gentle loving words, that soothed the
troubled heart. It was just what Harry would have done--just what he
would have her do, she knew, and she did it as though he were near and
watching her.

For the next few days Captain Stanhope was in a restless state of
impatience to ascertain whether the news brought to the village was
correct, but they were not the days of newspapers, and an army might be
within a few miles of Hayslope itself, and the inhabitants none the
wiser; so it was not strange that he could hear nothing of the movements
of an army away in Yorkshire.

But all suspense was at an end in a day or two. A messenger arrived
bearing despatches for Captain Stanhope, and in them mention was made of
the disastrous battle of Marston Moor. These despatches were commands
for the Captain to collect all the men he had been able to get in his
recruiting tour, and join the main body of the army in the west of
England.

So Mary's marriage, which was to have taken place in a few weeks, had to
be postponed until the autumn, or rather winter, for there could be no
certainty of his returning to Hayslope until then. There was always a
truce of a few months during winter. Wars could not be carried on
regardless of weather, as they are now, and thus it was that they often
lasted years.

After the departure of the Captain, life seemed to pass more slowly and
monotonously than ever at Hayslope Grange. Out of the direct main road,
strangers rarely came that way, and so little was known of how events
were tending in the mortal strife going on so near them.

The trial of Archbishop Laud was still being carried on by the London
Parliament; Oxford was supporting the King in the combat with his
subjects, the north having yielded to Fairfax, the Parliamentary
general. This was all the news that came to Hayslope through all the
remaining days of July and the sultry weeks of August. No word came from
Harry Drury, not a syllable that Maud was hungering to hear with a
hunger that paled her cheek and was wasting her strength.

The harvest--what there was--had to be gathered in by women for the most
part; and when Maud looked at these going out to their unwonted toil, a
baby in one hand and a reaping-hook in the other, and thought of the
burden of sorrow they had to carry as well, she reproached herself for
weakly yielding to her grief; and yet it was hard to combat sometimes.

She had been compelled to rebel against Mistress Mabel's command to sit
more closely to her spinning and sewing. Not that she disliked preparing
Mary's house linen, but because she could not endure the scrutiny of
those hard cold eyes, and to get away from them she did as Harry had
done many a time before--mounted Cavalier, and cantered away miles over
the fields, and then back to the village, to visit her friends there.

The months of September and October passed slowly enough, but about the
middle of November Roger and a few of the other men came back to the
village for the winter. It could not be said that they were not welcome,
and yet provisions were now so dear, owing to the scanty harvest and
heavy taxes, that every extra mouth to fill was felt as a heavy burden
by their distressed families; and then, being winter time, there was
scarcely any work they could do in the fields and gardens.

Maud had hoped that she should hear something of Harry when the men came
back, and how much her returning health and strength had depended upon
this she did not know until the hope was taken away and the faint
sickening languor again stole over her frame. It might have grown upon
her more than it did, but the wants of the poor people in the village,
and the demands of Mistress Mabel, that she should assist in the
preparations for Mary's wedding, left her very little time to spend in
sitting alone and thinking of Harry.

Mary was to be married at Christmas, and go with Captain Stanhope to
Oxford. The two seemed mutually pleased with each other, and quite
satisfied with their bargain, but Maud could not tell whether they loved
each other. She hoped they did, but Mary never gave her an opportunity
of speaking upon this subject, and indeed the preparations for the
coming event seemed to occupy her mind so fully that she had no thought
for anything else.

This wedding afforded the villagers the most satisfaction, perhaps, for
Master Drury was to give them an ox to be roasted on the green, and the
prospect of a good dinner was very pleasant to them under the present
circumstances. Captain Stanhope gave them a barrel of ale in which to
drink his bride's health, but Mary seemed to think no one wanted
anything but herself.

She packed up all the books and little trifles lying about that had
belonged to Harry, and when Maud ventured to remonstrate with her about
this, saying that Bertram would want them by-and-by if Harry did not
return, she retorted, "Harry Drury never will return to this house,
Maud, and Bertram will be expelled too if you continue to encourage him
in thinking Harry right in what he has done."

Maud looked surprised. "What can you mean?" she exclaimed.

"Marry, nothing but what is true. You are teaching Bertram to think
Harry right in rebelling against the King, and his father, too,"
retorted Mary.

"I do not think Harry is wrong in following the guidance of his
conscience," said Maud, slowly; "but I have not sought to teach Bertram
that Harry's way is right for him. I have only told him to keep the fear
of God before his eyes, and follow the teaching of His Holy Spirit, as I
believe Harry has done."

"And so you think it is this that has made Harry a traitor," said Mary,
with rising anger.

"I don't think Harry is a traitor," said Maud, calmly. "It is the King
who has----"

"By my troth I will not listen to such dreadful words," interrupted
Mary, and she went out of the room; but she evidently did not alter her
opinion, for she confiscated to her own use every article that had
formerly belonged to her brother.

After the wedding festivities were over, and Mistress Mary Stanhope had
departed with her husband to Oxford, the house seemed more dull than
ever, and Mistress Mabel more severe and exacting.

About the middle of January came news that thrilled every one with
horror, and put Master Drury into a fever of mingled anger and sorrow. A
man had stopped at the blacksmith's shed on his way from London, and
brought the news that Archbishop Laud had been beheaded on Tower Hill
the day before he left.

Mistress Mabel was speechless with indignation for a few minutes, and
her first act was to take the bright cherry-coloured bow off Bessie's
hair.

The little girl looked up in surprise, and saw her aunt taking the
ruffles from her own neck and wrists. "This is not the time for such
bravery as this," said the lady, looking angrily at the ribbons and
ruffles. Bessie wondered what they had to do with it, while Mistress
Mabel stood upright, watching her brother as he walked up and down the
room, murmuring, "They have slain the Archbishop--murdered the Lord's
anointed."

"For which all good Christians ought to fast and mourn," put in Mistress
Mabel; "and I hope, brother, that you will see to it that your household
is not lacking in this matter," she added.

"Nay, nay, I leave all such to you," said Master Drury; "order whatever
is seemly at this time. I know not what has come to this evil-minded
generation," he added.

"An evil generation they are, as you say," quoth Mistress Mabel. "Where
will their iniquity end? They will put forth their hand against the King
next, I trow."

Bertram and Bessie shivered at the bare idea of such a thing, and Maud,
who felt she must say something in defence of the Parliament, said,
"Nay, nay, Mistress Mabel, they will not put forth their hand against
the King's majesty."

"But they will, I trow, if they have the power," said the lady. "And
that God may rescue this nation from their hands, it behoves us to
appear before Him in decent raiment of mourning at this time."

"Are we all to go into mourning?" asked Bessie, in some surprise.

"Would you be wearing ribbons and ruffles, and such light vanities at
this time?" angrily demanded the lady.

Bessie looked down, feeling very much ashamed of herself, but hardly
knowing how she had offended, until Bertram asked, "Will everybody wear
mourning for the Archbishop, aunt?"

"Every honest Christian soul will nathless wish to do so," replied
Mistress Mabel, with a severe look at Bessie.

The little girl felt the reproof, and when she went upstairs she put
away all her bright ribbons and the gay dresses that had been worn at
her sister's wedding. "I don't mind wearing the black hood and wimple,
Maud," she said; "but then I thought people wore mourning because they
felt sorry, and I can't feel so sorry about the Archbishop as I did
about Harry going away."

"Of course not, dear, because----"

"But aunt seems to think we ought," interrupted the little girl; "and
father never looked so sorry about Harry as he did to-day about the
Archbishop."

"Your father may not let us see how sorry he is about Harry," said Maud,
"but I am sure he is often thinking of him."

Maud spoke of this as though she were sure it was so, as in truth she
was. She had noticed a great alteration in her guardian lately. His hair
was rapidly changing from brown to silver white, his tall erect form was
bowed as with the weight of an added twenty years; and she thought with
a keen pang that if Harry did not soon come he would never see his
father again. And then arose the question, where was Harry?--for no news
had come but that one voice from the battle-field, telling them he was
sick and wounded.



CHAPTER IX.

THE WOUNDED MESSENGER.


There was little fear that no fasts would be kept the month that the
Archbishop was executed. So many were compelled to fast for want of food
throughout England, that all the land might be said to mourn, although
they did not put on the outward semblance of it, as Mistress Mabel did.

Just as the men were thinking of leaving their homes again in the early
spring, came a faint rumour that peace might be established, and many a
heart beat high with hope that the commissioners who were to meet at
Uxbridge, and negotiate a reconciliation between the King and his
people, might be able to conclude terms of adjustment satisfactory to
both parties. Maud felt sure that peace would be established at last
when she heard the news, and Bertram asked her in a whisper if Harry
would come home then; but to this question she could only shake her head
and look up at the clouds racing across the stormy February sky, and
think that Harry had probably gone to the Father's home where ambition
and injustice could never mar the peace of the one great family.

She had come to this conclusion, because she thought if he were living
he would surely have tried to see or communicate with his father before
this, in spite of what had happened.

The meeting at Uxbridge took place just as the first spring blossoms
began to whisper that the earth was not the cold, lifeless thing it
looked; that God had not forgotten the seeds in the time of their
darkness, but that out of this He had made them spring forth, and
through this He had made them strong. Thus thinking as she walked
through the fields, Maud sometimes wondered whether these dark times was
England's winter, out of which righteousness and truth would spring, and
be more strong for the struggle they had endured. Of course to her this
meant that the people would return to the King, and be more firm in
their allegiance than ever, and she hoped that the first promise of such
a result had already taken place.

But alas, for her, and the hopes of thousands like her, who had to
endure silently, and witness misery they could not alleviate! the
commission broke up without anything being done, and men were hurried
from their homes to take up the sword, leaving the plough to be guided
by women's hands. Roger and the rest of his companions again left
Hayslope, and Maud went in and out and tried to comfort the women for
their loss.

Master Drury seemed to feel the failure of the Uxbridge commission most
keenly, although he did not say much about it; yet even Mistress Mabel
could not fail to notice the whitening hair and the failing strength of
her brother, and spoke to Maud about it too. She had noted the change
long since, and now she felt sure that secret grief for Harry was
preying upon her guardian's heart, and bowing him down with premature
old age, and yet she dare not mention the name it would have been a
relief for both to utter and to hear spoken.

So the spring passed into summer without any outward change at Hayslope
Grange, except a short visit from Mistress Mary Stanhope. At the end of
June came tidings of a battle that had been fought a fortnight before at
Naseby, in Northamptonshire, where the King's army had been completely
defeated, leaving on the field five thousand prisoners, an immense
quantity of war material; and what was worse than all for the Royalists,
the King's private cabinet of papers and letters was captured. This news
came from Captain Stanhope, who had himself barely escaped being taken
prisoner by Cromwell's Ironsides, and had got back to Oxford without
even his sword.

This news seemed to affect Master Drury most deeply, and one day he
suddenly announced to Mistress Mabel that he should join the royal
troops and fight for King Charles. The lady looked as if she had not
heard aright, and said something about herb tea and going to bed; but
Master Drury silenced her by taking down his sword from where it hung
against the wall, and ordering one of the servants to fetch his
jack-boots.

[Illustration: MASTER DRURY TAKES DOWN HIS SWORD.]

"Marry, but you are not going to the King now," said Mistress Mabel, in
affright.

"I am going to Oxford," calmly spoke Master Drury; and during the
remainder of the day he was occupied in making preparations for his
departure.

When Mistress Mabel found her brother was bent upon leaving them, and
fully determined to join the army, she suddenly professed to be in great
fear of the Parliament gaining all England, and begged her brother to
remain and protect them--have the moat filled at once, and barricades
placed round the house, for fear of an attack from Cromwell's army; for
Cromwell's name began to be the more prominent now, although Fairfax was
the commander-in-chief.

But Master Drury shook his head. "Cromwell will never come into Essex,"
he said. "You forget King Charles has the Divine right to this land and
its people. He will be the more firmly seated on his throne by-and-by
for these troubles," he added.

Before his departure he spoke to Maud, bidding her come to him at Oxford
if anything happened needing his presence at home. She could ride well
now, he said, and Cavalier could bring her the whole journey.

Maud looked almost as surprised to hear this as Mistress Mabel had done
when her brother first announced his intention of joining the army, for
she had never been to Oxford in her life, and travelling was not very
safe even for a man now Prince Rupert's wild troopers were about. But
she felt thankful for the permission to do this, though at the same time
she hoped that she should not need it.

Harvest-time was drawing near again now, and Mistress Mabel was more
busy than ever among the maids, and Maud spent all her time between the
two children and the village. Sometimes Bessie and Bertram went with her
on her visits of charity, and one or other occasionally read to Dame
Coppins from Harry's old Bible, or listened while the old woman told
them some story of his kindness to her. One day as they were returning
from a visit to the cottage, they were startled to see a crowd of women
gathered round the blacksmith's shed, and Bertram, in his usual
impetuous fashion, ran forward to see what was the matter. Maud was
mounted on Cavalier, and Bessie on her brother's pony, while Bertram,
being on foot, managed to edge himself to the front of the little crowd,
and presently came running back, crying, "Maud, Maud, the man is dying!
somebody has been beating him." Several of the women were coming towards
her by this time, and she sprang from her horse and stepped forward to
meet them.

"Prithee, what is the matter?" she asked, seeing their anxious faces.
"Is the poor man much hurt?"

"By my faith, I think he's dying; but he says he _must_ get to Oxford
first, to deliver up some papers he is bearing to the King," said one of
the women.

"And what saith the blacksmith to his going on his journey?" asked Maud.

"That he will not live an hour with the wound he has received in his
side. Nought but keeping him quite still, as well as careful dressing,
will stanch the bleeding, Martin says, and he knows of such matters."

"Then he must not suffer the poor man to depart," said Maud, in the tone
of one accustomed to be obeyed, as she stepped up to the blacksmith. She
spoke loud enough for the stranger to hear, as she had intended; but he
feebly shook his head, while Martin completed the temporary bandaging of
his wound.

"Marry, stranger, you had better tarry here awhile, for your life will
pay for this journey if you do not," said the blacksmith.

"Nay, nay, I must away to Oxford. I have been sore hindered already, and
lives more valuable than mine depend upon the speedy delivery of these
papers;" and as he spoke he attempted to rise, but fell back into the
blacksmith's arms with a faint groan.

"He must not undertake this journey," said Maud; and she ordered him to
be carried into a cottage near, saying she would come and speak to him
about the papers as soon as he had somewhat revived. Meanwhile she
ordered Martin to look to Cavalier, while the women attended to the
stranger; and then she sent Bertram home with Bessie, and a message to
Mistress Mabel not to be alarmed if she did not come back to the Grange
that night.

By that time the traveller had recovered from the fainting fit, and Maud
went into the cottage. "I am Mistress Maud Harcourt, and Master Drury of
the Grange is my guardian," she said. "He is at Oxford just now, but if
you will entrust your despatches to me, I will take them to him there,
and he will place them in the hands of those to whom they are directed."

The stranger looked at the young lady's glowing resolute face, and laid
his hands upon the papers "I could trust you," he said, "but will you
swear that these shall not pass out of your hands, save to those
directed to receive them?"

"I swear," said Maud, solemnly.

"It seemeth I must perforce stay here," sighed the man. "Prince Rupert's
troops have chased me miles out of my way, or I should have reached
Oxford ere this; and if it were not for the faintness that comes over me
when I move, I would even now continue my journey."

"I will explain all that," said Maud, "but time presses. Now give me the
papers, for my horse is in readiness, and I would fain depart ere
messengers come from Mistress Mabel to hinder me."

It was a large packet, sealed with the seal of the Parliament, that the
stranger delivered into her hands, and which she contrived to conceal
within her dress. Then the stranger gave her directions for her journey,
for he it seemed was well acquainted with the road; and carefully noting
these in her mind, and looking at her purse to see she had money with
her, she took her departure, the villagers scarcely comprehending that
she was going to Oxford until she was out of sight.

Then it was suggested that one of the lads could have gone instead, and
a message came from Mistress Mabel, ordering Maud to return to the
Grange at once; but she was some miles on her way by this time, for
Cavalier was fresh, and inclined for a sharp canter, and Maud kept him
at full speed, for the pressure of those papers was a constant reminder
that life or death hung upon their speedy delivery.

Whether it was the life of friend or foe she did not think. Whoever it
was, he was dear to some heart doubtless--dear as Harry was to her, and
that thought was enough to keep down all fatigue, and make her urge
Cavalier forward whenever he seemed inclined to lag. It never occurred
to her that if Prince Rupert's troops had driven the messenger so far
out of the usual route, it would be impossible for her to escape them,
neither did she think, even if she knew, the distance she had to travel.
Hour after hour she urged her good horse forward, and as it was fine dry
weather, the usual muddy, unkept roads were comparatively easy to
travel, and she had accomplished a good portion of the journey before
the evening closed in.

She halted at a little village where the people were in a terribly
frightened condition on account of the doings of Prince Rupert in the
neighbourhood. Some of his followers had fired a farm-house the night
before, after carrying off all that they wanted; and the numbers of
people--quiet dwellers in lonely houses--or travellers, whom his
troopers had wantonly killed, were very numerous, it seemed, and there
was great surprise that Maud should have undertaken such a journey.

Maud felt surprised herself, now that something of the excitement was
over; she felt stiff and tired, too, with her long ride; and now these
tales about Prince Rupert made her shudder with fear as she knelt down
in the little strange bedroom to thank God for His mercy, and ask it too
for Harry if he was still in this world. She prayed too that she might
be kept through the remainder of her journey--that Prince Rupert might
be kept from her road, and nothing be allowed to hinder her from
reaching Oxford in time to save the lives of these unknown prisoners.

Then she laid down, and in total forgetfulness of Prince Rupert and his
brutal troopers went to sleep, not waking until the morning, when she
recommenced her journey in renewed hope, and with a calm trust in God's
protecting care.



CHAPTER X.

"ON, CAVALIER, ON!"


To Maud's great joy, the stately towers and ancient buildings of Oxford
at length rose before her. As she rode into the principal street of the
city she was met by a crowd of people who were talking loudly and
eagerly, so that Maud had but little difficulty in making out the words.
"Down with all parliament men! Shoot the traitors, and all the rebel
army!" and many other speeches, convinced Maud something unusual had
taken place, or was about to take place.

Her cheeks grew pale with anxious fear as the bridle of her horse was at
length seized, and she was forced back against a wall; and then for the
first time she noticed that a body of soldiers were drawing near, and
beyond them marched a number of downcast-looking men, evidently
prisoners. Could it be that they were already on their way to
execution?--that the delivery of her papers would be too late to save
them? This thought almost maddened her, and turning her horse's head,
she said, "On, Cavalier, on!" and at the same moment drew out her
packet, and held it high above her head.

[Illustration: "ON CAVALIER, ON!"]

The effect of her words seemed magical--not upon her horse, but upon the
soldiers by whom she was now surrounded. The officer in command bowed as
she uttered the ringing words, "On, Cavalier, on!" and instead of
turning her back to the wall, called upon his men to halt, while Maud
passed through their midst, holding high the official-looking document
which she thought had gained her this privilege, but which in reality
the officer had hardly noticed.

Quite unconsciously, Maud had used their password in addressing her
horse, and to this she owed it that she was allowed to pass through the
ranks, the officer believing she came with orders from the King to those
in charge of the prisoners. She heeded not the looks of the soldiers;
indeed, she scarcely saw them, but rode straight on to where an officer
stood waiting to demand her business, and why the cavalcade had been
stopped.

Maud handed him her packet. "It concerneth the prisoners," she said,
panting with excitement.

The officer took it from her hand, and rode back to another officer
after glancing at the address, and Maud, then face to face with the
pale, weary-looking prisoners, glanced at them for the first time. One
was looking at her and her horse most earnestly, but she did not
recognise him; and when the officer came back she rode on, wondering
whether she had been in time to save them after all. The papers had been
sent to the residence of the general in command, and they were still
halting, to know the result of his reading them; and Maud was detained,
lest she should be wanted too. They had not to wait long. In a few
minutes a soldier rode up with a note from the general. The prisoners
were to be taken back to their prison and the messenger released; and
Maud was allowed to go on her way, while the whole cavalcade turned
back, to the great disappointment of the Oxford crowd, who would fain
have testified their loyalty to the King by making a holiday over the
execution of these rebels.

Maud had no other care than to get out of the way of the crowd and the
detachments of soldiers; but as soon as a by-street was gained, and she
was left in comparative quiet, weariness and exhaustion almost overcame
her, and for the first time she noticed that Cavalier had fallen lame
with his exertions. To get back to Hayslope Grange, as she had at first
intended, was therefore impossible, and she resolved to ask the
hospitality of Mistress Stanhope for a few days. She hoped Master Drury
was there, but of this she could not feel sure; but whether or no he was
there, she must go, and she made instant inquiry of a bystander for
Captain Stanhope's house. After some little difficulty she found it, and
to her joy heard that Master Drury was there. He seemed much astonished
to see Maud, and Mistress Stanhope was in no little alarm at her
travel-stained appearance.

"Has the rebel army appeared before Hayslope?" he asked, anxiously.

"No," answered Maud, faintly smiling. "Nothing had happened to Hayslope
when I left."

"Then wherefore hast thou come here?" asked Master Drury. "Has anything
happened to Mistress Mabel or the children?"

"Nay, they are all well," said Maud. "I came as a messenger, to bring
certain letters from London to the King."

"Marry, now be truthful, Mistress Maud," said Mary, "and tell us thou
art come to see the gay city of Oxford."

"Nay, nay; I came not for that," said Maud. "I have ridden hard to reach
here in time, so hard that Cavalier hath fallen lame with his journey,
and needs rest more than I do."

"Then I will order Cavalier's rest and refreshment while Mary looketh to
your wants," said Master Drury; and he went out at once, leaving the two
ladies alone. Mistress Stanhope was proud to play the hostess to her old
companion, and as soon as she had changed her dress, and had some
refreshment, she insisted upon showing her new and fashionable house, in
spite of Maud's evident weariness. At length she was allowed to take up
a book and sit down in peace, for some other visitors had called, and
Mary was obliged to go to them.

The book Maud had taken up was quite a new one, just published, and
written by Master John Milton, a schoolmaster of London. It was a volume
of poems, and Maud was soon absorbed in reading "Penseroso." Mary
suddenly entering the room some time afterwards quite startled her, and
the book slipped from her hand on to the floor. But Mary did not stay,
she had only come for something to show her visitor; and as Maud picked
up the book, she went out again, and did not see how pale Maud had
suddenly grown, as she sat and stared at the inner cover of the book.

There was nothing very remarkable there,--only, "Mistress Stanhope, from
an old friend. Oxford, 1645." But Maud knew that Harry's hand had traced
those letters, and she wondered how it was he was at Oxford, and whether
he was there now. When Mary came back Maud was still staring at her name
in the book.

"Marry, what are you looking at?" asked the young matron, glancing over
her shoulder.

"Harry wrote this?" gasped Maud.

"I suppose he did," coolly spoke Mary; "but he had the grace to conceal
the fact that I was his sister."

Maud had noticed that he wrote "friend" instead of "brother."

"Why should he do this?" she said.

"Prithee, Maud, will you never see how he has disgraced our name?" said
Mary, impatiently. "Nay, nay, you have not seen my father's misery since
he hath been here, and how closely he hath kept himself shut up, lest
any should hear his name."

"But why should he do this?" asked Maud.

"Why?" uttered Mary, "when all men are talking of the traitor rebel,
Harry Drury, who was this day to be executed."

Her voice faltered as she said the last words, although she tried to
appear unmoved as she added, "But the execution is postponed, I hear."

"Only postponed!" gasped Maud, who sat with widely staring eyes.

"The letters were to save their lives, I heard."

"What letters?" asked Mary.

"Those I brought from Hayslope, where the parliament messenger lies
sorely wounded," said Maud.

Mary did not wait to hear more, but went to meet her husband, who was
coming up the stairs. The gaily dressed officer bowed to Maud as he
entered a few minutes afterwards, but she could see he looked annoyed.

"Good-morrow, lady messenger," he said. "You did but reach Oxford in
time, and if you had been an hour later 'twere better for his Majesty, I
trow."

"Prithee, tell me why?" said Maud.

"There would have been six stout-hearted rebels the less to fight
against King Charles," said Captain Stanhope.

"Are the prisoners released?" asked Maud, with an exclamation of joy.

"Nay, nay, not yet; but we cannot afford to execute them, for the rebel
army hath five thousand of our loyal troopers, and they propose to
exchange some of these for the handful we have here in our prison, and
Harry Drury is specially named as one of them--Harry Drury and Gilbert
Clayton, whom Prince Rupert's men captured some time since."

To describe Maud's feelings when she heard how near Harry had been to an
ignominious death would be impossible. For a time she could only bow her
head in her hands, and weep out her thanksgiving to God for His great
mercy; but by degrees the hope that she should soon see him gradually
stole over her, until she recollected that Harry would scarcely venture
to call upon them, even though he had seen her in the town; for she
doubted not but that the prisoner who had looked at her so closely was
Harry, although she had failed to recognise him.

When Master Drury came in soon afterwards, it was evident he had heard
the news, although Harry's name was not mentioned.

"Maud," he said, drawing his chair close to hers as soon as they were
left alone, "you heard that the King's cabinet had been captured at the
battle of Naseby?"

Maud bowed. "Hath it been retaken?" she asked.

Master Drury shook his head. "Prithee, I would it had never existed," he
said, "or that I knew not aught of it."

"Have you seen the King's letters?" asked Maud.

"All the world will see them shortly," sighed the gentleman. "The rebels
have published some of his papers, calling it 'The King's Cabinet
Opened.'"

"Then all the world will know what a just and gentle monarch he is,"
said Maud.

"Alas! they will see that what these rebels say of him is true; that he
hath tried to sell his people to a foreign foe," groaned Master Drury.
"All his doings with the Irish rebels, and his negotiations with foreign
princes to bring troops over here, are given in these papers."

Maud started to her feet, flushed with indignation. "It is not true,"
she said. "It would be unkingly--beneath the majesty of our royal
Charles. It is a fabrication of the Parliament rebels."

"I would fain think so if I could," sighed Master Drury; "but, Maud, I
have heard from those who knew all the King's matters that these letters
are true copies of what were in the cabinet."

Maud dropped into her seat as though she had been shot. "The King is
false and untrue, then," she gasped, "and Harry is right after all."

"Hush, prithee, hush!" said Master Drury. "You know not what you say,
Maud;" but he did not speak as though he were angry that Harry's name
had been uttered.

"Marry, but I cannot hold my peace when true and noble men are risking
their lives to fight for this false king," said Maud.

"I will not fight," quietly spoke Master Drury. "I will go back with you
to Hayslope."

"Prithee, but you will see Harry before you leave Oxford?" said Maud, a
faint colour stealing into her cheek as she spoke.

Master Drury was deeply moved. It was evident he was longing to see his
son, but he said in a faint voice, "Nay, nay, I dare not see him. Mary
Stanhope has spread the report that I have cast him off as a traitor
rebel, and my loyalty to the King would be suspected if I were to see
him now;" and he heaved a deep sigh as he spoke.

"But it is true that you think the King false?" said Maud. "Harry did
the same, and avowed it."

Master Drury winced at the implied reproach. "Nay, nay, I cannot go so
far as that," he said; "if I were I should be a rebel."

"Then you must be false to yourself to _seem_ true to the King," said
Maud, boldly; "and that is why there are so many true and honest men
among the rebels, and why they are so strong. It is not their hatred of
oppression only, nor their wish to save England's liberties, as they
say; but they cannot do otherwise if they would be true to
themselves--true to God, who has said, 'Fear God,' first, and then
'Honour the king.'"

Maud was speaking for Harry, and that gave her courage, or she would
never dared to have said so much to her guardian. But it was all in
vain. Family honour demanded the sacrifice of principle--at least, so
thought Master Drury--and he would not allow Maud to seek an interview
with Harry, or claim acquaintance with the all but executed traitor.



CHAPTER XI.

MYSTERIES.


As soon as Maud had sufficiently rested she returned to Hayslope with
Master Drury, who, now that he had made up his mind to do so, was all
impatient to return home. His visit to Oxford had been a very painful
one, for his faith in the King had been completely broken, and yet he
had been forced to hear of his son's condemnation to an ignominious
death, for principles he began dimly to see were right.

The last lingering remnants of loyalty forbade his seeking to see that
son, as much as the fear of offending his son-in-law, and yet he longed
to fold Harry in his arms and look in his face once more.

When the travellers reached Hayslope they found the villagers in a
wildly excited state. Many of their relatives who had been fighting at
Naseby were held prisoners by the Parliament, and of course could not
return home this winter; and lads too young to serve as soldiers, and
the women, with Martin the blacksmith at their head, were wildly
clamouring for the destruction of the Parliament and all the rebels. The
poor wounded messenger had most mysteriously disappeared, Maud heard,
but on questioning some of them more closely, it seemed that he had more
than once been threatened by Martin, if he would not swear to serve the
King, while he stoutly refused, and at last he left the village with his
wound only half healed.

Poor old Dame Coppins was of course accused of having some hand in this
business. Without the help of witchcraft the man could not have escaped,
the women said, and for once Maud felt thankful to the unknown witch,
whoever she might be, who had done this service. She believed in
witchcraft almost as fully as the ignorant villagers, but she did not
believe Dame Coppins was a witch simply because she did not choose to
tell all the village her business--where she had come from, and what had
induced her to take the lonely cottage outside Hayslope,--and this was
the only reason they had for supposing her a witch.

Maud had tried to reason them out of this, had told them she was a poor
widow who had seen a great deal of trouble, and preferred a solitary
life; that she loved the Bible and feared God as much as any of them;
but it was all of no avail. That any one could exist without gossip was
to them impossible to understand, and they shook their heads sadly, and
thought Maud bewitched herself when she talked about Dame Coppins.

So the cottage in the lane was as lonely as ever, in spite of the
patronage extended to the widow by Maud and the two children at the
Grange.

For a day or two after her return Maud was not able to go to the
cottage, for Master Drury had scarcely reached home when he was taken
seriously ill, and Mistress Mabel's herbs and decoctions failed to
relieve his sickness for some time. Bertram and Bessie, however, went
each day, and brought back the report that the widow had seemed very
joyful when she heard that Maud had returned, and that her errand had
been so successful as to gain the prisoners their freedom.

Maud smiled when she heard this. "Marry, but their freedom is not gained
yet," she said, with something of a sigh.

"Dame Coppins says they are free, and on their way to London," said
Bessie.

Maud opened her eyes. Was the old woman a witch after all? Bertram's
next words quite confirmed her in this wild notion. "Maud," he said in a
whisper, "do you know that Harry was one of the prisoners."

"Who told you so?" asked Maud, quickly, for it had been agreed that this
intelligence should not reach the children, or even Mistress Mabel.

"Dame Coppins told me," replied Bertram; "she said he would have been
shot if you had not gone to Oxford with those papers," he added.

Maud actually shuddered with horror as the boy said this. "Bertram, you
must not go to Dame Coppins again," she said, quickly.

"Why not?" asked Bertram, in surprise.

"Prithee, I scarce can tell you, but--but you will keep it quite a
secret, Bertram, even from Bessie," said Maud--"this dreadful thing I am
going to tell you."

Bertram nodded. "Isn't she a good old woman?" he asked.

"Bertie, she's a witch," whispered Maud, in a tone of horror.

Bertram started back pale with fright. "I don't believe it, Maud," he
said: "she couldn't talk about God taking care of Harry, and pray for
Him to do it, if she was a wicked old witch. I do believe God took you
safe to Oxford in time because she prayed so much about it, and that
He's kept Harry safe in all the battles, that he might come home to us
again in answer to Dame Coppins's prayers."

Bertram spoke quickly, almost passionately, but Maud only shook her head
sadly. "I thought she was a good woman," she said, "but how could she
know what happened at Oxford if she was not a witch? Nobody here knows
that Harry was in prison--not even Mistress Mabel or the servants, so
that no one could tell her about it."

But Bertram was still unwilling to believe in Dame Coppins's wickedness,
until Maud said pettishly, "I do believe she has bewitched you, Bertie,
and you must not go to see her again."

"But I will go," said Bertram, beginning to lose his temper.

"Then I shall ask Mistress Mabel to forbid you going beyond the moat,"
said Maud.

This threat, which Bertram knew she would put into execution, made him
give the required promise not to go and see Dame Coppins until Maud had
discovered who had told her about Harry; which Maud feeling sure was a
dark mystery, that no one would ever be able to penetrate, made up her
mind not to try, now that she had extorted this promise from Bertram.

Some thoughts of the poor old woman's anxiety troubled her after she
left Bertram, and she wondered what effect their neglect might have upon
the mind of the villagers; but on this she resolved to keep eyes and
ears alike open whenever she went amongst them, so that she might
protect her from violence should any be attempted or contemplated.

But it seemed that the people had forgotten the witch in their rage
against the "Parliament rebels," and Maud could not discover whether the
old woman was being supplied with food or not; and very soon the fear
that she would be starved to death began to take possession of her mind.
To satisfy herself upon this point she resolved to walk down the lane
late one afternoon, when she would not be expected. Before she had
reached the cottage, however, she saw a litter borne between two men
carried into the garden, and then from this was lifted what looked like
a huge roll of cloth, and taken into the house, while Dame Coppins came
and looked all round to make sure no one was in the lane. She did not
see Maud, for she had concealed herself behind a tree, but the young
lady had a good view of the old woman's face, and saw that there was
little fear of her dying of starvation yet. As soon as she could she
slipped out of her hiding-place and walked quickly up the lane. She was
afraid of going near the cottage now, and she wondered what fresh
wickedness Dame Coppins had been at. No wonder the people were afraid of
her when such mysterious doings as that were going on.

Maud thought she had more than sufficient evidence to prove that Dame
Coppins was a witch now, and began seriously to consider whether she
ought not to inform against her; and she might have done this, only
Master Drury was taken ill again. Maud began to think this must be the
witch's work, when all Mistress Mabel's remedies failed, but she dared
not say so, for fear the servants should tell the villagers, and they
should attempt to drown her again; and so she suggested that a physician
should be sent for to see her guardian. Mistress Mabel looked scornful
at first, but finally relented, and a boy was despatched to the town,
and returned with the grave-looking doctor, in plumed hat, scarlet
cloak, and immense ruffles at his wrists. He looked grand enough to do
anything if grandeur would do it, but he shook his head when he heard
all Master Drury's ailments. Beyond this he would not commit himself,
and so very little information was gained from his visit, and they could
only wait in hope that his medicine would soon effect some improvement
on the patient.

Meanwhile news had arrived that Prince Rupert had been compelled to
surrender Bristol and several other places in the west, and that another
battle disastrous to Charles had been fought at Rowton Moor. The King
had been completely defeated, and compelled to retire to Oxford for the
winter, and Captain Stanhope and his wife were coming to Hayslope. This
was the news brought by one or two of the men who came back to the
village to tell of the death or imprisonment of others who had gone
forth with them that sweet spring day a few months before. So the winter
came in gloomy enough, and men grew fiercer each day about the strife
that was raging in the land. In Hayslope all the rage was against the
London Parliament, and many vowed that if one of Cromwell's troopers
showed himself there he should be killed, whoever he might be. This
threat did not disturb Maud much, even if she heard it, for she did not
think it was likely any of the Parliament men would come there, and she
could only feel glad that the messenger had gone away before the arrival
of these half-frenzied men. She still visited occasionally among the
villagers, and contributed to their wants as far as she could; but a
good deal of her time was occupied with Master Drury now, and Dame
Coppins was almost forgotten, apparently.

She was therefore greatly surprised one day to receive a message from a
village lad, saying she was wanted down the lane. She had no doubt who
wanted her, but she did not intend going; she would not give Dame
Coppins the opportunity of bewitching her any more; and so merely
saying, "Prithee, I will think about it," she walked home as fast as she
could.

That evening, about six o'clock, just as they were about to assemble for
supper, one of the maids came to her and whispered that she was wanted;
a man, who refused to say who he was or where he came from, demanded to
see her.

Maud shivered: such mysterious messages were disagreeable, and she was
just about to say she would not go, when Mistress Mabel appearing in the
passage settled the matter; for had she heard her refuse, there would
have been an instant inquiry, and the lady would not have rested until
she found out all about the supposed witch and Maud's charities in the
village.

So to prevent this she threw a cloak over her head, and followed the
maid, without speaking, to where a muffled figure stood outside the
door. She had only stepped off the threshold, when a gust of wind blew
the door close, and at the same moment her wrist was seized, and she was
dragged away from the house; and before she could even scream, or give
any alarm, she was lifted on to a horse, and the man sprang up before
her, and galloped away into the village.

[Illustration: ABDUCTION OF MAUD.]

All the horrible tales Maud had ever heard of people being carried off
by witches rushed to her mind when she saw that they were turning round
by the blacksmith's shed. All was dark and still, but she tried to
scream, in hopes of raising some alarm; but fear had paralyzed her
tongue, and she could not utter a sound. She was like one in all the
horrors of a nightmare, and believed she was on a phantom horse,
although she could hear it splashing though the wet mud, precisely as
Cavalier did the day before, when she was out riding with Mistress
Stanhope.

At length they stopped just opposite the widow's cottage, as Maud
expected, for she had no doubt that this ride was of the witch's
planning; and feeling powerless to resist, she suffered herself to be
lifted down, and expected to be carried into the house. But instead of
this, a familiar, though scarcely remembered, but very human voice,
said, "Go in, Mistress Maud, I will look after Cavalier." But Maud did
not move, although the man stepped to the horse's head. Before she could
make up her mind, however, to run away, the cottage door opened, and a
weak, quivering voice, said, "Roger, Roger, is that you?"

Without answering, the man left the horse and came to Maud. "Prithee, be
not so sorrowful," he said; "there's hope for him yet, if we can only
get a physician to him soon, and Dame Coppins says----"

But Maud staggered back as he would have led her into the house. "Tell
me what it is, and who you are," she gasped.

The man was perplexed. "Marry, but you know me, Mistress Maud. I'm
Roger, Master Drury's servant, and the letter told all about the rest, I
trow."

What the "rest" was Maud had not time to ask, for at that moment the
cottage door opened again, and Dame Coppins drew her inside.



CHAPTER XII.

HARRY'S RETURN.


Suddenly stepping out of the darkness into the lighted room, Maud could
not distinguish any object at first, and only heard as in a dream Dame
Coppins's words, "Be calm, Mistress Maud, for he is very weak, I trow."
Then, looking across the room, she saw some one lying on a bed with
hands eagerly outstretched towards her, and a faint voice uttered,
"Maud, Maud, come to me; let me hold your hand once more." The sound of
that feeble pleading voice brought back Maud's bewildered senses.
"Harry," she gasped, "Oh, my Harry!" and she was kneeling by the low
bed, kissing the thin white hands.

[Illustration: MEETING OF MAUD AND HARRY.]

For a few minutes no one came near them, and Maud knelt there sobbing,
for her overstrained feelings would have vent, in spite of her effort to
control them.

Harry was the first to regain composure, and smoothing the soft braids
of her hair, he said, "I began to fear you would never forgive me, Maud;
and I could not die without your forgiveness."

"Forgive you!" repeated Maud. "I have wanted to ask you to forgive me
for speaking as I did the morning you went away."

"I have nothing to forgive," said Harry. "You could not but believe I
was a traitor, as you said, in refusing to serve the King."

"Nay, nay, but I ought to have believed you were acting conscientiously,
although I could not see things as you saw them. I was hard,
uncharitable, cruel, Harry."

"Nay, nay, Maud; cruel, when at Oxford you saved my life?"

"I did not know it was to save you," murmured Maud.

Harry looked disappointed, and dropped the hand he was holding. "Maud,
when I saw you there, riding through the soldiers, I thought it was for
me you came, although you had given your heart and hand to another."

Maud stared. "Given heart and hand to another!" she repeated.

"Hush! hush!" said Harry, "my secret shall die with me. I would not even
ask about you when I came here, but suffer me to call you Maud the
little while I stay."

"What other name should I be called?" asked Maud, in surprise.

"Nay, nay, I cannot play now, Maud," said Harry, "I would not even
suffer a word to be spoken about you until I heard Captain Stanhope and
his wife were coming from Oxford, and then I roused myself to write that
letter, for I longed to see you once again, as the companion of my
childhood and the friend----"

"Prithee, I have received no letter," said Maud.

"Marry, but I sent one, and the messenger said he had delivered it into
the hand of Mistress Stanhope herself," said Harry.

"But I am not Mistress Stanhope," said Maud, smiling.

Harry raised himself in bed, and looked earnestly into her face. "You
are not the wife of Captain Stanhope?" he repeated.

"No, it is Mary who is married," said Maud.

Harry fell back on his pillow, and Roger and Dame Coppins were obliged
to administer some restoratives; but the moment he had revived he looked
round for Maud, and feebly murmured her name.

"I am with you, Harry dear," she whispered, and took his hand, while
Dame Coppins told the story of how he had been brought there in a litter
some weeks before by Roger and the messenger, who had fled to her
cottage from the violence of the villagers. The man had remained with
her until he recovered from his wound, and had told her who were the
prisoners at Oxford, and the certainty of their release if the letters
were only delivered in time; and the old woman's joy on hearing from
Bertram that Maud had reached Oxford as she did, unloosed her tongue
and thus brought upon herself the charge of witchcraft. Maud felt
heartily ashamed of her hasty judgment now, and when she heard how
greatly Harry had longed to see her, she felt more grieved than ever
that she had stayed away from the cottage. Dame Coppins had felt
anxious, when day after day passed and no one came from the Grange, for
she began to fear some of them had heard she had strange visitors, for
it was the messenger who had been with her that informed Harry it was
dangerous for him to go to the village even to see his father, and
persuaded him to come to Dame Coppins's cottage, and wait for some
chance to send to his father secretly. Roger came with him, for Harry
was too ill when he left London to travel alone, and all Dame Coppins's
herb tea had failed to do him any good; and so at last, feeling sure he
had not long to live, he wrote a letter to Maud, enclosing one to be
given to his father, asking his forgiveness, and begging he would come
and see him. This was addressed to Mistress Stanhope, and delivered to
her, but which she took care no one else should hear of, destroying her
father's letter as well as her own.

Maud did not hear this all at once. Harry could say but little more that
night beyond how he had longed for her after the letter was sent, and
how disappointed he was that she did not come.

"But what made you think I was Mistress Stanhope?" asked Maud.

"Roger told me you were about to be married when he left the village
last summer. We met in a slight skirmish soon after I recovered from my
wounds, and enemies though we ought to have been, we could not help
exchanging a few friendly words; and it was because I knew he loved me
truly, despite of the King's quarrel, that I asked his release, to
attend me when I came home."

"Yes, Harry, you must come home," said Maud, in a determined tone.

"Yes, I am almost there," murmured Harry; "but it is harder to leave
now, Maud, than before I saw you, and heard about this mistake."

"Nay, nay, but it is to the Grange you must come, Harry," said Maud,
with a faint blush. "Your father is ill, but the sight of you will do
him more good than all the physician can do; and if you are there the
doctor can attend to your wants as well."

But Harry shook his head. "I have longed to see my father and the old
Grange, Maud; but you must ask his forgiveness and blessing now. I
cannot move from here."

"Nay, nay, but you must try, Harry," said Maud, almost wildly; "for my
sake," she added, in a whisper.

Harry looked at the pleading face. "You forget," he said, "I have vowed
never to set foot inside the Grange again. I came to Hayslope to ask my
father's forgiveness, but not to go to the Grange."

"It was a proud, rash vow," said Maud. "Your father has much to give up
in receiving you, and it is but right you should first seek him."

Harry did not know how much he had indulged this proud, bitter spirit,
until now, and it was only after much pleading from Maud that he
consented to give it up. She obtained a promise from him, however, that
he would come to the Grange before she left, and then she went home
again, under Roger's guidance, to perform the more difficult task of
winning a welcome for him there. As Cavalier trotted along her brain was
busy upon the question how she should do this, and at length she
resolved to mention what had happened to no one but Master Drury. To
Mistress Mabel's questioning she would answer she had been to see some
one who was ill in the village, for if she and Mary heard Harry was
likely to return to his home, they would oppose it, she knew. The
household had become somewhat accustomed to Maud's erratic doings by
this time, and so little wonder was expressed that she did not come into
the keeping-room to supper. Every one supposed she was in her own room,
and so at the usual hour the watch dogs were set upon their guard and
the house locked up, and by the time Maud got there every light was
extinguished but the little lamp burning in Master Drury's room. The
approach of Cavalier, therefore, at that unseasonable hour, was the
signal for all the dogs to set up a furious barking, and all the
household was aroused. Captain Stanhope was the first to make his
appearance at an open window, and demand the reason of the disturbance,
warning the intruders that if they came a step nearer the house he would
discharge his musket at them.

Maud hardly knew what to do, but begged Roger to let her reply, hoping
the gentleman would recognise her voice; but he failed to do this for
some time, until, assured it was a woman who was speaking, he consented
to come down and open the door, as soon as all the servants were armed
to resist any attack that might be made.

Maud could not help laughing, and yet the dilemma was a serious one just
now, as she knew she should have to give an account of herself to
everybody. At length the door was opened, and Maud walked in past the
row of servants, and upstairs to where Mistress Mabel, with Bertram and
Bessie, were shivering in the gallery with fright and cold.

Mistress Mabel was speechless with anger, and seizing Maud's wrist,
marched her into Master Drury's room at once. "Now, Master Drury, you
will nathless make this wilful girl give an account of herself," said
the lady, and she sat down; while Captain Stanhope and the rest came
into the room, and the servants crowded round the door to hear what had
happened.

"Marry, I would speak to Master Drury alone," said Maud.

"Nay, nay, you must speak out before us all, unless it is some shameful
deed you would tell of," said Mistress Mabel and Mary both in a breath.

Maud turned and looked at Mary. "You know what I have to tell," she
said, angrily, "for you had a letter from Harry, telling his father he
was dying, and craved his forgiveness."

Master Drury raised himself in bed. "You have seen my son--my Harry!" he
exclaimed, eagerly, looking at Maud.

But Captain Stanhope stepped forward. "You forget," he whispered, "you
have no children but Mary and Bessie. Even the boy Bertram has turned to
follow his brother's way of thinking."

"Nay, nay," said the old man, pleadingly. "I must see my son, my Harry,
before I die. Where is he? Where is he?" he asked of Maud.

"He will come to-morrow," replied Maud; "he is ill--very ill, but may
get better if he has a physician."

"Tell me all about him, Maud; you saved his life, I know."

Bertram and Bessie were almost as eager as their father to hear all
about their brother, and so in the hearing of them all, Maud told how
she had been fetched to the cottage that evening to see Harry.

Master Drury would have had him brought to the Grange that night, had it
been possible, but was at length persuaded to wait until the morning, on
Maud promising to go down and prepare him for the removal as soon as it
was light.

Captain Stanhope and his wife were the only ones who did not rejoice at
the thought of Harry's return, and it was easy to see why they were so
disappointed. The Captain, having an eye to Mary's wealth when he
married her, had done all he could to increase Master Drury's anger
against his son, and even persuaded him to disinherit Bertram in favour
of Mary. Now the hopes this had raised were all crushed, and the next
day, before the litter arrived with Harry, the disappointed pair had
left for Oxford. Mistress Mabel, finding her nephew's return was
inevitable, wisely made the best of it, and accorded a grim welcome,
hoping they would not all be beheaded by-and-by for sheltering a
traitor.

The meeting between the long-estranged father and son we will pass over
in silence. Harry had not been at the Grange long before he began to
improve, and soon hinted that, instead of a funeral, there would have to
be a wedding for him. Master Drury too began to grow stronger, but the
overthrow of his faith in King Charles was a blow he could not recover
entirely; and although he confessed to his son that he believed he was
right in espousing the cause of the Parliament, yet he begged him not to
leave the Grange again while he lived, a promise Harry was the more
willing to give since his health would not allow him to join the army
again, and Maud had consented to be his wife early in the spring.

Mistress Mabel's fear of being beheaded for receiving her nephew was
quite groundless, and even Captain Stanhope was glad to ask the interest
and protection of the man he had sought to injure when the Royalists
were ultimately defeated and the Commonwealth established. Before this,
however, Harry succeeded his father as Master Drury of Hayslope Grange,
for the old man never held up his head after the death of King Charles,
and died a few months after the King was beheaded. His last days were
calm and tranquil. "By the grace of Christ," he was wont to say--"he had
conquered his pride and prejudice, which had brought such misery to
Hayslope Grange."





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