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Title: Walladmor: - And Now Freely Translated from the German into English. - In Two Volumes. Vol. II.
Author: De Quincey, Thomas, 1785-1859
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Walladmor: - And Now Freely Translated from the German into English. - In Two Volumes. Vol. II." ***

This book is indexed by ISYS Web Indexing system to allow the reader find any word or number within the document.



Transcriber's Notes:

1. Scans provided by The Web Archive:
http://www.archive.org/details/walladmor02dequ


2. The 3-volume German original was fictitiously attributed to Sir
Walter Scott, but actually written by G. W. H. Häring (under the pseud.
of Willibald Alexis). It was freely adapted into English by Thomas De
Quincey.

3. The diphthong oe is indicated by [oe].



                               WALLADMOR:


                     "FREELY TRANSLATED INTO GERMAN
                 FROM THE ENGLISH OF SIR WALTER SCOTT."

                                AND NOW
                           FREELY TRANSLATED
                      FROM THE GERMAN INTO ENGLISH.


                            IN TWO VOLUMES.


            My root is earthed; and I, a desolate branch,
            Left scattered in the highway of the world,
            Trod under foot, that might have been a column
            Mainly supporting our demolished house.--_Massinger_.


                                VOL. II.


                                 LONDON:
                     PRINTED FOR TAYLOR AND HESSEY,
           93 FLEET STREET, AND 13 WATERLOO PLACE, PALL MALL.
                                  1825



                               CONTENTS.


                               CHAPTER X.              PAGE.
Maternal Madness.                                          1

                              CHAPTER XI.
Old Friend with a New Face.                               19

                              CHAPTER XII.
Winter Night-Wandering.                                   45

                             CHAPTER XIII.
Arrest.                                                   69

                              CHAPTER XIV.
Rioting.                                                  83

                              CHAPTER XV.
Feudal Castle.                                            95

                              CHAPTER XVI.
Examination.                                             109

                              CHAPTER XVII.
Unexpected Visit.                                        127

                             CHAPTER XVIII.

Distraction of Grief.                                    161

                              CHAPTER XIX.
Distraction of Love.                                     205

                              CHAPTER XX.
Trial for High Treason.                                  235

                              CHAPTER XXI.
Catastrophe.                                             268



                              WALLADMOR.



                              CHAPTER X.


      Hast thou a medicine to restore my wits
      When I have lost them?--If not, leave to talk.
                             _Beaumont and Fletcher_; _Philaster_.

In this perplexity, whilst sitting down to clear up his thoughts and to
consider of his future motions, Bertram suddenly remembered that
immediately before the attack on the revenue officers, a note had been
put into his hand--which he had at that time neglected to read under
the overpowering interest of the scene which followed. This note he now
drew from his pocket: it was written in pencil, and contained the
following words:

"You wish to see the ruins of Ap Gauvon. In confidence therefore let me
tell you that the funeral train will direct its course upon a different
point. Take any convenient opportunity for leaving this rabble, and
pursue your route to the Abbey through the valley which branches off on
the left. You will easily reach it by nightfall; and you will there
receive a welcome from                        AN OLD FRIEND."

The day was uncommonly dear and bright; the frosty air looked sharp,
keen, and "in a manner vitreous;"[1] and every thing wore a cheerful
and promising aspect, except that towards the horizon the sky took that
emerald tint which sometimes on such days foreruns the approach of
snow. However, as it was now too late to return to Machynleth whilst
the day-light lasted--and as the ruins of Ap Gauvon were both in
themselves and in their accompaniments of scenery, according to the
description which had been given of them, an object of powerful
attraction to Bertram,--he resolved to go forward in the track pointed
out. After advancing a couple of miles, he bent his steps through the
valley which opened on his left; and soon reached a humble ale-house
into which he turned for the sake of obtaining at the same time
refreshments and further directions for his route.

"How far do you call it, landlord, to the Abbey of Griffith ap Gauvon."

"To Ap Gauvon? Why let me see--it'll be a matter of eight miles; or
better than seven any way. But you'll never be thinking of going so far
to-night."

"Why,--is there any danger, then?"

"Nay, I don't know for that: we've now and then odd sort of folks come
up this way from the sea-side: but I reckon they wouldn't meddle of
_you_: for you'll never sure be going into the Abbey?"

"But, suppose I did, is there nobody at the Abbey or near it that could
give me a night's lodging?" The landlord stared with a keen expression
of wonder,--and answered, with some reserve, "Why who should there be
but the owls, and in summer time may be a few bats?"

"Well, perhaps I shall find a lodging somewhere in the neighbourhood:
meantime I would thank you to put me into the nearest road."

"Why, that's sooner said than done: its a d---d awkward cross-country
road, and there's few in this country can hit it. But the best way for
_you_ will be to keep right over the shoulder of yonder hill, and then
bear away under the hills to your right, till you come to the old
gallows of Pont-ar-Diawl: and there you must look about for somebody
able to put you in the way."

"An old gallows! Surely you can't have much need of a standing gallows
in a country so thinly peopled as this?"

"Why no, master; we don't make much use of it: not but there has been
some fine lads in my time that have taken their last look of day-light
on that gallows; and here and there you'll meet with an old body
amongst these hills that has the heart-ache when she looks that way.
But the gallows is partly built of stone: they say King Edward I. built
it, to hang the Welsh harpers on; by the dozen at once, I have heard
say. Well, all's one to you and me: by the score if it pleased him.

"But now-a-days I suppose it will not have many customers from the
harpers: what little business it has will lie chiefly among those 'odd
sort of folks from the sea-side,'--eh, landlord?"

"Why master, as to that, as long as folks do _me_ no harm, it's never
my way to say any thing ill of them. Now and then, may be, I hear a
noise of winter nights in my barn: and my wife and daughters would have
me to lock the barn-door before it's dark. But what? as I often says to
them; it's better to have folks making free with one's straw, and now
and then an armful of hay for a horse or so, than to have one's house
burnt over one's head one of these long winter nights. And, to give the
devil his due, I don't think they're much in _my_ debt: for often
enough I find a bottle or two of prime old wine left behind them."

"So then, on the whole, these sea-side gentry are not uncivil: and, if
it's they that tenant Ap Gauvon, perhaps they'll show a little
hospitality to a wanderer like myself?"

"Aye, but that's more than I'll answer for. I know little about Ap
Gauvon: it's a place I never was at--nor ever will be, please God. Why
should any man go and thrust his hand into a hornet's nest, where
there's nothing to be got?"

"But landlord, if these smugglers come and visit you, I think they
couldn't be angry with you for returning the visit."

"I tell you, I know of no smugglers at Ap Gauvon: some folks say there
are ghosts at Ap Gauvon; and Merlin has been seen of moonlight nights
walking up and down the long galleries: and sometimes of dark nights
the whole Abbey in a manner has been lit up; and shouting and laughing
enough to waken all the church-yards round Snowdon. But I mustn't stand
gossiping here, master: I've my cows to fetch up, and fifty things to
do before its dark."

So saying he turned on his heel, whilst Bertram pursued his way to the
stone gallows. This he reached in about an hour and a half; by which
time the light was beginning to decay. Looking round for some person of
whom he could inquire the road, he saw or fancied that he saw--a human
figure near the gallows; and, going a little nearer he clearly
distinguished a woman sitting at its foot. He paused a little while to
watch her. Sometimes she muttered to herself, and seemed as if lost in
thought: sometimes she roused herself up suddenly, and sang in a wild
and boisterous tone of gaiety: but it easily appeared that there was no
joy in her gaiety: for the tone of exultation soon passed into
something like a ferocious expression of vengeance. Then, after a time,
she would suddenly pause and laugh: but in the next moment would seem
to recover the main recollection that haunted her; and falling back as
into the key-note of her distress, would suddenly burst into tears.
Bertram saw enough to convince him that the poor creature's wits were
unsettled; and from the words of one of the fragments which she sang, a
suspicion flashed upon his mind that it could be no other than his
hostess in the wild cottage; though how, or on what errand, come over
to this neighbourhood--he was at a loss to guess. To satisfy himself on
all these points if possible, he moved nearer and accosted her:

"A cold evening, good mother, for one so old as you to be sitting out
in the open air."

"Yes, Sir," she answered, without expressing any surprise at his sudden
interruption; "yes, Sir, its a cold evening: but I am waiting for a
young lad that was to meet me here."

Bertram now saw that his conjecture was right: it was indeed his aged
and mysterious hostess: but, before he could speak, she seemed to have
forgotten that he was present--and sang in an under tone:

      They hung him high aboon the rest,
      He was sae trim a boy;
      Thair dyed the youth whom I lov'd best
       --My winsome Gilderoy.

"A young man you were expecting to meet you?" said Bertram.

"Yes, Sir, a young man:" and then, holding up her apron to her face as
if ashamed, she added--"he was a sweetheart of mine. Sir." But in a
moment, as if recollecting herself, she cried out--"No, no, no: I'll
tell you the whole truth: he was my son, my love, my darling: and they
took him, Sir, they hanged him here. And, if you'll believe my word,
Sir--they wouldn't let his old mother kiss his bonny lips before he
died. Well, well! Let's have nothing but peace and quietness. All's to
be right at last. There's more of us, I believe, that won't die in our
beds. But don't say I told you."

"My good old hostess, can you show me the road to Griffith ap Gauvon?"

"Ap Gauvon, is it? Aye, aye: there's one of them: _he_'ll never die in
his bed, rest you sure of that. Never you trouble your head about him:
I've settled all that: and Edward Nicholas will be hanged at this
gallows, if my name's Gillie Godber."

"But, Mrs. Godber, don't you remember me? I was two nights at your
cottage; and I'm now going to the Abbey of Ap Gauvon where I hope to
meet one that I may perhaps be of some service to."

"Don't think it: there's nobody can ever be of service to Edward
Nicholas. He's to be hanged, I tell you, and nobody must save him. I
have heard it sworn to. You'll say that I am but a weak old woman. But
you would not think now what a voice I have: for all it trembles so, my
voice can be heard when it curses from Anglesea to Walladmor. Not all
the waves of the sea can cry it down."

"But why must Edward Nicholas be hanged?"

"Oh, my sly Sir, you would know my secret--would you? You're a lawyer,
I believe. But stay--I'll tell you why he must be hanged:" and here she
raised her withered arm to the stars which were just then becoming
visible in the dusk. Pointing with her forefinger to a constellation
brighter than the rest, she said----

"There was a vow made when he was born; and it's written amongst the
stars. And there's not a letter in that book that can ever be blotted
out. I can read what's written there. Do you think that nobody's barns
must be hanged but mine?"

"But who then was it, my good Mrs. Godber, that hanged your son?"

"Who should it be but the old master of Walladmor? He knows by this
time what it is to have the heart-ache. Oh kite! he tore my lamb from
me. But, hark in your ear--Sir Lawyer! I visited his nest, old ravening
kite! High as it was in the air, I crept up to his nest: I did--I did!"
And here she clapped her hands, and expressed a frantic exultation:
but, in a moment after, she groaned and sate down; and, covering her
face with her hands, she burst into tears; and soon appeared to have
sunk into thought, and to be unconscious of Bertram's presence.

Once more he attempted to rouse her attention by asking the road to Ap
Gauvon; but the sound of his voice only woke her into expressing her
thoughts aloud:

"Nay, nay,--my old gentleman, that's a saying that'll never come true:

      When black men storm the outer door,
      Grief than be over At Walladmor!

It's an old saying I'll grant, but it's a false one: grief will never
be over at Walladmor: that's past all black men's healing!"

"But, Mrs. Godber, will you not come with me to Griffith ap Gauvon;"

She started up at the words _Ap Gauvon_; without speaking a word, she
drew her cloak about her; and, as if possessed by some sudden
remembrance, she strode off at so rapid a pace over the moor that
Bertram had some difficulty in keeping up with her. This however he
determined to do: for he remarked that her course lay towards a
towering range of heights which seemed to overlook the valley in which
they were walking, and which he had reason to believe was a principal
range of Snowdon: he had been nearing it through the whole afternoon;
and he knew that Ap Gauvon lay somewhere at the foot of that mountain.
For some time his aged companion kept up her speed: but, on reaching a
part of the moor which was intersected with turf pits, she was
compelled to suit her pace to the intricacy of the ground; though even
here she selected her path from the labyrinth before her with a
promptitude and decision which showed that she was well acquainted with
the ground she was traversing. On emerging again into smoother roads,
she resumed at intervals her rapid motions: and again, on some sudden
caprice as it seemed, would slink into a stealthy pace--and walk on
tiptoe, as if in the act of listening or surprising some one before
her. Once only she spoke, upon Bertram's asking if the abbey were a
safe place for a stranger: "Oh aye," she replied, "Edward Nicholas is a
lamb when he's not provoked: but his hand is red with blood for all
that."

No question after this roused her attention. Now and then she sang;
sometimes she crooned a word or two to herself; and more often she sank
into thoughtful silence: until at length, after advancing in this way
for about a mile and a half,--suddenly Bertram missed her; and looking
round he saw the outline of a figure stealing away in the dusk and
muttering some indistinct sounds of complaint. He felt considerable
perplexity at being thus suddenly abandoned by his guide: but from this
he was relieved by now distinguishing a group of towers and turrets
close to him--which at first had escaped his eye from the dark
background of mountainous barrier with which they seemed to blend: and
going a few steps nearer, he perceived a light issuing from the window
of a vault. To this window, for the purpose of reconnoitring the
inmates of so lonely an abode, he now pushed his way with some
difficulty through heaps of ruins and of tangled thorns. The upper edge
of the window-frame however being on a level with the ground, he could
perceive little more than a small part of a stone floor which lay at a
great depth below him; and on this, by the strong light of a blazing
fire, he saw the moving shadows of human figures as they passed and
repassed: and at intervals he heard the rolling of casks and barrels.
Determined to examine a little further, he stretched himself along the
steep declivity of earth which sloped down to the lower edge of the
window. In this posture he gained a complete view of the vault, which
to his astonishment he now discovered to be a subterraneous church of
vast dimensions, such as are sometimes found in the old monasteries
below the ordinary chapel of the order. Seated at a table near the fire
was a young man whose face, as it was at this moment lit up by a
blazing fire, proclaimed him at once for the stranger whose services to
Miss Walladmor and mysterious interview with her he had witnessed with
so much interest. Round about him stood groups of armed men; but of
these he took little notice. Bertram remarked that all of them treated
him with an air of respect, and addressed him by the title of Captain:
to which on his part he replied with an air of good natured familiarity
that seemed to disown the station of authority which they were disposed
to confer upon him. Anxious to hear and see a little more before he
ventured into such a company, he endeavoured to shift his position for
one more convenient to his purpose; but in this attempt he nearly,
precipitated himself through the window. He recovered his footing
however by suddenly catching at a mountain ash; but, in so doing, he
dislodged a quantity of earth and stones which fell rattling down
amongst the party below.

"Rats! rats!" instantaneously exclaimed the whole body: "shall we fire,
Captain?"

"Stop a moment," said Nicholas; and mounting up a ladder, which stood
near the window, he held up a lighted bough of Scotch fir to the place
of Bertram's concealment.

"God bless my soul," exclaimed he, "its my young friend in search of
the picturesque: I protest I never looked for is coming through the
window. Here, bear a hand, and help him in."

The ladder was now applied and steadied; with some little difficulty in
extricating himself from the rubbish and thorns which beset him,
Bertram descended: and was not sorry to find himself, though amongst
such society, suddenly translated from the severe cold of the air and a
situation of considerable peril to the luxury of rest and a warm fire.


FOOTNOTE TO "CHAPTER X.":

[Footnote 1: A picturesque expression borrowed from a celebrated
English author in one of his letters from Paris, published in the
Morning Chronicle.]



                              CHAPTER XI.


      O what an easie thing is to descry
      The gentle blood, however it be wrapt
      In sade misfortunes foule deformity
      And wretched sorrowes which have often hapt!
      For,--howsoever it may grow mis-shapt
      Like this wyld man being undisciplyned
      That to all virtue it may seeme unapt,--
      Yet it will show some sparkles of gentle mynd
      And at the last breake forth in his owne proper kynd.
                                     _Faerie Queene_--B. vi. C, 5.


All the men were now dismissed by their leader except one--who was
directed to place wine and refreshments on the table: this was done.
"And now, Valentine," said the leader, "you may return home: for I
think you have a scolding wife; and by the way, if she wishes to have a
certificate of your good behaviour and fidelity to her during your
absence from home, get me a pencil and I will write one."

"Ah! Captain Nicholas," said the man, "you're still the same man;
always ready for a joke, let danger be as near as it will."

"Danger! what danger?"

"Why, to say the truth, I don't above half like the old woman from
Anglesea."

"What, Gillie Godber?"

"Yes: she talks strangely at times; and, as sure as your name's
mentioned, she puts on a d--d Judas face; and talks--God! I hardly know
what she talks; but it's my belief she means you no good."

"Hm!--Well, so I have sometimes thought myself. Yet I know not. At
times she's as kind as if she were my own mother. And at all events I
can't do without her, so long as I have business at Walladmor Castle.
Her son, you know, lives there: and, but for her, I should often be at
a loss for means of communicating with him."

"And has Gillie been at Walladmor to-day?"

"Yes: pretty early this morning."

"Then take my word for it--its she that has blabbed to Sir Morgan about
the funeral. And I'd be glad to think _that_ were the worst: for I
heard it whispered once or twice to-day that Sir Morgan had got notice
of your return. Black Will saw an express of Sir Morgan's riding off to
Carnarvon: and, by one that left Machynleth at noon I heard that
Alderman Gravesend was stirring with all his bull-dogs."

"Well,--I think they'll hardly catch me this night. And, as the moon
will soon be rising, I would advise you to make the best of your way to
Aberkilvie. Pleasant moonlight to you; and give my compliments to your
wife."

"Ah! Captain,--I wish there were no moonlight to-night: for my heart
misgives me, unless you take better care, some cross luck will fall
out. However, I'll not go to Aberkilvie: I'll stay in the
neighbourhood: and, if I hear a shot, I'll come down with one or two
more."

The man retired: and Nicholas for a few minutes appeared to be sunk in
reverie: but soon recovering himself he addressed Bertram with an air
of gaiety:

"Well, my young friend, and how do you like the world in Wales? You
have taken my advice I find, and have come to see Ap Gauvon."

"It was you then that were my guide to Machynleth? I was beginning to
suspect as much. Who it was that sent me the note this morning, I need
not ask: for my eyes assure me that you were the person who presided on
that occasion, both as commander and as chief mourner."

"And I hope you disapproved my behaviour in neither part."

"To do you justice, you behaved incomparably well in both. In the
latter part, however,--well as you acquitted yourself,--you must excuse
me if I doubt your sincerity."

"You surprise me," said Nicholas smiling: "what doubt the sincerity of
my grief for the death of Captain le Harnois?"

"My doubts go even a little further. I doubt whether the body of
Captain le Harnois at all accompanied the procession. But what,
in the name of God then, could bring so large a train of mourners
together?--Will you say upon your word that you have deposited the body
in any burying-place?"

Nicholas laughed immoderately. "Your discernment is wonderful. As to
the body, I can assure you that it has not only been deposited in a
burying-place at Utragan,---but immediately afterwards dispersed as
holy reliques all over the country: and no saint's reliques in
Christendom will meet with more honour and attention. As to what
brought the crowd together,--if you come to that, my young friend, what
brought you thither? I have some plans which make it prudent for me to
renew an old connexion with a body of stout friends at sea and on
shore. Most of the others, I suppose, came for liquor. And you, if I do
not affront you by that suggestion, were naturally desirous of seeing
how the land lay before you commenced operations. For the oldest fox is
at fault in a strange country."

"You still persist, I see, in looking upon me as an adventurer: is it
your opinion that every body else would pass the same harsh judgment on
me?"

"Ay, if not a harsher: but do you know, Mr. Bertram, that at first
sight, I knew your profession by your face, and what your destiny is in
this life."

"And which of my unhappy features is it that bears this unpleasant
witness against me?"

"Unhappy you may truly call them," said the other, smiling
bitterly--"unhappy indeed; for they are the same as my own. I rest a little
upon omens and prefigurations; and am superstitious; as those must ever be
who have lived upon the sea, and have risked their all upon the faith of
its unsteady waves. It will mortify you (my young friend) to confess, (but
it is true) that much as storm, sun, passion, and hardships, may have
tanned and disfeatured my face, nevertheless it is still like thy gentle
woman's face, with its fair complexion and its overshadowing locks; and
when I look back upon that inanimate portrait which once an idle artist
painted of me, in my 16th year, I remember that it was one and the same
with thine. Kindred features should imply kindred dispositions and minds.
The first time that I observed you closely, on that evening when you came
on shore from Jackson's brig, sunk in reverie and thinking no doubt, if
indeed you thought of me at all, that I was asleep; then did I behold in
your eye my own; read in your forehead all the storms that too surely have
tossed and rocked the little boat of your uneasy life; saw your plans,
so wide and spacious--your little peace--your doubts about the end
which you were pursuing--your bold resolves--bold, and with not much
hope."

"Oh stranger, but thou knowest the art, far above thy education, of
reading the souls of others."

A smile passed over his countenance whilst he replied: "Education! oh
yes, I too have had some education: oh! doubtless education is a fine
thing, not to run in amongst gentlemen of refinement like a wild beast,
and shock the good pious lambs with coarse manners or ferocious
expressions. Oh yes, education is of astonishing value: a man of the
wildest pursuits, and the nature of a ruffian, may shroud himself in
this, as a wolf in sheep's clothing--and be well received by all those
accomplished creatures whom fortune brought into this world, not in
smoky huts, but in rich men's rooms decked with tapestry. I too have
stolen a little morsel of education amongst a troop of players; and if
my coarse habits will sometimes look out, why that's no fault of mine,
but of those worthy paupers that thought proper to steal me in my
infancy. There are hours, Bertram, in which I have longings, longings
keen as those of women with child--longings for conversations with men
of higher faculties--men that I could understand--men that could answer
me--aye, and that _would_ answer me, and not turn away from the poor
vagabond with disdain."

"And you have chosen me for such a comrade?"

"As you please: that rests with yourself. But, Bertram, at any rate, I
rejoice to find amongst my equals one that does not--as others do of
the plebeian rout--live the sport of the passing moment,--one that
risks his life, yet in risking it knows what life is--that has eyes to
see--thoughts to think,--feelings but such a dissembling hypocrite as
you" (and here he smiled) "will laugh when he hears a ruffian talk of
feelings."

"Your wish is, then, to find some well-educated comrade, who, when your
conscience is troublesome, may present your crimes under their happiest
aspect--may take the sting out of your offences, and give to the wicked
deed the colouring of a noble one?"

Nicholas knit his brows, and said with a quick and stern voice:

"What I have done I shall never deny: neither here nor there above--if
any above or below there be. I want nobody to call my deeds by pretty
names, neither before they are executed nor after. What I want is a
friend; one to whom I could confide my secret thoughts without kneeling
as before a priest--or confessing as to a judge: one that will rush
with me like a hurricane into life, till we are both in our graves; or
one that refusing to do this, and standing himself upright, would yet
allow the poor guilty outcast to attach himself to his support, and
sometimes to repose his weary head upon a human heart."

Bertram stared at him; which the other observed, and said smilingly:

"You wonder at my pathos: but you must recollect that I told you I had
once been amongst players."

"Speak frankly--what is it you wish of me?"

"This I wish: will you either run joint hazard with me--and try your
fortunes in this country;--or will you take your own course, but now
and then permit me, when my heart is crazed by passion, by solitude,
and unparticipated anguish,--to lighten it by your society?"

"Once for all I declare to you, with respect to your first proposal,
that I will enter into no unlawful connexions."

"Be it so: that word is enough. You refuse to become an adventurer like
myself? I ask not for your reasons; your will in such a case is law
enough. But then can you, in the other sense, be my friend?"

"Rash man! whence is it that you derive such boundless confidence in
me?"

Nicholas stepped up to the young man nearer than before--looked him
keenly but kindly in the eyes--as if seeking to revive some remembrance
in him; then pressed his hand, and said--

"Have you forgotten then that poor wretch in the tumult of the waves,
to whom, when he was in his agony, thou, Bertram, didst resign thy own
security--and didst descend into the perilous and rocking waters?
Deeply, oh deeply, I am in thy debt; far more deeply I would be, when I
ask for favours such as this."

"Is it possible? Are you he? But now I recollect your forehead was then
hidden by streaming hair; convulsive spasms played about your lips; and
your face was disguised by a long beard."

"I am he; and but for thee should now lie in the bowels of a shark, or
spitted upon some rock at the bottom of the ocean. But come, my young
friend, come into the open air: for in this vault I feel the air too
close and confined."

Owls and other night birds which had found an asylum here, disturbed by
the steps of the two nightly wanderers, now soared aloft to the highest
turrets. At length after moving in silence for some minutes, both
stepped out through the pointed arch of a narrow gate-way into the open
air upon a lofty battlement. Nicholas seized Bertram's hand, with the
action of one who would have checked him at some dangerous point;--and,
making a gesture which expressed--"look before you!" he led him to the
outer edge of the wall. At this moment the full moon in perfect glory
burst from behind a towering pile of clouds, and illuminated a region
such as the young man had hitherto scarcely known by description.
Dizzily he looked down upon what seemed a bottomless abyss at his feet.
The Abbey-wall, on which he stood, built with colossal art, was but the
crest or surmounting of a steep and monstrous wall of rock, which rose
out of depths in which his eye could find no point on which to settle.
On the other side of this immeasurable gulph lay in deep shadow--the
main range of Snowdon; whose base was perhaps covered with thick
forests, but whose summit and declivities displayed a dreary waste.
Dazzled by the grandeur of the spectacle, Bertram would have sought
repose for his eye by turning round; but the new scene was, if not
greater, still more striking. From his lofty station he overlooked the
spacious ruins of the entire monastery, as its highest points silvered
over by moonlight shot up from amidst the illimitable night of ravines,
chasms, and rocky peaks that form the dependencies of Snowdon. Add
to these permanent features of the scene the impressive accident of
the time--midnight, with an universal stillness in the air, and the
whole became a fairy scene, in which the dazzled eye comprehended only
the total impression, without the separate details or the connexions
of its different points. So much however might be inferred from the
walls which lay near with respect to those which gleamed in the
distance--that the towers and buildings of the abbey had been for the
most part built upon prominent peaks of rock. Those only, which were so
founded, had resisted the hand of time: while the cross walls which
connected them, wanting such a rocky basis, had all fallen in. Solemnly
above all the chapels and turrets rose, brilliantly illuminated by the
moon, the main tower. Upon a solitary crag, that started from the deeps,
it stood with a boldness that seemed to proclaim defiance on the part
of man to nature--and victorious efforts of his hands over all her
opposition. Round about it every atom of the connecting masonry had
mouldered away and sunk into heaps of rubbish below--so that all
possibility of reaching the tower seemed to be cut off. But beyond this
tower Gothic fretwork and imperfect windows rose from the surrounding
crags; and in many places were seen pillars springing from two dissevered
points of rock--rising higher and higher--and at last inclining towards
each other in vast arches; but the central stones that should have locked
the architraves of the mighty gates were wanting; and the columns stood
to a fanciful eye like two lovers, whom nature and pure inclination
have destined for each other, but whom some malicious mischance has
separated for ever. Bertram shut his eyes, before the dazzling
spectacle: when he opened them again, his guide said with a tranquil
voice--in which however a tone of exultation might be distinguished,

"This is Griffith ap Gauvon, of which I lately spoke to you."

All words, as Bertram felt, would fail to express the strength of his
emotions: language would but have violated the solemnity of the
thoughts which riveted his gaze to the scene before him. He was silent
therefore; and in a few moments his companion resumed:

"Here, Bertram, do I often stand on the giddy precipice; and I look
down upon the dread tranquillity of the spectacle; and then often I
feel as though I wanted no friend; as though nature, the mighty mother,
were a sufficient friend that fulfilled all my wishes--a friend far
better and wiser than any which the false world can offer. But,
Bertram, come a little further!"

He led him, sideways, from that part of the building out of which they
had issued by the little portal about 100 yards further. The wall,
scarce three feet wide, stood here nearly insulated: and was on the one
side bounded by the abyss just described, and on the other by what
might have been an inner court--that lay however at least three stories
deep below. Nothing but a cross-wall, which rose above the court
towards a little tower, touched this main wall. At the extremity of
this last, where it broke off abruptly, both stopped. Hardly forty
steps removed from them, rose the great tower, which in past times
doubtless had been connected with the point at which they stood, but
was now divided by as deep a gulph as that which lay to the outside
wall, "Further there is nothing," said his guide: "often have I come
hither and meditated whether I should not make one step onwards, and in
that way release myself from all anxiety about any future steps upon
this earth."

"But the power and the grandeur of nature have arrested you and awed
you?"

"Right. Look downwards into the abyss before us:--deep, deep below,
trickles along, between pebbles and moss and rocky fragment, a little
brook: now it is lit up by the moon;--and at this moment it seems to me
as if something were stirring; and now something is surely leaping
over:--but no--it was deception: often when I have stood here in
meditation, and could not comprehend what checked me from taking one
bold leap, a golden pillar of moonlight has met me gleaming upwards
from the little brook below--(brook that I have haunted in happier
days); and suddenly I have risen as if ashamed--and stolen away in
silence."

"Nicholas, do you believe in God?"

"Will you know the truth? I have lately learnt to believe."

"By what happy chance?"

"Happy!" and his companion laughed bitterly. "Leagued with bold and
desperate men, to rid the world of a knot of vipers, for months I had
waited for the moment when they should assemble together, in order to
annihilate at one blow the entire brood. Daily we prayed, if you will
call that praying, that this moment would arrive: but months after
months passed: we waited; and we despaired. At length on a day,--I
remember it was at noon--in burst a friend upon us and cried
out--'Triumph and glory! this night the King's ministers all meet at
Lord Harrowby's.' At these words many stern conspirators fell on their
knees; others folded their hands--hands (God knows!) but little used to
such a folding: I could do neither; I stretched out my arms and cried
aloud--There _is_ a Providence!"

"Dreadful!"

"Spare your horrors, and your morality. Providence, we know, has willed
it otherwise: the honourable gentlemen, at whom we had levelled,
flourish in prosperity and honour; and my friends moulder beneath the
scaffold."

"Having this origin, I presume that your faith in a Providence is at
present--"

"Unshaken: my dagger was meant for Lord Londonderry: and, although he
has escaped my wrath, yet I know not how, but a curse seems to cling to
my blade, that whomsoever I have once devoted to it with full
determination of purpose, that man ---- ----"

Bertram shuddered, and said, "So then it was a conspirator from
Cato-street that I delivered from death?"

"Well, push the conspirator over the wall, if you repent."

"But what carried you amongst such an atrocious band? What could you
reap from the murder of the English ministers?--no merchant from
Amsterdam stood with a full purse in the back ground."

"One step brings on another, and the rage of licentious mobs cannot be
stopped until it has consumed itself. Upon the smoking ashes of the old
palaces, between the overladen scaffold on one side and the charnel
house on the other, blood from each side floating the slippery
streets,--then is man's worth put to proof; then it is tried not by his
prattling, which he calls eloquence--nor by his overloaded memory which
he calls knowledge: then comes into play the arm, and then the head:"

"And what would you have gained as chief of a maddening populace?"

"What should I have gained? That sort of consideration I leave to the
'learned' and to 'ministers' and such people: my part is--to resolve
and to execute as the crisis arises."

"So then it was mere appetite for destruction that drove you on? For
_that_ I should scarce have thought your misanthropy sufficient."

"Call it folly, call it frenzy, call it what you will--but something
higher it was that stood in the back ground. A beautiful picture it was
when I represented to myself all the great leaders, headless--and in
that point on a level with the poor culprit that has just ascended the
scaffold for stealing some half a pound of trash. This it was that
allured me; and the pleasure of being myself the decapitator! Then
worth should have borne the sway, and merit."

"Merit? What sort of merit?"

"You think a blood-hound has none,"--said Nicholas, with eyes that
shot fire:--"but he can acquire it. Heaven and Earth! he that has such
marrow--such blood in his veins--such a will--such an unconquerable
will--he can begin a new life: he can be born again. Bertram, do not
mock me when I tell you--passionate love has crazed my wits. See, here
is a handkerchief of hers! For _her_ sake do I curse my former life;
for her sake, I would sink its memory into the depths of ocean! Oh that
I _could_! that all the waters of the ocean could cleanse this hand!
that I could come up from the deep sea as pure though I were as
helpless as an infant! Once upon a dreadful night--But stop! what was
that? Did you hear no whispering from below? Once upon a dreadful
night----: Steps go there! hush! hush!"

Bertram's companion here suddenly drew his cloak from his
shoulders--rolled it up under his arm--caught his coat-skirts under both
arms--and stood with head and body bent forwards, whilst his eyes seemed to
search and traverse the dark piles of building from which they had
issued; his attitude was that of a stag, that, with pointed ears and
with fore-feet rising for a bound, is looking to the thicket from which
the noise issues that has startled him. Bertram too threw his eyes over
the walls as far as he could to the lower part of the ruins; and
remarked that, if any hostile attack were made, they should be without
deliverance; they were shut in; and no egress remained except that
which would be pre-occupied by their assailants.

"I believe I was mistaken," said Nicholas, drawing his breath again,
just as Bertram fancied he saw a stirring of the shadow which lay
within the gateway at the further end. He was on the point of
communicating what he observed to the other, when suddenly a shot was
fired. In that same instant Nicholas had thrown his cloak into the
abyss; and without a word spoken ran straight, with an agility and
speed that thunderstruck Bertram, to the archway; from which figures of
armed men were now seen to issue apparently with the intention of
intercepting the fugitive. Bertram now expected to see a struggle,
as Nicholas was running right into the mouth of the danger. But
in the midst of his quickest speed he checked--turned to the left
about--leaped down with the instinctive agility of a chamois upon the
wall below, which, bisecting the inner court, connected the main wall
with the outer, and then ran along upon the narrow ridge of this inner
wall, interrupted as it was by holes and loose stones. At every instant
Bertram expected to see him fall and never rise again. But the danger
to Nicholas came from another quarter. The pursuers, it would seem, had
calculated on the intrepidity and agility of their man, and another
group of men faced him on the opposite side. No choice appeared left to
the fugitive--but to surrender, or to leap down. Suddenly he stood
still, pulled out of his belt a brace of pistols--fired one in each
hand upon the antagonists who stood near to him; and, whilst these
shrank back in sudden surprise, though no one appeared wounded, with
incredible dexterity and speed he sank from the eyes of Bertram--and
disappeared. In a moment after Bertram thought he heard a dull sound as
of a sullen plunge through briars and brambles into the rubbish below.
All was then still.----

"One has burst the net," exclaimed the men, "but there stands his
comrade: and, if he prove the right one, no matter what becomes of the
other." So saying, both parties neared cautiously to possess themselves
of Bertram.

On _his_ part Bertram had no wish, as indeed (he was aware) no power,
to escape them. Advancing therefore with a tranquil demeanour, he
surrendered himself at once: and the next moment an Irishman of the
party, being summoned to examine his features, held up a torch to his
face and solemnly pronounced the prisoner to be that Nicholas of whom
they were in search.



                              CHAPTER XII.


      _Prot._ 'Tis wonderful dark! I have lost my man;
      And dare not call for him, but I should have
      More followers than I would pay wages to.
      What throes am I in--in this travel! These
      Be honourable adventures!
                   _Beaumont and Fletcher_: _Thierry and Theodor_.


"Come, let's away from this old monk's nest," said one of the
constables, "for it looks uncanny."

"Aye, Sampson, and who knows but some of Nicholas's gang may be lurking
behind the pillars?"

"Nay it's not altogether that I'm thinking of; but the old monks with
their cowls; and Merlin; and God knows how many ghosts beside;--I could
fancy that I saw some of them just now at the end of these long
galleries. So let's away."

Others however objected that they were starved by their long watching
in the cold, and stood in need of refreshments. It was determined
therefore to make a halt. Two men staid by the prisoner, whilst the
rest collected wood and soon succeeded in lighting a prodigious fire
upon the spacious area before the main entrance into the Abbey. Round
this the party collected: a hamper of smuggled claret, which they had
fortunately intercepted on its road from the abbey, was unpacked: wine
and the genial warmth of the fire disposed all present except the
prisoner to mirth and festivity; and not one soul but seemed to regard
it as a point of conscience to reward their fatigue and celebrate their
success by getting royally intoxicated.

"Why so downcast, my lad?" said one of the constables to Bertram; "in
my youth I was as near to the gallows as you; and yet you see I am now
virtuous; and a man of credit in the state."

"Aye, Sampson," said Kilmary, "unless you're much belied, you got your
reprieve just as you were going to be turned off."

"And you, Kilmary, got yours something later: for I've often heard that
you were cut down after hanging some five minutes or so. This was in
Wicklow, gentlemen: and being in time of rebellion there was so much
business that they were often obliged to employ dilettanti artists in
hanging: and now and then there was not time to go through the work
properly.--But, as I was saying, courage my young lad. Were I in your
place, I would bless my stars that I had fallen into the company of
honest men, and got rid of such rascally friends as yours, that run
away at the pinch. You see by this that no dependance can be placed
upon such villains, and that virtue only can be relied on. Oh! I could
preach finely to you, my boy: but where's the use of it? If you're
hanged, you'll not want it: and, if you're not hanged, you'll forget
it."

Bertram meantime had for a moment withdrawn his attention from the
unpleasant circumstances of his own situation to the striking features
of the scene before him. In the back ground lay Snowdon bending into a
vast semicircus, and absorbing into its gigantic shadows the minor
hills which lay round its base: all were melted into perfect unity: and
from the height of its main range the whole seemed within a quarter of
a mile from the spot which he himself occupied. Between this and the
abbey lay a level lawn, chequered with moonlight and the mighty shadows
of Snowdon. Of the abbey itself many parts appeared in the distance;
sullen recesses which were suddenly and partially revealed by the
fluctuating glare of the fire; aerial windows through which the sky
gleamed in splendour, unless when it was obscured for a moment by the
clouds which sailed across; pinnacles and crosses of sublime altitude
in the remote distance; and in the immediate foreground the great
gateway of the abbey and the wide circle of armed men carousing about
the fire in sitting or recumbent attitudes.

From this fine natural composition, which he contemplated with a half
regret that Merlin did not really make his appearance from some long
gallery or gloomy arch-way leading Salvator Rosa by the hand, Bertram
was suddenly called off to the conversation around him--which, as the
wine began to act, had gradually risen into the high key of violent
altercation. A reward of 500_l._ had been offered, as he now collected,
for the apprehension of Nicholas; and the dispute turned upon the due
appropriation of this sum.

"What the d---l, Sampson! rank or precedency has nothing to do in this
case: that's settled, and we are all to share alike."

"D---- your impudence," cried Sampson--"Social distinctions in all
things: it's as clear as sunlight in October that I, as leader and the
man of genius, am to have 300_l._; and you divide the other 200_l._
amongst you."

"What?" said the Irishman: "200_l._ amongst eight men?"

"Why, as for you, Kilmary, you get nothing. You stayed behind and
wouldn't venture yourself upon the wall."

"No: Red-hair, you sheer off," exclaimed all the rest: but Red-hair pro
tested against this; and almost screamed with wrath:

"By rights I should have half," said Kilmary; "for without me you would
never have known who he was."

"Not a farthing more than according to merit; and then your share will
come short."

Kilmary leaped up and clenched his fist:

"May the great devil swallow----." But scarce had he uttered a word,
when a shot was fired; then a second--a third--a fourth; and a wild
shout arose at a little distance of--

"Cut them down!"

Sampson had fallen back wounded: but, full of presence of mind, he
called out to the Irishman--"Seize him, Kilmary! seize the prisoner, or
he'll escape."

But Kilmary had been the first to escape himself; some others had
followed: two of more resolution were preparing to execute the orders
of the constable; when suddenly they were assailed so fiercely that one
tumbled into the fire, and the other rolled over the wounded constable.
An uproar of shouts and curses arose: and in this tumult Bertram found
himself seized by two stout fellows who hurried him off, before he had
time to recollect himself, into the shades of a neighbouring thicket.
Here, where nobody could discover them by the light of the fire, they
made a halt and cut the cords that confined the prisoner.

"Take breath for a moment," said one of his conductors, "and then away
with us through thick and thin, before the bloodhounds rally."

"Captain Nicholas, shall we give them another round?" said a voice
which struck Bertram as one which he had somewhere heard before.

"No, no, Tom,--let us be quiet whilst we are well: we have executed our
work in a workmanlike style: another discharge would but serve to point
out the course of our flight: for fly we must; a little bird whispered
in my ear that they have a rear guard: and it will be well if we all
reach our quarters this night in safety: to do which, my lads, our best
chance will be to disperse; so good night to you all, and thanks for
your able services. Mr. Bertram, I will put you in the way."

All the rest immediately stole away like shadows amongst the bushes;
and Bertram again found himself alone with Edward Nicholas, who now
guided him away from the neighbourhood of the abbey by intricate and
almost impracticable paths up hill and down--through blind lanes and
the shadowy skirts of forests--and once or twice along the pebbly
channels of the little mountain brooks. On such ground Bertram often
lost his footing; and Nicholas, who kept a-head, was more than once
obliged to turn back and lend him his assistance. It was with no little
pleasure therefore that at length he found himself again upon a level
path which wound amongst the crags and woodlands--but in so mazy a
track that it required little less than an Indian sagacity to hit it.
From this they immerged into a series of ridings cut through the
extensive woods of Tre Mawr; and, as they approached the end of one of
these alleys, Bertram saw before them a wide heath stretching like a
sea under the brilliant light of the wintry moon which had now attained
her meridian altitude.

"Here," said Nicholas, as they issued upon the heath, "here we must
part: for the road, which I must pursue, would be too difficult for a
person unacquainted with the ground.--You, I suppose, admire this
bright moon and the deluge of light she sheds: so do not I; and I
heartily wish some poet or sonneteer had her in his pocket: for a dark
night would have favoured our retreat much better. As it is, we must
cross the heath by separate routes. You shall have the easiest. Do you
see that black point on the heath? It is a stone of remarkable size and
shape. When you reach it, turn to the left; and then, upon coming to
the peat-trenches, to the right--until you arrive at a little hill:
from the summit of this, and about a mile distant, you will observe
some inclosures: there dwells Evan Williams: mention my name, and he
will gladly harbour you until the heat of the pursuit is over. I will
contrive to communicate with you in a day or two by means of Tom
Godber--the young man who spoke to me as we left Ap Gauvon."

"Ah! by the way, I thought I knew his voice: he is the son then of old
Mrs. Gillie Godber from Anglesea?"

"Exactly: and he is a helper in the stables at Walladmor Castle. You
may trust him safely; for he is entirely attached to my interests: but
now good night; for there is every appearance of snow coming on: it has
been threatening for the last twenty-four hours: cold so severe as this
is always the harbinger of snow: and, from the appearance of the sky at
this moment, I doubt there will be a heavy fall before morning: good
night!"

So saying Edward Nicholas struck across the heath, leaving Bertram in
some perplexity as to the course he ought to adopt. He was aware that
the most favourable step to the establishment of his own innocence
would be to disclaim all voluntary participation in the late rescue by
surrendering himself again to the officers of justice. Yet he could not
but feel that to retrace his steps to Ap Gauvon was a matter of peril
or impossibility under any state of the weather: and at this moment the
threatening aspect of the sky, over which a curtain of clouds was
gradually drawing, combined with his own weariness and craving for rest
to urge him onwards upon the route pointed out by Nicholas. There was
no time for long deliberations: the moon was now left in a deep gulph
of the heavens, which the thick pall of clouds was hastening every
moment to close over: and with some anxiety Bertram started off hastily
in the direction of the stone. This he reached without much difficulty;
took the right turn; and hoped soon to arrive at the peat-ditch which
formed the second point in his _carte du pays_. After walking however
for a longer time than seemed requisite for traversing the distance, he
began to fear that he had wandered from the track. He turned; grew
anxious; diverged a little to the right, and then again to the left, in
hopes of coming upon the object he was in search of; then turned again;
and finally lost all knowledge of his bearing or the direction in which
he had just come, Mounting a little rising ground he beheld the abbey
of Ap Gauvon, apparently two miles distant, still reddening with the
angry glare of torches--sometimes gleaming over the outer walls,
sometimes flashing from the windows or upper battlements; a proof that
the police-officers had not yet renounced all hopes of recovering
their prisoner. This spectacle did not tend to restore him to his
self-possession: he descended the hill in trepidation: and, on reaching
its foot, anxiously considered what it would be best to do. At this
moment, the touch of something wet and cold upon his face struck a deadly
chill to his heart: he hoped he might be mistaken; but the next instant
came a second--a third--a fourth, until the whole air was filled with
snow-flakes. Raising his head at this time he beheld the moon, at an
immense altitude above him, shooting down her light through a shaft as
it were in the clouds: the slender orifice of the shaft contracted: a
sickly mist spread over the disk of the luminary; in a moment after all
was gone; and one unbroken canopy of thick dun clouds muffled the whole
hemisphere.

In this perplexity what was he to do? From the hill, which he had just
descended, he remembered to have seen some dark object, apparently
about half a mile distant: this might be a hovel or small cottage; and
in this direction he determined to run. The snow was now in his back;
and the dark spot soon began to swell upon his sight: in five minutes
more he came up to it. He felt about for door or window; but could find
none: and great was his disappointment when, upon more attentive
examination, he perceived that what he had mistaken for a place of
shelter was the antique stone gallows which he had passed in the
afternoon. Under the lee of this old monument of elder days he was
seeking out a favourable spot for a temporary shelter from the violence
of the storm, when to his sudden horror and astonishment up started a
tall female figure and seized him eagerly by the arm. At first she
seemed speechless from some strong passion, and shaken as if by an ague
fit: but, in a few moments she recovered her voice; and with piercing
tones, in which, though trembling from agitation, Bertram immediately
recognized those of poor Gillie Godber, she exclaimed--

"Ah Gregory! is it you? Are you come at last?--My darling! I have
waited for thee--oh how long! Four and twenty years I have wept and
watched, and watched and wept.--Oh come with me, my boy--my boy! God's
curse on them that ever took thee away! Turn to me, my son: oh come,
come, come, come!"

With the energy of a maniac she flung her withered arm about his neck:
but Bertram was so overcome by the sudden shock of surprise, and by
mingled emotions of awe, pity, and distraction of purpose, on finding
himself thus suddenly in the arms of a lunatic, that he tore himself
violently away and ran off without asking himself whither. The poor
frantic mother pursued him, with outstretched arms and her aged locks
streaming upon the wind; crying out continually,

"Gregory, my love! turn back: the wind is high and stormy; and the
snowflakes are driving--driving--driving! I have kept a fire to warm
you in Anglesea for four and twenty years. Turn back to me, my bonny
lad! my love! my darling!"

Her powers were unable to support her in this contest of speed with the
energies of a young man suddenly restored by the excitement of panic:
and, on looking back within half a minute, Bertram perceived that her
figure was already obscured by the tumult of snow which raged in the
air. Her shrill voice however still at intervals forced its way to his
ear, in the very teeth of the wind, and contributed to aggravate the
distressing circumstances of his situation at this moment. It was a
situation indeed which might have shaken the fortitude of one more
accustomed to struggle with danger. The clouds had now lost their
colour of yellowish dun, and assumed a livid lead colour which
contrasted powerfully with the white livery in which all things were
already arrayed: the snowflakes, conflicting with the baffling wind as
they descended, "tormented all the air,"--and, to the eye of one
looking upwards, seemed to cross--thwart--and mazily interweave with
each other as rapidly as a weaver's shuttle, and with the lambent
scintillating lustre of fire-flies: and the plashes or shallow pools of
water, which were frequent in this part of the heath amongst the
excavations from which peats had been dug, now began under the sudden
breaking up of the frost to give way beneath their warm covering of
snow to the weight of a man. The wind, which was likely to subside as
the fall of snow grew more settled, at present blew a perfect
hurricane; and unfortunately the accidental direction which Bertram had
taken on extricating himself from the poor mad woman,--a direction
which he was unwilling to change from his fear of again falling in with
her,--brought him into direct opposition to it. To these disheartening
and bewildering circumstances of his present situation were added those
of previous exhaustion, cold, hunger, and anxiety in regard to the
probable construction of the share he had borne, as a passive
spectator, in the events of the day; having, however unintentionally,
become a party in the eye of the law to the attack on the revenue
officers--and possibly, as he feared, to that upon the police officers
at Ap Gauvon. Under all these circumstances of distress however he
continued to make way; but more and more slowly: and at length, whilst
cowring his head before the blinding drift of the snow, he plunged
unawares into a peat trench. He found himself up to the shoulders in
water; and with some difficulty crawled out on the opposite bank. This,
which under other circumstances might have been regarded as a
misfortune, now turned out a very serviceable event: for the sudden
shock of this cold bath not only communicated a stimulus to the
drooping powers of his frame, and liberated him from the sleepy torpor
which had been latterly stealing over him,--but, by urging him to run
as vigorously as he could in order to shake off the extreme chill which
now seized him, tended still more to restore the action of his animal
powers. A reviving hope too had suddenly sprung up that this might be
the peat trench to which the directions of Nicholas referred: and he
ran with alacrity and chearfulness. In this course however he was all
at once arrested by a violent blow on his temples. Raising his head,
which he still carried slanting against the wind, to his sudden joy he
discovered in the cause of this rude shock a most welcome indication of
approach to some beaten road, and probably to the dwellings of men. It
was a lofty pole, such as is ordinarily erected upon moorish or
mountainous tracts against the accidents of deep snow. Bertram's hopes
were realized. At a little distance he found a second pole, then a
third, and a fourth, &c. until at length he dropped down upon a little
cluster of cottages. He saw indeed neither house, nor tree, nor hedge
before him: for even a whole village at such a time--its low roofs all
white with snow--would not have been distinguishable: but he heard the
bleating of sheep. Seldom had his heart throbbed with such a sudden
thrill of gladness as at this sound. With hurried steps he advanced,
and soon found a low hedge which without hesitation he climbed; he felt
the outer wall of a house, but could not find the door. Close to the
house however was a wooden barn, from which issued the bleating which
had so much gladdened the poor wanderer; and to this he directed his
steps.

Many a reader, when he runs over this chapter by his warm fire-side, or
possibly in summer, will not forbear laughing. But whosoever, led by
pleasure or necessity, has in winter roamed over a heath in the Scotch
Highlands, and has been fairly mist-foundered,--knows what a blessed
haven for the weary and frozen way-farer is a reeking sheep-cote. The
author of this novel speaks here feelingly and from a memorable
personal experience: upon a romantic pedestrian excursion from
Edinburgh to the western parts of Strathnavern he once lost his way in
company with his friend, Thomas Vanley, Esq. who departed this life
about ten years ago, but will live for ever in his tender recollection.
After wandering for several hours in the thickest mist upon this
_Novembry_ heath, and what by moorish ground--what by the dripping
atmosphere being thoroughly soaked, and stiffening with cold, the
author and Mr. Vanley discovered on a declivity of the bleak Mount
Patrick a solitary hovel. It stood apart from all houses or dwellings;
and even the shepherd on this particular night had stolen away
(probably on a love-tryst): however, if the shepherd was gone, his
sheep were not: and we found about fifty of them in the stall, which
had recently been littered with fine clean straw. We clambered over the
hurdle at the door; and made ourselves a warm cozy lair amongst the
peaceful animals. Many times after in succeeding years Mr. Vanley
assured me--that, although he had in India (as is well known to the
public) enjoyed all the luxuries of a Nabob whilst he served in those
regions under Sir Arthur Wellesley, yet never had any Indian bed been
so voluptuous to him as that straw-bed amongst the sheep upon the
desolate wilds of Mount Patrick.

To his great delight Bertram found the door of the barn only latched:
without noise he opened it just wide enough to admit his person;
and then, closing it again cautiously, climbed over the great hurdle
which barricadoed the entrance. Then he groped along in a stooping
posture--feeling his way on the ground, as he advanced, with his hands;
but, spite of all his precaution, the sheep were disturbed; they fled
from him bleating tumultuously, as commonly happens when a stranger
intrudes amongst them, and crowded to the furthest corner of the barn.
Much greater was his alarm however when all at once he stumbled with his
hands upon a long out-stretched human body. He shrank back with sudden
trepidation; drew in his breath; and kept himself as still as death.
But, observing by the hard and uniform breathing that it was a man
buried in profound sleep, he stepped carefully over him, and sought a
soft and warm bed in the remotest corner of the barn. Luckily he found
means to conciliate the aboriginal tenants of the barn; and in no long
time two fleecy lambs couched beside him; and he was forced to confess
that after the fatigues of such a day no bed could have been more
grateful or luxurious.



                             CHAPTER XIII.


      _Som._ O monstrous traitor!--I arrest thee, York,
      Of capital treason 'gainst the king and crown:
      Obey, audacious traitor!
                                           _Henry VI. Second Part._

On awaking the next morning, Bertram perceived by the strength of the
light now brightened by reflexion from the dazzling snow that the
morning was far advanced; and, rising hastily from his bed of heath and
fern, he was somewhat startled to perceive a whole family of women and
children standing at a little distance and surveying him with looks of
anxious curiosity checked however and disturbed by something of fear
and suspicion. These feelings appeared a little to give way before the
interesting appearance of the youthful stranger: an expression of pity
arose for the distress which could have brought him into that
situation: and in a few words of Welsh, which were rendered
intelligible to Bertram by the courteous gestures which accompanied
them, he was invited into the house--and seated by a blazing fire of
peat and wood. With the cheerful hospitality of mountaineers, his fair
hostesses proceeded to prepare breakfast for him; and Bertram had no
reason to complain of any coldness or remissness in their attentions.
Yet, in the midst of all their kindness, he could not but discover an
air of lurking distrust which somewhat embarrassed him. At first he had
accounted for this upon the natural shock which it must have given to a
few women to find an unknown intruder upon their premises dressed in a
foreign style, and occupying so very unusual a situation amongst their
sheep. And this interpretation appeared the more reasonable--as he now
became aware that the women and children were left almost to their own
protection; for the house was in a lonely situation; and all the men of
the family were abroad, except an imbecile grey-beard whom one of the
young women addressed as her grandfather. All fears however, Bertram
flattered himself, should have been dispersed immediately by his
appearance and the gentleness of his demeanour: much therefore it
perplexed him to observe after the lapse of some time that the shyness
and something like displeasure, which had at first clouded the faces of
his fair friends, seemed in no degree to give way before his amiable
looks and manners. The children in particular, he remarked, regarded
him with eyes of dislike, and rejected all his advances. Happening to
follow them to the door for a moment, he there observed what threw some
light upon the case: the children were mourning over the body of a dog
which lay dead in the corner of a little garden: and, from the angry
glances which they directed at himself, he no longer doubted that they
regarded him as the destroyer of their favourite. To a young man of
sensibility and amiable disposition, and chiefly in search of the
picturesque, it was peculiarly unpleasant to find himself the object of
such a suspicion. To lie under the reproach of an act, which, unless it
were a necessary act, was a very savage and brutal one,--must naturally
be painful under any circumstances; much more so at a time when he was
indebted to the goodness of the family, whom he was supposed to have
thus wantonly injured, for the most hospitable attentions. At this
moment a sudden recollection darted into his mind of his nocturnal
companion in the barn, to whom he doubted not the death of the dog was
to be attributed. Unable however from his ignorance of the Welsh
language to explain this circumstance, or to make his own vindication,
he prepared to liberate himself from the uneasy and humiliating
situation, in which he now found himself placed, by taking his leave as
soon as possible.

At this moment an ill-looking fellow, who seemed to have some
acquaintance with the family, entered the cottage: he fixed his eyes
keenly upon Bertram; and, when the latter rose to depart, offered
himself as a guide to Machynleth. Bertram had noticed his scrutiny with
some uneasiness and displeasure; but having no ready excuse for
declining his offers, nor indeed seeing any use in doing so, he said
that he would be glad to avail himself of his services; took his hat;
and, bowing to the family with as much composure and as obliging an air
as his embarrassing feelings would allow, moved towards the door. On
this there was a general murmur amongst the women; and a sudden stir as
if from some wish to detain him. Their looks meantime expressed
compassion: and Bertram discovered no signs of any hostile intention:
yet, as he was unable to imagine any reason advantageous to himself
which they could have for detaining him, he persisted in departing.

The day was beautiful; but the roads were heavy and toilsome to the
foot-passenger; for the snow lay deep; and frost had succeeded just
sufficient to glaze the surface into a crispness which retarded without
absolutely resisting the pressure of the foot. Their progress was
therefore slow: but they had floundered on between two and three miles:
and as yet Bertram had found no cause for openly expressing his
dissatisfaction with his guide. The manners and deportment of the man
were indeed unpleasant: his head he carried in a drooping posture;
never looked directly in Bertram's face; and now and then eyed him
askance. Occasionally he fell behind a little; and once, upon turning
suddenly round, Bertram detected him in the act of applying a measure
to his footsteps. These were alarming circumstances in his behaviour:
but otherwise he was civil and communicative in his replies; and showed
a good deal of intelligence in his account of the different objects on
the road about which Bertram inquired. All at once however he was
missing; and, looking round, Bertram perceived him, at the top of a
slight eminence a little to the left of the road, waving his
handkerchief and whistling a loud summons to some person or party in
the neighbourhood.

"Ah rascal!" cried Bertram: but before he could complete the sentence,
his attention was drawn off to a party of horsemen who now wheeled into
sight and rapidly extended their line--man[oe]uvring their horses with
the evident purpose of intercepting him, if he should attempt to
escape. This however, if it had been feasible, was no part of his
intention: judging from their appearance that they were police
officers, he advanced to meet them with a firm step--calling out at the
same time--

"Take notice, I surrender myself voluntarily: the magistrates, I have
no doubt, will consider my explanations satisfactory: and all I have to
regret is---that any body should have been wounded in an affair
connected in any way with myself."

This he said on observing, in the person of one who rode foremost, the
"virtuous" Mr. Sampson carrying his arm in a sling. Mr. Sampson however
replied to this indirect expression of condolence by a sceptical and
somewhat satirical grin:

"Do but hearken to him," said he to the other constables: "hearken to
this pious youth: we, that are honest men now, are not so religious by
one half. And he can satisfy the magistrates? Aye, no doubt: but first
he must hang a little; hang a little,--do you hear, Sir? But pray,
Kilmary, how came you to let him move off till we got up?"

"He wouldn't stay," said Kilmary, in whom Bertram now recognised his
guide: "nothing would content him but off he must bolt: and the
farmer's people would not help me to keep him. Nay, I believe they
would have hid him, or let him out at the back door, if he hadn't
killed their old dog last night. I palavered to them about the laws,
and justice, and what not: but they wouldn't stand it."

"Faith and I can't blame them," said Sampson: "it's no joke for a
lonesome family on a heath side to make an enemy of such a pious youth
as our friend here."

"Well, bind him fast and keep him better than you did the last time:
for I shall hardly catch him for you a third time. It was no such easy
matter to track him, I'll assure you; his footmarks were half snowed
up."

"Aye, Kilmary, thou art a good hound for running down a fox. To give
thee no more than thy due, thou art a hound in every thing; a perfect
hound."

"But no hound that will fetch and carry for others, Mr. Sampson: if I'm
always to be the hound to hunt the fox home, I'll have my right share
of the reward."

"You shall, Kilmary: and what's that? What's a hound's share? A bone or
so when his master has dined: isn't it, Kilmary? eh, my boy?"

Kilmary muttered a few inarticulate words; and slunk behind. Meantime
the constables dismounted; and, having handcuffed Bertram, passed a
cord round his body, the two extremities of which were carried in the
hands of Sampson and another, who remounted their horses and led him
after them in this felonious style.

Fortunately for Bertram's comfort, Sampson's wound obliged him to ride
slowly: notwithstanding which he was heartily thankful when, after
advancing for some hours, they came within view of the church towers at
Machynleth, distant about three miles--and found Alderman Gravesand
with a barouche-and-four waiting for them at the top of the hill.

Bertram was placed in the carriage; and Sampson took his seat by his
side; Kilmary mounting Sampson's horse. By this time it was four
o'clock; and Alderman Gravesand directed the whole party to push
forward at their utmost speed; "it was his intention to carry the
prisoner to Walladmor Castle nearly thirty miles distant; and he wished
to be through Machynleth before the light failed."

"Would his worship then go through the town?" asked Sampson: "might it
not be better to send forward with orders for horses to meet them in
the outskirts, and avoid the town by making a little circuit?"

"No:" this proposal the Alderman rejected, as he would have done any
other which looked like a compromise of the magisterial dignity or a
concession to the popular spirit. Mr. Gravesand was a man who doated on
what he called energy and vigour; others called it tyranny and the
spirit of domineering. Of Lord Chesterfield's golden maxim--_Suaviter
in modo, fortiter in re_--he attended so earnestly to the latter half
that he generally forgot the former. And upon the present occasion he
was resolved to parade his contempt for "the jacobinical populace" of
Machynleth by carrying his prisoner boldly through the midst of them.

The fact is--that the populace of Machynleth were not Jacobinical, nor
ever showed any disposition to insubordination unless in behalf of
smuggling (which on this coast was a matter of deep interest to the
poor man's comforts), or in cases where Alderman Gravesand was
concerned. The Lord Lieutenant, whom they loved and reverenced, could
at all times calm them by a word; and any inferior magistrate, who
would take the least pains to cultivate their good will, was sure of
finding them in all ordinary cases reasonable and accessible to
persuasion. But for Alderman Gravesand,--who had never missed an
opportunity of expressing his hatred and affected contempt for them,
they were determined on showing him that there was no love lost between
them: right or wrong, in every case they gave him as much trouble as
they possibly could. And in the present case, which was supposed to be
an arrest for some participation in the smuggler's affair of the
funeral, they had one motive more than was needed to sharpen the spirit
of resistance to the worshipful gentleman.



                              CHAPTER XIV.


      That when the people, which had thereabout
      Long wayted, saw his sudden desolation,
      They gan together in tumultuous rout
      And mutining to stirre up civil faction
      For certain losse of so great expectation:
      For well they hoped to have got great good
      And wondrous riches by his innovation:
      Therefore resolving to revenge his blood
      They rose in armes, and all in battell order stood.
                                     _Faery Queene_, B. V. C. III.


Rapidly as the magisterial party moved, the news of their approach had
run before them; and, on entering the north gates of Machynleth, they
found nearly all the male population in the streets. Large bodies of
smugglers were dispersed in the crowd, many of whom saw clearly that
the magistrate was in a mistake as to the person of his prisoner: but
they had good reasons for leaving him in his error. Up to the inn-door,
where it was foreseen that the carriage would draw up to change horses,
no particular opposition was offered to the advance of that or it's
escort. Hisses indeed, groans, hooting, curses, and every variety of
insult short of manual violence, continued to rise in stormy chorus all
the way to the inn-door. But the attack, which was obviously in
agitation, waited either for the first blow to be struck by some one
more daring than the rest--or for some more favourable situation.

Just as the carriage stopped, an upper window was thrown up, and forth
came the head of Mr. Dulberry the radical reformer in a perfect panic
of exultation. This was the happiest moment of his existence. No longer
in mere vision or prophetic rapture, but with his bodily eyes, he
beheld the civil authority set at nought, insulted, threatened; and a
storm rising in which he might have the honour to preside and direct.
He was suffocated with joy; and for a minute found himself too much
affected to speak.

Whilst he was yet speechless, and distracted by the choice amongst ten
thousand varieties of argument and advice for the better nursing of the
infant riot,--a drunken man advanced from the inn and laid himself
across the street immediately before the feet of the horses which were
at this moment harnessing to the carriage, loudly protesting that they
should pass over his body before he would see them carry off to a
dungeon so noble a martyr to the freedom of trade. Alderman Gravesand
directed the constables to remove the man by force. This fired the
train of Dulberry's pent-up eloquence. He "adjured the mob by those who
met at Runnymead to resist such an act of lawless power; applauded the
heaven-born suggestion of the drunkard; called upon them all to follow
his example; by Magna Charta every Englishman was entitled to stretch
himself at length in the mud when and where he would; and at the
Alderman's peril be it, if he should presume to drive over them."

Meantime the constables had seized the man, and tossed him into the
gutter. So far the system of vigour seemed to carry the day. But either
this act or the urgency of the time (the horses being now harnessed and
the postillions on the point of mounting) was the signal for the
universal explosion of the popular wrath. Stones, coals, brickbats,
whizzed on every side: the traces of the barouche were cut: the
constables were knocked down: those of them, who were seated in the
carriage, were collared and pulled out; excepting only Sampson who,
being a powerful and determined man, still kept his hold of Bertram:
and the Alderman, who was the main cause of the whole disturbance, was
happy to make a precipitate retreat into the inn; at an upper window of
which he soon appeared with the Riot Act in his hand.

At this crisis, however, from some indications which he observed below
of the state of temper in regard to himself just now prevailing amongst
the mob he thought it prudent to lay aside his first intentions; and,
putting the Riot Act into his pocket, he began to bow; most awkwardly
attempted the new part of gracious conciliator; expostulated gently;
laid his hand on his heart; and endeavoured to explain that the
prisoner was not arrested for any offence against the revenue laws, but
for high treason. Not a syllable of what he said was heard. At the
adjoining window stood Mr. Dulberry, labouring with a zeal as
ineffectual to heighten and to guide the storm which the Alderman was
labouring to lay. Like two rival candidates on the hustings, both stood
making a dumb show of grimaces, rhetorical gestures, and passionate
appeals; blowing hot and cold like Boreas and Phoebus in their contest
for the traveller; the one striving to sow, the other to extirpate
sedition: the reformer blowing the bellows and fanning the fire which
the magistrate was labouring to extinguish.

Fortunately perhaps for both, and possibly for all the parties
concerned, arguments were now at hand more efficacious than those of
either. At this moment a trampling of horses was heard; words of
command could be distinguished in military language; and amidst a
general cry of "The red coats! the red coats!" a squadron of dragoons
was seen advancing rapidly along the street. The mob gave way
immediately, and retired into the houses and side alleys. Just as the
dragoons came up, a bold fellow had knocked the wounded constable
backwards, and was in the act of seizing firm hold of Bertram,--when
the commanding officer rode up and with the flat of his sabre struck
him so violently over the head and shoulders that he rolled into the
mud, but retained however presence of mind enough to retire within a
party of his friends.

In a few minutes the officer had succeeded in restoring order: he now
took the prisoner from the carriage and mounted him behind a dragoon.
His hands, which had been hitherto tied behind him, were for a moment
unfettered--passed round the dragoon's body--and then again confined by
cords. These arrangements made,--the whole cavalcade accompanied by two
constables drew off at a rapid pace to the city gates. Under this third
variety in the style of his escort, Bertram began to experience great
fatigue and suffering. Without any halt, or a word speaking, the
cavalry proceeded at a long trot for two hours along a well-beaten
road. On reaching a wretched ale-house, however, necessity obliged them
to make a short halt and to take such refreshments as the place
afforded. To the compassion of a dragoon Bertram was here indebted for
a dram; and he was allowed to stretch himself at length on the floor of
the house and to take a little sleep. From this however he was soon
roused by the gingling of spurs; roughly shaken up; and mounted
again in the former fashion behind the dragoon. It was now dark; a
night-storm was beginning to rise; and it appeared to the prisoner as
though the road were approaching the coast. The air grew colder and
colder, the wind more piercing, and Bertram--whose situation made all
change of posture impossible--felt as though he could not long hold out
against the benumbing rigour of the frost. So much was his firmness
subdued, that he could not forbear expressing his suffering by
inarticulate moans. The dragoon, who rode before him, was touched with
compassion and gave him a draught from his rum flask. The strength, given
by spirituous liquors to a person under the action of frost, is
notoriously but momentary and leaves the sufferer exposed to an
immediate and more dangerous reaction of the frost. This effect Bertram
experienced: a pleasant sensation began to steal over him; one limb
began to stiffen after another; and his vital powers had no longer
energy enough to resist the seductive approaches of sleep. At this
moment an accident saved him. The whole troop pulled up abruptly; and
at the same instant a piercing cry for help, and a violent trampling of
horses' hoofs, roused Bertram from his stupefaction.

The accident was this: a trooper had diverged from the line of road,
and was in the act of driving his horse over a precipice which overhung
the sea-coast just at the very moment when his error was betrayed
to him by the moving lights below. The horse however clung by his
fore-feet, which had fortunately been rough-shod, to a tablet of
slanting rock glazed over with an enamel of ice; and his comrades came
up in time to save both the trooper and his horse. Meantime the harsh
and sudden shock of this abrupt halt, together with the appalling character
of the incident which led to it, had roused Bertram; and he was still
further roused by the joyful prospect of a near termination to his
journey as well as by the remarkable features of the road on which his
eyes now opened from his brief slumber.

The road, as he now became aware, wound upwards along the extreme edge
of the rocky barrier which rose abruptly from the sea-coast. In the
murky depths below he saw nothing but lights tossing up and down,
gleaming at intervals, and then buried in sudden darkness--the lights
probably of vessels driving before wind and weather in a heavy sea. The
storm was now in its strength on the sea-quarter. The clouds had parted
before the wind; and a pale gleam of the moon suddenly betrayed to the
prisoner the spectacle of a billowy sea below him, an iron barrier of
rocky coast, and at some distance above him the gothic towers and
turrets of an old castle running out as it were over the sea itself
upon one of the bold prominences of the cliffs. The sharp lines of this
aerial pile of building were strongly relieved upon the sky which now
began to be overspread with moonlight. To this castle their route was
obviously directed. But danger still threatened them: the road was
narrow and steep; the wind blustered; and gusty squalls at intervals
threatened to upset both horse and rider into the abyss. However the
well-trained horses overcame all difficulties; at length the head of
the troop reached the castle; and the foremost dragoon seizing a vast
iron knocker struck the steel-plated gate so powerfully, that the echo
on a more quiet night would have startled all the deer in the adjacent
park for two miles round.



                              CHAPTER XV.


      _Goaler._ You shall not now be stolen: you have locks upon
         you:       So graze as you find pasture.--_Cymbeline_, Act. V.


During the two or three minutes that the cavalry and their prisoner
were waiting for an answer to the summons,--Bertram, who was relapsing
at every instant into a dozy slumber and then as suddenly starting
awake (probably in consequence of the abrupt stillness succeeding to
the severe motion of a high-trotting horse), was suddenly awakened by
the noise and stir of admission into the castle, which unfolded a
succession of circumstances as grand and impressive as if they had been
arranged by some great artist of scenical effect. From one of the
towers which flanked the gates, a question was put and immediately
answered by the foremost trooper: question and answer however were
alike lost to Bertram and dispersed upon the stormy ravings of the
wind. Soon after was heard the clank of bars and the creaking of the
gates,--gates

      That were plated with iron within and without
      Whence an army in battle array had march'd out.[1]

They were like the gates of a cathedral, and they began slowly to swing
backward on their hinges. As they opened, the dimensions and outlines
of their huge valves were defined by the light within; and, when they
were fully open, a beautiful spectacle was exposed of a crowd of faces
with flambeaus intermingled fluctuating on the further side of the
court. The gateway and the main area of the court were now cleared for
the entrance of the cavalry; and the great extent of the court was
expressed by the remote distance at which the crowd seemed to stand.
Then came the entrance of the dragoons, which was a superb expression
of animal power. The ground continued to ascend even through the
gateway and into the very court itself; and to the surprise of Bertram
who had never until this day seen the magnificent cavalry of the
English army, the leading trooper reined up tightly, and spurred his
horse, who started off with the bounding ramp of a leopard through the
archway. Bertram's horse was the sixtieth in the file; and, as the
course of the road between him and the gates lay in a bold curve, he
had the pleasure of watching this movement as it spread like a train of
gun-powder, or like a race of sun-beams over a corn-field through the
whole line a-head of him: it neared and neared: in a moment he himself
was carried away and absorbed into the vortex: the whole train swept
like a hurricane through the gloomy gateway into the spacious court
flashing with unsteady lights, wheeled round with beautiful precision
into line, halted, and dressed.

What followed passed as in a dream to Bertram: for he was by this time
seriously ill; and would have fallen off horseback, if unsupported. The
lights, the tumult, and his previous exhaustion, all contributed to
confuse him: and, like one who rises from his bed in the delirium of a
fever, he saw nothing but a turbulent vision of torches, men, horses'
heads, glittering arms; windows that reverberated the uncertain gleams
of the torches; and overhead an army of clouds driving before the wind;
and here and there a pencil of moonlight that played upon the upper
windows of an antique castle with a tremulous and dreamy light. To his
bewildered senses the objects of sight were all blended and the sounds
all dead and muffled: he distinguished faintly the voice of an officer
giving the word of command: he heard as if from some great distance the
word--"Dismount:" he felt himself lifted off horseback; and then he
lost all consciousness of what passed until he found himself sitting in
the arms of a soldier, and an old man in livery administering a
cordial. On looking round, he perceived many others in the same dress,
which he recognised as the Walladmor livery; and he now became aware
that he was in Walladmor Castle.

"Is the Lord Lieutenant at home, Maxwell?" said the officer, addressing
the old man who bore the office of warden in the castle.

"No, Sir Charles: he dines at Vaughan house--about twenty miles off.
But he will return by midnight. And he left orders that the prisoner
should be confined in the Falcon's tower."

Bertram here stood up, and signified that he was able to walk: upon
which Sir Charles Davenant, the officer who had commanded the party of
dragoons, directed the two constables to go before the prisoner and two
dragoons behind--whilst the old warden showed the way.

Raising his head as they crossed the extensive court, Bertram saw
amongst the vast range of windows three or four which were open and
crowded by female heads as he inferred from the number of white caps.
Under other circumstances he would have been apt to smile at such a
spectacle as a pleasant expression of female curiosity: but at present,
when he was taking his leave of social happiness--for how long a time
his ignorance of the English laws would not allow him to guess, the
sight was felt rather as a pathetic memento of the household charities
under their tenderest aspect--and as suggesting the gentleness of
female hands in painful contrast to the stern deportment of the agents
of police and martial power by whom he was now surrounded. "Let all
cynical women-haters," thought he, "be reduced for a month or two to my
situation--and they will learn the blessed influences on human
happiness of what they idly affect to despise." His own indiscretion
however, as he could not disguise from himself, had reduced him to this
situation: and however disturbed at the prospect before him he
submitted with an air of cheerfulness and followed his guides with as
firm a step as his bodily weakness would allow. Passing from the great
court, at one corner, through a long and winding gateway feebly
illuminated by two lanthorns, they found themselves at the edge of a
deep abyss. It was apparently a chasm in the rock that had been turned
to account by the original founder of the castle, as a natural
and impassable moat; far beyond it rose a lofty wall pierced with
loop-holes and belted with towers--that necessarily overlooked and
commanded the whole outer works through which they had passed. At a signal
from the old man a draw-bridge was dropped with a jarring sound over the
chasm. Crossing this they entered a small court--surrounded by a large
but shapeless pile of buildings, which gave little sign externally of
much intercourse with the living world: here and there however from its
small and lofty windows, sunk in the massy stonework, a dull light was
seen to twinkle; and, as far as the lanthorn would allow him to see,
Bertram observed every where the marks of hoary antiquity. At this
point the officer quitted them, having first given his orders to the
two dragoons in an under voice.

The termination of their course was not yet reached. At the further end
of the court, the old warden opened a little gate; through this, and by
a narrow arched passage which the dragoons could only pass by stooping,
they reached at length a kind of guard-room which through two holes
pierced in the wall received some light--at this time but feebly
dispensed by the moon. This room, it was clear, lay near to the
sea-shore; for the wind without seemed as if it would tear up the very
foundations of the walls. The old man searched anxiously in his bundle
of keys, and at length applied an old rusty key to the door-lock. Not
without visible signs of anxiety he then proceeded to unlatch the door.
But scarce had he half performed his work, when the storm spared him
the other half by driving in the door and stretching him at his length
upon the floor.

Below them at an immense depth lay the raging sea--luridly illuminated
by the moon which looked out from the storm-rent clouds. The surf sent
upwards a deafening roar, although the raving of the wind seemed to
struggle for the upper hand. This aerial gate led to a little cell
which might not unjustly have been named the house of death. From the
rocky wall, upon which the guard-room stood, ran out at right angles
into the sea a curtain of granite--so narrow that its utmost breadth
hardly amounted to five feet, and resembling an artificial terrace or
corridor that had been thrown by the bold architect across the awful
abyss to a mighty pile of rock that rose like a column from the very
middle of the waves. About a hundred feet from the shore this gallery
terminated in a circular tower, which--if the connecting terrace had
fallen in--would have looked like the work of a magician. This small
corridor appeared the more dreadful, because the raging element below
had long since forced a passage beneath it; and, the breach being
continually widened by the equinoctial storms, it was at length so far
undermined that it seemed to hang like an archway in the air; and the
narrow causeway might now with some propriety be termed a sea-bridge.

Bertram here recognized that part of Walladmor Castle which he had seen
from the deck of the _Fleurs de Lys_.[2]

The rude dragoons even looked out with awe upon the dreadful spectacle
which lay before and below. One of them stepped with folded arms to the
door-way, looked out in silence, and shaking his head said--"So that's
the cage our bird must be carried to?"

"Aye," said the old man, (who had now raised himself from the floor;)
"desperate offenders are always lodged there."

"By G---," replied the dragoon, "at Vittoria I rode down the whole line
of a French battalion that was firing by platoons: there's not a straw
to choose between such service as _that_ and crossing a d---d bridge in
the clouds through a gale of wind like this. A man must have the
devil's luck and his own to get safe over."

"What the h---ll!" said the other dragoon,--"this fellow is to be
killed at any rate; so he's out of the risk: but must _we_ run the
hazard of our lives for a fellow like him? I'm as bold as another when
I see reason: but I'll have some hire, I'll have value down, if I am to
stand this risk."

"It's impossible," cried the first constable--"no man can stand up
against the wind on such a devil's gallery: what the devil? it has no
balustrade."

"Shall we pitch the fellow down below?"
said the second constable.

"I have nothing to say against it," replied one of the dragoons.

"Nor I," said the other, "but then mind--we must tell no tales."

"Oh! as to that," replied the first constable, "we shall say the wind
carried him out of our hands; and I suppose there's no cock will crow
against us when the job's done."

"And besides it is no sin," observed the second; "for hang he must;
that's settled; such a villain as him can do no less. So, as matters
stand, I don't see but it will be doing him a good turn to toss him
into the water."

Unanimous as they were in the plan, they differed about the execution;
none choosing to lay hands on the prisoner first. And very seasonably a
zealous friend to Bertram stepped forward in the person of the warden.
He protested that, as the prisoner was confided to his care, he must
and would inform against them unless they flung _him_ down also. Under
this dilemma, they chose rather to face again the perils of Vittoria.
Ropes were procured, passed round the bodies of all the men, and then
secured to the door-posts. That done, the constables stepped out first,
the old man in the centre, and after them the two dragoons taking the
prisoner firmly under their arms. The blasts of wind were terrifically
violent; and Bertram, as he looked down upon the sea which raged on
both sides below him, felt himself giddy; but the dragoons dragged him
across. The old man had already opened the tower, and Bertram heard
chains rattling. They led him down several steps, cut the ropes in two
which confined him, but in their stead put heavy and rusty fetters
about his feet and swollen hands. The five agents of police then
remounted the steps; the door was shut: and the sound of bolts, locks,
and chains, announced to the prisoner that he was left to his own
solitary thoughts.


FOOTNOTES TO "CHAPTER XV.":

[Footnote 1: Christabelle.]


[Footnote 2: See p. 80. of vol. 1.]



                              CHAPTER XVI.


      _Anton._                You do mistake me, Sir.
      _Off._ No, Sir, no jot: I know your favor well,
    Though now you have no sea-cap on your head:
    Take him away; he knows I know him well.
                                           _Twelfth Night_--Act 3.


Apprehended as a great state-criminal, Bertram had been committed to
the safekeeping of Walladmor Castle as the only place in the county
strong enough to resist the attempts for his deliverance which were
anticipated from the numerous smugglers on the coast.--As regarded his
personal comfort however, and putting out of view the chances of any
such violent liberation, this arrangement was one on which a prisoner
had reason to congratulate himself. For Sir Morgan Walladmor would not
allow that any person within his gates should be inhospitably treated:
and, with the exception of his shackles, Bertram now found himself
more comfortably lodged in his prison than he had been for some time
before. He flung himself into bed, and was soon asleep. But the fury
of the wind about this exposed rock, and the fury of the sea at its
base,--with his own agitation of mind and body,--frequently awoke him.
As often he fell asleep again; and continually dreamed of the fields of
Germany and the friends whom he had left there. Sometimes he was
betrayed into imminent peril--sometimes into battle--sometimes into
flight: now he saw hands stretched forth from thick vapours to help
him; and again he saw the countenances of familiar friends turned upon
him with altered looks and glaring with mysterious revenge. Then came
running from the depth of forests a dear companion of his youth with a
coronet of flowers who smiled as in former times: but suddenly he shook
his head and vanished. The forests also vanished; and the flowers
perished: and he found himself on board the Fleurs-de-lys, with Captain
le Hamois by his side, fleeting over endless seas--and seeking in vain
for an anchor. He was on board the ship, and yet was not; but saw it
from a distance: and in this perplexity the Fleurs-de-lys changed into
a judgment-seat; and an orator was before it--pleading in some unknown
tongue against himself, and bringing to light many a secret crime that
had lain buried under a weight of years----

      Confusion, struggle, shame, and woe:
      Things to be hid that were not hid;
      Which all confus'd he could not know
      Whether he suffer'd or he did:[1]

and when the judgment seat began to speak, he died away with fear
and--suddenly awoke.

But a voice now reached him that was no voice of judgment or dismay;
the tones were low and sweet; and they spoke as woman speaks when she
comes to comfort. "Edward, dear Edward!" he heard distinctly uttered at
a few yards from his bed side. The storm was laid; the wind was hushed;
the sea had ceased to rave: it was two o'clock in the morning; and
every motion was audible. Recollecting the adamantine strength of his
prison, Bertram felt his German superstitions stealing over him; but
again he heard the voice; and, opening his eyes, he saw a dull light in
the room. Instantly he raised his head; and he beheld the figure of a
young woman standing by a little table. She was muffled up in the rich
furs of the sea-otter; and the small lamp which she held in her hand
streamed upwards a feeble gleam upon her countenance, sufficient
however to discover the superb beauty and touching expression which had
drawn all eyes upon St. David's day. It was indeed Miss Walladmor: and
at her elbow, but retiring half a step behind her, stood a young person
who was apparently her maid. "Dear Edward!" she began again, "listen to
me. I dare not stay now: if I were seen, all would be discovered: but I
will write an answer to your letter addressed to Paris. Meantime, I
will find some friend that shall put the means of escape in your way; I
hope to-morrow in the dusk of the evening. Oh! Edward, do not--do not
let it pass by: for every body here is your enemy:" and saying this she
burst into tears. "Go on board a ship immediately. And here is money,
Edward: and here is my watch, that you may know how the hours go. It is
now two o'clock. Promise me that you will escape: better times may
come: promise me, dear Edward."

Before Bertram could reply however, a hasty clank was heard at one
of the bars: this, it appeared, was a signal understood by Miss
Walladmor: she started and trembled; and exclaimed--"Farewell, Edward!
Remember!----" Something she would have added; but the door opened a
little, and a voice impatiently called "Miss Walladmor! Miss Walladmor!"
and in the next moment she and her attendant had glided inaudibly from
the room, and the door was again barred outside with as little noise as
possible. As it opened however, Bertram caught a glimpse of the person
stationed outside, who appeared to be a young boy of seventeen; he was
wrapped up in a cloak, but underneath it Bertram perceived the dragoon
uniform. That Miss Walladmor's visit had been intended for Edward
Nicholas he was sufficiently aware: and, feeling at once that he could
have no right to use to the prejudice of either a knowledge which he
had gained in this way, he took care as soon as the light came to
secrete from the sight of his jailors the watch and the other articles
left on the table: which appeared to be chiefly letters of credit on
Paris to a large amount obtained from the Dolgelly Bank.

Pretty early in the morning one of the Walldamor servants, attended by
a soldier, brought breakfast into his cell; and soon after desired him
to follow them. By a great circuit, and partly over the same ground as
he had traversed the night before, they conducted him into a large
library, at one end of which sate four magistrates for the county,
before whom he was placed: Sir Morgan Walladmor and Sir Charles
Davenant were also present; but they sate at a distance, and took no
part in the examination; though they surveyed the prisoner from time to
time with great apparent interest; and the latter, who was writing,
occasionally laid down his pen to attend to the prisoner's answers.

"What is your name?"

"Edmund Bertram."

"Whence do you come?"

"From Germany."

"Where is your home?"

"So far as I can be said to have one, in Germany."

"And you were educated in Germany?"

"Yes."

"And yet speak English like a native?"

"I was bred up in an English family resident in North Germany."

"What was your object in coming to England?"

"Upon that point you must pardon me: I do not feel myself called upon,
simply for the purpose of clearing myself from unfounded charges, to
make disclosures of that nature."

"How do you know that the charges against you are unfounded? You have
not yet heard them."

"Without pretending to any accurate knowledge of the English laws, I am
sure that I cannot have transgressed the laws of any country during my
short residence in Wales."

"Were you at the attack of the revenue officers near the chapel of
Utragan?"

"I was; but simply as a spectator: I neither understood the object of
that attack, nor took any part in it."

"By what ship did you come to England?"

"By the steam-packet Halcyon?"

"And you were on board the Halcyon when she blew up?"

"I was knocked overboard the moment before, and in that manner I
escaped."

"And what became of you?"

"I was drifted by the waves towards the Isle of Anglesea: a few miles
to the southward of Holyhead I was picked up by I know not whom.
Afterwards I obtained a passage to the main land."

"And took up your abode----where?"

"At the inn in Machynleth."

"Where was it that you were first apprehended?"

"At an abbey, I forget the name, amongst the Merionethshire mountains:
no, upon recollection, amongst the Carnarvonshire mountains."

"What led you thither?"

"I was advised by an acquaintance to visit it."

"For what purpose?"

"Simply as an interesting relic of antiquity, and as a very picturesque
building."

Here the magistrates looked at each other and smiled.

"What sort of night was that on which you visited this abbey?"

"A very severe and inclement night."

"And on such a night you were engaged in studying the picturesque?"

The prisoner was silent.

"You stated that you were apprehended at this abbey: who were the
persons that delivered you?"

"I do not know."

"Upon what motives did the persons act who rescued you?"

"So far as I know, upon motives of gratitude: one of them had received
a service from myself."

"Do you know any thing of Captain Edward Nicholas, or Captain Nicolao,
as he is sometimes called?"

The Prisoner replied--"No:" but at the same time he coloured. Feeling
that his confusion would weigh much against himself, Bertram now
endeavoured to disperse it by assuming the stern air of an injured
person, and demanded to know upon what grounds he was detained in
custody, or subjected to these humiliating examinations. One of the
magistrates rose, and addressed him with some solemnity:

"Captain Nicholas, we cannot doubt about the person we have before us.
Judge for yourself when I read to you the information we have received,
much of which has been now confirmed by yourself. Edward Nicholas,
charged with various offences against the laws, is on the point of
leaving the Isle of Wight for France: he is apprehended; put on board
the Halcyon steam-packet; the Halcyon blows up; nearly all on board
perish: but Nicholas is known to have escaped. He is seen by several in
the company of a Dutchman called Vander Velsen: to assist that person
and Captain le Harnois _alias_ Jackson of the Fleurs-de-lys in a
smuggling transaction, but for what purpose of self interest is not
known, he plays off a deception on the lord lieutenant, and conducts a
mock funeral to the chapel of Utragan. A skirmish takes place on the
road between the revenue officers and the mourners suborned by le
Harnois and Nicholas. You have acknowledged that you were present at
that skirmish; and we have witnesses who can prove that you were both
present and armed with a cudgel of unusual dimensions: in fact,"
said the magistrate by way of parenthesis, "of monstrous dimensions:"
(here the prisoner could not forbear smiling, which did him no service
with the magistrate; who went on to aggravate the enormity of the
cudgel;)--"a cudgel in fact, such as no man carries, no man ever did
carry, no man ever will carry with peaceable intentions. Nicholas is
known to have gone on from Utragan to Ap Gauvon: you admit that you
were there, and without any adequate motive; for as to the picturesque
and all that, on a night such as the last, it is really unworthy of you
to allege any thing so idle. At Ap Gauvon you are apprehended and
immediately rescued. You steal away into the barn of a peasant, and
kill the dog to prevent detection from his barking. Your footsteps
however are tracked: you are again apprehended on the following
morning: and again an attempt is made to rescue you: and a riot
absolutely raised in your behalf. And finally, when it became known
last night that you were conveyed to Walladmor, a smuggling vessel was
observed to stand in close to the shore--making signals for upwards of
five hours which no doubt were directed to you. The chain of
circumstantial evidence is complete."

Bertram was silent: he could not but acknowledge to himself that the
presumptions were strong against him. Omitting the accidental
coincidences between his own movements and those of Nicholas, whence
had he--a perfect stranger by his own account--drawn the zealous
assistance which he had received? By what means could he have obtained
such earnest and continued support?--He would have suggested to the
magistrate that the same mistake about his person, which had led to his
apprehension, was in fact the main cause (combined with the general
dislike to Alderman Gravesand) of the second mistake under which the
mob had acted in attempting his rescue. But dejection at the mass of
presumptions arrayed against himself, even apart from his own
unfortunate resemblance to the real object of those presumptions,
self-reproach on account of his own indiscretion, and pain of mind at
the prospect of the troubles which awaited him in a country where he
was friendless, suddenly came over him; and the words died away upon
his lips. The magistrates watched him keenly; and, interpreting these
indications of confusion and faultering courage in the way least
favourable to the prisoner, they earnestly exhorted him to make a full
confession as the only chance now left him for meriting any favour with
government.

This appeal had the effect of recalling the prisoner to his full
self-possession, and he briefly protested his innocence with firmness
and some indignation; adding that he was the victim of an unfortunate
resemblance to the person who was the real object of search; but that,
unless the magistrates could take upon them to affirm as of their own
knowledge that this resemblance was much stronger than he had reason to
believe it was, they were not entitled so confidently to prejudge his
case and to take his guilt for established.

All present had seen Captain Nicholas, but not often, nor for the last
two years. One of the magistrates however, who had seen him more
frequently than the others and had repeatedly conversed with him,
declared himself entirely satisfied of the prisoner's identity with
that person: it was not a case, he was persuaded, which could be shaken
by any counter-evidence. Upon this they all rose: assured the prisoner
that he should have the attendance of a clergyman; conjured him not to
disregard the spiritual assistance which would now be put in his way:
and then, upon the same grounds as had originally dictated the
selection of Bertram's prison--distrust of so weak a prison as that at
Dolgelly against the stratagems and activity of Captain Nicholas within
and the violence of his friends without--they finally recommitted him
to the Falcon's tower.

At the suggestion of Sir Morgan Walladmor however, who had taken no
part in the examination, but apparently took the liveliest interest in
the whole of what passed, the prisoner was freed from his irons--as
unnecessary in a prison of such impregnable strength, and unjust before
the full establishment of his guilt. This act of considerate attention
to his personal ease together with a pile of books[2] sent by the
worthy baronet, restored Bertram to some degree of spirits: and such
were the luxurious accommodations granted him in all other respects,
compared with any which he had recently had, that--but for the loss of
his liberty and the prospect of the troubles which awaited him--Bertram
would have found himself tolerably happy, though tenanting that ancient
and aerial mansion which was known to mariners and to all on shore for
at least six counties round by the appellation of "the house of death."


FOOTNOTES TO "CHAPTER XVI.":

[Footnote 1: Coleridge, _from imperfect recollection_.]

[Footnote 2: Amongst which we are happy to say (on the authority of a
Welch friend) was the _first_ volume of Walladmor, a novel, 2 vols.
post 8vo.; the second being not then finished.]



                             CHAPTER XVII.


     _Aumerle_. --Give me leave that I may turn the key,
                  That no man enter till my tale be done.
     _Boling_.    Have thy desire.
     _York_ (_without_). My liege, beware: look to thyself:
                  Thou hast a traitor in thy presence there.
     _Aum._     Stay thy revengeful hand;
                Thou hast no cause to fear.--_Richard II._ Act. V.


Meantime Miss Walladmor exerted herself as earnestly for the secret
liberation of the prisoner as due regard to concealment would allow.
Her first application was made to Sir Charles Davenant: much would
depend, as she was well aware, on the dispositions of that officer
towards Captain Nicholas; and in the present case circumstances well
known to both forbade her relying with too much hope upon the natural
generosity of his disposition. Something however must be risked; and
she wrote a note to him requesting that he would meet her in the
library.

Sir Charles probably anticipated the subject of Miss Walladmor's
communication: for, though he hastened to know her commands, the
expression of his countenance showed none of that alacrity which might
naturally have been looked for in a military man not much beyond thirty
on receiving a summons to a private interview with the beautiful
heiress of Walladmor.

On entering the room he bowed, but without his usual freedom of manner;
and something like an air of chagrin was visible, as he begged to know
upon what subject he had been fortunate enough to be honored with Miss
Walladmor's commands. He spoke with extreme gravity; and Miss Walladmor
looked up to him in vain for any signs of encouragement. She trembled:
but not, as it seemed, from any feminine embarrassments: grief and
anxiety had quelled all lighter agitations; and she trembled only with
the anguish of suspense.

"Sir Charles," she said at length, "there was a time when you would not
have refused me any request which it was in your power to grant."

"Nor would now, Miss Walladmor: my life should be at your service, if
that would promote your happiness; any thing but----my honor."

"I am to understand then that you think your honor concerned in
refusing what I was going to have asked you: for I perceive that you
apprehend what it was."

"I will not affect, Miss Walladmor, to misapprehend what it is you
wish: the prisoner is committed to the soldiers under my command; and
you wish me to favor his escape."

Miss Walladmor bowed her assent.

"But, my dear Miss Walladmor, this is quite impossible: believe me, it
is: even if my duty as a military man did not forbid me to engage in
such an act, which in me would be held criminal in the highest degree,
I fear that it would be wholly thrown away: for this person, the
prisoner I mean, is perfectly mad. I beg your pardon, Miss Walladmor: I
did not mean to distress you: but what I meant to say was--that, if he
were liberated, actuated by such views as appear to govern him at
present, I fear that he would linger in this neighbourhood: he would
inevitably be recaptured: and I should have violated my duty as a
soldier without at all forwarding your wishes."

Perceiving that Miss Walladmor looked perplexed and agitated, and
incapable of speaking, Sir Charles went on:

"Much of his later conduct may not have reached your ears: many acts
attributed to him----"

"Sir Charles," interrupted Miss Walladmor, bursting into tears, "you
know well that those, who have once lost their footing in the world's
favor, and are become unfortunate, meet with but little tenderness or
justice in the constructions or reports of any thing they may do. Every
hand, it seems to me, is raised against a falling man. But, let the
unhappy prisoner have done what he may, you have yourself suggested an
apology for him: and you distress me far less when you advert to it,
than when you appear to forget it."

"I do not forget it, Miss Walladmor: believe me, I do not: neither will
it be forgotten in a court of justice. So much the less can it be
necessary that in such a cause you should put any thing to the hazard
of a false interpretation amongst censorious people, who are less
capable of appreciating your motives than myself."

"Oh, Sir Charles Davenant!" exclaimed Miss Walladmor, "do not allude to
such considerations: any other than myself they might become; but not
me, who have been indebted to him of whom we are speaking three times
for my own life."

The last words were almost inarticulate: her voice failed her from
strong emotion; and she wept audibly.

Sir Charles was moved and softened: the spectacle of a woman's
tears--of a woman so young, beautiful, and evidently unhappy,--her
supplicating countenance and attitude, and the pleading tones of her
low soft voice ("an excellent thing in woman!"), were more than his
gallantry could support. To such a pleader he had not the heart to say
that she must plead in vain: he put his hand to his forehead;
considered for a moment or two; and then said----

"My dear Miss Walladmor, I fear I am doing very wrong: what may be
quite right for you--may be wrong indeed in me: yet I cannot resist a
request of yours urged so persuasively; and I will go to the utmost
lengths I can in meeting your wishes; to go further might expose
them to the risk of discovery. Use any influence you please with the
soldier on guard: I will place only one at the prisoner's door, and
will endeavour to select such a one as may be most readily induced
to----forget his duty. The centinel at the gate will not challenge any
person leaving the castle: he is placed there only to prevent the
intrusion of suspicious persons from without. In short proceed as you
will; and depend upon my looking away from what passes--which is the best
kind of assistance that I can give to your intentions in this case,
without running the risk of defeating them."

Miss Walladmor smiled through her tears, and thanked him fervently: Sir
Charles bowed and departed.

Sir Charles Davenant was a man of ancient family and of great
expectations, but of very small patrimonial fortune: he had been a ward
of Sir Morgan Walladmor's; between whom and the Davenants there was
some distant relationship: and it was to the Walladmor interest,
supported by the Walladmor purse, that Sir Charles was originally
indebted for his commission upon entering the army and his subsequent
promotion. These were circumstances which could not be unknown to Miss
Walladmor: but she had been too delicate and too just to use them as
any arguments with Sir Charles upon the present occasion. So much the
more however was Sir Charles disposed to recollect them: and he now
exerted himself without delay to make such inquiries and arrangements
as might put things in train for accomplishing Miss Walladmor's design;
conscious as he was that every post might bring down orders from
government which would make any such design impracticable.

Miss Walladmor, on her part, found that it would be impossible to
pursue this design without the co-operation of her own maid; and for
that purpose it was necessary to admit this young person in some degree
to her confidence. To any woman of delicate and deep feelings this must
naturally have been under ordinary circumstances a painful necessity;
but the time was now past for scruples of that sort: and difficulties,
which would have appeared insuperable in a situation of free choice,
melted away before the extremities of the present case. Moreover, apart
from the pain of making such disclosures at all, there was no person to
whom Miss Walladmor would more willingly have made them than to her own
attendant; for Grace Evans was an amiable girl: had been bred up in
superstitious reverence for the whole house of Walladmor; and with
regard to Miss Walladmor in particular, who had been the benefactress
of her own family in all its members, her attachment was so unlimited
that she would have regarded nothing as wrong which her young mistress
thought right--nor have suffered any obstacles whatsoever to deter her
in the execution of that thing which she had once understood to be her
mistress's pleasure. In the present case however there was nothing that
could press heavily on her sense of duty; nor any need to appeal to her
affections against her natural sense of propriety. On the contrary both
were in perfect harmony. She had long known, in common with all the
country, the circumstances of Miss Walladmor's early meetings with
Edward Nicholas--and the attachment which had grown out of them. And it
is observable that to all women endowed with much depth and purity of
feeling, more particularly to women in humble life who inherit a sort
of superstition on that subject (and are besides less liable to have it
shaken by the vulgar ridicule of the world, and the half-sneering tone
with which all deep feelings are treated in the more refined classes of
society)--love, but especially unfortunate love, is regarded with a
sanctity of interest and pity such as they give to religion or to the
memory of the dead. In this point women of the lowest rank (as a body)
are much more worthy of respect and admiration than those above them,
in proportion to the rarity of the temptations which beset them for
diverting the natural course of their own affections--and to the less
worldly tone of the society[1] in which they move. Women however of all
classes manifest a purity and elevation of sentiment on this subject to
which the coarseness of the other sex rarely ascends.

Hence it was that Miss Walladmor found in her humble attendant a
sympathy more profound than she might possibly have met with in many of
her own rank. The tender hearted girl had long been deeply affected in
secret by the spectacle of early grief and unmerited calamity which had
clouded the youthful prospects of her mistress; she was delighted with
the honor of the confidence reposed in her: and she immediately set her
little head to work, which (to do her justice) was a very woman's head
for its fertility in plots and wiles, to consider of the best means for
accomplishing the deliverance of the prisoner. Political offences are
naturally no offences at all in the eyes of women: and independently of
the deeper interest which she took in the present case, she would at
any time with hearty good will have given her gratuitous assistance to
effect a general gaol delivery of all prisoners whatsoever whose
crimes, had relation chiefly to the Secretaries of State for the time
being.

A tap at the door, which came at this moment, served to abridge and to
guide her scheming. It was a servant with a note from Sir Charles
Davenant to the following effect:

     "My dear Madam,

"I may possibly be under the necessity of leaving the castle this
evening for a few days on some business connected with my military
duties: and for that reason, as well as because it is on all accounts
adviseable that any attempt which is contemplated should be made
without much delay, I take the earliest opportunity of informing you
that Thomas Godber, a late servant on the Walladmor establishment, will
relieve guard at eight o'clock this night. He was, I believe, recently
a groom or helper in the castle stables: and he enlisted into one of
the two troops now quartered in the castle with the knowledge and
approbation of Sir Morgan. I know nothing of him more than this, and
that he bears the character amongst his fellow troopers of a
goodnatured young man. But I presume that, as a former servant of the
family, he shares in the general attachment which all about her
manifest for Miss Walladmor. On this account I have placed him on guard
in the only station which is of any importance. It will be necessary, I
must add, that he should go out of the way for a time after the escape
of the prisoner.

"Wishing, my dear Miss Walladmor, in secret that success to your
enterprize on this occasion--which, on all other occasions, I shall be
proud to wish you openly,--I remain, with the greatest regard,

           "Your faithful and devoted servant,

     "5 o'clock.                         "CHARLES DAVENANT."

This note relieved Miss Walladmor from much of her anxiety: for Thomas
Godber was not only deeply attached to the family, having been a
servant about the castle from his boyish days; but of late he had been
bound in a new tie of gratitude to Miss Walladmor by the sanction which
she had given to his future marriage with Grace, to whom Tom had long
been a zealous suitor. Grace was not less rejoiced on hearing of the
arrangement which Sir Charles had made; and answered for Tom's services
with the air of one who claimed more unlimited obedience from him, in
the character of lover, than his colonel or his sovereign could exact
of him in those of soldier and subject.

It was necessary, however, in so perilous a matter, that Miss Walladmor
should see and converse with Tom: throwing a large shawl therefore
about her person, and trusting herself to the guidance of Grace, who
led her by passages and staircases which she had never trod before,
Miss Walladmor descended to a sort of cloisters or piazza which opened
by arches upon one side of the great court of the castle. Here Grace
introduced her into a small parlour, usually occupied by one of the
upper female servants, who was likely to be absent at this time of the
evening for some hours; and, after she had seen her mistress seated and
secured from intrusion, she ran off to summon Tom. With him she was
already disposed to be somewhat displeased that he was not immediately
to be found; and, after she _had_ found him, lectured him all the way
for his temerity in presuming to be absent when Miss Walladmor
condescended to want him. Tom's intellectual faculties were not of the
most brilliant order: whether Tom had any latent and yet undiscovered
profundity which qualified him for philosophic speculations, we cannot
say: for the honor of the male sex, we heartily hope that he had some
bright endowment in his brain which was deeply concealed from all men
to balance his prodigious inferiority to Grace in all which was
revealed. Indeed Tom had no vanity on this subject: nobody could have a
lower opinion of his own wit than he had himself, nor a higher opinion
of Grace's. And on the present occasion, after once hinting that he
could not foresee that so very rare an event as a summons to "the
lady's" presence would occur precisely at half past five on this
particular evening, he hastily withdrew that absurd argument before
Grace's displeasure--and did not again resort to so weak a line of
justification; but took the wisest course for a man in his condition of
guilt by throwing himself on Grace's mercy. This was prudent: for Grace
was always reasonable and forgiving when people acknowledged their
crimes: and she now cheered Tom by an encouraging smile. Such
encouragement was quite necessary to Tom at this moment; there needed
no frowns from Grace for a man scared out of his wits already at the
prospect of an interview with Miss Walladmor; an honor which he had
never looked for; and he could not divine what was to be the subject of
conversation. Which of his virtues could it be that had procured him
this distinction? He knew of none that was likely to recommend him to
Miss Walladmor's notice. Which of his crimes then? These were certainly
easier for Tom to discover: but still he saw no probability that so
exalted a person as Miss Walladmor would interest herself in a poor
lad's sins, the most important part of which were scored at the public
house. Grace, to whom he applied for information, told him to do
whatever he was bid to do; to trouble his foolish head about nothing
else; and then he was sure to be right. And, so saying, she opened the
door and ushered him in to her mistress's presence.

Miss Walladmor, with her usual kindness, prefaced the special matter of
her application to Tom by making various inquiries about his mother and
his own temporary change of situation. Thus far Tom was able to meet
her questions with tolerable fluency, and no more embarrassment than
was inseparable from the novelty of his situation. But, when she
proceeded to question him about his knowledge of Captain Edward
Nicholas, Tom faultered and betrayed the greatest confusion. The truth
was that he knew him well, and was devotedly attached to his interests;
and with some reason; for the Captain had on one occasion with much
generosity protected him at the risk of his own life from the fury of a
smuggling crew who were on the point of shooting him for a supposed act
of treachery to their interests; in which, however, as was afterwards
discovered, Tom's mother had been the sole mover. In spite however of
this and other reasons for deep gratitude to Captain Nicholas, it so
frequently happened that the manifestation of this gratitude laid him
under the necessity of violating his duties as a servant of Sir Morgan
Walladmor, that he lived in perpetual fear of exposure; and never heard
the name of Edward Nicholas without some twinges of conscience, and
evident signs of embarrassment. It had recently become more dangerous
than ever to be suspected of any connexion with the Captain; and hence
it was that the standing fear, which weighed upon Tom's mind, at this
moment banished from his recollection that Miss Walladmor was not the
person (as all the country knew) to scan his conduct in this particular
(had it even been known to her) with any peculiar severity. He was
struck dumb with the belief that at length he was detected: and under
that feeling continued to stammer unintelligibly.

"Dull thing!" said Grace, "cannot you tell my mistress whether you know
the Captain or not?"

Certainly, Tom replied, he knew the Captain by sight.

"Well, and if my mistress wished you to open his prison door, I suppose
you would not pretend to make any objections."

Tom stared with all his eyes: and betrayed his feelings of reluctance
no less than of surprize. The fact was--he knew secretly that the
prisoner was not Captain Nicholas; and was unwilling to see any speedy
termination to a mistake which was at this moment the best protection
of his benefactor. He muttered therefore some absurdities about high
treason, the king, and the parliament.

"High treason!" said Grace, "Fiddle-de-dee! what signifies high
treason, in comparison with my mistress's orders?"

"But the king"--said Tom.

"The king. Sir!--don't lay your own wickedness to the king's door: the
king would be very well pleased to hear that you had done a little
treason yourself, if you told him that it was by a lady's orders. But
come, Sir, do as you are bid; or I shall remember."

And here Grace shook her fore-finger menacingly at Tom, and began to
lower upon him so gloomily, that Tom found himself running into the
pains and penalties of treason against higher powers than the king. He
hastened therefore by submission, in words and looks, to clear himself
of the guilt of rebellion, and avert the impending wrath of Grace;
assuring her that he would do whatsoever he was bid. Treason, or
misprision of treason, was now alike indifferent to Tom; and he was
perfectly penitent, and determined to wash out his sin by entire
obedience for the future.

Miss Walladmor then proceeded to give her instructions to Tom; but
suddenly she was interrupted by a tumultuous uproar of voices in the
great court. This was succeeded by a violent hurrying of feet from all
parts of the castle: and conscious that they were now exposed to
immediate intrusions, Grace suddenly dismissed Tom; whispered a word or
two in his ear; and then, snatching up the lamp and flinging the shawl
about her mistress, lighted her back as rapidly as possible to her own
apartments.

The interruption had arisen from Mr. Dulberry. That intense patriot was
incensed at the apprehension of a prisoner on political charges or
presumptions which he conceived to be in the highest degree honorable
to their object. Still more was he incensed that, instead of being
committed to the weak gaol of Dolgelly, from which it would have been
easy for a party of patriotic friends to deliver him, the prisoner had
been shut up in a fortress so secure as the Falcon's tower of
Walladmor, strengthened as it now was by two troops of dragoons. This
again was one of the worst features of the transaction: martial power
had usurped the functions of the civil authorities: and the
constitutional jealousy of all purists upon matters of Magna Charta
was, he conceived, summoned to the case.

He had accordingly walked up to the castle; and, upon being challenged
by the sentinel, had demanded to speak with Sir Morgan Walladmor: but,
as he accompanied this demand with a torrent of abuse against the
worthy baronet and much political jargon in relation to the prisoner,
the sentinel refused to let him pass, and assured him that he would
fire if he should attempt to advance. Mr. Dulberry retreated to a
station behind an angle of the castle which he conceived not to be
within musquet range; and there, stretching his head round the corner,
commenced a political lecture upon the Bill of Rights as affected by
the use of soldiers in riots; thence diverging to the "Manchester
massacres," "Londonderry's hussars," "hoofs of dragoons," and other
topics by no means calculated to win a favourable attention from his
present audience. Some of the dragoons were loitering about the gate:
others were soon attracted by the violence of Mr. Dulberry: and a party
of them, taking advantage of the dusk, slipped round into the rear of
the reformer--seized him and carried him off to the lamps under the
gateway. In the tumult Mr. Dulberry's white hat fell off; and a kick
from one of the soldiers sent it to the very edge of the rocky platform
before the gate--where this pure badge of a pure faith unfortunately
rolled over the precipice and dropped into the sea. Closer examination
of Mr. Dulberry's features revealed to the dragoons a face already
pretty familiar to them as one which, whenever they passed through
Machynleth, they had seen popping out from an upper window of the
Walladmor Arms, and fulminating all sorts of maledictions upon them,
their officers, and their profession. Consideration for his age would
not allow them to think of any severe vengeance: but, as they had
caught the old nuisance, they determined to retort his civilities in
a pleasant practical way, and to have a little sport before they parted
with him. Placing themselves therefore in a ring they sent round this
shining light of politics from hand to hand like the Grecian torch-bearers
of old.[2] Bursts of laughter arose from the dragoons and their comrades;
piercing invocations of the Habeas Corpus act from Mr. Dulberry: and the
tumult became so great that at length the old warden Maxwell sallied forth
to learn the cause. Putting his head out from a window of a turret, he
summoned the parties to attention by a speaking trumpet; and demanded to
know the occasion of this uproar. Mr. Dulberry stated his grievances; the
loss of his white hat, his violent circumrotation or gyration which
threatened to derange all his political ideas, and (what vexed him still
more) the violation in his person of Magna Charta. From his personal
grievances he passed to those of his party in general; citing a statute
enacted by the second parliament of Queen Elizabeth in the behalf of those
who professed "the Reformed Faith," which statute he applied to the benefit
of the modern Radical reformers in Manchester and elsewhere; and
contended that Sir Morgan, as a discountenancer and oppressor of all
the reforming party in his neighbourhood, was clearly upon that statute
liable to the penalties of high treason.

All present were scandalized at such language applied to Sir Morgan
Walladmor at his own castle gates. The whole household of the baronet
had now flocked to the spot: and Mr. Dulberry, perceiving by their
gestures that he had a second course of circumrotation or some severer
discipline to anticipate, for this once resolved to leave Magna Charta
to take care of itself--and took himself as fast as possible to his
heels. A general rush was now made by the servants and the dragoons to
the ramparts on the other side of the castle, a station from which, in
consequence of the winding line pursued by the road, they promised
themselves the gratification of snowballing the poor reformer for
nearly a quarter of a mile.

Whilst all the world was at these "high jinks" with Mr. Dulberry, a
stranger muffled up in a cloak had very early in the disturbance taken
advantage of the general confusion to pass the gate unobserved. He
appeared to be well acquainted with the plan of the castle, and pressed
on to one of the principal saloons, in which at this moment Sir Morgan
Walladmor was sitting alone. A slight rustling at the other end of the
room caused Sir M. to raise his head from the letters which lay before
him; and, seeing a dusky figure standing between two whole-length
portraits of his ancestors, he almost began to imagine that some one of
the house of Walladmor had returned from the grave to give him ghostly
admonition.

The stranger turned and locked the door; and then, without unmuffling
himself, advanced towards Sir Morgan; who, on his part, was struck with
some indistinct sense of awe as before a mysterious being--but kept his
seat without alarm. At a few paces from the table, the stranger paused;
and said--

"Sir Morgan Walladmor! I come to let you know that an innocent man is
confined under your sanction: the prisoner in the chambers of the
Falcon's tower is not the person you take him for."

"And is this your reason for pressing thus unceremoniously to my
presence?"

"It is."

"Then appear as a witness for the accused, and give your evidence
before the jury by whom he will be tried."

"Sir Morgan, I again assure you that your prisoner is not Captain
Edward Nicholas."

"Who then?"

"Let it suffice that he is not Captain Nicholas?"

"But who is it that I am required to believe? Who are you? What
vouchers, what security, do you offer for the truth of what you tell
me?"

"Security!--You would have security? You shall. Do you remember that
time, when the great Dutch ship was cruizing off the coast, and the
landing of the crew was nightly expected?"

"I remember it well; for at that time I had beset the coast with
faithful followers: political disturbances at Chester and Shrewsbury
concurred at that time to make such a descent on the coast a subject of
much alarm; and once or twice I watched myself all night through."

"True: and on the 29th of September you were lying upon your arms
behind Arthur's pillar. About midnight a man in the uniform of a
sea-fencible joined you: and you may remember some conversation you
had with him?"

Had Sir M. Walladmor been addicted to trembling, he would now have
trembled: with earnest gaze, and outstretched arms, he listened
without speaking to the stranger, who continued: "You talked together,
until the moon was setting; and then, when the work was done--Sir
Morgan--when the work was done, a shot was fired: and in the twinkling
of an eye up sprang the sea-fencible; and he cried aloud, as I do now,
Farewell! Sir Morgan Walladmor!" And so saying the stranger threw open
his cloak, discovering underneath a dirk and a brace of pistols; and at
the same time, with an impressive gesture, he raised his cap from his
head.

"It is Captain Nicholas!" exclaimed the baronet.

"At your service, Sir Morgan Walladmor. Do you now believe that your
prisoner is innocent?"

Sir Morgan here threatened to detain him: but Captain Nicholas
convinced him that he had taken his measures well, and was not likely
to be intercepted. "I have the command of the door," said he; "and your
household, Sir Morgan, at this moment is too much occupied with Mr.
Dulberry to have any ears for your summons." Then, in a lower and more
impressive voice, he added--

"Grey hairs I reverence: and to you in particular, least of all men, do
I hear malice: though oft, God knows, in my young days, old Sir, you
have cost me an ague-fit."

He folded his cloak; looked once again upon the old man; and with
an aspect, in which some defiance was blended with a deep sorrow
that could not be mistaken, he turned away slowly with the
words--"Farewell!--Gladly, Sir Morgan, I would offer you my hand: but
_that_ in this world is not to be: a Walladmor does not give his hand
to an outlaw!"

Sir Morgan was confounded: he looked on whilst the bold offender with
tranquil steps moved down the whole length of the saloon, opened the
folding doors, and vanished. Sir Morgan was still numbering the steps
of the departing visitor, as he descended the great stair-case: and the
last echo had reached his ear from the remote windings of the castle
chambers, whilst he was yet unresolved what course he should pursue.


FOOTNOTES TO "CHAPTER XVII.":

[Footnote 1: Less _worldly_, observe, good reader: let the immoralities
of such society be occasionally what they may, the affections speak a
far simpler and more natural language: and one remark is sufficient to
illustrate this. Love, as it is represented in comedy, is absolutely
unintelligible to the lower classes: in tragedy it first becomes
perfectly comprehensible to them.]

[Footnote 2:  The [Greek: lampadêphoroi].]



                             CHAPTER XVIII.


      O, tiger's heart, wrapt in a woman's hide!
      How could'st thou drain the life-blood of the child,
      To bid the father wipe his eyes withal,
      And yet be seen to bear a woman's face?
      Women are soft, mild, pitiful and flexible;
      Thou--stern, obdurate, flinty, rough, remorseless.
                                     _Third part of King Henry VI._


Bertram was now immediately restored to liberty. Indeed the baronet had
never perfectly acquiesced in the presumptions, however circumstantial,
which went to identify him with Captain Nicholas. Bertram, as it struck
him, looked younger; and had the appearance of greater delicacy of
constitution, or at least of having been bred up less hardily: whence
perhaps was derived his more juvenile aspect. His voice also sounded
very different: and, though Sir Morgan had not been able to recal the
peculiar tone of Captain Nicholas, he _recognized_ it most
unequivocally at that instant when the Captain threw off his disguise.
A considerable interest in Bertram had from the first arisen in Sir
Morgan's mind from the general air of candor and amiable feeling which
marked his demeanour; and this interest was not weakened by the
remarkable resemblance which Sir Morgan believed that he discovered in
Bertram's features and expression to the portraits in the Walladmor
picture-gallery of two distinguished ancestors of his own house. Partly
on these special claims to his notice, and partly with the general
desire of expressing his concern to the young man for the unmerited
distress into which he had been thrown, the kind-hearted old gentleman
gave him a pressing invitation to take up his abode for some time in
Walladmor Castle; an invitation which, as it offered him a ready
introduction into English society, and was pressed with evident
sincerity, Bertram did not hesitate to accept.

The clergyman of the parish, who had been sent to Bertram as a ghostly
adviser and summoner to repentance, could not boast of much success
with his subject in that character. In fact the young stranger had been
too much interested by _some_ of the books[1] furnished from Sir
Morgan's library to have leisure for such serious thoughts. But a thing
or a person, that is of no use in one function, may do excellent
service in another: and the Reverend Mr. Williams, who had failed in
his spiritual mission, was turned to good worldly account by Bertram as
a gossiper and a mine of information upon all questions which had
arisen to excite his curiosity in the course of his recent adventures.

The case of poor Mrs. Godber, his aged hostess in Anglesea, was easily
explained.

Four and twenty years ago her eldest son, at that time about seventeen
years old, had participated in some smuggling transaction during which
two revenue officers had been killed under circumstances which the law
adjudged to be murder. Nobody suspected young Godber of having (in the
English sense of the word) assisted in this murder, foreseen it, or
approved it: but in the French sense he _did_ 'assist:' that is, he was
present: and therefore in the eye of the law an accessary. As such, he
was put upon his trial--found guilty--and sentenced to death.
Unfortunately at this time the outrages of the smugglers upon the coast
of Wales had become so frequent and terrific, that it was judged
necessary to make an example. The case came before the Privy Council:
the opinion of Sir Morgan Walladmor, as lord lieutenant of the two
counties chiefly infested by the smugglers, naturally weighed a good
deal with the council: and this opinion was unfavorable to the poor
young criminal.

"But in later years," said Mr. Williams, "and when Sir Morgan had come
to think very differently on some parts of that unhappy affair, I have
often heard him protest with earnestness that in giving the opinion he
did at the council hoard he was simply reporting the universal judgment
of the magistracy throughout the maritime counties of North Wales.
This, Mr. Bertram, I am sure was true. But that was known to few; and
Sir Morgan from his high station drew the whole blame upon himself: and
perhaps in one view not unjustly. For, though he was not single in the
opinion which decided the case against the poor boy, it was generally
believed that his single voice on the other side the question would
have outweighed all opposition, and have obtained the mercy of the
crown. So at least the poor boy's mother thought: and she addressed
herself to Sir Morgan morning, noon, and night. The lad was her darling
child; indeed her other son, Tom, was then only an infant; and, as the
time drew near for his execution, she was like a mad thing. Never was
there such an agony of intercession. She wept, and prayed, and clung
about Sir Morgan's knees, and tore her hair: she rushed through all the
servants, ran up stairs, and found out lady Walladmor's room: lady
Walladmor was then ill, and sitting in her dressing-room: but she (God
love her!) was the kindest creature in the world: and she was easily
won to come and beg for the poor distracted mother. In the great hall
she kneeled to Sir Morgan: but all wouldn't do. I have heard Sir Morgan
say that his heart relented even at that time: and he had a sort of
misgiving upon him that night, as he looked back upon the frantic woman
from the head of the great stair-case, that all could not go right--and
that some evil would fall upon him for standing out against such
pleadings as he had just heard. Still his sense of duty, according to
the notion he then had of his duty, obliged him to persist: and besides
he told them both that, after what had been said to the council, it was
now impossible to make another application on the case--unless some new
circumstance in the boy's favor had come out. This was very unadvised
in Sir Morgan: for it confirmed the mother in her belief that it was
_his_ representations which had determined the fate of her son.

"Mr. Bertram, you have read Virgil: and in that fine episode of
Mezentius, which we all admire so much (and which, by the way, seems to
me finer even than the 'Shield of Æneas,' or with the critics' leave
than any thing in the sixth book), there are two grand hemistichs
applied to the case of Mezentius in the moment of his mounting his
horse to avenge the death of his gallant son who (you will remember)
had fallen a sacrifice to his filial piety:

      "----mixtoque insania luctu,
      Et furiis agitatus amor----"

"I remember them well," said Bertram "and Virgil has reflected rather a
weakening effect on them by afterwards applying the same words to a
case of inferior passion."

"He has so. But, to return to the case of Mrs. Godber, these fine words
of the Roman poet may convey some picture of her state of mind; it was
truly the state of Mezentius--'mixtoque insania luctu'--frenzy mixed
with grief; and the tenderness of maternal love, that love which is
taken in Scripture as the express image of the love which exists in
the divine nature, tarnished and darkened by earthly--I may say by
hellish--passions. Even then, and from that very night, she altered much:
as one passed her, she muttered indistinctly; often she would lift up her
hands in the air, clench them, and shake them as if at some figure that
she saw in the clouds; and at times she slunk into corners, refused all
comfort or society, and sank wholly into herself."

"And how meantime did her son behave?"

"Oh, Sir, incomparably well. He knew his mother's temper: and the very
night before he suffered, as he hung about her neck and kissed her at
their farewell interview, he wrung her hand and prayed her to put aside
all thoughts of vengeance. I attended him to the last: and his final
words to me on the scaffold, as the executioner prepared to draw the
cap over his face, were--'God bless you. Sir, and remember!' by which
he meant to remind me of his only request; and _that_ was that I would
visit his mother, and endeavour to soothe her into resignation, and
persuade her to let him sleep unremembered in his grave; and not to
recal the memory of his unhappy end to people's minds by any action
that might make shipwreck of her own conscience. Young as he was, Mr.
Bertram, these were the thoughts that made the bitterness of death to
him; 'thoughts high for one so tender:'[2]--most of all the thought
afflicted him that _he_ should be made the occasion of overthrowing the
peace of mind of her whom he loved beyond all things in the world. Sir
Morgan mused much when he heard this report of the boy's latter hours;
and afterwards much more, when two of the older smugglers were taken
and condemned for the same murders: for their confessions wholly
exonerated him from all knowledge of their worst actions: he was
considered by the whole gang as a mere child; so indeed he was: and
nothing was ever communicated to him of their schemes: nor was he ever
present at any of them except by mere accident. The extent of his
connexion appeared to have been this--that now and then he had given
them a helping hand in stowing away their smuggled goods; and _that_
only for the sake of his mother, who was very poor, having just become
a widow,--and in this way obtained a few groceries or other additions
to her domestic comforts. This it was that made the sharpest sting in
the mother's wretchedness: she knew that all had been done for _her_;
that, but for her sake, he would never have gone near the smugglers;
and that, without perhaps directly giving her sanction to such
connexions, she had never decidedly opposed them--and had availed
herself of their profits. Some were unfeeling enough to throw this in
the poor creature's teeth, whose heart was already wounded beyond what
she could bear; and after that she became perfectly frantic."

"You visited her then, Mr. Williams?"

"I did for a time; and indeed she has always been willing to hold
intercourse with me in consideration of what I did and attempted to do
for her son. But I will confess to you, Mr. Bertram, that the spectacle
of a human being originally of strong mind driven by extremity of
wretchedness into the total wreck of her own final peace,--her moral
feelings all giving way before a devilish malignity, and her wits
gradually unsettling under this tremendous internal conflict,--was too
pitiable to be supported by me, unless I had felt myself able in some
way or other to stem the misery which I witnessed: and, after the
perpetration of that great crime by which she sought to avenge herself,
I could never bear to go near her; though I have occasionally conversed
with her on the roads."

"What crime do you speak of, Mr. Williams? and how is it that, having
committed any crime to justify your present language, she is yet
allowed to go at large?

"I do not speak of any crime proved in a court of justice, or perhaps
capable of being so; but nobody ever doubted that Mrs. Godber was the
secret mover in the matter; though the very nature of her purpose
obliged her to employ the hand of an intermediate agent.--About three
months after the execution of the poor boy, and when the ferment of
that unhappy affair was beginning to subside in all minds but those
of his mother and of Sir Morgan, lady Walladmor lay in of twins. By
whose means it never has been discovered,--the only person, who could
certainly have cleared up that matter, being so soon removed by
death,--but from some quarter or other a moving representation had been
made to lady Walladmor, when riding out, in favour of a young woman who
about that time applied for the place of under nurse: she was described
to have been deserted under circumstances of peculiar interest by a
person to whom she was under an engagement of marriage; and other
particulars, implying some unusual elevation of character in the young
woman, were reported in a way which was likely to plead powerfully with
a woman of her ladyship's known goodness of heart. But all these
representations were false, as came out when it was too late. However
she was hired. It was not known at that time,--or, if it were, only to
those who allowed it no weight in their minds,--that she was a niece of
Gillie Godber's. That perhaps of itself was not so important a fact:
but she had lived for the seven last years of her life in her aunt's
house, had fallen deeply under her influence, and shared in her
feelings with regard to the execution of the young boy her cousin.
Moving chiefly under this influence, and confirmed no doubt by the
means which suddenly offered of appropriating a very large sum of
money, this woman lent herself as the instrument to the savage
vengeance of her aunt--which in one hour laid prostrate the happy
prospects of an ancient house and ravaged their peace in a way which
time has done nothing to heal. And here it was, Mr. Bertram, that
Gillie Godber forfeited all hold on the public sympathy--even amongst
those whose rank indisposed them to judge Sir Morgan with any charity.
All hearts were steeled against her. Sir Morgan might be thought to
have done her wrong: with regard to the fact, as it ultimately came
out, he certainly had; though not, as I am sure, in design or according
to the light of his conscience at that time. But for lady Walladmor,
the meek and gentle lady that had wept with her--wept _for_
her--pleaded for her--prayed for her--knelt for her;--Gillie Godber,
that was a mother by so bitter a mother's pang, to forget the mother's
heart in her benefactress; she, that mourned for a son, to tear the
infants for ever from their mother's breasts, and consign them--oh! heart
of Herod--to a life worse than a thousand deaths amongst robbers, pirates,
murderers,--this it was that blotted out from all men's memories her
own wrongs, cancelled and tore the record of her sufferings.--Mr.
Bertram, it will be four and twenty years next summer from the date of
this miserable transaction; and yet I protest that the storm of
affliction, which in one night descended upon this ancient house of
Walladmor, was, in itself--in its origin--and its irreparable nature,
so memorable a scene of human frailty, such a monument of the awful
power for evil which is lodged in the humblest of human beings when
shaken by extremity of passion and liberated from restraints of
conscience, that at this moment the impression of all its circumstances
is as fresh and perfect as if it happened yesterday; nor do I think
that any time could avail to dim them. To me, as also in the end to Sir
Morgan, the moral of the whole was this--that human affections, love
and grief in excess, are holy things,--yes, even in that wicked woman,
were holy--and not lightly to be set at nought or rejected without
judgment and vengeance to follow."

Here Mr. Williams paused: but Bertram was so much interested in the
story, both in itself and from the connexion into which he had so
recently been brought with two of those who bore a principal share in
it, that he earnestly requested him to complete his narrative; which,
after a short interval of thought, he did.

"The dreadful event, to which I have been alluding, took place on the
12th of June, three-and-twenty years ago--dating from the summer which
is past. About seven o'clock on the evening of that day, finding
herself unusually languid and weary, lady Walladmor had lain down on a
sopha in one of the children's apartments. A fortnight, I ought to
mention, had passed from the time of her _accouchement_: she had
suffered much, and was recovering but slowly: and her female attendants
had, in consequence, been a good deal harassed by unseasonable
watchings and sudden disturbances of their rest. They, poor creatures!
submitted to these, as they would have done to far greater hardships,
cheerfully and without a murmur: indeed all the servants in the castle
would have gone through fire and water to have served their lady; all
but one: and _that_ one, alas! was now left alone in attendance upon
her. Lady Walladmor, who was all consideration for every body about
her, and just such another angel upon earth as Miss Walladmor at
present, had dismissed her own maid and the upper nurse--to refresh
themselves in any way they thought fit from the fatigues of their long
day's attendance; for they had been called up at two o'clock in the
morning. One of the under nurses was engaged in the laundry. And thus
it happened that the duty of attending the two children, who were both
asleep in the adjoining room, devolved on that serpent--Winifred
Griffiths."

"Winifred Griffiths?" exclaimed Bertram in a tone of consternation.

"Yes; Winifred Griffiths:" and at the same time Mr. Williams looked at
him keenly; "have you ever met with a person of that name?"

"I do not know that I have," replied Bertram: "but I remember reading
many books in my youth that bore that name in the blank leaves. One of
these I left at Machynleth; and I will show it you to-morrow. Meantime
pray go on."

Mr. Williams mused a little, and then proceeded. "Griffiths, as she was
generally called in the castle, to distinguish her from another
Winifred upon the establishment, had a style of person and countenance
much like those of her aunt, Mrs. Godber; but she was still handsomer,
and (if possible) prouder. Many people wondered that lady Walladmor
could like her; but she was a girl of superior understanding, very
well-mannered, and subtle as the fiend; so that she masqued her
demoniacal purposes before lady Walladmor with a cloak of insinuating
softness far too thick for that good creature to penetrate. She had
besides many accomplishments, which she had learned from the young
ladies of an elegant Irish family by whom she had been educated: and
amongst these was the art of reading, which she had undoubtedly in
great perfection. This, and the elegance of her manners, recommended
her especially to lady Walladmor. And on the present occasion, as the
other women were leaving the room, lady Walladmor bade them tell
Griffiths to stay in the adjoining one; meaning, in case she found
herself unable to sleep, to go and sit by the side of her children,
whilst Griffiths read to her. Hoping however that she might be able to
sleep, they were directed not to return until Griffiths or her ladyship
should ring.

"Unhappy mother! that was thus unconsciously preparing all things
for the snake that even now--'her crest brightening with hope' was
couchant by her children's cradle. Unhappy children! that on this quiet
summer-night were to be driven out upon the main sea of a stormy and
wicked world from the quiet haven of their father's castle, and had
already on this earth parted for ever from their angelic mother!----

"Lady Walladmor fell asleep: and, when she next awoke, the room was
gloomy with dusk: indeed it was all but dark; for it must have been
nearly ten o'clock. She rang the bell: and the housekeeper, who
happened to be passing the door, answered it.

"'Oh, is that you, Mrs. Howel?' said her ladyship: 'send candles; and
tell lady Charlotte that she may come up, if she is not gone to bed.'

"Lady Charlotte Vaughan was a little girl of seven years old, a
daughter of the Earl of Kilgarran, who married lady Walladmor's sister,
and had been for some months on a visit to her aunt. In a transport of
pleasure on receiving this permission, the child ran up before the
candles; and, on kissing her, it seemed that lady Walladmor had asked
playfully what they would say at Kilgarran if they knew of her keeping
such late hours.

"Upon this the child had answered gaily that her little cousins were
not yet gone to bed; and that at least she must stay up till after
them.

"'Your cousins, my love, I am sorry to say, sleep less in the night
than the day. However, they have been in bed for hours.'

"'Oh, no! they were gone out into the park.'

"Lady Walladmor must have thought the child dreaming: she questioned
her; and no doubt heard the same account from her which she afterwards
repeated to us all;--how far she was impressed by it, cannot be known:
but possibly, at this moment, the silence of the adjoining room struck
her as remarkable; at any rate, as the ready means of putting an end to
all doubts, she went thither--called probably--receiving no answer,
felt about in the darkness for her children's cradles; found them; they
were empty--they were cold! And instantly, with feelings no doubt such
as could not have been remembered if she had ever had it in her power
to speak of that moment, lady Walladmor uttered a piercing shriek and
fell to the ground.

"Lady Charlotte ran to alarm the family: the servant, whom she met on
the stairs with the candles, sent her on to summon assistance, whilst
she herself pressed forwards: in half a minute all lady Walladmor's
women were about her: there was no need to make inquiries: the empty
cradles told the miserable tale: and circumstances of confirmation came
out at every moment.

"Just at this time Sir Morgan arrived from Dolgelly, where he had been
attending a public meeting. With the rapidity of a train of gunpowder
the whole course of the transaction, and its devilish purpose, came
out: lady Charlotte had met Griffiths in a passage which you have
perhaps observed to connect the green-house with what was then lady
Walladmor's suite of apartments; in this passage there was a private
door into the park, of which the key hung in the very room where the
poor mother was sleeping. As she passed, Griffiths said nothing: but,
as she came near, one of the children cried; and Griffiths endeavoured
to stifle the cry by drawing her cloak closer; in doing which, a sudden
motion of her arm caused the cloak to open; and lady Charlotte had
distinctly seen both her little cousins. By crossing one corner of the
park, which is there sheltered from view of the windows by the
battlements, there was a near road to a sort of woodland horse track,
not much frequented, which led down to the sea-shore. Here she had been
seen hurrying along by a woodman, who observed her from a distance, and
described her dress accurately. This was about eight o'clock. Ten
minutes later she had been seen in company with another woman
traversing the sea-shore. Then all at once it came out in the general
confusion that Griffiths was the niece of Gillie Godber. Sir Morgan had
himself, about nine o'clock, in coming over the hills from Dolgelly,
observed the smuggling ship under sail. The lover of Griffiths was
known to be one of the smugglers: all of them, it is certain, would
abet any plan of vengeance upon Sir Morgan Walladmor: and, in less time
than I have taken to relate it, the whole devilish plot--mode, purpose,
and too probable success,--became apparent to every body in the castle.

"Cases, in which hope and fear are brought into fierce struggle with
each other, are those which are the worst to support and which bear
heavily on the fortitude even of strongest minds. This was shown in Sir
Morgan: there was still a chance that the smuggler might be
intercepted: and that chance might be defeated in a thousand ways.
Hence it was perhaps that then first during my whole knowledge of him,
and then last, I saw Sir Morgan Walladmor lose his self-possession. Now
was Gillie Godber avenged: even in his own hall--that hall which had
echoed to her maternal groans and rung with the agony of her fruitless
supplications, even there--on the very spot where her curse was
muttered--had it taken effect: where it was breathed, there had it
caught him: just where _she_ stood--_he_ stood: where _she_ was
shaken as by fierce convulsions--there was _he_ shaken: where _she_
raved--_he_ raved: and under the very light of that same lamp, which
lighted up the ghastly despair of the wretched mother as she heard the
decree which sealed for ever the fate of her blooming boy, did I read
in Sir Morgan's features too surely a revelation of his foreboding soul,
that one night had stripped him bare of comfort and left him a poor
forlorn man to a life of self-reproach--of shipwrecked hopes--and
blasted affections.

"What was to be done? All were eager to be in motion; all fretting, I
may say, to follow and avenge; but how, or with what hope? One bold
fellow offered to man Sir Morgan's pinnace, barge, and all the other
small craft he could collect, with sailors and others from the
neighbourhood--to pursue the smuggler--and to carry her, if possible,
by boarding. But this, considering the strength of the smuggler, was
too hopeless an attempt to be countenanced. There were however king's
ships cruising or in port all the way between Barmouth and Parkgate:
the nearest of these, a sloop called the Falcon, was said to be lying
at anchor off Aber, between Bangor and Conway: and in that direction
expresses were sent off one upon the heels of the other; some having
orders to go on to Parkgate and Liverpool. A favourite groom of Sir
Morgan's, on this occasion, rode a thoroughbred horse in two hours and
a quarter to Bangor Ferry: between Beddgelart and Carnarvon he had
learned that the sloop was anchored off Beaumaris: he turned aside
therefore from the Bangor road to the Ferry. There he jumped into a
six-oared boat, and made for Beaumaris. Faithfully he did his duty: as
you will suppose when I tell you that the castle clock had struck ten
when he mounted, and a little after one we that stood on the summits of
Arthur's chair--the high peak to the northward--heard a sullen report
in the direction of Carnarvon: we all knew that this must be a signal
to us from the Falcon--giving notice of her approach. She was now
standing through the Menai strait. Twenty minutes after this a second
gun was fired; and the prodigious roar of echoes, which it awoke in the
mountains, proclaimed that she had passed Carnarvon. At two the flashes
of her guns became visible, and showed that she had uncovered the point
of Llandovery. At a quarter past two there was light enough to make her
out distinctly; she carried a press of sail; and a few minutes after
that we discovered the smuggler in the offing, about three miles to
leeward of the Falcon.

"The same high gale which had carried the Falcon so rapidly through the
Menai, had baffled the smuggler in her attempt to go to the northward;
for that was obviously her intention; and she still continued to tack
in that direction. We expected that, as soon as she descried the
Falcon, she would wear and run: but, greatly to our surprize, she took
no notice of her--but continued standing on her tack in the evident
design of running to the outside of the isle of Anglesea.

"The Falcon, seeing her purpose, fired a shot to bring her to. This the
smuggler paid no sort of regard to: and we all began to suspect some
mistake: as the light increased, and we could use our glasses with
effect, we found too certainly that there was. The smuggler was painted
so as to resemble the Viper; and Sir Morgan had taken her for that
vessel on the night before: but we now suspected (and the event proved)
that she was her partner, the Rattlesnake--a ship of much greater force
with a piratical crew from the South Seas, and strengthened by some of
the picked hands from the Viper. She had come round expressly on this
service from the West coast of Ireland, where she had been hovering for
some time back. The officer, who commanded the Falcon, had no doubt
found his mistake before we did: but it seemed that, both for the honor
of his flag and on account of the affecting occasion, he resolved to
fight her under any odds. The wind moderated at this time: but he kept
on his course, and neared her fast.

"At three o'clock the Falcon ranged up within pistol shot. At this
moment the Rattlesnake showed her colors--black, striped with
horizontal crimson bars, the well-known flag of a rover that had of
late years fixed his nest in the Gallapagos, and thence infested the
South Seas. Not a shot had yet been exchanged: and just before the
action commenced we could distinguish Griffiths making her way across
the decks from the cabin to the cock-pit. Oh! what a moment of suspense
for us!--Oh! for some arm from heaven to strengthen the righteous
cause! Some angel to intercept the oppressor's triumph; or some
darkness to hide it from the oppressed!

"Never again may the innocent light of early dawn, when visiting our
quiet seas, and these peaceful valleys of Merionethshire, ascend upon
such a spectacle of human crime and woe as lay before me at that moment
of that sweet summer morning. There in front, upon the tranquil sea,
began the bloody strife--the thunder and the carnage:----On my right
hand stood the unhappy father, praying for some merciful shot to
dismiss his children from the evil to come:----In a gloomy fir-grove on
my left hand stood the guilty, but most miserable, mother--Gillie
Godber, spectatress of Sir Morgan's agonies, writhing with exultation
that her vengeance had reached his heart, and laughing like a fell
hyæna as she surveyed her work upon the sea.

"But why should I dwell upon these hideous remembrances? Let a few
words tell the issue: the Rattlesnake was greatly superior to her
antagonist in number of men, and those picked men, three parts of them
English and Irish: consequently there was no chance of boarding with
success. She had also the advantage in number of guns, but much more
advantage in weight of metal. Hence, and from the fatal effect of one
broadside upon the rudder and rigging of the Falcon--within half an
hour from the commencement of the action, and just as the sun rose--the
Rattlesnake beheld her enemy lying unmanageable on the water, and
unable to bring a gun to bear. In this condition the Falcon would have
lain at the pirate's mercy, but for the appearance of two sail which
now hove in sight from the southward: the wind had shifted two or three
points and was freshening; the Rattlesnake crowded sail; was out of
sight before the strangers came up; and the end of that scene was, that
our brave champion was towed into Carnarvon--crippled, helpless,
dismantled, all but a wreck, and with the third part of her crew
slaughtered.

"But from this scene Sir Morgan was now summoned hastily away to
another which, too ruefully he augured, must await him. A second lesson
he was now to have upon the sanctity of human affections. For I will
maintain, Mr. Bertram,--that however the poor may, upon matters of
taste, delicacy, or refinement, seem coarser in their feelings, and
less sensitive than the rich (from which aspect it is that many people
take their estimate of poor people's sensibilities),--yet in all that
regards the primary affections I will maintain, I say, that the
distinctions of rich and poor--high and low--are lighter than dew or
the dust which is in the balance. The ties, which cement the great
elementary relations of human life, are equally strong in every rank;
alike sacred in the eyes of God; and in the lowest as in the highest,
the anguish of their dissolution as perfect. Now did Sir Morgan learn
what that anguish was: the next half hour taught him to estimate the
torments of a final parting from the being in whom the whole heart's
love lies treasured.--Lady Walladmor had passed the night in
convulsions, falling out of one fit into another with intervals of only
a few moments. Towards sun-rise the intervals grew longer, but she was
evidently sinking fast; she was sensible; and, as she recovered the use
of speech, she asked for Sir Morgan.

"I entered the room with Sir Morgan: lady Walladmor was sitting on a
sopha propped up by cushions and surrounded by her women. All of us
staid in the room; for some could not be spared; and the presence of
strangers is distressing only when they are neutral spectators and not
participators in the emotion witnessed--as we were in the very deepest
degree, and by an interest which far transcended the possibility of any
vulgar interest of curiosity.--There is no doubt that lady Walladmor
had recollected some circumstance in the application made to her on
behalf of Winifred Griffiths--not understood or suspected at that
time--but suddenly interpreted to her by the event of the preceding
night and too sadly interpreting that event. This was plain: for she
asked no information from us: she saw by our countenances that we had
none to give her which could shed a comfort on her dying moments: and
even to turn her thoughts that way was too terrific a trial for her
exhausted nature. She moved her head mournfully with a world of sad
meaning: twice she raised and dropped her hand, as if in supplication
or internal prayer: a third time she raised it, and the hand fell into
that of Sir Morgan's: her lips moved; and at last she said--and the
solemnity of her utterance for a moment checked our tears--'That for
her sake, and as he hoped for comfort to visit him in his afflictions,
she made it her last request that, if ever' (even then she was too
tender to say 'ever' _again_) 'if ever any poor suffering human
creature, sinking under trials too great for human fortitude, should
lay down the burthen of wretchedness at his feet, he would not close
his heart or turn away his ear from the petition.' Saying this, she hid
her face in Sir Morgan's arms; strong convulsions again came on: and,
before the morning dew was exhaled, she was once more at peace;

     'And Nature rested from her work in death.'

"Thus did one night wither Sir Morgan's 'palmy state' of prosperity:
thus were his children torn away: thus died lady Walladmor: and with
her died all Sir Morgan's happiness, and upon this earth all his
prospects of consolation. He was now left with no companion; none to
comfort him, or support him. After this, for some years he shut up
himself from all society, except upon public occasions where he
appeared but as an official or ceremonial person: but gradually the
intreaties of his friends, and the claims of his rank, drew him back
into the world: and then came his lovely niece, Miss Walladmor; and
with her again came something like joy to Walladmor; though but for a
season; for _that_ joy also was overcast."

"But did Sir Morgan," asked Bertram, "never recover any traces of the
pirates or his lost children?"

"There again his unhappy fate denied him the last medicine to his
grief. Next to the joy of recapturing his children, would have been the
consolation of knowing that they had perished. But, though that was
probable, it could never finally be ascertained. The express, sent on
to Liverpool, found a frigate of 36 guns--the Nemesis--lying in
Hoylake. The Nemesis slipped her cables, and went after the enemy. Her
hope was to intercept him before he reached the Isle of Man: but the
Rattlesnake was an excellent sailer, and had the lead. However on the
second evening, off the Cumberland coast, between Ravenglass and
Whitehaven, the Nemesis got a sight of her about two leagues ahead. A
chace of two hours more would have put her into the possession of the
frigate: but within that time came on the great storm of June 13th,
which strewed the whole channel with wrecks. The Nemesis was herself
obliged to run into Maryport: and, as nothing more was ever heard of
the Rattlesnake, it was presumed that she had foundered in that
memorable storm which was fatal to so many ships better acquainted with
those seas. This was a point which Sir Morgan would have given a king's
ransom to establish. But unfortunately it was never put beyond doubt:
there was still a possibility that she might have executed her
intention of going north about. There was once a rumor afloat that she
had got into the Baltic: you may be sure that every means, which Sir
Morgan's vast wealth and influence could command, was put in motion to
trace her in that region: but all to no purpose: and perhaps Sir Morgan
would have been satisfied (as others were) that the rumor had no
foundation, but for the hints and ambiguous expressions dropped at
times by Gillie Godber."

"You remind me seasonably," said Bertram, "of a question which I had
nearly overlooked: why was not this fiendish woman apprehended, and
brought to trial?"

"Of what service would _that_ have been? Suppose that she had been
convicted, and transported--_that_ would only have removed her from the
knowledge of all who were on the watch to take advantage of any
discoveries she might make from carelessness or craziness, or which she
yet may make from repentance on her death-bed."

"But at least she might have been threatened with trial?"

"She was: twice she was committed to custody and underwent rigorous
examinations before a whole board of magistrates: but to what end? She
was as wild as the sea, as intractable as the wind. What threats,
indeed, what voice, what sound--except it were the sound of the last
trumpet wakening her from the grave--shall ever again alarm her? What
cares she for judge or jury? The last sentence, that _she_ could fear,
rang in her ears long years ago at Walladmor. That dreadful voice, as
it sounded in the great hall of Walladmor Castle when it gave up her
blooming boy to the scaffold, still sounds in her adder's ear; and it<
is deaf to all sounds beside."

"Yet surely Sir Morgan must be distressed at seeing her: and
yesterday----"

"I know what you would say, Mr. Bertram: yesterday you saw her walking
freely about the castle. True. But, for the purposes I have already
explained, it is necessary to give her free access to the castle; and
she comes so seldom that she is now a privileged person with licence to
range where she will. Nay, Sir Morgan would court her hither with
gifts--and rain bounties upon her, if she would accept them. This
desire of having her before his eyes, Mr. Bertram, is a fantastic and
wayward expression of misery--one of those tricks of sorrow--most apt
to haunt the noblest minds. Some have worn about their persons the
symbols, the instruments, or the mementos of their guilt: and in Mrs.
Godber Sir Morgan sees a living memorial of what he now deems his crime
and of its punishment; a record (as he says himself) of his own
unpitying heart--and of the bitter judgment that recalled him to more
merciful thoughts.

"I think him right:--in the Greek tragedians, who sometimes teach us
Christians better morality than (I am sorry to say) we teach ourselves,
there is a sentiment often repeated--which I dare say, Mr. Bertram,
you remember: it is to this effect,--That it is ominous of evil to
come--for any man to express, by his words or acts, that he glories in
his own prosperity as though it were of his own creation, or held by the
tenure of his own merits. Now this is in effect the very crime of him
that, being born of woman, yet hardens his heart against the prostrate
supplications of a human brother or sister. For how would _he_ refuse
to show mercy, that did not think himself raised above the possibility
of needing it?

"Yes, Sir Morgan is right; his own sad recollections tell him that he
is; and often have I heard him say--That, from that memorable moment
when, looking back as he ascended the great stair-case, he beheld in
the centre of his hall the unhappy mother prostrate and writhing upon
the ground--read the pangs that were in her face--and the curse that
was in her eye, from that moment he turned away like one already
reached by her vengeance; and never again had thought--moved--talked--
slept--or dreamed--as they think--move--talk--sleep and dream that have
the blessedness of an untroubled conscience, and against whom no record
is filed in the courts of heaven on which are written the tears of the
afflicted or the crimes of the despairing."


FOOTNOTES TO "CHAPTER XVIII.":

[Footnote 1: Modesty forbids us to say _which_: but a truth is a truth:
and his favorite volume, we understand, was in "post 8vo."]

[Footnote 2: Winter's Tale.]



                              CHAPTER XIX.


       _Penthea._                      First his heart
      Shall fall in cinders, scorch'd by your disdain,
      Ere he will dare, poor man, to ope an eye
      On these divine looks, but with low-bent thoughts
      Accusing such presumption: as for words,
      He dares not utter any but of service.
      Yet this lost creature loves ye!
                              FORD. _The Broken Heart_--Act 3.


At this moment the bugle of the cavalry called the attention of Mr.
Williams and Bertram: they were mounting in some hurry, and leaving the
castle upon private intelligence just received by Sir Charles Davenant.
All that could be learned of the occasion which summoned them on duty
was--that some attack, supposed to be headed by Captain Nicholas, was
this evening meditated on a depot of horses designed for remounting one
troop of the dragoons: this depot had been recently formed in the
neighbourhood of Walladmor for the purpose of receiving horses
purchased at different fairs on the borders. But with what design
could Captain Nicholas attack it? No doubt to mount a party from some
one or more of the various smuggling vessels on the coast. "But with
what further end?" asked Bertram: "or why, being under so serious a
charge--and a high reward offered for his apprehension, does he still
linger in this neighbourhood?"

"I imagine," said Mr. Williams, "that the ordinary motives on which men
are careful of their lives are wanting to Captain Nicholas, and have
been for some time: and just at this moment his old feelings of
jealousy, or rather of anxiety and irritation, are perhaps revived by
the presence of Sir Charles Davenant.--You are aware probably that Sir
Charles was formerly a suitor of Miss Walladmor's, and rejected only
through the firmness of that lady; for his pretensions had the
countenance and support of all her friends. Apart from Sir Charles's
great expectations, which entitled him to look as high, he was
encouraged by some members of the family, not so much on his own
account as with a view of extinguishing the hopes of Captain Nicholas;
of whose long devotion to Miss Walladmor I presume that you must by
this time have heard."

"Some little I have heard," replied Bertram; "and some little I have
collected from my own observations and the benefit of accident. Under
what circumstances however this attachment commenced, or of its
history, I know absolutely nothing. I do not even know who Captain
Nicholas is: nor can I form any reasonable conjecture in what way or
upon what pretensions a person, connected with smugglers and people of
that class, could ever be led to aspire to the favor of the heiress of
Walladmor."

"Who Captain Nicholas is--you will not find any body able to tell you:
his origin is a mystery to all people, and himself amongst the number.
But, as to his connection with smugglers, _that_ is but an accident in
his early life which he now renews for temporary purposes, as he has
done once or twice before. I acknowledge that I take a good deal of
interest in Captain Nicholas: and Sir Morgan feels upon that subject as
I do. Many circumstances of great generosity in his conduct have at
times came to our knowledge: deep and persevering love is itself a
proof of some nobility in a man's nature; more especially when it is
nearly hopeless; and where it is certain that a man has refused all
dishonourable means for aiding his own success. Many times Captain
Nicholas has had it in his power to carry off Miss Walladmor to sea,
and at one time without any risk of discovery. And, if _that_ was not
the way to win the favor of a noble-minded woman, still that a man so
wildly educated should feel that it was not--and that a despairing man
should resist all temptations which deep love and opportunity combined
to offer, implies an elevation of mind which alone would have attracted
some degree of regard to Captain Nicholas: independently of which he is
a man of various accomplishments, great address, intrepidity, dignified
manners, and---as I have heard--an excellent officer both in the sea
and land services."

"But how came he first connected with smugglers; and what introduced
him to the notice of Miss Walladmor?"

"All, that I know of his history, is this: About eight years ago, when
he was little more than fifteen years old, he first appeared on this
coast in character of son, or more properly (I believe) adopted son, of
Captain Donneraile who commanded a large Dutch vessel of suspicious
character, which had long resorted to these seas. She gave herself out
for a regular merchantman, but was pretty well understood to be a
smuggler as opportunities offered. Edward Nicholas, as I have said,
passed for the Captain's son: and in that character, as well as for his
personal qualities, was much looked up to by the crew. Such indeed was
the hardihood and romantic spirit of enterprise with which he conducted
the difficult affairs sometimes confided to him--that Captain
Donneraile, who was old and indolent, gradually allowed the command of
the ship to devolve on him; and at the age of sixteen he was much more
the commander of the vessel than the nominal captain. This habit of
early command over a large and warlike crew, tempered by good nature
and great generosity of disposition, gave to his manners a tincture of
dignity much beyond his situation. These manners and this disposition,
united with his fine person and countenance, conciliated the kind
feelings of all about him; and he was a great favorite with the ship's
company as well as with the country people on shore. Many of his boyish
exploits are current at this day amongst them,--and his affrays with
the revenue officers, or hair-breadth escapes from them, are still
narrated with interest. In all these however he seemed rather to be
amusing himself, than like one who considered them as his regular
occupation. In the same spirit he attached himself for a time to a
company of strolling players. And that this was the just construction
of his temper and purposes--is evident from the sequel. When he was
about eighteen, old Captain Donneraile died, and left a considerable
legacy together with the ship of which he was sole owner to Edward
Nicholas. This ship, and such of the crew as would follow him to those
climates, he carried to South America,--and entered into the patriotic
service of one of the new republics in that quarter of the world. There
he rose to considerable distinction, and at one time commanded a
frigate. Afterwards, under some adverse circumstances attending the
naval administration, he transferred himself to the land service; and
served with high reputation first as a partizan officer in the
guerrilla warfare, afterwards in the regular cavalry. Some change of
circumstances made it advisable to restore the naval force; and with
the view of manning a small flotilla with a proportion of picked
British seamen, he returned to the old haunts of his youth in this
country--hoping to find it still the rendezvous of smugglers. This
happened just four years and a half ago; and then it was that his
connexion commenced with Miss Walladmor--a connexion which has since
determined the whole course of his life.

"Miss Walladmor was at that time not more than sixteen years old: she
was exquisitely beautiful; and, though prematurely womanly in the
developement of her person, had yet an expression of almost childlike
innocence in her style of countenance which made it peculiarly
charming. Edward Nicholas first saw her in the woods of Tre Mawr from a
situation where he was himself unseen; and so powerfully was he
fascinated that from that hour he abandoned all his schemes in South
America. Morning, noon, and night, he spent in devising some means of
introducing himself to her notice: but love, where it is deep and pure,
is also timid--delicate--and reverential. Captain Nicholas, moreover,
was aware of Miss Walladmor's rank and expectations: these, on many
accounts, as they tended to misinterpret his motives, made him shy of
intruding himself upon her notice. But at length chance did for him
what he could never have done for himself. In the woods of Tre Mawr
ridings are cut in all directions, and for many miles: these, being on
the Walladmor domain and so near to the park, are considered part of
the grounds; and Miss Walladmor was accustomed to ride here almost
daily without attendants. This was soon discovered by Captain Nicholas,
and he lay concealed here whole days together with the mere hope of
seeing her for a moment. On one of these occasions her horse stumbled
over the root of a tree, and on recovering himself ran away: he was
rapidly carrying her into a situation of extreme peril amongst the
precipices of Ap Gauvon, when Captain Nicholas, who was lurking about
on his usual errand, and saw the whole from a distance, stept out from
a thicket as the horse approached--crossed him--seized the rein--and
saved her. This was the best possible introduction: and all the rest
followed naturally. Miss Walladmor had every excuse: she was a mere
child, and quite inexperienced: Captain Nicholas--who had from his
youth been placed in stations of command, and had just come from a
service in which as an Englishman he had been greatly respected and
admitted to intimacy with the staff of the patriot army,--was
distinguished by a remarkable dignity of manners and deportment: the
style of his sentiments, naturally lofty, was now exalted by love: and
finally he had in all probability saved Miss Walladmor's life. These
were strong appeals to a young heart: doubtless it did not weaken them
that the noble expression of his countenance was then embellished by
the graces of early youth (for he was not twenty), and yet unsaddened
by internal suffering--which has since given him the look of a person
older than he really is. Above all perhaps there pleaded for him in
Miss Walladmor's heart--that which must always plead powerfully with a
woman of virtuous sensibilities--the display which every look, word,
and gesture, made of his profound and passionate devotion. 'Never'
indeed (to quote our great poet, Mr. Bertram)--

      "----never did young man fancy
      With so eternal and so fix'd a soul:"[1]

"He hallowed the very air she breathed; doated on the very hem of her
garments; worshipped the very ground she trod on. This child, this
innocent child (for she was no more), guided the wild ungovernable
creature as absolutely and as easily as a mother guides her infant:
and, if Captain Nicholas had always been under such guidance, no tongue
(as I will warrant) would ever have had any cause to make free with his
name: there is no such a safeguard in this world to a young man under
the temptations which life presents as deep love for a virtuous woman.
The misery is--that for every thousand such women there is hardly one
man capable of such a love. No: men in this respect are brutal
creatures.

"But to return to Miss Walladmor: you will not wonder that, under the
circumstances I have mentioned, she did not discontinue her rides in
the woods of Tre Mawr: child as she was, her own heart told her that,
from a man animated by love so tender and profound, she could no more
have any thing to fear than she could from any third person whilst
under his protection. Hence she did not refuse to meet him: and, for
more than a year and a half, they carried on a clandestine
correspondence. Clandestine I call it with regard to the mode in which
it was conducted, and with regard to Sir Morgan Walladmor: for else it
was known to all the country beside. How it was that nobody spoke of it
to Sir Morgan, I cannot say: you will wonder that I did not. The truth
is--that, when it came to my knowledge, it was too late (as I saw) to
interfere without misery to both parties, and ruin to one. The chief
objections to the connexion were of course the want of adequate rank
and prospects on the part of Captain Nicholas, and the uncertainty of
his birth. These, in any common case, were no doubt sufficient
objections: still, as Captain Nicholas had raised himself at so very
early an age to the rank of a gentleman, I did not see that they were
insuperable: or, however valid against such an attachment in its first
origin, were less entitled to attention when it had reached its present
stage.

"Miss Walladmor was nearly eighteen, when Sir Morgan came to know of
the affair. He was grieved, and seemed to view it as one of the
judgments upon himself, but did not express any displeasure. Just about
that time Sir Charles Davenant was introduced to Miss Walladmor in the
character of suitor. From the first she declined his addresses with a
firmness that should naturally have at once discouraged a man of his
discernment. But he had encouragement from other quarters:--Sir Morgan
gave him no encouragement; but others amongst Miss Walladmor's
relatives did. Edward Nicholas was too noble to harbour so mean a
passion as jealousy: still he trembled for the effect of a long
persecution upon so gentle a nature as Miss Walladmor's: but in this he
was wrong: for, though the gentlest of creatures, she is one of the
firmest in any point which she conceives essential to her honor. And
this he now found unhappily in a case too nearly affecting himself.

"All at once many stories of outrages, scandalous and even bloody acts,
were revived against the company of smugglers with whom Captain
Nicholas had passed his youth: and with these stories the name of
Edward Nicholas, as the name of their leader, was studiously coupled.
Both Miss Walladmor and her lover being generally favourites amongst
the country people about Walladmor, it was a matter of some wonder to
me whence such stories, which were clearly devised for their
persecution, could arise; and at length I traced them to Gillie Godber.
However they got into some circulation; and, now that the rank of Miss
Walladmor and the universal interest in the romantic part of the story
had drawn the attention of the county and the whole local gentry upon
the character of Edward Nicholas, they could not but affect his
pretensions very disadvantageously with all Miss Walladmor's
connexions. With the sincerity of real love, Captain Nicholas had not
concealed from Miss Walladmor the circumstances of his early education
amongst smugglers and sea-rovers: but these she justly regarded as the
palliations of any youthful levities he might have committed, and as
his great misfortune, and not as any part of his offences. Neither had
he concealed the obscurity of his birth; so that, with regard to that,
she had nothing to learn. The worst part of the charges, as it soon
came out, were easily repelled by the mere dates of the transactions to
which they referred: of all the cruel and bloody part every man, who
knew his nature, acquitted him; for, howsoever he may choose to talk
ferociously since he has become desperate, he has nothing cruel in his
disposition. But, when these were disposed of, there still remained
many wild infractions of law which left a taint behind, such as ought
not to attach to the name of him who was a candidate for Miss
Walladmor's hand. If Miss Walladmor in the tenderness of her affection
steadily refused to believe these stories, others (she saw) did not.
Something was due to her family; and to Sir Morgan, the head of it,
more especially, from the unlimited confidence he had reposed in her
discretion. However it were palliated by his extreme youth and the
connexions upon which his misfortunes had thrown him, still some part
of what had been alleged against Captain Nicholas appeared to be true:
for even, with such an interest at stake, the nobility of his mind
would not stoop to the meanness of falsehood. Miss Walladmor was
greatly shocked; suffered much in mind and in health; and discovered in
her countenance the agitations to which she was now a prey. She knew,
she could not but know, that she was consigning him to despair: her
woman's heart relented again and again in behalf of the man who had
loved her so long and so fervently: but at length she told him calmly
and yet firmly that it was necessary they should part. Whatever she
could do by tenderness of manner to mitigate the bitterness of this
parting--she did; her affections, there was no need to tell him, were
wholly his: and she assured him that, if he would in any way efface the
stains upon his name, her heart should remember only his misfortunes.

"But in what way was he to do this? He was a friendless man for any
views of advancement in England; any thing he might do in South
America, would avail him little at home: and thus, being without hope,
he became frantic--and began to tamper with criminal enterprizes.

"What follows is still more painful; nor am I accurately acquainted
with the particulars. Political disturbances at that time prevailed in
various parts of the country; amongst others, in this. These he
fomented; and, according to the charges against him, committed some
overt acts of treason. The best excuse for him, over and above that
general excuse which applies to all that he has done since his parting
with Miss Walladmor, namely, his state of utter distraction (some say
positive aberration) of mind,--the best excuse for him, I say, in all
his political conduct, is this; that, having lived so much of his life
in foreign and convulsed states of society, where every body was
engaged in active hostilities to some party or other that was--had
been--or pretended to be the government, he had not been trained to
look with much horror on a charge which he has heard so much tossed
about as that of treason: in fact he thinks of it with more levity than
you can imagine. I may add that, having seen so little comparatively of
England, he is really under the greatest delusions as to our true
political state--and does sincerely believe in the existence of
oppressions which are altogether imaginary. This must be borne in mind
in speaking of what remains. After the disturbances were quelled in
this neighbourhood, he escaped; went to South America; served again in
various quarters of that agitated continent; but was still pursued by
his old distraction of mind in regard to Miss Walladmor; came back;
connected himself, it is said, with some of those who were parties to
the Cato-street conspiracy: I know not how, or with what result. He
talks of himself as though he had shared in all their designs: but he
often talks worse of himself than he deserves; and government have
certainly abandoned the Cato-street charges against him: though, if he
were taken, he would still be tried on those which arise out of his
transactions in this county."

"But with what purpose," said Bertram, "can he linger in this
neighbourhood, where his haunts and his person are so well known--that
it is impossible he can long escape apprehension?"

"Still, no doubt, as heretofore, from the blindness and infirmity of
his passion for Miss Walladmor: merely to see her--is perhaps some
relief to his unhappy mind: _that_ however is a gratification he can
seldom have; for she now rarely stirs out of the castle. His old
anxieties too may be again awakened by the re-appearance of Sir Charles
Davenant at Walladmor. Then, as to the intimacy of his connexions with
this neighbourhood, you must remember that, if _that_ exposes him to
some risque, he is also indebted to it for much kindness and
assistance. Just now indeed, when the smugglers are returned to this
coast, what with the open assistance he receives from them, and the
underhand support and connivance he meets with from the country people,
he contrives effectually to baffle the pursuit of the police."

At this moment a sound swelled upon the wind: Bertram and Mr. Williams
were looking down from the battlements upon the park: and in a few
seconds a herd of deer rushed past with the noise of thunder; and
shortly after the heavy gallop of two bodies of horse, one in pursuit
of the other, advanced in the direction of the castle. It was bright
moonlight. About two hundred yards from the walls, some smart
skirmishing took place: random discharges of pistols and carbines
succeeded at intervals; the broad swords of the cavalry, and the
cutlasses of sailors, could be distinguished gleaming in the moonlight:
and it became evident that the party under Captain Nicholas had fallen
in with Sir Charles Davenant somewhere in the neighbourhood, and were
now retreating before him. The smugglers, it was pretty clear, had been
taken at great disadvantage; for they were in extreme disorder when
they first appeared--being wholly unfitted by the state of their
equipments and horses for meeting a body of dragoons so superbly
mounted and appointed. Their horses, though of the hardy mountain
breed, wanted weight and bulk to oppose any sort of resistance to the
momentum of the heavy dragoon horses--and were utterly untrained to any
combined movement. It was obviously on this consideration that Edward
Nicholas, whose voice was now heard continually giving words of
command, had drawn his party to this point where the broken ground
neutralized in a great measure the advantages of the dragoons. He was
now upon ground every inch of which he knew; in which respect he had
greatly the advantage of Sir Charles Davenant; and he availed himself
of it so as to draw off his own party, and to distress the cavalry.
From the point at which they had just been skirmishing, a long range of
rocky and sylvan scenery commenced which traversed the park for miles;
and upon this Captain Nicholas now began to wheel in tolerably good
order, showing at times a bold front to his enemy. This movement drew
them away from the castle: but the character of the retreat continued
to be apparent for some time. At intervals the two parties were
entangled in rocks and bushy coverts. On ground of this character, the
dragoons were much distressed by their horses falling, and were thus
checked and crippled in their movements; whilst the sure-footed
mountaineers of the smugglers advanced with freedom. Suddenly the whole
body, pursuers and pursued, would be swallowed up by a gloomy grove of
pines; suddenly again all emerged with gleaming arms upon little island
spots of lawny areas, where the moonlight fell bright and free.
Whenever a favourable interspace of this character occurred, the
dragoons endeavoured to form and use the advantage it presented for
effecting a charge. But the address of Edward Nicholas, who was an
excellent cavalry officer, and far more experienced in this kind of
guerrilla warfare than his antagonist,--together with the short
intervals during which the ground continued favourable for charges, and
his minute knowledge of its local details,--uniformly defeated the
efforts of the dragoons, and protected the retreat of his own party
until they were gradually lost in the distance and the shades of those
great sylvan recesses, which ran up far into the hilly tract upon which
their movement had been continually directed.

Late in the evening the dragoons returned to the castle: they had
suffered a good deal on the difficult ground to which they had allowed
themselves to be attracted by Captain Nicholas; fifteen being reported
as wounded severely, and several horses shot. They had however defeated
the object of Captain Nicholas, which was (agreeably to the secret
information) to possess himself of the horses in the depôt; with what
ultimate view, they were still left to conjecture.

That this was simply some final effort of desperation, it was easy to
judge from what followed. A little before midnight on this same evening
Captain Nicholas appeared at the castle-gate, and surrendered himself
prisoner to the soldiers on guard; at the same time desiring one of
them to carry a note to Sir Morgan Walladmor. In this note he requested
an interview with Sir Morgan for a few moments, which was immediately
granted: Captain Nicholas was conducted to the library; and the guard,
who attended him, directed to wait on the outside.

Edward Nicholas began by adverting rapidly to his own former connexion
with Miss Walladmor. This had been broken up: he blamed nobody for
that: it was but one part of the general misfortune which had clouded
his life. Now however, on returning to Merionethshire after a long
absence, and with the constant prospect of being soon consigned to a
prison, he had been particularly anxious for an opportunity of meeting
and speaking to Miss Walladmor: he had accordingly written to her
repeatedly, but had received no answer. This silence on the part of
Miss Walladmor, so little in harmony with her general goodness,
happening to coincide with the visit of Sir Charles Davenant to
Walladmor, had raised suspicions in his mind that it was to some
influence of his that he must ascribe the continued neglect of his
applications to Miss Walladmor. He feared that Sir Charles was renewing
his pretensions to Miss Walladmor's hand. Hence he had taken his
resolution, as he would frankly avow, to force his way into the
castle--and supplicate Miss Walladmor to grant him an opportunity of
speaking to her in private before it was too late for him to hope it.
Such a plan obliged him, as his first step, to attack the dragoons. To
do this with effect he wanted horses; and he had therefore arranged a
plan for possessing himself of the horses at the depôt: in what way this
plan had become known to Sir Charles Davenant, he could not guess. Having
however been thus prematurely discovered, it was now finally defeated.
Hence, as a man now careless of life, and without hope, he wished to
surrender himself to government on the charges of high treason alleged
against him. He had abundant means of escape, or of indefinitely
delaying this surrender: but to what purpose? To stay here was of
necessity to fall into the hands of government. To escape was to be
self-banished from the neighbourhood of Miss Walladmor, and all chance
of ever seeing her; without which fe had long ceased to be of any value
to him.--He concluded by assuring Sir Morgan that to confine him in any
other place than Walladmor Castle would be to expose him to certain
rescue; and at the same time to cause needless bloodshed, if it was
attempted to strengthen any of the weak prisons in the neighbourhood by
a guard of soldiers.

Sir Morgan Walladmor could not but accept his surrender, as it was thus
deliberately tendered. And, until the pleasure of government were
known, he ordered the rooms of the Falcon Tower to be prepared with
every accommodation for Captain Nicholas.--At the same time Sir
Morgan's countenance testified the pity and concern which he felt for
the prisoner: for to a man of his discerning sensibility it was evident
that it was the last infirmity of love, and the mere craziness of a
doating heart, that had driven him to surrender himself. If in no other
way he could reach Miss Walladmor's neighbourhood, it seemed that he
was determined to reach it in the character of prisoner. To every door
that he passed on his road to the Falcon Tower he looked with a wild
keenness of eye, in the hope that he might obtain some glimpse of her.
And, fantastic as such comfort seemed, the unhappy prisoner felt a deep
joy even in his solitary prison on feeling that for the first time in
his life he was passing the night under the same roof with Miss
Walladmor.

FOOTNOTE TO "CHAPTER XIX.":

[Footnote 1: Troilus and Cressida.]



                              CHAPTER XX.


      The wheel is come full circle!--_King Lear_, Act. V.


At length the time is arrived when Edward Nicholas is to be tried for
his life on the charge of high treason. Within a fortnight after his
surrender, a Special Commission was sent down to try him; and the trial
is to take place at the county town of Dolgelly.[1] At an early hour,
Bertram, who had slept in Dolgelly, presented himself at the door of
the court-house: early as it was, however, he found the entrance
already thronged by a crowd unusually numerous for so unpopulous a
neighbourhood. Amongst them were many women, grieving by anticipation
that the

cruel thunders of the law should descend, for charges so frivolous as
high treason, upon this young and accomplished soldier--whose fine
person, winning manners, and chivalrous protection of women in many
desperate affrays of the smugglers, had gained him all female hearts
far and near in Merionethshire. There were also some fierce faces in
the crowd--of smugglers and freebooters: amongst these Bertram
recognized several of his friends from the _Fleurs-de-lys_; and at
their head stood Captain le Harnois, who appeared to have recovered
surprizingly from his 'cons_o_mption,' and was at this moment
surrounded by several of his own 'mourners.' Bertram moved as near as
he could to the captain, whom he perceived to be in conversation with
some person immediately in advance, and lurking from general view under
the overshadowing bulk of the noble captain's massy figure.

"_What's_ your name, do you say?" asked the captain, lowering his ear,
"Bilberry?"

"Dulberry, I say," replied the other angrily: "Samuel Dulberry, late
twist manufacturer in Manchester."

"Dulberry is it? Why, Dulberry, then: what, man! I'll not rob you of
it. Now, Dulberry, I'll tell you what: you're in luck; you've not got
such a d---d hulk of a body to take care of as I have. You'll do all
the better for a gimblet. So mind now, Dulberry: as soon as the door
opens, take your head in your hands and begin to bore with it. You
shall be the wedge: I'll be the mallet. Never you look behind: I'll
take care of all that. Mind your own duty; once bore a hole for me, and
my name's not le Harnois if I don't send you 'home.'"

Though Mr. Dulberry could not perhaps wholly approve of the captain's
rather authoritative tone, nor of the captain's figures of speech,
which, to a man who had read Blackstone, seemed a little too much to
confound the distinctions of 'things' and 'persons'--yet, as he saw the
benefits of such an arrangement, he made no objection, but submitted to
act in the humble relation of screw to a screw-driver--or, to keep to
the captain's image, submitted to be "driven home" as a nail by the
great hammer of Captain le Harnois.

He began immediately by breaking a weak phalanx of women, who sought to
re-unite in his rear; but they found that they must first of all
circumnavigate the great rock of Captain le Harnois; and, long before
that could be effected, so many of the Fleurs-de-lys' people pressed
after in the captain's wake that this confluence of the female
bisections never took place. In a moment after the doors of the court
opened; a rush took place; Bertram was carried in by the torrent; and
in half a minute found himself comfortably lodged in an elevated
corner. From this he overlooked the court, and he could perceive that
the captain had well performed his promise of driving Mr. Dulberry
home: the reformer was advanced to the very utmost verge of the
privileged space, and obliged to support himself against the pressure
behind by clasping a pillar: as the captain in turn clasped Mr.
Dulberry, and enfolded him, as one box in a 'nest' of boxes is made to
inclose another, the poor reformer's station was an unhappy one: and,
though he had quietly submitted to the captain so long as their joint
interests were concerned in supporting him, it was clear to Bertram
from the fierce looks of the reformer, as he kept turning round his
head, that this 'nestling' of Captain le Harnois was now taking his
revenge, by reading to that arbitrary person a most rigorous lecture on
the bill of rights. It was equally clear that the captain was in rueful
perplexity as to Mr. Dulberry's meaning; not knowing whether to
understand his jargon, so wholly new to himself, as bearing a warlike
or an amorous character--those being the two sole categories or
classifications of the noble captain's whole stock of ideas. Luckily,
to prevent any quarrel between parties so interested in maintaining a
good understanding as the screw and the screw-driver, betting commenced
at this time in very loud terms on various contingencies of the
approaching trial.[2] Ten guineas to ten were offered freely that the
prisoner was acquitted, but found few takers. Mr. Dulberry said that he
would have taken it if the jury had not been packed. Three to four that
the trial was over before twelve o'clock;--this was taken cautiously.
Ten to seven that Mr. Justice ---- did _not_ yawn six times before the
peroration of Mr. ---- (who led for the crown); this was taken pretty
freely. A thousand to one that the prisoner did not show the white
feather; in spite of the immense odds, this was not listened to; so
generally was the prisoner's character established for imperturbable
firmness.

At this moment a general buz announced the commencement of some
profounder interest: a trampling of horses outside announced the
arrival of Captain Nicholas with his escort from Walladmor. Bertram
closed his eyes from the shock which he anticipated at the sight of the
prisoner; and, when he next opened them, the court was set, the
prisoner was placed at the bar, and his arraignment opened in the
customary form for levying war against our sovereign lord the king.

All present were interested more or less by the striking appearance and
serene deportment of the prisoner. His face appeared to Bertram
somewhat more faded and care-worn than when he had last seen him: but
on the whole it bore the marks of fine animal health and spirits,
struggling severely with some internal suffering of mind.

The trial proceeded in the usual manner, but with unusual rapidity, as
the prisoner challenged none of the jury, nor called any witnesses. The
crown lawyers painted the prisoner's guilt in the most alarming
colours; insisting much on his extraordinary talents both military and
civil as a leader in popular tumults. The witnesses deposed with
tolerable consistency to his having tampered with them for purposes
connected with some design upon Harlech castle. The capture of one
outwork of Harlech was established. And at length the prisoner was
called on for his defence.

With his usual self-possession, and with an air of extreme good humour
except when he had occasion to speak of the counsel who opened the
case, Captain Nicholas spoke as follows:

"My lord, and gentlemen of the jury,--I should be sorry to treat with
levity any charge which I see that you treat with solemnity. The charge
of treason is here, I find, a very grave one: though elsewhere I have
known it as common and as trivial as assault and battery. However, be
that as it may, I trust there can be no offence in my noticing without
much gravity the attempt of the learned gentleman who opened the case
for the crown to aggravate the matter against me by representing that I
had engaged in an enterprize which had shaken the king of England on
his throne.

"Shake the king of England upon his throne I gentlemen, I have not that
vanity: and you must excuse my laughing a little. I am well assured
that it was never in my power nor that of much more potent persons to
alarm so great a prince. We all know that, if the kings of this earth
were to assemble in council, they would find it hard to devise that
message which could make a king of England turn pale. As to Harlech,
you gentlemen of the jury well know what Harlech is. A bathing place on
the coast, not far from Harlech, I mean Barmouth, is said to have a
little resemblance to Gibraltar; a _very_ little, I think: but, as to
Harlech, I can assure you that it has none at all: it is as unlike
Gibraltar as it is possible for any castle to be--whether as to
fortifications or garrison. The fortifications run more hazard every
month from treasonable west winds than ever they did from me; and, as
to the garrison, it musters (I think) or _did_ muster at that time
sixteen invalids. I will not say that the west wind is as full of peril
to _them_, for I think it will take an east wind to affect them
seriously: but this I venture to affirm, that, with five such English
seamen as I once seduced from his Britannic majesty's ship Bellerophon,
for a certain patriot service in South America, I would undertake to
make myself master of Harlech castle in ten minutes; and yet,
gentlemen, I doubt not but the king of England could have found five
other men in his service that would have singed our beards and perhaps
retaken it in twenty minutes.

"My lord, I see that you disapprove of this style in a prisoner on his
defence. Let me say then at once--that, though I pay every respect to
the king of so great a nation, and would have been proud to have held a
commission under his majesty, yet, as I do not hold one, nor ever did,
I think it can scarcely be said that I owe him any duty, or can have
committed any treason against him. It is my vanity to call myself an
Englishman; and I sometimes believe that I _am_ one. But I am sure
_that_ is more of my free love to England, than of any claim which
England can show to my services. For I have lived, from the earliest
time I can remember, chiefly upon the sea; possibly was born there: and
that I speak English as my native language cannot prove me an
Englishman; for I speak Spanish and Portuguese as fluently. So far from
having received any favours from England, or the king of England--I
protest that his Britannic majesty is almost the only great potentate
in the Christian world to whom at one time or other I have _not_ sworn
allegiance. For so young a man this may seem a bold assertion: but the
truth is--I have borne arms from my childish days; have seen a good
deal of land service: and, as to naval service, my unhappy lot having
thrown me so early upon the society of sea-rovers, I have positively
sailed under the flag of every maritime state in Christendom. I cannot
see, therefore, how I can be viewed as an English subject: and if I
were to allow myself the magnificent language adopted by my learned
enemy who opened the case for the crown, I might rather claim to be
considered as a foreign power making unsuccessful war upon the king of
England in his castle of Harlech, and now taken prisoner in my final
invasion of his territories. In that case, the learned gentleman will
recollect that--if I should escape from this court by the verdict of
the jury, I shall have a right to consider him as an ally of that great
prince, and to treat him accordingly by land or sea.

"But I am slipping back into that style by which I was sorry to
perceive that I gave offence before. I must apologize by charging it
upon the example set me by the learned counsel, who should better
understand the proper style for a court of justice than I can be
supposed to do. I was endeavouring to show that I am not properly a
subject of his Britannic majesty's; or, if I am, it is more than either
he or I can be sure of. To this I shall add two remarks: first, that I
was bred up among pirates--and not trained to any respect for the
institutions or law of civil societies: a circumstance which I would
wish to have its weight--not, gentlemen, in your verdict, but in the
judgments which charitable men shall hereafter pronounce upon my
character. Secondly, whereas the learned gentleman in the silk gown
insinuated that I was familiar with murderers, and that I looked with
indifference upon shedding human blood--this insinuation, gentlemen of
the jury, I am sure you will not regard; for nothing has appeared this
day in evidence to support any charge of that kind--which, as a soldier
of an honourable republic, I repel with indignation. Except in battle,
or in self-defence, I have never shed any human blood. And, if I did
not fear to be misinterpreted in one quarter where I would blush to
speak of any thing I had done (though it had been a thousand times
more) as pretending to the value of a service--I might produce cases
even in this country where I have saved the lives of others at some
hazard to my own. But I forbear; and leave this to be of service to my
memory rather than to my cause in this court.

"With that view it is that I have made these two last statements: I
press them upon your attention by no means as a prisoner at the bar,
but as a man who is not insensible, both on his own account and for
their sakes who have honoured him with some portion of their regard, to
the opinion which may be hereafter formed of his character. The first
is a consideration which certainly will have its weight with all the
candid: the second is at least as valid as the insinuation to which it
applies: it is the only sort of defence which it is possible for me to
make to a calumny so general and uncircumstantial.

"Now, gentlemen, let me say in conclusion why I do not urge any thing
to influence your verdict. In point of law, so far as I have collected
it from the speeches of the learned counsel, it would be impossible to
say any thing to the purpose. The question you have to decide upon, I
understand to be this; whether I did or did not levy war upon his
Majesty's garrison of sixteen firelocks and his castle of Harlech.
Since the date of the Harlech war I have been present in South America
in so many enterprises, even more desperate, that I cannot pretend to
recal every circumstance: I am apt to confound them with one another.
But the general fact of this expedition against Harlech I think the
witnesses for the crown have established tolerably well. Some of them
indeed gave their evidence in rather unmilitary language, and seemed to
be unduely impressed with the magnitude of that war: but their meaning
was good! and their dates, I dare say, all perfectly correct. I am sure
I have no witnesses to call on my part that could shake either their
history, their chronology, their geography, or in fact any one thing
that is theirs--excepting always their martial tactics, which certainly
are susceptible of improvement. As to cross-examining them, or any
thing of that sort,--I am sure they all want to dine: and I would be
sorry to leave an uncharitable impression of myself amongst so many
respectable yeomen, by detaining them under such circumstances. And,
gentlemen of the jury, if you will excuse me as a soldier for jesting
with you at parting, I am sure that _you_ also wish to be out hunting
on such a fine day as this. And I will acknowledge that I should myself
be disposed to view a prisoner's case as very atrocious who kept me
needlessly in court in such weather as this. As to the learned counsel,
_their_ hunt is in the court: and undoubtedly, by making so few
doubles, I have afforded them but poor sport. I shall not even take
exception to the name by which I am indicted. But the lawyers (though I
feel for _them_ also) are the minority in this court. And besides they
have as little power to save me, as the learned gentleman in the silk
gown apparently has the will. You it is, gentlemen of the jury, that are
the arbiters of my fate: and, if I wished to gain a favourable verdict
from you, I conceive (as I said before) that in so hopeless a case as
mine I could take no more rational course towards that end than by giving
you as little trouble as possible.

"But, gentlemen, in conclusion I will tell you that I do _not_ wish for
a favourable verdict; and, if I did, I should not be here: for I have
had it in my power to escape a hundred times over. The truth is--lest
any man should misunderstand me as though it were an evil conscience or
vicious habits that had made me weary of life at so early an age,--the
truth is briefly this: and let it be the apology, my lord and gentlemen
of the jury, for any tone of occasional carelessness or (as you may think)
levity in what I have said--I have embarked my whole heart on one single
interest: from the unhappy circumstances which beset me, I have in that
quarter no hope: and, without hope there, life is to me of no value.
And you cannot take from me any thing that I shall more willingly part
with."

The judge briefly summed up by telling the jury that their duty was
plain: yet, as three points had arisen which might perplex their views
of the case, he would first dispose of these. The prisoner had
intimated that he was indicted by a false name. But, as it had
sufficiently appeared in evidence that he was generally known by this
name, that was no matter for their inquiry. He had also alleged that he
owed no allegiance to the crown of England: if so, the onus of proof
lay upon the prisoner, who had adduced none whatever. Neither could
such proof avail him: for, to justify his attack upon Harlech Castle,
he must show a positive commission from some power at war with this
country. But that was impossible, for the time of the attack was one of
profound peace. Finally, it had been alleged, in the course of the
trial, that the prisoner was insane. Now, although it had sufficiently
appeared from the evidence given that he was a man of extraordinary and
various talents, still _that_ was not impossible; and, upon the whole,
had some countenance from the style of his address--for defence he
would not call it. However as no direct evidence had been called to
that point, the jury would do well to leave it wholly out of their
consideration; they might be assured it would obtain whatever attention
was due to it in another quarter.--Some indulgence was also due to the
prisoner on the ground of his unhappy training in early life, though he
had himself refused to urge it with that view. This also might be
considered elsewhere, but was not to influence their verdict. The sole
question for _them_ was, as to the overt acts of war. Two witnesses had
prevaricated about the date of a particular incident: if they thought
_that_ of importance, they would give the prisoner the full benefit of
their doubts. The prisoner had in fact admitted the main fact himself:
and had said nothing tending to change the natural construction of it.
He had simply endeavoured to underrate the importance of Harlech
Castle, but that was of no consequence: a place, weak in itself, may be
reputed strong; and, by encouraging people to rise in a period of
general political ferment, may do all the mischief that could attach to
the seizure of a much stronger place. However, in any case, that made
no difference. They had to consider the single question he had
mentioned: if they thought _that_ of no importance, they would find the
prisoner guilty on all the counts in the indictment.

                           *  *  *  *  *  *

Meantime, as it was beginning to grow dusk, Sir Morgan Walladmor was
sitting in his library, and reviewing the case of Captain Nicholas.
Many noble traits of character, which had come to Sir Morgan's
knowledge in past years,--his talents,--and his youth,--all pleaded for
him powerfully: the benignant old man felt concerned that he should in
any way have been made instrumental to his condemnation: for of _that_
he had not much doubt; and he was considering through what channel he
could best exert his influence in obtaining some mitigation of his
sentence; when a door opened; a person, moving with a noiseless and
stealthy foot, entered; and, on raising his head. Sir Morgan saw before
him Mrs. Gillie Godber. As a person privileged to go whithersoever she
would, Sir Morgan would not have felt much surprise at seeing her at
this time or in this place: but there was something unusual in her
appearance which excited his attention. Her eyes were fierce and
glittering; but her manner was unnaturally soft and specious: and she
seemed bent on some mission of peculiar malignity. Sir Morgan motioned
to her to take a chair: but she was always rigidly punctilious in
accepting no favor or attention in Walladmor Castle; and at present she
seemed not to observe his courtesy, but leaned forward with her hands
against the back of a chair.

"Well, Sir Morgan Walladmor! so, then, Edward Nicholas is gone to his
trial?"

"He is; God send him a good deliverance!"

"So, so?" said she laughing, "times are changed at Walladmor. A good
deliverance, eh? What, good deliverance to a smuggler?"

"Yes, Mrs. Godber,--even to a smuggler who happens to need it; but
Captain Nicholas is not a smuggler."

"No, but he is worse: he has been a captain of smugglers, and he is a
traitor."

"Whether he is a traitor, we do not yet know, Mrs. Godber. As a leader
of smugglers he has at least the excuse of his unfortunate situation
and his youth."

"Those were no excuses, Sir Morgan, twenty-four years ago."

"Woe is me, Mrs. Godber, that they were not!"

"So, so, so?" said she, chuckling with stifled laughter: "is it come to
that? so then a worm may turn again, a poor worm may turn again--when
it is trod upon. And the worm may be a snake. God sends snakes for
those that need them." Then, pointing to the armorial bearings of the
house of Walladmor emblazoned on the antique chairs, she said--"The
snake, Sir Morgan, _my_ snake. Sir Morgan Walladmor, my pretty
snake--she stung your Falcon; your Falcon, and--your Doves!"

"She did indeed!" and Sir Morgan groaned with the remembrance.

"Aye, aye. That summer night she stung--she stung! Oh!
sweet--sweet--sweet is revenge, Sir Morgan. Is it not, Sir Morgan?"

"God forbid!--God forbid!--Yet, if _that_ be sweet, you have had it."

"Aye, but not all. We are not yet come to our death-beds: and, before
then, the snake may sting again. All is not finished yet:--what think
you, Sir Morgan, will be the end? what _should_ be the end?"

"If you speak of our death-beds, Mrs. Godber,--peace, as I humbly
presume to hope, the peace of christian charity and mutual forgiveness.
Frail creatures that we are! the best will need forgiveness; the
guiltiest, I trust, who brings a contrite heart, will not ask it in
vain." Then, after a pause, he added solemnly--"You also, Mrs. Godber,
will need forgiveness."

She fixed her eyes intently upon him, at the same time slowly drawing
from her pocket two parcels. One was a packet of letters. She laid them
upon the library table; and, striking her hand upon them with emphasis,
she said--"Read those, when you will: they are letters from Captain
Donneraile and Winifred Griffiths."

Sir Morgan trembled and would have taken the letters: but at this
moment the trampling of horses was heard in the great court, upon which
the library windows looked out: it was now growing dark; and the
torches of the horsemen suddenly irradiated the room, and flashed upon
the eyes of Mrs. Godber. Sir Morgan shuddered at their expression.

She opened the other parcel; and said, with something of a commanding
tone, "Come here! come here!"

Mechanically almost he followed her to the window: she opened and
displayed a baby's frock: the light of the torches fell strong upon it,
and Sir Morgan recognized it well; for it bore in embroidered colours
the bloody hand and the antient crest of Walladmor--by which marks it
had been advertized through Europe.

"Where had you this, Mrs. Godber?"
said he commanding his emotions: but at that instant Sir Charles
Davenant entered the room; and he turned to him with a convulsive
eagerness.--

"The verdict. Sir Charles? What is the verdict?"

"Guilty: judgment has passed: the prisoner is to be executed on
Wednesday next."

Sir Morgan still controled himself:---he turned back to Mrs. Godber;
and, taking both her withered hands into his, he said in the fervent
accents of one who supplicates for liberation from torment, but in
whispering tones that were audible to none but her--

"Mrs. Godber, as you hope hereafter to rejoin your own boy, tell
me--where is that unhappy child of mine that once wore this dress?"

Slowly she released her hands: slowly her face relaxed into a smile:
she looked down into the court: the escort of dragoons had formed in
two ranks, leaving a lane to the door of the Falcon tower: the
sheriff's carriage had drawn up: the prisoner was descending: the
torch-light glared upon him. She drew in her breath with a hissing
sound; pressed her hands together; and then, with an energy that seemed
to crowd the whole luxury of her long vengeance into that single action
and that single word, she threw out both arms at once, pointed to
Edward Nicholas, and, with a yell, she ejaculated--"_There!_"

Sir Morgan fell to the ground like one smitten by lightning; and long
weeks of unconsciousness gave to him the balm of oblivion.


FOOTNOTES TO "CHAPTER XX.":

[Footnote 1: Harlech, if we remember, is the true county-town of
Merionethshire: but, Dolgelly being the larger and more central place,
if a man has any county business (for example, if he wants hanging or
so) he goes to Dolgelly.]

[Footnote 2: This is a satiric hit of the German author at an English
foible which cannot be denied: we wish no nation that we could mention
had worse. That the satire in this case however is not carried beyond
the limits of probability--is evident from the following paragraph
which appeared in many of the morning papers during the third week of
last October:

"It is scarcely credible, and yet we are positively assured of the
fact, that bets to a large amount are depending upon the issue of Mr.
Fauntleroy's trial; and that the books of some of the frequenters of
Tattersall's and the One Tun, are not less occupied with wagers upon
the fate of a fellow-creature than with those upon the Oaks, Derby, and
St. Leger. To persons who are not aware of the brutalizing effect of
gambling upon the mind, this circumstance will be a matter of
astonishment; and even the more experienced can scarcely view with
indifference so gross an outrage on common decency."]



                              CHAPTER XXI.


                                          Look!
      I draw the sword myself: take it; and hit
      The innocent mansion of my love--my heart:
      Fear not; 'tis empty of all things but grief.
                                            _Cymbeline_, Act III.


Thus was Edward Walladmor, as we may now call him, restored to his
father and the castle of his ancestors as a prisoner under sentence of
death.[1]--This however was known only to Tom Godber, who had learned
it from an accidental oversight of his mother's during her frantic
exultations when alone with himself. The same spirit of fiendish
triumph had led her to make the discovery to the unhappy Sir Morgan
prematurely, and when there was still some chance of defeating her
final vengeance. But the _public_ discovery she had prevailed on
herself to delay until the day of execution.

This was now fast approaching; and no intentions had yet been
manifested on the part of government for granting a pardon or
mitigation of the sentence. Monday was now come; Wednesday was the day
originally appointed for the execution; and as yet no orders had
arrived to the contrary. Sir Morgan meanwhile was lying in a state of
alternate delirium and unconsciousness from the effects of a brain
fever which had seized him immediately after the dreadful revelation
made to him by Gillie Godber. And Sir Morgan's friends, though all
feeling great interest for the prisoner, and prepared to think it a
case of extreme harshness on the part of government if the sentence
should be enforced, were unacquainted with the dreadful secret of the
prisoner's relation to Sir Morgan; and had thus no motive, beyond
general pity, for showing any distrust of the royal mercy--by exerting
any special interest in the prisoner's behalf.

Meantime there were hearts that beat in trembling hope for Edward
Walladmor; hands were busy for him in silence; steps and whispering
sounds were moving in the darkness on his behalf. There had been time
for the news of his capture and too probable fate to reach the
Netherlands; and a ship of doubtful character, with a captain and crew
that had once served under Captain Walladmor, instantly left the port
of Antwerp--and sailed, upon good information as to the place and
circumstances of his confinement, to the coast of North Wales. On this
Monday she had communicated with the shore; and soon after night-fall
she stood in for the bay of Walladmor.

He however who was acquainted with the strength of the castle, and had
witnessed the preparations of the sheriff, might reasonably despair of
a liberation that was to be effected by force. The castle itself,
strengthened by such a garrison as now occupied its defences, was
capable of making some resistance: but the Falcon tower, with its
succession of iron doors, its narrow and difficult approaches, and the
aerial situation of its prison, might be considered absolutely
impregnable to any thing short of an army with a regular train of
storming artillery.

Confiding in this superabundant strength, the sheriff--to whom Sir
Charles Davenant had resigned the disposal of the soldiers--had not
thought it necessary to take any other precautions than that of locking
all the doors in the tower, and placing a guard of five men in the
little guard-room which opened upon the rocky gallery. There was no
possibility of any attempt on the part of the prisoner to escape; nor
of any sudden alarm in this quarter: the men were therefore allowed to
sleep; with directions to admit nobody who did not produce an order
bearing the seal of the sheriff or the lord lieutenant. One centinel
was placed inside the great gate; and, in case of any alarm, he was to
ring the great bell of the chapel.

It was now midnight: profound silence reigned in the castle: and the
sheriff, finding that all was quiet on the outside, retired to rest.

Meantime in what state was the prisoner? He knew nothing of any designs
to liberate him: but he was more cheerful notwithstanding than he had
been for some time past. Compared with that in which he had surrendered
himself, his present state of mind might be called a happy one. He had
learned that Miss Walladmor had not disregarded his letters, still less
rejected him, in the way he had been made to believe. His own letters
to her had been duly delivered: but her replies, which (by his own
desire) were entrusted to Mrs. Godber, had been intercepted by her:
some communication between her son Tom and Grace Evans had raised a
suspicion of that nature; Tom had made a search in a neighbouring
cottage where his mother now resided; had found the letters; and had
secretly conveyed them to Captain Walladmor. From these he had learned
how much injustice he had done to Miss Walladmor in supposing her
capable of withdrawing from him, under any cloud of calamity, an
affection such as she had granted to him; and he was assured that one
heart at least, and _that_ the heart to which his own was linked by
indissoluble bonds, would mourn for his fate. He had learned also from
Tom Godber the secret of the filial relation in which he himself stood
to Sir Morgan. Even this contributed to tranquillize him, by taking
away all color of presumption from his own addresses to Miss Walladmor,
and all color of degradation from her with which hereafter the
censorious might else have reproached her. He felt also a secret joy,
such as a lover's heart is apt to feel, in the circumstance of being
Miss Walladmor's cousin--even in bearing the same name with her--as he
would have done in any slighter bond that connected him (though it were
but by a fanciful tie) with the woman whom he loved. And the chief
bitterness of death to him was this--that, loving her so passionately,
he should see her face no more.

That pang at least shall be spared to him. Edward Walladmor shall see
Miss Walladmor again! once again shall kiss the tears from her face;
and though they meet in sorrow, yet shall this meeting record the
tenderness of her affection in terms much stronger and more solemn than
happier hours could have furnished, and shall put the seal to the long
fidelity of her heart. Now is Edward Walladmor to learn by a proof,
sweet yet miserable to remember, that there is no such potent shield
under calamity as a woman's love; and that, under circumstances of
extremity which transcend all cases that human laws can be supposed to
contemplate, nature will prompt a conduct which as far transcends the
necessity of human sanction. Miss Walladmor had learned through Grace
the discovery which Mrs. Godber had made of the prisoner's relation to
Sir Morgan Walladmor. That gentleman was incapable of acting: and,
apart from her own love to Edward Walladmor, she knew under these
circumstances, how it became her to act as the person on whom the
interests and power of the unhappy parent had devolved. She had taken
her resolution at once: all preparations had long been made: all was
ready: nothing remained but the last agitating step: and the heart,
that hung upon the issue, had been waiting till now in trembling hope;
but from this moment, when the castle clock struck one, in fear and
dread suspense.

Two minutes after the clock had ceased, Captain Walladmor heard the
sound of bars clanking at the guard-room door: a foot crossed the
gallery: the bars of his own door were unfastened; the bolts were
drawn; the key was turned in the lock: the door opened: a lamp streamed
in a gleam of light, as the massy door slowly swung back on its hinges:
and Tom Godber entered. How had he been allowed to pass? He carried an
order in his hand which bore the lord lieutenant's signature. But how
obtained or by whom forged? No matter!--a tear, which dropped from
Captain Walladmor's eye upon the paper when Tom put it in his hand,
showed that _he_ at least knew what sweet hand it was that had forged
it.

Tom closed the door cautiously, and rapidly made known his mission.
Captain Walladmor wore no fetters: the keys were presented to him which
would pass every door to the picture gallery, from one window of which
depended a rope-ladder. A fleet horse was stationed in a grove near the
castle: boat-men well armed were on the beach; and, in case of any
sinister accident obliging him to proceed inland, relays of horses had
been placed both on the southern road through Dolgelly, and on the
north road to Bangor Ferry. The main danger, which awaited him, was in
the little guardroom: _that_ passed, it was not likely that any thing
would occur to intercept him. The soldiers had necessarily been
awakened by Tom's passing through: and Captain Walladmor would be
detained some time by fastening and unfastening the two doors. However
all the aid, which could be given, had been prepared. Captain Walladmor
had dressed himself on the day of his trial in a hussar uniform of the
patriot army in which he bore his last commission: this he still
retained; and it was not so unlike the dragoon uniform of Tom, but that
under a dim light it might well deceive the eye of a sleepy man, if any
should chance to be awake. Not to rely too much on that however, Tom
had wrapped himself up in his dark military cloak which he now flung
over Captain Walladmor. This served also to conceal his face, as well
as the sword and brace of pistols with which Tom now presented him.
These arrangements made, Tom conjured him to lose no time--as there was
some suspicion that the sheriff might make a circuit before two
o'clock. But Edward Walladmor had yet one question to put; Where was
Miss Walladmor? The countenance of Tom showed that he anticipated this
question. But he had been instructed if possible to evade it. Miss
Walladmor's heart had told her that Captain Walladmor would seek an
interview with her: and Grace had made Tom understand that he was to
pretend ignorance and fling all the difficulties he could in the way of
it: for the peril of discovery became too much augmented by any delay.
In case of necessity, however, Grace had acquainted Tom with the most
private road to Miss Walladmor's suite of apartments. Unwilling as he
was, Tom now found himself obliged to make this known: for Captain
Walladmor, seeing that he knew, positively refused to move until he
told him.

Now then all was ready: Tom took the prisoner's place; Captain
Walladmor shook hands with him fervently; muffled himself up in his
cloak; took the lamp and the keys; issued upon the gallery; closed and
fastened the prison door; crossed to the door of the guard-room, and
paused for one moment before he opened it. He, who so lately had been
without hope, conceiving himself rejected by Miss Walladmor, had now a
mighty interest at stake: if he passed this room, he might at the worst
die like a soldier; and he should see Miss Walladmor! His firmness was
now tried to the uttermost, and somewhat shaken: his heart palpitated a
little; and he smiled to see that his hand trembled like the hand of a
coward.

He passed in: the men were all stretched on the ground; but one at
least was awake; for he d---d him for making a noise and breaking his
sleep. However he did not raise his head: and Captain Walladmor passed
on, stepping carefully over them, to the opposite door. Here it became
necessary, from the complexity of the fastenings, to set down the lamp
for a few moments; in doing which the cloak fell a little way from the
face of Captain Walladmor, and unveiled a set of features too unlike
Tom's to impose upon the dullest eyes, if any were fixed upon them. A
little rustling was heard at this moment in one corner of the room:
Captain Walladmor was all ear, and looked round. A dragoon was sitting
up on his pallet; his wild black eyes were fixed keenly on Captain
Walladmor; and a smile was upon his face of ambiguous character, which
the Captain knew not how to interpret, but which sufficiently betrayed
that the soldier knew him. The next moment the man sprang up to his
feet, and Captain Walladmor hastily put his hand to his sword. He
advanced; continued to smile; put his forefinger on his lips as a sign
for the prisoner to make no noise; and, coming close up to him,
whispered--"I know you, Captain! But all's right:" and then, nodding
with a confidential air, he said--"Push on."

It was Kilmary, who had sometime back enlisted into the dragoons.
Captain Walladmor opened the door; and passed out--closely followed by
the dragoon. Then, reclosing the door, he descended safely with his
companion, through all the numerous impediments of bolts and bars, to
the picture-gallery. At the very first window that they came to, the
ladder was fixed: this, by way of showing some confidence in him, he
pointed out to Kilmary; and told him, if he wished to be of service to
him, to descend--and prepare the boatmen on the shore. Then, rightly
judging that the man had made himself a party to his escape for the
sake of reaping a large reward, he put into his hand one of the
rouleaus of gold which Miss Walladmor had sent by Tom, and enjoined him
to be secret and vigilant. The man expressed his gratitude; disappeared
through the window; and Captain Walladmor was left alone in the
picture-gallery to trace out the road to his cousin's apartments.

His agitation had subsided: all was silent: and he now felt assured
that nothing could defeat him of his interview with Miss Walladmor. As
he moved down the gallery amongst the portraits of his ancestors, he
paused for a moment before one which fronted him and struck him
powerfully. It was the portrait of a lady, young and of pensive beauty:
the costume was splendid and somewhat fanciful, so that it was not easy
by candle-light to determine the generation to which she had belonged.
But no doubt she had at some period been a member of his house: and
Captain Walladmor was fascinated by the expression; for she seemed to
look down upon him with pitying love.--The expression was not false. It
was a face (but he knew it not) that had for one brief fortnight, some
three-and-twenty years ago, looked down upon _his_ with maternal love.
Some wandering dream of such a possibility passed through his mind; he
sighed; and moved on.

With a cautious step he threaded the labyrinth of passages till he came
to the door which, by certain signs, he knew must be _that_ which
opened into Miss Walladmor's apartments. It stood ajar: he pushed it
gently open: the room was empty: there was no noise; and a lamp was
burning silently on the table. Through this anti-room he passed on
to the next in the suite. This was _not_ empty: and he paused at the
door-way.

How often is the eye fixed unconsciously upon mute inanimate objects
that, if they had a voice, could utter a tale of passionate
remembrances--and to some eye perhaps _do_ utter such a tale![2] This
was the very room from which--about four-and-twenty years ago he, who
now stood at the door, had been borne by the cruel nurse, who had
entered for a moment whilst the unconscious mother slept. There stood
the very sofa (but he knew it not) upon which the unhappy lady had
reposed; and there had she breathed her last, just where the lady in
black, not less unhappy, is seated at this moment. Who is she? Captain
Walladmor's eye rested upon her with a mixed expression of rapture and
of grief which betrays that it is Miss Walladmor.

But one minute before Miss Walladmor had been standing at the door,
intent upon every sound that stirred. Excessive agitation had obliged
her to retire to the sofa: she had seated herself: her beautiful
arms were laid upon a table; her head rested sideways upon her arms;
and for a few brief moments her fluttering and exhausted spirits had
lulled her into slumber. Apparently she dreamed: for she murmured, at
intervals,--"Hush! hush!--what noise was that?--Put out the lights!
They are coming!--Draw the curtains; and tell nobody!--Oh! what a groan
was that!"--Edward Walladmor gazed upon her in silence: her face was
pale but flushed: her person, naturally full, was wasted and shrunken:
her cheek seemed hollow: and a tear was upon his own as he stooped to
kiss it. He sate down by her side, passed his arm tenderly around her
waist: the action awoke her; and she started up in sudden alarm.

"Are you afraid of me, dearest Genevieve?" asked Edward Walladmor. "Oh
no!" she murmured, when she saw that it was her cousin: "Oh no!" and
through her fearful agitation she smiled upon him with tender
confidence, and sate down again by his side.

                             *  *  *  *  *

One hour they had sate, hand locked in hand, and had blended their
tears--their hopes--and the trembling doubts of their youthful hearts.
And Miss Walladmor was beginning to murmur something about the
necessity of parting: when suddenly _that_ summons was uttered by a
more alarming sound. The sound of the castle bell rang out at this
moment loud and fast. Voices were heard. And immediately after
thundering and redoubling peals of blows against the great gate echoed
through the castle-hall.

Captain Walladmor was silent and disturbed: for any sound, whether from
friend or foe, was to them the signal of separation: but the effect on
Miss Walladmor was terrific. She, innocent creature! started up like a
guilty thing: for one moment her countenance flushed with fugitive
colors, and then settled into a deathly paleness: she stood as if
frozen: her hands were raised: her eyes were fixed on the door: and she
looked like a statue of panic before a judgment seat listening for some
irrevocable doom. A second time the hideous uproar was heard: and a
crash, as of some mighty ruin. Captain Walladmor groaned as he gazed
upon the beautiful figure and the sweet countenance before him, both
petrified into marble, speechless, breathless, sightless,--giving no
sign of life but by spasmodic startings, that shot momentarily over her
bosom and lovely mouth: for his sake was she tortured thus--for his
sake, that in a minute--oh! how brief a minute--must part from her,
must see that form--that countenance no more! A third time the dreadful
summons sounded: the hall of Walladmor rang with tempestuous voices:
steps ran along the galleries: the clattering of heavy heels was heard
on the great stair-case; the clashing of swords; tumult, and hurrying;
curses, and pursuit: and suddenly from the upper galleries was heard a
thundering discharge of carbines. That sound awoke Miss Walladmor from
her trance: she kept her eyes on the door--she stretched out her hand,
with the rapidity of flight and terror, to Captain Walladmor--and said,
but with the stifled whisper of one in agony: "Oh!--come--come--come--
come--come!" He rose, and for one moment paused. A presentiment was at
his heart that it were better he should go. Yet he had not the
resolution to refuse _that_ hand which was stretched out to save him,
nor voluntarily to forego the sweet--sweet feeling that he was
protected by Miss Walladmor. In such torments of farewell anguish, what
a heaven to be shielded--if it were but for a moment--by the tenderness
of Miss Walladmor's love! Passively as a child he yielded himself to
her guidance as she led him into her dressing-room. Grace was sitting
there weeping: and rose as they entered. "Run Grace," said Miss
Walladmor rapidly--"Run to the outer door, lock it, lock it: open it
for nobody." So much had sorrow for her mistress absorbed all feminine
feelings, that the poor girl showed no terror--but hastened to obey:
and Edward Walladmor took her hand as she passed, and pressed it to
thank her for her sympathy.

Whence was the uproar? Some eye had detected the ladder: the alarm was
given: at the very same moment the crew of the strange ship from
Antwerp, half blacks and people of colour, remorseless and used to
deeds of violence but devotedly attached to their former commander, had
been met by Kilmary: the partial escape had been reported to them: but
after waiting some time the delay alarmed them; they had pushed on
beneath the walls of the castle; the removal of the ladder confirmed
their fears: and, soon after the sheriff's discovery of the escape, the
attack had been made on the gate: this had given way to the strength
and impetuosity of the assailants: and the great hall with its flights
of stair-case and ranges of galleries, rising tier above tier, was now
filled with slaughter and confusion. The uproar and clamour increased:
like death-notes every sound and every echo smote the heart of Edward
Walladmor: every life, that was lost, was lost for him: and to linger
any longer was to endanger his father's castle and all whom it
contained.

Hastily the parting kiss was given: hastily the parting tears were
shed: they parted as those part who part for ever: and with a
shuddering gesture Edward Walladmor threw open the door which laid bare
the bloody tragedy on the stairs. The hall, of immense altitude, was
filled with surges of smoke: overhead it formed a thick canopy or
awning, with pendent volumes, that here and there were broken and
showed a stair-case slippery with blood and a chaos of black faces,
mulattoes, dragoons, torches, gleaming arms, and accoutrements. Every
gloomy corridor that issued upon the landings of the stair-case,--every
dusky archway, some in utter darkness, some pierced with partial
flashings of the flambeaux, were the scenes of mortal struggle, flight,
or dying agony. Such a spectacle, by the demands which it made on his
firmness and presence of mind, restored Captain Walladmor to the
tranquil composure of the quarter-deck. Miss Walladmor followed him
with her eyes, and stood, with uplifted hands, beneath the archway. He
moved on with his usual self-possession and dignity: he called loudly
in Spanish to his former crew: they knew the voice of their heroic
commander; and sent up a loud huzza of welcome. That sound drew upon
him the attention of the dragoons. One, who stood in an upper gallery,
levelled his carbine and fired: a shot took effect in his left
shoulder, and wounded him slightly: another shot was repelled by a
brazen gird on the glazed cap which he wore; he was stunned however for
the moment, and reeled against the wall. This man in the upper gallery
had been hidden from Miss Walladmor by the moulded architrave of the
door-way near which she stood: but, at this moment, in a lower gallery
appeared the ominous face of Gillie Godber: behind her stood a dragoon.
Once again her eyes glared, and her vindictive voice resounded, in
Walladmor hall. "That's him," she shouted--eagerly laying one hand upon
the arm of the soldier to guide him into the right direction, whilst
with the other she pointed and followed her object as he moved: "that's
the Captain, that's the traitor!" The man watched him calmly as he
passed a range of pillars, and was emerging upon an open space of
gallery. He levelled, and settled himself firmly for his aim:--Miss
Walladmor heard the voice: she saw the action: through a cloud of smoke
she caught the preparation: she shrieked; raised her hands; ran
forwards; with a piercing cry she exclaimed--"Oh no, no, no, no!" and
Captain Walladmor turned, and caught her on his left arm just as the
fatal bullet fled across the hall and sank into her bosom.

The anguish of despair, and the frenzy of vengeance, as of one wounded
where only he was vulnerable, chaced each other over Edward Walladmor's
countenance: with the "inevitable eye" of vindictive wrath, he drew a
pistol in tumultuous hurry from his belt; fired; and shot the man
through the heart. Then, turning to Miss Walladmor, he gazed with
distraction upon her pallid lips, and her black robe now crimsoned with
blood. He seated himself, with his lovely burthen, upon the lower stair
of a flight which led off at right angles from the landing on which he
stood. Miss Walladmor's eyes were closed; and she was manifestly dying.
Half unconsciously Edward Walladmor murmured disordered words of
tenderness and distraction: some sounds fell upon her ear, and she
raised her heavy eyelids. A glare of torches and black faces fell upon
her eyes with the confusion of a dream: shrinkingly she averted them,
and they rested upon what she sought; she saw the features of her
cousin bending over her with the misery of love that feels its
impotence to save. Life was now ebbing rapidly: a gleaming smile of
tenderness fled across her face: she half raised her hands and moved
her lips; Edward Walladmor bent downwards to meet the action: she put
her arms feebly about his neck; whispered something to him; and then,
as he kissed her lips in anguish, her arms parted from their languid
grasp, and fell powerlessly on each side; she sighed deeply; her eyes
closed; opened upon him once again; once again smiled her farewell love
upon him; and, with that smile upon her face, rendered up her innocent
spirit in the arms of him for whom she died.

All strife was hushed by this solemn scene: Sir Charles Davenant had
now appeared; and called off the soldiers from a hopeless contest. The
sailors gently released Miss Walladmor from the arms of her now
insensible lover, and resigned her into the hands of her women. Captain
Walladmor they bore off to their boat: three hours before day-light
they were on board their ship and under weigh for the south: and, as no
pursuit was attempted or indeed possible, the vessel was first heard of
again from the coast of South America.

                             *  *  *  *  *

Thus was the old rhyme fulfilled which Gillie Godber had so often
chaunted, and in a comprehensive sense that perhaps she had not hoped.
"Grief _was_ over at Walladmor." Her own fate ratified the prophecy and
sealed its truth. She also was among the killed: some merciful bullet
had liberated her from the storm of guilt and sorrow which for more
than twenty years had brooded over her brain, and ravaged her heart:
and after so long a period of calamity, during which she had been
rejected from human sympathy, she was again gathered within the fold of
Christian fellowship in the pastoral churchyard of Utragan. On a grey
and silent afternoon a funeral was beheld by those who stood upon the
mountains above Utragan winding through the valleys to the quiet chapel
at their foot. It stopped in a secluded angle of the churchyard at a
spot known to all the country. The grave of the "blooming boy," whose
filial prayer upon the scaffold for his mother's peace of mind had
_not_ been granted, was now opened to receive her; and the mother and
the son, after their long separation, once more were reunited. This
spectacle brought back forgiving thoughts: the pity, which had once
been granted to her, was now restored: and the uncharitable thoughts,
which had attended her when living, gave way before the affecting
memorials of the open grave--suggesting the awful trial which had
overthrown her reason before her conscience had finally given way.

After some weeks of illness Sir Morgan Walladmor was restored to a
state of convalescence; and, by slow degrees and after many months, to
his wonted firmness of mind. He was then able to bear the recital of
all which had happened; and the news which had recently arrived of
Captain Walladmor's death. Large funds had been sent out to him in
South America by Sir Morgan's friends: with these he had raised a horse
regiment: and at the head of this in the decisive engagement of
Manchinilla he had found at last "the death that he was wooing!" With a
miniature of Miss Walladmor pressed to his lips, he was discovered
lying on the ground of the last decisive charge: and Sir M organ was
satisfied to hear that his son had met the death of a soldier and in a
cause which he approved.

That Bertram was twin brother to Edward Nicholas, the reader will long
have suspected. By the letters of Captain Donneraile and the verbal
communications of Bertram it appeared sufficiently that the wife of
Captain Donneraile (at that time a mate on board the Rattle-snake) and
Winifred Griffiths, being the only two women on board, had cast lots
for the appropriation of the children. The happier lot had fallen upon
Bertram: for, though it gave him up to the cruel spoiler that had
pierced the hearts of his parents, yet had it thrown him upon a quiet
life in a humble village of Germany where he was spared that spectacle
of storm and guilt which had pursued the youthful steps of his unhappy
twin brother. Prosperity had left to Winifred Griffiths for many years
leisure for meditation upon the wrongs she had done to Sir Morgan. And
when affliction visited her, it came in a shape that taught her to
measure the strength of parental anguish: she lost her only child; and
on her death-bed, being now left a widow, she had bequeathed to Bertram
the whole sum of which she had robbed his father: upon which sum he had
supported himself at the Saxon university of Halle, But the disclosure
of his birth and connexions, which she had deferred until her latter
moments, had been cut short by death. What she said however had been
sufficient to direct the course of Bertram to his native country. The
discovery, which she had left imperfect, was now completed by others:
and it shed comfort upon the declining days of Sir Morgan--that, from
the amiable disposition and good sense of the son who was thus restored
to him, when matured by more intercourse with the world, he could
venture to hope for increase of honour and generations of happier days
to the ancient house of Walladmor.


FOOTNOTES TO "CHAPTER XXI.":

[Footnote 1: It is not well to move a sleeping lion. Yet, if either
hereabouts or elsewhere in the novel, any disagreeable reader should
find out something or other not quite in the spirit of our manners--or
rather inartificial in the conduct of the story,--let him understand
that it is due to the German author. But might it not have been altered
and adapted to our notions? Let him be assured that all possible
experiments in that way have been used in the treatment of Walladmor.
It is always satisfactory to know that the patient has had every
advantage which humanity guided by skill could suggest. No attention
has been omitted even in this chapter which the nature of the case
allowed. But there _are_ incidents which cannot be altered; as they
would draw after them other alterations; and compel the artist, who had
simply undertaken to "clean the works" of the watch, absolutely to put
in a new "mainspring."--_English Translator_.]

[Footnote 2: A sentiment which has been expressed by Mr. Foster in his
ingenious essays; and most affectingly expressed by a great poet of
this age in the "Excursion."]



                              POSTSCRIPT.


'_E quovis ligno non fit Mercurius._' This Roman proverb, Courteous
Reader! is adequately rendered by a homely one of our own--"_You cannot
make a silk purse out of a sow's ear._" Certainly it is difficult to do
so; and none can speak to _that_ more feelingly than myself; but not
impossible, as I would hope that _my_ Walladmor will show when compared
with the original. In saying this I disclaim all vanity; for, waiving
other and more positive services to the German Walladmor, I here found
my claim to the production of a "silk purse" simply on the negative
merits of omission and compression. This is a point which on another
account demands a word or two of explanation; as the reader will else
find it difficult to understand upon what principle of translation
_three_ 'thick set' German volumes can have shrunk into _two_ English
ones of somewhat meagre proportions.

The German hoaxer was aware that no book could have a chance of passing
for Sir Walter Scott's[1] which was not in three volumes octavo. A
Scotch novel from Mr. Constable's press, and _not_ in three volumes,
would be as absurd as a novel from _any_ man's press in folio--as
ominous as 'double Thebes'---as perverse as drinking a man's health
"with two times two" (which in fact would be an insult)--as fraudulent
as a subscription of 99_l._ 19_s._ (where it would be clear that some
man had pocketed a shilling)--and as contrary to all Natural History as
that twenty-seven tailors should make either more men or fewer than the
cube root of that number. What is the occult law of the Constable
press, which compels it into these three-headed births, might be
difficult to explain: Mr. Kant himself[2] with all his subtlety could
never make up his mind why no man thinks of presenting a lady with a
service of 23 cups and saucers, though it is evident that she is just
as likely to have a party of 23 people as 24: nay, if the reader
himself were to make such a present to an English grand jury, where the
party never _could_ be more than 23, he would infallibly order a
service of 24: though he must be certain that the 24th cup-and-saucer
was a mere Irish bull--an empty piece of impertinence--a disgusting
pleonasm--and a downright logical absurdity. For a 24th grand jury man
is as much a metaphysical chimæra as an "abstract Lord Mayor," or a
30th of February. Not only, therefore, _without_ reason, but even
_against_ reason, people have a superstitious regard to certain
numbers: and Mr. Constable has a right to _his_ superstition, which
possibly may rest on this consideration--that 3 is the number of the
Graces. But, let the _rationale_ of the case be what it may, we all
know that it is a fact; and a Constable novel in _two_ volumes (being a
mere _ens rationis ratiocinantis_) would have been detected as a hoax
_in limine_ by the very printer's devils in any printing-office in
Europe.

So much was settled then: to hoax Germany, 'Walladmor' must be in three
volumes. But what, if there were not time for the quickest hoaxer to
compose three volumes before the Leipsic Fair? In that case, two men
must do what one could not. But now, as the second man could not
possibly know what his leader was talking about, he must be allowed to
produce his under stratum of Walladmor, without the least earthly
reference to the upper stratum: his thorough-bass must go on without
any relation to the melodies in the treble. Yet this was awkward: and,
when all was finished, the most skilful artist might have found it
puzzling to harmonize the whole. To meet this dilemma therefore, it
seems that the leader said to his second--'Write me a heap of long
speeches upon astrology and Welch genealogy; write me another heap on
English politics: I have some people in my novel (Sir Morgan and
Dulberry) upon whom I can hang them: I shall take care to leave hooks
in plenty, do you leave eyes; and with these hooks and eyes we can
fasten your speeches on my men, when both are finished.' This I
conceive to have been the pleasant arrangement upon which 'Walladmor'
was worked so as to fetch up the ground before the fair began; and thus
ingeniously were two men's labors dovetailed into one novel: "aliter
non fit, Avite, liber." When the rest of the rigging was complete,
the politics, genealogy, and astrology, were mounted as "royals" and
"sky-scrapers;" and the ship weighed from Berlin for Leipsic under a
press of sail.

Now, as to these long speeches and Welch conversations, I know not who
is their author; but in conscience I cannot pay him a less compliment
than this--that,

     "From Cain the first man-child
      To him that did but yesterday suspire,"[3]

there has not been such another idiot. All attempt at mending them, or
transfusing any sense into their dry bones, was hopeless: translated
into English, bottled, and corked up, they would furnish _virus_
enough, if distributed by inoculation amongst the next three thousand
novels of the English press, to ruin the constitution of them all.

I know not whether, in thus accounting for my omissions, I shall be
thought pleading for my defects, or proclaiming my deserts. In the
German author it was a manifest act of pocket-picking to stuff his
novel with such insufferable rubbish. And it seemed to me that, by
translating it, I should make myself a party to his knavery as well as
to his dulness. However, if any man complains of this omission, for an
adequate "consideration" (as the lawyers say) I shall be happy to cart
the whole of it upon his premises--deliver it in choice English--and
shoot it into the coal-cellar or any more appropriate place.

Mean time for the _public_ use I have thought it as well to leave it
untranslated. And the reader now understands how the novel comes to be
cut down from a three-decker to a two-decker; and upon what argument I
pretend to have produced a 'silk purse.' For undoubtedly the difference
between Walladmor with and without the rubbish--political,
astrological, "and diabolical" (as Mrs. Malaprop says), is as the
difference between a sow's ear (excuse the coarseness of the proverb)
and a silk purse. And I shall think the better of the German author and
myself, as long as I live; of him for the very _ideal_ artist of sow's
ears, and of myself as a most respectable manufacturer of silk purses.

Thus much to account for my omissions and compressions. I am afraid,
however, there will be some readers who will be so far from asking any
apology on those heads, that they will facetiously regard them as my
only merits: and that would be as cruel as Lessing's suggestion to an
author for his table of errata--"_Apropos_, of errata, suppose you were
to put your whole book into the list of errata." More candid readers, I
am inclined to hope, will blame me for not having made larger
_alterations_ in Walladmor: and _that_ would be a flattering criticism,
as it must suppose that I could have improved it: indeed, compliment
never wears so delightful an aspect, as when it takes the shape of
blame. The truth is--I _have_ altered; and altered until I had not the
face to alter any more. The ghost of Sir John Cutler's stockings began
to appear to me; and elder ghosts than _that_--the ghost of Sir Francis
Drake's ship, the ghost of Jason's ship, and other celebrated cases of
the same perplexing question: metaphysical doubts fell upon me: and I
began to fear that if, in addition to a new end, I were to put a new
beginning and a new middle,--I should be accused of building a second
English hoax upon the primitive German hoax. In general I have
proceeded as one would in transplanting a foreign opera to our stage:
where the author tells the story ill--take it out of his hands, and
tell it better: retouch his recitative; bring out and develope his
situations: in this place throw in a tender air, in that a passionate
chorus. Pretty much in this spirit I have endeavoured to proceed. But
it is a most delicate operation to take work out of another man's loom,
and put work in: joinings and sutures will sometimes appear; colors
will not always match. And, after all, it is impossible to alter every
thing that one may think amiss. In general, I would request the reader
to consider himself indebted to me for any thing he may find
particularly good; and above all things to load my wretched 'Principal'
with the blame of every thing that is wrong. If he comes to any passage
which he is disposed to think superlatively bad, let him be assured
that it is not mine. If he changes his opinion about it, I may be
disposed to reconsider whether I had not some hand in it. This will be
the more reasonable in him, as the critics will "feel it their duty" to
take the very opposite course. However, if he reads German, he can
judge for himself: and I can assure him my copy of the original
Walladmor is quite at his service for "a term of years;" having read it
myself as much as I ever mean to do in this life. As to all those who
have not that means of settling the question, or do not think it worth
so much pains, I beg them to rely on my word when I apply to the
English Walladmor the spirit of the old bull--

     "Had you seen but these roads before they were made,
      You would lift up your eyes, and bless Marshal Wade!"

                              *   *   *   *   *

"A friend of mine" (as we all say, when we are looking out for a masque
under which to praise ourselves or to abuse the verses of any 'dear'
acquaintance)--"a friend of mine" has written a very long review (or
analysis rather) of the German Walladmor in a literary journal of the
metropolis. He concludes it with the following passage, which I choose
to quote--partly on account of the graceful allusion which it contains,
and partly because it gives me an opportunity of trying _my_ hand at an
allusion to the same beautiful and romantic legend:

"Now turning back from the hoaxer to the hoax, we shall conclude with
this proposition.--All readers of Spenser must know that the true
Florimel lost her girdle; which, they will remember, was found by Sir
Satyrane--and was adjudged by a whole assemblage of knights to the
false Florimel, although it did not quite fit her. She, viz. the snowy
Florimel,

                      ----exceedingly did fret;
      And, snatching from her hand half angrily
   The belt again, about her body gan it tie.

      Yet nathemore would it her body fit:
      Yet natheless to her, as her dew right,
      It yielded was by them that judged it.
                             _Faery Queene_, B. IV. C 5.

"'_By them that judged it!_' and who are they? Spenser is here
prophetic, and means the Reviewers. It has been generally whispered
that the true Scotch Florimel has latterly lost her girdle of beauty.
Let this German Sir Satyrane, then, indulgently be supposed to have
found it: and, whilst the title to it is in abeyance, let it be
adjudged to the false Florimel: and let her have a licence to wear it
for a few months until the true Florimel comes forward in her original
beauty, dissolves her snowy counterfeit, and reclaims her own 'golden
cestus.'"

This was very well for "my friend" to wish at the time he _did_ wish
it: for that was more than two months ago. At present (December 11)
matters are changed: the true Florimel is said to be just on the point
of embarking at Leith in Mr. Constable's ship: and we must again
consult Spenser to see what is likely to happen in this case to the
false Florimel:

      Then did he set her by that snowy one,
      Like the true saint beside the image set.
      Of both their beauties to make paragone
      And triall--whether should the honor get.
      Streightway, so soone as both together met,
      Th' enchanted damzell vanisht into nought:
      Her snowy substance melted as with heat;
      Ne of that goodly hew remayned ought,
  But th' emptie girdle which about her wast was wrought.
                                       _Faery Queene_, B. V. C. 3.

Shocking! I abominate the omen; [Greek: apeptusa]. What, my two
volumes, post 8vo. "vanish into nought?" Delectable news this!--No, no:
Spenser may be a pretty fair prophet as prophets went in Queen
Elizabeth's days: about the reviewers I hope he is: but prophets, I
trust, have their weak points as well as other people. The _Sortes
Spenserianæ_ are no Sortes Virgilianæ. And, if my prayers to Neptune
are heard, the case will take a different turn. I wish for no ill luck
to Mr. Constable--his ship--or her cargo. I wish him a safe voyage: but
I hope it is no sin to wish him a long one. It could do no harm to
him--his ship--ship's company--or Florimel, if Neptune would order a
tumbling sea and a good stiff South-West wind to blow them safe and
sound into some excellent harbour on the coast of Norway. In that
harbour, good Neptune, keep Mr. Constable for a month. By that time I
and my snowy Florimel shall have transacted all our business. The two
Florimels will never meet; and the fatal results of 'melting,' and
'vanishing into nought,' will thus be obviated. That done, by all means
I would have Neptune take off the embargo, and let Mr. Constable out.
The German Florimel will have cleared the stage; and no one will
witness with more pleasure than myself the spectacle of the true Scotch
Florimel resuming the girdle which she can have dropped only from
accident or venial negligence.


FOOTNOTES TO "POSTSCRIPT."

[Footnote 1: In here speaking of Sir Walter Scott by name as the author
of the Constable Scotch novels, the writer would be sorry to have it
supposed that he was inattentive to the courtesies of literature.
Whatever disguise an author chooses to assume, it is a point of good
breeding to respect it in any case where there is not some higher
reason for declining to do so. In this case there _is_. It is now
become essential to Sir Walter Scott's honour no longer to speak of the
author of the Scotch novels as 'unknown.' Sir Walter is not under any
necessity of avowing himself the author: but no man who does not mean
to insult him is now at liberty to doubt whether he is. For Sir W. S.
cannot now be supposed ignorant that he has long and universally had
the credit of being the author: and a man of honour would not, even by
his silence, acquiesce in the public direction to himself of praise due
to some other. Consequently it is not possible to make it a question
whether Sir W. S. were the author, without at the same time making it a
question whether he were a man of honour. This single consideration
would have saved a world of literary gossip.]

[Footnote 2: See his Anthropologie.]

[Footnote 3: K. John.]



                                THE END.



                                ERRATUM.

In the Advertisement (Vol. I.) for Königsburg. read Königsberg.





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ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just because
we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States,
that the work is also in the public domain for users in other countries.
Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we
can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of any specific book is
allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Doctrine Publishing
ISYS search  means it can be used in any manner anywhere in the world.
Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe.

About ISYS® Search Software
Established in 1988, ISYS Search Software is a global supplier of enterprise
search solutions for business and government.  The company's award-winning
software suite offers a broad range of search, navigation and discovery
solutions for desktop search, intranet search, SharePoint search and embedded
search applications.  ISYS has been deployed by thousands of organizations
operating in a variety of industries, including government, legal, law
enforcement, financial services, healthcare and recruitment.



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